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Title: Tom Watson's Magazine, Vol. I, No. 1, March 1905
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber’s Notes:

  Underscores “_” before and after a word or phrase indicate _italics_
    in the original text.
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Extract from a three-column review in the _San Francisco Examiner_:

          “Mr. Hastings has touched the very core of the
        matter respecting the proclivities of our doddering
        plutocracy. Throughout his book he has revealed
        that plutocracy in its true light and shown it to
        be something utterly conscienceless and debased.
        No more scathing review of the situation, as it is
        seen at present, could possibly be given in a work
        of fiction.”

[Illustration]

                     =SHALL WE
                            HAVE A
                                KING?=

          Will the United States be a monarchy in 1975?
        Have you read “THE FIRST AMERICAN KING,” by George
        Gordon Hastings? It is a dashing romance in which
        a scientist and a detective of today wake up
        seventy-five years later to find His Majesty,
        Imperial and Royal, William I, Emperor of the
        United States and King of the Empire State of New
        York, ruling the land, with the real power in the
        hands of half a dozen huge trusts. Automobiles
        have been replaced by phaërmobiles; air-ships sail
        above the surface of the earth; there has been a
        successful war against Russia; a social revolution
        is brewing. The book is both an enthralling
        romance and a serious sociological study, which
        scourges unmercifully the society and politics of
        the present time, many of whose brightest stars
        reappear in the future under thinly disguised
        names. There are wit and humor and sarcasm
        galore—a stirring tale of adventure and a charming
        love-story.

                 Net $1.00, postpaid. All Booksellers,

                       =TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE=
             121 West 42d Street,           NEW YORK CITY



                      =TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE=
                THE MAGAZINE WITH A PURPOSE BACK OF IT
                           =March, 1905=

    _The Political Situation                       Thomas E. Watson_   1
       _To W. J. B.—To President Roosevelt—The Ship Subsidy
          —Hearst, the Myth—Mr. Bryan’s Race in Nebraska—Let
          the Greenbacks Alone!—En Route to Royalty_
    _The Palace                                       Edwin Markham_  12
    _The House in the Jungle                        St. Clair Beall_  13
    _A Belated Reconciliation                        Will N. Harben_  32
    _Franchise Wealth and Municipal Ownership John H. Girdner, M.D._  40
    _The Storm-Petrel                                   Maxim Gorky_  44
    _What Buzz-Saw Morgan Thinks                       W. S. Morgan_  45
    _A Family Necessity                              Alex. Ricketts_  49
    _The Songs We Love                             Eugene C. Dolson_  49
    _The Alligator of Blique Bayou                     Frank Savile_  50
    _The Boy; His Hand and Pen                        Tom P. Morgan_  60
    _The Force of Circumstance                Chauncey C. Hotchkiss_  61
    _An Ideal Cruise in an Ideal Craft                Wallace Irwin_  72
    _The Heritage of Maxwell Fair                    Vincent Harper_  73
    _The Butcheries of Peace                            W. J. Ghent_  87
    _Remembered                                 Ella Wheeler Wilcox_  90
    _Martyrdom                           Leonard Charles van Noppen_  90
    _The Heroism of Admiral Guldberg                    Robert Barr_  91
    _A Sociological Fable                            F. P. Williams_  95
    _The Old 10.30 Train                               Marion Drace_  96
    _Gallows Gate                             H. B. Marriott-Watson_  97
    _The Judge and the Jack Tar                    Henry H. Cornish_ 105
    _Object, Matrimony                            Caroline Lockhart_ 106
    _The Rivers of the Nameless Dead               Theodore Dreiser_ 112
    _Another View of the Simple Life                    Zenobia Cox_ 114
    _The Corner in Change                       William A. Johnston_ 118
    _Car Straps as Disease Spreaders          John H. Girdner, M.D._ 124
    _The Say of Reform Editors_                                      126

         Application made for entry as Second-Class Matter at
               New York (N. Y.) Post Office, March, 1905
             Copyright, 1905, in U. S. and Great Britain.
             Published by TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE,
                      121 West 42d Street, N. Y.

             TERMS: $1.00 A YEAR;       10 CENTS A NUMBER



                 =TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE FOR APRIL=

              =EDITORIALS      Hon. THOMAS E. WATSON=

            In Russia—President Roosevelt and the Railroad
            Problem—Bribery in Georgia—Who Pays the Taxes?
            —The Free Pass Evil, etc., etc.

    =CORRUPT PRACTICES IN POLITICS=
                                    Hon. Lucius F. C. Garvin,
                                  Ex-Governor of Rhode Island

    =THE NEW YORK CHILDREN’S COURT=
                                        Hon. Joseph M. Deuel,
                 Author of the legislation creating the Court
                 and one of the Judges presiding therein

    =CONSERVATIVES AND RADICALS=   John H. Girdner, M.D.

    =NEW SINS=—Footpace Ethics in a Horse-Power World
                                     Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    =THE CONSTITUTION=—A Document that Needs Revision

                         _=FICTION=_

             WILL N. HARBEN        OWEN OLIVER
             W. MURRAY GRAYDON     Capt. W. E. P. FRENCH, U.S.A.
             ELEANOR H. PORTER     B. M. BOWER
             VINCENT HARPER        HUGH PENDEXTER



                        _TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE_

               VOL. I.         MARCH, 1905         No. 1



                       _The Political Situation_


                          BY THOMAS E. WATSON

Carefully studied, the election of Nov. 8, 1904, affords more
encouragement to Reformers than any event which has happened since the
Civil War.

In smashing the fraudulent scheme of Gorman-Hill-McCarren-Belmont, the
people proved that there was still such a thing as public conscience.
The whole Parker campaign was rotten—from inception to final
fiasco—and the manner in which the masses rose and stamped the life
out of it was profoundly refreshing. Roosevelt stood for many things
which the people did not like, but they recognized in him a man instead
of a myth, a reality instead of a sham.

He had fought abuses in civil life; he had fought the enemies of his
country on the battlefield; he had achieved literary success; he had
been a worker and a fighter all his days. He had faced the coal barons
and virtually brought them to terms; he had bearded the railroad kings
and broken up the Northern Securities Combine. Thus, while he “stood
pat” on many things which the people detested, he stood likewise for
many things they admired, and they gave him a vote larger than that of
his party.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another thing helped Roosevelt. This was the prominence of Grover
Cleveland and his “second administration” gang. Apparently Parker had
no conception of the bitterness with which the masses hate Cleveland.
Because he was cheered by the self-chosen delegates to the St. Louis
convention, because he was given a cut-and-dried ovation by the
business men of New York City, the Democratic bosses seemed to believe
that the more of Cleveland they forced into the campaign the better the
country would like the taste of it.

So they not only kept Cleveland on exhibition in the most conspicuous
manner, but they dug up John G. Carlisle, Arthur Pue Gorman, Olney
of Massachusetts, and other Cleveland fossils, until Parker’s
identification with Cleveland’s second administration was complete.

And when _that_ happened, it was “Good-bye Parker!”

       *       *       *       *       *

Cleveland had issued the bonds which Harrison had refused to issue; he
had sold $62,000,000 of these bonds at private sale, _at midnight_, to
J. P. Morgan and his associates; _the price was less than that which
the negroes of Jamaica were getting for their bonds!_

August Belmont was Morgan’s partner in that infamous deal. Therefore,
when Cleveland and Belmont got so close to Parker that he couldn’t
breathe without touching them on either side, the suspicion became
violent that the same Wall Street influences which had pledged
Cleveland to a bond issue had pledged Parker to the same thing.

_There is no reasonable doubt whatever that Parker’s managers had
pledged themselves to another issue of bonds._

       *       *       *       *       *

How could these bonds have been issued? Easy enough. Cleveland had
invented the process by violating the law; and the Cleveland precedent
still stands.

To get more bonds, you only need another President who will take orders
from Belmont and Morgan at secret, midnight conferences.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then there was John G. Carlisle. Among political shrubs which are
aromatic, none smells sweeter than he. Not by any other name would he
smell half so sweet. Carlisle was the Whisky Trust representative in
Congress, who made so many speeches for Free Silver and Tariff Reform.
Placed in Cleveland’s cabinet he crawled at the feet of the gold-bugs,
and he wrote a new tariff for the Sugar Trust, which enabled those
robbers to take annual millions from the people in repayment for the
thousands which the Trust had put into the Democratic Campaign fund.

This man, Carlisle, was exhumed and brought to New York to make another
speech for “Reform” and for Parker!

       *       *       *       *       *

Likewise there was Gorman. With a political ignorance which is hard
to understand, Parker seemed to believe that his salvation depended
upon linking himself to Gorman. He appeared to breathe easy only when
sitting in the lap of Gorman. Nothing in the way of campaign plan could
be sent forth into the world with any hope of success until there
had been a laying-on of hands and a blessing by the cloud-compelling
Gorman. Yet it would seem that a well-informed schoolboy should have
been able to tell Parker that Gorman was one of the best hated men
living.

When poor people were freezing in the big cities and the Coal Trust was
pitiless, and the golden-hearted Senator Vest of Missouri proposed to
cut the ground from under the feet of the Trust by putting coal upon
the Free List, who was it that virtually said in the United States
Senate, “Let the people freeze; the Trust shall not be weakened”?

_It was Gorman, of Maryland!_

       *       *       *       *       *

Who was it that took the Tariff Reform Measure of Wm. L. Wilson and
turned it into an elaborate device for enriching the few at the expense
of the many?

It was Gorman.

Who took Sugar off the Free List and put a tax of $45,000,000 upon it?

Gorman.

Who increased the McKinley duties upon lumber and nails and wire and
trace-chains and horseshoes and iron-ware which the common people must
use?

Gorman.

Who doubled the tax on molasses?

Gorman.

Who stands upon the Democratic side in the Senate of the United States
as the champion of the Sugar Trust and all other Democratic Trusts?

Gorman.

But Parker could never get enough of Gorman. The people could—and did.
Their votes showed that they wanted no more tariff bills fixed by

Gorman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Why was the election encouraging to reformers?

Because it showed such an increase in the independent vote.

At least a million Independents voted for Roosevelt because they were
hell-bent on beating Parker. In part, they were moved to do this
because of the belief that Roosevelt himself leans to radicalism. His
past record as a reformer gave hope that during the next four years he
would be a powerful factor in bringing about improved conditions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reformers not only take encouragement from Parker’s loss of votes, but
in the victories won by Douglas, La Follette and Folk.

Widely separated as were the States of Massachusetts, Wisconsin and
Missouri the fact that the independent voter broke party lines in each
of these States to support a genuine reformer is the most significant
fact among the election results.

No one can misunderstand it. The people want honest leaders. The people
will follow without flinching. Party names count for nothing. Give the
people a MAN: fearless, honest, aggressive, _standing for something_,
and not afraid to fight for it: the people will follow him to the death.

       *       *       *       *       *

We too often say, “The people are fickle; they won’t stand by their own
leaders!” Ah, friend! Think how often the people have been fooled. See
how many men they have put into office to accomplish reforms. See how
often these leaders have forgotten their pledges as soon as they began
to draw salaries, free passes and perquisites!

The people have been betrayed so often that they are discouraged. But
don’t you doubt this, brother: Another reform wave is coming, and woe
unto those leaders who seek to check it!

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is the condition of the Democratic Party:

For four years it is bound to the St. Louis platform, plus Parker’s
gold telegram, plus Parker’s message to Roosevelt “heartily”
congratulating him upon his election.

For four years Belmont, McCarren, Meyer, Dave Hill, Gorman & Co. have
absolute control of the party machinery.

For four years the official commander-in-chief, the standard-bearer of
National Democracy is Tom Taggart, the gambling-hell man of French Lick
Springs, Indiana!

       *       *       *       *       *

Commenting upon the campaign, _The Independent_, of New York, says that
Mr. Bryan gave his support to the Democratic ticket, but took back
nothing which he had said about Parker. _The Independent_ is mistaken.
Bryan changed his position so often and so fast that Dr. Holt evidently
failed to keep up.

In that special-car trip of his through Indiana, Mr. Bryan’s
evolutionary process developed him into a Parker champion, who saw in
the Esopus man “The Moses of Democracy,” one whose “ideals” were the
same as Bryan’s “ideals,” one whose candidacy enlisted Bryan’s support
as cordially as though Bryan “had framed the platform and selected the
nominee.” Oh, yes, that was about what he said, Dr. Holt.

And when he had finished saying it twenty-two times per day, the
Indiana voter girded up his trousers, trekked to the polls, and voted
for Roosevelt.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To W. J. B._

Would you be so kind as to tell us when and where you will commence to
reorganize the Democratic party? You promised to begin “immediately
after the election.” What is your construction of the word
“immediately”? And what did you really mean by “reorganize”?

Your party is fully organized from top to bottom—from Tom Taggart, the
gambling-hell man, down to Pat McCarren, the Standard Oil lobbyist. How
can you reorganize a party so thoroughly organized? You can’t do it,
you are not trying to do it, and you must have known all along that you
couldn’t do it.

Watch out, William! The people have loved you and believed in you, but
your course in the last campaign has shaken your popularity to its
very foundations. Beware how you trifle with the radicals. If you want
to come with us, come and be done with it. If you want to go to the
Belmonts and Taggarts, go and be done with it.

Be assured of this, William—_you can’t ride both horses_!

       *       *       *       *       *

_To President Roosevelt_

The people have given you power and opportunity. For four years you will
have a responsibility such as few men have ever had.

_What Will You Do With It?_

       *       *       *       *       *

The Express Companies are robbing the people of many millions of
dollars every year in excessive charges for carrying small parcels. In
every civilized land, save ours, the Government carries these small
parcels at a nominal cost, as a part of the postal service.

In America, a venal Congress keeps the yoke of the Express Companies
fastened upon the people and will not allow the government to establish
a Parcels Post. Mr. President, will you not fix your attention upon
this monstrous abuse? Will you not come into the arena and help us in
the fight for the Parcels Post?

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, the railroads are charging the government $65,000,000
per year for carrying our mails! This represents a yearly income of
more than two per cent. upon three billion dollars.

Squeeze out the water, and the railroads of the United States could be
bought for three billion dollars.

_Therefore, on the carriage of mails alone, your administration is
paying the railroads more than two per cent. upon their entire value!_

The Government could float a two per cent. bond at par, and if it
issued enough bonds to pay for all the roads the annual interest charge
would be no greater than we now pay for carrying the mails.

Can you do nothing about this, Mr. President? Is your strong arm
powerless to defend the people against this high-handed robbery?

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, your administration is now paying the Oceanic Steamship
Company $45,000 per year to carry mails to the semi-savages of Tahiti.
This island is under French control. French steamers offered to carry
these mails for $400 per year. Your administration refused the offer,
and continued to pay an American Corporation $45,000. _Did you know
this, Mr. President? Is there nothing you can do about it? Must the
taxpayers be plundered of $44,600 every year simply because an American
Corporation wants the money?_

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, is it right that to China and Japan American-made cloth
should be sold cheaper than we Americans can buy it? Is it right that
we should have to pay more for implements to work our fields with than
the South American farmer pays for the same tools? For a hundred years
our manufacturers have been protected from foreign competition in the
home market; they charge us higher prices in this home market than are
paid by any other people on earth; they organize this monopoly into a
Trust, and then they take their surplus goods into foreign markets and
sell them to foreigners at a lower price than they sell to us. Is that
right, Mr. President?

       *       *       *       *       *

How can this evil be corrected? How can the Trusts be curbed?

By putting on the Free List every article which is sold abroad cheaper
than it is sold here, and every article which enters into the necessary
makeup of the Trust.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, under your administration corporate wealth escapes
national taxation, as it has done for the past thirty years.

_Under Abraham Lincoln, the railroads and the manufacturers paid a
federal tax._

They pay none now.

_Under Abraham Lincoln, the vastly overgrown Insurance Companies and
Express Companies paid a federal tax._

They pay none now.

Is that right, Mr. President?

Why should the poorest mechanic, clerk, storekeeper, printer, farmer,
or mine-worker _pay excessive federal taxes upon the necessaries of
life while the billion dollar corporations pay nothing at all_?

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Ship Subsidy_

In his message to Congress the President says:

“I especially commend to your immediate attention the encouragement of
our merchant marine by appropriate legislation.”

Does Mr. Roosevelt, like the late Senator Hanna, favor the Ship
Subsidy? Is the government going to hire merchants to go to sea? Are we
to have hothouse commerce sustained at the expense of the taxpayers?

       *       *       *       *       *

What ails our merchant marine? Why cannot American merchants compete
with British and German merchants on the ocean?

Simply because our own laws will not allow it. Our navigation acts have
destroyed the American merchant marine.

How?

By denying registry and the protection of the flag to any ship not
built in one of our own shipyards. We are not allowed to buy vessels
from England, Scotland or Germany without losing the protection of our
government. We must build them at home. Our precious tariff increases
the cost of all shipbuilding material, while in Great Britain vessels
are built under free trade conditions. Hence it costs us more to
build any sort of seagoing vessel than it costs Great Britain. If we
were allowed to buy ships abroad we could get them on equal terms
with British merchants. Consequently we could compete with them for
the carrying trade. We would get our share. The American Merchant
Marine would once more flourish as it did prior to the Civil War. The
Tariff compels the merchant to pay more for an American ship than the
Englishman pays for an English ship, and our Navigation laws compel the
American merchant to use the American ship or none.

Result: The Englishman gets the business.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was just this kind of legislation which provoked the preliminary
troubles between Great Britain and the American Colonies. Our
forefathers hated the British navigation acts; the sons copied them.
Great Britain grew wise, swung to Free Trade, and took the seas away
from us. Our navigation acts represent the most violent type of the
Protective madness. To deny the merchant the right to buy his vessel
where he can get it cheapest is mere lunacy. The cheapest and best
ships will inevitably get the cargoes; and where the law denies to the
American the chance to get the cheapest and best vessel it simply puts
him out of the combat.

Our Navigation acts have done that identical thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

What is the remedy? Senator Hanna wanted “ship subsidies.” In other
words, the merchant was to be encouraged to go into the shipping
business by the assurance that the Government would go down into the
pockets of the taxpayers and pull out enough money to make good the
difference between the costly ships of America and the cheaper, better
ships of Great Britain.

To escape the effects of one bad law, Senator Hanna proposed that
Congress should pass another. The Tariff, which plunders the many to
enrich the few (see recent remarks of Parker and Cleveland), has killed
the merchant marine; therefore the merchant marine must be restored to
life, not at the expense of the enriched few, but of the plundered many.

       *       *       *       *       *

The merchant marine has been destroyed by the system which is “the
mother of the Trusts,” by the system which sells to foreign consumers
at a lower price than to home consumers.

Why not encourage our merchant marine by allowing our merchants
_to buy their vessels in those foreign markets where our Protected
Manufacturers sell their wares so much cheaper than they sell them to
us at home_?

       *       *       *       *       *

Would it not be the most shameless kind of class legislation to take the
tax money of the unprivileged masses of our people (who pay practically
all the taxes), and build up fortunes for another class of privileged
shipowners.

The beneficiaries of protection are the few: its victims are the many.

Thus the favored few get all the benefits of protection and escape all
its evils; while the unprivileged many bear all of its evils and reap
none of its benefits.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are told that Great Britain and Germany subsidize their merchant
marine and that therefore our government must do it. The argument
would be contemptible even if the facts supported it, but that is not
the case. Great Britain does not subsidize her merchant marine nor
does Germany do so. Great Britain pays certain lines for specific mail
service and colonial service; nothing more. Germany does likewise.
Neither country _hires_ merchants to go to sea about their own business.

There is no more statesmanship in hiring a mariner to engage in private
business between New York and Liverpool than there would be in hiring
John Wanamaker to establish another branch of his mercantile business
in San Francisco or Terra Del Fuego. Such legislation as that is
_Privilege run mad_.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Napoleon encouraged the beet sugar industry in France by bounties
he may have done a wise thing. France was under his despotic control;
commerce with the world was cut off; internal development became the
law of self-preservation.

But no imperial sceptre rules the ocean. There can be no monopoly of
the use of her myriad highways. Amid her vast areas, natural law mocks
the puny contrivances of men. Competition is free. The ocean race is to
the swift; the battle is to the strong. Whoever can do the work, do it
quickest, cheapest, surest, best, will do it—American bounties to the
contrary notwithstanding.

Take off the rusty fetters which bind the limbs of the American seaman
and he will need no bounty. Give him a fair start, an open course, and
he will outrun the world. Keep the chains on him—and he will never win!

Suppose you give bounties to the shipper, then what? To the extent of
the bounty he will do business—no further. And you will soon find
that you have attracted mercenary corporations who do business for the
bounty, the whole bounty, and nothing but the bounty.

We tried this ship subsidy business once before—from 1867 to 1877.
What was the result? Scandals and failure. Congress took more than six
and a half million dollars of the people’s money, gave it to greedy
corporations and got nothing in return save a fit of disappointment and
disgust which lasted the country till the advent of Hanna.

We earnestly hope that President Roosevelt will look into the record
of the former subsidy experiment before he ever signs a bill of like
character.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1856 a little more than three-fourths of all our exports and imports
were carried in American bottoms. In 1881 seventy-two million bushels
of grain were shipped from New York to Europe, and not one bushel of it
went in American ships.

Less than one-sixth of our marine freight was handled by ourselves in
1881, and the amount has gone on dwindling.

Great Britain improved her methods of building ships; built cheaper and
better vessels than ours. The law did not permit us to buy from her,
but did permit her to bring her ships into our waters and capture our
trade; and so she captured it.

We are the only people in the world who are not allowed to buy ships
wherever we can buy them cheapest. We are the only serfs alive who
are chained hand and foot to obsolete Navigation laws. And to escape
the logical consequences of our folly we do not propose to repeal the
monstrous laws which led us into the difficulty, but we do propose to
compel the taxpayers to make good, by subsidies, the difference between
the costly American ship and the cheaper, better European ship!

When statesmanship gets down to that low ebb its morality is gone.

A venal Congress may pass such a measure, but we do not believe an
honest President will sign it.


                          _Hearst, the Myth_

Because he is not perpetually making an exhibit of himself, a good many
shallow politicians sneer at W. R. Hearst and call him a myth.

Because he is not everlastingly on his feet reeling off speeches which
come from nowhere and go nowhere, the average regulation “orator” looks
down upon the modest, silent man from New York as a very inferior
mortal, indeed.

Yet W. R. Hearst, with all his shyness and silence, has a way of
hitting out quick, hard and sure that does more good for the people
than all the “orators” have done in the last decade. If there is
anything on this blessed earth that we have got enough of at this
time, it is talk, _talk_, TALK! From Presidents in fact and Presidents
in prospectus, from Senators of all shades and Congressmen of every
variety down to oratorical Federal Judges, College Doctors and
legislative lights we have floods of talk, _talk_, TALK! The misery
of it all is that this oratory doesn’t mean anything. It strikes a
bee-line for the waste basket.

It lives today, echoes tomorrow, and is forgotten the day after. The
orator himself thinks only of the success of the speech. He drinks in
the immediate applause, he gloats over the newspaper puffs, he puts
out his chest, he is happy: and that is all. The speech accomplishes
nothing; was not meant to accomplish anything. Perhaps the orator
himself voted for the thing which he denounced, as happened with the
Panama business when Democratic “orators” spoke on one side and voted
on the other. Now if there is anything which the American people are
sick unto death of, it is this kind of patent-medicine oratory. What
we all want just now is that men shall become _workers_ instead of
automatic spellbinders. We want men who actually do something—men who
have ideas, plans, practical resources; men who will literally take
up their clubs and hammer away at monstrous abuses wherever they show
their heads.

Such a man is W. R. Hearst. By his assault upon the Coal Trust he has
exposed the heartless methods of capitalism and laid the foundations
for much good work in the future. By his swift, successful attack upon
the Gas Trust, which, by the collusion of city officials, was about to
steal seven million dollars from the taxpayers of New York, he has set
an example which should inspire every reformer in the Union.

May his courage become contagious! May his example breed imitations!
May his firmness in standing for the rights of the people raise up
enemies to the Trusts throughout the land!

Mr. Hearst is a Democrat; the corrupt officials who were about to
surrender the treasury of New York to the Gas Trust were Democrats;
that fact did not bother him in the least. Rascality is doubly odious
when it borrows a good name; and the honest Democrat did not hesitate
to bring his injunction down like a flail upon the heads of the
dishonest Democrats who were betraying their trust.

We wish we could swap a couple of hundred “orators” for another myth
like William R. Hearst.


                  _Mr. Bryan’s Race in Nebraska_

In a recent issue of his paper, Mr. Bryan says, referring to Mr. Watson:

        The small vote which he received—a vote much
      smaller than Populists, Democrats, and even
      Republicans expected him to receive—shows either
      that there are few who agree with him as to the
      course of action to be pursued or that they did
      not have confidence in his leadership. It is not
      only more charitable, but more in accordance with
      the facts, to assume that the reformers had personal
      confidence in Mr. Watson, but did not agree with
      him as to the best method of securing remedial
      legislation.

This paragraph reminds me that Mr. Bryan was likewise a candidate in
the year 1904.

He ran for the United States Senate in the State of Nebraska, and he
got no votes to speak of. Out of 133 members of the Legislature, he
captured less than a dozen.

The small vote which he received—a vote much smaller than Populists,
Democrats and even Republicans expected him to receive—shows either
that there are few who agree with him as to the course of action to be
pursued, or that they did not have confidence in his leadership. “It is
not only more charitable, but”—and so forth.

Mr. Bryan says that “reforms are not to be secured all at once.” Quite
right; and they will never be secured at all by leaders who change
front as often as Mr. Bryan has done within the last twelve months.
Neither will they be secured by a political party which preaches a
certain creed for eight years and then throws it aside like a worn out
garment. Nor will reforms ever be secured by a party which contains
so many different sorts of Democrats that nobody knows which is the
genuine variety.


                   _Let the Greenbacks Alone!_

To the right, to the left, in front, in the rear, we are beset by
problems, abuses, critical conditions, wrongs crying for redress,
victims of legislative injustice demanding relief. That a President of
the United States should be blind to so many self-evident conditions,
deaf to so many sounds of suffering, and should go out of his way to
strike at the Greenback currency is a fact to cause astonishment.

What harm is the Greenback doing to anybody? What evil has it ever
wrought?

The approval of Lincoln gave it life; the soldier who fought for the
Union, when Roosevelt was in the cradle, was paid with it; the Union
armies were fed and clothed with it when gold had run off and hid. The
Greenback saved the Government in its hour of need, and it has done
good each day of its life ever since. If we had five times as much of
it as now exists, the country would be twice as well off.

Who is it that hates the Greenback?

The National Banker.

Why?

Because the National Banker would like to have the monopoly of
supplying the paper currency. The Government circulates $346,000,000
Greenbacks; the National Banker circulates $400,000,000 of his own
notes.

The bank-notes earn compound interest for the banker; the Greenbacks
earn no interest at all. Therefore, they compete with the notes of the
banker. They interfere with his business. As long as they exist, he has
no absolute monopoly.

Therefore what?

The National Banker hates the Greenback just as the Standard Oil
detests the independent companies. For the same reason which moves
the Coal Barons, the Beef Trust and the Tobacco Trust to wage
relentless war upon the independent dealer, the money power demands the
suppression of the Greenback. If the National Bankers can destroy the
Greenback, they can fill its place with their own notes. Loaned out at
lawful interest, compounded at the usual periods, they will wring from
the people a yearly tribute of nearly thirty million dollars. In other
words, the country now gets Greenbacks free of charge, whereas the
bank-notes to replace them will cost $30,000,000 per annum. I can see
how this will benefit the bankers; but whom else will it benefit?

One of the strangest hallucinations that ever entered the legislative
mind is that a banker’s note, based on national credit, is good, safe,
sane currency, while the Government’s own note, based on national
credit, is unsafe, unsound and not to be tolerated. The first
legislators who saw the thing that way were probably hired to do it.
The example having been set, ignorance, prejudice and self-interest
helped to swell the numbers of the converts, until now the men who
cling to the belief that a Government note, issued by the Government
itself would be as good as that which it authorizes the banker to
issue, are in a helpless minority.

If the Government buys paper, sets up a press, stamps a note and issues
it as currency, the banker howls “_Rag Money_!” The subsidized editor
takes up the dismal refrain, the limber-kneed politician tunes his
mouth to the echo, the wise men of the academy quit gerund-grinding to
talk finance, and with one accord the orthodox repeat the jeer of “_Rag
Money_,” “_Rag Baby_” and “_Dishonest Dollar_,” until the Government
lets _the banker take the paper, the press, the stamp and issue the
notes as his own_! Then it is all right. The editor’s soul is soothed;
the politician purrs with satisfaction; the savant of the academy
returns to his Greeks and Romans. All is well. The bankers issue their
currency, grow fat on usury, and the principles of high finance are
vindicated. _The paper currency of the Government is a “Rag Baby”; the
paper money of the National Banker is “Sound Money.”_

So, we let the bankers exploit a governmental function to their immense
profit, when the Government could use the function itself, to the
injury of nobody, and to the vast benefit of the people at large. But
if the Government did this thing, the National Banker would lose his
special privilege, his unjust advantage, his huge gains.

Hence, he not only refuses to permit the Government to supply the
country with any more Greenbacks, but he demands the destruction of
those already outstanding. I regret to see President Roosevelt lending
himself to this wicked proposition.

Cleveland, during the whole time he was in office, was hostile to the
Greenbacks and recommended that they be destroyed. Nobody was surprised
at this. In fact, Cleveland had exhausted the capacity of honest men to
be surprised.

But the country hoped for better things from Mr. Roosevelt. He was
thought to be too strong a man to be the blind tool of the National
Bankers.

The Greenback is hurting nobody, is doing great good; its only enemy
is the National Banker, whose motive is sordidly selfish. LET THE
GREENBACK ALONE!

If the President will take the trouble to study for himself the
financial statements issued by his own subordinates, he will discover a
state of things which would otherwise be incredible.

He will find that _the bankers are drawing compound interest on more
money than there is in existence_!

He will find that _they reap usurious revenues from three times as much
money as there is in actual circulation_!

He will find that _they have drawn interest upon seven times as much
money as_ THEY ACTUALLY HAVE!

Under the law of its birth, the Greenback is real money. Like gold
and silver, it comes direct from the Government to the people. If you
burn it, and do not supply its place, _you contract the currency at a
time when such contraction means national disaster_. If you burn the
Greenback, and allow the National Banker to supply its place with his
own notes, then _you rob the people of thirty million dollars annually
and give the spoils to the banker_!

He already earns about $50,000,000 per year on his special privilege of
issuing currency.

_Isn’t that enough?_

He already enjoys the use of one hundred million dollars of the tax
money which _other people pay into the treasury_; and he fattens on the
luxury of getting this money free of interest and of lending it out at
compound interest to the “_other people_.”

_Isn’t that enough?_

And he has filled the channels of trade with his “lines of credit,” his
loans of money which has no existence save in the confidence of his
dupes, _until his yearly income from fictitious money is half as great
as the entire revenues of the Government!_

ISN’T THAT ENOUGH?

The Greenback is the barrier which stands between the National Banker
and absolute financial despotism.

LET IT ALONE!


                      _En Route to Royalty_

The approaching inauguration of President Roosevelt is to be the most
king-like ceremony ever witnessed on the American Continent.

Three thousand troops of the regular Army, twenty thousand soldiers of
the National Guard, the Cadets from West Point and Annapolis will take
part in the parade, and battleships of the Navy will be ordered to the
Potomac to add to the pompous function.

From the White House to Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania avenue is to be
built up on either side with statuary and decorations and plaster work,
which will at least wear the mask of regal magnificence.

The Government will turn its Pension Bureau out of house and home,
suspending public work, in order that Society’s beaux and belles may
have the most magnificent ball ever known since our Government was
founded.

First and last, directly and indirectly, it is quite within the range
of the probable that the public and private expenditure of money in
connection with Mr. Roosevelt’s inauguration will approach, if not
exceed, a million dollars.

Is it in good taste for the representative of a democratic republic to
give his sanction to such prodigalities as these?

Mr. Roosevelt is bound to know that there are ten millions of his
fellow-citizens, fashioned by the same God out of the same sort of
clay, who are today in want—lacking the necessaries of life.

He is bound to know that in this land, which they tell us is so
prosperous, there are now four million paupers.

He is bound to know that there are at least one million half-starved
children working in our factories, wearing out their little lives at
the wheels of labor, in order that the favorites of class legislation
may pile up the wealth which enables them to dine sumptuously off
vessels of silver and gold.

He is bound to know that in one city of his native State of New York
there are at least half a million of his brother mortals who never have
enough to eat, and that seventy thousand children trudge to the public
schools, hungry as they go.

He is bound to know that all over the Southern States hangs a shadow
and a fear, because an industrious people, whose toil brought forth
a bountiful harvest, are being driven by a remorseless speculative
combine into misery and desperation.

It would have been a proof of excellent judgment if the robust manhood
of Theodore Roosevelt had asserted itself against the snobbery of our
shoddy “Society” in Washington, by reducing the ceremonial of his
inauguration to the modest measure of what was decorous and necessary.

It is no time for ostentatious display of military power or of
ill-gotten wealth. It is no time to be acting the ape of a German
Kaiser or an English King. It is no time to allow free rein to a rotten
Nobility of Money-bags, which seeks to turn the simple swearing-in of
the Chief Servant of a free people—freely chosen by ballot—into a
quasi-royal coronation of an hereditary beneficiary of the monstrous
dogma of Divine Right.

_One_ of Mr. Roosevelt’s predecessors had long been familiar with
courts and princes and kings, and they had filled him with so deep a
contempt for idle, vain and pompous display that when he came to be
inaugurated President of the United States he simply gathered around
him a few of those who were at his hotel, walked with them up Capitol
Hill, took the oath of office before his assembled fellow-citizens and
delivered to them his inaugural address—which still ranks as a classic
in the political literature of the world.

This President was he who broke the power of the Barbary Pirates to
whom Washington had paid tribute. He it was who by the daring seizure
of opportunity gained Louisiana and raised this Republic from its place
as a power of the third class into the dignity of a nation of the first
class, by a sweep of his pen, lifting our Western boundary from the
Mississippi and setting it on the coast line of the Pacific.

His inauguration was simplicity itself, but his administration was full
of the grandeur of great deeds accomplished.

_This was Thomas Jefferson._

_Another_ of Mr. Roosevelt’s predecessors had been _a hero in three
wars_. In the Revolutionary War he had fought bravely, though only a
boy. In the Indian wars he had led armies from the upper Chattahoochee
to the Gulf of Mexico, adding an empire to our domain. In the War of
1812 he had taken the volunteers of the South, and at New Orleans had
whipped the veterans of Wellington as English soldiers had never been
whipped before and have never been whipped since.

Entering civil life, this great soldier dashed himself against the
power of Clay, Webster and Calhoun, triumphing over them all.

Yet when he came to be inaugurated President of the Republic whose
glory and power he had so greatly increased, it contented him to go
quietly from the old Metropolitan Hotel, accompanied by the Marshal of
the District and a volunteer escort, to take the oath of office in the
Senate Chamber, without the slightest attempt at pompous ceremonial.

The great soldier was honored by a salute fired by the local military,
and, with that salute, the function ended.

_This was Andrew Jackson._

I do not say that times have not changed and that customs have not
altered, but I do say that the sober judgment of the judicious,
throughout the country, would have profoundly approved the course of
Mr. Roosevelt had he put the curb upon the snobs and the flunkies and
the imitation courtiers, who are about to distinguish his inauguration
by an excess of military display, ornamental frippery, tommy-rot
formalities and prodigal expenditure of money such as has not been
known since Edward the Seventh was crowned King of England.


                          _Elucidations_

    FADS—Other people’s hobbies.
    ALLOWANCE—A sum of money we spend before we get it.
    PESSIMIST—A person who is perfectly happy only when
              he is perfectly miserable.
    HUSH MONEY—The kind that talks most.
    A DISTANT RELATIVE—A rich one.
    BARGAIN COUNTER—A place where women buy things they don’t
                    want with money they do want.
    WEATHER REPORT—One that is not always verified.
    HONEYMOON—The brief period before the novelty wears off.
    NOTORIETY—Something that doesn’t last so long as fame,
              but brings in more money.
    THE SIMPLE LIFE—The existence led by people who invest
                    in get-rich-quick schemes.

                                              J. J. O’CONNELL.



                             _The Palace_

                           BY EDWIN MARKHAM
             (Copyright by Edwin Markham in Great Britain)
          _Author of “The Man With the Hoe” and other poems_


    Once, in a world that has gone down to dust,
    I began to build a palace by the sea,
    White-pillared, in a garden full of fountains.
    The mock-birds in the tall magnolias sang;
    And down all ways the Graces and the Joys
    Went ever beckoning with wreathing arms.
    The chisels and the hammers of the men
    Were singing merrily among the stones,
    And tower and gable rose against the sky.

    A thousand friends,
    All hastening to make ready for the feast,
    Felt their light bodies whirling in the ball;
    Were jesting and roaring at the tables spread
    After the masquerade; were sleeping high
    In perfumed chambers under the quiet stars;
    When, lo! a voice came crying through my heart:
    “Leave all thou hast, and come and follow Me!”

    Then all at once the hammers and the tongues
    Grew still around me, and the multitudes—
    The endless multitudes that ache in chains
    That we may have our laughter at the wine—
    Rose spectral and dark to pass before my face.
    I saw the labor-ruined forms of men;
    Faces of women worn by many tears;
    Faces of little children old in youth.

    I left the towers to crumble in the rains,
    And waste upon the winds: my old-time friends
    Flung out their fleering laughters after me.
    I raised a low roof by a traveled road,
    And softly turned to give myself to man—
    To open wells along a trodden way,
    To build a wall against the sliding sand,
    To raise a light upon a dangerous coast;
    When suddenly I found me in a Palace
    With God for Guest!

    There in a Palace, fairer than my dream, I dwell:
    High company come and go through distant-sounding doors.



                       _The House in the Jungle_

                          BY ST. CLAIR BEALL
              _Author of “The Winning of Sarenne,” etc._


“We are almost there now, sir; we have passed the last of the
lighthouses.”

The speaker and another man were standing beside the cabin of a
small steamer; they were clad in heavy oilskins, and were sheltering
themselves from the fierce storm that was beating down.

“I don’t see how you can tell,” the other remarked, “or how you can see
anything in this weather!”

“Oh, it’s my business,” was the reply of the first speaker, who was
one of the officers of the ship. “I have been over this same route for
thirty years.”

“What sort of a town is St. Pierre?” inquired the other, a young man,
also heavily wrapped.

“It is not of much consequence,” was the answer. “But—but you don’t
mean to stay there?”

“No,” was the reply. “I am bound for the interior; I shall take a train
tonight, if I can catch it.”

“I should think you would find it rather difficult to get along in
this country,” the other remarked. “You say you don’t speak a word of
French?”

“No,” was the laughing reply. “I chose German when I was at school, and
I don’t know enough of that to hurt me; but where I am going I have a
cousin who is in charge of some of the mines, and I suppose I will get
along if I can find him.”

“You ought not to have any trouble in that,” replied the officer. “The
only railroad depot is very near the wharf.”

The conversation was taking place on board a small coasting steamer,
which was making its way slowly through the darkness and storm into the
port of the little town of St. Pierre, in French Guiana. The solitary
passenger was Henry Roberts, an American, who found himself at last
near the end of a long and tedious journey—half by railroad and half
by steamer—along the South American coast.

“Four days,” he muttered to himself, “and not a soul to speak to but
this one stray fellow-countryman! Between Spanish and French and Dutch
my head is in a whirl. Gee whiz! What a night!”

The exclamation was prompted by an unusually violent gust of wind,
which flung itself around the edge of the cabin and compelled the
passenger to make a precipitate retreat into the hot and ill-lighted
interior. However, it was not very long before his impatience was
relieved. The vessel was slowing up still more, and he hurried up on
deck again, where, from the shouts of the crew, he made out that the
dock was near.

“I wish you luck!” said the officer, as they parted. “I have looked
up a time-table, and there is a train due to leave in about an hour;
it probably won’t start for three or four more, after the fashion of
the country, so you will have plenty of time. You ought to reach your
destination before morning, however.”

And soon afterward Henry Roberts with a satchel in either hand, made
his way across the rickety gangplank and set out as fast as he dared
down the unlighted dock. He was gruffly held up by someone who greeted
him in French, and left him uncertain for a few minutes as to whether
or not he was a highwayman. It proved, however, to be merely a
custom-house officer, and after the usual ceremony of tipping had been
gone through with, the passenger once more set out.

He was half expecting to be greeted by a row of cabmen, but if any such
existed in St. Pierre they had been frightened away by the storm, and
he was compelled to find his way to the station by himself. He found
only a dimly lighted shed, with apparently no person in sight. To his
great relief, however, the train arrived only a short time afterward,
and he made his way into the stuffy car, which was lighted only by an
ill-smelling oil lamp at one end.

There was another long wait before the train finally started, having on
board only one other passenger besides Roberts.

This person was, apparently, either an Englishman or an American—a
tall, slenderly built man with an exceedingly pale face. As he came
into the car very silently and seated himself at the extreme end,
turning away as if to escape observation, Roberts refrained from
attempting to open a conversation with him.

Though he did not understand a word of French, he had the name of his
station firmly settled in his mind and lost no time in impressing it
upon the conductor of the train. When he had made certain that the
latter perfectly understood his meaning he sank back in the seat and
closed his eyes with a peaceful feeling that at last his troubles
were over. The road was, however, a remarkably ill-built one and the
car swayed in such a manner that he found it impossible to secure a
moment’s rest. He fell at last to watching the other passenger.

This person had at first remained with his head sunk forward as if in
thought; but the ride had continued only about half an hour before
Roberts saw that his fellow-traveler was looking up and gazing about
nervously. Several times he leaned forward suddenly, as if to spring to
his feet, but each time he again sank back, and once the American heard
him mutter a subdued exclamation to himself.

He seemed to be growing more and more excited. And then suddenly came
the climax of the whole unusual performance. The man bounded to a
standing position, an expression of the wildest terror on his face. “I
can’t do it!” he gasped, in a choking voice. An instant later he leaped
forward.

There was a window in front of him, and for an instant Roberts thought
that he meant to fling himself from it. But, instead, the man reached
for the bell-rope and gave it a fierce jerk.

The effect was immediate, the train at once beginning to slow up. The
strange man turned and rushed down the car, his eyes gleaming and his
arms waving wildly. “I can’t do it!” he cried again and again. “I can’t
do it!”

In a second or two more he had passed Roberts and bounded out of the
rear door, where he disappeared in the darkness.

At the same time the conductor, who had apparently been on the engine,
came rushing back to ascertain what was the matter. As the two hurried
back to the rear platform Roberts managed to make the man understand
what had occurred.

“The fellow must have been crazy,” Roberts thought to himself, as he
gazed out into the blackness of the night. “At any rate,” he added, “it
is not likely that we will see anything more of him.”

The conductor was evidently of the same opinion, for after several
minutes of waiting and after a consultation with the engineer, the
train was again started and the journey continued.

The conductor signified to Roberts that the next stop was his
destination, and a quarter of an hour later he found himself in the
midst of absolute blackness. The train had started on at once, and the
passenger stood for several minutes uncertain which way to turn, for
there was not a house, nor even so much as a platform beneath his feet.


                                  II

At last, however, as his eyes grew used to the darkness, he managed to
make out what appeared to be some kind of structure nearby, and toward
it he stumbled. It was a small shed, in the shelter of which he stopped.

“Good heavens!” he muttered to himself. “What kind of a town can this
be?”

His cousin had unfortunately not known when he was to arrive, and the
mines, as he knew, were a number of miles away, so he had nothing to
hope for from that quarter.

“Perhaps there is only this shed and the road!” he groaned to himself.
“Not even a hotel!”

There was no sign of one, at any rate, and the storm did not encourage
efforts at exploration. “Perhaps if I give a few yells it will bring
somebody,” thought Roberts.

He reflected that it was as likely to bring a wildcat as anything else,
but he determined to risk the effort. He had scarcely opened his mouth,
however, before his shout was answered; and at the same moment his ear
was caught by the sound of a vehicle behind him.

He waited anxiously. He heard the carriage come to a stop and then a
couple of men walking about. They came toward the shed, and he found
himself confronted by two dark forms, heavily wrapped as a protection
against the storm.

“_Bien venu, monsieur_,” remarked one of the strangers. He extended
his hand, and Roberts, supposing that that might be the custom of the
country, put out his own and exchanged greetings.

“_Monsieur est arrivé?_” continued the other. “_Un très longue voyage!_”

Roberts’s reply to that was only a melancholy shake of his head. “What
in the world did I study German for?” he groaned to himself.

“_Vous ne comprenez pas?_” continued the mysterious Frenchman.

A vigorous shake of the head was the American’s only reply. “Don’t you
speak English?”

The only result was likewise a negative shaking of the head, and the
American gave a groan.

“I want a hotel!” he exclaimed. “Can you tell me where to go? What in
the world am I going to do?”

There was a minute or two more of rather embarrassing silence. Then the
spokesman of the two strangers gave a hearty laugh.

“_Allons!_” he said. “_Cela ne fait rien._”

And, to Roberts’s surprise, he stooped down and picked up one of his
traveling-bags.

“_Allons!_” he cried again. “_Allons!_”

The man took the traveler by the arm and escorted him to the carriage,
which had remained standing in the darkness. In a few seconds more the
American and his baggage were inside and being rapidly driven off down
the muddy road.

“Well, this is an adventure!” thought Roberts to himself. “Either I
have come across some charitable stranger or else the hotel here runs a
stage—I don’t know which to think!”

During the ride the two men made no further attempt to communicate with
him. Roberts heard them speak to each other once or twice in a low
voice, but for the most of the time the drive was made in silence.

“At any rate,” he thought, with a chuckle, “it can’t do me any harm,
and I shall get out of the rain.”

Before the trip was over, however, Roberts found himself beginning
to feel somewhat uncomfortable because of the length of it. “Good
heavens!” he muttered, “it can’t be a hotel this distance away, and for
all I know, I may be going in exactly the opposite direction from the
mines!”

He had already been sitting in the bumping vehicle for an hour when
he made that reflection; however, he was given fully another hour to
ruminate over it before the drive came to an end. Several times he made
an attempt to inquire from the strangers where or how much farther
he was going, but his efforts met with no success, and a “_Soyez
tranquille_,” was all he could get, accompanied by a gentle motion of
pushing him back into the seat.

He had about made up his mind to trouble himself no further when the
carriage suddenly made a sharp turn and came to a stop; one of the men
opened the door and stepped out.

There was a few seconds’ wait, during which several voices were heard
calling outside; and then suddenly Roberts, who was gazing out of the
window with not a little anxiety, caught sight of a light, apparently
in the window of a house. Only a short distance from the carriage a
flood of light suddenly streamed before his eyes, coming from an open
doorway.

He saw several figures moving about, and at the same time the other man
in the carriage sprang quickly out.

“_Nous sommes arrivés!_” he exclaimed. “_Voici!_”

And Roberts lost no time in taking his other satchel and springing out
of the carriage. As he did so he found himself covered by an umbrella
held by a shadowy form near him, and under the protection of this he
hurried up the path and the steps to the house.

By this time more lights had appeared in the windows, and by the single
glance which he had Roberts saw that he was in front of a very large
building, consisting of at least two stories, and with extremely broad
and, at present, brilliantly lighted windows. It was only a few seconds
later before he found himself in the entrance, which he discovered to
be apparently that of an elegant mansion.

“Good gracious!” he thought, “I wasn’t prepared for a house like this!”

But there were still greater surprises in store for him. He found that
on either side of the doorway two domestics were standing, bowing
obsequiously at his entrance. The person who had obligingly covered him
with the umbrella proved to be an attendant, similarly attired, and as
Roberts entered the house one stepped forward for his satchel, and the
other took his rain-soaked hat as he removed it; a second later the
astonished man found himself being graciously relieved of his dripping
overcoat by yet another obliging personage.

