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Title: My Mamie Rose - The Story of My Regeneration
Author: Kildare, Owen
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Owen Kildare.]



                             My Mamie Rose

                            _The Story of My
                             Regeneration_


                           _By_ OWEN KILDARE



                           _An Autobiography_



                                New York
                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
                               PUBLISHERS



             Copyright, 1903, by THE BAKER & TAYLOR COMPANY

                       _Published, October, 1903_



                                   To
                                L. B. R.



                              *CONTENTS.*


Chapter

      I. The Kid of the Tenement
     II. A Pair of Shoes
    III. A Nomad of the Streets
     IV. Living by My Muscle
      V. Living by My Wits
     VI. At the Sign of Chicory Hall
    VII. My Good Old Pal
   VIII. Knights Errant
     IX. A Player of Many Parts
      X. Bowery Politics
     XI. A Pilgrimage to Nature
    XII. The Frontier of the Newer Life
   XIII. The Beginning of the Miracle
    XIV. The Old Doors Close
     XV. A Kindergarten of One
    XVI. Ambassador Bill
   XVII. My Debut in Society
  XVIII. The Journey Home
    XIX. The Inheritance



                            *ILLUSTRATIONS.*


Owen Kildare . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

Map of Bowery District

Mr. Kildare’s Birthplace on Catharine Street

Bill

A Typical Group at Barney Flynn’s Side-Door

Mike Callahan’s Saloon



                       *THE KID OF THE TENEMENT.*


[Illustration: Map of the Bowery District]


                      MAP OF THE BOWERY DISTRICT.


The map on the left shows how small a fraction of Manhattan Island (only
a small part of New York City in itself) this world-famous district is.
In this small section, called by Mr. Kildare "The Highway of the
Foolish," he was born and lived, until he was thirty.  Rarely did he
leave it.  In fact, he states that a large percentage of the people who
are born here go through life with the very vaguest ideas of the world
beyond—many living and dying without ever having passed north of 14th
Street and West of Broadway.  It is a strange world of strange people
who live only from day to day and unto their daily needs.



                            *MY MAMIE ROSE.*



                              *CHAPTER I.*

                       *THE KID OF THE TENEMENT.*


Many men have told the stories of their lives.  I shall tell you mine.
Not because I, as they, have done great and important things, but
because of the miracle which transformed me.

If lives may be measured by progress mine may have some interest to you.
When a man at thirty cannot read or write the simplest sentence, and
then eight years later is able to earn his living by his pen, his story
may be worth the telling.

Before beginning, however, the recital of how I found my ambition
awakened, let me make my position unmistakably definite.  I am not a
self-made man, having only contributed a mite in the making.  A
self-made man can turn around to the road traveled by him and can point
with pride to the monuments of his achievements.  I cannot do that.  I
have no record of great deeds accomplished. I am a man, reborn and
remade from an unfortunate moral condition into a life in which every
atom has but the one message, "Strive, struggle and believe," and I
would be the sneakiest hypocrite were I to deny that I feel within me a
satisfaction at being able to respond to the call with all the possible
energy of soul and body.  I have little use for a man who cloaks his
ability with mock modesty. A man’s conscience is the best barometer of
his ability, and he who will pretend a disbelief in his ability is
either untruthful or has an ulterior motif.

In spite of having, as yet, accomplished little, I have confidence in
myself and my ability, because my aims are distinctly reasonable.  I
regret that in my story the first person singular will be so much in
evidence, but it cannot be otherwise.  Each fact, each incident
mentioned, has been lived by me; the disgrace and the glory, the misery
and the happiness, are all part of my life, and I cannot separate them
from myself.  I know you will not disbelieve me, and I am willing to be
confronted by your criticism, which, for obvious reasons, will not be
directed against my diction, elegance of style and literary quality.  I
am not an author.  I only have a story to tell and all the rest remains
with you.

There was nothing remarkable about my early childhood.  Most of the boys
of the tenements are having or have had the same experience.

The home which sheltered my foster parents (my own father and mother
died in my infancy, as I will tell you later) and myself consisted of
two rooms. The rental was six dollars a month.  Located on the top floor
of an old-style tenement house in Catharine street, our home was lighted
and ventilated by one small window, which looked out into a network of
wash-lines running from the windows to tall poles placed in the corners
of the yard.  By craning your neck out of the window you could look into
the yard, six stories below, and discover the causes of the stenches
which rose with might to your nostrils.

The "front room" was kitchen, dining-room, living room and my bedroom
all in one.  Beside the cooking range in winter and beside the open
window in summer was the old soap box on its unevenly curved supports,
which, as my cradle, bumped me into childhood.

As may be surmised, both of my foster parents were Irish.  My father, a
’longshoreman, enjoyed a reputation of great popularity in the Fourth
Ward, at that time an intensely Irish district of the city. Popularity
in the Fourth Ward meant a great circle of convivial companions and a
fair credit with the ginmill keepers.  His earnings would have been
considerable had he been a persistent worker.  But men of popularity
cannot afford to be constantly at work.  It would perhaps fill their
pocketbooks, but decrease their popularity.  These periods of
conviviality, hilarious intervals to my father, were most depressing to
my mother.

Life in tenements is a particularly busy one of its kind.  When all
efforts are directed toward the one end of providing the wherewithal for
food and rent, each meal and each rent day is an epoch-making event.

As soon as one month’s rent is paid, each succeeding day has its own
thoughts of dread "against next rent day."  The thrifty housekeeper lays
aside a share of her daily allowance—increasing it during the last week
of the month—until, with a sigh of relief, she can say, "Thank God, we
got it this time."

I firmly believe that a great share of the dread is created by the
aversion to a personal meeting with the rent collector or agent.  People
who have to measure the size of their meals by the length of their
purses are very apt to become a trifle unsteady in their ethics
concerning financial questions. They are willing to pay their grocer or
butcher, but lose sight of the fact that the rent money is the payment
for the most important purchase, the securing of their home.  They are
friendly with the shopkeeper, are often "jollied" by him into spending
money otherwise needed, but regard the rent collector as their personal
enemy.

There are many rent collectors, and, as in all greater numbers, quite a
few are justly criticised for their manner.  Many tenements are owned by
men, who, though the owners, are only on a slightly different scale
socially from their tenants.  They are men, who, by great shrewdness or
some fortunate chance, accumulated enough to make a real estate
investment in their own ward.  Naturally, they being familiar with the
circumstances of their tenants and having a remnant of neighborly
feeling for them, are more easily influenced.

Many blocks of tenements were then and are now owned by large estates.
The management of these buildings is entrusted to real estate agents,
who receive a commission on their collections, or to salaried
representatives, who owe their position to the faculty of keeping rents
up and keeping repairs down. These are the men who are hated by the
poor.

It is said corporations have no souls, why then should a large estate,
surely a corporation, have one?  And there must be a soul to understand,
to feel the woe, the pleading that comes to it in halting, sob-broken
speech.  How, then, is one whose feeling is long ago calloused by the
repetition of these tales of misery, to be stirred to more than a sneer
by another variation of the old, old wail: "Have pity on us this once,
we are so poor, so ill, so miserable."

Here the poor could be reproached for shiftlessness in household
matters, for not practising sufficiently the principles of economy.  The
reproach would be perfectly justified and would touch one of the most
potent causes for the existing conditions among the poor.  No one lives
more lavishly and knows less how to save than the poor.  Their expense
account is not based on a sanitary or monetary basis, but shapes itself
according to temporary income.

"Plenty of money in the house" and rent day far in the distance, and
many families will absolutely gorge themselves at table with food and
drink, only to return on perhaps the very next day to tea and dry bread.

For this reason no social movements on the East Side are worthier of
hearty support than those carried on to teach children, and especially
girls, "How to keep house."  Teach them how to keep house, and they will
make homes.

If rent days are the fearful anticipations of tenement house life, meals
and their preparation are the pleasurable anticipations of it.  At
morning, noon and evening the smells of cooking and frying waft from the
open doors of the apartments into the halls. The doors are open for two
reasons—for ventilation and to "show" the neighbors that more than the
tea kettle is bubbling away on the range. Behind the closed doors there
is no feast, just the tea and the bread and scheming how to explain this
unwelcome fact to the neighbors.

My mother found her best hold on her husband’s affections by catering to
his appetite, which was one of the marvels of the neighborhood.  When
working he was very exacting in the choice and preparation of his food;
so, when idle his wife would strive still harder to cheer him into
better humor by culinary feats.

Besides this promiscuous cooking, there were mending, washing, darning
and other housework to be looked after, and little time was left for
sentiment toward me beyond an occasional affectionate pat on the head.

Now, take the mind, the heart of a child, and then consider the
influence of such a barren existence on it.  A child can do without
coddling—yes, most boys do not, or pretend not to like it—but a child’s
heart, sensitive as no other, hungers for a wealth of affection.

The child, a little ape, finding no outlet for his willing response to
affection, seeks a field of mental activity in imitating the adults
about him.  And the models and patterns in tenement spheres are not
those a child should imitate.  All conditions there are primitive.  To
eat, drink, sleep and be clothed are the aims of life there, leaving but
a small margin for emotions.

The forms of expression are also primitive and accepted.  The worthy
housewife, who, in a moment of anger at her husband’s mellow state,
should vent her feelings in an outburst of more emphatic than polite
language, will not lose caste thereby, but will be told by sympathetic
fellow-sufferers that "She did just right."

Among the men it is considered an indication of effeminacy or dudeism to
utter one sentence without profanity.  To be deemed manly one must curse
and swear.  Even terms of endearment are prefaced with an
unintentionally opposite preamble.

[Illustration: Owen Kildare’s Birthplace in Catharine St. The Star marks
the window of the Kildare Tenement.]

There, not yet mentioning the other detrimental defects of environment,
the child grows up, and then, when in the manhood days this foundation,
faulty and vicious, breaks and crumbles to pieces and leaves naught but
a being condemned by society and law, and seemingly by God, there is an
army ready to pelt this creature, cursed by its own existence, with law,
justice and punishment, but not with one iota of the spirit which even
now, in our matter-of-fact days, echoes the grandest message, "He is thy
brother."

Such was the setting of the stage on which the drama of my childhood
began.  The part I played in it was not very interesting.

An adult man or woman can do with a minimum of space, but a child must
have much of it. To romp and play and scheme some mischief requires lots
of room, and there being not an inch of room to spare in tenement
apartments, the children in summer and winter claim the street as their
very own realm.

It is bad that it is so, for there is much in the street which is of
physical and moral danger to the child.  Hardly a day passes without
having a boy or girl hurt by some passing vehicle.  It is almost
impossible to guard against these accidents. The drivers are careful.
No one can make me believe that these men would wantonly drive into a
swarm of playing children, but there are so many, so many.

Convince yourself of this.  You need not have to travel very far.  Take
any street, east or west of the Bowery, and the young generation,
crowding before your very feet or jostling against you in innocent play,
will tell you more effectively than my pen could of what the real need
of the East Side is.

But then parks and play grounds do not bring rentals; tenement houses
do, and, further, even the child-life of those districts is dependent on
the whims of our patriotic ward politicians.

Among the very poor—and my parents were of that class—it is the custom
to send out the children to pick up wood and coal for the fire.  My
mother, being constantly engaged in looking after the welfare of my
father, had not very much time to spare on me, and I grew up very much
by myself.

Even before it had become my duty to "go out for coal," I loved to take
my basket and make my way to the river front to pick up bits of coal
dropped in unloading from the canal boats or by too generously filled
carts.

Among my playmates I held a very unimportant position, being neither
very popular nor unpopular. I did not mind this much, as I felt,
instinctively, that something was wrong and that I was not on a level
footing with them.  It is impossible for me to explain why I felt so at
the time, but I can distinctly remember that quite often I felt myself
entirely isolated.

No one minded me or censured me for my long absences from home, provided
my basket was fairly well filled with coal.  Then spells of envy often
came to me.  I envied the caresses given by mothers to their sons and,
yes, I also envied the cuffs given to them for having spent too much
time at the retail coal business.

I reasoned so then and I reason so now, that behind every whipping given
to a child a father’s or mother’s love and justice is hidden.  But even
parental chastisement was denied me—a fact for which, according to
popular opinion, I should have been thankful.

In this way I lived the dull life of a tenement house child, made more
dull in my case by the lack of a certain inexplicable something in my
relations to my parents and in my home conditions.  I missed something,
yet could not tell what it was.

It can hardly be termed a hidden sorrow, but make a boy ponder and worry
about something, for which no explanation is vouchsafed to him, and he
will get himself into a mental state not at all healthy for his years.

Close to the cooking range was an old box used as a receptacle for wood
and coal.  There was my seat, and from there I watched the little
domestic comedies and tragedies played before me with my father and
mother as chief actors.

My father’s popularity made our home the calling place for many
visitors.  At these visits the most frequently used utensil was the
"can," or "growler," and the functions usually assumed the character of
an "ink pot."  Several houses in the ward had well proven reputations as
"mixed ale camps," meaning thereby places where certain cronies could
meet nightly and "rush the growler" as long as the money lasted.  If the
friends were more than usually plentiful, the whisky bottle, called
always the "bottle," besides the "can," was kept well filled, producing
a continuation of effects, sometimes running to fighting; at other times
running to maudlin sentimentality.  These occasions—no one knows why—are
called "ink pots."

My father’s house was in a fair way to become listed among the well
established "mixed ale camps."  In those days no law had yet been passed
making the selling of "pints" of beer to minors a punishable offense,
and children of both sexes were employed until late in the night, when
the bar-rooms were crowded with drunken and boisterous men, to "rush the
growler" for their seniors at home. The children did not object to it,
as a few pennies were always given to them for the errand.

I, also, had to make these journeys to the nearest saloon, and, also,
did not mind it for the above mentioned reason.  Sometimes, after
returning from my trip, a man would ask me to sing him one of the
popular songs of the day, but I would refuse with the diffidence of a
boy.  My father never missed these opportunities to inform his friends
that "that brat ain’t good for nothing.  Don’t bother with him."

I began to dislike my foster father, rather than hate him.  More than
once I met his casual glance with a bitter scowl.



                           *A PAIR OF SHOES.*



                             *CHAPTER II.*

                           *A PAIR OF SHOES.*


It was winter, still.  I was running about bare-footed.  This was
preferred by me to having my feet shod with the old shoes of my mother.
She had a small foot, yet her old shoes were miles too large for me, and
furthermore, always made me the butt of the jeers and jibes of my
playmates in the street.  Therefore, I never wore the cast-off shoes
unless snow or ice was on the ground.

But whether bare-footed or slouching along in my unwieldy cast-offs, the
comments became so personal that I resolved to ask my father for a pair
of real, new shoes.

The moment for presenting my petition anent the new shoes was ill
chosen.

My father was experiencing a period of idleness, and had reached that
intense state of feeling which prompted him to declare with much banging
on the table that "there wasn’t an honest day’s work to be got no more,
at all, by an honest, decent, laboring man."  At the moment my mother
was deeply engaged in the task of mollifying her husband’s irascibility
by preparing some marvelous feat of cooking, and was not at liberty to
give me her most essential moral support.

My request was received in silence.  It was an ominous silence, but I
did not realize it.

I insisted.

"I want a pair of shoes all to myself, the same as other boys have."

"Oh, is it shoes you want?  New shoes?  Shoes that cost money, when
there ain’t enough money in the house to get a man a decent meal.  I’ll
give you shoes; indeed I will."

Still I insisted.  Then that which, perhaps, should have happened to me
long before, was inflicted upon me.  I was beaten for the first time, to
be beaten often and often again afterward.

The whipping roused my temper.  From a safe distance I upbraided my
father for punishing me for demanding that which all children have a
right to demand from their parents, to be properly clothed. This incited
his humor; but, after his laugh had ended, he told me in the most direct
and blunt way of my status in the family, and also informed me that if
he felt so disposed he could at any time kick me into the street, where
I, by right, belonged.

Without mincing his words he told me the story of my parentage.  At
least, he told me that I was no better than an orphan, picked from the
gutter, and kept alive by the good nature of himself and his wife.

It was all true.

In the days to follow I learned more and more about my parents from the
legendary lore of neighborly gossip.  And even he, my foster-father,
could say naught but good about my father and mother, if he did hate
their son.

No, I should not say he hated me.  Patrick McShane had a good heart, but
permitted it too often to be poisoned by the poison of the can and
bottle.

All I know about my own father is that he was a typical son of the
Emerald Isle.  Rollicking, carefree, ever ready with song or story, he
was a universal favorite during his sojourn in the ward where he had
made a home for himself and his wife for the short time from his arrival
in this country until his death.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the building
where our home had been and where I was born.  In spite of his old age,
he still remembered my father.

"Do you know, my boy, your father was a fine man?  The same as any man,
who lets nice apartments to tenants, I had to see that rents were
regularly paid, and I always did that without being any too hard on
them.  But it was all different with your father.  There were a few
times when his rent was either short a few dollars or not there at all,
but before I had the chance to get angry he’d tell me a story or sing me
a ditty, and instead o’ being mad I’d leave and forget all about my
rent.  Ah, indeed, Owney, boy, a fine man was your father."

Not much of an eulogy, but much, very much, to me, the son.  I have
nothing, no likeness, no photograph, to help my mind’s eye see my
parents; and, therefore, any tribute, no matter how trifling, paid to
the memory of my father and mother goes toward perfecting the picture of
them, fashioning in my soul.

My mother was a French woman, who married my father shortly before
departing for this country from France, where he had gone to study art.
They knew very little of her in the district.  All her life seemed to be
centered in her husband, and she was rarely seen out of her own rooms.
The only breathing spells she ever enjoyed were had on the roof—quite
convenient to the top floor, where the home was—and there she would get
a whiff of fresh air, to the accompaniment of one of my dad’s songs.

Why could I not know them?

Not being amply provided with funds, my parents, shortly after their
arrival in this country, were compelled to take apartments on the top
floor of the tenement house in Catharine street, where I was born.

My mother died at my birth; my father had preceded her by three months.

Sad is the fate of a baby orphaned in a tenement house.  Each family has
little, and many to subsist on it.

But I, the orphaned babe, was singularly fortunate.

Even the lives of the poor are not devoid of romance, and, owing to one,
I found a home.

Not so very long before my parents made their domicile in the Fourth
Ward, Patrick McShane, one of the most popular and finest looking young
men of the neighborhood, had "gone to the bad."  He had neglected his
work to share in the many social festivities—otherwise, "mixed ale
camps"—until his sober moments were very few and far between.

As soon as his status of confirmed drunkard was established, he was not
as welcome as formerly at the many gatherings.  The reason for it was
his irascible temper while under the influence of drink.

Finding himself partly ostracized, he kept to the water front, spending
his days and nights down there.

Facing the river is South street.  At one of the corners was the gin
mill and legislative annex of a true American patriot and assemblyman.
Always anxious to pose before his constituents as a man whose charity
knew no bounds, this diplomat, this statesman, had given a home to his
niece, the daughter of his deceased brother.  Perhaps it was just a
coincidence that, on the same day, on which his niece became a member of
the household the servant girl was discharged.

At any rate, Mary McNulty found little time to walk the sidewalks of
Catharine street, as was the wont of the belles of the ward.  Even would
she have had the time for it, she would not have availed herself of it,
for one very good reason.  Mary McNulty was not beautiful.

During her first few weeks in the neighborhood she had been quickly
christened "wart-face" by the boys on her appearance in the street, and,
while not supersensitive, she determined to forego the pleasure of being
a target for these personal comments.

Thereafter, she only left the house at nightfall to walk down to the end
of the pier opposite to the gin mill of her uncle.  During one of these
nocturnal rambles she met Patrick McShane.  He was lying in drunken
stupor on the very edge of the dock, and in danger of losing his
balance.  Mary woke him up, lectured him and then gave him money.
Before sending him away, she told him to be there on the following
evening.

Regular meetings were soon in order, and it was not long before Mary
conceived the idea of reforming Patrick McShane.

McShane was willing, and, one day the entire ward was startled into
unusual surprise by hearing of the marriage of Patrick McShane and Mary
McNulty.

To give credit where credit is due, it must be recorded that McShane,
for quite a while, inspired by the devotion of his wife, improved
wonderfully in his habits and walked along the narrow road of sobriety
with nary a stumble.  But, after about a year of wedded life, he
permitted himself occasional relapses into the old ways, multiplying
them in time. It is hard to tell if all the hope of his ultimate
reformation died out in the heart of his wife.  She became very quiet,
catering more carefully to his creature comforts and never offering any
remonstrance.

But there must have been a void, a yearning to receive and to give a
little affection, and when "the lady in front"—my mother—died and left
her orphan, Mary McShane would not let it go to the "institution," but
took it into her own humble home.

And for this dear little woman, whose entire life was one of
self-sacrifice, devotion and humiliation, a prayer goes from me at every
thought of her.

It can hardly be expected that I, a boy of seven years of age, grasped
the full significance of the information imparted by my foster father.
Only two points appeared very grave to me.  Should the fact become known
to my playmates that I was an orphan—not distinguished from a foundling
by them—and that I had sailed, so to speak, under false colors, my fate
would have been one full of persecution and sneering contempt.  I
silently prayed and then beseeched my foster mother to keep the matter a
profound secret.

The other point of importance was that the street, "where I, by right,
belonged," assumed a new aspect. Having had plenty of evidence of the
impulsive spirit which ruled our household, something seemed to tell me
that it was not improbable that the threat of my expulsion would be
fulfilled, and I began to consider my ultimate fate from all sides.

The bootblacks and newsboys and other young chaps, who were making their
precarious living in the streets, became personages of great interest to
me.  I watched their ways, and even found myself calculating their
receipts.  It was quite clear to me that, should my foster father drive
me from the house, I should have to resort to some makeshift living in
the streets.

All this put me in a preoccupied state of mind, which does not sit
naturally on a child.  I became more quiet than ever, and, in the
evening, from the wood box behind the cooking range, watched our home
proceedings.  Most times they were very noisy, and my quietness seemed
to grate on the ears of him whom I had ceased to call "father," and was
then addressing more formally as "Mr. McShane," which also annoyed him.

Can you not read here between the lines and understand how a certain
something became more and more stifled within me?  Perhaps I was
unreasonable or lacking in gratitude, but I was a child and still
hungered and hungered and longed for that which, as yet, had not come
into my share.

But if Mr. McShane would not listen to my plea for shoes, my good, dear
"mum" had heard my request and understood the motive of my insistence.
Happily, children’s shoes do not involve enormous expenditure, and so,
on a certain eventful day, "mum" went to her savings bank, the
proverbial stocking, took the larger part of it and made me the proud
possessor of a pair of real, new shoes, the first of my life.
Bitterness, sulking and wailing were all forgotten and wiped away as if
by magic, and my feet, in their new casings, seemed to step on golden
rays of sunshine.  If I add to this that I had never had a toy of any
kind you will be able to measure my sensation.

The real, new shoes were not an altogether free gift.  It had been
agreed between "mum" and me that I was to pay the equivalent for them by
increased collectibility in the retail coal business.

The following day saw me starting out for the coal docks with the very
best of intentions.  I began to fear that we would not be able to find
room for all the coal I meant to carry home that day. Tons of coal began
to heap themselves in my vision, until, perchance, my eyes fell on the
real, new shoes.

It became my unavoidable duty to let my footgear be seen.

Many detours were made, and so much time was wasted in exhibiting my
shoes to the thrilling envy of my comrades that the accumulation of coal
suffered in consequence.  The awakening from my dream of glory came with
the end of the day, when it required all my remaining buoyant spirits to
nerve me for my reception at home.

The coal basket was dreadfully light.

My home coming was very ill-timed.  Mr. McShane was in the throes of
another idle period, which did not preclude credit at the neighboring
saloons.  Had there been "company" I might have been able to escape his
wrath, but, having sat there all alone—that is, without male
companionship—and his wife never daring to reply to his sarcastic
flings, I was just the red rag for the bull.

"Ah, and so you’re home at last?  Mary, have you no hot supper ready for
this young gentleman, after him being hungry from working so hard at
getting about ten pieces of coal?  Oh, and new shoes are we wearing now,
ain’t that nice!"  Then, with a quick change of tone and manner, "Come
here, you brat, come here to me!"

"Leave the boy alone, Pat!" interposed "mum," but I knew, as she did,
that it was futile.

I have no difficulty in remembering it all.  In a dull, heavy way I felt
that the crisis had come.

At the ending of the scene, my shoes, my real, new shoes, were torn from
my feet.  Everything within me rebelled against that.  Life without
those shoes was not worth living, and I stormed myself into a frenzy,
which did not leave me until I found myself, propelled by a swift leg
movement, on the floor of the dark hallway—minus my shoes.

The long expected had come.  I had thought myself prepared for this
moment, yet found myself stunned and bewildered.  What was I to do? The
street "where I belonged" now seemed to belong to me, but I did not look
quite as stoically as before at the prospect before me.

"Besides, how can I go out without shoes?" I reasoned, forgetting the
fact that, only quite recently, shoes had become necessities to me.

But the truth was—and will you blame me?—that from the crack at the
bottom of the door came a tiny streak of light, which told a vivid tale
of all I was in danger of forfeiting.  How often I had growled at my
fate; now, behind that door, lay a paradise.

I crouched there in the dark corner of the stairs leading to the roof.
How long I shivered there I do not know.  All my senses were alert and
ready for the slightest alarm.  Once I heard pleading and emphatic
denial within, and then all was still—still for a long while.

My gaze was fixed on the door.  It seemed hours—perhaps it was—before I
heard a slight creaking and saw the reflection of more light on the
hallway floor.  It disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, and then
it was dark and quiet again.

But why was that door opened?  Something must have happened.  I dragged
myself to the threshold of my lost home, felt around and found—my shoes,
my real, new shoes.  And then I tried hard to cry, but could not.  The
crust had become too hardened.

The crisis had come, was passed, and the curtain fell on my childhood.
Ages cannot be measured by years.



                       *A NOMAD OF THE STREETS.*



                             *CHAPTER III.*

                       *A NOMAD OF THE STREETS.*


Seven years old, I stepped into the street, where, by right, I belonged,
no longer a child, to begin the journey, which, through many years in
the valley, led me to the heights.

It was a bleak December night.

Can you not draw yourself the picture of the boy starting on his
way—whither?

I stood for some time in the doorway.  A policeman loomed in the
distance.  Boys cannot bear them in day time, how much less at night.
To be "collared" by a "cop" at this hour meant a stay in the station
house and a visit to the police court.  I put myself in motion.

With cap pulled over my ears and hands pushed into my pockets, I started
in the direction of the Bowery and Chatham Street, now called Park Row.
I halted under a lamp-post to determine on my course.

"Uptown" was an entirely unknown region to me.  "Downtown" was not much
more familiar, but, somehow, I knew that that was the place where all
the newsboys came from.

I turned to the left and walked and ran—the night was bitterly cold—down
Chatham street until I came within view of the City Hall.  So far I had
been once or twice before on some adventurous trip, but not beyond that.
Though I did not realize it at the time, I stood on my jumping-off
place, ready to jump into the unknown.

I paused for a while, looking into the darkness before me.  In those
days, before the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall Square was
not as brilliantly lighted as now.  I stood there until the biting cold
made me move on.

My eyes were watery from the meeting blasts, and, stumbling on, I almost
fell on top of a layer of diminutive humanity.  Before I had time to
draw my stiffened hands from the pockets to wipe my eyes, I felt a
welcome sensation of warmth, thick, intense, damp, ink-permeated warmth.

The warm current came from the grating over the pressroom of a
newspaper.  This open-air radiator only measured a few feet, yet, at
least, fifteen boys were hugging it as closely as their mothers’
breasts. The iron frame was entirely invisible, and my share of warmth
coming from it was very trifling. But, even so, only a few minutes of
this straggling cheer was afforded to me.

Just as some of the numbness began to thaw out of my limbs, the cry—ever
and ever familiar to the newsboy—"Cheese it, the cop!" rang out, and,
like a horde of frightened sprites, the boys scampered away, I bringing
up the rear.

We raced around the corner into Frankfort street and stopped in a dark
hallway, which seemed to be the headquarters of this particular crowd.
It was not warm in there, but, at any rate, it was a shelter against the
cutting gusts of night winds, playing their stormy games of
"hide-and-seek" around the blocks facing Park Row.

Following the example of the others, I cuddled up in a corner, and tried
to forget my troubles in sleep.  Just dozing, preliminary to falling
into sounder sleep, I was suddenly and swiftly aroused by a grasp and a
kick, and informed that I had usurped a corner "beeslonging" to a
habitué of this dismal hostelry.

I had yet to learn that a newsboy will claim everything in sight, to
relinquish it only by defeat in fight, and meekly submitted to my
dispossession. The late comer took a bundle of newspapers from under his
arm and carefully proceeded to prepare his bed.  First, he spread a
number of sheets on the floor; then built a pillow from the major part,
and, at last, proceeded to cover himself with the remaining papers.

The light was dim, still, it was enough to show him my discomfiture.

"Say," he addressed me, "what’s the matter, ain’t you got no place to
sleep?  I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you don’t kick in your sleep,
I’ll let you lie down longside o’ me."  Then, as an afterthought, "It’ll
keep me warmer, anyhow."

Most emphatically and impressively did I assure him that my sleep was
absolutely motionless, and from that night dated a partnership and
friendship which lasted for many years.

In later years I have often wondered why I and all the other boys who
comprised the newspaper-selling fraternity of that day always landed in
Park Row, and in the midst of the future colleagues?  It seemed to be a
well defined destiny.  Behind the coming of each new recruit was the
little tragedy, which had made the leading actor therein a stray waif of
the streets.  And, no matter where the tragedy had happened, whether in
Harlem or in the First Ward, the district along and above the Battery,
they all found their way to Park Row.

The life of the newsboy is full of action.  His personal struggle and
business is so absorbing that he has no time for useless speculation.
The advent of a newcomer is not signalized by a very warm reception.  He
is neither hampered by professional jealousy or suffered by tolerance.
The field is open to all, and it rests with the boy how he will fare.
However, in spite of this almost essential selfishness, impulsive
outbursts of good nature are a characteristic of this most emotional
creature, the newsboy.  My apprenticeship in the fraternity owed its
beginning to one of these spontaneous outbursts.

It was quite early when, chilled to the marrow, I awoke in the drafty
hallway.  My new and independent existence was begun with my first great
sorrow.  Here the temptation is very strong upon me to tell you that
remorse, anguish and despair were racking my soul; that it was
homesickness or a great longing for all I had left behind me.  But
putting this temptation behind me, I must confess that my sorrow was of
the most material kind.  I missed my coffee.

Across the street was Hitchcock’s coffee and cake saloon.  Through the
shivery morning air, every time a patron entered or left the place, a
cloud of greasy, spicy aromas came wafting to the frozen little troupe
leaving their dreary abiding place.  My future colleagues had so often
had this torture inflicted on them that, now, with just an envious
sniff, they could bear it with stoical fortitude.  I, still a weakling,
stopped, as if transfixed, inhaled the perfumed currents and most
solemnly swore that, with my very first money, I would buy the entire
stock; yes, even the entire coffee and cake saloon.

Alas, Hitchcock’s is still doing business.

The next question presenting itself was, how was I to get the "first"
money?

Newsboys work and play in cliques.  The particular gang, with which I
had thrown my lot, had its rendezvous in Theatre Alley.  It was the
assembling and meeting place for all the members, those who had slept in
"regular" beds and those who had "carried the banner"[#] in the
Frankfort street hallway.  This distinction did by no means establish
two different social strata among us.  Fate was so uncertain that the
aristocrat of the night before, who had rested his weary limbs on a
"regular" bed, was very apt to fight on the following night for the
possession of the corner in the hallway, which "beeslonged" to him.


[#] To spend the night without a bed.


Beyond giving me a scrutinizing look, none of the boys took heed of me,
and did not object to my following them.  Arrived in Theatre Alley, we
met the leader of the gang, who had the proud distinction of being about
the only one who had a "home to go to" whenever he felt like doing so.
The same qualities, which, since then, have made him a leader in
politics and have led him to membership in legislative bodies, were even
in that day in evidence.

In parenthesis let me say that I am not blessed with personal beauty.
Add to this that my appearance presented itself rather grotesquely and
disheveled on that eventful morning, and you will understand why the
leader’s searching eye singled me out from the rest.

"Are you a new one?" he asked me.

I answered in the affirmative.

"Going to sell papers?"

