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´╗┐Title: My Monks of Vagabondia
Author: Floyd, Andress
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Monks of Vagabondia" ***

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"And this is liberty--that one grow after the law of his own life,
hindering not another."

[Illustration: Title Page]

  _My Monks of Vagabondia._

  _Andress Floyd_

   Copyright 1913
  By Andress Floyd

           TO MY WIFE


My Monks of Vagabondia comprises Fact-stories selected from the old
files of the Self Master Magazine. I wish to present the defeated man,
as he really is, to the reader who cannot fail to appreciate the humor
and tragedy that makes up his wayward life. The bond of sympathy should
be awakened between us and the so-called prodigal.

A wider publicity should be given to the unique but practical uplift
work that I have founded and carried on for the past five years among
these weaker brothers.

The stories explain in part the methods and plans of the Family of Self

It is--we believe--the only book in which a writer has received his
facts for his stories direct from a life-experience with outcast men.

Not alone that, but the volume is printed, bound and illustrated by the
unexpected guests--the Itinerant Monks of whom the tales are told, and
who make their home in our so-called Monastery.

The day approaches when broken men shall have beautiful, though simple,
homes of their own making, modeled after the group idea of The Self
Master Colony. They will be established outside of the different cities
of the world, and opened hospitably to all men who come in their
hour of need or weakness, seeking Self Mastery and the peace that
accompanies it.

The proceeds from the sale of these stories go toward the purchase and
installation of much needed equipment for the Printshop and Bindery.
With this equipment the men can work out their own independence,
industrially and socially.

When a man has lived months and years enslaved by some vicious
habit--self-destructive and careless of consequences--his sub-conscious
mind is a sensitive matrix on which the sordid history is deeply
engraved. The certain change can come only as the man learns values and
respects them by a right life.

The sub-conscious self takes on a complete reformation slowly. An evil
habit does not gain mastery over the man upon the instant nor once in
control is its grip broken by any feeble affirmation or miraculous

The hope comes when one turns one's thought from the destructive to
the constructive, and lives in the sight of the new born faith until
wisdom lifts the darkened veil and freedom follows as its rightful

The Self Master Colony offers an open door to the disheartened man
during the period of his awakening to his real strength and helps him
with its constant care and sympathy back to his true self.


Introductory                  13
A Journey to our Monastery    17
Mary and the Baby             25
My Problem with Slippery Jim. 37
Our Friend, The Anarchist     55
A Bashful Beggar              69
Fritz and His Sun Dial        75
The Waiter Who Did Not Wait.  87
Compounding a Felony          95
The Passing of Sullivan      105
When Sister Called           115
Edison's Evening Star        125
In the World of Wanderlust   133
The Two Jeans                137


 If any pilgrim monk come from distant parts to dwell with us, and
 will be content with the customs which he finds in the place, and do
 not perchance by his lavishness disturb the Monastery, he shall be

      --_Saint Benedict._

A Journey to our Monastery

The man had walked the entire distance from New York to the Self Master
Family. In truth, he had walked more than the entire distance, for
once or twice he had lost his way--as many a man has done in other
walks of Life. Painfully he had retraced his steps to the right road.
The mistakes had told heavily upon his failing strength. They had
made him just that much more weary with it all. No doubt mistakes are
wonderfully educational; they make men wiser, and therefore better, for
in the final analysis wisdom and goodness are synonymous.

He complained bitterly at the hardness of his lot and found little
comfort in the thought that he might reach the Colony too late for the
evening meal.

His friend who had met him walking aimlessly up and down Broadway
assured him that there was always a coffee pot boiling on the
old-fashioned cook stove in the boys' kitchen--that the Colony House
never locked its doors.

To a man who feels that every door in the world is locked against him
there is comfort in the thought that there is really one place where
he may find a welcome. His friend had said that there would be no
questions asked him on his arrival--no investigation.

"No investigation," he muttered aloud, "thank God! It is easier
for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a
'down-and-out' man to convince Professional Charity that he is really
hungry. I think they would have given me a 'hand-out' when they
investigated me the last time if I could have told them what town my
mother was born in."

He smiled with weak cynicism at the folly of his thoughts, and then
became suddenly serious, for on the side hill in front of a large
colonial house, worked out in white stone, were the words "The Self
Masters." He stopped and studied the quiet, home-like scene from the
road. All these weary miles he had come to ask food and shelter, and
now his courage seemed to fail him. He sat down by the road side and
leisurely took his pipe from his pocket. Then he prepared tobacco with
the utmost care, filled the pipe and lighted it.


he spelled out the letters on the sign; "What the h--ll is that?--Self
Master--Self Mastery--Self Control. Old Man, if you had ever had any
of that Self Control in your make-up you would not be a Knight of the
Dusty Road!... You had better go back to the East Side where you know
the land; where no man cares whether you live decently or not--if you
can buy."

Then the sound of a piano and male voices came to him and awakened
him to a new train of thought. "It is a Monastery--a Monastery of
Vagabondia," he said, "and why not? why shouldn't a man, even a
homeless man, have his Monastery, if you please, where he can forget
his past and live cleanly? If he only lives cleanly for a day and
falls.... It's something to remember--a day he doesn't have to be
ashamed of. Who knows but that in the one day of unselfish living a man
is more truly his real self than he is in all the other days of his
vicious years.

"Throughout his long life Moses was the leader of his people, but
it was in that day that he talked with God--face to face--that his
countenance did shine like the sun. It was not when he slew the
Egyptian, and, frightened, buried him in the sand; it was when he stood
in the presence of Divinity--that Moses was Moses. When the drunkard is
in his sober mind, when the liar is speaking the truth, when the thief
is giving honest measure, when the murderer is kind to his fellow,
then, and only then, is the true Self finding expression."

He drew heavily at his pipe and then smilingly said, "My pipe has gone
out!" He knocked out the ashes into his hand and scattered them to the
wind, gravely, as if it were some religious ceremony. Then he dusted
his shoes and clothes, and straightening himself up to his full height,
he marched bravely up to the front door of the house....

... A black crow, belated in his home-going, left his corn-thieving,
and, rising, flew across the sky to his eyrie in the pines.



"And a little child shall lead them."


Mary and the Baby

"Resolved, that old-fashioned cow's milk is better for Our Baby, than
any prepared food."

The debate on the above subject will start at seven o'clock next
Thursday evening. The Conservatives of our Colony will speak in favor
of cow's milk as a baby's food. The Progressives will speak in favor of
prepared food.

The parliamentary rules governing the debate will be the same as govern
a "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling match.

No slugging will be permitted until forensic effort has proven
ineffective. When further argument has become useless, the three-ounce
boxing gloves, recently donated to us, may be used to force a decision.
In fact, several of the boys who talk but little, are practising with
the gloves, so that they may become factors in the final settlement of
the problem.

On the other hand, the literary coterie is in deep study. One boy is
reading up reference books on the subject whenever he can find the
time. Still another blindfolds himself and opens the Bible at random,
looking for spiritual guidance on the subject of infant diet. Of course
the Court of Final Appeal will be Her Ladyship--The Baby Herself.

She already knows a great deal about crackers and breakfast foods,
and she is far too clever not to have her own opinion on the dietary
properties of milk and its substitutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now it may be in point to tell how we came to have a ten-months-old
baby at our Colony.

We are ostensibly a young men's colony--men and boys trying to get to
their feet and become independent and self-supporting. But if anyone
comes to us hungry, we like to give them something more edible than a
card to a professional charity.

Had Hunger delayed her coming another week, Our Baby and her mother
might have been driven to ask food and shelter on Christmas Eve. As it
was, they came to us on December 19th, at ten o'clock in the evening.
They had no place in which to sleep except the local police station,
and that is not the place for a little baby--even strong men weaken in
the chill of its hospitality.

So, on their arrival, the boys who were retiring for the night, held
a conference. Our supply of beds and bedding did not even equal the
demand made upon it by the boys themselves. But that did not cause them
to hesitate, and all agreed that they must not turn the newcomers away.
One boy immediately gave up his blanket, the second his comforter, the
third his bed. In that way the mother and baby were made comfortable
for the night, little realizing that they were taking anything away
from those who had nothing to spare. But homeless men are quickly
sympathetic, for what they know of hunger and cold is not altogether

On the next day we undertook to make more permanent provision for the
Baby and Mary, her mother. We began to look around for beds. We asked
two of the kind-hearted clergymen if they could obtain a bed for our
new arrivals. One of them phoned me later in the day to ask me what
town the poor people were from, and when I informed him, he said "The
woman should have applied to the charity association of the city from
which they came. If the case was worthy, aid would be given."

Worthy or unworthy, we didn't feel like sending the Baby away. She was
teething and fretful, and a teething, fretful baby may not be as worthy
as one who grins and bears it.

