Infomotions, Inc.The martyers : a history gathered from a brief of the honorable Socrates potter / by Irving Bacheller. / Bacheller, Irving, 1859-1950




Author: Bacheller, Irving, 1859-1950
Title: The martyers : a history gathered from a brief of the honorable Socrates potter / by Irving Bacheller.
Publisher: New York : Harper, 1914.
Tag(s): marryers; norris; gwendolyn; betsey; muggs; count carola; italy; count
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable; PDF
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 39,614 words (really short) Grade range: 6-9 (grade school) Readability score: 74 (easy)
Identifier: martyershistoryg00bachuoft
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[See page 216 



R 



ichard met us at the dock, and the young 
people fell into each other's arms. 



THE 

MARRYERS 

A HISTORY 

GATHERED FROM A BRIEF OF 
THE HONORABLE SOCRATES POTTER 

BY 

IRVING BACHELLER 



ILLUSTRATED 




HARPER 6r BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 

MCMXI V 




BOOKS BY 
IRVING BACHELLER 

THE MARRYERS. Ill'd 12mo net 

THE TURNING OF GRIGGSBY. Ill'd. 12mo net 

CHARGE IT. Ill'd 12mo net 

KEEPING UP WITH LIZZIE. Ill'd. Post 8vo net 

EBEN HOLDEN. Ill'd .... Post 8vo 

Edition de Luxe 

BEEN HOLDEN'S LAST DAY A-FISHING . 16mo 

DRI AND I. Ill'd Post Svo 

DARRELL OF THE BLESSED ISLES. Ill'd 

Post Svo 

VERGILIUS Post Svo 

SILAS STRONG Post Svo 

THE HAND-MADE GENTLEMAN . . Post Svo 
IN VARIOUS MOODS. Poems . Post Svo net 



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HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, N. Y. 



COPYRIGHT. 1914. BY IRVING BACHELLER 

RINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

PUBLISHED APRIL. 1914 

D-O 




In Re 

America vs. Sundry Feudal Tendencies 

OFFICE OF 

SOCRATES POTTER 

POINTVIEW 

GONN. 

'To the Honorable Judges of Decency 
and Good Behavior the World Over: 

My friend, the novelist, has pre- 
vailed upon me to write this "brief in 
"behalf of my country and against certain 
feudal tendencies therein. I have tried 
r to tell the truth, but with that modera- 
tion which becomes a lawyer of my age 
'and experience. It is bad manners to 
give a guest more wine than he can -carry 
or more truth than he can believe. In 
these pages there is enough wine, I 
hope, for the necessary illusion, and 
enough truth, ? I know, for the satisfac- 
tion of my conscience. I hasten, to add 
that there is not enough of wine or 
truth to stagger those who are not ac- 
customed to the use of -either. I warned 
the novelist that nothing could be more 
unfortunate for me than that I should 
betray a talent for fiction. He assures 
me that my reputation is not in danger. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

I. IN WHICH MR. POTTER PRESENTS THE SINGULAR 

DILEMMA OF WHITFIELD NORRIS, MULTI- 
MILLIONAIRE 

II. MY INTERVIEW WITH THE PIRATE .... 

III. IN WHICH A MAN is SEEN HOLDING DOWN THE 

BUSHEL THAT HIDES^HIS LIGHT . . . 

IV. A RATHER SWIFT ADVENTURE WITH THE PIRATE 

V. IN WHICH WE HAVE AN AMUSING VOYAGE . 

VI. WE ARRIVE IN THE LAND OF LOVE AND SONG 

VII. IN WHICH I TEACH THE DIFFICULT ART OF 

BEING AN AMERICAN IN ITALY .... 

VIII. I AGREE TO FIGHT A DUEL AND NAME A 

WEAPON WITH WHICH EUROPEAN GENTLE- 
MEN ARE UNFAMILIAR 102 

IX. A MODERN AMERICAN MARRYER ENTERS THE 

SCENE 112 

X. A DAY OF ADVENTURES WITH TUSCAN ARTISTS 

AND OTHERS 127 

XI. IN WHICH WE GET INTO THE FLASH AND 

GLITTER OF HIGH LIFE 140 



i 

21 
30 

43 
52 
65 

80 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XII. IN WHICH NORRIS TAKES His LIGHT FROM 

UNDER THE BUSHEL 158 

XIII. IN WHICH I FIGHT A DUEL WITH ONE OF THE 

OLDEST WEAPONS IN THE WORLD . . . 170 

XIV. Miss GWENDOLYN DEFINES HER POSITION . 182 

XV. SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THE MAN MUGGS . 192 



THE MARRYERS 



IN WHICH MR. POTTER PRESENTS THE SINGULAR 

DILEMMA OF WHITFIELD NORRIS, 

MULTIMILLIONAIRE 

1HAVE just returned from Italy the land 
of love and song. To any who may be 
looking forward to a career in love or song 
I recommend Italy. Its art, scenery, and wine 
have been a great help to the song business, 
while its pictures, statues, and soft air are 
well calculated to keep the sexes from drifting 
apart and becoming hopelessly estranged. The 
sexes will have their differences, of course, as 
they are having them in England. I some- 
times fear that they may decide to have noth- 



THE MARRYERS 

ing more to do with each other, in which case 
Italy, with its alert and well-trained corps of 
love-makers, might save the situation. 

Since Ovid and Horace, times have changed 
in the old peninsula. Love has ceased to be 
an art and has become an industry to which 
the male members of the titolati are assidu- 
ously devoted. With hereditary talent for the 
business, they have made it pay. The coy 
processes in the immortal tale of Masuccio of 
Salerno are no longer fashionable. The Juliets 
have descended from the balcony; the Romeos 
climb the trellis no more. All that machinery 
is now too antiquated and unbusinesslike. The 
Juliets are mostly English and American girls 
who have come down the line from Saint 
Moritz. The Romeos are still Italians, but 
the bobsled, the toboggan, and the tango 
dance have supplanted the balcony and the 
trellis as being swifter, less wordy, and more 
direct. 

There are other forms of love which thrive 
in Italy the noblest which the human breast 
may know the love of art, for instance, and 
the love of America. I came back with a 

2 



THE MARRYERS 

deeper affection for Uncle Sam than I ever 
had before. 

But this is only the cold vestibule the 
"piaz" of my story. Come in, dear reader. 
There's a cheerful blaze and a comfortable 
chair in the chimney-corner. Make yourself 
at home, and now my story's begun exactly 
where I began to live in it inside the big 
country house of a client of mine, an hour's 
ride from New York. His name wasn't Whit- 
field Norris, and so we will call him that. 
His age was about fifty-five, his name well 
known. If ever a man was born for friend- 
ship he was the man a kindly but strong face, 
genial blue eyes, and the love of good fellow- 
ship. But he had few friends and no intimates 
beyond his family circle. True, he had a gruff 
voice and a broken nose, and was not much of 
a talker. Of Norris, the financier, many knew 
more or less; of Norris, the man, he and his 
family seemed to enjoy a monopoly of in- 
formation. It was not quite a monopoly, how- 
ever, as I discovered when I began to observe 
the deep undercurrents of his life. Right 
away he asked me to look at them. 

3 



THE MARRYERS 

Norris had written that he wished to con- 
sult me, and was forbidden by his doctor to 
go far from his country house, where he was 
trying to rest. Years before he had put a 
detail of business in my hands, and I had had 
some luck with it. 

His glowing wife and daughter met me at 
the railroad-station with a glowing footman 
and a great, glowing limousine. The wife was 
a restored masterpiece of the time of Andrew 
Johnson by which I mean that she was a 
very handsome woman, whose age varied 
from thirty to fifty-five, according to the day 
and the condition of your eyesight. She 
trained more or less in fashionable society, and 
even coughed with an English accent. The 
daughter was a lovely blonde, blue-eyed girl 
of twenty. She was tall and substantial- 
built for all weather and especially well-roofed 
a real human being, with sense enough to 
laugh at my jokes and other serious details 
in her environment. 

We arrived at the big, plain, comfortable 
house just in time for luncheon. Norris met 
me at the door. He looked pale and care- 

4 



THE MARRYERS 

worn, but greeted me playfully, and I re- 
marked that he seemed to be feeling his 
oats. 

"Feeling my oats! Well, I should say so," 
he answered. "No man's oats ever filled him 
with deeper feeling." 

Like so many American business men, his 
brain had all feet in the trough, so to speak, 
and was getting more than its share of blood, 
while the other vital organs in his system were 
probably only half fed. 

At the table I met Richard Forbes, a hand- 
some, husky young man who seemed to take 
a special interest in Miss Gwendolyn, the 
daughter. There were also the aged mother 
of Norris, two maiden cousins of his jolly 
women between forty-five and fifty years of 
age a college president, and Mrs. Mushtop, 
a proud and talkative lady who explained to 
me that she was one of the Mushtops of Mary- 
land. Of course you have met those interest- 
ing people. Ever since 1627 the Mushtops 
have been coming over from England with the 
first Lord Baltimore, and now they are quite 
numerous. While we ate, Norris said little, 

5 



THE MARRYERS 

but seemed to enjoy the jests and stories 
better than the food. 

He had a great liking for good tobacco, and 
after luncheon showed me the room where he 
kept his cigars. There were thousands of 
them made from the best crops of Cuba, in 
sizes to suit the taste. 

"Here are some from the crop of '93," he 
said, as he opened a box. "I have green 
cigars, if you prefer them, but I never smoke 
a cigar unless it crackles." 

I took a crackler, and with its delicious 
aroma under my nose we went for a walk in 
the villa gardens. Some one had released a 
dozen Airedales, of whom my host was ex- 
tremely fond, and they followed at his heels. 
I walked with the maiden cousins, one of whom 
said of Norris: "We're very fond of him. 
Often we sing, 'What a friend we have in 
Whitfield!' and it amuses him very much." 

And it suggested to me that they had good 
reason to sing it. 

Norris was extremely fond of beautiful 
things, and his knowledge of both art and flow- 
ers was unusual. He showed us the con- 

6 



THE MARRYERS 

servatories and his art-gallery filled with mas- 
terpieces, but very calmly and with no flourish. 

"I've only a few landscapes here," he said, 
"things that do not seem to quarrel with the 
hills and valleys." 

"Or the hay and whiskers and the restful 
spirit beneath them," I suggested. 

I knew that he had bought in every market 
of the world, and had given some of his best 
treasures to sundry museums of art in America, 
but they were always credited to "a friend," 
and never to Whitfield Norris. 

On our return to the house he asked me to 
ride with him, and we got into the big car and 
went out for a leisurely trip on the country 
roads. The farmer-folk in field and dooryard 
waved their hands and stirred their whiskers 
as we passed. 

"They're all my friends," he said. 

"Tenants and vassals!" I remarked. 

"You see, I've helped some of them in a 
small way, but always impersonally," he an- 
swered, as if he had not heard me. "I have 
sought to avoid drawing their attention to me 
in any way whatever." 

7 



THE MARRYERS 

We drew up at a little house on a lonely road 
to ask our way. An Irish woman came to the 
car door as we stopped, and said: 

"God bless ye, sor! It does me eyes good 
to look an* see ye better thanks to the good 
Godi I haven't forgot yer kindness." 

"But I have," said Norris. 

The woman was on her mental knees be- 
fore him as she stood looking into his face. 
No doubt he had lifted her mortgage or favored 
her in some like manner. Her greeting seemed 
to please him, and he gave her a kindly word, 
and told his driver to go on. 

We passed the Mary Perkins's school and 
the Mary Perkins's hospital, both named for 
his wife. I had heard much of these model 
charities, but not from him. So many rich 
men talk of their good deeds, like the lecturer 
in a side-show, but he held his peace. Every- 
where I could not help seeing that he was re- 
garded as a kind of savior, and he seemed to 
regret it. Was he a great actor or ? 

"It's a pity that I cannot enjoy my life 
like other men," he interrupted, as this thought 
came to me. "None of my neighbors are 

8 



THE MARRYERS 

quite themselves when they talk to me; they 
think I must be praised and flattered. They 
don't talk to me in a reliable fashion, as you 
do. You have noticed that even my own family 
is given to songs of praise in my presence." 