Again the affirmative.

"Got any money?"

Now a convincing negative.

Then, as now, our leader was sparing in the use of words.  At the end of
our brief interview, I was "staked" to a nickel to buy my first stock of
papers, and those who know Tim Sullivan will also know that I was not
the first or the last to get "staked" by the Bowery statesman.

He not only furnished my working capital, but also taught me a few
tricks of the trade and advised me to invest my five pennies in just
one, the best selling paper of the period.

So, in less than twelve hours after leaving what had been for several
years my home, I was fully installed as a vendor of newspapers.

Then began the usual existence of "newsies," eating and "sleeping" when
lucky, and "pulling through somehow" when unlucky.  I stuck to that
business for over ten years.

The life of the streets did not at all disagree with me.  My childhood
had been full of bitterness, childish bitterness, and I had a dull
longing to make the world at large feel my revenge for having dealt so
unkindly with me.  Whatever good traits there had been in me were
quickly and willingly transformed into viciousness.  This helped me to
become a leading member of our gang of boys.

Among us there was none so absolutely orphaned as myself.  Those who
were orphans had, at least, their memories.  I did not even have them.

In odd, emotional moments, one or another would let his thoughts stray
back to some still loved and revered father or mother, or would confess
to having crept up to his former home, at some safe time, to have a peep
at forfeited comforts.  I welcomed these references and day dreams of my
colleagues, but solely because they were utilized by me as pretenses for
inflicting my brutality on those who had uttered them.

There is a question, a number of questions, to be asked here.  Why did I
do this?  Was it because I was naturally vicious, or because I wanted to
stifle a certain gnawing in my heart by my ferociousness? A strange
reasoning, the last, perhaps; but in years I was still a child, and if a
child has but little in his life to love, and that little is taken out
of his life, that child can turn into a veritable little demon. Those,
whom I had believed my parents, turned out to be nothing more than
charitably inclined strangers; that what I had believed to be my home,
proved but a refuge, and my boyish logic saw in this sufficient cause to
envy those, who had all this behind them and to give vent to this envy
in the most ferocious manner.

That was the tenor of my life as a newsboy.  I had enough callousness to
bear all the hardships without a murmur.  One ambition took possession
of me.  I wanted to be a power among newsboys. I wanted to be respected
or feared.  As I did not care which, I succeeded in the latter at the
expense of the former.  The heroes of newsboys are always men who owe
their prominence to physical prowess. I chose as my models the best
known fighters of the day.

As with all other "business men," there is keen rivalry and competition
among newsboys.  The only difference is that, among the boys, the most
primitive and direct way is the most frequent one employed to settle
disputes.  Some men, after great sorrows or disappointments, seek
forgetfulness in battle, being entirely indifferent to their ultimate
fate, and they always make good fighters.  My position was not
altogether dissimilar from theirs. What little I had known of comfort
and affection was behind me; my mode of life at that time had no
particular attraction for me, and my only ambition was to conquer by
fight, and, therefore, I made a good fighter.

In all those long years I cannot recall more than one incident which
stirred the softer emotions of my heart.

A newcomer, a blue-eyed, light-haired little fellow, had come among us,
and was immediately chosen by me as my favorite victim.  Certain traces
of refinement were discernible in him and this gave me many
opportunities to hold him up to the ridicule of our choice gang of young
ruffians.  I hated him without knowing why.

One day I saw him standing at the corner of "the Row," offering his
wares with the unprofessional cry: "Please, won’t you buy a paper?"

It was a glorious chance to "plant" a kick on one of his shins, and
thereby to relieve myself of some of my hatred.  Stealthily I crept up
behind him, and was on the point of sending my foot on its mission, when
two motherly-looking women stopped to buy a paper from "the cherub."
Wits are quickly sharpened in a life on the streets, and I realized at
once that my intended assault, if witnessed by the two ladies, would
evoke a storm of indignation.

I immediately changed front, and endeavored to create the impression
that my hasty approach had been occasioned by my desire to sell a paper.

"Poipers, ladies, poipers," I cried, but was barely noticed.

The "cherub" claimed all their attention.

"What a pretty boy!" exclaimed one.  "Have you no home, no parents?  Too
bad, too bad!"

All this was noted and registered by me for a future reckoning with the
recipient of so much kindness.

My heart was shivering with acid bitterness.

"Never me, never me!" and the misery of many loveless years rang as a
wail in my soul.

Just as the woman, who had spoken, was about to hand a dime to my
intended scapegoat, her companion happened to turn and see me.

"Oh, just look at the other poor fellow."

The exclamation was justified.  I was a sight. However, my dilapidated
clothes and scratched face owed their pitiful condition to much
"scrapping" and not to deprivations.

Again she spoke.

"Here, poor boy, here is a penny for you."

With a light pat on my grimy cheek and one of the sunniest smiles ever
shed on me, she was gone before I could realize what had happened.
There, penny in hand, I stood, dreaming and stroking the cheek she had
touched, and asking myself why she had done so.

Somehow, I felt that, were she to come back, I could just have said to
her: "Say, lady, I ain’t got much to give, but I’ll give you all me
poipers, and me pennies, and me knife, if you’ll only say and do that
over again."

The "cherub" also was a gainer by this little touch of nature.  I forgot
to kick and abuse him that night.

There was nothing dwarfish about me, and my temperament made me enjoy
the many "scraps" which belong to a street arab’s routine.

Park Row was and is frequented by the lesser lights of the sporting
world.  Our boyish fights were not fought in seclusion, but anywhere.
Being a constant participant in these "goes," as I was almost daily
called upon to defend my sounding title of "Newsboy Champion of Park
Row" against new aspirants for the honor, myself and my fighting "work"
soon became familiar to the "sports," who were the most interested of
the spectators.

I was of large frame, my face was of the bulldog type, my muscles were
strong, my constitution hardened by my outdoor existence in all sorts of
weather, and, without knowing it, my advance in the art of fisticuffs
was eagerly watched, with the hope of discovering in me a new "dark
horse" for the prize ring.

Among the men who had followed my progress in boxing were such renowned
sports as Steve Brodie, Warren Lewis, "Fatty" Flynn, "Pop" Kaiser and
others of equal prominence.  In due time overtures were made to me.  I
was properly "tried out" on several third-rate boxers, and said good-by
to the newsboy life to blossom out as a full-fledged pugilist.

Before long I began to have _higher_ ambitions. It was the day of
smaller purses and more fighting, and I determined to fight often so as
to accumulate money quickly.  I had no definite idea why I wanted to
accumulate money with such feverish haste.  I had some dim desire _to
wanting_ to have a lot of it, to having the sensation of being the
possessor of a roll of bills, and, this being the only road open to me
toward that goal, I was eager to travel it.

That was my ambition at the age of seventeen, the age when boys prepare
themselves to be men in the fullest and only sense of the word.  My
boyhood, dreary as my childhood, closed behind me without a pang of
regret on my part.  I was aspiring according to my lights and my
aspirations spelled nothing more or less than degradation.



                         *LIVING BY MY MUSCLE.*



                             *CHAPTER IV.*

                         *LIVING BY MY MUSCLE.*


The manly art of self-defense, as practised then, was unhampered by much
law or refinement.  Still, with all this license, I was too brutish to
make a successful prizefighter.  My sponsor in this sporting life soon
learned that I had a violent temper.

Time and time again I was matched to fight men who were not physically
my equals, only to be defeated by them.  It was useless to endeavor to
impress me with the argument that these fighting matches were merely
business engagements, in the same way as the playing of a part by an
actor.

I fully understood all that was pointed out to me; would adhere to my
instructions for two, perhaps three, rounds of fighting, then would
forget all, rules, time limits and all else, to "sail in" with most
deadly determination to "do" my opponent at all hazards.

During my brief career as pugilist I only met one man who was of the
same brutish temperament as myself—Tommy Gibbons, of Pittsburg—and we
fought four encounters.

Of the same age as myself, Gibbons had earned for himself a well-founded
reputation for viciousness. He had never been defeated in his own state,
and the promoters of this "manly" form of sport were anxious to find a
more vicious brute than he to vanquish him.

I was chosen for this mission.

A paper manufacturer, still doing business in New York City, after
seeing me "perform" in trial bouts, was induced to "put up" the
necessary money for my side of the purse, and we were matched to fight
in Pittsburg.

We "weighed in" at one hundred and forty pounds.

This, our first encounter, lasted twenty-seven rounds.  The "humanity"
of our seconds and backers prevented us from going any further.  Our
physical condition was the cause for stirring that "humanity."

We were smeared with blood, but that alone would not have been
sufficient to terminate the fight.  A broken arm, a torn ear, a gash
from eye to lower part of cheek, constituted Tommy Gibbons’ principal
injuries.  I was damaged to the extent of two broken thumbs and a broken
nose, not mentioning minor disfigurements.  But, what of that?  Had not
the noble cause of sport derived a new impetus from our performance?
Had not the hearts and aspirations of the "select" crowd of spectators
been moved to higher emotions?

We had behaved so right manfully, that, at the ringside, we were matched
again for another meeting. In that, after seventeen rounds, I was
declared the winner on a "foul" of Gibbons.

Again we were matched, this time to fight according to London prize ring
rules—they permitting more latitude for our brutish instincts.  It
resulted in a "draw," but not until we had entertained the very flower
of the sporting world for forty-three rounds.

Not yet satisfied as to which one of us was the greater brute, another
meeting was arranged, and I had the proud distinction of being the
victor in this fight of eleven rounds.

Poor Tommy Gibbons took his defeat very much to heart.  His fistic
prestige was gone, and he went speedily to "the bad."  He ended his busy
life at the hands of the hangman, paying therewith the penalty for one
of the most horrible murders ever committed.

Too bad that such a promising light in the sporting world should meet
with such ignoble end!

My backer, the paper manufacturer, who did so much, by effort and
expenditure, for the cause of sport, is still on my list of
acquaintances.  He is eminently respectable, the father of an adoring
family, the model for striving young men, a pillar of his church, a
power in commercial life, and, withal, an enthusiastic follower of the
Manly Art of Self-Defense, provided the specimen of it is not too tame.

Apropos of the manly art of self-defense I want to record my individual
opinion that it is a lost art, if it really has ever been an art.  In
the knightly art of fencing, skill, artful skill, is necessary and
acquired.  Not so in boxing; at least not in that branch of boxing which
is only practised for money.  Men who step into the ring for a "finish
fight" are not prompted by the desire of giving a clever exhibition of
boxing.  Their only desire—if the fight "is on the level"—is to "put
out" their man somehow, as quickly as possible, and to collect their end
of the purse as promptly as possible.  I have seen my quota of fights in
my life time, but never one in which claims of "fouls" were not made.

Is it not logical to suppose that leading exponents of their art should
be able to give a demonstration of it without resorting to foul means?

Although I have given "physical culture lessons" of a certain kind I
have but little knowledge of how boxing lessons are conducted in
academies and reputable gymnasiums.  The popularity of this branch of
athletics indicates that the lessons are conducive to corporal
perfection, and teach men how to use their strength to best advantage
when driven to the point of defense.

This principle is not observed by "scrappers."  They pay less, if any
attention to boxing than to learning tricks of their trade.  It is all
very well for sporting writers to speak about Fitzsimmons’ and
Sullivan’s art, but I am quite sure that one or more efficient tricks is
the real mainspring of many pugilistic reputations.

The rules of the prize ring are fair and formed to protect men from foul
methods.  For that very reason, all the tricks learned—and they are many
and efficient—are, if not absolutely fouls, so near the dividing line
that the margin of distinction is almost nil.

Through the press of the country we are informed that prizefighters
now-a-days make considerable fortunes.  Then they did not, and having a
surprisingly healthy appetite in a healthy body, the fighting profession
sadly delayed the perfect development of my _embonpoint_.



                          *LIVING BY MY WITS.*



                              *CHAPTER V.*

                          *LIVING BY MY WITS.*


True, my fights with Tommy Gibbons and others had brought me some money,
but the social obligations were so many and the celebrations so frequent
that, after a short time of plenty, I always found myself "dead broke"
and compelled to resort to my "wits" for making a living.

All Chatham street—now Park Row—and the Bowery teemed with "sporting
houses," which offered opportunities to men of my class.  In many of
these places boxing was the real or pretended attraction.

On an elevated stage from three to six pairs of boxers and wrestlers
furnished nightly entertainment for a roomful of foolish men, and—more’s
the pity!—women.  The real purpose of these gatherings must remain
nameless here, but this fact we must note, that all of these
"sporting-houses," these hells of blackest iniquity, were run by
so-called statesmen, patriots, politicians, many of them lawmakers, or
else by their figureheads.

The figureheads were chosen with great carefulness. To become a proxy
owner of a "sporting-house" one had to have a reputation, sufficient to
attract that particularly silly and morbid crowd of _habitués_.  Some of
the reputations were made in the prize ring, viz: Frank White, manager
of the Champion’s Rest, on the Bowery, two doors north of Houston
street; Billy Madden, Mike Cleary and other "prominent" prizefighters.
A few of them, as Billy Madden and Frank Stevenson, later branched out
as backers of pugilists, policy shops and gambling houses.

Reputations made in prisons were also accepted as qualifications, and
"Fatty" Flynn, Billy McGlory, Tommy Stevenson, Jimmy Nugent, of
Manhattan Bank robbery fame, and other ex-inmates of jails owed their
wide popularity and money-making capacity to their terms spent behind
the bars. An isolated position of especially luminous glamor was
acceptably filled by the famous Mr. Steve Brodie, the bridge-jumper, and
greatest "fake" and fraud of the period.

In places where boxing was not the attraction, the vilest passions of
human nature were vainly incited by painted sirens, who, by experience
and compulsion of their employers, had become perfect in their shrewd
wickedness.  In front of these "joints"—frequently called "bilking
houses"—glaring posters, picturing the pleasures within, were displayed
in most garish array.

In addition to these places described, a number of dance-halls, notably
Billy McGlory’s Armory Hall, and "Fatty" Flynn’s place in Bond street,
completed the boast of the day that New York City was a "wide-open
town," and the "only place in the world fit to live in."

It was not very difficult for one, accustomed to the environment, to
"make a living" in it by his "wits."

Any one, not minding a short spell of strenuousness, could always get
from a dollar and a half to two dollars for "donning the mitts" in the
"sporting-houses," where boxing was the special feature. Others, having
neither the training or inclinations to take part in these "set-to’s,"
officiated as waiters—"beer-slingers"—and found it more remunerative, if
more tedious work.

It seems to be a distinct trait of people who visit these "dives" and
"joints" to leave their small allowance of intelligence at the door.
Men, who, in their daily occupation, are fairly alert and awake to their
interests, permit themselves to be cheated by the most transparent
devices of the "beer-slingers."

To give these fellows a bill in payment of drinks is simply inviting
them to experiment on you. Over charging, "palming"—retaining a coin in
the palm of the hand between ball of thumb and fleshy
part—"flim-flamming"—doubling a bill in a number of them, and counting
each end of it as one separate bill—are the most common means of
cheating employed.  Whenever any of these tricks failed, the money was
either withheld or taken away by force, and the victim—the
"sucker"—bodily thrown into the streets as a "disorderly person."

Such were the glories of the "open town."

Although a recognized factor in the world pugilistic, I was not above
seeking occasional employment in these resorts, and it helped me to
create for myself another reputation.  I did not work in these places
for the purpose of study or observation, yet, every night my contempt
for the patrons of these "joints" increased.

Men, whose names I had heard and mentioned with awe; men, whose
positions and station should have been guarantees of every sterling
quality, came there, not once, but night after night, to enjoy that
seemingly harmless pastime known as "slumming"—to have a "good time."

A "good time" in the midst of moral and physical filth; a "good time" in
the company of jailbirds, fallen men and women; a "good time" of
grossest selfishness, for, over and over again, I have seen men there
for whose education I would have gladly given years of my life, and who,
by one word of sympathy or encouragement, could have rekindled the dying
flame of hope, of self-respect, in some fellow-being, but that word was
never spoken, because it would have brought discord into the "good
time," and would have jangled the croaking melody chanted by that chorus
of human scum in praise of their host—the "sightseer"—of the evening!

A glorious sport this "sightseeing," these "good times," when men of
"respectability" and position feast with gloating eyes on all that is
vile and look on the unfortunates of a great city as if they were some
strange beasts, some freaks in human shape. That almost every creature
in these "dives" and "joints" has left behind a niche in the world’s
usefulness, or a home, to which his or her daily thoughts stray back, is
not considered by the "sightseer."  One does not like unpleasant
reflections when at a circus.

Vile, very vile, are the men and women who constitute the population of
divedom, but how about the representatives of respectability, who come
among them to spend their "good time" with them?

Were I at liberty to give the names of men whom I have seen hobnobbing
with the most fearful riff-raff, you would shrug your shoulders and say:
"I cannot believe it of them."  Yet, I do not lie.

There is no need for lying, and there is much corroboration, not the
least being the conscience of those men.

We want you—you men and women of respectability—to come to these
"dives," but we want you to come for another purpose.  Even at this very
moment there is a scope for your efforts in spite of all change of
administration and Christian endeavor has done for that part of the
city.  The stamping out of vice is carried on vigorously, but vice is a
proverbially obstinate disease.

Only a few nights ago I saw a scene in a widely known pest hole, reeking
with stench beyond its very doors, which I can only hint at in
describing it.

At one of the tables sat a youth, a mere boy, who had been coaxed into
the dirty hole by the persuasion of the wily "barker" at the side door.
The boy seemed from the country, his ruddy complexion and "store
clothes" indicated it.  The drink, which he had been forced to buy, was
standing untasted before him.  Without being afraid, he kept wide awake
and resented all overtures made to him.  But he looked too much like an
easy victim to escape the usual procedure.

Before he was aware of it, a woman had dropped into the chair on the
other side of the table.  At least more than fifty years of age, the
toothless wretch assumed the coquetry of a young girl.

The gray hair, devoid of comb or ribbon, hung in straggling strands to
her shoulders.  The front of her dress was unbuttoned.  Still, this
witch of lowest depravity, lulled her Lorelei song, hoping to transfix
the gaze of the boy—young enough perhaps to be her grandson—by the leer
of her bleary eyes.

I do not dare, and if I dared, could not tell you the horridness of this
scene, yet it was only a detail in the grander spectacle, the "good
time," seen and enjoyed nightly by thousands of the "better" class.

Forerunners of the eventually coming overthrow of "open" vice made
themselves felt during some of the more important elections and for a
few weeks preceding election day the ukase was sent out by the
mysterious hidden powers: "Lie low for a while."

These periods of restriction, while not welcome, did not involve great
hardships for us, the "sports" of the Bowery.  If the blare of the
wheezy cornet and the thumping of the piano had to be silenced for the
time being, there were other channels in which the services of the men,
who did not care, could be utilized.

One of the most flourishing industries carried on was the confidence
game in its many guises.

"Ah, all the ’easy marks’ go up to the Tenderloin now," is the cry of
the few remaining Bowery grafters.  Then it was different.

The Bowery was famed from Atlantic to Pacific for what it offered.
Every day a new consignment of lambs unloaded itself on this highway of
the foolish and miserable, to be devoured by the expectant wolves.  The
recognized headquarters of the wolves was at the corner of Pell street.

A few among them were men of some education and refinement, but the most
of them were beetle-browed ruffians, who seemed ill at ease in their
fine raiment, the emblem of their calling.

To get the stranger’s money many means were used.

Sailors, immigrants, farmers and out-of-town merchants were approached
in most suitable manner, generally by a claim of former
acquaintanceship. To celebrate the renewal of their old friendship it
was necessary to adjoin to the nearby gin-mill. Here, the stranger, the
"refound old friend," would not be permitted to spend one cent of his
money—"dear, no, you’re my guest."

Next move: The two reunited friends—the wolf and the lamb—are joined by
a third—"an old friend o’ mine," says the wolf.

The newcomer sings one of the many variations of the old, old theme.  He
has just won a lot of money at a game where no one can lose; or has a
telegram promising beyond a doubt that a certain horse was to win that
day; or has a hundred dollar bill, which he wants to change; or is
broke, and offers his entire outlay of jewelry, watch, studs and rings,
each one flashing with fire-spitting jewels, for a mere bagatelle of
fifty dollars; or offers to bet on some mechanical trick toy in his
possession, trick pocketbook or snuff box, and loses every bet to the
wolf—but not to the lamb; or offers to take both, wolf and lamb, to a
"regular hot joint," hinting at the beautiful sights to be beheld there,
which, in reality, is a "never-lose" gambling device.

Should the lamb prove impervious to all these temptations, the pleasing
concoction called "knock-out drops" is introduced as most effective
tonic.

Sometimes there is a slip in the proceedings, and the lamb "tumbles to
the game" before he is shorn. This is entirely against the rules of the
industry, and cannot be permitted without being rebuked.  Therefore, the
confidence industry was always willing to draw its apprentices from the
class in which muscularity and brutality were the only qualifications.

Other industries, now much retrograded, were the "sawdust," "green
goods" and "gold brick" games.  All these games were vastly entertaining
to all, and vastly profitable to some.  Besides, in their lower stages,
and technically inside of the law, they gave employment to many young
men, who, like me, were unwilling to use their strength in more
honorable occupation, preferring to be the slaves of crooked masters and
schemes.

Those were not all the ways in which a well-known tough could earn an
honest dollar.  To our "hang out," sheltering always a large number of
choice spirits, frequently came messengers calling for a quota for some
expedient mission.  We were the "landsknechts" of the day, willing to
serve any master, without inquiring into the ethics of the cause, for
pay.

Electoral campaigns in this and other cities furnished much employment.
Capt B——, of Hoboken, a notorious "guerrilla" chief, was a frequent
employer.  During a heated contest in a small town near Baltimore, he
shipped fifty of us to the scene of strife to "help elect" his patron.
Five "Bowery gents," in rough and ready trim, were stationed near each
doubtful polling place, and, somehow, induced voters, unfriendly to
their master of the moment, to keep away from the ballot boxes.

Local primaries and conventions, regardless of politics, could never
afford to do without us. To-day we would fight the men, who, to-morrow,
would pay us to turn the tables on our masters of yesterday.

Still, we were loyal to our temporary bosses.  We offered our strength
and brutality in open market. We asked a price, and, if it was paid, we
did our "work" with a faithfulness worthier of a better cause.  That
this was so is proven by the fact that not only John Y. McKane, the
"Czar of Coney Island," recruited his police force from among us, but
even reputable concerns, like the Iron Steamboat Company, and others,
engaged men of our class to preserve order and peace at designated
posts.

A number of railroad companies and detective bureaus, in times of
strikes, invited us to aid them in protecting property and temporary
employees, but, for some reason or other, these offers were never
greedily accepted.

Among the rest of these unlisted occupations must be mentioned playing
pool and cards.  I do not mean the out-and-out experts of these games
hung around to win money from unwary strangers. Quite a number of the
more "straight" saloons on the Bowery did not object to having about the
place a crowd of fellows who were fair players of pool or the games of
cards in vogue.  If, by any chance they lost a game, the proprietor
would stand the loss, and, if they proved exceedingly lucky, he would
give them a percentage of the receipts of the game.

It is rather difficult to enumerate all the different ways in which a
man, who had to live by his "wits," could make a living on the Bowery.
They were many and variegated in their nature.  It was a saying of the
day that all a man had to do then was to leave his "hang-out" for an
hour to return with enough money to pay his expenses for the day.



                     *AT THE SIGN OF CHICORY HALL.*



                             *CHAPTER VI.*

                     *AT THE SIGN OF CHICORY HALL.*


I have several times mentioned "hang-out."  Most of these "hang-outs"
were ginmills (saloons) of the better class, but the real Bowery
Bohemian chose odd spots for his haunts.  The most unique resort in this
Bohemia of the nether world was at Chicory Hall, where my particular
gang had established itself.

It was a basement at the corner of Fourth street and Bowery.  Originally
a bakeshop, it had been unoccupied for some time, until a coffee
merchant rented it to prepare his chicory there.  One man constituted
the entire working force of the plant, and it so happened that Tom
Noseley, the chicory baker, was imbued with sporting proclivities.

Do not let us forget that, at the time, the prize-fighter was a man of
consequence to the youths of the East Side.  To know a pugilist, to have
spoken to him, to have shaken his hand, was an event never to be
forgotten.

Tom Noseley was a very young man.  In the immediate neighborhood of his
basement were many "sporting-houses."  Tom Noseley was earning eighteen
dollars a week.  What is more natural than that one of sporting
proclivities should become an enthusiastic patron of "sporting-houses"?

Tom Noseley wanted to number some well-known pugilists among his
acquaintances.  Several well-known pugilists, I among the number, did
not resent his many invitations to drink with him, and, ere long, the
dream of Noseley seemed fully realized, for we consented, after much
coaxing, to call at his basement for the pleasant task of "rushing the
growler."

Our first call at the cellar convinced us of its many attractions.  It
seemed just the place for an ideal "hang-out."  Then, also, there was
Tom Noseley’s weekly stipend of eighteen dollars a week, which he was
willing to spend to the last cent for the "furthering of sport."

Tom Noseley was a hunter of Bowery lions.  I have been told that in
higher social strata different lions are hunted by different hunters.
Still, the species do not differ very much from each other.

Men who had "done" a long term in prison; men who had a reputation for
crookedness; men who were known to make their living without having to
descend to the ignoble manner of working for it, all these had been fads
of Noseley.  Then, the sporting spirit of the Bowery flared up with
great spluttering, and Noseley, for the nonce, took the poor, shiftless
boxers to his heart of hearts.

We named the cellar "Chicory Hall," and quickly succeeded in making it
known.

The cellar consisted of two large rooms.  Descending from Fourth street,
about a dozen steps led to the bakeshop.  Four small windows, grimed
with impenetrable dirt, suggested the presence of light.  The sunlight
or cloudy sky found no token there.  At night one dim flame of gas gave
a sort of humorous weirdness to the filthy hole.

Adjoining the bakeshop was a dark apartment of the same size as the
first room, used as storing place for the bags of bran, which were used
in the manufactory of chicory.  Shortly after establishing our
headquarters at Chicory Hall, we chose the storage room as our sleeping
chamber, making unwieldy couches from the heavy, unclean bags.

Certainly we had conveniences, a "front room" and a "bedroom," what more
could we desire?  And we appreciated it.  Did not I, myself, spend ten
entire days and nights in Chicory Hall without ever leaving it?

But while Tom Noseley’s eighteen dollars a week, earned by his
intermittent labors in baking chicory, were not to be despised as the
substantial nucleus of our treasury, they were not enough to provide a
little food and much drink for about six able-bodied prizefighters out
of work.  The regular staff included Jerry Slattery, the Limerick
Terror; Mike Ryan, the Montana Giant; Tom Green and his brother, Patsy
Green; Charlie Carroll and myself.

On Saturday, Tom Noseley’s pay day, two or three of the staff appointed
themselves a committee to accompany our host to the office and to
prevent him from falling into other hands.  His return was celebrated by
feasting on many pounds of raw chopped meat and drinking many gallons of
beer. Sunday morning found the exchequer very much depleted, containing,
perhaps, just enough to reflicker our drooping and aching spirits by
purchasing several pints of the vilest fusel oil, parading under the
name of whiskey, ever manufactured.

Sabbath day, the day of rest, as appointed by the Master, was spent by
us in quiet peace.  That the peace was a consequence of the turbulent
hilarity of the night before, and not a desire to live according to
divine dictates is a mere detail.

At the beginning of our sojourn at Chicory Hall our feast of Saturday
was generally followed by a famine until the next week’s end.  This was
somewhat palliated by a happy inspiration of "Lamby," a character of the
locality.

"Lamby"—no one knew him by any other name—had some mysterious hiding and
sleeping place, but was infatuated with our Subterranean Bohemia and
spent all his spare time—which practically was all his time, excepting
the hours dedicated to sleep—with the Knights of Chicory Hall.  He was a
boy of about seventeen years of age, over six foot tall, of piping voice
and full of most unexpected opinions and ideas.

There was good stuff in "Lamby," as in many of the East Side boys, who
are, by environment and circumstances, led into evil, or, at least,
useless lives. "Lamby’s" heart was bigger than all his carcass. To be
his friend, meant that "Lamby" thought it his duty to give three-fourths
of all his temporary possessions to the cementing of this friendship.

I made "Lamby’s" acquaintance under inconvenient conditions.  He was not
yet entitled to vote. This did not prevent him from formulating the
strongest opinions on political personages and principles.  During the
election which made me acquainted with him, "Lamby" for some unknown
reason, was doing the most enthusiastic individual "stumping" for the
candidate of one of the labor parties.  It was conceded by the
supporters of the labor ticket that the candidate in question stood
absolutely no chance of being elected and that their entire list of
nominees was only in the field as a means of making propaganda, of
paving the way for future possibilities.  All this did not deter "Lamby"
from sounding the labor-man’s praises on all and every occasion.

In one of his many eulogies "Lamby" was opposed by a ward-heeler of the
local organization, who laughing offered to bet any amount that the much
praised candidate would not poll fifty votes. This roused the ire of the
champion of labor.

"Say," cried "Lamby" at his adversary, "you know I ain’t got no money to
bet and that’s why you’re so anxious to bet me.  If you’re on the level
in this, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.  You put up your money and if
Kaltwasser don’t get elected I won’t speak to no human being for a
month."

The politician accepted this odd bet and, a few weeks later, "Lamby," by
his own decree, found himself sentenced to one month’s silence.

And "Lamby" loved to talk!

It was a fearful dilemma, but leave it to a Bowery boy to wriggle out of
a scrape.

In one of his rambles, "Lamby" had met Rags, and, impressed by some
similarity in their appearance and disposition, had appointed him
forthwith his chum and inseparable companion.

Rags was a cur of nondescript origin and breed. His long, wobbly and
ungainly legs barely balanced a long and shaggy body, draped with a
frowsy, kaleidoscopic mass of wiry hair.  The color of Rags’ eyes could
not be determined, bangs of matted locks wholly screening them from
view.

For some obscure reason, "Lamby" conceived the idea that the use of the
lower extremities would prove injurious to Rags, and the mongrel—surely
weighing at least fifty pounds—spent most of his time in the loving arms
of his adoring friend.

The opportunity to return some of his friend’s devotion, by making
himself useful to him, came to Rags during the period in which "Lamby’s"
tongue was restrained from its favorite function for a month of silence.
"Lamby’s" pledge not to speak to a human being for a month was never
broken, but he found a way of expressing himself to Rags in such loud
and distinct tones that no one had any difficulty in following the train
of conversation.

There was so much ingenuity in the plan that the ward politician
declared the bet off and presented "Lamby" with a part of the stake
money.

On a Monday, when the feast of Saturday was but a sweet memory and the
famine of the week had set in with convincing force, Tom Noseley and his
staff of friends—including "Lamby" and Rags, who hugged the shadowy
recess of a corner—sat disconsolately in the dingy dimness of Chicory
Hall.

"Ain’t none of you fellows got any money at all?" queried Jerry Slattery
against hope.

The question was too absurd to deserve an answer.

"Well, what are we going to do?" pursued the Limerick Terror; "I’m
hungry as blazes and can’t stand this any longer.  Nothing to eat and
nothing to drink; this is worse than being on the bum in the country
among the hayseeds.  If I don’t get something here pretty soon, I’ll go
out into the Bowery and see if I can’t pick up something."

The harangue passed our ears without comment. More deep and dark
silence.  Then everybody turned to where "Lamby’s" preambling cough
heralded a monologistic dialogue.

"Rags," began the silent sage of Chicory Hall, "what would you and me
do, if we was hungry and wasn’t as delicate as we are?  Wouldn’t you and
me go up to Lafayette alley and look them chickens over that don’t seem
to belong to nobody? Couldn’t you and me use them in the shape of one o’
them nice chicken stews with plenty of potatoes and onions in it?  Ain’t
it too bad that you and me is too delicate to be chasing round after
them chickens and that we aren’t allowed to speak so’s we could tell
other people how to get a meal that’ll tickle them to death?"

Bully "Lamby."

In less than five minutes a small, but determined gang of marauders made
their stealthy way through Lafayette alley.  Every one of the husky
pilferers endeavored to shrink his big body into the smallest compass.
The alley ended in a hamlet of ramshackle stables in the rear of a
famous bathing establishment.  The place was deserted in day time as all
men and animal occupants were in the streets pursuing the energetic
calling of peddling.  As said, the place was deserted, save for those
chickens. Dating from our first call, the chickens, young and old, began
to disappear.

