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Title: Scribner's Magazine, Volume 26, August 1899
Author: Various
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 "Scribner's Magazine, Volume 26, August 1899" ***

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Internet Archive)



Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  Unmatched parenthesis on page 214 have been left as printed.

  On page 240, "He had paused" should possibly be "He had passed".

  Bridget's name is spelled both "Bridget" and "Bridgit". The
  two spellings are left as printed.

  Both "tomorrow" and "to-morrow" are used.  Both have been left as
  printed.



  [Illustration: "IN TOWN IT'S DIFFERENT."
   Drawn by W. Glackens
   [An Urban Harbinger.]]



     SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE

     VOL. XXVI      AUGUST, 1899      NO. 2



     Copyright 1899, by Charles Scribner's Sons. All rights reserved.



  [Illustration]



THE LION AND THE UNICORN

By Richard Harding Davis

ILLUSTRATIONS BY HOWARD CHANDLER CHRISTY


Prentiss had a long lease on the house, and because it stood in Jermyn
Street the upper floors were, as a matter of course, turned into lodgings
for single gentlemen; and because Prentiss was a Florist to the Queen,
he placed a lion and unicorn over his flower-shop, just in front of the
middle window on the first floor. By stretching a little, each of them
could see into the window just beyond him, and could hear all that was
said inside; and such things as they saw and heard during the reign of
Captain Carrington, who moved in at the same time they did! By day the
table in the centre of the room was covered with maps, and the Captain
sat with a box of pins, with different-colored flags wrapped around them,
and amused himself by sticking them in the maps and measuring the spaces
in between, swearing meanwhile to himself. It was a selfish amusement,
but it appeared to be the Captain's only intellectual pursuit, for at
night, the maps were rolled up, and a green cloth was spread across
the table, and there was much company and popping of soda-bottles, and
little heaps of gold and silver were moved this way and that across the
cloth. The smoke drifted out of the open windows, and the laughter of
the Captain's guests rang out loudly in the empty street, so that the
policeman halted and raised his eyes reprovingly to the lighted windows,
and cabmen drew up beneath them and lay in wait, dozing on their folded
arms, for the Captain's guests to depart. The Lion and the Unicorn were
rather ashamed of the scandal of it, and they were glad when, one day,
the Captain went away with his tin boxes and gun-cases piled high on a
four-wheeler.

Prentiss stood on the sidewalk and said: "I wish you good luck, sir."
And the Captain said: "I'm coming back a Major, Prentiss." But he never
came back. And one day—the Lion remembered the day very well, for on
that same day the newsboys ran up and down Jermyn Street shouting out
the news of "a 'orrible disaster" to the British arms. It was then that
a young lady came to the door in a hansom, and Prentiss went out to meet
her and led her up-stairs. They heard him unlock the Captain's door and
say, "This is his room, miss," and after he had gone they watched her
standing quite still by the centre-table. She stood there for a very
long time looking slowly about her, and then she took a photograph of
the Captain from the frame on the mantel and slipped it into her pocket,
and when she went out again her veil was down, and she was crying. She
must have given Prentiss as much as a sovereign, for he called her "Your
ladyship," which he never did under a sovereign.

And she drove off, and they never saw her again either, nor could they
hear the address she gave the cabman. But it was somewhere up St. John's
Wood way.

After that the rooms were empty for some months, and the Lion and the
Unicorn were forced to amuse themselves with the beautiful ladies and
smart looking men who came to Prentiss to buy flowers and "buttonholes,"
and the little round baskets of strawberries, and even the peaches at
three shillings each, which looked so tempting as they lay in the window,
wrapped up in cotton-wool, like jewels of great price.

Then Philip Carroll, the American gentleman, came, and they heard Prentiss
telling him that those rooms had always let for five guineas a week,
which they knew was not true; but they also knew that in the economy
of nations there must always be a higher price for the rich American,
or else why was he given that strange accent, except to betray him into
the hands of the London shopkeeper, and the London cabby?

The American walked to the window toward the west, which was the window
nearest the Lion, and looked out into the graveyard of St. James's
Church, that stretched between their street and Piccadilly.

"You're lucky in having a bit of green to look out on," he said to
Prentiss. "I'll take these rooms—at five guineas. That's more than
they're worth, you know, but as I know it, too, your conscience needn't
trouble you."

Then his eyes fell on the Lion, and he nodded to him gravely. "How do
you do?" he said. "I'm coming to live with you for a little time. I
have read about you and your friends over there. It is a hazard of new
fortunes with me, your Majesty, so be kind to me, and if I win, I will
put a new coat of paint on your shield and gild you all over again."

Prentiss smiled obsequiously at the American's pleasantry, but the new
lodger only stared at him.

"He seemed a social gentleman," said the Unicorn, that night, when the
Lion and he were talking it over. "Now the Captain, the whole time he
was here, never gave us so much as a look. This one says he has read of
us."

"And why not?" growled the Lion. "I hope Prentiss heard what he said of
our needing a new layer of gilt. It's disgraceful. You can see that Lion
over Scarlett's, the butcher, as far as Regent Street, and Scarlett is
only one of Salisbury's creations. He received his Letters-Patent only
two years back. We date from Palmerston."

The lodger came up the street just at that moment, and stopped and looked
up at the Lion and the Unicorn from the sidewalk, before he opened the
door with his night-key. They heard him enter the room and feel on the
mantel for his pipe, and a moment later he appeared at the Lion's window
and leaned on the sill, looking down into the street below and blowing
whiffs of smoke up into the warm night-air.

  [Illustration: Consumed tea and thin slices of bread.—Page 133.]

It was a night in June, and the pavements were dry under foot and the
streets were filled with well-dressed people, going home from the play,
and with groups of men in black and white, making their way to supper
at the clubs. Hansoms of inky-black, with shining lamps inside and out,
dashed noiselessly past on mysterious errands, chasing close on each
other's heels on a mad race, each to its separate goal. From the cross
streets rose the noises of early night, the rumble of the 'buses, the
creaking of their brakes, as they unlocked, the cries of the "extras,"
and the merging of thousands of human voices in a dull murmur. The great
world of London was closing its shutters for the night, and putting out
the lights; and the new lodger from across the sea listened to it with
his heart beating quickly, and laughed to stifle the touch of fear and
homesickness that rose in him.

"I have seen a great play to-night," he said to the Lion; "nobly played
by great players. What will they care for my poor wares? I see that I
have been over-bold. But we cannot go back now—not yet."

He knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and nodded "good-night" to the
great world beyond his window. "What fortunes lie with ye, ye lights of
London town?" he quoted, smiling. And they heard him close the door of
his bedroom, and lock it for the night.

The next morning he bought many geraniums from Prentiss and placed them
along the broad cornice that stretched across the front of the house
over the shop-window. The flowers made a band of scarlet on either side
of the Lion as brilliant as a Tommy's jacket.

"I am trying to propitiate the British Lion by placing flowers before
his altar," the American said that morning to a visitor.

"The British public, you mean," said the visitor; "they are each likely
to tear you to pieces."

"Yes, I have heard that the pit on the first night of a bad play is
something awful," hazarded the American.

"Wait and see," said the visitor.

"Thank you," said the American, meekly.

Everyone who came to the first floor front talked about a play. It seemed
to be something of great moment to the American. It was only a bundle
of leaves printed in red and black inks and bound in brown paper covers.
There were two of them, and the American called them by different names:
one was his comedy and one was his tragedy.

"They are both likely to be tragedies," the Lion heard one of the visitors
say to another, as they drove away together. "Our young friend takes it
too seriously."

The American spent most of his time by his desk at the window writing on
little blue pads and tearing up what he wrote, or in reading over one of
the plays to himself in a loud voice. In time the number of his visitors
increased, and to some of these he would read his play; and after they
had left him he was either depressed and silent or excited and jubilant.
The Lion could always tell when he was happy because then he would go
to the side table and pour himself out a drink and say, "Here's to me,"
but when he was depressed he would stand holding the glass in his hand,
and finally pour the liquor back into the bottle again and say, "What's
the use of that?"

After he had been in London a month he wrote less and was more frequently
abroad, sallying forth in beautiful raiment, and coming home by daylight.

And he gave suppers too, but they were less noisy than the Captain's had
been, and the women who came to them were much more beautiful, and their
voices when they spoke were sweet and low. Sometimes one of the women
sang, and the men sat in silence while the people in the street below
stopped to listen, and would say, "Why, that is So-and-So singing," and
the Lion and the Unicorn wondered how they could know who it was when
they could not see her.

The lodger's visitors came to see him at all hours. They seemed to regard
his rooms as a club, where they could always come for a bite to eat or
to write notes; and others treated it like a lawyer's office and asked
advice on all manner of strange subjects. Sometimes the visitor wanted
to know whether the American thought she ought to take £10 a week and go
on tour, or stay in town and try to live on £8; or whether she should
paint landscapes that would not sell, or race-horses that would; or
whether Reggie really loved her and whether she really loved Reggie; or
whether the new part in the piece at the Court was better than the old
part at Terry's, and wasn't she getting too old to play "ingénues" anyway.

The lodger seemed to be a general adviser, and smoked and listened
with grave consideration, and the Unicorn thought his judgment was most
sympathetic and sensible.

Of all the beautiful ladies who came to call on the lodger the one the
Unicorn liked the best was the one who wanted to know whether she loved
Reggie and whether Reggie loved her. She discussed this so interestingly
while she consumed tea and thin slices of bread that the Unicorn almost
lost his balance in leaning forward to listen. Her name was Marion
Cavendish, and it was written over many photographs which stood in silver
frames in the lodger's rooms. She used to make the tea herself, while
the lodger sat and smoked; and she had a fascinating way of doubling the
thin slices of bread into long strips and nibbling at them like a mouse
at a piece of cheese. She had wonderful little teeth and Cupid's-bow
lips, and she had a fashion of lifting her veil only high enough for
one to see the two Cupid-bow lips. When she did that the American used
to laugh, at nothing apparently, and say, "Oh, I guess Reggie loves you
well enough."

"But do I love Reggie?" she would ask sadly, with her tea-cup held poised
in air.

"I am sure I hope not," the lodger would reply, and she would put down
the veil quickly, as one would drop a curtain over a beautiful picture,
and rise with great dignity and say, "If you talk like that I shall not
come again."

She was sure that if she could only get some work to do her head would
be filled with more important matters than whether Reggie loved her or
not.

"But the managers seem inclined to cut their cavendish very fine just
at present," she said. "If I don't get a part soon," she announced,
"I shall ask Mitchell to put me down on the list for recitations at
evening-parties."

"That seems a desperate revenge," said the American; "and besides, I
don't want you to get a part, because someone might be idiotic enough
to take my comedy, and if he should, you must play _Nancy_."

"I would not ask for any salary if I could play _Nancy_," Miss Cavendish
answered.

They spoke of a great many things, but their talk always ended by her
saying that there must be someone with sufficient sense to see that his
play was a great play, and by his saying that none but she must play
_Nancy_.

The Lion preferred the tall girl with masses and folds of brown hair,
who came from America to paint miniatures of the British aristocracy.
Her name was Helen Cabot, and he liked her because she was so brave and
fearless, and so determined to be independent of everyone, even of the
lodger—especially of the lodger, who it appeared had known her very well
at home. The lodger, they gathered, did not wish her to be independent
of him, and the two Americans had many arguments and disputes about it,
but she always said, "It does no good, Philip; it only hurts us both when
you talk so. I care for nothing and for no one but my art, and, poor as
it is, it means everything to me, and you do not, and, of course, the man
I am to marry, must." Then Carroll would talk, walking up and down, and
looking very fierce and determined, and telling her how he loved her in
such a way that it made her look even more proud and beautiful. And she
would say more gently, "It is very fine to think that anyone can care
for one like that, and very helpful. But unless I cared in the same way
it would be wicked of me to marry you, and besides——" She would add
very quickly to prevent his speaking again—"I don't want to marry you
or anybody, and I never shall. I want to be free and to succeed in my
work, just as you want to succeed in your work. So please never speak
of this again." When she went away the lodger used to sit smoking in
the big arm-chair and beat the arms with his hands, and he would pace up
and down the room while his work would lie untouched and his engagements
pass forgotten.

Summer came and London was deserted, dull and dusty, but the lodger stayed
on in Jermyn Street. Helen Cabot had departed on a round of visits to
country houses in Scotland, where, as she wrote him, she was painting
miniatures of her hosts and studying the game of golf. Miss Cavendish
divided her days between the river and one of the West End theatres.
She was playing a small part in a farce-comedy.

One day she came up from Cookham earlier than usual, looking very
beautiful in a white boating frock and a straw hat with a Leander ribbon.
Her hands and arms were hard with dragging a punting pole, and she was
sun-burnt and happy, and hungry for tea.

"Why don't you come down to Cookham and get out of this heat?" Miss
Cavendish asked. "You need it; you look ill."

"I'd like to, but I can't," said Carroll. "The fact is, I paid in advance
for these rooms, and if I lived anywhere else I'd be losing five guineas
a week on them."

Miss Cavendish regarded him severely. She had never quite mastered his
American humor.

"But—five guineas—why that's nothing to you," she said. Something in
the lodger's face made her pause. "You don't mean——"

"Yes, I do," said the lodger, smiling. "You see, I started in to lay
siege to London without sufficient ammunition. London is a large town,
and it didn't fall as quickly as I thought it would. So I am economizing.
Mr. Lockhart's Coffee Rooms and I are no longer strangers."

Miss Cavendish put down her cup of tea untasted and leaned toward him.

"Are you in earnest?" she asked. "For how long?"

"Oh, for the last month," replied the lodger; "they are not at all
bad—clean and wholesome and all that."

"But the suppers you gave us, and this," she cried, suddenly, waving
her hands over the pretty tea-things, "and the cake and muffins?"

"My friends, at least," said Carroll, "need not go to Lockhart's."

"And the Savoy?" asked Miss Cavendish, mournfully shaking her head.

"A dream of the past," said Carroll, waving his pipe through the smoke.
"Gatti's? Yes, on special occasions; but for necessity, the Chancellor's,
where one gets a piece of the prime roast beef of Old England, from
Chicago, and potatoes for ninepence—a pot of bitter two-pence half-penny,
and a penny for the waiter. It's most amusing on the whole. I am learning
a little about London, and some things about myself. They are both most
interesting subjects."

"Well, I don't like it," Miss Cavendish declared, helplessly. "When I
think of those suppers and the flowers, I feel—I feel like a robber."

"Don't," begged Carroll. "I am really the most happy of men—that is, as
the chap says in the play, I would be if I wasn't so damned miserable.
But I owe no man a penny and I have assets—I have £80 to last me through
the winter and two marvellous plays; and I love, next to yourself, the
most wonderful woman God ever made. That's enough."

"But I thought you made such a lot of money by writing?" asked Miss
Cavendish.

"I do—that is, I could," answered Carroll, "if I wrote the things that
sell; but I keep on writing plays that won't."

"And such plays!" exclaimed Marion, warmly; "and to think that they are
going begging." She continued indignantly, "I can't imagine what the
managers do want."

"I know what they don't want," said the American. Miss Cavendish drummed
impatiently on the tea-tray.

"I wish you wouldn't be so abject about it," she said. "If I were a man
I'd make them take those plays."

"How," asked the American, "with a gun?"

"Well, I'd keep at it until they read them," declared Marion. "I'd sit
on their front steps all night and I'd follow them in cabs, and I'd lay
in wait for them at the stage-door. I'd just make them take them."

Carroll sighed and stared at the ceiling. "I guess I'll give up and go
home," he said.

"Oh, yes, do, run away before you are beaten," said Miss Cavendish,
scornfully. "Why, you can't go now. Everybody will be back in town soon,
and there are a lot of new plays coming on, and some of them are sure
to be failures, and that's our chance. You rush in with your piece and
somebody may take it sooner than close the theatre."

"I'm thinking of closing the theatre myself," said Carroll. "What's
the use of my hanging on here?" he exclaimed. "It distresses Helen
to know I am in London, feeling about her as I do—and the Lord only
knows how it distresses me. And, maybe if I went away," he said,
consciously, "she might miss me. She might see the difference."

  [Illustration: Helen sat ... deeply considering this new point of
   view.—Page 139.]

  [Illustration: He was evidently amused.]

Miss Cavendish held herself erect and pressed her lips together with
a severe smile. "If Helen Cabot doesn't see the difference between you
and the other men she knows now," she said, "I doubt if she ever will.
Besides," she continued, and then hesitated.

"Well, go on," urged Carroll.

"Well, I was only going to say," she explained, "that leaving the girl
alone never did the man any good unless he left her alone willingly.
If she's sure he still cares, it's just the same to her where he is. He
might as well stay on in London as to go to South Africa. It won't help
him any. The difference comes when she finds he has stopped caring. Why,
look at Reggie. He tried that. He went away for ever so long, but he kept
writing me from wherever he went, so that he was perfectly miserable—and
I went on enjoying myself. Then when he came back, he tried going about
with his old friends again. He used to come to the theatre with them—oh,
with such nice girls—but he always stood in the back of the box and
yawned and scowled—so I knew. And, anyway, he'd always spoil it all
by leaving them and waiting at the stage entrance for me. But one day
he got tired of the way I treated him and went off on a bicycle tour
with Lady Hacksher's girls, and some men from his regiment, and he was
gone three weeks and never sent me even a line; and I got so scared; I
couldn't sleep, and I stood it for three days more, and then I wired him
to come back or I'd jump off London Bridge; and he came back that very
night from Edinburgh on the express, and I was so glad to see him that
I got confused, and in the general excitement I promised to marry him,
so that's how it was with us."

"Yes," said the American, without enthusiasm; "but then I still care,
and Helen knows I care."

"Doesn't she ever fancy that you might care for someone else? You have
a lot of friends, you know."

"Yes, but she knows they are just that—friends," said the American.

Miss Cavendish stood up to go, and arranged her veil before the mirror
above the fire-place.

"I come here very often to tea," she said.

"It's very kind of you," said Carroll. He was at the open window, looking
down into the street for a cab.

"Well, no one knows I am engaged to Reggie," continued Miss Cavendish,
"except you and Reggie, and he isn't so sure. _She_ doesn't know it."

"Well?" said Carroll.

Miss Cavendish smiled a mischievous, kindly smile at him from the mirror.

"Well?" she repeated, mockingly. Carroll stared at her and laughed. After
a pause he said: "It's like a plot in a comedy. But I'm afraid I'm too
serious for play-acting."

"Yes, it is serious," said Miss Cavendish. She seated herself again
and regarded the American thoughtfully. "You are too good a man to be
treated the way that girl is treating you, and no one knows it better
than she does. She'll change in time, but just now she thinks she wants
to be independent. She's in love with this picture-painting idea, and
with the people she meets. It's all new to her—the fuss they make over
her and the titles, and the way she is asked about. We know she can't
paint. We know they only give her commissions because she's so young
and pretty, and American. She amuses them, that's all. Well, that cannot
last; she'll find it out. She's too clever a girl, and she is too fine
a girl to be content with that long. Then—then she'll come back to you.
She feels now that she has both you and the others, and she's making you
wait: so wait, and be cheerful. She's worth waiting for; she's young,
that's all. She'll see the difference in time. But, in the meanwhile,
it would hurry matters a bit if she thought she had to choose between
the new friends and you."

"She could still keep her friends, and marry me," said Carroll; "I have
told her that a hundred times. She could still paint miniatures and
marry me. But she won't marry me."

"She won't marry you because she knows she can whenever she wants to,"
cried Marion. "Can't you see that? But if she thought you were going to
marry someone else now?"

"She would be the first to congratulate me," said Carroll. He rose and
walked to the fire-place, where he leaned with his arm on the mantel.
There was a photograph of Helen Cabot near his hand, and he turned this
toward him and stood for some time staring at it. "My dear Marion," he
said at last, "I've known Helen ever since she was as young as that.
Every year I've loved her more, and found new things in her to care for;
now I love her more than any other man ever loved any other woman."

Miss Cavendish shook her head sympathetically.

"Yes, I know," she said; "that's the way Reggie loves me, too."

Carroll went on as though he had not heard her.

"There's a bench in St. James's Park," he said, "where we used to sit
when she first came here, when she didn't know so many people. We used
to go there in the morning and throw penny buns to the ducks. That's
been my amusement this summer since you've all been away—sitting on
that bench, feeding penny buns to the silly ducks—especially the black
one, the one she used to like best. And I make pilgrimages to all the
other places we ever visited together, and try to pretend she is with
me. And I support the crossing-sweeper at Lansdowne Passage because she
once said she felt sorry for him. I do all the other absurd things that
a man in love tortures himself by doing. But to what end? She knows how
I care, and yet she won't see why we can't go on being friends as we
once were. What's the use of it all?"

"She is young, I tell you," repeated Miss Cavendish, "and she's too sure
of you. You've told her you care, now try making her think you don't
care."

Carroll shook his head impatiently.

"I will not stoop to such tricks and pretence, Marion," he cried,
impatiently. "All I have is my love for her; if I have to cheat and to
trap her into caring, the whole thing would be degraded."

Miss Cavendish shrugged her shoulders and walked to the door. "Such
amateurs!" she exclaimed, and banged the door after her.

Carroll never quite knew how he had come to make a confidante of Miss
Cavendish. Helen and he had met her when they first arrived in London,
and as she had acted for a season in the United States, she adopted
the two Americans—and told Helen where to go for boots and hats, and
advised Carroll about placing his plays. Helen soon made other friends,
and deserted the artists, with whom her work had first thrown her. She
seemed to prefer the society of the people who bought her paintings, and
who admired and made much of the painter. As she was very beautiful and
at an age when she enjoyed everything in life keenly and eagerly, to give
her pleasure was in itself a distinct pleasure; and the worldly tired
people she met were considering their own entertainment quite as much
as hers when they asked her to their dinners and dances, or to spend a
week with them in the country. In her way, she was as independent as was
Carroll in his, and as she was not in love, as he was, her life was not
narrowed down to but one ideal. But she was not so young as to consider
herself infallible, and she had one excellent friend on whom she was
dependent for advice and to whose directions she submitted implicitly.
This was Lady Gower, the only person to whom Helen had spoken of Carroll
and of his great feeling for her. Lady Gower, immediately after her
marriage, had been a conspicuous and brilliant figure in that set in
London which works eighteen hours a day to keep itself amused, but
after the death of her husband she had disappeared into the country as
completely as though she had entered a convent, and after several years
had then re-entered the world as a professional philanthropist. Her name
was now associated entirely with Women's Leagues, with committees that
presented petitions to Parliament, and with public meetings, at which
she spoke with marvellous ease and effect. Her old friends said she had
taken up this new pose as an outlet for her nervous energies, and as an
effort to forget the man who alone had made life serious to her. Others
knew her as an earnest woman, acting honestly for what she thought was
right. Her success, all admitted, was due to her knowledge of the world
and to her sense of humor, which taught her with whom to use her wealth
and position, and when to demand what she wanted solely on the ground
that the cause was just.

She had taken more than a fancy to Helen, and the position of the
beautiful, motherless girl had appealed to her as one filled with dangers.
When she grew to know Helen better, she recognized that these fears were
quite unnecessary, and as she saw more of her she learned to care for
her deeply. Helen had told her much of Carroll and of his double purpose
in coming to London; of his brilliant work and his lack of success in
having it recognized; and of his great and loyal devotion to her, and
of his lack of success, not in having that recognized, but in her own
inability to return it. Helen was proud that she had been able to make
Carroll care for her as he did, and that there was anything about her
which could inspire a man whom she admired so much, to believe in her
so absolutely and for so long a time. But what convinced her that the
outcome for which he hoped was impossible, was the very fact that she
could admire him, and see how fine and unselfish his love for her was,
and yet remain untouched by it.

She had been telling Lady Gower one day of the care he had taken of her
ever since she was fourteen years of age, and had quoted some of the
friendly and loverlike acts he had performed in her service, until one
day they had both found out that his attitude of the elder brother was
no longer possible, and that he loved her in the old and only way. Lady
Gower looked at her rather doubtfully and smiled.

"I wish you would bring him to see me, Helen," she said; "I think I
should like your friend very much. From what you tell me of him I doubt
if you will find many such men waiting for you in this country. Our men
marry for reasons of property, or they love blindly, and are exacting
and selfish before and after they are married. I know, because so many
women came to me when my husband was alive to ask how it was that I
continued so happy in my married life."

"But I don't want to marry anyone," Helen remonstrated, gently. "American
girls are not always thinking only of getting married."

"What I meant was this," said Lady Gower, "that, in my experience, I
have heard of but few men who care in the way this young man seems to
care for you. You say you do not love him, but if he had wanted to gain
my interest, he could not have pleaded his case better than you have
done. He seems to see your faults and yet love you still, in spite of
them—or on account of them. And I like the things he does for you. I
like, for instance, his sending you the book of the moment every week
for two years. That shows a most unswerving spirit of devotion. And the
story of the broken bridge in the woods is a wonderful story. If I were a
young girl, I could love a man for that alone. It was a beautiful thing
to do."

Helen sat with her chin on her hands, deeply considering this new point
of view.

"I thought it very foolish of him," she confessed, questioningly, "to
take such a risk for such a little thing."

Lady Gower smiled down at her from the height of her many years.

"Wait," she said, dryly; "you are very young now—and very rich; everyone
is crowding to give you pleasure, to show his admiration. You are a very
fortunate girl. But later, these things which some man has done because
he loved you, and which you call foolish, will grow large in your life,
and shine out strongly, and when you are discouraged and alone, you will
take them out, and the memory of them will make you proud and happy.
They are the honors which women wear in secret."

Helen came back to town in September, and for the first few days was
so occupied in refurnishing her studio and in visiting the shops that
she neglected to send Carroll word of her return. When she found that
a whole week had passed without her having made any effort to see him,
and appreciated how the fact would hurt her friend, she was filled with
remorse, and drove at once in great haste to Jermyn Street, to announce
her return in person. On the way she decided that she would soften the
blow of her week of neglect by asking him to take her out to luncheon.
This privilege she had once or twice accorded him, and she felt that
the pleasure these excursions gave Carroll were worth the consternation
they caused to Lady Gower.

The servant was uncertain whether Mr. Carroll was at home or not, but
Helen was too intent upon making restitution to wait for the fact to be
determined, and, running up the stairs, knocked sharply at the door of
his study.

A voice bade her come in, and she entered radiant and smiling her
welcome. But Carroll was not there to receive it, and instead, Marion
Cavendish looked up at her from his desk where she was busily writing.
Helen paused with a surprised laugh, but Marion sprang up and hailed
her gladly. They met half way across the room and kissed each other with
the most friendly feeling.

Philip was out, Marion said, and she had just stepped in for a moment
to write him a note. If Helen would excuse her, she would finish it, as
she was late for rehearsal.

But she asked over her shoulder, with great interest, if Helen had
passed a pleasant summer. She thought she had never seen her looking so
well. Helen thought Miss Cavendish herself was looking very well also,
but Marion said no; that she was too sunburnt, she would not be able
to wear a dinner-dress for a month. There was a pause while Marion's
quill scratched violently across Carroll's note-paper. Helen felt that
in some way she was being treated as an intruder; or worse, as a guest.
She did not sit down, it seemed impossible to do so, but she moved
uncertainly about the room. She noted that there were many changes, it
seemed more bare and empty; her picture was still on the writing-desk,
but there were at least six new photographs of Marion. Marion herself
had brought them to the room that morning, and had carefully arranged
them in conspicuous places. But Helen could not know that. She thought
there was an unnecessary amount of writing scribbled over the face of
each.

Marion addressed her letter and wrote "Immediate" across the envelope,
and placed it before the clock on the mantel-shelf. "You will find Philip
looking very badly," she said, as she pulled on her gloves. "He has been
in town all summer, working very hard—he has had no holiday at all. I
don't think he's well. I have been a great deal worried about him," she
added. Her face was bent over the buttons of her glove, and when she
raised her blue eyes to Helen they were filled with serious concern.

"Really," Helen stammered, "I—I didn't know—in his letters he seemed
very cheerful."

Marion shook her head and turned and stood looking thoughtfully out of
the window. "He's in a very hard place," she began abruptly, and then
stopped as though she had thought better of what she intended to say.
Helen tried to ask her to go on, but could not bring herself to do so.
She wanted to get away.

"I tell him he ought to leave London," Marion began again; "he needs a
change and a rest."

"I should think he might," Helen agreed, "after three months of this
heat. He wrote me he intended going to Herne Bay or over to Ostend."

"Yes, he had meant to go," Marion answered. She spoke with an air of
one who possessed the most intimate knowledge of Carroll's movements and
plans, and change of plans. "But he couldn't," she added. "He couldn't
afford it. Helen," she said, turning to the other girl, dramatically,
"do you know—I believe that Philip is very poor."

Miss Cabot exclaimed, incredulously, "Poor!" she laughed. "Why, what do
you mean?"

"I mean that he has no money," Marion answered, sharply. "These rooms
represent nothing. He only keeps them on because he paid for them in
advance. He's been living on three shillings a day. That's poor for him.
He takes his meals at cabmen's shelters and at Lockhart's, and he's been
doing so for a month."

Helen recalled with a guilty thrill the receipt of certain boxes of La
France roses—cut long, in the American fashion—which had arrived within
the last month at various country houses. She felt indignant at herself,
and miserable. Her indignation was largely due to the recollection that
she had given these flowers to her hostess to decorate the dinner-table.

She hated to ask this girl of things which she should have known better
than anyone else. But she forced herself to do it. She felt she must
know certainly and at once.

"How do you know this?" she asked. "Are you sure there is no mistake?"

"He told me himself," said Marion, "when he talked of letting the plays
go and returning to America. He said he must go back; that his money
was gone."

"He is gone to America!" Helen said, blankly.

"No, he wanted to go, but I wouldn't let him," Marion went on. "I told
him that someone might take his play any day. And this third one he
has written, the one he finished this summer in town, is the best of
all, I think. It's a love-story. It's quite beautiful." She turned and
arranged her veil at the glass, and as she did so, her eyes fell on the
photographs of herself scattered over the mantel-piece, and she smiled
slightly. But Helen did not see her—she was sitting down now, pulling
at the books on the table. She was confused and disturbed by emotions
which were quite strange to her, and when Marion bade her good-by she
hardly noticed her departure. What impressed her most of all in what
Marion had told her, was, she was surprised to find, that Philip was
going away. That she herself had frequently urged him to do so, for his
own peace of mind, seemed now of no consequence. Now that he seriously
contemplated it, she recognized that his absence meant to her a change
in everything. She felt for the first time the peculiar place he held
in her life. Even if she had seen him but seldom, the fact that he was
within call had been more of a comfort and a necessity to her than she
understood.

That he was poor, concerned her chiefly because she knew that, although
this condition could only be but temporary, it would distress him not
to have his friends around him, and to entertain them as he had been
used to do. She wondered eagerly if she might offer to help him, but
a second thought assured her that, for a man, that sort of help from a
woman was impossible.

She resented the fact that Marion was deep in his confidence; that it
was Marion who had told her of his changed condition and of his plans.
It annoyed her so acutely that she could not remain in the room where
she had seen her so complacently in possession. And after leaving a
brief note for Philip, she went away. She stopped a hansom at the door,
and told the man to drive along the Embankment—she wanted to be quite
alone, and she felt she could see no one until she had thought it all
out, and had analyzed the new feelings.

So for several hours she drove slowly up and down, sunk far back in
the cushions of the cab, and staring, with unseeing eyes, at the white
enamelled tariff and the black dash-board.

She assured herself that she was not jealous of Marion, because, in order
to be jealous, she first would have to care for Philip in the very way
she could not bring herself to do.

She decided that his interest in Marion hurt her, because it showed that
Philip was not capable of remaining true to the one ideal of his life.
She was sure that this explained her feelings—she was disappointed that
he had not kept up to his own standard; that he was weak enough to turn
aside from it for the first pretty pair of eyes. But she was too honest
and too just to accept that diagnosis of her feelings as final—she knew
there had been many pairs of eyes in America and in London, and that
though Philip had seen them, he had not answered them when they spoke.
No, she confessed frankly, she was hurt with herself for neglecting her
old friend so selfishly and for so long a time; his love gave him claims
on her consideration, at least, and she had forgotten that and him, and
had run after strange gods and allowed others to come in and take her
place, and to give him the sympathy and help which she should have been
the first to offer, and which would have counted more when coming from
her than from anyone else. She determined to make amends at once for her
thoughtlessness and selfishness, and her brain was pleasantly occupied
with plans and acts of kindness. It was a new entertainment, and she
found she delighted in it. She directed the cabman to go to Solomons's,
and from there sent Philip a bunch of flowers and a line saying that on
the following day she was coming to take tea with him. She had a guilty
feeling that he might consider her friendly advances more seriously than
she meant them, but it was her pleasure to be reckless: her feelings
were running riotously, and the sensation was so new that she refused
to be circumspect or to consider consequences. Who could tell, she asked
herself with a quick, frightened gasp, but that, after all, it might be
that she was learning to care? From Solomons's she bade the man drive to
the shop in Cranbourne Street where she was accustomed to purchase the
materials she used in painting, and Fate, which uses strange agents to
work out its ends, so directed it that the cabman stopped a few doors
below this shop, and opposite one where jewelry and other personal effects
were bought and sold. At any other time, or had she been in any other
mood, what followed might not have occurred, but Fate, in the person
of the cabman, arranged it so that the hour and the opportunity came
together.

There were some old mezzotints in the window of the loan shop, a string
of coins and medals, a row of new French posters; and far down to the
front a tray filled with gold and silver cigarette-cases and watches and
rings. It occurred to Helen, who was still bent on making restitution
for her neglect, that a cigarette-case would be more appropriate for a
man than flowers, and more lasting. And she scanned the contents of the
window with the eye of one who now saw in everything only something which
might give Philip pleasure. The two objects of value in the tray upon
which her eyes first fell were the gold seal-ring with which Philip had
sealed his letters to her, and lying next to it, his gold watch! There
was something almost human in the way the ring and watch spoke to her
from the past—in the way they appealed to her to rescue them from the
surroundings to which they had been abandoned. She did not know what she
meant to do with them nor how she could return them to Philip; but there
was no question of doubt in her manner as she swept with a rush into the
shop. There was no attempt, either, at bargaining in the way in which
she pointed out to the young woman behind the counter the particular
ring and watch she wanted. They had not been left as collateral, the
young woman said; they had been sold outright.

"Then anyone can buy them?" Helen asked eagerly. "They are for sale to
the public—to anyone?"

The young woman made note of the customer's eagerness, but with an
unmoved countenance.

"Yes, miss, they are for sale. The ring is four pounds and the watch
twenty-five."

"Twenty-nine pounds!" Helen gasped.

That was more money than she had in the world, but the fact did not
distress her, for she had a true artistic disregard for ready money, and
the absence of it had never disturbed her. But now it assumed a sudden
and alarming value. She had ten pounds in her purse and ten pounds at
her studio—these were just enough to pay for a quarter's rent and the
rates, and there was a hat and cloak in Bond Street which she certainly
must have. Her only assets consisted of the possibility that someone
might soon order a miniature, and to her mind that was sufficient. Some
one always had ordered a miniature, and there was no reasonable doubt but
that someone would do it again. For a moment she questioned if it would
not be sufficient if she bought the ring and allowed the watch to remain.
But she recognized that the ring meant more to her than the watch, while
the latter, as an old heirloom which had been passed down to him from a
great-grandfather, meant more to Philip. It was for Philip she was doing
this, she reminded herself. She stood holding his possessions, one in
each hand, and looking at the young woman blankly. She had no doubt in
her mind that at least part of the money he had received for them had
paid for the flowers he had sent to her in Scotland. The certainty of
this left her no choice. She laid the ring and watch down and pulled
the only ring she possessed from her own finger. It was a gift from Lady
Gower. She had no doubt that it was of great value.

"Can you lend me some money on that?" she asked. It was the first time
she had conducted a business transaction of this nature, and she felt
as though she were engaging in a burglary.

"We don't lend money, miss," the girl said, "we buy outright. I can give
you twenty-eight shillings for this," she added.

"Twenty-eight shillings," Helen gasped; "why, it is worth—oh, ever so
much more than that!"

"That is all it is worth to us," the girl answered. She regarded the
ring indifferently and laid it away from her on the counter. The action
was final.

Helen's hands rose slowly to her breast, where a pretty watch dangled from
a bow-knot of crushed diamonds. It was her only possession, and she was
very fond of it. It also was the gift of one of the several great ladies
who had adopted her since her residence in London. Helen had painted a
miniature of this particular great lady which had looked so beautiful
that the pleasure which the original of the portrait derived from the
thought that she still really looked as she did in the miniature, was
worth more to her than many diamonds.

But it was different with Helen, and no one could count what it cost
her to tear away her one proud possession.

"What will you give me for this?" she asked, defiantly.

The girl's eyes showed greater interest. "I can give you twenty pounds
for that," she said.

"Take it, please," Helen begged, as though she feared if she kept it a
moment longer she might not be able to make the sacrifice.

"That will be enough now," she went on, taking out her ten-pound note. She
put Lady Gower's ring back upon her finger and picked up Philip's ring
and watch with the pleasure of one who has come into a great fortune.
She turned back at the door.

"Oh," she stammered, "in case anyone should inquire, you are not to say
who bought these."

"No, miss, certainly not," said the woman. Helen gave the direction to
the cabman and, closing the doors of the hansom, sat looking down at
the watch and the ring as they lay in her lap. The thought that they
had been his most valued possessions, which he had abandoned forever,
and that they were now entirely hers, to do with as she liked, filled
her with most intense delight and pleasure. She took up the heavy gold
ring and placed it on the little finger of her left hand; it was much
too large, and she removed it and balanced it for a moment doubtfully in
the palm of her right hand. She was smiling, and her face was lit with
shy and tender thoughts. She cast a quick glance to the left and right,
as though fearful that people passing in the street would observe her,
and then slipped the ring over the third finger of her left hand. She
gazed at it with a guilty smile and then, covering it hastily with her
other hand, leaned back, clasping it closely, and sat frowning far out
before her with puzzled eyes.

To Carroll all roads led past Helen's studio, and during the summer,
while she had been absent in Scotland, it was one of his sad pleasures
to make a pilgrimage to her street and to pause opposite the house and
look up at the empty windows of her rooms. It was during this daily
exercise that he learned, through the arrival of her luggage, of her
return to London, and when day followed day without her having shown
any desire to see him or to tell him of her return he denounced himself
most bitterly as a fatuous fool.

At the end of the week he sat down and considered his case quite calmly.
For three years he had loved this girl, deeply and tenderly. He had been
lover, brother, friend, and guardian. During that time, even though she
had accepted him in every capacity except as that of the prospective
husband, she had never given him any real affection, nor sympathy, nor
help; all she had done for him had been done without her knowledge or
intent. To know her, to love her, and to scheme to give her pleasure had
been its own reward, and the only one. For the last few months he had
been living like a crossing-sweeper in order to be able to stay in London
until she came back to it, and that he might still send her the gifts
he had always laid on her altar. He had not seen her in three months.
Three months that had been to him a blank, except for his work—which
like all else that he did, was inspired and carried on for her. Now at
last she had returned and had shown that, even as a friend, he was of so
little account in her thoughts, of so little consequence in her life,
that after this long absence she had no desire to learn of his welfare
or to see him—she did not even give him the chance to see her. And so,
placing these facts before him for the first time since he had loved her,
he considered what was due to himself. "Was it good enough?" he asked.
"Was it just that he should continue to wear out his soul and body for
this girl who did not want what he had to give, who treated him less
considerately than a man whom she met for the first time at dinner?" He
felt he had reached the breaking-point; that the time had come when he
must consider what he owed to himself. There could never be any other
woman save Helen, but as it was not to be Helen, he could no longer, with
self-respect, continue to proffer his love only to see it slighted and
neglected. He was humble enough concerning himself, but of his love he
was very proud. Other men could give her more in wealth or position, but
no one could ever love her as he did. "He that hath more let him give,"
he had often quoted to her defiantly, as though he were challenging the
world, and now he felt he must evolve a make-shift world of his own—a
world in which she was not his only spring of acts; he must begin all
over again and keep his love secret and sacred until she understood it
and wanted it. And if she should never want it he would at least have
saved it from many rebuffs and insults.

With this determination strong in him, the note Helen had left for him
after her talk with Marion, and the flowers, and the note with them,
saying she was coming to take tea on the morrow, failed to move him
except to make him more bitter. He saw in them only a tardy recognition
of her neglect—an effort to make up to him for thoughtlessness which,
from her, hurt him worse than studied slight.

A new régime had begun, and he was determined to establish it firmly and
to make it impossible for himself to retreat from it; and in the note
in which he thanked Helen for the flowers and welcomed her to tea, he
declared his ultimatum.