"Norris, I'm sorry for you," I said. "They 
say that you inherited a fair amount of pov- 
erty honest, hard - earned poverty. Why 
didn't you take care of it? Why did you get 
reckless and squander it in commercial dis- 
sipation? You should have kept enough to 
give your daughter a proper start in life. I 
have taken care of mine." 

"It began in the thoughtless imprudence of 
youth," he went on, playfully. "I used to 
think that money was an asset." 

"And you have discovered that money is 
only a jackasset." 

"That it is, in fact, a liability, and that 
every man you meet is dunning you for a 
part of it." 

"Including the lawyers you meet," I said. 

"Oh, they're the worst of all!" he laughed. 
"As distributors of the world's poverty they 
are unrivaled." 



THE MARRYERS 

He smiled and shook his head with a look 
of amusement and injury as he went on. 

" Almost every one who comes near me has 
a hatchet if not an ax to grind. I am sick of 
being a little tin god. I seem to be standing 
in a high place where I can see all the selfish- 
ness of the world about me. No, it hasn't 
made me a cynic. I have some sympathy for 
the most transparent of them; but generally 
I am rather gruff and ill-natured; often I lose 
my temper. I have had enough of praise and 
flattery to understand how weary of it the 
Almighty must be. He must see how cheap 
it is, and if He has humor, as of course He has, 
having given so much of it to His children, 
how He must laugh at some of the gross 
adulation that is offered Him! But let us get 
to business. 

"I invited you here to engage your services 
in a most important matter; it's so important 
that for many years I have given it my own 
attention. But my health is failing, and I 
must get rid of this problem, which is, in a way, 
like the riddle of the Sphinx. Some other fel- 
low must tackle it, and I've chosen you for the 

10 



THE MARRYERS 

job. Mr. Potter, you are to be, if you will, 
my trustiest friend as well as my attorney. 
For many years I have been the victim of 
blackmailers, and have paid them a lot of 
money." 

"Poverty is a good thing, but not if it's 
achieved through the aid of a blackmailer," I 
remarked. "Try some other scheme." 

"But you must know the facts," he went 
on. "At twenty-one I went into business with 
my father out in Illinois. He got into financial 
difficulties and committed a crime forged a 
man's name to a note, intending to pay it 
when it came due. Suddenly, in a panic, he 
went on the rocks, and all his plans failed. He 
was up against it, as we say. There were many 
extenuating circumstances a generous man, 
an extravagant family, of which I had been 
the most extravagant member; a mind that 
lost its balance under a great strain. He had 
risked all on a throw of the dice and lost. 
I'll never forget the hour in which he con- 
fessed the truth to me. It's hard for a father 
to put on the crown of shame in the presence 
of a child who honors him. There's no pang 
2 ii 



THE MARRYERS 

in this world like that. He had braced himself 
for the trial, and what a trial it must have been ! 
I have suffered some since that day; but all 
of it put together is nothing compared to that 
hour of his. In ten minutes I saw him wither 
into old age as he burned in the fire of his own 
hell. When he was done with his story I saw 
that he was virtually dead, although he could 
still breathe and see and speak and walk. As 
I listened a sense of personal responsibility 
and of great calmness and strength came on 
me. 

"I took my father's arm and went home 
with him and begged him not to worry. Then 
forthwith I went to police headquarters and 
took the crime on myself. My father went to 
paradise the next day, and I to prison. I was 
young and could stand it. They gave me a 
light sentence, on account of my age only 
two years, reduced to a year and a half for 
good behavior. My Lord! It has been hard 
to tell you this. I've never told any one but 
you; not even my own mother knows the 
truth, and I wouldn't have her know it for all 
the world. I cleared out and went to work in 

12 



THE MARRYERS 

California, in the mines. Suffered poverty and 
hardship; won success by and by; prospered, 
and slowly my little hell cooled down. But no 
man can escape from his past. By and by it 
overtakes him, and in time it caught me. A 
record is a record, and you can't wipe it out 
even with righteous living. It may be for- 
given yes, but there it is and there it will 
remain. 

"I didn't marry, as you may know, until I 
was thirty-four. My wife was the daughter 
of a small merchant in an Oregon village. I 
had been married about a year when the first 
pirate fired across my bows a man who had 
worked beside me at Joliet. I found him in 
my office one morning. He didn't know how 
much money I had, and struck me gently, 
softly, for a thousand dollars. It was to be 
a loan. I gave him the money; I had to. 
Why? Well, you see, my wife didn't know 
that I was an ex-convict, and I couldn't bear 
to have her know of it. I did not fear her so 
much as her friends, some of whom were jeal- 
ous of our success. Why hadn't I told her be- 
fore my marriage? you are thinking. Well, 
13 



THE MARRYERS 

partly because I honored my father and my 
mother, and partly because I had no sense of 
guilt in me. Secretly I was rather proud of 
the thing I had done. If I had been really 
guilty of a crime I should have had to tell her; 
but, you see, my heart was clean just as clean 
as she thought it. I hadn't fooled her about 
that. There had been nothing coming to me. 
Oh yes, I know that I ought to have told her. 
I'm only giving you the arguments with which 
I convinced myself with which even now I 
try to convince myself that it wasn't neces- 
sary. Anyhow, when I married it never en- 
tered my head that there could be a human 
being so low that he would try to fan back to 
life the dying embers of my trouble and use 
it for a source of profit. It never occurred 
to me that any man would come along and 
say: 'Here, give me money or I'll make it 
burn ye.' 

"I foolishly thought that my sacrifice was 
my own property, and was beginning to for- 
get it. Well, first to last, this man got forty 
thousand dollars out of me. He was dying 
of consumption when he made his last call, 



THE MARRYERS 

having spent the money in fast living. He 
wanted five thousand dollars, and promised 
never to ask me for another cent. He kept 
his word, and died within three months, but 
not until he had sold his pull to another 
scoundrel. The new pirate was an advertising 
agent of the Far West. He came to me with 
the whole story in manuscript, ready to print. 
He said that he had bought it from two men 
who had brought the manuscript to his office, 
and had paid five thousand dollars for it. He 
was such a nice man ! willing to sell at cost and 
a small allowance for time expended. I gave 
him all he asked, and since then I have been 
buying that story every six months or so. 
When anything happens, like the coming out 
of my daughter, this sleek-looking, plausible 
pirate shows up again, and, you see, I can't kick 
him out of my presence, as I should like to do. 
He always tells me that the mysterious two are 
demanding more money, so, like a bull with a 
ring in his nose, I have been pulled about for 
years by this little knave of a man. I couldn't 
help it. Now my nerves cannot endure any 
more of this kind of thing. My doctor tells 
15 



THE MARRYERS 

me that I must be free from all worry; I pro- 
pose to turn it over 'to you." 

"Then I shall wipe him off the slate," I said. 

"They'll publish the facts." 

1 1 Poor man !" I exclaimed. ' ' You've got one 
big asset, and you're afraid to claim it. Noth- 
ing that you have ever done compares with 
that term in prison. Your charities have been 
large, but, after all, their value is doubtful 
except to you. The old law of evolution isn't 
greatly in need of your money. But when you 
went to prison you really did something, old 
man. The light of a deed like that shines 
around the world. Let it shine if it must. 
Don't hide it under a bushel." 

"But not for all I am worth would I have 
my father's name dishonored, with my mother 
still alive," he declared. "Now, as to myself, 
I am not so much worried. I could bear some 
disgrace, for it wouldn't alter the facts. I 
should keep my self-respect, anyhow. But 
when I think of my wife and children I admit 
that I am a coward. They're pretty proud, 
as you know, and the worst of it is they are 
proud of me. Their pride is my best asset. 
16 



THE MARRYERS 

I couldn't bear to see it broken down. No, 
what I want is to have you manage this black- 
mail fund and keep all comers contented. 
What money you need for that purpose will 
be supplied to you." 

"In my opinion you're unjust to the ladies 
of your home," I remarked. 

"How?" 

"You should treat them like human beings 
and not like angels," I said. "It's their right 
to share your troubles. They'd be all the 
better for it." 

"Please do as I say," he answered. "You 
must remember that they're all I've got." 

' ' Cheer up ! I' 11 do my best, ' ' was my assur- 
ance. ' ' But I shall ask you to let me manage the 
matter in my own way and with no interference. ' ' 

"I commit my happiness to your keeping," 
he answered. 

"I wonder that you have got off so cheaply," 
I said. "I should think there might have been 
a dozen pirates in the chase instead of two." 

"Circumstances have favored me," he ex- 
plained. "I spent my youth in Germany, 
where I was educated. I had been in America 
17 



THE MARRYERS 

only six months when my father failed. In 
those days I was known as Jackson W. Norris. 
In California I got into a row and had my 
nose broken. I was a good-looking man be- 
fore that. Then, you see, it has been a rule of 
my life to keep my face from being photo- 
graphed. Of course, the papers have had 
snap-shots of me; but no one who knew me 
as a boy would recognize this bent nose and 
wrinkled face of mine. I have discouraged 
all manner of publicity relating to me and 
kept my history under cover as a thing that 
concerned no one but myself." 

I had requested that our ride should end 
at the railroad-station, and we arrived there 
in good time for my train. 

"I will ask Wilton, my pirate friend, to call 
on you," he said. 

"Let him call Friday at twelve with a note 
from you," I requested. 

Gwendolyn Norris and Richard Forbes were 
waiting at the station, the latter being on his 
way to town. 

"Going back? You ought to know better," 
I said. 

18 



THE MARRYERS 

"So I do, but business is business," he an- 
swered. 

"And there's no better business for any one 
than playing with a fair maid." 

"He knows that there's a tennis match this 
afternoon and a dance this evening, and he 
leaves me," the girl complained. 

"I shall have to take a week off and come 
up here and convince you that no man is 
fonder of fun and a fair maid," said Forbes. 

"I could do it in ten minutes," I declared. 

"But you have had practice and experi- 
ence," said Forbes. 

"And you are more supple," was my an- 
swer. 

"I should hope so," the girl laughed. "If 
all men were like Mr. Potter the world would 
be full of old maids. It took him thirty years 
to make up his mind to get married." 

"No, it took her that long not me," I 
answered, and the arrival of the train saved 
me from further humiliation. 

On the way to town I got acquainted with 
young Forbes, and liked him. He was a big, 
broad-shouldered athlete, two years out of col- 
19 



THE MARRYERS 

lege. The glow of health and good nature was 
in his face. His blue eyes twinkled merrily as 
we sparred for points. He had a full line of 
convictions, but he didn't pretend to have 
gathered all the fruit on the tree of knowledge. 
He was the typical best product of the modern 
wholesale man factory strong, modest, self- 
restrained, well educated, and thinking largely 
in terms of profit and loss. That is to say, he 
was sawed and planed and matched and sea- 
soned like ten thousand other young men of 
his age. His great need had been poverty and 
struggle and individual experience. If he had 
had to climb and reach and fall and get up and 
climb again to secure the persimmon which 
was now in his hands, he would have had the 
persimmon and a very rare thing besides, and 
it's the rare thing that counts. But here I am 
finding fault with a thoroughly good fellow. 
It's only to clear his background for the reader, 
to whose good graces I heartily recommend the 
young man. His father had left him well off, 
but he had gone to work on a great business 
plan, and with rare talent for his task, as it 
seemed to me. 



II 



MY INTERVIEW WITH THE PIRATE 

IT had been a misty morning, with slush in 
the streets. For hours the great fog-siren 
had been bellowing to the ships on the sound 
and breaking into every conversation. "Go 
slow and keep away!" it screeched, in a kind 
of mechanical hysterics. 

I was sitting at my desk when Norris's 
pirate came in. I didn't like the look of him, 
for I saw at once that he was hard wood, and 
that he wouldn't whittle. He was a sleek, 
handsome, well-dressed man of middle age, 
with gray eyes, iron-gray hair and mustache, 
the latter close - cropped. Here, then, was 
Wilton a man of catlike neatness from top 
to toe. He stepped softly like a cat. Then 
he began smoothing his fur neatly folded his 
coat and carefully laid it over the back of a 
chair; blew a speck of dust from his hat, and 
21 



THE MARRYERS 

tenderly flicked its brim with his handkerchief 
and placed it with gentle precision on the top 
of the coat. It's curious how the habit of tak- 
ing care gets into the character of a gentleman 
thief. He almost purred when he said "Good 
morning." Then he seemed to smell the dog, 
and stopped and took in his surroundings. 
His hands were small and bony; he felt his 
necktie, adjusted his cuffs with an outward 
thrust of both arms, and sat down. Without a 
word more he handed me the note from Norris, 
and I read it. 

