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´╗┐Title: Short Stories for English Courses
Author: Various (Rosa M. R. Mikels ed.), - To be updated
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Short Stories for English Courses" ***

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SHORT STORIES
FOR
ENGLISH COURSES


EDITED
WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES


BY
ROSA M. R. MIKELS

SHORTRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL, INDIANAPOLIS, IND.



CONTENTS

PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
REQUIREMENTS OF THE SHORT STORY
HOW THIS BOOK MAY BE USED
THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE Henry van Dyke
A FRENCH TAR-BABY Joel Chandler Harris
SONNY'S CHRISTENIN' Ruth McEnery Stuart
CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH SATAN John Fox, Jr.
A NEST-EGG James Whitcomb Riley
WEE WILLIE WINKIE Rudyard Kipling
THE GOLD BUG Edgar Allan Poe
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF O. Henry
THE FRESHMAN FULL-BACK Ralph D. Paine
GALLEGHER Richard Harding Davis
THE JUMPING FROG Mark Twain
THE LADY OR THE TIGER? Frank R. Stockton
THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT Francis Bret Harte
THE REVOLT OF MOTHER Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
MARSE CHAN Thomas Nelson Page
"POSSON JONE'" George W. Cable
OUR AROMATIC UNCLE Henry Cuyler Bunner
QUALITY John Galsworthy
THE TRIUMPH OF NIGHT Edith Wharton
A MESSENGER Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
MARKHEIM Robert Louis Stevenson.



PREFACE

Why must we confine the reading of our children to the older
literary classics? This is the question asked by an ever-
increasing number of thoughtful teachers. They have no wish to
displace or to discredit the classics. On the contrary, they love
and revere them. But they do wish to give their pupils something
additional, something that pulses with present life, that is
characteristic of to-day. The children, too, wonder that, with the
great literary outpouring going on about them, they must always
fill their cups from the cisterns of the past.

The short story is especially adapted to supplement our high-
school reading. It is of a piece with our varied, hurried,
efficient American life, wherein figure the business man's lunch,
the dictagraph, the telegraph, the telephone, the automobile, and
the railway "limited." It has achieved high art, yet conforms to
the modern demand that our literature--since it must be read with
despatch, if read at all--be compact and compelling. Moreover, the
short story is with us in almost overwhelming numbers, and is
probably here to stay. Indeed, our boys and girls are somewhat
appalled at the quantity of material from which they must select
their reading, and welcome any instruction that enables them to
know the good from the bad. It is certain, therefore, that,
whatever else they may throw into the educational discard when
they leave the high school, they will keep and use anything they
may have learned about this form of literature which has become so
powerful a factor in our daily life.

This book does not attempt to select the greatest stories of the
time. What tribunal would dare make such a choice? Nor does it
attempt to trace the evolution of the short story or to point out
natural types and differences. These topics are better suited to
college classes. Its object is threefold: to supply interesting
reading belonging to the student's own time, to help him to see
that there is no divorce between classic and modern literature,
and, by offering him material structurally good and typical of the
qualities represented, to assist him in discriminating between the
artistic and the inartistic. The stories have been carefully
selected, because in the period of adolescence "nothing read fails
to leave its mark"; [Footnote: G Stanley Hall, Adolescence, vol.
II.] they have also been carefully arranged with a view to the
needs of the adolescent boy and girl. Stories of the type loved by
primitive man, and therefore easily approached and understood,
have been placed first. Those which appealed in periods of higher
development follow, roughly in the order of their increasing
difficulty. It is hoped, moreover, that this arrangement will help
the student to understand and appreciate the development of the
story. He begins with the simple tale of adventure and the simple
story of character. As he advances he sees the story develop in
plot, in character analysis, and in setting, until he ends with
the psychological study of Markheim, remarkable for its complexity
of motives and its great spiritual problem. Both the selection and
the arrangement have been made with this further purpose in view--
"to keep the heart warm, reinforcing all its good motives,
preforming choices, universalizing sympathies." [Footnote: Ibid.]

It is a pleasure to acknowledge, in this connection, the
suggestions and the criticism of Mr. William N. Otto, Head of the
Department of English in Shortridge High School, Indianapolis; and
the courtesies of the publishers who have permitted the use of
their material.



INTRODUCTION

I

REQUIREMENTS OF THE SHORT STORY


Critics have agreed that the short story must conform to certain
conditions. First of all, the writer must strive to make one and
only one impression. His time is too limited, his space is too
confined, his risk of dividing the attention of the reader is too
great, to admit of more than this one impression. He therefore
selects some moment of action or some phase of character or some
particular scene, and focuses attention upon that. Life not
infrequently gives such brief, clear-cut impressions. At the
railway station we see two young people hurry to a train as if
fearful of being detained, and we get the impression of romantic
adventure. We pass on the street corner two men talking, and from
a chance sentence or two we form a strong impression of the
character of one or both. Sometimes we travel through a scene so
desolate and depressing or so lovely and uplifting that the effect
is never forgotten. Such glimpses of life and scene are as vivid
as the vignettes revealed by the search-light, when its arm slowly
explores a mountain-side or the shore of a lake and brings objects
for a brief moment into high light. To secure this single strong
impression, the writer must decide which of the three essentials--
plot, character, or setting--is to have first place.

As action appeals strongly to most people, and very adequately
reveals character, the short-story writer may decide to make plot
pre-eminent. He accordingly chooses his incidents carefully. Any
that do not really aid in developing the story must be cast aside,
no matter how interesting or attractive they may be in themselves.
This does not mean that an incident which is detached from the
train of events may not be used. But such an incident must have
proper relations provided for it. Thus the writer may wish to use
incidents that belong to two separate stories, because he knows
that by relating them he can produce a single effect. Shakespeare
does this in Macbeth. Finding in the lives of the historic Macbeth
and the historic King Duff incidents that he wished to use, he
combined them. But he saw to it that they had the right relation,
that they fitted into the chain of cause and effect. The reader
will insist, as the writer knows, that the story be logical, that
incident 1 shall be the cause of incident 2, incident 2 of
incident 3, and so on to the end. The triangle used by Freytag to
illustrate the plot of a play may make this clear.

AC is the line of rising action along which the story climbs,
incident by incident, to the point C; C is the turning point, the
crisis, or the climax; CB is the line of falling action along
which the story descends incident by incident to its logical
resolution. Nothing may be left to luck or chance. In life the
element of chance does sometimes seem to figure, but in the story
it has no place. If the ending is not the logical outcome of
events, the reader feels cheated. He does not want the situation
to be too obvious, for he likes the thrill of suspense. But he
wants the hints and foreshadowings to be sincere, so that he may
safely draw his conclusions from them. This does not condemn,
however, the "surprise" ending, so admirably used by O. Henry. The
reader, in this case, admits that the writer has "played fair"
throughout, and that the ending which has so surprised and tickled
his fancy is as logical as that he had forecast.

To aid in securing the element of suspense, the author often makes
use of what Carl H. Grabo, in his The Art of the Short Story,
calls the "negative" or "hostile" incident. Incidents, as he
points out, are of two kinds--positive and negative. The first
openly help to untangle the situation; the second seem to delay
the straightening out of the threads or even to make the tangle
worse. He illustrates this by the story of Cinderella. The
appearance of the fairy and her use of the magic wand are
positive, or openly helpful incidents, in rescuing Cinderella from
her lonely and neglected state. But her forgetfulness of the hour
and her loss of the glass slipper are negative or hostile
incidents. Nevertheless, we see how these are really blessings in
disguise, since they cause the prince to seek and woo her.

The novelist may introduce many characters, because he has time
and space to care for them. Not so the short-story writer: he must
employ only one main character and a few supporting characters.
However, when the plot is the main thing, the characters need not
be remarkable in any way. Indeed, as Brander Matthews has said,
the heroine may be "a woman," the hero "a man," not any woman or
any man in particular. Thus, in The Lady or the Tiger? the author
leaves the princess without definite traits of character, because
his problem is not "what this particular woman would do, but what
A woman would do." Sometimes, after reading a story of thrilling
plot, we find that we do not readily recall the appearance or the
names of the characters; we recall only what happened to them.
This is true of the women of James Fenimore Cooper's stories. They
have no substantiality, but move like veiled figures through the
most exciting adventures.

Setting may or may not be an important factor in the story of
incident. What is meant by setting? It is an inclusive term. Time,
place, local conditions, and sometimes descriptions of nature and
of people are parts of it. When these are well cared for, we get
an effect called "atmosphere." We know the effect the atmosphere
has upon objects. Any one who has observed distant mountains knows
that, while they remain practically unchanged, they never look the
same on two successive days. Sometimes they stand out hard and
clear, sometimes they are soft and alluring, sometimes they look
unreal and almost melt into the sky behind them. So the atmosphere
of a story may envelop people and events and produce a subtle
effect upon the reader. Sometimes the plot material is such as to
require little setting. The incidents might have happened
anywhere. We hardly notice the absence of setting in our hurry to
see what happens. This is true of many of the stories we enjoyed
when we were children. For instance, in The Three Bears the
incidents took place, of course, in the woods, but our imagination
really supplied the setting. Most stories, however, whatever their
character, use setting as carefully and as effectively as
possible. Time and place are often given with exactness. Thus Bret
Harte says: "As Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, stepped into the main
street of Poker Flat on the morning of the twenty-third of
November, 1850, he was conscious of a change in its moral
atmosphere since the preceding night." This definite mention of
time and place gives an air of reality of the story. As to
descriptions, the writer sifts them in, for he knows that few will
bother to read whole paragraphs of description. He often uses
local color, by which we mean the employment of epithets, phrases,
and other expressions that impart a "feeling" for the place. This
use of local color must not be confused with that intended to
produce what is called an "impressionistic" effect. In the latter
case the writer subordinates everything to this effect of scene.
This use of local color is discussed elsewhere.

Perhaps the writer wishes to make character the dominant element.
Then he subordinates plot and setting to this purpose and makes
them contribute to it. In selecting the character he wishes to
reveal he has wide choice. "Human nature is the same, wherever you
find it," we are fond of saying. So he may choose a character that
is quite common, some one he knows; and, having made much of some
one trait and ignored or subordinated others, bring him before us
at some moment of decision or in some strange, perhaps hostile,
environment. Or the author may take some character quite out of
the ordinary: the village miser, the recluse, or a person with a
peculiar mental or moral twist. But, whatever his choice, it is
not enough that the character be actually drawn from real life.
Indeed, such fidelity to what literally exists may be a hinderance
to the writer. The original character may have done strange things
and suffered strange things that cannot be accounted for. But, in
the story, inconsistencies must be removed, and the conduct of the
characters must be logical. Life seems inconsistent to all of us
at times, but it is probably less so than it seems. People puzzle
us by their apparent inconsistencies, when to themselves their
actions seem perfectly logical. But, as Mr. Grabo points out, "In
life we expect inconsistencies; in a story we depend upon their
elimination." The law of cause and effect, which we found so
indispensable in the story of plot, we find of equal importance in
the story of character. There must be no sudden and unaccountable
changes in the behavior or sentiments of the people in the story.
On the contrary, there must be reason in all they say and do.

Another demand of the character story is that the characters be
lifelike. In the plot story, or in the impressionistic story, we
may accept the flat figures on the canvas; our interest is
elsewhere. But in the character story we must have real people
whose motives and conduct we discuss pro and con with as much
interest as if we knew them in the flesh. A character of this
convincing type is Hamlet. About him controversy has always raged.
It is impossible to think of him as other than a real man.
Whenever the writer finds that the characters in his story have
caused the reader to wax eloquent over their conduct, he may rest
easy: he has made his people lifelike.

Setting in the character story is important, for it is in this
that the chief actor moves and has his being. His environment is
continually causing him to speak and act. The incidents selected,
even though some of them may seem trivial in themselves, must
reveal depth after depth in his soul. Whatever the means by which
the author reveals the character--whether by setting, conduct,
analysis, dialogue, or soliloquy--his task is a hard one. In
Markheim we have practically all of these used, with the result
that the character is unmistakable and convincing.

Stories of scenes are neither so numerous nor so easy to produce
successfully as those of plot and character. But sometimes a place
so profoundly impresses a writer that its demands may not be
disregarded. Robert Louis Stevenson strongly felt the influence of
certain places. "Certain dank gardens cry aloud for murder;
certain old houses demand to be haunted; certain coasts are set
apart for shipwreck. Other spots seem to abide their destiny,
suggestive and impenetrable." Perhaps all of us have seen some
place of which we have exclaimed: "It is like a story!" When,
then, scene is to furnish the dominant interest, plot and
character become relatively insignificant and shadowy. "The
pressure of the atmosphere," says Brander Matthews, holds our
attention. The Fall of the House of Usher, by Edgar Allan Poe, is
a story of this kind. It is the scene that affects us with dread
and horror; we have no peace until we see the house swallowed up
by the tarn, and have fled out of sight of the tarn itself. The
plot is extremely slight, and the Lady Madeline and her unhappy
brother hardly more than shadows.

It must not be supposed from the foregoing explanation that the
three essentials of the short story are ever really divorced. They
are happily blended in many of our finest stories. Nevertheless,
analysis of any one of these will show that in the mind of the
writer one purpose was pre-eminent. On this point Robert Louis
Stevenson thus speaks: "There are, so far as I know, three ways
and three only of writing a story. You may take a plot and fit
characters to it, or you may take a character and choose incidents
and situations to develop it, or, lastly, you may take a certain
atmosphere and get actions and persons to express and realize it."
When to this clear conception of his limitations and privileges
the author adds an imagination that clearly visualizes events and
the "verbal magic" by which good style is secured, he produces the
short story that is a masterpiece.



HOW THIS BOOK MAY BE USED

This book may be used in four ways. First, it may serve as an
appetizer. Even the casual reading of good literature has a
tendency to create a demand for more. Second, it may be made the
basis for discussion and comparison. By using these stories, the
works of recognized authors, as standards, the student may
determine the value of such stories as come into his home. Third,
these selections may be studied in a regular short-story course,
such as many high schools have, to illustrate the requirements and
the types of this form of narration. The chapter on "The
Requirements of the Short Story" will be found useful both in this
connection and in the comparative study of stories. Fourth, the
student will better appreciate and understand the short story if
he attempts to tell or to write one. This does not mean that we
intend to train him for the literary market. Our object is
entirely different. No form of literature brings more real joy to
the child than the story. Not only does he like to hear stories;
he likes to tell them. And where the short-story course is rightly
used, he likes to write them. He finds that the pleasure of
exercising creative power more than offsets the drudgery
inevitable in composition. A plan that has been satisfactorily
carried out in the classroom is here briefly outlined.

The teacher reads with the class a story in which plot furnishes
the main interest. This type is chosen because it is more easily
analyzed by beginners. The class discusses this, applying the
tests of the short story given elsewhere in this book. Then a
number of short stories of different types are read and compared.
Next, each member of the class selects from some recent book or
magazine a short story he enjoys. This he outlines and reports to
the class. If this report is not satisfactory, the class insists
that either the author or the reporter be exonerated. The story is
accordingly read to the class, or is read and reported on by
another member. The class is then usually able to decide whether
the story is faulty or the first report inadequate.

Next the class gives orally incidents that might or might not be
expanded into short stories. The students soon discover that some
of these require the lengthy treatment of a novel, that others are
good as simple incidents but nothing more, and that still others
might develop into satisfactory short stories. The class is now
asked to develop original plots. Since plots cannot be produced on
demand, but require time for the mind to act subconsciously, the
class practises, during the "period of incubation," the writing of
dialogue. For these the teacher suggests a list of topics,
although any student is free to substitute one of his own. Among
the topics that have been used are: "Johnny goes with his mother
to church for the first time," "Mrs. Hennessy is annoyed by the
chickens of Mrs. Jones," "Albert applies for a summer job."
Sometimes the teacher relates an incident, and has the class
reproduce it in dialogue. By comparing their work with dialogue by
recognized writers the youthful authors soon learn how to
punctuate and paragraph conversation, and where to place necessary
comment and explanation. They also discover that dialogue must
either reveal character or advance the story; and that it must be
in keeping with the theme and maintain the tone used at the
beginning. A commonplace dialogue must not suddenly become
romantic in tone, and dialect must not lapse into ordinary
English.



INTRODUCTION

The original plots the class offers later may have been suggested
in many ways. Newspaper accounts, court reports, historical
incidents, family traditions--all may contribute. Sometimes the
student proudly declares of his plot, "I made it out of my own
head." These plots are arranged in outline form to show how
incident 1 developed incident 2, that incident 3, and so on to the
conclusion. The class points out the weak places in these plots
and offers helpful suggestions. This co-operation often produces
surprisingly good results. A solution that the troubled originator
of the plot never thought of may come almost as an inspiration
from the class. Criticism throughout is largely constructive.
After the student has developed several plots in outline, he
usually finds among them one that he wishes to use for his story.
This is worked out in some detail, submitted to the class, and
later in a revised form to the teacher. The story when complete is
corrected and sometimes rewritten.

Most of the class prefer to write stories of plot, but some insist
upon trying stories of character or of setting. These pupils are
shown the difficulties in their way, but are allowed to try their
hand if they insist. Sometimes the results are good; more often
the writer, after an honest effort, admits that he cannot handle
his subject well and substitutes a story of plot.

In any case the final draft is sure to leave much to be desired;
but even so, the gain has been great. The pupil writer has
constantly been measuring his work by standards of recognized
excellence in form and in creative power; as a result he has
learned to appreciate the short story from the art side. Moreover,
he has had a large freedom in his work that has relieved it of
drudgery. And, best of all, he has been doing original work with
plastic material; and to work with plastic material is always a source
of joy, whether it be the mud that the child makes into pies, the clay
that the artist moulds into forms of beauty, or the facts of life that the
creative imagination of the writer shapes into literature.



THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

A STORY OF THE FOREST

BY HENRY VAN DYKE

This story is placed first because it is of the type that first
delighted man. It is the story of high adventure, of a struggle
with the forces of nature, barbarous men, and heathen gods. The
hero is "a hunter of demons, a subduer of the wilderness, a
woodman of the faith." He seeks hardships and conquers them. The
setting is the illumitable forest in the remote past. The forest,
like the sea, makes an irresistible appeal to the imagination.
Either may be the scene of the marvellous and the thrilling. Quite
unlike the earliest tales, this story is enriched with description
and exposition; nevertheless, it has their simplicity and dignity.
It reminds us of certain of the great Biblical narratives, such as
the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal and the
victory of Daniel over the jealous presidents and princes of
Darius. In "The First Christmas Tree," as in many others of these
stories, a third person is the narrator. But the hero may tell his
own adventures. "I did this. I did that. Thus I felt at the
conclusion." Instances are Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and
Stevenson's "Kidnapped." But whether in the first or third person,
the story holds us by the magic of adventure.



THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

[Footnote: From "The First Christmas Tree," by Henry Van Dyke.
Copyright, 1897, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


I

THE CALL OF THE WOODSMAN


The day before Christmas, in the year of our Lord 722.

Broad snow-meadows glistening white along the banks of the river
Moselle; pallid hill-sides blooming with mystic roses where the
glow of the setting sun still lingered upon them; an arch of
clearest, faintest azure bending overhead; in the centre of the
aerial landscape the massive walls of the cloister of Pfalzel,
gray to the east, purple to the west; silence over all,--a gentle,
eager, conscious stillness, diffused through the air like perfume,
as if earth and sky were hushing themselves to hear the voice of
the river faintly murmuring down the valley.

In the cloister, too, there was silence at the sunset hour. All
day long there had been a strange and joyful stir among the nuns.
A breeze of curiosity and excitement had swept along the corridors
and through every quiet cell.

The elder sisters,--the provost, the deaconess, the stewardess,
the portress with her huge bunch of keys jingling at her girdle,--
had been hurrying to and fro, busied with household cares. In the
huge kitchen there was a bustle of hospitable preparation. The
little bandy-legged dogs that kept the spits turning before the
fires had been trotting steadily for many an hour, until their
tongues hung out for want of breath. The big black pots swinging
from the cranes had bubbled and gurgled and shaken and sent out
puffs of appetizing steam.

St. Martha was in her element. It was a field-day for her virtues.

The younger sisters, the pupils of the convent, had forsaken their
Latin books and their embroidery-frames, their manuscripts and
their miniatures, and fluttered through the halls in little flocks
like merry snow-birds, all in black and white, chattering and
whispering together. This was no day for tedious task-work, no day
for grammar or arithmetic, no day for picking out illuminated
letters in red and gold on stiff parchment, or patiently chasing
intricate patterns over thick cloth with the slow needle. It was a
holiday. A famous visitor had come to the convent.

It was Winfried of England, whose name in the Roman tongue was
Boniface, and whom men called the Apostle of Germany. A great
preacher; a wonderful scholar; he had written a Latin grammar
himself,--think of it,--and he could hardly sleep without a book
under his pillow; but, more than all, a great and daring
traveller, a venturesome pilgrim, a high-priest of romance.

He had left his home and his fair estate in Wessex; he would not
stay in the rich monastery of Nutescelle, even though they had
chosen him as the abbot; he had refused a bishopric at the court
of King Karl. Nothing would content him but to go out into the
wild woods and preach to the heathen.

Up and down through the forests of Hesse and Thuringia, and along
the borders of Saxony, he had wandered for years, with a handful
of companions, sleeping under the trees, crossing mountains and
marshes, now here, now there, never satisfied with ease and
comfort, always in love with hardship and danger.

What a man he was! Fair and slight, but straight as a spear and
strong as an oaken staff. His face was still young; the smooth
skin was bronzed by wind and sun. His gray eyes, clear and kind,
flashed like fire when he spoke of his adventures, and of the evil
deeds of the false priests with whom he contended.

What tales he had told that day! Not of miracles wrought by sacred
relics; not of courts and councils and splendid cathedrals; though
he knew much of these things, and had been at Rome and received
the Pope's blessing. But to-day he had spoken of long journeyings
by sea and land; of perils by fire and flood; of wolves and bears
and fierce snowstorms and black nights in the lonely forest; of
dark altars of heathen gods, and weird, bloody sacrifices, and
narrow escapes from murderous bands of wandering savages.

The little novices had gathered around him, and their faces had
grown pale and their eyes bright as they listened with parted
lips, entranced in admiration, twining their arms about one
another's shoulders and holding closely together, half in fear,
half in delight. The older nuns had turned from their tasks and
paused, in passing by, to hear the pilgrim's story. Too well they
knew the truth of what he spoke. Many a one among them had seen
the smoke rising from the ruins of her father's roof. Many a one
had a brother far away in the wild country to whom her heart went
out night and day, wondering if he were still among the living.

But now the excitements of that wonderful day were over; the hour
of the evening meal had come; the inmates of the cloister were
assembled in the refectory.

On the dais sat the stately Abbess Addula, daughter of King
Dagobert, looking a princess indeed, in her violet tunic, with the
hood and cuffs of her long white robe trimmed with fur, and a
snowy veil resting like a crown on her snowy hair. At her right
hand was the honored guest, and at her left hand her grandson, the
young Prince Gregor, a big, manly boy, just returned from the high
school.

The long, shadowy hall, with its dark-brown rafters and beams; the
double rows of nuns, with their pure veils and fair faces; the
ruddy glow of the slanting sunbeams striking upwards through the
tops of the windows and painting a pink glow high up on the
walls,--it was all as beautiful as a picture, and as silent. For
this was the rule of the cloister, that at the table all should
sit in stillness for a little while, and then one should read
aloud, while the rest listened.

"It is the turn of my grandson to read to-day," said the abbess to
Winfried; "we shall see how much he has learned in the school.
Read, Gregor; the place in the book is marked."

The tall lad rose from his seat and turned the pages of the
manuscript. It was a copy of Jerome's version of the Scriptures in
Latin, and the marked place was in the letter of St. Paul to the
Ephesians,--the passage where he describes the preparation of the
Christian as the arming of a warrior for glorious battle. The
young voice rang out clearly, rolling the sonorous words, without
slip or stumbling, to the end of the chapter.

Winfried listened smiling. "My son," said he, as the reader
paused, "that was bravely read. Understandest thou what thou
readest?"

"Surely, father," answered the boy; "it was taught me by the
masters at Treves; and we have read this epistle clear through,
from beginning to end, so that I almost know it by heart." then he
began again to repeat the passage, turning away from the page as
if to show his skill.

But Winfried stopped him with a friendly lifting of the hand.

"Not so, my son; that was not my meaning. When we pray, we speak
to God; when we read, it is God who speaks to us. I ask whether
thou hast heard what He has said to thee, in thine own words, in
the common speech. Come, give us again the message of the warrior
and his armor and his battle, in the mother-tongue, so that all
can understand it."

The boy hesitated, blushed, stammered; then he came around to
Winfried's seat, bringing the book. "Take the book, my father," he
cried, "and read it for me. I cannot see the meaning plain, though
I love the sound of the words. Religion I know, and the doctrines
of our faith, and the life of priests and nuns in the cloister,
for which my grandmother designs me, though it likes me little.
And fighting I know, and the life of warriors and heroes, for I
have read of it in Virgil and the ancients, and heard a bit from
the soldiers at Treves; and I would fain taste more of it, for it
likes me much. But how the two lives fit together, or what need
there is of armor for a clerk in holy orders, I can never see.
Tell me the meaning, for if there is a man in all the world that
knows it, I am sure it is none other than thou."

So Winfried took the book and closed it, clasping the boy's hand
with his own.

"Let us first dismiss the others to their vespers," said he, "lest
they should be weary."

A sign from the abbess; a chanted benediction; a murmuring of
sweet voices and a soft rustling of many feet over the rushes on
the floor; the gentle tide of noise flowed out through the doors
and ebbed away down the corridors; the three at the head of the
table were left alone in the darkening room.

Then Winfried began to translate the parable of the soldier into
the realities of life.

At every turn he knew how to flash a new light into the picture
out of his own experience. He spoke of the combat with self, and
of the wrestling with dark spirits in solitude. He spoke of the
demons that men had worshipped for centuries in the wilderness,
and whose malice they invoked against the stranger who ventured
into the gloomy forest. Gods, they called them, and told strange
tales of their dwelling among the impenetrable branches of the
oldest trees and in the caverns of the shaggy hills; of their
riding on the wind-horses and hurling spears of lightning against
their foes. Gods they were not, but foul spirits of the air,
rulers of the darkness. Was there not glory and honor in fighting
with them, in daring their anger under the shield of faith, in
putting them to flight with the sword of truth? What better
adventure could a brave man ask than to go forth against them, and
wrestle with them, and conquer them?

"Look you, my friends," said Winfried, "how sweet and peaceful is
this convent to-night, on the eve of the nativity of the Prince of
Peace! It is a garden full of flowers in the heart of winter; a
nest among the branches of a great tree shaken by the winds; a
still haven on the edge of a tempestuous sea. And this is what
religion means for those who are chosen and called to quietude and
prayer and meditation.

"But out yonder in the wide forest, who knows what storms are
raving to-night in the hearts of men, though all the woods are
still? who knows what haunts of wrath and cruelty and fear are
closed to-night against the advent of the Prince of Peace? And
shall I tell you what religion means to those who are called and
chosen to dare and to fight, and to conquer the world for Christ?
It means to launch out into the deep. It means to go against the
strongholds of the adversary. It means to struggle to win an
entrance for their Master everywhere. What helmet is strong enough
for this strife save the helmet of salvation? What breastplate can
guard a man against these fiery darts but the breastplate of
righteousness? What shoes can stand the wear of these journeys but
the preparation of the gospel of peace?"

"Shoes?" he cried again, and laughed as if a sudden thought had
struck him. He thrust out his foot, covered with a heavy cowhide
boot, laced high about his leg with thongs of skin.

"See here,--how a fighting man of the cross is shod! I have seen
the boots of the Bishop of Tours,--white kid, broidered with silk;
a day in the bogs would tear them to shreds. I have seen the
sandals that the monks use on the highroads,--yes, and worn them;
ten pair of them have I worn out and thrown away in a single
journey. Now I shoe my feet with the toughest hides, hard as iron;
no rock can cut them, no branches can tear them. Yet more than one
pair of these have I outworn, and many more shall I outwear ere my
journeys are ended. And I think, if God is gracious to me, that I
shall die wearing them. Better so than in a soft bed with silken
coverings. The boots of a warrior, a hunter, a woodsman,--these
are my preparation of the gospel of peace."

"Come, Gregor," he said, laying his brown hand on the youth's
shoulder, "come, wear the forester's boots with me. This is the
life to which we are called. Be strong in the Lord, a hunter of
the demons, a subduer of the wilderness, a woodsman of the faith.
Come!"

The boy's eyes sparkled. He turned to his grandmother. She shook
her head vigorously.

"Nay, father," she said, "draw not the lad away from my side with
these wild words. I need him to help me with my labors, to cheer
my old age."

"Do you need him more than the Master does?" asked Winfried; "and
will you take the wood that is fit for a bow to make a distaff?"

"But I fear for the child. Thy life is too hard for him. He will
perish with hunger in the woods."

"Once," said Winfried, smiling, "we were camped by the bank of the
river Ohru. The table was spread for the morning meal, but my
comrades cried that it was empty; the provisions were exhausted;
we must go without breakfast, and perhaps starve before we could
escape from the wilderness. While they complained, a fish-hawk
flew up from the river with flapping wings, and let fall a great
pike in the midst of the camp. There was food enough and to spare.
Never have I seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
bread."

"But the fierce pagans of the forest," cried the abbess,--"they
may pierce the boy with their arrows, or dash out his brains with
their axes. He is but a child, too young for the dangers of
strife."

"A child in years," replied Winfried, "but a man in spirit. And if
the hero must fall early in the battle, he wears the brighter
crown, not a leaf withered, not a flower fallen."

The aged princess trembled a little. She drew Gregor close to her
side, and laid her hand gently on his brown hair.

"I am not sure that he wants to leave me yet. Besides, there is no
horse in the stable to give him, now, and he cannot go as befits
the grandson of a king."

Gregor looked straight into her eyes.

"Grandmother," said he, "dear grandmother, if thou wilt not give
me a horse to ride with this man of God, I will go with him
afoot."



II

THE TRAIL THROUGH THE FOREST


Two years had passed, to a day, almost to an hour, since that
Christmas eve in the cloister of Pfalzel. A little company of
pilgrims, less than a score of men, were creeping slowly northward
through the wide forest that rolled over the hills of central
Germany.

At the head of the band marched Winfried, clad in a tunic of fur,
with his long black robe girt high about his waist, so that it
might not hinder his stride. His hunter's boots were crusted with
snow. Drops of ice sparkled like jewels along the thongs that
bound his legs. There was no other ornament to his dress except
the bishop's cross hanging on his breast, and the broad silver
clasp that fastened his cloak about his neck. He carried a strong,
tall staff in his hand, fashioned at the top into the form of a
cross.

Close beside him, keeping step like a familiar comrade, was the
young Prince Gregor. Long marches through the wilderness had
stretched his limbs and broadened his back, and made a man of him
in stature as well as in spirit. His jacket and cap were of wolf-
skin, and on his shoulder he carried an axe, with broad, shining
blade. He was a mighty woodsman now, and could make a spray of
chips fly around him as he hewed his way through the trunk of
spruce-tree.

Behind these leaders followed a pair of teamsters, guiding a rude
sledge, loaded with food and the equipage of the camp, and drawn
by two big, shaggy horses, blowing thick clouds of steam from
their frosty nostrils. Tiny icicles hung from the hairs on their
lips. Their flanks were smoking. They sank above the fetlocks at
every step in the soft snow.

Last of all came the rear guard, armed with bows and javelins. It
was no child's play, in those days, to cross Europe afoot.

The weird woodland, sombre and illimitable, covered hill and vale,
tableland and mountain-peak. There were wide moors where the
wolves hunted in packs as if the devil drove them, and tangled
thickets where the lynx and the boar made their lairs. Fierce
bears lurked among the rocky passes, and had not yet learned to
fear the face of man. The gloomy recesses of the forest gave
shelter to inhabitants who were still more cruel and dangerous
than beasts of prey,--outlaws and sturdy robbers and mad were-
wolves and bands of wandering pillagers.

The pilgrim who would pass from the mouth of the Tiber to the
mouth of the Rhine must travel with a little army of retainers, or
else trust in God and keep his arrows loose in the quiver.

The travellers were surrounded by an ocean of trees, so vast, so
full of endless billows, that it seemed to be pressing on every
side to overwhelm them. Gnarled oaks, with branches twisted and
knotted as if in rage, rose in groves like tidal waves. Smooth
forests of beech-trees, round and gray, swept over the knolls and
slopes of land in a mighty ground-swell. But most of all, the
multitude of pines and firs, innumerable and monotonous, with
straight, stark trunks, and branches woven together in an unbroken
flood of darkest green, crowded through the valleys and over the
hills, rising on the highest ridges into ragged crests, like the
foaming edge of breakers.

Through this sea of shadows ran a narrow stream of shining
whiteness,--an ancient Roman road, covered with snow. It was as if
some great ship had ploughed through the green ocean long ago, and
left behind it a thick, smooth wake of foam. Along this open track
the travellers held their way,--heavily, for the drifts were deep;
warily, for the hard winter had driven many packs of wolves down
from the moors.

The steps of the pilgrims were noiseless; but the sledges creaked
over the dry snow, and the panting of the horses throbbed through
the still, cold air. The pale-blue shadows on the western side of
the road grew longer. The sun, declining through its shallow arch,
dropped behind the tree-tops. Darkness followed swiftly, as if it
had been a bird of prey waiting for this sign to swoop down upon
the world.

"Father," said Gregor to the leader, "surely this day's march is
done. It is time to rest, and eat, and sleep. If we press onward
now, we cannot see our steps; and will not that be against the
word of the psalmist David, who bids us not to put confidence in
the legs of a man?"

Winfried laughed. "Nay, my son Gregor," said he, "thou hast
tripped, even now, upon thy text. For David said only, 'I take no
pleasure in the legs of a man.' And so say I, for I am not minded
to spare thy legs or mine, until we come farther on our way, and
do what must be done this night. Draw the belt tighter, my son,
and hew me out this tree that is fallen across the road, for our
camp-ground is not here."

The youth obeyed; two of the foresters sprang to help him; and
while the soft fir-wood yielded to the stroke of the axes, and the
snow flew from the bending branches, Winfried turned and spoke to
his followers in a cheerful voice, that refreshed them like wine.

"Courage, brothers, and forward yet a little! The moon will light
us presently, and the path is plain. Well know I that the journey
is weary; and my own heart wearies also for the home in England,
where those I love are keeping feast this Christmas eve. But we
have work to do before we feast to-night. For this is the
Yuletide, and the heathen people of the forest have gathered at
the thunder-oak of Geismar to worship their god, Thor. Strange
things will be seen there, and deeds which make the soul black.
But we are sent to lighten their darkness; and we will teach our
kinsmen to keep a Christmas with us such as the woodland has never
known. Forward, then, and let us stiffen up our feeble knees!"

A murmur of assent came from the men. Even the horses seemed to
take fresh heart. They flattened their backs to draw the heavy
loads, and blew the frost from their nostrils as they pushed
ahead.

The night grew broader and less oppressive. A gate of brightness
was opened secretly somewhere in the sky; higher and higher
swelled the clear moon-flood, until it poured over the eastern
wall of forest into the road. A drove of wolves howled faintly in
the distance, but they were receding, and the sound soon died
away. The stars sparkled merrily through the stringent air; the
small, round moon shone like silver; little breaths of the
dreaming wind wandered whispering across the pointed fir-tops, as
the pilgrims toiled bravely onward, following their clue of light
through a labyrinth of darkness.

After a while the road began to open out a little. There were
spaces of meadow-land, fringed with alders, behind which a
boisterous river ran, clashing through spears of ice.

Rude houses of hewn logs appeared in the openings, each one
casting a patch of inky blackness upon the snow. Then the
travellers passed a larger group of dwellings, all silent and
unlighted; and beyond, they saw a great house, with many
outbuildings and enclosed courtyards, from which the hounds bayed
furiously, and a noise of stamping horses came from the stalls.
But there was no other sound of life. The fields around lay bare
to the moon. They saw no man, except that once, on a path that
skirted the farther edge of a meadow, three dark figures passed
by, running very swiftly.

Then the road plunged again into a dense thicket, traversed it,
and climbing to the left, emerged suddenly upon a glade, round and
level except at the northern side, where a swelling hillock was
crowned with a huge oak-tree. It towered above the heath, a giant
with contorted arms, beckoning to the host of lesser trees.
"Here," cried Winfried, as his eyes flashed and his hand lifted
his heavy staff, "here is the thunder-oak; and here the cross of
Christ shall break the hammer of the false god Thor."



III

THE SHADOW OF THE THUNDER-OAK


Withered leaves still clung to the branches of the oak: torn and
faded banners of the departed summer. The bright crimson of autumn
had long since disappeared, bleached away by the storms and the
cold. But to-night these tattered remnants of glory were red
again: ancient blood-stains against the dark-blue sky. For an
immense fire had been kindled in front of the tree. Tongues of
ruddy flame, fountains of ruby sparks, ascended through the
spreading limbs and flung a fierce illumination upward and around.
The pale, pure moonlight that bathed the surrounding forests was
quenched and eclipsed here. Not a beam of it sifted downward
through the branches of the oak. It stood like a pillar of cloud
between the still light of heaven and the crackling, flashing fire
of earth.

But the fire itself was invisible to Winfried and his companions.
A great throng of people were gathered around it in a half-circle,
their backs to the open glade, their faces towards the oak. Seen
against that glowing background, it was but the silhouette of a
crowd, vague, black, formless, mysterious.

The travellers paused for a moment at the edge of the thicket, and
took counsel together.

"It is the assembly of the tribe," said one of the foresters, "the
great night of the council. I heard of it three days ago, as we
passed through one of the villages. All who swear by the old gods
have been summoned. They will sacrifice a steed to the god of war,
and drink blood, and eat horse-flesh to make them strong. It will
be at the peril of our lives if we approach them. At least we must
hide the cross, if we would escape death."

"Hide me no cross," cried Winfried, lifting his staff, "for I have
come to show it, and to make these blind folk see its power. There
is more to be done here to-night than the slaying of a steed, and
a greater evil to be stayed than the shameful eating of meat
sacrificed to idols. I have seen it in a dream. Here the cross
must stand and be our rede."

At his command the sledge was left in the border of the wood, with
two of the men to guard it, and the rest of the company moved
forward across the open ground. They approached unnoticed, for all
the multitude were looking intently towards the fire at the foot
of the oak.

Then Winfried's voice rang out, "Hail, ye sons of the forest! A
stranger claims the warmth of your fire in the winter night."

Swiftly, and as with a single motion, a thousand eyes were bent
upon the speaker. The semicircle opened silently in the middle;
Winfried entered with his followers; it closed again behind them.

Then, as they looked round the curving ranks, they saw that the
hue of the assemblage was not black, but white,--dazzling,
radiant, solemn. White, the robes of the women clustered together
at the points of the wide crescent; white, the glittering byrnies
of the warriors standing in close ranks; white, the fur mantles of
the aged men who held the central place in the circle; white, with
the shimmer of silver ornaments and the purity of lamb's-wool, the
raiment of a little group of children who stood close by the fire;
white, with awe and fear, the faces of all who looked at them; and
over all the flickering, dancing radiance of the flames played and
glimmered like a faint, vanishing tinge of blood on snow.

The only figure untouched by the glow was the old priest, Hunrad,
with his long, spectral robe, flowing hair and beard, and dead-
pale face, who stood with his back to the fire and advanced slowly
to meet the strangers.

"Who are you? Whence come you, and what seek you here?" His voice
was heavy and toneless as a muffled bell.

"Your kinsman am I, of the German brotherhood," answered Winfried,
"and from England, beyond the sea, have I come to bring you a
greeting from that land, and a message from the All-Father, whose
servant I am."

"Welcome, then," said Hunrad, "welcome, kinsman, and be silent;
for what passes here is too high to wait, and must be done before
the moon crosses the middle heaven, unless, indeed, thou hast some
sign or token from the gods. Canst thou work miracles?"

The question came sharply, as if a sudden gleam of hope had
flashed through the tangle of the old priest's mind. But
Winfried's voice sank lower and a cloud of disappointment passed
over his face as he replied: "Nay, miracles have I never wrought,
though I have heard of many; but the All-Father has given no power
to my hands save such as belongs to common man."

"Stand still, then, thou common man," said Hunrad, scornfully,
"and behold what the gods have called us hither to do. This night
is the death night of the sun-god, Baldur the Beautiful, beloved
of gods and men. This night is the hour of darkness and the power
of winter, of sacrifice and mighty fear. This night the great
Thor, the god of thunder and war, to whom this oak is sacred, is
grieved for the death of Baldur, and angry with this people
because they have forsaken his worship. Long is it since an
offering has been laid upon his altar, long since the roots of his
holy tree have been fed with blood. Therefore its leaves have
withered before the time, and its boughs are heavy with death.
Therefore the Slavs and the Wends have beaten us in battle.
Therefore the harvests have failed, and the wolf-hordes have
ravaged the folds, and the strength has departed from the bow, and
the wood of the spear has broken, and the wild boar has slain the
huntsman. Therefore the plague has fallen on our dwellings, and
the dead are more than the living in all our villages. Answer me,
ye people, are not these things true?"

A hoarse sound of approval ran through the circle. A chant, in
which the voices of the men and women blended, like the shrill
wind in the pine-trees above the rumbling thunder of a waterfall,
rose and fell in rude cadences.

  "O Thor, the Thunderer,
   Mighty and merciless,
   Spare us from smiting!
   Heave not thy hammer,
   Angry, against us;
   Plague not thy people.
   Take from our treasure
   Richest of ransom.
   Silver we send thee,
   Jewels and javelins,
   Goodliest garments,
   All our possessions,
   Priceless, we profter.
   Sheep will we slaughter,
   Steeds will we sacrifice;
   Bright blood shall bathe thee,
   O tree of Thunder,
   Life-floods shall lave thee,
   Strong wood of wonder.
   Mighty, have mercy,
   Smite us no more,
   Spare us and save us,
   Spare us, Thor! Thor!"

With two great shouts the song ended, and a stillness followed so
intense that the crackling of the fire was heard distinctly. The
old priest stood silent for a moment. His shaggy brows swept down
over his eyes like ashes quenching flame. Then he lifted his face
and spoke.

"None of these things will please the god. More costly is the
offering that shall cleanse your sin, more precious the crimson
dew that shall send new life into this holy tree of blood. Thor
claims your dearest and your noblest gift."

Hunrad moved nearer to the handful of children who stood watching
the red mines in the fire and the swarms of spark-serpents darting
upward. They had heeded none of the priest's words, and did not
notice now that he approached them, so eager were they to see
which fiery snake would go highest among the oak branches.
Foremost among them, and most intent on the pretty game, was a boy
like a sunbeam, slender and quick, with blithe brown eyes and
laughing lips. The priest's hand was laid upon his shoulder. The
boy turned and looked up in his face.

"Here," said the old man, with his voice vibrating as when a thick
rope is strained by a ship swinging from her moorings, "here is
the chosen one, the eldest son of the Chief, the darling of the
people. Hearken, Bernhard, wilt thou go to Valhalla, where the
heroes dwell with the gods, to bear a message to Thor?"

The boy answered, swift and clear:

"Yes, priest, I will go if my father bids me. Is it far away?
Shall I run quickly? Must I take my bow and arrows for the
wolves?"

The boy's father, the Chieftain Gundhar, standing among his
bearded warriors, drew his breath deep, and leaned so heavily on
the handle of his spear that the wood cracked. And his wife, Irma,
bending forward from the ranks of women, pushed the golden hair
from her forehead with one hand. The other dragged at the silver
chain about her neck until the rough links pierced her flesh, and
the red drops fell unheeded on the snow of her breast.

A sigh passed through the crowd, like the murmur of the forest
before the storm breaks. Yet no one spoke save Hunrad:

"Yes, my Prince, both bow and spear shalt thou have, for the way
is long, and thou art a brave huntsman. But in darkness thou must
journey for a little space, and with eyes blindfolded. Fearest
thou?"

"Naught fear I," said the boy, "neither darkness, nor the great
bear, nor the were-wolf. For I am Gundhar's son, and the defender
of my folk."

Then the priest led the child in his raiment of lamb's-wool to a
broad stone in front of the fire. He gave him his little bow
tipped with silver, and his spear with shining head of steel. He
bound the child's eyes with a white cloth, and bade him kneel
beside the stone with his face to the east. Unconsciously the wide
arc of spectators drew inward toward the centre, as the ends of
the bow draw together when the cord is stretched. Winfried moved
noiselessly until he stood close behind the priest.

The old man stooped to lift a black hammer of stone from the
ground,--the sacred hammer of the god Thor. Summoning all the
strength of his withered arms, he swung it high in the air. It
poised for an instant above the child's fair head--then turned to
fall.

One keen cry shrilled out from where the women stood: "Me! take
me! not Bernhard!"

The flight of the mother towards her child was swift as the
falcon's swoop. But swifter still was the hand of the deliverer.

Winfried's heavy staff thrust mightily against the hammer's handle
as it fell. Sideways it glanced from the old man's grasp, and the
black stone, striking on the altar's edge, split in twain. A shout
of awe and joy rolled along the living circle. The branches of the
oak shivered. The flames leaped higher. As the shout died away the
people saw the lady Irma, with her arms clasped round her child,
and above them, on the altar-stone, Winfried, his face shining
like the face of an angel.



IV

THE FELLING OF THE TREE


A swift mountain-flood rolling down its channel; a huge rock
tumbling from the hill-side and falling in mid-stream; the baffled
waters broken and confused, pausing in their flow, dash high
against the rock, foaming and murmuring, with divided impulse,
uncertain whether to turn to the right or the left.

Even so Winfried's bold deed fell into the midst of the thoughts
and passions of the council. They were at a standstill. Anger and
wonder, reverence and joy and confusion surged through the crowd.
They knew not which way to move: to resent the intrusion of the
stranger as an insult to their gods, or to welcome him as the
rescuer of their darling prince.

The old priest crouched by the altar, silent. Conflicting counsels
troubled the air. Let the sacrifice go forward; the gods must be
appeased. Nay, the boy must not die; bring the chieftain's best
horse and slay it in his stead; it will be enough; the holy tree
loves the blood of horses. Not so, there is a better counsel yet;
seize the stranger whom the gods have led hither as a victim and
make his life pay the forfeit of his daring.

The withered leaves on the oak rustled and whispered overhead. The
fire flared and sank again. The angry voices clashed against each
other and fell like opposing waves. Then the chieftain Gundhar
struck the earth with his spear and gave his decision.

"All have spoken, but none are agreed. There is no voice of the
council. Keep silence now, and let the stranger speak. His words
shall give us judgment, whether he is to live or to die."

Winfried lifted himself high upon the altar, drew a roll of
parchment from his bosom, and began to read.

"A letter from the great Bishop of Rome, who sits on a golden
throne, to the people of the forest. Hessians and Thuringians,
Franks and Saxons. In nomine Domini, sanctae et individuae
trinitatis, amen!"

A murmur of awe ran through the crowd. "It is the sacred tongue of
the Romans: the tongue that is heard and understood by the wise
men of every land. There is magic in it. Listen!"

Winfried went on to read the letter, translating it into the
speech of the people.

"'We have sent unto you our Brother Boniface, and appointed him
your bishop, that he may teach you the only true faith, and
baptize you, and lead you back from the ways of error to the path
of salvation. Hearken to him in all things like a father. Bow your
hearts to his teaching. He comes not for earthly gain, but for the
gain of your souls. Depart from evil works. Worship not the false
gods, for they are devils. Offer no more bloody sacrifices, nor
eat the flesh of horses, but do as our Brother Boniface commands
you. Build a house for him that he may dwell among you, and a
church where you may offer your prayers to the only living God,
the Almighty King of Heaven.'"

It was a splendid message: proud, strong, peaceful, loving. The
dignity of the words imposed mightily upon the hearts of the
people. They were quieted, as men who have listened to a lofty
strain of music.

"Tell us, then," said Gundhar, "what is the word that thou
bringest to us from the Almighty. What is thy counsel for the
tribes of the woodland on this night of sacrifice?"

"This is the word, and this is the counsel," answered Winfried.
"Not a drop of blood shall fall to-night, save that which pity has
drawn from the breast of your princess, in love for her child. Not
a life shall be blotted out in the darkness to-night; but the
great shadow of the tree which hides you from the light of heaven
shall be swept away. For this is the birth-night of the white
Christ, son of the All-Father, and Saviour of mankind. Fairer is
He than Baldur the Beautiful, greater than Odin the Wise, kinder
than Freya the Good. Since He has come to earth the bloody
sacrifices must cease. The dark Thor, on whom you vainly call, is
dead. Deep in the shades of Niffelheim he is lost forever. His
power in the world is broken. Will you serve a helpless god? See,
my brothers, you call this tree his oak. Does he dwell here? Does
he protect it?"

A troubled voice of assent rose from the throng. The people
stirred uneasily. Women covered their eyes. Hunrad lifted his head
and muttered hoarsely, "Thor! take vengeance! Thor!"

Winfried beckoned to Gregor. "Bring the axes, thine and one for
me. Now, young woodsman, show thy craft! The king-tree of the
forest must fall, and swiftly, or all is lost!"

The two men took their places facing each other, one on each side
of the oak. Their cloaks were flung aside, their heads bare.
Carefully they felt the ground with their feet, seeking a firm
grip of the earth. Firmly they grasped the axe-helves and swung
the shining blades.

"Tree-god!" cried Winfried, "art thou angry? Thus we smite thee!"

"Tree-god!" answered Gregor, "art thou mighty? Thus we fight
thee!"

Clang! clang! the alternate strokes beat time upon the hard,
ringing wood. The axe-heads glittered in their rhythmic flight,
like fierce eagles circling about their quarry.

The broad flakes of wood flew from the deepening gashes in the
sides of the oak. The huge trunk quivered. There was a shuddering
in the branches. Then the great wonder of Winfried's life came to
pass.

Out of the stillness of the winter night, a mighty rushing noise
sounded overhead.

Was it the ancient gods on their white battle-steeds, with their
black hounds of wrath and their arrows of lightning, sweeping
through the air to destroy their foes?

A strong, whirling wind passed over the tree-tops. It gripped the
oak by its branches and tore it from its roots. Backward it fell,
like a ruined tower, groaning and crashing as it split asunder in
four great pieces.

Winfried let his axe drop, and bowed his head for a moment in the
presence of almighty power.

Then he turned to the people, "Here is the timber," he cried,
"already felled and split for your new building. On this spot
shall rise a chapel to the true God and his servant St. Peter.

"And here," said he, as his eyes fell on a young fir-tree,
standing straight and green, with its top pointing towards the
stars, amid the divided ruins of the fallen oak, "here is the
living tree, with no stain of blood upon it, that shall be the
sign of your new worship. See how it points to the sky. Let us
call it the tree of the Christ-child. Take it up and carry it to
the chieftain's hall. You shall go no more into the shadows of the
forest to keep your feasts with secret rites of shame. You shall
keep them at home, with laughter and song and rites of love. The
thunder-oak has fallen, and I think the day is coming when there
shall not be a home in all Germany where the children are not
gathered around the green fir-tree to rejoice in the birth-night
of Christ."

So they took the little fir from its place, and carried it in
joyous procession to the edge of the glade, and laid it on the
sledge. The horses tossed their heads and drew their load bravely,
as if the new burden had made it lighter.

When they came to the house of Gundhar, he bade them throw open
the doors of the hall and set the tree in the midst of it. They
kindled lights among the branches until it seemed to be tangled
full of fire-flies. The children encircled it, wondering, and the
sweet odor of the balsam filled the house.

Then Winfried stood beside the chair of Gundhar, on the dais at
the end of the hall, and told the story of Bethlehem; of the babe
in the manger, of the shepherds on the hills, of the host of
angels and their midnight song. All the people listened, charmed
into stillness.

But the boy Bernhard, on Irma's knee, folded by her soft arm, grew
restless as the story lengthened, and began to prattle softly at
his mother's ear.

"Mother," whispered the child, "why did you cry out so loud, when
the priest was going to send me to Valhalla?"

"Oh, hush, my child," answered the mother, and pressed him closer
to her side.

"Mother," whispered the boy again, laying his finger on the stains
upon her breast, "see, your dress is red! What are these stains?
Did some one hurt you?"

The mother closed his mouth with a kiss. "Dear, be still, and
listen!"

The boy obeyed. His eyes were heavy with sleep. But he heard the
last words of Winfried as he spoke of the angelic messengers,
flying over the hills of Judea and singing as they flew. The child
wondered and dreamed and listened. Suddenly his face grew bright.
He put his lips close to Irma's cheek again.

"Oh, mother!" he whispered very low, "do not speak. Do you hear
them? Those angels have come back again. They are singing now
behind the tree."

And some say that it was true; but others say that it was only
Gregor and his companions at the lower end of the hall, chanting
their Christmas hymn:

  "'All glory be to God on high.
   And to the earth be peace!
   Good-will, henceforth, from heaven to men
   Begin, and never cease.'"



A FRENCH TAR-BABY

BY JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS


The fable was one of the first tributaries to the stream of story-
telling. Primitive man with a kind of fine democracy claimed
kinship with the animals about him. So Hiawatha learned the
language and the secrets of birds and beasts,

  "Talked with them whene'er he met them,
   Called them Hiawatha's Brothers."

Out of this intimacy and understanding grew the fable, wherein
animals thought, acted, and talked in the terms of human life.
This kind of story is illustrated by the "Fables" of Aesop, the
animal stories of Ernest Thompson-Seton, the "Jungle Books" of
Rudyard Kipling and the "Uncle Remus" stories of Joel Chandler
Harris. The fable is a tale rather than a true short-story.



A FRENCH TAR-BABY

[Footnote: From "Evening Tales," by Joel Chandler Harris.
Copyright, 1893, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


In the time when there were hobgoblins and fairies, Brother Goat
and Brother Rabbit lived in the same neighborhood, not far from
each other.

Proud of his long beard and sharp horns, Brother Goat looked on
Brother Rabbit with disdain. He would hardly speak to Brother
Rabbit when he met him, and his greatest pleasure was to make his
little neighbor the victim of his tricks and practical jokes. For
instance, he would say:

"Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Fox," and this would cause Brother
Rabbit to run away as hard as he could. Again he would say:

"Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Wolf," and poor Brother Rabbit would
shake and tremble with fear. Sometimes he would cry out:

"Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Tiger," and then Brother Rabbit would
shudder and think that his last hour had come.

Tired of this miserable existence, Brother Rabbit tried to think
of some means by which he could change his powerful and terrible
neighbor into a friend. After a time he thought he had discovered
a way to make Brother Goat his friend, and so he invited him to
dinner.

Brother Goat was quick to accept the invitation. The dinner was a
fine affair, and there was an abundance of good eating. A great
many different dishes were served. Brother Goat licked his mouth
and shook his long beard with satisfaction. He had never before
been present at such a feast.

"Well, my friend," exclaimed Brother Rabbit, when the dessert was
brought in, "how do you like your dinner?"

"I could certainly wish for nothing better," replied Brother Goat,
rubbing the tips of his horns against the back of his chair; "but
my throat is very dry and a little water would hurt neither the
dinner nor me."

"Gracious!" said Brother Rabbit, "I have neither wine-cellar nor
water. I am not in the habit of drinking while I am eating."

"Neither have I any water, Brother Rabbit," said Brother Goat.
"But I have an idea! If you will go with me over yonder by the big
poplar, we will dig a well."

"No, Brother Goat," said Brother Rabbit, who hoped to revenge
himself--"no, I do not care to dig a well. At daybreak I drink the
dew from the cups of the flowers, and in the heat of the day I
milk the cows and drink the cream."

"Well and good," said Brother Goat. "Alone I will dig the well,
and alone I will drink out of it."

"Success to you, Brother Goat," said Brother Rabbit.

"Thank you kindly, Brother Rabbit."

Brother Goat then went to the foot of the big poplar and began to
dig his well. He dug with his forefeet and with his horns, and the
well got deeper and deeper. Soon the water began to bubble up and
the well was finished, and then Brother Goat made haste to quench
his thirst. He was in such a hurry that his beard got in the
water, but he drank and drank until he had his fill.

Brother Rabbit, who had followed him at a little distance, hid
himself behind a bush and laughed heartily. He said to himself:
"What an innocent creature you are!"

The next day, when Brother Goat, with his big beard and sharp
horns, returned to his well to get some water, he saw the tracks
of Brother Rabbit in the soft earth. This put him to thinking. He
sat down, pulled his beard, scratched his head, and tapped himself
on the forehead.

"My friend," he exclaimed after a while, "I will catch you yet."

Then he ran and got his tools (for Brother Goat was something of a
carpenter in those days) and made a large doll out of laurel wood.
When the doll was finished, he spread tar on it here and there, on
the right and on the left, and up and down. He smeared it all over
with the sticky stuff, until it was as black as a Guinea negro.

This finished, Brother Goat waited quietly until evening. At
sunset he placed the tarred doll near the well, and ran and hid
himself behind the trees and bushes. The moon had just risen, and
the heavens twinkled with millions of little star-torches.

Brother Rabbit, who was waiting in his house, believed that the
time had come for him to get some water, so he took his bucket and
went to Brother Goat's well. On the way he was very much afraid
that something would catch him. He trembled when the wind shook
the leaves of the trees. He would go a little distance and then
stop and listen; he hid here behind a stone, and there behind a
tuft of grass.

At last he arrived at the well, and there he saw the little negro.
He stopped and looked at it with astonishment. Then he drew back a
little way, advanced again, drew back, advanced a little, and
stopped once more.

"What can that be?" he said to himself. He listened, with his long
ears pointed forward, but the trees could not talk, and the bushes
were dumb. He winked his eyes and lowered his head:

"Hey, friend! Who are you?" he asked.

The tar-doll didn't move. Brother Rabbit went up a little closer,
and asked again:

"Who are you?"

The tar-doll said nothing. Brother Rabbit breathed more at ease.
Then he went to the brink of the well, but when he looked in the
water the tar-doll seemed to look in too. He could see her
reflection in the water. This made Brother Rabbit so mad that he
grew red in the face.

"See here!" he exclaimed, "If you look in this well I'll give you
a rap on the nose!"

Brother Rabbit leaned over the brink of the well, and saw the tar-
doll smiling at him in the water. He raised his right hand and hit
her--bam! His hand stuck.

"What's this?" exclaimed Brother Rabbit. "Turn me loose, imp of
Satan! If you do not, I will rap you on the eye with my other
hand."

Then he hit her--bim! The left hand stuck also. Then Brother
Rabbit raised his right foot, saying:

"Mark me well, little Congo! Do you see this foot? I will kick you
in the stomach if you do not turn me loose this instant."

No sooner said than done. Brother Rabbit let fly his right foot--
vip! The foot stuck, and he raised the other.

"Do you see this foot?" he exclaimed. "If I hit you with it, you
will think a thunderbolt has struck you."

Then he kicked her with the left foot, and it also stuck like the
other, and Brother Rabbit held fast his Guinea negro.

"Watch out, now!" he cried. "I've already butted a great many
people with my head. If I butt you in your ugly face I'll knock it
into a jelly. Turn me loose! Oho! You don't answer?" Bap!

"Guinea girl!" exclaimed Brother Rabbit, "Are you dead? Gracious
goodness! How my head does stick!"

When the sun rose, Brother Goat went to his well to find out
something about Brother Rabbit. The result was beyond his
expectations.

"Hey, little rogue, big rogue!" exclaimed Brother Goat. "Hey,
Brother Rabbit! What are you doing there? I thought you drank the
dew from the cups of the flowers, or milk from the cows. Aha,
Brother Rabbit! I will punish you for stealing my water."

"I am your friend," said Brother Rabbit; "don't kill me."

"Thief, thief!" cried Brother Goat, and then he ran quickly into
the woods, gathered up a pile of dry limbs, and made a great fire.
He took Brother Rabbit from the tar-doll, and prepared to burn him
alive. As he was passing a thicket of brambles with Brother Rabbit
on his shoulders, Brother Goat met his daughter Beledie, who was
walking about in the fields.

"Where are you going, Papa, muffled up with such a burden? Come
and eat the fresh grass with me, and throw wicked Brother Rabbit
in the brambles."

Cunning Brother Rabbit raised his long ears and pretended to be
very much frightened.

"Oh, no, Brother Goat!" he cried. "Don't throw me in the brambles.
They will tear my flesh, put out my eyes, and pierce my heart. Oh,
I pray you, rather throw me in the fire."

"Aha, little rogue, big rogue! Aha, Brother Rabbit!" exclaimed
Brother Goat, exultingly, "You don't like the brambles? Well,
then, go and laugh in them," and he threw Brother Rabbit in
without a feeling of pity.

Brother Rabbit fell in the brambles, leaped to his feet, and began
to laugh.

"Ha-ha-ha! Brother Goat, what a simpleton you are!--ha-ha-ha! A
better bed I never had! In these brambles I was born!"

Brother Goat was in despair, but he could not help himself.
Brother Rabbit was safe.

A long beard is not always a sign of intelligence.



SONNY'S CHRISTENING

BY

RUTH McENERY STUART

This is the story of character, in the form of dramatic monologue.
There is only one speaker, but we know by his words that another
is present and can infer his part in the conversation. This story
has the additional values of humor and local color.



SONNY'S CHRISTENIN'

[Footnote: From "Sonny, a Christmas Guest," by Ruth McEnery
Stuart. Copyright, 1896, by The Century Co. Reprinted by special
permission.]


Yas, sir, wife an' me, we've turned 'Piscopals--all on account o'
Sonny. He seemed to prefer that religion, an' of co'se we wouldn't
have the family divided, so we're a-goin' to be ez good 'Piscopals
ez we can.

I reckon it'll come a little bit awkward at first. Seem like I
never will git so thet I can sass back in church 'thout feelin'
sort o' impident--but I reckon I'll chirp up an' come to it, in
time.

I never was much of a hand to sound the amens, even in our own
Methodist meetin's.

Sir? How old is he? Oh, Sonny's purty nigh six--but he showed a
pref'ence for the 'Piscopal Church long fo' he could talk.

When he wasn't no mo' 'n three year old we commenced a-takin him
round to church wherever they held meetin's,--'Piscopals,
Methodists or Presbyterians,--so's he could see an' hear for
hisself. I ca'yed him to a baptizin' over to Chinquepin Crik,
once-t, when he was three. I thought I'd let him see it done an'
maybe it might make a good impression; but no, sir! The Baptists
didn't suit him! Cried ever' time one was douced, an' I had to
fetch him away. In our Methodist meetin's he seemed to git worked
up an' pervoked, some way. An' the Presbyterians, he didn't take
no stock in them at all. Ricollect, one Sunday the preacher, he
preached a mighty powerful disco'se on the doctrine o' lost
infants not 'lected to salvation--an' Sonny? Why, he slep' right
thoo it.

The first any way lively interest he ever seemed to take in
religious services was at the 'Piscopals, Easter Sunday. When he
seen the lilies an' the candles he thess clapped his little hands,
an' time the folks commenced answerin' back he was tickled all but
to death, an' started answerin' hisself--on'y, of co'se he'd
answer sort o' hit an' miss.

I see then thet Sonny was a natu'al-born 'Piscopal, an' we might
ez well make up our minds to it--an' I told HER so, too. They say
some is born so. But we thought we'd let him alone an' let nature
take its co'se for a while--not pressin' him one way or another.
He never had showed no disposition to be christened, an' ever
sence the doctor tried to vaccinate him he seemed to git the
notion that christenin' an' vaccination was mo' or less the same
thing; an' sence that time, he's been mo' opposed to it than ever.

Sir? Oh no, sir. He didn't vaccinate him; he thess tried to do it;
but Sonny, he wouldn't begin to allow it. We all tried to indoose
'im. I offered him everything on the farm ef he'd thess roll up
his little sleeve an' let the doctor look at his arm--promised him
thet he wouldn't tech a needle to it tell he said the word. But he
wouldn't. He 'lowed thet me an' his mamma could git vaccinated ef
we wanted to, but he wouldn't.

Then we showed him our marks where we had been vaccinated when we
was little, an' told him how it had kep' us clair o' havin' the
smallpock all our lives.

Well, sir, it didn't make no diff'ence whether we'd been did befo'
or not, he 'lowed thet he wanted to see us vaccinated ag'in.

An' so, of co'se, thinkin' it might encour'ge him, we thess had it
did over--tryin' to coax him to consent after each one, an' makin'
pertend like we enjoyed it.

Then, nothin' would do but the nigger, Dicey, had to be did, an'
then he 'lowed thet he wanted the cat did, an' I tried to strike a
bargain with him thet if Kitty got vaccinated he would. But he
wouldn't comp'omise. He thess let on thet Kit had to be did whe'r
or no. So I ast the doctor ef it would likely kill the cat, an' he
said he reckoned not, though it might sicken her a little. So I
told him to go ahead. Well, sir, befo' Sonny got thoo, he had had
that cat an' both dogs vaccinated--but let it tech hisself he
would not.

I was mighty sorry not to have it did, 'cause they was a nigger
thet had the smallpock down to Cedar Branch, fifteen mile away,
an' he didn't die, neither. He got well. An' they say when they
git well they're more fatal to a neighborhood 'n when they die.

That was fo' months ago now, but to this day ever' time the wind
blows from you'west I feel oneasy, an' try to entice Sonny to play
on the far side o' the house.

Well, sir, in about ten days after that we was the down-in-the-
mouthest crowd on that farm, man an' beast, thet you ever see.
Ever' last one o' them vaccinations took, sir, an' took severe,
from the cat up.

But I reckon we're all safe-t guarded now. They ain't nothin' on
the place thet can fetch it to Sonny, an' I trust, with care, he
may never be exposed.

But I set out to tell you about Sonny's diristenin' an' us turnin'
'Piscopal. Ez I said, he never seemed to want baptism, though he
had heard us discuss all his life both it an' vaccination ez the
two ordeels to be gone thoo with some time, an' we'd speculate ez
to whether vaccination would take or not, an' all sech ez that,
an' then, ez I said, after he see what the vaccination was, why he
was even mo' prejudyced agin' baptism 'n ever, an' we 'lowed to
let it run on tell sech a time ez he'd decide what name he'd want
to take an' what denomination he'd want to bestow it on him.

Wife, she's got some 'Piscopal relations thet she sort o' looks up
to,--though she don't own it,--but she was raised Methodist an' I
was raised a true-blue Presbyterian. But when we professed after
Sonny come we went up together at Methodist meetin'. What we was
after was righteous livin', an' we didn't keer much which
denomination helped us to it.

An' so, feelin' friendly all roun' that-a-way, we thought we'd
leave Sonny to pick his church when he got ready, an' then they
wouldn't be nothin' to undo or do over in case he went over to the
'Piscopals, which has the name of revisin' over any other church'
performances--though sence we've turned 'Piscopals we've found out
that ain't so.

Of co'se the preachers, they used to talk to us about it once-t in
a while,--seemed to think it ought to be did,--'ceptin', of co'se,
the Baptists.

Well, sir, it went along so till last week. Sonny ain't but, ez I
said, thess not quite six year old, an' ther seemed to be time
enough. But last week he had been playin' out o' doors bare-
feeted, thess same ez he always does, an' he tramped on a pine
splinter some way. Of co'se, pine, it's the safe-t-est splinter a
person can run into a foot, on account of its carryin' its own
turpentine in with it to heal up things; but any splinter thet
dast to push itself up into a little pink foot is a messenger of
trouble, an' we know it. An' so, when we see this one, we tried
ever' way to coax him to let us take it out, but he wouldn't, of
co'se. He never will, an' somehow the Lord seems to give 'em
ambition to work their own way out mos' gen'ally.

But, sir, this splinter didn't seem to have no energy in it. It
thess lodged there, an' his little foot it commenced to swell, an'
it swole an' swole tell his little toes stuck out so thet the
little pig thet went to market looked like ez ef it wasn't on
speakin' terms with the little pig thet stayed home, an' wife an'
me we watched it, an' I reckon she prayed over it consider'ble,
an' I read a extry psalm at night befo' I went to bed, all on
account o' that little foot. An' night befo' las' it was lookin'
mighty angry an' swole, an' he had limped an' "ouched!"
consider'ble all day, an' he was mighty fretful bed-time. So,
after he went to sleep, wife she come out on the po'ch where I was
settin', and she says to me, says she, her face all drawed up an'
workin', says she: "Honey," says she, "I reckon we better sen' for
him an' have it did." Thess so, she said it. "Sen' for who, wife?"
says I, "an' have what did?" "Why, sen' for him, the 'Piscopal
preacher," says she, "an' have Sonny christened. Them little toes
o' hisn is ez red ez cherry tomatoes. They burnt my lips thess now
like a coal o' fire an'--an' lockjaw is goin' roun' tur'ble.

"Seems to me," says she, "when he started to git sleepy, he didn't
gap ez wide ez he gen'ly does--an' I'm 'feered he's a-gittin' it
now." An', sir, with that, she thess gathered up her apron an'
mopped her face in it an' give way. An' ez for me, I didn't seem
to have no mo' backbone down my spinal colume 'n a feather bolster
has, I was that weak.

I never ast her why she didn't sen' for our own preacher. I knowed
then ez well ez ef she'd 'a' told me why she done it--all on
account o' Sonny bein' so tickled over the 'Piscopals' meetin's.

It was mos' nine o'clock then, an' a dark night, an' rainin', but
I never said a word--they wasn't no room round the edges o' the
lump in my throat for words to come out ef they'd 'a' been one
surgin' up there to say, which they wasn't--but I thess went out
an' saddled my horse an' I rid into town. Stopped first at the
doctor's an' sent him out, though I knowed't wouldn't do no good;
Sonny wouldn't 'low him to tech it; but I sent him out anyway, to
look at it, an', ef possible, console wife a little. Then I rid on
to the rector's an' ast him to come out immejate an' baptize
Sonny. But nex' day was his turn to preach down at Sandy Crik, an'
he couldn't come that night, but he promised to come right after
services nex' mornin'--which he done--rid the whole fo'teen mile
from Sandy Crik here in the rain, too, which I think is a evidence
o' Christianity, though no sech acts is put down in my book o'
"evidences" where they ought rightfully to be.

Well, sir, when I got home that night, I found wife a heap
cheerfuler. The doctor had give Sonny a big apple to eat an'
pernounced him free from all symptoms o' lockjaw. But when I come
the little feller had crawled 'way back under the bed an' lay
there, eatin' his apple, an' they couldn't git him out. Soon ez
the doctor had teched a poultice to his foot he had woke up an'
put a stop to it, an' then he had went off by hisself where
nothin' couldn't pester him, to enjoy his apple in peace. An' we
never got him out tell he heered us tellin' the doctor good-night.

I tried ever' way to git him out--even took up a coal o' fire an'
poked it under at him; but he thess laughed at that an' helt his
apple agin' it an' made it sizz. Well, sir, he seemed so tickled
that I helt that coal o' fire for him tell he cooked a good big
spot on one side o' the apple, an' et it, an' then, when I took it
out, he called for another, but I didn't give it to him. I don't
see no use in over-indulgin' a child. An' when he knowed the
doctor was gone, he come out an' finished roastin' his apple by
the fire--thess what was left of it 'round the co'e.

Well, sir, we was mightily comforted by the doctor's visit, but
nex' mornin' things looked purty gloomy ag'in. Sonny's Christenin'

That little foot seemed a heap worse, an' he was sort o' flushed
an' feverish, an' wife she thought she heard a owl hoot, an' Rover
made a mighty funny gurgly sound in his th'oat like ez ef he had
bad news to tell us, but didn't have the courage to speak it.

An' then, on top o' that, the nigger Dicey, she come in an' 'lowed
she had dreamed that night about eatin' spare-ribs, which
everybody knows to dream about fresh pork out o' season, which
this is July, is considered a shore sign o' death. Of co'se, wife
an' me, we don't b'lieve in no sech ez that, but ef you ever come
to see yo' little feller's toes stand out the way Sonny's done day
befo' yesterday, why, sir, you'll be ready to b'lieve anything.
It's so much better now, you can't judge of its looks day befo'
yesterday. We never had even so much ez considered it necessary
thet little children should be christened to have 'em saved, but
when things got on the ticklish edge, like they was then, why, we
felt thet the safest side is the wise side, an', of co'se, we want
Sonny to have the best of everything. So, we was mighty thankful
when we see the rector comin'. But, sir, when I went out to open
the gate for him, what on top o' this round hemisp'ere do you
reckon Sonny done? Why, sir, he thess took one look at the gate
an' then he cut an' run hard ez he could--limped acrost the yard
thess like a flash o' zig-zag lightnin'--an' 'fore anybody could
stop him, he had clumb to the tip top o' the butter-bean arbor--
clumb it thess like a cat--an' there he set, a-swingin' his feet
under him, an' laughin', the rain thess a-streakin' his hair all
over his face.

That bean arbor is a favoryte place for him to escape to, 'cause
it's too high to reach, an' it ain't strong enough to bear no
grown-up person's weight.

Well, sir, the rector, he come in an' opened his valise an' 'rayed
hisself in his robes an' opened his book, an' while he was turnin'
the leaves, he faced 'round an' says he, lookin' at me Direc',
says he:

"Let the child be brought forward for baptism," says he, thess
that-a-way.

Well, sir, I looked at wife, an' wife, she looked at me, an' then
we both thess looked out at the butter-bean arbor.

I knowed then thet Sonny wasn't never comin' down while the rector
was there, an' rector, he seemed sort o' fretted for a minute when
he see how things was, an' he did try to do a little settin' fo'th
of opinions. He 'lowed, speakin' in a mighty pompious manner, thet
holy things wasn't to be trifled with, an' thet he had come to
baptize the child accordin' to the rites o' the church.

Well, that sort o' talk, it thess rubbed me the wrong way, an' I
up an' told him thet that might be so, but thet the rites o' the
church didn't count for nothin', on our farm, to the rights o' the
boy!

I reckon it was mighty disrespec'ful o' me to face him that-a-way,
an' him adorned in all his robes, too, but I'm thess a plain up-
an'-down man an' I hadn't went for him to come an' baptize Sonny
to uphold the granjer of no church. I was ready to do that when
the time come, but right now we was workin' in Sonny's interests,
an' I intended to have it understood that way. An' it was.

Rector, he's a mighty good, kind-hearted man, git down to the man
inside the preacher, an' when he see thess how things stood, why,
he come 'round friendly, an' he went out on the po'ch an' united
with us in tryin' to help coax Sonny down. First started by
promisin' him speritual benefits, but he soon see that wasn't no
go, and he tried worldly persuasion; but no, sir, stid o' him
comin' down, Sonny started orderin' the rest of us christened
thess the way he done about the vaccination. But, of co'se, we had
been baptized befo', an' we nachelly helt out agin' that for some
time. But d'rec'ly rector, he seemed to have a sudden idee, an'
says he, facin' 'round, church-like, to wife an' me, says he:

"Have you both been baptized accordin' to the rites o' the
church?"

