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Title: The Apple of Discord
Author: Walcott, Earle Ashley
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Apple of Discord" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]

[Illustration: Moon Ying]

                        *THE APPLE OF DISCORD1*


                         *EARLE ASHLEY WALCOTT*

                               Author of

                         WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
                         ALICE BARBER STEPHENS

                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
                       Publishers :: :: New York

                             COPYRIGHT 1907
                       THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY




I  I am Presented with an Overcoat
II  The House of Blazes
III  A Glimpse of Sunshine
IV  Machiavelli in Bronze
V  Miss Kendrick’s Pleasure
VI  Big Sam’s Diplomacy
VII  In the Current
VIII  A Contribution to the Cause
IX  Peter Bolton
X  A Council of War
XI  Troubles in the Market
XII  The Lottery Ticket
XII  The Wisdom of His Ancestors
XIV  Bargaining
XV  A Ripple of Trouble
XVI  Laying Down the Law
XVII  Big Sam’s Warning
XVIII  Little John as a Man of Action
XIX  Mischief Afoot
XX  On the Sand-Lots
XXI  Battle
XXII  I Become a Man of Business
XXIII  The Committee of Safety
XXIV  The Justice of Big Sam
XXV  Facing a Crisis
XXVI  On the Precipice
XXVII  A Call to Arms
XXVIII  With the Pick-Handle Brigade
XXIX  A Tongue of Fire
XXX  The End of the Feud
XXXI  The Broken Web
XXXII  The Answer


                         *THE APPLE OF DISCORD*

                              *CHAPTER I*

                   *I AM PRESENTED WITH AN OVERCOAT*

Colonel Wharton Kendrick leaned back in his chair, stroked his red
side-whiskers reflectively, and looked across the table with an
expression of embarrassment on his round ruddy face.  For the moment his
command of words had evidently failed him.

As embarrassment and failure of language were equally foreign to his
nature, I was confirmed in a growing suspicion that there had been an
ulterior purpose behind his cordial invitation to luncheon. The meal had
been a good one, and he was paying for it, and so I felt that I owed him
my moral support.  Therefore, I returned such a look of encouragement as
might properly express the feelings of a fledgling attorney toward a
millionaire who was the probable source of active litigation, and waited
for him to speak.

"See here, Hampden," he said at last; "you know something about my row
with Peter Bolton, don’t you?"

"The Bolton-Kendrick feud is a part of my very earliest recollections,"
I admitted.  "When I was a small boy I was convinced that it was quite
as much a part of the institutions of the country as the Fourth of July.
You may remember that my father took something of an interest in your

"Good old Dick Hampden--the best friend a man ever had!"  And there was
a note of tenderness in his voice that touched my heart-strings.  "It
was a sad loss when he went, my boy.  Well, then I needn’t go into the
beginning of the feud, as no doubt he explained it all to you."

"I should like very much to have an account of it at first hand," I
replied.  In spite of my familiarity with the quarrels between Bolton
and Kendrick, I had never solved the mystery of the beginning of the
feud.  Its origin was as deeply buried in the haze of historic doubts as
the causes of the Trojan War. I had heard it assigned to a dozen
different beginnings, ranging from a boyhood battle for the possession
of a red apple to a maturer rivalry for the hand of the village belle,
who had finally bestowed herself on a suitor whose very name was
forgotten.  None of the explanations seemed adequate.  The first could
scarce account for the depth of hatred that each felt for the other.  As
for the last--imagination refused to picture Peter Bolton in the figure
of a sighing swain; the caricature was too monstrous for credit.
Therefore, I spoke hopefully, as one who sees the doors of mystery ajar.
But Wharton Kendrick shrank from the task of enlightening me, and with a
shake of his head he replied:

"Well, there’s no need to go into it all now.  It began back in the Ohio
village where we were born--long before the days we heard of
California--and it’ll end when one of us is carried out feet foremost."

"I hope you’re not expecting anything of that sort," I said.

"No, I can’t say that I am.  I’m expecting something, and I don’t know
what it is.  But what I want to know is this: Have you any objections to
doing a bit of secret service?"  The manner in which he plunged through
his sentence, and the air of visible relief on his face when he had
done, told me that this was what he had been leading toward.

"Well, that depends.  You know there are some things considered

"Even in the law!" said Wharton Kendrick with a jovial laugh.  "Oh,
thunder!  What would the game be if we didn’t pretend to have rules?
Well, I don’t think this is anything that would get you on the black
books, though some of you fellows are so confounded touchy that I’ve
shied away from mentioning it to you.  I want you to keep an eye on
Bolton for a while, and find out what he is up to."

"That sounds as though you wanted a private detective agency," I said
dubiously, with distrust of my ability to fill the bill.

"If I had wanted one I should have sent for it," replied Wharton
Kendrick dryly.  "I’ve had enough experience of them to know that I
don’t want them. I want you because I must have some one I can trust."

I murmured my thanks at this expression of esteem. It was the more
gratifying as, like the rest of my father’s old friends, he had
carefully avoided giving me his legal business, with a wise but annoying
preference for having me try my ’prentice hand on the litigation of
strangers.  So at this I professed my entire willingness to be of

"That’s good," he said.  "Now, I’ve had warning from a source I trust
that Bolton is fixing up some sort of surprise for me.  I want you to
find out what it is.  Six months ago I got the same sort of hint that
came to me this morning, and I forgot all about it.  Then one day I got
a jolt that cost me a cool hundred thousand dollars when I found that
Bolton had taken the Golden West Land and Water Company away from me.
He got hold of some of the stock that I thought was in safe hands, and I
had to pay four prices to get it.  I’ve a notion that the thing is more
serious this time."

Something in his voice suggested alarming possibilities.

"Do you mean that Bolton is plotting against your life?"

"Oh, I don’t say that.  But, oh, thunder!  You wouldn’t put it beyond
him, would you?"

"Not beyond his morals, perhaps; but I should certainly put it beyond
his courage."

"Oh, P. Bolton isn’t the man to go gunning for any one.  But he hasn’t
any scruples against getting another man to do it for him.  That’s why
he owns the Miroban mine."

"You don’t mean to say so?  I never heard of that."

"I suppose not.  You’re too young to remember the murder of the Eddy
boys.  They had located the Miroban mine, and one day they struck it
rich. Bolton put in a claim that he had bought it from a prior locator,
and pretty soon they were all tangled up in litigation.  One night
somebody poked a double-barreled shot-gun through a window in the Eddy
boys’ cabin, and filled them full of buckshot.  There was a good deal of
excitement about it for a while, but nobody could find out the man who
did the shooting, and we were all too busy in those days to waste much
time hunting criminals.  When the talk died down, Bolton was found in
possession of the Miroban."

"And you think--"

"I don’t know who pulled the trigger, but I know well enough that Bolton
pointed the gun."

"Old Bolton is a more interesting character than I had supposed," I

"You’ll have a chance to get better acquainted with him," said Kendrick,
"but I can’t promise you that he improves on acquaintance."  He smoothed
his ruddy cheeks, and ran his fingers through his side-whiskers, and
then continued: "You’d better not come to see me till you have something
important to report.  You’ll find it easier to get hold of things if the
old spider doesn’t know that you are in my employ.  Send word around to
my office when you want to see me.  I suppose you’ll want some money.
You needn’t spare expense.  I guess this will do for a starter."  And,
reaching into his pocket, he brought up a handful of twenties and passed
them over.  And in this pleasant way began my active relations with the
famous feud that was to shake San Francisco to its foundations.

Several days of cautious but diligent inquiry followed before my
industry was rewarded with an insight into Peter Bolton’s purposes.
Then a lead of much promise opened, and I sent word to my employer that
I was prepared to make a progress report.

"Come around to the office to-night--nine-thirty," was the reply; and
prompt to the minute I mounted the stairs of the California Street
building in which Wharton Kendrick kept his business quarters, and
knocked at his private door.

At his brusk "Come in," I entered, and found him seated behind his wide
desk busily running over a bundle of papers.  The gas-light fell on his
ruddy face and was reflected in glints from his red side-whiskers with
which he eked out the fullness of his cheeks.  He was indeed a handsome
man, and carried his sixty years with the ease of forty.

"So you have brought news," he said, thrusting his papers into a drawer
and leaning back to receive my communication.  "Well, what is the old
fox up to now?"

"I have the honor," I returned, "to report that the old fox has turned

"Reformer?"  And a puzzled look overspread his face.  "Well, if he wants
a job in that line he won’t have to leave home to get it.  He can spend
the rest of his life reforming himself and not have time enough by

"He is not so selfish as all that.  His zeal has reached out to embrace
the regeneration of the whole human race--or at least the part of it
that inhabits San Francisco."

"What do you mean?  I may be thick-headed, but I don’t get your

"Oh, it is just as I say.  And to carry out his benevolent purposes he
has engaged the services of the Council of Nine--or at least has entered
into active cooperation with it."

"The Council of Nine!  I never heard of it."  Wharton Kendrick looked at
me in amazement.

"Well, to confess the truth, I never heard of it myself until to-day.
However, you are likely to hear more of it later.  It has a valiant
recruit in Bolton."

"But what is it?  What is it trying to do?"

"So far as I can find out, it is the head-center of the local
organization of the International Reds.  It is made up of anarchists,
socialists, communists, and the discontented of all sorts.  I’ll admit
that I don’t understand fully the distinctions between these elements,
and they are so mixed up here that you can’t tell one from another."

"That’s a promising combination," laughed Wharton Kendrick; and then a
thoughtful look followed his laughter, as he added: "But what does P.
Bolton think he can get out of that crowd?"

"A liberal education--or at least an education in liberality.  He has
given a handsome contribution to their funds--"

"What!" ejaculated Kendrick, starting forward in astonishment.  "You
don’t mean to say that he has given them money?"

"I have the authority of a good witness--to wit, a man who saw the money

"Whew!  That’s pretty hard to swallow.  What is the man’s name?"

"Clark--Jonas Clark."

"Who is he?"

"Why, he’s a shining light in the Carpenters’ Union.  He’s a decent chap
who is a little carried away by the eloquence of the agitators, but he
is all right.  He has been a messenger back and forth between Bolton and
some members of the Council, but he had the fault of being too
scrupulous, and Bolton gave him the sack.  So now he is employee number
one of our detective bureau."

"Hm-m!  And maybe you can give a guess why P. Bolton is putting up his
good money for that crazy crowd?  You are not trying to tell me it’s a
case of pure philanthropy?"

"That is what he wants them to believe.  He told Clark that before he
gave any money he must be satisfied that the aims and methods of the
Council were for the benefit of the people."

"Oh, thunder!  To think of P. Bolton playing a game like that!  Well,
did they satisfy him?"

"Clark took him any quantity of documents.  They fed him first with the
brotherhood-of-man and the one-for-all-and-all-for-one course of
lectures.  He thought there was too much milk-and-water about that, so
they gradually worked up to the dynamiting of royal oppressors and the
extinction of capitalistic robbers.  At this he gave up some good
coin--five hundred dollars, as near as I can learn--paid in person at
midnight to three members of the Council of Nine."

Kendrick leaned back in his chair, and meditatively stroked his red
side-whiskers once more, while the thoughtful wrinkles chased each other
about his eyes.

"That begins to look like business," he said at last. "I’m sure I could
put a name to the capitalistic robber he would like to see extinguished.
Still, I don’t see what he is driving at.  Have you got any light on his

"No.  So far as I can find out, he has made no suggestions.  He has only
approved their propaganda, and hinted that they might look for more
money if their course was such as to satisfy him."

"Then you think their schemes worth looking into?"

"Indeed I do.  I have an engagement to meet Clark at their headquarters,
down at the House of Blazes to-morrow night.  He is going to introduce
me to some of the leaders, and I hope to get a line on what they are

"The House of Blazes?  What’s that?"

"Oh, it’s a saloon down on Tar Flat.  The socialists and anarchists and
a lot of other ’ists’ loaf around there and drink beer in their hours of
ease, and I believe there is a hall there where they hold their

"Umph!  I hope you’ll enjoy your evening.  But don’t get your head
smashed."  Wharton Kendrick was silent a little, and then continued
thoughtfully: "I don’t see what P. Bolton can expect to gain out of a
lot of crack-brained fanatics like that, but you can do as you like
about looking into them.  I suspect, though, that this is just a blind
for something else.  Just remember that if you are expecting P. Bolton
to show himself in one place, he’s sure to turn up in another.  Now, is
that all your budget?"

"One thing more.  Bolton has a little detective bureau of his own.  He
has engaged Jim Morgan, the prize-fighter, with three or four more of
the same sort, and you’re being watched.  I’ve no doubt there’s a fellow
out by the door, waiting to follow you home.  So I’ll take the liberty
of walking with you, and engage a few reliable body-guards to-morrow."

Wharton Kendrick’s mouth closed with a snap.

"Not much--no body-guards for me!  I’ve walked San Francisco for twenty
years in the face of Peter Bolton, and I’m not going to be afraid of him
at this day.  Hire all the men you want, but set them to looking after
P. Bolton--not after me."

"There are two at his heels already."

"Good; but I’m afraid a hundred wouldn’t be enough to keep track of the
old fox," laughed Kendrick.  "Well, it’s time to be getting home.  Reach
me my hat there, will you?  Make sure of the door--here goes the light."
And he followed me into the hall and turned the key behind him.  "Now,
there’s no need for you to go home with me," he continued.

"It’s my way as well as yours," I replied, "and unless you object to my
company, we’ll go together."

We faced the west wind that came in gusts from over Nob Hill, with the
salt freshness of the ocean fog heavy upon it, turned north at Kearny
Street, and at Clay Street took the hill-climbing cable-car that still
passed as one of the city’s novelties.  From the western end of the line
we walked to the Kendrick residence on Van Ness Avenue.

"Well, good night, my boy," he said.  "Sorry to have brought you up here
for nothing.  If you should get any light on the Council’s plans
to-morrow night, come up here next evening--say at eight o’clock.  I may
have an idea of my own by that time."  And he closed the door.

As I turned to descend the steps, my eye was startled by a glimpse of
movement among the shrubs that decorated the Kendrick lawn.  At first I
thought it but a branch tossed by the wind; but an incautious movement
revealed the figure of a man silhouetted against the faint illumination
from a distant street-lamp, and I felt a momentary gratification that my
precaution had been justified.

I descended the flight of steps to the garden with assumed unconcern.
Then, instead of following the second flight to the street, I turned,
made a sudden spring on to the lawn, straight for the shrub behind which
I had seen the man hide himself.  It was but twenty-five feet away, and
I reached it in an instant. No one was there.  For a moment I thought my
eyes must have deceived me.  Then the rustle of a bush by the fence
attracted my attention, and I made a dash for the spot.  Before I could
reach it a man rose from behind the bush, vaulted the fence, disappeared
for a second of time, and then could be seen running swiftly down the

There was an eight-foot drop from the garden to the sidewalk, but I made
the leap in my turn without mishap, and was running in the wake of the
flying night-hawk before I had time to draw breath.  I soon gained upon
him, and as I came nearer I could hear his hoarse gasps, as the
unaccustomed pace told upon him.  At the corner of Sacramento Street I
was near enough to reach out and grasp him by the coat.

He halted and turned.

"What do you want?" he growled, and then struck at me with sudden
movement.  "Take that!" he cried, striking again as I tried to close
with him, and I felt the shearing of cloth before a sharp blade.

As I staggered back from the impact of the blow, my foot caught on the
curb, the earth whirled about, the stone sidewalk gave me a thump
alongside the head, and I witnessed a private meteoric display of
unrivaled splendor.

I was stunned for a minute, but collecting my wits I scrambled to my
feet, cleared my eyes, and looked for the flying enemy.  He was nowhere
to be seen, and no sound of his footfalls came to my ear. Making sure
that he had escaped, I turned to take stock of my injuries.  I could
find no wound, though a rent through my coat showed how near I had come
to the end of all my adventures.  A memorandum-book in my inside pocket
had stopped the blade with which the spy had struck at me.  Then I
recovered from my daze enough to become aware that I was holding an
overcoat that was none of mine.  The enemy had slipped from the garment
to secure his escape, and had left it in my hands.

                              *CHAPTER II*

                         *THE HOUSE OF BLAZES*

With the morning’s light I looked carefully over the captured overcoat
for identifying marks by which I might trace the elusive spy who was so
near ending my life.  A hasty survey of the garment when I had reached
my room had revealed nothing by which I might learn of the owner; but
after a night’s sleep the detective instinct burned within me, and I was
persuaded that there was something about it to differentiate it from
other overcoats, if only I had the keenness to discover it.  The garment
was of cheap material, and even the maker’s name had disappeared from
it.  There was nothing individual about it, and not even a handkerchief
was to be found in its pockets.  But when I was about to abandon search
once more, a small inside pocket attracted my attention, and, diving
within it, I brought out a square of paper, three or four inches wide.
The detective instinct within me raised a shout of triumph, and I opened
the paper with the conviction that it would bear some address that would
lead me to the spy.  The detective instinct became more humble to find
that the paper bore only a few sprawling characters that were
reminiscent of a Chinese laundry or a Canton tea-chest.

Nevertheless, it was the only clue in my possession, and during the day
I made several attempts to secure a translation of the marks.  But
nightfall came without success, and, reinforced by a good dinner, I
turned my steps south of Market Street to keep my appointment with

"Here’s the place," said the policeman, pointing across Natoma Street to
the corner building, from which lights flashed and sounds of laughter
and drunken song floated out on the night air.  "We call it the House of

Even in the semi-darkness left by the street-lamps and the lights that
streamed from the windows, I could see that it was a rambling two-story
frame building, with signs of premature age upon it.  The neighborhood
was far from select, but the House of Blazes had characteristics of evil
all its own.  Above, the small windows scowled dark, stealthy,
mistrustful, as though they sought to escape the eye of the officer of
the law who stood by my side.  Below, the broader windows, ablaze with
lamps, and the swinging half-doors, through which we could see the feet
of men and the occasional hat of a taller customer, made a show of
openness.  But it all seemed the bravado of the criminal who ventures
forth by daylight, aggressively assertive of his self-confidence and
ready to take to his heels at the first sign that he is recognized by
the police.  Across the windows and on a swinging sign were painted
letters proclaiming that wines and liquors were to be had within and
that H. Blasius was the owner.

"It doesn’t look to be just the place for a stranger to show his money
in," I said lightly.

"It’s about as tough as they make ’em," growled the policeman.  "There’s
a sight more throuble in that darty den than in all the others on the

I thanked the policeman and bade him good night.

"Good night, sor.  I’m hoping you won’t need anything more from me, sor.
But just blow a whistle if ye are in chance of throuble, and I’ll do my
best for ye."

And with this cheerful parting ringing in my ears, I swung back the
doors and stepped into the saloon, with the shadow of a wish that the
Council of Nine had shown better taste in headquarters.

I found myself in a long, low-ceiled room, lighted by a dozen lamps that
struggled to overpower the tobacco smoke that filled it.  A dingy,
painted bar stretched half-way down the side of the room, and behind it
a cracked mirror and a gaudy array of bottles served for ornament and
use.  Below the bar the room jutted back into an L, where a half-dozen
tables were scattered about.  The floor was littered with sawdust,
trampled and soiled with many feet, and mottled with many a splotch of
tobacco juice.

I looked about for Clark and his companions. Five or six loungers leaned
against the bar, listening to a stout, red-faced Irishman, who was
shaking his fist vigorously as an accompaniment to a loud denunciation
of the Chinese.  There was something about the man that drew a second
look, though at first glance I thought I had recognized the symptoms of
the saloon politician.  He had a bristling brown mustache, a shrewd
mouth, and a strong aggressive jaw.  A little above the medium height,
with compact, heavy frame, and broad shoulders that betokened strength,
he was a type of the substantial workman.

Beyond the oratorical Irishman with his denunciations of "the haythen
divils," stood a man with hat drawn down over his eyes, half hiding his
sallow face, and with hands deep in his pockets, who glanced furtively
from side to side, as if in suspicion that an enemy was about.
Something faintly stirred in memory at the sight of him, but he shuffled
out of the saloon as I passed him, and it was not until he was gone that
I connected him with the spy whose overcoat lay in my room.  It was too
late to follow him, for, before I had recalled the vagrant memory, a
short fat old man waddled slowly forward and stood before me with the
air of a proprietor.  I divined that I was face to face with H. Blasius.

"Vat vill you have, mine friend?" he inquired deliberately.

I looked into his fat pasty face, that gave back an unhealthy almost
livid pallor to the light that shone upon it, and caught the glance of
his shifty bleary eyes under their puffy lids, and a shudder of
repulsion ran through me.  He was a man of sixty or more.  His face,
clean-shaven except for a mustache and chin-tuft stained with tobacco
juice, revealed to the world every line that a wicked life had left upon

He rubbed his fat, moist hands on the dingy white apron that he wore,
gave a tug at his mustache, and waited for my reply.

"I’m looking for Mr. Clark," I said.

"_Non_--no soch man is here," he said suspiciously. "I have no one of
zat name."

"I’m quite sure he’s here," I said.  "And I must see him."

The brow of H. Blasius darkened, and he looked about slowly as though he
meditated calling for assistance to hasten my departure.

"I don’t vant ze trouble," he had begun, when I caught sight of my man
at a table in the alcove at the other end of the long room.

"There he is now," I interrupted.  "There’ll be no trouble, if you don’t
make it yourself."

I was gone before H. Blasius had brought his wits to understand my
meaning, and in a moment stood beside a group of men who were sitting
around the farther table, beer glasses before them and pipes in hand,
listening to an excited young man with a shock of long, tawny hair, who
pounded the table to strengthen the force of his argument.  As he came
to a pause, I put my hand on the shoulder of a tall, awkward,
spare-built man, with a stubby red beard, who was listening with effort,
and evidently burning to reply to the fervid young orator.  It was
Clark, and he rose clumsily and shook hands with effusion.

"I’m glad you come, Mr. Hampden; I’d about give you up.  Boys, this is
Mr. Hampden, the friend I was telling you about.  Won’t you take this
chair, sir, and spend the evening with us?  We was having a little
discussion about the Revolution."

"The Revolution!" I exclaimed.  "Well, that’s a safe antiquarian topic."

"Oh," stammered Clark, "it isn’t the old Revolution. That’s too far back
for us.  It’s the coming Revolution we’re talking about, when all men
are to be equal and share alike in the good things of the earth.  Parks,
here, thinks he knows all about it."  And he waved his hand toward the
oratorical young man, who looked on the world with eyes that seemed to
burn with the light of fever.

Parks accepted this as an introduction, and acknowledged it with a nod
as I took a seat.  I looked at him with keen interest, for I knew his
name as one of the nine leaders who had banded themselves to right the
wrongs of the world--with the incidental assistance of Peter Bolton.
Then I looked about the rest of the group as Clark spoke their names,
and was disappointed to find that a little spectacled German, with a
bristling black beard, was the only other member of the Council at the

"Hope to know you better, Mr. Hampden," said Parks.  "You don’t look to
be one of us."

"If it’s a secret society, I can’t say that I’ve been initiated," I
said.  "But I hope you’ll count me as one of you for an occasional
evening.  What do you happen to be, if I may ask?"

"We," said Parks, leaning forward and gazing fiercely into my eyes, "we
represent the people.  We are from the masses."

"I’m afraid, then," I returned with a laugh, "you’ll have to count me as
one of you.  I can’t think of any way in which my name gets above the
level of the lower ten million."

"Sir," cried Parks, shaking his finger in my face and speaking rapidly
and excitedly, "your speech betrays you.  You speak of the lower ten
million.  They are not the lower--no, by Heaven!  Your heart is not with
the people.  There is nothing in you that beats responsive to their cry
of distress.  You may be as poor as the rest of us, but your feelings,
your prejudices are with the despoilers of labor, the oppressors of the
lowly.  You are--"

What further offense of aristocracy he would have charged upon my head I
know not, for Clark reached over and seized his arm.

"Hold on!" he cried.  "Mr. Hampden is our guest and a good fellow, so
don’t be too hard on him.  He ain’t educated yet.  That’s all the matter
with him. Give him time."

Parks’ voice had been rising and his utterance had been growing more
rapid and excited, but he lowered his tones once more.

"No offense, Hampden, but my blood boils at the wrongs inflicted on the
downtrodden slaves of the wage system, and I speak my mind."

"Oh, go ahead," I said.  "It doesn’t worry me. Come to think of it, Mr.
Parks, you don’t seem to be one of the slaves of the wage system
yourself. You are, I take it from your words and ways, a man of
education and something more."

"Sir," said Parks, striking the table angrily, "it is my misfortune."

"Misfortune?" I laughed inquiringly, and the others laughed in sympathy.

"Misfortune--yes, sir.  I repeat it.  I have had schooling and to spare.
And if it wasn’t for that, I could raise this city in arms in a month."

My left-hand neighbor was an old man, a little bent with years, who had
been looking about the table with dreamy eye.  But at Parks’ boastful
words his face lighted and he gave a cackling laugh.

"Heh, heh!  He’s right," he said, addressing the rest of us.  "There’s a
crowd of thieves and robbers on top and they need a taking-down.  Parks
is just the one to do it."

"You’re wrong, Merwin," said Parks, calming down and looking at the old
man reflectively.  "I’m not the one to do it."

"And why not?" I asked.

"It’s the cursed education you speak of," said Parks fiercely.  "I am
with the masses, but not of them.  They mistrust me.  Try as I will I
can’t get their confidence.  I can’t rouse them.  They shout for me,
they applaud me, but I can’t stir them as they must be stirred before
the Revolution can begin."

"What sort of man do you want?" I asked.

"He must be a man of the people," said Parks.

"By which you mean a day-laborer, I judge."

Parks ignored the interruption and went on:

"He must have eloquence, courage, and he must understand men; he must be
a statesman by nature--a man of brains.  But he must be one of the class
he addresses."

"But how are you going to get a man of brains out of that class?" I

Parks struck the table a sounding blow with his fist, shook his head
until his shock of hair stood out in protest, and glared at me fiercely.

"Do you mean to deny," he began hotly, "that brains are born to what you
call the lowest classes? Do you deny the divine spark of intelligence to
the sons of toil?  Do you say that genius is sent to the houses of the
rich and not to those of the poor?  Do you dare to say that the son of a
banker may have brains and that the son of a hodman may not?"

"By no means, my dear fellow.  I only say if he has brains he won’t be a

"I’ve known some pretty smart hodmen in my time," said Clark, when he
saw that Parks had no answer ready.  "I knew a fellow who made four
hundred dollars on a contract.  But," he added regretfully, "he lost it
in stocks."

"I’m afraid that instance doesn’t prove anything, Clark," said Merwin
with a thin laugh.  "He should have had brains enough to keep out of

"There’s not many as has that," said a heavy-jowled Englishman who sat
across the table.  "I wish I had ’em myself."

"I’m afraid you’re right, Mr. Hampden," said Clark.  "We can’t get a
leader from the hodman class."

Parks leaned forward and spoke quietly and impressively.

"By God, we must!" he said.  "_I’ll_ be the brains. I’ll find the hodman
for the mouth, and I’ll teach him to talk in a way to set the world on

"And then what?" I asked.

Parks gave his head a shake, and closed his lips tightly as though he
feared that some secret would escape them.  But the excitable little
German with spectacles and a bushy black beard gave me an answer.

"Leeberty, equality, fraternity!" he exclaimed.

"And justice," added the heavy-jowled Englishman.

"These are words, and very good ones," I returned.  "But what do you
mean by them?  You have these things now, or you don’t have them--just
as you happen to look at it.  It usually depends on whether you are
successful or not.  What does all this mean in action?"

"For one thing," said the square-jawed man seriously, "it means an end
of the sort of robbery by law that our friend Merwin here has suffered.
Now, twenty years ago he was a prosperous contractor. He took a lot of
contracts from old Peter Bolton for filling in some of these water-front
blocks down here.  He spent two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, d’ye
know, and has been lawing for it ever since."

I turned and looked at the face of the old man with more interest.  The
case of Merwin against Bolton was celebrated in the law books.  It was
now before the Supreme Court for the sixth time.  In the trial court the
juries had invariably found for Merwin with costs and interest, and the
appellate court had as invariably sent the case back for retrial on
errors committed by the lower court, until it had become an impersonal
issue, a jest of the law, a legal ghost, almost as far removed from
affairs of to-day as "Shelley’s case" of unblessed memory.

Merwin looked up quickly, the dreamy gaze no longer clouding his eye.

"I have been kept out of my property for more than twenty years, sir,"
he said.  "It has been a great wrong.  If you are interested I should
like to tell you about it."

"I am pretty well informed about it already," I replied.  "You have been
much abused."  The legal jest had become a living tragedy, and I felt a
glow of shame for the futility of the law that had been unable to do
justice to this man.

"I have been made a poor man," said Merwin. "My money was stolen from me
by Peter Bolton, and I tell you, sir, he is the greatest scoundrel in
the city."  And in a sudden flash of temper he struck his fist upon the

"He ought to be hanged," said the heavy-jowled man.

"No, no," cried Parks.  "It isn’t Bolton you should blame.  It is the
system that makes such things possible.  Bolton himself is but the
creature of circumstances.  As I have reason to know, his heart is
stirred by thoughts of better things for humanity. Hang Bolton and
another Bolton would take his place to-morrow.  Abolish the system, and
no man could oppress his neighbor."

"But how are you going to abolish it?" I asked. "It won’t go for fine

"Rouse the people," cried Parks with passion. "The men who are suffering
from these evils are the strength of the nation.  Those who profit by
the evils are a small minority.  Once the people rise in their might the
oppressors must fly or be overwhelmed."

"Here’s to guns, and the men who know how to use them!" said the
heavy-jowled man, draining his glass.

"_Oui, oui!  Vive la barricade!_" croaked a harsh voice behind me, and I
turned to see the pasty face of H. Blasius over my shoulder.

"Shut up!" said Parks.  "We’re not ready to talk of guns and

At this moment a sudden noise of scuffle and angry voices rose above the
sounds of conversation and argument that filled the room.  Some one made
an abortive attempt to blow a police whistle; curses and blows thrilled
the air; and then the swinging doors fell apart and a man staggered in,
holding dizzily to the door-post for support.  His hat was crushed, his
clothing torn, and his face covered with blood that seemed to blind him.

As he staggered into the saloon, ten or twelve young men, hardly more
than boys, crowded after him, striking at him with fists and clubs.
Their faces were hard at best, the lines written upon them by vice and
crime giving plain warning to all who might read; but now rage and
hatred and lust for blood lighted their eyes and flushed their cheeks,
till they might have stood as models for escapes from the infernal

"The cop!" cried a voice; and others took it up, and I recognized in the
battered man the policeman who had shown me my way.

"He’s the cop as got Paddy Rafferty sent across the bay for ten years,"
shouted one of the hoodlums, striking a blow that was barely warded off.

"Kick him!" "Do him up!" "Kill him!" came in excited chorus from all
parts of the room and swelled into a roar that lost semblance of
articulate sound.

Parks and I jumped to our feet at the first sound of the riot.

"Here! this won’t do!" said Parks roughly, throwing me back in my chair.
"Sit down!  You’ll get killed without doing any good.  I’ll settle
this."  And before I could remonstrate he was running down the room
shouting wrathfully.

As I got to my feet again, I saw him pulling and hauling at the mob,
shouting lustily in the ears of the men as he threw them aside.

"Come on!" I cried.  "We must take a hand in this."  And at my call
Clark and the Englishman and the little German rose and followed in the
wake of the young agitator.

Parks worked his way into the crowd, shouting, appealing, using hands
and tongue and body at once to carry his point.  He was soon at the side
of the policeman, who swayed, half raised his arms, and would have
fallen had Parks’ arm not come to steady him.  The shouting hoodlums
paused at this reinforcement.  Then the leader, with a curse, struck
wildly at Parks’ face, and the cries of rage rose louder than before.
At this moment, however, the tall, broad-shouldered Irishman, whom I had
noticed at my entrance, deftly caught the hoodlum with a blow on the
chin that sent him back into the midst of his band.

"Hould on!" he shouted in a resonant voice. "There’s to be fair play
here!  Here’s two against the crowd to save a man’s life.  If there’s
any more men here let them come next us."

"Here are four," I cried, and our reinforcement shouldered through the
throng to the side of the two defenders.  The tumult stilled for a
little, and Parks seized the moment to burst into indignant speech. He
had a high, keen, not unpleasant voice, though it thrilled now with
anger and scorn, as he denounced the assault.

"He’s the cop that got Paddy Rafferty sent up, I tell you," replied one
of the hoodlums.  "We said we’d fix him and we done it."

"Well, you get home now or you’ll be fixed yourself, sonny," said Parks.
"The cops will be on you in just three minutes by the watch.  Git!"

"Come on, youse!" said the leader sullenly, rubbing his jaw and giving a
spiteful glance at the stout Irishman.  "We’ll fix these tarriers some
other time,"--and the band slunk out into the darkness.

"That’s the kind of cattle that keep back the cause," cried Parks,
turning to the crowd with keen eye for the opportunity for speech.  And
he went on with rude eloquence to expound the "rights of the people,"
which I judged from his language to be the right to work eight hours for
about eight dollars a day and own nobody for master.

"Well said for you, Mr. Parks!" said the Irishman. "I’m of your way of
thinkin’.  My name’s Kearney--Denis Kearney--maybe you’ve heard of me."

"Maybe I have," said Parks.  "I hope to hear more of you, Mr. Kearney.
You came in the nick of time to-night."

The policeman now sat in a chair with his face washed and his head bound
up in a cloth, and with a sip of liquor was recovering strength and

"There comes the boys," he said.  "They’ve heard of the shindy."  And in
another minute four policemen burst into the place.

"Cowdery’s gang!" was the brief comment of the commanding officer.
"We’ll have them under lock and key before morning."

H. Blasius had assumed a most pious expression in a most inconspicuous
position behind the bar, but dropped it as the policemen left.

"I’ve found my hodman," whispered Parks to me.


"Here.  He isn’t a hodman, but he’s just as good. He’s a drayman with a
voice like a fog-horn and a gift of tongue."

"And the brains?"

"I carry them under my hat," said Parks.

"What’s his name?"

"Mr. Kearney--Mr. Hampden," said Parks, raising his voice and
introducing me gravely.  Then, taking the arm of his new-found treasure,
Parks walked out of the saloon.

                             *CHAPTER III*

                        *A GLIMPSE OF SUNSHINE*

My watch-hands pointed to eight o’clock as I was ushered into Wharton
Kendrick’s library.  It was a handsome room, with handsome books and
handsome solid leather-covered furniture to match the leather-covered
volumes that lined its walls, but the effect of dark walls, dark
ceilings, and dark bindings was a trifle gloomy.  I made up my mind that
my library should be a light and cheerful room with white and gold
trimmings, and was trying to decide whether it should be in the
southwest or southeast corner of my château in Spain, when my
architectural studies were interrupted by the opening of a door.

I rose in the expectation of meeting my employer; but it was not my
employer who entered.  Instead of Wharton Kendrick I found myself facing
a young woman, who halted, irresolute and surprised, a pace or two from
the door.  Had it not been for her trailing dress I should at first
glance have thought her but a young girl.  She was short of stature and
slender of figure, and for an instant I had the idea that the long gown
and the arrangement of the yellow hair that crowned her head were part
of a masquerade.  But when I looked in her face I saw that she was a
woman grown, and her years might have reached twenty.

"Why, I didn’t know you were here," said the startled intruder.  Her
voice was even-pitched, but it had a curious piquant quality about it.

As I hesitated in surprise, she repeated her thought in more positive
form: "I didn’t know that any one was here."

"I was waiting for Mr. Kendrick.  I was told to wait here," I said

The gas-light fell on her face and I saw that she was pretty.  Her head
was small, but well shaped. Her color was that of the delicate blonde
type, but her large eyes were of a deep brown.

"I don’t believe you know me, after all," she said, with a sudden
mischievous look.

I wanted to lie, but my tongue refused its office.

"You’d better not tell any stories," she added.

"I’m afraid--" I began.

"Oh, if you’re afraid I shall go away.  I was going to read a book, but
it doesn’t matter."

"I’m sure it does matter," I said.  "If you go away I shall certainly
feel as though I’m the one who ought to have gone."

"I don’t believe I ought to stay here talking with a man who thinks he
doesn’t know me."

"I’m a very stupid person, I fear," I said.

"I’m afraid some people would say so," she said with another mischievous
look, though her face was perfectly grave; "but I shouldn’t dare."

"I’m on the lookout for a good bargain," I said desperately.  "I should
like very much to exchange names with you."

"Oh, that wouldn’t be a fair exchange at all," said the girl, shaking
her head gravely.  "I know Mr. Hampden’s name already.  You must offer a
better bargain than that."

"Then I must sue for pardon for a treacherous memory," I said.

"It’s a very serious matter," said the girl, "but I’ll give you three
chances to guess.  If that’s not enough, you’ll have to ask uncle."

"Miss Laura--Miss Kendrick!" I exclaimed.

"Oh, did I tell you, after all?" she cried in dismay.  "I said uncle,
didn’t I?  Now, you see, I’m quite as stupid as other people."

"Indeed, no," I said.  "It’s quite unpardonable that I should have

"It ought to be, but I’m afraid I shall have to forgive you," she said,
dropping into a chair.  "It’s a longish time."

"How many years has it been?" I asked.

"I’m afraid you’re adding to your offenses," she said, with a shake of
the head.  "You should certainly remember that it was five years ago
this summer."

"Have you been away so long?" I exclaimed.

"Oh, dear! what shall I do with such a man? First he doesn’t remember me
at all, and then he doesn’t know how many years I’ve been gone, and then
he has no idea it was so long."

"But you were only a little girl then," I urged.

"And not worth noticing, would you say if you dared?  I used to think I
was quite grown up in those days."

"You didn’t--er--quite give the impression."

"I see I didn’t make one," she said.  "It’s a very good lesson for one’s
vanity, isn’t it?"

"And haven’t you been back in all these years?"

"’All these years’ sounds better," she said.  "I believe you are
learning.  I’ve been back twice, if you want your question answered."

"It was kept quite a secret."

"Oh, dear, no!  Everybody knew who cared anything about knowing."

"And where have you been, and what doing?"

"I was in the East.  First I finished the seminary."

"And then?"

"Then I went through college."


"Oh, you needn’t be so surprised.  It’s nothing so very wonderful.  You
didn’t suspect it from my looks?"

"You certainly don’t look like a blue-stocking."

"I’m afraid I’m not.  I never could get enough into my head at one time
to be worthy of such a title.  I believe a blue-stocking is a lady who
has a great deal of learning."

"Or at least," I said, "is very fond of showing it."

"Oh, I think I have her main characteristic then," laughed my companion.
"If I know anything I can’t rest till I let somebody else know about it,

"I believe you’re not alone.  They say that failing has descended to all
the daughters of Mother Eve. How long are you to be here?" I asked.

"Ages, I’m afraid," said Miss Kendrick.  "Six months at least--maybe a

"Then I can hope for the pleasure of seeing you sometimes?" I said.

"I don’t know," she answered, appealing to a bust of Homer on a
book-shelf.  "Do you think a man with such an uncertain memory could be
trusted to keep it in mind that such a person is here?"

"I can vouch for him," I said.

"If you’re quite sure--" she said.

"Quite sure," I repeated positively.

"Then you can be told that we are at home on Thursdays.  There--I hear
uncle showing that comical General Wilson out the door, so I’ll be
getting my book and go.  It was uncle you came to see, I believe."

"It was Mr. Kendrick I called for, but--"

"You needn’t go on," interrupted Miss Kendrick calmly.  "I suppose you
think it is only a white one, but I’d rather not hear it.  Now if you
wouldn’t mind reaching that fourth book from the end of the second row
from the top, you’ll save me from the mortification of climbing on a

"This one?"

"Yes, please," she said.  "Thank you.  Good night.  I really don’t see
why I’ve talked so much."

"It was very good of you," I protested.  "Good night."

The swish of her skirts had hardly died away when the opposite door--the
one by which I had entered--opened, and Wharton Kendrick walked in.

"Come this way, Wilson.  I can put my hand on the book in one second."

"You can’t find your citation, Kendrick--it isn’t there," said a short,
stout, red-faced man, with short yellow-gray side-whiskers, as he
bustled in the wake of my client.  "I tell you you can’t find it.  I
know the whole thing from cover to cover.  Just give me the first line
of any page and I’ll repeat it right to the bottom.  I never have to
read a thing more than once and I can carry it on the tip of my tongue
for years afterward.  Lord bless us, whom have we here?"

"Oh, Hampden," said Kendrick.  "I didn’t see you.  General Wilson, allow
me to introduce you."  And the magnate gave me a kind word of

"A lawyer?" exclaimed General Wilson, his red face beaming in the frame
of his yellow-gray side-whiskers.  "Young man, you are entering on the
greatest and noblest profession that the human mind has devised.  You
are following the most elevated and grandest principles that the wit of
mankind is capable of evolving from the truths of the ages.  I am a
humble follower of the profession myself, and am proud to take you by
the hand."

He was not proud enough to make the most of the honor, for he gave but a
perfunctory grasp as I made some appropriate reply.

"I’ve been in the profession more decades than I like to tell about,"
said General Wilson, with a lofty wave of the hand, "but I’ve been
trying to get out of it for the last five years.  Perhaps you can’t
appreciate that, Hampden.  Here you’re trying to get into it, and I dare
say finding it devilish hard; but if you’re like me you’ll be trying to
get out of it some day and finding it a damned sight harder yet."

"I don’t doubt it," said I with pious mendacity.

"Here’s the book," said Kendrick.  But General Wilson waved him aside.

"It’s wonderful the way business sticks to a man. I’ve got clients who
just won’t be discharged.  I thought a year ago that I was going to see
the last of them, but no sooner did I mention it than they were all up
in arms.  ’We can’t spare you,’ they said. ’I must take a rest,’ I told
them.  ’Take it at our expense,’ they said.  And the Ohio Midland gave
me a special car and paid the expenses of a trip around the country, and
the Pennsylvania Southern gave me a twenty-thousand-dollar check to
settle for a vacation in Europe, and the Rockland and Western made me
the present of a country place where I could go and have quiet; and
after that what could I do?"

"They must have been irresistible," I admitted.

"Just so; but even then I tried to beg off.  I told ’em I had enough
money.  It wasn’t money I wanted. It was rest--freedom from worry of
business, the grinding care of law cases--that I was after.  But it
wouldn’t do.  The Ohio Midland said, ’Wilson, if you can’t be with us,
you mustn’t be against us.  We know you’ll be back again.  Take twenty
thousand a year as a retainer and count yourself as one of us yet.  We
shouldn’t be easy else.’  But the Pennsylvania Southern and the Rockland
and Western wouldn’t allow even that.  They said, ’Wilson, we can’t do
without you.  We’ll give you all the help you want, but we must have you
at the head.  Name your own figures.  It isn’t a question of money. You
must be our leading counsel, even if you don’t look in on us more than
once a quarter.’  I couldn’t shake ’em off, so, as I’ve been saying to
Kendrick, I’m like to die in harness, though I’d give anything to be
free and enjoy life as you young fellows do."

"Just so," said Kendrick cheerily; "but you’re way out of the running
about that Mosely matter. Here’s the book, and here’s the page, and it
was just as I was telling you."

"Ahem!" growled General Wilson, turning redder than ever and taking the
book gingerly.  "Oh, this is the thing you were talking about, is it? Of
course, of course, you were quite right--Mosely, of course.  I don’t
need to read a word of it.  I thought you were talking about that
Moberly case. Mosely, of course.  Well, I’ll send you those papers as
soon as I get to New York.  I must be off now. I’ve got to see Governor
Stanford to-night, and he’s one of your early-to-bed men; so good

"You’ll call in on me within the week, then?" said Kendrick, taking him
to the door.

"Oh, I shall see you in two days.  We must press this business to an
issue.  They are waiting for me in New York, and I can’t waste much time
in small affairs like this.  Well, good night, Kendrick, God bless you!
There ought to be more men like you. Good night."  And the outer door
closed behind him.

Kendrick suppressed a burst of laughter with a muscular effort that
appeared to threaten apoplexy.

"The old humbug!" he gasped.  "Hampden, you’ve seen the most picturesque
liar that ever struck the Golden Gate.  He is a regular Roman candle of

"Is he a fraud?  Is it all a case of imagination run wild?"

"No, not altogether, I should say.  Half of it seems to be the truth,
though which half to believe I’m blest if I can make out.  He brings
good letters."

"From New York?"

"Yes; and Chicago, too.  He came out two weeks ago to work up a land
deal.  Represents a million dollars in a syndicate, though I fancy he’s
not so big a part of it as he makes out.  He’s full of these tall
stories, though they don’t all of them hang together well.  It’s fun to
listen to him, though.  I couldn’t help taking him down about that
Mosely affair.  He was so cock-sure of knowing everything that I
couldn’t resist the temptation."

"You did give his vanity a singe."

"It wasn’t the politic thing to do with a million-dollar trade hanging
in the balance, but I reckon he’s got enough of his feathers left to
carry him through the deal."

Wharton Kendrick leaned back in his chair, and has face glowed in

Then on a sudden he straightened up, all gravity.

"Did you bring any news?" he asked.

"I have a present of an overcoat," I answered. And I gave him the story
of the adventure of the night.

"That was a rash play of yours," he said gravely. "Don’t do it again.
It wasn’t necessary."

"Are you certain that Bolton is the only man who has an interest in
setting a watch on you?" I inquired.

"Why, what have you found?" asked Kendrick, a little startled.

"I haven’t found anything but an idea--and that," I said, handing him a
bit of paper.

"What’s this?" asked Kendrick, putting on his eye-glasses.  "Your wash
bill?  China lottery? or what?"

"That’s the thing that has puzzled me.  You see, there’s quite a bit of
Chinese writing on it."

"Well, what of it?"

"I got it out of the overcoat that the fellow left in my hands."

"Ah-ha!" said Kendrick.  "And you don’t see what one of Bolton’s men
would be doing with a Chinese letter in his pocket?"

"That was just my idea--in part, at least.  The letter was a clue,
anyhow, and I took it to a Chinese firm I have done some law business
for and know pretty well.  I showed it to the boss partner.  He talks
English like a native, and chatters like a magpie.  But when he saw that
slip of paper he shut up like a clam, and all I could get out of him was
’No sabby.’  You know the look of stolid ignorance they can put on when
there’s anything they don’t want to tell."

"It’s the most exasperating thing you can run against."

"Well, when my merchant failed me, I went to another I knew slightly,
then to an interpreter, then to the boss of the Chinese guides.  The
same ’No sabby,’ and the same stolid look everywhere."

"Why didn’t you go to the Chinese interpreter at the City Hall?  He’s a
white man, and wouldn’t be afraid to give away secrets."

"I tried him, but he said it was nonsense.  It’s evidently a cipher,
though it’s one pretty well known in Chinatown."

"I’ll tell you what to do then, Hampden,"--and he took out his pencil
and wrote a few words on a card.  "Take this to Big Sam at his Chinatown
office to-morrow.  Show him the paper, and he’ll give you the reading.
He is under some obligations to me, and he can hardly refuse."

"Just the thing!  As Big Sam comes pretty near being the King of
Chinatown, he will have no one to fear."

"Now about the Council of Nine.  What did you get?"

"Well, I saw two members of the Council and a few of their followers.  I
tried to pump them, and I dare say I shall become as good a convert to
their propaganda as old Bolton himself.  They have some crack-brained
notions of an uprising of the people, but they don’t appear to have
anything definite in view at present."  And I gave my employer an
account of my visit to the House of Blazes.

He stroked his red whiskers meditatively, and then said:

"Well, that doesn’t sound as though they could amount to much, but as
long as P. Bolton is backing them, you’d better keep a close eye on

                              *CHAPTER IV*

                        *MACHIAVELLI IN BRONZE*

Waverly Place was in the full tide of business. The little brown man in
his blue blouse and clattering shoes was seen in his endless variety,
chattering, bargaining, working, lounging, moving; and the short street,
with its American architecture half orientalized, was gay with colors
and foul with odors.

Patient coolies trotted past, bending between the heavily laden baskets
that swung upon the poles passed over the shoulder.  On the corner an
itinerant merchant sat under an improvised awning with a rude bench
before him on which to display his wares, and a big Chinese basket
beside him from which his stock might be renewed as it was sold.  Here
was a store with a window display of fine porcelains, silks, padded
coats and gowns covered with grotesque figures, everything about it
denoting neatness and order.  Next it was a barber shop where two
Chinese customers were undergoing the ordeal of a shave.

Beyond the barber shop was a stairway leading to the depths, from which
the odors of opium and a sickening compound of indescribable smells
floated on the morning air.  Brown men could be seen through the smoke
and darkness, moving silently as though in dreams, or listlessly gazing
at nothing. Here was a shop of many goods, with fish and fruits exposed
to tempt the palates and purses of the passer: Chinese nut-fruits, dried
and smoked to please the Chinese taste, candied cocoanut chips that form
the most popular of Chinese confections, with roots and nuts and
preserves in variety, appealing temptingly to the eyes of the Chinese
who passed. Behind, were boxes and bales and cans, big chests and little
chests, bright chests and dingy chests, in endless confusion.  The
blackened walls and ceilings gave such an air of age that the shop
seemed as though it might have come out of the ancient Chinese cities as
a relic of the days of Kublai Khan. Shoe factories, clothing factories,
and cigar factories, were scattered along the street, with wares made
and displayed in the American fashion, and here and there, as if in
mockery, hung signs that bore the legend "White Labor Goods."

The little brown men sewed and hammered and smoothed and polished and
smoked and chaffered and traded--the great hive of Chinatown was astir;
and over all rose the murmur of the strange sing-song tongue that finds
its home on the banks of the Yellow River.  Here and there a white face
showed. But where it belonged to a dweller in Waverly Place it was
sodden, brutal, depraved.  Waverly Place got only the dregs and seepage
of the white race, and such as dwelt there boasted of an intimate
knowledge and possession of the vices of three continents.

Half-way up the block from Clay Street I paused before a dingy doorway.
The building had been one of the substantial structures of early San
Francisco, but the coolie occupation had orientalized it with a coating
of dirt and a mask of decay.

"This is an unpromising place to look for the richest Chinaman in San
Francisco," was my mental comment.  "But it is surely the number given

As I moved to enter the door, a stout, well-fed Chinaman, with a
pockmarked face, his hands hidden in the sleeves of his thick blue
blouse, put his body in the way.

"What you wan’?" he asked, with a trace of aggression in his voice.

"I want see Big Sam," I said.

The Chinaman’s face took on the blank, stolid look of utter ignorance.

"No sabby Big Sam.  No Big Sam heah."

"Nonsense!  You know Big Sam.  Every Chinaman in San Francisco knows Big
Sam.  This is where I’m told he lives.  I’ve got to see him."

"No sabby Big Sam heah.  One Big Sam he live Stockton St’eet, one Big
Sam he live Oakyland. You go Stockton St’eet, you go Oakyland.  No Big
Sam heah."

"See here, John," I said, "I’ve got to see Big Sam, and I know he’s
here, and I’m going to see him.  So get out of the way."

The Chinaman straightened up in offended dignity. "John" was a term of
insult, or at least of derogation in the Chinese mind.  Then he called
back into the darkness and two other Chinese appeared.  They were better
dressed than the ordinary, and were evidently some grades above the
Chinese laborers who thronged the street.

There was a minute or two of conversation in the high-pitched singsong
tongue that is so well adapted to the purpose of concealing
thought--from the white race, at least--and then one of the others
stepped forward.

"I must see Big Sam," I said in a determined tone. "You can tell him
first, or I’ll go in without it, just as you please."

Before he could speak there was a shout and a scream behind me, and I
turned to see a Chinese girl running out of the fruit and variety store
across the way.  She was probably fifteen years old and had that clear,
brilliant, creamy complexion that is sometimes seen in Chinese women.
Though her round flat face was not beautiful to the western eye, it
represented one of the highest types of oriental attractiveness.  Even
the clumsy garments in which the Chinese dress their women, with their
long sleeves and armless coat and baggy trousers, were not able to
conceal the fact that she was graceful and well formed.  I noted these
details more in memory than in the moment when she clattered into view,
her clumsy Chinese shoes beating a tattoo on the boards. She had hardly
reached the sidewalk when a half-dozen blue-bloused heathen surrounded
her.  She gave a scream, but she was seized by two of the band, a cloth
was thrown over her head, and her cries were silenced.  If I had taken
time for thought, I should have sought the police instead of the center
of disturbance, for I understood how little chance I should have in a
contest with a band of highbinders. But I could not see murder or
kidnapping done before my eyes without lifting a hand, and I raised a
cry and started across the way.

The street suddenly became alive with shouts and screams, and a hundred
Chinamen came running, all with hands under their blouses, chattering
ferociously as they pressed toward the struggling group. Before I could
reach the other side of the way the girl and her captors had
mysteriously disappeared, whisked through some of the doors that looked
blankly upon the street, and in their place was a mob of Chinamen,
shouting, gesticulating, and blowing police whistles, while threats of
slaughter flashed from their ugly faces.  Two policemen appeared on the
run and there was a sudden melting away of the crowd.  Hands came out
from under the blouses and from inside the long roomy sleeves.  Threats
and hatred faded out of the faces of the quarreling men, and in their
place came the stolid mask of the "no sabby."

"What’s the matter here?" panted one of the policemen, while the other
hustled the Chinese from one side of the walk to the other with gruff
orders to "move on."

I told of what I had seen.

"Highbinders," said the policeman.  "I thought it was time they was
breakin’ out again.  Oh, murther, but there’ll be killin’ over this
before the day’s at an end.  Hullo! what’s this?"

An old Chinaman came forward at this moment, wringing his hands and
chattering like a monkey. His face was stricken with signs of
heart-breaking woe.

"He says it was his daughter," said the other policeman.

"Yes--all same daughtah--my gell--you sabby?" wailed the old man.  "She
go down store one minute all ’long boy--all same my boy--you sabby?  One
man come, say ’you come ’long me.’  She heap cly. Boy heap cly.  Two men
come ’long--catch gell--so. One man hit boy ’long side head.  Tlee, fo’
men thlow cloth over gell’s head--she no cly no mo’. Tlee, fo’, fi’ men
take gell.  Boy lun home.  All same I sabby no mo’.  Gell all steal."
And the old man wrung his hands with mournful cries.

"H-m! the old girl-stealing trick of the highbinders," said the first
policeman, whom I took to be a sergeant of the force.

"Does he suspect anybody?" I asked.

The old man caught the idea.

"Maybe--I no know," he cried.  "One day two men come.  All same they say
heap like my gell.  I say no got gell.  One man say all same give me
t’ousand dolla’.  I say I no want t’ousand dolla’. Othe’ man he say
twel’ hund’ dolla’.  I say all same I no want twel’ hund’ dolla’.  Two
men say bad word, all same Clistian, you sabby?"

"What men were they?" asked the sergeant.

"You sabby Suey Sing men?" said the old man. "Two men all same Suey

"The Suey Sing Tong--I’ll bet he’s lying," said the sergeant.  "It’s
more like the Sare Bo Tong. Well, go along with him and get the boy’s
story. Maybe the kid can’t lie so fast.  I’ll go down to the hall and
send up a squad.  There’s like to be trouble over this."

"Do you think there will be a fight?" I asked.

"There was a lot of the Hop Sings about as we came up," said the
officer, "and I reckon the old man belongs to ’em.  The others was
mostly Sare Bos. There’s bad blood between ’em, anyhow, and I look for
some killing out of it.  Are you walking down?"

"No, I’ve a bit of business here."  And I turned back to the door that
had barred the way to the rooms of Big Sam.

As I reached the threshold I drew back before the advance of a party of
Chinese, who filed out of the shop one by one to the number of a dozen
or more. Their stolid faces showed no interest in me or anything else,
and half of them turned to the south, half to the north, and they
followed the uncompanionable Chinese habit of straggling in single file.
A tall stout Chinaman, dressed in baggy trousers and a padded Chinese
coat of fine blue cloth, stood just inside the door and watched them
narrowly as they went out.  As the last coolie passed I stepped forward
and into the doorway.

The tall Chinaman looked at me blandly.

"Were you not a little indiscreet to think of interfering in one of our
family quarrels?" he said, with a ghost of a smile on his full smooth
face.  He spoke English fluently, with just a trace of the Chinese
intonation.  The "r" that is the despair of the Chinese tongue rolled
full and clear from his lips. I had been on the point of addressing him
in the "pidgin English" considered necessary in communicating with the
heathen intelligence, and was stricken with surprise.

"I--I didn’t think of interfering," I replied.

"One would not have suspected you of so much discretion to see you
running across the street," he said, with the same bland look.  "The
next time you think of taking part in such an entertainment, I beg of
you to reflect that half the men in the crowd carried something like
this."  And with a smile he drew back the Chinese jacket and touched the
handle of a big navy six-shooter.  The weapon was eighteen inches long
and would carry a forty-four caliber bullet for a hundred yards.  "If he
didn’t have that he probably had something of this sort about him."  He
gave his voluminous sleeve a shake, and a big knife with a ten-inch
blade was in his hand. "These pleasant little parties are not always
what they seem," he continued, "and it is just as well to watch them
from a distance."

"Thank you," I said.  "I’d prefer not to be on close acquaintance with
anything of the kind you are hinting at.  That wasn’t what I came for."

"I understand that you were looking for me, Mr.--"

"Hampden," I supplied the name.  "I believe I am speaking to--"  Then I
hesitated.  I really did not know his name, and it struck me as
something of an absurdity to call the dignified and forceful man before
me by the nickname that was on the tip of my tongue.

He smiled.

"Sometimes I am known as Kwan Sam Suey," he said, "but your people call
me ’Big Sam.’  Won’t you step this way?"

He turned back into the dingy shop, passed into a dingy hallway, and led
to a dingy stairway beyond. It was something worse than shabby.  I
reflected with wonder that one of the richest of the Chinese, and by
report the most powerful man in Chinatown, should be content to dwell in
such a barn.  On the third floor Big Sam opened a door and stood aside
bowing me to enter.

"My office," said he.

As I passed the threshold I was overwhelmed with amazement.  Instead of
the bare walls and dingy cobwebbed den the entrance had led me to
expect, I was ushered into a room fitted up with a wealth of decoration
and discomfort that was thoroughly oriental.  The walls were covered
with woven tapestry, grotesque in figures and bright with colors.  Dark
cabinets, rich with carving, stood about the room; the desk and chairs
showed the patient handicraft of the Ancient Empire; the floor was
inlaid with varied woods, and beaten brass and copper were freely used
for decorative effect.  To the western mind the colors and the
ornamentation were garish, yet I could see that the fittings were costly
and a striking example of Chinese artistic taste.

Big Sam waved me to a seat and took his place at the desk.

"I assume, Mr. Hampden, that you did not come here out of idle

"That depends," said I, repressing with difficulty the instinct to
address him in the "pidgin" dialect. "You might call it curiosity, and
idle at that; but it is of some concern to me."

"I can believe it," he said politely.

"But before I enter on the errand that brings me here, I should present
you with my credentials."  And I handed him the card from Kendrick.

He scarcely glanced at it.

"Any friend of Mr. Kendrick’s is welcome to any service in my power to
give," he said, with a bow.

"I have a paper written in your tongue that I should like explained to
me," I said, bringing forth the sheet and unfolding it.

Big Sam leaned across the desk to receive it.  I put it in his hand and
kept one eye on his face, the other on the sheet of paper.

There was no trace of surprise on the bronze mask of the Oriental.  For
an instant I thought I could detect a shadow of the stolid "no-sabby"
look of the coolie, but it was gone with the dropping of an eyelid.
There was before me only the grave, impassive face of the Chinese

"What is the difficulty?" he asked with a polite smile, after he had
glanced over the paper.

"The difficulty is that none of your countrymen seems to be able to
translate it."

"I can not believe it."

"I have asked a dozen."

"They were very busy."  The voice was a combination of assertion and
inquiry, but my ear warned me of something mocking in it, too.

"They concealed it most successfully, if they were," I retorted.

Big Sam smiled again, and took up the paper.  It slipped from his hand
and fluttered to the floor.

"Excuse my clumsiness," he said, diving after it.

I sprang around the corner of the desk to assist in recovering it, and
dropped to one knee.

"I beg your pardon," I said, catching at the paper that Big Sam was
stowing away in his capacious sleeve.  "I believe this is the document."
And I held it up.

"I think not," said Big Sam, straightening up and looking me blandly in
the eye.  "I believe this is it."  And he handed me another paper with a
bewildering maze of Chinese characters straggling across it.

I was puzzled and rose, looking first at the sheets of paper and then at
Big Sam.  There was a flash of triumph in his eye that made me suspect
that neither sheet was mine, after all.  I cursed my ill-luck in not
knowing something of Chinese writing.

"Allow me to assist you," said Big Sam politely. "This is your paper."
And he indicated one of the two in my hand with his long brown finger.

I saw that I was beaten.  The clever Oriental had been one too many for
me.  I raged inwardly as I looked at that bland, courteous, impassive
face before me, and for an instant thought of attempting to search him
by force.  The thought was gone as soon as it came.  Even with a fair
field the result of a personal encounter between us would have been in
doubt.  Big Sam was a well-built, powerful man, able to give a good
account of himself in a rough-and-tumble fight.  But in that den it
would have been madness to raise a finger against him.  I should but add
another to the long list of mysterious disappearances. I swallowed my
discomfiture and said as blandly as Big Sam himself:

"If you have no objections I’ll take a translation of both documents."

Big Sam paid my request the tribute of a smile. I read in the turn of
his lips a confirmation of my suspicion that neither paper was the one I
had brought.