"Yes,"J said; "Mr. Norris has given me a 
brief history of your affectionate regard for him." 

He tried to take my measure with a keen 
glance. I looked serious, and he took me 
seriously. 

"You see," he began, in a low voice, "for 
years I have been trying to protect him from 
unscrupulous men." 

He gently touched the end of one forefinger 
with the point of the other as he spoke. His 
words were neatly said, and were like his cloth- 
ing, neatly pressed and dusted, and calculated 
to present a respectable appearance. 
22 



THE MARRYERS 

"Tell me all about it," I said. "Norris 
didn't go into details." 

"Understand," he went on, gently moving 
his head as if to shake it down in his linen a 
little more comfortably, "I have never made 
a cent out of this. I have only kept enough 
to cover my expenses." 

It was the old story long familiar to me. 
The gentleman knave generally operates on 
a high moral plane. Sometimes he can even 
fool himself about it. He had climbed on a 
saint's pedestal and was looking down on me. 
It shows the respect they all have for honor. 

"There are two men besides myself who 
know the facts, and I have succeeded so far 
in keeping them quiet," he added. 

"I don't know you, but you won't be 
offended if I assume that you're^a man of 
honor," I said. 

In the half -moment of silence that followed 
the old fog-siren screeched a warning. 

There was a quick, nervous movement of 
the visitor's body that brought his head a 
little nearer to me. The fur had begun to 
rise on the cat's back. 
23 



THE MARRYERS 

"There's nothing to prevent it," said he, 
with a look of surprise. 

"Save a possible element of professional 
pride," was my answer. 

"That vanishes in the presence of a law- 
yer," said he. 

It was a kind of swift and surprising cuff 
with the paw, after which I knew him better. 

"But we're licensed, you know, and now, 
your reputation being established, I suggest 
that you are in honor bound to let us know 
the names of those men." 

"Excuse me! I'm above that kind of 
thing way above it," said he, with a smile 
of regret for my ignorance. 

"Perhaps you wouldn't be above explain- 
ing." 

"Not at all. If I told you that, I would be 
as bad as they are. Why, sir, I would be the 
yellowest yellow dog in the country." 

"Frankness is not apt to have an effect so 
serious," I said. 

Again the points of his forefingers came to- 
gether as he gently answered: 

"You see, the first demand they made of 
24 



THE MARRYERS 

me, after putting the story in my hands, was 
that I should never give out their names. I 
had to promise that." 

"Oh, I see. They've elected you to the 
office of Guardian Angel and Secretary of the 
Treasury. How did it happen?" 

The query didn't annoy him. He was 
getting used to my sallies, and went on: 

"It was easy and natural as drawing your 
breath. Those men knew that I had met Mr. 
Norris that I was a man of his class, and 
could talk to him on even terms. They had 
got the story from a man now dead paid him 
five hundred dollars for it. They wanted my 
help to make a profit, see? I had met Mr. 
Norris and liked him. He is one of Nature's 
noblemen. So I played a friendly part in 
the matter, and bought the story and turned 
it over to Mr. Norris for what it cost me, and 
he gave me two hundred dollars for my time. 
Unfortunately, they have turned out to be 
rascals, and we have had to keep them in 
spending money, and prosperity has made them 
extravagant. The whole thing has become a 
nuisance to me, and I wish I was out of it." 
25 



THE MARRYERS 

"What do they want now?" I asked. 

"Ten thousand dollars." 

That was all he said just those three well- 
filled words with a sad but firm look in his 
face and a neat little gesture of both hands. 

"When do they want it?" 

"To-day; they're getting impatient." 

"Suppose you tell them that they'll have 
to practise economy for a week or so at 
least. I don't know but we shall decide to 
let them go ahead and do their worst. It 
isn't going to hurt Norris. He's been foolish 
about it; I'm trying to stiffen his backbone." 

Wilton rose with a look of impatience in his 
face that betrayed him. 

"Very well; but I shall not be responsible 
for the consequences." 

The cat had hissed for the first time, but 
he quickly recovered himself; the tender look 
returned to his eyes. 

"I think you're foolish," he began again, 
while his right forefinger caressed the point of 
his left. "These men are not going to last 
long. One of them has had delirium tremens 
twice, and the other is in the hospital with 

26 



THE MARRYERS 

Bright's disease. They're both of them 
broke, and you know as well as I that they 
could get this money in an hour from some 
newspaper. It's almost dead sure that both 
of these men will be out of the way in a year 
or so. Norris wants to be protected, and it's 
up to you and me to do it." 

"Personally I do not see the object," I in- 
sisted. ' ' Protecting him from one assault only 
exposes him to another." 

"You see, the daughter isn't married yet, 
and we'd better protect the name until she's 
out of the way, anyhow. That girl can go to 
Europe and take her pick. She's good enough 
for any title. But if this came out it would 
hurt her chances." 

" Mr. Wilton, I congratulate you," was my 
remark. 

" I thought you would see the point," he 
answered, with a smile. 

"I am thinking not of the point, but of 
your philanthropy. It is beautiful. Do you 
sleep well nights?" 

"Very," he answered, with a quick glance 
into my eyes. 

3 27 



THE MARRYERS 

"I should think that the troubles of the 
world would keep you awake." 

His face flushed a little, and then he smiled. 

"You lawyers have no suspicion of the 
amount of goodness there is in the world 
you're always looking for rascals," he said. 

"But we have wandered. Let us take the 
nearest road to Rome. You say they must 
have money to-day." 

"Before three o'clock." 

"We'll give them ten thousand dollars 
not a cent more. You must tell them to use 
it gently, for it's the last they'll get from us. 
To whom shall I draw the check?" 

"To me Lysander Wilton," he answered, 
with a look of relief. 

I gave him the check. He put on his coat 
and began to purr again; he was glad to know 
me, and rightly thought that he could turn 
some business my way. 

As he left my office I went to one of the 
front windows and took out my handkerchief. 
The fog-whistle blew a blast that swept sea 
and land with its echoes. In a moment I saw 
a certain clever, keen -eyed man who was 

28 



THE MARRYERS 

studying current history under the direction 
of Prof. William J. Burns come out of a door 
opposite and walk at a leisurely pace down 
the main street of Pointview toward the sta- 
tion. He was now taking the first steps in a 
systematic effort to see what was in and behind 
the man Wilton. 



Ill 



IN WHICH A MAN IS SEEN HOLDING DOWN THE 
BUSHEL THAT HIDES HIS LIGHT 

r I "HE first thing I desired was the history 
1 of Wilton. He knew more about us 
than we knew about him, and that didn't seem 
to be fair or even necessary. In fact, I felt 
sure that his little world would yield valuable 
knowledge if properly explored. I knew that 
there were lions and tigers in it. 

I learned that Wilton had proceeded forth- 
with to a certain apartment house on the upper 
west side of New York, in which he remained 
until dinner-time, when he came out with a 
well-dressed woman and drove in a cab to 
Martin's. The two spent a careless night, 
which ended at four A. M. in a gambling-house, 
where Wilton had lost nine hundred dollars. 
Next day, about noon, his well-dressed woman 
friend came out of the house and was trailed 
30 



THE MARRYERS 

to a bank, where she cashed a check for five 
hundred dollars. We learned there that this 
woman was an actress and that her balance 
was about eighty-five hundred dollars. 

Three months passed, and I got no further 
news of the man, save that he had gone to 
Chicago and that our trailers had gone with 
him. 

"Our Western office now has the matter in 
hand," so the agency wrote me. "They are 
doing their work with extreme care. Fresh 
men took up the trail every day, until one of 
our ablest became a trusted confidant of 
Wilton." 

The whole matter rested in the files of my 
office, and I had not thought of it until one 
day Norris sent for me and, on my arrival 
at his house, showed me a telegram. It was 
from the President of the United States, whose 
career he had assisted in one way and another. 
It offered him the post of Minister to a Euro- 
pean court. The place was one of the great 
prizes. 

"Of course you will accept it?" I said. 

"I should like to," he answered, "but isn't 
31 



THE MARRYERS 

it curious that fame is one of the things which 
fate denies me. I wouldn't dare take it." 

I understood him and said nothing. 

"You see, I cannot be a big man. I must 
keep myself as little as possible. " 

"The joys of littleness are very great, as 
the mouse remarked at the battle of Gettys- 
burg; but they are not for you," I said. 'He 
that humbleth himself shall be exalted."' 

"He that humbleth himself shall avoid 
trouble that's the way it hits me," he said. 
"I could have been Secretary of the Treasury 
a few years back if I had dared. I must let 
everything alone which is likely to stir up my 
history. Suppose the President should sud- 
denly discover that he had an ex-convict in 
his Cabinet? Do you think he could stand 
that, great as he is? He would rightly say 
that I had tricked and deceived and disgraced 
him. What would the newspapers say, and 
what would people think of me? Potter, I've 
made a study of this thing we call civilization. 
It's a big thing I do not underestimate it 
but it isn't big enough to forgive a man who 
has served his term." 

32 



THE MARRYERS 

"Yes, I know; some of us are always look- 
ing for a thief inside the honest man," was 
my answer. "We ought to be looking for the 
honest man inside the thief, as Chesterton 
puts it." 

"That's a good idea!" he exclaimed. "Find 
me one. I'd like to use him to teach this world 
a lesson. I'd pay you a handsome salary as 
Diogenes. If you succeed once I'll astonish 
you with generosity." 

"I should like to help you to get rid of some 
of this money of yours," I said. 

"You can begin this morning," he went on. 
"I'm going to give you some notes for a new 
will. Suppose you sit down at the table 
there." 

I spent the rest of that day taking notes, and 
was astonished at the amount of his property 
and the breadth of his spirit. He had got his 
start in the mining business, and with surpris- 
ing insight had invested his earnings in real 
estate, oil -lands, railroad stocks, and steel- 
mills. 

"I have always believed in America, and 
America has made me rich," he said to me. 
33 



THE MARRYERS 

"Before the Spanish War and in every panic, 
when no man seemed to want her securities, I 
have bought them freely, and I own them to- 
day. With our growing trade and fruitful 
lands I wonder that all thinking men did not 
share my confidence. If America had gone to 
smash I should have gone with her. I shall 
stick to the old ship." 

One paragraph of the will has begun to make 
history. It has appeared in the newspapers, 
but no account of my friend should omit it, and 
therefore I present its wording here: 

"There are many points of greatness in the 
Christian faith, but the greatest of all is 
charity. I conceive that the best argument 
for the heathen is that of wheat and corn. I 
therefore direct that the sum of five million 
dollars be set aside and invested by the trustees 
of this will and that its proceeds be applied 
to the relief of the distressing poverty of un- 
converted peoples, wherever they may be, in 
the discretion of said trustees; and when said 
relief is applied it shall be done as the act of 
'A Christian friend in America.' It is my 
wish that wherever practicable in the judgment 
34 



THE MARRYERS 

of said trustees this relief shall be applied 
through the establishment of industries in 
which the needy shall be employed at fair 
wages." 

I had finished my notes for the will, and my 
friend and I were sitting comfortably by the 
open fire, when his wife entered the room and 
sat down with us. 

"Have you told Mr. Potter about the bank 
offer?" she inquired of her husband. 

"No, my dear," he answered. 

"May I tell him?" 

"Certainly." 

"Mr. Potter, the presidency of a great bank 
has been offered to my husband, and I think 
that he ought to take it." 

"Oh, I have work enough here at home 
all I can do," he said. 

"But you will not have much to do there 
only a little consulting once a week or so, and 
they say that you can talk to them here if 
you wish." 

"It's too much responsibility," he answered. 

"But it's so respectable," she urged. "My 
heart is set on it. They tell me that, next to 
35 



THE MARRYERS 

Mr. Morgan, you would be the greatest power 
in American finance. We should all be so 
proud of you." 

"I couldn't wish you to.be any more proud 
of me," he answered, tenderly. 

"But, naturally, we want you to be as great 
as you can, Whitfield," she went on. "This 
would mean so much to me and to Gwen- 
dolyn." 

He rose wearily, with a glance into my eyes 
which I perfectly understood, and went to his 
wife and kissed her and said : 

"My dear, I am sure that Mr. Potter will 
agree with me." 