In the meantime he was gazing about him; what he saw fairly took his
breath away. He was no more prepared for such things than if he had
been traveling in the wilds of Africa. He found himself in the midst
of a broad, well-lighted hallway, on either side of which opened
splendid parlors containing every conceivable kind of luxurious
appointment—splendid furniture and tapestry, mirrors and pictures.
In the hall he saw a broad, open fireplace, in which a great log was
blazing, casting a glow in every direction.

While Roberts was staring at it, and feeling his heart expand with
satisfaction, one of his traveling companions carrying the other
satchel, had come hurrying into the room. He took off his hat and
flung back his heavy coat, disclosing to the American’s view a rather
stout and short elderly personage, with a gray beard and an extremely
pleasant countenance.

“He looks promising, at any rate,” thought Roberts, “even if I can’t
understand what he says!”

The man, after handing his coat to one of the domestics, bowed
graciously to Roberts with another “_Bien venu, monsieur!_” Then he
signaled the American to make himself comfortable before the fire, and
Roberts lost no time in following his host’s suggestion, as he had been
wet and cold for many hours.

“If this is an inn,” the stranger thought in the meantime—“gee whiz!
but what will the bill be!”

All his belongings had by this time been carried away by the servants
and he was left alone with his obliging host. The latter, after rubbing
his hands a few times before the fire and surveying his guest with
considerable interest, suddenly demanded:

“_Avez-vous faim, monsieur?_”

The American, of course, did not understand that, but he comprehended
the signal a second later, and nodded his head vigorously. The other
called for one of the servants and gave him a command.

The latter signed to Roberts to precede him up the broad staircase
which opened into the hallway, and he soon found himself in front of an
open door which led into a beautifully furnished bedroom. He entered,
and the man followed, closing the door behind him.

Roberts gazed about him with something of a gasp of consternation. Here
also was a grate fire, before which his hat and coat had been hung.
The rest of his baggage had been brought into the room, and lying upon
the bed he found a complete change of clothing, lacking nothing, from
necktie down to evening slippers.

Almost before he had half succeeded in comprehending the state of
affairs the servant, after several profuse bows, had set to work calmly
removing his clothing.

Roberts was not used to a valet, but he concluded to keep the secret as
well as possible and meekly allowed himself to be dressed. Half an hour
later he was completely equipped, and the servant darted briskly to the
door and opened it with an overwhelming bow.

“If this is a hotel, it beats anything New York can show,” was the
traveler’s decision by this time. “And if it is not a hotel, it can
only be a fairy-story!”

However, without troubling his head any further, he followed the
servant down the stairs, at the end of which he found his genial host
awaiting his arrival. The latter immediately took his arm and escorted
him through one of the parlors, at the other end of which a door was
flung open by the servant.

A little dining-room was disclosed to his view—a dining-room so
perfect in all its furnishings that it cost him an effort to restrain
an exclamation. The table was a small one, but was perfectly appointed,
with cut-glass and silver, and there were several small lamps upon it.

There were seats for only two, and after the Frenchman had seated his
guest he himself took the other chair. Then a dinner was served which
was the first respectable meal the American had eaten since he left
home.

He had by this time determined to enjoy himself and let his cousin pay
the bill, if necessary; so he made no attempt to restrain his appetite.
His host evidently expected him to be hungry after his journey, for he
plied him with every conceivable variety of eatables.

“Where in the world can they get them all from?” Roberts thought. “I
have been expecting to live on beans and bacon up at the mines!”

To be sure it was rather an embarrassing meal, from one point of view,
for the utmost in the way of conversation which could be managed was an
occasional exchange of smiles between the two persons. “But if we could
talk there might be an end to this state of affairs!” thought Roberts.
“And I have no mind to be turned out until daylight, anyway.”

By this time his cogitations over the strange condition of things
had resulted in the conclusion that it could not possibly be an inn
to which he had come. “It must be some kind of a private house,” he
thought. “But what in the world is it doing away off up here in this
lonely, God-forsaken country, and what the people want to do with me is
more than I can imagine. I can’t help thinking it is a mistake of some
kind; and I wonder who can live here—surely, not this queer little
fellow, all by himself!”

Roberts had seen no one else except the servants, but this did not seem
strange when he came to think of it, for on the mantelpiece was a clock
which informed him that it was then nearly two in the morning.

“Perhaps I will find out more when day comes,” he thought. “I am safe
for tonight, anyhow, I think.”

And so it proved, for when at last the meal was over, the Frenchman
rose and politely bowed his new acquaintance to the door. There he
summoned one of the servants, again bowed to Roberts with a “_Bonne
nuit, monsieur!_” and, after shaking hands, Roberts turned to follow
the servant up the stairway.

The two made their way into the bedroom which the American had visited
before, and where he found that his baggage had been all unpacked
and neatly stowed away in a bureau in the room. The servant bowed
his departure at the door, which was closed behind him, and then the
astounded stranger sat down on the bed and, as the ludicrousness of the
situation and the whole proceedings flashed over him, he flung himself
back and gave vent to a silent fit of laughter.

“This will certainly be a story to tell if I ever get home again!” he
thought.

But he was too sleepy by this time to trouble himself any further, and
he rose and prepared to make the most of the opportunity afforded him
for slumber. “I guess I will just take off my coat,” he thought, “for I
don’t know when the mistake may be discovered.”

As he performed that operation his hand happened to strike upon his
back-pocket, where he had safely stowed away a small revolver. “If there
_should_ turn out to be anything wrong!” he thought, with a laugh.

All during that evening the man had been racking his brains trying to
think of some possible explanation of his strange reception. During
the drive he had been somewhat alarmed, but his welcome had served to
remove any suspicion of possible danger. But just then, as he gazed
about the room, he suddenly observed something which gave a most
unexpected turn to his thoughts.

The room to which he had been ushered was a large bedroom, perfectly
furnished in every way, and having two broad windows; it was the latter
which suddenly caught Roberts’s eye, and as they did so he experienced a
start of emotion that was very different from his former state.

He had noticed the startling fact that both of the two windows were
protected by heavy iron bars!

For a minute or two Roberts stood gazing at them, scarcely able to
realize the full significance of the discovery. He darted a swift
glance about the room to make sure that he was alone, and then he
sprang quickly forward to test them. He found that they were firmly set
in the heavy masonry of the window-sill, and that they were scarcely
wide enough apart to permit his arms to pass through.

Then the very decidedly sobered American sank back in a chair and again
gazed about him.

“I can scarcely think it means any danger,” he muttered to himself,
“for I am unable to think what kind of danger it could be—but yet, it
is most extraordinary!”

Suddenly another idea came to his mind and brought him to his feet
with a jump. He sprang toward the door, and as he approached it half
instinctively he began stepping more quietly until as he neared it he
was advancing on tiptoe.

“One of those fellows in livery may be outside,” he thought.

Then he took hold of the knob and very softly and silently turned it.
When it was turned all the way he gave a slight push at the door, which
opened outward.

And as he did so he felt the blood rush to his forehead and his breath
almost stopped. He flung his weight against the door violently, but it
did not move. Almost overcome with his discovery, he staggered back
against the wall.

“By Jove!” he panted, “I am locked in!”


                                  III

Roberts began pacing very anxiously up and down the floor of the room.
He did not continue that for very many minutes, however, before he
stopped abruptly and again seated himself in the chair.

“There is something wrong here,” he muttered, “mighty wrong! But I
don’t want them to know I have discovered it.”

He sat for several minutes with his head in his hands, gazing straight
in front of him, his mind in a perfect tumult. He was absolutely
without any possible idea as to what that state of affairs could mean
or what object his mysterious host could possibly have in taking him
prisoner.

“There is one comfort, however,” he muttered. “Heaven is to be thanked
for that!”

He took the revolver from his pocket as he muttered the words; all of
its chambers were loaded, and he put it back into his pocket with a
slight chuckle of satisfaction.

“I guess they didn’t count on that. They have got me in here, but it’ll
be another thing to get me out!”

There was but very little idea of sleep left in his mind. When at last
he had decided that there was no solving the mystery with the few facts
that he knew, he began stealthily moving about the room and examining
everything in it.

Directly at the head of the bed he found a handsome portiere hanging,
and as he reached behind this he discovered that there was another door
to the apartment.

“Perhaps they haven’t locked that,” he thought. “I wonder where it
leads to?”

He slipped in behind the curtain and proceeded to test that door also.
He set about the matter with the utmost caution, for by this time he
was firmly convinced that it was more than likely that someone was
keeping watch outside of his room.

The prisoner had really very little idea of finding the door unlocked;
he did not think it likely that his captors would have neglected that
precaution, and he was thoroughly prepared to spend the rest of the
night in his prison. Such being the case, his surprise and delight may
be imagined when, upon turning the knob and pushing softly, he found
the door giving way before him.

His heart was thumping with excitement as he made this discovery, and
inch by inch he opened the barrier wider. He could see nothing, for
the curtain back of him shut out the light from his own room and the
next apartment appeared absolutely dark. However, when it was opened
wide enough for him to slip in, Roberts stole cautiously forward, and
was soon standing on the floor of the other room. All about him was
absolutely dark and silent, but he groped around him for some distance
before he finally concluded to go back and get a little light.

From a notebook in his pocket he tore several pages, which served him
for a small taper; and by this he made the discovery with consternation
that the apartment into which he had come was a tiny cell, not more
than fifteen feet square. There was a square window, high up from the
ground and heavily barred. By the faint light which he had Roberts saw
that the walls of the place were all stone, and that the door through
which he had come was composed of iron!

“Great heavens!” he gasped. “I am in a fearful trap, as sure as I’m
alive!”

He gripped his revolver in his hand, turned, and once more crept back
into his own room to wait. However, he found that everything there was
as silent as before, and after some little meditation over the problem
he removed several more pages from his notebook and set out for another
exploration.

He had noticed on the other side of that tiny cell another door,
exactly like the first. “I wonder where that leads?” he thought; and
this time he twisted his tiny taper so as to make it last longer, and
then again crept forward.

He darted across the stone floor and paused before the other iron door.
There was a keyhole there through which he could see a light shining,
but he could make out nothing by peering through. After pausing and
listening for several seconds and hearing absolutely no sound of any
kind, he determined upon a bold expedient.

“I am here,” he thought, “probably for good. I am likely to have a
fight whenever I try to get out, so it might as well be now as any
time, for it will be an advantage to take the other people unawares.”

And his mind once made up on that point Roberts softly turned the knob
of the door. As he did so he pushed against it; but it did not yield.

There was another effect, however, one which caused him to give a start
of alarm. The sound he had made had evidently been heard, for on the
other side he heard a soft exclamation and then a footstep in the room.

“That settles it!” Roberts murmured. “They have heard me!”

He pushed at the door still harder and then gave a savage lunge; but
the barrier remained firm, and he knew that it was locked.

At the same instant the sound of moving became much more distinct, and
Roberts, without a second’s hesitation, turned and sprang back toward
his own room. “It is better to be caught there than here,” he thought
in a flash.

But before he had taken half a dozen steps he was stopped by a new and
unexpected development. He heard a voice behind him, coming through the
crack in the door he had been trying.

“Who’s there?” it cried. “Who’s there?”

And the words were in English!

The voice was a low whisper. In an instant it occurred to Roberts that
this might be a friend, a prisoner like himself! He turned and crept
back toward the door.

“Who are you?” he cried.

His heart was beating so wildly with the excitement that he could
scarcely hear the reply of the other person, who still whispered in a
very low tone.

“An American,” was the reply. “Are you?”

“Yes,” said Roberts, “I am.”

“And have they got you, too?” panted the other breathlessly.

“Yes,” answered Roberts, “they have got me. What in the world does it
mean?”

“I don’t know,” said the other, “I haven’t an idea!”

“Do you mean that you are kept prisoner here without knowing why?”

“Yes, without the faintest idea; absolutely!” came the breathless
whisper from the keyhole. “Don’t talk too loud, or they will hear you,
and then heaven knows what fearful things may happen to you! How long
have you been here?”

“I only came tonight,” Roberts whispered. “And you?”

As he heard the reply it was all he could do to keep his balance; he
clutched at the rough stone wall to sustain himself. The man’s voice
was reduced almost to a moan as he answered:

“I have been here twenty years!”


                                  IV

Every drop of blood seemed to leave Roberts’s face, and his head fairly
swam.

“Twenty years!” he gasped to himself. “In heaven’s name, what can it
mean?”

Those words seemed to him to cap the climax of the night’s experiences,
and he stood as he was for fully a minute without speaking or asking
another question of the inmate of the other room. When suddenly the
silence was broken, it was by the other.

“Are you sure no one has heard you?” panted the man.

Roberts sprang to his feet and crept swiftly toward his own room. He
peered out around the front of the bed, but a single glance was enough
to show him that the door was still shut, and that there was no longer
any sign of trouble. Then once more he came back and stooped before the
keyhole.

“Tell me,” he gasped breathlessly, “tell me your story. How did it
happen? Where were you?”

“I lived in Caracas, in Venezuela,” the other responded. “I was in
business there for years. One day I was surprised in my own house by
three men, who overpowered me and drove me away in a carriage. They
drugged me in some way or other, for the next time I knew anything I
was a prisoner in this room.”

“And you have stayed there ever since?” panted Roberts, almost beside
himself with horror.

“For twenty years!” the man responded.

“And you have made no attempt to get out?”

“What good would it do?” cried the other. “They have iron bars for all
the windows and they keep my door locked.”

“How do they pass you food?” inquired Roberts. “They must open the
door.”

“Why, yes,” the man answered, “they open the door, but what good does
that do? There are always a half-dozen men standing in the doorway, and
they would overpower me if I made any resistance.”

As Henry Roberts listened to that narrative he could scarcely believe
the evidences of his own senses. He had long ago given up any attempt
to think what could be the explanation of this extraordinary state of
affairs. He made one more attempt upon the door, but that apparently
caused the utmost terror to the other man.

“You can’t do it,” he said. “It is locked, and that Frenchman has the
key.”

“What Frenchman?” asked Roberts.

“The man who is in charge of this place,” said the other. “The one
whose prisoner I am.”

“Is he a short, stout man, with gray hair?”

“Yes,” was the reply, “that is he.”

Roberts shuddered involuntarily.

“Oh, don’t speak of him!” continued the other breathlessly. “He is a
fiend! A perfect fiend!”

“What did he do?” panted Roberts.

“I cannot tell you all,” was the reply. “It would be too horrible. He
is the master of this place and it is he who keeps me prisoner. On no
account resist him or cry out for help—it is utterly useless.”

Roberts felt a grim smile cross his face as he heard those words; he
clutched his revolver tightly.

“I will risk it,” he thought. “They will have to open that door to give
me some food!”

“They never fail to watch this door,” the voice whispered in response
to an inquiry from Roberts. “They will hear me and come in here, and
then—then——”

There was an instant or two of silence, during which Roberts waited
for the man to continue. But he did not do so. For suddenly the deep
silence which reigned through the place was broken by a different
sound, one that made the American’s hair fairly rise. It was as if the
teeth of the other man were chattering audibly.

“They are coming!” he whispered in a low gasp, as if he were trying
to speak but dared not. And then a second later Roberts’s ears were
smitten by a loud, piercing scream. He heard the man bound to his feet.

“No! no!” he shrieked. “Stop! You shall not! It was not my fault!”

At the same instant came the sound of several muffled footsteps about
the room, and, in another voice, several words which Roberts could not
understand.

The agonized screams of the other person grew louder and louder,
accompanied by sounds which told plainly of a struggle. They lasted for
only a few seconds, however, and then came a crash and all was silent.

During that incident Henry Roberts had remained crouching at the door,
too horrified to move, but, as the sounds died away, for the first time
he thought of his own peril and was on his feet with a single spring.
He turned and dashed across the floor of the cell. But even as he did
so he realized that the few seconds’ hesitation had cost him everything.

The curtain of his bedroom was suddenly pushed aside, and a hand reached
in to grasp the door. Like a flash Roberts swung up his revolver and
leveled it, but before he could pull the trigger the iron barrier shut
to with a clang that seemed to shake every portion of the man’s body.

He was a prisoner in the cell!

The American leaned back against the wall, where he stood panting for
breath and clutching his weapon, staring about him wildly and striving
to pierce the darkness. The effort was vain, however, and the absolute
silence that prevailed afforded him not the slightest clue as to what
was going on.

He realized with a sinking heart what an advantage he had lost by
failing to take possession of the large room where he had a light. But
even as he was, with his revolver in his hand, he concluded, after a
few swift thoughts, that his case was not entirely hopeless.

“They will have to open the door some time,” he gasped, “and they may
not know that I have got a revolver.”

There was, however, the fearful possibility that his mysterious captor
might see fit to starve him out. The American realized that he would be
absolutely helpless before that.

“But there is a window,” he thought; “perhaps I can shout and attract
attention.”

Prompted by that thought, he felt his way along the wall until he
reached the opening in question. He raised himself up and peered
between the bars; but it was only to make one more discovery. The
window was closed by an iron shutter or drop, which resisted all his
efforts to move it.

“And I am in here without a breath of air!” he thought.

The whispered words had scarcely passed his lips before the last
climax of his mysterious experiences arrived. Suddenly a strange smell
attracted his attention, and as he discovered the cause he gave a gasp
of despair.

The room was slowly filling with a gas!

Roberts even then fancied that he could hear the sound of it entering
through some pipe which he could not find. Every second that certainty
was made more and more plain to him, and he darted forward perfectly
beside himself with desperation. He flung himself savagely against
the iron door, but it seemed to laugh at his efforts. He seized the
knob and tugged savagely, but with no effect. He stooped down at the
keyhole, hoping in that way to escape the new and horrible fate, but he
found that it also had been closed, and as he rushed across the room to
the other door exactly the same experience was repeated.

In the meantime he had, of course, been breathing the poisoned air of
the tiny cell. The deadly fumes were becoming stronger and stronger,
causing him to gasp and his head to reel. Twice more he threw all
his weight against the door in vain, and then, clutching the knob to
sustain himself, he stood for a second or two, swaying this way and
that, gasping and striving to hold his breath to keep out the choking
vapor.

Then everything reeled before him, and he found himself clutching
wildly in every direction. The revolver dropped from his helpless
grasp, and a second later he pitched forward upon the floor of his
cell. At the very same instant one of the doors was flung open and
a flood of light poured into the place. It was the last thing he
perceived as consciousness left him.


                                   V

How long a time Roberts remained unconscious after he had been
overpowered in the room of the mysterious house it was impossible for
him to say. When his senses returned to him he was in a sort of stupor.
As one half awake he became conscious of being carried about by someone.

He was too dazed to think about his situation or to realize what had
occurred to him, nor was he even conscious of the lapse of time; but
gradually his senses came back to him more and more, to a recognition
of his terrible plight in the hands of mysterious enemies in the midst
of that wild country.

With what little strength he had he tried to raise himself, and found
that both his hands and feet were tightly bound; also a bandage was
tied tightly about his eyes, so that he could not see anything. He was
too weak to make any outcry, and could only give himself up helplessly
to his captors.

Several times he heard people speaking in his neighborhood, but as the
language was still French he obtained no clue as to what had happened
to him in the meantime.

“At any rate,” he thought, “it is something to be alive—_that_ is more
than I expected.”

It was not long after this he was picked up again by two men, who
apparently carried him down a flight of steps. By this time Roberts had
recovered his wits and was anxiously trying to discover any signs as to
his whereabouts.

He heard the door open, and then a fresh breeze told him that he was
being carried out of the house.

“I wonder what in the world is going to happen to me now,” he thought
to himself.

Again he made an effort to free his hands, but it was of no use with
the little strength he had. His head was aching, and he was completely
exhausted by the ordeal through which he had passed.

From the footsteps of the men who were carrying him he made out that
they were passing next down a gravel walk. At the same time, nearby,
he heard what he took to be the stamping of horses. “Perhaps it is the
same place where they took me in before,” he thought. However, that did
him no good, as he had been brought to the house in the darkness of a
stormy night and had seen nothing of the neighborhood.

His surmise was correct, however, for the men raised him and placed him
in a carriage. Two of them sprang in and the horses started rapidly
down the road.

Then was repeated the same experience as before, the long ride over the
roughest of roads. Roberts was completely helpless, and was flung this
way and that upon the seat. Perhaps the jarring helped to revive his
faculties, however, for when the trip was over he was fully alert.

During the ride the two men who were in the carriage whispered to each
other occasionally; but the conversation was in French, as before, and
the American could understand nothing. It was a weary journey, but it
came to an end at last. The carriage stopped, the two men sprang out,
and then again he felt himself lifted and carried away.

“I will pretty soon know what is going to happen to me,” he muttered to
himself.

He was taken only a short distance before he was set down by the two
men, who stepped aside and held a whispered conversation. Then suddenly
he heard them walking away again, and a minute or two later he heard
the carriage start. It sped rapidly away, and in a half-minute more was
out of hearing, the American being left alone in absolute silence and
without any further clue as to what was taking place or where he was.

He lay there for fully half an hour, waiting impatiently for the next
development. He grew more and more impatient, and finally summoned all
his strength in an effort to free his hands. “Perhaps it will do me no
good,” he thought, “but I would like everlastingly to make a fight for
it.”

His astonishment may be imagined when, at the very first effort, the
rope which bound him parted and left his hands free!

He was scarcely able to realize it for a moment, and lay with his
hands still behind his back, trying to grasp the fact that he was at
liberty, or partially so, at any rate. His heart gave a great bound of
joy. There was no doubt, however, that his enemies were nearby, and the
thought made him cautious.

Slowly and silently he raised his hands to his head and grasped the
handkerchief which still bound his eyes. It was only loosely tied, and
a single pull was sufficient to remove it. The eagerness with which he
glanced about him may be imagined. The first sight that met his eyes
was the stars; then, realizing that in the darkness he was not so
likely to be observed, he bent swiftly forward to the rope that bound
his feet.

This, too, he found but loosely tied, and it took him but a few seconds
to loosen it, after which he turned his head anxiously and glanced
about him. He found himself, apparently, in the midst of an open
country, in the shadow of a tall tree. What surprised him most of all
was the fact that he saw nothing to indicate that anyone was near.

“They do not seem very careful to guard me,” Roberts thought, “after
all the pains they took to capture me.”

However, there was no time to spend in debating that question. His only
thought was to make the most of his opportunity and escape from that
spot as quickly as possible.

He raised himself and began silently to make his way along the ground.
He was still weak, but for all that he managed to make good time. As he
crept along he found that he was on a road, and his first impulse was
to reach the thicket at one side. Once in the shade of this he rose to
his feet, considerably emboldened by his success. He still saw no one
and heard no sounds to indicate that his escape had been discovered, so
he set out somewhat more boldly, creeping through the underbrush.

He was almost beside himself with delight at his sudden and unexpected
good fortune. He knew that every step he took was carrying him more and
more to safety, for the nature of the country told him that it would be
almost impossible for his enemies, whoever they might be, to find him
again. “It was a terrible experience,” he thought to himself. “This end
of it seems almost like an anti-climax.”

When he was far enough away to be sure that there was no danger of his
steps being heard he broke into a run, nor did he stop until he was
completely exhausted.

By that time he knew that he had put fully half a mile of the dense
jungle between himself and any possible pursuers. He sat down on the
ground to recover his breath and think over the strange situation.

“Perhaps I shall never come to an explanation,” he thought, “or find
out what that strange Frenchman wanted with me.”

As he turned the matter over in his mind, however, there was one thing
about which he made up his mind definitely, and that was that if he
ever succeeded in reaching his cousin, he would never cease his efforts
to find out all about that mysterious house, and to inform the proper
authorities about the unfortunate captive who was detained there. “I
guess I will have a hard time finding him, though,” Roberts thought.
“Perhaps I have only exchanged one danger for another, as I have pretty
well lost myself in this thicket.”

It was just then he chanced to notice that a heavy package had been
stuffed into one of the pockets of his coat. He found it was a paper
parcel, which he took out and examined with not a little curiosity. He
found that his enemies, as if anticipating his escape, had provided him
with a supply of food!

Again he put his hand to his pocket, and, discovering something else,
proceeded to examine it. There were two pieces of paper, and he struck
a match to examine them. One, as he found to his utter consternation,
was a French bank-note of the value of five hundred francs!

That discovery almost overwhelmed him. He sat gazing in silent wonder
at the paper until the match went out. Then he struck another and
proceeded to examine the other piece of paper, which he found was a
note addressed to him in English:

        SIR—It was all mistake. We thought you
         were somebody other. We are sorry. We inclose money
         to pay you for your time and loss of——

As Roberts read the last word he gave a gasp. Then he swung his hand up
to his head and found to his horror that the statement of the letter
was only too true. The word was _hair_, and every particle of it had
been shaved from his head!

If anything had been needed to complete Roberts’s amazement at his
strange adventure, this would have done it. He sat where he was for
fully five minutes, alternately feeling for his missing locks and
examining the bank-note and the lunch.

“All a mistake!” he muttered to himself. “Took me for someone else!”

The first thought that came to Roberts after that was a renewal of his
resolution to probe the mystery to the bottom.

“Mistake or no mistake,” he thought, “those villains intended a
horrible fate for someone—and they have got that other wretched
prisoner in there yet. I am going to find out what it means or die in
the attempt!”

And it was with determination in his mind that Henry Roberts at last
raised himself to his feet once more. He tucked the note and bank-bill
away in his pocket and wrapped up the food.

“At first, I thought it might have been poisoned,” he observed, “but I
guess that is not very likely under the circumstances. It may come in
very handy, for all I can tell.”

He had now made up his mind that there was no longer any chance of his
being pursued, and he saw very plainly that his enemies had taken him
to the lonely spot and left him with the intention of allowing him to
free himself, as he had done.

“However, they probably took pains to lose me,” he thought, “so that I
could not come back to revenge myself.”

As this thought entered his mind, Roberts instinctively put his hand to
his back-pocket where his revolver had been. Sure enough, he found that
it had not been returned to him.

“A wise precaution!” he muttered.

His first purpose now was, of course, to get back to the road, so that
he might find some kind of habitation.

“I must get to the mines, and get my cousin to help me,” he thought.

The task seemed likely to be a difficult one, for in the darkness
Roberts had no way of telling which way he had come. It was by no means
a pleasant prospect, that of getting lost in the jungle country.

“If I had only thought to examine my pockets before I did all that
running!” he exclaimed.

He could not help laughing at the thought of his wild dash and the
extreme caution and anxiety with which he had freed himself. However,
his amusement did not last very long; for once more the terrified cries
of the unfortunate prisoner crossed his mind. The last words which he
had heard from the man were still ringing in his ears.

“Twenty years!”

He started to make his way back through the jungle in the direction
where he hoped to find the road he had left. He trudged on for a
considerable time, getting more and more involved in the tangled vines
of that swampy region. Finally he concluded that there was nothing else
for him to do but wait until the dawn. There was no means of telling
what wild animals might be near, and he was haunted with the fear of
disturbing some serpent. At last he determined on climbing one of the
high trees. From this vantage point he found that he had not much
longer to wait. Already the first streaks of dawn were visible in the
east.

His tree was one of the tallest in the dense forest, and as soon as
it was light he caught sight of a slight opening in the trees, where
he discovered the long-sought road, winding up the hillside in front.
Without a minute’s hesitation he climbed to the ground and set out
through the thicket. No shipwrecked mariner was ever more relieved at
the sight of land. “If I get to the road, I am pretty sure to find
someone in the end.”

Twice he took the precaution to climb a tree to make sure that he was
on the right track, and at last he came out upon the thoroughfare. A
single glance was sufficient to tell him that a carriage had passed
over it since the recent heavy rain, and he concluded that this was the
road over which he had been taken.

He sat down for a short while to rest and think over the situation. “I
am going to set out and walk until I come to some place,” he decided
finally. “The only question is in which direction to go.”

He had nothing to guide him, and he finally decided haphazard and set
out tramping. He found out that the fresh air and the excitement of
his escape had served to remove almost all the effects of his recent
unpleasant experience.

“I have lost nothing,” he thought, “except my hair and my baggage!”

The latter had been taken into the mysterious house, and that was the
last Roberts had seen of it; as he thought the matter over, however,
he concluded that in all probability the Frenchmen had left it with
him when they drove away. “And I ran away and left it!” he laughed.
“Anyway, I have got a hundred dollars to pay for it.”

The road was so rough as to be almost as difficult as the thicket.
Winding in and out through the dense jungle, sometimes completely
covered by the interlacing trees and vines, it seemed as if it might
run on forever.

“But there must be some house along it!” the man muttered grimly. “If I
can only find somebody to direct me to the mines!”

The sun rose until at last it was beating down fiercely upon the
traveler. It was long after high noon when at last he made out the
first sign that he had gained anything by his mountain journey. There
came one hill much higher than the rest; as he reached the summit and
glanced around him, he saw a slender column of smoke rising from the
midst of the dark trees.

“A house at last!” he cried, and set swiftly forward.

He kept his wits about him, however, not forgetting that he was in the
midst of a strange country. As he descended the hill the smoke passed
out of sight, and he did not again observe it until he was almost upon
the house from which it proceeded.

He took the precaution to turn from the road and make his way through
the thicket, where the tropical vegetation was so dense about him that
he could see nothing in front of him even, when various sounds led
him to believe that he was almost upon the house. And so it was that
suddenly, without the slightest warning, he came to the end of the
bushes, and the building rose before his very eyes.

From a spot a few yards to one side the road still stretched onward,
but it had broadened out into a smooth avenue, lined on either side
with great forest trees. Beneath them was a well-kept lawn, and
perhaps a hundred yards beyond at the end of the avenue was a building,
a great mansion, three stories high, and built of handsome stone.

A single glance at it, and the American staggered back with a gasp. It
was the house of his recent adventure!


                                  VI

Roberts’s first impulse was to spring back into the bushes and crouch
down to prevent his being observed. There he lay peering out and
watching the scene.

There was no doubt about the house being the same one, for besides the
improbability of there being two such houses in that dense wilderness,
he had seen from the lights the general outline of the house on the
night he had been first taken there. If he had any doubt, a discovery
he made a short time after was sufficient to remove it.

Two sides of the great structure were visible to him from where he was,
and he saw that all the windows were protected with iron bars!

He ran his eye over the whole building with considerable curiosity.
Except for the bars above mentioned, it was a most inviting-looking
structure, having broad piazzas around it covered with vines and
growing plants and a beautiful garden in front. It was situated upon
a high elevation, and, even from where he was, Roberts could see
the broad view stretching beyond on the other side. But the thought
uppermost in his mind while he lay watching the place was less of all
this than of the wretched American whom he had left there.

He had not been there more than five minutes before he saw the door in
front of the broad avenue open and a man step out. A single glance at
the figure was enough to tell him that it was the little Frenchman who
had welcomed him on the night he had been brought there.

“You scoundrel!” Roberts thought, clenching his hands. “I should like
to get hold of you!”

The man had a cigar in his mouth, and began sauntering up and down the
piazza. Roberts had the pleasure of watching him for a considerable
time at this occupation, and then he came out and fell to examining the
flowers in front of the house.

In the meantime the American was thinking over his situation and trying
to make up his mind what to do. He was not willing to risk any further
explorations of the place by himself; and yet, on the other hand, he
dreaded retracing that long walk on the road.

“Perhaps it goes on,” he thought, “and perhaps I can find another house
beyond.”

He stole back into the bushes and made a circuit of the broad grove to
investigate. He found, however, that the road apparently led only to
the mansion and that he was confronted with the necessity of retracing
his steps the entire day’s journey.

“Perhaps they left me near some place,” he thought, “and I would have
been all right if I had only waited for daylight!”

Weakened by his unpleasant experiences, Roberts was not prepared to
undertake that trip immediately. It was then well on toward sunset, but
he resolved to rest several hours, at any rate.

He crept back into the bushes a short distance to make himself safe
from discovery and stretched himself out to rest. Several hours passed
in that way, and then, as darkness once more settled upon the place,
he crept forward for a closer view of the house before leaving it. He
had not taken very many steps, however, before something occurred which
caused him to stop abruptly. He could see, through the bushes, the
lights shining out from one or two of the windows. Suddenly, his ears
were caught by a confused sound of voices. He sprang forward to the
edge of the bushes and gazed out just in time to witness an exciting
scene.

The doorway was open and a flood of light was pouring out. In the
doorway several men were struggling violently.

At that very instant one of the voices cried out in English: “Help!
Help!” And to his consternation Roberts recognized the voice as the
same he had heard through the keyhole of his cell! It was the American
prisoner!

As Roberts realized this, all thought of caution left him. With a yell
he leaped forward and bounded across the lawn at the top of his speed.

The rest happened so quickly that Roberts had no time to think. He saw
the figures silhouetted in the light of the doorway, one man making a
desperate struggle against two or three others. Roberts reached the
foot of the steps leading up to the piazza at the very same instant
that another figure came dashing around the corner of the porch, crying
out excitedly in French. He recognized both the voice and form as those
of the hated master of the house.

It was the opportunity for which he had been wishing. He flung himself
upon the man, and before the latter had time even to throw up his hands
dealt him a blow with all the power of his arm, catching him in the
chest and sending him reeling backward; then, with a shout of
encouragement, he turned and dashed toward the doorway.

He was in the very nick of time, for the other prisoner, who had been
making a gallant fight for his liberty, was now almost overpowered by
the men. Roberts recognized them as the same servants who had welcomed
him upon his entrance. Several others were rushing down the hallway to
join in the struggle, when he flung himself through the doorway. One of
the men had pinned the unfortunate prisoner to the wall, but Roberts
dealt him a blow that sent him flying backward. The others turned with
a cry of alarm, at the same time loosening their hold upon the prisoner.

And the latter whirled like a flash, and before Roberts had time to
shout to him had dashed out of the doorway and down the steps of the
building. His rescuer paused only long enough to repel a furious
onslaught, and then he, too, turned and rushed away into the darkness.

“Run! Run!” he yelled to the man he had helped. “Run for your life!”

There was no need of the exhortation. The man was fairly flying over
the ground, making for the thicket beyond.

Roberts heard footsteps behind him and glanced over his shoulder in
time to see that his danger was by no means over. It seemed as if
his shout must have alarmed the whole house. Half a dozen men had
poured out of the doorway and were in full pursuit of the fugitives.
The nearest of them, who had been rushing up to join in the fight as
Roberts turned, were only a few yards behind.

Roberts knew that all depended upon his being able to get away into
the thicket, for he was by no means strong enough for a long race. The
other man seemed able to run faster, and was leaving his rescuer behind.

“Oh, if I only had my revolver!” he said to himself.

As it was, he expected some of the men to fire upon him. Before there
was time for this, however, the race was over and lost. To the edge
of the bushes was a matter of only a few seconds; the first man
disappeared and Roberts followed, when suddenly a tangled vine in his
path caught his foot and brought him to earth with a blow so violent
that it almost stunned him. Not two seconds later Roberts felt a heavy
body fling itself upon him and heard a voice crying out in the now too
familiar French.

He tried to struggle to his feet once more to grapple with his
assailant, but his efforts were in vain, for the latter’s cries had
brought several more to the spot, and before he was able to realize it
Roberts was again a helpless prisoner.

His cries were stopped by one of the men flinging his coat about his
head; then two others picked him up by the arms and feet and set out to
carry him.

He was so breathless and dazed by what had occurred that he was
scarcely able to realize his plight. Once more a prisoner in the hands
of the mysterious Frenchman!

“Of course, they will take me straight back to the house,” he thought,
and in this he found that he was not mistaken. From the sounds that
reached his ears he knew that a crowd had gathered about those who were
carrying him, and suddenly, above all the excited cries, Roberts heard
a voice that he recognized as that of the master.

“_Vous l’avez?_” he cried excitedly. “_Bien!_”

Roberts did not know the meaning of the words, but the Frenchman’s
delight was sufficiently manifested by the tone of the voice. The
American’s heart sank as he thought of what was before him.

“He won’t let me off so easily this time!” he thought. “I am not sorry
I whacked him, all the same, and at least that other fellow will
escape!”

He was borne swiftly forward by the men; from the sounds of the
footsteps he knew that they were on the gravel walk once more. Then
they mounted the steps of the piazza, and through an opening in the
coat that was still flung over his head he made out the light of the
doorway. At the same time he heard the voice of the Frenchman and was
borne into the hallway again. The door shut behind him. It sounded like
a death-knell in his ears.

“Probably they will take me back to that very same cell,” he thought.

And then suddenly two of the men seized him by his arms, and the rest
released their hold, leaving him standing upon his feet. The coat was
flung from off his face, and he stood before his captors.

Roberts found himself in the very same hallway as on the previous
occasion, surrounded by the very same servants, and in the presence of
the very same master. All this was exactly what he had expected, and
nothing of it surprised him. But there was one new circumstance, one
that left him almost dazed with consternation—the action of the crowd
of men the instant they caught sight of him.

The master himself, having apparently recovered from the blow which
Roberts had dealt him, was standing in front of his prisoner; as he got
a glimpse of his face he staggered back with an exclamation, and burst
into a roar of laughter! He began to shake all over with uncontrollable
merriment, and finally he sank back against the wall, apparently
scarcely able to stand.

Nor were his assistants less strangely affected—they, too, gazed at
the prisoner, and then went likewise into spasms of laughter. Everyone
in the hall was soon joining in the uproar, and two men who were
holding Roberts were so overcome that they let go their hold of him!
The puzzled man found himself alone and free once more, but he was so
amazed that he could only stand and stare about him.

It would not be possible to describe his perplexity. The little
Frenchman, now apparently not in the least alarmed by the fact that
his prisoner was free, lay back in a chair near the fireplace, almost
purple in the face with laughter. And this situation continued for
fully two minutes more before the man, seeing Roberts’s amazement, rose
to his feet and came toward him.

“_Monsieur!_” he began, making a desperate effort to control his
laughter. “_Monsieur! Une très grande bévue!_”

Then seeing from the expression on Roberts’s face that the remark was
not understood, he again went into an explosion of merriment.

“_J’ai oublié!_” he gasped. “_Vous ne comprenez pas_——”

Yet, though Roberts did _not_ understand, there was one thing which
these things did make plain to him, and which brought him a vast
relief. This farce, whatever it was, was at least not going to turn out
a tragedy for him.

He stood as he was in the centre of the hallway watching the crowd.
When the first burst of laughter had passed away they remained eagerly
talking to each other, glancing at him occasionally and gesticulating.
The little Frenchman, who seemed not to have the slightest enmity
toward Roberts for having knocked him down, was still standing in front
of him, laughing excitedly and trying to make himself understood. As
he only continued to shake his head the Frenchman gave a gesture of
despair. Suddenly, however, a thought seemed to strike him, and he
whirled about and called to one of the men.

“_Jacques!_” he exclaimed. “_Appelez Jacques!_”

Immediately one of the men turned and darted out of the door. It was
only a few seconds later before another man entered the room and toward
him the excited little Frenchman rushed. Still shaking with merriment
he began an excited conversation, glancing occasionally at Roberts. In
a few seconds the newcomer was also convulsed with hilarity.

“_Parlez-lui, Jacques!_” cried the master of the house excitedly.
“_Vite!_”

And the man came toward Roberts, his face strained with suppressed
laughter.

“Sir!” he stammered, scarcely able to speak. “Sir, I explain!”

“Go ahead,” said Roberts, who by this time had begun to feel the
laughter contagious. “Hurry up, for heaven’s sake!”

The Frenchman paused for a few seconds, evidently collecting his scanty
knowledge of English; then he turned toward the master of the house.

“Sir,” he said, making a profound bow, “I introduce—I introduce you
the Dr. Anselme.”

The little Frenchman in turn made a profound bow; at the same time a
sudden idea flashed across Roberts.

The two men, who were watching him closely, glanced at each other
and again began laughing uproariously. Then again Jacques began his
laborious explanation, pausing very long between words.

“This house,” he said, “this house—it is—it is _une—une_—what is de
word? _Une hôpital_——”

Again the man stopped and gazed into the air. In the meantime, however,
Roberts’s brain had been working, and a possible explanation of his
extraordinary adventures with Dr. Anselme had flashed over him.

“A hospital!” he cried, “an asylum!”

“_Oui, oui, monsieur!_” cried the man excitedly.

“There was one man coming,” he continued excitedly, “one——”

“Patient?” suggested Roberts.

“_Oui, oui!_” exclaimed the other. “One patient! He was to come——”

But the man did not finish his sentence. At that moment there came
the sound of rolling carriage-wheels, and Dr. Anselme made a sudden
start for the door and flung it open just as the carriage stopped and
a man bounded up the steps of the porch. The little doctor, still
half convulsed with laughter, dragged him into the house and began an
excited conversation with him. In a moment or two the latter turned to
Roberts. He began to speak in fluent English, keeping from giving way
to laughter by a violent effort.

“Sir,” he said, “my brother wishes me to explain—I have arrived just
in time.”

“For heaven’s sake!” cried Roberts in relief. “Talk on, and tell me
what is the matter!”

“It is a most extraordinary blunder,” said the newcomer. “You have
escaped a dangerous surgical operation by the merest chance!”

Roberts placed his hand on his bald head, and everyone in the hallway
gave a roar of laughter.

“Yes,” said the other, “that is it. My brother is a well-known
specialist in mental diseases and has this sanitarium in the mountains.
No doubt you were surprised to find such a large house so far away from
any city. We were expecting a patient, an American, by the same train
on which you arrived. He was suffering from an injury to the skull,
which made him liable to periodic attacks of insanity, and he was
coming up here to be treated.”

“The very man I saw on the train!” cried Roberts. “A tall, dark-haired
person?”

“We do not know in the least what he looks like,” was the reply, “for
had we known we should not have made the horrible blunder we did.”

In a few words Roberts related how the stranger had leaped from the
train during the night.

“Undoubtedly,” said the other, “that was he. He probably lacked courage
to come. I have been out hunting for him, but have not found him.”

“And they were going to operate on me?” Roberts gasped.

“Yes,” said the other; “it was only the fact that my brother was unable
to find any trace of injury to your skull that saved you. Then it
occurred to him to search your clothing, and he found your card, which,
of course, showed him the terrible mistake.”

By this time Roberts himself was able to join in the uproarious
laughter.

“But that other man—that prisoner who has been here for twenty
years—what about him?” he asked.

“He has been here nearly thirty years,” laughed the other, “but he has
no knowledge of the time. He is a raving maniac!”

“And I helped him to escape!” gasped Roberts.

“Yes, you did,” said the other ruefully, “and I am afraid it will take
us many days to catch him!”

“But why in the world did you take me away and leave me there on the
road?” cried Roberts, when he was able to speak. “Why did you not
explain to me?”

“I would have if I had been here,” the man answered, “but my brother
concluded that, as you were not destined for here, you were going to
the mines, which are the only other inhabited spot around here. So they
carried you to the mines.”

“To the mines!” gasped the other. “For heaven’s sake, what do you mean?
You left me out in the middle of the jungle!”

Once more the Frenchman went off into a fit of laughter. “Why, they
left you within fifty yards of the place!” gasped Dr. Anselme’s
brother. “They did not take you in, as they thought there might be some
trouble made about the matter and we were anxious to get out of it
without any.”

Then in a few words Roberts told what had happened to him since that
adventure.

“I thought I was doing something very heroic in rescuing that man,” he
exclaimed. “Please apologize to the doctor for the whack I gave him.”

Dr. Anselme protested that the blow was nothing at all, though Roberts
fancied that he could see him wince at the mere recollection of it.
Nothing more was said about that, however, and, still laughing about
the man’s strange adventures, the doctor turned to the door on one side
and flung it open, disclosing the same familiar dining-room.

“Sir, I pardon you,” he said, and his brother interpreted, “now sit
again with us at our table, I beg of you.”

And they went in to supper.



                            _The Day_


“Here’s one for you, ’Squire, that I’ll betcha you can’t answer,”
tantalizingly said Hi Spry, as the Old Codger added himself to the
roster of the Linen Pants and Solid Comfort Club. “‘When tomorrow is
yesterday, today will be as far from the end of the week as was today
from the beginning of the week when yesterday was tomorrow. What is
today?’”

“Today, Hiram,” grimly returned the veteran, “is the day that I’m
goin’ to ask you to return to me them three dollars and thirty-five
cents that you borrowed from me over two months ago, with the promise
that you’d pay ’em back the then-comin’ day-after-tomorrow, which
went mizzling down the corridors of time quite a spell ago without
fetchin’ me the money. That’s what day this is, Hiram, although I
prob’ly shouldn’t have mentioned it if you hadn’t tried to humiliate
me in public by springin’ a question on me that you was pretty sure I
couldn’t answer.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                         _No Retribution_

CRAWFORD—Why do you object to the methods of our benevolent
millionaires?

CRABSHAW—Because in distributing their surplus wealth they
don’t give it back to the people they got it from.



                      _A Belated Reconciliation_

                           BY WILL N. HARBEN
             _Author of “Abner Daniel,” “The Substitute,”
                        “The Georgians,” etc._


Old Jim Ewebanks sat down on the wash-bench in front of the widow
Thompson’s cabin and watched the old woman as she stood in the doorway,
pouring water into her earthen churn to “make the butter come.” He had
walked over from his cabin across the hollow to bring her a piece of
news; but the subject was a delicate one, and he hardly knew how to
broach it.

If he had been a lighter man, he would have led her further in her
cheerful comments on the crops, the price of cotton and the health of
their neighbors; but deception of no sort was in Ewebanks’s line, and
moreover, the sun was going down. He could see the blue smoke curling
from the mud-and-log chimney on the dark, mist-draped mountainside
across the marshes and writing a welcome message on the sky. He had a
mental glimpse of his wife as she bent over a big fireplace and put
steaming food on the supper-table. He was reminded that he had not fed
his cattle; and still he could not bring himself to the task before him.

Mrs. Thompson’s son, Joe, came up the narrow road from the field,
leading his bay mare. The young man turned the animal into a little
stableyard. With the clanking harness massed on his brawny shoulder he
passed by, nodding to the visitor, and hung his burden on a peg in the
lean-to shed at the end of the cabin.

Then he went into the entry between the two rooms of the house, and,
rolling up his shirt sleeves, bathed his face and hands in a tin basin.

Ewebanks determined to come to his point before Joe finished washing.
Indeed, a sudden question from the widow made it somewhat easier for
him.

“What’s fetched you ’long here this time o’ day, Jim?” she asked, as
she tilted her churn toward the light reflected from the sky and raised
the dasher cautiously to inspect the yellow lumps of butter clinging to
its dripping surface.

Ewebanks felt his throat tighten. It was hard for him to bring up a
subject to the mild-faced, reticent woman, which, while it had been
common talk in the neighborhood for the past twenty-five years, had
scarcely been mentioned in her presence. He bent down irresolutely and
began to pick the cockle-burrs from the frayed legs of his trousers.

Joe Thompson saved him from an immediate reply by throwing the contents
of his basin at a lot of chickens in the yard and coming toward him,
drying his face and hands on his red cotton handkerchief.

“You _are_ off’n yore reg’lar stompin’-ground, hain’t you?” he said
cordially.

Jim Ewebanks made a failure of a smile as his eyes fell on Mrs.
Thompson. She had stopped churning, and, leaning on her wooden dasher,
was studying his face.

“What fetched you, shore ’nough?” she asked abruptly.

Ewebanks knew that her suspicions were roused. He sat erect and clasped
his coarse hands between his knees.

“My cousin Sally Wynn’s been over in the valley today,” he gulped.
“It’s reported thar that yore sister, Mrs. Hansard, is purty low.
We-uns talked it over—me’n my wife did—an’ Sally, an’ ’lowed you ort
to know. They axed me to come tell you, but as I told them, I hain’t no
hand to—it looks like they could ’a’ picked somebody——”

He broke off. There was little change in the grim, lined face under the
gray hair, and the red-checked breakfast shawl which the woman wore
like a hood. She turned the churn again to the light and peered down
into the white depths.

