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Title: The Red Cross Girl
Author: Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Red Cross Girl" ***

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THE RED CROSS GIRL

The Novels And Stories Of Richard Harding Davis

By Richard Harding Davis

With An Introduction By Gouverneur Morris



CONTENTS:

     Introduction by Gouverneur Morris

     1. THE RED CROSS GIRL

     2. THE GRAND CROSS OF THE CRESCENT

     3. THE INVASION OF ENGLAND

     4. BLOOD WILL TELL

     5. THE SAILORMAN

     6. THE MIND READER

     7. THE NAKED MAN

     8. THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF

     9. THE CARD-SHARP



INTRODUCTION


                         R. H. D.

     "And they rise to their feet as he passes, gentlemen
     unafraid."

He was almost too good to be true. In addition, the gods loved him, and
so he had to die young. Some people think that a man of fifty-two is
middle-aged. But if R. H. D. had lived to be a hundred, he would never
have grown old. It is not generally known that the name of his other
brother was Peter Pan.

Within the year we have played at pirates together, at the taking of
sperm whales; and we have ransacked the Westchester Hills for gunsites
against the Mexican invasion. And we have made lists of guns, and
medicines, and tinned things, in case we should ever happen to go
elephant shooting in Africa. But we weren't going to hurt the elephants.
Once R. H. D. shot a hippopotamus and he was always ashamed and sorry. I
think he never killed anything else. He wasn't that kind of a sportsman.
Of hunting, as of many other things, he has said the last word. Do you
remember the Happy Hunting Ground in "The Bar Sinister"?--"Where nobody
hunts us, and there is nothing to hunt."

Experienced persons tell us that a man-hunt is the most exciting of all
sports. R. H. D. hunted men in Cuba. He hunted for wounded men who were
out in front of the trenches and still under fire, and found some of
them and brought them in. The Rough Riders didn't make him an honorary
member of their regiment just because he was charming and a faithful
friend, but largely because they were a lot of daredevils and he was
another.

To hear him talk you wouldn't have thought that he had ever done a brave
thing in his life. He talked a great deal, and he talked even better
than he wrote (at his best he wrote like an angel), but I have dusted
every corner of my memory and cannot recall any story of his in which he
played a heroic or successful part. Always he was running at top speed,
or hiding behind a tree, or lying face down in a foot of water (for
hours!) so as not to be seen. Always he was getting the worst of it. But
about the other fellows he told the whole truth with lightning flashes
of wit and character building and admiration or contempt. Until the
invention of moving pictures the world had nothing in the least like his
talk. His eye had photographed, his mind had developed and prepared the
slides, his words sent the light through them, and lo and behold, they
were reproduced on the screen of your own mind, exact in drawing and
color. With the written word or the spoken word he was the greatest
recorder and reporter of things that he had seen of any man, perhaps,
that ever lived. The history of the last thirty years, its manners
and customs and its leading events and inventions, cannot be written
truthfully without reference to the records which he has left, to
his special articles and to his letters. Read over again the Queen's
Jubilee, the Czar's Coronation, the March of the Germans through
Brussels, and see for yourself if I speak too zealously, even for a
friend, to whom, now that R. H. D. is dead, the world can never be the
same again.

But I did not set out to estimate his genius. That matter will come in
due time before the unerring tribunal of posterity.

One secret of Mr. Roosevelt's hold upon those who come into contact
with him is his energy. Retaining enough for his own use (he uses a
good deal, because every day he does the work of five or six men), he
distributes the inexhaustible remainder among those who most need it.
Men go to him tired and discouraged, he sends them away glad to be
alive, still gladder that he is alive, and ready to fight the devil
himself in a good cause. Upon his friends R. H. D. had the same effect.
And it was not only in proximity that he could distribute energy, but
from afar, by letter and cable. He had some intuitive way of
knowing just when you were slipping into a slough of laziness and
discouragement. And at such times he either appeared suddenly upon the
scene, or there came a boy on a bicycle, with a yellow envelope and a
book to sign, or the postman in his buggy, or the telephone rang and
from the receiver there poured into you affection and encouragement.

But the great times, of course, were when he came in person, and the
temperature of the house, which a moment before had been too hot or
too cold, became just right, and a sense of cheerfulness and well-being
invaded the hearts of the master and the mistress and of the servants
in the house and in the yard. And the older daughter ran to him, and
the baby, who had been fretting because nobody would give her a
double-barrelled shotgun, climbed upon his knee and forgot all about the
disappointments of this uncompromising world.

He was touchingly sweet with children. I think he was a little afraid
of them. He was afraid perhaps that they wouldn't find out how much
he loved them. But when they showed him that they trusted him, and,
unsolicited, climbed upon him and laid their cheeks against his, then
the loveliest expression came over his face, and you knew that the great
heart, which the other day ceased to beat, throbbed with an exquisite
bliss, akin to anguish.

One of the happiest days I remember was when I and mine received a
telegram saying that he had a baby of his own. And I thank God that
little Miss Hope is too young to know what an appalling loss she has
suffered....

Perhaps he stayed to dine. Then perhaps the older daughter was allowed
to sit up an extra half-hour so that she could wait on the table (and
though I say it, that shouldn't, she could do this beautifully, with
dignity and without giggling), and perhaps the dinner was good, or R. H.
D. thought it was, and in that event he must abandon his place and storm
the kitchen to tell the cook all about it. Perhaps the gardener was
taking life easy on the kitchen porch. He, too, came in for praise. R.
H. D. had never seen our Japanese iris so beautiful; as for his, they
wouldn't grow at all. It wasn't the iris, it was the man behind the
iris. And then back he would come to us, with a wonderful story of his
adventures in the pantry on his way to the kitchen, and leaving behind
him a cook to whom there had been issued a new lease of life, and a
gardener who blushed and smiled in the darkness under the Actinidia
vines.

It was in our little house at Aiken, in South Carolina, that he was
with us most and we learned to know him best, and that he and I became
dependent upon each other in many ways.

Events, into which I shall not go, had made his life very difficult and
complicated. And he who had given so much friendship to so many people
needed a little friendship in return, and perhaps, too, he needed for a
time to live in a house whose master and mistress loved each other, and
where there were children. Before he came that first year our house had
no name. Now it is called "Let's Pretend."

Now the chimney in the living-room draws, but in those first days of the
built-over house it didn't. At least, it didn't draw all the time, but
we pretended that it did, and with much pretense came faith. From the
fireplace that smoked to the serious things of life we extended our
pretendings, until real troubles went down before them--down and out.

It was one of Aiken's very best winters, and the earliest spring I ever
lived anywhere. R. H. D. came shortly after Christmas. The spireas were
in bloom, and the monthly roses; you could always find a sweet violet or
two somewhere in the yard; here and there splotches of deep pink against
gray cabin walls proved that precocious peach-trees were in bloom. It
never rained. At night it was cold enough for fires. In the middle of
the day it was hot. The wind never blew, and every morning we had a four
for tennis and every afternoon we rode in the woods. And every night we
sat in front of the fire (that didn't smoke because of pretending) and
talked until the next morning.

He was one of those rarely gifted men who find their chiefest pleasure
not in looking backward or forward, but in what is going on at the
moment. Weeks did not have to pass before it was forced upon his
knowledge that Tuesday, the fourteenth (let us say), had been a good
Tuesday. He knew it the moment he waked at 7 A. M. and perceived the
Tuesday sunshine making patterns of bright light upon the floor. The
sunshine rejoiced him and the knowledge that even before breakfast
there was vouchsafed to him a whole hour of life. That day began with
attentions to his physical well-being. There were exercises conducted
with great vigor and rejoicing, followed by a tub, artesian cold, and a
loud and joyous singing of ballads.

At fifty R. H. D. might have posed to some Praxiteles and, copied in
marble, gone down the ages as "statue of a young athlete." He stood
six feet and over, straight as a Sioux chief, a noble and leonine
head carried by a splendid torso. His skin was as fine and clean as a
child's. He weighed nearly two hundred pounds and had no fat on him. He
was the weight-throwing rather than the running type of athlete, but so
tenaciously had he clung to the suppleness of his adolescent days that
he could stand stiff-legged and lay his hands flat upon the floor.

The singing over, silence reigned. But if you had listened at his door
you must have heard a pen going, swiftly and boldly. He was hard at
work, doing unto others what others had done unto him. You were a
stranger to him; some magazine had accepted a story that you had written
and published it. R. H. D. had found something to like and admire in
that story (very little perhaps), and it was his duty and pleasure
to tell you so. If he had liked the story very much he would send
you instead of a note a telegram. Or it might be that you had drawn
a picture, or, as a cub reporter, had shown golden promise in a half
column of unsigned print, R. H. D. would find you out, and find time to
praise you and help you. So it was that when he emerged from his room
at sharp eight o'clock, he was wide-awake and happy and hungry, and
whistled and double-shuffled with his feet, out of excessive energy, and
carried in his hands a whole sheaf of notes and letters and telegrams.

Breakfast with him was not the usual American breakfast, a sullen,
dyspeptic gathering of persons who only the night before had rejoiced
in each other's society. With him it was the time when the mind is,
or ought to be, at its best, the body at its freshest and hungriest.
Discussions of the latest plays and novels, the doings and undoings of
statesmen, laughter and sentiment--to him, at breakfast, these things
were as important as sausages and thick cream.

Breakfast over, there was no dawdling and putting off of the day's
work (else how, at eleven sharp, could tennis be played with a free
conscience?). Loving, as he did, everything connected with a newspaper,
he would now pass by those on the hall-table with never so much as a
wistful glance, and hurry to his workroom.

He wrote sitting down. He wrote standing up. And, almost you may say, he
wrote walking up and down. Some people, accustomed to the delicious ease
and clarity of his style, imagine that he wrote very easily. He did and
he didn't. Letters, easy, clear, to the point, and gorgeously
human, flowed from him without let or hindrance. That masterpiece of
corresponding, "The German March Through Brussels," was probably written
almost as fast as he could talk (next to Phillips Brooks, he was the
fastest talker I ever heard), but when it came to fiction he had no
facility at all. Perhaps I should say that he held in contempt any
facility that he may have had. It was owing to his incomparable energy
and Joblike patience that he ever gave us any fiction at all. Every
phrase in his fiction was, of all the myriad phrases he could think of,
the fittest in his relentless judgment to survive. Phrases, paragraphs,
pages, whole stories even, were written over and over again. He worked
upon a principle of elimination. If he wished to describe an automobile
turning in at a gate, he made first a long and elaborate description
from which there was omitted no detail, which the most observant pair
of eyes in Christendom had ever noted with reference to just such a
turning. Thereupon he would begin a process of omitting one by one
those details which he had been at such pains to recall; and after each
omission he would ask himself: "Does the picture remain?" If it did not,
he restored the detail which he had just omitted, and experimented with
the sacrifice of some other, and so on, and so on, until after Herculean
labor there remained for the reader one of those swiftly flashed,
ice-clear pictures (complete in every detail) with which his tales and
romances are so delightfully and continuously adorned.

But it is quarter to eleven, and, this being a time of holiday, R. H. D.
emerges from his workroom happy to think that he has placed one hundred
and seven words between himself and the wolf who hangs about every
writer's door. He isn't satisfied with those hundred and seven words. He
never was in the least satisfied with anything that he wrote, but he
has searched his mind and his conscience and he believes that under the
circumstances they are the very best that he can do. Anyway, they can
stand in their present order until--after lunch.

A sign of his youth was the fact that to the day of his death he had
denied himself the luxury and slothfulness of habits. I have never seen
him smoke automatically as most men do. He had too much respect for his
own powers of enjoyment and for the sensibilities, perhaps, of the best
Havana tobacco. At a time of his own deliberate choosing, often after
many hours of hankering and renunciation, he smoked his cigar. He smoked
it with delight, with a sense of being rewarded, and he used all the
smoke there was in it.

He dearly loved the best food, the best champagne, and the best Scotch
whiskey. But these things were friends to him, and not enemies. He had
toward food and drink the Continental attitude; namely, that quality is
far more important than quantity; and he got his exhilaration from the
fact that he was drinking champagne and not from the champagne. Perhaps
I shall do well to say that on questions of right and wrong he had a
will of iron. All his life he moved resolutely in whichever direction
his conscience pointed; and, although that ever present and never
obtrusive conscience of his made mistakes of judgment now and then, as
must all consciences, I think it can never once have tricked him into
any action that was impure or unclean. Some critics maintain that the
heroes and heroines of his books are impossibly pure and innocent young
people. R. H. D. never called upon his characters for any trait of
virtue, or renunciation, or self-mastery of which his own life could not
furnish examples.

Fortunately, he did not have for his friends the same conscience that he
had for himself. His great gift of eyesight and observation failed him
in his judgments upon his friends. If only you loved him, you could get
your biggest failures of conduct somewhat more than forgiven, without
any trouble at all. And of your mole-hill virtues he made splendid
mountains. He only interfered with you when he was afraid that you were
going to hurt some one else whom he also loved. Once I had a telegram
from him which urged me for heaven's sake not to forget that the next
day was my wife's birthday. Whether I had forgotten it or not is my
own private affair. And when I declared that I had read a story which I
liked very, very much and was going to write to the author to tell him
so, he always kept at me till the letter was written.

Have I said that he had no habits? Every day, when he was away from her,
he wrote a letter to his mother, and no swift scrawl at that, for, no
matter how crowded and eventful the day, he wrote her the best letter
that he could write. That was the only habit he had. He was a slave to
it.

Once I saw R. H. D. greet his old mother after an absence. They threw
their arms about each other and rocked to and fro for a long time. And
it hadn't been a long absence at that. No ocean had been between them;
her heart had not been in her mouth with the thought that he was under
fire, or about to become a victim of jungle fever. He had only been away
upon a little expedition, a mere matter of digging for buried treasure.
We had found the treasure, part of it a chipmunk's skull and a broken
arrow-head, and R. H. D. had been absent from his mother for nearly two
hours and a half.

I set about this article with the knowledge that I must fail to give
more than a few hints of what he was like. There isn't much more space
at my command, and there were so many sides to him that to touch
upon them all would fill a volume. There were the patriotism and the
Americanism, as much a part of him as the marrow of his bones, and from
which sprang all those brilliant headlong letters to the newspapers;
those trenchant assaults upon evil-doers in public office, those
quixotic efforts to redress wrongs, and those simple and dexterous
exposures of this and that, from an absolutely unexpected point of view.
He was a quickener of the public conscience. That people are beginning
to think tolerantly of preparedness, that a nation which at one time
looked yellow as a dandelion is beginning to turn Red, White, and Blue
is owing in some measure to him.

R. H. D. thought that war was unspeakably terrible. He thought that
peace at the price which our country has been forced to pay for it was
infinitely worse. And he was one of those who have gradually taught this
country to see the matter in the same way.

I must come to a close now, and I have hardly scratched the surface
of my subject. And that is a failure which I feel keenly but which
was inevitable. As R. H. D. himself used to say of those deplorable
"personal interviews" which appear in the newspapers, and in which the
important person interviewed is made by the cub reporter to say things
which he never said, or thought, or dreamed of--"You can't expect a
fifteen-dollar-a-week brain to describe a thousand-dollar-a-week brain."

There is, however, one question which I should attempt to answer. No two
men are alike. In what one salient thing did R. H. D. differ from other
men--differ in his personal character and in the character of his work?
And that question I can answer offhand, without taking thought, and be
sure that I am right.

An analysis of his works, a study of that book which the Recording
Angel keeps will show one dominant characteristic to which even his
brilliancy, his clarity of style, his excellent mechanism as a writer
are subordinate; and to which, as a man, even his sense of duty, his
powers of affection, of forgiveness, of loving-kindness are subordinate,
too; and that characteristic is cleanliness.

The biggest force for cleanliness that was in the world has gone out of
the world--gone to that Happy Hunting Ground where "Nobody hunts us and
there is nothing to hunt."

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.



Chapter 1. THE RED CROSS GIRL

When Spencer Flagg laid the foundation-stone for the new million-dollar
wing he was adding to the Flagg Home for Convalescents, on the hills
above Greenwich, the New York REPUBLIC sent Sam Ward to cover the story,
and with him Redding to take photographs. It was a crisp, beautiful day
in October, full of sunshine and the joy of living, and from the great
lawn in front of the Home you could see half over Connecticut and across
the waters of the Sound to Oyster Bay.

Upon Sam Ward, however, the beauties of Nature were wasted. When, the
night previous, he had been given the assignment he had sulked, and he
was still sulking. Only a year before he had graduated into New York
from a small up-state college and a small up-state newspaper, but
already he was a "star" man, and Hewitt, the city editor, humored him.

"What's the matter with the story?" asked the city editor. "With the
speeches and lists of names it ought to run to two columns."

"Suppose it does!" exclaimed Ward; "anybody can collect type-written
speeches and lists of names. That's a messenger boy's job. Where's there
any heart-interest in a Wall Street broker like Flagg waving a silver
trowel and singing, 'See what a good boy am!' and a lot of grownup men
in pinafores saying, 'This stone is well and truly laid.' Where's the
story in that?"

"When I was a reporter," declared the city editor, "I used to be glad to
get a day in the country."

"Because you'd never lived in the country," returned Sam. "If you'd
wasted twenty-six years in the backwoods, as I did, you'd know that
every minute you spend outside of New York you're robbing yourself."

"Of what?" demanded the city editor. "There's nothing to New York except
cement, iron girders, noise, and zinc garbage cans. You never see the
sun in New York; you never see the moon unless you stand in the middle
of the street and bend backward. We never see flowers in New York except
on the women's hats. We never see the women except in cages in the
elevators--they spend their lives shooting up and down elevator shafts
in department stores, in apartment houses, in office buildings. And we
never see children in New York because the janitors won't let the women
who live in elevators have children! Don't talk to me! New York's a
Little Nemo nightmare. It's a joke. It's an insult!"

"How curious!" said Sam. "Now I see why they took you off the street and
made you a city editor. I don't agree with anything you say. Especially
are you wrong about the women. They ought to be caged in elevators, but
they're not. Instead, they flash past you in the street; they shine upon
you from boxes in the theatre; they frown at you from the tops of buses;
they smile at you from the cushions of a taxi, across restaurant tables
under red candle shades, when you offer them a seat in the subway. They
are the only thing in New York that gives me any trouble."

The city editor sighed. "How young you are!" he exclaimed. "However,
to-morrow you will be free from your only trouble. There will be
few women at the celebration, and they will be interested only in
convalescents--and you do not look like a convalescent."

Sam Ward sat at the outer edge of the crowd of overdressed females and
overfed men, and, with a sardonic smile, listened to Flagg telling his
assembled friends and sycophants how glad he was they were there to see
him give away a million dollars.

"Aren't you going to get his speech?", asked Redding, the staff
photographer.

"Get HIS speech!" said Sam. "They have Pinkertons all over the grounds
to see that you don't escape with less than three copies. I'm waiting to
hear the ritual they always have, and then I'm going to sprint for the
first train back to the centre of civilization."

"There's going to be a fine lunch," said Redding, "and reporters are
expected. I asked the policeman if we were, and he said we were."

Sam rose, shook his trousers into place, stuck his stick under his
armpit and smoothed his yellow gloves. He was very thoughtful of his
clothes and always treated them with courtesy.

"You can have my share," he said. "I cannot forget that I am fifty-five
minutes from Broadway. And even if I were starving I would rather have
a club sandwich in New York than a Thanksgiving turkey dinner in New
Rochelle."

He nodded and with eager, athletic strides started toward the iron
gates; but he did not reach the iron gates, for on the instant trouble
barred his way. Trouble came to him wearing the blue cambric uniform
of a nursing sister, with a red cross on her arm, with a white collar
turned down, white cuffs turned back, and a tiny black velvet bonnet.
A bow of white lawn chucked her impudently under the chin. She had
hair like golden-rod and eyes as blue as flax, and a complexion of such
health and cleanliness and dewiness as blooms only on trained nurses.

She was so lovely that Redding swung his hooded camera at her as swiftly
as a cowboy could have covered her with his gun.

Reporters become star reporters because they observe things that
other people miss and because they do not let it appear that they have
observed them. When the great man who is being interviewed blurts out
that which is indiscreet but most important, the cub reporter says:
"That's most interesting, sir. I'll make a note of that." And so
warns the great man into silence. But the star reporter receives the
indiscreet utterance as though it bored him; and the great man does
not know he has blundered until he reads of it the next morning under
screaming headlines.

Other men, on being suddenly confronted by Sister Anne, which was the
official title of the nursing sister, would have fallen backward, or
swooned, or gazed at her with soulful, worshipping eyes; or, were they
that sort of beast, would have ogled her with impertinent approval. Now
Sam, because he was a star reporter, observed that the lady before him
was the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen; but no one would
have guessed that he observed that--least of all Sister Anne. He stood
in her way and lifted his hat, and even looked into the eyes of blue as
impersonally and as calmly as though she were his great-aunt--as though
his heart was not beating so fast that it choked him.

"I am from the REPUBLIC," he said. "Everybody is so busy here to-day
that I'm not able to get what I need about the Home. It seems a pity,"
he added disappointedly, "because it's so well done that people ought
to know about it." He frowned at the big hospital buildings. It was
apparent that the ignorance of the public concerning their excellence
greatly annoyed him.

When again he looked at Sister Anne she was regarding him in
alarm--obviously she was upon the point of instant flight.

"You are a reporter?" she said.

Some people like to place themselves in the hands of a reporter because
they hope he will print their names in black letters; a few others--only
reporters know how few--would as soon place themselves in the hands of a
dentist.

"A reporter from the REPUBLIC," repeated Sam.

"But why ask ME?" demanded Sister Anne.

Sam could see no reason for her question; in extenuation and explanation
he glanced at her uniform.

"I thought you were at work here," he said simply. "I beg your pardon."

He stepped aside as though he meant to leave her. In giving that
impression he was distinctly dishonest.

"There was no other reason," persisted Sister Anne. "I mean for speaking
to me?"

The reason for speaking to her was so obvious that Sam wondered whether
this could be the height of innocence or the most banal coquetry. The
hostile look in the eyes of the lady proved it could not be coquetry.

"I am sorry," said Sam. "I mistook you for one of the nurses here; and,
as you didn't seem busy, I thought you might give me some statistics
about the Home not really statistics, you know, but local color."

Sister Anne returned his look with one as steady as his own. Apparently
she was weighing his statement. She seemed to disbelieve it. Inwardly
he was asking himself what could be the dark secret in the past of this
young woman that at the mere approach of a reporter--even of such a
nice-looking reporter as himself--she should shake and shudder. "If
that's what you really want to know," said Sister Anne doubtfully, "I'll
try and help you; but," she added, looking at him as one who issues an
ultimatum, "you must not say anything about me!"

Sam knew that a woman of the self-advertising, club-organizing class
will always say that to a reporter at the time she gives him her card so
that he can spell her name correctly; but Sam recognized that this young
woman meant it. Besides, what was there that he could write about her?
Much as he might like to do so, he could not begin his story with: "The
Flagg Home for Convalescents is also the home of the most beautiful
of all living women." No copy editor would let that get by him. So, as
there was nothing to say that he would be allowed to say, he promised to
say nothing. Sister Anne smiled; and it seemed to Sam that she smiled,
not because his promise had set her mind at ease, but because the
promise amused her. Sam wondered why.

Sister Anne fell into step beside him and led him through the wards of
the hospital. He found that it existed for and revolved entirely about
one person. He found that a million dollars and some acres of buildings,
containing sun-rooms and hundreds of rigid white beds, had been donated
by Spencer Flagg only to provide a background for Sister Anne--only
to exhibit the depth of her charity, the kindness of her heart, the
unselfishness of her nature.

"Do you really scrub the floors?" he demanded--"I mean you
yourself--down on your knees, with a pail and water and scrubbing
brush?"

Sister Anne raised her beautiful eyebrows and laughed at him.

"We do that when we first come here," she said--"when we are
probationers. Is there a newer way of scrubbing floors?"

"And these awful patients," demanded Sam--"do you wait on them? Do you
have to submit to their complaints and whinings and ingratitude?" He
glared at the unhappy convalescents as though by that glance he would
annihilate them. "It's not fair!" exclaimed Sam. "It's ridiculous. I'd
like to choke them!"

"That's not exactly the object of a home for convalescents," said Sister
Anne.

"You know perfectly well what I mean," said Sam. "Here are you--if
you'll allow me to say so--a magnificent, splendid, healthy young
person, wearing out your young life over a lot of lame ducks, failures,
and cripples."

"Nor is that quite the way we look at," said Sister Anne.

"We?" demanded Sam.

Sister Anne nodded toward a group of nurse

"I'm not the only nurse here," she said "There are over forty."

"You are the only one here," said Sam, "who is not! That's Just what
I mean--I appreciate the work of a trained nurse; I understand the
ministering angel part of it; but you--I'm not talking about anybody
else; I'm talking about you--you are too young! Somehow you are
different; you are not meant to wear yourself out fighting disease and
sickness, measuring beef broth and making beds."

Sister Anne laughed with delight.

"I beg your pardon," said Sam stiffly.

"No--pardon me," said Sister Anne; "but your ideas of the duties of a
nurse are so quaint."

"No matter what the duties are," declared Sam; "You should not be here!"

Sister Anne shrugged her shoulders; they were charming shoulders--as
delicate as the pinions of a bird.

"One must live," said Sister Anne.

They had passed through the last cold corridor, between the last rows
of rigid white cots, and had come out into the sunshine. Below them
stretched Connecticut, painted in autumn colors. Sister Anne seated
herself upon the marble railing of the terrace and looked down upon the
flashing waters of the Sound.

"Yes; that's it," she repeated softly--"one must live."

Sam looked at her--but, finding that to do so made speech difficult,
looked hurriedly away. He admitted to himself that it was one of those
occasions, only too frequent with him, when his indignant sympathy was
heightened by the fact that "the woman was very fair." He conceded
that. He was not going to pretend to himself that he was not prejudiced
by the outrageous beauty of Sister Anne, by the assault upon his
feelings made by her uniform--made by the appeal of her profession, the
gentlest and most gracious of all professions. He was honestly disturbed
that this young girl should devote her life to the service of selfish
sick people.

"If you do it because you must live, then it can easily be arranged; for
there are other ways of earning a living."

The girl looked at him quickly, but he was quite sincere--and again she
smiled.

"Now what would you suggest?" she asked. "You see," she said, "I have no
one to advise me--no man of my own age. I have no brothers to go to.
I have a father, but it was his idea that I should come here; and so
I doubt if he would approve of my changing to any other work. Your own
work must make you acquainted with many women who earn their own living.
Maybe you could advise me?"

Sam did not at once answer. He was calculating hastily how far his
salary would go toward supporting a wife. He was trying to remember
which of the men in the office were married, and whether they were
those whose salaries were smaller than his own. Collins, one of the copy
editors, he knew, was very ill-paid; but Sam also knew that Collins was
married, because his wife used to wait for him in the office to take
her to the theatre, and often Sam had thought she was extremely well
dressed. Of course Sister Anne was so beautiful that what she might wear
would be a matter of indifference; but then women did not always look
at it that way. Sam was so long considering offering Sister Anne a life
position that his silence had become significant; and to cover his real
thoughts he said hurriedly:

"Take type-writing, for instance. That pays very well. The hours are not
difficult."

"And manicuring?" suggested Sister Anne.

Sam exclaimed in horror.

"You!" he cried roughly. "For you! Quite impossible!"

"Why for me?" said the girl.

In the distress at the thought Sam was jabbing his stick into the gravel
walk as though driving the manicuring idea into a deep grave. He did not
see that the girl was smiling at him mockingly.

"You?" protested Sam. "You in a barber's shop washing men's fingers who
are not fit to wash the streets you walk on I Good Lord!" His vehemence
was quite honest. The girl ceased smiling. Sam was still jabbing at the
gravel walk, his profile toward her--and, unobserved, she could study
his face. It was an attractive face strong, clever, almost illegally
good-looking. It explained why, as, he had complained to the city
editor, his chief trouble in New York was with the women. With his eyes
full of concern, Sam turned to her abruptly. "How much do they give you
a month?" "Forty dollars," answered Sister Anne. "This is what hurts me
about it," said Sam.

"It is that you should have to work and wait on other people when there
are so many strong, hulking men who would count it God's blessing to
work for you, to wait on you, and give their lives for you. However,
probably you know that better than I do."

"No; I don't know that," said Sister Anne.

Sam recognized that it was quite absurd that it should be so, but this
statement gave him a sense of great elation, a delightful thrill of
relief. There was every reason why the girl should not confide in a
complete stranger--even to deceive him was quite within her rights; but,
though Sam appreciated this, he preferred to be deceived.

"I think you are working too hard," he said, smiling happily. "I think
you ought to have a change. You ought to take a day off! Do they ever
give you a day off?"

"Next Saturday," said Sister Anne. "Why?"

"Because," explained Sam, "if you won't think it too presumptuous, I was
going to prescribe a day off for you--a day entirely away from iodoform
and white enamelled cots. It is what you need, a day in the city and a
lunch where they have music; and a matinee, where you can laugh--or cry,
if you like that better--and then, maybe, some fresh air in the park in
a taxi; and after that dinner and more theatre, and then I'll see you
safe on the train for Greenwich. Before you answer," he added hurriedly,
"I want to explain that I contemplate taking a day off myself and doing
all these things with you, and that if you want to bring any of the
other forty nurses along as a chaperon, I hope you will. Only, honestly,
I hope you won't!"

The proposal apparently gave Sister Anne much pleasure. She did not
say so, but her eyes shone and when she looked at Sam she was almost
laughing with happiness.

"I think that would be quite delightful," said Sister Anne,"--quite
delightful! Only it would be frightfully expensive; even if I don't
bring another girl, which I certainly would not, it would cost a great
deal of money. I think we might cut out the taxicab--and walk in the
park and feed the squirrels."

"Oh!" exclaimed Sam in disappointment,--"then you know Central Park?"

Sister Anne's eyes grew quite expressionless.

"I once lived near there," she said.

"In Harlem?"

"Not exactly in Harlem, but near it. I was quite young," said Sister
Anne. "Since then I have always lived in the country or in--other
places."

Sam's heart was singing with pleasure.

"It's so kind of you to consent," he cried. "Indeed, you are the kindest
person in all the world. I thought so when I saw you bending over these
sick people, and, now I know."

"It is you who are kind," protested Sister Anne, "to take pity on me."

"Pity on you!" laughed Sam. "You can't pity a person who can do more
with a smile than old man Flagg can do with all his millions. Now," he
demanded in happy anticipation, "where are we to meet?"

"That's it," said Sister Anne. "Where are we to meet?"

"Let it be at the Grand Central Station. The day can't begin too soon,"
said Sam; "and before then telephone me what theatre and restaurants you
want and I'll reserve seats and tables. Oh," exclaimed Sam joyfully, "it
will be a wonderful day--a wonderful day!"

Sister Anne looked at him curiously and, so, it seemed, a little
wistfully. She held out her hand.

"I must go back to my duties," she said. "Good-by."

"Not good-by," said Sam heartily, "only until Saturday--and my name's
Sam Ward and my address is the city room of the REPUBLIC. What's your
name?"

"Sister Anne," said the girl. "In the nursing order to which I belong we
have no last names."

"So," asked Sam, "I'll call you Sister Anne?"

"No; just Sister," said the girl.

"Sister!" repeated Sam, "Sister!" He breathed the word rather than spoke
it; and the way he said it and the way he looked when he said it made
it carry almost the touch of a caress. It was as if he had said
"Sweetheart!" or "Beloved!" "I'll not forget," said Sam.

Sister Anne gave an impatient, annoyed laugh.

"Nor I," she said.

Sam returned to New York in the smoking-car, puffing feverishly at his
cigar and glaring dreamily at the smoke. He was living the day over
again and, in anticipation, the day off, still to come. He rehearsed
their next meeting at the station; he considered whether or not he would
meet her with a huge bunch of violets or would have it brought to her
when they were at luncheon by the head waiter. He decided the latter way
would be more of a pleasant surprise. He planned the luncheon. It was to
be the most marvellous repast he could evolve; and, lest there should be
the slightest error, he would have it prepared in advance--and it should
cost half his week's salary.

The place where they were to dine he would leave to her, because he
had observed that women had strange ideas about clothes--some of them
thinking that certain clothes must go with certain restaurants. Some
of them seemed to believe that, instead of their conferring distinction
upon the restaurant, the restaurant conferred distinction upon them. He
was sure Sister Anne would not be so foolish, but it might be that she
must always wear her nurse's uniform and that she would prefer not to be
conspicuous; so he decided that the choice of where they would dine he
would leave to her. He calculated that the whole day ought to cost about
eighty dollars, which, as star reporter, was what he was then earning
each week. That was little enough to give for a day that would be the
birthday of his life! No, he contradicted--the day he had first met her
must always be the birthday of his life; for never had he met one
like her and he was sure there never would be one like her. She was
so entirely superior to all the others, so fine, so difficult--in her
manner there was something that rendered her unapproachable. Even her
simple nurse's gown was worn with a difference. She might have been a
princess in fancy dress. And yet, how humble she had been when he begged
her to let him for one day personally conduct her over the great city!
"You are so kind to take pity on me," she had said. He thought of many
clever, pretty speeches he might have made. He was so annoyed he had
not thought of them at the time that he kicked violently at the seat in
front of him.

He wondered what her history might be; he was sure it was full of
beautiful courage and self-sacrifice. It certainly was outrageous
that one so glorious must work for her living, and for such a paltry
living--forty dollars a month! It was worth that merely to have her
sit in the flat where one could look at her; for already he had decided
that, when they were married, they would live in a flat--probably in
one overlooking Central Park, on Central Park West. He knew of several
attractive suites there at thirty-five dollars a week--or, if she
preferred the suburbs, he would forsake his beloved New York and return
to the country. In his gratitude to her for being what she was, he
conceded even that sacrifice.

When he reached New York, from the speculators he bought front-row seats
at five dollars for the two most popular plays in town. He put them away
carefully in his waistcoat pocket. Possession of them made him feel that
already he had obtained an option on six hours of complete happiness.

After she left Sam, Sister Anne passed hurriedly through the hospital to
the matron's room and, wrapping herself in a raccoon coat, made her way
to a waiting motor car and said, "Home!" to the chauffeur. He drove
her to the Flagg family vault, as Flagg's envious millionaire neighbors
called the pile of white marble that topped the highest hill above
Greenwich, and which for years had served as a landfall to mariners on
the Sound.

There were a number of people at tea when she arrived and they greeted
her noisily.

"I have had a most splendid adventure!" said Sister Anne. "There were
six of us, you know, dressed up as Red Cross nurses, and we gave away
programmes. Well, one of the New York reporters thought I was a real
nurse and interviewed me about the Home. Of course I knew enough about
it to keep it up, and I kept it up so well that he was terribly sorry
for me; and...."

One of the tea drinkers was little Hollis Holworthy, who prided himself
on knowing who's who in New York. He had met Sam Ward at first nights
and prize fights. He laughed scornfully.

"Don't you believe it!" he interrupted. "That man who was talking to you
was Sam Ward. He's the smartest newspaper man in New York; he was
just leading you on. Do you suppose there's a reporter in America who
wouldn't know you in the dark? Wait until you see the Sunday paper."

Sister Anne exclaimed indignantly.

"He did not know me!" she protested. "It quite upset him that I should
be wasting my life measuring out medicines and making beds."

There was a shriek of disbelief and laughter.

"I told him," continued Sister Anne, "that I got forty dollars a month,
and he said I could make more as a typewriter; and I said I preferred to
be a manicurist."

"Oh, Anita!" protested the admiring chorus.

"And he was most indignant. He absolutely refused to allow me to be a
manicurist. And he asked me to take a day off with him and let him show
me New York. And he offered, as attractions, moving-picture shows and a
drive on a Fifth Avenue bus, and feeding peanuts to the animals in the
park. And if I insisted upon a chaperon I might bring one of the nurses.
We're to meet at the soda-water fountain in the Grand Central Station.
He said, 'The day cannot begin too soon.'"

"Oh, Anita!" shrieked the chorus.

Lord Deptford, who as the newspapers had repeatedly informed the
American public, had come to the Flaggs' country-place to try to marry
Anita Flagg, was amused.

"What an awfully jolly rag!" he cried. "And what are you going to do
about it?"

"Nothing," said Anita Flagg. "The reporters have been making me
ridiculous for the last three years; now I have got back at one of them!
And," she added, "that's all there is to that!"

That night, however, when the house party was making toward bed, Sister
Anne stopped by the stairs and said to Lord Deptford: "I want to hear
you call me Sister."

"Call you what?" exclaimed the young man. "I will tell you," he
whispered, "what I'd like to call you!"

"You will not!" interrupted Anita. "Do as I tell you and say Sister
once. Say it as though you meant it."

"But I don't mean it," protested his lordship. "I've said already what
I...."

"Never mind what you've said already," commanded Miss Flagg. "I've heard
that from a lot of people. Say Sister just once."

His lordship frowned in embarrassment.

"Sister!" he exclaimed. It sounded like the pop of a cork.

Anita Flagg laughed unkindly and her beautiful shoulders shivered as
though she were cold.

"Not a bit like it, Deptford," she said. "Good-night."

Later Helen Page, who came to her room to ask her about a horse she was
to ride in the morning, found her ready for bed but standing by the open
window looking out toward the great city to the south.

When she turned Miss Page saw something in her eyes that caused that
young woman to shriek with amazement.

"Anita!" she exclaimed. "You crying! What in Heaven's name can make you
cry?"

It was not a kind speech, nor did Miss Flagg receive it kindly. She
turned upon the tactless intruder.

"Suppose," cried Anita fiercely, "a man thought you were worth forty
dollars a month--honestly didn't know!--honestly believed you were poor
and worked for your living, and still said your smile was worth more
than all of old man Flagg's millions, not knowing they were YOUR
millions. Suppose he didn't ask any money of you, but just to take care
of you, to slave for you--only wanted to keep your pretty hands from
working, and your pretty eyes from seeing sickness and pain. Suppose you
met that man among this rotten lot, what would you do? What wouldn't you
do?"

"Why, Anita!" exclaimed Miss Page.

"What would you do?" demanded Anita Flagg. "This is what you'd do: You'd
go down on your knees to that man and say: 'Take me away! Take me away
from them, and pity me, and be sorry for me, and love me--and love
me--and love me!"

"And why don't you?" cried Helen Page.

"Because I'm as rotten as the rest of them!" cried Anita Flagg. "Because
I'm a coward. And that's why I'm crying. Haven't I the right to cry?"

At the exact moment Miss Flagg was proclaiming herself a moral coward,
in the local room of the REPUBLIC Collins, the copy editor, was editing
Sam's story' of the laying of the corner-stone. The copy editor's cigar
was tilted near his left eyebrow; his blue pencil, like a guillotine
ready to fall upon the guilty word or paragraph, was suspended in
mid-air; and continually, like a hawk preparing to strike, the blue
pencil swooped and circled. But page after page fell softly to the desk
and the blue pencil remained inactive. As he read, the voice of Collins
rose in muttered ejaculations; and, as he continued to read, these
explosions grew louder and more amazed. At last he could endure no
more and, swinging swiftly in his revolving chair, his glance swept the
office. "In the name of Mike!" he shouted. "What IS this?"