"Unreservedly," was my answer. 

I knew then that this ambitious woman 
was as ignorant as the cattle in their farm- 
yard of the greater honors which he had 
declined. 

She rose and left the room with a look of 
disappointment. How far the urgency of his 
wife and other misguided friends may have 
gone I know not, but I have reason to believe 
that it put him to his wit's ends. 

I am sure that it was the most singular 
36 



THE MARRYERS 

situation in which a lawyer was ever consulted. 
My client's high character had commanded the 
love and confidence of all who knew him well, 
and this love and confidence were pushing him 
into danger. His own character was the wood 
of the cross on which he was being crucified. 

That week I appeared for Norris in a case 
of some importance in New York. One day 
in court a letter was put in my hands from the 
editor of a great newspaper. It requested that 
I should call upon him that day or appoint 
an hour when he could see me at my hotel. I 
went to his office. 

"Is it true that Norris is to be our new 
minister to ?" he asked. 

"It is not true," I said. 

"Is it true that he served a term in an 
Illinois prison?" 

"Why do you ask?" 

"For the reason that a story to that effect 
is now in this office." 

It was a critical moment, and I did not know 
how to behave myself. 

"I mean that a man has submitted the 
story he wishes to sell it," he added. 
37 



THE MARRYERS 

"Forgive me if I speak a piece to you," I 
said. "It will be short and to the point." 

As nearly as I could remember them I re- 
peated the noble lines of Whitman: 

"And still goes one, saying, 

'What will ye give me and I will deliver this man unto 

you?' 

And they make the covenant and pay the pieces of silver, 
The old, old fee ... paid for the Son of Mary. 

"If there's any descendant of Judas Iscariot 
on this paper I shall see to it that his name and 
relationship are made known," I added. 

* ' We have not bought the article, and it is not 
likely that we shall," said he. "If you wish 
to answer my question I shall make no use of 
your words." 

There are times when one has to act and act 
promptly on his own judgment, and when the 
fate of a friend is in the balance it is a hard 
thing to do. So I quickly chose my landing 
and jumped. 

"I have only this to say," I answered. 
"Mr. Norris served a term in prison when he 
was a boy, but the facts are of such a nature 
38 



THE MARRYERS 

that it wouldn't be safe for you to publish 
any part of them." 

I saw a query in his eye as he looked at me, 
and I went on : 

"They are loaded that's the reason 
loaded to the muzzle, and they'd come pretty 
near blowing up your establishment. You 
know my reputation possibly." 

"Oh, very well." 

"Then you know that I am not in the habit 
of going off at half-cock. I tell you the facts 
would put you squarely on the Judas roll, and 
it isn't a popular part to play. Briefly, the 
facts are : Norris suffered for a friend, and that 
puts him on a plane so high that it isn't safe 
to touch him." 

"On your word, Mr. Potter, I will do what 
I can to kill the story now and hereafter," 
said he. "The young man who wrote it is a 
decent fellow and will soon be in my employ. 
But of course Norris will decline to be put in 
high places." 

Even this enlightened editor saw that a 
man who had suffered prison blight was a 
kind of frost-bitten plum. I left him with a 
39 



THE MARRYERS 

feeling of discouragement in the world and its 
progress. 

Before a week had passed I was summoned 
to the home of Norris and found him ill in bed. 
He was in the midst of a nervous breakdown 
which had seemed to begin with a critical 
attack of indigestion. It wearied him even to 
sign and execute his will, and I saw him for only 
a few minutes, and not again for months. 

He improved rapidly, and one day Gwen- 
dolyn Norris called at my office. 

The family were sailing for Hamburg within 
a week to spend the rest of the winter at 
Carlsbad and Saint Moritz. She said: 

"Father wishes me to begin my business 
career, and so I've been looking after the de- 
tails, and you must tell me if there's anything 
that I have forgotten.*' 

I went over all the arrangements regarding 
cats and dogs and horses and tickets and 
hotel accommodations, and then asked, play- 
fully: 

"What provision have you made for the 
young men you are leaving?" 

"There's only one," said she, with laughing 
40 



THE MARRYERS 

eyes, "and he can take care of himself. He 
doesn't seem to need any of my help. But he's 
fine. I recommend him to you as a friend." 

"Yes, I understand. You want me to get 
his confidence and see that he goes to bed 
early and doesn't forget his friends.'* 

She blushed and laughed, and added: 

"Or get into bad company!" 

"You're a regular' ward politician!" I said. 
"Don't worry. I'll keep my eye on him." 

"You don't even know his name," she de- 
clared. 

"Don't I? The name Richard is written 
all over your face." 

"How uncanny!" she exclaimed. "I'm go- 
ing to leave you." Then she added, with a 
playful look in her eyes, "You know it's a 
dangerous place for American girls who who 
are unattached." 

"We don't want to frighten him." 

"It wouldn't be possible he's awfully 
brave," said she, with a merry laugh as she 
left me. 

That was the last I saw of them before they 
sailed. 

41 



THE MARRYERS 

My friend had taken his doctor with him, 
and soon the latter wrote me from the moun- 
tain resort that Norris had improved, but that 
I must not appeal to him in any matter of 
business. All excitement would be bad for 
him, and if it came suddenly might lead to 
fatal results. 



IV 

A RATHER SWIFT ADVENTURE WITH THE PIRATE 

MEDWINTER had arrived when the 
checked current of our little history 
became active again. My wife had thought 
that our life in Pointview was a trifle sluggish, 
and we had been in town for two weeks. I had 
recommended the Waldorf-Castoria as being 
good for sluggish livers, but Betsey preferred 
the Manhattan. We were there when this 
telegram reached me from Chicago. 

W. left for N. Y. this morning, broke. He will call 
on you. Important news by mail. 

I expected to have some fun with him, and 
did. 

The same mail brought the "important 
news" and a note from Wilton, which said: 

I must see you within twenty-four hours. The need 
is pressing. Please wire appointment. 

4 43 



THE MARRYERS 

Many salient points in the career of Wilton 
lay before me. It's singular how much it may 
cost to learn the history of one little man. 
For half the sum that I was to pay for Wilton's 
record a commonplace intellect should have 
been able to acquire every important fact in 
the history of the world. Wilton, whose real 
name was Muggs, was wanted in Mexico for 
grand larceny, and very grand larceny at that, 
for he had absconded twelve years before with 
twenty thousand dollars belonging to the 
business in which he had been engaged. They 
had got their clue from a letter which he had 
carelessly left in his coat -pocket when he 
entered a Turkish bath, but of that part of 
the matter I need say no more. It was quite 
likely that he was wanted in other places, but 
this was want enough for my purpose. 

It was Saturday, and Betsey had gone to 
Point view; I was to follow her that evening 
for the week-end. No fog that day. The sun 
was shining in clear air. 

When Wilton came my program had been 
arranged. It began as soon as he entered my 
room. The cat was purring when suddenly 

44 



THE MARRYERS 

the dog jumped at her. It was the dog in 
my voice as I said: 

"Good morning, you busted philanthropist! 
Why didn't you tell me at once that your name 
was Muggs. You might have saved me the 
expense of employing a dozen detectives to 
learn what you could have told me in five 
minutes. As a saint you're a failure. Why 
didn't you tell me that they wanted you down 
in Mexico?'* 

The cat was gone jumped out of the open 
window, perhaps. I never saw her again. 
.Muggs stood unmasked before me. He was a 
man now. His face changed color. His right 
hand went up to his brow, and then, as if 
wondering what it was there for, began deftly 
smoothing his hair, while his lower lip came up 
to the tips of his cropped mustache. His eye- 
lids quivered slightly. The fingers in that 
telltale hand began to tremble like a flag of 
distress. 

In a second, before he had time to recover, I 
swung again, and very vigorously. 

"If you're going to save yourself you haven't 
a minute to lose. The detectives want that 
45 



THE MARRYERS 

reward, and they're after you. They tele- 
phoned me not ten minutes ago. I'll do what 
I can for you, but I make one condition." 

"Excuse me," he said, as he pulled himself 
together. "I didn't know that you had such 
a taste for history." 

"I love to study the history of philan- 
thropists," I said. "Yours thrilled me. I 
couldn't stop till I got to this minute. You're 
just beginning a new chapter, and I want you 
to give it a heading right now. Shall it be 
'Prison Life' or 'In the Way of Reform'?" 

Again the man spoke. 

"As God's my witness, I want to live hon- 
est," said he. 

"Then I'll try to help you." 

I have always thought with admiration of his 
calmness as he looked down at me with a face 
that said, "I surrender," and a tongue that 
said: 

' ' May I use your bath-room for one minute ?" 

"Certainly," was my answer. 

He entered the bath-room and closed its 
door behind him. 

I had begun to fear that he might have 
46 






THE MARRYERS 

rashly decided to jump into eternity from my 
bath-room when he reappeared with no mus- 
tache and a gray beard on his chin. Then, 
as if by chance, he took my hat and gray 
summer top-coat from the peg, where they 
had been hanging, said ' ' Good-by," and walked 
hurriedly out of my door and down the cor- 
ridor. 

I had hesitated a little between my duty to 
Mexico and my duty to Norris, but I felt, and 
rightly, as I believe, that my client should 
come first, for I am rather human. But how 
about the reward? I thought. Well, that was 
none of my funeral. Shorn of his pull, he was 
now in the thorny path of the fugitive, and 
so I let him go. 

I tried to work, but work was out of the 
question for me that morning. I went for a 
walk, and on my return sat down with my 
paper. Among the items in its cable news was 
the following: 

Whitfield Norris and his family are at the Grand 
Hotel in Rome. His daughter, Miss Gwendolyn, whose 
beauty and wealth, as well as her amiable disposition, 
have attracted many suitors, is said to be engaged to 
the young Count Carola. 

47 



THE MARRYERS 

What I said to myself is not one of the things 
which should appear in a book, and I wish 
only to suggest enough of it here to put me on 
record. 

Soon after one o'clock I was called to the 
'phone by my secretary, who had followed 
Muggs when he left my room. At the time 
I gave my man his orders I did not know, of 
course, how my interview would turn out, and 
so, with a lawyer's prudence, I had decided to 
keep track of Muggs. When he settled down 
or left the city my young man was to report, 
and so : 

" Hello," came his voice on the telephone. 

"Hello! What news?" I asked. 

"Our friend has just sailed on the Caronia 
for England." 

"All right," I said, and then: "Hold on! 
Find out if there is a fast ship sailing to-night, 
and if so engage good quarters for two." 

I sat down to get my breath. 

"How deft and wonderful!" I whispered. 
"It takes a good lawyer to keep up with him." 

The man was on his way to Italy for another 
whack at Norris, and I had been thinking that 
48 



THE MARRYERS 

he was broke. He would resume his phil- 
anthropic r61e in Italy and probably scare 
Norris to death. He had, of course, read that 
fool item in some paper. There was but one 
thing for me to do: I must get there first and 
meet him in the corridor of the Grand Hotel 
upon his arrival. Fortunately, my business 
was pretty well cleaned up in preparation for 
a long rest of which we had been talking. 

I telephoned to Betsey that we should 
probably go abroad that night and that she 
must get her trunks packed and on the way to 
the city as soon as possible. 

"But my summer clothes are not ready!" 
she exclaimed. 

' ' Never mind clothes, ' ' I answered. ' ' Breech- 
cloths will do until we can get to Europe, and 
there's any amount of clothing for sale on the 
other side of the pond. Chuck some things 
into a couple of trunks and stamp 'em down 
and come on. We'll meet here at six." 

Then I thought of my talk with Gwendolyn, 
and telephoned to young Forbes and told him 
that I was going to Italy, and asked: 

"Any message to send?" 
49 



THE MARRYERS 

! Sure," said he. "I'll come down to see 



you." 



"We dine at seven," I said. 

"Put on a plate for me," he requested. 

I had scarcely hung up the receiver when 
the bell rang and my secretary notified me 
that he had engaged a good room on the 
Toltec, and would be at my hotel in twenty 
minutes. 

I went down to the office and wrote a cable- 
gram to Norris, in which I said that we were 
going over to see the country and would call 
on him within ten days. 