Someone had once said in the hearing of Ewebanks that nothing could
induce Martha Thompson to utter a word about her sister, and he
wondered how she would treat the present disclosure. She let the churn
resume its upright position and put the lid back into place; then she
glanced at him.

“She—hain’t _bad_ off, I reckon,” she said tensely.

“Purty low,” he replied, his eyes on the ground. “The fact is, Mrs.
Thompson, ef you want to see ’er alive you’d better go over thar
tomorrow at the furdest.”

Ewebanks knew he had gone a little too far in his last words, when Joe
broke in fiercely:

“She won’t go a step! She sha’n’t set foot inside that cussed house.
They’ve done ’thout us so fur, an’ they kin longer—dead, dyin’ or
buried!”

“Hush, Joe!” Mrs. Thompson had left her churn, and with her hands
wrapped in her apron was leaning against the door-jamb.

Joe didn’t heed her.

“They’ve always helt the’r heads above us becase we’re poor an’ they’re
rich,” he ran on. “You sha’n’t go a step, mother!”

Mrs. Thompson said nothing. She rolled her churn aside and went into
the cabin. Ewebanks saw her bending over the pots and kettles in the
red light from the live coals. He saw her rise to arrange the table,
and knew she was going to ask him to supper. He got up to go, said good
day to Joe, who had lapsed into sullen silence, and descended the rocky
path toward his cabin.

It was growing dusk; a deepening haze, half of smoke, half of mist,
hung over the wooded hill on the right of the road, and on the left a
newly cleared field was dotted with the smoldering fires of brush-heaps.

At the foot of the hill he glanced back and saw Mrs. Thompson in the
path signaling to him. He paused in the corner of a rail fence half
overgrown with briars and waited for her. She was panting with exertion
when she reached him.

“I didn’t care to talk up thar ’fore Joe,” she began. “He’s so bitter
agin Melissa an’ ’er folks; but I want to know more. What seems to be
ailin’ ’er, Jim?”

“A general break-down, I reckon,” was the answer. “She’s been gradually
on the fail fer some time. I reckon yore duty-bound to see ’er, Mrs.
Thompson. I’d not pay any attention to Joe nur nobody else. Maybe
thar’s been some pride on yore side, too.”

“I don’t know,” she said doubtfully, and then she was silent. She broke
a piece of worm-eaten bark from a pine rail on the fence and crumbled
it in her hand.

“I’ve been wantin’ to tell you some’n fer a long time,” Ewebanks put in
cautiously, “but it wasn’t no business o’ mine, an’ I hate meddlin’. I
hain’t no talebearer, but this hain’t that, I reckon.”

“I hauled some wood fer ’er one day last spring when me’n my team was
detained at court over thar. She come out in the yard in front o’ her
fine house whar I was unloadin’. She looked mighty thin an’ peaked an’
lonesome. I had no idea she knowed me from a side o’ sole leather,
grand woman that she is, but she axed me ef I wasn’t from out this
way. I told ’er I was, an’ then she reached over the wagon-wheel an’
shuck hands powerful friendly like, an’ axed particular about you an’
Joe, an’ how you was a-makin’ of it. I told ’er you was up an’ about,
but, like the rest of us, as pore as Job’s turkey. She said she’d been
a-layin’ off to go to see you, but, somehow, hadn’t been able to git
round to it. She said she’d been porely fer over a year.”

“She wasn’t porely two year back when I was on my back with typhoid,”
said Mrs. Thompson bitterly. “The report went out that I’d never git up
agin, but she never come a-nigh me, nur sent no word.”

“Maybe she never heard of it,” said Ewebanks. “They had a lot to do
over thar about that time in one way and another. One o’ the gals
was marryin’ of a banker, an’ t’other the Governor’s son, an’ yore
brother-in-law, up to his death, was in politics, an’ they was constant
a-givin’ parties an’ a-havin’ big company an’ the like. We-uns that
don’t carry on at sech a rate ortn’t to be judges. I’m of the opinion
that you ort to go, Mrs. Thompson. Ef she dies you’ll always wish you’d
laid aside the grudge.”

The old woman glanced up at her cabin and awkwardly wiped her mouth
with her bare hand.

“It seems sech a short time sence me’n her was childern together,”
she mused. “We was on the same level then, an’ I never loved anybody
more’n I did her. She was the purtiest gal in the neighborhood, an’ as
sharp as a briar. Squire Farnhill tuck a likin’ to ’er, an’, as he had
no childern o’ his own, he offered to adopt ’er an’ give ’er a home
an’ education. She was a great stay-at-home an’ we had to actually beg
’er to go. We knowed it was best, fer pa was weighted down with debt
an’ was a big drinker. She was soon weaned from us an’ ’fore she was
seventeen Colonel Frank Hansard married ’er an’ tuck ’er over to his
big plantation in Fannin’. We had our matters to look after, an’ they
had the’rn. It begun that way, an’ it’s kept up.”

“I don’t know how true it is,” ventured Ewebanks, “but I have heard
that her husband was a proud, stuck-up, ambitious man, an’ that he
wished to cut off communication betwixt you two; but he’s dead an’ out
o’ the way now.”

“Yes, but sometimes childern take after the’r fathers,” said the widow,
“an’, right or wrong, it’s natural fer a mother to sympathize with her
offspring. I’m sorter afeard the family wouldn’t want me even at ’er
deathbed. Now, ef they had jest ’a’ sent me word that she was low,
or——”

“I’d be fer doin’ my duty accordin’ to my own lights,” declared
Ewebanks, when he saw she was going no further. “I don’t know as I’d
be bothered about what them gals, or the’r husbands, thought at sech a
serious time.”

She nodded as if she agreed with him, and turned to go. “Joe’s waitin’
fer his supper,” she said. “I’ll study about it, Jim. I couldn’t go
till tomorrow, anyway. But, Jim Ewebanks—” she hesitated for a moment,
and then she looked at him squarely—“Jim, I want to tell you that I
think you are a powerful good man. Yo’re a Christian o’ the right sort,
an’ I’m glad you are my neighbor.”


                                  II

That night Mrs. Thompson had a visit from Mrs. Ewebanks, accompanied
by her daughter Mary Ann, a fair slip of a creature of twelve years.
Mary Ann was always her mother’s companion on her social rounds in
the neighborhood. She was a very timid child and was never known to
open her mouth on any of these visits. They took the chairs offered
them before the fire. It was at once evident from Mrs. Ewebanks’s
manner that she had come to advise her neighbor, and she showed by her
disregard for oral approaches that she was going to reach her point by
a short cut.

“Jim told me he’d been over,” she began, with a sneer, as she seated
herself squarely in her chair and brushed a brindled cat from under
her blue homespun skirt. “Scat! I don’t want yore flees! An’ he told
me, after I’d pumped ’im about dry, what he was fool enough to advise
you. Men hain’t a bit o’ gumption. What’s he want to tell you all that
foolishness fer? I hain’t never had a bit o’ use fer them high-falutin’
Hansards. Why, they hain’t had respect enough fer yore feelin’s to even
let you know yore sister was at death’s door. Sally Wynn jest drapped
onto it by accident.”

Mrs. Thompson was standing in the chimney-corner, her hand on the
little mantelpiece, but she sat down.

“I reckon a body ort not to have ill-will at sech a time,” she
faltered. “Ef Melissa’s a-dyin’ I reckon it ’ud be nothin’ more’n human
fer me to want to be thar. She mought be sorry you see, in ’er last
hour, an’ wish she’d sent fer me. I’d hate to think _that_, after she
was laid away fer good an’ all.”

“Pshaw!” Mrs. Ewebanks drew her damp, steaming shoes back from the
fire. She had something else to say.

“I never told you, Martha Thompson, but I give it to that woman
straight from the shoulder not long back. I was visitin’ my brother
over thar. Mrs. Hansard used to drive out fer fresh air when the
weather was good, an’ she stopped at the spring on brother’s place one
day while I was thar gittin’ me a drink—no, I remember now, I was
pickin’ a place to set a bucket o’ fresh butter to harden it up fer
camp-meetin’. She didn’t take no more notice o’ me’n ef I’d been some
cornfield nigger, but you bet I started the conversation. I up an’ axed
’er ef she wasn’t a Hansard an’ when she ’lowed she was, I told ’er I
thought so from her favor to ’er sister over here. She got as red as a
pickled beet, an’ stammered an’ looked ashamed, then she sot into axin’
how you was a-comin’ on, an’ the like.”

“That was a good deal fer Melissa to do,” observed the widow. “Thar was
a time that she never mentioned my name. She’s awful proud.”

“Oh, I’ll be bound you’ll make excuses fer ’er,” snapped Mrs. Ewebanks.
“When folks liter’ly knock the breath out’n you, you jump up an’ rub
the hurt place an’ ax the’r pardon. As fer me, I give that woman a
setback that I’ll bet she didn’t git over in a long time. I told ’er as
I looked straight in ’er eyes, that ef she wanted to know how ’er own
sister was makin’ of it, she’d better have ’er nigger drive ’er over to
the log shack Martha Thompson lives in, an’ pay a call.”

“Oh, you said that!”

“Yes, an’ she jest set on the carriage-seat an’ squirmed like an eel an’
looked downcast an’ said nothin’.”

“That must ’a’ been at the beginnin’ o’ ’er sickness,” said Mrs.
Thompson thoughtfully. She had missed the point of her visitor’s story
and kept her eyes on her son, who sat in the chimney-corner, his feet
on a pile of logs and kindling pine.

“The Lord wouldn’t give blessed health to a pusson with her mean
sperit,” resumed the visitor warmly. “I jest set thar an’ wondered how
any mortal woman in a Christian land could calmly ax a stranger about
’er own sister livin’ twenty miles off an’ not go to see ’er. She tried
to talk about some’n else but she’d no sooner git started than I’d
deliberately switch ’er back to you an’ yore plight an’ I kept that
a-goin’ till she riz an’ driv off.”

“I have heard,” said the widow, her glance going cautiously back
to her son, who had bent down to add another piece of pine to the
fire, “I have heard that Colonel Hansard was always in debt from his
extravagance, an’ that his family lived past the’r means. Brother
Thomas went to see Melissa once, an’ he said he believed she was a
misjudged woman. He ’lowed she was willin’ enough to do right, but that
her husband always made ’er feel dependent on him becase his money had
lifted ’er up. Brother Thomas said the gals had growed up like the’r
daddy, an’ that between ’em all, Melissa never’d had any will o’ her
own. I reckon I railly ort to go see ’er.”

“Ef you do they’ll slam the door in yore face,” said Mrs. Ewebanks in
the angry determination to stir the widow’s pride.

“I don’t think it’s a matter fer you to decide on, Mrs. Ewebanks.” The
widow leaned back out of the fire-light, and sat coldly erect. “I
believe in doin’ unto others as I’d have them do unto me, an’ ef I was
in Melissa’s fix I’d want to see my only livin’ sister. Facin’ the end
folks sometimes change powerful. Circumstances made ’er what she is; ef
she hadn’t been tuck by a rich man, she’d ’a’ been like common folks.
She used to love me when she was little, an’ I jest don’t want ’em to
lay ’er body away without seein’ ’er once more. I—I used to—I reckon
I still love ’er some.”

Mrs. Thompson’s voice had sunk almost to a whisper. Mrs. Ewebanks moved
uneasily; a sneer had risen on her red face, but it died away. Joe
Thompson had suddenly turned upon her from the semi-darkness of his
corner. There was no mistaking the ferocious glare of his eyes.

“It—it hain’t none o’ my business,” she stammered; “I—I jest——”

Joe leaned forward; his round freckled face under the shock of tawny
hair, through which he had been running his fingers, was in the light.

“Now yo’re a-shoutin’!” he said, with a harsh laugh; “it hain’t none o’
yore business, but you stalked all the way over here tonight to attend
to it.”

“Hush, Joe, be ashamed o’ yorese’f!” said his mother; “you’ve clean
forgot how to behave ’fore company.”

“’Fore company hell!” Joe rose quickly and stumbled over a fire-log
which rolled down under his feet. There was a hint of tears in his eyes
and he shook his head like an angry dog as he went to the door and
stood with his back to the visitors in sullen silence.

For a moment there was silence. Mrs. Ewebanks knew she had blundered
hopelessly. Mary Ann, who never said anything, and who seldom moved
when anyone was looking at her, now turned appealingly to her mother,
and, unfolding her gingham sunbonnet, she bent down and swung it like a
switchman’s flag between her knees. Mrs. Ewebanks paid no heed to it.
She dreaded her husband’s finding out what had passed, especially as he
had intrusted her with a message to Mrs. Thompson quite out of key with
her argument.

“Jim told me to tell you he’d drive you over in his wagon in the
mornin’ ef you are bent on makin’ the trip,” she said almost
apologetically.

Joe Thompson whirled round fiercely. His back was against the door, and
in his checked shirt and rolled-up sleeves he looked like a pugilist
ready for fight.

“We don’t need any help from you-uns,” he snorted. “I’m goin’ to take
mother.”

Mrs. Ewebanks now felt sure that her husband would blame her for the
rejection of his invitation. In her vexation she slapped Mary Ann’s red
hand loose from its urgent clutch on her skirt and turned to Joe.

“I’m afeard I’ve been meddlin’ with what don’t concern me,” she began,
but the young man interrupted her.

“It’s our bed-time,” he said fiercely. “The Lord knows mother’s had
enough o’ yore clatter fur one dose.”

“Joe!” exclaimed Mrs. Thompson sternly, “I ’lowed you had more manners.”

Mary Ann had drawn her mother’s skirt sharply to one side and grasped
her arm tenaciously. Mrs. Ewebanks allowed herself thus to be unseated,
and she rose meekly enough. There was nothing in her manner resembling
a threat that she would never be ordered out of that house again, and
in this Mary Ann witnessed her mother’s first swerving from habit.

There was a look on the widow’s face which showed that she was almost
sorry for her visitor’s chagrin.

“Don’t hurry,” she said in a pained and yet gentle tone.

“Oh, no, don’t hurry!” Joe repeated, with a sneer; “stay to breakfast;
I’ll throw some more wood on the fire an’ let’s set down an’ talk.”

The defeat of Mrs. Ewebanks was more than complete. Between her hostess
and the son she stood wavering. This provoked an actual vocal sound
from Mary Ann. At any other time the Thompsons would have marveled over
it. She grunted in impatience and then said audibly:

“Come on, ma, let’s go home.” And in this it was as if the child had at
once extended a verbal hand of sympathy to the Thompsons and given her
mother a back-handed slap.

There was nothing for Mrs. Ewebanks to do but obey, for Mary Ann
had stalked heavily from the cabin and just outside the door stood
beckoning to her. Joe had gone to the fireplace and was digging a grave
in the hot ashes for the fire-coated back-log.

Mrs. Thompson shambled to the door and looked after her departing
guests. She could see their dresses in the light of the thinly veiled
moon as they slowly descended the narrow path. When the noise Joe was
making with the shovel and tongs had ceased she heard someone speaking
in a raised voice. For several minutes it continued, rising and falling
with the breeze, an uninterrupted monologue, growing fainter and
fainter as the visitors receded.

It was the voice of Mary Ann.


                                  III

The Hansards lived in an old-fashioned, two-storied, white frame
building. It had dormer windows in the gray shingled roof and a long
veranda with massive fluted columns. Back of the house rose a rocky
hill covered with pines, and in front lay a wide, rolling lawn, through
which, for a quarter of a mile, stretched a white-graveled drive,
shaded by fine old water oaks from the house to the main traveled road.

Along this drive the next morning Joe Thompson drove his mother in a
rickety buggy. On the left near the house was a row of cabins where the
negro servants lived, and standing somewhat to itself was the white
cottage of the overseer of the plantation. The doors of all the cabins
were closed, and no one was in sight.

“I’m afeared she’s wuss, an’ they’ve all gone to the big house,” sighed
Mrs. Thompson. “Maybe we won’t git thar in time.”

Joe made no response, but he whipped his mare into a quicker pace.
When they reached the veranda and alighted no one came to meet them. A
negro woman hastened across the hall, but she did not look toward Mrs.
Thompson, who stood on the steps waiting for Joe to hitch his mare to a
post nearby.

“Ain’t you goin’ to come in?” she asked, when he came toward her.

“No, I’ll wait out here,” he answered, and he sat down on the steps.

She hesitated for an instant, then she turned resolutely into the great
carpeted hall, and through a door on the right she entered a large
parlor. No one was there. The carpet was rich in color and texture, the
furniture massive and fine. Over the mantel was a large oil portrait
of Colonel Hansard, and on the opposite wall one of his wife painted
just after her marriage. Set into the wall and hung about with lace
drapery was a mirror that reached from the floor to the ceiling. From
this room, through an open door on her left, Mrs. Thompson went into
another. It was the library. No one was there. On all sides of the room
were glass-doored cases of richly bound books. Here and there on tables
and stands stood time-yellowed marble busts and pots of plants. In a
corner of the room was a revolving bookcase, and in the centre a long
writing-table covered with green cloth.

The old woman looked about her perplexed. Everything was so still that
she could hear the scratching of a honeysuckle vine against the window
under the touch of the breeze. She wondered if her sister had died, and
if everybody had gone to the funeral.

She was on the point of returning to Joe, when she was startled by a
low moan in an adjoining room. The sound came through a door on her
right, which was slightly ajar. She cautiously pushed it open. The room
contained an awed and silent group. The crisis had come. Mrs. Hansard
was dying. She lay on a high-canopied bed in a corner, hidden from Mrs.
Thompson’s view by the family and servants gathered at the bed. Seeing a
vacant chair in a row of women against a wall, the visitor went in and
sat down. Her black cotton sunbonnet hid her face, and, as there were
others present as humbly clad as she, she attracted little notice.

There was a breathless silence for a moment. Those at the bed seemed to
be leaning forward in great agitation. Suddenly one of the daughters of
the dying woman cried out: “Oh, doctor! Come quick!” and a physician
who stood near advanced and bent over his patient.

After a moment he silently withdrew to the fireplace, where he simply
stood looking at the fire in the grate. Edith, the eldest child,
followed and asked him a question. He gravely nodded, and with her
handkerchief to her eyes she burst into tears. Her husband, the
Governor’s son, a handsome, manly fellow, came to her and, putting his
arm around her, drew her back to the bed.

“She’s trying to speak,” he whispered, and for the next moment the
dying woman’s labored breathing was the only sound in the room.

“Father! Mother!” Mrs. Thompson was hearing her sister’s voice for the
first time in twenty-five years. “Brother Thomas! Uncle Frank! Where
are you?”

“She is thinking of her childhood,” said Edith in a whisper. She bent
over her mother and in a calm, steady voice said:

“We are all here, mother dear—Susie and Annie and Jasper and I.”

There was silence for a moment; then the voice of the dying woman rose
in keen appeal.

“Martha! Oh, I want Martha—I want Martha!”

The two sisters exchanged anxious glances.

“She means Aunt Martha Thompson,” whispered Susie; “we have not sent
for her. What shall we do?”

Edith bent over the pillow.

“Mother dear——”

“I want Martha, my sister Martha!” Mrs. Hansard said impatiently, and
she beat the white coverlet with her thin hand. “Martha, sister Martha,
where are you?”

“Here I am, Melissa.” The gaunt figure rose suddenly, to the surprise
of all, and moved toward the bed. They made room for her. There was no
time for formal explanations or greetings. “I’m here, Melissa; I heard
you was sick, an’ ’lowed I’d better drap in.”

“Thank God!” cried Mrs. Hansard, as she took the hardened hand in her
frail fingers and tried to press it. “I’ve been prayin’ God to let me
see you once more. I want you to forgive me, Martha. I’m dying. I’ve
done you a great wrong. Forgive me, forgive me!”

“La, me, Melissa, I hain’t a thing to forgive!” was the calm, insistent
reply; “not a blessed thing! It was all as much my doin’ as yore’n. We
was both jest natural—that’s all—jest natural, like the Lord made
us—me in my way, and you in yore’n.”

Edith kissed her aunt’s wrinkled cheek gratefully, and, with her cheek
on the old woman’s shoulder, she wept silently.

“I thank God; I feel easier now,” said Mrs. Hansard. “You’ve made me
happier, Martha. I can die easier now. God is good.”

Someone gave Mrs. Thompson a chair, and she sat down and held her
sister’s hand till it was all over. Then the Governor’s son took the
old woman’s arm and led her into the sitting-room, and there the three
motherless girls joined her.

“You are much like her,” sobbed Susie, the youngest; “you have her eyes
and mouth.”

“Yes, folks used to say we favored,” said Mrs. Thompson simply.

“You must not leave us, Aunt Martha,” said Edith. “We must keep you
with us. She would like to have it so.”

“Yes, do, do, Aunt Martha,” chimed in Susie and Annie.

The old woman had folded her bonnet in her lap and was holding her
rough hands out to the fire. She smiled as if vaguely pleased, and yet
she shook her head.

“No, don’t ax me _that_, girls,” she said. “I’ve got ways an’ habits
that ain’t one bit like yore’n. I’d feel out o’ place anywhar except
in my cabin. I couldn’t change at my time o’ life. Joe’s workin’ fer
me, an’ he’ll never marry. He hates the sight of a woman. He says they
meddle. He’s waitin’ fer me now outside, an’ I reckon I ort to be
a-goin’.”

“But not till after—after the funeral,” said Susie.

“Yes, honey. I don’t think I ort to wait. I’ve got lots to do at home.
My cows are to feed an’ milk, an’ it’s a long drive. It’ll be in the
night when we git home. Remember, me an’ yore mother hain’t been
intimate sence we was childern. I’m her sister by blood, but not by
raisin’, an’ I hain’t the same sort o’ mourner as you-uns, an’ don’t
think I ort to pass as one in public. I wouldn’t feel exactly natural,
that’s all.”

The Governor’s son nodded his head as if he agreed with her, and the
girls silently gave her her wish.



                      _A Remorseful Regret_


“If I’d only married her!” muttered Tanquerly, with the bitter regret
of a lost soul bewailing vanished opportunities.

I thought of the sweet little wife he had at home, and was swamped with
surprise.

“Oh, if I’d only married her!” he repeated, still more intensely.

The woman referred to occupied a seat across and further down the car
from us. She had a form that made the ordinary carpenter’s scaffolding
look graceful and huggable, her jaw reminded one of a trip-hammer, her
face was plotted to throw a nervous child into convulsions, and her
voice!—her voice would make a busy boiler-factory seem restful and
serene after a second of it. She had just had a slight controversy with
the conductor, and that official—you know how shy and shrinking the
ordinary street-car conductor is—had been reduced to quivering pulp in
a trifle over a minute. He, one of the most explosive and overbearing
of his kind, had joined issue with her confidently and gleefully,
but when her strident voice once got to working full time, about two
hundred and fifty words to the second, I calculated, analyzing his
character, dissecting his reputation, tearing up his habits, unjointing
his hopes, shredding his ambitions, and ruthlessly forecasting his
future, it was pathetic to watch that strong man striving fruitlessly
to stem the torrent, then yielding little by little, still struggling
strenuously to get in a word, until at last he was swept out on to
the back platform, a mangled and lacerated bundle of raw nerves, too
broken-spirited to so much as curse a little fussy old gentleman who
berated him for not stopping the car at his corner. I never saw the
stiffening so thoroughly, quickly and completely taken out of a man in
my life. Oh, it was pitiable!

“If I’d only married her!” murmured Tanquerly again.

“Are you crazy?” I demanded sharply.

Tanquerly shook his head slowly and painfully. “No,” he said, “not
yet. But I’ll bet if I’d only married her I wouldn’t have been to that
banquet last night and felt like this this morning.”



                        _Nothing to Gain_

FARMER MOSSBACKER—Are ye goin’ to send your son to college, Ezry?

FARMER BENTOVER—Hod-durn him—no! He’s a reg’lar rowdy now!



              _Franchise Wealth and Municipal Ownership_


                       BY JOHN H. GIRDNER, M.D.

There is much writing and talk about _municipal ownership_ in these
days. When you talk about a municipality or an individual owning
something, it implies that there is _something_ to own. It is about
this “something” that I want to write. I want to make it clear to the
reader what I mean by _franchise wealth_ or _franchise property_, and
exactly how it differs from private wealth or private property.

When you buy a house and lot in a town or city, your property is of two
kinds, private property and franchise property. Your private property
begins at the building line in front and extends backward the full
width of your lot to the fence or line which divides your back yard
from the back yard of your neighbor who fronts on the next street. Your
franchise property extends from the building or stoop line, outward,
the full width of your lot, across the sidewalk and on to the middle of
the street where it meets the franchise property of your neighbor on
the opposite side of your street.

The money to grade, drain and pave the street in front of your lot was
raised by assessments levied on that lot. These assessments were added,
by previous owners, perhaps, to the cost of the lot, and were a part
of the price you paid for the lot. In other words, you bought and paid
for the franchise property in front of your stoop line as directly as
you did for the private property behind the stoop line, and you are
therefore entitled to the usufruct of the one as much as the other.

The aggregate of the franchise wealth of all the individual owners
in any given street is the sum total of the franchise wealth of that
street. And the aggregate of the franchise wealth of all the streets of
a given town or city is the sum total of the franchise wealth of that
city. And it is absolutely owned by all the inhabitants of that city,
for everyone contributes in some manner to the creation and maintenance
of this franchise wealth.

There is another thing about this kind of property which the people
ought to keep in mind. Like their private property, their rights in
this franchise property extend from the surface right down into the
earth, as far as it is practical to dig; and, from the surface, right
up into the sky, as high as it is practical to build. It is well, I
say, to keep these facts in mind; they may come in handy when a corrupt
mayor and board of aldermen, or an eminently respectable board of rapid
transit commissioners, are about to hand over to a private corporation
a city subway or elevated road.

The tremendous importance of the franchise wealth on all social
and economic questions in a city like New York may be more fully
appreciated if we call to mind this fact, viz.:

That the value of any piece of city real estate is determined almost
entirely by the character of the franchise property in front of and
nearby it.

Why does a lot one hundred feet deep, with twenty-five feet front on
Fifth avenue, sell for so much more than a similar lot fronting on
Second avenue? They are the same size. They are composed alike of earth
and rock. You can dig as deep a foundation and build as high in the
air on the one as the other. But why the great difference in price?
You say because Fifth avenue is a better street than Second avenue.
But this answer does not explain much. What you mean to say is, that
there are certain characteristics, which I have not time to discuss
here in detail, connected with the franchise property in front of and
contiguous to the Fifth avenue lot which make it more valuable than
similar characteristics connected with the franchise property in front
of and contiguous to the Second avenue lot. And this is my point, that
it is at last the character of the franchise property of a street or a
city which determines the value of the private property or real estate
of that street or city.

The streets of New York City, which I have called franchise wealth
or franchise property to distinguish this kind of property from the
private property of the individual, were built and are maintained with
money contributed by all the citizens; and all the citizens are as
fully entitled to the usufruct of them, as is any individual to the
usufruct of his private property.

The individual manages his private property or he employs an agent to
manage it for him. And he holds this agent to a strict account. If the
agent appropriates the income from the use of his private property
the law steps in and justly punishes him. Acting collectively, the
individuals elect by ballot a mayor and board of aldermen and members
of the State legislature as agents to manage their franchise property
for them.

“Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered
together.” In every large city there is a fat carcass of franchise
wealth, and there you find the corporation eagles, and the political
eagles gathered together to gorge themselves on it. The corporation
eagles deceive the unsuspecting citizens by a pretended desire to serve
them. They call themselves “public service corporations.” There never
was a worse misnomer than this. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
They fatten on the people’s franchise wealth and serve no one except
themselves and their congeners, the political eagles. So far from being
_servants_ they become the masters of the people whose property they
have obtained by every corrupt device that the vulpine instinct of man
can invent.

The political eagles that feed on the franchise carcass have a
different way of deceiving the people. They organize themselves into
what they call a political party, and, by working three hundred
and sixty-five days in the year, while other men are attending to
their legitimate businesses, they get control of the legal political
machinery of one of the great national parties. The name by which
they call their organization will depend on the particular city they
are operating in. In New York, for instance, they call themselves
Democrats, not because they know or care anything about the principles
of Democracy, but because a majority of the independent voters are
Democrats, and then they secure the votes to elect their candidates
from the very people they intend to despoil once they get in. For
a similar reason the political eagles of Philadelphia call their
organization Republican. If the majority of the voters of any city
favored prohibition, you would have that city’s organized political
eagles calling themselves Prohibitionists. New York, Philadelphia,
Chicago, St. Louis, every city in this country which has a fat
franchise wealth carcass, has its corporation and political eagles
gathered together to devour it.

When a complete history of New York City for the past forty years is
written, not the least interesting chapters will be an account of the
development, growth and present perfection of the system by which the
corporations and politicians enriched themselves at the expense of the
people, and how the people were so hypnotized that they were unable
to rise in their might and drive out these cormorants. This era of
corruption began with William M. Tweed. The enterprise was in its
infancy then and Tweed was a blunderer. He and his associates robbed
the city treasury on false vouchers, fraudulent bills, etc. Then came
Jake Sharp, who bribed the aldermen outright with cash to induce them
to hand over to him some millions worth of the people’s franchise
wealth. Tweed and his people, Jake Sharp and the boodle aldermen got
into trouble, state prison or exile.

Politicians do not like striped clothes when the stripes all run one
way any better than other folks do. So a new and safer system had to
be found for exploiting the people. Money in the form of campaign
contributions from the individual or corporation who wants something
to the head of the organization who could deliver that something after
election, looked good and safe, and this is the plan which has been in
operation in New York for some years.

During the last mayoralty campaign in this city I was told one
evening by a man who is thoroughly reliable, and who is in a position
to know, that the Consolidated Gas Company, of this city, had paid
$300,000 into the campaign fund of Tammany Hall. George B. McClellan,
the Tammany candidate for mayor, was elected. In less than one year
after taking office he signed the so-called Remsen gas bill. Had it
become a law it would have tightened the clutch of the Gas Trust more
firmly on the people of this city and would have turned over to that
corporation some millions more of their franchise wealth. Fortunately a
Republican governor vetoed it and saved, for the time at least, further
encroachments on the people’s rights.

And you have today the spectacle of this so-called Democratic mayor
lined up with the Trust magnates and their money-bags at the big ends
of the gas-tubes and against the people of all parties who suffer
extortion at the little ends of the gas-tubes. He is actually opposing
the efforts of the people of this city to secure the necessary
legislation to permit them to build and operate their own gas-plants
and deliver the gas to themselves through pipes laid in their own
streets. And if you refuse to support such a man you are likely to be
told by an insolent Tammany Hall henchman that you are no Democrat.

Talk about municipal ownership! Why, the municipality, which is another
name for the people, already own everything they need. They own the
streets and the right of way through them, and they own the money to
build lighting plants, railways and telephone lines. The only thing
they do not own is _permission_ to use their own property. And this is
withheld from them by greedy Trust magnates through their bought-up
politicians.

We need MEN in this city who cannot be deceived by the _names_
Democracy and Republicanism. We need men who will stand together
and protect our franchise property against grafting politicians and
grafting political organizations, no matter by what names they call
themselves. New York City may be likened to a big “skyscraper” laid
on its side. The streets correspond to the elevator shafts. Now, what
would be thought of the sanity of a company of men who built a high
office building, hotel or apartment house and allowed their agents to
give away to outsiders the right to run the elevators and the further
right to prey upon the tenants who are obliged to use them? Yet this is
exactly what the politicians have done and are doing with the streets
of this city.

Make an inventory of the Gas Trust’s property, find out how much it
would cost to duplicate its plant, then subtract that sum from the
capitalization of the Trust and the remainder is franchise property,
and that belongs to the people. Go through the list of telephone,
telegraph and railway companies the same way, and you will begin to get
an idea of the value and earning capacity of your franchise property
which has been stolen from you by your agents, the officeholders.

If the agent of an individual deeds away a piece of his private
property and fails to make a just return to the owner, the law
holds the title to be spurious and punishes that agent. But the
officeholders, the agents appointed by all the individuals to care for
their franchise property, deed it away to so-called public service
corporations, pocket the proceeds and go scot-free!

The telephone, telegraph and all the corporations that use wires and
electricity appropriate and use the people’s private property as
well as their franchise property. Go on your roofs, New Yorkers, and
count the electric wires that the thieving electricity corporations
have attached to your houses or have strung across your lots without
your permission. Remember that you own a space equal to the surface
dimensions of your lot down into the bowels of the earth and up into
the sky as far as you like to go. And nobody has the right to string
wires across this space in the air or in the earth without your
permission. The New York Telephone Company attached a wire to the roof
of a house I had leased. I threatened to cut the wire. The company
insolently replied that they needed that wire on my roof to carry on
their business. I insisted on justice and my rights in the matter.
The company then came round with a lease, which I signed, granting
them permission to pass their wire over my roof, and I received a
substantial annual rental for that privilege.

These corporations appropriate your private property as well as your
franchise property for their own enrichment and pay nothing for it.
They would string wires on your teeth if they needed them and you did
not object. And to cap the climax they charge extortionate rates for
service in order to pay dividends on watered stock. I wrote these facts
a few years ago and offered the article to two daily newspapers in
this town, and they did not dare to publish it. But thank God TOM
WATSON’S MAGAZINE exists to tell the truth. New Yorkers, you ought
to examine the fences around your backyards. You surely own them, and
they are valuable property. They produce an enormous income to—the
telephone company. Tens of thousands of yards of telephone wires are
strung on these fences. The company uses them to get wires into your
houses, in order to charge you extortionate prices for ’phone service.
The company will tell you they need these fences to give _you_ ’phone
service. That answer reminds me of the answer given by a negro girl
caught stealing raisins from her mistress’s bureau drawer. “Why did you
steal those raisins?” asked the mistress. Sally replied, “Why, missus,
dey’s good.”



                 _The Cause of the Congregating_

“MY friends,” began the Great Man, in a voice admirably adapted for
declamatory purposes, as he stepped out upon the platform of the car
and beheld the major portion of the inhabitants of the wayside hamlet
seething and jostling around the station, “I thank you from the bottom
of my heart for this enthusiastic greeting, this spontaneous outpouring
of your best citizens, this wholesale welcome, this——”

“Wholesale gran’mother!” broke in a youthful and pessimistic voice.
“It ain’t you that’s the attraction—a big fat drummer is havin’ the
gol-rammedest fit you ever had the pleasure of witnessin’, right there
in the waitin’-room!”

       *       *       *       *       *

                        _That Fateful Day_

FREDDIE—How long does the honeymoon last, dad?

COBWIGGER—Until a fellow’s wife learns not to be afraid of him.



                          _The Storm-Petrel_


                       PROSE POEM BY MAXIM GORKY
                      TRANSLATED BY ABRAHAM CAHAN

        [NOTE: The following prose poem by Maxim
      Gorky was written a few years ago in prophecy of
      the present crisis in Russia and was published
      only in _Life_, the leading literary magazine of
      St. Petersburg. In consequence the periodical was
      immediately suppressed. The editor and his entire
      staff voluntarily expatriated themselves and
      re-established the magazine in London, whence, during
      the few months of its existence in exile, thousands
      of copies were smuggled over the frontier for secret
      circulation.

        Gorky was arrested for complicity in the strikers’
      movement that resulted in the St. Petersburg massacre
      of January 22 last. The rumor that the Russian
      Government purposed to sentence him to death excited
      so much feeling, that the foremost literary men of
      Germany, England and the United States concerted in
      an appeal for clemency, on the ground that the life
      and work of a great writer belong not alone to his
      country but to the world.

        Gorky has risen from the depths of poverty and
      ignorance to literary eminence as the interpreter of
      life among the masses. His first successful short
      stories appeared in the newspapers and attracted
      attention for their truth and vigor. Since 1893
      he has made his literary position secure by the
      production of various novels and plays. He is now
      thirty-six years old.

        Abraham Cahan, translator of the poem, is a
      Russian who has attained distinction among American
      writers of fiction through short stories and the
      novels, “Yekl” and “The White Terror and the
      Red.”—EDITORS.]

Over the gray expanse of sea the wind is gathering the clouds. Circling
between the clouds and the sea, like a black flash of lightning, is the
storm-petrel on high.

Now touching a wave with his wing, now shooting heavenward, dart-like,
he is crying, and the clouds hear glad tidings in his cry.

There is thirst for storm in that cry. The force of rage, the flame of
passion, the confidence of victory do the clouds hear in that cry.

The gulls are groaning before the storm, groaning and tossing over the
sea; ready to hide their terror at the bottom of the sea.

The cargeese, too, are groaning. The joy of the struggle is unknown to
them; the din of strife awes them.

The silly albatross hides his fat body in the cliffs. The proud
storm-petrel alone is soaring boldly, freely over the sea, the waves
singing, dancing on high, coming to meet the thunder.

The thunder roars. Foaming with fury, the waves are raging, battling
with the wind. Now the wind seizes a flock of waves in gigantic
embrace, now hurls them with savage hate to the rocks, shattering them
to dust and masses of emerald spray.

Shouting joyously, the storm-petrel is circling like a black flash of
lightning, piercing the clouds like a spear, brushing foam off the
waves with its wings.

There he is, flying like a demon, a proud, black storm-demon, laughing
and sobbing at once. It is at the clouds he is laughing; it is for joy
he is sobbing.

In the thunder’s rage the sensitive demon perceives a weary note, the
voice of defeat. He knows that the clouds cannot conceal the sun—not
they!

The wind is sighing; the thunder is pealing. Hundreds of clouds gleam
bluish over the precipice of the sea. The sea is catching darts of
lightning and smothering them in its bosom. Like serpents of fire the
reflections of the lightning are writhing, vanishing one after the
other.

The storm is advancing! Another minute and the storm will come with a
crash.

It is the intrepid storm-petrel who is proudly careering among the
flashes of lightning over the roaring, infuriated sea; it is the
prophet of victory who is shouting.

Let the storm blow and roar with all its might!



                     _What Buzz-Saw Morgan Thinks_


                            BY W. S. MORGAN

Trusts breed distrust.

Law cannot make wrong right.

Charity is no cure for poverty; it is only a plaster.

A forty-three-cent protective tariff is worse than a fifty-cent dollar.

Fiat dollars are better than the fiat promises of the old party
politicians.

The rich will continue to grow richer and the poor poorer as long as
the present financial system exists.

I want to ask our Democratic friends how often do they need to be
fooled by their leaders before they will get their eyes open?

Liberty is not safe in a country where greed and avarice are the basis
of its prosperity.

The gold power owes allegiance to no party, yet it controls the
machines of both old parties.

If there is anything that is calculated to give the political bosses
the jim-jams it is a show of independence on the part of the masses.

I would rather be a dog and scratch at the root of a stump for a mouse,
than to feel as small as most rich people do when the assessor and
tax-collector come round.

Money paid out for public improvements is a blessing compared with that
paid out for war expenses.

An honest dollar is one that preserves the equity in contracts, and not
the one of increasing or decreasing value, or whose value depends upon
the caprice or self-interest of a few bankers.

The greatest need of this country is for about seven million men who
have the courage to vote for what they want.

“The poverty of the poor is their destruction,” and the wealth of the
rich has the same effect on its possessors. These two extremes are the
cause of the downfall of the nations.

There are some things of which there can be an overproduction, and one
of them is yellow-dog politics.

Is there a farmer or laborer in all the land that ever signed a
petition to Congress for the destruction of the greenbacks?

The question of 16 to 1 is still an issue; that is, there are sixteen
reasons why the Democratic party should permit itself to be buried to
one against it.

The banks are in the field to destroy the greenbacks and secure
complete control of the currency.

It is not despair but hope that incites revolution. Despair is death.

The workingmen divide what they produce with every idler in the land,
rich and poor.

The way to get even with a private trust is for the people to establish
a public trust.

It wasn’t the so-called “sound money” men that saved the flag.

It is the hog nature in man that causes most of the suffering in the
world.

Our commercial system rests upon the basis of skinning the other fellow
before he has an opportunity to skin us.

One of the strongest planks in the devil’s platform is yellow-dog
politics.

The best way to abolish poverty is to establish justice.

You can’t cheat the devil by passing a law that calls stealing business.

The lower classes are those who act low—rich or poor.

The practice of redeeming one kind of a dollar with another kind
constitutes the banker’s cinch.

The harmony that will likely prevail in the next national Democratic
convention might best be illustrated by pouring out a barrel of
Kilkenny cats upon a wet floor.

I don’t think that Mr. Bryan is a thief, but he had the Populist
platform borrowed so long that he has perhaps inadvertently fallen into
the habit of thinking it is his own.

Railroads under private ownership form the strongest prop on which the
trusts lean. Through special and reduced rates in the way of rebates
they are enabled to freeze out all competitors.

It is stated that the rebate given to the Colorado Fuel and Iron
Company by the Santa Fé Railroad while Paul Morton was its traffic
manager amounted to $400,000 a year. Morton was a heavy stockholder
in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. If this is true, and this is
the kind of man President Roosevelt is depending on to reform railroad
rates and abolish rebates, we may know just what to expect.

The supreme test of any question is, is it right? If it is, then no man
should hesitate to declare himself for the right.

Direct legislation is the very essence of democracy, and that is why
the politicians don’t want it.

       *       *       *       *       *

If Thomas Lawson is telling the truth it appears that about
three-fourths of the Captains of Industry ought to be wearing striped
clothes behind prison bars.

       *       *       *       *       *

The President’s recommendation for the control of the railroads, and
the plan he seems to have adopted to go about it, consultation with
the railroad magnates, reminds me of a story I once heard related by a
German speaker at a public meeting. A man who had been considered as
having an unsound mind was found one morning hanging to a beam in the
barn, the rope under his arms. He was promptly cut down, and on being
asked why he hanged himself that way he answered that he was trying to
commit suicide.

“But why didn’t you place the rope around your neck?” he was asked.

“I’ve tried it that way twice,” he replied, “and it always chokes me.”

Is the President afraid of choking the railroad corporations?

       *       *       *       *       *

The question of how to get something for nothing is pretty well
illustrated in the free government deposits in national banks. The
banks have now over one hundred millions of dollars of government
money for their own use, for which they do not pay a cent. Yet when
the farmer talks about borrowing money from the government on his land
at 2 per cent. interest, the banks raise a howl of paternalism that
can be heard all around the world. If President Roosevelt is sincere
in his fight on the trusts let him yank that money out of the hands of
the biggest trust of all—the money trust. This is something that he
can do and that ought to be done. There is no constitutional question
involved, and if it be urged that it is necessary for the money to be
in circulation let the government loan it direct to the people without
a rake-off for the banks. This thing of prosecuting the little trusts
and aiding the big ones won’t add any laurels to Teddy’s brow. Let no
guilty trust escape, and there ain’t any innocent ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

Toledo has just brought in a batch of indictments against some of her
public officials. Governor Durbin, of Indiana, declares: “Statistics
of political debauchery in this State for 1904, if it were possible
to present them, would be nothing short of stunning.” Several other
governors in their messages have called attention to the growth of
corruption in their States, and in Colorado the situation is alarming.
Three United States senators have been indicted within the past year,
besides scores of lesser officials, some of whom are now serving terms
in the penitentiary. Four Republican candidates for governor have been
defeated in Republican States on account of their connection or
sympathy with corrupt practices, and yet the work is only begun. Let
the crusade against political corruption continue. If there is not room
enough in the jails, I move that some of the horse thieves be turned
out and the public thieves turned in.

       *       *       *       *       *

The express companies once had a monopoly of transmitting money and
charged exorbitant rates for the service. Then the government went
into the business and reduced the rates. The express companies were
compelled to come to the government rates or not get any business.
Thus money is saved to the people, and the business is established on
a firm basis. Of course the express companies set up the usual cry of
paternalism, but it did no good, and the people would not think now of
surrendering this prerogative to private companies. Now, why can’t the
government add to its postal system the carrying of parcels, say up to
ten or twelve pounds’ weight, and a telegraph and telephone system?
The latter are just as legitimate and necessary as the former. Is it
because the express companies, that have grown immensely rich, have a
lobby in Congress to prevent the passage of such a bill? In England
they have the parcels post and the government telegraph, and they
save the people millions of dollars. In the past few years nineteen
congressional committees have been appointed to investigate the use of
the telegraph in connection with the postal department and seventeen
of them have reported favorably toward establishing it. A majority of
Postmaster Generals have recommended it, and the people demand it, yet
the telegraph companies, or rather one company which is controlled by
one family, has been successful in thwarting all legislation toward the
establishment of a government telegraph system.

       *       *       *       *       *

The readiness of the Democrats to vote for any old thing they see coming
down the pike with the Democratic label on—Parker or Bryan, the gold
standard or free silver—reminds me of an incident that happened down
in Texas. A wealthy farmer who employed a great many negroes was going
into town one day, and one of the negroes on the farm asked him to
bring him back a marriage license.

“All right, Pete,” said the farmer, “but what’s the girl’s name?”

“Ann Brown,” replied the darkey.

When the farmer returned that evening he gave the negro his marriage
license.

Pete took it and slowly read it over.

“Look heah, Marse Henry, you’se done gone an’ got dis license fer Mary
Clarke. I’se gwine t’ marry Ann Brown.”

“I’m sorry, Pete,” the farmer replied, “but never mind; when I go into
town again next week I’ll get you another license.”

“What’ll dat cost?” asked Pete.

“One dollar.”

“Lordy, nebber mind, Marse. Dere ain’t a dollar’s wuff ob difference
’tween all de coons on de fa’m.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Every effort is now being put forth by the banks to have the greenbacks
retired. So long as they continue to be issued by the government the
banks have not complete control of the money of the country. This
movement to retire the greenbacks was begun directly after the Civil
War. At that time the bankers said: “It will not do to allow the
greenback, as it is called, to circulate as money for any length of
time, for we cannot control that.” Hugh McCulloch, then Secretary of
the Treasury, acting on the bankers’ suggestion, said: “The first thing
to be done is to establish the policy of contraction.” It was done,
and we had the panic of 1873, on account of which thousands lost their
homes. The panic aroused the people and caused the bankers to pause
in their conspiracy. The Greenback party came and $346,000,000 in
greenbacks were saved from destruction. But in the meantime the bankers
had silver secretly demonetized. In 1878, however, it was partially
restored by the Bland-Allison law. But the bankers were still at work.
In October, 1877, the famous Buell circular letter was sent to the
bankers throughout the country. “It is advisable,” said this circular,
“to do all in your power to sustain such prominent daily and weekly
newspapers, especially the agricultural and religious press, as will
oppose the issuing of greenback paper money, and that you also withhold
patronage or favors from all applicants who are not willing to oppose
the government issue of money. Let the government issue the coin and
the banks issue the paper money of the country, for then we can better
protect each other.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In March, 1893, the American Bankers’ Association sent out to all the
national banks what is known as the “panic circular.” In view of the
present efforts on the part of the banks to retire the greenbacks, this
circular furnishes some very good reading matter:

        DEAR SIR: The interests of national
      bankers require immediate financial legislation by
      Congress. Silver, silver certificates and Treasury
      notes must be retired and national bank-notes upon a
      gold basis made the only money. This will require the
      authorization of from $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000
      of new bonds as a basis of circulation. You will at
      once retire one-third of your circulation and call in
      one-half of your loans. Be careful to make a money
      stringency felt among your patrons, especially among
      influential business men. Advocate an extra session
      of Congress for the repeal of the purchasing clause
      of the Sherman law, and act with the other banks of
      your city in securing a large petition to Congress
      for its unconditional repeal, as per accompanying
      form. Use personal influence with congressmen and
      particularly let your wishes be known to senators.
      The future life of national banks as safe investments
      depends upon immediate action, as there is an
      increasing sentiment in favor of government legal
      tender notes and silver coinage.