An' me, thinkin' of co'se he meant the 'Piscopal Church, says:
"No, sir," says I, thess so. And then we see that the way was open
for us to be did over ag'in ef we wanted to. So, sir, wife an' me
we was took into the church, then an' there. We wouldn't 'a'
yielded to him, thoo an' thoo, that-a-way ag'in ef his little foot
hadn't 'a' been so swole, an' he maybe takin' his death o' cold
settin' out in the po'in'-down rain; but things bein' as they was,
we went thoo it with all due respects.

Then he commenced callin' for Dicey, an' the dog, an' the cat, to
be did, same ez he done befo'; but, of co'se, they's some
liberties thet even a innocent child can't take with the waters o'
baptism, an' the rector he got sort o' wo'e-out and disgusted an'
'lowed thet 'less'n we could get the child ready for baptism he'd
haf to go home.

Well, sir, I knowed we wouldn't never git 'im down, an' I had went
for the rector to baptize him, an' I intended to have it did, ef
possible. So, says I, turnin' 'round an' facin' him square, says
I: "Rector," says I, "why not baptize him where he is? I mean it.
The waters o' Heaven are descendin' upon him where he sets, an'
seems to me ef he's favo'bly situated for anything it is for
baptism." Well, parson, he thess looked at me up an' down for a
minute, like ez ef he s'picioned I was wanderin' in my mind, but
he didn't faze me. I thess kep' up my argiment. Says I: "Parson,"
says I, speakin' thess ez ca'm ez I am this minute--"Parson," says
I, "his little foot is mighty swole, an' so'e, an' that splinter--
thess s'pose he was to take the lockjaw an' die--don't you reckon
you might do it where he sets--from where you stand?"

Wife, she was cryin' by this time, an' parson, he claired his
th'oat an' coughed, an' then he commenced walkin' up an' down, an'
dreckly he stopped, an' says he, speakin' mighty reverential an'
serious:

"Lookin' at this case speritually, an' as a minister o' the
Gospel," says he, "it seems to me thet the question ain't so much
a question of DOIN' ez it is a question of WITHHOLDIN'. I don't
know," says he, "ez I've got a right to withhold the sacrament of
baptism from a child under these circumstances or to deny sech
comfort to his parents ez lies in my power to bestow."

An', sir, with that he stepped out to the end o' the po'ch, opened
his book ag'in, an' holdin' up his right hand to'ards Sonny,
settin' on top o' the bean-arbor in the rain, he commenced to read
the service o' baptism an' we stood proxies--which is a sort o' a
dummy substitutes--for whatever godfather an' mother Sonny see fit
to choose in after life.

Parson, he looked half like ez ef he'd laugh once-t. When he had
thess opened his book and started to speak, a sudden streak o'
sunshine shot out an' the rain started to ease up, an' it looked
for a minute ez ef he was goin' to lose the baptismal waters. But
d'rec'ly it come down stiddy ag'in an' he went thoo the programme
entire.

An' Sonny, he behaved mighty purty; set up perfec'ly ca'm an'
composed thoo it all, an' took everything in good part, though he
didn't p'intedly know who was bein' baptized, 'cause, of co'se, he
couldn't hear the words with the rain in his ears.

He didn't rightly sense the situation tell it come to the part
where it says: "Name this child," and, of co'se, I called out to
Sonny to name hisself, which it had always been our intention to
let him do.

"Name yo'self, right quick, like a good boy," says I.

Of co'se Sonny had all his life heered me say thet I was
Deuteronomy Jones, Senior, an' thet--I hoped some day when he got
christened he'd be the junior. He knowed that by heart, an' would
agree to it or dispute it, 'cordin' to how the notion took him,
and I sort o' ca'culated thet he'd out with it now. But no, sir!
Not a word! He thess sot up on thet bean-arbor an' grinned.

An' so, feelin' put to it, with the services suspended over my
head, I spoke up, an' I says: "Parson," says I. "I reckon ef he
was to speak his little heart, he'd say Deuteronomy Jones,
Junior." An' with thet what does Sonny do but conterdic' me flat!
"No, not Junior! I want to be named Deuteronomy Jones, Senior!"
says he, thess so. An' parson, he looked to'ards me, an' I bowed
my head an' he pronounced thess one single name, "Deuteronomy,"
an' I see he wasn't goin' to say no more an' so I spoke up quick,
an' says I: "Parson," says I, "he has spoke his heart's desire. He
has named hisself after me entire--Deuteronomy Jones, Senior."

An' so he was obligated to say it, an' so it is writ in the family
record colume in the big Bible, though I spelt his Senior with a
little s, an' writ him down ez the only son of the Senior with the
big S, which it seems to me fixes it about right for the time
bein'.

Well, when the rector had got thoo an' he had wropped up his robes
an' put 'em in his wallet, an' had told us to prepare for
conformation, he pernounced a blessin' upon us an' went.

Then Sonny seein' it was all over, why, HE COME DOWN. He was wet
ez a drownded rat, but wife rubbed him off an' give him some hot
tea an' he come a-snuggin' up in my lap, thess ez sweet a child ez
you ever see in yo' life, an' I talked to him ez fatherly ez I
could, told him we was all 'Piscopals now, an' soon ez his little
foot got well I was goin' to take him out to Sunday-school to tote
a banner--all his little 'Piscopal friends totes banners--an' thet
he could pick out some purty candles for the altar, an' he 'lowed
immejate thet he'd buy pink ones. Sonny always was death on pink--
showed it from the time he could snatch a pink rose--an' wife she
ain't never dressed him in nothin' else. Ever' pair o' little
breeches he's got is either pink or pink-trimmed.

Well, I talked along to him till I worked 'round to shamin' him a
little for havin' to be christened settin' up on top a bean-arbor,
same ez a crow-bird, which I told him the parson he wouldn't 'a'
done ef he'd 'a' felt free to've left it undone. 'Twasn't to
indulge him he done it, but to bless him an' to comfort our
hearts. Well, after I had reasoned with him severe that-a-way a
while, he says, says he, thess ez sweet an' mild, says he, "Daddy,
nex' time y'all gits christened, I'll come down an' be christened
right--like a good boy."

Th' ain't a sweeter child in'ardly 'n what Sonny is, nowheres, git
him to feel right comf'table, and I know it, an' that's why I have
patience with his little out'ard ways.

"Yes, sir," says he; "nex' time I'll be christened like a good
boy."

Then, of co'se, I explained to him thet it couldn't never be did
no mo', 'cause it had been did, an' did 'Piscopal, which is
secure. An' then what you reckon the little feller said?

Says he, "Yes, daddy, but S'POS'IN' MINE DON'T TAKE. How 'bout
that?"

An' I didn't try to explain no further. What was the use? Wife, she
had drawed a stool close-t up to my knee, an' set there sortin' out
the little yaller rings ez they'd dry out on his head, an' when he
said that I thess looked at her an' we both looked at him, an' says
I, "Wife," says I, "ef they's anything in heavenly looks an' behavior,
I b'lieve that christenin' is started to take on him a'ready."

An' I b'lieve it had.



CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH SATAN

BY JOHN FOX, JR.

"All that is literature seeks to communicate power." [Footnote: De
Quincey, "Letters to a Young Man."] Here the power communicated is
that of sympathizing with God's "lesser children." The
humanitarian story is a long step in advance of the fable. It
recognizes the true relations of the animal world to man, and
insists that it be dealt with righteously and sympathetically.



CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH SATAN

[Footnote: From "Christmas Eve on Lonesome," by John Fox, Jr.
Copyright, 1904, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


No night was this in Hades with solemn-eyed Dante, for Satan was
only a woolly little black dog, and surely no dog was ever more
absurdly misnamed. When Uncle Carey first heard that name, he
asked gravely:

"Why, Dinnie, where in h---," Uncle Carey gulped slightly, "did
you get him?" And Dinnie laughed merrily, for she saw the fun of
the question, and shook her black curls. "He didn't come f'um THAT
PLACE."

Distinctly Satan had not come from that place. On the contrary, he
might by a miracle have dropped straight from some Happy Hunting-
Ground, for all the signs he gave of having touched pitch in this
or another sphere. Nothing human was ever born that was gentler,
merrier, more trusting or more lovable than Satan. That was why
Uncle Carey said again gravely that he could hardly tell Satan and
his little mistress apart. He rarely saw them apart, and as both
had black tangled hair and bright black eyes; as one awoke every
morning with a happy smile and the other with a jolly bark; as
they played all day like wind-shaken shadows and each won every
heart at first sight--the likeness was really rather curious. I
have always believed that Satan made the spirit of Dinnie's house,
orthodox and severe though it was, almost kindly toward his great
namesake. I know I have never been able, since I knew little
Satan, to think old Satan as bad as I once painted him, though I
am sure the little dog had many pretty tricks that the "old boy"
doubtless has never used in order to amuse his friends.

"Shut the door, Saty, please," Dinnie would say, precisely as she
would say it to Uncle Billy, the butler, and straightway Satan
would launch himself at it--bang! He never would learn to close it
softly, for Satan liked that--bang!

If you kept tossing a coin or marble in the air, Satan would keep
catching it and putting it back in your hand for another throw,
till you got tired. Then he would drop it on a piece of rag
carpet, snatch the carpet with his teeth, throw the coin across
the room, and rush for it like mad, until he got tired. If you put
a penny on his nose, he would wait until you counted, one--two--
THREE! Then he would toss it up himself and catch it. Thus,
perhaps, Satan grew to love Mammon right well, but for another and
better reason than that he liked simply to throw it around--as
shall now be made plain.

A rubber ball with a hole in it was his favorite plaything, and he
would take it in his mouth and rush around the house like a child,
squeezing it to make it whistle. When he got a new ball, he would
hide his old one away until the new one was the worse worn of the
two, and then he would bring out the old one again. If Dinnie gave
him a nickel or a dime, when they went down-town, Satan would rush
into a store, rear up on the counter where the rubber balls were
kept, drop the coin, and get a ball for himself. Thus, Satan
learned finance. He began to hoard his pennies, and one day Uncle
Carey found a pile of seventeen under a corner of the carpet.
Usually he carried to Dinnie all coins that he found in the
street, but he showed one day that he was going into the ball-
business for himself.

Uncle Carey had given Dinnie a nickel for some candy, and, as
usual, Satan trotted down the street behind her. As usual, Satan
stopped before the knick-knack shop.

"Tum on, Saty," said Dinnie. Satan reared against the door as he
always did, and Dinnie said again:

"Tum on, Saty." As usual, Satan dropped to his haunches, but what
was unusual, he failed to bark. Now Dinnie had got a new ball for
Satan only that morning, so Dinnie stamped her foot.

"I tell you to tum on, Saty." Satan never moved. He looked at
Dinnie as much as to say:

"I have never disobeyed you before, little mistress, but this time
I have an excellent reason for what must seem to you very bad
manners--" and being a gentleman withal, Satan rose on his
haunches and begged.

"You're des a pig, Saty," said Dinnie, but with a sigh for the
candy that was not to be, Dinnie opened the door, and Satan, to
her wonder, rushed to the counter, put his forepaws on it, and
dropped from his mouth a dime. Satan had found that coin on the
street. He didn't bark for change, nor beg for two balls, but he
had got it in his woolly little head, somehow, that in that store
a coin meant a ball, though never before nor afterward did he try
to get a ball for a penny.

Satan slept in Uncle Carey's room, for of all people, after
Dinnie, Satan loved Uncle Carey best. Every day at noon he would
go to an upstairs window and watch the cars come around the
corner, until a very tall, square-shouldered young man swung to
the ground, and down Satan would scamper--yelping--to meet him at
the gate. If Uncle Carey, after supper and when Dinnie was in bed,
started out of the house, still in his business clothes, Satan
would leap out before him, knowing that he too might be allowed to
go; but if Uncle Carey had put on black clothes that showed a big,
dazzling shirt-front, and picked up his high hat, Satan would sit
perfectly still and look disconsolate; for as there were no
parties or theatres for Dinnie, so there were none for him. But no
matter how late it was when Uncle Carey came home, he always saw
Satan's little black nose against the window-pane and heard his
bark of welcome.

After intelligence, Satan's chief trait was lovableness--nobody
ever knew him to fight, to snap at anything or to get angry; after
lovableness, it was politeness. If he wanted something to eat, if
he wanted Dinnie to go to bed, if he wanted to get out of the
door, he would beg--beg prettily on his haunches, his little red
tongue out and his funny little paws hanging loosely. Indeed, it
was just because Satan was so little less than human, I suppose,
that old Satan began to be afraid he might have a soul. So the
wicked old namesake with the Hoofs and Horns laid a trap for
little Satan, and, as he is apt to do, he began laying it early--
long, indeed, before Christmas.

When Dinnie started to kindergarten that autumn, Satan found that
there was one place where he could never go. Like the lamb, he
could not go to school; so while Dinnie was away, Satan began to
make friends. He would bark, "Howdy-do?" to every dog that passed
his gate. Many stopped to rub noses with him through the fence--
even Hugo the mastiff, and nearly all, indeed, except one strange-
looking dog that appeared every morning at precisely nine o'clock
and took his stand on the corner. There he would lie patiently
until a funeral came along, and then Satan would see him take his
place at the head of the procession; and thus he would march out
to the cemetery and back again. Nobody knew where he came from nor
where he went, and Uncle Carey called him the "funeral dog" and
said he was doubtless looking for his dead master. Satan even made
friends with a scrawny little yellow dog that followed an old
drunkard around--a dog that, when his master fell in the gutter,
would go and catch a policeman by the coat-tail, lead the officer
to his helpless master, and spend the night with him in jail.

By and by Satan began to slip out of the house at night, and Uncle
Billy said he reckoned Satan had "jined de club"; and late one
night, when he had not come in, Uncle Billy told Uncle Carey that
it was "powerful slippery and he reckoned they'd better send de
kerridge after him"--an innocent remark that made Uncle Carey send
a boot after the old butler, who fled chuckling down the stairs,
and left Uncle Carey chuckling in his room.

Satan had "jined de club"--the big club--and no dog was too lowly
in Satan's eyes for admission; for no priest ever preached the
brotherhood of man better than Satan lived it--both with man and
dog. And thus he lived it that Christmas night--to his sorrow.

Christmas Eve had been gloomy--the gloomiest of Satan's life.
Uncle Carey had gone to a neighboring town at noon. Satan had
followed him down to the station, and when the train started,
Uncle Carey had ordered him to go home. Satan took his time about
going home, not knowing it was Christmas Eve. He found strange
things happening to dogs that day. The truth was, that policemen
were shooting all dogs found that were without a collar and a
license, and every now and then a bang and a howl somewhere would
stop Satan in his tracks. At a little yellow house on the edge of
town he saw half a dozen strange dogs in a kennel, and every now
and then a negro would lead a new one up to the house and deliver
him to a big man at the door, who, in return, would drop something
into the negro's hand. While Satan waited, the old drunkard came
along with his little dog at his heels, paused before the door,
looked a moment at his faithful follower, and went slowly on.
Satan little knew the old drunkard's temptation, for in that
yellow house kind-hearted people had offered fifteen cents for
each dog brought to them, without a license, that they might
mercifully put it to death, and fifteen cents was the precise
price for a drink of good whiskey. Just then there was another
bang and another howl somewhere, and Satan trotted home to meet a
calamity. Dinnie was gone. Her mother had taken her out in the
country to Grandmother Dean's to spend Christmas, as was the
family custom, and Mrs. Dean would not wait any longer for Satan;
so she told Uncle Billy to bring him out after supper.

"Ain't you 'shamed o' yo'self--suh--?" said the old butler,
"keeping me from ketchin' Christmas gifts dis day?"

Uncle Billy was indignant, for the negroes begin at four o'clock
in the afternoon of Christmas Eve to slip around corners and jump
from hiding-places to shout "Christmas Gif'--Christmas Gif'"; and
the one who shouts first gets a gift. No wonder it was gloomy for
Satan--Uncle Carey, Dinnie, and all gone, and not a soul but Uncle
Billy in the big house. Every few minutes he would trot on his
little black legs upstairs and downstairs, looking for his
mistress. As dusk came on, he would every now and then howl
plaintively. After begging his supper, and while Uncle Billy was
hitching up a horse in the stable, Satan went out in the yard and
lay with his nose between the close panels of the fence--quite
heart-broken. When he saw his old friend, Hugo the mastiff,
trotting into the gaslight, he began to bark his delight
frantically. The big mastiff stopped and nosed his sympathy
through the fence for a moment and walked slowly on, Satan
frisking and barking along inside. At the gate Hugo stopped, and
raising one huge paw, playfully struck it. The gate flew open, and
with a happy yelp Satan leaped into the street. The noble mastiff
hesitated as though this were not quite regular. He did not belong
to the club, and he didn't know that Satan had ever been away from
home after dark in his life. For a moment he seemed to wait for
Dinnie to call him back as she always did, but this time there was
no sound, and Hugo walked majestically on, with absurd little
Satan running in a circle about him. On the way they met the
"funeral dog," who glanced inquiringly at Satan, shied from the
mastiff, and trotted on. On the next block the old drunkard's
yellow cur ran across the street, and after interchanging the
compliments of the season, ran back after his staggering master.
As they approached the railroad track a strange dog joined them,
to whom Hugo paid no attention. At the crossing another new
acquaintance bounded toward them. This one--a half-breed shepherd
--was quite friendly, and he received Satan's advances with affable
condescension. Then another came and another, and little Satan's
head got quite confused. They were a queer-looking lot of curs and
half-breeds from the negro settlement at the edge of the woods,
and though Satan had little experience, his instincts told him
that all was not as it should be, and had he been human he would
have wondered very much how they had escaped the carnage that day.
Uneasy, he looked around for Hugo; but Hugo had disappeared. Once
or twice Hugo had looked around for Satan, and Satan paying no
attention, the mastiff trotted on home in disgust. Just then a
powerful yellow cur sprang out of the darkness over the railroad
track, and Satan sprang to meet him, and so nearly had the life
scared out of him by the snarl and flashing fangs of the new-comer
that he hardly had the strength to shrink back behind his new
friend, the half-breed shepherd.

A strange thing then happened. The other dogs became suddenly
quiet, and every eye was on the yellow cur. He sniffed the air
once or twice, gave two or three peculiar low growls, and all
those dogs except Satan lost the civilization of centuries and
went back suddenly to the time when they were wolves and were
looking for a leader. The cur was Lobo for that little pack, and
after a short parley, he lifted his nose high and started away
without looking back, while the other dogs silently trotted after
him. With a mystified yelp, Satan ran after them. The cur did not
take the turnpike, but jumped the fence into a field, making his
way by the rear of houses, from which now and then another dog
would slink out and silently join the band. Every one of them
Satan nosed most friendlily, and to his great joy the funeral dog,
on the edge of town, leaped into their midst. Ten minutes later
the cur stopped in the midst of some woods, as though he would
inspect his followers. Plainly, he disapproved of Satan, and Satan
kept out of his way. Then he sprang into the turnpike and the band
trotted down it, under flying black clouds and shifting bands of
brilliant moonlight. Once, a buggy swept past them. A familiar
odor struck Satan's nose, and he stopped for a moment to smell the
horse's tracks; and right he was, too, for out at her
grandmother's Dinnie refused to be comforted, and in that buggy
was Uncle Billy going back to town after him.

Snow was falling. It was a great lark for Satan. Once or twice, as
he trotted along, he had to bark his joy aloud, and each time the
big cur gave him such a fierce growl that he feared thereafter to
open his jaws. But he was happy for all that, to be running out
into the night with such a lot of funny friends and not to know or
care where he was going. He got pretty tired presently, for over
hill and down hill they went, at that unceasing trot, trot, trot!
Satan's tongue began to hang out. Once he stopped to rest, but the
loneliness frightened him and he ran on after them with his heart
almost bursting. He was about to lie right down and die, when the
cur stopped, sniffed the air once or twice, and with those same
low growls, led the marauders through a rail fence into the woods,
and lay quietly down. How Satan loved that soft, thick grass, all
snowy that it was! It was almost as good as his own bed at home.
And there they lay--how long, Satan never knew, for he went to
sleep and dreamed that he was after a rat in the barn at home; and
he yelped in his sleep, which made the cur lift his big yellow
head and show his fangs. The moving of the half-breed shepherd and
the funeral dog waked him at last, and Satan got up. Half
crouching, the cur was leading the way toward the dark, still
woods on top of the hill, over which the Star of Bethlehem was
lowly sinking, and under which lay a flock of the gentle creatures
that seemed to have been almost sacred to the Lord of that Star.
They were in sore need of a watchful shepherd now. Satan was stiff
and chilled, but he was rested and had had his sleep, and he was
just as ready for fun as he always was. He didn't understand that
sneaking. Why they didn't all jump and race and bark as he wanted
to, he couldn't see; but he was too polite to do otherwise than as
they did, and so he sneaked after them; and one would have thought
he knew, as well as the rest, the hellish mission on which they
were bent.

Out of the woods they went, across a little branch, and there the
big cur lay flat again in the grass. A faint bleat came from the
hill-side beyond, where Satan could see another woods--and then
another bleat, and another. And the cur began to creep again, like
a snake in the grass; and the others crept too, and little Satan
crept, though it was all a sad mystery to him. Again the cur lay
still, but only long enough for Satan to see curious, fat, white
shapes above him--and then, with a blood-curdling growl, the big
brute dashed forward. Oh, there was fun in them after all! Satan
barked joyfully. Those were some new playmates--those fat, white,
hairy things up there; and Satan was amazed when, with frightened
snorts, they fled in every direction. But this was a new game,
perhaps, of which he knew nothing, and as did the rest, so did
Satan. He picked out one of the white things and fled barking
after it. It was a little fellow that he was after, but little as
he was, Satan might never have caught up, had not the sheep got
tangled in some brush. Satan danced about him in mad glee, giving
him a playful nip at his wool and springing back to give him
another nip, and then away again. Plainly, he was not going to
bite back, and when the sheep struggled itself tired and sank down
in a heap, Satan came close and licked him, and as he was very
warm and woolly, he lay down and snuggled up against him for a
while, listening to the turmoil that was going on around him. And
as he listened, he got frightened.

If this was a new game it was certainly a very peculiar one--the
wild rush, the bleats of terror, gasps of agony, and the fiendish
growls of attack and the sounds of ravenous gluttony. With every
hair bristling, Satan rose and sprang from the woods--and stopped
with a fierce tingling of the nerves that brought him horror and
fascination. One of the white shapes lay still before him. There
was a great steaming red splotch on the snow, and a strange odor
in the air that made him dizzy; but only for a moment. Another
white shape rushed by. A tawny streak followed, and then, in a
patch of moonlight, Satan saw the yellow cur with his teeth
fastened in the throat of his moaning playmate. Like lightning
Satan sprang at the cur, who tossed him ten feet away and went
back to his awful work. Again Satan leaped, but just then a shout
rose behind him, and the cur leaped too as though a bolt of
lightning had crashed over him, and, no longer noticing Satan or
sheep, began to quiver with fright and slink away. Another shout
rose from another direction--another from another.

"Drive 'em into the barn-yard!" was the cry.

Now and then there was a fearful bang and a howl of death-agony,
as some dog tried to break through the encircling men, who yelled
and cursed as they closed in on the trembling brutes that slunk
together and crept on; for it is said, every sheep-killing dog
knows his fate if caught, and will make little effort to escape.
With them went Satan, through the barn-yard gate, where they
huddled in a corner--a shamed and terrified group. A tall overseer
stood at the gate.

"Ten of 'em!" he said grimly.

He had been on the lookout for just such a tragedy, for there had
recently been a sheep-killing raid on several farms in that
neighborhood, and for several nights he had had a lantern hung out
on the edge of the woods to scare the dogs away; but a drunken
farm-hand had neglected his duty that Christmas Eve.

"Yassuh, an' dey's jus' sebenteen dead sheep out dar," said a
negro.

"Look at the little one," said a tall boy who looked like the
overseer; and Satan knew that he spoke of him.

"Go back to the house, son," said the overseer, "and tell your
mother to give you a Christmas present I got for you yesterday."
With a glad whoop the boy dashed away, and in a moment dashed back
with a brand-new .32 Winchester in his hand.

The dark hour before dawn was just breaking on Christmas Day. It
was the hour when Satan usually rushed upstairs to see if his
little mistress was asleep. If he were only at home now, and if he
only had known how his little mistress was weeping for him amid
her playthings and his--two new balls and a brass-studded collar
with a silver plate on which was his name, Satan Dean; and if
Dinnie could have seen him now, her heart would have broken; for
the tall boy raised his gun. There was a let of smoke, a sharp,
clean crack, and the funeral dog started on the right way at last
toward his dead master. Another crack, and the yellow cur leaped
from the ground and fell kicking. Another crack and another, and
with each crack a dog tumbled, until little Satan sat on his
haunches amid the writhing pack, alone. His time was now come. As
the rifle was raised, he heard up at the big house the cries of
children; the popping of fire-crackers; tooting of horns and
whistles and loud shouts of "Christmas Gif', 'Christmas Gif'!" His
little heart beat furiously. Perhaps he knew just what he was
doing; perhaps it was the accident of habit; most likely Satan
simply wanted to go home--but when that gun rose, Satan rose too,
on his haunches, his tongue out, his black eyes steady and his
funny little paws hanging loosely--and begged! The boy lowered the
gun.

"Down, sir!" Satan dropped obediently, but when the gun was lifted
again, Satan rose again, and again he begged.

"Down, I tell you!" This time Satan would not down, but sat
begging for his life. The boy turned.

"Papa, I can't shoot that dog." Perhaps Satan had reached the
stern old overseer's heart. Perhaps he remembered suddenly that it
was Christmas. At any rate, he said gruffly:

"Well, let him go."

"Come here, sir!" Satan bounded toward the tall boy, frisking and
trustful and begged again.

"Go home, sir!"

Satan needed no second command. Without a sound he fled out the
barn-yard, and, as he swept under the front gate, a little girl
ran out of the front door of the big house and dashed down the
steps, shrieking:

"Saty! Saty! Oh, Saty!" But Satan never heard. On he fled, across
the crisp fields, leaped the fence and struck the road, lickety-
split! for home, while Dinnie dropped sobbing in the snow.

"Hitch up a horse, quick," said Uncle Carey, rushing after Dinnie
and taking her up in his arms. Ten minutes later, Uncle Carey and
Dinnie, both warmly bundled up, were after flying Satan. They
never caught him until they reached the hill on the outskirts of
town, where was the kennel of the kind-hearted people who were
giving painless death to Satan's four-footed kind, and where they
saw him stop and turn from the road. There was divine providence
in Satan's flight for one little dog that Christmas morning; for
Uncle Carey saw the old drunkard staggering down the road without
his little companion, and a moment later, both he and Dinnie saw
Satan nosing a little yellow cur between the palings. Uncle Carey
knew the little cur, and While Dinnie was shrieking for Satan, he
was saying under his breath:

"Well, I swear!--I swear!--I swear!" And while the big man who
came to the door was putting Satan into Dinnie's arms, he said
sharply:

"Who brought that yellow dog here?" The man pointed to the old
drunkard's figure turning a corner at the foot of the hill.

"I thought so; I thought so. He sold him to you for--for a drink
of whiskey."

The man whistled.

"Bring him out. I'll pay his license."

So back went Satan and the little cur to Grandmother Dean's--and
Dinnie cried when Uncle Carey told her why he was taking the
little cur along. With her own hands she put Satan's old collar on
the little brute, took him to the kitchen, and fed him first of
all. Then she went into the breakfast-room.

"Uncle Billy," she said severely, "didn't I tell you not to let
Saty out?"

"Yes, Miss Dinnie," said the old butler.

"Didn't I tell you I was goin' to whoop you if you let Saty out?"

"Yes, Miss Dinnie."

Miss Dinnie pulled forth from her Christmas treasures a toy
riding-whip and the old darky's eyes began to roll in mock terror.

"I'm sorry, Uncle Billy, but I des got to whoop you a little."

"Let Uncle Billy off, Dinnie," said Uncle Carey, "this is
Christmas."

"All wite," said Dinnie, and she turned to Satan.

In his shining new collar and innocent as a cherub, Satan sat on
the hearth begging for his breakfast.



A NEST-EGG

BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

This is the simple character sketch in which there is romance
treated with a fine reserve. It employs the local color so
characteristic of Mr. Riley's poems of Indiana.



A NEST-EGG

[Footnote: From Volume VI of the Biographical Edition of the
Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, copyright, 1913. Used by
special permission of the publishers, the Bobbs-Merrill Company.]


But a few miles from the city here, and on the sloping banks of
the stream noted more for its plenitude of "chubs" and "shiners"
than the gamier two-and four-pound bass for which, in season, so
many credulous anglers flock and lie in wait, stands a country
residence, so convenient to the stream, and so inviting in its
pleasant exterior and comfortable surroundings--barn, dairy, and
spring-house--that the weary, sunburnt, and disheartened
fisherman, out from the dusty town for a day of recreation, is
often wont to seek its hospitality. The house in style of
architecture is something of a departure from the typical
farmhouse, being designed and fashioned with no regard to symmetry
or proportion, but rather, as is suggested, built to conform to
the matter-of-fact and most sensible ideas of its owner, who, if
it pleased him, would have small windows where large ones ought to
be, and vice versa, whether they balanced properly to the eye or
not. And chimneys--he would have as many as he wanted, and no two
alike, in either height or size. And if he wanted the front of the
house turned from all possible view, as though abashed at any
chance of public scrutiny, why, that was his affair and not the
public's; and, with like perverseness, if he chose to thrust his
kitchen under the public's very nose, what should the generally
fagged-out, half-famished representative of that dignified public
do but reel in his dead minnow, shoulder his fishing-rod, clamber
over the back fence of the old farmhouse and inquire within, or
jog back to the city, inwardly anathematizing that very particular
locality or the whole rural district in general. That is just the
way that farmhouse looked to the writer of this sketch one week
ago--so individual it seemed--so liberal, and yet so independent.
It wasn't even weather-boarded, but, instead, was covered smoothly
with some cement, as though the plasterers had come while the
folks were visiting, and so, unable to get at the interior, had
just plastered the outside.

I am more than glad that I was hungry enough, and weary enough,
and wise enough to take the house at its first suggestion; for,
putting away my fishing-tackle for the morning, at least, I went
up the sloping bank, crossed the dusty road, and confidently
clambered over the fence.

Not even a growling dog to intimate that I was trespassing. All
was open--gracious-looking--pastoral. The sward beneath my feet
was velvet-like in elasticity, and the scarce visible path I
followed through it led promptly to the open kitchen door. From
within I heard a woman singing some old ballad in an undertone,
while at the threshold a trim, white-spurred rooster stood poised
on one foot, curving his glossy neck and cocking his wattled head
as though to catch the meaning of the words. I paused. It was a
scene I felt restrained from breaking in upon, nor would I, but
for the sound of a strong male voice coming around the corner of
the house:

"Sir. Howdy!"

Turning, I saw a rough-looking but kindly featured man of sixty-
five, the evident owner of the place.

I returned his salutation with some confusion and much deference.
"I must really beg your pardon for this intrusion," I began, "but
I have been tiring myself out fishing, and your home here looked
so pleasant--and I felt so thirsty--and--"

"Want a drink, I reckon," said the old man, turning abruptly
toward the kitchen door, then pausing as suddenly, with a backward
motion of his thumb--"jest foller the path here down to the little
brick--that's the spring--and you'll find 'at you've come to the
right place fer drinkin'-worter! Hold on a minute tel I git you a
tumbler--there're nothin' down there but a tin."

"Then don't trouble yourself any further," I said, heartily, "for
I'd rather drink from a tin cup than a goblet of pure gold."

"And so'd I," said the old man, reflectively, turning
mechanically, and following me down the path. "'Druther drink out
of a tin--er jest a fruit-can with the top knocked off--er--er--er
a gourd," he added in a zestful, reminiscent tone of voice, that
so heightened my impatient thirst that I reached the spring-house
fairly in a run.

"Well-sir!" exclaimed my host, in evident delight, as I stood
dipping my nose in the second cupful of the cool, revivifying
liquid, and peering in a congratulatory kind of way at the blurred
and rubicund reflection of my features in the bottom of the cup,
"Well-sir, blame-don! ef it don't do a feller good to see you
enjoyin' of it thataway! But don't you drink too much o' the
worter!--'cause there're some sweet milk over there in one o' them
crocks, maybe; and ef you'll jest, kindo' keerful-like, lift off
the led of that third one, say, over there to yer left, and dip
you out a tinful er two o' that, w'y, it'll do you good to drink
it, and it'll do me good to see you at it--But hold up!--hold up!"
he called, abruptly, as, nowise loath, I bent above the vessel
designated. "Hold yer hosses fer a second! Here's Marthy; let her
git it fer ye."

If I was at first surprised and confused, meeting the master of
the house, I was wholly startled and chagrined in my present
position before its mistress. But as I arose, and stammered, in my
confusion, some incoherent apology, I was again reassured and put
at greater ease by the comprehensive and forgiving smile the woman
gave me, as I yielded her my place, and, with lifted hat, awaited
her further kindness.

"I came just in time, sir," she said, half laughingly, as with
strong, bare arms she reached across the gurgling trough and
replaced the lid that I had partially removed.--"I came just in
time, I see, to prevent father from having you dip into the
'morning's-milk,' which, of course, has scarcely a veil of cream
over the face of it as yet. But men, as you are doubtless willing
to admit," she went on jocularly, "don't know about these things.
You must pardon father, as much for his well-meaning ignorance of
such matters, as for this cup of cream, which I am sure you will
better relish."

She arose, still smiling, with her eyes turned frankly on my own.
And I must be excused when I confess that as I bowed my thanks,
taking the proffered cup and lifting it to my lips, I stared with
an uncommon interest and pleasure at the donor's face.

She was a woman of certainly not less than forty years of age. But
the figure, and the rounded grace and fulness of it, together with
the features and the eyes, completed as fine a specimen of
physical and mental health as ever it has been my fortune to meet;
there was something so full of purpose and resolve--something so
wholesome, too, about the character--something so womanly--I might
almost say manly, and would, but for the petty prejudice maybe
occasioned by the trivial fact of a locket having dropped from her
bosom as she knelt; and that trinket still dangles in my memory
even as it then dangled and dropped back to its concealment in her
breast as she arose. But her face, by no means handsome in the
common meaning, was marked with a breadth and strength of outline
and expression that approached the heroic--a face that once seen
is forever fixed in memory--a personage once met one must know
more of. And so it was, that an hour later, as I strolled with the
old man about his farm, looking, to all intents, with the
profoundest interest at his Devonshires, Shorthorns, Jerseys, and
the like, I lured from him something of an outline of his
daughter's history.

"There're no better girl 'n Marthy!" he said, mechanically
answering some ingenious allusion to her worth. "And yit," he went
on reflectively, stooping from his seat in the barn door and with
his open jack-knife picking up a little chip with the point of the
blade--"and yit--you wouldn't believe it--but Marthy was the
oldest o' three daughters, and hed--I may say--hed more advantages
o' marryin'--and yit, as I was jest goin' to say, she's the very
one 'at didn't marry. Hed every advantage--Marthy did. W'y, we
even hed her educated--her mother was a-livin' then--and we was
well enough fixed to afford the educatin' of her, mother allus
contended--and we was--besides, it was Marthy's notion, too, and
you know how women is thataway when they git their head set. So we
sent Marthy down to Indianop'lus, and got her books and putt her
in school there, and paid fer her keepin' and ever'thing; and she
jest--well, you may say, lived there stiddy fer better'n four
year. 0' course she'd git back ever' once-an-a-while, but her
visits was allus, some-way-another, onsatisfactory-like, 'cause,
you see, Marthy was allus my favorite, and I'd allus laughed and
told her 'at the other girls could git married if they wanted, but
SHE was goin' to be the 'nest-egg' of our family, and 'slong as I
lived I wanted her at home with me. And she'd laugh and contend
'at she'd as lif be an old maid as not, and never expected to
marry, ner didn't want to. But she had me sceart onc't, though!
Come out from the city one time, durin' the army, with a peart-
lookin' young feller in blue clothes and gilt straps on his
shoulders. Young lieutenant he was--name o' Morris. Was layin' in
camp there in the city somers. I disremember which camp it was now
adzackly--but anyway, it 'peared like he had plenty o' time to go
and come, fer from that time on he kep' on a-comin'--ever' time
Marthy 'ud come home, he'd come, too; and I got to noticin' 'at
Marthy come home a good 'eal more 'n she used to afore Morris
first brought her. And blame ef the thing didn't git to worryin'
me! And onc't I spoke to mother about it, and told her ef I
thought the feller wanted to marry Marthy I'd jest stop his comin'
right then and there. But mother she sorto' smiled and said
somepin' 'bout men a-never seein' through nothin'; and when I ast
her what she meant, w'y, she ups and tells me 'at Morris didn't
keer nothin' fer Marthy, ner Marthy fer Morris, and then went on
to tell me that Morris was kindo' aidgin' up to'rds Annie--she was
next to Marthy, you know, in pint of years and experience, but
ever'body allus said 'at Annie was the purtiest one o' the whole
three of 'em. And so when mother told me 'at the signs pinted
to'rds Annie, w'y, of course, I hedn't no particular objections to
that, 'cause Morris was of good fambly enough it turned out, and,
in fact, was as stirrin' a young feller as ever I'd want fer a
son-in-law, and so I hed nothin' more to say--ner they wasn't no
occasion to say nothin', 'cause right along about then I begin to
notice 'at Marthy quit comin' home so much, and Morris kep' a-
comin' more. Tel finally, one time he was out here all by hisself,
'long about dusk, come out here where I was feedin', and ast me,
all at onc't, and in a straight-for'ard way, ef he couldn't marry
Annie; and, some-way-another, blame ef it didn't make me as happy
as him when I told him yes! You see that thing proved, pine-blank,
'at he wasn't a-fishin' round fer Marthy. Well-sir, as luck would
hev it, Marthy got home about a half-hour later, and I'll give you
my word I was never so glad to see the girl in my life! It was
foolish in me, I reckon, but when I see her drivin' up the lane--
it was purt' nigh dark then, but I could see her through the open
winder from where I was settin' at the supper-table, and so I jest
quietly excused myself, p'lite-like, as a feller will, you know,
when they's comp'ny round, and I slipped off and met her jest as
she was about to git out to open the barn gate. 'Hold up, Marthy,'
says I; 'set right where you air; I'll open the gate fer you, and
I'll do anything else fer you in the world 'at you want me to!'

"'W'y, what's pleased YOU so?' she says, laughin', as she druv
through slow-like and a-ticklin' my nose with the cracker of the
buggy-whip.--'What's pleased YOU?'

"'Guess,' says I, jerkin' the gate to, and turnin' to lift her
out.

"'The new peanner's come?' says she, eager-like.

"'Yer new peanner's come,' says I; 'but that's not it.'

"'Strawberries fer supper?' says she.

"'Strawberries fer supper,' says I; 'but that ain't it.'

"Jest then Morris's hoss whinnied in the barn, and she glanced up
quick and smilin' and says, 'Somebody come to see somebody?'

"'You're a-gittin' warm,' says I.

"'Somebody come to see ME?' she says, anxious-like.

"'No,' says I, 'and I'm glad of it--fer this one 'at's come wants
to git married, and o' course I wouldn't harber in my house no
young feller 'at was a-layin' round fer a chance to steal away the
"Nest-egg,"' says I, laughin'.

"Marthy had riz up in the buggy by this time, but as I helt up my
hands to her, she sorto' drawed back a minute, and says, all
serious-like and kindo' whisperin':

"'Is it ANNIE?'

"I nodded. 'Yes,' says I, 'and what's more, I've give my consent,
and mother's give hern--the thing's all settled. Come, jump out
and run in and be happy with the rest of us!' and I helt out my
hands ag'in, but she didn't 'pear to take no heed. She was kindo'
pale, too, I thought, and swallered a time er two like as ef she
couldn't speak plain.

"'Who is the man?' she ast.

"'Who--who's the man?' I says, a-gittin' kindo' out o' patience
with the girl.--'W'y, you know who it is, o' course.--It's
Morris,' says I. 'Come, jump down! Don't you see I'm waitin' fer
ye?'

"'Then take me,' she says; and blame-don! ef the girl didn't keel
right over in my arms--as limber as a rag! Clean fainted away!
Honest! Jest the excitement, I reckon, o' breakin' it to her so
suddent-like--'cause she liked Annie, I've sometimes thought,
better'n even she did her own mother. Didn't go half so hard with
her when her other sister married. Yes-sir!" said the old man, by
way of sweeping conclusion, as he rose to his feet--"Marthy's the
on'y one of 'em 'at never married--both the others is gone--Morris
went all through the army and got back safe and sound--'s livin'
in Idyho, and doin' fust-rate. Sends me a letter ever' now and
then. Got three little chunks o' grandchildren out there, and I'
never laid eyes on one of 'em. You see, I'm a-gittin' to be quite
a middle-aged man--in fact a very middle-aged man, you might say.
Sence mother died, which has be'n--lem-me-see--mother's be'n dead
somers in the neighborhood o' ten year.--Sence mother died I've
be'n a-gittin' more and more o' MARTHY'S notion--that is,--you
couldn't ever hire ME to marry nobody! and them has allus be'n and
still is the 'Nest-egg's' views! Listen! That's her a-callin' fer
us now. You must sorto' overlook the freedom, but I told Marthy
you'd promised to take dinner with us to-day, and it 'ud never do
to disappint her now. Come on." And, ah! it would have made the
soul of you either rapturously glad or madly envious to see how
meekly I consented.

I am always thinking that I never tasted coffee till that day; I
am always thinking of the crisp and steaming rolls, ored over with
the molten gold that hinted of the clover-fields, and the bees
that had not yet permitted the honey of the bloom and the white
blood of the stalk to be divorced; I am always thinking that the
young and tender pullet we happy three discussed was a near and
dear relative of the gay patrician rooster that I first caught
peering so inquisitively in at the kitchen door; and I am always--
always thinking of "The Nest-egg."



WEE WILLIE WINKIE

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

As the sub-title, "An Officer and a Gentleman," indicates, this is
a story of character. Mr. Kipling, like Robert Louis Stevenson,
James Whitcomb Riley, and Eugene Field, has carried into his
maturity an imperishable youth of spirit which makes him an
interpreter of children. Here he has shown what our Anglo-Saxon
ideals--honor, obedience, and reverence for woman--mean to a
little child.



WEE WILLIE WINKIE

"AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN."

[Footnote: From "Under the Deodars," by Rudyard Kipling.
Copyright, 1899, by Rudyard Kipling. Reprinted by special
permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.]


His full name was Percival William Williams, but he picked up the
other name in a nursery-book, and that was the end of the
christened titles. His mother's ayah called him Willie-Baba, but
as he never paid the faintest attention to anything that the ayah
said, her wisdom did not help matters.

His father was the Colonel of the 195th, and as soon as Wee Willie
Winkie was old enough to understand what Military Discipline
meant, Colonel Williams put him under it. There was no other way
of managing the child. When he was good for a week, he drew good-
conduct pay; and when he was bad, he was deprived of his good-
conduct stripe. Generally he was bad, for India offers many
chances of going wrong to little six-year-olds.

Children resent familiarity from strangers, and Wee Willie Winkie
was a very particular child. Once he accepted an acquaintance, he
was graciously pleased to thaw. He accepted Brandis, a subaltern
of the 195th, on sight. Brandis was having tea at the Colonel's,
and Wee Willie Winkie entered strong in the possession of a good-
conduct badge won for not chasing the hens round the compound. He
regarded Brandis with gravity for at least ten minutes, and then
delivered himself of his opinion.

"I like you," said he slowly, getting off his chair and coming
over to Brandis. "I like you. I shall call you Coppy, because of
your hair. Do you MIND being called Coppy? It is because of ye
hair, you know."

Here was one of the most embarrassing of Wee Willie Winkie's
peculiarities. He would look at a stranger for some time, and
then, without warning, or explanation, would give him a name. And
the name stuck. No regimental penalties could break Wee Willie
Winkie of this habit. He lost his good-conduct badge for
christening the Commissioner's wife "Pobs"; but nothing that the
Colonel could do made the Station forego the nickname, and Mrs.
Collen remained "Pobs" till the end of her stay. So Brandis was
christened "Coppy," and rose, therefore, in the estimation of the
regiment.

If Wee Willie Winkie took an interest in any one, the fortunate
man was envied alike by the mess and the rank and file. And in
their envy lay no suspicion of self-interest. "The Colonel's son"
was idolized on his own merits entirely. Yet Wee Willie Winkie was
not lovely. His face was permanently freckled, as his legs were
permanently scratched, and in spite of his mother's almost tearful
remonstrances he had insisted upon having his long yellow locks
cut short in the military fashion. "I want my hair like Sergeant
Tummil's," said Wee Willie Winkie, and, his father abetting, the
sacrifice was accomplished.

Three weeks after the bestowal of his youthful affections on
Lieutenant Brandis--henceforward to be called "Coppy" for the sake
of brevity--Wee Willie Winkie was destined to behold strange
things and far beyond his comprehension.

Coppy returned his liking with interest. Coppy had let him wear
for five rapturous minutes his own big sword--just as tall as Wee
Willie Winkie. Coppy had promised him a terrier puppy, and Coppy
had permitted him to witness the miraculous operation of shaving.
Nay, more--Coppy had said that even he, Wee Willie Winkie, would
rise in time to the ownership of a box of shiny knives, a silver
soap-box, and a silver-handled "sputter-brush," as Wee Willie
Winkie called it. Decidedly, there was no one except his own
father, who could give or take away good-conduct badges at
pleasure, half so wise, strong, and valiant as Coppy with the
Afghan and Egyptian medals on his breast. Why, then, should Coppy
be guilty of the unmanly weakness of kissing--vehemently kissing--
a "big girl," Miss Allardyce to wit? In the course of a morning
ride Wee Willie Winkie had seen Coppy so doing, and, like the
gentleman he was, had promptly wheeled round and cantered back to
his groom, lest the groom should also see.

Under ordinary circumstances he would have spoken to his father,
but he felt instinctively that this was a matter on which Coppy
ought first to be consulted.

"Coppy," shouted Wee Willie Winkie, reining up outside that
subaltern's bungalow early one morning--"I want to see you,
Coppy!"

"Come in, young 'un," returned Coppy, who was at early breakfast
in the midst of his dogs. "What mischief have you been getting
into now?"

Wee Willie Winkie had done nothing notoriously bad for three days,
and so stood on a pinnacle of virtue.

"_I_'VE been doing nothing bad," said he, curling himself into a
long chair with a studious affectation of the Colonel's languor
after a hot parade. He buried his freckled nose in a tea-cup and,
with eyes staring roundly over the rim, asked: "I say, Coppy, is
it pwoper to kiss big girls?"

"By Jove! You're beginning early. Who do you want to kiss?"

"No one. My muvver's always kissing me if I don't stop her. If it
isn't pwoper, how was you kissing Major Allardyce's big girl last
morning, by ve canal?"

Coppy's brow wrinkled. He and Miss Allardyce had with great craft
managed to keep their engagement secret for a fortnight. There
were urgent and imperative reasons why Major Allardyce should not
know how matters stood for at least another month, and this small
marplot had discovered a great deal too much.

"I saw you," said Wee Willie Winkie calmly. "But ve sais didn't
see. I said, 'Hut jao!'"

"Oh, you had that much sense, you young Rip," groaned poor Coppy,
half amused and half angry. "And how many people may you have told
about it?"

"Only me myself. You didn't tell when I twied to wide ve buffalo
ven my pony was lame; and I fought you wouldn't like."

"Winkie," said Coppy enthusiastically, shaking the small hand,
"you're the best of good fellows. Look here, you can't understand
all these things. One of these days--hang it, how can I make you
see it!--I'm going to marry Miss Allardyce, and then she'll be
Mrs. Coppy, as you say. If your young mind is so scandalized at
the idea of kissing big girls, go and tell your father."

"What will happen?" said Wee Willie Winkie, who firmly believed
that his father was omnipotent.

"I shall get into trouble," said Coppy, playing his trump card
with an appealing look at the holder of the ace.

"Ven I won't," said Wee Willie Winkie briefly. "But my faver says
it's un-man-ly to be always kissing, and I didn't fink YOU'D do
vat, Coppy."

"I'm not always kissing, old chap. It's only now and then, and
when you're bigger you'll do it too. Your father meant it's not
good for little boys."

"Ah!" said Wee Willie Winkie, now fully enlightened. "It's like ve
sputter-brush?"

"Exactly," said Coppy gravely.

"But I don't fink I'll ever want to kiss big girls, nor no one,
'cept my muvver. And I MUST do vat, you know."

There was a long pause, broken by Wee Willie Winkie.

"Are you fond of vis big girl, Coppy?"

"Awfully!" said Coppy.

"Fonder van you are of Bell or ve Butcha--or me?"

"It's in a different way," said Coppy. "You see, one of these days
Miss Allerdyce will belong to me, but you'll grow up and command
the Regiment and--all sorts of things. It's quite different, you
see."

"Very well," said Wee Willie Winkie, rising. "If you're fond of ve
big girl, I won't tell any one. I must go now."

Coppy rose and escorted his small guest to the door, adding--
"You're the best of little fellows, Winkie. I tell you what. In
thirty days from now you can tell if you like--tell any one you
like."

Thus the secret of the Brandis-Allardyce engagement was dependent
on a little child's word. Coppy, who knew Wee Willie Winkie's idea
of truth, was at ease, for he felt that he would not break
promises. Wee Willie Winkie betrayed a special and unusual
interest in Miss Allardyce, and, slowly revolving round that
embarrassed young lady, was used to regard her gravely with
unwinking eye. He was trying to discover why Coppy should have
kissed her. She was not half so nice as his own mother. On the
other hand, she was Coppy's property, and would in time belong to
him. Therefore it behooved him to treat her with as much respect
as Coppy's big sword or shiny pistol.

The idea that he shared a great secret in common with Coppy kept
Wee Willie Winkie unusually virtuous for three weeks. Then the Old
Adam broke out, and he made what he called a "camp-fire" at the
bottom of the garden. How could be have foreseen that the flying
sparks would have lighted the Colonel's little hay-rick and
consumed a week's store for the horses? Sudden and swift was the
punishment--deprivation of the good-conduct badge and, most
sorrowful of all, two days' confinement to barracks--the house and
veranda--coupled with the withdrawal of the light of his father's
countenance.

He took the sentence like the man he strove to be, drew himself up
with a quivering under-lip, saluted, and, once clear of the room,
ran to weep bitterly in his nursery--called by him "my quarters."
Coppy came in the afternoon and attempted to console the culprit.

"I'm under awwest," said Wee Willie Winkie mournfully, "and I
didn't ought to speak to you."

Very early the next morning he climbed on to the roof of the
house--that was not forbidden--and beheld Miss Allardyce going for
a ride.

"Where are you going?" cried Wee Willie Winkie.

"Across the river," she answered, and trotted forward.

Now the cantonment in which the 195th lay was bounded on the north
by a river--dry in the winter. From his earliest years, Wee Willie
Winkie had been forbidden to go across the river, and had noted
that even Coppy--the almost almighty Coppy--had never set foot
beyond it. Wee Willie Winkie had once been read to, out of a big
blue book, the history of the Princess find the Goblins--a most
wonderful tale of a land where the Goblins were always warring
with the children of men until they were defeated by one Curdie.
Ever since that date it seemed to him that the bare black and
purple hills across the river were inhabited by Goblins, and, in
truth, every one had said that there lived the Bad Men. Even in
his own house the lower halves of the windows were covered with
green paper on account of the Bad Men who might, if allowed clear
view, fire into peaceful drawing-rooms and comfortable bedrooms.
Certainly, beyond the river, which was the end of all the Earth,
lived the Bad Men. And here was Major Allardyce's big girl,
Coppy's property, preparing to venture into their borders! What
would Coppy say if anything happened to her? If the Goblins ran
off with her as they did with Curdie's Princess? She must at all
hazards be turned back.

The house was still. Wee Willie Winkie reflected for a moment on
the very terrible wrath of his father, and then--broke his arrest!
It was a crime unspeakable. The low sun threw his shadow, very
large and very black, on the trim garden-paths, as he went down to
the stables and ordered his pony. It seemed to him in the hush of
the dawn that all the big world had been bidden to stand still and
look at Wee Willie Winkie guilty of mutiny. The drowsy sais gave
him his mount, and, since the one great sin made all others
insignificant, Wee Willie Winkie said that he was going to ride
over to Coppy Sahib, and went out at a foot-pace, stepping on the
soft mould of the flower-borders.

The devastating track of the pony's feet was the last misdeed that
cut him off from all sympathy of Humanity. He turned into the
road, leaned forward, and rode as fast as the pony could put foot
to the ground in the direction of the river.

But the liveliest of twelve-two ponies can do little against the
long canter of a Waler. Miss Allardyce was far ahead, had passed
through the crops, beyond the Police-posts, when all the guards
were asleep, and her mount was scattering the pebbles of the
river-bed as Wee Willie Winkie left the cantonment and British
India behind him. Bowed forward and still flogging, Wee Willie
Winkie shot into Afghan territory, and could just see Miss
Allardyce a black speck flickering across the stony plain. The
reason of her wandering was simple enough. Coppy, in a tone of
too-hastily-assumed authority, had told her over night that she
must not ride out by the river. And she had gone to prove her own
spirit and teach Coppy a lesson.

Almost at the foot of the inhospitable hills, Wee Willie Winkie
saw the Waler blunder and come down heavily. Miss Allardyce
struggled clear, but her ankle had been severely twisted, and she
could not stand. Having fully shown her spirit, she wept, and was
surprised by the apparition of a white, wide-eyed child in khaki,
on a nearly spent pony.

"Are you badly, badly hurted?" shouted Wee Willie Winkie, as soon
as he was within range. "You didn't ought to be here."

"I don't know," said Miss Allardyce ruefully, ignoring the
reproof. "Good gracious, child, what are YOU doing here?"

"You said you was going acwoss ve wiver," panted Wee Willie
Winkie, throwing himself off his pony. "And nobody--not even
Coppy--must go acwoss ve wiver, and I came after you ever so hard,
but you wouldn't stop, and now you've hurted yourself, and Coppy
will be angwy wiv me, and--I've bwoken my awwest! I've bwoken my
awwest!"

The future Colonel of the 195th sat down and sobbed. In spite of
the pain in her ankle, the girl was moved.

"Have you ridden all the way from cantonments, little man? What
for?"

"You belonged to Coppy. Coppy told me so!" wailed Wee Willie
Winkie disconsolately. "I saw him kissing you, and he said he was
fonder of you van Bell or ve Butcha or me. And so I came. You must
get up and come back. You didn't ought to be here. Vis is a bad
place, and I've bwoken my awwest."

"I can't move, Winkie," said Miss Allardyce, with a groan. "I've
hurt my foot. What shall I do?"

She showed a readiness to weep anew, which steadied Wee Willie
Winkie, who had been brought up to believe that tears were the
depth of unmanliness. Still, when one is as great a sinner as Wee
Willie Winkie, even a man may be permitted to break down.

"Winkie," said Miss Allardyce, "when you've rested a little, ride
back and tell them to send out something to carry me back in. It
hurts fearfully."

The child sat still for a little time, and Miss Allardyce closed
her eyes; the pain was nearly making her faint. She was roused by
Wee Willie Winkie tying up the reins on his pony's neck and
setting it free with a vicious cut of his whip that made it
whicker. The little animal headed towards the cantonments.

"Oh, Winkie! What are you doing?"

"Hush!" said Wee Willie Winkie. "Vere's a man coming--one of ve
Bad Men. I must stay wiv you. My faver says a man must ALWAYS look
after a girl. Jack will go home, and ven vey'll come and look for
us. Vat's why I let him go."

Not one man, but two or three, had appeared from behind the rocks
of the hills, and the heart of Wee Willie Winkie sank within him,
for just in this manner were the Goblins wont to steal out and vex
Curdie's soul. Thus had they played in Curdie's garden (he had
seen the picture), and thus had they frightened the Princess's
nurse. He heard them talking to each other, and recognized with
joy the bastard Pushto that he had picked up from one of his
father's grooms lately dismissed. People who spoke that tongue
could not be the Bad Men. They were only natives, after all.

They came up to the boulders on which Miss Allardyce's horse had
blundered.

Then rose from the rock Wee Willie Winkie, child of the Dominant
Race, aged six and three-quarters, and said briefly and
emphatically, "Jao!" The pony had crossed the river-bed.

The man laughed, and laughter from natives was the one thing Wee
Willie Winkie could not tolerate. He asked them what they wanted
and why they did not depart. Other men with most evil faces and
crooked-stocked guns crept out of the shadows of the hills, till,
soon, Wee Willie Winkie was face to face with an audience some
twenty strong. Miss Allardyce screamed.

"Who are you?" said one of the men.

"I am the Colonel Sahib's son, and my order is that you go at
once. You black men are frightening the Miss Sahib. One of you
must run into cantonments and take the news that the Miss Sahib
has hurt herself, and that the Colonel's son is here with her."

"Put our feet into the trap?" was the laughing reply. "Hear this
boy's speech!"

"Say that I sent you--I, the Colonel's son. They will give you
money."

"What is the use of this talk? Take up the child and the girl, and
we can at least ask for the ransom. Ours are the villages on the
heights," said a voice in the background.

These WERE the Bad Men--worse than Goblins--and it needed all Wee
Willie Winkie's training to prevent him from bursting into tears.
But he felt that to cry before a native, excepting only his
mother's ayah, would be an infamy greater than any mutiny.
Moreover, he, as future Colonel of the 195th, had that grim
regiment at his back.

"Are you going to carry us away?" said Wee Willie Winkie, very
blanched and uncomfortable.

"Yes, my little Sahib Bahadur," said the tallest of the men, "and
eat you afterwards."

"That is child's talk," said Wee Willie Winkie. "Men do not eat
men."

A yell of laughter interrupted him, but he went on firmly--"And if
you do carry us away, I tell you that all my regiment will come up
in a day and kill you all without leaving one. Who will take my
message to the Colonel Sahib?"

Speech in any vernacular--and Wee Willie Winkie had a colloquial
acquaintance with three--was easy to the boy who could not yet
manage his "r's" and "th's" aright.

Another man joined the conference, crying, "O foolish men! What
this babe says is true. He is the heart's heart of those white
troops. For the sake of peace let them go both, for if he be
taken, the regiment will break loose and gut the valley. OUR
villages are in the valley, and we shall not escape. That regiment
are devils. They broke Khoda Yar's breastbone with kicks when he
tried to take the rifles; and if we touch this child they will
fire and rape and plunder for a month till nothing remains. Better
to send a man back to take the message and get a reward. I say
that this child is their God, and that they will spare none of us,
nor our women, if we harm him."

It was Din Mahommed, the dismissed groom of the Colonel, who made
the diversion, and an angry and heated discussion followed. Wee
Willie Winkie, standing over Miss Allardyce, waited the upshot.
Surely his "wegiment," his own "wegiment," would not desert him if
they knew of his extremity.

The riderless pony brought the news to the 195th, though there had
been consternation in the Colonel's household for an hour before.
The little beast came in through the parade-ground in front of the
main barracks, where the men were settling down to play Spoil-five
till the afternoon. Devlin, the Color-Sergeant of E Company,
glanced at the empty saddle and tumbled through the barrack-rooms,
kicking up each Room Corporal as he passed. "Up, ye beggars!
There's something happened to the Colonel's son," he shouted.

"He couldn't fall off! S'help me, 'e COULDN'T fall off," blubbered
a drummer-boy. "Go an' hunt acrost the river. He's over there if
he's anywhere, an' maybe those Pathans have got 'im. For the love
o' Gawd don't look for 'im in the nullahs! Let's go over the
river."

"There's sense in Mott yet," said Devlin. "E Company, double out
to the river--sharp!"

So E Company, in its shirt-sleeves mainly, doubled for the dear
life, and in the rear toiled the perspiring Sergeant, adjuring it
to double yet faster. The cantonment was alive with the men of the
195th hunting for Wee Willie Winkie, and the Colonel finally
overtook E Company, far too exhausted to swear, struggling in the
pebbles of the river-bed.

Up the hill under which Wee Willie Winkie's Bad Men were
discussing the wisdom of carrying off the child and the girl, a
look-out fired two shots.

"What have I said?" shouted Din Mahommed. "There is the warning!
The pulton are out already and are coming across the plain! Get
away! Let us not be seen with the boy!"

The men waited for an instant, and then, as another shot was
fired, withdrew into the hills, silently as they had appeared.

"The wegiment is coming," said Wee Willie Winkie confidently to
Miss Allardyce, "and it's all wight. Don't cwy!"

He needed the advice himself, for ten minutes later, when his
father came up, he was weeping bitterly with his head in Miss
Allardyce's lap.

And the men of the 195th carried him home with shouts and
rejoicings; and Coppy, who had ridden a horse into a lather, met
him, and, to his intense disgust, kissed him openly in the
presence of the men.

But there was balm for his dignity. His father assured him that
not only would the breaking of arrest be condoned, but that the
good-conduct badge would be restored as soon as his mother could
sew it on his blouse-sleeve. Miss Allardyce had told the Colonel a
story that made him proud of his son.

"She belonged to you, Coppy," said Wee Willie Winkie, indicating
Miss Allardyce with a grimy fore-finger. "I KNEW she didn't ought
to go acwoss ve wiver, and I knew ve wegiment would come to me if
I sent Jack home."

"You're a hero, Winkie," said Coppy--"a pukka hero!"

"I don't know what vat means," said Wee Willie Winkie, "but you
mustn't call me Winkie any no more. I'm Percival Will'am
Will'ams."

And in this manner did Wee Willie Winkie enter into his manhood.



THE GOLD BUG

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

Poe was the first American short-story writer. Others had written
stories that were short, but he was the first to recognize the
short-story as having a form and an aim all its own. Moreover, he
was willing to admit the public to his laboratory and to explain
his process, for he discounted inspiration and emphasized
craftsmanship. In "The Philosophy of Composition" he declares that
every plot "must be elaborated to its denouement before anything
is attempted with the pen. It is only with the denouement
constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air
of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents and
especially the tone, at all points, tend to the development of the
intention." He also tells us that he prefers beginning with an
effect. Having chosen, in the first place, an effect that is both
novel and vivid, he decides "whether it can be best wrought by
incident or tone," and afterward looks about "for such
combinations of events, or tone, as shall best aid ... in the
construction of the effect."

In view of such explanations, it is interesting to study "The Gold
Bug" and to see how well the plot has been worked out and the tone
established. It is doubtful whether in this story the plot meant
to the writer what it means to the reader. The latter likes the
adventure with its ingeniously fitted parts, each so necessary to
the whole. But after the gold has been found--and that is the
point of greatest interest--the story goes on and on to explain
the cryptogram. This, no doubt, was to Poe the most interesting
thing about the story, the tracing of the steps by which the scrap
of parchment was deciphered and reasoned upon and made to yield up
its secret. As to the time and place, the strange conduct and
character of Legrand, the fears and superstitions of Jupiter, and
the puzzled solicitude of the narrator--all these aid materially
in establishing and maintaining the tone.



THE GOLD BUG

[Footnote: From "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe," published by
Charles Scribner's Sons.]

     "What ho' what ho' this fellow is dancing mad!
     He hath been bitten by the Tarantula."

          --All in the Wrong.


Many years ago, I contracted an intimacy with a Mr. William
Legrand. He was of an ancient Huguenot family, and had once been
wealthy; but a series of misfortunes had reduced him to want. To
avoid the mortification consequent upon his disasters, he left New
Orleans, the city of his forefathers, and took up his residence at
Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

This island is a very singular one. It consists of little else
than the sea sand, and is about three miles long. Its breadth at
no point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the
mainland by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a
wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh-hen.
The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant, or at least
dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near the
western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands, and where are some
miserable frame buildings, tenanted during summer by the fugitives
from Charleston dust and fever, may be found, indeed, the bristly
palmetto; but the whole island, with the exception of this western
point, and a line of hard white beach on the seacoast, is covered
with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle, so much prized by
the horticulturists of England. The shrub here often attains the
height of fifteen or twenty feet, and forms an almost impenetrable
coppice, burdening the air with its fragrance.

In the utmost recesses of this coppice, not far from the eastern
or more remote end of the island, Legrand had built himself a
small hut, which he occupied when I first, by mere accident, made
his acquaintance. This soon ripened into friendship--for there was
much in the recluse to excite interest and esteem. I found him
well educated, with unusual powers of mind, but infected with
misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate enthusiasm
and melancholy. He had with him many books, but rarely employed
them. His chief amusements were gunning and fishing, or sauntering
along the beach and through the myrtles, in quest of shells or
entomological specimens;--his collection of the latter might have
been envied by a Swammerdamm. In these excursions he was usually
accompanied by an old negro, called Jupiter, who had been
manumitted before the reverses of the family, but who could be
induced, neither by threats nor by promises, to abandon what he
considered his right of attendance upon the footsteps of his young
"Massa Will." It is not improbable that the relatives of Legrand,
conceiving him to be somewhat unsettled in intellect, had
contrived to instil this obstinacy into Jupiter, with a view to
the supervision and guardianship of the wanderer.

The winters in the latitude of Sullivan's Island are seldom very
severe, and in the fall of the year it is a rare event indeed when
a fire is considered necessary. About the middle of October, 18--,
there occurred, however, a day of remarkable chilliness. Just
before sunset I scrambled my way through the evergreens to the hut
of my friend, whom I had not visited for several weeks--my
residence being at that time in Charleston, a distance of nine
miles from the island, while the facilities of passage and re-
passage were very far behind those of the present day. Upon
reaching the hut I rapped, as was my custom, and, getting no
reply, sought for the key where I knew it was secreted, unlocked
the door and went in. A fine fire was blazing upon the hearth, It
was a novelty, and by no means an ungrateful one. I threw off an
overcoat, took an armchair by the crackling logs, and awaited
patiently the arrival of my hosts.

Soon after dark they arrived, and gave me a most cordial welcome.
Jupiter, grinning from ear to ear, bustled about to prepare some
marsh-hens for supper. Legrand was in one of his fits--how else
shall I term them?--of enthusiasm. He had found an unknown
bivalve, forming a new genus, and, more than this, he had hunted
down and secured, with Jupiter's assistance, a scaraboeus which he
believed to be totally new, but in respect to which he wished to
have my opinion on the morrow.

"And why not to-night?" I asked, rubbing my hands over the blaze,
and wishing the whole tribe of scaraboei at the devil.

"Ah, if I had only known you were here!" said Legrand, "but it's
so long since I saw you; and how could I foresee that you would
pay me a visit this very night of all others? As I was coming home
I met Lieutenant G----, from the fort, and, very foolishly, I lent
him the bug; so it will be impossible for you to see it until the
morning. Stay here to-night, and I will send Jup down for it at
sunrise. It is the loveliest thing in creation!"

"What?--sunrise?"

"Nonsense! no!--the bug. It is of a brilliant gold color--about
the size of a large hickory-nut--with two jet black spots near one
extremity of the back, another, somewhat longer, at the other. The
antennae are--"

"Dey aint NO tin in him, Massa Will, I keep a-tellin' on you,"
here interrupted Jupiter; "de bug is a goole-bug, solid, ebery bit
of him, inside and all, sep him wing--neber feel half so hebby a
bug in my life."

"Well, suppose it is, Jup," replied Legrand, somewhat more
earnestly, it seemed to me, than the case demanded, "is that any
reason for your letting the birds burn? The color"--here he turned
to me--"is really almost enough to warrant Jupiter's idea. You
never saw a more brilliant metallic lustre than the scales emit--
but of this you cannot judge till to-morrow. In the mean time I
can give you some idea of the shape." Saying this, he seated
himself at a small table, on which were a pen and ink, but no
paper. He looked for some in a drawer, but found none.

"Never mind," said he at length, "this will answer;" and he drew
from his waistcoat pocket a scrap of what I took to be very dirty
foolscap, and made upon it a rough drawing with the pen. While he
did this, I retained my seat by the fire, for I was still chilly.
When the design was complete, he handed it to me without rising.
As I received it, a low growl was heard, succeeded by a scratching
at the door. Jupiter opened it, and a large Newfoundland,
belonging to Legrand, rushed in, leaped upon my shoulders, and
loaded me with caresses; for I had shown him much attention during
previous visits. When his gambols were over, I looked at the
paper, and, to speak the truth, found myself not a little puzzled
at what my friend had depicted.

"Well!" I said, after contemplating it for some minutes, "this is
a strange scarabaeus, I must confess; new to me: never saw
anything like it before--unless it was a skull, or a death's-head,
which it more nearly resembles than anything else that has come
under MY observation."

"A death's-head!" echoed Legrand--"Oh--yes--well, it has something
of that appearance upon paper, no doubt. The two upper black spots
look like eyes, eh? and the longer one at the bottom like a mouth
--and then the shape of the whole is oval."

"Perhaps so," said I; "but, Legrand, I fear you are no artist. I
must wait until I see the beetle itself, if I am to form any idea
of its personal appearance."

"Well, I don't know," said he, a little nettled, "I draw
tolerably--SHOULD do it at least--have had good masters, and
flatter myself that I am not quite a blockhead."

"But, my dear fellow, you are joking then," said I, "this is a
very passable SKULL,--indeed, I may say that it is a very
EXCELLENT skull, according to the vulgar notions about such
specimens of physiology--and your scarabaeus must be the queerest
scarabaeus in the world if it resembles it. Why, we may get up a
very thrilling bit of superstition upon this hint. I presume you
will call the bug scarabaeus caput hominis, or something of that
kind--there are many similar titles in the Natural Histories. But
where are the antennae you spoke of?"

"The antennae!" said Legrand, who seemed to be getting
unaccountably warm upon the subject; "I am sure you must see the
antennae. I made them as distinct as they are in the original
insect, and I presume that is sufficient."

"Well, well," I said, "perhaps you have--still I don't see them;"
and I handed him the paper without additional remark, not wishing
to ruffle his temper; but I was much surprised at the turn affairs
had taken; his ill humor puzzled me--and, as for the drawing of
the beetle, there were positively NO antennae visible, and the
whole DID bear a very close resemblance to the ordinary cuts of a
death's-head.

He received the paper very peevishly, and was about to crumple it,
apparently to throw it in the fire, when a casual glance at the
design seemed suddenly to rivet his attention. In an instant his
face grew violently red--in another as excessively pale. For some
minutes he continued to scrutinize the drawing minutely where he
sat. At length he arose, took a candle from the table, and
proceeded to seat himself upon a sea-chest in the farthest corner
of the room. Here again he made an anxious examination of the
paper; turning it in all directions. He said nothing, however, and
his conduct greatly astonished me; yet I thought it prudent not to
exacerbate the growing moodiness of his temper by any comment.
Presently he took from his coat pocket a wallet, placed the paper
carefully in it, and deposited both in a writing-desk, which he
locked. He now grew more composed in his demeanor; but his
original air of enthusiasm had quite disappeared. Yet he seemed
not so much sulky as abstracted. As the evening wore away he
became more and more absorbed in revery, from which no sallies of
mine could arouse him. It had been my intention to pass the night
at the hut, as I had frequently done before, but, seeing my host
in this mood, I deemed it proper to take leave. He did not press
me to remain, but, as I departed, he shook my hand with even more
than his usual cordiality.

It was about a month after this (and during the interval I had
seen nothing of Legrand) when I received a visit, at Charleston,
from his man, Jupiter. I had never seen the good old negro look so
dispirited, and I feared that some serious disaster had befallen
my friend.

"Well, Jup," said I, "what is the matter now?--how is your
master?"

"Why, to speak de troof, massa, him not so berry well as mought
be."

"Not well! I am truly sorry to hear it. What does he complain of?"

"Dar! dat's it!--him neber plain of notin--but him berry sick for
all dat."

"VERY sick, Jupiter!--why didn't you say so at once? Is he
confined to bed?"

"No, dat he aint!--he aint find nowhar--dat's just whar de shoe
pinch--my mind is got to be berry hebby bout poor Massa Will."

"Jupiter, I should like to understand what it is you are talking
about. You say your master is sick. Hasn't he told you what ails
him?"

"Why, massa, taint worf while for to git mad bout de matter--Massa
Will say noffin at all aint de matter wid him--but den what make
him go about looking dis here way, wid he head down and he
soldiers up, and as white as a gose? And den he keep a syphon all
de time----"

"Keeps a what, Jupiter?"

"Keeps a syphon wid de figgurs on de slate--de queerest figgurs I
ebber did see. Ise gittin to be skeered, I tell you. Hab for to
keep mighty tight eye pon him noovers. Todder day he gib me slip
fore de sun up and was gone de whole ob de blessed day. I had a
big stick ready cut for to gib him d----d good beating when he did
come--but Ise sich a fool dat I hadn't de heart arter all--he look
so berry poorly."

"Eh?--what?--ah yes!--upon the whole I think you had better not be
too severe with the poor fellow--don't flog him, Jupiter--he can't
very well stand it--but can you form no idea of what has
occasioned this illness, or rather this change of conduct? Has
anything unpleasant happened since I saw you?"

"No, massa, dey aint bin noffin onpleasant SINCE den--'twas FORE
den I'm feared--'twas de berry day you was dare."

"How? what do you mean?"

"Why, massa, I mean de bug--dare now."

"The what?"

"De bug--I'm berry sartain dat Massa Will bin bit somewhere bout
de head by dat goole-bug."

"And what cause have you, Jupiter, for such a supposition?"

"Claws enuff, massa, and mouff too. I nebber did see sich a d----d
bug--he kick and he bite ebery ting what cum near him. Massa Will
cotch him fuss, but had for to let him go gin mighty quick, I tell
you--den was de time he must ha got de bite. I didn't like de look
ob de bug mouff, myself, no how, so I wouldn't take hold ob him
wid my finger, but I cotch him wid a piece ob paper dat I found. I
rap him up in de paper and stuff piece ob it in he mouff--dat was
de way."

"And you think, then, that your master was really bitten by the
beetle, and that the bite made him sick?"

"I don't tink noffin about it--I nose it. What make him dream bout
de goole so much, if taint cause he bit by de goole-bug? Ise heerd
bout dem goole-bugs fore dis."

"But how do you know he dreams about gold?"

"How I know? why cause he talk about it in he sleep--dat's how I
nose."

"Well, Jup, perhaps you are right; but to what fortunate
circumstance am I to attribute the honor of a visit from you to-
day?"

"What de matter, massa?"

"Did you bring any message from Mr. Legrand?"

"No, massa, I bring dis here pissel;" and here Jupiter handed me a
note which ran thus:

"MY DEAR----, Why have I not seen you for so long a time? I hope
you have not been so foolish as to take offence at any little
brusquerie of mine; but no, that is improbable.

"Since I saw you I have had great cause for anxiety. I have
something to tell you, yet scarcely know how to tell it, or
whether I should tell it at all.

"I have not been quite well for some days past, and poor old Jup
annoys me, almost beyond endurance, by his well-meant attentions.
Would you believe it?--he had prepared a huge stick, the other
day, with which to chastise me for giving him the slip, and
spending the day, solus, among the hills on the mainland. I verily
believe that my ill looks alone saved me a flogging.

"I have made no addition to my cabinet since we met.

"If you can, in any way, make it convenient, come over with
Jupiter. DO come. I wish to see you TO-NIGHT, upon business of
importance. I assure you that it is of the HIGHEST importance.

                "Ever yours,

                      "WILLIAM LEGRAND."