To pay the charges I took out my pocket- 
book. There was no money in it. What had 
happened to me? There had been two one- 
hundred-dollar bills in the book when I had 
paid for last evening's dinner; now it held 
nothing but a slip of paper neatly folded. I 
opened it and read these words written with a 
pencil : 

Thanks. This is the last call. M. 

Then I remembered that yesterday's trou- 
sers had been hanging in the bath-room with 
So 



THE MARRYERS 

my money in the right-hand pocket when 
Muggs was there. I had got the book and 
taken it with me when I went for a walk. 

"He may be a busted philanthropist, but 
he's not a busted thief," I mused. 



IN WHICH WE HAVE AN AMUSING VOYAGE 

BETSEY had been a bit disturbed by the 
swiftness of my plans. On her arrival 
in town she said to me: 

"Look here, Socrates Potter, I'm no longer 
a colt, and you'll have to drive slower. What 
are you up to, anyway?" 

"A surprise-party!" I answered. "Cheer 
up! It's our honeymoon trip. I've decided 
that after a man has married a woman it's his 
duty to get well acquainted with her. What's 
the use of having a breastful of love and 
affection and no time to show it. To begin 
with we shall have the best dinner this hotel 
affords." 

Our table, which had been well adorned 
with flowers, awaited us, and we sat down to 
dinner. Richard Forbes came while we were 
eating our oysters and joined us. 
52 



THE MARRYERS 

We talked of many things, and while we were 
eating our dessert I sailed into the subject 
nearest my heart by saying: 

"I kind o' guessed that you'd want to send 
a message." 

"How did you know it?" he asked. 

"Oh, by sundry looks and glances of your 
eye when I saw you last." 

"They didn't deceive you," said he. "Tell 
them that they may see me in Rome before 
long. Miss Norris was kind enough to say 
in a letter that they would be glad to see me. 
I haven't answered yet. You might gently 
break the news of my plan and let me know 
how they stand it." 

"I'll give them your affectionate regard 
that's as far as I am willing to go and I'll 
tell them to prepare for your presence. If 
they show evidence of alarm I'll let you know. 
I kind o' mistrust that you may be needed there 
and and wanted." 

"No joking now!" he warned me. 

* ' Those titled chaps are likely to get after her, 
and I may want you to help me head 'em off. 
You'd be a silly feller to let them grab the prize." 
53 



THE MARRYERS 

"The trouble is my fortune isn't made," 
said he. "I'm getting along, but I can't afford 
to get married yet." 

"Don't worry about that," I begged him. 
"Our young men all seem to be thinking about 
money and nothing else. Quit it. Keep out 
of this great American thought -trust. Any 
girl that isn't willing to take hold and help you 
make your fortune isn't worth having. Don't 
let the vine of your thoughts go twining 
around the money -pole. If you do they'll 
make you a prisoner." 

"But she is used to every luxury." 

"And probably will be glad to try some- 
thing new. Her mama is not looking for 
riches, but noble blood, I suppose. Norris's 
girl looks good to me nice way of going, as 
they used to say of the colts. We ought to be 
able to offer her as high an order of nobility as 
there is in Europe." 

"I'm very common clay," the boy answered, 
with a laugh. 

"And the molding is up to you," I said, as 
we rose to go. 

"Tell them that Gwendolyn's heart is Amer- 
54 



THE MARRYERS 

ican territory and that I shall stand for no 
violation of the Monroe Doctrine," said he. 

We bade him good-by and went aboard the 
steamer in as happy a mood as if we had spent 
six months instead of six hours getting ready. 
So our voyage began. 

Going over we felt the strong tides of the 
spirit which carry so many of our countrymen 
to the Old World. The Toltec was crowded 
with tourists of the All-Europe-in-three-weeks 
variety. There were others, but these were a 
small minority. Every passenger seemed to 
be loaded, beyond the Plimsoll mark, with 
conversation, and in the ship's talk were all 
the spiritual symptoms of America. 

We chose partners and went into the busi- 
ness of visiting. The sea shook her big, round 
sides, immensely tickled, I should say, by the 
gossip. Our ship was a moving rialto. We 
swapped stories and exchanged sentiments; 
we traded hopes and secrets; we cranked up 
and opened the gas-valve and raced into auto- 
biography. Each got a memorable bargain. 
We were almost dishonest with our generosity. 

"Ship ahoy!" we shouted to every man who 
55 



THE MARRYERS 

came our way and noted his tonnage and cargo, 
his home port and destination. 

How American ! God bless us all ! 

Within forty-eight hours it seemed to me 
that everybody knew everybody else, except 
Lord and Lady Dorris, who were aboard, and 
the adoring group that surrounded them. 

The big, wide-world thought-trust was well 
represented in the smoking-room. There were 
business men and boys just out of college, all 
expressing themselves in terms of profit and 
loss the wealth of this or that man and how 
he got it, the effect of legislation upon business, 
and all that kind of thing. Thirty-five years 
ago such a company would have been talking 
of the last speeches of Conkling and Ingersoll 
or the last poems of Whittier and Tenny- 
son. 

There were many keynotes in the conver- 
sation. If one sat down with a book in 
the reading-room he would abandon it for 
the better display of human nature in the 
crowd around him. There were some twoscore 
women all talking at the same time, each 
drenching the other in the steady flow of her 
56 



THE MARRYERS 

conversational hose. The plan of it all seemed 
to be very generous everybody giving and 
nobody receiving anything. I used to think 
that among women talk was for display or 
relief, and whispering for the transfer of in- 
telligence. Since I got married I know better : 
women have a sixth sense by which they can 
acquire knowledge without listening in a talk- 
fest. They miss nothing. 

It was interesting to observe how the edges 
of the conversations impinged upon one an- 
other, like the circles made by a handful of 
pebbles flung from a bridge into water. Now 
and then some strong-voiced lady dropped 
a rock into the pool, and the spatter went to 
both shores. The spray advertised the thought- 
trusts of the women: 

"I felt so sorry for poor Mabel! There 
wasn't a young man in the party. " 

"It was a capital operation, but I pulled 
through." 

"Yes, I've wanted to go to Italy ever since 
I saw ' Romeo and Juliet/ Those Italians are 
wonderful lovers." 

"It was so ridiculous to be throwing her at 
57 



THE MARRYERS 

his head, and she with a weak heart and only 
one lung!" 

"I don't know how I spend it, but somehow 
it goes." 

"Oh, they have been abroad, but anybody 
can do that these days." 

"Poor man! I feel sorry for him she's 
terribly extravagant." 

"We don't see much of our home these 
days." 

"My twentieth trip across the ocean." 

"Our children are in boarding-schools, and 
my husband is living at his club." 

I wanted to smoke and excused myself from 
Betsey and went out on the deck, now more 
than half deserted, and stood looking off at the 
night. Family history was pouring out of the 
state-room windows, and I could not help hear- 
ing it. Grandma, slightly deaf, was saying to 
her daughter: 

"Lizzie must be more careful when those 
young men come to the door. This morning 
she wasn't half dressed when she opened it." 

"Oh yes, she was." 

"No, she wasn't; I took particular notice. 
58 






THE MARRYERS 

And every morning she wets her hair in my 
perfumery." Then, sadly, "It's almost gone." 

I knew enough about the sins of Lizzie, and 
moved on and took a new stand. 

An elderly lumber merchant from Michigan 
was saying to his companion in a loud voice: 

"Yes, I retired ten years ago. I am study- 
ing the history of the world all about the 
life of the world, especially the life of the 
ancients." 

I moved on to escape a comparison of the 
careers of Alexander and Napoleon, and settled 
down in a dusky corner near which a lady was 
giving an account of the surgical operations 
which had been performed upon her. So the 
conversation, which had begun at daybreak, 
went on into the night. It was all very human 
very American. 

The Litchmans of Chicago had rooms oppo- 
site ours. Every night six or eight pairs of 
shoes, each decorated with a colored ribbon 
to distinguish it from the common run of shoes, 
were ranged in a row outside their door. The 
lady had forty-two hats so I was told and 
all of them were neatly aired in the course of 

5 59 



THE MARRYERS 

the voyage. The upper end of her system was 
not a head, but a hat-holder. 

Their family of four children was established 
in a room next to ours. As a whole, it was the 
most harmonious and efficient yelling-machine 
of which I have any knowledge. Its four 
cylinders worked like one. At dinner it filled 
its tanks with cheese and cakes and nuts and 
jellies and milk, and was thus put into running 
order for the night. It is wonderful how many 
yells there are in a relay of cheese and cake and 
nuts and jelly and milk. When we got in bed 
the machine cranked up, backed out of the 
garage, and went shrieking up the hill to mid- 
night and down the slope to breakfast-time, 
stopping briefly now and then for repairs. 

A deaf lady next morning declared that she 
had heard the fog-whistles blowing all night. 

"Fog-whistles! We didn't need 'em," said 
Betsey. 

It was a symptom of America with which I 
had been unfamiliar. 

We were astonished at the number of manless 
women aboard that ship. Many were much- 
traveled widows whose husbands had fallen 

60 



HE MARRYERS 

in the hard battles of American life; some, I 
doubt not, like the battle of Morris, with hid- 
den worries that feed, like rats, on the strength 
of a man. 

Many of the women were handsome daugh- 
ters and sleek, well-fed mamas whose hus- 
bands could not leave the struggle often the 
desperate struggle for fame and fortune. 

There were elderly women well upholstered 
grandmamas generally traveling in pairs. 

One of them, a slim, garrulous, and affec- 
tionate lady well past her prime, was im- 
mensely proud of her feet. She was Mrs. 
Fraley, from Terre Haute "a daughter of 
dear old Missouri," she explained. It seemed 
that her feet had retained their pristine beauty 
through all vicissitudes, and been compli- 
mented by sundry distinguished observers. 
One evening she said to Betsey: 

"Come down to my state-room, dearest 
dear, and I will show you my feet." 

She always seemed to be seeking astonish- 
ment, and was often exclaiming "Indeed!" or 
"How wonderful!" and I hadn't told any lies 
either. 

61 



THE MARRYERS 

We met also Mrs. Mullet, of Sioux City, 
a gay and copious widow of middle age, who 
appeared in the ship's concert with dark eyes 
well underscored to give them proper em- 
phasis. She was a well-favored, sentimental 
lady with thick, wavy, brown hair. Her 
thoughts were also a bit wavy, but Betsey 
formed a high opinion of her. Mrs. Mullet 
was a neat dresser and resembled a fashion- 
plate. Her talk was well dressed in English 
accents. She often looked thoughtfully at 
my chin when we talked together, as if 
she were estimating its value as a site for 
a stand of whiskers. It was her apparent 
knowledge of art which interested Betsey. 
She talked art beautiful, as Sam Henshaw 
used to say, and was going to Italy to 
study it. 

There were schoolma'ams going over to 
improve their minds, and romping, sweet- 
faced girls setting out to be instructed in art 
or music, beyond moral boundaries, and know- 
ing not that they would take less harm among 
the lions and hyenas of eastern Africa. When 
will our women learn that the centers of art 

62 



THE MARRYERS 

and music in Europe are generally the exact 
centers of moral leprosy? 

There were stately, dignified, and inhuman 
people of the seaboard aristocracy of the East 
the Europeans of America, who see only the 
crudeness of their own land. They have been 
dehorned muleyed into freaks by degenerate 
habits of mind and body. A certain passenger 
called them the "Eunuchs of democracy," but 
I wouldn't be so intemperate with the truth. 
One of them was the Lady Dorris, daughter of 
a New York millionaire, who came out of her 
own apartments one evening to peer laughingly 
into the dining-saloon, and say : 

"I love to look at them; they're so very, 
very curious!" 

Yes, we have a few Europeans in America, 
but I suspect that Europe is more than half 
American. 

Then there was Mr. Pike, the lumber king, 
from Prairie du Chien, who stroked his 
whiskers when he talked to me and looked me 
over from head to toe as if calculating the 
amount of good timber in me. He had re- 
tired, jumped from the lumber business into 
63 



THE MARRYERS 

ancient history, and was now reporting the 
latest news from Tyre and Babylon. 

In this environment of character we pro- 
ceeded with nothing to do but observe it, and 
with no suspicion that we were being intro- 
duced to the persons of a drama in which we 
were to play our parts in Italy. 