Does anyone but the bankers themselves, and their paid agents, believe
for a moment that it would be safe to surrender the control of the
currency of the country into the hands of men who would put out such a
circular as that? May we not conjecture what they would do when once
they had us in their power? If there are those who are in doubt about
this question, or the patriotism and honesty of the national bankers,
let them read the history of the panics of 1873 and 1893, both of which
were precipitated by the bankers. Let the government take the bankers
at their word and compel them to keep in their banks a reserve gold
fund for the redemption of their own notes. Abolish the gold reserve
in the Treasury and make every greenback a perpetual, absolute money,
receivable for all dues to the United States, and a legal tender for
the payment of private debts. In other words, put the banks where the
government is now, if they are to issue any notes at all, and give the
government the prerogatives which the banks now want, and some of which
they already have. Instead of the government loaning money to the banks
at one-fourth of one per cent., let it loan it to the people direct
at two per cent. Instead of the government maintaining a large supply
of gold for the benefit of the banks, let the banks furnish their own
gold for the redemption of their notes, and compel them to maintain
a 100-cent reserve, for a note that has only 50 cents behind it is
worse than any 50-cent dollar that the banker has ever conjured in his
mind. Money issued by the banks and that issued by the government are
entirely different propositions. If the banks have proved anything they
have proved too much. They have proved that the government credit is
the best in the world, that it will even make the note of a dishonest
banker good. They have proved that it would not be safe to place the
control of the currency into their hands, for they might at any time
issue another panic circular asking the banks to call in “one-third of
their circulation and one-half of their loans,” and a lot of other mean
things that an honest man and a patriot would not do. The question is
now up, and it is nearing the climax where the people must decide as to
whether the banks will control the currency of the country, and through
it the business of the country, or whether the power shall remain in
the hands of the people, as Jefferson says, “where it belongs.”



                       _A Family Necessity_


“James,” said Mrs. Talkyerdeth, as she discontentedly jabbed her
hatpins into the hat she had just taken off, “one of us has got to be
operated on.”

“Wha-at!” ejaculated Mr. Talkyerdeth, sitting up with a jolt.

“And right away, and seriously, too,” continued Mrs. Talkyerdeth,
setting her lips firmly.

“What are you talking about, Maria?” demanded Mr. Talkyerdeth
impatiently.

“Well, it’s so,” asserted Mrs. Talkyerdeth decidedly. “Will you
telephone for a surgeon, or shall I?”

“Why, my dear,” protested Mr. Talkyerdeth anxiously, “I hadn’t the
least suspicion that there was anything the matter with you.”

“There isn’t,” snapped Mrs. Talkyerdeth. “Do you take me for one of
these puling, pasty, putty-like females all the women seem to be
nowadays?”

“Well, there’s nothing the matter with me, either,” asserted Mr.
Talkyerdeth, with intense relief in every glad accent. “I never felt
better in my life than I do this minute.”

“I know it. But what difference does that make?” demanded Mrs.
Talkyerdeth sharply.

“Eh?” cried Mr. Talkyerdeth, his eyelids flying up and his lower jaw
dropping down until there seemed to be some danger of their colliding,
if they kept on, in the middle of the back of his head.

“I never was so mortified in my life as I was at the sewing society
this afternoon, and it’s never going to happen again,” replied Mrs.
Talkyerdeth positively. “So you can just make up your mind that the
doctor is going to chop something, I don’t care what, out of one of us
right straight off. Why, every woman there was telling all about either
her own or her husband’s operation, and I had to sit with my mouth shut
all afternoon, just because we’ve never had one!”

                                       ALEX. RICKETTS.



                          _The Songs We Love_

                          BY EUGENE C. DOLSON

    The songs we love, the dear heart songs
      That light us on our way,
    Are records of our smiles and tears—
      Our lives from day to day.

    For words to simple nature true
      Are those that reach the heart,
    And that which thrills the common soul
      Is still the highest art.



                    _The Alligator of Blique Bayou_

                             A CUBAN TALE


                            BY FRANK SAVILE

The smoking-room steward yawned his despair. The card parties had
broken up half an hour before, nightcap drinks had been ordered,
tumblers had been emptied, and half a dozen men had risen to their feet
with “Good night” upon their lips. It looked as if the long-suffering
attendant were to be allowed a real six hours’ sleep below.

And then a single word—“fishing”—had changed all these bright
prospects in the twinkling of an eye. The globe-trotting Englishman,
Mathers, was vaunting the fifty-six-pound salmon he had caught in the
Sands River, British Columbia. It seemed that not a man in the room
could take to his bed in peace till he had confuted the boaster from
stores of personal experience. Fresh cigars were lit, tumblers were
refilled, and story climbed upon story in unctuous mendacity.

Muller, the German bagman, bumbled tales of Baltic sturgeon that would
make two bites of the British Columbian salmon if they encountered them
after breakfast time; Morehead, fresh from Florida, smiled superiorly
as he told of one-hundred-and-fifty-pound tarpon, caught with a line
and rod, of the weight of a walking-cane; Rivaz, the creole, asked what
was the matter with a two-hundred-weight tuna that it should score
second place to what was nothing more than a glorified herring? Across
the clouds of smoke romance answered to romance; falsehood was fought
with its own weapons.

Finally Morehead, abandoning his earliest illustration, harked back to
the land from which it was drawn. Alligators—had any one of them
enjoyed the sport of hanging a looped line over an alligator run, and
opening a manhole through the earth upon their lairs? That was fishing
if you liked, with the odds upon the fish! Till you had joined in the
tug which yanked a fighting saurian ashore you didn’t know what human
muscles could stand—you might go shark-fishing every day of your life,
and miss learning it.

The suddenness of the topic left him, for the moment, master of the
field. Professional liars, hurriedly reviewing their conversational
equipments, found themselves with no better weapon than an already
over-tempered imagination. None of them had been in Florida—none could
supply the substratum of fact which alone is a true foundation for
convincing fiction.

Then a new voice shattered the periods of Morehead’s triumph. In the
corner, with one foot banked against the table and the other stretched
across the lounge, sat a long and lanky graybeard, his extended limbs
giving him something of the effect of a pair of human compasses. So far
he had added nothing to the conversation.

“Say, now, my dear sir,” he drawled plaintively, “you know you have not
got any _real_ alligators in Florida.”

The young man’s face grew purple.

“Not got any!” he blared. “Not got any!”

“Not to call _alligators_!” persisted the veteran complacently. “What,
now, would be your idea of the length, breadth and jaw-capacity of one
of your little pets?”

The youth drew a calculating breath and eyed his questioner narrowly.

“I assisted, a short time back, to capture one eighteen feet long,”
he lied coldly. The man on the lounge accepted the statement with a
patronizing little nod.

“There now!” he agreed. “It just bears out what I say. Nowadays there
aren’t any of a size to _call_ alligators. When _I_ was in Florida,
it might be forty or it might be fifty years ago, that kind of small
fry were reckoned in among the lizards. When we went hunting what the
New York manufacturers call crocodile leather, anything less than four
fathoms from tail-tip to smile we shouldered out of the way. One of
thirty feet, I allow, we considered a circumstance.”

A murmur rustled up from the assembly. Even the steward’s unconscious
grimace spoke of incredulity.

“Yes,” continued the old man pleasantly. “I see your eyebrows rise,
but that won’t prevent my assuring you that my recollections don’t
stop there. For over a year I had the personal acquaintance of one
that measured from end to end not a single inch less than twelve slimy
yards. But that,” he allowed generously, “was not in Florida.”

“Barnum’s Museum?” suggested Morehead contemptuously, and the listeners
grinned. The veteran was not put out.

“No,” he contradicted, “not even in the United States. Yet, at the same
time, not so far from home. In Cuba—to be explicit.”

There was a shout of derision. Not less than six of those present had
been volunteers in the war.

“Cuba!” they bawled in chorus. “There isn’t a crocodile in the island
that would crowd a bathtub!” added Morehead defiantly.

The graybeard eyed them serenely.

“Of course,” he said, with a humble note of interrogation, “you’re
posted—you know every inch of the country from Baracoa to Corrientes?”

Morehead moved a little restlessly.

“I was three months around Santiago with my regiment,” said he.

“And spent every spare second examining the creeks, I don’t doubt,”
said the other cheerfully. “My boy,” he went on, “I had been five
years in the country before you began to attend kindergarten. In those
days the fame of the Blique Bayou alligator was known to every soul
within a hundred miles of Guantanama. I don’t mind allowing that the
name of Everett P. Banks—which is what I’m called when I’m at home,
gentlemen—was a good deal in men’s mouths about the same time. We were
much mixed up together, one way or another, that astounding beast and
I.”

The steward leaned his head upon his palms, and swore gently beneath
his breath. He told himself that this evil old man was about to knock
another half-hour off the night’s rest. He recognized in the gray eyes
a triumphant light—the gleam that illumines the face of the raconteur
whose audience is assured.

Morehead was still dissatisfied.

“Blique Bayou?” he repeated superciliously. “Blique Bayou?”

Banks nodded with an indulgent air.

“On the map it appears as the San Antonio River,” he explained, “and
it flows into the sea about a mile to the west of the Buena Esperanza
Mining Company’s settlement. As it was notorious that Emil Blique, the
West Indian, owned all the shares, the hill that was topped by the
shafting was called Blique Mountain, and the creek and swamp around it
Blique Bayou. For five years I was manager of the whole outfit. And a
knock-kneed crowd they were,” he added reminiscently.

Mathers interrupted. It looked as if the narrative were going to jump
the tracks to be wrecked on outside issues.

“The alligator,” he insisted. “We want the tale of the alligator!”

The old man stared at him in gentle surprise.

“You wouldn’t keep a man of my age out of his berth to tell you yarns
thirty years old?” he deprecated.

“We would,” said Mathers determinedly. “What’s yours?”

Startled out of his equanimity, the ancient allowed that so far he
had encountered nothing to abash whisky—plain. But as for the story
at that time of night—well, well, they needn’t make all that noise.
If it had to be done he supposed he had better get to it as quickly
as possible. He paused, took a gulp at the tumbler the steward
placed before him, and let a meditative glance dwell upon Morehead,
who had made a motion to rise. Catching his eye, the Floridian
suddenly abandoned his purpose, and sat down in a pose of exasperated
resignation.

“It was somewhere about ’81—or it might be ’82,” began the old man,
anchoring his gaze mildly upon Morehead’s uncompromising features,
“that I landed at Santiago from Savannah, with a letter in my pocket
from my late employer, George S. Gage, to Señor Emil Blique, Buena
Esperanza; the letter and myself being respectively part answers to
a wild telegram that my boss had received ten days before. The West
Indian had cabled that his manager had died of yellow fever, and that
he was alone with nothing but creole help to drive the congregation of
hard-shell niggers and dagos that he paid to grub manganese from the
bowels of the earth.

“He wanted a man, he said, with a knowledge of mining and with two
working fists. He laid particular stress upon the second qualification,
and offered such a one three hundred dollars a month to come at the
earliest opportunity.

“Gage told me that if I’d the spirit of a louse I’d run along and take
it. Otherwise, he said, he’d offer it to Altsheler, the under manager,
who was a wicked man behind a pistol, but with no kind of idea of using
four fingers and a thumb when the gun got lost. That’s a terrible fault
among dagos. They are frightened of a knock-down blow, because they
don’t understand it. But when you start gunning among them—well, they
can gun and knife themselves—some.

“You mightn’t think it, gentlemen, but in those days I’d a fist like
a ham, and I concluded, after consideration, that the job was built
for my particular talents and not for Altsheler’s. Ten days after that
telegram arrived I was bumping along the trail to Blique Mountain,
wondering just how hard those three hundred dollars would be to collect
at the end of every four weeks.

“I needn’t have troubled. For a Jamaican, old Emil was as straight a
man as I have ever known. His cheque was good money every time I cashed
it, and, when I’d got the hang of the business, fairly easy earned.
During the first fortnight I filled an eye for two mine hands _per
diem_, and by the end of that time the crowd began to understand just
where their best interest lay. They reasoned it out that they’d have
to do as they were told, and after that things went like clockwork.
When I’d got them really tame, indeed, I found that I could slack off
in the afternoons when old man Blique was moving about himself, and so
I looked around for relaxation. Like all of you, I was something of a
fisherman.

“Naturally, I turned my steps toward the bayou, and it was there that
I made the acquaintance of Pedro Garsia, Concepcion, his son, and the
other member of the family, as I must call him, for from every point
of view, he was treated like a relation. I allude to my friend Joaquin
el Legardo—Jimmy the Alligator, in the vernacular—and he, I repeat,
was every inch of thirty-six feet long. I dare say he was a hundred and
fifty years old, and he led a more or less blameless existence in the
swamp and stream adjacent to the Garsia bungalow.

“At first, though, it looked as if our relations might be strained. I’d
got down to the bank, fitted up my rod and cast a speculative lump of
frog’s flesh into the water just to see if anything sizeable was on the
move. No sooner had I made the cast than there was a boil and a rush
’way out in midstream, and an ugly dun snout bobbed above the surface
and took down my bait and half my line before I realized what was
happening. It didn’t take me long to understand. I saw the great jaws
open and champ viciously on the good catgut that was tangled in the
yellow teeth, and I said a wicked word. Also I drew my revolver. Before
I’d got it cocked I heard a terrible uproar from behind.

“An old man, with silver-white hair hanging over a chocolate-brown
face, was running toward me, shouting as if he’d break a blood vessel.

“‘No shoot!’ he bawled, ‘no shoot!’ and he waved his arms with some of
the most complete gesticulations I have ever witnessed. I put down my
pistol and waited till he arrived panting.

“He was too much out of breath to say much at first, but what he did
manage to whisper was to the point. ‘_Bueno legardo_—_bueno_,’ he
repeated, pointing to the brute that was playing cat’s-cradle with my
fishing line, and then, tapping the butt of my revolver, ‘no shoot—no!’

“I can tell you I was mystified, for the idea of a _good_ alligator,
as he kept calling it, was outside the pale of my experiences. I told
him so. But he nodded and beckoned and led me down the bank a couple
of hundred yards till we were opposite his house. There I found a rope
stretched between two stumps across the river, with a loop running on
it, and this last was lashed to the bow of a pirogue.

“‘This mine,’ he explained, smiling. ‘This what you call a ferry.’ I
looked at the boat. Then I remembered that coming up from Santiago the
road had circled widely. Blique Mountain had been in sight a good hour
before we reached it and my driver had made me understand that we were
avoiding the river. This was evidently the short cut for foot travelers.

“‘If this is the ferry, why in the name of gracious don’t you let
me fill that old pirate with lead?’ I asked, as the brute floated
comfortably by. ‘Not that he’d mind,’ I added, as I realized the size
of him, ‘but you should get a howitzer and pump a six-pound ball
through him. Some day, when your catboat’s full of people, he’ll upset
it and fill his larder for a fortnight.’

“The old man smiled agreeably and put his head on one side like a
magpie. He cocked me a comical look out of the corner of his eye.

‘This river not deep,’ he explained glibly. ‘This what you call ford
one time,’ and he pointed toward the eddies that swirled between us and
the opposite bank. I could see that they were running over shallows
nowhere more than four feet deep. And at that the old chap toddled into
the house and reappeared with a basket load of decaying lizard flesh.
He came close to me and gave me a little nudge.

“‘Ford one time,’ he repeated, taking a lump of offal and tossing
it into the stream. Then he gave me another nudge, and grinned.
‘Joaquin—’ he drew my attention to the dun snout that came floating
down upon the bait—‘_Joaquin make it ferry!_’

“I gave him one look, and he answered me with a grimace that would have
done credit to an idol. Then I sat down and laughed and laughed till I
was sore. The originality of it! The old scoundrel was positively and
actually maintaining his private alligator to put the fear of death
upon the niggers and mulattos that used the short cut into the town,
and was reaping a harvest of ferry dues over a four-foot deep river!

“He watched me, as I shouted, quite politely, and when I’d had my laugh
out insisted on escorting me into his house and offering me a glass of
aguardiente. While I was sipping it he was rummaging among his litter
and finally produced me a line in the place of the one that Joaquin had
snatched. He insisted on binding it on to my reel, and then, in his
broken English, began to explain just where the best fishing stands
could be found along the banks. And he didn’t stop a-telling. He took
me out when the sun got lower and gave me a few practical hints upon the
spot. He laid himself out to be agreeable, and at the end of a couple
of hours we were as thick as thieves.

“When we got back to the shanty we found a thick, squat, low-browed
young man smoking a cigarette on the veranda. The old man introduced
him as his son, Concepcion. The youth bowed, smirked and expressed his
sense of the honor in perfect English, yet somehow I didn’t take to him
as I had done to his parent. He had the same magpie way of looking at
you as his father had, but with a difference. The old man did it with
a laugh in his eye: the young one furtively, shiftily and without the
ghost of a smile.

“It came about that for the next twelve months I was thrown a good deal
into the company of the Garsias. They lived openly on the earnings
of their ferry, but I suspected that they made a little by selling
aguardiente to my dagos and niggers. But they knew when to stop—they
never sent one of my crowd back so’s he couldn’t take his spell the day
after a carouse, and anything short of that I winked at.

“Old man Blique was not a conversationalist, and the two at the
bungalow were practically my only company for days together. And when
they were out of the way I got into the habit of regarding even Joaquin
as a sort of companion. I got to know his haunts, and where a newcomer
would have seen nothing but an ugly log, half buried in the mud, I
could recognize the upper half of the alligator’s countenance and his
little, straight, slit eyes winking at me most benevolent.

“And yet he was the one that put an end to all this simplicity and
loving kindness. I don’t know if the fish supply in the river grew
short. Perhaps in his old age he developed epicurean tastes. But nasty
stories suddenly began to come in. Fowls went, pigs were missed and
never heard of again, a couple of steers disappeared from an _estancia_
higher up the river, and a mare of Emil’s was robbed of her colt and
pervaded the banks of the bayou for weeks, neighing like a lost soul.
Joaquin grew to be the most unpopular personage in the neighborhood.

“The worst, however, was to come. Red Rambo, the head man of a gang
that worked Number 44 level, and a mulatto went spreeing off to
Santiago one fine evening before a Saint’s Day. The next afternoon,
late, as I was fishing, he appeared on the opposite bank, evidently
full up, calling to Pedro to fetch him and his mates across. The moment
the old man had got the pirogue against the far bank Red Rambo started
to call him every kind of extortioner and money-sucker, and, seeing
that it was from a mulatto to a pure-breed creole, I don’t wonder that
the old man got mad. He refused to take the fellow over—told him to
cool his blood by walking six miles round.

“Unfortunately Rambo had drunk himself up to the pitch of Dutch
obstinacy and Dutch courage. He came splashing into the river, wading
after the pirogue and cursing Pedro by every saint in the nigger
calendar.

“Some of the low-down half-castes, who’d believe anything, used to
declare that Joaquin was the familiar spirit of the Garsia family and
was sworn to protect them in this life in return for a note of hand
for their souls in the life to come. I could see some of the men in
the boat just shivering for Red Rambo as they listened to the insults
he was piling upon the old boy, and their shivers were prophetic. For
there came a sudden swirl upon the surface of the calm in midstream,
and then a little grooving eddy shot toward the mulatto with the rush
of a millrace.

“He yelled, tossed up his arms, and made a half-turn toward the shore.
Through a long instant I could see his finger-tips quiver against the
green of a fern palm opposite. And then he was _gone_—snatched down
from below as suddenly as the pantomime clown drops through the trap
in the boards. A little foaming cone of water burst up from the whirl
where he disappeared, and long, irregular stains floated away from its
crimson centre. But never another sign of Rambo was seen again, either
in the water or out of it. Joaquin was both his murderer and his grave!

“In justice to poor old Pedro I must allow that he was the man who
took the thing most to heart. He screeched, he gesticulated, he called
down curses upon the alligator from all the angels of paradise, and
he made as if he would leap into the river and fall upon Joaquin with
nothing more than a pocket-knife; in fact, it took all the exertions
of the other niggers to keep him from it. They got him ashore at last
pretty well demented and fighting like a maniac. He had to be tied to
his bed before we durst leave him to himself. When the others had gone
jabbering off home I shook my head solemnly at Concepcion.

“‘That means the end of Joaquin,’ I said. ‘Tomorrow I shall get orders
from the boss to fill him up with Winchester bullets, and then where’s
your ferry?’

“The Spaniard was as pale as milk. He looked away from me to his father
foaming upon the bed, and then he gave a queer little high-pitched
laugh.

“‘Señor Banks,’ he answered, ‘there may be two sides to that question.
Señor Blique owns the mines, but not the river or the alligator. That
dirt-begotten negro brought his fate upon himself.’

“I looked at him narrowly, and noticed that he was ostentatiously and
abnormally calm. That’s a bad sign in a creole. They are safer red and
roaring. Cold and white they’re malicious.

“‘My dear friend,’ said I politely, ‘there is no law against alligator
shooting. Whatever orders I get I shall obey—be sure of that and take
a friendly warning. Joaquin can’t stay hereabouts after that bloody
exploit—it’s absurd to expect it.’

“He bowed quite pleasantly.

“‘If warnings are in order, señor,’ he replied, ‘take one from me.
The man that kills Joaquin will not live long to boast of it!’ And at
that he drew back the curtain from before the door and gave me a very
significant view of the street. I took the hint and, without another
word, marched out. And I did it sideways, too. You don’t expose the
broad of your back to a man of Concepcion’s singular talents without
making sure that he’s leaving his knife in his belt.

“Of course, as I predicted, old Emil was not prepared to stand any
nonsense from Pedro Garsia, his son, or Joaquin. Rambo was one of his
best foremen. He gave me the strictest orders to take my gun to the
alligator the first thing in the morning and to revenge the mulatto if
it took all day. I nodded, shrugged my shoulders, and went to bed.

“The first news brought me in the morning was that old Pedro was
dead. The shock had brought on brain fever, and the son’s homeopathic
treatment of forcing aguardiente down his throat had lifted the fever
to the point of delirium. In the night the patient had burst his bonds
and broken straight for the river. His son and their nigger servant had
been aroused by the noise and had followed.

“They were just about ten seconds too late. The old man stumbled upon
the bank and went sprawling half in and half out of the water, his
outstretched hand falling upon what the nigger thought was a floating
log.

“It wasn’t. For the log split into twin jaws, and, as the other two
snatched the poor old fellow up, the open fangs came together just
below the unfortunate wretch’s shoulder. It was only a piece of corpse
that they carried back into the veranda, while Joaquin went smiling off
into midstream to enjoy a most unexpected dessert.

“I considered, of course, that any son with Christian feelings would
spare me any further trouble in the matter of the alligator’s death.
That, for the sake of commercial advantage, Concepcion would allow
his parent to go unrevenged seemed out of the question. I took my
Winchester with me as I strolled down to the river merely because I
thought he might be too much overcome with grief to have completed his
obvious duty, and that I might do him a neighborly turn by forestalling
him.

“You can imagine my surprise, then, when I saw, as I turned the corner
of the Garsia bungalow, Concepcion, standing alone upon the river
bank, the usual basket of offal on the ground beside him, tossing the
contents into the water, lump by lump! The alligator was taking them,
serenely and regularly, waiting for them with half-open jaws as a
lapdog waits for biscuits!

“There are moments when one’s impulses take the reins into their teeth
and bolt. I made no sound—I said nothing. I strode silently up behind
the man, drew a clear bead upon the brute’s eye and sent a bullet plumb
into his wicked brain. And as he ripped out of the water and rolled
over in his agony I fired another cartridge at the junction of his
forearm and body, and that was the end of his floundering. He sank like
a lump of lead.

“The Spaniard gave a yell as I fired the first time. I brought my rifle
down from the second shot to see him springing straight at me. I pulled
him up short. With the butt at my hip and the muzzle pointing straight
at his chest, I made him understand just what to expect if he came a
step nearer. He halted five yards away—panting.

“For ten seconds we two stood there, each glaring into the other’s
face, and if the light of hell ever burns in a man’s eyes, I saw it so
burning in the eyes of Concepcion Garsia. His shirt was open at the
neck—I could watch the drumming of his heart within his ribs!

“And then the tenseness of his limbs gave. He seemed to fall in
upon himself. He just gasped one threatening word—‘_Mañana!_’
(tomorrow!)—turned upon his heel and staggered off toward his house
like a drunken man! I did not see him again for a fortnight.

“Of course, after that, the fact that there was a strain of madness in
the Garsia family didn’t seem to me open to doubt. And, pondering the
question, I determined that I must be very much upon my guard whenever
I visited the ferry. My fishing excursions I gave up entirely and I
wore my six-shooter night and day. No—with Concepcion I was taking no
risks.

“That same evening Joaquin’s carcass floated up upon a sandbank a
hundred yards below the bungalow. The next morning it was gone. The
bush behind the bank was trampled and bloodstained, and the niggers
began to whisper. They told me, in confidence, that the Spaniard had
dug his heart out to make a fetich of and that I was doomed to many
lingering torments. Naturally, I took small notice of that sort of
thing.

“The hands, now that the ferry had become a ford again, went much
more frequently down to Santiago, and it was not long before I heard
that Concepcion had been seen there. But his bungalow was closed, his
nigger had been sent about his business, and the weeds began to fill
his garden, as weeds do in tropical countries alone. At the end of a
couple of weeks I began to believe that we had seen the last of Señor
Concepcion.

“And then a thing happened that appeared to be no less than a miracle.
One evening, less than half an hour after a score of the hands had set
out to spend the next day’s fiesta in the town, nineteen of them were
back in my veranda, yelling, screeching that Joaquin was returned—back
and playing his old tricks again! He had risen in the midst of them as
they forded the stream and had taken down Tome, a quadroon pickman,
exactly as he had taken down Red Rambo less than a month before.

“Of course, I didn’t believe them. I had seen my bullets go home into
Joaquin’s brain and heart and I opined that Tome, for the joke of the
thing, had dived with a bit of a splutter and was probably laughing
himself into convulsions at the success of the trick. I put this view
of the case to the others mildly.

“They didn’t seem to have breath enough to pour all the contempt they
felt upon the idea. ‘Dived! Joking!’ He was pulled down, screaming,
they declared—they saw the jaws close on him—there wasn’t one of them
five yards from him when he was taken!

“I shrugged my shoulders, took my rifle and went back with them to the
river bank. You can just figure my astonishment when a dun snout, as
like the late Joaquin’s as one pea is like another, cut a lazy ripple
across the surface as it went sliding out from the bank into midstream!
And the boil of his tail showed up ten yards behind his head. I hadn’t
believed that there was another such alligator in the wide world!

“These reflections didn’t prevent my rifle-butt coming up to my
shoulder. I aimed for a point three inches behind the snout. We heard
the bullet thud, but the brute didn’t twitch—he didn’t even close his
half-open eye! He just let the water close slowly over his head—so
slowly that I found time to empty my magazine at him as he sank. Every
one of the five bullets hit his wicked head, and the last glanced
off! We knew it by the sound of a second thud among the echoes of the
report, while a splash of splintered wood showed on a branch on the
opposite side of the stream. Positively and actually, this new Joaquin
had a shot-proof skull!

“The niggers were gabbling excitedly about Ju-ju, and such like
idolatries, while the dagos were little better. As for me, I sat down
upon a stump and took my head in my hands. That two brutes of the same
size should appear in the same unimportant little Cuban creek was
almost unbelievable—to the superstitious imaginations of the mine
hands it could be explained in one way alone. It was debbil-debbil, and
they went off home up the hill, starting out of their skins if a bird
rustled in the bushes. I was left sitting and wondering.

“At the sound of an opening door some time later I looked up.
Concepcion Garsia came sauntering out of the bungalow. I reached for my
Winchester.

“He strolled on toward me slowly and complacently, halted a few yards
away and bowed. There was a wicked sneer round his thin lips.

“‘_Buenos dias, señor_,’ (Good day) he said as he raised his hat. ‘As
you remarked, it is permitted to shoot alligators. That, it appears,
does not always include the killing of them,’ and he laughed—his queer
high-pitched laugh.

“For the moment I was tongue-tied. The suggestion that an animal whose
brain had been shattered by my bullet was still alive was ridiculous,
but—well, the ‘but’ was to explain this new brute of the same size in
precisely the same spot. I looked Garsia squarely in the eyes.

“‘Do you mean to imply that Joaquin has come back?’ I asked.

“He shrugged his shoulders.

“‘_Quien sabe_—who knows?’ he answered, with that impudent smile still
twisting his lips. ‘What is your own opinion, señor?’

“I patted the breech of my rifle.

“‘It is here,’ I said quietly. ‘Joaquin—or another, I shall continue
the old treatment, _amigo_ (friend). Half an ounce of lead—at frequent
intervals.’

“He laughed again jeeringly, and turned upon his heel.

“‘Continue it, señor, continue it,’ he cried over his shoulder, ‘but
remember that all things come to an end, even your treatment and
perhaps—yourself!’

“The next minute he had slammed the door of his bungalow, and I, not
forgetting what an excellent mark for a bullet I was against the yellow
of the tinder-dry bush, hastened to put a tree between myself and the
shuttered window.

“There is no need to go into details of the next three months. It is
sufficient to say that the alligator began a reign of terror at the
ford. Horses went—goats, steers, poultry. And the river was almost
deserted, for boats were no longer a protection. The planters, who had
been accustomed to use the water for a highway between their
_estancias_, gave it up after no less than five pirogues had been
charged by the monster, and upset. One of the crew always sank, never
to rise again. Strangers using the foot road, and too impatient to wait
for the chance of being ferried when the boat was the wrong side, were
snatched up. Finally the heavy ferry pirogue itself was capsized, and
Manuel, the creole overseer, was lost. With him went, moreover, two
thousand _pesetas_ in cash, which he was bringing up from the bank at
Santiago for pay day.

“No less than twenty poor wretches went to their account in one way
or another in those twelve weeks, and the countryside grew desperate.
Enough bullets were showered upon the alligator to sink him by pure
weight if they had only stuck in him, but he seemed to mind them no
more than peas! I spent a week’s pay in cartridges myself.

“Of course, it is all very well to sit here in this smoking-room and
laugh out of court ideas about Ju-ju, fetish work, Whydah and all
those sorts of deviltries. They don’t go with ten-thousand-ton boats,
electric light and the last special edition Marconigram. But it gets
on your nerves if you sit day after day beside a jungle-ringed swamp,
listening to all that a couple of hundred niggers have to tell you
about the tropical powers of the Evil One. And that there was something
mysterious in the business I could swear—something, too, that my
instincts told me Concepcion Garsia held the key to. The sight of his
face the few times I passed him witnessed to that. There was a glint
of triumph in his eye that was simply diabolical. And yet he seldom
showed himself. Passers-by used the ferry pirogue as they liked—the
_centimos_ that his father used to collect he seemed to think no more
about.

“Well, as Concepcion himself remarked, there is an end to everything,
even to this story, and it fell to my lot to write finis across it.
But it was Providence alone that kept me from being the page and the
Spaniard the writer. It was just this way.

“I sat, one evening, on the bank not far from the bungalow, reading.
I was keeping an occasional lookout for the alligator, though as the
seasonal floods were just falling he hadn’t been seen for two or three
weeks. I had my revolver in my belt, more by habit than with any hope
of doing him mortal harm with it. Experience had proved that the
heaviest rifle bullets didn’t affect him. Just as I finished a chapter
a voice hailed me from across the stream.

“I looked up, and recognized Señora Barenna, the wife of the planter
at the _estancia_ behind Blique Mountain. She was waving her hand, and
beckoning to me to bring the pirogue across.

“I was surprised to see her there, for neither she nor her husband
used the ferry, as the metaled road to Santiago passed close to their
house. But naturally I didn’t wait for explanations at that distance.
I ran down, got into the boat and began to pull hand over hand on the
guide-rope. The señora welcomed me with a smile.

“‘You may well stare,’ she said, as I gave her my hand to help her down
the bank, ‘to find me in such a situation. I was driving from the town
when our stupid mules took fright at a wild pig that ran between their
feet. They swerved, bolted into the bush, smashed a wheel and there I
found myself, less than three miles from home by the ford, and six by
the road! You may imagine which I chose.’

“‘I’m truly sorry for your misfortune,’ said I, ‘but truly glad of the
opportunity of doing you a service,’ for Spanish ladies expect this
sort of thing and I began to collect my ideas for a further succession
of compliments. I never had a chance to frame them, for the pirogue,
which was in midstream again by now, quivered with a tremendous shock.
It was lifted half out of the water!

“The next instant it began to rock from side to side, broke from the
loop which held it to the guide-rope, and finally upset. The señora
screamed, and both she and I instinctively grasped the strands above
our heads. The boat floated on its side from beneath our feet!

“She was hanging by her hands alone. I swung up my feet, got a good
purchase by crooking my knee, and so, freeing one arm, hauled her up by
the waist beside me.

“Fortunately, she was an active woman, and she kept her presence of
mind. I shouted to her to unfasten the shoulder-shawl she wore, and to
fasten it over the rope and around her waist. She had done it in less
time than it takes to tell of it, but as she did it my heart jumped
into my mouth. Our combined weights amounted to more than the rope had
been stayed up to bear. The poles to which it was lashed at each end
slanted. We dipped till, owing to the height of the flood, we swung a
bare six inches above the surface! And, of course, I had a very good
idea of what had upset the boat!

“I had not to wait long. There was a boil of the eddies not ten yards
away and the familiar dun snout lifted and showed the upper half of
an open jaw. The brute made a bee-line for the bait that hung so
attractively at his mercy.

“Señora Barenna’s shriek was piercing. As for me—well, I spoke before
of the sudden way in which an impulse masters one. I saw in an instant
that it was a case of two or one, and a sort of frenzy of rage seized
upon me. With a curse I flung myself down upon the brute’s head,
feeling with my thumbs for his eyes, while, released from my weight,
the rope jerked the señora up six feet into safety.

“The next few seconds were a sort of disconnected nightmare. The water
closed over my head, the great jaws worked beneath my hands, and then a
blow struck me on the chest, exactly over the book that I had placed in
my breast-pocket a minute or two before.

“At times like those one’s reason is not in the very best working
order, but even then I was quite capable of recognizing that the blow
could not have been dealt by an alligator’s clumsy limbs. And my legs
and feet, too, instead of meeting the resistance of the brute’s back,
were sprawled along nothing more solid than a twenty-foot pole!

“My hand gripped my revolver from my belt, searched with it aimlessly
downward and sideways, and blundered against what I felt to be a living
body. At the same time the blow was repeated, but not quite in the same
place. The point of an edged weapon slipped across the smooth cover of
the book and gashed into my ribs. At that I pulled the trigger!

“And many a time since have I thanked Providence for the man that
invented brass-drawn, water-tight cartridges. For as I fired there was
a great bubbling rush from the explosion that rocked me over, while the
huge head below me heaved violently. Like a leaping salmon it burst
with me above the surface!

“The flood caught us, gripped us, and whirled us away together, to
fling us up upon a shallow bank of mud. And as I struggled to my feet I
looked down upon Concepcion’s dead body, a wound gaping in it from my
bullet, while beside him was stranded a great sheet-iron shell, floated
with leathern bags and surmounted with the stuffed head of old Joaquin!
Behind it stretched a pole ornamented with the tip of the same animal’s
tail!

“Well, gentlemen, I don’t know that there is much more to add. After
I had climbed along the rope and dragged Señora Barenna into safety
I kicked open the door of the bungalow and left her there, while I
hurried up to the works for help. But before I sent old Emil and his
housekeeper down with cordials, and so forth, I got the old man’s
permission to knock the hands off at once. I had my reasons.

“I lined those superstitious fools along the mud-bank before that sham
scaffolding of an alligator, and the sermon I preached them on the
follies of Ju-ju ought to have converted them then and there. But the
results were entirely contrary to my expectations. For when, some years
later, after I had left old Emil, I returned for a short visit to the
Barennas, who were always my grateful friends, I found Joaquin’s head
hung in their veranda.

“A servant who did not know me saw me looking at it.

“‘That American debbil-debbil,’ he explained politely, and pointed
to the little brass plate his master had had stuck upon it with an
inscription setting forth that I had shot the brute on such and such a
date. ‘Him name _Banks_,’ he added, ‘and great big Ju-ju. Nigger boy
say prayers to him ebry night!’”



                      _The Boy; His Hand and Pen_


                           BY TOM P. MORGAN

My Aunt Almira, who is an old maid, says that spring is the time when
the young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love; but my Uncle
Bill, who has been a bachelor so long that it’s chronic with him,
says that ’most every spring he gets as bilious as a goat. That’s the
way it goes; women are romantic and are everlastingly thinking about
their hearts and souls, while men are generally more concerned about
their stomachs and pocketbooks. You give a man enough to eat and a few
dollars to squander and he’ll manage to scuffle along, but a woman
won’t be happy unless she’s worrying about love, or something.

Uncle Bill once knew an old maid who lived in constant dread of finding
a man under the bed. She kept on hopefully fearing him for thirty-seven
years, and early in the thirty-eighth she was drowned. One time there
was a Brighamyoungamist who married twenty-three different women in
rapid succession, and he looked a good deal like the last end of a
hard winter, too. Well, the judge threw up his hands in astonishment,
and asked him how in all-git-out a man would go to work to marry
twenty-three women. And the Brighamyoungamist grinned and replied:

“Aw—tee! hee!—Judge, I just asked ’em!”

But, on the other hand, spring is the time when your neighbor
borrows your lawn-mower and keeps it till he is ready to borrow your
snow-shovel. In the spring all Nature seems to smile, especially in
the Third Reader, and the little flowers go gaily skipping over hill
and dale. The grass pops up, the boys begin fighting regularly, the
birds warble all the day long in the leafy boughs, and the book-agent
comes hurriedly up the road with a zealous but firm dog appended to his
pants. About this time you feel achy and itchy and stretchy and gappy,
and so forth, all of which is a sign that you’ve got the spring fever.
Some men have the spring fever all the year round. Then they join all
the lodges they can squeeze into, and owe everybody, and talk about the
workingman needing his beer on Sunday.

This is all I know about spring, and most of it is what Uncle Bill told
me.



                       _Old Saws Filed New_


“Vice is contagious”—and so few of us have been vaccinated!

“A man must keep his mouth open a long time before a roast pigeon flies
into it”—but the chances are worse if he keeps it shut.

“Associate with men of good judgment”—if their good judgment will
permit.

“Duty is a power which rises with us in the morning and goes to rest
with us in the evening”—or even earlier in the day.



                      _The Force of Circumstance_


                       BY CHAUNCEY C. HOTCHKISS

They came up to me, he and his daughter, as I was sitting on the
half-deserted piazza of the hotel. His soft felt hat had been replaced
by a tall one, and there was no suggestion of his former outing costume
in the stiff linen and conventionally cut clothing he wore. His
daughter stood by his side, her hand within his arm, a little impatient
pout on her lips and a petulant wrinkle on her fine brows, as fair a
specimen of the typical American girl, in beauty of face and form and
taste in dress, as one could find or wish for.

“Ah, Alan, my boy!” said he heartily. “I’m off—quite suddenly. Some
plaguy business in town, you know. Sorry, but can’t help it! Wish you
were going along! Will be back tomorrow night—I think.” And here he
gave me a decided wink with the eye farthest from his daughter. The
girl twisted him about to see his face, as though suspicious of his
honesty.

“Why must you go, papa? And why won’t you take me? Aunt Margaret and
her rheumatism are poor company!”

“No, no, little woman—not this time! Force of circumstances, you know.
Mustn’t leave your aunt alone—not for the world! Have many things to
see to in town. How’s your arm, Alan? Better? That’s good! There’s the
stage, by Jove! Keep her out of mischief, my boy. Kiss your dad, puss.
Good-bye, Alan!”

As I looked at this fine specimen of metropolitan growth while he
clambered into the ramshackle stage that ran to the station, I felt
pretty sure that his conscience was not quite easy in thus hurrying to
town and leaving his daughter to her own devices. That the easy-going,
retired lawyer, whose hardest work consisted in killing time, had no
such pressing matters on hand as he had intimated, I was certain, and
had small doubt that visions of the stock-ticker, cool cocktails and
club cronies were the “plaguy business” which demanded his attention.
Nor did I blame him, for had it not been for the young girl who was now
looking blankly at the rapidly retreating vehicle my own place at the
table of the hotel would have been vacated days before.

A broken arm just cut of its sling and still almost useless was
my ostensible reason for lingering. It served me as an excuse
for protracting the pleasures of the broad Sound and stunted but
picturesque woods, though it did not blind me to the fact that I was
playing with fire by remaining. I was not born with a great deal
of conceit and am too well acquainted with the times to have faith
in the infallibility of love as a leveling power when applied to
cash considerations. In finances the girl was an aristocrat and I a
plebeian. My meditations were to myself, but the young lady gave vent
to hers.

“Very good, sir! I’ll pay you well for this,” she said, shaking her
finger in the direction of the vanished stage. “You wouldn’t take me
with you! Well, you’ll wish you had!” Then she turned to me. “Why did
he go, Mr. Alan?”

“I’m sure I don’t know. Force of circumstances, he said.”

“Force of fiddlesticks! He _always_ gives that as an excuse when he
does anything I dislike. I don’t believe in the force of circumstances.
Do you?”

“Most assuredly,” I returned.

“Well, I don’t, then. I’m a free agent. You and papa might as well
confess to fatalism. I would like to see circumstances force me!”

“I might weave a story showing the contrary. You have just seen——”

“Oh, that and your story would prove nothing,” she interrupted, with a
charming lack of logic. “A truce to nonsense—it’s too hot. Look at me,
sir!” she commanded, with mock severity. “Papa has practically thrown
me on your hands without regard to my opinion in the matter, as though
I were a small child. Aunt Margaret has a mild spell of rheumatism and
the religious mood that always seems to go with it. I understand that
you are responsible for me; how dare you assume the burden?”

“I accept, however,” I replied, with secret warmth.

“You will probably live to repent it. What shall we do?”

“Anything you elect. I am under your orders.”

“Then see that you obey them. The woods are too wet for a walk since
last night’s storm, and as for staying about here after being cooped up
two whole days by rain, it is intolerable. Let’s try to get Maxwell to
take us out on his fishing-sloop. He will do it for you.”

“No,” I said firmly. “That is the one thing your father prohibits.
It is mere nervousness, of course, but I will not be a party to such
a thing. Think of something else—the force of circumstance is still
against you.”

“Plague take the force of circumstance!” she exclaimed, but did not
urge me further, though my suspicions should have been aroused when she
said:

“We will take lunch and go to the beach anyway. Shall we?”

“Well, you might do that without breaking the fifth commandment,”
I returned, with much less enthusiasm than I felt at the idea of a
tête-à-tête picnic with her.

Her answer was a light laugh. There was a swishing of skirts and a
twinkle of tan-colored shoes as she sped from the piazza to get ready,
leaving me with the certainty that I was a fool, or worse, for allowing
her to go unchaperoned, though I was too selfish to attempt to right
the neglect.

Something over an hour later a scraggy horse hitched to a scraggy wagon
was drawing us to the “Cove,” a mile or so distant from the hotel. A
well-packed hamper had been provided and the pace set for the day was
nothing less innocent than lunch on the beach, which at this quarter
of Long Island is a stretch of snow-white sand and the perfection of
isolation.

It was not with feelings of positive delight that, as we neared the
Sound, I noticed the _Flying Fish_, of which Maxwell was master, moored
at the edge of the expanse of blue water. From an artistic point it
might have satisfied me, as fine material for an _aquarelle_ as, with
its mainsail loosely hoisted for drying, it lay against the strip of
woods on the other side of the little bay, but it did not satisfy me
to have a controversy on the point of taking my companion for a sail,
a thing to which I knew her father to be strongly opposed. However, it
was not a lengthy skirmish.

“Will you ask Maxwell to take us out—for just an hour?” she asked
demurely.

“Not for one instant,” I replied. “Besides, there is no wind.”

“There will be wind enough; you are just determined to be meanly
perverse. _I_ will ask him!” And she sent her clear voice across the
water in a long-drawn call.

I saw the man on board look up from the work he was fussing over;
presently the sail was lowered and, shortly after, the punt drove its
nose into the sand of the beach and Maxwell came toward us.

“Miss Edith,” I said, with dignity and as much severity as I dared show
her, “I am well aware that I have no right to dictate to you, but if
you are determined to go sailing in spite of your father’s wishes you
will go without me.”

“Do you really mean it?” she asked, with a light laugh and a wicked
glint in her eyes. “What a goose you are! Of course I wouldn’t go, but
we can compromise. Let’s go out to her and lunch on board. It will be
ever so much nicer than the sand, and I have never even stepped on
board of a sloop. Can’t we go out to her, Mr. Maxwell?”

“Sartin, miss, but it’s lucky that’s all ye want,” said that worthy.
Then, turning to me, he continued:

“The old tub’s ’most used up, Mr. Alan. She broke up a good deal of
her riggin’ in the storm last night. That ain’t all, neither. I find
the anchor shackle most rusted out and the moorin’ line ’most chafed
through. I was just startin’ for a new shackle. Tell you what ye might
do, sir, an’ ’twould be a big favor. Let me put you two aboard and then
take your hoss to go to the Centre with. That will suit the lady an’ be
a savin’ to my legs. I will be back in a shake.”

“Where’s your deck-hand?” I asked, wavering in my determination.

“Gone home sick, sir. Last night used him up.”

Doubts of propriety and prudence were of little avail against the
coaxing demands of my companion. She was used to having her way in
most things. Nothing but the novelty of taking lunch on board the old
fishing-boat would satisfy her, and, as it would not do for me to carry
the air of protector too far, it was but a short time before we were
on the deck of the vessel, from which we watched Maxwell climb into
the wagon and start for the village. The lady’s expression was one of
subdued triumph.

I confess that as I saw the little boat pulled high on the beach and
realized how completely we were cut off from the land, I was conscious
of a feeling that was not one of unalloyed content. From the physical
conditions there seemed to be nothing to fear. The water of the Cove
was like glass in the hot sunshine, and the vessel as steady as the
Rock of Ages; but the situation would certainly become compromising to
the fair young girl if our isolation should be generally known, and,
though I was willing enough to shoot at folly as it flew, I was in
hopes that the absence of Maxwell would not be prolonged, and so set to
work to entertain and enlighten Miss Edith, who was a very child in her
curiosity and her demands to have it satisfied.

The _Flying Fish_, a fearful misnomer, was an old acquaintance of
mine, and was typical of her class. Clean enough on deck, she was an
abomination of vile smells below, the combination of fish, clams and
bilge-water making a forcible compound. The inevitable scuttle-butt
of fresh water stood before the mast, and forward was a mass of rusty
chain cable, tangled gear, mops, winch-handles, buckets and the anchor,
the latter secured with a piece of rope.

In the stern of the boat the conditions were improved. The long tiller
projected into the roomy cockpit, the seats of which were as clean as
water could make them, while overhead the broken boom with its loose
sail made a wide strip of shade that was very acceptable.

For me there was no novelty in the craft, but it was a monstrous toy
for my companion, who flitted from stem to stern, picking up her dainty
skirts as she explored the bow, or wrinkling her delicate nose as she
met the odor of the cabin she insisted on entering.

“Does Maxwell cook on that thing?” asked the girl, pointing to the
small stove red with old rust, “and sleep in one of those dirty boxes?”

“Undoubtedly. That is a sailor’s lot.”

“Horrors! I wouldn’t be a sailor for the world! Let’s get into the
air—I’m stifled!”

An hour passed quickly enough and without the return of Maxwell. The
lunch was spread and eaten in the strip of shade, which took another
hour. A slight restraint followed the smoking of my cigar, for our
conversation was becoming as circumscribed as our freedom, probably due
to the fact that we both began to realize we were prisoners. At best
there is no exhilaration of spirits to be found on the hot deck of a
dilapidated fishing-sloop at anchor, and I dreaded the dulness which
would ensue if our confinement became protracted beyond a certain point.