For over a week we feasted on chicken.  We had them in all known styles
of cooking.  Our bill of fare included fried, baked, stewed, broiled and
fricasseed chicken.  But a day came when naught was left of the flock of
chicks excepting one big, black rooster.

I shall never forget him, because it was my fate to be his captor.

He surely was a general of no mean order.  We had often hunted him, but
he had always succeeded in eluding us by some cleverly executed
movement.

This survivor of his race irritated my determination and, supported and
flanked by my cohorts, I set out to exterminate the last of the clan.
Sounding his defy in many cackles and muffled crows the black hero raced
up and down the yard, dodging, whenever possible, under some of the
unused wagons and trucks standing about.  But escape was impossible.

Driven into a corner he faced me and my bag with splendid heroism.  He
met the lowering deathtrap by an angry leap, and, when I and bag fell on
top of him, we were greeted by a shower of furious picking and clawing.

Oh, brave descendant of a brave ancestry, nobly did you meet the
inevitable fate!  You were never born to be eaten; you were the tough
son of a tough father!  First, you fought right splendidly against being
captured, then, you resisted most stubbornly against being devoured!
Boiled, stewed, fried, hashed, you remained tough, and, even in death,
you defied us!  You escaped the destiny of your weaker brethren, for you
were never eaten!

Chicken coops are not many on the Bowery. Having found and demolished
the feathered oasis, we were again reduced to dire straits.

Again "Lamby" proved our rescuer.

He and Rags, with the story of the extraordinary bet, were discovered by
a reporter and given due fame in the press.  "Lamby" and Rags became
celebrities and deigned to receive their many callers in the attractive
reception room of Chicory Hall. A trifle of the glamor reflected on us,
the minor characters in the comedy, and visitors became quite frequent
to behold the "truly charming, typical Bohemia of the nether world."

But visitors will not call again unless you make their first visit
entertaining.  How could we entertain them?  Not one of us was as yet of
a literary turn of mind, and were not prepared to offer readings or
selections from Shakespeare, Lowell or Browning.  Some of us were quite
renowned as comedians, but it is very doubtful if our humor would have
appealed to the class of people honoring us with their visits.  There
was nothing left to do but to offer entertainment in the only line in
which we all were proficient.  The reception room of Chicory Hall became
an impromptu arena and fights were fought down there which, for
ferociousness and bloody stubbornness have never been beaten.

It would be quite logical to suppose here that our visitors were of the
rowdy element, and all of the male sex.  I wish I could tell you
differently, but the truth of the matter is that the "very best
families" were represented at our nocturnal seances by younger members
of both sexes.

In the course of time Chicory Hall became quite a "sight place," and it
was nothing unusual to see a string of carriages and coaches in front of
the humble entrance to the subterranean Bohemia.  Would I were a Balzac
to describe to you an evening at Chicory Hall.

At the foot of the stairs was a circle marked on the floor with chalk.
No one save the regular members of the staff were permitted to enter the
sacred precincts without depositing a "voluntary" contribution in the
circle.  Corresponding to the amount gathered by the circle was the
degree of entertainment.

On a row of boxes, crippled chairs, upturned pails and other makeshift
seats, the guests were served with drinks at their own expense pending
the preliminaries.  Above their heads, traced with white paint on grimy
walls, was this legend in straggling letters:

                       "WELCOME TO CHICORY HALL!"


With our increasing prosperity came needed improvements, and the
solitary gas light was reinforced by a murky smelling kerosene lamp,
which I can never remember having seen topped by an uncracked chimney.
The door, on account of the lively proceedings within, had to be kept
shut, and you can easily imagine the atmosphere in the cellar, there
being no ventilation.

Still our guests kept coming and truly enjoyed themselves because "it
was all so charmingly realistic and odd."

Being the most steady member of Chicory and rarely absent from the hall,
it was quite natural that I took part in most of the "goes" in the
cellar.  I felt myself in my element.  Neither the Marquis of
Queensberry or the London prize ring rules were rigidly enforced, and my
viciousness had full scope, our guests—men and women of the "better"
class—liking nothing so well as a "knockout finish."

Mainly through my savageness the last vestige of regulated fighting
disappeared from our "set-tos," and our performances fell to the level
of "go-as-you-please" scrimmages.  My reputation as a precious brute
increased rapidly, and again a certain set of men saw a probability in
me.

I was asked if I would fight anything and anybody under any conditions.
An easy question to answer for a man, who, in the fullest possession of
all his strength, had no knowledge of any other controlling influence
than his brutal instinct.

Not knowing or caring who my opponent was to be, I left all arrangements
to the enthusiasts, and in due time was introduced to Mr. Mickey Davis,
who had the great honor of being the champion rough and tumble fighter
of New York.

These were the conditions of our meeting: We were to be locked in a
room, with the privilege of using any means of defeating each other.  Of
course, weapons were excluded, but any other pleasantries like biting,
clawing, choking, gouging, were not only allowed, but really essential.
He who first begged to have the door unlocked and to be taken from the
room was the loser.

I held the championship for some time.  In fact, I relinquished it
voluntarily not long afterward on account of several changes which
occurred in my life.

I should not blame you in the least were you to feel disgust and
contempt for me for writing of it and for seemingly to glory in it.
Your disgust is justified, your contempt is not.  I myself am disgusted
with my past and its several stages of degradation, but I have pledged
myself to tell you the truth, and I am doing and will do it.

Perhaps you may despise me for it, but put yourself in my place and you
will be less severe.  There was something brewing and fermenting within
me which wanted to assert itself.  I wanted to be somebody; to be
successful.  It is a frank confession.

Will you blame a blind man for choosing the wrong path at the
crossroads?  Will you not, instead, lead him in the right direction?

Was I not blind when I stood on life’s highway and could not see the
pointed finger which read: "To Decency, Usefulness and Manhood"?

And there was no one to lead me.

Yes, criticise, sneer, if you will, but do not forget that in my life
there had been no parental love or guidance and no moral influence.

The attaining of my championship revived the interest of the "sporting
set" of the Bowery in me, and several flattering offers were made to me
by certain dive-keepers.  I changed from place to place and left such a
trail of noble deeds behind me that ere long I found myself a real,
genuine celebrity and a man with a name.

I never had any difficulty in getting work at my calling—that of a
"bouncer," called, for the sake of politeness, "floor manager," as my
connection with any place meant additional customers.  I was splendidly
equipped for the position, and my fame kept steadily increasing until I
thought myself on the sure road to success.

I reasoned the case with myself and drew the following deductions: I was
feared because of my brutality; I was respected because of my
"squareness," which had never been severely tempted; I had more money
than ever before; I was wearing well-made, if flashy, clothes; the
grumbling envy of my less fortunate fellows and chums sang like a sweet
refrain in my ears; I was strong, vicious and healthy.  Why, why
shouldn’t I consider myself successful?



                           *MY GOOD OLD PAL.*



                             *CHAPTER VII.*

                           *MY GOOD OLD PAL.*


Here we have reached a stage in my story where I must introduce to you
the dearest friend of all, my good old pal, my Bill.

Bill is only a dog, but when the doors of my past banged shut behind me
he was the only one able to squeeze through them into my better life.
He is the only relic of my other days and a living witness of
remembrance.

And, who can tell, but he, too, may have gone through a transformation,
if that was necessary in his case.  He was always faithful, true and
loyal, and what would you think of me were I to repudiate him now?

Those who know me do believe and you will believe that I have not the
shadow of desire to detract one iota from the work accomplished by my
little martyr, but I would be grossly unjust were I to deprive Bill of
the credit due him for his share in the making of me.

I am a man; I feel it.  My soul and conscience tell me so, and to all
the forces and factors that combined in my transformation I owe a debt
of gratitude which deeds only—not words—can repay. If this mentioning of
Bill shall demonstrate to you that he was of importance in my
regeneration, then I shall have paid part of my debt to him.

Not very long ago the rector of a fashionable church in New York City
came forward with the blunt claim that dogs have more than intelligence;
that they have souls.  Of course, this assertion caused a storm of
indignation and a flood of discussion in many circles.  Dogs were rated
very low after that in the list of intellectual values by the
representatives of those circles.

It is fortunate that I am not sufficiently learned or educated to have
an authoritative or deciding voice in the matter, for it will save me
from criticism when I become too enthusiastic about my good dumb,
soulless brute.

Yet, I wish, pray and hope that he has a soul.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Between First and Houston street, on the Bowery, was a saloon which was
known throughout the land as the "hang-out" of the most notorious toughs
and crooks in the country.  Still, the place was nightly visited by
persons called "ladies and gentlemen," representatives, specimens, of
the "best" classes of society.

I was employed there as "bouncer."  My nightly duty was to suppress
trouble of any kind and at all hazards.

The business staff of my employer included a number of gentlemen who
were renowned for their deftness of touch, and who, at various and
frequent times, had had their photographs taken free of charge at a
certain sombre-looking building in Mulberry street.

Their code of ethics—never adopted by the public at large—was most
elastic.  Still, there were times when they did overreach the limits of
Bowery etiquette and then it became my painful duty to rise in righteous
indignation and smite them into seeing the error of their ways.

One night a middle-aged man of respectable appearance, evidently the
host of a party of "sightseers," got into a quarrel with a member of the
mentioned gentry.  There was a rumpus of sufficient volume to distract
the attention of the other patrons from their most important duty, that
of spending their money, and I was forced to take a hand in it.

I quickly ascertained that the "sightseer" and his friends were lavish
"spenders," and, with a great display of dramatic effect, I ejected the
loafer, who had already become decidedly threatening.  That, a few
minutes later he found his way back again via the little, ever-handy
side door, was a fact not made public.

My stylish "sightseer" had been somewhat sobered by the occurrence and
was most effusive in thanking me for having so gallantly rescued him.  A
lingering sense of shame and realization of his position made him turn
homeward, but before leaving he insisted that I should call at his home
on the following day to be properly rewarded for having prevented him
from falling further into the contumely of contempt.

Greed was then one of my many besetting sins, and without losing any
time I called at the address given to me.  It was a rather pretentious
dwelling in one of New York’s thoroughfares of ease and good living, and
I could not help speculating on the moral make-up of a man who could
leave this abode of comfort and home cheer behind to spend his leisure
hours in a "good time" at a Bowery dive. Even though I could not read or
write at that time, and was not sensible to the world’s finer motives,
such an act on the part of a man who had all that life could give,
seemed to be beyond the ken of human intelligence and my humble
understanding.

The reception accorded to me was none too cordial.  He seemed to regard
me as a blackmailer, and, alas! he was very nearly correct in his
estimate.  After entreating me not to breathe a word to any living soul
about his nightly adventure, he invited me to follow him to the stable
in the rear of the house, where I was to receive the reward for my
righteous conduct.

My hopes fell at this.

Stables are the lodging places of horses, and I began to wonder if he
could imagine the consequences were I to attempt to lead a gift horse
through the streets down to the Bowery.  The police, if in nothing else,
are very careful in looking after strayed horses and delight in finding,
by accident, a pretended owner at the other end of the halter rope.

I mentioned all this to him, but he only laughed and bade me wait.  He
took me to a stall, and there pointed with pride at a litter of
pure-bred bull pups who were taking a nap at the breast of their mother.
He stooped and, one by one, lifted them up by the scruff of their necks
for my inspection.

I felt disappointed, saw my dream of reward evaporate, and could not
screw up any interest in the canine exhibition.

My aversion for all dogs dated from my years as newsboy in Park Row.
One homeless little cur, a mongrel looking for a bit of sympathy in his
miserable existence, once made friendly overtures to me.  I was still a
brute—bestial, cruel—and sent the poor thing yelping with a kick.  As
soon as he had regained his footing he waited for his chance and then
bit me in the leg.

Therefore I hated dogs, and reveled in the execution of my hatred.

I watched the pups with ill-concealed disgust.  The little fat fellows
hung limp and listless until dropped back into their nest.  Just as I
was priming myself to propose a compromise on a cash basis, a little
rogue, different from his brothers, was elevated for examination.
Instead of hanging quietly like the rest of the younger generation of
the family, he twisted and wriggled, while his eyes, one of them
becomingly framed in black, shone with play, appeal and good nature.

The shadow of a smile must have been on my lips, for the owner placed
the pup in my arms and presented me with it.

My first impulse was to drop the pup and kick it back into the stall,
but the little fellow seemed to consider his welcome as an understood
thing, and with a sigh of content snuggled into the hollow of my arm.
He was on my left side, and his warmth must have been infective, for I
felt a peculiar if dull glow creep into my heart.

[Illustration: Bill.]

Without exactly knowing what I was doing, I tucked my new property under
my coat and made my way to my room.  It is a question whether the pup
gained by the exchange of quarters.  My room was on the top floor of an
old-fashioned tenement. The ceiling was slanting and not able to cope
efficiently with the rain.  Of the original four panes of glass in the
window, only two remained, paper having been substituted for the others.
There was a cot, a three-legged chair, and a washstand with a cracked
basin, and a pitcher.

I dropped the pup on the cot, and intended to note how he would take to
his new surroundings.  He failed to notice them.  First, he squatted
down and looked at me intently.  I must have passed inspection, for, not
seeing me draw closer, he came to the edge of the bed and gave a little
whine.  I meant to grab him by the neck and throw him to the floor, but
when my hand touched him he felt so soft and warm, and—well, I patted
him.  Of course, I had no intention of allowing a pup to change the
tenor of my life.  That night I went to the saloon at the accustomed
time and did my "duty" as well as before.  However, at odd moments, I
would think of the little fellow up in the room.

It had been our custom to spend the major part of the night drinking and
carousing after the close of business.  But on the morning succeeding
the pup’s arrival, I thought it best to go to my room at once, as he
might have upset things or caused other damage.  That is what I tried to
make myself believe—a rather difficult feat in view of the pup’s
enormous bulk and ferocity—not caring to interpret my feelings.  I
opened the door of my attic room and peeped in.  The little fellow was
curled upon the blanket and did not wake until I stood beside him.  Then
he lifted his little nose, recognized me, and went off again into the
land of canine dreams.

As I was burdened with the dog, I could not let him starve.  Therefore,
my neighbors had the wonderful, daily spectacle before them of seeing
me, the champion rough and tumble fighter of the city, go to the grocery
store on the corner and buy three cents’ worth of milk and sundry other
delicacies suitable to my room-mate.  Had they taken it good-naturedly,
I would have felt ashamed and the pup would have fared badly in his
nursing, but my neighbors sneered and smiled at my unusual proceeding
which did seem rather incongruous, and, mainly to spite them and give
them a chance to break their amused silence, did I persist in playing my
new part, that of care-taker and nurse to his royal highness, the dog.

I became used to him, after a fashion, and, though showering very little
affection on the pup, he seemed to be supremely happy in my company.  We
had been together for some time before I was sure of our relative
positions.  Always finding him asleep on my return from the saloon, I
was surprised to hear him move about, one morning, as I was inserting
the key in the lock.  I opened the door, and before me danced the pup in
a veritable frenzy of delight at beholding me.  This not being a
psychological essay, only a plain, true story, I shall not attempt to
analyze, but will tell you straight facts in a straight way.

It was a new, a bewildering sensation to me to perceive a living being
to be so pleased at my appearance.  It was a new, a strange welcome,
perhaps not entirely unselfish, because milk and good things to eat
generally came with me, but, still, much purer and more sincere than,
the greeting "hello" or loud-mouthed invitation to drink vouchsafed me
by ribald companions.

I had not yet softened, at least, did not realize it, or would not admit
it, but in occasional, unobserved moments, a sporadic, spontaneous
dropping of the hard outer shell would come to me and I would not deny
it until my "manhood" whispered to me: "Why, what is the matter with
you?  Are you not ashamed of giving way to your feelings?  You are a
man, a great, big, tough man, and not supposed to have any softer
emotions.  Get yourself together and be again a worthy member of your
class!"

I must have been in one of these softer moods on the morning when the
pup gave his first outspoken recognition.  Why I did it, I do not know,
but I lifted the little fellow to my arms and sat down on the bed.  To
us two a critical moment had come and it was best to make the most of
it.

"Do you like me, pup?" I asked in all seriousness.

Bless me, if that little thing did not try to bark an emphatic "Yes!"
Oh, it was no deep-toned growl or snarl.  It was the pup’s first effort
in the barking line, and it sounded very much like a compound of whine
and grunt.  But I understood and we settled down to talk the matter
over.

I realized that the pup was entitled to be named, and that matter was
first in order.

"See here, pup; you and I are very plain and ordinary people, and it
wouldn’t do to give you a ’high-toned’ name.  Now, what do you say to
’Bill’?—just plain ’Bill’?"

The motion was speedily passed, and then Bill and I went to discuss
other questions.

"Bill, you and I aren’t overburdened with friends. If you and I were to
die at the same moment, not even a cock or crow would croak a requiem
for us. Now, I am going to make you a proposition.  You’re friendless,
and so am I; you’re ugly and so am I; you belong to the most
unintelligent class of your kind and so do I; why not establish a
partnership between us?"

Bill had sat, watching my lips and looking as wise as a sphinx, until I
asked the question.  He answered in the affirmative, without a moment’s
hesitation.

"I’m glad you like my proposition, Bill.  Now you and I are going to
live our own life, without regard for others.  We’re going to stick to
each other, Bill; we’re going to be loyal to each other, and, though we
do not amount to much in the world, to each other we must be the best of
our class.  We’re going to be true friends."

I took Bill’s paw, and, there and then, we sealed the compact, which was
never broken.

Our relationship being founded on this basis, I spent a good deal of my
spare time in the room, which until Bill’s arrival, had been nothing but
my sleeping place.  Soon the bare walls and the dilapidated condition of
the furniture began to grate on me and, slowly, I improved our _home_.
I bought a few pictures from a peddler, purchased two plaster casts from
an Italian, and even employed a glazier to put our window in good shape.
Bill and I took pride in our home, and thought it the very acme of
coziness.  You see, neither one of us had ever known a real home.

But dogs, as well as men, need exercise, and, in the afternoon, attired
in our best—Bill with his glittering collar, on which the proceeds of a
whole night had been expended—we took our walk along the avenue.  He was
beautifully ugly, and the usual pleasant witticisms, such as, "Which is
the dog?" were often inflicted upon us.  But we didn’t mind, being a
well-established firm of partners, who could afford to overlook the
comments of mere outsiders.

In the midst of our prosperity came an unexpected break.  A reform wave
swept over the city and closed most of the "resorts."  The loss of my
position left us in a badly crippled financial condition.

Bill and I had lived in a style befitting two celebrities.  Porterhouse
steaks, fine chops, and cutlets had been frequent items on our bills of
fare. The drop was sudden and emphatic.  Stews, fried liver, and hash
took the place of the former substantial meals, and our constitutions
did not thrive very well.  It did not even stop at that, for, ere long,
we were regular _habitués_ of the free-lunch counters.  It often almost
broke my heart to see my Bill, well bred and blooded, feed on the scraps
thrown to him from a lunch counter.  But there was a dog for you!
Instead of turning his nose up at it, or eating it with growl and
disgust, Bill would devour the pickled tripe or corned beef with a
well-feigned relish.  Between the mouthfuls his glance would seek mine
and he would say, quite plainly: "Don’t worry on my account.  I’m
getting along very nicely on sour tripe.  In fact, it is a favorite dish
of mine."

You poor, soulless Bill, of whom many men; with souls, could learn a
lesson in grit and pluck!

During that spell of idleness our hours in the room were less cheerful
than before.  I must confess that my "blues" were inspired by material
cares, and not by any regrets or self-reproaches; but, whatever the
cause, they were sitting oppressively on me, and I often found myself in
an atmosphere of the most ultra indigo.  It did not take Bill very long
to understand these moods, and, by right of his partnership, he took a
hand in dispelling them.

He would place himself directly in front of me, and stare at me with
unflinching gaze.  Not noticing any effect of his hypnotic suggestions,
he would go further, and place his paw on my knee, with a little
pleading whine.  Having awakened my attention, he would put himself into
proper oratorical pose and loosen the flood-gates of his rhetoric.

"Say, Kil, I gave you credit for more sense and courage.  Here you are,
sitting with your hands in your lap, and bemoaning a fate which is
largely of your own making.  Besides—excuse me for being so brutally
frank—you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Big and strong, you live in
idleness, and now you kick because you are down and out and deprived of
your despicable means of livelihood. Owen Kildare, brace up and be a
man.  You are not friendless.  I am here.  True, I’m only a dog, a
soulless brute, but I’m your Bill, and we’re going to stick until we
both win out!"

You will not offend me by calling me a silly fool for putting these
words into Bill’s mouth. Perhaps I err greatly in believing that Bill
was not without influence over me, or that I could understand him;
perhaps it was all imagination, but, if it was—and I doubt it—it was
good, because, no matter what it may be, whether imagination,
inspiration or aspiration, if it leads up and not down, it cannot be too
highly appreciated.

There were times when Bill’s speech was either less convincing or my
period of blues more pronounced than usual, and then he would resort to
more drastic measures.  He undertook to prove by the most vivid object
lesson that a buoyancy of spirits is the first essential.  Dogs, when
gay and playful, run and romp.  Bill made believe he was gay, and romped
and raced and ran.  If you will take note of the fact that the exact
measurements of the room were fifteen by twelve feet, you can easily
imagine the difficulties opposing Bill’s exercise.  Snorting and
puffing, he would cavort about the narrow precincts, now running into a
bedpost, now bumping against the shaky washstand.  But he always
accomplished his object, because, before his collapse from his
exertions, he never failed to put me into a paroxysm of laughter.  No
"blues" could ever withstand Bill’s method.

Still, he was but a brute—a poor, dumb brute.



                           *KNIGHTS ERRANT.*



                            *CHAPTER VIII.*

                           *KNIGHTS ERRANT.*


An episode, which occurred about this time, took me into latitudes and
scenes never before dreamed of by me.

As near as I can figure it, the event happened in March, 1893.  I admit
that in view of the seriousness of the incident my indefiniteness seems
strange, but it is typical of my class.

Since I have moved in different spheres I have often wondered at this
and tried to explain it to myself.  No other explanation seems to be at
hand except that this disregard of dates, of time and place is a
characteristic of the world Bohemian, whether on the Bowery or in the
Tenderloin.  Recently I had an illustration of this.

In preparing a story, treating of a certain phase of Bowery life for a
newspaper, I bethought myself of a man, who had been closely connected
with the very occurrence I intended to mention.  I sent for him and he
came to my house, willing to tell me all he could remember.  He recalled
it all and graphically described every detail.

At last I asked him to tell me the year and month in which it had
happened.  That caused an immediate halt in the narrative and many
minutes were spent in serious reflection.  It was of no avail. We fixed
the date of it to be in "about" such and such a year, and such and such
a month, but it was impossible to accurately settle the year and month.

And this in view of the fact that the occurrence had been a cold-blooded
murder, that my informant had been an eye-witness of it and had spent
several months in the House of Detention.

Why others are so careless of dates I do not know and it is not to the
point here, but I do know that in the life of the East Side, every
existence is so crammed full of reality that even the most important
occurrences are only of temporary moment. There, events are dated by
events.

Ask a fellow of the Bowery when he had lost his father or mother, and he
will very likely answer:

"Oh, about five or six years ago."

If you insist on a more precise answer, he will scratch his head, ponder
for a while, and then: "Let’s see!  Yes, the old man died about two
months after I came from the penitentiary on my last bit, and that was
somewhere in 1891."

I was playing my now familiar rôle of bouncer at "Fatty Flynn’s," an
ex-convict, who was running a dance hall and dive at 34 Bond street.  It
was only a few doors from the Bowery and enjoyed a great vogue among the
transient sightseers, traversing the Bowery in search of "good times."

On the night in question, two Princeton students, arrayed in yellow and
black mufflers and wearing the insignia of their fraternity, visited the
dance hall in the course of their lark.  It was rather early for that
sort of thing, the place was half-empty, and I, to do the honors of the
establishment and also to speed their "buying," stepped over to the two
young men for a "jollying" chat.

They were very young, had a considerable amount of money, and seemed
flattered by my mark of distinction.

We spoke about "sporting" life in general and they asked me concerning
several dives which were the most notorious of the day.  As I had worked
in every dive of notoriety, it was not a difficult matter for me to give
all desired information.  This seemed to invite their hunger for
knowledge and they invited me to make the third in their party and to
spend the night in going from dive to dive.  This, by the way, this
unofficial guide-business is another way in which the man, who has to
live by his wits, turns many an "honest" dollar.

I could not accept the invitation as they held out no financial
inducement and, that not forthcoming, I felt myself in duty bound to
stick to my post and employer.  However, it was a rainy night, business
was slow and my chances for making any "extra" money very slim, and I
entrusted one of my favorite waiters with the diplomatic mission of
"boosting my game" with the two students.  Moved by their curiosity and
the skillful strategy of my emissary they made me an offer which was far
more than I had expected, but which was nevertheless declined by me,
until my persistent refusal to utilize my services in their behalf
screwed their bid up to a figure, which I could not conscientiously
decline.

I made my excuses to "Fatty" Flynn, and, that done, we started out on
our expedition of studying social conditions and evil.  Measured by dive
time-standards, we had started out too early.  It was only nine o’clock
and the "fun" in the dives hardly ever began before midnight.  Still,
thanks to my knowing guidance, we found quite a number of dance halls
where we could spend the intervening hours to the profit of the
respective proprietors.

One thing, which soon disgusted me with my two charges, was that they
were unable to stand much drink.  I warned them against too much
indulgence, as that would incapacitate them for the pleasures to come,
but youth is proverbially obstinate and they went their whooping way
rejoicing.

After having left the "Golden Horn," a well-known dance hall in East
Thirteenth street, we walked down Third avenue as far as Twelfth street,
where they insisted on going into a gin-mill, which shed its garish
radiance across our path.  It was not a regulation dive and only known
as the rendezvous of a gang of tough fellows, who made that part of the
thoroughfare none too safe for passing strangers.  From this it should
not be supposed that they were unkempt in appearance.  Quite the
reverse, they were rather well-dressed.

We happened to drop into the place at a most inopportune moment.  A
crowd of these fellows were at the bar spending lavishly the proceeds of
some successfully worked "trick."  They were very hilarious; so were my
protégés, and I was kept constantly on the alert to prevent friction
between the hilarious majority and minority.  It was not my policy to
become embroiled in any useless rows and I entreated the students to
continue on our way downtown.  But they were not in a condition to
listen to reasoning and, attracted by several unclean stories told by
members of the other faction, began to treat the "house" and intermingle
with them.

There seemed to be no immediate prospect of any disturbance, and I
permitted myself to leave the room for a few minutes.  On my return the
scene had completely changed.  The crowd had closed around the students
and were threatening them. I learned afterward that one of the students
had taken umbrage at the rough familiarity of one of the gang and had
attempted to hit him.  The situation seemed critical, but not dangerous,
and I was about to smooth matters, when my eye caught the reflection of
some suspiciously glittering object. It was a knife in the hand of the
tough offended and only partly concealed by the sleeve of the coat.

He was sneaking around the crowd to get beside his intended prey and had
almost reached him when I decided to interfere.  I had not measured my
distance well, for just as I jumped between the two men, the knife was
on its downward path and found the fulfillment of its mission in my
neck.

A three-inch cut, a tenth part of an inch from the jugular vein, is not
exactly the sort of souvenir one cares to take with him from an evening
dedicated to "fun" and "good times."  And when it confines one to the
hospital for several weeks, it becomes a decided bore.  All this was
recognized by my new found friend, the student, who had been the
indirect cause of my disfigurement, and having in the meantime, been
expelled from his college for some wild escapade, he decided to show his
gratitude to me, for what he was pleased to call "having saved his
life," by taking me abroad.

"You are not educated.  Travel is the greatest educator, therefore, I
will show you the world."

It did not require much coaxing to accept the proposition, and after
arranging for a boarding-place for my good, old Bill, we started out to
see the world.

The next six months were and are like a dream to me.  I was perfectly
willing to have the world shown to me, but am inclined to believe that I
had a rather imperfect demonstrator.  To be quite candid, I doubted if
my fellow-traveler was any more familiar with the world at large than I
was.

At any rate, after a hurried and zig-zagged jaunt through Europe, we
landed in Algiers with a fearfully shrunken cost capital.  The cafés of
that African Paris certainly broadened my education.

An expected remittance from home failed to arrive and my partner fell
into a trance of deep and pondering thought.  The conclusion of it was
that we, by decree of my "college chum," were forthwith appointed
adventurers, soldiers of fortunes, dare-devils and anything else that
could make us believe our miserable, stranded condition was the stepping
stone to great, chivalrous deeds to come. We enlisted in the Legion of
Strangers.

But chivalry loses half of its charm when it comes in red trousers, blue
jacket and on the back of a bony Rosinante, carrying you through
stretches and stretches of glowing, burning sand.  In short, the life of
an African trooper, banished into the interior and subsisting on food as
foreign to a Bowery stomach as the jargon spoken by his messmates, had
absolutely no charm for me.

I am not very good at disguising my moods and emotions, and that I was
homesick, that my heart, in spite of the excitement of the occasional
skirmishes, yearned for my old Bowery, became apparent to my brother in
misery.  Then, a stranger coincidence, it also cropped out that my
partner would much prefer to be on Broadway or Fifth avenue than in the
dreary stockade of Degh-del-ker.

Alas, then, the railroad system of that part of Africa was hardly in
existence, and even if it had been, it would not have been advisable for
us to take berths of civilization, as the government foolishly wanted to
retain our valuable service.  History informs me that, shortly after our
departure the garrison of Degh-del-ker had several disastrous encounters
with some of the rebellious tribes, which would have probably resulted
differently had we two lent our arms and strength to the cause of the
tri-colored flag.

I mention this merely for the purpose of explaining the delicacy with
which I have related this experience.  Neither my friend nor myself have
the slightest intention of becoming the unfortunate causes for
international complications between our own country and France, for
having bereft the latter of two such valiant warriors as ourselves.

We of the Bowery love colors and I had often had a potent wish that I
could show myself in all the glory of my gaudy raiment to the gang of my
old, beloved street.  A Bowery boy in blue coat and red trousers, with
clanking sabre by his side, I would have made the hit of my life if
appearing thus attired in my favorite haunts.  However, this pleasure
was denied to me.

We managed to procure less stunning costumes and successfully besting
the sentinels, started on our march for the coast.

It was a fearful trip.  For six long weeks we plodded on through
blinding sand and blistering heat, carefully avoiding all native
villages and, yet, often saved from perishing just in the nick of time
by tribesmen, who found us in helpless state in hiding places.

From the coast we shovelled our way across the Mediterranean in the
boiler-room of the good ship St. Heléne.  It was suffocating work, and
time and again, we were hauled up from the regions of below, thrown on
the deck, and revived by streams of cold water.

At last, we steamed into the harbor of Marseilles, where we expected to
find a letter of credit.  It was there and we both fell on our knees in
the most sincere thanksgiving ever offered.

Nothing more can be told in relation to this episode, excepting that we
both felt we had been sufficiently educated by seeing the world and that
we were urgently needed at home.

We lost no time in getting there.



                       *A PLAYER OF MANY PARTS.*



                             *CHAPTER IX.*

                       *A PLAYER OF MANY PARTS.*


You will easily believe me when I tell you that my very first task on
coming home was to look up my good, old pal, my Bill.

His temporary home was a stable.  The owner of it was an old
acquaintance of mine and I was satisfied that Bill had been well treated
during my absence.  But how I had longed for him!

In Europe and Africa I had seen dogs of purest breed and best pedigree,
but, to me, they were only as mongrels when compared to my Bill, my
loyal boy.  There had not been a day in our travels, when I had not
asked myself the question: "I wonder what Bill is doing just now?"

And here I was home and rushing up to meet my pal.

The owner of the stable met me at the door and congratulated me on my
safe return.  Then he grew serious and began: "See, here, Kil, whatever
we could do for Bill, we did, but there’s something the matter with him.
He’s off his feed and not half the lively dog he used to be."

I did not wait to hear any more, but went to look for Bill.  Up in the
hayloft I caught a glimpse of him.  On a bale, nearest to the
dilapidated window, there lay my Bill, the picture of loneliness.  He
looked right straight in front of him and never shifted his eyes.

I stood and watched him for a few minutes, then, stepping behind a post,
whispered: "Bill."