"You know how terribly I feel," he wrote; "I don't have to tell you
that, but I cannot always go on dragging out my love and holding it up
to excite your pity as beggars show their sores. I cannot always go on
praying before your altar, cutting myself with knives and calling upon
you to listen to me. You know that there is no one else but you, and that
there never can be anyone but you, and that nothing is changed except
that after this I am not going to urge and torment you. I shall wait as
I have always waited—only now I shall wait in silence. You know just
how little, in one way, I have to offer you, and you know just how much
I have in love to offer you. It is now for you to speak—some day, or
never. But you will have to speak first. You will never hear a word of
love from me again. Why should you? You know it is always waiting for
you. But if you should ever want it, you must come to me, and take off
your hat and put it on my table and say, 'Philip, I have come to stay.'
Whether you can ever do that or not can make no difference in my love for
you. I shall love you always, as no man has ever loved a woman in this
world, but it is you who must speak first; for me, the rest is silence."

The following morning as Helen was leaving the house she found this
letter lying on the hall-table, and ran back with it to her rooms. A
week before she would have let it lie on the table and read it on her
return. She was conscious that this was what she would have done, and it
pleased her to find that what concerned Philip was now to her the thing
of greatest interest. She was pleased with her own eagerness—her own
happiness was a welcome sign, and she was proud and glad that she was
learning to care.

She read the letter with an anxious pride and pleasure in each word that
was entirely new. Philip's recriminations did not hurt her, they were the
sign that he cared; nor did his determination not to speak of his love
to her hurt her, for she believed him when he said that he would always
care. She read the letter twice, and then sat for some time considering
the kind of letter Philip would have written had he known her secret—had
he known that the ring he had abandoned was now upon her finger.

She rose and, crossing to a desk, placed the letter in a drawer, and
then took it out again and re-read the last page. When she had finished
it she was smiling. For a moment she stood irresolute and then, moving
slowly toward the centre-table, cast a guilty look about her and, raising
her hands, lifted her veil and half withdrew the pins that fastened her
hat.

"Philip," she began in a frightened whisper, "I have—I have come to——."

The sentence ended in a cry of protest, and she rushed across the room
as though she were running from herself. She was blushing violently.

"Never!" she cried, as she pulled open the door; "I could never do
it—never!"

The following afternoon, when Helen was to come to tea, Carroll decided
that he would receive her with all the old friendliness, but that he
must be careful to subdue all emotion.

He was really deeply hurt at her treatment, and had it not been that she
came on her own invitation he would not of his own accord have sought to
see her. In consequence, he rather welcomed than otherwise the arrival
of Marion Cavendish, who came a half-hour before Helen was expected,
and who followed a hasty knock with a precipitate entrance.

"Sit down," she commanded breathlessly; "and listen. I've been at
rehearsal all day, or I'd have been here before you were awake." She
seated herself nervously and nodded her head at Carroll in an excited
and mysterious manner.

"What is it?" he asked. "Have you and Reggie——"

  [Illustration: Saw her staring down at the tumult.—Page 150.]

"Listen," Marion repeated, "our fortunes are made; that is what's the
matter—and I've made them. If you took half the interest in your work I
do, you'd have made yours long ago. Last night," she began, impressively,
"I went to a large supper at the Savoy, and I sat next to Charley Wimpole.
He came in late, after everybody had finished, and I attacked him while
he was eating his supper. He said he had been rehearsing 'Caste' after
the performance; that they've put it on as a stop-gap on account of the
failure of the 'Triflers,' and that he knew revivals were of no use;
that he would give any sum for a good modern comedy. That was my cue,
and I told him I knew of a better comedy than any he had produced at
his theatre in five years, and that it was going begging. He laughed,
and asked where was he to find this wonderful comedy, and I said, 'It's
been in your safe for the last two months, and you haven't read it.'
He said 'Indeed, how do you know that?' and I said, 'Because if you'd
read it, it wouldn't be in your safe, but on your stage.' So, he asked
me what the play was about, and I told him the plot and what sort of a
part his was, and some of his scenes, and he began to take notice. He
forgot his supper, and very soon he grew so interested that he turned
his chair round and kept eying my supper-card to find out who I was, and
at last remembered seeing me in 'The New Boy'—and a rotten part it was,
too—but he remembered it, and he told me to go on and tell him more
about your play. So I recited it, bit by bit, and he laughed in all the
right places and got very much excited, and said finally that he would
read it the first thing this morning." Marion paused, breathlessly. "Oh,
yes, and he wrote your address on his cuff," she added, with the air of
delivering a complete and convincing climax.

Carroll stared at her and pulled excitedly on his pipe.

"Oh, Marion!" he gasped, "suppose he should? He won't, though," he added,
but eying her eagerly and inviting contradiction.

"He will," she answered, stoutly, "if he reads it."

"The other managers read it," Carroll suggested, doubtfully.

"Yes, but what do they know?" Marion returned, loftily. "He knows.
Charles Wimpole is the only intelligent actor-manager in London."

There was a sharp knock at the door, which Marion in her excitement had
left ajar, and Prentiss threw it wide open with an impressive sweep, as
though he were announcing royalty; "Mr. Charles Wimpole," he said.

The actor-manager stopped in the doorway bowing gracefully, his hat held
before him and his hand on his stick as though it were resting on a foil.
He had the face and carriage of a gallant of the days of Congreve, and
he wore his modern frock-coat with as much distinction as if it were of
silk and lace. He was evidently amused. "I couldn't help over-hearing
the last line," he said, smiling. "It gives me a good entrance."

Marion gazed at him blankly: "Oh," she gasped, "we—we—were just talking
about you."

"If you hadn't mentioned my name," the actor said, "I should never have
guessed it. And this is Mr. Carroll, I hope."

The great man was rather pleased with the situation. As he read it, it
struck him as possessing strong dramatic possibilities: Carroll was the
struggling author on the verge of starvation: Marion, his sweetheart,
flying to him gave him hope; and he was the good fairy arriving in the
nick of time to set everything right and to make the young people happy
and prosperous. He rather fancied himself in the part of the good fairy,
and as he seated himself he bowed to them both in a manner which was
charmingly inclusive and confidential.

"Miss Cavendish, I imagine, has already warned you that you might expect
a visit from me," he said, tentatively. Carroll nodded. He was too much
concerned to interrupt.

"Then I need only tell you," Wimpole continued, "that I got up at an
absurd hour this morning to read your play; that I did read it; that I
like it immensely—and that if we can come to terms I shall produce it.
I shall produce it at once, within a fortnight or three weeks."

  [Illustration: Instead ... buried her face in its folds.—Page 150.]

Carroll was staring at him intently and continued doing so after Wimpole
had finished speaking. The actor felt he had somehow missed his point,
or that Carroll could not have understood him, and repeated, "I say I
shall put it in rehearsal at once."

  [Illustration: Her fingers fumbled with the knot of her
   veil.—Page 152.]

Carroll rose abruptly, and pushed back his chair. "I should be very
glad," he murmured, and strode over to the window, where he stood with
his back turned to his guests. Wimpole looked after him with a kindly
smile and nodded his head appreciatively. He had produced even a greater
effect than his lines seemed to warrant. When he spoke again, it was
quite simply and sincerely, and though he spoke for Carroll's benefit,
he addressed himself to Marion.

"You were quite right last night," he said, "it is a most charming piece
of work. I am really extremely grateful to you for bringing it to my
notice." He rose, and going to Carroll, put his hand on his shoulder.
"My boy," he said, "I congratulate you. I should like to be your age,
and to have written that play. Come to my theatre to-morrow and we will
talk terms. Talk it over first with your friends, so that I sha'n't rob
you. Do you think you would prefer a lump sum now, and so be done with
it altogether, or trust that the royalties may——"

"Royalties," prompted Marion, in an eager aside.

The men laughed. "Quite right," Wimpole assented, good-humoredly;
"it's a poor sportsman who doesn't back his own horse. Well then, until
to-morrow."

"But," Carroll began, "one moment please. I haven't thanked you."

"My dear boy," cried Wimpole, waving him away with his stick, "it is I
who have to thank you."

"And—and there is a condition," Carroll said, "which goes with the
play. It is that Miss Cavendish is to have the part of _Nancy_."

Wimpole looked serious and considered for a moment.

"_Nancy_," he said, "the girl who interferes—a very good part. I
have cast Miss Maddox for it in my mind, but, of course, if the author
insists——"

Marion, with her elbows on the table, clasped her hands appealingly
before her.

"Oh, Mr. Wimpole!" she cried, "you owe me that, at least."

Carroll leaned over and took both of Marion's hands in one of his.

"It's all right," he said; "the author insists."

Wimpole waved his stick again as though it were the magic wand of the
good fairy.

"You shall have it," he said. "I recall your performance in 'The New
Boy' with pleasure. I take the play, and Miss Cavendish shall be cast
for _Nancy_. We shall begin rehearsals at once. I hope you are a quick
study."

"I'm letter-perfect now," laughed Marion.

Wimpole turned at the door and nodded to them. They were both so young,
so eager, and so jubilant that he felt strangely old and out of it.
"Good-by, then," he said.

"Good-by, sir," they both chorused. And Marion cried after him, "And
thank you a thousand times."

He turned again and looked back at them, but in their rejoicing they had
already forgotten him. "Bless you, my children," he said, smiling. As he
was about to close the door a young girl came down the passage toward
it, and as she was apparently going to Carroll's rooms, the actor left
the door open behind him.

Neither Marion nor Carroll had noticed his final exit. They were both
gazing at each other as though, could they find speech, they would ask
if it were true.

"It's come at last, Marion," Philip said, with an uncertain voice.

"I could weep," cried Marion. "Philip," she exclaimed, "I would rather
see that play succeed than any play ever written, and I would rather
play that part in it than—Oh, Philip," she ended. "I'm so proud of you!"
and rising, she threw her arms about his neck and sobbed on his shoulder.

Carroll raised one of her hands and kissed the tips of her fingers,
gently. "I owe it to you, Marion," he said—"all to you."

This was the tableau that was presented through the open door to Miss
Helen Cabot, hurrying on her errand of restitution and good-will, and
with Philip's ring and watch clasped in her hand. They had not heard
her, nor did they see her at the door, so she drew back quickly and ran
along the passage and down the stairs into the street.

She did not need now to analyze her feelings. They were only too evident.
For she could translate what she had just seen as meaning only one
thing—that she had considered Philip's love so lightly that she had not
felt it passing away from her until her neglect had killed it—until
it was too late. And now that it was too late she felt that without
it her life could not go on. She tried to assure herself that only the
fact that she had lost it made it seem invaluable, but this thought did
not comfort her—she was not deceived by it, she knew that at last she
cared for him deeply and entirely. In her distress she blamed herself
bitterly, but she also blamed Philip no less bitterly for having failed
to wait for her. "He might have known that I must love him in time," she
repeated to herself again and again. She was so unhappy that her letter
congratulating Philip on his good fortune in having his comedy accepted
seemed to him cold and unfeeling, and as his success meant for him only
what it meant to her, he was hurt and grievously disappointed.

He accordingly turned the more readily to Marion, whose interests and
enthusiasm at the rehearsals of the piece seemed in contrast most friendly
and unselfish. He could not help but compare the attitude of the two
girls at this time, when the failure or success of his best work was
still undecided. He felt that as Helen took so little interest in his
success he could not dare to trouble her with his anxieties concerning
it, and she attributed his silence to his pre-occupation and interest
in Marion. So the two grew apart, each misunderstanding the other and
each troubled in spirit at the other's indifference.

The first night of the play justified all that Marion and Wimpole had
claimed for it, and was a great personal triumph for the new playwright.
The audience was the typical first-night audience of the class which
Charles Wimpole always commanded. It was brilliant, intelligent, and
smart, and it came prepared to be pleased.

From one of the upper stage-boxes Helen and Lady Gower watched the
successful progress of the play with an anxiety almost as keen as that
of the author. To Helen it seemed as though the giving of these lines to
the public—these lines which he had so often read to her, and altered
to her liking—was a desecration. It seemed as though she were losing
him indeed—as though he now belonged to these strange people, all of
whom were laughing and applauding his words, from the German Princess
in the Royal box to the straight-backed Tommy in the pit. Instead of the
painted scene before her, she saw the birch-trees by the river at home,
where he had first read her the speech to which they were now listening
so intensely—the speech in which the hero tells the girl he loves her.
She remembered that at the time she had thought how wonderful it would
be if some day someone made such a speech to her—not Philip—but a man
she loved. And now? If Philip would only make that speech to her now!

He came out at last, with Wimpole leading him, and bowed across a glaring
barrier of lights at a misty but vociferous audience that was shouting
the generous English bravo! and standing up to applaud. He raised his
eyes to the box where Helen sat and saw her staring down at the tumult,
with her hands clasped under her chin. Her face was colorless, but lit
with the excitement of the moment; and he saw that she was crying.

Lady Gower, from behind her, was clapping her hands delightedly.

"But, my dear Helen," she remonstrated, breathlessly, "you never told
me he was so good-looking."

"Yes," said Helen, rising abruptly, "he is—very good-looking."

She crossed the box to where her cloak was hanging, but instead of taking
it down buried her face in its folds.

"My dear child!" cried Lady Gower in dismay. "What is it? The excitement
has been too much for you."

"No, I am just happy," sobbed Helen. "I am just happy for him."

"We will go and tell him so then," said Lady Gower. "I am sure he would
like to hear it from you to-night."

Philip was standing in the centre of the stage, surrounded by many pretty
ladies and elderly men. Wimpole was hovering over him as though he had
claims upon him by the right of discovery.

But when Philip saw Helen, he pushed his way toward her eagerly and took
her hand in both of his.

"I am so glad, Phil," she said. She felt it all so deeply that she was
afraid to say more, but that meant so much to her that she was sure he
would understand.

He had planned it very differently. For a year he had dreamed that, on
the first night of his play, there would be a supper, and that he would
rise and drink her health, and tell his friends and the world that she
was the woman he loved, and that she had agreed to marry him, and that
at last he was able, through the success of his play, to make her his
wife.

And now they met in a crowd to shake hands, and she went her way with
one of her grand ladies, and he was left among a group of chattering
strangers. The great English playwright took him by the hand and in the
hearing of all, praised him gracefully and kindly. It did not matter
to Philip whether the older playwright believed what he said or not; he
knew it was generously meant.

"I envy you this," the great man was saying. "Don't lose any of it,
stay and listen to all they have to say. You will never live through
the first night of your first play but once."

"Yes, I hear them," said Philip, nervously; "they are all too kind. But I
don't hear the voice I have been listening for," he added in a whisper.
The older man pressed his hand again quickly. "My dear boy," he said,
"I am sorry."

"Thank you," Philip answered.

Within a week he had forgotten the great man's fine words of praise,
but the clasp of his hand he cherished always.

Helen met Marion as she was leaving the stage-door and stopped to
congratulate her on her success in the new part. Marion was radiant. To
Helen she seemed obstreperously happy and jubilant.

"And Marion," Helen began, bravely, "I also want to congratulate you on
something else. You—you—neither of you have told me yet," she stammered,
"but I am such an old friend of both that I will not be kept out of the
secret." At these words Marion's air of triumphant gayety vanished; she
regarded Helen's troubled eyes closely and kindly.

"What secret, Helen?" she asked.

"I came to the door of Philip's room the other day when you did not
know I was there," Helen answered; "and I could not help seeing how
matters were. And I do congratulate you both——and wish you—oh, such
happiness!" Without a word Marion dragged her back down the passage to
her dressing-room, and closed the door.

"Now tell me what you mean," she said.

"I am sorry if I discovered anything you didn't want known yet," said
Helen, "but the door was open. Mr. Wimpole had just left you and had
not shut it, and I could not help seeing."

Marion interrupted her with an eager exclamation of enlightenment.

"Oh, you were there, then," she cried. "And you?" she asked eagerly—"you
thought Phil cared for me—that we are engaged, and it hurt you; you
are sorry? Tell me," she demanded, "are you sorry?"

Helen drew back and stretched out her hand toward the door.

"How can you!" she exclaimed, indignantly. "You have no right."

Marion stood between her and the door.

"I have every right," she said, "to help my friends, and I want to help
you and Philip. And indeed I do hope you _are_ sorry. I hope you are
miserable. And I'm glad you saw me kiss him. That was the first and
the last time, and I did it because I was happy and glad for him; and
because I love him too, but not in the least in the way he loves you. No
one ever loved anyone as he loves you. And it's time you found it out.
And if I have helped to make you find it out I'm glad, and I don't care
how much I hurt you."

"Marion!" exclaimed Helen, "what does it mean? Do you mean that you are
not engaged; that——"

"Certainly not," Marion answered. "I am going to marry Reggie. It is you
that Philip loves, and I am very sorry for you that you don't love him."

Helen clasped Marion's hands in both of hers.

"But, Marion!" she cried, "I do, oh, I do!"

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a thick yellow fog the next morning, and with it rain and a
sticky, depressing dampness which crept through the window-panes, and
which neither a fire nor blazing gas-jets could overcome.

Philip stood in front of the fire-place with the morning papers piled
high on the centre-table and scattered over the room about him.

He had read them all, and he knew now what it was to wake up famous,
but he could not taste it. Now that it had come it meant nothing, and
that it was so complete a triumph only made it the harder. In his most
optimistic dreams he had never imagined success so satisfying as the
reality had proved to be; but in his dreams Helen had always held the
chief part, and without her success seemed only to mock him.

He wanted to lay it all before her, to say, "If you are pleased, I am
happy. If you are satisfied, then I am content. It was done for you,
and I am wholly yours, and all that I do is yours." And, as though in
answer to his thoughts, there was an instant knock at the door, and
Helen entered the room and stood smiling at him across the table.

Her eyes were lit with excitement, and spoke with many emotions, and
her cheeks were brilliant with color. He had never seen her look more
beautiful.

"Why, Helen!" he exclaimed, "how good of you to come. Is there anything
wrong? Is anything the matter?"

She tried to speak, but faltered, and smiled at him appealingly.

"What is it?" he asked in great concern.

Helen drew in her breath quickly, and at the same moment motioned him
away—and he stepped back and stood watching her in much perplexity.

With her eyes fixed on his she raised her hands to her head, and her
fingers fumbled with the knot of her veil. She pulled it loose, and
then, with a sudden courage, lifted her hat proudly, as though it were
a coronet, and placed it between them on his table.

"Philip," she stammered, with the tears in her voice and eyes, "if you
will let me—I have come to stay."

The table was no longer between them. He caught her in his arms and
kissed her face and her uncovered head again and again. From outside the
rain beat drearily and the fog rolled through the street, but inside
before the fire the two young people sat close together, asking eager
questions or sitting in silence, staring at the flames with wondering,
happy eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Lion and the Unicorn saw them only once again. It was a month later
when they stopped in front of the shop in a four-wheeler, with their
baggage mixed on top of it, and steamer-labels pasted over every trunk.

"And, oh, Prentiss!" Carroll called from the cab-window. "I came near
forgetting. I promised to gild the Lion and the Unicorn if I won out in
London. So have it done, please, and send the bill to me. For I've won
out all right." And then he shut the door of the cab, and they drove
away forever.

"Nice gal, that," growled the Lion. "I always liked her. I am glad
they've settled it at last."

The Unicorn sighed, sentimentally, "The other one's worth two of her,"
he said.

  [Illustration]



  [Illustration: Nothing was to be seen of him but his head ...
   sputtering bad words.—Page 160.]



VAILLANTCŒUR

By Henry van Dyke

ILLUSTRATIONS BY WALTER APPLETON CLARK


I

"That was truly his name, M'sieu'—Raoul Vaillantcœur—a name of the
fine sound, is it not? But me—I think sometimes those grand names attach
themselves not to the proper men. It is like the time when the guide-post
of the four roads, beside Chicoutimi, blows down from the big storm, and
Telesphore Gauthier, he sets him up once more. That Telesphore there,
he knows not to read, not so much as the fool caribou. It is the mercy
of God, now, what road you take, unless you know him already."

Silence for a few moments, broken only by the ripple of water under
the bow of the canoe, the _slish_, _slish_ of the dripping paddle at
the stern, and the persistent patter of the rain all around us. I knew
there was a story on the way. But I must keep still to get it. A single
ill-advised question might switch it off the track into a morass of
politics or moralizing. Presently the voice behind me began again.

"You like that name, M'sieu', is it not? _Le cœur vaillant_—it pleases
you. But my faith! To me it seems that was given by one who knows not to
read. It was put upon the wrong man, without doubt. You shall judge for
yourself, M'sieu', when you hear what passed between this Vaillantcœur
and his friend Prosper Leclère at the building of the church of Abbéville.
You remind yourself of that grand stone church of the square tower—yes?
Well, I am going to tell you the story of that."

Thus Ferdinand, my brave _voyageur_, in his old-fashioned _patois_ of
French Canada, as he pushed the birch-bark down the lonely length of Lac
Moïse. How it rained that day! The surface of the lake was beaten flat,
and quivered under the storm of silver bullets. Waving sheets of watery
gray were driven before the wind; broad curves of dancing drops swept
along in front of them where they touched the lake. The dismal clouds had
collapsed on the mountains. All around the homeless shores the evergreen
trees seemed to hunch their backs and stand closer together in patient
misery. Not a bird dared to sing—not even a red-breasted crossbill.

It felt as if we were a thousand miles from everywhere and everybody.
Cities, factories, libraries, colleges, laws, palaces, theatres,
temples—what had we dreamed of these things? They were far off, in
another world. We had slipped back, who knows how many centuries, into
a primitive life, and Ferdinand was telling me the naked story of the
brave heart, even as it has been told from the beginning.

I cannot tell the story just as he did. There was a charm in his
speech too quick for the pen: a flavor of fresh-cut pine logs and clean
wood-smoke, that is not to be found in any ink for sale in the shops.
Perhaps he left out something that belongs to the tale, and that I may
be fool enough to put in. But it shall be as little as possible. The
spirit of the tale shall be his. It is Ferdinand's story. If you care
for the real thing, here it is. You shall hear the difference between
being called Vaillantcœur and having _le cœur vaillant_.


II

There were two young men in Abbéville who were easily the cocks of the
woodland walk. Their eminence rested on the fact that they were the
strongest men in the parish. Strength is the thing that counts, when
people live on the edge of the wilderness. These two were well known all
through the country between Lake St. John and Chicoutimi as men of great
capacity. Either of them could shoulder a barrel of flour and walk off
with it as lightly as a common man would carry a side of bacon. There
was not a half-pound of difference between them in ability. But there
was a great difference in their looks and in their way of doing things.

  [Illustration: "No, for what shall I fight with Raoul?"—Page 156.]

  [Illustration: "But to fight—that is another affair."—Page 156.]

Raoul Vaillantcœur was the biggest and the handsomest man in the village;
nearly six feet tall, straight as a fir-tree, and black as a bull-moose
in December. He had natural force enough and to spare. Whatever he
did was done by sheer power of back and arm. He could send a canoe up
against the heaviest water, provided he did not get mad and break his
paddle—which he usually did. He had more muscle than he knew how to use.

Prosper Leclère did not have so much, but he knew better how to handle
it. He never broke his paddle—unless it happened to be a bad one, and
then he generally had another all ready in the canoe. He was at least
six inches shorter than Vaillantcœur; broad shoulders, long arms, light
hair, gray eyes; not a handsome fellow, but pleasant looking and very
quiet. What he did was done more than half with his head.

Leclère was the kind of a man that never needs more than one match to
light a fire.

But Vaillantcœur—well, if the wood was wet he might use a dozen, and
when the blaze was kindled, as like as not, he would throw in the rest
of the box.

Now, these two men had been friends and were rivals. At least that was
the way that one of them looked at it. And most of the people in the
parish seemed to think that was the right view.

It was a strange thing, and not altogether satisfactory to the public
mind, to have _two_ strongest men in the village. The question of
comparative standing in the community ought to be raised and settled in
the usual way. Raoul was perfectly willing, and at times (commonly on
Saturday nights) very eager. But Prosper was not.

"No," he said, one March night, when he was boiling maple-sap in the
sugar-bush with little Ovide Rossigno (who had a lyric passion for
holding the coat while another man was fighting)—"no, for what shall I
fight with Raoul? As boys we have played together. Once, in the rapids
of _la Belle Rivière_, when I have fallen in the water, I think he has
saved my life. He was stronger, then, than me. I am always a friend to
him. If I beats him now, am I stronger? No, but weaker. And if he beats
me, what is the sense of that? Certainly I shall not like it. What is
to gain?"

Down in the store of old Girard, that night, Vaillantcœur was holding
forth after a different fashion. He stood among the cracker-boxes and
flour-barrels, with a background of shelves laden with bright-colored
calicoes, and a line of tin pails hanging overhead, and stated his view
of the case with vigor. He even pulled off his coat and rolled up his
shirt-sleeve to show the knotty arguments with which he proposed to
clinch his opinion.

"That Leclère," said he, "that little Prosper Leclère! He thinks himself
one of the strongest—a fine fellow! But I tell you he is _lâche_. If he
is clever? Yes. But he is a poltroon. He knows well that I can flatten
him out like a _crêpe_ in the frying-pan. But he is afraid. He has not
as much courage as the musk-rat. You stamp on the bank. He dives. He
swims away. Bah!"

"How about that time he cut loose the jam of logs in the Rapide des
Cédres?" said old Girard from his corner.

Vaillantcœur's black eyes sparkled and he twirled his mustache fiercely.
"_Sa-prie!_" he cried, "that was nothing! Any man with an axe can cut
a log. But to fight—that is another affair. That demands the brave
heart. The strong man who will not fight is a coward. Some day I will
put him through the mill—you shall see what that small Leclère is made
of, _sacrédam!_"

Of course, affairs had not come to this pass all at once. It was a long
history, beginning with the time when the two boys had played together,
and Raoul was twice as strong as the other, and was very proud of it.
Prosper did not care; it was all right so long as they had a good time.
But then Prosper began to do things better and better. Raoul did not
understand it; he was jealous. Why should he not always be the leader?
He had more force. Why should Prosper get ahead? Why should he have
better luck at the fishing and the hunting and the farming? It was by
some trick. There was no justice in it.

Raoul was not afraid of anything but death; and whatever he wanted, he
thought he had a right to have. But he did not know very well how to get
it. He would start to chop a log just at the spot where there was a big
knot. He was the kind of a man that sets hare-snares on a caribou-trail,
and then curses his luck because he catches nothing.

  [Illustration]

Besides, what ever he did, he was always thinking most about beating
somebody else. But Prosper cared most for doing the thing as well as
he could. If anyone else could beat him—well, what difference did it
make? He would do better the next time.

He looked the log over for a clear place before he began to chop. What
he wanted was, not to make the chips fly, but to get the fire started.

You are not to suppose that the one man was a saint and a hero, and the
other a fool and a ruffian. No; that sort of thing happens only in books.
People in Abbéville were not made on that plan. They were both plain
men. But there was a difference between them; and out of that difference
grew all the trouble.

It was hard on Vaillantcœur, of course, to see Leclère going ahead,
getting rich, clearing off the mortgage on his farm, laying up money
with the _notaire_ Bergeron, who acted as banker for the parish—it was
hard to look on at this, while he himself stood still, or even slipped
back a little, got into debt, had to sell a bit of the land that his
father left him. There must be some _chicane_ about it.

But this was not the hardest morsel to swallow. The great thing that
stuck in his crop was the idea that the little Prosper, whom he could have
whipped so easily, and whom he had protected so loftily, when they were
boys, now stood just as high as he did as a capable man—perhaps even
higher. Why was it that when the Pearce Brothers, down at Chicoutimi,
had a good "_jobbe-de-chantier_" up in the woods on _la Belle Rivière_,
they made Leclère the boss, instead of Vaillantcœur? Why did the _curé_
Villeneuve choose Prosper, and not Raoul, to steady the strain of the
biggest pole when they were setting up the derrick for the building of
the new church?

It was rough, rough! The more Raoul thought of it, the rougher it seemed.
The fact that it was a man who had once been his _protégé_, and still
insisted on being his best friend, did not make it any smoother. Would
you have liked it any better on that account? I am not telling you how it
ought to have been, I am telling you how it was. This isn't Vaillantcœur's
account-book; it's his story. You must strike your balances as you go
along.

  [Illustration: "Why so many ifs in this fine speech?"—Page 160.]

And all the time, you understand, he felt sure in his heart that he was
stronger and braver than Prosper. He was hungry to prove it. He only knew
of one way. He grew more and more keen to try it. Two or three things
happened to set an edge on his hunger.

The first was the affair at the shanty on _Lac des Caps_. The
wood-choppers, like sailors, have a way of putting a new man through a
few tricks to initiate him into the camp. Leclère was bossing the job,
with a gang of ten men from St. Raymond under him. Vaillantcœur had just
driven a team in over the snow with a load of provisions, and was lounging
around the camp as if it belonged to him. It was Sunday afternoon, the
regular time for fun, but no one dared to take hold of him. He looked
too big. He expressed his opinion of the camp.

"No fun in this _chantier_, _hé_? I suppose that little Leclère he makes
you others work, and say your prayers, and then, for the rest you can
sleep. _Hé!_ Well, I am going to prepare a little fun for you, my boys.
Come, Prosper, get your hat, if you are able to climb a tree."

He snatched the hat from the table by the stove and ran out into the
snow. In front of the shanty a good-sized spruce, tall, smooth, very
straight, was still standing. He went up the trunk like a bear.

But there was a dead balsam that had fallen against the spruce and
lodged on the lower branches. It was barely strong enough to bear the
weight of a light man. Up this slanting ladder Prosper ran quickly in
his moccasined feet, snatched the hat from Raoul's teeth as he swarmed
up the trunk, and ran down again. As he neared the ground, the balsam,
shaken from its lodgement, cracked and fell. Raoul was left up the tree,
perched among the branches, out of breath. Luck had set the scene for
the lumberman's favorite trick.

"Chop him down! chop him down!" was the cry; and a trio of axes were
twanging against the spruce-tree, while the other men shouted and laughed
and pelted the tree with ice to keep the prisoner from climbing down.

  [Illustration: They looked fine on Corpus Christi day.—Page 162.]

Prosper neither shouted nor chopped, but he grinned a little as he
watched the tree quiver and shake, and heard the rain of "_sacrés!_" and
"_maudits!_" that came out of the swaying top. He grinned—until he saw
that a half-dozen more blows would fell the spruce right on the roof of
the shanty.

"Are you fools?" he cried, as he picked up an axe; "you know nothing how
to chop. You kill a man. You smash the _cabane_. Let go!" He shoved one
of the boys away and sent a score of mighty cuts into the side of the
spruce that was farthest from the cabin; then two short cuts on the other
side; the tree shivered, staggered, cracked, and swept in a great arc
toward the deep snow-drift by the brook. As the top swung earth-ward,
Raoul jumped clear of the crashing branches and landed safely in the
featherbed of snow, buried up to his neck. Nothing was to be seen of
him but his head, like some new kind of fire-work—sputtering bad words.

Well, this was the first thing that put an edge on Vaillantcœur's hunger
to fight. No man likes to be chopped down by his friend, even if the
friend does it for the sake of saving him from being killed by a fall on
the shanty-roof. It is easy to forget that part of it. What you remember
is the grin.

The second thing that made it worse was the bad chance that both of
these men had to fall in love with the same girl. Of course there were
other girls in the village besides Marie Antoinette Girard—plenty of
them, and good girls, too. But somehow or other, when they _were beside
her_, neither Raoul nor Prosper cared to look at any of them, but only
at 'Toinette. Her eyes were so much darker and her cheeks so much more
red—bright as the berries of the mountain-ash in September. Her hair
hung down to her waist on Sunday in two long braids, brown and shiny
like a ripe hazel-nut; and her voice when she laughed made the sound of
water tumbling over little stones.

No one knew which of the two lovers she liked best. At school it was
certainly Raoul, because he was bigger and bolder. When she came back
from her year in the convent at Roberval it was certainly Prosper,
because he could talk better and had read more books. He had a volume
of _chansons_ full of love and romance, and knew most of them by heart.
But this did not last forever. 'Toinette's manners had been polished
at the convent, but her ideas were still those of her own people. She
never thought that knowledge of books could take the place of strength,
in the real battle of life. She was a brave girl, and she felt sure in
her heart that the man of the most courage must be the best man after all.

For awhile she appeared to persuade herself that it was Prosper, beyond
a doubt, and always took his part when the other girls laughed at him.
But this was not altogether a good sign. When a girl really loves, she
does not talk, she acts. The current of opinion and gossip in the village
was too strong for her. By the time of the affair of the "chopping-down"
at _Lac des Caps_, her heart was swinging to and fro like a pendulum.
One week she would walk home from mass with Raoul. The next week she
would loiter in the front yard on a Saturday evening and talk over the
gate with Prosper, until her father called her into the shop to wait on
customers.

It was in one of these talks that the pendulum seemed to make its last
swing and settle down to its resting-place. Prosper was telling her of
the good crop of sugar that he had just made from his maple grove.

"The profit will be large—more than forty piastres—and with that I
shall buy at Chicoutimi a new _quatre-roue_, of the finest, a veritable
wedding-carriage—if you—if I—'Toinette? Shall we ride together?"

  [Illustration]
His left hand clasped hers as it lay on the gate. His right arm stole
over the low picket fence and went around the shoulder that leaned
against the gate-post. The road was quite empty, the night already dark.
He could feel her warm breath on his neck as she laughed.

"If you! If I! If what? Why so many ifs in this fine speech? Of whom
is the wedding for which this new carriage is to be bought? Do you know
what Raoul Vaillantcœur has said? 'No more wedding in this parish till
I have thrown the little Prosper over my shoulder!'"

As she said this, laughing, she turned closer to the fence and looked
up, so that a curl on her forehead brushed against his cheek.

  [Illustration: He gripped Prosper by the head.—Page 165.]

"_Baptême!_ Who told you he said that?"

"I heard him, myself."

"Where?"

"In the store, two nights ago. But it was not for the first time. He
said it when we came from the church together, it will be four weeks
to-morrow."

"What did you say to him?"

"I told him perhaps he was mistaken. The next wedding might be after
the little Prosper had measured the road with the back of the longest
man in Abbéville."

The laugh had gone out of her voice now. She was speaking eagerly, and
her bosom rose and fell with quick breaths. But Prosper's right arm
had dropped from her shoulder, and his hand gripped the fence as he
straightened up.

"'Toinette!" he cried, "that was bravely said. And I could do it. Yes,
I know I could do it. But, _mon Dieu_, what shall I say? Three years
now, he has pushed me, everyone has pushed me, to fight. And you—but
I cannot. I am not capable of that."

  [Illustration]

The girl's hand lay in his as cold and still as a stone. She was silent
for a moment, and then asked, coldly, "Why not, Monsieur Leclère?"

"Why not? Because of the old friendship. Because he pulled me out of
the river long ago. Because I am still his friend. Because now he hates
me too much. Because it would be a black fight. Because shame and evil
would come of it, whoever won. That is what I am afraid of, 'Toinette!"

Her hand slipped suddenly away from his. She stepped back from the gate.

"_Tiens!_ You have fear, Monsieur Leclère! Truly? I had not thought
of that. It is strange. For so strong a man it is a little stupid.
Good-night. I hear my father calling me. Perhaps some one in the store
who wants to be served. You must tell me again what you are going to do
with the new _quatre-roue_. Good-night!"

She was laughing again. But it was a different laughter. Prosper, at
the gate, did not think it sounded like the running of a brook over the
stones. No, it was more the noise of the dry branches that knock together
in the wind. He did not hear the sigh that came as she shut the door of
the house, nor see how slowly she walked through the passage into the
store.


III

There seemed to be a great many rainy Saturdays that spring; and in the
early summer the trade in Girard's store was so brisk that it appeared
to need all the force of the establishment to attend to it. The gate
of the front yard had no more strain put upon its hinges. It fell into
a stiff propriety of opening and shutting at the touch of people who
understood that a gate was made merely to pass through, not to lean upon.

That summer Vaillantcœur had a new hat—_chapeau de castor_—black and
shiny—and a new red-silk cravat. They looked fine on Corpus Christi
day, when he and 'Toinette walked in the procession as _fiancées_.

You would have thought he would have been content with that. Proud,
he certainly was. He stepped like the _curé's_ big rooster with the
top-knot—almost as far up in the air as he did along the ground; and
he held his chin high, as if he liked to look at things over his nose.

But he was not satisfied all the way through. He thought more of beating
Prosper than of getting 'Toinette. _And he was not quite sure that he
had beaten him yet._ Perhaps the girl still liked Prosper a little.
Perhaps she still thought of his romances, and his _chansons_, and his
fine, smooth words, and missed them. Perhaps she was too silent and
dull sometimes, when she walked with Raoul; and sometimes she laughed
too loud when he talked, more at him than with him. Perhaps those St.
Raymond fellows still remembered the way his head stuck out of that
cursed snow-drift, and joked about it, and said how clever and quick
the little Prosper was. Perhaps—ah, _dame!_ a thousand times perhaps!
And only one way to settle them, the old way, the sure way, and all the
better now because 'Toinette must be on his side. She must understand
for sure that the best man in the parish had chosen her.

That was the summer of the building of the grand stone tower of the
church. The men of Abbéville did it themselves, with their own hands,
for the glory of God. They were keen about that, and the _curé_ was the
keenest of them all. No sharing of that glory with workmen from Quebec,
if you please! Abbéville was only forty years old, but they already
understood the glory of God quite as well there as at Quebec, without
doubt. They could build their own tower, perfectly, and they would.
Besides, it would cost less.

Vaillantcœur was the chief carpenter. He attended to the affair of beams
and timbers. Leclère was the chief mason. He directed the affair of
dressing the stones and laying them. That required a very careful head,
you understand, for the tower must be straight. In the floor a little
crookedness did not matter; but in the wall—that might be serious. People
have been killed by a falling tower. Of course, if they were going into
church, they would be sure of heaven. But then think—what a disgrace
for Abbéville!

Everyone was glad that Leclère bossed the raising of the tower. They
admitted that he might be _lâche_, but he was assuredly careful.
Vaillantcœur alone grumbled, and said the work went too slowly, and even
swore that the sockets for the beams were too shallow, or else too deep,
it made no difference which. That _bête_ Prosper made trouble always by
his poor work. But the friction never came to a blaze; for the _curé_
was pottering about the tower every day and all day long, and a few
words from him would make a quarrel go off in smoke.

"_Doucement, mes garçons_," he would say; "work smooth and you work
fast. The logs in the river run well when they run all the same way.
But when two logs cross each other, on the same rock—psst! a jam! The
whole drive is hung up! Do not run crossways, my children."

The walls rose steadily, straight as a steamboat pipe—ten, twenty,
thirty, forty feet; it was time to put in the two cross-girders, lay the
floor of the belfry, finish off the stonework, and begin the pointed
wooden spire. The _curé_ had gone to Quebec that very day to buy the
shining plates of tin for the roof, and a beautiful cross of gilt for
the pinnacle.

Leclère was in front of the tower putting on his overalls. Vaillantcœur
came up, swearing mad. Three or four other workmen were standing about.

"Look here, you Leclère," said he, "I tried one of the cross-girders
yesterday afternoon and it wouldn't go. The templet on the north is
crooked—crooked as your teeth. We had to let the girder down again. I
suppose we must trim it off some way, to get a level bearing, and make
the tower weak, just to match your _sacré_ bad work, eh?"

  [Illustration]

"Well," said Prosper, pleasant and quiet enough, "I'm sorry for that,
Raoul. Perhaps I could put that templet straight, or perhaps the girder
might be a little warped and twisted, eh? What? Suppose we measure it."

Sure enough, they found the long timber was not half seasoned and had
cork-screwed itself out of shape at least three inches. Vaillantcœur sat
on the sill of the doorway and did not even look at them while they were
measuring. When they called out to him what they had found, he strode
over to them.

"It's a dam' lie," he said, sullenly. "Prosper Leclère, you slipped the
string. None of your _sacré chicane_! I have enough of it already. Will
you fight, you cursed sneak?"

Prosper's face went gray, like the mortar in the trough. His fists
clenched and the cords on his neck stood out as if they were ropes. He
breathed hard. But he only said three words:

"No! Not here."

"Not here? Why not? There is room. The _curé_ is away. Why not here?"

"It is the house of _le bon Dieu_. Can we build it in hate?"

"_Polisson!_ You make an excuse. Then come to Girard's, and fight there."

Again Prosper held in for a moment, and spoke three words:

"No! Not now."

"Not now? But when, you heart of a hare? Will you sneak out of it until
you turn gray and die? When will you fight, little musk-rat?"

"When I have forgotten. When I am no more your friend."

Prosper picked up his trowel and went into the tower. Raoul bad-worded
him and every stone of his building from foundation to cornice, and then
went down the road to get a bottle of cognac.