But we were not destined to be beset by stupidity through lack
of events. Two hours, three hours passed and yet no Maxwell. The
conversation waned like a slowly dying blaze. I was becoming desperate
and Miss Edith was beginning to question me with her eyes, when I saw
matters were to be made worse by a thunderstorm which showed its black
head over the woods to the southwest. Was Maxwell crazy? What could
he be thinking of to leave us in this predicament? Again and again I
searched the opening into the woods through which the horse and wagon
had disappeared, but the shore remained as wild and deserted as when
Columbus discovered America. The little boat lay temptingly on the sand
five hundred feet away, but it might as well have been as many miles,
for my broken arm made swimming impossible.

From being slightly compromising our situation had become fully so—and
more; it was irksome, awkward and not at all heroic. It was evident
from her manner that the girl was becoming fully alive to her position.

Rapidly the clouds approached the zenith. They were terribly sinister,
and, though there appeared to be no more danger to us than the remote
chance of being struck by lightning, I dreaded for Miss Edith the
closer imprisonment in the unwholesome cabin and a probable drenching
in the end.

Even should Maxwell now arrive it would be impossible to return to the
hotel before the storm broke, and as the sun became suddenly quenched
by the sulphur-colored mass that had risen to it, and a sickly green
shade settled over us, I turned my attention to cheering my companion,
who, awed by the tragic light that overspread us, seemed lost in
fearful contemplation of the approaching tempest, and sat silent in the
cockpit with both hands tightly clutching the tiller. The tide was full
flood and not a wrinkle marred the polished surface of the Sound. In
the distance were some motionless vessels taking in their lighter sails
and over all nature there brooded a portentous quiet.

It was evident that we were about to experience something out of
the common, for though the edge of the squall had no more than the
usual threat of a summer shower, the clouds behind it sent through
me a thrill of awe mingled with fear. As I stood with my hands on
the shrouds watching a space of inky blackness it opened and from it
descended a bulb of vapor shaped like a bowl, its edges hidden in the
clouds above. It was a mass lighter than the rest, and it elongated
until its form changed to a funnel-shaped pipe which gradually neared
the surface of the earth, trailing as it moved along. Its approach was
accompanied with a roar as of a distant cataract, and as I saw the
sinuous tube lose itself in a mist of dust, flying branches and heavier
debris and appear to be coming toward us, a fearful knowledge of what
we were about to encounter burst upon my mind and I turned quickly to
the girl, who in her fright had risen to her feet.

“What is it?” she cried, blanching at the sight of the awful column.

“A tornado! Into the cabin, quick!” I shouted.

She obeyed without a word, and I had barely time to snatch up the
basket containing the remains of our lunch and scramble through the
door after her when, with a howl it is impossible to describe, the
vortex of whirling air was upon us.

The darkness that came down like a curtain was appalling; the din
deafening. The centre of the tornado must have missed us, else I
would not now be telling this tale, but the sight through the open
doors, which I had not had time to close, showed it had missed us but
narrowly. I saw the surface of the Cove turn to milk under the lash
of the wind, but had scant time to see more, for, as we were lying
broadside to the blast, it struck us fairly on the side and careened us
until the deck stood wellnigh up and down.

With a shriek the girl threw herself into my arms, and we both slid
to leeward. There came a jar as though we had been struck, a crash
overhead that sent the skylight shivering in fragments about us, a
quick blast of icy air, and the vessel righted with a jerk.

Placing the fainting girl on a locker I ran up the steps to the deck.
The whirlwind was passing out into the Sound, its shape hidden by the
muck that flew in its wake, though a well-defined path of fallen trees
and boiling water marked its track. A moment’s observation showed its
outskirts had created havoc aboard the sloop.

The mainsail, having been only held in stops, had been blown open by
the fearful power of the wind and, split into ribbons, was whipping in
the gale with quick, pistol-like reports. The boom-jack had been torn
away and the broken spar fallen on the cabin-house, which accounted
for the smashed skylight. The topsail had clean gone, hardly a rag
remaining. The buckets and all loose articles had been blown overboard;
the scuttle-butt had fetched away and lay bung down, its contents
gurgling out through the vent, while the only things outside the hull
that remained intact were the jib-sail and its gearing.

I had hardly made the last observation when I discovered we were
adrift! The first fierce tug of the wind had snapped our moorings,
which Maxwell had spoken of as chafed, and, under the weight of the
gale which was blowing, we were rapidly drawing into open water.

I caught my breath for a moment, but was immediately relieved as I
thought of the anchor. Throwing off my coat I tossed it into the cabin,
and, opening my pocket-knife, ran forward; but before I could reach
the bow I was drenched by a sudden downpour of rain the volume and icy
coldness of which made me gasp. It took but a second to cut the
lashings that held the anchor, but, as the iron plunged to the bottom
followed by only some half-fathom of chain, I nearly fainted. The
shackle lay at my feet with its pin gone. The anchor was lost—the
mooring parted; we were adrift in a storm and on a crippled boat.

For a moment I was completely stunned at the realization and stood
looking over the side like a fool, as though expecting to see the mass
of lost iron float to the surface; but the violent beating of the rain,
now mixed with hail, forced sense into me and compelled a hasty retreat
to the cabin.

So far as danger to life was concerned there was none at present, and
the one menace of the future lay in being blown across the Sound and
going to pieces on the rocky coast of Connecticut. I was something of a
fair-weather yachtsman and knew the danger of a lee shore; but whether
my wit would be sufficient to offset the predicament we were in I was
by no means sure. For a rescue I trusted more to being picked up by
some passing craft than to my own efforts. But what a situation for the
lady!

How to enlighten her as to our double disaster was troubling me not a
little as I entered the cabin, but I had barely cleared the steps when
we were beset by a volley of hail that thundered on the cabin-house and
rivaled the uproar of the tornado itself. Great icy lumps larger than
marbles drove through the broken skylight and bounded through the open
door. The hail was followed by another downpour of rain accompanied by
vivid lightning and bellowing thunder. Between the flashes the darkness
was that of midnight.

Knowing the terror of my companion I attempted to speak to her, but my
voice was lost in the turmoil. Striking a match I lighted the small
lamp hanging against the bulkhead and found the girl had recovered from
her faint and was sitting on the locker with her face buried in her
hands. At that moment the sky lightened a trifle and the thunder rolled
more at a distance. Shaken as I was, I little wondered at the
convulsive shudders that swept over her slight frame; had I been alone
I might have succumbed to panic. Presently she looked up at me; her
face was like chalk, but I was thankful to see that she had not lost
control of herself.

“Oh, wasn’t it awful!” she exclaimed, and was about to rise when she
caught sight of my streaming clothing. “Why did you go out? What have
you been doing? Have you seen Maxwell?”

“Maxwell? No, but I have seen enough else,” I returned, determined to
hide nothing.

“What do you mean? What has happened?”

“I mean that we have met with disaster. We are adrift.”

“Adrift!” Her eyes widened with sudden terror.

“We have been torn from our moorings,” I answered, with an attempt at
ease that I might not increase her panic. “But there is no present
danger.”

“I—I do not understand,” she said weakly.

“I have made a mistake, which makes it worse,” I continued desperately.
“I have cut away the anchor but lost it—the shackle-pin was gone. We
must——”

“But you _knew_ the shackle-pin—or something—was gone! I heard
Maxwell tell you!” she interrupted, with a flash of temper in her eye
that took the place of fear.

“I remembered when too late,” I returned meekly. “In the confusion
it went from my mind. When I found we had broken from the mooring I
naturally turned to the anchor and cut it free. Will you—can you
forgive me? I will make what reparation I may.”

For an answer she dropped limply on the locker, and, again burying her
face in her hands, sobbed violently while I stood silent, not knowing
how to comfort her, though my brain was busy enough. Presently the
paroxysm passed and she looked up with a changed expression; then,
heedless of her dainty costume, she approached me and placed both hands
on my wringing sleeve.

“Oh, it is for you to forgive me!” she said, the tears still in her
eyes. “It is all my fault! If I had only heeded you in the beginning!
And I am such a cowardly girl; but I’ll try to be brave and not make it
worse. What must we do?” And a divine smile brightened her woebegone
face.

“I will tell you all I fear,” I said, mightily relieved at her changed
attitude. “With the wind from its present quarter it is impossible to
return to the Cove, and to continue drifting is dangerous. Stratford
Shoal lies directly in our way, and unless some other direction can be
given the vessel we are certain to be wrecked upon it. Listen quietly,”
I added, as I saw fright come again to her eyes. “I think I can avert
that danger. It may appear strange and hard to you, but it is necessary
that we run _from_ home instead of toward it. Will you trust me
entirely?”

“Oh, yes! I must—I will.”

“Then excuse me for a time; I have work to do.”

“And am I to sit still and do nothing?”

“You may make a fire, if you will; we will need it. This may be an
all-night matter.”

She shrank visibly, but made no reply, and, not daring to lose more
time, I abruptly left her.

All I had told her was true. The afternoon had waned and the storm
would cause the September day to darken early. The gale, yet strong
from the southwest, was carrying us with considerable rapidity toward
the well-known shoal that lies in the centre of the Sound—a line of
black teeth marked by a lighthouse, and a deadly thing to have close
to leeward. There was but one action for me to take, and that to set
the jib and under this single sail run to the eastward until we had the
fortune to be picked up by some passing craft.

By this we had drawn so far into open water that the seas, which were
rapidly rising, had a jump to them, making it a matter of some risk for
me to crawl out on the foot-ropes of the bowsprit and throw off the
ropes that confined the jib; for it must be remembered that my left
arm was almost useless. It was an infinite labor for me to get the wet
canvas aloft, but I finally set the sail after a fashion. Loosening the
sheet until the great spread of cotton blew out like a balloon, I took
the tiller and put the helm hard a-port.

There was life in the old tub at once. She had been wallowing heavily
in the trough of the sea, but now we ran across the waves, and the
change of motion was a relief. The rain had ceased by this time, but
the sky was of an even blackness or the color of the smoke now pouring
from the funnel of the cabin stove. As the gloom of evening fell the
shore lights twinkled coldly across the water. No vessel came near
enough to be hailed, and, as there is nothing distinctively distressing
in the appearance of a fishing-smack running before the wind under her
jib, I saw it would be foolish to expect a rescue before daylight, save
by the merest chance of being passed close at hand.

The gale was decreasing rapidly, but it was getting cold—bitter cold
to me in my wet state. Not daring to leave the helm I called to Miss
Edith to hand up my coat, but she appeared on deck with it. Her face
was hot and flushed, her head bare, and the wind caught her disordered
hair and blew it about her eyes.

“Why, you poor fellow!” she exclaimed as the cold air struck her. “You
must not do this! Let me take your place while you go down and get warm
and dry.”

“You are a ministering angel,” I returned through my chattering teeth,
“but unfortunately you can’t steer. However, if you will watch here
I will go down and wring myself out. I can lash the tiller. Do you
realize our situation?”

“I—I believe so,” she faltered. “I did not even tell Aunt Margaret we
were going anywhere. It is too awful to think of—I dare not think—I
try not to. This is——”

“The force of circumstance,” I interrupted, with an attempt at levity
as I proceeded to fasten the helm. “A force you denied only a few hours
ago.”

“And do now!” she said, with some spirit, catching back her blowing
hair with her hand. “It was the desire to make you do something against
your will. It was pure foolishness. Don’t argue now. Do something for
yourself; you will find that I have been neither idle nor useless.”

I was surprised at the change she had wrought in the cabin. On a
locker was spread the remains of our lunch; the bunks had been put in
some kind of order, the floor wiped up, and the indefinable air of
femininity she had given to the dingy hole was accentuated by the gay
color of her little hat, which hung against the blackened bulkhead.
Rank as it was, the warm atmosphere was a welcome change from that
of the deck, and through it floated the odor of coffee. A pot was
simmering on the stove, the grate of which was all aglow.

While wondering how she had brought herself to forage through the
repulsive mess below and where she had obtained fresh water, I emptied
two cups of the scalding beverage and, after stripping myself of my wet
clothing, was in a mood to have enjoyed the adventure had it not been
for my anxiety for the future. By overhauling a bunk I found an old
pair of trousers and an oil-coat, both smelling villainously of fish,
and putting them on, wrapped a grimy blanket about me and returned to
the deck.

Even during my short absence the wind had fallen decidedly, but the
young lady was shivering in her summer dress as she sat looking
over the blank water at the distant shore, and I could see that the
loneliness filled her with an awe I well understood. She laughed a
little as she noticed the figure I cut, but her chattering teeth belied
her forced spirits.

“You are freezing, Miss Edith. Go down and drink a cup of your own
coffee. Where did you get fresh water? The scuttle-butt was wrecked
with the rest.”

“I melted hail-stones—there were plenty of them. Don’t you see I am
superior to mere circumstance? You must go down, too; you must rest and
keep warm.”

“I must do my resting here,” I replied, cutting the helm lashing.

“What! All night?”

I laughed at her simplicity. “I could not guarantee you a
tomorrow—certainly not a rescue, if I stayed in the cabin.”

“Then I will watch, too.”

“It is far too cold—and—and I am afraid you are forgetting the
proprieties,” I answered lightly. “I have much to think about.”

I believe she suspected what was in my mind, for she asked soberly:

“Were—were you referring to—to me?”

“Could it be otherwise? And I was thinking of poor Maxwell and his
probable loss,” I answered, in an attempt to shift the subject I was
not yet ready to discuss.

She drew herself up with sudden hauteur. “Mr. Maxwell’s loss—probable
or otherwise—shall be made more than good to him. As for me, I am
still above the circumstance that has brought us to this state,” she
answered, and, turning quickly, went below.

It was a rebuke, and I saw that I might better have taken her into my
confidence then and there, for Maxwell’s loss had had little weight
with me. It was her loss and possibly my own. Though her position in
society was too well assured for her to suffer in character through
an adventure of the sort we were experiencing, there would be many
who would talk behind their hands. When the facts were known—as they
were bound to be—advantage would be taken of the opportunity to cast
reflections and give the smile incredulous to any explanation. A young
man and a young woman adrift for an indefinite number of hours in the
night after having deliberately cut off communication with the shore
would be a tempting morsel for scandalmongers. And what then?

It was just that “what,” and another, which were bothering me. My
love for the girl was as pure as man’s love could be, yet after this
what could I be to her? Must I cease to be even a friend? Was I to be
sacrificed on the altar of circumstance, the force of which I asserted
as strongly as she denied? I sat at the helm and turned my thoughts
inward until the stars came out from behind the scattering clouds, and
the wind, grown colder, fell to a force that barely filled the jib. I
looked at my watch—it was past eleven. I was becoming faint for want
of food, and, as the wind was now harmless, I dropped the helm and went
below.

The fire was almost out and the oil in the lamp so low that it added
another smell to the cabin. The girl lay on the hard locker fast
asleep, and I could see that she had been weeping. For a time I gazed
at her eagerly, then taking some food with me, stole back to my dreary
watch. As the hours waned so did my spirits. I may have dozed, but
about two o’clock the girl’s ghostly white dress appeared in the
companionway and she stepped out on deck. She looked around at the
darkness for a moment, then came and seated herself by my side.

“You have had an uncomfortable nap, I fear,” I said as I saw her
dispirited face.

“Yes,” wearily, “but how did you know?”

“I went below and saw you. I am very sorry for you, Miss Edith.”

“You saw I had been crying. I am more than sorry to have exposed my
weakness to you. I was lonely and—and you did not wish me here. Is it
so very wrong?”

“I was only thinking of your comfort.”

“Did you imagine it greater down there? And you said you were thinking
of the proprieties and—and Maxwell.”

“Of Maxwell—incidentally only.”

She made no answer to this. I had hoped she would, for now I was as
ready to talk of our peculiar situation as before I had been unwilling.
But the small hours of the morning are not conducive to discussion.
The girl was fagged out and silent in consequence. Once or twice she
nodded, but refused to go below, though I urged her to get out of the
cold. I finally prevailed on her to put on my coat, and then we sat in
silence. But Nature asserted herself at last, and she unconsciously but
gradually drooped toward me until her head touched my shoulder, and
there it settled. I brought half of the blanket about her and passed my
arm around her waist that she might not pitch forward to the deck.

And in this fashion we remained, I with the tiller in the hollow of
my left arm, and she in a heavy slumber, her face close to mine. I
sat thus, immovable, until I was as sore and uncomfortable as though
in bonds, but I may as well confess that I felt repaid for all I had
undergone and was then undergoing through my self-enforced rigidity.
I lost all sense of drowsiness and was never more wide awake in my
life than when I determined to take advantage of the cursed force of
circumstance and keep her by me as a right. I would use the argument
placed in my power, which argument was the force of circumstance
itself. I had been a coward long enough.

The time went easily. The girl slept as quietly as a child, oblivious
of all the world. My own mind undoubtedly strayed from purely practical
matters, but I was suddenly brought to my senses by the sight of a
red and a green light, topped by a white one, bearing directly down
upon us. The vessel with the night signals was almost into us before I
realized its approach. If the pilot of the oncoming tug—for as such I
recognized her—had been no more attentive than I, we should be a wreck
in less than thirty seconds, and with no blame to him, as we carried no
light. Rudely awakening the girl I put the helm up and shouted with all
my power.

The black mass forged on until within two lengths of us. I heard the
powerful throbbing of her engine, the tearing hiss and splash from her
cut-water, and the churning of the propeller. In an instant more I
would hear the crashing of timbers, but as I strained my eyes on the
oncoming boat and threw my arm around the girl, ready for the worst, I
saw the shadow of a man as he ran from the engine-room to the wheel,
and then the tug suddenly swerved and passed us so close that I could
have touched her rail! In an instant she had slid by and then I leaped
up and shouted like one possessed:

“Come to! Come to, for God’s sake! We are in distress!”

There was a hoarse answer and the vessel sank into the darkness. I
thought we were to be abandoned and for an instant felt all the deep
hopelessness of a shipwrecked mariner in mid-ocean as he marks the loss
of a possible rescue. But presently I saw the green starboard light
reappear and knew, when the red light joined it, they were working to
return to us. There was the clang of a gong, a quick churning of the
reversed wheel, and the tug slowed up close at hand, keeping way gently
until it bumped against the sloop and a man leaped from its deck to
ours.

“What’s the row here?” he asked.

“We are crippled and adrift,” I answered. “I am no sailor, and there is
a lady aboard.”

The girl stood at my side as the man listened to my story, the
lividness of dawn in the east just touching his coarse face. His little
eyes shifted from her to me incessantly, and when I had finished he
gave an irritating laugh, for which I could have knocked him down with
a good grace.

“Blowed away, hey!” he said, expectorating over the rail and wiping
his mouth with the back of his hand. “D’ye mean ye hadn’t sense enough
to know when a cable’s bent an’ when it’s _on_bent? Wall, ’tain’t no
business o’ mine. Want to get aboard o’ us, hey? Yer green, fer a fact,
an’ I’ll be frank with ye. If ye leaves the sloop she’ll be derelict,
an’ I can pull her in an’ claim salvage. That’s the law. Course I’ll
take ye aboard if ye want, but ye had better bide here an’ give me a
hundred dollars fer a tow to New Haven. I got a date there an’ can’t do
better fer ye.”

“Where are we now?” I asked.

“Sum’ers off the Thimbles.”

I well knew that I was being taken advantage of, but a slight pressure
on my arm from the hand of Miss Edith told me it was no time for
bargaining, so, after a deal of backing and going ahead, we found
ourselves under way behind the tug, I still at the helm to prove that
the sloop had not been deserted.

Safe thus far I felt relieved, but, the first difficulty passed, the
remaining and greater phase of the situation reasserted itself. For
a long time neither the girl nor I spoke, and I fancied her face was
more deeply anxious in its expression than I had yet seen it. The light
broadened; the shore showed faintly against a clear sky, and the stars
grew pale and disappeared. Probably two hours more would get us into
harbor, and the subject of our adventure and our probable reception
home, even a plan for future movements, had not been touched upon.
Something must be said, but in my intense interest my brain went all
adrift and my intended delicacy was lost in my first blundering speech.

“You are looking tired, Miss Edith, but your last sleep was more
restful than your first.”

It was man-like stupidity. Her face flushed hotly as she turned it
away, but presently she looked at me and said:

“It has all been like a terrible dream, now that we are out of danger.
It seems days since we left the hotel, and—and—oh! what will papa
say—and Aunt Margaret? What will people think?” And she covered her
face with her hands.

“The last is not a knotty problem,” I replied gently, though I could
not spare her distress. “We will not be overburdened with Christ-like
charity, and the result may be hard for you to bear.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, dropping her hands.

“Do you not see?” said I, as with my heart beating rapidly I went
boldly to meet my fate. “Do you know so little of the world—of the
venom of it? We have done an innocent thing, but, forgive me, will
people believe it? Your father will be fiercely angry, society will be
skeptical, and—and I would protect you from all scandal; I would bear
your father’s anger for you.”

She was rosy now and her lips were half apart, but she did not answer.

“I know I am taking an undue advantage by making such a proposal here,
but it is the old force of circumstances which permits me. There is but
one way, Edith. Give me the right I would have—the right to protect
you! Does not your heart understand my meaning? We could then face the
world together and not care. No, that is not all,” I continued as I saw
she was about to speak. “God knows that affection lacks proper words
to express it! I have been so fearful—that is why I have been dumb so
long! To me the gale has been a godsend, not a misfortune. Edith, must
I be wrecked at last?”

She had turned away her face, but now she looked at me, not in anger
nor amazement. As she fixed her beautiful eyes on mine I saw the tears
come into them and overflow, but she made no answer.

“Have I hurt you?” I cried.

“You are generous,” she said; “but are you honest now? Are you sure
you wish this? Is it me you really want? You are a man and will not be
blamed—and I—well, I can live it down. The fault was mine, not yours.
Perhaps you will regret; perhaps it is because you are sorry for me
that you offer me your—your protection. Oh! be sure—be sure!”

I do not remember what I said or did then, but I know I had a ready
answer for this and urged it so vehemently, becoming oblivious to all
else, that the sloop yawed widely and I was called to earth by a shout
from the tug to the effect that I had better “mind my eye” and see what
in the devil I was about.

It was a strange wooing. Five o’clock in the morning is not a usual
hour for inspiration, yet I was never more eloquent. Nor were the chief
elements of the little drama picturesque—a woebegone and very much
mussed-up young lady with unkempt hair, her figure lost in the folds of
a dirty blanket, and a man with the appearance of having been hurriedly
starched and rough-dried. But there was a new pink in the cheeks of the
one and a new light in the eyes of the other, as Edith, without a word
in answer to my pleading, simply placed her soft hand in mine for a
moment, then brushing away her tears, ran below.

To the casual observer on the streets of New Haven no doubt we looked
somewhat time-worn, but this was partly mended by the milliner and the
tailor. I was still as idiotic as a man is likely to be after a heavy
stroke of good fortune, and it was when sitting in the hotel where I
had just penned the last of a number of telegrams that I turned to the
girl for my final triumph.

“Edith, it was only yesterday morning that you scoffed at the force of
circumstance and I hinted at a tale I could write that would convince
you. But I need not use invention—we have acted a story ourselves. You
have been forced to capitulate. Was I not right?”

“No, dear,” she returned softly. “My answer would have been the same
had you asked me long ago.”



                    _Before and After_


WANDERING WILLIE—Why wudn’t yer wanter be a millionaire, pard?

WEARY RAGGLES—What’s de diff’rence? Dose fellers git de dyspepsie an’
hev de distressed feelin’ arter eatin’, ’stead of afore, dat’s all.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            _Declined_

TED—It was a case of love at first sight with him.

NED—How was it with the girl?

TED—From the answer she gave him she must have had second
sight.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       _A Terrible Example_

LATSON—He used to be a newsboy, and now he is in the legislature.

CODWELL—That’s just what you might expect shooting craps
would lead to.

       *       *       *       *       *

Everybody tells you not to worry. The point is: how not to worry. Worry
is discontent swathed with timidity. Be brave in your worries by making
them protests. At least it helps your circulation.



                  _An Ideal Cruise in an Ideal Craft_


                           BY WALLACE IRWIN

    It were the good ship _Gentle Jane_
        On which we et and slept,
      The tightest, safest little craft
    As ever sailed, except—

    Her cargo it wuz gasolene
      And pitch-wood kindling light
    And powder fine and turpentine
      And tar and dynamite.

    Our crew wuz tried and trusty men
      As ever sailed the wet,
    And so I had full confidence
      In their discretion, yet—

    The cook _would_ dump hot, glowin’ coals
      In that there gasolene,
    And them there tars _would_ smoke cigars
      In the powder magazine.

    “Oh, Cap,” I sez to Capting White
      With reverent respect,
    “Now couldn’t we in trifles be
      A bit more circumspect?”

    “Well I’ll be blowed!” the Capting sez
      To pass the matter by.
    “Unless I’m wrong ere very long
      We’ll all be blowed,” sez I.

    And as I croke this little joke
      The sea got very rough,
    The gong went clang! the hull went bang!
      Our gallant ship went puff!

    A cloud o’ smoke with us on top
      A million fathoms lept—
    Yet in that muss not one of us
      Wuz scratched or hurt, except—

    Our gallant Capting lost his head.
      Our Mate his limbs and breath,
    The soup wuz spilled, our crew wuz killed,
      Our cook wuz scared to death.

    So often in the stilly night
      I long with fond regret
    To sail again the _Gentle Jane_
      Upon the sea, and yet—



                    _The Heritage of Maxwell Fair_


                           BY VINCENT HARPER


                               CHAPTER I

With the smoking pistol still in his hand he stepped over the prostrate
man and, grasping Mrs. Fair’s bare shoulder, shook her until she looked
up.

“Quick! For God’s sake, Janet, get to your room!” he said, trying to
make her comprehend what he meant, but she only stared at him vacantly,
her white face filled with terror and her eyes fixed on the form on the
floor—that of a man in evening dress, across whose wide shirt front a
streak of blood was widening.

“Why did he come here?” she asked, hiding the sickening sight with her
hands before her eyes. “He swore he would not. This is horrible!”

“Come, Janet, come,” remonstrated Fair, seizing her again. “It’s past
seven, and they will be here presently. My God, can’t you see what this
means? He’s dead!”

“Oh, don’t, don’t,” she cried, shuddering as if the truth burned her
brain. “Ugh! See!” she gasped as she caught sight of a splash of red on
her gown.

“Yes, and you stand here! Are you mad?” muttered Fair, pushing her to
the door. “Go, now, and change—and be careful what you do with that
dress. Hark! There’s the bell now. Remember, until they go, you must
betray no feeling. Are you great enough to do this? You won’t fail me?”

“Anything, Maxwell, for your sake—but you—what will you do
with—_that_?” she asked, looking over her shoulder at the thing as if
it fascinated her.

“Leave everything to me,” he answered, pulling her chin around so that
she could not see. “I assume all. Remember, girl, it was I, do you
understand? Go!”

When he had finally closed the door upon her, he gave way to his
agony—but only for a moment. With a quietness and rapidity that seemed
to astonish even himself he placed the pistol upon the library-table,
locked both of the doors, drew the heavy red velvet curtains across the
window and, bending over the fallen man, critically examined him.

Satisfied that life was extinct, he pulled the body over to the
fireplace, beside which, at right angles to the side of the room, there
stood a large Italian chest with a very high carved back. Into this
chest Fair lifted the limp body of the man and thoughtfully placed a
number of heavy books and magazines upon it. Then carefully glancing
about the room and noticing no evidences of the crime, he sat down,
wiped his brow, and closing his eyes, tried to let the stupendous facts
of the last five minutes become realities to his mind—to formulate
some practical line of action in the future which those five minutes
had so fatally revolutionized.

The way that he started at a respectful tap at the library door showed
him what a terribly changed man he already was, and it was with a
petulant, unnatural voice that he shouted: “Well? That you, Baxter?”

“A man, sir, who insists upon seeing you, sir,” answered Baxter, Fair’s
old butler, whom he had inherited with the estates and furniture, felt
grateful to as a faithful servant, and tolerated as an incompetent old
bore.

“Tell him to go to the devil, with my compliments, and to come to my
office if he really has business with me!” thundered Fair, not at all
like himself.

Baxter shook his head as he said: “Very good, sir,” and toddled
downstairs, putting two and two together as servants will in the best
regulated families.

The furniture seemed to be all out of place, so Fair pulled it this
way and that, but wherever he placed it, it still seemed, to his mind,
to show that a scuffle had taken place. After abandoning the idea of
getting it to look right, he devoted his anxious attention to his own
appearance, which, although his faultless evening attire was immaculate
and his thin, brown hair, with a touch of gray, was smooth and precise,
seemed to him to betray the fact that he had passed through a scene of
some sort. Giving up the effort to discover just what was wrong, he
unlocked the doors, drew his chair to the table and toyed with a pen
and some sheets of paper on which he began several times to write.

“Maxwell Fair, old chap,” he said to himself, looking up at the
ceiling, “this is pretty well near the end—but it’s all in the day’s
work.”

Then he dashed off two telegrams and rang the bell, which Baxter
promptly answered, having been standing at the door. “Did you ring,
sir?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Fair. “Here, see that these two telegrams are sent
immediately—but wait. Baxter, a gentleman called about twenty minutes
ago. Did you let him in?”

He watched the old man’s face closely as he replied: “Yes, sir. A dark,
foreign-looking gentleman, sir.”

“Yes,” went on Fair, picking up the evening paper carelessly and
speaking with great indifference; “he is in my study. Just fetch his
coat and hat here, will you? And, by the way, did any of the other
servants see him?”

“The gentleman said he was an old friend of my lady’s—and none of the
other servants saw him, sir. Aren’t you well, sir? I hope that nothing
has occurred, sir,” answered Baxter, with an old servant’s liberty.

“No,” snapped Fair, with irritation, but going on more in his usual
way. “Now look sharp and fetch the gentleman’s coat. A very old friend
of Mrs. Fair’s. What was the other chap like—the one who wished to see
me?”

“Oh, him, sir,” replied Baxter, with a servant’s contempt for callers
of his own class in society, “he were a quiet-spoken, ordinary sort of
party, sir, as said he come from Scotland Yard.”

Fair was too well in hand by this time to wince as he heard this bit
of disturbing coincidence, but he said to himself: “My word, they are
prompt—but, damn it, they can’t have known!” Then, happening to look
up and seeing the old butler, “What are you waiting for?”

“I beg your pardon, sir,” gently began Baxter, shuffling nearer to
Fair, “but, Mr. Fair, sir—Master Maxwell—you’ll forgive an old
servant that served your father and grandfather before you, sir. There
ain’t no trouble like, or anythink a-hangin’ over us, is there, sir?
One of the parlormaids thought that she heard a shot, sir—and——”

“Oh, yes,” quickly responded Fair, with a laugh, “I was cleaning this
old pistol and it went off. Get on now. Trouble? Why, look at me,
Baxter. I’m the luckiest dog in the world. I have just made another
fortune.”

“Thank God for that, sir,” quietly replied old Baxter, moving toward
the door, at which he turned and said, “The gentleman will be dining,
of course?”

“No, he can’t stop. In fact, he wishes to leave the house unobserved
by our guests when we are at dinner—so fetch his hat and coat,” said
Fair, again settling down to his evening paper.

“I was forgetting, sir,” once more the querulous old voice began, “that
Miss Mettleby said that the children are coming to say good night——”

“The children?” exclaimed Fair, caught off his guard. “No—good God,
no!—that is, I mean I shall be engaged. Tell Miss Mettleby so. Be off.”

With suspicions now thoroughly aroused and full of misgivings Baxter
did as he was bid, and his master jerked the paper open again and
slapped at the crease to make the sheet flat. But his eyes wandered
aimlessly.

“The children—gad! I had forgotten them,” he muttered as he thought
with horror what this all meant to them. Time after time he tried to
read the leading article which was about his own brilliant achievement,
but with a mad spasm he crumpled the newspaper into a ball and flung it
across the great room, exclaiming, “Why didn’t the infernal blackguard
know when he was well off?”

“The gentleman’s coat and hat, sir,” said Baxter, coming in annoyingly.

“Very well—now go,” retorted Fair peevishly. “Ask Mr. Travers to come
up here the moment he arrives. Here, here—you are forgetting the
telegrams. You seem to forget everything lately. You are too careless.”

“So I am, so I am,” quavered the poor old beggar, with tears in his
voice. “I shall soon be of very little service, sir.”

“Nonsense,” answered Fair, touched by the old fellow’s feeling. “You
have twenty years of good work before you. But, I say, Baxter, I forgot
to tell you—we are leaving town tomorrow morning. Discharge all of the
servants tonight. Hear me? All of them—tonight.”

“Tonight, sir?” exclaimed Baxter, dropping his little silver card-tray.
“They will be expecting a month’s notice, sir.”

“That means a month’s pay, I suppose,” answered Fair sharply. “Give
them a year’s pay, if you like—but get them out of the house tomorrow
morning before nine o’clock. You see, I have sold the house, and the
new owner takes possession at ten. You understand me? We shall, of
course, take you and Anita with us—to the continent, you know.”

“I hear, sir,” replied Baxter, adding, after a dazed and groping moment,
“some of them have been in our family’s service for twenty years. That
is a long time, sir, and they will think it hard to be——”

“By Jove, that’s so!” exclaimed Fair, pacing up and down with a growing
sense of disgust and rage at having to cramp his future into the
ignominious bondage of a desperate situation. “No, I can’t turn them
away. Tell them that I shall instruct my solicitor to provide for them
for life—yes, tell them that. Come here, Baxter,” he went on, rapidly
losing control of himself and pathetically stretching his hands out as
if to grasp the love and sympathy of someone; “I haven’t been a hard
master, have I? No. And when the end comes, you won’t turn against me?
I—I—I—oh, damn it, clear out of here, won’t you?”

“Why, my dear young master, whatever ails you, sir?” cried the old
butler, grasping the hand that Fair waved to him. “If you did but know
how we all love you, sir, perhaps you would——”

“Do you? Do you?” broke in Fair feverishly. “That’s right, too. But,
Baxter, things have gone wrong, and in a few hours I may need all the
love that you or anybody else will give me. Get out of here, can’t you?”

Baxter threw his arms about the young man’s neck. “Come what may, sir,
there shall not be found a better friend than your poor old servant.”
And then, holding the lapels of Fair’s coat, he added, with much
embarrassment and tenderness, “And, sir, if I might make so bold—I
have close on a thousand pounds in the funds, and every penny——”

“Every penny is mine, you were going to say?” interrupted Fair,
smiling even in his despair at the old man’s estimate of his needs.
“Thanks, thanks, old comrade; but no amount of money can stave off
the blue devils at times, you know. You knew my fathers, Baxter. They
were a race of damned fools who were ready at a moment’s notice to
lose everything for an idea! I am their son—I am their heir—and the
damnedest fool of the lot.”

As he said this Fair raised his head with a look so defiant, so full
of an almost supernatural exaltation, so nearly that which shines in
the eye of the victim of a fixed idea or of a fatal hallucination that
Baxter, who was not expert at psychological analysis, felt a vague
misgiving that his eccentric young master had suddenly gone off his
head.

And one more penetrating than old Baxter would have been amazed at the
change which had come over the expression of the agitated man. The look
of horror and disgust and consternation was gone, and in its place had
come the fire of enthusiasm, the sublime uplift of the martyr, the
terrifying concentration of some irrational, uncalculating, final _idée
fixe_.

“See who that is,” he said to the butler when a knock was heard.

“It is Miss Mettleby, sir,” replied Baxter from the door.

“Oh, come in, come in,” called out Fair with unaccountable eagerness.


                              CHAPTER II

The girl who entered as he spoke had come into Mrs. Fair’s employ as a
governess from a Somersetshire parsonage. She was tall, carried herself
with the unconscious ease of one who, with a nature susceptible of the
deepest emotion and broadest culture, has grown up in the open and in
ignorance of the world, and at eight-and-twenty had settled down to the
monotony and hopelessness of a life of thankless dependence.

From the moment of coming into the family of the famous financier Kate
Mettleby had felt, as who had not, the subtle charm of his personality;
yet with her it was not a natural appreciation of a character at
once brilliant and winsome, but rather a sort of terrifying though
exquisitely pleasurable sense of oneness with the man. Hers was a
mind far too devoid of precedents and mental experience to be capable
or even desirous of analyzing the feeling which she was aware she
entertained for the calm, strong, self-reliant father of the
children whom she was to teach. She knew only that Maxwell Fair was
different—oh, so different—from all other men, and that, without the
faintest shadow of love for him—which her simple, country mind would
have thought sinful and degrading—he, or that mystical something that
he stood for in her mind, had made forever impossible all thought of
ever loving another.

Had she been asked to name the reason for so abnormal and morbid a
fancy, she would have been utterly powerless to do so. Maxwell Fair
was as much of a puzzle to her as he was to everybody, both in society
and in the city. This man, whose name was now in everybody’s mouth as
the most daring and successful operator on ’Change, had come to London
less than five years before with nothing, so far as was known, but the
entailed and heavily burdened estates in Norfolk which he had inherited
from his father, who, old men declared, had been little short of a
madman.

By a series of dashing ventures in mining stocks Fair had attracted
attention, and, what was more to the purpose, accumulated enough ready
cash to enable him to avail himself of the situation then confronting
the speculative world. At the very top of the Kaffir and other South
African securities boom, when men were buying with an eagerness and
recklessness amounting to frenzy, Fair was quietly selling, so that
when the crash came and the breaking out of the Boer War knocked the
bottom out of values, he had the satisfaction of buying back at panic
prices the very shares which he had prudently disposed of at absurdly
exaggerated prices some time before.

Establishing his family in the mansion which he had bought in the
princely Carlton House Terrace, Fair rapidly became as fascinating
and puzzling in society as he had proved Napoleonic and baffling in
Throgmorton street, where was his office. Women found him quaintly
and refreshingly chivalrous and almost annoyingly happy as a
conversationalist, while men who sought his acquaintance with an eye
to business connections—and were disappointed—discovered that the chap
from whom they had hoped to learn the secrets of success was a fellow
of infinite jest, a capital _raconteur_ and a frank, generous, genial
companion withal.

Such was Maxwell Fair when once more the newspapers announced that he
had disposed of the celebrated Empire Mines stock which he had picked
up—after a personal inspection of the property in Mexico—when nobody
else would touch it, at the staggering figure of over ten times what
he had paid for the shares, netting by the transaction close upon two
hundred thousand pounds.

At innumerable dinner-tables at that moment he was being discussed,
envied and lauded to the skies—and he himself sat with flushed,
nervous face awaiting guests, and now bidding the strangest woman whom
he had ever met enter with some message from the nursery.

“The children are ready for bed, Mr. Fair,” said Miss Mettleby,
standing in that humble posture which he had begged her never to
assume, because it somehow irritated him very much. “Are they to come
down to say good night? Or shall you come up?”

“That will do, Baxter,” said Fair, noticing that the old butler still
puttered about the room as if intending to remain. Baxter reluctantly
went out and closed the door, which, one is disposed to fear, meant
that the interested old servant did not go far on its other side.

“I am engaged,” continued Fair, looking up at Miss Mettleby. “I will go
up and kiss them afterward. Sit down—no, not on that chest, please.”

“Why not?” asked Miss Mettleby, surprised. “It’s my favorite seat—it
is so comfortable.”

“It makes me uncomfortable to see you sit there—at any time,” answered
Fair, endeavoring to appear whimsical and indifferent, as usual.
“So—thank you. That’s better. Well, Kate, the three months are
over—to the very day, I believe. Coincidences are strange sometimes,
are they not? The time is up. Have you decided?”

“I have,” returned Kate so quickly that he started.

“Well?” he asked, after waiting in vain for her to go on.

“I leave Mrs. Fair’s service on the first of next month,” quietly
replied the governess, evidently with a quietness which cost her much,
and as if bracing herself for the crisis of her life. “I have secured
another position—with Lord Linklater’s family. I have advised Mrs.
Fair already.”

“I’m glad of it—why, you look hurt. Fie!” taunted Fair. “Such virtue
should be pleased, not hurt. The eternal feminine will out, though,
always.”

“Pardon me,” retorted Kate stiffly, “I am heartily glad that you are
glad. May I ask what has moved you to so commendable a frame of mind?
If you had a conscience, I would say that it had at last awakened.
Ah, I see—it was pride. What a mercy it is that when nature left
conscience out of the aristocracy it supplied them with pride! Were it
not for good form, how many gentlemen would there be? I congratulate
you.”

“Go on,” urged Fair, settling back into his chair with the smile of
amused superiority which he very often indulged in, contrary to his
real feeling, to draw her out. “By Jove, you have enough cant to
stock a whole meeting of dissenting old ladies. What a mercy it is,
as you would put it, that when heaven forgot to endow young females
with common sense, it gave them such a superabundance of pharisaical
tommy-rot! If it were not for maiden aunts and governesses, how much
_talk_ of virtue—talk, I say—would there be in this naughty world?”

“It is well that there are some who, even by talking, remind men
that there is, in theory at least, such a thing as honor,” replied
Kate, with a sneaking notion that she was talking very platitudinous
platitudes.

“Oh, entirely so,” drawled Fair sneeringly. “But isn’t it a pity that
the milk of human kindness should be soured by the vinegar of
puritanical self-righteousness? I promised you that I would not speak
to you for three months. I have kept my promise. Now I am going to
have my say—now, now, don’t fidget, I beg of you! A very different
man is going to speak to you now from the one who said what I said to
you on the deck of the sinking yacht that night. Do you remember, Miss
Mettleby?”

“I wish that I could hope some day to forget it,” answered the girl,
flaming scarlet.

Fair rose as if trying to control emotions that were shaking his
foundations. “Don’t you see?” he burst out, confronting her; “don’t you
see that your hopelessness in that connection is the result of only one
possible cause? You love me.”

“Mr. Fair!” screamed the governess, springing to her feet with a
gesture of protest that died in the making, for the clutch of the truth
of his words was about her throat. “Truly, sir, you forget your own
dignity and my dependent and defenseless position. I cannot hear this
from you, sir.”

“But you must hear me—you shall hear me,” he flung back at her. Then
with a tenderness that was harder to resist: “And, Miss Mettleby—Kate,
you really need not fear or try to shun me now. God knows, I shall be
helpless and harmless enough. Yes, Kate, the rich and powerful Maxwell
Fair will in a day or two be buried under the contempt and scorn of
all good men. But, by the right of dying men, I claim that I may speak
to you. I am glad that you are leaving us. I wish to God that you had
never come. Among your many virtues you include courage. May I confide
in you? Ask your advice? Lean on you?”

Had he struck her, had he pressed on her a suit that bore dishonor on
its face, she could have met him, young and untutored in the arts of
life though she was. But when the great, calm, finished man to whom she
had looked up in an unspoken worship laid his hand pleadingly upon her
now, and those dear, merry lips of his quivered and almost failed
to shape his piteous cry that she should help him, it was with a
tremendous effort that she conquered the impulse to throw her arms
about his neck, and said calmly:

“Mr. Fair, this is scarcely kind of you. My God, how ill you look!
Forgive me, sir, if I am the unhappy cause of any of your present
suffering.”

“Kate,” he said at length, looking wistfully at her.

“Yes, Mr. Fair,” she replied, hushed and unable to protest further.

“Kate, you have been with us for two years,” he began, speaking very
low. “Little by little you grew into my life. The hungry yearning for
I knew not what, the restless madness, the sense of emptiness and of
despair, all that had turned my life into the aimless thing it was,
seemed to give place within me to a strange, new spirit of hope and
faith and comfort. And you, you, little woman, were the cause of that
wondrous change. As I saw you moving about the house so sweetly, as
I heard you singing the children to sleep, as I noted the difference
between you and the women who had made my world, I came slowly to
realize that you were all to me. Did I tell you this? Did I show it in
any way?”

“You were a gentleman,” replied Miss Mettleby, regaining control of
herself sufficiently to speak as she thought she should and no longer
as she wished. “And, anyhow, had you forgot your honor and my position
so far as to have spoken, you know that I would have left your roof at
once. Please, may I not go now?”

Her manner galled him as all that was not genuine did always, and he
was about to sneer at the phrase, “leave your roof,” but he at once
recognized that to her mind, in which truths were broad, general,
axiomatic propositions, and not complex and subtle many-sided phases
of propositions, there would be no halting ground between her present
attitude and actual dishonor. So he went on.

“No; please do not go yet. Good heavens! when I am done you will regret
your wish to leave me. Well then, I did not speak to you. I quite
ignored you, treated you like a servant. But it was from no sense of
honor, mark you; for I deny that honor, yours or mine, would have been
lost by speaking. Nor was it from a squeamish fear of the proprieties
and the conventionalities that I refrained, for I would brush the world
aside as so much stubble if it should stand between me and my right to
truth. No, Kate, it was not from the lofty principles which you imagine
to be God’s, nor from my foolish pride as an aristocrat—how could
you, even for a moment, think me so base? I remained silent because,
whether for good or ill, I have devoted all I am to an idea, a cause, a
purpose.”

As he spoke these last few words a number of conflicting thoughts
passed through Kate’s mind. With only the vaguest notion of his
meaning, jealousy shot a stinging, momentary, utterly illogical shaft
through her heart, which was followed by a profoundly feminine feeling
of injury in being thus coolly told that she would have been addressed
had not some paramount other interest absorbed his mind.

“Indeed?” she remarked, with what she thought was biting sarcasm, but
which a much less penetrating mind than Maxwell Fair’s would have at
once taken as an indication of jealousy and love. “And so you plume
yourself, do you, on considering your wife and children an idea, a
cause, a purpose, to which, for good or ill, you have made up your mind
to give all that you are? Heroic, I must say, and so unusual.”

“Governess! Sunday-school moralizer!” he jeered at her. “No, nor was
I deterred by that still more arrant humbug about ‘penniless and
dependent females’ that you learned from our past masters of humbug
and lachrymose moral biliousness, the great novelists. No, it was not
because you were a poor orphan girl in my employ, and, consequently,
incapable of defending yourself, that I refrained from speaking to
you. Rubbish! The cant of moral snobs! As if the virtue of poor girls
was made of weaker stuff than that of rich ones! My God, did I want
victims, I swear I would pursue them in drawing-rooms with more success
than in the servants’ hall.”

“I really cannot see what all this has to do with you and me,” coldly
remarked Miss Mettleby when he paused.

“You will see presently,” Fair answered, ignoring her freezing manner
and with rapidly growing intensity and feeling. “I remained silent. I
crucified my heart, denied my soul. But that night, Kate, when you and
I alone were clinging to the yacht and neither of us hoped to see the
sun again, I told you. It was my right. It was your right as well.”

“And, half dead as I was, I shamed you, sir, and called you what you
were by every law of God and man and honor,” she flung back at him with
a flush of remembered nobility very comforting in the light of more
recent less lofty thoughts.

“Yes,” replied Fair, with his old-time elevation and calmness, which
were a mainspring of his influence over her; “yes, the habits of a
lifetime cling to us, Kate, making us dare to lie upon the very edge
of death and coming judgment. I loved you, and I told you. You loved
me, and denied it. And we were both about to face eternity! Which of us
would have faced it with the cleaner heart?”

“Oh, don’t, don’t!” she cried, shrinking from him. “You know I cannot
argue with you. But I am sure that I was right, that I am right now.
Please let me go.”

“In a moment, in a moment,” he answered, grasping her two hands. “I
probably will never see you again, Kate—so let me now speak out. I
asked you to take three months to think it over, and promised you that
I would then give you the reasons for my strange conduct and beg of you
to face the world with me for our great love’s sake.”

“Yes,” she said, freeing her hands; “you said you would be able to
convince me that there was no dishonor in your love, no wrong in what
you would propose that we should do. Three months you gave me—three
months. Why, Mr. Fair, three minutes would be enough for me to reach
the only possible decision which you, an English gentleman, can ask a
young and unprotected English girl like me to make. But I was grateful
for your three months’ silence. If you could trust yourself, I am
compelled to own that I could not so trust myself. I love you—may God
forgive me, but I cannot help it! But your chivalrous respite of three
months has given me a grip upon myself. I do not fear myself. I do not
fear even you. I am to leave your house, never to see you again. And
some day you will thank me.”