One ear went up, the eyes blinked once or twice, but otherwise he
remained unchanged.  He was afraid to trust his sense.

Again I whispered: "Bill, Oh Bill," and then hid myself.

I did not hear him move, but when I peeped out from my hiding place I
found the gaze of his true eyes upon me and, with a whine and cry, my
Bill and I were partners once again.

What a meeting that was I cannot describe to you, and, were I to attempt
it, you would laugh at our silliness.  Still, I think that some of you
would not laugh and you will need no description of the scene.

That night saw Bill and me back in our ramshackle attic, and we sat up
late into the morning exchanging experiences.

Divedom was still flourishing.  The reform movement had subsided after
the election, and things grew livelier every day.  In spite of my ocean
voyage and change of scene, my health was not very good, and it took
considerable time to eliminate all traces of my African adventure.

There is an old German saw, which reads that any one that goes
travelling can tell a good many tales afterward.  Not being strong
enough to take up my former calling of "bouncer," I hung around the back
room of Steve Brodie’s place on the Bowery, and became a raconteur par
excellence.  It was not my rhetoric or elocution which made me the lion
of the hour.  It was solely the recapitulation of my trip, and,
particularly my African experience.  This should not astonish you, for,
I beg to assure you, Bowery boys are not in the habit of extending their
tours to the Dark Continent, confining their excursions mainly to
Hoboken and other convenient picnic grounds along the Hudson or East
River.

I cannot mention the name of Steve Brodie without relating to you a
curious phase of fraud, which is not entirely without humor.  In saying
this, I do not refer to Mr. Steve Brodie’s accomplishments in the bridge
jumping line.  Whether he really did jump from the Brooklyn and other
bridges is a question, which will never disturb the equanimity of the
world’s history.  I may have my opinion and a foundation for it, but
have neither the inclination or time to air it.

It was not very long before the stories of my travels had been told and
told again, until every one of the _habitués_ of the Brodian emporium
was surfeited with them.  This largely curtailed the number of drinks
bought for me by admiring listeners, and I was sorely puzzled how to
fill this aching void.  I was not yet fully able to "hustle" very much,
and still stuck to the sheltering shadow of Steve Brodie’s back room.

It was the veriest chance that put me in the way of a new "graft" and
again brought me the surety of food and drink.  I became a splendid
exemplification of the saying that life is but a stage and we players of
many parts.

The scheme developed finally owing to prevalent hero-worship.  Take the
greatest celebrity of the day, push him into a crowd which is not aware
of his identity, and he will pass unnoticed.  But only properly label
him and the multitude will kneel before the erstwhile nonentity.

Now, while we always have the inclination for hero-worship, heroes are
rather scarce and not always handy for the occasion.  This is especially
the case on the Bowery, where quantities of heroes are always supposed
to be waiting around, "but ain’t."  Their supposed presence draws the
usual attendance of worshippers, and it was solely for the purpose of
not wishing to disappoint these worthy people that Steve Brodie, with my
co-operation, decided upon a plan, which proved satisfactory from the
start, and was the means of conveying many pleasant recollections into
the houses of many uptown people and into the rural homes of our land.

The plan itself was very simple, and was originated by John Mulvihill,
at the time the dispenser of liquids of the Brodie establishment.

The Horton Boxing Law had not yet been thought of, and the fistic cult
had more followers than ever before.  A few of the lesser lights of
pugilism had their permanent headquarters at Brodie’s, while some
aspirants for champion honors and even real champions dropped in
whenever happening to be in the neighborhood.

Brodie’s well engineered fame and the many odd decorations and pictures
in the place did not fail to draw the many, and they, after inspecting
Brodie and the other oddities, invariably inquired if "some prominent
fighters" were not present.  As a rule, Johnnie Mulvihill was able to
produce some celebrity to satisfy this craving of the curious, but there
were times when the stock of stars was very low; then the mentioned plan
was resorted to.  It was the inspiration born of emergency.

On a certain evening I happened to be quietly sitting in the desolated
back-room.  Business was dreadfully slow.  My quiet was suddenly
disturbed by Mulvihill, who came tearing through the swinging doors.

"Say, Kil, you got to do me a favor.  Steve is out, and there ain’t a
single solitary man in the place whom I can introduce to the bunch I got
up against the bar.  They just came in and are fine spenders, but I’ll
lose them if you don’t do this for me."

Mulvihill’s request was not fully understood by me, yet, owing him many
debts of gratitude for having given me a drink on the sly and for having
often shared his corned beef and cabbage with me, I was quite willing to
do him the favor desired, which, I thought, would be nothing else than
to "jolly" the men at the bar into the buying of more drinks.

"No, no," interjected Mulvihill, "that ain’t what I want you to do."

He immediately unfolded his scheme, which was nothing more or less than
that I should face the expectant as a pretended Jack Dempsey, famous
throughout the land as one of the best and squarest fighters that ever
entered a ring.

Naturally, I rebelled, not wishing to expose myself to an easy discovery
of the palpable fraud, but Mulvihill pleaded with his most persuasive
voice.

"Don’t you see, those fellows don’t know Jack Dempsey from Adam.  Any
old thing at all would convince them they are in the presence of the
real man, and you know enough about Jack Dempsey and his history not to
be tripped up by those fellows, who never saw a prize fight in their
lives."

Who could resist such gentle pleading?  I could not, and followed my
mentor in the path of deception.

Assuming the proper pose, I stepped into the barroom and was
ceremoniously introduced by Mulvihill to the "easies," who had traveled
quite a distance to bask in the radiance of a real fighter.

"Gentlemen, permit me to introduce you to the famous champion of the
world, Mr. Jack Dempsey," quoted the artful Mulvihill, and, thereby,
started me in a repertoire, which, in the number of different rôles
cannot be surpassed by the most versatile actor.

The visitors pumped my hands and arms with fervid enthusiasm and showed
their appreciation of the honor afforded them by copious buying of many
rounds of drinks.

Well, the ball had been set rolling and it was a long time before it
stopped.

The plan proved surprisingly profitable, at least for Steve Brodie, and
although Mulvihill and I had to be satisfied with the crumbs from the
feast, we had a lot of fun out of it and that was no mean recompense.
You can imagine some of it, when I tell you that rather often some of
the "sightseers" would bring themselves to my remembrance (?) by
recalling to me something, which had happened to me (?) in their own
town, or how they had seen me defeat Tom, Dick or Harry by one mighty
swing from my tremendous left.

If there was fun in it, there was also some embarrassment attached to
it.  The male sex is not the only one which admires physical prowess,
and ladies, escorted by gentlemen, appeared quite frequently at this
newly founded shrine of pugilistic worship.

I cannot recollect having ever been so confused as I was on a certain
night when I was cast for the rôle of Jake Kilrain, the man who tried to
wrest the heavyweight championship from the redoubtable John L.
Sullivan.  In my limited but appreciative audience were several ladies.

A short while after my introduction I noticed a lot of whispering among
the ladies.  One, the spokeswoman, stepped over to me and presented the
guest of the others.

"Oh, Mr. Kilrain, you must have a perfectly developed arm and chest.
They are necessary in your profession, are they not?  And may we not
have the privilege of testing your strength?"

Before I fully realized what they intended to do they had gathered
around me and with many "oh’s" and "oh, my’s" they began to feel my
biceps and to prod me in the chest.

Of course, this was only an odd occurrence, and did not happen every
night, but it did not help me to respect my "betters."

It was also very embarrassing when, at the same time, I had to "double"
and even "treble."  As an illustration, just let me tell you that in one
evening, and at the same time, I represented Jack McAuliffe at the head
of the bar, Mike Boden at the end of it, and Johnny Reagan in the
back-room—all well-known pugilists and champions in their class.  My
audiences were especially annoying that night, holding me down to dates
and details and keeping me on the edge of apprehension lest I should mix
my identities.

Also, on a certain auspicious occasion, while portraying a certain
renowned pugilist with admirable accuracy, the said pugilist happened to
appear on the scene in person and it was only his true friendship for me
which prevented the imitation ending in a fizzle, if not worse.

Now, when all that lies behind me and belongs to a different world and
personality, I cannot fail to see the wrongness of it, but, at the time
of its happening, I cannot deny having often laughed heartily at the
silliness of those gaping curiosity-seekers.

Later, when on account of a disagreement with Steve Brodie, I
transferred my headquarters to the palace of the king—Barney Flynn, the
King of the Bowery—at the corner of Pell street and the Bowery, we
instituted another fraudulent scheme intended to interest and entertain
our many friends and provide drink and small change for us.

The palace of the King of the Bowery is not a very imposing building.
On the ground floor a saloon, overhead a lodging house, it serves the
two purposes of refreshing and resting the subjects of his majesty.  For
two weighty reasons the saloon has always been the Mecca of the curious.
It is, so to speak, the entrance-gate to Chinatown and, also, the
official address of Chuck Connors.

Besides the transient crowds of nightly visitors to Chinatown, the
saloon is often honored by calls from literary personages.  For some
time, it seemed to be the proper thing for writers of a certain genre to
come there to study types.

[Illustration: Jackey Doodles. Barney Flynn. Jumbo. "Chuck" Connors. A
typical group at Barney Flynn’s side door.]

Right here let me say, that, without wishing to discredit any writer of
dialect stories, I have yet to find the story which presents the idiom
of the Bowery as it is spoken.  I have taken the trouble to compare
different stories—each one guaranteed to be a true and realistic study
of the underworld—written by different writers and the discrepancies in
the dialect are flagrant.

One, throughout his entire tale, puts "youse" in the mouth of his most
important character.  The other only uses "ye."  One spells the
question: "Do you?"; the other phrases it: "D’you?"

Perhaps this also applies to other stories written in New England or
Southern dialect, but whether it does or not, it seems to be a case of
"you pays your money and you takes your choice."

I have yet to see the "low life" story which is not studded with "cul"
and "covey."  Take my advice and do not use this form of address on the
Bowery. They would not understand it and, therefore, would feel
insulted.

Also, the men of the East Side are not so lacking in gallantry as to
call their lady loves "bundles" and other similar names.

Then, in the matter of emphatic language the writers are far from
hitting the target.  The favorite phrase is "Wot’ell," which is a
hundred leagues removed from the distinct utterance with which this
dainty bit of conversation is used by a Bowery boy in a moment of
rhetorical flight.

So I might cite hundreds of instances.

The same carelessness of detail is manifested in other things, when
writing about us.  They are not all important errors or serious
mistakes, but are grave enough to prove the unreliability of those "true
East Side studies."

A writer, who for a considerable time, has been accepted as an authority
on conditions in the underworld, is the most profligate in calling
beings and things of the sphere he describes by their wrong name.  He
persists in claiming that thieves are called "guns" by police and
fellows.  Every man, who has lived all his life on the Bowery, as I
have, knows that "gun" means an important personage. A millionaire is a
"gun," so is a prominent lawyer, or a politician, or a famous crook; in
short, anybody who is foremost in his profession or calling, be he
statesmen or thief, is a "gun."

The Bowery is not hard to reach and, if so inclined, you can easily test
my assertion.  Take a page from one of the many East Side stories extant
and read it to a typical Bowery boy and he will ask you to interpret it
for him.

The East Side dialect does not abound in slang. Whatever of it there is
in it has been absorbed from the Tenderloin and other sources.  To coin
a funny slang phrase one must have time to invent and try it.  They have
no time for this on the East Side, where even time for schooling cannot
always be spared.  And that accounts for ungrammatical expressions and
whimsically twisted sentences, but not for the idiotic gibberish and
forced coinages of words slipped onto the tongues of my people.

The courtiers of the King of the Bowery, being a good-natured set of
fellows, did not wish to curb the fervency of the literary "gents," and
did their best to supply the ever-increasing demand for types.

The inner sanctum of the royal palace was divided from the outer room by
the usual glass and wood partition.  As Barney Flynn, the King of the
Bowery, was a genial and jovial monarch, the more secluded chamber did
not resemble a throne-room so much as a rendezvous of kindred spirits.
It was a specimen of another strata of nether world Bohemia.

Tables and chairs were about the place in picturesque disorder.  On the
walls were three gigantic oil paintings, "done" by a wandering Bowery
artist for his board and lodging, including frequent libations.  In one
corner was the voluntary orchestra, consisting of Kelly, the "rake," the
fiddler, and Mickey Doolan, the flute-player.  Their day’s work
over—they were both "roustabouts" along the river front—the two court
musicians would take their accustomed seats, and, without paying much
attention to those present, would fiddle and flute themselves back again
to their own green shores of old Erin.

They are pathetic figures, these men of the Bowery, who live their
evenly shiftless lives in dreams of days passed, but not forgotten.

Being directly in the path to and from Chinatown, Barney Flynn’s saloon
was, at odd times, visited by the sociological pilgrims to this centre
of celestial colonization.  One night, a writer happened to stumble into
the place.  Whether his impressions were perceived in normal or abnormal
condition is not known.  The "gang" was engaged in a little celebration
of its own, were observed by the writer, and, forthwith, Barney Flynn’s
and the royal staff became a mine for authors of low-life stories.

With the acumen acquired in my dive training, I saw very soon that those
coming to study us were most willing to pay for grotesquely striking
types. The "real thing" had very little interest for them. What were we
to do?  To get the money we had to be types, therefore, whenever the
word was passed that a searcher for realism—with funds—had arrived, we
put on our masks, lingual and otherwise, to help along the glorious
cause of literature.

No good purpose would be accomplished were I to mention the names of
authors, who portrayed us so correctly.  They are now celebrities with
more paying aims.  Their stories of us are still remembered, but only
because of their "beautiful and pure sentiment," and not because of
their "true realism."  The latter differs with every writer and has
bewildered the casual reader.

I am strongly tempted to call by name one, whose glory as demonstrator
was dimmed in an unexpected manner.  The writer in question had come
here from Philadelphia, preceded by a reputation for his sympathy with
those in the slums.  Several of his "low down" stories had been hailed
as the models for all the other writers of that tribe.

With his usual aggressiveness, not devoid of a touch of almost medieval
dash and chivalry, this young man threw himself into the study of New
York slums with wonted ardor, and, naturally, mastered the subject
almost immediately.  Being socially well-connected, or, rather, being
well-taken up by society, he had no trouble in interesting his friends
in his hobby.  He was not niggardly in the spending of his money and
quite popular on that account with my friends in Barney Flynn’s. As a
matter of fact, this promising young writer—a promise since then
fulfilled—was a favorite of the highest and lowest; verily, an enviable
position.

With note-book in hand, this young man sat among us for hours, jotting
down phrases and slang expressions, manufactured most laboriously and
carefully for the occasion.  The interest of his friends increased, and
one night we were honored by a visit of a large party of ladies and
gentlemen, piloted by the aforesaid author.

Before the precious cargo had been unloaded from the cabs and hansoms,
word had been taken to the back-room.  As actors respond to the call of
the stage-manager, so did we prepare ourselves to play our parts with
our well-known finesse and correctness of detail.  By that I mean, that
we knew what was expected of us and that we emphasized our
"characteristics" as we had seen them burlesqued on the stage.

The promising young writer was in his glory. With irrepressible glee, he
introduced us, one by one, to his admirers, watching the effects of our
"quaint" salutations.  The chorus of enthusiastic approval was
unanimous.  We were "absolutely charming," "perfectly thrilling," and
"too droll for anything."  Encouraged by this warm reception of our
feeble efforts, we surpassed ourselves and assault, battery, murder was
committed on the English language in most wilful frenzy.  Taking it all
in all, it was a gem of slum mosaic, and is still remembered by most of
the offenders.

Having given our performance and exhausted our programme, we were told
by our friends how "very glad, charmed and delighted" they had been at
meeting us.

The doors had barely closed behind the last of the promising young
author’s friends, before all the performers rushed up to the bar to
spend the money given to them for their instructive entertainment.  The
comments on the visitors were many and very much to the point, but were
not uttered in the manufactured dialect.  There was much laughter and
many imitations of our late audience, and none of us had noticed that
the promising young author, accompanied by a few of the party, had
returned to look for a pair of gloves forgotten by one of the ladies.
Part of our conversation was overheard and the laugh was at the writer’s
expense.

Of course, we instantly endeavored to rectify our mistake and fell back
to addressing each other as "cull" and "covey," but, somehow, the effect
was not convincing.

One of his friends turned to the promising young author on leaving:

"Old man, you certainly deserve another medal for this, but this time,
it should be a leather one."

I did not know then to what the above remark referred.



                           *BOWERY POLITICS.*



                              *CHAPTER X.*

                           *BOWERY POLITICS.*


The death-knell of divedom had been sounded by the legislature.  Albeit,
it had been sounded before, without stopping the dives from resurrecting
themselves.  But vice had become so rampant, so nauseating that the
righteous of the city braced their backbones a trifle stiffer than usual
and insisted on having a committee of investigation appointed.

All the daily papers heralded the coming of the inquisitors in big head
lines, and the inhabitants of divedom began to quake in their shoes like
fallen angels on the eve of judgment day.

Shortly before the beginning of the upheaval, I had overcome one of my
many spells of lassitude and gentlemanly idleness and had accepted the
position of bouncer in the "Slide," the most notorious dive which ever
disgraced a community.

When a body is covered with a cancerous growth, the most dangerous ulcer
is the first to receive the surgeon’s attention.  For that reason, the
"Slide" was the first to be put under the prying probe. The
investigation was thorough.  The investigators and prosecuting
officials, stimulated by fear of public censure and thoughts of
political advancement, were merciless, and, as a consequence, the
"Slide" was closed forever and the nominal proprietor sent to jail.

Without waiting for further developments, the other dive-keepers retired
from business and a general cleansing process struck all quarters of the
city.

The immediate effect of this was that a shifting of quarters of the
vicious began.  The harlots, bereft of their known places of business,
hid themselves in the obscurity of virtuous surroundings, and the male
element of the lowest dives congregated on the Bowery, ever the
dumping-ground of human scum and offal.  In a short time, the Bowery was
full of a muttering crowd of able-bodied men, each one cheating the
world out of an honest day’s labor, all proclaiming loudly at the
injustice which deprived them of their "living."  Even the recollection
is loathsome.

In company with a number of fellows who, like me, were "thrown out of
work" by this "uncalled-for interference," we established headquarters
in a ginmill owned by a legislator.  As a matter of course, the
"back-room," seemingly a legislative annex, was very much in evidence,
and by no means subdued in its proceedings.  If anything, the business
behind the "partition" had increased in volume since the other dives,
operated by less influential citizens, had been obliged to close.  So we
have here another of the many paradoxes of our political conditions.
While his fellow-legislators were scouring the city with really
commendable zeal to rend the evil-doer limb from limb, this being of
their kin could be seen daily in front of his hall, sunning himself in
the radiance of his increased prosperity and influence, and looking with
self-satisfied smile across Chatham Square at the closed windows of
minor dives.

Yes, as the Romans clothed the men of wisdom and love of country in the
flowing robes of dignity and called them patriots, statesmen and
senators, so do we take—take by the will of the people—the men fat of
jowl and fat of paunch from beneath us and place them above us in the
seats of the mighty and give them power over us.  And if you would growl
at my saying "from beneath us to above us," and would wrathfully
confront me with the slogan of political and other equality, I would not
wish to stand in your way of being their equal, but would have trifling
respect for your integrity.  As I tell the stars by seeing them and find
but small difference in their lustre, so do I tell the rascals by their
rascality, and there is small difference in the degrees of rascality.

Senators!  Rome and Albany!  Would the difference of time, of centuries,
were the only one between them!

In all governments by and for the people, the making of the nation lies
with the common people; that great mass, which you would call "rabble"
were it not for the continental sound of the word and the danger of
being quoted.  An ever-watchful press keeps its eye on you, and would
readily pillorize you as an offender against the most sacred of our
possessions and privileges; our sacred freedom; our sacred equality; our
sacred franchise, and, by no means lastly, our sacred screaming eagle,
screaming ofttimes from veriest agony.  The buncombe of press and
loud-mouthed gabbers has decreed it to be treason to see the truth and
to speak it, and you must, to be above suspicion of being a traitor to
the land you love, on the Fourth of July let off in sissing streams of
pyrotechnics your patriotism, which, after its one gala day, is
forgotten for the rest of the year in the strenuous pursuit of getting
all you can out of "what’s in it."

The common people of the fields and meadows plow, sow and reap their
harvest.  They pluck the weeds from out among the useful growth and
stamp them under foot.  The common people of our cities live
"downtown"—that vague and indefinite region—in tenement and barracks.
(Notice how "down" and "common" always run together).

They have no knowledge of agriculture, and, with their seldom sight of
plant or flower, even the stink-weed, for it is leafed and green, finds
a welcome and place among them through their ignorance.  Yes, more, it
is cared for and nurtured until, as all ill-weeds, it grows to
tremendous proportions, overshadowing and dwarfing those who have spared
its life instead of plucking it out by the roots and pressing the heel
upon it.

Who plants the weeds?  Who is their sower? They care not.

Does not the same blessed sunshine and dew of heaven fall upon them as
on the corn and roses? And do they not get more of it than the flower
and the fruit-bearing plant?  For they are greedy and strive for that
which is not theirs according to merit.

Not most, but all the men, who played their part in our history so well
as to be immortalized forever were self-made from the field and farm.
Remember that there they destroy the weeds!

Not most, but all the men, who have made it a risk to a fair name and
reputation to become actively engaged in the affairs of one’s own
country and state were self-made from the slums and gutters, with their
only chance of immortalization via Rogues’ Gallery.  We of the city do
not destroy the weeds!

They of the gutter, who have been forced upon and above the multitude,
if not caught or not too notoriously prominent, keep the data of their
success and formulative period secret.  If, however, they run foul of
the calcium, which often strikes, unexpectedly, dark places, they become
arrogantly defiant in their ill-gotten might.  Even against the scorn of
the decent and to the awe of their own kind, they swing themselves onto
the pedestal of the self-made man and strike their pose.  All that is
intended as a parallel to several rail-splitting and canal-boating men
in our little history, who, as a "patriot" remarked, deserve a whole lot
of credit "even if they was farmers."

Then, when forced into the public focus from their disturbed obscurity,
is theirs the cry of repentance?  Do they sob and cry: "Peccavi!  Yes, I
have sinned!  I have wronged you and my country!  Have mercy and
forgive!"

If it were that it would be the cry of a tortured soul, rotten and
distorted, yet still a soul and worthy of the chance of atonement.  No;
what reaches us from the usurped pedestal is the self-satisfied grunt of
the swine: "Look and behold!  You know or can surmise what I have been!
Look now and wonder at what I am and how I got there!"

Surely this affront is resented and the daring knave pulled from his
lofty perch to be punished for his insults and ill deeds?  Some are
foolish and un-American enough to suggest such a course of proceeding.
But what really does happen is a taking up of that refrain of
self-adulation by the admiring throng.  There in almost worshipping
attitude, we find that the chicaning game of politics makes mates of all
sorts and conditions of men, and pickpocket and tax-paying citizen,
cut-throat and that very peculiar animal, the intelligent workingman,
all kneel in equal humility before the rum-soaked idol of their own
creation.

A subject for deep guesswork is where the workingman keeps his well
advertised intelligence.  To claim to be one thing and then prove
yourself the opposite, which, in this case means a fool, is a rather
absurd proceeding.  Presumably a good part of that intelligence is
occupied in defending their rights, which nobody assails.  Howling and
haranguing do not require much intelligence, and of both the
"intelligent" workingman does more than enough and to no purpose.  When
the time of his usefulness approaches—although it should be the time for
him to assert himself—he stops his howling and listens to the strongly
flavored persuasion of the wily politician—the weed he permitted to grow
and to prosper—and becomes the gently led sheep, to awaken after
election and find himself the twin brother of the donkey.  They will not
recognize that far better, by virtue of his sincerity, would be the
sincere demagogue as leader than the dishonest politician of the gutter
breed.

No man can choose his birthplace.  Mansion and tenement have each
furnished their quota of honest and dishonest men.  If he of the gutter
gets above it and gets there by means which are those of a man and an
American, he will not lack the respect and esteem of those whose ranks
he has fought to join. That is what proves this the land of
opportunities and therein lies true equality.

There is another way to get out of the gutter, and that was the way
employed by statesmen of the stamp of the Hon. Michael Callahan, of the
State Legislature.

Mike Callahan’s place in horticulture was most decidedly among the
rankest weeds.  "Lucky" Callahan, as he was sometimes called, had
escaped the inconvenient calcium of public opinion, and, on that
account, little was known about his origin, except by his intimates.
Perhaps bootblack, perhaps newsboy, he had early learned to make himself
subservient to his superiors, genial to his equals and condescending to
his inferiors.  Of course, these social lines were drawn by him
according to his viewpoint.

Mike’s striving for political recognition was aggressive from the start,
and, having no other aim or ambition, he threw himself into the game of
intrigue and wire-pulling with all his energetic intensity.  Never
questioning, always obeying, he became the ideal plastic mass to be
molded by the enterprising chiefs of the organization.  His promotion
from ward heeler to captain, and from captain to the leadership of the
district was his logical reward.

Yet, even in spite of his usefulness, his ascendancy to the leadership
was not accomplished in a day. He did not mind this much, his bulldog
tenacity keeping him alive to his ultimate purpose.  His manhood and
individuality, whatever they might have been, had long been sacrificed.

To strengthen his own power in the district it was necessary to weaken
the influence of the incumbent leader, and, to effect this, knowing
nothing of diplomacy, Callahan resorted to plain treachery. The fact
that the leader to be deposed had been his benefactor and stanch friend
was of small moment. Certainly Mike was sorry, but what could he do?
Take a back seat and beat himself out of his chances?  "Not much," said
he, and invented the useful and often quoted phrase, "Friendship in
poker and politics don’t go."

Mike’s assumption of the leadership was worked by decisive methods.
There was no vagueness about him.  The great leaders in the history of
nations were endowed with attributes and traits of the highest and
noblest order.  Mike’s most pronounced attribute in his functions as
leader was directness. It was this that enabled some of the brilliant
young men of the party press to apostrophize him as "rugged, bluff,
stalwart, frank and straightforward."

The district contained a population in which the intelligent workingman
was not greatly represented. The few of them who lived in the many
lodging houses had very little belief left in the dignity of labor and
toiled only enough to "square" themselves with their landlords and
liquor dealers.  Still, they were of use.  They could talk beautifully
about the rights of labor, and were encouraged—before election day—to
spout grandiosely about the tyrannical oppression of the American
workingman by the opposing faction.

The great majority of the voters in the district belonged to the class
of grafters, and for that reason if no other, the Hon. Michael Callahan
of the State Legislature was their born leader.

Callahan was at his best shortly before election. Then no man or
woman—unfortunately the ladies of the district would indulge too
strongly—had to linger in the throes of the law.  It was the sacred duty
of the leader to call daily at the police court to save his constituents
and their "lady friends" from their impending fate.

On the eve of election no time had to be wasted in speculating on how
much the free and independent voter could expect to receive for the
exercise of his sacred franchise.  According to the amount sent down
from the headquarters of the organization, Mike’s ultimatum would settle
the market price of votes.  One or one and a half, or two dollars were
the rates paid, although the last named rate was only given to liquidate
the voter’s claim at the most critical periods.  In this way the voter
could figure with certainty, and with very little interruption resume
his dissertation on the betterment of municipal and national politics.

The most important events in our history were conceived amidst
surroundings of severest simplicity.  No marble hall, no lofty council
chamber, just the Common with its green sward and sturdy oak was the
favorite meeting place of our forefathers.  In the shadow of the mighty
tree they spoke of liberty, of the rights of man and of the welfare of
our country, and we reap to-day the benefit of their integrity, in spite
of the machinations of politicians, whose very thoughts are a pollution
of patriotism.

A careful and thoughtful student of American history, the Honorable Mike
tried to live up to tradition as much as possible.  Customs have
changed, civilization has progressed, real estate has risen in price,
and the political leader of to-day has felt himself obliged to
substitute the gin-mill and the dive for the Common of old.  Besides,
"there is not much in Commons," excepting when the city fathers, in the
goodness of their charitable hearts, decide to create another breathing
place and playground for the poor children of the East Side, and,
thereby can get a "chance at" the property owners of the site.

When one is a leader, one must do as leaders do. Mike could not swerve
from the accustomed practice, and, nolens volens, found himself the
proprietor of a dive.  But, forced into this, he had at least the
satisfaction of opening this adjunct to his legislative office on the
Common, or Square, as it is now called.  True, there was no sturdy oak
and no green sward, but there were elevated railway pillars and their
shadows were quite sufficient for the practice of side issues in
politics.  The oak bears only acorns.  The pillars and their shadows
bore better fruit of silvery and golden sheen, and their sturdiness was
often welcome to the backs of the many weary pilgrims who had traveled
far to imbibe the pure draught of American patriotism as dispensed by
the Hon. Michael Callahan of the State Legislature.

With the characteristic modesty of great men, Mike refrained from making
the exterior of his place too showy.  This superficial attraction to his
resort was absolutely needless, as his more lasting fame—some detractors
called it "disgraceful notoriety"—was firmly established.  Did he not
have several fist-fights with "officious" police officers to his credit,
and, did he not openly dare and defy all known authorities to "monkey"
with him.  He feared no man but one, and that one only, because he was a
more successful thug than himself and the Great Leader and Chieftain.

Dives of a certain kind make no effort to attract transient trade by
bright, or, at least, neat and clean exteriors.  Their business is not
supplied by the honest man, who is looking for an honest place to have
an honest drink.  They depend on that flotsam and jetsam that can find a
dive blindfolded. Callahan’s place was more suggestive than attractive
in its front and the interior was fairly dazzling in its austere
plainness.  Sawdust and traces of former expectorations were the most
evident features in the bar-room, which only ran the length of the bar.
At the end of it a partition jealously claimed the rest of the space for
the back-room.  There, and not in front, was the real business
transacted.  The front, a pretense of respectability; the back, without
any pretense whatsoever.

I cannot tell you what furnished the real attraction of the back-room.
A minimum clearance of space in the centre of the room was reserved for
dancing and surrounded by tables and chairs which were nightly occupied
by young men and women, many of whom had been born and brought up in the
immediate neighborhood, under the very eyes of the legislating
dive-keeper.  But that fact made no difference to this vile thing,
empowered by our sanction to make laws which were to safeguard homes,
property and life.

[Illustration: Mike Callahan’s Saloon in Chatham Square. The entrance to
Chinatown on the right.]

And there, safe in the protecting radius of our friend and statesman, we
found a resting-place; for our enforced retirement from dive activity,
and there, in all my uncleanness, there came to me the sweet messenger
of a newer, better life, and took me from it by the all-powerful
persuasion of an unquenchable love.

Before telling you how this miracle transformed me in a way, which will
tax my power of description to the utmost, I must relate to you the one
and only attempt we, myself and two cronies, made to get away from a
life which was the only one we knew.



                       *A PILGRIMAGE TO NATURE.*



                             *CHAPTER XI.*

                       *A PILGRIMAGE TO NATURE.*


It was in May.  The side-walk in front of Mike Callahan’s dive was wide,
and we, the gang of discharged dive employees, were in the habit of
lounging on the empty beer barrels along the curb or sticking ourselves
up against the swinging doors of the place.  People, whom we knew from
having met them in the "better" days, when we were still working, often
passed by and were eagerly hailed by us in the hope that they might buy
a drink for our thirsty throats.

Corner loafers are despised by all people who lead useful lives, and
justly so.  Still, there is something very moving in thinking about the
dreary existence of these fellows.  With brains as empty as their
pockets, they assemble with praiseworthy regularity at their open-air
clubs, and waste their days in pessimistic conjectures.  The loafer is a
born pessimist and cynic.  No matter what subject or event you may
mention to him, he will sneer at it and promptly proceed to pick it to
pieces.  His criticisms are as acidly sarcastic as his excuses are
ingenious.  Ask him his opinion about the work done by some skilled
mechanic, and he will find a multitude of faults and then expound how
the job ought to have been done.  Surprised at his technical knowledge
you ask in a mild way why he does not put his evident ability to
practical use, and are forthwith shocked by suggesting such a thing to a
man, who has such a wealth of haughty and convincing reasons for
remaining a loafer.

Loafers are forever hovering in the ante-room of crime.  If his Satanic
Majesty bethinks himself of his own and calls them, they willingly and
without compunction, do any crooked commission provided it does not
require too much physical courage.  After due time, crime seems easy,
they have not yet been caught, and from their familiarity with
evil-doing, and not because of any lately awakened courage, they commit
deeds which are called "desperate" by every conscientious reporter.