"Certainly," he said.  "I will read them both to you.  After that you
can say more wisely which is yours."

He reached out his hand to take one of the papers, when a triple rap
sounded at one of the panels.  He straightened up and looked at me

"If you have no objections, Mr. Hampden, I shall do a little business.
Can you spare the time for the interruption?"

"Certainly.  When shall I come back?" said I, rising.

"Don’t move," said the Oriental courteously.  "It will be but a few
minutes, and it may interest you."  He rapped on the desk before him,
the door swung open, and in filed a dozen or more Chinese.

In the midst of the band were two men whose coarse dark faces stirred a
ripple of memory.  Where had I seen them?  For a moment I could not
recall them, searching too far back in time to cross their trail.  Then
it came to me that these were the two villains who had seized the
Chinese girl across the way but a few minutes before.  Their stolid
faces were hardly more expressive than a mask, yet under the "no-sabby"
look there was an indefinable trace of fear.  In the rear of the band
was the old man whose girl had been stolen.  None of them paid the
slightest attention to my presence, yet I felt well assured that not a
detail of my appearance was lost to them, as they huddled about the desk
before Big Sam.

The face of Big Sam had changed.  In place of the bland and courteous
diplomat was the stern judge and ruler.  In his eye was the anger that
he could not wholly conceal.  His voice gave no sign of emotion.  He
spoke in even tones, yet there was a force behind them that made every
word a threat.

It might all have been in dumb show for the understanding I got of it.
On the one side was accusation and reproach.  On the other was sullen
excuse and defense.  I could see that the anger of Big Sam grew as he
spoke.  Then at some denial or evasion of the men before him he clapped
his hands, a door opened and the young girl whose abduction I had
witnessed stepped in.  She gave a cry as she saw the two men who had
seized her, and would have shrunk back.

The old man, who had been standing in dejection in the rear of the
crowd, made an inarticulate sound of satisfaction and started toward

Big Sam jumped to his feet; the rage in his eyes overflowed into his
face, and his voice rang out sharply.  The girl ran to Big Sam and
clasped her hands, then threw herself on the floor before him.

[Illustration: The girl threw herself on the floor]

At the sound of Big Sam’s words the old man stepped back mumbling.  Big
Sam waved his hand, the abductors and the old man were led away, and the
girl, with hands clasped, lay bowed to the floor beside me.

The rage slowly faded out of the face of Big Sam.  With a word he raised
the girl to her feet, motioned her to a chair and seated himself.

"Of what use is it to hold the power of life and death over men, when
folly and greed are more powerful than your will?"

Big Sam spoke with a smile, but there was a bitterness in his tone.

"Neither money nor fear can put brains into the head of a fool," he
continued, with the same acrid savor to his words.  "I suppose you have
hardly understood what has gone on, Mr. Hampden."

"I confess I am much in the dark."

"Necessarily, as you do not understand our language. You saw the
beginning of the trouble.  You have seen what followed.  I wish you
could tell me the end."

"I’m sorry," I answered, "that I’m not a prophet--"

"It would be worth something to me--to both of us--if you were."

He paused a moment and turned to his charge before he continued: "This
girl, as you may suppose, is a valuable piece of property."

"I had not looked at her in that light."

"A defect of your western training, Mr. Hampden. She belongs to one of
our tongs--or to the leading men of that tong, which amounts to the same
thing.  Another tong has been most anxious to secure her, and has
offered as high as three thousand dollars for her possession.  It was
refused and four thousand demanded.  I interfered so far as to order
that the girl should be reserved until some man offered to make her his
wife.  She is pretty--very pretty, to our notions--and I have interested
myself so much in her welfare as to think that she would grace a home.
I suppose I do not need to tell you that the leaders of the two tongs
have no such destiny in view for her."

"Well, no, if rumor does them no injustice," I assented.

"It was promised that I should be obeyed.  I have been obeyed for many
months.  Yet just at this moment, when it is of the utmost importance
that we should be a peaceful, united body, these dogs of the gutter
start a war between the tongs."

"You have shown your power to end it," I said.

"You are too flattering, I fear," said the King of Chinatown.  "Fire in
flax, you say.  It is so much easier to keep fire out of flax than to
stamp it out after it starts.  It is in my power to punish these men,
but I fear that it is beyond my power to smother their enmity.  In the
code of the tongs blood or blood-money must pay for this."  He mused for
a little and seemed to be speaking to himself as much as to me.  "That
this should happen at such a time, when everything depends on our
self-control! It is shameful--shameful--a reproach to our race."

"At such a time?  I do not understand you," I ventured.  The hint in his
words was too plain to miss.

He looked at me sharply.

"You do not know what is going on in your own city, Mr. Hampden," he
said politely.

"I confess to a lack of information on the point you mention."

"It will be brought to your attention later," said Big Sam dryly.  "But
I am detaining you with matters of no interest.  You wished a
translation of these papers?"

His face was bland and impassive, yet I had the impression that he felt
he had said too much.

"It has been deeply interesting," I said.  "But I am imposing on your
good nature."  It was of no use to seek to learn from Big Sam anything
that he thought fit to conceal, and I placed the slips before him.

He read them off gravely.  One was a polite note of invitation to
dinner.  The other a memorandum of goods bought, or to be bought.

I thanked him and raged inwardly that I should have been outwitted.

Big Sam smiled blandly.  "It is nothing in the way of treason, whichever
paper you may choose."

"Quite innocent," I said, looking in his half veiled eyes.  I read that
he was under no delusion that he had deceived me.  I rose to go.

"One moment, Mr. Hampden," he said.  "You have asked a trifling favor of
me.  May I ask a much greater one of you?"


"This girl--I am perplexed to know what to do with her."

"Is there a more proper custodian than her father?"


"The old man--you know."

Big Sam laughed--a most unpleasant laugh, too.

"Quite as near a relation as yourself, Mr. Hampden. He is merely the
custodian for his tong."

"Then his pitiful tale to the police--"

"Oh, we do not want for the inventive faculty."

"Then what better guardian could you suggest than yourself," I said, "or
what better place than in your own home--or one of your homes?"  Big Sam
was reported to have one white wife and two Chinese wives, and it seemed
to me that he might provide for her safety with one of the three, in
case he did not wish to add to his matrimonial blessings.

"I have thought of that, but there are difficulties," he said, as a man
considering.  "I shall excite less enmity if I can provide for her
safety in another way."

"The Mission--" I suggested.

"I should have both tongs at my throat at once," he laughed.  "She must
be where she can be returned at my will.  And it is best that she should
be with some good white woman."

"I’m afraid that the good white woman you have in mind would not care to
take her in charge on those terms," I said.

Big Sam looked at the girl thoughtfully.

"Well, then, I must let my benevolent plans for her welfare go.  It is a
pity, too.  I do not often indulge in such a luxury.  But there are more
important matters at stake than the life of a girl."

I looked at the girl and remembered a painted face that had grinned at
me from behind a wicket a little while before.  At the thought of what
it meant to her, I took a sudden resolve.

"If I can be of service, I shall be happy."

"I don’t think you will regret it," said Big Sam. "Can you arrange it by
this evening?"

"I can not promise.  The conditions make a difficulty."

"True.  But they are imperative.  I must trust to your honor to carry
them out.  But I hope that you will remember that I stake my life on

I looked my surprise.

"It is quite true," he said simply.  "My people are not troubled with
scruples in the matter, and I must be security that the girl will be
returned when the conditions I make are complied with."

"And these are--"

"That a worthy man of her race wishes to make her his wife, and is
willing to settle the claims of the two tongs."

"The two tongs?"

"Yes.  He must pay the price demanded by the one, and the--the--"

"Blackmail," I suggested, as Big Sam hesitated for a word.

"Well, yes--not a pleasant word, I believe, but accurate--the blackmail
demanded by the other."

"I will do my best to find a guardian who will meet your conditions."

"Can you make it convenient to bring your word this evening?"

"That is short notice."

"It is important.  I shall be here from nine to twelve."

"I shall do my best."

"I shall be deeply in your debt," he said.

I looked at him closely.

"You can cancel it readily."

"I shall be most happy.  How?"

I hesitated a moment and rose.

"By telling me what is the business of your communications with Mr.
Peter Bolton."

We had come to such confidential terms on the matter of the maiden that
Big Sam allowed himself to be surprised.  His discomposure flashed in
his eyes for but an instant, and was gone.

"I do not understand you," he said politely, rising in his turn.

"The memorandum that I brought might remind you," I said dryly.

I could see that I had risen a notch in Big Sam’s estimation; and he was
uncertain how much more I knew than was on the surface.

"You have the advantage of me," he said.  "I furnished Mr. Bolton a
thousand men three months ago, but we have had no transactions since.  I
wish you good morning.  I shall expect you to-night between nine o’clock
and midnight."

And he bowed me out.

                              *CHAPTER V*

                       *MISS KENDRICK’S PLEASURE*

"I suppose it’s my uncle you want to see, so I’ll be going," said Miss
Kendrick in her piquant voice. She had been reading as I was ushered
into the library, and now stood, book in hand, in a graceful attitude of
meditated flight.

"If you please," I said, "it’s not your uncle I want to see.  I want to
ask a favor of you."

"A favor?  Of me?  Well, I hope it has nothing to do with the Bellinger
ball, for I’m trying to invent an excuse for not going."  And Miss
Kendrick tilted her nose and looked defiantly at me.

"I had no idea such an atrocity was in contemplation," I said.  "What I
want is some advice."

"Oh, how delightful!" cried Miss Kendrick, sinking into her chair and
motioning me to a seat.  "I always did dearly love to give advice.  It’s
such fun, for nobody ever follows it, and I can always tell them how
much better things would have turned out if they had.  But I never had
anybody come and ask for it before."  There was a sarcastic note in her
piquant voice that made me wonder, after all, whether I liked it.

"Now you are making sport of me," I said.

"Not at all.  I am quite serious, and shall listen with all my ears.
Who is she, and what is the difficulty?"

"_Cherchez la femme_--I see you have learned your proverbs.  She’s a
little heathen and I forgot to ask her name, and--"

"You’re a heathen yourself, then.  Why don’t you tell your story

"You interrupted me.  She’s a Chinese girl--"

"Oh," cried Miss Kendrick, "I don’t want to criticize, but if she isn’t
prettier than the ones I’ve seen, it’s due my conscience to tell you
that I don’t admire your taste.  And you might at least have inquired
her name."

"Good heavens!" I gasped.  "It’s not a love affair."

"How disappointing!" she sighed, with an affectation of addressing the
bust of Homer that frowned from the top of the bookcase.  "I thought he
was going to be interesting.  Well, if it isn’t a love affair, I don’t
see what you want my advice for; but if you’ll have the goodness to
explain the matter, I’ll do my best for you."

Thereupon I told her the story of my morning’s adventure, or so much as
concerned the Chinese maiden, and set forth the wish of Big Sam to have
the girl in the hands of a white woman who would surrender her on

"Now, I’ve gone to three ladies I thought might be willing to undertake
the charge," I concluded, "but they would hear nothing of it unless she
was to be converted and stay with the whites, or with Christian Chinese.
That is out of the question.  I’m at the end of my list, and I’m looking
for another; so I’ve come to you."

Miss Kendrick listened with absorbed interest. Whatever of raillery or
affectation there had been in her manner was gone.

"I’m not wise about such matters," she said soberly, "but I think you
have done what you ought. I’ve heard of this dreadful slavery from the
girls who teach at the Mission, but I can hardly believe it.  I’m sure
we must do what we can to save this girl."  She was silent for a little,
and then went on. "I’m afraid my list is the Mission list.  And you’re
quite certain the Mission list won’t do?"

"Quite certain."

She counted her small fingers with an inaudible moving of the lips, and
I watched her with the pleasure that one takes in watching a pretty
child. She was so small it seemed impossible that she was seriously
considering one of the serious problems of life.  She gave a little sigh
as the last finger was reached.

"I’m afraid I don’t know her," she said regretfully. "All my ladies are
very religious ladies, and I don’t think they would approve your bargain
at all.  I’m not sure, on mature consideration, that I approve it

"It is that or nothing."

"Isn’t there a law, or a habeas corpus writ, or a policeman, or
something?" said Miss Kendrick anxiously.

"I’m afraid," said I, smiling grimly at the recollection of Big Sam and
his power, "that the law doesn’t afford us much encouragement.  We
should never find her if we tried that policy."

"Well, I suppose you know best about that.  So I don’t see anything to
do but to take her in here."

"Why, Miss Kendrick!" I exclaimed.  "I didn’t think of such a thing as
that.  What would your uncle say?"

"Uncle might be a little explosive," admitted Miss Kendrick with a
smile, "but it’s just possible that he could be managed."

I was perplexed to know what to do.  I could see vague, unformed reasons
against accepting her offer, yet it might prove that there was no other
resource, if I was not to abandon the Chinese girl to her fate. I was
turning over in my mind what to say when a servant appeared and

"Mr. Baldwin to see you, Miss."

Miss Kendrick blushed very prettily at the name, and I felt a sudden
dislike of any man who should be so far in her favor that his name
should call the color to her face.

"Here’s the man who can help us," she said.  "He’s sure to know somebody
who will do."

This confidence in Mr. Baldwin gave me a most unpleasant shock, nor were
my unchristian feelings softened by the air of confidential
proprietorship with which Mr. Baldwin took Miss Kendrick’s hand and
replied to Miss Kendrick’s greeting.

Mr. Baldwin proved to be a tall, big-faced young man, with a black
mustache and a pair of snapping black eyes.  He accepted an introduction
with such frigid politeness that it was only an access of internal
resentment that prevented me from being frozen.

"I believe we have not met," he said coldly.

"I believe not," I replied cheerfully, "though I saw you in the last
trial of Merwin against Bolton."

He bowed in a superior way at the compliment of the recollection, though
as junior member of the firm of Hunter, Fessenden and Baldwin he had
played in court what the actors know as a "thinking part" as the
guardian of a stack of law books from which his more celebrated partners
drew their inspiration.

"For the defense," admitted Mr. Baldwin.  "A very interesting case."

"Oh, don’t get him started on that, Mr. Hampden," said Miss Kendrick.
"I’ve lectured him on the wickedness of being in the hire of that awful
Peter Bolton, but he’s quite incorrigible.  I’ve something much more
important to talk to him about."

"I am all ears," said Mr. Baldwin, unbending graciously.  It was
marvelous to note the difference in his manner of addressing us.

"Not so bad as that!" said Miss Kendrick.  "Well, it’s a case of
knight-errantry that Mr. Hampden has engaged in, and your help is

"Oh," said Mr. Baldwin, "my services are tendered only to beauty in

"That’s exactly the case," said Miss Kendrick.  "It isn’t Mr. Hampden
who is to be rescued.  It’s a lady fair.  She’s locked up in the ogre’s
castle and I want her taken out."

"Very good," said Mr. Baldwin.  "Would any particular time suit you?  It
lacks three hours yet of midnight."

"Oh, it must be done right away," said Miss Kendrick.

"Well," I said, "Mr. Baldwin should be enlightened as to the chief
difficulty.  There’s no trouble in getting the lady in the case.  The
principal thing is to know what to do with her after she’s rescued."  I
began to hope that Mr. Baldwin might know of some proper custodian for
the Chinese girl.

"Why, Mr. Hampden is to marry her out of hand, I suppose," said he.
"That’s the way it used to run in the old story-books."

"Thank you, no," I laughed.  "I resign my claim to Mr. Baldwin in

"I don’t think it would do," said Miss Kendrick, shaking her head
sagely.  "Besides, there are other conditions to be fulfilled.  But I
truly want your counsel, Mr. Baldwin."

"At your service.  Let me hear the case."

Thereupon Miss Kendrick stated the problem of the Chinese girl.

"Now," she continued, "unless you can suggest some better way, I want
her brought here."

"Well, my advice, since you have asked it, is to have nothing to do with
the affair," said Mr. Baldwin.

"Oh, that wasn’t the part I wanted to ask you about," said Miss Kendrick
composedly.  "I want to find if you know anybody better fitted than I am
to take charge of her under the conditions--some older person, you know,
for I’m not so venerable as I’m afraid I shall be some day."

Mr. Baldwin appeared to be no better pleased than I with the idea of
having Miss Kendrick take charge of the girl.

"These are not the sort of people you should have to do with," he began,
when she stopped him.

"Were you going to say that you knew of somebody who can do it better
than I?  Because if you weren’t, the sooner you and Mr. Hampden start on
your expedition the sooner you’ll be coming back."

I was not so sure that I cared for the company of Mr. Baldwin in my
visit to Big Sam, but I could see no way to decline it.

"I think," said Mr. Baldwin with sudden brightening, "that we want Mercy
Fillmore.  She isn’t so old a person as you might like, Miss Kendrick,
but she has taken to charity work and is used to dealing with this sort
of people.  Except for her liking for that kind of work, she’s a
reasonable creature and doesn’t make conversion to a church the sole
object of her life.  I don’t see why she has gone in for it, but as she
has decided to waste her life in that way she might as well waste it on
this young person as on any other."

"I remember her," said Miss Kendrick, nodding her shapely head.  "She
was one of the ’big girls’ when I started to school.  She was very good
to us youngsters and I believe the other big girls used to call her ’a
little queer.’  I used to think her quite grown up, for she was fifteen
when I was ten.  But I dare say she wouldn’t seem so venerable now.  I’m
sure she would be just the one--if she’ll do it."

"I can answer for her, I think," said Mr. Baldwin.

"Well, you can’t see her to-night," said Miss Kendrick, "so you had
better go with Mr. Hampden and bring the girl here.  Then you can
arrange with Miss Fillmore to-morrow."

Mr. Baldwin looked appealingly at me.

"Why wouldn’t it be better," I said, "to leave the girl where she is
till to-morrow?  I shall tell Big Sam what we have decided and he can
keep her safe."

Mr. Baldwin nodded approval.

"I see," said Miss Kendrick, "that you have oceans of confidence in Big
Sam and those murderous highbinders.  But I’m not a man, and I haven’t.
I don’t know what will happen before morning.  Now, if you’ll put on
your hats and coats and go, you’ll relieve my mind."

I rose reluctantly.

"If you don’t like to go alone," said Miss Kendrick, with a saucy shake
of the head and a very determined look about the mouth, "I’ll ask you to
be my escort."

"But, I was about to ask--what will your uncle say?"

"Say?" cried the hearty voice of Wharton Kendrick, as his big frame
filled the doorway and his ruddy face shone in the light.  "Why, shovels
and scissors, gentlemen, he would say just what she told him to.  What’s
it about?"

Miss Kendrick had risen, and with an emphatic nod of the head at this
indorsement of a blank check in her favor, looked at us steadily.

"In that case, we’d best be going," said Mr. Baldwin. "Miss Kendrick can
explain the case better than we."

"I shall expect you back in an hour," she said.

                              *CHAPTER VI*

                         *BIG SAM’S DIPLOMACY*

We walked down the street in silence, and I could feel Mr. Baldwin’s
chilling disapproval of our errand radiating from him at every step.

"We had better take the Clay Street car down to the City Hall, and get a
hack at the Plaza," I said at last.

"I suppose that will be the best way," he assented coldly.  "Since we
are in for this unfortunate business, the less notice we attract, the

His tone roused a flash of temper in me, and I replied tartly:

"If the business is so distasteful to you, there are plenty of streets
that lead in the other direction."

"Very true," he said with a shrug.  But his steady footstep told me that
he had no thought of turning back.  We fell into silence, and so
continued until we reached the Plaza.

"What’s this?" I exclaimed, for at the corner of Clay and Kearny Streets
a crowd was gathered, and a cheer, or rather a confusion of vocal
applause, broke out as we approached.

A man mounted on a cart was shouting fiercely to several hundred men who
had gathered about him, and I could hear such words as "leprous
heathen," "cursed Mongols," and other phrases of denunciation roll from
his lips.

I looked at him more closely.  He was tall and broad-shouldered, and his
coarse, florid features brought in a flash of memory the scene in the
House of Blazes when the bleeding policeman had been rescued from his
hoodlum assailants.

"Why, that’s Kearney!" I cried.

"A friend of yours?" asked Mr. Baldwin sarcastically.

"I met him once."

"Perhaps you’d like to renew your acquaintance," said Mr. Baldwin, as we
paused in curiosity on the edge of the crowd.  "He seems to have an
education in classical history."

We caught some reference to the labor troubles of Rome, and the fate of
the freeman under the slave system that destroyed the ancient republic.

"I hadn’t suspected it from a moment’s speech with him," I said.  "He
has a good voice for this sort of work."

The crowd again broke out into tumultuous shouts at some bit of pleasing

"Where are the police?" said Mr. Baldwin.  "They ought to stop this."

I pointed to three or four members of the force who were standing near
the speaker, apparently indifferent to his language.

"That’s a scandalous neglect of duty," said Mr. Baldwin.  "But we had
better go about our unfortunate errand."

We had gone but two steps, however, before a hand grasped me by the

"Glad to see you, Hampden.  Glad to see you interested in the cause of
the people.  Welcome to our reception!"

It was the voice of Parks, giving boisterous greeting as he shook me by
the hand.

"Isn’t he great?" he continued rapidly.  "What do you think of his

There was pride of authorship in his inquiry, and every movement
testified to the excitement and pleasure that thrilled him.

"Is this your first performance?" I asked.

"No," he said.  "We’ve been trying it on the street corners at odd
times.  Now we are ready to begin in earnest.  What do you think of it?"

"I think you are rash to begin your agitation so near the police
station.  Your man will probably find himself in jail before he gets
through his speech."

"The very thing!" said Parks explosively.  "The best advertisement we
could have.  Here’s our motto: ’The Chinese must go.’  You can see it
stirs ’em.  Listen to that cheer.  What could rouse the men of the city
faster than to have Kearney thrown into jail for expressing their
sentiments?  Sir, if you think otherwise, you do not understand the

Parks gave an emphatic shake to his head and another to his warning
forefinger that was held before me, and the wild look of the enthusiast
glowed in his face.

"Doubtless you are right," I admitted.  "But I must keep an engagement
that will deprive me of the privilege of listening to your orator."

"You will have to listen to him some day," said Parks, shaking his
finger at us once more.  "The day of the people is coming."

Mr. Baldwin had been watching us with some interest.

"Your friend appears to be very much in earnest," he said as we went our

"There’s a man who’s very likely to be hanged because he thinks he has
an idea," I replied.

"I should say he was more likely to end his days in the violent ward at
Stockton," returned Mr. Baldwin.

"Perhaps you are the better guesser," I admitted. "It will depend on his

We had come among the hackmen at the other end of Portsmouth Square, and
I picked out one with courage in his face and a good span of horses to
his hack.

"This will do, I think," I said.

"Very good," replied Mr. Baldwin, stepping into the hack.  "Have you
arranged any plan of proceeding? I suppose you know the condition of
affairs better than I."  This last an evident apology for deferring to
my judgment.

"Yes," said I, as we lurched around the corner and rolled up Washington
Street.  "You had better remain with the hack across the street and a
door or two from Big Sam’s.  I shall run up-stairs and tell him our
plans.  If he approves of them we will bring the girl down, bundle her
into the hack and get her out of here as quick as the fates will let

"You are certain you would not like company when you go up the stairs to
see Big Sam?" inquired Mr. Baldwin carelessly.

"I don’t think it necessary," I replied.

"Are you armed?" he asked.

"I have a revolver."

"Very good.  I have nothing but a penknife.  It is hardly customary to
carry firearms when making a social call."

"I do not make a habit of it," I said coldly.  "I expected to come here
to-night, and I did not foresee that I was to have company."

He made no reply to this, and the hack drew up near Big Sam’s door as I
had directed.

I stepped out and Mr. Baldwin followed.

"I think you had better remain here," I said.

"Perhaps," he replied.  "But if you have no objection I’ll stop at the
foot of the stairs.  You might have occasion to call to me and I should
hear you better there."

"I think there is no danger."

"Big Sam is not as scrupulous as you may think. It has been said that
men have gone up those stairs who never came down."

I remembered Big Sam’s judgment hall, and the power he had apparently
exercised over the warring tongs, and thought it quite likely that
judgments had been executed as well as passed within its walls.

"Suit yourself," I said.  "But as you are not armed you can do nothing
but raise an alarm if the need comes.  And you may be in more danger
than I."

"Perhaps the hackman has a pistol," said Mr. Baldwin coolly.  "I may be
able to get a loan."

The hackman proved to be supplied with a fire-arm and he surrendered it
cheerfully to Mr. Baldwin.

"Oh, the place has a bad name, but I’ve been through it for tin year and
niver fired a shot," said he, laughing at the apprehension of the two
innocent strangers he supposed us to be.  And we crossed the street and
opened the door of the shop that made the entrance to Big Sam’s

Four or five Chinese lounged about the place and one took my name to Big
Sam.  The others watched us furtively, and one made some comment upon us
that caused his companions to give us a quick look and grim smile.

The action was not lost on Mr. Baldwin.

"Our friend’s body-guard do not seem to anticipate the same ending to
the affair that you do, Mr. Hampden," said he, with a shrug of the

"I do not suppose they are in his confidence in the matter," said I.
Then as the messenger returned with word that I was to "come up," I
continued: "Keep near the door in yonder corner where you can not be
taken from behind.  If anything happens, get to the police station as
soon as you can.  I shall probably be back inside of ten minutes."

Mr. Baldwin bowed as his reply to this injunction, and spoke affably to
the shopman who had paused from the swift reckoning of his accounts on
an abacus, and was watching us furtively with the innocent pretense of
casting up sums in his mind.

I mounted the rough stairs and in another minute was ushered into Big
Sam’s office.

The softer lights of the night that came from the gas-jets brought out
the richness of the apartment far more effectively than the coarse light
of day. The carvings and painted ornaments showed to more advantage, and
the colors were softened into harmony with the western eye.  In spite of
the preoccupation of my errand, I could not repress an exclamation of
pleasure at the sight.

Big Sam sat at his desk as he had sat when I left him in the morning,
and looked at me with bland impassiveness.

"Good evening, Mr. Hampden," he said politely. "Can I serve you again?"

"No," I said, a little taken aback at this greeting. "It is on your
business I have come."

"And your companion down-stairs?" he said, looking at me out of
half-closed oriental eyes.

"He may be of service in case--"

Big Sam raised his hand to check my speech and spoke in Chinese.  At his
words there was the soft sound of the closing of a door somewhere behind
the screens.

"A prudent precaution," he said.  "You have found a place for the girl?"

"Yes," I replied.  "I must say I do not fully approve of what I am going
to do.  But it is not on account of your ward.  Nothing could be better
for her than what I have to offer."

Then I explained with some detail the plans that had been approved by
Miss Kendrick.  He listened with studious attention.

"Miss Kendrick is too kind," said Big Sam diplomatically.  "She is
young, I believe?"

I bowed.

"And Miss Fillmore also?"

I bowed again.

"And you do not approve?"

"I do not."

"I see your reasons.  Perhaps you are right.  Do you wish to abandon the
girl to her fate?"

"Oh, not at all.  But with more time--"

"There is no more time."

"Not to-morrow?"

"The tongs are even now in session.  I have word that before morning
there will be a demand for the girl, and if she is not surrendered there
will be the reward of blood."

"You are more powerful than they," said I, remembering the scene of the

"I have passed the limits of my power," said Big Sam placidly.  "What is
it you say of Russia? ’Despotism tempered by assassination?’  Well, I am
but little of a despot, and the assassin has so much the better

"And by to-morrow you would give her up?" I asked.

"To be frank with you, I would give her up to-night, Mr. Hampden, if it
would purchase peace and safety."

I looked sharply at Big Sam, but the oriental mask gave back the record
of nothing but bland and child-like simplicity.

"Then why not?" I asked.

"There is but one girl.  There are two tongs," said Big Sam.

"That makes a difficulty," I admitted.  "Yet only one tong owns the

"I fear I could not explain to you the attitude and customs of the tongs
in this matter," said Big Sam with a smile.  "One tong demands the
delivery of the girl, or five thousand dollars.  That is the one you
would perhaps call the owner of the girl.  The other demands the girl,
or twenty-five hundred dollars."

"Seventy-five hundred dollars for a girl--that is a little expensive."

"I believe some of your countrymen have paid more.  Though the bargain
has not been made in so simple a fashion."

Big Sam allowed himself to smile.

"I don’t see how we are to help you then," I said. "But if you think it
will put the tongs in better humor to have the girl in our custody, we
are at your service."

"This evening," said Big Sam, "I saw three dogs quarreling over a bone.
A fourth dog much larger came by and snatched it.  The three dogs ceased
to quarrel and started in chase of the fourth."

"A cheerful augury," I said.  "I wish no quarrel with assassins, and
least of all would I wish to bring them upon Mr. Kendrick’s household."

"The fourth dog," continued Big Sam, "was larger--much larger--than the
three put together. They ceased the chase before it was fairly begun,
and joined in mourning their loss."

"You put me in doubt," said I.  "I must not bring danger to others."

"I can guarantee their safety, Mr. Hampden," said Big Sam.  "Your police
have impressed it thoroughly on the minds of our people that the white
race is not to be meddled with by any but white men."

I hesitated, still fearful of the dangers that might follow the custody
of the girl.

"There is then no resource but to turn the girl into the street," said
Big Sam decisively.  "I can not risk my plans merely to secure her

"Nor your life," I retorted.

"Oh, a man will die when he dies.  Life, death, riches, poverty--they
are man’s fate.  But my plans--they are much to me and my people."

Big Sam then pulled a cord that swung behind him.  The door opened and
the Chinese girl, frightened and tearful, was pushed in.

"The decision is for you, Mr. Hampden," he said.

I looked upon her and thought what the decision meant to her.

"Does she go with you, or with the tongs?" he asked.

"I have decided.  I will take her," I said with sudden resolution.

"On the conditions I mentioned this morning?"

"It is late to bargain," said I.

"On the contrary," he said, "it is necessary.  It is only with these
conditions of compromise that I can hope to make my peace with the

"You have my promise," I said, rising.

"One moment," said Big Sam.  "I believe you are a brave man, Mr.

"I really don’t know," I replied.

"At least you do not mind hearing a few revolver shots?"

"Not at all."

"They will serve to amuse some of our friends who are on the watch."

The implied information that we were spied upon by sentinels of the
tongs startled me for a moment, though I might have known that they
would not neglect so obvious a precaution.

"If you and your friend wouldn’t mind breaking a window and smashing
something and firing a shot or two yourselves and making a good deal of
noise before you carry off the girl, it would oblige me."

"Why should we attract so much attention?  Is it not better to slip out

"Do you think to avoid the eyes that are watching?" said Big Sain.  "The
bold course is the best. We make sound as of a fight.  The watchers of
the two tongs will each believe that the other has made an attack.  They
will hasten to the meeting places to summon help.  For a minute the road
will be clear. Then you must run for it."

This was more of an enterprise than I had bargained for, and if I had
had time to think I should have got out of Big Sam’s net and left him to
carry out his plans through some other agency.  But I did not stop to
reflect and acted at the urging of the wily Oriental.

"Take the girl," he said, and spoke to her in brief command.  "My men
will assist you to disturb things down-stairs."

I picked my way down the steps, and the soft clack of the Chinese shoe
sounded behind me as the girl followed.  Big Sam accompanied me to the
lower floor, and, after making sure that our hack was where we had left
it, he gave orders to his men.  I hastily explained the situation to Mr.

"Ah--a comedy performance," he said with affected carelessness.  But I
could see that he cursed himself for a fool for being drawn into the

"Draw your revolver, but don’t fire more than one shot," I said.

Big Sam gave a shout, and in an instant the place was filled with a
medley of voices raised in tones of anger and alarm.  A table was
overturned, boxes were flung about, cries of men rose, a dozen revolver
shots followed in quick succession, a woman’s scream pierced the air,
and there was an excellent imitation of a highbinder affray on a small
scale.  I fired one shot into the breast of a mandarin, whose painted
outlines ornamented a chest, and providently reserved the rest of my
bullets for possible need. Then two of the Chinese lifted a heavy box
and flung it at the closed doors.  There was a crash of wood, a jingle
of breaking glass, and the door fell outward.

"Well, I should judge it was time to go," said Mr. Baldwin.

"Come on," I said, seizing the Chinese girl.  And we started on the run
for the hack as the lights were extinguished.

We had just reached it when two or three more shots were fired and a
bullet sang uncomfortably close to my head.

"In there, quick!" I said to Mr. Baldwin, as I lifted the girl to her
seat "This place is getting too hot for us."

"Aren’t you coming in?" he asked, with a trace of anxiety in his tone.

"No.  I’ll ride with the driver."  I slammed the door and was climbing
to the box when two breathless Chinese ran to the side of the hack and
wrenched open the door with angry exclamations.  There was a howl as one
of them staggered back from a blow from Mr. Baldwin’s revolver.  I gave
the other a kick alongside the head that sent him in a heap on his

It was all done in a second.

"Now!" I said to the driver; and with a cut at his horses we dashed away
as cries and shouts and sounds of police whistles began to rise behind

As we lurched around the corner of Sacramento Street, I could see three
policemen turning into Waverly Place from Clay Street and hurrying to
the scene of disturbance.  A crowd of shouting Chinese had already
gathered about the entrance to Big Sam’s store, and a man was waving his
arm and pointing after us, while half a dozen Chinese had started on the
run in pursuit.  Then, the corner turned, the sight was shut out, and we
went down the street on the flying gallop.

We slackened speed as we neared Kearny Street, for a policeman stood on
the corner.  If the sounds of battle had reached him he must certainly
have suspected and stopped us.  But if he heard anything of the uproar
we had raised he had doubtless placed it to the credit of the
leather-lunged orator and his clamorous hearers who held forth but a
block away. He scarce looked at us, and we swung into Kearny Street on a
swift trot, and were soon in the quiet precincts of the shopping

The hackman had been silent, heeding only my directions; but now he

"I don’t know what you’ve been a-doin’, an’ it’s none of my business.
But I’ll want pay for this night’s work."

"Make yourself easy," I replied.  "We’ve done nothing against the law."

"Oh, it’s not the law I’m botherin’ about.  There’s little law for a
Chaynese; an’ it’s not me that would be hollerin’ murther if you’ve sent
a dozen of ’em to sup with the divil to-night.  But you might have
damaged the hack, an’ ye’ll pay for that."

I promised him a liberal reward, and we rolled rapidly out Sutter Street
to Van Ness Avenue, and in a few minutes more had drawn up before
Wharton Kendrick’s house.

"I am afraid," said Mr. Baldwin as I opened the door to the hack, "that
our charge is hurt.  She has been groaning for a while, and now I think
she has fainted."

My nerves had served me without flinching through the dangers of the
escape.  But at the apprehension that all our efforts had been in vain,
and that death, not we, had been the rescuer, I fell a-trembling.

"I hope not," I cried.  "Perhaps she is only scared. Let us carry her
into the house."

As I put my hand to the girl, however, my fears received a fresh
provocation, for the back of her dress was wet with the sticky wetness
of coagulating blood.  We lifted her between us, and carried her up the
steps.  We had scarce reached the upper landing when the door was flung
open, and Miss Kendrick peered out.

"Have you brought her?" she cried.

"She is here," I replied, "but--"

"Oh, what is the matter?" interrupted Miss Kendrick in a voice of alarm,
as she saw that we carried a senseless burden.

"She is hurt," I explained as we laid our charge down upon a hall seat.
"There was a row over her, and she got one of the bullets that was meant
for us."

Miss Kendrick grew white, and I looked to see her follow the Chinese
girl by falling in a faint.  But her small figure straightened as though
in rebound from a physical shock, and in a moment she was directing
servants to carry the girl to the room that had been prepared for her,
ordering hot water, hot blankets, lint and bandages, and sending me on
the run for the nearest doctor.

                             *CHAPTER VII*

                            *IN THE CURRENT*

The Chinese girl’s wound proved a desperate matter, and for days she
hung between life and death, dependent for the flickering vital spark
upon the ceaseless ministrations of her self-appointed nurses. Mercy
Fillmore was brought to the house by Mr. Baldwin at an early hour of the
morning that followed the rescue, and took her place as naturally and
unostentatiously as though she had always been one of the family.

"She’s a thousand times lovelier than I had expected," confessed Laura
Kendrick, "and when you see her you’re to be very nice to her.  I’m sure
you owe her that much, after making her all this trouble."

I promised to use all gentleness and courtesy toward Miss Fillmore, but
the full significance of my debt to the young lady did not appear to me
till later. Eventually I found that by some inexplicable freak of logic
I was supposed to be chiefly in fault for the Chinese girl’s wound.  I
had bungled the enterprise, it seemed; otherwise she must have been
brought safely off.  The sense of my delinquency was finally stirred
within me by overhearing the comment of two indignant servants, which
ran something like this:

"Those two big men without ever a scratch on them, and that poor heathen
creature bleeding to death between ’em--that’s what I call a shame."

Below stairs, it thus appeared that I shared equally with Mr. Baldwin in
the discredit of the outcome. In my lady’s chamber it was different.  I
learned that in those sacred realms I had all the blame for my very own.
Mr. Baldwin appeared to be regarded, like the gallant army of Bazaine or
Mack, as merely the unfortunate victim of an incompetent leader. Nothing
of this judgment came to me directly.  But it was conveyed delicately,
imperceptibly, intangibly, through the days when the girl’s life hung in
suspense, mingled with an unspoken assurance that as I didn’t appear to
know any better I should ultimately be forgiven.

All this was galling enough, but it was nothing compared to the
afflictions I suffered from the sight of Mr. Baldwin’s airs.  He was
possessed of a cold and haughty nature, but the situation roused in him
something approaching an enthusiasm.  For my sorrow he was endowed with
an odious gift of competency, and no false modesty restrained him from
exhibiting it to the fullest measure.  Whenever I offered to perform a
service, I found that he had already performed it, or was then engaged
upon it, or was just about to perform it, until I was consumed with
regret that the highbinder bullet had not found its billet with Mr.
Baldwin, instead of with the Chinese girl.

I should not go so far as to assert that any one of the self-sufficiency
of Mr. Baldwin would be at a loss for an excuse for following his own
inclinations; yet it struck me that he carried the pretense of devotion
to the interests of the Chinese girl to an extent altogether indecorous.
The prosperity of the firm of Hunter, Fessenden and Baldwin had never
before appealed to my fears or my sympathies, but I was at this period
distressed to observe that its law business appeared to be at a low ebb.
Either that, or the junior partner was grossly neglecting his duties.
Whatever time of day or night I called at the Kendrick house to seek
news of the Chinese girl, and incidentally to enjoy the society of the
ladies, I was sure to find Mr. Baldwin there, or to learn that he had
just gone or was presently expected, until I grew to resent the sound of
his name. Furthermore, his air of proprietorship in Laura Kendrick and
her affairs, which had disturbed me on our first meeting, appeared to
grow more marked. If Miss Kendrick, her uncle, and all things beneath
the roof had been turned over to him in fee simple, the sense of
ownership could not have been shown more clearly in his manner.  And,
worst of all, I could not see that his attitude roused resentment in any
breast but my own.  Miss Kendrick smiled on him, called him by his first
name, and discussed the theory and practice of surgery with him in a
manner most confidential.

At this day I can confess with freedom that my dislike of Mr. Baldwin
found its root in the fertile soil of jealousy and envy.  At the time,
however, I stoutly maintained to myself that I hated him for his faults
alone.  In the light of later experience, I am willing to concede that
men are not hated for their faults, or even for their virtues.  Had Mr.
Baldwin been an angel of light, instead of a cold and supercilious young
attorney who was receiving an undeserved amount of favor, I should have
disliked him none the less heartily.

Mr. Baldwin returned my dislike with acridity. Whenever possible, he
affected to have forgotten me, had to be assisted to my name when
compelled to speak to me; and when he did decide to remember me, was so
patronizing in his condescensions that I longed to throw him through the

Miss Kendrick was not long in discovering this suppressed hostility; and
at first alarmed by it, she presently found it a source of amusement.
Then she appeared to derive a certain pleasure in blowing the smoldering
coals into a blaze; for she would, with the most innocent air
imaginable, bring forward topics of discussion that served to range us
in hostile argument.  As we held opposite views on almost every question
of politics, law, sociology, and the arts, she had usually more
difficulty to close the argument than to inspire it.  Yet she handled
the situation with a skill that would have been the admiration of a
diplomat, and had a tact in diversion that enabled us both to retire
from the heat of battle in good order with the conviction that we had
each won a substantial victory.

In the anxious days through which the Chinese girl’s life hung by a
thread, I learned that Laura Kendrick’s characterization of Mercy
Fillmore was no example of feminine exaggeration.  Miss Fillmore proved
to be a young woman of about twenty-five, a little above the average
height, a little fuller in outline than was demanded by the rules of
proportion, a little slow in her movements.  Her face was round, and
though lacking in color gave a distinct impression of prettiness.  But
her chief characteristic was a certain calm sweetness in expression and
manner, a certain gentle tact that made her presence as soothing as a
strain of sweet music.  It was on the evening following the rescue that
Miss Kendrick introduced us.

"I am glad to meet you," she said in a voice that was low and melodious.
"I am glad to find a man who is not afraid to do the right thing because
somebody is going to laugh at him."

Miss Fillmore gave me her hand, and I found that her touch had the same
soothing quality that was manifest in her voice and presence.

I professed myself gratified at her approval, and murmured that any one
would have done the same in the circumstances.

"No, indeed," said Miss Fillmore earnestly.  "It isn’t every one who
would have followed Mr. Baldwin to that den and risked his life to
rescue a poor Chinese slave girl."

Mr. Baldwin’s part in the affair had evidently lost nothing in Mr.
Baldwin’s telling of it, and Miss Fillmore’s imagination had filled out
the blanks in his narrative in a way to make him the promoter of the

He was quick to see the peril of his situation, and said stiffly:

"Oh, if there’s any credit to the affair, it belongs to Mr. Hampden
alone.  He discovered the distressed damsel, and is entitled to all the

Laura Kendrick gave him a pleased look and a gracious nod, which
afflicted me with a pang of unwarranted resentment.

"I claim all the credit myself," she said, with a little air of
importance.  "I seem to remember two rather reluctant knights who were
anything but pleased to be sent out to storm the ogre’s castle at the
call of beauty in distress."

"It was well done, whoever was responsible for it," said Miss Fillmore
gently.  "It is a noble thing to have rescued Moon Ying."

"Moon Ying!" cried Mr. Baldwin.  "Is that the creature’s name?"

"I never thought to ask it," I said.

"So like a man!" sighed Miss Kendrick.

"I want you to tell me," said Mercy Fillmore, "how you came to find Moon
Ying, and be interested in her.  How long have you known her?"

"She’s a very recent acquaintance.  I first saw her yesterday morning."
And then I gave in detail the story of my visit to Chinatown, and the
adventures that came of it.

"And that is all you know about her?" asked Miss Fillmore, in a voice
that imported disappointment. "I had hoped that you knew more.  She is
so much above the type of Chinese girls that we meet at the Mission that
she has interested me particularly."

"Big Sam gave me the idea that except for her beauty, which I understand
to be of a sort highly considered among her countrymen, she is not above
the girls you find at the Mission."

"Well, then, it’s only another romance spoiled," said Miss Fillmore.

"Oh, you needn’t despair.  Big Sam appeared to be dealing frankly with
me, but that proves nothing. Big Sam is an accomplished diplomat and
would tell any story that suited his purpose, and tell it so neatly that
you couldn’t distinguish it from the truth.  For all I know, she may be
the daughter of the Empress of China."

"Nothing so interesting, I fear," said Miss Fillmore, with a sober shake
of the head.

"Well, then, let’s make believe.  She shall be a princess of the blood
royal, and shall have a story suited to her dignity."

Miss Fillmore smiled dubiously, as though she were not quite certain
whether I was in jest or earnest.

"It isn’t necessary," she said, her practical mind refusing to descend
to frivolity.  "Whatever her origin, we must see that she has a better
fate than the one that threatens her."

"Yes, so far as it can be done within the conditions laid down by Big

Miss Fillmore’s forehead drew into a knot of lines in which could be
read a mingling of disapproval and anxiety.

"I have been thinking," she said, with an apologetic reproach in her
voice, "that you didn’t do quite right to make those conditions.  Can’t
they be--" she was going to say "evaded" but after a moment’s debate
with a feminine conscience changed it to "modified."

"I’m afraid I didn’t make myself clear," I said. "Those were the only
conditions on which the girl could have the opportunity to escape.
Unless Big Sam can arrange better terms with the tongs, we have no
choice but to live up to them."

Miss Fillmore was silent at this, and I wondered whether I had not, on
my side, given too strong an emphasis to the reminder that we were
discussing a question of good faith.

"Well," said Miss Kendrick with decision, "we’ll leave all that till
Moon Ying is quite well, and then I’ll see Big Sam and the highbinders
myself, if Mr. Hampden can’t get them to listen to decency and reason."

"Good heavens!" cried Mr. Baldwin, with chilling protest in his tone.
"You surely can’t mean to do anything of that sort.  You don’t suppose
that those creatures are open to reason and decency, do you?"

"Oh, indeed," said Miss Kendrick, straightening her small figure and
tip-tilting her small nose, "I consider Big Sam an interesting man, and
I’m sure I should like to talk with him.  And as for reason, I have no
doubt he’s quite as open to conviction as the rest of his sex.  I shan’t
have the slightest hesitation in appealing to him, or even to those
explosive highbinders, if it’s necessary to Moon Ying’s interests."

"Why, my dear young lady," protested Mr. Baldwin in his most superior
manner, "you surely can’t be thinking of going down to Chinatown and
talking to those fellows.  It’s altogether absurd."

"Well, if you consider it absurd to try to save a girl’s life or
happiness, I don’t," said Miss Kendrick tartly.  And for the rest of the
evening Mr. Baldwin sat under a cloud, and I enjoyed a brief period of

                             *CHAPTER VIII*

                     *A CONTRIBUTION TO THE CAUSE*

I confess that, despite all discouragements, I spent as much time as I
could spare from my duties in haunting the Kendrick house; yet I found
the pursuit of Peter Bolton, and the oversight of the Council of Nine, a
more exacting task than I had expected.

On Peter Bolton’s ultimate purposes I could secure no direct light
whatever.  For the time he appeared to have suspended relations with the
Council of Nine, yet his activities in conferring with bankers, brokers,
merchants, lawyers, and men of no classification, were so various and
bewildering that I was compelled to keep watch in many directions.
Twice Parks and Waldorf, the president of the Council of Nine, visited
his office, and were turned away without seeing him, though on at least
one of these visits he was within.  His plans appeared to have taken
another direction than the schemes of the Council, yet there was nothing
in his movements that revealed whatever designs he might have against
Wharton Kendrick’s property or life.

Nevertheless I took the precaution to station a number of watchmen about
Wharton Kendrick’s house, masqueraded as gardeners and stable-men. The
episode of the spy had shown plainly that Peter Bolton’s emissaries had
no scruples about invading the premises.  Furthermore, Big Sam’s
assurance that the highbinders would never dare to attack the white
man’s place, confirmed as it was by the history of San Francisco’s
Chinese population, did not justify me in neglecting precautions.  Even
a highbinder might have an exception to his rules, especially when more
than one tong was interested in the recovery of Moon Ying.  Therefore I
kept two men on guard in the daytime and four at night.

One effect of Peter Bolton’s activities was easy to discover.  His
contribution to the cause had inspired a marvelous activity among the
agents of the Council of Nine.  Clubs were organized, a few for the
propagation of radical ideas, but most of them for the ostensible
purpose of driving the Chinese from the city.  The intent of the Council
was to make the revolutionary clubs the main strength of their
organization, but it soon became evident that the anti-Chinese movement
had outrun their plans.  "The Chinese Must Go," was so popular a cry
that it was taken up by elements over which the Council had no control.
But outwardly the Council was prospering, and the meetings inaugurated
by Parks and Kearney down by the Old City Hall soon attracted such
crowds that they were encouraged to seek a larger forum on the sand-lots
by the New City Hall. The plans for driving out the Chinese were seized
upon eagerly by the thousands of unemployed workmen, as well as by the
disorderly elements of the city’s population.  Multitudes attended the
meetings that were held nightly and on Sundays, and sporadic outbreaks
of hoodlums, who beat Chinamen and plundered wash-houses, were
frequently reported. The newspapers began to pay attention to the
meetings, and as a genuine interest was shown in them by the working-men
of the city, there was soon a hot rivalry to see which paper should
attract the largest sales by the fullest accounts of the speeches and
the most extended reports of the growth of the anti-Chinese propaganda.
Under the stimulus of publicity the movement spread with startling
rapidity, the politicians began to count upon it as a force to be
reckoned with, and serious-minded citizens were shaking their heads over
the possibilities of disorder that it covered.

These possibilities were increased by the threatening condition of
affairs in the eastern States.  There was a rapidly increasing tension
in the relations between capital and labor, and a railroad strike was
organizing that would paralyze industry from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi.  It was felt that the spark of Eastern example might
furnish the torch for San Francisco.

With matters in this state, Clark came to me one day with every mark of
perturbation and alarm.

"The Council of Nine is in funds," he gasped.

"That’s an enviable situation," I replied.  "Where did they get them,
and what are they going to do with them?  Hold a smoker at the House of

Clark looked a little vexed at the bantering tone.

"They’ve bought guns with them, sir."

"Bought guns?" I said.  "How many?  A dozen?"

"Guess again," said Clark, with an aggrieved air at my declination to
take his information seriously. "If you’d say a thousand you’d come
nearer to it."

"A thousand!" I cried, rousing at last to the gravity of his
information.  "How could they do that?"

"Easy enough," said Clark.  "They got thirty thousand dollars night
before last, and yesterday they cleaned out all the gun stores in town."

"Thirty thousand dollars!" I exclaimed.  "Whew! Is this old Bolton’s
second contribution?"

"I reckon he’s the one that give it," said Clark, "but I can’t be sure.
There ain’t any one else with that much money that’s interested in the
cause. Habernicht was trying to tell me that it came from the
International Treasury, but I’m willing to bet my boots that the
International Treasury never had thirty thousand cents in it, let alone
thirty thousand dollars."

It was Peter Bolton, beyond doubt, who had taken the role of fairy
godfather for the Council of Nine, and I raked my imagination in vain to
conceive the purpose that had inspired this amazing generosity.

"I reckon," continued Clark, "that they’ve got a corner on everything
that’ll shoot, except what’s in the arsenals, and they’re counting on
getting those when the time comes to rise."

"Well," said I, "I don’t see just how this affects Colonel Kendrick, for
they could get him with one rifle just as well as with a thousand.  But
whatever the game is, we can block it right now.  Just give me the
number of the building where they have stored those guns, and I’ll see
the Chief of Police."

"Good God!" cried Clark, seizing my arm.  "Do you want to get me

"Why," I argued, "you aren’t the only man who knows about them.  There
must be dozens if not hundreds of men in the scheme, and there would be
no more reason to put the blame on you than on the others."

Clark shook his head, and his white face showed the fierce grip of

"I’m a dead man if you go to the police," he said huskily, gulping down
the lump that rose in his dry throat.  And no repetition or variation of
my argument could move him.  So at last I promised to keep the
information from the police, and sought Wharton Kendrick’s office to lay
this perplexing information before my client.

Kendrick was not at his desk.

"He went out some time ago, Mr. Hampden," said a clerk.

"Where would I be likely to find him?  It’s quite important."

"He didn’t say, and I got the idea that he wasn’t likely to be back

I wrote a note giving information of the armament, and leaving it on his
desk, turned to go, when the door opened and General Wilson bustled in.
His round red face glowed in the frame of his short, yellow-gray
side-whiskers even more fiercely by day than by night, and his
self-importance was even more scintillant than when he had bustled into
Kendrick’s library.

"What!  Kendrick not in?" he cried explosively. "Why, I don’t see how
you San Franciscans do any business.  I haven’t found a man in his
office this morning.  Why, God bless me, is this you, Ham--Hamfer--"

"Hampden," I said, assisting him to the name. "I’m glad to see you,
General Wilson."

"Exactly--Hampden--Hampden," said the general, shaking hands.  "I never
forget a name or a face.  It’s a trick you ought to cultivate, my boy.
You’ll find it of more importance than half your legal learning, when it
comes to the practical business of the law.  There’s nothing better in
managing clients and jurors and court officials.  It’s likely to be
worth anything to you to come on a man you haven’t met for twenty years
and call him by his name.  The beggar always beams with
satisfaction--thinks you’ve been doing nothing all those years but carry
his name and face in your mind, and is ready to do you a good turn if it
comes his way."

"Very true," I said, as General Wilson paused for breath.

"Now I remember," he continued, with a wave of his arm, "that I won one
of my hardest fought cases by that little talent of being able to call a
man’s name after I have once heard it.  ’Twas when the Rockland and
Western was suing the R. D. & G. about the right of way into St. Louis.
The matter was worth a trifle of two or three million dollars, and we
had a jury trial, and it was a damned ticklish business.  ’It’s two to
one on the other side,’ said the president of the Rockland and Western,
’and if you pull us out, Wilson, you’re a wonder.’  ’God knows what a
jury will do,’ I told him, ’but if it’s in the power of mortal man I’ll
get you out with honors.’  I talked to cheer him up, but I didn’t feel
half as hopeful as I let on to be.  My unprofessional opinion was that
we were in for a licking.  I’ll bet you the price of this building,
Hampden, that we would have had to take our medicine if it hadn’t been
for an old acquaintance of mine.  I used to know him when we were young
fellows in Ohio.  He was clerking in a grocery store while I was dusting
the books in Lawyer Boker’s office.  Now, what was his name?
Oh,--ah--yes, I remember--Westlake, or something like that.  Well, as he
came into the court, I saw him, and by the look on his face I was sure
he was called in the case.  I knew him in an instant and I hurried up to
him, shook him by the hand, and said ’Westburn’--yes, it was Westburn,
not Westlake--I said ’Westburn, God bless you, it’s thirty-five years
since the night we dropped that watermelon, and I haven’t got over
mourning the loss of it yet.’  By Jove, Hampden, you ought to have seen
the fellow beam to think that the big lawyer from Chicago had remembered
him all that time, and we had a five-minute chat that turned out to be
worth everything to my clients.  He got on the jury, and there wasn’t a
point or an argument I made that was lost on him. He told me afterward
that he never heard a speech to beat the one I delivered in closing for
my side. Well, the jury was out nearly two days, but on the strength of
that speech my old friend talked the last of them over and we got
judgment.  So there, my boy, you see what it’s worth to call up names.
It’s one of the tricks of trade that we share with statesmen and kings."

"And hotel clerks," I added irreverently, with something of envy for the
general’s talent at finding cause for self-congratulation.

General Wilson flushed a little deeper red, and looked at me doubtingly.
I hastened to add an expression of complete agreement with the
conclusions he had announced.

"Well, God bless us," he cried, "I can’t be waiting here all day for
Kendrick.  I want to talk over that tule land proposition with him, but
as he isn’t here I’m going over to talk on the same business with a
miserly old curmudgeon named Bolton.  As it concerns Kendrick, in a way,
maybe you’d like to come along as his representative."  And with a
commanding gesture General Wilson intimated his desire for my company,
and linked arms with me in the affectation of deepest confidence.

I had for several days been meditating on the problem of an interview
with Peter Bolton, and, accepting General Wilson’s offer of a convoy as
a gift of benignant chance, was soon climbing the stair to the
curmudgeon’s office to the boom-boom of General Wilson’s gasconades, and
wondering how I might surprise the secret of Peter Bolton’s plans.

                              *CHAPTER IX*

                             *PETER BOLTON*

Peter Bolton’s office conformed to the first principles of art.  It
supplied an appropriate frame for Peter Bolton himself.  The outer room
presented to the eye of the visitor four bare and grimy walls that had
once been white, a bare and worn board floor, two kitchen chairs and a
rickety desk.  There was, however, nothing shrinking or apologetic about
this meager display of furnishing.  It smacked not of poverty, but of an
inclement disposition in its owner. In the inner room the walls and
floor were as bare and grimy as those of the outer office, but the
furnishing was a little less disregardful of personal comfort, for it
held five solid chairs, a solid safe that made a show of bidding
defiance to burglars, and a solid desk, behind which sat Peter Bolton

The outer office was empty, save for the uninviting chairs and the
rickety desk, and General Wilson, with a quick jerk, opened the inner
door and bustled into the room.

"Ha-ha, Bolton!" he cried, "I catch you with your washee-washee man, eh?
That’s right, that’s right. Cleanliness next to godliness, you
know--though you can’t always be sure that the Chinese washman is to be
recommended on either count.  Hey, John, you trot along now.  I want to
talk to Mr. Bolton."

Glancing over General Wilson’s head I saw the thin, sour face of Peter
Bolton, and behind the mask of its dry expression I thought I recognized
a passing flash of mental disturbance that suggested fear, or even
consternation.  Then a sardonic smile tightened and drew down the
corners of the mouth, and his hard, nasal voice twanged out a grudging
word of recognition.

At the same moment the "washee-washee" man stepped to the doorway, and I
was startled to find myself looking into the face of Big Sam.  He was
dressed in the coarse blue jeans and trousers of the Chinese
working-man, his hat was drawn down over his eyes, and his face was of a
darker hue than I remembered it.  But the man shone through his disguise
as plainly as the sun shines through colored glass.

I recovered from my surprise in an instant, and halted him in the outer

"This is a lucky meeting," I said.  "I have been wondering whether I
ought to report to you about your ward.  She is badly hurt, but is now
out of danger."

The man glanced at me with expressionless eye.

"I no sabby you," he said with the true coolie accent.  "What you wan’?"

"Oh," I returned, repressing my amusement at this preposterous attempt
to deceive me, "if Kwan Sam Suey, sometimes known as Big Sam, doesn’t
want to hear what I have to say, I am in no hurry to say it."

"No sabby Big Sam," said the Chinaman gruffly.

"And I should really like to know," I said, lowering my voice, "what Big
Sam is doing with Mr. Bolton."

"I no sabby Missah Bolton," growled the Oriental.

"You don’t ’sabby’ the man you’ve just been talking with?"

"I no sabby him name.  I no sabby you’ name.  I sabby him one man--I
sabby you ’nothe’ man.  I come sell him lotte’y ticket.  You likee buy
lotte’y ticket?"

This appeared to be an excellent chance to trap the wily Oriental.  I
replied that I would risk twenty-five cents on his game, and waited with
a smile for the excuse that would be invented to put me off. But Big Sam
had made up for his part with more attention to detail than I had
supposed.  At my word he calmly drew forth from his capacious sleeve a
blank ticket and a marking brush.

"I make you good ticket," he said gravely, marking ten of the squares.
"You sabby Kwan Luey?"

"Yes, I sabby Kwan Luey."  He was one of the big merchants of Chinatown,
and among other things did a brisk banking and lottery business among
his countrymen.

"Dlawing to-mollow," said the Chinaman.  "You take ’em ticket Kwan Luey
you get ’em heap big money."  And with a brusk nod he was gone.

I stared after him in perplexity.  My eyes were never more certain of
anything than of the identity of this man with Big Sam.  And yet he had
carried off his imposture with such assurance that, for a moment after
he had disappeared, I was shaken in my conviction.  But it was only for
a moment.  With a glance at the paper in my hand and with a recollection
of his parting words, certainty returned, and I was convinced that the
ticket was an order on Kwan Luey for money.  Was Big Sam trying to bribe
me, or was he attempting thus to provide for the expenses of the Chinese
girl?  Nothing had been said on the delicate point of meeting her
charges for food, care and lodging.  Possibly he had chosen this
eccentric way of putting the money in my hands.

There was, however, another question more perplexing than that of money.
What were the relations between Bolton and Big Sam?  Here for the second
time I had evidence that they were in secret alliance.  The business of
supplying coolie workmen was not of such disrepute that it had to be
conducted in disguise.  Could it be possible that Big Sam was one of
Bolton’s agents in the plot to overthrow Wharton Kendrick?  And if so,
was the Chinese girl brought under the Kendrick roof as a part of Peter
Bolton’s tortuous policy?

As there was no answer to my questions to be had by studying the ticket
Big Sam had given me, I thrust it into my pocket and followed General
Wilson into Peter Bolton’s private den.

There are certain natures whose approach brings an access of mental or
physical repulsion.  A man may conform to all the sanitary laws, and yet
appeal quite as objectionably to the inner spirit as the Eskimo reeking
of spoiled blubber appeals to the physical senses.

To approach Peter Bolton was like putting your hand on the spider to
which current metaphor compared him.  If you liked spiders, he was
doubtless a pleasant enough companion.  But as for me, I share the
popular prejudice against the arachnidæ, and found myself at once in
mental antagonism to Mr. Bolton.

General Wilson had plunged into a brisk but one-sided conversation with
his curmudgeon.  The first words I had missed in the encounter with Big
Sam, but as I crossed the threshold he was holding forth in his most
coruscating style.