There was something in the tone of this note which gave me great
uneasiness. Its whole style differed materially from that of
Legrand. What could he be dreaming of? What new crotchet possessed
his excitable brain! What "business of the highest importance"
could HE possibly have to transact? Jupiter's account of him boded
no good. I dreaded lest the continued pressure of misfortune had,
at length, fairly unsettled the reason of my friend. Without a
moment's hesitation, therefore, I prepared to accompany the negro.

Upon reaching the wharf, I noticed a scythe and three spades, all
apparently new, lying in the bottom of the boat in which we were
to embark.

"What is the meaning of all this, Jup?" I inquired.

"Him syfe, massa, and spade."

"Very true; but what are they doing here?"

"Him de syfe and de spade what Massa Will sis pon my buying for
him in de town, and de debbil's own lot of money I had to gib for
'em."

"But what, in the name of all that is mysterious, is your 'Massa
Will' going to do with scythes and spades?"

"Dat's more dan _I_ know, and debbil take me if I don't blieve 't
is more dan he know, too. But it's all cum ob de bug."

Finding that no satisfaction was to be obtained of Jupiter, whose
whole intellect seemed to be absorbed by "de bug," I now stepped
into the boat and made sail. With a fair and strong breeze we soon
ran into the little cove to the northward of Fort Moultrie, and a
walk of some two miles brought us to the hut. It was about three
in the afternoon when we arrived. Legrand had been awaiting us in
eager expectation. He grasped my hand with a nervous EMPRESSEMENT,
which alarmed me and strengthened the suspicions already
entertained. His countenance was pale even to ghastliness, and his
deep-set eyes glared with unnatural lustre. After some inquiries
respecting his health, I asked him, not knowing what better to
say, if he had yet obtained the scarabaeus from Lieutenant G--.

"Oh, yes," he replied, coloring violently, "I got it from him the
next morning. Nothing should tempt me to part with that
scarabaeus. Do you know that Jupiter is quite right about it!"

"In what way?" I asked, with a sad foreboding at heart.

"In supposing it to be a bug of REAL GOLD." He said this with an
air of profound seriousness, and I felt inexpressibly shocked.

"This bug is to make my fortune," he continued, with a triumphant
smile, "to reinstate me in my family possessions. Is it any
wonder, then, that I prize it? Since Fortune has thought fit to
bestow it upon me, I have only to use it properly and I shall
arrive at the gold of which it is the index. Jupiter, bring me
that scarabaeus!"

"What! de bug, massa? I'd rudder not go fer trubble dat bug--you
mus git him for your own self." Hereupon Legrand arose, with a
grave and stately air, and brought me the beetle from a glass case
in which it was enclosed. It was a beautiful scarabaeus, and, at
that time, unknown to naturalists--of course a great prize in a
scientific point of view. There were two round, black spots near
one extremity of the back, and a long one near the other. The
scales were exceedingly hard and glossy, with all the appearance
of burnished gold. The weight of the insect was very remarkable,
and, taking all things into consideration, I could hardly blame
Jupiter for his opinion respecting it; but what to make of
Legrand's agreement with that opinion, I could not, for the life
of me, tell.

"I sent for you," said he, in a grandiloquent tone, when I had
completed my examination of the beetle, "I sent for you, that I
might have your counsel and assistance in furthering the views of
Fate and of the bug----"

"My dear Legrand," I cried, interrupting him, "you are certainly
unwell, and had better use some little precautions. You shall go
to bed, and I will remain with you a few days, until you get over
this. You are feverish and----"

"Feel my pulse," said he.

I felt it, and, to say the truth, found not the slightest
indication of fever.

"But you may be ill, and yet have no fever. Allow me this once to
prescribe for you. In the first place, go to bed. In the next----"

"You are mistaken," he interposed, "I am as well as I can expect
to be under the excitement which I suffer. If you really wish me
well, you will relieve this excitement."

"And how is this to be done?"

"Very easily. Jupiter and myself are going upon an expedition into
the hills, upon the mainland, and in this expedition, we shall
need the aid of some person in whom we can confide. You are the
only one we can trust. Whether we succeed or fail, the excitement
which you now perceive in me will be equally allayed."

"I am anxious to oblige you in any way," I replied; "but do you
mean to say that this infernal beetle has any connection with your
expedition into the hills?"

"It has."

"Then, Legrand, I can become a party to no such absurd
proceeding."

"I am sorry--very sorry--for we shall have to try it by
ourselves."

"Try it by yourselves! The man is surely mad!--but stay--how long
do you propose to be absent?"

"Probably all night. We shall start immediately, and be back, at
all events, by sunrise."

"And will you promise me, upon your honor, that when this freak of
yours is over, and the bug business (good God!) settled to your
satisfaction, you will then return home and follow my advice
implicitly, as that of your physician?"

"Yes; I promise; and now let us be off, for we have no time to
lose."

With a heavy heart I accompanied my friend. We started about four
o'clock--Legrand, Jupiter, the dog, and myself. Jupiter had with
him the scythe and spades--the whole of which he insisted upon
carrying, more through fear, it seemed to me, of trusting either
of the implements within reach of his master, than from any excess
of industry or complaisance. His demeanor was dogged in the
extreme, and "dat d----d bug" were the sole words which escaped
his lips during the journey. For my own part, I had charge of a
couple of dark lanterns, while Legrand contented himself with the
scarabaeus, which he carried attached to the end of a bit of whip-
cord; twirling it to and fro, with the air of a conjurer, as he
went. When I observed this last, plain evidence of my friend's
aberration of mind, I could scarcely refrain from tears. I thought
it best, however, to humor his fancy, at least for the present, or
until I could adopt some more energetic measures with a chance of
success. In the mean time I endeavored, but all in vain, to sound
him in regard to the object of the expedition. Having succeeded in
inducing me to accompany him, he seemed unwilling to hold
conversation upon any topic of minor importance, and to all my
questions vouchsafed no other reply than "we shall see!"

We crossed the creek at the head of the island by means of a
skiff, and, ascending the high grounds on the shore of the
mainland, proceeded in a northwesterly direction, through a tract
of country excessively wild and desolate, where no trace of a
human footstep was to be seen. Legrand led the way with decision;
pausing only for an instant, here and there, to consult what
appeared to be certain landmarks of his own contrivance upon a
former occasion.

In this manner we journeyed for about two hours, and the sun was
just setting when we entered a region infinitely more dreary than
any yet seen. It was a species of tableland, near the summit of an
almost inaccessible hill, densely wooded from base to pinnacle,
and interspersed with huge crags that appeared to lie loosely upon
the soil, and in many cases were prevented from precipitating
themselves into the valleys below merely by the support of the
trees against which they reclined. Deep ravines, in various
directions, gave an air of still sterner solemnity to the scene.

The natural platform to which we had clambered was thickly
overgrown with brambles, through which we soon discovered that it
would have been impossible to force our way but for the scythe;
and Jupiter, by direction of his master, proceeded to clear for us
a path to the foot of an enormously tall tulip-tree, which stood,
with some eight or ten oaks, upon the level, and far surpassed
them all, and all other trees which I had then ever seen, in the
beauty of its foliage and form, in the wide spread of its
branches, and in the general majesty of its appearance. When we
reached this tree, Legrand turned to Jupiter, and asked him if he
thought he could climb it. The old man seemed a little staggered
by the question, and for some moments made no reply. At length he
approached the huge trunk, walked slowly around it, and examined
it with minute attention. When he had completed his scrutiny, he
merely said:

"Yes, massa, Jup climb any tree he ebber see in he life."

"Then up with you as soon as possible, for it will soon be too
dark to see what we are about."

"How far mus go up, massa?" inquired Jupiter.

"Get up the main trunk first, and then I will tell you which way
to go--and here--stop! take this beetle with you."

"De bug, Massa Will!--de goole-bug!" cried the negro, drawing back
in dismay--"what for mus tote de bug way up de tree?--d----n if I
do!"

"If you are afraid, Jup, a great big negro like you, to take hold
of a harmless little dead beetle, why, you can carry it up by this
string--but, if you do not take it up with you in some way, I
shall be under the necessity of breaking your head with this
shovel."

"What de matter now, massa?" said Jup, evidently shamed into
compliance; "always want fur to raise fuss wid old nigger. Was
only funnin anyhow. ME feered de bug! what I keer for de bug?"
Here he took cautiously hold of the extreme end of the string,
and, maintaining the insect as far from his person as
circumstances would permit, prepared to ascend the tree.

In youth, the tulip-tree, or Liriodendron Tulipifera, the most
magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth,
and often rises to a great height without lateral branches; but,
in its riper age, the bark becomes gnarled and uneven, while many
short limbs make their appearance on the stem. Thus the difficulty
of ascension, in the present case, lay more in semblance than in
reality. Embracing the huge cylinder, as closely as possible, with
his arms and knees, seizing with his hands some projections, and
resting his naked toes upon others, Jupiter, after one or two
narrow escapes from falling, at length wriggled himself into the
first great fork, and seemed to consider the whole business as
virtually accomplished. The RISK of the achievement was, in fact,
now over, although the climber was some sixty or seventy feet from
the ground.

"Which way mus go now, Massa Will?" he asked.

"Keep up the largest branch,--the one on this side," said Legrand.
The negro obeyed him promptly, and apparently with but little
trouble, ascending higher and higher, until no glimpse of his
squat figure could be obtained through the dense foliage which
enveloped it. Presently his voice was heard in a sort of halloo.

"How much fudder is got for go?"

"How high up are you?" asked Legrand.

"Ebber so fur," replied the negro; "can see de sky fru de top ob
de tree."

"Never mind the sky, but attend to what I say. Look down the trunk
and count the limbs below you on this side. How many limbs have
you passed?"

"One, two, tree, four, fibe--I done pass fibe big limb, massa, pon
dis side."

"Then go one limb higher."

In a few minutes the voice was heard again, announcing that the
seventh limb was attained.

"Now, Jup," cried Legrand, evidently much excited, "I want you to
work your way out upon that limb as far as you can. If you see
anything strange, let me know."

By this time what little doubt I might have entertained of my poor
friend's insanity was put finally at rest. I had no alternative
but to conclude him stricken with lunacy, and I became seriously
anxious about getting him home. While I was pondering upon what
was best to be done, Jupiter's voice was again heard.

"Mos feerd for to ventur pon dis limb berry far--'tis dead limb
putty much all de way."

"Did you say it was a DEAD limb, Jupiter?" cried Legrand in a
quavering voice.

"Yes, massa, him dead as de door-nail--done up for sartain--done
departed dis here life." "What in the name of heaven shall I do?"
asked Legrand, seemingly in the greatest distress.

"Do!" said I, glad of an opportunity to interpose a word, "why
come home and go to bed. Come now!--that's a fine fellow. It's
getting late, and, besides, you remember your promise."

"Jupiter," cried he, without heeding me in the least, "do you hear
me?"

"Yes, Massa Will, hear you ebber so plain."

"Try the wood well, then, with your knife, and see if you think it
VERY rotten."

"Him rotten, massa, sure nuff," replied the negro in a few
moments, "but not so berry rotten as mought be. Mought ventur out
leetle way pon de limb by myself, dat's true."

"By yourself!--what do you mean?"

"Why, I mean de bug. 'Tis BERRY hebby bug. Spose I drop him down
fuss, and den de limb won't break wid just de weight ob one
nigger."

"You infernal scoundrel!" cried Legrand, apparently much relieved,
"what do you mean by telling me such nonsense as that? As sure as
you let that beetle fall, I'll break your neck. Look here,
Jupiter! do you hear me?"

"Yes, massa, needn't hollo at poor nigger dat style."

"Well! now listen!--if you will venture out on the limb as far as
you think safe, and not let go the beetle, I'll make you a present
of a silver dollar as soon as you get down."

"I'm gwine, Massa Will--deed I is," replied the negro very
promptly--"mos out to the eend now."

"OUT TO THE END!" here fairly screamed Legrand, "do you say you
are out to the end of that limb?"

"Soon be to de eend, massa,--o-o-o-o-oh! Lord-gol-a-marcy! what IS
dis here pon de tree?"

"Well!" cried Legrand, highly delighted, "what is it?"

"Why taint noffin but a skull--somebody bin lef him head up de
tree, and de crows done gobble ebery bit ob de meat off."

"A skull, you say!--very well!--how is it fastened to the limb?--
what holds it on?"

"Sure nuff, massa; mus look. Why, dis berry curous sarcumstanee,
pon my word--dare's a great big nail in de skull, what fastens ob
it on to de tree."

"Well now, Jupiter, do exactly as I tell you--do you hear?"

"Yes, massa."

"Pay attention, then!--find the left eye of the skull."

"Hum! hoo! dat's good! why, dar aint no eye lef at all."

"Curse your stupidity! do you know your right hand from your
left?"

"Yes, I nose dat--nose all bout dat--'tis my lef hand what I chops
de wood wid."

"To be sure! you are left-handed; and your left eye is on the same
side as your left hand. Now, I suppose, you can find the left eye
of the skull, or the place where the left eye has been. Have you
found it?"

Here was a long pause. At length the negro asked,

"Is de lef eye of de skull pon de same side as de lef hand of de
skull, too?--cause de skull aint got not a bit ob a hand at all--
nebber mind! I got de lef eye now--here de lef eye! what must do
wid it?"

"Let the beetle drop through it, as far as the string will reach--
but be careful and not let go your hold of the string."

"All dat done, Massa Will; mighty easy ting for to put de bug fru
de hole--look for him dar below!"

During this colloquy no portion of Jupiter's person could be seen;
but the beetle, which he had suffered to descend, was now visible
at the end of the string, and glistened, like a globe of burnished
gold, in the last rays of the setting sun, some of which still
faintly illumined the eminence upon which we stood. The scarabaeus
hung quite clear of any branches, and, if allowed to fall, would
have fallen at our feet. Legrand immediately took the scythe, and
cleared with it a circular space, three or four yards in diameter,
just beneath the insect, and, having accomplished this, ordered
Jupiter to let go the string and come down from the tree.

Driving a peg, with great nicety, into the ground, at the precise
spot where the beetle fell, my friend now produced from his pocket
a tape-measure. Fastening one end of this at that point of the
trunk of the tree which was nearest the peg, he unrolled it till
it reached the peg, and thence farther unrolled it, in the
direction already established by the two points of the tree and
the peg, for the distance of fifty feet--Jupiter clearing away the
brambles with the scythe. At the spot thus attained a second peg
was driven, and about this, as a centre, a rude circle, about four
feet in diameter, described. Taking now a spade himself, and
giving one to Jupiter and one to me, Legrand begged us to set
about digging as quickly as possible.

To speak the truth, I had no especial relish for such amusement at
any time, and, at that particular moment, would most willingly
have declined it; for the night was coming on, and I felt much
fatigued with the exercise already taken; but I saw no mode of
escape, and was fearful of disturbing my poor friend's equanimity
by a refusal. Could I have depended, indeed, upon Jupiter's aid, I
would have had no hesitation in attempting to get the lunatic home
by force; but I was too well assured of the old negro's
disposition to hope that he would assist me, under any
circumstances, in a personal contest with his master. I made no
doubt that the latter had been infected with some of the
innumerable Southern superstitions about money buried, and that
his fantasy had received confirmation by the finding of the
scarabaeus, or, perhaps, by Jupiter's obstinacy in maintaining it
to be "a bug of real gold." A mind disposed to lunacy would
readily be led away by such suggestions, especially if chiming in
with favorite preconceived ideas; and then I called to mind the
poor fellow's speech about the beetle's being "the index of his
fortune." Upon the whole, I was sadly vexed and puzzled, but at
length I concluded to make a virtue of necessity--to dig with a
good will, and thus the sooner to convince the visionary, by
ocular demonstration, of the fallacy of the opinions he
entertained.

The lanterns having been lit, we all fell to work with a zeal
worthy a more rational cause; and, as the glare fell upon our
persons and implements, I could not help thinking how picturesque
a group we composed, and how strange and suspicious our labors
must have appeared to any interloper who, by chance, might have
stumbled upon our whereabouts.

We dug very steadily for two hours. Little was said; and our chief
embarrassment lay in the yelpings of the dog, who took exceeding
interest in our proceedings. He, at length, became so obstreperous
that we grew fearful of his giving the alarm to some stragglers in
the vicinity; or, rather, this was the apprehension of Legrand;
for myself, I should have rejoiced at any interruption which might
have enabled me to get the wanderer home. The noise was, at
length, very effectually silenced by Jupiter, who, getting out of
the hole with a dogged air of deliberation, tied the brute's mouth
up with one of his suspenders, and then returned, with a grave
chuckle, to his task.

When the time mentioned had expired, we had reached a depth of
five feet, and yet no signs of any treasure became manifest. A
general pause ensued, and I began to hope that the farce was at an
end. Legrand, however, although evidently much disconcerted, wiped
his brow thoughtfully and recommenced. We had excavated the entire
circle of four feet diameter, and now we slightly enlarged the
limit, and went to the farther depth of two feet. Still nothing
appeared. The gold-seeker, whom I sincerely pitied, at length
clambered from the pit, with the bitterest disappointment
imprinted upon every feature, and proceeded, slowly and
reluctantly, to put on his coat, which he had thrown off at the
beginning of his labor. In the mean time I made no remark.
Jupiter, at a signal from his master, began to gather up his
tools. This done, and the dog having been unmuzzled, we turned in
profound silence towards home.

We had taken, perhaps, a dozen steps in this direction, when, with
a loud oath, Legrand strode up to Jupiter, and seized him by the
collar. The astonished negro opened his eyes and mouth to the
fullest extent, let fall the spades, and fell upon his knees.

"You scoundrel," said Legrand, hissing out the syllables from
between his clenched teeth--"you infernal black villain!--speak, I
tell you!--answer me this instant, without prevarication!--which--
which is your left eye?"

"Oh, my golly, Massa Will! aint dis here my lef eye for sartain?"
roared the terrified Jupiter, placing his hand upon his right
organ of vision, and holding it there with a desperate
pertinacity, as if in immediate dread of his master's attempt at a
gouge.

"I thought so!--I knew it! hurrah!" vociferated Legrand, letting
the negro go, and executing a series of curvets and caracoles,
much to the astonishment of his valet, who, arising from his
knees, looked mutely from his master to myself, and then from
myself to his master. "Come! we must go back," said the latter,
"the game's not up yet;" and he again led the way to the tulip-
tree.

"Jupiter," said he, when we reached its foot, "come here! was the
skull nailed to the limb with the face outward, or with the face
to the limb?"

"De face was out, massa, so dat de crows could get at de eyes
good, widout any trouble."

"Well, then, was it this eye or that through which you dropped the
beetle!"--here Legrand touched each of Jupiter's eyes.

"'Twas dis eye, massa--de lef eye--jis as you tell me," and here
it was his right eye that the negro indicated.

"That will do--we must try it again."

Here my friend, about whose madness I now saw, or fancied that I
saw, certain indications of method, removed the peg which marked
the spot where the beetle fell, to a spot about three inches to
the westward of its former position. Taking, now, the tape-measure
from the nearest point of the trunk to the peg, as before, and
continuing the extension in a straight line to the distance of
fifty feet, a spot was indicated, removed, by several yards, from
the point at which we had been digging.

Around the new position a circle, somewhat larger than in the
former instance, was now described, and we again set to work with
the spades. I was dreadfully weary, but, scarcely understanding
what had occasioned the change in my thoughts, I felt no longer
any great aversion from the labor imposed. I had become most
unaccountably interested--nay, even excited. Perhaps there was
something, amid all the extravagant demeanor of Legrand--some air
of forethought, or of deliberation--which impressed me. I dug
eagerly, and now and then caught myself actually looking, with
something that very much resembled expectation, for the fancied
treasure, the vision of which had demented my unfortunate
companion. At a period when such vagaries of thought most fully
possessed me, and when we had been at work perhaps an hour and a
half, we were again interrupted by the violent howlings of the
dog. His uneasiness, in the first instance, had been evidently but
the result of playfulness or caprice, but he now assumed a bitter
and serious tone. Upon Jupiter's again attempting to muzzle him,
he made furious resistance, and, leaping into the hole, tore up
the mould frantically with his claws. In a few seconds he had
uncovered a mass of human bones, forming two complete skeletons,
intermingled with several buttons of metal, and what appeared to
be the dust of decayed woollen. One or two strokes of a spade
upturned the blade of a large Spanish knife, and, as we dug
farther, three or four loose pieces of gold and silver coin came
to light.

At sight of these the joy of Jupiter could scarcely be restrained,
but the countenance of his master wore an air of extreme
disappointment. He urged us, however, to continue our exertions,
and the words were hardly uttered when I stumbled and fell
forward, having caught the toe of my boot in a large ring of iron
that lay half buried in the loose earth.

We now worked in earnest, and never did I pass ten minutes of more
intense excitement. During this interval we had fairly unearthed
an oblong chest of wood, which, from its perfect preservation and
wonderful hardness, had plainly been subjected to some
mineralizing process--perhaps that of the bichloride of mercury.
This box was three feet and a half long, three feet broad, and two
and a half feet deep. It was firmly secured by bands of wrought
iron, riveted, and forming a kind of trellis-work over the whole.
On each side of the chest, near the top, were three rings of iron
--six in all--by means of which a firm hold could be obtained by
six persons. Our utmost united endeavors served only to disturb
the coffer very slightly in its bed. We at once saw the
impossibility of removing so great a weight. Luckily, the sole
fastenings of the lid consisted of two sliding bolts. These we
drew back--trembling and panting with anxiety. In an instant, a
treasure of incalculable value lay gleaming before us. As the rays
of the lanterns fell within the pit, there flashed upwards, from a
confused heap of gold and of jewels, a glow and a glare that
absolutely dazzled our eyes.

I shall not pretend to describe the feelings with which I gazed.
Amazement was, of course, predominant. Legrand appeared exhausted
with excitement, and spoke very few words. Jupiter's countenance
wore, for some minutes, as deadly a pallor as it is possible, in
the nature of things, for any negro's visage to assume. He seemed
stupefied--thunderstricken. Presently he fell upon his knees in
the pit, and, burying his naked arms up to the elbows in gold, let
them there remain, as if enjoying the luxury of a bath. At length,
with a deep sigh, he exclaimed, as if in a soliloquy:

"And dis all cum ob de goole-bug! de putty goole-bug! de poor
little goole-bug, what I boosed in dat sabage kind ob style! Aint
you shamed ob yourself, nigger?--answer me dat!"

It became necessary, at last, that I should arouse both master and
valet to the expediency of removing the treasure. It was growing
late, and it behooved us to make exertion, that we might get
everything housed before daylight. It was difficult to say what
should be done, and much time was spent in deliberation--so
confused were the ideas of all. We finally lightened the box by
removing two-thirds of its contents, when we were enabled, with
some trouble, to raise it from the hole. The articles taken out
were deposited among the brambles, and the dog left to guard them,
with strict orders from Jupiter neither, upon any pretence, to
stir from the spot, nor to open his mouth until our return. We
then hurriedly made for home with the chest; reaching the hut in
safety, but after excessive toil, at one o'clock in the morning.
Worn out as we were, it was not in human nature to do more just
now. We rested until two, and had supper; starting for the hills
immediately afterwards, armed with three stout sacks, which by
good luck were upon the premises. A little before four we arrived
at the pit, divided the remainder of the booty, as equally as
might be, among us, and, leaving the holes unfilled, again set out
for the hut, at which, for the second time, we deposited our
golden burdens, just as the first streaks of the dawn gleamed from
over the tree-tops in the East.

We were now thoroughly broken down; but the intense excitement of
the time denied us repose. After an unquiet slumber of some three
or four hours' duration, we arose, as if by pre-concert, to make
examination of our treasure.

The chest had been full to the brim, and we spent the whole day,
and the greater part of the next night, in a scrutiny of its
contents. There had been nothing like order or arrangement.
Everything had been heaped in promiscuously. Having assorted all
with care, we found ourselves possessed of even vaster wealth than
we had at first supposed. In coin there was rather more than four
hundred and fifty thousand dollars: estimating the value of the
pieces, as accurately as we could, by the tables of the period.
There was not a particle of silver. All was gold of antique date
and of great variety: French, Spanish, and German money, with a
few English guineas, and some counters, of which we had never seen
specimens before. There were several very large and heavy coins,
so worn that we could make nothing of their inscriptions. There
was no American money. The value of the jewels we found more
difficulty in estimating. There were diamonds--some of them
exceedingly large and fine--a hundred and ten in all, and not one
of them small; eighteen rubies of remarkable brilliancy; three
hundred and ten emeralds, all very beautiful; and twenty-one
sapphires, with an opal. These stones had all been broken from
their settings and thrown loose in the chest. The settings
themselves, which we picked out from among the other gold,
appeared to have been beaten up with hammers, as if to prevent
identification. Besides all this, there was a vast quantity of
solid gold ornaments: nearly two hundred massive finger and ear
rings; rich chains--thirty of these, if I remember; eighty-three
very large and heavy crucifixes; five gold censers of great value;
a prodigious golden punch-bowl, ornamented with richly chased
vine-leaves and Bacchanalian figures; with two sword handles
exquisitely embossed, and many other smaller articles which I
cannot recollect. The weight of these valuables exceeded three
hundred and fifty pounds avoirdupois; and in this estimate I have
not included one hundred and ninety-seven superb gold watches;
three of the number being worth each five hundred dollars, if one.
Many of them were very old, and as time-keepers valueless, the
works having suffered more or less from corrosion; but all were
richly jewelled and in cases of great worth. We estimated the
entire contents of the chest, that night, at a million and a half
of dollars; and, upon the subsequent disposal of the trinkets and
jewels (a few being retained for our own use), it was found that
we had greatly undervalued the treasure.

When, at length, we had concluded our examination, and the intense
excitement of the time had in some measure subsided, Legrand, who
saw that I was dying with impatience for a solution of this most
extraordinary riddle, entered into a full detail of all the
circumstances connected with it.

"You remember," said he, "the night when I handed you the rough
sketch I had made of the scaraboeus. You recollect also, that I
became quite vexed at you for insisting that my drawing resembled
a death's-head. When you first made this assertion I thought you
were jesting; but afterwards I called to mind the peculiar spots
on the back of the insect, and admitted to myself that your remark
had some little foundation in fact. Still, the sneer at my graphic
powers irritated me--for I am considered a good artist--and,
therefore, when you handed me the scrap of parchment, I was about
to crumple it up and throw it angrily into the fire."

"The scrap of paper, you mean," said I.

"No: it had much of the appearance of paper, and at first I
supposed it to be such, but when I came to draw upon it, I
discovered it, at once, to be a piece of very thin parchment. It
was quite dirty, you remember. Well, as I was in the very act of
crumpling it up, my glance fell upon the sketch at which you had
been looking, and you may imagine my astonishment when I
perceived, in fact, the figure of a death's-head just where, it
seemed to me, I had made the drawing of the beetle. For a moment I
was too much amazed to think with accuracy. I knew that my design
was very different in detail from this--although there was a
certain similarity in general outline. Presently I took a candle
and, seating myself at the other end of the room, proceeded to
scrutinize the parchment more closely. Upon turning it over, I saw
my own sketch upon the reverse, just as I had made it. My first
idea, now, was mere surprise at the really remarkable similarity
of outline--at the singular coincidence involved in the fact that,
unknown to me, there should have been a skull upon the other side
of the parchment, immediately beneath my figure of the scarabaeus,
and that this skull, not only in outline, but in size, should so
closely resemble my drawing. I say the singularity of this
coincidence absolutely stupefied me for a time. This is the usual
effect of such coincidences. The mind struggles to establish a
connection--a sequence of cause and effect--and, being unable to
do so, suffers a species of temporary paralysis. But, when I
recovered from this stupor, there dawned upon me gradually a
conviction which startled me even far more than the coincidence. I
began distinctly, positively, to remember that there had been no
drawing on the parchment when I made my sketch of the scarabaeus.
I became perfectly certain of this; for I recollected turning up
first one side and then the other, in search of the cleanest spot.
Had the skull been then there, of course I could not have failed
to notice it. Here was indeed a mystery which I felt it impossible
to explain; but, even at that early moment, there seemed to
glimmer, faintly, within the most remote and secret chambers of my
intellect, a glowworm-like conception of that truth which last
night's adventure brought to so magnificent a demonstration. I
arose at once, and, putting the parchment securely away, dismissed
all farther reflection until I should be alone.

"When you had gone, and when Jupiter was fast asleep, I betook
myself to a more methodical investigation of the affair. In the
first place I considered the manner in which the parchment had
come into my possession. The spot where we discovered the
scarabaeus was on the coast of the mainland, about a mile eastward
of the island, and but a short distance above high-water mark.
Upon my taking hold of it, it gave me a sharp bite, which caused
me to let it drop. Jupiter, with his accustomed caution, before
seizing the insect, which had flown towards him, looked about him
for a leaf, or something of that nature, by which to take hold of
it. It was at this moment that his eyes, and mine also, fell upon
the scrap of parchment, which I then supposed to be paper, It was
lying half buried in the sand, a corner sticking up. Near the spot
where we found it, I observed the remnants of the hull of what
appeared to have been a ship's long boat. The wreck seemed to have
been there for a very great while; for the resemblance to boat
timbers could scarcely be traced.

"Well, Jupiter picked up the parchment, wrapped the beetle in it,
and gave it to me. Soon afterwards we turned to go home, and on
the way met Lieutenant G----. I showed him the insect, and he
begged me to let him take it to the fort. On my consenting, he
thrust it forthwith into his waistcoat pocket, without the
parchment in which it had been wrapped, and which I had continued
to hold in my hand during his inspection. Perhaps he dreaded my
changing my mind, and thought it best to make sure of the prize at
once--you know how enthusiastic he is on all subjects connected
with Natural History. At the same time, without being conscious of
it, I must have deposited the parchment in my own pocket.

"You remember that when I went to the table, for the purpose of
making a sketch of the beetle, I found no paper where it was
usually kept. I looked in the drawer, and found none there. I
searched my pockets, hoping to find an old letter, and then my
hand fell upon the parchment. I thus detail the precise mode in
which it came into my possession; for the circumstances impressed
me with peculiar force.

"No doubt you will think me fanciful--but I had already
established a kind of CONNECTION. I had put together two links of
a great chain. There was a boat lying on a seacoast, and not far
from the boat was a parchment--NOT A PAPER--with a skull depicted
on it. You will, of course, ask 'where is the connection?' I reply
that the skull, or death's-head, is the well-known emblem of the
pirate. The flag of the death's-head is hoisted in all
engagements.

"I have said that the scrap was parchment, and not paper.
Parchment is durable--almost imperishable. Matters of little
moment are rarely consigned to parchment; since, for the mere
ordinary purposes of drawing or writing, it is not nearly so well
adapted as paper. This reflection suggested some meaning--some
relevancy--in the death's-head. I did not fail to observe, also,
the FORM of the parchment. Although one of its corners had been,
by some accident, destroyed, it could be seen that the original
form was oblong. It was just such a slip, indeed, as might have
been chosen for a memorandum--for a record of something to be long
remembered and carefully preserved."

"But," I interposed, "you say that the skull was NOT upon the
parchment when you made the drawing of the beetle. How then do you
trace any connection between the boat and the skull--since this
latter, according to your own admission, must have been designed
(God only knows how or by whom) at some period subsequent to your
sketching the scarabaeus?"

"Ah, hereupon turns the whole mystery; although the secret, at
this point, I had comparatively little difficulty in solving. My
steps were sure, and could afford but a single result. I reasoned,
for example, thus: When I drew the scarabaeus, there was no skull
apparent on the parchment. When I had completed the drawing I gave
it to you, and observed you narrowly until you returned it. YOU,
therefore, did not design the skull, and no one else was present
to do it. Then it was not done by human agency. And nevertheless
it was done.

"At this stage of my reflections I endeavored to remember, and DID
remember, with entire distinctness, every incident which occurred
about the period in question. The weather was chilly (O rare and
happy accident!), and a fire was blazing on the hearth. I was
heated with exercise and sat near the table. You, however had
drawn a chair close to the chimney. Just as I placed the parchment
in your hand, and as you were in the act of inspecting it, Wolf,
the Newfoundland, entered, and leaped upon your shoulders. With
your left hand you caressed him and kept him off, while your
right, holding the parchment, was permitted to fall listlessly
between your knees, and in close proximity to the fire. At one
moment I thought the blaze had caught it, and was about to caution
you, but, before I could speak, you had withdrawn it, and were
engaged in its examination. When I considered all these
particulars, I doubted not for a moment that HEAT had been the
agent in bringing to light, on the parchment, the skull which I
saw designed on it. You are well aware that chemical preparations
exist, and have existed time out of mind, by means of which it is
possible to write on either paper or vellum, so that the
characters shall become visible only when subjected to the action
of fire. Zaffre, digested in aqua regia, and diluted with four
times its weight of water, is sometimes employed; a green tint
results. The regulus of cobalt, dissolved in spirit of nitre,
gives a red. These colors disappear at longer or shorter intervals
after the material written upon cools, but again become apparent
upon the reapplication of heat.

"I now scrutinized the death's-head with care. Its outer edges--
the edges of the drawing nearest the edge of the vellum--were far
more DISTINCT than the others. It was clear that the action of the
caloric had been imperfect or unequal. I immediately kindled a
fire, and subjected every portion of the parchment to a glowing
heat. At first, the only effect was the strengthening of the faint
lines in the skull; but, on persevering in the experiment, there
became visible at the corner of the slip, diagonally opposite to
the spot in which the death's-head was delineated, the figure of
what I at first supposed to be a goat. A closer scrutiny, however,
satisfied me that it was intended for a kid."

"Ha! ha!" said I, "to be sure I have no right to laugh at you--a
million and a half of money is too serious a matter for mirth--but
you are not about to establish a third link in your chain: you
will not find any especial connection between your pirates and a
goat; pirates, you know, have nothing to do with goats; they
appertain to the farming interest."

"But I have just said that the figure was NOT that of a goat."

"Well, a kid, then--pretty much the same thing."

"Pretty much, but not altogether," said Legrand. "You may have
heard of one CAPTAIN Kidd. I at once looked on the figure of the
animal as a kind of punning or hieroglyphical signature. I say
signature; because its position on the vellum suggested this idea.
The death's-head at the corner diagonally opposite had, in the
same manner, the air of a stamp, or seal. But I was sorely put out
by the absence of all else--of the body to my imagined instrument
--of the text for my context."

"I presume you expected to find a letter between the stamp and the
signature."

"Something of that kind. The fact is, I felt irresistibly
impressed with a presentiment of some vast good fortune impending.
I can scarcely say why. Perhaps, after all, it was rather a desire
than an actual belief;--but do you know that Jupiter's silly
words, about the bug being of solid gold, had a remarkable effect
on my fancy? And then the series of accidents and coincidences--
these were so VERY extraordinary. Do you observe how mere an
accident it was that these events should have occurred on the SOLE
day of all the year in which it has been, or may be, sufficiently
cool for fire, and that without the fire, or without the
intervention of the dog at the precise moment in which he
appeared, I should never have become aware of the death's-head,
and so never the possessor of the treasure!"

"But proceed--I am all impatience."

"Well; you have heard, of course, the many stories current--the
thousand vague rumors afloat about money buried, somewhere on the
Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates. These rumors must have
had some foundation in fact. And that the rumors have existed so
long and so continuously, could have resulted, it appeared to me,
only from the circumstance of the buried treasure still REMAINING
entombed. Had Kidd concealed his plunder for a time, and
afterwards reclaimed it, the rumors would scarcely have reached us
in their present unvarying form. You will observe that the stories
told are all about money-seekers, not about money-finders. Had the
pirate recovered his money, there the affair would have dropped.
It seemed to me that some accident--say the loss of a memorandum
indicating its locality--had deprived him of the means of
recovering it, and that this accident had become known to his
followers, who otherwise might never have heard that treasure had
been concealed at all, and, who, busying themselves in vain,
because unguided, attempts to regain it, had given first birth,
and then universal currency, to the reports which are now so
common. Have you ever heard of any important treasure being
unearthed along the coast?"

"Never."

"But that Kidd's accumulations were immense is well known. I took
it for granted, therefore, that the earth still held them; and you
will scarcely be surprised when I tell you that I felt a hope,
nearly amounting to certainty, that the parchment so strangely
found involved a lost record of the place of deposit."

"But how did you proceed?"

"I held the vellum again to the fire, after increasing the heat,
but nothing appeared. I now thought it possible that the coating
of dirt might have something to do with the failure; so I
carefully rinsed the parchment by pouring warm water over it, and,
having done this, I placed it in a tin pan, with the skull
downwards, and put the pan upon a furnace of lighted charcoal. In
a few minutes, the pan having become thoroughly heated, I removed
the slip, and, to my inexpressible joy, found it spotted, in
several places, with what appeared to be figures arranged in
lines. Again I placed it in the pan, and suffered it to remain
another minute. Upon taking it off, the whole was just as you see
it now."

Here Legrand, having reheated the parchment, submitted it to my
inspection. The following characters were rudely traced, in a red
tint, between the death's-head and the goat:--********53 *305)) 6*
4826) 4.) 4J);806*;48f8lIeo)) 85;; ] 8*;: $*8f83(88)5*f;46(,-
88*9e*?;'S)*t(;485);5*f2:*t(;4956 *2(5*-4)8H8*;4oe9285);)ef8)4JJ;l
(J9;48081;8:8Jl;48 f85;4) 485t5288oe*8l(|9;48;(88;4(J
134,48)4}:;161;:188*****

"But," said I, returning him the slip, "I am as much in the dark
as ever. Were all the jewels of Golconda awaiting me on my
solution of this enigma, I am quite sure that I should be unable
to earn them."

"And yet," said Legrand, "the solution is by no means so difficult
as you might be led to imagine from the first hasty inspection of
the characters. These characters, as any one might readily guess,
form a cipher--that is to say, they, convey a meaning; but then,
from what is known of Kidd, I could not suppose him capable of
constructing any of the more abstruse cryptographs. I made up my
mind, at once, that this was of a simple species--such, however,
as would appear, to the crude intellect of the sailor, absolutely
insoluble without the key."

"And you really solved it?"

"Readily; I have solved others of an abstruseness ten thousand
times greater. Circumstances, and a certain bias of mind, have led
me to take interest in such riddles, and it may well be doubted
whether human ingenuity can construct an enigma of the kind which
human ingenuity may not, by proper application, resolve. In fact,
having once established connected and legible characters, I
scarcely gave a thought to the mere difficulty of developing their
import.

"In the present case--indeed in all cases of secret writing--the
first question regards the LANGUAGE of the cipher; for the
principles of solution, so far, especially, as the more simple
ciphers are concerned, depend on, and are varied by, the genius of
the particular idiom.

"In general, there is no alternative but experiment (directed by
probabilities) of every tongue known to him who attempts the
solution, until the true one be attained. But, with the cipher now
before us, all difficulty is removed by the signature. The pun
upon the word 'Kidd' is appreciable in no other language than the
English. But for this consideration I should have begun my
attempts with the Spanish and French, as the tongues in which a
secret of this kind would most naturally have been written by a
pirate of the Spanish main. As it was, I assumed the cryptograph
to be English.

"You observe there are no divisions between the words. Had there
been divisions, the task would have been comparatively easy. In
such case I should have commenced with a collation and analysis of
the shorter words, and, had a word of a single letter occurred, as
is most likely ('a' or 'I', for example), I should have considered
the solution as assured. But, there being no division, my first
step was to ascertain the predominant letters, as well as the
least frequent. Counting all, I constructed a table, thus:

"Of the character 8 there are 33
; "  26

4 "  19

t) " 16

* "  13

5 "  12

6 "  11

tl"   8

0 "   6

92 "  5

:3 "  4

, "   3

IF "  2

]--"  1

"Now, in English, the letter which most frequently occurs is 'e'.
Afterwards the succession runs thus: a o i d h n r s t n y c f g l
m w b k p q x z. 'E' predominates, however, so remarkably that an
individual sentence of any length is rarely seen, in which it is
not the prevailing character.

"Here, then, we have, in the very beginning, the groundwork for
something more than a mere guess. The general use which may be
made of the table is obvious--but, in this particular cipher, we
shall only very partially require its aid. As our predominant
character is 8, we will commence by assuming it as the 'e' of the
natural alphabet. To verify the supposition, let us observe if the
8 be seen often in couples--for 'e' is doubled with great
frequency in English--in such words, for example, as 'meet,'
'fleet,' 'speed,' 'seen,' 'been,' 'agree' and 'see'. In the
present instance we see it doubled no less than five times,
although the cryptograph is brief.

"Let us assume 8, then, as 'e'. Now, of all WORDS in the language,
'the' is most usual; let us see, therefore, whether there are not
repetitions of any three characters, in the same order of
collocation, the last of them being 8. If we discover repetitions
of such letters, so arranged, they will most probably represent
the word 'the.' On inspection, we find no less than seven such
arrangements, the characters being: ;48. We may, therefore, assume
that the semicolon represents 't', that 4 represents 'h', and that
8 represents 'e'--the last being now well confirmed. Thus a great
step has been taken.

"But, having established a single word, we are enabled to
establish a vastly important point; that is to say, several
commencements and terminations of other words. Let us refer, for
example, to the last instance but one, in which the combination
;48 occurs--not far from the end of the cipher. We know that the
semicolon immediately ensuing is the commencement of a word, and,
of the six characters succeeding this 'the,' we are cognizant of
no less than five. Let us set these characters down, thus, by the
letters we know them to represent, leaving a space for the
unknown--

     t eeth.

"Here we are enabled, at once, to discard the 'th,' as forming no
portion of the word commencing with the first 't'; since, by
experiment of the entire alphabet for a letter adapted to the
vacancy, we perceive that no word can be formed of which this 'th'
can be a part. We are thus narrowed into

     t ee,

and, going through the alphabet, if necessary, as before, we
arrive at the word 'tree' as the sole possible reading. We thus
gain another letter, 'r', represented by (, with the words 'the
tree' in juxtaposition.

"Looking beyond these words, for a short distance, we again see
the combination ;4S, and employ it by way of TERMINATION to what
immediately precedes. We have thus this arrangement:

     the tree ;4(*t?34** the,

or, substituting the natural letters, where known, it reads thus:

     the tree thr**?3h the.

"Now, if, in place of the unknown characters, we leave blank
spaces, or substitute dots, we read thus:

     the tree thr . . . h the.

when the word 'THROUGH' makes itself evident at once. But this
discovery gives us three new letters, o, u, and g, represented by

     $ ? and 3.

"Looking now, narrowly, through the cipher for combinations of
known characters, we find, not very far from the beginning, this
arrangement,

     83(88, or egree,

which, plainly, is the conclusion of the word 'degree,' and gives
us another letter, d, represented by t.

"Four letters beyond the word 'degree,' we perceive the
combination

     ;46(;88*

"Translating the known characters, and representing the unknown by
dots, as before, we read thus:

     th . rtee . ,

an arrangement immediately suggestive of the word 'thirteen,' and
again furnishing us with two new characters, i and n, represented
by 6 and *.

"Referring, now, to the beginning of the cryptograph, we find the
combination,

     53***.

"Translating, as before, we obtain

     good,

which assures us that the first letter is A, and that the first
two words are 'A good.'

"To avoid confusion, it is now time that we arrange our key, as
far as discovered, in a tabular form. It will stand thus: (More
code-Prf)

5 represents a

t " d

8 " e

3 " g

4 " h

6 " i

* " n

I " o

( " r

; " t

"We have, therefore, no less than ten of the most important
letters represented, and it will be unnecessary to proceed with
the details of the solution. I have said enough to convince you
that ciphers of this nature are readily soluble, and to give you
some insight into the rationale of their development. But be
assured that the specimen before us appertains to the very
simplest species of cryptograph. It now only remains to give you
the full translation of the characters upon the parchment, as
unriddled. Here it is:

"'A good glass in the Bishop's hostel in the devil's seat twenty-
one degrees and thirteen minutes north-east and by north main
branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the
death's-head a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet
out.'"

"But," said I, "the enigma seems still in as bad a condition as
ever. How is it possible to extort a meaning from all this jargon
about 'devil's seats,' 'death's-heads' and 'Bishop's hotels'?"

"I confess," replied Legrand, "that the matter still wears a
serious aspect, when regarded with a casual glance. My first
endeavor was to divide the sentence into the natural division
intended by the cryptographist.

"You mean, to punctuate it?"

"Something of that kind."

"But how was it possible to effect this?"

"I reflected that it had been a POINT with the writer to run his
words together without division, so as to increase the difficulty
of solution. Now, a not over-acute man, in pursuing such an
object, would be nearly certain to overdo the matter. When, in the
course of his composition, he arrived at a break in his subject
which would naturally require a pause, or a point, he would be
exceedingly apt to run his characters, at this place, more than
usually close together. If you will observe the MS., in the
present instance, you will easily detect five such cases of
unusual crowding. Acting on this hint, I made the division thus:

"'A good glass in the Bishop's hostel in the Devil's seat--twenty-
one degrees and thirteen minutes--north-east and by north--main
branch seventh limb east side--shoot from the left eye of the
death's-head--a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet
out.'"

"Even this division," said I, "leaves me still in the dark."

"It left me also in the dark," replied Legrand, "for a few days;
during which I made diligent inquiry, in the neighborhood of
Sullivan's Island, for any building which went by the name of the
'Bishop's Hotel'; for, of course, I dropped the obsolete word
'hostel.' Gaining no information on the subject, I was on the
point of extending my sphere of search, and proceeding in a more
systematic manner, when one morning it entered into my head, quite
suddenly, that this 'Bishop's Hostel' might have some reference to
an old family, of the name of Bessop, which, time out of mind, had
held possession of an ancient manor-house, about four miles to the
northward of the island. I accordingly went over to the
plantation, and reinstituted my inquiries among the older negroes
of the place. At length one of the most aged of the women said
that she had heard of such a place as Bessop's Castle, and thought
that she could guide me to it, but that it was not a castle, nor a
tavern, but a high rock.

"I offered to pay her well for her trouble, and, after some demur,
she consented to accompany me to the spot. We found it without
much difficulty, when, dismissing her, I proceeded to examine the
place. The 'castle' consisted of an irregular assemblage of cliffs
and rocks--one of the latter being quite remarkable for its height
as well as for its insulated and artificial appearance. I
clambered to its apex, and then felt much at a loss as to what
should be next done.

"While I was busied in reflection, my eyes fell on a narrow ledge
in the eastern face of the rock, perhaps a yard below the summit
upon which I stood. This ledge projected about eighteen inches,
and was not more than a foot wide, while a niche in the cliff just
above it gave it a rude resemblance to one of the hollow-backed
chairs used by our ancestors. I made no doubt that here was the
'devil's seat' alluded to in the MS., and now I seemed to grasp
the full secret of the riddle.

"The 'good glass,' I knew, could have reference to nothing but a
telescope; for the word 'glass' is rarely employed in any other
sense by seamen. Now here, I at once saw, was a telescope to be
used, and a definite point of view, ADMITTING NO VARIATION, from
which to use it. Nor did I hesitate to believe that the phrases,
'twenty-one degrees and thirteen minutes,' and 'north-east and by
north,' were intended as directions for the levelling of the
glass. Greatly excited by these discoveries, I hurried home,
procured a telescope, and returned to the rock.

"I let myself down the ledge, and found that it was impossible to
retain a seat on it unless in one particular position. This fact
confirmed my preconceived idea. I proceeded to use the glass. Of
course, the 'twenty-one degrees and thirteen minutes' could allude
to nothing but elevation above the visible horizon, since the
horizontal direction was clearly indicated by the words, 'north-
east and by north.' This latter direction I at once established by
means of a pocket-compass; then, pointing the glass as nearly at
an angle of twenty-one degrees of elevation as I could do it by
guess, I moved it cautiously up or down, until my attention was
arrested by a circular rift or opening in the foliage of a large
tree that overtopped its fellows in the distance. In the centre of
this rift I perceived a white spot, but could not, at first,
distinguish what it was. Adjusting the focus of the telescope, I
again looked, and now made it out to be a human skull.

"On this discovery I was so sanguine as to consider the enigma
solved; for the phrase 'main branch, seventh limb, east side,'
could refer only to the position of the skull on the tree, while
'shoot from the left eye of the death's-head' admitted, also, of
but one interpretation, in regard to a search for buried treasure.
I perceived that the design was to drop a bullet from the left eye
of the skull, and that a bee-line, or, in other words, a straight
line, drawn from the nearest point of the trunk through 'the shot'
(or the spot where the bullet fell), and thence extended to a
distance of fifty feet, would indicate a definite point--and
beneath this point I thought it at least POSSIBLE that a deposit
of value lay concealed."

"All this," I said, "is exceedingly clear, and, although
ingenious, still simple and explicit. When you left the Bishop's
Hotel, what then?"

"Why, having carefully taken the bearings of the tree, I turned
homewards. The instant that I left 'the devil's seat,' however,
the circular rift vanished; nor could I get a glimpse of it
afterwards, turn as I would. What seems to me the chief ingenuity
in this whole business, is the fact (for repeated experiment has
convinced me it IS a fact) that the circular opening in question
is visible from no other attainable point of view than that
afforded by the narrow ledge on the face of the rock.

"In this expedition to the 'Bishop's Hotel' I had been attended by
Jupiter, who had no doubt observed, for some weeks past, the
abstraction of my demeanor, and took especial care not to leave me
alone. But on the next day, getting up very early, I contrived to
give him the slip, and went into the hills in search of the tree.
After much toil I found it. When I came home at night my valet
proposed to give me a flogging. With the rest of the adventure I
believe you are as well acquainted as myself."

"I suppose," said I, "you missed the spot, in the first attempt at
digging, through Jupiter's stupidity in letting the bug fall
through the right instead of through the left eye of the skull."

"Precisely. This mistake made a difference of about two inches and
a half in the 'shot'--that is to say, in the position of the peg
nearest the tree; and had the treasure been BENEATH the 'shot,'
the error would have been of little moment; but 'the shot,'
together with the nearest point of the tree, were merely two
points for the establishment of a line of direction; of course the
error, however trivial in the beginning, increased as we proceeded
with the line, and, by the time we had gone fifty feet, threw us
quite off the scent. But for my deep-seated convictions that
treasure was here somewhere actually buried, we might have had all
our labor vain."

"I presume the fancy of THE SKULL--of letting fall a bullet
through the skull's eye--was suggested to Kidd by the piratical
flag. No doubt he felt a kind of poetical consistency in
recovering his money through this ominous insignium."

"Perhaps so; still, I cannot help thinking that common-sense had
quite as much to do with the matter as poetical consistency. To be
visible from the Devil's seat, it was necessary that the object,
if small, should be WHITE; and there is nothing like your human
skull for retaining and even increasing its whiteness under
exposure to all vicissitudes of weather."

"But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the beetle
--how excessively odd! I was sure you were mad. And why did you
insist on letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet, from the
skull?"

"Why, to be frank, I felt somewhat annoyed by your evident
suspicions touching my sanity, and so resolved to punish you
quietly, in my own way, by a little bit of sober mystification.
For this reason I swung the beetle, and for this reason I let it
fall from the tree. An observation of yours about its great weight
suggested the latter idea."

"Yes, I perceive; and now there is only one point which puzzles
me. What are we to make of the skeletons found in the hole?"

"That is a question I am no more able to answer than yourself.
There seems, however, only one plausible way of accounting for
them--and yet it is dreadful to believe in such atrocity as my
suggestion would imply. It is clear that Kidd--if Kidd indeed
secreted this treasure, which I doubt not--it is clear that he
must have had assistance in the labor. But, the worst of this
labor concluded, he may have thought it expedient to remove all
participants in his secret. Perhaps a couple of blows with a
mattock were sufficient, while his coadjutors were busy in the
pit; perhaps it required a dozen--who shall tell?"



THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF

BY

O. HENRY

This is a plot-story of the kind in which the American public
delights. The reader enjoys the humor due to situation, hyperbole,
satire, and astounding verbal liberties to which the writer is
given; but he enjoys even more the sharp surprise that awaits him
in the plot. He has prepared himself for a certain conclusion and
finds himself entirely in the wrong. Nevertheless, he admits that
the ending is not illogical nor out of harmony with the general
tone. Bill and Sam subscribe themselves "Two Desperate Men," but
they are so characterized as to prepare us for their surrender of
the boy on the father's own terms.

It is interesting to know that O. Henry himself put slight value
upon local color. "People say that I know New York well!" he says.
"But change Twenty-third Street to Main Street, rub out the
Flatiron Building and put in the Town Hall. Then the story will
fit just as truly elsewhere. At least, I hope that is the case
with what I write. So long as your story is true to life, the mere
change of local color will set it in the East, West, South, or
North. The characters in 'The Arabian Nights' parade up and down
Broadway at midday, or Main Street in Dallas, Texas."



THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF

[Footnote: From "Whirligigs," by O. Henry. Copyright, 1910, by
Doubleday, Page & Company. Reprinted by special permission of
Doubleday, Page & Company.]


It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were
down South, In Alabama--Bill Driscoll and myself--when this
kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it,
"during a moment of temporary mental apparition"; but we didn't
find that out till later.

There was a town down there, as flat as a flannel-cake, and called
Summit, of course. It contained inhabitants of as undeleterious an
self-satisfied a class of peasantry as ever clustered around a
Maypole.

Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and
we needed just two thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent
town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with. We talked it over on the
front steps of the hotel. Philoprogenitiveness, says we, is strong
in semi-rural communities; therefore, and for other reasons, a
kidnapping project ought to do better there than in the radius of
newspapers that send reporters out in plain clothes to stir up
talk about such things. We knew that Summit couldn't get after us
with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some
lackadaisical blood-hounds and a diatribe or two in the Weekly
Farmers' Budget. So, it looked good.

We selected for our victim the only child of a prominent citizen
named Ebenezer Dorset. The father was respectable and tight, a
mortgage fancier and a stern, upright collection-plate passer and
forecloser. The kid was a boy of ten, with bas-relief freckles,
and hair the color of the cover of the magazine you buy at the
news-stand when you want to catch a train. Bill and me figured
that Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of two thousand dollars
to a cent. But wait till I tell you.

About two miles from Summit was a little mountain, covered with a
dense cedar brake. On the rear elevation of this mountain was a
cave. There we stored provisions.

One evening after sundown, we drove in a buggy past old Dorset's
house. The kid was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten on
the opposite fence.

"Hey, little boy!" says Bill, "would you like to have a bag of
candy and a nice ride?"

The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with a piece of brick.

"That will cost the old man an extra five hundred dollars," says
Bill, climbing over the wheel.

That boy put up a fight like a welter-weight cinnamon bear; but,
at last, we got him down in the bottom of the buggy and drove
away. We took him up to the cave, and I hitched the horse in the
cedar brake. After dark I drove the buggy to the little village,
three miles away, where we had hired it, and walked back to the
mountain.

Bill was pasting court-plaster over the scratches and bruises on
his features. There was a fire burning behind the big rock at the
entrance of the cave, and the boy was watching a pot of boiling
coffee, with two buzzard tail-feathers stuck in his red hair. He
points a stick at me when I come up, and says:

"Ha! cursed paleface, do you dare to enter the camp of Red Chief,
the terror of the plains?"

"He's all right now," says Bill, rolling up his trousers and
examining some bruises on his shins. "We're playing Indian. We're
making Buffalo Bill's show look like magic-lantern views of
Palestine in the town hall. I'm Old Hank, the Trapper, Red Chief's
captive, and I'm to be scalped at daybreak. By Geronimo! that kid
can kick hard."

Yes, sir, that boy seemed to be having the time of his life. The
fun of camping out in a cave had made him forget that he was a
captive himself. He immediately christened me Snake-eye, the Spy,
and announced that, when his braves returned from the warpath, I
was to be broiled at the stake at the rising of the sun.

Then we had supper; and he filled his mouth full of bacon and
bread and gravy, and began to talk. He made a during-dinner speech
something like this:

"I like this fine. I never camped out before; but I had a pet
'possum once, and I was nine last birthday. I hate to go to
school. Rats ate up sixteen of Jimmy Talbot's aunt's speckled
hen's eggs. Are there any real Indians in these woods? I want some
more gravy. Does the trees moving make the wind blow? We had five
puppies. What makes your nose so red, Hank? My father has lots of
money. Are the stars hot? I whipped Ed Walker twice, Saturday. I
don't like girls. You dassent catch toads unless with a string. Do
oxen make any noise? Why are oranges round? Have you got beds to
sleep on in this cave? Amos Murray has got six toes. A parrot can
talk, but a monkey or a fish can't. How many does it take to make
twelve?"

Every few minutes he would remember that he was a pesky redskin,
and pick up his stick rifle and tiptoe to the mouth of the cave to
rubber for the scouts of the hated paleface. Now and then he would
let out a war-whoop that made Old Hank the Trapper, shiver. That
boy had Bill terrorized from the start.

"Red Chief," says I to the kid, "would you like to go home?"

"Aw, what for?" says he. "I don't have any fun at home. I hate to
go to school. I like to camp out. You won't take me back home
again, Snake-eye, will you?"

"Not right away," says I. "We'll stay here in the cave a while."

"All right!" says he. "That'll be fine. I never had such fun in
all my life."

We went to bed about eleven o'clock. We spread down some wide
blankets and quilts and put Red Chief between us. We weren't
afraid he'd run away. He kept us awake for three hours, jumping up
and reaching for his rifle and screeching: "Hist! pard," in mine
and Bill's ears, as the fancied crackle of a twig or the rustle of
a leaf revealed to his young imagination the stealthy approach of
the outlaw band. At last, I fell into a troubled sleep, and
dreamed that I had been kidnapped and chained to a tree by a
ferocious pirate with red hair.

Just at daybreak, I was awakened by a series of awful screams from
Bill. They weren't yells, or howls, or shouts, or whoops, or
yawps, such as you'd expect from a manly set of vocal organs--they
were simply indecent, terrifying, humiliating screams, such as
women emit when they see ghosts or caterpillars. It's an awful
thing to hear a strong, desperate, fat man scream incontinently in
a cave at daybreak.

I jumped up to see what the matter was. Red Chief was sitting on
Bill's chest, with one hand twined in Bill's hair. In the other he
had the sharp case-knife we used for slicing bacon; and he was
industriously and realistically trying to take Bill's scalp,
according to the sentence that had been pronounced upon him the
evening before.

I got the knife away from the kid and made him lie down again.
But, from that moment, Bill's spirit was broken. He laid down on
his side of the bed, but he never closed an eye again in sleep as
long as that boy was with us. I dozed off for a while, but along
toward sun-up I remembered that Red Chief had said I was to be
burned at the stake at the rising of the sun. I wasn't nervous or
afraid; but I sat up and lit my pipe and leaned against a rock.

"What you getting up so soon for, Sam?" asked Bill.

"Me?" says I. "Oh, I got a kind of a pain in my shoulder. I
thought sitting up would rest it."

"You're a liar!" says Bill. "You're afraid. You was to be burned
at sunrise, and you was afraid he'd do it. And he would, too, if
he could find a match. Ain't it awful, Sam? Do you think anybody
will pay out money to get a little imp like that back home?"

"Sure," said I. "A rowdy kid like that is just the kind that
parents dote on. Now, you and the Chief get up and cook breakfast,
while I go up on the top of this mountain and reconnoitre."

I went up on the peak of the little mountain and ran my eye over
the contiguous vicinity. Over toward Summit I expected to see the
sturdy yeomanry of the village armed with scythes and pitchforks
beating the country-side for the dastardly kidnappers. But what I
saw was a peaceful landscape dotted with one man ploughing with a
dun mule. Nobody was dragging the creek; no couriers dashed hither
and yon, bringing tidings of no news to the distracted parents.
There was a sylvan attitude of somnolent sleepiness pervading that
section of the external outward surface of Alabama that lay
exposed to my view. "Perhaps," says I to myself, "it has not yet
been discovered that the wolves have borne away the tender lambkin
from the fold. Heaven help the wolves!" says I, and I went down
the mountain to breakfast.

When I got to the cave I found Bill backed up against the side of
it, breathing hard, and the boy threatening to smash him with a
rock half as big as a cocoanut.

"He put a red-hot boiled potato down my back," explained Bill,
"and then mashed it with his foot; and I boxed his ears. Have you
got a gun about you, Sam?"

I took the rock away from the boy and kind of patched up the
argument. "I'll fix you," says the kid to Bill. "No man ever yet
struck the Red Chief but what he got paid for it. You better
beware!"

After breakfast the kid takes a piece of leather with strings
wrapped around it out of his pocket and goes outside the cave
unwinding it.

"What's he up to now?" says Bill, anxiously. "You don't think
he'll run away, do you, Sam?"

"No fear of it," says I. "He don't seem to be much of a home body.
But we've got to fix up some plan about the ransom. There don't
seem to be much excitement around Summit on account of his
disappearance; but maybe they haven't realized yet that he's gone.
His folks may think he's spending the night with Aunt Jane or one
of the neighbors. Anyhow, he'll be missed to-day. To-night we must
get a message to his father demanding the two thousand dollars for
his return."

Just then we heard a kind of war-whoop, such as David might have
emitted when he knocked out the champion Goliath. It was a sling
that Red Chief had pulled out of his pocket, and he was whirling
it around his head.

I dodged, and heard a heavy thud and a kind of a sigh from Bill,
like a horse gives out when you take his saddle off. A niggerhead
rock the size of an egg had caught Bill just behind his left ear.
He loosened himself all over and fell in the fire across the
frying pan of hot water for washing the dishes. I dragged him out
and poured cold water on his head for half an hour.

By and by, Bill sits up and feels behind his ear and says: "Sam,
do you know who my favorite Biblical character is?"

"Take it easy," says I. "You'll come to your senses presently."

"King Herod," says he. "You won't go away and leave me here alone,
will you, Sam?"

I went out and caught that boy and shook him until his freckles
rattled.

"If you don't behave," says I, "I'll take you straight home. Now,
are you going to be good, or not?"

"I was only funning," says he sullenly. "I didn't mean to hurt Old
Hank. But what did he hit me for? I'll behave, Snake-eye, if you
won't send me home, and if you'll let me play the Black Scout to-
day."

"I don't know the game," says I. "That's for you and Mr. Bill to
decide. He's your playmate for the day. I'm going away for a
while, on business. Now, you come in and make friends with him and
say you are sorry for hurting him, or home you go, at once."

I made him and Bill shake hands, and then I took Bill aside and
told him I was going to Poplar Cove, a little village three miles
from the cave, and find out what I could about how the kidnapping
had been regarded in Summit. Also, I thought it best to send a
peremptory letter to old man Dorset that day, demanding the ransom
and dictating how it should be paid.

"You know, Sam," says Bill, "I've stood by you without batting an
eye in earthquakes, fire, and flood--in poker games, dynamite
outrages, police raids, train robberies, and cyclones. I never
lost my nerve yet till we kidnapped that two-legged skyrocket of a
kid. He's got me going. You won't leave me long with him, will
you, Sam?"

"I'll be back some time this afternoon," says I. "You must keep
the boy amused and quiet till I return. And now we'll write the
letter to old Dorset."

Bill and I got paper and pencil and worked on the letter while Red
Chief, with a blanket wrapped around him, strutted up and down,
guarding the mouth of the cave. Bill begged me tearfully to make
the ransom fifteen hundred dollars instead of two thousand. "I
ain't attempting," says he, "to decry the celebrated moral aspect
of parental affection, but we're dealing with humans, and it ain't
human for anybody to give up two thousand dollars for that forty-
pound chunk of freckled wildcat. I'm willing to take a chance at
fifteen hundred dollars. You can charge the difference up to me."

So, to relieve Bill, I acceded, and we collaborated a letter that
ran this way:

"Ebenezer Dorset, Esq.:

"We have your boy concealed in a place far from Summit. It is
useless for you or the most skilful detectives to attempt to find
him. Absolutely, the only terms on which you can have him restored
to you are these: We demand fifteen hundred dollars in large bills
for his return; the money to be left at midnight to-night at the
same spot and in the same box as your reply--as hereinafter
described. If you agree to these terms, send your answer in
writing by a solitary messenger to-night at half-past eight
o'clock. After crossing Owl Creek, on the road to Poplar Cove,
there are three large trees about a hundred yards apart, close to
the fence of the wheat field on the right-hand side. At the bottom
of the fence-post, opposite the third tree, will be found a small
paste-board box.

"The messenger will place the answer in this box and return
immediately to Summit.

"If you attempt any treachery or fail to comply with our demand as
stated, you will never see your boy again.

"If you pay the money as demanded, he will be returned to you safe
and well within three hours. These terms are final, and if you do
not accede to them no further communication will be attempted.

                   "TWO DESPERATE MEN"

I addressed this letter to Dorset, and put it in my pocket. As I
was about to start, the kid comes up to me and says:

"Aw, Snake-eye, you said I could play the Black Scout while you
was gone."

"Play it, of course," says I. "Mr. Bill will play with you. What
kind of a game is it?"

"I'm the Black Scout," says Red Chief, "and I have to ride to the
stockade to warn the settlers that the Indians are coming. I'm
tired of playing Indian myself. I want to be the Black Scout."

"All right," says I. "It sounds harmless to me. I guess Mr. Bill
will help you foil the pesky savages."

"What am I to do?" asks Bill, looking at the kid suspiciously.

"You are the hoss," says Black Scout. "Get down on your hands and
knees. How can I ride to the stockade without a hoss?"

"You'd better keep him interested," said I, "till we get the
scheme going. Loosen up."

Bill gets down on his all fours, and a look comes in his eye like
a rabbit's when you catch it in a trap.

"How far is it to the stockade, kid?" he asks, in a husky manner
of voice.

"Ninety miles," says the Black Scout. "And you have to hump
yourself to get there on time. Whoa, now!"

The Black Scout jumps on Bill's back and digs his heels in his
side.

"For Heaven's sake," says Bill, "hurry back, Sam, as soon as you
can. I wish we hadn't made the ransom more than a thousand. Say,
you quit kicking me or I'll get up and warm you good."

I walked over to Poplar Cove and sat around the post-office and
store, talking with the chawbacons that came in to trade. One
whiskerando says that he hears Summit is all upset on account of
Elder Ebenezer Dorset's boy having been lost or stolen. That was
all I wanted to know. I bought some smoking tobacco, referred
casually to the price of black-eyed peas, posted my letter
surreptitiously, and came away. The postmaster said the mail-
carrier would come by in an hour to take the mail on to Summit.

When I got back to the cave Bill and the boy were not to be found.
I explored the vicinity of the cave, and risked a yodel or two,
but there was no response.

So I lighted my pipe and sat down on a mossy bank to await
developments.

In about half an hour I heard the bushes rustle, and Bill wabbled
out into the little glade in front of the cave. Behind him was the
kid, stepping softly like a scout, with a broad grin on his face.
Bill stopped, took off his hat, and wiped his face with a red
handkerchief. The kid stopped about eight feet behind him.

"Sam," says Bill, "I suppose you'll think I'm a renegade, but I
couldn't help it. I'm a grown person with masculine proclivities
and habits of self-defence, but there is a time when all systems
of egotism and predominance fail. The boy is gone. I have sent him
home. All is off. There was martyrs in old times," goes on Bill,
"that suffered death rather than give up the particular graft they
enjoyed. None of 'em ever was subjugated to such supernatural
tortures as I have been. I tried to be faithful to our articles of
depredation; but there came a limit."

"What's the trouble, Bill?" I asks him.

"I was rode," says Bill, "the ninety miles to the stockade, not
barring an inch. Then, when the settlers was rescued, I was given
oats. Sand ain't a palatable substitute. And then, for an hour I
had to try to explain to him why there was nothin' in holes, how a
road can run both ways, and what makes the grass green. I tell
you, Sam, a human can only stand so much. I takes him by the neck
of his clothes and drags him down the mountain. On the way he
kicks my legs black-and-blue from the knees down; and I've got to
have two or three bites on my thumb and hand cauterized.

"But he's gone"--continues Bill--"gone home. I showed him the road
to Summit and kicked him about eight feet nearer there at one kick.
I'm sorry we lose the ransom; but it was either that or Bill Driscoll
to the madhouse."

Bill is puffing and blowing, but there is a look of ineffable
peace and growing content on his rose-pink features.

"Bill," says I, "there isn't any heart disease in your family, is
there?"

"No," says Bill, "nothing chronic except malaria and accidents.
Why?"

"Then you might turn around," says I, "and have a look behind
you."

Bill turns and sees the boy, and loses his complexion and sits
down plump on the ground and begins to pluck aimlessly at grass
and little sticks. For an hour I was afraid for his mind. And then
I told him that my scheme was to put the whole job through
immediately and that we would get the ransom and be off with it by
midnight if old Dorset fell in with our proposition. So Bill
braced up enough to give the kid a weak sort of a smile and a
promise to play the Russian in a Japanese war with him as soon as
he felt a little better.

I had a scheme for collecting that ransom without danger of being
caught by counterplots that ought to commend itself to
professional kidnappers. The tree under which the answer was to be
left--and the money later on--was close to the road fence with
big, bare fields on all sides. If a gang of constables should be
watching for any one to come for the note, they could see him a
long way off crossing the fields or in the road. But no, sirree!
At half-past eight I was up in that tree as well hidden as a tree
toad, waiting for the messenger to arrive.

Exactly on time, a half-grown boy rides up the road on a bicycle,
locates the pasteboard box at the foot of the fence-post, slips a
folded piece of paper into it, and pedals away again back toward
Summit.

I waited an hour and then concluded the thing was square. I slid
down the tree, got the note, slipped along the fence till I struck
the woods, and was back at the cave in another half an hour. I
opened the note, got near the lantern, and read it to Bill. It was
written with a pen in a crabbed hand, and the sum and substance of
it was this:

"Two Desperate Men.

"Gentlemen: I received your letter to-day by post, in regard to
the ransom you ask for the return of my son. I think you are a
little high in your demands, and I hereby make you a counter-
proposition, which I am inclined to believe you will accept. You
bring Johnny home and pay me two hundred and fifty dollars in
cash, and I agree to take him off your hands. You had better come
at night, for the neighbors believe he is lost, and I couldn't be
responsible for what they would do to anybody they saw bringing
him back.
         Very respectfully,
                     "EBENEZER DORSET."

"Great pirates of Penzance!" says I; "of all the impudent----"

But I glanced at Bill, and hesitated. He had the most appealing
look in his eyes I ever saw on the face of a dumb or a talking
brute.

"Sam," says he, "what's two hundred and fifty dollars, after all?
We've got the money. One more night of this kid will send me to a
bed in Bedlam. Besides being a thorough gentleman, I think Mr.
Dorset is a spendthrift for making us such a liberal offer. You
ain't going to let the chance go, are you?"

"Tell you the truth, Bill," says I, "this little he ewe lamb has
somewhat got on my nerves too. We'll take him home, pay the
ransom, and make our get-away."

We took him home that night. We got him to go by telling him that
his father had bought a silver-mounted rifle and a pair of
moccasins for him, and we were going to hunt bears the next day.

It was just twelve o 'clock when we knocked at Ebenezer's front
door. Just at the moment when I should have been abstracting the
fifteen hundred dollars from the box under the tree, according to
the original proposition, Bill was counting out two hundred and
fifty dollars into Dorset's hand.

When the kid found out we were going to leave him at home he
started up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as
a leech to Bill's leg. His father peeled him away gradually, like
a porous plaster.

"How long can you hold him?" asks Bill.

"I'm not as strong as I used to be," says old Dorset, "but I think
I can promise you ten minutes."

"Enough," says Bill. "In ten minutes I shall cross the Central,
Southern, and Middle Western States, and be legging it trippingly
for the Canadian border."

And, as dark as it was, and as fat as Bill was, and as good a
runner as I am, he was a good mile and a half out of Summit before
I could catch up with him.



THE FRESHMAN FULL-BACK

BY

RALPH D. PAINE

The chief interest in "The Freshman Full-Back" is that of
character. The action has real dramatic quality and is staged with
the local color of a college contest. But the great value of the
action is ethical, for it shows that one may "wrest victory from
defeat" and that it is a shameful thing to be a "coward and a
quitter."



THE FRESHMAN FULL-BACK

[Footnote: From "College Years," by Ralph D. Paine. Copyright,
1909, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


The boyish night city editor glanced along the copy-readers' table
and petulantly exclaimed:

"Isn't that spread head ready yet, Mr. Seeley? It goes on the
front page and we are holding open for it. Whew, but you are slow.
You ought to be holding down a job on a quarterly review."

A portly man of middle age dropped his pencil and turned heavily
in his chair to face the source of this public humiliation. An
angry flush overspread his face and he chewed at a grayish
mustache as if fighting down rebellion. His comrades at the long
table had looked up from their work and were eyeing the oldest
copy-reader with sympathetic uneasiness while they hoped that he
would be able to hold himself in hand. The night city editor felt
the tension of this brief tableau and awaited the threatened
outbreak with a nervous smile. But Seeley jerked his green
eyeshade so low that his face was partly in eclipse, and wheeled
round to resume his task with a catch of the breath and a tone of
surrender in his reply.

"The head will be ready in five minutes, sir. The last pages of
the story are just coming in."

A much younger man, at the farther end of the table, whispered to
his neighbor:

"That's cheap and nasty, to call down old man Seeley as if he were
a cub reporter. He may have lost his grip, but he deserves decent
treatment for what he has been. Managing editor of this very
sheet, London correspondent before that, and the crack man of the
staff when most of the rest of us were in short breeches. And now
Henry Harding Seeley isn't any too sure of keeping his job on the
copy-desk."

"That's what the New York newspaper game can do to you if you
stick at it too long," murmured the other. "Back to the farm for
mine."

It was long after midnight when these two put on their coats and
bade the city editor's desk a perfunctory "Good-night."

They left Henry Harding Seeley still slumped in his chair, writing
with dogged industry.

"He's dead tired, you can see that," commented one of the pair as
they headed for Broadway, "but, as usual, he is grinding out stuff
for the Sunday sheet after hours. He must need the extra coin
mighty bad. I came back for my overcoat at four the other morning,
after the poker game, and he was still pegging away just like
that."

Other belated editors and reporters of the Chronicle staff drifted
toward the elevator, until the gray-haired copy-reader was left
alone in the city room as if marooned. Writing as steadily as if
he were a machine warranted to turn out so many words an hour,
Seeley urged his pencil until the last page was finished. Then he
read and corrected the "story," slipped it through a slit in a
door marked "Sunday Editor," and trudged out, while the tower
clock was striking three.

Instead of seeking the chop-house, wherein the vivacious and
tireless youth of the staff were wont to linger over supper, he
turned into a side street and betook himself to a small cafe as
yet unfrequented by the night-owls of journalism. Seeley was a
beaten man, and he preferred to nurse his wounds in a morbid
isolation. His gait and aspect were those of one who was stolidly
struggling on the defensive, as if hostile circumstances had
driven him into a corner where he was making his last stand.

Through the years of his indomitable youth as a reporter of rare
ability and resourcefulness, he had never spared himself. Burning
the candle at both ends, with a vitality which had seemed
inexhaustible, he had won step after step of promotion until, at
forty, he was made managing editor of that huge and hard-driven
organization, the New York Chronicle. For five years of racking
responsibility, Henry Harding Seeley had been able to maintain the
pace demanded of his position.