The reporters nearest him, busy with pencil and typewriters, frowned in
impatient protest. Sam Ward, swinging his legs from the top of a table,
was gazing at the ceiling, wrapped in dreams and tobacco smoke. Upon his
clever, clean-cut features the expression was far-away and beatific. He
came back to earth.

"What's what?" Sam demanded.

At that moment Elliott, the managing editor, was passing through the
room his hands filled with freshly pulled proofs. He swung toward
Collins quickly and snatched up Sam's copy. The story already was
late--and it was important.

"What's wrong?" he demanded. Over the room there fell a sudden hush.

"Read the opening paragraph," protested Collins. "It's like that for a
column! It's all about a girl--about a Red Cross nurse. Not a word about
Flagg or Lord Deptford. No speeches! No news! It's not a news story at
all. It's an editorial, and an essay, and a spring poem. I don't know
what it is. And, what's worse," wailed the copy editor defiantly and
to the amazement of all, "it's so darned good that you can't touch it.
You've got to let it go or kill it."

The eyes of the managing editor, masked by his green paper shade,
were racing over Sam's written words. He thrust the first page back at
Collins.

"Is it all like that?"

"There's a column like that!"

"Run it just as it is," commanded the managing editor. "Use it for your
introduction and get your story from the flimsy. And, in your head, cut
out Flagg entirely. Call it 'The Red Cross Girl.' And play it up strong
with pictures." He turned on Sam and eyed him curiously.

"What's the idea, Ward?" he said. "This is a newspaper--not a magazine!"

The click of the typewriters was silent, the hectic rush of the pencils
had ceased, and the staff, expectant, smiled cynically upon the star
reporter. Sam shoved his hands into his trousers pockets and also
smiled, but unhappily.

"I know it's not news, Sir," he said; "but that's the way I saw the
story--outside on the lawn, the band playing, and the governor and the
governor's staff and the clergy burning incense to Flagg; and inside,
this girl right on the job--taking care of the sick and wounded. It
seemed to me that a million from a man that won't miss a million didn't
stack up against what this girl was doing for these sick folks! What I
wanted to say," continued Sam stoutly "was that the moving spirit of the
hospital was not in the man who signed the checks, but in these women
who do the work--the nurses, like the one I wrote about; the one you
called 'The Red Cross Girl.'"

Collins, strong through many years of faithful service, backed by the
traditions of the profession, snorted scornfully.

"But it's not news!"

"It's not news," said Elliott doubtfully; "but it's the kind of story
that made Frank O'Malley famous. It's the kind of story that drives
men out of this business into the arms of what Kipling calls 'the
illegitimate sister.'"

It seldom is granted to a man on the same day to give his whole heart to
a girl and to be patted on the back by his managing editor; and it was
this combination, and not the drinks he dispensed to the staff in return
for its congratulations, that sent Sam home walking on air. He loved his
business, he was proud of his business; but never before had it
served him so well. It had enabled him to tell the woman he loved, and
incidentally a million other people, how deeply he honored her; how
clearly he appreciated her power for good. No one would know he meant
Sister Anne, save two people--Sister Anne and himself; but for her and
for him that was as many as should know. In his story he had used real
incidents of the day; he had described her as she passed through the
wards of the hospital, cheering and sympathetic; he had told of the
little acts of consideration that endeared her to the sick people.

The next morning she would know that it was she of whom he had written;
and between the lines she would read that the man who wrote them loved
her. So he fell asleep, impatient for the morning. In the hotel at which
he lived the REPUBLIC was always placed promptly outside his door; and,
after many excursions into the hall, he at last found it. On the
front page was his story, "The Red Cross Girl." It had the place of
honor--right-hand column; but more conspicuous than the headlines of his
own story was one of Redding's, photographs. It was the one he had taken
of Sister Anne when first she had approached them, in her uniform of
mercy, advancing across the lawn, walking straight into the focus of
the camera. There was no mistaking her for any other living woman;
but beneath the picture, in bold, staring, uncompromising type, was a
strange and grotesque legend.

"Daughter of Millionaire Flagg," it read, "in a New Role, Miss Anita
Flagg as The Red Cross Girl."

For a long time Sam looked at the picture, and then, folding the paper
so that the picture was hidden, he walked to the open window. From
below, Broadway sent up a tumultuous greeting--cable cars jangled, taxis
hooted; and, on the sidewalks, on their way to work, processions of
shop-girls stepped out briskly. It was the street and the city and the
life he had found fascinating, but now it jarred and affronted him. A
girl he knew had died, had passed out of his life forever--worse than
that had never existed; and yet the city went or just as though that
made no difference, or just as little difference as it would have made
had Sister Anne really lived and really died.

At the same early hour, an hour far too early for the rest of the house
party, Anita Flagg and Helen Page, booted and riding-habited, sat alone
at the breakfast table, their tea before them; and in the hands of Anita
Flagg was the DAILY REPUBLIC. Miss Page had brought the paper to the
table and, with affected indignation at the impertinence of the press,
had pointed at the front-page photograph; but Miss Flagg was not looking
at the photograph, or drinking her tea, or showing in her immediate
surroundings any interest whatsoever. Instead, her lovely eyes were
fastened with fascination upon the column under the heading "The Red
Cross Girl"; and, as she read, the lovely eyes lost all trace of recent
slumber, her lovely lips parted breathlessly, and on her lovely cheeks
the color flowed and faded and glowed and bloomed. When she had read
as far as a paragraph beginning, "When Sister Anne walked between them
those who suffered raised their eyes to hers as flowers lift their faces
to the rain," she dropped the paper and started for telephone.

"Any man," cried she, to the mutual discomfort of Helen Page and the
servants, "who thinks I'm like that mustn't get away! I'm not like that
and I know it; but if he thinks so that's all I want. And maybe I might
be like that--if any man would help."

She gave her attention to the telephone and "Information." She demanded
to be instantly put into communication with the DAILY REPUBLIC and Mr.
Sam Ward. She turned again upon Helen Page.

"I'm tired of being called a good sport," she protested, "by men who
aren't half so good sports as I am. I'm tired of being talked to about
money--as though I were a stock-broker. This man's got a head on
his shoulders, and he's got the shoulders too; and he's got a darned
good-looking head; and he thinks I'm a ministering angel and a saint;
and he put me up on a pedestal and made me dizzy--and I like being made
dizzy; and I'm for him! And I'm going after him!"


"Be still!" implored Helen Page. "Any one might think you meant it!" She
nodded violently at the discreet backs of the men-servants.

"Ye gods, Parker!" cried Anita Flagg. "Does it take three of you to pour
a cup of tea? Get out of here, and tell everybody that you all three
caught me in the act of proposing to an American gentleman over the
telephone and that the betting is even that I'll make him marry me!"

The faithful and sorely tried domestics fled toward the door. "And
what's more," Anita hurled after them, "get your bets down quick, for
after I meet him the odds will be a hundred to one!"

Had the REPUBLIC been an afternoon paper, Sam might have been at the
office and might have gone to the telephone, and things might have
happened differently; but, as the REPUBLIC was a morning paper, the
only person in the office was the lady who scrubbed the floors and she
refused to go near the telephone. So Anita Flagg said, "I'll call him up
later," and went happily on her ride, with her heart warm with love for
all the beautiful world; but later it was too late.

To keep himself fit, Sam Ward always walked to the office. On this
particular morning Hollis Holworthy was walking uptown and they met
opposite the cathedral.

"You're the very man I want," said Hollworthy joyously--"you've got to
decide a bet."

He turned and fell into step with Sam.

"It's one I made last night with Anita Flagg. She thinks you didn't know
who she was yesterday, and I said that was ridiculous. Of course you
knew. I bet her a theatre party."

To Sam it seemed hardly fair that so soon, before his fresh wound had
even been dressed, it should be torn open by impertinent fingers; but he
had no right to take offense. How could the man, or any one else, know
what Sister Anne had meant to him?

"I'm afraid you lose," he said. He halted to give Holworthy the hint to
leave him, but Holworthy had no such intention.

"You don't say so!" exclaimed that young man. "Fancy one of you chaps
being taken in like that. I thought you were taking her in--getting up
a story for the Sunday supplement."

Sam shook his head, nodded, and again moved on; but he was not yet
to escape. "And, instead of your fooling her," exclaimed Holworthy
incredulously, "she was having fun, with you!"

With difficulty Sam smiled.

"So it would seem," he said.

"She certainly made an awfully funny story of it!" exclaimed Holworthy
admiringly. "I thought she was making it up--she must have made some of
it up. She said you asked her to take a day off in New York. That isn't
so is it?"

"Yes, that's so."

"By Jove!" cried Holworthy--"and that you invited her to see the
moving-picture shows?"

Sam, conscious of the dearly bought front row seats in his pocket,
smiled pleasantly.

"Did she say I said that--or you?" he asked

"She did."

"Well, then, I must have said it."

Holworthy roared with amusement.

"And that you invited her to feed peanuts to the monkeys at the Zoo?"

Sam avoided the little man's prying eyes.

"Yes; I said that too."

"And I thought she was making it up!" exclaimed Holworthy. "We did
laugh. You must see the fun of it yourself."

Lest Sam should fail to do so he proceeded to elaborate.

"You must see the fun in a man trying to make a date with Anita
Flagg--just as if she were nobody!"

"I don't think," said Sam, "that was my idea." He waved his stick at a
passing taxi. "I'm late," he said. He abandoned Hollis on the sidewalk,
chuckling and grinning with delight, and unconscious of the mischief he
had made.

An hour later at the office, when Sam was waiting for an assignment, the
telephone boy hurried to him, his eyes lit with excitement.

"You're wanted on the 'phone," he commanded. His voice dropped to an
awed whisper. "Miss Anita Flagg wants to speak to you!"

The blood ran leaping to Sam's heart and face. Then he remembered that
this was not Sister Anne who wanted to speak to him, but a woman he had
never met.

"Say you can't find me," he directed. The boy gasped, fled, and returned
precipitately.

"The lady says she wants your telephone number--says she must have it."

"Tell her you don't know it; tell her it's against the rules--and hang
up."

Ten minutes later the telephone boy, in the strictest confidence, had
informed every member of the local staff that Anita Flagg--the rich,
the beautiful, the daring, the original of the Red Cross story of that
morning--had twice called up Sam Ward and by that young man had been
thrown down--and thrown hard!

That night Elliott, the managing editor, sent for Sam; and when Sam
entered his office he found also there Walsh, the foreign editor, with
whom he was acquainted only by sight.

Elliott introduced them and told Sam to be seated.

"Ward," he began abruptly, "I'm sorry to lose you, but you've got to go.
It's on account of that story of this morning."

Sam made no sign, but he was deeply hurt. From a paper he had served
so loyally this seemed scurvy treatment. It struck him also that,
considering the spirit in which the story had been written, it was
causing him more kinds of trouble than was quite fair. The loss of
position did not disturb him. In the last month too many managing
editors had tried to steal him from the REPUBLIC for him to feel anxious
as to the future. So he accepted his dismissal calmly, and could say
without resentment:

"Last night I thought you liked the story, sir?

"I did," returned Elliott; "I liked it so much that I'm sending you to
a bigger place, where you can get bigger stories. We want you to act as
our special correspondent in London. Mr. Walsh will explain the work;
and if you'll go you'll sail next Wednesday."

After his talk with the foreign editor Sam again walked home on air.
He could not believe it was real--that it was actually to him it had
happened; for hereafter he was to witness the march of great events,
to come in contact with men of international interests. Instead of
reporting what was of concern only from the Battery to Forty-seventh
Street, he would now tell New York what was of interest in Europe and
the British Empire, and so to the whole world. There was one drawback
only to his happiness--there was no one with whom he might divide it.
He wanted to celebrate his good fortune; he wanted to share it with
some one who would understand how much it meant to him, who would really
care. Had Sister Anne lived, she would have understood; and he would
have laid himself and his new position at her feet and begged her to
accept them--begged her to run away with him to this tremendous and
terrifying capital of the world, and start the new life together.

Among all the women he knew, there was none to take her place. Certainly
Anita Flagg could not take her place. Not because she was rich, not
because she had jeered at him and made him a laughing-stock, not because
his admiration--and he blushed when he remembered how openly, how
ingenuously he had shown it to her--meant nothing; but because the girl
he thought she was, the girl he had made dreams about and wanted to
marry without a moment's notice, would have seen that what he offered,
ridiculous as it was when offered to Anita Flagg, was not ridiculous
when offered sincerely to a tired, nerve-worn, overworked nurse in a
hospital. It was because Anita Flagg had not seen that that she could
not now make up to him for the girl he had lost, even though she herself
had inspired that girl and for a day given her existence.

Had he known it, the Anita Flagg of his imagining was just as unlike and
as unfair to the real girl as it was possible for two people to be.
His Anita Flagg he had created out of the things he had read of her in
impertinent Sunday supplements and from the impression he had been given
of her by the little ass, Holworthy. She was not at all like that.
Ever since she had come of age she had been beset by sycophants and
flatterers, both old and young, both men and girls, and by men who
wanted her money and by men who wanted her. And it was because she got
the motives of the latter two confused that she was so often hurt and
said sharp, bitter things that made her appear hard and heartless.

As a matter of fact, in approaching her in the belief that he was
addressing an entirely different person, Sam had got nearer to the real
Anita Flagg than had any other man. And so--when on arriving at the
office the next morning, which was a Friday, he received a telegram
reading, "Arriving to-morrow nine-thirty from Greenwich; the day cannot
begin too soon; don't forget you promised to meet me. Anita Flagg "--he
was able to reply: "Extremely sorry; but promise made to a different
person, who unfortunately has since died!"'

When Anita Flagg read this telegram there leaped to her lovely eyes
tears that sprang from self-pity and wounded feelings. She turned
miserably, appealingly to Helen Page.

"But why does he do it to me?" Her tone was that of the bewildered child
who has struck her head against the table, and from the naughty table,
without cause or provocation, has received the devil of a bump.

Before Miss Page could venture upon an explanation, Anita Flagg had
changed into a very angry young woman.

"And what's more," she announced, "he can't do it to me!"

She sent her telegram back again as it was, word for word, but this time
it was signed, "Sister Anne."

In an hour the answer came: "Sister Anne is the person to whom I refer.
She is dead."

Sam was not altogether at ease at the outcome of his adventure. It was
not in his nature to be rude--certainly not to a woman, especially not
to the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. For, whether her name
was Anita or Anne, about her beauty there could be no argument; but he
assured himself that he had acted within his rights. A girl who could
see in a well-meant offer to be kind only a subject for ridicule was
of no interest to him. Nor did her telegrams insisting upon continuing
their acquaintance flatter him. As he read them, they showed only that
she looked upon him as one entirely out of her world--as one with whom
she could do an unconventional thing and make a good story about it
later, knowing that it would be accepted as one of her amusing caprices.

He was determined he would not lend himself to any such performance.
And, besides, he no longer was a foot-loose, happy-go-lucky reporter. He
no longer need seek for experiences and material to turn into copy.
He was now a man with a responsible position--one who soon would be
conferring with cabinet ministers and putting ambassadors At their ease.
He wondered if a beautiful heiress, whose hand was sought in marriage
by the nobility of England, would understand the importance of a London
correspondent. He hoped someone would tell her. He liked to think of her
as being considerably impressed and a little unhappy.

Saturday night he went to the theatre for which he had purchased
tickets. And he went alone, for the place that Sister Anne was to have
occupied could not be filled by any other person. It would have been
sacrilege. At least, so it pleased him to pretend. And all through
dinner, which he ate alone at the same restaurant to which he had
intended taking her, he continued, to pretend she was with him. And
at the theatre, where there was going forward the most popular of all
musical comedies, the seat next to him, which to the audience, appeared
wastefully empty, was to him filled with her gracious presence. That
Sister Anne was not there--that the pretty romance he had woven about
her had ended in disaster--filled, him with real regret. He was glad he
was leaving New York. He was glad he was going, where nothing would
remind him of her. And then he glanced up--and looked straight into her
eyes!

He was seated in the front row, directly on the aisle. The seat Sister
Anne was supposed to be occupying was on his right, and a few seats
farther to his right rose the stage box and in the stage box, and in the
stage box, almost upon the stage, and with the glow of the foot-lights
full in her face, was Anita Flagg, smiling delightedly down on him.
There were others with her. He had a confused impression of bulging
shirt-fronts, and shining silks, and diamonds, and drooping plumes upon
enormous hats. He thought he recognized Lord Deptford and Holworthy; but
the only person he distinguished clearly was Anita Flagg. The girl was
all in black velvet, which was drawn to her figure like a wet bathing
suit; round her throat was a single string of pearls, and on her hair of
golden-rod was a great hat of black velvet, shaped like a bell, with the
curving lips of a lily. And from beneath its brim Anita Flagg, sitting
rigidly erect with her white-gloved hands resting lightly on her knee,
was gazing down at him, smiling with pleasure, with surprise, with
excitement.

When she saw that, in spite of her altered appearance, he recognized
her, she bowed so violently and bent her head so eagerly that above her
the ostrich plumes dipped and courtesied like wheat in a storm. But Sam
neither bowed nor courtesied. Instead, he turned his head slowly over
his left shoulder, as though he thought she was speaking not to him but
some one beyond him, across the aisle. And then his eyes returned to the
stage and did not again look toward her. It was not the cut direct, but
it was a cut that hurt; and in their turn the eyes of Miss Flagg quickly
sought the stage. At the moment, the people in the audience happened to
be laughing; and she forced a smile and then laughed with them.

Out of the corner of his eye Sam could not help seeing her profile
exposed pitilessly in the glow of the foot-lights; saw her lips tremble
like those of a child about to cry; and then saw the forced, hard
smile--and heard her laugh lightly and mechanically.

"That's all she cares." he told himself.

It seemed to him that in all he heard of her, in everything she did,
she kept robbing him still further of all that was dear to him in Sister
Anne.

For five minutes, conscious of the foot-lights, Miss Flagg maintained
upon her lovely face a fixed and intent expression, and then slowly
and unobtrusively drew back to a seat in the rear of the box. In the'
darkest recesses she found Holworthy, shut off from a view of the stage
by a barrier of women's hats.

"Your friend Mr. Ward," she began abruptly, in a whisper, "is the
rudest, most ill-bred person I ever met. When I talked to him the
other day I thought he was nice. He was nice, But he has behaved
abominably--like a boor--like a sulky child. Has he no sense of humor?
Because I played a joke on him, is that any reason why he should hurt
me?"

"Hurt you?" exclaimed little Holworthy in amazement. "Don't be
ridiculous! How could he hurt you? Why should you care how rude he is?
Ward's a clever fellow, but he fancies himself. He's conceited. He's too
good-looking; and a lot of silly women have made such a fuss over him.
So when one of them laughs at him he can't understand it. That's the
trouble. I could see that when I was telling him."

"Telling him!" repeated Miss Flagg--"Telling him what?"

"About what a funny story you made of it," explained Holworthy. "About
his having the nerve to ask you to feed the monkeys and to lunch with
him."

Miss Flagg interrupted with a gasping intake of her breath.

"Oh!" she said softly. "So-so you told him that, did you? And--what else
did you tell him?"

"Only what you told us--that he said 'the day could not begin too soon';
that he said he wouldn't let you be a manicure and wash the hands of men
who weren't fit to wash the streets you walked on."

There was a pause.

"Did I tell you he said that?" breathed Anita Flagg.

"You know you did," said Holworthy.

There was another pause.

"I must have been mad!" said the girl.

There was a longer pause and Holworthy shifted uneasily.

"I'm afraid you are angry," he ventured.

"Angry!" exclaimed Miss Flagg. "I should say I was angry, but not with
you. I'm very much pleased with you. At the end of the act I'm going to
let you take me out into the lobby."

With his arms tightly folded, Sam sat staring unhappily at the stage
and seeing nothing. He was sorry for himself because Anita Flagg had
destroyed his ideal of a sweet and noble woman--and he was sorry for
Miss Flagg because a man had been rude to her. That he happened to be
that man did not make his sorrow and indignation the less intense; and,
indeed, so miserable was he and so miserable were his looks, that his
friends on the stage considered sending him a note, offering, if he
would take himself out of the front row, to give him back his money at
the box office. Sam certainly wished to take himself away; but he did
not want to admit that he was miserable, that he had behaved ill, that
the presence of Anita Flagg could spoil his evening--could, in the
slightest degree affect him. So he sat, completely wretched, feeling
that he was in a false position; that if he were it was his own fault;
that he had acted like an ass and a brute. It was not a cheerful
feeling.

When the curtain fell he still remained seated. He knew before the
second act there was an interminable wait; but he did not want to chance
running into Holworthy in the lobby and he told himself it would be rude
to abandon Sister Anne. But he now was not so conscious of the imaginary
Sister Anne as of the actual box party on his near right, who were
laughing and chattering volubly. He wondered whether they laughed at
him--whether Miss Flagg were again entertaining them at his expense;
again making his advances appear ridiculous. He was so sure of it that
he flushed indignantly. He was glad he had been rude.

And then, at his elbow, there was the rustle of silk; and a beautiful
figure, all in black velvet, towered above him, then crowded past
him, and sank into the empty seat at his side. He was too startled to
speak--and Miss Anita Flagg seemed to understand that and to wish to
give him time; for, without regarding him in the least, and as though
to establish the fact that she had come to stay, she began calmly and
deliberately to remove the bell-like hat. This accomplished, she bent
toward him, her eyes looking straight into his, her smile reproaching
him. In the familiar tone of an old and dear friend she said to him
gently:

"This is the day you planned for me. Don't you think you've wasted quite
enough of it?"

Sam looked back into the eyes, and saw in them no trace of laughter or
of mockery, but, instead, gentle reproof and appeal--and something else
that, in turn, begged of him to be gentle.

For a moment, too disturbed to speak, he looked at her, miserably,
remorsefully.

"It's not Anita Flagg at all," he said. "It's Sister Anne come back to
life again!" The girl shook her head.

"No; it's Anita Flagg. I'm not a bit like the girl you thought you met
and I did say all the things Holworthy told you I said; but that
was before I understood--before I read what you wrote about Sister
Anne--about the kind of me you thought you'd met. When I read that I
knew what sort of a man you were. I knew you had been really kind and
gentle, and I knew you had dug out something that I did not know was
there--that no one else had found. And I remembered how you called me
Sister. I mean the way you said it. And I wanted to hear it again. I
wanted you to say it."

She lifted her face to his. She was very near him--so near that her
shoulder brushed against his arm. In the box above them her friends,
scandalized and amused, were watching her with the greatest interest.
Half of the people in the now half-empty house were watching them with
the greatest interest. To them, between reading advertisements on the
programme and watching Anita Flagg making desperate love to a lucky
youth in the front row, there was no question of which to choose.

The young people in the front row did not know they were observed.
They were alone--as much alone as though they were seated in a biplane,
sweeping above the clouds.

"Say it again," prompted Anita Flagg "Sister."

"I will not!" returned the young man firmly. "But I'll say this," he
whispered: "I'll say you're the most wonderful, the most beautiful, and
the finest woman who has ever lived!"

Anita Flagg's eyes left his quickly; and, with her head bent, she stared
at the bass drum in the orchestra.

"I don't know," she said, "but that sounds just as good."

When the curtain was about to rise she told him to take her back to her
box, so that he could meet her friends and go on with them to supper;
but when they reached the rear of the house she halted.

"We can see this act," she said, "or--my car's in front of the
theatre--we might go to the park and take a turn or two or three. Which
would you prefer?"

"Don't make me laugh!" said Sam.

As they sat all together at supper with those of the box party, but
paying no attention to them whatsoever, Anita Flagg sighed contentedly.

"There's only one thing," she said to Sam, "that is making me unhappy;
and because it is such sad news I haven't told you. It is this: I am
leaving America. I am going to spend the winter in London. I sail next
Wednesday."

"My business is to gather news," said Sam, "but in all my life I never
gathered such good news as that."

"Good news!" exclaimed Anita.

"Because," explained Sam, "I am leaving, America--am spending the winter
in England. I am sailing on Wednesday. No; I also am unhappy; but that
is not what makes me unhappy."

"Tell me," begged Anita.

"Some day," said Sam.

The day he chose to tell her was the first day they were at sea--as they
leaned upon the rail, watching Fire Island disappear.

"This is my unhappiness," said Sam--and he pointed to a name on the
passenger list. It was: "The Earl of Deptford, and valet." "And because
he is on board!"

Anita Flagg gazed with interest at a pursuing sea-gull.

"He is not on board," she said. "He changed to another boat."

Sam felt that by a word from her a great weight might be lifted from his
soul. He looked at her appealingly--hungrily.

"Why did he change?" he begged.

Anita Flagg shook her head in wonder. She smiled at him with amused
despair.

"Is that all that is worrying you?" she said.



Chapter 2. THE GRAND CROSS OF THE CRESCENT

Of some college students it has been said that, in order to pass their
examinations, they will deceive and cheat their kind professors. This
may or may not be true. One only can shudder and pass hurriedly on. But
whatever others may have done, when young Peter Hallowell in his senior
year came up for those final examinations which, should he pass them
even by a nose, would gain him his degree, he did not cheat. He may have
been too honest, too confident, too lazy, but Peter did not cheat. It
was the professors who cheated.

At Stillwater College, on each subject on which you are examined you
can score a possible hundred. That means perfection, and in, the brief
history of Stillwater, which is a very, new college, only one man has
attained it. After graduating he "accepted a position" in an asylum for
the insane, from which he was, promoted later to the poor-house, where
he died. Many Stillwater undergraduates studied his career and, lest
they also should attain perfection, were afraid to study anything else.
Among these Peter was by far the most afraid.

The marking system at Stillwater is as follows: If in all the subjects
in which you have been examined your marks added together give you an
average of ninety, you are passed "with honors"; if of seventy-five, you
pass "with distinction"; if Of fifty, You just "pass." It is not unlike
the grocer's nice adjustment of fresh eggs, good eggs, and eggs. The
whole college knew that if Peter got in among the eggs he would be
lucky, but the professors and instructors of Stillwater 'were determined
that, no matter what young Hallowell might do to prevent it, they would
see that he passed his examinations. And they constituted the jury of
awards. Their interest in Peter was not because they loved him so much,
but because each loved his own vine-covered cottage, his salary, and his
dignified title the more. And each knew that that one of the faculty who
dared to flunk the son of old man Hallowell, who had endowed Stillwater,
who supported Stillwater, and who might be expected to go on supporting
Stillwater indefinitely, might also at the same time hand in his
official resignation.

Chancellor Black, the head of Stillwater, was an up-to-date college
president. If he did not actually run after money he went where
money was, and it was not his habit to be downright rude to those who
possessed it. And if any three-thousand-dollar-a-year professor, through
a too strict respect for Stillwater's standards of learning, should lose
to that institution a half-million-dollar observatory, swimming-pool,
or gymnasium, he was the sort of college president, who would see to
it that the college lost also the services of that too conscientious
instructor.

He did not put this in writing or in words, but just before the June
examinations, when on, the campus he met one of the faculty, he would
inquire with kindly interest as to the standing of young Hallowell.

"That is too bad!" he would exclaim, but, more in sorrow than in anger.
"Still, I hope the boy can pull through. He is his dear father's pride,
and his father's heart is set upon his son's obtaining his degree. Let
us hope he will pull through." For four years every professor had been
pulling Peter through, and the conscience of each had become calloused.
They had only once more to shove him through and they would be free of
him forever. And so, although they did not conspire together, each knew
that of the firing squad that was to aim its rifles at, Peter, HIS rifle
would hold the blank cartridge.

The only one of them who did not know this was Doctor Henry Gilman.
Doctor Gilman was the professor of ancient and modern history at
Stillwater, and greatly respected and loved. He also was the author of
those well-known text-books, "The Founders of Islam," and "The Rise and
Fall of the Turkish Empire." This latter work, in five volumes, had
been not unfavorably compared to Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire." The original newspaper comment, dated some thirty years back,
the doctor had preserved, and would produce it, now somewhat frayed and
worn, and read it to visitors. He knew it by heart, but to him it always
possessed a contemporary and news interest.

"Here is a review of the history," he would say--he always referred to
it as "the" history--"that I came across in my TRANSCRIPT."

In the eyes of Doctor Gilman thirty years was so brief a period that it
was as though the clipping had been printed the previous after-noon.

The members of his class who were examined on the "Rise and Fall," and
who invariably came to grief over it, referred to it briefly as the
"Fall," sometimes feelingly as "the.... Fall." The history began when
Constantinople was Byzantium, skipped lightly over six centuries to
Constantine, and in the last two Volumes finished up the Mohammeds
with the downfall of the fourth one and the coming of Suleiman. Since
Suleiman, Doctor Gilman did not recognize Turkey as being on the map.
When his history said the Turkish Empire had fallen, then the Turkish
Empire fell. Once Chancellor Black suggested that he add a sixth volume
that would cover the last three centuries.

"In a history of Turkey issued as a text-book," said the chancellor, "I
think the Russian-Turkish War should be included."

Doctor Gilman, from behind his gold-rimmed spectacles, gazed at him in
mild reproach. "The war in the Crimea!" he exclaimed. "Why, I was alive
at the time. I know about it. That is not history."

Accordingly, it followed that to a man who since the seventeenth century
knew of no event, of interest, Cyrus Hallowell, of the meat-packers'
trust, was not an imposing figure. And such a man the son of Cyrus
Hallowell was but an ignorant young savage, to whom "the" history
certainly had been a closed book. And so when Peter returned his
examination paper in a condition almost as spotless as that in which
he had received it, Doctor Gilman carefully and conscientiously, with
malice toward none and, with no thought of the morrow, marked "five."

Each of the other professors and instructors had marked Peter fifty.
In their fear of Chancellor Black they dared not give the boy less, but
they refused to be slaves to the extent of crediting him with a single
point higher than was necessary to pass him. But Doctor Gilman's five
completely knocked out the required average of fifty, and young Peter
was "found" and could not graduate. It was an awful business! The only
son of the only Hallowell refused a degree in his father's own private
college--the son of the man who had built the Hallowell Memorial, the
new Laboratory, the Anna Hallowell Chapel, the Hallowell Dormitory, and
the Hallowell Athletic Field. When on the bulletin board of the dim
hall of the Memorial to his departed grandfather Peter read of his own
disgrace and downfall, the light the stained-glass window cast upon his
nose was of no sicklier a green than was the nose itself. Not that Peter
wanted an A.M. or an A.B., not that he desired laurels he had not won,
but because the young man was afraid of his father. And he had cause to
be. Father arrived at Stillwater the next morning. The interviews that
followed made Stillwater history.

"My son is not an ass!" is what Hallowell senior is said to have said to
Doctor Black. "And if in four years you and your faculty cannot give him
the rudiments of an education, I will send him to a college that can.
And I'll send my money where I send Peter."

In reply Chancellor Black could have said that it was the fault of the
son and not of the college; he could have said that where three men had
failed to graduate one hundred and eighty had not. But did he say
that? Oh, no, he did not say that! He was not that sort of, a college
president. Instead, he remained calm and sympathetic, and like a
conspirator in a comic opera glanced apprehensively round his, study. He
lowered his voice.

"There has been contemptible work here," he whispered--"spite and a mean
spirit of reprisal. I have been making a secret investigation, and I
find that this blow at your son and you, and at the good name of our
college was struck by one man, a man with a grievance--Doctor Gilman.
Doctor Gilman has repeatedly desired me to raise his salary." This did
not happen to be true, but in such a crisis Doctor Black could not afford
to be too particular.

"I have seen no reason for raising his salary--and there you have the
explanation. In revenge he has made this attack. But he overshot his
mark. In causing us temporary embarrassment he has brought about his own
downfall. I have already asked for his resignation."

Every day in the week Hallowell was a fair, sane man, but on this
particular day he was wounded, his spirit was hurt, his self-esteem
humiliated. He was in a state of mind to believe anything rather than
that his son was an idiot.

"I don't want the man discharged," he protested, "just because Peter is
lazy. But if Doctor Gilman was moved by personal considerations, if he
sacrificed my Peter in order to get even...."

"That," exclaimed Black in a horrified whisper, "is exactly what he did!
Your generosity to the college is well known. You are recognized all
over America as its patron. And he believed that when I refused him an
increase in salary it was really you who refused it--and he struck at
you through your son. Everybody thinks so. The college is on fire with
indignation. And look at the mark he gave Peter! Five! That in itself
shows the malice. Five is not a mark, it is an insult! No one, certainly
not your brilliant son--look how brilliantly he managed the glee-club
and foot-ball tour--is stupid enough to deserve five. No, Doctor Gilman
went too far. And he has been justly punished!"

What Hallowell senior was willing to believe of what the chancellor
told him, and his opinion of the matter as expressed to Peter, differed
materially.

"They tell me," he concluded, "that in the fall they will give you
another examination, and if you pass then, you will get your degree. No
one will know you've got it. They'll slip it to you out of the side-door
like a cold potato to a tramp. The only thing people will know is that
when your classmates stood up and got their parchments--the thing they'd
been working for four years, the only reason for their going to college
at all--YOU were not among those present. That's your fault; but if you
don't get your degree next fall that will be my fault. I've supported
you through college and you've failed to deliver the goods. Now you
deliver them next fall, or you can support yourself."

"That will be all right," said Peter humbly; "I'll pass next fall."

"I'm going to make sure of that," said Hallowell senior. "To-morrow you
will take those history books that you did not open, especially Gilman's
'Rise and Fall,' which it seems you have not even purchased, and you
will travel for the entire summer with a private tutor...."

Peter, who had personally conducted the foot-ball and base-ball teams
over half of the Middle States and daily bullied and browbeat them,
protested with indignation. "WON'T travel with a private tutor!"

"If I say so," returned Hallowell senior grimly, "you'll travel with
a governess and a trained nurse, and wear a strait jacket. And you'll
continue to wear it until you can recite the history of Turkey backward.
And in order that you may know it backward--and forward you will spend
this summer in Turkey--in Constantinople--until I send you permission to
come home."

"Constantinople!" yelled Peter. "In August! Are you serious?"

"Do I look it?" asked Peter's father. He did.

"In Constantinople," explained Mr. Hallowell senior, "there will be
nothing to distract you from your studies, and in spite of yourself
every minute you will be imbibing history and local color."

"I'll be imbibing fever,", returned Peter, "and sunstroke and sudden
death. If you want to get rid of me, why don't you send me to the island
where they sent Dreyfus? It's quicker. You don't have to go to Turkey to
study about Turkey."

"You do!" said his father.

Peter did not wait for the festivities of commencement week. All day he
hid in his room, packing his belongings or giving them away to the members
of his class, who came to tell him what a rotten shame it was, and to
bid him good-by. They loved Peter for himself alone, and at losing him
were loyally enraged. They sired publicly to express their sentiments,
and to that end they planned a mock trial of the "Rise and Fall," at
which a packed jury would sentence it to cremation. They planned also to
hang Doctor Gilman in effigy. The effigy with a rope round its neck was
even then awaiting mob violence. It was complete to the silver-white
beard and the gold spectacles. But Peter squashed both demonstrations.
He did not know Doctor Gilman had been forced to resign, but he
protested that the horse-play of his friends would make him appear a
bad loser. "It would look, boys," he said, "as though I couldn't take my
medicine. Looks like kicking against the umpire's decision. Old Gilman
fought fair. He gave me just what was coming to me. I think a darn sight
more of him than do of that bunch of boot-lickers that had the colossal
nerve to pretend I scored fifty!"

Doctor Gilman sat in his cottage that stood the edge of the campus,
gazing at a plaster bust of Socrates which he did not see. Since that
morning he had ceased to sit in the chair of history at Stillwater
College. They were retrenching, the chancellor had told him curtly,
cutting down unnecessary expenses, for even in his anger Doctor Black
was too intelligent to hint at his real motive, and the professor was
far too innocent of evil, far too detached from college politics to
suspect. He would remain a professor emeritus on half pay, but he no
longer would teach. The college he had served for thirty years-since
it consisted of two brick buildings and a faculty of ten young men--no
longer needed him. Even his ivy-covered cottage, in which his wife and
he had lived for twenty years, in which their one child had died, would
at the beginning of the next term be required of him. But the college
would allow him those six months in which to "look round." So, just
outside the circle of light from his student lamp, he sat in his study,
and stared with unseeing eyes at the bust of Socrates. He was not
considering ways and means. They must be faced later. He was considering
how he could possibly break the blow to his wife. What eviction from
that house would mean to her no one but he understood. Since the day
their little girl had died, nothing in the room that had been her
playroom, bedroom, and nursery had been altered, nothing had been
touched. To his wife, somewhere in the house that wonderful, God-given
child was still with them. Not as a memory but as a real and living
presence. When at night the professor and his wife sat at either end
of the study table, reading by the same lamp, he would see her suddenly
lift her head, alert and eager, as though from the nursery floor a step
had sounded, as though from the darkness a sleepy voice had called her.
And when they would be forced to move to lodgings in the town, to some
students' boarding-house, though they could take with them their books,
their furniture, their mutual love and comradeship, they must leave
behind them the haunting presence of the child, the colored pictures she
had cut from the Christmas numbers and plastered over the nursery walls,
the rambler roses that with her own hands she had planted and that now
climbed to her window and each summer peered into her empty room.

Outside Doctor Gilman's cottage, among the trees of the campus, paper
lanterns like oranges aglow were swaying in the evening breeze. In front
of Hallowell the flame of a bonfire shot to the top of the tallest
elms, and gathered in a circle round it the glee club sang, and cheer
succeeded cheer-cheers for the heroes of the cinder track, for the
heroes of the diamond and the gridiron, cheers for the men who had
flunked especially for one man who had flunked. But for that man who
for thirty years in the class room had served the college there were
no cheers. No one remembered him, except the one student who had best
reason to remember him. But this recollection Peter had no rancor or
bitterness and, still anxious lest he should be considered a bad loser,
he wished Doctor Gilman a every one else to know that. So when the
celebration was at its height and just before train was due to carry
him from Stillwater, ran across the campus to the Gilman cottage
say good-by. But he did not enter the cottage He went so far only as
half-way up the garden walk. In the window of the study which opened
upon the veranda he saw through frame of honeysuckles the professor and
wife standing beside the study table. They were clinging to each other,
the woman weep silently with her cheek on his shoulder, thin, delicate,
well-bred hands clasping arms, while the man comforted her awkward
unhappily, with hopeless, futile caresses.