"By George, Bolton, I wish I had time to show you how it ought to be
done, but I’ve got to think of getting back to New York toward the end
of the month.  Why, this is my vacation time, and I’m carrying on five
trades that count up to three or four million dollars.  Of course, I
couldn’t afford to touch ’em under ordinary circumstances, but one has
to do these little things for one’s friends.  I took a run down to New
York just before I came out here, and we had a little dinner at the
club--oh, there were only a dozen of us, or so--but big men all of them.
Why, the men around that table could have signed a joint note for three
hundred million--and got it discounted, too, if there was a bank big
enough to do the business.  Young Vanderbilt was there--I suppose we
must call him Old Van, now the Commodore is gone--Astor, Belmont, and
the rest of that crowd.  Jay Gould couldn’t come, because he and
Vanderbilt don’t speak.  I was telling them that I was going to make a
flying trip out here, when Vanderbilt pipes up, and says, ’General
Wilson, you’re just the man we want.  There are good bargains to be
picked up out there, and you must keep your eye out for them.’  And the
others chimed in and said, ’Yes, you must do some business for us while
you are out there.’  ’Hold on, gentlemen,’ I said; ’I’m going out for a
vacation, and I can’t burden my mind with business.’  But it was no use.
The more I protested, the warmer they got over it--insisted that I could
get lots more fun out of the trip if I did business than I could if I
didn’t--said it was like a man going for a walk--if he’s just out for
exercise it’s confounded stupid work, and he gets tired in no time; but
put a gun on his shoulder and turn him out to look for deer and he will
tramp all day and think he’s had no end of fun.  Well, at last I had to
give in.  What can you do when you’ve got three hundred million against
you?  So I said, ’Gentlemen, let’s have everything regular.  Get up a
syndicate--make it a blind pool--and I’ll guarantee to bring you back
something worth while.’  Well, they jumped at that idea like cats at a
mouse, and in ten minutes they had made up a five-million-dollar pool.
So I expect to put in at least three million before I leave.  I closed
one big trade with Governor Stanford last night, and I’ve got three or
four others on the books now."

Peter Bolton’s gaunt sallow face, with its projecting jaw, lost none of
its sourness, but a sardonic smile tightened his thin lips and drew down
the corners of his mouth.

"Well," he drawled in his cracked nasal tone, "you can have that tract
of mine for six hundred thousand."

"Couldn’t think of it," said General Wilson bruskly. "Two hundred
thousand would be a fancy figure for it.  I don’t want it, anyhow,
unless I can get that piece of Kendrick’s just above it."

Bolton’s thin lips tightened once more, and a slight flush passed over
his sallow face.

"Kendrick’s place?" he said, the sarcastic drawl quickening a little.
"I shouldn’t think you’d want to show yourself again in New York if
you’d ’a’ bought that swamp.  What’d he ask you for it?"

"A stiff figure, a stiff figure," said General Wilson with a wave of his
arm, as if Bolton’s question were a missile that he was fending aside.
"It’s swampy enough, and needs any quantity of leveeing and draining.
But it’s rich land.  I’ve been over it all.  I don’t say I’ll buy it,
but I might, if I can get it at a reasonable price."

"You can get My Land at My Price," drawled the sarcastic voice of Peter
Bolton, audibly putting capital letters to his words and making the
possessive pronoun appear very large.  "I said six hundred thousand,
didn’t I?  Well, it’s had a raise since then. It’s seven hundred
thousand now.  I shouldn’t be surprised if it went to eight hundred
thousand before you got out."

General Wilson appeared to regard this as an excellent piece of

"It looks to a man up a tree," he said good-humoredly, "as though you
didn’t want me to buy Kendrick’s land."

Bolton’s lips drew into a sneer.

"I don’t know why I should want you to buy Kendrick’s land," he said.
"You can have My Land at My Price," he repeated, the sneer deepening on
his face.  "My price is nine hundred thousand now."

"Well," said General Wilson with a chuckle, "I’ve been in Chicago
through some pretty exciting times, and I’ve had real-estate deals in
nearly every part of the country, but I never saw property go up so fast
as that piece of yours out in the San Joaquin swamps."  Then, changing
his tone suddenly, he asked: "Why do you want to stop the trade on
Kendrick’s tract?  I see that you’re nobody’s fool, and you know as well
as I do that we’ve got to have your place if we take his.  Now, what’s
your game?"

A look of malevolent shrewdness came over Bolton’s face, and he pursed
up his mouth as though he was afraid his thoughts were going to escape.

"If you would like to know," he drawled at last, "you might ask
Kendrick’s young man standing over there by the door."

I was startled at this sudden attack.  Peter Bolton had to this minute
given no sign that he was aware of my existence, and I was filled with
wonder to know how he had discovered that I was in Kendrick’s employ.
There was nothing to do but to put up a bold front on the matter, and I

"The only thing I could tell about the trouble is that the Council of
Nine has plenty of money and is spending it like water."

A covering of gray ashes appeared to spread over the sallow face of
Peter Bolton, and caused General Wilson to spring to his feet with the

"Good God, what’s the matter?"

Peter Bolton waved him back to his seat, and with an effort gasped out:

"The Council of Nine!  What do you mean by that nonsense?  I never heard
of such damned foolery before!"

"Oh, yes," said I, pressing my advantage.  "Waldorf was up here night
before last, you remember, and got thirty thousand dollars.  I thought
you would like to know that your contribution was being spent with a
liberal hand."

Peter Bolton’s face assumed a gray-green tint, and he cried out:

"I don’t know what you’re talking about.  You’ve gone crazy--"  Then, as
if he feared that I would take offense at the words, he fell from the
attitude of protest to one of cringing obsequiousness.  "No, I don’t
mean that--I mean that I want you to do some business for me."

The man appeared carried away with fright; his claw-like hands worked
convulsively, and a perspiration started on his forehead.  I saw in his
eyes a foretaste of the terrors of unsuccessful crime, and that as he
remembered the purposes that lay behind those rifles in the Council’s
armory, his conscience conjured up the vision of the police and the
hangman stretching forth their hands to seize him.

"Good God, Bolton!" cried General Wilson again. "What have you been
doing?  You couldn’t look more upset if you had murdered your
grandmother and Hampden had uncovered the corpse."

"It’s nothing--nothing," gasped Bolton, recovering himself with an
effort; "just a little joke we have--just a little joke."  And he framed
his thin lips into the semblance of a ghastly smile.

General Wilson’s red face grew redder yet as an angry color swept over

"Well, you’ve got too many jokes to suit me, and a damned queer taste in
humor--that’s all I’ve got to say about it.  I came to talk business,
and you’ve been wasting my time with your tomfoolery."  And with an
angry wave of his hand he got to his feet and strode out.

Almost before General Wilson had reached the hall, Bolton had turned
eagerly to me.

"Come in and shut the door," he said with a quavering voice.  "That
gilded ass may stop to listen."

He was silent a minute as I obeyed him, and I surmised that he was
turning over in his mind the possible plans by which I might be gagged.
And as he motioned me to a seat his calculating eye was taking my
measure with all the coolness of a butcher estimating the value of a

"You are a young man," he began with an insinuating drawl.

I admitted the charge, but offered him the consolation to be drawn from
the theory that I should probably get over it in time.  He paid no
attention to my flippant suggestion, but continued in a slow tone of
ironic emphasis:

"You are old enough, though, to know that you have got to look out for
your own Interests.  That’s what every Man must do, if he wants to keep
in Business."  Peter Bolton’s sarcastic drawl punctuated his important
words with capitals.  "If you don’t think enough of your Interests to
look out for Yourself, nobody is going to look out for them for you."

"If you want to do me a good turn," I said with strategic frankness,
"you might tell me what your business is with Big Sam."

He was not to be caught off his guard again.  He paid no attention to my
words, but continued with more of propitiation in his voice than I had
considered possible.

"Now, you’re a Man of the World--young as you are--and you have seen
something of Business. You have seen the man who has given his best
years to making money for the other fellow turned adrift as soon as the
other fellow finds somebody who can make more money for him.  That’s the
Gratitude of Business, young man--the Gratitude of Business. I’ve seen a
man who made fifty thousand dollars for his employer in a trade turned
out inside of six months because somebody offered to work for
twenty-five dollars less a month.  That’s what you get when you look out
for your Employer’s interests instead of your Own."  The depth of
sarcasm in Peter Bolton’s drawl was portentous.

I did not know whether to be amused or indignant at this attempt to
teach me the folly of loyalty and the essential respectability of
treachery.  So I gave a nod of comprehension, which he took for
encouragement, and he continued:

"Now, I’m a plain-speaking old fellow, and I won’t talk nonsense to you
about Gratitude or Friendship.  I won’t say a word about the things I’ll
do for you Some day.  I’ll just talk Cash in Hand to you, with no back
bills to be paid with promises on either side."

"Very good," I replied, "but I’d rather you would answer the questions
about Big Sam and the Council of Nine."

Bolton gave me a cunning look.

"I want you to take up some private business for me," he said slowly,
"and I’ll give you ten thousand dollars for sixty days’ work."

"What work?" I asked sharply, my indignation getting the better of my

"Confidential work," said Bolton deliberately.  "I want a representative
in Kendrick’s office, and you’re the best man I know for the job."

My repressed indignation broke forth at this brazen proffer of a bribe,
and I jumped to my feet and shook my fist in Peter Bolton’s face.

"You old scoundrel!" I cried.  "If you were a younger man, I’d thump the
breath out of you!"

"You are a bigger Fool than I thought," said Bolton in his most
sarcastic voice.  And he threw back his head and opened his mouth in
silent laughter.

"I give you warning," I continued, "that I shall tell Colonel Kendrick
of your offer."

The unabashed Bolton drew down the corners of his mouth in a sarcastic
smile, and his sarcastic voice followed me as I opened the door:

"If Kendrick offers you eleven thousand, come back and I’ll see if I can
do better."

                              *CHAPTER X*

                           *A COUNCIL OF WAR*

"No," said Laura Kendrick, in her piquant voice, "uncle isn’t at home,
but he sent word he would be back at nine o’clock.  You look very
important, but I’m sure it’s something that will wait an hour."

"It is a bit important," I replied, thinking grimly of the
thirty-thousand-dollar contribution to the Council of Nine, the thousand
rifles, and Peter Bolton’s self-revelations in his attempt to bribe me.
"I’ve been hunting Mr. Kendrick all day about it. But it has kept
without spoiling for eight or nine hours already, so another sixty
minutes will do no harm."

"Well, then," said Miss Kendrick, "I won’t keep you standing in the
hall.  I came out when your name was announced, to let you know that Mr.
Baldwin is in the library, and Mercy will be down in a few minutes.  So
you can have your choice of waiting in there, or you can find an easy
chair in uncle’s den."

"Oh, if that is the choice, give me the library, by all means."

"You may think your tone is complimentary, but I’ll tell you I don’t
consider it so.  He’s a very agreeable man, and you had better be very
civil, or I shall banish you to the den, after all."  Then she changed
her half-bantering tone to one of earnestness, and halted me at the
library door.  "What is it you are about?" she asked.  "Is uncle in

"I believe not," I replied.

She laid her hand upon my arm.

"You would not answer so unless he were.  What is it that you fear?"
And her brown eyes looked anxiously up into mine.

"There is no danger that I can learn of that threatens your uncle.  I
believe he is perfectly safe."

She threw my arm aside with a gesture of irritation.

"Do you think I have not the right to know?" she exclaimed.  "Do you
think I could be of no use?  Do you think I ought to be shut up in the
dark, wondering what is going to happen?"

"You are worrying yourself without need," I said. "You can hold me
responsible for his safety."

"It is the trouble with old Mr. Bolton, is it not?" she asked after a

I balanced the advantages of a lie and the truth.

"Yes, it is on that business that I am engaged."

"And you will tell me nothing about it."  There was a trace of
bitterness in her tone, and giving a shrug of resentful resignation she
opened the door to the library and preceded me into the room.

Mr. Baldwin sat there wrapped in his superiority to all created things,
and gave me a stiff nod of recognition, but melted into something
resembling geniality as Laura Kendrick took a chair by his side.  Mercy
Fillmore had come in at the other door while we had been carrying on our
skirmish in the hall, and now made room for me on the sofa beside her.

"I’m glad you came," she said.  "I wanted to ask you something."  The
soothing quality of Mercy Fillmore’s voice and manner was doubly welcome
after the rasping that Laura Kendrick had managed to inflict upon my
spirit as the just punishment for the crime of incommunicativeness.

I responded to Miss Fillmore’s greeting with fitting words.

"Well," she continued, "what I wanted to ask you was this: Do you think
there is any danger to this house from having the Chinese girl here?"

"Why, no; I hardly think so.  Big Sam assured me that there was not."
Then, after a moment’s hesitation, I added: "While I don’t doubt Big
Sam’s good faith in the matter, I have taken the precaution to have the
place well guarded.  There are four watchmen outside at the present
moment--unless I underestimate the attractions of the corner grocery;
and the highbinder who tries to get in will have the warmest five
minutes of his life."

"How kind of you to attend to that!" said Miss Fillmore.  "But I wasn’t
thinking of the highbinders. What set me to asking you was a meeting I
had with Mr. Parks to-day."

"Parks!" I exclaimed in surprise.  "You know him?"

"Oh, yes, indeed.  We were children together, and I count him as a good
friend."  A blush that tinted her cheeks suggested that the friendship
was a little nearer than she would have me believe.

"Then I wish you would get him to cut his hair! I think it would save
him from getting hanged."

"How absurd you are!"

"Merely an application of the theory of clothes--_Sartor Resartus_, and
all that, you know.  Dress to a part, and you get the spirit of it."

"You are joking," said Miss Fillmore, with the seriousness of one to
whom the sense of humor is beyond understanding.

"Not at all," I returned.  "If Parks came down to the normal supply of
hair he might get rid of some abnormal ideas that are going to bring him
into trouble."

Miss Fillmore looked at me doubtfully a moment, and again expressed her
opinion that I was joking. Then she put aside the subject as one beyond
her comprehension, and continued:

"But never mind.  I met him this afternoon when I was out taking the
air, and he said that there was going to be trouble in the city, and
asked if we kept any Chinese servants."

"Yes?  And if you did--?"

"Well, we don’t, and I told him so, and he said if we did we had better
turn them away in a hurry. Then he went on to tell me that there was
going to be an uprising of the people, and that the unemployed might
make an attack on the Chinese and those who hire them.  Now, do you
think that the presence of our poor little Moon Ying will bring the mob

"Mr. Parks could answer that question much better than I."

"I asked him, and he said ’Oh, no’--that his people were not warring on
women or the sick; but I feared he was too hopeful."

"I do not think there is the slightest danger," I replied.  "If Mr.
Parks’ friends get to be too obstreperous, the police will make short
work of them. But I don’t think they are enterprising enough to get so
far away from Tar Flat."  I spoke with a confidence that was more
assumed than real.

"Oh, indeed they are.  There was some one here to-day about the matter.
Laura, my dear," she said, raising her voice and earning a frown from
Mr. Baldwin by breaking into his monopoly; "Laura, my dear, didn’t you
say there was some one here to-day inquiring about Chinese?"

"Indeed there was," said Miss Laura, emphasizing the statement with an
indignant nod.  "He was a very disagreeable man, and insisted on seeing
the lady of the house, so at last I went to the door.  I found him
horribly impolite.  I had to tell him three times that I was the lady
before he would believe me."

"What sort of looking man was he?  And what did he say?" I asked.

"Oh, he was well-looking enough--a man of good size, about thirty, with
a black mustache and an insolent way.  What he said was that he hoped we
didn’t employ any Chinese.  I just told him that I was much obliged to
him for his interest in us, but as I couldn’t see that it concerned him
I would ask to be excused.  Then he got saucy, and said that if I
wouldn’t listen to him I would have to listen to a mob--that wasn’t what
he called it, but that’s what he meant.  He said he was a delegate from
some anti-coolie club or convention, or something of the sort, with a
hundred thousand members, and they were going to see that the Chinese
were discharged and white men put in their places."

"That’s rather a large contract," said Mr. Baldwin. "I hope you shut the
door in his face.  I should like to have given employment to one white
man to boot him off the place."

"Well," continued Miss Kendrick, "I was too mad to tell him that uncle
is so opposed to the Chinese that he’s never allowed one about the
house.  I just said that we hadn’t any Chinese now, but if he would come
around in about two weeks we would try to accommodate him."

"A soft answer," I said.  "I hope it turned away wrath."

"Well, he got saucier, and I told him to go, and he went.  I’m afraid I
wasn’t polite.  But I’m as sorry as sorry can be now, for he told me he
had been out of work for six months because the Chinese had taken the
factory that had employed him, and I’m sure it is a very unpleasant
thing to be turned out of the place where you make your living."  Miss
Kendrick’s voice had softened with her last words, and the light of
womanly sympathy shone in her eyes.

"You are right, my dear," said Miss Fillmore. "It has been a hard year
for many.  We have been appealed to by scores of men who have been
turned out of one place and could find no other."

"Serves ’em right," said Mr. Baldwin shortly. "If they can’t keep their
jobs, they ought to lose them.  This talk about Chinese competition is
absolute nonsense.  A competent man can find work any time.  The
anti-Chinese howl comes from the fellows who don’t want to work, and
wouldn’t work if there wasn’t a Chinaman within eight thousand miles."

"I hope you are right," said Miss Kendrick.  "It isn’t good for the
spirits to think of men going hungry when they are willing to labor."

"You needn’t distress yourself, Miss Laura," said Mr. Baldwin, with an
air of contempt for the difficulties of the unemployed.  "You couldn’t
drive those fellows to work with a Gatling gun.  This talk about Chinese
taking away their jobs is just an excuse for them to get out on street
corners and howl about their wrongs, in the hope that somebody like you
and Mercy will set up a soup-house for them."

"I am afraid you haven’t looked into the matter," said Miss Fillmore.
"Our Helping Hand Society has found much real distress from want of
employment. You don’t agree with Mr. Baldwin, do you, Mr. Hampden?"

"Certainly not," said I, with some irritation at Mr. Baldwin’s scornful
airs.  "The anti-Chinese cry may have been taken up by those who had
rather talk than work, but there is plenty of foundation for the
statement that the Chinese are driving white men out of employment."

"I have found nothing of the sort in my experience," said Mr. Baldwin

"Well, your experience is not that of men in business," I returned
warmly.  "You will find that class for class the Chinaman can run the
white man out of any line he enters.  The Chinese laborer can work and
live on less wages than the white laborer; the Chinese merchant can grow
wealthy in a market that would throw the white merchant into bankruptcy,
and the Chinese manufacturer thrives under conditions that drive his
white competitor to the wall."

"What do you mean by talking that way, Hampden?" cried Mr. Baldwin with
irritation.  "You know well enough that you’re not serious.  It’s

A sharp answer was on the tip of my tongue when Miss Kendrick

"That will do for a very stupid debate," she said. "You can put the rest
of it in the papers.  I think I hear the doctor, and I want Mr. Hampden
to come and see him."  And with a peremptory wave of her hand she rose,
and I followed her out into the hall. As the door closed she dropped her
commanding manner.  "Do you know it is ten o’clock?" she said, "and
uncle hasn’t come in yet."  Her tone was troubled.

"Is it anything unusual?" I asked.

"I suppose you think it’s a case of nerves," she said, "and maybe it is.
But I shouldn’t worry if he hadn’t sent word to me that he would be here
by nine.  I’m afraid something has happened, and I want you to see about

"Have you any idea where he went?"

"He spoke of going to Mr. Coleman’s."

"William T. Coleman’s?"


"Well, that will be a good place to start a search, then."  And I
secured my hat.

"It’s good of you to go," said Miss Kendrick.

"Am I forgiven?" I asked, taking the small hand that lay so temptingly
near my own, and bending over it.

"There, that will do," she said, snatching her hand away and retreating
in some confusion.  "Your pardon for being an obstinate man-creature is
signed, and you’d better not imperil it by any Louis Quatorze manners.
And I’m sure you’d better not waste any more time."

Once out of the house my fears for Wharton Kendrick became more lively,
and I hastened to the Coleman residence.

"Take my card to Colonel Kendrick," I said briskly to the man who opened
the door.

He looked at it doubtfully a moment.  But my assured air, and the
"Attorney at law" that announced my business in unmistakable type
impressed him, and he called a fellow servant to his side, gave him the
card with a word of instruction, and advised me to be seated.

After a few minutes of waiting I wondered whether I would not have done
better, after all, to ask speech with the master of the house, and I was
just on the point of requesting the Cerberus to take my name to Mr.
Coleman, when my dubitations were cut short by the opening of a door,
and a sudden outburst of voices, which softened to an indistinguishable
murmur as it closed again, and Colonel Kendrick came walking down the

"Ah, Hampden," he said gravely, stroking his flame-tinted whiskers, "I’m
not sure whether I am glad to see you or not.  What has happened?

"Well, I’m in no doubt about being glad to see you," I returned.  "I’ve
been suspecting you were knocked on the head."

"Pooh!" said Wharton Kendrick.  "I’m in no danger. Don’t worry about me.
What you want to do is to find out what the other fellow is doing.  Can
you tell me that?"

"Certainly.  He left his office at six o’clock, went directly to his
house, and hasn’t stirred out of it since."

"Very good.  Now, I believe you had something to tell me."  And his eye
wandered uneasily to the door from behind which the confused murmur
swelled with tantalizing indistinctness.

"Yes: I have been hunting you all day to tell you that I received word
this morning that the Council of Nine had bought a thousand rifles."

This bit of news brought no answering sign of surprise on the face of my

"Well," he said thoughtfully, "I wasn’t much behind you in getting the
information.  I heard about it this afternoon on the street."

"On the street!" I exclaimed.  "It was told to me as a profound secret."
It seemed an altogether perplexing thing that the information that Clark
had considered it death to reveal should be the talk of commercial San

"Well," said Wharton Kendrick with a smile, "if it’s a secret it’s one
that needs a good deal of help in keeping it.  I heard it from a dozen
different directions."

"There will be some astonished men in the Council if they hear of this
report," I said.

A grim smile wrinkled Wharton Kendrick’s ruddy cheeks, and drove for a
moment the thoughtful look from his eyes.  He put his hands in his
pockets and threw himself back in his chair.

"Well," he said, "you can expect them to have an attack of heart disease
at the breakfast-table then. It will all be in the papers in the
morning.  But, to tell the truth, I got the impression that the nine
members of the Council and all their friends were giving their afternoon
to circulating the report."

I was a little piqued at the staleness of my information.

"Since you are so well-posted about the purchase of the rifles--" I

"The alleged purchase of the rifles," interrupted Wharton Kendrick.

"The purchase of the rifles," I repeated.  "I suppose I don’t need to
tell you where the money came from to pay for them."

"Oh," said Wharton Kendrick carelessly, "it doesn’t take much money to
get up a report."

"Well, it took thirty thousand dollars for this one."

"Pooh, Hampden, you’ve been dreaming.  That crowd couldn’t raise thirty
thousand cents."

"Not alone, I grant you.  But you will admit that it might be done with
the assistance of a generous-hearted millionaire who has been convinced
of the loftiness of their aims."

"What the devil are you driving at, Hampden? Talk plain United States."
Wharton Kendrick sat bolt upright, and looked at me sternly, with the
light of half-comprehension in his eyes.

"In plain language, then, Peter Bolton paid thirty thousand dollars into
the treasury of the Council of Nine night before last, and the rifles
have been bought with his money."

Kendrick jumped to his feet.  His ruddy face went pale, and then turned
ruddier than ever.

"Bolton!" he cried.  "How do you know that?"

I gave Clark’s account of the matter, recalled Bolton’s dealings with
the Council, and clenched the conclusion with the corroborative
testimony of my interview with Bolton in his office.  Wharton Kendrick
settled back in his chair and received my tale in a brown study.  Before
I had done, he interrupted me.

"I see his game.  This puts a different face on the matter.  Come in
here."  And rising suddenly he seized me by the arm and marched me into
the room from which he had come, with the authoritative air of a
policeman haling a burglar to prison.

The room to which I was introduced in this ignominious fashion was of
moderate size, and the score or so of men who were gathered there filled
it comfortably.  I had noted in the company several of the leading
financial men of the city, when Wharton Kendrick brought me to a halt
before a tall, broad-shouldered, full-faced man, with a long gray
mustache, kindly gray eyes, and a calm, resourceful expression.

"Coleman, let me introduce my attorney, Mr. Hampden,"--I became suddenly
grateful that he had presented me in this character--"son of Dick
Hampden, you remember.  He brings news that puts a different face on

I had seen William T. Coleman on the street, and had known something of
his romantic history.  His leadership of the forces of order in the
city, when the criminals of 1851 and 1856 left no remedy to honest men
but that of revolution, had impressed my imagination, and I was prepared
to feel the glow of admiration that warmed my spirit as he shook my hand
with a kindly word.  No one could approach the man without receiving the
impression of quiet force; yet it was, after all, difficult to realize
that this kindly merchant had developed the highest qualities of
leadership at two critical periods in the history of the city and state,
had headed a successful revolution against a criminal administration of
the law, and had, after showing gifts that in another day would have
made him a Cromwell or a Simon de Montfort, quietly surrendered his
powers when his work was done, and settled contentedly back to the
prosaic business of buying and selling goods.  I felt proud to be in his

"What is this important information?" asked Coleman, his gray eyes
searching my face with penetrating glance.

"Chiefly," said Wharton Kendrick, "that we are mistaken in supposing
that the story of the purchase of arms is false."

"There is no doubt of its truth, gentlemen," I said.  "The conspirators
have received a large sum of money, and have put a good part of it into
guns. They have, on my information, about one thousand rifles."

This assurance produced a visible effect on the company.

"Where did they get this money?" asked the doubting voice of a man who
had been introduced as Mr. Partridge.

"That’s not the important point," said Wharton Kendrick, striking in
smoothly.  "The main thing is to know what they are going to do with

I understood from this hint that I was to keep the name of Peter Bolton
out of the discussion.

"I have a little special information on that point," I said.  And I
described the multiform purposes of the Council of Nine as they had
appeared from my investigations.

"How do you know all this?" came from several of the assembled magnates.

Wharton Kendrick took the reply out of my mouth.

"He has practically direct communication with the conspirators," he
said.  "I think we shall all agree that it is best not to mention

"Well, this certainly makes it a horse of another color," said
Partridge.  "In the light of Mr. Hampden’s information I withdraw my
objections to the plan proposed by Mr. Kendrick."

Wharton Kendrick heaved a scarcely perceptible sigh, and whispered to
me, "That settles it; Partridge represents the Golconda Bank, and the
rest will follow his lead."

"That is right," said another.  "Let us take no chances."  And with a
few similar expressions the company appeared to have come to a unanimous

"Then," said Wharton Kendrick, turning to Partridge, "I’ll put you down

"For five hundred thousand," replied Partridge.

"Make it a million," said Kendrick.  "Nelson here is going to stand
responsible for five hundred thousand, and your people should stand for

"Well, if you think the emergency calls for it, you can count on a
million," said Partridge.

One after another the men named the amounts for which they would stand
responsible, and Wharton Kendrick jotted down the figures in his

"Please make out your checks, gentlemen," he said at last.  "Here is ten
million dollars pledged to the committee."

"That will be enough," said Coleman with decision. "I think that our
arrangements cover every point where there can be a break in the

"Unless it’s M. & N., and the bank we mentioned," said Nelson.

"Oh, yes," said Kendrick; "our arrangements cover them, too.  We’ve got
to back them up till this storm is over.  They are bound to go some day,
but if they go now there will be a smash all along the line.  Partridge
will see to getting the best collateral they have, and we’ll feed them
just enough to keep their doors open."

"They will draw pretty heavily on the pool if disorder actually starts,"
said another.

"Oh," said Partridge, "we have a very comfortable reserve, and it isn’t
likely that there will be an actual outbreak."

"Well, we have prepared for every emergency," said a stout and
sleepy-looking man in the corner; "and as we’re likely to have a hard
day of it to-morrow, I move we get home and to bed.  It’s three minutes
of midnight, now."

The suggestion appeared to be approved, for everybody rose with the
breaking-up atmosphere that ends a gathering.

"One moment," said Coleman, raising his hand. "There is one thing we
have neglected to discuss.  It. is not impossible that the constituted
authorities will prove unable to handle the disorderly elements.  In
case of need, how many of you gentlemen are ready to give your services
to the city to preserve order?"

There was a silence for a moment.  Then one said:

"Pshaw, Coleman!  This isn’t fifty-six!  We’re twenty years older than
we were then, and the police and the militia can handle those fellows if
they make any trouble."

"I believe," said Coleman with deliberate emphasis, "that we are
standing on the crust of a volcano. We should be prepared to give our
money and our personal services to the public safety if the need comes."

"There’s no danger," growled the sleepy man, "so what’s the use of
worrying about it?  Let’s go home."

"Oh," said Kendrick, "we’ll all stand in if there’s trouble, of course."

"We’ll leave Coleman on guard," said another with a facetious nod.
"We’ll all turn out when he rings the bell."

In the bustle of guests departing, Coleman took me by the arm and led me
to a corner.

"Do you know where these guns are stored?" he asked.

I balanced my obligations to Clark against the obvious fact that the
publicity given to the armament had relieved him from chance of
suspicion, and replied:

"I understand that they were stored near the headquarters of the
Council--Blasius’ saloon--known to the police as the House of Blazes."

"I think they should belong to the police," said Coleman dryly.  "I dare
say Chief Ellis has heard of them, but I shall send word to him before I
go to bed."

In a moment more Kendrick called me, and we bade good night to our host.

As we reached the Kendrick house the magnate roused himself from a brown
study and said:

"The curmudgeon is a rather amusing cuss, Hampden, if you know how to
take him.  I advise you to cultivate his acquaintance."

"Do you mean--" I began.

"I mean," said Kendrick sharply, "that the closer you get to a man the
more you find out about what he intends to do.  If he wants to pay for
the pleasure of your society it might be a pity to deny him the

                              *CHAPTER XI*

                        *TROUBLES IN THE MARKET*

Storm-signals were flying in the financial quarter of San Francisco.
California and Sansome Streets were thronged with men whose faces,
anxious, confident, hopeful or despairing, pictured a time of commercial
stress.  There was an unusual bustle about the orderly precincts of the
banks, as clerks rushed in and out with the air of men who carried the
fate of the day on their shoulders.  Bearers of checks jostled one
another in their eagerness to be first at the counters of the paying
teller.  The doors to the offices of bank presidents and cashiers, that
on ordinary days opened but sedately to the occasional visitor, were now
swinging constantly to admit their customers in search of unusual
accommodation. And even at the savings banks there was a flutter of
uneasiness; for at the opening hour a long line of timid-faced men and
women had formed in front of the paying tellers’ counters.

In the banking district this anxious activity was orderly and
well-mannered.  The center of disturbance was to be found about the
rival stock exchanges on Pine and Montgomery Streets, where excited
crowds blocked the sidewalks and roadways, curbstone brokers raised a
deafening clamor with their offers to buy and sell, and groups of
individual traders surged hither and thither in endless but changing
combinations.  The shouts followed one another in short and rapid
volleys, like the popping of a pack of fire-crackers, and as each vocal
explosion was the signal for the dissolution or rearrangement of a group
of traders, the human herd was tossed about in waves, eddies and
cross-currents, like the bay in a storm.

The granite pile on Pine Street that held the San Francisco Stock
Exchange--the "Big Board" as it was known in the parlance of the
street--was the origin of waves of disturbance that spread to the
remotest confines of the crowds.  The flight of a messenger down the
granite steps would be followed by a roar of inarticulate sound, a wave
of human motion spreading out in a circle of eddies, individual groups
colliding, coalescing, separating into new combinations in a mad
confusion of excited voices, till its impulse was lost on the confines
of the crowd or whirled aside into the scores of bucket-shops that lined
the adjacent streets.  And similar waves of excitement spread in smaller
volume from the rival and lesser exchanges on Montgomery and Leidesdorff

The developing strength of the agitators, and the rumors of the arming
of the turbulent elements, had roused a spirit of uneasiness in the city
that was not far from panic.  As a consequence of their fears, men were
rushing to protect their business interests, loans were called in,
collections were pressed, lenders became wary, and weak holders of
stocks were forced to sell.  With these conditions overshadowing the
market, professional traders in stocks became fierce and aggressive
bears, and hammered at prices with every weapon that money and mendacity
put at their hand.

Wharton Kendrick was early at his office, and I sought him for

"Look after the other fellow," was his brusk command.  "That is your
part of the business.  Let me know what Peter Bolton does.  Send me
reports every ten or fifteen minutes till the exchanges close. I’ll be
here all day."

Having satisfied myself that my messenger system was in good working
order, I awaited the first move of the enemy.  It came shortly after the
opening of the stock exchanges.  I received word that Peter Bolton had
started for the "Big Board;" so I made my way thither to observe for
myself what sort of activity he might be about.

As I was edging my way forward between the shouting, tossing eddies that
divided the crowd, I felt a tap on the shoulder, and turned to find
Parks beside me.

"A shameful sight!" he shouted in my ear.  "Sad and shameful!"  And he
gave a vigorous shake to his head that put his shock of hair all
a-quiver.  "It’s like a round-up of helpless cattle driven to the
slaughter-house.  It’s worse than shameful.  It’s damnable!"

"More like the dairy, isn’t it?" I asked.  "They are like cows brought
up to be milked, and afterward turned loose to accumulate a new supply."

This view of the market brought an angry flame of color into Parks’

"Worse than that--worse than that!" he cried indignantly.  "It’s like
those African fellows that cut a steak out of their live cattle and then
turn them out to grow another.  Those men there," and he shook his fist
at the granite front of the Stock Exchange, "and those men there," and
he shook his fist at the El Dorado Bank as the nearest representative of
speculative finance, "are vampires that grow by sucking the blood of the

"The people appear to be willing victims," I suggested, looking at the
eager if apprehensive faces about us.

"By heavens, no!" cried Parks, in his high excited voice.  "They are
driven into the shambles by their poverty--by the inequalities and
injustices in the distribution of wealth--as surely as if they had been
driven by whips or bayonets."  He glared about him as though he sought
contradiction.  "They are here in the hope of wresting from knavery and
rapacity the share of the earth’s products of which they have been

"I suspect," was my scoffing reply, "that they are here in the hope of
doing exactly what the owners of the El Dorado Bank have done--of taking
all they can get and a little more."

"Sir," said Parks, "you lose sight of the mass in looking at the
individual.  The individual has been corrupted by a false system of
society into striving for unjust gains.  But the mass calls only for
simple justice."

"Well, Parks," I returned, "I admire your optimism, though I can’t say
as much for your judgment."

"Admire it or not, sir, as you like," said Parks. "That will not alter
facts.  But this," he added, shaking his fist again at the frowning
front of the Exchange, "is one of the iniquities that we shall sweep

"If we can judge by the patronage it is getting to-day it won’t have to
close very soon," was my comment.

"Sir," said Parks, "the day when it will be closed is nearer than you
imagine.  Our denunciations of the robbers of the stock exchanges excite
more applause than anything except our denunciations of the Chinese."

"I should think it quite likely.  Men like to hear hard words said of
those who succeed where they themselves have failed.  But the applause
means nothing."

"It means," said Parks, "that we shall have the masses behind us when we
give the word to abolish these iniquities."

"Abolish them?  Pooh!  It would take a despotism to do that."

"A despotism?  No.  A revolution.  The revolution that will bring
equality to the people is all that is needed."

"And you still think your revolution is coming?" I asked.

"Not the slightest doubt of it."  And Parks gave a mysterious nod as
though he could tell many things if he would, and then closed his mouth
tightly as though tortures could not wring another word from him.

At this moment I caught sight of Peter Bolton intent on pressing a way
to the entrance of the Exchange.  His gaunt face was drawn into harsh,
determined lines, his sharp chin was thrust forward, and his whole
attitude was an expression of grim purpose.  I lost sight of him in the
struggle of making my way through the throng, and I had reached the door
before I brought him under my eye again. He was pausing in the lobby to
pass a word with an alert, bright-eyed man whom I knew as a broker, and
I surmised that he was giving orders in regard to sales or purchases of

Inside the Board-room the clamor was more insistent and disturbing than
on the street.  The confined space compressed the waves of sound till
they struck upon the ear with a force that benumbed my unaccustomed
nerves.  The cries, shouts, and yells of the brokers bidding for stocks
or making their offerings came only as a confused roar.

Except for the noise, the scene on the floor of the Exchange resembled
nothing so much as a magnified foot-ball scrimmage.  The scores of
excited brokers were rushing hither and thither within the railed pit,
shouting, screaming, waving their arms, shaking their fists, forming
groups about a half-dozen of their fellows, flinging one another aside
to get to the center, struggling with all signs of personal combat, and
then separating a moment later to form new groups.  The dissolving
combinations, the quick rushes, the kaleidoscopic changes among the
circling men, were as confusing to the eye as the swelling dissonance of
shouts was deafening to the ear.

The spectators of this tournament of riot made themselves a part of the
brabble.  They felt all the interest of those unarmed citizens who
watched a battle which was to settle the fate of their goods and
households.  They were mostly speculators, winning or losing money with
each burst of sound that rose from the bedlam dance in the pit.  They
filled the seats and crowded the aisles, and added their quota of
outcries to the uproar, now shouting instructions to their brokers, now
bargaining among themselves, and now voicing an exclamation of
satisfaction or discomposure as the stocks changed prices at the call.

Peter Bolton dropped into a seat that had been reserved for him at the
rail, and watched the scene with keen and wary eye.  It was plain that
he had been brought there by no idle curiosity.  For the first time in
the knowledge of the frequenters of the Exchange he took an open part in
the trading, called brokers to him at every turn of the battle of the
pit, and gave his directions with confident brevity.

The Exchange was not altogether a novelty to me, and after I had become
accustomed to the confusion of sight and sound, I had no difficulty in
discerning the progress of the struggle that was going on before me.  It
needed no broker to tell me that a hot financial battle was being fought
in that confined arena.  A novice in trade could have seen that there
was a determined effort to break the market, met by an equally
determined effort to uphold it.  The attacking force had strong support.
The alarms and anxieties caused by the signs of approaching trouble had
brought into the market the stocks held by small margins, those of
frightened investors, and those held by speculative merchants who found
their credits suddenly shortened.  The rumors of coming disorder had
also brought to the bear side the professional traders who foresaw a
probable fall in prices, and by sales for future delivery did their
utmost to bring it about for their own profit.

But there were strong influences on the other side.  And though each
call of stock was followed by an avalanche of offers, I soon observed
that every stock after a sharp decline was brought back to something
near its former quotations.  I surmised that the steadying hand of the
syndicate was at work.  It was not for nothing that Wharton Kendrick had
held his midnight session with the financial barons of the city.

As the session wore away with fierce assault and resolute defense, with
detonations of cries and shouts, with surges and clashes of conflicting
factions of traders, I thought I saw an air of disappointment settling
on the face of Peter Bolton.  He spoke sharply to the brokers that from
time to time he summoned about him.  These conferences were followed by
renewed activities and fresh outbreaks of sound among the gyrating,
dissolving groups upon the floor; but after a flutter of changing prices
the quotations returned to the level from which they started.

The session came to an end at last, and the throng of men poured out of
the Exchange, bearing on their faces the record of success and failure,
of excitement and fatigue, that had been scored by the morning’s work.
But so far as the official figures of the session showed it might have
been a time of stagnation instead of fierce battle.  The closing prices
were not a point away from those that ruled at the close of the previous

"The El Dorado Bank has run against a snag this time," said one broker
to his neighbor, as he wiped his perspiring face and adjusted his limp

"The El Dorado Bank isn’t the only one to feel a little sick over the
morning’s business," said his companion, with a toss of his thumb toward
the bowed figure of Peter Bolton huddled in the seat by the rail and
contemplating with vacant intentness the floor of the deserted pit.
"Old Tightfist must have dropped a pile of money here to-day."

"He?" exclaimed his companion.  "Not much he didn’t.  He always caught
the turn at just the right minute.  When the books are made up he’s as
likely to be ahead as behind."

"He has the devil’s own luck," said the first broker.

"He found out what he was bucking against early in the game," said the
other, "and after that he didn’t need anybody to tell him when to get

As the throng passed out, Peter Bolton still sat in his seat by the
rail.  A grim air of reflection was on his face, the lines of stern
determination still drew his chin forward and his lips back, and he
studied the floor of the Exchange as though it were a blackboard on
which his problem was being worked out.  Then at last he slowly rose,
and with a sour shake of his head walked toward the door, I turned my
eyes on the clock in the hope of escaping his observation; but as he
came by my seat he halted.

"So, young man," he said, with the compressed force of anger audible in
his sarcastic drawl, "you think you have beat me, do you?--you and that
smirking scoundrel you call Kendrick!"  There was the concentrated
essence of venom in his tone that testified to the depth of his hatred
and chagrin.

His words were an admission that I was quick to understand.  In a moment
my mind flashed to the conclusion that the whole enginery of rumor and
riot had been set in motion by this man to serve the purposes of his
malignity.  He had sought to pull down the commercial edifice of San
Francisco in the hope of burying Wharton Kendrick in the ruins.

The design was the worthy offspring of the malevolent mind before me,
but it was rather his insulting reference to my client than the
wickedness of the thing he had attempted to do that stirred me with
anger.  A harsh answer was on my lips, but it was checked by the sudden
recollection of Wharton Kendrick’s advice to "cultivate Peter Bolton’s

Accepting this recommendation as a command, I bowed with a smile as
sarcastic as his own, and replied cheerfully:

"You do seem to have made a failure of it, Mr. Bolton."

A flash of anger came into the pale blue eyes, a shade of red flamed in
the sallow cheeks, and Peter Bolton broke forth into passionate speech:

"Maybe you’ve beat me this time.  Maybe you’ve had things your own way
for once.  But the fight isn’t over yet.  There’s plenty of it coming,
and I’ll see that you get it.  Let that scoundrel Kendrick look out for
himself.  He can hire whipper-snappers"--by this term I judged that
Peter Bolton referred to me, and I was pleased to think that he credited
his discomfiture in part to my humble efforts--"he can hire a line of
whipper-snappers that would reach from here to the ferries, but he can’t
save himself.  I’ll drag him down.  I’ll strip him to the last rag.
When I get through with him he won’t have a dollar to his name.  There
won’t be a foot of land or one brick on top of another that he can call
his own."  Peter Bolton spoke more rapidly than I had supposed was
possible to him, and his face flamed with the wrath that had carried his
tongue away.

"I’m sorry to hear it," I said politely.  "I hope it won’t happen before
I collect my month’s salary."

Bolton looked at me venomously from his deep-set eyes, and his thin lips
curled with sarcastic lines.

"You’ve earned your salary this month," he said, with a return to his
harsh drawl, "but it doesn’t follow that you’ll get it.  You beat me
this time, but it isn’t the end."

"You did make rather a mess of it," I admitted. "You ought to have
consulted somebody about it--an attorney, for instance."

I spoke idly, without special meaning; but at my words Bolton’s face
softened into a glance of sardonic humor.

"Oh," he said slowly, "I don’t know but what you are right.  Come around
to my office in a day or two, and we’ll talk about the fee."  He jumped
to the conclusion that I was ready to accept a bribe, and he continued:
"It’ll be anything in reason, young man, anything in reason."

                             *CHAPTER XII*

                          *THE LOTTERY TICKET*

In the midst of the lull that followed the failure of Peter Bolton’s
assault on the fortifications of commerce, I was surprised to find on my
office desk one morning the following letter:


to yours we this day instructed to remind you that your presence is more
than agreeable.  Having placed to your credit a money sum drawn
according to ticket, should be your worshipful servant to have presented
for payment.

As ever your faithful,
       KWAN LUEY & Co.

This missive, written in a beautiful Spencerian hand, was for some
minutes a puzzle.  I read over its tangle-worded lines two or three
times before it dawned upon me that it must concern the lottery ticket
that I had purchased in Peter Bolton’s office. The ticket had been
handed to me with the promise that I should have "heap big money," and I
drew from the letter’s flowery but uncertain language the inference that
the promise had been fulfilled.  If confirmation had been necessary, the
letter confirmed the testimony of my eyes when they had assured me that
the seller of the ticket was Big Sam.  It was impossible that any other
Chinese would have known that I was the holder of the paper, or would
have procured the sending of the derangement of words that had come over
the name of Kwan Luey.  As nothing more important called for my
attention I indulged my curiosity by setting put at once for Kwan Luey’s

Kwan Luey showed himself superior to any narrow prejudices in regard to
the objects in which it was fitting for a merchant to trade.  In one
window he exhibited a fine collection of silks, ebony carvings,
sandal-wood ornaments, and figured Chinese coats. In the other he had
piled all manner of fine porcelain, ivory and lacquered ware.  The
counters in the front part of the store showed a similar division of
salable goods.  Farther back could be seen mats of rice, boxes of tea,
bags of Chinese roots, and piles of mysterious and uncanny Chinese
edibles.  In his office clerks were counting Mexican dollars and packing
them in stout boxes for shipping to China, the earnings of his
countrymen.  The closed rear rooms, I surmised, were devoted to the
operation of the two or three lotteries he was reputed to control.

Kwan Luey himself stood just outside his office, a short, well-fed,
well-dressed Chinaman, whose rounded, dark-brown face denoted a cheerful
mind. I called him by name.

"What you wan’?" he asked suspiciously, prepared to deny his identity if
my errand were not to his liking.

I introduced myself, and as my name brought no sign of enlightenment to
his face, I presented his letter as a card of identification.

He gravely read it with all the pride of authorship kindling in his eye,
and as gravely handed it back to me.

"How you like him, eh?  Plitty good letteh, eh?"

I assured him that I could not have bettered it myself.

Kwan Luey gave a gratified smile.

"I lite him," he explained.  "I go Mission school fo’ yeah.  I leahn
lite, all same copy-book.  I all same beat teacheh, eh?"

"You are a Christian Chinaman, then, Kwan Luey?"

"You Clistian?" he asked.

"I hope so."

He gave me a sly glance, and said:

"I Clistian Chinaman when Clistian man wan’ buy goods."

"But not when Clistian man wants money?" I asked.

Kwan Luey smiled the bland smile of China, and made no direct reply.

"You wan’ money, eh?" he said.  "You heap lucky, eh?"

"Well, I don’t know."

"You catch-em ticket?"

I produced the square of paper I had received from Big Sam.

"What does that say?" I asked.

Kwan Luey took the paper, and drew his eyelids together till there
showed but two narrow slanting slits between them as he pretended to
examine it.

"Him say--him say--I look-em book and see what him say."  And with his
bland smile still rendering his face innocent of meaning, he retired to
his office.  He reappeared a moment later.

"Him say you dlaw two hund’ fitty dollah," was his announcement.

The comedy of the lottery ticket was being played out to the end.  I was
convinced that the paper was a direct order from Big Sam to pay me the
money, but as I looked into the brown mask of Kwan Luey’s face I
recognized the folly of attempting to draw from him any word that he was
unwilling to speak. But as he counted twelve twenty-dollar gold pieces
and a ten into my hand I could not forbear saying:

"And what does Big Sam expect me to do with the money?"

I thought I detected a slight movement of Kwan Luey’s eyes--a momentary
contraction of the lids, as though a beam of light had flashed across
them and was gone.  It was the only sign of surprise I could detect.

"You sabby Big Sam?" he asked blandly.

"Yes, I sabby Big Sam."

"And you no sabby what to do with you’ money? You no sabby dlink--all
same Clistian?  You no sabby hoss-lace?  You no sabby pokah?"  And at
this enumeration of the white man’s facilities for disposing of
superfluous wealth he laughed with the ironic laugh of China.

I suggested that Big Sam might have intended another destination for the

"Oh," said Kwan Luey innocently, "you likee Big Sam tell you what do?  I
likee send letteh to Big Sam.  You takee letteh, him tell you what do."

The letter was already in his hand, and he passed it to me as gravely as
though the coincidence was but one of the common events of life.

"I see that you were prepared for me," I said, with a tinge of sarcasm
in my voice, and wondered how Kwan Luey would have brought the errand
about if I had not served his purpose by introducing Big Sam’s name.

The Chinaman smiled placidly.

"I no sabby," he said.  "Good-by.  Some day you wan’ some nice thing,
you come Kwan Luey’s stoah."

I drew the conclusion that Big Sam wished to see me, and had arranged
that Kwan Luey was to find a pretext for sending me to his office.  Why
he should not himself have sent word of his wish, I could not guess,
unless it was a part of his policy to avoid direct paths where
indirection could be made to serve.

A few minutes later I walked into the store beneath Big Sam’s residence
and put foot on the dingy stair that led to his office.  A short, stout
Chinaman tried to halt me with a "What you wan’?" but I pushed him aside
and passed up the steps.  I knew my way through the semi-darkness of the
passage, and stumbled upward without wish for guidance or thought of
danger.  I had not mounted half the ascent before I heard something of a
commotion above me--the shutting of a door, a scurry of feet, and a
rumbling sound as though a heavy table had been moved across the floor.
I amused myself with the thought that I had caught Big Sam’s household
unprepared for visitors and imagined the flight of the feminine portion
of his family at the sound of my approaching footfall.

I reached the landing.  The hall was deserted, and, turning toward the
building’s front, I knocked at the one door that led from the passage.
There was no answer, and I knocked again.  As a third knock brought no
response I turned the knob and opened the door for myself.  To my
surprise Big Sam’s room of state had disappeared.  In place of the large
and handsome office, with its profusion of ornamentation and its
oriental furniture, I found myself looking into a narrow passageway
between blank walls.  I looked about the hall with the thought that I
must have mistaken the door.  But there was no other entrance to be
seen, and I looked again in perplexity at the passage, unwilling to
believe the evidence of my eyes.  As I turned to make sure of the
transformation I heard a click as of a spring lock snapped, a smart push
at my back sent me staggering forward, and the door banged behind me.

It took but a moment to recover myself and face about.  But I was too
late.  The door had been securely locked.  A few blows on the panels
sufficed to assure me that it was of too solid construction to yield to
anything less powerful than an ax; and though the frame rattled at my
efforts, I saw that I was a prisoner, unless I could find some other way
of egress.  I spared the door the kicks and blows that were called for
by my first impulse.  If I had been fool enough to get into this trap, I
had at least sense enough to recognize that I should not better myself
by knocking the skin off my knuckles in the effort to attract attention.
The persons whose ears I could reach did not need to be informed of my
presence.  They had attended to the little detail of putting me there,
and might be assumed to be aware of the honor I was doing them without
further demonstration of the fact.

I turned to look once more at my prison.  It was hardly five feet wide,
and might have been thirty feet long, and appeared to turn a sharp
corner and lead toward the rear of the building.  Evidently I was at the
entrance of one of the labyrinths of Chinatown, famous in police

Up to this moment I had felt no fear at my situation. It seemed indeed
to be something of a practical joke at which I could afford to laugh.  I
had evidently wandered into the wrong building, been mistaken for a
detective, or a tax collector, or some equally unpleasant person, and
had been turned in here out of the way of doing mischief.  I had but to
reveal the object of my visit--provided I could find anybody to reveal
it to--and I should be sent on my way with apologies.  But some
remembrance of the gruesome tales of the deeds that had been done in
these labyrinths suggested that the sooner I found speech with some one,
the better chance of safety I should have.  I was about to venture down
the passage in search of a guide when I was startled to hear a voice
speaking in my ear in perfect English:

"If Mr. Hampden will have the patience to wait a moment, he will be

It was the voice of Big Sam, and I looked about me with the thought that
I should find him at my side.  But I was still the only tenant of the
passage, and in perplexity I scanned the walls and ceiling. At a second
glance my eye lighted upon a small bull’s-eye of glass set in the wall.
It doubtless served as an observatory from which suspicious characters
might be examined, and some arrangement of speaking tubes gave
communication by voice.

"Thank you," I said, as I made these observations. "I am in no hurry."

I had scarce spoken when a part of the wall swung back, and Big Sam
stood in the opening.

                             *CHAPTER XIII*

                     *THE WISDOM OF HIS ANCESTORS*

Big Sam was dressed in a long dark robe figured with fantastic markings
in gold thread, and, as he stood in the opening in the wall, had the
appearance of an astrologer who took himself seriously.  His face wore a
grave smile, and he bowed, as though he were receiving me under the most
conventional circumstances.

"Step this way, if you please, Mr. Hampden," he said with quiet dignity.

I hastened to quit the bare and narrow prison, and was astonished to
find myself amid the oriental splendor of Big Sam’s room of state.

"I ask your pardon for the somewhat unceremonious welcome you have had,"
said Big Sam, motioning me to a chair, and taking his seat behind the
great carved desk.

"Don’t mention it," I said.  "I suppose it’s your customary way of
paying honor to distinguished guests."

Big Sam gave my pleasantry a dignified smile.

"We have to be prepared for more than one kind of visitor," he said.
"Perhaps it is unnecessary to call your attention to the circumstance
that you made no saving of time when you declined to give your name and
business to the man who met you at the foot of the stairs.  It is a mere
detail, but on your next visit you will find a shorter way to this room
by sending up your name."

"I shall take advantage of the permission, but I didn’t suppose it

"These are troublous times," said Big Sam, "and I have more than one
very good reason to take precautions."

"I might suppose so from the change you have made in the entrance to
your rooms," I returned.

Big Sam gave me a quick glance.

"The change is more apparent than real," he said.  Then, as if the
subject were dismissed, he turned the conversation abruptly.  "I believe
you wished to see me."

The attempt to put me in the position of seeking him, instead of being
the one sought, irritated me more than the rude reception I had met on
my arrival.

"I came," I said sharply, "because I had reason to suppose that you had
something to say to me."

"I?" said Big Sam in polite surprise.

"Yes.  I have just received two hundred and fifty dollars on the order
you gave me the other day, and, for one thing, I’d like to know what to
do with it."

"On an order from me?" inquired Big Sam suavely.

There was only the blank "no-sabby" mask of China on his face.

"Yes," I replied shortly.  "It you’ve forgotten our interview in Peter
Bolton’s office, maybe this will remind you."  And I laid before him the
sheet of paper I had received from Kwan Luey.

Big Sam glanced at it, and I thought I saw behind the veil of his eyes
the shadow of a frown.  But if it was there, it was gone in an instant,
and he replied blandly:

"Ah, you have proved fortunate in the lottery, then."

"I was paid two hundred and fifty dollars," was my non-committal answer.

"I congratulate you on your good luck."

"Thank you," I said sarcastically.  "And now I am awaiting my

"Why," said Big Sam slowly, "if you have any scruples about keeping it
for yourself, you might apply it to the expenses of the girl you have
taken in charge."

"That was what I was waiting for," I said.  I did not share Big Sam’s
pleasure in reaching results by indirect roads, and spoke impatiently.
"Is that all you had to say?"

"I believe," said Big Sam with ironic courtesy, "that I have some speech
still due me.  Unless I am much mistaken I have received no report of a
certain girl since I delivered her into your hands. Possibly I am wrong
in supposing that the circumstances give me any rights."

"I dare say I owe you an apology," I said, with swift repentance of my
show of temper.  "But I understood from what you said in Mr. Bolton’s
office that you were in no pressing haste to hear from her."

"Pardon me, if I have no recollection of a meeting in Mr. Bolton’s
office," said Big Sam dryly.  "We shall get on faster if you will kindly
assume that it did not take place."

The "no-sabby" mask covered his face, as impenetrable as the blank walls
of the passageway itself.

"As you like," I said.  "Then, here is my belated report."  And I gave a
brief account of the events that had followed the rescue of Moon Ying.
At the mention of her wound, Big Sam looked grave, and when I had done
he said:

"I had received information that something of the kind had happened, but
your silence gave me chance to hope that my informant was mistaken."

"No doubt I ought to have reported to you at once. I can only offer
apologies for my neglect."

Big Sam gravely bowed in pardon of my remissness.

"It is a very awkward affair," he said.  "And it will prove much more
awkward if she dies."

"She is now out of danger."

"I trust so.  Her death would send the tongs at each other’s throats."

"And at yours?"

"I should find it necessary to be absent from the city for some months,"
he said quietly.

"You might look on it in the light of a vacation," I suggested.

"Unfortunately it is of the last importance that I should be here
through the coming months."

"I presume that I am not expected to understand why."

"If you have kept your eyes open, you may have some idea of the reason."
He spoke with a tinge of sarcasm in his tone.

"Oh, a man can not always be sure of his eyes," I replied, with a
reflection of his manner.  "It is true, I know that violence is
threatened against your people, and that Chinatown is likely to be
burned down before the troubles are over.  I know that, for reasons that
seem good to himself, Peter Bolton is furnishing money to aid in the
campaign of disorder. But what I do not know is the reason why Big Sam
is engaged in secret dealings with Peter Bolton.  On its face it looks
to me like the case of a man joining in a plot to burn his own home."

Big Sam drew down the veils of inscrutability over his eyes as he looked
steadily at me, and asked:

"What result do you expect from the agitation?"

"For the first thing, destruction of property and the killing of some of
your countrymen."

"Oh," said Big Sam carelessly, "as for the property, it belongs mostly
to your countrymen.  We prefer to keep our belongings in movable form.
And as for my countrymen, if any of them get killed, there are plenty
more where they came from."

A shiver ran down my back at this cold-blooded way of looking at the
matter, and with some element of repulsion in my thought, I replied

"But those countrymen may not be able to reach here.  The final result
of the troubles, in my judgment, will be the shutting of our gates to
the Chinese immigrant."

"Even that might not be altogether a misfortune," said Big Sam calmly.

"Not to us, I believe," I said.

"And not to us," said Big Sam.

"I’m glad you take so kindly to the idea," I said.

"Oh, it’s very simple," he explained, "a mere calculation of dollars and
cents.  Shut off the supply, you increase the value of those now here.
If no more of my countrymen come, you will find none working for ten and
fifteen dollars a month.  In a few years the ten-dollar man will be
getting twenty; the fifteen-dollar man will be getting thirty; the men
who are working in the fields and on the railroads for seventy-five
cents and a dollar a day will be getting a dollar and a half and two

"That’s a new view of the matter--to me, at least," I confessed.  "But
even that calculation will be much amiss if the agitators get the upper
hand. They call for expulsion--not merely exclusion. They say ’The
Chinese Must Go,’ and some of them mean it."

"I have no fear," said Big Sam calmly.  "Their violence will overreach
itself.  I may say that I rely upon them more than on the justice of our
cause to prevent hostile action against my people.  The more violent
their outbreak, the stronger the reaction, and the less the likelihood
of harsh measures to restrict our right to come and go as we please.
Come, Mr. Hampden, I will wager you a good cigar that we have a rising
in San Francisco that will call out the United States troops, and that
there will be no legislation against my people."

I looked into the bland and impassive face before me, and wondered if
the considerations at which he had thus hinted could explain his
alliance with Bolton.  It was in keeping with the principles of oriental
diplomacy that he should be planning to prevent exclusion by encouraging
the agitators to violence, and be prepared to profit by either success
or failure.  Yet as I looked into the fathomless brown depths of his
eyes, I refused to believe that he had revealed the full measure of his
policy or the reasons for it.

"I will certainly risk a cigar on that," I returned gaily.

"Then you consider the exclusion of my people inevitable?"

"I do.  It is necessary to the control of this coast by the white race,
and I feel certain that it must come."

"I do not recognize the necessity of the white race controlling this
coast," said Big Sam dryly.

"Probably not."

"Besides, you forget that there is a class of your own people who will
be much injured by an exclusion policy," he said.  "The steamship and
railroad companies will lose much money.  The man who employs a hundred
laborers will find his expenses increased by fifty dollars or one
hundred dollars a day.  Do you think they are going to submit quietly?
The exclusion policy will find its enemies among your own people."

"Then you will take no part in the struggle?" I inquired.

Big Sam gave his head a diplomatic shake.

"I am a guest in your country, and I understand the obligations that
such a position implies."  He spoke the words exactly as he would have
said, "I shall protect my own interests," and, by an intangible
suggestion, it was this meaning that they conveyed to me.  Then he
turned the current of conversation abruptly:

"I think," he said, "it is well to bring the girl back here where she
can have the care of a doctor of her own race."  He spoke with outward
calmness, but there was a trace of inward perturbation in his manner.

I stared at him in astonishment.

"Surely," I cried, "you do not believe that your doctors are better than
ours!  You don’t mean to say that an intelligent and educated man like
you thinks that there is merit in powdered toads, and snake liver-pills!
You don’t believe for an instant that incantations to drive away devils
can be of the slightest benefit to a girl with a bullet through her

Big Sam looked away from me with something of shame and discomposure in
his face.  The yellow mask dropped away for a moment, and I could read
in his countenance the struggle that was going on in his mind between
the veneer of western education and the inborn basic faith in the system
evolved by his fathers.

"If you had asked me a week ago, and purely as a matter of theory," he
said slowly, "I should have replied that your doctors were far superior
to ours--that the medical practice of our people was merely superstition
reduced to an absurdity."

"Your good sense would have spoken," I said.

"But now," he continued, "it is not a matter of theory that I have to
consider.  It is a life and death problem.  Immense interests--my
future--perhaps the future of the Chinese in this country--are all at
stake.  And who am I, to throw aside the wisdom of my ancestors and call
it folly?  There are powers in the earth and in the air that you and I
do not understand.  There are forces that you and I do not know how to
use.  I have seen things that science--even your science--can not
explain.  May not the race know what the common man does not know?  Does
not the experience of three thousand years count for more than our ideas
of what is reasonable?  Our ideas!  What are they but bubbles blown in
air, now seen, now gone into nothingness?  Here is a scrap of paper.  I
crumple it thus, and throw it out of the window.  It is blown here and
there--up the street, down the street, around the corner--and it comes
at last to the rubbish pile and is burned.  And because it has found
nothing but pavements and buildings in its course it scoffs at the
stories of green fields, mountains, forests, the powers of nature and
the works of man that it has not seen.  Is that not the attitude of
civilized man, Mr. Hampden?"

"We must believe our experience, our observation and our intelligence;
they are the only guides we have," I replied.

"The savage is much more reasonable," said Big Sam, with the air of one
who argues with himself. "He makes allowance for the universe outside
his little round of experience."  He rose from his seat with a troubled
face, as though to relieve his stress of thought by walking.  Then, as
if ashamed at the loss of his customary calm, he sat down once more.