Jack Dempsey, Frank Casey and myself formed a sort of inner circle in
the larger gang.  We often philosophized together, exchanged ideas and
commented on things in general.  At one of our confabs, Frank Casey
seemed to be entirely out of humor.

"What’s the matter with you, Frank?" I asked.

"What do you think there is?  There’s nothing the matter with me,
excepting that I’m dead sick o’ this game."  We could see he was deeply
moved by some unsuspected emotion and were deeply interested in its
development.

"I tell you what I’d like to do," he resumed. "I’d like to cut this all
out and go to work some place.  There’s nothing in this kind o’ life and
it’s the same every day.  See, it’s years and years since I done what
you may call an honest day’s work."

"Ah, you’re only kidding!"

"Kidding?" he echoed, indignantly.  "Say, Kil, and you, too, Dempsey, I
was never more serious in me life.  What are we getting out o’ this?
It’s hanging round here all day, looking for graft and the few pennies
to go to bed with or to buy a beef-stew; and when a fellow does make a
piece o’ money, does it do him any good?  Not on your life!  If you
flash it, you got to blow it in for booze, and if you don’t they think
you’re no good, and the whole gang gets sore on you.  A fellow that’s
working and making his dollar and a half or two dollars a day, is better
off than the whole bunch of us taken together."

"For the love of heaven, you ain’t thinking about going to work?"

"That’s just what I’m doing, and the sooner I can start in the better,"
attested Casey with emphasis.

A warm discussion followed.  It is hard to tell if it was the novelty of
the proposition or Casey’s evident sincerity, but Dempsey and I began to
consider it very seriously.

"Say Casey," I asked, "supposing the three of us really wanted to go to
work, where could we get it?  They don’t take men like us in shops or
factories, where there are a whole lot of trained help looking for work
every day.  So, even if we wanted work, we couldn’t get it."

"Is that so?  You’re talking as if New York City is the whole thing.
What’s the matter with the country?  That’s where we ought to go,
because we’ll never amount to anything here.  In the first place, even
if we was to get jobs here, the three of us would be going on a drunk on
the first pay day and stay on it until we’re broke.  But in the country
you ain’t got no chance to spend your money, and it’s healthy and it’s
better anyway."

The surety of Casey amused me.

"Will you tell me where you have ever been in the country to know so
much about it, and where you got your information from?"

"That don’t make no difference," insisted Casey stubbornly, "I know
there’s lots o’ fellows going over to Philadelphia or Jersey or some
place over there every year about this time, and they come back like new
and with money from picking strawberries and whatever else there’s
growing out there."

We put our heads together, discussed the matter, came to the conclusion
that, surely, we would not be in worse circumstances in the country than
we were in the city, and resolved to try our luck at strawberry picking.

To financier our expedition was our first duty. We skirmished round and
raised about six dollars as our joint capital.  Casey went on a secret
errand to make inquiries of some well-known "hobo" authority where to
go, and how to get there, and then undertook to personally conduct the
tour into the unknown land.

Baggage did not encumber us.  I had thought of taking my good old pal,
my Bill, along with us, but did not wish to expose him to the dangers,
which, no doubt, were lurking for us.

At the ferry, Casey flew his flag and read us the last orders.  To save
our small capital, we were to walk or "jump" freight trains.  Also, for
reasons of economy and sagacity, we were not to indulge in one solitary
drop of anything intoxicating.

The first hitch occurred in Hoboken.  To get a freight train was
impossible.  Dempsey and I never knew why we were unable to make
connections, as Casey’s plausibility drove the question from our minds
and made us follow him blindly.

We walked from Hoboken to Newark.  It was a scorching afternoon, the
sand was hot and heavy under foot, and our mouths became parched at an
uncomfortable rate.  A few wells and pumps were passed by us, but Casey
would not permit us to slake our thirst, as "Newark is only a step or so
further on, and it’s dangerous to monkey with them country people.  They
got dogs and are kind of suspicious of fellows like us, who come from
New York."

Ah, really and truly, it would have been the most confiding and
unsophisticating nature that would not have been suspicious of us, no
matter where we hailed from.  Three tough specimens of humanity, indeed,
we were!

No stop was made until we reached the railroad station at Newark.  Quite
a crowd was assembled to wait for either an incoming or outgoing train,
but we, without paying the slightest attention to the many mistrustful
glances given in our direction, raced for the ice-water tank, prepared
to gorge ourselves with the cooling drink.

Casey was the last to have his turn at the chained tin cup.  He started
off splendidly, but paused after, his first gulp and smacked his lips in
a most critical manner.

"Taste anything funny in that water?"

We replied in the negative.

"There’s something wrong with it, just the same," Casey persisted.  "And
do you know, the worst thing a man can do this time o’ the year is to
drink bad water."

"But we got to drink something.  We ain’t going to drink any beer, and I
hate to spend money for soda and ginger-ale and stuff like that,"
remarked Dempsey.

"That’s true enough," admitted Casey, "but, I’ll tell you what we’ll do.
The same fellow who gave me points on how to get to the strawberries,
also, told me that the biggest glass of beer in the country was sold
right here in Newark.  Now, we ain’t going to get full or anything like
that, but, being as the water ain’t fit to drink, I guess we might have
one, just one o’ those biggest schooners, which I never seen and which,
besides quenching our thirst, are surely worth looking at, the same as
any curiosities."

Without the aid of a Baedeker, we found our way to Newark’s most
interesting spot.  We entered the hospitable tavern at about seven
o’clock, and, at ten o’clock, were still tarrying there admiring the
size and beauty of the biggest beers in the world.

Regardless of the size of the drink, the beer alone,—never a product of
malt and hops—a vile concoction of injurious chemicals, is sufficient to
put the indulger far above the most worrying troubles.  Late that night,
the quiet streets of Newark were profaned by three unsteady musketeers,
who, with song and laughter, were making their way to the "meadows."

Only one more resolution made and broken.  It was not the first and was
not the last.

Out in the "meadows," the train-yard, where the freight trains were made
up, we succeeded, after many mishaps, including Casey’s tumble from a
moving train into a ditch, in catching a train at about midnight.  We
had only traveled about a mile, when a trainman, stepping from car to
car with lighted lantern, saw us huddled between the bumpers.

"Where are you fellows going?"

"Philadelphia," came the answer in sleepy, drowsy tones.

"You’re on a wrong train.  This train goes to the ’branch.’"

At the time we did not know that this was only a common ruse to make
"hoboes" leave the train and accepted it at its face value.

"Where did he say we were going?" asked Casey.

"To the ’branch,’ wherever that may be," I answered.

"I guess we better get off, then.  This train ain’t going to
Philadelphia," suggested Dempsey.

"What we’ll get off for?  This train goes somewhere, don’t it?  And it
don’t make much difference where it goes to, as long as it goes
somewhere into the country and away from New York," said Casey, with the
evident intention of ending further argument.

The heavy, damp night air and the drink partaken by us lulled us into
deep slumber, forgetful of our precarious attitude.  We had journeyed
for hours without waking and were not aroused until the coldness in our
limbs became actually painful.  Without speaking a word and merely
staring at each other we jolted on and on into the unknown, and the
dawning morning.

Suddenly a brilliant spectacle caught our eyes. Coming out from wooded
land, the train sped along a level stretch and we fed our looks on the
Fata Morgana of a large city.  The size, brilliancy of illumination and
distance from New York left no doubt in our minds that we were not far
from Philadelphia, and had we known how to pray, we would surely have
done so.  I have never regretted the experience, still have no wild
desire to repeat it.  There are more easily obtainable joys in life than
the riding on the bumpers of a freight train on a chilly May morning.

It was not long before we were slinking along Market street in
Philadelphia.  After fortifying ourselves against the bad consequences
of our benumbing voyage by sampling some "speak-easy" whiskey, we
visited "Dirty Mag’s" famous all-night restaurant on Sixth street and
feasted on steak-pie and coffee, with crullers included.  The bill
amounted to ten cents.

We were so tired out by our traveling that it was out of the question to
continue our journey. Down on Calomel street we found a resting-place
for our weary and frozen bones at fifteen cents per couch.  It was
almost noon before we woke from our sleep and held a conference.  At its
termination we hied ourselves to the nearby grocery store and spent
almost the entire remainder of our depleted treasury in buying
provisions for our trip into the wilds of Pennsylvania.  After that,
with a last parting drink, we turned our backs on Philadelphia and set
boldly out to win our fortunes.

Just as the suburbs had been reached by us we were reminded by our
stomachs that we had forgotten to breakfast.  An inviting tree stood
nearby, a brook, as clear as crystal, was rippling past our feet, and
the place seemed to be made for a picnic ground.  The enjoyment of the
meal was marred by the thought that now we would have no lunch or
dinner.

"What’s the use of worrying about that now? Besides, we won’t have to
carry so much," was Casey’s way of consoling us.

We rose and began our tramp in earnest.  For hours we walked, giving
little attention to the things about us and only holding desultory
conversation. Not one of us knew the route to the "strawberry country,"
and we were often obliged to ask people whom we met for directions.  We
had little luck in this.  Most of the people addressed by us would
quickly button their coats and hurry on without heeding us.  Others
would barely stop and throw us such a small scrap of information that,
instead of enlightening us, they only bewildered us the more. At last,
Casey got tired of this way of securing information and burst upon us
with his latest and brightest inspiration.

"It’s no use of asking any o’ these men.  Most o’ them are hayseeds and
been to New York and have been buncoed.  They can see in a minute that
we’re from New York and ain’t going to take no chances with us.  It’s
different with women.  They’re always nice and gentle and, especially,
when they get spoken to the way I know how to talk to them. Leave this
to me.  Don’t ask any more men.  Wait till we meet some women, and then
I’ll ask them, and then you’ll be surprised in the difference."

Casey, who had given voice to this speech with properly inflated chest,
proved himself to be a true prophet.  We found there was a difference in
the way in which men and women received our approach.

Before long, we saw two women with baskets coming our way.

"Now, you fellows want to keep a little behind, and watch me how I do
this," was Casey’s final instruction.

Giving his clothes a quick brushing with his hands and setting his hat
jauntily over his ear, Casey went toward his fate with a grace all his
own.

Dempsey and I could not hear the first passage of words, but it was
hardly necessary, as the effects of it were immediately visible.

One woman proceeded to pummel Casey with her umbrella, while the other
was trying to fit her market-basket on his head.  When they saw Dempsey
and me come running to the rescue, they left Casey and took it on a run
across the fields, but they took good care to shout back to us that they
would have the sheriff or constable after us.

"For heaven’s sake, what did you say to those women?" I asked Casey,
after I had pulled the basket from his head.

"What did I say to them?  They ain’t civilized, and it don’t make no
difference what a fellow says to them kind o’ people.  I spoke to them
like a regular dude.  This is what I said: ’Ain’t this a fine morning,
girls.  We’re strangers here and didn’t like this country very much
until it was our good fortune to see you, who are sweeter than any
sugar, and now we’d like to stay here if you will tell us the road to
where the strawberries grow and where there are as many girls as
beautiful as yourselves!’  And the minute I said that they soaked me."

We consoled Casey and resumed our tramp.

It was now late in the afternoon and I determined that we should know
something about our whereabouts. I stopped the very next man we met in
such a way that he could not get away from us.

After assuring him that we had no intention of robbing him, I insisted
on getting correct information.

Can you imagine our feelings when he told us that we had spent our time
and energy in describing circles around Philadelphia, without getting
away from it?

Dempsey and Casey made no attempt to hide their chagrin.  The blow was
too crushing.  I, also, felt fearfully discouraged, but did not want to
give in.

"There is no use in going back.  We’re here now, and must go on.  If we
go back to Philadelphia, we might as well go back to New York.  We’re in
the country now, and we might as well stay here. I don’t care what you
fellows do, I’m going to go ahead."

The last sentence was a fearful bluff.  Had Dempsey and Casey decided to
return to New York, I would have joined them on the spot.  Fortunately,
they adopted my way of looking at it, and we once more pursued our sorry
pilgrimage.

Now, we were sure of penetrating right into the heart of the country and
evidences of it were not lacking.  Suburban villas grew fewer and fewer
and we had to walk for a considerable distance before we passed another
farmhouse.  With our inborn stubbornness we kept plodding on, until our
legs almost refused to obey.

It was the hour in which evening unwittingly yields supremacy to night.
We felt it, as was proven by Casey in answer to Dempsey’s question in
regard to the time.

"Well, when it looks like this they always begin to light up in
Callahan’s, and that’s about seven o’clock."

Again we were silent and tramped and tramped. Dempsey was the next to
speak.

"Say, fellows, I ain’t seen any strawberries yet. And even if we were to
see any now, we couldn’t go to work at them this evening, it being so
late now, and I think the best thing we can do is to sit down some place
and take a rest."

Only a few more steps and we saw a spot, which by you, would have been
called a dell.  We called it nothing, just saw the soft grass and, with
one accord, sank down on it.

The tone of evening now rang unmistakably clear.  Evening and its
partner, the gloaming, were at the last and best moment of their
supremacy. Too short, by far, are evenings in the country, those short
brief hours of nature’s neutral state, before retiring to its
well-earned rest.  But that I only feel now, and did not then.

Remember! this was my first night in God’s country.  Like thousands of
others who live and die in the southeast corner of Manhattan—along the
Bowery—I had never had a sight of nature. I could not have told a daisy
from a rose; or a crow from a robin.  All that I write here are the
impressions that linger in my mind of this, my first night with nature.

It was one grand moment in our lives, yet we did not feel it.  Hold, I
am wrong!  We did feel it, perhaps subconsciously, but feel it we did.
Our kind is not given to much talking while doing anything of import.
Then our energies are in our task, no matter how dirty that may be.  As
soon as we rest, we change, and the silent drudge becomes a veritable
magpie.  We three were resting as, like three daisies in the wilderness,
we sat in our dell, but there was something all about and around us that
stopped our flow of talk from loosening itself.

We sat and stared, and the most insignificant changes in the tranquil
scene before us left their unrecognized, yet deep impressions on us.
And looking back through all the years passed since then, I see it all
still before me, though I cannot attempt to picture it to you.

From where we sat it looked before us like the setting for a glorious
play.  On both sides, small sketches of woodland interjected just far
enough to serve as the wings on the stage.  Back of it, there was a
grand, majestic last drop, a range of hills, running unbrokenly from
where to where we could see.  The cast, the actors of the play were
supplied by all the many living things about us and, above it all, like
the last curtain, hung the forerunners of the coming night.

It was no tumultuous melodrama, no rollicking farce, it was a pastoral
play so successful, so wisely composed and staged that from its first
night it has been enacted every night through all the ages.  No wonder
that with so many rehearsals the scene, as we saw it, was played with
perfection.

Out from a loophole in the sky, a bird came flying toward us with
unfaltering swing.  Night after night it had flown the same course,
night after night it had the same rôle, that of bringing their share to
the young striplings in the nest above our heads. Along the road came a
creaking, lumbering farm-wagon.  The farmer looked at us with suspicion,
still, gave us a "good evening, boys."  I do not know if we returned his
greeting or not.

It was quiet, so quiet, that the many little noises, made by unseen
beings, pealed like tornadoes of sound.  The snatch of laughter, coming
from the tree-encircled farm-house behind us, was as the laughter of a
multitude; the chirrup of that homeward bound bird was as a lofty, airy
chorus; the croaking of the frog was as a grunting wail from many, many,
who never get above the very ground. While we had sat staring holes into
the air before us, evening had flown, and night, a gallant victor, had
unrolled the standard of the stars.  I know I cannot tell you my
impressions, but even had I the gift and genius of a hundred of our
greatest writers, I could not convey to you what a picture that night,
my first night in God’s country, left with me. It seemed to me that all
and everything, before becoming wrapped in slumber, gave one
praise-offering to Above.  The corn of the field and the poor lowly
flower by the roadside and even the tiny blade of grass, they all were
straightened by one last, upward tremor before relaxing to their
drooping doze.  The birds of the air and the beasts of the ground, all
sounded their evening song.  With some it was a thrill of sweetest
divine melody, with others it was but a grunt, but it all seemed like a
thanksgiving for having lived and worked a day made by the Creator of
all.

And from beneath all this, the silent attitude of prayer and the intoned
evening hymn of creatures rose onward, upward, like an anthem to the
sky, where brilliant orbs and shining, milky veils were interwoven in a
web of glory, and peeping over the tops of hours into the birthing
cradle of another day.  It is a witching hour, this hour, when stars and
nature in unison sing their evening song.

Where nature is grandest, man most likes to profane it.

The sublime, sweet spell held us enthralled.  Not a word had been spoken
by us.  How long we had sat there we did not know.  How much longer we
would have sat there is a matter of unprofitable conjecture.  As if
turned loose from the regions of the arch-fiend, with howling screech,
with snorting, rumbling, rattling, a train, looking like a string of
toy-cars in the distance, clattered along the range of hills, the last
drop of our scene.  Spitting fire before it, leaving white streamers
behind it, the iron disrespecter of nature’s sanctity rushed into the
very heart of the hills and took the haze of idealism with it.

The spell was broken, and we were not long in getting back to terra
firma.

"Say," remarked Casey very pensively, "ain’t it very quiet here?"

"Well, I should say so," hastened Dempsey to corroborate him.  "It’s so
quiet you couldn’t sleep here if you wanted to.  This ain’t no place for
us. Let’s go."

We started ahead and tumbled along the country road.  All directions, as
to our route, were, for the present, forgotten.  We only had one purpose
now, to get away from the haunting quiet.  With every step our nerves
became more unstrung.  A rabbit scooted across the road and made us
grasp each other’s arms.  The faint rustle of the leaves sent shivers
down our backs.

Out in the open, we felt the hazy, vapory night air enshroud us, which
showed every object in ghost-like mold.  A dog barked far away, then it
howled, and I can swear to it, we trembled.

It was not physical fear.  It was the weirdness of the unaccustomed that
played havoc with our reasoning powers.  Some may doubt all this and
mention as proof the "hoboing" tramps, who spend their most pleasing and
profitable period of vagrancy in their country.  I am not prepared to
discuss this at all, but am quite sure that every tramp, at the
beginning of his career as such, was similarly impressed on his first
night in the country, provided he had not found shelter in a barn or
haystack or had not been born and lived in the country before.

We, we were city bred to the bone, and noise was essential to us as
ozone is to the country lad.  He cannot sleep with noise,—we could not
sleep without it.

Our musings—we had not spoken for a long time—were interrupted by
Dempsey, who had fallen over a rail, which he had not noticed in the
shadowy Darkness.  Yes, it was a full-fledged railroad track and, for
some obscure reason, it seemed to possess a great deal of fascination
for us.  We were apparently not able to get away from it.  We stood and
looked at it as if we had never seen a railroad track before.

This lasted until the ever-ready Casey interpreted our feelings.

"I wonder if this is the Pennsylvania railroad?"

That started a chorus of "wonders."

"I wonder which end of this runs into New York;" "I wonder how far we
are from New York;" "I wonder if we could get to New York from here;" "I
wonder how long it takes to get to New York from here;" "I wonder if
there is a station near here."

How it happened, whether any one proposed it, or how we got there I do
not know, but I do know that, quite unexpectedly, we found ourselves at
a little wayside station, with a lot of milk cans on its platform.
There is no mistaking the fact that we were entirely unbalanced
mentally, and it was a good thing for the crew of the freight train,
which rolled in to unload and load milk cans, that they were an
easy-going crowd of men.  We made no pretense of hiding ourselves, but
climbed boldly on to the cars and would have committed murder had they
attempted to put us off.  The spectre of the stillness had taken
possession of our brains, and we wanted to flee from it as from a
plague.

Again the long, cold journey, and, then, at last, a great white sheen of
shining lustre in the heavens told us that we were home once more to the
city of our birth, of which we were so proud.

But could she be proud of us?

The rest of the night, or rather the beginning of the day, was spent in
chairs in Callahan’s back-room, which seemed like paradise to us after
our "fierce" experience in the country.  After a nap, I went to look for
my Bill, who greeted me as if I had left him alone as long as I did on
our previous separation, and then again settled down to grace Callahan’s
dive with my presence.

In a day our country trip was forgotten, and I felt quite resigned at
taking up my career where I had dropped it.  There was little hope of
things in divedom brightening up for some time to come and I was
perfectly willing to resume playing the gentleman of leisure, who makes
his fluctuating living at the expense of his fellow men.

But the days in the old life were numbered.  Only a short space of time
more, and I was to be taken from the cesspool by one whom God must have
sent solely for this end.  Why this was and why I was chosen, neither
you or I can answer, but it is enough for me to know that, even were
every miracle of old found to be a fraud or sacrilege, the existence of
one great, mighty, living God would be proven to me beyond the slimmest
shadow of doubt by the miracle he performed on me by His sweetest
prophet.

Lord my master, here I thank Thee, not only for having permitted me to
live the life of purity and cleanliness, but also for having had me come
from out and through the life of the most miserable and sinful.
Mysterious are Your ways and Your purposes are not for us to know, but I
have suffered, learned and prayed, and I know You will not let it be
without avail.  And if naught else I can do, give that for her sake, I
shall always live in the way she wanted me to live and that was in Your
way, God.



                   *THE FRONTIER OF THE NEWER LIFE.*



                             *CHAPTER XII.*

                   *THE FRONTIER OF THE NEWER LIFE.*


Returned to New York from my Philadelphia trip, I immediately fell back
into my old ways, which meant for the time being I established myself
again as an ornament in and in front of Mike Callahan’s dive in Chatham
Square.  Things in our line of business were growing quieter every day
and no one seemed to know when this drought in the former land of plenty
would cease.

Our temporary occupation during this lull was to "lay for" easy things
and suckers.  But even they seemed to grow fewer and, at last, we were
reduced to a state of desperation.  Then, when hunger and an
unquenchable thirst were less and less satisfied, some of the gang
overcame their inborn cowardice and turned "crooked."  One, two and
three would go on secret expeditions and return either with money or
easily disposable goods, or would not return at all, at least, not for a
long time.  The gang could well afford to stand these occasional
vacancies in the membership, as more than fifty constituted it and more
and more were constantly joining it.

I am not making an untruthful statement and do not wish to tax your
belief unduly when I tell you that I did not take active part in these
"crooked" doings.  My list of misdeeds is so full that one more or less
would make but small difference therein, and I have no cause to tell you
a lie.

Had it been necessary for me to turn "crooked" I would have surely done
so, but it was not necessary.

I was the recognized leader of our gang, and leaders of or in anything
always have certain prerogatives.  Out of every expedition I received a
small share.  I was "staked" is the proper expression.  The return I
made for the "stake" was small enough.

In case one or more of the men were locked up in the city prison, I, not
officially known to the police, had to visit them and act as go-between
to lawyers and their "outside" friends.  Were any barroom growls between
one of the men and outsiders started I had to throw myself—regardless of
the merits of the fight—into the mixup to end it quickly in favor of my
brother in loaferdom.

Not having to go on any of the mentioned expeditions, I had all my time
to myself and hardly ever left Callahan’s.  In truth, I was in a fair
way of becoming one of the monarchs of the Bowery, having, so far, been
only one of the knight errants of that locality.  It was the beginning
of Summer, and excepting when business of a liquid or financial nature
called me inside, I could have always been seen on my keg at the curb,
flanked and surrounded by a galaxy, whose very faces made men,
respectable men, clasp their hands over their watches and pocketbooks.

I remember, how once a "sport" hung up a prize for the "homeliest mug"
in Callahan’s, and a hurried ballot awarded me the prize.  However,
there were extenuating circumstances, which I do not care to recite, the
whole matter being one not very interesting to me.

Hanging around the dives all day we "regulars" often found the time hang
heavy on our hands.  To help us over these periods of ennui we invented
a gentle form of sport.  The sidewalk was very wide, the traffic was
heavy, the police, for reasons of policy, absolutely blind to our
doings, what more did we need?  From our kegs we looked, like the
gallery of the play, at the passing show, and frequently became so
interested in the ever-playing drama that we took part in it ourselves.

Is there more manly, noble sport than for the many, with stamping horses
and yelping, snarling dogs, to throw themselves on to the death-scared,
fright-unwitted fox and tear him to his end, after having him partly
finished by hoof beat and dog bite?  Of course not.  Were it unmanly,
unwomanly, ignoble sport, our "better, upper" classes, our social
leaders, would not enjoy it.  We, of Chatham Square, aped our models in
the higher circles, and, not having a fox in our collection of rare
animals, chose the passing pedestrians as the objects of our sport.

Our imitation of our "betters" was fairly correct.  If only one or two
were on the kegs passers-by would not be molested; but when the gang was
there in force, then woe to the unoffending man or woman, whose way led
by us.

To be exact, our "sport" consisted of insults of various kinds to
pedestrians.  Old people—and especially old women—received the most of
our playful attention.  They were our favorite victims, as they were
less likely to resent our brutishness. It brings a flush to my face when
I think of our beastly cowardice.  There is more manliness in one
mongrel cur than there was in that whole gang of ours!

And in that sport I was the acknowledged leader.

There were many variations to our game.  We would quickly put our feet
between those of men and women passing by, would "trip them up" and send
them sprawling to the pavement; we would throw rotten fruit and decayed
vegetables at them; would deliberately run into them and upset their
balance and, besides all this, would shower avalanches of filthy
expressions on them.  Why didn’t they resent it?  Because people who
were obliged to pass there did not do it from choice, but because they
were obliged to do so, and knew the calibre of our tribe.  They knew
that, like the rooster taken away from his dung-heap, singly and on
different ground from our own, we were crawling, cowardly caricatures of
men, and only brave when we could throw ourselves on One in mass.

Yet, withal, even loafers can be saved from their mockery of an
existence, but different means from the stereotyped ones of the present
day must be employed.  Where is the harvest of the many millions sown on
the East Side?  The time, the day, the hour is ripe for a Messiah to the
slums who will have much piety, more manhood and, most of all, common
sense.  Bring less talk and more muscle; less hymns and more work, and
there will be an echo to your labor in every lane and alley.

My loaferish career ran along so evenly that I could not imagine such a
thing as a break in it. Without a moment’s warning, in the most ordinary
way, the message from across the frontier of decency was brought to me
by one whom I cannot call otherwise than one of God’s own angels.

It had been a most quiet day.  In the early forenoon "Skinny" McCarthy,
one of my intimate pals, had informed me that "something would be doing"
that day.  I gave him my rogue’s blessing and sped him on his way.

"Skinny" belonged to the class of meanest grafters. His graft consisted
in walking miles and miles looking for trucks and wagons left
temporarily without the driver’s protection.  To whip something from the
vehicle and then to accelerate his steps, at the same time holding the
stolen article before him, was only a moment’s effort.  Naturally, the
proceeds of "Skinny’s" expeditions were never very large, but he kept at
it so constantly and spent his few dollars so quickly that he was a
rather handy acquaintance for me.

It was about two o’clock in the afternoon of June the second when
"Skinny" returned to Callahan’s and, pulling me aside, whispered that he
had done better than usual.  I praised him for his zeal and luck,
encouraged him to greater efforts, and then suggested that our thirst
should find an immediate end.  Forthwith, at a signal from me, several
other birds of our feather joined us and we celebrated "Skinny’s" safe
and welcome return in the customary way.

The only serious fault I had to find with "Skinny" McCarthy was that he
could not stand very much drink.  Just when the others would begin to
feel the mellowing influences of the drink "Skinny" was always so
intoxicated as to lose all control over his speech and actions.  He was
a bit of a hero-worshipper, and I—mind you, I—was his hero.  As soon as
the fumes of the stuff consumed would befuddle his brains he would
declare with howling, roaring emphasis that he was a thief and proud of
it, that he didn’t care for what anybody thought of him as long as I was
his friend, and that he was always willing to share with me, because he
knew that I would stick to him if he should happen to get into "stir."

All this was very flattering to me and sounded sweet to my ears, yet,
being of limitless capacity, I never found myself sufficiently drunk to
enjoy this too public endorsement.

On this occasion—June the second—"Skinny," elated over his markedly
successful expedition, bought drinks so fast that, in a little over an
hour, he was near a state of coma.  I, as leader of the gang, was more
or less responsible for the individual safety of my fellows, and, not
caring to see "Skinny" utterly helpless so early in the afternoon,
ordered a cessation of drinking and proposed an adjournment to the kegs
at the curb, hoping the air would partly revive my ailing follower.

My suggestion was accepted, and I led the way to the sidewalk, closely
followed by "Skinny."

Just as I had reached the curb and was about to seat myself on my keg I
heard a slight commotion, followed by a muffled scream, behind me.
Leisurely turning I saw what I had expected to see.

It was one of our customary frolics.  "Skinny" McCarthy had wilfully and
fiercely collided with a frail young girl.  Although I could not see her
face, her figure and general appearance denoted youth.  But what did
youth, age, sex or size matter to us?

They all stood about her in a circle, grinning and leering at her.  I,
too, meant to join in the general enjoyment.  But before my facial
muscles had time to shapen themselves into a brutish laugh the girl
wheeled around, looked at McCarthy, at me, at all of us and, quite
distinctly could I read there the sentence: "And you are MEN!"

Possibly there was a psychic or physical reason for it, but whatever it
was I could almost feel when her look fell on me the bodily sensation of
something snapping or becoming released within me. It was as if a
spring, holding back a certain force, had been suddenly freed from its
catch and had, catapult-like, sent a new power into action.

I had neither the inclination or intelligence to explain it all to
myself.  Instead, I rushed into the crowd, tore through it, until I
stood in front of McCarthy, who, without a word from me, received a blow
from me under his ear, felling him to the ground.

This decisive and unexpected action on my part amazed the members of the
gang so that they stood motionless for several seconds before paying any
attention to McCarthy, who was lying motionless on the sidewalk.  They
did not know what to make of it.  Was I more drunk than they had judged
me to be?  Was there a private grudge between McCarthy and myself?

That I had acted solely to save the young lady, from further insult
would have been—had they surmised it—as inexplicable to them as it was
to me.

I took no heed of their wondering attitude, but, in gruff tones, asked
the young lady to come with me. She was completely bewildered and
followed me mechanically.

Poor "Skinny" in his stunned condition was still on the ground, and
this, as always, furnished an interesting spectacle to the many idle
gapers, who had joined the rank of spectators.  I, holding the girl by
her arm, made my way through them without any trouble and then addressed
my companion.

"Say, sis, I guess I better walk a block or two with you, because I
think it’s better.  That push there won’t do you nothing, but they’re
all drunk and might get fresh to you again."

Surely, it was not a very cavalierly speech, but, somehow, it was
understood and remembered. Often in the future, we—she and I—had our
laugh at this offer of my protectorate, which was word for word
remembered by her.

The crowd through which I had roughly forced a passage for the girl and
myself closed again behind us, and, with that, the doors of my old life
creakingly began to move on their rusty hinges and slowly started to
close themselves entirely.  They did not close themselves with a bang
and a slam—if they had done that I might have been aware of their
maneuver and would, most likely, have offered resistance—and, even their
slow move was not known to me then, but only recognized by me in the
years to come.  This happens to many of us. We are successful or
unfortunate, rich or poor, and can in our acquired state clearly trace
back the line to an event which was the parting of the ways.



                    *THE BEGINNING OF THE MIRACLE.*



                            *CHAPTER XIII.*

                    *THE BEGINNING OF THE MIRACLE.*


For the first time in my life I found myself playing the part of a
chivalric knight, and, let me assure you, the poorest actor could not
have played it worse.  Part of my existence had been to watch others.
Not to learn from them by observation, but to find their weaknesses.
While engaged in the most potent part of my observations, I was never so
concentrated in them that I entirely overlooked the minor details.  So I
had seen gentlemen help ladies to and from carriages, had seen them
assist their women friends across gutters and crossings, and open doors
for them.  Walking beside the young lady I knew something was expected
from me in the line of politeness, but I who had always been accustomed
to go up "against the hardest games and unfavorable odds," felt most
uncomfortable at not being sure what to do in a case like this.  Perhaps
this was the reason, why I, instead of seeing her along for a block or
two, kept on walking beside her, because I did not know how to take
leave without giving serious offense by my way of expressing my
leavetaking.  The truth of the matter was I was afraid.

This confession of mine will lead you to think that there was something
about her inspiring awe or fear.  But you are wrong, very wrong.