An hour later he came back breathing out threatenings and slaughter,
strongly flavored with raw spirits. Prosper was working quietly on the
top of the tower, at the side away from the road. He saw nothing until
Raoul, climbing up by the ladders on the inside, leaped on the platform
and rushed at him like a crazy lynx.

"Now!" he cried, "no hole to hide in here, rat! I'll squeeze the lies
out of you."

He gripped Prosper by the head, thrusting one thumb into his eye, and
pushing him backward on the scaffolding.

Blinded, half-maddened by the pain, Prosper thought of nothing but to
get free. He swung his long arm upward and landed a fearful blow on
Raoul's face that dislocated the jaw; then twisting himself downward and
sideways, he fell in toward the wall. Raoul plunged forward, stumbled,
let go his hold, and pitched out from the tower, arms spread, clutching
the air.

Forty feet straight down! A moment—or was it an eternity?—of horrible
silence. Then the body struck the rough stones at the foot of the tower
with a thick, soft dunt, and lay crumpled up among them, without a groan,
without a movement.

When the other men, who had hurried up the ladders in terror, found
Leclère, he was peering over the edge of the scaffold, wiping the blood
from his eyes, trying to see down.

"I have killed him," he muttered, "my friend! He is smashed to death.
I am a murderer. Let me go. I must throw myself down!"

They had hard work to hold him back. As they forced him down the ladders
he trembled like a poplar.

But Vaillantcœur was not dead. No; it was incredible—to fall forty
feet and not be killed—they talk of it yet all through the valley of
the Lake St. John—it was a miracle! But Vaillantcœur had broken only
a nose, a collar-bone, and three ribs—for one like him that was but
a _bagatelle_. A good doctor from Chicoutimi, a few months of nursing,
and he would be on his feet again, almost as good a man as he had ever
been.

It was Leclère who put himself in charge of this.

"It is my affair," he said—"my fault! It was not a fair place to fight.
Why did I strike? I must attend to this bad work."

"_Mais, sacré bleu!_" they answered, "how could you help it? He forced
you. You did not want to be killed. That would be a little too much."

"No," he persisted, "this is my affair. Girard, you know my money is with
the _notaire_. There is plenty. Raoul has not enough, perhaps not any.
But he shall want nothing—you understand—nothing! It is my affair, all
that he needs—but you shall not tell him—no! That is all. _C'est fini!_"

Prosper had his way. But he did not see Vaillantcœur after he was
carried home and put to bed in his cabin. Even if he had tried to do
it, it would have been impossible. He could not see anybody. One of his
eyes was entirely destroyed. The inflammation spread to the other, and
all through the autumn he lay in his house, drifting along the edge of
blindness, while Raoul lay in his house slowly getting well.

The _curé_ went from one house to the other, but he did not carry any
messages between them. If any were sent one way they were not received.
And the other way, none were sent. Raoul did not speak of Prosper; and
if one mentioned his name, Raoul shut his mouth and made no answer.

To the _curé_, of course, it was a distress and a misery. To have a hatred
like this unhealed, was a blot on the parish; it was a shame, as well
as a sin. At last—it was already winter, the day before Christmas—the
_curé_ made up his mind that he would put forth one more great effort.

"Look you, my son," he said to Prosper, "I am going this afternoon to
Raoul Vaillantcœur to make the reconciliation. You shall give me a word
to carry to him. He shall hear it this time, I promise you. Shall I tell
him what you have done for him, how you have cared for him?"

"No, never," said Prosper, "you shall not take that word from me. It is
nothing. It will make worse trouble. I will never send it."

"What then?" said the priest. "Shall I tell him that you forgive him?"

"No, not that," answered Prosper, "that would be a foolish word. What
would that mean? It is not I who can forgive. I was the one who struck
hardest. It was he that fell from the tower."

"Well, then, choose the word for yourself. What shall it be? Come, I
promise you that he shall hear it. I will take with me _M. le Notaire_,
and the good man Girard, and the little Marie Antoinette. You shall hear
an answer. What message?"

"_Mon père_," said Prosper, slowly, "you shall tell him just this. I,
Prosper Leclère, ask Raoul Vaillantcœur that he will forgive me for not
fighting with him on the ground when he demanded it."

Yes, the message was given in precisely those words. Marie Antoinette
stood within the door, Bergeron and Girard at the foot of the bed, and the
_curé_ spoke very clearly and firmly. Vaillantcœur rolled on his pillow
and turned his face away. Then he sat up in bed, grunting a little with
the pain in his shoulder, which was badly set. His black eyes snapped
like the eyes of a wolverine in a corner.

"Forgive?" he said, "no, never. He is a coward. I will never forgive!"

A little later in the afternoon, when the rose of sunset lay on the
snowy hills, some one knocked at the door of Leclère's house.

"_Entrez!_" he cried. "Who is there? I see not very well by this light.
Who is it?"

"It is me," said 'Toinette, her cheeks rosier than the snow outside,
"nobody but me. I have come to ask you about that new carriage—do you
remember?"


IV

The voice in the canoe behind me ceased. The rain let up. The _slish_,
_slish_ of the paddle stopped. The canoe swung sideways to the breeze.
I heard the rap, rap, rap of a pipe on the gunwale, and the scratch of
a match on the under side of the thwart.

"What are you doing, Ferdinand?"

"I go to light the pipe, M'sieu'."

"Is the story finished?"

"But yes—but no—I know not, M'sieu'. As you will."

"But what did old Girard say when his daughter broke her engagement and
married a man whose eyes were spoiled?"

"He said that Leclère could see well enough to work with him in the store."

"And what did Vaillantcœur say when he lost his girl?"

"He said it was a cursed shame that one could not fight a blind man."

"And what did 'Toinette say?"

"She said she had chosen the bravest man in Abbéville."

"And Prosper—what did he say?"

"M'sieu', I know not. He spoke only to 'Toinette."

  [Illustration]



"THE PLAY'S THE THING"

By Albert White Vorse

ILLUSTRATED BY W. GLACKENS

  [Illustration]


Beatrice was making an angel. She had lifted down the Princess Angelica
from the hook whence her royal highness had been suspended since her
death a few weeks before, had removed the royal crown and the royal
legs, and was turning the royal robe into celestial drapery. Beatrice's
conception of a heavenly garment was a white morning wrapper gathered
at the bottom, so that when the angel soared head downward—as angels
do—its clothes could not fall over its face. Beside Beatrice, who was
seated on the floor, lay a pair of wings constructed of muslin tacked
upon thin sticks; and about her feet writhed long wires designed to
support the angel that evening in its visitation to her father's Italian
marionette theatre.

It was behind the scenes that I was waiting for her father to come in;
and meanwhile I lounged upon the helpers' bench and enjoyed the quaintness
of the place.

Lighted by an irresolute gas-jet, the space between the back-drop and
the rear wall of the theatre was a chaos of strange objects. Beside me,
upon the bench, lay the book of the play—a collection of those legends
of Charlemagne's court, descended from the _Chansons de gestes_, which
have been so dear to Italian poets and are still so dear to the Italian
people. Each afternoon the manager read over the adventure to be presented
in the evening. When the curtain rose he took his stand in the wings and
declaimed lines extemporized to fit the situations. The helpers, from
their places upon the high bench, leaned over the back-drop, swung the
marionettes upon the stage by means of long rods running down through the
heads of the figures, and by means of other rods and of strings caused
the mock men and women to make gestures and to fight. That was a task
which told upon heads as well as hands; for the helpers were bound, not
only to make the figures walk—no light labor, for each puppet weighed
seventy pounds—but also to make them express the sentiment of every
speech as it fell from Pietro's lips. Many times had I tried to handle
a marionette and as often had failed; and I looked with respect upon
the row of little creatures hung about the walls from a rack. They were
dight in the panoply of knighthood. At my left shone the brass armor of
the Christianos. The right was brilliant with the party-colored robes
and turbans and the glowering faces of dusky infidels. The corners were
piled high with heterogeneous properties; bright silks, bits of armor,
shields, swords. From the right-hand heap protruded a ghastly leg, lopped
from a Christian. The summit of the opposite heap was the grinning head
of a dragon which had met death a few nights before in terrible battle
with Orlando.

The dragon's body was a comfortable support for Beatrice's back. Of
her face, bent over her work, I could see only an obstinate little
olive-colored chin, two faintly red cheeks, and two straight black brows.
Her hair hung over ears and shoulders and fell in dusky tangles upon a
green silk waist. Ordinarily, Italian girls begin early in life to use
hairpins.

"How old are you, Beatrice?" I asked.

The girl looked up and opened wide a pair of great tawny eyes.

"How old, Signore?" she repeated, in her low, husky voice. "Fifteen-a.
Nex' moont' I s'all be sixteen-a."

"So old!" I commented. "Almost a woman. You'll be having a sweetheart
soon; and what will your father do when he wants an angel?"

Again I saw of Beatrice only a veil of hair and a hand rapidly plying
to and fro.

"No, Signore," she murmured from behind her screen. "I am not enough
old-a. I s'all nevair marry. Who would tak-a me?"

"Anselmo?" I suggested.

I caught a gleam of the tawny eyes through the hair.

"I do not tink of 'im!" she expostulated.

"The other helper, then. What's his name? Giuseppe?"

Beatrice ceased to sew, tossed her hair away from her face, and shook
her head slowly. The pink in her cheeks had deepened, but her luminous
eyes gazed straight into mine.

"Signore," she said, impressively, "I ask-a to credit me. I do not tink
of eit'er of desa men."

I found myself abashed, as if I had been making light of sacred things.

"I beg your pardon, Beatrice," I stammered. "It's not my business, of
course. I'm sorry I spoke of it."

Without making reply she bent over her work again. For some moments she
sewed, while I chid myself for suggesting romance to a sensible child.

Rapid steps beat upon the stairs outside, and Beatrice's father hurried
into the little den.

"Beatrice," he called, sharply, in his own language, "go thou to the
ticket-office. It is the hour of admittance for the people. I will finish
the angel."

The girl dropped her needle and sped out through the door. The manager
slammed it behind her, turned toward me, drew up his shoulders, and
raised his eyes toward heaven.

"May the saints aid me to make righteous that child!" he exclaimed. "Both
of my helpers came to me to-day to ask her in marriage. She promised
herself to both last night."


II

It so happened that a year elapsed before I visited the theatre again.
During that time I had fallen in love with the most charming girl in the
world. In my college days I had patronized her young-maiden adoration; but
when she came home, after three years of travel, the most self-possessed,
as well as the most beautiful of women, the adoration and the indifference
exchanged places. All I seemed to win from her was good-comradeship and
confidence; and they were due to the friend of her childhood.

She had travelled with her mother, whose delight was picture-galleries,
court-balls, and dinners at embassies. Of unconventional life, Deborah
had seen nothing, and she listened eagerly to my descriptions of nooks
and corners in New York.

One day her mother yielded. Deborah might go through the foreign quarter
with me, if I would promise not to bring her into danger from men or
germs.

For our first expedition I chose the Italian theatre. It was safe,
picturesque, unique. We drove to the door in a hansom, and I instructed
the driver to call for us at eleven o'clock.

As we entered the tiny foyer my companion murmured a little "Ah!"
of delight. The walls had been decorated by the manager himself with
wonderful pictures of kings, queens, knights, and ladies. The colors were
green, red, and white, because those were the paints Pietro had on hand.
Upon one side Orlando and Olliviero were fighting their famous duel in
the presence of Charlemagne and his gorgeous court. Pietro's admiration
was for legs. Those of Orlando had muscles unknown to anatomists, and
those of his cousin were big enough for two Ollivieros.

  [Illustration: Beatrice was making an angel.]

While Deborah was trembling with pleasure in this work of art, I heard
the latch of the ticket-office door click, and, turning, saw Beatrice.
She stood upon the threshold, gazing not at me but at Deborah. In a
year she had grown tall. Her hair was coiled upon her neck, and her eyes
seemed to be deeper and tawnier than ever.

"What a pretty child!" exclaimed my companion.

"It's Beatrice," I answered. "How do you do, little girl? How is Pietro?"

"My father is well," replied the girl; but her scrutiny still rested
upon my companion's face and yellow hair. Under this inspection Deborah
was flushing, and I hastened to end it.

"This is Miss Speedwell, Beatrice." I said. "She has come with me to
see the play. You must give us good seats."

Beatrice touched Deborah's glove with a soiled paw, and, without a word
of reply, led the way through the door of the theatre and along the aisle.

We had arrived early, and the theatre was empty. The place was fascinating
enough, but I noticed that my companion, who was commonly both curious
and self-reliant, followed me closely.

"What a beautiful, strange child," she whispered.

"H—m! child!" I said to myself, and fell to musing upon my last visit
to the theatre.

  [Illustration: "She promised herself to both last night."]

"Beatrice," I asked, "are you married yet?"

"No, Signore," answered the girl, without turning her head.

"What has become of Anselmo?" I went on.

"He is 'ere. 'E is our helper."

"And Giuseppe?"

"'E is 'ere. My father cood not-a get better helpers. Why dey go away?"

This I could not answer. Beatrice had a way of making me shamefaced.

"Dese are your seats," she said, pausing at the third row of settees.
"Now I begga to pardon, I must go to my father."

"But you'll come back, won't you, Beatrice?" I asked. "We have forgotten
some of our Italian, and we need you to interpret for us—just as you
used to interpret for me."

This attempt to establish old-time relations fell flat. Beatrice replied,
"Yes, Signore," in calm tones, and left us. When she had closed the
door, Deborah drew a long breath.

  [Illustration: Had once been a stable.]

"I'm glad she's gone," said Deborah. "She made me feel uncanny."

"Nonsense," I laughed. "She's only a queer little girl. Look at Pietro's
paintings; they are more wholesome."

The dingy little theatre had once been a stable. Pietro had turned the
loft into a gallery, with tiers of benches receding high into the gloom.
He had cut off the stall-room with a wooden proscenium. Upon it twined
a mastodon of a vine, the like of which no botanist ever beheld. The toy
curtain bore, upon its forty-eight square feet of canvas, a representation
of a Roman triumph that would have insured Pietro's admission into any
Academy with a sense of humor.

It cheered Deborah amazingly, and the audience, which burst in at eight
o'clock, caused her to clasp her hands. It was chiefly composed of
men—laborers, chestnut venders, and bootblacks, with swarthy skins,
gleaming eyes, and gleaming teeth. They rushed, shouting, down the single
aisle, sprang over settees, scrambled and pushed to win the seats nearest
the stage. In three minutes the theatre was a bewilderment of bobbing
heads and active hands, and a tumult of voices and laughter. Not a seat
was vacant except those upon our settee. The Italians had respected the
presence of strangers. The men in front of us and on either hand turned
about to greet the American lady and to smile a welcome.

Deborah returned every smile and every bow. Her eyes were bright with
excitement.

"How nice they are! How polite!" she exclaimed. Presently she laid a
clinging hand upon my arm.

"How can I ever thank you," she whispered, "for bringing me here!"

I tried to tell her by a look, but her attention was not for me.

"See," she went on, "see the faun!"

A slender boy appeared in the proscenium doorway. His hair clustered
about deep red cheeks, and his great dark eyes looked mournfully over
the house. I fancied he was seeking someone. The audience hailed him with
applause and he descended two or three steps to the street-piano, which
served as orchestra, and began to turn the crank. Deborah started, raised
eyebrows of dismay, and pressed her hands over her ears. Never before
had she heard the Intermezzo from Cavalleria rendered by a street-piano
in a twenty by forty foot room.

  [Illustration: She wheeled about and stamped her foot. "Silence, pigs!"
   she screamed.]

Beatrice, appearing at my side, evidently perceived the gesture. Her
face turned crimson and she drew herself up proudly.

"Gaiterno!" she called, "stop that noise."

The boy paused, and, still bent over at the lower curve of his stroke,
turned an astonished face toward us. The chatter from the seats hushed.

"Stop the music," repeated Beatrice, imperiously.

A grumble sounded in the rear and increased from seat to seat until it
was a growl. The corners of Beatrice's mouth curled up like those of an
angry cat. She wheeled about and stamped her foot.

"Silence, pigs!" she screamed.

The tumult fell away. For a moment the girl stood poised as if ready to
spring, and then turned, and, in the hush passed beyond us to a seat at
Deborah's farther side. My companion shrank slightly toward me and once
more laid a hand upon my arm. Her face was turned toward Beatrice, whose
color had died down and whose eyes were perfectly indifferent.

The raising of the curtain put an end to the strain. The audience,
forgetting their disappointment, bent excited faces toward the stage,
and so, after a few moments, did Deborah.

I fear I was an inattentive spectator. I dared not move lest I should
disturb that precious touch upon my arm, and the eager face before me
I found a sight more fascinating than the absurd gestures of puppets.
But presently, beyond Deborah's face appeared Beatrice's, and a certain
self-consciousness in its expression took my notice. The girl's lips
were pressed together and her eyes were directed sternly toward the
stage, but it was evidently with an effort that she held them thus. A
glance about the theatre gave me the clew. The faun by the street-piano
was looking full at her, with such a face of adoration as I had read
of but never beheld. It was pathetic, but it was funny as well, and I
laughed. Glances of scorn from Deborah and Beatrice punished me, and
Deborah transferred the hand to her lap.

  [Illustration: With such a face of adoration as I had read of.]

"Do you understand what is going on?" I whispered. "The scene is in the
court of the Soldan of Africa. That trembling creature is an envoy from
Carlo Magno, come to demand the Soldan's surrender. The play, you know,
is six months long. Each adventure takes up one night."

Here Deborah pointed a monitory finger toward the stage, and I shrugged
my shoulders in silence.

Indeed the drama had reached a crisis. The Soldan had committed the envoy
to a dungeon. While the prisoner grovelled upon the floor, in stalked
the Soldan with the haughty stride, achieved by marionettes only. In
his hand he bore a sword.

"The hour of thy choice is come," announced the infidel. "Renounce thy
faith. Acknowledge the true God and Mahomet his prophet and thou goest
free. If thou refuse, this shall be thy last moment on earth."

Many visits to the theatre had prepared me for the sound of indrawn
breaths on every side. Deborah glanced curiously around her, but instantly
turned again to the scene. The Christian had struggled to his feet.

"Never!" he said in feeble tones. "I can die, but I cannot be false to
my faith."

The Pagan raised his sword.

"Dog of a Christian, die!" he roared, and cut the captive down.

"_Infame! infame!_" screamed the audience. Settees scraped, shoes pounded,
and men sprang to their feet. About us was a hurly-burly of brandished
fists, glaring eyes, snarling lips, flashing teeth. Apples, bananas,
split peas, and I thought a knife or two, hurtled toward the stage.
Deborah uttered a little scream and started up.

The curtain, falling swiftly, shut off the craven monarch from this just
indignation, and instantly the raging mob turned into an assemblage of
light-hearted citizens, laughing, chaffing, tossing up their heads to
drink beer out of bottles or oval tin pails.

Deborah understood, and a smile curved her lips, but her eyes were wide
and deep with recent fright.

"Isn't it amazing?" I ventured.

  [Illustration: "_Infame! Infame!_" screamed the audience.]

"Yes!" she agreed, faintly. "It's—it's Elizabethan. I wish we Americans
could take our theatre as seriously. I don't wonder, though, that they
were excited. I was a little under the spell myself. I could easily
fancy that those dolls were alive."

"Look at Beatrice," I suggested.

The girl had not yet recovered her composure. Her hands were clinched
and her breath came deep and fast. Deborah eyed her sympathetically.

"It seems very real, doesn't it, my dear?" said Deborah.

Beatrice turned upon her.

"It _is_-a r-real!" she exclaimed. "It was-a te-r-_rue_! 'E did kill-a
da Christiano. It was long ago. You are-a cold, you Americani!"

"Come, come, Beatrice," I interposed. "You must not speak like that to
Miss Speedwell. Take us to your father at once. I shall tell him that
you are a naughty girl."


III

In the little enclosure behind the scenes Pietro gave us a welcome that
raised a lump in my throat.

"Old friend!" he exclaimed, in his pure Tuscan. "Why have you left us
lonely so long? The theatre has not been a satisfaction without you. No
one understands it as you do."

As I shook his hand I noted that his dark eyes had dulled over, and that
anxiety had cut a wrinkle between his white old brows.

"I am making amends," I answered. "I am bringing someone who will
comprehend your art as well as I."

"This lady! You are married, then. It is well."

Deborah turned away, and though I hastened to explain, I felt a thrill
of joy. She was not carrying off an embarrassing situation with her
wonted lightness.

"No, no, only an old friend," I said. "I am not married. Deborah, let
me introduce Pietro. He is a true artist. He might be making himself
rich by taking his daughter and a street-piano to the restaurants, but
he prefers to stick to his art and to live on a little."

Pietro's face fell.

"It is not altogether that," he said. "It is true that I love the drama.
But also I do not find that it is good for Beatrice to go where there
are people who look on."

I looked a question at him.

"Would not the lady like to handle a marionette?" replied the manager.
"It is the beginning of knowledge about our drama. Anselmo, show the
lady how to manage the figures."

As Anselmo led Deborah away, a change in the room, of which I had been
dimly aware, insisted upon my full attention. A high wooden partition
divided the helpers' bench into two parts.

"What is that for, Pietro?" I exclaimed.

The old man drew a heavy sigh.

"It is Beatrice," he explained. "She has bewitched my two helpers. They
cannot meet without blows. So I have arranged that each remains upon
his own side of the room. Anselmo handles the Christians; Giuseppe the
Moslems. I have made high the boards, so that they cannot meet upon the
bench."

"So-o-o," I whistled. I ran over in my mind Pietro's anxious face,
Beatrice's cool reply to my question about the helpers, and the pleading
gaze of the faun.

  [Illustration: "My two helpers, with the shields and the swords
   of Orlando and Rinaldo, fought!"]

"Who is the boy at the piano?" I asked.

"Gaiterno? He is her cousin. He worships her. It would be a good match,
but she will not listen to him. He is not strong enough, she says."

"The little coquette!" I commented.

"Ah, Signore, it is not that!" sighed Pietro. "It is the play. The
play is in her head. Life to her is the play. She holds herself to be a
princess. Strong men love her, she thinks. She says she will smile upon
no one who is not as strong as Rinaldo. Listen, Signore. This is what I
saw when I made entrance here three days ago. My two helpers, with the
shields and the swords of Orlando and Rinaldo, fought, while Beatrice,
with the crown of Angelica upon her head, sat upon the throne of Carlo
Magno, and urged them on."

The old man's arms were flourishing, and his eyes were bright.

"I made Anselmo to go away upon the instant," he went on; "but Beatrice,
she made a threat that she would elope with him. What could I do? I am
an old man. She is my only child. You see—he is still here."

The fire in his eyes went out, his head sank upon his breast, and his
hands fell to his sides. I grasped one of them in mine.

The old man returned my grasp bravely, and tried to smile.

"It is sad, is it not, my friend," he said, "that my art should have
brought this misfortune upon me!"

Deborah's laughter gurgled down from the bench. Evidently she was in
difficulties with her marionettes. An idea came to me.

"Wait for me one minute," I said. "Perhaps Miss Speedwell can help us."

"It is time to raise the curtain," answered Pietro. "You are a good
friend. I go to my work with an uplifted heart."

I hastened to the steps at the end of the bench. As I turned to mount
them, I felt a hand upon mine, and found Beatrice beside me.

"You lofe-a her!" declared the child, solemnly.

The thought that I carried my heart upon my sleeve annoyed me.

"Beatrice," I exclaimed, "you must learn not to be silly. You are too
young to think of such things."

"You not-a say dat once," returned Beatrice, reproachfully; and the
recollection of my indiscreet chaffing added to my annoyance. I hurried
away, doubtful of my plan. But my kind-hearted companion received it
eagerly.

"Ask her to visit us in the country? Of course I will!" she exclaimed,
when I had told the story.

  [Illustration: Her arms were folded across her breast.]

During the next act we sat upon one of the heaps of properties, still
piled in the corners, and arranged Beatrice's future. We constituted
ourselves god and goddess _ex machinâ_ to make a noble woman of the
little girl. She was to spend a whole summer face to face with nature,
at Deborah's father's pet stock-farm. There she would forget plays
and learn to milk cows and to cook. Perhaps, at the end of the season,
Gaiterno might be asked to visit her. The wooing of the faun and the
maiden amid Colonel Speedwell's groves appealed to Deborah's sense of
the picturesque. What appealed to me was the provision in the plan that
I should run down every Sunday to watch the progress of education.

  [Illustration: It struck Anselmo fairly in the chest and laid him low.]

Plotting was a very pleasant occupation, and we both started at the
thunder of applause and the trampling of feet outside. The play was
over—the audience was going home. I rose to my feet reluctantly, and I
hoped that I detected in Deborah's deliberation a willingness to linger.
While she was watching the helpers, as they hung Orlando and his comrades
upon the rack, Pietro came to bid us good-night. Beatrice followed him as
far as the doorway. I did not think it best that her good fortune should
be revealed to her as yet, and while Deborah was laying it before her
father, I asked the child to see if my cab was ready. She drew herself
up resentfully, but sulked away. After a long time she returned with
word that no cab was in sight.

"No cab?" I asked, in astonishment.

I stumbled through the door, and down half a dozen steps and ran along
the passage that led to the street. Beatrice had told the truth. No cab
was in sight. Indeed the street was vacant. A March rain had begun to
fall, driving everyone indoors and making a mirror of the pavement. It
flashed to me the lights of an electric car crossing the street half a
dozen blocks away.

"She'd get fearfully wet," I mused, "and her mother would put a stopper
on trips."

While I was searching my brains for an expedient, Pietro came running
down the hallway.

"Have no care, my good friend," he panted. "Beatrice has told me of cabs
at the ferry. It is but a dozen squares. I go to order a cab. Go you to
your kind lady."

Greatly relieved, I returned behind the scenes. In the hall I passed
Anselmo, and wondered why Beatrice had not sent him instead of her father
forth into the wet; but I reflected that perhaps relations between the
girl and her lovers might be strained. Thanks for her thoughtfulness
were on my lips as I opened the door. They were never spoken, however.
Beatrice stood by the partition, alone. Her hair, loosed from its knot,
hung wild about her shoulders. Her arms were folded across her breast.
One foot was planted forward, and I saw under it Deborah's fur cape.

"Beatrice!" I exclaimed. "What on earth is the matter with you? Where
is Miss Speedwell?"

The girl stretched forth both arms toward me.

"You list-a me," she said. "You tink she lof-a you. It is not. It is I!
I lof-a you. I 'ave lof-a you one year. You come one year ago—I lof-a
you."

Anxiety for Deborah overcame my bewilderment. I stamped my foot upon
the stage.

"Stop this nonsense, Beatrice," I commanded. "What are you talking about?
Where is Miss Speedwell? Tell me at once!"

The girl thrust a hand into the bosom of her dress.

"You cast-a me off?" she declaimed. "Den I tell you. Nevair s'all you
see 'er again. I desire dat you s'all-a not. It is me dat 'ave ordered
da cabba away. It is me dat 'ave pris-oned 'er w'ere you s'all nevair
coome. I hate 'er. Dis is for dem who betr-r-rays an' not care!"

She plucked the hand from her dress and lifted it high. It held a
villanous little stiletto.

Of that moment I can never think, nowadays, without laughing. But at
the time I had no appreciation of absurdities. I sent a hasty searching
glance about the enclosure. Beyond Beatrice was a door, and I thought
I heard the sound of muffled sobs behind it. I sprang forward. On the
way I brushed Beatrice aside, heard a scream, and felt a hot streak upon
my arm; but I was beyond caring for that. A stroke of my foot burst the
lock of the door, and in another instant I was holding my sweetheart in
my arms.

A hurry of footsteps upon the stairs opposite startled us. The two
helpers, the little faun and another Italian boy rushed through the
door. Beatrice sprang to meet them. The dagger was still in her hand,
and her eyes were two yellow suns.

"Seize him!" she shrieked. "He has stolen away my father—who knows
where? Me, he has betrayed! Revenge my wrong!"

But Beatrice was not vouchsafed the spectacle of a combat in her honor.
When I am thoroughly roused I act promptly, and I am not a feeble man.
I snatched my arm from Deborah's waist, seized from the rack the nearest
marionette and sent it flying among Beatrice's lovers. It struck Anselmo
fairly in the chest and laid him low. Fortunately it was a lady figure
and could hardly have hurt him seriously, but it smothered him with
skirts and hampered him with strings. The other Italians watched his
struggles for an instant, and as I made a stride forward, turned and
ran as if the _Pagani_ themselves had been after them.

I snatched Deborah's cape from the floor, lifted my sweetheart herself,
and sped with her to the street. Once out of doors, I let her find her own
feet, and we skurried on through the driving rain. It was a bedraggled
maiden that boarded the electric car with me, but her eyes were bright
and her spirits were firm; she had even the courage to laugh over the
adventure.

"The dreadful little creature!" said Deborah. "She told me I should find
you outside that door, and that she would bring my cape. But when I had
opened the door, she pushed me through and locked it after me. I knew
you would come; but it was dark in there, and I—I think there were rats."

She bent to examine the edge of her waist, which did not in the least
need attention.

"You—you are very strong and brave, Harry," she murmured.


IV

That evening won my cause. For reasons not pertaining to this story,
our wedding was hastened. The month of preparation was busy, and I am
ashamed to say that I forgot Pietro and his trouble. Deborah, who never
forgets anything, arranged for Beatrice's invitation to the farm.

During our three years of honeymoon abroad we spoke almost daily of the
child and her father. A message from the farmer asking why his guest had
not appeared excited further our curiosity; and when we returned to New
York I devoted my first unengaged evening to a visit at the theatre. My
wife preferred to remain at home.

The paintings in the foyer were a little dingy; otherwise the place
seemed unchanged. I rapped upon the door of the ticket-office.

A woman with a baby in her arms answered my clamor. Her figure was thick
and clumsy, and her clothes were baggy. After a moment of scrutiny she
shifted the baby to her left arm and extended a pudgy hand.

"Welcome, Signore," she said, in a husky voice. I stared at her face.
Her cheeks had encroached upon her eyes, but the depths gleamed yellow.

"Beatrice!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, Signore," she replied. "You not-a know? I am grow up. I am marry."

"So I supposed," I stammered. "Ah—when did it——?"

"Two year ago. More. My 'usband, 'e is inside. Giovanni, come 'ere."

An undersized man shuffled into the foyer. His legs wavered, and one
shoulder was higher than the other.

"'E is tail'. 'E maka da clo'," said Beatrice, proudly. "We 'ave r-roon
off, toget'er. My father, 'e is so good; 'e' ava pardon. We live all
toget'er. My father lof-a da _bambino_. You will see da play? Giovanni,
show de signore da good seat. No, no! No taka da ten centa."

FINIS

  [Illustration]



THE SPECTRE IN THE CART

By Thomas Nelson Page


I had not seen my friend Stokeman since we were at college together,
longer ago than it was pleasant to think of, and now naturally we fell
to talking of old times. I remembered him as a hard-headed man without
a particle of superstition, if such a thing be possible in a land where
we are brought up on superstition, from the bottle. He was at that time
full of life and of enjoyment of whatever it brought. I found now that
gravity had taken the place of the gayety for which he was then noted,
and that his wild and almost reckless spirits had been tempered by the
years which had passed as I should not have believed possible; for his
career had been an unbroken success, and he appeared to have proved in
his own case his old tenet, so arrogantly asserted, that no difficulty
could exist which a man's intellect could not overcome.

He used to maintain, I remember, that there was no apparition or
supernatural manifestation, or series of circumstances pointing to such a
manifestation, however strongly substantiated they appeared to be, that
could not be explained on purely natural grounds. And he was wont to
say that he regretted that he had not followed my profession: Medicine
instead of the Law, that he might study and explain all such phenomena,
and show the folly of all contrary theories.

During our stay at college a somewhat notable instance of what was by
many supposed to be a supernatural manifestation occurred in a deserted
house on a remote plantation in an adjoining county.

It baffled all investigation, and got into the newspapers, recalling the
Cock Lane ghost, and many more less celebrated apparitions. Parties were
organized to investigate it, but were baffled. Stokeman, on a bet of a
box of cigars, volunteered to go out alone and explode the fraud; and
did so, not only putting the restless spirit to flight, but capturing
it and dragging it into town as the physical and indisputable witness
both of the truth of his theory and of his personal courage. The exploit
gave him immense notoriety in our little world.

I was, therefore, now during my visit to him no little surprised to
hear him say seriously that he had come to understand how people saw
apparitions.

"I have seen them myself," he added, gravely.

"You do not mean it?" I sat bolt upright in my chair in my astonishment.
I had myself, largely through his influence, become a skeptic in matters
relating to the supernatural.

"Yes, I have seen ghosts. They not only have appeared to me, but were
as real to my ocular vision as any other external physical object which
I saw with my eyes."

"Of course it was an hallucination. Tell me; I can explain it."

"I explained it myself," he said, dryly. "But it left me with a little
less conceit and a little more sympathy with the hallucinations of others
not so gifted."

It was a fair hit.

"In the year ——," he went on, after a brief period of reflection, "I
was the State Attorney for my native county, to which office I had been
elected a few years after I left college, and the year we emancipated
ourselves from carpet-bag rule, and I so remained until I was appointed
to the bench. I had a personal acquaintance, pleasant or otherwise,
with every man in the county. The district was a close one, and I could
almost have given the census of the population. I knew every man who was
for me and almost every one who was against me. There were few neutrals.
In those times much hung on the elections. There was no borderland. Men
were either warmly for you or hotly against you.

"We thought we were getting into smooth water, where the sailing was
clear, when the storm suddenly appeared about to rise again. In the
canvass of that year the election was closer than ever and the contest
hotter.

"Among those who went over when the lines were thus sharply drawn was an
old darky named Joel Turnell, who had been a slave of one of my nearest
neighbors, Mr. Eaton, and whom I had known all my life as an easy-going,
palavering old fellow with not much principle, but with kindly manners
and a likable way. He had always claimed to be a supporter of mine,
being one of the two or three negroes in the county who professed to
vote with the whites.

"He had a besetting vice of pilfering, for which I had once or twice
defended and got him off, and he appeared to be grateful to me. I always
doubted him a little; for I believed he did not have force of character
enough to stand up against his people, and he was a great liar. Still,
he was always friendly with me, and used to claim the emoluments and
privileges of such a relation. Now, however, on a sudden, in this
campaign he became one of my bitterest opponents. I attributed it to
the influence of a son of his, named Absalom, who had gone off from the
county during the war when he was only a youth, and had stayed away for
many years without anything being known of him, and who had now returned
unexpectedly, and thrown himself into the fight. He claimed to have been
in the army, and he appeared to have a deep-seated animosity against the
whites, particularly against all those whom he had known in boyhood. He
was a vicious-looking fellow, broad-shouldered, and bow-legged, with
a swagger in his gait. He had an ugly scar on the side of his throat,
evidently made by a knife, though he told the negroes, I understood, that
he had got it in the war, and was ready to fight again if he but got the
chance. He had not been back long before he was in several rows, and as
he was of brutal strength, he began to be much feared by the negroes.
Whenever I heard of him it was in connection with some fight among his own
people, or some effort to excite race animosity. When the canvass began
he flung himself into it with fury, and I must say with marked effect.
His hostility appeared to be particularly directed against myself, and
I heard of him in all parts of the district declaiming against me. The
Negroes who, for one or two elections had appeared to have quieted down
and become indifferent as to politics were suddenly revivified and showed
more feeling than I personally had ever known them to show. It looked
as if the old scenes of the Reconstruction period, when the two sides
were like hostile armies, might be witnessed again. Night meetings, or
'camp-fires,' were held all through the district, and from all of them
came the report of Absalom Turnell's violent speeches stirring up the
blacks and arraying them against the whites. Our side was equally aroused
and the whole section was in a ferment. Our effort was to prevent any
outbreak and tide over the crisis.

"Among my friends was a farmer named John Halloway, one of the best
men in my county, and a neighbor and friend of mine from my boyhood.
His farm, a snug little homestead of fifty or sixty acres, adjoined our
plantation on one side; and on the other, that of the Eatons, to whom
Joel Turnell and his son Absalom had belonged, and I remember that as a
boy it was my greatest privilege and reward to go over on a Saturday and
be allowed by John Halloway to help him plough, or cut his hay. He was a
big, ruddy-faced, jolly boy, and even then used to tell me about being
in love with Fanny Peel, who was the daughter of another farmer in the
neighborhood, and a Sunday-school scholar of my mother's. I thought him
the greatest man in the world. He had a fight once with Absalom Turnell
when they were both youngsters, and, though Turnell was much the heavier,
whipped him completely. Halloway was a good soldier and a good son, and
when he came back from the war and won his wife, who was a belle among
the young farmers, and with her settled down on his little place and
proceeded to make it a bower of roses and fruit-trees, there was not a
man around who did not rejoice in his prosperity and wish him well. The
Halloways had no children and, as is often the case in such instances,
they appeared to be more to each other than most husbands and wives. He
always spoke of his wife as if the sun rose and set in her. No matter
where he might be in the county, when night came he always rode home,
saying that his wife would be expecting him. 'Don't keer whether she's
asleep or not,' he used to say, 'she knows I'm a-comin', and she always
hears my click on the gate-latch, and is waitin' for me.'

"It came to be well understood throughout the county.

"'I believe you are henpecked,' said a man to him one night.

"'I believe I am, George,' laughed Halloway, 'and by Jings! I like it too.'

"It was impossible to take offence at him, he was so good-natured. He
would get out of his bed in the middle of the night, hitch up his horse
and pull his bitterest enemy out of the mud. He had on an occasion ridden
all night through a blizzard to get a doctor for the wife of a negro
neighbor in a cabin near by who was suddenly taken ill. When someone
expressed admiration for it, especially as it was known that the man
had not long before been abusing Halloway to the provost-marshal, who
at that time was in supreme command, he said,

"'Well, what's that got to do with it? Wa'n't the man's wife sick? I
don't deserve no credit, though; if I hadn't gone, my wife wouldn' 'a'
let me come in her house.' He was an outspoken man, too, not afraid of
the devil, and when he believed a thing he spoke it, no matter whom it
hit. In this way John had been in trouble several times while we were
under 'gun-rule'; and this, together with his personal character, had
given him great influence in the county, and made him a power. He was
one of my most ardent friends and supporters, and to him, perhaps, more
than to any other two men in the county, I owed my position.

"Absalom Turnell's rancorous speeches had stirred all the county, and the
apprehension of the outbreak his violence was in danger of bringing might
have caused trouble but for John Halloway's coolness and level-headedness.
John offered to go around and follow Absalom up at his meetings. He
could 'spike his guns,' he said. Some of his friends wanted to go with
him. But he said no. The only condition on which he would go was that
he should go alone.

"'You'd better not try that,' they argued. 'That fellow, Ab. Turnell's
got it in for you.'

"'They ain't any of 'em going to trouble me,' said John. 'I know 'em all
and I git along with 'em first rate. I don't know as I know this fellow
Ab.; he's sort o' grown out o' my recollection; but I want to see. He
knows me, I know. I got my hand on him once when he was a boy—about my
age, and he ain't forgot that, I know. He was a blusterer; but he didn't
have real grit. He won't say nothin' to my face. But I must go alone.
You all are too flighty.'

"So Halloway went alone and followed Ab. up at his 'camp-fires,' and if
report was true his mere presence served to curb Ab.'s fury, and take the
fire out of his harangues. Even the negroes got to laughing and talking
about it. Ab. was just like a dog when a man faced him, they said; he
could not look him in the eye.

"The night before the election there was a meeting at one of the worst
places in the county, a country store at a point known as Burley's Fork,
and Halloway went there, alone—and for the first time in the canvass
thought it necessary to interfere. Absalom, stung by the taunts of
some of his friends, and having stimulated himself with mean whiskey,
launched out in a furious tirade against the whites generally, and me
in particular; and called on the negroes to go to the polls next day
prepared to 'wade in blood to their lips.' For himself, he said, he had
'drunk blood' before, both of white men and women, and he meant to drink
it again. He whipped out and flourished a pistol in one hand and a knife
in the other. His language exceeded belief, and the negroes, excited by
his violence, were showing the effect of his wild declamation on their
emotions, and were beginning to respond with shouts and cries, when
Halloway rose and walked forward. Absalom turned and started to meet
him, yelling his fury and threats, and the audience were rising to their
feet when they were stopped. It was described to me afterwards. Halloway
was in the midst of a powder magazine, absolutely alone, a single spark
would have blown him to atoms and might have caused a catastrophe which
would have brought untold evil. But he was as calm as a May morning.
He walked through them, the man who told me said, as if he did not know
there was a soul in a hundred miles of him, and as if Absalom were only
something to be swept aside.

"'He wa'n't exac'ly laughin', or even smilin,' he said, 'but he jest
looked easy in his mine.'