Peter, shocked and miserable at what he had seen, backed steadily away.
What disaster had befallen the old couple he could not imagine. The
idea that he himself might in any way connected with their grief never
entered mind. He was certain only that, whatever the trouble was, it was
something so intimate and personal that no mere outsider might dare to
offer his sympathy. So on tiptoe he retreated down the garden walk and,
avoiding the celebration at the bonfire, returned to his rooms. An hour
later the entire college escorted him to the railroad station, and
with "He's a jolly good fellow" and "He's off to Philippopolis in the
morn--ing" ringing in his ears, he sank back his seat in the smoking-car
and gazed at the lights of Stillwater disappearing out of his life.
And he was surprised to find that what lingered his mind was not the
students, dancing like Indians round the bonfire, or at the steps of the
smoking-car fighting to shake his hand, but the man and woman alone in
the cottage stricken with sudden sorrow, standing like two children
lost in the streets, who cling to each other for comfort and at the same
moment whisper words of courage.

Two months Later, at Constantinople, Peter, was suffering from remorse
over neglected opportunities, from prickly heat, and from fleas. And it
not been for the moving-picture man, and the poker and baccarat at the
Cercle Oriental, he would have flung himself into the Bosphorus. In
the mornings with the tutor he read ancient history, which he promptly
forgot; and for the rest of the hot, dreary day with the moving-picture
man through the bazaars and along the water-front he stalked suspects
for the camera.

The name of the moving-picture man was Harry Stetson. He had been a
newspaper reporter, a press-agent, and an actor in vaudeville and in
a moving-picture company. Now on his own account he was preparing an
illustrated lecture on the East, adapted to churches and Sunday-schools.
Peter and he wrote it in collaboration, and in the evenings rehearsed
it with lantern slides before an audience of the hotel clerk, the tutor,
and the German soldier of fortune who was trying to sell the young Turks
very old battleships. Every other foreigner had fled the city, and the
entire diplomatic corps had removed itself to the summer capital at
Therapia.

There Stimson, the first secretary of the embassy and, in the absence
of the ambassador, CHARGE D'AFFAIRES, invited Peter to become his guest.
Stimson was most anxious to be polite to Peter, for Hallowell senior was
a power in the party then in office, and a word from him at Washington
in favor of a rising young diplomat would do no harm. But Peter was
afraid his father would consider Therapia "out of bounds."


"He sent me to Constantinople," explained Peter, "and if he thinks I'm
not playing the game the Lord only knows where he might send me next-and
he might cut off my allowance."

In the matter of allowance Peter's father had been most generous. This
was fortunate, for poker, as the pashas and princes played it at
he Cercle, was no game for cripples or children. But, owing to his
letter-of-credit and his illspent life, Peter was able to hold his own
against men three times his age and of fortunes nearly equal to that of
his father. Only they disposed of their wealth differently. On many hot
evening Peter saw as much of their money scattered over the green table
as his father had spent over the Hallowell athletic field.

In this fashion Peter spent his first month of exile--in the morning
trying to fill his brain with names of great men who had been a long
time dead, and in his leisure hours with local color. To a youth of his
active spirit it was a full life without joy or recompense. A Letter
from Charley Hines, a classmate who lived at Stillwater, which arrived
after Peter had endured six weeks of Constantinople, released him from
boredom and gave life a real interest. It was a letter full of gossip
intended to amuse. One paragraph failed of its purpose. It read:
"Old man Gilman has got the sack. The chancellor offered him up as a
sacrifice to your father, and because he was unwise enough to flunk you.
He is to move out in September. I ran across them last week when I was
looking for rooms for a Freshman cousin. They were reserving one in the
same boarding-house. It's a shame, and I know you'll agree. They are a
fine old couple, and I don't like to think of them herding with Freshmen
in a shine boardinghouse. Black always was a swine."

Peter spent fully ten minutes getting to the cable office.

"Just learned," he cabled his father, "Gilman dismissed because flunked
me consider this outrageous please see he is reinstated."

The answer, which arrived the next day, did not satisfy Peter. It read:
"Informed Gilman acted through spite have no authority as you know to
interfere any act of black."

Since Peter had learned of the disaster that through his laziness had
befallen the Gilmans, his indignation at the injustice had been hourly
increasing. Nor had his banishment to Constantinople strengthened his
filial piety. On the contrary, it had rendered him independent and but
little inclined to kiss the paternal rod. In consequence his next cable
was not conciliatory.

"Dismissing Gilman Looks more Like we acted through spite makes me
appear contemptible Black is a toady will do as you direct please
reinstate."

To this somewhat peremptory message his father answered:

"If your position unpleasant yourself to blame not Black incident is
closed."

"Is it?" said the son of his father. He called Stetson to his aid
and explained. Stetson reminded him of the famous cablegram of his
distinguished contemporary: "Perdicaris alive and Raisuli dead!"

Peter's paraphrase of this ran: "Gilman returns to Stillwater or I will
not try for degree."

The reply was equally emphatic:

"You earn your degree or you earn your own living."

This alarmed Stetson, but caused Peter to deliver his ultimatum: "Choose
to earn my own living am leaving Constantinople."

Within a few days Stetson was also leaving Constantinople by steamer
via Naples. Peter, who had come to like him very much, would have
accompanied him had he not preferred to return home more leisurely by
way of Paris and London.

"You'll get there long before I do," said Peter, "and as soon as you
arrive I want you to go to Stillwater and give Doctor Gilman some
souvenir of Turkey from me. Just to show him I've no hard feelings. He
wouldn't accept money, but he can't refuse a present. I want it to
be something characteristic of the country, Like a prayer rug, or a
scimitar, or an illuminated Koran, or..."

Somewhat doubtfully, somewhat sheepishly, Stetson drew from his pocket a
flat morocco case and opened it. "What's the matter with one of these?"
he asked.

In a velvet-lined jewel case was a star of green enamel and silver gilt.
To it was attached a ribbon of red and green.

"That's the Star of the Crescent," said Peter. "Where did you buy it?"

"Buy it!" exclaimed Stetson. "You don't buy them. The Sultan bestows
them."

"I'll bet the Sultan didn't bestow that one," said Peter.

"I'll bet," returned Stetson, "I've got something in my pocket that says
he did."

He unfolded an imposing document covered with slanting lines of curving
Arabic letters in gold. Peter was impressed but still skeptical.

"What does that say when it says it in English?" he asked.

"It says," translated Stetson, "that his Imperial Majesty, the Sultan,
bestows upon Henry Stetson, educator, author, lecturer, the Star of
the Order of the Crescent, of the fifth class, for services rendered to
Turkey."

Peter interrupted him indignantly.

"Never try to fool the fakirs, my son," he protested. "I'm a fakir
myself. What services did you ever...."

"Services rendered," continued Stetson undisturbed, "in spreading
throughout the United States a greater knowledge of the customs,
industries, and religion of the Ottoman Empire. That," he explained,
"refers to my--I should say our--moving-picture lecture. I thought
it would look well if, when I lectured on Turkey, I wore a Turkish
decoration, so I went after this one."

Peter regarded his young friend with incredulous admiration.

"But did they believe you," he demanded, "when you told them you were an
author and educator?"

Stetson closed one eye and grinned. "They believed whatever I paid them
to believe."

"If you can get one of those," cried Peter, "Old man Gilman ought to
get a dozen. I'll tell them he's the author of the longest and dullest
history of their flea-bitten empire that was ever written. And he's a
real professor and a real author, and I can prove it. I'll show them the
five volumes with his name in each. How much did that thing cost you?"

"Two hundred dollars in bribes," said Stetson briskly, "and two months
of diplomacy."

"I haven't got two months for diplomacy," said Peter, "so I'll have to
increase the bribes. I'll stay here and get the decoration for Gilman,
and you work the papers at home. No one ever heard of the Order of the
Crescent, but that only makes it the easier for us. They'll only know
what we tell them, and we'll tell them it's the highest honor ever
bestowed by a reigning sovereign upon an American scholar. If you tell
the people often enough that anything is the best they believe you.
That's the way father sells his hams. You've been a press-agent.
From now on you're going to be my press-agent--I mean Doctor Gilman's
press-agent. I pay your salary, but your work is to advertise him and
the Order of the Crescent. I'll give you a letter to Charley Hines at
Stillwater. He sends out college news to a syndicate and he's the local
Associated Press man. He's sore at their discharging Gilman and he's my
best friend, and he'll work the papers as far as you like. Your job is
to make Stillwater College and Doctor Black and my father believe that
when they lost Gilman they lost the man who made Stillwater famous.
And before we get through boosting Gilman, we'll make my father's
million-dollar gift laboratory look like an insult."

In the eyes of the former press-agent the light of battle burned
fiercely, memories of his triumphs in exploitation, of his strategies
and tactics in advertising soared before him.

"It's great!" he exclaimed. "I've got your idea and you've got me. And
you're darned lucky to get me. I've been press-agent for politicians,
actors, society leaders, breakfast foods, and horse-shows--and I'm the
best! I was in charge of the publicity bureau for Galloway when he
ran for governor. He thinks the people elected him. I know I did. Nora
Nashville was getting fifty dollars a week in vaudeville when I took
hold of her; now she gets a thousand. I even made people believe Mrs.
Hampton-Rhodes was a society leader at Newport, when all she ever saw
of Newport was Bergers and the Muschenheim-Kings. Why, I am the man that
made the American People believe Russian dancers can dance!"

"It's plain to see you hate yourself," said 'Peter. "You must not get so
despondent or you might commit suicide. How much money will you want?"

"How much have you got?"

"All kinds," said Peter. "Some in a letter-of-credit that my father
earned from the fretful pig, and much more in cash that I won at poker
from the pashas. When that's gone I've got to go to work and earn my
living. Meanwhile your salary is a hundred a week and all you need
to boost Gilman and the Order of the Crescent. We are now the Gilman
Defense, Publicity, and Development Committee, and you will begin by
introducing me to the man I am to bribe."

"In this country you don't need any introduction to the man you want to
bribe," exclaimed Stetson; "you just bribe him!"


That same night in the smoking-room of the hotel, Peter and Stetson made
their first move in the game of winning for Professor Gilman the Order
of the Crescent. Stetson presented Peter to a young effendi in a frock
coat and fez. Stetson called him Osman. He was a clerk in the foreign
office and appeared to be "a friend of a friend of a friend" of the
assistant third secretary.

The five volumes of the "Rise and Fall" were spread before him, and
Peter demanded to know why so distinguished a scholar as Doctor
Gilman had not received some recognition from the country he had so
sympathetically described. Osman fingered the volumes doubtfully, and
promised the matter should be brought at once to the attention of the
grand vizier.

After he had departed Stetson explained that Osman had just as little
chance of getting within speaking distance of the grand vizier as of the
ladies of his harem.

"It's like Tammany," said Stetson; "there are sachems, district leaders,
and lieutenants. Each of them is entitled to trade or give away a few of
these decorations, just as each district leader gets his percentage
of jobs in the street-cleaning department. This fellow will go to his
patron, his patron will go to some undersecretary in the cabinet, he
will put it up to a palace favorite, and they will divide your money.

"In time the minister of foreign affairs will sign your brevet and a
hundred others, without knowing what he is signing; then you cable me,
and the Star of the Crescent will burst upon the United States in a way
that will make Halley's comet look like a wax match."

The next day Stetson and the tutor sailed for home and Peter was left
alone to pursue, as he supposed, the Order of the Crescent. On the
contrary, he found that the Order of the Crescent was pursuing him. He
had not appreciated that, from underlings and backstair politicians, an
itinerant showman like Stetson and the only son of an American Croesus
would receive very different treatment.

Within twenty-four hours a fat man with a blue-black beard and diamond
rings called with Osman to apologize for the latter. Osman, the fat man
explained--had been about to make a fatal error. For Doctor Gilman he
had asked the Order of the Crescent of the fifth class, the same class
that had been given Stetson. The fifth class, the fat man explained, was
all very well for tradesmen, dragomans, and eunuchs, but as an honor for
a savant as distinguished as the friend of his. Hallowell, the fourth
class would hardly be high enough. The fees, the fat man added, would
Also be higher; but, he pointed out, it was worth the difference,
because the fourth class entitled the wearer to a salute from all
sentries.

"There are few sentries at Stillwater," said Peter; "but I want the best
and I want it quick. Get me the fourth class."

The next morning he was surprised by an early visit from Stimson of the
embassy. The secretary was considerably annoyed.

"My dear Hallowell," he protested, "why the devil didn't you tell me you
wanted a decoration? Of course the State department expressly forbids
us to ask for one for ourselves, or for any one else. But what's the
Constitution between friends? I'll get it for you at once--but, on two
conditions: that you don't tell anybody I got it, and that you tell me
why you want it, and what you ever did to deserve it."

Instead, Peter explained fully and so sympathetically that the diplomat
demanded that he, too, should be enrolled as one of the Gilman Defense
Committee.

"Doctor Gilman's history," he said, "must be presented to the Sultan.
You must have the five volumes rebound in red and green, the colors of
Mohammed, and with as much gold tooling as they can carry. I hope," he
added, "they are not soiled."

"Not by me," Peter assured him.

"I will take them myself," continued Stimson, "to Muley Pasha, the
minister of foreign affairs, and ask him to present them to his Imperial
Majesty. He will promise to do so, but he won't; but he knows I know he
won't so that is all right. And in return he will present us with the
Order of the Crescent of the third class."

"Going up!" exclaimed Peter. "The third class. That will cost me my
entire letter-of-credit."

"Not at all," said Stimson. "I've saved you from the grafters. It will
cost you only what you pay to have the books rebound. And the THIRD
class is a real honor of which any one might be proud. You wear it
round your neck, and at your funeral it entitles you to an escort of a
thousand soldiers."

"I'd rather put up with fewer soldiers," said Peter, "and wear it longer
round my neck What's the matter with our getting the second class or the
first class?"

At such ignorance Stimson could not repress a smile.

"The first class," he explained patiently, "is the Great Grand Cross,
and is given only to reigning sovereigns. The second is called the Grand
Cross, and is bestowed only on crowned princes, prime ministers, and men
of world-wide fame...."

"What's the matter with Doctor Gilman's being of world-wide fame?" said
Peter. "He will be some day, when Stetson starts boosting."

"Some day," retorted Stimson stiffly, "I may be an ambassador. When I
am I hope to get the Grand Cross of the Crescent, but not now. I'm
sorry you're not satisfied," he added aggrievedly. "No one can get you
anything higher than the third class, and I may lose my official head
asking for that."

"Nothing is too good for old man Gilman," said Peter, "nor for you.
You get the third class for him, and I'll have father make you an
ambassador."

That night at poker at the club Peter sat next to Prince Abdul, who
had come from a reception at the Grand vizier's and still wore his
decorations. Decorations now fascinated Peter, and those on the coat of
the young prince he regarded with wide-eyed awe. He also regarded Abdul
with wide-eyed awe, because he was the favorite nephew of the Sultan,
and because he enjoyed the reputation of having the worst reputation
in Turkey. Peter wondered why. He always had found Abdul charming,
distinguished, courteous to the verge of humility, most cleverly
cynical, most brilliantly amusing. At poker he almost invariably won,
and while doing so was so politely bored, so indifferent to his cards
and the cards held by others, that Peter declared he had never met his
equal.

In a pause in the game, while some one tore the cover off a fresh pack,
Peter pointed at the star of diamonds that nestled behind the lapel of
Abdul's coat.

"May I ask what that is?" said Peter.

The prince frowned at his diamond sunburst as though it annoyed him, and
then smiled delightedly.

"It is an order," he said in a quick aside, "bestowed only upon men of
world-wide fame. I dined to-night," he explained, "with your charming
compatriot, Mr. Joseph Stimson."

"And Joe told?" said Peter.

The prince nodded. "Joe told," he repeated; "but it is all arranged.
Your distinguished friend, the Sage of Stillwater, will receive the
Crescent of the third class."

Peter's eyes were still fastened hungrily upon the diamond sunburst.

"Why," he demanded, "can't some one get him one like that?"

As though about to take offense the prince raised his eyebrows, and then
thought better of it and smiled.

"There are only two men in all Turkey," he said, "who could do that."

"And is the Sultan the other one?" asked Peter. The prince gasped as
though he had suddenly stepped beneath a cold shower, and then laughed
long and silently.

"You flatter me," he murmured.

"You know you could if you liked!" whispered Peter stoutly.

Apparently Abdul did not hear him. "I will take one card," he said.

Toward two in the morning there was seventy-five thousand francs in
the pot, and all save Prince Abdul and Peter had dropped out. "Will you
divide?" asked the prince.

"Why should I?" said Peter. "I've got you beat now. Do you raise me or
call?" The prince called and laid down a full house. Peter showed four
tens.

"I will deal you one hand, double or quits," said the prince.

Over the end of his cigar Peter squinted at the great heap of
mother-of-pearl counters and gold-pieces and bank-notes.

"You will pay me double what is on the table," he said, "or you quit
owing me nothing."

The prince nodded.

"Go ahead," said Peter.

The prince dealt them each a hand and discarded two cards. Peter held
a seven, a pair of kings, and a pair of fours. Hoping to draw another
king, which might give him a three higher than the three held by Abdul,
he threw away the seven and the lower pair. He caught another king. The
prince showed three queens and shrugged his shoulders.

Peter, leaning toward him, spoke out of the corner of his mouth.

"I'll make you a sporting proposition," he murmured. "You owe me a
hundred and fifty thousand francs. I'll stake that against what only
two men in the empire can give me."

The prince allowed his eyes to travel slowly round the circle of the
table. But the puzzled glances of the other players showed that to them
Peter's proposal conveyed no meaning.

The prince smiled cynically.

"For yourself?" he demanded.

"For Doctor Gilman," said Peter.

"We will cut for deal and one hand will decide," said the prince. His
voice dropped to a whisper. "And no one must ever know," he warned.

Peter also could be cynical.

"Not even the Sultan," he said.

Abdul won the deal and gave himself a very good hand. But the hand he
dealt Peter was the better one.

The prince was a good loser. The next afternoon the GAZETTE OFFICIALLY
announced that upon Doctor Henry Gilman, professor emeritus of the
University of Stillwater, U. S. A., the Sultan had been graciously
pleased to confer the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crescent.

Peter flashed the great news to Stetson. The cable caught him at
Quarantine. It read: "Captured Crescent, Grand Cross. Get busy."

But before Stetson could get busy the campaign of publicity had
been brilliantly opened from Constantinople. Prince Abdul, although
pitchforked into the Gilman Defense Committee, proved himself one of its
most enthusiastic members.

"For me it becomes a case of NOBLESSE OBLIGE," he declared. "If it
is worth doing at all it is worth doing well. To-day the Sultan will
command that the 'Rise and Fall' be translated into Arabic, and that
it be placed in the national library. Moreover, the University of
Constantinople, the College of Salonica, and the National Historical
Society have each elected Doctor Gilman an honorary member. I proposed
him, the Patriarch of Mesopotamia seconded him. And the Turkish
ambassador in America has been instructed to present the insignia with
his own hands."

Nor was Peter or Stimson idle. To assist Stetson in his press-work, and
to further the idea that all Europe was now clamoring for the "Rise and
fall," Peter paid an impecunious but over-educated dragoman to translate
it into five languages, and Stimson officially wrote of this, and of the
bestowal of the Crescent to the State Department. He pointed out that
not since General Grant had passed through Europe had the Sultan so
highly honored an American. He added he had been requested by the grand
vizier--who had been requested by Prince Abdul--to request the State
Department to inform Doctor Gilman of these high honors. A request from
such a source was a command and, as desired, the State Department
wrote as requested by the grand vizier to Doctor Gilman, and tendered
congratulations. The fact was sent out briefly from Washington by
Associated Press. This official recognition by the Government and by the
newspapers was all and more than Stetson wanted. He took off his coat
and with a megaphone, rather than a pen, told the people of the United
States who Doctor Gilman was, who the Sultan was, what a Grand Cross
was, and why America's greatest historian was not without honor save in
his own country. Columns of this were paid for and appeared as "patent
insides," with a portrait of Doctor Gilman taken from the STILLWATER
COLLEGE ANNUAL, and a picture of the Grand Cross drawn from imagination,
in eight hundred newspapers of the Middle, Western, and Eastern States.
special articles, paragraphs, portraits, and pictures of the Grand Cross
followed, and, using Stillwater as his base, Stetson continued to
flood the country. Young Hines, the local correspondent, acting under
instructions by cable from Peter, introduced him to Doctor Gilman as a
traveller who lectured on Turkey, and one who was a humble admirer
of the author of the "Rise and fall." Stetson, having studied it as a
student crams an examination, begged that he might sit at the feet of
the master. And for several evenings, actually at his feet, on the steps
of the ivy-covered cottage, the disguised press-agent drew from the
unworldly and unsuspecting scholar the simple story of his life.
To this, still in his character as disciple and student, he added
photographs he himself made of the master, of the master's ivy-covered
cottage, of his favorite walk across the campus, of the great historian
at work at his desk, at work in his rose garden, at play with his wife
on the croquet lawn. These he held until the insignia should be actually
presented. This pleasing duty fell to the Turkish ambassador, who, much
to his astonishment, had received instructions to proceed to Stillwater,
Massachusetts, a place of which he had never heard, and present to
a Doctor Gilman, of whom he had never heard, the Grand Cross of the
Crescent. As soon as the insignia arrived in the official mail-bag
a secretary brought it from Washington to Boston, and the ambassador
travelled down from Bar Harbor to receive it, and with the secretary
took the local train to Stillwater.

The reception extended to him there is still remembered by the
ambassador as one of the happiest incidents of his distinguished career.
Never since he came to represent his imperial Majesty in the Western
republic had its barbarians greeted him in a manner in any way so nearly
approaching his own idea of what was his due.

"This ambassador," Hines had explained to the mayor of Stillwater,
who was also the proprietor of its largest department store, "is the
personal representative of the Sultan. So we've got to treat him right."

"It's exactly," added Stetson, "as though the Sultan himself were
coming."

"And so few crowned heads visit Stillwater," continued Hines, "that we
ought to show we appreciate this one, especially as he comes to pay the
highest honor known to Europe to one of our townsmen."

The mayor chewed nervously on his cigar.

"What'd I better do?" he asked.

"Mr. Stetson here," Hines pointed out, "has lived in Turkey, and he
knows what they expect. Maybe he will help us."

"Will you?" begged the mayor.

"I will," said Stetson.

Then they visited the college authorities. Chancellor Black and most
of the faculty were on their vacations. But there were half a dozen
professors still in their homes around the campus, and it was pointed
out to them that the coming honor to one lately of their number
reflected glory upon the college and upon them, and that they should
take official action.

It was also suggested that for photographic purposes they should wear
their academic robes, caps, and hoods. To these suggestions, with
alacrity--partly because they all loved Doctor Gilman and partly because
they had never been photographed by a moving-picture machine--they all
agreed. So it came about that when the ambassador, hot and cross and
dusty stepped off the way-train at Stillwater station he found to
his delighted amazement a red carpet stretching to a perfectly new
automobile, a company of the local militia presenting arms, a committee,
consisting of the mayor in a high hat and white gloves and three
professors in gowns and colored hoods, and the Stillwater silver
Cornet Band playing what, after several repetitions, the ambassador was
graciously pleased to recognize as his national anthem.

The ambassador forgot that he was hot and cross. He forgot that he was
dusty. His face radiated satisfaction and perspiration. Here at last
were people who appreciated him and his high office. And as the
mayor helped him into the automobile, and those students who lived
in Stillwater welcomed him with strange yells, and the moving-picture
machine aimed at him point blank, he beamed with condescension. But
inwardly he was ill at ease.

Inwardly he was chastising himself for having, through his ignorance of
America, failed to appreciate the importance of the man he had come to
honor. When he remembered he had never even heard of Doctor Gilman he
blushed with confusion. And when he recollected that he had been almost
on the point of refusing to come to Stillwater, that he had considered
leaving the presentation to his secretary, he shuddered. What might not
the Sultan have done to him! What a narrow escape!

Attracted by the band, by the sight of their fellow townsmen in khaki,
by the sight of the stout gentleman in the red fez, by a tremendous
liking and respect for Doctor Gilman, the entire town of Stillwater
gathered outside his cottage. And inside, the old professor, trembling
and bewildered and yet strangely happy, bowed his shoulders while the
ambassador slipped over them the broad green scarf and upon his only
frock coat pinned the diamond sunburst. In woeful embarrassment Doctor
Gilman smiled and bowed and smiled, and then, as the delighted mayor of
Stillwater shouted, "Speech," in sudden panic he reached out his hand
quickly and covertly, and found the hand of his wife.

"Now, then, three Long ones!" yelled the cheer leader. "Now, then, 'See
the Conquering Hero!'" yelled the bandmaster. "Attention! Present arms!"
yelled the militia captain; and the townspeople and the professors
applauded and waved their hats and handkerchiefs. And Doctor Gilman and
his wife, he frightened and confused, she happy and proud, and taking it
all as a matter of course, stood arm in arm in the frame of honeysuckles
and bowed and bowed and bowed. And the ambassador so far unbent as to
drink champagne, which appeared mysteriously in tubs of ice from the
rear of the ivy-covered cottage, with the mayor, with the wives of the
professors, with the students, with the bandmaster. Indeed, so often did
he unbend that when the perfectly new automobile conveyed him back to
the Touraine, he was sleeping happily and smiling in his sleep.

Peter had arrived in America at the same time as had the insignia, but
Hines and Stetson would not let him show himself in Stillwater.
They were afraid if all three conspirators foregathered they might
inadvertently drop some clew that would lead to suspicion and discovery.

So Peter worked from New York, and his first act was anonymously to
supply his father and Chancellor Black with All the newspaper accounts
of the great celebration at Stillwater. When Doctor black read them he
choked. Never before had Stillwater College been brought so prominently
before the public, and never before had her president been so utterly
and completely ignored. And what made it worse was that he recognized
that even had he been present he could not have shown his face. How
could he, who had, as every one connected with the college now knew, out
of spite and without cause, dismissed an old and faithful servant, join
in chanting his praises. He only hoped his patron, Hallowell senior,
might not hear of Gilman's triumph. But Hallowell senior heard little of
anything else. At his office, at his clubs, on the golf-links, every one
he met congratulated him on the high and peculiar distinction that had
come to his pet college.

"You certainly have the darnedest luck in backing the right horse,"
exclaimed a rival pork-packer enviously. "Now if I pay a hundred
thousand for a Velasquez it turns out to be a bad copy worth thirty
dollars, but you pay a professor three thousand and he brings you in
half a million dollars' worth of free advertising. Why, this Doctor
Gilman's doing as much for your college as Doctor Osler did for Johns
Hopkins or as Walter Camp does for Yale."

Mr. Hallowell received these Congratulations as gracefully as he
was able, and in secret raged at Chancellor Black. Each day his rage
increased. It seemed as though there would never be an end to Doctor
Gilman. The stone he had rejected had become the corner-stone of
Stillwater. Whenever he opened a newspaper he felt like exclaiming:
"Will no one rid me of this pestilent fellow?" For the "Rise and Fall,"
in an edition deluxe limited to two hundred copies, was being bought up
by all his book-collecting millionaire friends; a popular edition was
on view in the windows of every book-shop; It was offered as a prize to
subscribers to all the more sedate magazines, and the name and features
of the distinguished author had become famous and familiar. Not a day
passed but that some new honor, at least so the newspapers stated,
was thrust upon him. Paragraphs announced that he was to be the next
exchange professor to Berlin; that in May he was to lecture at the
Sorbonne; that in June he was to receive a degree from Oxford.

A fresh-water college on one of the Great Lakes leaped to the front by
offering him the chair of history at that seat of learning at a salary
of five thousand dollars a year. Some of the honors that had been thrust
upon Doctor Gilman existed only in the imagination of Peter and Stetson,
but this offer happened to be genuine.

"Doctor Gilman rejected it without consideration. He read the letter
from the trustees to his wife and shook his head.

"We could not be happy away from Stillwater," he said. "We have only a
month more in the cottage, but after that we still can walk past it; we
can look into the garden and see the flowers she planted. We can visit
the place where she lies. But if we went away we should be lonely and
miserable for her, and she would be lonely for us."

Mr. Hallowell could not know why Doctor Gilman had refused to leave
Stillwater; but when he read that the small Eastern college at which
Doctor Gilman had graduated had offered to make him its president, his
jealousy knew no bounds.

He telegraphed to Black: "Reinstate Gilman at once; offer him six
thousand--offer him whatever he wants, but make him promise for no
consideration to leave Stillwater he is only member faculty ever brought
any credit to the college if we lose him I'll hold you responsible."

The next morning, hat in hand, smiling ingratiatingly, the Chancellor
called upon Doctor Gilman and ate so much humble pie that for a week he
suffered acute mental indigestion. But little did Hallowell senior care
for that. He had got what he wanted. Doctor Gilman, the distinguished,
was back in the faculty, and had made only one condition--that he might
live until he died in the ivy-covered cottage.

Two weeks later, when Peter arrived at Stillwater to take the history
examination, which, should he pass it, would give him his degree, he
found on every side evidences of the "worldwide fame" he himself had
created. The newsstand at the depot, the book-stores, the drugstores,
the picture-shops, all spoke of Doctor Gilman; and postcards showing
the ivy-covered cottage, photographs and enlargements of Doctor Gilman,
advertisements of the different editions of "the" history proclaimed
his fame. Peter, fascinated by the success of his own handiwork,
approached the ivy-covered cottage in a spirit almost of awe. But Mrs.
Gilman welcomed him with the same kindly, sympathetic smile with which
she always gave courage to the unhappy ones coming up for examinations,
and Doctor Gilman's high honors in no way had spoiled his gentle
courtesy.

The examination was in writing, and when Peter had handed in his papers
Doctor Gilman asked him if he would prefer at once to know the result.

"I should indeed!" Peter assured him.

"Then I regret to tell you, Hallowell," said the professor, "that you
have not passed. I cannot possibly give you a mark higher than five." In
real sympathy the sage of Stillwater raised his eyes, but to his great
astonishment he found that Peter, so far from being cast down or taking
offense, was smiling delightedly, much as a fond parent might smile upon
the precocious act of a beloved child.

"I am afraid," said Doctor Gilman gently, "that this summer you did not
work very hard for your degree!"

Peter Laughed and picked up his hat.

"To tell you the truth, Professor," he said, "you're right I got working
for something worth while--and I forgot about the degree."



Chapter 3. THE INVASION OF ENGLAND

This is the true inside story of the invasion of England in 1911 by the
Germans, and why it failed. I got my data from Baron von Gottlieb, at
the time military attaché of the German Government with the Russian
army in the second Russian-Japanese War, when Russia drove Japan out of
Manchuria, and reduced her to a third-rate power. He told me of his
part in the invasion as we sat, after the bombardment of Tokio, on the
ramparts of the Emperor's palace, watching the walls of the paper houses
below us glowing and smoking like the ashes of a prairie fire.

Two years before, at the time of the invasion, von Gottlieb had been
Carl Schultz, the head-waiter at the East Cliff Hotel at Cromer, and a
spy.

The other end of the story came to me through Lester Ford, the London
correspondent of the New York Republic. They gave me permission to tell
it in any fashion I pleased, and it is here set down for the first time.

In telling the story, my conscience is not in the least disturbed, for I
have yet to find any one who will believe it.

What led directly to the invasion was that some week-end guest of
the East Cliff Hotel left a copy of "The Riddle of the Sands" in
the coffee-room, where von Gottlieb found it; and the fact that Ford
attended the Shakespeare Ball. Had neither of these events taken place,
the German flag might now be flying over Buckingham Palace. And, then
again, it might not.

As every German knows, "The Riddle of the Sands" is a novel written by a
very clever Englishman in which is disclosed a plan for the invasion
of his country. According to this plan an army of infantry was to
be embarked in lighters, towed by shallow-draft, sea-going tugs, and
despatched simultaneously from the seven rivers that form the Frisian
Isles. From there they were to be convoyed by battle-ships two hundred
and forty miles through the North Sea, and thrown upon the coast of
Norfolk somewhere between the Wash and Mundesley. The fact that this
coast is low-lying and bordered by sand flats which at low water are
dry, that England maintains no North Sea squadron, and that her nearest
naval base is at Chatham, seem to point to it as the spot best adapted
for such a raid.

What von Gottlieb thought was evidenced by the fact that as soon as he
read the book he mailed it to the German Ambassador in London, and
under separate cover sent him a letter. In this he said: "I suggest your
Excellency bring this book to the notice of a certain royal personage,
and of the Strategy Board. General Bolivar said, 'When you want arms,
take them from the enemy.' Does not this also follow when you want
ideas?"

What the Strategy Board thought of the plan is a matter of history. This
was in 1910. A year later, during the coronation week, Lester Ford
went to Clarkson's to rent a monk's robe in which to appear at the
Shakespeare Ball, and while the assistant departed in search of the
robe, Ford was left alone in a small room hung with full-length mirrors
and shelves, and packed with the uniforms that Clarkson rents for Covent
Garden balls and amateur theatricals. While waiting, Ford gratified a
long, secretly cherished desire to behold himself as a military man, by
trying on all the uniforms on the lower shelves; and as a result, when
the assistant returned, instead of finding a young American in English
clothes and a high hat, he was confronted by a German officer in a
spiked helmet fighting a duel with himself in the mirror. The
assistant retreated precipitately, and Ford, conscious that he appeared
ridiculous, tried to turn the tables by saying, "Does a German uniform
always affect a Territorial like that?"

The assistant laughed good-naturedly.

"It did give me quite a turn," he said. "It's this talk of invasion, I
fancy. But for a fact, sir, if I was a Coast Guard, and you came along
the beach dressed like that, I'd take a shot at you, just on the chance,
anyway."

"And, quite right, too!" said Ford.

He was wondering when the invasion did come whether he would stick at
his post in London and dutifully forward the news to his paper, or play
truant and as a war correspondent watch the news in the making. So the
words of Mr. Clarkson's assistant did not sink in. But a few weeks later
young Major Bellew recalled them. Bellew was giving a dinner on the
terrace of the Savoy Restaurant. His guests were his nephew, young
Herbert, who was only five years younger than his uncle, and Herbert's
friend Birrell, an Irishman, both in their third term at the university.
After five years' service in India, Bellew had spent the last "Eights"
week at Oxford, and was complaining bitterly that since his day the
undergraduate had deteriorated. He had found him serious, given to
study, far too well behaved. Instead of Jorrocks, he read Galsworthy;
instead of "wines" he found pleasure in debating clubs where he
discussed socialism. Ragging, practical jokes, ingenious hoaxes,
that once were wont to set England in a roar, were a lost art. His
undergraduate guests combated these charges fiercely. His criticisms
they declared unjust and without intelligence.

"You're talking rot!" said his dutiful nephew. "Take Phil here, for
example. I've roomed with him three years and I can testify that he has
never opened a book. He never heard of Galsworthy until you spoke of
him. And you can see for yourself his table manners are quite as bad as
yours!"

"Worse!" assented Birrell loyally.

"And as for ragging! What rags, in your day, were as good as ours;
as the Carrie Nation rag, for instance, when five hundred people sat
through a temperance lecture and never guessed they were listening to a
man from Balliol?"

"And the Abyssinian Ambassador rag!" cried Herbert. "What price that?
When the DREADNOUGHT manned the yards for him and gave him seventeen
guns. That was an Oxford rag, and carried through by Oxford men. The
country hasn't stopped laughing yet. You give us a rag!" challenged
Herbert. "Make it as hard as you like; something risky, something that
will make the country sit up, something that will send us all to jail,
and Phil and I will put it through whether it takes one man or a dozen.
Go on," he persisted, "And I bet we can get fifty volunteers right here
in town and all of them undergraduates."

"Give you the idea, yes!" mocked Bellew, trying to gain time. "That's
just what I say. You boys to-day are so dull. You lack initiative. It's
the idea that counts. Anybody can do the acting. That's just amateur
theatricals!"

"Is it!" snorted Herbert. "If you want to know what stage fright is,
just go on board a British battle-ship with your face covered with burnt
cork and insist on being treated like an ambassador. You'll find it's a
little different from a first night with the Simla Thespians!"

Ford had no part in the debate. He had been smoking comfortably and
with well-timed nods, impartially encouraging each disputant. But now
he suddenly laid his cigar upon his plate, and, after glancing quickly
about him, leaned eagerly forward. They were at the corner table of
the terrace, and, as it was now past nine o'clock, the other diners had
departed to the theatres and they were quite alone. Below them, outside
the open windows, were the trees of the embankment, and beyond, the
Thames, blocked to the west by the great shadows of the Houses of
Parliament, lit only by the flame in the tower that showed the Lower
House was still sitting.

"I'LL give you an idea for a rag," whispered Ford. "One that is risky,
that will make the country sit up, that ought to land you in Jail? Have
you read 'The Riddle of the Sands'?"

Bellew and Herbert nodded; Birrell made no sign.

"Don't mind him," exclaimed Herbert impatiently. "HE never reads
anything! Go on!"

"It's the book most talked about," explained Ford. "And what else is
most talked about?" He answered his own question. "The landing of the
Germans in Morocco and the chance of war. Now, I ask you, with that book
in everybody's mind, and the war scare in everybody's mind, what would
happen if German soldiers appeared to-night on the Norfolk coast just
where the book says they will appear? Not one soldier, but dozens of
soldiers; not in one place, but in twenty places?"

"What would happen?" roared Major Bellew loyally. "The Boy Scouts would
fall out of bed and kick them into the sea!"

"Shut up!" snapped his nephew irreverently. He shook Ford by the arm.
"How?" he demanded breathlessly. "How are we to do it? It would take
hundreds of men."

"Two men," corrected Ford, "And a third man to drive the car. I
thought it out one day at Clarkson's when I came across a lot of German
uniforms. I thought of it as a newspaper story, as a trick to find out
how prepared you people are to meet invasion. And when you said just now
that you wanted a chance to go to jail--"

"What's your plan?" interrupted Birrell.

"We would start just before dawn--" began Ford.

"We?" demanded Herbert. "Are you in this?"

"Am I in it?" cried Ford indignantly. "It's my own private invasion! I'm
letting you boys in on the ground floor. If I don't go, there won t be
any invasion!"

The two pink-cheeked youths glanced at each other inquiringly and then
nodded.

"We accept your services, sir," said Birrell gravely. "What's your
plan?"

In astonishment Major Bellew glanced from one to the other and then
slapped the table with his open palm. His voice shook with righteous
indignation.

"Of all the preposterous, outrageous--Are you mad?" he demanded. "Do you
suppose for one minute I will allow--"

His nephew shrugged his shoulders and, rising, pushed back his chair.

"Oh, you go to the devil!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "Come on, Ford," he
said. "We'll find some place where uncle can't hear us."

Two days later a touring car carrying three young men, in the twenty-one
miles between Wells and Cromer, broke down eleven times. Each time this
misfortune befell them one young man scattered tools in the road and
on his knees hammered ostentatiously at the tin hood; and the other two
occupants of the car sauntered to the beach. There they chucked pebbles
at the waves and then slowly retraced their steps. Each time the route
by which they returned was different from the one by which they had set
forth. Sometimes they followed the beaten path down the cliff or, as it
chanced to be, across the marshes; sometimes they slid down the face of
the cliff; sometimes they lost themselves behind the hedges and in the
lanes of the villages. But when they again reached the car the procedure
of each was alike--each produced a pencil and on the face of his "Half
Inch" road map traced strange, fantastic signs.