She was not tall, not statuesque.  She was not a "queenly looking" girl
judged by external appearance.  Her queenliness was within, so potent,
so convincing, that neither man nor beast could refrain from bowing to
it.  I was in the dilemma of wanting to be a gentleman, a courtier to my
queen, and not knowing how to be one.

Somehow impelled, I kept on walking beside her. She was not wanting in
expressions of gratitude, but I did no better than to acknowledge them
with deep-toned grunts.

To explain matters, she told me she was a teacher in one of the near-by
schools, and was compelled to pass our "hang-out" every day on her way
to and from home.  In exchange for her confidence I should have
introduced myself, but, alas! this big, hulking oof knew naught of
politeness.

But the bonny little lass was a marvel of tact and diplomacy.  Not
commenting on or pretending to notice my neglect of the customary
introduction, she appointed herself inquisitor-in-chief.  She put me on
the witness stand and cross-examined me.  Leading questions were fired
at me with the rapidity of a trained lawyer.  Ere I knew it, she knew
all about me and I felt ashamed at having a little mite like her break
down all the barriers of that reticence on which I prided myself.

We walked on, the street traveling beneath and unnoticed by us.  She
stopped me at Houston street and the Bowery and I looked about me as if
descended from a dream.  She wanted me to leave her there and wanted me
to return to Chatham Square, or from wherever I had come.  But the
bulldog in me growled and persisted in seeing her to her door.  We
halted at a modest dwelling-house in Houston street, near Mott street.
She thanked me with very much feeling and, expecting a modicum of
manners from me, waited for a second for my response.  There are things
which we learn without being aware, and I knew and felt that I should
say something, but my courage had fled, my knees weakened under me and
the words which I meant to utter stuck in my throat, kept there by my
fear of not being able to use the right expression.

At last I squeezed out a gruff "Good night," and then turned to leave.
I was not permitted to go.

"Where are you going?" she asked.  "I am afraid you are anxious to
return to that place on Chatham Square.  Don’t go there."

"Where else can I go?"

"Where else?" she asked, with a mingling of pity and contempt.  "Mr.
Kildare, I have absolutely no right to interfere with your business, but
I have the right to tell you the truth.  You may not know it or would if
you did know it, deny it, but you and most of the men of that gang are
too good to be of it.  We are strangers, and you may think me
presumptuous, but a man, strong and able bodied as you, sins against his
Maker if he wastes his days in an idleness which is hurtful to himself
and others."

"Oh, I heard that before, young lady, but that sort of talk don’t amount
to anything."

"It doesn’t amount to anything?  From what you have told me about
yourself and from what I have seen of the street life, I am afraid it is
not absolutely impossible that, one of these days, you may find yourself
in serious trouble.  And, Mr. Kildare, you can rest assured that the
prisons are full of men who are convinced when it is too late that this
sort of talk does amount to something.  You say you do not know where
else to go?  The evening is beautiful. There are parks, the river-front,
the Brooklyn Bridge, where one can go and sit and think——"

"Think," I interrupted, "now, what would I be thinking about?"

She remained silent for some little while and then held out her hand to
me.

"I am so sorry for you, so sorry.  Do try and be a man, a man who has
more than strength and muscle.  And—and—do not be offended at my
solicitude—pray, pray often."  She had almost entered the hall, but
stepped back again and whispered, "I will pray for you to-night."

Pray!  I can imagine the sneer which surely settled on my face.  The
name of the Divinity had been used by me daily.  But in what manner!
Before I reached my teens I was past master of the art of profanity, and
my skill in cursing increased as I grew older.  And now she had
counselled me to pray, to use in reverence the name which had no meaning
to me and slipped glibly from my lips at the slightest provocation.
Why, it was ridiculous—but was it so very ridiculous?

The two arch enemies began a fierce battle within me.  Without any
trouble can I remember my walk to Chatham Square that night.  Sometimes
I halted, leaned up against a lamp post and said: "By Heavens, I think
there’s a great deal of truth in what she said!"  Buoyed up by this
assurance I would start afresh, would walk half a block and then again
halt to listen to the other voice, which whispered: "Fool, don’t listen
to women’s talk.  You are somebody.  You are known and feared, and
wouldn’t be that if you were a goody-goody."

Many men are only feared, while they believe themselves to be respected.
That is how it was with me, and that is why my "other" voice did not say
"respected," but "feared."

The battle was waged within me until I was almost at Chatham Square.
And then a strange thing came to pass.  Mike Callahan’s place was on the
western side of the square.  I had come down on that side, but, when on
the corner of the square, I deliberately crossed over to the eastern
sidewalk, and, from there, surveyed my camping ground.

I stood and looked at the flashily illuminated front of Mike Callahan’s
dive and wavered between the old-rooted and the new-come influences.  It
would have been laughable had it not been so pitiful.

Just think, a man, supposedly intelligent and mature, considering
himself the martyr of martyrs if he had to forego the "pleasures" of
Callahan’s dive for one precious night.

The new-come influence was a potent one, yet it was so strange, so
inexplicable to me that I could have refused to heed it and would have
let my old inclinations persuade me, had I not thought of my good old
Bill.  The importance of my recent adventure had driven my partner
temporarily from my mind.  But now I thought of him, remembered that he
had been subjected to a long fast by my carelessness and hurried to the
attic to make up for my negligence.  I found him as expectant and
philosophical as ever, and watched him with languid interest while he
was munching the scraps I had saved for him.  Then it occurred to me
that Bill had been deprived of his customary walk with me and had not
had a breath of fresh air all day.  It also rankled in my mind what she
had said about the parks and the Brooklyn Bridge, and, lo and behold,
Bill and I found ourselves in the street, bound for City Hall Park, like
two eminently respectable citizens intent on getting a little air.

I consoled myself for this evident display of weakness by emphatically
resolving to return to Callahan’s as soon as Bill should have had his
fill of fresh air.

We were comparative strangers to City Hall Park. Every foot of the park
and the sidewalks about it had been traveled by my bare feet many years
ago, but never had I looked on the leafed oasis in the light of a
recreation ground.

We felt a trifle out of place, and, most likely on that account chose
the most secluded and unobserved spot for our experimental siesta.  The
rear stoop of the City Hall, facing the County Court House, was in deep
shadow, and there we seated ourselves to test how it felt to be there
just to rest.

It gradually began to dawn on us that City Hall Park was almost as
interesting as the sidewalk in front of Mike Callahan’s dive on Chatham
Square. A perpetual stream of people crossed our view on their way to
and from the Brooklyn Bridge and to and from the Jersey ferries.  Very
few of them walked leisurely.  Most of them seemed in a hurry and all
seemed to have a definite purpose.  Bill and I were the only two without
a purpose.

Ah, no, it is wrong for me to say that.  Let me speak only for myself.
Bill had a purpose, and a noble one.

My thoughts ran oddly that night.  I looked around and saw the people on
the benches.  Then, as now, the majority of the seats were occupied by
homeless men, by "has-beens."

"Well, I am surely better than those tramps," I assured myself with
self-satisfied smirk.

Was I better than those tramps?  The newer voice gave me the answer.
These tramps, useless now, had once been useful, had once worked and
earned, but I, almost thirty years of age, couldn’t call one day in my
life well spent.

It was a wondrous night to us, this night in the shadow of City Hall
Park.  It was the first night I had given to thought, and found myself
at my true estimate.  Saints are not made in a day, and I was still hard
and callous, but, after my introspection, a feeling took possession of
me which very much resembled shame.  Instead of returning the way we had
come, via Chatham street—now called Park Row—we wandered home by the way
of Centre street.  We passed the Tombs, the sinister prison for the
city’s offenders, and Bill and I looked at it musingly.  There were many
in the cells who were known by me.  Many in them could justly call me
their accomplice, because I had willingly spent their money with them,
knowing, or, at least, suspecting, how it had been gotten.  And how long
would it be before a cell in there would be but a way station for me
before taking the long journey "up the river"?

The mere suggestion of it was shivery and I remarked to Bill that our
attic, no matter how humble, was preferable to a sojourn at Sing-Sing.

Then an inspiration came to me, and, to this very day I am making myself
believe it came from old Bill.  Most likely I am a fool for doing it,
but I want to have my old pal have his full share of credit in my
reincarnation.  The inspiration was: "Why not try and stay in my attic
in preference to going to Sing-Sing?"  To this came an augmentation: "If
able to keep away from the road that leads to prison, it may not always
be necessary to stay in an attic.  There are more nicely furnished rooms
in the city than your cubby-hole on the top floor, friend Kildare."

How can I now, at this long range, analyze my feelings of that critical
night?  I would have to perform a psychic wonder, and I am not that kind
of a magician.  But I did not go back to Callahan’s, and have never been
there since as a participant in the slimy festivities.

Up in our attic Bill and I gave ourselves up to much mutual scrutiny.
Some outward change in me must have been noticeable, for Bill watched me
most critically.

The one thing I remember best of all the little incidents which left
their clear impressions on my mind was my first attempt at praying.

Bill laid in his usual place at the foot of my bed, and I was stretched
on my back, gazing into the ceiling and overcoming my astonishment at
being in bed at such an unearthly early hour by going over the events of
the day.  I lingered longest at the scene at her door and tried to laugh
when my train brought me to her advice to pray.  Somehow the laugh was
not sincere, and, instead of being able to continue my mind’s recital, I
could not get away from her admonition.

That was not all.  A soliloquy ensued and ended with the result of
giving prayer a chance to prove itself.  Why not?  It did not cost
anything, might do some good after all, and, besides, it would be
interesting to note how it felt to pray.

I prayed, and you will not accuse me of irreverence when I make the
statement that my prayer was certainly one of the funniest that ever
rolled on to the Father’s throne.  It was hardly a prayer. The "thou"
and "thee" and "thy" were sadly missing. I did not think or ask with
faith.  Quite the reverse.  I frankly avowed my skepticism.  The
substance of it was that I had been told God could do much, everything.
The one who had told me this possessed my greatest respect, yet was only
a little girl and not as experienced as I, and, perhaps, fooled.  So, if
God wanted me to believe in Him, He would have to give me conclusive
proof right away or else lose a follower.  It was a heart-to-heart talk
of the most informal kind and—are they not the best prayers?

I said quite coolly that I had been told I wasn’t as much of a man as I
had thought myself to be and that there was a much better life than the
one I had led.  Well, I was willing to try it, and, if I really liked
the newer life better than the old one, I promised to stick as closely
to God as I had stuck to all that was evil before.

One should not bargain with the Creator, but I am sure that on the
Judgment Day my God will find extenuating circumstances.  As for the
bargain made that night, both parties have lived up to it.



                        *THE OLD DOORS CLOSED.*



                             *CHAPTER XIV.*

                        *THE OLD DOORS CLOSED.*


Sober to bed and sober out of it was an uncommon experience and I felt
embarrassed by the unwonted sensation.  Happily I found some money in my
pocket and that deprived me of the excuse to my conscience that I must
go to Callahan’s so as to get my breakfast money.  How we ate that
morning, Bill and I, and how we relished our breakfast.  Yes, I had a
drink, a big drink of whiskey, but not because I had forgotten my
resolve of the night before, but because I was yet ignorant.  To be
quite frank, I have always been a bit cynical about these sudden
conversions of confirmed drunkards.

Not long ago I met a man at a rescue mission where I frequently attend,
who, as we say on the Bowery, "eats whiskey" and almost subsists on it.
He was homeless, or rather bedless, his home being forfeited long ago,
and received his "bed ticket" from the missionary after his confession
of salvation. I happened to meet him on the following day; and his
breath was strong with the perfume of cloves.  He told me he liked to
chew them, which is rather an odd hobby.

Far be it from me to slander any one, yet the perfume of cloves can hide
a multitude of aromas.

Sublime is the aim of the rescue missions, but how and whether they
accomplish this aim is another story, which we might discuss at some
future time.

Another habit, which also still clung to me, was my late rising.  It was
noon before Bill and I appeared on the street on our way to the
restaurant. After breakfast we walked over to City Hall Park, looked
gravely and wisely at the spot where we had sat the night before, and
then we permitted ourselves the luxury of a day dream.

Dreams are funny fellows, always playing pranks. This dream kept me
embraced until I found myself in the immediate neighborhood of the
school where a certain little professor was engaged in leading the
infantile mind through the labyrinth of the A, B, C’s.

Soon they began to stumble out with noisy, natural, healthy laughter and
hubbub, and the dingy street became one long, squirming stream of
babbling children.  I could not help looking back on my boyish years and
tried to imagine how it would feel to have your slate and books under
your arm. There were many youngsters before me and I kept staring at
them to draw the picture in my mind’s eye of how I would have looked
coming from school, my school.

At last she came!

As I saw the little tots, her pupils, cling to her skirts from very love
of her, I felt a light, an oriflamme, within my breast, and knew that I
would have to fight a harder fight than ever before; that I would have
to conquer myself before I would dare to touch the hem of her skirt as
those children.  And he who fights, fights best when in the sight of an
inspiring emblem.  So then I took my sailing flag and nailed it to the
mast of purity.  It has withstood all sorts of weather.  Sometimes it
droops, again it flies defiantly.  But, whatever, it is still safely on
the mast and will stay there until I strike my colors for the last
dipping to my God above.

I crossed the street and put myself in her way so that she could not
help seeing me.

"Oh, Mr. Kildare!"

She remembered my name.

It is impossible for me to recall how I acted at this meeting.  However,
I consider it very fortunate that no camera fiend took a snapshot at me.
The human document which would have evolved from it would certainly be
very embarrassing to me. Still, lout, churl as I was, it was the first
time in my life that I spoke to a girl without even the shadow of an
ulterior or impure motif, and some of my want of politeness may be
forgiven on that account.

If I cannot recollect my behavior during that scene, I can correctly
recollect my feelings.  I was in a turmoil.  Her face showed real,
unaffected pleasure on seeing me, and that to me, if you will understand
my social position then—was an incomparable boon.  If people, the good,
well intending people, would only realize that the hardest heart is very
often the most ready to respond to genuine kindness and that, usually,
it is only hard, because, through life, it had to be satisfied with the
stereotyped prating which passes as a message from our all-loving and
loving-all God!

Knowing the awkward propensities of my limbs and arms, it does not
surprise me in the least that I stood there shuffling and wobbling, and
never noticing the little hand held out to me in truest greeting.

She greeted me kindly, in evident surprise.

Most gingerly I took her dainty hand into my big, brawny paw.  She spoke
of the "chance meeting."  Since then I have often felt certain that when
I said "chance meeting," a twinkle danced for the time of a breath in
her eyes.  Afterward, I often accused her of it and was severely
squelched for my presumption. Yet, yes, she was an angel, but also very
much of a woman, and, between you and me, there are times when a true,
little woman with staunch heart, level head and unwavering faith is of
more practical benefit to a rough, big fellow like me than the angel who
wouldn’t dare take a chance of spoiling those snowy garments or to let
the harp remain untwanged for a few moments.

Being more unfamiliar with etiquette than I am now, I had no little
white lie ready, but blurted out that I had come there for the express
purpose of seeing her.  She seemed a trifle annoyed at this and I
hastened to explain that I was there to see her home, so that she would
not have to run the risk of being insulted again.  When she learned this
determination of mine to act henceforth as her body guard, she chided at
first, declared it absolutely unnecessary, but then laughed, and told me
it was very kind of me.

And all this time I was playing a part and, as I thought, so perfectly
that she could not penetrate my disguise.  But she could not be
deceived.  She quickly saw through my pretense of wishing to appear a
fairly considerate man of the world, who, not having anything better to
do, would do a chivalrous act merely for the sake of killing some of his
superfluous time.  The only wonder is that she permitted me to bother
her.

Then, though no daisies or roses garlanded our path and though we walked
along the crowded, not too clean, sidewalks in the precincts of the
poor, began walks that one could turn into poetry, but which I cannot
do, not having the essential gift of expression.  All I could do in
return for being permitted to be beside her was to devote myself
entirely to the task of protecting her.  Protect her against what?

You know the most glorious thing about love is that it is no respecter
of persons.  To rich and poor it comes alike; here to be received in
passion and impurity, there to be welcomed in a better spirit and to be
nested in an ever-loyal heart.  But the bad thing about love is that it
makes us lose our proper respect for truth.  In short, it makes splendid
liars out of us.

Where is there the young man who has not told her whom he adored that
her eyes made the most brilliant star look like a tallow candle, or that
her cheeks were as peaches?

In the same way did I magnify my knightly duty to myself.  Surely the
dangers along the journey to her home were trifling and few, but, thanks
to my love-stirred imagination, I felt as serious as a plumed knight,
and no proud queen in days of sword and lance had more devoted cavalier
to fight, die or live for her.  That now became my sole duty, and with
such duty, to serve the best and truest, a man must grow better even in
spite of himself.

Every day, rain or shine, I waited on the corner above the school to
serve as permanent escort. Every day she told me it was not necessary to
see her home, yet, every day she permitted me to do so. When one arrives
in a strange land the smaller details are often not noticed, and,
afterward, you can only re-see the grander pictures.  I cannot tell you
how and why the turns in our conversations occurred, but I can remember
certain bits of talk and questions, very important to both of us.

For instance, on our third meeting she asked me if I were still one of
Mike Callahan’s ornamental fixtures.  I felt then, as many of us have
felt before and will feel again; I was ashamed to admit that I had
severed my connection with the gang and had not been there since the
night I had taken her home.  You see, I still considered myself a
"red-hot sport," and did not care to be identified with anything that
was goody-goody.  Since then I have learned that it is quite the thing
among certain sets to speak lightly of one’s religion and to laugh at
being found out as an occasional church-goer. It makes such a rakish
impression to intimate you are "really devilish."

So, to her question, I did not give a straightforward answer, but hummed
and hawed and—lied.

"No, I ain’t been there the last two nights, because—because, I wasn’t
feeling any too good, and—and, oh, yes, one night I went up to a show."

The greatest lies can be compressed into the smallest parcels, yet they
always weigh the same.

She had a way of letting me know when my lies were too transparent.  It
was not what she said, but how she looked when she said it.

In reality I had stood away from Callahan’s because I had taken a
dislike to the place and everybody in it, but, of course, it would have
never done to tell that to a little slip of a girl.

Apparently my explanation was not taken at its face value, for she
merely said: "Oh, I see."  Barely a second later she added: "Oh, I’m so
glad."

The intuition of women is certainly wonderful. Even such an accomplished
diplomat as myself was floored on the spot by a little girl.

Well, the days wore on, and our walks became to me walks in an unknown
realm.  Her little casual references to mother, brother, home, friends
and daily work gave me a vista of a life not even imagined by me.  To
live as she, in well-regulated household and according to well-ordained
schedule, had never been desired by me and, therefore, never been
considered by me.

"If that kind of life turns out such fine little women, it can’t be so
bad after all, and may be worth trying," was my train of reasoning, and
a dull but positive desire to try that sort of life began to rankle in
my soul.

While I was engaged in these musings, she did not keep entirely quiet,
but put me through the most severe kind of civil service.  I had to
answer so many questions—and truthfully, too, as she could tell a
fabrication immediately—until I honestly believe every hour of my life
was covered.  The finish of it all was that I was made the subject of
several of the most scathing lectures ever delivered. Those sermons
fairly made my blood boil, and often, under my breath, I wished she were
a man, that I could close the lecturing for good and all with a blow.

It is simply awful how impudent little people—and especially women—are.
And the worst of it is that we big fellows have to stand it from them.

She had a peculiarly direct way of getting at things and never minced
matters.  The effect of it was that I began to shrink into myself.

A leering knave, I had stood on the pinnacle of wickedness; had grinned
and sneered at decency, manhood and womanhood; had thought myself a
"somebody" because the laws of God and man were unregarded by me, and
because a chorus of fools and friends had always shouted an amen to my
deeds, and now—now I awoke to the pitiful fact that I was not only a
"nobody," but a despicable, contemptible thing, without the least of
claims to the grandest title—man.

Yes, there was no denying the fact, the "somebody" had fallen, sadly
fallen from his horse, and all his house of cards had been knocked into
smithereens by a little bit of a schoolma’am.



                        *A KINDERGARTEN OF ONE.*



                             *CHAPTER XV.*

                        *A KINDERGARTEN OF ONE.*


Keeping away from Callahan’s and from the sinister harvest which was
often reaped there, had a depressing effect on my income.  For a
comparatively long time I lived on a few dollars, which came to me from
outstanding loans, now determinedly collected.  I learned then that if
one keeps away from Callahan’s and places like it, one can subsist on a
remarkably small income.  As it had been with me, it was always a case
of "getting it easy and spending it easy."

My expenses became the object of much thinking and figuring.  So much
for room rent, so much for meals, including Bill’s fare, and so much for
shaves and incidentals were estimated at the lowest minimum and so as to
last the longest until something should turn up.  This something did not
fail to turn up.

When the funds became dangerously low, I bethought myself of some of my
swell friends, who had often evinced a desire to have me "train" them or
keep them in condition.  These propositions had been so frequent as to
make me think that to be rich included being rich in ailments.

Some wanted me to make them thin, others desired more flesh to cover
their bones, and they all came to me, I being such an authority on
anatomy and physiology!

I communicated with many of these ailing swells and ere long made a
fairly good living by my physical culture lessons.  There is a heavy
cloud on my conscience that on my balance-sheet a score of offenses are
recorded against me in connection with the furtherance of my physical
culture system.  A frank confession is good for the soul, and I might as
well confess right here that, only too frequently, I prescribed the
identically same course for fat and lean.

This calling of mine was not without humor.  I remember a "patient" who
was troubled with too much embonpoint.  He did not believe in the
prescriptions of his physician, but rather preferred the physical
culture system of "Professor" Kildare. He was a man of much weight in
public affairs and in flesh.  About 250 pounds in the flesh, if I
remember right.

He lived in the immediate neighborhood of Madison Square, and for a long
succession of many mornings a select audience, including several
news-boys, a few policemen and myself, had the edifying spectacle of
seeing these 250 absolutely-refusing-to-melt pounds chase around the
square like mad at 5 A.M.

I do not think it did him very much harm and it did the audience an
awful lot of good, if you will take laughter as an indication of
increasing health.

No fear of want or need threatening me, I gave myself completely up to
peeping into the better life. I fairly revelled in my new experience,
and dreams by day and night were my only territory.

A few weeks of this and then a crisis came.

We had reached her house from our customary walk from the school.  I had
taken leave and had already taken a few steps, when she called me back.

"Mr. Kildare, I forgot something."

I was quickly back to the door waiting to hear what she had forgotten.

She took a small card from her bag and handed it to me.

"Mr. Kildare, you have been very kind and considerate and I would like
to show you that I appreciate it.  I am afraid you will find it rather
tame, but I hope you will come."

I twirled the card between my fingers and without looking at it asked:
"What is it?"

"Why, just a little social entertainment of our church."

"When and where does it take place?" I still kept on asking.

"I am not quite sure as to the date, but the card will tell you."

As it was said, I could do no less than refer to the card.  Whether I
held the card upside down or what I did, I do not know, but my secret
was out and nothing could hide it any longer.

There I stood, to all appearances a man, intelligent and able-bodied,
and not able to cipher or decipher even my own name.

I felt all go away from me.  My fairy palace of bliss crumbled to
pieces.  What else could I do but slink away, to hide myself, my
ignorance, my shame forever?

Why prolong the agony of this torturing moment?

I turned quickly without a word, intending to return to the dark
"whence" from which I had come.

But before I had taken a step a little hand grasped my arm, and then and
there took up its faithful guidance of me, and every fibre of my big,
ungainly frame thrilled at this waking of the better life.

The memory of the following months—yes, years—but for the tingeing
sadness would be a bit of most laughable humor.

The work of my little schoolma’am became doubled. Besides her class at
school she saddled herself with this unwieldy, husky kindergarten of
one.  I know many youngsters—God bless them!—who like their school and
studies, but they were not in it with me in the drilling of my A, B,
C’s.  Never was the alphabet more quickly mastered.  In a surprisingly
short time "c-a-t, cat," and "r-a-t, rat," were spelled by me with the
facility of a primary scholar.

Who would not have learned quickly with such a teacher?

My good old Bill did not fail to note this educational process and was
sorely puzzled at it.

Our attic became a study; the washstand a student’s desk, with a big,
ungainly head bent close to a smoking oil lamp.

How I pored over my private lessons!

The pen in cramped fingers would trace those tantalizing letters, while
the lips gruffly murmured the spelling.  Naturally, arithmetic was also
included in my curriculum, and often Bill had flung at him the maddening
puzzle: "Seven into thirty-five goes how many times—yes, how many
times?"

Bill always sat beside me during my studies and blinked a hundred
questions at me.

"Say, Kil, what are you up to now?  I am afraid it is some new sort of
tomfoolery.  If not, why can’t I do it, too?"

I often answered and explained, but the situation was not fully grasped
by my old pal until he met my teacher.  And then?  Why the rocks, the
hillsides, trees and birds and flowers were all responsive to that
little sprite, and Bill, in just one glance, saw that the fairy of our
destinies had but begun her miracle of love.

But even dolls can be made to talk and parrots can imitate empty
chatter.  My teacher wanted me to have the means to lift myself out of
my ditch. The little sculptor who was moulding this huge mass of the
commonest clay into the semblance of a man wanted to waken that in me
which would make me something apart from the thing I had been. Coming
out of blackest darkness I was not led at once into the radius of the
dazzling light, but, as with the tots in her class at school, she
coached me, step by step, into the way of righteous intelligence.

Gradually I began to see—to see with the eyes of my soul—and I found a
great world about me abounding in the evidences of an almighty and wise
Creator.  I began to understand and love this newer and better life, and
began to hate the old life, which often tried to tempt me back to it.

Our lessons were carried on with much inconvenience and difficulty.  The
distance from school to home was little more than ten blocks, and during
the time it took us to walk that length I had to report my lesson and to
receive instructions for additional study.  The inconvenience of this
method was not at all conducive to learning, and one day I was asked by
my teacher to come to her house to receive my lesson there.

I could hardly believe mine own ears.  I was to see the very place in
which she lived.  It was beyond belief.  Was it not a sacrifice on her
part?  Indeed it was, and I can never sufficiently emphasize the many
sacrifices this sweet little girl underwent for me from the beginning to
the very end.

Let us understand her position.

Marie Deering was the sole support of her mother and a young invalid
brother.  Besides these two she had only one other relative, an elder
brother in a far western city.  The father, a retired captain of
engineers in the British army, had come to America to dispose of several
inventions.  Whatever the value of these inventions, the captain knew
little of the ways of business and commerce, and soon found himself
minus his inventions and balance of his savings.  Disappointment and
failing health combined to shorten his days, and the little family found
themselves fatherless.

The burden to provide fell then on the shoulders of the daughter, and
that, as all her other burdens, was borne with a fortitude worthy of a
saint in heaven.

It goes without saying that the Deerings were refined people, and you
can imagine what it meant to them to have a big, uncouth fellow intrude
into their home circle.  I shall never forget the horror-stricken
countenance of Mrs. Deering when I appeared for my first lesson.  It
needed no interpreter to read the question in her eyes: "For goodness’
sake, where did this come from, and what is it?"

But I immediately found a dear little ally in my teacher’s invalid
brother, who quickly discovered me a willing horse for many a wild and
hazardous canter from kitchen to parlor.

This first glance into real home life fairly upset me.  Since then I
have seen many more luxurious places, but none where my heart felt so
much at home.  I noticed everything—the neatness, the taste of the
modest decorations—and I set my teeth and said: "I, too, will have a
home, a real home, and, perhaps, not only for myself, but——"

Ah, it was too early to dream that far.

To dream of things will never bring them.  People who had known me had
always given me credit for stubborn determination in wicked pursuits.  I
resolved to test the strength of my determination by applying it to a
better end.

As soon as my mentor ascertained that my income came from practising my
uniform system of physical culture, of which the only beneficiary was
the inventor and professor, she counselled against it and told me to
cease it.

This brought me face to face with my most novel experience.  I looked
for work—good, honest, hard work.

My luck surprised me.

Only a few months had passed since the beginning of my transformation,
but it had been noticed by men whom I had thought indifferent to my
fate.

I can say, with all the conviction possible, that, if a man determines
without compromise to do right, he will find friends, all willing to
help along, among those he had expected to be nothing more than mere
acquaintances.  And another thing.  I also claim—and it has never
disproven itself to me—that the man who really wants to work can always
find it, friends or no friends.  The rub is that "suitable" work cannot
always be found so easily.  It is this lack of "suitable" work which
sends men to Bowery lodging-houses, there to keep themselves in high
collars and cuffs by begging instead of soiling their tender hands by
the first work offered to them.

I started out to do my hustling turn and had no trouble in finding work.
Happily it was of the—to me—"suitable" kind.

I went to work at one of the steamboat piers as a baggageman—sometimes
lovingly referred to as a "baggage-smasher."  The wages were eight
dollars a week, and that was a smaller amount than I had often "earned"
in one night while employed in the dives.

On my first pay day, those eight dollars were recounted by me
innumerable times, not because I was dissatisfied with the smallness of
the amount, but because I felt good, really good, at having at length
earned a week’s wages by honest toil.  Every one of those bills had its
own meaning for me.

My teacher knew of my new employment, and, with my first pay I bought a
little gift for her.  It also gave me a pretext for explaining to her my
future plans.

Much of her time had been taken up with me, and I owed all of my new
life to her endeavor.  Persistently she claimed that all her efforts
were only a small return for the favor done for her by me, and that,
besides, it was her duty to help me to gain a foothold on my new road of
life.  This argument failed to convince me, as my favor amounted to
nothing, and I understood without difficulty that all the benefit I
received from her unceasing toil with me was inspired by nothing else
than the sweet, Christian spirit which ruled every one of her actions. I
insisted that it would have been an imposition for me to be a trouble
and bother to her any longer, especially when I had steady employment,
which afforded me the time and means to attend evening schools and to
study at home in spare hours.  I wanted to thank her, and not be quite
so conspicuous where, because of social differences, I felt I did not
belong.

I mentioned something about coming from the gutter.  As always, she had
an answer, and a flattering one, ready.  As to coming from the gutter,
she expostulated, why, many a coin is dropped there and remains until
some one picks it up and, by a little polishing, makes it as good as it
ever was.

It was just like her.  She always claimed to have found in me something
good, something I could never have discovered.  On the other hand, as
soon as we resumed the lessons, she found that quite often her pupil
could be severely trying.

It was the harrowing science of arithmetic which caused the most
trouble, and even to this day—but that is a different story.  I had a
confirmed habit of becoming hopelessly muddled in my multiplication
table.  When floundering in the numerical labyrinth I would hear just
the faintest little sigh, and, looking up, would see a dear little
forehead showing the most cunning wrinkles of resignation.  It was then
that horrid wickedness would take possession of me, and I would
intentionally make more mistakes just to see those eyes reproach me for
my stupidity.  I would also make errors in my spelling and reading to
have the pleasure of being chided in her modulated voice.

My course of education had now run on for months and the beginning of
winter gave us the chance to elaborate it.  The free lectures of the
Board of Education were a boon quickly taken advantage of by us.  Almost
every night we went to Cooper Union or some public school where an
interesting lecture was announced.  To be sure I was not at first a
howling success as an attendant.  I could stand the illustrated
lectures, but astronomy and political economy without pictures always
produced the lullaby effect on me, and I was often on the verge of
snoring.  All this disappointed my professor, but did not discourage
her.

Summer came and my knowledge of botany was destined to be enriched.
Strange are the paradoxes of fate.  No class loves flowers as much as
the poor, and no class has less of them than they.  Ah, it is pitiful, I
tell you, to wander through the streets inhabited by my people, and to
see never a patch of green, a fragrant oasis, in this stretch of barren,
joyless materialism.  There is no time there for flowers, where even the
cabbages in front of the dingy grocery stores look withered and seared,
and where there is no other watchword than, "Work, work, or we will be
homeless and starving."  That one thought rules the brains of my fellows
with an iron grasp.  With the close of their daily toil their day’s
worry is not over.  Listen to the talks on the stoops and in the
doorways of the tenements and you will be the witness of much fretting.
Often all this mind’s botheration is not necessary.  There is no actual
want, no threatening danger of it.  Yet, the poor find a gruesome
pleasure in dwelling in the midst of their horrors, and the roll of
their organ of misery churns along on an endless chain.