I brought the conversation back to the concrete case of Moon Ying.

"I can assure you," I said, "that the girl is getting the best medical
attention in the city, and is being nursed with the most tender care.
You surely have no thought of depriving her of these advantages."

"These advantages?  Yes, they may be advantages to your people.  But are
they so for mine?"

"Certainly; flesh and blood are flesh and blood the world over."

"Each race to its own," said Big Sam.  "I can not take the risk of
leaving her to die under the white doctor’s treatment."

"She is much the more likely to die if you bring her to Chinatown," I

Big Sam’s face recovered its firm determination, and I saw that the
superstition and ancestor-worshiping elements imbibed with his mother’s
milk had overwhelmed education and reason in the crisis at which he felt
he had arrived.

"I must look to my own welfare," he said with decision.  "A war among
the tongs would be fatal to the interests of the Chinese.  And if the
girl dies--especially if she dies under the white doctor’s care--it
would be quite beyond my power to prevent an outbreak."

"I have no doubt your interests are important," I began, when he
interrupted me.

"Important! they are everything.  I must ask you to see that the girl is
returned here this morning.  I will send for two of our best Chinese
doctors to care for her."

"I protest against your decision," I said.

"It is not your place to protest or assent," said. Big Sam, with an air
of command.

"Nor to act against my judgment," I added.

"Oh, if you refuse to act, I must find another messenger," said Big Sam
calmly.  "Permit me to thank you for what you have done, and to say that
when I can be of service I am yours to command."  The dignity and
courtesy with which he spoke were almost regal.

"Oh, I refuse nothing," I replied.  "But you will have to reckon with
another person than me.  I shall take your request to Miss Kendrick;
but, whatever I may think about it, the final decision will be in her

Big Sam looked thoughtfully at me for more than a minute before he

"That was a phase of the problem I had not considered," he said slowly.
"I had forgotten that yours is not the ruling sex in the white race."
Big Sam’s voice was innocent of sarcasm, and he appeared to be
considering an impersonal problem.

"If you want to get your girl, I advise you to see Miss Kendrick
yourself," I said.

Big Sam looked at me gravely.

"I should not venture to be so rude to Mr. Kendrick as to look upon the
women of his household," he said with a trace of rebuke in his tone; yet
I felt that this oriental excuse was but a pretense.  "I am sure," he
added, with a significant glance, "that I could not have a better
advocate than the one I send."

Something in the tone rather than in the words sent the blood to my
face, and in some confusion I rose.

"An advocate who speaks against his judgment is not likely to be of much
value," I said.

"And you a lawyer!" he exclaimed.  He rose and accompanied me to the
door, then halted and stamped three times on the floor.  "I had almost
forgotten," he said with an enigmatic smile.

As he spoke there was again the rumbling as of a heavy table moved
across the floor.

"Forgotten what?" was my natural inquiry.

He made no reply, and as the noise stopped he opened the door and
ushered me into the hall.  I had ceased to think of the peculiar mode in
which I had entered the room, but now the remembrance flashed upon me,
and I looked about in astonishment. I had passed directly from the
office into the outer hall, and the door leading from the hall to the
passage in which I had been imprisoned had disappeared.

For a moment I was at a loss to explain the transformation.
Disappearing doors were something new in my experience.  Then I struck
my hand against the wall where the door had been, and my knuckles told
me that behind the counterfeit appearance of plaster was a heavy sheet
of painted iron.  In a flash the explanation came to me.  The whole wall
could be moved like a sliding door, and with a minute’s warning a raid
on Big Sam’s office would find no entrance.

I carried Big Sam’s message to the Kendrick house without delay, and put
Big Sam’s case with an impartiality that surprised myself.  But I was
not disappointed in the result.

"Send her back!" cried Miss Kendrick in a great state of indignation.
"What can the man be thinking about?"

"Indeed, it is impossible," said Miss Fillmore. "The girl is in no state
to be moved, even if it were a question of moving her to a better

"And to move her to that dreadful, dirty Chinatown!" cried Miss
Kendrick.  "I’m astonished that you should think of such a thing."

"I didn’t think of it," I urged.  "I didn’t even want to hear of it.
But Big Sam has reverted to primeval barbarism, and when he said he
would find somebody else if I wouldn’t come, I consented to bring his

"Well," said Miss Kendrick, "I never heard of such a preposterous thing
in all my life."

"Unfortunately, Big Sam doesn’t see it in that light," I said.

Miss Kendrick sat down looking very determined and very indignant.  Then
she gave a decided nod and said:

"You can tell Big Sam, with my compliments, that if he thinks I am going
to be an accomplice before the fact to a murder, he’s very much mistaken
in the person."

There was more talk to the same effect, when my judicial mind caught the
idea of a compromise.

"I have it," I said.  "Why not let Big Sam’s Chinese doctor come up here
and take an occasional look at Moon Ying, and allay the excitement in
Chinatown by assuring them that she’s all right?"

"Well, I admire your intelligence," said Miss Kendrick.  "I suppose
you’d have Doctor Roberts consulting with him, and alternate our
medicines with shark’s-liver pills and snake-skin powders. Would you set
aside certain hours for him to sing Chinese incantations over her?  Or
how would you fix it?"

The judicial scheme of compromise lost some of its attractiveness, and I
said so with the proper degree of humility.

"Well, you are forgiven," said Miss Kendrick. "Now I’ll tell you that
there’s just one compromise we will make.  Big Sam may come here once a
week to see Moon Ying.  He’s the only Chinaman who can get past that

"I suggested something of the sort, and he took it as though I had
proposed an impropriety.  I believe that a Chinese gentleman isn’t
supposed to observe that another gentleman has a feminine side to his

"Then he can stay out," said Miss Kendrick with decision.  "You can go
right back and set his mind at rest.  He can have Moon Ying when she
gets well and he finds a man who is fit to be her husband. It’s my
private opinion that there isn’t such a one in Chinatown.  And he can’t
have her a minute sooner."

I delivered this ultimatum to Big Sam.  He had recovered his composure,
and showed neither surprise nor disappointment when I reported the
result of his mission.

"Am I to understand that this message is from Mr. Kendrick or Miss
Kendrick?" he inquired blandly.

"From Miss Kendrick."

"Ah!  I presumed that such a matter would be decided by the head of the
household."  His tone was even, and I looked to his face for the flavor
of sarcasm that seemed the proper dressing for the words.  But the
bland, inscrutable mask of China gave back only the expression of polite

"Her decision would be final in such a matter," I replied with something
of resentment.

"Then," said Big Sam in his suave tone, "I trust that she understands
the responsibility she is taking."

"I explained the importance you set upon it."

"Oh, I did not refer to my interests," said Big Sam, waving them aside
as though they were of no moment.

"Then I am afraid I don’t understand you," I said in perturbation.

"It is very simple.  If the girl dies I can no longer answer for the
conduct of the tongs.  And if she dies in Mr. Kendrick’s house--"

Big Sam left the sentence unfinished, and I asked:

"Do you mean that as a threat of an attack on Mr. Kendrick or his

"Oh, I do not threaten.  I merely suggest.  There are very bad men in
these tongs, and they will be very angry.  You can not be surprised if
they put something of the blame for the girl’s death on those who have
her in charge.  And angry men will go far for revenge."

"This is a serious threat," I said, with more alarm than I cared to

"I do not intend it as such," said Big Sam calmly. "I merely state

"I am obliged to you for the warning," I said, "but I can only say that
the considerations you mention would not move Miss Kendrick.  She is
convinced that to send the girl here is to sacrifice her life.  Miss
Kendrick has a woman’s courage--the courage that defends the
helpless--and I know it would be useless to appeal to her fears."

"Then," said Big Sam, with the air of one dismissing the subject, "there
is nothing more to be said.  What will happen will happen."

And with royal courtesy he bowed me out.

                             *CHAPTER XIV*


"I thought you would come," said the hard, dry voice of Peter Bolton, as
he leaned back in his chair and surveyed me with a sardonic smile.

"Why, yes," I replied cheerfully.  "Jim Morgan told me that you wanted
to see me, and I took chances on his telling the truth."  As Jim Morgan
was the prize-fighter who was at the head of Bolton’s bureau of private
information and defense, I had reason to assume that he spoke by

Peter Bolton looked at me suspiciously, and then gave grudging
acknowledgment of Morgan’s agency.

"I never write," he grumbled.  "You never know whose hands a letter will
fall into."

"A very prudent rule," I returned.

He shook his head slowly, drew down the corners of his mouth, and rubbed
his hands.

"Well, I suppose by this time you are about ready to take up with my
offer," he said with a look of shrewd cunning.

"Your offer?  I really didn’t know that you had made one," I answered.

His cold blue eyes looked searchingly into my face for a minute.  Then
he said:

"You’ll find it best to take up with my terms.  I don’t know what salary
you’re getting from Kendrick, but you’re going to lose it."

"I didn’t expect to keep it for ever.  Did Mr. Kendrick tell you he was
going to discharge me?"

"Tell me?" began Peter Bolton with a sarcastic leer.  "He didn’t have
to.  I’ve got better information than he can give.  Your man Kendrick is
going broke within the next thirty days, and he won’t have any use for
that fine herd of clerks he has been keeping."

As Peter Bolton evidently expected me to comment on this prophecy, I
murmured that I was sorry to hear it.

"You needn’t be," said he with an attempt to be amiable.  "I’ll take
care of you."

"You are very kind," I said.  "But how do you know that Wharton Kendrick
is going under?"

"How do I know?" he returned with something of passion under his
drawling tone.  "Why, I know your man Kendrick like a book.  I’ve known
him for forty years.  I’ve watched his business.  I’ve watched him.  Oh,
he can fool you fellows with his smirking face, and his open-handed way
of throwing money about.  But I know that it’s borrowed money, and the
man who makes a show on borrowed money comes to the end of it some day,
doesn’t he?" Bolton ended querulously, as though he was making complaint
against Wharton Kendrick for not having gone into bankruptcy long

"Oh, I think you are mistaken," I said.  "Mr. Kendrick is known to be
very rich."

"Reported to be very rich, you mean," he said in his most sarcastic

"Oh, there’s no doubt about it," I returned warmly. I hoped to provoke
him into saying more than he intended.

Peter Bolton took up the challenge.

"Why, young man," he cried, his voice rising into a cracked treble, "he
owes money he can’t pay. There’s five hundred thousand dollars of his
notes in that safe there," and he pointed to the solid front of the
burglar-defying case.  "They fall due pretty soon--some of ’em are due
now--and he can’t meet ’em."

"Do you mean to say that he has borrowed money of you?" I asked in

"I didn’t say that," he replied cautiously.  "But there are the notes.
They’re signed by Wharton Kendrick, and they call for five hundred
thousand. When they’re presented he can’t pay ’em, and I suppose I’ll
lose my money.  I have bad luck about losing money."  He shook his head
ruefully, and drew down the corners of his mouth as sourly as though he
saw the almshouse at the end of his road.

"Oh," I said hopefully, "you’ll get it, I’m sure. Mr. Kendrick has a lot
of property, and if he hasn’t the money, he can borrow it."

This assurance was less pleasing than the prospect of loss that had
soured his face but a minute before.

"I know what property he has, young man, a good, deal better than you
do," he said sharply.  "And there’s more paper of his in the banks--I
guess it’s all of two hundred and fifty thousand, maybe more. Money’s
getting pretty tight now, pretty tight, and Kendrick’s about at the end
of his rope.  When he goes down, you’ll want a place to fall on."  He
looked at me ingratiatingly, and as I said nothing, he continued:

"Now, I want to see that you’re taken care of. You shan’t lose anything
when the smash comes, if you just follow my instructions."

"It’s very kind of you to take so much interest in me," I began with an
echo of his own sarcasm, when he interrupted.

"Oh, I ain’t such a hard man as some people say. I want to do you a good
turn, and maybe you’ll help me out.  I’m a liberal employer to men who
give me the right sort of service.  Now you’re trying to be a lawyer--"

I confessed that I hoped to do something in that line.

"And I’ve got a little legal business to attend to," he continued, "and
I want to know what you’d consider a fair fee."

"Why," I said, "it depends, for one thing, on the work to be done, and
for another on the amount of money we think the fellow has."

Peter Bolton looked at me in alarm.

"Oh, I have very little money, very little money," he said quickly.

"Except for such little items as five hundred thousand in Kendrick’s
notes, that you were just mentioning."

"Oh, them.  Well, I’m expecting to lose that money, and a man who loses
five hundred thousand feels pretty tight pinched."

"Now, as for the work to be done, if it were overlooking the Council of
Nine and the anti-coolie agitation--"

"Anti-coolie agitation!" he exclaimed angrily.  "I don’t know anything
about an anti-coolie agitation."

"Oh," said I apologetically, "I supposed you knew what Waldorf and Parks
and Kearney were doing with the money you gave them.  Didn’t they tell
you about it when they were here last night?"

"I don’t know what you are talking about!" he cried angrily, but I read
in his eyes anxiety and surprise at the accuracy of my information.

"Now if it were looking after them, I should want a larger fee than for
looking after your plans with Big Sam."

A shade of gray passed over his face, and he held up one hand and gave
me a malevolent look.

"Young Men talk a Good Deal of Nonsense," he said.  "Now if you’re
through with your joke, we’ll go back to talking Business."  His
sardonic voice showed that he was again thoroughly in command of
himself, but I felt convinced that he was more eager than ever to secure
my services.  "Now what’s your figure?"

"You haven’t told me yet what you expect me to do."

He looked about cautiously, and then studied my face for a little before
he replied.

"I’ll tell you what it is," he said slowly.  "You are in charge of
Kendrick’s campaign.  I want you to stay in charge of it, but to run it
according to My orders instead of according to His orders."

"How long do you think I could keep the job on those terms?" I asked.
"You’ve known Mr. Kendrick forty or fifty years.  You must have got the
impression in that time that he isn’t altogether a fool. How long do you
think he would stand it?  About long enough to kick me out of his
office, wouldn’t he?"

"He’ll stand it long enough to suit My purpose," replied Peter Bolton,
his sardonic smile tightening the corners of his mouth.  "My orders will
be His orders until the day comes that I am ready to put my hand on
him."  He reached out his long, bony fingers cautiously, and then
brought his palm down on his desk with a thump as though he were
catching a luckless fly.  "When the time comes, an hour will be enough,"
he continued.  "All I want you to do is to bring His orders to Me,
before you carry them out.  Then do as I tell you."  His jaws closed
with a snap, as though they were a trap, and Wharton Kendrick were
between them.

"That sort of legal advice is worth a good deal of money," I said.  "You
can afford to pay well for it, for you’ll make a big clean-up.  I’ll
have to be paid well for it, for if it were to be found out, I could
never do any more business in this town."

Peter Bolton gave me a shrewd look, as though he thought he was sure of

"I offered you Ten Thousand Dollars," he said, trying to make the sum
sound very large, "but I won’t stick at a thousand or two more.  I’m not
a close man with those I like--"

"It’s worth a good deal more," I interrupted. He looked disappointed.
Then he studied the desk, and appeared to be making up his mind to some
great sacrifice.

"Well," he said slowly and grudgingly, "name your figure."

"I should think fifty thousand dollars was about right."

Peter Bolton gave a shudder, and pondered for a little.  Then the shrewd
look came again into his eyes, and he said:

"I’ll be liberal, and give you more than it’s worth. I’ll pay you One
Thousand Dollars a week for the next four weeks, and on the day that
Wharton Kendrick makes his assignment, I’ll give you Twenty-Five
Thousand Dollars.  I wouldn’t do it for any one else, but I want to see
that you don’t lose anything."

I understood from this outburst of verbal generosity how much he
overestimated my share in Wharton Kendrick’s affairs.

"Well, I’ll think it over and let you know," I said, rising to escape.
The pressure of my indignation had reached the danger point, and I felt
that if I sat there another minute my honest opinion would burst forth
in words that would put an end to further hopes of getting any
revelations out of him.

"You’d better take it now," he urged, with a shadow of disappointment on
his face.  "It’s a good offer, and I might find some one else to take it
up by to-morrow."

"Oh, I’ll take the risk," I returned.  "I have a monopoly on this
business, and you know it, and I can take what time I please."

"Just as you like, young man, just as you like," he said in his
sarcastic drawl.  "But look out for your own interests.  If you don’t, I
can tell you that Wharton Kendrick won’t."

Before he could deliver another homily on the folly of honesty and the
importance of pursuing the interests of Number One, I hastened out of
the office, with the thought that I had penetrated far into the evil
designs of Peter Bolton at the cost of a good deal of self-respect.

I soothed my indignant spirit with a walk that gave me time to assure
myself that no spy was following me, and then bent my steps to Wharton
Kendrick’s offices to lay the case before my client. The accumulation of
five hundred thousand dollars’ worth of his notes in Peter Bolton’s
hands seemed to be a matter that might call for very serious

I found Wharton Kendrick in his private room in converse with General
Wilson, and the discussion appeared to have become heated.  General
Wilson’s face gleamed like a great carbuncle, and Wharton Kendrick’s
ruddy cheeks were ruddier than ever with signs of temper.

"You can’t do it, Kendrick," General Wilson was saying, with a wave of
the hand.  "I’ve been over every foot of that land that isn’t too soft
to stand on, and I’ll tell you that you can’t put in any such works."

"I’ve had two first-class engineers go over it," replied Wharton
Kendrick with equal positiveness, "and they say it can be done."

"Engineers--engineers!  What are they worth?" snorted General Wilson
scornfully.  "I’ve got two eyes, and they are good enough engineers for

"You’ll find ’em mighty expensive ones if you try to do business on
their estimates," said Wharton Kendrick grimly.  "Experts come high, but
they are cheaper than your own guesswork.  You can count it liberal of
me to give you that information for nothing, for it cost me over two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"It’s no use talking, Kendrick," said General Wilson positively.  "When
I’m right I know it, and all creation can’t move me.  That land of yours
is no good to us unless we can get Bolton’s piece with it. The two have
got to be improved together or not at all.  I’ll tell you right now that
the company won’t pay any such price for your piece unless it can get
the other, and Bolton won’t sell just because he knows we’ve got to have
it to make it a success."

"What’s that?" exclaimed Kendrick, looking grave.  "Bolton won’t sell?"

General Wilson repeated his statement with characteristic vehemence.

"Did Bolton tell you that?"

"He couldn’t have made it plainer if he had said it right out in so many
words.  He raised his price at the rate of a hundred thousand dollars a
minute as soon as he heard that we wanted your land."

"Ah, yes.  I remember now that Hampden was telling me something of the
sort."  Wharton Kendrick shook his head over the information, and then
turned to me.  "Was there something you wanted?"

"Well," I said, hesitating in some embarrassment at General Wilson’s
presence, "I had an interview with a friend of yours this afternoon."

The intonation in my voice was enough to give a hint of the identity of
the friend, and he nodded his head in comprehension.

"Well, come up to the house to-night, and give me the whole story.
It’ll keep till then, won’t it? By the way, what was that hullaballoo
around the place last night?  It waked me up, but I was too lazy to turn
out and take a hand in it."

"Perhaps you heard my men when they caught three fellows climbing over
the back fence, along in the early hours this morning.  I don’t think of
anything else that happened."

"Well, upon my soul," gasped General Wilson, "isn’t that enough?  Good
heavens, young man, you speak as though it was something a gentleman
might expect as a common attention from his neighbors!"

"It’s a first experience," said Wharton Kendrick with a jovial laugh.
"But why didn’t you tell me about it?  If I’m an attraction to burglars,
I think I’m entitled to know it."

"I didn’t intend to make a secret of it; but you weren’t in when I
called this morning.  Besides, I haven’t run the thing down to its
source and origin."

General Wilson’s red face flamed with wonder and he stared at me from
under his bushy brows.

"Are you trying to tell us that they weren’t burglars?"  He fired the
question at me very much as if it were a revolver, with the professional
air of a lawyer who has caught a witness trying to deceive.

"To be truthful, I was trying not to tell you," I replied.  "But if you
put it to me direct, I should say they were not."

"Fire away," said Kendrick, as I paused.  "There’s nothing about it that
Wilson shouldn’t hear."

"Well," I continued, "two of them got away, but the boys held on to the
third, and hauled me out of bed at three o’clock this morning to find
out what was to be done with him.  He protested that he was an innocent
citizen on his way home from an over-convivial evening.  But as he
couldn’t explain what he was doing in your back yard at that time of
night, we took him down to the police station.  Instead of finding him
in the jailbird class, he turned out to be a small politician out of a
job.  Just now he figures as sergeant-at-arms of the Twelfth Ward
Anti-Coolie Club."

"The Anti-Coolie Club?" said Wharton Kendrick, wrinkling his brows.  "I
don’t see what an anti-coolie club could want to do to me.  I’m pretty
well qualified for membership myself."

General Wilson’s face flamed redder than before, in the frame of his
aggressive side-whiskers, and he smote the desk with his fist.

"Good Lord, Kendrick!  You don’t mean to tell me that you take any stock
in such riotous nonsense as these anti-coolie fellows here are getting
off! Why, I was listening to one of them last night, and he roared like
a bull-calf about the Chinese taking the bread out of the hands of the
workmen, and split his lungs telling that the heathen must be driven
into the sea.  Why, sir, he made my blood boil, and if I was made
provost-marshal of this town for one day, I’d bundle him and his crew
down to the docks, and have them sailing over sea before night came."

Wharton Kendrick gave a good-humored laugh.

"My dear Wilson, I don’t take much stock in the loud-mouthed orators,
but I say, with them, that if we are to have the choice of a white or a
yellow civilization in California, my vote goes to the white."

"Stuff and nonsense!" cried General Wilson, thumping the desk once more.
"Why, my dear sir, you challenge the fundamental principles of this
government when you say we must shut out these men merely because their
skins are yellow.  Why, sir, it is to our advantage, not to our
detriment, that they work for small wages.  The lower their wages, the
less money they take out of the country, and when they go home they
leave behind them the great works they have accomplished.  God has given
you illimitable resources, and you are crying out for hands to develop
them, and here you are, ready to shut out the most plentiful and
cheapest supply of labor that exists on the face of the green earth.
It’s against business principles and it’s against the principles of
humanity, and you can never do it, sir--never."

"Oh, fudge, Wilson, you don’t know anything about the problem, and yet
you come here telling us old Californians what we ought to think about
it. I’ll admit anything you say in favor of the coolies. They’re
industrious and faithful and cheap; but they’re more than that.  The
Chinese can drive us out of any line they want to take up.  I’ve seen
that done too many times to doubt it any longer."

"Well, if they can do it, why shouldn’t they?" cried General Wilson.
"Survival of the fittest--isn’t that the law of nature?  If the white
race can’t stand the competition, let it perish.  But it won’t perish.
It’ll manufacture things to sell to the Chinese, and trade will go on
whether the white or the yellow man settles this coast."

"That may be all right for you fellows in the East; but even there
you’ll be hit.  Just ask yourself which would be more profitable as
customers, a million Chinese who spend ten cents a day on their
supplies, or a million whites who spend a dollar?"

"Sophistry, sophistry, Kendrick!" puffed the general, apparently
impressed by the illustration.  "But why go after the Chinese alone?  I
was in Castle Garden a month ago, and the fellows they let through there
are every whit as un-American as the Chinese.  Why don’t you holler
about them?"

"Why," said Kendrick, "we’re hollering about the pigs in our corn.
You’re the fellows to look out for the other side of the continent."

"Why don’t we try to keep them out?" cried General Wilson.  "Why, it’s
because we’ve got to have cheap labor for our mines and mills and
railroads. We need it just as we need machinery, and we’ve got to take
the disadvantages with the benefits, and no loud-mouthed agitator can
deprive us of the right to get our workmen in the cheapest market.  It’s
the law of trade, the fundamental principle at the bottom of political
economy--the science on which the development of civilization must

General Wilson’s oration was suddenly cut short by an outburst of sound
from the street below, and with common instinct we hastened to the
window to view the cause of the hubbub.  On the pavement was a crowd of
five or six hundred men, moving slowly up California Street, circling
with cries of anger or derision about some indistinguishable center of
attraction.  The outer fringe of the crowd was constantly breaking into
sprays of individuals who ran forward to secure a position in front,
while those behind tried to leap on the shoulders of those before them,
and the center was an effervescent mass of arms, heads and clubs.

The nucleus of disturbance, I was at last able to make out, was composed
of two policemen dragging a hatless man between them.

"Oh," said Wharton Kendrick, "it’s nothing worse than an attempt to
lynch some fellow who’s been caught at his crime.  I suppose he’s killed
a woman, or something of the sort.  But the police will get him to
prison easily enough.  There’s never nerve enough in one of these crowds
to take such a fellow and hang him."

"They ought to string ’em up on the spot," snapped General Wilson.  Then
repenting suddenly of this unprofessional exclamation, he added: "But
the majesty of the law must be upheld.  It is the shield of the innocent
and the sword of the righteous."

"Um-m, yes, I suppose so," said Kendrick doubtingly. "But all this
doesn’t settle that matter of the tule tract.  I’ll see you to-night,
Hampden.  The general and I must talk business now."

                              *CHAPTER XV*

                         *A RIPPLE OF TROUBLE*

The brawling of many voices filled the air as I ran down the stairs,
spurred by curiosity and by a vague, subconscious misgiving that the
event was of more than impersonal interest.  When I reached the entrance
the circling crowd was halted in a mass of struggling men, and the
hoarse roar that issued from it vibrated with the indefinable yet
definite thrill of savage anger.  Police whistles were blowing, men were
running from all directions to get sight of the struggle, blows given
and taken could be heard amid sounds of curses and exclamations of pain,
and the centers of disturbance became pyramids of squirming, struggling

As I reached the street, Parks burst out of the crowd, his hat gone, his
long hair tumbled in aggressive disorder, his face flushed, and his
clothing bearing evidences of his violent passage through the mob.
Behind him came Seabert, whom I knew for a member of the Council of
Nine.  Between them they dragged and pushed an old man, white-faced,
frightened, who looked in helpless amazement on the turbulence about
him.  The old man’s face stirred vague reminiscence of the familiar, but
for the moment I could not trace these promptings of memory to their

"Here!" cried Parks, as they burst out of the struggling circle and
flung their burden into the hands of a knot of men who stood by an
express-wagon near at hand, "get him down to Number Two."

As the old man was sent staggering forward, helpless, trembling,
perplexed, the men circled around him, lifted him in their arms, and in
a moment had climbed into the wagon and were going on a gallop down
California Street.

It had all been done in the time I had taken to pass from the door of
the office building to the edge of the sidewalk.  I pushed into the
roadway and hailed Parks by name.  He had snatched a hat from one of the
men who climbed into the wagon, and was hastily removing the signs of
conflict from his dress.

"What’s the matter here?" I cried, when I saw that he recognized me.

"Matter!" he cried.  "Matter enough!  There has been an interference
with the natural right of a man to present his grievance to his
fellow-man.  It has been properly resented."

"I don’t understand you," I said.  "Who was the old man you rescued from
the mob?"

Parks looked at me in surprise.  "Rescued from the mob!" he exclaimed.
"Why, the mob--but wait a minute, and I’ll tell you about it."

He turned as he spoke.

"Stop that fighting!" he shouted.  And at his word a score of men lent
their efforts to the task of separating the struggling, wrestling
groups, raising the prostrate and quieting the violent.

The efforts of the peacemakers were signally assisted by the sudden
appearance of a squad of police coming on the run around the corner from
Montgomery Street.  As the guardians of order were strong of limb, and
were armed with heavy clubs, they had exemplary success in quieting the
refractory, and satisfying those whose appetite for fighting was still

At the sight of the police, Parks took me by the arm and drew me quietly
down the block and around the corner into Sansome Street.

"What was the trouble about, and who was the old man?" I asked.

"Why, that was Merwin," said Parks in a tone of surprise.  "You ought to
recollect him."

At the name I remembered the quiet, dreamy old man of my visit to the
House of Blazes, and recalled the history of his life-wreck which was
wrapped up in the volumes of legal lore that went under the title of
Merwin versus Bolton.

"What had Merwin been doing to get the mob after him?" I asked.

"To get the mob after him!" exclaimed Parks in great indignation.  "To
get the police after him, you mean."

"The police!" I exclaimed in my turn.  "Oh, he was the man under arrest,

"It was an outrage of arbitrary power," said Parks, flushing angrily,
"and the people have shown what they think of it.  He has been taken out
of the hands of those petty tyrants, and it will be a long time before
he falls into them again."

"What was the charge?" I asked, at a loss to imagine what crime could
have been committed by this inoffensive wreck of a man.

"He was arrested," said Parks indignantly, "for exercising the right of
free speech."

"Free speech is rather an elastic term," I said. "What was he talking

"The only thing he knows anything about," said Parks.  "That’s his

"Well, it is a subject that might call out rather strong language, but I
don’t see just how that could bring him afoul of the police."

"Sir," cried Parks, "it could happen only through the exercise of
arbitrary power.  The point of the thing is that the Supreme Court this
afternoon handed down its sixth decision in his suit against Bolton.
The judgment against Bolton is reversed, and the case sent back for a
new trial."

"What a shame!" I said, remembering the justice of Merwin’s claim, the
ruin of his life, and his long fight against the wealth and malignity of
Peter Bolton.

"It is outrageous!" exclaimed Parks vehemently; "as scandalous as the
open sale of justice to the highest bidder.  Those men should be dragged
from the bench, and driven through the streets in a cart, with their
price for rendering such a judgment placarded on their backs.  The
judges were bought and justice was sold."

"No, no," I protested.  "The men on the bench may be wrong-headed,
small-minded, pettifogging, but not corrupt--believe me, not corrupt."

Parks looked at me with a pitying shake of his head.

"You are welcome to your opinion," he said, "but it isn’t mine.
However, it doesn’t matter.  The court has driven another nail in the
coffin of the present social order."

"But how did this decision get Merwin into the hands of the police?  Did
he go around to the courtrooms and tell the justices what he thought of

"No, indeed!" said Parks indignantly, "though I shouldn’t have blamed
him if he had.  He got up at our water-front meeting and, for the first
time since I’ve known him, made a speech.  It came hot from his tongue,
too, telling the plain story of his case to his fellow-citizens.  And
what did the police do? Why, they arrested him for trying to incite a

Parks paused as though waiting for my opinion on this exercise of police

"Well," I admitted, "the plain story of the case of Merwin against
Bolton might very well sound like an attempt to stir the mob to

"It makes my blood boil, Hampden," cried Parks. "It’s the stuff that
revolutions are made of.  The hirelings of Nob Hill know it, and that is
why they trampled on the liberties of speech in the attempt to shut the
mouth of the injured man."

"Go on with your story.  What happened after he was arrested?"

"Why, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly how it was.  But when
Merwin was dragged off the cart, one of the boys ran over to
headquarters with the news.  As soon as I heard what was being done, I
hurried over here with such men as I could get together.  We found a big
crowd following the two policemen who were dragging Merwin between them,
but the men didn’t know how to do anything but holler and ba-a.  So I
passed around the word that Merwin was to be taken out of the hands of
the police.  The crowd was ready to follow if any one would take the
lead; so when I gave the signal the police were tumbled over in just one
minute by the clock, we hustled our man to the wagon, and now I’ve had
Merwin taken to a safe place."

"My sympathies are with Merwin," I said, "but this rescue is a more
serious matter than the arrest. It is resistance to the constituted
authority of the law."

"The constituted authority of the law!" said Parks contemptuously.
"That’s not the last resistance that will be roused against its tyranny
and injustice.  The day is at hand, sir, when this constituted authority
of the law, as you call it, will be overthrown and scattered as easily
as it was overturned a few minutes ago in the persons of its petty
tyrants.  Then a new and better authority will rise, founded on the will
of the people, responsive to the people’s needs, and protecting the
people’s interests."

Parks had begun in a low tone of voice, as befitted one who had reasons
for avoiding notice; but with his closing words he was once more the
orator and prophet of the agitators, and I gave him a word of caution to
save his breath for a less dangerous occasion.  I saw nothing to be
gained by arguing with him the folly of his plans of revolution.  I
could not hope to turn him from his purposes, and would only shut myself
out from the chance of getting further information from him.  Therefore
I suppressed the remonstrance and advice that rose to my lips, and asked
instead how the movement was progressing.

"Splendidly," replied Parks, with an enthusiastic shake of his head.
"The cause of the people is advancing by leaps and bounds.  Men are
awakening to their rights, and responding to the efforts for their
betterment.  Our organization has gone into every district in the city.
By to-morrow we shall be five thousand strong.  Next week we extend our
propaganda outside of San Francisco, and shall proceed to establish
branches in every town in the state. To-night we invade the stronghold
of aristocracy.  At eight o’clock we hold a meeting on Nob Hill, at the
corner of California and Mason Streets, to tell the nabobs what we think
of them."

We had reached the corner of Market and Sansome Streets and had halted
for a little, when a hot and breathless man overtook us, and tapped
Parks on the shoulder.  For an instant the enthusiast thought that he
was under arrest, for he whirled about with a fierce and determined
look.  If the man had been a policeman he would have had a difficult
prisoner to handle.  But there was no hostile intent in his face, and a
look of recognition relaxed the tense lines of determination about
Parks’ mouth and eyes as he caught sight of him.

"Egbert and Baumgartner are arrested," whispered the man in gasps; and
he drew Parks aside.

There was a hurried conversation of which I caught but a word now and
then, and I had time to wonder whether Parks would not presently share
the fate of the two men he was now called upon to aid. It was not
unlikely that a man of such conspicuous appearance had been recognized
by the officers when Merwin had been snatched from their grasp.  After a
minute of whispered conversation, Parks turned to me, his face lighted
with decision and excitement.

"I must leave you, Hampden," he said.  "Let me see you at the meeting on
Nob Hill to-night.  The contest between plutocracy and the people may
begin earlier than we have expected."

And with these significant words he set off briskly in the direction of
the House of Blazes.

I digested Parks’ hints with my dinner, and, getting no light from them,
I took my way to Wharton Kendrick’s house to deliver the postponed
budget of information gained from my visit to Peter Bolton.

The sun had just set upon the long July day, and the bright afterglow
still forbade the use of lamps. And in the misgiving that I should come
upon my client before he had finished his dinner, I was about to
continue my stroll past the house when I saw the door open and some one
walk in.  As the door remained hospitably ajar, I changed my intention
and climbed the steps.  Before I reached the landing I heard an inner
door close, and a moment later the voice of Miss Kendrick asked:

"Well, what do you want?"

"You Miss Kenlick?" came the reply, with an unmistakable Chinese

"Yes, I am Miss Kendrick.  What do you want of me?"

"You sabby China gell--nice li’l China gell?"  The voice of the Chinaman
was pitched in a fawning tone, offensive in the obsequiousness of its
effort to win the confidence of the hearer.

At the words I was startled with the thought that Big Sam had come to
survey for himself the situation of Moon Ying with a possible view to
her recapture.  I was in two minds about my duty in the matter.  Had I
obeyed my first impulse I should have walked in and expressed my opinion
of the attempt in unceremonious terms.  But second thought suggested
that Miss Kendrick might prefer to manage the affair without
interference.  A sudden wish to hear her match her wits against the
diplomacy of the Oriental proved irresistible, and I determined to await
an apparent need for intervention.  Her first words reassured me of her
ability to handle the situation.

"No," she replied calmly, with just the suspicion of a tremble in her
voice, "we don’t want any Chinese girl."

"No--you sabby gell?" insisted the Chinese voice, with its fawning
emphasis.  "Nice li’l China gell?"

If this was Big Sam, I should be compelled to compliment him on a
marvelous control of his vocalization; and in curiosity to see if his
bodily disguise was as complete as that of his voice, I peeped about the
edge of the door till I caught sight of the oriental figure.  My first
glimpse of the man assured me that he was not Big Sam.  He was small and
bent, and gave an inimitable appearance of age.  Whatever his capacity
for masquerade, Big Sam could not have reduced his bulky form to this
figure.  The man turned his head a little, and I saw a wizened face,
embellished with a mustache of coarse white hair, and scant
chin-whiskers that might have belonged to an anemic billy-goat.

Miss Kendrick’s face was pale, but its firm expression was an index to
her resolve to save Moon Ying from this creature at any cost.

"No," she repeated sharply, "we don’t want a Chinese girl--or boy
either.  We never hire them. You go now."  And with a gesture to the
man-servant who stood beside her, she turned and was gone without a
glance in my direction.

The man-servant, in eager obedience to Miss Kendrick’s hint, took the
Chinaman by the shoulders, and amid protesting exclamations of "Wha’
fo’? Wha’ fo’?" ran him out of the hall, and started him down the steps,
his speeding word to the departing guest taking the form of: "Get out of
here, John, and if you come back I’ll kick you out."

Then suddenly catching sight of me, he recovered his breath and his
dignity with a sudden effort.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Hampden," he gasped. "I didn’t know you was
here.  Mr. Kendrick is just done dinner.  He’s gone to his smoking-room.
He said if you came I was to show you right in."  And with a glance to
see that the Chinaman had reached the sidewalk, he shut the door and led
the way to the master of the house.

I followed him mechanically, but my thoughts were far from the errand of
Peter Bolton’s schemes that had brought me hither.  An insistent
question ran through my mind in endless variations, but when reduced to
words it took this form: "Where have I seen the face of the old Chinaman

                             *CHAPTER XVI*

                         *LAYING DOWN THE LAW*

Wharton Kendrick sat at his ease in smoking-jacket and slippers, but his
brow was wrinkled with thought.  The cigar that he held between his
teeth gave evidence of his discomposure of mind, for it was unlighted,
and one end of it had been reduced to the semblance of a cud.  I had
just delivered to him a conscientious account of my interview with Peter
Bolton, and now observed the perturbant reflections that it had stirred.

"Was that all you could get out of the old rascal?" he said after an
interval of silence.

"Why, yes," I replied.  "I thought it was a pretty good afternoon’s
work; and indeed I am surprised that he told me so much."

"Oh, thunder, Hampden, you’re as easily taken in as the rest of ’em.
Didn’t I tell you that Peter Bolton is never in the place you’re looking
for him?"

"Why," I argued, somewhat piqued at this reception of my budget of
information, "I thought he told a good deal about his plans--in fact,
showed himself a garrulous old foozle instead of the shrewd fox you’d
told me about."

"My dear boy," said Wharton Kendrick with a pitying smile, "I’m grateful
for your zeal, but the only thing he exposed was his desire to get you
to betray me, and I might have guessed that without his telling it."

"But that half-million of notes--"

"Doesn’t it strike you, Hampden, that, as a business man, I might be
expected to know something about the notes outstanding against me?
You’re right about one thing: I didn’t know they had fallen into
Bolton’s hands, and I’ll have a score to settle with the men who sold
’em to him.  But I’ve got every piece of my paper recorded up here," and
he tapped his forehead, "and I’ll be prepared to take care of it as it
falls due."

"Well," I said ruefully, "I’m just one more victim of misplaced
confidence in Peter Bolton."

"Oh, you needn’t feel ashamed of that, my boy," said Kendrick kindly.
"Your time wasn’t wasted. It’s worth while to know that those notes are
in the hands of an enemy.  But that’s a mere detail.  Now if he had told
you how he expects to keep me from meeting them when due--"

Wharton Kendrick left his sentence suspended in the air, while he chewed
his cigar for a minute or two.

"After all, Hampden," he continued, "I suspect he has pushed those notes
forward to draw away attention from his real point of attack.  He’s
figured on the possibility that you would bring me every word, and has
found something to gain out of it, whether your final decision is to
stand by me or to take up his offer.  Now, about that offer?  Are you
prepared to accept his twenty-nine thousand for that trifling service he

"If I get it, I’ll go halves with you when you’re broke," I replied with
an attempt at lightness that was far from a success.  "But to tell you
the truth, I don’t like to discuss the thing, even in joke.  It makes my
gorge rise to hear a hint that I could take money for betraying you."

"That’s Dick Hampden’s son," he returned, his face softening into a
smile.  "I could hear your father speaking then.  But if you think I am
worrying about your loyalty, just set your mind at rest."

I thanked him for his certificate of confidence, and he continued:

"You don’t have to tell me that Bolton isn’t the most agreeable company,
but I’ll be much obliged if you’ll cultivate his acquaintance a little

"Do you mean that you want me to pretend to accept his offer?  I
couldn’t do that.  I couldn’t take his money."

"Do you think you would get it?"

"He offered a thousand dollars a week.  I’d get that as long as the job

"Well, fix it up to suit yourself.  But if you can find some way to keep
him talking, you may get the one word that will join the different ends
of his scheme together.  Here we have his dealings with Big Sam and the
Council of Nine, and his battery of notes ready to fire at me.  A little
more, and we may see his whole plan.  Once I get that, I’ll fix a scheme
to scoop his pile out from under him so quick that he’ll think an
earthquake has struck him."  And with this hint he excused me for the

As I went out into the big hall, I looked regretfully at the library
door, with a mental vision of the pleasure of spending an evening in
converse with Miss Kendrick setting my pulses to beating.  But with
Spartan resolve, I crushed down my emotions with the notion that it was
my duty to attend the Nob Hill meeting of the agitators.

"Oh, you aren’t going without so much as saying ’How is Moon Ying?’ are
you?" said a piquant voice; and at the words, I turned to see Miss
Kendrick coming down the stairs.  Her light dress and graceful motions
suggested the vision of a fairy floating down from some celestial region
with the benevolent purpose of cheering the life of mortals--a purpose
that met my instant and hearty approval. At the sound of her voice, the
reasons that had drawn me toward the Nob Hill meeting were whisked away
like so many scraps of paper before the summer breeze, and I stammered
out some clumsy expression of my pleasure in remaining.

"Well," said Miss Kendrick, "I’ve heard that appearances are deceptive,
and now I’m sure of it. You were a very good imitation of a man planning
an escape."  And she led the way into the library.

"There was something in the appearance," I said. "I was wishing to
escape from the duty of going down town."

"Oh, if it’s a matter of duty, I shouldn’t think of interfering."

"I can’t see now why I thought it so," I returned, "but I was suspecting
there might be the chance of a fight."

"Well, if there’s to be any fighting," said Miss Kendrick in some alarm,
"I’ll give you a bit of advice, and that is to keep out of it."

"There’s to be a meeting of the anti-Chinese clubs to-night up by the
Stanford-Hopkins houses, and it may start a riot," I explained.  "I
didn’t know but I ought to go to it."

"The curiosity of these men!" she sighed.  "And they talk of the
inquisitiveness of women.  Why, you might have fifty riots, and you’d
never see me going near one of them--not if I heard of it beforehand."

"I hope not.  But it isn’t altogether curiosity that would lead me to

"You don’t mean that you have any crazy idea of trying to stop the
fighting if it begins?"

"Well, no."

"Then you just leave the business of the police to the police," she
said.  "I’m beginning to believe that you need a guardian."

"I believe so, too," I replied, with the thought that I saw a very
desirable person for the place.  I was tempted to say as much, but Miss
Kendrick responded hastily:

"I wouldn’t envy him his position."  Then she added: "I’m not sorry I
interrupted you in your foolishness, but I shouldn’t have done so if I
hadn’t wanted to take counsel with you."

I wished she had chosen a more complimentary way of putting it, but
professed myself all readiness to listen.

"There was a Chinaman here a little while ago," she began, and then she
described in detail her interview with the little old man in the hall.

As she told her tale my thoughts were busy with the insistent
question--where had I seen the Chinaman before?

"Now, what does that mean?" she demanded, when her tale was done.

As she asked the question the problem was solved. A sudden picture
flashed into my mind of the old Chinaman who had posed as the girl’s
father after she had been stolen.

"It means nothing, I think--some peddler with silk handkerchiefs to
sell, perhaps," I replied, with an effort to put a careless indifference
into my voice.

"You think nothing of the kind," said Miss Kendrick.  "I don’t see why
you treat me like a child. I’m not a child, and I am wishing that you
would discover it."  She spoke with a little of wistfulness in her voice
and manner.  "Tell me honestly what you think about the visit of the
Chinaman?" she said pleadingly.

I reflected a minute on her request, and she broke forth in rapid words:

"Do you think, if I am afraid, that you can make me confident by telling
me that the dark won’t bite me?  Perhaps I am afraid--sometimes I do
feel horribly scared--but don’t you think I counted all the dangers
before I made you bring poor little Moon Ying?  There’s one thing I’m
more afraid of than all the rest of things put together, and that is the
unknown thing.  Let me know of a danger, and I’ll be scared, and face
it.  But when I know it’s there, and don’t know what it is--that’s the
time I want to run.  Now I saw in your face that you knew, or thought
you knew, and were afraid.  Please tell me what it is that you think."

She looked into my eyes with such a mixture of pleading and command that
my reluctance to confide my fears to her melted away.

"The man," I replied, "was beyond doubt the old pirate who had Moon Ying
in charge for the Hop Sing Tong."

"And you think he was on a reconnoitering expedition for his wicked

"I have no doubt of it."

She considered the matter with a grave face and downcast eyes, and I
regretted that I had confided my fears to her so bluntly.  Then she

"Do you think the highbinders will come here?"

"No, I don’t.  I do not believe there is courage enough in all the tongs
in Chinatown to attack this house.  They have a pretty clear idea of the
sort of vengeance that would be taken on them, if they tried such a
thing.  The burning of Los Angeles’ Chinatown was a lesson that they
will remember a long time."

"Do you think it possible that your wicked tongsters might hire some
white men to do what they don’t dare do themselves?"

Miss Kendrick spoke in such tone that I demanded sharply:

"What put that idea into your head?"

"I suppose I ought to have told you at first, but the fact is that it’s
just this minute I’ve put two and two together and made five out of
them.  Now this is the way of it: A little while before the old Chinaman
was here, a white man came to the back door and asked for something to
eat.  The cook set out some victuals for him, but he didn’t seem to have
the appetite of a starving man.  What he did have was a consuming
curiosity about the family. After a good many questions, he asked if
there were any Chinese about the place.  The cook said ’No,’ and then he
asked if there wasn’t a Chinese girl here. I can’t get out of the cook
just what she did tell him, but I have no doubt he had the whole story
out of her.  I’m sure the fellow knows this minute just what room the
girl is in, and who waits on her, and what she has for dinner, and how
many people are about the place, and whatever else he wanted to find

I balanced my suspicions between the possibility that the fellow was a
spy for the tongs, and the chance that he was an agent of the
anti-coolie clubs, and then asked for a description of him.

"Well," said Miss Kendrick, "he’s a most remarkable-looking creature,
and I’m sure you ought to have no difficulty in finding him.  I asked
three of the servants who saw him, and took down their descriptions, and
all you have to do is to look for a tall, short, middle-sized young man,
with yellowish, brown, black hair, and black and blue (or possibly
green) eyes, with and without a mustache, wearing a slouch derby hat,
and dressed in dark, light-colored clothes--and then you’ll have the

"I’m sure the police ought to be able to lay their hands on him at
once," I said.  "But it’s no matter. I can hardly imagine the tongs
hiring a gang of burglars to steal the girl.  However, I’ll have men
enough around here to give them other things to think about if they come
near the house."

"Well, then, I shall sleep easier," said Miss Kendrick with a sigh of
relief.  "It’s a comfort to one’s mind to know that there’s some one
looking after your safety.  It’s not strong-minded, but it’s much more
satisfying than having the responsibility one’s self."  She paid this
tribute to the protecting hand of man with an infinitely charming
condescension, and then at a sound from without changed her tone to
earnest admonition: "And now I hear Mercy coming, and you’re not to say
a word of worriments."

"Mum’s the word," I replied, pleased to enter into the bonds of
conspiracy; and a moment later Miss Fillmore entered, breathless,
followed by Mr. Baldwin clothed in supercilious indignation.

"Why, what’s the matter?" cried Miss Kendrick, starting up impulsively,
and embracing Miss Fillmore.

"Oh, my dear," returned her friend in a disturbed voice, "it’s nothing
much, I think--"  She hesitated in evident unwillingness to alarm her
hostess, but Mr. Baldwin’s indignation was repressed by no such

"It’s another demonstration by Mr. Hampden’s friends," he said with
something of heat in his cold cynical voice.  "That blatherskite Kearney
has led a crowd of hoodlums up Nob Hill, and it looks as though there
would be wild times before the night is over.  We passed a gang of the
riffraff a few minutes ago, and they were headed up California Street,
yelling like wild Indians about burning down the Stanford and Hopkins
places.  It’s a fine pass that this toleration of the worst elements has
brought us to.  There’s just one way to deal with those fellows, and
that’s to call out the troops and mow them down. If we were under a city
government that had the first notion of protecting life and property, it
would have had the whole gang in jail without waiting for murder and

With this threat in the air, the Nob Hill meeting became a matter of
immediate interest.  If a riot should start at that point, it might be
followed by an attack on the Van Ness Avenue district, and it evidently
behooved me to judge for myself the temper and designs of the crowd.

"If my friends are engaged in any such desperate business, I’m afraid
it’s my duty to keep them from getting any further into mischief," I
said; "so I’ll bid you a good evening."

"You don’t mean you are going out into that mob, do you?" cried Miss

"That is my present purpose," I replied with some exultation at the
anxiety betrayed in her tone and look.

"Well, I’m sure you’re old enough to know better, but I see you are an
obstinate man-creature, and it’s no use to say anything to you.  But
when you get there, I hope you’ll remember that you’re not a regiment of
soldiers, and leave the business of the police to the police."

"Send word if you’re arrested," said Mr. Baldwin scornfully, "and I’ll
see what can be done about bail."

I bowed my thanks, and went out into the hall where I found Miss
Fillmore awaiting me.

"Do you think Mr. Parks is in that mob?" she asked, with a charming air
of embarrassment.

"I don’t doubt it," I replied.

"He is so impulsive," she said.  "I saw him this afternoon, and he was
very much excited over something that happened to Mr. Merwin.  I am very
much afraid he will let his feelings run away with him to-night."

There was a depth of anxiety in her eyes that Parks ought to have been
proud to inspire, and even with the call of conflict urging me to be
gone, I spoke a few words of comfort, and reflected on the mysteries of
attraction that should draw together the gentle Mercy and the
impassioned leader of revolt against society.

"If you find him to-night, try to restrain him," she pleaded.  "It is
his good heart--his sympathy with the suffering--that brings him into
these troubles."

"I shall do all I can," I promised.

Outside the house, I stopped for a few minutes to see that my watchmen
were on duty, and to learn if they had observed any signs of trouble.

"No," said Andrews, the head watchman, "there’s been nothing worse than
a gang of hoodlums going up toward Nob Hill, and yelling like Comanches.
But one of ’em makes me a bit suspicious, for as he passes, he says,
’That’s the house.’  I says to myself that there’s a chance he means
this one, so I’ve cautioned the boys to be wide awake."

"How many are on duty to-night?"

"Four besides myself--Reardon and Selfridge, Hunt and Carr."

"Well, get two more to stand watch with you to-morrow night, and till
further orders."  And with Andrews’ assurance that he knew two
trustworthy men for the place, I ran down the steps and hastened up the
street toward Nob Hill.

As I reached the plateau, the meeting appeared to have resolved itself
into small groups, that now scattered, now coalesced, and then scattered
again, with shouts and cries of men.  There were roars of anger followed
by jeers, and shouted orders, and the elements of disorder circled
hither and thither in aimless dispersion.  Hoodlums elbowed me from the
sidewalk.  A policeman caught me by the arm and whirled me around with a
curt order to "Git out of this now," and I recognized that the forces of
law and order had replied to the challenge of the agitators.

I pressed my way forward, by avoiding the scattered police, and at last
reached the corner of Mason and California Streets by the Hopkins
mansion. There was still a mob of a thousand or more, struggling about a
shouting group, thinning from moment to moment, under the efforts of the

I caught a glimpse of Parks, with mouth open and fist raised.  Then he
disappeared; a company of police appeared in the speaker’s place, and
the mob melted away with marvelous rapidity.  The police formed in
company front, swept along the block, and then with a right-about-face
returned, and broke up into twos and threes in chase of groups of

As the upper block was nearly cleared, I caught sight of a policeman
with whom I had a nodding acquaintance.

"You’ve got a handful of trouble to-night," I said, as he paused for

"Throuble by the armful," he said indignantly. "That blatherskite
Kearney ought to be in the tanks, with all that gang of fish-horn
shouters that follows him.  He’s making us more throuble than all the
haythin divils between Goat Island and Washerwoman’s Bay, and that’s not
sayin’ a little."

"I didn’t get here in time to hear what he said."

The policeman gave an indignant snort, and paused to order a trio of
young men to "git home and out of here now."

"Well," he said, turning to me again, "you needn’t lose slape for what
you’ve missed.  He told that crowd of howling hoodlums that these houses
here was built with the loot squeezed out of their pockets, whin hiven
knows that they wouldn’t do enough wurruk in tin thousand years to build
wan side of that fince.  Thin he says to ’em, ’What’s the matter wid yez
is thot the railroad hires the haythins instead of puttin’ youse on the
job’--as if those hoods would lave town and lift pick and shovel on the
grade to save their sowls from the Ould Wan himself. An’ at last he
says, ’I give the leprous corporation jist thirty days to fire their
haythin shovelers, an’ if they don’t, I’ll lade yez up here to hang
Stanford and Crocker out of their own windows, an’ burn their houses on
top of thim.’  Thin some drunken hood yells, ’Hang ’em now!’  An’ with
that we clubs ’em good and hard.  Now we’ve got ’em on the run, an’
we’ve got ordhers to keep ’em on the run till they’ve had enough."

"Was Kearney arrested?" I asked.

"I think not, sor, but some of the gang with him was."

"Is there any danger of an attack on the houses on Van Ness Avenue?"

"It don’t look so, sor.  The hoodlums don’t seem to be looking above
wash-houses now, an’ most of thim are ready to hunt their holes.  Well,
good night to ye, sor.  I must head off this gang here."  And he ran up
Mason Street flourishing his club in chase of a dozen venturesome boys.

                             *CHAPTER XVII*

                          *BIG SAM’S WARNING*

With the deliquescence of the elements of disorder, I was relieved of
the immediate fear of danger to Wharton Kendrick’s place, and my
thoughts recurred to Parks.  From his sudden disappearance at the rush
of the police, I could scarce doubt that he was under arrest, and the
remembrance of Mercy’s anxious face turned my steps toward the Old City
Hall to learn the extent of his troubles, and the chances of securing
his release.

Kearny Street was thronged with groups of excited men, and I approached
the old municipal building through a surging mob that was kept in motion
by the police.

"They’ve got Kearney in there!" cried a frenzied follower of the
agitators, pointing to the Old City Hall.  "Let’s take him out."

"No, they haven’t!" called another.  "They didn’t dare arrest him."

A policeman brought down a club impartially on the head of the inciter
of disorder and the friend of peace, with gruff orders to "Move on!"
And through many difficulties I made my way to the door on Merchant
Street that opened to the City Prison. The entrance was well guarded by
several stout policemen, but my card secured admission.  At the inner
gate, however, I was halted for a heart-searching catechism as to my
profession, standing, and present purposes; but at last the gate swung
open, and I stood by the desk sergeant, and questioned him in regard to
the arrested.

A dozen men were being searched, and their torn clothing and hard faces
testified to the rough treatment they had received--and earned.

"Parks?" said the desk sergeant, running his finger down his list.  "He
isn’t booked under that name. Look at Cell Three, and see if you find
him there."  He pointed across the passage where a crowd of prisoners
was herded behind bars, like wild animals in the cages at a menagerie.
In the cage to which he pointed, a score of rough men had been thrust,
and were glaring out fiercely or sullenly according to their nature.
Parks was not among them, and I was turning away with a sigh of relief,
when I heard my name called with unmistakable Chinese intonation.

"Misseh Hampden!" called the voice once more, and I turned to an
adjoining cage to see a mixed crowd of Chinese and whites seated on a
bench in sullen dejection.  Then the Chinaman nearest me rose and came
to the bars, and I recognized the smiling Kwan Luey.

"Why, Kwan Luey!" I exclaimed.  "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, p’liceman say catch-em play fan-tan my place--bling-em jail--all
same fool--bling Kwan Luey."

I recalled that keeping a gambling game was supposed to be a part of
Kwan Luey’s multifarious activities, and expressed my hope that this
would be a warning to him.

"Nev’ mind," said Kwan Luey cheerfully.  "Plitty soon my cousin him come
bling bail--one hund’ dollah fo’ me--ten dollah piecee fo’ them."  And
Kwan Luey smiled with pride at the distinction recognized in the
disparity of the price of freedom. "You catch-em letteh all same I

"I think I kept the letter," I said, remembering the tangled verbiage
that had called me to his store to receive Big Sam’s money under the
disguise of a prize in the lottery, and wondering what he could want
with it.

"No--no," he protested, catching the idea in my mind.  "I lite-em new
letteh.  You no get-em?"


Kwan Luey looked disappointed.

"Maybe you likee see Big Sam, eh?" he said with an insinuating air.

"Oh, Big Sam wants to see me, does he?"

"You likee see Big Sam," repeated Kwan Luey with the air of one stating
a recognized fact. "Maybe him show you how pick plenty good ticket, eh?"

"Does he want to see me to-night?"

"I no know--him no say.  Too many p’lice--too many hoodlum--maybe you no
likee," said Kwan Luey, with a judicial view of the obstacles to an
interview with the King of Chinatown.

I decided that I would take the chances, though it was approaching
midnight, when my attention was attracted by the voice of Parks, and I
turned to see him at the desk.  My heart sank with the thought of
Mercy’s disappointment, when it was buoyed up once more by the discovery
that he was not in custody. Instead of standing there a prisoner, he was
piling little stacks of gold before the desk sergeant, and I divined
that he was producing bail for those followers who had been so
unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the police.  As he shoved the
last of the stacks across the desk and took the receipt that was offered
him, he caught sight of me.

"What brings you here?" he cried in surprise.

"I have come, like yourself, on an errand of mercy.  But I am the one
who has the greater reason to be surprised."  I marveled at his rashness
in daring to enter the prison, and marveled still more that he was not
put under arrest where he stood.  Then I reflected that it was most
unlikely that the policemen on guard at the prison had seen him at the
Nob Hill meeting or at the rescue of Merwin; and if his description was
on the books it was not definite enough to serve for identification.

"By heavens!  They call this law!" he cried, waving his hand around at
the prison.  "Do you know, sir, that they have set Baumgartner’s bail at
five hundred dollars, and threaten to rearrest him as he sets foot out
of prison, if I secure his release with that sum!"

"Then I think you had better save your five hundred," I replied.

"You can take it coolly, Hampden, but I can’t.  It makes my blood boil.
If I had my way, I’d be here taking these men out with ax and sledge,
instead of with gold.  I’d have done it anyhow if they had had the
courage to arrest Kearney.  They didn’t dare!"  And he looked
threateningly around the prison, and then counted the members of his
band for whom the authorities had accepted bail.  "Pass out," he said to
them, and as he brought up the rear of his party, I followed him.  They
were of the typical hoodlum class, their insolence curbed for the moment
by the shadow of the prison, and they slouched with resentful fear from
the watchful eyes of the police.  One figure among them stirred a
dormant memory, and then, as the band scattered in the street, I
recalled to mind the spy whose gift of an overcoat had opened the door
of the fates.  He was gone before I could speak, and I turned to Parks.

"How did you escape arrest?" I asked.

"Escape!" cried Parks.  "I courted arrest, but the coward hounds of
aristocracy had not the courage to lay hands on any of the leaders.
They know as well as I that the wrath of an outraged people would not
leave one stone of the jail upon another, if they ventured to seize
Kearney, or even so humble a person as I."

"To tell you the truth, I came down here expecting to find you in
custody, and to see what I could do toward getting you out.  No, you
needn’t thank me for it.  Give your thanks to a young lady who is paying
you the compliment of more worry than you are worth.  I came to relieve
her anxiety--not yours."

Parks halted as we reached the corner of Merchant and Kearny Streets,
and I saw the tense and angry lines soften on his face.

"Hampden, I won’t pretend to misunderstand you.  You’re right.  I’m not
worth her worry--nor is any man.  I am grateful; but I tell you, as I
tell her, that our private interests, hopes, affections, are nothing
compared with the great cause of the people."

"Well, for her sake, I hope you’ll keep out of jail."

Parks took off his hat, and shook his mane with an angry nod.

"A few more days," he cried, "and this cowardly set of time-servers will
be begging my protection instead of threatening my liberty."

"Are you ready to strike a blow?" I asked with sudden interest.

"Never mind," he said darkly.  "We await only the word from our brethren
in the East.  You can see the crisis approaching there.  The railroad
strikes have spread from the Atlantic to the Missouri.  The frightened
bloodsuckers of society are calling out the troops in the desperate hope
of prolonging their hold on the labor and productive resources of the
country.  When the hour strikes--"

Parks had gradually raised his voice in oratorical fervor, despite the
nearness of the police headquarters, but at this moment he was
interrupted by a tall, strong-faced man, who seized him by the shoulder
and whispered something in his ear.

"Hampden," said Parks, "I am called.  Will you be kind enough to send
word that I am safe?  I shall see your friend to-morrow."  And with a
nod he plunged into the crowd that blocked Kearny Street and

At the drug store on the corner I scribbled a note that should set Miss
Fillmore’s mind at rest, and with some difficulty found a messenger who
would deliver it.  Then with misgivings I shouldered my way through the
crowd, crossed the Plaza, and entered Chinatown.

The echoes of the Nob Hill meeting reverberated here as well as about
the Old City Hall, but with a far different note.  In place of the
illuminated streets, the gay lanterns and the open doors of invitation
of other days, there were barred entrances everywhere; the lights, where
seen at all, flickered behind closed shutters, and the darkened
buildings were surrounded with an atmosphere of sullen watchfulness.
There was evident fear that the meeting on the hill was but the prelude
to an attack on Chinatown, and Chinatown was prepared.