"They were all waiting, he said, expecting Absalom to tear him to pieces
on the spot; but as Halloway advanced, Absalom faltered and stopped. He
could not stand his calm eye. 'It was jest like a dog givin' way before
a man who ain't afraid of him,' my man said. 'He breshed Absalom aside
as if he had been a fly, and began to talk to us, and I never heard such
a Speech.'

       *       *       *       *       *

"I got there just after it happened; for some report of what Absalom
intended to do had reached me that night and I rode over hastily,
fearing that I might arrive too late. When, however, I reached the
place everything was quiet, Absalom had disappeared. Unable to face
his downfall, he had gone off, taking old Joel with him. The tide of
excitement had changed and the negroes, relieved at the relaxing of the
tension, were laughing among themselves at their champion's defeat and
disavowing any sympathy with his violence. They were all friendly with
Halloway.

"'Dat man wa'n' nothin' but a' outside nigger, nohow,' they said. 'And
he always was more mouth than anything else,' etc.

"'Good L—d! He say he want to drink _blood_!' declared one man to
another, evidently for us to hear, as we mounted our horses.

"'Drink _whiskey_!' replied the other, dryly, and there was a laugh of
derision.

"I rode home with Halloway. I shall never forget his serenity. As we
passed along, the negroes were lining the roads on their way homeward,
and were shouting and laughing among themselves; and the greetings
they gave us as we passed were as civil and good-humored as if no
unpleasantness had ever existed. A little after we set out, one man, who
had been walking very fast just ahead of us, and had been keeping in
advance all the time, slackened his gait and, as we rode by him, came
close to Halloway's stirrup and said something to him in an undertone.
All I caught was that somebody was 'layin' up something against him.'

"'That's all right, Dick; let him lay it up, and keep it laid up,'
Halloway laughed.

"'Dat's a bad feller!' the negro insisted, uneasily, his voice kept in
an undertone. 'You got to watch him. I'se knowed him from a boy.' He
added something else in a whisper which I did not catch.

"'All right; certainly not! Much obliged to you, Dick. I'll keep my eyes
open. Good-night.'

"'Good-night, gent'men;' and the negro fell back and began to talk with
the nearest of his companions effusively.

"'Who is that?' I asked, for the man had kept his hat over his eyes.

"'That's Dick Winchester. You remember that old fellow 't used to belong
to old Mr. Eaton—lived down in the pines back o' me, on the creek 't
runs near my place. His wife died the year of the big snow.' It was not
necessary to explain further. I remembered the negro for whom Halloway
had ridden through the storm that night.

"I asked him, somewhat irrelevantly, if he carried a pistol. He said
no, he had never done so.

"'Fact is, I'm afraid of killin' somebody. And I don't want to do that, I
know. Never could bear to shoot my gun even durin' o' the war, though I
shot her 'bout as often as any of 'em, I reckon—always used to shut my
eyes right tight whenever I pulled the trigger. I reckon I was a mighty
pore soldier,' he laughed. (I had heard that he was one of the best in
the army.)

"'Besides, I always feel sort o' cowardly if I've got a pistol on. Looks
like I was afraid of somebody—an' I ain't. I've noticed if two fellows
has pistols on and git to fightin', mighty apt to one git hurt, maybe
both. Sort o' like two dogs growling—long as don't but one of 'em growl
it's all right. If don't but one have a pistol, t'other feller always has
the advantage and sort o' comes out top, while the man with the pistol
looks mean.'

"I remember how he looked in the dim moonlight as he drawled his quaint
philosophy.

"'I'm a man o' peace, Mr. Johnny, and I learnt that from your mother—I
learnt a heap o' things from her,' he added, presently, after a little
period of reflection. 'She was the lady as used always to have a kind
word for me when I was a boy. That's a heap to a boy. I used to think she
was an angel. You think it's _you_ I'm a fightin' for in this canvass?
'Tain't. I likes you well enough, but I ain't never forgot your mother,
and her kindness to my old people durin' the war when I was away. She
give me this handkerchief for a weddin' present when I was married after
the war—said 'twas all she had to give, and my wife thinks the world and
all of it; won't let me have it 'cept as a favor; but this mornin' she
told me to take it—said 'twould bring me luck.' He took a big bandanna
out of his pocket and held it up in the moonlight. I remembered it as
one of my father's.

"'She'll make me give it up to-morrow night when I git home,' he chuckled.

"We had turned into the road through the plantations, and had just come
to the fork where Halloway's road turned off toward his place.

"'I lays a heap to your mother's door—purty much all this, I reckon.'
His eye swept the moon-bathed scene before him. 'But for her I mightn't
'a got _her_. And ain't a man in the world got a happier home, or as
good a wife.' He waved his hand toward the little homestead that was
sleeping in the moonlight on the slope the other side of the stream, a
picture of peace.

"His path went down a little slope, and mine kept along the side of the
hill until it entered the woods. A great sycamore tree grew right in
the fork, with its long, hoary arms extending over both roads, making
a broad mass of shadow in the white moonlight.

"The next day was the day of the election. Halloway was at one poll and
I was at another; so I did not see him that day. But he sent me word
that evening that he had carried his poll, and I rode home knowing that
we should have peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I was awakened next morning by the news that Halloway and his
wife had both been murdered the night before. I at once galloped over
to his place, and was one of the first to get there. It was a horrible
sight. Halloway had evidently been waylaid and killed by a blow of an
axe just as he was entering his yard gate, and then the door of the
house had been broken open and his wife had been killed, after which
Halloway's body had been dragged into the house, and the house had
been fired with the intention of making it appear that the house had
burned by accident. But the house had not burned down. By one of those
inexplicable fatalities, the fire, after catching and burning half of two
walls, had gone out. It was a terrible sight, and the room looked like
a shambles. Halloway had evidently been caught unawares while leaning
over his gate. The back of his head had been crushed in with the eye
of an axe, and he had died instantly. The pleasant thought which was
in his mind at the instant—perhaps of the greeting that always awaited
him on the click of his latch; perhaps of his success that day; perhaps
of my mother's kindness to him when he was a boy—was yet on his face,
stamped there indelibly by the blow that killed him. There he lay, face
upward, as the murderer had thrown him after bringing him in, stretched
out his full length on the floor, with his quiet face upturned, looking
in that throng of excited, awe-stricken men, just what he had said he
was: a man of peace. His wife, on the other hand, wore a terrified look
on her face. There had been a terrible struggle. She had lived to taste
the bitterness of death, before it took her." He put his hand over his
eyes as though to shut out the vision that recurred to him.

"In a short time there was a great crowd there, white and black. The
general mind flew at once to Absalom Turnell. The negroes present were
as earnest in their denunciation as the whites; perhaps more so, for
the whites were past threatening. I knew from the grimness that trouble
was brewing, and I felt that if Absalom were caught and any evidence
were found on him, no power on earth could save him. A party rode off
in search of him, and went to old Joel's house. Neither Absalom nor Joel
were there; they had not been home since the election, one of the women
said.

"As a law officer of the county I was to a certain extent in charge at
Halloway's, and in looking around for all the clews to be found, I came
on a small piece of 'light-wood,' as it is called, stuck in a crack in
the floor near the bed: a piece of a stick of 'fat-pine,' such as negroes
often carry about, and use as tapers—not as large or as long as one's
little finger. One end had been burned; but the other end was clean and
was jagged just as it had been broken off. There was a small scorched
place on the planks on either side, and it was evident that this was
one of the splinters that had been used in firing the house. I called a
couple of the coolest, most level-headed men present and quietly showed
them the spot, and they took the splinter out and preserved it.

"By one of those fortuitous chances which so often happen in every
lawyer's experience, and appear inexplicable, Old Joel Turnell came up
to the house just as we came out. He was as sympathetic as possible,
appeared outraged at the crime, and professed the highest regard for
Halloway, and the deepest sorrow at his death. The sentiment of the crowd
was rather one of sympathy with him, that he should have such a son as
Absalom.

"I took the old man aside to have a talk with him, to find out where his
son was and where he had been the night before. He was equally vehement
in his declarations of his son's innocence, and of professions of regard
for Halloway. He was indeed so profuse as to these that he aroused
my suspicion and I questioned him further; when to my astonishment he
declared that his son had spent the night with him and had gone away
after sunrise.

"Then happened one of those fatuous things that have led to the detection
of so many negroes and can almost be counted on in their prosecution.
Joel took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his face, and
as he did so I recognized the very handkerchief Halloway had shown me
the night before. As he pulled out the handkerchief, Joel drew with it
several splinters of light-wood, one of which had been broken off from a
longer piece and looked exactly as if it might fit into the piece that
had been stuck in the crack in the floor. At first, I could scarcely
believe my own senses. But it was the same handkerchief. Of course, it
became my duty to have Joel arrested immediately. But I was afraid to
have it done there, the crowd was so deeply incensed. So I called the two
men to whom I had shown the light-wood splinter, told them the story,
and they promised to get him away and arrest him quietly and take him
safely to jail, which they did.

"Even then we did not exactly believe that the old man had any active
complicity in the crime, and I was blamed for arresting the innocent old
father and letting the guilty son escape. The son, however, was arrested
shortly afterward.

"The circumstances from which the crime arose gave the case something
of a political aspect, and the prisoners had the best counsel to be
procured, both at our local bar and in the capital. Thus the case became a
somewhat celebrated one. The evidence was almost entirely circumstantial,
and when I came to work it up, I found, as often occurs, that although
the case was plain enough on the outside, there were many difficulties
in the way of fitting all the circumstances to prove the guilt of the
accused and to make out every link in the chain. Particularly was this
so in the prosecution of the young man, who was supposed to be the chief
criminal, and in whose case there was a strong effort to prove an alibi.

"As I worked, I found to my surprise that the guilt of the old man,
though based wholly on circumstantial evidence, was established more
clearly than that of his son—not indeed, as to the murders, but as to
the arson, which served just as well to convict on. The handkerchief,
which Joel had not been able to resist the temptation to steal, and the
splinter of light-wood in his pocket, which fitted exactly into that
found in the house, together with other circumstances, proved his guilt
conclusively. But although there was an equal moral certainty of the
guilt of the young man, it was not so easy to establish it by law.

"Old Dick Winchester was found dead one morning and the alibi was almost
completely proved, and only failed by the incredibility of the witnesses
for the defence. Old Joel persistently declared that Absalom was innocent,
and but for a confession by Absalom of certain facts intended to shift
the suspicion from himself to his father, I do not know how his case
might have turned out.

"I believed him to be the instigator as well as the perpetrator of the
crime.

"I threw myself into the contest, and prosecuted with all the vigor
I was capable of. And I finally secured the conviction of both men.
But it was after a hard fight. They were the only instances in which,
representing the Commonwealth, I was ever conscious of strong personal
feeling, and of a sense of personal triumph. The memory of my last ride
with Halloway, and of the things he said to me; the circumstances under
which he and his wife were killed; the knowledge that in some sort it
was on my account; and the bitter attacks made on me personally (for
in some quarters I was depicted as a bloodthirsty ruffian, and it was
charged that I was for political reasons prosecuting men whom I personally
knew to be innocent), all combined to spur me to my utmost effort. And
when the verdicts were rendered, I was conscious of a sense of personal
triumph so fierce as to shock me.

"Not that I did not absolutely believe in the guilt of both prisoners;
for I considered that I had demonstrated it, and so did the jurors who
tried them.

"The day of execution was set. An appeal was at once taken in both cases
and a stay was granted, and I had to sustain the verdicts in the upper
court. The fact that the evidence was entirely circumstantial had aroused
great interest, and every lawyer in the State had his theory. The upper
court affirmed in both cases and appeals were taken to the next highest
court, and again stay of execution was granted.

"The prisoners' counsel had moved to have the prisoners transferred to
another county, which I opposed. I was sure that the people of my county
would observe the law. They had resisted the first fierce impulse, and
were now waiting patiently for Justice to take its course. Months passed,
and the stay of execution had to be renewed. The road to Halloway's grew
up and I understood that the house had fallen in, though I never went
that way again. Still the court hung fire as to its conclusion.

"The day set for the execution approached for the third time without the
court having rendered its decision. On the day before that set for the
execution, the court gave its decision. It refused to interfere in the
case of old Joel, but reversed, and set aside the verdict in that of the
younger man. Of a series of over one hundred bills of exception taken
by his counsel as a "drag-net," one held; and owing to the admission of
a single question by a juror, the judgment was set aside in Absalom's
case and a new trial ordered.

"The decision of the court was not as great a surprise to me as it was
to the people generally; still even I was somewhat surprised, for I had
supposed that both judgments would go together. The court came in for
a good deal of abuse, and it was declared by many that they had hanged
the wrong man.

"Being anxious lest the excitement might increase, I felt it my duty to
stay at the county-seat that night, and as I could not sleep I spent the
time going over the records of the two cases; which, like most causes,
developed new points every time they were read. I found myself fascinated
by them.

"Everything was perfectly quiet all night, though the village was filling
up with people from the country to see the execution, which at that
time was still public. I determined next morning to go to my home in
the country and get a good rest, of which I began to feel the need. I
was detained, however, and it was well along in the forenoon before I
mounted my horse and rode slowly out of town through a back street. The
lane kept away from the main road except at one point just outside of
town, where it crossed it at right angles.

"It was a beautiful spring day—a day in which it is a pleasure merely to
live, and as I rode along through the quiet lane under the leafy trees
I could not help my mind wandering and dwelling on the things that were
happening. I am not sure, indeed, that I was not dozing; for I reached
the highway without knowing just where I was.

"I was recalled to myself by a rush of boys up the street before me,
and a crowd behind them. And there at that moment, coming slowly along
before me, was the head of the procession, the sheriff and his men
riding, with set faces, in front and on both sides of a slowly moving
vehicle, and in a common horse-cart in the midst of his guards, dressed
in his Sunday clothes, with a clean white shirt on, seated on his pine
coffin, was old Joel. I unconsciously gazed at him, and at the instant
he looked up and saw me. Our eyes met as naturally as if he had expected
to find me there, and he gave me as natural and as friendly a bow, not
a particle reproachful; but a little timid, as though he did not quite
know whether I would speak to him.

"It gave me a tremendous shock. I had a sudden sinking of the heart, and
nearly fell from my horse. I turned and rode away; but I could not shake
off the feeling. I tried to reassure myself with the reflection that he
had committed a terrible crime. It did not compose me. What insisted on
coming to my mind was the eagerness with which I had prosecuted him and
the joy I had felt at my success.

"Of course, I know now it was simply that I was overworked and needed
rest; but at that time the trouble was serious.

"It haunted me all day, and that night I could not sleep; and for many
days after, it clung to me, and I found myself unable to forget it, or
to sleep as I had been used to do.

"The new trial of Absalom came on in time, and the fight was had all
over again. It was longer than before, as every man in our county had
an opinion, and a jury had to be brought from another county. But again
the verdict was the same. And again an appeal was taken; was refused by
the next higher court; and allowed by the highest; this time because
a talesman said he had expressed an opinion, but had not formed one.
And in time the appeal was heard once more, and after much delay, due
to the number of cases on the docket and the immense labor of studying
carefully so huge a record it was decided. It was again reversed, on
the technicality mentioned, and a new trial ordered.

"That same day the court adjourned for its term.

"Sentiment is a curious thing. The apparent injustice of the fact that
old Joel was sentenced to be hanged, while his son, who was universally
believed to be the instigator of the crime, was given another chance for
his life, affected many people, and a strong effort was made to get his
sentence commuted; some, even of those who had been most earnest in their
denunciation of him, turned, and petitions were got up recommending him
for executive clemency. One was brought to me, and every argument was
used to induce me to sign it. I was satisfied of his guilt, and refused.

"Having a bedroom adjoining my office, I spent that night in town. I
did not go to sleep until late, and had not been asleep long when I was
awakened by the continual repetition of a monotonous sound. At first I
thought I was dreaming, but as I aroused it came to me distinctly: the
sound of blows in the distance struck regularly. I awaked fully. The
noise was in the direction of the jail. I dressed hastily and went down
on the street. I stepped into the arms of a half-dozen masked men who
quietly laid me on my back, blindfolded me and bound me so that I could
not move. I threatened and struggled; but to no purpose, and finally
gave it up and tried expostulation. They told me that they intended no
harm to me; but that I was their prisoner and they meant to keep me.
They had come for their man, they said, and they meant to have him. They
were perfectly quiet and acted with the precision of old soldiers.

"All the time I could hear the blows at the jail as the mob pounded the
iron door with sledges, and now and then a shout or cry from within.
Then one great roar went up and the blows ceased suddenly, and then one
cry.

"The blows were on the inner door, for the mob had gained access to the
outer. They had come prepared and, stout as the door was, it could not
resist long.

"In a little while I heard the regular tramp of men, and in a few minutes
the column came up the street, marching like soldiers. There must have
been five hundred of them. The prisoner was in the midst, bare-headed
and walking between two mounted men, and was moaning and pleading and
cursing by turns.

"I asked my captors if I might speak, and they gave me ten minutes. I
stood up on the top step of the house, and for a quarter of an hour I
made what I consider to have been the best speech I ever made or shall
make. I told them in closing that I should use all my powers to find
out who they were, and if I could I should prosecute them, every one,
and try and have them hanged for murder.

"They heard me patiently, but without a word, and when I was through,
one of the leaders made a short reply. They agreed with me about the
law; but they felt that the way it was being used was such as to cause
a failure of justice. They had waited patiently, and were apparently no
nearer seeing justice executed than in the beginning. So they proposed
to take the law into their own hands. The remedy was, to do away with
all but proper defences and execute the law without unreasonable delay.

"It was the first mob I had ever seen, and I experienced a sensation of
utter powerlessness and insignificance; just as in a vast disturbance
of the elements—a storm at sea, a hurricane, a conflagration. The
individual disappeared before the irresistible force.

"An order was given and the column moved on silently.

"A question arose among my guards as to what should be done with me.

"They wished to pledge me to return to my rooms and take no steps until
morning, but I would give no pledges. So they took me along with them.
From the time they started there was not a word except the orders of the
leader and his lieutenants and the occasional outcry of the prisoner,
who prayed and cursed by turns.

"They went out of the village and turned in at Halloway's place.

"Here the prisoner made his last struggle. The idea of being taken to
Halloway's place appeared to terrify him to desperation. He might as
well have struggled against the powers of the Infinite. He said he would
confess everything if they would not take him there. They said they did
not want his confession. He gave up, and from this time was quiet; and
he soon began to croon a sort of hymn.

"The procession stopped at the big sycamore under which I had last parted
from Halloway.

"I asked leave to speak again; but they said no. They asked the prisoner
if he wanted to say anything. He said he wanted something to eat. The
leader said he should have it; that it should never be said that any
man—even he—had asked in vain for food in that county.

"Out of a haversack food was produced in plenty, and while the crowd
waited amidst profound silence, the prisoner squatted down and ate up
the entire plateful.

"Then the leader said he had just five minutes more to live, and he had
better pray.

"He began a wild sort of incoherent ramble; confessed that he had murdered
Halloway and his wife, but laid the chief blame on his father, and begged
them to tell his friends to meet him in Heaven.

"I asked leave to go, and it was given me on condition that I would
not return for twenty minutes. This I agreed to. I went to my home and
aroused someone, and we returned. It was not much more than a half hour
since I had left, but the place was deserted. It was all silent as the
grave. There was no living creature there. Only under the great sycamore,
from one of its long, pale branches that stretched across the road, hung
that dead thing just out of our reach, turning and swaying a little in
the night wind.

"We had to climb to the limb to cut the body down.

"The outside newspapers made a good deal of the affair. I was charged
with indifference, with cowardice, with venality. Some journals even
declared that I had instigated the lynching and participated in it, and
said that I ought to be hanged.

"I did not mind this much. It buoyed me up, and I went on with my work
without stopping for a rest, as I had intended to do.

"I kept my word and ransacked the county for evidence against the
lynchers. Many knew nothing about the matter; others pleaded their
privilege and refused to testify on the ground of self-crimination.

"The election came on again, and almost before I knew it I was in the
midst of the canvass.

"I held that election would be an indorsement of me, and defeat would
be a censure. After all, it is the endorsement of those about our own
home that we desire.

"The night before the election I spoke to a crowd at Burley's Fork. The
place had changed since Halloway checked Absalom Turnell there. A large
crowd was in attendance. I paid Halloway my personal tribute that night,
and it met with a deep response. I denounced the lynching. There was a
dead silence. I was sure that in my audience were many of the men who
had been in the mob that night.

"When I rode home quite a company started with me.

"The moon, which was on the wane, was, I remember, just rising as we
set out. It was a soft night, rather cloudy, but not dark, for the sad
moon shone a little now and then, looking wasted and red. The other
men dropped off from time to time as we came to the several roads that
led to their homes and at last I was riding alone. I was dead tired,
and after I was left by my companions sat loungingly on my horse, and
my mind ran on the last canvass and the strange tragedy that ended it,
with its train of consequences. I was not aware when my horse turned off
from the main road into the by-road that led through the Halloway place
to my own home. It was the same horse I had ridden that night. I waked
suddenly to a realization of where I was, and regretted for a second
that I had come by that road. The next moment I put the thought away
as a piece of cowardice and rode on, my mind perfectly easy. My horse
presently broke into a canter and I took a train of thought distinctly
pleasant. I mention this to account for my inability to explain what
followed. I was thinking of old times and of a holiday I had spent once
at Halloway's when old Joel came through on his way to his wife's house.
It was the first time I ever remembered seeing Joel. I was suddenly
conscious of something white moving on the road before me. At the same
second my horse suddenly wheeled with such violence as to break my
stirrup-leather and almost throw me over his neck. I pulled him up and
turned him back, and there before me, coming along the unused road up
the hill from Halloway's, was old Joel, sitting in a cart, looking at
me, and bowing to me politely just as he had done that morning on his
way to the gallows; while dangling from the white limb of the sycamore,
swaying softly in the wind, hung the corpse of Absalom. At first I
thought it was an illusion and I rubbed my eyes. But there they were.
Then I thought it was a delusion; and I reined in my horse and reasoned
about it. But it was not; for I saw both men as plainly as I saw my
stirrup-leather lying there in the middle of the road, and in the same
way. My horse saw them too, and was so terrified that I could not keep
him headed to them. Again and again I pulled him around and looked at
the men and tried to reason about them; but every time I looked there
they were, and my horse snorted and wheeled in terror. I could see the
clothes they wore; the clean, white shirt and neat Sunday suit old Joel
had on, and the striped, hickory shirt, torn on the shoulders, and the
gray trousers that the lynched man wore—I could see the white rope
wrapt around the limb and hanging down, and the knot at his throat; I
remembered them perfectly. I could not get near the cart, for the road
down to Halloway's, on which it moved steadily without ever approaching,
was stopped up. But I rode right under the limb on which the other man
hung, and there it was just above my head. I reasoned with myself, but
in vain. There it still hung silent and real, swinging gently in the
night wind and turning a little back and forth at the end of the white
rope.

"In sheer determination to fight it through I got off my horse and picked
up my stirrup. He was trembling like a leaf. I remounted and rode back
to the spot and looked again, confident that the spectres would now have
disappeared. But there they were, old Joel, sitting in his cart, bowing
to me civilly with timid, sad, friendly eyes, as much alive as I was,
and the dead man, with his limp head and arms, hanging in mid-air and
turning in the wind.

"I rode up under the dangling body and cut at it with my switch. At the
motion my horse bolted. He ran fully a mile before I could pull him in.

"The next morning I went to my stable to get my horse to ride to the
polls. The man at the stable said:

"'He ain't fit to take out, sir. You must 'a gin him a mighty hard ride
last night—he won't tetch a moufful; he's been in a cold sweat all
night.'

"Sure enough, he looked it.

"I took another horse and rode out by Halloway's to see the place by
daylight. It was quiet enough now.

"The sycamore shaded the grass-grown road, and a branch, twisted and
broken by some storm, hung by a strip of bark from the big bough that
stretched across the road above my head, swaying, with limp leaves, a
little in the wind; a dense dogwood bush in full bloom among the young
pines, filled a fence-corner down the disused road where old Joel had
bowed to me from his phantom cart the night before. But it was hard to
believe that these were the things which had created such impressions on
my mind—as hard to believe as that the quiet cottage peering out from
amid the mass of peach-bloom was one hour the home of such happiness,
and the next the scene of such a tragedy.

"Yes, I have seen apparitions," he said, thoughtfully, "but I have seen
what was worse."

  [Illustration: Dressed in his Sunday clothes, with a clean white shirt
   on, seated on his pine coffin, was old Joel.—Page 185.]

Once more he put his hands suddenly before his face as though to shut
out something from his vision.



AN URBAN HARBINGER

By E. S. Martin

WITH AN ILLUSTRATION [FRONTISPIECE] BY W. GLACKENS


     In the sweet country, as the spring's
       Advance decks out the scenery,
     And limns with hues the colored things
       And gives the greens their greenery,
     I love to watch when I am there
     Each little step of Nature's care;
     The wiles with which she goes about
     To coax the shivering crocus out,
     And, day by day, succeeding troops
     Of blooms, to marshal in their groups.

     In town, it's different! All's wrought out
       With least of her complicity,
     By man-power, helped, as I misdoubt,
       By steam and electricity.
     The bed that yesterday was snow
     To-morrow's plants, set all arow;
     You press a button and they blow,
     Just watch them and you'll see it's so.
     I'm told, too, that in open sight
     The park men turn them off at night.

     You can't rely on city plants
       Whose habits have been tampered with.
     I always look at them askance.
       Such culture as they're pampered with
     Might well their little minds upset,
     Confuse their dates, make them forget
     The calendar, their proper times
     As set by use and nursery rhymes—
     All, all, except, come sun, come cold,
     They're bound to blossom when they're told.

     I trust them not, but when it's fair
       I note in garb delectable
     Sophronia driving out for air
       With parent most respectable.
     And when she leaves her furs at home
     I say the season's ripening some.
     Successive hats, new brought from France,
     Denote to me the sun's advance,
     And, when her parasols appear,
     I cry, "Now bless me! summer's here."



THE TRAIL OF THE SANDHILL STAG

BY ERNEST SETON THOMPSON

ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR

  [Illustration]


It was a burning hot day. Yan was wandering in pursuit of birds among
the endless groves and glades of the Sandhill wilderness about Carberry.
The water in the numerous marshy ponds was warm with the sunheat, so
Yan cut across to the trail spring, the only place in the country where
he might find a cooling drink. As he stooped beside it his eye fell on
a small hoof-mark in the mud, a sharp and elegant track. He had never
seen one like it before, but it gave him a thrill, for he knew at once
it was the track of a _wild deer_.

"There are no deer in those hills now," the settlers told Yan. Yet when
the first snow came that autumn he, remembering the hoof-mark in the
mud, quietly took down his rifle and said to himself, "I am going into
the hills every day till I bring out a deer." Yan was a tall, raw lad
in the last of his teens. He was no hunter yet, but he was a tireless
runner, and filled with unflagging zeal. Away to the hills he went on his
quest, day after day, and many a score of long white miles he coursed,
and night after night he returned to the shanty without seeing even a
track. But the longest chase will end. On a far, hard trip in the southern
hills he came at last on the trail of a deer—dim and stale, but still
a deer-trail—and again he felt a thrill as the thought came, "At the
other end of that line of dimples in the snow is the creature that made
them; each one is fresher than the last, and it is only a question of
time for me to come up with their maker."

At first Yan could not tell by the dim track which way the animal had
gone. But he soon found that the mark was a little sharper at one end,
and rightly guessed that that was the toe; also he noticed that the
spaces shortened in going up hill, and at last a clear imprint in a
sandy place ended the doubt.

  [Illustration]

Away he went with a new fire in his blood, and an odd prickling in his
hair; away on a long hard follow through interminable woods and hills,
with the trail growing fresher as he flew. All day he followed, and toward
night it turned and led him homeward. On it went, soon over familiar
ground, back to the saw-mill, then over Mitchell's Plain, and at last
into the thick poplar woods nearby, where Yan left it when it was too
dark to follow. He was only seven miles from home, and this he easily
trotted in an hour.

In the morning he was back to take it up, but instead of an old track,
there were now so many fresh ones, crossing and winding, that he could
not follow at all. So he prowled along haphazard, until he found two
tracks so new that he could easily trail them as before, and he eagerly
gave chase.

As he sneaked along watching the tracks at his feet instead of the woods
ahead, he was startled by two big-eared, grayish animals, springing from
a little glade into which he had stumbled. They trotted to a bank fifty
yards away and then turned to gaze at him.

  [Illustration: The way they would rise in air by a tiny toe-touch was
   bewildering.—Page 193.]

How they did seem to _look_ with their great ears. How they spell-bound
him by the soft gaze that he felt rather than saw! He knew what they were.
Had he not for weeks been holding ready, preparing and hungering for
this very sight! And yet how useless were his preparations; how wholly
all his preconcepts were swept away, and a wonder-stricken "Oh-h-h!"
went softly from his throat.

  [Illustration: Straining his eyes in vain to see some form that he
   might shoot.—Page 196.]

As he stood and gazed, they turned their heads away, though they still
seemed to look at him with their great ears, and trotting a few steps
to a smoother place, began to bound up and down in a sort of play.
They seemed to have forgotten him, and the wonderful effortless way in
which they would rise six or eight feet in air by a tiny toe-touch was
bewildering. Yan stood fascinated by the strange play of the light-limbed,
gray-furred creatures.

There was no haste or alarm in their movements, he would watch them
until they began to run away—till they should take fright and begin the
labored straining, the vast athletic bounds, he had heard of. And it was
only on noting that they were rapidly fading into the distance that he
realized that _now_ they were running away, _already_ were flying for
safety.

Higher and higher they rose each time; gracefully their bodies swayed
inward as they curved along some bold ridge, or for a long space the
buff-white 'scutcheons that they bore behind them seemed hanging in the
air, while these wingless birds were really sailing over a deep gully.

Yan stood intensely gazing until they were out of sight, and it never
once occurred to him to shoot.

When they were gone he went to the place where they had begun their
play. Here was one track, where was the next? He looked all around and
was surprised to see a blank for fifteen feet; and then another blank,
and on farther, another: then the blanks increased to eighteen feet,
then to twenty, then to twenty-five and sometimes thirty feet. Each of
these playful, effortless bounds covered a space of eighteen to thirty
feet.

Gods above! They do not run at all, they fly; and once in awhile come
down again to tap the hill-tops with their dainty hoofs.

  [Illustration]

"I'm glad they got away," said Yan. "They've shown me something to-day
that never man saw before. I know that no one else has ever, ever seen
it, or he would have told of it."

  [Illustration: Seven deer had been seen; their leader a wonderful
   buck.—Page 199.]


II

Yet when the morning came the old wolfish instinct was back in his heart.
"I must away to the hills," he said, "take up the trail, and be a beast
of the chase once more; my wits against their wits; my strength against
their strength; and against their speed, my gun."

Oh! those glorious sand-hills—an endless rolling stretch of sandy dunes,
with lakes and woods and grassy lawns between. Life—life, on every
side, and life within, for Yan was young and strong and joyed in powers
complete, and he said, "These are the best days of my life, these are
my golden days." He thought it then, and oh, how well he came to know
it in the after years!

  [Illustration: The seasons round.]

All day at a long wolf-lope he would go and send the white hare and the
partridge flying from his path, and swing along and scan the ground for
sign and the tell-tale inscript in the snow, the oldest of all writing,
more thrillful of interest by far than the finest glyph or scarab that
ever Egypt gave to modern day.

But the driving snow was the wild deer's friend, as the driven snow was
his foe, and down it came that day and wiped out every trace.

The next day and the next still found Yan careering in the hills, but
never a track or sign did he see. And the weeks went by and many a
rolling mile he ran and many a bitter day and freezing night he passed
in the snowclad hills, sometimes on a deer-trail but more often without.
Sometimes in the barren hills, and sometimes led by woodmen's talk to
far-off sheltering woods, and once or twice he saw indeed the buff-white
bannerets go floating up the hills. Sometimes reports came of a great buck
that frequented the timberlands near the saw-mill, and more than once
Yan found his trail, but never got a glimpse of him; and the few deer
there were, now grew so wild with long pursuit that he had no further
chances to shoot, and the hunting season passed in one long train of
failures. Bright, unsad failures they, for every day on the trail was
a glad triumphant march.

  [Illustration]

He seemed indeed to come back empty-handed, but he really came home
laden with the best spoils of the chase.


III

The year went by. Another season came, and Yan felt in his heart the
hunter fret once more. Even had he not, the talk he heard would have
set him all afire.

  [Illustration: The doe was walking slowly, with hanging head and
   ears.—Page 201.]

It told of a mighty buck that now lived in the hills—the Sandhill Stag
they called him. It told of his size, his speed, and the crowning glory
that he bore on his brow, a marvellous growth like sculptured bronze
with gleaming ivory points.

So when the first tracking snow came, Yan set out with some comrades who
had caught a faint reflected glow of his ardor. They drove in a sleigh
to the Spruce Hill, then scattered to meet again at sunset. The woods
about abounded in hares and grouse, and the powder burned all around.
But no deer-track was to be found, so Yan quietly left the woods and set
off alone for Kennedy's Plain, where last this wonderful buck had been
seen.

After a few miles he came on a great deer-track, so large and sharp and
broken by such mighty bounds that he knew it at once for the trail of
the Sandhill Stag.

With a sudden rush of strength to his limbs he led away like a wolf on
the trail. And down his spine and in his hair he felt as before, and
yet as never before, the strange prickling that he knew was the same as
makes the wolf's mane bristle when he hunts. He followed till night was
near and he must needs turn, for the Spruce Hill was many miles away.

He knew that it would be long after sunset before he could get there,
and he scarcely expected that his comrades would wait for him, but he
did not care; he gloried in the independence of his strength, for his
legs were like iron and his wind was like a hound's. Ten miles were no
more to him than a mile to another man, for he could run all day and
come home fresh, and always when alone in the lone hills he felt within
so glad a gush of wild exhilaration that his joy was full.

  [Illustration]

So when his friends, feeling sure that he could take care of himself,
drove home and left him, he was glad to be left. They seemed rather to
pity him for imposing on himself such long, toilsome tramps. They had
no realization of what he found in those wind-swept hills. They never
once thought what they, and all their friends and every man that ever
lived has striven for and offered his body, his brain, his freedom
and his life to buy; what they were vainly wearing out their lives in
fearful, hopeless drudgery to gain, that boy was daily finding in those
hills. The bitter, biting, blizzard wind was without, but the fire of
health and youth was within; and at every stride in his daily march, it
was _happiness_ he found, and he knew it. And he smiled such a gentle
smile when he thought of them driven home in the sleigh shivering and
miserable, yet pitying him.

  [Illustration]

Oh! what a glorious sunset he saw that day on Kennedy's Plain, with
the snow dyed pink and the poplar woods aglow in red and gold. What a
glorious tramp through the darkening woods as the shadows fell and the
yellow moon came up!

"These are the best days of my life," he said. "These are my golden days!"

And as he neared the great Spruce Hill, Yan yelled a long hurrah! "In
case they are still there," he told himself, but really for very joy of
feeling all alive.

As he listened for the improbable response, he heard a faint howling
of wolves away over Kennedy's Plain. He mimicked their cry and quickly
got response, and noticed that they were gathering together, doubtless
hunting something, for now it was their hunting cry. Nearer and nearer
it came, and his howls brought ready answers from the gloomy echoing
woods, when suddenly it flashed upon him: "It's _my_ trail you are on.
_You are hunting me._"

  [Illustration]

The road now led across a little open plain. It would have been madness
to climb a tree in such a fearful frost, so he went out to the middle
of the open place and sat down in the moonlit snow—a glittering rifle
in his hands, a row of shiny brass pegs in his belt, and a strange new
feeling in his heart. On came the chorus, a deep, melodious howling, on
to the very edge of the woods, and there the note changed. Then there
was silence. They must have seen him sitting there for the light was
like day, but they went around in the edge of the woods. A stick snapped
to the right and a low '_woof_' came from the left. Then all was still.
Yan felt them sneaking around, felt them watching him from the cover
and straining his eyes in vain to see some form that he might shoot. But
they were wise, and he was wise, for had he run he would soon have seen
them closing in on him. They must have been but few, for after their
council of war they decided he was better let alone, and he never saw
them at all. For twenty minutes he waited, but hearing no more of them
arose and went homeward. And as he tramped he thought, "Now I know how
a deer feels, when the grind of a moccasined foot or the click of lock
are heard in the trail behind him."

  [Illustration]

In the days that followed he learned those sandhills well, for many a
frosty day and bitter night he spent in them. He learned to follow fast
the faintest trail of deer. He learned just why that trail went never
past a tamarac-tree and why it pawed the snow at every oak, and why
the buck's is plainest and the fawn's down wind. He learned just what
the club-rush has to say, when its tussocks break the snow. He came to
know how the muskrat lives beneath the ice and why the mink slides down
a hill, and what the ice says when it screams at night. The squirrels
taught him how best a fir-cone can be stripped, and which of toad-stools
one might eat. The partridge, why it dives beneath the snow, and the
fox, just why he sets his feet so straight, and why he wears so huge a
tail.

He learned the ponds, the woods, the hills and a hundred secrets of the
trail, but—_he got no deer_.

And though many a score of crooked frosty miles he coursed, and sometimes
had a track to lead and sometimes none, he still went on, like Galahad
when the Grail was just before him. For more than once, the guide that
led was the trail of the Sandhill Stag.

  [Illustration: The track of a mother blacktail was suddenly joined by
   two little ones' tracks.—Page 201.]


IV

The hunt was nearly over, for the season's end was coming. The moose-birds
had picked the last of the saskatoons, all the spruce-cones were scaled,
and the hunger-moon was near. But a hopeful chicadee sang "_see soon_"
as Yan set off one frosty day for the great Spruce Woods.

On the road he overtook a woodcutter, who told him that at such a place
he had seen two deer last night, a doe and a monstrous stag, with "a
rocking-chair on his head."

  [Illustration]

Straight to the very place went Yan and found the tracks. One like those
he had seen in the mud long ago, another a large unmistakable print,
the mark of the Sandhill Stag.

  [Illustration]

How the wild beast in his heart did ramp—he wanted to howl like a wolf
on a hot scent; and away they went through woods and hills, the trail
and Yan and the inner wolf.

All day he followed and, grown crafty himself, remarked each sign, and
rejoiced to find that nowhere had the deer been bounding. And when the
sun was low the sign was warm, so laying aside unneeded things, Yan
crawled along like a snake on the track of a hare. All day the animals
had zigzagged as they fed; their drink was snow, and now at length away
across a lawn in a bank of brush Yan spied a _something_ flash. A bird
perhaps; he lay still and watched. Then gray among the gray brush, he
made out a great log, and from one end of it rose two gnarled oaken
boughs. Again the flash—the move of a restless ear, then the oak-boughs
moved and Yan trembled, for he knew that the log in the brush was the
form of the Sandhill Stag. So grand, so charged with _life_. He seemed
a precious, sacred thing—a King, fur-robed and duly crowned. To think
of shooting now as he lay unconscious, resting, seemed an awful crime.
But Yan for weeks and months had pined for this. His chance had come and
shoot he must. The long, long strain grew tighter yet—grew taut—broke
down, as up the rifle went. But the wretched thing went wabbling and
pointing all about the little glade. His breath came hot and fast and
choking—so much, so very much—so clearly all, hung on a single touch.
He laid the rifle down, revulsed—and trembled in the snow. But he soon
regained the mastery, his hand was steady now, the sights in line—'twas
but a deer lying out there. But at that moment, the stag turned full
Yan's way, with those regardful eyes and ears, and nostrils too, and
gazed.

  [Illustration]

"Darest thou slay me?" said an uncrowned, unarmed king once, as his eyes
fell on the assassin's knife, and in that clear, calm gaze the murderer
quailed and cowed.

So trembled Yan; but he knew it was only stag-fever, and he despised
it then as he came in time to honor it; and the beast that dwelt within
him fired the gun.

The ball splashed short. The buck sprang up and the doe appeared. Another
shot, then as they fled, another and another. But away the deer went,
lightly drifting across the low round hills.

They say a wild beast cannot look a man in the eyes; Yan found it hard
to look a wild beast in the eyes when he was trying to take its life.


V

He followed their trail for some time, but gnashed his teeth to find no
sign of blood, and he burnt with a raging animal sense that was neither
love nor hate. Within a mile there was a new sign that joined on and
filled him with another rage and shed light on many a bloody page of
frontier history, a moccasin-track, a straight-set, broad-toed, moosehide
track, the track of a Cree brave. He followed in savage humor, and as
he careered up a slope a tall form rose from a log, raising one hand in
peaceable gesture. Although Yan was behind, the Indian had seen him first.