The other minister said, "The wonderful work the Church was doing, had
not so much to do with the poor in this life, as in the hereafter." Now
in truth, while the mother was discouraged and didn't care anything
about life as far as she herself was concerned, she had ambition for
her child, so she could not qualify and ask assistance under these

The boys themselves made two wooden beds, and fitted up a room for the
Baby, while the mother in turn helped the young men in the kitchen.

The Baby has grown strong and well. She likes her big brothers with
all their noise and horseplay, and they like their Baby. To see rough
homeless men sing lullabies to an infant-in-arms, congratulating
themselves when she falls asleep soothed by the monotonous humming of
some cradle song that they themselves thought they had forgotten long
ago, might renew one's faith in the kindly humanity that lives in every

Has not Christ said, "And whosoever shall receive one such little child
in my name, receiveth me."


Now, this Baby has a father. He has lived in Russia and came to America
to earn money. One of his older brothers was already located in New
York State, and from his letters sent over the sea, it was plain that
the opportunities for wealth in the States were most promising.

The older brother had grown rich--very rich--working on the railroad.
He never earned less than nine dollars a week, and now that he spoke
English, he earned twelve.

Such stories of easily acquired wealth lured John, as we call him, to
leave his Fatherland with his wife and child. But unfortunately for
John and his family, they reached America during the recent panic.
Thousands of workmen were idle. In New York, John could find no work.
Even the rich brother only worked part of the time, and having wife
and children of his own, had nothing to divide with John and his
family. So John drifted away seeking employment.

The few dollars that he brought with him became exhausted, and although
he studied English evenings, he spoke it brokenly. One of the boys at
the Colony said he talked in "kindlewood."

While he was seeking employment, no word came to the wife and child.
Some said John would never come back. But Mary believed in him. She
said that he had always loved the baby and he knew that she herself
could work. But at times even she doubted when weeks followed weeks and
no word came.

Once when one of the boys was going to New York, she called him aside
quietly, and said, "You will see John in New York, I think.... Big man,
light hair ... tell him come home, see Baby.... I want him."

But John was not seen in New York.

It was not until a few days ago that he returned. He had traveled
through New York State and on to Massachusetts. No work--everywhere no
work! Sometimes he had walked. Sometimes he had jumped a freight. All
to no purpose. He had wanted to write good news to Mary, and he had no
good news to write. Always bad news. He was a failure. He had wished he
might end it all, but the thought of the Baby had made him continue the
search for employment.

Finally, one day, a rich man in Montclair needed a gardener. This
man was rich--not rich like his brother--but had houses and acres of
splendid farm. He would pay two dollars a day wages to a man willing to
work. It seemed too good to believe. He would hurry back to his Baby
and Mary. They must know the good news.

So he came and told Mary he had a job, and a little home for her and
the Baby. They would be rich like his brother.

So Mary went with John and they took their Baby, all tied up in shawls.

That was yesterday--Monday--so there will be no argument Thursday on
"Whether or not old-fashioned cow's milk is better for babies than
prepared foods."

Because we homeless men have lost Our Baby.

One of the boys asked the Chairman--another boy--if they would have
the Debate, now that the Baby was gone?

"To hell with it," replied the Presiding Officer.

       *       *       *       *       *

The above is a true story, and to The Self Master Colony, all a part of
the day's work.



"When a boy goes to prison, a citizen dies."

      --_Jacob Riis_

My Problem with Slippery Jim.

"My razor went yesterday for a beef stew," the young dare-devil told
me. "Not that I am one of those collar-and-necktie-rounders," he
continued, "who seek to give out the impression that they are gentlemen
in distress, telling you of their Southern family and a squandered
fortune when, in fact, they have never been further South than Coney
Island.... But when a fellow decides to sell his razor he is about to
commit an act that severs the jugular vein of his respectability.

"He may have, only the moment before, shaven and groomed himself
with the utmost care, still he is nearly ready to join the ranks of
the down-and-outs. A man may sell his other belongings--his clothes
included--and yet preserve a suggestion at least of his _sang-froid_.
But when the razor goes--"

"Then he can get a free shave at the Barbers' School," I suggested.

"That only helps for a day or two," he went on. "Better throw up your
hands at once and have it over. What man half ill with worry cares to
listen to some ambitious pupil say, 'Teacher, shall I shave the right
side of his face up, or shave it down?'--and, 'Teacher, how do you
shave the upper lip without cutting it?' and, 'Teacher, if I do cut it,
shall I disinfect it with carbolic or peroxide before I put on the new
skin?'--No Barbers' School for me. It is better to turn philosopher on
the instant--the old philosophers and prophets grew long beards....
Talk about getting next to Nature in about three days after a man
has sold his razor, Nature will get next to him, and if he is not as
beardless as an American Indian, he will be convinced when he sees
himself in a mirror, of the truth of the Darwinian theory."

"In Russia," I said, "the beard is the patriarch's badge of sanctity."

"So it is in Jersey and several other States," he replied. "Many
a so-called hobo with two weeks' growth of beard on his face may
be at heart only a conscientious respecter of the law--for it is a
misdemeanor in New Jersey to carry a razor. It is legally declared to
be a concealed weapon. Many a poor rascal against whom a charge of
vagrancy could not be maintained has found it so much the worse for
him, and has been forced to go to prison for carrying concealed weapons
in the form of a razor. So you see in Jersey, as well as in Russia, a
beard may be only proof of honor.... The cleanly shaven man who knocks
at your side door and wins the unsuspecting wife's confidence with that
time-worn platitude of Vagabondia, 'Lady, all I want is work,' may
have a weapon concealed upon his person, while the unshaven wanderer,
the sight of whom makes the women folks bolt doors, may be a homeless
fellow who really wants work, and would rather be unkempt in appearance
than chance a prison-term for carrying a razor."

"So you have sold your razor?" I asked.

"Not because I am trying to compete with your Russian patriarch in
sanctity. I sold it because I'm desperate."

"Then you were not afraid of the misdemeanor charge?"

He replied with a laugh that I did not like, and I felt quickly to see
if my watch was still in my possession.

"I don't want your watch," he said, "but it isn't the fear of doing
time that holds me back. I know what my friend wrote about me. I have
made up my mind to play square. You may not believe it. You have heard
too many mission testimonies to believe much in them. But if I live
right--it isn't because my heart is softened, my heart is cold and hard
as a paving block."

"Your friend wrote that you weren't such a bad fellow."

"Don't believe him. In Elmira they have a scheme of percentage, and if
a man gets above a certain percent he can win his freedom. In the four
years I was there I was safely within the required percentage--all I
had to do was to continue my good behavior. I was within a few days of
freedom. Did you ever sense hatred--pure hatred? Shylock felt it when
he refused to accept money to cancel Antonio's bond; when he would not
listen to threats or entreaties, but only muttered, 'I'll have my pound
of carrion flesh.' I know what he felt. In the night, after weeks and
weeks of patient study and labor--after months of good conduct, when I
played their game and won the chance of freedom. In the night, without
reason, I jumped from my bed and battered at the bars and yelled and
cursed at them all, until they put me in the dungeon and took from me
my high percent. I lost a year that time."

"Do the prison bars still hold you," I asked him.

"What do you mean?"

"You act like a mad man when you talk of the past. Some men can never
throw off the thought of their imprisonment. It rules their life. They
think only of prison and the crimes that follow such thinking. There is
no hope for them. Can't you see it is your ideals that enslave or make
you free? Can't you see you are free?"

"It's mighty hard," he said, "but I want to forget. My friend sent me
to you. He said you knew the path to freedom, and would help me. Days
and days I have waited for you to come to me. My father would not have
me at home, my friends left me, my money grew less and less--my clothes
went, my razor--everything. And still you did not come. Sometimes I'd
meet a boy that told me of your work. Sometimes I would doubt all I had
heard, and then I would become indifferent--mutter a prayer or plan a
crime. At last the letter came. I knew I was being put to the test, and
I sought to be firm. Oh, God, such a test! What is it holds a man? I
was hungry, yet I knew how to steal; I needed money, and I knew where
I could rob with reasonable safety. What is it holds a man like me? At
times I have thought it was my belief in you."

"You mean our Colony held out a hope to you."

"Yes," he said.

"I am afraid to take you into my Family," I told him.

"For fear I'll steal from you?" he said, coldly.

"No, not that; I fear you cannot leave your prison thoughts behind you
when you enter the Colony."

"If you help me," he said, thoughtfully, "I think I can begin anew."

"Will you promise never to speak to me or anyone of your past life?"

"I will not speak of it again."

"Then you may go to the entrance gate with me, and there I will decide
if I can take you in."

We talked on the way to the farm about many things--for he had read and
traveled much. We made no mention of the Family or its work, but as we
came near the Colony House I stopped.

"Tell me," I said, "did they teach you a trade at Elmira?"

"I'm a metal roofer by trade," he said.

"Did you learn the trade in prison?" I asked him.

"I think you mistake me for some other man," he replied, quietly. "I
know nothing about prison life."

"What do you mean, not only your friend told me that you had served a
term, but you told me yourself?" I said, severely.

He looked calmly into my face, but there were tears in his eyes.