The entrance to Big Sam’e house was closed and barred, like the other
doors of Waverly Place, but lights shone through the chinks in the
shutters, and there were sounds of men stirring behind; so without
hesitation I gave a resounding rap on the panel. The noises within
ceased suddenly, but there was no response to my summons.  I rapped
again, and then a third time, before a singsong voice cried through the

"Wha’ fo’?  What you wan’?"

"I want to see Big Sam," I explained.

"No catch-em Big Sam," returned the voice harshly.

"You tell Big Sam Mr. Hampden here to see him," I cried.  "He send tell
me come.  You sabby tell him now--right away."

There was a sudden outbreak of Chinese voices in argument and protest,
and then silence followed for so long that I was about to rap again,
when the same voice called through the door:

"How many you come?"

"One man."

There were sounds of a barricade removed, and the door opened cautiously
for a few inches while its guardian reconnoitered.  Reassured by my
solitary figure, he stood aside for me to pass.

At the last moment my lagging judgment suggested the folly of putting
myself as a hostage in the hands of the yellow men in such a time of
storm. But it was too late to retreat with honor, and I slipped through
the opening with all the boldness and self-possession I could assume,
and saw the door bolted and barricaded against other intrusion.  I
looked narrowly about me.

Within the store that formed the entrance to Big Sam’s establishment
were twenty or thirty Chinese, and in the smoky light of the lamps I
could distinguish the expression of suspicion and hatred that had
escaped from behind the "no-sabby" mask of the coolie.  The passions of
the meeting on the hill had stirred an answering passion in the breasts
of the yellow man, and I saw that in this place, at least, he was armed
and ready for battle.  The band pretended to take no notice of me, but
the running fire of conversation that followed my entrance told me by
its unmistakable accents that my coming had roused the instincts of
combat, as the sight of the prey rouses the hunting instincts of the

Without a word a Chinaman beckoned me to follow him, and with some
trepidation I stumbled up the stair in his footsteps.  He stood aside at
the entrance to Big Sam’s room of state, motioned me to enter, and as I
stepped in, he closed the door behind me.

For a moment I was disturbed to find that I was the only person in the
room, and looked about with curiosity to know whether I was spied upon
from some hidden post of observation.  After my experience on the
previous visit, I could not doubt that more than one hidden entrance led
to the room, and I suspected that more than one pair of eyes watched me
from hidden peep-holes.  The dark carved wood of the furniture and
walls, and the figures in the intricately embroidered hangings glowered
at me with something of the repressed hostility of the guards
down-stairs.  The life and turmoil of the city from which I had just
come seemed already at a vast distance from that oriental hall, and I
could not but reflect how easy it would be to make certain that I never
returned to the modern San Francisco that seemed now to lie so far away.

With a discretion that would recommend me in the eyes of any watcher, I
took a chair far enough from the desk to avoid the suspicion of a wish
to pry into Big Sam’s papers, and surveyed the apartment as I
impatiently awaited the coming of its owner.

Suddenly the voice of Big Sam sounded behind me.

"I am always glad to welcome Mr. Hampden--even when he is the bearer of
bad news."

I had heard no sound of his entry, and turned with a start at his voice.
Then I exclaimed in surprise. Instead of Big Sam, in his Chinese
costume, I saw an American gentleman regarding me with an impassive
face.  His light plaid suit was of fashionable cut, and no detail of
costume was wanting.  But for the voice, I should have supposed, at
first glance, that another visitor had followed me into Big Sam’s
reception-room, and it was only a closer look that revealed the features
of Big Sam himself.  A touch of art had lightened the color of his skin,
and only the eyes and cheek-bones suggested his Asiatic origin.

"I hope it is no bad news that brings me," I said, as Big Sam advanced
to shake my hand.  "I think I bring none myself."

Big Sam seated himself behind his desk, looking incongruously out of
place--a modern American as master of an oriental domain.

"In this time of broils and alarms, one’s first thought must be of
sudden evil," he said gravely. "You may guess, by my disguise, I have
been observing how your people comport themselves when they assemble to
consider the interests of their race. I have been much edified."

In his American dress, and with his perfect command of English, I had no
doubt that he might have brushed shoulders with Kearney himself without
rousing suspicion of his nationality.

"It has been an inspiring evening," I replied with a gravity equal to
his own.  "I see you have prepared for trouble."

"I am not insensible to the advantages or rights of self-defense," he
said dryly.  "But I trust that you have found nothing incorrect in our
attitude--if I may borrow a phrase from your diplomats.  I would be
unwilling to take any course objectionable to the country that is my
host--possibly a somewhat unwilling host, if I may judge by the words I
have heard to-night."  Big Sam looked at me with the inscrutable irony
of the Orient.

"I can see no ground for complaint," I replied.  "I have come to learn,
not to reprove or to warn."

"I am, as ever, at your service."

"I was happy enough to meet our estimable friend Kwan Luey--under
somewhat difficult and depressing circumstances, I may add--and he was
so insistent in his assumption that I wished to see you that I thought
it wise to test his theory before I went to sleep."

The shadow of a smile swept across Big Sam’s face.

"Kwan Luey has his moments of divination," he said, and then fell

"May I inquire what particularly I wished to see you about?" I asked at

Big Sam’s eyes studied me keenly.

"I warned you--not so long ago, Mr. Hampden--that strange events were
preparing in your city. May I ask what is now your opinion on them?  I
am interested to hear."

"I must congratulate you on the accuracy of your information, though I
am still at a loss to surmise why you should have been selected for the
confidence.  And as for the disorders, they are but a temporary
effervescence, which will die away, or be suppressed.  But there is one
thing permanent about them.  They are a crude expression of the resolve
of our race to hold the continent for itself."

"Crude indeed!" said Big Sam with energy.  "And will destroy itself by
its own violence.  I have here a paper showing the sentiment of your
people in the Eastern States.  It makes a protest against the policy
that would exclude us."

"I shan’t begrudge you the pleasure you can get out of that sort of
comment.  But I can assure you that race feeling will prevail."

"Over private interest?  I believe not.  And the private interest of
your governing classes is with the free admission of my people.  But
enough of that. Where is your charge--and mine--Moon Ying?"

He threw this question at me as though he hoped to surprise some

"She is still with Miss Kendrick."

"What arrangements have you made to protect her?"

"Protect her?  From what?  Are the highbinders so desperate as to think
of attacking Mr. Kendrick’s house?  I trust you will warn them that this
would be something far more serious than all Kearney’s oratory.  It
would mean the destruction of Chinatown."

"I understand you," said Big Sam suavely.  "I have no doubt that an
attack by the tongs on Mr. Kendrick’s house would bring a terrible
reprisal. Fortunately there are few among my people who do not
understand that quite as well as you."

"Nevertheless there is something you fear," I said, as Big Sam

"You must understand, Mr. Hampden, that this girl is a very desirable
piece of property.  There is her money value, which is considerable.
And there is the further consideration that the possession of her would
give a tong a certain power and distinction. The contest has come to be
a point of honor--or perhaps you would say dishonor.  At all events the
tongs have not ceased to plan to recover her, and I have information
that the Hop Sing Tong has devised a plan to seize her by force.  It
would, of course, be suicide for them to carry out the plan themselves.
But what they can not do themselves can be done by white men.  Your race
is not more scrupulous than mine, Mr. Hampden.  I have reason to believe
that the Hop Sing Tong has found a gang of white men who are ready, for
a money consideration, to break into Mr. Kendrick’s house and carry off
the girl."

This warning struck me with the force of a physical blow.  It was
scarcely possible that Big Sam could be mistaken, and I must reckon on
the attack as an imminent danger.  And in swift imagination I could hear
the screams of Laura Kendrick and Mercy Fillmore joining those of Moon
Ying, as they struggled in the grasp of ruffians, and could see the
crackling flames as the raiders left destruction behind them.

"I have had reason to-night to surmise that something was afoot," I
said, "but I did not suspect this."  And then I retailed to Big Sam the
story of the visit of the old Chinaman, the attack of the three raiders
of the early morning, and the questioning of the mysterious tramp.

"The old man is Chung Toy, sometimes known to your people as ’Little
John.’  He was, you will remember, the custodian of the girl.  He is now
in the employ of the Hop Sings.  The white men I can suppose were spies,
sent to reconnoiter, though I am puzzled about the morning raiders."

"Does your information go so far as to suggest when the attack will be


"And have you any word of advice?"

"Advice?  Yes.  I should advise that you return the girl to my custody.
I confess that she would be an embarrassment--"

"You will not be put in any such awkward position," I interrupted.  "I
can speak for Miss Kendrick, and say that she will keep the girl till
the conditions are fulfilled."

"Then," said Big Sam composedly, "I leave to your best judgment the way
to meet the danger."  And with a bow that signified the end of the
interview, he clapped his hands, and a young Chinaman appeared to
conduct me down the stairs.  And as I passed the sullen guards, and
heard the door bolted and barred behind me, I admired the diplomacy with
which Big Sam had washed his hands of his responsibilities, and left
them to me.

                            *CHAPTER XVIII*

                    *LITTLE JOHN AS A MAN OF ACTION*

Big Sam’s warning was enough to drive me once more to the Kendrick house
to make certain that all was secure.  I could suppose, from his words,
that he did not expect an immediate attack, yet it was by no means
unlikely that Little John’s ruffians would take advantage of the
disorders of the night to make their attack.  But all was quiet in the
neighborhood, and Andrews reported nothing more threatening than a few
disorderly hoodlums who had gone shouting past an hour or two before.

I confided to Andrews the warning of an intended attack, and directed
him to engage six men instead of the two I had previously ordered.

"I think I can find the right sort," he said. "There’s some boys I used
to know up in Nevada when we were holding down some claims against big
odds.  Six of ’em would chew up a hundred of these cigarette-smoking
hoods."  And he told with keen enjoyment of the adventurous days of the
claim-jumpers, when a man’s life and property depended on his strength
and courage and sureness of aim.

I paced the watch with him till the stars began to pale before the
coming day, and then gladly sought home and bed.  My sleep was troubled
with vague, indefinable dreams of coming danger, and it was late when I
rose with the presentiment that a crisis was approaching.

It was a Sunday morning, yet the apprehensions roused by my dreams found
abundant reinforcement when I was once more astir.  The echoes from the
Nob Hill meeting were still to be heard in the city, rousing
apprehension among the orderly.  The newspapers treated it as the
sensation of the day, yet, from their comments, I saw that they had no
conception of the real designs that lay behind the activity of the
anti-coolie agitators.  Clark reported to me that the Council of Nine
had been in session till long after midnight, and that the anti-coolie
clubs had been ordered to hold daily drills.  One of the two spies who
were detailed to keep watch on Peter Bolton came at noon with the report
that Bolton had reached his office before seven o’clock in the morning,
where he had received a visit from Waldorf, Parks and Reddick, the three
most active members of the Council. As they left Bolton’s office,
Reddick had been heard to say, "Before the week ends, we shall be
masters of the city."  And as a final fillip to anxiety, I found at my
office a tangle-worded letter, which I recognized as the product of Kwan
Luey’s pen, that recalled the warnings I had received from Big Sam.

With this accumulation of mental disturbance, I took my way at last to
the Kendrick house, to lay the tale of impending dangers before my
client, and to give hint to the young ladies of the need for caution.

On my arrival, I found the house in confusion. There was sound of
excited voices within, and, as I touched the bell, a servant rushed out
and down the steps without taking time to close the door.  I entered
without ceremony, and a moment later met Laura Kendrick coming down the
stairs, her face clouded with fear and indignation.

"Oh, I’m so glad you’ve come!" she said with a gasp of relief, and the
look of fear faded out of her eyes.  "We’ve been scared out of a year’s
growth, and it’s one of the mercies of Providence that we haven’t lost
Moon Ying.  It’s not often I’ve wanted to be a policeman, but I did

"Well, I’ll be your policeman, if you’ll only tell me what it’s all

"It’s a comfort to have you say so, but I’m afraid you’re too late.  He
must be ever so far away by this time."

"Who is it?  What has happened?" I demanded eagerly.

"Somebody tried to steal Moon Ying--that’s what has happened," said
Laura Kendrick indignantly.

"Who did it?  When?  Did they attack the house?" I cried, startled at
the promptness with which my warnings had been fulfilled.

"Come right up-stairs," said Laura, impulsively seizing my arm and
leading me.  "You shall hear at first-hand for yourself."

This sudden captivity gave me so pleasant a thrill that for a moment I
forgot Moon Ying and my responsibilities, and betrayed such inclination
to loiter that I was sharply ordered to "walk faster."  So in a minute
or two I found myself entering a room where Moon Ying, with pale and
frightened face, leaned back among the pillows that covered a reclining
chair, and Mercy Fillmore, at Moon Ying’s side, looked at us with
anxious eyes.

"This is Mr. Hampden, Moon Ying--the man who rescued you from
Chinatown," said Laura. "Tell him what happened to you."

Moon Ying’s resources of English were scant at best, and between fright,
excitement and shyness, it took much prompting and explanation from
Laura and Mercy before her story was fairly begun.  But when all the
tangled threads were straightened out the tale ran thus:

Moon Ying had of late spent an hour or two in the middle of the day,
taking the air and the sun, on the lawn behind the house.  An hour
before she had been assisted to her sunny corner by Mercy, who had,
after a time, returned to the house.  Suddenly the back gate had opened,
and a Chinaman had slipped in.

"How many?" I demanded.

"One--jus’ one," replied Moon Ying.

"How him look?"

"Him small man--old man--all same Chung Toy you one time see," said Moon
Ying in her plaintive voice.

The picture of Little John with his wizened face, his white, horse-hair
mustache and his scant chin-whiskers, rose before me.

"Did he come alone?" I asked, incredulous of his boldness in venturing
thus by himself.

"Him say two men come ’longside him, but I no see.  Him talk velly
soft--say I come Chinatown, him makee me velly nice dless--get velly
fine house--find me velly good husband.  I tell him go ’way, I too
muchee sabby him.  One time I thlink him good man--now I heap sabby him
tell big lie--no got nice dless--no got fine house--no got good
husband--I all time stlay Miss Kenlick.  Him get velly mad--him say
velly bad thling.  Then him say I no go alongside him, two men come
takee me so--" and Moon Ying raised her pretty little hands and gripped
fiercely at the air, with the motion of one throttling a victim.

"What you do then?"

"I cly velly loud--likee so--" and Moon Ying let out a feminine screech
that caused Laura and Mercy to cover their ears.  "Then Chung Toy
catchee me, so--," and she seized her arm roughly,--"put hand so--," and
she covered her mouth with her palm.  "I cly one time again.  Miss
Kenlick come.  Miss Muh See come.  One man come.  Chung Toy him lun

"Did you see him?" I asked of Laura.

"Indeed I did; and I could have caught him, too, if I hadn’t been such a
goose as to be scared into a graven image.  But by the time I came to
life he was out of the gate.  But it was the same man who was here last
evening; and if he had any one with him. they took precious good care
not to show themselves. He went in such a hurry that he left behind him
a peddler’s basket.  It had a few silk handkerchiefs in it.  I suppose
he was going to make them an excuse, if he had been stopped on coming

"Where were my men?  There should have been two of them on hand to stop
such fellows.  I must look into this."  And the spirit of judgment rose
stern within me.

"Well," said Laura, "there was one of your men here, and the other was
sick, so you needn’t look so cross.  This one was at the front of the
house, and he ran around to the back at Moon Ying’s scream. When he got
there that awful creature was out of the yard, so I got him to help us
carry Moon Ying into the house.  Then he went out the back gate, but by
that time there was no heathen in sight anywhere. But I’ve sent one of
the servants for the police and the doctor, and I want your miserable
Chung Toy put in jail where he’ll be out of mischief."  And she gave her
head a determined nod, as though his fate were settled beyond recall.

"I’ll have a warrant out before night," I said, with anger tingling in
my nerves, "and he’ll be laid by the heels in the City Prison if he
dares show himself on the street."

"I don’t think jail is a very good place, even for bad people," said
Mercy, "for it makes them worse; but I shall feel easier if that man is
locked up.  It is too dangerous to have him at large."

"I suppose you don’t need any instructions," I said, "but I’ll venture
to suggest that Moon Ying had better take the air from an up-stairs
window for a few days."

"I hope we have sense enough to know that much," returned Laura soberly,
"though I don’t blame you for thinking we haven’t.  I shan’t dare let
her out of doors unless there’s a regiment of soldiers about the house."

"I’ll have a few more men here to-morrow; but you’d better keep her in
till I give the word that all is safe."

Laura Kendrick looked sharply at me.

"You needn’t try to hide it," she said.  "I see in your face that
there’s something more you’re afraid of, and you’d better tell it now
rather than later."

"I wasn’t intending to conceal it.  In fact, I was going to warn you
against letting strange white men into the house.  I’ve had a warning
that leads me to believe that the fellow who was here asking questions
yesterday is one of a gang hired by the highbinders to recover Moon
Ying.  They are much more dangerous than Little John, but if we don’t
give them a chance they won’t hurt us."

Moon Ying had followed our conversation with eager attention; and though
many of the words were beyond her understanding, she had caught the
meaning of what we said.

"Too bad--too velly bad," she said, with sudden resolution evident in
her face.  "Bad man come, makee you ’flaid, maybe shoot.  I go ’way, bad
man no come."

"Indeed you shan’t go away," cried Laura. "There’s no place on earth you
could be safe, even if we did let you go."

"I go Big Sam.  Him velly big man.  No bad man catch-em me in Big Sam’s
house.  No bad man catch-em you when me-gone."

At these words, Laura impulsively flung her arms about Moon Ying.

"You dear creature!" she cried.  "Nobody shall hurt you here--and nobody
will hurt us, either.  My uncle can protect you much better than Big
Sam, and Big Sam himself has said so."

Moon Ying tried to express more fully her fear that her presence brought
danger to the household, but her language was unequal to her thought,
and Laura and Mercy both talked at once to assure her that they feared
nothing, and would refuse to give her up, even though all the tongs of
Chinatown should come in force to demand her; so Moon Ying at last with
a sigh of grateful content said:

"I likee stay--I likee you."  And Laura on one side, and Mercy on the
other, twined their arms about her with a laugh that was almost a sob.

It was a pretty picture of the sisterhood of Occident and Orient, and I
admired it, with something of the feminine emotions raising a lump in my
throat, when I was observed by the lady of the house.

"Go away," she said.  "This is no place for men."  And in spite of my
remonstrance that I was in perfect harmony with my surroundings, I was
driven forth, and went down-stairs to find Wharton Kendrick taking a
Sunday afternoon nap in his den.

He gave me a sleepy greeting, but roused himself to attention at my
account of the Nob Hill meeting, the midnight session of the Council of
Nine, the morning meeting in Bolton’s office, and the warning from Big

"Hm-m!  Well, put on enough watchmen to see that we don’t wake up to
find our throats cut," he said.  "I dare say P. Bolton is egging them on
all around to do something for their money.  But so far as the business
goes, I think I’ve got everything shipshape and ready for storm.  The
syndicate is strong enough to protect the market, and the police can
handle the Cheap John revolution, and I don’t believe anybody is going
to attack the house; so there’s nothing to worry about.  But you’d
better keep in touch with your anarchist friends a little closer than
you’ve been doing.  If we can get warning over night of any particular
deviltry they are going to start, it might be worth a hundred thousand
dollars.  Hallo! what’s this?" he cried as a servant brought him a card.
"Show him in."  And before I could escape, General Wilson bustled
through the door, his ruddy face aglow in the frame of his bristling
yellow-gray side-whiskers, and his short stout frame radiating energy at
every step.

"Why, God bless my soul!  Kendrick--Hampden--I find you with your heads
together like a pair of conspirators in the theater.  Hope I don’t
interrupt. It does me good, Hampden, to see you youngsters pulling along
in double harness with the war-horses like Kendrick and me; and you
can’t find a better one to pull with than Kendrick; he’s the salt of the

I professed myself glad to see the general, and Wharton Kendrick greeted
him jovially.

"I don’t believe in doing business on Sunday," said General Wilson.  "In
fact, I lost a million-dollar trade with Jim Fisk once, because I
wouldn’t sign the contract on the Sabbath, and on Monday Jim was chasing
after something else.  But I thought you’d like to know that I got a
telegram from my people about that swamp-land deal.  Here it is, and you
see they’ll come up to that eight hundred thousand dollar offer.  That’s
the limit, and it won’t last long at that.  I don’t like to boast,
Kendrick, but I’ll tell you that there isn’t another man on the
footstool that could have got ’em up to that point--I’m the only one
that could do it; and, by George, I’m astonished at my own success, the
way things are looking in the East with those confounded railroad
strikes and rumors of riot.  Now, I want you to understand that I’m not
asking you to take up with the offer to-day, for of course you remember
the Sabbath just as I do.  But you can have a good chance to think it
over.  You know well enough that you’re going to take the offer, so I’ll
warn you that I’ll drop around in the morning and get your acceptance."

"Hold on, hold on, Wilson.  You’re running as wild as a mustang colt.
I’m not so sure about this thing.  I’ve got to have more time to
consider it.  I said I’d let you have the land for eight hundred and
fifty thousand, but I believe I’m a fool to let it go for any such
figure.  However, I’ll let it stand for a couple of days.  I’ve got some
affairs booked for to-morrow that will take all my time.  But if you’ll
come in on Tuesday with your eight hundred and fifty thousand you can
have the land.  After that it’ll cost you more."

"Kendrick, I’ll wait another day for you, if I have to telegraph that
I’ve broken a leg.  Business, sir, is, next to war, man’s most important
pursuit; but even business must give way to the call of friendship.
You’ll see me coming into your office on Tuesday morning, Kendrick, like
a conquering hero, ready to receive your sword--or your pen, which is
mightier yet--but at eight hundred thousand, mind you."

"Come, come, Wilson, you’re getting ahead of your horses," said Kendrick
with a laugh.  "I’m thinking of getting up a company to reclaim those
lands, and if I conclude to do it, I won’t sell for double the money."

"Talk as long as you like, Kendrick; but I’ve got a sixth sense that
tells me when a bargain’s made, and it never fails me.  I can tell, nine
times out of ten, when the other fellow has concluded to take my figures
before he knows it himself, and that gift has saved me a pretty penny
more than once.  Why, when the Ohio Midland was enlarging its Chicago
terminal, there was one piece we had to have--but the story’s too long
to tell.  However, I made a hundred thousand dollars the best of the
bargain by knowing what the other fellow was going to do before he knew
it himself."

Wharton Kendrick gave a hearty laugh at General Wilson’s diplomacy.

"Well, I shall take warning by that and hold out for my hundred
thousand--or, I should say, fifty thousand, as I’ve given you a price."

"You’re getting your extra hundred thousand with the price I’m offering
you," said the general testily, "and I know well enough you’ll not be
fool enough to refuse it, especially after such a row as you had on Nob
Hill last night.  I hope my New York clients don’t hear of it, or
everything will be off.  I was there, sir, and of all the howling mobs I
ever saw, this beat anything since the draft riots. Why, sir, that
blatant beast, Kearney, shouted arson and manslaughter, and another
fellow called for the overturn of society, and if it hadn’t been for the
police, I believe they would have worked up the crowd to the point of
blood-letting."  Then General Wilson went at such length into the proper
methods of handling mobs that I seized upon a favorable moment to slip
out the door.

As I left the boom-boom of General Wilson’s voice behind me, I caught
sight of Mercy Fillmore’s perplexed and anxious face.

"Oh, I thought you had gone," she said, "but I’m glad you haven’t, for I
want to thank you for your thoughtful note of last night.  And now Mr.
Parks has sent me word that he is too busy to come up this afternoon,
and I was wondering how I could get a few lines to him.  I am so afraid
he is planning something very reckless--something that will get him into
trouble.  If I did not fear that he would be angry, I should go down and
speak to him myself."

"If that is all that’s worrying you, I’ll see that he gets your
letter--that is, if you can give me any idea where he is to be found."

"He wrote that he should be detained all the afternoon at Mr. Blasius’
place, with some very important committee meetings."  The idea of
Mercy’s seeking Parks in the House of Blazes struck me as slightly
amusing, but I forebore to enlighten her as to the social position of H.
Blasius, and she continued: "Now if you know where that is, you might
send one of your men down there with this note."  And she handed me an
envelope addressed to "Mr. Gerald Parks."  "You are sure it is not
asking too much of you?  I hope you are enough interested in him to wish
to keep him from trouble."

I assured her that I was glad to be of service, and she thanked me with
a dash of color in her pale face.

                             *CHAPTER XIX*

                            *MISCHIEF AFOOT*

My first thought in accepting Mercy Fillmore’s commission had been to
intrust her letter to one of my men.  But once outside the house, it
dawned upon me that I held in my hand a provident excuse to seek the
conspirators in their lair.  The hint by which Parks had roused such
enviable anxiety corroborated the information I had received from my spy
service. The campaign of action was evidently at hand, and I might
possibly learn from a personal visit what I could not learn through
others--provided I could pass unchallenged through the doors of the
House of Blazes.  The letter I held was a card of admission certain to
be honored, if Parks were there.  For the rest, chance must serve to
expose or to conceal the plans that were keeping the agitators’
committees in prolonged session.

H. Blasius received me with reserve born of suspicion, and his bleary
eyes searched my face coldly at my name and my demand for Parks.

"Meestaire Park?  Why do you want him?" he inquired at last.

"I have a very important message for him," I replied.

"Gif to me ze message," said Blasius.  "When Meestaire Park he come, he
shall have it."

"I couldn’t give it to you," I said.  "I am to deliver it into his hands
only.  And I can tell you that he will be very angry if there’s any
delay about it."

H. Blasius’ pasty face took on an expression of dismay at the thought of
an angry Parks, and with a grumbling of French interjections that
suggested the cracking of his ill-regulated internal machinery, he
waddled to a doorway at the end of the bar, and disappeared up a box

I looked around the saloon at the dozen or more men who lounged about in
varying degrees of alcoholic stupefaction, and had just noted a group of
men half concealed at a table at the farther end of the L of the room,
when a rapid step descended the stairs, and Parks appeared.

"Hampden!" he cried, shaking my hand.  "What can I do for you?  It is a
surprise to see you here."

"If I need an apology for intruding, here is a good one."  And I held
out Mercy’s letter.

Parks seized it with a start of emotion as he recognized the
handwriting, looked about with apparent thought of the profanation of
reading Mercy’s words in that place, and then giving me a nod to follow
him, strode to a secluded table and opened the letter. His face lost
something of its aggressive resolution as he read and re-read the pages.

"Hampden," he said in a softened voice, "did you ever realize that the
sympathies of women are individual and concrete?  The welfare of the
masses is but a shadow to them, except as they see it through some one
they know and care for.  Here my petty personal welfare is put before
the interests of the whole people!"  And he laid a monitory finger on
the letter.  "I am asked to give up an enterprise of the greatest moment
lest I shall get my head cracked or be thrown into prison."

"Would you have her think otherwise?"

He looked at the letter without answering.  Then he thrust it into his
pocket, gave his head a shake, and his face was once more dominated by
the aggressive spirit of the agitator.

"I don’t deny it is pleasant to be considered worth a moment of anxiety;
but it is weakening to the resolution.  It is something that must have
no part in my life."

"Good heavens, Parks!  You don’t mean to say that you would give up the
chance to get a girl like Mercy Fillmore, just for the sake of making
speeches about--"  It was on the tip of my tongue to say "the riffraff,"
but in deference to the prejudices of my listener, I ended weakly with
"--people who don’t care a snap of their fingers for you?"

Parks was silent for some seconds, and he studied the table with a
far-away look in his eyes.

"Do you think I have a chance?" he asked.

"Great Scott, man, how much encouragement do you want?  Why, if a young
lady I could name--and won’t--showed half as much interest in my
personal safety as this girl is showing in yours, I’d be down on my
knees at once."

He looked in my eyes, with something of frank boyishness, for the first
time, showing under the enthusiast and dreamer.

"I don’t mind confessing to you, Hampden, that I’ve been in love with
that girl ever since we were school children together.  But I think you
overestimate her interest in me.  She is a very sympathetic person,
and--"  He did not finish the sentence, but gave his hand a wave that
made her anxieties include the entire circle of her acquaintance.  "It
was her work among the suffering poor that led me to the studies that
have shown me the rights of man and the wrongs of society.  But, I have
resolved, Hampden, before I say a word, to accomplish something--to make
myself known--to strike a blow for the regeneration of mankind that
shall make the nations ring."

His voice had risen in the oratorical fervor of his last sentence, until
it attracted attention from the group at the lower end of the room, and
a chorus of voices called "Parks!  Parks!"

"Here!" responded Parks.  "What’s wanted?"  And rising, with a wave of
the hand that summoned me to follow him, he strode to the farther end of
the L where a group of five or six men sat around a table.

[Illustration: Five or six men sat around a table]

Dominating the group, I recognized Denis Kearney, talking with grandiose
bonhomie to his companions.  There was a self-satisfied look on his
face, and something of arrogance was added to his bearing.  A brief
experience of public applause had banished the simplicity from his
countenance, and in its place had come the indefinable lines of
calculation, ambition and authority.  He was leaning back in his tilted
chair, but came to his feet as we approached.  He shook hands warmly
with Parks, and remembered me as though he were conferring a favor.

"I’ve shaken thousands of hands this day," he said as he gave me a grip.
"It’s harder worrk than hefting barrels, but it’s worrk in a good cause.
We’ll drive the haythins into the say in a month."

Parks introduced me with a wave of the hand to the men about the table,
and Kearney continued:

"Well, we’d better be thinkin’ of the program for to-morrow night, and
how to get our tarriers out. I’ve got something to say about the police
interferin’ with our meeting last night that ought to raise the
timperature about forty degrees."

"I’ve been thinking about the speeches," said Parks, "and I’ve concluded
it’s time to swing ’em round."

"Swing ’em round to what?" demanded a tall man with a black mustache,
who had been introduced to me as Enos.

"The overthrow of capitalism," responded Parks, his face aglow.  "The
Chinese cry is a good thing to rouse ’em with, but the Chinese question
is only a little corner of the real issue before the people. Capitalism,
plutocracy--these must be put down before the people can come to their
rights, and it’s time we told ’em so."

There was a minute of silence, and the agitators looked about the table
as if each sought to read the others’ thoughts.

"That’s all well enough, Parks," said Kearney at last, "but we’ve tried
’em on that, an’ it’s no go. Whin I tell ’em the haythin is taking the
bread out of their mouths and ivery pigtail ought to be driven into the
say, they holler till I can’t hear me own voice.  But whin I tell thim
that society has got to be reorganized, an’ that times will niver be
right till the collective capital of the nation is administhered by the
nation’s ripresintatives--those are the worrds, aren’t they,
Parks?--they shake their heads and say, ’What th’ divil is he dhrivin’
at?’  I can git five thousand men to follow me to Chinatown to-night to
burn the haythin out if I but say th’ worrd, but I couldn’t git fifty to
follow me to the City Hall to turn th’ mayor out."

The others nodded assent to Kearney’s words; but Parks’ face had been
growing blacker and blacker, and now he broke forth impetuously:

"By heavens!  If they don’t see their own interests, they must be made
to see them.  What are our tongues given us for but to tell them of the
things they can’t see for themselves?  The wrong, degradation and
poverty we see about us are no more due to the petty evils of Chinese
competition than to the wearing of machine-made shoes.  They are due to
the control of industry by capital--to the system that puts a thousand
men to work for the benefit of one man instead of for the benefit of all
men.  The Chinese now do injure the white man.  But you put the capital
and labor of the nation under control of the nation’s representatives,
and the labor of the Chinese would injure nobody--would help instead of
hurt. The more the Chinaman produced, the more there would be to divide,
and the less the Chinaman lived on, the more there would be for the rest
of us.  We must make capital the servant, not the master, of mankind.
Wipe out the old system!  Bring in the new!"  Parks had grown more and
more excited as he talked, and his hair stood out aggressively from the
emphatic nods with which he had pointed his declamation.

"Do you mean that you want us to start a rebellion?" growled Enos.

"Successful rebellions are revolutions," cried Parks, "and it is a
revolution that society demands."

"Well, society isn’t demanding it out loud," said Kearney.

"We must work through the ballot-box," said Enos, "we must keep within
the law."

At this word there was a harsh croak behind me, and I turned to see the
white pasty face of H. Blasius gloating over us, his fat forefinger
pointed at Enos.

"Law!" he cried.  "It is ze superstition of _politique_ imposed on us by
ze capitalist, as ze superstition of moral is imposed on us by ze
priest.  When we say _Non_--no more for us--zen it is gone--we are free.
Let us say _Pouf!_ away! we make laws to suit ourself.  Eh, _mes

"Pooh!" said Enos.  "You’re talking nonsense."

"Nonsense?  _Poltron_!" answered Blasius with contempt.  "It take but a
few barricade and two free t’ousand men to defend zem, and--_boum_!  We
have ze city.  I was of ze Commune, and I tell you so. And instead of
_Marchons_, you say Nonsense.  Eh-h, cowarrd!"

Enos jumped to his feet, his dark face flushing angrily.  His fists were
doubled, and if Blasius had been a younger man, I should have witnessed
the beginning of civil war in the camp of the agitators. But Enos held
his arm before the gray hairs of the ex-Communard, and before the
quarrel could be warmed by further words, there was an interruption that
turned all thoughts from private disputes.  A man burst through the
swinging doors of the saloon and ran down to our table.

"Waldorf!" cried Parks.

I looked with interest at this leader of the Council of Nine--a tall,
large-faced man, whose square jaw, spare cheeks, and bulging brows gave
promise of force.

"It has come!" he cried.

"What?" cried Parks, springing to his feet.  "The word from the

"Just as good," said Waldorf, waving a newspaper excitedly before the
group.  "See this!"  And as he unfolded the sheet we could see the
printed announcement of an extra edition.

Parks seized the paper, and cried out the headlines:

"Riot and Bloodshed--Pittsburgh in Flames--Railroad Shops Wrecked by a
Furious Mob--Troops Cooped up in the Roundhouse and Compelled to
Surrender!  Fighting in Baltimore.  Mob Law Rules a Dozen Cities."

The men about the table looked at one another in silence, and the pallor
of fear or excitement spread upon their faces.

"That’s the signal," said Waldorf.  "I wish we were better prepared."

"Prepare’!" cried Blasius scornfully.  "We need no more.  We have arrms.
We can make ze barricade. We have leaders--plans.  All we need is ze
brave heart, and--_boum_!--we arre ze government!"

"What are you going to do?" asked Kearney uneasily. I saw that he was
not in the full confidence of the Council of Nine, and was disturbed at
this glimpse of its plans.

"Here’s what we are going to do," said Parks, who had resumed his seat
and scribbled a few words on a sheet of paper.  "This news settles the
plans for to-morrow night’s meeting, and this is the way we’ll call it."
And he read out his composition with fervor:

                           NOTICE OF MEETING

The working-men and women of San Francisco will meet en masse this
(Monday) evening, at 7:30, on the City Hall lots, to express their
sympathy and take other action in regard to their fellow workmen at
Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  Prominent speakers will address the meeting.
By order of


"Hm-m!" said Kearney, with no evidence of enthusiasm in his tone.
"That’ll bring ’em out, I suppose."

"Just the thing!" said Waldorf, with warm appreciation of his
colleague’s work.  "It should call out every man and woman who is in
sympathy with the oppressed toilers.  ’To express sympathy and take
other action in regard to their fellow workmen.’  That’s well put,

"What other action are you going to take?" asked Enos suspiciously.

"Come to the meeting and see," said Parks.

                              *CHAPTER XX*

                           *ON THE SAND-LOTS*

City Hall Avenue and the vacant lots below it bustled with the activity
of an arriving circus.  Two bonfires blazing fiercely sent the crackling
sparks flying skyward, and cast so warm a glow on the faces of those who
approached them, that even the small boys, who dared one another to feed
the flames, shielded their eyes with uplifted arm, and made their bows
before the altar of the God of Fire in reverse of the customary attitude
of respect.

A wooden platform had been erected near the lower end of the triangle of
vacant lots, and a row of gasoline torches blazed about it.  Groups of
men were gathered here and there about the sandy space, listening to
impromptu orators arguing in dissonant chorus over the significance of
the eastern riots, or denouncing the Chinese as the source of all
industrial and social woes.

The groups were in a state of flux, swelling where the voices rose
loudest, and melting away where the discussion sank to a conversational
monotone.  But the most active elements of the crowd were the bands of
young men, hardly more than boys, who formed into gangs of ten to
twenty, and roughly pushed and jostled their way through the crowd with
cries that indicated their disesteem for the Chinese, their regard for
Kearney and for the Pittsburgh rioters, and their especial disapproval
of the police.

Behind the bonfires and torches, the dark groups and eddying streams of
men, rose the half-built New City Hall.  Touched here and there with the
red glow of the bonfires in front, and framed in silhouette by the dying
shimmer of the sunset behind, it looked like some ancient, majestic
ruin--far different in outline from the ruin it was to become, when
thirty years later it was racked by earthquake, and swept by a mighty
conflagration--yet one that furnished a striking background for the
turbulent scene enacted before it.

As I entered the crowded space from the Market Street side, I had noted
these details before I discovered Parks standing by the platform and
glancing impatiently about him.

"Hampden," he cried, "I am glad to see that you have joined this great
outpouring of the people.  You shall have a seat with me on the

"I wouldn’t miss the fun for fifteen cents.  But what are you going to
do?  What’s your plan?"

"We shall follow the wishes of our fellow-citizens," said Parks, with a
nod of mystery, importing designs that could not be revealed until the
moment of execution.  "But the first thing is to have the speeches
delivered, and we are away behind time. The meeting ought to have been
called to order twenty minutes ago, but the procession is late, of
course.  I never knew one that wasn’t."  And he looked irritably into
Market Street, and made some unfavorable comments on the marshals of the

"Here it comes now!" exclaimed another member of the group, as a blare
of horns, the thump of a drum and a confused sound of cheering disturbed
the air.

The procession soon came into sight as it advanced up Market Street and
turned into the sand-lots.  At its head marched a brass band, and
scattered here and there in the trailing line were a few hundred
torches--spoil from the election campaign of the preceding year.  While
the attention of all was fixed on the manoeuvers of the marching clubs,
I felt my sleeve plucked, and turned to find Clark beside me.  Without
looking at me he slipped a piece of paper into my hand, and moved away.
I held the paper under one of the gasoline torches, and read:

Some mischief ahead.  Jim Morgan has been hiring men. Had 20 or 30 young
fellows cooped up near hdqrs. this p.m. They are marching up with the

I puzzled for a little over the particular variety of mischief that was
imported by this activity of Bolton’s agent, and then stepping behind
Clark, said:

"Keep as close to the gang as you can.  If you find out what they are up
to, bring me word at once.  I’ll be on the platform here."

Without appearing to notice me, Clark gave a signal that he understood,
and as he moved away Parks tapped me on the shoulder.

"Here!  We must start this thing now," he said. "We’re over half an hour
late.  Come up on the platform.  Where in the name of Halifax can
Kearney be?  He hasn’t come up with the clubs, and he hasn’t sent any

I suggested the theory of sickness.

"He’s sick of the job--that’s my opinion," said Parks savagely.  "He’s
full of fighting talk when there’s no trouble in sight, but when there’s
a chance to strike a blow for the people, he’s for hanging back. He
hasn’t had any ginger in his talk about this meeting.  You heard him
last night.  He was about as warm as a fish then, and his pulse has been
going down ever since.  Well, we can’t wait any longer, so here goes."
And pushing to the front of the platform, he pounded on an improvised
desk and called for order.

It was by the eye rather than by the ear that he caught the attention of
the throng, for in the babel of amateur oratory that filled the square,
his voice was lost.  But at his appeals, silence spread in concentric
rings about the platform, until the arguing groups melted into the mass
of humanity that pressed toward the speakers’ stand.

I paid but perfunctory attention to the speeches. Under Parks’ guidance
a man named D’Arcy was chosen chairman of the meeting, and speaker vied
with speaker in expressing sympathy with their brave brethren of
Pittsburgh, in declaring admiration for the courage with which they had
beaten down the hireling soldiery of the brutalized money lords, in
denouncing the policy that had called out the troops to settle a mere
business dispute between workmen and employers, in bewailing the hard
lot of the workmen of San Francisco, and in assailing the Chinese as the
cause of the local industrial woes. It was not the inflammatory speeches
that drew the major part of my attention, nor even the riotous applause
that followed those speakers who expressed their approval of violence as
a cure for low wages or no wages.  Some subtle sense of divination drew
my eyes and thoughts to certain currents and eddies in the crowd, where
lines of men appeared to move with common purpose through the great
gathering.  The lines would grow in length as they proceeded, then would
swirl into a group, and break or unfold into two or three new lines that
would push out in different directions to form new centers of
excitement. Some plan of action was evidently preparing.

In the midst of a speaker’s appeal to the sacred rights of labor against
the wrongs of coolie immigration, a man swung himself over the back rail
of the platform and whispered to Parks.

"What’s that?" demanded Parks incredulously.

The man repeated his statement.

"When did it happen?"

"About seven o’clock."

Parks’ face grew black with suppressed storm, and the man continued:

"He said you could rouse the town about it if you thought best, but for
himself he didn’t want the course of the law interfered with."

"What do you think, Hampden?" said Parks, in my ear.  "Kearney’s

"What’s he been doing now?"

"Oh, it’s his Nob Hill speech.  He threatened to hang Stanford and
Crocker, you know; and they’ve jailed him for that."

"Well," I said cheerfully, "are you going to follow your example by
leading the mob to rescue him?"

"I’d take five thousand men down to the City Prison and have him out in
half an hour, if I was sure he hadn’t contrived this arrest himself,"
replied Parks darkly.

"What put that into your head?" I asked in surprise.

"Never mind," said Parks with an angry shake of his head.  "I’ve a right
to my suspicions."  Then he turned to his messenger and growled: "Don’t
say anything about this.  I’ll announce it later if it seems best.  I’ll
have to think it over a little.  I’ll wait till Reddick has spoken,

Reddick, as the mouthpiece of the Council of Nine, gave a speech filled
with denunciations of social and industrial conditions, and with the
roars of applause that he evoked, the currents and eddies of men grew
stronger.  As he drew toward the close of his address, I felt a touch
from behind, and turned to find Clark beckoning for attention.  As I
bent to him, he whispered in my ear:

"Those fellows of Morgan’s are trying to stir up a rumpus.  They are
going through the crowd now passing the word that it’s time to burn out
the rich fellows that have brought in the Chinese, and that the place to
begin is on Van Ness Avenue, and finish with Nob Hill and Chinatown.
There’s going to be trouble as soon as the meeting breaks up."

This alarming information revealed Bolton’s purpose, whatever might be
the plans of the Council of Nine, and though the meeting seemed likely
to be prolonged for an hour or two more, I scribbled a note on the back
of one of Wharton Kendrick’s cards and handed it to Clark, saying:

"Get down to the Old City Hall, see Chief Ellis, or whoever is in
charge, and tell him that Kendrick’s place is to be attacked.  Ask him
to send as many men as he can spare to keep the avenue clear.  That card
will get you a chance to speak with him, and you can tell him what the
gang is doing.  I am going up to Kendrick’s before the meeting closes
and get ready for trouble."

"I’ll do the best I can, sir," said Clark, with evident doubt of his
power to influence so important a man as the chief of police, and in a
moment had disappeared into McAllister Street.

While I had been engaged with Clark, Reddick had ended his speech with a
fiery peroration that brought a roar of applause, during which a stout,
red-faced man climbed to the platform and took his place.

"This is all wrong, men," were the first words I heard from the new
speaker.  "We can’t help the cause of labor by getting into a row with
the police. We can’t get more wages by hunting a fight with the militia.
We can’t even get a better job by punching a Chinaman’s head."

"Who the devil is this?" cried Reddick angrily. "He’s a hell-hound of
plutocracy.  Who asked him to speak?"

"Stop him, D’Arcy," said Parks.  "He’ll be a wet blanket on the

So far from being a wet blanket, the speaker had a remarkably enlivening
influence on the crowd.  The elements that had been roused to enthusiasm
by fiery speeches, culminating in Reddick’s red-pepper harangue, were in
no mood to listen to this sort of talk, and catcalls, hoots and cries of
dissent drowned his words.

"This agitation don’t do us no good," shouted the volunteer orator.  "It
hurts us.  It scares away capital.  I lost two jobs by it myself."

"Sit down!  Dry up!  Get off the platform!" came in volleys from the
audience, and the chairman, with a pull at the speaker’s coat tails,
paraphrased the demand.

"I won’t sit down!" shouted the unknown.  "I’m an American citizen and
as good as any of you."

"Throw him off!" cried Reddick; and suiting action to word, he seized
the speaker about the waist.

The unknown resented this interference by whirling about, and planting a
blow on Reddick’s face that sent him to the floor with a thump.  But the
militant friend of order was seized by a dozen men before he could make
another movement, and with a struggle was hustled to the side of the
platform and dropped over the rail.

The scene of violence was contagious.  During the altercation on the
platform the signs of disorder in the crowd had multiplied, and at the
sight of the blow that laid Reddick on his back, a mighty roar rose on
the air, and the whole throng appeared to break into tumultuous motion.
The great mass was shaken to its confines with a sudden blind impulse of
conflict, the thousands of faces tossed and eddied about like sea waves
ruffled by cross-currents, and a surge of men broke against the

"Hold on," shouted Parks, springing to the front. "There’s four more
speakers to be heard, and the resolutions to be passed."  But in the
uproar his voice was overwhelmed, and in a moment the hoodlum mob was
upon us.  A conflux of wolfish faces centered upon the platform, and
with cries of "Kill the Chinese!  Down with the coolie-lovers!" they
tore at the supports.  The platform went down with a crash of breaking
boards and screaming men, and the flaming gasoline torches that lighted
the stand fell forward with the uprights to which they were fastened,
only to be raised in the van as the standards of the hoodlum mob.

The downfall of the platform sent half the group sprawling on the ground
among its ruins.  But at the first warning crack I had seized Parks as
he was about to be pitched forward under the feet of the attacking
forces, and dragged him to the back rail. This frail support held for a
space against the wrench of the falling front, and offered us a moment’s

"This is an outrage!" cried Parks, as we scrambled to the ground.  "The
money of the railroad or the Six Companies has paid for this assault on
a peaceable meeting.  But I am not going to be silenced by a pack of
hoodlums.  Come up to the City Hall steps, and we will finish our
speeches and pass our resolutions."

"Better let bad enough alone," I said.  "You’d much better come with me
to see to Miss Fillmore’s safety."

But Parks had not waited to hear the end of my words, and was already on
his way to the Hall of Records, shouting at the top of his voice,
"Follow me, all members of the International Clubs!" while I struggled
to press my way through the division of the mob that was sweeping up
Leavenworth Street. As I reached the corner I heard one of the leaders

"Come on, youse fellows!  We’ll burn out Millionaire’s Row on Van Ness
Avenue.  They’s the ones that gets rich by bringing in the coolies!"
And his suggestion was approved with a roar.

This was, I could no longer doubt, a part of the scheme that had been
hatching in the fertile brain of Peter Bolton.  It was for this that Jim
Morgan had hired and trained his ruffians, and the objective point of
the mob in front of me was the home of Wharton Kendrick.

It was of this that my sixth sense had warned me, even before Clark had
spoken; and yet I had loitered in the belief that there was plenty of
time to reach the place before the close of the meeting should loose the
forces of disorder.  And now, with a sudden gust of passion all evil
things had thrown away restraint, the mob with roars of rage was
swarming in different directions, smashing doors and windows, and
shouting its war-cries with cheers and curses, while I was still by the
City Hall, trying to force past the throng that streamed up Leavenworth

I had got as far as Tyler Street (later to become famous as Golden Gate
Avenue), when I found the way blockaded.  The crowd had halted, packed
into a dense mass about the corner, and shouts and yells, the crash of
breaking wood and the tinkle of falling glass told that the wild beast
had found an object on which to vent its rage.  By the light of the
street-lamps and the flare of the torches carried by the mob, I saw that
the point of attack was a low, wooden building, and a painted sign above
the door told that therein Ah Ging did washing and ironing.

I had barely discerned so much when the sign disappeared, and a moment
later the form of a Chinaman was framed in the doorway above the crowd,
amid a gang of hoodlum captors.  For an instant I could see the wild,
terror-stricken face, its brown skin turned to a sickly yellow, its eyes
rolling in the red glare of the torches with the instinct of the animal
seeking despairingly some path of escape.  Then at a blow from behind
the Chinaman gave a scream and plunged headlong down the steps.

The end was shut out from my sight, but I was shaken by the qualms of
deathly sickness at this wanton barbarity, as the maelstrom of
struggling bodies closed in upon its victim, and his death-cries were
drowned in the chorus of yells, jeers and animal ejaculations of rage
with which the collective beast accompanied the murder of Ah Ging.

                             *CHAPTER XXI*


As I came within sight of the Kendrick house, breathless, shaken with
scenes of brutality, and torn with apprehensions, I found that my fears
were realized. A disorderly mob of two or three hundred men had gathered
in front of the place, their groans and hoots filling the air, and the
score or more of torches they carried throwing a smoky glare on the

The mob had not yet ventured to attack the place, and I was relieved to
see that Andrews and his men still held the steps and guarded the walls;
but the riotous elements were lashing the crowd into the courage to
attack the little band that looked down upon them.

Suddenly, as I reached the confines of the crowd, a silence fell, and I
started with surprise to see Wharton Kendrick walk down the steps to the
level of the garden, and then advance to the iron fence that surmounted
the retaining wall.  From this point of vantage he surveyed the mob with
a good-humored smile and waved his hand in cheerful greeting.  I
trembled with anxiety at his rashness, but something in his personal
magnetism held them for him to speak.

"Well, boys," he cried in his full hearty voice, "what can I do for you?
Have I been nominated for mayor, or is this just a serenade?"

A laugh here and there showed the good impression he had made on his
audience, and a hasty voice from the leaders of the mob shouted:

"We want you to fire your Chinese!"

"The Chinese?" he said, affecting to misunderstand the cry.  "You’ve
come to the right shop if you want a good little talk on that question.
As I told Senator Morton the other day, I’m the original Chinese
exclusionist--not excepting Bill Nye and Truthful James.  Ask the
reporters to take a front seat."

I had never suspected Wharton Kendrick of oratorical ability, but he
showed all the arts of the stump speaker, and with a few pat anecdotes
stated his position, and appealed to the men to trust the settlement of
the problem to the substantial men of the State.

The leaders of the mob were quick to see the danger to their schemes,
and tried several interruptions, which Kendrick blandly ignored.  At
last one of them shouted as comment on his profession of faith:

"Then why don’t you discharge your Chinese help?"

This thrust renewed the cries of anger from the mob, and a wolfish look
came on the faces about me.

"Why," returned Kendrick with a jovial laugh, "for the same reason that
the rabbit couldn’t cut off his tail--because he didn’t have one.  I
don’t know any reason why I shouldn’t hire a Chinese cook if I wanted
one, as long as they are permitted to come into the country; but I don’t
want one.  My servants are all white."

The reply raised a laugh, and a few enthusiastic rioters shouted "Hooray
for Kendrick!"

"Shut up, you fools!" cried the leaders; and the voice that had called
on Kendrick to discharge his Chinese shouted:

"It’s a lie about there not being any Chinese in de house!"

"The honorable gentleman has forgotten to speak the truth," retorted
Kendrick good-humoredly.  "I keep no Chinese."

"Aw, what’s de use talkin’ like dat?" shouted the voice.  "There’s a
Chinese girl in de house dis minute."

"Quite true," admitted Kendrick candidly.  "The poor creature was
wounded, and we took her in to save her from the highbinders.  You
surely wouldn’t have us turn her out.  She’s not a servant.  She’s a

The explanation was lost on half the crowd in the clamor that had been
raised.  One of the mob leaders shouted:

"Where there’s a Chinese girl there’s a dozen Chinese men,"--an opinion
that renewed the jeers and catcalls.

"Aw, the place is full of coolies!  Smoke ’em out!" cried another,
waving a torch.

Even with this renewal of hostile sentiment, the leaders of the mob
would scarce have been able to spur their followers to violence but for
the arrival of a reinforcement of another hundred hoodlums, shouting,
swearing, and laden with the spoil of looted wash-houses.  They came
straight for the Kendrick house, and I had no doubt that they were
directed thither by the same mind that had sent the first company to the

While the play between Kendrick and the mob had been going on, I had
edged my way toward the steps by those alternate arts of diplomatic and
aggressive pressure which enable one to make progress through a crowd.
The arrival of the hoodlum reinforcement brought me assistance as
unwelcome as it was unexpected.

Wharton Kendrick faced the new-comers with a confident smile, and
appealed with a jest to "the gentlemen in a hurry" for a hearing.  But
the hoodlum arrivals had not fallen under the spell of his personality,
and their courage and wrath had been inflamed by their success in their
wash-house raids. With shouts of "Gangway! gangway!  Smoke out the
coolies!" they charged forward in a wedge that struck the standing crowd
directly behind me.  There was a shock of meeting bodies, a grunt that
might have come from a giant in sudden distress, and the crowd crumpled
together like the telescoping cars of a railroad collision; the men in
the center were lifted off their feet, and the crowd was forced forward
and scattered in disorder.

Standing directly in the line of shock, I was thrown forward with
amazing force, scraped against the stone wall, and flung headlong on to
the lower step of the flight that led to Wharton Kendrick’s garden.  At
the same moment there was an outburst of wrathful yells, and a shower of
stones rattled about me.  I felt a smart crack from a falling stick on
my shoulder as I scrambled to my feet, and looking upward I was just in
time to see Kendrick struck by a flying missile, reel backward, fling up
his arms with a whirling motion, and fall heavily on to the grass.

I faced about and whipped out my revolver, when:

"Stand back there!" came from above in a determined voice.

"Stand back there!" I repeated.  And at the command and the show of
revolvers, the advancing hoodlums swerved aside into the street with a
sudden cooling of their ardor for battle.

"Is that you, Mr. Hampden?" came from above, and I recognized the voice
of Andrews, the head watchman for the night.

"Yes," I replied.  "Be ready to shoot if I give the word."  And walking
backward I climbed the steps till I stood on the landing and looked down
on the mob.  Then with an eye on the tossing, circling array of faces
below, I knelt over Wharton Kendrick. He was limp and still.  A long cut
extended from his forehead well back into his hair, and the blood
flowing from it had moistened his face and dyed his thinning locks.

I glanced at the mob, noted the signs that it was gathering courage for
another attack, and was calculating on the risk of weakening our defense
by ordering the men to carry Wharton Kendrick into the house, when I
heard the door open behind me. There was a swift patter of footsteps on
the walk, and Laura Kendrick flung herself on her knees beside me with a
cry of grief and fear, and lifted her uncle’s head in her arms.

"Oh," she cried with a choking voice, "have they killed him?"

"No," I replied, "he’s alive.  He will be all right in a little while."
I hoped I was telling the truth. "We’ll get him into the house, and have
a doctor to look after him as soon as we can drive this mob away.
Please go in now.  You may be hurt yourself if you stay."

She had been wiping away the blood with her handkerchief, to the soft
accompaniment of a crooning utterance, as though she were quieting a
sick child.

"Indeed, I shall not go in till he does," she said. "Do you think I
shall leave him out here to be killed by those dreadful creatures?"

"Please go," I said.  "You can do nothing here, and the mob may begin
firing at any minute."

At the apparition of the girlish figure the rioters had hushed something
of their wrathful cries, but I felt none the less apprehensive of their
next act.

As I spoke, with something of peremptoriness in my voice, Laura Kendrick
started to her feet, but instead of returning to the house she walked
hurriedly to the wall, and stood resolutely facing the crowd.

"Come back!" I cried with dismay, and restrained my impulse to rush
before her with the thought that I should be much more likely to incite
than to prevent an attack.

But instead of heeding my summons she began an indignant appeal to the
men before her, trying to shame them at their errand.  As her piquant
voice rose on the air a terror gripped my throat at the thought of the
response that her call might bring, but at her first words the crowd
hushed to stillness, and I saw a man cuff a young hoodlum who uttered a
catcall.  The appeal of the slender figure facing the mob in the glare
of the torches that had been brought to burn her house was a better
protection for the moment than the revolvers of my men.

"Do you think it manly to strike at the sick or at women?  Do you think
it right to try to murder your friends?  You have struck down a man who
never had an unkind word for you--who has done more than all of you put
together to keep the Chinese out of the country.  Do you think that is
the way to help your cause?  I don’t."

The mob preserved an admirable silence, and she turned to me and said in
low, excited tones, "Carry him into the house while they are behaving

I had already given the order, and four of my men bore the stricken
magnate up the steps and through the doors, while Laura spoke once more
to the mob.

"I’m sure," she said, "you ought to see by this time that you’ve done
enough harm to your cause for one day, and I hope you’ll go quietly home
before you do anything worse."

"Three cheers for the leddy!" came in strong Hibernian response, and the
mover of the resolution led off with such a will that a hundred more
voices joined in the tribute.

"Thank you," she replied, "and good night."  And with a courtesy to the
uninvited guests, she turned, crossed the garden, and mounted the steps
with dainty grace.  At the door she turned, gave another bow, and waved
her hand in farewell, and then slipped through the open door as another
cheer was raised.

I had followed her with the purpose of keeping between her and possible
missiles and my misdirected solicitude was rewarded.  As she put foot
within the hall, she staggered and would have fallen had I not caught
her.  For an instant she clung to me with a convulsive gasp of fear.
Then her grasp relaxed, her head sank back, and her full weight rested
on my encircling arm.  At the sight of her white face, and the crimson
stains on her hands and dress that had come from her uncle’s blood, I
gave a cry of alarm, and lifted her limp form as carefully as one takes
up a sleeping child.

For a minute of tumultuous joy and fear I held her in my arms, as I
carried her to the room into which her uncle had been borne.  But before
I reached the door she opened her eyes languidly. Then with a startled
look, full consciousness returned.

"Put me down," she said, and struggled to her feet.  But so unsteadily
did she stand that she was forced to reach out for support, and I put a
sustaining arm about her.

"What is it?" she asked in a whisper.  "Did I get knocked down?  My head
is going round and round."

"No, you are all right," I said soothingly.  "There was a little too
much excitement outside for you, I’m afraid."

"Oh, I was goose enough to faint, was I?" she said, disengaging herself
with a swift movement. But once more in full command of herself, tears
of apprehension gathered in her eyes, and she asked, "Where is uncle?"

And as I motioned to the door, she turned and ran into the room where
Wharton Kendrick lay white and still upon a couch.  Mercy Fillmore’s
deft hands were washing the wound, a servant was assisting, and the four
men who had brought the wounded master into the house stood about in
wait for orders.  With a word I sent three to rejoin the line of
defense, and directed the fourth to slip out the back way in quest of
Doctor Roberts.

Laura Kendrick took her place quietly at Mercy Fillmore’s side and with
tense self-possession assisted at the dressing of the wound.  And in the
calmness and practised touch with which they played the part of surgeons
I had demonstration of the skill they had acquired in the weeks of
service which they had devoted to Moon Ying.

"I don’t see why he doesn’t come to himself," said Laura, when the
bandage had been adjusted. "I wish we could get the doctor."

"I have sent a man after him," I said.

"Do you think he can get through that howling mob of savages?  I’m
afraid he will be killed; and if he isn’t, the doctor can never get in."

"Oh, there’s the back gate.  I hope the doctor’s not above taking it."
I had hardly spoken when I was checked at seeing my messenger standing
in the hall.  Before I could exclaim at his sudden return, he had
beckoned me out with a warning finger on his lips.

At his signal I left the room with an attempt to disguise my disturbance
of mind under the pretense of idle restlessness.

"What’s the matter?" I asked, as soon as I got the man away from the

"There’s a gang over in the next yard," he said, "and I couldn’t get
through.  I’m afraid they’re getting ready to set fire to the house.  I
smelt kerosene when I climbed on the fence.  One of ’em says something
about ’smoking ’em out,’ an’ I guess they’re fixing up some sort of

"Where are you going?" asked Miss Kendrick, coming to the door.  "You
are not meaning to venture out among those savages again?"

"I think it’s time I told them to go home," I said. "They are making a
good deal of noise out there."

"You must not do anything of the sort," she said, catching my arm.  "I
told them to go, and if they won’t go for my telling, they won’t go for

I bent over her with more tremors than I had felt in the midst of the

"I shouldn’t go unless I thought it would help to protect you," I said.

"Well, if you must go," said Miss Laura, "please be careful and do not
go out the front way.  Take the side door, where there’s nobody likely
to see you."  And leading the way down the passage between the library
and the dining-room she slipped a bolt and opened the door enough to let
us out.  She held out her hand to me.

"You’re not to get hurt," she murmured, as I paused.

"That settles it.  I shall preserve a whole skin."  And with a pressure
of the hand, I hastened out the door.

The yells from the front came with renewed distinctness, but no sounds
of attack were to be heard. The mob appeared to have resolved itself
into a disorderly debating society.  I hurried to the rear of the house
with my messenger.

"Are any of our men back here?" I asked.

"One--Reardon is at the kitchen steps," replied the man.

Reardon proved to be awake and ready for any enterprise, and we advanced
to the fence and reconnoitered.  The dim light showed a band of fifteen
or twenty men gathered a few yards away in the vacant lot behind the
Kendrick place.

"Aren’t they ready yet?" asked one impatient conspirator.  "I could have
fixed forty fire-balls in the time you’ve taken to fix those three."