"Who are you?" said Yan, roughly.

  [Illustration]

"Chaska."

"What are you doing in my country?"

"It was my country first," he replied, gravely.

"Those are my deer," Yan said, and thought.

"No man owns deer till he kills them," said Chaska.

"You better keep off any trail I'm following."

"Not afraid," said he, and made a gesture to include the whole settlement,
then added, gently, "No good to fight, the best man will get the most
deer anyhow."

And the end of it was that Yan stayed for several days with Chaska and
got, not an antlered buck indeed, but, better far, an insight into the
ways of a man who could hunt. The Indian taught him _not_ to follow the
trail over the hills, for deer watch their back track, and cross the
hills to make this more easy. He taught him to tell by touch and smell
of sign just how far ahead they are, as well as the size and condition
of the deer, and not to trail closely when the game is near. He taught
him to study the wind by raising his moistened finger in the air, and
Yan thought, "Now I know why a deer's nose is always moist, for he must
always watch the wind." He showed Yan how much may be gained by patient
waiting at times, and that it is better to tread like an Indian with
foot set straight, for thereby one gains an inch or two at each stride
and can come back in one's own track through deep snow. And he also
unwittingly taught him that an Indian _cannot_ shoot with a rifle, and
Natty Bumpo's adage came to mind, "A white man can shoot with a gun,
but it ain't accordin' to an Injun's gifts."

Sometimes they went out together and sometimes singly. One day while
out alone Yan had followed a deer-track into a thicket by what is now
called Chaska Lake. The sign was fresh, and as he sneaked around there
was a rustle in the brush. Then he saw the kinnikinic boughs shaking.
His gun flew up and covered the spot. As soon as he was sure of the
place he meant to fire. But when he saw the creature as a dusky moving
form through the twigs, he awaited a better view, which came, and he
had almost pulled the trigger when his hand was stayed by a glimpse of
red, and a moment later out stepped—Chaska.

"Chaska," Yan gasped, "I nearly did for you."

For reply the Indian drew his finger across the red handkerchief on his
brow. Yan knew then one reason why a hunting Indian always wears it;
after that he wore one himself.

One day a flock of prairie chickens flew high overhead toward the
thick Spruce woods. Others followed and it seemed to be a general move.
Chaska looked toward them and said, "Chickens go hide in bush. Blizzard
to-night."

It surely came, and the hunters stayed all day by the fire. Next day
it was as fierce as ever. On the third day it ceased somewhat and they
hunted again. But Chaska returned with his gun broken by a fall, and
after a long silent smoke he said:

"Yan hunt in Moose Mountain?"

"No!"

"Good hunting. Go?"

Yan shook his head.

Presently the Indian, glancing to east, said, "Sioux tracks there to-day.
All bad medicine here." And Yan knew that his mind was made up. He went
away and they never met again. Like everything Indian, he is gone, his
family is gone, his hunting grounds are gone, and to-day all that is left
of him is his name, borne by the lonely lake that lies in the Carberry
Hills.


VI

"There are more deer round Carberry now than ever before, and the Big
Stag has been seen between Kennedy's Plain and the mill." So said a note
that reached Yan away in the east where he had been chafing in a new and
distasteful life. It was the beginning of the hunting season, the fret
was already in his blood, and that letter decided him. For awhile the
iron horse, for awhile the gentle horse, then he donned his moosehide
wings and flew as of old on many a long hard flight to return as so
often before.

Then he heard that at a certain lake far to the eastward seven deer had
been seen; their leader a wonderful buck.

With three others he set out in a sleigh to the eastward lake and soon
found the tracks. Six of various sizes and one large one, undoubtedly
that of the famous Stag.

How utterly the veneer was torn to tatters by those seven chains of
tracks. How completely the wild paleolithic beast stood revealed in
each of the men, in spite of semi-modern garb, as they drove away on
the trail with a wild excited gleam in every eye.

  [Illustration]

It was nearly night before the trail warmed up, but even then, in spite
of Yan's earnest protest, they drove on in the sleigh. And soon they
came to where the trail told of seven keen observers looking backward
from a hill, then an even sevenfold chain of twenty-five foot bounds.
The hunters got no glimpse at all, but followed till the night came
down, then hastily camped in the snow.

  [Illustration: To scan the white world for his foe.—Page 203.]

In the morning they followed as before, and soon came to where seven
spots of black, bare ground showed where the deer had slept.

Now when the trail grew warm Yan insisted on hunting on foot. He trailed
the deer into a great thicket and knew just where they were by a grouse
that flew cackling from its farther side.

  [Illustration]

He arranged a plan, but his friends would not await the blue-jay's
"all-right note," and the deer escaped. But finding themselves hard
pressed they split their band, two going one way and five another. Yan
kept with him one, Duff, and leaving the others to follow the five deer,
he took up the twofold trail. Why? Because in it was the great broad
track he had followed for two years back.

On they went, overtaking the deer and causing them to again split. Yan
sent Duff after the doe while he stuck relentlessly to the track of the
famous Stag. As the sun got low, the chase led to a great half-wooded
stretch, in a country new to him; for he had driven the Stag far from
his ancient range. The trail again grew hot, but just as Yan felt sure
he soon would close, two distant shots were heard and the track of the
Stag as he found it then went off in a fear-winged flight that might
keep on for miles.

Yan went at a run and soon found Duff. He had had two long shots at the
doe.

  [Illustration]

The second he thought had hit her. Within half a mile they found blood on
the trail; within another half mile the blood was no more seen and the
track seemed to have grown very large and strong. The snow was drifting
and the marks not easily read, yet Yan knew very soon that the track
they were on was not that of the wounded doe, but was surely that of her
antlered mate. Back on the trail they ran till they solved the doubt, for
there they learned that the Stag, after making his own escape, had come
back to change off; an old, old trick of the hunted whereby one deer will
cleverly join on and carry on the line of tracks to save another that
is too hard pressed, while it leaps aside to hide or fly in a different
direction. Thus the Stag had sought to save his wounded mate, but the
hunters remorselessly took up her trail and gloated like wolves over the
slight drip of blood. Within another short run they found that the Stag,
having failed to divert the chase to himself, had returned to her, and
at sundown they sighted them a quarter of a mile ahead mounting a long
snow slope. The doe was walking slowly with hanging head and ears. The
Buck was running about as though in trouble that he did not understand,
and coming back to caress the doe and wonder why she walked so slowly.
In another half mile the hunters came up with them. She was down in the
snow. When he saw them coming, the great Stag shook the oak-tree on his
brow and circled about in doubt, then fled from a foe he was powerless
to resist.

As the men came near, the doe made a convulsive effort to rise, but
could not. Duff drew his knife. It never before occurred to Yan why he
and each of them carried a long knife. The poor doe turned on her foes
her great lustrous eyes; they were brimming with tears, but she made
no moan. Yan turned his back on the scene and covered his face with
his hands, but Duff went forward with the knife and did some dreadful,
unspeakable thing, Yan scarcely knew what, and when Duff called him
he slowly turned, and the big Stag's mate was lying quiet in the snow,
and the only living thing that they saw as they quit the scene was the
great round form bearing aloft the oak-tree on its brow as it haunted
the nearer hills.

And when, an hour later, the men came with the sleigh to lift the doe's
body from the crimsoned snow, there were large fresh tracks about it,
and a dark shadow passed over the whitened hill into the silent night.

       *       *       *       *       *

What morbid thoughts came from the fire that night. How the man
in Yan did taunt the glutted brute. Was this the end? Was this the real
chase? After long weeks, with the ideal alone in mind, after countless
blessed failures, was this the vile success a beautiful, glorious, living
creature tortured into a loathsome mass of carrion?


VII

But when the morning came the impress of the night was dim. A long
howl came over the hill, and the thought that a wolf was on the trail
that he was quitting smote sadly on Yan's heart. They all set out for
the settlement, but within an hour Yan only wanted an excuse to stay.
And when at length they ran onto the fresh track of the Sandhill Stag
himself, the lad was all ablaze once more.

"I cannot go back—something tells me that I must stay—I must see him
face to face again."

  [Illustration]

The rest had had enough of the bitter frost, so Yan took from the sleigh
a small pot, a blanket, and some food, and left them, to follow alone
the great sharp imprint in the snow.

"Good-by—good luck."

He watched the sleigh out of sight, in the low hills, and then felt as he
never had before. Though he had been so many months alone in the wilds
he had never known loneliness, but as soon as his friends were gone he
was overwhelmed by a sense of the utter heart-sickening dreariness of
the endless, snowy waste. Where were the charms that he had never failed
to find until now? He wanted to recall the sleigh, but pride kept him
silent.

In a little while it was too late, and soon he was once more in the
power of that fascinating endless chain of tracks. A chain begun years
ago, when in a June the track of a mother blacktail was suddenly joined
by two little ones' tracks; since then the three had gone on winding
over the land, the trail-chains they were forging. Knotted and kinked,
and twisted with every move and thought of the makers, imprinted with
every hap of their lives, but interrupted never wholly. At times the
tracks were joined by that of some fierce foe, and the kind of mark was
changed, but the chains went on for months or years, now fast, now slow,
but endless, until some foe more strong joined on and there one trail
was ended. But this great Stag was forging still that mystic chain. A
million roods of hills had he overlaid with its links and scribbled over
in this oldest script with the story of his life. If only our eyes were
bright enough to follow up that twenty thousand miles of trail, what
light unguessed we might obtain on the wild things' lives and thoughts.

  [Illustration]

But skin deep, man is brute. Just a little while ago we were mere
hunting-brutes—our bellies were our only thought, that telltale line
of dots was the road to food. No man can follow it far without feeling
a wild beast prickling in his hair and down his spine. Away Yan went,
a hunter-brute once more, all other feelings swamped.

Late that day the trail, after many a kink and seeming break, led into a
great dense thicket of brittle, quaking asp. Yan knew that the Stag was
there to lie and rest. The deer went in up-wind, of course. His eyes and
ears would watch his trail, and his nose would guard in front, so Yan
went in at one side, trusting to get a shot. With a very agony of care
he made his way, step by step, and, after many minutes, surely found the
track, still leading on. Another lengthy crawl, with nerves at tense,
and then the lad thought he heard a twig snapped behind him, though the
track was still ahead. And after long he found it true. Before lying
down the Stag had doubled back, and while Yan had thought him still
ahead, he was lying far behind, so had gotten wind of the man and now
was miles away.

Once more into the unknown north away, till cold, black night came down;
then Yan sought out a sheltered spot and made a tiny, red man's fire.
As Chaska had taught him long ago—"Big fire for fool."

When the lad curled up to sleep he felt a vague wish to turn three times
like a dog, and a well-defined wish that he had fur on his face and
a bushy tail to lay around his freezing hands and feet, for it was a
night of northern frost. Old Peboan was stalking on the snow. The stars
seemed to crackle, so one could almost hear. The trees and earth were
bursting with the awful frost. The ice on a near lake was rent all night
by cracks that went whooping from shore to shore; and down between the
hills there poured the cold that burns.

A prairie-wolf came by in the night, but he did not howl or treat Yan
like an outsider now. He gave a gentle, doglike "_Woof, woof_," a sort of
"Oho! so you have come to it at last," and passed away. Toward morning
the weather grew milder, but with the change there came a driving snow.
The track was blotted out. Yan had heeded nothing else and did not
know where he was. After travelling an aimless mile or two he decided
to make for Pine Creek, which ought to lie southeastward. But which
way was southeast? The powdery snow was driven along through the air,
blinding, stinging, burning. On all things near it was like smoke, and
on farther things, a driving fog. But he made for a quaking asp grove,
and there, sticking through the snow, he found a crozier golden-rod,
dead and dry, but still faithfully delivering its message, "Yon is the
north." With course corrected, on he went, and, whenever in doubt, dug
out this compass-flower, till the country dipped and Pine Creek lay below.

There was good camping here, the very spot indeed where, fifteen years
before, Butler had camped on his Loneland Journey; but now the blizzard
had ceased, so Yan spent the day hunting without seeing a track, and he
spent the night as before, wishing that nature had been kinder to him
in the matter of fur. During that first lone night his face and toes
had been frozen and now bore burning sores. But still he kept on the
chase, for a something within had told him that the Grail was surely
near. Next day a strange, unreasoning guess sent him east across the
creek in a deerless-looking barren land. Within half a mile he came on
dim tracks made lately in the storm. He followed, and soon found where
six deer had lain at rest, and among them a great, broad bed and a giant
track that only one could have made. The track was almost fresh, the
sign unfrozen still. "Within a mile," he thought. But within a hundred
yards there loomed up on a fog-wrapped hillside five heads with ears
regardant, and at that moment, too, there rose up from the snowy top a
great form like a blasted trunk with two dead boughs still on. But they
had seen him first, and before the deadly gun could play, six beacons
waved and a friendly hill had screened them from its power.

  [Illustration]

The Sandhill Stag had gathered his brood again, yet now that the murderer
was on the track once more, he scattered them as before. But there was
only one track for Yan.

At last the chase led away to the great dip of Pine Creek. A mile-wide
flat, with a long dense thicket down the middle.

"There is where he is hiding and watching now, but there he will not
rest," said something within, and Yan kept out of sight and watched;
after half an hour a dark spot left the willow belt and wandered up
the farther hill. When he was well out of sight over the hill Yan ran
across the valley and stalked around to get the trail on the down-wind
side. He found it, and there learned that the Stag was as wise as he—he
had climbed a good lookout and watched his back trail, then seeing Yan
crossing the flat, his track went swiftly bounding, bounding——

The Stag knew just how things stood; a single match to a finish now,
and he led away for a new region. But Yan was learning something he had
often heard, that the swiftest deer can be run down by a hardy man; for
he was as fresh as ever, but the great Stag's bounds were shortening,
he was surely tiring out, he must throw off the hunter now, or he is lost.

  [Illustration]

He often mounted a high hill to scan the white world for his foe, and
the after-trail was a record of what he learned or feared. At last his
trail came to a sudden end. This was a mystery until long study showed
how he had returned backward on his own track for a hundred yards then
bounded aside to fly in another direction. Three times he did this and
then passed through an aspen thicket and, returning, lay down in this
thicket near his own track so that in following, Yan must pass where the
Stag could smell and hear him long before the trail brought the hunter
over close.

All these doublings and many more like them were patiently unravelled, and
the shortening bounds were straightened out once more till, as daylight
waned, the tracks seemed to grow stale and the bounds again grow long.
After a little, Yan became wholly puzzled, so he stopped right there
and spent another wretched night. Next day at dawn he worked it out.

He found he had been running the trail he had already run. With a long
hark back, the doubt was cleared. The desperate Stag had joined onto
his old track and bounded aside at length to let the hunter follow the
cold scent. But the join-on was found and the real trail read, and the
tale that it told was of a great Stag wearing out, too tired to eat,
too scared to sleep, and a tireless hunter after.

  [Illustration]


VIII

A last long follow brought the hunt back to familiar ground—a
marsh-encompassed tract of woods with three ways in. There was the
deer's trail entering. Yan felt he would not come out there, for he knew
his foe was following. So swiftly and silently the hunter made for the
second road on the down-wind side, and having hung his coat and sash
there on a swaying sapling, he hastened to the third way out, and hid.
After awhile, seeing nothing, Yan gave the low call that the jaybird
gives when there's danger abroad in the woods.

All deer take guidance from the jay, and away off in the encompassed
woods Yan saw the great Stag with wavering ears go up a high lookout. A
low whistle turned him to a statue, but he was far away with many a twig
between. For some seconds he stood sniffing the wind and gazing with
his back to his foe, watching the back trail, where so long his enemy
had been, but never dreaming of that enemy in ambush ahead. Then the
breeze set the coat on the sapling afluttering. The Stag quickly quit
the hillock, not leaping or crashing through the brush—he had years
ago got past that—but, silent and weasel-like, threading the maze he
disappeared. Yan crouched in the willow thicket and strained his every
sense and tried to train his ears to watch the harder. A twig ticked in
the copse he was in. Yan slowly rose with nerve and sense at tightest
tense, the gun in line—and as he rose, then also rose, but fifteen
feet away, a wondrous pair of bronze and ivory horns, a royal head, a
noble form behind it, and face to face they stood, Yan and the Sandhill
Stag. At last—at last, his life was in Yan's hands. The Stag flinched
not but stood and gazed with those great ears and mournful, truthful
eyes, and the rifle leaped but sank again, for the Stag stood still and
calmly looked him in the eyes, and Yan felt the prickling fading from his
scalp, his clenched teeth eased, his limbs, bent as to spring, relaxed
and manlike stood erect.

"Shoot, shoot, shoot now! This is what you have toiled for," said a
faint and fading voice, and spoke no more.

Yan remembered that night when he, himself, run down, had turned to face
the hunting wolves. He remembered that night when the snow was red with
crime and down between them now he dimly saw a vision of an agonized and
dying doe, with great, sad eyes, that only asked, "What harm have I done
you?" A change came over him and every thought of murder went from Yan
as they gazed into each other's eyes—and hearts. For different thoughts
and a wholly different concept of the Stag, coming—coming—had come.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, beautiful creature! One of our wise men has said, the body is the
soul made visible; is your spirit then so beautiful—as beautiful as
wise? We have long stood as foes, hunter and hunted, but now that is
changed and we stand face to face, fellow-creatures looking in each
other's eyes, not knowing each other's speech—but knowing motives and
feelings. Now I understand you as I never did before; surely you at
least in part understand me. For your life is at last in my power, yet
you have no fear. I knew of a deer once, that, run down by the hounds,
sought safety with the hunter, and he saved it—and you also I have run
down and you boldly seek safety with me. Yes! you are as wise as you
are beautiful. We are brothers, oh, bounding Blacktail! only I am the
elder and stronger, and if only my strength could always be at hand to
save you, you would never come to harm. Go now without fear, to range
the piney hills; never more shall I follow your trail with the wild wolf
rampant in my heart. Less and less as I grow do I see in your race mere
flying marks, or butcher-meat. We have grown, little brother, and learned
many things that you know not, but you have many a precious sense that
is wholly hidden from us. Go now without fear of me.

"I may never see you again. But if you only would come sometimes and look
me in the eyes and make me feel as you have done to-day, you would drive
the wild beast wholly from my heart and then the veil would be a little
drawn and I should know more of the things that wise men have prayed to
know. And yet I feel—it never will be—I have found the Grail. I have
learned what Buddha learned. I shall never see you again. Farewell."

  [Illustration]



  [Illustration: The White Wistaria at Kamedo.]



JAPANESE FLOWER ARRANGEMENT

By Theodore Wores

ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PAINTINGS BY THE AUTHOR


  [Illustration: "Little Miss Cherry-blossom."]

While it is generally recognized that flower arrangement affords an
excellent opportunity for the display of good taste and artistic judgment,
we by no means consider it, as in Japan, an art distinct in itself.

In Japan the art of flower arrangement is as highly regarded as music,
poetry, or painting; and in order that one may become expert therein, it
is deemed necessary to devote quite as much attention, time, and study
to this as to any other form of art. We look upon flower arrangement
in general as merely the result of individual taste, but a Japanese
regards it from a very different point of view. He is governed, in this
accomplishment, by numerous and well-defined rules which can only be
acquired by long and patient study. It would be impossible, without
this knowledge, to compose an arrangement of flowers which would meet
with the approval of competent critics. It would, in fact, be quite as
hopeless as for a musician to compose great masterpieces of music without
previous training and careful study. The art of flower arrangement is
not only practised by women and girls, but by men as well, for it is
an accomplishment indispensable for all who would make any pretence to
learning and culture.

During a conversation between a Japanese friend and myself, I once
remarked that a certain young lady was not very pretty. "You are quite
right," he answered, "but she is very clever at flower arrangement."

  [Illustration: Arrangement of Bamboo, Plum, and Pine. Symbolic of good
   luck and everlasting happiness.]

There are six or seven schools of flower arrangement, and while they
differ more or less as to details, the fundamental principles are alike
in all.

In spite of the fact that flowers are so inseparably associated with
everything Japanese, it would be a mistake to assume that Japan is a
land of flowers for wild, as well as garden flowers, are far more profuse
in many sections of this country. Japan is, however, rich in cultivated
flowers that are grown in great profusion in garden and nursery in the
suburbs of all the cities.

Flower sellers, carrying their fragrant burdens in huge baskets, are met
with everywhere, and they are patronized by the poor as well as by the
rich, for the prices are low enough to bring them within the reach of
all. Although there are many varieties of flowers, few, comparatively,
are used in flower arrangement for the Japanese limit their choice to
those with which they are most familiar and such as are most closely
associated with the different months or seasons, seldom or never using
rare or unknown flowers.

The reason given for this is that a thorough knowledge of the character
of the flowers and the conditions under which they grow is indispensable,
in order that a proper and effective use of them may be made.

The following may be mentioned as the popular flowers of Japan, and most
closely associated by the Japanese with the different seasons of the year:

The first to appear is the plum blossom, which is hailed with delight as
the harbinger of spring, and enjoys, therefore, the greatest popularity.

The plum is closely followed by the cherry blossom, which almost rivals
the former as a favorite.

The next, and the last of the spring flowers, is the Wistaria. Summer's
flowers include the peony, iris, and the lotus; while autumn claims one
of the chief favorites, the chrysanthemum, and also the morning-glory.

  [Illustration: Corner of Iris Garden.]

Winter has no flowers, but here the poetic imagination of the Japanese
fills the void; for when trees and landscape are whitened with snow,
he converts this, in his picturesque fancy, into "winter flowers," and
this exquisite love and appreciation of all that nature affords in her
various phases, is a strongly developed trait, common to all classes of
Japan.

  [Illustration: Lotus Flowers at Kamakura.]

Certain flowers are considered lucky and others unlucky—the latter
including all such as are supposed to possess poisonous qualities. I
found, for instance, that one of the wild flowers, a beautiful scarlet
lily, known as the Shibuta-no-hanna, which I greatly admired, was regarded
with disfavor and was never used for decoration or flower arrangements,
for the reason that it was a flower of ill omen.

On the other hand, a favorite arrangement, formed of a combination of
pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms, is symbolic of good luck and everlasting
happiness. It is frequently used on festive occasions and figures
conspicuously in the New Year's decorations that are arranged over gate
and doorway.

The first glimpse that I obtained of a flower arrangement scene in
Japan was presented to me under conditions that made a most pleasing
and lasting impression.

  [Illustration: Flower Basket with Chrysanthemum Arrangement.]

The little daughter of one of my neighbors in Tokio, who gloried in the
name of Kosakurasan, little Miss Cherryblossom, had kindly consented to
pose for a picture upon which I was engaged. During the several sittings
that I received from this little lady of eight she told me much of her
short but eventful life. She attended school, and explained that aside
from the regular instructions she received, her parents had engaged a
very accomplished young lady to give her sisters and herself a lesson
in flower arrangement once a week at home.

  [Illustration: A Peony Show.]

I was much interested to know more about this floral study and expressed
a desire to be present on one of these occasions.

  [Illustration: Kiku Haran and Zuromodoki in Hanging Bamboo Vase.]

A few days later little Miss Cherry-blossom appeared at my studio-door
with a large bunch of chrysanthemums in her arms and an invitation from
her mother to be present at a lesson which the teacher was about to give.
I accompanied my little friend, and arriving at her home, was ushered
into a room where I found the teacher and pupils deeply absorbed in
their interesting study. I watched the proceedings with great interest,
and though I failed to comprehend much of what the teacher endeavored
to impart to her pupils, it gave me great pleasure to observe the
interesting group. These bright-eyed, prettily dressed little Japanese
maidens, earnestly engaged in their interesting occupation and surrounded
by quantities of flowers, formed such a charming and delightful scene,
that I decided on the spot to make it the subject for a picture.

Later on I carried out this idea, and the illustration which appears
on p. 211, gives an impression of the result. I engaged a famous old
professor to arrange the chrysanthemums as they appear in the picture.
The old man came to my studio bringing the flowers which he had carefully
selected, and spent over an hour in making the arrangement. Several times,
when it was almost completed, he pulled it to pieces and began again,
exclaiming that it was not good enough. "It would pass," he said, "for
ordinary purposes;" but since it was to serve as a model to be copied
into the picture, nothing but absolute perfection would satisfy him.

This old professor was famous in his art and enjoyed great distinction
and consideration—as much so as any famous poet or painter.

Aside from his occupation as a teacher, he was frequently engaged by
wealthy people and by proprietors of tea-houses to make arrangements of
flowers for dinner-parties and other festive occasions. Many methods
are known and employed for keeping cut flowers fresh; and some of the
famous professors of this art claim to possess the secret of certain
ingredients, which, added to the water containing the flowers, have
a stimulating effect and greatly prolong their life. The successful
application of this process, known as mizuage, requires much experience,
certain plants requiring a strong and others a weak solution.

  [Illustration: Early Plum Blossoms at Sungita.]

One enthusiastic exponent of this art declared to me that many years
ago, at a flower arrangement competition, given by a famous Daimio, he
had received the first prize for an arrangement of bamboo, which, to
the surprise of everyone, remained fresh and unfaded for twenty-seven
days. This had been accomplished—without the use of water—by injecting
a certain tonic into an opening which he had bored at the top of the
bamboo stalk.

On another occasion, when he had arranged a combination of bamboo and
morning-glory, he had carefully wrapped strips of paper around each of
the flowers early in the morning before they had opened. Later in the
afternoon, and just before this flower arrangement was to be shown to a
company of guests, he had removed these paper wraps, and, by pouring a
certain liquid into the water, had caused the flowers slowly to unfold
before the eyes of the delighted spectators.

Entertainments of this character, where guests are invited to view various
arrangements of flowers made especially for the occasion, are often
given. Sometimes a guest is invited to make an extemporary arrangement,
the flowers and everything necessary being provided for the purpose.

On one occasion, on a visit to the girls' high school in Kioto, I found a
class of twenty or thirty girls receiving a lesson in flower arrangement.
The professor, an old and distinguished-looking man, was seated before a
low stand with a heap of flowers and shrubs at his side, and as Japanese
houses are not provided with tables and chairs, the pupils and master
were seated on the matted floor.

The teacher selected a few sprays from the heap and after carefully
trimming off the decayed leaves and twigs, proceeded to arrange the
blossoms in a vase standing before him. The lines given to the branches
and stems of flowers were not always natural, but the character was given
by much twisting and bending, as well as in the manner in which they
were fastened in the vase; the stems of the flowers being held firmly in
place by two short sticks of wood, wedged in tightly across the neck of
the vase. In some instances a forked twig serves the same purpose. The
chief feature of Japanese flower arrangement is simplicity, and usually
but few flowers are required. The object of this device, therefore, is
to give to the stems a firm position and enable them to rise erect out
of the centre of the vase. Sometimes small metal crabs, or tortoises,
are utilized as wedges.

  [Illustration: Corner of Japanese Nursery.]

  [Illustration: Kohenai, Iris and Chrysanthemum in Bamboo Vase.]

As the professor arranged the flowers, he carefully explained his
method to a group of five or six girls who were seated opposite to him.
He impressed upon them the fact that flower arrangements are linear
in character: being, in most instances, based on three lines rising
gracefully from the neck of the vase. The centre or principal line
should be the longest, the second one-half, and the third one-fourth
the length of the first. He cautioned them against allowing these three
stem-lines to cross one another in a way to form angles, nor should they
be permitted to run in parallel lines. Other arrangements are based on
five and seven lines and sometimes as many as nine or eleven, but these
are uncommon and are rarely seen.

During the lesson the professor imparted much instructive information to
his pupils. Among other things he told them that in the art of flower
arrangement the student must be guided by nature and a careful study
and observation of the character and habits of the flowers employed.
Everything unnatural and inappropriate must be strictly avoided. Flowers
of different seasons should never be arranged together, and no flower,
however beautiful, should have a place in such arrangement out of its
proper season.

  [Illustration: A Lesson in Flower Arrangement.]

Symmetry in flower arrangement should be avoided, and under no
circumstances should both sides of a composition correspond or match.
(This principle, it may be said, is observed in all forms of Japanese
art.) It would be in very bad taste, for instance, to allow two vines
to hang symmetrically from either side of a suspended vase, or even for
a flower of one color to be placed between two of another color.

One of the fundamental rules of this art is that all flower arrangements
should fit into a triangle, either vertical or horizontal, and that
in itself serves more or less as a restriction against symmetrical
compositions. Great attention should be given also to the manner in
which the stems rise out of the water, as they should present a strong
and vigorous appearance, and hold, in fact, the same relation to the
flowers that the trunk of a tree bears to the branches and foliage
overhead. Plants that grow erect should be given an upright direction
in floral arrangements, while such, for instance, as grow overhanging
the banks of streams or cliffs should be arranged in a hanging position.
The professor demonstrated all this with numerous examples which he made
and then distributed to the pupils.

Each girl, upon receiving a finished example, made a low bow to the
master; and retiring to the other end of the room, proceeded to take
the flowers apart and rearrange them as before.

  [Illustration: Suspended Bamboo Vase in the Form of a Boat, Containing
   an Arrangement of Iris.]

After having accomplished this to the best of her ability, she returned
with it to the teacher's desk, when he pointed out to her any defects
it might contain.

The Japanese divide plants and flowers, without any regard to scientific
facts, into the male and female sex. Trees, mountains, and streams are
likewise classified as their fancy wills. This division of flowers and
plants into sexes forms an important consideration in the art of flower
arrangement. In a composition in which delicate plants and slender vines
are used in connection with stems of trees, the latter represent the male
element and should always form the centre or backbone of the arrangement
and serve as a support for the former, the female element.

  [Illustration: Morning-Glory and Shion Arrangement, in Imitation Well
   Buckets.]

The various vessels used for holding the flowers form a very important
feature in the art of flower arrangement, and a great many varieties
are utilized for this purpose. Certain arrangements require long-necked
vessels of earthenware or bronze, while broad and shallow ones are used
for others. A great variety of baskets, known as flower baskets, are
also used. These vary in shape and size, and some are suspended, while
others are placed upon the ground. They always contain an inner vessel
for holding water.

Another form of vessel very extensively used is one made of a cylinder of
bamboo. This is generally formed from a section cut near the root, where
the form is irregular and the joints are close together. These bamboo
tubes are from one to two feet in height and from three to six inches in
diameter, and sometimes have holes cut in the sides for inserting flowers.

Bamboo vases in the forms of boats are often hung in Japanese rooms.
Imitation well-buckets, made of lacquered wood or porcelain, are also
employed for holding flowers. Always used in pairs, they are generally
suspended over a pulley by a silk rope, and make a very effective and
pleasing decoration for a room.

One of the most important results of the study of this floral art has been
in the direction of simplicity. It has created a love and an appreciation
for the beauty of a single flower—for in its color and form, in its
graceful stem and well-formed leaves, the votaries of this art find far
more enjoyment than in confused masses of many colored flowers.

While there is, no doubt, much in Japanese flower arrangement that is
unintelligible to us and would fail to appeal to the uninitiated, there
is also much that would be understood and admired everywhere by persons
of good taste. It is indeed a wonder that our attention has not been
more generally drawn to this interesting study, so suggestive of a new
and promising field of artistic possibilities.

Flower arrangement in Japan, like music, painting, and architecture, is
in harmony with the peculiar and unique civilization of that country, and
could not, therefore, be taken literally and grafted on to a civilization
so radically different as our own. The principle, however, might be
adopted and developed on lines in harmony with our arts and to the
enrichment of our civilization. As an art it is full of possibilities,
and would not only bring us into closer communion, and into a better
understanding with nature and the floral world, but would also exercise
a most æsthetic influence and add an unknown charm to our daily lives.

  [Illustration: Visit to the Chrysanthemum Show.]



DANIEL WEBSTER

WITH UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS AND SOME EXAMPLES OF HIS PREPARATION FOR
PUBLIC SPEAKING

By George F. Hoar

SECOND PAPER


The impression made by Webster's personality, referred to at the beginning
of these papers, partly accounts for the eagerness with which everything
he said or did is caught up, even at second hand. In any gathering,
however brilliant, the whole company pricks up its ears and listens if
one of them says, "I shook hands with Daniel Webster," or "I once heard
him speak," or "I saw him go by in the street." So it seems well worth
while to include among these very important and characteristic papers
of Mr. Webster, now published for the first time, not only several of
his letters, but a few notes that might seem trifling and insignificant
if they related to anybody else.

The following letters written from London show Mr. Webster's opinion
of the English lawyers and public speakers, and his keen interest in
everything relating to agriculture. The alarm which was excited by the
fear of a dishonor of the drafts of the Bank of the United States is an
interesting fact in our financial history:

     "LONDON, June 9, '39.
     "MY DEAR SIR,

"On Monday morning, the 2nd inst, we arrived at Lpool, after a passage
of 14½ days, or rather less, from Pilot to Pilot. For a great part of
the way we had calm, the rest, light winds ahead; which same light winds
have so retarded the sailing ships, that we were in Lpool several days
before the N. Y. Packet of May 1., tho' we left the 18th. We staid in
Lpool 2 days, went to Chester, and thence struck off & hit the Lpool &
London Rail Road, & got to London, on the evening of the 5th. The sixth,
it was rainy. I went out, quite alone, looked into all the Courts—the
whole four were sitting—I saw all their venerable wigs. I stayed long
enough to hear several Gentlemen speak. They are vastly better _trained_
than we are. They speak short. They get up, begin immediately, & leave
off when they have done. Their manner is more like that of a school boy,
who gets up to say his lesson, goes right through it, & then sits down,
than it is like our more leisurely & elaborate habit. I think Sergeant
Wilde, who is esteemed a long speaker, argued an insurance question in
15 minutes, that most of us would have got an hour's speech out of. The
rooms are all small, with very inconvenient writing places, & almost
nobody present, except the wigged population. I went to the Parliament
Houses (Houses not in session). They are very small rooms. Where the
Lords sit, I was sure, must be the old painted chamber where the Comees.
of conference used to meet. On entering it, I asked the guide, _what
Comee. room that was_—he turned to rebuke my ignorance, & exclaimed,
"this is the House of Lords." I was right, however. The H. of C. was
burnt, you know, some time ago, & the H. of C. now sit in what was the
H. of L., & the Lords sit, temporarily, in the old painted chamber. All
these accommodations are small & paltry; & new buildings are in progress
for the use of both Houses.

"The political state of things is quite unsettled. All sorts of
expectations exist, as to what shall happen. The ministry, most certainly,
are very weak, in public estimation, & as clearly not very strong in their
own. But Lord Wellington, whose weight & influence are, at this moment,
prodigious, does not want office; & it is said that both he & Sir Robt.
see the difficulty which they would be obliged to encounter, if in power,
in consequence of the state of things in Ireland. Mr. O'Connell is king
of Ireland; & it is thought that nothing but military power could keep
the peace in that kingdom of his under an administration which he should
oppose. Some speak of a dissolution of Parliament—others say, the Queen
will rather give way to radicalism, than receive the tories into power.
A new election, in the opinion of some, would give the Tories a working
majority of 70 members. On all these topics, I have seen too little, &
know too little, to be able to form any opinion for myself. As yet, I
have not attended any Debates in Parliament, but purpose to go to the H.
C. to-morrow Evening to witness a second Debate on the Jamaica Question.
As to private matters, I will write you, if possible, in season for the
same conveyance which takes this,—if not, I will write by the next. I
propose to send this by the Lpool, which sails on the 13th.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "June 12.

"I attended the Debate on the Jamaica Question. The great guns were not
fired, but the Debate was handsomely conducted. Sir Ed. Sugden began it.
He is not remarkably interesting as a political Speaker. Mr. Labouchere,
Mr. Gladstone, Sir George Grey, all young men, followed & spoke well.

"Pray remember me to all friends. Write me often, & tell me all the
news. Send my regards Mr. Blake, & let me know how he is.

     "Yrs truly
     D. WEBSTER.

"Be sure to let no one single thing from me ever get into the newspapers."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "LONDON, Sep. 20, 1839.
     "MY DEAR SIR

"I have recd. your letter, respecting the two acceptances. I had thought
they were both provided for. As the Boat goes to-morrow, and as I
returned to London only last evening, I may not be able to arrange so
as to write by this opportunity; but by the _very next_, I will cause
you to hear from me. We have been about six weeks, having run over much
of England, & something of Scotland. Of course we could stay but little
time in any one place, nor were we able to see much below the surface
of things. But the agriculture, and the general of things, in England &
Scotland, I have looked at, pretty attentively. Taken together, England
exhibits a high wrought, exact, elaborate system of art & industry. Every
productive power is carried to the utmost extent of skill, & maintained
in the most unceasing activity. Constant attention & close calculation
pervade everything. Rent is high, but prices of produce are high also.
About thirty shillings, Sterling, say seven dollars, or thereabouts, may
be regarded, perhaps, as near the average rent of good land in England.
In some parts, it is much higher, say ten dollars, or, rent & tithes
together, perhaps fifteen. The land is vastly productive, & prices are
high. A gentleman told me yesterday that he had sold, some weeks ago, his
wheat crop, at eleven pounds Sterling, pr acre, standing, & his oat crop
for eight. This will shew you the aggregate of product & price. Forty
bushels of wheat, & fifty or even sixty of oats, are not an uncommon
yield to the acre. The land is naturally good, & is made the subject of
the most careful & skilful cultivation. In the course of forty years,
the _turnip_ has vastly enriched England. It feeds millions of sheep,
whose wool & flesh command high prices, & the feeding of which in the
field, during the winter, say ten sheep to the acre, enriches the land,
for the succeeding crop of wheat. Then, too, lime is used extensively,
& every bone ground up, for bone dust, which is found a most powerful
manure. And when the lands require it, a complete system of underground
draining is practised, especially in Scotland, which produces the best
effects. Agricultural labor is not more than half as dear in England,
as in the U. S.

"(I shall add a P.S. if I learn anything before this P. M. of this matter
of the U. S. Bank & Hottinguer.

"(4 P. M. Mr. Jaudon has been to Paris. Rothschilds have accepted the
Bills of the Bk. U. S. for the honor of the Bank. It is thought the Bank
may have drawn, under an understanding with Hottinguer's agt. in U. S.
of which his principals were not seasonably advised. It is an unlucky
affair, at least, & will much prejudice American interests and credits
here."

     D. WEBSTER.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here are Mr. Webster's minutes of his famous conversation with Mr.
Jefferson when he visited him in December, 1824. They were afterward
published in full from these _memoranda_. They are written on two pages
of a very small sheet of note-paper. But they contain, among other
things, a graphic portrait of Patrick Henry, his tribute to Sam Adams
as more than any other man the author of Revolutionary measures; to John
Adams as the colossus of the great debate of liberty which preceded the
Declaration of Independence; Mr. Jay's authorship of the Address to the
People of England, one of the four greatest state papers in our history;
of the fact that Richard Henry Lee came near being a stamp-master, and
the fact that Virginia and the New England States always acted together
and carried through the Revolution, picking up a few other votes where
they could:

     "Paris—         panther—red deer
             Buffon  moose—Genl
                     Sullivan—40 guineas

     P. Henry—Plutarch's lives—
               Humes essays—
               a bar keeper—
               Studied law a fortnight—

     Fast—    from Ol. Cromwell's
              model ————

     "Sam'l Adams—more than any man author of Revol.
      measures—but Jno. A. the Colossus of Debate.

     "Mr. Jay wrote address to people of England—

     "R. H. Lee—solicited, at first to be stamp-master—

     "Va. & 4 N. E. States always acted together, _they_ carried
     thro' the Revolution—picking up a few other votes where they
     could—"

  [Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

Next comes a letter from Lord Ashburton, written from London, June
18, 1852, interesting for the confession of that sincere and candid
Englishman, that he did not pretend to be a free-trader for America.
If many of our English advisers, and many Americans who have been prone
to take their advice, had been as sensible as Lord Ashburton, it would
have been much better for all concerned. This letter, as some others
of Ashburton's which have been published heretofore, is a thorough
refutation, if any were needed after Edward Everett's conclusive
statement, of the old slander once uttered in Parliament, and occasionally
revived on both sides of the Atlantic, that Mr. Webster obtained dishonest
advantage over the English Commissioner by suppressing an ancient map
wherein the boundary between Maine and Nova Scotia had been traced
in conformity with the British claim. Lord Ashburton's expressions of
friendship and esteem for Mr. Webster are wholly inconsistent with such
a transaction:

     "LONDON, June 18th, '52.
     "MY DEAR MR. WEBSTER,

"It was with no small pleasure that I recognised your handwriting, and
accepted the very grateful office of shewing civility to your friend.

"I fear that our climate at this moment will prove anything but beneficial
to his daughter's health. We are now paying the penalty for three months
of drought; I wish for his sake that he had arrived at an earlier period.