So now, then, the orchestra has ceased playing 
and the curtain is up again, and, with all these 
people on the stage, in the middle of the ocean 
word goes around the decks that there is a 
ship off the port side very near us. We look 
and observe that we are passing her. It is 
the Caronia, and we ride the seas with a better 
sense of comfort, knowing that^ Wilton is be- 
hind us. 




We pass the Caronia, and we ride the seas 
with a better sense of comfort, knowing that 
Wilton is behind us. 



VI 



WE ARRIVE IN THE LAND OF LOVE AND SONG 

TTERE we are in Rome on the tenth day of 
JTl our journey at three in the afternoon ! 
Jiminy Christmas! How I felt the need of 
language ! I had given my leisure on the train 
to the careful study of a conversation-book, 
but the conversation I acquired was not ex- 
tensive enough to satisfy every need of a man 
born in northern New England. It was too 
polite. There were a number of men who quar- 
reled over us and our baggage in the station 
at Rome, and I had to do all my swearing with 
the aid of a dictionary. I found it too slow to 
be of any use. We were rescued soon by 
Mrs. Norris and her footman, who took us to 
the Grand Hotel. Gwendolyn met us in the 
hall of their apartment, and I delivered Forbes's 
message. 

"You may kiss me !" she exclaimed, joyously. 
65 



THE MARRYERS 

" I doit for him," I said. 

"Then do it again," said she. 

That's the kind of a girl she was up and 
a-coming ! and that's the kind of a man I am 
obliging to the point of generosity at the 
proper moment. 

The reputation of the Morrises gave us 
standing, and we were soon marching in step 
and sowing our francs in a rattling shower with 
the great caravan of American blood-hunters. 

Norris himself was in better health than I 
had hoped to find him, and three days later he 
drove me to Tivoli in his motor-car. 

As we were leaving the hotel the porter 
said to Norris: 

"An American gentleman called to see you 
about an hour ago. He was very urgent, and 
I told him that I thought you had gone to 
Tivoli." 

"Not gone, but going," said Norris. 
"There's a grain of truth in what you said, 
but I suppose you meant well." 

He handed the porter a coin and added: 

"You must never be able to guess where I 



am." 



THE MARRYERS 

In 'the course of our long ride across the 
Campagna I made my report and he made his. 
I told the whole story of Muggs and how at 
length the man had given me a good, full 
excuse for my play-spell. 

"I suppose that he will be after us again 
here," said Norris. 

4 'Don't worry, " I answered; "you'll find 
me a capable watch -dog. It will only be 
necessary for me to bark at him once or 
twice." 

''You're an angel of mercy," said my friend. 
"I couldn't bear the sight of him now. It 
isn't the money involved; it's his devilish 
smoothness and the twitch of the bull-ring and 
the peril I am in of losing my temper and of 
doing something to to be regretted." 

"Let me be secretary of your interior also," 
I proposed, and added : " I can get mad enough 
for both of us, and I have a growing stock of 
cuss words." 

My assurance seemed to set Norris at rest, 
and I called for his report. 

' ' Mine is a longer story, ' ' he began. ' ' First 
we went to Saint Moritz beautiful place, six 
67 



THE MARRYERS 

thousand feet up in the mountains and it 
agreed with me. We found two kinds of 
Americans there the idle rich who came to 
play with the titled poor and the homeless. 
Everywhere in Europe one finds homeless 
people from our country a wandering, pa- 
thetic tribe of well-to-do gipsies. Among the 
idle rich are maidens with great prospects and 
planning mamas, and rich widows looking for 
live noblemen with the money of dead grocers, 
rum merchants, and contractors. They're all 
searching for 'blood,' as they call it. 

"'I can't marry an American,' one of them 
said to me; 'I want a man of blood. These 
men are of ancient families that have made 
history, and they know how to make love, 
too/ 

"Impoverished dukes, marquises, princes, 
barons, counts, from the purlieus of aristocratic 
Europe, throng about them. These noblemen 
are professional marryers, and all for sale. 
The bob-sled and the toboggan are implements 
of their craft, symbols of the rapid pace. Un- 
fortunately, they are often the meeting-place 
of youthful innocence and utter depravity, of 
68 



THE MARRYERS 

glowing health and incurable disease. Maidens 
and marquises, barons and widows, counts and 
young married women, traveling alone, sit dove- 
tailed on bob-sleds and toboggans, and, locked 
in a complex embrace, this tangle of youth and 
beauty, this interwoven mass of good and evil, 
rushes down the slippery way. In the swift, 
curving flight, by sheer hugging, they over- 
come the tug of centrifugal force. It is a long 
hug and a strong hug. Thus, courtship is 
largely a matter of sliding. 

"Then there are the dances. I do not need 
to describe them. At Saint Moritz they go 
to the limit. Fifteen years ago when Chuck 
Connors and his friends practised these dances 
in a Bowery dive respectable citizens turned 
away with disgust. Since then the idle rich 
who explore the underworld have begun to 
imitate its dances, which were intended to sug- 
gest the morals of the dog-kennel and the farm- 
yard and which have achieved some success in 
that direction. Unfortunately, the idle rich are 
well advertised. If they were to wear rings 
in their noses the practice would soon become 
fashionable. 

69 



THE MARRYERS 

"Well, you see, it was no place for my girl. 
I sent her away with Mrs. Mushtop to Rome, 
but not until a young Italian count had got 
himself in love with my money." 

"Count Carola?" I asked. 

"Count Carola !" said he. "How did you 
know?'* 

"Saw it in the paper." 

' ' The paper !" he exclaimed. ' ' God save us 
from the papers as well as from war, pestilence, 
and sudden death." 

"Is the count really shot in the heart?" I 
ventured to ask. 

"Oh, he likes her as any man likes a pretty, 
bright-eyed girl," Norris went on, "but it was 
a part of my money that he wanted most. I 
had kept her out of that crowd, and the young 
man hadn't met her. He had only stood about 
and stared at us, and had finally asked for an 
introduction to me, which I refused, greatly 
to my wife's annoyance. The young man fol- 
lowed them to Rome, but I didn't know that 
he had done so until I got there. They went 
around seeing things, and everywhere they 
went the count was sure to go. Followed them 

70 



THE MARRYERS 

like a dog, day in and day out. Isn't that 
making it a business? His eyes were on them 
in every room of every art-gallery. One day, 
when they stood with some friends near the 
music-stand in the Pincio Gardens, the count 
approached Mrs. Mushtop. You know Mrs. 
Mushtop; she is a good woman, but a Euro- 
pean at heart and a worshiper of titles. I 
didn't suppose that she was such a romantic 
old saphead of a woman. This is what hap- 
pened : the count took off his hat and greeted 
her with great politeness. She was a little 
flattered. My daughter turned away. 

"'I suspect, myself, that you are the young 
lady's chaperon/ said he. 

"'Yes, sir.' 

'"I am in love with the beautiful, charming 
young lady. It is so joyful for me to look at 
her. I am most unhappy unless I am near her. 
I have the honor to hand you my card; I wish 
you to make the inquiry about my family and 
my character. Then I hope that you will per- 
mission me to speak to her.' 

"Think of Mrs. Mushtop standing there and 
letting him go on to that extent. 



THE MARRYERS 

"She said, 'It would do no good, for I 
believe that she is engaged/ 

'"That will make not any difference/ he 
insisted, with true Italian simplicity; 'I will 
take my chances/ 

"She foolishly kept his card, but had the 
good sense to turn away and leave him. 

"Mrs. Norris went on to Rome for a few 
days while I stayed at Saint Moritz with my 
physician, mother, and secretary. You know 
women better than I do, probably. Most of 
them like that Romeo business; that swearing 
by the sun, moon, and stars those cosmic, 
cross-universe measurements of love. I don't 
know as I blame them, for, after all, a woman's 
happiness is so dependent on the love of a 
husband. 

"Well, those women got their heads to- 
gether, and my wife thought that, on the 
whole, she liked the looks of the count. He 
was rather slim and dusky, but he had big, 
dark eyes and red cheeks and perfect teeth 
and a fine bearing. So they drove to Flor- 
ence, where he lived, and investigated his 
pedigree and character. It was a very old 
72 



THE MARRYERS 

family, which had played an important part in 
the campaigns of Mazzini and Cavour, but its 
estate had been confiscated after the first 
failure of the great Lombard chief, and its for- 
tunes were now at a low ebb. One of the 
count's brothers is the head waiter in a hotel at 
Naples. He had sense enough to go to work, 
but the count is a confirmed gentleman who 
rests on hopes and visions. He reminds me of 
a house standing in the air with no visible 
means of support. 

"However, the investigation was satisfac- 
tory to my wife, and she invited the young man 
to dinner at her hotel. The ladies were all 
captivated by his charm, and there's no denying 
that the young fellow has pretty manners. 
It's great to see him garnish a cup of tea or a 
plate of spaghetti with conversation. His talk 
is pastry and bonbons. 

"When I came on I found them going about 
with him and having a fine time. Under his 
leadership my wife had visited sundry furni- 
ture and antique shops and invested some five 
thousand dollars, on which, I presume, the 
count received commissions sufficient to keep 
73 



THE MARRYERS 

him in spending-money for a while. I didn't 
like the count, and told them so. He's too 
effeminate for me hasn't the frank, upstand- 
ing, full-breasted, rugged, ready-for-anything 
look of our American boys. But I didn't in- 
terfere; I kept my hands off, for long ago I 
promised to let my wife have her way about 
the girl. That reminds me we have invited 
young Forbes to come over and spend a month 
with us." 

"Likely young fellow," I said. 

"None better," said he; "if he had sense 
enough to ask Gwen to marry him I'd be glad 
of it. I have refused to encourage the affair 
with the count, but we find it hard to saw him 
off. We drove to Florence the other day, and 
he followed us there and back again. He's a 
comer, I can tell you; we can see him coming 
wherever we are. I swear a little about it 
now and then, and Gwen says, 'Well, father, 
you don't own the road.' And Mrs. Norris 
will say: 'Poor fellow! Isn't it pitiful ? I'm 
so sorry for him !' 

"His devotion to business is simply amazing 
works early and late, and don't mind going 

74 



THE MARRYERS 

hungry. In all my life I never saw anything 
like it." 

We had arrived at Tivoli, and as he ceased 
speaking we drew up at Hadrian's Villa and 
entered the ruins with a crowd of American 
tourists. An energetic lady dogged the steps 
of the swift-moving guide with a volley of 
questions which began with, "Was it before 
or after Christ?" By and by she said: "I 
wouldn't like to have been Mrs. Hadrian. 
Think of covering all these floors with carpets 
and keeping them clean!" 

I left Norris sitting on a broken column and 
went on with the crowd for a few minutes. I 
kept close to the energetic lady, being inter- 
ested in her talk. Suddenly she began to hop 
up and down on one leg and gasp for breath. 
I never saw a lady hopping on one leg before, 
and it alarmed me. The battalion of sight- 
seers moved on; they seemed to be unaware 
of her distress or was it simply a lack of 
time? I stopped to see what I could do 
for her. 

"Oh, my lord ! My heavens !' ' she shouted, 
as she looked at me, with both hands on her 

6 75 



THE MARRYERS 

lifted thigh. "I've got a cramp in my leg! 
I've got a cramp in my leg!" 

I supported the lady and spoke a comforting 
word or two. She closed her eyes and rested 
her head on my arm, and presently put down 
her leg and looked brighter. 

"There, it's all right now," said she, with 
a shake of her skirt. "Thanks! Do you 
come from Michigan?" 

"No." 

"Where do you hail from?" 

' ' Pointview, Connecticut. ' ' 

"I'm from Flint, Michigan, and I'm just 
tuckered out. They keep me going night and 
day. I'm making a collection of old knockers. 
Do you suppose there are any shops where 
they keep 'em here?" 

"Don't know. I'm just a pilgrim and a 
stranger and am not posted in the knocker 
trade," I answered. 

The crowd had turned a corner ; and with a 
swift good-by she ran after it, fearful, I sup- 
pose, of losing some detail in the domestic life 
of Hadrian. 

So on one leg, as it were, she enters and 
76 



THE MARRYERS 

swiftly crosses the stage. It's a way Provi- 
dence has of preparing us for the future. To 
this moment's detention I was indebted for 
an adventure of importance, for as she left 
me I saw Muggs, the sleek, pestiferous Muggs, 
coming out of the old baths on his way to the 
gate. He must have been the man who had 
called to see Norris that morning. He turned 
pale with astonishment and nodded. 