"Why didn’t you come and do it then?" was the resentful and belligerent
answer.  "I’ll have them ready in a jiffy."

With a few whispered words of direction I stationed my men by the fence,
a dozen yards apart, and took my place between them.  Then climbing up I
gave a blast on a police whistle, and cried:

"Now, boys, gather them in.  Don’t let one get away."  And at the word I
fired three or four shots at the group and my men followed my example.

The surprise was complete.  At the fusillade there was a scattering of
the gang, and with a sudden realization of the importance of their
personal safety they took to their heels and ran into Franklin Street.

"That was a foine job, sor.  We must have hit a power of thim," said
Reardon, with an exemplary faith in our marksmanship.

"I hope so," I said.  I had been roused to fury by the deliberate
preparations to burn the house, and had shot to do mischief.  "It looks
as though we had got one fellow, anyhow," I added, as I discovered a
dark heap on the ground, and heard a whimpering groan.

We jumped down from the fence, and an advance of a few steps confirmed
my guess.  A man lay writhing on the earth, giving utterance to
suppressed sounds of pain.  Reardon knelt over him.

"Why, it’s Danny Regan!" he cried.  "What th’ divil are ye doin’ here,

"Go ’way, ye murderin’ spalpeen!" replied the stricken Danny.  "Me leg
is bruk.  ’Tis a bullet sthruck me knee."

"’Twas me that give it to yez, Danny," said Reardon with a chuckle.  "I
picked ye out, me lad--an’ whin Pat Reardon takes aim he niver misses.
If he don’t hit wan thing he hits another--an’ it’s dollars to dimes the
other thing’s jist as good."

The wounded man replied to this boast with an outbreak of curses.

"Yer timper’s been soured, Danny," said Reardon. "That comes of mixin’
in bad company.  ’’Tis evil communications corrupts a good disposition,’
says Father Ryan; an’ if you’d listened to him you’d a-been home an’ in
bed now wid two sound legs instead of wan."

"Well, take me home, Pat," groaned the wounded conspirator; "though
maybe you’d like to make a clane job of it by puttin’ wan iv yer bullets
t’rough me head."

"Faith, I wouldn’t waste another wan on yez. Bullets cost money.  If I
did me dooty I’d settle yer case by mashin’ yer head in wid a rock."

"We wouldn’t get so far as that," I said.  "We’ll compromise by holding
him prisoner of war.  Up with him now."

Our inexpert handling brought whimpers and curses from the prisoner.
And in a few minutes we had him bestowed as comfortably as possible in
the little room that the watchmen had used as a lounging place.

"Now," said I to my messenger, "get over to Doctor Roberts’ house as
fast as you can.  Tell him Mr. Kendrick is hurt, and bring him back with
you. Hurry!"

The messenger had scarce disappeared when Reardon exclaimed:

"Whist!  There comes some more of ’em."

Above the excited hubbub of the besieging crowd in front could be heard
a swelling roar that became more distinct with each moment.  The
significance of the sound was unmistakable.  Another reinforcement was
approaching, and in fear lest the assailants who had been beaten off
were returning to attack us from the rear we ran back to the fence. All
was quiet in that direction, and the hostile sounds now came so plainly
from the front that I doubled speed to the threatened quarter just as a
scattering crackle of pistol-shots punctuated the inarticulate language
of the mob, and a volley of stones hurtled against the house with the
explosive tinkle of breaking windows.

I reached the front yard just as another volley took out every window
that faced the street, and saw that a concerted rush was being made
against the place.  A body of men was being pushed up the steps between
the flanking walls by the pressure of the mob behind, and immediately
before me--at the side of the garden--two young men were mounting the
wall on the shoulders of their companions, the vanguard of a flank
attack that would capture the place if they once got a foothold.  I
fired a shot at one, who disappeared with a surprising suddenness, and
then bethinking myself of the unwisdom of wasting bullets, I ran forward
and brought down my revolver on the head of the other invader.  He had
just got his knee on the railing, but he went down the eight-foot drop
with a yell of pain and a torrent of bad language.  At the same moment
the men who were defending the steps threw the assailing column into
confusion by a fortunate volley, and the attack gave back.  A score of
answering shots came from the mob, and a bullet whistled so close to my
ear that I clapped my hand to the spot with the thought that a piece had
been taken off.  The agreeable disappointment of finding that I was
mistaken was overshadowed a moment later by the discovery that the wall
at the farther side of the garden had been scaled by a dozen of the mob,
and that others were clambering up in their path.

"Look out there on your right, Andrews!" I cried, hastening to join the
company.  "They are on the terrace."

Before I reached the steps the dozen had increased to a score, and it
looked as though we were to be overwhelmed by numbers.  For an instant
it seemed that our best chance lay in retreating into the house in the
hope that it would serve as a fortress until the police arrived.  But as
the house was only a wooden structure, and it was the expressed purpose
of the mob to burn us out, I felt it was to be regarded as the last
resort of resistance.

"Shoot them down!" I cried.

"Not much chance," said Andrews as I reached him.  "We’re down to our
last cartridges."

This was a sickening bit of information, but it assured me that prompt
action was of the last importance.  I took one of my men by the shoulder
and pushed him over toward the position I had just left.

"Here," I said, "see that nobody gets over that wall.  You two," picking
out a pair of the guards, "hold the stair.  Come on, the rest of you.
We must clear these fellows out.  Double quick, now."

At this command the men sprang forward by my side, and we ran to the
invaded quarter, firing off our remaining cartridges as we charged.

The mob was mostly of but poor stuff, after all. Half of those who had
been bold enough to climb to the terrace halted at sight of our advance,
and dropped over the wall to the sidewalk in panic.  But we were,
nevertheless, greatly outnumbered by those who stood their ground, and a
scattering though harmless fusillade gave evidence that they were armed.

In a moment we were in the thick of it.  Fists, clubs and revolvers were
flying, and the thud of body blows could be heard under the cries and
curses that formed the dramatic chorus to the struggle. We used our
empty revolvers as clubs, and we appeared to do more execution with them
handled thus than with all the bullets we had fired.  A bullet has a way
of wandering from its mark, but a pistol-barrel brought down with a
vigorous arm on a man’s head never fails in execution, and has a
tendency to turn the most ardent warrior into the ways of peace.  But in
spite of good luck, discipline and desperation, we were far from having
the battle all our own way.  I had envied the ease with which my
favorite heroes of romance bowled over half a dozen enemies with fist or
sword, and I envied them still more when I found myself in a place to
put their lessons into practice.  I had not been in the conflict more
than a minute when a knock on the head from a bony fist and a thump on
the shoulder from a club sent me to the grass with a realization of how
much better it is to give than to receive.  But I was fortunate enough
to be up again in a moment, and laying about me with a savage hope of
repaying with usury the men who had sent me to the ground.

How the battle would have gone if we had been left to our unaided
strength, I shall leave to less partial historians to say.  But just as
I had been thoroughly impressed with the fact that seven men have their
work cut out for them when they are called on to attack a score, I heard
a roar from the mob that finally separated into an articulate cry of--

"Here come the cops!  Look out for the police! Knock their heads off!"
And a company of the guardians of order could be seen charging down the

The pugilistic activities of the mob in the presence of the police,
however, appeared to be purely vocal.  So far as I was able to observe,
the head-knocking business was wholly on the other side.

At the warning cry there was a sudden slackening of activity among the
invaders of the terrace.  Then they began to drop over the wall to
rejoin the retreating main body, and in a minute, with a panic rush,
they were all gone.  And while I caught my breath once more I had the
satisfaction of seeing the mob driven like sheep before a company of
some twenty-five policemen, who were savagely rapping with their clubs
at every head they could reach. The crowd was flying from a body of men
that it could have swallowed up, smothered, annihilated, by sheer force
of numbers, awed less by the physical force represented by the clubs
than by the moral force of law that lay behind them.

I hailed the police captain as a brother and a preserver, and hastily
explained the state of affairs.

"It’s a bad night for us all," he said.  "We’re fighting ’em from North
Beach to Tar Flat.  They’ve killed a dozen Chinamen, an’ I’ll bet my
straps there isn’t a Chinese wash-house left with a window in the whole

"I’m afraid we aren’t much better off here," I said, with a rueful look
at the vacant sashes of Wharton Kendrick’s windows.

"It’s bad--it’s bad," said the officer.  "We got word they were coming
here, and the chief sent us up to clear the avenue.  Then we heard that
they were settin’ fire to Stanford’s and Crocker’s so we rushed over to
Nob Hill.  It was only a small crowd there, though, and after chasin’
them out, we hurried up here."

"You were just in time," I said.  "We were hard pressed."

"I’m sorry I can’t leave you a few men," said the captain, "but we’ve
got too much work ahead of us.  I don’t think they’ll try it again.  But
we’ll look around this way again in an hour or two."

                             *CHAPTER XXII*

                      *I BECOME A MAN OF BUSINESS*

I was a sorry sight when I entered the house once more, with one sleeve
torn from my coat, a large and growing lump over my right eye, and my
clothing an impressionist study in grass-stains and earth colors.

In the excitement of the moment I was not aware of the picturesque
figure I made until I saw the horror-stricken look that swept over Laura
Kendrick’s face as she met me in the hall.

"Oh," she cried, "you did go and get yourself murdered, after all!"

"No, indeed.  I had a day’s work crowded into a few minutes, but we got
them driven off, and I’m as sound as a dollar."  I spoke with the
exultation of victory; but with the reaction from the excitement and
fatigue of the battle I felt the need of a place to sit down and pull
myself together.

"Then you’re very well disguised," she returned anxiously.  "Are those
dreadful wretches all gone? Come into our hospital here--right away--and
we’ll wash the blood off your face, and try to put you to rights."

"How is Mr. Kendrick?" I asked, as she led me toward the "hospital."

"He has opened his eyes and said a few words. Doctor Roberts is here,
and has stitched up his head, and says he will be all right in a week or
two if we take good care of him."

The room set aside for the hospital had a highly professional look.
Wharton Kendrick lay on the same couch on which I had left him.  Doctor
Roberts was bending over him, carefully adjusting the bandage on his
head.  Near them I was surprised to see Danny Regan of the broken leg,
attended by Mercy Fillmore, while at the other side of the room, propped
up in an easy chair, was Moon Ying, looking on the scene with passive

"Sit here," ordered Miss Kendrick, wheeling a big chair to the table,
and I was glad to obey.  "Yes," she continued, noting my scrutiny of
Danny Regan and Moon Ying.  "The cook complained of the groans she heard
from the men’s room, so we found out what had happened and had the man
brought here.  And just before the rocks began to fly I had run up to
see about Moon Ying, so I had her carried down.  It was lucky I did, for
we had hardly got out of the room when bang-cling! went every window in
the front of the house.  I thought she had best be on the ground floor
in case of fire, and this room was as safe as any in the house.  My!
what a bump you did get.  A riot is ’most as bad as falling downstairs,
isn’t it?"

With deft fingers she had wiped away the stains of battle, and now she
wrung out a cloth in cold water, folded it into a compress, and bound it
skilfully over my swollen forehead.

I leaned back luxuriously, and gazed with admiration on my nurse.

"It’s quite worth while, after all," I said.

She colored, but looked steadily at me as she worked.

"Don’t get too appreciative," she said.

"Impossible!" I interrupted.

"Because," she said, "I’m coming to believe that you’re not so badly
hurt as your poor head looks. The blood on your face isn’t yours at all,
but came from somebody else--"

"You ought to see the other fellow," I murmured softly.

"--and you’ve been getting sympathy under false pretenses, and I really
think I ought to call Jane to look after you while I attend to uncle."

"I shall sink into the last stages of dissolution," I protested, "if you
turn me over to an incompetent nurse."

"Incompetent!  Why, Jane is twice as competent as I."

"It depends on the complaint.  I’m sure she wouldn’t understand mine at

Laura smiled indulgently as she adjusted the last knot on the bandage.

"There," she said, "you’re quite picturesque, and you’ll be all right in
the morning.  And I don’t think you need anybody to look after you at

I was about to protest that my condition was most serious when she was
called to Wharton Kendrick’s couch, and I caught Moon Ying’s eyes fixed
on mine.  I smiled and nodded, and she beckoned me, so I wheeled my
chair to her side.

"What I tell-em you?" she said.  "I no go ’way, bad man come, all same
shoot, fight, tly bu’n house, eh?"

"This not for you, Moon Ying," I reassured her. "Bad man come, anyhow.
Plenty of that kind outside of Chinatown."

Moon Ying shook her head and pointed to Danny Regan.

"Him Li’l John’s explessman--I sabby him many time come Li’l John’s

I looked at Danny Regan’s low-browed countenance, and realized that an
attack of the highbinders’ mercenaries had been made under cover of the
larger attack of Bolton’s hirelings and the anti-Chinese mob.

"I think you’re right, Moon Ying," I said.  "But just you sabby this:
bad men in front of house, they no come from Little John; they were
after Mr. Kendrick. You can claim those fellows behind the house.  But
you see we are no worse off for having you here.  ’Twas the other
fellows who broke the windows."

I was just on the point of interrogating Danny Regan as to the inspiring
cause of his raid when I heard Wharton Kendrick’s voice rise in
querulous tones:

"Here, I must get up," he said with evident effort. "Is the city on

"After a while," said the soothing voice of the doctor.  "The city is
all safe, and you’ll have to wait till to-morrow before you get out."

"I must look after things to-night," said the patient, his voice rising
complainingly.  "I must look after things."

I got to my feet and walked softly to his couch. He was vainly trying to
rise, and beating the air helplessly with his hands.

"I must get out--help me, somebody!" he cried in an appealing voice.  He
tried to lift himself, but his body refused to obey his will.

The doctor uttered a soothing protest.

Miss Kendrick added her voice to the authority of the doctor and at her
quieting words Wharton Kendrick closed his eyes.  Then on a sudden he
opened them widely, and again attempted to raise his head.

"It’s the business--it’s the business!" he cried with the voice of one
who had brought a forgotten. thing from the depths of his memory.  "It’s
all upset.  I must see to it, or it will be too late."

She patted him again with gentle hand.

"There--there," she said, in the comforting mother-tone.  "It will be
all right.  You can’t do anything to-night.  It’s after ten o’clock."

He gave a groan.

"The markets will go to smash in the morning unless we get ready for
them to-night.  It’s all up," he moaned.  "It was all in my head, and
it’s all gone. There’ll be a smash in the market to-morrow, and I can’t
help it."  Then he broke into passionate sobbing, while Laura Kendrick
knelt over him, wiped away his tears, and made above him those murmuring
sounds with which the mother comforts the hurt child.

It was with something of the awe with which one meets the earthquake
that I witnessed the collapse of the fortitude and self-control in
Wharton Kendrick. The foundations of the earth seemed breaking up when I
saw this type of self-reliant manhood whimpering and weeping like a
whipped schoolboy.

Doctor Roberts had been attending to Danny Regan of the broken leg, but
he now returned to his more demonstrative patient.

"Come, come," he said in his most cheerful professional tone.  "This is
no way to get well.  If you want to be out to-morrow, you must be
quiet."  And he motioned us away.

"It’s all going to smash--I can hear it going," sobbed Kendrick, "and I
can’t remember what to do."  He lay looking anxiously from side to side
and repeated over and over, "I can’t remember what to do."

As Doctor Roberts motioned us away again, I took him aside.

"Is there any chance of his getting down to business to-morrow?"

"Not the slightest.  And he must not be excited by talking of it."

"I think I can ease his mind somewhat," I said. An idea had been slowly
forming in my brain, and now it sprang forth complete.  I sat down by
him and took his hand to help his wandering attention.

"I’ll look out for the business," I said.  "I’ll see Mr. Coleman
to-night.  We’ll get the syndicate together, and protect the markets

"That’s it--the syndicate--that’s it," he cried with a visible relief.
"That’s what I was trying to think of--the syndicate.  Coleman will
know; Partridge will know."

I called for paper, pens and ink, and wrote out in duplicate a formal
authorization by which Wharton Kendrick gave Arthur Hampden, his
attorney, the power to act for him in all his business affairs.

In the meantime I had despatched one of my men to summon a notary who
lived down by Polk Street. The official was at home, up, and dressed,
and he hurried to the Kendrick house, hot on the scent of the liberal
fee that the name called up before his imagination.  When he had come, I
read aloud the power of attorney I had drawn.

"That’s it, Hampden; you won’t see me go down, will you?" said my client
in a pleading voice.  And with some difficulty he attached his
signature, and Doctor Roberts and Mercy Fillmore signed as witnesses,
while the notary affixed his official acknowledgment.

Armed with this evidence of power, I started for my hat, when Miss
Kendrick stopped me.

"You aren’t going out in that fix, are you?" she demanded.  And at her
gesture I remembered my torn and one-sleeved coat, and the chiaroscuro
of soil and grass stains with which I had been decorated.

"I was thinking that I should be all right if I got a hat, but I’m
afraid it will take more than that to fit me out," I said ruefully.
"Come to think of it, my hat is out on the lawn with the other sleeve of
my coat.  There’s quite a collection of second-hand clothing out there,
but it’s rather dark to find one’s own."

"Men are so fussy about their hats," said Miss Laura, "but I’ll have the
collection brought in from the lawn, and maybe you can make yours do for
to-night.  As for the coat, I’ll bring down one of uncle’s that’s too
small for him, and you won’t look so very ridiculous, after all."

My headgear, when recovered, bore evidence that it had been worn on a
militant heel; but when I had brought the torn edges together, I
flattered myself that in the darkness it would look almost as good as
new.  And although the coat hung loosely upon me, and the stains of
battle refused to yield to the brush, I was consoled by the thought that
these departures from the rules of polite dress would add corroborative
details and a livelier interest to my tale of Wharton Kendrick’s

"Now, leave that bandage alone," commanded Miss Laura, as I raised my
hand to complete my toilet by removing that badge of battle.  "You have
to wear it.  And you have no idea how becoming it looks."

I submitted ruefully to this edict of petticoat tyranny, and Miss
Kendrick rewarded me by escorting me to the door.  She gave me her hand,
and there was a look in her eyes that was near to carrying me off my
feet as she said with the suspicion of a tremble in her voice:

"I hope you don’t think we are not appreciating what you have done--and
are doing."

"It is nothing," I said, looking into the magnetic depths of her eyes,
until she dropped her glance to the floor, and blushed divinely.

"It is nothing," I repeated.  Then bending, I touched my lips to her
hand, and with no other word ran down the steps in a tumult of elation.

The Coleman house was alight as I rang the bell, and William T. Coleman
himself appeared close on the heels of the suspicious servant who took
in my card.  He was able to recall the circumstances of our introduction
as he gave me a cordial greeting and shook me warmly by the hand.

"I was in hopes Kendrick would come himself," he said; "but as he
hasn’t, I am glad he sent you."

"Mr. Kendrick didn’t come because he couldn’t come.  He was badly hurt
in to-night’s riot."

"Kendrick hurt?  How badly?"

I described the extent of his injuries as well as I could, and Coleman’s
eyes took on a troubled look.

"I wanted to consult him about affairs.  A number of our leading men
have been here this evening, and General McComb has agreed to issue a
call for a citizens’ meeting at the Chamber of Commerce to-morrow
afternoon.  We must devise some way to assist the authorities, and I
looked to Kendrick to take a leading part."

"It will be some days before he can be out.  But he is very anxious
about the state of business.  He is afraid there will be a smash in the
markets to-morrow."

William T. Coleman smiled, and the calm sense of power that shone in his
eyes gave me renewed courage.

"Kendrick was always one of the men who think that nothing will be done
if they don’t attend to it themselves," he said with good-natured

"Well, it’s usually true, isn’t it?  Most things don’t get done."

"A very just observation, Mr. Hampden.  Most things don’t get done.  The
man who has the brains and will to accomplish things is the invaluable
man. It’s our main trouble in every branch of the world’s work--to find
the man with ideas and the force to carry them out.  But we must show
Kendrick that he isn’t indispensable in this crisis.  Did he explain to
you the state of affairs?"

"No.  He could only refer me to you for details. He gave me the
authorization to represent him in the syndicate, and in his business
generally.  It was all he was able to do."

"Well, the syndicate brought together a capital of ten million--I
suppose you know that."

"Yes, but I believe it was heavily drawn on in the raid of last month."

"We had to put out close to three million six hundred thousand of loans
that day, but some of it has come back since."

"Then the syndicate must have between six and seven million at its

"Over seven, I think.  Kendrick could give you the figures out of his
head--that is, before his head was broken--but I’ll have to get them
from my memoranda."

"How long do you expect that to last in a storm?"

"It ought to see us through any crisis that can arise."

"But this is a more serious occasion than the other.  See our riots, and
the explosion of violence in the East.  Will not these frighten our
business men far more than the rumors that set off the hub-bub of last

Coleman leaned back in his chair, his face expressing confident
cheerfulness, and his eyes magnetic with power.

"Very true," he said.  "But on the other hand, the flurry of last month
shook out the weaklings.  Stocks and bonds are shifted into strong
hands.  Doubtful accounts have been closed out.  We are in much better
shape than before the squall struck us."

"I’m glad to hear it," I said with some relief, though the thought of
Peter Bolton’s malign activities weighed on my mind, and I was tempted
to confide in William T. Coleman.  But as Wharton Kendrick had kept the
matter to himself, I followed his example, and continued: "I believe the
interests of Mr. Kendrick can best be served by sustaining the markets
and preventing failures.  But as to details, I should like your advice."

"Well, I will read you the memorandum made at our meeting of the other
night of the men and firms who are likely to need help, and the amounts
it would probably be safe to lend them."  And Mr. Coleman brought a
sheet of paper from his desk and interpreted the cabalistic signs that
covered it. The freedom with which the names of banks, business houses
and individuals had been handled would have created a sensation if the
paper had been published.  "And here is a list of the men who have had
advances," he said, taking out another sheet and reading off names and

I noted down the list for reference and study.

"Do you think," asked Coleman, "that Kendrick will be able to get down

"No, the doctor said it would be impossible."

"That is very awkward.  The syndicate’s money is deposited in his name,
and he is the man to sign our checks."

I saw the advantage of keeping this power in Wharton Kendrick’s hands,
and suggested:

"Possibly he can attend to that part of the business at the house.  I
can have a line of messengers to carry the checks back and forth."

Coleman wrinkled his brows, and gave his head a forceful shake.

"That won’t do.  The arrangement would lose us forty minutes on every
transaction.  You had better get Kendrick to make out a check for the
whole amount in favor of Nelson, and Nelson will look out for the

I was far from satisfied that this was the best way out of the
difficulty.  It eliminated Wharton Kendrick as a factor in the
operations of the syndicate, and I had a vague but controlling feeling
that this would fit badly with his plans.  But I could give no sound
reason for dissent from the suggestion, and at last Coleman said:

"Go to Kendrick, and ask him for the check.  I’ll have Nelson and
Partridge here by the time you get back, and we can talk the business
over more fully."

The Kendrick house was bright with lights as I reached it, and I was
more annoyed than pleased to find Mr. Baldwin busily assisting Miss
Kendrick, and directing the servants in the work of clearing up the
broken glass and securing the open windows with boards.

Mr. Baldwin recognized me in his most superior way, and assumed his most
magnificent airs of proprietorship from the top of the ladder, as he
waved a hammer as his baton of command.

"Ah, Hampden," he said with a cool nod, "this is a fine mess your
friends have made of things."

"Gracious, me!" exclaimed Miss Kendrick.  "Is that the way friends act?
I’ve seen men play some pretty rough pranks in the name of friendship,
but I’m sure I never knew them to go so far as they did with Mr.
Hampden.  It’s a mercy he wasn’t killed. You should have seen him when
he came in from the fracas!"

Mr. Baldwin appeared to be put out of countenance by this railing
acknowledgment of my share in the defense of the house, and I judged by
his tone that he considered it a reflection on him for being absent in
the crisis.

"I had been out of town," he said stiffly, apparently for my
enlightenment, "and got in on the eight o’clock boat.  Later I heard
that your friends were on the war-path, and threatening to burn Nob Hill
and Van Ness Avenue.  Then I came up here to see if I could be of
service, and found that it was all over--except the repairs."  And with
this attempt to set himself right, he resumed his air of importance.

"Well, it’s very lucky you weren’t here," said Miss Kendrick.  "I don’t
doubt you would have got your head broken, and you’d never be able to
stand up on that ladder if it was going around the way Mr. Hampden’s is.
Oh," she cried suddenly, "what have you done with that bandage I put
over your bump?"

"It came off," I said weakly, bringing the damp and offending rag out of
my pocket.

"I believe you took it off," she said with an air of reprimand.

"You can put it on again," I pleaded with meek submission.

"No--it can stay off," she said.  "You’re getting on entirely too well
to be fussed over any more. And now if you’ll go in and see uncle, I’ll
be obliged. He has been dozing, but he comes to with a start every few
minutes and asks for you.  I’m hoping you can quiet his mind, for his
worry isn’t at all good for him."  And her voice quivered with a
pathetic note of affectionate anxiety.

Wharton Kendrick lay on the couch with his eyes closed, but opened them
vacantly as I came in. Mercy Fillmore sat by his side.  He collected
himself with an effort, and said:

"I’ve been wanting you, Hampden!  What was it you were to see about?
Some business, wasn’t it?"  His eyes wandered, as though he were seeking
for some lost thread of memory.

I gave him a condensed account of my visit to William T. Coleman.  He
heard me listlessly until I came to the request to make out a check for
the syndicate’s balance in favor of Nelson.  Then he started violently,
and half raised himself.

"I’ll see ’em damned first!" he cried.  "How can I protect myself if the
money is turned over to Nelson?"  He looked about wildly, fiercely; then
sank back and closed his eyes.

Mercy Fillmore shook her head at me, and her eyes expressed reproach.

"You are exciting him," she whispered.  "Isn’t this business something
that can be put off?"

He heard her and answered:

"No, it can’t be put off.  There’ll be a smash in the market in the
morning, and I shan’t be there to stop it!"  He had begun with energy,
but his voice trailed off into a querulous tone as he added: "What shall
I do?  What shall I do?"  Then suddenly a look of resolution came into
his face.  "Bring me my check-book," he cried with feverish impatience.
"There’s one in that coat pocket.  Be quick about it!"

The book was produced, and after looking at it helplessly for a little
he handed it back to me.  Then he seemed to collect his faculties and

"What was the balance?  Why can’t I remember?"

I read the figures from the memorandum Mr. Coleman had given me.

"Seven million three hundred and twenty thousand," he repeated.  "Well,
make out a check to yourself for that amount.  Now help me up while I
sign it.  What are you waiting for?  Give me that pen."

I was somewhat dashed by the responsibility that was being thrust upon
me, but I could think of no better course.  So we propped him to a
sitting posture, and he signed his name somewhat unsteadily to the

"Now take it, Hampden," he said.  "You won’t see me go down, will you?
Look out for my interests. They’re yours, Hampden.  Stand by me this
time, and I’ll stand by you always."  His voice trailed off into
indistinctness as we laid him back on the pillow, and after a struggle
to speak, his face flushed a startling red, he mumbled a few incoherent
sounds, and was lost to his surroundings.

Mercy Fillmore uttered a cry at this sudden change.

"Oh, I wish Doctor Roberts was back!"

"Here is Doctor Roberts," said the quiet professional voice, as the
physician entered the room and stepped to his patient’s side.  "No more
business to-night," he continued sharply.  "I am afraid there will be no
more for many days.  I must ask you to retire, Mr. Hampden; the
atmosphere is too exciting for Mr. Kendrick."

I denied myself the pleasure of interrupting Mr. Baldwin’s conversation,
as I went out, and hastened to the Coleman house.

Partridge and Nelson had already arrived, and I found them earnestly
discussing the situation with Mr. Coleman.  They greeted me with
condescension, inquired civilly of the condition of Wharton Kendrick,
and warmly expressed their indignation against the mob.

"Was Kendrick able to sign the check to Nelson?" asked Coleman, coming
abruptly to the matter of business.

I explained, as diplomatically as I was able, the arrangement my client
had made.

"Well, then," said Nelson, "it is very easily settled. All you have to
do is to indorse the check over to me."  And he looked at me with the
self-satisfied air of the business man whose word is law to his

The calm assumption that I was to be eliminated from the proceedings
without so much as saying "by your leave," roused my combative
instincts, and it was only by drawing a firm rein on my temper that I
was able to reply calmly:

"I do not think I am justified by my instructions to take such a step."

"What do you propose to do, then?" asked Partridge shortly.

The tone in which the question was put added fire to my resentment, and
I replied with emphasis:

"I shall be guided by the wishes of my client, and where he has not
expressed a wish, I shall follow my own judgment."

Partridge and Nelson looked at each other.

"I think I shall go and see Kendrick," said Partridge.

"Mr. Kendrick is in a stupor, and the doctor would not permit him to be
seen, even if he could be roused," I replied.

"This is very awkward," said Nelson, drumming on the table with his

"Not at all," said Coleman, in calm and tactful voice.  "Mr. Hampden has
the money that was intrusted to Kendrick.  He has Kendrick’s power of
attorney.  For all practical purposes he is Kendrick. He will sign the
checks just as Kendrick would have signed them.  Is not that your idea,
Mr. Hampden?"

"You have stated exactly my understanding of my instructions, Mr.
Coleman.  I am ready to sign any checks that Mr. Kendrick would sign if
he were here."

Partridge nodded his assent to this construction of my orders, but
Nelson still looked sourly at me.

"What checks do you think he would sign?" asked Nelson.

"Why, in general, I should say that they would be any that are approved
by you three gentlemen."

Nelson’s face cleared and he stopped drumming on the table.

"That is satisfactory," he said.  "Then we had better make our
headquarters again in Mr. Kendrick’s office.  It is the most central
location.  We shall be there a little before ten o’clock."

"You had better see the bank about transferring the money to your
account before the opening," said Partridge, as we rose to go.  "When
the fun begins, you’ll have no time to waste."

                            *CHAPTER XXIII*

                       *THE COMMITTEE OF SAFETY*

I came out of the bank from my morning visit in a daze of emotions.  The
street was thronged with hurrying crowds.  The air was electric with the
tension of social storm.  The echoes of the mob’s outburst could be
heard in the indignant comments that passed from mouth to mouth; the
fears that it inspired could be read in the tense lines that it had
written on men’s faces.  But it was all one to me. I saw and I saw not.
I heard and I heard not.  I walked the street stunned, overwhelmed with
the conviction that an irreparable blunder had snatched the control of
events from my hands, and doomed Wharton Kendrick to swift and certain

I had found the president of the Golconda Bank in his private office at
a few minutes after nine o’clock, and Wharton Kendrick’s card had
secured me prompt admission.  I had known the president slightly for
several years, and he received me with brusk kindness as I stated my
errand and exhibited my credentials.

"Oh, we’ll arrange that for you in two minutes," he said, after he had
examined my papers, and questioned me on Wharton Kendrick’s condition.
"Just indorse that check, and I’ll have the account put in your name."

When he had sent his messenger to the cashier with his directions, he

"That is a heavy responsibility you have on your shoulders to-day.
There is plenty of trouble ahead. We look to the syndicate to do the
work of a commercial fire-patrol."  And he favored me with a few words
of advice for which I professed myself grateful. He was still giving
counsel, when the cashier reappeared with a troubled face.

"There’s something wrong about this," he said, laying my check before
the president.

"That is Kendrick’s signature," said the president, scrutinizing it once

"But look at the figures," urged the cashier.

"Seven million three hundred and twenty thousand dollars?"

"Yes; but there is only six million eight hundred and twenty thousand in
the special account on which this check is drawn."

The president drew his lips into a whistle, and then said:

"Well, we can’t do anything with it, you see. You’ll have to go back to
Kendrick and get him to correct it."

If I had been as wise at the moment as I became by subsequent reflection
I should have summoned all my powers of eloquence to convince him that
the safety of the bank as a part of the commercial structure of the city
lay in getting that fund promptly released for use in the coming crisis.
The arguments with which I could have supported such a thesis came to me
in abundance a day later.  But at the moment I was stricken dumb and my
wits were scattered by the thought that Wharton Kendrick had used for
his own purposes a half-million dollars of the syndicate’s money, and
was to be dishonored before the world.

Before I could recover myself the president had bowed me out of his
room, and I was mechanically guided by my subconscious self to Wharton
Kendrick’s office.  In my bewilderment I came into collision with a man
who stood by the door, and begged his pardon without getting an
impression of his personality.

"Why, God bless my soul, Hampden!  What’s the matter with you?  You run
over a man without even the politeness to call out ’Hi there!’ and then
you look at him as though it was the first time you’d ever set eyes on
him.  Is this the day you pick out to send your wits a-wool-gathering?
Where’s Kendrick? I see by the papers there was a row up at his house
last night, and he got a nasty knock on the head."

It was General Wilson, looking more fiery and self-important than ever.

"What’s the matter?" he continued, slapping me jovially on the back.
"Is Kendrick worse hurt than the papers say?  You look as though the
bank had broken."

I told the general of the assault on Kendrick and of his perilous
condition, and the general puffed out his red cheeks, blew out his
breath with a noise like a porpoise, and cursed the mob with a
heartiness and good will that was inspiring.

"Put me in charge of this town for twenty-four hours, and I’d hang every
mother’s son of those agitators higher than Haman," said the general,
when the ready stock of curses ran out.  "That’s the way to deal with
’em.  But cheer up!  Kendrick will be all right in a few days."

I felt an inward shrinking from telling General Wilson the rest of the
woeful truth.  But the truth would be the property of the street within
an hour, and it could not be made worse by trusting it to even so
garrulous a confidant as he.  Perhaps I had a faint hope that the old
campaigner might make a suggestion that would help me out of my
difficulties; but the overmastering thought in my mind was that I held
the position of a conductor of a runaway train that was plunging down a
mountain grade to certain wreck, and it did not matter what I did or
said.  So taking the general into Wharton Kendrick’s office, I told him
my tale of the dishonored check.

He took it more calmly than I had expected. "How much did you say he’s
overdrawn?" he asked in businesslike tones.

"Five hundred thousand dollars."

"That was the deuce of a mistake for Kendrick to make.  Can’t you get
him to correct it?"

I groaned out a miserable negative.

"I left there at half-past eight this morning," I returned, "and he
hadn’t come out of the stupor that I left him in last night."

General Wilson drew a prolonged whistle, and looked grave.  Then he

"There’s just one thing to do.  Get some of Kendrick’s friends to
advance the half-million.  Deposit it to his account.  Then the bank
will pay your check. Then you’ll have the money, and can pay back the
advance inside of one minute."

"Half a million is a big sum," I said doubtingly. "I don’t know anybody
who will put that up at short notice."

General Wilson threw himself back in his chair with an air of marvelous

"Hang it, man!" he cried.  "Why don’t you ask me?  You don’t suppose
that General Wilson would let his friend Kendrick go to the wall for
want of a trifling favor like that, do you?  I’ve a notion to be
insulted at not being asked--hang me if I haven’t!"

I grasped his hand, and expressed my opinion of his offer in dumb show.
There was a painful task before me, however, and as it could not be
postponed, I hastened to perform it.

"You’re a trump, General Wilson, but I can’t take up with your offer."

"Why not?"

"Because," I said slowly, "I can’t pay back the five hundred thousand if
you advance it."

"What do you mean?" demanded General Wilson in bewilderment.

"Well, I am afraid that the figures on the check are correct."

"Correct?  How’s that?"

"They are the figures of the balance of the syndicate’s fund deposited
in Wharton Kendrick’s hands. They show the amount of money that ought to
be in the bank--and it isn’t there."

General Wilson drew another long whistle, and his face suddenly became
grave again.

"Then he has used half a million of the syndicate’s money?"

"I suppose so."

"What in the name of common sense did he do that for?" demanded the
general irritably.

"I suppose he was sure he could make it up when the time came," I said
in feeble defense.

"They always are," said the general grimly.

"Oh, I have no doubt he had everything calculated out to the last
dollar," I returned.  "The only thing he didn’t calculate on was this
knock on the head.  If he was on his feet he would have the money in
five minutes."

"Well, I suppose he would," said the general. "But he isn’t on his feet,
and what’s the result?"

"The result is smash," said I with grim despair. "Partridge, Nelson and
Coleman will be here inside of twenty minutes.  When they set foot
inside that door, Wharton Kendrick had better be dead."

General Wilson studied vacancy for a minute. Then he said slowly:

"You said you got a power of attorney out of Kendrick, didn’t you?"

I handed him the paper I had drawn and Wharton Kendrick had signed.

He studied it carefully, and then nodded his head as though it met his
approval.  At last he said:

"Well, then, there’s a way out.  I was coming in this morning to put
through that swamp-land deal. Why, you were at Kendrick’s on Sunday when
I told him that he was going to accept eight hundred thousand for that
land, and he hemmed and hawed, and told me to come in this morning.  Of
course I could see in his eye that he was going to take me up, but he
was playing coy.  Now I’ll make you the offer I would make him if he was
here.  I’ll pay you five hundred thousand down, balance in thirty days,
or when deed passes."  He looked at me with a mixture of business
shrewdness and bluff friendship.

"I’ll take the responsibility of accepting that offer," I said promptly.
And General Wilson drew his check and scribbled a few lines on a sheet
of paper.

"Here, sign this receipt and memorandum of agreement, and give me that
power of attorney; I’ll have it recorded," he said.  "Now take that
check and get over to the bank as quick as the Lord’ll let you.  We’ll
make out the contract in due form this afternoon, and I’ll get that on
record, too."  Then he chuckled jovially, and gave me another slap on
the back as he added: "Stick to me, and I’ll make a Napoleon of Finance
out of you yet, Hampden."

Until I felt the sudden rebound of my spirits when I saw the check in my
hand, I did not realize how horribly I had been scared.  I was in a
position to appreciate the feelings of a man who felt his house tumbling
about his ears in a mighty earthquake, and had waked to find it only a
nightmare.  But I thanked General Wilson calmly, and rushed hurriedly
over to the bank.  I had small difficulty in impressing the president
with the importance of haste; and the account was cleared and entered in
my name before the opening hour.

As I returned to the office I met William T. Coleman coming away.  His
face was calm with resolute strength, and his eyes carried the magnetic
inspiration of courage.

"I just looked in to tell you that I can’t sit with your committee for
an hour or two," he said.  "I have some other irons in the fire; but
I’ll be in later. Partridge and Nelson are there now, and whatever they
approve will be satisfactory to me.  If you get at loggerheads, send for
me, and I’ll come."

His manner more than his words put me in heart with the assurance that I
should not have to stand alone in battle, and I hastened with fresh
confidence to take my place in the council.

"They’re hammering things pretty hard on the exchanges," said Partridge
after greetings had been made.  "Prices are holding up well, so far, but
I guess we’ll have to put a brace under some of those fellows inside of
half an hour."  And with a clouded brow he studied the strip that came
from the ticker.

"Carey and Son are shaky," said Nelson.  "So are Benbow and Johnson, and
a dozen others.  And worst of all we’ve got to put some more coin into
those confounded banks."

"It’s like throwing the money away," groaned Partridge.  "They can’t put
up collateral that a gambler would look at."

Nelson adjusted his gold-rimmed eye-glasses to look at his list of
suspects, and gave his head a shake.

"Well, we’ve got to keep them afloat till these troubles are over," he
said with decision.

"And the infernal part of it is," said Partridge, "that those fellows
know it.  I’d give a thousand dollars out of my own pocket, if we could
let them drop without hurting any one else."  And he resumed his study
of the ticker with an irritated face.

The noise of the shouting crowds that filled and surrounded the
exchanges floated up through the windows, rising and falling like the
roar of ocean breakers.  There was a curious variation of quality in the
swelling volumes of sound.  Now it expressed apprehension; now
desperation; and again there was the tonic roar of exultation rising
above the lesser cries.

We had not been in consultation ten minutes when the first application
for support came from a pale but assertive man who tried to conceal his
desperation under an air of bluster.

"Manning, of Smith and Manning," whispered Nelson to me, as the man
entered the door.

He began to explain his business in roundabout phrase.

"Never mind that, Manning," said Partridge. "You’re in the door, and
you’ll be squeezed if we don’t help you.  That’s the long and short of
it.  How much are you in for, and what security can you offer?  Let’s
see those papers.  They tell the story, don’t they?"

Manning wiped his forehead, with a sigh, and looked relieved rather than
hurt at Partridge’s abruptness.

"Five thousand will pull us through," he gasped.

"No it won’t," said Partridge, running over the papers.  "Here’s another
note for thirty-five hundred. Einstein and Company won’t wait.  This is
a pretty poor showing.  No wonder the bank wouldn’t carry you any

"We can get along all right if we get out of this hole," pleaded

"Well, we’ll take up these two claims on your note for thirty days,"
said Partridge after a telegraphic glance at Nelson and me.  "Sign

I made out the checks, and Manning, once more putting on his blustering
air as he would have put on an overcoat, went out to face his enemies.

From this time on, there was a steady stream of applicants, some frankly
admitting their desperate condition, some trying to conceal their fears
under an assumption of confidence.  But whatever of pretense a man had
covered himself with to enter our office was ruthlessly stripped from
him as soon as he made his request for money.  For one minute of the
day, at least, he had to face the truth, and to see himself as he was.
I soon discovered that Partridge’s judgment of commercial paper was
quick and sure. Nelson and I recognized our inferiority and promptly
deferred to his opinions.  Only once during the day did we overrule him,
and in that instance we acted rather on an inspiration of mercy than on
our commercial judgment.

"His paper is no good, and he wouldn’t carry anybody else with him if he
went to the wall," objected Partridge, when the man we had insisted on
saving from ruin had gone out.

"The paper is bad," admitted Nelson, "but the man is all right.  I like
his looks."

"Yes," I added, "we have double the chance of getting the money back
from him that we have of getting it from that fat, oily-tongued fellow
who stood us up for twenty thousand a few minutes ago."

I was pleased to remind Partridge of the incident a few months later
when our protégé redeemed his obligation in full at the same time that
the oily-tongued heavy-weight compromised for thirty cents on the

But despite this temporary disagreement I was none the less ready to
follow Partridge’s judgment on the cases that came before us.  And after
the cross-questioning of the applicant was over, Nelson and I rarely
refused a nod of assent to his inquiring glance.  His comments ran
something like this, as the stream of the financially lame, halt and
blind passed before us:

"That’s all tommyrot--you don’t need the half of that.  Seven thousand
will pull you through. Here! what do you mean by coming to us?  Any bank
in the city would take that collateral.  No.  Not a dollar unless you
will make over your stock to Nelson as trustee.  Here! you’ll have to
get your brother to sign that note.  Take it now.  He’ll do it, when you
tell him that we won’t touch it without.  That collateral is no good; I
know you’ve got better.  Don’t waste our time, unless you’re willing to
show it.  See here! you’ll need more than that.  What do you mean by
telling us that you owe only ten thousand when your balance-sheet here
calls for eighteen?  Come now, do you think we are running a charity
soup-house? You’ve got unencumbered real estate; raise your money on

We had been at this work close upon two hours when William T. Coleman
returned.  He brought a list of merchants who would need assistance, and
the amounts that we might safely advance them.

"There’s a very scary feeling outside," he said. "There are all sorts of
rumors about plots to burn the city, and some men are foolish enough to
say that San Francisco is going to be worse than Pittsburgh."

"That’s not impossible," said Nelson.

"I know there has been plenty of talk in the anti-coolie clubs about
burning the Pacific Mail steamers," I said.  "But I don’t think they
will have the courage for it."

"It’s only a question of leadership," said Coleman, "and that may
develop at any minute.  A mob is a queer creature.  You can’t tell what
it will do.  It is a coward by itself, but it is often capable of great
courage when it has a leader--sometimes when it thinks it has a leader."

"What we need is troops," said Nelson.  "I hope, Coleman, that you will
use your influence with Bryant and Governor Irwin to get the militia
called out. They ought to ask for Federal troops.  There’ll be no
nonsense where they are stationed.  They shoot to kill."

"You might bring your plans before the citizens’ meeting this
afternoon," said Coleman shortly.

Partridge had been studying the ticker intently, and now growled:

"There’s somebody raising the devil out there in the stock-market.  He’s
got the El Dorado Bank behind him by the looks of things, and he’s
whacking at prices with a sledge-hammer."

The name of this modern practitioner in the black art was on the tip of
my tongue, but I kept it from escaping.  If Wharton Kendrick had not
revealed it in the course of the previous raid, it was evidently my cue
to keep still.

The contest grew hotter as the day advanced.  The waiting-room was
filled with anxious men, and we watched with concern the growing total
of advances we had been compelled to make.  The Sundown Bank had to be
rescued twice from imminent failure, and two other banks called upon us
for loans.  We had groaned at the character of the collateral offered by
the Sundowners, but there was no help for it.  We had to advance enough
to keep their doors from closing, or the wreck would have begun; and
once under way at this troublous juncture we saw no limit to the ruin
ahead.  But at last it was over.  Three o’clock came, the banks closed,
and rumor and fear could only threaten of trouble to come.

"Well, there’s a hard day gone," said Partridge with a sigh of relief.

"And another one just beginning," said Coleman placidly.

"How do we stand now?" asked Nelson.

"We paid out three million seven hundred and ninety-eight thousand," I
returned, glancing at the figures.

"That leaves us--?"

"Three million five hundred and twenty-two thousand."

"That is too small a margin for safety," said Coleman with decision.
"This thing isn’t over yet.  I thought we would have enough to carry us
through, but I see we must have more.  You’ll have to get out,
Partridge, and you, too, Nelson, and see what can be done in the way of
raising more money."

"I suppose it has got to be done," said Partridge. "We can’t afford to
go broke now."  And Nelson nodded assent.

Coleman then turned to me: "It’s time we were going over to the
citizens’ meeting," he said.  "I’ve promised to preside.  We are to meet
in the Chamber of Commerce rooms, over here."  And taking me by the arm,
he led me out of the office.

During the stress of the day’s business, we had come into close
relations, and I had been more than ever impressed with the vigorous
sense of this man. He displayed on that small field all the qualities of
leadership demanded in the management of a nation. His resource and calm
strength of mind inspired me with an unwonted warmth of admiration, and
I could even then think only with regret of the ruler and statesman who
had been smothered into the habit of a painstaking merchant.  The
generous emotions of hero-worship thrilled within me, and I was
delighted to find that my admiration was repaid with a show of liking
and confidence.

"There is one thing I am apprehensive about," he said, as we climbed the
stairs to the Chamber of Commerce.  "This meeting is a necessary thing,
but it seems to have roused anxiety rather than allayed it.  I hope that
the speeches will be of a character to inspire confidence in our ability
to handle the situation. If we don’t inspire that confidence, we shall
do more mischief than good."

As we entered the hall, we saw that it was already well filled with the
solid men of the city. Mayor Bryant was there with the chief of police.
General McComb nodded to me, and hastened to speak to Coleman.  Members
of the state and city governments, bankers, merchants, and a sprinkling
of other classes of society were to be seen in the groups about the

There was more of cheerful calmness about the meeting than I had
expected to find.  The fact that these men were present was proof that
they felt the emergency to be grave; but their talk was flavored with
the saving salt of American humor that no calamity can suppress, and
inspired by the optimistic American sentiment that "it will all come out
right somehow."

I had scarce found a seat when General McComb with his most impressive
military air called the meeting to order.  When the company had been
reduced to silence, he continued:

"I have taken the liberty of sending out the circulars that requested
you to meet here for the purpose of considering the safety of the city.
The people see in Monday night’s outbreak the dangers that come when the
passions of the mob are given full sway.  An honored citizen has been
struck down, property has been destroyed, and threats of worse things to
come are heard on every side.  In this emergency we should organize to
give the city the protection essential to its preservation.  We have
with us a man who has twice come forward to lead the loyal citizens in
the task of putting down the lawless and criminal elements of the city.
I ask that William T. Coleman be chosen as chairman of this meeting."

The response left no doubt that Mr. Coleman was the assembly’s unanimous
choice.  The men who had gathered there looked toward him with as
unquestioning confidence as ever soldiers looked to their captain.  And
at the shout that answered General McComb, he walked to the chair with
the assured step of a man accustomed to command.

"I thank you for your confidence," he said.  "I have not thought, I do
not think, that there is any pressing danger.  But I recognize the moral
value of organization in times of disquiet, and I am here to assist in
putting the physical force of the city at the disposition of the
authorities.  I have not seen any need for augmenting the military or
police forces of the city.  But General McComb and Mayor Bryant, who
have had better opportunities than I to observe the situation, have
thought differently.  Therefore let us take precautions.  The people of
this city have proved through many trials that they are essentially
law-abiding.  But there is a dangerous element here--an element of
lawless young men who do not think of results, and who do not shrink
from violence.  If I had not realized this fact before, I should have
been forced to acknowledge it when one of my closest friends fell a
victim last night to their anger. But I have full confidence in the
manhood of San Francisco.  If the city is threatened by a rising of the
disorderly elements I am ready to assure the authorities that a force of
twenty thousand men can be raised, if need be, for the defense of our
homes and property."

A silence followed the applause evoked by this speech.  If the speaker
expressed more confidence than he felt, his words accomplished their
purpose of rousing the courage of the assembly before him. Then a
mild-faced man rose, and in halting voice asked the privilege of putting
a question.

"Mr. Chairman," he began, "why are not the constituted authorities
sufficient to cope with this outbreak?  We have police.  We have a
militia.  They are the lawful arm of government to chastise the
evil-doer.  Why are they not competent to handle the hoodlum mobs?"

General McComb was touched to the quick by the question thus put, and
rose with an air of military dignity.

"I can answer for the militia," he said with some asperity.  "There is
no more loyal and competent body anywhere than the one I have the honor
to command.  But the troops must be supported by the assurance that they
have the moral and physical backing of law-abiding citizens.  That is
why I have asked you to meet us here.  I have no doubt you would like to
hear from our worthy mayor on the needs of the city in this emergency."

Mayor Bryant got to his feet at this indirect appeal, and a much
troubled mayor he appeared.  I doubted not from his expression that he
would have welcomed some plan by which his office might be administered
on the model of those German newspapers whose editors delegate to some
hireling the responsibilities that lead to _lèse-majesté_ and the jail,
and pursue their way undisturbed by thoughts of consequences.

"I approve the proposed organization of citizens to coöperate with the
municipal authorities," he began in halting and anxious tones.  "It will
help us to keep the peace.  But there wasn’t so much violence last night
as some have thought.  The body of the meeting was orderly.  The trouble
came only from the hoodlums who broke off from it in droves to commit
violence.  The responsible men of the labor organizations who were
present have called on me to say that they had no idea that the hoodlums
would take advantage of the meeting to create disorder."

Several military men followed the mayor with speeches of a fiery nature,
and advocated stern measures to subdue the riotous elements.  At these
outbursts of martial ardor I could see Coleman’s mouth tighten
imperceptibly into lines of disapproval and determination.  At last his
growing impatience could be restrained no longer, and he interrupted a
resplendent militia colonel who was in full flight of an oration calling
for "action at once."

"I understand this subject," said Coleman with decision, "and you don’t.
This is a matter that should not be discussed too fully or too publicly.
But since so much has been said, I will inform you, gentlemen, that you
don’t know the mine you are standing on.  The safety or destruction of
the city hangs on a pivot.  There must be more spirit shown by the
law-abiding elements, or the balance will turn toward destruction.
There must be action, not talk. I do not want to accuse anybody of
lethargy, but the fact is there are too many men who call for the
suppression of disorder, and then go home and leave somebody else to
attend to their protection.  The men who most deserve protection are
those who are ready to take arms in their hands to get it."

"Well, what course would you advise this meeting to take?" asked General

"Organize at once," said the chairman in vigorous tones.  "Appoint a
central committee--say of twenty-four.  Then open rolls for men to sign,
pledging their persons and their money to protect the wives, children
and fortunes that are now at the mercy of the mob."

This inspiring counsel brought the assembly to its feet.  In a tumult of
enthusiasm it was agreed that the chairman should appoint the committee,
and that the work of organization should begin at once.  It was over in
another ten minutes.  Coleman named the committee without hesitation,
and after it had held a brief session he announced that it had reported
in favor of immediate organization, and added:

"You are invited to put your hands to this instrument:

"’We, the undersigned citizens of San Francisco, do hereby enroll
ourselves as a General Committee of Safety, subject to the requirements
of the Special Committee of Twenty-Four, of which William T. Coleman,
Esq., is President, and we do hereby bind ourselves to act with the
committee to preserve the peace and well-being of the city with our
money and persons.’

"You will be given directions where to assemble, and what duties you are
to perform.  I hope no able-bodied citizen will fail to give us his
services and support."

At a significant gesture from the president, these solid men of the city
crowded about the secretary to sign their names, and the Committee of
Safety was born.

                             *CHAPTER XXIV*

                        *THE JUSTICE OF BIG SAM*

"You seem to have done a good day’s work," was Miss Kendrick’s comment
on my brief account of the commercial struggle, "and you’ll make a
business man yet if you keep on.  I wish you could tell uncle about it,
but he’s still unconscious."  And her lip trembled at the sudden
remembrance of Wharton Kendrick’s peril, until I thought for the moment
that she was going to burst into tears.  But she commanded herself, and
continued in steady voice: "And now that you’ve done so well, I’ll give
one of those reward-of-merit cards you used to get in school.  It came
this afternoon, and I’m dying to know what’s in it."  And she brought
out a letter addressed in fine Spencerian copperplate script to "Mr.
Hampden, the Lawyer of Mr. Kendrick’s House on Van Ness Avenue, San

I read the address with some wonder, and Laura Kendrick continued:

"Moon Ying says that funny little sign up in the corner is Big Sam’s
seal; but he surely never wrote that remarkable address.  I suppose it
is by one of his clerks."

At this, I hastily opened the envelope, and found within a formal note:

Kwan Sam Suey requests the pleasure of Mr. Hampden’s company, at his
office in Waverly Place, this evening, at as early an hour as

I passed the note over to Miss Kendrick.

"It looks as though there was going to be a party," she said, "or a
supper at the very least.  I hope you won’t overeat--or worse."

"Big Sam has never suggested such an idea as eating or drinking, though
I don’t put it beyond him. But he surely hasn’t picked out this season
of alarms to give a reception.  So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll run down to
his place.  It may be something important."

"Of course you must go--and you must come back, too.  I’m sure I can’t
sleep till I know what it’s about.  I shall be up most of the night, and
so will Mercy; so you needn’t have qualms about ringing the bell, even
if you are later than late.  There will be somebody to let you in."

"As I’d rather be here than anywhere else, I shan’t miss the chance to
come back," I said boldly.

She ignored my words, and evaded my devouring glances, and with a sage
nod suggested that the sooner I was on my way, the sooner I should have
a chance to come back.

As I went down the steps I was stricken with a jealous pang to see Mr.
Baldwin coming up with the air of a conquering army.  He gave me a cool
"Good evening," and then asked, in his most superior manner, if I were
on my way to stir my friends to further exertions.

"I have but one object in life," I returned in a confidential tone, "and
that is to put your particular friend and client inside four stone walls
where he can’t do any more harm.  And you can tell Mr. Bolton so with my
compliments, too."

From his muttered response, I gathered that my reminder of his
connection with Peter Bolton did not give him unalloyed pleasure, and
pleased with the consciousness that I had given more than I had received
in the way of irritation, I went my way to Chinatown.

There were abundant signs of unrest in both the white and the yellow
city.  Bands of hoodlums still ranged the streets, and fought runaway
actions with the police.  Householders seemed in fear, and windows that
were customarily cheerful with lights now looked with darkened shades
upon the streets.

Chinatown was as forbidding as on the night of my last visit, and such
lights as were to be seen shone through closed shutters and barred
doors. But despite the atmosphere of sullen hostility that lay like a
fog upon the district, I made my way without interference to Waverly
Place and rapped on Big Sam’s door.  My name secured prompt admittance.
The door was unbarred for a moment for my entrance, and promptly barred
once more, and I was led through a crowd of sullen, hostile-faced
hatchet-men to Big Sam’s reception-hall.

The King of Chinatown sat by his desk in his flowing robes of state, but
rose and offered me his hand as I entered.

"I thank you for your prompt attention, Mr. Hampden," he said, motioning
me courteously to a high-backed chair at his side.  I thought I could
detect a trace of worry in his eyes, but his face was as impassive as

"I am flattered to receive your invitation."

"It is not an idle one."

"I should be slow to believe so--especially after the prompt fulfilment
of your last prophecy."

"You have the eye of the reader of thoughts," said Big Sam with a faint
smile.  "You speak of the very point I wish to ask about.  I note by the
papers that you were attacked--or Mr. Kendrick, to be accurate."

"Oh, I was fortunate enough to share in it," I said nonchalantly.

"Hardly a matter for congratulation, Mr. Hampden. Kindly let me know
what happened.  Was it by my people, or--"

He paused, and I replied:

"We were attacked in front by the anti-Chinese mob, three hundred or
more strong, and in the rear by a score or so of ruffians that I have
reason to suppose were hired by your people."

"I should be obliged for your reasons."

"They are at your service."  And I gave the accumulated facts from
Little John’s attempt to drag away the Chinese girl, to Danny Regan’s
identification by Moon Ying.

As I set forth my tale, a certain fire of rage kindled in Big Sam’s face
without disturbing the impassivity of his features.  He seemed to grow
larger, and I could understand how great monarchs cause men to tremble
by something more than the physical forces at their command.  Some
subtle force irradiated from the man, and only a strong will could
refuse to yield to the fear that he inspired.

As I ended my tale, he muttered, "The dogs--to violate their word--to
cross my orders--to risk everything at this crisis!"

Then he clapped his hands, and two men appeared, and after a few words

"I hope you will not object if I detain you for a time," said Big Sam,
relaxing something of his anger.

"Not at all, if I can be of service."

"You mean that you would not stay as a social diversion," he said with a
faint smile.  "Well, you can be of service, Mr. Hampden, and permit me
in the interval to offer you the hospitalities that should pass between
friends."  He gave his hands another clap, and in a moment a servant
entered bearing a tray with a teapot and cups, and placed it before Big
Sam.  My host poured the tea as I exclaimed at the beauty of the
porcelain in the highly decorated pot and the thin cups.

"I presume you prefer sugar and milk," said Big Sam, hesitating.

If I had possessed an insatiable appetite for these luxuries, the note
of scorn in his voice would have forbidden me to confess it.  But I had
been dealing with Chinese clients long enough, and had drunk tea enough
in Chinese fashion, to make it a matter of indifference to me, and I
gave him a cheerful negative.

"What an exquisite flavor!" I exclaimed, as I sipped from the dainty
cups.  "Where do you get such tea?"

"I have it brought over by a special agent.  It is not such as you can
buy in the stores.  That you may realize that you do not see all of
China in the externals we present in San Francisco, I will remind you
that you consider that you get a very good tea when you pay two dollars
a pound for it.  It is a good tea.  But this that you are drinking costs
eighty dollars a pound in China.  You see we have a few
luxuries--possibly some that you would not recognize. This is the tea of
the gods, and I am pleased to see that you do not profane its flavor."
The servant had brought in another tray, and Big Sam pressed me to eat
of some preserved fish, which he praised more highly than I thought it
deserved, and a fowl deliciously cooked with strange seasonings, ending
with Chinese sweetmeats and a dash of fine Chinese brandy.  I ate
without hesitation, for all my suspicion of Chinese dishes, for I could
believe that the man who drank tea at eighty dollars a pound would have
nothing below the best.

And as we ate, Big Sam questioned me with a devouring curiosity of my
views on the relations of China and the United States, on the future of
the Orient, on the possible waking of China, on the destiny of the
races, on the results of the anti-Chinese agitation; and though he gave
little expression to his own views, he let drop many statesmanlike
observations that showed how deeply he had thought upon these problems.
Then at a sound from without, he had the trays cleared away, and the
look of stern anger came back to his face.

"Now, Mr. Hampden, is the time for your assistance," he said.  "I did
not, as you may assume, invite you here to talk politics.  That pleasure
might have waited till a less troubled time.  Matters of more importance
await us.  With your kind permission, we shall hold a high court of

I had ceased to be astonished at anything that might happen in Big Sam’s
apartments.  I bowed assent, and at a sharp rap on the desk, a score or
more of sullen-faced Chinese entered, and formed in line along the
walls.  Apparently they bore no arms, but I judged from their expression
that they belonged to the notorious hatchet-men, and carried all the
paraphernalia of war under their loose blouses. Then entered two men of
stern aspect, who walked with an air of command, and after greeting Big
Sam they were introduced to me as the presidents of the Sare Bo and the
See Yung tongs and were given seats beside us.  Then at a curt order
from Big Sam, another door opened, and two men entered dragging a
protesting prisoner between them.

It was Little John, and by the fear that gleamed in his eyes and set his
chin a-tremble, his forecast of the judgment of the high court of
justice was most grave.  He dropped to his knees, as he was dragged in
front of the desk and made to face us, and beat his forehead on the
floor with exclamations of protest and appeals for mercy.  At a word
from Big Sam the guards brought him to his feet, and Big Sam spoke
briefly in Chinese.  Then he turned to me.

"Is this the man, Mr. Hampden?"

"I have no doubt it is," I responded.

"Please repeat your story to these men," and he indicated the two
Chinese presidents who looked with stern, impassive faces upon the
trembling wretch before us.

"You will understand that this is not evidence," I said.  "It is nothing
that could be received in court, as I speak for the most part by

"Proceed," said Big Sam.  "Our justice is not pinioned in the bonds of
your rules of evidence."  And I repeated the account of the first visit
of Little John, of his attempt to capture Moon Ying, of the assault on
the Kendrick house by Danny Regan’s ruffians, and Regan’s identification
by Moon Ying as Little John’s expressman.  From time to time Big Sam
acted as interpreter, though in the main the Chinese appeared to
understand me well enough.