"I could not have told you, for had I told you such a foolish falsehood
I would have remembered it. Let us talk of something else."

"Very good," I said, pleasantly. He was trying to forget the past.

At that moment there came to us the vigorous clamor of an old cow bell.

"It is the bell that calls the boys to their evening meal."


"Come, let us hurry, so we may be served at the first table, for you
are hungry."


The holy Vedas teach us that as we pass from life to life, Time places
gentle fingers over the eyes of memory, lest we become disheartened by
past errors and falter enslaved by the fears of what we have been. Like
the child who, having worked out a problem on his slate, erases it all,
keeping only the answer, so we have within our soul-life the result of
our past experiences; all the rest is erased.

Who cares about the detailed account of all the happenings along the
path we have traveled? We know intuitively that much of the past must
be condemned, but that which concerns us vitally is the life we aim to
live to-day.

Night closes on the sorrows of yesterday. Dawn is radiant with the
promise of a better day.

Our friend, "Slippery Jim," tried to believe all this, and to look with
hope towards the future, but he kept much to himself. He would take
long walks into the woods.

It disturbed me to see him so slow to take the boys into his confidence.

"I never see you reading with the other men in the evening," I told
him. "Men who love solitude are either very good or very bad."

"I will try to do better," he answered, "but for so many years I have
been used to being by myself."

"Still one has to live in the world--and our world here is rather
small," I said. "Cheerfulness is a duty one owes to his own soul."

"And to others," he added.

"Yes, and to others," I replied.

"I am inclined to view lightly my duty to others. I owed a debt--a
great debt once--to others, and I have paid it. They measured it out of
my life, the payment they demanded. I have paid it--paid it in tears
and wretchedness--paid it out of my heart and soul. Now I prefer to
live apart.... The Indians, so the poet says, when on the march, leave
their old and sick alone to die. I am a sick savage, and as such, I ask
my rights."

"Do you believe in the Great Spirit and the Happy Hunting Grounds?" I
asked gently, for I knew he had no Indian blood in his veins.

"Their religion is as good as many another, and quite as poetical."

"Then go into the forest and pray to your Great Spirit," I said. "Only
don't discredit him by being inconsiderate of others who would be kind
to you."

"Do I not do my work?" he asked, with rising anger.

"You are expected to do your work, but I am not speaking to you on that
subject. I want to know what you are thinking about while you are at

"If you please, that is my own affair."

"If you please, it is my affair also. You came out here to have me help
you. I want to help you."

"You have helped me; you took me into this Colony when my father had
closed the door on me; you have given me food--such as it is--and out
of the clothes sent in you have given me this second-hand suit."

"And you have worked like the other men and paid by your labor for what
you received?"


"And that is all there is to it?"


"It is very, very little I have done for you," and I started to leave

"Wait a moment"--he stopped me. "I did not intend to be unkind to you.
You have treated me much better than I have deserved."

"It is something to have even simple food when one is hungry," I said,
severely. "You have also more courage than when you came. In your work
you know courage is quite important. You will soon be able to go back
to your old life."

"No, not that," his voice becoming less hardened. "In these days I have
lived with you and observed the happiness you get out of your work--in
spite of its sacrefice--and compared it with my own way of living, I
can not understand how I could have ignored the good there's in me.
But, really, you should not expect us all to be as cheerful as you are.
You may see clearly the Truth that we see only through a glass darkly."

"So you plan to live like an honest man?"


"Then I have not really lost after all," I said, thoughtfully.

"What did you say?" he questioned, not having heard clearly my remark.

"I said that if you have determined to live honestly, that is

That evening I saw him walking up and down the kitchen floor with our
Baby in his arms--for that Winter we had a homeless mother and Baby at
the Colony. The Baby was kicking and laughing as he carried her with
measured stride around the room.

"I simply must put her to sleep," he said, confidingly.

"Why don't you sing to her," I suggested.

"I am hazy on my slumber songs," he said.

A little later the Baby was nodding with half closed eyes.

"Doesn't she look pretty," said the admiring mother.

"She looks like Jeffries at the end of the fifth," was Jim's reply.

A few moments later I heard him as he walked, singing music of his own
improvising to the words of Wilde's prison poem:

    "With slouch and swing around the ring,
    We trod the Fools' Parade!
    We did not care; we knew we were
    The Devil's Own Brigade;
    And shaven head and feet of lead
    Make a merry masquerade."


The Winter was nearly over when "Slippery Jim" came to me and expressed
a wish to return to the World again. If his father would only accept
him once more!

My observation of a father's attitude towards his prodigal son is that
the moment the son desires to live as he ought, not only do closed
doors open, but the father stands ready with outstretched arms to
receive him. This supposedly harsh father, when he was convinced that
his Jim had worked faithfully at the Colony for several months, was
anxious that his son return home. Even the boy's old employer expressed
sympathy and offered a position to him.

When this good news came I did not have to tell the boy anything about
its being one's duty to be cheerful. He wanted to dance a clog on the
table in the men's reading room.

Early the next morning he left us, not waiting to thank us, which was
quite unnecessary; nor hardly stopping to say good-bye to us. But a
few days afterward he wrote to me, saying that after four years he was
back with his father and mother, brother and sisters, in his own room,
sleeping in his own bed. The family had arranged it just the same as it
had been before he left them for those sad years in prison. His father
had purchased him a new suit for Easter. The next day he was to start
to work.

Nearly a year later he visited me. His work had taken him out of town.
"When I first met you," he said. "I didn't have a home. Now it is a
question which one to visit first, but I thought I would come out to
see you, and then go this evening and see my other father."



As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.


Our Friend, The Anarchist

He said that he came from Germany, but he didn't look it, for Germany
is a beautiful country, and he was far removed from even a suggestion
of beauty. Had he said he had just arrived from "No Man's Land," it
would have been easily accredited. For a German, even his accent and
grammatical construction were unsatisfactory. He did not begin his
sentences in the middle and talk both ways at once, after the well
established custom of Americanized Teutons. In the stress of his
excitement he expressed himself concisely and clearly.

He was seated in the Charity House awaiting the investigation of the
social workers. He held his head in his hands, while his body convulsed
frequently, and tears were in his eyes.

To see a man with unkempt whiskers indulging in a crying spell like a
delicate woman, is almost as humorous as it is pathetic, unless one
knows what the man is crying about. Then, too, the Germans, unlike
the Irish, take their trouble seriously, so that their despair often
creates for them the hell they fear.

Surely it wasn't a German who in the old Bible days sent hired mourners
to go about the street; it was undoubtedly an Irishman whose genius
conceived the idea of paying other men to do his weeping for him.

"Where are you from?" I asked the German.

He surveyed me suspiciously from head to foot, then replied politely
enough: "I am of German parentage and have lived the greater part of my
life in Heidelberg, where my father and grandfather were instructors in
the University."

"When did you arrive in America?" I asked him.

"A few days ago," he answered. "I came from Paris, where I met with
heavy--heavy for me--financial reverses. I attempted to conduct a
business similar to your brokers, who loan money on personal property,
but being unfamiliar with French law, I found I could not legally
enforce payments of the loans I made to the Frenchmen. My entire life
savings--small, it is true--were lost. In disgust I came to America,
and my condition now is worse than ever. I am desperate."

He did not raise his voice, speaking quietly, but his hands were
nervous, and his eyes reminded me of Svengali--fascinating, but
dangerous. My impression was that I had seen safer men locked in
darkened cells and allowed only wooden spoons with which to eat.

"Has the charity association decided to help you?" I asked.

"I fear not," he replied. "They wish me to tell them my father's
address in Germany, as they inform me that they always make thorough
investigations. Several times they asked me my home address, but I
turned them from the point, as I have no intention of adding my burdens
to the burdens my father and mother already have.... Does it seem quite
generous of your social workers to be so insistent?... But, pardon me,
have you not a saying that 'Beggars must not be choosers?'"

I did not reply to his question, as I was thinking what my Reception
Committee--made up of the boys of the Colony--would say to me if I
invited this much-bewhiskered individual to join our Family. For the
instant I forgot the German's troubles in the thought of the troubles
which I was about to take upon myself. I smiled at my approaching
embarrassment. "It is all very well," the boys had cautioned me, "to
hold us responsible for the newly-arrived members, to make certain that
no criminal nor fraud obtains admission to the Family, but you might be
a little more discriminating in your selections, could you not?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The German was quick to avail himself of my offer to join the Colony;
he would go to Hoboken and get his luggage and join me as soon as
possible. His luggage--he met me an hour later--consisted of a wooden
box too small to be called a trunk, too large to be called a valise.

As we approached the Colony House we passed several of the boys who had
evidently seen us at a distance, for they appeared deeply interested
in the setting sun, their faces turned from us. Finally one fellow
who, like a good Pullman porter, can laugh at you without changing his
facial expression, only if you watch closely you may note that the
muscles at the back of the neck dance in uncontrolled merriment--came
forward and said to us: "A beautiful sunset."