There had been a wondrous new development of strength and beauty in her
as she spoke, and Fair had watched her with profoundest feeling.

“Kate, Kate, you wrong me, upon my honor!” he cried when she ceased.
“The promise that I made you was one that I could keep. There is a
mystery, an awful something in my life, that has through all these
years kept me so falsely true, that, being true to one great object
fixed on me by my fate, I’ve been compelled to seem what I am not to
all the world. To get you, Kate, to rest at last my broken heart upon
your love, I was this very night to break the self-imposed conditions
of my weird life-purpose. God! how I counted them, these long, slow
days, waiting for this one! An hour ago I still supposed that I could
fold you on my heart tonight and tell you everything! I thought that I
could say the word that would dispel your doubts and make you—you only
in the world see me as God does. But now I cannot. Be brave and hear
me, Kate,” he added, holding her arm, which was trembling under the
influence of his own great passion. “I am a criminal. I have done that
which must make you despise me, must drive me from the society of men,
and bring me to the gibbet.”

Forgetting all her previous moods, Miss Mettleby allowed the choking
man to lean against her as she cried. “You are ill. Take my arm—so.
And oh, believe me, that nothing that you imagine you have done,
nothing that you could do, can rob you of one poor and weak, but brave
and true girl’s friendship. Do let me call your wife. Yes, I will call
her—let me. And you must tell her. Tell her—her, not me.”

“Stop! Stop!” cried Fair, frantically holding the struggling girl, who
was making for the door; “and be quiet. Hear me. It’s all that I can
say, but it will show you, Kate, that, if I am a criminal, I mean you
no dishonor. You want to call my wife. _I have no wife!_ She is not——”

He was cut short by Baxter, who stood at the door at that moment and
announced, “Mr. Travers.” Travers entered smiling, and Fair, with a
completeness of mastery over his feelings which Kate could not believe
true, sang out: “Travers, old chap, glad to see you! What’s the good
word?”

Miss Mettleby slipped out of the library and ran up to her little room.
She knew that now it would be impossible to see him again that night,
as it would be late when the last guest had gone. Throwing herself on
her bed, she tried to make it all out. His crime—his saying that he
had no wife—the awful something in his life which, for her sake, he
was to have broken from that very night—what did it all mean?

She could grasp no idea out of the chaos long enough for it to
take shape in her mind. She drifted helplessly down the torrent of
tumultuous fears and hopes and hungers, knowing only one thing—that
she loved him, she loved him.


                              CHAPTER III

The man who now came in was that lovable, unlucky, wonderfully clever
Dick Travers, who was forty and a failure when a manager, miraculously
experiencing a lucid interval, brought out his five hundredth play,
“The Idiot,” since which time five hundred managers coquet with him
for each new play. But all this was after the time now reached. Dick
Travers was still a failure whom Fair had met before his own ascent to
opulence, and to whom he was drawn by several ties, among which was
their common taste for etchings in dry-point and the more tangible
common interest in yachting and hatred for most things foreign.

“Pretty well right, thanks,” replied Travers to Fair’s welcome, adding
immediately with much excitement, “and by Jove, old man, have you seen
the evening papers? You’ve got a lot of those Empire shares, haven’t
you? Well, the blooming things went up to two hundred and eighty today.”

“Not really?” exclaimed Fair, enjoying the innocent’s naïve idea
that all this was news to the man who had put up the shares to that
altitude. “Baxter, some brandy and soda. Look sharp.”

“Yes, sir; thank you, sir,” answered Baxter with spirit as he trotted
out after the brandy and soda, pathetically clutching the hope that his
young master’s case could not be so desperate after all, since he was
meeting his friend’s high spirits with equally high ones.

“You picked up these shares, didn’t you,” asked Travers, sitting on
the end of the table, “when they were being kicked about the Street at
about twenty? Lord, what a lucky devil you are. I, on the contrary,
bought those beastly Australian King shares, and they went up also—in
smoke.”

“I am lucky, am I not?” acquiesced Fair, glancing over at the chest.
“In fact, I wanted to talk to you tonight about myself. Do you see this
pistol? Do you recognize it?” he went on, with so abrupt a change of
subject and expression that Travers stood up with an uncomfortable look.

“Perfectly,” he answered, after taking up the pistol and looking at it;
“it is the one poor Ponsonby gave you—but what’s the game, old man?”

“Examine it. Is it loaded?” asked Fair with tormenting mystery.

“Yes. All the chambers are full. Translate, please,” said Travers after
carefully inspecting the revolver, with growing annoyance.

“Oh, come, now, look at it carefully,” cried Fair, with what seemed
absurd warmth to Travers. “Isn’t one of the chambers empty? Have
another look.”

“Right you are—one cartridge has been discharged,” answered Travers.

“Recently, wouldn’t you say?” continued Fair.

“Yes, perhaps,” replied Travers, becoming seriously disturbed by this
most unwonted development of character in the hard-headed and practical
Fair. “But what the deuce is the game, you know?”

“Nothing,” answered Fair, putting down the pistol and turning from the
table as if about to turn from the gruesome subject as well. “I had a
fancy that I wanted you to notice these little details. I may ask you
to remember them some day. By the way, you are going to Drayton Hall
tomorrow?”

“Yes,” quickly replied Travers, only too glad to follow some new lead.
“Sir Nelson asked me at the club last night. Who is to be there?
Drayton is no end of a bore, you know, when Lady Poynter has what she
calls ‘the literary set’ down. The men are a lot of insufferable prigs,
and the women—oh, hang it, you know what they are.”

“Yes,” drawled Fair, himself again; “if one could ever meet the women
who write! But one can’t, you know—it is the women who think they
write that one meets. But we are safe tomorrow. Poynter assured me that
nobody with brains would be down—so we count upon a comfortable time.
Anyhow, I shall be running back to town in the evening, and, before
I forget it, I want you and Allyne to give me the night—here at the
house. I have a bit of rather serious work on my hands.”

“I’m yours, of course,” answered Travers. “But, I say, old chap, let
up on this melodrama, can’t you? Be a man and try to bear up bravely
under your increased income of sixty thousand more a year. Now I have
a jolly good right to chronic blue devils, for I never succeeded at
anything in my life, as you know. But you—gad! it’s treason for you to
do a blessed thing but chant pæans of victory—and pour libations on
yourself.”

“Never fear,” laughed Fair, “I’m the happiest man alive. You have
no idea of what I possess. Why, hang it, man,” he went on with an
unpleasant ring in his voice that puzzled and alarmed Travers, “I tell
you, I have things that would surprise you—in this very room. Ah,
here’s the brandy and soda.”

Baxter entered and deposited the tray on the table, but, although he
took an unconscionable long time to arrange the decanters and glasses,
he could get no hint of the drift of the conversation, as neither of
the gentlemen spoke until the absorbing process of “mixing” was over
and Baxter gone.

“I forgot to tell you,” began Travers, with his glass in his hand,
“that I saw that Cuban chap, Lopez, this morning, and he wants me to
dine with him to meet another yellow gent from the land of cigars, who
says that he knows you, or rather, Mrs. Fair. Can you imagine who he
may be?”

“It is probably a man named Mendes, a very rich planter,” answered
Fair, after a few moments, during which he was critically studying the
rich amber color of his drink as he held his glass between his eye and
the light. “I fancy it must be Mendes, for he was in London today—but
he left very suddenly this afternoon. Have another drink.”

“Left, eh?” asked Travers, filling his glass. “Thank heaven, for then
I sha’n’t have to meet him. I hate those Cubans. Always seem to have
something up their sleeve—and to have forgot tubbing that morning.”

“But you would like Mendes, I’m sure,” returned Fair, smiling. “Plays
chess better than any man on earth, I believe. He was good enough to
call to say good-bye, although he was in a beastly hurry. If you had
kept your promise and dropped in for a go at billiards, you would have
met him. I was able to do him a trifling service at one time ages ago,
and the fellow seems never to forget it. I’m sorry he’s gone; I am,
really.”

“Not returning, then?” inquired Travers, with no very great interest.

“I’m afraid not,” replied Fair, with a slight uneasiness. “I’d give a
good deal to see him walk in that door this minute, though. You see——”

“Mr. Allyne is in the billiard-room, sir,” announced Baxter at the door.

“Run in and tell Allyne that I’ll join you presently, will you, Dick,
that’s a good chap?” said Fair, with more of command than suggestion
in his tone, so that Travers obeyed and followed Baxter down to the
billiard-room.

In an instant Fair’s whole bearing changed. Closing the door, he picked
up the hat and coat that Baxter had brought from the passage and thrust
them into the large chest, carefully averting his face as he did so.
Dropping into his chair he wiped the cold sweat from his face and
signaled to the crack in the side door that whoever it was that had
been gently opening it for some little time might now come in. As he
knew, it was Mrs. Fair, who then entered, attired in another dinner
gown.

Motioning to her that she must speak softly, Fair said: “Allyne and
Travers are in the billiard-room. The rest will be coming presently.
How are you, poor little Janet?”

She came and sat on the arm of his chair and put her face down upon his
shoulder. “Am I awake?” she moaned after a few seconds. “Oh, Maxwell,
for God’s sake, wake me and tell me that I have been dreaming. My God,
what can we do? Where is—it?”

“Hush!” replied Fair, holding his arm about her. “Try not to think of
him, dear. Be brave, sweet, for a couple of hours. Don’t be afraid.
Have I ever failed you?”

“No, no—never, Maxwell—God bless you, never,” she sobbed. “But,
oh—look, look—quick, hide that pistol!”

“I left it there on purpose,” he answered quietly and reassuringly.
“Now don’t in any way try to alter my plans. I have thought more in the
last half-hour than I ever did in all the rest of my life. Everything
is provided for. At this time tomorrow night you and the children will
be safe on the continent. What did you do with that other dress?”

“Ugh,” she shuddered; “while I was taking it off baby came running into
the room and wanted to touch the horrible spots. I wrapped the accursed
thing up in stout paper and gave it to Miss Mettleby. Why, you are not
afraid that she—but no. Well, I told her it was a surprise for you,
and she will hide it somewhere while we are at dinner, and tell me
after.”

“That was a wise move,” said Fair. “And now, Janet, a brave heart, old
girl, and this beastly dinner will be over. What a trump you are!”

“Trust me,” she replied, looking with infinite loyalty at the man who
had stood for so much so strangely much in her torn and beaten life.
“Trust me. But, Maxwell, when the end comes, as it most surely will,
you will explain how it came to be done—you will tell them how his
crimes deserved this. For the children’s sake you won’t be foolish and
sacrifice yourself to protect others? Oh, promise me, promise me.”

“Poor little woman!” he answered, with great tenderness. “Yes, yes, all
shall be told. Hush! I hear them on the stairs. Yes, they are coming.”

When Baxter with much ceremony threw open the door of the library, Mr.
and Mrs. Maxwell Fair stood there radiantly cordial and unruffled to
welcome the three or four intimate friends who were dining with them.

“Sir Nelson and Lady Poynter, Mrs. March, Mr. Travers, Mr. Allyne,”
solemnly announced Baxter at the door, and these several ladies and
gentlemen, all chatting and beaming, hurried forward to pay their
respects to the most talked of man in London and his gracious and
handsome wife.


CHAPTER IV

“My dear Lady Poynter, it was so good of you and Sir Nelson to honor
us—Mrs. March, so glad,” said Mrs. Fair, advancing to greet them.

“Good evening, good evening, everybody,” blustered old Sir Nelson,
with a red face and a warm heart. “And, Fair, my lad, I see that those
shares that you put me into behaved rather well today. You must have
made a rather neat turn in them. Come, now, how was it?”

“Pretty well, Sir Nelson,” answered Fair. “I sold out just before the
close at two hundred and seventy-five.”

“Then you must have cleared a hundred thousand net?” said Sir Nelson.

“A bit over double that amount, I think my brokers said,” replied Fair,
with no more feeling than he would have shown in announcing a change in
the weather.

“Hear that, now,” pouted Mrs. March. “Why can’t you gentlemen ever
think of the widow and the fatherless when you, as you say, ‘put in’
your friends on such occasions?”

This little lady was by general consent the most charming widow
in the world, her brilliant mind, plump person and winsome manner
having beguiled no end of confirmed bachelors into forgetting their
resolutions—but without success, for Mrs. March remained Mrs. March
season after season.

“Ah, my dear Mrs. March,” protested Allyne the incomprehensible, “what
heresy! Just fancy what a pity it would be if widows and younger sons
and all other picturesque people were to be made commonplace by money.
A widow’s charm lies in her delicious appeal to the protection of all
men. With a million in the funds, a widow would find no end of chaps
asking her to protect them—and so the charm would be gone. And as for
us younger sons—well, just contrast that solemn ass, my brother the
viscount, and the penniless, the clever, the dashing, the—how shall
I do justice to a thing so lovely as I? No, Sir Nelson, if you ever
put me into any of your vulgar good things, I’ll cut you, by Jove—and
society will owe you a grudge for having robbed it of its chief
ornament—a younger son who is a very younger son indeed.”

“I am afraid that Mr. Allyne’s philosophy is too deep for me,” laughed
Mrs. Fair, and Travers remarked sweetly, “Allyne, you’re an idiot.”

“But such a blissful idiot,” smilingly went on the very younger son.
“Awfully funny, but nobody can ever deny what I say. We pity Mrs. March,
the widow, and envy Mrs. Fair, the wife—but, you know, by Jove, I’d
turn it the other way about, don’t you know? No offense, Fair—nothing
personal. No, my friends, appearances are deceitful. I’ll lay you a
thousand guineas that Fair can’t get what he wants with all his Empire
shares and the rest of it, whereas I have everything I want, besides
several elder brothers that I do not want. I have everything I want, I
tell you.”

“Yes,” retorted Mrs. March, “of course you have, since all that you
care to have is an absurd idea of your own importance.”

“A hit, a palpable hit!” roared Sir Nelson as they all laughed.

“Cruel,” protested Allyne. “And to punish you, Mrs. March, I shall ask
Mrs. Fair to allow me to take you down to dinner.”

“I protest,” shouted Sir Nelson with fine gallantry; “I claim her.”

“Jealous,” sneered Allyne. “Shame! Why, Poynter, your bald spot is as
big as your brain area—and Lady Poynter here, too. Fie on you!”

“But Mrs. Fair can’t give Mrs. March any such sentence as placing her
at your mercy, Allyne,” said Travers; “for it is a principle of law
that it is unlawful to inflict any unusual and cruel punishments.”

“Well, since you men can’t talk of anything except Mrs. March, I for
one am jealous,” cheerily put in Lady Poynter, with her cap bobbing
about prettily, “and I hope that Mrs. Fair will punish her by making
her listen to Mr. Allyne for two hours.”

“But, I say, you know,” broke in Sir Poynter, while all the men added
their protests to such a disposition of the widow.

“Just hear them all, will you?” cried Mrs. Fair, lifting her hands. “I
fear, my dear Lady Poynter, that to have a husband is fatal to success.
Every blessed one of them wants to sit by Mrs. March.”

“Of course we do,” exclaimed Allyne. “You see, my dear Mrs. Fair, that,
while we all love you and dear Lady Poynter, we can’t quite go those
ridiculous appendages of yours, to wit., Mr. Fair and Sir Nelson. If
you could get rid of them, you know—and there are several ways—then
you would give even the peerless Mrs. March a close run.”

“Why have you never married?” asked Mrs. March.

“Can’t, you know—regularly can’t,” replied Allyne, with a woebegone
expression. “I could never think of marrying anyone but a widow, and,
as I consider widows the only desirable women, it would be against my
principles to reduce their number by marrying one of them, you know.”

“But you might increase their number,” returned Mrs. March spiritedly,
“by marrying a girl and then atoning for the wrong you had done her in
so marrying her by dying at once.”

“By Jove, do you know, I had never thought of that,” Allyne replied,
adding after a moment of serious consideration, “but, suppose I didn’t
die, you know? Deucedly uncertain thing, dying. Suicide, of course,
is out of the question in my case, as I am far too unselfish to seek
my own happiness at the frightful cost of depriving the world of my
presence. And English women are so fastidious that I might find it
difficult to persuade my wife to shoot—Look, look, Fair—Mrs. Fair is
ill.”

While he was rattling along with his stream of nonsense Mrs. Fair, who
was standing a little behind the rest, swayed forward and would have
fallen had not Allyne’s exclamation called attention to her.

“Quick, she is faint!” cried Lady Poynter sympathetically.

But Mrs. Fair almost at once recovered herself, and said: “Pray, don’t
mind. I have these foolish turns at times. They amount to nothing. You
were saying, Mr. Allyne, that——”

“Allyne was saying, my dear,” hastily put in Fair to head off Allyne,
“Allyne was saying that English women are so narrow in their views that
they hesitate to make the idiots of themselves that Englishmen are ever
so ready to do.”

“I was saying nothing of the sort,” retorted Allyne, in spite of a kick
surreptitiously administered to him by Travers. “On the contrary, I——”

“My lady is served,” gravely announced Baxter, pulling aside the
portières and awaiting the forming procession which, to judge from
his solemn bearing, might have been the funeral cortège of a great
personage.

“Come, friends,” smiled Mrs. Fair. “Mrs. March, I will be merciful and
ask Mr. Travers to take you down. Sir Nelson, your arm.”

Fair led the way with Lady Poynter, Sir Nelson with his hostess brought
up the rear, while Allyne walked in solitary, philosophical mood, much
as he chose.

“It’s too bad, Mr. Allyne,” said Mrs. Fair, looking over her shoulder
at him, “but if you will be good, you may have some sweets. Come along.”

“I appreciate your fine discrimination,” he replied as he executed a
flank movement and placed himself beside her.

So they went downstairs chatting and laughing, leaving that gruesome
chest to silence and forgetfulness, and none of them saw the thin, sly
man who smiled as they passed within three feet of his hiding-place in
the little closet beneath the stairs.


                               CHAPTER V

While this banter had been passing among the company in the great oak
library below, Miss Mettleby lay on her little white bed where she had
flung herself in a deeper and sterner mood than had ever been hers
before. One after another possible explanation of her great knight’s
terrible words presented itself to her mind, only to be rejected.

For one quivering moment the thought that if the woman who passed for
Mrs. Fair were not, as he had said, his wife, he was free to—but, no,
for that meant that Maxwell Fair was a scoundrel who could not only
place a woman in such a nameless position but also desert her when she
had borne children to him. It was a frightful view from any point—and
yet, at the bottom of her heart she felt that the man who had obtained
such a mastery over her soul was not, could not be, so base.

Racked by this futile effort to see light through the darkness Miss
Mettleby started as she heard a tap at her door and the quiet, earnest
voice of Mrs. Fair asking if she might come in. Her first impulse was
to take this strong, sweet woman, so terribly her fellow-sufferer,
into her confidence, but before she had called out to her to enter all
such mad ideas had flown. Trying to banish all evidence of her recent
tempest of feeling, the governess respectfully begged her mistress to
come in.

It was nothing, Mrs. Fair said, with a great show of forced pleasantry,
but a little surprise for Mr. Fair—a parcel. Would Miss Mettleby hide
it while they were at dinner, and tell her where she had put it after?
Both women assured each other that they had not been crying—just a
headache. And, yes, Miss Mettleby would find a hiding-place for the
surprise.

So Mrs. Fair went down to greet her guests, and when she had heard the
company go from the library to dinner, Miss Mettleby ran down to that
deserted room with the big, brown-paper parcel in her hands. She had
at once thought of the old Italian chest as the very place in which to
hide Mr. Fair’s surprise. She peeped into the library to make sure that
her ears had not deceived her. The room was empty, and the girl crept
in.

Fearing that some of the footmen or other servants might enter, she
took the precaution to draw the portières across the door into the
passage and then hurriedly removed the books and other things that
Mr. Fair had placed upon the chest. This done, she was just going to
lift the lid, when she heard a peculiar hissing noise which would have
startled her at any time and which, with her nerves keyed up, now
filled her with genuine terror. She turned from the chest and listened.

             (_To be continued in the April number._)



                         _A Trust-Buster_


COBWIGGER—By the way, my dear, I haven’t seen anything of the gas bill
this month.

MRS. COBWIGGER—Oh, Henry, it came over a week ago, but it was
so much I didn’t dare show it to you for fear you would blame me for
being extravagant. Here it is.

COBWIGGER (_looking at bill_)—Hoppity-hornets! What a bill
for a small family! I don’t blame you at all, my dear. It isn’t your
fault; it’s this grasping corporation. But I’ll get ahead of them all
right.

MRS. COBWIGGER—How can you?

COBWIGGER—Pshaw! It’s just like a woman to ask such a foolish
question. How am I going to get ahead of this monopoly? Why, tell the
old gas company to take out its meter.

MRS. COBWIGGER—And then what will you do?

COBWIGGER—Why, put in lamps and patronize the Standard Oil
Company.


                            _Kernels_

Many a politician who talks about an honest dollar never earned an
honest penny.

If there wasn’t a sucker born every minute a lot of people in this
world would have to work for a living.

The cost of keeping up appearances is usually defrayed with other
people’s money.

The man whose mind moves like clockwork isn’t the fellow who has wheels
in his head.

Many a politician would be a statesman if there were more money in it.

The thought of work makes some people more tired than if they had
really done the work.

The man who thinks that his money will do almost everything for him is
the one who did almost everything for his money.

Marriage is the only union that doesn’t make a man keep regular hours.


                        _A Positive Proof_

“Are you sure that Percy really loves you?”

“Positive. Why, at the dinner last night he offered to divide his last
dyspepsia tablet with me.”



                       _The Butcheries of Peace_


                            BY W. J. GHENT

       _Author of “Our Benevolent Feudalism,” “Mass and Class”_

We hear much of the butchery of war. Mr. Edward Atkinson and his
fellow-anti-militarists are always opulent with statistics of
casualties in armed conflicts; and in their violent denunciation of
warfare are eagerly joined by the various peace societies, the Women’s
Christian Temperance unions and such militant, though ephemeral,
bodies as the Parker Constitutional Clubs. A prominent educator has
characterized the Civil War as the Great Killing, and the popular
imagination has been led to look upon it as a carnival of almost
unexampled bloodshed. The militarism of gun and sword is denounced as
though it were the greatest scourge of the race, and its horrors are
pictured in the most lurid colors.

The horrors of _industrial_ militarism, on the other hand, claim but
scant attention. Under our present civilization, dominated by the
ethics of the trading class, they are, by the overwhelming mass of
the people, taken as a matter of course. And yet the fiercest and
bloodiest of modern wars—excepting alone the present Russo-Japanese
conflict—result in smaller losses in deaths, maimings and the
infliction of mortal diseases than are caused by the ordinary
processes of the capitalist system of industry. A modern Milton might
appropriately remind us that

         Peace hath her butcheries no less renowned than war.

If the Civil War is to be regarded as the Great Killing, it must be so
regarded only in relation to other wars; for in comparison with
capitalist industry as it obtains in the United States of America in
this decade, the Civil War can only rightly be regarded as the Lesser
Killing. It lasted, moreover, for but four years; while the killings
and other casualties of our industrial militarism go on year after
year in an ever-increasing volume. And as the Civil War eliminated the
physically best of the race, so does the present system of industry
eliminate the physically best. Only it does not stop there, but takes
also the helpless and the weak.

Let us see what comparisons of casualties can be made. According to
the figures in the Adjutant-General’s office, the fatalities in the
Northern Army during the four years of the Civil War (exclusive of
deaths from disease) were as follows:

    Killed in battle       67,058
    Died of wounds         43,012
    Other causes           40,154
                          -------
        Total             150,224
    Yearly average         37,556

There were also 199,720 soldiers who died of disease. There are no
means of comparing the number of these fatalities with the fatalities
from disease contracted in dangerous and unsanitary occupations. It is
probable that they do not approximate one-tenth of the latter. But,
since there are no available figures for comparison, they must be
omitted from present consideration.

The losses of the Confederates will never be known. The records of
their armies were but imperfectly kept, and such as were properly made
were in many instances lost or destroyed. Even the strength of
the Confederate armies is a matter about which there has been an
unceasing dispute between Northern and Southern historians since the
Civil War. It is not to be doubted that the Confederates suffered
a greater mortality relative to their numerical strength than did
the Federals, for they were employed to the last available man on
the firing line, whereas hundreds of thousands of Federals, held as
reserves or stationed as guards, rarely saw the action of battle. In
certain engagements, moreover, such as the battle of Chickamauga,
the Confederate losses far exceeded the Federal losses. Assuming the
purely arbitrary figure of 65 per cent. of the Federal fatalities as
representing the fatalities of the Confederates (exclusive of deaths
from disease), we have a total of 97,645, or a yearly average of
24,411. Adding the figures for both sides we have an annual average of
62,112 fatalities occurring in a struggle to the death, wherein every
device, every energy which men can employ against one another for the
destruction of life were employed.

When we come to the statistics of industrial fatalities, we find
something like the records of the Confederate armies. The figures are
notoriously, confessedly incomplete, and often so much so as to be
entirely misleading. Even the tables of railroad accidents compiled by
the Interstate Commerce Commission are known to show totals far below
the actual casualties. A writer in the New York _Herald_ for December
4, 1904, has analyzed some of these tables and pointed out their
defects. But, defective as they are, they furnish an approximate basis
for comparisons with some of the sanguinary conflicts of the Civil War.
The killings on interstate roads for the year ended June 30, 1904, are
reported at 9,984; the woundings at 78,247. The State roads probably
added about 975 killings and 7,500 woundings. To these may be added the
casualties on the trolley lines, approximately 1,340 killed and 52,169
wounded. We have thus a basis for comparison with the losses at
Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Chickamauga:

    _Losses in Three Battles (both sides), 1863_

                          Killed   Wounded
    Gettysburg             5,662    27,203
    Chickamauga            3,924    23,362
    Chancellorsville       3,271    18,843
                          ------    ------
                          12,857    69,408

    _Losses in Railroad Accidents, 1904_

                          Killed   Wounded
    Interstate roads       9,984    78,247
    State roads             *975     7,500
    Trolley lines         *1,340    52,169
                          ------   -------
                          12,299   137,916
    *Estimated.

The factories probably destroy more lives than do the railroads. But
the figures are not obtainable. The statistics of factory casualties
given in Bulletin No. 83 of the Census Bureau are ridiculous. Were the
factories placed under a Federal supervision law, and were their owners
compelled to report accidents to the authorities, a vastly different
condition would be revealed. For the coal mines, on the other hand, we
have something like authentic figures. The United States Geological
Survey reports the casualties in mining coal for the year 1901 as
1,467 killed and 3,643 wounded. Except for the low ratio of wounded
to killed, this would make a fair comparison with any one of a number
of important engagements during the Civil War. Pennsylvania alone
furnished an industrial Bull Run.

    _Battle of Bull Run, 1861_

                      Killed   Wounded
    Federals            470     1,071
    Confederates        387     1,582
                       ----     -----
          Total         857     2,653

    _Pennsylvania Coal Mines, 1901_

                      Killed   Wounded
    Anthracite          513     1,243
    Bituminous          301       656
                       ----     -----
          Total         814     1,899

When we pass from the record of particular industries to the general
casualty record we are met by a mass of unintelligible figures.
Bulletin No. 83 gives the rate of fatal accidents in the cities wherein
registration is required as 100.3 in each 100,000 of population.
For the whole registration record the rate is 96.3. On a basis of
80,000,000 population this would mean a yearly loss of from 77,040 to
80,240 lives. Mr. Frederick L. Hoffman, of the Prudential Insurance
Company, in a letter printed in Mr. Robert Hunter’s recent volume,
“Poverty,” estimates the rate as between 80 and 85 per 100,000. This
would mean from 64,000 to 68,000 killings. “If we say that twenty-five
are injured to every one killed, and consider ... the fatal accident
rate to be 80 in every 100,000, we have it that 1,664,000 persons
are annually killed or more or less seriously injured in the United
States. If all minor accidents were taken into consideration, it is
probable that the ratio of non-fatal accidents to fatal accidents would
be nearly 100 to 1.” This would mean approximately 4,800,000 minor
woundings every year.

We cannot separate, on the basis of present figures, the fatal
accidents which would be inevitable under any form of society and those
which are consequent upon the present capitalist system of production,
with its brutal indifference to life. We can only estimate. We have,
for instance, in the census reports, an entry of “burns and scalds,”
but nothing about boiler explosions; we have a certain number of
deaths from drowning, but we are not told whether they occurred in
frightful disasters like mine floods or the destruction of a _General
Slocum_—for which capitalist industry is solely responsible—or
in accidents wherein the individual’s whim or caprice alone was
responsible. And finally we have an appalling record of suicides; but
in how many of these business troubles or other economic causes were
the impelling motives for self-destruction we cannot tell.

What we do know is that the overwhelming number of the fatalities
that all of us learn of, instance by instance, are due to economic
causes; that railroad, factory and mining accidents are for the most
part needless, and due almost entirely to the brutal indifference of
capital to the lives of the workers, and that far the greater number of
suicides of which we read or hear are of beings who have been sent to
death through economic troubles. Under the benign reign of capitalist
industry we have a yearly list of fatalities somewhere between 64,000
and 80,240 and of serious maimings of 1,600,000, whereas two great
armies, employing all the enginery of warfare, could succeed in
slaughtering only 62,112 human beings yearly.

It is time we heard less of the butchery of war; time we heard more
of the butchery of peace. And yet it is doubtful if we shall hear a
different strain from those now most prominently before the public as
advocates of peace. The advocacy of peace, in so far as it emanates
from the retainers and other beneficiaries of the capitalist class, is
based not so much upon humanitarian grounds as upon the ground that the
worker is serving a more useful purpose when mangled in the Holy War
of Trade than when slaughtered in armed conflict. It is the waste of
profits on human labor, rather than the waste of life, that most deeply
affects them. They are not always conscious of this, because they
instinctively identify their moral notions with the material interests
of the class they serve. But an unconscious or subconscious motive may
be the most powerful of impulses to speech and action. And thus there
is every reason to believe that we shall continue to hear the horrors
of war most loudly denounced by the very ones who keep most silent
regarding the horrors of industrial “peace.”

       *       *       *       *       *

It is curious how fond men grow of each other when they are making money
together.



                             _Remembered_


                        BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX

    His art was loving. Eros set his sign
      Upon that youthful forehead, and he drew
        The hearts of women, as the sun draws dew.
    Love feeds love’s thirst as wine feeds love of wine.
    Nor is there any potion from the vine
      Which makes men drunken, like the subtle brew,
      Of kisses crushed by kisses; and he grew
    Inebriated with that draught divine.

    Yet in his sober moments, when the sun
      Of radiant summer paled to lonely fall
        And passion’s sea had grown an ebbing tide,
    From out the many Memory singled one
      Full cup that seemed the sweetest of them all—
        The warm, red mouth that mocked him and denied!



                              _Martyrdom_


                     BY LEONARD CHARLES VAN NOPPEN

    The world cries loud for blood; for never grew
      One saving truth that blossomed, man to bless,
      That withered not in barren loneliness
    Till watered by the sacrificial dew.
    Behold the prophets stoned—the while they blew
      A warning blast—the sad immortal guess
      Of Socrates—the thorn-crowned lowliness
    Of Christ! And that black cross our Lincoln knew!
      ’Tis only through the whirlwind and the storm
    That man can ever reach his starry goal;
      Someone must bleed or else the world will die.
      Upon the flaring altar of reform
    Some heart lies quivering ever. To what soul
      That dares be true, comes not the martyr’s agony?



                            _The Debt_

BORROWBY—By Jove, old man! I owe you an everlasting debt of gratitude!

GRIMSHAW—No, you don’t, Borrowby! You owe me fifty dollars in
money.



                   _The Heroism of Admiral Guldberg_

               THE MOST AMAZING NAVAL BATTLE EVER FOUGHT


                            BY ROBERT BARR

We must not allow the thunder of the guns around Port Arthur to deaden
our ears to accounts of heroism in the past. Other admirals have
attacked fortified strongholds before Togo was heard of. Other admirals
have striven for the command of the sea before Alexieff blundered into
a war for which he was not ready. I record the capable strenuousness of
Admiral Guldberg, who strove to defend a country not his own, and did
the best he could with the materials provided him.

Ajax defied the lightning, and Guldberg defied the French, possessors
of the second most powerful navy afloat. Therefore three cheers for old
Guldberg and more power to his elbow.

A dozen years ago, when Siam resolved to take its place among the
great nations of the earth, that country imported from Europe certain
men who were supposed to know how to do things. An Englishman from
Oxford endeavored to evolve a school system; a German from Krupp’s
establishment was made head of the Royal railway department, although
there were no railways at that time in the country to look after;
still, as there was no education either, he started fair with the
Englishman. Another German looked after telegraphs, and he also had a
clean slate to begin on. The reconstruction of the army and navy was
intrusted to the care of a pair of Danes, notable fighters of yore and
master mariners, as all the world knows. Commodore de Richelieu had
been a Danish officer, and it would have astonished the cardinal of
that name to have seen him fighting against the French. De Richelieu
had charge of the forts, and the training of the men to defend them.
Admiral Guldberg commanded the fleet, and endeavored with indifferent
success to teach the Siamese something about navigation.

In 1893, while these useful Danes were endeavoring to put some backbone
into Siamese incompetency, the diplomatic services of France and Siam
began sending picture post-cards to each other. Diplomacy is invariably
polite, but when it takes a hand in the game, prepare for squalls.
Although I have the Blue-books before me relating to this tragic
occurrence, I am quite unable to determine the rights of the case.
Probably France and Siam were both in the wrong, but be that as it may,
France persisted in her intention, little dreaming that right round the
bend of the river Admiral Guldberg was waiting for her. The rights and
wrongs in these affairs depend a great deal on the power of the other
party.

I imagine if France wished to send two gunboats up the Hudson River,
and the President of the United States ordered the war vessels to
proceed no further than New York Bay, France might perhaps have
considered herself in the wrong, and the war vessels would not have
proceeded; but as the other party in the case under consideration was
merely the helpless kingdom of Siam, it is a historical fact that the
two members of the French fleet, _Inconstant_ and _Comète_, crossed the
Rubicon; in other words, the bar—and entered the River Me-nam against
the current and the wishes of His Majesty of Siam; and this took place
on that unlucky day, the thirteenth of July, 1893.

Paknam was the Port Arthur in this instance. It lies three miles from
the mouth of the river and thirty miles by water south of the capital,
Bangkok, although on the opposite bank of the stream a railway sixteen
miles in length runs into the capital. At Paknam everything was
prepared for a desperate resistance. The forts were well manned and the
cannon were loaded. Commodore de Richelieu was in command, glad that
diplomacy had broken down, as it usually does, and that now military
renown was to be his. The Siamese soldiers have one defect: they
believe in the couplet that “he who fights and runs away will live to
fight another day.” Indeed, they better the lines, and run away before
even showing fight. Thus, in all the wars Siam has engaged in she has
never lost a man, just as if she were the Cunard line of steamers.

When the Siamese soldiers realized that their gallant Commodore was
actually going to fire off the guns, they unanimously got over the
garden wall with a celerity that amazed the man from Denmark. Nothing
daunted, the resolute de Richelieu held the fort, and himself fired off
the guns one after another. When this cannonade had been accomplished
he was helpless, for he could not reload without assistance, so he got
himself into a steam launch, sailed across the river and took train to
Bangkok.

Authorities differ as to the result of the Commodore’s cannon fire. One
says that several Frenchmen were killed and wounded, another that no
harm was done. So far as I am aware the French gunboat made no reply,
but steamed majestically up the river, while their enemy was steaming
with equal majesty on a special engine over the rocky road to Bangkok.

While the French fleet was proceeding toward a peril of which they had
not the slightest suspicion, we have time to consider the equipment of
Admiral Guldberg, who will not be so easily got rid of as his
countryman, the Commodore.

Three years before there had been built at Hong Kong a steam yacht for
His Excellency the Governor of the Philippines, which at that time
was under Spanish rule. When the yacht was finished the Governor of
course wanted it, but wished to pay on the instalment plan, whereas
the builders said they were not engaged in the three years’ hire
system business, and having some acquaintance with Spanish financial
arrangements, they declined to deliver the goods except on a basis
of cash down. Such a hard money determination was enough to knock
the bottom out of any negotiation with a Spanish official, so the
Governor folded his toga proudly about him, and in the purest Castilian
practically repeated the words of the old song to the effect that the
yacht might go to Hong Kong for him, which it did not need to do, being
there already. So in Hong Kong it remained, until in ’91 an emissary of
the Siamese Government bought it, and took it round to Bangkok.

The Siamese armed this terrific vessel with old muzzle-loading cannons
that had hitherto occupied the position of corner posts of various
compounds about the capital. The boat had been intended for pleasure
and not for war, so there were no portholes for the muzzles of the
guns. This difficulty was got over by building a low deck-house the
length of the vessel, and placing the cannon athwart this structure,
one pointing to port, another to starboard, another to port, another
to starboard, and so on, the ordnance being chained down, or roped or
tied with string, so that it would not cause the yacht to tumble a
somersault when fired. The arrangement had the advantage of economy, as
no gun-carriages were needed, and as the cannon could be loaded from
the deck. But there was also the drawback, which perhaps would have
been felt more in any other navy than that of Siam, which consisted of
the fact that you could not aim the cannon at anything in particular.
Still, a gunner might have much enjoyment in shooting at the landscape
in general. A British naval officer of large experience stated
solemnly that he never understood the horrors of warfare until he saw
this vessel. The arrangement of the cannon made the craft somewhat
top-heavy, and so the authorities wisely ordained that she was never to
put to sea where the waves might upset the apple cart.

As if the cannon were not enough, her name was one likely to strike
terror into the heart of the stoutest enemy. She was called the _Makut
Rajakumar_, and she was listed in the naval annals of Siam as a small
cruiser. This sea-dog of war was the flagship of Admiral Guldberg,
commanded and captained by the Dane himself, with a full crew of
twenty-seven fighting Siamese, not to mention two engineers and four
stokers.

The French pretend that two vessels opposed the coming of their two
warships, and while this is technically true, it is not actually so,
and as the statement tends to detract from the undoubted bravery of
Admiral Guldberg, it may as well be stated that the second vessel was
a small steam scow which carried only one gun, whose muzzle projected
overboard where the bowsprit is on a sailing vessel, and because
the gun was stationary there, chained there as were those on the
_Makut Rajakumar_, it could be loaded only when the scow was moored
to a wharf. This barge was commanded by Captain Schmieglow. His crew
deserted him in a body before she left the wharf, and as the good
Captain did not understand the engine he contented himself with firing
the cannon down the river, which concussion so dislocated the machinery
that the scow ran her nozzle agin’ the bank of the opposite shore, and
there the Captain was helpless. So his Admiral had to fight the battle
alone.

Again French historians maintain that their warships never fired a shot
at the floating lunatic asylum which assailed them, and it is also
stated that the Admiral’s cannon balls never touched them. That may all
be true enough, but it in no way interferes with my assertion that
Admiral Guldberg did the very best he could with the material in hand,
and that he put up one of the finest fights ever recorded in the
history of the sea.

And now we come to the battle, and as the French had a certain hand
in it, the stirring lines of French Canada’s poet, Dr. Drummond, may
fittingly be quoted to open the strife.

    One dark night on Lake St. Pierre,
      The wind she blow, blow, blow;
    And the crew of the wood scow _Julia Plante_
      Got scared and ran below.

The unfortunate occurrence which ultimately wrecked the _Julia Plante_
happened also on board the _Makut Rajakumar_. The moment the French war
vessels appeared the entire crew of the Siamese cruiser dived below,
bewailing their lot, and leaving Admiral Guldberg alone on deck. The
helmsman deserted the wheel, and the engineer his engine. The French
fleet was still some distance to the southward, so the Admiral rushed
after his craven crew, and kicked most of them aloft again, wild Danish
oaths from his lips keeping time to the energetic swaying of his foot,
commanding them to stand by the guns. It was no use; with a yell of
terror they again descended, falling over each other down into the
hold. The Admiral ran to the wheel, swerved his vessel; then let go the
spokes, seized a lighted torch, and fired the port side cannons one
after another. Back he dashed to the wheel again, turned his boat up
the river, for the Frenchmen were now passing him, fled again to the
unfired guns and gave the French the second broadside.

Now, to his horror, he saw that the French ships, better engined than
his own, were leaving him without firing a shot, and from the prow he
shook his fist at them, daring them to stand up to him, but neither the
mouth of man nor the mouth of cannon made answer.

Flinging his cocked hat to the deck, and tossing his laced coat on top
of it, rolling up his sleeves and seizing the rammer, he swabbed out
the old cannon, and reloaded, while the decrepit engine, unattended,
jogged away up the river after the rapidly disappearing French
warships. That task accomplished, he cast his eye ahead and saw the
river was clear, so sprang down into the stokehold, and sent a few
shovelfuls of coal under the boiler, then came on deck again wiping
his perspiring brow. By this time the French boats were quite out of
gunshot, and the only consolation left for the courageous Dane was that
at least he was chasing them.

At this most inopportune moment there arose a galling and Gallic laugh
from a coasting schooner lying at anchor in the river. It is never
advisable to laugh at an exasperated man, as these hilarious mariners
were soon to learn. Slow as the _Makut_ was she could certainly
outstrip a small French coasting vessel at anchor. The angry Admiral
turned his red face toward the Sound, and saw before him the _J. B.
Say_, a French trading craft, tauntingly flying the tricolor at the
masthead. The infuriated Admiral remembered that his adopted country was
at war with this hated emblem, so he roared across the muddy waters:

“Haul down that flag and surrender!”

The crew replied with the French equivalent of “Go to thunder!” which
the Admiral at once proceeded to obey. He ran to the wheel, steered his
steamer in a semicircle, headed her down the river and sprang to the
guns. Thunder spoke out the first cannon, and missed. Thunder again the
second, with an after crash of woodwork, the ball carrying away part of
the bulwarks.

“Stop it, you madman!” shrieked the crew.

“Surrender!” roared the Admiral, but they were now working madly at the
windlass, trying to hoist the anchor. The _Makut Rajakumar_ had passed
the boat, and now the Admiral took to the wheel again, swooped around,
and came on with his other battery. The first shot struck fair in the
prow, and the second, to the consternation of the Frenchmen, hit just
at the waterline, tearing a fatal hole in the timber. The third shot
went wide, and the Admiral allowed his steamer to forge ahead while he
swabbed out the guns and reloaded them.

By the time this was finished and he had turned round again the _J. B.
Say_ was under way, but with a dangerous list to one side. The steamer
speedily overtook her, and crash! crash! went the guns again, and once
more she was struck in a tender place, which was quite unnecessary, for
the craft was palpably sinking, in spite of the efforts of four men at
the pumps.

At last the heated Admiral ceased fire, for the Frenchmen, taking
to the longboat, had abandoned their vessel, and were rowing for
the shore. The _J. B. Say_ with a wobble or two settled down and
disappeared beneath the surface of the muddy Me-nam. Admiral Guldberg
descended to the engine-room, stopped the engines, and kicked the
engineer into some sense of his duties aboard the cruiser. He informed
his huddled naval brigade, who were scared almost white by the firing,
that the Battle of Paknam had ended gloriously for the Siamese flag,
after which announcement he urged them on deck by means of boot and
fist. As there was nothing visible to frighten the crew, the Admiral
himself being the only object of terror in the neighborhood, discipline
once more resumed its sway. The engineer responded to the tinkle of the
bell, and the cruiser _Makut Rajakumar_ began pounding its way up to
the capital, pausing only to capture the French flag which fluttered
from the masthead of the sunken _J. B. Say_.

Admiral Guldberg steamed in triumph to Bangkok, but had to take the
wheel himself when the town was sighted, for the moment his crew caught
a glimpse of the French cruiser floating peacefully in front of the
embassy, they promptly went below again, as was the custom of Sir
Joseph Porter when the breezes began to blow.

It would be joyful to add that Admiral Guldberg received the
recognition he deserved, but it is hardly necessary to state that
such was not the fact. The Siamese Government apologized abjectly for
their Admiral and his action. They said he had fired without orders.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs congratulated the commander of the
French ship _Inconstant_ on his boldness and daring in forcing a way
to Bangkok. The owners of the _J. B. Say_ were lavishly compensated.
Admiral Guldberg was degraded to plain captain, and the government had
little difficulty in proving that no Siamese obstructed the advance of
the French, which statement was true enough.



                      _A Sociological Fable_


There was trouble in the Poultry yard; things were Changed from the
way they had been, so that it was becoming Hard for some of the Fowls
to get a Sufficiency of Food. Just as much Corn was being Scattered
by the Farmer’s Wife as formerly, but some Knowing Cocks had built
Wide-mouthed Funnels over the Heads of the other Fowls, so that much of
the Supply that was intended for the Whole Community was diverted to the
Knowing Cocks and their Broods.

There was much Discontent because of the Scarcity of Food and many
were the Plans that were Broached to remedy the Situation. “See!” said
a Great Goose, pointing to the Supplies that lay beneath the Funnels
of the Knowing Cocks, “how unjust it is that some should have so much
and others so little. The Knowing Cocks and their Broods can never use
up their supply, while I and my Green Goslings go Hungry. Can nothing
be done to help me?” he squawked, raising his Unseemly Voice in order
to attract general attention. “Can nothing be done for me and for my
family?”

At this many Quacks began to be heard. One said that the Supplies of
the Knowing Cocks ought to be Seized and Distributed equally in the
Community; another said that the Knowing Cocks ought to be Forced to
Exchange their Corn with the other Fowls, in the Proportion of Sixteen
Grains of that Held by the Knowing Cocks to each grain belonging to the
other Fowls. And another insisted that the Only way to Right the Wrong
was to Compel the Knowing Cocks to Contribute to a Common Fund a large
Part of the Excess that Reached them through their Funnels.

But at last a Sage Hen, that had somehow found her way into the
Community, succeeded in Making herself Heard: “Of what use is it,”
she Cried, “to ask how Many Pounds of Cure are needed, when one Ounce
of Prevention will Suffice? Let us Go to the Fountain Head of the
Wrong,” she continued, Pointing to the Funnels. “As long as Some of
the Community are Allowed to be in Possession of Undue Opportunities,
Evil must happen to the others. Take the Funnels away from the Knowing
Cocks!”

No sooner said than Done. The Funnels were Seized and Destroyed; and
thereafter the Corn that fell from the Hand of the Farmer’s Wife was
Equitably distributed in the Community.

                  MORAL

    If on the road a traveler lies
    Fast bound—and you should see him—
    Don’t take his head upon your lap
    And give him medicine and pap,
    But cut his cords and free him.

                       F. P. WILLIAMS.



                         _The Old 10.30 Train_


                            BY MARION DRACE


    It’s raining out again tonight,
      A dismal, pelting rain,
    That drives against my window
      With a dripping, and again
    With a rattling stormy fury,
      Sheets of water, waves of gray,
    Made gruesome by the thunder
      And the lightning’s livid play.
    It brings to me the gloom of life,
      An odd, most welcome pain,
      And once again the whistle of the old 10.30 train.

    With all this storm without, and me
      So silent here alone,
    With all the distant past in view,
      Its evil to atone;
    With chin on hand, I wonder how
      I’d feel if I could be
    A boy again, with mother near
      Me praying at her knee.
    How all the cares of life would fade,
      If I could hear again
      From out my cot the whistle of the old 10.30 train.

    I hear it far departing
      This gloomy night and me,
    A-joying in the dying wail
      From which it seems to flee.
    The long, low cry is wafted back
      Through night and rain and wind,
    A cry that seems congenial like
      Another soul that’s sinned.
    It makes me long for home and for
      My cot, so cleanly plain,
      To doze just with the whistle of that old 10.30 train.

    Ah, life is not of solitude,
      Nor childhood joys alone,
    Its mirth not all departed, though
      We reap the evil sown.
    But nights of rain and solitude
      Bring back the happy past—
    The freight that came so regular
      My eyes to close at last.
    From all the now I quick would flee—
      It seems so full of pain—
      If I could sleep forever with that whistle’s wail again!