Then came an error of judgment--a midnight decision demanded of a
fagged mind--and his 0.K. was scrawled upon the first sheet of a
story of embezzlement in Wall Street. By an incredible blunder the
name of the fugitive cashier was coupled with that of the wrong
bank. Publication of the Chronicle story started a terrific run on
this innocent institution, which won its libel suit against the
newspaper in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars.

The managing editor, two reporters, and the copy-reader who had
handled the fatal manuscript, were swept out of the building by
one cyclonic order from the owner thereof. Henry Seeley accepted
his indirect responsibility for the disaster in grim, manly
fashion, and straightway sought another berth befitting his
journalistic station. But his one costly slip was more than a
nine-days' scandal along Park Row, and other canny proprietors
were afraid that he might hit them in the very vital regions of
their pockets. Worse than this, his confidence in himself had
suffered mortal damage. The wear and tear of his earlier years had
left him with little reserve power, and he went to pieces in the
face of adverse fortune.

"Worked out at forty-five," was the verdict of his friends, and
they began to pity him.

The will to succeed had been broken, but Seeley might have rallied
had not his wife died during the ebb-tide of his affairs. She had
walked hand in hand with him since his early twenties, her faith
in him had been his mainstay, and his happiness in her complete
and beautiful. Bereft of her when he stood most in need of her, he
seemed to have no more fight in him, and, drifting from one
newspaper office to another, he finally eddied into his old "shop"
as a drudging copy-reader and an object of sympathy to a younger
generation.

There was one son, strong, bright, eager, and by dint of driving
his eternally wearied brain overtime, the father had been able to
send him to Yale, his own alma mater. More or less pious deception
had led young Ernest Seeley to believe that his father had
regained much of his old-time prestige with the Chronicle and that
he had a hand in guiding its editorial destinies. The lad was a
Freshman, tremendously absorbed in the activities of the autumn
term, and his father was content that he should be so hedged about
by the interests of the campus world as to have small time or
thought for the grizzled, taciturn toiler in New York.

This was the kind of man that trudged heavily into the little
German cafe of an early morning after his long night's slavery at
the copy-desk. His mind, embittered and sensitive to slights like
a raw nerve, was brooding over the open taunt of the night city
editor, who had been an office boy under him in the years gone by.
From force of habit he seated himself at a table in the rear of
the room, shunning the chance of having to face an acquaintance.
Unfolding a copy of the city edition, which had been laid on his
desk damp from the press-room, Seeley scanned the front page with
scowling uneasiness, as if fearing to find some blunder of his own
handiwork. Then he turned to the sporting page and began to read
the football news.

His son Ernest had been playing as a substitute with the
university eleven, an achievement which stirred the father's pride
without moving his enthusiasm. And the boy, chilled by his
father's indifference, had said little about it during his
infrequent visits to New York. But now the elder Seeley sat erect,
and his stolid countenance was almost animated as he read, under a
New Haven date line:

"The Yale confidence of winning the game with Princeton to-morrow
has been shattered, and gloom enshrouds the camp of the Elis to-
night. Collins, the great full-back, who has been the key-stone of
Yale's offensive game, was taken to the infirmary late this
afternoon. He complained of feeling ill after the signal practice
yesterday; fever developed overnight, and the consulting
physicians decided that he must be operated on for appendicitis
without delay. His place in the Princeton game will be filled by
Ernest Seeley, the Freshman, who has been playing a phenomenal
game in the back-field, but who is so lacking in experience that
the coaches are all at sea to-night. The loss of Collins has swung
the betting around to even money instead of 5 to 3 on Yale."

The elder Seeley wiped his glasses as if not sure that he had read
aright.

Ernest had seemed to him no more than a sturdy infant and here he
was, on the eve of a championship football battle, picked to fight
for the "old blue." The father's career at Yale had been a most
honorable one. He, too, had played on the eleven and had helped to
win two desperate contests against Princeton. But all this
belonged to a part of his life which was dead and done for. He had
not achieved in after years what Yale expected of him, and his
record there was with his buried memories.

Supper was forgotten while Henry Seeley wondered whether he really
wanted to go to New Haven to see his boy play. Many of his old
friends and classmates would be there and he did not wish to meet
them.

And it stung him to the quick as he reflected:

"I should be very happy to see him win, but--but to see him
whipped! I couldn't brace and comfort him. And supposing it breaks
his heart to be whipped as it has broken mine? No, I won't let
myself think that. I'm a poor Yale man and a worse father, but I
couldn't stand going up there to-day."

Even more humiliating was the thought that he would shrink from
asking leave of the city editor. Saturday was not his "day off,"
and he so greatly hated to ask favors at the office, that the
possibility of being rebuffed was more than he was willing to
face.

Into his unhappy meditations broke a boisterous hail:

"Diogenes Seeley, as I live. Why, you old rascal, I thought you
were dead or something. Glad I didn't get foolish and go to bed.
Here, waiter, get busy."

Seeley was startled, and he looked much more distressed than
rejoiced as he lumbered from his table to grasp the outstretched
hand of a classmate. The opera-hat of this Mr. Richard Giddings
was cocked at a rakish angle, his blue eye twinkled good cheer and
youthful hilarity, and his aspect was utterly care-free.

"How are you, Dick?" said Seeley, with an unusual smile which
singularly brightened his face. "You don't look a day older than
when I last saw you. Still cutting coupons for a living?"

"Oh, money is the least of my worries," gayly rattled Mr.
Giddings. "Been doing the heavy society act to-night, and on my
way home found I needed some sauerkraut and beer to tone up my
jaded system. By Jove, Harry, you're as gray as a badger. This
newspaper game must be bad for the nerves. Lots of fellows have
asked me about you. Never see you at the University Club, nobody
sees you anywhere. Remarkable how a man can lose himself right
here in New York. Still running the Chronicle, I suppose."

"I'm still in the old shop, Dick," replied Seeley, glad to be rid
of this awkward question. "But I work nearly all night and sleep
most of the day, and am like a cog in a big machine that never
stops grinding."

"Shouldn't do it. Wears a man out," and Mr. Giddings sagely nodded
his head. "Course you are going up to the game to-day. Come along
with me. Special car with a big bunch of your old pals inside.
They'll be tickled to death to find I've dug you out of your hole.
Hello! Is that this morning's paper? Let me look at the sporting
page. Great team at New Haven, they tell me. What's the latest
odds? I put up a thousand at five to three last week and am
looking for some more easy money."

The alert eye of the volatile Richard Giddings swept down the New
Haven dispatch like lightning.

With a grievous outcry he smote the table and shouted:

"Collins out of the game? Great Scott, Harry, that's awful news.
And a green Freshman going to fill his shoes at the last minute. I
feel like weeping, honest I do. Who the deuce is this Seeley? Any
kin of yours? I suppose not or you would have bellowed it at me
before this."

"He is my only boy, Dick," and the father held up his head with a
shadow of his old manner. "I didn't know he had the ghost of a
show to make the team until I saw this dispatch."

"Then, of course, you are coming up with me," roared Mr. Giddings.
"I hope he's a chip of the old block. If he has your sand they
can't stop him. Jumping Jupiter, they couldn't have stopped you
with an axe when you were playing guard in our time, Harry. I feel
better already to know that it is your kid going in at full-back
to-day."

"No, I'm not going up, Dick," said Seeley slowly. "For one thing,
it is too short notice for me to break away from the office, and
I--I haven't the nerve to watch the boy go into the game. I'm not
feeling very fit."

"Stuff and nonsense, you need a brain cure," vociferated Richard
Giddings. "You, an old Yale guard, with a pup on the team, and he
a Freshman at that! Throw out your chest, man; tell the office to
go to the devil--where all newspapers belong--and meet me at the
station at ten o'clock sharp. You talk and look like the oldest
living grad with one foot in the grave."

Seeley flushed and bit his lip. His dulled realization of what
Yale had been to him was quickened by this tormenting comrade of
the brave days of old, but he could not be shaken from his
attitude of morbid self-effacement.

"No, Dick, it's no use," he returned with a tremulous smile. "You
can't budge me. But give my love to the crowd and tell them to
cheer for that youngster of mine until they're blue in the face."

Mr. Richard Giddings eyed him quizzically, and surmised that
something or other was gravely wrong with his grizzled classmate.
But Seeley offered no more explanations and the vivacious intruder
fell to his task of demolishing sauerkraut with great gusto, after
which he nimbly vanished into a cruising hansom with a sense of
having been rebuffed.

Seeley watched him depart at great speed and then plodded toward
his up-town lodgings. His sleep was distressed with unhappy
dreams, and during a wakeful interval he heard a knock at his
sitting-room door.

An office boy from the Chronicle editorial rooms gave him a note
and waited for an answer.

Seeley recognized the handwriting of the managing editor and was
worried, for he was always expecting the worst to happen. He
sighed with relieved surprise as he read:

"MY DEAR MR. SEELEY:

"Please go to New Haven as soon as possible and do a couple of
columns of descriptive introduction of the Yale-Princeton game.
The sporting department will cover the technical story, but a big
steamboat collision has just happened in North River, two or three
hundred drowned and so on, and I need every man in the shop. As an
old Yale player I am sure I can depend on you for a good story,
and I know you used to do this kind of stuff in fine style."

Seeley fished his watch from under a pillow. It was after ten
o'clock and the game would begin at two. While he hurried into his
clothes he was conscious of a distinct thrill of excited interest
akin to his old-time joy in the day's work. Could he "do this kind
of stuff in fine style"? Why, before his brain had begun to be
always tired, when he was the star reporter of the Chronicle, his
football introductions had been classics in Park Row. If there was
a spark of the old fire left in him he would try to strike it out,
and for the moment he forgot the burden of inertia which had so
long crushed him.

"But I don't want to run into Dick Giddings and his crowd," he
muttered as he sought his hat and overcoat. "And I'll be up in the
press-box away from the mob of old grads. Perhaps my luck has
turned."

When Henry Seeley reached the Yale field the eleven had gone to
the dressing-rooms in the training house, and he hovered on the
edge of the flooding crowds, fairly yearning for a glimpse of the
Freshman full-back and a farewell grasp of his hand. The habitual
dread lest the son find cause to be ashamed of his father had been
shoved into the background by a stronger, more natural emotion.
But he well knew that he ought not to invade the training quarters
in these last crucial moments. Ernest must not be distraught by a
feather's weight of any other interest than the task in hand. The
coaches would be delivering their final words of instruction and
the old Yale guard could picture to himself the tense absorption
of the scene. Like one coming out of a dream, the past was
returning to him in vivid, heart-stirring glimpses. Reluctantly he
sought his place in the press-box high above the vast
amphitheatre.

The preliminary spectacle was movingly familiar: the rippling
banks of color which rose on all sides to frame the long carpet of
chalked turf; the clamorous outbursts of cheering when an eddy of
Yale or Princeton undergraduates swirled and tossed at command of
the dancing dervish of a leader at the edge of the field below;
the bright, buoyant aspect of the multitude as viewed en masse.
Seeley leaned against the railing of his lofty perch and gazed at
this pageant until a sporting editor, long in harness, nudged his
elbow and said:

"Hello! I haven't seen you at a game in a dozen years. Doing the
story or just working the press-badge graft? That namesake of
yours will be meat for the Tigers, I'm afraid. Glad he doesn't
belong to you, aren't you?"

Seeley stared at him like a man in a trance and replied evasively:

"He may be good enough. It all depends on his sand and nerve. Yes,
I am doing the story for a change. Have you the final line-up?"

"Princeton is playing all her regular men," said the sporting
editor, giving Seeley his note-book. "The only Yale change is at
full-back--and that's a catastrophe."

Seeley copied the lists for reference and his pencil was not
steady when he came to "Full-back, Ernest T. Seeley." But he
pulled his thoughts away from the eleven and began to jot down
notes of the passing incidents which might serve to weave into the
fabric of his description. The unwonted stimulus aroused his
talent as if it were not dead but dormant. The scene appealed to
him with almost as much freshness and color as if he were
observing it for the first time.

A roar of cheering rose from a far corner of the field and ran
swiftly along the Yale side of the amphitheatre, which blossomed
in tossing blue. The Yale eleven scampered into view like colts at
pasture, the substitutes veering toward the benches behind the
side-line. Without more ado the team scattered in formation for
signal practice, paying no heed to the tumult which raged around
and above them. Agile, clean-limbed, splendid in their disciplined
young manhood, the dark blue of their stockings and the white "Y"
gleaming on their sweaters fairly trumpeted their significance to
Henry Seeley. And poised behind the rush-line, wearing his hard-
won university blue, was the lithe figure of the Freshman full-
back, Ernest Seeley.

The youngster, whose fate it was to be called a "forlorn hope,"
looked fragile beside his comrades of the eleven. Although tall
and wiry he was like a greyhound in a company of mastiffs. His
father, looking down at him from so great a height that he could
not read his face, muttered to himself while he dug his nails into
his palms:

"He is too light for this day's work. But he carries himself like
a thoroughbred."

The boy and his fellows seemed singularly remote from the shouting
thousands massed so near them. They had become the sole arbiters
of their fate, and their impressive isolation struck Henry Seeley
anew as the most dramatic feature of this magnificent picture. He
must sit idly by and watch his only son battle through the most
momentous hour of his young life, as if he were gazing down from
another planet.

The staccato cheers of Princeton rocketed along the other side of
the field, and the eleven from Old Nassau ran briskly over the
turf and wheeled into line for a last rehearsal of their machine-
like tactics. Henry Seeley was finding it hard to breathe, just as
it had happened in other days when he was waiting for the "kick-
off" and facing a straining Princeton line. The minutes were like
hours while the officials consulted with the captains in the
centre of the field. Then the two elevens ranged themselves across
the brown turf, there was breathless silence, and a Princeton toe
lifted the ball far down toward the Yale goal. It was the young
full-back who waited to receive the opening kick, while his
comrades thundered toward him to form a flying screen of
interference. But the twisting ball bounded from his too eager
arms, and another Yale back fell on it in time to save it from the
clutches of a meteoric Princeton end.

"Nervous. Hasn't steadied down yet," exclaimed a reporter behind
Henry Seeley. "But he can't afford to give Princeton any more
chances like that. Her ends are faster than chain lightning."

The father groaned and wiped the sweat from his eyes. If the team
were afraid of this untried full-back, such a beginning would not
give them confidence. Then the two lines locked and heaved in the
first scrimmage, and a stocky Yale half-back was pulled down in
his tracks. Again the headlong Princeton defence held firm and the
Yale captain gasped, "Second down and three yards to gain." The
Yale interferers sped to circle one end of the line, but they were
spilled this way and that and the runner went down a yard short of
the needed distance.

The Yale full-back dropped back to punt. Far and true the ball
soared into the Princeton field, and the lithe Freshman had
somewhat redeemed himself. But now, for their own part, the sons
of Old Nassau found themselves unable to make decisive gains
against the Yale defence. Greek met Greek in these early clashes,
and both teams were forced to punt again and again. Trick-plays
were spoiled by alert end-rushers for the blue or the orange and
black, fiercely launched assaults at centre were torn asunder, and
the longer the contest raged up and down the field the more
clearly it was perceived that these ancient rivals were rarely
well matched in point of strength and strategy.

The Yale coaches were dismayed at this turn of events. They had
hoped to see the ball carried toward the Princeton goal by means
of shrewdly devised teamwork, instead of which the burden of the
game was shifted to one man, the weakest link in the chain, the
Freshman at full-back. He was punting with splendid distance,
getting the ball away when it seemed as if he must be overwhelmed
by the hurtling Tigers. Once or twice, however, a hesitant
nervousness almost wrought quick disaster, and the Yale partisans
watched him with tormenting apprehension.

The first half of the game was fought into the last few minutes of
play and neither eleven had been able to score. Then luck and
skill combined to force the struggle far down into Yale territory.
Only ten yards more of trampled turf to gain and Princeton would
cross the last white line. The indomitable spirit which had placed
upon the escutcheon of Yale football the figure of a bulldog
rampant, rallied to meet this crisis, and the hard-pressed line
held staunch and won possession of the ball on downs. Back to the
very shadow of his own goal-posts the Yale full-back ran to punt
the ball out of the danger zone. It shot fairly into his grasp
from a faultless pass, but his fingers juggled the slippery
leather as if it were bewitched. For a frantic, awful instant he
fumbled with the ball and wildly dived after it as it caromed off
to one side, bounded crazily, and rolled beyond his reach.

The Princeton quarter-back had darted through the line like a
bullet. Without slackening speed or veering from his course, he
scooped up the ball as he fled toward the Yale goal-line. It was
done and over within a twinkling, and while the Yale team
stampeded helplessly in his wake the devastating hero was circling
behind the goal-posts where he flopped to earth, the precious ball
apparently embedded in his stomach. It was a Princeton touchdown
fairly won, but made possible by the tragic blunder of one Yale
man. While ten thousand Princeton throats were barking their
jubilation, as many more loyal friends of Yale sat sad-eyed and
sullen and glowered their unspeakable displeasure at the slim
figure of the full-back as he limped into line to face the try for
goal.

The goal was not scored, however, and the fateful tally stood five
to nothing when the first half ended, with the blue banners
drooping disconsolate.

Henry Seeley pulled his slouch hat over his eyes and sat with
hunched shoulders staring at the Yale team as it left the field
for the intermission. He had forgotten about his story of the
game. The old spectre of failure obsessed him. It was already
haunting the pathway of his boy. Was he also to be beaten by one
colossal blunder? Henry Seeley felt that Ernest's whole career
hung upon his behavior in the second half. How would the lad "take
his medicine"? Would it break his heart or rouse him to fight more
valiantly? As if the father had been thinking aloud, the sporting
editor at his side observed:

"He may win the game yet. I like the looks of that boy. But he did
make a hideous mess of it, didn't he? I hope he hasn't got a
streak of yellow in him."

Henry Seeley turned on his neighbor with a savage scowl and could
not hold back the quivering retort:

"He belongs to me, I want you to understand, and we'll say nothing
about yellow streaks until he has a chance to make good next
half."

"Whew-w-w, why did you hold it out on me, old man?" gasped the
sporting editor. "No wonder you kicked me black and blue without
knowing it. I hope he is a chip of the old block. I saw you play
here in your last game."

Seeley grunted something and resumed staring at the field. He was
thinking of the present moment in the training quarters, of the
muddy, weary players sprawled around the head coach, of his wise,
bitter, stinging rebukes and admonitions. Perhaps he would take
Ernest out of the game. But Seeley was confident that the coaches
would give the boy a chance to redeem himself if they believed his
heart was in the right place. Presently the two teams trotted on
the field, not as nimbly as at their first appearance, but with
dogged resolution in their demeanor. Henry Seeley saw his son
glance up at the "cheering sections," as if wondering whether
their welcome was meant to include him. One cheer, at least, was
intended to greet him, for Henry Seeley stood on his chair, waved
his hat, and thundered:

"'Rah, 'rah, 'rah, for Yale, my boy. Eat 'em alive as your daddy
used to do."

The men from Princeton had no intention of being devoured in this
summary fashion. They resumed their tireless, whirlwind attack
like giants refreshed, and so harried their Yale foemen that they
were forced to their utmost to ward off another touchdown. This
incessant battering dulled the edges of their offensive tactics,
and they seemed unable to set in motion a consistent series of
advances. But the joy of Princeton was tempered by the knowledge
that this, her dearest enemy, was not beaten until the last play
had been signalled.

And somehow the Yale machine of muscle, brains, and power began to
find itself when the afternoon shadows were slanting athwart the
arena. With the ball on Princeton's forty-yard line the chosen
sons of Eli began a heroic advance down the field. It was as if
some missing cog had been supplied. "Straight old-fashioned
football" it was, eleven minds and bodies working as one and
animated by a desperate resolve, which carried the Yale team along
for down after down into the heart of Princeton's ground.

Perhaps because he was fresher than the other backs, perhaps
because the captain knew his man, the ball was given to the Yale
full-back for one swift and battering assault after another. His
slim figure pelted at the rush-line, was overwhelmed in an
avalanche of striped arms and legs, but somehow twisted, wriggled,
dragged itself ahead as if there was no stopping him. The
multitude comprehended that this despised and disgraced Freshman
was working out his own salvation along with that of his comrades.
Once, when the scrimmage was untangled, he was dragged from
beneath a heap of players, unable to regain his feet. He lay on
the grass a huddled heap, blood smearing his forehead. A surgeon
and the trainer doused and bandaged him, and presently he
staggered to his feet and hobbled to his station, rubbing his
hands across his eyes as if dazed.

When, at length, the stubbornly retreating Princeton line had been
driven deep down into their end of the field, they, too, showed
that they could hold fast in the last extremity. The Yale attack
crumpled against them as if it had struck a stone wall. Young
Seeley seemed to be so crippled and exhausted that he had been
given a respite from the interlocked, hammering onslaught, but at
the third down the panting quarter-back croaked out his signal.
His comrades managed to rip a semblance of an opening for him, he
plunged through, popped clear of the line, fell to his knees,
recovered his footing by a miracle of agility, and lunged onward,
to be brought down within five yards of the coveted goal-posts.

He had won the right to make the last momentous charge. Swaying in
his tracks, the full-back awaited the summons. Then he dived in
behind the interference for a circuit of the right end. Two
Princeton men broke through as if they had been shot out of
mortars, but the Yale full-back had turned and was ploughing
straight ahead. Pulled down, dragging the tackler who clung to his
waist, he floundered to earth with most of the Princeton team
piled above him. But the ball lay beyond the fateful chalk-line,
the Yale touchdown was won, and the game was tied.

The captain clapped Seeley on the shoulder, nodded at the ball,
and the full-back limped on to the field to kick the goal or lose
a victory. There were no more signs of nervousness in his bearing.
With grave deliberation he stood waiting for the ball to be placed
in front of the goal-posts. The sun had dropped behind the lofty
grand-stands. The field lay in a kind of wintry twilight. Thirty
thousand men and women gazed in tensest silence at the mud-
stained, battered youth who had become the crowning issue of this
poignant moment. Up in the press-box a thick-set, grayish man dug
his fists in his eyes and could not bear to look at the lonely,
reliant figure down yonder on the quiet field. The father found
courage to take his hands from his face only when a mighty roar of
joy boomed along the Yale side of the amphitheatre, and he saw the
ball drop in a long arc behind the goal-posts. The kick had won
the game for Yale.

Once clear of the crowds, Henry Seeley hurried toward the training
quarters. His head was up, his shoulders squared, and he walked
with the free stride of an athlete. Mr. Richard Giddings danced
madly across to him:

"Afraid to see him play were you, you silly old fool? He is a chip
of the old block. He didn't know when he was licked. Wow, wow,
wow, blood will tell! Come along with us, Harry."

"I must shake hands with the youngster, Dick. Glad I changed my
mind and came to see him do it."

"All right, see you at Mory's to-night. Tell the boy we're all
proud of him."

Seeley resumed his course, saying over and over again, as if he
loved the sound of the words, "chip of the old block," "blood will
tell."

This verdict was like the ringing call of bugles. It made him feel
young, hopeful, resolute, that life were worth having for the sake
of its strife. One thing at least was certain. His son could "take
his punishment" and wrest victory from disaster, and he deserved
something better than a coward and a quitter for a father.

The full-back was sitting on a bench when the elder Seeley entered
the crowded, steaming room of the training house. The surgeon had
removed the muddy, blood-stained bandage from around his tousled
head and was cleansing an ugly, ragged gash. The boy scowled and
winced but made no complaint, although his bruised face was very
pale.

"Must have made you feel pretty foggy," said the surgeon. "I shall
have to put in a few stitches. It was a deuce of a thump."

"I couldn't see very well and my legs went queer for a few
minutes, but I'm all right now, thanks," replied the full-back,
and then, glancing up, he espied his father standing near the
door. The young hero of the game beckoned him with a grimy fist.
Henry Seeley went over to him, took the fist in his two hands, and
then patted the boy's cheek with awkward and unaccustomed
tenderness.

"Sit still, Ernest. I won't interfere with the doctor's job. I
just wanted to let you know that I saw your bully work. It made me
think of--it made me think of--"

Henry Seeley's voice broke curiously and his lip quivered. He had
not meant to show any emotion.

His son replied with a smile of affectionate admiration: "It made
you think of your own teams, didn't it? And I was thinking of you
in that last half. It helped my nerve a whole lot to remember that
my dad never knew when he was licked. Why, even the coaches told
me that between the halves. It put more ginger into me than
anything else. We've got to keep up the family record between us."

The father looked beyond the boy as if he were thinking of a
bigger, sterner game than football. There was the light of a
resurrected determination in his eyes, and a vibrant earnestness
in his voice as he said:

"I'm not worrying about your keeping the family record bright,
Ernest. And, however things may go with me, you will be able to
hang fast to the doctrine which helped you to-day, that your
father, too, doesn't know when he is whipped."



GALLEGHER

A NEWSPAPER STORY

BY RICHARD HARDING DAVIS

This is an illustration of a popular type of the short-story. The
movement from beginning to end is swift and urgent; something
important is happening all the time. Description is reduced to the
minimum, and where it is used does not impede the action. The
local color of a great newspaper office in a large city
contributes to the impression of orderly activity and haste.
Gallegher, moreover, is the kind of character that enlists
sympathy by his youth, his daring, and his resourcefulness.



GALLEGHER

[Footnote: From "Gallegher and Other Stories," by Richard Harding
Davis. Copyright, 1891, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


We had had so many office-boys before Gallegher came among us that
they had begun to lose the characteristics of individuals, and
became merged in a composite photograph of small boys, to whom we
applied the generic title of "Here, you"; or "You, boy."

We had had sleepy boys, and lazy boys, and bright, "smart" boys,
who became so familiar on so short an acquaintance that we were
forced to part with them to save our own self-respect.

They generally graduated into district-messenger boys, and
occasionally returned to us in blue coats with nickel-plated
buttons, and patronized us.

But Gallegher was something different from anything we had
experienced before. Gallegher was short and broad in build, with a
solid, muscular broadness, and not a fat and dumpy shortness. He
wore perpetually on his face a happy and knowing smile, as if you
and the world in general were not impressing him as seriously as
you thought you were, and his eyes, which were very black and very
bright, snapped intelligently at you like those of a little black-
and-tan terrier.

All Gallegher knew had been learnt on the streets; not a very good
school in itself, but one that turns out very knowing scholars.
And Gallagher had attended both morning and evening sessions. He
could not tell you who the Pilgrim Fathers were, nor could he name
the thirteen original States, but he knew all the officers of the
twenty-second police district by name, and he could distinguish
the clang of a fire-engine's gong from that of a patrol-wagon or
an ambulance fully two blocks distant. It was Gallegher who rang
the alarm when the Woolwich Mills caught fire, while the officer
on the beat was asleep, and it was Gallegher who led the "Black
Diamonds" against the "Wharf Rats," when they used to stone each
other to their hearts' content on the coal-wharves of Richmond.

I am afraid, now that I see these facts written down, that
Gallegher was not a reputable character; but he was so very young
and so very old for his years that we all liked him very much
nevertheless. He lived in the extreme northern part of
Philadelphia, where the cotton-and woollen-mills run down to the
river, and how he ever got home after leaving the Press building
at two in the morning, was one of the mysteries of the office.
Sometimes he caught a night car, and sometimes he walked all the
way, arriving at the little house, where his mother and himself
lived alone, at four in the morning. Occasionally he was given a
ride on an early milk-cart, or on one of the newspaper delivery
wagons, with its high piles of papers still damp and sticky from
the press. He knew several drivers of "night hawks"--those cabs
that prowl the streets at night looking for belated passengers--
and when it was a very cold morning he would not go home at all,
but would crawl into one of these cabs and sleep, curled upon the
cushions, until daylight.

Besides being quick and cheerful, Gallegher possessed a power of
amusing the Press's young men to a degree seldom attained by the
ordinary mortal. His clog-dancing on the city editor's desk, when
that gentleman was upstairs fighting for two more columns of
space, was always a source of innocent joy to us, and his
imitations of the comedians of the variety halls delighted even
the dramatic critic, from whom the comedians themselves failed to
force a smile.

But Gallegher's chief characteristic was his love for that element
of news generically classed as "crime."

Not that he ever did anything criminal himself. On the contrary,
his was rather the work of the criminal specialist, and his morbid
interest in the doings of all queer characters, his knowledge of
their methods, their present whereabouts, and their past deeds of
transgression often rendered him a valuable ally to our police
reporter, whose daily feuilletons were the only portion of the
paper Gallegher deigned to read.

In Gallegher the detective element was abnormally developed. He
had shown this on several occasions, and to excellent purpose.

Once the paper had sent him into a Home for Destitute Orphans
which was believed to be grievously mismanaged, and Gallegher,
while playing the part of a destitute orphan, kept his eyes open
to what was going on around him so faithfully that the story he
told of the treatment meted out to the real orphans was sufficient
to rescue the unhappy little wretches from the individual who had
them in charge, and to have the individual himself sent to jail.

Gallegher's knowledge of the aliases, terms of imprisonment, and
various misdoings of the leading criminals in Philadelphia was
almost as thorough as that of the chief of police himself, and he
could tell to an hour when "Dutchy Mack" was to be let out of
prison, and could identify at a glance "Dick Oxford, confidence
man," as "Gentleman Dan, petty thief."

There were, at this time, only two pieces of news in any of the
papers. The least important of the two was the big fight between
the Champion of the United States and the Would-be Champion,
arranged to take place near Philadelphia; the second was the
Burrbank murder, which was filling space in newspapers all over
the world, from New York to Bombay.

Richard F. Burrbank was one of the most prominent of New York's
railroad lawyers; he was also, as a matter of course, an owner of
much railroad stock, and a very wealthy man. He had been spoken of
as a political possibility for many high offices, and, as the
counsel for a great railroad, was known even further than the
great railroad itself had stretched its system.

At six o 'clock one morning he was found by his butler lying at
the foot of the hall stairs with two pistol wounds above his
heart. He was quite dead. His safe, to which only he and his
secretary had the keys, was found open, and $200,000 in bonds,
stocks, and money, which had been placed there only the night
before, was found missing. The secretary was missing also. His
name was Stephen S. Hade, and his name and his description had
been telegraphed and cabled to all parts of the world. There was
enough circumstantial evidence to show, beyond any question or
possibility of mistake, that he was the murderer.

It made an enormous amount of talk, and unhappy individuals were
being arrested all over the country, and sent on to New York for
identification. Three had been arrested at Liverpool, and one man
just as he landed at Sydney, Australia. But so far the murderer
had escaped.

We were all talking about it one night, as everybody else was all
over the country, in the local room, and the city editor said it
was worth a fortune to any one who chanced to run across Hade and
succeeded in handing him over to the police. Some of us thought
Hade had taken passage from some one of the smaller seaports, and
others were of the opinion that he had buried himself in some
cheap lodging-house in New York, or in one of the smaller towns in
New Jersey.

"I shouldn't be surprised to meet him out walking, right here in
Philadelphia," said one of the staff. "He'll be disguised, of
course, but you could always tell him by the absence of the
trigger finger on his right hand. It's missing, you know; shot off
when he was a boy."

"You want to look for a man dressed like a tough," said the city
editor; "for as this fellow is to all appearances a gentleman, he
will try to look as little like a gentleman as possible."

"No, he won't," said Gallegher, with that calm impertinence that
made him dear to us. "He'll dress just like a gentleman. Toughs
don't wear gloves, and you see he's got to wear 'em. The first
thing he thought of after doing for Burrbank was of that gone
finger, and how he was to hide it. He stuffed the finger of that
glove with cotton so's to make it look like a whole finger, and
the first time he takes off that glove they've got him--see, and
he knows it. So what youse want to do is to look for a man with
gloves on. I've been a-doing it for two weeks now, and I can tell
you it's hard work, for everybody wears gloves this kind of
weather. But if you look long enough you'll find him. And when you
think it's him, go up to him and hold out your hand in a friendly
way, like a bunco-steerer, and shake his hand; and if you feel
that his forefinger ain't real flesh, but just wadded cotton, then
grip to it with your right and grab his throat with your left, and
holler for help."

There was an appreciative pause.

"I see, gentlemen," said the city editor, drily, "that Gallegher's
reasoning has impressed you; and I also see that before the week
is out all of my young men will be under bonds for assaulting
innocent pedestrians whose only offence is that they wear gloves
in mid-winter."

       .      .      .      .      .      .      .

It was about a week after this that Detective Hefflefinger, of
Inspector Byrnes's staff, came over to Philadelphia after a
burglar, of whose whereabouts he had been misinformed by
telegraph. He brought the warrant, requisition, and other
necessary papers with him, but the burglar had flown. One of our
reporters had worked on a New York paper, and knew Hefflefinger,
and the detective came to the office to see if he could help him
in his so far unsuccessful search.

He gave Gallegher his card, and after Gallegher had read it, and
had discovered who the visitor was, he became so demoralized that
he was absolutely useless.

"One of Byrnes's men" was a much more awe-inspiring individual to
Gallegher than a member of the Cabinet. He accordingly seized his
hat and overcoat, and leaving his duties to be looked after by
others, hastened out after the object of his admiration, who found
his suggestions and knowledge of the city so valuable, and his
company so entertaining, that they became very intimate, and spent
the rest of the day together.

In the meanwhile the managing editor had instructed his
subordinates to inform Gallegher, when he condescended to return,
that his services were no longer needed. Gallegher had played
truant once too often. Unconscious of this, he remained with his
new friend until late the same evening, and started the next
afternoon toward the Press office.

As I have said, Gallegher lived in the most distant part of the
city, not many minutes' walk from the Kensington railroad station,
where trains ran into the suburbs and on to New York.

It was in front of this station that a smoothly-shaven, well-
dressed man brushed past Gallegher and hurried up the steps to the
ticket office.

He held a walking-stick in his right hand, and Gallegher, who now
patiently scrutinized the hands of every one who wore gloves, saw
that while three fingers of the man's hand were closed around the
cane, the fourth stood out in almost a straight line with his
palm.

Gallegher stopped with a gasp and with a trembling all over his
little body, and his brain asked with a throb if it could be
possible. But possibilities and probabilities were to be
discovered later. Now was the time for action.

He was after the man in a moment, hanging at his heels and his
eyes moist with excitement.

He heard the man ask for a ticket to Torresdale, a little station
just outside of Philadelphia, and when he was out of hearing, but
not out of sight, purchased one for the same place.

The stranger went into the smoking-car, and seated himself at one
end toward the door. Gallegher took his place at the opposite end.

He was trembling all over, and suffered from a slight feeling of
nausea. He guessed it came from fright, not of any bodily harm
that might come to him, but at the probability of failure in his
adventure and of its most momentous possibilities.

The stranger pulled his coat collar up around his ears, hiding the
lower portion of his face, but not concealing the resemblance in
his troubled eyes and close-shut lips to the likenesses of the
murderer Hade.

They reached Torresdale in half an hour, and the stranger,
alighting quickly, struck off at a rapid pace down the country
road leading to the station.

Gallegher gave him a hundred yards' start, and then followed
slowly after. The road ran between fields and past a few frame-
houses set far from the road in kitchen gardens.

Once or twice the man looked back over his shoulder, but he saw
only a dreary length of road with a small boy splashing through
the slush in the midst of it and stopping every now and again to
throw snowballs at belated sparrows.

After a ten minutes' walk the stranger turned into a side road
which led to only one place, the Eagle Inn, an old roadside
hostelry known now as the headquarters for pothunters from the
Philadelphia game market and the battle-ground of many a cock-
fight.

Gallegher knew the place well. He and his young companions had
often stopped there when out chestnutting on holidays in the
autumn.

The son of the man who kept it had often accompanied them on their
excursions, and though the boys of the city streets considered him
a dumb lout, they respected him somewhat owing to his inside
knowledge of dog-and cock-fights.

The stranger entered the inn at a side door, and Gallegher,
reaching it a few minutes later, let him go for the time being,
and set about finding his occasional playmate, young Keppler.

Keppler's offspring was found in the wood-shed.

"'Tain't hard to guess what brings you out here," said the tavern-
keeper's son, with a grin; "it's the fight."

"What fight?" asked Gallegher, unguardedly.

"What fight? Why, THE fight," returned his companion, with the
slow contempt of superior knowledge. "It's to come off here to-
night. You knew that as well as me; anyway your sportin' editor
knows it. He got the tip last night, but that won't help you any.
You needn't think there's any chance of your getting a peep at it.
Why, tickets is two hundred and fifty apiece!"

"Whew!" whistled Gallegher, "where's it to be?"

"In the barn," whispered Keppler. "I helped 'em fix the ropes this
morning, I did."

"Gosh, but you're in luck," exclaimed Gallegher, with flattering
envy. "Couldn't I jest get a peep at it?"

"Maybe," said the gratified Keppler. "There's a winder with a
wooden shutter at the back of the barn. You can get in by it, if
you have some one to boost you up to the sill."

"Sa-a-y," drawled Gallegher, as if something had but just that
moment reminded him. "Who's that gent who come down the road just
a bit ahead of me--him with the cape-coat! Has he got anything to
do with the fight?"

"Him?" repeated Keppler in tones of sincere disgust. "No--oh, he
ain't no sport. He's queer, Dad thinks. He come here one day last
week about ten in the morning, said his doctor told him to go out
'en the country for his health. He's stuck up and citified, and
wears gloves, and takes his meals private in his room, and all
that sort of truck. They was saying in the saloon last night that
they thought he was hiding from something, and Dad, just to try
him, asks him last night if he was coming to see the fight. He
looked sort of scared, and said he didn't want to see no fight.
And then Dad says, 'I guess you mean you don't want no fighters to
see you.' Dad didn't mean no harm by it, just passed it as a joke;
but Mr. Carleton, as he calls himself, got white as a ghost an'
says, 'I'll go to the fight willing enough,' and begins to laugh
and joke. And this morning he went right into the bar-room, where
all the sports were setting, and said he was going in to town to
see some friends; and as he starts off he laughs an' says, 'This
don't look as if I was afraid of seeing people, does it?' but Dad
says it was just bluff that made him do it, and Dad thinks that if
he hadn't said what he did, this Mr. Carleton wouldn't have left
his room at all."

Gallegher had got all he wanted, and much more than he had hoped
for--so much more that his walk back to the station was in the
nature of a triumphal march.

He had twenty minutes to wait for the next train, and it seemed an
hour. While waiting he sent a telegram to Hefflefinger at his
hotel. It read: "Your man is near the Torresdale station, on
Pennsylvania Railroad; take cab, and meet me at station. Wait
until I come. GALLEGHER."

With the exception of one at midnight, no other train stopped at
Torresdale that evening, hence the direction to take a cab.

The train to the city seemed to Gallegher to drag itself by
inches. It stopped and backed at purposeless intervals, waited for
an express to precede it, and dallied at stations, and when, at
last, it reached the terminus, Gallegher was out before it had
stopped and was in the cab and off on his way to the home of the
sporting editor.

The sporting editor was at dinner and came out in the hall to see
him, with his napkin in his hand. Gallegher explained breathlessly
that he had located the murderer for whom the police of two
continents were looking, and that he believed, in order to quiet
the suspicions of the people with whom he was hiding, that he
would be present at the fight that night.

The sporting editor led Gallegher into his library and shut the
door. "Now," he said, "go over all that again."

Gallegher went over it again in detail, and added how he had sent
for Hefflefinger to make the arrest in order that it might be kept
from the knowledge of the local police and from the Philadelphia
reporters.

"What I want Hefflefinger to do is to arrest Hade with the warrant
he has for the burglar," explained Gallegher; "and to take him on
to New York on the owl train that passes Torresdale at one. It
don't get to Jersey City until four o'clock, one hour after the
morning papers go to press. Of course, we must fix Hefflefinger
so's he'll keep quiet and not tell who his prisoner really is."

The sporting editor reached his hand out to pat Gallegher on the
head, but changed his mind and shook hands with him instead.

"My boy," he said, "you are an infant phenomenon. If I can pull
the rest of this thing off to-night, it will mean the $5,000
reward and fame galore for you and the paper. Now, I'm going to
write a note to the managing editor, and you can take it around to
him and tell him what you've done and what I am going to do, and
he'll take you back on the paper and raise your salary. Perhaps
you didn't know you've been discharged?"

"Do you think you ain't a-going to take me with you?" demanded
Gallegher.

"Why, certainly not. Why should I? It all lies with the detective
and myself now. You've done your share, and done it well. If the
man's caught, the reward's yours. But you'd only be in the way
now. You'd better go to the office and make your peace with the
chief."

"If the paper can get along without me, I can get along without
the old paper," said Gallegher, hotly. "And if I ain't a-going
with you, you ain't neither, for I know where Hefflefinger is to
be, and you don't, and I won't tell you."

"Oh, very well, very well," replied the sporting editor, weakly
capitulating. "I'll send the note by a messenger; only mind, if
you lose your place, don't blame me."

Gallegher wondered how this man could value a week's salary
against the excitement of seeing a noted criminal run down, and of
getting the news to the paper, and to that one paper alone.

From that moment the sporting editor sank in Gallegher's
estimation.

Mr. Dwyer sat down at his desk and scribbled off the following
note:

"I have received reliable information that Hade, the Burrbank
murderer, will be present at the fight to-night. We have arranged
it so that he will be arrested quietly and in such a manner that
the fact may be kept from all other papers. I need not point out
to you that this will be the most important piece of news in the
country to-morrow.

                "Yours, etc.,

                    "MICHAEL E. DWYER."

The sporting editor stepped into the waiting cab, while Gallegher
whispered the directions to the driver. He was told to go first to
a district-messenger office, and from there up to the Ridge Avenue
Road, out Broad Street, and on to the old Eagle Inn, near
Torresdale.

It was a miserable night. The rain and snow were falling together,
and freezing as they fell. The sporting editor got out to send his
message to the Press office, and then lighting a cigar, and
turning up the collar of his great-coat, curled up in the corner
of the cab.

"Wake me when we get there, Gallegher," he said. He knew he had a
long ride, and much rapid work before him, and he was preparing
for the strain.

To Gallegher the idea of going to sleep seemed almost criminal.
From the dark corner of the cab his eyes shone with excitement,
and with the awful joy of anticipation. He glanced every now and
then to where the sporting editor's cigar shone in the darkness,
and watched it as it gradually burnt more dimly and went out. The
lights in the shop windows threw a broad glare across the ice on
the pavements, and the lights from the lamp-posts tossed the
distorted shadow of the cab, and the horse, and the motionless
driver, sometimes before and sometimes behind them.

After half an hour Gallegher slipped down to the bottom of the cab
and dragged out a lap-robe, in which he wrapped himself. It was
growing colder, and the damp, keen wind swept in through the
cracks until the window-frames and woodwork were cold to the
touch.

An hour passed, and the cab was still moving more slowly over the
rough surface of partly paved streets, and by single rows of new
houses standing at different angles to each other in fields
covered with ash-heaps and brick-kilns. Here and there the gaudy
lights of a drug-store, and the forerunner of suburban
civilization, shone from the end of a new block of houses, and the
rubber cape of an occasional policeman showed in the light of the
lamp-post that he hugged for comfort.

Then even the houses disappeared, and the cab dragged its way
between truck farms, with desolate-looking, glass-covered beds,
and pools of water, half-caked with ice, and bare trees, and
interminable fences.

Once or twice the cab stopped altogether, and Gallegher could hear
the driver swearing to himself, or at the horse, or the roads. At
last they drew up before the station at Torresdale. It was quite
deserted, and only a single light cut a swath in the darkness and
showed a portion of the platform, the ties, and the rails
glistening in the rain. They walked twice past the light before a
figure stepped out of the shadow and greeted them cautiously.

"I am Mr. Dwyer, of the Press," said the sporting editor, briskly.
"You've heard of me, perhaps. Well, there shouldn't be any
difficulty in our making a deal, should there? This boy here has
found Hade, and we have reason to believe he will be among the
spectators at the fight to-night. We want you to arrest him
quietly, and as secretly as possible. You can do it with your
papers and your badge easily enough. We want you to pretend that
you believe he is this burglar you came over after. If you will do
this, and take him away without any one so much as suspecting who
he really is, and on the train that passes here at 1.20 for New
York, we will give you $500 out of the $5,000 reward. If, however,
one other paper, either in New York or Philadelphia, or anywhere
else, knows of the arrest, you won't get a cent. Now, what do you
say?"

The detective had a great deal to say. He wasn't at all sure the
man Gallegher suspected was Hade; he feared he might get himself
into trouble by making a false arrest, and if it should be the
man, he was afraid the local police would interfere.

"We've no time to argue or debate this matter," said Dwyer,
warmly. "We agree to point Hade out to you in the crowd. After the
fight is over you arrest him as we have directed, and you get the
money and the credit of the arrest. If you don't like this, I will
arrest the man myself, and have him driven to town, with a pistol
for a warrant."

Hefflefinger considered in silence and then agreed
unconditionally. "As you say, Mr. Dwyer," he returned. "I've heard
of you for a thoroughbred sport. I know you'll do what you say
you'll do; and as for me I'll do what you say and just as you say,
and it's a very pretty piece of work as it stands."

They all stepped back into the cab, and then it was that they were
met by a fresh difficulty, how to get the detective into the barn
where the fight was to take place, for neither of the two men had
$250 to pay for his admittance.

But this was overcome when Gallegher remembered the window of
which young Keppler had told him.

In the event of Hade's losing courage and not daring to show
himself in the crowd around the ring, it was agreed that Dwyer
should come to the barn and warn Hefflefinger; but if he should
come, Dwyer was merely to keep near him and to signify by a
prearranged gesture which one of the crowd he was.

They drew up before a great black shadow of a house, dark,
forbidding, and apparently deserted. But at the sound of the
wheels on the gravel the door opened, letting out a stream of
warm, cheerful light, and a man's voice said, "Put out those
lights. Don't youse know no better than that?" This was Keppler,
and he welcomed Mr. Dwyer with effusive courtesy.

The two men showed in the stream of light, and the door closed on
them, leaving the house as it was at first, black and silent, save
for the dripping of the rain and snow from the eaves.

The detective and Gallegher put out the cab's lamps and led the
horse toward a long, low shed in the rear of the yard, which they
now noticed was almost filled with teams of many different makes,
from the Hobson's choice of a livery stable to the brougham of the
man about town.

"No," said Gallegher, as the cabman stopped to hitch the horse
beside the others, "we want it nearest that lower gate. When we
newspaper men leave this place we'll leave it in a hurry, and the
man who is nearest town is likely to get there first. You won't be
a-following of no hearse when you make your return trip."

Gallegher tied the horse to the very gate-post itself, leaving the
gate open and allowing a clear road and a flying start for the
prospective race to Newspaper Row.

The driver disappeared under the shelter of the porch, and
Gallegher and the detective moved off cautiously to the rear of
the barn. "This must be the window," said Hefflefinger, pointing
to a broad wooden shutter some feet from the ground.

"Just you give me a boost once, and I'll get that open in a
jiffy," said Gallegher.

The detective placed his hands on his knees, and Gallegher stood
upon his shoulders, and with the blade of his knife lifted the
wooden button that fastened the window on the inside, and pulled
the shutter open.

Then he put one leg inside over the sill, and leaning down helped
to draw his fellow-conspirator up to a level with the window. "I
feel just like I was burglarizing a house," chuckled Gallegher, as
he dropped noiselessly to the floor below and refastened the
shutter. The barn was a large one, with a row of stalls on either
side in which horses and cows were dozing. There was a haymow over
each row of stalls, and at one end of the barn a number of fence-
rails had been thrown across from one mow to the other. These
rails were covered with hay.

In the middle of the floor was the ring. It was not really a ring,
but a square, with wooden posts at its four corners through which
ran a heavy rope. The space inclosed by the rope was covered with
sawdust.

Gallegher could not resist stepping into the ring, and after
stamping the sawdust once or twice, as if to assure himself that
he was really there, began dancing around it, and indulging in
such a remarkable series of fistic manoeuvres with an imaginary
adversary that the unimaginative detective precipitately backed
into a corner of the barn.

"Now, then," said Gallegher, having apparently vanquished his foe,
"you come with me." His companion followed quickly as Gallegher
climbed to one of the haymows, and crawling carefully out on the
fence-rail, stretched himself at full length, face downward. In
this position, by moving the straw a little, he could look down,
without being himself seen, upon the heads of whomsoever stood
below. "This is better'n a private box, ain't it?" said Gallegher.

The boy from the newspaper office and the detective lay there in
silence, biting at straws and tossing anxiously on their
comfortable bed.

It seemed fully two hours before they came. Gallegher had listened
without breathing, and with every muscle on a strain, at least a
dozen times, when some movement in the yard had led him to believe
that they were at the door.

And he had numerous doubts and fears. Sometimes it was that the
police had learnt of the fight, and had raided Keppler's in his
absence, and again it was that the fight had been postponed, or,
worst of all, that it would be put off until so late that Mr.
Dwyer could not get back in time for the last edition of the
paper. Their coming, when at last they came, was heralded by an
advance-guard of two sporting men, who stationed themselves at
either side of the big door.

"Hurry up, now, gents," one of the men said with a shiver, "don't
keep this door open no longer'n is needful."

It was not a very large crowd, but it was wonderfully well
selected. It ran, in the majority of its component parts, to heavy
white coats with pearl buttons. The white coats were shouldered by
long blue coats with astrakhan fur trimmings, the wearers of which
preserved a cliqueness not remarkable when one considers that they
believed every one else present to be either a crook or a prize-
fighter.

There were well-fed, well-groomed clubmen and brokers in the
crowd, a politician or two, a popular comedian with his manager,
amateur boxers from the athletic clubs, and quiet, close-mouthed
sporting men from every city in the country. Their names if
printed in the papers would have been as familiar as the types of
the papers themselves.

And among these men, whose only thought was of the brutal sport to
come, was Hade, with Dwyer standing at ease at his shoulder,--
Hade, white, and visibly in deep anxiety, hiding his pale face
beneath a cloth travelling-cap, and with his chin muffled in a
woollen scarf. He had dared to come because he feared his danger
from the already suspicious Keppler was less than if he stayed
away. And so he was there, hovering restlessly on the border of
the crowd, feeling his danger and sick with fear.

When Hefflefinger first saw him he started up on his hands and
elbows and made a movement forward as if he would leap down then
and there and carry off his prisoner single-handed.

"Lie down," growled Gallegher; "an officer of any sort wouldn't
live three minutes in that crowd."

The detective drew back slowly and buried himself again in the
straw, but never once through the long fight which followed did
his eyes leave the person of the murderer. The newspaper men took
their places in the foremost row close around the ring, and kept
looking at their watches and begging the master of ceremonies to
"shake it up, do."

There was a great deal of betting, and all of the men handled the
great roll of bills they wagered with a flippant recklessness
which could only be accounted for in Gallegher's mind by temporary
mental derangement. Some one pulled a box out into the ring and
the master of ceremonies mounted it, and pointed out in forcible
language that as they were almost all already under bonds to keep
the peace, it behooved all to curb their excitement and to
maintain a severe silence, unless they wanted to bring the police
upon them and have themselves "sent down" for a year or two.

Then two very disreputable-looking persons tossed their respective
principals' high hats into the ring, and the crowd, recognizing in
this relic of the days when brave knights threw down their
gauntlets in the lists as only a sign that the fight was about to
begin, cheered tumultuously.

This was followed by a sudden surging forward, and a mutter of
admiration much more flattering than the cheers had been, when the
principals followed their hats, and slipping out of their great-
coats, stood forth in all the physical beauty of the perfect
brute.

Their pink skin was as soft and healthy-looking as a baby's, and
glowed in the lights of the lanterns like tinted ivory, and
underneath this silken covering the great biceps and muscles moved
in and out and looked like the coils of a snake around the branch
of a tree.

Gentleman and blackguard shouldered each other for a nearer view;
the coachmen, whose metal buttons were unpleasantly suggestive of
police, put their hands, in the excitement of the moment, on the
shoulders of their masters; the perspiration stood out in great
drops on the foreheads of the backers, and the newspaper men bit
somewhat nervously at the ends of their pencils.

And in the stalls the cows munched contentedly at their cuds and
gazed with gentle curiosity at their two fellow-brutes, who stood
waiting the signal to fall upon, and kill each other if need be,
for the delectation of their brothers.

"Take your places," commanded the master of ceremonies.

In the moment in which the two men faced each other the crowd
became so still that, save for the beating of the rain upon the
shingled roof and the stamping of a horse in one of the stalls,
the place was as silent as a church.

"Time!" shouted the master of ceremonies.

The two men sprang into a posture of defence, which was lost as
quickly as it was taken, one great arm shot out like a piston-rod;
there was the sound of bare fists beating on naked flesh; there
was an exultant indrawn gasp of savage pleasure and relief from
the crowd, and the great fight had begun.

How the fortunes of war rose and fell, and changed and rechanged
that night, is an old story to those who listen to such stories;
and those who do not will be glad to be spared the telling of it.
It was, they say, one of the bitterest fights between two men that
this country has ever known.

But all that is of interest here is that after an hour of this
desperate brutal business the champion ceased to be the favorite;
the man whom he had taunted and bullied, and for whom the public
had but little sympathy, was proving himself a likely winner, and
under his cruel blows, as sharp and clean as those from a cutlass,
his opponent was rapidly giving way.

The men about the ropes were past all control now; they drowned
Keppler's petitions for silence with oaths and in inarticulate
shouts of anger, as if the blows had fallen upon them, and in mad
rejoicings. They swept from one end of the ring to the other, with
every muscle leaping in unison with those of the man they favored,
and when a New York correspondent muttered over his shoulder that
this would be the biggest sporting surprise since the Heenan-
Sayers fight, Mr. Dwyer nodded his head sympathetically in assent.

In the excitement and tumult it is doubtful if any heard the three
quickly repeated blows that fell heavily from the outside upon the
big doors of the barn. If they did, it was already too late to
mend matters, for the door fell, torn from its hinges, and as it
fell a captain of police sprang into the light from out of the
storm, with his lieutenants and their men crowding close at his
shoulder.

In the panic and stampede that followed, several of the men stood
as helplessly immovable as though they had seen a ghost; others
made a mad rush into the arms of the officers and were beaten back
against the ropes of the ring; others dived headlong into the
stalls, among the horses and cattle, and still others shoved the
rolls of money they held into the hands of the police and begged
like children to be allowed to escape.

The instant the door fell and the raid was declared Hefflefinger
slipped over the cross rails on which he had been lying, hung for
an instant by his hands, and then dropped into the centre of the
fighting mob on the floor. He was out of it in an instant with the
agility of a pickpocket, was across the room and at Hade's throat
like a dog. The murderer, for the moment, was the calmer man of
the two.

"Here," he panted, "hands off, now. There's no need for all this
violence. There's no great harm in looking at a fight, is there?
There's a hundred-dollar bill in my right hand; take it and let me
slip out of this. No one is looking. Here."

But the detective only held him the closer.

"I want you for burglary," he whispered under his breath. "You've
got to come with me now, and quick. The less fuss you make, the
better for both of us. If you don't know who I am, you can feel my
badge under my coat there. I've got the authority. It's all
regular, and when we're out of this d---d row I'll show you the
papers."

He took one hand from Hade's throat and pulled a pair of handcuffs
from his pocket.

"It's a mistake. This is an outrage," gasped the murderer, white
and trembling, but dreadfully alive and desperate for his liberty.
"Let me go, I tell you! Take your hands off of me! Do I look like
a burglar, you fool?"

"I know who you look like," whispered the detective, with his face
close to the face of his prisoner. "Now, will you go easy as a
burglar, or shall I tell these men who you are and what I DO want
you for? Shall I call out your real name or not? Shall I tell
them? Quick, speak up; shall I?"

There was something so exultant--something so unnecessarily savage
in the officer's face that the man he held saw that the detective
knew him for what he really was, and the hands that had held his
throat slipped down around his shoulders, or he would have fallen.
The man's eyes opened and closed again, and he swayed weakly
backward and forward, and choked as if his throat were dry and
burning. Even to such a hardened connoisseur in crime as
Gallegher, who stood closely by, drinking it in, there was
something so abject in the man's terror that he regarded him with
what was almost a touch of pity.

"For God's sake," Hade begged, "let me go. Come with me to my room
and I'll give you half the money. I'll divide with you fairly. We
can both get away. There's a fortune for both of us there. We both
can get away. You'll be rich for life. Do you understand--for
life!"

But the detective, to his credit, only shut his lips the tighter.

"That's enough," he whispered, in return. "That's more than I
expected. You've sentenced yourself already. Come!"

Two officers in uniform barred their exit at the door, but
Hefflefinger smiled easily and showed his badge.

"One of Byrnes's men," he said, in explanation; "came over
expressly to take this chap. He's a burglar; 'Arlie' Lane, alias
Carleton. I've shown the papers to the captain. It's all regular.
I'm just going to get his traps at the hotel and walk him over to
the station. I guess we'll push right on to New York tonight."

The officers nodded and smiled their admiration for the
representative of what is, perhaps, the best detective force in
the world, and let him pass.

Then Hefflefinger turned and spoke to Gallegher, who still stood
as watchful as a dog at his side. "I'm going to his room to get
the bonds and stuff," he whispered; "then I'll march him to the
station and take that train. I've done my share; don't forget
yours!"

"Oh, you'll get your money right enough," said Gallegher. "And,
sa-ay," he added, with the appreciative nod of an expert, "do you
know, you did it rather well."

Mr. Dwyer had been writing while the raid was settling down, as he
had been writing while waiting for the fight to begin. Now he
walked over to where the other correspondents stood in angry
conclave.

The newspaper men had informed the officers who hemmed them in
that they represented the principal papers of the country, and
were expostulating vigorously with the captain, who had planned
the raid, and who declared they were under arrest.

"Don't be an ass, Scott," said Mr. Dwyer, who was too excited to
be polite or politic. "You know our being here isn't a matter of
choice. We came here on business, as you did, and you've no right
to hold us."

"If we don't get our stuff on the wire at once," protested a New
York man, "we'll be too late for tomorrow's paper, and--"

Captain Scott said he did not care a profanely small amount for
to-morrow's paper, and that all he knew was that to the station-
house the newspaper men would go. There they would have a hearing,
and if the magistrate chose to let them off, that was the
magistrate's business, but that his duty was to take them into
custody.

"But then it will be too late, don't you understand?" shouted Mr.
Dwyer. "You've got to let us go NOW, at once."

"I can't do it, Mr. Dwyer," said the captain, "and that's all
there is to it. Why, haven't I just sent the president of the
Junior Republican Club to the patrol-wagon, the man that put this
coat on me, and do you think I can let you fellows go after that?
You were all put under bonds to keep the peace not three days ago,
and here you're at it--fighting like badgers. It's worth my place
to let one of you off."

What Mr. Dwyer said next was so uncomplimentary to the gallant
Captain Scott that that overwrought individual seized the sporting
editor by the shoulder, and shoved him into the hands of two of
his men.

This was more than the distinguished Mr. Dwyer could brook, and he
excitedly raised his hand in resistance. But before he had time to
do anything foolish his wrist was gripped by one strong, little
hand, and he was conscious that another was picking the pocket of
his great-coat.

He slapped his hands to his sides, and looking down, saw Gallegher
standing close behind him and holding him by the wrist. Mr. Dwyer
had forgotten the boy's existence, and would have spoken sharply
if something in Gallegher's innocent eyes had not stopped him.

Gallegher's hand was still in that pocket, in which Mr. Dwyer had
shoved his note-book filled with what he had written of
Gallegher's work and Hade's final capture, and with a running
descriptive account of the fight. With his eyes fixed on Mr.
Dwyer, Gallegher drew it out, and with a quick movement shoved it
inside his waistcoat. Mr. Dwyer gave a nod of comprehension. Then
glancing at his two guardsmen, and finding that they were still
interested in the wordy battle of the correspondents with their
chief, and had seen nothing, he stooped and whispered to
Gallegher: "The forms are locked at twenty minutes to three. If
you don't get there by that time it will be of no use, but if
you're on time you'll beat the town--and the country too."

Gallegher's eyes flashed significantly, and nodding his head to
show he understood, started boldly on a run toward the door. But
the officers who guarded it brought him to an abrupt halt, and,
much to Mr. Dwyer's astonishment, drew from him what was
apparently a torrent of tears.

"Let me go to me father. I want me father," the boy shrieked,
hysterically. "They've 'rested father. Oh, daddy, daddy. They're
a-goin' to take you to prison."

"Who is your father, sonny?" asked one of the guardians of the
gate.

"Keppler's me father," sobbed Gallegher. "They're a-goin' to lock
him up, and I'll never see him no more."

"Oh, yes, you will," said the officer, good-naturedly; "he's there
in that first patrol-wagon. You can run over and say good-night to
him, and then you'd better get to bed. This ain't no place for
kids of your age."

"Thank you, sir," sniffed Gallegher, tearfully, as the two
officers raised their clubs, and let him pass out into the
darkness.

The yard outside was in a tumult, horses were stamping, and
plunging, and backing the carriages into one another; lights were
flashing from every window of what had been apparently an
uninhabited house, and the voices of the prisoners were still
raised in angry expostulation.

Three police patrol-wagons were moving about the yard, filled with
unwilling passengers, who sat or stood, packed together like
sheep, and with no protection from the sleet and rain.

Gallegher stole off into a dark corner, and watched the scene
until his eyesight became familiar with the position of the land.

Then with his eyes fixed fearfully on the swinging light of a
lantern with which an officer was searching among the carriages,
he groped his way between horses' hoofs and behind the wheels of
carriages to the cab which he had himself placed at the
furthermost gate. It was still there, and the horse, as he had
left it, with its head turned toward the city. Gallegher opened
the big gate noiselessly, and worked nervously at the hitching
strap. The knot was covered with a thin coating of ice, and it was
several minutes before he could loosen it. But his teeth finally
pulled it apart, and with the reins in his hands he sprang upon
the wheel. And as he stood so, a shock of fear ran down his back
like an electric current, his breath left him, and he stood
immovable, gazing with wide eyes into the darkness.

The officer with the lantern had suddenly loomed up from behind a
carriage not fifty feet distant, and was standing perfectly still,
with his lantern held over his head, peering so directly toward
Gallegher that the boy felt that he must see him. Gallegher stood
with one foot on the hub of the wheel and with the other on the
box waiting to spring. It seemed a minute before either of them
moved, and then the officer took a step forward, and demanded
sternly, "Who is that? What are you doing there?"

There was no time for parley then. Gallegher felt that he had been
taken in the act, and that his only chance lay in open flight. He
leaped up on the box, pulling out the whip as he did so, and with
a quick sweep lashed the horse across the head and back. The
animal sprang forward with a snort, narrowly clearing the gate-
post, and plunged off into the darkness.

"Stop!" cried the officer.

So many of Gallegher's acquaintances among the 'longshoremen and
mill hands had been challenged in so much the same manner that
Gallegher knew what would probably follow if the challenge was
disregarded. So he slipped from his seat to the footboard below,
and ducked his head.

The three reports of a pistol, which rang out briskly from behind
him, proved that his early training had given him a valuable fund
of useful miscellaneous knowledge.

"Don't you be scared," he said, reassuringly, to the horse; "he's
firing in the air."

The pistol-shots were answered by the impatient clangor of a
patrol-wagon's gong, and glancing over his shoulder Gallegher saw
its red and green lanterns tossing from side to side and looking
in the darkness like the side-lights of a yacht plunging forward
in a storm.

"I hadn't bargained to race you against no patrol-wagons," said
Gallegher to his animal; "but if they want a race, we'll give them
a tough tussle for it, won't we?"

Philadelphia, lying four miles to the south, sent up a faint
yellow glow to the sky. It seemed very far away, and Gallegher's
braggadocio grew cold within him at the loneliness of his
adventure and the thought of the long ride before him.

It was still bitterly cold.

The rain and sleet beat through his clothes, and struck his skin
with a sharp chilling touch that set him trembling.

Even the thought of the overweighted patrol-wagon probably
sticking in the mud some safe distance in the rear, failed to
cheer him, and the excitement that had so far made him callous to
the cold died out and left him weaker and nervous.

But his horse was chilled with the long standing, and now leaped
eagerly forward, only too willing to warm the half-frozen blood in
its veins.

"You're a good beast," said Gallegher, plaintively. "You've got
more nerve than me. Don't you go back on me now. Mr. Dwyer says
we've got to beat the town." Gallegher had no idea what time it
was as he rode through the night, but he knew he would be able to
find out from a big clock over a manufactory at a point nearly
three-quarters of the distance from Keppler's to the goal.

He was still in the open country and driving recklessly, for he
knew the best part of his ride must be made outside the city
limits.

He raced between desolate-looking corn-fields with bare stalks and
patches of muddy earth rising above the thin covering of snow,
truck farms and brick-yards fell behind him on either side. It was
very lonely work, and once or twice the dogs ran yelping to the
gates and barked after him.

Part of his way lay parallel with the railroad tracks, and he
drove for some time beside long lines of freight and coal cars as
they stood resting for the night. The fantastic Queen Anne
suburban stations were dark and deserted, but in one or two of the
block-towers he could see the operators writing at their desks,
and the sight in some way comforted him.

Once he thought of stopping to get out the blanket in which he had
wrapped himself on the first trip, but he feared to spare the
time, and drove on with his teeth chattering and his shoulders
shaking with the cold.

He welcomed the first solitary row of darkened houses with a faint
cheer of recognition. The scattered lamp-posts lightened his
spirits, and even the badly paved streets rang under the beats of
his horse's feet like music. Great mills and manufactories, with
only a night-watchman's light in the lowest of their many stories,
began to take the place of the gloomy farmhouses and gaunt trees
that had startled him with their grotesque shapes. He had been
driving nearly an hour, he calculated, and in that time the rain
had changed to a wet snow, that fell heavily and clung to whatever
it touched. He passed block after block of trim workmen's houses,
as still and silent as the sleepers within them, and at last he
turned the horse's head into Broad Street, the city's great
thoroughfare, that stretches from its one end to the other and
cuts it evenly in two.

He was driving noiselessly over the snow and slush in the street,
with his thoughts bent only on the clockface he wished so much to
see, when a hoarse voice challenged him from the sidewalk. "Hey,
you, stop there, hold up!" said the voice.

Gallegher turned his head, and though he saw that the voice came
from under a policeman's helmet, his only answer was to hit his
horse sharply over the head with his whip and to urge it into a
gallop.

This, on his part, was followed by a sharp, shrill whistle from
the policeman. Another whistle answered it from a street-corner
one block ahead of him. "Whoa," said Gallegher, pulling on the
reins. "There's one too many of them," he added, in apologetic
explanation. The horse stopped, and stood, breathing heavily, with
great clouds of steam rising from its flanks.

"Why in hell didn't you stop when I told you to?" demanded the
voice, now close at the cab's side.

"I didn't hear you," returned Gallegher, sweetly. "But I heard you
whistle, and I heard your partner whistle, and I thought maybe it
was me you wanted to speak to, so I just stopped."

"You heard me well enough. Why aren't your lights lit?" demanded
the voice.

"Should I have 'em lit?" asked Gallegher, bending over and
regarding them with sudden interest.

"You know you should, and if you don't, you've no right to be
driving that cab. I don't believe you're the regular driver,
anyway. Where'd you get it?"

"It ain't my cab, of course," said Gallegher, with an easy laugh.
"It's Luke McGovern's. He left it outside Cronin's while he went
in to get a drink, and he took too much, and me father told me to
drive it round to the stable for him. I'm Cronin's son. McGovern
ain't in no condition to drive. You can see yourself how he's been
misusing the horse. He puts it up at Bachman's livery stable, and
I was just going around there now."

Gallegher's knowledge of the local celebrities of the district
confused the zealous officer of the peace. He surveyed the boy
with a steady stare that would have distressed a less skilful
liar, but Gallegher only shrugged his shoulders slightly, as if
from the cold, and waited with apparent indifference to what the
officer would say next.

In reality his heart was beating heavily against his side, and he
felt that if he was kept on a strain much longer he would give way
and break down. A second snow-covered form emerged suddenly from
the shadow of the houses.

"What is it, Reeder?" it asked.

"Oh, nothing much," replied the first officer. "This kid hadn't
any lamps lit, so I called to him to stop and he didn't do it, so
I whistled to you. It's all right, though. He's just taking it
round to Bachman's. Go ahead," he added, sulkily.

"Get up!" chirped Gallegher. "Good-night," he added, over his
shoulder.

Gallegher gave an hysterical little gasp of relief as he trotted
away from the two policemen, and poured bitter maledictions on
their heads for two meddling fools as he went.

"They might as well kill a man as scare him to death," he said,
with an attempt to get back to his customary flippancy. But the
effort was somewhat pitiful, and he felt guiltily conscious that a
salt, warm tear was creeping slowly down his face, and that a lump
that would not keep down was rising in his throat.

"'Tain't no fair thing for the whole police force to keep worrying
at a little boy like me," he said, in shame-faced apology. "I'm
not doing nothing wrong, and I'm half froze to death, and yet they
keep a-nagging at me."

It was so cold that when the boy stamped his feet against the
footboard to keep them warm, sharp pains shot up through his body,
and when he beat his arms about his shoulders, as he had seen real
cabmen do, the blood in his finger-tips tingled so acutely that he
cried aloud with the pain.

He had often been up that late before, but he had never felt so
sleepy. It was as if some one was pressing a sponge heavy with
chloroform near his face, and he could not fight off the
drowsiness that lay hold of him.

He saw, dimly hanging above his head, a round disc of light that
seemed like a great moon, and which he finally guessed to be the
clock-face for which he had been on the lookout. He had passed it
before he realized this; but the fact stirred him into wakefulness
again, and when his cab's wheels slipped around the City Hall
corner, he remembered to look up at the other big clock-face that
keeps awake over the railroad station and measures out the night.

He gave a gasp of consternation when he saw that it was half-past
two, and that there was but ten minutes left to him. This, and the
many electric lights and the sight of the familiar pile of
buildings, startled him into a semi-consciousness of where he was
and how great was the necessity for haste.

He rose in his seat and called on the horse, and urged it into a
reckless gallop over the slippery asphalt. He considered nothing
else but speed, and looking neither to the left nor right dashed
off down Broad Street into Chestnut, where his course lay straight
away to the office, now only seven blocks distant.

Gallegher never knew how it began, but he was suddenly assaulted
by shouts on either side, his horse was thrown back on its
haunches, and he found two men in cabmen's livery hanging at its
head, and patting its sides, and calling it by name. And the other
cabmen who have their stand at the corner were swarming about the
carriage, all of them talking and swearing at once, and
gesticulating wildly with their whips.

They said they knew the cab was McGovern's and they wanted to know
where he was, and why he wasn't on it; they wanted to know where
Gallegher had stolen it, and why he had been such a fool as to
drive it into the arms of its owner's friends; they said that it
was about time that a cab-driver could get off his box to take a
drink without having his cab run away with, and some of them
called loudly for a policeman to take the young thief in charge.

Gallegher felt as if he had been suddenly dragged into
consciousness out of a bad dream, and stood for a second like a
half-awakened somnambulist.

They had stopped the cab under an electric light, and its glare
shone coldly down upon the trampled snow and the faces of the men
around him.

Gallegher bent forward, and lashed savagely at the horse with his
whip.

"Let me go," he shouted, as he tugged impotently at the reins.
"Let me go, I tell you. I haven't stole no cab, and you've got no
right to stop me. I only want to take it to the Press office," he
begged. "They'll send it back to you all right. They'll pay you
for the trip. I'm not running away with it. The driver's got the
collar--he's 'rested--and I'm only a-going to the Press office. Do
you hear me?" he cried, his voice rising and breaking in a shriek
of passion and disappointment. "I tell you to let go those reins.
Let me go, or I'll kill you. Do you hear me? I'll kill you." And
leaning forward, the boy struck savagely with his long whip at the
faces of the men about the horse's head.

Some one in the crowd reached up and caught him by the ankles, and
with a quick jerk pulled him off the box, and threw him on to the
street. But he was up on his knees in a moment, and caught at the
man's hand.

"Don't let them stop me, mister," he cried, "please let me go. I
didn't steal the cab, sir. S'help me, I didn't. I'm telling you
the truth. Take me to the Press office, and they'll prove it to
you. They'll pay you anything you ask 'em. It's only such a little
ways now, and I've come so far, sir. Please don't let them stop
me," he sobbed, clasping the man about the knees. "For Heaven's
sake, mister, let me go!"

       .      .      .      .      .      .      .

The managing editor of the Press took up the india-rubber
speaking-tube at his side, and answered, "Not yet" to an inquiry
the night editor had already put to him five times within the last
twenty minutes.

Then he snapped the metal top of the tube impatiently, and went
upstairs. As he passed the door of the local room, he noticed that
the reporters had not gone home, but were sitting about on the
tables and chairs, waiting. They looked up inquiringly as he
passed, and the city editor asked, "Any news yet?" and the
managing editor shook his head.

The compositors were standing idle in the composing-room, and
their foreman was talking with the night editor.

"Well?" said that gentleman, tentatively.

"Well," returned the managing editor, "I don't think we can wait;
do you?"

"It's a half-hour after time now," said the night editor, "and
we'll miss the suburban trains if we hold the paper back any
longer. We can't afford to wait for a purely hypothetical story.
The chances are all against the fight's having taken place or this
Hade's having been arrested."

"But if we're beaten on it--" suggested the chief. "But I don't
think that is possible. If there were any story to print, Dwyer
would have had it here before now."

The managing editor looked steadily down at the floor.

"Very well," he said, slowly, "we won't wait any longer. Go
ahead," he added, turning to the foreman with a sigh of
reluctance. The foreman whirled himself about, and began to give
his orders; but the two editors still looked at each other
doubtfully.

As they stood so, there came a sudden shout and the sound of
people running to and fro in the reportorial rooms below. There
was the tramp of many footsteps on the stairs, and above the
confusion they heard the voice of the city editor telling some one
to "run to Madden's and get some brandy, quick."

No one in the composing-room said anything; but those compositors
who had started to go home began slipping off their overcoats, and
every one stood with his eyes fixed on the door.

It was kicked open from the outside, and in the doorway stood a
cab-driver and the city editor, supporting between them a pitiful
little figure of a boy, wet and miserable, and with the snow
melting on his clothes and running in little pools to the floor.
"Why, it's Gallegher," said the night editor, in a tone of the
keenest disappointment.

Gallegher shook himself free from his supporters, and took an
unsteady step forward, his fingers fumbling stiffly with the
buttons of his waistcoat.

"Mr. Dwyer, sir," he began faintly, with his eyes fixed fearfully
on the managing editor, "he got arrested--and I couldn't get here
no sooner, 'cause they kept a-stopping me, and they took me cab
from under me--but--" he pulled the note-book from his breast and
held it out with its covers damp and limp from the rain, "but we
got Hade, and here's Mr. Dwyer's copy."

And then he asked, with a queer note in his voice, partly of dread
and partly of hope, "Am I in time, sir?"

The managing editor took the book, and tossed it to the foreman,
who ripped out its leaves and dealt them out to his men as rapidly
as a gambler deals out cards.

Then the managing editor stooped and picked Gallegher up in his
arms, and, sitting down, began to unlace his wet and muddy shoes.

Gallegher made a faint effort to resist this degradation of the
managerial dignity; but his protest was a very feeble one, and his
head fell back heavily on the managing editor's shoulder.