At lunch-time they stopped at the East Cliff Hotel at Cromer and made
numerous and trivial inquiries about the Cromer golf links. They had
come, they volunteered, from Ely for a day of sea-bathing and golf; they
were returning after dinner. The head-waiter of the East Cliff
Hotel gave them the information they desired. He was an intelligent
head-waiter, young, and of pleasant, not to say distinguished, bearing.
In a frock coat he might easily have been mistaken for something even
more important than a head-waiter--for a German riding-master, a leader
of a Hungarian band, a manager of a Ritz hotel. But he was not above his
station. He even assisted the porter in carrying the coats and golf
bags of the gentlemen from the car to the coffee-room where, with the
intuition of the homing pigeon, the three strangers had, unaided, found
their way. As Carl Schultz followed, carrying the dust-coats, a road map
fell from the pocket of one of them to the floor. Carl Schultz picked
it up, and was about to replace it, when his eyes were held by notes
scrawled roughly in pencil. With an expression that no longer was that
of a head-waiter, Carl cast one swift glance about him and then slipped
into the empty coat-room and locked the door. Five minutes later, with
a smile that played uneasily over a face grown gray with anxiety, Carl
presented the map to the tallest of the three strangers. It was open so
that the pencil marks were most obvious. By his accent it was evident
the tallest of the three strangers was an American.

"What the devil!" he protested; "which of you boys has been playing hob
with my map?"

For just an instant the two pink-cheeked ones regarded him with
disfavor; until, for just an instant, his eyebrows rose and, with a
glance, he signified the waiter.

"Oh, that!" exclaimed the younger one. "The Automobile Club asked us
to mark down petrol stations. Those marks mean that's where you can buy
petrol."

The head-waiter breathed deeply. With an assured and happy countenance,
he departed and, for the two-hundredth time that day, looked from the
windows of the dining-room out over the tumbling breakers to the gray
stretch of sea. As though fearful that his face would expose his secret,
he glanced carefully about him and then, assured he was alone, leaned
eagerly forward, scanning the empty, tossing waters.

In his mind's eye he beheld rolling tug-boats straining against long
lines of scows, against the dead weight of field-guns, against the pull
of thousands of motionless, silent figures, each in khaki, each in a
black leather helmet, each with one hundred and fifty rounds.

In his own language Carl Schultz reproved himself.

"Patience," he muttered; "patience! By ten to-night all will be dark.
There will be no stars. There will be no moon. The very heavens fight
for us, and by sunrise our outposts will be twenty miles inland!"

At lunch-time Carl Schultz carefully, obsequiously waited upon the
three strangers. He gave them their choice of soup, thick or clear,
of gooseberry pie or Half-Pay pudding. He accepted their shillings
gratefully, and when they departed for the links he bowed them on their
way. And as their car turned up Jetty Street, for one instant, he
again allowed his eyes to sweep the dull gray ocean. Brown-sailed
fishing-boats were beating in toward Cromer. On the horizon line a
Norwegian tramp was drawing a lengthening scarf of smoke. Save for these
the sea was empty.

By gracious permission of the manageress Carl had obtained an afternoon
off, and, changing his coat, he mounted his bicycle and set forth toward
Overstrand. On his way he nodded to the local constable, to the postman
on his rounds, to the driver of the char à banc. He had been a year in
Cromer and was well known and well liked.

Three miles from Cromer, at the top of the highest hill in Overstrand,
the chimneys of a house showed above a thick tangle of fir-trees.
Between the trees and the road rose a wall, high, compact, forbidding.
Carl opened the gate in the wall and pushed his bicycle up a winding
path hemmed in by bushes. At the sound of his feet on the gravel the
bushes new apart, and a man sprang into the walk and confronted him.
But, at sight of the head-waiter, the legs of the man became rigid, his
heels clicked together, his hand went sharply to his visor.

Behind the house, surrounded on every side by trees, was a tiny lawn.
In the centre of the lawn, where once had been a tennis court, there
now stood a slim mast. From this mast dangled tiny wires that ran to a
kitchen table. On the table, its brass work shining in the sun, was a
new and perfectly good wireless outfit, and beside it, with his hand on
the key, was a heavily built, heavily bearded German. In his turn, Carl
drew his legs together, his heels clicked, his hand stuck to his visor.

"I have been in constant communication," said the man with the beard.
"They will be here just before the dawn. Return to Cromer and openly
from the post-office telegraph your cousin in London: 'Will meet you
to-morrow at the Crystal Palace.' On receipt of that, in the last
edition of all of this afternoon's papers, he will insert the final
advertisement. Thirty thousand of our own people will read it. They will
know the moment has come!"

As Carl coasted back to Cromer he flashed past many pretty gardens
where, upon the lawns, men in flannels were busy at tennis or, with
pretty ladies, deeply occupied in drinking tea. Carl smiled grimly. High
above him on the sky-line of the cliff he saw the three strangers he had
served at luncheon. They were driving before them three innocuous golf
balls.

"A nation of wasters," muttered the German, "sleeping at their posts.
They are fiddling while England falls!"

Mr. Shutliffe, of Stiffkey, had led his cow in from the marsh, and was
about to close the cow-barn door, when three soldiers appeared suddenly
around the wall of the village church. They ran directly toward him. It
was nine o'clock, but the twilight still held. The uniforms the men wore
were unfamiliar, but in his day Mr. Shutliffe had seen many uniforms,
and to him all uniforms looked alike. The tallest soldier snapped at Mr.
Shutliffe fiercely in a strange tongue.

"Du bist gefangen!" he announced. "Das Dorf ist besetzt. Wo sind unsere
Leute?" he demanded.

"You'll 'ave to excuse me, sir," said Mr. Shutliffe, "but I am a trifle
'ard of 'earing."

The soldier addressed him in English.

"What is the name of this village?" he demanded.

Mr. Shuttiffe, having lived in the village upward of eighty years,
recalled its name with difficulty.

"Have you seen any of our people?"

With another painful effort of memory Mr. Shutliffe shook his head.

"Go indoors!" commanded the soldier, "And put out all lights, and remain
indoors. We have taken this village. We are Germans. You are a prisoner!
Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir, thank'ee, sir, kindly," stammered Mr. Shutliffe. "May I lock
in the pigs first, sir?"

One of the soldiers coughed explosively, and ran away, and the two
others trotted after him. When they looked back, Mr. Shutliffe was still
standing uncertainly in the dusk, mildly concerned as to whether he
should lock up the pigs or obey the German gentleman.

The three soldiers halted behind the church wall.

"That was a fine start!" mocked Herbert. "Of course, you had to pick out
the Village Idiot. If they are all going to take it like that, we had
better pack up and go home."

"The village inn is still open," said Ford. "We'll close It."

They entered with fixed bayonets and dropped the butts of their rifles
on the sanded floor. A man in gaiters choked over his ale and two
fishermen removed their clay pipes and stared. The bar-maid alone arose
to the occasion.

"Now, then," she exclaimed briskly, "What way is that to come tumbling
into a respectable place? None of your tea-garden tricks in here, young
fellow, my lad, or--"

The tallest of the three intruders, in deep guttural accents,
interrupted her sharply.

"We are Germans!" he declared. "This village is captured. You are
prisoners of war. Those lights you will out put, and yourselves lock in.
If you into the street go, we will shoot!"

He gave a command in a strange language; so strange, indeed, that
the soldiers with him failed to entirely grasp his meaning, and one
shouldered his rifle, while the other brought his politely to a salute.

"You ass!" muttered the tall German. "Get out!"

As they charged into the street, they heard behind them a wild feminine
shriek, then a crash of pottery and glass, then silence, and an instant
later the Ship Inn was buried in darkness.

"That will hold Stiffkey for a while!" said Ford. "Now, back to the
car."

But between them and the car loomed suddenly a tall and impressive
figure. His helmet and his measured tread upon the deserted
cobble-stones proclaimed his calling.

"The constable!" whispered Herbert. "He must see us, but he mustn't
speak to us."

For a moment the three men showed themselves in the middle of the
street, and then, as though at sight of the policeman they had taken
alarm, disappeared through an opening between two houses. Five minutes
later a motor-car, with its canvas top concealing its occupants, rode
slowly into Stiffkey's main street and halted before the constable. The
driver of the car wore a leather skull-cap and goggles. From his neck to
his heels he was covered by a raincoat.

"Mr. Policeman," he began; "when I turned in here three soldiers stepped
in front of my car and pointed rifles at me. Then they ran off toward
the beach. What's the idea--manoeuvres? Because, they've no right to--"

"Yes, sir," the policeman assured him promptly; "I saw them. It's
manoeuvres, sir. Territorials."

"They didn't look like Territorials," objected the chauffeur. "They
looked like Germans."

Protected by the deepening dusk, the constable made no effort to conceal
a grin.

"Just Territorials, sir," he protested soothingly; "skylarking maybe,
but meaning no harm. Still, I'll have a look round, and warn 'em."

A voice from beneath the canvas broke in angrily:

"I tell you, they were Germans. It's either a silly joke, or it's
serious, and you ought to report it. It's your duty to warn the Coast
Guard."

The constable considered deeply.

"I wouldn't take it on myself to wake the Coast Guard," he protested;
"not at this time of the night. But if any Germans' been annoying you,
gentlemen, and you wish to lodge a complaint against them, you give me
your cards--"

"Ye gods!" cried the man in the rear of the car. "Go on!" he commanded.

As the car sped out of Stiffkey, Herbert exclaimed with disgust:

"What's the use!" he protested. "You couldn't wake these people with
dynamite! I vote we chuck it and go home."

"They little know of England who only Stiffkey know," chanted the
chauffeur reprovingly. "Why, we haven't begun yet. Wait till we meet a
live wire!"

Two miles farther along the road to Cromer, young Bradshaw, the
job-master's son at Blakeney, was leading his bicycle up the hill. Ahead
of him something heavy flopped from the bank into the road--and in the
light of his acetylene lamp he saw a soldier. The soldier dodged across
the road and scrambled through the hedge on the bank opposite. He was
followed by another soldier, and then by a third. The last man halted.

"Put out that light," he commanded. "Go to your home and tell no one
what you have seen. If you attempt to give an alarm you will be shot.
Our sentries are placed every fifty yards along this road."

The soldier disappeared from in front of the ray of light and followed
his comrades, and an instant later young Bradshaw heard them sliding
over the cliff's edge and the pebbles clattering to the beach below.
Young Bradshaw stood quite still. In his heart was much fear--fear of
laughter, of ridicule, of failure. But of no other kind of fear. Softly,
silently he turned his bicycle so that it faced down the long hill he
had just climbed. Then he snapped off the light. He had been reliably
informed that in ambush at every fifty yards along the road to Blakeney,
sentries were waiting to fire on him. And he proposed to run the
gauntlet. He saw that it was for this moment that, first as a volunteer
and later as a Territorial, he had drilled in the town hall, practiced
on the rifle range, and in mixed manoeuvres slept in six inches of mud.
As he threw his leg across his bicycle, Herbert, from the motor-car
farther up the hill, fired two shots over his head. These, he explained
to Ford, were intended to give "verisimilitude to an otherwise bald
and unconvincing narrative." And the sighing of the bullets gave young
Bradshaw exactly what he wanted--the assurance that he was not the
victim of a practical joke. He threw his weight forward and, lifting his
feet, coasted downhill at forty miles an hour into the main street of
Blakeney. Ten minutes later, when the car followed, a mob of men so
completely blocked the water-front that Ford was forced to stop. His
head-lights illuminated hundreds of faces, anxious, sceptical, eager.
A gentleman with a white mustache and a look of a retired army officer
pushed his way toward Ford, the crowd making room for him, and then
closing in his wake.

"Have you seen any--any soldiers?" he demanded.

"German soldiers!" Ford answered. "They tried to catch us, but when I
saw who they were, I ran through them to warn you. They fired and--"

"How many--and where?"

"A half-company at Stiffkey and a half-mile farther on a regiment. We
didn't know then they were Germans, not until they stopped us. You'd
better telephone the garrison, and--"

"Thank you!" snapped the elderly gentleman. "I happen to be in command
of this district. What are your names?"

Ford pushed the car forward, parting the crowd.

"I've no time for that!" he called. "We've got to warn every coast town
in Norfolk. You take my tip and get London on the long distance!"

As they ran through the night Ford spoke over his shoulder.

"We've got them guessing," he said. "Now, what we want is a live wire,
some one with imagination, some one with authority who will wake the
countryside."

"Looks ahead there," said Birrell, "as though it hadn't gone to bed."

Before them, as on a Mafeking night, every window in Cley shone with
lights. In the main street were fishermen, shopkeepers, "trippers"
in flannels, summer residents. The women had turned out as though to
witness a display of fireworks. Girls were clinging to the arms of their
escorts, shivering in delighted terror. The proprietor of the Red Lion
sprang in front of the car and waved his arms.

"What's this tale about Germans?" he demanded jocularly.

"You can see their lights from the beach," said Ford. "They've landed
two regiments between here and Wells. Stiffkey is taken, and they've cut
all the wires south."

The proprietor refused to be "had."

"Let 'em all come!" he mocked.

"All right," returned Ford. "Let 'em come, but don't take it lying down!
Get those women off the streets, and go down to the beach, and drive the
Germans back! Gangway," he shouted, and the car shot forward. "We warned
you," he called, "And it's up to you to--"

His words were lost in the distance. But behind him a man's voice rose
with a roar like a rocket and was met with a savage, deep-throated
cheer.

Outside the village Ford brought the car to a halt and swung in his
seat.

"This thing is going to fail!" he cried petulantly. "They don't believe
us. We've got to show ourselves--many times--in a dozen places."

"The British mind moves slowly," said Birrell, the Irishman. "Now, if
this had happened in my native land--"

He was interrupted by the screech of a siren, and a demon car that
spurned the road, that splattered them with pebbles, tore past
and disappeared in the darkness. As it fled down the lane of their
head-lights, they saw that men in khaki clung to its sides, were packed
in its tonneau, were swaying from its running boards. Before they could
find their voices a motor cycle, driven as though the angel of death
were at the wheel, shaved their mud-guard and, in its turn, vanished
into the night.

"Things are looking up!" said Ford. "Where is our next stop? As I said
before, what we want is a live one."

Herbert pressed his electric torch against his road map.

"We are next billed to appear," he said, "about a quarter of a mile from
here, at the signal-tower of the Great Eastern Railroad, where we visit
the night telegraph operator and give him the surprise party of his
life."

The three men had mounted the steps of the signal-tower so quietly that,
when the operator heard them, they already surrounded him. He saw
three German soldiers with fierce upturned mustaches, with flat, squat
helmets, with long brown rifles. They saw an anæmic, pale-faced youth
without a coat or collar, for the night was warm, who sank back limply
in his chair and gazed speechless with wide-bulging eyes.

In harsh, guttural tones Ford addressed him. "You are a prisoner," he
said. "We take over this office in the name of the German Emperor. Get
out!"

As though instinctively seeking his only weapon of defence, the hand of
the boy operator moved across the table to the key of his instrument.
Ford flung his rifle upon it.

"No, you don't!" he growled. "Get out!"

With eyes still bulging, the boy lifted himself into a sitting posture.

"My pay--my month's pay?" he stammered. "Can I take It?"

The expression on the face of the conqueror relaxed.

"Take it and get out," Ford commanded.

With eyes still fixed in fascinated terror upon the invader, the boy
pulled open the drawer of the table before him and fumbled with the
papers inside.

"Quick!" cried Ford.

The boy was very quick. His hand leaped from the drawer like a snake,
and Ford found himself looking into a revolver of the largest calibre
issued by a civilized people. Birrell fell upon the boy's shoulders,
Herbert twisted the gun from his fingers and hurled it through the
window, and almost as quickly hurled himself down the steps of the
tower. Birrell leaped after him. Ford remained only long enough to
shout: "Don't touch that instrument! If you attempt to send a message
through, we will shoot. We go to cut the wires!"

For a minute, the boy in the tower sat rigid, his ears strained, his
heart beating in sharp, suffocating stabs. Then, with his left arm
raised to guard his face, he sank to his knees and, leaning forward
across the table, inviting as he believed his death, he opened the
circuit and through the night flashed out a warning to his people.

When they had taken their places in the car, Herbert touched Ford on the
shoulder.

"Your last remark," he said, "was that what we wanted was a live one."

"Don't mention it!" said Ford. "He jammed that gun half down my throat.
I can taste it still. Where do we go from here?"

"According to the route we mapped out this afternoon," said Herbert, "We
are now scheduled to give exhibitions at the coast towns of Salthouse
and Weybourne, but--"

"Not with me!" exclaimed Birrell fiercely. "Those towns have been tipped
off by now by Blakeney and Cley, and the Boy Scouts would club us to
death. I vote we take the back roads to Morston, and drop in on a lonely
Coast Guard. If a Coast Guard sees us, the authorities will have to
believe him, and they'll call out the navy."

Herbert consulted his map.

"There is a Coast Guard," he said, "stationed just the other side of
Morston. And," he added fervently, "let us hope he's lonely."

They lost their way in the back roads, and when they again reached the
coast an hour had passed. It was now quite dark. There were no stars,
nor moon, but after they had left the car in a side lane and had stepped
out upon the cliff, they saw for miles along the coast great beacon
fires burning fiercely.

Herbert came to an abrupt halt.

"Since seeing those fires," he explained, "I feel a strange reluctance
about showing myself in this uniform to a Coast Guard."

"Coast Guards don't shoot!" mocked Birrell. "They only look at the
clouds through a telescope. Three Germans with rifles ought to be able
to frighten one Coast Guard with a telescope."

The whitewashed cabin of the Coast Guard was perched on the edge of the
cliff. Behind it the downs ran back to meet the road. The door of the
cabin was open and from it a shaft of light cut across a tiny garden and
showed the white fence and the walk of shells.

"We must pass in single file in front of that light," whispered Ford,
"And then, after we are sure he has seen us, we must run like the
devil!"

"I'm on in that last scene," growled Herbert.

"Only," repeated Ford with emphasis, "We must be sure he has seen us."

Not twenty feet from them came a bursting roar, a flash, many roars,
many flashes, many bullets.

"He's seen us!" yelled Birrell.

After the light from his open door had shown him one German soldier
fully armed, the Coast Guard had seen nothing further. But judging from
the shrieks of terror and the sounds of falling bodies that followed
his first shot, he was convinced he was hemmed in by an army, and he
proceeded to sell his life dearly. Clip after clip of cartridges he
emptied into the night, now to the front, now to the rear, now out to
sea, now at his own shadow in the lamp-light. To the people a quarter of
a mile away at Morston it sounded like a battle.

After running half a mile, Ford, bruised and breathless, fell at full
length on the grass beside the car. Near it, tearing from his person the
last vestiges of a German uniform, he found Birrell. He also was puffing
painfully.

"What happened to Herbert?" panted Ford.

"I don't know," gasped Birrell, "When I saw him last he was diving over
the cliff into the sea. How many times did you die?"

"About twenty!" groaned the American, "And, besides being dead, I am
severely wounded. Every time he fired, I fell on my face, and each time
I hit a rock!"

A scarecrow of a figure appeared suddenly in the rays of the
head-lights. It was Herbert, scratched, bleeding, dripping with water,
and clad simply in a shirt and trousers. He dragged out his kit bag and
fell into his golf clothes.

"Anybody who wants a perfectly good German uniform," he cried, "can have
mine. I left it in the first row of breakers. It didn't fit me, anyway."

The other two uniforms were hidden in the seat of the car. The rifles
and helmets, to lend color to the invasion, were dropped in the open
road, and five minutes later three gentlemen in inconspicuous Harris
tweeds, and with golf clubs protruding from every part of their car,
turned into the shore road to Cromer. What they saw brought swift terror
to their guilty souls and the car to an abrupt halt. Before them was a
regiment of regulars advancing in column of fours, at the "double." An
officer sprang to the front of the car and seated himself beside Ford.

"I'll have to commandeer this," he said. "Run back to Cromer. Don't
crush my men, but go like the devil!"

"We heard firing here," explained the officer at the Coast Guard
station. "The Guard drove them back to the sea. He counted over a dozen.
They made pretty poor practice, for he isn't wounded, but his gravel
walk looks as though some one had drawn a harrow over it. I wonder,"
exclaimed the officer suddenly, "if you are the three gentlemen who
first gave the alarm to Colonel Raglan and then went on to warn the
other coast towns. Because, if you are, he wants your names."

Ford considered rapidly. If he gave false names and that fact were
discovered, they would be suspected and investigated, and the worst
might happen. So he replied that his friends and himself probably
were the men to whom the officer referred. He explained they had been
returning from Cromer, where they had gone to play golf, when they had
been held up by the Germans.

"You were lucky to escape," said the officer "And in keeping on to give
warning you were taking chances. If I may say so, we think you behaved
extremely well."

Ford could not answer. His guilty conscience shamed him into silence.
With his siren shrieking and his horn tooting, he was forcing the car
through lanes of armed men. They packed each side of the road. They were
banked behind the hedges. Their camp-fires blazed from every hill-top.

"Your regiment seems to have turned out to a man!" exclaimed Ford
admiringly.

"MY regiment!" snorted the officer. "You've passed through five
regiments already, and there are as many more in the dark places.
They're everywhere!" he cried jubilantly.

"And I thought they were only where you see the camp-fires," exclaimed
Ford.

"That's what the Germans think," said the officer. "It's working like
a clock," he cried happily. "There hasn't been a hitch. As soon as they
got your warning to Colonel Raglan, they came down to the coast like a
wave, on foot, by trains, by motors, and at nine o'clock the Government
took over all the railroads. The county regiments, regulars, yeomanry,
territorials, have been spread along this shore for thirty miles. Down
in London the Guards started to Dover and Brighton two hours ago. The
Automobile Club in the first hour collected two hundred cars and turned
them over to the Guards in Bird Cage Walk. Cody and Grahame-White and
eight of his air men left Hendon an hour ago to reconnoitre the south
coast. Admiral Beatty has started with the Channel Squadron to head off
the German convoy in the North Sea, and the torpedo destroyers have been
sent to lie outside of Heligoland. We'll get that back by daylight. And
on land every one of the three services is under arms. On this coast
alone before sunrise we'll have one hundred thousand men, and from
Colchester the brigade division of artillery, from Ipswich the R. H.
A.'s with siege-guns, field-guns, quick-firing-guns, all kinds of guns
spread out over every foot of ground from here to Hunstanton. They
thought they'd give us a surprise party. They will never give us another
surprise party!"

On the top of the hill at Overstrand, the headwaiter of the East Cliff
Hotel and the bearded German stood in the garden back of the house with
the forbidding walls. From the road in front came unceasingly the tramp
and shuffle of thousands of marching feet, the rumble of heavy cannon,
the clanking of their chains, the voices of men trained to command
raised in sharp, confident orders. The sky was illuminated by countless
fires. Every window of every cottage and hotel blazed with lights. The
night had been turned into day. The eyes of the two Germans were like
the eyes of those who had passed through an earthquake, of those who
looked upon the burning of San Francisco, upon the destruction of
Messina.

"We were betrayed, general," whispered the head-waiter.

"We were betrayed, baron," replied the bearded one.

"But you were in time to warn the flotilla."

With a sigh, the older man nodded.

"The last message I received over the wireless," he said, "before I
destroyed it, read, 'Your message understood. We are returning. Our
movements will be explained as manoeuvres. And," added the general, "The
English, having driven us back, will be willing to officially accept
that explanation. As manoeuvres, this night will go down into history.
Return to the hotel," he commanded, "And in two months you can rejoin
your regiment."

On the morning after the invasion the New York Republic published a map
of Great Britain that covered three columns and a wood-cut of Ford that
was spread over five. Beneath it was printed: "Lester Ford, our London
correspondent, captured by the Germans; he escapes and is the first to
warn the English people."

On the same morning, In an editorial in The Times of London, appeared
this paragraph:

"The Germans were first seen by the Hon. Arthur Herbert, the eldest son
of Lord Cinaris; Mr. Patrick Headford Birrell--both of Balliol College,
Oxford; and Mr. Lester Ford, the correspondent of the New York Republic.
These gentlemen escaped from the landing party that tried to make them
prisoners, and at great risk proceeded in their motor-car over roads
infested by the Germans to all the coast towns of Norfolk, warning the
authorities. Should the war office fail to recognize their services, the
people of Great Britain will prove that they are not ungrateful."

A week later three young men sat at dinner on the terrace of the Savoy.

"Shall we, or shall we not," asked Herbert, "tell my uncle that we
three, and we three alone, were the invaders?"

"That's hardly correct," said Ford, "as we now know there were two
hundred thousand invaders. We were the only three who got ashore."

"I vote we don't tell him," said Birrell. "Let him think with everybody
else that the Germans blundered; that an advance party landed too soon
and gave the show away. If we talk," he argued, "We'll get credit for a
successful hoax. If we keep quiet, everybody will continue to think we
saved England. I'm content to let it go at that."



Chapter 4. BLOOD WILL TELL

David Greene was an employee of the Burdett Automatic Punch Company.
The manufacturing plant of the company was at Bridgeport, but in the
New York offices there were working samples of all the punches, from the
little nickel-plated hand punch with which conductors squeezed holes in
railroad tickets, to the big punch that could bite into an iron plate
as easily as into a piece of pie. David's duty was to explain these
different punches, and accordingly when Burdett Senior or one of the
sons turned a customer over to David he spoke of him as a salesman.
But David called himself a "demonstrator." For a short time he even
succeeded in persuading the other salesmen to speak of themselves as
demonstrators, but the shipping clerks and bookkeepers laughed them out
of it. They could not laugh David out of it. This was so, partly
because he had no sense of humor, and partly because he had a
great-great-grandfather. Among the salesmen on lower Broadway, to
possess a great-great-grandfather is unusual, even a great-grandfather
is a rarity, and either is considered superfluous. But to David the
possession of a great-great-grandfather was a precious and open delight.
He had possessed him only for a short time. Undoubtedly he always had
existed, but it was not until David's sister Anne married a doctor
in Bordentown, New Jersey, and became socially ambitious, that David
emerged as a Son of Washington.

It was sister Anne, anxious to "get in" as a "Daughter" and wear
a distaff pin in her shirtwaist, who discovered the revolutionary
ancestor. She unearthed him, or rather ran him to earth, in the
graveyard of the Presbyterian church at Bordentown. He was no less a
person than General Hiram Greene, and he had fought with Washington at
Trenton and at Princeton. Of this there was no doubt. That, later, on
moving to New York, his descendants became peace-loving salesmen did not
affect his record. To enter a society founded on heredity, the important
thing is first to catch your ancestor, and having made sure of him,
David entered the Society of the Sons of Washington with flying colors.
He was not unlike the man who had been speaking prose for forty years
without knowing it. He was not unlike the other man who woke to find
himself famous. He had gone to bed a timid, near-sighted, underpaid
salesman without a relative in the world, except a married sister in
Bordentown, and he awoke to find he was a direct descendant of "Neck
or Nothing" Greene, a revolutionary hero, a friend of Washington, a
man whose portrait hung in the State House at Trenton. David's life had
lacked color. The day he carried his certificate of membership to the
big jewelry store uptown and purchased two rosettes, one for each of his
two coats, was the proudest of his life.

The other men in the Broadway office took a different view. As Wyckoff,
one of Burdett's flying squadron of travelling salesmen, said,
"All grandfathers look alike to me, whether they're great, or
great-great-great. Each one is as dead as the other. I'd rather have a
live cousin who could loan me a five, or slip me a drink. What did your
great-great dad ever do for you?"

"Well, for one thing," said David stiffly, "he fought in the War of the
Revolution. He saved us from the shackles of monarchical England;
he made it possible for me and you to enjoy the liberties of a free
republic."

"Don't try to tell me your grandfather did all that," protested Wyckoff,
"because I know better. There were a lot of others helped. I read about
it in a book."

"I am not grudging glory to others," returned David; "I am only saying I
am proud that I am a descendant of a revolutionist."

Wyckoff dived into his inner pocket and produced a leather photograph
frame that folded like a concertina.

"I don't want to be a descendant," he said; "I'd rather be an ancestor.
Look at those." Proudly he exhibited photographs of Mrs. Wyckoff with
the baby and of three other little Wyckoffs. David looked with envy at
the children.

"When I'm married," he stammered, and at the words he blushed, "I hope
to be an ancestor."

"If you're thinking of getting married," said Wyckoff, "you'd better
hope for a raise in salary."

The other clerks were as unsympathetic as Wyckoff. At first when David
showed them his parchment certificate, and his silver gilt insignia with
on one side a portrait of Washington, and on the other a Continental
soldier, they admitted it was dead swell. They even envied him, not
the grandfather, but the fact that owing to that distinguished relative
David was constantly receiving beautifully engraved invitations to
attend the monthly meetings of the society; to subscribe to a fund to
erect monuments on battle-fields to mark neglected graves; to join in
joyous excursions to the tomb of Washington or of John Paul Jones;
to inspect West Point, Annapolis, and Bunker Hill; to be among those
present at the annual "banquet" at Delmonico's. In order that when he
opened these letters he might have an audience, he had given the society
his office address.

In these communications he was always addressed as "Dear Compatriot,"
and never did the words fail to give him a thrill. They seemed to lift
him out of Burdett's salesrooms and Broadway, and place him next to
things uncommercial, untainted, high, and noble. He did not quite know
what an aristocrat was, but he believed being a compatriot made him an
aristocrat. When customers were rude, when Mr. John or Mr. Robert was
overbearing, this idea enabled David to rise above their ill-temper, and
he would smile and say to himself: "If they knew the meaning of the
blue rosette in my button-hole, how differently they would treat me! How
easily with a word could I crush them!"

But few of the customers recognized the significance of the button.
They thought it meant that David belonged to the Y. M. C. A. or was a
teetotaler. David, with his gentle manners and pale, ascetic face, was
liable to give that impression.

When Wyckoff mentioned marriage, the reason David blushed was because,
although no one in the office suspected it, he wished to marry the
person in whom the office took the greatest pride. This was Miss
Emily Anthony, one of Burdett and Sons' youngest, most efficient, and
prettiest stenographers, and although David did not cut as dashing a
figure as did some of the firm's travelling men, Miss Anthony had found
something in him so greatly to admire that she had, out of office hours,
accepted his devotion, his theatre tickets, and an engagement ring.
Indeed, so far had matters progressed, that it had been almost decided
when in a few months they would go upon their vacations they also would
go upon their honeymoon. And then a cloud had come between them, and
from a quarter from which David had expected only sunshine.

The trouble befell when David discovered he had a
great-great-grandfather. With that fact itself Miss Anthony was almost
as pleased as was David himself, but while he was content to bask in
another's glory, Miss Anthony saw in his inheritance only an incentive
to achieve glory for himself.

From a hard-working salesman she had asked but little, but from a
descendant of a national hero she expected other things. She was a
determined young person, and for David she was an ambitious young
person. She found she was dissatisfied. She found she was disappointed.
The great-great-grandfather had opened up a new horizon--had, in a way,
raised the standard. She was as fond of David as always, but his tales
of past wars and battles, his accounts of present banquets at which he
sat shoulder to shoulder with men of whom even Burdett and Sons spoke
with awe, touched her imagination.

"You shouldn't be content to just wear a button," she urged. "If you're
a Son of Washington, you ought to act like one."

"I know I'm not worthy of you," David sighed.

"I don't mean that, and you know I don't," Emily replied indignantly.
"It has nothing to do with me! I want you to be worthy of yourself, of
your grandpa Hiram!"

"But HOW?" complained David. "What chance has a twenty-five dollar a
week clerk--"

It was a year before the Spanish-American War, while the patriots of
Cuba were fighting the mother country for their independence.

"If I were a Son of the Revolution," said Emily, "I'd go to Cuba and
help free it."

"Don't talk nonsense," cried David. "If I did that I'd lose my job, and
we'd never be able to marry. Besides, what's Cuba done for me? All I
know about Cuba is, I once smoked a Cuban cigar and it made me ill."

"Did Lafayette talk like that?" demanded Emily. "Did he ask what have
the American rebels ever done for me?"

"If I were in Lafayette's class," sighed David, "I wouldn't be selling
automatic punches."

"There's your trouble," declared Emily "You lack self-confidence. You're
too humble, you've got fighting blood and you ought to keep saying to
yourself, 'Blood will tell,' and the first thing you know, it WILL tell!
You might begin by going into politics in your ward. Or, you could join
the militia. That takes only one night a week, and then, if we DID go to
war with Spain, you'd get a commission, and come back a captain!"

Emily's eyes were beautiful with delight. But the sight gave David no
pleasure. In genuine distress, he shook his head.

"Emily," he said, "you're going to be awfully disappointed in me."

Emily's eyes closed as though they shied at some mental picture. But
when she opened them they were bright, and her smile was kind and eager.

"No, I'm not," she protested; "only I want a husband with a career, and
one who'll tell me to keep quiet when I try to run it for him."

"I've often wished you would," said David.

"Would what? Run your career for you?"

"No, keep quiet. Only it didn't seem polite to tell you so."

"Maybe I'd like you better," said Emily, "if you weren't so darned
polite."

A week later, early in the spring of 1897, the unexpected happened, and
David was promoted into the flying squadron. He now was a travelling
salesman, with a rise in salary and a commission on orders. It was a
step forward, but as going on the road meant absence from Emily, David
was not elated. Nor did it satisfy Emily. It was not money she wanted.
Her ambition for David could not be silenced with a raise in wages. She
did not say this, but David knew that in him she still found something
lacking, and when they said good-by they both were ill at ease and
completely unhappy. Formerly, each day when Emily in passing David in
the office said good-morning, she used to add the number of the days
that still separated them from the vacation which also was to be their
honeymoon. But, for the last month she had stopped counting the days--at
least she did not count them aloud.

David did not ask her why this was so. He did not dare. And, sooner than
learn the truth that she had decided not to marry him, or that she
was even considering not marrying him, he asked no questions, but in
ignorance of her present feelings set forth on his travels. Absence from
Emily hurt just as much as he had feared it would. He missed her, needed
her, longed for her. In numerous letters he told her so. But, owing to
the frequency with which he moved, her letters never caught up with him.
It was almost a relief. He did not care to think of what they might tell
him.

The route assigned David took him through the South and kept him close
to the Atlantic seaboard. In obtaining orders he was not unsuccessful,
and at the end of the first month received from the firm a telegram of
congratulation. This was of importance chiefly because it might please
Emily. But he knew that in her eyes the great-great-grandson of Hiram
Greene could not rest content with a telegram from Burdett and Sons.
A year before she would have considered it a high honor, a cause for
celebration. Now, he could see her press her pretty lips together and
shake her pretty head. It was not enough. But how could he accomplish
more. He began to hate his great-great-grandfather. He began to wish
Hiram Greene had lived and died a bachelor.

And then Dame Fortune took David in hand and toyed with him and spanked
him, and pelted and petted him, until finally she made him her favorite
son. Dame Fortune went about this work in an abrupt and arbitrary
manner.

On the night of the 1st of March, 1897, two trains were scheduled to
leave the Union Station at Jacksonville at exactly the same minute,
and they left exactly on time. As never before in the history of any
Southern railroad has this miracle occurred, it shows that when Dame
Fortune gets on the job she is omnipotent. She placed David on the train
to Miami as the train he wanted drew out for Tampa, and an hour later,
when the conductor looked at David's ticket, he pulled the bell-cord and
dumped David over the side into the heart of a pine forest. If he walked
back along the track for one mile, the conductor reassured him, he would
find a flag station where at midnight he could flag a train going north.
In an hour it would deliver him safely in Jacksonville.

There was a moon, but for the greater part of the time it was hidden by
fitful, hurrying clouds, and, as David stumbled forward, at one moment
he would see the rails like streaks of silver, and the next would be
encompassed in a complete and bewildering darkness. He made his way from
tie to tie only by feeling with his foot. After an hour he came to a
shed. Whether it was or was not the flag station the conductor had in
mind, he did not know, and he never did know. He was too tired, too hot,
and too disgusted to proceed, and dropping his suit case he sat down
under the open roof of the shed prepared to wait either for the train
or daylight. So far as he could see, on every side of him stretched
a swamp, silent, dismal, interminable. From its black water rose dead
trees, naked of bark and hung with streamers of funereal moss. There was
not a sound or sign of human habitation. The silence was the silence of
the ocean at night David remembered the berth reserved for him on the
train to Tampa and of the loathing with which he had considered placing
himself between its sheets. But now how gladly would he welcome it! For,
in the sleeping-car, ill-smelling, close, and stuffy, he at least would
have been surrounded by fellow-sufferers of his own species. Here his
companions were owls, water-snakes, and sleeping buzzards.

"I am alone," he told himself, "on a railroad embankment, entirely
surrounded by alligators."

And then he found he was not alone.

In the darkness, illuminated by a match, not a hundred yards from him
there flashed suddenly the face of a man. Then the match went out and
the face with it. David noted that it had appeared at some height above
the level of the swamp, at an elevation higher even than that of the
embankment. It was as though the man had been sitting on the limb of
a tree. David crossed the tracks and found that on the side of the
embankment opposite the shed there was solid ground and what once had
been a wharf. He advanced over this cautiously, and as he did so the
clouds disappeared, and in the full light of the moon he saw a bayou
broadening into a river, and made fast to the decayed and rotting wharf
an ocean-going tug. It was from her deck that the man, in lighting his
pipe, had shown his face. At the thought of a warm engine-room and the
company of his fellow creatures, David's heart leaped with pleasure.
He advanced quickly. And then something in the appearance of the tug,
something mysterious, secretive, threatening, caused him to halt. No
lights showed from her engine-room, cabin, or pilot-house. Her decks
were empty. But, as was evidenced by the black smoke that rose from
her funnel, she was awake and awake to some purpose. David stood
uncertainly, questioning whether to make his presence known or return to
the loneliness of the shed. The question was decided for him. He had not
considered that standing in the moonlight he was a conspicuous figure.
The planks of the wharf creaked and a man came toward him. As one who
means to attack, or who fears attack, he approached warily. He wore high
boots, riding breeches, and a sombrero. He was a little man, but his
movements were alert and active. To David he seemed unnecessarily
excited. He thrust himself close against David.

"Who the devil are you?" demanded the man from the tug. "How'd you get
here?"

"I walked," said David.

"Walked?" the man snorted incredulously.

"I took the wrong train," explained David pleasantly. "They put me off
about a mile below here. I walked back to this flag station. I'm going
to wait here for the next train north."

The little man laughed mockingly.

"Oh, no you're not," he said. "If you walked here, you can just walk
away again!" With a sweep of his arm, he made a vigorous and peremptory
gesture.

"You walk!" he commanded.

"I'll do just as I please about that," said David.

As though to bring assistance, the little man started hastily toward the
tug.

"I'll find some one who'll make you walk!" he called. "You WAIT, that's
all, you WAIT!"

David decided not to wait. It was possible the wharf was private
property and he had been trespassing. In any case, at the flag station
the rights of all men were equal, and if he were in for a fight he
judged it best to choose his own battle-ground. He recrossed the tracks
and sat down on his suit case in a dark corner of the shed. Himself
hidden in the shadows he could see in the moonlight the approach of any
other person.