                             Gallows Gate

             BEING AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF DICK RYDER,
                       OTHERWISE GALLOPING DICK,
                    SOMETIME GENTLEMAN OF THE ROAD


                       BY H. B. MARRIOTT-WATSON

’Twas two o’clock of a bright wild March day that I cleared St.
Leonard’s Forest, and came out upon the roads at the back of Horsham.
I was for Reading, but chose that way by reason of the better security
it promised, which, as it chanced, was a significant piece of irony.
Horsham, a mighty quiet, pretty town, lay in a blaze of the sun,
enduring the sallies of a dusty wind, and, feeling hot and athirst
after my long ride, I pulled up at an inn and dismounted.

“Host,” says I, when I was come it; “a pint of your best Burgundy or
Canary to wash this dust adown; and rip me if I will not have it laced
with brandy.”

“Why, sir,” says he, “a cold bright day for horseback,” and shakes his
head.

“Damme, you’re right,” says I. “Cold i’ the belly and hot in the groin.
Here’s luck to the house, man,” and I tossed off the gallipot. “Why,
goodman, ye’ll make your fortune on this,” I said with a derisive
laugh, and flung open the door, to go out; when all of a sudden I came
to silence and a pause.

“’Tis the officers,” says the landlord, who was at my ear. “Gadslife,
’tis the sheriff’s men from Lewes.”

“Lewes!” says I slowly; “what be they here for?”

“Why,” says he in a flutter, “there was him that was taken for a
tobyman by Guilford. He was tried at Lewes, and will hang.”

“If he be fool enough to be taken, let him be hanged and be damned,”
says I carelessly.

When I was got upon my horse I began to go at a walk down the High
street, for though, as was according to nature, I was inquisitive
about the matter, I was too wary to adventure ere I was sure of my
ground. And this denial of unnecessary hazards, as is my custom, saved
me from a mishap; for as the procession wound along, the traps and
the carriage between ’em, there was one of them that turned his head
aside to give an order, and, rip me if ’twas not that muckworm, traitor
and canter, the thief-taker, Timothy Grubbe. I had an old score with
Timothy, the which I had sworn to pay; but that was not the time nor
the opportunity, and so I pulled in and lowered my head, lest by chance
his evil eye might go my way. As I did so, something struck on the
mare’s rump, and, looking back, I saw a young man on horseback that had
emerged from a side street.

“Whoa, there,” says I cheerfully. “Are you so blinded by March dust as
not to see a gentleman when he goes by?”

He was a slight, handsome-looking youth, of a frank face but of a
rustic appearance, and he stammered out an apology.

“Why, I did but jest,” I said heartily. “Think no more on’t,
particularly as ’twas my fault to have checked the mare of a sudden.
But to say the truth I was gaping at the grand folks yonder.”

He stared, after the traps and says he in an interested voice: “Who be
they? Is it my Lord Blackdown?”

Now this comparison of that wry-necked, pock-faced villain Grubbe to a
person of quality tickled me, but I answered, keeping a straight face.

“Well, not exactly,” says I, “not my lord, but another that should
stand or hang as high maybe, and shall some day.”

“Oh,” says he, gazing at me, “a friend of yours, sir?”

He was a ruddy color, and his mouth was habitually a little open,
giving him an expression of perpetual wonder and innocence; so that,
bless you, I knew him at once for what he was at heart—a simple fellow
of a natural kindliness and one of no experience in the world, and a
pretty dull wit.

“Not as you might call him, a friend,” said I gravely, “but rather one
that has put an affront upon me.”

“You should wipe it out, sir,” says this innocent seriously. “I would
allow no man to put an affront on me, gad, I would not!”

“Why,” said I drily, “I bide my time, being, if I may say so, of less
mustard and pepper than yourself. Nevertheless it shall be wiped out to
the last stain.”

“Gad, I like that spirit,” says he briskly, and, as if it constituted
a bond betwixt us, he began to amble slowly at my side. “If there is
any mischief, sir,” says he, “I trust you will allow me to stand your
friend.”

Here was innocence indeed, yet I could ha’ clapped him on the back for
a buck of good-fellowship and friendliness, and, relaxing my tone, I
turned the talk on himself.

“You are for a journey?” says I.

He nodded, and his color rose, but he frowned. “I am for Effingham,” he
answered.

“So am I,” said I, “at least I pass that way,” which was not so, for
I was for Reading, and had meant to go by Guilford. Yet I was in no
mind to risk an encounter with Grubbe and his lambs, who were bound for
Guilford if what the innkeeper said was true; and the way by Effingham
would serve me as well as another.

He looked pleased, and says he: “Why, we will travel in company.”

“With all my heart!”

The traps had disappeared upon the Guilford road in a mist of dust, and
we jogged on comfortably till we came to cross-roads, where we turned
away for Slinfold, reaching that village near by two of the clock.
Here my companion must slake his thirst, and I was nothing loath. He
had a gentlemanly air about him for all his rustic habit, and very
pleasantly, if with some awkwardness, offered me of a bottle.

“You mind me,” said I, drinking to him, for I liked the fellow, “of a
lad that I knew that was in the wars.”

“Was you in the wars?” asks he eagerly.

I had meant the wars of the road, which, indeed, are as perilous and as
venturesome as the high quarrels of ravening nations.

“I served in Flanders,” said I.

“My father fought for His Gracious Majesty Charles I,” says he quickly,
“and took a deep wound at Marston Moor. There was never a braver man
than Squire Masters of Rockham.”

“I’ll warrant his son is like him,” said I.

He bowed as if he were at Court. “Your servant, sir,” says he, smiling
well pleased, and eyed me. “You have seen some service, sir?”

“Why, as much as will serve, Mr. Masters.”

He looked at me shyly. “You have my name, now?” said he, and left his
question in the air.

“You may call me Ryder,” said I.

“You have had your company?” he went on in a hesitating voice.

“Not always as good company as this,” I replied, laughing.

“I knew it,” he said eagerly; “you are Captain Ryder?”

“There have been those that have put that style on me,” I answered,
amused at his persistence.

“I am glad that I have met you, Captain,” said this young fool, and put
his arm in mine quite affectionately.

“I have been unhappily kept much at home, and have seen less than I
might of things beyond the hills. Not but what Sussex is a fine shire,”
he adds, with a sigh.

“Why, it is fine if so be your home be there,” I replied.

“My home is there,” he said, and paused, and again the frown wrinkled
up his brow.

He said no more till we were in the saddle again and had gone some half
a mile, and then he spoke, and I knew his poor brain had been playing
pitch and toss with some thought.

“Captain Ryder,” he said abruptly, “you have traveled far and seen
much. You might advise one junior to you on a matter of worldly wisdom.”

Sink me, thinks I, what’s the boy after? But, says I gravely, from a
mutinous face: “You can hang your faith on me for an opinion or a blow,
Mr. Masters.”

“Thank you,” says he heartily, and then thrust a hand into his
bosom and rapidly stuck at me a document. “Read that, sir,” said he
impulsively.

I opened it, and found ’twas writ in a woman’s hand, and subscribed
Anne Varley; and the marrow of it was fond affection.

Why, ’twas but a common love billet he had given me, of the which I
have seen dozens and received very many—some from persons of quality
that would astonish you. But what had I to do with this honest ninny
and his mistress? I had no nose for it, and so said I, handing him back
his letter.

“It has a sweet smack and ’tis pretty enough inditing.”

“Ah,” says he quickly, “’tis her nature, Captain. ’Tis her heart that
speaks. Yet is she denied by her parents. They will have none of me.”

“The more to their shame,” I said.

“They aspire high,” says he, “as Anne’s beauty and virtues of
themselves would justify. Yet she does love me, and I her, and we are
of one spirit and heart. See you how she loves me, poor thing, poor
silly puss! And they would persuade her to renunciation. But she shall
not—she shall not; I swear it!” he cried in excitement. “She shall be
free to choose where she will.”

“Spoke like a man of temper,” said I approvingly. “You will go win her
forthright.”

“I am on my journey to accomplish that now,” says he. “She has writ
in this letter, as you have seen, that her father dissuades her, and
she sighs her renunciation, adding sweet words of comfort that her
affection will not die—no, never, never, and that she will die virgin
for me. Say you not, sir, that this is beautiful conduct, and, am I not
right to ride forth and seize her from her unnatural parents, to make
her mine?”

“Young gentleman,” said I, being stirred by his honest sincerity and
his bubbling over, “were you brother to me, or I to Mistress Anne, you
should have my blessing.”

At that he glowed, and his spirits having risen with this
communication, he babbled on the road of many things cheerfully,
but mostly of love and beauty, and the virtues of Mistress Anne of
Effingham Manor.

I will confess that after a time his prattle wearied me; ’twas too much
honey and cloyed my palate. If he had known as much of the sex as has
fallen to my lot he would have taken another stand, and sung in a lower
key.

Well, ’twas late in the afternoon when we reached the hills beyond
Ewhurst, and began to climb the rugged way to the top. The wind had
gone down with the sun in a flurry of gold in the west, to which that
eastern breeze had beat all day; and over the head of Pitch Hill last
year’s heather still blazed in its decay.

When we had got to the Windmill Inn, that lies packed into the side of
the wooded hill, we descended for refreshment, and I saw the horses
stalled below for baiting. Now that house, little and quiet, perches
in a lonely way in the pass of the hill, and upon one side the ground
falls so fast away that the eye carries over a precipitous descent
toward the weald of Surrey and the dim hills by the sea. And this view
was fading swiftly in the window under a bleak sky as Masters and I
ate of our dinner in the upstairs room that looked upon it. He had a
natural grace of mind despite the rawness of his behavior, and his
sentiments emerged sometimes in a gush, as when, says he, looking at
the darkening weald:

“I love it, Captain. ’Tis mine. My home is there, and, God willing,
Anne’s too shall be.”

“Amen!” said I heartily, for the boy had gone to my heart, absurd
though he was.

And just on that there was a noise without the door, the clank of heavy
feet rang on the boards, and Timothy Grubbe’s ugly mask disfigured the
room.

He came forward a little with a grin on his distorted features, and,
looking from one to the other of us, said he:

“My respects, Captain, and to this young plover that no doubt ye’re
plucking. By the Lord, Dick Ryder, but I had given you up. Heaven sends
us good fortune when we’re least thinking of it.”

Masters, at his word, had started up. “Who are you, sir, that intrudes
on two gentlemen?” he demanded with spirit. “I’ll have you know this is
a private room. Get you gone!”

“Softly, man,” says Grubbe, in an insinuating voice. “Maybe I’m wrong
and you’re two of a color. Is it an apprentice, Dick, this brave lad
that talks so bold and has such fine feathers?”

“If you do not quit,” said I shortly, “I will spit your beauty for you
in two ticks.”

“Dick Ryder had always plenty of heart,” said he in his jeering way.
“Dick had always a famous wit, and was known as a hospitable host. So I
will take the liberty to invite to his sociable board some good fellows
that are below, to make merry. We shall prove an excellent company,
I’ll warrant.”

Masters took a step toward him.

“Now, who the devil soever you may be, you shall not use gentlemen so,”
he cried, whipping out his blade.

But Grubbe turned on him satirically. “As for you, young cockchafer,”
said he, “it bodes no good to find you in this company. But as you seem
simpleton enough, I’ll give you five minutes to take your leave of
this gentleman of the road. Dick, you’re a fine tobyman, and you have
enjoyed a brave career, but, damme, your hour is struck.”

I rose, but, ere I could get to him, young Masters had fallen on him.

“Defend yourself, damn ye,” he said, “you that insult a gentleman that
is my friend! Put up your blade!” and he made at him with incredible
energy.

Uttering a curse Grubbe thrust out his point and took the first onrush,
swerving it aside; and ere I could intervene they were at it.

My young friend was impetuous, and as I saw at once, none too skilful;
and Grubbe kept his temper, as he always did. He stood with a thin,
ugly smile pushing aside his opponent’s blade for a moment or two,
until, of a sudden, he drew himself up and let drive very low and under
the other’s guard. The sword rattled from Masters’s hand, and he went
down on the floor. I uttered an oath.

“By God, for this shall you die, you swine!” said I fiercely; and I ran
at him; but, being by the door, he swept it open with a movement and
backed into the passage.

“The boot is on t’other leg, Dick,” says he maliciously. “’Tis you are
doomed!” and closing the door behind him he whistled shrilly.

I knew what he intended, and that his men were there, but I stooped
over the boy’s body and held my fingers to his heart. ’Twas dead and
still. I cursed Grubbe and started up. If I was not to be taken there
was only the window, looking on the deeps of the descending valley. I
threw back the casement and leaped over the sill. Grubbe should perish,
I swore, and I doubled now my oath.

I could ha’ wept for that poor youth that had died to avenge my honor.
But my first business was my safety, and I crept down as far as I might
and dropped. By that time the catchpolls were crowding into the room
above. I struck the slanting hill and fell backward, but, getting to
my feet, which were very numb with the concussion of the fall, I sped
briskly into the darkness, making for the woods.

I lay in their shelter an hour, and then resolved on a circumspection.
’Twas not my intention to leave the mare behind, if so be she had
escaped Grubbe and his creatures; and, moreover, I had other designs in
my head. So I made my way back deviously to the inn and reconnoitered.
Stillness hung about it, and after a time I marched up to the door
cautiously and knocked on it.

The innkeeper opened it, and, the lamp burning on my face, started as
if I were the devil.

“Hush, man!” said I. “Is the officer gone?”

He looked at me dubiously and trembling. “Come,” said I, for I knew the
reputation of those parts, “I am from Shoreham Gap yonder, and I was
near taken for an offense against the revenue.”

“You are a smuggler?” said he anxiously. “They said you were a tobyman.”

“They will take away any decent man’s name,” said I. “I want my horse.
You have no fancy for preventive men, I’ll guess.”

And this was true enough, for he had a mine of cellars under his inn
and through the roadway.

“But your friend?” said he, still wavering. “Him that is dead——”

“As good a man as ever rolled a barrel,” said I.

He relaxed his grip of the door. “’Tis a sore business for me this
night,” he complained.

“Nay,” said I. “For I will rid your premises of myself and friend, by
your leave, or without it,” says I.

He seemed relieved at that, and I entered. The horses were safe, as I
discovered, for Grubbe must have been too full of his own prime
business to make search, and, getting them out, I made my preparations.
I strapped the lad’s body in the stirrups, so that he lay forward on
the horse with his head a-wagging; but (God deliver him!) his soul at
rest. And presently we were on the road, and threading the wilderness
of the black pine woods for the vale below toward London.

The moon was a glimmering arc across the Hurtwood as I came out on the
back of Shere, and, pulling out of the long lane that gave entry to
the village, reined up by the “White Horse.” From the inn streamed a
clamor of laughter, and without the doorway and wellnigh blocking it
was drawn up a carriage with a coachman on his seat that struck my eyes
dimly in the small light. I was not for calling eyes on me with a dead
man astride his horse, so I moved into the yard, thinking to drain a
tankard of ale if no better, before I took the road over the downs to
Effingham. But I was scarce turned into the yard ere a light flaring
through the window poured on a face that changed all the notions in my
skull. ’Twas Grubbe!

Leaving the horses by I returned to the front of the inn, and says I to
the coachman that waited there, as I rapped loud on the door:

“’Tis shrewish tonight.”

“Aye,” says he in a grumbling, surly voice. “I would the country were
in hell.”

“Why, so ’twill be in good time,” said I cheerfully; and then to the
man that came, “Fetch me two quarts well laced with gin,” says I, “for
to keep the chill of the night and the fear o’ death out.”

The coachman laughed a little shortly, for he knew that this was his
invitation.

“Whence come you then?” said I, delivering him the pot that was fetched
out.

He threw an arm out. “Lewes,” said he, “under charge with a tobyman
that was for chains yonder.”

He nodded toward the downs and drank. I cast my eyes up and the loom of
the hill just t’other side of the village was black and ominous.

“Oh,” says I, “he hangs there?”

“At the top of London Road,” says he, dipping his nose again. “There
stands the gallows, where the roads cross and near the Gate.”

“Gallows Gate,” said I, laughing. “Well, ’twas a merry job enough.”

“Aye,” says he. “But by this we might ha’ been far toward London Town,
whither most of us are already gone. But ’twas not his wish. He must
come back with the Lewes sheriff and drink him farewell.”

“Leaving a poor likely young man such as yourself to starve of cold and
a empty belly here,” said I. “Well, I would learn such a one manners in
your place, and you shall have another tankard of dogs-nose for your
pains,” says I, whereat I called out the innkeeper again, but took care
that he had my share of the gin in addition to his own. By that time
he was garrulous, and had lost his caution, so, keeping him in talk a
little and dragging his wits along from point to point, I presently
called to him.

“Come down,” said I, “and stamp your feet. ’Twill warm you without as
the liquor within.” And he did as I had suggested without demur.

“Run round to the back,” says I, “and get yourself a noggin, and if
so be you see a gentleman on horseback there asleep, why, ’tis only a
friend of mine that is weary of his long journey. I will call you if
there be occasion.”

He hesitated a moment, but I set a crown on his palm, and his scruples
vanished. He limped into the darkness.

’Twas no more than two minutes later that I heard voices in the
doorway, and next came Timothy Grubbe into the night, in talk with
someone. At which it took me but thirty seconds to whip me into the
seat and pull the coachman’s cloak about me, so that I sat stark and
black in the starlight. Grubbe left the man he talked with and came
forward.

“You shall drink when ye reach Cobham, Crossway,” says he, looking up at
me, “and mind your ways, damn ye!”

And at that he made no more ado, but humming an air he lurched into the
carriage. I pulled out the nags, and turned their heads so that they
were set for the north. And then I whistled low and short—a whistle I
knew that the mare would heed, and I trusted that she would bring her
companion with her. The wheels rolled out upon the road and Timothy
Grubbe and I were bound for London all alone.

As I turned up the London road that swept steeply up the downs I looked
back, and behind the moon shone faintly on Calypso and behind her on
the dead man wagging awkwardly in his stirrups.

I pushed the horses on as fast as might be, but the ruts were still
deep in mud, and the carriage jolted and rocked and swayed as we went.
The wind came now with a little moaning sound from the bottom of the
valley, and the naked branches creaked above my head, for that way was
sunken and tangled with the thickets of nut and yew. And presently I
was forced to go at a foot pace, so abrupt was the height. The moon
struck through the trees and peered on us, and Grubbe put his head
forth of the window.

“Why go you not faster, damn ye?” says he, being much in liquor.

“’Tis the hill, your honor,” said I.

He glanced up and down.

“What is it comes up behind?” says he, shouting. “There is a noise of
horses that pounds upon the road.”

“’Tis the wind,” says I, “that comes off the valley and makes play
among the branches.”

He sank back in his seat, and we went forward slowly. But he was
presently out again, screaming on the night.

“There is a horseman behind,” says he. “What does he there?”

“’Tis a traveler, your honor,” says I, “that goes, no doubt, by our
road, and is bound for London.”

“He shall be bound for hell,” says he tipsily, and falls back again.

The horses wound up foot by foot and emerged now into a space of better
light, and I looked around, and there was Grubbe, with his head through
the window and his eyes cast backward.

“What fool is this,” says he, “that rides so awkwardly, and drives a
spare horse? If he ride no better, I will ask him to keep me company,
if he be a gentleman. Many gentlemen have rode along of me, and have
rode to the gallows tree,” and he chuckled harshly.

“Maybe he will ride with you to the Gallows Gate, sir,” says I.

“Why, Crossway,” says he, laughing loudly, “you have turned a wit,” and
once more withdrew his head.

But now we were nigh to the top of the down, and I could see the faint
shadow of the triple beam. With that I knew my journey was done, and
that my work must be accomplished. I pulled to the horses on the rise,
and got down from my seat.

“Why d’ye stop, rascal?” called Grubbe in a fury, but I was by the door
and had it opened.

“Timothy Grubbe,” said I, “ye’re a damned rogue that the devil, your
master, wants and he shall have ye.”

He stared at me in a maze, his nostrils working, and then says he in a
low voice: “So, ’tis you.”

“Your time has come, Timothy,” said I, flinging off my cloak, and I
took my sword. “Out with you, worm.”

He said never a word, but stepped forth, and looked about him. He was
sobered now, as I could see from his face, which had a strange look on
it.

“Ye’re two rascals to one, Dick,” says he slowly, looking on the dead
man on his horse which had come to a stop in the shadows.

“No,” says I, “this gentleman will see fair play for us.”

Grubbe took a step backward. “Sir,” says he, addressing the dead
man—but at that moment Calypso and her companion started, and came
into the open.

The moon shone on the face of the dead. Grubbe uttered a cry, and
turned on me. His teeth showed in a grin.

“No ghost shall haunt me, Dick,” says he. “Rather shall another ghost
keep him company,” and his wry neck moved horribly.

I pointed upward where the tobyman hung in chains, keeping his flocks
by moonlight. “There’s your destiny,” said I. “There’s your doom. Now
defend, damn ye, for I’ll not prick an adder at a disadvantage.”

He drew his blade, for no man could say that Timothy Grubbe,
time-server and traitor as he was, lacked courage. Suddenly he sliced
at me, but I put out and turned off the blow.

“If you will have it so soon,” said I, “in God’s name have it,” and I
ran upon him.

My third stroke went under his guard, and I took him in the midriff. He
gave vent to an oath, cursed me in a torrent, and struck at me weakly
as he went down.

He was as dead as mutton almost ere he touched the ground.

I have never been a man of the church, nor do I lay any claim to own
more religion than such as to make shift by when it comes to the
end. No, nor do I deny that I have sundry offenses on my conscience,
some of which I have narrated in my memoirs. But when it comes to a
reckoning I will make bold to claim credit in that I rid the world he
had encumbered of Timothy Grubbe—the foulest ruffian that ever I did
encounter in the length of my days on the road.

I climbed the beam and lowered the poor tobyman, and it took me but a
little time to make the change. The one I left where he had paid the
quittance in the peace of the earth, and t’other a-swinging under the
light of the moon on Gallows Gate.

I have said my journey was done, but that was not so. There was more
for me to do, which was to deliver poor Masters at his lady-love’s and
break the unhappy news. And so, leaving the carriage where it stood
with the patient horses that were cropping the grass, I mounted the
mare and began to go down the long limb of the downs to the north.

’Twas late—near midnight—when I reached Effingham and found my way
to the manor. I rapped on the door, leaving Calypso and t’other in the
shadows of the house, and presently one answered to my knock.

“What is it?” says she.

“’Tis a stranger,” says I, “that has news of grave import for Mistress
Anne Varley, whom I beg you will call.”

“She cannot hear you,” said she. “’Tis her wedding night.”

“What!” said I in amazement, and instantly there flowed in on me the
meaning of this.

“Curse all women save one or two!” thinks I. And I turned to the maid
again with my mind made up.

“Look you, wench,” said I. “This is urgent. I have an instant message
that presses. And if so be your mistress will bear with me a moment and
hold discourse, I’ll warrant she shall not regret it—nor you,” says I,
with a crown piece in my palm.

She hesitated and then, “Maybe she will refuse,” says she. “She hath
but these few hours been wed.”

“Not she,” said I, “if you will tell her that I bring good news, great
news—news that will ease her spirit and send her to her bridal bed
with a happy heart.”

At that she seemed to assent, and with my crown in her hand she
disappeared into the darkening of the house. It must have been some ten
minutes later that a light flashed in the hall and a voice called to me.

“Who is it?” it asked, “and what want you at this hour?”

I looked at her. She was of a pretty face enough, rather pale of color,
and with eyes that moved restlessly and measured all things. Lord, I
have known women all my life in all stations, and I would ha’ pinned
no certainty on those treacherous eyes. She was young, too, but had an
air of satisfaction in herself, and was in no wise embarrassed by this
interview. I had no mercy on her, with her oaths of constancy writ in
water that figured to be tears and her false features.

“Madam,” said I civilly, “I hear you’re wed today to a gentleman of
standing.”

“What is that to you, sir?” she asked quickly.

“’Tis nothing, for sure,” said I, “but to a friend of mine that I value
deeply ’tis much.”

“You speak of Mr. Masters,” said she sharply, and with discomposure.
“Sure, if he be a gentleman, he will not trouble me when he knows.”

“Anne!” said a voice from the top of the stairs, “Anne!”

’Twas her bridegroom calling. Well, she should go to him in what mood
she might when I had done with her.

“He will never know,” says I, “unless he hear it from yourself.”

“Anne!” said the voice above the stairs.

“He shall not—I will not,” she cried angrily. “I will not be
persecuted. ’Twas all a mistake.”

I whistled. Calypso emerged from the night, and behind Calypso was
the horse with its burden. An anxious look dawned in her face. “I am
insulted,” says she and paused quickly.

“Edward!” she called, and put a hand to her bosom.

“Anne, darling!” cried the voice, “where are you? Come, child, ’tis
late.”

The horse came to a stop before the door with the body on the saddle,
bound to the crupper.

“What is it?” she cried in alarm, and suddenly she shrieked,
recognizing what was there. “It is an omen—my wedding night!”

“Aye,” says I, “which be your bridegroom, he that calls or he that is
silent? Call on him and he hears not.”

Peal after peal went up now from her, and the house was awake with
alarm. I turned away, leaving her on the doorstep, and mounted the mare.

As I cantered off into the night I cast a glance behind me, and a group
was gathered at the door, and in that group lay Mistress Anne fallen in
a swoon, with the sleeping figure on the horse before her.



                     _The Judge and the Jack Tar_


                          BY HENRY H. CORNISH

    It’s like this here, Your Honor, see?
      As near as I can tell,
    A gentleman hired my boat, and he
      Was quite a proper swell.
    He brought a lady down with him
      To make a longish trip
    And so we scrubbed her thoroughly—

       _Judge_—The lady?
       _Tar_—No! The ship

    Well—cutting off my story short
      To come to what befell
    We started, but put back to port
      Which much annoyed the swell.
    She fell between two waterways
      And got a nasty nip,
    So we rigged her out with brand-new stays—

       _Judge_—The lady?
       _Tar_—No-o! The ship.

    At last we put to sea again
      And started for the west,
    All spick and span without a stain
      When all at once, I’m blest,
    Her blooming timbers got misplaced,
      Which quite upset the trip,
    The water washed around her waist—

       _Judge_—The lady’s?
       _Tar_ (_nodding_)—And the ship’s.

    That’s all, I think, Your Honor, now,
      I’ll state to you my claim.
    Five hundred dollars, you’ll allow,
      Won’t build her up the same.
    Her rudder’s gone, her nose is broke,
      Her flag I’ve had to dip
    She’s lying now upon the mud—

       _Judge_—The lady?
       _Tar_—No-o-o-o! The ship.



                          _Object, Matrimony_


                         BY CAROLINE LOCKHART

With a turn of his red wrist, Porcupine Jim guided his horse in and
out among the badger holes which made riding dangerous business on
the Blackfoot Reservation. Perplexity and discontent rested upon
Porcupine’s not too lofty brow. Though he looked at the badger holes
and avoided them mechanically, he saw them not.

“Would you tank, would you tank,” he burst out finally in a voice which
rasped with irritation, “dat a girl like Belle Dashiel would rudder
have dat pigeon-toed, smart-Aleck breed dan me?”

Porcupine’s pinto cayuse threw back one ear and listened attentively to
the naïve conceit of his rider’s soliloquy.

“Look at me!” demanded Porcupine, changing the reins to his left hand
that he might make a more emphatic gesture with his right. “A honest
Swede, able to make fifteen dollars a day at my trade. Me as has
sheared sheep from Montany to the Argentine Republic, gittin’ bounced
for dat lazy half-breed dat can’t hold a yob two mont’!”

Porcupine’s thoughts upon any subject were not varied, and he burst
forth at intervals with a reiteration of the same idea until he came
to the ridge where he could look down upon the house of Dashiel, the
squaw-man, who kept a sort of post office in a soapbox.

Porcupine had come twenty-five miles for his mail. Not that he expected
any, but to be gibed at by Belle Dashiel had the same fascination for
him that biting on a sore tooth has for a small boy. Gradually the
knowledge had come to his slow-working mind that the half-breed girl’s
interest in him rose solely from the fact that John Laney was his
partner in the assessment work which they were doing in the mountains
on a tenderfoot’s copper claim.

Laney’s father had been an Irish steamboat captain on Lake Superior,
his mother, a Chippewa squaw, and the cross had produced an unusual
type. The Indian blood which keeps a half-breed silent and shy before
strangers had no such effect upon Laney. His prowess was his theme and
his vanity was a byword on the Reservation. He obtained his fashions
from the catalogue of a wholesale house in Chicago which furnishes the
trusting pioneer with the latest thing in oil drills or feather boas.
It was common belief that Laney’s high celluloid collar would some day
cut his head off.

Laney’s waking hours were spent in planning schemes of primitive
crudeness whereby he might acquire affluence without labor. In his
dreams the tenderfoot tourist was generally the person who was to
remove him from penury.

“Hello, Porcupine!” called Belle Dashiel, coming to the door with a
pink bow pinned on a pompadour of amazing height.

“Hullo yourself!” replied Porcupine, elated at his ready wit and the
cordiality in her voice.

“How’s John?”

The smile faded from his face.

“Good ’nough,” he replied shortly.

“When’s he comin’ down?”

“Dunno. Any mail for me?”

“A letter and a paper.”

“Who could be writin’ to me?”

Porcupine looked surprised.

“Didn’t you expect nothin’?” Belle Dashiel’s eyes shone mischievously.

“Yass, I tank, mebby.” A deeper red spread over the Swede’s sunburned
face.

He opened his letter and spelled it out laboriously, his chest heaving
with the effort.

“A man over in Chicago he tank I’m in turrible need of a pianny,” he
said in disgust, as he put the circular in the stove.

Porcupine lingered till the chill of the night air crept into the
sunshine of the September day. Then he put spurs to his patient cayuse
and hit the trail which led into the fastnesses of the Rockies.

The light was not quite gone when he happened to think of the
paper he had thrust in his coat-pocket. There might be news in it!
Bacon-Rind-Dick had told Two-Dog-Jack that there was a war over in
Jay-pan. Porcupine removed the wrapper and the words _Wedding Chimes_
stared him in the face.

As he read, he laid the reins on his horse’s neck and let the pinto
pick his own road. The matrimonial sheet opened up a vista of romantic
adventures and possibilities of which the Swede had never dreamed. His
imagination, which naturally was not a winged thing, was fired until he
saw himself leading to his shack up the North Fork of the Belly River
the fairest and richest lady in the land. All he had to do was to send
five dollars to _Wedding Chimes_ and thus join their matrimonial club.
Upon the receipt of the five dollars, the editor would send him the
names and addresses of several ladies who were all young, beautiful,
wealthy and anxious to be married. He could open a correspondence with
one or all of them, and then choose for his bride the lady whose letter
appealed to him most.

Porcupine strained his eyes reading descriptions of lily-white blondes
and dashing brunettes. When he could see no longer, he folded the
precious paper and buttoned it inside his coat.

His cayuse was puffing up the steep mountain trail in the darkness of
the thick pines and spruces when Porcupine suddenly let out a yell
which startled the prowling lynx and made his pinto snort with fright.
It was a wild whoop of exultation. There had come to Porcupine one of
those rare revelations which have made men great. He fairly glowed
and tingled with the inspiration which had flashed upon him as though
someone had gone through his brain with a lantern.

When he rode into camp, where Laney sat before the fire eating bacon
out of a frying-pan, Porcupine’s deep-set blue eyes were shining like
stars on a winter’s night.

“Yass, I got de greatest ting in de mail you ever see, I tank!”

Laney’s face expressed curiosity as the Swede sat down on a log and
turned his felt hat round and round upon his bullet-shaped head—a
trick he had when excited. With great deliberation and impressiveness
he produced the paper and handed it to Laney. Laney set the frying-pan
where his wolfhound could finish the bacon and opened the paper.

“Young, beautiful, immensely rich; obj., mat.,” he read. Laney’s eyes
sparkled. He read for half an hour of successful weddings brought
about by the editorial Cupid. Porcupine at last roused him from his
absorption.

“Laney, I got a scheme, I tank. I’ll join up with one of dem clubs
and you carry out de corryspondance with one of dem ladies. You are a
better scholar den me and write a pooty goot letter. Den, if it goes
all right, I’ll go and see her and tell her I ain’t exactly de man dat
done de writin’, but I’m just as goot.

“’Tain’t no use for you to get into de club, because you are all the
same as promised to Belle Dashiel. Sure,” Porcupine went on, “Belle
ain’t rich nor beautiful like dem ladies in _Weddin’ Chimes_, but she’s
a goot little girl.

“Old Dashiel ain’t got more dan fifty head of beef cattle, and dey say
he got a lot of runts in de last Govermint issue, but a ting like dat
don’t cut no ice if you’re stuck on de girl.”

Laney moved uneasily and avoided Porcupine’s eyes.

“Now for me,” continued the Swede, “I can marry any millionaire I want
to.”

       *       *       *       *       *

As soon as the mails could get it there, the editor of _Wedding Chimes_
received a neatly penciled and eloquent letter from one John Laney,
setting forth his especial needs and preferences, with considerable
stress laid upon the financial standing of the matrimonial candidates.

The day the list was due Laney rode down for the mail. The eagerness
with which he took the letter from her hand did not escape Belle
Dashiel.

“Got a new girl, John?” she asked lightly, though she watched his face
with suspicious eyes.

“Perhaps,” replied Laney, and all her urging could not detain him.

By the light of the camp-fire Laney and Porcupine studied the list of
names and addresses sent from the office of the matrimonial paper.

“This a-here one suits me,” said Laney. “‘Mayme Livingston, Oak Grove,
Iowa.’ It’s a toney-sounding name.”

“It’s me dat’s gittin’ married,” Porcupine suggested significantly.
“But Mayme’s all right, I tank. Go on ahead and write.”

So Laney, with the assistance of a sheet of ruled notepaper and a lead
pencil which he moistened frequently in order to shade effectively,
composed a letter which he and Porcupine regarded not only as a model
of cleverness but an achievement from a literary point of view. The
legal tone which gave it dignity was much admired by Porcupine. The
letter read:

                                 BELLY RIVER, MONT.
   MISS MAYME LIVINGSTON:

        DEAR MADAM: Whereas I have paid up five
      dollars and have the priveledge of writing to any
      lady on the list sent from the aforesaid matrimonial
      paper, I, the undersigned, have picked out you, Miss
      Mayme Livingston party of the first part, obj. mat.

        I am an American, five feet seven, and quite dark.
      I am interested in copper mines and cattle. I can
      ride anything that wears hair and last winter I
      killed two silver-tips and a link. I am engaged
      somewhat in trapping also. They say I am a tony
      dresser and I can dance the Portland Fancy or any
      dance that I see once. I play the juice-harp, mouth
      organ and accordian. I have a kind disposition and
      would make a good husband to any lady who had a
      little income of her own.

        Let me hear from you as soon as you get this and
      tell me what you think of my writing.
                                  Respy. Yrs.
                                     JOHN LANEY.

        In witness whereof that this letter is true I have
      hereunto set my hand and fixed my seal.
                                 Porcupine Jim X his mark.

The days which followed the mailing of the above composition were
the longest Laney and Porcupine had ever known. They discussed Miss
Livingston until they felt they knew her. Porcupine thought she had
black eyes, black hair, was inclined to stoutness, but with a good
“figger.”

The name of Livingston to Laney conjured up a vision of blonde
loveliness in red satin, slender, shapely, with several thousand
dollars in a handbag which she kept always with her.

Miss Livingston’s letter came with delightful promptness. There was an
angry glow in Belle Dashiel’s Indian eyes as she handed the salmon-pink
envelope to Laney.

“Who you writin’ to?” she demanded.

“Business,” replied Laney bruskly, and strode out of the house.

Porcupine, who had also come down, lingered a moment to tell her she
looked prettier each time that he saw her.

Miss Livingston’s letter read:

                  Mr. John Laney
      deer sir. i take a few minutes to tell you how glad
      i was to heer from you Away off in montana i have
      not got Much Noos to rite but i will explain abot
      Myself i am a suthoner and quite Dark to my Father
      was a rice planter before the war which ruhined us
      i hav a good Voice and sing in the Quire i danz
      most evry Danc goin i have a Stiddy incom and make
      hansom presints to annybody i Like if i met a perfect
      Genelman i wold Marry him i cannot rite annymore
      Today bekaws i hay Piz to make rite offen to
                                      Miss Mayme Livingston
        i think your Ritin is good i wish you wold send
      your Fotegraf


Laney’s brow was clouded as he folded the letter. “She ain’t much of a
scholar,” he said. “You hardly ever see a scholar use little ‘i’s.’”

“What differunce does dat make when she’s got a stiddy income?” replied
Porcupine quickly. “And den what she said about handsome presents.
Sure, she’s a hairess, I tank.”

Laney brightened at these reminders, and immediately set about
composing another letter calculated to impress the wealthy, if
unlettered, Miss Livingston.

“Dear madam,” soon developed into “Dearest Mayme,” and “deer sir” as
speedily became “darlig John,” and, with each salmon-pink envelope’s
arrival, Laney’s coolness toward Belle Dashiel became more marked.

“Porcupine,” said Laney, who had begun to show some reluctance in
reading the correspondence to his partner, “the lady is gettin’ oneasy
to see me, and when we finish runnin’ that drift in the lead, I think
I’ll take a trip over to Iowa and see her.”

“But where do I come in, mebby?” demanded Porcupine.

“That’s what I’m goin’ for—to fix it up for you. Reely, Porcupine,”
and he looked critically at the rawboned Swede, whose hair stood up
like the quills on the animal from which he had received his sobriquet,
“it wouldn’t be right for you to break in on a lady without givin’ her
warning of what you was like.”

“I know I ain’t pooty,” replied Porcupine unperturbed, “but I can make
fifteen dollars a day at my trade.”

The tenderfoot’s assessment money went toward buying Laney a wardrobe
which almost any one of Laney’s relatives or friends would have killed
him in his sleep to possess.

A jeweler, advertising in _Wedding Chimes_, received an order for a
one-hundred-and-fifty-dollar scarfpin, to be paid for in instalments.
Porcupine, whose nature was singularly free from envy, could not
but feel a pang when he saw the large horseshoe of yellow diamonds
glittering in Laney’s red cravat.

Laney had read that no gentleman should think of venturing into
polite society without a “dress suit.” An order was sent for a
seventy-five-dollar suit of evening clothes to the Chicago firm from
whom they bought their mining tools. When the clothes arrived Laney
dressed himself in them one evening in their shack up the North Fork
of Belly River, and Porcupine’s face showed the admiration he felt, as
Laney strutted like a pheasant drumming on a log.

Laney, who numbered among his accomplishments the ability to draw a
rose or a horse so that almost anybody would know what it was, gave
an original touch to his costume by purchasing at the Agency a brown
broad-brimmed felt hat and painting a red rose directly in front under
the stiff brim.

When the drift was run and Laney’s wardrobe was complete, he and the
Swede set out across the Reservation to the railroad station.

“Pardner,” said Porcupine as he looked wistfully at the broadcloth coat
with satin revers and the tail sloped away like a grasshopper’s wings,
“dey ain’t a friend you got, but me, dat would trust you to do their
courtin’ for them togged out like dat—sure, dat’s so!”

There was a derisive glint in Laney’s small back eyes; he held the
slow-witted Swede in almost open contempt for his innocence. Porcupine
shook hands with him on the platform and wished him good luck. “You’ll
do your best for me, pard?” he asked anxiously.

“Trust me,” replied Laney gaily, intoxicated by the attention he was
receiving from the tourists in the Pullman car.

Porcupine stopped at Dashiel’s on his return. Belle Dashiel met him at
the door and her eyes were blazing. Without being able to define the
process of reasoning by which he arrived at the conclusion, Porcupine
felt that his brilliant plot stood an infinitely better show of success
that he did not find her in tears.

“Where’s he gone at?” She stamped her moccasined foot imperiously.

“I wouldn’t like to say,” replied Porcupine in a voice which denoted a
wish to shield his partner and yet a noble, if unusual, desire to tell
the truth.

“Tell me!” she commanded, and she put her small hand on the big Swede’s
arm as though she would shake him.

“I tank,” answered Porcupine meekly; “I dunno, but I tank he’s gone to
get married.”

As Laney sat in the day coach in his evening clothes, his broad hat
tilted back from his coarse, swarthy face, a constant procession filed
through the aisle and every eye rested upon his smiling and complacent
countenance. He passed two restless nights sleeping with his head on
his patent-leather valise, and monotonous days eating peanuts and
slaking his thirst at the ice-tank in the corner of the car. The farther
he got from home, the more attention he attracted, which was some
recompense for the inconvenience he was enduring.

He had plenty of time to decide a question which had much perplexed
him: Could he immediately address the lady as “Mayme” and kiss her
upon sight, or should he call her Miss Livingston and merely shake her
hand? If too demonstrative, he might frighten her—capital is shy, as
all men know. On the other hand, women resent coldness—now there was
Belle Dashiel. Something which, if developed, might have proved to be
a conscience, gave him a twinge, and he hastened to put the half-breed
girl from his thoughts.

He reviewed the subject of his greeting from all possible sides,
and decided that, in view of the many endearing phrases which Miss
Livingston’s letters had contained and the neat border of “o’s,”
labeled “kisses,” which had ornamented her last letter, he could feel
reasonably safe in planting a chaste salute upon her trembling lips.
Also he wondered how long it would be before he could hint at a small
loan.

When they returned from their bridal tour they would take the best room
in the hotel at the Agency, and he and work would be strangers ever
after. He would send to Great Falls for a top buggy, and buy a mate to
drive with his brown colt. He would get a long, fawn-colored overcoat
and a diamond ring. He paused in the erection of his air castle to read
again the letter which had reached him just before his departure.

        “i will be at the Depo in a purple Satin wast with
      red roses in my Hat you can’t help but see me,” said
      the penciled lines. “i am tickled to deth that you
      are coming be Sure an com on the 3.37 thursday o how
      can i wait till then.”

Laney smiled contentedly and returned the letter to his pocket. For the
hundredth time he consulted the time-table. “Jimminy Christmas!—only
three hours more!” He hastened to wash his hands and face, having
postponed that ceremony until he should near Oak Grove. The bosom of
his pleated shirt was rumpled, and his dress clothes showed that he
had slept in them; but trifles could not mar his happiness. He oiled
his black hair from a small bottle containing bear grease scented with
bergamot, and adjusted his cravat that the horseshoe might show to
advantage.

When after a century of nervous tension the train whistled at the
outskirts of Oak Grove, Laney’s knees were trembling beneath him and
it seemed as though the thumping of his heart would choke him. He
swallowed hard as, the solitary arrival, he descended the car steps and
looked about him.

There was a flash of purple satin and an avalanche seemed to bury Laney
in a moist embrace.

“Hyar yo’ is, honey!” cried a ringing, triumphant voice in his ear as
he struggled to free himself. “Ah knowed you’d come!”

“Good Gawd!” cried Laney as he broke loose and jumped back. “Black!
Black as a camp coffee-pot!”

“Yes, honey, I’se black, but I’se lovin’!” and Miss Livingston advanced
upon him with sparkling eyes and an expanse of gleaming ivories.

“What for a game you been giving me?” demanded Laney, retreating to the
edge of the platform. “You said you were the daughter of a Southern
planter.”

“So I is, so I is,” replied that lady in a conciliatory tone. “Mah
father planted rice foah Colonel Heywood down in South Caroliny till he
died.”

“But your money, your steady income——”

“Eb’ry Sataday night Ah draws mah little ole five dollars foah cookin’
in a res-ta-rant.”

Miss Livingston’s mood suddenly changed. From a pleading, loving maiden
she became an aggressive termagant; from the defensive she assumed the
offensive, gripping her pearl-handled parasol in a suggestive manner.

“Say, yo’ Wil’ Man of Borneo, dressed up in them outlannish clothes,
what you mean tellin’ me yo’ was an American?”

Laney made a feeble effort to explain that he was of the race of true
Americans, but he might as well have tried to be heard above the
roaring of a storm in the Belly River cañon.

“Black, is I?” continued the dusky whirlwind, her voice rising to
a shriek. “Maybe you think yo’ look like a snow-bank! What kin’ of
a rag-time freak is yo,’ anyhow? If you think yo’ can ’gage mah
’ffections den ’spise me ’cause Ah ain’t no blonde, you’se mistaken in
dis chile! Ah don’ stand for no triflin’ from no man. If yo’ scorn me,
yo’ ‘What is it’ from de sideshow, Ah’ll have yo’ tuck up foah britch
of promise!”

John Laney waited to hear no more. He grabbed his shining valise from
the platform and ran down the nearest alley.

The _Iowa Granger_ said editorially in its next issue:

        We had a narrow escape from death last Thursday
      evening. We were mistaken by an intoxicated redskin
      for the editor of a matrimonial publication known as
      _Wedding Chimes_. Had we not pasted the infuriated
      savage one with the mucilage pot, and defended
      ourself with the scissors which, fortunately, we had
      in our hand at the time, undoubtedly the paper of
      September 12th would have been the last issue of the
      _Iowa Granger_. Our compositor came to our rescue in
      the nick of time.

        The redskin is now in the calaboose, but refuses
      to divulge his name or residence. It is believed,
      however, that he belongs to the medicine show which
      sold bitters and horse liniment in our midst last
      week.

When the coyotes howled that evening on the hill which overlooked the
road, they saw a radiant Swede with his arm about a pretty half-breed’s
slender waist; and Dashiel fed the pinto cayuse a pint of oats, which
was the surest kind of sign that he looked upon the pinto’s owner as
somewhat closer than a brother.



                     _Equal to the Occasion_


An old darky preacher down South one Sunday found a poker chip in the
collection basket. The minister knew enough of the ways of the wicked
world to realize that the little ivory disk represented more money than
the average contribution, and he was loath to lose the amount. Rising
to his full height in the pulpit, he said:

“Ef de sportin’ gent what done put de pokah chip in de collection plate
will be kind ’nuff to tell where hit kin be cashed in, de congregation
will ax de Lawd to forgib him de error ob his ways.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Our lives are made up of selfishness and self-sacrifice. Both are much
the same.



                    The Rivers of the Nameless Dead


                          BY THEODORE DREISER
                      _Author of “Sister Carrie”_

        The body of a man was found yesterday in the North
      River at Twenty-fifth street. A brass check, No.
      21,600, of the New York Registry Company was found on
      the body.—_N. Y. Daily Paper._


There is an island surrounded by rivers, and about it the tide scurries
fast and deep. It is a beautiful island, long, narrow, magnificently
populated, and with such a wealth of life and interest as no island in
the world has ever before possessed. Long lines of vessels of every
description nose its banks. Enormous buildings and many splendid
mansions line its streets.

It is filled with a vast population, millions coming and going, and is
the scene of so much life and enthusiasm and ambition that its fame is,
as the sound of a bell, heard afar.

And the interest which this island has for the world is that it is
seemingly a place of opportunity and happiness. If you were to listen
to the tales of its glory carried the land over and see the picture
which it presents to the incoming eye, you would assume that it was
all that it seemed. Glory for those who enter its walls seeking glory.
Happiness for those who come seeking happiness. A world of comfort and
satisfaction for all who take up their abode within it—the island of
beauty and delight.

The sad part of it is, however, that the island and its beauty are, to
a certain extent, a snare. Its seeming loveliness, which promises so
much to the innocent eye, is not always easy of realization. Thousands
come, it is true; thousands venture to reconnoiter its mysterious
shores. From the villages and hamlets of the land is streaming a
constant procession of pilgrims, the feeling of whom is that here is
the place where their dreams are to be realized; here is the spot where
they are to be at peace. That their hopes are not, in so many cases,
to be realized, is the thing which gives a poignant sadness to their
coming. The beautiful island is not possessed of happiness for all.