To Gallegher the incandescent lights began to whirl about in
circles, and to burn in different colors; the faces of the
reporters kneeling before him and chafing his hands and feet grew
dim and unfamiliar, and the roar and rumble of the great presses
in the basement sounded far away, like the murmur of the sea.

And then the place and the circumstances of it came back to him
again sharply and with sudden vividness.

Gallegher looked up, with a faint smile, into the managing
editor's face. "You won't turn me off for running away, will you?"
he whispered.

The managing editor did not answer immediately. His head was bent,
and he was thinking, for some reason or other, of a little boy of
his own, at home in bed. Then he said, quietly, "Not this time,
Gallegher."

Gallegher's head sank back comfortably on the older man's
shoulder, and he smiled comprehensively at the faces of the young
men crowded around him. "You hadn't ought to," he said, with a
touch of his old impudence, "'cause--I beat the town."



THE JUMPING FROG

BY

MARK TWAIN

This is a story typical of American humor. As William Lyon Phelps
says, "The essentially American qualities of common-sense, energy,
good-humor, and Philistinism fairly shriek from his [Mark Twain's]
pages." Essays on Modern Novelists.



THE NOTORIOUS JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS [Footnote: Pronounced Cal-
e-va ras.] COUNTY

[Footnote: From "The Jumping Frog and Other Sketches," by Mark
Twain. Copyright, 1903, by Harper & Bros.]


In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me
from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon
Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W.
Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I
have a lurking suspicion that LEONIDAS W. Smiley is a myth; that
my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only
conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind
him of his infamous JIM Smiley, and he would go to work and bore
me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and
as tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was the design,
it succeeded.

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of
the dilapidated tavern in the decaying mining camp of Angel's, and
I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression
of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil
countenance. He roused up, and gave me good-day. I told him a
friend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a
cherished companion of his boyhood named LEONIDAS W. Smiley--REV.
LEONIDAS W. Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who he had
heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that if
Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W.
Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with
his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous
narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never
frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to
which he tuned his initial sentence, he never betrayed the
slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the
interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness
and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his
imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny about his
story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired
its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse. I let him
go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once.

"Rev. Leonidas W. H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller here
once by the name of JIM Smiley, in the winter of '49--or maybe it
was the spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though
what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember
the big flume warn't finished when he first come to the camp; but
anyway, he was the curiosest man about always betting on anything
that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to bet on the
other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides. Any way that
suited the other man would suit HIM--any way just so's he got a
bet, HE was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he
'most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a
chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that
feller'd offer to bet on it, and take any side you please, as I
was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him
flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a
dogfight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on
it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there
was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would
fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there
reg'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best
exhorter about here, and so he was, too, and a good man. If he
even see a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you
how long it would take him to get to--to wherever he was going to,
and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to
Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how
long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that
Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no
difference to HIM--he'd bet on ANY thing--the dangdest feller.
Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it
seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning he
come in, and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he said she
was consid'able better--thank the Lord for his inf'nite mercy--and
coming on so smart that with the blessing of Prov'dence she'd get
well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says: 'Well, I'll resk
two-and-a-half she don't anyway.'

"Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the fifteen-
minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of
course, she was faster than that--and he used to win money on that
horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the
distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They
used to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass
her under way; but always at the fag end of the race she'd get
excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and straddling up,
and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and
sometimes out to one side among the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e
dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and
blowing her nose--and ALWAYS fetch up at the stand just about a
neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.

"And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd
think he warn't worth a cent but to set around and look ornery and
lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up
on him he was a different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out
like the fo'castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover and
shine like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him and bully-rag
him, and bite him and throw him over his shoulder two or three
times, and Andrew Jackson--which was the name of the pup--Andrew
Jackson would never let on but what HE was satisfied, and hadn't
expected nothing else--and the bets being doubled and doubled on
the other side all the time, till the money was all up; and then
all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int of
his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you understand, but only
just grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a
year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed
a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been
sawed off in a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far
enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for
his pet holt, he see in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how
the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peared
surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like and didn't
try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He
give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it
was HIS fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for
him to take holt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and
then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good
pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for
hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him and he had genius
--I know it, because he hadn't no opportunities to speak of, and it
don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he
could under them circumstances if he hadn't no talent. It always
makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his'n, and
the way it turned out.

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and
tomcats, and all them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and
you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you.
He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he
cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three
months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And
you bet you he DID learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch
behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the
air like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or maybe a
couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all
right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching
flies, and kep' him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly
every time as fur as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog
wanted was education, and he could do 'most anything--and I
believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on
this floor--Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog--and sing out,
'Flies, Dan'l, flies!' and quicker'n you could wink he'd spring
straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and flop down
on the floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to
scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent
as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n any frog might
do. You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was,
for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square
jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one
straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a
dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it come
to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a
red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be,
for fellers that had travelled and been everywheres all said he
laid over any frog that ever THEY see.

"Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box, and he used
to fetch him down-town sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a
feller--a stranger in the camp, he was--come acrost him with his
box, and says:

"'What might it be that you've got in the box?'

"And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like: 'It might be a parrot,
or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only just a
frog.'

"And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it
round this way and that, and says: 'H'm--so 'tis. Well, what's HE
good for?'

"'Well,' Smiley says, easy and careless, 'he's good enough for ONE
thing, I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras
county.'

"The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular
look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate,
'Well,' he says, 'I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any
better'n any other frog.'

"'Maybe you don't,' Smiley says. 'Maybe you understand frogs and
maybe you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience, and
maybe you ain't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got MY
opinion, and I'll resk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog
in Calaveras county.'

"And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like,
'Well, I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but if I
had a frog, I'd bet you.'

"And then Smiley says, 'That's all right--that's all right--if
you'll hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog.' And so
the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with
Smiley's, and set down to wait.

"So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to hisself,
and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a
teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot--filled him pretty near
up to his chin--and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the
swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally
he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this
feller, and says:

"'Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his
forepaws just even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word.' Then he
says, 'One--two--three--GIT!' and him and the feller touched up
the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, but
Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders--so--like a
Frenchman, but it warn't no use--he couldn't budge; he was planted
as solid as a church, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was
anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was
disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was, of
course.

"The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going
out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder--so
--at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, 'Well,' he says, '_I_
don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other
frog.'

"Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a
long time, and at last he says, 'I do wonder what in the nation
that frog throw'd off for--I wonder if there ain't something the
matter with him--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow,' And he
ketched Dan'l by the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says,
'Why, blame my cats if he don't weigh five pound!' and turned him
upside down and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then
he see how it was, and he was the maddest man--he set the frog
down and took out after that feller, but he never ketched him.
And--"

[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and
got up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me as he moved
away, he said: "Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I
ain't going to be gone a second."

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the
history of the enterprising vagabond JIM Smiley would be likely to
afford me much information concerning the Rev. LEONIDAS W. Smiley,
and so I started away.

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he button-
holed me and re-commenced:

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yeller one-eyed cow that didn't have
no tail, only just a short stump like a bannanner, and--"

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to hear
about the afflicted cow, but took my leave.



THE LADY OR THE TIGER

BY

FRANK R. STOCKTON

This is an illustration of the symmetrical plot. It challenges the
constructive imagination of the reader to search the story for the
evidence that will lead to a logical conclusion.



THE LADY OR THE TIGER

[Footnote: From "The Lady or the Tiger?" by Frank R. Stockton.
Copyright, 1886, by Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1914, by
Marie Louise and Frances A. Stockton.]


In the very olden time, there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose
ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the
progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large,
florid, and untrammelled, as became the half of him which was
barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an
authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied
fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and
when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When
every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly
in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but
whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of
their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing
pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight, and crush
down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become
semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of
manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined
and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself.
The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an
opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to
enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict
between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far
better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the
people. This vast amphitheatre, with its encircling galleries, its
mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic
justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the
decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to
interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed
day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king's
arena--a structure which well deserved its name; for, although its
form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely
from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king, knew no
tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy,
and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and
action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king,
surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state
on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him
opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheatre.
Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space,
were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty
and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these
doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased.
He was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the
aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened
the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and
most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon
him, and tore him to pieces, as a punishment for his guilt. The
moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful
iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired
mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast
audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly
their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair,
or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.

But if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth
from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that
his Majesty could select among his fair subjects; and to this lady
he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It
mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or
that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own
selection. The king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to
interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The
exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and
in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest,
followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing
joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure,
advanced to where the pair stood side by side, and the wedding was
promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells rang
forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the
innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his path,
led his bride to his home.

This was the king's semi-barbaric method of administering justice.
Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not know out
of which door would come the lady. He opened either he pleased,
without having the slightest idea whether, in the next instant, he
was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the tiger came
out of one door, and on some out of the other. The decisions of
this tribunal were not only fair--they were positively
determinate. The accused person was instantly punished if he found
himself guilty, and if innocent he was rewarded on the spot,
whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the judgments
of the king's arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered
together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether
they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding.
This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which
it could not otherwise have attained. Thus the masses were
entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the community
could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan; for did not
the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands?

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most
florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his
own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and
was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a
young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station common
to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens. This
royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was
handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom,
and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it
to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love affair moved on
happily for many months, until, one day, the king happened to
discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to
his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into
prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the king's arena.
This, of course, was an especially important occasion, and his
Majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly interested in the
workings and development of this trial. Never before had such a
case occurred--never before had a subject dared to love the
daughter of a king. In after years such things became commonplace
enough, but then they were, in no slight degree, novel and
startling.

The tiger cages of the kingdom were searched for the most savage
and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster might be
selected for the arena, and the ranks of maiden youth and beauty
throughout the land were carefully surveyed by competent judges,
in order that the young man might have a fitting bride in case
fate did not determine for him a different destiny. Of course,
everybody knew that the deed with which the accused was charged
had been done. He had loved the princess, and neither he, she, nor
any one else thought of denying the fact. But the king would not
think of allowing any fact of this kind to interfere with the
workings of the tribunal, in which he took such great delight and
satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned out, the youth would
be disposed of, and the king would take an aesthetic pleasure in
watching the course of events which would determine whether or not
the young man had done wrong in allowing himself to love the
princess.

The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered,
and thronged the great galleries of the arena, while crowds,
unable to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside
walls. The king and his court were in their places, opposite the
twin doors--those fateful portals, so terrible in their
similarity!

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal
party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena.
Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum
of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so
grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved
him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena, he turned, as the custom
was, to bow to the king. But he did not think at all of that royal
personage; his eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the
right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism
in her nature, it is probable that lady would not have been there.
But her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent
on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the
moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should decide
his fate in the king's arena, she had thought of nothing, night or
day, but this great event and the various subjects connected with
it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force of character
than any one who had ever before been interested in such a case,
she had done what no other person had done--she had possessed
herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which of the two
rooms behind those doors stood the cage of the tiger, with its
open front and in which waited the lady. Through these thick
doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was
impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to
the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them.
But gold, and the power of a woman's will, had brought the secret
to the princess.

Not only did she know in which room stood the lady, ready to
emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but
she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest
of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of
the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of
aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her.
Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair
creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her
lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived and
even returned. Now and then she had seen them talking together. It
was but for a moment or two, but much can be said in a brief
space. It may have been on most unimportant topics, but how could
she know that? The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her
eyes to the loved one of the princess, and, with all the intensity
of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of
wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and
trembled behind that silent door.

When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as
she sat there paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of
anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick perception
which is given to those whose souls are one, that she knew behind
which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He
had expected her to know it. He understood her nature, and his
soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made
plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even
to the king. The only hope for the youth in which there was any
element of certainty was based upon the success of the princess in
discovering this mystery, and the moment he looked upon her, he
saw she had succeeded.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question,
"Which?" It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he
stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was asked
in a flash; it must be answered in another.

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised
her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No
one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man
in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the
empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held,
every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest
hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it.

Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of
that door, or did the lady?

The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to
answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us
through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to
find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of
the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded,
semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the
combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who
should have him?

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started
in wild horror and covered her face with her hands as she thought
of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited
the cruel fangs of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in
her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth and torn her hair
when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door
of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen
him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and sparkling
eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole
frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard
the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the
happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous
followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife
before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away
together upon their path of flowers, followed by the tremendous
shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing
shriek was lost and drowned!

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for
her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been
made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had
known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer,
and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to
the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered,
and it is not for me to presume to set up myself as the one person
able to answer it. So I leave it with all of you: Which came out
of the opened door--the lady or the tiger?



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT

BY

FRANCIS BRET HARTE

This is often called a story of local color. And it is. It is rich
in the characteristics of California in the gold-seeking days. It
is also classified as a story of setting. And it is. The setting
is a determining factor in the conduct of these outcasts. They are
men and women as inevitably drawn to the mining camp as the ill-
fated ship in "The Arabian Nights" was attracted to the lode-stone
mountain, and with as much certainty of shipwreck. These the
blizzard of the west gathers into its embrace, and compels them to
reveal their better selves. But it is more than a story of local
color and of setting. It is also an illustration of the artistic
blending of plot, character, and setting, and of the magical power
of youth to see life at the time truly enough, but to transform it
later into something fine and noble.



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT

[Footnote: From "The Luck of Roaring Camp," by Francis Bret Harte.
Copyright, 1906, by Houghton Mifflin Company. Reprinted by special
arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized
publishers of Bret Harte's works.]


As Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, stepped into the main street of
Poker Flat on the morning of the twenty-third of November, 1850,
he was conscious of a change in its moral atmosphere since the
preceding night. Two or three men, conversing earnestly together,
ceased as he approached, and exchanged significant glances. There
was a Sabbath lull in the air, which, in a settlement unused to
Sabbath influences, looked ominous.

Mr. Oakhurst's calm, handsome face betrayed small concern of these
indications. Whether he was conscious of any predisposing cause,
was another question. "I reckon they're after somebody," he
reflected; "likely it's me." He returned to his pocket the
handkerchief with which he had been whipping away the red dust of
Poker Flat from his neat boots, and quietly discharged his mind of
any further conjecture.

In point of fact, Poker Flat was "after somebody." It had lately
suffered the loss of several thousand dollars, two valuable
horses, and a prominent citizen. It was experiencing a spasm of
virtuous reaction, quite as lawless and ungovernable as any of the
acts that had provoked it. A secret committee had determined to
rid the town of all improper persons. This was done permanently in
regard of two men who were then hanging from the boughs of a
sycamore in the gulch, and temporarily in the banishment of
certain other objectionable characters. I regret to say that some
of these were ladies. It is but due to the sex, however, to state
that their impropriety was professional, and it was only in such
easily established standards of evil that Poker Flat ventured to
sit in judgment.

Mr. Oakhurst was right in supposing that he was included in this
category. A few of the committee had urged hanging him as a
possible example, and a sure method of reimbursing themselves from
his pockets of the sums he had won from them. "It's agin justice,"
said Jim Wheeler, "to let this yer young man from Roaring Camp--an
entire stranger--carry away our money." But a crude sentiment of
equity residing in the breasts of those who had been fortunate
enough to win from Mr. Oakhurst overruled this narrower local
prejudice.

Mr. Oakhurst received his sentence with philosophic calmness, none
the less coolly that he was aware of the hesitation of his judges.
He was too much of a gambler not to accept Fate. With him life was
at best an uncertain game, and he recognized the usual percentage
in favor of the dealer.

A body of armed men accompanied the deported wickedness of Poker
Flat to the outskirts of the settlement. Besides Mr. Oakhurst, who
was known to be a coolly desperate man, and for whose intimidation
the armed escort was intended, the expatriated party consisted of
a young woman familiarly known as "The Duchess"; another, who had
gained the infelicitous title of "Mother Shipton"; and "Uncle
Billy," a suspected sluice-robber and confirmed drunkard. The
cavalcade provoked no comments from the spectators, nor was any
word uttered by the escort. Only, when the gulch which marked the
uttermost limit of Poker Flat was reached, the leader spoke
briefly and to the point. The exiles were forbidden to return at
the peril of their lives.

As the escort disappeared, their pent-up feelings found vent in a
few hysterical tears from "The Duchess," some bad language from
Mother Shipton, and a Parthian volley of expletives from Uncle
Billy. The philosophic Oakhurst alone remained silent. He listened
calmly to Mother Shipton's desire to cut somebody's heart out, to
the repeated statements of "The Duchess" that she would die in the
road, and to the alarming oaths that seemed to be bumped out of
Uncle Billy as he rode forward. With the easy good-humor
characteristic of his class, he insisted upon exchanging his own
riding-horse, "Five Spot," for the sorry mule which the Duchess
rode. But even this act did not draw the party into any closer
sympathy. The young woman readjusted her somewhat draggled plumes
with a feeble, faded coquetry; Mother Shipton eyed the possessor
of "Five Spot" with malevolence, and Uncle Billy included the
whole party in one sweeping anathema.

The road to Sandy Bar--a camp that, not having as yet experienced
the regenerating influences of Poker Flat, consequently seemed to
offer some invitation to the emigrants--lay over a steep mountain
range. It was distant a day's severe journey. In that advanced
season, the party soon passed out of the moist, temperate regions
of the foot-hills into the dry, cold, bracing air of the Sierras.
The trail was narrow and difficult. At noon the Duchess, rolling
out of her saddle upon the ground, declared her intention of going
no farther, and the party halted.

The spot was singularly wild and impressive. A wooded
amphitheatre, surrounded on three sides by precipitous cliffs of
naked granite, sloped gently toward the crest of another precipice
that overlooked the valley. It was undoubtedly the most suitable
spot for a camp, had camping been advisable. But Mr. Oakhurst knew
that scarcely half the journey to Sandy Bar was accomplished, and
the party were not equipped or provisioned for delay. This fact he
pointed out to his companions curtly, with a philosophic
commentary on the folly of "throwing up their hand before the game
was played out." But they were furnished with liquor, which in
this emergency stood them in place of food, fuel, rest, and
prescience. In spite of his remonstrances, it was not long before
they were more or less under its influence. Uncle Billy passed
rapidly from a bellicose state into one of stupor, the Duchess
became maudlin, and Mother Shipton snored. Mr. Oakhurst alone
remained erect, leaning against a rock, calmly surveying them.

Mr. Oakhurst did not drink. It interfered with a profession which
required coolness, impassiveness, and presence of mind, and, in
his own language, he "couldn't afford it." As he gazed at his
recumbent fellow-exiles, the loneliness begotten of his pariah-
trade, his habits of life, his very vices, for the first time
seriously oppressed him. He bestirred himself in dusting his black
clothes, washing his hands and face, and other acts characteristic
of his studiously neat habits, and for a moment forgot his
annoyance. The thought of deserting his weaker and more pitiable
companions never perhaps occurred to him. Yet he could not help
feeling the want of that excitement which, singularly enough, was
most conducive to that calm equanimity for which he was notorious.
He looked at the gloomy walls that rose a thousand feet sheer
above the circling pines around him; at the sky, ominously
clouded; at the valley below, already deepening into shadow. And,
doing so, suddenly he heard his own name called.

A horseman slowly ascended the trail. In the fresh, open face of
the new-comer Mr. Oakhurst recognized Tom Simson, otherwise known
as "The Innocent" of Sandy Bar. He had met him some months before
over a "little game," and had, with perfect equanimity, won the
entire fortune--amounting to some forty dollars--of that guileless
youth. After the game was finished, Mr. Oakhurst drew the youthful
speculator behind the door and thus addressed him: "Tommy, you're
a good little man, but you can't gamble worth a cent. Don't try it
over again." He then handed him his money back, pushed him gently
from the room, and so made a devoted slave of Tom Simson.

There was a remembrance of this in his boyish and enthusiastic
greeting of Mr. Oakhurst. He had started, he said, to go to Poker
Flat to seek his fortune. Alone? No, not exactly alone; in fact
--a giggle--he had run away with Piney Woods. Didn't Mr. Oakhurst
remember Piney? She that used to wait on the table at the
Temperance House? They had been engaged a long time, but old Jake
Woods had objected, and so they had run away, and were going to
Poker Flat to be married, and here they were. And they were tired
out, and how lucky it was they had found a place to camp and
company. All this the Innocent delivered rapidly, while Piney--a
stout, comely damsel of fifteen--emerged from behind the pine-
tree, where she had been blushing unseen, and rode to the side of
her lover.

Mr. Oakhurst seldom troubled himself with sentiment, still less
with propriety; but he had a vague idea that the situation was not
felicitous. He retained, however, his presence of mind
sufficiently to kick Uncle Billy, who was about to say something,
and Uncle Billy was sober enough to recognize in Mr. Oakhurst's
kick a superior power that would not bear trifling. He then
endeavored to dissuade Tom Simson from delaying further, but in
vain. He even pointed out the fact that there was no provision,
nor means of making a camp. But, unluckily, "The Innocent" met
this objection by assuring the party that he was provided with an
extra mule loaded with provisions, and by the discovery of a rude
attempt at a log-house near the trail. "Piney can stay with Mrs.
Oakhurst," said the Innocent, pointing to the Duchess, "and I can
shift for myself."

Nothing but Mr. Oakhurst's admonishing foot saved Uncle Billy from
bursting into a roar of laughter. As it was, he felt compelled to
retire up the canon until he could recover his gravity. There he
confided the joke to the tall pine-trees, with many slaps of his
leg, contortions of his face, and the usual profanity. But when he
returned to the party, he found them seated by a fire--for the air
had grown strangely chill and the sky overcast--in apparently
amicable conversation. Piney was actually talking in an impulsive,
girlish fashion to the Duchess, who was listening with an interest
and animation she had not shown for many days. The Innocent was
holding forth, apparently with equal effect, to Mr. Oakhurst and
Mother Shipton, who was actually relaxing into amiability. "Is
this yer a d--d picnic?" said Uncle Billy, with inward scorn, as
he surveyed the sylvan group, the glancing fire-light, and the
tethered animals in the foreground. Suddenly an idea mingled with
the alcoholic fumes that disturbed his brain. It was apparently of
a jocular nature, for he felt impelled to slap his leg again and
cram his fist into his mouth.

As the shadows crept slowly up the mountain, a slight breeze
rocked the tops of the pine-trees, and moaned through their long
and gloomy aisles. The ruined cabin, patched and covered with pine
boughs, was set apart for the ladies. As the lovers parted, they
unaffectedly exchanged a kiss, so honest and sincere that it might
have been heard above the swaying pines. The frail Duchess and the
malevolent Mother Shipton were probably too stunned to remark upon
this last evidence of simplicity, and so turned without a word to
the hut. The fire was replenished, the men lay down before the
door, and in a few minutes were asleep.

Mr. Oakhurst was a light sleeper. Toward morning he awoke benumbed
and cold. As he stirred the dying fire, the wind, which was now
blowing strongly, brought to his cheek that which caused the blood
to leave it,--snow!

He started to his feet with the intention of awakening the
sleepers, for there was no time to lose. But turning to where
Uncle Billy had been lying, he found him gone. A suspicion leaped
to his brain and a curse to his lips. He ran to the spot where the
mules had been tethered; they were no longer there. The tracks
were already rapidly disappearing in the snow.

The momentary excitement brought Mr. Oakhurst back to the fire
with his usual calm. He did not waken the sleepers. The Innocent
slumbered peacefully, with a smile on his good-humored, freckled
face; the virgin Piney slept beside her frailer sisters as sweetly
as though attended by celestial guardians, and Mr. Oakhurst,
drawing his blanket over his shoulders, stroked his mustachios and
waited for the dawn. It came slowly in a whirling mist of
snowflakes, that dazzled and confused the eye. What could be seen
of the landscape appeared magically changed. He looked over the
valley, and summed up the present and future in two words,--
"Snowed in!"

A careful inventory of the provisions, which, fortunately for the
party, had been stored within the hut, and so escaped the
felonious fingers of Uncle Billy, disclosed the fact that with
care and prudence they might last ten days longer. "That is," said
Mr. Oakhurst, sotto voce to the Innocent, "if you're willing to
board us. If you ain't--and perhaps you'd better not--you can wait
till Uncle Billy gets back with provisions." For some occult
reason, Mr. Oakhurst could not bring himself to disclose Uncle
Billy's rascality, and so offered the hypothesis that he had
wandered from the camp and had accidentally stampeded the animals.
He dropped a warning to the Duchess and Mother Shipton, who of
course knew the facts of their associate's defection. "They'll
find out the truth about us ALL, when they find out anything," he
added, significantly, "and there's no good frightening them now."

Tom Simson not only put all his worldly store at the disposal of
Mr. Oakhurst, but seemed to enjoy the prospect of their enforced
seclusion. "We'll have a good camp for a week, and then the
snow'll melt, and we'll all go back together." The cheerful gaiety
of the young man and Mr. Oakhurst's calm infected the others. The
Innocent, with the aid of pine boughs, extemporized a thatch for
the roofless cabin, and the Duchess directed Piney in the
rearrangement of the interior with a taste and tact that opened
the blue eyes of that provincial maiden to their fullest extent.
"I reckon now you're used to fine things at Poker Flat," said
Piney. The Duchess turned away sharply to conceal something that
reddened her cheek through its professional tint, and Mother
Shipton requested Piney not to "chatter." But when Mr. Oakhurst
returned from a weary search for the trail, he heard the sound of
happy laughter echoed from the rocks. He stopped in some alarm,
and his thoughts first naturally reverted to the whiskey, which he
had prudently cached. "And yet it don't somehow sound like
whiskey," said the gambler. It was not until he caught sight of
the blazing fire through the still blinding storm, and the group
around it, that he settled to the conviction that it was "square
fun."

Whether Mr. Oakhurst had cached his cards with the whiskey as
something debarred the free access of the community, I cannot say.
It was certain that, in Mother Shipton's words, he "didn't say
cards once" during that evening. Haply the time was beguiled by an
accordion, produced somewhat ostentatiously by Tom Simson, from
his pack. Notwithstanding some difficulties attending the
manipulation of this instrument, Piney Woods managed to pluck
several reluctant melodies from its keys, to an accompaniment by
the Innocent on a pair of bone castanets. But the crowning
festivity of the evening was reached in a rude camp-meeting hymn,
which the lovers, joining hands, sang with great earnestness and
vociferation. I fear that a certain defiant tone and Covenanter's
swing to its chorus, rather than any devotional quality, caused it
speedily to infect the others, who at last joined in the refrain:

"'I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, And I'm bound to
die in His army.'"

The pines rocked, the storm eddied and whirled above the miserable
group, and the flames of their altar leaped heavenward, as if in
token of the vow.

At midnight the storm abated, the rolling clouds parted, and the
stars glittered keenly above the sleeping camp. Mr. Oakhurst,
whose professional habits had enabled him to live on the smallest
possible amount of sleep, in dividing the watch with Tom Simson,
somehow managed to take upon himself the greater part of that
duty. He excused himself to the Innocent, by saying that he had
"often been a week without sleep." "Doing what?" asked Tom.
"Poker!" replied Oakhurst, sententiously; "when a man gets a
streak of luck,--nigger-luck,--he don't get tired. The luck gives
in first. Luck," continued the gambler, reflectively, "is a mighty
queer thing. All you know about it for certain is that it's bound
to change. And it's finding out when it's going to change that
makes you. We've had a streak of bad luck since we left Poker
Flat--you come along, and slap you get into it, too. If you can
hold your cards right along you're all right. For," added the
gambler, with cheerful irrelevance,

"'I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, And I'm bound to
die in His army.'"

The third day came, and the sun, looking through the white-
curtained valley, saw the outcasts divide their slowly decreasing
store of provisions for the morning meal. It was one of the
peculiarities of that mountain climate that its rays diffused a
kindly warmth over the wintry landscape, as if in regretful
commiseration of the past. But it revealed drift on drift of snow
piled high around the hut; a hopeless, uncharted, trackless sea of
white lying below the rocky shores to which the castaways still
clung. Through the marvellously clear air, the smoke of the
pastoral village of Poker Flat rose miles away. Mother Shipton saw
it, and from a remote pinnacle of her rocky fastness, hurled in
that direction a final malediction. It was her last vituperative
attempt, and perhaps for that reason was invested with a certain
degree of sublimity. It did her good, she privately informed the
Duchess. "Just you go out there and cuss, and see." She then set
herself to the task of amusing "the child," as she and the Duchess
were pleased to call Piney. Piney was no chicken, but it was a
soothing and ingenious theory of the pair thus to account for the
fact that she didn't swear and wasn't improper.

When night crept up again through the gorges, the reedy notes of
the accordion rose and fell in fitful spasms and long-drawn gasps
by the flickering campfire. But music failed to fill entirely the
aching void left by insufficient food, and a new diversion was
proposed by Piney--story-telling. Neither Mr. Oakhurst nor his
female companions caring to relate their personal experiences,
this plan would have failed, too, but for the Innocent. Some
months before he had chanced upon a stray copy of Mr. Pope's
ingenious translation of the Iliad. He now proposed to narrate the
principal incidents of that poem--having thoroughly mastered the
argument and fairly forgotten the words--in the current vernacular
of Sandy Bar. And so for the rest of that night the Homeric
demigods again walked the earth. Trojan bully and wily Greek
wrestled in the winds, and the great pines in the canon seemed to
bow to the wrath of the son of Peleus. Mr. Oakhurst listened with
quiet satisfaction. Most especially was he interested in the fate
of "Ash-heels," as the Innocent persisted in denominating the
"swift-footed Achilles."

So with small food and much of Homer and the accordion, a week
passed over the heads of the outcasts. The sun again forsook them,
and again from leaden skies the snowflakes were sifted over the
land. Day by day closer around them drew the snowy circle, until
at last they looked from their prison over drifted walls of
dazzling white, that towered twenty feet above their heads. It
became more and more difficult to replenish their fires, even from
the fallen trees beside them, now half hidden in the drifts. And
yet no one complained. The lovers turned from the dreary prospect
and looked into each other's eyes, and were happy. Mr. Oakhurst
settled himself coolly to the losing game before him. The Duchess,
more cheerful than she had been, assumed the care of Piney. Only
Mother Shipton--once the strongest of the party--seemed to sicken
and fade. At midnight on the tenth day she called Oakhurst to her
side. "I'm going," she said, in a voice of querulous weakness,
"but don't say anything about it. Don't waken the kids. Take the
bundle from under my head and open it." Mr. Oakhurst did so. It
contained Mother Shipton's rations for the last week, untouched.
"Give 'em to the child," she said, pointing to the sleeping Piney.
"You've starved yourself," said the gambler. "That's what they
call it," said the woman, querulously, as she lay down again, and,
turning her face to the wall, passed quietly away.

The accordion and the bones were put aside that day, and Homer was
forgotten. When the body of Mother Shipton had been committed to
the snow, Mr. Oakhurst took the Innocent aside, and showed him a
pair of snowshoes, which he had fashioned from the old pack-
saddle. "There's one chance in a hundred to save her yet," he
said, pointing to Piney; "but it's there," he added, pointing
toward Poker Flat. "If you can reach there in two days she's
safe." "And you?" asked Tom Simson. "I'll stay here," was the curt
reply.

The lovers parted with a long embrace. "You are not going, too?"
said the Duchess, as she saw Mr. Oakhurst apparently waiting to
accompany him. "As far as the canon," he replied. He turned
suddenly, and kissed the Duchess, leaving her pallid face aflame,
and her trembling limbs rigid with amazement.

Night came, but not Mr. Oakhurst. It brought the storm again and
the whirling snow. Then the Duchess, feeding the fire, found that
some one had quietly piled beside the hut enough fuel to last a
few days longer. The tears rose to her eyes, but she hid them from
Piney.

The women slept but little. In the morning, looking into each
other's faces, they read their fate. Neither spoke; but Piney,
accepting the position of the stronger, drew near and placed her
arm around the Duchess's waist. They kept this attitude for the
rest of the day. That night the storm reached its greatest fury,
and, rending asunder the protecting pines, invaded the very hut.

Toward morning they found themselves unable to feed the fire,
which gradually died away. As the embers slowly blackened, the
Duchess crept closer to Piney, and broke the silence of many
hours: "Piney, can you pray?" "No, dear," said Piney, simply. The
Duchess, without knowing exactly why, felt relieved, and, putting
her head upon Piney's shoulder, spoke no more. And so reclining,
the younger and purer pillowing the head of her soiled sister upon
her virgin breast, they fell asleep.

The wind lulled as if it feared to waken them. Feathery drifts of
snow, shaken from the long pine boughs, flew like white-winged
birds, and settled about them as they slept. The moon through the
rifted clouds looked down upon what had been the camp. But all
human stain, all trace of earthly travail, was hidden beneath the
spotless mantle mercifully flung from above.

They slept all that day and the next, nor did they waken when
voices and footsteps broke the silence of the camp. And when
pitying fingers brushed the snow from their wan faces, you could
scarcely have told from the equal peace that dwelt upon them,
which was she that had sinned. Even the Law of Poker Flat
recognized this, and turned away, leaving them still locked in
each other's arms.

But at the head of the gulch, on one of the largest pine-trees,
they found the deuce of clubs pinned to the bark with a bowie
knife. It bore the following, written in pencil, in a firm hand:

BENEATH THIS TREE LIES THE BODY OF JOHN OAKHURST, WHO STRUCK A
STREAK OF BAD LUCK ON THE 2ND OF NOVEMBER, 1850, AND HANDED IN HIS
CHECKS ON THE 7TH DECEMBER, 1850.

 And, pulseless and cold, with a Derringer by his side and a
bullet in his heart, though still calm as in life, beneath the
snow lay he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of
the outcasts of Poker Flat.



THE REVOLT OF "MOTHER"

BY

MARY E. WILKINS FREEMAN

This is a story of character against a New England background.
Each character is worked out with the delicacy and minuteness of a
cameo. Each is intensely realistic, yet, as in the cameo, palely
flushed with romance. "Mother," along with her originality of
action and long-concealed ideals, has the saving quality of
common-sense, which makes its powerful appeal to the daily
realities of life. Thus when "Father," dazed by the unexpected
revelation of the character and ideals of the woman he has
misunderstood for forty years, stands uncertain whether to assert
or to surrender his long-established supremacy, she decides him in
her favor by a practical suggestion of acquiescence: "You'd better
take your coat off an' get washed--there's the wash-basin--an'
then we'll have supper."



THE REVOLT OF "MOTHER"

[Footnote: From "A New England Nun and Other Stories," by Mary E.
Wilkins Freeman. Copyright, 1891, by Harper & Bros. Reprinted by
special permission.]


"Father!"

"What is it?"

"What are them men diggin' over there in the field for?"

There was a sudden dropping and enlarging of the lower part of the
old man's face, as if some heavy weight had settled therein; he
shut his mouth tight, and went on harnessing the great bay mare.
He hustled the collar on to her neck with a jerk.

"Father!"

The old man slapped the saddle upon the mare's back.

"Look here, father, I want to know what them men are diggin' over
in the field for, an' I'm goin' to know."

"I wish you'd go into the house, mother, an' 'tend to your own
affairs," the old man said then. He ran his words together, and
his speech was almost as inarticulate as a growl.

But the woman understood; it was her most native tongue. "I ain't
goin' into the house till you tell me what them men are doin' over
there in the field," said she.

Then she stood waiting. She was a small woman, short and straight-
waisted like a child in her brown cotton gown. Her forehead was
mild and benevolent between the smooth curves of gray hair; there
were meek downward lines about her nose and mouth; but her eyes,
fixed upon the old man, looked as if the meekness had been the
result of her own will, never of the will of another.

They were in the barn, standing before the wide-open doors. The
spring air, full of the smell of growing grass and unseen
blossoms, came in their faces. The deep yard in front was littered
with farm wagons and piles of wood, on the edges, close to the
fence and the house, the grass was a vivid green, and there were
some dandelions.

The old man glanced doggedly at his wife as he tightened the last
buckles on the harness. She looked as immovable to him as one of
the rocks in his pastureland, bound to the earth with generations
of blackberry vines. He slapped the reins over the horse, and
started forth from the barn.

"FATHER!" said she.

The old man pulled up. "What is it?"

"I want to know what them men are diggin' over there in that field
for."

"They're diggin' a cellar, I s'pose, if you've got to know."

"A cellar for what?"

"A barn."

"A barn? You ain't goin' to build a barn over there where we was
goin' to have a house, father?"

The old man said not another word. He hurried the horse into the
farm wagon, and clattered out of the yard, jouncing as sturdily on
his seat as a boy.

The woman stood a moment looking after him, then she went out of
the barn across a corner of the yard to the house. The house,
standing at right angles with the great barn and a long reach of
sheds and out-buildings, was infinitesimal compared with them. It
was scarcely as commodious for people as the little boxes under
the barn eaves were for doves.

A pretty girl's face, pink and delicate as a flower, was looking
out of one of the house windows. She was watching three men who
were digging over in the field which bounded the yard near the
road line. She turned quietly when the woman entered.

"What are they digging for, mother?" said she. "Did he tell you?"

"They're diggin' for--a cellar for a new barn."

"Oh, mother, he ain't going to build another barn?"

"That's what he says."

A boy stood before the kitchen glass combing his hair. He combed
slowly and painstakingly, arranging his brown hair in a smooth
hillock over his forehead. He did not seem to pay any attention to
the conversation.

"Sammy, did you know father was going to build a new barn?" asked
the girl.

The boy combed assiduously.

"Sammy!"

He turned, and showed a face like his father's under his smooth
crest of hair. "Yes, I s'pose I did," he said, reluctantly.

"How long have you known it?" asked his mother.

"'Bout three months, I guess."

"Why didn't you tell of it?"

"Didn't think 'twould do no good."

"I don't see what father wants another barn for," said the girl,
in her sweet, slow voice. She turned again to the window, and
stared out at the digging men in the field. Her tender, sweet face
was full of a gentle distress. Her forehead was as bald and
innocent as a baby's, with the light hair strained back from it in
a row of curl-papers. She was quite large, but her soft curves did
not look as if they covered muscles.

Her mother looked sternly at the boy. "Is he goin' to buy more
cows?" said she.

The boy did not reply; he was tying his shoes.

"Sammy, I want you to tell me if he's goin' to buy more cows."

"I s'pose he is."

"How many?"

"Four, I guess."

His mother said nothing more. She went into the pantry, and there
was a clatter of dishes. The boy got his cap from a nail behind
the door, took an old arithmetic from the shelf, and started for
school. He was lightly built, but clumsy. He went out of the yard
with a curious spring in the hips, that made his loose home-made
jacket tilt up in the rear.

The girl went to the sink, and began to wash the dishes that were
piled up there. Her mother came promptly out of the pantry, and
shoved her aside. "You wipe 'em," said she; "I'll wash. There's a
good many this mornin'."

The mother plunged her hands vigorously into the water, the girl
wiped the plates slowly and dreamily. "Mother," said she, "don't
you think it's too bad father's going to build that new barn, much
as we need a decent house to live in?"

Her mother scrubbed a dish fiercely. "You ain't found out yet
we're women-folks, Nanny Penn," said she. "You ain't seen enough
of men-folks yet to. One of these days you'll find it out, an'
then you'll know that we know only what men-folks think we do, so
far as any use of it goes, an' how we'd ought to reckon men-folks
in with Providence, an' not complain of what they do any more than
we do of the weather."

"I don't care; I don't believe George is anything like that,
anyhow," said Nanny. Her delicate face flushed pink, her lips
pouted softly, as if she were going to cry.

"You wait an' see. I guess George Eastman ain't no better than
other men. You hadn't ought to judge father, though. He can't help
it, 'cause he don't look at things jest the way we do. An' we've
been pretty comfortable here, after all. The roof don't leak--
ain't never but once--that's one thing. Father's kept it shingled
right up."

"I do wish we had a parlor."

"I guess it won't hurt George Eastman any to come to see you in a
nice clean kitchen. I guess a good many girls don't have as good a
place as this. Nobody's ever heard me complain."

"I ain't complained either, mother."

"Well, I don't think you'd better, a good father an' a good home
as you've got. S'pose your father made you go out an' work for
your livin'? Lots of girls have to that ain't no stronger an'
better able to than you be."

Sarah Penn washed the frying-pan with a conclusive air. She
scrubbed the outside of it as faithfully as the inside. She was a
masterly keeper of her box of a house. Her one living-room never
seemed to have in it any of the dust which the friction of life
with inanimate matter produces. She swept, and there seemed to be
no dirt to go before the broom; she cleaned, and one could see no
difference. She was like an artist so perfect that he has
apparently no art. To-day she got out a mixing bowl and a board,
and rolled some pies, and there was no more flour upon her than
upon her daughter who was doing finer work. Nanny was to be
married in the fall, and she was sewing on some white cambric and
embroidery. She sewed industriously while her mother cooked, her
soft milk-white hands and wrists showed whiter than her delicate
work.

"We must have the stove moved out in the shed before long," said
Mrs. Penn. "Talk about not havin' things, it's been a real
blessin' to be able to put a stove up in that shed in hot weather.
Father did one good thing when he fixed that stove-pipe out
there."

Sarah Penn's face as she rolled her pies had that expression of
meek vigor which might have characterized one of the New Testament
saints. She was making mince-pies. Her husband, Adoniram Penn,
liked them better than any other kind. She baked twice a week.
Adoniram often liked a piece of pie between meals. She hurried
this morning. It had been later than usual when she began, and she
wanted to have a pie baked for dinner. However deep a resentment
she might be forced to hold against her husband, she would never
fail in sedulous attention to his wants.

Nobility of character manifests itself at loop-holes when it is
not provided with large doors. Sarah Penn's showed itself to-day
in flaky dishes of pastry. So she made the pies faithfully, while
across the table she could see, when she glanced up from her work,
the sight that rankled in her patient and steadfast soul--the
digging of the cellar of the new barn in the place where Adoniram
forty years ago had promised her their new house should stand.

The pies were done for dinner. Adoniram and Sammy were home a few
minutes after twelve o'clock. The dinner was eaten with serious
haste. There was never much conversation at the table in the Penn
family. Adoniram asked a blessing, and they ate promptly, then
rose up and went about their work.

Sammy went back to school, taking soft, sly lopes out of the yard
like a rabbit. He wanted a game of marbles before school, and
feared his father would give him some chores to do. Adoniram
hastened to the door and called after him, but he was out of
sight.

"I don't see what you let him go for, mother," said he. "I wanted
him to help me unload that wood."

Adoniram went to work out in the yard unloading wood from the
wagon. Sarah put away the dinner dishes, while Nanny took down her
curl-papers and changed her dress. She was going down to the store
to buy some more embroidery and thread.

When Nanny was gone, Mrs. Penn went to the door. "Father!" she
called.

"Well, what is it!"

"I want to see you jest a minute, father."

"I can't leave this wood nohow. I've got to git it unloaded an' go
for a load of gravel afore two o'clock. Sammy had ought to helped
me. You hadn't ought to let him go to school so early."

"I want to see you jest a minute."

"I tell ye I can't, nohow, mother."

"Father, you come here." Sarah Penn stood in the door like a
queen; she held her head as if it bore a crown; there was that
patience which makes authority royal in her voice. Adoniram went.

Mrs. Penn led the way into the kitchen, and pointed to a chair.
"Sit down, father," said she; "I've got somethin' I want to say to
you."

He sat down heavily; his face was quite stolid, but he looked at
her with restive eyes. "Well, what is it, mother?"

"I want to know what you're buildin' that new barn for, father?"

"I ain't got nothin' to say about it."

"It can't be you think you need another barn?"

"I tell ye I ain't got nothin' to say about it, mother; an' I
ain't goin' to say nothin'."

"Be you goin' to buy more cows?"

Adoniram did not reply; he shut his mouth tight.

"I know you be, as well as I want to. Now, father, look here"--
Sarah Penn had not sat down; she stood before her husband in the
humble fashion of a Scripture woman--"I'm goin' to talk real plain
to you; I never have sence I married you, but I'm goin' to now. I
ain't never complained, an' I ain't goin' to complain now, but I'm
goin' to talk plain. You see this room here, father; you look at
it well. You see there ain't no carpet on the floor, an' you see
the paper is all dirty, an' droppin' off the walls. We ain't had
no new paper on it for ten year, an' then I put it on myself, an'
it didn't cost but ninepence a roll. You see this room, father;
it's all the one I've had to work in an' eat in an' sit in sence
we was married. There ain't another woman in the whole town whose
husband ain't got half the means you have but what's got better.
It's all the room Nanny's got to have her company in; an' there
ain't one of her mates but what's got better, an' their fathers
not so able as hers is. It's all the room she'll have to be
married in. What would you have thought, father, if we had had our
weddin' in a room no better than this? I was married in my
mother's parlor, with a carpet on the floor, an' stuffed
furniture, an' a mahogany card-table. An' this is all the room my
daughter will have to be married in. Look here, father!"

Sarah Penn went across the room as though it were a tragic stage.
She flung open a door and disclosed a tiny bedroom, only large
enough for a bed and bureau, with a path between. "There, father,"
said she--"there's all the room I've had to sleep in forty year.
All my children were born there--the two that died, an' the two
that's livin'. I was sick with a fever there."

She stepped to another door and opened it. It led into the small,
ill-lighted pantry. "Here," said she, "is all the buttery I've
got--every place I've got for my dishes, to set away my victuals
in, an' to keep my milk-pans in. Father, I've been takin' care of
the milk of six cows in this place, an' now you're goin' to build
a new barn, an' keep more cows, an' give me more to do in it."

She threw open another door. A narrow crooked flight of stairs
wound upward from it. "There, father," said she, "I want you to
look at the stairs that go up to them two unfinished chambers that
are all the places our son an' daughter have had to sleep in all
their lives. There ain't a prettier girl in town nor a more
ladylike one than Nanny, an' that's the place she has to sleep in.
It ain't so good as your horse's stall; it ain't so warm an'
tight."

Sarah Penn went back and stood before her husband. "Now, father,"
said she, "I want to know if you think you're doin' right an'
accordin' to what you profess. Here, when we was married, forty
year ago, you promised me faithful that we should have a new house
built in that lot over in the field before the year was out. You
said you had money enough, an' you wouldn't ask me to live in no
such place as this. It is forty year now, an' you've been makin'
more money, an' I've been savin' of it for you ever sence, an' you
ain't built no house yet. You've built sheds an' cow-houses an'
one new barn, an' now you're goin' to build another. Father, I
want to know if you think it's right. You're lodgin' your dumb
beasts better than you are your own flesh an' blood. I want to
know if you think it's right."

"I ain't got nothin' to say."

"You can't say nothin' without ownin' it ain't right, father. An'
there's another thing--I ain't complained; I've got along forty
year, an' I s'pose I should forty more, if it wa'n't for that--if
we don't have another house. Nanny she can't live with us after
she's married. She'll have to go somewheres else to live away from
us, an' it don't seem as if I could have it so, noways, father.
She wa'n't ever strong. She's got considerable color, but there
wa'n't never any backbone to her. I've always took the heft of
everything off her, an' she ain't fit to keep house an' do
everything herself. She'll be all worn out inside of a year. Think
of her doin' all the washin' an' ironin' an' bakin' with them soft
white hands an' arms, an' sweepin'! I can't have it so, noways,
father."

Mrs. Penn's face was burning; her mild eyes gleamed. She had
pleaded her little cause like a Webster; she had ranged from
severity to pathos; but her opponent employed that obstinate
silence which makes eloquence futile with mocking echoes. Adoniram
arose clumsily.

"Father, ain't you got nothin' to say?" said Mrs. Penn.

"I've got to go off after that load of gravel. I can't stan' here
talkin' all day."

"Father, won't you think it over, an' have a house built there
instead of a barn?"

"I ain't got nothin' to say."

Adoniram shuffled out. Mrs. Penn went into her bedroom. When she
came out, her eyes were red. She had a roll of unbleached cotton
cloth. She spread it out on the kitchen table, and began cutting
out some shirts for her husband. The men over in the field had a
team to help them this afternoon; she could hear their halloos.
She had a scanty pattern for the shirts; she had to plan and piece
the sleeves.

Nanny came home with her embroidery, and sat down with her
needlework. She had taken down her curl-papers, and there was a
soft roll of fair hair like an aureole over her forehead; her face
was as delicately fine and clear as porcelain. Suddenly she looked
up, and the tender red flamed all over her face and neck.
"Mother," said she.

"What say?"

"I've been thinking--I don't see how we're goin' to have any--
wedding in this room. I'd be ashamed to have his folks come if we
didn't have anybody else."

"Mebbe we can have some new paper before then; I can put it on. I
guess you won't have no call to be ashamed of your belongin's."

"We might have the wedding in the new barn," said Nanny, with
gentle pettishness. "Why, mother, what makes you look so?"

Mrs. Penn had started, and was staring at her with a curious
expression. She turned again to her work, and spread out a pattern
carefully on the cloth. "Nothin'," said she.

Presently Adoniram clattered out of the yard in his two-wheeled
dump cart, standing as proudly upright as a Roman charioteer. Mrs.
Penn opened the door and stood there a minute looking out; the
halloos of the men sounded louder.

It seemed to her all through the spring months that she heard
nothing but the halloos and the noises of saws and hammers. The
new barn grew fast. It was a fine edifice for this little village.
Men came on pleasant Sundays, in their meeting suits and clean
shirt bosoms, and stood around it admiringly. Mrs. Penn did not
speak of it, and Adoniram did not mention it to her, although
sometimes, upon a return from inspecting it, he bore himself with
injured dignity.

"It's a strange thing how your mother feels about the new barn,"
he said, confidentially, to Sammy one day.

Sammy only grunted after an odd fashion for a boy; he had learned
it from his father.

The barn was all completed ready for use by the third week in
July. Adoniram had planned to move his stock in on Wednesday; on
Tuesday he received a letter which changed his plans. He came in
with it early in the morning. "Sammy's been to the post-office,"
said he, "an' I've got a letter from Hiram." Hiram was Mrs. Penn's
brother, who lived in Vermont.

"Well," said Mrs. Penn, "what does he say about the folks?"

"I guess they're all right. He says he thinks if I come up country
right off there's a chance to buy jest the kind of a horse I
want." He stared reflectively out of the window at the new barn.

Mrs. Penn was making pies. She went on clapping the rolling-pin
into the crust, although she was very pale, and her heart beat
loudly.

"I dun' know but what I'd better go," said Adoniram. "I hate to go
off jest now, right in the midst of hayin', but the ten-acre lot's
cut, an' I guess Rufus an' the others can git along without me
three or four days. I can't get a horse round here to suit me,
nohow, an' I've got to have another for all that wood-haulin' in
the fall. I told Hiram to watch out, an' if he got wind of a good
horse to let me know. I guess I'd better go."

"I'll get out your clean shirt an' collar," said Mrs. Penn,
calmly.

She laid out Adoniram's Sunday suit and his clean clothes on the
bed in the little bedroom. She got his shaving-water and razor
ready. At last she buttoned on his collar and fastened his black
cravat.

Adoniram never wore his collar and cravat except on extra
occasions. He held his head high, with a rasped dignity. When he
was all ready, with his coat and hat brushed, and a lunch of pie
and cheese in a paper bag, he hesitated on the threshold of the
door. He looked at his wife, and his manner was defiantly
apologetic. "IF them cows come to-day, Sammy can drive 'em into
the new barn," said he; "an' when they bring the hay up, they can
pitch it in there."

"Well," replied Mrs. Penn.

Adoniram set his shaven face ahead and started. When he had
cleared the door-step, he turned and looked back with a kind of
nervous solemnity. "I shall be back by Saturday if nothin'
happens," said he.

"Do be careful, father," returned his wife.

She stood in the door with Nanny at her elbow and watched him out
of sight. Her eyes had a strange, doubtful expression in them; her
peaceful forehead was contracted. She went in, and about her
baking again. Nanny sat sewing. Her wedding-day was drawing
nearer, and she was getting pale and thin with her steady sewing.
Her mother kept glancing at her.

"Have you got that pain in your side this mornin'?" she asked.

"A little."

Mrs. Penn's face, as she worked, changed, her perplexed forehead
smoothed, her eyes were steady, her lips firmly set. She formed a
maxim for herself, although incoherently with her unlettered
thoughts. "Unsolicited opportunities are the guide-posts of the
Lord to the new roads of life," she repeated in effect, and she
made up her mind to her course of action.

"S'posin' I had wrote to Hiram," she muttered once, when she was
in the pantry--"s'posin' I had wrote, an' asked him if he knew of
any horse? But I didn't, an' father's goin' wa'n't none of my
doin'. It looks like a providence." Her voice rang out quite loud
at the last.

"What you talkin' about, mother?" called Nanny.

"Nothin'."

Mrs. Penn hurried her baking; at eleven o 'clock it was all done.
The load of hay from the west field came slowly down the cart
track, and drew up at the new barn. Mrs. Penn ran out. "Stop!" she
screamed--"stop!"

The men stopped and looked; Sammy upreared from the top of the
load, and stared at his mother.

"Stop!" she cried out again. "Don't you put the hay in that barn;
put it in the old one."

"Why, he said to put it in here," returned one of the haymakers,
wonderingly. He was a young man, a neighbor's son, whom Adoniram
hired by the year to help on the farm.

"Don't you put the hay in the new barn; there's room enough in the
old one, ain't there?" said Mrs. Penn.

"Room enough," returned the hired man, in his thick, rustic tones.
"Didn't need the new barn, nohow, far as room's concerned. Well, I
s'pose he changed his mind." He took hold of the horses' bridles.

Mrs. Penn went back to the house. Soon the kitchen windows were
darkened, and a fragrance like warm honey came into the room.

Nanny laid down her work. "I thought father wanted them to put the
hay into the new barn?" she said, wonderingly.

"It's all right," replied her mother.

Sammy slid down from the load of hay, and came in to see if dinner
was ready.

"I ain't goin' to get a regular dinner to-day, as long as father's
gone," said his mother. "I've let the fire go out. You can have
some bread an' milk an' pie. I thought we could get along." She
set out some bowls of milk, some bread, and a pie on the kitchen
table. "You'd better eat your dinner now," said she. "You might
jest as well get through with it. I want you to help me
afterward."

Nanny and Sammy stared at each other. There was something strange
in their mother's manner. Mrs. Penn did not eat anything herself.
She went into the pantry, and they heard her moving dishes while
they ate. Presently she came out with a pile of plates. She got
the clothes-basket out of the shed, and packed them in it. Nanny
and Sammy watched. She brought out cups and saucers, and put them
in with the plates.

"What you goin' to do, mother?" inquired Nanny, in a timid voice.
A sense of something unusual made her tremble, as if it were a
ghost. Sammy rolled his eyes over his pie.

"You'll see what I'm goin' to do," replied Mrs. Penn. "If you're
through, Nanny, I want you to go upstairs an' pack up your things;
an' I want you, Sammy, to help me take down the bed in the
bedroom."

"Oh, mother, what for?" gasped Nanny.

"You'll see."

During the next few hours a feat was performed by this simple,
pious New England mother which was equal in its way to Wolfe's
storming of the Heights of Abraham. It took no more genius and
audacity of bravery for Wolfe to cheer his wondering soldiers up
those steep precipices, under the sleeping eyes of the enemy, than
for Sarah Penn, at the head of her children, to move all their
little household goods into the new barn while her husband was
away.

Nanny and Sammy followed their mother's instructions without a
murmur; indeed, they were overawed. There is a certain uncanny and
superhuman quality about all such purely original undertakings as
their mother's was to them. Nanny went back and forth with her
light loads, and Sammy tugged with sober energy.

At five o'clock in the afternoon the little house in which the
Penns had lived for forty years had emptied itself into the new
barn.

Every builder builds somewhat for unknown purposes, and is in a
measure a prophet. The architect of Adoniram Penn's barn, while he
designed it for the comfort of four-footed animals, had planned
better than he knew for the comfort of humans. Sarah Penn saw at a
glance its possibilities. Those great box-stalls, with quilts hung
before them, would make better bedrooms than the one she had
occupied for forty years, and there was a tight carriage-room. The
harness-room, with its chimney and shelves, would make a kitchen
of her dreams. The great middle space would make a parlor, by-and-
by, fit for a palace. Upstairs there was as much room as down.
With partitions and windows, what a house would there be! Sarah
looked at the row of stanchions before the allotted space for
cows, and reflected that she would have her front entry there.

At six o'clock the stove was up in the harness-room, the kettle
was boiling, and the table set for tea. It looked almost as home-
like as the abandoned house across the yard had ever done. The
young hired man milked, and Sarah directed him calmly to bring the
milk to the new barn. He came gaping, dropping little blots of
foam from the brimming pails on the grass. Before the next morning
he had spread the story of Adoniram Penn's wife moving into the
new barn all over the little village. Men assembled in the store
and talked it over, women with shawls over their heads scuttled
into each other's houses before their work was done Any deviation
from the ordinary course of life in this quiet town was enough to
stop all progress in it. Everybody paused to look at the staid,
independent figure on the side track. There was a difference of
opinion with regard to her. Some held her to be insane; some, of a
lawless and rebellious spirit.

Friday the minister went to see her. It was in the forenoon, and
she was at the barn door shelling peas for dinner. She looked up
and returned his salutation with dignity, then she went on with
her work. She did not invite him in. The saintly expression of her
face remained fixed, but there was an angry flush over it.

The minister stood awkwardly before her, and talked, She handled
the peas as if they were bullets. At last she looked up, and her
eyes showed the spirit that her meek front had covered for a
lifetime.

"There ain't no use talkin', Mr. Hersey," said she. "I've thought
it all over an' over, an' I believe I'm doin' what's right. I've
made it the subject of prayer, an' it's betwixt me an' the Lord
an' Adoniram. There ain't no call for nobody else to worry about
it."

"Well, of course, if you have brought it to the Lord in prayer,
and feel satisfied that you are doing right, Mrs. Penn," said the
minister, helplessly. His thin gray-bearded face was pathetic. He
was a sickly man; his youthful confidence had cooled; he had to
scourge himself up to some of his pastoral duties as relentlessly
as a Catholic ascetic, and then he was prostrated by the smart.

"I think it's right jest as much as I think it was right for our
forefathers to come over from the old country 'cause they didn't
have what belonged to 'em," said Mrs. Penn. She arose. The barn
threshold might have been Plymouth Rock from her bearing. "I don't
doubt you mean well, Mr. Hersey," said she, "but there are things
people hadn't ought to interfere with. I've been a member of the
church for over forty year. I've got my own mind an' my own feet,
an' I'm goin' to think my own thoughts an' go my own ways, an'
nobody but the Lord is goin' to dictate to me unless I've a mind
to have him. Won't you come in an' set down? How is Mis' Hersey?"

"She is well, I thank you," replied the minister. He added some
more perplexed apologetic remarks; then he retreated.

He could expound the intricacies of every character study in the
Scriptures, he was competent to grasp the Pilgrim Fathers and all
historical innovators, but Sarah Penn was beyond him. He could
deal with primal cases, but parallel ones worsted him. But, after
all, although it was aside from his province, he wondered more how
Adoniram Penn would deal with his wife than how the Lord would.
Everybody shared the wonder. When Adoniram's four new cows
arrived, Sarah ordered three to be put in the old barn, the other
in the house shed where the cooking-stove had stood. That added to
the excitement. It was whispered that all four cows were domiciled
in the house.

Towards sunset on Saturday, when Adoniram was expected home, there
was a knot of men in the road near the new barn. The hired man had
milked, but he still hung around the premises. Sarah Penn had
supper all ready. There were brown-bread and baked beans and a
custard pie; it was the supper that Adoniram loved on a Saturday
night. She had on a clean calico, and she bore herself
imperturbably. Nanny and Sammy kept close at her heels. Their eyes
were large, and Nanny was full of nervous tremors. Still there was
to them more pleasant excitement than anything else. An inborn
confidence in their mother over their father asserted itself.

Sammy looked out of the harness-room window. "There he is," he
announced, in an awed whisper. He and Nanny peeped around the
casing. Mrs. Penn kept on about her work. The children watched
Adoniram leave the new horse standing in the drive while he went
to the house door. It was fastened. Then he went around to the
shed. That door was seldom locked, even when the family was away.
The thought how her father would be confronted by the cow flashed
upon Nanny. There was a hysterical sob in her throat. Adoniram
emerged from the shed and stood looking about in a dazed fashion.
His lips moved; he was saying something, but they could not hear
what it was. The hired man was peeping around a corner of the old
barn, but nobody saw him.

Adoniram took the new horse by the bridle and led him across the
yard to the new barn. Nanny and Sammy slunk close to their mother.
The barn doors rolled back, and there stood Adoniram, with the
long mild face of the great Canadian farm horse looking over his
shoulder.

Nanny kept behind her mother, but Sammy stepped suddenly forward,
and stood in front of her.

Adoniram stared at the group. "What on airth you all down here
for?" said he. "What's the matter over to the house!"

"We've come here to live, father," said Sammy. His shrill voice
quavered out bravely.

"What"--Adoniram sniffed--"what is it smells like cookin'?" said
he. He stepped forward and looked in the open door of the harness-
room. Then he turned to his wife. His old bristling face was pale
and frightened. "What on airth does this mean, mother?" he gasped.

"You come in here, father," said Sarah. She led the way into the
harness-room and shut the door. "Now, father," said she, "you
needn't be scared. I ain't crazy. There ain't nothin' to be upset
over. But we've come here to live, an' we're goin' to live here.
We've got jest as good a right here as new horses an' cows. The
house wa'n't fit for us to live in any longer, an' I made up my
mind I wa'n't goin' to stay there. I've done my duty by you forty
year, an' I'm goin' to do it now; but I'm goin' to live here.
You've got to put in some windows and partitions; an' you'll have
to buy some furniture."

"Why, mother!" the old man gasped.

"You'd better take your coat off an' get washed--there's the wash-
basin--an' then we'll have supper."

"Why, mother!"

Sammy went past the window, leading the new horse to the old barn.
The old man saw him, and shook his head speechlessly. He tried to
take off his coat, but his arms seemed to lack the power. His wife
helped him. She poured some water into the tin basin, and put in a
piece of soap. She got the comb and brush, and smoothed his thin
gray hair after he had washed. Then she put the beans, hot bread,
and tea on the table. Sammy came in, and the family drew up.
Adoniram sat looking dazedly at his plate, and they waited.

"Ain't you goin' to ask a blessin', father!" said Sarah.

And the old man bent his head and mumbled.

All through the meal he stopped eating at intervals, and stared
furtively at his wife; but he ate well. The home food tasted good
to him, and his old frame was too sturdily healthy to be affected
by his mind. But after supper he went out, and sat down on the
step of the smaller door at the right of the barn, through which
he had meant his Jerseys to pass in stately file, but which Sarah
designed for her front house door, and he leaned his head on his
hands.

After the supper dishes were cleared away and the milk-pans
washed, Sarah went out to him. The twilight was deepening. There
was a clear green glow in the sky. Before them stretched the
smooth level of field; in the distance was a cluster of hay-stacks
like the huts of a village; the air was very cool and calm and
sweet. The landscape might have been an ideal one of peace.

Sarah bent over and touched her husband on one of his thin, sinewy
shoulders. "Father!"

The old man's shoulders heaved: he was weeping.

"Why, don't do so, father," said Sarah.

"I'll--put up the--partitions, an'--everything you--want, mother."

Sarah put her apron up to her face; she was overcome by her own
triumph.

Adoniram was like a fortress whose walls had no active resistance,
and went down the instant the right besieging tools were used.
"Why, mother," he said, hoarsely, "I hadn't no idee you was so set
on't as all this comes to."



MARSE CHAN

A TALE OF OLD VIRGINIA

BY

THOMAS NELSON PAGE

Here plot, character, and setting are happily blended. The story
is sufficient to move smoothly and interestingly; the characters,
both black and white, reveal the Southerner at his best; and the
setting not only furnishes an appropriate background for plot and
characters, but is significant of the leisure, the isolation, and
the pride of the people.



MARSE CHAN

[Footnote: From "In Ole Virginia," by Thomas Nelson Page.
Copyright, 1887, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


One afternoon, in the autumn of 1872, I was riding leisurely down
the sandy road that winds along the top of the water-shed between
two of the smaller rivers of eastern Virginia. The road I was
travelling, following "the ridge" for miles, had just struck me as
most significant of the character of the race whose only avenue of
communication with the outside world it had formerly been. Their
once splendid mansions, now fast falling to decay, appeared to
view from time to time, set back far from the road, in proud
seclusion, among groves of oak and hickory, now scarlet and gold
with the early frost. Distance was nothing to this people, time
was of no consequence to them. They desired but a level path in
life, and that they had, though the way was longer, and the outer
world strode by them as they dreamed.

I was aroused from my reflections by hearing some one ahead of me
calling, "Heah!--heah--whoo-oop, heah!"

Turning the curve in the road, I saw just before me a negro
standing, with a hoe and a watering-pot in his hand. He had
evidently just gotten over the "worm-fence" into the road, out of
the path which led zigzag across the "old field" and was lost to
sight in the dense growth of sassafras. When I rode up, he was
looking anxiously back down this path for his dog. So engrossed
was he that he did not even hear my horse, and I reined in to wait
until he should turn around and satisfy my curiosity as to the
handsome old place half a mile off from the road.

The numerous out-buildings and the large barns and stables told
that it had once been the seat of wealth, and the wild waste of
sassafras that covered the broad fields gave it an air of
desolation that greatly excited my interest. Entirely oblivious of
my proximity, the negro went on calling "Whoo-oop, heah!" until
along the path, walking very slowly and with great dignity,
appeared a noble-looking old orange and white setter, gray with
age, and corpulent with excessive feeding. As soon as he came in
sight, his master began:

"Yes, dat you! You gittin' deaf as well as bline, I s'pose! Kyarnt
heah me callin', I reckon? Whyn't yo' come on, dawg?"

The setter sauntered slowly up to the fence and stopped, without
even deigning a look at the speaker, who immediately proceeded to
take the rails down, talking meanwhile:

"Now, I got to pull down de gap, I s'pose! Yo' so sp'ilt yo' kyahn
hardly walk. Jes' ez able to git over it as I is! Jes' like white
folks--think 'cuz you's white and I'se black, I got to wait on yo'
all de time. Ne'm mine, I ain' gwi' do it!"

The fence having been pulled down sufficiently low to suit his
dogship, he marched sedately through, and, with a hardly
perceptible lateral movement of his tail, walked on down the road.
Putting up the rails carefully, the negro turned and saw me.

"Sarvent, marster," he said, taking his hat off. Then, as if
apologetically for having permitted a stranger to witness what was
merely a family affair, he added: "He know I don' mean nothin' by
what I sez. He's Marse Chan's dawg, an' he's so ole he kyahn git
long no pearter. He know I'se jes' prodjickin' wid 'im."

"Who is Marse Chan?" I asked; "and whose place is that over there,
and the one a mile or two back--the place with the big gate and
the carved stone pillars!"

"Marse Chan," said the darky, "he's Marse Channin'--my young
marster; an' dem places--dis one's Wealls, an' de one back dyar
wid de rock gate-pos's is ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin's. Dey don' nobody
live dyar now, 'cep' niggers. Arfter de war some one or nurr
bought our place, but his name done kind o' slipped me. I nuver
hearn on 'im befo'; I think dey's half-strainers. I don' ax none
on 'em no odds. I lives down de road heah, a little piece, an' I
jes' steps down of a evenin' and looks arfter de graves."

"Well, where is Marse Chan?" I asked.

"Hi! don' you know? Marse Chan, he went in de army. I was wid 'im.
Yo' know he warn' gwine an' lef Sam."

"Will you tell me all about it?" I said, dismounting.

Instantly, and as if by instinct, the darky stepped forward and
took my bridle. I demurred a little; but with a bow that would
have honored old Sir Roger, he shortened the reins, and taking my
horse from me, led him along.

"Now tell me about Marse Chan," I said.

"Lawd, marster, hit's so long ago, I'd a'most forgit all about it,
ef I hedn' been wid him ever sence he wuz born. Ez 'tis, I
remembers it jes' like 'twuz yistiddy. Yo' know Marse Chan an' me
--we wuz boys togerr. I wuz older'n he wuz, jes' de same ez he wuz
whiter'n me. I wuz born plantin' corn time, de spring arfter big
Jim an' de six steers got washed away at de upper ford right down
dyar blow de quarters ez he wuz a-bringin' de Chris'mas things
home; an' Marse Chan, he warn' born tell mos' to de harves' arfter
my sister Nancy married Cun'l Chahmb'lin's Torm, 'bout eight years
arfterwoods.

"Well, when Marse Chan wuz born, dey wuz de grettes' doin's at
home you ever did see. De folks all hed holiday, jes' like in de
Chris'mas. Ole marster (we didn' call 'im OLE marster tell arfter
Marster Chan wuz born-befo' dat he wuz jes' de marster, so)--well,
ole marster, his face fyar shine wid pleasure, an' all de folks
wuz mighty glad, too, 'cause dey all loved ole marster, and aldo'
dey did step aroun' right peart when ole marster was lookin' at
'em, dyar warn' nyar han' on de place but what, ef he wanted
anythin', would walk up to de back poach, an' say he warn' to see
de marster. An' ev'ybody wuz talkin' 'bout de young marster, an'
de maids an' de wimmens 'bout de kitchen wuz sayin' how 'twuz de
purties' chile dey ever see; an' at dinner-time de mens (all on
'em hed holiday) come roun' de poach an' ax how de missis an' de
young marster wuz, an' ole marster come out on de poach an' smile
wus'n a 'possum, an' sez, 'Thankee! Bofe doin' fust rate, boys';
an' den he stepped back in de house, sort o' laughin' to hisse'f,
an' in a minute he come out ag'in wid de baby in he arms, all
wrapped up in flannens an' things, an' sez, 'Heah he is, boys.'
All de folks den, dey went up on de poach to look at 'im, drappin'
dey hats on de steps, an' scrapin' dey feets ez dey went up. An'
pres'n'y old marster, lookin' down at we all chil'en all packed
togerr down dyah like a parecel o' sheep-burrs, cotch sight o' ME
(he knowed my name, 'cause I use' to hole he hoss fur 'im
sometimes; but he didn't know all de chile'n by name, dey wuz so
many on 'em), an' he sez, 'Come up heah!' So up I goes tippin',
skeered like, an' old marster sez, 'Ain' you Mymie's son?''
Yass, seh,' sez I. 'Well,' sez he, 'I'm gwine to give you to yo'
young Marse Channin' to be his body-servant,' an' he put de baby
right in my arms (it's de truth I'm tellin' yo'!), an' yo' jes'
ought to a-heard de folks sayin', 'Lawd! marster, dat boy'll drap
dat chile!' 'Naw, he won't,' sez marster; 'I kin trust 'im.' And
den he sez: 'Now, Sam, from dis time you belong to yo' young
Marse Channin'; I wan' you to tek keer on 'im ez long ez he lives.
You are to be his boy from dis time. An' now,' he sez, 'carry 'im
in de house.' An' he walks arfter me an' opens de do's fur me, an'
I kyars 'im in my arms, an' lays 'im down on de bed. An' from dat
time I was tooken in de house to be Marse Channin's body-servant.

"Well, you nuver see a chile grow so. Pres'n'y he growed up right
big, an' ole marster sez he must have some edication. So he sont
'im to school to ole Miss Lawry down dyar, dis side o' Cun'l
Chahmb'lin's, an' I use' to go 'long wid 'im an' tote he books an'
we all's snacks; an' when he larnt to read an' spell right good,
an' got 'bout so-o big, old Miss Lawry she died, an' old marster
said he mus' have a man to teach 'im an' trounce 'im. So we all
went to Mr. Hall, whar kep' de school-house beyant de creek, an'
dyar we went ev'y day, 'cep Sat'd'ys of co'se, an' sich days ez
Marse Chan din' warn' go, an' ole missis begged 'im off.

"Hit wuz down dyar Marse Chan fust took notice o' Miss Anne. Mr.
Hall, he taught gals ez well ez boys, an' Cun'l Chahmb'lin he sont
his daughter (dat's Miss Anne I'm talkin' about). She wuz a leetle
bit o' gal when she fust come. Yo' see, her ma wuz dead, an' old
Miss Lucy Chahmb'lin, she lived wid her brurr an' kep' house for
'im; an' he wuz so busy wid politics, he didn' have much time to
spyar, so he sont Miss Anne to Mr. Hall's by a 'ooman wid a note.
When she come dat day in de school-house, an' all de chil'en
looked at her so hard, she tu'n right red, an' tried to pull her
long curls over her eyes, an' den put bofe de backs of her little
han's in her two eyes, an' begin to cry to herse'f. Marse Chan he
was settin' on de een' o' de bench nigh de do', an' he jes'
reached out an' put he arm 'roun' her an' drawed her up to 'im.
An' he kep' whisperin to her, an' callin' her name, an' coddlin'
her; an' pres'n'y she took her han's down an' begin to laugh.

"Well, dey 'peared to tek' a gre't fancy to each urr from dat
time. Miss Anne she warn' nuthin' but a baby hardly, an' Marse
Chan he wuz a good big boy 'bout mos' thirteen years ole, I
reckon. Hows'ever, dey sut'n'y wuz sot on each urr an' (yo' heah
me!) ole marster an' Cun'l Chahmb'lin dey 'peared to like it 'bout
well ez de chil'en. Yo' see, Cun'l Chahmb'lin's place j'ined ourn,
an' it looked jes' ez natural fur dem two chil'en to marry an' mek
it one plantation, ez it did fur de creek to run down de bottom
from our place into Cun'l Chahmb'lin's. I don' rightly think de
chil'en thought 'bout gittin' MARRIED, not den, no mo'n I thought
'bout marryin' Judy when she wuz a little gal at Cun'l
Chahmb'lin's, runnin' 'bout de house, huntin' fur Miss Lucy's
spectacles; but dey wuz good frien's from de start. Marse Chan he
use' to kyar Miss Anne's books fur her ev'y day, an' ef de road
wuz muddy or she wuz tired, he use' to tote her; an' 'twarn'
hardly a day passed dat he didn' kyar her some'n' to school--
apples or hick'y nuts, or some'n. He wouldn't let none o' de
chil'en tease her, nurr. Heh! One day, one o' de boys poked he
finger at Miss Anne, and arfter school Marse Chan he axed 'im
'roun' 'hine de schoolhouse out o' sight, an' ef he didn't whop
'im!

"Marse Chan, he wuz de peartes' scholar ole Mr. Hall hed, an' Mr.
Hall he wuz mighty proud o' 'im. I don' think he use' to beat 'im
ez much ez he did de urrs, aldo' he wuz de head in all debilment
dat went on, jes' ez he wuz in sayin' he lessons.

"Heh! one day in summer, jes' fo' de school broke up, dyah come up
a storm right sudden, an' riz de creek (dat one yo' cross' back
yonder), an' Marse Chan he toted Miss Anne home on he back. He
ve'y off'n did dat when de parf wuz muddy. But dis day when dey
come to de creek, it had done washed all de logs 'way. 'Twuz still
mighty high, so Marse Chan he put Miss Anne down, an' he took a
pole an' waded right in. Hit took 'im long up to de shoulders. Den
he waded back, an' took Miss Anne up on his head an' kyared her
right over. At fust she wuz skeered; but he tol' her he could swim
an' wouldn' let her git hu't, an' den she let 'im kyar her 'cross,
she hol'in' his han's. I warn' 'long dat day, but he sut'n'y did
dat thing.