"They're river pirates," said David to himself, "or smugglers. They're
certainly up to some mischief, or why should they object to the presence
of a perfectly harmless stranger?"

Partly with cold, partly with nervousness, David shivered.

"I wish that train would come," he sighed. And instantly? as though in
answer to his wish, from only a short distance down the track he heard
the rumble and creak of approaching cars. In a flash David planned his
course of action.

The thought of spending the night in a swamp infested by alligators and
smugglers had become intolerable. He must escape, and he must escape by
the train now approaching. To that end the train must be stopped. His
plan was simple. The train was moving very, very slowly, and though
he had no lantern to wave, in order to bring it to a halt he need only
stand on the track exposed to the glare of the headlight and wave his
arms. David sprang between the rails and gesticulated wildly. But in
amazement his arms fell to his sides. For the train, now only a hundred
yards distant and creeping toward him at a snail's pace, carried no
head-light, and though in the moonlight David was plainly visible, it
blew no whistle, tolled no bell. Even the passenger coaches in the rear
of the sightless engine were wrapped in darkness. It was a ghost of a
train, a Flying Dutchman of a train, a nightmare of a train. It was as
unreal as the black swamp, as the moss on the dead trees, as the ghostly
tug-boat tied to the rotting wharf.

"Is the place haunted!" exclaimed David.

He was answered by the grinding of brakes and by the train coming to
a sharp halt. And instantly from every side men fell from it to the
ground, and the silence of the night was broken by a confusion of calls
and eager greeting and questions and sharp words of command.

So fascinated was David in the stealthy arrival of the train and in her
mysterious passengers that, until they confronted him, he did not note
the equally stealthy approach of three men. Of these one was the little
man from the tug. With him was a fat, red-faced Irish-American He wore
no coat and his shirt-sleeves were drawn away from his hands by garters
of pink elastic, his derby hat was balanced behind his ears, upon his
right hand flashed an enormous diamond. He looked as though but at that
moment he had stopped sliding glasses across a Bowery bar. The third man
carried the outward marks of a sailor. David believed he was the tallest
man he had ever beheld, but equally remarkable with his height was his
beard and hair, which were of a fierce brick-dust red. Even in the mild
moonlight it flamed like a torch.

"What's your business?" demanded the man with the flamboyant hair.

"I came here," began David, "to wait for a train--"

The tall man bellowed with indignant rage.

"Yes," he shouted; "this is the sort of place any one would pick out to
wait for a train!"

In front of David's nose he shook a fist as large as a catcher's glove.
"Don't you lie to ME!" he bullied. "Do you know who I am? Do you know
WHO you're up against? I'm--"

The barkeeper person interrupted.

"Never mind who you are," he said. "We know that. Find out who HE is."

David turned appealingly to the barkeeper.

"Do you suppose I'd come here on purpose?" he protested. "I'm a
travelling man--"

"You won't travel any to-night," mocked the red-haired one. "You've seen
what you came to see, and all you want now is to get to a Western Union
wire. Well, you don't do it. You don't leave here to-night!"

As though he thought he had been neglected, the little man in
riding-boots pushed forward importantly.

"Tie him to a tree!" he suggested.

"Better take him on board," said the barkeeper, "and send him back by
the pilot. When we're once at sea, he can't hurt us any."

"What makes you think I want to hurt you?" demanded David. "Who do you
think I am?"

"We know who you are," shouted the fiery-headed one. "You're a
blanketty-blank spy! You're a government spy or a Spanish spy, and
whichever you are you don't get away to-night!"

David had not the faintest idea what the man meant, but he knew his
self-respect was being ill-treated, and his self-respect rebelled.

"You have made a very serious mistake," he said, "and whether you like
it or not, I AM leaving here to-night, and YOU can go to the devil!"

Turning his back David started with great dignity to walk away. It was a
short walk. Something hit him below the ear and he found himself curling
up comfortably on the ties. He had a strong desire to sleep, but was
conscious that a bed on a railroad track, on account of trains wanting
to pass, was unsafe. This doubt did not long disturb him. His head
rolled against the steel rail, his limbs relaxed. From a great distance,
and in a strange sing-song he heard the voice of the barkeeper saying,
"Nine--ten--and OUT!"

When David came to his senses his head was resting on a coil of rope. In
his ears was the steady throb of an engine, and in his eyes the glare of
a lantern. The lantern was held by a pleasant-faced youth in a golf
cap who was smiling sympathetically. David rose on his elbow and gazed
wildly about him. He was in the bow of the ocean-going tug, and he saw
that from where he lay in the bow to her stern her decks were packed
with men. She was steaming swiftly down a broad river. On either side
the gray light that comes before the dawn showed low banks studded with
stunted palmettos. Close ahead David heard the roar of the surf.

"Sorry to disturb you," said the youth in the golf cap, "but we drop the
pilot in a few minutes and you're going with him."

David moved his aching head gingerly, and was conscious of a bump as
large as a tennis ball behind his right ear.

"What happened to me?" he demanded.

"You were sort of kidnapped, I guess," laughed the young man. "It was a
raw deal, but they couldn't take any chances. The pilot will land you at
Okra Point. You can hire a rig there to take you to the railroad."

"But why?" demanded David indignantly. "Why was I kidnapped? What had I
done? Who were those men who--"

From the pilot-house there was a sharp jangle of bells to the
engine-room, and the speed of the tug slackened.

"Come on," commanded the young man briskly. "The pilot's going ashore.
Here's your grip, here's your hat. The ladder's on the port side. Look
where you're stepping. We can't show any lights, and it's dark as--"

But, even as he spoke, like a flash of powder, as swiftly as one throws
an electric switch, as blindingly as a train leaps from the tunnel into
the glaring sun, the darkness vanished and the tug was swept by the
fierce, blatant radiance of a search-light.

It was met by shrieks from two hundred throats, by screams, oaths,
prayers, by the sharp jangling of bells, by the blind rush of many men
scurrying like rats for a hole to hide in, by the ringing orders of one
man. Above the tumult this one voice rose like the warning strokes of a
fire-gong, and looking up to the pilot-house from whence the voice came,
David saw the barkeeper still in his shirt-sleeves and with his derby
hat pushed back behind his ears, with one hand clutching the telegraph
to the engine-room, with the other holding the spoke of the wheel.

David felt the tug, like a hunter taking a fence, rise in a great leap.
Her bow sank and rose, tossing the water from her in black, oily waves,
the smoke poured from her funnel, from below her engines sobbed and
quivered, and like a hound freed from a leash she raced for the open
sea. But swiftly as she fled, as a thief is held in the circle of a
policeman's bull's-eye, the shaft of light followed and exposed her and
held her in its grip. The youth in the golf cap was clutching David by
the arm. With his free hand he pointed down the shaft of light. So great
was the tumult that to be heard he brought his lips close to David's
ear.

"That's the revenue cutter!" he shouted. "She's been laying for us for
three weeks, and now," he shrieked exultingly, "the old man's going to
give her a race for it."

From excitement, from cold, from alarm, David's nerves were getting
beyond his control.

"But how," he demanded, "how do I get ashore?"

"You don't!"

"When he drops the pilot, don't I--"

"How can he drop the pilot?" yelled the youth. "The pilot's got to stick
by the boat. So have you."

David clutched the young man and swung him so that they stood face to
face.

"Stick by what boat?" yelled David. "Who are these men? Who are you?
What boat is this?"

In the glare of the search-light David saw the eyes of the youth staring
at him as though he feared he were in the clutch of a madman. Wrenching
himself free, the youth pointed at the pilot-house. Above it on a blue
board in letters of gold-leaf a foot high was the name of the tug. As
David read it his breath left him, a finger of ice passed slowly down
his spine. The name he read was The Three Friends.

"THE THREE FRIENDS!" shrieked David. "She's a filibuster! She's a
pirate! Where're we going?

"To Cuba!"

David emitted a howl of anguish, rage, and protest.

"What for?" he shrieked.

The young man regarded him coldly.

"To pick bananas," he said.

"I won't go to Cuba," shouted David. "I've got to work! I'm paid to sell
machinery. I demand to be put ashore. I'll lose my job if I'm not put
ashore. I'll sue you! I'll have the law--"

David found himself suddenly upon his knees. His first thought was that
the ship had struck a rock, and then that she was bumping herself over a
succession of coral reefs. She dipped, dived, reared, and plunged.
Like a hooked fish, she flung herself in the air, quivering from bow to
stern. No longer was David of a mind to sue the filibusters if they did
not put him ashore. If only they had put him ashore, in gratitude he
would have crawled on his knees. What followed was of no interest to
David, nor to many of the filibusters, nor to any of the Cuban patriots.
Their groans of self-pity, their prayers and curses in eloquent Spanish,
rose high above the crash of broken crockery and the pounding of the
waves. Even when the search-light gave way to a brilliant sunlight
the circumstance was unobserved by David. Nor was he concerned in the
tidings brought forward by the youth in the golf cap, who raced the
slippery decks and vaulted the prostrate forms as sure-footedly as a
hurdler on a cinder track. To David, in whom he seemed to think he had
found a congenial spirit, he shouted Joyfully, "She's fired two blanks
at us!" he cried; "now she's firing cannon-balls!"

"Thank God," whispered David; "perhaps she'll sink us!"

But The Three Friends showed her heels to the revenue cutter, and so far
as David knew hours passed into days and days into weeks. It was like
those nightmares in which in a minute one is whirled through centuries
of fear and torment. Sometimes, regardless of nausea, of his aching
head, of the hard deck, of the waves that splashed and smothered
him, David fell into broken slumber. Sometimes he woke to a dull
consciousness of his position. At such moments he added to his misery by
speculating upon the other misfortunes that might have befallen him
on shore. Emily, he decided, had given him up for lost and
married--probably a navy officer in command of a battle-ship. Burdett
and Sons had cast him off forever. Possibly his disappearance had
caused them to suspect him; even now they might be regarding him as
a defaulter, as a fugitive from justice. His accounts, no doubt, were
being carefully overhauled. In actual time, two days and two nights had
passed; to David it seemed many ages.

On the third day he crawled to the stern, where there seemed less
motion, and finding a boat's cushion threw it in the lee scupper and
fell upon it. From time to time the youth in the golf cap had brought
him food and drink, and he now appeared from the cook's galley bearing a
bowl of smoking soup.

David considered it a doubtful attention.

But he said, "You're very kind. How did a fellow like you come to mix up
with these pirates?"

The youth laughed good-naturedly.

"They're not pirates, they're patriots," he said, "and I'm not mixed
up with them. My name is Henry Carr and I'm a guest of Jimmy Doyle, the
captain."

"The barkeeper with the derby hat?" said David.

"He's not a barkeeper, he's a teetotaler," Carr corrected, "and he's the
greatest filibuster alive. He knows these waters as you know Broadway,
and he's the salt of the earth. I did him a favor once; sort of
mouse-helping-the-lion idea. Just through dumb luck I found out about
this expedition. The government agents in New York found out I'd found
out and sent for me to tell. But I didn't, and I didn't write the story
either. Doyle heard about that. So, he asked me to come as his guest,
and he's promised that after he's landed the expedition and the arms I
can write as much about it as I darn please."

"Then you're a reporter?" said David.

"I'm what we call a cub reporter," laughed Carr. "You see, I've always
dreamed of being a war correspondent. The men in the office say I dream
too much. They're always guying me about it. But, haven't you noticed,
it's the ones who dream who find their dreams come true. Now this isn't
real war, but it's a near war, and when the real thing breaks loose,
I can tell the managing editor I served as a war correspondent in the
Cuban-Spanish campaign. And he may give me a real job!"

"And you LIKE this?" groaned David.

"I wouldn't, if I were as sick as you are," said Carr, "but I've a
stomach like a Harlem goat." He stooped and lowered his voice. "Now,
here are two fake filibusters," he whispered. "The men you read about in
the newspapers. If a man's a REAL filibuster, nobody knows it!"

Coming toward them was the tall man who had knocked David out, and the
little one who had wanted to tie him to a tree.

"All they ask," whispered Carr, "is money and advertisement. If they
knew I was a reporter, they'd eat out of my hand. The tall man calls
himself Lighthouse Harry. He once kept a light-house on the Florida
coast, and that's as near to the sea as he ever got. The other one is
a dare-devil calling himself Colonel Beamish. He says he's an English
officer, and a soldier of fortune, and that he's been in eighteen
battles. Jimmy says he's never been near enough to a battle to see the
red-cross flags on the base hospital. But they've fooled these Cubans.
The Junta thinks they're great fighters, and it's sent them down here
to work the machine guns. But I'm afraid the only fighting they will do
will be in the sporting columns, and not in the ring."

A half dozen sea-sick Cubans were carrying a heavy, oblong box. They
dropped it not two yards from where David lay, and with a screwdriver
Lighthouse Harry proceeded to open the lid.

Carr explained to David that The Three Friends was approaching that part
of the coast of Cuba on which she had arranged to land her expedition,
and that in case she was surprised by one of the Spanish patrol boats
she was preparing to defend herself.

"They've got an automatic gun in that crate," said Carr, "and they're
going to assemble it. You'd better move; they'll be tramping all over
you."

David shook his head feebly.

"I can't move!" he protested. "I wouldn't move if it would free Cuba."

For several hours with very languid interest David watched Lighthouse
Harry and Colonel Beamish screw a heavy tripod to the deck and balance
above it a quick-firing one-pounder. They worked very slowly, and to
David, watching them from the lee scupper, they appeared extremely
unintelligent.

"I don't believe either of those thugs put an automatic gun together
in his life," he whispered to Carr. "I never did, either, but I've put
hundreds of automatic punches together, and I bet that gun won't work."

"What's wrong with it?" said Carr.

Before David could summon sufficient energy to answer, the attention of
all on board was diverted, and by a single word.

Whether the word is whispered apologetically by the smoking-room steward
to those deep in bridge, or shrieked from the tops of a sinking ship it
never quite fails of its effect. A sweating stoker from the engine-room
saw it first.

"Land!" he hailed.

The sea-sick Cubans raised themselves and swung their hats; their voices
rose in a fierce chorus.

"Cuba libre!" they yelled.

The sun piercing the morning mists had uncovered a coast-line broken
with bays and inlets. Above it towered green hills, the peak of each
topped by a squat blockhouse; in the valleys and water courses like
columns of marble rose the royal palms.

"You MUST look!" Carr entreated David, "it's just as it is in the
pictures!

"Then I don't have to look," groaned David.

The Three Friends was making for a point of land that curved like a
sickle. On the inside of the sickle was Nipe Bay. On the opposite shore
of that broad harbor at the place of rendezvous a little band of Cubans
waited to receive the filibusters. The goal was in sight. The dreadful
voyage was done. Joy and excitement thrilled the ship's company. Cuban
patriots appeared in uniforms with Cuban flags pinned in the brims of
their straw sombreros. From the hold came boxes of small-arm ammunition
of Mausers, rifles, machetes, and saddles. To protect the landing a box
of shells was placed in readiness beside the one-pounder.

"In two hours, if we have smooth water," shouted Lighthouse Harry,
"we ought to get all of this on shore. And then, all I ask," he cried
mightily, "is for some one to kindly show me a Spaniard!"

His heart's desire was instantly granted. He was shown not only one
Spaniard, but several Spaniards. They were on the deck of one of the
fastest gun-boats of the Spanish navy. Not a mile from The Three
Friends she sprang from the cover of a narrow inlet. She did not signal
questions or extend courtesies. For her the name of the ocean-going tug
was sufficient introduction. Throwing ahead of her a solid shell, she
raced in pursuit, and as The Three Friends leaped to full speed there
came from the gun-boat the sharp dry crackle of Mausers.

With an explosion of terrifying oaths Lighthouse Harry thrust a shell
into the breech of the quick-firing gun. Without waiting to aim it, he
tugged at the trigger. Nothing happened! He threw open the breech and
gazed impotently at the base of the shell. It was untouched. The ship
was ringing with cries of anger, of hate, with rat-like squeaks of fear.

Above the heads of the filibusters a shell screamed and within a hundred
feet splashed into a wave.

From his mat in the lee scupper David groaned miserably. He was far
removed from any of the greater emotions.

"It's no use!" he protested. "They can't do! It's not connected!"

"WHAT'S not connected?" yelled Carr. He fell upon David. He half-lifted,
half-dragged him to his feet.

"If you know what's wrong with that gun, you fix it! Fix it," he
shouted, "or I'll--"

David was not concerned with the vengeance Carr threatened. For, on
the instant a miracle had taken place. With the swift insidiousness
of morphine, peace ran through his veins, soothed his racked body, his
jangled nerves. The Three Friends had made the harbor, and was gliding
through water flat as a pond. But David did not know why the change had
come. He knew only that his soul and body were at rest, that the sun was
shining, that he had passed through the valley of the shadow, and once
more was a sane, sound young man.

With a savage thrust of the shoulder he sent Lighthouse Harry sprawling
from the gun. With swift, practised fingers he fell upon its mechanism.
He wrenched it apart. He lifted it, reset, readjusted it.

Ignorant themselves, those about him saw that he understood, saw that
his work was good.

They raised a joyous, defiant cheer. But a shower of bullets drove them
to cover, bullets that ripped the deck, splintered the superstructure,
smashed the glass in the air ports, like angry wasps sang in a
continuous whining chorus. Intent only on the gun, David worked
feverishly. He swung to the breech, locked it, and dragged it open,
pulled on the trigger and found it gave before his forefinger.

He shouted with delight.

"I've got it working," he yelled.

He turned to his audience, but his audience had fled. From beneath one
of the life-boats protruded the riding-boots of Colonel Beamish, the
tall form of Lighthouse Harry was doubled behind a water butt. A shell
splashed to port, a shell splashed to starboard. For an instant David
stood staring wide-eyed at the greyhound of a boat that ate up the
distance between them, at the jets of smoke and stabs of flame that
sprang from her bow, at the figures crouched behind her gunwale, firing
in volleys.

To David it came suddenly, convincingly, that in a dream he had lived
it all before, and something like raw poison stirred in David, something
leaped to his throat and choked him, something rose in his brain and
made him see scarlet. He felt rather than saw young Carr kneeling at the
box of ammunition, and holding a shell toward him. He heard the click
as the breech shut, felt the rubber tire of the brace give against
the weight of his shoulder, down a long shining tube saw the pursuing
gun-boat, saw her again and many times disappear behind a flash of
flame. A bullet gashed his forehead, a bullet passed deftly through his
forearm, but he did not heed them. Confused with the thrashing of the
engines, with the roar of the gun he heard a strange voice shrieking
unceasingly:

"Cuba libre!" it yelled. "To hell with Spain!" and he found that the
voice was his own.

The story lost nothing in the way Carr wrote it.

"And the best of it is," he exclaimed joyfully, "it's true!"

For a Spanish gun-boat HAD been crippled and forced to run herself
aground by a tug-boat manned by Cuban patriots, and by a single gun
served by one man, and that man an American. It was the first sea-fight
of the war. Over night a Cuban navy had been born, and into the
limelight a cub reporter had projected a new "hero," a ready-made,
warranted-not-to-run, popular idol.

They were seated in the pilot-house, "Jimmy" Doyle, Carr, and David, the
patriots and their arms had been safely dumped upon the coast of Cuba,
and The Three Friends was gliding swiftly and, having caught the Florida
straits napping, smoothly toward Key West. Carr had just finished
reading aloud his account of the engagement.

"You will tell the story just as I have written it," commanded the proud
author. "Your being South as a travelling salesman was only a blind.
You came to volunteer for this expedition. Before you could explain your
wish you were mistaken for a secret-service man, and hustled on board.
That was just where you wanted to be, and when the moment arrived you
took command of the ship and single-handed won the naval battle of Nipe
Bay."

Jimmy Doyle nodded his head approvingly. "You certainty did, Dave,"
protested the great man, "I seen you when you done it!"

At Key West Carr filed his story and while the hospital surgeons kept
David there over one steamer, to dress his wounds, his fame and features
spread across the map of the United States.

Burdett and Sons basked in reflected glory. Reporters besieged their
office. At the Merchants Down-Town Club the business men of lower
Broadway tendered congratulations.

"Of course, it's a great surprise to us," Burdett and Sons would protest
and wink heavily. "Of course, when the boy asked to be sent South we'd
no idea he was planning to fight for Cuba! Or we wouldn't have let him
go, would we?" Then again they would wink heavily. "I suppose you know,"
they would say, "that he's a direct descendant of General Hiram Greene,
who won the battle of Trenton. What I say is, 'Blood will tell!'" And
then in a body every one in the club would move against the bar and
exclaim: "Here's to Cuba libre!"

When the Olivette from Key West reached Tampa Bay every Cuban in the
Tampa cigar factories was at the dock. There were thousands of them and
all of the Junta, in high hats, to read David an address of welcome.

And, when they saw him at the top of the gang-plank with his head in a
bandage and his arm in a sling, like a mob of maniacs they howled and
surged toward him. But before they could reach their hero the courteous
Junta forced them back, and cleared a pathway for a young girl. She was
travel-worn and pale, her shirt-waist was disgracefully wrinkled, her
best hat was a wreck. No one on Broadway would have recognized her as
Burdett and Sons' most immaculate and beautiful stenographer.

She dug the shapeless hat into David's shoulder, and clung to him.
"David!" she sobbed, "promise me you'll never, never do it again!"



Chapter 5. THE SAILORMAN

Before Latimer put him on watch, the Nantucket sailorman had not a care
in the world. If the wind blew from the north, he spun to the left; if
it came from the south, he spun to the right. But it was entirely
the wind that was responsible. So, whichever way he turned, he smiled
broadly, happily. His outlook upon the world was that of one who loved
his fellowman. He had many brothers as like him as twins all over
Nantucket and Cape Cod and the North Shore, smiling from the railings of
verandas, from the roofs of bungalows, from the eaves of summer palaces.
Empaled on their little iron uprights, each sailorman whirled--sometimes
languidly, like a great lady revolving to the slow measures of a waltz,
sometimes so rapidly that he made you quite dizzy, and had he not been
a sailorman with a heart of oak and a head and stomach of pine, he
would have been quite seasick. But the particular sailorman that Latimer
bought for Helen Page and put on sentry duty carried on his shoulders
most grave and unusual responsibilities. He was the guardian of a buried
treasure, the keeper of the happiness of two young people. It was really
asking a great deal of a care-free, happy-go-lucky weather-vane.

Every summer from Boston Helen Page's people had been coming to Fair
Harbor. They knew it when what now is the polo field was their cow
pasture. And whether at the age of twelve or of twenty or more, Helen
Page ruled Fair Harbor. When she arrived the "season" opened; when she
departed the local trades-people sighed and began to take account of
stock. She was so popular because she possessed charm, and because she
played no favorites. To the grooms who held the ponies on the sidelines
her manner was just as simple and interested as it was to the gilded
youths who came to win the championship cups and remained to try to win
Helen. She was just as genuinely pleased to make a four at tennis with
the "kids" as to take tea on the veranda of the club-house with the
matrons. To each her manner was always as though she were of their age.
When she met the latter on the beach road, she greeted them riotously
and joyfully by their maiden names. And the matrons liked it. In
comparison the deference shown them by the other young women did not so
strongly appeal.

"When I'm jogging along in my station wagon," said one of them, "and
Helen shrieks and waves at me from her car, I feel as though I were
twenty, and I believe that she is really sorry I am not sitting beside
her, instead of that good-looking Latimer man, who never wears a hat.
Why does he never wear a hat? Because he knows he's good-looking, or
because Helen drives so fast he can't keep it on?"

"Does he wear a hat when he is not with Helen?" asked the new arrival.
"That might help some."

"We will never know," exclaimed the young matron; "he never leaves her."

This was so true that it had become a public scandal. You met them
so many times a day driving together, motoring together, playing golf
together, that you were embarrassed for them and did not know which way
to look. But they gloried in their shame. If you tactfully pretended not
to see them, Helen shouted at you. She made you feel you had been caught
doing something indelicate and underhand.

The mothers of Fair Harbor were rather slow in accepting young
Latimer. So many of their sons had seen Helen shake her head in that
inarticulate, worried way, and look so sorry for them, that any strange
young man who apparently succeeded where those who had been her friends
for years had learned they must remain friends, could not hope to escape
criticism. Besides, they did not know him: he did not come from Boston
and Harvard, but from a Western city. They were told that at home, at
both the law and the game of politics, he worked hard and successfully;
but it was rather held against him by the youth of Fair Harbor that
he played at there games, not so much for the sake of the game as for
exercise. He put aside many things, such as whiskey and soda at two in
the morning, and bridge all afternoon, with the remark: "I find it does
not tend toward efficiency." It was a remark that irritated and, to the
minds of the men at the country clubs, seemed to place him. They liked
to play polo because they liked to play polo, not because it kept their
muscles limber and their brains clear.

"Some Western people were telling me," said one of the matrons, "that he
wants to be the next lieutenant-governor. They say he is very ambitious
and very selfish."

"Any man is selfish," protested one who for years had attempted to marry
Helen, "who wants to keep Helen to himself. But that he should wish to
be a lieutenant-governor, too, is rather an anticlimax. It makes one
lose sympathy."

Latimer went on his way without asking any sympathy. The companionship
of Helen Page was quite sufficient. He had been working overtime and was
treating himself to his first vacation in years--he was young--he was
in love and he was very happy. Nor was there any question, either, that
Helen Page was happy. Those who had known her since she was a child
could not remember when she had not been happy, but these days she wore
her joyousness with a difference. It was in her eyes, in her greetings
to old friends: it showed itself hourly in courtesies and kindnesses.
She was very kind to Latimer, too. She did not deceive him. She told him
she liked better to be with him than with any one else,--it would have
been difficult to deny to him what was apparent to an entire summer
colony,--but she explained that that did not mean she would marry him.
She announced this when the signs she knew made it seem necessary. She
announced it in what was for her a roundabout way, by remarking suddenly
that she did not intend to marry for several years.

This brought Latimer to his feet and called forth from him remarks so
eloquent that Helen found it very difficult to keep her own. She as
though she had been caught in an undertow and was being whirled out to
sea. When, at last, she had regained her breath, only because Latimer
had paused to catch his, she shook her head miserably.

"The trouble is," she complained, "there are so many think the same
thing!"

"What do they think?" demanded Latimer.

"That they want to marry me."

Checked but not discouraged, Latimer attacked in force.

"I can quite believe that," he agreed, "but there's this important
difference: no matter how much a man wants to marry you, he can't LOVE
you as I do!"

"That's ANOTHER thing they think," sighed Helen.

"I'm sorry to be so unoriginal," snapped Latimer.

"PLEASE don't!" pleaded Helen. "I don't mean to be unfeeling. I'm not
unfeeling. I'm only trying to be fair. If I don't seem to take it to
heart, it's because I know it does no good. I can see how miserable
a girl must be if she is loved by one man and can't make up her mind
whether or not she wants to marry him. But when there's so many she just
stops worrying; for she can't possibly marry them all."

"ALL!" exclaimed Latimer. "It is incredible that I have undervalued you,
but may I ask how many there are?"

"I don't know," sighed Helen miserably. "There seems to be something
about me that--"

"There is!" interrupted Latimer. "I've noticed it. You don't have to
tell me about it. I know that the Helen Page habit is a damned difficult
habit to break!"

It cannot be said that he made any violent effort to break it. At least,
not one that was obvious to Fair Harbor or to Helen.

One of their favorite drives was through the pine woods to the point on
which stood the lighthouse, and on one of these excursions they explored
a forgotten wood road and came out upon a cliff. The cliff overlooked
the sea, and below it was a jumble of rocks with which the waves played
hide and seek. On many afternoons and mornings they returned to this
place, and, while Latimer read to her, Helen would sit with her back
to a tree and toss pine-cones into the water. Sometimes the poets whose
works he read made love so charmingly that Latimer was most grateful to
them for rendering such excellent first aid to the wounded, and into
his voice he would throw all that feeling and music that from juries and
mass meetings had dragged tears and cheers and votes.

But when his voice became so appealing that it no longer was possible
for any woman to resist it, Helen would exclaim excitedly: "Please
excuse me for interrupting, but there is a large spider--" and the spell
was gone.

One day she exclaimed: "Oh!" and Latimer patiently lowered the "Oxford
Book of Verse," and asked: "What is it, NOW?"

"I'm so sorry," Helen said, "but I can't help watching that Chapman boy;
he's only got one reef in, and the next time he jibs he'll capsize, and
he can't swim, and he'll drown. I told his mother only yesterday--"

"I haven't the least interest in the Chapman boy," said Latimer, "or in
what you told his mother, or whether he drowns or not! I'm a drowning
man myself!"

Helen shook her head firmly and reprovingly. "Men get over THAT kind of
drowning," she said.

"Not THIS kind of man doesn't!" said Latimer. "And don't tell me," he
cried indignantly, "that that's ANOTHER thing they all say."

"If one could only be sure!" sighed Helen. "If one could only be sure
that you--that the right man would keep on caring after you marry him
the way he says he cares before you marry him. If you could know that,
it would help you a lot in making up your mind."

"There is only one way to find that out," said Latimer; "that is to
marry him. I mean, of course," he corrected hastily, "to marry me."

One day, when on their way to the cliff at the end of the wood road, the
man who makes the Nantucket sailor and peddles him passed through the
village; and Latimer bought the sailorman and carried him to their
hiding-place. There he fastened him to the lowest limb of one of the
ancient pine-trees that helped to screen their hiding-place from the
world. The limb reached out free of the other branches, and the wind
caught the sailorman fairly and spun him like a dancing dervish. Then it
tired of him, and went off to try to drown the Chapman boy, leaving the
sailorman motionless with his arms outstretched, balancing in each hand
a tiny oar and smiling happily.

"He has a friendly smile," said Helen; "I think he likes us."

"He is on guard," Latimer explained. "I put him there to warn us if
any one approaches, and when we are not here, he is to frighten away
trespassers. Do you understand?" he demanded of the sailorman. "Your
duty is to protect this beautiful lady. So long as I love her you must
guard this place. It is a life sentence. You are always on watch. You
never sleep. You are her slave. She says you have a friendly smile. She
wrongs you. It is a beseeching, abject, worshipping smile. I am sure
when I look at her mine is equally idiotic. In fact, we are in many ways
alike. I also am her slave. I also am devoted only to her service. And I
never sleep, at least not since I met her."

From her throne among the pine needles Helen looked up at the sailorman
and frowned.

"It is not a happy simile," she objected. "For one thing, a sailorman
has a sweetheart in every port."

"Wait and see," said Latimer.

"And," continued the girl with some asperity, "if there is anything on
earth that changes its mind as often as a weather-vane, that is less
CERTAIN, less CONSTANT--"

"Constant?" Latimer laughed at her in open scorn. "You come back here,"
he challenged, "months from now, years from now, when the winds have
beaten him, and the sun blistered him, and the snow frozen him, and you
will find him smiling at you just as he is now, just as confidently,
proudly, joyously, devotedly. Because those who are your slaves, those
who love YOU, cannot come to any harm; only if you disown them, only if
you drive them away!"

The sailorman, delighted at such beautiful language, threw himself about
in a delirium of joy. His arms spun in their sockets like Indian clubs,
his oars flashed in the sun, and his eyes and lips were fixed in one
blissful, long-drawn-out, unalterable smile.

When the golden-rod turned gray, and the leaves red and yellow, and it
was time for Latimer to return to his work in the West, he came to say
good-by. But the best Helen could do to keep hope alive in him was to
say that she was glad he cared. She added it was very helpful to think
that a man such as he believed you were so fine a person, and during the
coming winter she would try to be like the fine person he believed her
to be, but which, she assured him, she was not.

Then he told her again she was the most wonderful being in the world, to
which she said: "Oh, indeed no!" and then, as though he were giving her
a cue, he said: "Good-by!" But she did not take up his cue, and they
shook hands. He waited, hardly daring to breathe.

"Surely, now that the parting has come," he assured himself, "she will
make some sign, she will give me a word, a look that will write 'total'
under the hours we have spent together, that will help to carry me
through the long winter."

But he held her hand so long and looked at her so hungrily that
he really forced her to say: "Don't miss your train," which kind
consideration for his comfort did not delight him as it should. Nor,
indeed, later did she herself recall the remark with satisfaction.

With Latimer out of the way the other two hundred and forty-nine suitor
attacked with renewed hope. Among other advantages they had over Latimer
was that they were on the ground. They saw Helen daily, at dinners,
dances, at the country clubs, in her own drawing-room. Like any sailor
from the Charlestown Navy Yard and his sweetheart, they could walk
beside her in the park and throw peanuts to the pigeons, and scratch
dates and initials on the green benches; they could walk with her up one
side of Commonwealth Avenue and down the south bank of the Charles, when
the sun was gilding the dome of the State House, when the bridges were
beginning to deck themselves with necklaces of lights. They had known
her since they wore knickerbockers; and they shared many interests and
friends in common; they talked the same language. Latimer could talk to
her only in letters, for with her he shared no friends or interests,
and he was forced to choose between telling her of his lawsuits and
his efforts in politics or of his love. To write to her of his affairs
seemed wasteful and impertinent, and of his love for her, after she had
received what he told of it in silence, he was too proud to speak. So he
wrote but seldom, and then only to say: "You know what I send you." Had
he known it, his best letters were those he did not send. When in the
morning mail Helen found his familiar handwriting, that seemed to stand
out like the face of a friend in a crowd, she would pounce upon
the letter, read it, and, assured of his love, would go on her way
rejoicing. But when in the morning there was no letter, she wondered
why, and all day she wondered why. And the next morning when again
she was disappointed, her thoughts of Latimer and her doubts and
speculations concerning him shut out every other interest. He became a
perplexing, insistent problem. He was never out of her mind. And then he
would spoil it all by writing her that he loved her and that of all the
women in the world she was the only one. And, reassured upon that point,
Helen happily and promptly would forget all about him.

But when she remembered him, although months had passed since she had
seen him, she remembered him much more distinctly, much more gratefully,
than that one of the two hundred and fifty with whom she had walked that
same afternoon. Latimer could not know it, but of that anxious multitude
he was first, and there was no second. At least Helen hoped, when she
was ready to marry, she would love Latimer enough to want to marry him.
But as yet she assured herself she did not want to marry any one. As she
was, life was very satisfactory. Everybody loved her, everybody invited
her to be of his party, or invited himself to join hers, and the object
of each seemed to be to see that she enjoyed every hour of every day.
Her nature was such that to make her happy was not difficult. Some of
her devotees could do it by giving her a dance and letting her invite
half of Boston, and her kid brother could do it by taking her to
Cambridge to watch the team at practice.

She thought she was happy because she was free. As a matter of fact, she
was happy because she loved some one and that particular some one loved
her. Her being "free" was only her mistaken way of putting it. Had she
thought she had lost Latimer and his love, she would have discovered
that, so far from being free, she was bound hand and foot and heart and
soul.

But she did not know that, and Latimer did not know that.

Meanwhile, from the branch of the tree in the sheltered, secret
hiding-place that overlooked the ocean, the sailorman kept watch. The
sun had blistered him, the storms had buffeted him, the snow had frozen
upon his shoulders. But his loyalty never relaxed. He spun to the
north, he spun to the south, and so rapidly did he scan the surrounding
landscape that no one could hope to creep upon him unawares. Nor,
indeed, did any one attempt to do so. Once a fox stole into the secret
hiding-place, but the sailorman flapped his oars and frightened him
away. He was always triumphant. To birds, to squirrels, to trespassing
rabbits he was a thing of terror. Once, when the air was still, an
impertinent crow perched on the very limb on which he stood, and with
scornful, disapproving eyes surveyed his white trousers, his blue
reefer, his red cheeks. But when the wind suddenly drove past them the
sailorman sprang into action and the crow screamed in alarm and darted
away. So, alone and with no one to come to his relief, the sailorman
stood his watch. About him the branches bent with the snow, the icicles
froze him into immobility, and in the tree-tops strange groanings filled
him with alarms. But undaunted, month after month, alert and smiling,
he waited the return of the beautiful lady and of the tall young man who
had devoured her with such beseeching, unhappy eyes.

Latimer found that to love a woman like Helen Page as he loved her was
the best thing that could come into his life. But to sit down and lament
over the fact that she did not love him did not, to use his favorite
expression, "tend toward efficiency." He removed from his sight the
three pictures of her he had cut from illustrated papers, and ceased to
write to her.

In his last letter he said: "I have told you how it is, and that is how
it is always going to be. There never has been, there never can be any
one but you. But my love is too precious, too sacred to be brought
out every week in a letter and dangled before your eyes like an
advertisement of a motor-car. It is too wonderful a thing to be
cheapened, to be subjected to slights and silence. If ever you should
want it, it is yours. It is here waiting. But you must tell me so. I
have done everything a man can do to make you understand. But you do not
want me or my love. And my love says to me: 'Don't send me there
again to have the door shut in my face. Keep me with you to be your
inspiration, to help you to live worthily.' And so it shall be."

When Helen read that letter she did not know what to do. She did not
know how to answer it. Her first impression was that suddenly she had
grown very old, and that some one had turned off the sun, and that in
consequence the world had naturally grown cold and dark. She could not
see why the two hundred and forty-nine expected her to keep on doing
exactly the same things she had been doing with delight for six months,
and indeed for the last six years. Why could they not see that no longer
was there any pleasure in them? She would have written and told Latimer
that she found she loved him very dearly if in her mind there had not
arisen a fearful doubt. Suppose his letter was not quite honest? He
said that he would always love her, but how could she now know that?
Why might not this letter be only his way of withdrawing from a position
which he wished to abandon, from which, perhaps, he was even glad to
escape? Were this true, and she wrote and said all those things that
were in her heart, that now she knew were true, might she not hold him
to her against his will? The love that once he had for her might no
longer exist, and if, in her turn, she told him she loved him and had
always loved him, might he not in some mistaken spirit of chivalry feel
it was his duty to pretend to care? Her cheeks burned at the thought. It
was intolerable. She could not write that letter. And as day succeeded
day, to do so became more difficult. And so she never wrote and was very
unhappy. And Latimer was very unhappy. But he had his work, and Helen
had none, and for her life became a game of putting little things
together, like a picture puzzle, an hour here and an hour there, to make
up each day. It was a dreary game.

From time to time she heard of him through the newspapers. For, in his
own State, he was an "Insurgent" making a fight, the outcome of which
was expected to show what might follow throughout the entire West.
When he won his fight much more was written about him, and he became
a national figure. In his own State the people hailed him as the next
governor, promised him a seat in the Senate. To Helen this seemed to
take him further out of her life. She wondered if now she held a place
even in his thoughts.

At Fair Harbor the two hundred and forty-nine used to joke with her
about her politician. Then they considered Latimer of importance only
because Helen liked him. Now they discussed him impersonally and over
her head, as though she were not present, as a power, an influence,
as the leader and exponent of a new idea. They seemed to think she
no longer could pretend to any peculiar claim upon him, that now he
belonged to all of them.