And I believe that this is so because the child life of the East Side is
dwarfed and deprived of all that is dear to a child’s natural desires.
Every year brings improvements.  Men and women with hearts of gold are
working like Trojans among the children of the poor, and the harder they
work the more are they appreciated by their charges.  I cannot rid
myself of the opinion that in the aiding of the children lies the only
solution of our social troubles.  Teach them to be natural—a difficult
feat, to swing themselves above their level in intellect and not by
imitating the modes and fashions of the idle rich in the shoddy fabrics
offered to them by unscrupulous dealers, and we will have advanced miles
nearer to the goal which is desired by all who love their fellow men,
not with mushy sentiment, but with intelligence.

Still, in spite of all that is done, the yearning look in the eyes of
the children is still there, and I would not care to have the heart of
the man who can see the unspoken wish in the childish gaze when
beholding a flower, no matter how scraggy, and then laugh at it as at a
freak of humor.

My acquaintance with the denizens of the kingdom of flowers was
exceedingly limited.  My teacher had noticed this and forthwith set to
work to remedy this other defect in my education.

As early as May did we begin our out-of-door course.  We did it by means
of excursions.  I did not care to have this arrangement all one-sided
and we agreed to change off in the management of our personally
conducted tours.  We both had to work during the week and could only
indulge in our excursions on Sundays.  So, on one outing she would be
the supreme director and dictator; I, on the next.

Candor compels me to confess that my outings always led us dangerously
near to Coney Island, if not quite to it, yet, people can enjoy
themselves even there, for it is the same old ocean, and the same sea
air there as elsewhere, and it only lies with the visitor how to spend
the holiday.

On her Sundays I was always kept in the dark as to our destination until
we reached it.  It invariably proved to be some quiet country place,
with nooks and brooks and all the charming props which set the stage of
nature with tranquil loveliness.  After depositing the luncheon in some
shady spot, the professor would trip from flower to flower, from tree to
tree, and deliver little sermons on birds, flowers and minerals.  There
is no schoolroom like God’s own nature, and in a way which I cannot
describe to you, I learned that there was a life abounding in purity, in
the understanding of things, and based in the wisdom of a wise Father.
Step by step my faithful teacher led me on, until there was no doubt
travailing me, until I could stand in street, or field, or forest, and
feel my soul, my own undying soul.

There never were other days like these and, surely, there never will be
again.

We had then known one another for a long time. I had become capable of
reasoning, and had grave cause for doing so.  Was it all for the best?
Will it surprise you to know that constant companionship with my mentor
had awakened in me thoughts very foreign to grammar and arithmetic?

I loved her.  I knew it, but I also felt that that love was doomed to be
buried unsatisfied.  A cat may look at a queen, but that is about all a
cat may presume to do.

That is what my reason told me, but in my heart there echoed a stirring
hymn of fondest hope.  It would not let me rest, and I became a
pestering nuisance to my teacher.  Many times daily would I ask her the
questions, "Why, why do you undergo this ceaseless labor—why do you set
yourself this gigantic task of making of me a man?"

As in all other matters, I was rough and uncouth in my annoying
questioning, and an answer to it was long refused.  But my bulldog
tenacity came to my aid and I would not let go.  Determination will
overcome a good many things, and surely a little school teacher.  I need
not tell you how it happened—you either know, or will know it
yourself—but one day we understood the question and the answer.

Then life for us became a blessed thing indeed. For the first time in my
life I was supremely happy. I cannot tell you how my little girl felt,
but can give a very strong guess at it, for my sweetheart never wavered,
never failed me, and was my very own until the very last.

My Mamie Rose, my bride, my dearest friend, my all.

It took me a long time to fully grasp that she had really said "Yes," to
the ever-important question, but, as soon as I was quite sure of it, I
assumed the grand airs of proprietorship new swains usually assume.

First of all I exerted my prerogative of calling her by her first name.

Although long under her tutelage and exposed to her refining influence,
I was by no means, very polished, and still harbored many prejudices
against customs and usages not common to the social shift from which I
had sprung.  The nomenclature of my people is very limited.  Only a very
small choice of male and female baptismal names is resorted to by
tenement house folk.  John, James, Michael, Patrick, Henry, George,
Charles are the most used male names; Maggie, Sadie, Susie, Lizzie,
Nellie and Mamie are the favorite female names, or, at least, the
favorite abbreviations of the names.

The name, Marie R. Deering, sounded a trifle too fashionable, too
"toney," to me, and I proceeded to acclimatize it.

"Mamie" is the abbreviation or substitute for "Marie," so my little girl
was immediately dubbed "Mamie."

The "R."—the initial of her middle name, stood for Rosetta, and it was
decidedly against the code of ethics of the Fourth Ward for any one to
be burdened by such an enormity.  Again I officiated at the imaginary
baptismal font, and "Rosetta" became a plain "Rose," sweet to me as no
other.

Let no one think for a moment that my changing of names was accomplished
without opposition. Besides other things, little people also possess the
virtue of stubbornness, and many were the arguments pro and con.  I was
told with most charming emphasis that I could shout "Mamie Rose" to the
winds, but that she, Marie R. Deering, would never—no, never—answer to
that name.  But, you know the old saying about many little drops of
water penetrating the surface of the hardest stone, and the same was
true in this case.  Also, it should not be forgotten that she, my Mamie
Rose, was of English descent, I was of Irish stock, and it is in Ireland
where the Blarney stone is, which same instils a wonderful magic in the
love-making of every descendant of good Erin’s folk.

We had barely sealed the compact of our love when I received a fearful
shock.  My Mamie Rose wanted me to inform her mother concerning what had
happened.

Mrs. Deering and myself had become very good friends.  On several
occasions she had even been my fellow-conspirator, by helping me to
solve some weird puzzles in multiplication, imposed on me by her
daughter.  I had often sat at her table and had spent many hours, made
pleasant by her, in the cosy home.  However, all this did not seem
sufficient to screw my courage up to the required pitch.  Many
particularly ticklish situations in my past life had been met by me
without flinching, but I actually trembled when I was obliged to face
this sweet lady with my portentous information and request.

If I had trembled with fear before telling her, I trembled with joy
after it.

I could hardly believe my senses when I did not hear one word of regret
or reproach from her lips. And when she said quietly, and, therefore,
most impressively: "I have no fear for Marie’s future," I became her
bonded slave right on the spot, and hold myself in bondage to her to
this very day.

Richard, my brave, crippled Dick—my "other" pal—was most effusive in his
congratulations, but, he admitted to me his was a selfish reason, for
now I was his big brother in "dead earnest."

Naturally, all this gave me an increased impetus to earn more money, and
I put so much zeal into my work that my wages were several times
increased.  Nevertheless, I was still nothing more or less than a
"baggage smasher."  However, all of it, courtship and the rest, was so
entirely out of the ordinary that a little thing like this did not cause
us any worry.  And if one happens to be a "baggage-smasher," it does not
follow that one must always remain one.  Besides, the queen did not mind
it, and as to the cat, well—there is no use in talking to you if you
cannot imagine what the cat thought about it.



                           *AMBASSADOR BILL.*



                             *CHAPTER XVI.*

                           *AMBASSADOR BILL.*


One who has been somewhat neglected in the few preceding pages is my old
pal, my Bill.  His soul, heart, instinct, call it what you will, was
undergoing severe trials.

Mamie Rose was the cause of it.

With her coming into our lives, she sowed the seed of jealousy between
me and Bill.

Bill found a new joy in trotting beside my teacher at times when he
should have been at my side.  He seemed the proudest dog in all the
world and hardly deigned to notice me.

This I resented.

On the other hand, at times when Mamie Rose and I would sit close
together, Bill could not rest until, with all his mighty prowess, he had
squirmed himself between us.

For a long time he did not know whom of his two friends he should love
the best.  But, with coming weeks and months, he decided to share his
affection evenly, and then we understood one another’s feelings and
respected our relative positions.

Would that I could take a peep into Bill’s doggish brain and read the
memory of those heavenly days!

A man who is born to coarseness and brutality will sometimes lose
control of his acquired attainments.  There came a day, long forgiven
and forgotten by her, but not yet sufficiently atoned by me, when I
permitted the subdued brute within me to assert itself for one brief
moment.  I saw immediately what I had done, and realized that my
rowdyism could not be forgiven.

Then was a lapse in deepest shadows.  Regrets, reproaches,
self-accusations—what good were they? They could not lead me back to
paradise.  The room became a place of silent brooding, and not as
regularly shared by Bill as formerly.  Bill had taken no part in our
estrangement.  Emotional dog as he was, he never forgot to take care of
the inner dog whenever an opportunity presented itself.  From the very
beginning he had industriously cultivated the acquaintance of my little
girl’s mother.  First, becomingly modest, he had, in the course of time,
insisted on being a regular guest at the dinner-table. I meant to break
him of this habit, but the mother told me in confidence that Bill had
whispered to her, quite plainly: "I think you are the very best cook in
the world."  Few women can resist such a compliment.

For two long days I had not seen her—had not heard her voice.  She lived
just around the corner, and, from the window of my tenement, I could see
the walls that sheltered my treasure, that I thought forever lost.  I
sat and sat and stared at the cruel bricks that seemed to cry, "Halt!"
Small wonder that the lesser things of life had lost their importance to
me!  Even Bill had, for the nonce, but little space in my thoughts; but
he lost no time in bringing himself most forcibly to my notice.

I was at the window, and the door way slightly ajar.  All was quiet,
very quiet, until a slow patter on the stairs told of my partner’s
home-coming. My most casual glance was his share on entering the room.
He was very anxious to avail himself of this, and made quickly for the
sheltering shadows under the bed.  But my careless glance had quickly
changed to one of concern on beholding him, and, after much coaxing, he
crawled out to face me.

My valiant knight had met his conqueror.  The hero of many a battle sat
wounded and bandaged before me.  His left eye was swathed in linen.  He
tried to pass over the matter lightly; he wagged his tail, but only
once, for that, too, was bandaged. Then he threw himself on my mercy.

It behooved me, as his partner, to investigate the extent of the damage,
and I carefully untied the bandage that covered his eye.  It was only a
trifling scratch, suspiciously like one made by a cat.  I also noticed
that his badge of honor—his collar—was missing.  On the point of
throwing aside the bandage, a handkerchief, my eye fell on a well-known
monogram in its corner, and—I cannot exactly recall how it happened—but,
in the very next minute, my Bill and I were descending the rickety
stairs, two steps at a time.

Just as we turned the corner, a belligerent-looking tabby made herself
exceedingly conspicuous.  Somehow, Bill found the other side of the
street preferable. At her door he joined me again, and my queen’s
ambassador led the way upstairs.

There I stood before her, and stammered uncouth phrases of apology.  I
mentioned Bill’s collar.  A dainty hand took it from the mantel and
handed it to me; our fingers met and—all the world was singing again the
sweet refrain which for days had been silent.  The impudence of that dog
beggars all description.  He had the unblushing nerve to claim all the
credit for having brought love’s jangle into tune again, and, in his
excitement, rapped his damaged caudal appendage three times on the floor
before he tried to bite it.

Then our happiness began once more.



                         *MY DÉBUT IN SOCIETY.*



                            *CHAPTER XVII.*

                         *MY DÉBUT IN SOCIETY.*


Had our future plans depended on my inclinations, or rather my impulses,
our wedding would have taken place very soon after our engagement. All I
deemed necessary to insure our future happiness was our love.  All else
was of no importance. Now I know that her judgment was the better.

I had sense enough to admit her wisdom.  I was still very much entangled
in the forest of ignorance. It could not have been right for me to force
myself on her, refined and cultured as she was—until, at least
approximately I was on the same level.  I had still much, very much, to
learn before considering myself capable to class myself with the
non-illiterate. There were years of study before me, yet, with such a
prize dancing before me, I threw myself into my task with true
enthusiasm.

So, though I often grumbled at my fate, I fully understood that it would
be many moons before I could justly say to my Mamie Rose: "Now I am
ready."

We were both human.  Sometimes, perhaps, in the hour when the homing of
the sun had come and when the golden wings were folded for the rest of
one more night, we, Mamie Rose and I, in field or rural quiet, felt the
intoned, unison song of our hearts, which sung to us that we were one, a
unit, and not two different personalities, and then we often came very
near to throwing aside all previous sagacious resolves and felt
ourselves fired by the desire to end to-morrow this two-fold existence.
These periods never lasted long.  The morrow came and whispered:
"Fools," and we forgot the swerving from our intentions, in hard work.

Since that time I have had many days of very hard labor, but I never
worked as I did then. Corporations are not in the habit of paying
liberal salaries unless every cent of them is earned by the sweat of
your brow.  For one in my humble position I was receiving exceedingly
high wages—and, to be candid, I had to earn them by my sweat.  Often I
was given an opportunity to work "over time" at extra pay.  It was
always welcome, because it meant so much more added to my deposit in the
Savings Bank, but it simply "played me out."

From the pier I would hurry to Mamie Rose’s house to report or to
receive a lesson, although, sometimes, besides the lessons, other things
were discussed.  Then home and to other work.

I had left the attic and had taken a room, from where I could see Mamie
Rose’s roof.  Arrived in the room, Bill would be given his walk and
dinner, and then would be permitted to watch his master "making himself
educated."  The Standard Oil Company really ought to give me a discount.
I was a good customer, yet received not all the benefit possible from
the oil.  My midnight oil often burned away into morning to no better
purpose than to throw shadows of the sleeping student and his dog.

I blush with deep shame while making this confession; I invariably fell
asleep over Ralph Waldo Emerson, while I had no trouble in keeping awake
with Alexandre Dumas.  It is not intended as a criticism of Emerson,
although he could well afford to be criticised by me, but, generally
speaking, it seems to one as unformed as myself, as if the truths of
life, of thought, of science come to us always on stilts.  I have not
been able to learn very much from present day novels, and am, and always
will be, compelled to fall back on old friends to supply me with the
scaffolding for the rather meagre structure of my education.  But, in
spite of loving them dearly, I often wish they were better adapted to my
understanding.

So, with books and work and sweet intercourse with her whom I loved,
time marched along with never-halting step and was recorded by me with
most exact care.  My calendars were model chronicles of time, and often
did I wish they were practical statesmen, so that, by the usual means,
they could be speeded.

With one exception nothing occurred to change the even tenor of our
lives.  That one exception has, to this very day left a peculiarly
bitter taste in my mouth.  I admit I am biased in the matter, still, I
can be truthful, and so, that I may be better understood, the episode
will be related here.

Late one Saturday night, I had occasion to call on one of my former
pals, who was lying ill on a cot in a lodging house near Chinatown.  On
my way home, I passed the entrance to Chinatown—Pell street, beginning
at the Bowery.  I had just greeted a few of the men loafing about the
front of Barney Flynn’s place—the palace of the King of the Bowery—when
I was hailed by some one.

I looked around and saw a party of sightseers coming in my direction.  I
had no more to do with that sort of business and intended to proceed on
my way without paying any attention to them, but was called by name by
one of them, whose voice was familiar to me.

"What do you want?" I asked, and halted.

"What’s the matter, Kil?  Don’t you remember your friends any more?"

I looked at the speaker and knew him again as one of my former pupils in
the physical culture line. To mention his name will do no good and I
will only say that he had been my favorite pupil and that I had believed
a mutual liking existed between us. To prevent error, let me say that he
had not been my patient, being neither too fat nor too lean, but had
only taken a course in boxing to learn the manly art of self-defense.  I
had never seen him since the closing of my physical culture system and
was overjoyed at this unexpected meeting.

He insisted that, for this one time only, and to oblige him, I should
take him and the party of his friends through Chinatown and show them
the most interesting sight-places.  His friends were all from out of
town, seemed to be more serious than the average sightseer, and were so
strong in their persuasion that I could not refuse to act as their
guide.

During our journey along the old scenes of my former days, my ex-pupil
inquired into my present welfare and was very glad to hear I was getting
along by other ways than those formerly employed by me.  Shortly before
I parted from him, he told me that he had taken very little exercise of
late and wanted me to box with him occasionally.  I laughed at his
proposition, told him that I considered myself retired for good, but did
not think it advisable to tell him the true reason for my refusal.  He
kept on increasing the terms he was willing to pay me. I could not help
thinking how the additional income would increase my deposit; thereby
bringing me closer to the realization of my fondest dream, and, after
some reflection, I agreed to call on him twice a week in the evening to
"don the mitts" with him.

I had called on him several times before I told him how completely my
life had been changed.  In this Mamie Rose was not left out, and, you
can rest assured, my accounts of her sweetness, devotion and beauty were
given in the most glowing colors.  My regard for this man was sincere
and I supposed that all I told him was received in the proper spirit.  I
am not garrulous, but when it came to talking about my Mamie Rose, I
knew no limits. My heart simply glowed with love, and I never grew tired
to praise her, who was the truest and best.

My man never omitted to inquire after her and even sent her a few
presents through me.  Mamie Rose warned me against this, but the things
were beyond my means and added to her charm, and I would not listen to
her.

At the end of one of our sessions, my ex-pupil extended an invitation to
me.  He had told his mother about me and she was very anxious to know
me.  At a certain date I was expected to call at his mother’s
residence—he, himself, lived in bachelor quarters—to meet a few friends
there.

In this invitation Mamie Rose was also included. I was bubbling over
with excitement when telling her about the honor fallen to us.  The
quiet way in which she received my news disappointed me.

"Aren’t you glad?" I asked.  "Doesn’t this prove that my friend is of
the right calibre and wishes to honor both you and me by this invitation
to his mother’s house?"

"I wish I could feel quite sure on that point," said my little adviser,
"but I am afraid that this invitation instead of bringing us pleasure,
will bring just the opposite."

"Oh, girl o’ mine," I coaxed, "I know this fellow and you don’t.  He is
as good as gold and you may believe me that the invitation was extended
in good faith."

I prevailed, and, on the appointed day, we invaded the most fashionable
quarters of the city to enjoy the hospitality of our friends, the
swells.

After we had passed the scrutiny of the man at the door, who had
evidently been told of our coming, we were ushered into a drawing room.
The only one I knew among the people was my ex-pupil, who quickly came
forward to greet us and, then, to introduce us.

In spite of my lack of familiarity with the customs of the upper
classes, I saw at a glance that the crowd had been expectant and was now
disappointed.

To explain this disappointment, I should mention that my wearing apparel
consisted of a black suit of good material and workmanship.  My necktie
was not colored in imitation of the rainbow and I had no occasion to
look for a convenient spot for my expectorations.  To carry the
disappointment further, I acted contrarily to expectations at the dinner
table.  I neglected to carry the food to my mouth at the point of my
knife and forgot to dip my finger into the salt-cellar.

My Mamie Rose was, as always, becomingly and properly gowned, and
carried herself with a tact which fortified me against giving full reins
to my temper.

Before entering the dining-room, the two freaks from the Bowery were
made the centre of much curiosity.  The men got around me, expecting to
hear choice stories of a certain kind, which contrary to accepted ideas,
are not original in the Bowery, but are brought there by these pioneers
of refined civilization.  Their faces fell when I proved a decided
failure at that sort of story-telling.

While in their midst, I did not forget Mamie Rose, who was the centre of
the female freak-hunters.  I compared her poise, her naturalness, to the
artificial sprightliness of the society ladies, and found it so
admirable and sufficient, that I could well afford to laugh at the winks
and sneers exchanged behind her back.

One old woman, who with her gray hair, made a reverential picture of old
age, deliberately surveyed my Mamie Rose through her lorgnette, as if
the sweetest girl there or elsewhere were an escaped beast from the
jungle.  I could not bear this and started toward my girl.  But she felt
my coming, turned to me and showed in her eye the competency to
withstand the illy veiled sneers and insults of that horde of her
sisters.

A few minutes before dinner was announced, I had an opportunity to
entreat Mamie Rose to have us leave.

"I did not want to come, but now we are here and here we stay," was her
spirited dictum.

The ceremonial style of the meal and the conversation during it
impressed me very little.  The emptiness, the superficiality and the
desire to "show off" was too palpable.  I had not then—or now—reached
that altitude of social perfection to make a meal the most important
function of my day’s work. After we, the gentlemen, (I am afraid I was
not included), had had our smoke and bout with the decanters, we joined
the ladies in the drawing room. One of them had evidently been "laying
for me," and captured me as soon as I entered.  I was led to a settee
and there we had a very, very serious talk.

She asked me this and she asked me that; if the dives were really as
horrible as pictured; if it was quite safe to visit them; if I would
consent to act as guide, for a generous compensation; if I had ever
witnessed any "interesting" scenes down on the Bowery; and—spare me
telling the rest.

My answers were not what were desired and, at last, I had a sample of
frank truthfulness.

"Do you know, Mr. Kildare," said my resplendent companion, "you are a
decided disappointment as a Bowery type, and not at all the entertaining
chap we had been led to believe you to be."

"I am sure that is more the fault of time than of me," I replied.
"Years often make us lose our entertaining qualities and, also, our
attractiveness."

Our serious talk ended with this, still, she was a surprisingly well
made-up woman.

At last the time for our departure came and I said my adieus.  Our visit
having proved more or less of a fiasco, one of the more intimate friends
of the family chose this moment to make an attempt to save the
"entertainment" from becoming an absolute fizzle.

"I say, Kildare," began this worthy young man, who was doubtless
unacquainted with my past performances in the exhibition of my temper,
"you’ve been in society now, and it would be very appropriate if you
were to tell us your impressions in your own language—mind you, in your
own language."

For once the pleading in the eye of my Mamie Rose was of no avail, and I
started to give my impressions in "my own language," which proved
sufficient, and did not oblige me to borrow the language of anybody
else.  My heart was soured. I did not care a snap of my fingers for the
opinion of these people.  To them I was a freak.  What they were, what
they are to me, need not be written here.  I could have laughed at it
all and would have been the only one really entertained. But to think
that those people, purse and caste-proud, should include my Mamie Rose
in their sport, made my blood run like boiling lava.

How far I might have gone in my outburst I cannot say.  The same little
hand, which had always been my guide, touched my arm, and I followed her
out into the hall.

Before we departed, mother and son came to us with their sincere
apologies.  They were sincere, we felt that and accepted them.  The son
accused himself of having misunderstood the situation, in which I agreed
with him.  We were most graciously invited to dine with them "en
famille," a few days hence, but while we left in the best understanding,
the invitation was thankfully declined.

Again out in the air, under God’s own heaven, we walked along silently
for quite a while.  My, but I felt ashamed, and was ready to hear with
perfect composure my Mamie Rose’s "I told you so."

But it did not come, and I began rehearsing my plea for pardon.

"Girl o’ mine," I pleaded, "won’t you forgive me this time, and I
promise never——"

Ere I could finish, my pardon came with a silvery laugh, and the world
went very well again.

Less than an hour after that, we were without the pale of society and,
strange though it may seem, we were perfectly happy.  My Mamie Rose was
busy with her school-work, the mother was taking a well-earned
rest—perhaps trying to take a little nap in the rocker, and the little
fellow and I were racing about the place to the tune of "The Rocky Road
to Dublin," sung—let me call it that—by me in tones that shook the
rafters.

Within the last twelve months, I have been honored on several occasions
with invitations to functions of the upper set.  They were extended in a
different spirit than the first one, still, I could not see my way clear
to accept them.

I want to say most emphatically that I am not of anarchistic or
nihilistic tendencies.  We all have our work cut out, and my work is not
in the direction of stirring up emotional outbursts of charity in the
drawing rooms of the upper circles.



                          *THE JOURNEY HOME.*



                            *CHAPTER XVIII.*

                          *THE JOURNEY HOME.*


Time passed on, bringing with it many of the things I was striving for.
To become a learned man, a scientist, was never my desire, and, most
likely, would have been an impossibility had I desired it.  What I
wanted was to be able to understand, to acquire a fair amount of mental
balance, and then, to be able to put the acquired knowledge to the best
use.

With the changing of my life, a changing of aims had also come, and, as
in the old life, I was striving for success in the new life.  The best
way to make an ambition possible is to make the ambition reasonable.

I was still groping and groping, but thank God, I was groping forward.
From whatever darkness still enshrouded me I kept steadily emerging
closer to the light.  I felt this and it made me feel that my probation
should be ended.

Success without thrift is not well possible.  My material advancement
had continued.  I had again been promoted and had soared way above the
lowly position of a "baggage-smasher."  My salary was more than ample
for my needs, and my deposit in the savings bank had grown wondrously.

Capitalists are proverbially aggressive.  I, being one of the order
acted accordingly and began to force matters.  Women like to be coaxed
and urged, and I did my proper share of it, because I knew it would
result as it did.

With the consent of the mother, the date of our wedding was set for
February.

Again another glorious period began.

It was over two months until the fixed date on which we were to become
man and wife, and we thought it necessary to inform ourselves concerning
several practical details.  As I had now almost succeeded in securing a
mentor for life, we agreed to suspend our evening lecture tours, and
spent most of our time in wandering from store to store.

The time for buying household goods had not yet come, but it seemed to
delight Mamie Rose to gaze into the shop-windows.  At times, we would
even go so far as to enter a store and price the goods.  It was then
that my admiration for my little girl increased again.

I had long ago recognized that of common sense I had only a very small
share, and it was a splendid object-lesson to see my Mamie Rose dealing
with the tradesmen.  Calm and collected, she would listen to the smooth
talk, and then act according to her own judgment, which was always
sound.  I knew nothing then of the sagacity of women shoppers.

One night I attempted to show off a little of my business sagacity.  I
chose a bad subject to practice on—diamonds.  I can still hear her words
ring in my ears.  How foolish it was of poor people to stint and starve
themselves for the sake of imitating flashy people by wearing jewels
bought at the expense of something more useful.  Diamonds and jewels
were often the means of making the ignorance of the wearers more
conspicuous.  A woman who wears jewels knows that she needs other
attractions than those given to her by nature.

Right here I got the best of my Mamie Rose.

"That may be all true, but nevertheless, I am going to buy you a ring,
girl o’ mine," I said very seriously.

"No, you will not, because you know I do not want it, and it will only
offend me to have you give me one."

"What?" I retorted, playing my part with perfection. "Won’t you permit
me to buy you a ring for that day in February?"

"Oh, that is different, and—why are you laughing, Owen Kildare?"

Oh, girl o’ mine, girl o’ mine, why had it to be!

The day was only weeks distant.

                     *      *      *      *      *

It was in January, and we were out on one of our nightly rambles in the
shopping district.  It was one of those mild winter evenings which make
our climate so uneven.  I was glad of it, because my Mamie Rose was a
dainty, delicate little creature, and on cold evenings I was afraid that
she might suffer from the weather.

We were looking at some furniture displayed in a window, when a shower
fell.  We were caught right squarely in it.  I wanted her to seek refuge
in a store, or at least, in a doorway, but we were only a short distance
from her home, and she insisted on reaching it before the shower turned
into a downpour.

I had a heavy overcoat over a stout suit of clothes. "Let me put, at
least, my overcoat over your shoulders," I insisted.

"No, you foolish boy, no," she laughed in answer.  "Why, we’re only a
jump from home, and I am dressed warm enough to risk these few drops."

For once my Mamie Rose was wrong and it was the "once" that counted.

My misgivings were many when I left her at her home, but she assured me
that she was in no danger of feeling the effects of the dampness.

I called on the following evening.

She had been in bed all day.

Of course it was nothing.  "Just a trifling cold," that was all—but the
beginning of the end had come.

She laughed at us for our fears.

"Why, I’ll be up and about the same as ever to-morrow."

To-morrow!  To-morrow multiplied into dread, fearsome weeks.  Yes, for
weeks she painfully lingered on her bed, and I marveled with awe at the
heroic spirit of my little girl.

The weakness increased until she looked like a dainty statue hewn in
alabaster.

It was only a trifle more than a week before the date set for our
wedding.  The physician stepped from her bed and beckoned me to follow
him into the next room.

You know what he told me, and you know that I did not believe him.

"The end coming?  Pshaw, what nonsense!  Was there not a loving, a
merciful God above us?"

I could not deny the evidence before me.  She was getting worse every
day, but I could not, would not, believe that, which even her mother had
accepted with resignation.

And next week we were to be married!

Spells came, during which reason left her, but in all her conscious
moments she spoke to me with the wisdom of another world, and gave me
then her legacy of purest, Godliest love.

Then came the day!

The afternoon sun was low when she asked me to lift her to the window.
It was a humble neighborhood, devoid of all picturesqueness.  All we saw
in the last sheen of the sun’s departing rays was a little girl on the
opposite sidewalk, playing with a kitten.  The picture was very simple,
but my beloved one watched with smiling interest until her tired little
head fell on my shoulder.

She was so light, one did hardly know anything was in his arms, and
without disturbing her reposing position, I carried her back to her
couch. Back in her bed, we clasped hands, as foolish lovers will do,
and, still confident, still hoping, lulled by the quiet and her happy
smile, I fell asleep.

Suddenly I was awakened.

Her hand was not in mine.  Her mother, weeping, knelt beside the bed.

"Why——?"

I understood, and in that same moment the edifice reared by her with
such infinite care shook to its very foundations.

In the twinkling of an eye I was my old self again. The brute, so long
subdued and partly tamed, arose in me with fury.

I drove them from the room.  No one, except me, had a right there.  And
then, alone with her, I reveled in my sorrow, or burst into wild rage.

There, on the dome above us, were all the glistening orbs, which she had
taught me were radiant evidences of God.

What mockery!

I rushed to the casement, and bellowing in delirium, I shook my fist at
moon and stars—and cursed the Mighty Presence.

Then came an interval.

For a time I was cool and realized.

Her soul had flown to the realms above.

Alone with her, I sat for minutes, hours, eternities, it seemed, and
every lovely feature of my Mamie Rose became forever engraven upon my
mind and heart.  My right hand was resting on hers, my left was hanging
motionless by my side.  Something rubbed against it.  It was Bill, and
all he had been to me was forgotten.  No one, not even he, had a right
there.

Again the beast flared up, and for the first and last time my Bill felt
the brutal force of my wrath. He returned defiantly from the corner
where he had landed and spoke his valid claim:

"I have a right here, Kil.  You loved her, so did I, and I can
understand your sorrow."

I let him stay, and through that bitter night man and dog kept their
silent vigil beside the bier of her who had loved both.

Perhaps I was wrong to profane the quiet chamber by the presence of my
Bill, but I know she would have sanctioned it—we three were square,
honest comrades.

With the coming of the same sun whose going she and I had watched only a
few hours ago, came saner, holier thoughts.  A message seemed to float
to me from her sacred lips.

I knelt and prayed, "Thy will be done."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Spare me telling you where, how and when she was buried.  What
difference does it make to you how she went her last journey, never to
return in the flesh?  Whether we had her buried in mountains of her
favorite flower or sent her away in the pine box of the pauper, is of no
consequence to you. She was nothing to you, she was mine, all mine; in
life or in death, on earth or in heaven.

                     *      *      *      *      *



                           *THE INHERITANCE.*



                             *CHAPTER XIX.*

                           *THE INHERITANCE.*


Little more is to be told.

Time has smoothed the jagged edges, and I have never again dared to
measure my puny wisdom to His.  Yet, and there is a forgiveness, no day
passes without the question: "Is what I have learned worth the tuition
fee?"

True, my knowledge is trifling when compared to yours, but we also
differ in our "Whence."

To me it is all a miracle.  Before it I did not even grope about in the
darkness searching for light.

I was satisfied.

Now I know at least that there is a soul, a mind within me, and that
they were given for a purpose. There are limits to my understanding, and
why it was that just as the portals of the better life were slowly
opening to me, my little guide should fall exhausted on the threshold,
is now a mystery to me, but will some day be answered.

Soon after the funeral the mother and the little brother went West to
the elder son to make their future home with him.  That left just Bill
and me.

We got used to it in time.  We had always had the same likes and
hobbies, and we found ways to spend our time with profit to ourselves.

Down here, where we live, there are few trees and flowers, and even air
is at a premium.  Air is necessary, and Bill and I have devised a scheme
to get it as pure as possible under the circumstances.

The roaring bustle of lower Broadway turns into deadly silence with the
fall of evening.  For miles, excepting a watchman or policeman, you will
scarcely see a living being.  That is where Bill and I enjoy our
pleasant pastime.  After the day’s work is ended we travel through the
quiet streets until we reach our stoop in the yawning dark cañon of the
skyscrapers.  We do not talk much; there is better intercourse.