"Ole marster he wuz so pleased 'bout it, he giv' Marse Chan a
pony; an' Marse Chan rode 'im to school de day arfter he come, so
proud, an' sayin' how he wuz gwine to let Anne ride behine 'im;
an' when he come home dat evenin' he wuz walkin'. 'Hi! where's
yo' pony?' said ole marster. 'I give 'im to Anne,' says Marse
Chan. 'She liked 'im, an'-I kin walk.' 'Yes,' sez ole marster,
laughin', 'I s'pose you's already done giv' her yo'se'f, an' nex'
thing I know you'll be givin' her this plantation and all my
niggers.'

"Well, about a fortnight or sich a matter arfter dat, Cun'l
Chahmb'lin sont over an' invited all o' we all over to dinner, an'
Marse Chan wuz 'spressly named in de note whar Ned brought; an'
arfter dinner he made ole Phil, whar wuz his ker'ige-driver, bring
'roun' Marse Chan's pony wid a little side-saddle on 'im, an' a
beautiful little hoss wid a bran'-new saddle an' bridle on 'im;
an' he gits up an' meks Marse Chan a gre't speech, an' presents
'im de little hoss; an' den he calls Miss Anne, an' she comes out
on de poach in a little ridin' frock, an' dey puts her on her
pony, an' Marse Chan mounts his hoss, an' dey goes to ride, while
de grown folks is a-laughin' an' chattin' an' smokin' dey cigars.

"Dem wuz good ole times, marster-de bes' Sam ever see! Dey wuz, in
fac'! Niggers didn' hed nothin' 't all to do-jes' hed to 'ten' to
de feedin' an' cleanin' de hosses, an' doin' what de marster tell
'em to do; an' when dey wuz sick, dey had things sont 'em out de
house, an' de same doctor come to see 'em whar 'ten' to de white
folks when dey wuz po'ly. Dyar warn' no trouble nor nothin'.

"Well, things tuk a change arfter dat. Marse Chan he went to de
bo'din' school, whar he use' to write to me constant. Ole missis
use' to read me de letters, an' den I'd git Miss Anne to read 'em
ag'in to me when I'd see her. He use' to write to her too, an' she
use' to write to him too. Den Miss Anne she wuz sont off to school
too. An' in de summer time dey'd bofe come home, an' yo' hardly
knowed whether Marse Chan lived at home or over at Cun'l
Chahmb'lin's. He wuz over dyah constant. 'Twuz always ridin' or
fishin' down dyah in de river; or sometimes he' go over dyah, an'
'im an' she'd go out an' set in de yard onder de trees; she
settin' up mekin' out she wuz knittin' some sort o' bright-
cullored some'n', wid de grarss growin' all up 'g'inst her, an'
her" hat th'owed back on her neck, an' he readin' to her out
books; an' sometimes dey'd bofe read out de same book, fust one
an' den todder. I use' to see 'em! Dat wuz when dey wuz growin' up
like.

"Den ole marster he run for Congress, an' ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin he
wuz put up to run 'g'inst ole marster by de Dimicrats; but ole
marster he beat 'im. Yo' know he wuz gwine do dat! Co'se he wuz!
Dat made ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin mighty mad, and dey stopt visitin'
each urr reg'lar, like dey had been doin' all 'long. Den Cun'l
Chahmb'lin he sort o' got in debt, an' sell some o' he niggers,
an' dat's de way de fuss begun. Dat's whar de lawsuit cum from.
Ole marster he didn' like nobody to sell niggers, an' knowin' dat
Cun'l Chahmb'lin wuz sellin' o' his, he writ an' offered to buy
his M'ria an' all her chil'en, 'cause she hed married our
Zeek'yel. An' don' yo' think, Cun'l Chahmb'lin axed ole marster
mo' 'n th'ee niggers wuz wuth fur M'ria! Befo' old marster bought
her, dough, de sheriff cum an' levelled on M'ria an' a whole
parecel o' urr niggers. Ole marster he went to de sale, an' bid
for 'em-r but Cun'l Chahmb'lin he got some one to bid 'g'inst ole
marster. Dey wuz knocked out to ole marster dough, an' den dey hed
a big lawsuit, an' ole marster wuz agwine to co't, off an' on, fur
some years, till at lars' de co't decided dat M'ria belonged to
ole marster. Ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin den wuz so mad he sued ole
marster for a little strip o' lan' down dyah on de line fence,
whar he said belonged to 'im. Ev'ybody knowed hit belonged to ole
marster. Ef yo' go down dyah now, I kin show it to yo', inside de
line fence, whar it hed done bin ever sence long befo' Cun'l
Chahmb'lin wuz born. But Cun'l Chahmb'lin wuz a mons'us
perseverin' man, an' ole marster he wouldn' let nobody run over
'im. No, dat he wouldn'! So dey wuz agwine down to co't about dat,
fur I don' know how long, till ole marster beat 'im.

"All dis time, yo' know, Marse Chan wuz agoin' back'ads an'
for'ads to college, an' wuz growed up a ve'y fine young man. He
wuz a ve'y likely gent'man! Miss Anne she hed done mos' growed up
too--wuz puttin' her hyar up like old missis use' to put hers up,
an' 'twuz jes' ez bright ez de sorrel's mane when de sun cotch on
it, an' her eyes wuz gre't big dark eyes, like her pa's, on'y
bigger an' not so fierce, an' 'twarn' none o' de young ladies ez
purty ez she wuz. She an' Marse Chan still set a heap o' sto' by
one 'nurr, but I don' think dey wuz easy wid each urr ez when he
used to tote her home from school on his back. Marse Chan he use'
to love de ve'y groun' she walked on, dough, in my 'pinion. Heh!
His face 'twould light up whenever she come into chu'ch, or
anywhere, jes' like de sun hed come th'oo a chink on it suddenly.

"Den' ole marster lost he eyes. D' yo' ever heah 'bout dat? Heish!
Didn' yo'? Well, one night de big barn cotch fire. De stables, yo'
know, wuz under de big barn, an' all de bosses wuz in dyah. Hit
'peared to me like 'twarn' no time befo' all de folks an' de
neighbors dey come, an' dey wuz a-totin' water, an' a-tryin' to
save de po' critters, and dey got a heap on 'em out; but de
ker'ige-hosses dey wouldn' come out, an' dey wuz a-runnin'
back'ads an' for'ads inside de stalls, a-nikerin' an' a-screamin',
like dey knowed dey time hed come. Yo' could heah 'em so pitiful,
an' pres'n'y old marster said to Ham Fisher (he wuz de ker'ige-
driver), 'Go in dyah an' try to save 'em; don' let 'em bu'n to
death.' An' Ham he went right in. An' jest arfter he got in, de
shed whar it hed fus' cotch fell in, an' de sparks shot 'way up in
de air; an' Ham didn' come back, an' de fire begun to lick out
under de eaves over whar de ker'ige-hosses' stalls wuz, an' all of
a sudden ole marster tu'ned an' kissed ole missis, who wuz
standin' nigh him, wid her face jes' ez white ez a sperit's, an',
befo' anybody knowed what he wuz gwine do, jumped right in de do',
an' de smoke come po'in' out behine 'im. Well, seh, I nuver
'spects to heah tell Judgment sich a soun' ez de folks set up! Ole
missis she jes' drapt down on her knees in de mud an' prayed out
loud. Hit 'peared like her pra'r wuz heard; for in a minit, right
out de same do', kyarin' Ham Fisher in his arms, come ole marster,
wid his clo's all blazin'. Dey flung water on 'im, an' put 'im
out; an', ef you b'lieve me, yo' wouldn't a-knowed 'twuz ole
marster. Yo' see, he had find Ham Fisher done fall down in de
smoke right by the ker'ige-hoss' stalls, whar he sont him, an' he
hed to tote 'im back in his arms th'oo de fire what hed done cotch
de front part o' de stable, and to keep de flame from gittin' down
Ham Fisher's th'oat he hed tuk off his own hat and mashed it all
over Ham Fisher's face, an' he hed kep' Ham Fisher from bein' so
much bu'nt; but HE wuz bu'nt dreadful! His beard an' hyar wuz all
nyawed off, an' his face an' han's an' neck wuz scorified
terrible. Well, he jes' laid Ham Fisher down, an' then he kind o'
staggered for'ad, an' ole missis ketch' 'im in her arms. Ham
Fisher, he warn' bu'nt so bad, an' he got out in a month to two;
an' arfter a long time, ole marster he got well, too; but he wuz
always stone blind arfter that. He nuver could see none from dat
night.

"Marse Chan he comed home from college toreckly, an' he sut'n'y
did nuss ole marster faithful--jes' like a 'ooman. Den he took
charge of de plantation arfter dat; an' I use' to wait on 'im jes'
like when we wuz boys togedder; an' sometimes we'd slip off an'
have a fox-hunt, an' he'd be jes' like he wuz in ole times, befo'
ole marster got bline, an' Miss Anne Chahmb'lin stopt comin' over
to our house, an' settin' onder de trees, readin' out de same
book.

"He sut'n'y wuz good to me. Nothin' nuver made no diffunce 'bout
dat. He nuver hit me a lick in his life--an' nuver let nobody else
do it, nurr.

"I 'members one day, when he wuz a leetle bit o' boy, ole marster
hed done tole we all chil'en not to slide on de straw-stacks; an'
one day me an' Marse Chan thought ole marster hed done gone 'way
from home. We watched him git on he hoss an' ride up de road out
o' sight, an' we wuz out in de field a-slidin' an' a-slidin', when
up comes ole marster. We started to run; but he hed done see us,
an' he called us to come back; an' sich a whuppin' ez he did gi'
us!

"Fust he took Marse Chan, an' den he teched me up. He nuver hu't
me, but in co'se I wuz a-hollerin' ez hard ez I could stave it,
'cause I knowed dat wuz gwine mek him stop. Marse Chan he hed'n
open he mouf long ez ole marster wuz tunin' 'im; but soon ez he
commence warmin' me an' I begin to holler, Marse Chan he bu'st out
cryin', an' stept right in befo' ole marster an' ketchin' de whup,
sed:

"'Stop, seh! Yo' sha'n't whup 'im; he b'longs to me, an' ef you
hit 'im another lick I'll set 'im free!'

"I wish yo' hed see old marster. Marse Chan he warn' mo'n eight
years ole, an' dyah dey wuz-old marster stan'in' wid he whup
raised up, an' Marse Chan red an' cryin', hol'in' on to it, an'
sayin' I b'longst to 'im.

"Ole marster, he raise' de whup, an' den he drapt it, an' broke
out in a smile over he face, an' he chuck' Marse Chan onder de
chin, an' tu'n right 'roun' an' went away, laughin' to hisse'f,
an' I heah 'im tellin' ole missis dat evenin', an' laughin' 'bout
it.

"'Twan' so mighty long arfter dat when dey fust got to talkin'
'bout de war. Dey wuz a-dictatin' back'ads an' for'ads 'bout it
fur two or th'ee years 'fo' it come sho' nuff, you know. Ole
marster, he was a Whig, an' of co'se Marse Chan he tuk after he
pa. Cun'l Chahmb'lin, he wuz a Dimicrat. He wuz in favor of de
war, an' ole marster and Marse Chan dey wuz agin' it. Dey wuz a-
talkin' 'bout it all de time, an' purty soon Cun'l Chahmb'lin he
went about ev'ywhar speakin' an' noratin' 'bout Firginia ought to
secede; an' Marse Chan he wuz picked up to talk agin' 'im. Dat wuz
de way dey come to fight de duil. I sut'n'y wuz skeered fur Marse
Chan dat mawnin', an' he was jes' ez cool! Yo' see, it happen so:
Marse Chan he wuz a-speakin' down at de Deep Creek Tavern, an' he
kind o' got de bes' of ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin. All de white folks
laughed an' hoorawed, an' ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin--my Lawd! I fought
he'd 'a' bu'st, he was so mad. Well, when it come to his time to
speak, he jes' light into Marse Chan. He call 'im a traitor, an' a
ab'litionis', an' I don' know what all. Marse Chan, he jes' kep'
cool till de ole Cun'l light into he pa. Ez soon ez he name ole
marster, I seen Marse Chan sort o' lif' up he head. D' yo' ever
see a hoss rar he head up right sudden at night when he see
somethin' comin' to'ds 'im from de side an' he don' know what 'tis?
Ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin he went right on. He said ole marster hed
taught Marse Chan; dat ole marster wuz a wuss ab'litionis' dan he
son. I looked at Marse Chan, an' sez to myse'f: 'Fo' Gord! old
Cun'l Chahmb'lin better min', an' I hedn' got de wuds out, when
ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin 'cuse' old marster o' cheatin' 'im out o' he
niggers, an' stealing piece o' he lan'--dat's de lan' I tole you
'bout. Well, seh, nex' thing I knowed, I heahed Marse Chan--hit
all happen right 'long togerr, like lightnin' and thunder when
they hit right at you--I heah 'im say:

"'Cun'l Chahmb'lin, what you say is false, an' yo' know it to be
so. You have wilfully slandered one of de pures' an' nobles' men
Gord ever made, an' nothin' but yo' gray hyars protects you.'

"Well, ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin, he ra'd an' he pitch'd. He said he
wan' too ole, an' he'd show 'im so.

"'Ve'y well,' says Marse Chan.

"De meetin' broke up den. I wuz hol'in' de hosses out dyar in de
road by dee een' o' de poach, an' I see Marse Chan talkin' an'
talkin' to Mr. Gordon an' anudder gent'man, and den he come out
an' got on de sorrel an' galloped off. Soon ez he got out o' sight
he pulled up, an' we walked along tell we come to de road whar
leads off to'ds Mr. Barbour's. He wuz de big lawyer o' de country.
Dar he tu'ned off. All dis time he hedn' sed a wud, 'cep' to kind
o' mumble to hisse'f now and den. When we got to Mr. Barbour's, he
got down an' went in. Dat wuz in de late winter; de folks wuz jes'
beginnin' to plough fur corn. He stayed dyar 'bout two hours, an'
when he come out Mr. Barbour come out to de gate wid 'im an' shake
han's arfter he got up in de saddle. Den we all rode off. 'Twuz
late den-good dark; an' we rid ez hard ez we could, tell we come
to de ole school-house at ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin's gate. When we got
dar, Marse Chan got down an' walked right slow 'roun' de house.
After lookin' 'roun' a little while an' tryin' de do' to see ef it
wuz shet, he walked down de road tell he got to de creek. He stop'
dyar a little while an' picked up two or three little rocks an'
frowed 'em in, an' pres'n'y he got up an' we come on home. Ez he
got down, he tu'ned to me an', rubbin' de sorrel's nose, said:
'Have 'em well fed, Sam; I'll want 'em early in de mawnin'.'

"Dat night at supper he laugh an' talk, an' he set at de table a
long time. Arfter ole marster went to bed, he went in de charmber
an' set on de bed by 'im talkin' to 'im an' tellin' 'im 'bout de
meetin' an' ev'ything; but he nuver mention ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin's
name. When he got up to come out to de office in de yard, whar he
slept, he stooped down an' kissed 'im jes' like he wuz a baby
layin' dyar in de bed, an' he'd hardly let ole missis go at all. I
knowed some'n wuz up, an' nex' mawnin' I called 'im early befo'
light, like he tole me, an' he dressed an' come out pres'n'y jes'
like he wuz goin' to church. I had de hosses ready, an' we went
out de back way to'ds de river. Ez we rode along, he said:

"'Sam, you an' I wuz boys togedder, wa'n't we?'

"'Yes,' sez I, 'Marse Chan, dat we wuz.'

"'You have been we'y faithful to me,' sez he, 'an' I have seen to
it that you are well provided fur. You want to marry Judy, I know,
an' you'll be able to buy her ef you want to.'

"Den he tole me he wuz goin' to fight a duil, an' in case he
should git shot, he had set me free an' giv' me nuif to tek keer
o' me an' my wife ez long ez we lived. He said he'd like me to
stay an' tek keer o' ole marster an' ole missis ez long ez dey
lived, an' he said it wouldn' be very long, he reckoned. Dat wuz
de on'y time he voice broke when he said dat; an' I couldn' speak
a wud, my th'oat choked me so.

"When we come to de river, we tu'ned right up de bank, an' arfter
ridin' 'bout a mile or sich a matter, we stopped whar dey wuz a
little clearin' wid elder bushes on one side an' two big gum-trees
on de urr, an' de sky wuz all red, an' de water down to'ds whar
the sun wuz comin' wuz jes' like de sky.

"Pres'n'y Mr. Gordon he come, wid a 'hogany box 'bout so big 'fore
'im, an' he got down, an' Marse Chan tole me to tek all de hosses
an' go 'roun' behine de bushes whar I tell you 'bout-off to one
side; an' 'fore I got 'roun' dar, ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin an' Mr.
Hennin an' Dr. Call come ridin' from t'urr way, to'ds ole Cun'l
Chahmb'lin's. When dey hed tied dey hosses, de urr gent'mens went
up to whar Mr. Gordon wuz, an' arfter some chattin' Mr. Hennin
step' off 'bout fur ez 'cross dis road, or mebbe it mout be a
little furder; an' den I seed 'em th'oo de bushes loadin' de
pistils, an' talk a little while; an' den Marse Chan an' ole Cun'l
Chahmb'lin walked up wid de pistils in dey han's, an' Marse Chan
he stood wid his face right to'ds de sun. I seen it shine on him
jes' ez it come up over de low groun's, an' he look like he did
sometimes when he come out of church. I wuz so skeered I couldn'
say nothin'. Ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin could shoot fust rate, an' Marse
Chan he never missed.

"Den I beared Mr. Gordon say, 'Gent'mens, is yo' ready?' and bofe
of 'em sez, 'Ready,' jes' so.

"An' he sez, 'Fire, one, two'--an' ez he said 'one,' old Cun'l
Chahmb'lin raised he pistil an' shot right at Marse Chan. De ball
went th'oo his hat. I seen he hat sort o' settle on he head ez de
bullit hit it, an' HE jes' tilted his pistil up in de a'r an'
shot-BANG; an' ez de pistil went BANG, he sez to Cun'l Chahmb'lin,
'I mek you a present to yo' fam'ly, seh!'

"Well, dey had some talkin' arfter dat. I didn't git rightly what
it wuz; but it 'peared like Cun'l Chahmb'lin he warn't satisfied,
an' wanted to have anurr shot. De seconds dey wuz talkin', an'
pres'n'y dey put de pistils up, an' Marse Chan an' Mr. Gordon
shook han's wid Mr. Hennin an' Dr. Call, an' come an' got on dey
hosses. An' Cun'l Chahmb'lin he got on his hoss an' rode away wid
de urr gent'mens, lookin' like he did de day befo' when all de
people laughed at 'im.

"I b'lieve ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin wan' to shoot Marse Chan, anyway!

"We come on home to breakfast, I totin' de box wid de pistils
befo' me on de roan. Would you b'lieve me, seh, Marse Chan he
nuver said a wud 'bout it to ole marster or nobody. Ole missis
didn' fin' out 'bout it for mo'n a month, an' den, Lawd! how she
did cry and kiss Marse Chan; an' ole marster, aldo' he never say
much, he wuz jes' ez please' ez ole missis. He call me in de room
an' made me tole 'im all 'bout it, an' when I got th'oo he gi' me
five dollars an' a pyar of breeches.

"But ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin he nuver did furgive Marse Chan, an'
Miss Anne she got mad too. Wimmens is mons'us onreasonable nohow.
Dey's jes' like a catfish: you can n' tek hole on 'em like udder
folks, an' when you gits 'im yo' can n' always hole 'em.

"What meks me think so? Heaps o' things--dis: Marse Chan he done
gi' Miss Anne her pa jes' ez good ez I gi' Marse Chan's dawg sweet
'taters, an' she git mad wid 'im ez if he hed kill 'im 'stid o'
sen'in' 'im back to her dat mawnin' whole an' soun'. B'lieve me!
she wouldn' even speak to him arfter dat!

"Don' I 'member dat mawnin'!

"We wuz gwine fox-huntin', 'bout six weeks or sich a matter arfter
de dull, an' we met Miss Anne ridin' 'long wid anurr lady an' two
gent'mens whar wuz stayin' at her house. Dyar wuz always some one
or nurr dyar co'ting her. Well, dat mawnin' we meet 'em right in
de road. 'Twuz de fust time Marse Chan had see her sence de duil,
an' he raises he hat ez he pahss, an' she looks right at 'im wid
her head up in de yair like she nuver see 'im befo' in her born
days; an' when she comes by me, she sez, 'Good-mawnin', Sam!'
Gord! I nuver see nuthin' like de look dat come on Marse Chan's
face when she pahss 'im like dat. He gi' de sorrel a pull dat
fotch 'im back settin' down in de san' on he hanches. He ve'y lips
wuz white. I tried to keep up wid 'im, but 'twarn' no use. He sont
me back home pres'n'y, an' he rid on. I sez to myself, 'Cun'l
Chahmb'lin, don' yo' meet Marse Chan dis mawnin'. He ain' bin
lookin' 'roun' de ole schoolhouse, whar he an' Miss Anne use' to
go to school to ole Mr. Hall together, fur nuffin'. He won' stan'
no prodjickin' to-day.'

"He nuver come home dat night tell 'way late, an' ef he'd been
fox-huntin' it mus' ha' been de ole red whar lives down in de
greenscum mashes he'd been chasin'. De way de sorrel wuz gormed up
wid sweat an' mire sut'n'y did hu't me. He walked up to de stable
wid he head down all de way, an' I'se seen 'im go eighty miles of
a winter day, an' prance into de stable at night ez fresh ez if he
hed jes' cantered over to ole Cun'l Chahmb'lin's to supper. I
nuver seen a hoss beat so sence I knowed de fetlock from de
fo'lock, an' bad ez he wuz he wan' ez bad ez Marse Chan.

"Whew! he didn' git over dat thing, seh--he nuver did git over
it.

"De war come on jes' den, an' Marse Chan wuz elected cap'n; but he
wouldn' tek it. He said Firginia hadn' seceded, an' he wuz gwine
stan' by her. Den dey 'lected Mr. Gordon cap'n.

"I sut'n'y did wan' Marse Chan to tek de place, cuz I knowed he
wuz gwine tek me wid 'im. He wan' gwine widout Sam. An' beside, he
look so po' an' thin, I thought he wuz gwine die.

"Of co'se, ole missis she heared 'bout it, an' she met Miss Anne
in de road, an' cut her jes' like Miss Anne cut Marse Chan.

"Ole missis, she wuz proud ez anybody! So we wuz mo' strangers dan
ef we hadn' live' in a hundred miles of each urr. An' Marse Chan
he wuz gittin' thinner an' thinner, an' Firginia she come out, an'
den Marse Chan he went to Richmond an' listed, an' come back an'
sey he wuz a private, an' he didn' know whe'r he could tek me or
not. He writ to Mr. Gordon, hows'ever, an' 'twuz 'cided dat when
he went I wuz to go 'long an' wait on him an' de cap'n too. I
didn' min' dat, yo' know, long ez I could go wid Marse Chan, an' I
like' Mr. Gordon, anyways.

"Well, one night Marse Chan come back from de offis wid a telegram
dat say, 'Come at once,' so he wuz to start nex' mawnin'. He
uniform wuz all ready, gray wid yaller trimmin's, an' mine wuz
ready too, an' he had ole marster's sword, whar de State gi' 'im
in de Mexikin war; an' he trunks wuz all packed wid ev'rything in
'em, an' my chist was packed too, an' Jim Rasher he druv 'em over
to de depo' in de waggin, an' we wuz to start nex' mawnin' 'bout
light. Dis wuz 'bout de las' o' spring, you know. Dat night ole
missis made Marse Chan dress up in he uniform, an' he sut'n'y did
look splendid, wid he long mustache an' he wavin' hyar an' he tall
figger.

"Arfter supper he come down an' sez: 'Sam, I wan' you to tek dis
note an' kyar it over to Cun'l Chahmb'lin's, an' gi' it to Miss
Anne wid yo' own han's, an' bring me wud what she sez. Don' let
any one know 'bout it, or know why you've gone.' 'Yes, seh,' sez
I.

"Yo' see, I knowed Miss Anne's maid over at ole Cun'l
Chahmb'lin's--dat wuz Judy whar is my wife now--an' I knowed I
could wuk it. So I tuk de roan an' rid over, an' tied 'im down de
hill in de cedars, an' I wen' 'roun' to de back yard. 'Twuz a
right blowy sort o' night; de moon wuz jes' risin', but de clouds
wuz so big it didn' shine 'cep' th'oo a crack now an' den. I soon
foun' my gal, an' arfter tellin' her two or three lies 'bout
herse'f, I got her to go in an' ax Miss Anne to come to de do'.
When she come, I gi' her de note, an' arfter a little while she
bro't me anurr, an' I tole her good-bye, an' she gi' me a dollar,
an' I come home an' gi' de letter to Marse Chan. He read it, an'
tole me to have de hosses ready at twenty minits to twelve at de
corner of de garden. An' jes' befo' dat he come out ez ef he wuz
gwine to bed, but instid he come, an' we all struck out to'ds
Cun'l Chahmb'lin's. When we got mos' to de gate, de hosses got
sort o' skeered, an' I see dey wuz some'n or somebody standin'
jes' inside; an' Marse Chan he jumpt off de sorrel an' flung me de
bridle an' he walked up.

"She spoke fust ('twuz Miss Anne had done come out dyar to meet
Marse Chan), an' she sez, jes' ez cold ez a chill, 'Well, seh, I
granted your favor. I wished to relieve myse'f of de obligations
you placed me under a few months ago, when you made me a present
of my father, whom you fust insulted an' then prevented from
gittin' satisfaction.'

"Marse Chan he didn' speak fur a minit, an' den he said: 'Who is
with you?' Dat wuz ev'y wud.

"'No one,' sez she; 'I came alone.'

"'My God!' sez he, 'you didn' come all through those woods by
yourse'f at this time o' night?'

"'Yes, I'm not afraid,' sez she, (An' heah dis nigger! I don'
b'lieve she wuz.)

"De moon come out, an' I cotch sight o' her stan'in' dyar in her
white dress, wid de cloak she had wrapped herse'f up in drapped
off on de groun', an' she didn' look like she wuz 'feared o'
nuthin'. She wuz mons'us purty ez she stood dyar wid de green
bushes behine her, an' she hed jes' a few flowers in her breas'--
right hyah--and some leaves in her sorrel hyar; an' de moon come
out an' shined down on her hyar an' her frock an' 'peared like de
light wuz jes' stan'in' off it ez she stood dyar lookin' at Marse
Chan wid her head tho'd back, jes' like dat mawnin' when she pahss
Marse Chan in de road widout speakin' to 'im, an' sez to me,
'Good-mawnin', Sam.'

"Marse Chan, he den tole her he hed come to say good-bye to her,
ez he wuz gwine 'way to de war nex' mawnin'. I wuz watchin' on
her, an' I tho't, when Marse Chan tole her dat, she sort o'
started an' looked up at 'im like she wuz mighty sorry, an'
'peared like she didn' stan' quite so straight arfter dat. Den
Marse Chan he went on talkin' right fars' to her; an' he tole her
how he had loved her ever sence she wuz a little bit o' baby mos',
an' how he nuver 'membered de time when he hedn't 'spected to
marry her. He tole her it wuz his love for her dat hed made 'im
stan' fust at school an' collige, an' hed kep' 'im good an' pure;
an' now he wuz gwine 'way, wouldn't she let it be like 'twuz in
ole times, an' ef he come back from de war wouldn' she try to
think on him ez she use' to do when she wuz a little guirl?

"Marse Chan he had done been talkin' so serious, he hed done tuk
Miss Anne's han', an' wuz lookin' down in her face like he wuz
list'nin' wid his eyes.

"Arfter a minit Miss Anne she said somethin', an' Marse Chan he
cotch her urr han' an' sez:

"'But if you love me, Anne?'

"When he said dat, she tu'ned her head 'way from 'im, an' wait' a
minit, an' den she said--right clear:

"'But I don' love yo'.' (Jes' dem th'ee wuds!) De wuds fall right
slow--like dirt falls out a spade on a coffin when yo's buryin'
anybody, an' seys, 'Uth to uth.' Marse Chan he jes' let her hand
drap, an' he stiddy hisse'f 'g'inst de gate-pos', an' he didn'
speak torekly. When he did speak, all he sez wuz:

"'I mus' see you home safe.'

"I 'clar, marster, I didn' know 'twuz Marse Chan's voice tell I
look at 'im right good. Well, she wouldn' let 'im go wid her. She
jes' wrap' her cloak 'roun' her shoulders, an' wen' 'long back by
herse'f, widout doin' more'n jes' look up once at Marse Chan
leanin' dyah 'g'inst de gate-pos' in he sodger clo's, wid he eyes
on de groun'. She said 'Good-bye' sort o' sorf, an' Marse Chan,
widout lookin' up, shake han's wid her, an' she wuz done gone down
de road. Soon ez she got 'mos' 'roun' de curve, Marse Chan he
followed her, keepin' under de trees so ez not to be seen, an' I
led de hosses on down de road behine 'im. He kep' 'long behine her
tell she wuz safe in de house, an' den he come an' got on he hoss,
an' we all come home.

"Nex' mawnin' we all come off to j'ine de army. An' dey wuz a-
drillin' an' a-drillin' all 'bout for a while, an' dey went 'long
wid all de res' o' de army, an' I went wid Marse Chan an' clean he
boots, an' look arfter de tent, an' tek keer o' him an' de hosses.
An' Marse Chan, he wan' a bit like he use' to be. He wuz so solumn
an' moanful all de time, at leas' 'cep' when dyah wuz gwine to be
a fight. Den he'd peartin' up, an' he alwuz rode at de head o' de
company, 'cause he wuz tall; an' hit wan' on'y in battles whar all
his company wuz dat he went, but he use' to volunteer whenever de
cun'l wanted anybody to fine out anythin', an' 'twuz so dangersome
he didn' like to mek one man go no sooner'n anurr, yo' know, an'
ax'd who'd volunteer. He 'peared to like to go prowlin' aroun'
'mong dem Yankees, an' he use' to tek me wid 'im whenever he
could. Yes, seh, he sut'n'y waz a good sodger! He didn' mine
bullets no more'n he did so many draps o' rain. But I use' to be
pow'ful skeered sometimes. It jes' use' to 'pear like fun to 'im.
In camp he use' to be so sorrerful he'd hardly open he mouf. You'd
'a' tho't he wuz seekin', he used to look so moanful; but jes' le'
'im git into danger, an' he use' to be like ole times--jolly an'
laughin' like when he wuz a boy.

"When Cap'n Gordon got he leg shot off, dey mek Marse Chan cap'n
on de spot, 'cause one o' de lieutenants got kilt de same day, an'
turr one (named Mr. Ronny) wan' no 'count, an' de company said
Marse Chan wuz de man.

"An' Marse Chan he wuz jes' de same. He didn' never mention Miss
Anne's name, but I knowed he wuz thinkin' on her constant. One
night he wuz settin' by de fire in camp, an' Mr. Ronny--he wuz de
secon' lieutenant--got to talkin' 'bout ladies, an' he say all
sorts o' things 'bout 'em, an' I see Marse Chan kinder lookin'
mad; an' de lieutenant mention Miss Anne's name. He had been
courtin' Miss Anne 'bout de time Marse Chan fit de duil wid her
pa, an' Miss Anne hed kicked 'im, dough he wuz mighty rich, 'cause
he warn' nuthin' but a half-strainer, an' 'cause she like Marse
Chan, I believe, dough she didn' speak to 'im; an' Mr. Ronny he
got drunk, an' 'cause Cun'l Chahmb'lin tole 'im not to come dyah
no more, he got mighty mad. An' dat evenin' I'se tellin' yo'
'bout, he wuz talkin', an' he mention' Miss Anne's name. I see
Marse Chan tu'n he eye 'roun' on 'im an' keep it on he face, and
pres'n'y Mr. Ronny said he wuz gwine hev some fun dyah yit. He
didn' mention her name dat time; but he said dey wuz all on 'em a
parecel of stuck-up 'risticrats, an' her pa wan' no gent'man
anyway, an'--I don' know what he wuz gwine say (he nuver said it),
fur ez he got dat far Marse Chan riz up an' hit 'im a crack, an'
he fall like he hed been hit wid a fence-rail. He challenged Marse
Chan to fight a duil, an' Marse Chan he excepted de challenge, an'
dey wuz gwine fight; but some on 'em tole 'im Marse Chan wan'
gwine mek a present o' him to his fam'ly, an' he got somebody to
bre'k up de duil; 'twan' nuthin' dough, but he wuz 'fred to fight
Marse Chan. An' purty soon he lef' de comp'ny.

"Well, I got one o' de gent'mens to write Judy a letter for me,
an' I tole her all 'bout de fight, an' how Marse Chan knock Mr.
Ronny over fur speakin' discontemptuous o' Cun'l Chahmb'lin, an' I
tole her how Marse Chan' wuz a-dyin' fur love o' Miss Anne. An'
Judy she gits Miss Anne to read de letter fur her. Den Miss Anne
she tells her pa, an'--you mind, Judy tells me all dis
arfterwards, an' she say when Cun'l Chahmb'lin hear 'bout it, he
wuz settin' on de poach, an' he set still a good while, an' den he
sey to hisse'f:

"'Well, he earn' he'p bein' a Whig.'

"An' den he gits up an' walks up to Miss Anne an' looks at her
right hard; an' Miss Anne she hed done tu'n away her haid an' wuz
makin' out she wuz fixin' a rosebush 'g'inst de poach; an' when
her pa kep' lookin' at her, her face got jes' de color o' de roses
on de bush, and pres'n'y her pa sez:

"'Anne!'

"An' she tu'ned roun', an' he sez:

"'Do yo' want 'im?'

"An' she sez, 'Yes,' an' put her head on he shoulder an' begin to
cry; an' he sez:

"'Well, I won' stan' between yo' no longer. Write to 'im an' say
so.'

"We didn' know nuthin' 'bout dis den. We wuz a-fightin' an' a-
fightin' all dat time; an' come one day a letter to Marse Chan,
an' I see 'im start to read it in his tent, an' he face hit look
so cu'ious, an' he han's trembled so I couldn' mek out what wuz de
matter wid 'im. An' he fol' de letter up an' wen' out an' wen' way
down 'hine de camp, an' stayed dyah 'bout nigh an hour. Well, seh,
I wuz on de lookout for 'im when he come back, an', fo' Gord, ef
he face didn' shine like a angel's! I say to myse'f, 'Um'm! ef de
glory o' Gord ain' done shine on 'im!' An' what yo' 'spose 'twuz?

"He tuk me wid 'im dat evenin', an' he tell me he hed done git a
letter from Miss Anne, an' Marse Chan he eyes look like gre't big
stars, an' he face wuz jes' like 'twuz dat mawnin' when de sun riz
up over de low groun', an' I see 'im stan'in' dyah wid de pistil
in he han', lookin' at it, an' not knowin' but what it mout be de
lars' time, an' he done mek up he mine not to shoot ole Cun'l
Chahmb'lin fur Miss Anne's sake, what writ 'im de letter.

"He fol' de letter wha' was in his han' up, an' put it in he
inside pocket--right dyar on de lef' side; an' den he tole me he
tho't mebbe we wuz gwine hev some warm wuk in de nex' two or th'ee
days, an' arfter dat ef Gord speared 'im he'd git a leave o'
absence fur a few days, an' we'd go home.

"Well, dat night de orders come, an' we all hed to git over to'ds
Romney; an' we rid all night till 'bout light; an' we halted right
on a little creek, an' we stayed dyah till mos' breakfas' time,
an' I see Marse Chan set down on de groun' 'hine a bush an' read
dat letter over an' over. I watch 'im, an' de battle wuz a-goin'
on, but we had orders to stay 'hine de hill, an' ev'y now an' den
de bullets would cut de limbs o' de trees right over us, an' one
o' dem big shells what goes 'Awhar--awhar--awhar!' would fall
right 'mong us; but Marse Chan he didn' mine it no mo'n nuthin'!
Den it 'peared to git closer an' thicker, and Marse Chan he calls
me, an' I crep' up, an' he sez:

"'Sam, we'se goin' to win in dis battle, an' den we'll go home an'
git married; an' I'se goin' home wid a star on my collar.' An' den
he sez, 'Ef I'm wounded, kyar me home, yo' hear?' An' I sez, 'Yes,
Marse Chan.'

"Well, jes' den dey blowed boots an' saddles, an' we mounted; an'
de orders come to ride 'roun' de slope, an' Marse Chan's comp'ny
wuz de secon', an' when we got 'roun' dyah, we wuz right in it.
Hit wuz de wust place ever dis nigger got in. An' dey said,
'Charge 'em!' an' my king! ef ever you see bullets fly, dey did
dat day. Hit wuz jes' like hail; an' we wen' down de slope (I
'long wid de res') an' up de hill right to'ds de cannons, an' de
fire wuz so strong dyar (dey hed a whole rigiment o' infintrys
layin' down dyar onder de cannons) our lines sort o' broke an'
stop; de cun'l was kilt, an' I b'lieve dey wuz jes' 'bout to bre'k
all to pieces, when Marse Chan rid up an' cotch hol' de fleg an'
hollers, 'Foller me!' an' rid strainin' up de hill 'mong de
cannons. I seen 'im when he went, de sorrel four good length ahead
o' ev'y urr hoss, jes' like he use' to be in a foxhunt, an' de
whole rigiment right arfter 'im. Yo' ain' nuver hear thunder! Fust
thing I knowed, de roan roll' head over heels an' flung me up
'g'inst de bank, like yo' chuck a nubbin over 'g'inst de foot o'
de corn pile. An' dat's what kep' me from bein' kilt, I 'spects.
Judy she say she think 'twuz Providence, but I think 'twuz de
bank. 0' co'se, Providence put de bank dyah, but how come
Providence nuver saved Marse Chan? When I look' 'roun', de roan
wuz layin' dyah by me, stone dead, wid a cannon-ball gone 'mos'
th'oo him, an' our men hed done swep' dem on t'urr side from de
top o' de hill. 'Twan' mo'n a minit, de sorrel come gallupin' back
wid his mane flyin', an' de rein hangin' down on one side to his
knee. 'Dyar!' says I, 'fo' Gord! I 'specks dey done kill Marse
Chan, an' I promised to tek care on him.'

"I jumped up an' run over de bank, an' dyar, wid a whole lot o'
dead men, an' some not dead yit, onder one o' de guns wid de fleg
still in he han', an' a bullet right th'oo he body, lay Marse
Chan. I tu'n 'im over an' call 'im, 'Marse Chan!' but 'twan' no
use, he wuz done gone home, sho' 'nuff. I pick' 'im up in my arms
wid de fleg still in he han's, an' toted 'im back jes' like I did
dat day when he wuz a baby, an' ole marster gin 'im to me in my
arms, an' sez he could trus' me, an' tell me to tek keer on 'im
long ez he lived. I kyar'd 'im 'way off de battlefiel' out de way
o' de balls, an' I laid 'im down onder a big tree till I could git
somebody to ketch de sorrel for me. He wuz cotched arfter a while,
an' I hed some money, so I got some pine plank an' made a coffin
dat evenin', an' wrapt Marse Chan's body up in de fleg, an' put
'im in de coffin; but I didn' nail de top on strong, 'cause I
knowed ole missis wan' see 'im; an' I got a' ambulance an' set out
for home dat night. We reached dyar de nex' evein', arfter
travellin' all dat night an' all nex' day.

"Hit 'peared like somethin' hed tole ole missis we wuz comin' so;
for when we got home she wuz waitin' for us--done drest up in her
best Sunday clo'es, an' stan'n' at de head o' de big steps, an'
ole marster settin' in his big cheer--ez we druv up de hill to'ds
de house, I drivin' de ambulance an' de sorrel leadin' 'long
behine wid de stirrups crost over de saddle.

"She come down to de gate to meet us. We took de coffin out de
ambulance an' kyar'd it right into de big parlor wid de pictures
in it, whar dey use' to dance in ole times when Marse Chan wuz a
schoolboy, an' Miss Anne Chahmb'lin use' to come over, an' go wid
ole missis into her charmber an' tek her things off. In dyar we
laid de coffin on two o' de cheers, an' ole missis nuver said a
wud; she jes' looked so ole an' white.

"When I had tell 'em all 'bout it, I tu'ned right 'roun' an' rid
over to Cun'l Chahmb'lin's, 'cause I knowed dat wuz what Marse
Chan he'd 'a' wanted me to do. I didn' tell nobody whar I wuz
gwine, 'cause yo' know none on 'em hadn' nuver speak to Miss Anne,
not sence de duil, an' dey didn' know 'bout de letter.

"When I rid up in de yard, dyar wuz Miss Anne a-stan'in' on de
poach watchin' me ez I rid up. I tied my hoss to de fence, an'
walked up de parf. She knowed by de way I walked dyar wuz
somethin' de motter, an' she wuz mighty pale. I drapt my cap down
on de een' o' de steps an' went up. She nuver opened her mouf;
jes' stan' right still an' keep her eyes on my face. Fust, I
couldn' speak; den I cotch my voice, an' I say, 'Marse Chan, he
done got he furlough.'

"Her face was mighty ashy, an' she sort o' shook, but she didn'
fall. She tu'ned 'roun' an' said, 'Git me de ker'ige!' Dat wuz
all.

"When de ker'ige come 'roun', she hed put on her bonnet, an' wuz
ready. Ez she got in, she sey to me, 'Hev yo' brought him home?'
an' we drove 'long, I ridin' behine.

"When we got home, she got out, an' walked up de big walk--up to
de poach by herse'f. Ole missis hed done fin' de letter in Marse
Chan's pocket, wid de love in it, while I wuz 'way, an' she wuz a-
waitin' on de poach. Dey sey dat wuz de fust time ole missis cry
when she find de letter, an' dat she sut'n'y did cry over it,
pintedly.

"Well, seh, Miss Anne she walks right up de steps, mos' up to ole
missis stan'in' dyar on de poach, an' jes' falls right down mos'
to her, on her knees fust, an' den flat on her face right on de
flo', ketchin' at ole missis' dress wid her two han's--so.

"Ole missis stood for 'bout a minit lookin' down at her, an' den
she drapt down on de flo' by her, an' took her in bofe her arms.

"I couldn' see, I wuz cryin' so myse'f, an' ev'ybody wuz cryin'.
But dey went in arfter a while in de parlor, an' shet de do'; an'
I heahd 'em say, Miss Anne she tuk de coffin in her arms an'
kissed it, an' kissed Marse Chan, an' call 'im by his name, an'
her darlin', an' ole missis lef' her cryin' in dyar tell some on
'em went in, an' found her done faint on de flo'.

"Judy (she's my wife) she tell me she heah Miss Anne when she axed
ole missis mout she wear mo'nin' fur 'im. I don' know how dat is;
but when we buried 'im nex' day, she wuz de one whar walked arfter
de coffin, holdin' ole marster, an' ole missis she walked next to
'em.

"Well, we buried Marse Chan dyar in de ole grabeyard, wid de fleg
wrapped roun' 'im, an' he face lookin' like it did dat mawnin'
down in de low groun's, wid de new sun shinin' on it so peaceful.

"Miss Anne she nuver went home to stay arfter dat; she stay wid
ole marster an' ole missis ez long ez dey lived. Dat warn' so
mighty long, 'cause ole marster he died dat fall, when dey wuz
fallerin' fur wheat--I had jes' married Judy den--an' ole missis
she warn' long behine him. We buried her by him next summer. Miss
Anne she went in de hospitals toreckly arfter ole missis died; an'
jes' fo' Richmond fell she come home sick wid de fever. Yo' nuver
would 'a' knowed her fur de same ole Miss Anne. She wuz light ez a
piece o' peth, an' so white, 'cep' her eyes an' her sorrel hyar,
an' she kep' on gittin' whiter an' weaker. Judy she sut'n'y did
nuss her faithful. But she nuver got no betterment! De fever an'
Marse Chan's bein' kilt hed done strain her, an' she died jes' fo'
de folks wuz sot free.

"So we buried Miss Anne right by Marse Chan, in a place whar ole
missis hed tole us to leave, an' dey's bofe on 'em sleep side by
side over in de ole grabeyard at home.

"An' will yo' please tell me, marster? Dey tells me dat de Bible
sey dyar won' be marryin' nor givin' in marriage in heaven, but I
don' b'lieve it signifies dat--does you?"

I gave him the comfort of my earnest belief in some other
interpretation, together with several spare "eighteen-pences," as
he called them, for which he seemed humbly grateful. And as I rode
away I heard him calling across the fence to his wife, who was
standing in the door of a small whitewashed cabin, near which we
had been standing for some time:

"Judy, have Marse Chan's dawg got home?"



"POSSON JONE"

BY GEORGE W. CABLE

Bliss Perry mentions this story as one that presents "people and
events and circumstances, blended into an artistic whole that
defies analysis." It illustrates dramatic incident, local color,
and complex character analysis.



"POSSON JONE'"

[Footnote: From "Old Creole Days," by George W. Cable. Copyright,
1890, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


To Jules St.-Ange--elegant little heathen--there yet remained at
manhood a remembrance of having been to school, and of having been
taught by a stony-headed Capuchin that the world is round--for
example, like a cheese. This round world is a cheese to be eaten
through, and Jules had nibbled quite into his cheese-world already
at twenty-two.

He realized this as he idled about one Sunday morning where the
intersection of Royal and Conti streets some seventy years ago
formed a central corner of New Orleans. Yes, yes, the trouble was
he had been wasteful and honest. He discussed the matter with that
faithful friend and confidant, Baptiste, his yellow body-servant.
They concluded that, papa's patience and tante's pin money having
been gnawed away quite to the rind, there were left open only
these few easily enumerated resorts: to go to work--they
shuddered; to join Major Innerarity's filibustering expedition; or
else--why not?--to try some games of confidence. At twenty-two one
must begin to be something. Nothing else tempted; could that
avail? One could but try. It is noble to try; and, besides, they
were hungry. If one could "make the friendship" of some person
from the country, for instance, with money, not expert at cards or
dice, but, as one would say, willing to learn, one might find
cause to say some "Hail Marys."

The sun broke through a clearing sky, and Baptiste pronounced it
good for luck. There had been a hurricane in the night. The weed-
grown tile-roofs were still dripping, and from lofty brick and low
adobe walls a rising steam responded to the summer sunlight.
Upstreet, and across the Rue du Canal, one could get glimpses of
the gardens in Faubourg Ste.-Marie standing in silent
wretchedness, so many tearful Lucretias, tattered victims of the
storm. Short remnants of the wind now and then came down the
narrow street in erratic puffs heavily laden with odors of broken
boughs and torn flowers, skimmed the little pools of rain-water in
the deep ruts of the unpaved street, and suddenly went away to
nothing, like a juggler's butterflies or a young man's money.

It was very picturesque, the Rue Royale. The rich and poor met
together. The locksmith's swinging key creaked next door to the
bank; across the way, crouching, mendicant-like, in the shadow of
a great importing-house, was the mud laboratory of the mender of
broken combs. Light balconies overhung the rows of showy shops and
stores open for trade this Sunday morning, and pretty Latin faces
of the higher class glanced over their savagely pronged railings
upon the passers below. At some windows hung lace curtains,
flannel duds at some, and at others only the scraping and sighing
one-hinged shutter groaning toward Paris after its neglectful
master.

M. St.-Ange stood looking up and down the street for nearly an
hour. But few ladies, only the inveterate mass-goers, were out.
About the entrance of the frequent cafes the masculine gentility
stood leaning on canes, with which now one and now another
beckoned to Jules, some even adding pantomimic hints of the social
cup.

M. St.-Ange remarked to his servant without turning his head that
somehow he felt sure he should soon return those bons that the
mulatto had lent him.

"What will you do with them?"

"Me!" said Baptiste, quickly; "I will go and see the bull-fight in
the Place Congo."

"There is to be a bull-fight? But where is M. Cayetano?"

"Ah, got all his affairs wet in the tornado. Instead of his
circus, they are to have a bull-fight--not an ordinary bull-fight
with sick horses, but a buffalo-and-tiger fight. I would not miss
it--"

Two or three persons ran to the opposite corner, and commenced
striking at something with their canes. Others followed. Can M.
St.-Ange and servant, who hasten forward--can the Creoles, Cubans,
Spaniards, San Domingo refugees, and other loungers--can they hope
it is a fight? They hurry forward. Is a man in a fit? The crowd
pours in from the side-streets. Have they killed a so-long snake?
Bareheaded shopmen leave their wives, who stand upon chairs. The
crowd huddles and packs. Those on the outside make little leaps
into the air, trying to be tall.

"What is the matter?"

"Have they caught a real live rat?"

"Who is hurt?" asks some one in English.

"Personne," replies a shopkeeper; "a man's hat blow' in the
gutter; but he has it now. Jules pick' it. See, that is the man,
head and shoulders on top the res'."

"He in the homespun?" asks a second shopkeeper. "Humph! an
Americain--a West-Floridian; bah!"

"But wait; 'st! he is speaking; listen!"

"To who is he speak--?"

"Sh-sh-sh! to Jules."

"Jules who?"

"Silence, you! To Jules St.-Ange, what howe me a bill since long
time. Sh-sh-sh!"

Then the voice was heard.

Its owner was a man of giant stature, with a slight stoop in his
shoulders, as if he was making a constant, good-natured attempt to
accommodate himself to ordinary doors and ceilings. His bones were
those of an ox. His face was marked more by weather than age, and
his narrow brow was bald and smooth. He had instantaneously formed
an opinion of Jules St.-Ange, and the multitude of words, most of
them lingual curiosities, with which he was rasping the wide-open
ears of his listeners, signified, in short, that, as sure as his
name was Parson Jones, the little Creole was a "plum gentleman."

M. St.-Ange bowed and smiled, and was about to call attention, by
both gesture and speech, to a singular object on top of the still
uncovered head, when the nervous motion of the Americain
anticipated him, as, throwing up an immense hand, he drew down a
large roll of bank-notes. The crowd laughed, the West-Floridian
joining, and began to disperse.

"Why, that money belongs to Smyrny Church," said the giant.

"You are very dengerous to make your money expose like that, Misty
Posson Jone'," said St.-Ange, counting it with his eyes.

The countryman gave a start and smile of surprise.

"How d'dyou know my name was Jones?" he asked; but, without
pausing for the Creole's answer, furnished in his reckless way
some further specimens of West-Floridian English; and the
conciseness with which he presented full intelligence of his home,
family, calling, lodging-house, and present and future plans,
might have passed for consummate art, had it not been the most
run-wild nature. "And I've done been to Mobile, you know, on
busiNESS for Bethesdy Church. It's the on'yest time I ever been
from home; now you wouldn't of believed that, would you? But I
admire to have saw you, that's so. You've got to come and eat with
me. Me and my boy ain't been fed yit. What might one call yo'
name? Jools? Come on, Jools. Come on, Colossus. That's my niggah--
his name's Colossus of Rhodes. Is that yo' yallah boy, Jools!
Fetch him along, Colossus. It seems like a special proviDENCE.-
Jools, do you believe in a special proviDENCE?"

Jules said he did.

The new-made friends moved briskly off, followed by Baptiste and a
short, square, old negro, very black and grotesque, who had
introduced himself to the mulatto, with many glittering and
cavernous smiles, as "d'body-sarvant of d'Rev'n' Mr. Jones."

Both pairs enlivened their walk with conversation. Parson Jones
descanted upon the doctrine he had mentioned, as illustrated in
the perplexities of cotton-growing, and concluded that there would
always be "a special proviDENCE again' cotton untell folks quits
a-pressin' of it and haulin' of it on Sundays!"

"Je dis," said St.-Ange, in response, "I thing you is juz right. I
believe, me, strong-strong in the improvidence, yes. You know my
papa he hown a sugah-plantation, you know. 'Jules, me son,' he say
one time to me, 'I goin' to make one baril sugah to fedge the moze
high price in New Orleans.' Well, he take his bez baril sugah--I
nevah see a so careful man like me papa always to make a so
beautiful sugah et sirop. 'Jules, go at Father Pierre an' ged this
lill pitcher fill with holy-water, an' tell him sen' his tin
bucket, and I will make it fill with quitte.' I ged the holy-
water; my papa sprinkle it over the baril, an' make one cross on
the 'ead of the baril."

"Why, Jools," said Parson Jones, "that didn't do no good."

"Din do no good! Id broughd the so great value! You can strike me
dead if thad baril sugah din fedge the more high cost than any
other in the city. Parce-que, the man what buy that baril sugah he
make a mistake of one hundred pound "--falling back--"Mais
certainlee!"'

"And you think that was growin' out of the holy-water?" asked the
parson.

"Mais, what could make it else? Id could not be the quitte,
because my papa keep the bucket, an' forget to sen' the quitte to
Father Pierre."

Parson Jones was disappointed.

"Well, now, Jools, you know, I don't think that was right. I
reckon you must be a plum Catholic."

M. St.-Ange shrugged. He would not deny his faith.

"I am a Catholique, mais"--brightening as he hoped to recommend
himself anew--"not a good one."

"Well, you know," said Jones--"where's Colossus? Oh! all right.
Colossus strayed off a minute in Mobile, and I plum lost him for
two days. Here's the place; come in. Colossus and this boy can go
to the kitchen.--Now, Colossus, what AIR you a-beckonin' at me
faw?"

He let his servant draw him aside and address him in a whisper.

"Oh, go 'way!" said the parson with a jerk. "Who's goin' to throw
me? What? Speak louder. Why, Colossus, you shayn't talk so, saw.
'Pon my soul, you're the mightiest fool I ever taken up with. Jest
you go down that alley-way with this yalla boy, and don't show yo'
face untell yo' called!"

The negro begged; the master wrathily insisted.

"Colossus, will you do ez I tell you, or shell I hev to strike
you, saw?"

"O Mahs Jimmy, I--I's gwine; but"--he ventured nearer--"don't on
no account drink nothin', Mahs Jimmy."

Such was the negro's earnestness that he put one foot in the
gutter, and fell heavily against his master. The parson threw him
off angrily.

"Thar, now! Why, Colossus, you most of been dosted with sumthin';
yo' plum crazy.--Humph, come on, Jools, let's eat! Humph! to tell
me that when I never taken a drop, exceptin' for chills, in my
life--which he knows so as well as me!"

The two masters began to ascend a stair.

"Mais, he is a sassy; I would sell him, me," said the young
Creole.

"No, I wouldn't do that," replied the parson; "though there is
people in Bethesdy who says he is a rascal. He's a powerful smart
fool. Why, that boy's got money, Jools; more money than religion,
I reckon. I'm shore he fallen into mighty bad company"--they
passed beyond earshot.

Baptiste and Colossus, instead of going to the tavern kitchen,
passed to the next door and entered the dark rear corner of a low
grocery, where, the law notwithstanding, liquor was covertly sold
to slaves. There, in the quiet company of Baptiste and the grocer,
the colloquial powers of Colossus, which were simply prodigious,
began very soon to show themselves.

"For whilst," said he, "Mahs Jimmy has eddication, you know--
whilst he has eddication, I has 'scretion. He has eddication and I
has 'scretion, an' so we gits along."

He drew a black bottle down the counter, and, laying half his
length upon the damp board, continued:

"As a p'inciple I discredits de imbimin' of awjus liquors. De
imbimin' of awjus liquors, de wiolution of de Sabbaf, de playin'
of de fiddle, and de usin' of by-words, dey is de fo' sins of de
conscience; an' if any man sin de fo' sins of de conscience, de
debble done sharp his fork fo' dat man.--Ain't that so, boss?"

The grocer was sure it was so.

"Neberdeless, mind you"--here the orator brimmed his glass from
the bottle and swallowed the contents with a dry eye--"mind you, a
roytious man, sech as ministers of de gospel and dere body-
sarvants, can take a LEETLE for de weak stomach."

But the fascinations of Colossus's eloquence must not mislead us;
this is the story of a true Christian; to wit, Parson Jones.

The parson and his new friend ate. But the coffee M. St.-Ange
declared he could not touch; it was too wretchedly bad. At the
French Market, near by, there was some noble coffee. This,
however, would have to be bought, and Parson Jones had scruples.

"You see, Jools, every man has his conscience to guide him, which
it does so in--"

"Oh, yes!" cried St.-Ange, "conscien'; thad is the bez, Posson
Jone'. Certainlee! I am a CATHOLIQUE, you is a SCHISMATIQUE; you
thing it is wrong to dring some coffee--well, then, it IS wrong;
you thing it is wrong to make the sugah to ged the so large price
--well, then, it IS wrong; I thing it is right--well, then, it IS
right; it is all 'abit; c'est tout. What a man thing is right, IS
RIGHT; 'tis all 'abit. A man muz nod go again' his conscien'. My
faith! do you thing I would go again' my conscien'? Mais allons,
led us go and ged some coffee."

"Jools."

"Wat?"

"Jools, it ain't the drinkin' of coffee, but the buyin' of it on a
Sabbath. You must really excuse me, Jools it's again' conscience,
you know."

"Ah!" said St.-Ange, "c'est very true. For you it would be a sin,
mais for me it is only 'abit. Rilligion is a very strange; I know
a man one time, he thing it was wrong to go to cock-fight Sunday
evening. I thing it is all 'abit. Mais, come, Posson Jone'; I have
got one friend, Miguel; led us go at his house and ged some
coffee. Come; Miguel have no familie; only him and Joe--always
like to see friend; allons, led us come yonder."

"Why, Jools, my dear friend, you know," said the shamefaced
parson, "I never visit on Sundays."

"Never w'at?" asked the astounded Creole.

"No," said Jones, smiling awkwardly.

"Never visite?"

"Exceptin' sometimes amongst church-members," said Parson Jones.

"Mais," said the seductive St.-Ange, "Miguel and Joe is church-
member'--certainlee! They love to talk about rilligion. Come at
Miguel and talk about some rilligion. I am nearly expire for me
coffee."

Parson Jones took his hat from beneath his chair and rose up.

"Jools," said the weak giant, "I ought to be in church right now."

"Mais, the church is right yonder at Miguel', yes. Ah!" continued
St.-Ange, as they descended the stairs, "I thing every man muz
have the rilligion he like' the bez--me, I like the Catholique
rilligion the bez-for me it IS the bez. Every man will sure go to
heaven if he like his rilligion the bez."

"Jools," said the West-Floridian, laying his great hand tenderly
upon the Creole's shoulder, as they stepped out upon the
banquette, "do you think you have any shore hopes of heaven?"

"Yass!" replied St.-Ange; "I am sure-sure. I thing everybody will
go to heaven. I thing you will go, et I thing Miguel will go, et
Joe--everybody, I thing--mais, hof course, not if they not have
been christen'. Even I thing some niggers will go."

"Jools," said the parson, stopping in his walk--"Jools, I DON'T
want to lose my niggah."

"You will not loose him. With Baptiste he CANNOT ged loose."

But Colossus's master was not reassured.

"Now," said he, still tarrying, "this is jest the way; had I of
gone to church--"

"Posson Jone'," said Jules.

"What?"

"I tell you. We goin' to church!"

"Will you?" asked Jones, joyously.

"Allons, come along," said Jules, taking his elbow.

They walked down the Rue Chartres, passed several corners, and by
and by turned into a cross street. The parson stopped an instant
as they were turning and looked back up the street.

"W'at you lookin'?" asked his companion.

"I thought I saw Colossus," answered the parson, with an anxious
face; "I reckon 'twa'n't him, though." And they went on.

The street they now entered was a very quiet one. The eye of any
chance passer would have been at once drawn to a broad, heavy,
white brick edifice on the lower side of the way, with a flag-pole
standing out like a bowsprit from one of its great windows, and a
pair of lamps hanging before a large closed entrance. It was a
theatre, honey-combed with gambling-dens. At this morning hour all
was still, and the only sign of life was a knot of little barefoot
girls gathered within its narrow shade, and each carrying an
infant relative. Into this place the parson and M. St.-Ange
entered, the little nurses jumping up from the sills to let them
pass in.

A half-hour may have passed. At the end of that time the whole
juvenile company were laying alternate eyes and ears to the
chinks, to gather what they could of an interesting quarrel going
on within.

"I did not, saw! I given you no cause of offence, saw! It's not
so, saw! Mister Jools simply mistaken the house, thinkin' it was a
Sabbath-school! No such thing, saw; I AIN'T bound to bet! Yes, I
kin git out. Yes, without bettin'! I hev a right to my opinion; I
reckon I'm a WHITE MAN, saw! No, saw! I on'y said I didn't think
you could get the game on them cards. 'Sno such thing, saw! I do
NOT know how to play! I wouldn't hev a rascal's money ef I should
win it! Shoot, ef you dare! You can kill me, but you cayn't scare
me! No, I shayn't bet! I'll die first! Yes, saw; Mr. Jools can bet
for me if he admires to; I ain't his mostah."

Here the speaker seemed to direct his words to St.-Ange.

"Saw, I don't understand you, saw. I never said I'd loan you money
to bet for me. I didn't suspicion this from you, saw. No, I won't
take any more lemonade; it's the most notorious stuff I ever
drank, saw!"

M. St.-Ange's replies were in falsetto and not without effect; for
presently the parson's indignation and anger began to melt. "Don't
ask me, Jools, I can't help you. It's no use; it's a matter of
conscience with me, Jools."

"Mais oui! 'tis a matt' of conscien' wid me, the same."

"But, Jools, the money's none o' mine, nohow; it belongs to
Smyrny, you know."

"If I could make jus' ONE bet," said the persuasive St.-Ange, "I
would leave this place, fas'-fas', yes. If I had thing--mais I did
not soupspicion this from you, Posson Jone'---"

"Don't, Jools, don't!"

"No! Posson Jone'."

"You're bound to win?" said the parson, wavering.

"Mais certainement! But it is not to win that I want; 'tis me
conscien'--me honor!"

"Well, Jools, I hope I'm not a-doin' no wrong. I'll loan you some
of this money if you say you'll come right out 'thout takin' your
winnin's."

All was still. The peeping children could see the parson as he
lifted his hand to his breast-pocket. There it paused a moment in
bewilderment, then plunged to the bottom. It came back empty, and
fell lifelessly at his side. His head dropped upon his breast, his
eyes were for a moment closed, his broad palms were lifted and
pressed against his forehead, a tremor seized him, and he fell all
in a lump to the floor. The children ran off with their infant-
loads, leaving Jules St.-Ange swearing by all his deceased
relatives, first to Miguel and Joe, and then to the lifted parson,
that he did not know what had become of the money "except if" the
black man had got it.

In the rear of ancient New Orleans, beyond the sites of the old
rampart, a trio of Spanish forts, where the town has since sprung
up and grown old, green with all the luxuriance of the wild Creole
summer, lay the Congo Plains. Here stretched the canvas of the
historic Cayetano, who Sunday after Sunday sowed the sawdust for
his circus-ring.

But to-day the great showman had fallen short of his printed
promise. The hurricane had come by night, and with one fell swash
had made an irretrievable sop of everything. The circus trailed
away its bedraggled magnificence, and the ring was cleared for the
bull.

Then the sun seemed to come out and work for the people. "See,"
said the Spaniards, looking up at the glorious sky with its great,
white fleets drawn off upon the horizon--"see--heaven smiles upon
the bull-fight!"

In the high upper seats of the rude amphitheatre sat the gaily-
decked wives and daughters of the Gascons, from the metaries along
the Ridge, and the chattering Spanish women of the Market, their
shining hair unbonneted to the sun. Next below were their husbands
and lovers in Sunday blouses, milkmen, butchers, bakers, black-
bearded fishermen, Sicilian fruiterers, swarthy Portuguese
sailors, in little woollen caps, and strangers of the graver sort;
mariners of England, Germany, and Holland. The lowest seats were
full of trappers, smugglers, Canadian voyageurs, drinking and
singing; Americains, too--more's the shame--from the upper rivers
--who will not keep their seats--who ply the bottle, and who will
get home by and by and tell how wicked Sodom is; broad-brimmed,
silver-braided Mexicans, too, with their copper cheeks and bat's
eyes, and their tinkling spurred heels. Yonder, in that quieter
section, are the quadroon women in their black lace shawls--and
there is Baptiste; and below them are the turbaned black women,
and there is--but he vanishes--Colossus.

The afternoon is advancing, yet the sport, though loudly demanded,
does not begin. The Americains grow derisive and find pastime in
gibes and raillery. They mock the various Latins with their
national inflections, and answer their scowls with laughter. Some
of the more aggressive shout pretty French greetings to the women
of Gascony, and one bargeman, amid peals of applause, stands on a
seat and hurls a kiss to the quadrooms. The mariners of England,
Germany, and Holland, as spectators, like the fun, while the
Spaniards look black and cast defiant imprecations upon their
persecutors. Some Gascons, with timely caution, pick their women
out and depart, running a terrible fire of gallantries.

In hope of truce, a new call is raised for the bull: "The bull,
the bull!--hush!"

In a tier near the ground a man is standing and calling--standing
head and shoulders above the rest--calling in the Americaine
tongue. Another man, big and red, named Joe, and a handsome little
Creole in elegant dress and full of laughter, wish to stop him,
but the flat-boatmen, ha-ha-ing and cheering, will not suffer it.
Ah, through some shameful knavery of the men, into whose hands he
has fallen, he is drunk! Even the women can see that; and now he
throws his arms wildly and raises his voice until the whole great
circle hears it. He is preaching!

Ah! kind Lord, for a special providence now! The men of his own
nation--men from the land of the open English Bible and temperance
cup and song are cheering him on to mad disgrace. And now another
call for the appointed sport is drowned by the flat-boatmen
singing the ancient tune of Mear. You can hear the words--

     "Old Grimes is dead, that good old soul"

--from ribald lips and throats turned brazen with laughter, from
singers who toss their hats aloft and roll in their seats; the
chorus swells to the accompaniment of a thousand brogans--

"He used to wear an old gray coat All buttoned down before."

A ribboned man in the arena is trying to be heard, and the Latins
raise one mighty cry for silence. The big red man gets a hand over
the parson's mouth, and the ribboned man seizes his moment.

"They have been endeavoring for hours," he says, "to draw the
terrible animals from their dens, but such is their strength and
fierceness, that--"

His voice is drowned. Enough has been heard to warrant the
inference that the beasts cannot be whipped out of the storm-
drenched cages to which menagerie-life and long starvation have
attached them, and from the roar of indignation the man of ribbons
flies. The noise increases. Men are standing up by hundreds, and
women are imploring to be let out of the turmoil. All at once,
like the bursting of a dam, the whole mass pours down into the
ring. They sweep across the arena and over the showman's barriers.
Miguel gets a frightful trampling. Who cares for gates or doors?
They tear the beasts' houses bar from bar, and, laying hold of the
gaunt buffalo, drag him forth by feet, ears, and tail; and in the
midst of the melee, still head and shoulders above all, wilder,
with the cup of the wicked, than any beast, is the man of God from
the Florida parishes!

In his arms he bore--and all the people shouted at once when they
saw it--the tiger. He had lifted it high up with its back to his
breast, his arms clasped under its shoulders; the wretched brute
had curled up caterpillar-wise, with its long tail against its
belly, and through its filed teeth grinned a fixed and impotent
wrath. And Parson Jones was shouting:

"The tiger and the buffler SHELL lay down together! You dah to say
they shayn't and I'll comb you with this varmint from head to
foot! The tiger and the buffler SHELL lay down together. They
SHELL! Now, you, Joe! Behold! I am here to see it done. The lion
and the buffler SHELL lay down together!"

Mouthing these words again and again, the parson forced his way
through the surge in the wake of the buffalo. This creature the
Latins had secured by a lariat over his head, and were dragging
across the old rampart and into a street of the city.

The northern races were trying to prevent, and there was
pommelling and knocking down, cursing and knife-drawing, until
Jules St.-Ange was quite carried away with the fun, laughed,
clapped his hands, and swore with delight, and ever kept close to
the gallant parson.

Joe, contrariwise, counted all this child's-play an interruption.
He had come to find Colossus and the money. In an unlucky moment
he made bold to lay hold of the parson, but a piece of the broken
barriers in the hands of a flat-boatman felled him to the sod, the
terrible crowd swept over him, the lariat was cut, and the giant
parson hurled the tiger upon the buffalo's back. In another
instant both brutes were dead at the hands of the mob; Jones was
lifted from his feet, and prating of Scripture and the millennium,
of Paul at Ephesus and Daniel in the "buffler's" den, was borne
aloft upon the shoulders of the huzzaing Americains. Half an hour
later he was sleeping heavily on the floor of a cell in the
calaboza.

"When Parson Jones awoke, a bell was somewhere tolling for
midnight. Somebody was at the door of his cell with a key. The
lock grated, the door swung, the turnkey looked in and stepped
back, and a ray of moonlight fell upon M. Jules St.-Ange. The
prisoner sat upon the empty shackles and ring-bolt in the centre
of the floor.

"Misty Posson Jone'," said the visitor, softly.

"O Jools!"

"Mais, w'at de matter, Posson Jone'?"

"My sins, Jools, my sins!"

"Ah! Posson Jone', is that something to cry, because a man get
sometime a litt' bit intoxicate? Mais, if a man keep ALL THE TIME
intoxicate, I think that is again' the conscien'."

"Jools, Jools, your eyes is darkened--oh! Jools, where's my pore
old niggah?"

"Posson Jone', never min'; he is wid Baptiste."

"Where?"

"I don' know w'ere--mais he is wid Baptiste. Baptiste is a
beautiful to take care of somebody."

"Is he as good as you, Jools?" asked Parson Jones, sincerely.

Jules was slightly staggered.

"You know, Posson Jone', you know, a nigger cannot be good as a
w'ite man--mais Baptiste is a good nigger."

The parson moaned and dropped his chin into his hands.

"I was to of left for home to-morrow, sun-up, on the Isabella
schooner. Pore Smyrny!" He deeply sighed.

"Posson Jone'," said Jules, leaning against the wall and smiling,
"I swear you is the moz funny man I ever see. If I was you I would
say, me, 'Ah! 'ow I am lucky! the money I los', it was not mine,
anyhow!' My faith! shall a man make hisse'f to be the more sorry
because the money he los' is not his? Me, I would say, 'it is a
specious providence.'

"Ah! Misty Posson Jone'," he continued, "you make a so droll
sermon ad the bull-ring. Ha! ha! I swear I think you can make
money to preach thad sermon many time ad the theatre St. Philippe.
Hah! you is the moz brave dat I never see, mais ad the same time
the moz rilligious man. Where I'm goin' to fin' one priest to make
like dat? Mais, why you can't cheer up an' be 'appy? Me, if I
should be miserabl' like that I would kill meself."

The countryman only shook his head.

"Bien, Posson Jone', I have the so good news for you."

The prisoner looked up with eager inquiry.

"Las' evening when they lock' you, I come right off at M. De
Blanc's house to get you let out of de calaboose; M. De Blanc he
is the judge. So soon I was entering--' Ah! Jules, me boy, juz the
man to make complete the game!' Posson Jone', it was a specious
providence! I win in t'ree hours more dan six hundred dollah!
Look." He produced a mass of bank-notes, bons, and due-bills.

"And you got the pass?" asked the parson, regarding the money with
a sadness incomprehensible to Jules.

"It is here; it take the effect so soon the daylight."

"Jools, my friend, your kindness is in vain."

The Creole's face became a perfect blank.

"Because," said the parson, "for two reasons: firstly, I have
broken the laws, and ought to stand the penalty; and secondly--you
must really excuse me, Jools, you know, but the pass has been got
onfairly, I'm afeerd. You told the judge I was innocent; and in
neither case it don't become a Christian (which I hope I can still
say I am one) to 'do evil that good may come.' I muss stay."

M. St.-Ange stood up aghast, and for a moment speechless, at this
exhibition of moral heroism; but an artifice was presently hit
upon. "Mais, Posson Jone'!"--in his old falsetto--"de order--you
cannot read it, it is in French--compel you to go hout, sir!"

"Is that so?" cried the parson, bounding up with radiant face--"is
that so, Jools?"

The young man nodded, smiling; but, though he smiled, the fountain
of his tenderness was opened. He made the sign of the cross as the
parson knelt in prayer, and even whispered "Hail Mary," etc.,
quite through, twice over.

Morning broke in summer glory upon a cluster of villas behind the
city, nestled under live-oaks and magnolias on the banks of a deep
bayou, and known as Suburb St. Jean.

With the first beam came the West-Floridian and the Creole out
upon the bank below the village. Upon the parson's arm hung a pair
of antique saddle-bags. Baptiste limped wearily behind; both his
eyes were encircled with broad, blue rings, and one cheek-bone
bore the official impress of every knuckle of Colossus's left
hand. The "beautiful to take care of somebody" had lost his
charge. At mention of the negro he became wild, and, half in
English, half in the "gumbo" dialect, said murderous things.
Intimidated by Jules to calmness, he became able to speak
confidently on one point; he could, would, and did swear that
Colossus had gone home to the Florida parishes; he was almost
certain; in fact, he thought so.

There was a clicking of pulleys as the three appeared upon the
bayou's margin, and Baptiste pointed out, in the deep shadow of a
great oak, the Isabella, moored among the bulrushes, and just
spreading her sails for departure. Moving down to where she lay,
the parson and his friend paused on the bank, loath to say
farewell.

"O Jools!" said the parson, "supposin' Colossus ain't gone home! O
Jools, if you'll look him out for me, I'll never forget you--I'll
never forget you, nohow, Jools. No, Jools, I never will believe he
taken that money. Yes, I know all niggahs will steal"--he set foot
upon the gang-plank--"but Colossus wouldn't steal from me. Good-
bye."

"Misty Posson Jone'," said St.-Ange, putting his hand on the
parson's arm with genuine affection, "hol' on. You see dis money--
w'at I win las' night? Well, I win' it by a specious providence,
ain't it?"

"There's no tellin'," said the humbled Jones. "Providence

    "' Moves in a mysterious way
       His wonders to perform.'"

"Ah!" cried the Creole, "c'est very true. I ged this money in the
mysterieuze way. Mais, if I keep dis money, you know where it
goin' be to-night?"

"I really can't say," replied the parson.

"Goin' to de dev'," said the sweetly-smiling young man.

The schooner-captain, leaning against the shrouds, and even
Baptiste, laughed outright.

"O Jools, you mustn't!"

"Well, den, w'at I shall do wid IT?"

"Any thing!" answered the parson; "better donate it away to some
poor man----"

"Ah! Misty Posson Jone', dat is w'at I want. You los' five hondred
dollar'--'twas me fault."

"No, it wa'n't, Jools."

"Mais, it was!"

"No!"

"It WAS me fault! I SWEAR it was me fault! Mais, here is five
hondred dollar'; I wish you shall take it. Here! I don't got no
use for money.--Oh, my faith! Posson Jone', you must not begin to
cry some more"

Parson Jones was choked with tears. "When he found voice he said:

"O Jools, Jools, Jools! my pore, noble, dear, mis-guidened friend!
ef you hed of hed a Christian raisin'! May the Lord show you your
errors better'n I kin, and bless you for your good intentions--oh,
no! I cayn't touch that money with a ten-foot pole; it wa'n't
rightly got; you must really excuse me, my dear friend, but I
cayn't touch it."