He should have been reprimanded for his impudence, but I simply asked,

"In the west," he explained. Then the boys turned and laughed without

"An ordinary sunset and a most ordinary joke," I said, rather icily.
But they continued to laugh, first looking at my companion and then at

"Not so ordinary," said another boy. "If you could see it from where we
are you could understand."

"I understand you only too well," I answered.

Then the two boys who were on the Reception Committee came over to us
and took my German friend in hand. There were no more remarks until we
reached the house and the man himself was quite out of hearing.

"Why did you bring out a man like that?" the cook questioned me soon
after I reached the house, and every one looked up from the evening
paper he was reading anxious to have his little laugh.

But years have taught me somewhat of the ways of men. Did not Moses,
when the children of Israel attempted to entangle him in argument,
make his contention invulnerable by stating, "God spake unto Moses,

After that there wasn't much chance for argument. The best thing they
could do at such a time was to quietly line up in the ranks. And there
is an answer that will always check the hilarity of homeless men and
make them as sympathetic as children.

"Why did you bring him out with you?" the cook repeated.

"Why?" I said, simply, "the man is hungry."

Each boy frowned at the cook and turned back to his reading. And
the cook made no answer, except he served the new-comer with double

That night the German slept with his bed between the two beds of the
Reception Committee, and I heard nothing from him until they came to
report to me in the morning.

"Father," said one of the committee, "I don't like that old party you
brought out with you yesterday. All night long in his sleep he was
muttering: 'Down with the millionaire; curse the capitalist'--that man
is an anarchist."

A moment later the second member of the committee came in.

"Mr. Floyd, you know that wooden box that 'Whiskers' brought with him?"
he asked, nervously; "I put my ear down to it and listened. I could
hear something inside going tick, tick, tick, as plain as day."

"You are excited," I said. "After breakfast send the man to me."

In my room the German and myself talked a long time.

I asked him about the University of Heidelberg, the influence of
the student in German politics and of the world-wide socialistic
movement--had he ever read the works of Karl Marx, the great Socialist?

No, he never had.

Had he ever read La Salle, the anarchist?


Or, in his travels, had he ever seen that little pamphlet entitled,
"Dynamite as a Revolutionary Agency?"


But despite the denial, it was plain to see that my old German was
the anarchist that my committee had decided him to be. So I sent out
word that the boys should redouble their kindness to their half-crazed
friend. It was an opportunity to try our simple methods upon a man who
felt that the sad old world and its many peoples were as utterly lost
as a man may become who believes that there is no good within himself.
Men who feel themselves to be evil, they work evil.

Hardly had a fortnight passed before our good anarchist caught the
spirit of the place and began to feel that kindly sympathy that dwells
even in the hearts of stranded men. The young men grew really fond of

At night he was the last man to knock at my door to see that everything
had been given attention; in the morning he was the first to ask what I
wished done.

It was a cheery "good night" and a cheery "good morning." After several
months our anarchist succeeded in finding his brother's address in
Philadelphia. The brother offered him a home and a chance to work, so
it was arranged for our friend to go to him.

As he was bidding me "adieu" he said: "When we first met, you
asked me if I had read any anarchistic writings, and I answered
you untruthfully. I have read the authors you mentioned, and in my
desperation I do not know to what extreme I might not have gone, for I
had lost faith in all men.

"But to see these young men at the Colony, forgetful of their own
troubles, trying to help me to a renewal of courage, gave me a clearer
viewpoint of life--the blood I see now in my dreams is not that of the
capitalist done to death by a communistic mob--it is the blood of the
gentle Christ, who said:

"'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'"



 "Faint heart ne'er won fair lady."

A Bashful Beggar

"It is his diffidence," the good lady told me, "that has caused the
young man to fail dismally in this strenuous age of materialism. His is
a gentle spirit!"

At their first meeting, she told me, when he called at her home and
asked for something to eat, he appeared so shy and embarrassed that she
was immediately interested in him. He blushed and stammered in a most
pitiable way, and after he had eaten heartily of the roast beef and
potatoes placed before him he wanted to hurry away, hardly having the
courage to remain and thank his benefactor.

The good lady told me all this in such a serious manner that I felt
I must accept it seriously, and when she suggested that I drive over
to a neighboring village to meet the boy at the train, because, being
unaccustomed to travel, he could never find his way alone to the
Colony, I arranged to meet him.

There are simple-minded men--mental defectives--who are oftentimes
helpless as children, and I was inclined to put this boy in that class.

But the lad whom I found waiting for me at the station came out to meet
me in a manner so self-possessed that for the instant I was startled.
The report of him seemed to be much in error.

"I ought not to have put you to all this trouble," he said, in ready

"The letter," I replied, "stated that you might not be able to find
your way."

He gave me a sly, shrewd glance, and then, confident that he was
understood, he said simply, "Indeed?"

"Naturally you did not confide in the lady who sent you, that you had
freighted it through most States as far as the railroads go?"

"No, I did not approach her as a penitent at confessional," he
answered, "but rather as a panhandler at the side door. Confession may
help to advance a man spiritually, but to a man living on the material
plane, would you advise it?"

"Is it true," I asked, "that you stammered and blushed when our friend
offered you roast beef and potatoes?"

"It is my best canvass," he replied.

We had driven some distance while this conversation was in progress,
and coming to cross-roads, I was uncertain of the direction.

"Go in to that farmhouse, please," I said to my companion, pointing to
a cheerful looking home a short distance from the road, "and inquire
the way?"

He alighted quickly and went around to the side door out of my sight.
I waited, every moment expecting him to return with the desired
information, and was growing impatient when he came out to me, his face
beaming with the enthusiasm that follows a successful interview.

"This is your share," he said, holding out a generous portion of hot
apple pie to me. "The lady who lives here is a motherly soul--very
proud of her cooking, and the pie did smell most tempting--I could not

"Did you use your usual 'blush and stammer' method to solicit this
pastry?" I questioned him.

"No, she was as hungry for my compliments as I was for her apple pie,
so we simply made a fair exchange."

"And the directions back to the Colony?"

"The direction?" and he felt extremely stupid. "I felt all the time
that--in my sub-conscious mind--there was a thought trying to assert

"But the strength of a bad habit," I remarked, "held back the thought:
habit is a strong force for good or evil, for it perpetuates itself by
a form, as it were, of auto-suggestion. You know all suggestions are

"It is good pie, isn't it?" he asked, irrelevantly.



"The small task--well performed--opens the door to larger opportunity."

Fritz and His Sun Dial

Years ago, I saw a near-sighted cook peeling onions--a most pathetic
scene if one judges entirely from appearances. The incident impressed
me deeply at the time, although it had long since passed from my mind,
when good old Fritz came to me, with tears running down the dusty
furrows of his be-wrinkled and weather-beaten face.

Some strange analogy revived the old memory. There is--say what one
will--something tremendously ludicrous about honesty when clothed too
deeply in rusticity. We smile at it while we give it our love and

It can toy with our heart-strings, playing both grave and gay. We laugh
at it so that we may not cry and become laughable ourselves.

In broken English, he tried to explain that which was self-evident and
needed no explanation--his own distress and desperation. His simple
earnestness--his frank, honest manner--won every one's immediate
sympathy. The boys began to plan to relieve his distress, even while
they laughed with scant courtesy in the old man's face.

His clothes were many sizes too large, which was not entirely offset by
his cap that was several sizes too small. Through his broken shoes, ten
toes spoke in most eloquent English--the need of protection and shelter.

"What could ever cause a man to get into such a condition?" asked a
fellow, who, three weeks before, had arrived quite as dishevelled, but
had already forgotten the fact, which is just as well.

"The cause?" asked the German.



"Beer! You are the first man I ever saw who got to such a finish on
beer," returned the questioner.

"I drink nothing else--never," the old German affirmed.

"I am thinking Mr. Floyd will try to clean you up in a hurry--or not at
all--if you tell him that beer put you down and out."

"I hope so," said the old man; "I feel pretty bad."

"Some mighty arguments have been put out that it is the distilled
liquors that do all the mischief; that light wine and malt liquors are
no more harmful than tea. And here you are in our camp to disprove this
contention. If you say you have been on a beer debauch, you may not be

"Maybe someone put a little apple-jack into my glass when I wasn't
looking," replied the German, quickly, as he went into the boys'
kitchen to get a little coffee.

So it came about that Fritz became a Colony member, and his good nature
made him a general favorite almost immediately. His strength returned
to him rapidly.

The final cure was effected when, among the books that came in, one of
the men found a German volume. He took it to Fritz with some misgiving,
as it was a work on astronomy, and Fritz did not resemble a Heidelberg
professor; but when our friend glanced at the book and saw the German
text, and then, on closer scrutiny, observed that it was a work on
astronomy, he became excitedly enthusiastic.

"Good! Very good! I am happy to get it."

It was a week later, an hour or two after midnight, I saw Fritz in the
moonlight, walking around outside the house.