From where we sit we gaze up at the skies and greet the merry twinkle of
our glistening friends. Then through the dancing myriads of celestial
bodies our vision winds its way on through the mazes, and does not stop
until it sees the most beloved spirit in all the glory of the heavenly
home. Every star reflects her face in brilliants, and from behind the
hazy veilings of the cloud-smile her eyes shine radiantly.  Bill and I
go home, not lonely, not sad or soured, for we have spent the hours in
the anteroom of heaven and have learned another lesson in the quiet
night.

The firmament and the stars are for all of us; their glories shine for
all mankind.  You, gentle reader, may learn to know them—to own
them—but, alas! you cannot own my Bill.  Perhaps you would not care for
him.  He never was handsome, and now he is getting old and might not be
to you a pleasant companion.  But he has traveled with me along life’s
highway; he has never told a lie; he has been loyal and true, and
there’s not in all this world another dog like my good old pal.

For some time after the going-home of my Mamie Rose I was ill, but found
my position still open for me after regaining my health.  I was not so
strong as I had been, but did not wish to neglect my work, and,
overtasking myself, an accident permanently incapacitated me for that
kind of employment.  I had to submit to an operation—to be repeated
later—and the expense of it, with the long and enforced idleness, soon
exhausted the remainder of my savings.

It was then that the old past crooned the tempter’s lay.  But for only a
very short time was I near the brink, from which it would have been easy
to drop back into the black abyss from whence I had come.

I overcame my temptation, and, since then, have had no fear that I would
revert to my former ways of wickedness.  I have learned to understand
life, feel mind and soul within me, and I want to go on, not back.

And, besides, there is the legacy of her who has taught and inspired me.

Some who will approve of my determination to go on might disapprove of
the immediate methods employed by me.

I had to go to work and was compelled to accept the first opportunity
offered to me.  I became a dishwasher in a downtown lunchroom at three
dollars a week.

It was unsavory work, but it was work, and left me time in the evenings
and on Sundays to live in my books.

Bill and I were again reduced to the attic.  It did not affect us very
much, as we were both in a mood in which we did not care for the nicety
of our environment.

One day I heard that a man I knew wanted to see me to tell me about a
better job, which, however, was in the dishwashing line, too.  He was
staying at a lodging house.  He was not in when I called there, and I
sat down in the reading room to wait for him.  The tables were covered
with daily papers which are furnished free by the lodging house keepers,
and I took one to while the time away.

It was the Evening Journal.  I glanced through the news columns and then
meant to drop the paper. The only page which had absolutely no interest
for me was the women’s page.  Once, indeed, it had helped to built
castles in Spain, and the patterns of gay frocks and dresses had made
our "dreams to come true" more enjoyable, but now—it was all different.

Throwing the paper to the table it happened that just that women’s page
was uppermost.  I did not read it, but every once in a while my glance
would sweep the page in rambling look.  At the bottom of it there was a
caption in big type: "The Evening Journal’s True Love Story Contest."
The caption was so conspicuous that my eye could not help meeting it
every time I looked at the page.  My wait was long.  I did not care to
go over the news columns again, and at last I began reading the True
Love Story.

It was not a bad story, still the features of it were not very
extraordinary.  I finished it, and then soliloquized.

"If the story of this man is worth printing, why not mine?  All there is
to his story is that he and the girl had a quarrel before the marriage
eventually took place.  Neither one of them had to undergo a
self-sacrifice.  Would it be sacrilegious to tell the story of my Mamie
Rose?  Or would it not rather inspire greater unselfishness in those who
are in love?"

I discussed this question with myself for some time, and then came to
the conclusion that the memory of my little girl would not be profaned
by having the story of our love told.  To this very day I am not sure
whether I did right in giving way to my inclination.  Perhaps I acted
indelicately, but on the other hand I am not refined or cultured, and
the dictates of my heart are generally decisive in a question of this
kind.

I did not have a scrap of paper in my pocket, but saw a piece of yellow
wrapping paper on the floor. I examined its cleanliness, and, finding it
fairly clean, began to write my story.  The conditions were rather
severe for an amateur author.  The story had to be told in less than
seven hundred and fifty words.

After the last line was written I hurried to the office of the Evening
Journal, not trusting the stability of my impulse.  A very imposing
young man condescended to receive my contribution, and, instead of
reading it immediately, threw it carelessly aside.

"That is a story for the ’Prize Contest,’" I whispered, falteringly.

"Is it?  I thought it was an editorial on the relative positions of
England and Russia in Manchuria. Anyway, don’t let it worry you, it
won’t worry us. We haven’t anything to do with that kind of stuff; it
goes up to the editor of the women’s page."

If that young man could have read my thoughts he would have been
surprised to find how near he was to trouble.  The story of my only
blessing called "stuff" by that young whippersnapper!

Not until many months later did I understand that "stuff" meant anything
and everything from an essay to a two-line joke.

I firmly believe that I was the first buyer of the Evening Journal on
the following day.  I turned to the women’s page, but did not find my
story. The following day brought the same experience, and I felt certain
then that my "stuff" had found its way into the waste basket.

On the third day I saw the name, Owen Kildare, for the first time in
print.  I had won the prize and received my check.  My elation knew no
bounds, and when, after a few days, letters full of sympathy reached me,
I was certain that I had not done wrong in writing that little story.

My thoughts found something new to think about.  If this story, written
under adverse circumstances and without any preparation, could win a
prize, why could I not write other stories about the men and women I had
known, and about the things and scenes I had seen and am still seeing?
If, as in some of the stories which I had read in reputable magazines,
untruths and deliberate misrepresentations can find a place in print,
the truth about us—the people of the slums—should surely be also worthy
of publication.

My mind was full of incidents witnessed by me through the many years I
spent in slummery, and, without any difficulty, I wrote a story of the
life I know best.

I sent the story to McClure’s Magazine.  It was accepted and partly paid
for, but later returned to me because it was a trifle "too true."  I
sold it three days later to the Sunday Press, and the editor, Mr.
William Muller, invited me to become a contributor. The invitation was
gladly accepted, and short stories, editorials and special articles, all
treating of my peculiar phase, have since then been written by me for
that paper.

During my connection with the Press I learned much from Andrew McKenzie,
who succeeded William Muller as Sunday editor, and who never tired of
pruning my "copy" with kind care.  There also I met one of the finest
men that it has ever been my pleasure to know, Hilary Bell, who, besides
being the critic of the paper, was an artist and literateur of high
degree, and so devoted to his work that the zeal with which he pursued
his studies brought him to a much too early end. Bright, staunch, manly,
Hilary Bell is no more, but his memory will live forever in my grateful
heart. In the fall of 1901 the Sunday Herald published a story, "How To
Be a Gentleman on Ten Thousand a Year."  I happened to read it and,
providing one has the other and more essential qualities, thought it no
hard matter to keep from starvation on that amount.  The story was
written in a spirit of complaint, reciting how difficult it was to be a
"somebody" in society on that figure.  Down here on the Bowery and East
Side we have gentlemen, though some may doubt it, and they manage to
retain their claim to the title on very much less than ten thousand.
The contrast was so wide that I could not refrain from writing about it
and submitting it to the Herald.

Mr. Dinwiddie, the Sunday editor, sent me a letter asking me to call.  I
had called the story "How To Be a Gentleman on Three Dollars a Week."
The editor thought my story a trifle exaggerated, and it took some time
to convince him that the truth had not been stretched.  But at last the
story was printed, and I followed it up with other stories about my
people.

In January, 1902, Mr. Hartley Davis, the editor of the Sunday News,
invited me to become a steady contributor to that paper.  The News had
always been the paper of the Fourth Ward, and you can easily imagine
what a stir it created among some of my old friends when they saw my
name so frequently at the bottom of a story.  In the "front rooms" of
many humble homes down there I have seen some of my stories hang
proudly, and framed, in the place of honor on the wall.  And it has made
me feel good.  Not so much because of the self-satisfaction, although
let me be frank and state that very often when I know and feel I have
written a fairly good story, I cannot hide my pride in my work and glory
in it, for it proves to me that all was not in vain—but because it shows
that even these poor people whom you think so vile, so demoralized, are
glad to recognize it with sincerity, when one from among them succeeds
in climbing a few steps on the ladder of useful decency and manhood.

During my connection with the Sunday News I had a chat with Hartley
Davis which was the starting point of this book.  I had returned to the
office from an assignment, and, after reporting to the editor, made a
few comments on the scenes just left by me.  We fell into a discussion
on the slums, and Hartley Davis congratulated me on my escape from them.
My origin was not known to my readers at the time.  This point was
accentuated by Davis.

"Kildare, if the readers of the Sunday News knew how you were developed
from a seller of the paper on the streets to a writer for it, they would
have greater faith in your stories of your people and in you.  A chance
was offered to you and you took advantage of it.  When a man is a Bowery
tough at thirty, unable to read, and at thirty-seven starts in to earn
his living by writing, it is worth the telling."

I said: "It was not a chance, it was a miracle."

There was a difference of opinion.  To settle the difference and to
adopt the suggestion made, I wrote my story for the Sunday News and was
surprised at the sympathetic response it awakened.

Below, you will find a copy of the epitome written by Hartley Davis at
the publication of my story:


                         NEW YORK SUNDAY NEWS.

                           February 2, 1902.

               AN EPITOME OF THE CAREER OF OWEN KILDARE.

That a man should, with the aid of a good woman, raise himself from the
depths of brutish degradation to an honest manhood and regard for things
pure and holy is a fine thing.

That a man should reach the age of thirty without being able to read and
write, and then, within a few years, with the aid of this woman and
through his own indomitable will and energy, gain such mastery over the
art of writing as to be able to tell such a story as is here presented,
is so strange, so unprecedented as to warrant unbelief.

Owen Kildare is a real man and that is his real name.  He is widely
known on the Bowery, where he lives.  The writer of this knew him when
he was a bartender in Steve Brodie’s saloon and when he was a "bouncer"
in the frightful dive to which he refers.

His article is printed as it was written, with no more editing than the
"copy" of the average trained writer would receive, and it has a power
that is rare in these days.  Glance at this epitome of his life, and
wonder.

1864—Born in Catharine street.  Orphaned in his infancy and adopted by a
childless couple.

1870—Became a newsboy in the gang of which Timothy D. Sullivan was the
leader, and fended for himself.

1880—A "beer slinger" in a tough Bowery dive and a pugilist.  His
fighting capacity and brutishness made him a bouncer in one of the most
infamous resorts New York has ever known.

1894—Met the little school teacher through protecting her from insult,
who taught him to read and write and who made a man of him. Gave up
working in dives, where he made sixty dollars a week, more or less
dishonestly, to work for eight dollars a week.

1900—Death of the little school teacher one month before they were to be
married.

1902—From a newsboy, selling the Daily News, he became a writer for this
newspaper.


In no profession are the changes as frequent as in journalism, and not
long after the appearance of my story, I became a writer on the staff of
the Evening World.  While there I "ran" a series of sketches on the
editorial page of the paper.  They were written in language closely
resembling the real idiom of the Bowery.  I called the series "The
Bowery Girl Sketches," and their indorsement by the readers was
exceedingly flattering.

My experiment in Bowery language attracted the attention of William
Guard, editor of The Sunday Telegraph, who made me a very favorable
proposition. My stories in that paper were written in Bowery "slang,"
which is not slang at all, but merely the primitive way of expression my
fellows use.  The stories were signed by "The Bowery Kipling," a
sobriquet which my old and good friend, John J. Jennings, of the Evening
World, had given me.  At no time during my work for the Telegraph had
the "other" Kipling occasion to sue me for libel or infringement.

This newspaper experience has been of great value to me, but it is not
the career I would care to pursue for the rest of my life.  In it reward
is too often the consequence of accident, instead of being the logical
sequel of merit and striving.  The constant physical and mental strain
affords many excuses for stimulants, and absolutely temperate newspaper
men are among the rarities.  As said before, the changes are many in
editorial offices, and at every shifting of editors, the staffs are also
included and obliged to decamp.  There seems to be no stability as far
as permanent employment is concerned, unless a contract is signed.  But
contracts are only signed with the stars of journalism and the "small
fry" is always in fear and trembling about their jobs.  Still,
personally, throughout my short stay in newspaperdom, I have had many
kindnesses and courtesies extended to me, and the schooling was
appreciated and digested by me.

In January, 1903, I was asked by the Success Magazine to write my story
for that publication. While preparing the story I had the pleasure of
making the acquaintance of Hall Caine, the distinguished novelist from
the Isle of Man.  He has often been made the subject of much criticism,
but, this being a story of facts and not a critical essay, I can only
say that Hall Caine is a man worth knowing, and I value very highly the
letter he sent me after reading the story for Success in manuscript.

I herewith append the letter:


"My Dear Mr. Kildare: I have read your story, and I have been deeply
touched by it.  Nothing more true or human has come my way for many a
day. It is a real transcript from life, and that part of it which deals
with the little lady who was so great and so ennobling an influence in
your life, brought tears to my eyes and the thrill to my heart.  I am
not using the language of flattery when I say that no great writer would
be ashamed of the true delicacy and reserve with which you have dealt
with the more solemn and sacred passages of your life.

"It was a true pleasure to me to meet you personally, and no
conversation I have had on this side of the ocean has moved me to more
sympathy.  I wish you every proper success, and I feel sure that such a
life as yours has been, and such a memory as brightens and solemnizes
your past, can only lead you from strength to strength, from good to
better.

"That this may be so will be my earnest wish for you long after I have
left your American shores.

"With kindest greetings, HALL CAINE."


The story was published in the February number of Success, and the
response was—I do not know how to describe it—astounding, amazing, yes,
almost embarrassing.  Over four thousand letters reached me from all
parts of the country, and the editor received letters from ministers
informing him that the story had been read by them from the pulpit in
place of the regular sermon.  My heart throbbed when I saw how the
miracle performed by my Mamie Rose in the name of God had moved the
many, and again had I cause to thank my Maker for having sent her to
me—if even for so short a time.

Through Mr. Powlison I was invited to speak before several branches of
the Y.M.C.A., and, though my delivery and elocution are very much at
variance with oratorical methods, the story of the miracle proved again
that our God is the same God, the God of old and of new.

I believe that I can see my path before me.  I shall write.  Brilliancy,
elegance of diction and a choice vocabulary will not be found in my
stories and articles, but the truth is there, as I have seen it, as I
have lived it, and that is something.

This is the direction in which my ambition lies. I want to be a writer
with a clearly defined purpose. I want to tell the plain truth about men
and things as I know them and see them every day in the homes of the
tenements, in those abodes of friendless, hopeless men, many of whom
were once as good and respectable as any of you.  I want to dedicate my
pen, no matter how ungifted, to their service, that others may know, as
I know, of the places and conditions where fellow-beings begin to rail
against their God and men because they deem themselves forgotten.  I
want to show that often their hearts hunger most and not their stomachs,
and want to ask you to believe that they, as well as others, cannot only
feel hunger and cold, but can also love and despair.

I feel that there is work in this field for me, and it is my ambition to
become successful in it and worthy of it, as a living testimony that one
of God’s sweetest daughters has not lived and died in vain.

This is the story of the miracle wrought by my Mamie Rose.



                                THE END.



           *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *



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great for the enthusiasm it creates."—_New York Times_.


EBEN HOLDEN: A Tale of the North Country.  By Irving Bacheller.

"As pure as water and as good as bread," says Mr. Howells.  "Read ’Eben
Holden’" is the advice of Margaret Sangster.  "It is a forest-scented,
fresh-aired, bracing and wholly American story of country and town life.
* * * If in the far future our successors wish to know what were the
real life and atmosphere in which the country folk that saved this
nation grew, loved, wrought and had their being, they must go back to
such true and zestful and poetic tales of ’fiction’ as ’Eben Holden,’"
says Edmund Clarence Stedman.


SILAS STRONG: Emperor of the Woods.  By Irving Bacheller. With a
frontispiece.

"A modern Leatherstocking.  Brings the city dweller the aroma of the
pine and the music of the wind in its branches—an epic poem * * *
forest-scented, fresh-aired, and wholly American.  A stronger character
than Eben Holden."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.


VERGILIUS: A Tale of the Coming of Christ.  By Irving Bacheller.

A thrilling and beautiful story of two young Roman patricians whose
great and perilous love in the reign of Augustus leads them through the
momentous, exciting events that marked the year just preceding the birth
of Christ.

Splendid character studies of the Emperor Augustus, of Herod and his
degenerate son, Antipater, and of his daughter "the incomparable"
Salome.  A great triumph in the art of historical portrait painting.


BARBARA WINSLOW, REBEL.  By Elizabeth Ellis.

With illustrations by John Rae, and colored inlay cover.

The following, taken from story, will best describe the heroine: A
TOAST: "To the bravest comrade in misfortune, the sweetest companion in
peace and at all times the most courageous of women."—_Barbara Winslow_.
"A romantic story, buoyant, eventful, and in matters of love exactly
what the heart could desire."—_New York Sun_.


SUSAN.  By Ernest Oldmeadow.  With a color frontispiece by Frank
Haviland.  Medalion in color on front cover.

Lord Riddington falls helplessly in love with Miss Langley, whom he sees
in one of her walks accompanied by her maid, Susan. Through a
misapprehension of personalities his lordship addresses a love missive
to the maid.  Susan accepts in perfect good faith, and an epistolary
love-making goes on till they are disillusioned.  It naturally makes a
droll and delightful little comedy; and is a story that is particularly
clever in the telling.


WHEN PATTY WENT TO COLLEGE.  By Jean Webster. With illustrations by C.
D. Williams.

"The book is a treasure."—_Chicago Daily News_.  "Bright, whimsical, and
thoroughly entertaining."—_Buffalo Express_.  "One of the best stories
of life in a girl’s college that has ever been written."—_N. Y. Press_.
"To any woman who has enjoyed the pleasures of a college life this book
cannot fail to bring back many sweet recollections; and to those who
have not been to college the wit, lightness, and charm of Patty are sure
to be no less delightful."—_Public Opinion_.


THE MASQUERADER.  By Katherine Cecil Thurston. With illustrations by
Clarence F. Underwood.

"You can’t drop it till you have turned the last page."—_Cleveland
Leader_.  "Its very audacity of motive, of execution, of solution,
almost takes one’s breath away.  The boldness of its denouement is
sublime."—_Boston Transcript_.  "The literary hit of a generation. The
best of it is the story deserves all its success.  A masterly
story."—_St. Louis Dispatch_.  "The story is ingeniously told, and
cleverly constructed."—_The Dial_.


THE GAMBLER.  By Katherine Cecil Thurston.  With illustrations by John
Campbell.

"Tells of a high strung young Irish woman who has a passion for
gambling, inherited from a long line of sporting ancestors.  She has a
high sense of honor, too, and that causes complications.  She is a very
human, lovable character, and love saves her."—_N. Y. Times_.


THE AFFAIR AT THE INN.  By Kate Douglas Wiggin. With illustrations by
Martin Justice.

"As superlatively clever in the writing as it is entertaining in the
reading.  It is actual comedy of the most artistic sort, and it is
handled with a freshness and originality that is unquestionably
novel."—_Boston Transcript_.  "A feast of humor and good cheer, yet
subtly pervaded by special shades of feeling, fancy, tenderness, or
whimsicality.  A merry thing in prose."—_St. Louis Democrat_.


ROSE O’ THE RIVER.  By Kate Douglas Wiggin.  With illustrations by
George Wright.

"’Rose o’ the River,’ a charming bit of sentiment, gracefully written
and deftly touched with a gentle humor.  It is a dainty book—daintily
illustrated."—_New York Tribune_.  "A wholesome, bright, refreshing
story, an ideal book to give a young girl."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.
"An idyllic story, replete with pathos and inimitable humor.  As
story-telling it is perfection, and as portrait-painting it is true to
the life."—_London Mail_.


TILLIE: A Mennonite Maid.  By Helen R. Martin.  With illustrations by
Florence Scovel Shinn.

The little "Mennonite Maid" who wanders through these pages is something
quite new in fiction.  Tillie is hungry for books and beauty and love;
and she comes into her inheritance at the end. "Tillie is faulty,
sensitive, big-hearted, eminently human, and first, last and always
lovable.  Her charm glows warmly, the story is well handled, the
characters skilfully developed."—_The Book Buyer_.


LADY ROSE’S DAUGHTER.  By Mrs. Humphry Ward. With illustrations by
Howard Chandler Christy.

"The most marvellous work of its wonderful author."—_New York World_.
"We touch regions and attain altitudes which it is not given to the
ordinary novelist even to approach."—_London Times_.  "In no other story
has Mrs. Ward approached the brilliancy and vivacity of Lady Rose’s
Daughter."—_North American Review_.


THE BANKER AND THE BEAR.  By Henry K. Webster.

"An exciting and absorbing story."—_New York Times_.  "Intensely
thrilling in parts, but an unusually good story all through.  There is a
love affair of real charm and most novel surroundings, there is a run on
the bank which is almost worth a year’s growth, and there is all manner
of exhilarating men and deeds which should bring the book into high and
permanent favor."—_Chicago Evening Post_.


BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK.  By George Barr McCutcheon.  With Color
Frontispiece and other illustrations by Harrison Fisher.  Beautiful
inlay picture in colors of Beverly on the cover.

"The most fascinating, engrossing and picturesque of the season’s
novels."—_Boston Herald_.  "’Beverly’ is altogether charming—almost
living flesh and blood"—_Louisville Times_.  "Better than
’Graustark’."—_Mail and Express_.  "A sequel quite as impossible as
’Graustark’ and quite as entertaining."—_Bookman_.  "A charming love
story well told."—_Boston Transcript_.


HALF A ROGUE.  By Harold MacGrath.  With illustrations and inlay cover
picture by Harrison Fisher.

"Here are dexterity of plot, glancing play at witty talk, characters
really human and humanly real, spirit and gladness, freshness and quick
movement.  ’Half a Rogue’ is as brisk as a horseback ride on a glorious
morning.  It is as varied as an April day.  It is as charming as two
most charming girls can make it.  Love and honor and success and all the
great things worth fighting for and living for the involved in ’Half a
Rogue.’"—_Phila. Press_.


THE GIRL FROM TIM’S PLACE.  By Charles Clark Munn.  With illustrations
by Frank T. Merrill.

"Figuring in the pages of this story there are several strong
characters.  Typical New England folk and an especially sturdy one, old
Cy Walker, through whose instrumentality Chip comes to happiness and
fortune.  There is a chain of comedy, tragedy, pathos and love, which
makes a dramatic story."—_Boston Herald_.


THE LION AND THE MOUSE.  A story of American Life. By Charles Klein, and
Arthur Hornblow.  With illustrations by Stuart Travis, and Scenes from
the Play.

The novel duplicated the success of the play; in fact the book is
greater than the play.  A portentous clash of dominant personalities
that form the essence of the play are necessarily touched upon but
briefly in the short space of four acts.  All this is narrated in the
novel with a wealth of fascinating and absorbing detail, making it one
of the most powerfully written and exciting works of fiction given to
the world in years.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                           *PRINCESS MARITZA*

                       A NOVEL OF RAPID ROMANCE.

                            BY PERCY BREBNER

              With Harrison Fisher Illustrations in Color.


Offers more real entertainment and keen enjoyment than any book since
"Graustark."  Full of picturesque life and color and a delightful
love-story.  The scene of the story is Wallaria, one of those mythical
kingdoms in Southern Europe. Maritza is the rightful heir to the throne,
but is kept away from her own country.  The hero is a young Englishman
of noble family.  It is a pleasing book of fiction.  Large 12 mo. size.
Handsomely bound in cloth.  White coated wrapper, with Harrison Fisher
portrait in colors.  Price 75 cents, postpaid.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                    Books by George Barr McCutcheon


BREWSTER’S MILLIONS

Mr. Montgomery Brewster is required to spend a million dollars in one
year in order to inherit seven millions.  He must be absolutely
penniless at that time, and yet have spent the million in a way that
will commend him as fit to inherit the larger sum.  How he does it forms
the basis for one of the most crisp and breezy romances of recent years.


CASTLE CRANEYCROW

The story revolves around the abduction of a young American woman and
the adventures created through her rescue. The title is taken from the
name of an old castle on the Continent, the scene of her imprisonment.


GRAUSTARK: A Story of a Love Behind a Throne.

This work has been and is to-day one of the most popular works of
fiction of this decade.  The meeting of the Princess of Graustark with
the hero, while travelling incognito in this country, his efforts to
find her, his success, the defeat of conspiracies to dethrone her, and
their happy marriage, provide entertainment which every type of reader
will enjoy.


THE SHERRODS.  With illustrations by C. D. Williams

A novel quite unlike Mr. McCutcheon’s previous works in the field of
romantic fiction and yet possessing the charm inseparable from anything
he writes.  The scene is laid in Indiana and the theme is best described
in the words, "Whom God hath joined, let no man put asunder."


                     *      *      *      *      *


                      _*NEW POPULAR EDITIONS OF*_

                        *MARY JOHNSTON’S NOVELS*


TO HAVE AND TO HOLD

It was something new and startling to see an author’s first novel sell
up into the hundreds of thousands, as did this one.  The ablest critics
spoke of it in such terms as "Breathless interest," "The high water mark
of American fiction since Uncle Tom’s Cabin," "Surpasses all," "Without
a rival," "Tender and delicate," "As good a story of adventure as one
can find," "The best style of love story, clean, pure and wholesome."


AUDREY

With the brilliant imagination and the splendid courage of youth, she
has stormed the very citadel of adventure.  Indeed it would be
impossible to carry the romantic spirit any deeper into fiction.—_Agnes
Repplier_.


PRISONERS OF HOPE

Pronounced by the critics classical, accurate, interesting, American,
original, vigorous, full of movement and life, dramatic and fascinating,
instinct with life and passion, and preserving throughout a singularly
even level of excellence.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                    _GET THE BEST OUT-DOOR STORIES_

                        *Stewart Edward White’s
                     Great Novels of Western Life.*

                       GROSSET & DUNLAP EDITIONS


THE BLAZED TRAIL

Mingles the romance of the forest with the romance of man’s heart,
making a story that is big and elemental, while not lacking in sweetness
and tenderness.  It is an epic of the life of the lumberman of the great
forest of the Northwest, permeated by out of door freshness, and the
glory of the struggle with nature.


THE SILENT PLACES

A powerful story of strenuous endeavor and fateful privation in the
frozen North, embodying also a detective story of much strength and
skill.  The author brings out with sure touch and deep understanding the
mystery and poetry of the still, frost-bound forest.


THE CLAIM JUMPERS

A tale of a Western mining camp and the making of a man, with which a
charming young lady has much to do.  The tenderfoot has a hard time of
it, but meets the situation, shows the stuff he is made of, and "wins
out."


THE WESTERNERS

A tale of the mining camp and the Indian country, full of color and
thrilling incident.


THE MAGIC FOREST: A Modern Fairy Story.

"No better book could be put in a young boy’s hands," says the New York
_Sun_.  It is a happy blend of knowledge of wood life with an
understanding of Indian character, as well as that of small boys.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                    _THE GROSSET AND DUNLAP SPECIAL
                    EDITIONS OF POPULAR NOVELS THAT
                         HAVE BEEN DRAMATIZED._


BREWSTER’S MILLIONS: By George Barr McCutcheon.

A clever, fascinating tale, with a striking and unusual plot.  With
illustrations from the original New York production of the play.


THE LITTLE MINISTER: By J. M. Barrie.

With illustrations from the play as presented by Maude Adams, and a
vignette in gold of Miss Adams on the cover.


CHECKERS: By Henry M. Blossom, Jr.

A story of the Race Track.  Illustrated with scenes from the play as
originally presented in New York by Thomas W. Ross who created the stage
character.


THE CHRISTIAN: By Hall Caine.

THE ETERNAL CITY: By Hall Caine.

Each has been elaborately and successfully staged


IN THE PALACE OF THE KING: By F. Marion Crawford.

A love story of Old Madrid, with full page illustrations. Originally
played with great success by Viola Allen.


JANICE MEREDITH: By Paul Leicester Ford.

New edition with an especially attractive cover, a really handsome book.
Originally played by Mary Mannering, who created the title role.


MISTRESS NELL, A Merry Tale of a Merry Time.  (Twixt Fact and Fancy.)
By George Hazelton.

A dainty, handsome volume, beautifully printed on fine laid paper and
bound in extra vellum cloth.  A charming story, the dramatic version of
which, as produced by Henrietta Crosman, was one of the conspicuous
stage successes of recent years.  With a rare portrait of Nell Gwyn in
duotone, from an engraving of the painting by Sir Peter Lely, as a
frontispiece.


BY RIGHT OF SWORD, By Arthur W. Marchmont.

With full page illustrations, by Powell Chase.

This clever and fascinating tale has had a large sale and seems as
popular to-day as when first published.  It is full of action and
incident and will arouse the keen interest of the reader at the very
start.  The dramatic version was very successfully produced during
several seasons by Ralph Stuart.


CAPE COD FOLKS: By Sarah P. McLean Greene.

Illustrated with scenes from the play, as originally produced at the
Boston Theatre.


IF I WERE KING: By Justin Huntly McCarthy.

Illustrations from the play, as produced by E. H. Sothern.


DOROTHY VERNON OF HADDON HALL: By Charles Major.

The Bertha Galland Edition, with illustrations from the play.


WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER: By Charles Major.

Illustrated with scenes from the remarkably successful play, as
presented by Julia Marlowe.


THE VIRGINIAN: By Owen Wister.

With full page illustrations by A. I. Kelley.

Dustin Farnum has made the play famous by his creation of the title
role.


THE MAN ON THE BOX: By Harold MacGrath.

Illustrated with scenes from the play, as originally produced in New
York, by Henry E. Dixey.  A piquant, charming story, and the author’s
greatest success.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                     HERETOFORE PUBLISHED AT $1.50

                         *BOOKS BY JACK LONDON*

                 12 MO., CLOTH, 75 CENTS EACH, POSTPAID


THE CALL OF THE WILD:

With illustrations by Philip R. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull.
Decorated by Charles Edward Hooper.

"A big story in sober English, and with thorough art in the construction
... a wonderfully perfect bit of work.  The dog adventures are as
exciting as any man’s exploits could be, and Mr. London’s workmanship is
wholly satisfying."—_The New York Sun_.


THE SEA WOLF: Illustrated by W. J. Aylward.

"This story surely has the pure Stevenson ring, the adventurous glamour,
the vertebrate stoicism.  ’Tis surely the story of the making of a man,
the sculptor being Captain Larsen, and the clay, the ease-loving,
well-to-do, half-drowned man, to all appearances his helpless
prey."—_Critic_.


THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS:

A vivid and intensely interesting picture of life, as the author found
it, in the slums of London.  Not a survey of impressions formed on a
slumming tour, but a most graphic account of real life from one who
succeeded in getting on the "inside."  More absorbing than a novel.  A
great and vital book.  Profusely illustrated from photographs.


THE SON OF THE WOLF:

"Even the most listless reader will be stirred by the virile force, the
strong, sweeping strokes with which the pictures of the northern wilds
and the life therein are painted, and the insight given into the soul of
the primitive of nature."—_Plain Dealer, Cleveland_.


A DAUGHTER OF THE SNOWS:

It is a book about a woman, whose personality and plan in the story are
likely to win for her a host of admirers.  The story has the rapid
movement, incident and romantic flavor which have interested so many in
his tales.  The illustrations are by F. C. Yohn.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                 _POPULAR PRICED EDITIONS OF BOOKS BY_

                             *LOUIS TRACY*

                  12mo, cloth, 75 cents each, postpaid

Books that make the nerves tingle—romance and adventure of the best
type—wholesome for family reading


THE PILLAR OF LIGHT

"Breathless interest is a hackneyed phrase, but every reader of ’The
Pillar of Light’ who has red blood in his or her veins, will agree that
the trite saying applies to the attention which this story
commands."—_New York Sun_.


THE WINGS OF THE MORNING

"Here is a story filled with the swing of adventure. There are no
dragging intervals in this volume: from the moment of their landing on
the island until the rescuing crew find them there, there is not a dull
moment for the young people—nor for the reader either."—_New York
Times_.


THE KING OF DIAMONDS

"Verily, Mr. Tracy is a prince of story-tellers.  His charm is a little
hard to describe, but it is as definite as that of a rainbow.  The
reader is carried along by the robust imagination of the author."—_San
Francisco Examiner_.



                       GROSSET & DUNLAP, NEW YORK





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