Older men would say to her: "I hear you know Latimer? What sort of a man
is he?"

Helen would not know what to tell them. She could not say he was a man
who sat with his back to a pine-tree, reading from a book of verse, or
halting to devour her with humble, entreating eyes.

She went South for the winter, the doctors deciding she was run down
and needed the change. And with an unhappy laugh at her own expense she
agreed in their diagnosis. She was indifferent as to where they sent
her, for she knew wherever she went she must still force herself to
go on putting one hour on top of another, until she had built up the
inexorable and necessary twenty-four.

When she returned winter was departing, but reluctantly, and returning
unexpectedly to cover the world with snow, to eclipse the thin spring
sunshine with cheerless clouds. Helen took herself seriously to task.
She assured herself it was weak-minded to rebel. The summer was coming
and Fair Harbor with all its old delights was before her. She compelled
herself to take heart, to accept the fact that, after all, the world is
a pretty good place, and that to think only of the past, to live only on
memories and regrets, was not only cowardly and selfish, but, as Latimer
had already decided, did not tend toward efficiency.

Among the other rules of conduct that she imposed upon herself was not
to think of Latimer. At least, not during the waking hours. Should she,
as it sometimes happened, dream of him--should she imagine they were
again seated among the pines, riding across the downs, or racing at
fifty miles an hour through country roads, with the stone fences flying
past, with the wind and the sun in their eyes, and in their hearts
happiness and content--that would not be breaking her rule. If she
dreamed of him, she could not be held responsible. She could only be
grateful.

And then, just as she had banished him entirely from her mind, he came
East. Not as once he had planned to come, only to see her, but with
a blare of trumpets, at the command of many citizens, as the guest of
three cities. He was to speak at public meetings, to confer with party
leaders, to carry the war into the enemy's country. He was due to speak
in Boston at Faneuil Hall on the first of May, and that same night to
leave for the West, and three days before his coming Helen fled from the
city. He had spoken his message to Philadelphia, he had spoken to New
York, and for a week the papers had spoken only of him. And for that
week, from the sight of his printed name, from sketches of him exhorting
cheering mobs, from snap-shots of him on rear platforms leaning forward
to grasp eager hands, Helen had shut her eyes. And that during the
time he was actually in Boston she might spare herself further and more
direct attacks upon her feelings she escaped to Fair Harbor, there to
remain until, on the first of May at midnight, he again would pass out
of her life, maybe forever. No one saw in her going any significance.
Spring had come, and in preparation for the summer season the house at
Fair Harbor must be opened and set in order, and the presence there of
some one of the Page family was easily explained.

She made the three hours' run to Fair Harbor in her car, driving it
herself, and as the familiar landfalls fell into place, she doubted if
it would not have been wiser had she stayed away. For she found that the
memories of more than twenty summers at Fair Harbor had been wiped out
by those of one summer, by those of one man. The natives greeted her
joyously: the boatmen, the fishermen, her own grooms and gardeners, the
village postmaster, the oldest inhabitant. They welcomed her as though
they were her vassals and she their queen. But it was the one man she
had exiled from Fair Harbor who at every turn wrung her heart and caused
her throat to tighten. She passed the cottage where he had lodged, and
hundreds of years seemed to have gone since she used to wait for him in
the street, blowing noisily on her automobile horn, calling derisively
to his open windows. Wherever she turned Fair Harbor spoke of him. The
golf-links; the bathing beach; the ugly corner in the main street where
he always reminded her that it was better to go slow for ten seconds
than to remain a long time dead; the old house on the stone wharf where
the schooners made fast, which he intended to borrow for his honeymoon;
the wooden trough where they always drew rein to water the ponies; the
pond into which he had waded to bring her lilies.

On the second day of her stay she found she was passing these places
purposely, that to do so she was going out of her way. They no longer
distressed her, but gave her a strange comfort. They were old friends,
who had known her in the days when she was rich in happiness.

But the secret hiding-place--their very own hiding-place, the opening
among the pines that overhung the jumble of rocks and the sea--she could
not bring herself to visit. And then, on the afternoon of the third day
when she was driving alone toward the lighthouse, her pony, of his own
accord, from force of habit, turned smartly into the wood road. And
again from force of habit, before he reached the spot that overlooked
the sea, he came to a full stop. There was no need to make him fast. For
hours, stretching over many summer days, he had stood under those same
branches patiently waiting.

On foot, her heart beating tremulously, stepping reverently, as one
enters the aisle of some dim cathedral, Helen advanced into the sacred
circle. And then she stood quite still. What she had expected to find
there she could not have told, but it was gone. The place was unknown
to her. She saw an opening among gloomy pines, empty, silent, unreal.
No haunted house, no barren moor, no neglected graveyard ever spoke more
poignantly, more mournfully, with such utter hopelessness. There was no
sign of his or of her former presence. Across the open space something
had passed its hand, and it had changed. What had been a trysting-place,
a bower, a nest, had become a tomb. A tomb, she felt, for something that
once had been brave, fine, and beautiful, but which now was dead. She
had but one desire, to escape from the place, to put it away from her
forever, to remember it, not as she now found it, but as first she had
remembered it, and as now she must always remember It. She turned softly
on tiptoe as one who has intruded on a shrine.

But before she could escape there came from the sea a sudden gust of
wind that caught her by the skirts and drew her back, that set the
branches tossing and swept the dead leaves racing about her ankles. And
at the same instant from just above her head there beat upon the air a
violent, joyous tattoo--a sound that was neither of the sea nor of the
woods, a creaking, swiftly repeated sound, like the flutter of caged
wings.

Helen turned in alarm and raised her eyes--and beheld the sailorman.

Tossing his arms in a delirious welcome, waltzing in a frenzy of joy,
calling her back to him with wild beckonings, she saw him smiling down
at her with the same radiant, beseeching, worshipping smile. In Helen's
ears Latimer's commands to the sailorman rang as clearly as though
Latimer stood before her and had just spoken. Only now they were no
longer a jest; they were a vow, a promise, an oath of allegiance that
brought to her peace, and pride, and happiness.

"So long as I love this beautiful lady," had been his foolish words,
"you will guard this place. It is a life sentence!"

With one hand Helen Page dragged down the branch on which the sailorman
stood, with the other she snatched him from his post of duty. With a
joyous laugh that was a sob, she clutched the sailorman in both her
hands and kissed the beseeching, worshipping smile.

An hour later her car, on its way to Boston, passed through Fair
Harbor at a rate of speed that caused her chauffeur to pray between
his chattering teeth that the first policeman would save their lives by
landing them in jail.

At the wheel, her shoulders thrown forward, her eyes searching the dark
places beyond the reach of the leaping head-lights Helen Page raced
against time, against the minions of the law, against sudden death, to
beat the midnight train out of Boston, to assure the man she loved of
the one thing that could make his life worth living.

And close against her heart, buttoned tight beneath her great-coat,
the sailorman smiled in the darkness, his long watch over, his soul at
peace, his duty well performed.



Chapter 6. THE MIND READER

When Philip Endicott was at Harvard, he wrote stories of undergraduate
life suggested by things that had happened to himself and to men he
knew. Under the title of "Tales of the Yard" they were collected in book
form, and sold surprisingly well. After he was graduated and became a
reporter on the New York Republic, he wrote more stories, in each of
which a reporter was the hero, and in which his failure or success in
gathering news supplied the plot. These appeared first in the magazines,
and later in a book under the title of "Tales of the Streets." They also
were well received.

Then came to him the literary editor of the Republic, and said: "There
are two kinds of men who succeed in writing fiction--men of genius and
reporters. A reporter can describe a thing he has seen in such a way
that he can make the reader see it, too. A man of genius can describe
something he has never seen, or any one else for that matter, in such a
way that the reader will exclaim: 'I have never committed a murder; but
if I had, that's just the way I'd feel about it.' For instance, Kipling
tells us how a Greek pirate, chained to the oar of a trireme, suffers;
how a mother rejoices when her baby crawls across her breast. Kipling
has never been a mother or a pirate, but he convinces you he knows how
each of them feels. He can do that because he is a genius; you cannot
do it because you are not. At college you wrote only of what you saw at
college; and now that you are in the newspaper business all your tales
are only of newspaper work. You merely report what you see. So, if you
are doomed to write only of what you see, then the best thing for you to
do is to see as many things as possible. You must see all kinds of life.
You must progress. You must leave New York, and you had better go to
London."

"But on the Republic," Endicott pointed out, "I get a salary. And in
London I should have to sweep a crossing."

"Then," said the literary editor, "you could write a story about a man
who swept a crossing."

It was not alone the literary editor's words of wisdom that had driven
Philip to London. Helen Carey was in London, visiting the daughter
of the American Ambassador; and, though Philip had known her only one
winter, he loved her dearly. The great trouble was that he had no money,
and that she possessed so much of it that, unless he could show some
unusual quality of mind or character, his asking her to marry him, from
his own point of view at least, was quite impossible. Of course, he knew
that no one could love her as he did, that no one so truly wished for
her happiness, or would try so devotedly to make her happy. But to him
it did not seem possible that a girl could be happy with a man who was
not able to pay for her home, or her clothes, or her food, who would
have to borrow her purse if he wanted a new pair of gloves or a
hair-cut. For Philip Endicott, while rich in birth and education and
charm of manner, had no money at all. When, in May, he came from New
York to lay siege to London and to the heart of Helen Carey he had with
him, all told, fifteen hundred dollars. That was all he possessed in the
world; and unless the magazines bought his stories there was no prospect
of his getting any more.

Friends who knew London told him that, if you knew London well, it was
easy to live comfortably there and to go about and even to entertain
modestly on three sovereigns a day. So, at that rate, Philip calculated
he could stay three months. But he found that to know London well enough
to be able to live there on three sovereigns a day you had first to
spend so many five-pound notes in getting acquainted with London that
there were no sovereigns left. At the end of one month he had just
enough money to buy him a second-class passage back to New York, and he
was as far from Helen as ever.

Often he had read in stories and novels of men who were too poor to
marry. And he had laughed at the idea. He had always said that when two
people truly love each other it does not matter whether they have money
or not. But when in London, with only a five-pound note, and face to
face with the actual proposition of asking Helen Carey not only to marry
him but to support him, he felt that money counted for more than he had
supposed. He found money was many different things--it was self-respect,
and proper pride, and private honors and independence. And, lacking
these things, he felt he could ask no girl to marry him, certainly not
one for whom he cared as he cared for Helen Carey. Besides, while he
knew how he loved her, he had no knowledge whatsoever that she loved
him. She always seemed extremely glad to see him; but that might be
explained in different ways. It might be that what was in her heart for
him was really a sort of "old home week" feeling; that to her it was a
relief to see any one who spoke her own language, who did not need to
have it explained when she was jesting, and who did not think when she
was speaking in perfectly satisfactory phrases that she must be talking
slang.

The Ambassador and his wife had been very kind to Endicott, and, as a
friend of Helen's, had asked him often to dinner and had sent him cards
for dances at which Helen was to be one of the belles and beauties. And
Helen herself had been most kind, and had taken early morning walks with
him in Hyde Park and through the National Galleries; and they had fed
buns to the bears in the Zoo, and in doing so had laughed heartily. They
thought it was because the bears were so ridiculous that they laughed.
Later they appreciated that the reason they were happy was because
they were together. Had the bear pit been empty, they still would have
laughed.

On the evening of the thirty-first of May, Endicott had gone to bed with
his ticket purchased for America and his last five-pound note to last
him until the boat sailed. He was a miserable young man. He knew now
that he loved Helen Carey in such a way that to put the ocean between
them was liable to unseat his courage and his self-control. In London
he could, each night, walk through Carlton House Terrace and, leaning
against the iron rails of the Carlton Club, gaze up at her window.
But, once on the other side of the ocean, that tender exercise must
be abandoned. He must even consider her pursued by most attractive
guardsmen, diplomats, and belted earls. He knew they could not love her
as he did; he knew they could not love her for the reasons he loved her,
because the fine and beautiful things in her that he saw and worshipped
they did not seek, and so did not find. And yet, for lack of a few
thousand dollars, he must remain silent, must put from him the best that
ever came into his life, must waste the wonderful devotion he longed
to give, must starve the love that he could never summon for any other
woman.

On the thirty-first of May he went to sleep utterly and completely
miserable. On the first of June he woke hopeless and unrefreshed.

And then the miracle came.

Prichard, the ex-butler who valeted all the young gentlemen in the house
where Philip had taken chambers, brought him his breakfast. As he
placed the eggs and muffins on the tables to Philip it seemed as though
Prichard had said: "I am sorry he is leaving us. The next gentleman
who takes these rooms may not be so open-handed. He never locked up his
cigars or his whiskey. I wish he'd give me his old dress-coat. It fits
me, except across the shoulders."

Philip stared hard at Prichard; but the lips of the valet had not moved.
In surprise and bewilderment, Philip demanded:

"How do you know it fits? Have you tried it on?"

"I wouldn't take such a liberty," protested Prichard. "Not with any of
our gentlemen's clothes."

"How did you know I was talking about clothes," demanded Philip. "You
didn't say anything about clothes, did you?"

"No, sir, I did not; but you asked me, sir, and I--"

"Were you thinking of clothes?"

"Well, sir, you might say, in a way, that I was," answered the valet.
"Seeing as you're leaving, sir, and they're not over-new, I thought..."

"It's mental telepathy," said Philip.

"I beg your pardon," exclaimed Prichard.

"You needn't wait," said Philip.

The coincidence puzzled him; but by the time he had read the morning
papers he had forgotten about it, and it was not until he had emerged
into the street that it was forcibly recalled. The street was crowded
with people; and as Philip stepped in among them, It was as though every
one at whom he looked began to talk aloud. Their lips did not move,
nor did any sound issue from between them; but, without ceasing, broken
phrases of thoughts came to him as clearly as when, in passing in a
crowd, snatches of talk are carried to the ears. One man thought of his
debts; another of the weather, and of what disaster it might bring to
his silk hat; another planned his luncheon; another was rejoicing over
a telegram he had but that moment received. To himself he kept repeating
the words of the telegram--"No need to come, out of danger." To Philip
the message came as clearly as though he were reading it from the folded
slip of paper that the stranger clutched in his hand.

Confused and somewhat frightened, and in order that undisturbed he might
consider what had befallen him, Philip sought refuge from the crowded
street in the hallway of a building. His first thought was that for some
unaccountable cause his brain for the moment was playing tricks with
him, and he was inventing the phrases he seemed to hear, that he was
attributing thoughts to others of which they were entirely innocent.
But, whatever it was that had befallen him, he knew it was imperative
that he should at once get at the meaning of it.

The hallway in which he stood opened from Bond Street up a flight of
stairs to the studio of a fashionable photographer, and directly in
front of the hallway a young woman of charming appearance had halted.
Her glance was troubled, her manner ill at ease. To herself she kept
repeating: "Did I tell Hudson to be here at a quarter to eleven, or
a quarter past? Will she get the telephone message to bring the ruff?
Without the ruff it would be absurd to be photographed. Without her ruff
Mary Queen of Scots would look ridiculous!"

Although the young woman had spoken not a single word, although indeed
she was biting impatiently at her lower lip, Philip had distinguished
the words clearly. Or, if he had not distinguished them, he surely was
going mad. It was a matter to be at once determined, and the young woman
should determine it. He advanced boldly to her, and raised his hat.

"Pardon me," he said, "but I believe you are waiting for your maid
Hudson?"

As though fearing an impertinence, the girl regarded him in silence.

"I only wish to make sure," continued Philip, "that you are she for whom
I have a message. You have an appointment, I believe, to be photographed
in fancy dress as Mary Queen of Scots?"

"Well?" assented the girl.

"And you telephoned Hudson," he continued, "to bring you your muff."

The girl exclaimed with vexation.

"Oh!" she protested; "I knew they'd get it wrong! Not muff, ruff! I want
my ruff."

Philip felt a cold shiver creep down his spine.

"For the love of Heaven!" he exclaimed in horror; "it's true!"

"What's true?" demanded the young woman in some alarm.

"That I'm a mind reader," declared Philip. "I've read your mind! I can
read everybody's mind. I know just what you're thinking now. You're
thinking I'm mad!"

The actions of the young lady showed that again he was correct. With a
gasp of terror she fled past him and raced up the stairs to the studio.
Philip made no effort to follow and to explain. What was there to
explain? How could he explain that which, to himself, was unbelievable?
Besides, the girl had served her purpose. If he could read the mind of
one, he could read the minds of all. By some unexplainable miracle, to
his ordinary equipment of senses a sixth had been added. As easily as,
before that morning, he could look into the face of a fellow-mortal,
he now could look into the workings of that fellow-mortal's mind. The
thought was appalling. It was like living with one's ear to a key-hole.
In his dismay his first idea was to seek medical advice--the best in
London. He turned instantly in the direction of Harley Street. There,
he determined, to the most skilled alienist in town he would explain his
strange plight. For only as a misfortune did the miracle appear to him.
But as he made his way through the streets his pace slackened.

Was he wise, he asked himself, in allowing others to know he possessed
this strange power? Would they not at once treat him as a madman?
Might they not place him under observation, or even deprive him of his
liberty? At the thought he came to an abrupt halt His own definition of
the miracle as a "power" had opened a new line of speculation. If this
strange gift (already he was beginning to consider it more leniently)
were concealed from others, could he not honorably put it to some useful
purpose? For, among the blind, the man with one eye is a god. Was not
he--among all other men the only one able to read the minds of all
other men--a god? Turning into Bruton Street, he paced its quiet length
considering the possibilities that lay within him.

It was apparent that the gift would lead to countless embarrassments.
If it were once known that he possessed it, would not even his friends
avoid him? For how could any one, knowing his most secret thought was at
the mercy of another, be happy in that other's presence? His power would
lead to his social ostracism. Indeed, he could see that his gift might
easily become a curse. He decided not to act hastily, that for the
present he had best give no hint to others of his unique power.

As the idea of possessing this power became more familiar, he regarded
it with less aversion. He began to consider to what advantage he could
place it. He could see that, given the right time and the right man, he
might learn secrets leading to far-reaching results. To a statesman, to
a financier, such a gift as he possessed would make him a ruler of men.
Philip had no desire to be a ruler of men; but he asked himself how
could he bend this gift to serve his own? What he most wished was to
marry Helen Carey; and, to that end, to possess money. So he must meet
men who possessed money, who were making money. He would put questions
to them. And with words they would give evasive answers; but their minds
would tell him the truth.

The ethics of this procedure greatly disturbed him. Certainly it was no
better than reading other people's letters. But, he argued, the dishonor
in knowledge so obtained would lie only in the use he made of it. If he
used it without harm to him from whom it was obtained and with benefit
to others, was he not justified in trading on his superior equipment? He
decided that each case must be considered separately in accordance
with the principle involved. But, principle or no principle, he was
determined to become rich. Did not the end justify the means? Certainly
an all-wise Providence had not brought Helen Carey into his life only to
take her away from him. It could not be so cruel. But, in selecting them
for one another, the all-wise Providence had overlooked the fact that
she was rich and he was poor. For that oversight Providence apparently
was now endeavoring to make amends. In what certainly was a fantastic
and roundabout manner Providence had tardily equipped him with a gift
that could lead to great wealth. And who was he to fly in the face of
Providence? He decided to set about building up a fortune, and building
it in a hurry.

From Bruton Street he had emerged upon Berkeley Square; and, as Lady
Woodcote had invited him to meet Helen at luncheon at the Ritz, he
turned in that direction. He was too early for luncheon; but in the
corridor of the Ritz he knew he would find persons of position and
fortune, and in reading their minds he might pass the time before
luncheon with entertainment, possibly with profit. For, while pacing
Bruton Street trying to discover the principles of conduct that
threatened to hamper his new power, he had found that in actual
operation it was quite simple. He learned that his mind, in relation
to other minds, was like the receiver of a wireless station with an
unlimited field. For, while the wireless could receive messages only
from those instruments with which it was attuned, his mind was in key
with all other minds. To read the thoughts of another, he had only to
concentrate his own upon that person; and to shut off the thoughts of
that person, he had only to turn his own thoughts elsewhere. But also
he discovered that over the thoughts of those outside the range of his
physical sight he had no control. When he asked of what Helen Carey was
at that moment thinking, there was no result. But when he asked, "Of
what is that policeman on the corner thinking?" he was surprised to find
that that officer of the law was formulating regulations to abolish the
hobble skirt as an impediment to traffic.

As Philip turned into Berkeley Square, the accents of a mind in great
distress smote upon his new and sixth sense. And, in the person of a
young gentleman leaning against the park railing, he discovered the
source from which the mental sufferings emanated. The young man was a
pink-cheeked, yellow-haired youth of extremely boyish appearance, and
dressed as if for the race-track. But at the moment his pink and babyish
face wore an expression of complete misery. With tear-filled eyes he was
gazing at a house of yellow stucco on the opposite side of the street.
And his thoughts were these: "She is the best that ever lived, and I am
the most ungrateful of fools. How happy were we in the house of yellow
stucco! Only now, when she has closed its doors to me, do I know how
happy! If she would give me another chance, never again would I distress
or deceive her."

So far had the young man progressed in his thoughts when an automobile
of surprising smartness swept around the corner and drew up in front
of the house of yellow stucco, and from it descended a charming young
person. She was of the Dresden-shepherdess type, with large blue eyes of
haunting beauty and innocence.

"My wife!" exclaimed the blond youth at the railings. And instantly he
dodged behind a horse that, while still attached to a four-wheeler, was
contentedly eating from a nose-bag.

With a key the Dresden shepherdess opened the door to the yellow house
and disappeared.

The calling of the reporter trains him in audacity, and to act quickly.
He shares the troubles of so many people that to the troubles of other
people he becomes callous, and often will rush in where friends of the
family fear to tread. Although Philip was not now acting as a reporter,
he acted quickly. Hardly had the door closed upon the young lady than
he had mounted the steps and rung the visitor's bell. As he did so, he
could not resist casting a triumphant glance in the direction of the
outlawed husband. And, in turn, what the outcast husband, peering from
across the back of the cab horse, thought of Philip, of his clothes, of
his general appearance, and of the manner in which he would delight to
alter all of them, was quickly communicated to the American. They were
thoughts of a nature so violent and uncomplimentary that Philip hastily
cut off all connection.

As Philip did not know the name of the Dresden-china doll, it was
fortunate that on opening the door, the butler promptly announced:

"Her ladyship is not receiving."

"Her ladyship will, I think, receive me," said Philip pleasantly, "when
you tell her I come as the special ambassador of his lordship."

From a tiny reception-room on the right of the entrance-hall there
issued a feminine exclamation of surprise, not unmixed with joy; and in
the hall the noble lady instantly appeared.

When she saw herself confronted by a stranger, she halted in
embarrassment. But as, even while she halted, her only thought had
been, "Oh! if he will only ask me to forgive him!" Philip felt no
embarrassment whatsoever. Outside, concealed behind a cab horse, was the
erring but bitterly repentant husband; inside, her tenderest thoughts
racing tumultuously toward him, was an unhappy child-wife begging to be
begged to pardon.

For a New York reporter, and a Harvard graduate of charm and good
manners, it was too easy.

"I do not know you," said her ladyship. But even as she spoke she
motioned to the butler to go away. "You must be one of his new friends."
Her tone was one of envy.

"Indeed, I am his newest friend," Philip assured her; "but I can safely
say no one knows his thoughts as well as I. And they are all of you!"

The china shepherdess blushed with happiness, but instantly she shook
her head.

"They tell me I must not believe him," she announced. "They tell me--"

"Never mind what they tell you," commanded Philip. "Listen to ME. He
loves you. Better than ever before, he loves you. All he asks is the
chance to tell you so. You cannot help but believe him. Who can look at
you, and not believe that he loves you! Let me," he begged, "bring him
to you." He started from her when, remembering the somewhat violent
thoughts of the youthful husband, he added hastily: "Or perhaps it would
be better if you called him yourself."

"Called him!" exclaimed the lady. "He is in Paris-at the races--with
her!"

"If they tell you that sort of thing," protested Philip indignantly,
"you must listen to me. He is not in Paris. He is not with her. There
never was a her!"

He drew aside the lace curtains and pointed. "He is there--behind that
ancient cab horse, praying that you will let him tell you that not only
did he never do it; but, what is much more important, he will never do
it again."

The lady herself now timidly drew the curtains apart, and then more
boldly showed herself upon the iron balcony. Leaning over the scarlet
geraniums, she beckoned with both hands. The result was instantaneous.
Philip bolted for the front door, leaving it open; and, as he darted
down the steps, the youthful husband, in strides resembling those of an
ostrich, shot past him. Philip did not cease running until he was well
out of Berkeley Square. Then, not ill-pleased with the adventure, he
turned and smiled back at the house of yellow stucco.

"Bless you, my children," he murmured; "bless you!"

He continued to the Ritz; and, on crossing Piccadilly to the quieter
entrance to the hotel in Arlington Street, found gathered around it
a considerable crowd drawn up on either side of a red carpet that
stretched down the steps of the hotel to a court carriage. A red carpet
in June, when all is dry under foot and the sun is shining gently,
can mean only royalty; and in the rear of the men in the street Philip
halted. He remembered that for a few days the young King of Asturia and
the Queen Mother were at the Ritz incognito; and, as he never had seen
the young man who so recently and so tragically had been exiled from his
own kingdom, Philip raised himself on tiptoe and stared expectantly.

As easily as he could read their faces could he read the thoughts of
those about him. They were thoughts of friendly curiosity, of pity for
the exiles; on the part of the policemen who had hastened from a cross
street, of pride at their temporary responsibility; on the part of the
coachman of the court carriage, of speculation as to the possible amount
of his Majesty's tip. The thoughts were as harmless and protecting as
the warm sunshine.

And then, suddenly and harshly, like the stroke of a fire bell at
midnight, the harmonious chorus of gentle, hospitable thoughts was
shattered by one that was discordant, evil, menacing. It was the thought
of a man with a brain diseased; and its purpose was murder.

"When they appear at the doorway," spoke the brain of the maniac, "I
shall lift the bomb from my pocket. I shall raise it above my head. I
shall crash it against the stone steps. It will hurl them and all of
these people into eternity and me with them. But I shall LIVE--a martyr
to the Cause. And the Cause will flourish!"

Through the unsuspecting crowd, like a football player diving for a
tackle, Philip hurled himself upon a little dark man standing close to
the open door of the court carriage. From the rear Philip seized
him around the waist and locked his arms behind him, elbow to elbow.
Philip's face, appearing over the man's shoulder, stared straight into
that of the policeman.

"He has a bomb in his right-hand pocket!" yelled Philip. "I can hold him
while you take it! But, for Heaven's sake, don't drop it!" Philip turned
upon the crowd. "Run! all of you!" he shouted. "Run like the devil!"

At that instant the boy King and his Queen Mother, herself still young
and beautiful, and cloaked with a dignity and sorrow that her robes of
mourning could not intensify, appeared in the doorway.

"Go back, sir!" warned Philip. "He means to kill you!"

At the words and at sight of the struggling men, the great lady swayed
helplessly, her eyes filled with terror. Her son sprang protectingly
in front of her. But the danger was past. A second policeman was now
holding the maniac by the wrists, forcing his arms above his head;
Philip's arms, like a lariat, were wound around his chest; and from his
pocket the first policeman gingerly drew forth a round, black object of
the size of a glass fire-grenade. He held it high in the air, and waved
his free hand warningly. But the warning was unobserved. There was no
one remaining to observe it. Leaving the would-be assassin struggling
and biting in the grasp of the stalwart policeman, and the other
policeman unhappily holding the bomb at arm's length, Philip sought to
escape into the Ritz. But the young King broke through the circle of
attendants and stopped him.

"I must thank you," said the boy eagerly; "and I wish you to tell me how
you came to suspect the man's purpose."

Unable to speak the truth, Philip, the would-be writer of fiction, began
to improvise fluently.

"To learn their purpose, sir," he said, "is my business. I am of the
International Police, and in the secret service of your Majesty."

"Then I must know your name," said the King, and added with a dignity
that was most becoming, "You will find we are not ungrateful."

Philip smiled mysteriously and shook his head.

"I said in your secret service," he repeated. "Did even your Majesty
know me, my usefulness would be at an end." He pointed toward the two
policemen. "If you desire to be just, as well as gracious, those are the
men to reward."

He slipped past the King and through the crowd of hotel officials into
the hall and on into the corridor.

The arrest had taken place so quietly and so quickly that through the
heavy glass doors no sound had penetrated, and of the fact that they
had been so close to a possible tragedy those in the corridor were still
ignorant. The members of the Hungarian orchestra were arranging their
music; a waiter was serving two men of middle age with sherry; and two
distinguished-looking elderly gentlemen seated together on a sofa were
talking in leisurely whispers.

One of the two middle-aged men was well known to Philip, who as a
reporter had often, in New York, endeavored to interview him on matters
concerning the steel trust. His name was Faust. He was a Pennsylvania
Dutchman from Pittsburgh, and at one time had been a foreman of the
night shift in the same mills he now controlled. But with a roar and
a spectacular flash, not unlike one of his own blast furnaces, he had
soared to fame and fortune. He recognized Philip as one of the bright
young men of the Republic; but in his own opinion he was far too
self-important to betray that fact.

Philip sank into an imitation Louis Quatorze chair beside a fountain in
imitation of one in the apartment of the Pompadour, and ordered what
he knew would be an execrable imitation of an American cocktail. While
waiting for the cocktail and Lady Woodcote's luncheon party, Philip,
from where he sat, could not help but overhear the conversation of Faust
and of the man with him. The latter was a German with Hebraic features
and a pointed beard. In loud tones he was congratulating the American
many-time millionaire on having that morning come into possession of
a rare and valuable masterpiece, a hitherto unknown and but recently
discovered portrait of Philip IV by Velasquez.

Philip sighed enviously.

"Fancy," he thought, "owning a Velasquez! Fancy having it all to
yourself! It must be fun to be rich. It certainly is hell to be poor!"

The German, who was evidently a picture-dealer, was exclaiming in tones
of rapture, and nodding his head with an air of awe and solemnity.

"I am telling you the truth, Mr. Faust," he said. "In no gallery in
Europe, no, not even in the Prado, is there such another Velasquez. This
is what you are doing, Mr. Faust, you are robbing Spain. You are robbing
her of something worth more to her than Cuba. And I tell you, so soon
as it is known that this Velasquez is going to your home in Pittsburgh,
every Spaniard will hate you and every art-collector will hate you, too.
For it is the most wonderful art treasure in Europe. And what a bargain,
Mr. Faust! What a bargain!"

To make sure that the reporter was within hearing, Mr. Faust glanced
in the direction of Philip and, seeing that he had heard, frowned
importantly. That the reporter might hear still more, he also raised his
voice.

"Nothing can be called a bargain, Baron," he said, "that costs three
hundred thousand dollars!"

Again he could not resist glancing toward Philip, and so eagerly
that Philip deemed it would be only polite to look interested. So he
obligingly assumed a startled look, with which he endeavored to mingle
simulations of surprise, awe, and envy.

The next instant an expression of real surprise overspread his features.

Mr. Faust continued. "If you will come upstairs," he said to the
picture-dealer, "I will give you your check; and then I should like to
drive to your apartments and take a farewell look at the picture."

"I am sorry," the Baron said, "but I have had it moved to my art gallery
to be packed."

"Then let's go to the gallery," urged the patron of art. "We've just
time before lunch." He rose to his feet, and on the instant the soul of
the picture-dealer was filled with alarm.

In actual words he said: "The picture is already boxed and in its lead
coffin. No doubt by now it is on its way to Liverpool. I am sorry." But
his thoughts, as Philip easily read them, were: "Fancy my letting this
vulgar fool into the Tate Street workshop! Even HE would know that old
masters are not found in a half-finished state on Chelsea-made frames
and canvases. Fancy my letting him see those two half-completed Van
Dycks, the new Hals, the half-dozen Corots. He would even see his own
copy of Velasquez next to the one exactly like it--the one MacMillan
finished yesterday and that I am sending to Oporto, where next year, in
a convent, we shall 'discover' it."

Philip's surprise gave way to intense amusement. In his delight at the
situation upon which he had stumbled, he laughed aloud. The two men,
who had risen, surprised at the spectacle of a young man laughing at
nothing, turned and stared. Philip also rose.

"Pardon me," he said to Faust, "but you spoke so loud I couldn't help
overhearing. I think we've met before, when I was a reporter on the
Republic."

The Pittsburgh millionaire made a pretense, of annoyance.

"Really!" he protested irritably, "you reporters butt in everywhere. No
public man is safe. Is there no place we can go where you fellows won't
annoy us?"

"You can go to the devil for all I care," said Philip, "or even to
Pittsburgh!"

He saw the waiter bearing down upon him with the imitation cocktail,
and moved to meet it. The millionaire, fearing the reporter would escape
him, hastily changed his tone. He spoke with effective resignation.

"However, since you've learned so much," he said, "I'll tell you the
whole of it. I don't want the fact garbled, for it is of international
importance. Do you know what a Velasquez is?"

"Do you?" asked Philip.

The millionaire smiled tolerantly.

"I think I do," he said. "And to prove it, I shall tell you something
that will be news to you. I have just bought a Velasquez that I am going
to place in my art museum. It is worth three hundred thousand dollars."

Philip accepted the cocktail the waiter presented. It was quite as bad
as he had expected.

"Now, I shall tell you something," he said, "that will be news to you.
You are not buying a Velasquez. It is no more a Velasquez than this hair
oil is a real cocktail. It is a bad copy, worth a few dollars."

"How dare you!" shouted Faust. "Are you mad?"

The face of the German turned crimson with rage.

"Who is this insolent one?" he sputtered.

"I will make you a sporting proposition," said Philip. "You can take it,
or leave it. You two will get into a taxi. You will drive to this man's
studio in Tate Street. You will find your Velasquez is there and not on
its way to Liverpool. And you will find one exactly like it, and a dozen
other 'old masters' half-finished. I'll bet you a hundred pounds I'm
right! And I'll bet this man a hundred pounds that he DOESN'T DARE TAKE
YOU TO HIS STUDIO!"

"Indeed, I will not," roared the German. "It would be to insult myself."

"It would be an easy way to earn a hundred pounds, too," said Philip.

"How dare you insult the Baron?" demanded Faust. "What makes you
think--"

"I don't think, I know!" said Philip. "For the price of a taxi-cab fare
to Tate Street, you win a hundred pounds."

"We will all three go at once," cried the German. "My car is outside.
Wait here. I will have it brought to the door?"

Faust protested indignantly.

"Do not disturb yourself, Baron," he said; "just because a fresh
reporter--"

But already the German had reached the hall. Nor did he stop there. They
saw him, without his hat, rush into Piccadilly, spring into a taxi, and
shout excitedly to the driver. The next moment he had disappeared.

"That's the last you'll see of him," said Philip.

"His actions are certainly peculiar," gasped the millionaire. "He did
not wait for us. He didn't even wait for his hat! I think, after all, I
had better go to Tate Street."

"Do so," said Philip, "and save yourself three hundred thousand dollars,
and from the laughter of two continents. You'll find me here at lunch.
If I'm wrong, I'll pay you a hundred pounds."

"You should come with me," said Faust. "It is only fair to yourself."

"I'll take your word for what you find in the studio," said Philip. "I
cannot go. This is my busy day."

Without further words, the millionaire collected his hat and stick, and,
in his turn, entered a taxi-cab and disappeared.

Philip returned to the Louis Quatorze chair and lit a cigarette. Save
for the two elderly gentlemen on the sofa, the lounge was still empty,
and his reflections were undisturbed. He shook his head sadly.

"Surely," Philip thought, "the French chap was right who said words were
given us to conceal our thoughts. What a strange world it would be if
every one possessed my power. Deception would be quite futile and lying
would become a lost art. I wonder," he mused cynically, "is any one
quite honest? Does any one speak as he thinks and think as he speaks?"

At once came a direct answer to his question. The two elderly gentlemen
had risen and, before separating, had halted a few feet from him.

"I sincerely hope, Sir John," said one of the two, "that you have
no regrets. I hope you believe that I have advised you in the best
interests of all?"

"I do, indeed," the other replied heartily "We shall be thought entirely
selfish; but you know and I know that what we have done is for the
benefit of the shareholders."

Philip was pleased to find that the thoughts of each of the old
gentlemen ran hand in hand with his spoken words. "Here, at least," he
said to himself, "are two honest men."

As though loath to part, the two gentlemen still lingered.

"And I hope," continued the one addressed as Sir John, "that you approve
of my holding back the public announcement of the combine until the
afternoon. It will give the shareholders a better chance. Had we given
out the news in this morning's papers the stockbrokers would have--"

"It was most wise," interrupted the other. "Most just."

The one called Sir John bowed himself away, leaving the other still
standing at the steps of the lounge. With his hands behind his back, his
chin sunk on his chest, he remained, gazing at nothing, his thoughts far
away.

Philip found them thoughts of curious interest. They were concerned with
three flags. Now, the gentleman considered them separately; and Philip
saw the emblems painted clearly in colors, fluttering and flattened
by the breeze. Again, the gentleman considered them in various
combinations; but always, in whatever order his mind arranged them, of
the three his heart spoke always to the same flag, as the heart of a
mother reaches toward her firstborn.

Then the thoughts were diverted; and in his mind's eye the old gentleman
was watching the launching of a little schooner from a shipyard on the
Clyde. At her main flew one of the three flags--a flag with a red cross
on a white ground. With thoughts tender and grateful, he followed her
to strange, hot ports, through hurricanes and tidal waves; he saw her
return again and again to the London docks, laden with odorous coffee,
mahogany, red rubber, and raw bullion. He saw sister ships follow in her
wake to every port in the South Sea; saw steam packets take the place
of the ships with sails; saw the steam packets give way to great
ocean liners, each a floating village, each equipped, as no village is
equipped, with a giant power house, thousands of electric lamps, suite
after suite of silk-lined boudoirs, with the floating harps that vibrate
to a love message three hundred miles away, to the fierce call for help
from a sinking ship. But at the main of each great vessel there still
flew the same house-flag--the red cross on the field of white--only now
in the arms of the cross there nestled proudly a royal crown.

Philip cast a scared glance at the old gentleman, and raced down the
corridor to the telephone.

Of all the young Englishmen he knew, Maddox was his best friend and a
stock-broker. In that latter capacity Philip had never before addressed
him. Now he demanded his instant presence at the telephone.

Maddox greeted him genially, but Philip cut him short.

"I want you to act for me," he whispered, "and act quick! I want you
to buy for me one thousand shares of the Royal Mail Line, of the
Elder-Dempster, and of the Union Castle."

He heard Maddox laugh indulgently.

"There's nothing in that yarn of a combine," he called. "It has fallen
through. Besides, shares are at fifteen pounds."

Philip, having in his possession a second-class ticket and a five-pound
note, was indifferent to that, and said so.

"I don't care what they are," he shouted. "The combine is already signed
and sealed, and no one knows it but myself. In an hour everybody will
know it!"

"What makes you think you know it?" demanded the broker.