I went out to question him, as his actions seemed strange to me.

"What is the trouble, Fritz?" I asked him.

"It is nothing."

"But I would rather not have the men out so late," I said.

"I cannot find it," he replied.

"Find what, Fritz? What have you lost?"

"I cannot find the North Star," he said, sadly.

"Don't you know where to look for it?"

"Oh, yes; but it is always cloudy."

At that moment the clouds began to move--not because Fritz wished it,
but his patience had outstayed the clouds.

"There it is. That's it," he exclaimed, as he ran into the stable,
leaving me standing alone star-gazing to no purpose. But Fritz rejoined
me as abruptly as he had left me. He had brought out with him a square
board with an iron rod running through it.

"What have you there?" I questioned him.

"It is my sun-dial; it is my own invention. I have never seen a
sun-dial, but I am sure that mine will be as correct as any of them."

Then he fastened the dial firmly on a stump, pointing the wire straight
at the North Star.

"In the morning I can see if I am right. Good night, Mr. Floyd."

"Good night, Fritz."

For several weeks Fritz worked about the place timing his labor by his
ingenious invention. Sometimes he would work after the shadows had
passed the quitting hour.

"The dial tells us," I said to him one day, "that it is time to stop

"No," he said, "sun-dials are never exact; sometimes they vary fifteen
minutes, at least. For the Earth goes around the Sun not in a circle
but in an ellipse. I will work a little longer."

       *       *       *       *       *

One Sunday I overheard Fritz talking excitedly out near the spot where
the dial was stationed. I thought he had for the moment forgotten he
was a Self Master--as all men are likely at times to forget. But when I
went out to check the noise, I found that Fritz had ten or fifteen of
the men standing in front of him and he was saying:

"It is easy to do--to measure the distance to the Sun, or the distance
from one planet to another. There are a hundred methods, many of them
as simple as it is to measure the length of a building."

"You are a student of astronomy?" I asked.

"Yes, for many years, I have studied the German books on astronomy. It
is my pleasure."

From that day our respect for Fritz was established. There is an
aristocracy of learning; we doff our hats to even the beggar who knows.

The visitors were all interested in Fritz's queer looking sun-dial,
made out of a square board and piece of telegraph wire. Automobiles
halted by the roadside to look at it. The children insisted on setting
their Ingersolls by its falling shadow. A well known physician stood
examining the dial one day. He took out his watch to make comparison.

"Very clever," he said, "very clever; now let me see Fritz." And Fritz
came out.

"He isn't much to look at," the Doctor whispered to me, as the old
German approached us.

Just then the five o'clock whistle blew. The Doctor and I looked at the

"The shadow," I said, "falls on the figure five."

"Quite true," replied the Doctor.

"It must," said Fritz, quietly; "it must, for the wire points to the
North Star."

The Doctor smiled, as he spoke: "A man intelligent enough to make that
dial can, at least, care for my stable and horses.... Fritz, would you
like to work for me? I have some splendid horses and I pay well for
their care."

"I will go gladly," said Fritz; "when do you want me?"


"May I go, Mr. Floyd?"

"On one condition," I said.

"What is it?"

"You must give the Colony your sun-dial."

"It is nothing, but you may have it if you like."

The next day Fritz was given a good suit of clothes, a collar and tie.

"I don't know about the collar and tie," said the old man; "I have not
worn one for many months."

Three or four of the boys helped him to button on the collar and
arrange the ascot effectively. Then the Doctor came with his best span
of pet horses.

"Jump in with me, Fritz," he said.

The old German, smiling, climbed in and then turned, took his hat off
to me and the boys.

"Thank you.... Good luck," he said.

"You take the reins and drive," said the Doctor.

Fritz buttoned his coat tightly around him, straightened up his old
bent back and taking the reins he proudly drove away.

"He did not come in a carriage," said a boy.

"It is the Self Masters that helped him," said another.

"You forget about the Sun-dial," I said.




"Whoever is not master of himself is master of nobody."--_Stahl._

The Waiter Who Did Not Wait.

Had the schedule been followed faithfully, it was the time for the
auto party to have finished their tea and toast and be awaiting the
chauffeur to come up with their machine, but there seemed to be a delay
somewhere. Investigation revealed a peculiar condition of affairs. The
visitors were moving about rather impatiently while the lunch, instead
of being served, was rapidly getting chilled on the side-board in an
adjoining room.

"Where is Delmonico Bill, the attentive waiter," we asked, not a little
surprised at his disappearance. He was nowhere to be found, although we
hunted high and low for him.

But to manage men successfully who admit their irresponsibility needs
an overseer who is not only patient in disappointment, but who can
offer the pat excuse impromptu, and cheerfully reassure friends that
everything is all right, when--unless viewed from the standpoint of a
year from to-day--it is all wrong.

On this special day there seemed to be no apparent explanation except
that the waiter did not wait. But everything is a success that ends
happily, and the delayed lunch made the visitors more than ever in
sympathy with the Work. Whoever loves us for our mistakes, shall become
more endeared to us as they know us better. The diners--who had not
dined--saw humor in our embarrassment, and assured us of their best
wishes as they drove merrily away, leaving us stupidly asking ourselves
why the waiter had left his guests unserved.

It was nearly an hour later when Delmonico Bill came down out of the
hay loft, brushing the dust and hay-seed from his clothes.

"Has she gone?" he enquired stupidly.

"Who?" we asked him in chorus.

"My Sunday school teacher," he explained.

We awaited his further explanation. It was the first time we had heard
that he ever had such a teacher.

"It isn't that I am in the least ashamed to serve as a waiter. Menial
work that must be done is not humiliating to me. But when I looked
in at the visitors as I was arranging their lunch on the tray--I
recognized in one of the ladies my old Sunday school teacher--and when
I thought to what an extent I had disregarded her instructions I hadn't
the courage to face her.... My, but it was hot up in that haymow!...

"The last time I saw this good lady was the evening in the church
vestry when the class members gave her a group picture of themselves.
We all went to the local photographers together. There were three rows
of us--the tall, taller and tallest--all raw-boned rascals trying to
assume the spiritual pose of Sir Galahad. I never cared much for the
photograph, but the frame--the gold frame--much befiligreed was mighty
impressive. I remember it because there was seventy-five cents of my
money in it. I worked hard for that money. It took me the best part
of three nights to get it from Cy Watson--playing penny-ante in his
father's carriage house. But I was happy to turn it to such good use."

"It was tainted money," said one of the boys.

"There wasn't any such thing as tainted money in those days. Money was
money and no one had any of it.

"I made the presentation speech that night in the vestry. It was
a masterpiece. The teacher and the women folks all cried. I have
forgotten the speech now; thirty years of knocking around the world
crowds out the memory of many things that happened when we were boys in
Sunday school. But for years, I could repeat that piece. I rehearsed
for that evening over two months--I could say it forwards or backwards,
I could start it in the middle and say it both ways--in fact when
I think of it, I rather believe that was the way I did say it that
evening, because the applause that followed my humble effort was too
tempestuous, yet the scholars all had their money in the gold frame,
and the teacher was to leave us next morning for the East, where she
was to marry some man of prominence. My mother said I spoke splendidly,
but I doubt if she really heard me. She was thinking how charming I
looked in the new trousers she had made for me. The truth was, she
had worked all the night before to get them ready. She had had some
difficulty to make the seams come down the side. As it was they were
not quite finished, but no one knew it but my mother and me.

"In the years that are to come," I said in my speech, "not only will
your kindly instructions in our Bible studies help us to meet and
overcome all temptation, but the inspiration which we have received
from your friendship and devotion to our spiritual welfare will
influence us throughout our lives."

For the moment Delmonico Bill was silent--whatever his thoughts may
have been, he did not share them with us. But presently, he observed
the tray with the tea and toast upon it, just as he had left it.

"It is too bad," he said, "maybe she would not have known me at all....
I am sorry ... but you can understand."

Then he began to clear away the lunch. "The tea is still warm," he said
smilingly, "I believe I will pour a cup for myself ... my nerves are
jumping, it may quiet them."

He filled the cup and raising it he said: "Here is to my Sunday school
teacher who believed in me in those days when I believed in myself. God
bless her."



"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will
not depart from it."--_Bible._

Compounding a Felony

There was a knock at the door, but no one thought of answering it until
it was repeated--more faintly, a second time--then one of the young men
opened it, saying to the newcomer, "It is never locked, my boy."

In stepped a lad some seventeen years of age, and inquired in a voice
hardly audible if he could stay all night.

The young men sent the new arrival to me for an answer to his request.
It was readily to be seen that the boy was in a state of great
excitement. He acted so strangely that, contrary to custom, I asked him
why he had come.

"The police are after me," he stammered, as he turned and looked
nervously at the door.

"What have you done?" I questioned the boy.

"I stole a bicycle and the owner just saw me walking along the street
and started to chase me, calling after me, 'Stop, thief!' A crowd
began to gather and I had all I could do to get away. I ran around a
building and joined the crowd in the search; then, after a little, I
dropped out of sight again and decided that I would go out to you for

"Where is the bicycle now?" I questioned.