"We expect very little change in the relative strength of parties from
the coming elections. The popular element must always gain, but less on
this occasion than on any other, as the masses are enjoying in comfort
the blessings of cheap food & abundant employment. The farmer even is
thriving. He sells mutton of the growth of 18 months, he saves 20 per cent
in the cost of labor. He economises in the purchase of all he consumes.
Forgive this burst of Peelite exultation in consideration of the abuse
& odium under which we have been laboring.

"Let me add however that I do not pretend to be a free trader for America,
and thus oppose myself to your powerful authority. Believe me my dear
Mr. Webster

     "Yours very truly
     ASHBURTON."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following letter, addressed to Mr. Webster's law partner, John P.
Healey, with its enclosure, has never been printed. Allusions are found
to it in other letters of Mr. Webster written from London, contained in
Mr. Webster's published correspondence. It is probable that Mr. Webster's
friends in Boston took the liberty of withholding his letter refusing to
be a candidate. At any rate, his name was presented to the Whig National
Convention held at Harrisburg in October(?), 1839. That convention was
held more than a year before the election. The delegates from each State
were requested to present to the convention the name of their own choice
for the Presidency, and with it the name of the other person whom they
thought likely to be the strongest candidate in case their own selection
were not adopted by the convention. These reports of the different
delegations were all referred to a grand committee with instructions to
recommend a candidate to the convention. The result was the nomination
of General Harrison by a large majority. Then a committee was appointed
to select a candidate for the Vice-Presidency. That committee first
agreed upon the name of Benjamin Watkins Leigh, but, on his refusal to
be a candidate, reported the name of John Tyler, with most unfortunate
results for the Whig party:

     "LONDON, June 12, '39.

"DR SIR,—Please cause the enclosed to be published, the same day, in
all the Whig newspapers in Boston, & as soon as you receive it.

     Yrs
     D. WEBSTER.

"_To the People of Massachusetts._

"It is known that my name has been presented to the Public, by a meeting
of Members of the Legislature of the State, as a candidate for the office
of President of the United States at the ensuing Election. As it has been
expected that a Convention would be holden in the autumn of this year,
composed of Delegates from the Several States, I have hitherto thought
proper not to anticipate, in any way, the results of that Convention.
But I am now out of the country, not to return, probably, much earlier
than the period fixed for the meeting of the convention, and do not
know what events may occur, in the meantime, which, if I were at home,
might demand immediate attention from me. I desire, moreover, to act no
part which may tend to prevent a cordial & effective union among those,
whose object, I trust, is to maintain, unimpaired, the Constitution of
the Country, and to uphold all its great interests, by a wise, prudent,
and patriotic administration of the Government. These considerations
have induced me to withdraw my name as a Candidate for the office of
President at the next Election.

     "DAN'L WEBSTER.
     "LONDON, June 12, 1839."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Webster was counsel in the celebrated case of Myra Clark Gaines, the
wife of General Gaines, who laid claim to a large property in Louisiana
as the daughter of Daniel Clark by an alleged marriage with Zuleima
Carriere. This marriage was denied, and it was also alleged that the
mother of Mrs. Gaines had, at the time of the alleged marriage, another
lawful husband living.

Mr. Webster's brief, which is in his own writing, consists of seventeen
pages of manuscript notes. It contains nothing specially striking except
an observation about one of the witnesses, a woman who seems to have
been called to prove a marriage of reputation, and seems to have been
one of three female witnesses called by the same party. Mr. Webster's
memorandum for his arguments is this:

"There is but one witness. And who is she? Who are they all? Not
respectable women at that period. All three alike.

                   Facies non omnibus una
     Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum.

One bad element of character taints the rest."

       *       *       *       *       *

This letter to William Sullivan refers to the famous Dartmouth College
case, the judgment in which, as the result of Webster's argument, made
safe the endowment of every incorporated institution of learning and
charity in the country. It was doubtless sent by Mr. Sullivan to Mrs.
Webster for her inspection, as appears by the following note written by
Sullivan in the margin: "Dear Madam, In a letter which I have seen, it
is said, 'In the College cause, Webster shone like the sun; and Holmes
like a sunfish.'"

     "WASHINGTON, March 13, Friday,
     2 o'clock.

"DEAR SIR,—The Court has announced its intention to rise tomorrow, &
will hear no argument except in the cause now before them, which is No.
79.

"The Pastora will not be reached. I am exceedingly sorry for this, but
could not help it. I insisted to the last & the Chief Justice was obliged
to tell me it was _impossible_—& then I gave it up.

"The College case is argued—not decided—There is a difference of
opinion on the bench, & some of the Judges have not come to a conclusion
in their own minds. So it is to be continued. I shall depart, on the
rising of the Court, & make the best of my way home.

     "Yrs
     D. WEBSTER."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following letter to Mr. Brewer is interesting as showing Mr. Webster's
interest in questions relating to the currency. It is well known that
he himself thought that the department of activity in which he was most
capable to render service to the country was that of finance, and that
he would have liked very well to have taken the Treasury instead of the
Department of State in Harrison's administration:

     "BOSTON, Aug. 25, 1837.

"MY DEAR SIR,—I am very much obliged to you for your trouble in procuring
& sending me the plan of Mr. Wood's House. I enclose the amount of the
Architect's charge.

Like yourself, I look forward with much concern to the ensuing session of
Congress. That there has been a considerable change, in public opinion,
is certain; that this may produce a corresponding effect, in some degree,
on the deliberations of Congress, is to be hoped; but whether the change
has proceeded so far, as to justify the expectation that the Country
is now ready to renounce, entirely, the folly of "Experiments" on the
currency, & to return to the former well approved system of finance &
currency, may admit of doubt. To the friends of the right cause, however,
there remains nothing but a steady, honest, patriotic adherence to sound
policy & the true interests of the Country.

     "I am, Dr Sir,
     with regard & esteem
     Yr ob serv.
     DAN'L WEBSTER.

     "MR. BREWER."

       *       *       *       *       *

Some very zealous persons were impatient of Mr. Webster's hesitation and
irresolution long before the time of the anti-slavery struggle. My Uncle
Jeremiah Evarts, a man whom many people think quite the intellectual
equal of his son, the famous advocate, threw himself with all his zeal
into the defence of the Cherokee Indians when they were removed from
their homes in Georgia by the Legislature of that State, in spite of
the judgment of the Supreme Court, which was set at defiance. Mr. Evarts
said, "There is One who knows how to execute His judgments." That prophecy
had a terrible fulfilment in the region about Missionary Ridge, named,
I suppose, for the mission to those Indians maintained by the board
of which Mr. Evarts was secretary, which during the Civil War was, as
Horace Maynard told me, drenched with blood and honeycombed with graves.
Mr. Evarts gave his life to the cause of these oppressed people. His
death was caused by over-exertion in their defence. He always claimed
to have Mr. Webster's promise of earnest support; and whether he were
right or not, no such promise was ever kept. But I have in my possession
a considerable number of bound volumes of pamphlets which belonged to
Mr. Webster, including many presentation copies from their authors who
were among his famous cotemporaries. One of them is a copy of Jeremiah
Evarts's "William Penn," written by him in the cause of the Cherokee
Indians, which was very famous in its day. On the title-page, written
in pencil but still quite legible, in Daniel Webster's handwriting, are
the words: "When Greece uttered her voice and stretched forth her hand
for aid your hearts were moved, your kindling sympathies went out. Will
you be deaf to the no less piteous Indian cry?" This single sentence
shows, I suppose, that Mr. Webster was thinking of a speech to be made
in the Senate in the cause of the Indians, and also what, as we have
said, was his usual method of preparation, that he intended to compose
a few sentences in a complete form, the rest of the speech being, so
far as composition was concerned, extempore.

  [Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is from Aaron Burr, containing little in itself, other
than the autograph, and the fact that it in all probability relates to
the case of which Mr. Todd tells the story in his delightful paper in
the "Green Bag," as follows:

"The late Judge Tenney, of Maine, told me that Mr. Webster, when at
Portsmouth, heard one of Mr. Mason's students say that the 'old man' had
been much puzzled over a particular law difficulty, but had settled it.
Mr. Webster inquired what it was, and what was Mr. Mason's solution, and
did not forget it. A few years after, in New York, Aaron Burr, one of
the ablest lawyers of his time, applied to Mr. Webster for his opinion
on this very question, and was surprised to hear his ready answer, that
of Mr. Mason."

The tone of hostility in the following letter from Benton is not
explained, so far as I know, by any occurrence which history has
preserved. If it implied a threat of a challenge, undoubtedly Mr. Webster
bore himself on the occasion as became a Senator from Massachusetts,
as he did in dealing with the fiery-hearted John Randolph, and as Henry
Wilson afterward did in dealing with Preston S. Brooks:

     "SENATE CHAMBER, Jan'y 4th 1832.

"SIR,—I take leave to invite your attention to a published letter which
Col. Davis will show you, and to say, that he will receive the answer,
if any, which you may think the occasion calls for.

     "Yr. obt. servant
     "THOMAS H. BENTON.

     "HON. MR. WEBSTER."

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the books in my possession belonging to Daniel Webster is a copy
of Granger's Biographical Dictionary, in three volumes. It contains Mr.
Webster's book-plate, with the motto, "Vera Pro Gratis." On the fly-leaf
Mr. Webster has written:

"Mr. Granger died, April 15, 1776, while administering the sacrament,
of an apoplectic fit.

     More happy end what saint e'er knew!
       To whom like mercy shown!
     His Saviour's death in rapturous view,
       And unperceived his own.

_Vide_ Annual Register for 1776.

     D. W."

The poetry is not original, but is taken from the "Register."

Mr. Webster's scrupulous care of his dress is well known. On each of the
occasions I saw him, his dress—which, as is well known, was the blue
coat with the buff or white vest and brass buttons, and, at least on
one occasion in the summer, white trousers—seemed to have been nearly
new. I was told by a lady who heard the eulogy on Adams and Jefferson
in 1826, in Faneuil Hall that on that occasion he wore a gown.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are in literature a few biographies in which the hand of a master
has, in a brief compass, given a portraiture of an illustrious subject,
which, like the faces portrayed by the great painters of the Middle Ages,
leaves nothing wanting and which no fulness of detail could improve. Of
these, Tacitus's "Life of Agricola" is probably the most perfect example.
Kirkland's "Fisher Ames" is of the same class. So, also, unless I am
greatly deceived, is the "Life of Daniel Webster," by Edward Everett,
published with Webster's Works in 1852. This admirable biography,
partly, perhaps, by reason of its place in a voluminous publication, has
attracted far less attention than its own excellence and the fame of its
author would lead us to expect. It will be worth all the pains taken in
preparing these articles if it shall lead the youth of the country to
study carefully this masterly portrait by one great statesman and orator
of another who was his teacher, leader, and friend. I extract from it
one passage which gives the key to Webster's great success and to the
success of every great orator who has stirred the feeling or convinced
the understanding of the people by the power of eloquent speech:

"The orator who would do justice to a great theme or a great occasion
must thoroughly study and understand the subject; he must accurately
and, if possible, minutely digest in writing beforehand the substance,
and even the form, of his address; otherwise, though he may speak
ably, he will be apt not to make in all respects an able speech. He
must entirely possess himself beforehand of the main things which
he wishes to say, and then throw himself upon the excitement of the
moment and the sympathy of the audience. In those portions of his
discourse which are didactic or narrative, he will not be likely to
wander, in any direction, far from his notes; although even in those
portions new facts, illustrations, and suggestions will be apt to spring
up before him as he proceeds. But when the topic rises, when the mind
kindles from within, and the strain becomes loftier, or bolder, or more
pathetic, when the sacred fountain of tears is ready to overflow, and
audience and speaker are moved by one kindred sympathetic passion, then
the thick-coming fancies cannot be kept down, the storehouse of the
memory is unlocked, images start up from the slumber of years, and all
that the orator has seen, read, heard, or felt returns in distinct shape
and vivid colors. The cold and premeditated text will no longer suffice
for the glowing thought. The stately, balanced phrase gives place to
some abrupt, graphic expression, that rushes unbidden to his lips. The
unforeseen incident or locality furnishes an apt and speaking image;
and the discourse instinctively transposes itself into a higher key."



  [Illustration]



BALLAD

By J. Russell Taylor


     "Whither away? Shall we sail or stay? Whither away," I said,
     "Into the sunset's glory of gold and passion of rose-red?
     Over the water changed to wine and into the sky we slip,
     But never a fairer shore than this shall find our buoyant ship,
     Not though by shadowy Arcady we drop the anchor at last,
     And in the dusk our weary sails come rattling down the mast.
     Into the dark steals off the bark: let us stay in our bridal June:
     Whither away should lovers stray from the Island of Honeymoon?"

     "O far away in the dying day, and farther away," she cried,
     "Ere the glory of gold has faded yet or the passion of rose-red
       died,
     O far away from the happier present visit the happy past,
     Though never shall our ghostly sails die down the shadowy mast:
     For we will flit by the twilight land and name the places fair,
     But set no foot on the shore," she cried, "nor drop the anchor
       there:
     But under the night with so swift a flight that the keel is singing
       in tune,
     Back, haste back on the starry track to the Island of Honeymoon!"



A ROYAL ALLY

By William Maynadier Browne

ILLUSTRATIONS BY A. I. KELLER


Like many other energetic and successful men, Mr. Cutting had his enemies.
When, as counsel for the East End Land and Traction Company, he discovered
that the policy of a majority of the Board of Directors was to slowly but
surely "freeze out" the smaller stockholders, he promptly resigned his
position, and proceeded to form a coalition among the to-be-frozen. This
coalition had for its object the overthrow of the existing management
and the subsequent instituting of a new and generous policy.

  [Illustration: Michael O'Connor.]

After a hard, stubborn fight, Mr. Cutting and his followers won; the
management was displaced, and Mr. Cutting again became counsel for the
company. But he had added to his list of enemies some who, though few
in number, were long of memory, relentless, and powerful.

Under the new _régime_ the company prospered, and the patient stockholders
received their dividends regularly, hitherto withheld or, rather, made
to appear non-existing by means of the well-known device of undervaluing
the company's lands in converse ratio to its increasing earnings.

The annual meeting was but two days off, and Mr. Cutting's sky seemed
clear and tranquil; but overnight clouds had gathered black and ominous.
The enemy, believing themselves once more superior in strength, or nearly
enough so to venture upon the step, at the last moment sounded the note
of war. That evening's paper contained insinuations, which were followed
in the morning editions by large headlines and by direct though guarded
accusations.

It was this morning, the morning of the very day before the annual
meeting, that I was sitting in the office reading these same accusations.
I was indignant and tired out.

All the night before I had been closeted with Mr. Cutting in his house,
working out with him a defence for use in the battle to come, writing
to this or telegraphing to that out-of-town holder of the stock; in one
instance even cabling to London for a proxy allowing Mr. Cutting to vote
a thousand shares held by a friend of his who was abroad. Together we had
gone through the long list of stockholders, checking off those for and
those against us, and embodying in a new list the names, not a few, of
those either uncertain or unknown to us. This list comprised the names
of almost all the smaller holders, owning from one to fifty shares. The
only large holding was that of one Andrew J. Ahearn, against whose name
appeared the goodly figure of five hundred shares. But, alas! he was
among the unknown to us.

As I was leaving the house Mr. Cutting had said to me, mournfully: "I'm
afraid they've got us this time. We need four thousand shares more,
counting Emley's as safe; and the cable may not reach him in time, or
he may be out of London. But, never mind," he added, clapping me warmly
on the shoulder; "we will fight 'em till they knock us out, and go for
'em again next year. See you at the office."

As I walked slowly home to my lodgings through the long, level shadows
of the early morning, the distinct rattling of incoming milk-carts and
the twitter of countless sparrows pulsed through my tired brain in throb
with the names of big and little stockholders. Thus, after a bath and
breakfast, I had reached the office tired and indignant over the unjust
and unwarranted attacks upon Mr. Cutting contained in the morning papers.
Though counsel in name, he was in fact the managing head of the company's
affairs.

As I sat at my desk, the newspapers lying about on the floor where I
had thrown them in my anger, the door opened and old O'Connor entered.

Unlike his former appearances upon the scene of Mr. Cutting's domain,
he did not wait to be spoken to, but crossed to me briskly, without
hesitation or apology, merely removing his tall hat and sweepingly
smoothing his thin white hair as he sat himself down firmly in a chair
directly facing me. Something was on his mind, evidently.

"Phwat's dthis the papers do be sayin' about Mr. Cuttin', sor," he began,
but, remembering himself, hastened to add, "Good-morning, sor. And how
is Mr. Cutting this morning, sor?"

I told him that Mr. Cutting was well. Then I explained to him that the
newspaper attacks were instigated by the old Board of Directors of the
East End Company, who were trying to oust Mr. Cutting and his friends
from the directorate. At receiving this piece of information he merely
remarked, tersely, "The divils!" and after a pause added, in a whisper,
"Shure, Mr. Cuttin' can down the whole av thim——" Then, with a note
of anxiety in his voice, "Can't he, now, sor?"

I replied that it looked very doubtful, the time left us being so short
and the other side having prepared themselves so secretly.

"And phwat's dthis," O'Connor went on, an angry look still more
contracting his wizened face and concentrating all his features to a
point at the tip of his short up-turned nose—"phwat's dthis they do
be sayin'—Chimmie, me bar-tender, was afther readin' ut to me—phwat's
dthis about Mr. Cuttin' mismanaging the money?"

"Not the money," I hastened to say; "the affairs of the company."

"Well—annyho-ow, 'tis a dommed lie," said O'Connor, thrusting out his
square chin farther and farther with each word as it escaped from between
the compressed wide lips, which at last opened in a far from pleasant
grin, showing his still sound if ragged teeth, as he ejaculated, with fine
distinctness, "The blay-gyards!" and then asked, with sudden eagerness,
"Do there be anny wan av thim oi knaw, now?"

"No," I said, laughingly, "unless you happen to have met the former
president, Mr. Walker;" thinking that that gentleman would in all
probability be the least likely to be among the O'Connor's acquaintances.

"Phwat Walker is this?" he asked, all interest and expectation.

"The former president," I said.

"'Tis not Jarge Double-ye, it is, now, is ut?" He was leaning forward,
looking eagerly into my eyes, his hands tightly clutching his knees.

"It is," I replied. "George W. Walker."

"An' _do I know him_!" he exclaimed, leaning back and throwing up both
hands, as if exhausted with amazement. "An' it's the loikes av him is
fightin' Mr. Cuttin', is ut?" I nodded. "Well, well, well!" he murmured,
softly. "_Phwat_ do ye dthink av that! Whishper! Sit still, there, you."

He rose and tiptoed quickly to the door, opened it, and with an imperative
backward jerk of the head summoned somebody from the hallway without.
In a few moments a small elderly woman squeezed into the room. She
was dressed in black and carried her hands clasped in front of her,
seeming to hold in place the corners of a shawl that, folded over her
shoulders, was crossed at her waist. Her bonnet was diminutive, but
somehow uncompromising, almost defiant, in its plainness. From beneath it
peeped a portion, but enough, of a smooth brown wig. By it I recognized
her. She was the consort of the lineal descendant of the last king of
Ireland; she was O'Connor's wife and Mollie's, now Mrs. Fennessey's,
mother.

  [Illustration: Ejaculated, with fine distinctness, "The
   blay-gyards!"—Page 222.]

"Ah! Mrs. O'Connor!" I exclaimed, rising, "how do you do? I am glad to
see you again."

She merely courtesied sharply and sniffed once. She was not nearly so
gracious and so comfortably confiding as she had been in the state chamber
of her own castle, where I last saw her. However, she remarked at length,
pleasantly enough, that "it was a rale plisint mornin', the day," and
seated herself in a chair near the door. For perhaps a minute O'Connor
stood by her side and whispered to her. She seemed interested. I caught
the sound of "Jarge Double-ye" from him, and a crisp and threatening "Ho,
ho!" from her in reply. Then they crossed to my desk, O'Connor drawing
a folded paper from his pocket as he came. His manner now was grave and
business-like.

"Av you plaze, sor, Mrs. O'Connor and mesilf would thank you if you
would be so kind as to lit us j'intly sign this paper forninst ye."

"Do you want me to witness the signatures? Is that it?" I asked, taking
the paper and mechanically starting to unfold it.

"Yis, sor. But 'tis—excuse me, sor—'tis a private matther. Read it,
sor, if—if——" He paused, much embarrassed. I hastened to assure him
it was not necessary for me to read it, and, smoothing down the lowest
fold of the document, handed O'Connor a well-filled pen. He, in turn,
handed it to his wife, with the words, "Sign you, Bridget Ann, fur-rst,
and I'll sign afther, meself."

"Where do I putt me name, Michael, dear?" she asked, now seated uneasily
at my desk.

"Just undher the worruds 'Wid my consint,'" he answered, pointing with
a short, knotty, curved index-finger to the words "So help me, God,"
which appeared on the right side of the sheet, just below the edge of
the folded section that covered the remainder of the writing, except the
words "With my consent," which were on the same line, but at the left.
I corrected his mistake.

Slowly and awkwardly, but with great patience, Mrs. O'Connor's signature
was constructed. If a decided upward slant indicates, as students
of chirography assert, that the writer is of sanguine and ambitious
temperament, the lady was surely a worthy spouse for an heir to the
throne of Ireland. The signature ran up, up, up, until balked by the
folded edge; but pressing against this obstacle, it ran its remaining
course in protest against its confinement. Whether or not it spelled
Bridget Ann O'Connor, it certainly spelled nothing else.

O'Connor, as usual, had left his spectacles at home. I signed his name
and an ×, while he softly touched the tip of my pen-holder. He sighed
with relief when it was over, and remarked: "Shure, cross or name, 'tis
all the same. There's no differ. Thank you kindly, sor, and phwat do I
owe you, now?"

As I waved away his question, Mr. Cutting came in from the company's
offices, which adjoined our own.

Despite his anxieties, Mr. Cutting greeted O'Connor with his usual cheery,
"Well, Michael, how are you?" and then seeing Mrs. O'Connor, crossed to
her and shook hands; after which she resumed her seat, and sniffed once
more—this time with more decision and with her nose in the air. _She_
knew she knew Henry H. Cutting, Esq., whether the rest of the world knew
she did or not.

"Well, Michael, what can I do for you to-day?" he asked, pleasantly.
O'Connor was immediately all confusion. As he tried to answer, he fumbled
with his tall hat (which he had hurriedly grasped from its resting-place
on my desk at Mr. Cutting's entrance), he pulled with gentle uncertainty
at the fringe of white beard that encircled his anxious face, while
his eyes followed the line of the washboard as if searching there for
encouragement.

"Anything wrong?" asked Mr. Cutting.

"No, sor; no, Mr. Cuttin'," O'Connor at last stammered. "Not wid me,
nor yit wid anny belongin' to me. But, Mr. Cuttin', sor, I do be hearin'
av—av—phwat the papers——" He paused.

I saw a look of pain and disappointment quickly cross Mr. Cutting's
face, and I read his thoughts on the instant. His old servant and friend,
doubtful of its security, had come to demand his money.

"Av phwat the papers do be sayin' about you," O'Connor at last gained
courage to say, "and av phwat thim blaygyards do be havin' in moind to
do to you, sor. So-o I wud—meanin' no presumshin, sor, and wid your
kind permission—be afther givin' you this, sor. I dic_tay_ted it and
me daughter, Mollie, that's now Mrs. Fennessey, wrote it down for me.
Av you plaze, sor."

He handed Mr. Cutting the paper I had witnessed, and was gently rising
and falling on his toes, holding his tall hat behind him in both hands,
while he nervously moistened his lips and gazed at the wall.

Mr. Cutting read the paper quickly, then walked abruptly to the window
and stood looking out. There was silence for several moments. O'Connor
continued his gentle rising and falling. Mrs. O'Connor sighed softly,
smoothed her gown by a touch or two, and again folded her hands. Then Mr.
Cutting turned and resting his left hand, which still held the paper, on
O'Connor's shoulder, with his right grasped the other's right and shook
it warmly. There was the glitter of moisture in his eyes, but his fine
face wore an expression of mingled affection and mirth.

"Michael," he said, his clear, musical voice firm and kind, "I thank you
with all my heart for your generous offer of assistance. And you, too,
Bridget." Mrs. O'Connor half rose, sat down again and sniffed. "But I
cannot—it would not be right for me to accept it."

Then followed a wholly unwritable scene—O'Connor and his wife, by turns
and at times together, protesting, insisting, assuring, even coaxing.
In the _mêlée_ of warm-hearted Irish explosives, I could distinguish,
"Shure, I've plinty money"—"More than plinty, he has"—"What wid me
rum"—"Yis, an' your junk"—"And me rints"—"There's a good man, now"
"No bodther at all, at all." But at last O'Connor caught a look in his
former employer's eye that he knew. He saw that further argument or
entreaty was useless. At a gesture from Mr. Cutting, he and his wife
desisted.

  [Illustration: Slowly and awkwardly, but with great patience, Mrs.
   O'Connor's signature was constructed.—Page 224.]

"No, Michael," Mr. Cutting continued, quietly; "it is impossible. It
is out of the question. Besides, I must tell you, and now seems a good
time, that while my affairs are in no danger, they are, owing to this
new development in the company's prospects, causing me a good deal of
trouble and anxiety. I have, therefore, turned the property of yours I
was holding into cash, and it is now in my bank. I want you to wait here
while I send and draw it out. Then I am going to ask you to take care
of it yourself—at least, for the present. I am happy to say the amount
has increased considerably, and I know you won't be disappointed."

His tone was firm, and his determination manifest. O'Connor humbly
acquiesced with his familiar "Phwativer you plaze, sor, Mr. Cutting,
sor." Then Mr. Cutting said:

"But there is one thing you can do for me, Michael, and I shall be very
much obliged to you if you will."

"I will, then," said O'Connor, brightening. "Phwat is ut?"

"Give me this paper," said Mr. Cutting, holding up the paper O'Connor
had handed him.

"Shure I will, sor, if you want it. 'Tis no use to me now." His sadness
had returned, and now held him completely.

Mr. Cutting then disappeared into the company's offices; but in passing
my desk on the way he laid the paper before me, whispering as he did
so, "Read that."

O'Connor and his wife were now conversing apart, in mournful numbers,
so I read, unobserved, this:

"I, Michael O'Connor, being of sound and disposing mind, this day
do hereby loan to Mr. Henry H. Cutting, Esq., for any use he please,
all my money he has now in charge, him to repay whenever it suits his
convenience, and if never at all, no matter at all.

     "So help me God.

          "_Michael_
          "his × mark
          "_O'Connor_.

     "With my consent,
     "_Bridget Ann O'Connor_."

You may be sure it found a safe abiding-place among Mr. Cutting's most
cherished possessions. He soon came back into the office, alert and
eager, a new light in his eyes.

"Mike," he exclaimed, so suddenly that O'Connor dropped his hat, "perhaps
you _can_ help me after all."

"Glory be to God!" exclaimed O'Connor, looking at him, though groping
for his hat, which had rolled in a short semi-circle to his wife's feet
and was now safely reposing in her lap. "How, sor?"

"Parker," said Mr. Cutting turning to me, "let me have that copy of the
list of the uncertain and unknown. Ah!" as he took it and with a flirt
opened it. "Michael, see if you can tell me anything of these people.
Perhaps you may know the first one on the list—Andrew J. Ahearn, five
hundred shares."

"Andy Ahearn!" replied O'Connor, in interested surprise. "Yis, sor,
shure I know Andy Ahearn these t'irty years—more shame to me."

"Oh, ho! Thrue for you," came from Mrs. O'Connor's direction.

"What sort of man is he?" Mr. Cutting asked.

"Shure, he do go round pickin' up bur-rnt matches against the day there's
no builder left who'll give him firewood; and him wort' his t'ousands
upon t'ousands. And now I think av it, sor, I can tell ye how he kem
by thim five hunder' shares." Here the old man became very deliberate
and precise. "Now, d'ye moind, he is—no-o—he was father to Carneelus
Ahearn, him that was in the Legis_lay_ter five year ago. 'Twas thin d'ye
moind, your company—as it is no-ow—was petishinin' for a—phwat's this
ut is—a franchise. Well, I dunno-o; but thin it was many av thim in
the Legis_lay_ter got shares av stock. Some sez they bought thim, and
odthers sez—but that's neidther here nor there, at all, at all, and av
no consequince now. But 'twas this same Carneelus, d'ye moind, son to
Andy, that was afther give a term av five years in jail, for—for—phwat's
this they calls shtealin' whin it ain't shtealin', now?"

"Embezzlement," I suggested.

"That's ut," said O'Connor. "An' he died two years afther, wid t'ree
year yet comin' to him. So, now, d'ye moind how ould Andy Ahearn kem by
the five hunder' shares? He bought thim arf av his son, Carneelus."

"Do you think you could get him to give you a proxy?" Mr. Cutting asked.

"An' phwat's that, sor, av you plaze?"

"Shure, Michael, dear," came in cooing accents from the lady across the
room, "a proxy is a godfather or a godmother whin they are unabil to be
prisint."

I tried not to laugh, and Mr. Cutting turned his head to hide a smile;
but O'Connor saw that something was wrong. Turning toward his wife, he
said, impressively:

"Shure, Bridgit Ann, 'tis not ba-abies we're dishcussin', dear. 'Tis
business, it is."

Mr. Cutting and I finally succeeded in giving him a fairly good idea of
what a proxy was.

"Shure, 'tis a permit fer me to vote fer him as I plaze, thin?" he asked,
at last.

Mr. Cutting said that that was near enough for all practical purposes,
and went on reading from the list of names, selecting those of evident
or probable Celtic origin. It was amazing how many the old couple knew,
either personally or by hearsay. In many instances Mrs. O'Connor was
with difficulty restrained from giving a complete family history of the
person in question. As the reading progressed they became more and more
excited and enthusiastic, until at last O'Connor broke out with:

"Nivver moind the rist, sor. Gimme the list av the whole av thim, and
a boonch av thim godfa—I mane, thim proxies."

  [Illustration: "There's a good man, now—no bodther at all, at
   all."—Page 225.]

"And moind you take Chimmie along wid you, Michael," said Mrs. O'Connor,
grasping at once her husband's intention and eagerly espousing it. "Chim
knows manny as well as you, and some betther. Thin, he is eddi_cay_ted,
too, Michael, dear. And I'll get Tim to come over and tind bar, dear."

"Thrue for you, Bridgit Ann," said O'Connor, warmly. "'Tis Chimmie an'
me will do the job this day."

I gave him a handful of printed blanks to use for the proxies, and Mr.
Cutting handed him the list of names. He disposed of these summarily
in the capacious pocket of his coat, caught his wife by the arm, and
together they started to go.

At this moment a clerk entered and handed Mr. Cutting O'Connor's money.

"Wait, Michael," he called. "Here's your money; and here"—reaching for
a paper in his desk—"is an account of how we stand. It is all there.
Look it over at your leisure."

O'Connor hesitated, a last look of pleading in his eyes; then took the
money and account, thrust them deep into his trousers pocket, and hurried
to the door. This he partly opened, and he and milady scurried funnily
through the narrow space, like a pair of elderly black puppies. The door
closed behind them.

Mr. Cutting leaned back in his chair, and laughed for a full minute.
Then he asked me to bring him the signed dictation. I did so. He read
it through once more, laughed again, and sighed:

"God bless him! Being of sound and disposing mind this day, I will take
the will for the deed." He sat for a moment in thought; then holding the
paper before him, he said, musingly: "Few, very, very few are those in
_this_ world so broadly eddi_cay_ted as to have dic_tay_ted this."

"There are few of the blood royal," I ventured to remark.

"And more's the pity," he said, as the lock of his lacquered dispatch-box
clicked. For a time we were silent.

"It just occurs to me," I said at last, "that we forgot to have him sign
a receipt."

"Receipt, man!" he exclaimed. "A receipt from _him_? Besides, we have
Bridget Ann as a witness." And chuckling, he passed again into the
company's offices.

Not until the very hour of the day of the meeting did we realize that
we had entirely forgotten to instruct O'Connor to have such proxies as
he might get made out in Mr. Cutting's name.

The morrow came, and with it the meeting. The stockholders were not
present in large numbers, but enough were there to crowd uncomfortably
the directors' room where the meeting was held. O'Connor had not put
in an appearance, nor had we heard from him since his and his wife's
hurried departure of the day before. Our side was not a very hopeful
party. True, Emley had cabled his attorney to give Mr. Cutting a proxy,
and it was now safe in Mr. Cutting's possession, with the others he had
obtained. But we were sure of only twenty-two thousand out of a total
of fifty thousand shares, and to our knowledge (now, alas! at the last
moment) the other side had been working like beavers to obtain proxies.
Still, there was a chance for us. It is as misleading to count your
proxies before they are voted, as to count your chickens before they
are hatched. Some of the enemy's might be revoked at any moment, or be
superseded by others bearing later dates. At any rate, preparation was
passed. The fight was on.

Mr. Cutting was seated at the side of the room, surrounded by a little
group of his fellow-directors and friends. I was beside the president,
the necessary books and papers at my hand, ready to perform my duties
as secretary. It was a position I held through Mr. Cutting's kindness
and influence. At last the president called the meeting to order.

The reading of the minutes of the previous meeting was dispensed with,
for which I was grateful. Something in the air told me that the enemy
were eager for action. As many formalities as could be were omitted or
summarily disposed of. The instant the treasurer's report had been read
and accepted, Mr. Walker, the ex-president, was on his feet.

Then followed a very able, if wholly misleading, attack upon the policy
pursued by the board of directors during their term of office. Mr. Walker
was a man of force and a good speaker; and his remarks had their effect
upon not a few uncertain ones, if one could judge by the look of approval
apparent on the faces of many who were present. But as he neared the end,
either his personal enmity toward Mr. Cutting or the excitement due to the
occasion, got the better of his judgment. He closed by a personal attack
upon the counsel, whom he characterized as "the non-commissioned general
who had cunningly devised this whole campaign of extravagance, wickedly
designed to elate and bamboozle the smaller stockholders, who, when the
inevitable result of such reckless expenditure should come—namely, a
crash—would find themselves obliged to sell their little hard-earned
holdings." "To whom," Mr. Walker ended, "it is hardly necessary for me
to say."

From where I sat I commanded a view of the door that led directly into
the corridor of the building. Just as Mr. Walker's spleen was beginning
to take possession of him, I saw this door open and O'Connor enter. He
was accompanied by a short, stocky, red-haired young Irishman, whom I
recognized as his bartender, "Chimmie."

The old chap looked hot and excited, but not tired, and far from dejected.
There was a new alertness about him, much like that you will see in an
old and experienced bull-terrier, who has every reason to believe that
the rat-trap is about to be opened. I watched him.

  [Illustration: "A proxy is a godfather or a godmother whin they are
   unabil to be prisint."—Page 226.]

With head bent forward, and with one bunchy hand curled like a warped
oyster-shell about his ear, he listened to every word. I saw him ask a
man next him who was speaking. I could tell that this was his question
by the effect the man's answer produced upon him. His eyebrows lowered
and contracted, and from beneath them he glared at "Jarge Double-ye,"
while the far from pleasant grin appeared, grew, and hardened about his
mouth. Meanwhile he was gradually edging his way forward, his faithful
companion at his elbow, nearer and nearer to the speaker. In the general
interest in Mr. Walker's remarks, few noticed the pair.

At last the descendant of the last King of Ireland was in a position
squarely in front of the speaker, and separated from him by the width
of the directors' long table, upon which now reposed the old tall hat
so familiar to me and to Mr. Cutting.

The instant Mr. Walker was seated, after his speech, he of the royal
blood seized his opportunity.

"Mr. Prisidint," he said, firmly and clearly, depositing his large red
cambric handkerchief in the hat beside him. The president bowed, saying:

"You have the floor, Mr. ——. Excuse me; you are a stockholder, I
suppose?"

"I am, sor."

I was amazed.

"Your name, please."

"Michael O'Connor, twinty-wan —— Wharf, junk-dealer and licensed
liquor-seller."

There was a slight stir of expectancy among those present. The president
glanced at me, waiting for me to verify O'Connor's statement. I had run
my finger down the O's in the list of names, well knowing, of course,
O'Connor's was not there. I shook my head.

"Your name does not seem to appear on the list, Mr. O'Connor," said the
president.

"Shure, I only bought me shtock this mornin', sor," replied O'Connor
with a reassuring and comforting wave of the hand to the chief officer
of the company. Chimmie, at his elbow still, handed him a paper from a
bunch of many he held ready in his hand. O'Connor passed it up to the
president, with the remark, "Here is me credintials, sor, av you plaze."

That gentleman merely glanced at it, then returned it to O'Connor, and
said,

"A certificate of stock, I see. Did you expect to vote?"

"Dthat's phwat I kem here fer," said O'Connor, with a quick nod of the
head, which showed that the royal blood was stirring.

Then the president explained to him that the transfer-books were closed,
and that, by the by-laws of the company, nobody was allowed to vote at
its meetings except such persons as were duly registered holders of its
stock, or were holders of a proxy from somebody who was.

  [Illustration: Enter O'Connor and Chimmie.—Page 228.]

"Proxy, is ut!" exclaimed O'Connor. "Chimmie, me boy, give me the odther
wan." Jimmie handed him a second paper, which he in turn handed to the
president.

  [Illustration: The royal blood was now at boiling-point.—Page 232.]

"This seems to be perfectly regular, dated to-day, from Andrew J. Ahearn,
for five hundred shares," the president said, and handed the proxy to me.

The stir of expectation had become a ripple of excitement. I observed
that Mr. Walker moved uneasily.

"Yis, sor," said O'Connor, with a touch of ludicrous _aplomb_. "Andy
Ahearn—shure, the ould divil wouldn't give me the wan widout I bought
the odther. And now, thin, sor, I have the privilege to vote, is ut?"

The president bowed and looked about the room for some other person who
might have business before the meeting.

"Thin I, Michael O'Connor," the old fellow continued, to everybody's
surprise and amusement, "do hereby vote on these five hunder'
shares"—here he held the certificate aloft in his right hand—"for Mr.
Hinry Haitch Cutting, Esquire, so help me God, and——"

He was interrupted by a roar of laughter. Mr. Walker was now on his
feet. When the laughter ceased, he said:

"Mr. President, are we to take this stockholder as a fair example of
Mr. Cutting's faithful following?"

The question was greeted with silence. Mr. Walker had made a blunder,
and he was instantly made to feel it. O'Connor spoke again, quietly and
slowly, addressing the presiding officer, but looking angrily at the
interrupter through half-closed eyelids, his nose held high. As he spoke
he gently smoothed down his long upper lip at the corners with thumb
and forefinger.

"Mr. Prisidint," he said, "I think—I dunno-o—but may-be-e—I have the
floo-or?"

The president bowed, but added that it was not yet time to take a vote.
Those who are familiar with the Irish well know how rarely you find one
with absolutely _no_ knowledge of parliamentary procedure. It seems
to be imbibed with the mother's milk. O'Connor was not in the least
disconcerted. "Thin, sor," he continued, "wid your kind permission, I
will make a few remarks."

"I shall be glad to hear them, Mr. O'Connor," the president said. A small
wave of approval passed over the meeting. O'Connor placed his thumbs
firmly in the armholes of his waistcoat, planted his feet well apart,
and began. The royal blood was up.

"Mr. Prisidint and gintlemin," with a low, sweeping bow from left to
right, "and Jarge Double-ye Walker." Here he cleared his throat to allow
his sarcasm time to penetrate the understanding of his hearers. It did.
"Whidther or not I am a fair example uv _ahl_ Mr. Hinry Haitch Cutting
Esquire's fait'ful follyers, I am unabil to say, they bein' so large in
noomber, by God's justice. _But_, Mr. Prisidint and gintlemin, and Jarge
Double-ye Walker, wid ahl modesty, I do claim to be a fair example av some
thirty-foor av Mr. Hinry Haitch Cutting Esquire's fait'ful follyers, who
owns bechune thim two t'ousand wan hunder' and sivin shares, countin' me
own five hunder'. They are ivery wan av thim Oirish, includin' mesilf,
and I have the proxies av ivery wan av thim, includin' me own. Put that
in your poipe, Jarge Double-ye Walker." The royal blood was getting
hot. A round of applause burst from Mr. Cutting's party, but it quickly
subsided at the sharp rap of the president's gavel upon the table. This,
however, had little effect upon O'Connor. The royal blood was now at
boiling-point.

"Moreover, Jarge Double-ye Walker," he continued, too quickly for
interruption, and emphasizing each clause with clenched fists, "they
pays their taxes, they pays their bills. They has paid for their
little hard-earned holdin's in this company, and—some av thim owns
tinimint-houses, but not one wid bad plumbin' and defective drainage,
Jarge Double-ye Walker."

Caution had been royally thrown to the winds. The president rapped hard
and long upon his desk. The listeners moved uneasily in their seats.