And the exceptional tragedy of it is that the waters which surround the
beautiful island are forever giving evidence of the futility of the
dreams of so many. If you were to stand upon its shore, where the tide
scurries past in its never-ending hurry, or were to idle for a time
upon its many docks and piers, which reach far out into the water and
give lovely views of the sky and the gulls and the boats, you might
see drifting past upon the bosom of the current some member of all the
ambitious throng who, in time past, has set his face toward the city,
and who entered only to find that there was more of sorrow than of
joy. Sad, white-faced maidens; grim, bearded, time-worn men; strange,
strife-worn, grief-stricken women, and, saddest of all, children—soft,
wan, tender children, floating in the waters which wash the shores of
the island city.

And such waters! How green they look; how graceful, how mysterious!
From far seas they come—strange, errant, peculiar waters—prying along
the shores of the magnificent island; sucking and sipping at the rocks
which form its walls; whispering and gurgling about the docks and piers
and flowing, flowing, flowing. Such waters seem to be kind, and yet
they are not so. They seem to be cruel, and yet they are not so; merely
indifferent these waters are—dark, strong, deep, indifferent.

And curiously the children of men who come to seek the joys of the city
realize the indifference and the impartiality of the waters. When the
vast and beautiful island has been reconnoitered, when its palaces have
been viewed, its streets disentangled, its joys and its difficulties
discovered, then the waters, which are neither for nor against, seem
inviting. Here, when the great struggle has been ended, when the years
have slipped by and the hopes of youth have not been realized; when
the dreams of fortune, the delights of tenderness, the bliss of love
and the hopes of peace have all been abandoned—the weary heart may
come and find surcease. Peace in the waters, rest in the depths and the
silence of the hurrying tide; surcease and an end in the chalice of the
waters which wash the shores of the beautiful island.

And they do come, these defeated ones, not one, nor a dozen, nor a
score every year, but hundreds and hundreds. Scarcely a day passes but
one, and sometimes many, go down from the light and the show and the
merriment of the island to the shores of the waters where peace may be
found. They stop on its banks; they reflect, perhaps, on the joys which
they somehow have missed; they give a last, despairing glance at the
wonderful scene which once seemed so joyous and full of promise, and
then yield themselves unresistingly to the arms of the powerful current
and are borne away. Out past the docks and the piers of the wonderful
city. Out past its streets, its palaces, its great institutions.
Out past its lights, its colors, the sound of its merriment and its
seeking, and then the sea has them and they are no more. They have
accomplished their journey, the island its tragedy. They have come down
to the rivers of the nameless dead. They have yielded themselves as a
sacrifice to the variety of life. They have proved the uncharitableness
of the island of beauty.



                       _Wouldn’t Admit It_


MARJORIE—At the meeting of the Spinsters’ Club the members told why
they had never married.

MADGE—What reason did they give?

MARJORIE—All kinds, except that they had never got the chance.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            _Satiated_

WASHINGTONIAN—Wouldn’t you like to visit the Senate some day while
you’re here?

GUEST—No, I guess not. You see, I’m a member of the Board of
Visitors for the Old Woman’s Home up where I live.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           _Invaluable_

CRAWFORD—Is he a good lawyer?

CRABSHAW—Sure. He knows how every law on the statute books
can be evaded.



                   _Another View of the Simple Life_


                            BY ZENOBIA COX

For the past few months we have had a deluge of optimism. From various
sources we are told that man ought to be happy. “Whatever is, is good,”
is the handwriting on the wall. Content is preached from what George
Eliot called “that Goshen of Mediocrity,” the pulpit; and politicians
publish their elastic statistics, proving prosperity and content. This
proselyting Optimism reached its height in the advent of Charles Wagner
to our hospitable shores and in the thrusting of his little book, “The
Simple Life,” under the nose of the public.

The book was published here several years ago, but has lain unnoticed
until today. Our sudden torridity of welcome makes one reflect upon
a dog who tramples on the grass beneath his feet and feeds on offal;
suddenly he begins to eat the grass and then we cry, “The dog is sick!”
Humanity has a canine instinct for its needs. Its tastes must ripen. We
can neither hasten nor retard them.

As it takes the fever of intoxication to appreciate the purity of
water; as the quiet of repose must follow the stress of effort, so man
now turns to the sweet nothingness of a dream, amid the warring clash
of realities.

That Wagner’s idyl of simplicity is but a dream, a sigh of the
imagination, only idealists can deny. Civilization and Simplicity!
Bedlam and Elysium! Nirvana on the Tower of Babel! All these alliances
are equally possible.

The very fact of his dream arousing such a storm of approval awakens
suspicion. Insistence is always a confession of doubt. Man never talks
so much of his happiness as when he is unhappy. This is demonstrated in
marriage.

Wagner’s arrival in America was singularly opportune. Certainly it
was fortunate that his little olive branch was given to the public
just when it was clamoring for something. Its palms were itching for
some of the sugar-plums the Privileged Few had wrested from it, and
it was beginning to get noisy. Yes, that hydrocephalic infant, the
Proletariat, was beginning to sob for the golden spoon in the mouth
of Special Privilege, when, lo and behold! the powers behind the
throne go to Paris and bring back the soothing syrup of Wagner and his
philosophy. The infant lets the Pharisee dope him, and he drops the
unintelligible complexities of Franchises, Trusts, Labor Problems and
Wrongs to grab the little woolly lamb of Content.

Surely the importers of Wagner are altruists, to try thus to make
the public so happy. And that Wagner has had importers as well as
indorsers, the Initiated know. Nevertheless, Wagner is a remarkable
man. He is remarkable in resembling two historical characters and also
in possessing the aptitudes for several vocations.

He resembles Rousseau. Rousseau sang the same little Psalm of
Simplicity in the most artificial and febrile period of France. The
Philistines shrieked the same applause, and even tried to eat the
prescribed grass. He resembles Mme. de Pompadour. When no longer she
could charm the palled fancy of Louis XV as Circe, coquette, dancer or
_grande dame_, she assumed the garb of a peasant girl.

That was one of the early triumphs of simplicity. Art is always a
surprise. Its sole function is to astonish. Therein Wagner is an artist.

He is also a civil engineer, for he has mastered the cosmic momentum.
The world is a seesaw. It exists by the eternal balance of contrasts.
Wagner, seeing the excess, has given us the weight to restore our
equipoise. He has led us back like refractory children to drink of milk
after we have eaten _marrons glacés_ and liked them. Of course they
have given us indigestion, and that is where Wagner fills the role of
physician; he diagnoses our disease, he places his finger upon the very
“Malady of the Century,” and he prescribes—sugar pills. This shows his
great wisdom, for sugar pills and the dissecting-knife should form the
sole equipment of every physician.

Wagner is also a philanthropist. His aim is to make us happy, and
his method is to make us believe that a gridiron is a lyre and that
cobblestones may be Apples of the Hesperides. He tells us that as
things now are, each child is “born into a joyless world; that the
complexities of our lives have led us into the Slough of Despond; that
Civilization has been futile, for it has left us miserable.” And for
all our ills he gives us the panacea of content, simplicity and repose.
He summons us to be “merely human, to have the courage to be men and
leave the rest to Him who numbered the stars. Each life should wish to
be what it is good for it to be, without troubling about anything else.”

This is the gospel of non-resistance, of quietism. The absurdity of
it is attested by every step we take, for do they not say we could
not walk were it not for the resistance of the ground? Eating, alone,
is a triumph over opposition. He wishes to steep us in the _dolce far
niente_ of Content, and tells us in order to do so all that is needed
is our confidence and trust.

“An imperturbable faith in the stability of the universe and its
intelligent ordering sleeps in everything that exists. The flowers, the
trees, the beasts of the field live in calm strength, in entire
security.”

We must remember that Wagner lives in Paris, and, therefore, make
allowances for this last statement. He probably has never seen any
beasts of the field except in the cages of the Zoo, else he could not
have such exuberant faith in their confidence and security. He could
never have studied the stealthy horrors of the forests—the furtive
panther—the relentless viper—their trembling victims—and possess
such a genial conviction of the mercy and goodness of this scheme of
creation. No, he must look away from nature for his examples of harmony
and peace.

His perpetual refrain is, “Be human and be simple.” Civilization’s
answer is that the two are incompatible. Evolution tends to complexity
as inevitably as growth leads to death. The beginnings of all things
are simple—people, theories of government and vegetable seeds. But the
laws of life will not leave them thus. Like American policemen, their
continual order is “move on.”

We would have had no history had it not been for man’s love of novelty.
It is the one enduring thing. The anthropology of the world is but
the record of man’s taste for the strange. Yet Wagner says, “Novelty
is ephemeral. Nothing endures but the commonplace, and if one departs
from that, it is to run the most perilous risk. Happy he who is able to
reclaim himself, who finds the way back to simplicity.”

After reading pages of hazy verbiage descriptive of this simplicity,
one cannot but see that his ideal is a vapory creation, a fusing of
the honest animality of the savage and the calloused quietism of the
lotus-eater.

Simplicity! What prototypes have we for it in all humanity? Two
possible types suggest themselves, the savage and the hermit. But
Darwin shows us that we cannot find simplicity in the savage. Like
civilized man, his instincts are toward exaggeration. He, too, in his
limited way, tries to escape from the realities of life. His protest
against truth is tattooing. His idea of beauty is distortion.

As the great anatomist, Bichat, long ago said, “If everyone were cast
in the same mold, there would be no such thing as beauty. If all our
women were to become as beautiful as the Venus de Medici, we should
soon wish for a variety. We should wish to see certain characters a
little exaggerated beyond the existing common standard.”

All the philosophizing of the optimist won’t thwart this tendency
of human nature, and it is as futile to bewail “the Vice of the
Superlative,” the complexities and hyperboles of life, as it would
be to bewail the inevitability of death. Thus we see we cannot find
simplicity in man’s primitive form, the savage.

We must, then, look for it in one of his acquired forms—in the
idealist who can make of himself a mental Robinson Crusoe, or in the
hermit of the monastery or the desert. It must be in some isolated
being that we seek simplicity, for certainly it can never be found amid
“the madding crowd” and its “ignoble strife.” In solitude alone can
one cultivate that contemplative apathy of the mind which Wagner calls
peace, which Mahatmas call divinity, and wives call selfishness.

But solitude is not good for man. With it we punish our worst criminals
and our old maids. Victor Hugo says, “It makes a god or a devil of
man.” Neither of these superlative beings could exist in Wagner’s
temperate zone. Wagner yearns for quiet and rest, and where can we find
them? Scientists tell us nothing in the world is at rest. There are but
two spots on the earth which don’t move with it—the poles. And God has
made them uninhabitable—as a lesson.

If Wagner could reach them, he might build his Utopia there, warm it
with a rainbow and fertilize it with the waters of Lethe.

Yet humanity must have these Arcadian dreams. The epochs are strewn
with them. Periodically man grows tired of the spiced flavors of his
repasts and would fain go out in the woods and gather manna from
heaven. The effort has always been disastrous. We had the experiment
of the Perfectionists, the Icarians, the Owenites, the Harmonists and
Brook Farm. They were all founded on simplicity and were all dissolved
because of the difference between theory and practice. This is
unfortunate.

An ideal is like a schoolboy’s ruler—it is very good to measure by,
but is very frail to build a habitation with. Optimism is a good thing,
and so is Pessimism. But Optimism alone is popular; man does not like
to be told the faults of the universe any more than to be told of his
own faults. This accounts for his hospitality to all the myopic dogmas
of Optimism, and his antipathy to the equally true tenets of Pessimism.

It is as if one faction believed only in the actuality of the day,
and the other admitted only the existence of night. Their polemics
suggest the law of gravitation run mad. What if there were only a law
of attraction and none of repulsion? Certainly we would all be merged
into one. But this union would be chaos and extinction. Our repulsions
and suspicions save us. They make an individual where the Optimist with
his one law of attraction would have an inert mass. The Lord’s Prayer
should be changed to “Deliver us from evil—and good.”

Too great a bias toward a recognition of either is dangerous. The one
inculcates content—the other discontent. But of the two, discontent is
by far the safer. If content had been universal, our present degree of
enlightenment and justice would have been impossible.

Content means egotism, inaction and stagnation. Discontent means
reformation, revolution and progress. All our great men were
discontented. All our imbecile kings were contented—and tried to make
their serfs so. Whose mind was the most beneficial to the world—the
fermenting, aggressive brain of Luther, or the tranquil cerebellum
of the gorged Vitellius? Civilization has arisen from discontent.
Discontent means upheaval, and upheaval is to a nation what plowing is
to the corn. Sir Robert Peel defined agitation to be “the marshaling of
the conscience of a nation to mold its laws.”

What we want at present is not peace, but agitation. There are too many
wrongs to be righted—too many national dragons to be slain to respond
yet awhile to Wagner’s call to disarmament! What we need are spears,
not olive branches; the flag of battle, not the flag of truce.

Wagner wishes to give us happiness. But man’s effort for selfish,
personal happiness has caused all the miseries of the world.

It is by persistently closing their eyes to the sorrows of man that our
commercial pirates can so tranquilly exist. I believe that when man
sees that he cannot make life enjoyable he will then turn his attention
to making it endurable. At present our safest philosophy is the belief
in progress by antagonism, and our duty is to unsheathe the sword of
rebellion from the scabbard of ignorance, and do battle against all
despots and oppressors!



                            _Defined_


“WHAT is domestic economy, Professor?”

“Buying your cigars with the money you save on your wife’s clothing.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                        _The Modern Table_

FREDDIE—What is interest, dad?

DAD—Six per cent is legal rate, 25 is pawnbroking, 100 is
usury, while 600 is high finance.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          _The Faddist_

COBWIGGER—When did your home cease to be a happy one?

DORCAS—When my wife joined a lot of clubs that made a business of
making other people’s homes happy.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        _A Family Secret_

CRAWFORD—I hear he does nothing but talk about his money.

CRABSHAW—Yes. He tells everything about it except how he made
it.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          _Too Tempting_

ENGLISH TOURIST—Your members of Congress pass bills, don’t they?

LOBBYIST—Not the kind I offer them.

       *       *       *       *       *

PROFITS of small comforts—the great ones are so hard to get.



                        _The Corner in Change_


                        BY WILLIAM A. JOHNSTON

“Must be something doing,” said the night-clerk to the room-clerk,
nodding in the direction of a middle-aged man who was being piloted
toward the elevator by a bell-boy. “That’s Martin, the banker, going
up to see the Senator. There’s three others ahead of him. The Senator
was expecting them, too, for he told me when they came in to have them
shown up to his sitting-room at once.”

“Who are the others?” asked the room-clerk, raising his eyes from his
ledger to look after the departing form of the man who—next to Russell
Sage—was reputed to have command of the largest amount of ready money
of any man in the United States.

“Well,” replied the night-clerk, taking advantage of the dulness of a
rainy night in the spring to engage in more extended conversation than
the exigencies of his calling usually permitted, “the first one to
arrive was Congressman Woods. He’s stopping over at the Waldorf. This
is only his second term in the House, but they say he is practically
leader of his party. Not ten minutes after him was Higgins, who used to
be comptroller, or something of the sort. He’s made a pile of money in
the Street in the last few years. They say that last corner in wheat
netted him about two million. I wouldn’t care if I stood close enough
to him to get a tip once in awhile on the way things were going. There
would be more in it than following the horses, although that ain’t
saying much, judging by the run of bad luck I have had lately. Just
before Martin came in Tom Connors went upstairs.”

“Tom’s rather out of his latitude, ain’t he?” said the room-clerk. “It
ain’t often he gets in with such big fellows, is it?”

“Don’t you fool yourself,” replied the night-clerk. “Maybe Tom Connors
doesn’t get his name in the society news as often as the rest of them,
but all the same he stands about as near next the Senator as anyone in
town. Tom Connors has a big pull in Washington, and almost as big a
one with the bankers here. With the chances he has the only reason Tom
Connors ain’t a millionaire is because he’s such a spender. Tom is a
working partner in a good many Senate deals or steals, whichever you
want to call them, unless I’m much mistaken.”

The arrival of several guests put an end to the conversation. The
room-clerk turned once more to his ledger and the night-clerk began
reaching for keys and yelling, “Front!” An hour or two later the men
behind the desk were at leisure again when “Ed” Wallace strolled up.
To him the night-clerk imparted the information that the Senator was
having some sort of a séance in his rooms, incidentally mentioning who
were there.

Wallace hastened over to the corner where several members of that
unorganized organization, “the political combination,” the brightest
reporters of the big newspapers, were exchanging reminiscences. “The
most news with the least work” is the motto of the “combination.” It
means that whatever news one of them gets, all get—with considerably
less labor than if each worked independently, and with the chance of a
rival newspaper scoring a “beat” reduced to the minimum.

Various theories as to the meaning of the conference upstairs were
suggested and rejected. The five men in the Senator’s rooms were not
political allies—that the reporters well knew. That they were all,
with the exception perhaps of the Western representative, warm personal
friends, they knew equally well. But despite its knowledge of the men
and its familiarity with the political situation, the “combination” was
unable to deduce anything that could be printed.

“I’ll give it up,” said Stanley Titus. “The only thing I see is for
Wallace to go upstairs and see what is going on. The Senator will talk
to him if he’ll talk to anyone, and perhaps we can get a line on what’s
doing.”

When Wallace, two minutes later, knocked on the door of the Senator’s
sitting-room, it was the Senator himself who opened it—just about two
inches—and peered impatiently into the hall.

“Oh, it’s you, is it, Wallace?” he said. “Well, my boy, what can I do
for you?”

“The combination would like to know if you have anything to say for
publication about the conference that is going on in there,” replied
Wallace.

The Senator put his head a little farther out the door. “I will tell
you something, but you will understand that it is not for publication,”
he said, dropping his voice to a whisper as Wallace leaned forward
expectantly. “I’ve got all the blues.” And the door was shut in
Wallace’s face.

But there were no chips or cards on the table to which the Senator
returned after shutting the door. The five men, their wrinkled brows
betokening hard thinking, were intently studying neatly tabulated
statements—long rows of figures—that might mean much or little,
depending entirely on the observer’s information as to their purpose.

“As I was saying,” the Senator began, taking up the conversation
where he had dropped it to answer the knock, “I am fully convinced
that $10,000,000 will see it through. Out of that the expenses of
engineering the deal will amount to, say, a million. The actual
expenses of collection should not exceed more than ten per cent., and I
believe with Mr. Connors that a good part of it can be done with five
per cent. That million is all we stand to lose, for the rest will be
invested in goods worth their face value, whether the plan succeeds
or fails. I believe that it will succeed and I am ready to guarantee
one-fourth of the sum needed. If each of the others present, with the
exception of Mr. Connors, will do the same, we will have the money. As
Mr. Connors is the originator of the plan and will have to superintend
the carrying out of the details, I think that without being expected to
invest any money he should receive one-tenth of the net profits, and
the residue can be divided equally among the rest of us.”

There were no dissenters to the Senator’s proposition, least of all
Tom Connors. After some little discussion as to details, the date for
carrying out the plan was fixed as the first Friday in October, or
rather the first Friday and Saturday, as it was calculated that two
days would be required to consummate the work.

When the conference adjourned an hour later Mr. Higgins, the former
comptroller, Representative Woods and the Senator each had agreed to
have by the first day of September $2,500,000 in available cash, which
Mr. Martin, the banker, joining with $2,500,000 of his own, could
utilize in carrying out the scheme proposed by Tom Connors, who in lieu
of capital had pledged himself to an immense amount of hard work, in
consideration of which he was to receive one-tenth of the profits.

There was no good reason for calling it the Fractional Currency Bill,
for in reality it was an anti-fractional currency bill. It provided
that after the fifteenth day of September the Government of the United
States should not issue or cause to be issued, or coin or cause to be
coined, any half-dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, two-cent pieces
or pennies, and also that none of the fractional currency already in
existence in the possession of the United States should be put into
circulation for a period of five years after the date on which the law
became operative.

The bill made its appearance in the House and Senate a few days after
the opening of the special session called by the President to meet
on the twelfth day of July. Strange to say, neither the Senator nor
Representative Woods seemed to be much interested in it. Both voted
for it after having made brief speeches in its support, but they were
only two of many that did the same. The father of the bill in the House
was Hicks, of California, and in his State the measure was known as
the Hicks bill. The patron of the measure in the Senate was Gordon, of
Maine. Neither of these men heretofore had been recognized as having
much influence with their associates, but in this instance their pet
bill at once found favor in the eyes of their colleagues.

It is a peculiar thing about the American law-maker—the real author
of legislation—that he seldom, if ever, appears at the front. He
is content that some of the small fry shall have the distinction of
fathering the laws and be recorded in history as the men who did
this or that for their country’s good. The real leaders of American
political life and actions seem to think that post-mortem fame is more
than outweighed by more substantial ante-mortem things.

Simple as the measure seemed to read, so equally simple were the
strongest arguments used in its support. The actual metal in a
penny was worth perhaps the tenth of a penny. There was a startling
difference between the face value and the bullion value of the nickel.
Even the silver coins if offered as metal in the open market would
fetch less than half the amount that they called for. Eventually, if
more and more of these “tokens of value” were issued, the people would
refuse to accept them except far below par. The time to stop such
depreciation was before it had begun, the supporters of the measure in
both houses declared, and there was none to gainsay them. Those who had
always opposed the greenback theory could not consistently oppose this
line of reasoning. So the bill in its transition into law met little
opposition.

Strange to say, the newspapers, not even the tragedy-shrieking,
sensation-making, scandal-hunting ones, saw aught in the Fractional
Currency Bill to make it worth more than a casual mention. What was
said about it was good. One or two of the Far West publications who had
viewed with dismay the gradually increasing number of pennies in their
vicinity, welcomed it openly and gladly, for they felt that it would
avert the possibility of reducing their prices to the one, two or three
cent standard of the East. The Eastern newspapers that had been cutting
each other’s throats by selling twelve and sixteen pages of printed
matter at less than the cost of the white paper itself, saw in the
measure, if as predicted it resulted in the gradual withdrawal of the
penny from circulation, a chance to demand and receive a higher price
for their issues without being hurt by the lower prices of rivals.
Naturally, the newspapers did not oppose the measure.

As for the people—what do the American people, individually, know or
care what is done in Washington? For the most part the knowledge of
the community at large is confined to what it reads of the doings of
Congress in the Washington letters and to the criticisms it sees in
its pet editorial columns. If nothing is said about a particular bill,
the public knows nothing. Merchants, bankers, shipping interests,
railroads, labor unions, are aroused to action only when they see in
a bill an attempt to work injury to themselves. In the case of the
Fractional Currency Bill those who knew of it saw nothing in it likely
to injure them, and so there was no opposition.

Thus it was that the bill prohibiting the issue of the fractional
currency of the United States for a period of five years from the
fifteenth day of September received the signature of the President and
was duly recorded among the laws of the nation.

Seven o’clock in the morning of the first Friday in October found Tom
Connors at his desk in his offices on the second floor of the Safe
Deposit Building. He had rented a suite of rooms there several months
before and had put on the door the simple sign, “Thomas E. Connors,
Broker.” There was nothing unusual about the appearance of the office.
In the anteroom there were a few chairs, a table and an office-boy.
In another room a leased wire was run in and a telegraph operator was
seated. In the office of the “broker” himself there were only such
paraphernalia as might be found in any broker’s office.

Even in an inner room there was hardly anything to arouse suspicion.
Some persons might have wondered a little if they had noticed that what
was to all appearances a door of a coat-closet in reality opened on a
secret staircase that led directly to the floor below and into one of
the strong rooms of the Safe Deposit Company of which Mr. Martin, the
banker, was president.

It was not very many minutes after the arrival of his employer that the
office-boy realized to his regret that Friday was to be almost as busy
a day for him as the day before had been. Ordinarily, he had had plenty
of time to read his favorite literature, interrupted perhaps by a dozen
callers and half a dozen errands to do, but on Thursday he had observed
sorrowfully that Mr. Connors’s clients seemed to be increasing. If he
had kept count he might have known that no less and no more than one
hundred persons had called on Mr. Connors. Mr. Connors saw all of them.
Some of them he saw alone. Others were admitted to his room by twos and
threes. In one instance ten men entered the inner office and emerged
from it twenty minutes later in a body. But what all those men were
doing there was not of half so much interest to the office-boy as was
the fate of Daredevil Mike, whom the end of the chapter had left facing
the muzzles of seven rifles in the hands of seven desperate moonshiners.

Perhaps the office-boy’s respect for Mr. Connors’s callers would have
been increased had he known that each of the men when he left the
office had a package of one-dollar bills. There was not one of them
that had not at least $100; others had as much as $500. There was not
one of them that Mr. Connors did not know was to be trusted thoroughly.
The men were carefully selected. Some of them on previous occasions
during political campaigns had been supplied with money by Mr. Connors
to be distributed in the places where it would do the most good. A few
of them were not unknown in the records of crime, but as Mr. Connors
had remarked to Martin, the banker, to whom he had shown the list,
“There ain’t one of them that would throw down a friend.”

One of these men had arrived in the office shortly after Mr. Connors,
and as soon as he was admitted to the private office and the door had
been shut, he exclaimed:

“Say, Connors, that was a regular cinch. It did not take me more than
an hour to clean up that market. No explanations had to be made,
either.”

“Where’s the stuff?” asked Mr. Connors bruskly, and Mullins, his
caller, began emptying on the desk from every pocket in his clothing a
varied assortment of small change.

“You’ll find there’s ninety-five dollars there all right, as per
agreement,” said Mullins. “I didn’t have to spend much over a dollar,
either. It was a package of tobacco here and some potatoes for the old
woman there, where some old codger wouldn’t give me change unless I
bought something. But in most cases I would go to a stall and tell them
a neighbor wanted five dollars in small change till the bank opened,
and nearly every time I would get it. I don’t believe there’s a hundred
pennies left in that market.”

While he had been talking a clerk from the Safe Deposit Company had
entered Mr. Connors’s office by the private staircase. He carried to
the room below the money Mullins had turned in, returning shortly with
two receipt slips, one of which went to Mr. Connors and the other to
his caller.

“Now, Mullins,” said Mr. Connors, “I want you to go up to the big
cable-car barn where the conductors turn in their money. Here’s $500
more, and stay there until you are relieved. If you run out of money
telephone me. Get in some inconspicuous corner and pass the word around
among the conductors that ninety-five pennies or nineteen nickels are
worth a dollar to you. If they want to know what is up tell them that
it is a theatrical advertising dodge; tell them that you are writing a
story for a Sunday newspaper—tell them anything.”

Hardly had Mullins been dismissed when another of the syndicate’s
agents came in to report and was hurried off to some other part of the
city. In some cases the men received an allowance of five per cent. on
all the money they handled. In other cases it was a little more. So the
work went on all that day and the next. Ten men were kept at work in
ten sections of the city seeing that paper money replaced the silver,
nickels and coppers in the tills of the small shops. Few, if any, of
the shopkeepers realized that anything was amiss. The agents were all
instructed to do their work without arousing any suspicion. They had
orders every time they rode on a surface-car or patronized the Elevated
roads to offer a dollar bill in payment of their fare. Wherever they
saw an opportunity to get a bill changed they took it.

A clerk of the Safe Deposit Company reported at noon to Mr. Connors
that 12,071,624 pennies, 437,589 nickels, 366,427 dimes, 444,886
quarters and 139,553 half-dollars had been turned in by the assiduous
collectors. Telegrams received from Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and
various other cities showed that the efforts there had met with equal
success. With the $3,000,000 in small change that Mr. Connors had
succeeded in amassing in the preceding weeks through banks and money
brokers, he was well satisfied.

At three o’clock on Friday afternoon there was not a bank in the city
that had not had its store of small change much depleted by the raids
of the dry-goods and department stores. Half an hour later an organized
descent was made on all the big department stores by the agents of the
syndicate. Ninety of the collectors—the others being still engaged
elsewhere, according to orders previously issued, their movements being
known only to Mr. Tom Connors—visited in succession the biggest stores
in the shopping district, making in various departments a series of
purchases of articles advertised at four cents or six cents, or some
other small sum that meant at least ninety cents in change from a
dollar bill. When Friday evening came the syndicate had succeeded in
stripping the shopping district of all its small change.

The work of collecting on Saturday was necessarily much slower, but
when Saturday evening came the syndicate had nearly $9,000,000 in
fractional currency in its possession and everyone was wondering what
made change so scarce. The grand _coup_ was effected at midnight
Saturday night. Agents of the syndicate were waiting with paper money
at the headquarters of all the penny-in-the-slot machines. More than a
million dollars, mostly of pennies, was hurried in guarded trucks to
the Safe Deposit offices.

On Sunday afternoon there was another conference in the Senator’s
rooms. Connors submitted his report. He told how the markets,
the car-barns, the “L” stations, the department stores, the
five-and-ten-cent shops had been skilfully but legally looted of all
their small change. Not only in one city but in all cities of over
ten thousand inhabitants had this been done successfully. There was
triumph in his tones as he read the final figures: “Cost of collection,
$482,621. Total small change in vaults, $9,464,867.63.”

The Senator smiled a satisfied smile.

“Gentlemen,” said he, “I think we can safely say that our corner is
complete. We have cornered the small change. The department stores, the
street railways, business everywhere will be at a standstill tomorrow.
Small change is essential to modern business. The business men must
have it. They must come to _us_ for it. If business stops for a single
day, there is hardly a large establishment that can survive. We have
them at our mercy! How merciful we are to be, Mr. Martin, I think we
should leave to you.”

The others nodded assent.

Mr. Martin adjusted his glasses. He took Mr. Connors’s report and
glanced at it with deliberation.

“As the Senator observed,” he began, “the retail business houses must
have small change. They must have pennies. Even on Saturday afternoon
they were trying to get them. They were offering premiums. As high as
six dollars was offered for five dollars in pennies. By Monday noon,
with disaster, with suspension, with failure before them, they will
gladly pay any price for small change.”

“But, gentlemen”—the banker smiled a philanthropic smile—“we must be
generous. We can offer the retailers liberal terms—we can offer them
all the small change they want for immediate delivery by Monday noon.
We can make the terms seven dollars for five dollars in small change.
From what I know of the conditions, I am confident that all the small
change we have amassed will be gladly taken at that price. We have on
hand in round numbers nine and one-half millions. For this we will
receive $13,300,000. Deducting our capital, and the half million that
it cost us for collection, this will still leave us $2,800,000, or
something more than a half million apiece after Mr. Connors has had his
tenth.”

Monday dawned bright and clear, and Mr. Martin was early in reaching
his office at the Safe Deposit Company. So was Mr. Connors. The last
thing on Saturday night circulars had been mailed to all the principal
retailers and to the street railway companies announcing that the Safe
Deposit Company was prepared to supply an unlimited amount of small
change on short notice.

“The street-cars caught it hard this morning,” whispered Mr. Connors as
he dropped downstairs for a moment to see how things were going. “How
are things progressing? Any answers to the circulars yet?”

Mr. Martin shook his head, but he glanced at the clock.

“It’s too early,” he said. “It’ll take them an hour or two to realize
what a bad situation they are in.”

“I suppose it will,” said Connors as he went upstairs to send out
scouts.

An hour later he was back downstairs in Mr. Martin’s office. The
Senator was there, too. Both he and Martin looked worried.

“Say,” said Connors, “something’s gone wrong somewhere. The department
stores seem to be doing business the same as ever. And there’s pennies
everywhere!”

“That’s just what the Senator was telling me,” said Mr. Martin, with a
puzzled air.

“Well, where in blazes are all the pennies coming from?” demanded
Connors angrily.

“That is just what Mr. Martin and I expected you to tell us!” said the
Senator severely. “Did you clean out all the small change from the
markets?”

“And from the department stores?” echoed the banker.

“And from the car-barns?”

“And from the five-and-ten-cent stores?”

“And from the slot machines?”

“And from the children’s banks?”

“Yes, and from a thousand places more!” said Connors.

“How about the churches?” asked the Senator slowly.

All three looked blank. They understood now why the corner had failed.

For everybody knows that, no matter what happens, there are always
plenty of pennies in the church collection plates.



                   _Car Straps as Disease Spreaders_


                       BY JOHN H. GIRDNER, M.D.

The leather straps in the street-cars of New York and all other cities,
to which people have to hang when unable to get a seat, are not only
unmentionably filthy, but they are a means of spreading disease. Each
one of these straps is a focus of infection, a continual repository and
source of supply of every kind of disease germ and about every kind of
filth known to mankind. These car straps are made of leather. They are
riveted around the pole from which they hang, when the car is built,
and there they remain until they or the car are worn out. They are
never removed to be cleaned or disinfected. And they are never renewed
until the old one is rotten from age and use. Thousands upon thousands
of all sorts and conditions of people, hailing from everywhere and with
every imaginable variety of filth and infection befouling their hands
and fingers, grasp these straps at all hours of the day and night.

Some idea of the conglomeration of materials which these thousands of
hands deposit, remove and mix up on the car straps might safely be left
to the imagination. Microscopic examination of scrapings taken from
straps in use on cars in New York City has revealed infectious material
and filth of all kinds. Cultures made from these scrapings and injected
into guinea pigs caused their death in a few hours.

Car straps may readily be the means of conveying the virus of some
of the most loathsome diseases, especially those attended with a
discharge, or where there are open ulcers or eruption on the skin. In
traveling about the city people hold on to the car straps from a few
minutes to half an hour. The perspiration of the hand moistens the
leather and whatever of filth or virus happens to be on the hand is
literally soaked into the strap and there it remains until another
hand comes along and carries some of it away or makes another deposit
of similar character or both. It is true that the skin everywhere, and
especially the thick skin on the hands, is an excellent protection
against poisonous material brought into contact with it, otherwise man
could not live at all. Here is a good example of what is meant: You
might cover your entire arm with vaccine virus and it would not “take”
if the entire skin was intact, but scratch it ever so little, making a
small raw spot, and the virus enters the system and you have all the
symptoms of a successful vaccination. So it is in handling straps which
have been handled by others with virus of any kind on their hands; if
there are no raw or sore places on your hand you are not in danger,
but a slight abrasion, a cut or hang-nail may be sufficient to cause
infection, as happened to a patient of mine only recently.

There is another danger: virus on the hand may be carried to the eyes
by the fingers and cause mischief when there is no abrasion on the hand
to admit it to the system.

Aside from the dangers pointed out, there is the esthetic side. It is
far from pleasant to hold on to one of these straps if one stops to
think what may be, and what certainly is, on the strap. You can put on
gloves; but it is not even pleasant to think of wallowing one’s gloves
in such material.

You cannot disinfect leather without destroying it; even if these
leather straps could be removed from the poles. Here is the remedy:
Use straps made of webbing instead of leather, and attach them to the
poles with a device which would make it possible to remove the straps
readily. Remove the straps at proper intervals, once a month or so,
and thoroughly disinfect them with heat and formaldehyde. They will
come out of this thoroughly cleaned and without injury to the strap
itself. Webbing straps are stronger than leather. Tests made at Brown
University of the comparative tensile strength of the two materials
showed that, while leather straps of the regulation kind broke under
400 or 500 pounds, it took 600 and 700 pounds to break webbing straps.
The webbing strap is also more pleasant to grasp in the hand than
leather.

Every argument is in favor of substituting webbing for leather as
material for car straps except the small item of expense to the
companies of making the change. The cost of disinfecting them from time
to time would be trifling. The president of the Board of Health of New
York City has, in fact, expressed his willingness to disinfect the
straps free of charge to the companies, if they will bring the straps
to the department’s disinfecting plant at such intervals as he shall
designate.

Spitting in cars is properly prohibited because there is some danger
of spreading tuberculosis by this means. And it is also a practice
revolting to well-bred people. As a means of conveying the germs of a
number of loathsome diseases, the present car straps are more dangerous
than is spitting on the floor. And it is certainly revolting to a man
or woman of ordinary habits of cleanliness to be obliged to hang on to
a piece of leather which is so filthy that one would not touch it under
any other circumstances.



                     _His Profanitaciturnity_


“Deacon Timothy Tush is a man of few words,” said the landlord of the
Pruntytown tavern, “but he makes ’em count.

“Of course, it was aggravating enough to have caused ’most anybody
to indulge in any kind of language that came to hand, and plenty of
it—to have the hired man cut up such a dido. To be sure, foolishness
is bound up in the heart of a hired man; but Deacon Timothy’s hired
man went further than the law allows when he attempted to smoke out a
hornet’s nest up in the barn loft, with a skillet of live coals and
two spoonfuls of sulphur; after, of course, having driven up with an
ox-cart of hay and clumb up into the loft and found the nest. Being a
hired man, he couldn’t possibly act any other way.

“He did exactly what might have been expected when a hornet stung him
on the neck; he jumped backward, stuck his foot through a rotten board
and flung the live coals in every direction. The Deacon was coming
along with old Juckett, the horse doctor, just as the hired man tumbled
out of the loft door, considerably afire and literally infested with
hornets, and landed on the load of hay, setting fire to that, too. The
oxen ran over the Deacon and old Juckett, scattered burning hay ’most
everywhere, tore the cart to flinders, and would have burnt up the
whole place if it hadn’t been for the neighbors.

“As it was, barn, cart and load of hay were totally destroyed, the oxen
singed, the Deacon sadly battered, old Juckett’s left leg broken, and
the hired man so unanimously stung and fried that the doctor said he
really didn’t know where to begin on him. And—but, let’s see! Where
was I? Oh, yes! All the Deacon said when it happened was ‘Suzz! suzz!’
but I can’t help thinking it was the most profane suzzing I ever had
the pleasure of listening to.”



                   _The Say of Reform Editors_


The Reform editor is a political waif on the tempestuous sea of strife.

It would have been money in his pocket if he had never been born.

He has a devil part of the time, and a devil of a time all the time.

The smallest thing about him is his pocketbook and the largest his
delinquent list.

He says more kind things of other people and gets more “cussings” than
any other man living.

When he first takes the job of reforming the world he thinks it can be
finished in six months or a year.

Then he puts it off another year and borrows some money of his
father-in-law.

Then he enlists for three years or more during the war and borrows some
more money.

At this stage of the game he takes a new grip on the situation and
starts in to finish up the job in the next campaign.

But a cog slips and the dadgummed thing slides merrily down the broad
road to destruction.

The editor tears his hair and says some cuss words.

The devil grins and throws the shooting-stick at the office cat.

Every opposition paper trots out its rooster, and the editor waits for
the world to come to an end or the moon to turn to blood.

At this point in the proceedings it is time to borrow some more money.

He would quit business, but he can’t.

When a man undertakes to reform the world he is never out of a job.

He always sees something that needs his attention.

But the Reform editor is made of the right kind of metal.

He is always out of money, but seldom out of heart.

He used to dream of the time when he could bathe his wearied feet in
the rippling waters of success.

When every man would do unto his brother as he would have his brother
to do unto him.

When in Utopia’s green fields and by the side of its babbling brooks he
could end his days.

But he is over that now.

All he can do is to attract some attention and set the people to
thinking.

Here’s to the Reform editor.

He may have chosen a rough and tempestuous road, but the lightning
strokes of his gifted pen and thunder tones of his voice will purify
the moral and political atmosphere.—_Morgan’s Buzz Saw._

       *       *       *       *       *

“A READER of _The Commoner_ asks where he can secure a copy of
a book entitled ‘Ten Men on Money Isle.’ If anyone who is able to give
the information will send it to _The Commoner_ on a postal card the
information will be published for the benefit of the readers.”

And the foregoing from Bryan’s _Commoner_!

“Ten Men on Money Isle” is one of Colonel S. F. Norton’s best books,
and one of the most popular on the money question. It is a book that
made thousands of converts to Populism, the triumph of which gave Mr.
Bryan two terms in Congress and placed him prominently before the
American people. Every Populist newspaper advertised it, quoted it and
praised it. Greenbackers, alliancers, union laborites, socialists,
single taxers, students of political economy and sociology and
everybody else with intelligence and energy enough to give attention
to public questions, were familiar with the modest little book and its
author. And yet W. J. Bryan, the child of Populism, never heard of
it—doesn’t know his political father, as it were. Oh, pshaw! You can’t
fool me! Bryan isn’t that ignorant.—_The People’s Banner._

       *       *       *       *       *

If the Populist vote was thrown out in all other counties as it was
in Monroe, Tom Watson should have had about 5,000 votes in Iowa this
election. One thing sure, the Republican papers admit that 75,000 legal
voters in Iowa did not vote this year 1904; that means that over a
hundred thousand did not vote. There was no choice between Parker and
Roosevelt, and these men thought Watson could not win, so they did not
vote.—_Iowa Educator._

       *       *       *       *       *

We look upon the battle of Waterloo as a tremendous catastrophe because
57,000 people were killed in that memorable conflict, but in ten years
the railroads of the United States have killed 78,152 persons, and all
for the sake of earning dividends on watered stock. How many Waterloos
are comparatively soon forgotten!—_Field and Farm._

       *       *       *       *       *

On Christmas Eve a private conference of prominent Bryan Democrats
was held in Lincoln, Neb., at which Mr. Bryan presided, having for
its purpose the development of a scheme to re-Bryanize the Democratic
party and put out another bait for the Populists. The details of
the plan will, no doubt, be given out at an early day. The Pops
have been gold-bricked by Democrats enough to learn that any plan,
promise or pledge from that source has nothing good for them in it.
Keep in the middle of the road! Don’t be caught by these political
trimmers!—_Southern Mercury._

       *       *       *       *       *

Roosevelt wants Congress to provide work for the Indians on the
reservations. The Indians won’t work. Nothing is said about the two
million men who are out of work. To provide them with jobs would be
to disband the great army of the unemployed, without which capitalism
could not exist.—_Iowa Educator._

       *       *       *       *       *

President Roosevelt says there should be no rebates allowed on
freight rates by the railroads. It is plain to be seen that if we had
government ownership the President would not allow “rebates,” but it is
safe to say nothing will be done, for these railway corporations have a
way to interest members of Congress in these profits, so that no law to
curb them can be got through Congress. If we had government ownership
even a Republican President would give us relief, but as it is he is
powerless.—_The Forum, Denver, Col._

       *       *       *       *       *

It is easy to see now that the St. Louis convention was the crowning
event of damphoolishness.

Almost anyone can be fooled part of the time, but nobody but a fool can
be fooled all the time.

The yellow-hammers that are now in control of the Democratic party
insist that they are going to hold on.

The consensus of opinion among Populists seems to be that they won’t
take any more of Dr. Bryan’s medicine.

The Democratic party may not be dead, but it is disfigured beyond
recognition, crippled beyond recovery, and disgraced beyond redemption.

As principle has been abandoned, and there are not enough offices to
go round, there is nothing to hold the pieces of the Democratic party
together.

There is a man down in Texas who is so particular as to “what’s in a
name” that he won’t kiss a “grass widow” for fear of catching the “hay
fever.”

If the South will set its face forward instead of backward it will see
the dawn of a new era, an era that will make her the mistress of the
commerce of the world.

One of the most spectacular scenes ever exhibited in this old world of
ours is presented by a lot of laboring men howling for what they want
and voting for what they don’t want.

When the politicians of the South want to steal something, or do
some other mean thing, they dig up the “nigger domination snake”
in order to distract the attention of the people from their own
meanness.—_Morgan’s Buzz Saw._

       *       *       *       *       *

Reformers make a mistake in thinking all the reform element is outside
of the Republican party. The greatest obstruction today in the way of
reform is the Democratic party. If it would gently sink to rest as the
Whig party did, the forceful men in the Republican party would lead a
movement that would give us quick and substantial relief. Seventy-five
per cent. of the Republicans have advanced ideas and are anxious for
reform. To be sure, the party is in the strong clutch of greed, as
much so as the Democratic party was in 1850, but the Whig party had
the good sense to die in 1854, and the Free Soil Democrats, the strong
men of the then dominant party, came out and formed the Republican
party, a party of the people, by the people and for the people. And
this party would have given us splendid service in economic reforms
had not the great Civil War required its attention; while the nation
was torn by this internecine struggle the vampires of greed, who have
no politics, fastened themselves upon this grand new party, and long
before peace came were so intrenched in power that such men as Lincoln,
Morton, Wade, Stevens and a host of other great Republican leaders were
compelled to bow in submission. They saw and comprehended the dire
results that would follow the machination of these ghoulish hounds of
hell, but they were powerless.

Wade and Stevens were moved to tears, Lincoln’s soul was torn by grief.
“We submit,” said Stevens, “to save the life of a nation.”

Thus did grasping greed take advantage of our extremity and make the
struggle for existence a strife more fierce than war.—_The Forum,
Denver, Col._

       *       *       *       *       *

Back of all politics is the System. What the System is we now know
fairly well from the exposures of Ida Tarbell, Steffens, Lawson and
others. The System is not a political but an industrial form of
control. Its rewards and punishments are economic. The greater part of
the population of the United States lives under conditions of economic
slavery of one kind or another. Political liberty does not in any way
mean or guarantee industrial liberty. Hence the impending revolution in
this country is not to be political but industrial.—_Tomorrow._

       *       *       *       *       *

A hundred thinkers grow gray a-thinking; a hundred discoverers grow
old a-discovering; a financier comes along, grabs the theories and the
finds, hires folks to straighten ’em out, and rides in his automobile
while the poor fellows of ideas eat mush and water by the roadside.
The men who do brain-work get the crust-crumbs which fall from the
commercial sponge-cake. Brains are poor collaterals to raise money
on.—_The Scythe of Progress._

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Saturday Evening Post_ says that there is to be a new deal in
politics. It predicts a realignment and declares that “there is a
great body of Republicans who really belong on the Democratic side,
and a smaller, but still large number of Democrats who ought to be
Republicans.” Let the exchange take place—the sooner the better.
Harmony in belief and in purpose is the only basis of co-operation in
politics.—_The Commoner._

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no danger of Bryan stealing the Populist platform while Tom
Watson is standing on it.—_Morgan’s Buzz Saw._



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         8—SIX MONTHS IN HADES         Clarice Irene Clingham
         9—AN ECLIPSE OF VIRTUE              Champion Bissell
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         11—THE HUNT FOR HAPPINESS      Anita Vivanti Chartres
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         24—THE KISS THAT KILLED              Percival Pollard
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=“TOM WATSON”=
          is the one historian through whom we get the point of
          view of the laborer, the mechanic, the plain man, in a
          style that is bold, racy and unconventional. There is
          no other who traces so vividly the life of a _people_
          from the time they were savages until they became the
          most polite and cultured of European nations, as he
          does in

=THE STORY OF FRANCE=

       In two handsome volumes, dark red cloth, gilt tops, price $5.00.

            “It is well called a story, for it reads like a
          fascinating romance.”—_Plaindealer_, Cleveland.

            “A most brilliant, vigorous, human-hearted story
          this: so broad in its sympathies, so vigorous in
          its presentations, so vital, so piquant, lively and
          interesting. It will be read wherever the history of
          France interests men, which is everywhere.”—_New York
          Times’ Sat. Review._

=NAPOLEON=
          =A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE, CHARACTER, STRUGGLES
          AND ACHIEVEMENTS.=

          Illustrated with Portraits and Facsimiles.
            Cloth, 8vo, $2.25 net. (Postage 20c.)

            “The Splendid Study of a Splendid Genius” is the
          caption of a double-column editorial mention of this
          book in _The New York American and Journal_ when it
          first appeared. The comment urged every reader of that
          paper to read the book and continued:

            “There does not live a man who will not be enlarged
          in his thinking processes, there does not live a boy
          who will not be made more ambitious by honest study of
          Watson’s Napoleon * * *

            “If you want the best obtainable, most readable, most
          intelligent, most genuinely American study of this
          great character, read Watson’s history of Napoleon.”

=“TOM WATSON”=
          in these books does far more than make history as
          readable as a novel of the best sort. He tells the
          truth with fire and life, not only of events and
          causes, but of their consequences to and their
          influence on the great mass of people at large. They
          are epoch-making books which every American should
          read and own.

             Orders for the above books will be filled by
 TOM WATSON’S MAGAZINE, 121 West 42nd Street, New York City.





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