"I sold it," he said.

"Where is the money you got for it?"

"I spent it." He began to cry.

"And now your conscience starts to trouble you."

"Yes, sir."

"My lad," I told him, "this is no hiding place for boys who steal, and
for whom the police are searching."

The boy did not reply; he turned aside and brushed away the tears with
his cap. Then he started slowly towards the door.

"So I can't stay?" he said finally.

"I am afraid not," I replied.

He went to the window and peered out into the night.

"They'll get me," he said, hopelessly, "and when they do it means a
long term in prison for me."

"Wait a moment," I said. "Have you been arrested before."

"Yes, another boy and myself took some fancy postal cards from a
stationery stand. They were funny pictures that we wanted for our
collection. We were sent to Jamesburg that time. Then since I came from
that institution I was arrested again for something else I did and I am
now out on probation. Next time the judge said he would give me a long
sentence in the Rahway Reformatory."

"You should have thought of all this sooner," I said, with a sternness
that I did not feel, for I knew how easily one can drift from an evil
thought into an evil act.

"I heard you helped boys when they needed it," ventured the young
rascal. "I surely need it now."

"I may help them when I can," I replied, "but I never intentionally
make myself a partner in their wrong doing."

"The judge ought not to give me more than three years," said the boy
thoughtfully, "even that is a long time.... The bicycle wasn't worth
more than five dollars any way. The owner said he would sell it to me
for that amount."

At that moment there was a noise in the next room.

"What was that?" asked the lad, trembling with fear.

"Your conscience is quite wakeful, my boy. That was one of the men
closing the windows for the night."

The boy came over close to me so he could look into my face, and there
was a depth of seriousness in his voice when he said, "So you think I
ought to give myself up and take the consequences?"

"Three years in prison?" I asked, looking straight at the boy. "Three
years in prison!"

The words of Jacob Riis flashed through my mind--"When a boy goes to
prison, a citizen dies."

"If you were in my place you would give yourself up?" he asked me

I passed my hand across my eyes. Unlike the boy I had no cap with which
to brush away the tears.

"My boy," I said, "I will be honest with you--I would not give myself

"What would you do?"

"First, I would make up my mind not to steal any more, then I would
earn money and pay the man for the bicycle."

A new light came into the boy's eyes.

"I did not used to be a thief," he said, "but they made me mad. Ever
since I came from Jamesburg every one watches me. My old boy friends,
my father and mother, the police; someone's eye is always on me. Their
suspicions madden me. Sometimes it seems to me as if they dared me
to take another risk. One day on the ferryboat from New York I met a
detective who had once arrested me. Wherever I went he followed me. I
was afraid, so I left the other boys who were with me and went to the
stern of the boat. I didn't tell anyone, but when I was all alone I put
my hands down into my own pockets so he would know that I didn't have
them in anyone else's.... I'm not very old, but I know that that isn't
the way to make a bad boy into a good one."

After a moment I said to him: "if I can arrange with the owner of the
bicycle so that you can pay for it in small weekly payments, will you
join the Colony and out of the little money you earn settle with the
man you have wronged?"

"If you will help me," returned the lad hopefully, "I will make good to
the man and to you."

The next morning I talked the boy's case over with an elderly attorney
who lives with us, and who knows of his own knowledge the ruin one can
bring upon himself if he does not follow proper methods. The old man
gladly undertook to settle with the owner of the stolen bicycle, and
save the boy from the consequences of his wrongdoing.

The boy worked industriously about the place and in a few weeks had
earned sufficient money to settle satisfactorily for the bicycle. He is
now working on a neighbor's farm and says that he is determined to make
something worth while out of his life.

"Do you know," said the old attorney to me recently, "if anyone ever
charges us with having compounded a felony in the case of this boy and
his bicycle we can defend ourselves on the technical ground that the
bicycle was of such slight value that the stealing of it was only a
petty crime."

"In this case--the saving of a boy from prison"--I answered him, "if
a technicality saves us from a criminal charge which might be brought
against us, I for one am perfectly satisfied with such a defense."



"Friar Philip, you are the tuning fork from whence my conscience takes
its proper tone."--_Richelieu._

The Passing of Sullivan

    "What's the name that grows
    Upon you more and more?"
          "Sullivan!"--"That's my name."

    "Who's the man who wrote
    The opera, Pinafore?"
          "Sullivan!"--"That's my name."

    "Big Tim, you all knew him;
      John L., you know him well.
    There never was a man, named Sullivan
    Who wasn't a d---- fine Irishman."

      --_George Cohan's Song, "Sullivan."_

If you thought it was imperative to change your name and you had access
to all the Literature--Ancient and Modern--to be found in a Carnegie
Library, would you select for yourself the name "Sullivan?"

Evidently our Irish Lad agreed with Cohan--that "it is a d--n fine
name"--for when I recognized in him one of my Family of Homeless Men
as he walked aimlessly along the city streets, and asked him rather
abruptly, what his name might be, his reply--too long considered to be
truthful--was, "Frank Sullivan."

"Pardon me," I said, immediately realizing that I had no right to ask
of him the question and that my thoughtlessness had caused the boy to
answer falsely. The outcast, distrustful of his fellow, frequently
seeks safety in falsehood until friendship disarms suspicion and Love
calls forth the Truth for which it has not asked.

"_Frank Sullivan_," I said. "I, too, like the name."

       *       *       *       *       *

So upon my invitation he came gladly into our little Family to share
the happy freedom of a peaceful home, where others like himself give
honest work and receive--not in the spirit of organized charity, but in
the true warmth of fraternal love--the hospitality of a welcome guest.

His Irish heart soon caught the meaning of the work, and responded
readily in thoughtful service.... If our Self Master Colony attracted
the attention of some broad-minded man well known in humanitarian work
so that encouraged, it carried me and my dreams of uplift higher and
higher until the stars were our near neighbors--Sullivan, silent and
attentive, followed me in my dreams.

If my work was misunderstood and my best efforts discredited, Sullivan
was at my side silently consoling me with his loyalty and friendship.

He grew into my life. I depended upon him and he did not fail me.

"Richelieu," I would often say, "had his Friar Philip to aid him in his
ambitions and I have my good friend Sullivan."

Then as the months passed, once again, the grass spread its delicate
carpet beneath our feet, the trees blossomed sending a perfumed message
to us, the bluebird and the thrush called through the open windows
until we, busy with our work, were forced to remark that Spring time
had come--the beginning of another year.... Then the Brothers observed
the progress we had made in the twelvemonth.... It seemed so much to
them, so little to the outside world.

"It looks more prosperous now," said Sullivan proudly as he observed
the automobiles stopping at the door, "you make Prince as well as
Pauper do you homage."

"No, Sullivan, not I; it's the Truth that all are hungry for--Pauper
and Prince alike--and while the few may reach it by meditation and the
more by prayer, the most of common clay like you and I must reach it by

"I never quite understand you when you speak," he said, "I never could
read those dry old books however much I tried.... But by the way, I
wonder if we have blankets for the new arrival who just came in."

For the Stranded Sons of the City come often to join our Family and
share our simple hospitality.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Sullivan," I said one day, "this work is going to grow and grow....
When we have won I want you to share the credit with me--you will
remain, will you not?"

Then receiving no reply, I turned to look and he had gone--gone to
offer his blanket to the new guest.

"Yes," I heard him say, "I have some extra covers on my bed you may

"Another falsehood. Sullivan, you should always speak the truth." For
the nights were cold and the blankets none too many. And yet since many
prayers are lies, why may not some lies be prayers? "Maybe in your
dark purgatory, my Irish lad, these little falsehoods of yours will be
counted as prayers."

One afternoon a letter came for my friend--in a young girl's rather
labored writing--he had received many such, and as I gave it to him I
smiled a little. To him I had always been an indulgent Father--for a
boy and girl will love, even though he or she may be our favorite child.

That night when the day's labor was over, Sullivan came to me, asking
if he could talk to me. It was a strange request, for he never seemed
to wish to talk, and I knew that something had moved him deeply.

"You know my name is not Frank Sullivan," he asked.

"Yes, I know," I answered.

"But did you know I was married?" he inquired.

"What, a boy like yourself married?" I asked.

"Yes, I have been married over two years and have a little girl a year
old. The letters that I have received have been from my wife Josephine.
She and I ran away and were married, but on our return her father
wouldn't accept me. He said I was not worthy of his daughter--and no
doubt he is right. He is wealthy and I could not support her in the way
to which she is accustomed. So I was forced to leave her. But Josephine
and I couldn't forget.

"All these months she has been working to interest her father in
me, and now the baby is a year old, he has decided to help me....
We--Josephine and I--knew he would soften in time; you see he, too,
loves Josephine and the Baby. So I want to go to them."

"Yes," I said simply, for a sense of approaching loss had robbed me of
my pretty speeches.