"I've seen the house-flags!" cried Philip. "I have--do as I tell you,"
he commanded.

There was a distracting delay.

"No matter who's back of you," objected Maddox, "it's a big order on a
gamble."

"It's not a gamble," cried Philip. "It's an accomplished fact. I'm at
the Ritz. Call me up there. Start buying now, and, when you've got a
thousand of each, stop!"

Philip was much too agitated to go far from the telephone booth; so for
half an hour he sat in the reading-room, forcing himself to read the
illustrated papers. When he found he had read the same advertisement
five times, he returned to the telephone. The telephone boy met him
half-way with a message.

"Have secured for you a thousand shares of each," he read, "at fifteen.
Maddox."

Like a man awakening from a nightmare, Philip tried to separate
the horror of the situation from the cold fact. The cold fact was
sufficiently horrible. It was that, without a penny to pay for them,
he had bought shares in three steamship lines, which shares, added
together, were worth two hundred and twenty five thousand dollars.
He returned down the corridor toward the lounge. Trembling at his own
audacity, he was in a state of almost complete panic, when that happened
which made his outrageous speculation of little consequence. It was
drawing near to half-past one; and, in the persons of several smart men
and beautiful ladies, the component parts of different luncheon parties
were beginning to assemble.

Of the luncheon to which Lady Woodcote had invited him, only one
guest had arrived; but, so far as Philip was concerned, that one was
sufficient. It was Helen herself, seated alone, with her eyes fixed
on the doors opening from Piccadilly. Philip, his heart singing with
appeals, blessings, and adoration, ran toward her. Her profile was
toward him, and she could not see him; but he could see her. And he
noted that, as though seeking some one, her eyes were turned searchingly
upon each young man as he entered and moved from one to another of those
already in the lounge. Her expression was eager and anxious.

"If only," Philip exclaimed, "she were looking for me! She certainly is
looking for some man. I wonder who it can be?"

As suddenly as if he had slapped his face into a wall, he halted in his
steps. Why should he wonder? Why did he not read her mind? Why did he
not KNOW? A waiter was hastening toward him. Philip fixed his mind upon
the waiter, and his eyes as well. Mentally Philip demanded of him: "Of
what are you thinking?"

There was no response. And then, seeing an unlit cigarette hanging
from Philip's lips, the waiter hastily struck a match and proffered
it. Obviously, his mind had worked, first, in observing the half-burned
cigarette; next, in furnishing the necessary match. And of no step in
that mental process had Philip been conscious! The conclusion was only
too apparent. His power was gone. No longer was he a mind reader!

Hastily Philip reviewed the adventures of the morning. As he considered
them, the moral was obvious. The moment he had used his power to his
own advantage, he had lost it. So long as he had exerted it for the
happiness of the two lovers, to save the life of the King, to thwart
the dishonesty of a swindler, he had been all-powerful; but when he
endeavored to bend it to his own uses, it had fled from him. As he stood
abashed and repentant, Helen turned her eyes toward him; and, at the
sight of him, there leaped to them happiness and welcome and complete
content. It was "the look that never was on land or sea," and it was not
necessary to be a mind reader to understand it. Philip sprang toward her
as quickly as a man dodges a taxi-cab.

"I came early," said Helen, "because I wanted to talk to you before the
others arrived." She seemed to be repeating words already rehearsed, to
be following a course of conduct already predetermined. "I want to tell
you," she said, "that I am sorry you are going away. I want to tell you
that I shall miss you very much." She paused and drew a long breath. And
she looked at Philip as if she was begging him to make it easier for her
to go on.

Philip proceeded to make it easier.

"Will you miss me," he asked, "in the Row, where I used to wait among
the trees to see you ride past? Will you miss me at dances, where I used
to hide behind the dowagers to watch you waltzing by? Will you miss me
at night, when you come home by sunrise, and I am not hiding against the
railings of the Carlton Club, just to see you run across the pavement
from your carriage, just to see the light on your window blind, just to
see the light go out, and to know that you are sleeping?"

Helen's eyes were smiling happily. She looked away from him.

"Did you use to do that?" she asked.

"Every night I do that," said Philip. "Ask the policemen! They arrested
me three times."

"Why?" said Helen gently.

But Philip was not yet free to speak, so he said:

"They thought I was a burglar."

Helen frowned. He was making it very hard for her.

"You know what I mean," she said. "Why did you keep guard outside my
window?"

"It was the policeman kept guard," said Philip. "I was there only as a
burglar. I came to rob. But I was a coward, or else I had a conscience,
or else I knew my own unworthiness." There was a long pause. As both
of them, whenever they heard the tune afterward, always remembered, the
Hungarian band, with rare inconsequence, was playing the "Grizzly Bear,"
and people were trying to speak to Helen. By her they were received with
a look of so complete a lack of recognition, and by Philip with a glare
of such savage hate, that they retreated in dismay. The pause seemed to
last for many years.

At last Helen said: "Do you know the story of the two roses? They grew
in a garden under a lady's window. They both loved her. One looked up
at her from the ground and sighed for her; but the other climbed to
the lady's window, and she lifted him in and kissed him--because he had
dared to climb."

Philip took out his watch and looked at it. But Helen did not mind his
doing that, because she saw that his eyes were filled with tears. She
was delighted to find that she was making it very hard for him, too.

"At any moment," Philip said, "I may know whether I owe two hundred
and twenty-five thousand dollars which I can never pay, or whether I am
worth about that sum. I should like to continue this conversation at
the exact place where you last spoke--AFTER I know whether I am going to
jail, or whether I am worth a quarter of a million dollars."

Helen laughed aloud with happiness.

"I knew that was it!" she cried. "You don't like my money. I was afraid
you did not like ME. If you dislike my money, I will give it away, or I
will give it to you to keep for me. The money does not matter, so long
as you don't dislike me."

What Philip would have said to that, Helen could not know, for a page in
many buttons rushed at him with a message from the telephone, and with
a hand that trembled Philip snatched it. It read: "Combine is announced,
shares have gone to thirty-one, shall I hold or sell?"

That at such a crisis he should permit of any interruption hurt Helen
deeply. She regarded him with unhappy eyes. Philip read the message
three times. At last, and not without uneasy doubts as to his own
sanity, he grasped the preposterous truth. He was worth almost a quarter
of a million dollars! At the page he shoved his last and only five-pound
note. He pushed the boy from him.

"Run!" he commanded. "Get out of here, Tell him he is to SELL!"

He turned to Helen with a look in his eyes that could not be questioned
or denied. He seemed incapable of speech, and, to break the silence,
Helen said: "Is it good news?"

"That depends entirely upon you," replied Philip soberly. "Indeed, all
my future life depends upon what you are going to say next."

Helen breathed deeply and happily.

"And--what am I going to say?"

"How can I know that?" demanded Philip. "Am I a mind reader?"

But what she said may be safely guessed from the fact that they both
chucked Lady Woodcotes luncheon, and ate one of penny buns, which they
shared with the bears in Regents Park.

Philip was just able to pay for the penny buns. Helen paid for the
taxi-cab.



Chapter 7. THE NAKED MAN

In their home town of Keepsburg, the Keeps were the reigning dynasty,
socially and in every way. Old man Keep was president of the trolley
line, the telephone company, and the Keep National Bank. But Fred, his
son, and the heir apparent, did not inherit the business ability of his
father; or, if he did, he took pains to conceal that fact. Fred had gone
through Harvard, but as to that also, unless he told people, they would
not have known it. Ten minutes after Fred met a man he generally told
him.

When Fred arranged an alliance with Winnie Platt, who also was of the
innermost inner set of Keepsburg, everybody said Keepsburg would soon
lose them. And everybody was right. When single, each had sighed for
other social worlds to conquer, and when they combined their fortunes
and ambitions they found Keepsburg impossible, and they left it to
lay siege to New York. They were too crafty to at once attack New York
itself. A widow lady they met while on their honeymoon at Palm Beach had
told them not to attempt that. And she was the Palm Beach correspondent
of a society paper they naturally accepted her advice. She warned them
that in New York the waiting-list is already interminable, and that, if
you hoped to break into New York society, the clever thing to do was to
lay siege to it by way of the suburbs and the country clubs. If you went
direct to New York knowing no one, you would at once expose that fact,
and the result would be disastrous.

She told them of a couple like themselves, young and rich and from the
West, who, at the first dance to which they were invited, asked, "Who is
the old lady in the wig?" and that question argued them so unknown that
it set them back two years. It was a terrible story, and it filled the
Keeps with misgivings. They agreed with the lady correspondent that it
was far better to advance leisurely; first firmly to intrench themselves
in the suburbs, and then to enter New York, not as the Keeps from
Keepsburg, which meant nothing, but as the Fred Keeps of Long Island, or
Westchester, or Bordentown.

"In all of those places," explained the widow lady, "our smartest people
have country homes, and at the country club you may get to know them.
Then, when winter comes, you follow them on to the city."

The point from which the Keeps elected to launch their attack was
Scarboro-on-the-Hudson. They selected Scarboro because both of them
could play golf, and they planned that their first skirmish should be
fought and won upon the golf-links of the Sleepy Hollow Country Club.
But the attack did not succeed. Something went wrong. They began to fear
that the lady correspondent had given them the wrong dope. For, although
three months had passed, and they had played golf together until they
were as loath to clasp a golf club as a red-hot poker, they knew no one,
and no one knew them. That is, they did not know the Van Wardens; and
if you lived at Scarboro and were not recognized by the Van Wardens, you
were not to be found on any map.

Since the days of Hendrik Hudson the country-seat of the Van Wardens
had looked down upon the river that bears his name, and ever since those
days the Van Wardens had looked down upon everybody else. They were so
proud that at all their gates they had placed signs reading, "No horses
allowed. Take the other road." The other road was an earth road used by
tradespeople from Ossining; the road reserved for the Van Wardens, and
automobiles, was of bluestone. It helped greatly to give the Van Warden
estate the appearance of a well kept cemetery. And those Van Wardens who
occupied the country-place were as cold and unsociable as the sort of
people who occupy cemeteries--except "Harry" Van Warden, and she lived
in New York at the Turf Club.

Harry, according to all local tradition--for he frequently motored out
to Warden Koopf, the Van Warden country-seat--and, according to the
newspapers, was a devil of a fellow and in no sense cold or unsociable.
So far as the Keeps read of him, he was always being arrested for
overspeeding, or breaking his collar-bone out hunting, or losing his
front teeth at polo. This greatly annoyed the proud sisters at Warden
Koopf; not because Harry was arrested or had broken his collar-bone, but
because it dragged the family name into the newspapers.

"If you would only play polo or ride to hounds instead of playing golf,"
sighed Winnie Keep to her husband, "you would meet Harry Van Warden, and
he'd introduce you to his sisters, and then we could break in anywhere."

"If I was to ride to hounds," returned her husband, "the only thing I'd
break would be my neck."

The country-place of the Keeps was completely satisfactory, and for the
purposes of their social comedy the stage-setting was perfect. The
house was one they had rented from a man of charming taste and inflated
fortune; and with it they had taken over his well-disciplined butler,
his pictures, furniture, family silver, and linen. It stood upon an
eminence, was heavily wooded, and surrounded by many gardens; but its
chief attraction was an artificial lake well stocked with trout that lay
directly below the terrace of the house and also in full view from the
road to Albany.

This latter fact caused Winnie Keep much concern. In the neighborhood
were many Italian laborers, and on several nights the fish had tempted
these born poachers to trespass; and more than once, on hot summer
evenings, small boys from Tarrytown and Ossining had broken through the
hedge, and used the lake as a swimming-pool.

"It makes me nervous," complained Winnie. "I don't like the idea of
people prowling around so near the house. And think of those twelve
hundred convicts, not one mile away, in Sing Sing. Most of them are
burglars, and if they ever get out, our house is the very first one
they'll break into."

"I haven't caught anybody in this neighborhood breaking into our house
yet," said Fred, "and I'd be glad to see even a burglar!"

They were seated on the brick terrace that overlooked the lake. It was
just before the dinner hour, and the dusk of a wonderful October
night had fallen on the hedges, the clumps of evergreens, the rows
of close-clipped box. A full moon was just showing itself above the
tree-tops, turning the lake into moving silver. Fred rose from his
wicker chair and, crossing to his young bride, touched her hair
fearfully with the tips of his fingers.

"What if we don't know anybody, Win," he said, "and nobody knows us?
It's been a perfectly good honeymoon, hasn't it? If you just look at it
that way, it works out all right. We came here really for our honeymoon,
to be together, to be alone--"

Winnie laughed shortly. "They certainly have left us alone!" she sighed.

"But where else could we have been any happier?" demanded the young
husband loyally. "Where will you find any prettier place than this, just
as it is at this minute, so still and sweet and silent? There's nothing
the matter with that moon, is there? Nothing the matter with the lake?
Where's there a better place for a honeymoon? It's a bower--a bower of
peace, solitude a--bower of--"

As though mocking his words, there burst upon the sleeping countryside
the shriek of a giant siren. It was raucous, virulent, insulting. It
came as sharply as a scream of terror, it continued in a bellow of rage.
Then, as suddenly as it had cried aloud, it sank to silence; only after
a pause of an instant, as though giving a signal, to shriek again in two
sharp blasts. And then again it broke into the hideous long drawn scream
of rage, insistent, breathless, commanding; filling the soul of him who
heard it, even of the innocent, with alarm.

"In the name of Heaven!" gasped Keep, "what's that?"

Down the terrace the butler was hastening toward them. When he stopped,
he spoke as though he were announcing dinner. "A convict, sir," he said,
"has escaped from Sing Sing. I thought you might not understand the
whistle. I thought perhaps you would wish Mrs. Keep to come in-doors."

"Why?" asked Winnie Keep.

"The house is near the road, madam," said the butler. "And there are
so many trees and bushes. Last summer two of them hid here, and the
keepers--there was a fight." The man glanced at Keep. Fred touched his
wife on the arm.

"It's time to dress for dinner, Win," he said.

"And what are you going to do?" demanded Winnie.

"I'm going to finish this cigar first. It doesn't take me long to
change." He turned to the butler. "And I'll have a cocktail, too I'll
have it out here."

The servant left them, but in the French window that opened from the
terrace to the library Mrs. Keep lingered irresolutely. "Fred," she
begged, "you--you're not going to poke around in the bushes, are
you?--just because you think I'm frightened?"

Her husband laughed at her. "I certainly am NOT!" he said. "And you're
not frightened, either. Go in. I'll be with you in a minute."

But the girl hesitated. Still shattering the silence of the night the
siren shrieked relentlessly; it seemed to be at their very door, to beat
and buffet the window-panes. The bride shivered and held her fingers to
her ears.

"Why don't they stop it!" she whispered. "Why don't they give him a
chance!"

When she had gone, Fred pulled one of the wicker chairs to the edge
of the terrace, and, leaning forward with his chin in his hands, sat
staring down at the lake. The moon had cleared the tops of the trees,
had blotted the lawns with black, rigid squares, had disguised the
hedges with wavering shadows. Somewhere near at hand a criminal--a
murderer, burglar, thug--was at large, and the voice of the prison he
had tricked still bellowed in rage, in amazement, still clamored not
only for his person but perhaps for his life. The whole countryside
heard it: the farmers bedding down their cattle for the night; the
guests of the Briar Cliff Inn, dining under red candle shades; the joy
riders from the city, racing their cars along the Albany road. It woke
the echoes of Sleepy Hollow. It crossed the Hudson. The granite walls
of the Palisades flung it back against the granite walls of the prison.
Whichever way the convict turned, it hunted him, reaching for him,
pointing him out--stirring in the heart of each who heard it the lust of
the hunter, which never is so cruel as when the hunted thing is a man.

"Find him!" shrieked the siren. "Find him! He's there, behind your
hedge! He's kneeling by the stone wall. THAT'S he running in the
moonlight. THAT'S he crawling through the dead leaves! Stop him! Drag
him down! He's mine! Mine!"

But from within the prison, from within the gray walls that made the
home of the siren, each of twelve hundred men cursed it with his soul.
Each, clinging to the bars of his cell, each, trembling with a fearful
joy, each, his thumbs up, urging on with all the strength of his will
the hunted, rat-like figure that stumbled panting through the crisp
October night, bewildered by strange lights, beset by shadows,
staggering and falling, running like a mad dog in circles, knowing that
wherever his feet led him the siren still held him by the heels.

As a rule, when Winnie Keep was dressing for dinner, Fred, in the room
adjoining, could hear her unconsciously and light-heartedly singing
to herself. It was a habit of hers that he loved. But on this night,
although her room was directly above where he sat upon the terrace, he
heard no singing. He had been on the terrace for a quarter of an hour.
Gridley, the aged butler who was rented with the house, and who for
twenty years had been an inmate of it, had brought the cocktail and
taken away the empty glass. And Keep had been alone with his thoughts.
They were entirely of the convict. If the man suddenly confronted him
and begged his aid, what would he do? He knew quite well what he would
do. He considered even the means by which he would assist the fugitive
to a successful get-away.

The ethics of the question did not concern Fred. He did not weigh his
duty to the State of New York, or to society. One day, when he had
visited "the institution," as a somewhat sensitive neighborhood prefers
to speak of it, he was told that the chance of a prisoner's escaping
from Sing Sing and not being at once retaken was one out of six
thousand. So with Fred it was largely a sporting proposition. Any man
who could beat a six-thousand-to-one shot commanded his admiration.

And, having settled his own course of action, he tried to imagine
himself in the place of the man who at that very moment was endeavoring
to escape. Were he that man, he would first, he decided, rid himself
of his tell-tale clothing. But that would leave him naked, and in
Westchester County a naked man would be quite as conspicuous as one in
the purple-gray cloth of the prison. How could he obtain clothes? He
might hold up a passer-by, and, if the passer-by did not flee from
him or punch him into insensibility, he might effect an exchange of
garments; he might by threats obtain them from some farmer; he might
despoil a scarecrow.

But with none of these plans was Fred entirely satisfied. The question
deeply perplexed him. How best could a naked man clothe himself? And as
he sat pondering that point, from the bushes a naked man emerged. He was
not entirely undraped. For around his nakedness he had drawn a canvas
awning. Fred recognized it as having been torn from one of the row-boats
in the lake. But, except for that, the man was naked to his heels. He
was a young man of Fred's own age. His hair was cut close, his face
smooth-shaven, and above his eye was a half-healed bruise. He had the
sharp, clever, rat-like face of one who lived by evil knowledge. Water
dripped from him, and either for that reason or from fright the young
man trembled, and, like one who had been running, breathed in short,
hard gasps.

Fred was surprised to find that he was not in the least surprised. It
was as though he had been waiting for the man, as though it had been an
appointment.

Two thoughts alone concerned him: that before he could rid himself of
his visitor his wife might return and take alarm, and that the man, not
knowing his friendly intentions, and in a state to commit murder, might
rush him. But the stranger made no hostile move, and for a moment in the
moonlight the two young men eyed each other warily.

Then, taking breath and with a violent effort to stop the chattering of
his teeth, the stranger launched into his story.

"I took a bath in your pond," he blurted forth, "and--and they stole my
clothes! That's why I'm like this!"

Fred was consumed with envy. In comparison with this ingenious narrative
how prosaic and commonplace became his own plans to rid himself of
accusing garments and explain his nakedness. He regarded the stranger
with admiration. But even though he applauded the other's invention, he
could not let him suppose that he was deceived by it.

"Isn't it rather a cold night to take a bath?" he said.

As though in hearty agreement, the naked man burst into a violent fit of
shivering.

"It wasn't a bath," he gasped. "It was a bet!"

"A what!" exclaimed Fred. His admiration was increasing. "A bet? Then
you are not alone?"

"I am NOW--damn them!" exclaimed the naked one. He began again
reluctantly. "We saw you from the road, you and a woman, sitting here
in the light from that room. They bet me I didn't dare strip and swim
across your pond with you sitting so near. I can see now it was framed
up on me from the start. For when I was swimming back I saw them run to
where I'd left my clothes, and then I heard them crank up, and when I
got to the hedge the car was gone!"

Keep smiled encouragingly. "The car!" he assented. "So you've been
riding around in the moonlight?"

The other nodded, and was about to speak when there burst in upon them
the roaring scream of the siren. The note now was of deeper rage, and
came in greater volume. Between his clinched teeth the naked one cursed
fiercely, and then, as though to avoid further questions, burst into a
fit of coughing. Trembling and shaking, he drew the canvas cloak closer
to him. But at no time did his anxious, prying eyes leave the eyes of
Keep.

"You--you couldn't lend me a suit of clothes could you?" he stuttered.
"Just for to-night? I'll send them back. It's all right," he added;
reassuringly. "I live near here."

With a start Keep raised his eyes, and distressed by his look, the young
man continued less confidently.

"I don't blame you if you don't believe it," he stammered, "seeing me
like this; but I DO live right near here. Everybody around here knows
me, and I guess you've read about me in the papers, too. I'm--that is,
my name--" like one about to take a plunge he drew a short breath, and
the rat-like eyes regarded Keep watchfully--"my name is Van Warden. I'm
the one you read about--Harry--I'm Harry Van Warden!"

After a pause, slowly and reprovingly Fred shook his head; but his smile
was kindly even regretful, as though he were sorry he could not longer
enjoy the stranger's confidences.

"My boy!" he exclaimed, "you're MORE than Van Warden! You're a genius!"
He rose and made a peremptory gesture. "Sorry," he said, "but this isn't
safe for either of us. Follow me, and I'll dress you up and send you
where you want to go." He turned and whispered over his shoulder: "Some
day let me hear from you. A man with your nerve--"

In alarm the naked one with a gesture commanded silence.

The library led to the front hall. In this was the coat-room. First
making sure the library and hall were free of servants, Fred tiptoed to
the coat-room and, opening the door, switched: on the electric light.
The naked man, leaving in his wake a trail of damp footprints, followed
at his heels.

Fred pointed at golf-capes, sweaters, greatcoats hanging from hooks, and
on the floor at boots and overshoes.

"Put on that motor-coat and the galoshes," he commanded. "They'll cover
you in case you have to run for it. I'm going to leave you here while
I get you some clothes. If any of the servants butt in, don't lose your
head. Just say you're waiting to see me--Mr. Keep. I won't be long.
Wait."

"Wait!" snorted the stranger. "You BET I'll wait!"

As Fred closed the door upon him, the naked one was rubbing himself
violently with Mrs. Keep's yellow golf-jacket.

In his own room Fred collected a suit of blue serge, a tennis shirt,
boots, even a tie. Underclothes he found ready laid out for him, and he
snatched them from the bed. From a roll of money in his bureau drawer
he counted out a hundred dollars. Tactfully he slipped the money in the
trousers pocket of the serge suit and with the bundle of clothes in his
arms raced downstairs and shoved them into the coat-room.

"Don't come out until I knock," he commanded. "And," he added in a
vehement whisper, "don't come out at all unless you have clothes on!"

The stranger grunted.

Fred rang for Gridley and told him to have his car brought around to the
door. He wanted it to start at once within two minutes. When the butler
had departed, Fred, by an inch, again opened the coat-room door. The
stranger had draped himself in the underclothes and the shirt, and at
the moment was carefully arranging the tie.

"Hurry!" commanded Keep. "The car'll be here in a minute. Where shall I
tell him to take you?"

The stranger chuckled excitedly; his confidence seemed to be returning.
"New York," he whispered, "fast as he can get there! Look here," he
added doubtfully, "there's a roll of bills in these clothes."

"They're yours," said Fred.

The stranger exclaimed vigorously. "You're all right!" he whispered. "I
won't forget this, or you either. I'll send the money back same time I
send the clothes."

"Exactly!" said Fred.

The wheels of the touring-car crunched on the gravel drive, and Fred
slammed to the door, and like a sentry on guard paced before it. After
a period which seemed to stretch over many minutes there came from the
inside a cautious knocking. With equal caution Fred opened the door of
the width of a finger, and put his ear to the crack.

"You couldn't find me a button-hook, could you?" whispered the stranger.

Indignantly Fred shut the door and, walking to the veranda, hailed the
chauffeur. James, the chauffeur, was a Keepsburg boy, and when Keep had
gone to Cambridge James had accompanied him. Keep knew the boy could be
trusted.

"You're to take a man to New York," he said, "or wherever he wants
to go. Don't talk to him. Don't ask any questions. So, if YOU'RE
questioned, you can say you know nothing. That's for your own good!"

The chauffeur mechanically touched his cap and started down the steps.
As he did so, the prison whistle, still unsatisfied, still demanding its
prey, shattered the silence. As though it had hit him a physical blow,
the youth jumped. He turned and lifted startled, inquiring eyes to where
Keep stood above him.

"I told you," said Keep, "to ask no questions."

As Fred re-entered the hall, Winnie Keep was coming down the stairs
toward him. She had changed to one of the prettiest evening gowns of her
trousseau, and so outrageously lovely was the combination of herself and
the gown that her husband's excitement and anxiety fell from him, and he
was lost in admiration. But he was not for long lost. To his horror; the
door of the coat-closet opened toward his wife and out of the closet the
stranger emerged. Winnie, not accustomed to seeing young men suddenly
appear from among the dust-coats, uttered a sharp shriek.

With what he considered great presence of mind, Fred swung upon the
visitor.

"Did you fix it?" he demanded.

The visitor did not heed him. In amazement in abject admiration, his
eyes were fastened upon the beautiful and radiant vision presented by
Winnie Keep. But he also still preserved sufficient presence of mind to
nod his head dully.

"Come," commanded Fred. "The car is waiting."

Still the stranger did not move. As though he had never before seen a
woman, as though her dazzling loveliness held him in a trance, he stood
still, gazing, gaping, devouring Winnie with his eyes. In her turn,
Winnie beheld a strange youth who looked like a groom out of livery,
so overcome by her mere presence as to be struck motionless and
inarticulate. For protection she moved in some alarm toward her husband.

The stranger gave a sudden jerk of his body that might have been
intended for a bow. Before Keep could interrupt him, like a parrot
reciting its lesson, he exclaimed explosively:

"My name's Van Warden. I'm Harry Van Warden."

He seemed as little convinced of the truth of his statement as though
he had announced that he was the Czar of Russia. It was as though a
stage-manager had drilled him in the lines.

But upon Winnie, as her husband saw to his dismay, the words produced
an instant and appalling effect. She fairly radiated excitement and
delight. How her husband had succeeded in capturing the social prize of
Scarboro she could not imagine, but, for doing so, she flashed toward
him a glance of deep and grateful devotion.

Then she beamed upon the stranger. "Won't Mr. Van Warden stay to
dinner?" she asked.

Her husband emitted a howl. "He will NOT!" he cried. "He's not that kind
of a Van Warden. He's a plumber. He's the man that fixes the telephone!"

He seized the visitor by the sleeve of the long motor-coat and dragged
him down the steps. Reluctantly, almost resistingly, the visitor
stumbled after him, casting backward amazed glances at the beautiful
lady. Fred thrust him into the seat beside the chauffeur. Pointing at
the golf-cap and automobile goggles which the stranger was stupidly
twisting in his hands, Fred whispered fiercely:

"Put those on! Cover your face! Don't speak! The man knows what to do."

With eager eyes and parted lips James the chauffeur was waiting for the
signal. Fred nodded sharply, and the chauffeur stooped to throw in the
clutch. But the car did not start. From the hedge beside the driveway,
directly in front of the wheels, something on all fours threw itself
upon the gravel; something in a suit of purple-gray; something torn
and bleeding, smeared with sweat and dirt; something that cringed and
crawled, that tried to rise and sank back upon its knees, lifting to the
glare of the head-lights the white face and white hair of a very old,
old man. The kneeling figure sobbed; the sobs rising from far down in
the pit of the stomach, wrenching the body like waves of nausea. The man
stretched his arms toward them. From long disuse his voice cracked and
broke.

"I'm done!" he sobbed. "I can't go no farther! I give myself up!"

Above the awful silence that held the four young people, the prison
siren shrieked in one long, mocking howl of triumph.

It was the stranger who was the first to act. Pushing past Fred, and
slipping from his own shoulders the long motor-coat, he flung it over
the suit of purple-gray. The goggles he clapped upon the old man's
frightened eyes, the golf-cap he pulled down over the white hair. With
one arm he lifted the convict, and with the other dragged and pushed him
into the seat beside the chauffeur. Into the hands of the chauffeur he
thrust the roll of bills.

"Get him away!" he ordered. "It's only twelve miles to the Connecticut
line. As soon as you're across, buy him clothes and a ticket to Boston.
Go through White Plains to Greenwich--and then you're safe!"

As though suddenly remembering the presence of the owner of the car, he
swung upon Fred. "Am I right?" he demanded.

"Of course!" roared Fred. He flung his arm at the chauffeur as though
throwing him into space.

"Get-to-hell-out-of-here!" he shouted.

The chauffeur, by profession a criminal, but by birth a human being,
chuckled savagely and this time threw in the clutch. With a grinding of
gravel the racing-car leaped into the night, its ruby rear lamp winking
in farewell, its tiny siren answering the great siren of the prison in
jeering notes of joy and victory.

Fred had supposed that at the last moment the younger convict proposed
to leap to the running-board, but instead the stranger remained
motionless.

Fred shouted impotently after the flying car. In dismay he seized the
stranger by the arm.

"But you?" he demanded. "How are you going to get away?"

The stranger turned appealingly to where upon the upper step stood
Winnie Keep.

"I don't want to get away," he said. "I was hoping, maybe, you'd let me
stay to dinner."

A terrible and icy chill crept down the spine of Fred Keep. He moved so
that the light from the hall fell full upon the face of the stranger.

"Will you kindly tell me," Fred demanded, "who the devil you are?"

The stranger exclaimed peevishly. "I've BEEN telling you all evening,"
he protested. "I'm Harry Van Warden!"

Gridley, the ancient butler, appeared in the open door.

"Dinner is served, madam," he said.

The stranger gave an exclamation of pleasure. "Hello, Gridley!" he
cried. "Will you please tell Mr. Keep who I am? Tell him, if he'll ask
me to dinner, I won't steal the spoons."

Upon the face of Gridley appeared a smile it never had been the
privilege of Fred Keep to behold. The butler beamed upon the stranger
fondly, proudly, by the right of long acquaintanceship, with the
affection of an old friend. Still beaming, he bowed to Keep.

"If Mr. Harry--Mr. Van Warden," he said, "is to stay to dinner, might I
suggest, sir, he is very partial to the Paul Vibert, '84."

Fred Keep gazed stupidly from his butler to the stranger and then at his
wife. She was again radiantly beautiful and smilingly happy.

Gridley coughed tentatively. "Shall I open a bottle, sir?" he asked.

Hopelessly Fred tossed his arms heavenward.

"Open a case!" he roared.

At ten o'clock, when they were still at table and reaching a state of
such mutual appreciation that soon they would be calling each other by
their first names, Gridley brought in a written message he had taken
from the telephone. It was a long-distance call from Yonkers, sent by
James, the faithful chauffeur.

Fred read it aloud.

"I got that party the articles he needed," it read, "and saw him safe on
a train to Boston. On the way back I got arrested for speeding the car
on the way down. Please send money. I am in a cell in Yonkers."



Chapter 8. THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF

Before he finally arrested him, "Jimmie" Sniffen had seen the man with
the golf-cap, and the blue eyes that laughed at you, three times. Twice,
unexpectedly, he had come upon him in a wood road and once on Round
Hill where the stranger was pretending to watch the sunset. Jimmie
knew people do not climb hills merely to look at sunsets, so he was not
deceived. He guessed the man was a German spy seeking gun sites, and
secretly vowed to "stalk" him. From that moment, had the stranger known
it, he was as good as dead. For a boy scout with badges on his
sleeve for "stalking" and "path-finding," not to boast of others
for "gardening" and "cooking," can outwit any spy. Even had, General
Baden-Powell remained in Mafeking and not invented the boy scout, Jimmie
Sniffen would have been one. Because, by birth he was a boy, and by
inheritance, a scout. In Westchester County the Sniffens are one of
the county families. If it isn't a Sarles, it's a Sniffen; and with
Brundages, Platts, and Jays, the Sniffens date back to when the acres of
the first Charles Ferris ran from the Boston post road to the coach
road to Albany, and when the first Gouverneur Morris stood on one of
his hills and saw the Indian canoes in the Hudson and in the Sound and
rejoiced that all the land between belonged to him.

If you do not believe in heredity, the fact that Jimmie's
great-great-grandfather was a scout for General Washington and hunted
deer, and even bear, over exactly the same hills where Jimmie hunted
weasles will count for nothing. It will not explain why to Jimmie, from
Tarrytown to Port Chester, the hills, the roads, the woods, and the
cow-paths, caves, streams, and springs hidden in the woods were as
familiar as his own kitchen garden, nor explain why, when you could not
see a Pease and Elliman "For Sale" sign nailed to a tree, Jimmie could
see in the highest branches a last year's bird's nest.

Or why, when he was out alone playing Indians and had sunk his scout's
axe into a fallen log and then scalped the log, he felt that once before
in those same woods he had trailed that same Indian, and with his own
tomahawk split open his skull. Sometimes when he knelt to drink at a
secret spring in the forest, the autumn leaves would crackle and he
would raise his eyes fearing to see a panther facing him.

"But there ain't no panthers in Westchester," Jimmie would reassure
himself. And in the distance the roar of an automobile climbing a hill
with the muffler open would seem to suggest he was right. But still
Jimmie remembered once before he had knelt at that same spring, and that
when he raised his eyes he had faced a crouching panther. "Mebbe dad
told me it happened to grandpop," Jimmie would explain, "or I dreamed
it, or, mebbe, I read it in a story book."

The "German spy" mania attacked Round Hill after the visit to the boy
scouts of Clavering Gould, the war correspondent. He was spending the
week end with "Squire" Harry Van Vorst, and as young Van Vorst, besides
being a justice of the peace and a Master of Beagles and President
of the Country Club, was also a local "councilman" for the Round Hill
Scouts, he brought his guest to a camp-fire meeting to talk to them. In
deference to his audience, Gould told them of the boy scouts he had seen
in Belgium and of the part they were playing in the great war. It was
his peroration that made trouble.

"And any day," he assured his audience, "this country may be at war with
Germany; and every one of you boys will be expected to do his bit. You
can begin now. When the Germans land it will be near New Haven, or New
Bedford. They will first capture the munition works at Springfield,
Hartford, and Watervliet so as to make sure of their ammunition, and
then they will start for New York City. They will follow the New Haven
and New York Central railroads, and march straight through this village.
I haven't the least doubt," exclaimed the enthusiastic war prophet,
"that at this moment German spies are as thick in Westchester as
blackberries. They are here to select camp sites and gun positions, to
find out which of these hills enfilade the others and to learn to what
extent their armies can live on the country. They are counting the cows,
the horses, the barns where fodder is stored; and they are marking down
on their maps the wells and streams."

As though at that moment a German spy might be crouching behind the
door, Mr. Gould spoke in a whisper. "Keep your eyes open!" he commanded.
"Watch every stranger. If he acts suspiciously, get word quick to your
sheriff, or to Judge Van Vorst here. Remember the scouts' motto, 'Be
prepared!'"

That night as the scouts walked home, behind each wall and hayrick they
saw spiked helmets.

Young Van Vorst was extremely annoyed.

"Next time you talk to my scouts," he declared, "you'll talk on 'Votes
for Women.' After what you said to-night every real estate agent who
dares open a map will be arrested. We're not trying to drive people away
from Westchester, we're trying to sell them building sites."

"YOU are not!" retorted his friend, "you own half the county now, and
you're trying to buy the other half."

"I'm a justice of the peace," explained Van Vorst. "I don't know WHY I
am, except that they wished it on me. All I get out of it is trouble.
The Italians make charges against my best friends for overspeeding and
I have to fine them, and my best friends bring charges against the
Italians for poaching, and when I fine the Italians, they send me Black
Hand letters. And now every day I'll be asked to issue a warrant for
a German spy who is selecting gun sites. And he will turn out to be a
millionaire who is tired of living at the Ritz-Carlton and wants to
'own his own home' and his own golf-links. And he'll be so hot at being
arrested that he'll take his millions to Long Island and try to break
into the Piping Rock Club. And, it will be your fault!"

The young justice of the peace was right. At least so far as Jimmie
Sniffen was concerned, the words of the war prophet had filled one mind
with unrest. In the past Jimmie's idea of a holiday had been to spend it
scouting in the woods. In this pleasure he was selfish. He did not want
companions who talked, and trampled upon the dead leaves so that they
frightened the wild animals and gave the Indians warning. Jimmie
liked to pretend. He liked to fill the woods with wary and hostile
adversaries. It was a game of his own inventing. If he crept to the
top of a hill and on peering over it, surprised a fat woodchuck, he
pretended the woodchuck was a bear, weighing two hundred pounds; if,
himself unobserved, he could lie and watch, off its guard, a rabbit,
squirrel, or, most difficult of all, a crow, it became a deer and that
night at supper Jimmie made believe he was eating venison. Sometimes he
was a scout of the Continental Army and carried despatches to General
Washington. The rules of that game were that if any man ploughing in
the fields, or cutting trees in the woods, or even approaching along the
same road, saw Jimmie before Jimmie saw him, Jimmie was taken prisoner,
and before sunrise was shot as a spy. He was seldom shot. Or else why
on his sleeve was the badge for "stalking." But always to have to make
believe became monotonous. Even "dry shopping" along the Rue de la Paix
when you pretend you can have anything you see in any window, leaves one
just as rich, but unsatisfied. So the advice of the war correspondent
to seek out German spies came to Jimmie like a day at the circus, like a
week at the Danbury Fair. It not only was a call to arms, to protect his
flag and home, but a chance to play in earnest the game in which he
most delighted. No longer need he pretend. No longer need he waste his
energies in watching, unobserved, a greedy rabbit rob a carrot field.
The game now was his fellow-man and his enemy; not only his enemy, but
the enemy of his country.

In his first effort Jimmie was not entirely successful. The man looked
the part perfectly; he wore an auburn beard, disguising spectacles, and
he carried a suspicious knapsack. But he turned out to be a professor
from the Museum of Natural History, who wanted to dig for Indian
arrow-heads. And when Jimmie threatened to arrest him, the indignant
gentleman arrested Jimmie. Jimmie escaped only by leading the professor
to a secret cave of his own, though on some one else's property, where
one not only could dig for arrow-heads, but find them. The professor
was delighted, but for Jimmie it was a great disappointment. The week
following Jimmie was again disappointed.