St. Ange was petrified.

"Good-bye, dear Jools," continued the parson. "I'm in the Lord's
haynds, and he's very merciful, which I hope and trust you'll find
it out. Good-bye!"--the schooner swang slowly off before the
breeze--"goodbye!"

St. Ange roused himself.

"Posson Jone'! make me hany'ow dis promise: you never, never,
NEVER will come back to New Orleans."

"Ah, Jools, the Lord willin', I'll never leave home again!"

"All right!" cried the Creole; "I thing he's willin'. Adieu,
Posson Jone'. My faith'! you are the so fighting an' moz
rilligious man as I never saw! Adieu! Adieu!"

Baptiste uttered a cry and presently ran by his master toward the
schooner, his hands full of clods.

St. Ange looked just in time to see the sable form of Colossus of
Rhodes emerge from the vessel's hold, and the pastor of Smyrna and
Bethesda seize him in his embrace.

"O Colossus! you outlandish old nigger! Thank the Lord! Thank the
Lord!"

The little Creole almost wept. He ran down the towpath, laughing
and swearing, and making confused allusion to the entire PERSONNEL
and furniture of the lower regions.

By odd fortune, at the moment that St.-Ange further demonstrated
his delight by tripping his mulatto into a bog, the schooner came
brushing along the reedy bank with a graceful curve, the sails
flapped, and the crew fell to poling her slowly along.

Parson Jones was on the deck, kneeling once more in prayer. His
hat had fallen before him; behind him knelt his slave. In
thundering tones he was confessing himself "a plum fool," from
whom "the conceit had been jolted out," and who had been made to
see that even his "nigger had the longest head of the two."

Colossus clasped his hands and groaned.

The parson prayed for a contrite heart.

"Oh, yes!" cried Colossus.

The master acknowledged countless mercies.

"Dat's so!" cried the slave.

The master prayed that they might still be "piled on."

"Glory!" cried the black man, clapping his hands; "pile on!"

"An' now," continued the parson, "bring this pore, backslidin'
jackace of a parson and this pore ole fool nigger back to thar
home in peace!"

"Pray fo' de money!" called Colossus.

But the parson prayed for Jules.

"Pray fo' de MONEY!" repeated the negro.

"And oh, give thy servant back that there lost money!"

Colossus rose stealthily, and tiptoed by his still shouting
master. St.-Ange, the captain, the crew, gazed in silent wonder at
the strategist. Pausing but an instant over the master's hat to
grin an acknowledgment of his beholders' speechless interest, he
softly placed in it the faithfully mourned and honestly prayed for
Smyrna fund; then, saluted by the gesticulative, silent applause
of St.-Ange and the schooner-men, he resumed his first attitude
behind his roaring master.

"Amen!" cried Colossus, meaning to bring him to a close.

"Onworthy though I be--" cried Jones.

"AMEN!" reiterated the negro.

"A-a-amen!" said Parson Jones.

He rose to his feet, and, stooping to take up his hat, beheld the
well-known roll. As one stunned, he gazed for a moment upon his
slave, who still knelt with clasped hands and rolling eyeballs;
but when he became aware of the laughter and cheers that greeted
him from both deck and shore, he lifted eyes and hands to heaven,
and cried like the veriest babe. And when he looked at the roll
again, and hugged and kissed it, St.-Ange tried to raise a second
shout, but choked, and the crew fell to their poles.

And now up runs Baptiste, covered with slime, and prepares to cast
his projectiles. The first one fell wide of the mark; the schooner
swung round into a long reach of water, where the breeze was in
her favor; another shout of laughter drowned the maledictions of
the muddy man; the sails filled; Colossus of Rhodes, smiling and
bowing as hero of the moment, ducked as the main boom swept round,
and the schooner, leaning slightly to the pleasant influence,
rustled a moment over the bulrushes, and then sped far away down
the rippling bayou.

M. Jules St.-Ange stood long, gazing at the receding vessel as it
now disappeared, now reappeared beyond the tops of the high
undergrowth; but, when an arm of the forest hid it finally from
sight, he turned townward, followed by that fagged-out spaniel,
his servant, saying, as he turned, "Baptiste." "Miche?"

"You know w'at I goin' do wid dis money?"

"Non, m'sieur."

"Well, you can strike me dead if I don't goin' to pay hall my
debts! Allons!"

He began a merry little song to the effect that his sweetheart was
a wine-bottle, and master and man, leaving care behind, returned
to the picturesque Rue Royale. The ways of Providence are indeed
strange. In all Parson Jones's after-life, amid the many painful
reminiscences of his visit to the City of the Plain, the sweet
knowledge was withheld from him that by the light of the Christian
virtue that shone from him even in his great fall, Jules St.-Ange
arose, and went to his father an honest man.



OUR AROMATIC UNCLE

BY

HENRY CUYLER BUNNER

The title of Mr. Bunner's story is attractive and stimulating to
the imagination. The plot is slight, yet clever in its use of the
surprise element. Its leading character is a splendid illustration
of a hero worshipper who is himself the real hero. The atmosphere
is especially good. It is warmed by family affection and fragrant
with romance. This romance, as Mr. Grabo points out in "The Art of
the Short Story," is suggested rather than recorded. The running
away of the Judge's son and of his little admirer, the butcher
boy, really lies outside the story proper. "With these youthful
adventures the story has not directly to do, but the hints of the
antecedent action envelop the story with a romantic atmosphere.
The reader speculates upon the story suggested, and thereby is the
written story enriched and made a part of a larger whole."



OUR AROMATIC UNCLE

[Footnote: From "Love in Old Cloathes and Other Stories," by F.
C. Bunner. Copyright, 1896, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]

It is always with a feeling of personal tenderness and regret that
I recall his story, although it began long before I was born, and
must have ended shortly after that important date, and although I
myself never laid eyes on the personage of whom my wife and I
always speak as "The Aromatic Uncle."

The story begins so long ago, indeed, that I can tell it only as a
tradition of my wife's family. It goes back to the days when
Boston was so frankly provincial a town that one of its leading
citizens, a man of eminent position and ancient family, remarked
to a young kinsman whom he was entertaining at his hospitable
board, by way of pleasing and profitable discourse: "Nephew, it
may interest you to know that it is Mr. Everett who has the OTHER
hindquarter of this lamb". This simple tale I will vouch for, for
I got it from the lips of the nephew, who has been my uncle for so
many years that I know him to be a trustworthy authority.

In those days which seem so far away--and yet the space between
them and us is spanned by a lifetime of threescore years and ten--
life was simpler in all its details; yet such towns as Boston,
already old, had well established local customs which varied not
at all from year to year; many of which lingered in later phases
of urban growth. In Boston, or at least in that part of Boston
where my wife's family dwelt, it was the invariable custom for the
head of the family to go to market in the early morning with his
wife's list of the day's needs. When the list was filled, the
articles were placed in a basket; and the baskets thus filled were
systematically deposited by the marketboys at the back door of the
house to which they were consigned. Then the housekeeper came to
the back door at her convenience, and took the basket in. Exposed
as this position must have been, such a thing as a theft of the
day's edibles was unknown, and the first authentic account of any
illegitimate handling of the baskets brings me to the introduction
of my wife's uncle.

It was on a summer morning, as far as I can find out, that a
little butcher boy--a very little butcher boy to be driving so big
a cart--stopped in the rear of two houses that stood close
together in a suburban street. One of these houses belonged to my
wife's father, who was, from all I can gather, a very pompous,
severe, and generally objectionable old gentleman; a Judge, and a
very considerable dignitary, who apparently devoted all his
leisure to making life miserable for his family. The other was
owned by a comparatively poor and unimportant man, who did a
shipping business in a small way. He had bought it during a period
of temporary affluence, and it hung on his hands like a white
elephant. He could not sell it, and it was turning his hair gray
to pay the taxes on it. On this particular morning he had got up
at four o'clock to go down to the wharves to see if a certain ship
in which he was interested had arrived. It was due and overdue,
and its arrival would settle the question of his domestic comfort
for the whole year; for if it failed to appear, or came home with
an empty bottom, his fate would be hard indeed; but if it brought
him money or marketable goods from its long Oriental trip, he
might take heart of grace and look forward to better times.

When the butcher's boy stopped at the house of my wife's father,
he set down at the back-door a basket containing fish, a big joint
of roast beef, and a generous load of fruit and vegetables,
including some fine, fat oranges. At the other door he left a
rather unpromising-looking lump of steak and a half-peck of
potatoes, not of the first quality. When he had deposited these
two burdens he ran back and started his cart up the road.

But he looked back as he did so, and he saw a sight familiar to
him, and saw the commission of a deed entirely unfamiliar. A
handsome young boy of about his own age stepped out of the back-
door of my wife's father's house and looked carelessly around him.
He was one of the boys who compel the admiration of all other
boys--strong, sturdy, and a trifle arrogant.

He had long ago compelled the admiration of the little butcher-
boy. They had been playmates together at the public school, and
although the Judge's son looked down from an infinite height upon
his poor little comrade, the butcher-boy worshipped him with the
deepest and most fervent adoration. He had for him the admiring
reverence which the boy who can't lick anybody has for the boy who
can lick everybody. He was a superior being, a pattern, a model;
an ideal never to be achieved, but perhaps in a crude, humble way
to be imitated. And there is no hero-worship in the world like a
boy's worship of a boy-hero.

The sight of this fortunate and adorable youth was familiar enough
to the butcher-boy, but the thing he did startled and shocked that
poor little workingman almost as much as if his idol had committed
a capital crime right before his very eyes. For the Judge's son
suddenly let a look into his face that meant mischief, glanced
around him to see whether anybody was observing him or not, and,
failing to notice the butcher-boy, quickly and dexterously changed
the two baskets. Then he went back into the house and shut the
door on himself.

The butcher-boy reined up his horse and jumped from his cart. His
first impulse, of course, was to undo the shocking iniquity which
the object of his admiration had committed. But before he had
walked back a dozen yards, it struck him that he was taking a
great liberty in spoiling the other boy's joke. It was wrong, of
course, he knew it; but was it for him to rebuke the wrong-doing
of such an exalted personage? If the Judge's son came out again,
he would see that his joke had miscarried, and then he would be
displeased. And to the butcher-boy it did not seem right in the
nature of things that anything should displease the Judge's son.
Three times he went hesitatingly backward and forward, trying to
make up his mind, and then he made it up. The king could do no
wrong. Of course he himself was doing wrong in not putting the
baskets back where they belonged; but then he reflected, he took
that sin on his own humble conscience, and in some measure took it
off the conscience of the Judge's son--if, indeed, it troubled
that lightsome conscience at all. And, of course, too, he knew
that, being an apprentice, he would be whipped for it when the
substitution was discovered. But he didn't mind being whipped for
the boy he worshipped. So he drove out along the road; and the
wife of the poor shipping-merchant, coming to the back-door, and
finding the basket full of good things, and noticing especially
the beautiful China oranges, naturally concluded that her
husband's ship had come in, and that he had provided his family
with a rare treat. And the Judge, when he came home to dinner, and
Mrs. Judge introduced him to the rump-steak and potatoes--but I do
not wish to make this story any more pathetic than is necessary.

A few months after this episode, perhaps indirectly in consequence
of it--I have never been able to find out exactly--the Judge's
son, my wife's uncle, ran away to sea, and for many years his
recklessness, his strength, and his good looks were only
traditions in the family, but traditions which he himself kept
alive by remembrances than which none could have been more
effective.

At first he wrote but seldom, later on more regularly, but his
letters--I have seen many of them--were the most uncommunicative
documents that I ever saw in my life. His wanderings took him to
many strange places on the other side of the globe, but he never
wrote of what he saw or did. His family gleaned from them that his
health was good, that the weather was such-and-such, and that he
wished to have his love, duty, and respects conveyed to his
various relatives. In fact, the first positive bit of personal
intelligence that they received from him was five years after his
departure, when he wrote them from a Chinese port on letter-paper
whose heading showed that he was a member of a commercial firm.
The letter itself made no mention of the fact. As the years passed
on, however, the letters came more regularly and they told less
about the weather, and were slightly--very slightly--more
expressive of a kind regard for his relatives. But at the best
they were cramped by the formality of his day and generation, and
we of to-day would have called them cold and perfunctory.

But the practical assurances that he gave of his undiminished--
nay, his steadily increasing--affection for the people at home,
were of a most satisfying character, for they were convincing
proof not only of his love but of his material prosperity. Almost
from his first time of writing he began to send gifts to all the
members of the family. At first these were mere trifles, little
curios of travel such as he was able to purchase out of a seaman's
scanty wages; but as the years went on they grew richer and
richer, till the munificence of the runaway son became the pride
of the whole family.

The old house that had been in the suburbs of Boston was fairly in
the heart of the city when I first made its acquaintance, and one
of the famous houses of the town. And it was no wonder it was
famous, for such a collection of Oriental furniture, bric-a-brac,
and objects of art never was seen outside of a museum. There were
ebony cabinets, book-cases, tables, and couches wonderfully carved
and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. There were beautiful things in
bronze and jade and ivory. There were all sorts of strange rugs
and curtains and portieres. As to the china-ware and the vases, no
house was ever so stocked; and as for such trifles as shawls and
fans and silk handkerchiefs, why such things were sent not singly
but by dozens.

No one could forget his first entrance into that house. The great
drawing-room was darkened by heavy curtains, and at first you had
only a dim vision of the strange and graceful shapes of its
curious furnishing. But you could not but be instantly conscious
of the delicate perfume that pervaded the apartment, and, for the
matter of that, the whole house. It was a combination of all the
delightful Eastern smells--not sandalwood only, nor teak, nor
couscous, but all these odors and a hundred others blent in one.
Yet it was not heavy nor overpowering, but delightfully faint and
sweet, diffused through those ample rooms. There was good reason,
indeed, for the children of the generation to which my wife
belonged to speak of the generous relative whom they had never
seen as "Our Aromatic Uncle." There were other uncles, and I have
no doubt they gave presents freely, for it was a wealthy and free-
handed family; but there was no other uncle who sent such a
delicate and delightful reminder with every gift, to breathe a
soft memory of him by day and by night.

I did my courting in the sweet atmosphere of that house, and,
although I had no earthly desire to live in Boston, I could not
help missing that strangely blended odor when my wife and I moved
into an old house in an old part of New York, whose former owners
had no connections in the Eastern trade. It was a charming and
home-like old house; but at first, although my wife had brought
some belongings from her father's house, we missed the pleasant
flavor of our aromatic uncle, for he was now my uncle, as well as
my wife's. I say at first, for we did not miss it long. Uncle
David--that was his name--not only continued to send his fragrant
gifts to my wife at Christmas and upon her birthday, but he
actually adopted me, too, and sent me Chinese cabinets and Chinese
gods in various minerals and metals, and many articles designed
for a smoker's use, which no smoker would ever want to touch with
a ten-foot pole. But I cared very little about the utility of
these presents, for it was not many years before, among them all,
they set up that exquisite perfume in the house, which we had
learned to associate with our aromatic uncle.

"FOO-CHOO-LI, CHINA, January-, 18-.

"DEAR NEPHEW AND NIECE: The Present is to inform you that I have
this day shipped to your address, per Steamer Ocean Queen, one
marble and ebony Table, six assorted gods, and a blue Dinner set;
also that I purpose leaving this Country for a visit to the Land
of my Nativity on the 6th of March next, and will, if same is
satisfactory to you, take up my Abode temporarily in your
household. Should same not be satisfactory, please cable at my
charge. Messrs. Smithson & Smithson, my Customs Brokers, will
attend to all charges on the goods, and will deliver them at your
readiness. The health of this place is better than customary by
reason of the cool weather, which Health I am as usual enjoying.
Trusting that you both are at present in possession of the same
Blessing, and will so continue, I remain, dear nephew and niece,

                  "Your affectionate
                          "UNCLE."

This was, I believe, by four dozen words--those which he used to
inform us of his intention of visiting America--the longest letter
that Uncle David had ever written to any member of his family. It
also conveyed more information about himself than he had ever
given since the day he ran away to sea. Of course we cabled the
old gentleman that we should be delighted to see him.

And, late that spring, at some date at which he could not possibly
have been expected to arrive, he turned up at our house.

Of course we had talked a great deal about him, and wondered what
manner of a man we should find him. Between us, my wife and I had
got an idea of his personal appearance which I despair of
conveying in words. Vaguely, I should say that we had pictured him
as something mid-way between an abnormally tall Chinese mandarin
and a benevolent Quaker. What we found when we got home and were
told that our uncle from India was awaiting us, was a shrunken and
bent old gentleman, dressed very cleanly and neatly in black
broadcloth, with a limp, many-pleated shirt-front of old-fashioned
style, and a plain black cravat. If he had worn an old-time stock
we could have forgiven him the rest of the disappointment he cost
us; but we had to admit to ourselves that he had the most
absolutely commonplace appearance of all our acquaintance. In
fact, we soon discovered that, except for a taciturnity the like
of which we had never encountered, our aromatic uncle had
positively not one picturesque characteristic about him. Even his
aroma was a disappointment. He had it, but it was patchouly or
some other cheap perfume of the sort, wherewith he scented his
handkerchief, which was not even a bandanna, but a plain decent
white one of the unnecessarily large sort which clergymen and old
gentlemen affect.

But, even if we could not get one single romantic association to
cluster about him, we very soon got to like the old gentleman. It
is true that at our first meeting, after saying "How d'ye do" to
me and receiving in impassive placidity the kiss which my wife
gave him, he relapsed into dead silence, and continued to smoke a
clay pipe with a long stem and a short bowl. This instrument he
filled and re-filled every few minutes, and it seemed to be his
only employment. We plied him with questions, of course, but to
these he responded with a wonderful brevity. In the course of an
hour's conversation we got from him that he had had a pleasant
voyage that it was not a long voyage, that it was not a short
voyage, that it was about the usual voyage, that he had not been
seasick, that he was glad to be back, and that he was not
surprised to find the country very much changed. This last piece
of information was repeated in the form of a simple "No," given in
reply to the direct question; and although it was given politely,
and evidently without the least unamiable intent, it made us both
feel very cheap. After all, it WAS absurd to ask a man if he were
surprised to find the country changed after fifty or sixty years
of absence. Unless he was an idiot, and unable to read at that, he
must have expected something of the sort.

But we grew to like him. He was thoroughly kind and inoffensive in
every way. He was entirely willing to be talked to, but he did not
care to talk. If it was absolutely necessary, he COULD talk, and
when he did talk he always made me think of the "French-English
Dictionary for the Pocket," compiled by the ingenious Mr. John
Bellows; for nobody except that extraordinary Englishman could
condense a greater amount of information into a smaller number of
words. During the time of his stay with us I think I learned more
about China than any other man in the United States knew, and I do
not believe that the aggregate of his utterances in the course of
that six months could have amounted to one hour's continuous talk.
Don't ask me for the information. I had no sort of use for it, and
I forgot it as soon as I could. I like Chinese bric-a-brac, but my
interest in China ends there.

Yet it was not long before Uncle David slid into his own place in
the family circle. We soon found that he did not expect us to
entertain him. He wanted only to sit quiet and smoke his pipe, to
take his two daily walks by himself, and to read the daily paper
one afternoon and Macaulay's "History of England" the next. He was
never tired of sitting and gazing amiably but silently at my wife;
and, to head the list of his good points, he would hold the baby
by the hour, and for some mysterious reason that baby, who
required the exhibition of seventeen toys in a minute to be
reasonably quiet in the arms of anybody else, would sit placidly
in Uncle David's lap, teething away steadily on the old
gentleman's watch-chain, as quiet and as solemn and as aged in
appearance as any one of the assorted gods of porcelain and jade
and ivory which our aromatic uncle had sent us.

The old house in Boston was a thing of the past. My wife's parents
had been dead for some years, and no one remained of her immediate
family except a certain Aunt Lucretia, who had lived with them
until shortly before our marriage, when the breaking up of the
family sent her West to find a home with a distant relative in
California. We asked Uncle Davy if he had stopped to see Aunt
Lucretia as he came through California. He said he had not. We
asked him if he wanted to have Aunt Lucretia invited on to pass a
visit during his stay with us. He answered that he did not. This
did not surprise us at all. You might think that a brother might
long to see a sister from whom he had been separated nearly all of
a long lifetime, but then you might never have met Aunt Lucretia.
My wife made the offer only from a sense of duty; and only after a
contest with me which lasted three days and nights. Nothing but
loss of sleep during an exceptionally busy time at my office
induced me to consent to her project of inviting Aunt Lucretia.
When Uncle David put his veto upon the proposition I felt that he
might have taken back all his rare and costly gifts, and I could
still have loved him.

But Aunt Lucretia came, all the same. My wife is afflicted with a
New England conscience, originally of a most uncomfortable
character. It has been much modified and ameliorated, until it is
now considerably less like a case of moral hives; but some
wretched lingering remnant of the original article induced her to
write to Aunt Lucretia that Uncle David was staying with us, and
of course Aunt Lucretia came without invitation and without
warning, dropping in on us with ruthless unexpectedness.

You may not think, from what I have said, that Aunt Lucretia's
visit was a pleasant event. But it was, in some respects; for it
was not only the shortest visit she ever paid us, but it was the
last with which she ever honored us.

She arrived one morning shortly after breakfast, just as we were
preparing to go out for a drive. She would not have been Aunt
Lucretia if she had not upset somebody's calculations at every
turn of her existence. We welcomed her with as much hypocrisy as
we could summon to our aid on short notice, and she was not more
than usually offensive, although she certainly did herself full
justice in telling us what she thought of us for not inviting her
as soon as we even heard of Uncle David's intention to return to
his native land. She said she ought to have been the first to
embrace her beloved brother--to whom I don't believe she had given
one thought in more years than I have yet seen.

Uncle David was dressing for his drive. His long residence in
tropical countries had rendered him sensitive to the cold, and
although it was a fine, clear September day, with the thermometer
at about sixty, he was industriously building himself up with a
series of overcoats. On a really snappy day I have known him to
get into six of these garments; and when he entered the room on
this occasion I think he had on five, at least.

My wife had heard his familiar foot on the stairs, and Aunt
Lucretia had risen up and braced herself for an outburst of
emotional affection. I could see that it was going to be such a
greeting as is given only once in two or three centuries, and then
on the stage. I felt sure it would end in a swoon, and I was
looking around for a sofa-pillow for the old lady to fall upon,
for from what I knew of Aunt Lucretia I did not believe she had
ever swooned enough to be able to go through the performance
without danger to her aged person. But I need not have troubled
myself. Uncle David toddled into the room, gazed at Aunt Lucretia
without a sign of recognition in his features, and toddled out
into the hall, where he got his hat and gloves, and went out to
the front lawn, where he always paced up and down for a few
minutes before taking a drive, in order to stimulate his
circulation. This was a surprise, but Aunt Lucretia's behavior was
a greater surprise. The moment she set eyes on Uncle David the
theatrical fervor went out of her entire system, literally in one
instant; and an absolutely natural, unaffected astonishment
displayed itself in her expressive and strongly marked features.
For almost a minute, until the sound of Uncle David's footsteps
had died away, she stood absolutely rigid; while my wife and I
gazed at her spellbound.

Then Aunt Lucretia pointed one long bony finger at me, and hissed
out with a true feminine disregard of grammar:

"That ain't HIM!"

"David," said Aunt Lucretia, impressively, "had only one arm. He
lost the other in Madagascar."

I was too dumfounded to take in the situation. I remember
thinking, in a vague sort of way, that Madagascar was a curious
sort of place to go for the purpose of losing an arm; but I did
not apprehend the full significance of this disclosure until I
heard my wife's distressed protestations that Aunt Lucretia must
be mistaken; there must be some horrible mistake somewhere.

But Aunt Lucretia was not mistaken, and there was no mistake
anywhere. The arm had been lost, and lost in Madagascar, and she
could give the date of the occurrence, and the circumstances
attendant. Moreover, she produced her evidence on the spot. It was
an old daguerreotype, taken in Calcutta a year or two after the
Madagascar episode. She had it in her hand-bag, and she opened it
with fingers trembling with rage and excitement. It showed two men
standing side by side near one of those three-foot Ionic pillars
that were an indispensable adjunct of photography in its early
stages. One of the men was large, broad-shouldered, and handsome--
unmistakably a handsome edition of Aunt Lucretia. His empty left
sleeve was pinned across his breast. The other man was, making
allowance for the difference in years, no less unmistakably the
Uncle David who was at that moment walking to and fro under our
windows. For one instant my wife's face lighted up.

"Why, Aunt Lucretia," she cried, "there he is! That's Uncle David,
dear Uncle David."

"There he is NOT," replied Aunt Lucretia. "That's his business
partner--some common person that he picked up on the ship he first
sailed in--and, upon my word, I do believe it's that wretched
creature outside. And I'll Uncle David HIM."

She marched out like a grenadier going to battle, and we followed
her meekly. There was, unfortunately, no room for doubt in the
case. It only needed a glance to see that the man with one arm was
a member of my wife's family, and that the man by his side, OUR
Uncle David, bore no resemblance to him in stature or features.

Out on the lawn Aunt Lucretia sailed into the dear old gentleman
in the five overcoats with a volley of vituperation. He did not
interrupt her, but stood patiently to the end, listening, with his
hands behind his back; and when, with her last gasp of available
breath, Aunt Lucretia demanded:

"Who--who--who ARE you, you wretch?" he responded, calmly and
respectfully:

"I'm Tommy Biggs, Miss Lucretia."

But just here my wife threw herself on his neck and hugged him,
and cried:

"You're my own dear Uncle David, ANYWAY!"

It was a fortunate, a gloriously fortunate, inspiration. Aunt
Lucretia drew herself up in speechless scorn, stretched forth her
bony finger, tried to say something and failed, and then she and
her hand-bag went out of my gates, never to come in again.

When she had gone, our aromatic uncle--for we shall always
continue to think of him in that light, or rather in that odor--
looked thoughtfully after her till she disappeared, and then made
one of the few remarks I ever knew him to volunteer.

"Ain't changed a mite in forty-seven years."

Up to this time I had been in a dazed condition of mind. As I have
said, my wife's family was extinct save for herself and Aunt
Lucretia, and she remembered so little of her parents, and she
looked herself so little like Aunt Lucretia, that it was small
wonder that neither of us remarked Uncle David's unlikeness to the
family type. We knew that he did not resemble the ideal we had
formed of him; and that had been the only consideration we had
given to his looks. Now, it took only a moment of reflection to
recall the fact that all the members of the family had been tall
and shapely, and that even between the ugly ones, like Aunt
Lucretia, and the pretty ones, like my wife, there was a certain
resemblance. Perhaps it was only the nose--the nose is the brand
in most families, I believe--but whatever it was, I had only to
see my wife and Aunt Lucretia together to realize that the man who
had passed himself off as our Uncle David had not one feature in
common with either of them--nor with the one-armed man in the
daguerreotype. I was thinking of this, and looking at my wife's
troubled face, when our aromatic uncle touched me on the arm.

"I'll explain," he said, "to you. YOU tell HER."

We dismissed the carriage, went into the house, and sat down. The
old gentleman was perfectly cool and collected, but he lit his
clay pipe, and reflected for a good five minutes before he opened
his mouth. Then he began:

"Finest man in the world, sir. Finest BOY in the world. Never
anything like him. But, peculiarities. Had 'em. Peculiarities.
Wouldn't write home. Wouldn't"--here he hesitated--"send things
home. I had to do it. Did it for him. Didn't want his folks to
know. Other peculiarities. Never had any money. Other
peculiarities. Drank. Other peculiarities. Ladies. Finest man in
the world, all the same. Nobody like him. Kept him right with his
folks for thirty-one years. Then died. Fever. Canton. Never been
myself since. Kept right on writing, all the same. Also"--here he
hesitated again--"sending things. Why? Don't know. Been a fool all
my life. Never could do anything but make money. No family, no
friends. Only HIM. Ran away to sea to look after him. Did look
after him. Thought maybe your wife would be some like him. Barring
peculiarities, she is. Getting old. Came here for company. Meant
no harm. Didn't calculate on Miss Lucretia."

Here he paused and smoked reflectively for a minute or two.

"Hot in the collar--Miss Lucretia. Haughty. Like him, some. Just
like she was forty-seven years ago. Slapped my face one day when I
was delivering meat, because my jumper wasn't clean. Ain't changed
a mite."

This was the first condensed statement of the case of our aromatic
uncle. It was only in reply to patient, and, I hope, loving,
gentle, and considerate, questioning that the whole story came
out--at once pitiful and noble--of the poor little butcher-boy who
ran away to sea to be body-guard, servant, and friend to the
splendid, showy, selfish youth whom he worshipped; whose
heartlessness he cloaked for many a long year, who lived upon his
bounty, and who died in his arms, nursed with a tenderness
surpassing that of a brother. And as far as I could find out,
ingratitude and contempt had been his only reward.

I need not tell you that when I repeated all this to my wife she
ran to the old gentleman's room and told him all the things that I
should not have known how to say--that we cared for him; that we
wanted him to stay with us; that he was far, far more our uncle
than the brilliant, unprincipled scapegrace who had died years
before, dead for almost a lifetime to the family who idolized him;
and that we wanted him to stay with us as long as kind heaven
would let him. But it was of no use. A change had come over our
aromatic uncle which we could both of us see, but could not
understand. The duplicity of which he had been guilty weighed on
his spirit. The next day he went out for his usual walk, and he
never came back. We used every means of search and inquiry, but we
never heard from him until we got this letter from Foo-choo-li:

"DEAR NEPHEW AND NIECE: The present is to inform you that I am
enjoying the Health that might be expected at my Age, and in my
condition of Body, which is to say bad. I ship you by to-day's
steamer, Pacific Monarch, four dozen jars of ginger, and two dozen
ditto preserved oranges, to which I would have added some other
Comfits, which I purposed offering for your acceptance, if it were
not that my Physician has forbidden me to leave my Bed. In case of
Fatal Results from this trying Condition, my Will, duly attested,
and made in your favor, will be placed in your hands by Messrs.
Smithson & Smithson, my Customs Brokers, who will also pay all
charges on goods sent. The Health of this place being unfavorably
affected by the Weather, you are unlikely to hear more from,

       "Dear Nephew and Niece,

                   "Your affectionate
                           "UNCLE."

And we never did hear more--except for his will--from Our Aromatic
Uncle; but our whole house still smells of his love.



QUALITY

BY

JOHN GALSWORTHY

Here the emphasis is upon character. The plot is negligible--
hardly exists. The setting is carefully worked out because it is
essential to the characterization. By means of the shoemaker the
author reveals at least a part of his philosophy of life--that
there is a subtle relation between a man and his work. Each reacts
on the other. If a man recognizes the Soul of Things and strives
to give it proper expression, he becomes an Artist and influences
for good all who come into contact with him.



QUALITY

[Footnote: From "The Inn of Tranquillity," by John Galsworthy.
Copyright, 1912, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


I knew him from the days of my extreme youth, because he made my
father's boots; inhabiting with his elder brother two little shops
let into one, in a small by-street--now no more, but then most
fashionably placed in the West End.

That tenement had a certain quiet distinction; there was no sign
upon its face that he made for any of the Royal Family--merely his
own German name of Gessler Brothers: and in the window a few pairs
of boots. I remember that it always troubled me to account for
those unvarying boots in the window, for he made only what was
ordered, reaching nothing down, and it seemed so inconceivable
that what he made could ever have failed to fit. Had he bought
them to put there? That, too, seemed inconceivable. He would never
have tolerated in his house leather on which he had not worked
himself. Besides, they were too beautiful--the pair of pumps, so
inexpressibly slim, the patent leathers with cloth tops, making
water come into one's mouth, the tall brown riding boots with
marvellous sooty glow, as if, though new, they had been worn a
hundred years. Those pairs could only have been made by one who
saw before him the Soul of Boot--so truly were they prototypes
incarnating the very spirit of all foot-gear. These thoughts, of
course, came to me later, though even when I was promoted to him,
at the age of perhaps fourteen, some inkling haunted me of the
dignity of himself and brother. For to make boots--such boots as
he made--seemed to me then, and still seems to me, mysterious and
wonderful.

I remember well my shy remark, one day, while stretching out to
him my youthful foot:

"Isn't it awfully hard to do, Mr. Gessler?"

And his answer, given with a sudden smile from out of the sardonic
redness of his beard: "Id is an Ardt!"

Himself, he was a little as if made from leather, with his yellow
crinkly face, and crinkly reddish hair and beard, and neat folds
slanting down his cheeks to the corners of his mouth, and his
guttural and one-toned voice; for leather is a sardonic substance,
and stiff and slow of purpose. And that was the character of his
face, save that his eyes, which were gray-blue, had in them the
simple gravity of one secretly possessed by the Ideal. His elder
brother was so very like him--though watery, paler in every way,
with a great industry--that sometimes in early days I was not
quite sure of him until the interview was over. Then I knew that
it was he, if the words, "I will ask my brudder," had not been
spoken; and that, if they had, it was his elder brother.

When one grew old and wild and ran up bills, one somehow never ran
them up with Gessler Brothers. It would not have seemed becoming
to go in there and stretch out one's foot to that blue iron-
spectacled glance, owing him for more than--say--two pairs, just
the comfortable reassurance that one was still his client.

For it was not possible to go to him very often--his boots lasted
terribly, having something beyond the temporary--some, as it were,
essence of boot stitched into them.

One went in, not as into most shops, in the mood of: "Please serve
me, and let me go!" but restfully, as one enters a church; and,
sitting on the single wooden chair, waited--for there was never
anybody there. Soon, over the top edge of that sort of well--
rather dark, and smelling soothingly of leather--which formed the
shop, there would be seen his face, or that of his elder brother,
peering down. A guttural sound, and the tip-tap of bast slippers
beating the narrow wooden stairs, and he would stand before one
without coat, a little bent, in leather apron, with sleeves turned
back, blinking--as if awakened from some dream of boots, or like
an owl surprised in daylight and annoyed at this interruption.

And I would say: "How do you do, Mr. Gessler? Could you make me a
pair of Russia leather boots?"

Without a word he would leave me, retiring whence he came, or into
the other portion of the shop, and I would continue to rest in the
wooden chair, inhaling the incense of his trade. Soon he would
come back, holding in his thin, veined hand a piece of gold-brown
leather. With eyes fixed on it, he would remark: "What a beaudiful
biece!" When I, too, had admired it, he would speak again. "When
do you wand dem?" And I would answer: "Oh! As soon as you
conveniently can." And he would say: "To-morrow fordnighd?" Or if
he were his elder brother: "I will ask my brudder!"

Then I would murmur: "Thank you! Good-morning, Mr. Gessler."
"Goot-morning!" he would reply, still looking at the leather in
his hand. And as I moved to the door, I would hear the tip-tap of
his bast slippers restoring him, up the stairs, to his dream of
boots. But if it were some new kind of foot-gear that he had not
yet made me, then indeed he would observe ceremony--divesting me
of my boot and holding it long in his hand, looking at it with
eyes at once critical and loving, as if recalling the glow with
which he had created it, and rebuking the way in which one had
disorganized this masterpiece. Then, placing my foot on a piece of
paper, he would two or three times tickle the outer edges with a
pencil and pass his nervous fingers over my toes, feeling himself
into the heart of my requirements.

I cannot forget that day on which I had occasion to say to him:
"Mr. Gessler, that last pair of town walking-boots creaked, you
know."

He looked at me for a time without replying, as if expecting me to
withdraw or qualify the statement, then said:

"Id shouldn'd 'ave greaked."

"It did, I'm afraid."

"You goddem wed before dey found demselves?"

"I don't think so."

At that he lowered his eyes, as if hunting for memory of those
boots, and I felt sorry I had mentioned this grave thing.

"Zend dem back!" he said; "I will look at dem."

A feeling of compassion for my creaking boots surged up in me, so
well could I imagine the sorrowful long curiosity of regard which
he would bend on them.

"Zome boods," he said slowly, "are bad from birdt. If I can do
noding wid dem, I dake dem off your bill."

Once (once only) I went absent-mindedly into his shop in a pair of
boots bought in an emergency at some large firm's. He took my
order without showing me any leather, and I could feel his eyes
penetrating the inferior integument of my foot. At last he said:

"Dose are nod my boods."

The tone was not one of anger, nor of sorrow, not even of
contempt, but there was in it something quiet that froze the
blood. He put his hand down and pressed a finger on the place
where the left boot, endeavoring to be fashionable, was not quite
comfortable.

"Id 'urds you dere," he said. "Dose big virms 'ave no self-
respect. Drash!" And then, as if something had given way within
him, he spoke long and bitterly. It was the only time I ever heard
him discuss the conditions and hardships of his trade.

"Dey get id all," he said, "dey get id by adverdisement, nod by
work. Dey dake it away from us, who lofe our boods. Id gomes to
this--bresently I haf no work. Every year id gets less--you will
see." And looking at his lined face I saw things I had never
noticed before, bitter things and bitter struggle--and what a lot
of gray hairs there seemed suddenly in his red beard!

As best I could, I explained the circumstances of the purchase of
those ill-omened boots. But his face and voice made so deep
impression that during the next few minutes I ordered many pairs.
Nemesis fell! They lasted more terribly than ever. And I was not
able conscientiously to go to him for nearly two years.

When at last I went I was surprised to find that outside one of
the two little windows of his shop another name was painted, also
that of a bootmaker--making, of course, for the Royal Family. The
old familiar boots, no longer in dignified isolation, were huddled
in the single window. Inside, the now contracted well of the one
little shop was more scented and darker than ever. And it was
longer than usual, too, before a face peered down, and the tip-tap
of the bast slippers began. At last he stood before me, and,
gazing through those rusty iron spectacles, said:

"Mr.--, isn'd it?"

"Ah! Mr. Gessler," I stammered, "but your boots are really TOO
good, you know! See, these are quite decent still!" And I
stretched out to him my foot. He looked at it.

"Yes," he said, "beople do nod wand good boods, id seems."

To get away from his reproachful eyes and voice I hastily
remarked: "What have you done to your shop?"

He answered quietly: "Id was too exbensif. Do you wand some
boods?"

I ordered three pairs, though I had only wanted two, and quickly
left. I had, I do not know quite what feeling of being part, in
his mind, of a conspiracy against him; or not perhaps so much
against him as against his idea of boot. One does not, I suppose,
care to feel like that; for it was again many months before my
next visit to his shop, paid, I remember, with the feeling: "Oh!
well, I can't leave the old boy--so here goes! Perhaps it'll be
his elder brother!"

For his elder brother, I knew, had not character enough to
reproach me, even dumbly.

And, to my relief, in the shop there did appear to be his elder
brother, handling a piece of leather.

"Well, Mr. Gessler," I said, "how are you?"

He came close, and peered at me.

"I am breddy well," he said slowly; "but my elder brudder is
dead."

And I saw that it was indeed himself--but how aged and wan! And
never before had I heard him mention his brother. Much shocked, I
murmured: "Oh! I am sorry!"

"Yes," he answered, "he was a good man, he made a good bood; but
he is dead." And he touched the top of his head, where the hair
had suddenly gone as thin as it had been on that of his poor
brother, to indicate, I suppose, the cause of death. "He could nod
ged over losing de oder shop. Do you wand any boods?" And he held
up the leather in his hand: "Id's a beaudiful biece."

I ordered several pairs. It was very long before they came--but
they were better than ever. One simply could not wear them out.
And soon after that I went abroad.

It was over a year before I was again in London. And the first
shop I went to was my old friend's. I had left a man of sixty, I
came back to one of seventy-five, pinched and worn and tremulous,
who genuinely, this time, did not at first know me.

"Oh! Mr. Gessler," I said, sick at heart; "how splendid your boots
are! See, I've been wearing this pair nearly all the time I've
been abroad; and they're not half worn out, are they?"

He looked long at my boots--a pair of Russia leather, and his face
seemed to regain steadiness. Putting his hand on my instep, he
said:

"Do dey vid you here? I 'ad drouble wid dat bair, I remember."

I assured him that they had fitted beautifully.

"Do you wand any boods?" he said. "I can make dem quickly; id is a
slack dime."

I answered: "Please, please! I want boots all round--every kind!"

"I will make a vresh model. Your food must be bigger." And with
utter slowness, he traced round my foot, and felt my toes, only
once looking up to say:

"Did I dell you my brudder was dead?"

To watch him was painful, so feeble had he grown; I was glad to
get away.

I had given those boots up, when one evening they came. Opening
the parcel, I set the four pairs out in a row. Then one by one I
tried them on. There was no doubt about it. In shape and fit, in
finish and quality of leather, they were the best he had ever made
me. And in the mouth of one of the town walking-boots I found his
bill. The amount was the same as usual, but it gave me quite a
shock. He had never before sent it in till quarter day. I flew
downstairs, and wrote a check, and posted it at once with my own
hand.

A week later, passing the little street, I thought I would go in
and tell him how splendidly the new boots fitted. But when I came
to where his shop had been, his name was gone. Still there, in the
window, were the slim pumps, the patent leathers with cloth tops,
the sooty riding boots.

I went in, very much disturbed. In the two little shops--again
made into one--was a young man with an English face.

"Mr. Gessler in?" I said.

He gave me a strange, ingratiating look.

"No, sir," he said, "no. But we can attend to anything with
pleasure. We've taken the shop over. You've seen our name, no
doubt, next door. We make for some very good people."

"Yes, yes," I said; "but Mr. Gessler?"

"Oh!" he answered; "dead."

"Dead! But I only received these boots from him last Wednesday
week."

"Ah!" he said; "a shockin' go. Poor old man starved 'imself."

"Good God!"

"Slow starvation, the doctor called it! You see he went to work in
such a way! Would keep the shop on; wouldn't have a soul touch his
boots except himself. When he got an order, it took him such a
time. People won't wait. He lost everybody. And there he'd sit,
goin' on and on--I will say that for him--not a man in London made
a better boot! But look at the competition! He never advertised!
Would 'ave the best leather, too, and do it all 'imself. Well,
there it is. What could you expect with his ideas?"

"But starvation--!"

"That may be a bit flowery, as the sayin' is--but I know myself he
was sittin' over his boots day and night, to the very last. You
see I used to watch him. Never gave 'imself time to eat; never had
a penny in the house. All went in rent and leather. How he lived
so long I don't know. He regular let his fire go out. He was a
character. But he made good boots."

"Yes," I said, "he made good boots."

And I turned and went out quickly, for I did not want that youth
to know that I could hardly see.



THE TRIUMPH OF NIGHT

BY EDITH WHARTON

This is a mystery plot in which the supernatural furnishes the
interest. In dealing with the supernatural Mrs. Wharton does not
allow it to become horrible or grotesque. She secures plausibility
by having for its leading characters practical business men--not a
woman, hysterical or otherwise, really appears--and by placing
them in a perfectly conventional setting. The apparition is not
accompanied by blood stains, shroud, or uncanny noises. Sometimes
the writer of the supernatural feels that he must explain his
mystery by material agencies. The effect is to disappoint the
reader who has yielded himself to the conditions imposed by the
author, and is willing, for the time at least, to believe in
ghosts. Mrs. Wharton makes no such mistake. She does not spoil the
effect by commonplace explanation.

In characterization Mrs. Wharton reveals the power not only to
analyze subtly temperaments and motives, but also to describe
vividly with a few words. This phrasal power is illustrated when
she says of Faxon that he "had a healthy face, but dying hands,"
and of Lavington that "his pinched smile was screwed to his blank
face like a gaslight to a whitewashed wall."



THE TRIUMPH OF NIGHT

[Footnote: From Scribner's Magazine, August, 1914.]


I

It was clear that the sleigh from Weymore had not come; and the
shivering young traveller from Boston, who had so confidently
counted on jumping into it when he left the train at Northridge
Junction, found himself standing alone on the open platform,
exposed to the full assault of nightfall and winter.

The blast that swept him came off New Hampshire snow fields and
ice-hung forests. It seemed to have traversed interminable leagues
of frozen silence, filling them with the same cold roar and
sharpening its edge against the same bitter black and white
landscape. Dark, searching, and sword-like, it alternately muffled
and harried its victim, like a bullfighter now whirling his cloak
and now planting his darts. This analogy brought home to the young
man the fact that he himself had no cloak, and that the overcoat
in which he had faced the relatively temperate airs of Boston
seemed no thicker than a sheet of paper on the bleak heights of
Northridge. George Faxon said to himself that the place was
uncommonly well named. It clung to an exposed ledge over the
valley from which the train had lifted him, and the wind combed it
with teeth of steel that he seemed actually to hear scraping
against the wooden sides of the station. Other building there was
none: the village lay far down the road, and thither--since the
Weymore sleigh had not come--Faxon saw himself under the immediate
necessity of plodding through several feet of snow.

He understood well enough what had happened at Weymore: his
hostess had forgotten that he was coming. Young as Faxon was, this
sad lucidity of soul had been acquired as the result of long
experience, and he knew that the visitors who can least afford to
hire a carriage are almost always those whom their hosts forget to
send for. Yet to say Mrs. Culme had forgotten him was perhaps too
crude a way of putting it. Similar incidents led him to think that
she had probably told her maid to tell the butler to telephone the
coachman to tell one of the grooms (if no one else needed him) to
drive over to Northridge to fetch the new secretary; but on a
night like this what groom who respected his rights would fail to
forget the order?

Faxon's obvious course was to struggle through the drifts to the
village, and there rout out a sleigh to convey him to Weymore; but
what if, on his arrival at Mrs. Culme's, no one remembered to ask
him what this devotion to duty had cost? That, again, was one of
the contingencies he had expensively learned to look out for, and
the perspicacity so acquired told him it would be cheaper to spend
the night at the Northridge inn, and advise Mrs. Culme of his
presence there by telephone. He had reached this decision, and was
about to entrust his luggage to a vague man with a lantern who
seemed to have some loose connection with the railway company,
when his hopes were raised by the sound of sleigh bells.

Two vehicles were just dashing up to the station, and from the
foremost there sprang a young man swathed in furs.

"Weymore?--No, these are not the Weymore sleighs."

The voice was that of the youth who had jumped to the platform--a
voice so agreeable that, in spite of the words, it fell
reassuringly on Faxon's ears. At the same moment the wandering
station-lantern, casting a transient light on the speaker, showed
his features to be in the pleasantest harmony with his voice. He
was very fair and very young--hardly in the twenties, Faxon
thought--but his face, though full of a morning freshness, was a
trifle too thin and fine-drawn, as though a vivid spirit contended
in him with a strain of physical weakness. Faxon was perhaps the
quicker to notice such delicacies of balance because his own
temperament hung on lightly vibrating nerves, which yet, as he
believed, would never quite swing him beyond the arc of a normal
sensibility.

"You expected a sleigh from Weymore?" the youth continued,
standing beside Faxon like a slender column of fur.

Mrs. Culme's secretary explained his difficulty, and the newcomer
brushed it aside with a contemptuous "Oh, Mrs. Culme!" that
carried both speakers a long way toward reciprocal understanding.

"But then you must be--" The youth broke off with a smile of
interrogation.

"The new secretary? Yes. But apparently there are no notes to be
answered this evening." Faxon's laugh deepened the sense of
solidarity which had so promptly established itself between the
two.

The newcomer laughed also. "Mrs. Culme," he explained, "was
lunching at my uncle's today, and she said you were due this
evening. But seven hours is a long time for Mrs. Culme to remember
anything."

"Well," said Faxon philosophically, "I suppose that's one of the
reasons why she needs a secretary. And I've always the inn at
Northridge," he concluded.

The youth laughed again. He was at the age when predicaments are
food for gaiety.

"Oh, but you haven't, though! It burned down last week."

"The deuce it did!" said Faxon; but the humor of the situation
struck him also before its inconvenience. His life, for years
past, had been mainly a succession of resigned adaptations, and he
had learned, before dealing practically with his embarrassments,
to extract from most of them a small tribute of amusement.

"Oh, well, there's sure to be somebody in the place who can put me
up."

"No one you could put up with. Besides, Northridge is three miles
off, and our place--in the opposite direction--is a little
nearer." Through the darkness, Faxon saw his friend sketch a
gesture of self-introduction. "My name's Frank Rainer, and I'm
staying with my uncle at Overdale. I've driven over to meet two
friends of his, who are due in a few minutes from New York. If you
don't mind waiting till they arrive I'm sure Overdale can do you
better than Northridge. We're only down from town for a few days,
but the house is always ready for a lot of people."

"But your uncle--?" Faxon could only object, with the odd sense,
through his embarrassment, that it would be magically dispelled by
his invisible friend's next words.

"Oh, my uncle--you'll see! I answer for HIM! I dare say you've
heard of him--John Lavington?"

John Lavington! There was a certain irony in asking if one had
heard of John Lavington! Even from a post of observation as
obscure as that of Mrs. Culme's secretary, the rumor of John
Lavington's money, of his pictures, his politics, his charities
and his hospitality, was as difficult to escape as the roar of a
cataract in a mountain solitude. It might almost have been said
that the one place in which one would not have expected to come
upon him was in just such a solitude as now surrounded the
speakers--at least in this deepest hour of its desertedness. But
it was just like Lavington's brilliant ubiquity to put one in the
wrong even there.

"Oh, yes, I've heard of your uncle."

"Then you WILL come, won't you? We've only five minutes to wait,"
young Rainer urged, in the tone that dispels scruples by ignoring
them; and Faxon found himself accepting the invitation as simply
as it was offered.

A delay in the arrival of the New York train lengthened their five
minutes to fifteen; and as they paced the icy platform Faxon began
to see why it had seemed the most natural thing in the world to
accede to his new acquaintance's suggestion. It was because Frank
Rainer was one of the privileged beings who simplify human
intercourse by the atmosphere of confidence and good humor they
diffuse. He produced this effect, Faxon noted, by the exercise of
no gift save his youth, of no art save his sincerity; but these
qualities were revealed in a smile of such appealing sweetness
that Faxon felt, as never before, what Nature can achieve when she
deigns to match the face with the mind.

He learned that the young man was the ward, and only nephew, of
John Lavington, with whom he had made his home since the death of
his mother, the great man's sister. Mr. Lavington, Rainer said,
had been "a regular brick" to him--"But then he is to every one,
you know"--and the young fellow's situation seemed in fact to be
perfectly in keeping with his person. Apparently the only shade
that had ever rested on him was cast by the physical weakness
which Faxon had already detected. Young Rainer had been threatened
with a disease of the lungs which, according to the highest
authorities, made banishment to Arizona or New Mexico inevitable.
"But luckily my uncle didn't pack me off, as most people would
have done, without getting another opinion. Whose? Oh, an awfully
clever chap, a young doctor with a lot of new ideas, who simply
laughed at my being sent away, and said I'd do perfectly well in
New York if I didn't dine out too much, and if I dashed off
occasionally to Northridge for a little fresh air. So it's really
my uncle's doing that I'm not in exile--and I feel no end better
since the new chap told me I needn't bother." Young Rainer went on
to confess that he was extremely fond of dining out, dancing, and
other urban distractions; and Faxon, listening to him, concluded
that the physician who had refused to cut him off altogether from
these pleasures was probably a better psychologist than his
seniors.

"All the same you ought to be careful, you know." The sense of
elder brotherly concern that forced the words from Faxon made him,
as he spoke, slip his arm impulsively through Frank Rainer's.

The latter met the movement with a responsive pressure. "Oh, I AM:
awfully, awfully. And then my uncle has such an eye on me!"

"But if your uncle has such an eye on you, what does he say to
your swallowing knives out here in this Siberian wild?"

Rainer raised his fur collar with a careless gesture. "It's not
that that does it--the cold's good for me."

"And it's not the dinners and dances? What is it, then?" Faxon
good-humoredly insisted; to which his companion answered with a
laugh: "Well, my uncle says it's being bored; and I rather think
he's right!"

His laugh ended in a spasm of coughing and a struggle for breath
that made Faxon, still holding his arm, guide him hastily into the
shelter of the fireless waiting room.

Young Rainer had dropped down on the bench against the wall and
pulled off one of his fur gloves to grope for a handkerchief. He
tossed aside his cap and drew the handkerchief across his
forehead, which was intensely white, and beaded with moisture,
though his face retained a healthy glow. But Faxon's gaze remained
fastened to the hand he had uncovered: it was so long, so
colorless, so wasted, so much older than the brow he passed it
over.

"It's queer--a healthy face but dying hands," the secretary mused;
he somehow wished young Rainer had kept on his glove.

The whistle of the express drew the young men to their feet, and
the next moment two heavily furred gentlemen had descended to the
platform and were breasting the rigor of the night. Frank Rainer
introduced them as Mr. Grisben and Mr. Balch, and Faxon, while
their luggage was being lifted into the second sleigh, discerned
them, by the roving lantern gleam, to be an elderly gray-headed
pair, apparently of the average prosperous business cut.

They saluted their host's nephew with friendly familiarity, and
Mr. Grisben, who seemed the spokesman of the two, ended his
greeting with a genial--"and many many more of them, dear boy!"
which suggested to Faxon that their arrival coincided with an
anniversary. But he could not press the inquiry, for the seat
allotted him was at the coachman's side, while Frank Rainer joined
his uncle's guests inside the sleigh.

A swift flight (behind such horses as one could be sure of John
Lavington's having) brought them to tall gateposts, an illuminated
lodge, and an avenue on which the snow had been levelled to the
smoothness of marble. At the end of the avenue the long house
loomed through trees, its principal bulk dark but one wing sending
out a ray of welcome; and the next moment Faxon was receiving a
violent impression of warmth and light, of hothouse plants,
hurrying servants, a vast spectacular oak hall like a stage
setting, and, in its unreal middle distance, a small concise
figure, correctly dressed, conventionally featured, and utterly
unlike his rather florid conception of the great John Lavington.

The shock of the contrast remained with him through his hurried
dressing in the large impersonally luxurious bedroom to which he
had been shown. "I don't see where he comes in," was the only way
he could put it, so difficult was it to fit the exuberance of
Lavington's public personality into his host's contracted frame
and manner. Mr. Lavington, to whom Faxon's case had been rapidly
explained by young Rainer, had welcomed him with a sort of dry and
stilted cordiality that exactly matched his narrow face, his stiff
hand, the whiff of scent on his evening handkerchief. "Make
yourself at home--at home!" he had repeated, in a tone that
suggested, on his own part, a complete inability to perform the
feat he urged on his visitor. "Any friend of Frank's ... delighted ...
make yourself thoroughly at home!"



II

In spite of the balmy temperature and complicated conveniences of
Faxon's bedroom, the injunction was not easy to obey. It was
wonderful luck to have found a night's shelter under the opulent
roof of Overdale, and he tasted the physical satisfaction to the
full. But the place, for all its ingenuities of comfort, was oddly
cold and unwelcoming. He couldn't have said why, and could only
suppose that Mr. Lavington's intense personality--intensely
negative, but intense all the same--must, in some occult way, have
penetrated every corner of his dwelling. Perhaps, though, it was
merely that Faxon himself was tired and hungry, more deeply
chilled than he had known till he came in from the cold, and
unutterably sick of all strange houses, and of the prospect of
perpetually treading other people's stairs.

"I hope you're not famished?" Rainer's slim figure was in the
doorway. "My uncle has a little business to attend to with Mr.
Grisben, and we don't dine for half an hour. Shall I fetch you, or
can you find your way down? Come straight to the dining room--the
second door on the left of the long gallery."

He disappeared, leaving a ray of warmth behind him, and Faxon,
relieved, lit a cigarette and sat down by the fire.

Looking about with less haste, he was struck by a detail that had
escaped him. The room was full of flowers--a mere "bachelor's
room," in the wing of a house opened only for a few days, in the
dead middle of a New Hampshire winter! Flowers were everywhere,
not in senseless profusion, but placed with the same conscious art
he had remarked in the grouping of the blossoming shrubs that
filled the hall. A vase of arums stood on the writing table, a
cluster of strange-hued carnations on the stand at his elbow, and
from wide bowls of glass and porcelain clumps of freesia bulbs
diffused their melting fragrance. The fact implied acres of glass
--but that was the least interesting part of it. The flowers
themselves, their quality, selection and arrangement, attested on
some one's part--and on whose but John Lavington's?--a solicitous
and sensitive passion for that particular embodiment of beauty.
Well, it simply made the man, as he had appeared to Faxon, all the
harder to understand!

The half-hour elapsed, and Faxon, rejoicing at the near prospect
of food, set out to make his way to the dining room. He had not
noticed the direction he had followed in going to his room, and
was puzzled, when he left it, to find that two staircases, of
apparently equal importance, invited him. He chose the one to his
right, and reached, at its foot, a long gallery such as Rainer had
described. The gallery was empty, the doors down its length were
closed; but Rainer had said: "The second to the left," and Faxon,
after pausing for some chance enlightenment which did not come,
laid his hand on the second knob to the left.

The room he entered was square, with dusky picture-hung walls. In
its centre, about a table lit by veiled lamps, he fancied Mr.
Lavington and his guests to be already seated at dinner; then he
perceived that the table was covered not with viands but with
papers, and that he had blundered into what seemed to be his
host's study. As he paused in the irresolution of embarrassment
Frank Rainer looked up.

"Oh, here's Mr. Faxon. Why not ask him--?"

Mr. Lavington, from the end of the table, reflected his nephew's
smile in a glance of impartial benevolence.

"Certainly. Come in, Mr. Faxon. If you won't think it a liberty--"

Mr. Grisben, who sat opposite his host, turned his solid head
toward the door. "Of course Mr. Faxon's an American citizen?"

Frank Rainer laughed. "That all right! ... Oh, no, not one of your
pin-pointed pens, Uncle Jack! Haven't you got a quill somewhere?"

Mr. Balch, who spoke slowly and as if reluctantly, in a muffled
voice of which there seemed to be very little left, raised his
hand to say: "One moment: you acknowledge this to be--?"

"My last will and testament?" Rainer's laugh redoubled. "Well, I
won't answer for the 'last.' It's the first one, anyway."

"It's a mere formula," Mr. Balch explained.

"Well, here goes." Rainer dipped his quill in the inkstand his
uncle had pushed in his direction, and dashed a gallant signature
across the document.

Faxon, understanding what was expected of him, and conjecturing
that the young man was signing his will on the attainment of his
majority, had placed himself behind Mr. Grisben, and stood
awaiting his turn to affix his name to the instrument. Rainer,
having signed, was about to push the paper across the table to Mr.
Balch; but the latter, again raising his hand, said in his sad
imprisoned voice: "The seal--?"

"Oh, does there have to be a seal?"

Faxon, looking over Mr. Grisben at John Lavington, saw a faint
frown between his impassive eyes. "Really, Frank!" He seemed,
Faxon thought, slightly irritated by his nephew's frivolity.

"Who's got a seal?" Frank Rainer continued, glancing about the
table. "There doesn't seem to be one here."

Mr. Grisben interposed. "A wafer will do. Lavington, you have a
wafer?"

Mr. Lavington had recovered his serenity. "There must be some in
one of the drawers. But I'm ashamed to say I don't know where my
secretary keeps these things. He ought, of course, to have seen to
it that a wafer was sent with the document."

"Oh, hang it--" Frank Rainer pushed the paper aside: "It's the
hand of God--and I'm hungry as a wolf. Let's dine first, Uncle
Jack."

"I think I've a seal upstairs," said Faxon suddenly.

Mr. Lavington sent him a barely perceptible smile. "So sorry to
give you the trouble--"

"Oh, I say, don't send him after it now. Let's wait till after
dinner!"

Mr. Lavington continued to smile on his guest, and the latter, as
if under the faint coercion of the smile, turned from the room and
ran upstairs. Having taken the seal from his writing-case he came
down again, and once more opened the door of the study. No one was
speaking when he entered--they were evidently awaiting his return
with the mute impatience of hunger, and he put the seal in
Rainer's reach, and stood watching while Mr. Grisben struck a
match and held it to one of the candles flanking the inkstand. As
the wax descended on the paper Faxon remarked again the singular
emaciation, the premature physical weariness, of the hand that
held it: he wondered if Mr. Lavington had ever noticed his
nephew's hand, and if it were not poignantly visible to him now.

With this thought in his mind, Faxon raised his eyes to look at
Mr. Lavington. The great man's gaze rested on Frank Rainer with an
expression of untroubled benevolence; and at the same instant
Faxon's attention was attracted by the presence in the room of
another person, who must have joined the group while he was
upstairs searching for the seal. The new-comer was a man of about
Mr. Lavington's age and figure, who stood directly behind his
chair, and who, at the moment when Faxon first saw him, was gazing
at young Rainer with an equal intensity of attention. The likeness
between the two men--perhaps increased by the fact that the hooded
lamps on the table left the figure behind the chair in shadow--
struck Faxon the more because of the strange contrast in their
expression. John Lavington, during his nephew's blundering attempt
to drop the wax and apply the seal, continued to fasten on him a
look of half-amused affection; while the man behind the chair, so
oddly reduplicating the lines of his features and figure, turned
on the boy a face of pale hostility.

The impression was so startling Faxon forgot what was going on
about him. He was just dimly aware of young Rainer's exclaiming:
"Your turn, Mr. Grisben!" of Mr. Grisben's ceremoniously
protesting: "No--no; Mr. Faxon first," and of the pen's being
thereupon transferred to his own hand. He received it with a
deadly sense of being unable to move, or even to understand what
was expected of him, till he became conscious of Mr. Grisben's
paternally pointing out the precise spot on which he was to leave
his autograph. The effort to fix his attention and steady his hand
prolonged the process of signing, and when he stood up--a strange
weight of fatigue on all his limbs--the figure behind Mr.
Lavington's chair was gone.

Faxon felt an immediate sense of relief. It was puzzling that the
man's exit should have been so rapid and noiseless, but the door
behind Mr. Lavington was screened by a tapestry hanging, and Faxon
concluded that the unknown looker-on had merely had to raise it to
pass out. At any rate, he was gone, and with his withdrawal the
strange weight was lifted. Young Rainer was lighting a cigarette,
Mr. Balch meticulously inscribing his name at the foot of the
document, Mr. Lavington--his eyes no longer on his nephew--
examining a strange white-winged orchid in the vase at his elbow.
Everything suddenly seemed to have grown natural and simple again,
and Faxon found himself responding with a smile to the affable
gesture with which his host declared: "And now, Mr. Faxon, we'll
dine."



III

"I wonder how I blundered into the wrong room just now; I thought
you told me to take the second door to the left," Faxon said to
Frank Rainer as they followed the older men down the gallery.

"So I did; but I probably forgot to tell you which staircase to
take. Coming from your bedroom, I ought to have said the fourth
door to the right. It's a puzzling house, because my uncle keeps
adding to it from year to year. He built this room last summer for
his modern pictures."

Young Rainer, pausing to open another door, touched an electric
button which sent a circle of light about the walls of a long room
hung with canvases of the French impressionist school.

Faxon advanced, attracted by a shimmering Monet, but Rainer laid a
hand on his arm.

"He bought that last week for a thundering price. But come along--
I'll show you all this after dinner. Or HE will rather--he loves
it."

"Does he really love things?"

Rainer stared, clearly perplexed at the question. "Rather! Flowers
and pictures especially! Haven't you noticed the flowers? I
suppose you think his manner's cold; it seems so at first; but
he's really awfully keen about things."

Faxon looked quickly at the speaker. "Has your uncle a brother?"

"Brother? No--never had. He and my mother were the only ones."

"Or any relation who--who looks like him? Who might be mistaken
for him?"

"Not that I ever heard of. Does he remind you of some one?"

"Yes."

"That's queer. We'll ask him if he's got a double. Come on!"

But another picture had arrested Faxon, and some minutes elapsed
before he and his young host reached the dining-room. It was a
large room, with the same conventionally handsome furniture and
delicately grouped flowers; and Faxon's first glance showed him
that only three men were seated about the dining-table. The man
who had stood behind Mr. Lavington's chair was not present, and no
seat awaited him.

When the young men entered, Mr. Grisben was speaking, and his
host, who faced the door, sat looking down at his untouched soup-
plate and turning the spoon about in his small dry hand.

"It's pretty late to call them rumors--they were devilish close to
facts when we left town this morning," Mr. Grisben was saying,
with an unexpected incisiveness of tone.

Mr. Lavington laid down his spoon and smiled interrogatively. "Oh,
facts--what are facts! Just the way a thing happens to look at a
given minute."

"You haven't heard anything from town?" Mr. Grisben persisted.

"Not a syllable. So you see ... Balch, a little more of that
petite marmite. Mr. Faxon ... between Frank and Mr. Grisben,
please."

The dinner progressed through a series of complicated courses,
ceremoniously dispensed by a stout butler attended by three tall
footmen, and it was evident that Mr. Lavington took a somewhat
puerile satisfaction in the pageant. That, Faxon reflected, was
probably the joint in his armor--that and the flowers. He had
changed the subject--not abruptly but firmly--when the young men
entered, but Faxon perceived that it still possessed the thoughts
of the two elderly visitors, and Mr. Balch presently observed, in
a voice that seemed to come from the last survivor down a mine-
shaft: "If it does come, it will be the biggest crash since '93."

Mr. Lavington looked bored but polite. "Wall Street can stand
crashes better than it could then. It's got a robuster
constitution."

"Yes; but--"

"Speaking of constitutions," Mr. Grisben intervened: "Frank, are
you taking care of yourself?"

A flush rose to young Rainer's cheeks.

"Why, of course! Isn't that what I'm here for?"

"You're here about three days in the month, aren't you? And the
rest of the time it's crowded restaurants and hot ballrooms in
town. I thought you were to be shipped off to New Mexico?"

"Oh, I've got a new man who says that's rot."

"Well, you don't look as if your new man were right," said Mr.
Grisben bluntly.

Faxon saw the lad's color fade, and the rings of shadow deepen
under his gay eyes. At the same moment his uncle turned to him
with a renewed intensity of attention. There was such solicitude
in Mr. Lavington's gaze that it seemed almost to fling a tangible
shield between his nephew and Mr. Grisben's tactless scrutiny.

"We think Frank's a good deal better," he began; "this new doctor--"

The butler, coming up, bent discreetly to whisper a word in his
ear, and the communication caused a sudden change in Mr.
Lavington's expression. His face was naturally so colorless that
it seemed not so much to pale as to fade, to dwindle and recede
into something blurred and blotted-out. He half rose, sat down
again and sent a rigid smile about the table.

"Will you excuse me? The telephone. Peters, go on with the
dinner." With small precise steps he walked out of the door which
one of the footmen had hastened to throw open.

A momentary silence fell on the group; then Mr. Grisben once more
addressed himself to Rainer. "You ought to have gone, my boy; you
ought to have gone."

The anxious look returned to the youth's eyes. "My uncle doesn't
think so, really."

"You're not a baby, to be always governed on your uncle's opinion.
You came of age to-day, didn't you? Your uncle spoils you ...
that's what's the matter...."

The thrust evidently went home, for Rainer laughed and looked down
with a slight accession of color.

"But the doctor----"

"Use your common sense, Frank! You had to try twenty doctors to
find one to tell you what you wanted to be told."

A look of apprehension overshadowed Rainer's gaiety. "Oh, come--I
say! ... What would YOU do?" he stammered.

"Pack up and jump on the first train." Mr. Grisben leaned forward
and laid a firm hand on the young man's arm "Look here: my nephew
Jim Grisben is out there ranching on a big scale. He'll take you
in and be glad to have you. You say your new doctor thinks it
won't do you any good; but he doesn't pretend to say it will do
you harm, does he? Well, then--give it a trial. It'll take you out
of hot theatres and night restaurants, anyhow.... And all the rest
of it.... Eh, Balch?"

"Go!" said Mr. Balch hollowly. "Go AT ONCE," he added, as if a
closer look at the youth's face had impressed on him the need of
backing up his friend.

Young Rainer had turned ashy-pale. He tried to stiffen his mouth,
into a smile. "Do I look as bad as all that?"

Mr. Grisben was helping himself to terrapin. "You look like the
day after an earthquake," he said concisely.

The terrapin had encircled the table, and been deliberately
enjoyed by Mr. Lavington's three visitors (Rainer, Faxon noticed,
left his plate untouched) before the door was thrown open to re-
admit their host.

Mr. Lavington advanced with an air of recovered composure. He
seated himself, picked up his napkin, and consulted the gold-
monogrammed menu. "No, don't bring back the filet.... Some
terrapin; yes...." He looked affably about the table. "Sorry to
have deserted you, but the storm has played the deuce with the
wires, and I had to wait a long time before I could get a good
connection. It must be blowing up for a blizzard."

"Uncle Jack," young Rainer broke out, "Mr. Grisben's been
lecturing me."

Mr. Lavington was helping himself to terrapin. "Ah--what about?"

"He thinks I ought to have given New Mexico a show."

"I want him to go straight out to my nephew at Santa Paz and stay
there till his next birthday." Mr. Lavington signed to the butler
to hand the terrapin to Mr. Grisben, who, as he took a second
helping, addressed himself again to Rainer. "Jim's in New York
now, and going back the day after to-morrow in Olyphant's private
car. I'll ask Olyphant to squeeze you in if you'll go. And when
you've been out there a week or two, in the saddle all day and
sleeping nine hours a night, I suspect you won't think much of the
doctor who prescribed New York."

Faxon spoke up, he knew not why. "I was out there once: it's a
splendid life. I saw a fellow--oh, a really BAD case--who'd been
simply made over by it."

"It DOES sound jolly," Rainer laughed, a sudden eagerness of
anticipation in his tone.

His uncle looked at him gently. "Perhaps Grisben's right. It's an
opportunity----"

Faxon looked up with a start: the figure dimly perceived in the
study was now more visibly and tangibly planted behind Mr.
Lavington's chair.

"That's right, Frank: you see your uncle approves. And the trip
out there with Olyphant isn't a thing to be missed. So drop a few
dozen dinners and be at the Grand Central the day after to-morrow
at five."

Mr. Grisben's pleasant gray eye sought corroboration of his host,
and Faxon, in a cold anguish of suspense, continued to watch him
as he turned his glance on Mr. Lavington. One could not look at
Lavington without seeing the presence at his back, and it was
clear that, the next minute, some change in Mr. Grisben's
expression must give his watcher a clue.

But Mr. Grisben's expression did not change: the gaze he fixed on
his host remained unperturbed, and the clue he gave was the
startling one of not seeming to see the other figure.

Faxon's first impulse was to look away, to look anywhere else, to
resort again to the champagne glass the watchful butler had
already brimmed; but some fatal attraction, at war in him with an
overwhelming physical resistance, held his eyes upon the spot they
feared.

The figure was still standing, more distinctly, and therefore more
resemblingly, at Mr. Lavington's back; and while the latter
continued to gaze affectionately at his nephew, his counterpart,
as before, fixed young Rainer with eyes of deadly menace.

Faxon, with what felt like an actual wrench of the muscles,
dragged his own eyes from the sight to scan the other countenances
about the table; but not one revealed the least consciousness of
what he saw, and a sense of mortal isolation sank upon him.

"It's worth considering, certainly----" he heard Mr. Lavington
continue; and as Rainer's face lit up, the face behind his uncle's
chair seemed to gather into its look all the fierce weariness of
old unsatisfied hates. That was the thing that, as the minutes
labored by, Faxon was becoming most conscious of. The watcher
behind the chair was no longer merely malevolent: he had grown
suddenly, unutterably tired. His hatred seemed to well up out of
the very depths of balked effort and thwarted hopes, and the fact
made him more pitiable, and yet more dire.

Faxon's look reverted to Mr. Lavington, as if to surprise in him a
corresponding change. At first none was visible: his pinched smile
was screwed to his blank face like a gas-light to a white-washed
wall. Then the fixity of the smile became ominous: Faxon saw that
its wearer was afraid to let it go. It was evident that Mr.
Lavington was unutterably tired too, and the discovery sent a
colder current through Faxon's veins. Looking down at his
untouched plate, he caught the soliciting twinkle of the champagne
glass; but the sight of the wine turned him sick.

"Well, we'll go into the details presently," he heard Mr.
Lavington say, still on the question of his nephew's future.
"Let's have a cigar first. No--not here, Peters." He turned his
smile on Faxon. "When we've had coffee I want to show you my
pictures."

"Oh, by the way, Uncle Jack--Mr. Faxon wants to know if you've got
a double?"

"A double?" Mr. Lavington, still smiling, continued to address
himself to his guest. "Not that I know of. Have you seen one, Mr.
Faxon?"

Faxon thought: "My God, if I look up now they'll BOTH be looking
at me!" To avoid raising his eyes he made as though to lift the
glass to his lips; but his hand sank inert, and he looked up. Mr.
Lavington's glance was politely bent on him, but with a loosening
of the strain about his heart he saw that the figure behind the
chair still kept its gaze on Rainer.

"Do you think you've seen my double, Mr. Faxon?"

Would the other face turn if he said yes? Faxon felt a dryness in
his throat. "No," he answered.

"Ah? It's possible I've a dozen. I believe I'm extremely usual-
looking," Mr. Lavington went on conversationally; and still the
other face watched Rainer.

"It was ... a mistake ... a confusion of memory ..." Faxon heard
himself stammer. Mr. Lavington pushed back his chair, and as he
did so Mr. Grisben suddenly leaned forward. "Lavington! What have
we been thinking of? We haven't drunk Frank's health!"

Mr. Lavington reseated himself. "My dear boy! ... Peters, another
bottle. ..." He turned to his nephew. "After such a sin of
omission I don't presume to propose the toast myself ... but Frank
knows. ... Go ahead, Grisben!"

The boy shone on his uncle. "No, no, Uncle Jack! Mr. Grisben won't
mind. Nobody but YOU--to-day!"

The butler was replenishing the glasses. He filled Mr. Lavington's
last, and Mr. Lavington put out his small hand to raise it. ... As
he did so, Faxon looked away.

"Well, then--All the good I've wished you in all the past years. ...
I put it into the prayer that the coming ones may be healthy
and happy and many ... and MANY, dear boy!"

Faxon saw the hands about him reach out for their glasses.
Automatically, he made the same gesture. His eyes were still on
the table, and he repeated to himself with a trembling vehemence:
"I won't look up! I won't .... I won't ...."

His fingers clasped the stem of the glass, and raised it to the
level of his lips. He saw the other hands making the same motion.
He heard Mr. Grisben's genial "Hear! Hear!" and Mr. Balch's hollow
echo. He said to himself, as the rim of the glass touched his
lips: "I won't look up! I swear I won't!--" and he looked.

The glass was so full that it required an extraordinary effort to
hold it there, brimming and suspended, during the awful interval
before he could trust his hand to lower it again, untouched, to
the table. It was this merciful preoccupation which saved him,
kept him from crying out, from losing his hold, from slipping down
into the bottomless blackness that gaped for him. As long as the
problem of the glass engaged him he felt able to keep his seat,
manage his muscles, fit unnoticeably into the group; but as the
glass touched the table his last link with safety snapped. He
stood up and dashed out of the room.



IV

In the gallery, the instinct of self-preservation helped him to
turn back and sign to young Rainer not to follow. He stammered out
something about a touch of dizziness, and joining them presently;
and the boy waved an unsuspecting hand and drew back.

At the foot of the stairs Faxon ran against a servant. "I should
like to telephone to Weymore," he said with dry lips.

"Sorry, sir; wires all down. We've been trying the last hour to
get New York again for Mr. Lavington."