"Mr. O'Connor," the president said, sharply, "you must confine your
remarks to the business in hand and address them to the chair, or I must
ask you to take your seat."

"I ax your pardon, Mr. Prisidint," said O'Connor. He was now his old
self, and went on with homely courtesy, to say: "It is my wish, sor,
to say just a few worruds more regyardin' me idee av phwat conshtitutes
the fitness av a man for the job av managin' the affairs av odthers than
himself—wid your kind permission, Mr. Prisidint, and I'll not be long,
at all, at all." The president bowed. As the old Irishman continued,
his voice grew soft and tender, at times sinking almost to a whisper.

"I am unabil, bein' mesilf uneddi_cay_ted and a plain man, to deshcribe
to yez just phwat I'm wantin' to tell yez. But maybe you'll know from
this. Twinty year ago come the tinth av this prisint month, I wint to
worruk for a certin gintleman, to do chores about the place and phwat
gyardenin' and potherin' round the grounds was nicissary. He had a purty
place in the country—a rale pur-rty place, and there was a shweet little
house there he putt me in—all for mesilf and me wife and me baby—a
little gurrul she was, wan year old. I had been to worruk in the city,
where I lived in a tinimint—noomber t'ree Gay's Alley, so called it was.
Me wife was ailin', and the baby was takin' afther her modther at the
time; so, shure, it was deloighted we was at the chanst to live in the
country and wid our new place. A lovely home it was. Well, just tin days
afther we kem, me wife was tuk wid fever—typhide fever it was—and two
days afther little Mollie was tuk, too, just the same. Oh! wurra! wurra!
but thim was heart-breakin' days! But niver moind, I'll not bodther you
wid ahl av it. Wan night me wife was terrible bad, little Mollie bein'
ashleep in the nixt room, and not near so bad as her modther, to my
thinkin'. The docthor kem, and wid him the gintleman that emplyed me.
Whin the docthor had looked at the two, he sez to me, 'The modther is
very low,' he sez, 'but she will come t'rough all right; but the young
un,' he sez, 'is in a viry criticil condition. She'll need conshtant
attintion,' he sez, 'and I cannot be here mesilf,' he sez, 'to save her
life!' Me heart died in me that minute.

"But quick, wid no hesitation, the gintleman sez to the docthor, callin'
him by name, he bein' a frind av his, he sez, 'John,' he sez, 'I'll look
afther the little one mesilf durin' the night,' he sez. 'I've done it
before this, as you know,' he sez; 'and come again, you, in the mornin','
he sez."

Here the old man paused. There was perfect silence in the room. When he
again spoke, it was in a hoarse whisper, but he could be distinctly heard.

"For t'ree whole nights—long, sad, weary nights—the gintleman niver
lift the side av Mollie's bed, onliss whin he crep' in to putt his
hand on me shoulder and say to me, 'Keep up, me man. We'll pull 'em
both t'rough, all right'—and we did that same. Glory be to God and the
Blessed Virgin! they're alive and well this day, the two av thim.

"Well, Mr. Prisidint and gintlemin, I am not eddi_cay_ted and I dunno-o—I
may be wrong, but to my moind that gintleman is the kind av a man that
hav fitness for the job av managin' the affairs av odthers beside himself.
And that gintleman is Mr. Hinry Haitch Cutting, Esquire."

He paused and looked about him sheepishly; then turning so as to face
Mr. Walker, he said:

"Mr. Jarge Double-ye Walker, I ax your pardon for shpeakin' so rough to
ye, sor. 'Tis ahl past and gone now, sor, and I bear ye no ill-will." Then
to the president he said, quietly, "Thank you kindly, Mr. Prisidint;"
and taking his hat, moved back among those who were standing near the
door.

Mr. Cutting now moved that we proceed to the election of officers for
the ensuing year. The motion was carried.

When the ballots were counted, it was found that the existing officers
had received the votes of twenty-seven thousand and some odd shares,
thus having a clear majority. We could, of course, tell exactly how many
votes were due to O'Connor's proxies; but how many more were due to his
personal presence at the meeting, we could only estimate.



THE SHIP OF STARS

By A. T. Quiller-Couch (Q.)


XVIII

THE BARRIERS FALL

There were marks of teeth on his right boot, but no marks at all on his
body. Fright—or fright following on that evening's frenzy—had killed
him.

He was buried three days later, and Mr. Raymond read the service. No
rain had fallen, and the blood of the three hounds still stained the
gravel dividing the grave from the porch, where the crowd had shot them
down.

For awhile his death made small difference to the family at the Parsonage.
They had fought the shadow of his enmity and proved it for what it was;
a shadow and little else. But they had scarcely realized their success,
and wondered why the removal of the shadow did not affect them more.

About this time Taffy began to carry out a scheme which he and his
father had often discussed, but hitherto had found no leisure for—the
setting up of wooden crosses on the graves of the drowned sailormen.
They had wished for slate: but good slate was expensive and hard to
come by, and Taffy had no skill in stone-cutting. Since wood it must
be, he resolved to put his best work into it. The names, etc., should
be engraved, not painted merely. Some of the pew-fronts in the church
had panels elaborately carved in flat and shallow relief—fine Jacobean
designs, all of them. He took careful rubbings of the narrowest, made
tracings, and set to work to copy them on the face of his crosses.

One afternoon, some three weeks after the Squire's funeral, he happened
to return to the house for a tracing which he had forgotten, and found
Honoria seated in the kitchen and talking with his father and mother.
She was dressed in black, of course, and either this or the solemnity
of her visit gave her quite a grown-up look. But to be sure, she was
mistress of Tredinnis now, and a child no longer.

Taffy guessed the meaning of her visit at once. And no doubt this act of
formal reconciliation between Tredinnis House and the Parsonage had cost
her some nervousness. When he entered his parents stood up and seemed
just as awkward as their visitor. "Another time, perhaps," he heard his
father say. Honoria rose almost at once, and would not stay to drink
tea, though Humility pressed her.

"I suppose," said Taffy next day, looking up from his Virgil, "I suppose
Miss Honoria wants to make friends now, and help on the restoration?"

Mr. Raymond, who was on his knees fastening a loose hinge in a pew-door,
took a screw from between his lips.

"Yes, she proposed that."

"It must be splendid for you, dad!"

"I don't quite see," answered Mr. Raymond, with his head well inside
the pew.

Taffy stood up, put his hands in his pockets, and took a turn up and
down the aisle.

"Why," said he, coming to a halt, "it means that you have won. It's
victory, dad, and _I_ call it glorious!" His lip trembled. He wanted
to put a hand on his father's shoulder, as any other comrade would. But
his abominable shyness stood between.

"We won long ago, my boy." And Mr. Raymond wheeled round on his knees,
pushed up his spectacles, and quoted the famous lines, very solemnly
and slowly:

     And not by eastern windows only,
       When daylight comes, comes in the light;
     In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
       But westward, look, the land is bright.

"I see," Taffy nodded. "And—I say, that's jolly. Who wrote it?"

"A man I used to see in the streets of Oxford, and always turned to
stare after: a man with big oddly shaped feet and the face of a god—a
young tormented god. Those were days when young men's thoughts tormented
them. Taffy," he asked, abruptly, "should you like to go to Oxford?"

"Don't, father!" The boy bit his lip to keep back the tears. "Talk of
something else—something cheerful. It has been a splendid fight, just
splendid! And now it's over I'm almost sorry."

"What is over?"

"Well, I suppose—now that Honoria wants to help—we can hire workmen and
have the whole job finished in a month or two at farthest: and you——"

Mr. Raymond stood up, and leaning against a bench-end examined the thread
of the screw between his fingers.

"That is one way of looking at it, no doubt," he said, slowly; "and I
hope God will forgive me if I have put my own pride before His service.
But a man desires to leave some completed work behind him: something to
which people may point and say, '_he_ did it.' There was my book, now:
for years I thought that was to be my work. But God thought otherwise
and—to correct my pride, perhaps—set me to this task instead. To
set a small forsaken country church in order and make it worthy of His
presence—that is not the mission I should have chosen. But so be it:
I have accepted it. Only, to let others step in at the last and finish
even this—I say He must forgive me, but I cannot."

"Your book ... you can go back to it and finish it."

"I have burnt it."

"Dad!"

"I burned it. I had to. It was a temptation to me, and until I lifted
it from the grate and the flakes crumbled in my hands, the surrender
was not complete."

Taffy felt a sudden gush of pity. And as he pitied, suddenly he understood
his father.

"It had to be complete?"

"Either the book or the surrender. My boy"—and in his voice there
echoed the aspiration and the despair of the true scholar who abhors
imperfection and incompleteness in a world where nothing is either perfect
or complete, "it is different with you. I borrowed you, so to say, for
the time. Without you I must have failed; but this was never your work.
For myself, I have been humble and learnt my lesson; but, please God,
you shall be my Solomon and be granted a temple to build."

Taffy had lost his shyness now. He laid a hand on his father's sleeve.

"We will go on, then."

"Yes, we will go on."

"And Jacky? Where has he been? I haven't seen him since the Squire died."

Mr. Raymond searched in his coat-pocket and handed over a crumpled
letter. It ran:—

"DEAR FRIEND.—This is to say that you will not see me no more. The
dear Lord tells me I have made a cauch of it. He don't say how, all He
says is go and do better somewheres else.

"Seems to me a terrable thing to think _Religion_ can be bad for anny
man. It have done me such powars of good. The late Moyle esq he was like
a dirty pan all the milk turned sour no mattar what. Dr friend I pored
Praise into him and it come out Prayer and all for him self. But the
dear Lord says I was to blame as much as Moyle esq so must do bettar
next time but feel terrable timid.

"My respects to Masr Taffy. Dr friend I done my best I come like
_Nicodemus_ by night. Seeming to me when Christians fall out tis over
what they pray for. When they _praise God_ forget diffnses and I cant
think where the quaraling comes in and so no more at present from

     "Yours respflly

     "J. Pascoe."

After supper that night, in the Parsonage kitchen, Humility kept rising
from her chair, and laying her needlework aside to re-arrange the pans
and kettles on the hearth. This restlessness was so unusual that Taffy,
seated in the ingle with a book on his knee, had half raised his head
to twit her when he felt a hand laid softly on his hair, and looked up
into his mother's eyes.

"Taffy, should you like to go to Oxford?"

"Don't, mother!"

"But you can." The tears in her eyes answered his at once. She turned
to his father. "Tell him——"

"Yes, my boy, you can go," said Mr. Raymond; "that is, if you can win
a scholarship. Your mother and I have been talking it over."

"But—" Taffy began and could get no farther. He knew nothing of his
parents' affairs except that they were poor: he had always supposed,
almost desperately poor.

"We have money enough, with care," said Mr. Raymond.

But the boy's eyes were on his mother. Her cheeks, usually so pale,
were flushed; but she turned her face away and walked slowly back to her
chair. "The lace-work," he heard her say: "I have been saving ... from
the beginning——"

"For this?" He followed and took her hand. With the other she covered
her eyes; but nodded.

"O mother—mother!" He knelt and let his brow drop on her lap. She ceased
to weep; her palms rested on his bowed head, but now and then her body
shook with a sob that would not be restrained. And but for the ticking
of the tall clock there was silence in the room.

It was wonderful; and the wonder of it grew when they recovered themselves
and fell to discussing their actual plans. In spite of his idolatry,
Mr. Raymond could not help remembering certain slights which he, a poor
miller's son, had undergone at Christ Church. He had chosen Magdalen,
which Taffy knew to be the most beautiful of all the colleges; and the
news that his name had been entered on the college books for years past
gave him a delicious shock. It was now July. He would matriculate in
the October term, and in January enter for a demyship. But (the marvels
followed so fast on each other's heels) there would be an examination
held in ten days' time—actually in ten days' time—a "Certificate"
examination, Mr. Raymond called it—which would excuse the boy not only
the ordinary Matriculation test, but Responsions too. And, in short,
Taffy was to pack his box and go.

"But the subjects?"

"You have been reading them and the prescribed books for four months
past. And I have had sets of the old papers by me for a guide. Your
mathematics are shaky—but I think you should do well enough."

It was now Humility's turn, and the discussion plunged among shirts and
collars. Never had evening been so happy; and whether they talked of
mathematics or of collars, Taffy could not help observing how from time
to time his father's and mother's eyes would meet and say, as plainly
as words, "We have done rightly," "Yes, we have done rightly."

And the wonder of it remained next morning, when he awoke to a changed
world and took down his books with a new purpose. Already his box had
been carried into old Mrs. Venning's room, and his mother and grandmother
were busy, the one packing and repacking, the other making a new and
important suggestion every minute.

He was to go up alone, and to lodge in Trinity College, where an old
friend of Mr. Raymond's, a resident fellow just then abroad and spending
his Long Vacation in the Tyrol, had placed his own room at the boy's
service.

To see Oxford—to be lodging in college! He had to hug his mother in
the midst of her packing.

"You will be going by the Great Western," she said. "You won't be seeing
Honiton on your way."

When the great morning came, Mr. Raymond travelled with him in the van
to Truro, to see him off. Humility went upstairs to her mother's room,
and the two women prayed together.

     They also serve who only stand and wait.


XIX

OXFORD

"Eight o'clock, sir!"

Taffy heard the voice speaking above a noise which his dreams confused
with the rattle of yesterday's journey. He was still in the train,
rushing through the rich levels of Somersetshire. He saw the broad
horizon, the cattle at pasture, the bridges and flagged pools flying past
the window—and sat up, rubbing his eyes. Blenkiron, the scout, stood
between him and the morning sunshine, emptying a can of water into the
tub beside his bed.

Blenkiron wore a white waistcoat, and a tie of orange scarlet and blue,
the colors of the College Servants Cricket Club. These were signs of the
Long Vacation. For the rest his presence would have become an archdeacon;
and he guided Taffy's choice of a breakfast with an air which suggested
the hand of iron beneath the glove of velvet.

"And begging your pardon, sir, but will you be lunching in?"

Taffy would consult Mr. Blenkiron's convenience.

"The fact is, sir, we've arranged to play Teddy 'All this afternoon at
Cowley, and the drag starts at one-thirty sharp."

"Then I'll get my lunch out of college," said Taffy, wondering who Teddy
Hall might be.

"I thank you, sir. I had, indeed, took the liberty of telling the manciple
that you was not a gentleman to give more trouble than you could 'elp.
Fried sole, pot of tea, toast, pot of blackberry jam, commons of bread—"
Mr. Blenkiron disappeared.

Taffy sprang out of bed and ran to the open window in the next room. The
gardens lay below him—smooth turf flanked with a border of gay flowers,
flanked on the other side with yews; and beyond the yews, with an avenue
of limes; and beyond these, with tall elms. A straight gravelled walk
divided the turf. At the end of it two yews of magnificent spread guarded
a great iron gate. Beyond these the chimneys and battlements of Wadham
College stood gray against the pale eastern sky, and over them the larks
were singing.

So this was Oxford; more beautiful than all his dreams. And since his
examination would not begin until to-morrow, he had a whole long day to
make acquaintance with her. Half a dozen times he had to interrupt his
dressing to run and gaze out of the window, skipping back when he heard
Blenkiron's tread on the staircase. And at breakfast again he must jump
up and examine the door. Yes, there was a second door outside—a heavy
_oak_—just as his father had described. What stories had he not heard
about these oaks! He was handling this one almost idolatrously when
Blenkiron appeared suddenly at the head of the stairs. Blenkiron was
good enough to explain at some length how the door worked; while Taffy,
who did not need his instruction in the least, blushed to the roots of
his hair.

For, indeed, it was like first love, this adoration of Oxford; shamefast,
shy of its own raptures; so shy, indeed, that when he put on his hat
and walked out into the streets he could not pluck up courage to ask his
way. Some of the colleges he recognized from his father's description:
of one or two he discovered the names by peeping through their gateways
and reading the notices pinned up by the porters' lodges: for it never
occurred to him that he was free to step inside and ramble through the
quadrangles. He wondered where the river lay, and where Magdalen, and
where Christ Church. He passed along the Turl, and down Brasenose Lane;
and at the foot of it, beyond the great chestnut-tree leaning over Exeter
wall, the vision of noble square, the dome of the Radcliffe, and St.
Mary's spire caught his breath and held him gasping.

His feet took him by the gate of Brasenose and across the High. On the
farther pavement he halted, round-eyed, held at gaze by the beauty of the
Virgin's Porch with the creeper drooping like a veil over its twisted
pillars. High up, white pigeons wheeled round the spire, or fluttered
from niche to niche, and a queer fancy took him that they were the souls
of the carved saints, up there, talking to one another above the city's
traffic. At length he withdrew his eyes, and reading the name "Oriel
Street" on an angle of the wall above him, passed down a narrow by-lane
in search of further wonders.

The clocks were striking three when, after regaining the High and lunching
at a pastry-cook's, Taffy turned down into St. Aldates and recognized
Tom Tower ahead of him. The great gates were closed. Through the open
wicket he had a glimpse of green turf and an idle fountain; and while he
peered in a jolly-looking porter stepped out of the lodge for a breath
of air and nodded in the friendliest manner.

"You can walk through, if you want to. Were you looking for anyone?"

"No," said Taffy; and explained, proudly, "My father used to be at Christ
Church."

The porter seemed interested. "What name?" he asked.

"Raymond."

"That must have been before my time. I suppose you'll be wanting to see
the Cathedral. That's the door—right opposite."

Taffy thanked him, and walked across the great empty quadrangle. Within
the Cathedral the organ was sounding and pausing; and from time to time
a boy's voice broke in upon the music like a flute, the pure treble
rising to the roof as though it were the very voice of the building
and every pillar sustained its petition, "_Lord have mercy upon us, and
incline our hearts to keep this law!_" Neither organist nor chorister
was visible, and Taffy tiptoed along the aisles in dread of disturbing
them. For the moment this voice adoring in the noble building expressed
to him the completest, the most perfect thing in life. All his own boyish
handiwork, remember, had been guided under his father's eye toward the
worship of God.

"_... and incline our hearts to keep this law._" The music ceased. He
heard the organist speaking, up in the loft; criticising, no doubt:
and it reminded him somehow of the small sounds of home and his mother
moving about her house-work in the hush between breakfast and noon.

He stepped out into the sunlight again, and wandering through archway
and cloister found himself at length beyond the college walls and at the
junction of two avenues of elms, between the trunks of which shone the
acres of a noble meadow, level and green. The avenues ran at a right
angle, east and south; the one old, with trees of magnificent girth,
the other new and interset with poplars.

Taffy stood irresolute. One of these avenues, he felt sure, must lead
to the river; but which?

Two old gentlemen stepped out from the wicket of the Meadow Buildings, and
passed him, talking together. The taller—a lean man, with a stoop—was
clearly a clergyman. The other wore cap and gown, and Taffy remarked,
as he went by, that his cap was of velvet; and also that he walked with
his arms crossed just above the wrists, his right hand clutching his
left cuff, and his left hand his right cuff, his elbows hugged close to
his sides.

After a few paces the clergyman paused, said something to his companion,
and the two turned back toward the boy.

"Were you wanting to know your way?"

"I was looking for the river," Taffy answered. He was thinking that he
had never in his life seen a face so full of goodness.

"Then this is your first visit to Oxford? Suppose, now, you come with
us? and we will take you by the river and tell you the names of the
barges. There is not much else to see, I'm afraid, in Vacation time."

He glanced at his companion in the velvet cap, who drew down an
extraordinarily bushy pair of eyebrows (yet he, too, had a beautiful
face) and seemed to come out of a dream.

"So much the better, boy, if you come up to Oxford to worship false gods."

Taffy was taken aback.

"Eight false gods in little blue caps, seated in a trough and tugging at
eight poles: and all to discover if they can get from Putney to Mortlake
sooner than eight other false gods in little blue caps of a lighter
shade! What do they do at Mortlake when they get there in such a hurry?
Eh, boy?"

"I—I'm sure I don't know," stammered Taffy.

The clergyman broke out laughing, and turned to him. "Are you going to
tell us your name?"

"Raymond, sir. My father used to be at Christ Church."

"What? Are you Sam Raymond's son?"

"You knew my father?"

"A very little. I was his senior by a year or two. But I know something
about him." He turned to the other. "Let me introduce the son of a man
after your own heart—of a man fighting for God in the wilds, and building
an altar there with his own hands and by the lamp of sacrifice."

"But how do you know all this?" cried Taffy.

"Oh," the old clergyman smiled, "we are not so ignorant up here as you
suppose."

They walked by the river-bank, and there Taffy saw the college barges
and was told the name of each. Also he saw a racing eight go by: it
belonged to the Vacation Rowing Club. From the barges they turned aside
and followed the windings of the Cherwell. The clergyman did most of the
talking; but now and then the old gentleman in the velvet cap interposed
a question about the church at home, its architecture, the materials it
was built of, and so forth; or about Taffy's own work, his carpentry,
his apprenticeship with Mendarva the smith. And to all these questions
the boy found himself replying with an ease which astonished him.

Suddenly the old clergyman said, "There is your College!"

And unperceived by Taffy a pair of kindly eyes watched his own as they
met the first vision of that lovely tower rising above the trees and (so
like a thing of life it seemed) lifting its pinnacles exultantly into
the blue heaven.

"Well?"

All three had come to a halt. The boy turned, blushing furiously.

"This is the best of all, sir."

"Boy," said old Velvet-cap, "do you know the meaning of 'edification'?
There stands your lesson for four years to come, if you can learn it in
that time. Do you think it easy? Come and see how it has been learnt by
men who have spent their lives face to face with it."

They crossed the street by Magdalen bridge, and passed under Pugin's
gateway, by the Chapel door and into the famous cloisters. All was quiet
here; so quiet that even the voices of the sparrows chattering in the
ivy seemed but a part of the silence. The shadow of the great tower
fell across the grass, on which (so a notice-board announced) nobody
was allowed to walk.

"This is how one generation read the lesson. Come and see how another,
and a later, read it."

A narrow passage led them out of gloom into sudden sunlight; and
the sunlight spread itself on fair grass-plots and gravelled walks,
flower-beds and the pale yellow façade of a block of buildings in the
classical style, stately and elegant, with a colonnade which only needed
a few promenading figures in laced coats and tie-wigs to complete the
agreeable picture.

"What do you make of that?"

As a matter of fact, Taffy's thoughts had run back to the theatre at
Plymouth with its sudden changes of scenery. And he stood for a moment
while he collected them.

"It's different—that is," he added, feeling that this was lame, "it
means something different; I cannot tell what."

"It means the difference between godly fear and civil ease, between
a house of prayer and one of no-prayer. It spells the moral change
which came over this University when religion, the spring and source of
collegiate life, was discarded. The cloisters behind you were built for
men who walked with God."

"But why," objected Taffy, plucking up courage, "couldn't they do that
in the sunlight?"

Velvet-cap opened his mouth. The boy felt he was going to be denounced;
when a merry laugh from the old clergyman averted the storm.

"Be content," he said to his companion; "we are Gothic enough in
Oxford nowadays. And the lad is right too. There was hope even for
eighteenth-century Magdalen while its buildings looked on sunlight and
on that tower. We lay too much stress on prayer. The lesson of that tower
(with all deference to your amazing discernment and equally amazing whims)
is not prayer, but praise. And between ourselves, when all men unite to
worship God, it'll be praise, not prayer, that brings them together.

     Praise is devotion fit for noble minds,
     The differing world's agreeing sacrifice...."

"Oh, if you're going to fling quotations from a tapster's son at my
head.... Let me see ... how does it go on?... Where—something or
other—different faiths—

     Where Heaven divided faiths united finds...."

And in a moment the pair were in hot pursuit after the quotation, tripping
each other up, like two schoolboys at a game. Taffy never forgot the
last stanza, the last line of which they recovered exactly in the middle
of the street, Velvet-cap standing between two tram-lines, right in the
path of an advancing car, while he declaimed—

     "By penitence when we ourselves forsake,
     'Tis but in wise design on piteous Heaven;
     In praise—

(The gesture was magnificent)

     In praise we nobly give what God may take,
     And are without a beggar's blush forgiven.

—Damn these trams!"

The old clergyman shook hands with Taffy in some haste. "And when you
reach home give my respects to your father. Stay, you don't know my
name. Here is my card, or you'll forget it."

"Mine too," said Velvet-cap.

Taffy stood staring after them as they walked off down the lane which
skirts the Botanical Gardens. The names on the two cards were famous
ones, as even he knew. He walked back toward Trinity a proud and happy
boy. Half-way up Queen's Lane, finding himself between blank walls, with
nobody in sight, he even skipped.


XX

TAFFY GIVES A PROMISE

The postman halted by the foot-bridge and blew his horn. The sound sent
the rabbits scampering into their burrows; and just as they began to
pop out again, Taffy came charging across the slope; whereupon they drew
back their noses in disgust, and to avoid the sand scattered by his heels.

The postman held up a blue envelope and waved it. "Here, 'tis come, at
last!"

"It may not be good news," said Taffy, clutching it, and then turning
it over in his hand.

"Well, that's true. And till you open it, it won't be any news at all."

"I wanted mother to be the first to know."

"Oh, very well—only as you say, it mightn't be good news."

"If it's bad news, I want to be alone. But why should they trouble to
write?"

"True again. I s'pose now you're sure it _is_ from them?"

"I can tell by the seal."

"Take it home, then," said the postman. "Only if you think 'tis for the
sake of a twiddling sixteen shilling a week that I traipse all these
miles every day——"

Taffy fingered the seal. "If you would really like to know——"

"Don't 'ee mention it. Not on any account." He waved his hand
magnanimously and trudged off toward Tredinnis.

Taffy waited until he disappeared behind the first sand-hill, and broke
the seal. A slip of parchment lay inside the envelope.

"_This is to certify_——"

He had paused! He pulled off his cap and waved it round his head. And
once more the rabbits popped back into their burrows.

_Toot—toot—toot!_—It was that diabolical postman. He had fetched a
circuit round the sand-hill, and was peeping round the north side of it
and grinning as he blew.

Taffy set off running, and never stopped until he reached the Parsonage
and burst into the kitchen.

"Mother—it's all right! I've passed!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Somebody was knocking at the door. Taffy jumped up from his knees and
Humility made the lap of her apron smooth.

"May I come in?" asked Honoria, and pushed the door open. She stepped
into the middle of the kitchen and dropped Taffy an elaborate courtesy.
"A thousand congratulations, sir!"

"Why, how did you know?"

"Well, I met the postman: and I looked in through the window before
knocking."

Taffy bit his lip. "People seem to be taking a deal of interest in us,
all of a sudden," he said to his mother. Humility looked distressed,
uncomfortable. Honoria ignored the snub. "I am starting for Carwithiel
to-day," she said, "for a week's visit; and thought I would look in—after
hearing what the postman told me—and pay my compliments."

She talked for a minute or two on matters of no importance; asked after
old Mrs. Venning's health; and left, turning at the door to give Humility
a cheerful little nod.

"Taffy, you ought not to have spoken so." Humility's eyes were tearful.

Taffy's conscience was already accusing him. He snatched up his cap and
ran out.

"Miss Honoria!"

She did not turn.

"Miss Honoria—I am sorry." He overtook her, but she turned her face
away. "Forgive me——"

She halted, and after a moment looked him in the eyes. He saw then that
she had been crying.

"The first time I came to see you, _he_ whipped me," she said slowly.

"I am sorry; please——"

"Taffy——"

"Miss Honoria."

"I said—Taffy."

"Honoria, then."

"Do you know what it is to feel lonely, here?"

Taffy remembered the afternoons when he had roamed the sand-hills longing
for George's company. "Why, yes," said he; "it used to be always lonely."

"I think we have been the loneliest children in the whole world—you and
I and George; only George didn't feel it in the same way. And now it's
coming to an end with you. You are going up to Oxford, and soon you will
have heaps of friends. Can you not understand? Suppose there were two
prisoners, alone in the same prison, but shut in different cells; and
one heard that the other's release had come. He would feel—would he
not?—that now he was going to be lonelier than ever. And yet he might
be glad of the other's liberty, and if the chance were given, might be
the happier for shaking hands with the other and wishing him joy."

Taffy had never heard her speak at all like this.

"But you are going over to Carwithiel, and George is famous company."

"I am going over to Carwithiel because I hate Tredinnis. I hate every
stone of it, and will sell the place as soon as ever I come of age. And
George is the best fellow in the world. Some day I shall marry him (Oh,
it's all arranged!) and we shall live at Carwithiel and be quite happy;
for I like him, and he likes people to be happy. And we shall talk of
you. Being out of the world ourselves, we shall talk of you, and the
great things you are going to do, and the great things you are doing. We
shall say to each other, 'It's all very well for the world to be proud
of him, but we have the best right; for we grew up with him and know
the stories he used to tell us, and when the time came for his going,
it was we who waved from the door'——"

"Honoria——"

"But there is one thing you haven't told; and you shall now, if you care
to—about your examination and what you did at Oxford."

So he sat down beside her on a sand-hill and told her; about the long
low-ceiled room in the quadrangle of the Bodleian, the old marbles which
lined the walls, the examiner at the blue-baize table, and the little
deal tables (all scribbled over with names and dates and verses and
ribald remarks) at which the candidates wrote; also of the _viva voce_
examination in the ante-chamber of the Convocation House. He told it
all as if it were the great event which he honestly felt it to be.

"And the others," said she: "those who were writing around you, and the
examiner—how did you feel toward them?"

Taffy stared at her. "I don't know that I thought much about them?"

"Didn't you feel as if it was a battle, and you wanted to beat them all?"

He broke out laughing. "Why the examiner was an old man, as dry as a
stick! And the others—I hardly remember what they were like—except one,
a white-headed boy with a pimply face. I couldn't help noticing him,
because, whenever I looked up, there he was at the next table, staring
at me and chewing a quill."

"I can't understand," she confessed. "Often and often I have tried to
think myself a man—a man with ambition. And to me that has always meant
fighting. I see myself a man, and the people between me and the prize
have all to be knocked down or pushed out of the way. But you don't even
see them—all you see is a pimply-faced boy sucking a quill. Taffy——"

"What is it, Honoria?"

"I wish you would write to me, when you get to Oxford. Write regularly.
Tell me all you do."

"You will like to hear?"

"Of course I shall; so will George. But it's not only that. You have
such an easy way of going forward; you take it for granted you're going
to be a great man——"

"I don't."

"Yes, you do. You think it just lies with yourself, and it is nobody's
business to interfere with you. You don't even notice those who are
on the same path. Now a woman would notice every one, and find out all
about them."

"Who said I wanted to be a great man?"

"Don't be silly, that's a good boy. There's your father coming out of
the church-porch, and you haven't told him yet. Run to him, but promise
first."

"What?"

"That you will write."

"I promise."

     (To be continued.)



THE

LETTERS OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Edited by Sidney Colvin

BOURNEMOUTH (CONTINUED): 1885-1886


[The following correspondence with Mr. William Archer I insert
continuously, though it belongs to two different periods of the year
1885. An anonymous review of the _Child's Garden_, appearing in March,
gave R. L. S. so much pleasure that he wrote to inquire the name of his
critic, and learned that it was Mr. Archer, with whom he had hitherto
had no acquaintance, but with whom he thereupon entered into friendly
correspondence. The "paper" referred to in the later letters of October
25 to November 1, is one on R. L. S. in general, which Mr. Archer wrote
over his own signature in _Time_, a monthly magazine now extinct.]

     BOURNEMOUTH, March 29th, 1885.

DEAR MR. ARCHER,—Yes, I have heard of you and read some of your work;
but I am bound in particular to thank you for the notice of my verses.
"There," I said, throwing it over to the friend who was staying with me,
"it's worth writing a book to draw an article like that." Had you been
as hard upon me as you were amiable, I try to tell myself I should have
been no blinder to the merits of your notice. For I saw there, to admire
and to be very grateful for, a most sober, agile pen; an enviable touch;
the marks of a reader, such as one imagines for one's self in dreams,
thoughtful, critical, and kind; and to put the top on this memorial
column, a greater readiness to describe the author criticised than to
display the talents of his censor.

I am a man _blasé_ to injudicious praise (though I hope some of it may
be judicious, too), but I have to thank you for THE BEST CRITICISM I
EVER HAD; and am therefore, dear Mr. Archer, the most grateful critickee
now extant.

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

P.S.—I congratulate you on living in the corner of all London that I like
best [Queen's Square, Bloomsbury]. _Apropos_, you are very right about
my voluntary aversion from the painful sides of life. My childhood was
in reality a very mixed experience, full of fever, nightmare, insomnia,
painful days and interminable nights; and I can speak with less authority
of gardens than of that other 'land of counterpane.' But to what end
should we renew these sorrows. The sufferings of life may be handled
by the very greatest in their hours of insight; it is of its pleasures
that our common poems should be formed; these are the experiences that
we should seek to recall or to provoke; and I say with Thoreau, "What
right have I to complain, who have not ceased to wonder?" and, to add
a rider of my own, who have no remedy to offer?

     R. L. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     October 28th, 1885.

DEAR MR. ARCHER,—I have read your paper with my customary admiration; it
is very witty, very adroit, it contains a great deal that is excellently
true (particularly the parts about my stories and the description of
me as an artist in life): but you will not be surprised if I do not
think it altogether just. It seems to me, in particular, that you have
wilfully read all my works in terms of my earliest; my aim, even in
style, has quite changed in the last six or seven years; and this I
should have thought you would have noticed. Again, you first remark upon
the affectation of the italic names: a practice only followed in my two
affected little books of travel, where a typographical _minauderie_ of
the sort appeared to me in character; and what you say of it, then, is
quite just. But why should you forget yourself and use these same italics
as an index to my theology some pages further on? This is lightness of
touch indeed; may I say, it is almost sharpness of practice?

Excuse these remarks. I have been on the whole much interested, and
sometimes amused. Are you aware that the praiser of this "brave gymnasium"
has not seen a canoe nor taken a long walk since '79? that he is rarely
out of the house nowadays, and carries his arm in a sling? Can you imagine
that he is a back-slidden communist, and is sure he will go to Hell (if
there be such an excellent institution) for the luxury in which he lives?
And can you believe that, though it is gaily expressed, the thought
is hag and skeleton in every moment of vacuity or depression? Can you
conceive how profoundly I am irritated by the opposite affectation to my
own, when I see strong men and rich men bleating about their sorrows and
the burthen of life, in a world full of "cancerous paupers," and poor
sick children, and the fatally bereaved, ay, and down even to such happy
creatures as myself, who has yet been obliged to strip himself, one after
another, of all the pleasures that he had chosen except smoking (and
the days of that I know in my heart ought to be over), I forgot eating,
which I still enjoy, and who sees the circle of impotence closing very
slowly but quite steadily around him? In my view, one dank, dispirited
word is harmful, a crime of _lèse-humanité_, a piece of acquired evil;
every gay, every bright word or picture, like every pleasant air of
music, is a piece of pleasure set afloat; the reader catches it and, if
he be healthy, goes on his way rejoicing; and it is the business of art
so to send him, as often as possible.

For what you say, so kindly, so prettily, so precisely, of my style, I
must in particular thank you: though even here, I am vexed you should not
have remarked on my attempted change of manner: seemingly this attempt
is still quite unsuccessful! Well, we shall fight it out on this line
if it takes all summer.

And now for my last word: Mrs. Stevenson is very anxious that you should
see me, and that she should see you, in the flesh. If you at all share
in these views, I am a fixture. Write or telegraph (giving us time,
however, to telegraph in reply, lest the day be impossible), and come down
here to a bed and a dinner. What do you say, my dear critic? I shall be
truly pleased to see you; and to explain at greater length what I meant
by saying narrative was the most characteristic mood of literature, on
which point I have great hopes I shall persuade you.—Yours truly,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

_P.S._—My opinion about Thoreau, and the passage in _The Week_, is
perhaps a fad, but it is sincere and stable. I am still of the same mind,
five years later; did you observe that I had said "modern" authors? and
will you observe again that this passage touches the very joint of our
division? It is one that appeals to me, deals with that part of life
that I think the most important, and you, if I gather rightly, so much
less so? You believe in the extreme moment of the facts that humanity
has acquired and is acquiring; I think them of moment, but still of
much less than those inherent or inherited brute principles and laws
that sit upon us (in the character of conscience) as heavy as a shirt of
mail, and that (in the character of the affections and the airy spirit
of pleasure) make all the light of our lives. The house is, indeed, a
great thing, and should be rearranged on sanitary principles; but my
heart and all my interest are with the dweller, that ancient of days
and day-old infant, man.

     R. L. S.

An excellent touch is p. 584. "By instinct or design he eschews what
demands constructive patience." I believe it is both; my theory is that
literature must always be most at home in treating movement and change;
hence I look for them.

       *       *       *       *       *

     BOURNEMOUTH, October 30th, 1885.

DEAR MR. ARCHER,—It is possible my father may be soon down with me; he
is an old man and in bad health and spirits; and I could neither leave
him alone, nor could we talk freely before him. If he should be here
when you offer your visit, you will understand if I have to say no, and
put you off.

I quite understand your not caring to refer to things of private
knowledge. What still puzzles me is how you ('in the witness box'—ha!
I like the phrase) should have made your argument actually hinge on a
contention which the facts answered.

I am pleased to hear of the correctness of my guess. It is then as
I supposed; you are of the school of the generous and not the sullen
pessimists; and I can feel with you. I used myself to rage when I saw
sick-folk going by in their Bath-chairs; since I have been sick myself
(and always when I was sick myself), I found life, even in its rough
places, to have a property of easiness. That which we suffer ourselves
has no longer the same air of monstrous injustice and wanton cruelty
that suffering wears when we see it in the case of others. So we begin
gradually to see that things are not black, but have their strange
compensations; and when they draw towards their worst, the idea of
death is like a bed to lie on. I should bear false witness if I did not
declare life happy. And your wonderful statement that happiness tends
to die out and misery to continue, which was what put me on the track
of your frame of mind, is diagnostic of the happy man raging over the
misery of others; it could never be written by the man who had tried
what unhappiness was like. And at any rate, it was a slip of the pen:
the ugliest word that silence has to declare is a reserved indifference
to happiness and misery in the individual; it declares no leaning toward
the black, no iniquity on the large scale in fate's doings, rather a
marble equality, dread not cruel, giving and taking away and reconciling.

Why have I not written my _Timon_? Well, here is my worst quarrel with
you. You take my young books as my last word. The tendency to try to say
more has passed unperceived (my fault, that). And you make no allowance
for the slowness with which a man finds and tries to learn his tools. I
began with a neat brisk little style, and a sharp little knack of partial
observation; I have tried to expand my means, but still I can only utter
a part of what I wish to say, and am bound to feel; and much of it will
die unspoken. But if I had the pen of Shakespeare, I have no _Timon_ to
give forth. I feel kindly to the powers that be; I marvel they should
use me so well; and when I think of the case of others I wonder too, but
in another vein, whether they may not, whether they must not, be like
me, still with some compensation, some delight. To have suffered, nay,
to suffer, sets a keen edge on what remains of the agreeable. This is
a great truth, and has to be learned in the fire.—Yours very truly,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

We expect you, remember that.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     November 1st, 1885.

DEAR MR. ARCHER,—You will see that I had already had a sight of your
article and what were my thoughts.

One thing in your letter puzzles me. Are you, too, not in the witness
box? And if you are, why take a wilfully false hypothesis? If you knew I
was a chronic invalid, why say that my philosophy was unsuitable to such
a case? My call for facts is not so general as yours, but an essential
fact should not be put the other way about.

The fact is, consciously or not, you doubt my honesty; you think I
am making faces, and at heart disbelieve my utterances. And this I am
disposed to think must spring from your not having had enough of pain,
sorrow, and trouble in your existence. It is easy to have too much;
easy also or possible to have too little; enough is required that a
man may appreciate what elements of consolation and joy there are in
everything but absolutely overpowering physical pain or disgrace, and
how in almost all circumstances the human soul can play a fair part. But
perhaps my hypothesis is as unlike the truth as the one you chose. Well,
if it be so, if you have had trials, sickness, the approach of death,
the alienation of friends, poverty at the heels, and have not felt your
soul turn round upon these things and spur them under—you must be very
differently made from me, and I earnestly believe from the majority of
men. But at least you are in the right to wonder and complain.

To 'say all'? Stay here. All at once? That would require a word from the
pen of Gargantua. We say each particular thing as it comes up, and 'with
that sort of emphasis that for the time there seems to be no other.'
Words will not otherwise serve us; no, nor even Shakespeare, who could
not have put _As You Like It_ and _Timon_ into one without ruinous loss
both of emphasis and substance. Is it quite fair then to keep your face
so steadily on my most light-hearted works, and then say I recognise no
evil? Yet in the paper on Burns, for instance, I show myself alive to
some sorts of evil. But then, perhaps, they are not your sorts.