"Well, Muggs, here you are," I said. 

He handled himself in a remarkable fashion, 
for he was as cool as a cucumber when he 
answered : 

"I used to resemble a lot of men, and some 
pretty decent fellows used to resemble me, but 
as soon as they saw me they quit it got out 
from under, you know. Even my photographs 
have quit resembling me." 

"Well, you have changed a little, but my 
hat and overcoat look just about as they did," 
I laughed. 

"If I didn't know it was impossible I would 
say that your name was Potter," said he. 

"And if I knew it was impossible I would 
swear that your name was Muggs," I answered. 
77 



THE MARRYERS 

''Forget it," said he; "in the name of God, 
forget it. I'm trying to live honest, and I'm 
going to let you and your friends alone if 
you'll let me alone. Now, that's a fair bar- 
gain." 

I hesitated, wondering at his sensitiveness. 

"You owe us quite a balance, but I'm in- 
clined to call it a bargain," I said. "Only be 
kind to that hat and coat ; they are old friends 
of mine. I don't care so much about the two 
hundred dollars." 

"Thanks," he answered with a laugh, and 
went on: "I've given you proper credit on the 
books. You'll hear from me as soon as I am 
on my feet." 

"What are you doing here?" I asked. 

He answered: "Ever since I was a kid I've 
wanted to see the Colosseum where men fought 
with lions." 

"I am sure that you would enjoy a look at 
Hadrian's Walk," I said, pointing to the 
tourists who had halted there as I turned 
away. 

So we parted, and with a sense of good luck 
I hurried to Norris. 

78 



THE MARRYERS 

"I've got a crick in my back," I said. 
"Let's get out of here." 

We proceeded to our motor-car at the 
entrance. 

"This ruin is the most infamous relic in the 
world," said Norris, as we got into our car; 
"it stands for the grandeur of pagan hoggish- 
ness. Think of a man who wanted all the 
treasures and poets and musicians and beau- 
ties in the world for the exclusive enjoyment of 
himself and friends. Millions of men gave 
their lives for the creation of this sublime 
swine-yard. Hadrian's Villa, and others like 
it, broke the back of the empire. I tell you, 
the world has changed, and chiefly in its sense 
of responsibility for riches. Here in Italy you 
still find the old feudal, hog theory of riches, 
which is a thing of the past in America and 
which is passing in England. We have a liking 
for service. I tell you, Potter, my daughter 
ought to marry an American who is strong in 
the modern impulses, and go on with my work." 



VII 

IN WHICH I TEACH THE DIFFICULT ART OF 
BEING AN AMERICAN IN ITALY 

N ORRIS had overtaxed himself in this ride 
to-Tivoli and spent the next day in his 
hotel. 

"My conversation often has this effect," I 
said, as I sat by his bedside. "Forty miles of 
it is too much without a sedative. You need 
the assistance of the rest of the family. Let 
Gwendolyn and her mother take a turn at 
listening." 

"That's exactly what I propose. I want 
you to look after them, ' ' he said. ' ' They need 
me now if they ever did, and I'm a broken 
reed. Be a friend to them, if you can." 

I liked Norris, for he was bigger than his 
fortune, and you can't say that of every 
millionaire. Not many suspect how a lawyer's 
heart can warm to a noble client. I would 
have gone through fire and water for him. 
80 



THE MARRYERS 

"If they can stand it I can," was my 
answer. "A good many people have tried my 
friendship and chucked it overboard. It's 
like swinging an ax, and not for women. One 
has to have regular rest and good natural 
vitality to stand my friendship." 

"They have just stood a medical examina- 
tion," he went on. "I want you and Mrs. 
Potter to see Rome with Gwendolyn and her 
mother and give them your view of things. 
Be their guide and teacher. I hope you may 
succeed in building up their Americanism, but 
if you conclude to turn them into Italians I 
shall be content." 

"There are many things I can't do, but 
you couldn't find a more willing professor of 
Americanism," I declared. 

So it happened that Betsey and I went with 
Gwendolyn and her mother for a drive. 

I am not much inclined to the phrases of 
romance. Being a lawyer, I hew to the line. 
But I have come to a minute when my imagina- 
tion pulls at the rein as if it wanted to run 
away. I remember that an old colonial lawyer 
refers in one of his complaints to "a most 
81 



THE MARRYERS 

comely and winsome mayd who with ribbands 
and slashed sleeves and snug garments and 
stockings well knit and displayed and sundry 
glances of her eye did wickedly and unlaw- 
fully work upon this man until he forgot his 
duty to his God, his state, and his family, " and 
it is on record that this "winsome mayd" was 
condemned to sit in the bilboes. 

The tall, graceful, blue-eyed, blond-haired 
girl, opposite whom I sat in the motor-car that 
day, was both comely and winsome. She in- 
nocently "worked upon" the opposite sex 
until one member of it got to work upon me, 
and I'm not the kind that goes around look- 
ing for trouble. Even when it looks for me 
it often fails to find me. 

I am a man rather firmly set in my way and 
well advanced upon it, but I have to acknowl- 
edge that Gwendolyn's face kept reminding 
me of the best days of my boyhood, when life 
itself was like a rose just opened, and the 
smile of Betsey was morning sunlight. Backed 
by great wealth, its effect upon the manyers 
of Italy can be imagined. 

Gwendolyn had survived the three deadly 
82 



THE MARRYERS 

perils of girlhood cake, candy, and the soda- 
fountain. A pony and saddle and good air 
to breathe helped her to win the fight until she 
went to school in Munich, where a wise matron 
and the spirit of the school induced her to 
climb mountains and eat meat and vegetables 
and other articles in the diet of the sane. 
Now she was a strong, red-cheeked, full- 
blooded young lady of twenty. In spite of 
the stanch Americanism of Norris, Gwen- 
dolyn and her mother were full of European 
spirit. They liked democracy, but they loved 
the pomp and splendor of courts, and the 
sound of titles, and the glitter of swords and 
uniforms. As we got into the car we ob- 
served numbers of young men staring at 
us, and I spoke of it, and Gwendolyn said 
to me: 

"I think that the young men in America are 
better-looking, but they are so cold! All the 
girls tell me that these boys can beat them 
making love, and I believe it." 

"But most of our boys have work to do/' I 
said. "With them love-making is only a side 
issue, and it often comes at the end of a long, 



THE MARRYERS 

hard day. These Italians seem to have noth- 
ing else to do but make love." 

"I don't see, for my part, why men who 
have plenty of money should have to work," 
said Mrs. Norris. "What's the use of having 
money if it doesn't give you leisure for en- 
joyment?" 

"But leisure is like dynamite you have to 
be careful with it," I said. "For most of us 
it's the only danger. All deviltry begins in 
leisure and ends in work, if at all. Being 
naturally sinful, I don't fool with it much. Of 
course you women are moral giants, and you 
don't need to be so scared of it." 

"You have to joke about everything," said 
Mrs. Norris. "Sometimes I think that I un- 
derstand you and suddenly you begin joking, 
and then I lose confidence in all you have said." 

"I mean all I say and then some more," I 
declared. "I assume that you are moral 
giants or that you do a lot of work secretly. 
No man could keep his footing in the slippery 
path of unending leisure. In Europe leisure is 
the aim of all, and where it most abounds 
morality is a joke. Here blood and leisure are 
84 



THE MARRYERS 

the timber of which all ladies and gentlemen 
are made. In America we know that it's 
rotten timber. We have discovered three great 
commandments. They are written not only 
on tablets of stone, but everywhere. If they 
were printed across the sky they couldn't be any 
plainer. You know them as well as I do." 

The three ladies turned serious eyes upon me 
and shook their heads. 

Then I shot my bolt at them: 

"They are: 

"i. Get busy. 

11 2. Keep busy. 

"3. See that it pays, which means that you 
are to play as well as work." 

Mrs. Norris smiled and nimbly stepped out 
of my way and bravely answered, like a real 
rococo aristocrat: 

1 1 1 fear that you are prejudiced. I should be 
proud to have my daughter marry into one of 
these old families, not hastily, of course, but 
after we have found the right man. There are 
splendid men in some of them, and your best 
Italian is a most devoted husband. He wor- 
ships his wife." 

85 



THE MARRYERS 

"And if you're looking for a worshiper you 
couldn't find a place where the arts of worship 
have been so highly developed," I answered. 
''But no American girl should be looking for 
a worshiper unless she's under the impression 
that she created the world, and even then a 
doctor would do her more good. Of course 
Gwendolyn would prefer a man, and what's the 
matter with one of your own countrymen 
Forbes, for instance?" 

"I couldn't pass his examination too dif- 
ficult!" said Gwendolyn, with a laugh. "I 
think that he is looking for a world-beater 
a girl who could win the first' prize in a golf 
tournament or a beauty show or a competition 
in mathematics. What chance have I? He 
thinks that he has got to be a rich man before 
he gets married. What chance has he?" 

Clearly she wanted me to know that she 
liked him and resented his apparent indiffer- 
ence. I suppose that he had not fallen down 
before her, as other boys had done, and she 
could not quite make him out. Probably 
that's why she preferred him. 

"He has wonderful self-possession," I said. 
86 



THE MARRYERS 

"Yes, he'll never let go of himself. All the 
girls say that about him. He's a wise young- 
ster." ' 

"If he were in my place I don't believe he 
could hold out through the day," I declared. 

"She does look well, doesn't she?" said Mrs. 
Norris, as she proudly surveyed her daughter. 
"Italy agrees with her, and she loves it and the 
people." 

"So do I," was my answer. "The Italian 
people, who are doing the work of Italy, are 
admirable. Out in the vineyards you will 
find young men who are even good enough for 
Gwendolyn. It's these idle horse-traders that 
I object to these fellows who are trying to 
swap a case of spavined respectability fora 
fortune." 

"Oh, you're a mountain of prejudice!" Mrs. 
Norris exclaimed. "Now, there's the Princess 
Carrero. She was an American girl, and she is 
the happiest, proudest woman in Italy. Her hus- 
band is one of the finest gentlemen I ever met." 

"He's a dear!" Gwendolyn echoed. 

"For my part I think that international 
marriages are a fine thing," Mrs. Norris went 
87 



THE MA.RRYERS 

on. "They are drawing the races together 
into one brotherhood." 

"But such a brotherhood will be hard on 
our sisterhood/' I objected. "A wife here is 
the chief hired girl. Often if she doesn't mind 
she gets licked, and if she's an American she 
must always pay the bills." 

We had come to the great church of St. Paul, 
beyond the ancient walls of the city. There 
we left our car and passed through a crowd of 
insistent beggars to enter its door. We shiv- 
ered in our wraps under the great, golden 
ceiling high above our heads. Its towering 
columns and pilasters looked like sculptured 
ice. It was all so cold ! 

"It doesn't seem right," I said to Mrs. 
Norris, ' ' that one should get a chill in the house 
of God." 

"Keep cool ought to be good advice for 
Christians," said Betsey. 

"But coldness and hospitality are bad com- 
panions," I insisted. "Chilling grandeur a 
people might reasonably expect from their 
king; but is it the thing for a prodigal return- 
ing to his father's house?" 
88 



THE MARRYERS 

" But isn't it beautif ul ?" 

Mrs. Norris wished me to agree, and I 
shocked her by saying: 

"Beautiful, but too much like kings' palaces. 
The Golden House of Nero was just this kind 
of thing, and it's on record that Jesus Christ 
had no taste for show and glitter. I believe 
He called it vanity." 

Mrs. Norris wore a look of surprise. The 
old horse called Honesty took the bit in his 
teeth then and fairly ran away with me. 

"The whole difference between Europe and 
America is in this building," I said. "We no 
longer believe in kings or kings' palaces in 
heaven or upon earth. With most of us God 
has ceased to be an emperor rejoicing in pomp 
and splendor and adulation. We find that He 
likes better to dwell in a cabin and a humble 
heart. We do not believe that he cares for 
the title of king. We do not believe that 
there are any titles in heaven." 

At this point I observed a look of astonish- 
ment in the face of Mrs. Norris, so I suddenly 
closed the tap of my thoughts. 

Was it my philosophy? No, it was Muggs 
89 



THE MARRYERS 

who lifted his hat (or rather my hat) as he 
passed us with the sentimental Mrs. Mullet 
clinging to his arm. 