"When you met me, I didn't know where to go, nor what to do," he said.


"I have flattered myself I have been some help to you in starting your
work. Tell me have I made good to you?"


"I shall try to make good to Josephine's father."


Then in a few moments he said:

"Now that it is time to go from you, I hate to leave you and the boys."

"But you must go," I said, "your wife and child have the first claim."

"Josephine wanted me to ask you for two or three rugs that the boys
weave. We want them for our new home."

"You may have them."

And I took him by the hand, "Good-by, Sullivan."

"Not Sullivan anymore, but McLean," he replied.

As he turned away he said half regretfully, "It is the Passing of

"I wonder if Richelieu, after all, lost his Friar Philip?" I asked
myself as I waved my hand in farewell to him.



"O Lord, That which I want is first bread--Thy decree, not my choice,
that bread must be first."--_Sidney Lanier._

When Sister Called

He came--did Jim--highly recommended by two fellows who live by their
wits--one, Lakewood Joe and the other, Corduroy Tom. They are my
friends, for they have told me they were. One of them always comes to
me in the Winter anxious to get work on a farm; the other with a few
broken umbrellas and a railroad spike for a hammer, starts out with the
Springtime on the quest of "anything to mend."

Umbrella mending was once a reputable calling, but it has fallen into
disrepute since the introduction of the cheap umbrella. But that
pathetic part of the story should be left for Lakewood Joe to tell, for
it gets him--a humble mechanic--many a hot cup of coffee, many a dime.

The recommendation by my two friends was sufficiently strong to nearly
cause me to refuse admission to young Jim. But his manner pleased me
and our reception committee--made up of members of the Family--assured
me that we had no need to fear poor Jim. Anyway he who has nothing can
safely make friends with whomever he chooses.

Jim told us that years ago he had been a "cookie"--please note the
"ie"--in a lumber camp in an Eastern State. So when a vacancy occurred
in the culinary department of our home Jim was selected for the place.

He proved an excellent assistant and worked for the house--as the
phrase goes--he made the coffee so weak, he made the potato soup go
so far, that I, economical from habit and from necessity, would blush
whenever one of the boys said that he enjoyed the good dinner.

I need have had no fear for it was Jim's smile that made us all content
with the simple fare.

"A grand cook," the boys would say.

"A grand cook," Echo and I would answer.

Jim had roughed it for several years and knew a little of the ways of
the road. He had worked when a boy in his father's factory and as some
of the workmen felt they were not being paid properly--the son joined
in with the workmen and went out on a strike against his father.

In the excitement of the strike the father had spoken to the son
about his joining in with the strikers. It seemed to the father like
disloyalty--ingratitude. But as for the son, he couldn't analyze
his own psychological state of mind sufficiently to explain why his
sympathy had been with the strikers, but feeling himself no longer
welcome at the old home, he started to roam.

Seven years had passed since he had written to the old folks. Once or
twice he had heard indirectly of his father's search for him, but he
could not even bring himself to write, much less to return.

He had been with us nearly a month when finally, one evening, as he saw
the other boys writing letters to their homes he decided he himself
would write a letter to his married sister in Pennsylvania. When it was
written and mailed, he half regretted what he had done.

Wasn't he a wanderer--a young hobo if you like--and why should he think
of home after all these years, even if the kindly sympathy to be found
at the Colony did recall to him those better days?

But the letter was already on its way.... He wondered what his sister
might think, how she might act.... She had always cared for him.

The bean soup which he was preparing for supper burned while he was
deep in thought, and he blamed himself for his absent-mindedness.

"The boys will have to eat burnt soup just because I got to feeling
sentimental," he said to himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then a word came that a nicely gowned young lady was coming up the
driveway. There are many visitors at the Tea Room of the Colony House
so it need have caused no excitement. But some one whispered "Look at

He had glanced out at the approaching stranger, and he was pale and
trembling. He said to me in a faint voice, "It's my sister. Tell her I
left this morning.... Tell her I got a position."

And then the bell rang and he said:

"Wait--I will see her."

So brushing his hair and arranging his tie he went in to meet his

The homeless outcast lad faced his aristocratic sweet-faced sister!
As the boys saw them they did not know which one to pity the more,
although the sympathy seemed to be pretty largely with Jim.

"Is every one well?" the brother asked, trying to relieve the strain of
the situation.

"Yes," she answered, "but why have you never written all these years? I
got your letter this morning and left in an hour to get to you for fear
I might lose you again. Father has hunted for you everywhere. He thinks
he was harsh with you when you struck that day with the men--for you
were only a child.

"I thought I might get you to come home with me," she continued, "my
husband and I have a splendid home. You are always welcome.... Or why
don't you go back to your old job with Father. He needs you. He is
getting older."

"You think he would take me back?"

"Gladly. What are you doing here?"

"I am cook for the boys," he said.

"You, a cook?" she smiled. "Why, you wouldn't wash a dish at home for
me when we were children. You can't be very much of a cook.... But
never mind. I have found you."

"Confound it! I have let those beans burn again." And he excused
himself for a moment.

When he returned he said, "I will write you if I can decide to go back
home. It comes a little suddenly you know. I have been a prodigal too
long to turn into a father's white-haired boy on the instant."

Then after a moment he asked: "Do you know what Mother used to put into
the beans when she burned them to take out the smoky taste?"

"Jim, Mother wasn't that kind of a cook."

As the sister was going out to step into the carriage she said,
"Promise me you will not leave here without writing me. I don't want to
lose you again."

"I promise," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *

That night the boys ate their supper in silence. Each one was deep in

"Too bad the beans are burned," Jim said.

"I like them that way," replied one of the boys. "It makes them taste

That night after supper no one wrote any letters, which was unusual,
and one of the boys jokingly asked another near him, "Why don't you
write a letter home to your sister?"

"I am afraid," replied the lad, "she might answer it in person like
Jim's sister did."

Jim has taken a job on a farm and is saving his money. He has nearly
enough to return to his old home; he refuses to accept any aid from his
father or sister.

"I will go back as I came away--independently."



"Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion: The Lord is his

Edison's Evening Star

 _Hamlet_: "Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?"

 _First Clown_: "Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits
 there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there."

 _Hamlet_: "Why?"

 _First Clown_: "'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as
 mad as he."


To be dull of wit is sadly unfortunate, but to be dull of wit and be
compelled to live in a Colony made up of more or less reckless young
men is doubly unfortunate.

In the group eccentricities are quickly discouraged. The grouch, the
crank, the bully, if he would remain and live in harmony must learn his
lesson in democracy--the individualist is given short shift.

Of course the dull of wit should be given immunity at all times, and
in theory he is, but in real practice even the most gentle hearted
man will have his little joke at the expense of the man less alert
mentally. The members of the Colony are no exception to this rule.

"Tell us more," the boys asked of the Moon-Struck-One, one evening
after the day's work was done, "about the inhabitants of Mars, which
you see in your trances."

And then he--the Moon-Struck-One--would explain in detail the strange
people he had seen in his dreams.

"These planets," he told them, "are all being made ready for the coming
race of Man.... After Cycles and Cycles, we move on to newer and better
worlds.... Each of the mystic Seven Planets are at the service of the
human race. Time and time again a new world has borne the burden of the
evolving man's hope and his despair.... The cosmic scheme is worthy of
the Wondrous God, who holds not only the Seven Planets in control, but
rules the Seven Universes with their Seven Suns--you laugh, most men
laugh, the churchmen laugh, they do not know, they have not seen--but I
know and have seen."

"How interesting," said one boy, winking slyly to his fellows. "I know
something of astronomy myself; my brother was a Princeton graduate."

It was a summer's evening when this conversation took place and the
boys were sitting out on the lawn enjoying the night air, for the day
had been hot and oppressive.

"What do any of you know of the Stars?" said the Moon-Struck-Sage.

"Very little, but tell us," said one of the boys, "for I believe in
your visions. I dreamed one night myself about a big fire--a bad sign
as you very well know--and the next day I got 'pinched.'"

"Yes, you are deeply learned in the Stars," he said with smiling
skepticism, "that is, I suppose you can tell the difference between a
star and a lantern."

"Look out," said a boy who had not spoken before, "he is joking you."

"No, seriously," said the Witless One, "when I said 'lantern' I had
reference to the light that Edison hangs out each night when the
weather is clear--you have no doubt read of it. He plans to construct a
light that will illuminate this country at night almost as brightly as
the sun lights it by day.... Do you see that light just above the trees
in the East. You can tell it as it is larger than any stars around it.
It has the appearance of a star only much brighter. Do you see it?"

"Yes," said the boys who were all attention, although one or two were
skeptical until one of the group remembered that he had read about
Edison's powerful light in the Sunday magazine supplement of a New York

"He is a wonderful man," said another.

At last all were convinced and the Moon-Struck-One, satisfied, arose
rather abruptly, and went into the house.

A few days later he left the Colony to go to his relatives in a distant
city, and so the boys had no one to play tricks upon, no one who was
not their equal in wit.