And again: 'to say all'? All: yes. Everything: no. The task were endless,
the effect nil. But my all, in such a vast field as this of life, is what
interests me, what stands out, what takes on itself a presence for my
imagination or makes a figure in that little tricky abbreviation which
is the best that my reason can conceive. That I must treat, or I shall
be fooling with my readers. That, and not the all of some one else.

And here we come to the division: not only do I believe that literature
should give joy, but I see a universe, I suppose, eternally different
from yours: a solemn, a terrible, but a very joyous and noble universe;
where suffering is not at least wantonly inflicted, though it falls
with dispassionate partiality, but where it may be and generally is
nobly borne; where above all (this I believe: probably you don't: I
think he may, with cancer) _any brave man may make_ out a life which
shall be happy for himself, and, by so being, beneficent to those about
him. And if he fails, why should I hear him weeping? I mean if I fail,
why should I weep? why should _you_ hear _me_? Then to me morals, the
conscience, the affections, and the passions are, I will own frankly and
sweepingly, so infinitely more important than the other parts of life,
that I conceive men rather triflers who become immersed in the latter;
and I will always think the man who keeps his lip stiff, and makes 'a
happy fireside clime,' and carries a pleasant face about to friends
and neighbours, infinitely greater in the abstract than an atrabilious
Shakespeare or a backbiting Kant or Darwin. No offence to any of these
gentlemen: two of whom probably (one for certain) came up to my standard.

And now enough said: it were hard if a poor man could not criticise
another without having so much ink shed against him. But I shall still
regret you should have written on an hypothesis you knew to be untenable,
and that you should thus have made your paper, for those who do not
know me, essentially unfair. The rich, foxhunting squire speaks with
one voice; the sick man of letters with another.—Yours very truly,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
     (_Prometheus-Heine in minimis._)

_P.S._—Here I go again. To me, the medicine bottles on my chimney and
the blood on my handkerchief are accidents; they do not colour my view
of life, as you would know, I think, if you had experience of sickness;
they do not exist in my prospect; I would as soon drag them under the
eyes of my readers as I would mention a pimple I might chance to have
(saving your presence) on my ——. What does it prove? what does it
change? it has not hurt, it has not changed me in any essential part;
and I should think myself a trifler and in bad taste if I introduced
the world to these unimportant privacies.

But again there is this mountain-range between us: _that you do not
believe me_. It is not flattering, but the fault is probably in my
literary art.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     October 28, 1885.

MY DEAR HENRY JAMES,—At last, my wife being at a concert, and a story
being done, I am at some liberty to write and give you of my views. And
first, many thanks for the works that came to my sickbed. And second,
and more important, as to the _Princess_ [Cazamassima]. Well, I think
you are going to do it this time; I cannot, of course, foresee, but
these two first numbers seem to me picturesque and sound and full of
lineament, and very much a new departure. As for your young lady, she
is all there; yes, sir, you can do low life, I believe. The prison was
excellent; it was of that nature of touch that I sometimes achingly miss
from your former work; with some of the grime, that is, and some of the
emphasis of skeleton there is in nature. I pray you to take grime in a
good sense; it need not be ignoble: dirt may have dignity; in nature it
usually has; and your prison was imposing.

And now to the main point, why do we not see you? Do not fail us. Make
an alarming sacrifice, and let us see "Henry James's chair" properly
occupied. I never sit in it myself (though it was my grandfather's);
it has been consecrated to guests by your approval, and now stands at
my elbow gaping. We have a new room, too, to introduce to you: our
last baby, the drawing-room: it never cries, and has cut its teeth.
Likewise, there is a cat now. It promises to be a monster of laziness
and self-sufficiency.

Pray see, in the November _Time_ (a dread name for a magazine of light
reading), a very clever fellow, W. Archer, stating his views of me: the
rosy-gilled "athletico-æsthete": and warning me in a fatherly manner that
a rheumatic fever would try my philosophy (as indeed it would), and that
my gospel would not do for "those who are shut out from the exercise of
any manly virtue save renunciation." To those who know that rickety and
cloistered spectre, the real R. L. S., the paper, besides being clever
in itself, presents rare elements of sport. The critical parts are in
particular very bright and neat and often excellently true. Get it by
all manner of means.

I hear on all sides I am to be attacked as an immoral writer; this is
painful. Have I at last got, like you, to the pitch of being attacked?
'Tis the consecration I lack—and could do without. Not that Archer's
paper is an attack, or what either he or I, I believe, would call one;
'tis the attacks on my morality (which I had thought a gem of the first
water) I referred to.—Yours affectionately,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Oct. 28th, 1885.

MY DEAREST FATHER,—Get the November number of _Time_, and you will see
a review of me by a very clever fellow, who is quite furious at bottom
because I am too orthodox, just as Purcell was savage because I am not
orthodox enough. I fall between two stools. It is odd, too, to see how
this man thinks me a full-blooded foxhunter, and tells me my philosophy
would fail if I lost my health or had to give up exercise!

An illustrated _Treasure Island_ will be out next month. I have had an
early copy, and the French pictures are admirable. The artist has got
his types up in Hogarth; he is full of fire and spirit, can draw and
can compose, and has understood the book as I meant it, all but one or
two little accidents, such as making the _Hispaniola_ a brig. I would
send you my copy, _but I cannot_: it is my new toy, and I cannot divorce
myself from this enjoyment.

I am keeping really better, and have been out about every second day,
though the weather is cold and very wild.

I was delighted to hear you were keeping better; you and Archer would
agree, more shame to you! (Archer is my pessimist critic.) Good-bye to all
of you, with my best love. We had a dreadful overhauling of my conduct as
a son the other night; and my wife stripped me of my illusions and made
me admit I had been a detestable bad one. Of one thing in particular she
convicted me in my own eyes: I mean, a most unkind reticence, which hung
on me then, and I confess still hangs on me now, when I try to assure
you that I do love you.—Ever your bad son,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

["Prince Otto" had been published in the October of this year; and the
following refers to two reviews of it—one of them by Mr. Henley, which
to the writer's displeasure had been pruned by the editor before it was
printed—the other by a critic in the _Saturday Review_, who had declared
Otto to be "a fool and a wittol," and seen nothing but false style in
the flight of Seraphina through the forest.]

     October 1885.

DEAR LAD,—If there was any more praise in what you wrote, I think [the
editor] has done us both a service; some of it stops my throat. What,
it would not have been the same if Dumas or Musset had done it, would
it not? Well, no, I do not think it would, do you know, now; I am really
of opinion it would not; and a dam good job too. Why, think what Musset
would have made of Otto! Think how gallantly Dumas would have carried
his crowd through! And whatever you do, don't quarrel with ——. It
gives me much pleasure to see your work there; I think you do yourself
great justice in that field; and I would let no annoyance, petty or
justifiable, debar me from such a market. I think you do good there.
Whether (considering our intimate relations) you would not do better to
refrain from reviewing me, I will leave to yourself: were it all on my
side, you could foresee my answer; but there is your side also, where
you must be the judge.

As for the _Saturday_. Otto is no 'fool,' the reader is left in no doubt
as to whether or not Seraphina was a Messalina (though much it would
matter, if you come to that); and therefore on both these points the
reviewer has been unjust. Secondly, the romance lies precisely in the
freeing of two spirits from these court intrigues; and here I think the
reviewer showed himself dull. Lastly, if Otto's speech is offensive to
him, he is one of the large class of unmanly and ungenerous dogs who
arrogate and defile the name of manly. As for the passages quoted, I do
confess that some of them reek Gorgonically; they are excessive, but they
are not inelegant after all. However, had he attacked me only there, he
would have scored.

Your criticism on _Gondremark_ is, I fancy, right. I thought all your
criticisms were indeed; only your praise—chokes me.—Yours ever,

     R. L. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     December 26th, 1885.

MY DEAR LOW,—_Lamia_ has not yet turned up, but your letter came to
me this evening with a scent of the Boulevard Montparnasse that was
irresistible. The sand of Lavenue's crumbled under my heel; and the
bouquet of the old Fleury came back to me; and I remembered the day
when I found a twenty franc piece under my fetish. Have you that fetish
still? and has it brought you luck? I remembered, too, my first sight
of you in a frock coat and a smoking-cap, when we passed the evening
at the Café de Medicis; and my last when we sat and talked in the Parc
Monceau; and all these things made me feel a little young again, which,
to one who has been mostly in bed for a month, was a vivifying change.

Yes, you are lucky to have a bag that holds you comfortably. Mine is a
strange contrivance; I don't die, damme, and I can't get along on both
feet to save my soul; I am a chronic sickist; and my work cripples along
between bed and the parlour, between the medicine bottle and the cupping
glass. Well, I like my life all the same; and should like it none the
worse if I could have another talk with you: though even my talks now
are measured out to me by the minute hand like poisons in a minim glass.

A photograph will be taken of my ugly mug and sent to you for ulterior
purposes: I have another thing coming out, which I did not put in the way
of the Scribners, I can scarce tell how, but I was sick and penniless and
rather back on the world, and mismanaged it. I trust they will forgive
me.

I am sorry to hear of Mrs. Low's illness, and glad to hear of her
recovery. I will announce the coming _Lamia_ to Bob; he steams away at
literature like smoke. I have a beautiful Bob on my walls, and a good
Sargent, and a delightful Lemon; and your etching now hangs framed in
the dining-room. So the arts surround me,—Yours,

     R. L. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

['Kinnicum' is an affectionate variation upon 'Cummy', which was
Stevenson's name for Mrs. Alison Cunningham, the nurse who had been
so devoted in her tendance on his childhood, and to whom his affection
and gratitude knew no change.]

     Jan. 1st, 1886.

MY DEAR KINNICUM,—I am a very bad dog, but not for the first time.
Your book, which is very interesting, came duly; and I immediately got
a very bad cold indeed, and have been fit for nothing whatever. I am a
bit better now, and aye on the mend: so I write to tell you, I thought
of you on New Year's Day; though, I own, it would have been more decent
if I had thought in time for you to get my letter then. Well, what can't
be cured must be endured, Mr. Lawrie; and you must be content with what
I give. If I wrote all the letters I ought to write, and at the proper
time, I should be very good and very happy; but I doubt if I should do
anything else.

I suppose you will be in town for the New Year; and I hope your health
is pretty good. What you want is diet; but it is as much use to tell you
that as it is to tell my father. And I quite admit a diet is a beastly
thing. I doubt, however, if it be as bad as not being allowed to speak,
which I have tried fully, and do not like. When, at the same time, I
was not allowed to read, it passed a joke. But these are troubles of
the past, and on this day, at least, it is proper to suppose they won't
return. But we are not put here to enjoy ourselves; it was not God's
purpose; and I am prepared to argue, it is not our sincere wish. As for
our deserts, the less said of them the better, for some body might hear,
and nobody cares to be laughed at. A good man is a very noble thing
to see, but not to himself; what he seems to God is, fortunately, not
our business; that is the domain of faith; and whether on the first of
January or the thirty-first of December, faith is a good word to end on.

My dear Cummy, many happy returns to you and my best love.—The worst
correspondent in the world,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     Jan. 2nd, 1886.

MY DEAR GOSSE,—Thank you for your letter, so interesting to my vanity.
There is a review in the _St. James's_, which, as it seems to hold
somewhat of your opinions, and is besides written with a pen and not a
poker, we think may possibly be yours. The Prince has done fairly well
in spite of the reviews, which have been bad; he was, as you doubtless
saw, well slated in the _Saturday_; one paper received it as a child's
story; another (picture my agony) described it as a 'Gilbert comedy.' It
was amusing to see the race between me and Justin M'Carthy; the Milesian
has won by a length.

That is the hard part of literature. You aim high, and you take longer
over your work, and it will not be so successful as if you had aimed
low and rushed it. What the public likes is work (of any kind) a little
loosely executed; so long as it is a little wordy, a little slack, a
little dim and knotless, the dear public likes it; it should (if possible)
be a little dull into the bargain. I know that good work sometimes hits;
but, with my hand on my heart, I think it is by an accident. And I know
also that good work must succeed at last; but that is not the doing of
the public; they are only shamed into silence or affectation. I do not
write for the public; I do write for money, a nobler deity; and most of
all for myself, not perhaps any more noble, but both more intelligent
and nearer home.

Let us tell each other sad stories of the bestiality of the beast whom
we feed. What he likes is the newspaper; and to me the press is the
mouth of a sewer, where lying is professed as from an university chair,
and everything prurient, and ignoble, and essentially dull, finds
its abode and pulpit. I do not like mankind; but men, and not all of
these—and fewer women. As for respecting the race, and, above all,
that fatuous rabble of burgesses called 'the public,' God save me from
such irreligion,—that way lies disgrace and dishonour. There must be
something wrong in me, or I would not be popular.

This is perhaps a trifle stronger than my sedate and permanent opinion.
Not much, I think. As for the art that we practice, I have never been
able to see why its professors should be respected. They chose the
primrose path; when they found it was not all primroses, but some of
it brambly, and much of it uphill, they began to think and to speak of
themselves as holy martyrs. But a man is never martyred in any honest
sense in the pursuit of his pleasure; and _delirium tremens_ has more of
the honour of the cross. We were full of the pride of life, and chose,
like prostitutes, to live by a pleasure. We should be paid if we give
the pleasure we pretend to give; but why should we be honoured?

I hope some day you and Mrs. Gosse will come for a Sunday; but we must
wait till I am able to see people. I am very full of Jenkin's life; it
is painful, yet very pleasant, to dig into the past of a dead friend,
and find him, at every spadeful, shine brighter. I own, as I read, I
wonder more and more why he should have taken me to be a friend. He had
many and obvious faults upon the face of him; the heart was pure gold. I
feel it little pain to have lost him, for it is a loss in which I cannot
believe; I take it, against reason, for an absence; if not to-day, then
to-morrow, I still fancy I shall see him in the door; and then, now when
I know him better, how glad a meeting! Yes, if I could believe in the
immortality business, the world would indeed be too good to be true; but
we were put here to do what service we can, for honour and not for hire;
the sods cover us, and the worm that never dies, the conscience, sleeps
well at last; these are the wages, besides what we receive so lavishly
day by day; and they are enough for a man who knows his own frailty and
sees all things in the proportion of reality. The soul of piety was killed
long ago by that idea of reward. Nor is happiness, whether eternal or
temporal, the reward that mankind seeks. Happinesses are but his wayside
campings; his soul is in the journey; he was born for the struggle, and
only tastes his life in effort and on the condition that he is opposed.
How, then, is such a creature, so fiery, so pugnacious, so made up of
discontent and aspiration, and such noble and uneasy passions, how can he
be rewarded but by rest? I would not say it aloud; for man's cherished
belief is that he loves that happiness which he continually spurns and
passes by; and this belief in some ulterior happiness exactly fits him.
He does not require to stop and taste it; he can be about the rugged
and bitter business where his heart lies; and yet he can tell himself
this fairy-tale of an eternal tea-party, and enjoy the notion that he
is both himself and something else; and that his friends will yet meet
him, all ironed out and emasculate, and still be lovable; as if love
did not live in the faults of the beloved only, and draw its breath in
an unbroken round of forgiveness? But the truth is, we must fight until
we die; and when we die there can be no quiet for mankind but complete
resumption into—what?—God, let us say—when all these desperate tricks
will lie spellbound at last.

Here came my dinner and cut this sermon short—_excusez_.

     R. L. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[The next letter was written on receiving from the United States a copy
of Messrs. Lippincotts's fine edition of Keats's _Lamia_, illustrated
by Mr. W. H. Low, and bearing on the frontispiece the dedication: "In
testimony of loyal friendship and of a common faith in doubtful tales
from faery land, I dedicate to Robert Louis Stevenson my work in this
book"; together with the Latin legend "_neque est ullum certius amicitiæ
vinculum quam consensus et societas consiliorum et voluntatum_".]

     Jan. 2nd, 1886.

MY DEAR LOW,—_Lamia_ has come, and I do not know how to thank you, not
only for the beautiful art of the designs, but for the handsome and apt
words of the dedication. My favourite is "Bathes unseen," which is a
masterpiece; and the next, "Into the green recessed woods," is perhaps
more remarkable, though it does not take my fancy so imperiously. The
night scene at Corinth pleases me also. The second part offers fewer
opportunities. I own I should like to see both _Isabella_ and the _Eve_
thus illustrated; and then there's _Hyperion_—O, yes, and _Endymion_!
I should like to see the lot: beautiful pictures dance before me by
hundreds: I believe _Endymion_ would suit you best. It, also, is in faery
land; and I see a hundred opportunities, cloudy and flowery glories,
things as delicate as the cobweb in the bush; actions, not in themselves
of any mighty purport, but made for the pencil: the feast of Pan, Peona's
isle, the "slabbèd margin of a well," the chase of the butterfly, the
nymph, Glaucus, Cybele, Sleep on his couch, a farrago of unconnected
beauties. But I divagate; and all this sits in the bosom of the publisher.

What is more important, I accept the terms of the dedication with a
frank heart, and the terms of your Latin legend fairly. The sight of
your pictures has once more awakened me to my right mind; something may
come of it; yet one more bold push to get free of this prison-yard of the
abominably ugly, where I take my daily exercise with my contemporaries.
I do not know, I have a feeling in my bones, a sentiment which may take
on the forms of imagination, or may not. If it does, I shall owe it to
you; and the thing will thus descend from Keats even if on the wrong
side of the blanket. If it can be done in prose—that is the puzzle—I
divagate again. Thank you again; you can draw and yet you do not love the
ugly: what are you doing in this age? Flee, while it is yet time; they
will have your four limbs pinned upon a stable door to scare witches.
The ugly, my unhappy friend, is _de rigueur_: it is the only wear! What
a chance you threw away with the serpent! Why had Apollonius no pimples?
Heavens, my dear Low, you do not know your business....

I send you herewith a Gothic gnome for your Greek nymph; but the gnome
is interesting, I think, and he came out of a deep mine, where he guards
the fountain of tears. It is not always the time to rejoice.—Yours ever,

     R. L. S.

The gnome's name is "Jekyll & Hyde"; I believe you will find he is
likewise quite willing to answer to the name of Low or Stevenson.

     Jan. 2nd, '86.

P.S. I have copied out on the other sheet some bad verses, which somehow
your picture suggested; as a kind of image of things that I pursue and
cannot reach, and that you seem—no, not to have reached—but to have
come a thought nearer to than I. This is the life we have chosen; well,
the choice was mad, but I should make it again.

What occurs to me is this: perhaps they might be printed in (say) the
_Century_ for the sake of my name; and if that were possible, they might
advertise your book. It might be headed as sent in acknowledgment of
your _Lamia_. Or perhaps it might be introduced by the phrases I have
marked above. I daresay they would stick it in: I want no payment, being
well paid by _Lamia_. If they are not, keep them to yourself.

     R. L. S.

[The verses referred to in the above were those beginning "Youth now
flees on feathered foot." They were printed in the _Century Magazine_
as here suggested, and afterward in the volume of _Underwoods_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH [1886].

MY DEAR SYMONDS,—If we have lost touch, it is (I think) only in a
material sense; a question of letters, not hearts. You will find a warm
welcome at Skerryvore from both the lightkeepers; and indeed we never
tell ourselves one of our financial fairy tales, but a run to Davos
is a prime feature. I am not changeable in friendship; and I think I
can promise you you have a pair of trusty well-wishers and friends in
Bournemouth, whether they write or not is but a small thing; the flag
may not be waved, but it is there.

Jekyll is a dreadful thing, I own; but the only thing I feel dreadful
about is that damned old business of the war in the members. This time
it came out; I hope it will stay in, in future.

Raskolnikoff is the greatest book I have read easily in ten years; I am
glad you took to it. Many find it dull: Henry James could not finish it:
all I can say is, it nearly finished me. It was like having an illness.
James did not care for it because the character of Raskolnikoff was not
objective; and at that I divined a great gulf between us, and, on further
reflection, the existence of a certain impotence in many minds of to-day,
which prevents them from living _in_ a book or a character, and keeps
them standing afar off, spectators of a puppet show. To such I suppose
the book may seem empty in the centre; to the others it is a room, a
house of life, into which they themselves enter, and are tortured and
purified. The Juge d'Instruction I thought a wonderful, weird, touching,
ingenious creation: the drunken father, and Sonia, and the student
friend, and the uncircumscribed, protoplasmic humanity of Raskolnikoff,
all upon a level that filled me with wonder: the execution also, superb
in places. Another has been translated: _Humiliés et Offensés_. It is
even more incoherent than _Le Crime et le Châtiment_; but breathes much
of the same lovely goodness, and has passages of power. Dostoieffsky is
a devil of a swell, to be sure. Have you heard that he became a stout
imperialist conservative? It is interesting to know. To something of
that side, the balance leans with me also, in view of the incoherency
and incapacity of all. The old boyish idea of the march on Paradise
being now out of season, and all plans and ideas that I hear debated
being built on a superb indifference to the first principles of human
character, a helpless desire to acquiesce in anything of which I know
the worst assails me. Fundamental errors in human nature of two sorts
stand on the skyline of all this modern world of aspirations. First,
that it is happiness that men want; and second, that happiness consists
of anything but an internal harmony. Men do not want, and I do not think
they would accept, happiness; what they live for is rivalry, effort,
success—the elements our friends wish to eliminate. And on the other
hand, happiness is a question of morality—or of immorality, there is
no difference—and conviction. Gordon was happy in Khartoum, in his
worst hours of anger and fatigue; Marat was happy, I suppose, in his
ugliest frenzy; Marcus Aurelius was happy in the detested camp; Pepys
was pretty happy, and I am pretty happy on the whole, because we both
somewhat crowingly accepted a _via media_, both liked to attend to our
affairs, and both had some success in managing the same. It is quite an
open question whether Pepys and I ought to be happy, on the other hand
there is no doubt that Marat had better be unhappy. He was right (if he
said it) that he was _la misère humaine_, cureless misery—unless perhaps
by the gallows. Death is a great and gentle solvent; it has never had
justice done it, no, not by Whitman. As for those crockery chimney-piece
ornaments, the bourgeois (_quorum pars_), and their cowardly dislike of
dying and killing, it is merely one symptom of a thousand how utterly they
have got out of touch of life. Their dislike of capital punishment and
their treatment of their domestic servants are for me the two flaunting
emblems of their hollowness.

God knows where I am driving to. But here comes my lunch.

Which interruption, happily for you, seems to have stayed the issue. I
have now nothing to say, that had formerly such a pressure of twaddle.
Pray don't fail to come this summer. It will be a great disappointment
now it has been spoken of, if you do.—Yours ever,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Mr. Locker-Lampson, better known as Frederick Locker, the friend of
Tennyson and most accomplished writer of _vers de société_ in his time,
had asked Stevenson, through their common friend Mr. Andrew Lang, for
a set of verses, and he had sent those beginning:

     Not roses to the rose, I trow,
       The thistle sends, nor to the bee
     Do wasps bring honey. Wherefore now
       Should Locker ask a verse from me?

To Mr. Locker's acknowledgment Stevenson replied as follows, asking for
that gentleman's help in trying to get a nomination to Christ's Hospital
(the historic Bluecoat School) for the son of a friend who had shown
him kindness at Hyères:]

     BOURNEMOUTH, September, 1886.

DEAR LOCKER,—You take my verses too kindly, but you will admit, for
such a bluebottle of a versifier to enter the house of Gertrude, where
her necklace hangs, was not a little brave. Your kind invitation, I
fear, must remain unaccepted; and yet—if I am very well—perhaps next
Spring—(for I mean to be very well)—my wife might.... But all that is
in the clouds with my better health. And now look here: you are a rich
man and know many people, therefore perhaps some of the Governors of
Christ's Hospital. If you do, I know a most deserving case, in which
I would (if I could) do anything. To approach you in this way, is not
decent; and you may therefore judge by my doing it, how near this matter
lies to my heart. I enclose you a list of the Governors, which I beg you
to return, whether or not you shall be able to do anything to help me.

The boy's name is ——, he and his mother are very poor. It may interest
you in her cause if I tell you this: that when I was dangerously ill at
Hyères, this brave lady, who had then a sick husband of her own (since
dead) and a house to keep and a family of four to cook for, all with her
own hands, for they could not afford a servant, yet took watch-about with
my wife, and contributed not only to my comfort, but to my recovery, in
a degree that I am not able to limit. You can conceive how much I suffer
from my impotence to help her, and indeed I have already shown myself
a thankless friend. Let not my cry go up before you in vain.

     Yours in hope,
     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

[The sequel of this correspondence explains itself.]

     SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH,
     September 1886.

That I should call myself a man of letters and land myself in such
unfathomable ambiguities! No, my dear Locker, I did not want a cheque;
and in my ignorance of business, which is greater even than my ignorance
of literature, I have taken the liberty of drawing a pen through the
document and returning it; should this be against the laws of God or
man, forgive me. All that I meant by my excessively disgusting reference
to your material well-being was the vague notion that a man who is well
off was sure to know a Governor of Christ's Hospital; though how I quite
arrived at this conclusion I do not see. A man with a cold in the head
does not necessarily know a ratcatcher; and the connection is equally
close—as it now appears to my awakened and somewhat humbled spirit.
For all that, let me thank you in the warmest manner for your friendly
readiness to contribute. You say you have hopes of becoming a miser; I
wish I had; but indeed I believe you deceive yourself, and are as far
from it as ever. I wish I had any excuse to keep your cheque, for it
is much more elegant to receive than to return; but I have my way of
making it up to you, and I do sincerely beg you to write to the two
Governors. This extraordinary outpouring of correspondence would (if
you knew my habits) convince you of my great eagerness in this matter.
I would promise gratitude; but I have made a promise to myself to make
no more promises to anybody else, having broken such a host already, and
come near breaking my heart in consequence; and as for gratitude, I am
by nature a thankless dog, and was spoiled from a child up. But if you
can help this lady in the matter of the hospital, you will have helped
the worthy. Let me continue to hope that I shall make out my visit in
the Spring, and believe me, yours very truly,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

It may amuse you to know that a very long while ago, I broke my heart
to try to imitate your verses, and failed hopelessly; I saw some of the
evidences the other day among my papers, and blushed to the heels.

     R. L. S.

I give up finding out your name in the meantime, and keep to that by
which you will be known—Frederick Locker.

       *       *       *       *       *

     24th September 1886.

MY DEAR LOCKER,—You are simply an angel of light, and your two letters
have gone to the post; I trust they will reach the hearts of the
recipients; at least, that could not be more handsomely expressed. About
the cheque, well now I am going to keep it; but I assure you Mrs. ——
has never asked me for money, and I would not dare to offer any till
she did. For all that I shall stick to the cheque now, and act to that
amount as your almoner. In this way I reward myself for the ambiguity of
my epistolary style. I suppose, if you please, you may say your verses
are thin (would you so describe an arrow, by the way? and one that struck
the gold? It scarce strikes me as exhaustively descriptive), and, thin
or not, they are (and I have found them) inimitably elegant. I thank
you again very sincerely for the generous trouble you have taken in this
matter which was so near my heart, and you may be very certain it will
be the fault of my health and not my inclination, if I do not see you
before very long; for all that has passed has made me in more than the
official sense sincerely yours,

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

     (To be continued.)



THE POINT OF VIEW


[Sidenote: "A Hundred Thousand Copies."]

What is the formula for writing a book which will sell a hundred thousand
copies? Authors consider the question with more or less interest,
publishers meditate upon it more closely still. What sort of works is it
that this interesting experience befalls? Are they literary masterpieces?
Let us see. There was "David Harum;" so much of that as is literature
is chiefly horse stories—excellent horse stories, without "tendency"
or moral purpose. The rest of it that is good is made up of character
sketches in which David Harum is the character. It is the kind of book
of which you say, after it has entertained you and kept you cheerful for
two or three evenings, that it is not much of a book, but has mighty
good things in it, and the following morning you find it necessary to
buy two more copies to send away.

Then there is the "Dooley" book, which has been doing its tens of
thousands; that, too, is a book which has good things in it rather than a
literary masterpiece; and though the good things were better when served
hot in the newspapers, they do not lose all their flavor when dished up
on a cold plate.

There is a book from Kansas called "In His Steps," which is reported
to have sold by the million, both in this country and in Great Britain,
which appeals to readers who are interested in putting the precepts of
the Gospels into practical effect. There is not much literature in that
book either, and in reckoning its readers it is proper to consider that
it has been issued in very cheap form.

That takes us nearly back to "Trilby," which had some literature in
it, some theology, much entertainment, and some structure; and yet as
a book it was rather a happy-go-lucky work than a great novel. But it
sold far more than a hundred thousand. Verily, with these examples in
mind we must feel that the literary race is not to the professionally
swift nor to the professionally literary. For a living example of what
we should consider a legitimate success we have to fall on Mr. Kipling,
who has built up a reputation in prose by good writing, and is able to
gather the fruits of it whenever he puts forth his hand. It may be that
in the matter of poetry he has gathered a fig reputation from a sowing
rich in thistles, but that has been because he has been progressive,
and finding his thistles so readily marketable has been stirred to cause
figs to follow them.

What, then, is our popular book going to be? Shall it be a compilation
of horse stories like "David Harum," a religious story like "In His
Steps," a book like "Dooley," of lively discourse on current events, or
a "Trilby," compounded of charm, mystery, Bohemianism, love, theology,
and music? Alas, there is no formula. One may not choose what he will
write, nor plan before-hand with any certainty to catch his myriad of
readers. The only shafts the author can let fly are those that he finds
in his quiver. He may grow expert in shooting them; he may bring down
more readers with each successive missile, but the arrows themselves
will always be those that he happens to have in stock. All he can do is
to select each one in turn and look to its feathers and its point and
let it drive.

But while there is no sure method of writing a book that will find a
hundred thousand buyers, the fact that nowadays the successful book
may succeed enormously, brings pleasant thrills to the practitioner
of letters. The finding of a big nugget sets the hearts of all the
prospectors a-thump. The miraculous draught agitates all the fishermen
and makes them experience, without sin, the delights of holding a ticket
in a lottery. Let us be thankful, without envy, to the Fortunatuses of
letters. We—most of us—would be glad if we too had the golden touch,
and yet we need not sorrow if we haven't it, for it has its drawbacks,
and once the possession of it is demonstrated, it tends to make its owner
merchant first and writer afterward. His wares are so precious that he is
bound to turn trader; his success is so notorious that he is constrained
to be a public character, and he pays in part for phenomenal good luck
by the loss of a valuable obscurity. Let us be sympathetic with literary
popularity rather than unduly stirred by it. Let us say, "Poor Jones,
his book has sold a hundred thousand and he has gone to Europe. What a
desperate chore it will be to keep that up—if he can keep it up—and
what a bump he will get if he finds that he can't."



THE FIELD OF ART

CONCERNING PAINTERS WHO WOULD EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN WORDS


Let us consider some of the difficulties of the artist in dealing with
subjects that are to be considered in other modes than his own.

The artist is of necessity extremely stubborn, like men who have to do
things; impressionable as a man who must push the tiller at the slightest
warning, for he must be both rudder and helmsman. He is unjust very often,
for he sees men before principles—often, alas, the man whom he sees being
himself. He is unaffected to a surprising degree by criticism or advice
from outside, and extremely careful of it from within the circle. He is
doubtful and irresponsive in answer to reasoning not clearly put into
his own terms of thinking. Like the Chinese philosopher, the artist is
apt to say, or to think without saying, "What is proven by the fact that
your dialectics are better than mine, and that your mind has a better
use and handling of logic? Nothing more than these very facts of your
powers. Is, therefore, what you say true because I cannot confute it?
All this, you say, may be right in the terms of another way of looking
at things, but it does not seem to be so in any arrangement that I can
make of mine." "_E pur si muove_," he would have answered, like Galileo,
to arguments in his own mode but based upon theological and therefore
extraneous views.

Far down within him remains a dislike of a closed and finished
proposition. He is Bagehot's Englishman. He does not wish to commit
himself to a statement that twice two make five, but he is also extremely
unwilling to pin himself to the statement that twice two make four. His
mind lives in the practical, in the joining of the ideal with the real,
which does not prevent his being a dreamer—in fact, confirms him in that
direction. All these things he has in common with the man of practical
action who, himself, in these things, recalls the attitude of mind said
to be feminine.

As he works for no result outside of his work—that is to say that the
emotions produced by him upon himself and upon others are not prolonged
outside of the work itself—he is kept more and more within a circle of
unprovable suppositions, within a method of applying thought that seems
satisfactory, as it is complete in its circuit. For, as you know, he
gives only a fictitious pain, a fictitious sadness—and no real sorrow
or hurt comes from his most beautiful tragedy; indeed, it produces an
exaltation of the mind not disconnected with joy. Confined within his
own circle he generally loses the use of the methods of words; and he
is often, and most wisely and rightly, unwilling to handle them; for he
has the most complete and almost superstitious respect for the mastery
of tools in methods of appreciation. When he uses words he finds that
they are tools whose use he does not know—living tools that refuse
to work, that stumble over each other, that lead him astray, that turn
on him sometimes, or actually direct his path, instead of being led by
him; until at length he recognizes that they are old acquaintances in
new forms. They are the signs of thought, of ideas, and perceptions.
_They are not these last themselves._ And he becomes both delighted
and timid; pleased, because words express differently and yet like his
tools; timid, because how long and difficult and endless perhaps are
their full use and mastery. He sees also that each one is an abstraction;
that each phrase, and often each word, has involved the consumption,
the absorption, the waste of hundreds of sensations concerning still
more objects. To put into record merely the impressions of nature, he
has only a few notes, and he knows that these external appearances that
delight him are written in an infinite gamut. Before the accurate and
full description of anything that he sees could be worked out in words,
it would have decayed and been born again many times. He sees that the
essence of these tools is to generalize, and thereby to leave over in
each thing something that is inexpressible. All this reminds him of the
failures and inadequacies of his own art, wherein (in those moments of
despair which are the consequence of passionate attachment) he feels
that he has felt all, and that his miserable means only allow him to
express a part. This eternal enemy—so much loved—nature, never meets
him half-way for more than a moment. Just as he closes the circle of the
little world he has made, in which he thinks, for a moment, that she is
imprisoned, and says to himself and to us—There! she passes on making
other worlds and creating continual appearances.

How is he in days like this, when the life of the seasons is beginning
again, to paint the spring that delights him? He can paint some trees and
a little sky, and the reflections of water. How can he paint its murmur?
How can he paint the settling restlessness of the air above him? How
can he paint the forgotten odors of new growth? How can he paint that
"becoming" of the season, in which is also expressed the faint sadness
of a past long put aside?

Surely he feels that all is inadequate, and that the only happy one is
he who forgets to paint, and only looks without seeing.

He may turn to those who work in other ways, but who also—he becomes
more and more sure of it—have limitations not unlike his. But those
limitations are not his, and they are not responsible to him, and so
far he can be happy with them. With them he can continue the dreams of a
complete recall and perception. And when they fail he does not suffer;
he is more willing to see that they could not look at everything from
every point of view at once.

He recognizes with some amusement how words, and consequently ideas, are
placed in masses, as he places forms and colors; and is occasionally
even a little worried when what he considers styles are confused, and
thought which he respects is brushed about for effect or for purpose,
like so much paint.

And he recognizes that just as with him in the modes he knows, minds
are caught in the net of imitation, and fly around and about it without
escaping, so that they are even affected in their deepest soul—that
this often comes from using certain manners and certain styles, "for
that the matter of style very much comes out of the manner," and the
outside reacts upon the inner.

He gives up asking for all sorts of truth in any one form of language,
and does not lose the interest, the exhilaration that Shakespeare gives
because his Marc Antony does not include all, besides, that history has
told. Science cannot wither the charm of Cleopatra.

At some such moment, when he sees thought more clearly, and is reverential
toward the minds that live in ideas, he may be asked, as I have been, to
express in words his beliefs and perceptions. At such a moment, forgetful
of early experiences, that were both confusing and disenchanting, but
are long past and faded, he may do as I have done—open some page of a
writer—some person who thinks in words and who thinks about art.

He finds that that writer has asked art to tell "the truth," but has
forgotten to ask of it sincerity. In reality he has forbidden the artist
to express himself while expressing things. He has asked him to go out
of his own humanity, out of his own thought, his own emotion, his own
proper affection, and try to execute what he thinks proper to cause on
others such and such an impression. Nothing can relieve this tendency
from the duplicity which looks toward the public, and only lives to act
upon the spectators.

This is not the painter's art of painting. In minds like that of Mr.
Ruskin, the destiny thus given to painting would be certainly one of
the noblest and most useful of functions, but it has the fault of being
impossible. No more could music, while agitating my nerves according to
the laws of harmony, teach me at the same time as from the chair of a
professor.

No, never, however shocking it may sound in or out of studios, never has
truth in the ordinary sense of the word been the end of art. The value
of a painting as a means of making us know the nature of realities shall
have nothing in common with its value as a work of art.

Truth is not the pictorial essence of a painting; it is, on the contrary,
the manner or means of the painting's addressing ordinary intelligence;
all the general powers that the artist has in common with other men, but
which faculties and powers do not constitute his artistic side, that
part of himself which he tries to please, to represent, to disengage,
to assert in his painting.

He may, of course, because his profession is partly a profession or
art of sight, teach how to see—how to see better and farther and more
delicately; but this is only incidental, and is good so far as it does
not injure or detract from his own special duty. Of course he should not
shock or annoy the most intelligent part of our intelligence, so that
our other instincts that meet his may not be troubled in their peaceful
enjoyment.

Therefore, according to time and place, in one way for the mediæval
mind, in another for the Oriental, in another for us of to-day, it is
advisable that he conform somewhat to the general knowledge that composes
the vague ideas of a public; that he do not contradict too squarely
scientific exactness that is fairly familiar.

But nothing can be falser than to measure his merit by the instruction he
gives us. In the first place, if what he does is a lesson of observation,
the effort to understand it is so much to detract from the spectator's
emotion. Secondly, if a painter wishes to teach he will no longer be
carried away by his special emotions, the one thing in which he is
stronger than we. He cannot, even if he wishes—and this will explain
the cause of certain blunders that have astonished us. It is for the
scientific, the religious mind to remove our ignorances and correct our
moral defects; it is not the duty of the artistic mind.

No more than when I am dead and have found the Reality, now vaguely
seen in this world of appearances, should I expect of the divine who may
preach my funeral sermon to try to decide what may have been my errors
in the technique of the art of painting.

Nor, of course, can the end of art be untruth. Teachings like those of
Mr. Ruskin, far more common than they should be (because of our natural
want of humility and charity, and the narrowness of the fields into which
accident forces us), divide absolutely our art into two kinds—those
that give images of things just as they are, and those that give images
of things just as they are not; such a dilemma as worries the child's
mind.

"Things as they are" may mean so much as to be meaningless. If we mean
things as they are in themselves, only God can so see them as to enclose
them and leave nothing outside but falsehood. For us, we see but as in a
mirror darkly. We have a few imperfect senses, and such moral faculties
as we manage to distinguish the one from the other, and which we have
to complete by making one act upon the others.

So that for us there exist many truths. We have truths of smell, before
which all things are absorbed in one or more impressions of odor. We have
the truths of the eyes, for which all is appearance. We have the truths
of intelligence, for which there are ideas; truths of feeling for which
there are impressions; and many others in a long list perhaps exhaustless;
and I only use these definitions for our momentary convenience.

Now, in connection with which of these truths must the painter represent
the manner of existence of objects?

That is the question the painter must ask himself—that must be his
canon of æsthetics. He cannot exile the truths that affect his specialty,
however much he may care for the others. It is possible for him to let
the truths of one kind affect his own, but his own must predominate, or
the work of art will not exist.

Persons like Mr. Ruskin think that they are fighting the cause of truth
against falsehood. In fact, they are making one truth fight another,
with injury to both.

It is not possible that a work of art should define like science and
still move like poetry.

It is precisely that point of which I spoke first, that tendency of the
artist which makes him not a reasoner but a seer, which gives him the
unexplainable power of impressing us in a way that we can only analyze
afterward. It is because he can escape from the rule of his intelligence,
can become a being that does not judge, can become as a little child,
no longer see things through ideas, but merely feel the agitation of a
love, an unexplainable passion. As if he felt the breath that animates
the world behind a covering of what we call realities.

It is in this way that he is an awkward man when he tries to handle
the tools which we generally call _language_—that is to say, words
and phrases; in so far, at least, as he has to use them, to explain the
ideas and sentiments involved in his own language. This is all the more
difficult in that literature, the language of words, has not become
acquainted as yet with this mind of the artist, and has not furnished
to the artist special tools to define his intentions and position. It is
because of the peculiarities of his work, which we have just considered,
that no person can explain that work perfectly in terms of words; while
he, the artist himself, grows continually more averse to handle words
which seem unsatisfactory, and, naturally, becomes more and more unfit
to use them.

     J. L. F.





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