On the bank of the Kensico Reservoir, he came upon a man who was acting
in a mysterious and suspicious manner. He was making notes in a book,
and his runabout which he had concealed in a wood road was stuffed with
blue-prints. It did not take Jimmie long to guess his purpose. He was
planning to blow up the Kensico dam, and cut off the water supply of
New York City. Seven millions of people without water! With out firing
a shot, New York must surrender! At the thought Jimmie shuddered, and
at the risk of his life by clinging to the tail of a motor truck, he
followed the runabout into White Plains. But there it developed the
mysterious stranger, so far from wishing to destroy the Kensico dam,
was the State Engineer who had built it, and, also, a large part of the
Panama Canal. Nor in his third effort was Jimmie more successful. From
the heights of Pound Ridge he discovered on a hilltop below him a man
working alone upon a basin of concrete. The man was a German-American,
and already on Jimmie's list of "suspects." That for the use of the
German artillery he was preparing a concrete bed for a siege gun was
only too evident. But closer investigation proved that the concrete was
only two inches thick. And the hyphenated one explained that the basin
was built over a spring, in the waters of which he planned to erect
a fountain and raise gold fish. It was a bitter blow. Jimmie became
discouraged. Meeting Judge Van Vorst one day in the road he told him
his troubles. The young judge proved unsympathetic. "My advice to you,
Jimmie," he said, "is to go slow. Accusing everybody of espionage is a
very serious matter. If you call a man a spy, it's sometimes hard for
him to disprove it; and the name sticks. So, go slow--very slow. Before
you arrest any more people, come to me first for a warrant."

So, the next time Jimmie proceeded with caution.

Besides being a farmer in a small way, Jimmie's father was a handy man
with tools. He had no union card, but, in laying shingles along a blue
chalk line, few were as expert. It was August, there was no school, and
Jimmie was carrying a dinner-pail to where his father was at work on a
new barn. He made a cross-cut through the woods, and came upon the young
man in the golf-cap. The stranger nodded, and his eyes, which seemed to
be always laughing, smiled pleasantly. But he was deeply tanned, and,
from the waist up, held himself like a soldier, so, at once, Jimmie
mistrusted him. Early the next morning Jimmie met him again. It had not
been raining, but the clothes of the young man were damp. Jimmie guessed
that while the dew was still on the leaves the young man had been
forcing his way through underbrush. The stranger must have remembered
Jimmie, for he laughed and exclaimed:

"Ah, my friend with the dinner-pail! It's luck you haven't got it now,
or I'd hold you up. I'm starving!"

Jimmie smiled in sympathy. "It's early to be hungry," said Jimmie; "when
did you have your breakfast?"

"I didn't," laughed the young man. "I went out to walk up an appetite,
and I lost myself. But, I haven't lost my appetite. Which is the
shortest way back to Bedford?"

"The first road to your right," said Jimmie.

"Is it far?" asked the stranger anxiously. That he was very hungry was
evident.

"It's a half-hour's walk," said Jimmie

"If I live that long," corrected the young man; and stepped out briskly.

Jimmie knew that within a hundred yards a turn in the road would shut
him from sight. So, he gave the stranger time to walk that distance,
and, then, diving into the wood that lined the road, "stalked" him. From
behind a tree he saw the stranger turn and look back, and seeing no one
in the road behind him, also leave it and plunge into the woods.

He had not turned toward Bedford; he had turned to the left. Like a
runner stealing bases, Jimmie slipped from tree to tree. Ahead of him he
heard the stranger trampling upon dead twigs, moving rapidly as one who
knew his way. At times through the branches Jimmie could see the broad
shoulders of the stranger, and again could follow his progress only by
the noise of the crackling twigs. When the noises ceased, Jimmie guessed
the stranger had reached the wood road, grass-grown and moss-covered,
that led to Middle Patent. So, he ran at right angles until he also
reached it, and as now he was close to where it entered the main road,
he approached warily. But, he was too late. There was a sound like the
whir of a rising partridge, and ahead of him from where it had been
hidden, a gray touring-car leaped into the highway. The stranger was
at the wheel. Throwing behind it a cloud of dust, the car raced toward
Greenwich. Jimmie had time to note only that it bore a Connecticut
State license; that in the wheel-ruts the tires printed little V's, like
arrow-heads.

For a week Jimmie saw nothing of the spy, but for many hot and dusty
miles he stalked arrow-heads. They lured him north, they lured him
south, they were stamped in soft asphalt, in mud, dust, and fresh-spread
tarvia. Wherever Jimmie walked, arrow-heads ran before. In his sleep as
in his copy-book, he saw endless chains of V's. But not once could he
catch up with the wheels that printed them. A week later, just at sunset
as he passed below Round Hill, he saw the stranger on top of it. On the
skyline, in silhouette against the sinking sun, he was as conspicuous
as a flagstaff. But to approach him was impossible. For acres Round Hill
offered no other cover than stubble. It was as bald as a skull. Until
the stranger chose to descend, Jimmie must wait. And the stranger was
in no haste. The sun sank and from the west Jimmie saw him turn his face
east toward the Sound. A storm was gathering, drops of rain began to
splash and as the sky grew black the figure on the hilltop faded into
the darkness. And then, at the very spot where Jimmie had last seen
it, there suddenly flared two tiny flashes of fire. Jimmie leaped from
cover. It was no longer to be endured. The spy was signalling. The time
for caution had passed, now was the time to act. Jimmie raced to the
top of the hill, and found it empty. He plunged down it, vaulted a stone
wall, forced his way through a tangle of saplings, and held his breath
to listen. Just beyond him, over a jumble of rocks, a hidden stream was
tripping and tumbling. Joyfully, it laughed and gurgled. Jimmie turned
hot. It sounded as though from the darkness the spy mocked him. Jimmie
shook his fist at the enshrouding darkness. Above the tumult of the
coming storm and the tossing tree-tops, he raised his voice.

"You wait!" he shouted. "I'll get you yet! Next time, I'll bring a gun."

Next time, was the next morning. There had been a hawk hovering over
the chicken yard, and Jimmie used that fact to explain his borrowing the
family shotgun. He loaded it with buckshot, and, in the pocket of his
shirt buttoned his license to "hunt, pursue and kill, to take with traps
or other devices."

He remembered that Judge Van Vorst had warned him, before he arrested
more spies, to come to him for a warrant. But with an impatient shake of
the head Jimmie tossed the recollection from him. After what he had seen
he could not possibly be again mistaken. He did not need a warrant. What
he had seen was his warrant--plus the shotgun.

As a "pathfinder" should, he planned to take up the trail where he had
lost it, but, before he reached Round Hill, he found a warmer trail.
Before him, stamped clearly in the road still damp from the rain of the
night before, two lines of little arrow-heads pointed the way. They were
so fresh that at each twist in the road, lest the car should be just
beyond him, Jimmie slackened his steps. After half a mile the scent
grew hot. The tracks were deeper, the arrow-heads more clearly cut, and
Jimmie broke into a run. Then, the arrow-heads swung suddenly to the
right, and in a clearing at the edge of a wood, were lost. But the tires
had pressed deep into the grass, and just inside the wood, he found the
car. It was empty. Jimmie was drawn two ways. Should he seek the spy
on the nearest hilltop, or, until the owner returned, wait by the car.
Between lying in ambush and action, Jimmie preferred action. But, he did
not climb the hill nearest the car; he climbed the hill that overlooked
that hill.

Flat on the ground, hidden in the golden-rod he lay motionless. Before
him, for fifteen miles stretched hills and tiny valleys. Six miles away
to his right rose the stone steeple, and the red roofs of Greenwich.
Directly before him were no signs of habitation, only green forests,
green fields, gray stone walls, and, where a road ran up-hill, a splash
of white, that quivered in the heat. The storm of the night before had
washed the air. Each leaf stood by itself. Nothing stirred; and in the
glare of the August sun every detail of the landscape was as distinct as
those in a colored photograph; and as still.

In his excitement the scout was trembling.

"If he moves," he sighed happily, "I've got him!"

Opposite, across a little valley was the hill at the base of which
he had found the car. The slope toward him was bare, but the top was
crowned with a thick wood; and along its crest, as though establishing
an ancient boundary, ran a stone wall, moss-covered and wrapped in
poison-ivy. In places, the branches of the trees, reaching out to the
sun, overhung the wall and hid it in black shadows. Jimmie divided the
hill into sectors. He began at the right, and slowly followed the wall.
With his eyes he took it apart, stone by stone. Had a chipmunk raised
his head, Jimmie would have seen him. So, when from the stone wall, like
the reflection of the sun upon a window-pane, something flashed, Jimmie
knew he had found his spy. A pair of binoculars had betrayed him.
Jimmie now saw him clearly. He sat on the ground at the top of the hill
opposite, in the deep shadow of an oak, his back against the stone wall.
With the binoculars to his eyes he had leaned too far forward, and upon
the glass the sun had flashed a warning.

Jimmie appreciated that his attack must be made from the rear. Backward,
like a crab he wriggled free of the golden-rod, and hidden by the
contour of the hill, raced down it and into the woods on the hill
opposite. When he came to within twenty feet of the oak beneath which
he had seen the stranger, he stood erect, and as though avoiding a live
wire, stepped on tip-toe to the wall. The stranger still sat against it.
The binoculars hung from a cord around his neck. Across his knees was
spread a map. He was marking it with a pencil, and as he worked, he
hummed a tune.

Jimmie knelt, and resting the gun on the top of the wall, covered him.

"Throw up your hands!" he commanded.

The stranger did not start. Except that he raised his eyes he gave no
sign that he had heard. His eyes stared across the little sun-filled
valley. They were half closed as though in study, as though perplexed
by some deep and intricate problem. They appeared to see beyond the
sun-filled valley some place of greater moment, some place far distant.

Then the eyes smiled, and slowly, as though his neck were stiff, but
still smiling, the stranger turned his head. When he saw the boy, his
smile was swept away in waves of surprise, amazement, and disbelief.
These were followed instantly by an expression of the most acute alarm.
"Don't point that thing at me!" shouted the stranger. "Is it loaded?"
With his cheek pressed to the stock and his eye squinted down the length
of the brown barrel, Jimmie nodded. The stranger flung up his open
palms. They accented his expression of amazed incredulity. He seemed to
be exclaiming, "Can such things be?"

"Get up!" commanded Jimmie.

With alacrity the stranger rose.

"Walk over there," ordered the scout. "Walk backward. Stop! Take off
those field-glasses and throw them to me." Without removing his eyes
from the gun the stranger lifted the binoculars from his neck and tossed
them to the stone wall. "See here!" he pleaded, "if you'll only point
that damned blunderbuss the other way, you can have the glasses, and my
watch, and clothes, and all my money; only don't--"

Jimmie flushed crimson. "You can't bribe me," he growled. At least, he
tried to growl, but because his voice was changing, or because he was
excited the growl ended in a high squeak. With mortification, Jimmie
flushed a deeper crimson. But the stranger was not amused. At Jimmie's
words he seemed rather the more amazed.

"I'm not trying to bribe you," he protested. "If you don't want
anything, why are you holding me up?"

"I'm not," returned Jimmie, "I'm arresting you!"

The stranger laughed with relief. Again his eyes smiled. "Oh," he cried,
"I see! Have I been trespassing?"

With a glance Jimmie measured the distance between himself and the
stranger. Reassured, he lifted one leg after the other over the wall.
"If you try to rush me," he warned, "I'll shoot you full of buckshot."

The stranger took a hasty step BACKWARD. "Don't worry about that," he
exclaimed. "I'll not rush you. Why am I arrested?"

Hugging the shotgun with his left arm, Jimmie stopped and lifted the
binoculars. He gave them a swift glance, slung them over his shoulder,
and again clutched his weapon. His expression was now stern and
menacing.

"The name on them" he accused, "is 'Weiss, Berlin.' Is that your name?"
The stranger smiled, but corrected himself, and replied gravely, "That's
the name of the firm that makes them."

Jimmie exclaimed in triumph. "Hah!" he cried, "made in Germany!"

The stranger shook his head.

"I don't understand," he said. "Where WOULD a Weiss glass be made?"
With polite insistence he repeated, "Would you mind telling me why I am
arrested, and who you might happen to be?"

Jimmie did not answer. Again he stooped and picked up the map, and as he
did so, for the first time the face of the stranger showed that he was
annoyed. Jimmie was not at home with maps. They told him nothing. But
the penciled notes on this one made easy reading. At his first glance he
saw, "Correct range, 1,800 yards"; "this stream not fordable"; "slope of
hill 15 degrees inaccessible for artillery." "Wire entanglements here";
"forage for five squadrons."

Jimmie's eyes flashed. He shoved the map inside his shirt, and with the
gun motioned toward the base of the hill. "Keep forty feet ahead of me,"
he commanded, "and walk to your car." The stranger did not seem to hear
him. He spoke with irritation.

"I suppose," he said, "I'll have to explain to you about that map."

"Not to me, you won't," declared his captor. "You're going to drive
straight to Judge Van Vorst's, and explain to HIM!"

The stranger tossed his arms even higher. "Thank God!" he exclaimed
gratefully.

With his prisoner Jimmie encountered no further trouble. He made a
willing captive. And if in covering the five miles to Judge Van Vorst's
he exceeded the speed limit, the fact that from the rear seat Jimmie
held the shotgun against the base of his skull was an extenuating
circumstance.

They arrived in the nick of time. In his own car young Van Vorst and a
bag of golf clubs were just drawing away from the house. Seeing the car
climbing the steep driveway that for a half-mile led from his lodge to
his front door, and seeing Jimmie standing in the tonneau brandishing a
gun, the Judge hastily descended. The sight of the spy hunter filled him
with misgiving, but the sight of him gave Jimmie sweet relief. Arresting
German spies for a small boy is no easy task. For Jimmie the strain was
great. And now that he knew he had successfully delivered him into the
hands of the law, Jimmie's heart rose with happiness. The added presence
of a butler of magnificent bearing and of an athletic looking chauffeur
increased his sense of security. Their presence seemed to afford a
feeling of security to the prisoner also. As he brought the car to a
halt, he breathed a sigh. It was a sigh of deep relief.

Jimmie fell from the tonneau. In concealing his sense of triumph, he was
not entirety successful.

"I got him!" he cried. "I didn't make no mistake about THIS one!"

"What one?" demanded Van Vorst.

Jimmie pointed dramatically at his prisoner. With an anxious expression
the stranger was tenderly fingering the back of his head. He seemed to
wish to assure himself that it was still there.

"THAT one!" cried Jimmie. "He's a German spy!"

The patience of Judge Van Vorst fell from him. In his exclamation was
indignation, anger, reproach.

"Jimmie!" he cried.

Jimmie thrust into his hand the map. It was his "Exhibit A." "Look what
he's wrote," commanded the scout. "It's all military words. And these
are his glasses. I took 'em off him. They're made in GERMANY! I been
stalking him for a week. He's a spy!"

When Jimmie thrust the map before his face, Van Vorst had glanced at it.
Then he regarded it more closely. As he raised his eyes they showed that
he was puzzled.

But he greeted the prisoner politely.

"I'm extremely sorry you've been annoyed," he said. "I'm only glad it's
no worse. He might have shot you. He's mad over the idea that every
stranger he sees--"

The prisoner quickly interrupted.

"Please!" he begged, "Don't blame the boy. He behaved extremely well.
Might I speak with you--ALONE?" he asked.

Judge Van Vorst led the way across the terrace, and to the smoking-room,
that served also as his office, and closed the door. The stranger walked
directly to the mantelpiece and put his finger on a gold cup.

"I saw your mare win that at Belmont Park," he said. "She must have been
a great loss to you?"

"She was," said Van Vorst. "The week before she broke her back, I
refused three thousand for her. Will you have a cigarette?"

The stranger waved aside the cigarettes.

"I brought you inside," he said, "because I didn't want your servants to
hear; and because I don't want to hurt that boy's feelings. He's a fine
boy; and he's a damned clever scout. I knew he was following me and I
threw him off twice, but to-day he caught me fair. If I really had been
a German spy, I couldn't have got away from him. And I want him to think
he has captured a German spy. Because he deserves just as much credit
as though he had, and because it's best he shouldn't know whom he DID
capture."

Van Vorst pointed to the map. "My bet is," he said, "that you're an
officer of the State militia, taking notes for the fall manoeuvres. Am I
right?"

The stranger smiled in approval, but shook his head.

"You're warm," he said, "but it's more serious than manoeuvres. It's the
Real Thing." From his pocketbook he took a visiting card and laid it on
the table. "I'm 'Sherry' McCoy," he said, "Captain of Artillery in the
United States Army." He nodded to the hand telephone on the table.

"You can call up Governor's Island and get General Wood or his aide,
Captain Dorey, on the phone. They sent me here. Ask THEM. I'm not
picking out gun sites for the Germans; I'm picking out positions of
defense for Americans when the Germans come!"

Van Vorst laughed derisively.

"My word!" he exclaimed. "You're as bad as Jimmie!"

Captain McCoy regarded him with disfavor.

"And you, sir," he retorted, "are as bad as ninety million other
Americans. You WON'T believe! When the Germans are shelling this hill,
when they're taking your hunters to pull their cook-wagons, maybe,
you'll believe THEN."

"Are you serious?" demanded Van Vorst. "And you an army officer?"

"That's why I am serious," returned McCoy. "WE know. But when we try to
prepare for what is coming, we must do it secretly--in underhand ways,
for fear the newspapers will get hold of it and ridicule us, and accuse
us of trying to drag the country into war. That's why we have to prepare
under cover. That's why I've had to skulk around these hills like a
chicken thief. And," he added sharply, "that's why that boy must not
know who I am. If he does, the General Staff will get a calling down at
Washington, and I'll have my ears boxed."

Van Vorst moved to the door.

"He will never learn the truth from me," he said. "For I will tell him
you are to be shot at sunrise."

"Good!" laughed the Captain. "And tell me his name. If ever we fight
over Westchester County, I want that lad for my chief of scouts. And
give him this. Tell him to buy a new scout uniform. Tell him it comes
from you."

But no money could reconcile Jimmie to the sentence imposed upon his
captive. He received the news with a howl of anguish. "You mustn't," he
begged; "I never knowed you'd shoot him! I wouldn't have caught him, if
I'd knowed that. I couldn't sleep if I thought he was going to be shot
at sunrise." At the prospect of unending nightmares Jimmie's voice shook
with terror. "Make it for twenty years," he begged. "Make it for ten,"
he coaxed, "but, please, promise you won't shoot him."

When Van Vorst returned to Captain McCoy, he was smiling, and the butler
who followed, bearing a tray and tinkling glasses, was trying not to
smile.

"I gave Jimmie your ten dollars," said Van Vorst, "and made it twenty,
and he has gone home. You will be glad to hear that he begged me to
spare your life, and that your sentence has been commuted to twenty
years in a fortress. I drink to your good fortune."

"No!" protested Captain McCoy, "We will drink to Jimmie!"

When Captain McCoy had driven away, and his own car and the golf clubs
had again been brought to the steps, Judge Van Vorst once more attempted
to depart; but he was again delayed.

Other visitors were arriving.

Up the driveway a touring-car approached, and though it limped on a flat
tire, it approached at reckless speed. The two men in the front seat
were white with dust; their faces, masked by automobile glasses, were
indistinguishable. As though preparing for an immediate exit, the car
swung in a circle until its nose pointed down the driveway up which it
had just come. Raising his silk mask the one beside the driver shouted
at Judge Van Vorst. His throat was parched, his voice was hoarse and hot
with anger.

"A gray touring-car," he shouted. "It stopped here. We saw it from that
hill. Then the damn tire burst, and we lost our way. Where did he go?"

"Who?" demanded Van Vorst, stiffly, "Captain McCoy?"

The man exploded with an oath. The driver with a shove of his elbow,
silenced him.

"Yes, Captain McCoy," assented the driver eagerly. "Which way did he
go?"

"To New York," said Van Vorst.

The driver shrieked at his companion.

"Then, he's doubled back," he cried. "He's gone to New Haven." He
stooped and threw in the clutch. The car lurched forward.

A cold terror swept young Van Vorst.

"What do you want with him?" he called "Who are you?"

Over one shoulder the masked face glared at him. Above the roar of the
car the words of the driver were flung back. "We're Secret Service from
Washington," he shouted. "He's from their embassy. He's a German spy!"

Leaping and throbbing at sixty miles an hour, the car vanished in a
curtain of white, whirling dust.



Chapter 9. THE CARD-SHARP

I had looked forward to spending Christmas with some people in Suffolk,
and every one in London assured me that at their house there would be
the kind of a Christmas house party you hear about but see only in the
illustrated Christmas numbers. They promised mistletoe, snapdragon, and
Sir Roger de Coverley. On Christmas morning we would walk to church,
after luncheon we would shoot, after dinner we would eat plum pudding
floating in blazing brandy, dance with the servants, and listen to the
waits singing "God rest you, merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay."

To a lone American bachelor stranded in London it sounded fine. And in
my gratitude I had already shipped to my hostess, for her children,
of whose age, number, and sex I was ignorant, half of Gamage's dolls,
skees, and cricket bats, and those crackers that, when you pull them,
sometimes explode. But it was not to be. Most inconsiderately my
wealthiest patient gained sufficient courage to consent to an operation,
and in all New York would permit no one to lay violent hands upon him
save myself. By cable I advised postponement. Having lived in lawful
harmony with his appendix for fifty years, I thought, for one week
longer he might safely maintain the status quo. But his cable in reply
was an ultimatum. So, on Christmas eve, instead of Hallam Hall and
a Yule log, I was in a gale plunging and pitching off the coast of
Ireland, and the only log on board was the one the captain kept to
himself.

I sat in the smoking-room, depressed and cross, and it must have been on
the principle that misery loves company that I foregathered with Talbot,
or rather that Talbot foregathered with me. Certainty, under happier
conditions and in haunts of men more crowded, the open-faced manner
in which he forced himself upon me would have put me on my guard. But,
either out of deference to the holiday spirit, as manifested in the
fictitious gayety of our few fellow-passengers, or because the young man
in a knowing, impertinent way was most amusing, I listened to him from
dinner time until midnight, when the chief officer, hung with snow and
icicles, was blown in from the deck and wished all a merry Christmas.

Even after they unmasked Talbot I had neither the heart nor the
inclination to turn him down. Indeed, had not some of the passengers
testified that I belonged to a different profession, the smoking-room
crowd would have quarantined me as his accomplice. On the first night I
met him I was not certain whether he was English or giving an imitation.
All the outward and visible signs were English, but he told me that,
though he had been educated at Oxford and since then had spent most of
his years in India, playing polo, he was an American. He seemed to have
spent much time, and according to himself much money, at the French
watering-places and on the Riviera. I felt sure that it was in France
I had already seen him, but where I could not recall. He was hard to
place. Of people at home and in London well worth knowing he talked
glibly, but in speaking of them he made several slips. It was his taking
the trouble to cover up the slips that first made me wonder if his
talking about himself was not mere vanity, but had some special object.
I felt he was presenting letters of introduction in order that later he
might ask a favor. Whether he was leading up to an immediate loan, or in
New York would ask for a card to a club, or an introduction to a
banker, I could not tell. But in forcing himself upon me, except in
self-interest, I could think of no other motive. The next evening I
discovered the motive.

He was in the smoking-room playing solitaire, and at once I recalled
that it was at Aix-les-Bains I had first seen him, and that he held a
bank at baccarat. When he asked me to sit down I said: "I saw you last
summer at Aix-les-Bains."

His eyes fell to the pack in his hands and apparently searched it for
some particular card.

"What was I doing?" he asked.

"Dealing baccarat at the Casino des Fleurs."

With obvious relief he laughed.

"Oh, yes," he assented; "jolly place, Aix. But I lost a pot of money
there. I'm a rotten hand at cards. Can't win, and can't leave 'em
alone." As though for this weakness, so frankly confessed, he begged me
to excuse him, he smiled appealingly. "Poker, bridge, chemin de fer,
I like 'em all," he rattled on, "but they don't like me. So I stick to
solitaire. It's dull, but cheap." He shuffled the cards clumsily. As
though making conversation, he asked: "You care for cards yourself?"

I told him truthfully I did not know the difference between a club and a
spade and had no curiosity to learn. At this, when he found he had been
wasting time on me, I expected him to show some sign of annoyance, even
of irritation, but his disappointment struck far deeper. As though I had
hurt him physically, he shut his eyes, and when again he opened them
I saw in them distress. For the moment I believe of my presence he
was utterly unconscious. His hands lay idle upon the table; like a man
facing a crisis, he stared before him. Quite improperly, I felt sorry
for him. In me he thought he had found a victim; and that the loss of
the few dollars he might have won should so deeply disturb him showed
his need was great. Almost at once he abandoned me and I went on deck.
When I returned an hour later to the smoking-room he was deep in a game
of poker.

As I passed he hailed me gayly.

"Don't scold, now," he laughed; "you know I can't keep away from it."

From his manner those at the table might have supposed we were friends
of long and happy companionship. I stopped behind his chair, but he
thought I had passed, and in reply to one of the players answered:
"Known him for years; he's set me right many a time. When I broke my
right femur 'chasin,' he got me back in the saddle in six weeks. All my
people swear by him."

One of the players smiled up at me, and Talbot turned. But his eyes met
mine with perfect serenity. He even held up his cards for me to see.
"What would you draw?" he asked.

His audacity so astonished me that in silence I could only stare at him
and walk on.

When on deck he met me he was not even apologetic. Instead, as though we
were partners in crime, he chuckled delightedly.

"Sorry," he said. "Had to do it. They weren't very keen at my taking a
hand, so I had to use your name. But I'm all right now," he assured me.
"They think you vouched for me, and to-night they're going to raise the
limit. I've convinced them I'm an easy mark."

"And I take it you are not," I said stiffly.

He considered this unworthy of an answer and only smiled. Then the smile
died, and again in his eyes I saw distress, infinite weariness, and
fear.

As though his thoughts drove him to seek protection, he came closer.

"I'm 'in bad,' doctor," he said. His voice was frightened, bewildered,
like that of a child. "I can't sleep; nerves all on the loose. I don't
think straight. I hear voices, and no one around. I hear knockings at
the door, and when I open it, no one there. If I don't keep fit I can't
work, and this trip I got to make expenses. You couldn't help me, could
you--couldn't give me something to keep my head straight?"

The need of my keeping his head straight that he might the easier rob
our fellow-passengers raised a pretty question of ethics. I meanly
dodged it. I told him professional etiquette required I should leave him
to the ship's surgeon.

"But I don't know HIM," he protested.

Mindful of the use he had made of my name, I objected strenuously:

"Well, you certainly don't know me."

My resentment obviously puzzled him.

"I know who you ARE," he returned. "You and I--" With a deprecatory
gesture, as though good taste forbade him saying who we were, he
stopped. "But the ship's surgeon!" he protested, "he's an awful bounder!
Besides," he added quite simply, "he's watching me."

"As a doctor," I asked, "or watching you play cards?"

"Play cards," the young man answered. "I'm afraid he was ship's surgeon
on the P. & O. I came home on. There was trouble that voyage, and I
fancy he remembers me."

His confidences were becoming a nuisance.

"But you mustn't tell me that," I protested. "I can't have you making
trouble on this ship, too. How do you know I won't go straight from here
to the captain?"

As though the suggestion greatly entertained him, he laughed.

He made a mock obeisance.

"I claim the seal of your profession," he said. "Nonsense," I retorted.
"It's a professional secret that your nerves are out of hand, but that
you are a card-sharp is NOT. Don't mix me up with a priest."

For a moment Talbot, as though fearing he had gone too far, looked at me
sharply; he bit his lower lip and frowned.

"I got to make expenses," he muttered. "And, besides, all card games
are games of chance, and a card-sharp is one of the chances. Anyway," he
repeated, as though disposing of all argument, "I got to make expenses."

After dinner, when I came to the smoking-room, the poker party sat
waiting, and one of them asked if I knew where they could find "my
friend." I should have said then that Talbot was a steamer acquaintance
only; but I hate a row, and I let the chance pass.

"We want to give him his revenge," one of them volunteered.

"He's losing, then?" I asked.

The man chuckled complacently.

"The only loser," he said.

"I wouldn't worry," I advised. "He'll come for his revenge."

That night after I had turned in he knocked at my door. I switched on
the lights and saw him standing at the foot of my berth. I saw also that
with difficulty he was holding himself in hand.

"I'm scared," he stammered, "scared!"

I wrote out a requisition on the surgeon for a sleeping-potion and sent
it to him by the steward, giving the man to understand I wanted it for
myself. Uninvited, Talbot had seated himself on the sofa. His eyes were
closed, and as though he were cold he was shivering and hugging himself
in his arms.

"Have you been drinking?" I asked.

In surprise he opened his eyes.

"I can't drink," he answered simply. "It's nerves and worry. I'm tired."

He relaxed against the cushions; his arms fell heavily at his sides; the
fingers lay open.

"God," he whispered, "how tired I am!"

In spite of his tan--and certainly he had led the out-of-door life--his
face showed white. For the moment he looked old, worn, finished.

"They're crowdin' me," the boy whispered. "They're always crowdin'
me." His voice was querulous, uncomprehending, like that of a child
complaining of something beyond his experience. "I can't remember when
they haven't been crowdin' me. Movin' me on, you understand? Always
movin' me on. Moved me out of India, then Cairo, then they closed Paris,
and now they've shut me out of London. I opened a club there, very
quiet, very exclusive, smart neighborhood, too--a flat in Berkeley
Street--roulette and chemin de fer. I think it was my valet sold me out;
anyway, they came in and took us all to Bow Street. So I've plunged on
this. It's my last chance!"

"This trip?"

"No; my family in New York. Haven't seen 'em in ten years. They paid me
to live abroad. I'm gambling on THEM; gambling on their takin' me back.
I'm coming home as the Prodigal Son, tired of filling my belly with the
husks that the swine do eat; reformed character, repentant and all that;
want to follow the straight and narrow; and they'll kill the fatted
calf." He laughed sardonically. "Like hell they will! They'd rather see
ME killed."

It seemed to me, if he wished his family to believe he were returning
repentant, his course in the smoking-room would not help to reassure
them. I suggested as much.

"If you get into 'trouble,' as you call it," I said, "and they send a
wireless to the police to be at the wharf, your people would hardly--"

"I know," he interrupted; "but I got to chance that. I GOT to make
enough to go on with--until I see my family."

"If they won't see you?" I asked. "What then?"

He shrugged his shoulders and sighed lightly, almost with relief, as
though for him the prospect held no terror.

"Then it's 'Good-night, nurse,'" he said. "And I won't be a bother to
anybody any more."

I told him his nerves were talking, and talking rot, and I gave him the
sleeping-draft and sent him to bed.

It was not until after luncheon the next day when he made his first
appearance on deck that I again saw my patient. He was once more a
healthy picture of a young Englishman of leisure; keen, smart, and fit;
ready for any exercise or sport. The particular sport at which he was so
expert I asked him to avoid.

"Can't be done!" he assured me. "I'm the loser, and we dock to-morrow
morning. So tonight I've got to make my killing."

It was the others who made the killing.

I came into the smoking-room about nine o'clock. Talbot alone was
seated. The others were on their feet, and behind them in a wider
semicircle were passengers, the smoking-room stewards and the ship's
purser.

Talbot sat with his back against the bulkhead, his hands in the
pockets of his dinner coat; from the corner of his mouth his long
cigarette-holder was cocked at an impudent angle. There was a tumult
of angry voices, and the eyes of all were turned upon him. Outwardly
at least he met them with complete indifference. The voice of one of
my countrymen, a noisy pest named Smedburg, was raised in excited
accusation.

"When the ship's surgeon first met you," he cried, "you called yourself
Lord Ridley."

"I'll call myself anything I jolly well like," returned Talbot. "If I
choose to dodge reporters, that's my pidgin. I don't have to give my
name to every meddling busybody that--"

"You'll give it to the police, all right," chortled Mr. Smedburg. In the
confident, bullying tones of the man who knows the crowd is with him, he
shouted: "And in the meantime you'll keep out of this smoking-room!"

The chorus of assent was unanimous. It could not be disregarded. Talbot
rose and with fastidious concern brushed the cigarette ashes from his
sleeve. As he moved toward the door he called back: "Only too delighted
to keep out. The crowd in this room makes a gentleman feel lonely."

But he was not to escape with the last word.

His prosecutor pointed his finger at him.

"And the next time you take the name of Adolph Meyer," he shouted, "make
sure first he hasn't a friend on board; some one to protect him from
sharpers and swindlers--"

Talbot turned savagely and then shrugged his shoulders.

"Oh, go to the devil!" he called, and walked out into the night.

The purser was standing at my side and, catching my eye, shook his head.

"Bad business," he exclaimed.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I'm told they caught him dealing from the wrong end of the pack," he
said. "I understand they suspected him from the first--seems our surgeon
recognized him--and to-night they had outsiders watching him. The
outsiders claim they saw him slip himself an ace from the bottom of the
pack. It's a pity! He's a nice-looking lad."

I asked what the excited Smedburg had meant by telling Talbot not to
call himself Meyer.

"They accused him of travelling under a false name," explained the
purser, "and he told 'em he did it to dodge the ship's news reporters.
Then he said he really was a brother of Adolph Meyer, the banker; but it
seems Smedburg is a friend of Meyer's, and he called him hard! It was
a silly ass thing to do," protested the purser. "Everybody knows Meyer
hasn't a brother, and if he hadn't made THAT break he might have got
away with the other one. But now this Smedburg is going to wireless
ahead to Mr. Meyer and to the police."

"Has he no other way of spending his money?" I asked.

"He's a confounded nuisance!" growled the purser. "He wants to show us
he knows Adolph Meyer; wants to put Meyer under an obligation. It means
a scene on the wharf, and newspaper talk; and," he added with disgust,
"these smoking-room rows never helped any line."

I went in search of Talbot; partly because I knew he was on the verge of
a collapse, partly, as I frankly admitted to myself, because I was sorry
the young man had come to grief. I searched the snow-swept decks, and
then, after threading my way through faintly lit tunnels, I knocked at
his cabin. The sound of his voice gave me a distinct feeling of relief.
But he would not admit me. Through the closed door he declared he was
"all right," wanted no medical advice, and asked only to resume the
sleep he claimed I had broken. I left him, not without uneasiness,
and the next morning the sight of him still in the flesh was a genuine
thrill. I found him walking the deck carrying himself nonchalantly
and trying to appear unconscious of the glances--amused, contemptuous,
hostile--that were turned toward him. He would have passed me without
speaking, but I took his arm and led him to the rail. We had long passed
quarantine and a convoy of tugs were butting us into the dock.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

"Doesn't depend on me," he said. "Depends on Smedburg. He's a busy
little body!"

The boy wanted me to think him unconcerned, but beneath the flippancy I
saw the nerves jerking. Then quite simply he began to tell me. He spoke
in a low, even monotone, dispassionately, as though for him the incident
no longer was of interest.

"They were watching me," he said. "But I knew they were, and besides, no
matter how close they watched I could have done what they said I did and
they'd never have seen it. But I didn't."

My scepticism must have been obvious, for he shook his head.

"I didn't!" he repeated stubbornly. "I didn't have to! I was playing
in luck--wonderful luck--sheer, dumb luck. I couldn't HELP winning. But
because I was winning and because they were watching, I was careful not
to win on my own deal. I laid down, or played to lose. It was the cards
they GAVE me I won with. And when they jumped me I told 'em that. I
could have proved it if they'd listened. But they were all up in the
air, shouting and spitting at me. They believed what they wanted to
believe; they didn't want the facts."

It may have been credulous of me, but I felt the boy was telling
the truth, and I was deeply sorry he had not stuck to it. So, rather
harshly, I said:

"They didn't want you to tell them you were a brother to Adolph Meyer,
either. Why did you think you could get away with anything like that?"

Talbot did not answer.

"Why?" I insisted.

The boy laughed impudently.

"How the devil was I to know he hadn't a brother?" he protested. "It was
a good name, and he's a Jew, and two of the six who were in the game are
Jews. You know how they stick together. I thought they might stick by
me."

"But you," I retorted impatiently, "are not a Jew!"

"I am not," said Talbot, "but I've often SAID I was. It's helped--lots
of times. If I'd told you my name was Cohen, or Selinsky, or Meyer,
instead of Craig Talbot, YOU'D have thought I was a Jew." He smiled and
turned his face toward me. As though furnishing a description for the
police, he began to enumerate:

"Hair, dark and curly; eyes, poppy; lips, full; nose, Roman or Hebraic,
according to taste. Do you see?"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"But it didn't work," he concluded. "I picked the wrong Jew."

His face grew serious. "Do you suppose that Smedburg person has
wirelessed that banker?"

I told him I was afraid he had already sent the message.

"And what will Meyer do?" he asked. "Will he drop it or make a fuss?
What sort is he?"

Briefly I described Adolph Meyer. I explained him as the richest Hebrew
in New York; given to charity, to philanthropy, to the betterment of his
own race.

"Then maybe," cried Talbot hopefully, "he won't make a row, and my
family won't hear of it!"

He drew a quick breath of relief. As though a burden had been lifted,
his shoulders straightened.

And then suddenly, harshly, in open panic, he exclaimed aloud:

"Look!" he whispered. "There, at the end of the wharf--the little Jew in
furs!"

I followed the direction of his eyes. Below us on the dock, protected
by two obvious members of the strong-arm squad, the great banker,
philanthropist, and Hebrew, Adolph Meyer, was waiting.

We were so close that I could read his face. It was stern, set; the face
of a man intent upon his duty, unrelenting. Without question, of a bad
business Mr. Smedburg had made the worst. I turned to speak to Talbot
and found him gone.

His silent slipping away filled me with alarm. I fought against a
growing fear. How many minutes I searched for him I do not know. It
seemed many hours. His cabin, where first I sought him, was empty and
dismantled, and by that I was reminded that if for any desperate purpose
Talbot were seeking to conceal himself there now were hundreds of other
empty, dismantled cabins in which he might hide. To my inquiries no one
gave heed. In the confusion of departure no one had observed him; no
one was in a humor to seek him out; the passengers were pressing to the
gangway, the stewards concerned only in counting their tips. From deck
to deck, down lane after lane of the great floating village, I raced
blindly, peering into half-opened doors, pushing through groups of men,
pursuing some one in the distance who appeared to be the man I sought,
only to find he was unknown to me. When I returned to the gangway the
last of the passengers was leaving it.

I was about to follow to seek for Talbot in the customs shed when a
white-faced steward touched my sleeve. Before he spoke his look told me
why I was wanted.

"The ship's surgeon, sir," he stammered, "asks you please to hurry to
the sick-bay. A passenger has shot himself!"

On the bed, propped up by pillows, young Talbot, with glazed, shocked
eyes, stared at me. His shirt had been cut away; his chest lay bare.
Against his left shoulder the doctor pressed a tiny sponge which quickly
darkened.

I must have exclaimed aloud, for the doctor turned his eyes.

"It was HE sent for you," he said, "but he doesn't need you.
Fortunately, he's a damned bad shot!"

The boy's eyes opened wearily; before we could prevent it he spoke.

"I was so tired," he whispered. "Always moving me on. I was so tired!"

Behind me came heavy footsteps, and though with my arm I tried to bar
them out, the two detectives pushed into the doorway. They shoved me to
one side and through the passage made for him came the Jew in the sable
coat, Mr. Adolph Meyer.

For an instant the little great man stood with wide, owl-like eyes,
staring at the face on the pillow.

Then he sank softly to his knees. In both his hands he caught the hand
of the card-sharp.

"Heine!" he begged. "Don't you know me? It is your brother Adolph; your
little brother Adolph!"





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