It was some weeks afterwards that one of the young men said to me as we
were talking out of doors in the evening:

"There is that light of Edison's hanging over the trees."

"Where?" I asked.

"That bright light over there that looks like a big star. The Witless
One told us about it. In some ways he was really wiser than we gave him
credit for."

"That's the Evening Star," I said.

"It is what?" asked another boy.

"It is Venus, the Evening Star."

"He told us it was put up there by Edison."

"So it really isn't an illuminated balloon?"

The boys looked from one to the other, then every one laughed loudly
and long.

"Doesn't the Bible say, 'Answer a fool according to his folly?'" asked
a boy.

"Yes, and it also says, 'Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest
thou also be like unto him.'"



"To stand in true relations with men in a false age, is worth a fit of
insanity, is it not?"


In the World of Wanderlust

The Spirit of the Wanderlust seizes all the World in the early days of
Spring--the so-called hobo takes to the open road, the millionaire to
his country home, each rejoices that the long imprisonment of winter
is passed, for all men are akin in their love of freedom. It is a
search for the ideal. With De Soto we would say, "Somewhere, if ye seek
untiringly, ye shall discover and drinke of ye Fountaine of Youth and

"Men have said they do not understand my restless wanderings," remarked
Lakewood Tom. "Can it be they have never watched the coming of the
first robin, and do not know that he ushers in the new regime of
promise and prosperity?

"Other men may linger in the failing twilight of the tired day. I go to
greet the rising sun. Even the very birds--little hoboes of the air,
break camp cheerfully in early May. Like them I, too, take to the open
road and walk by faith.

"But you, my lords, with your worldly goods, are vagabonds no less than
I. Out of the inexhaustible larder of the Divine, God gives you--as
it were--a crust of bread, and men call you mighty in riches. Take a
vagabond's advice, and put your mark upon the house where you found
favor, lest after many years, disheartened, you pass that way again and
need another 'handout'--maybe not a crust of bread, but, a more lasting
gift--an ideal perchance, that may not fail so soon. Sometimes methinks
it sad, there is given to man only the thing for which he asks.

"Adieu," said Lakewood Tom, taking up his staff, "when the snow falls
next year I may visit your Monastery again with your permission, if by
happy chance I am on this earth. If not, I'll meet you some Christmas
day on the planet Mars, for I never forget a friend. Good cheer! Adieu."

"Much privation has crazed the old man," said a comrade who, with me,
watched the old vagabond walking slowly down the drive.

"I do not know," I said.


"To every man there come noble thoughts that pass across his heart like
great white birds."--_Maeterlinck._

The Two Jeans

"It is always hard times on the Bowery," my diminutive informant told
me. He was a new comer to our Colony. He, in company with another young
man, had made his appearance an hour or two before, but I had not been
able to talk with him, except to assure him that he and his friend
might remain with us one night, at least. "Yes, sir," he continued,
"without money a man is a dead one; even in this strange haunt of
stranger men money is a daily need. Of course, some men who know the
hidden ways can get along on as little as twenty cents a day, or less,
but for myself I could not exist on less than thirty-five cents."

The figures he mentioned seemed modest enough to me. "Couldn't you earn
that much?" I asked him.

"I am so small no one would hire me," he replied. "I could get errands
to do now and then. Of course, while my mother lived she kept a home
for me, but after she died I did not know what to do. I only sat in the
house day after day and looked out of the window. I could not make any
plans for myself. You see when I was a baby I fell and injured my back.
I didn't grow much more after that accident. The doctors called it a

He laughed easily as he asked me, "You know the poem of James Whitcomb

    'I'm th'ust a little cripple boy
      An' never going to grow,
    An' git a great big man at all,
      'Cause auntie told me so.'

"I rather think I'm that boy. One time I chanced to find that poem and
read it to my mother. She took the book from me in the gentle way she
had, and then putting her arms around me, told me to be a good boy and
everything would come out all right. But they never did come all right.
Maybe I was not good enough; but this can't interest you. You hear
enough hard luck stories without mine."

"If you wish to tell me," I said, "I shall be quite glad to listen."

"Well, it's only this," he continued. "Left to myself, I wasn't smart
enough to make a living. I can't get my room rent and my lunch money
all at the same time. If I have my lunches I have no room, and if I
have a room I have nothing to eat."

He grew very serious. He could laugh at his misshapen back, make a jest
at his deformity, but hunger--even at the thought of hunger--the smile
left his face, the color fled from his lips.

"Are you faint?" I asked him quickly.

"No, I am a coward," he said, "just a plain coward. You see, I am
beaten and I know it."

"You will be all right in a few days," I said, "and be able to
criticise the food as cheerfully as any other member of my Family." I
laughed gayly enough, but he did not laugh with me. "Have you and this
boy been friends a long time? Where did you meet him?" I inquired.

"In the park, some weeks ago. He has no home either. He was sleeping
out and so was I. He gave me part of a newspaper to put under me, as
the ground was damp. So I tried to talk to him.... He is good looking,
isn't he?"

I admitted it.

"Well, he's a Russian dummy," said the boy.

"He is what?" I asked.

"He just landed from Russia three months ago, and he knows very little
about the English language. He doesn't have the slightest idea what I
have been talking to you about all this time. Night after night, not
having any bed to sleep in, he has 'flopped' in the park or 'carried
the banner' until morning."

"So you brought him out with you?"

"Yes; I didn't know whether you would take us in or not. I thought I
would take him along on the theory that the ground in Jersey is no
harder to sleep on than it is in New York State. If you have to turn us
away we will not be any worse off than we have been."

"We will make room somehow for you and your friend," I told him.

So Jean--Little Jean, the boys called him--went through a pantomime
for the enlightenment of the Russian youth whose name was also Jean.
Finally the larger boy understood that I had given them permission to
remain, for he turned to me and said simply: "Nice," and then he bowed
gracefully. Little Jean was right--Big Jean was good looking.

"I wish I was big and strong like him," said Little Jean, admiringly....

       *       *       *       *       *

... The weeks pass quickly when one has his work to do, and the two
Jeans grew to know the Colony. Big Jean spent his spare hours studying
English and talking with the other boys. Little Jean made friends with
the chickens, the pigs, the cow and the horse, while Boozer--the Colony
dog--and he were inseparable chums.

"Boozer," Little Jean told me, "knows the heart of outcast boys and
men. He meets the new arrivals at the gate and escorts them to the
house. He may challenge the lawless approach of the rich man in his
auto, and warn the household of possible danger impending, but the most
unkempt 'knight of the road' will find Boozer quick to make friends
with him."

Big Jean--with his pleasing bow--looked after the guests who visited
the Tea Room, for he learned to speak English rapidly. The report of
his courteous service came to the ears of a wide awake Jap who needed
him to help him in his hotel. So one day he sent for the Russian lad.

At the start the pay was to be twenty dollars a month, with room, board
and extra tips.

"You need me in your Tea Room, Mr. Floyd," he said, "I am willing to

"No, Jean, you must take the position and prove to me and to yourself
that you can make good."

That night he wrote to his aged mother in Russia that there were
wonderful opportunities for young men in America.

When he had gone I hunted to find Little Jean. I found him out on the
lawn with his chum, Boozer. He did not see me as I approached, but as
I looked at him the thought came to me that he had suddenly grown old,
and there was the anxious look upon his face--the same that I had seen
when he had talked to me the first time.

"Boozer," I heard him say, "it's all right; I am a coward, I'm beaten
and I know it, but I'm glad Big Jean got the job--honestly, Boozer, I
am--you see it isn't all my fault--he's so damned good looking."

Boozer put his face close to that of Little Jean and held out his paw
to the discouraged boy. You see when you live your life at the Self
Masters you sense the inner thought of broken men. Boozer--who knows
no other life--understands the heart of the discouraged. I did not
interrupt the two friends, but turned back to the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What can you ever do to help poor Little Jean?" a visitor asked me.
"There seems to be no position in the world for him. What can you do
for him?"

"I don't see much chance," I replied, distrusting for the moment that
Divine Guidance that never fails.

It was only two days after Big Jean had left us that a kindly old lady
called at the Colony. She wanted a boy who would take good care of her
horses, and drive her and her husband back and forth from her home to
the railway station. "I want a boy who loves animals," she said.

So Little Jean has his place in the world--like you and I if we can
only find it....

       *       *       *       *       *

... Xmas Day Big Jean brought four big pies which he had cooked
especially for the Self Masters' dinner.

And Little Jean brought his Xmas present--all neatly tied up in a box
bedecked with pink ribbons--a pound of meat for Boozer.


[Illustration: Self Master Print.

Union, Union Co. New Jersey.]

       *       *       *       *       *
Transcriber's Notes:

Italics and underlining indicated by _ markings

Obvious printing errors repaired

Alternate and idiosyncratic spellings retained as printed
  Example p. 49: Retained archaic spelling of sacrefice as printed

Retained inconsistent hyphenation as printed

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