Faxon shot on to his room, burst into it, and bolted the door. The
mild lamplight lay on furniture, flowers, books, in the ashes a
log still glimmered. He dropped down on the sofa and hid his face.
The room was utterly silent, the whole house was still: nothing
about him gave a hint of what was going on, darkly and dumbly, in
the horrible room he had flown from, and with the covering of his
eyes oblivion and reassurance seemed to fall on him. But they fell
for a moment only; then his lids opened again to the monstrous
vision. There it was, stamped on his pupils, a part of him
forever, an indelible horror burnt into his body and brain. But
why into his--just his? Why had he alone been chosen to see what
he had seen? What business was it of HIS, in God's name! Any one
of the others, thus enlightened, might have exposed the horror and
defeated it; but HE, the one weaponless and defenceless spectator,
the one whom none of the others would believe or understand if he
attempted to reveal what he knew--HE alone had been singled out as
the victim of this atrocious initiation!

Suddenly he sat up, listening: he had heard a step on the stairs.
Some one, no doubt, was coming to see how he was--to urge him, if
he felt better, to go down and join the smokers. Cautiously he
opened his door; yes, it was young Rainer's step. Faxon looked
down the passage, remembered the other stairway and darted to it.
All he wanted was to get out of the house. Not another instant
would he breathe its abominable air! What business was it of HIS,
in God's name?

He reached the opposite end of the lower gallery, and beyond it
saw the hall by which, he had entered. It was empty, and on a long
table he recognized his coat and cap among the furs of the other
travellers. He got into his coat, unbolted the door, and plunged
into the purifying night.

The darkness was deep, and the cold so intense that for an instant
it stopped his breathing. Then he perceived that only a thin snow
was falling, and resolutely set his face for flight. The trees
along the avenue dimly marked his way as he hastened with long
strides over the beaten snow. Gradually, while he walked, the
tumult in his brain subsided. The impulse to fly still drove him
forward, but he began to feel that he was flying from a terror of
his own creating, and that the most urgent reason for escape was
the need of hiding his state, of shunning other eyes' scrutiny
till he should regain his balance.

He had spent the long hours in the train in fruitless broodings on
a discouraging situation, and he remembered how his bitterness had
turned to exasperation when he found that the Weymore sleigh was
not awaiting him. It was absurd, of course; but, though he had
joked with Rainer over Mrs. Culme's forgetfulness, to confess it
had cost a pang. That was what his rootless life had brought him
to: for lack of a personal stake in things his sensibility was at
the mercy of such trivial accidents. ... Yes; that, and the cold
and fatigue, the absence of hope and the haunting sense of starved
aptitudes, all these had brought him to the perilous verge over
which, once or twice before, his terrified brain had hung.

Why else, in the name of any imaginable logic, human or devilish,
should he, a stranger, be singled out for this experience? What
could it mean to him, how was he related to it, what bearing had
it on his case? ... Unless, indeed, it was just because he was a
stranger-a stranger everywhere--because he had no personal life,
no warm strong screen of private egotisms to shield him from
exposure, that he had developed this abnormal sensitiveness to the
vicissitudes of others. The thought pulled him up with a shudder.
No! Such a fate was too abominable; all that was strong and sound
in him rejected it. A thousand times better regard himself as ill,
disorganized, deluded, than as the predestined victim of such
warnings!

He reached the gates and paused before the darkened lodge. The
wind had risen and was sweeping the snow into his face in
lacerating streamers. The cold had him in its grasp again, and he
stood uncertain. Should he put his sanity to the test and go back?
He turned and looked down the dark drive to the house. A single
ray shone through the trees, evoking a picture of the lights, the
flowers, the faces grouped about that fatal room. He turned and
plunged out into the road.

He remembered that, about a mile from Overdale, the coachman had
pointed out the road to Northridge; and he began to walk in that
direction. Once in the road, he had the gale in his face, and the
wet snow on his moustache and eye-lashes instantly hardened to
metal. The same metal seemed to be driving a million blades into
his throat and lungs, but he pushed on, desperately determined,
the vision of the warm room pursuing him.

The snow in the road was deep and uneven. He stumbled across ruts
and sank into drifts, and the wind rose before him like a granite
cliff. Now and then he stopped, gasping, as if an invisible hand
had tightened an iron band about his body; then he started again,
stiffening himself against the stealthy penetration of the cold.
The snow continued to descend out of a pall of inscrutable
darkness, and once or twice he paused, fearing he had missed the
road to Northridge; but, seeing no sign of a turn, he ploughed on
doggedly.

At last, feeling sure that he had walked for more than a mile, he
halted and looked back. The act of turning brought immediate
relief, first because it put his back to the wind, and then
because, far down the road, it showed him the advancing gleam of a
lantern. A sleigh was coming--a sleigh that might perhaps give him
a lift to the village! Fortified by the hope, he began to walk
back toward the light. It seemed to come forward very slowly, with
unaccountable zigzags and waverings; and even when he was within a
few yards of it he could catch no sound of sleigh-bells. Then the
light paused and became stationary by the roadside, as though
carried by a pedestrian who had stopped, exhausted by the cold.
The thought made Faxon hasten on, and a moment later he was
stooping over a motionless figure huddled against the snow-bank.
The lantern had dropped from its bearer's hand, and Faxon,
fearfully raising it, threw its light into the face of Frank
Rainer.

"Rainer! What on earth are you doing here!"

The boy smiled back through his pallor. "What are YOU, I'd like to
know?" he retorted; and, scrambling to his feet with a clutch on
Faxon's arm, he added gaily: "Well, I've run you down, anyhow!"

Faxon stood confounded, his heart sinking. The lad's face was
gray.

"What madness--" he began.

"Yes, it IS. What on earth did you do it for?"

"I? Do what? ... Why, I ... I was just taking a walk. ... I often
walk at night. ..."

Frank Rainer burst into a laugh. "On such nights? Then you hadn't
bolted!"

"Bolted?"

"Because I'd done something to offend you? My uncle thought you
had."

Faxon grasped his arm. "Did your uncle send you after me?"

"Well, he gave me an awful rowing for not going up to your room
with you when you said you were ill. And when we found you'd gone
we were frightened--and he was awfully upset--so I said I'd catch
you. ... You're NOT ill, are you?"

"Ill? No. Never better." Faxon picked up the lantern. "Come; let's
go back. It was awfully hot in that dining-room," he added.

"Yes; I hoped it was only that."

They trudged on in silence for a few minutes; then Faxon
questioned: "You're not too done up?"

"Oh, no. It's a lot easier with the wind behind us."

"All right. Don't talk any more."

They pushed ahead, walking, in spite of the light that guided
them, more slowly than Faxon had walked alone into the gale. The
fact of his companion's stumbling against a drift gave him a
pretext for saying: "Take hold of my arm," and Rainer, obeying,
gasped out: "I'm blown!"

"So am I. Who wouldn't be?"

"What a dance you led me! If it hadn't been for one of the
servants' happening to see you--"

"Yes: all right. And now, won't you kindly shut up?"

Rainer laughed and hung on him. "Oh, the cold doesn't hurt me. ..."

For the first few minutes after Rainer had overtaken him, anxiety
for the lad had been Faxon's only thought. But as each laboring
step carried them nearer to the spot he had been fleeing, the
reasons for his flight grew more ominous and more insistent. No,
he was not ill; he was not distraught and deluded--he was the
instrument singled out to warn and save; and here he was,
irresistibly driven, dragging the victim back to his doom!

The intensity of the conviction had almost checked his steps. But
what could he do or say? At all costs he must get Rainer out of
the cold, into the house and into his bed. After that he would
act.

The snow-fall was thickening, and as they reached a stretch of the
road between open fields the wind took them at an angle, lashing
their faces with barbed thongs. Rainer stopped to take breath, and
Faxon felt the heavier pressure of his arm.

"When we get to the lodge, can't we telephone to the stable for a
sleigh?"

"If they're not all asleep at the lodge."

"Oh, I'll manage. Don't talk!" Faxon ordered; and they plodded on. ...

At length the lantern ray showed ruts that curved away from the
road under tree-darkness.

Faxon's spirits rose. "There's the gate! We'll be there in five
minutes."

As he spoke he caught, above the boundary hedge, the gleam of a
light at the farther end of the dark avenue. It was the same light
that had shone on the scene of which every detail was burnt into
his brain; and he felt again its overpowering reality. No--he
couldn't let the boy go back!

They were at the lodge at last, and Faxon was hammering on the
door. He said to himself: "I'll get him inside first, and make
them give him a hot drink. Then I'll see--I'll find an argument. ..."

There was no answer to his knocking, and after an interval Rainer
said: "Look here--we'd better go on."

"No!"

"I can, perfectly--"

"You sha'n't go to the house, I say!" Faxon furiously redoubled
his blows, and at length steps sounded on the stairs. Rainer was
leaning against the lintel, and as the door opened the light from
the hall flashed on his pale face and fixed eyes. Faxon caught him
by the arm and drew him in.

"It WAS cold out there," he sighed; and then, abruptly, as if
invisible shears at a single stroke had cut every muscle in his
body, he swerved, drooped on Faxon's arm, and seemed to sink into
nothing at his feet.

The lodge-keeper and Faxon bent over him, and somehow, between
them, lifted him into the kitchen and laid him on a sofa by the
stove.

The lodge-keeper, stammering: "I'll ring up the house," dashed out
of the room. But Faxon heard the words without heeding them: omens
mattered nothing now, beside this woe fulfilled. He knelt down to
undo the fur collar about Rainer's throat, and as he did so he
felt a warm moisture on his hands. He held them up, and they were
red. ...



V

The palms threaded their endless line along the yellow river. The
little steamer lay at the wharf, and George Faxon, sitting in the
veranda of the wooden hotel, idly watched the coolies carrying the
freight across the gang-plank.

He had been looking at such scenes for two months. Nearly five had
elapsed since he had descended from the train at Northridge and
strained his eyes for the sleigh that was to take him to Weymore:
Weymore, which he was never to behold! ... Part of the interval--
the first part--was still a great gray blur. Even now he could not
be quite sure how he had got back to Boston, reached the house of
a cousin, and been thence transferred to a quiet room looking out
on snow under bare trees. He looked out a long time at the same
scene, and finally one day a man he had known at Harvard came to
see him and invited him to go out on a business trip to the Malay
Peninsula.

"You've had a bad shake-up, and it'll do you no end of good to get
away from things."

When the doctor came the next day it turned out that he knew of
the plan and approved it. "You ought to be quiet for a year. Just
loaf and look at the landscape," he advised.

Faxon felt the first faint stirrings of curiosity.

"What's been the matter with me, anyhow?"

"Well, over-work, I suppose. You must have been bottling up for a
bad breakdown before you started for New Hampshire last December.
And the shock of that poor boy's death did the rest."

Ah, yes--Rainer had died. He remembered. ...

He started for the East, and gradually, by imperceptible degrees,
life crept back into his weary bones and leaden brain. His friend
was very considerate and forbearing, and they travelled slowly and
talked little. At first Faxon had felt a great shrinking from
whatever touched on familiar things. He seldom looked at a
newspaper, he never opened a letter without a moment's contraction
of the heart. It was not that he had any special cause for
apprehension, but merely that a great trail of darkness lay on
everything. He had looked too deep down into the abyss. ... But
little by little health and energy returned to him, and with them
the common promptings of curiosity. He was beginning to wonder how
the world was going, and when, presently, the hotel-keeper told
him there were no letters for him in the steamer's mail-bag, he
felt a distinct sense of disappointment. His friend had gone into
the jungle on a long excursion, and he was lonely, unoccupied, and
wholesomely bored. He got up and strolled into the stuffy reading-
room.

There he found a game of dominoes, a mutilated picture-puzzle,
some copies of Zion's Herald, and a pile of New York and London
newspapers.

He began to glance through the papers, and was disappointed to
find that they were less recent than he had hoped. Evidently the
last numbers had been carried off by luckier travellers. He
continued to turn them over, picking out the American ones first.
These, as it happened, were the oldest: they dated back to
December and January. To Faxon, however, they had all the flavor
of novelty, since they covered the precise period during which he
had virtually ceased to exist. It had never before occurred to him
to wonder what had happened in the world during that interval of
obliteration; but now he felt a sudden desire to know.

To prolong the pleasure, he began by sorting the papers
chronologically, and as he found and spread out the earliest
number, the date at the top of the page entered into his
consciousness like a key slipping into a lock. It was the
seventeenth of December: the date of the day after his arrival at
Northridge. He glanced at the first page and read in blazing
characters: "Reported Failure of Opal Cement Company. Lavington's
Name Involved. Gigantic Exposure of Corruption Shakes Wall Street
to Its Foundations."

He read on, and when he had finished the first paper he turned to
the next. There was a gap of three days, but the Opal Cement
"Investigation" still held the centre of the stage. From its
complex revelations of greed and ruin his eye wandered to the
death notices, and he read: "Rainer. Suddenly, at Northridge, New
Hampshire, Francis John, only son of the late. ..."

His eyes clouded, and he dropped the newspaper and sat for a long
time with his face in his hands. When he looked up again he
noticed that his gesture had pushed the other papers from the
table and scattered them on the floor at his feet. The uppermost
lay spread out before him, and heavily his eyes began their search
again. "John Lavington comes forward with plan for reconstructing
Company. Offers to put in ten millions of his own--The proposal
under consideration by the District Attorney."

Ten millions ... ten millions of his own. But if John Lavington
was ruined? ... Faxon stood up with a cry. That was it, then--that
was what the warning meant! And if he had not fled from it, dashed
wildly away from it into the night, he might have broken the spell
of iniquity, the powers of darkness might not have prevailed! He
caught up the pile of newspapers and began to glance through each
in turn for the headline: "Wills Admitted to Probate". In the last
of all he found the paragraph he sought, and it stared up at him
as if with Rainer's dying eyes.

That--THAT was what he had done! The powers of pity had singled
him out to warn and save, and he had closed his ears to their
call, had washed his hands of it, and fled. Washed his hands of
it! That was the word. It caught him back to the dreadful moment
in the lodge when, raising himself up from Rainer's side, he had
looked at his hands and seen that they were red. ...



A MESSENGER

BY

MARY RAYMOND SHIPMAN ANDREWS

The Berserker of the North, because he believed in the directing
power of the gods, knew no fear. Death or life--it was meted out
by a destiny that could not err. In song and story he has been one
of the most attractive figures of the past; far more attractive in
his savage virtues than the more sensuous heroes of Greece and
Rome. In this story he lives again in the American boy who has his
ancestor's inexplicable uplift of spirit in the presence of danger
and his implicit faith in "the God of battles and the beauty of
holiness." The ideal of Miles Morgan is such a man as Chinese
Gordon, who, not only in youth but all through life, had eyes for
"the vision splendid."

The ethical value of "A Messenger" may be summed up in the words
of the General: "There is nothing in Americanism to prevent either
inspiration or heroism."



A MESSENGER

[Footnote: From "The Militants," by Mary R. S. Andrews. Copyright,
1907, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]

    How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
    To come to succour us that succour want!
    How oft do they with golden pineons cleave
    The flitting skyes, like flying Pursuivant,
    Against fowle feendes to ayd us militant!
    They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
    And their bright Squadrons round about us plant;
    And all for love, and nothing for reward.
    O! Why should heavenly God to men have such regard?

          --Spenser's "Faerie Queene."


That the other world of our hope rests on no distant, shining
star, but lies about us as an atmosphere, unseen yet near, is the
belief of many. The veil of material life shades earthly eyes,
they say, from the glories in which we ever are. But sometimes
when the veil wears thin in mortal stress, or is caught away by a
rushing, mighty wind of inspiration, the trembling human soul, so
bared, so purified, may look down unimagined heavenly vistas, and
messengers may steal across the shifting boundary, breathing hope
and the air of a brighter world. And of him who speaks his vision,
men say "He is mad," or "He has dreamed."

The group of officers in the tent was silent for a long half
minute after Colonel Wilson's voice had stopped. Then the General
spoke.

"There is but one thing to do," he said. "We must get word to
Captain Thornton at once."

The Colonel thought deeply a moment, and glanced at the orderly
outside the tent. "Flannigan!" The man, wheeling swiftly, saluted.
"Present my compliments to Lieutenant Morgan and say that I should
like to see him here at once," and the soldier went off, with the
quick military precision in which there is no haste and no delay.

"You have some fine, powerful young officers, Colonel," sail the
General casually. "I suppose we shall see in Lieutenant Morgan one
of the best. It will take strength and brains both, perhaps, for
this message."

A shadow of a smile touched the Colonel's lips. "I think I have
chosen a capable man, General," was all he said.

Against the doorway of the tent the breeze blew the flap lazily
back and forth. A light rain fell with muffled gentle insistence
on the canvas over their heads, and out through the opening the
landscape was blurred--the wide stretch of monotonous, billowy
prairie, the sluggish, shining river, bending in the distance
about the base of Black Wind Mountain--Black Wind Mountain, whose
high top lifted, though it was almost June, a white point of snow
above dark pine ridges of the hills below. The five officers
talked a little as they waited, but spasmodically, absent-
mindedly. A shadow blocked the light of the entrance, and in the
doorway stood a young man, undersized, slight, blond. He looked
inquiringly at the Colonel.

"You sent for me, sir?" and the General and his aide, and the
grizzled old Captain, and the big, fresh-faced young one, all
watched him.

In direct, quiet words--words whose bareness made them dramatic
for the weight of possibility they carried--the Colonel explained.
Black Wolf and his band were out on the war-path. A soldier coming
in wounded, escaped from the massacre of the post at Devil's Hoof
Gap, had reported it. With the large command known to be here
camped on Sweetstream Fork, they would not come this way; they
would swerve up the Gunpowder River twenty miles away, destroying
the settlement and Little Fort Slade, and would sweep on, probably
for a general massacre, up the Great Horn as far as Fort
Doncaster. He himself, with the regiment, would try to save Fort
Slade, but in the meantime Captain Thornton's troop, coming to
join him, ignorant that Black Wolf had taken the war-path, would
be directly in their track. Some one must be sent to warn them,
and of course the fewer the quicker. Lieutenant Morgan would take
a sergeant, the Colonel ordered quietly, and start at once.

In the misty light inside the tent, the young officer looked
hardly more than seventeen years old as he stood listening. His
small figure was light, fragile; his hair was blond to an extreme,
a thick thatch of pale gold; and there was about him, among these
tanned, stalwart men in uniform, a presence, an effect of
something unusual, a simplicity out of place yet harmonious, which
might have come with a little child into a scene like this. His
large blue eyes were fixed on the Colonel as he talked, and in
them was just such a look of innocent, pleased wonder, as might be
in a child's eyes, who had been told to leave studying and go pick
violets. But as the Colonel ended he spoke, and the few words he
said, the few questions he asked, were full of poise, of crisp
directness. As the General volunteered a word or two, he turned to
him and answered with a very charming deference, a respect that
was yet full of gracious ease, the unconscious air of a man to
whom generals are first as men, and then as generals. The slight
figure in its dark uniform was already beyond the tent doorway
when the Colonel spoke again, with a shade of hesitation in his
manner.

"Mr. Morgan!" and the young officer turned quickly. "I think it
may be right to warn you that there is likely to be more than
usual danger in your ride."

"Yes, sir." The fresh, young voice had a note of inquiry.

"You will--you will"--what was it the Colonel wanted to say? He
finished abruptly. "Choose the man carefully who goes with you."

"Thank you, Colonel," Morgan responded heartily, but with a hint
of bewilderment. "I shall take Sergeant O'Hara," and he was gone.

There was a touch of color in the Colonel's face, and he sighed as
if glad to have it over. The General watched him, and slowly,
after a pause, he demanded:

"May I ask, Colonel, why you chose that blond baby to send on a
mission of uncommon danger and importance?"

The Colonel answered quietly: "There were several reasons,
General--good ones. The blond baby"--that ghost of a smile touched
the Colonel's lips again--"the blond baby has some remarkable
qualities. He never loses his head; he has uncommon invention and
facility of getting out of bad holes; he rides light and so can
make a horse last longer than most, and"--the Colonel considered a
moment--"I may say he has no fear of death. Even among my officers
he is known for the quality of his courage. There is one more
reason: he is the most popular man I have, both with officers and
men; if anything happened to Morgan the whole command would race
into hell after the devils that did it before they would miss
their revenge."

The General reflected, pulling at his moustache. "It seems a bit
like taking advantage of his popularity," he said.

"It is," the Colonel threw back quickly. "It's just that. But
that's what one must do--a commanding officer--isn't it so,
General? In this war music we play on human instruments, and if a
big chord comes out stronger for the silence of a note, the note
must be silenced--that's all. It's cruel, but it's fighting; it's
the game."

The General, as if impressed with the tense words, did not
respond, and the other officers stared at the Colonel's face, as
carved, as stern as if done in marble--a face from which the warm,
strong heart seldom shone, held back always by the stronger will.

The big, fresh-colored young Captain broke the silence. "Has the
General ever heard of the trick Morgan played on Sun Boy, sir?" he
asked.

"Tell the General, Captain Booth," the Colonel said briefly, and
the Captain turned toward the higher officer.

"It was apropos of what the Colonel said of his incentive
faculties, General," he began. "A year ago the youngster with a
squad of ten men walked into Sun Boy's camp of seventy-five
warriors. Morgan had made quite a pet of a young Sioux, who was
our prisoner for five months, and the boy had taught him a lot of
the language, and assured him that he would have the friendship of
the band in return for his kindness to Blue Arrow--that was the
chap's name. So he thought he was safe; but it turned out that
Blue Arrow's father, a chief, had got into a row with Sun Boy, and
the latter would not think of ratifying the boy's promise. So
there was Morgan with his dozen men, in a nasty enough fix. He
knew plenty of Indian talk to understand that they were discussing
what they would do with him, and it wasn't pleasant.

"All of a sudden he had an inspiration. He tells the story
himself, sir, and I assure you he'd make you laugh--Morgan is a
wonderful mimic. Well, he remembered suddenly, as I said, that he
was a mighty good ventriloquist, and he saw his chance. He gave a
great jump like a startled fawn, and threw up his arms and stared
like one demented into the tree over their heads. There was a
mangy-looking crow sitting up there on a branch, and Morgan
pointed at him as if at something marvellous, supernatural, and
all those fool Indians stopped pow-wowing and stared up after him,
as curious as monkeys. Then to all appearances, the crow began to
talk. Morgan said they must have thought that spirits didn't speak
very choice Sioux, but he did his best. The bird cawed out:

"'Oh, Sun Boy, great chief, beware what you do!'

"And then the real bird flapped its wings and Morgan thought it
was going to fly, and he was lost. But it settled back again on
the branch, and Morgan proceeded to caw on:

"'Hurt not the white man, or the curses of the gods will come upon
Sun Boy and his people.'

"And he proceeded to give a list of what would happen if the
Indians touched a hair of their heads. By this time the red devils
were all down on their stomachs, moaning softly whenever Morgan
stopped cawing. He said he quite got into the spirit of it, and
would have liked to go on some time, but he was beginning to get
hoarse, and besides he was; in deadly terror for fear the crow
would fly before he got to the point. So he had the spirit order
them to give the white men their horses and turn them loose
instanter; and just as he got all through, off went the thing with
a big flap and a parting caw on its own account. I wish I could
tell it as Morgan does--you'd think he was a bird and an Indian
rolled together. He's a great actor spoiled, that lad."

"You leave out a fine point, to my mind, Captain Booth," the
Colonel said quickly. "About his going back."

"Oh! certainly that ought to be told," said the Captain, and the
General's eyes turned to him again. "Morgan forgot to see young
Blue Arrow, his friend, before he got away, and nothing would do
but that he should go back and speak to him. He said the boy would
be disappointed. The men were visibly uneasy at his going, but
that didn't affect him. He ordered them to wait, and back he went,
pell-mell, all alone into that horde of fiends. They hadn't got
over their funk, luckily, and he saw Blue Arrow and made his party
call and got out again all right. He didn't tell that himself, but
Sergeant O'Hara made the camp ring with it. He adores Morgan, and
claims that he doesn't know what fear is. I believe it's about so.
I've seen him in a fight three times now. His cap always goes off
--he loses a cap every blessed scrimmage--and with that yellow mop
of hair, and a sort of rapt expression he gets, he looks like a
child saying its prayers all the time he is slashing and shooting
like a berserker." Captain Booth faced abruptly toward the
Colonel. "I beg your pardon for talking so long, sir," he said.
"You know we're all rather keen about little Miles Morgan."

The General lifted his head suddenly. "Miles Morgan?" he demanded.
"Is his name Miles Morgan?"

The Colonel nodded. "Yes. The grandson of the old Bishop--named
for him."

"Lord!" ejaculated the General. "Miles Morgan was my earliest
friend, my friend until he died! This must be Jim's son--Miles's
only child. And Jim is dead these ten years," he went on rapidly.
"I've lost track of him since the Bishop died, but I knew Jim left
children. Why, he married "--he searched rapidly in his memory--
"he married a daughter of General Fitzbrian's. This boy's got the
church and the army both in him. I knew his mother," he went on,
talking to the Colonel, garrulous with interest. "Irish and
fascinating she was--believed in fairies and ghosts and all that,
as her father did before her. A clever woman, but with the
superstitious, wild Irish blood strong in her. Good Lord! I wish
I'd known that was Miles Morgan's grandson."

The Colonel's voice sounded quiet and rather cold after the
General's impulsive enthusiasm. "You have summed him up by his
antecedents, General," he said. "The church and the army--both
strains are strong. He is deeply religious."

The General looked thoughtful. "Religious, eh? And popular? They
don't always go together."

Captain Booth spoke quickly. "It's not that kind, General," he
said. "There's no cant in the boy. He's more popular for it--
that's often so with the genuine thing, isn't it! I sometimes
think"--the young Captain hesitated and smiled a trifle
deprecatingly--"that Morgan is much of the same stuff as Gordon--
Chinese Gordon; the martyr stuff, you know. But it seems a bit
rash to compare an every-day American youngster to an inspired
hero."

"There's nothing in Americanism to prevent either inspiration or
heroism that I know of," the General affirmed stoutly, his fine
old head up, his eyes gleaming with pride of his profession.

Out through the open doorway, beyond the slapping tent-flap, the
keen, gray eyes of the Colonel were fixed musingly on two black
points which crawled along the edge of the dulled silver of the
distant river--Miles Morgan and Sergeant O'Hara had started.

"Sergeant!" They were eight miles out now, and the camp had
disappeared behind the elbow of Black Wind Mountain. "There's
something wrong with your horse. Listen! He's not loping evenly."
The soft cadence of eight hoofs on earth had somewhere a lighter
and then a heavier note; the ear of a good horseman tells in a
minute, as a musician's ear at a false note, when an animal saves
one foot ever so slightly, to come down harder on another.

"Yessirr. The Lieutenant'll remimber 'tis the horrse that had a
bit of a spavin. Sure I thot 'twas cured, and 'tis the kindest
baste in the rigiment f'r a pleasure ride, sorr--that willin'
'tis. So I tuk it. I think 'tis only the stiffness at furrst aff.
'Twill wurruk aff later. Plaze God, I'll wallop him." And the
Sergeant walloped with a will.

But the kindest beast in the regiment failed to respond except
with a plunge and increased lameness. Soon there was no more
question of his incapacity.

Lieutenant Morgan halted his mount, and, looking at the woe-begone
O'Hara, laughed. "A nice trick this is, Sergeant," he said, "to
start out on a trip to dodge Indians with a spavined horse. Why
didn't you get a broomstick? Now go back to camp as fast as you
can go; and that horse ought to be blistered when you get there.
See if you can't really cure him. He's too good to be shot." He
patted the gray's nervous head, and the beast rubbed it gently
against his sleeve, quiet under his hand.

"Yessirr. The Lieutenant'll ride slow, sorr, f'r me to catch up on
ye, sorr?"

Miles Morgan smiled and shook his head. "Sorry, Sergeant, but
there'll be no slow riding in this. I'll have to press right on
without you; I must be at Massacre Mountain to-night to catch
Captain Thornton to-morrow."

Sergeant O'Hara's chin dropped. "Sure the Lieutenant'll niver be
thinkin' to g'wan alone--widout me?" and with all the Sergeant's
respect for his superiors, it took the Lieutenant ten valuable
minutes to get the man started back, shaking his head and
muttering forebodings, to the camp.

It was quiet riding on alone. There were a few miles to go before
there was any chance of Indians, and no particular lookout to be
kept, so he put the horse ahead rapidly while he might, and
suddenly he found himself singing softly as he galloped. How the
words had come to him he did not know, for no conscious train of
thought had brought them; but they surely fitted to the situation,
and a pleasant sense of companionship, of safety, warmed him as
the swing of an old hymn carried his voice along with it.

"God shall charge His angel legions Watch and ward o'er thee to
keep; Though thou walk through hostile regions, Though in desert
wilds thou sleep."

Surely a man riding toward--perhaps through--skulking Indian
hordes, as he must, could have no better message reach him than
that. The bent of his mind was toward mysticism, and while he did
not think the train of reasoning out, could not have said that he
believed it so, yet the familiar lines flashing suddenly, clearly,
on the curtain of his mind, seemed to him, very simply, to be sent
from a larger thought than his own. As a child might take a strong
hand held out as it walked over rough country, so he accepted this
quite readily and happily, as from that Power who was never far
from him, and in whose service, beyond most people, he lived and
moved. Low but clear and deep his voice went on, following one
stanza with its mate:

"Since with pure and firm affection Thou on God hast set thy love,
With the wings of His protection He will shield thee from above."
The simplicity of his being sheltered itself in the broad promise
of the words.

Light-heartedly he rode on and on, though now more carefully;
lying flat and peering over the crests of hills a long time before
he crossed their tops; going miles perhaps through ravines; taking
advantage of every bit of cover where a man and a horse might be
hidden; travelling as he had learned to travel in three years of
experience in this dangerous Indian country, where a shrub taken
for granted might mean a warrior, and that warrior a hundred
others within signal. It was his plan to ride until about twelve--
to reach Massacre Mountain, and there rest his horse and himself
till gray daylight. There was grass there and a spring--two good
and innocent things that had been the cause of the bad, dark thing
which had given the place its name. A troop under Captain James
camping at this point, because of the water and grass, had been
surprised and wiped out by five hundred Indian braves of the
wicked and famous Red Crow. There were ghastly signs about the
place yet; Morgan had seen them, but soldiers may not have nerves,
and it was good camping ground.

On through the valleys and half-way up the slopes, which rolled
here far away into a still wilder world, the young man rode.
Behind the distant hills in the east a glow like fire flushed the
horizon. A rim of pale gold lifted sharply over the ridge; a huge
round ball of light pushed faster, higher, and lay, a bright world
on the edge of the world, great against the sky--the moon had
risen. The twilight trembled as the yellow rays struck into its
depths, and deepened, dying into purple shadows. Across the plain
zigzagged the pools of a level stream, as if a giant had spilled
handfuls of quicksilver here and there.

Miles Morgan, riding, drank in all the mysterious, wild beauty, as
a man at ease; as open to each fair impression as if he were not
riding each moment into deeper danger, as if his every sense were
not on guard. On through the shining moonlight and in the shadow
of the hills he rode, and, where he might, through the trees, and
stopped to listen often, to stare at the hilltops, to question a
heap of stones or a bush.

At last, when his leg-weary horse was beginning to stumble a bit,
he saw, as he came around a turn, Massacre Mountain's dark head
rising in front of him, only half a mile away. The spring trickled
its low song, as musical, as limpidly pure as if it had never run
scarlet. The picketed horse fell to browsing and Miles sighed
restfully as he laid his head on his saddle and fell instantly to
sleep with the light of the moon on his damp, fair hair. But he
did not sleep long. Suddenly with a start he awoke, and sat up
sharply, and listened. He heard the horse still munching grass
near him, and made out the shadow of its bulk against the sky; he
heard the stream, softly falling and calling to the waters where
it was going. That was all. Strain his hearing as: he might he
could hear nothing else in the still night. Yet there was
something. It might not be sound or sight, but there was a
presence, a something--he could not explain. He was alert in every
nerve. Suddenly the words of the hymn he had been singing in the
afternoon flashed again into his mind, and, with his cocked
revolver in his hand, alone, on guard, in the midnight of the
savage wilderness, the words came that were not even a whisper:

"God shall charge His angel legions Watch and ward o'er thee to
keep; Though thou walk through hostile regions, Though in desert
wilds thou sleep."

He gave a contented sigh and lay down. What was there to worry
about? It was just his case for which the hymn was written."
Desert wilds "--that surely meant Massacre Mountain, and why
should he not sleep here quietly, and let the angels keep their
watch and ward! He closed his eyes with a smile. But sleep did not
come, and soon his eyes were open again, staring into blackness,
thinking, thinking.

It was Sunday when he started out on this mission, and he fell to
remembering the Sunday nights at home--long, long ago they seemed
now. The family sang hymns after supper always; his mother played,
and the children stood around her--five of them, Miles and his
brothers and sisters. There was a little sister with brown hair
about her shoulders, who always stood by Miles, leaned against
him, held his hand, looked up at him with adoring eyes--he could
see those uplifted eyes now, shining through the darkness of this
lonely place. He remembered the big, home-like room; the crackling
fire; the peaceful atmosphere of books and pictures; the dumb
things about its walls that were yet eloquent to him of home and
family; the sword that his great-grandfather had worn under
Washington; the old ivories that another great-grandfather, the
Admiral, had brought from China; the portraits of Morgans of half
a dozen generations which hung there; the magazine table, the
books and books and books. A pang of desperate homesickness
suddenly shook him. He wanted them--his own. Why should he, their
best-beloved, throw away his life--a life filled to the brim with
hope and energy and high ideals--on this futile quest? He knew
quite as well as the General or the Colonel that his ride was but
a forlorn hope. As he lay there, longing so, in the dangerous
dark, he went about the library at home in his thought and placed
each familiar belonging where he had known it all his life. And as
he finished, his mother's head shone darkly golden by the piano;
her fingers swept over the keys; he heard all their voices, the
dear never-forgotten voices. Hark! They were singing his hymn--
little Alice's reedy note lifted above the others--"God shall
charge His angel legions--"

Now! He was on his feet with a spring, and his revolver pointed
steadily. This time there was no mistaking--something had rustled
in the bushes. There was but one thing for it to be--Indians.
Without realizing what he did, he spoke sharply.

"Who goes there?" he demanded, and out of the darkness a voice
answered quietly:

"A friend."

"A friend?" With a shock of relief the pistol dropped by his side,
and he stood tense, waiting. How might a friend be here, at
midnight in this desert! As the thought framed itself swiftly the
leaves parted, and his straining eyes saw the figure of a young
man standing before him.

"How came you here?" demanded Miles sternly. "Who are you!"

Even in the dimness he could see the radiant smile that answered
him. The calm voice spoke again: "You will understand that later.
I am here to help you."

As if a door had suddenly opened into that lighted room of which
he dreamed, Miles felt a sense of tranquillity, of happiness
stirring through him. Never in his life had he known such a sudden
utter confidence in any one, such a glow of eager friendliness as
this half-seen, mysterious stranger inspired. "It is because I was
lonelier than I knew," he said mentally. "It is because human
companionship gives courage to the most self-reliant of us;" and
somewhere in the words he was aware of a false note, but he did
not stop to place it.

The low, even voice of the stranger spoke again. "There are
Indians on your trail," he said. "A small band of Black Wolf's
scouts. But don't be troubled. They will not hurt you."

"You escaped from them?" demanded Miles eagerly, and again the
light of a swift smile shone into the night. "You came to save me
--how was it? Tell me, so that we can plan. It is very dark yet,
but hadn't we better ride? Where is your horse?"

He threw the earnest questions rapidly across the black night, and
the unhurried voice answered him. "No," it said, and the verdict
was not to be disputed. "You must stay here."

Who this man might be or how he came Miles could not tell, but
this much he knew, without reason for knowing it; it was some one
stronger than he, in whom he could trust. As the new-comer had
said, it would be time enough later to understand the rest.
Wondering a little at his own swift acceptance of an unknown
authority, wondering more at the peace which wrapped him as an
atmosphere at the sound of the stranger's voice, Miles made a
place for him by his side, and the two talked softly to the
plashing undertone of the stream.

Easily, naturally, Miles found himself telling how he had been
homesick, longing for his people. He told him of the big familiar
room, and of the old things that were in it, that he loved; of his
mother; of little Alice, and her baby adoration for the big
brother; of how they had always sung hymns together Sunday night;
he never for a moment doubted the stranger's interest and
sympathy--he knew that he cared to hear.

"There is a hymn," Miles said, "that we used to sing a lot--it was
my favorite; 'Miles's hymn,' the family called it. Before you came
to-night, while I lay there getting lonelier every minute, I
almost thought I heard them singing it. You may not have heard it,
but it has a grand swing. I always think"--he hesitated--"it
always seems to me as if the God of battles and the beauty of
holiness must both have filled the man's mind who wrote it." He
stopped, surprised at his own lack of reserve, at the freedom with
which, to this friend of an hour, he spoke his inmost heart.

"I know," the stranger said gently. There was silence for a
moment, and then the wonderful low tones, beautiful, clear, beyond
any voice Miles had ever heard, began again, and it was as if the
great sweet notes of an organ whispered the words:

"God shall charge His angel legions Watch and ward o'er thee to
keep; Though thou walk through hostile regions, Though in desert
wilds thou sleep."

"Great Heavens!" gasped Miles. "How could you know I meant that?
Why, this is marvellous--why, this"--he stared, speechless, at the
dim outlines of the face which he had never seen before to-night,
but which seemed to him already familiar and dear beyond all
reason. As he gazed the tall figure rose, lightly towering above
him. "Look!" he said, and Miles was on his feet. In the east,
beyond the long sweep of the prairie, was a faint blush against
the blackness; already threads of broken light, of pale darkness,
stirred through the pall of the air; the dawn was at hand.

"We must saddle," Miles said, "and be off. Where is your horse
picketed?" he demanded again.

But the strange young man stood still; and now his arm was
stretched pointing. "Look," he said again, and Miles followed the
direction with his eyes.

From the way he had come, in that fast-growing glow at the edge of
the sky, sharp against the mist of the little river, crept slowly
half a dozen pin points, and Miles, watching their tiny movement,
knew that they were ponies bearing Indian braves. He turned hotly
to his companion.

"It's your fault," he said. "If I'd had my way we'd have ridden
from here an hour ago. Now here we are caught like rats in a trap;
and who's to do my work and save Thornton's troop--who's to save
them--God!" The name was a prayer, not an oath.

"Yes," said the quiet voice at his side, "God,"--and for a second
there was a silence that was like an Amen.

Quickly, without a word, Miles turned and began to saddle. Then
suddenly, as he pulled at the girth, he stopped. "It's no use," he
said. "We can't get away except over the rise, and they'll see us
there;" he nodded at the hill which rose beyond the camping ground
three hundred yards away, and stretched in a long, level sweep
into other hills and the west. "Our chance is that they're not on
my trail after all--it's quite possible." There was a tranquil
unconcern about the figure near him; his own bright courage caught
the meaning of its relaxed lines with a bound of pleasure. "As you
say, it's best to stay here," he said, and as if thinking aloud--
"I believe you must always be right." Then he added, as if his
very soul would speak itself to this wonderful new friend: "We
can't be killed, unless the Lord wills it, and if he does it's
right. Death is only the step into life; I suppose when we know
that life, we will wonder how we could have cared for this one."

Through the gray light the stranger turned his face swiftly, bent
toward Miles, and smiled once again, and the boy thought suddenly
of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, and how those who were looking
"saw his face as it had been the face of an angel."

Across the plain, out of the mist-wreaths, came rushing,
scurrying, the handful of Indian braves. Pale light streamed now
from the east, filtering over a hushed world. Miles faced across
the plain, stood close to the tall stranger whose shape, as the
dawn touched it, seemed to rise beyond the boy's slight figure
wonderfully large and high. There was a sense of unending power,
of alertness, of great, easy movement about him; one might have
looked at him, and looking away again, have said that wings were
folded about him. But Miles did not see him. His eyes were on the
fast nearing, galloping ponies, each with its load of filthy,
cruel savagery. This was his death coming; there was disgust, but
not dread in the thought for the boy. In a few minutes he should
be fighting hopelessly, fiercely against this froth of a lower
world; in a few minutes after that he should be lying here still--
for he meant to be killed; he had that planned. They should not
take him--a wave of sick repulsion at that thought shook him.
Nearer, nearer, right on his track came the riders pell-mell. He
could hear their weird, horrible cries; now he could see gleaming
through the dimness the huge head-dress of the foremost, the white
coronet of feathers, almost the stripes of paint on the fierce
face.

Suddenly a feeling that he knew well caught him, and he laughed.
It was the possession that had held in him in every action which
he had so far been in. It lifted his high-strung spirit into an
atmosphere where there was no dread and no disgust, only a keen
rapture in throwing every atom of soul and body into physical
intensity; it was as if he himself were a bright blade, dashing,
cutting, killing, a living sword rejoicing to destroy. With the
coolness that may go with such a frenzy he felt that his pistols
were loose; saw with satisfaction that he and his new ally were
placed on the slope to the best advantage, then turned swiftly,
eager now for the fight to come, toward the Indian band. As he
looked, suddenly in mid-career, pulling in their plunging ponies
with a jerk that threw them, snorting, on their haunches, the
warriors halted. Miles watched in amazement. The bunch of Indians,
not more than a hundred yards away, were staring, arrested,
startled, back of him to his right, where the lower ridge of
Massacre Mountain stretched far and level over the valley that
wound westward beneath it on the road to Fort Rain-and-Thunder. As
he gazed, the ponies had swept about and were galloping back as
they had come, across the plain.

Before he knew if it might be true, if he were not dreaming this
curious thing, the clear voice of his companion spoke in one word
again, like the single note of a deep bell. "Look!" he said, and
Miles swung about toward the ridge behind, following the pointing
finger.

In the gray dawn the hill-top was clad with the still strength of
an army. Regiment after regiment, silent, motionless, it stretched
back into silver mist, and the mist rolled beyond, above, about
it; and through it he saw, as through rifts in broken gauze, lines
interminable of soldiers, glitter of steel. Miles, looking, knew.

He never remembered how long he stood gazing, earth and time and
self forgotten, at a sight not meant for mortal eyes; but
suddenly, with a stab it came to him, that if the hosts of heaven
fought his battle it was that he might do his duty, might save
Captain Thornton and his men; he turned to speak to the young man
who had been with him. There was no one there. Over the bushes the
mountain breeze blew damp and cold; they rustled softly under its
touch; his horse stared at him mildly; away off at the foot-hills
he could see the diminishing dots of the fleeing Indian ponies; as
he wheeled again and looked, the hills that had been covered with
the glory of heavenly armies, lay hushed and empty. And his friend
was gone.

Clatter of steel, jingle of harness, an order ringing out far but
clear--Miles threw up his head sharply and listened. In a second
he was pulling at his horse's girth, slipping the bit swiftly into
its mouth--in a moment more he was off: and away to meet them, as
a body of cavalry swung out of the valley where the ridge had
hidden them.

"Captain Thornton's troop?" the officer repeated carelessly. "Why,
yes; they are here with us. We picked them up yesterday, headed
straight for Black Wolf's war-path. Mighty lucky we found them.
How about you--seen any Indians, have you?"

Miles answered slowly: "A party of eight were on my trail; they
were riding for Massacre Mountain, where I camped, about an hour--
about half an hour--awhile ago." He spoke vaguely, rather oddly,
the officer thought. "Something--stopped them about a hundred
yards from the mountain. They turned, and rode away."

"Ah," said the officer. "They saw us down the valley."

"I couldn't see you," said Miles.

The officer smiled. "You're not an Indian, Lieutenant. Besides,
they were out on the plain and had a farther view behind the
ridge." And Miles answered not a word.

General Miles Morgan, full of years and of honors, has never but
twice told the story of that night of forty years ago. But he
believes that when his time comes, and he goes to join the
majority, he will know again the presence which guarded him
through the blackness of it, and among the angel legions he looks
to find an angel, a messenger, who was his friend.



MARKHEIM

BY

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

In one of the old Greek tragedies, after the actors on the stage
have played their parts and the chorus in the orchestra below has
hinted mysteriously of crime and retribution, the doors of the
palace in the background suddenly fly apart. There stands the
criminal queen. She confesses her crime and explains the reason
for it. So sometimes a story opens the doors of a character's
heart and mind, and invites us to look within. Such a story is
called psychological. Sometimes there is action, not for action's
sake, but for its revelation of character. Sometimes nothing
happens. "This," says Bliss Perry, "may be precisely what most
interests us, because we are made to understand what it is that
inhibits action." In the story of this type we see the moods of
the character; we watch motives appear, encounter other motives,
and retreat or advance. In short, we are allowed to observe the
man's mental processes until we understand him.

The emotional value of this story may be stated in the words of C.
T. Winchester:

"We may lay it down as a rule that those emotions which are
intimately related to the conduct of life are of higher rank than
those which are not; and that, consequently, the emotions highest
of all are those related to the deciding forces of life, the
affections, and the conscience."



MARKHEIM

[Footnote: From "The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables," by
Robert Louis Stevenson, published by Charles Scribner's Sons.]


"Yes," said the dealer, "our windfalls are of various kinds. Some
customers are ignorant, and then I touch a dividend on my superior
knowledge. Some are dishonest," and here he held up the candle, so
that the light fell strongly on his visitor, "and in that case,"
he continued, "I profit by my virtue."

Markheim had but just entered from the daylight streets, and his
eyes had not yet grown familiar with the mingled shine and
darkness in the shop. At these pointed words, and before the near
presence of the flame, he blinked painfully and looked aside.

The dealer chuckled. "You come to me on Christmas Day," he
resumed, "when you know that I am alone in my house, put up my
shutters, and make a point of refusing business. Well, you will
have to pay for that; you will have to pay for my loss of time,
when I should be balancing my books; you will have to pay,
besides, for a kind of manner that I remark in you to-day very
strongly. I am the essence of discretion, and ask no awkward
questions; but when a customer cannot look me in the eye, he has
to pay for it." The dealer once more chuckled; and then, changing
to his usual business voice, though still with a note of irony,
"You can give, as usual, a clear account of how you came into the
possession of the object?" he continued. "Still your uncle's
cabinet? A remarkable collector, sir!"

And the little pale, round-shouldered dealer stood almost on tip-
toe, looking over the top of his gold spectacles, and nodding his
head with every mark of disbelief. Markheim returned his gaze with
one of infinite pity, and a touch of horror.

"This time," said he, "you are in error. I have not come to sell,
but to buy. I have no curios to dispose of; my uncle's cabinet is
bare to the wainscot; even were it still intact, I have done well
on the Stock Exchange, and should more likely add to it than
otherwise, and my errand to-day is simplicity itself. I seek a
Christmas present for a lady," he continued, waxing more fluent as
he struck into the speech he had prepared; "and certainly I owe
you every excuse for thus disturbing you upon so small a matter.
But the thing was neglected yesterday; I must produce my little
compliment at dinner; and, as you very well know, a rich marriage
is not a thing to be neglected."

There followed a pause, during which the dealer seemed to weigh
this statement incredulously. The ticking of many clocks among the
curious lumber of the shop, and the faint rushing of the cabs in a
near thoroughfare, filled up the interval of silence.

"Well, sir," said the dealer, "be it so. You are an old customer
after all; and if, as you say, you have the chance of a good
marriage, far be it from me to be an obstacle. Here is a nice
thing for a lady now," he went on, "this hand glass--fifteenth
century, warranted; comes from a good collection, too; but I
reserve the name, in the interests of my customer, who was just
like yourself, my dear sir, the nephew and sole heir of a
remarkable collector."

The dealer, while he thus ran on in his dry and biting voice, had
stooped to take the object from its place; and, as he had done so,
a shock had passed through Markheim, a start both of hand and
foot, a sudden leap of many tumultuous passions to the face. It
passed as swiftly as it came, and left no trace beyond a certain
trembling of the hand that now received the glass.

"A glass," he said hoarsely, and then paused, and repeated it more
clearly. "A glass? For Christmas? Surely not?"

"And why not?" cried the dealer. "Why not a glass?"

Markheim was looking upon him with an indefinable expression. "You
ask me why not?" he said. "Why, look here--look in it--look at
yourself! Do you like to see it? No! nor I--nor any man."

The little man had jumped back when Markheim had so suddenly
confronted him with the mirror; but now, perceiving there was
nothing worse on hand, he chuckled. "Your future lady, sir, must
be pretty hard favored," said he.

"I ask you," said Markheim, "for a Christmas present, and you give
me this--this damned reminder of years, and sins, and follies--
this hand-conscience! Did you mean it? Had you a thought in your
mind? Tell me. It will be better for you if you do. Come, tell me
about yourself. I hazard a guess now, that you are in secret a
very charitable man?"

The dealer looked closely at his companion. It was very odd,
Markheim did not appear to be laughing; there was something in his
face like an eager sparkle of hope, but nothing of mirth.

"What are you driving at?" the dealer asked.

"Not charitable?" returned the other, gloomily. "Not charitable;
not pious; not scrupulous; unloving, unbeloved; a hand to get
money, a safe to keep it. Is that all? Dear God, man, is that
all?"

"I will tell you what it is," began the dealer, with some
sharpness, and then broke off again into a chuckle. "But I see
this is a love match of yours, and you have been drinking the
lady's health."

"Ah!" cried Markheim, with a strange curiosity. "Ah, have you been
in love! Tell me about that."

"I," cried the dealer. "I in love! I never had the time, nor have
I the time to-day for all this nonsense. Will you take the glass?"

"Where is the hurry?" returned Markheim. "It is very pleasant to
stand here talking; and life is so short and insecure that I would
not hurry away from any pleasure--no, not even from so mild a one
as this. We should rather cling, cling to what little we can get,
like a man at a cliff's edge. Every second is a cliff, if you
think upon it--a cliff a mile high--high enough, if we fall, to
dash us out of every feature of humanity. Hence it is best to talk
pleasantly. Let us talk of each other; why should we wear this
mask? Let us be confidential. Who knows, we might become friends?"

"I have just one word to say to you," said the dealer. "Either
make your purchase, or walk out of my shop."

"True, true," said Markheim. "Enough fooling. To business. Show me
something else."

The dealer stooped once more, this time to replace the glass upon
the shelf, his thin blond hair falling over his eyes as he did so.
Markheim moved a little nearer, with one hand in the pocket of his
greatcoat; he drew himself up and filled his lungs--at the same
time many different emotions were depicted together on his face--
terror, horror, and resolve, fascination and a physical repulsion;
and through a haggard lift of his upper lip, his teeth looked out.

"This, perhaps, may suit," observed the dealer; and then, as he
began to re-arise, Markheim bounded from behind upon his victim.
The long, skewerlike dagger flashed and fell. The dealer struggled
like a hen, striking his temple on the shelf, and then tumbled on
the floor in a heap.

Time had some score of small voices in that shop, some stately and
slow as was becoming to their great age; others garrulous and
hurried. All these told out the seconds in an intricate chorus of
tickings. Then the passage of a lad's feet, heavily running on the
pavement, broke in upon these smaller voices and startled Markheim
into the consciousness of his surroundings. He looked about him
awfully. The candle stood on the counter, its flame solemnly
wagging in a draught; and by that inconsiderable movement, the
whole room was filled with noiseless bustle and kept heaving like
a sea: the tall shadows nodding, the gross blots of darkness
swelling and dwindling as with respiration, the faces of the
portraits and the china gods changing and wavering like images in
water. The inner door stood ajar, and peered into that leaguer of
shadows with a long slit of daylight like a pointing finger.

From these fear-stricken rovings, Markheim's eyes returned to the
body of his victim, where it lay both humped and sprawling,
incredibly small and strangely meaner than in life. In these poor,
miserly clothes, in that ungainly attitude, the dealer lay like so
much sawdust. Markheim had feared to see it, and, lo! it was
nothing. And yet, as he gazed, this bundle of old clothes and pool
of blood began to find eloquent voices. There it must lie; there
was none to work the cunning hinges or direct the miracle of
locomotion--there it must lie till it was found. Found! ay, and
then? Then would this dead flesh lift up a cry that would ring
over England, and fill the world with the echoes of pursuit. Ay,
dead or not, this was still the enemy. "Time was that when the
brains were out," he thought; and the first word struck into his
mind. Time, now that the deed was accomplished--time, which had
closed for the victim, had become instant and momentous for the
slayer.

The thought was yet in his mind, when, first one and then another,
with every variety of pace and voice--one deep as the bell from a
cathedral turret, another ringing on its treble notes the prelude
of a waltz--the clocks began to strike the hour of three in the
afternoon.

The sudden outbreak of so many tongues in that dumb chamber
staggered him. He began to bestir himself, going to and fro with
the candle, beleaguered by moving shadows, and startled to the
soul by chance reflections. In many rich mirrors, some of home
designs, some from Venice or Amsterdam, he saw his face repeated
and repeated, as it were an army of spies; his own eyes met and
detected him; and the sound of his own steps, lightly as they
fell, vexed the surrounding quiet. And still as he continued to
fill his pockets, his mind accused him, with a sickening
iteration, of the thousand faults of his design. He should have
chosen a more quiet hour; he should have prepared an alibi; he
should not have used a knife; he should have been more cautious,
and only bound and gagged the dealer, and not killed him; he
should have been more bold, and killed the servant also; he should
have done all things otherwise; poignant regrets, weary, incessant
toiling of the mind to change what was unchangeable, to plan what
was now useless, to be the architect of the irrevocable past.
Meanwhile, and behind all this activity, brute terrors, like the
scurrying of rats in a deserted attic, filled the more remote
chambers of his brain with riot; the hand of the constable would
fall heavy on his shoulder, and his nerves would jerk like a
hooked fish; or he beheld, in galloping defile, the dock, the
prison, the gallows, and the black coffin.

Terror of the people in the street sat down before his mind like a
besieging army. It was impossible, he thought, but that some rumor
of the struggle must have reached their ears and set on edge their
curiosity; and now, in all the neighboring houses, he divined them
sitting motionless: and with uplifted ear--solitary people,
condemned to spend Christmas dwelling alone on memories of the
past, and now startlingly recalled from that tender exercise;
happy family parties, struck into silence round the table, the
mother still with raised finger: every degree and age and humor,
but all, by their own hearts, prying and hearkening and weaving
the rope that was to hang him. Sometimes it seemed to him he could
not move too softly; the clink of the tall Bohemian goblets rang
out loudly like a bell; and alarmed by the bigness of the ticking,
he was tempted to stop the clocks. And then, again, with a swift
transition of his terrors, the very silence of the place appeared
a source of peril, and a thing to strike and freeze the passer-by;
and he would step more boldly, and bustle aloud among the contents
of the shop, and imitate, with elaborate bravado, the movements of
a busy man at ease in his own house.

But he was now so pulled about by different alarms that, while one
portion of his mind was still alert and cunning, another trembled
on the brink of lunacy. One hallucination in particular took a
strong hold on his credulity. The neighbor hearkening with white
face beside his window, the passer-by arrested by a horrible
surmise on the pavement--these could at worst suspect, they could
not know; through the brick walls and shuttered windows only
sounds could penetrate. But here, within the house, was he alone?
He knew he was; he had watched the servant set forth
sweethearting, in her poor best, "out for the day" written in
every ribbon and smile. Yes, he was alone, of course; and yet, in
the bulk of empty house above him, he could surely hear a stir of
delicate footing--he was surely conscious, inexplicably conscious
of some presence. Ay, surely; to every room and corner of the
house his imagination followed it; and now it was a faceless
thing, and yet had eyes to see with; and again it was a shadow of
himself; and yet again behold the image of the dead dealer,
reinspired with cunning and hatred.

At times, with a strong effort, he would glance at the open door
which still seemed to repel his eyes. The house was tall, the
skylight small and dirty, the day blind with fog; and the light
that filtered down to the ground story was exceedingly faint, and
showed dimly on the threshold of the shop. And yet, in that strip
of doubtful brightness, did there not hang wavering a shadow?

Suddenly, from the street outside, a very jovial gentleman began
to beat with a staff on the shop-door, accompanying his blows with
shouts and railleries in which the dealer was continually called
upon by name. Markheim, smitten into ice, glanced at the dead man.
But no! he lay quite still; he was fled away far beyond earshot of
these blows and shoutings; he was sunk beneath seas of silence;
and his name, which would once have caught his notice above the
howling of a storm, had become an empty sound. And presently the
jovial gentleman desisted from his knocking and departed.

Here was a broad hint to hurry what remained to be done, to get
forth from this accusing neighborhood, to plunge into a bath of
London multitudes, and to reach, on the other side of day, that
haven of safety and apparent innocence--his bed. One visitor had
come: at any moment another might follow and be more obstinate. To
have done the deed, and yet not to reap the profit, would be too
abhorrent a failure. The money, that was now Markheim's concern;
and as a means to that, the keys.

He glanced over his shoulder at the open door, where the shadow
was still lingering and shivering; and with no conscious
repugnance of the mind, yet with a tremor of the belly, he drew
near the body of his victim. The human character had quite
departed. Like a suit half-stuffed with bran, the limbs lay
scattered, the trunk doubled, on the floor; and yet the thing
repelled him. Although so dingy and inconsiderable to the eye, he
feared it might have more significance to the touch. He took the
body by the shoulders, and turned it on its back. It was strangely
light and supple, and the limbs, as if they had been broken, fell
into the oddest postures. The face was robbed of all expression;
but it was as pale as wax, and shockingly smeared with blood about
one temple. That was, for Markheim, the one displeasing
circumstance. It carried him back, upon the instant, to a certain
day in a fishers' village: a gray day, a piping wind, a crowd upon
the street, the blare of brasses, the booming of drums, the nasal
voice of a ballad singer; and a boy going to and fro, buried over
head in the crowd and divided between interest and fear, until,
coming out upon the chief place of concourse, he beheld a booth
and a great screen with pictures, dismally designed, garishly
colored: Brownrigg with her apprentice; the Mannings with their
murdered guest; Weare in the death-grip of Thurtell; and a score
besides of famous crimes. The thing was as clear as an illusion;
he was once again that little boy; he was looking once again, and
with the same sense of physical revolt, at these vile pictures; he
was still stunned by the thumping of the drums. A bar of that
day's music returned upon his memory; and at that, for the first
time, a qualm came over him, a breath of nausea, a sudden weakness
of the joints, which he must instantly resist and conquer.

He judged it more prudent to confront than to flee from these
considerations; looking the more hardily in the dead face, bending
his mind to realize the nature and greatness of his crime. So
little a while ago that face had moved with every change of
sentiment, that pale mouth had spoken, that body had been all on
fire with governable energies; and now, and by his act, that piece
of life had been arrested, as the horologist, with interjected
finger, arrests the beating of the clock. So he reasoned in vain;
he could rise to no more remorseful consciousness; the same heart
which had shuddered before the painted effigies of crime, looked
on its reality unmoved. At best, he felt a gleam of pity for one
who had been endowed in vain with all those faculties that can
make the world a garden of enchantment, one who had never lived
and who was now dead. But of penitence, no, not a tremor.

With that, shaking himself clear of these considerations, he found
the keys and advanced towards the open door of the shop. Outside,
it had begun to rain smartly; and the sound of the shower upon the
roof had banished silence. Like some dripping cavern, the chambers
of the house were haunted by an incessant echoing, which filled
the ear and mingled with the ticking of the clocks. And, as
Markheim approached the door, he seemed to hear, in answer to his
own cautious tread, the steps of another foot withdrawing up the
stair. The shadow still palpitated loosely on the threshold. He
threw a ton's weight of resolve upon his muscles, and drew back
the door.

The faint, foggy daylight glimmered dimly on the bare floor and
stairs; on the bright suit of armor posted, halbert in hand, upon
the landing; and on the dark wood-carvings, and framed pictures
that hung against the yellow panels of the wainscot. So loud was
the beating of the rain through all the house that, in Markheim's
ears, it began to be distinguished into many different sounds.
Footsteps and sighs, the tread of regiments marching in the
distance, the chink of money in the counting, and the creaking of
doors held stealthily ajar, appeared to mingle with the patter of
the drops upon the cupola and the gushing of the water in the
pipes. The sense that he was not alone grew upon him to the verge
of madness. On every side he was haunted and begirt by presences.
He heard them moving in the upper chambers; from the shop, he
heard the dead man getting to his legs; and as he began with a
great effort to mount the stairs, feet fled quietly before him and
followed stealthily behind. If he were but deaf, he thought, how
tranquilly he would possess his soul! And then again, and
hearkening with ever fresh attention, he blessed himself for that
unresting sense which held the outposts and stood a trusty
sentinel upon his life. His head turned continually on his neck;
his eyes, which seemed starting from their orbits, scouted on
every side, and on every side were half-rewarded as with the tail
of something nameless vanishing. The four-and-twenty steps to the
first floor were four-and-twenty agonies.

On that first story, the doors stood ajar, three of them like
three ambushes, shaking his nerves like the throats of cannon. He
could never again, he felt, be sufficiently immured and fortified
from men's observing eyes; he longed to be home, girt in by walls,
buried among bedclothes, and invisible to all but God. And at that
thought he wondered a little, recollecting tales of other
murderers and the fear they were said to entertain of heavenly
avengers. It was not so, at least, with, him. He feared the laws
of nature, lest, in their callous and immutable procedure, they
should preserve some damning evidence of his crime. He feared
tenfold more, with a slavish, superstitious terror, some scission
in the continuity of man's experience, some wilful illegality of
nature. He played a game of skill, depending on the rules,
calculating consequence from cause; and what if nature, as the
defeated tyrant overthrew the chessboard, should break the mould
of their succession? The like had befallen Napoleon (so writers
said) when the winter changed the time of its appearance. The like
might befall Markheim: the solid walls might become transparent
and reveal his doings like those of bees in a glass hive; the
stout planks might yield under his foot like quicksands and detain
him in their clutch; ay, and there were soberer accidents that
might destroy him: if, for instance, the house should fall and
imprison him beside the body of his victim; or the house next door
should fly on fire, and the firemen invade him from all sides.
These things he feared; and, in a sense, these things might be
called the hands of God reached forth against sin. But about God
himself he was at ease; his act was doubtless exceptional, but so
were his excuses, which God knew; it was there, and not among men,
that he felt sure of justice.

When he had got safe into the drawing room, and shut the door
behind him, he was aware of a respite from alarms. The room was
quite dismantled, uncarpeted besides, and strewn with packing
cases and incongruous furniture; several great pier glasses, in
which he beheld himself at various angles, like an actor on a
stage; many pictures, framed and unframed, standing, with their
faces to the wall; a fine Sheraton sideboard, a cabinet of
marquetry, and a great old bed, with tapestry hangings. The
windows opened to the floor; but by great good fortune the lower
part of the shutters had been closed, and this concealed him from
the neighbors. Here, then, Markheim drew in a packing case before
the cabinet, and began to search among the keys. It was a long
business, for there were many; and it was irksome, besides; for,
after all, there might be nothing in the cabinet, and time was on
the wing. But the closeness of the occupation sobered him. With
the tail of his eye he saw the door--even glanced at it from time
to time directly, like a besieged commander pleased to verify the
good estate of his defences. But in truth he was at peace. The
rain falling in the street sounded natural and pleasant.
Presently, on the other side, the notes of a piano were wakened to
the music of a hymn, and the voices of many children took up the
air and words. How stately, how comfortable was the melody! How
fresh the youthful voices! Markheim gave ear to it smilingly, as
he sorted out the keys; and his mind was thronged with answerable
ideas and images; church-going children and the pealing of the
high organ; children afield, bathers by the brookside, ramblers on
the brambly common, kite fliers in the windy and cloud navigated
sky; and then, at another cadence of the hymn, back again to
church, and the somnolence of summer Sundays, and the high genteel
voice of the parson (which he smiled a little to recall) and the
painted Jacobean tombs, and the dim lettering of the Ten
Commandments in the chancel.

And as he sat thus, at once busy and absent, he was startled to
his feet. A flash of ice, a flash of fire, a bursting gush of
blood, went over him, and then he stood transfixed and thrilling.
A step mounted the stair slowly and steadily, and presently a hand
was laid upon the knob, and the lock clicked, and the door opened.
Fear held Markheim in a vice. What to expect he knew not, whether
the dead man walking, or the official ministers of human justice,
or some chance witness blindly stumbling in to consign him to the
gallows. But when a face was thrust into the aperture, glanced
round the room, looked at him, nodded and smiled as if in friendly
recognition, and then withdrew again, and the door closed behind
it, his fear broke loose from his control in a hoarse cry. At the
sound of this the visitant returned.

"Did you call me?" he asked, pleasantly, and with that he entered
the room and closed the door behind him.

Markheim stood and gazed at him with all his eyes. Perhaps there
was a film upon his sight, but the outlines of the newcomer seemed
to change and waver like those of the idols in the wavering
candlelight of the shop; and at times he thought he knew him; and
at times he thought he bore a likeness to himself; and always,
like a lump of living terror, there lay in his bosom the
conviction that this thing was not of the earth and not of God.

And yet the creature had a strange air of the commonplace, as he
stood looking on Markheim with a smile; and when he added: "You
are looking for the money, I believe?" it was in the tones of
everyday politeness.

Markheim made no answer.

"I should warn you," resumed the other, "that the maid has left
her sweetheart earlier than usual and will soon be here. If Mr.
Markheim be found in this house, I need not describe to him the
consequences."

"You know me?" cried the murderer.

The visitor smiled. "You have long been a favorite of mine," he
said; "and I have long observed and often sought to help you."

"What are you?" cried Markheim: "the devil?"

"What I may be," returned the other, "cannot affect the service I
propose to render you."

"It can," cried Markheim; "it does! Be helped by you? No, never;
not by you! You do not know me yet; thank God, you do not know
me!"

"I know you," replied the visitant, with a sort of kind severity
or rather firmness. "I know you to the soul."

"Know me!" cried Markheim. "Who can do so? My life is but a
travesty and slander on myself. I have lived to belie my nature.
All men do; all men are better than this disguise that grows about
and stifles them. You see each dragged away by life, like one whom
bravos have seized and muffled in a cloak. If they had their own
control--if you could see their faces, they would be altogether
different, they would shine out for heroes and saints! I am worse
than most; my self is more overlaid; my excuse is known to me and
God. But, had I the time, I could disclose myself."

"To me?" inquired the visitant.

"To you before all," returned the murderer. "I supposed you were
intelligent. I thought--since you exist--you would prove a reader
of the heart. And yet you would propose to judge me by my acts!
Think of it; my acts! I was born and I have lived in a land of
giants; giants have dragged me by the wrists since I was born out
of my mother--the giants of circumstance. And you would judge me
by my acts! But can you not look within? Can you not understand
that evil is hateful to me? Can you not see within me the clear
writing of conscience, never blurred by any wilful sophistry,
although too often disregarded? Can you not read me for a thing
that surely must be common as humanity--the unwilling sinner?"

"All this is very feelingly expressed," was the reply, "but it
regards me not. These points of consistency are beyond my
province, and I care not in the least by what compulsion you may
have been dragged away, so as you are but carried in the right
direction. But time flies; the servant delays, looking in the
faces of the crowd and at the pictures on the hoardings, but still
she keeps moving nearer; and remember, it is as if the gallows
itself was striding towards you through the Christmas streets!
Shall I help you; I, who know all? Shall I tell you where to find
the money?"

"For what price?" asked Markheim.

"I offer you the service for a Christmas gift," returned the
other.

Markheim could not refrain from smiling with a kind of bitter
triumph. "No," said he, "I will take nothing at your hands; if I
were dying of thirst, and it was your hand that put the pitcher to
my lips, I should find the courage to refuse. It may be credulous,
but I will do nothing to commit myself to evil."

"I have no objection to a deathbed repentance," observed the
visitant.

"Because you disbelieve their efficacy!" Markheim cried.

"I do not say so," returned the other; "but I look on these things
from a different side, and when the life is done my interest
falls. The man has lived to serve me, to spread black looks under
color of religion, or to sow tares in the wheat field, as you do,
in a course of weak compliance with desire. Now that he draws so
near to his deliverance, he can add but one act of service--to
repent, to die smiling, and thus to build up in confidence and
hope the more timorous of my surviving followers. I am not so hard
a master. Try me. Accept my help. Please yourself in life as you
have done hitherto; please yourself more amply, spread your elbows
at the board; and when the night begins to fall and the curtains
to be drawn, I tell you, for your greater comfort, that you will
find it even easy to compound your quarrel with your conscience,
and to make a truckling peace with God. I came but now from such a
deathbed, and the room was full of sincere mourners, listening to
the man's last words: and when I looked into that face, which had
been set as a flint against mercy, I found it smiling with hope."

"And do you, then, suppose me such a creature?" asked Markheim.
"Do you think I have no more generous aspirations than to sin, and
sin, and sin, and, at last, sneak into heaven? My heart rises at
the thought. Is this, then, your experience of mankind? or is it
because you find me with red hands that you presume such baseness?
and is this crime of murder indeed so impious as to dry up the
very springs of good?"

"Murder is to me no special category," replied the other. "All
sins are murder, even as all life is war. I behold your race, like
starving mariners on a raft, plucking crusts out of the hands of
famine and feeding on each other's lives. I follow sins beyond the
moment of their acting; I find in all that the last consequence is
death; and to my eyes, the pretty maid who thwarts her mother with
such taking graces on a question of a ball, drips no less visibly
with human gore than such a murderer as yourself. Do I say that I
follow sins? I follow virtues also; they differ not by the
thickness of a nail, they are both scythes for the reaping angel
of Death. Evil, for which I live, consists not in action but in
character. The bad man is dear to me; not the bad act, whose
fruits, if we could follow them far enough down the hurtling
cataract of the ages, might yet be found more blessed than those
of the rarest virtues. And it is not because you have killed a
dealer, but because you are Markheim, that I offered to forward
your escape."

"I will lay my heart open to you," answered Markheim. "This crime
on which you find me is my last. On my way to it I have learned
many lessons; itself is a lesson, a momentous lesson. Hitherto I
have been driven with revolt to what I would not; I was a
bondslave to poverty, driven and scourged. There are robust
virtues that can stand in these temptations; mine was not so: I
had a thirst of pleasure. But today, and out of this deed, I pluck
both warning and riches--both the power and a fresh resolve to be
myself. I become in all things a free actor in the world; I begin
to see myself all changed, these hands the agents of good, this
heart at peace. Something comes over me out of the past; something
of what I have dreamed on Sabbath evenings to the sound of the
church organ, of what I forecast when I shed tears over noble
books, or talked, an innocent child, with my mother. There lies my
life; I have wandered a few years, but now I see once more my city
of destination."

"You are to use this money on the Stock Exchange, I think?"
remarked the visitor; "and there, if I mistake not, you have
already lost some thousands?"

"Ah," said Markheim, "but this time I have a sure thing."

"This time, again, you will lose," replied the visitor quietly.

"Ah, but I keep back the half!" cried Markheim.

"That also you will lose," said the other.

The sweat started upon Markheim's brow. "Well, then, what matter?"
he exclaimed. "Say it be lost, say I am plunged again in poverty,
shall one part of me, and that the worst, continue until the end
to override the better? Evil and good run strong in me, haling me
both ways. I do not love the one thing, I love all. I can conceive
great deeds, renunciations, martyrdoms; and though I be fallen to
such a crime as murder, pity is no stranger to my thoughts. I pity
the poor; who knows their trials better than myself? I pity and
help them; I prize love, I love honest laughter; there is no good
thing nor true thing on earth but I love it from my heart. And are
my vices only to direct my life, and my virtues to lie without
effect, like some passive lumber of the mind? Not so; good, also,
is a spring of acts."

But the visitant raised his finger. "For six-and-thirty years that
you have been in this world," said he, "through many changes of
fortune and varieties of humor, I have watched you steadily fall.
Fifteen years ago you would have started at a theft. Three years
back you would have blenched at the name of murder. Is there any
crime, is there any cruelty or meanness, from which you still
recoil?--five years from now I shall detect you in the fact!
Downward, downward, lies your way; nor can anything but death
avail to stop you."

"It is true," Markheim said huskily, "I have in some degree
complied with evil. But it is so with all: the very saints, in the
mere exercise of living, grow less dainty, and take on the tone of
their surroundings."

"I will propound to you one simple question," said the other; "and
as you answer, I shall read to you your moral horoscope. You have
grown in many things more lax; possibly you do right to be so; and
at any account, it is the same with all men. But granting that,
are you in any one particular, however trifling, more difficult to
please with your own conduct, or do you go in all things with a
looser rein?"

"In any one?" repeated Markheim, with an anguish of consideration.
"No," he added, with despair, "in none! I have gone down in all."

"Then," said the visitor, "content yourself with what you are, for
you will never change; and the words of your part on this stage
are irrevocably written down."

Markheim stood for a long while silent, and indeed it was the
visitor who first broke the silence. "That being so," he said,
"shall I show you the money?"

"And grace?" cried Markheim.

"Have you not tried it?" returned the other. "Two or three years
ago, did I not see you on the platform of revival meetings, and
was not your voice the loudest in the hymn?"

"It is true," said Markheim; "and I see clearly what remains for
me by way of duty. I thank you for these lessons from my soul; my
eyes are opened, and I behold myself at last for what I am."

At this moment, the sharp note of the doorbell rang through the
house; and the visitant, as though this were some concerted signal
for which he had been waiting, changed at once in his demeanor.

"The maid!" he cried. "She has returned, as I forewarned you, and
there is now before you one more difficult passage. Her master,
you must say, is ill; you must let her in, with an assured but
rather serious countenance--no smiles, no overacting, and I
promise you success! Once the girl within, and the door closed,
the same dexterity that has already rid you of the dealer will
relieve you of this last danger in your path. Thenceforward you
have the whole evening--the whole night, if needful--to ransack
the treasures of the house and to make good your safety. This is
help that comes to you with the mask of danger. Up!" he cried:
"up, friend; your life hangs trembling in the scales: up, and
act!"

Markheim steadily regarded his counsellor. "If I be condemned to
evil acts," he said, "there is still one door of freedom open--I
can cease from action. If my life be an ill thing, I can lay it
down. Though I be, as you say truly, at the beck of every small
temptation, I can yet, by one decisive gesture, place myself
beyond the reach of all. My love of good is damned to barrenness;
it may, and let it be! But I have still my hatred of evil; and
from that, to your galling disappointment, you shall see that I
can draw both energy and courage."

The features of the visitor began to undergo a wonderful and
lovely change: they brightened and softened with a tender triumph;
and, even as they brightened, faded and dislimned. But Markheim
did not pause to watch or understand the transformation. He opened
the door and went downstairs very slowly, thinking to himself. His
past went soberly before him; he beheld it as it was, ugly and
strenuous like a dream, random as chance-medley--a scene of
defeat. Life, as he thus reviewed it, tempted him no longer; but
on the further side he perceived a quiet haven for his bark. He
paused in the passage, and looked into the shop, where the candle
still burned by the dead body. It was strangely silent. Thoughts
of the dealer swarmed into his mind, as he stood gazing. And then
the bell once more broke out into impatient clamor.

He confronted the maid upon the threshold with something like a
smile.

"You had better go for the police," said he: "I have killed your
master."





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