The prisoner shook as with an ague at my disclosures, and his coarse
goatee fluttered in sympathy with his flying heart.  A few questions
were put to him, and after admitting that he had visited the Kendrick
place, he turned to denial, and became glib in his own defense.  Big Sam
translated to me in an undertone, and I could feel the anger in his
voice rising higher and higher at each prevarication.  At last Big Sam
sprang to his feet, and pointing at me, thundered a question at Little

Little John hesitated, stumbled in his speech, hastily denied his words,
then stopped and looked about him with evident realization that he was
lost; and with a scream of terror he would have fallen had not the
guards caught him and brought him roughly to his feet.

"Mr. Hampden, what shall be done with this man?" asked Big Sam.

"I have a warrant out for his arrest for disturbing the peace.  I’m
afraid I haven’t evidence enough to satisfy our courts on a higher

"Well, this court is satisfied--you believe him guilty, Mr. Hampden?"

"He is certainly guilty of attempted abduction."

He apparently put the same question to the two stern-faced men beside
us, and they gave assent in brief phrases.

"The court is unanimous," said Big Sam.  "Guilty of attempted abduction,
violation of the bargain between the tongs, sacrificing the interests of
his race to the interest of his tong by challenging the white vengeance.
What should the penalty be, Mr. Hampden?"

"I think in our court he would get two years for the attempted
abduction, assuming that he was convicted."

"A mild punishment, Mr. Hampden.  I do not wonder that crime flourishes
in your country with justice so feeble.  But we have no prisons at our
command.  Death or exile or fine--these are the punishments we can

I shuddered at his words and tone, but it seemed impossible that we were
discussing more than a theoretical case.

"Do you mean to say that our judgment will be carried out?" I cried.

"Certainly.  An example is necessary; an offense has been committed; the
guilty is before us for sentence."

"I should be satisfied with exile," I said, as Big Sam’s eye demanded my

He spoke to the two stern-faced men beside us, and at their answer
turned to me.

"All but you, Mr. Hampden, favor death.  It is less costly, and more

"But he has not committed a capital offense," I protested.

"It is a capital offense by the laws of his own land. And if he had
succeeded in burning Mr. Kendrick’s house and killing Mr. Kendrick’s
family, I understand that it would have been a capital offense, even by
the emasculate laws of your country.  Is he the less guilty that his
accomplices failed in the parts he had arranged for them?"

"Our laws give a lower punishment to the attempt than to the completed
offense," I objected.

"Thereby making the suffering of the innocent and not the wickedness of
the criminal the measure of guilt," said Big Sam.  "It is enough.  Let
the sentence stand."  And with a few words to the men who held the
hapless Little John between them, the prisoner was dragged protesting
through one of the mysterious doors of Big Sam’s apartment, and
disappeared at a turn of the labyrinth.  Then with ceremonious bows, the
stern-faced presidents of the tongs took their leave, and lastly Big
Sam’s retainers filed out.

"Do you mean that this man is to be killed?" I cried, when the doors had
closed behind the departing. "Why, he is not even the principal in the
crime. You have told me yourself that he is the representative of the
Hop Sing Tong."

"When we can not catch the shark, we catch the pilot-fish," said Big

"But this is murder."

"Mr. Hampden," said Big Sam calmly, "this has been a very unpleasant
affair, but, believe me, necessary.  Let us not discuss it further.  I
have put it from my mind.  I advise you to do the same.  Do you believe
that the organization of the Committee of Safety will have any effect on
the troubles in the city?"

"I have every confidence in the man at the head of it.  I believe it
will be of material assistance in suppressing disorder."

"The revolutionary elements are strong," said Big Sam.  "I have
information that there is to be an armed outbreak to-morrow night.  Will
the Committee of Safety have its organization completed in time to check
it?  After that, it may be too late."

I wondered whether this warning had come from Peter Bolton, but I saw
the futility of asking such a question of the man before me.  I could
merely express the hope that the huge task of enrolling, arming and
instructing the men who were flocking to the Committee’s leadership
would be far enough advanced to make it of service before a serious
outbreak occurred.

"If the Committee is overpowered, I presume we shall be left to our own
defense," said Big Sam. "Well, we shall try to be ready.  Permit me to
thank you again for the pleasure of your company; and good night."

The retainers who held Big Sam’s store in force looked at me impassively
from their slant-eyes as I went out, and they appeared undisturbed at
the scene that so many of them had witnessed.  But as the door was
closed and barred behind me, their voices broke forth in a chatter of
singsong tones that revealed the excitement they had repressed to the
eye.  Big Sam’s justice had at least impressed his followers.

Once more in the streets, the scene in Big Sam’s hall seemed impossible,
far away, of another world. I studied my duties to the laws of my own
land, as I made my way through the darkened thoroughfares. Should I
interfere, and try to save the life of Little John--even supposing that
it was possible to find him in the Chinese labyrinths?  Why?  Did he not
deserve his fate?  And as the picture of Laura Kendrick crushed in the
burning ruins of her house rose before my mind’s eye, I could not deny
that the world would be better off without the man who had planned such
a deed.  And with the conclusion to leave Chinese justice to the
Chinese, I made my way back to the Kendrick house.

As I came up the steps, I was struck by the coincidence of meeting Mr.
Baldwin coming down, and wished him a polite "Good night."  He halted in
evident anger, as though my words had been a personal insult.  Then with
a muttered "Go to the devil!" he strode up the street.

These signs of perturbation upon the cold and unemotional Baldwin were a
portent to wonder at, and I suspected that his visit had not been as
happy as he considered to be his desert.

Inside the house, I discovered some reflection of the perturbation
displayed by the retreating Baldwin. Miss Kendrick’s face was flushed,
and I thought I discovered traces of tears on her cheeks, and a tendency
to hysteric laughter, very foreign to her nature.  Miss Fillmore was
embracing her with sympathetic attention as I entered.

"Men are such queer creatures," said Miss Kendrick sagely, "and they do
make themselves ridiculous when--"

Then catching sight of me she uttered a cry of dismay, and said:

"Why, what is the matter?  Is the house in danger again from those
shocking hoodlums?"  But she recalled herself as soon as she spoke, and
said: "Oh, I remember now.  I am Miss Scatterbrain to-night. What did
Big Sam want?"

"He wished to assure me that there was no further danger from Little
John," I returned, with prudent reserve.

She looked at me suspiciously, as though she detected something behind
my words.

"Do you believe him?"

"I have no doubt of his good faith."

"Well, that’s one relief.  But just the same Moon Ying doesn’t go
outside this house till all the troubles are over."

"Is there any fighting to-night?" asked Mercy anxiously.

"Only a few hoodlums.  I think we shall get through the night without
serious trouble, and to-morrow the Vigilantes will be organized.  Then
the city can sleep in peace."

"Well, I hope so," said Laura, and Mercy breathed an assent.  "I feel as
though I hadn’t slept for a week.  And now you go and get some sleep
yourself, for you’re going to have a hard day to-morrow."

Between the recollections of business, of Big Sam’s justice, and of
Laura Kendrick, sleep was long in coming.  Yet of all problems that kept
my mind in ferment, the most disturbing was "What happened to Baldwin?"
And after arguing myself to the pleasing conclusion that he had, in his
most superior manner, put his fate to the test, and had fallen from the
full height of his self-esteem to the bottomless pit of rejection, I
fell into dreamless slumber.

                             *CHAPTER XXV*

                           *FACING A CRISIS*

As I neared the office on the following morning in some depression of
spirits at the reports from Wharton Kendrick’s bedside, I heard my name
called, and turned to find Parks signaling me.  His face was alight with
self-importance, his hair stood out with electric aggressiveness, and he
seemed to tremble with superfluous energy, like a superheated boiler.

"You should have stayed to the rest of our meeting on last Monday
night," he said abruptly.  "We succeeded in strengthening our cause
among the working-people, even though the misguided violence of a few
young men interfered with our plans for freeing the people from their

"I had other business than listening to speeches."

"Sir," he cried, "you do wrong to speak with contempt of those appeals
that rouse men to a knowledge of their rights and their powers.  I want
you to be with us again to-night.  We are to hold another meeting on the
New City Hall lots, as you will see by this circular."  And he waved a
number of sheets that called upon all men to "Rally, Rally!" at the
"Great Anti-Coolie Mass Meeting" at eight o’clock.

"Another meeting!" I exclaimed.  "You are very indiscreet to hold it at
this time."

"Not at all," returned Parks enthusiastically. "Now is the time.  We
must take advantage of the roused feelings of the people.  The outbreak
the other night came to nothing because it was but an ebullition of
misdirected energy.  But it was prompted by a generous desire for action
that would free the people, and had we been prepared to take advantage
of the opportunity, the strength that for want of intelligent leadership
was wasted in profitless attacks on Chinese wash-houses would have put
us in possession of the city government."

"Do you think you are prepared now?"

"We are ready to seize the opportunities that fortune may offer."

"Why, you’re not so absurd as to suppose that you can seize the
government now," I said.  "Even supposing you might have done something
the other night--which I don’t think you could--the time has gone by.
The city is roused.  The Committee of Safety is organized.  The militia
is under arms. You will certainly land in jail if you make a move, and
if you’re locked up, there will be one very unhappy girl in this city.
For her sake, Parks, keep out of this affair."

"Sir," said Parks, his aggressive manner a little softened, "I am
committed.  I can not in honor draw back, even to please the best of
women.  But you underestimate our strength.  The Committee of Safety
itself springs from the people, and will assist, not hinder, our
movement.  The militia is recruited from the same class, and will not
fire on the people at the command of plutocracy.  We shall meet and we
shall triumph.  Be with us to-night, at eight sharp."  And he hurried

A second warning of the intended meeting came from Clark, who was lying
in wait for me at the office door.

"Parks just told me about it," I said.  "What are they going to do?"

"Why, the men of the Council are talking about taking possession of the
city government, but the talk of the men around town runs to burning the
Pacific Mail docks and the steamers, and running the Chinese out of

"Burning the Mail steamers!" I cried.

"Yes.  We’ve got word that the _City of Tokio_ is in with a cargo of a
thousand coolies, and the men say that the only way to stop them from
landing is to burn them in the steamer, and make an end of the docks.
Anyhow, if they don’t do that, they’ll do something else that’s likely
to be as bad.  Waldorf and Reddick held up Bolton in his office last
night and got more money out of him--ten thousand or twenty thousand
dollars, I don’t know which--so they are in funds to organize trouble."

This information seemed to call for action, but I could think of nothing
better to do than to order Clark to engage a dozen more stout fellows to
be on guard at the Kendrick place in case the mob should pay it another
visit.  And this done, I walked with some perturbance of mind into the

Nelson soon arrived, carefully groomed, fresh-shaven, his side-whiskers
trimmed, and his eyeglasses heightening his air of authority, and
greeted me with more consideration than he had shown yesterday.  A few
minutes later Partridge followed in more free and easy fashion.

"I met Coleman on the street just now," said Partridge.  "He’s too busy
with his Vigilantes to do much with us to-day."

"I hope he’ll get his twenty thousand men and drive every hoodlum out of
town," said Nelson.  "Is it true that Kendrick is going to die?"

My heart climbed into my throat at this disturbing question.  The
business as well as the personal reasons that would make his death a
calamity had led me to put this thought rigorously out of my mind, and
it was an emotional shock to be compelled to face it.

"I can’t think so," I replied, as soon as I could command my voice.
"But I’m sorry to say he is no better.  When I left the house this
morning, he was still unconscious."

"I heard he had no chance," said Nelson, "but I hoped it wasn’t so."

For a moment I lost the firmness of mind that had supported me in the
trials of the situation.  Between the affection I had conceived for
Wharton Kendrick and the thought of the confusion in which his affairs
would be left, the apprehension of his death threw me into mental
distraction.  I was recalled by the voice of Partridge:

"Well, we must get down to business.  Here’s a list of men who will call
for loans.  There’ll be plenty of others.  By the way, Hampden, I got
pledges of seven hundred and twenty-five thousand more to go into the
pool.  You can deposit it, if you like, with the rest of the syndicate
fund."  And he tossed me a bundle of checks.

This simple act of confidence pleased me more than words.  These men
treated me as one of them. I was trusted as Wharton Kendrick would have
been trusted under the same circumstances, and at this certificate of
confidence I was warmed by a pardonable glow of pride.

The morning was a repetition of its predecessor, as the elements of the
city’s commercial woes trickled in concentrated form through the office.
It was a depressing business, as the line of embarrassed merchants,
brokers and speculators passed rapidly before us.  Some were snatched
from the brink of ruin. Some were sent about their business as frauds,
seeking to use the syndicate’s funds in speculation.  Some--too
unimportant to affect the commercial fabric in their failure--were left
to stand or fall as their own strength should determine.

"I never supposed there was so much rotten timber afloat," said

William T. Coleman joined us at the lunch hour, and the sight of his
face, masterful and calm, renewed our spirits.

"You are keeping things pretty near even in the markets," he said.  "We
shall weather the gale if there isn’t another outbreak."

"Well, that’s on the cards," I said.  "The circulars are out for another
meeting on the sand-lots."

"Come with me, and tell what you know about this, while we have a bite
of lunch," he said.

I was more than pleased at this request, but looked doubtfully at the
accumulation of papers before us with the feeling that I was the
indispensable man at the desk.  Coleman interpreted my unspoken thought,
and said:

"Oh, sign a dozen checks in blank, and Partridge and Nelson can attend
to everything necessary while you are gone."

I was reluctant to surrender my place as dispenser of fortune, even for
a brief space of time.  The position of a financial magnate in a period
of storm and stress was not one that I could conscientiously describe as
free from anxieties and perturbations.  But it was clothed with power,
and power possesses a fascination of its own.  Monarchs do not abdicate,
except under compulsion; and even among minor office-holders, whose
mastership is far more limited than that of a millionaire in business,
we have the word of a president that "few die and none resign."  But at
the compelling glance of William T. Coleman I signed my name to twelve
checks, and said that I was happy to attend him.

During our hasty luncheon I told of the warning of coming outbreak that
had been given me by Big Sam, of the words of Parks, and of the
information I had received from Clark.  Then, at his inquiries, I told
all that I knew of the Council of Nine--its organization from among the
anarchists, socialists and communists, its visionary idea of seizing the
city government, and the manner in which it was using the anti-Chinese
agitation to secure the physical force to bring about its revolutionary

"You think the anti-Chinese leaders are being used without their
knowledge?" asked Coleman thoughtfully.

"To a large extent, yes.  They know, of course, that these men have
wider designs, but they do not take them seriously."

"Nevertheless," said Coleman, "they may prove dangerous in a crisis like
this.  They have the reckless courage of leadership that may turn a mob
into a destroying body.  We must do everything we can to hasten the
enrollment and organization of the Committee of Safety’s forces.  By the
way, have you signed the roll yet?"

"No.  I haven’t had time to think of it."

"This will never do.  You are a leading citizen now and must set a good
example.  Come with me. We have our headquarters in the Chamber of
Commerce rooms for the day, but at night we shall assemble in
Horticultural Hall.  We are going to have a big force, and must have a
big armory."

The assembly hall of the Chamber of Commerce was fitted up with desks,
and a score of clerks were busy with books and papers.  Two or three
hundred men had gathered in the hall, and the clerks were surrounded by
confused but orderly groups. Coleman led me to one of the desks, and I
signed my name while he himself pinned on my coat the badge of the

As I wrote, I was astonished to see a dozen lines above my pen the
signature of Peter Bolton, and it struck fire to my anger that the
arch-conspirator--the man who had inspired the disorder that threatened
the city--should have enrolled his name among those who pledged their
lives and fortunes to its defense.  I gave a quick look about the room
with the thought that I should discover the spare face and sardonic
smile of the curmudgeon enjoying the flutter into which he had thrown
the solid men of the city.  But he was nowhere to be seen, and I debated
whether I should call Mr. Coleman’s attention to the matter; but as I
remembered that Wharton Kendrick had checked a mention of Bolton’s name
in Coleman’s own house, and saw no present purpose to be served by the
discovery, I followed the sound rule of keeping my mouth shut.  And as
William T. Coleman retired to the office of the Committee of
Twenty-four, I returned to my duties.

On entering the door of my office I was given a shock of surprise.  A
man of spare figure, tall, with bowed and narrow shoulders, sat facing
Partridge and Nelson, and presented only his back to my view; but the
back was unmistakably the back of Peter Bolton.  Nelson leaned forward,
watching him with close attention, while Partridge was running rapidly
through a bundle of papers.

"I’ve got to have the money," were the first words that came to me in
Peter Bolton’s complaining voice.  "Here are the securities--pretty good
securities, too--better than you took from Packenham, or Hooper, or a
dozen others--ten times as good as you took from the Sundown Bank."

Partridge swiftly sorted the papers into two packets.  The larger one he
threw across the desk to Bolton.

"The banks will take those," he said with crisp brevity.  "We can
advance three hundred thousand on the others, if necessary.  What do you
want to do with the money?"

Peter Bolton gave his head a slow shake.

"I’ve got to save myself from going under," he said in a whining tone.
"I’ve got notes to pay, and three hundred thousand dollars won’t cover
them. I ought to have a million."

"Let’s see the statement of your liabilities," said Partridge.

Peter Bolton fumbled in his inside coat pocket, brought out a large
pocket-book, untied the string with which he had secured it, and then
looked through its bulging compartments.

"I don’t like to show it," he complained.  "It’s Private Business, and I
don’t like to trust any one with my Private Business."

"Suit yourself," said Partridge.  "Try some other place if you like."

Peter Bolton’s trembling hand brought out a sheet of paper from one of
the recesses of the pocket-book, and passed it over to Partridge.

"There it is," he said.  "You can see I’ve got to have money right away.
If I don’t pay them notes, I’ll be posted on the Exchange; and you can’t
afford to have that happen.  If I go down, there’ll be such a smash in
the markets as you’ve never seen.  I shan’t go down alone."

Partridge rapidly drew his pencil through several of the items of Peter
Bolton’s statement.

"Those will renew," he said.  "You can get four hundred thousand from
the banks on the securities you have in your hand.  Three hundred
thousand will be enough for us to let you have.  It will see you

"I don’t see how I am to get along without more than that," said Peter
Bolton, with a slow shake of the head.  "But I’ll do the best I can with
it."  He gave the outward evidences of dissatisfaction, but there was an
undertone of triumph in his voice, inaudible to any ear but mine.

I had listened thus far without an attempt to interrupt.  I was curious
to see what plea Peter Bolton would make in support of his audacious
attempt to turn the syndicate’s money against the syndicate’s objects;
and it had not occurred to me as possible that Partridge and Nelson
would fail to penetrate his scheme.  I forgot for the moment that my
colleagues were not informed of the purposes of the arch-plotter, and it
was therefore with something of a shock that I heard Partridge consent
to put three hundred thousand dollars into Bolton’s hands, and saw
Nelson dip his pen in ink to fill out the check.

"I beg pardon," I said, stepping forward, "but I think it will be better
to hold that money."

At the sound of my voice Peter Bolton gave a violent start, and for a
moment his face turned ashy gray, as he seized the arms of the chair to
support himself.  Then with an effort he recovered his self-possession,
and gave me a nod that was meant to be ingratiating.

"Well," said Partridge, "if you’d like to look over Mr. Bolton’s papers,
here they are."

I waved them away.

"I don’t doubt your judgment on the securities. It is beyond question.
I merely object to making the loan at all."

Peter Bolton raised his hand, threw back his head with open mouth, and
spoke in his most sarcastic drawl.

"Some Young Men like to interfere with Other Men’s Business.  But all
that has been discussed. The matter is settled."

I took up the signed checks that lay before Nelson and replied:

"Oh, no; there are several points to be explained before we go further."

"We haven’t time to run a debating club," said Nelson, a little huffed
by my strategic move in securing the checks.  "We have consented to the
loan for excellent reasons.  Mr. Bolton’s failure would be certain to
start the panic we have been staving off for two days."

"Very true.  But Mr. Bolton is unduly anxious. He is in no more danger
of failing than the Bank of California."

Peter Bolton turned on me with suppressed anger glowing in his eyes, and
drew down the corners of his mouth in a sarcastic snarl.

"Maybe, young man, you know more about My Business than I know."

"I shouldn’t put it that way," I retorted.  "I should say that I know
more about your business than you are ready to tell."

Peter Bolton drew down the corners of his mouth again and turned to
Partridge with the air of putting me aside.

"Young Men have Strange Ideas," he drawled, "but you are Men of
Experience, and you know what it means to refuse this loan.  If you are
sure a Panic would help your Business, why, all you have to do is to say
I can’t have the money.  If I don’t get it, I’ll be posted on the
Exchange this afternoon."

"And I warn you that Mr. Bolton is perfectly solvent," I said.

Partridge rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and Nelson studied the floor in

"I am inclined to overrule Mr. Hampden in this matter," said Partridge;
"but he represents Mr. Kendrick, and I don’t wish to go in flat
opposition to his judgment."

Peter Bolton gave me a malignant glance.

"Judgment! judgment!" he exclaimed in his most sarcastic drawl.  "The
Young Man knows that Kendrick and I haven’t been on good terms, and he
thinks he can Curry Favor by ruining me.  But if I can have a word with
him, I can convince him it’s to Kendrick’s interest to keep me afloat
this time."  And seizing my arm, he attempted to draw me to the other
end of the room.

"I don’t care to hear anything you can’t say before these gentlemen," I

"Come just a minute," he persisted, with a wheedling tone in his voice,
and drew me to a farther corner. Then he said in a low, eager tone: "It
will be fifty thousand dollars in your pocket if you say yes."

"No!" was my curt reply.

"It will be cash," he urged.  "You can hold the money out from the
advance from the committee. You’ll be perfectly safe."

"No!" I repeated, with the emphasis of disgust, and walked swiftly back
to the desk.  For an instant I had the resolve to explain to my
fellow-members the offense that Peter Bolton had proposed.  But an
uneasy conscience reminded me that I had brought it upon myself, and
instead of revealing the shameless offer, I said sharply:

"I ought to have saved time by telling you at the first that nothing
could serve this man’s profit so well as a panic.  He above all other
men is responsible for the present troubles, and any money advanced to
him will be used against the interests we are here to protect."

Peter Bolton’s hand trembled, and a look of desperation came into his
eyes.  Otherwise he gave no sign of lessening self-possession.

"It’s a lie, it’s a lie!" he cried.  "I shall be ruined."  Nelson turned
to me.

"That is a very serious assertion.  You should be certain of your ground
to make such a charge."

"He can’t prove it.  It’s a lie!" repeated Peter Bolton eagerly.

"Mr. Bolton is the father of the present crisis," I said.  "He is the
financial backer of the agitators that the Committee of Safety has been
organized to put down.  It was not so much as two weeks ago that he paid
thirty thousand dollars to the Council of Nine."

Peter Bolton attempted to resume his sarcastic air, and drew down the
corners of his mouth into his sardonic mask, though his lip trembled
with the effort.

"You can’t believe lies like that," he said, in appeal to Partridge and

"And last night," I continued, "he received two members of the Council
of Nine in his office, and paid them a sum of money that I believe was
ten thousand dollars.  It may have been twenty.  An armed outbreak is
planned for to-night.  If it comes, there stands the man who furnished
the money for it."  And I pointed an accusing finger at the spare, bent
form of the arch-conspirator.

At this evidence of the accuracy of my information, the sallow face of
Peter Bolton once more turned to an ashy gray, and he looked from side
to side as though seeking some avenue of escape.  Then he faced me.

"You’re talking nonsense," he cried with tense determination in his
voice.  "Nobody will believe you.  You ought to be sent to the asylum."

I looked into his eyes.

"Waldorf and Parks are within call," I said with calm and assured
mendacity.  "Shall I bring them in?"

Peter Bolton dropped his eyes, trembled as he stood silent for a moment,
then seized his papers and walked to the door.  As his hand was on the
knob, he turned and shook his fist at us.

"I’ll smash you yet!" he cried in a harsh voice, his anger getting the
better of his fears.  "I’ll smash you and that scoundrel Kendrick.  I’ll
grind the whole pack of you down into the dirt."  And he went out with
unexpected nimbleness, and slammed the door behind him.

I looked at my associates with a word of self-congratulation on my
tongue.  But the shamed and apologetic air with which they studied the
documents before them stopped my mouth.  It was evident that they needed
no one to inform them that they had been gulled by Peter Bolton, and I
had the discretion to perceive that the temper of the office would not
be improved by discussion of the circumstances.  So I took my seat
without a word.

The stream of imperiled merchants again trickled through the room, and
for an hour we worked rapidly and with exemplary harmony.  The
self-esteem of Partridge, cut down by the treacherous hand of Peter
Bolton, spread and blossomed once more as his skill in estimating the
value of securities and the needs of borrowers was put to the test and
proved without flaw.  The phlegmatic Nelson had shown his discomposure
for but a moment, so we were again upon a footing of close confidence.

It was half-past two when Brown, Wharton Kendrick’s head clerk, peered
in at the door and beckoned to me with a face full of trouble.  I made
some excuse, and followed him to his office.  He closed and locked the
door and looked at me in silent dismay.

"What’s the matter?" I asked.

"We’re ruined!" he gasped.

"What’s that?" I cried.

"We must close the doors--unless you have three hundred and fifty
thousand," he whispered slowly.

He looked at me with the white face and colorless lips of a man in the
final stages of nausea.  The misfortunes of Wharton Kendrick were taken
to heart by at least one man.

"It’s some of Mr. Kendrick’s notes," he said. "They’ve just been
presented.  There’s four hundred and fifty thousand of them
altogether--lacking a few hundreds, and all the money we’ve got is a
little over one hundred thousand."

"Where do these notes come from?  Who presents them?"

"They are made out to different persons; but they are presented by the
El Dorado Bank."

"Didn’t Mr. Kendrick make any provision to meet them?"

"Maybe he did--I suppose so, for some of them are three weeks overdue.
But he never said anything to me about them."

"Let me see them."

The bank’s messenger was brought in, and I scrutinized the notes he
presented.  They were on their face made payable to a dozen or more
men--some to one, some to another--but all had been indorsed to Peter

There was no time to waste in lamentations, and there was but one
resource in sight.  I bade the messenger wait a minute, and hastened
back to the syndicate’s office.

"Here are three checks for you to sign," said Partridge.  "The men are
waiting for them in the anteroom."

They were for but small amounts, and I hastily added my name to the

"I have something more important yet to lay before you," I said boldly.
"I want three hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"What’s that?" cried Partridge.

Nelson looked too shocked for words, and I repeated my request.

"What do you want it for?" demanded Partridge.

"Gentlemen," I replied, "I am sorry to say that we are face to face with
the greatest danger we have yet met.  Peter Bolton has made good his
threat. He has struck quick and hard.  He has presented for payment
through the El Dorado Bank nearly four hundred and fifty thousand of
Wharton Kendrick’s notes, and there is only one hundred thousand in the
house to pay them with.  I must ask you for the balance."

Partridge drew a whistle of surprise, and Nelson turned pale.

"The old fox!" cried Nelson.  "We might have known he was up to

"And he put them in through the El Dorado Bank," said Partridge
reflectively.  "I wonder if he is with the bank’s wrecking combination."

"He is at the head of it," I said.

Partridge drummed on the desk with nervous fingers, and his face took on
a grim look.  As neither of my associates spoke, I said:

"Well, there can be no doubt of our duty to support Wharton Kendrick in
this emergency."

"Of course not," said Partridge.  "What security can you offer?"

"Haven’t the least idea," I replied curtly.

"You’d better make us a general assignment," said Nelson.  "I suppose
that will cover it."

"I couldn’t think of doing such a thing," I replied, restraining my
indignation with an effort.  "A note will have to do."

"It’s a very irregular proposition," said Nelson. "Even the Sundown Bank
has put up a pretense of collateral."

"Well," I returned, "as a business proposition, wouldn’t you rather hold
Wharton Kendrick’s note than the Sundown Bank’s collateral?"

"Yes, of course--provided Wharton Kendrick lives.  But Wharton Kendrick
is likely to die.  The question we have to consider is, What will his
note be worth in the Probate Court?"

"You see how it is," said Partridge, with the patient air of one
instructing a novice.  "If you haven’t anything to pledge, why, an
assignment is the thing."

I faced my associates with the determination to yield nothing.

"I act on the assumption that Wharton Kendrick will get well," I
replied.  "And if he gets well only to find that I have made a general
assignment of his business, how much further do you suppose he will
trust me with his affairs?"

"That’s all right for you," said Partridge.  "But how shall we look when
we present our account to the syndicate and show that we have loaned one
of our members three hundred and fifty thousand without security?  How
long do you think it would be before we got a chance to handle any more
of their money?  We’d be waiting till the next day after never, I

The knot of circumstances seemed to be pretty firmly tangled, and I saw
no way but to cut it by a bold stroke.

"I don’t want to act without your consent--" I began.

"You have no right to act without our consent," interrupted Partridge,
with quick insight into my resolve.

"Right or not, I have the power.  And you will be relieved of
responsibility if I pay the money without your consent."

"You wouldn’t do that!" cried Nelson and Partridge in a breath, their
faces showing signs of rising temper.

"I certainly shall do it before I see Wharton Kendrick’s notes go to
protest and a financial panic start in San Francisco."

Partridge and Nelson looked at me with concern and anger pictured on
their faces.  But before either could speak, the door opened and William
T. Coleman entered.

"You’re just in time, Coleman," said Partridge explosively.  "See if you
can’t put reason into this young man’s head."

"What’s the trouble?" asked Coleman, looking calmly at the flushed and
angry countenances before him.

Partridge and I attempted to explain our positions at the same time, but
Coleman picked out the facts from the confusion, and with a few tactful
questions had the situation clearly in his mind.

"The solution is very simple," he said.  "Wharton Kendrick subscribed
five hundred thousand to the syndicate.  Mr. Hampden will assign us
three hundred and fifty thousand out of that sum, and we shall be
perfectly protected."

Coleman’s plan was so logical and businesslike a way out of our
difficulties that I breathed a sigh of relief, and the anger of my
associates evaporated in a laugh at our stupidity in not thinking of it
for ourselves.

"How much does that leave in the fund?" asked Coleman, when I had taken
up the notes, and sent the clerk on his way.

"A trifle over twenty-three thousand."

"Gentlemen," said Partridge, rising with a theatric gesture, "the
syndicate retires from business. Thank Heaven it is striking three."

"And what of to-morrow?" I asked.

Partridge shrugged his shoulders.

"I wish to God I knew," he said.

                             *CHAPTER XXVI*

                           *ON THE PRECIPICE*

The air of gloom that enveloped Wharton Kendrick’s home was almost
physical in its intensity. It was with apprehension that I awaited the
opening of the door, and it was with anxious eagerness that I looked to
Mercy Fillmore as she stood behind the servant who answered my ring.

"Oh, Mr. Hampden," she exclaimed, as she advanced and gave me her hand,
"I have been wishing you would come."

I was gratified at the tone of relief and confidence with which she
spoke, but my response was to ask of the condition of Wharton Kendrick.

"He is still out of his head," she replied, dropping into a seat.
"Sometimes he talks a little--a few broken words--but most of the time
he lies there silent, with vacant eyes.  If it were not for his heavy
breathing we should hardly know that he was alive."  Her sympathetic
face was filled with concern as she spoke.

"What does the doctor say?"

"He tries to look cheerful and speak confidently, but it is such an
effort, I am afraid.  Yet for Laura’s sake I hope, and try to be
convinced by the doctor’s words."  Then she added quickly: "I said I
wanted to see you.  Mr. Parks was here to-day.  We had a long talk, and
truly, Mr. Hampden, I want you to believe that he is a man of noble
impulses.  He is so unselfish, so eager for the good of others."

"I don’t complain about his instincts.  His heart is in the right place,
as the saying goes, but his head is upside down."

"Oh, Mr. Hampden, you do not understand him!" said Mercy in a pained

"Perhaps not; but surely he has not convinced you that he is wise to
engage in such desperate enterprises as the overthrow of the

Mercy was silent a little, and then she said:

"I should be glad if he could see some other way to work for the good of
the people, but I am not wise myself, so how can I judge him?  He tells
me that it is not right to reason from womanly fears. Do you think he is
in danger, Mr. Hampden?  He is planning some important enterprise for
to-night. Is there anything we can do to save him?"

My private opinion was that Parks would end by getting shot or thrown
into jail.  But I could not pain Mercy with any such brutal statements,
so I soothed her fears as best I could.  "We can’t influence him to keep
out of the movement," I said, "but ten to one it won’t amount to
anything but a lot of oratory, and hard words break no bones.  You have
no cause to worry about him."

"Well, I’m glad to hear you say so," said Mercy, looking relieved.  "And
now I want to tell you about Danny Regan.  You know that Moon Ying
recognized him as that old Chinaman’s express-man?"

"Yes.  She told me."

"Well, I talked to him until he confessed the whole plot to me.  It
began last week, after a good deal of bargaining, when he agreed to
steal the girl. He came late one night with two others, and thought
there would be nobody watching the house. But your men surprised them
coming over the fence, and caught Danny’s friend.  He is the
sergeant-at-arms of an anti-coolie club, he said.  Danny and the other
one got away.  Then Danny came around in the daytime, and pretended to
be a tramp, and got something to eat and talked everything out of the
cook.  She told him all about Moon Ying, and where she slept, and Danny
raised a company to attack the house.  He was going to set it on fire,
and capture the girl as we all ran out, and when the hoodlums came in
front, he thought it would be easy.  I asked him how he could do such a
thing, and his excuse was that he was drunk.  He wants to know if you
are going to have him arrested, and tries to lay the blame on the
Chinaman he calls Little John.  Do you intend to put him in jail?"

"I can’t think of a better place for him.  How soon can he be moved?"

"I suppose he ought to be punished.  But he has suffered much for his
crime, and now appears to be truly repentant.  And at best he can not
well be moved until next week.  Don’t you think we might forgive him?"

"No, I don’t.  You and Miss Laura might have been killed.  I am angrier
every time I think of it. Where is she now?"

"She is with Mr. Kendrick.  She has hardly left his side to-day.  She
gave ten minutes to Moon Ying--it’s a blessing that our little protégée
is getting able to help herself--and she gave about as much more to
looking after the house.  The rest of the day she has spent with her

"I should say, then, that it was about time she took some rest."

"Well," said Mercy, rising, "I hope you can convince her of it.  I’ll
tell her you are here."  And she left me alone.

It was ten minutes before the door opened and Miss Kendrick entered.  I
greeted her with some surprise, for she was dressed as though she had
just come in from the street.

"Oh, you needn’t look so astonished," she said, as she gave me her hand
with a tired smile.  "I haven’t been out of the house to-day, so I
thought I’d enlist your services as cavalier.  I’m dying for a breath of
fresh air."

"I’m glad to find you with some spirit left.  I was afraid you would be

"I am," she returned, leading the way out of the door.  "But I shall be
alive after a little walk.  I don’t like being a ghost, but it’s much
more tolerable than one would suppose before trying it."

She was in no mood to make conversation, and walked by my side for a
while without speaking. But there was such an air of confidence in her
manner, such unspoken expression of comradeship in her attitude, that I
was content to follow her example and find satisfaction in the silent
communion and feel delight at the pressure of her hand upon my arm.  We
had walked a few blocks thus before she said, with an abruptness that
startled me:

"Tell me about to-day."

I had been thinking of far more agreeable things than business, but I
recovered myself from the momentary confusion into which I was thrown,
and replied:

"It was a very lively day indeed."  And, once started, I described, with
such entertaining details as I could recall, some of the incidents of
our struggle to keep the car of commerce on the track.

"I didn’t mean all that," she said at last.  "It’s very amusing, but I’m
not in the mood to be amused. Neither are you.  What I want to know
about is uncle’s business."

"Well, as for that," I replied, "we got through another day safely.  We
had one or two exceedingly tight pinches, but we wriggled out all right.
I guess the worst of it is over, and we shall pull through in good

She dropped my arm with an impatient gesture, and I felt a sudden
breaking of the current of silent communication that had drawn us

"Won’t you tell me just what happened at the office to-day, and just how
we stand?  Didn’t I tell you that I find nothing so terrible as
uncertainty? It is the unknown that scares me.  Let me see what is
before me, and I’ll have the courage to face it. Tell me the truth as
you would tell it to uncle if you were talking to him instead of to me."
Her tone was so pleading that my heart melted within me, and I was
shaken with the desire to take her in my arms and tell her that it would
be the business of my life to shield her from harm.  It was a minute
before I had a firm grasp on myself.  Then I laid the whole account of
Wharton Kendrick’s business before her, as fully as I knew it.

She heard me soberly, with only a question here and there to clear up
the points she did not understand.  Then she asked:

"The troubles aren’t over yet, are they?"


"And what shall you do to-morrow?"

"I wish I knew."

She reflected a little, and then said:

"You can’t perform miracles every day.  You could not get through
another day like to-day, could you?"

"Not without help from somewhere.  But I hope that the worst is over."

"Oh, you needn’t think I’ll blame you if everything goes to pieces.
You’ve done ten times as much as anybody had a right to expect.  But
there is a limit to the things that can be done, and I know it very

I tried to speak, but she continued quickly:

"Oh, I haven’t given up hope.  Not a bit of it. But I have to look
ahead.  That’s a part of me.  But I won’t talk about it if you don’t

At the thought of her anxieties my feelings over-mastered me and I said:

"I do like.  But I want you to look ahead to something else--to another
future than taking care of your uncle’s house."  My heart thumped in my
breast, and I felt a throb in my throat playing strange tricks with my
voice.  In the instant I thought of all that I had put at stake, and
wished I had not begun.  But with an effort of will I continued: "I want
you to think of another future.  I love you more than all the world, and
I want you to be my wife."

She walked silently by my side, neither increasing her distance nor
drawing nearer to me.  But she walked on and spoke no word, and I fell
into a panic over the boldness that had inspired me to my avowal. We had
proceeded thus for two or three blocks before I plucked up the courage
to ask:

"And what is the answer?"

She kept her head down, but replied with a trace of drollery in her

"It wasn’t a question.  And there isn’t any answer."

"I’ll make it a question then."

She looked quickly up into my face.

"It wouldn’t do any good if you did.  Anybody can ask questions, but it
takes a very wise person to answer them."

"But," I pleaded, looking into her eyes till she cast them down once
more, "it means everything to me, and--"

"I know all that you would say," she interrupted. "But how can I think
of such a thing when I have so much that must be done--so many
uncertainties to face?"

She laid her hand appealingly on my arm, and looked up into my face
again.  Then she continued:

"My uncle is perhaps dying.  I don’t have to tell you how all his
affairs are in confusion.  And you are the friend I have most to look to
for help and counsel.  You won’t take my chiefest reliance away from me,
will you?"

Her appealing look and tone were too much for me.  It was a very quiet
place on a very quiet street, and the dusk had fallen almost to
darkness; so I yielded to the impulse and stopped and kissed her. She
did not resist, but drew a quick breath that was almost a gasp, and
lowered her eyes.  Then she said quietly:

"There--all that is to be put away with the things that were.  And
you’re to think of all you have said as something that came in a dream.
And now we’ll wake up and look to the serious business of life.  It
isn’t such a very pleasant season of life is it?"

Her voice broke a little as she ended and my heart smote me.

"I hope," I said, "that I don’t have to tell you that you can depend on
me for every service that I have power to give."

She took my arm again with an air of confidence.

"You are always to be my good friend," she said. "And now we’ll go back.
It’s getting dark, and maybe the fresh air wasn’t what I wanted after
all. I’m a bit upset."

I felt somewhat upset myself.  I was certainly left hanging in a most
uncertain and unsatisfactory position; but I saw no way to better it,
and held my tongue, and wondered with a jealous pang if Baldwin had,
after all, won the prize I coveted.

We walked on in silence for a time, but at last she suddenly said:

"Oh, there was something I was near forgetting to tell you.  I’ve been
sitting by uncle, almost all day, and for the most of the time he has
lain there more like a log than a man.  But sometimes he has talked--not
to know what he was saying, you understand--but some ideas are bothering
his poor head.  I am supposing that they have to do with his business. A
dozen times in the day he spoke your name, and seemed to be trying to
tell you something.  He told it over and over, but the only words I
could make out were ’notes,’ ’million,’ and ’five hundred and sixteen.’
The figures seem to mean something to him, for he has repeated them
oftener than anything else."

She paused for comment, and I submitted my guesses:

"The notes are probably those that Peter Bolton presented to-day.  The
million is roughly the amount we are short in the business, counting the
deficit in the syndicate fund.  I can’t imagine what the ’five hundred
and sixteen’ can mean.  It is not the number of his office, for that is
in the four hundred block.  There doesn’t seem to be anything in the
business that it could signify."

Laura Kendrick halted me, and looked up in my face.

"I am not given to intuitions," she said, her tone thrilling with
earnestness, "but I have one now.  As sure as you stand there, uncle
made provision for paying the notes and raising the rest of the money
you have had to find, and the number ’five hundred and sixteen’ has
something to do with it.  Find the five hundred and sixteen and you’ll
find the million dollars."  And with a nod of conviction she walked
forward once more.

"It may be one of the banks," I ventured to suggest, "but I can’t
remember that any of them are at that number."

"Mightn’t it be the place of business of some friend, where he has left
this money?"

I shook my head at this improbable guess, and turned the problem over in
my mind without result. Then I ventured to propose that I should see
Wharton Kendrick.

"My presence might stir his thoughts to some more definite speech," I

"Well, I’ll let you in for just a minute.  But Doctor Roberts said that
nothing must be done to excite him, and I don’t know as it is right to
take the risk."

In a few minutes we were in the sick-room where Wharton Kendrick lay.
His large frame was motionless, except for his breathing.  His face was
flushed, and the lines of strength and power that it bore in health had
faded into expressionless weakness.

"He is like this for the greater part of the time," said Laura; "yet I
have the feeling that under it all he is conscious of what is going on
about him, and I do everything just as if I were sure that he could hear
and see."

It was beyond all bounds of probability, yet at the conceit a sudden
thought came into my mind.

"If you should be right, he must be horribly worried about his affairs.
I’ll just say a word to relieve his mind."  Then speaking slowly and
distinctly I gave a brief account of the course of the markets, dwelt on
the success of the syndicate in sustaining the business fabric, and
hinted at the need for more money on the morrow.

There was no physical response.  If there was an intelligent brain in
that inert body, it found no servant at its call among the flaccid
muscles, and not even the moving of an eyelid gave sign that I was
understood. Yet as I spoke, there came somewhere in my consciousness the
conviction that I was heard, and that my words had brought relief to an
overstrained mind.

Laura Kendrick looked quickly from the face of her uncle to mine, and a
sudden light sprang into her eyes.

"You felt it, too," she said.


"You have done good; but you mustn’t stay here any longer.  Don’t leave
the house, though, unless you have to.  I shall be afraid when you are

As she opened the door to banish me from the sick-room, a servant had
just raised his hand to tap at the panel.

"What is it?" she asked.

"A man to see Mr. Hampden.  I took him into the library."

                            *CHAPTER XXVII*

                            *A CALL TO ARMS*

I followed the servant and was surprised to find Clark uneasily seated
on the edge of a cushioned chair, nervously twisting his hat, and
looking as though he was afraid he was going to break something.

"I’m sorry to bother you here," he said awkwardly, "but things have come
to a head."

"What is it now?  Do you think that to-night’s meeting is going to make
more trouble than the other one did?"

"Well, no, sir.  The meeting don’t amount to much.  To tell you the
truth, sir, the meeting is only a blind.  Parks got out the notices, and
he’s going to make a speech.  But he’s the only one of the Council’s
people who will be there.  The others are down at headquarters getting
ready for the real work of the night."

"The real work?  What do you mean by that?"

"Well, the truth of the business is," said Clark, "that the rifle clubs
are to be called out to-night. Orders have gone out to all the Council’s
clubs to assemble at eleven.  At twelve they will be given their guns,
and then they will be sent out to seize the city.  One company is to
take possession of the City Hall; another will take the Committee of
Safety’s headquarters; and others the National Guard Armories, the Mint,
the Subtreasury, and so on."

"Are they crazy?  Why, the Committee of Safety has fifteen thousand men
enrolled by this time."

"Crazy?  Not a bit of it," protested Clark warmly. "The Committee of
Safety won’t have any leaders or any guns left by to-morrow.  Coleman,
and Mayor Bryant, and General McComb, and every man of the Committee of
Twenty-Four will be under lock and key before morning if something isn’t
done about it.  They all go home to sleep, and there isn’t a man of ’em
that’s thought of having a guard about his house.  They’ll all be taken
like rats in a trap.  Then where’s the Committee of Safety and the
militia?  They’ll be without leaders and without guns, and what’ll they
do?  They’ll scatter like sheep. The whole scheme has been worked out
like the plans for a building, and if the Council isn’t stopped before
twelve you’ll wake up to-morrow morning under a new government."

"Nonsense!" I said.  "They can’t do that."

"All right," said Clark, with a hurt and offended look, "they can’t,
then.  But it was my duty, sir, to warn you, and I’ve done it, so I’ll
be going."

"I beg your pardon, Clark," I said hastily.  "I didn’t mean to doubt
your word or hurt your feelings. You’ve done quite right in coming here,
and it’s my business to see that they don’t carry out their crazy
schemes.  Wait a minute, and I’ll walk along down with you."

I had a hurried word with Laura Kendrick, and explained to her the
importance of the information Clark had brought, and the necessity of
laying it promptly before the Committee of Safety.

She looked up at me with some apprehension in her eyes.

"Well, if you must, you must," she said.  "But don’t you get into any
mobs or into any fighting. Just remember that it’s the man who orders
somebody else to do his fighting that gets the glory out of it.  If
there’s any trouble, see that you’re one of the orderers instead of one
of the ordered."

I laughed at her anxious counsel, and promising to use all the caution
with which nature had endowed me, I joined Clark and left the house.

Directing Clark to attend the sand-lot meeting and to get word to
Andrews at once if the mob should head for the Kendrick house, I caught
a car and rode to the headquarters of the Committee of Safety.

Horticultural Hall resembled a beehive on swarming day.  Wealth and
poverty were represented side by side.  Merchants, workmen, lawyers,
doctors, laborers rubbed elbows, and their stern and serious faces
testified to the depth of feeling that had brought them out to the
defense of the city.  It was an outburst of the same spirit that had
given birth to the nation, and had again called forth vast armies to
preserve it when its existence was threatened by civil war.

At the end of the hall a number of desks had been arranged where
enrolment was still in progress. Behind the desks was a platform, and as
I approached it I saw William T. Coleman walk briskly to the speaker’s

"Three cheers for Coleman!" came the cry from a strong-lunged Vigilante,
and three cheers were given with a will.

The president of the Committee raised his hand to command silence.

"Fellow-citizens:" he cried in a full, resonant voice.  "You have come
here to fight--not to talk or cheer.  We find a mob spirit abroad, very
dangerous to the peace and order of the city.  It is your business to
put that spirit down.  For this purpose you are clothed with all the
powers of police officers. The mayor has issued his proclamation,
commanding disorderly persons to disperse, and it is our part to see
that this proclamation is obeyed.  You have behind you the armed force
of the State and Nation. But it should be a part of your pride as San
Franciscans that this force should not be needed for your protection.
The people have shown on former occasions that they were able to protect
themselves. Show now that your courage and self-reliance have not
degenerated in twenty years."

There was a warm response to this exhortation, and, at a sign from
Coleman, the adjutants began calling forward the companies, and
despatching them to their work.

"Captain Korbel!" called the commanding voice of the adjutant at the
desk nearest us.

"Here!" came the reply in a strong German accent, and a man with
energetic face stepped out from a company of twenty men.

"You will patrol Mission Street, from Sixth to Twelfth.  Keep the street
clear of all persons having no business there.  If they resist, put them
under arrest, and turn them over to the police at the Southern Station.
Get your arms from that pile."

"So ist righdt," said the captain, and giving a salute he marched his
company to the west side of the hall where a great number of
pick-handles that had been sawn in two, base-ball bats, and wagon
spokes, had been arranged in convenient stacks. Each man of the company
picked up a club, balanced it in his hand, and brought it down on the
head of an imaginary hoodlum with the solemnity of a prepared ritual.
Then at the word of command the company marched out while others were
receiving their orders from the desks of the adjutants.

I had observed this lively scene with but half an eye, shouldering my
way forward to meet William T. Coleman as he descended from the
platform.  He had talked for a little with some member of the Committee,
but as he came down the steps on his way to the side room that served as
a private office, I hailed him.  He looked up quickly, and his face
changed as he caught sight of me.

"Is Kendrick dead?" he asked anxiously.

"No.  He is still unconscious, but living."

"What is the trouble, then?" he asked, looking keenly into my eyes.
"You have bad news."

Then before I could reply, he said, "Come in here," and led me into the
private office.  "Now let’s hear about it," he said.

"The Council of Nine is ready to use its rifles," I replied.  And I gave
with rapid phrases the tale of the imminent revolution as it had come
from Clark.

William T. Coleman listened with a rapt attention that showed he took
the warning more seriously than I had taken it.

"Then we have till midnight," he said, after he had digested the

"My informant said that the rifle clubs are ordered to assemble at
eleven o’clock."

He looked out of the window into the darkness; then he turned to me

"It will never do to let those men come together with arms in their
hands.  That would mean bloodshed--terrible bloodshed.  I am using every
effort to prevent an appeal to arms.  I have refused to call for the
militia.  The National Guard is under arms, but I have a promise from
Bryant that he will not ask for it until I give the word.  I have
refused an offer of Federal troops from the Presidio.  I have a note
from the admiral that the marines and sailors at Mare Island have been
put under arms, and that the Pensacola is ready to take a position that
will command the city.  But I have refused to permit them to be
summoned.  I shall never summon them except as a last resort.  It is an
awful thing to have men shot down, and the memory of such an affair
would be a lasting stain on the city."

"It would be sad to have innocent men killed," I said; "but I shouldn’t
weep over the loss of some of those demons I saw raiding wash-houses and
trying to kill Wharton Kendrick.  The world would be better off without

"Do not judge them too hastily," said Coleman quickly.  "Civilization is
at best only skin-deep. Scratch the civilized man, and you find the wild
beast.  It takes a little deeper scratch to find it in some men than in
others; but it is there.  You and I think ourselves well-balanced,
Hampden, yet I have seen men of our nature turn into ferocious beasts.
I pray God I may never see the like again. These men you saw in the
shape of demons the other night may be good citizens in quiet times.
Thank God, young man, for government.  It is the blessing of organized
society--of organized government--that keeps the wild beast behind
bars."  He spoke with feeling, yet with the philosophic calm of the
lecturer on law, and he impressed me profoundly with his momentary
unveiling of a broad and tolerant mind.  Then he became the man of
affairs again.

"Do you know where to find the headquarters of the Council?" he asked.


"Do you know these men by sight?"

"I believe I can recognize eight of the nine."

"Well, then, I shall have to ask you to go down to the Council’s
headquarters at once, and arrest the leaders of the movement.  You will
have the honor of ending the uprising before it has begun."

                            *CHAPTER XXVIII*

                     *WITH THE PICK-HANDLE BRIGADE*

If I had stopped to consider how fully the safety of Wharton
Kendrick--to say nothing of his niece--depended upon me, I should
perhaps have found courage to decline the dangerous mission.  But
William T. Coleman’s commanding eye was upon me; and after a gulp to
moisten my dry throat, I replied with an attempt to put a cheerful
spirit into my voice:

"Very well; but I’d like to take a man or two along--merely as a
guaranty to the Council that I’m not joking."

Coleman smiled.

"Oh, I didn’t expect you to go alone.  Take as many men as you like.
Will twenty be enough?"

I thought so.

"Well, then, here are a dozen John Doe warrants. They will be your
authority for whatever you may find it necessary to do in arresting
these men.  Now come out here and pick your company."

He led the way to the main hall, glanced over the throng that still
pervaded it, and cried in a resonant voice:

"Volunteers wanted for dangerous service."

His discouraging form of statement did not dismay all of the company
before him.  At least fifty men stepped forward at the call.

"Take your pick," said Coleman with a wave of his hand.  "If they
haven’t revolvers, I will supply them.  You’d better take the clubs for
ordinary service."

I selected a score of men whose faces showed vigor and determination,
looked to their arms, directed them to the pile of pick-handles, and
when each man had satisfied himself of the virtue of his weapon by
knocking down an imaginary enemy, I led the way to the street.

"Where are we going?" asked one of the men with the easy familiarity of
the volunteer.

"Secret service," I replied.  "Don’t make any more noise than you have
to."  If we were to arrest the conspirators without bloodshed it was
necessary to take them by surprise, and we approached their
meeting-place with as much caution as I could contrive.

The House of Blazes blinked more furtively than ever on the darkness.
The outer door was but half opened, and the lights within burned but
dimly.  Yet a faint murmur that thrilled the air gave warning of many
voices in converse, and stray gleams of light from the shuttered windows
above bore ample witness to the fact that there was hidden activity in
the den of the revolutionists.

I posted a number of men in position to prevent escape through the
windows, and instructed the remainder to await my signal outside the
main entrance.  Then pushing open the swinging door, I entered the

The long room was almost deserted.  A man in an apparent stupor sat with
his head on a table in the dim light at the farther end of the place.
Another lay on a bench snoring in drowsy intoxication.  A short,
round-faced young fellow with a dirty white apron stood behind the bar,
and looked up with cheerful expectancy as I entered.

"Take me to the Council," I said peremptorily.  "I am just from Mr.

"The Council!" stammered the man.  "I don’t--I don’t know what you

At the sound of my voice, the fat pasty face of H. Blasius appeared
through the doorway at the right of the bar.

"Ah, Meestaire--Meestaire--friend of Park," he said, recognizing me and
coming forward.  "I salute a brozaire in arms."  And he would have
embraced me but for my nimbleness in avoiding his odious clutch.

"I have come for orders," I said.  "I must see the Council."

"Ah," he cried, "you have come to give your ar-rms to ze inauguration of
ze gr-rand r-revolution."  And he rolled out his "r’s" in a way to make
the revolution very grand indeed.

"I have brought more than my arms," I said.  "I have the first company
of our troops outside."

"_Mon Dieu_!" he cried, his pasty face growing paler, and his blinking
eyes opening wider in alarm. "_Mon Dieu_!  You have come mooch too soon.
Ze police will cast ze blow of an eye upon zem, ze alar-rm will sound,
and Zip! away goes ze chance of winning by surprise."

"That’s so," I exclaimed, with the accent of one overwhelmed at
conviction of a lack of judgment. "I will bring my men in and march them
up to the Council-room where they can lie hid till the hour comes."

"_Non! non!_" cried H. Blasius in alarm.  "No one can go to ze
Council-room.  Zere is no Council-room."  His old distrust had overcome
the alcoholic enthusiasm with which he had received me, and his eyes
blinked cunningly upon me.  Then he gave an apprehensive glance at the
door by which he had entered, and I was confirmed in the suspicion that
it led to the rooms of the conspirators.

"Well, if you won’t take me up, I must go by myself. My business must be
laid before the Council at once."  And I moved with determination toward
the suspected door.

H. Blasius placed himself in the way with arms outstretched.

"_Non--non!_" he cried.  "You can not _entrez_ wizout ze _mot
d’ordre_--ze password."

"Give it to me, then," I demanded.  "You are delaying the Council’s

He was overawed a little by my authoritative tone, but before he could
bring his tongue to answer me, the barkeeper accidentally dropped a
glass on the floor, and the men whom I had stationed at the door,
mistaking the crash for the sounds of conflict, rushed in to my rescue.

"The Vigilantes!" cried the barkeeper in dismay, at the sight of the
badges and the pick-handles.

"_Mon Dieu!_ we are betrayed!" cried H. Blasius, whirling around with a
step toward the door that led to the Council-room.

I divined his purpose.  He was bent on warning the conspirators.  With
one bound I had him by the collar, and with a fierce wrench dragged him
back and flung him against the bar, spluttering inarticulate protests.

The barkeeper had seized a revolver, but before he could raise it, he
was in the hands of my men.  He submitted without resistance and with
the cheerful spirit of one to whom the outcome is a matter of small

"Keep that man quiet," I said, with the hope that the noise of struggle
had not reached the Council-room. Then I gripped H. Blasius by his fat

"Give me the countersign!" I demanded.

He gave a scream of terror and dropped to his knees.

"Have pity--do not keel me.  _Mon Dieu_!  I am one good citizen.  I make
no plots wiz ze r-revolutionists."

"The countersign," I repeated grimly, tightening my grip on his throat,
while two of my assistants reinforced my argument by prodding him in the
sides with their sticks.

"Leeberty--leeberty or deat’,"--Mr. H. Blasius pronounced it
"debt"--"zat is ze countersign," he gasped through his constricted
windpipe.  And assured by his eyes that he was telling the truth, I
flung him into the arms of my men.

"Shut off his wind if he tries to give a warning," I said, and with a
word I picked a squad from my company and gave them brief instructions:

"Follow me up the stairs.  Don’t make a noise. And when I give the
signal push me through the door."

A dim illumination filtered through a ground-glass transom at the top of
the stairway, and the murmur of voices that floated down gave evidence
that a busy meeting was in progress.

I walked up the stairs with bold step, and my men crept cautiously after
me.  At the top was a landing, large enough to hold my squad, and I
signed to them to collect behind me.  Then I gave three resounding blows
on the door--a compelling summons that I had learned as a lawyer’s clerk
in serving papers on unwilling defendants.  There is some mystic virtue
in the slow triple knock that brings the most wary from their holes.  At
my rap there was a sudden hush of voices.  Then some one by the door

"Who is there?"

"A friend you are expecting."

"If you are a friend, give the countersign."

"Liberty or Death."

At this reply the door opened cautiously for a few inches, and a man
peeped through the crack.

"Now!" I cried.  And with the force of six men behind me I shot forward,
flung the door wide open, and sent its guardian sprawling backward, as I
was projected a dozen feet into the Council-room.  The room was large,
and around a large table in front of a pulpit-like platform sat twelve
or fifteen men.  The Council and its advisers were in session.

At my unceremonious entrance the conspirators gave a prompt exhibition
of their qualities.  Waldorf, Reddick and Seabert sprang to their feet,
and their hands went to their pockets with the evident purpose of
drawing their revolvers.  Others ran from side to side of the room,
wildly seeking some way of escape.  Two crawled under the table.  The
rest remained motionless in their chairs, looking with dull apprehension
at our sudden irruption.

There were more of the conspirators than I had reckoned on meeting.  But
we had the advantage of surprise, and signing to two of my men to hold
the door, I walked calmly forward with the others.

"Gentlemen," I said to the startled group, "you are under arrest."

"The devil we are!" cried Waldorf, snatching a revolver out of his
pocket and snapping it at me.

There was a deafening report, and a bullet clipped my ear, but before
Waldorf could raise the hammer a second time a rap from a pick-handle
laid him sprawling limply across the table.  Reddick’s weapon was
knocked from his hand with a blow that broke his wrist.  Seabert was
seized and thrown before he could get his revolver out of his pocket,
and a fiery little German in spectacles, who shot a hole in his coat in
an excited attempt to draw his weapon, fell limply to the floor and
squirmed like a shot rabbit at a skull-cracking stroke from a
Vigilante’s club.

It was after all but a tame affair.  For men who were planning to seize
a city and overturn a nation, there was an absurdly small supply of
fighting blood among them.  The sprawling figure of Waldorf, lying face
upward on the table with the blood trickling over his forehead, the
fiery German in a limp heap on the floor, and the sight of Reddick and
Seabert disabled, took all the fight out of the rest of the company.
They submitted without resistance to be searched, disarmed and bound.

"Where are the rifles?" I demanded, when these preliminaries had been

"Don’t know of any rifles," said Seabert sullenly. "Never had any."

The arrested company at once became unanimous on this point.  There were
never any rifles in their possession.  They became so insistent in the
denial that I jumped to the conclusion that the arms could not be far
away, and looked about for their hiding-place.  The ornamental work
behind the platform and about the hall gave opportunity for concealed
doorways and false partitions, but when they were sounded none could be

"There’s room for them under that platform," I said at last; and by the
falling countenances of the conspirators I saw that I had hit upon the

The flooring was ripped off the platform, and we uncovered something
more than four hundred rifles with a well-filled cartridge-belt strapped
to each. Encouraged by this success we ransacked the place to discover
the rest of the Council’s armament, but had at last to give it up with
the conclusion that the remainder of the thousand guns had already been
distributed to the clubs.

A messenger sent in haste to the headquarters of the Committee of Safety
brought a train of express-wagons with orders to hurry the arms and
ammunition to Horticultural Hall, and send the prisoners to the City
Prison and Receiving Hospital.  And stationing a guard to receive any of
the revolutionary spirits who might come seeking the Council’s
instructions, I set off for the headquarters of the Committee of Safety.
The House of Blazes, as I took my last look at it, seemed smothered in
an atmosphere of angry discomfiture, as it scowled at us from its
blinking windows, fit tomb of the evil purposes it had harbored.

                             *CHAPTER XXIX*

                           *A TONGUE OF FIRE*

We had reached Union Square on our return to the Committee’s
headquarters, when the night air burst into a clangor of alarm.  There
was a sudden chorus of shrieking whistles, a distant tintinnabulation of
gongs, and the great bell in the fire house on Brenham Place thrilled
the air with its tolling vibrations.

"Box fifty-nine!" cried one of the men who had counted the strokes.
"Where’s that?"

"It’s the Mail docks, I’ll bet!" cried another. "They’ve been
threatening to burn ’em."

I turned to look, and the guess was confirmed.  A glare of red had
flamed up in the southeastern sky, and the fire was already under good

"It’s the third alarm," said a sentinel who stood by the corner.  "The
Committee’s been sending men down there already."

The sharp cry of commanding voices echoed from Horticultural Hall, men
were climbing into express-wagons and hurrying off on the gallop, and
our way was blocked for a minute by a company that marched rapidly out
of the building, quickened its pace to a run, and sped down Post Street.
Instead of clubs they carried rifles, and I surmised that the armament
of the Council of Nine was being turned against the Council’s purposes.

Within the hall all was excitement; cries of command rose sharply as
companies were assembled by zealous officers, and squads were marching
out as rapidly as they could be armed.

William T. Coleman met me by the door of the office.

"Well, it seems to have begun at last," he said. "The Mail docks have
been set afire, and the report comes that the Chinamen down there are
being killed by a big mob."

"There was talk of burning the _City of Tokio_ with the thousand coolies
it has brought," I said, with a shudder at the thought of the
barbarities that were perhaps being enacted on the threatened dock.

"The _Tokio_ isn’t in yet," said Coleman.  "The report of her arrival
was a mistake."

"I don’t believe there’s any real fight in the mob," I said.  "We have
just cut the head off the beast."

Coleman grasped my hand.

"I’m obliged to you for the work you have done," he said.  "The guns you
sent in will be put to good use.  And now would you mind taking a
company down to the docks?"

"Not at all," I returned unhesitatingly, resolved to live up to the
figure I had assumed in his eyes.

"You have something of an interest down there," he added.  "Kendrick’s
lumber-yards are right near the docks, and you may want to do something
to protect them."  Then turning to the despatching officer, he said:
"Put Brixton’s company under command of Captain Hampden.  Brixton won’t
be back to-night."

"I should like," I said, "to add to it the men I have brought back from
the House of Blazes.  In affairs of this sort it’s some advantage to be
acquainted with your men, and we’ve rubbed shoulders to-night in a way
that is better than an introduction."

Coleman looked at the dozen men who lined up at my call, and gave a nod
of assent.

"Enroll Captain Hampden’s volunteers with the company," he said.  "That
will give him about sixty men.  Now get down to the docks on the double
quick.  Remember that the first thing to be looked out for is the
fire-hose.  In times like this it carries the life-blood of the city.
If any one tries to cut it, shoot him."  And with this curt direction he
waved us forward.

The rosy glow that illumined the southeastern sky had spread and
deepened since we entered the hall.  The ruddy light rose and fell in
sudden tides, as the eddying-clouds of smoke reflected or obscured the
fierce flames that leaped below them.

The sound of the fire-bell and the reddened sky had been a signal to
other ears and eyes than those of the Vigilantes.  Market Street was a
hurrying stream of men and women and children, carried along by a common
impulse, like wreckage on flood waters.  Bands of young hoodlums rushed
down the street with blackguardly cries, rudely jostling those who
neglected to make way for them.  A sibilant clamor of excited voices
filled the air,--hoarse shouts of men, yells from the hoodlums and
shrill chatter from the women and children, roused by the thrill of

At the corner of Beale and Harrison Streets we were halted by a densely
packed mass of people striving vainly to press forward to a point from
which they could get a closer view of the conflagration, now but a block
away.  The roar of flames could be heard above the volume of rattling
sound that came from the massed confusion of firemen, rioters,
Vigilantes and spectators.  A ruddy glare illumined the great throng.
Waves of heat reached us even at this distance, and farther down the
street we could see men protecting their faces from the burning
effulgence by holding their arms before their eyes. The great furnace
sent up swift peaks of flame that fell as suddenly as they rose, and
gave place to rolling clouds of smoke that turned the blaze to a dull
red glow.

Before I could give the order to charge a passage through the crowd, a
fire-engine dashed up with the clatter of galloping horses, the wild
shouts of the firemen, the ringing of gongs and the cries of the
frightened spectators.  The throng pressed aside, and by some magic of
contraction made a lane for the swift horses as they drew the engine up
to the hydrant.  At this moment the engine across Harrison Street, that
had been whirring away with convulsive energy, gave vent to a splutter
of steam, slowed down, and came to a stop.  A fireman came running over
to the newly arrived engine from its fellow across the street,
scattering in his train an eruption of oaths that gave a verbal effect
that was comparable to the shower of sparks from his engine.

"Look out for your hose!" he shouted wrathfully. "They’ve just cut ours

"Where’s the police?" cried the captain of the new engine, as he gave
orders to couple the hose to the hydrant.

"There’s one policeman to the block, an’ if he ain’t dead he ought to
be," returned the wrathful engineer.  "They was talking about what the
Vigilantes was a-goin’ to do, but I ain’t seen none of ’em.  I reckon
they’s a-holdin’ a promenade concert up to Horticultural Hall, and ain’t
got time to come down here.  If you want your hoodlums knocked out,
you’ll have to do it yourself."  And running back to his engine he
suited action to word by seizing a stick and clearing a space about it
with fierce flourishes and fiercer words.

"Here are your Vigilantes," I shouted.  "Now lay your lines of hose side
by side, and I’ll see that there’s no more cutting."

"Well, clear the track for us then!" cried the captain with a volley of
excited oaths.  "Can’t you see that my men are blocked there?"

I stationed half my company by the engines, formed the other half into a
wedge, and rushed them down the hill.  They plowed a wide lane through
the massed throng, and the firemen ran behind them hauling the lines of
hose, and howling orders and encouragement at every step.  Along the
path I dropped out man after man, with instructions to keep the crowd
back, and shoot the first person who attempted to touch the hose.  When
I was satisfied that the lines were secure, I followed the advance guard
down the slope to the corner of Beale and Bryant Streets.

Here I could for the first time see the full extent of the

A bold bluff nearly one hundred feet high at First and Bryant Streets
diminishes gradually till it permits Beale Street to descend by a
moderate grade to the level of the wharves.  Between the face of this
bluff and the docks lay a medley of warehouses, coal-bunkers and
lumber-yards, all now involved in a conflagration that turned the
amphitheater between the bluff and the bay into a furnace filled with
tossing, leaping flames of weird diversity of color.  The warehouses
were filled with sea stores and the spoil of commerce from many lands;
one was stocked with barrels of whale-oil and other products of the
Arctic trade; and over them all flickered red, green, orange and yellow
flames, in endless confusion.  The coal-bunkers gave off great clouds of
smoke, while the fiercest flames shot up from the oil warehouses and the
blazing lumber-piles.  Now and then a dull explosion, followed by a
temporary dimming of the light at the eastern end of the furnace,
pointed out the location of the oil; then a black cloud would roll up
and drift away, and in a moment red and smoky flames would leap three
hundred feet in air with a vicious eagerness that made them seem almost
a sentient agent of destruction.

The wharves appeared to be yet untouched by the fire, but they were
visibly in imminent danger, and, above the roar of the flames, the
shouts of the firemen and the clamor of the crowd, we could plainly hear
the cries of the sailors as they strove to move their vessels from the
perilous neighborhood.

At the foot of the hill the heat was blistering. Planks a hundred feet
from the blaze were smoking; the light was blinding, and even the
boldest of the spectators had retired half-way up the hill.  Yet two
engines had been pushed forward almost to the border of the
flame-covered area; and the firemen, attacking the conflagration with
reckless energy, could be seen dragging their hose over planks that
still glowed with half-extinguished embers.

At the entrance to this inferno my eye was caught by a reminder of
difficulties that stirred my heart to a leap of apprehension.  A long
sign-board that had been set across the gate to the lumber-yards, now
twisted and ready to fall from the half-burned uprights that supported
it, bore across its face the words, "The Kendrick Lumber and Milling
Co."  Another of Wharton Kendrick’s activities was destroyed, and
hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his property was now
represented by a few acres of roaring flames.  For a minute I was struck
motionless with the fear that this loss might prove the final blow, and
bring down in one avalanche the accumulated difficulties that I had
evaded or postponed.

Then I was roused to attention by the words:

"Here is the man who can tell you all about it; he’s the one that turned
in the alarm."

The speaker wore the badge of an assistant chief of the fire department,
and he was addressing two young men who held pencil and paper in their
hands and looked eagerly at a roughly dressed man who seemed to be dazed
at the destruction that was going on about him.

"Yes, I’m the man," he said slowly.  "I’m a watchman.  I was over there
on the wharf--the Beale Street wharf.  A while ago--it was a long time

"Never mind the long while ago--tell us about to-night," interrupted one
of the young men impatiently.

"That’s what I was telling you about," said the man in an injured tone.
"It was a long while ago--to-night.  I looked over here just the other
side of that oil warehouse--there’s only one wall left to it now--an’ I
saw a fellow strike a match.  I thought he was goin’ to light his pipe,
but he took a box from under his arm an’ stuck the match in it.  The box
flared up as though it was full o’ shavings, an’ then he stuck it under
a lumber-pile.  I hollered at him, an’ he ran.  Then the fire started
up, an’ I got to the fire-box an’ turned in the alarm.  Then there was
hell to pay."  The man made this announcement in a dull, matter-of-fact
way that gave a touch of comedy-in-tragedy to his words.

"What sort of looking man was he?" I asked.

"Oh, he was an oldish man--an old man--tall, an’ sort of stooped."

"Stout or thin?"

"Thin, I guess--he was too far away for me to say for sure, an’ bein’ as
I was kind of flustered by the fire, too."

At his words an illuminating light came to my mind.  The fire was not
directed at the Pacific Mail docks.  It was set to destroy the yards of
the Kendrick Lumber and Milling Company, and it had succeeded.  It was
the crowning stroke of Peter Bolton’s assault on Wharton Kendrick’s

I wondered whether Peter Bolton had himself set the match to the
lumber-pile.  The description by the watchman fitted him, and he did not
lack the will for the deed.  But it was so foreign to his cautious
temper to take the risks of committing such a crime with his own hand
that I hesitated to believe.  Yet when he had once resolved upon such a
step, it might well have seemed safer to him to perform the act himself,
than to confide it to an accomplice who might betray him.

I was turning over this problem in my mind, and watching with
unconscious eyes the bold and resolute efforts of the firemen to fight
back the flames, when I was roused by a flight of stones.  Two of them
struck the nearest engine; one knocked the hat off a man of my company;
and a fireman was struck down, only to jump to his feet in a moment with
a torrent of oaths.  The fire chief roared a profane but vigorous
condemnation of the assault, and devoted its authors to an even warmer
place than the furnace that blazed before us.

"That’s the fifth time we’ve got it," said the engineer, backing up his
chief with a contribution of blistering words.

I looked about for the assailants.

"It’s those fellows up there on top of the bluff," said the fire chief.
"They’ve been pelting the firemen and the police for half an hour.  They
can’t reach this end of the line very well, but they’ve made it hot for
our men up near First Street.  I hear they’ve killed some of the
Vigilantes up there.  The Vigilantes tried to rush ’em, but it’s up a
hundred foot of narrow stair, and they had to give it up.  I wish the
whole gang up there was pitched into the middle of the fire."

I looked up at the bluff, and saw a black mass lining its upper edge.
Two or three hundred men and boys were clustered along its front,
yelling and throwing stones.  It was evident that their position could
not be taken from the front.  In no place was there less than fifty feet
of sheer ascent.  But I recalled that the bluff was open to attack from
the rear by the way of First Street.

"I’ll settle those fellows," I said.

"I’ll see that you get the department medal, if you do," returned the
fire chief.  "But you can’t get up there without wings."

After stationing guards along the line of hose, I still had twenty-five
men who could be spared for other service.  Most of them were still
standing by the engines at the top of the Beale Street hill.  So I made
my way back to the corner, and with a few words explained the purpose of
the expedition we were about to undertake.  They had heard the report
that a number of the Vigilantes had been killed by the hoodlums, and
burning with indignation they welcomed the chance to inflict vengeance
on the rioters.

"Keep together," I cautioned them, as we pushed our way through the mob
of sightseers and mischief-makers up Harrison Street to First.  Evil
faces in the crowd gave us savage glances of dislike.  But the white
band on the arm that marked the members of the Safety Committee, the
warning word of "Here come the Vigilantes," and the display of
pick-handles, served to discourage the thought of molesting us.  There
was mass enough among the rough element in that crowd to swallow us ten
times over, but they knew that we represented the force of law and
government, and the rage for mischief fell to a muttering of threats as
we passed.

When we had forced our way through the mass of sightseers to a distance
of fifty yards from the edge of the bluff, there was a sudden shot,
followed by an answering rattle that sounded like the firing of a pack
of giant fire-crackers.  Screams of women and shouts of men reinforced
the noise of the guns, and we were borne backward in a terrified rush of
the crowd.  The infection of panic was hard to resist, but I succeeded
in giving a steadying word to my men, and they breasted the current till
the ground cleared before us.  Then I saw that my manoeuver had been
anticipated.  A company of the Vigilantes had made a flank attack on the
hoodlum position from the west by way of Bryant Street.  We ran forward
to reinforce the company, and I offered our services to its captain.

"They fired on us," he said, "and we’ve cleaned ’em out, I guess.
Here’s one fellow shot, anyhow. They’ve been throwing rocks down on the
firemen below, and knocked out half a dozen of them--killed two of ’em,
I heard.  The cowardly brutes! Hunt ’em out, boys!  There’s some of ’em
left in those yards along the bluff."

I made a dash along the edge of the bluff, and was rewarded by flushing
a half-dozen hoodlums who rose from behind an outhouse, like quail from
a clump of bushes, and hastily scrambled over a fence. I called to them
to halt or we would shoot, and was over the fence after them in an
instant.  Most of my men were too old for fast work of this sort, but a
glance behind me showed that half a dozen had followed me.

The hoodlums had led the way to a cul-de-sac of buildings, and were
cursing as they scattered here and there in the effort to find a way
out.  The form and voice of their leader, and his running stride stirred
faintly the chords of memory.  I tried vainly to recall where I had seen
him before, and the elusive recollection multiplied my desire to capture
him.  In this resolve chance favored me.  A stumble sent him to the
ground, and before he could rise I was on top of him, and held a
revolver against his head.

"Damn you!" he cried, puffing hoarsely in the effort to regain his

"Take it quietly," I advised him, "or you’ll lose what little brains you

"Damn you!" he repeated.  "Let me up, or I’ll kill you."

This time his tone and words stirred memory to definiteness.  I had in
my hands the fellow whose knife-thrust had been near ending my career,
and whose gift of an overcoat had led me to Big Sam. and the train of
events which followed upon my visit to the King of Chinatown.  Here,
then, was an agent of Bolton, and perhaps of Big Sam as well, leading
one of the hoodlum gangs in its career of riot and arson.  And I felt,
as I gripped his throat, that I had within my hand the proof of Bolton’s
criminal conspiracy.  If this man could be got to talk, the jail would
close on Peter Bolton in the hour of his triumph; and the furnace that
roared and glowed below us would bring ruin to his plans as swiftly as
it had consumed the property of his enemy.

                             *CHAPTER XXX*

                         *THE END OF THE FEUD*

At last the night of alarms was over, and the forces of law and order
held San Francisco firmly in their grasp.  The police and the Vigilantes
were fagged out but triumphant.  And though the warehouses and
lumber-yards in the amphitheater before the Mail docks were but a
smoking mass of ashes and charcoal, the dangers of the conflagration
were over.  The exhausted firemen were withdrawn to fling themselves
down to rest, and only a few hosemen were left to guard the smoldering

The great conspiracy of the Council of Nine had come to nothing.  Parks
was the only leader out of jail, and, in the absence of its active
heads, the revolution had deliquesced into a series of scattered and
objectless riots.  The Committee of Safety had proved strong enough to
handle the emergency, and the militia companies, held all night in their
armories without a call for their services, were dismissed with the

The first gray of the morning was lightening the eastern sky as I
disbanded my company.  I had landed my captive in the City Prison,
stubbornly uncommunicative, and jauntily confident that he was to be
protected from harm.  And when at last I had made my report at the
Vigilante headquarters, I was driven to Wharton Kendrick’s home,
consumed with anxiety lest some of the wandering bands of rioters, or
another gang of bravoes sent by the highbinders, had been inspired to
attack it.  Peter Bolton had succeeded in one of his schemes of
vengeance, and I trembled lest in the wreck of his conspiracy against
the peace of the city he had struck another blow at the person of his

As we turned the corner into Van Ness Avenue my mind was relieved of one
anxiety.  The Kendrick house still stood untouched by fire, and the gray
dawn showed no sign of further attack.

Andrews received me with composure.

"Oh, yes," he replied to my eager questions, "there was some of them
hoodlums come along here--gangs of ten or twenty at a time--and they
yelled a good deal.  But when we showed our teeth they went by on the
other side.  There was some shooting a block or two away, but they
didn’t even throw a rock around here."

At this soothing report I flung myself down in the men’s quarters for a
hurried sleep, dog-tired, but gratified to feel a reviving spring of
courage. It seemed but a moment later that I saw Laura Kendrick
threatened by the largest dragon I have ever met--in Dreamland or out.
The uncanny monster had the face of Peter Bolton, marvelously magnified
to fit a hundred-foot body, and he opened his mouth in sardonic laughter
as he moved forward to crush the slight figure that stood in his path.
At this sight I was oppressed by a modest but terrified conviction that
I would cut but a poor figure in a contest with a dragon.  But spurred
by fear for the life of the most important girl in the world I ran
forward shouting out such threats as I could summon, in the hope of
communicating some of my own terrors to the monster, when on a sudden
his boiler blew up, and he was scattered into nothingness. The shock of
the explosion waked me, and I started up to find Andrews at my side.

"I didn’t mean to knock the chair over, sir," he said apologetically,
"but you told me to call you at seven.  And Miss Kendrick says you are
to go upstairs to breakfast, as soon as you’re ready."

I collected my faculties sufficiently to make myself presentable, and
was received at the door by Laura herself.

"I’m afraid," she said, as she ushered me into the breakfast-room, "that
it doesn’t agree with you to stay up all night.  I don’t believe you’ve
had a wink of sleep, but I’ve made some coffee that’s warranted to bring
you wide awake before you can shut your eyes."

"If that’s the way I look, my personal appearance is a libel on a
peaceful citizen.  I have slept for close on three hours, and have
dreamed of acres of fires, and enough fighting to fill a book."

"Ugh!" exclaimed Miss Laura.  "I don’t see why men so like to fight.  Do
you take two lumps in your coffee or three?"

"The explanation is very simple," I returned. "They don’t like to fight.
One lump, please."

"Then what do they do it for?" she asked.  "You had better take more
than one chop; they’re pretty small, and you’ve got a big day’s work
ahead--and behind."

"Why," I argued, "they fight for power, or reputation, or money, or a
pair of brown eyes--or blue, as the case may be--for fear somebody will
think them afraid--for anger--for almost any reason but enjoyment.  I
saw ten thousand men in a scrimmage last night, and there were not
twenty of them there because they enjoyed the fight.  At any rate, I can
assure you that the man in the crowd I have the best right to speak for
wished himself anywhere but in the front rank of battle."

"Humph!" sniffed Miss Laura incredulously.  "I know very well that you
couldn’t have been hired to keep out of it.  You haven’t been doing much
else but fighting since I got to know you."

"It wasn’t from choice," I pleaded.

"Just tell me what happened, and how," she said. "I was scared blue last
night with fire-bells and hooting whistles, and men shouting in the
streets; and when I peeked out I saw a glare down town as though half
the city was going up in smoke."

Laura listened with a grave face as I gave a succinct account of the
night’s adventures.

"And do you really believe that Mr. Bolton set fire to uncle’s
lumber-yards?" she asked.

"In person or by proxy," I replied.

"Well, there doesn’t seem to be any end to his wickedness," she said.
"I suppose he’s prepared to finish us to-day."

"I don’t think we can count on repentance--not from him.  We shall have
to find something a great deal safer than that to pull us through.  Has
your uncle dropped any more hints about that million dollars?"

"He talked of it more than ever, last night.  He went over the word
’million’ hundreds of times. Then he would call your name and say
’five-sixteen’ as though he was trying to make you understand the
meaning of the figures."

It was an incomprehensible mystery, and we had to leave it so.

"Do you know what you are going to do, then?" she asked.

"Sell all the unpledged stock in the house, see what Partridge and
Coleman can do for us, and try to stand up the banks for the balance."

Laura Kendrick shook her head, with a business-like expression on her

"I wish I could think of something better than that," she said with an
attempt at cheeriness.  "We shall never get through the day at that
rate.  But I suppose it’s the best that’s left us."

The door opened, and Mercy Fillmore appeared. The sudden intrusion of a
third person brought to my consciousness a realization of the
fascinating breakfast I had been conceded.  But if I was so ungallant as
to feel disappointment at her interrupting presence, it melted away
under the soothing influence that surrounded her.

"What a night we have had!" she said, with an anxious note in the gentle
harmonies of her voice. "We were worse frightened at the fire-bells and
the shouting of men in the distance than at the drunken hoodlums who
passed by the house.  Was there much fighting?"

"Enough--but nothing to be frightened about."

"If there was violence," said Mercy, with a trace of anxiety in her
tone, "I am afraid that Mr. Parks was among the misguided men.  Did you
see anything of him?"

"No," I replied.  "He escaped arrest when the Council of Nine was
gathered in, for he was making a speech on the sand-lot.  I inquired for
him at the City Prison and the Receiving Hospital, but he wasn’t there,
so I’m sure he must have escaped."

Mercy breathed a sigh of relief.

"Well, Mercy," said Laura Kendrick, "if you expect men to have any sense
about such things, you are going to be disappointed.  They are fighting
animals--at any rate some of them are--and the best we can do is to have
a good supply of lint and arnica on hand, and read books on the best way
of treating wounds and bruises."

But a few minutes later she had forgotten this sentiment of resignation,
for when I set out for the office to prepare for the onslaught that must
come with the opening of the business hours, her parting injunction was
to "Leave the business of the police to the police, and don’t let the
Kendrick family go to ruin by getting yourself knocked on the head in
some harum-scarum expedition."

I found Brown already at work, and his haggard face showed that he
shared in the keen anxieties of the day.

"This is a bad business, Mr. Hampden, a bad business," he sighed.  "Four
hundred thousand dollars’ worth of lumber went up in that fire last

"Didn’t we have any insurance on it?"

"Why, yes--we had one hundred and fifty thousand on it.  But we had
borrowed that much on the stock, and the bank holds the policy.  I was
hoping to get some more money on the lumber to-day, but that chance has
gone."  Brown shook his head and sighed as though his courage had fallen
to a low ebb, and added: "I’m afraid every creditor we have will be down
on us now."

"How much shall we have to meet?" I asked.

"I wish I could tell," he groaned.  "Mr. Kendrick has been so careless
about giving out his notes without having them entered on the books that
I can’t say.  I think there are about two hundred thousand of unsecured
notes out, but there may be a million, for all I know."

"How much money have we in hand?"

"It’s not much.  Not over twenty thousand."

"How much can we get if we drop that confounded load of stock we are

"Oh, if we could unload it without breaking the price it would stand us
something like two or three hundred thousand dollars, after paying off
all loans on it.  But it’s a ticklish market--a ticklish market. If we
start to throw the stock out, there will be a slump that will wipe out
our margins and leave us on the wrong side of the ledger."

"I’ll see what can be done about it.  Perhaps Partridge can get the
stock taken into stronger hands. Can you think of anything else that we
can turn into money?"

"There’s just one thing I have remembered since yesterday.  The Oriental
Bank let us have a hundred thousand on those Humboldt lumber lands a
while ago.  The lands ought to be good for as much more if the Oriental
is lending at all."

"That sounds as though there might be something in it.  I’ll see the
Oriental Bank people at once--Partridge, too.  If we can get a hundred
thousand from the bank, and get our margins out of those stocks, we
shall have, a fair chance of weathering the storm."  As I turned to go,
I bethought me to say, "Don’t pay out a dollar that you can possibly
hold on to."

Brown gave his head a deprecating shake.

"That won’t do, Mr. Hampden.  You see, we’re tied up to our open-handed
way of doing business. Now, if we were acting for Peter Bolton, it would
be different.  When he tells a man to call again for his money, nobody
thinks anything about it.  They just say he’s a skinflint, who could pay
and won’t. But you know how Wharton Kendrick has run his business.
Whenever a man wants his money, he gets it as fast as it can be counted
out.  There’s the trouble now.  If we go to asking for time, or putting
them off, why everybody will say: ’Aha!  Kendrick is in difficulties; I
always thought he would go under.’  And every account that stands
against us would be in before noon."

I had to admit that he was right, and sallied forth to the Oriental
Bank.  The president received me genially, when I announced myself as
the ambassador of Wharton Kendrick, and threw up his hands in
good-humored refusal when I told what I wanted.

"You couldn’t get a cent on that property to-day, if the trees were made
out of gold, Mr. Hampden," he said.  "Property outside the city is worth
nothing to us.  To be frank with you, we should feel easier if we had
the money out of the last loan we made you people.  I’ll make you a
first-class offer: Pay the principal, and I’ll strike off the interest."

Partridge was hardly more encouraging than the president of the Oriental
Bank.  He promised to bestir himself to find some one to take the stock,
but confessed that he was unable to suggest a buyer. And I was forced to
turn toward the office once more with a feeling akin to desperation.

The atmosphere about the business district was not of a quality to
reassure the despondent. Although the banks and exchanges had not yet
opened for business, I could hear everywhere the buzz of apprehension.
Frightened traders hurried along the streets with eyes eloquent of their
fears; anxious holders of stocks gathered in groups about Pine and
Montgomery Streets, with pale and troubled faces, as they began their
curbstone trading; and there were signs of storm indicating that we
should have a worse day before us than any that we had weathered.

As I reached the Merchants’ Exchange, I came upon William T. Coleman,
and he greeted me with an air that warmed my spirit.

"That was a good piece of work you did last night, Hampden," he said.
And I blushed under the commendation as proudly as though I were a
soldier of the Grand Army called out to receive the ribbon of the Legion
of Honor from the hands of the Great Napoleon.

"We suppressed the riots last night," I replied, "but the people don’t
seem to know it.  I see more anxiety among the business men this morning
than at any time yet."

"It’s absurd," said Coleman abruptly.  "I can’t understand why they
should take that tone.  The danger is over.  We have the situation
perfectly in hand.  Men are signing the rolls by the hundred now.  We
shall have the city so thoroughly guarded to-night that not even a rat
can come out of the sewers.  It’s nonsense to talk of panic conditions,
as some of these fellows are doing.  By the way, how are Kendrick’s
affairs?  He had a bad loss last night."

I did not hesitate to describe the difficulties of the position.

"I’ll see if something can’t be done for you," he said.  "If I had a
little more time I could arrange it, I am sure, but I have my hands
pretty full now.  As it is, I can’t be of much help to you till
to-morrow."  And he passed on.

There was a stimulating influence in his tones, and, though I had little
confidence in his power to arrange for aid, his words sent me back to
the office in better spirits.  I had need of all my courage, for Brown
met me with word that the money was going out rapidly, and that without
a turn in the tide we should not last beyond noon.

"God bless you, Hampden!" cried a familiar voice as I entered the
waiting-room.  "I was wondering whether some of your long-haired
Bedlamites hadn’t got you and hanged you to your own lamp-post."  And
the fiery face of General Wilson beamed at me with lively interest as he
hastened forward to grasp my hand.  "How’s Kendrick coming on?  I see by
the papers that you’ve been having the devil of a time here."

I admitted the plutonic nature of the city’s recent activities, as I led
General Wilson into the private office.

"I’ve been in Stockton," said General Wilson with explosive energy.  "To
tell the truth, I went up to file that contract for the sale of the tule
land. I didn’t know how Kendrick’s affairs were going to turn out, so I
didn’t lose any time getting it on record.  I’ve never been caught
napping yet, and it wouldn’t do to begin at this late day.  Now, how are
things going?  Will Kendrick pull through, or is he up against the

My heart misgave me at having Wharton Kendrick’s business on the tongue
of this loquacious boaster, and I was of a mind to deliver to him the
same cheery lie that I had poured into the ears of a dozen inquisitive
acquaintances.  But I remembered the substantial proof of friendly
interest that he had already shown, and thought it better that I should
once more be frank with him.

General Wilson shook his head with sympathetic concern when I had
finished my tale.

"That has a bad look," he said.  "You can’t get through, unless you get
help.  Now if it was only fifty thousand, why, I would strain my
authority so far as to let you have it--or, by Jove, I’d advance it out
of my own pocket, to help Wharton.  But the chances are that you’ll want
ten times that amount, so I can’t risk it.  You can count on my
services, though, if you have to call a meeting of the creditors.  I’m
famous for managing such affairs, and in Chicago they have a joke about
Wilson’s Elixir Vitæ for Broken-down Corporations.  If the business
stops, I can put it on its feet, if anybody can. Why, I’ve managed
twenty big failures if I’ve managed one, and I brought ’em all through
with flying colors.  It wasn’t three years ago that I was called in to
help Seymour, Peters and Blair.  They had failed for four million, and
their affairs were in the devil of a tangle.  I wouldn’t have touched
the thing for money, but I couldn’t resist the pleading of my old friend
Seymour.  He came to me crying like a baby, and was ready to blow his
brains out if I failed him.  So I took hold, worked like a beaver for
three weeks--night and day--got the creditors to scale their claims and
take six-, nine- and twelve-months’ notes, and had the concern going
smoothly inside of thirty days.  To-day you’ll find Seymour, Peters and
Blair one of the soundest firms in Chicago. Why, I’ve reorganized three
railroads, and--"

General Wilson’s flow of reminiscence was interrupted by the sudden
entry of Brown.  I saw by his distressed face as he beckoned me that a
crisis had arrived.

"What is it?" I asked.  "You can speak before General Wilson.  He is our
counsel now."

"The El Dorado Bank has just presented notes for a hundred and fifty
thousand," he gasped.

The El Dorado Bank!  I had no need of second sight to tell me from whose
hand the blow had come. Peter Bolton had brought together another packet
of Wharton Kendrick’s paper, and had put it through the bank for
collection.  My heart sank, and my face must have grown as long and
white as Brown’s.  Was the game up at last?  Had the struggle ended in

"I’m afraid you’re going to need my services," said General Wilson with
a shake of his head. "Send out a hurry call to Kendrick’s friends, and
if they don’t come to time, I’ll see you through a meeting of the
creditors."  General Wilson spoke with professional cheerfulness, as
though he would convince me that a meeting of the creditors was one of
the pleasurable experiences of life.

As he spoke, the door opened, and I was startled to see Laura Kendrick
enter.  Her face was flushed, and excitement sparkled in her eyes.  She
paused irresolute, as she saw the two men with me, and I jumped to my
feet and hastened to meet her.

"Am I too late?" she gasped.

"Too late?" I echoed in wonder.

"For the money--uncle’s money, you know!" she cried impatiently, as she
saw no sign of comprehension on my face.

"Why, I guess we can let you have whatever you need," I said.  "It had
better go to you than to the creditors’ attorneys."

"No--no!" she cried, grasping my arm and looking up in my face, "I don’t
mean that.  I mean the money that uncle put away.  It’s in the safe
deposit vaults."

"The safe deposit vaults!" I cried, grasping her meaning at last.  "Why
didn’t I think of that?"

"I ran as soon as I heard the words," she said. "Am I in time?"

"To the minute," I said.  And at the words she sank into a chair with
the reaction from the stress of anxiety.

Brown knew nothing of any safe deposit vault, so with a hasty word of
explanation to General Wilson, I seized my hat, and said to Laura:

"You had better come over with me."

"I suppose I’d best go," she said.  "It’s a feeling I have, and as I
don’t have such inspirations very often I’d better obey this one."

"How did you find out about the money?" I asked as we descended the

"Why, uncle got dreadfully uneasy this morning, and I couldn’t quiet
him.  He went over and over his words--’million,’ and ’notes,’ and
’five-sixteen’--and sometimes he called your name, and sometimes he
called for Mr. Brown, and he was much vexed that you didn’t understand
him.  Then about half an hour ago he cried out angrily, ’Go over to the
safe deposit and get it.  Why don’t you do as I tell you?’  At that I
flew, and here I am."  And she looked up in my face with an anxious

The safe deposit building was but half a block away, and we were soon in
the office.  There was a minute or two of consultation between the
officials when I had delivered my credentials as the representative of
Wharton Kendrick.  Then one of them asked:

"Have you the key number of the box?"

I was nonplussed for the moment, but Laura Kendrick whispered:

"Remember the number he has been calling out for the last two nights."

"Five-sixteen," I replied confidently.

The guardians of the treasure-house bowed, led me to the vaults and at
my demand unlocked the box.

At the top of the miscellaneous papers that the box contained were two
book-like packages, both marked with the inspiring figures "$500,000."
I tore off the wrapping of the larger package.  It was filled with gold
notes of large denominations, and the slip that bound them was indorsed
"For the Syndicate."  The other package proved to be filled with United
States bonds.  It was all clear now. Wharton Kendrick had deposited his
contribution to the syndicate’s fund in this box instead of in the
special account in the Golconda Bank, and had provided here his reserve
of securities with which to meet the outstanding notes.

Laura Kendrick exclaimed with delight at the sight of this wealth.

"Is it all there?" she cried.

"Yes.  Here is the full million he has been talking about, and there
seem to be more securities in the box.  You have saved the day for us.
We should have gone to wreck without you," I replied.

"Well, I’ve been fuming and fretting all these days because I was so
useless, but now if you’ll take me to the carriage I’ll go home with my
self-respect quite restored."

"It was you that made the battle worth while," I murmured.

My return to the office brought an outburst of joy. At my announcement
of the result, Brown jumped up with an enthusiastic whoop, and lumbered
about the room with awkward capers.  Then he checked himself suddenly,
and very shamefacedly begged my pardon.

"I haven’t done that since I was a boy, sir," he said.  And I believed

With the business once more on a solid basis, I walked over to
Partridge’s office to relieve his anxiety on the subject of Wharton
Kendrick’s solvency. He had gone to the Exchange, and I followed him

Pine Street was still thrilling with the energy of a steam-engine
working at high pressure.  Waves of excitement agitated the crowds that
hung about the entrance of the Stock Exchange, and there was the
familiar succession of roars and barks with which the traders in stocks
find it necessary to transact their business.  Yet I thought I saw a
weakening of interest among the speculators--a lessening of the tension
among the excited men who were following the course of the market.  I
leaped to the hope that the crisis was passing.

As I reached the steps of the Exchange the confused roar of the crowd
was interrupted.  Three short, sharp explosions crackled upon the air
with staccato distinctness and the clamor hushed for a moment with a
suddenness as startling as the shots themselves.  A dozen yards down
Pine Street a thin cloud of blueish smoke rose and drifted away on the
morning breeze.

For a moment the crowd surged back as though in fear, and I saw a bent,
white-bearded man standing with a revolver in his hand, looking down at
a prostrate something on the pavement.  A few trailing threads of smoke
floated up from the revolver’s muzzle.  Then there was a forward rush,
and the crowd closed in; but in that momentary glimpse I had recognized
the bent form and dreamy face of Merwin.

The hush gave way to shouts.  Men were running from all directions.  The
crowd pushed closer. Windows overlooking the place were suddenly filled
with excited observers, questions were eagerly exchanged, and the cry

"Peter Bolton has been shot!"

At the name of Bolton the blood bounded through my arteries with
suffocating force, and I pushed my way through the throng with feverish
energy.  When I broke through the ring that surrounded the prostrate
form, a policeman was just laying his hands on Merwin, and raising his
dub as if to strike him. The old man handed his revolver to the officer,
and cried:

"I am Merwin.  He has robbed me of my money for twenty years, and he
said I should die a beggar. And I shot him!"

On the pavement lay Peter Bolton.  His hands were pressed to a reddening
circle on his coat, and his face was drawn into an expression of anxious
fear.  As I bent over him, a look of recognition flashed into his eyes.
And even in the pangs of dissolution a sardonic smile drew down the
corners of his mouth, while has sarcastic voice, reduced in volume till
it was scarcely more than a whisper, drawled painfully:

"You’ve missed your chance, Hampden.  You’ll never get rich now.  I
fought--you all--and I’ve beat--you all."

He paused in weakness, and the murmur of voices about me filled my ears.
There was scarce a sympathetic tone to be heard, and thrice the words
floated to me:

"It’s a wonder he didn’t get it before."

Peter Bolton had lived without good will to man, and he was dying
without man’s regret.  He summoned up his failing energies and

"If I had another day, your--man--Kendrick--would--be--smashed!"  The
last word was spoken almost as a hiss.  Then the blood welled up in his
throat, and with a convulsive effort to rise he fell back and was still.

The Bolton-Kendrick Feud was over.

                             *CHAPTER XXXI*

                            *THE BROKEN WEB*

With the death of Peter Bolton there was an immediate slackening of the
tension in the commercial exchanges.  The shock of his sudden end turned
men’s minds for a little from the market-place, and when they turned
back it was not the same.  The enginery of evil that he had set in
motion to crush Wharton Kendrick ran slower and slower, and at last came
to a stop.

"The El Dorado Bank has thrown up the sponge," said Partridge when I met
him at noon.  "They were acting for Bolton more than for themselves in
this deal.  Now that the old fox has gone, they have lost stomach for
the fight."

And with this assurance, I walked the street with the buoyancy of heart
that follows a hard-won victory.

I was still in exultant frame of mind when I came a few minutes later
upon the personification of Gloom.  It was Parks.  His mouth was drawn
down into an expression of somber weariness of the world. A piece of
court-plaster ornamented his cheek; and his right eye was swollen and
discolored until it resembled nothing so much as an overripe tomato.

"Why, what’s the matter?" I asked with exuberant spirit.  "You look like
the day after the fight."

He looked resentfully at me, with a sad shake of the head.

"Sir," he exclaimed, "it is unfair to jest.  I have suffered the burial
of my hopes.  I am done with the affairs of life."

"What!" I cried.  "Have you given up the revolution?  Have you abandoned
the battle for the rights of the people?"

"The people be damned!" responded Parks angrily. "Why should I give my
life to fight for those who won’t fight for themselves?  Why should I
scheme for the slaves who have not the sense to follow the leaders who
point the way to emancipation? We perfect our plans to free them from
the oppressions of a capitalistic government, and when we call on them
to take arms and follow us they fall to robbing Chinamen.  When I appeal
to them to follow me to the City Hall instead of the wash-house, the
response I get is a black eye.  That’s my reward for devotion to the
rights of the people."

"It must have been a most demonstrative meeting," I replied without a
trace of sympathy, "and it did one good thing, for it knocked some sense
into you."

"Hampden," said Parks, with a lofty air that made a comic contrast with
his flaming eye, "I forgive you the expression.  But I assure you I
retract nothing of my views.  What I have learned is that the great era
for which I have worked can not be brought about by men who understand
neither their wrongs nor their rights.  We must educate them until they
see the truth."

"Oh, then I suppose you are on your way to the City Hall to get your
leather-lunged orator out of jail to resume his teachings?"

Parks flushed angrily.

"Kearney?" he cried.  "He can rot in his cell for anything I will do to
get him out.  I refuse, sir, to voice the suspicions that I have been
forced to entertain, but he is a hindrance, not an aid to the cause of
the people.  They must be taught the large truths, not the little
truths, if they are to act wisely. Let us not mention his name."

I left Parks at the corner of Kearny and Merchant Streets, and walking
down to the door of the City Prison, applied for permission to see the
prisoner I had captured in the final riot above the Mail docks.  The
death of Peter Bolton made it likely that I could induce him to answer
the questions he had flouted the previous night.

I was admitted without difficulty, and found the cages filled with
scores of men herded together into brutal contiguousness.

It was impossible to examine the prisoner before these cell-mates, but
by the exercise of diplomacy I secured the privilege of talking with him
in the comparative quiet of the Receiving Hospital.  The man was brought
shambling in, cast an impudent glance at me, and then looked sullenly at
the floor. His pale face and sunken eyes and cheeks betrayed the opium
smoker, and his manner was that of the hoodlum.

"You had better make a clean breast of it," I exhorted him.  "I suppose
you know that Bolton is dead."

"Yep," he said uneasily.  "The old rooster that done for him was in
here.  He didn’t look like he’d nerve enough to kill a cat."

"Well, I warn you that you have no one to protect you now, and your only
chance of getting off with a light punishment is to answer my questions
and tell the truth."

"Ask what you like, cully," he replied with an impudent leer.  "You can
bet I’m too fly to give up anything I ain’t wanting you to know.  I
ain’t a-goin’ to split on the man that paid me, even if he has gone to
the morgue.  I’m game, I am."  And he straightened himself with a
pitiful exhibition of the criminal’s pride.

"Oh, you needn’t be afraid of giving away Bolton’s secrets," I said.  "I
know more about them than you do."  And I mentioned several incidents of
his employment that made his eyes open and his face pale with the fear
that he was caught beyond escape.  "What I want you to tell me is what
Bolton was doing with Big Sam?"

The spy looked sullenly at the floor, and shook his head.  And it was
not until I had threatened to put a charge of attempt to murder against
him that he replied:

"Well, I don’t see as there’s any harm in tipping it off to youse on
that.  The old rat’s game was to get Big Sam to put up money for them
crazy bunko-men on the Council of Nine.  He done it, too.  I’ll bet he
got the coolie to put up as much as he gave himself."

"Did you take the money from Big Sam to Bolton?"

"Me?  Not much!  They was too fly to let me get my nippers on it.  I was
plain messenger-boy--that’s what I was--and I carried a lot of talk
about what the Council was going to do.  You knows all that game.  If
youse want it, I can give youse a yard of it now."

I could well believe that this creature was not trusted with any of the
purposes that these men had in their alliance.  So I turned to the

"What was that Chinese paper in the pocket of the overcoat you left with
me that night you tried to kill me when I chased you out of Mr.
Kendrick’s yard?"

"Oh, youse is the feller that got that coat, are you? Well, that paper
was just an order or ticket that would let me into Big Sam’s tong house
when the tong was meeting--so as I could see him without losing time.
It wasn’t no use to me; but Big Sam let on he was giving me first cousin
to the Mint when he passed it over."

Nothing more was to be got out of this man, so I left the fetid prison,
and followed up the line of inquiry by seeking Big Sam.

I found him just entering the store that led to his dwelling.  He
received me with courtesy, but there was a trace of suspicion in his
eyes as he invited me to follow him to his office.

"I suppose I do not bring news in telling you that our mutual
acquaintance, Mr. Peter Bolton, is no more," I said, as we entered the
oriental hall.  In that room with its intricate ornamentation, its
grotesque carvings and garish hangings, Peter Bolton and the troubled
city of San Francisco seemed thousands of miles away, and I felt like a
traveler in Cathay, who had come overseas bearing news of distant

"You are not the first to tell me," said Big Sam. "I had the regret of
hearing it some hours ago."

"It was a sad loss to the Council of Nine," I said, watching narrowly if
the name brought any change of expression to his face.  But no shadow
crossed the yellow mask with which he concealed his thoughts.

"I am not familiar with Mr. Bolton’s relations with society," said Big
Sam blandly.  "But I’m sorry to have lost a good customer."

It was hopeless to study that changeless mask--hopeless to seek to match
the Oriental in guile.  So I abandoned the task and asked bluntly:

"Now that Peter Bolton is dead, and the Council of Nine is in jail, and
the conspiracy is smashed beyond repair, would you mind telling me why
you contributed money to such a harebrained scheme?"

"Your question makes an unwarranted assumption," said Big Sam dryly.  "I
know nothing about contributing money to Councils of Nine, or other
harebrained revolutionists."

"Oh," I said, "you need not fear that I am asking this in the character
of a public prosecutor.  It is merely a feeling of private curiosity.
In protecting Mr. Kendrick’s affairs I have learned most of the inside
history of the movement.  And I should really like to know what led a
man of your intelligence to further a cause that was apparently so
opposed to his interests."

Big Sam looked at me in silence with calm and unflinching gaze for two
or three minutes, and I suspected that the expediency of my mysterious
disappearance was canvassed behind the inscrutable veil of his eyes.
Then a sarcastic smile stole about the corners of his mouth, and he

"I am sorry to disappoint you.  I must plead ignorance of the
circumstances you mention.  If Mr. Bolton was the representative of
criminal or treasonable designs, I do not know it.  But if it will be of
any assistance or satisfaction to you, I will describe a hypothetical
case.  Let us suppose that an harassed race had found an insecure
footing--say in Sumatra.  Suppose that the head man of this harassed
race had been approached by the leader of a revolutionary party, with
whom he had been in business relations.  This leader, or backer, or
whatever you wish to call him, we may suppose, insists on the prospects
of success of the revolutionary movement--enlarges on the certainty of
disturbances to come among the classes of the people most opposed to
this alien race, and urges its head man to raise up friends in the
revolutionary party by a contribution of money.  I put it to you, Mr.
Hampden, would it be worth this man’s while--in Sumatra, you
understand--to pay enough to secure toleration for his race, in case its
enemies came into possession of the government?"

"Candidly--since you ask my opinion--it was the most unpromising
investment I could have suggested."

Big Sam was so far nettled by my judgment on his hypothetical case that
he dropped his diplomatic pretense, and said:

"A judgment after the fact, Mr. Hampden, when it is easy to be wise.
Yet even now it is not difficult to see that bitterness and division
have been sown among the enemies of my race.  Action against us has been
postponed for years--perhaps for all time. The mass of your
people--especially beyond the mountains--are shocked at the excesses of
the past week, and will oppose the demands made by your disorderly
classes.  Like all the weak, we must conquer by the division of those
who could harm us. The division has come."

"I think you mistake its extent," I said.  "The riots may have roused a
prejudice in the Eastern States against the demand for the exclusion of
your race.  But it is only a temporary check.  It will not be five years
before there is a law on the statute books forbidding the coming of your

Big Sam looked over my head, with the far-away gaze of one who was
looking to the distant future. Then he sighed and spoke:

"Perhaps you are right.  You must understand the temper of your people
much better than I.  But it will be as it will.  If we are permitted to
come unchecked, we shall build up on this coast a great Chinese State
that will change the face of the world. We are adaptable, as you know.
We are arming ourselves with the methods and machinery of western
progress.  Put a state of ten million of Chinese on this coast, and from
this vantage point we shall break down the barriers between Orient and
Occident, put the productive forces of the West into the hands of my
people in China, add what is best in your life to the superior qualities
of our institutions, and make China the leader instead of the hermit of
the world."

Big Sam’s face was calm with the self-possession of his race, as he
described this vision, but his eyes glowed with magnetic fire, and his
voice thrilled with enthusiasm as he spoke.

"A magnificent plan--but there are difficulties," I said.

"Difficulties, yes--but only such as the intellect and energy of man may
overcome.  The old order in China is tottering to its fall.  The dynasty
of usurpers is held in place only by the arm of the foreigner.  Its
strength is typified by its head--a child and a woman!"  Big Sam spoke
thus of the baby Emperor and the Empress Dowager, with an infinite
scorn.  "It needs but the man with the resources behind him to rouse
China to herself--to show to the nations a new and magnificent
civilization--more splendid and solid than the world has ever seen."

I was stirred to admiration at his dream.

"I believe," I said heartily, "that you are the man to do it, if it
could be done by a single man.  But I warn you now that the white race
will never surrender California, except at the compulsion of arms."

Big Sam sighed again, but his face retained its impassive calm.

"In that case I shall live and die a Chinese merchant--Big Sam, the King
of Chinatown, as your people are kind enough to call me."

There was something of pathos in this descent from the heights of his
great projects.  He had given me a glimpse of the purposes nearest his
heart, had shown me something of the real man that lay behind the
disguise of his impassive face and every-day pursuits.  But he closed
the door of his soul with a sudden contraction of his eyes, and said in
a matter-of-fact tone:

"And now are you tired of the girl I intrusted to you?  Is she still a

"Why, we have no thought of surrendering her," I said, in some surprise
that he should renew the subject.  "She is improving rapidly.  She is
able to walk about, and is considered a most tractable patient."

"That is very satisfactory," began Big Sam, but I interrupted:

"There is only one question agitating us about her. She seems so much
above the women of your race we see about us that we should like to know
something of her history."

Big Sam bowed courteously, as though I had offered him a compliment.

"I see that you are looking for a romance," he said. "Well, possibly I
can gratify you.  I had supposed myself that she sprang from a low
parentage--or at highest from the shopkeeper class--though, as you say,
she seems much above the Chinese women you are privileged to see.  She
came hither from an orphan home in Canton, and was said to be of unknown
parentage.  I have made further inquiries, however, and have just
received a letter from a friend in Canton with a few details that may
please you. The girl is the daughter of a mandarin, descended from a
long line of scholars.  But her father, mother, brothers and all known
relatives perished in the plague, their fortune was confiscated, and the
girl--then an infant--was turned over to the keeping of the orphanage."

"That is very interesting.  Is there any chance of establishing her

"Not the slightest.  But you will be glad to hear that I shall soon have
a home for her among her own people."  Big Sam was, as usual, coming to
his point by indirection.

"I trust it is one you can recommend," I said bluntly.

"It is one that exactly fills the conditions under which the girl was
taken," he responded dryly.  "A reputable man of her own race--a
merchant--wishes to make her his wife."

"He is well-to-do, I assume."

"Naturally, or he would not be able to meet the demands of the tongs."

"Has he another wife?" I asked, with mistrust of the Chinese domestic


"In that case, I think he may be ready to offer his credentials in
something less than a month."

"He will find it difficult to repress his impatience," said Big Sam
gravely.  "He is a widower."

And with a bow of ceremony he dismissed me.

                            *CHAPTER XXXII*

                              *THE ANSWER*

The duties of the day were at last done, and I turned toward the
Kendrick house with a lively sense of my obligation to relieve the
anxieties that might still be felt in that household.  The afternoon had
been taken up with the fag ends of our business complications, and
darkness had set in before I could leave the office.  The streets were
quiet, and, except for the Vigilante patrols, were almost deserted.

As I neared my destination a large man halted me with a raised
pick-handle, and said:

"Vere go you, mine vrendt?  Don’d you petter go home?"

I laughed and showed him my committee badge.

"That’s where I’m going.  And I hope you will have a quieter time than
they gave us last night."

"Oxcuse me," said the Vigilante.  "I mine orders obey, and mine block of
hoodlums kept swept."  And with a good night, I hastened on my way to
the Kendrick place.

I found Laura and Mercy together.

"Well," said Laura graciously, "I’m glad to see that you have kept out
of the fighting for one little while.  I was supposing that you were
down on the Barbary Coast getting your head smashed.  Take that big
easy-chair; it’s the softest, and I’m sure you ought to appreciate it
after all the knocks you’ve had."

"Oh, it looks as though there was no more fighting to be done.  The
hoodlums have taken to their holes, and the Vigilante pick-handles rule
the city."

"Well, if it’s all over it will be a great relief to my mind," she
replied.  "And I suppose you’ll be glad to hear that uncle is better.
He has come to his senses again, and I’ve set his mind at rest about the
business, and Doctor Roberts says he will be out in a few weeks."

"Well, all our troubles are coming to an end at once then," I said with
a lightened spirit.

"Yes, I got your note saying that the worst was over, and the business
safe.  It was good of you to send it.  That was a shocking thing about
Mr. Bolton. He was an old--well, I won’t say what, for he’s dead and
gone--but I believe I feel sorry for him, after all."

"Yes," said Mercy, with a grave nod, "whomever he injured, we know that
it was himself he injured most of all.  What will they do with Mr.

"They’ve turned him loose already.  The committing magistrate called it
justifiable homicide, which is bad law, though there’s some elemental
justice about it, and the crowd carried Merwin out of the court on their
shoulders.  The Grand Jury may take it up, but Bolton was not a popular
character.  At any rate Merwin is free now."

"Well, he is a much injured man," said Laura, "though I don’t see that
he has bettered himself. And now what did you mean in your note about
having a very important communication from Big Sam?  I have some
curiosity left after all the excitement."

"It’s highly interesting.  Moon Ying turns out to be the long-lost
daughter of a Somebody.  Also Big Sam has a suitor for her hand."

"Who is he?  What is he?" came in a breath from the two girls.

"A merchant, a Chinaman and a widower," I replied. And then I gave them
the information that Big Sam had confided to me.

"Well," said Laura decisively, "that’s very interesting about Moon
Ying’s family, but I don’t see that it can do her much good.  And that
widower can come up here, and we’ll look him over.  I can tell you right
now that he will have to pass a very rigid examination, and he shan’t
have Moon Ying unless she wants him."

"Hm-m!  I suspect he will have to acquire some new ideas on the
qualifications of an expectant husband, and I’m afraid he’s rather old
to learn."

"Well, if the ideas are new to him, it’s time he learned ’em," said
Laura, "and if he’s too old to learn, why, so much the worse for him.
He can go back where he came from."

"Yes," said Mercy quietly, "if it is to be worse for him or worse for
her, why, he is the one who must give way."

"I’m afraid you are in a fair way to upset the whole scheme of Chinese
domesticity," I said.

"Well, it’s high time it was upset," returned Laura.  "And if I’m not
much mistaken, Moon Ying has learned a thing or two since she has been
here that will upset it for at least one household.  So Mr. No-Name
Chinaman had better be preparing his credentials and studying up to pass
his examinations."  And she thereupon gave such a list of qualifications
for a possible husband for Moon Ying that I was disposed to condole with
Big Sam’s candidate on his chances of election to the blessed state of

Mercy Fillmore expressed a somewhat less exalted ideal of the suitor who
would fill the measure of Moon Ying’s maiden fancies, though I was
certain that it was one that would astonish the celestial widower.  And
then in sudden concern, lest her patients should be in need of her
attention, she excused herself, and Laura and I were left alone.

For a little time she was silent, gazing dreamily at the floor, and I
was content to watch her without speech.  The storm and stress of the
past few weeks had given something more of womanliness to the delicately
cut features, and, to my eyes at least, there was an added grace to the
attitude and movements of the small figure.  It seemed as though the
woman in her had suddenly bloomed into the strength that the girl had
only suggested.

At last a little smile dimpled the corners of her mouth, and without
raising her eyes she said:

"Don’t you know it’s rude to stare at one so?"

"I beg your pardon," I returned impenitently, "but it’s impossible to
help it."

"Oh," she said, with a quick return to her matter-of-fact tone, "that’s
ruder yet.  And now I want to know how much longer you’re going to keep
this pack of men around the house.  They’re rather a responsibility for
a housekeeper, and it’s something like living in a public square."

"I’m going to cut the force in half to-morrow, but the rest of them will
stay till Moon Ying is out of the place.  I’m taking no more risks."

"I suppose you are right," she said slowly.  Then she looked up
impulsively, and added: "How good you have been to us!  I don’t see how
we should have got through without you.  We are through, aren’t we?  I’m
hoping you feel that you have our thanks, at least."

I stepped to her side and took her hand.

"I’ve asked for much more than that," I began. I intended to say a good
deal more, but a diabolic click in my throat interfered with my voice,
and a whirl of brain cells tangled my ideas into such inextricable
confusion that I was able only to gasp out: "I want an answer to my
question.  I want you, and I’m going to have you."

She had risen to her feet, and I was panic-stricken with the fear that
she was going to run away.  Then, while I was struggling to get my ideas
and my vocal organs into subordination that would make them of use in
this emergency, the hereditary instinct coming from some ancestor with,
more courage than I--may Heaven bless him for coming into the
family!--inspired my arm, and I clasped her in close embrace.  She
struggled for a moment.  Then she looked up at me, and, my ancestor’s
courage inspiring me once more, I bent down and kissed her.

"Oh, it isn’t fair," she whispered in protesting accent; and I repeated
the offense.  "How can I answer?" she added.  "You know I can’t."

"There’s only one answer," I whispered in return, "and you might as well
give it now."

At this moment I heard a gasp, and Mercy Fillmore’s voice exclaimed in

"Oh, I beg pardon--I hadn’t any idea--"

At the sound, Laura whirled about and was out of my clasp, with a
strength and quickness marvelous and unexpected.

"You may come in, Mercy," she said with an enviable self-possession,
though her face bloomed into a most admirable variety of rose-colors.
"You shall be the first to congratulate us.  We--we didn’t intend to
announce it yet--but we are engaged to be married."

Mercy gave her good wishes most prettily, and though I suspected that
she considered Mr. Baldwin a more suitable match, she was kind enough
not to give any hint of it, and kissed Laura, and assured me that I had
won the greatest prize in the world.


Big Sam was as good as his word.  As soon as Moon Ying was pronounced in
a state to receive callers, his Chinese merchant abated so much of his
dignity as to pay a stately visit to the Kendrick house.  He fell
several points below the standard of eligibility set by Miss Kendrick
and Miss Fillmore. But Moon Ying asserted her individuality to the
extent of approving him with such earnestness as to weep at unfavorable
comments.  At this demonstration of affinity, Mercy Fillmore promptly
surrendered her doubts.  Miss Kendrick went around with her nose
tip-tilted for a full day, but as Moon Ying continued to weep, she
finally said:

"Well, I suppose you couldn’t expect to get anything better out of

This form of approval was not resented, either by the enamored merchant
or the fair Moon Ying.  So the marriage was celebrated in double form:
First, and with many protests, one of which went even to the length of a
temporary rupture of the marriage negotiations, there was a lawful
Christian ceremony at the Kendrick house.  On this point the
protectresses were inexorable.  Therefore, before the Reverend Doctor
Western, appeared Lan Yune Yow, portly, shiny, erect, dressed like a
rainbow and looking convinced that he was making a fool of himself; and
Moon Ying, radiant in silks, dazzling with pearls and embroideries, and
beaming with celestial happiness; and in lawful form they were
pronounced man and wife.  Secondly, there was a wedding in Chinatown,
which was reported to be the most magnificent celebration ever witnessed
in the oriental quarter. We were not favored with an invitation to this
part of the marriage ceremonies, but we were participants in the
wedding-feast, for there descended on the Kendrick house such a shower
of Chinese confections and nuts and fruits that it seemed impossible
that any could be left for the bidden guests.

So Moon Ying went out of our lives, and carried with her our lasting
gratitude for the services she had unconsciously rendered.

Mr. Baldwin affected not to see me the next time we met, and then
repenting of his churlishness gave me his congratulations; but he never
called again at the Kendrick house, and presently consoled himself by
marrying the heiress of the Bellinger fortune.

Wharton Kendrick recovered strength slowly, but at last resumed his
place at the head of his business. He enlivened his convalescence by
telling me how much better he could have managed certain details of our
campaign if he could have been in command; but when he was wholly
himself again he made more handsome acknowledgments of his
approval--both verbal and financial--than I had a right to expect. While
he was still on his sick-bed, I asked him if he would mind telling me
the origin of the Bolton-Kendrick feud, now that it was all over.

"I’m ashamed to tell it," he said.  "But if you will have it, the whole
thing started with a blackboard caricature that I drew of Bolton when we
were barefoot boys together at the old school-house.  He retaliated by
drawing attention to a caricature I had made of the teacher, and I can
feel the tingle yet from the licking I got.  It went on from one thing
to the other, like a fire spreading from a little match, until even San
Francisco wasn’t big enough to hold both of us.  Sounds foolish when you
tell it, doesn’t it?  But it’s been serious enough."

When the subject of an approaching wedding was broached to Wharton
Kendrick, I had an indistinct impression that he thought his niece could
have done better.  But as the date drew near, I had no fault to find
with his growing enthusiasm, and indeed had to enter into conspiracy
with Laura to curb his extravagance.  He gave away the bride with
exemplary dignity, made a speech that set the wedding-table in a roar,
and as we drove away, sent a farewell shoe after me with such unerring
aim that I spent the first part of the honeymoon in an odor of arnica
and opodeldoc.  And even now a whiff of liniment carries me back in
fancy to that happy time.

Mercy Fillmore made a most charming bridesmaid at our wedding, and
General Wilson was so loud in her praise, and so frank in telling what
he would do if he were thirty years younger, that she went through the
evening with an unwonted color in her face.  But a few months later she
was married--at our house, and with many misgivings on our part--to
Parks.  But we were happily disappointed in our fears.  Whether from the
calming influence of Mercy, or the black eye bestowed upon him by an
ungrateful constituency, Parks ceased to be a militant reformer, and
turned his energies to the prosaic but more remunerative business of
selling groceries. He cut his hair, and though on occasion he delivers
addresses before numberless clubs, in which he declares that the remedy
for the evils of society is to be found in socialism, he is careful to
insist that this panacea is to be applied in the distant future, and is
not adapted to present conditions.

It is a good many years since I married my wife, and it is my candid
opinion that she is prettier than ever.  I can join the children in
testifying that her talent for managing a family is unsurpassed. Perhaps
there is a little more of it than is absolutely necessary, but it is
some time since I ceased to offer that suggestion.  As for me--well,
I’ve grown stouter than in the hurrying days of old; but Mrs. Hampden
affects to believe that a portly form is highly becoming in a man, and I
shouldn’t think of being the one to contradict her.


The author offers his apologies to the Muse of History for a few
liberties that have been taken with chronology in the tale.  Kearney’s
rise to prominence followed instead of preceding the riots of 1877.
Otherwise, the history of the time, where touched on, has been
faithfully followed, and, I hope, the spirit of the self-reliant men who
organized a city for its own defense has given some inspiration to these

The city of which the tale is told is gone.  Such buildings of the era
as had survived the march of time and progress were swept away by the
mightiest conflagration of history, and all that is left of the old San
Francisco is a memory.  That the new city that springs from its ashes
may prove as picturesque as the old, and be animated by the same spirit,
is the hope of the author of these pages.

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