"Don't notice him," Mrs. Norris whispered 
to her daughter, as both turned away. "It's 
that odious Wilton who used to come and see 
father." 

I wondered how it was going to be possible 
for me to rescue Mrs. Mullet under the cir- 
cumstances of our covenant of non-inter- 
ference. We turned and left this splendid 
memorial to the great apostle Paul. 

Count Carola was waiting for us at the step 
of the car, and kissed the hands of Mrs. Norris 
and Gwendolyn, and assisted them to their 
seats. I was presented to him, and am forced 
to say that I didn't like the cut of his jib. 
Still, I'm very particular about jibs, especially 
the jib of a new boat. 

"Poor dear boy!" Mrs. Norris exclaimed, as 
we drove away. * ' There's a lover for you !" 

"He grows handsomer every day," said 
Gwendolyn, in a low, lyrical tone. 

"It's his suffering," Mrs. Norris half 
moaned. 

90 



THE MARRYERS 

"Do you really think so?" the young lady 
sympathized. 

"Hold on, Juliet!" said I. "If I were you 
I'd shoo him off the balcony. He's a perfect 
lily of a man, but he won't do too generous, too 
devoted ! We have men like him in America. 
There their titles are never mentioned in the 
best society, and their persons are often cruelly 
injured. For a badge of rank they have 
adopted a kind of liver-pad which they wear 
often over one eye or the other. Of course on 
Broadway they haven't the romantic environ- 
ment of Italy, and are subject to all kinds of 
violence." 

Mrs. Norris flashed a glance of surprise at 
me. 

"You are a cruel iconoclast," said she. 
"He belongs to one of the best families in 
Italy." 

"And if I were you I'd let him continue to 
belong to it; at least, I wouldn't want to buy 
him. He acts like a book-agent or a seller of 
lightning-rods, or a train-boy with his choco- 
lates and chewing-gum. He won't take 'No' 
for an answer. He keeps tossing his wares 
7 91 



THE MARRYERS 

into your laps and seems to say: 'For God's 
sake, think of my starving family and make me 
some kind of an offer.' Do you think that 
compares in dignity with the self-possession of 
Richard?" 

The ladies exchanged glances. Gwendolyn 
laughed and blushed. Mrs. Norris smiled. 
I went on: 

"He defaces the landscape like the portraits 
of the late Mr. Mennen in America. He shows 
up everywhere as an advertisement for his 
own charms. 




If You Ye Title Crazy Try 

CAROLA 

(Title Guaranteed) 

Oldest Family in Europe 



jm 



"That's his legend." 

"It's just a little ridiculous, isn't it?" said 
the girl. 

"Oh, the poor boy is in love!" Mrs. Norris 
92 



THE MARRYERS 

pleaded, in a begging, purring tone which said, 
plainly enough, "Of course you are right, but 
every boy is a fool when he is in love, isn't he?" 

"So is Richard in love," I boldly declared for 
him, "but he isn't on the bargain-counter; 
he isn't damaged, shop-worn, or out of date ; he 
hasn't been marked down." 

Two pairs of eyes stared at mine with a 
prying gaze. 

Gwendolyn leaned forward arid grasped my 
hand. 

"Who in the world is he in love with?" she 
asked, eagerly. "Tell me at once." 

"Himself!" Mrs. Morris exclaimed, before 
I could answer. 

"No; with Gwendolyn," I ventured. 

Both seemed to relax suddenly, and their 
backs touched the upholstery. 

"I haven't a doubt of it," was my firm 
assertion. 

The fair maid leaned toward me again. 

"You misguided man!" she exclaimed. 
"Why do you think that?" 

"For many reasons and one." 

"What is the one ?" Gwendolyn asked. 
93 



THE MARRYERS 

"That is my last shot, and I am not going 
to throw it away. It's worth something, and 
if you get it you'll have to pay for it." 

"You cruel wretch!" she said, with a stinging 
slap on my hand. "What then are your many 
reasons?" 

"They are all in this phrase, * sundry 
glances of the eye.' " 

"How disappointing you are!" 

"And what a spoiled child you are!" I re- 
torted. "Ever since you began to walk you 
have had about everything that you asked for. 
The magic lamp of Aladdin was in your hands. 
You had only to wish and to have. Of course 
you don't think that you can keep on doing 
that. You'll soon see that the best things 
come hard; they have to be earned, and I 
guess Dick Forbes is one of them. He doesn't 
seem to be looking for money; what he wants 
is a real woman. He can love, and with great 
tenderness and endurance. He's a long-dis- 
tance lover. His love will keep right along 
with you to the last. He doesn't go around 
singing about it with a guitar; he doesn't 
burst the dam of his affection to inundate an 
94 



THE MARRYERS 

heiress and swear that all the contents of the 
infinite skies are in his little flood. That kind 
of thing doesn't go down any longer; it's out of 
date. With us it's gone the way of the wig 
and the crown and the knight and the noisome 
intrigue and the tallow dip and the brush har- 
row. We know it's mostly mush, twaddle, and 
mendacity. Here in Europe you will still find 
the brush harrow, the tallow dip, and the 
tallow lover, but not in our land. If you get 
Richard Forbes you'll have to go into training 
and try to satisfy his ideals, but it will be worth 
while." 

The ladies changed color a little and sat 
with" looks of thoughtful embarrassment, as if 
they had on their hands a white elephant 
whose playfulness had both amused and 
alarmed them. Twice Betsey and Gwendolyn 
had broken into laughter, but Mrs. Norris only 
smiled and looked surprised. 

"Perhaps you could tell me what his ideals 
are," said Gwendolyn. 

Our arrival at the Borghese galleries saved 
me. We immediately entered them and re- 
sumed the study of art. Nothing there inter- 
95 



THE MARRYERS 

ested me so much as the busts of the old 
emperors. What a lot of human shoats they 
must have been ! Idleness and overeating had 
created the imperial type of human architec- 
ture eyes set in fat, massive jowls, great 
necks that seemed to rise to the tops of their 
heads. With them the title business began to 
thrive. It was nothing more or less than a 
license to prey on other people. No wonder 
that every other man's life was in danger while 
they lived. 

What modesty was theirs! When a man 
became emperor he caused a statue of himself 
to be made as father of all the gods. It was 
probably not so large as he felt, but as large 
as the rocks would allow only some fifteen 
feet high. It was the beginning of the bust 
and the portrait craze. 

We passed from the hall of shoats to the 
picture-galleries. 

I have read of what Beaudelaire calls "the 
beauty disease," and there is no place where 
the young may be more sure of getting it than 
in these Old- World art -galleries. Gwendolyn 
and her mother had a mild attack of this 
96 



THE MARRYERS 

disease, "this lust of the art faculties which eats 
up the moral like a cancer." The monstrous 
excesses of the idle rich are symptoms of its 
progress. In Europe the church, the aristoc- 
racy, and the art students have caught the 
fever of it. 

"How lovely ! How tender!" said Gwendo- 
lyn, as we stood before the Danae of Correggio." 

"How lovely! How tenderloin!" I echoed, 
by way of an antitoxin. 

Here was a fifteenth-century ideal of female 
attractiveness radiating an utterly morbid sen- 
suality. The picture reeked and groaned with 
passion. 

Young men and women from towns and vil- 
lages in our land who sat industriously copy- 
ing the works of old masters were turning 
money newly made in Zanesville, Keokuk, 
Cedar Rapids, and like places into weird imi- 
tations of Correggio, Titian, and Botticelli. 
Well, I expect that they were having a good 
time, but I would rather see them copying the 
tints and forms of nature near their own doors 
than worshiping the kings of art, which is 
another form of the title craze. 
97 



THE MARRYERS 

Here we met again the elderly lady with the 
beautiful feet who had crossed on our steamer 
Mrs. Fraley from Terre Haute. She pre- 
sented Betsey and me to Miss Muriel Fraley, 
her grandniece, a good-looking miss of about 
twenty-three, who was copying the Danae. 
Mrs. Fraley had found new and delightful 
astonishments in Italy, the chief of which was 
this Europeanized niece. She drew me aside 
and whispered: 

"She is a lovely child! Just notice the aris- 
tocratic pose of her head/* 

I allowed that I could see it, for I had to, and 
ran my mental hand into the grab-bag for 
something to say and pulled out: 

"I like that blond hair of hers." 

I observed, as the girl looked up, that her 
cheeks were just a bit too red and that her eyes 
had been slightly emphasized. They did not 
need it, either, for they were capital eyes to 
start with. 

"And she is as good as she is beautiful," the 
old lady went on, in a low tone of strict con- 
fidence. "And, you know, since she came here 
a real count has made love to her." 



THE MARRYERS 

"A count!" I exclaimed. 

There was a touch of awe in her tone as she 
said, "Belongs to one of the oldest families in 
Italy!" 

I cleared my throat and thought of death 
and funerals and comic supplements and such 
mournful things for safety. 

"I want you to meet him at dinner," the 
good soul went on. "Where are you stop- 
ping?" 

"At the Grand Hotel." 

"We are near there, at the Pension Pirroni. 
You and Mrs. Potter must dine with us." 

I gradually separated myself from Mrs. 
Fraley and hastened to join my friends. I 
found them with startled looks in a group of 
the ancient marble gods and others who lived 
before the invention of trousers. 

" If I were to assume the license of Hercules 
and stand up here on a pedestal, what do 
you suppose they'd do to me?" I whispered to 
Betsey. 

"You're no work of art!" said she. 

"No, I'm a man, and better than any imita- 
tion of a man, for when a lady came into the 
99 



THE MARRYERS 

room I should jump down and hide in some 
sarcophagus." 

I left them with the poetic cattle of Olympus 
and went on and asked them to look for me at 
the door. I lingered awhile with the lovely 
figures of Canova and Bernini, and was glad 
at last to get out of the chilly atmosphere of 
the gallery. 

I found the count at the door. He ap- 
proached me and said, in broken English: 

"The ladies, I suppose, they are yet mside 
now." 

I saw my chance and took advantage 
of it. 

"Why do you follow them?" 

"Because I have the hope for good devil-op- 
ments." 

His "devil-0-ments" amused me, and I 
could not help laughing. 

"Ah, Signore, I have very much troubley in 
my harrit," he added. 

"And you will have trouble in other parts of 

your system if you do not go away," I said. 

"If you follow these ladies again I shall ask 

the police to protect us. If they cannot keep 

100 



THE MARRYERS 

you away I shall injure you in some manner, or 
hire a boy to do it. ' 

"What! You cannot achieve it!" he an- 
swered , in some heat . ' ' You have given me the 
insults. I shall implore my friend to call on 
you." 

"Send him along," I said, as he hurried 
away. 

The ladies came out presently, and I ob- 
served that Gwendolyn and her mother seemed 
to miss the count. 

"He's discouraged, poor thing!" said Mrs. 
Norris, as we drove away. 



VIII 

I AGREE TO FIGHT A DUEL AND NAME A WEAPON 

WITH WHICH EUROPEAN GENTLEMEN 

ARE UNFAMILIAR 

THE count's friend called to see me that 
evening, as I expected. He was a very 
good-looking young fellow who had more hu- 
mor and better English than the count. He 
was a Frenchman of the name of Vincent 
Aristide de Langueville. Betsey had gone to 
the opera with Mrs. Norris and Gwendolyn. 
I was alone. 

"For my friend, the Count Carola, I have 
the honor to ask you to name the day and the 
weapons, " he said, with politeness, before he 
had sat down. 

Now I was in for it. After all, I thought for 
traveling with an heiress in this country one 
needs a suit of armor. 

"I'm a born fighter," I said, "but almost 
102 



THE MARRYERS 

always my weapons have been words. They 
are the only weapons with which I am thor- 
oughly familiar. I propose that we have a 
talking-match. Put us, say, ten paces apart 
and light the fuse and get back out of the way 
while we explode. We'll load the guns with 
Italian, if he prefers it, and I'll give him the 
first shot. After ten minutes you can carry 
him off the field. He'll be severely wounded, 
but it won't hurt him any." 

Vincent Aristide de Langueville laughed a 
little and said : 

"But, my dear sir, this is not one joke. 
We desire the satisfaction." 

"And I will guarantee it," was my answer. 

"But, sir, we must have the fight until the 
blood comes." 

"Ah, you are looking for blood also," I said. 
"Well, I have thought of another weapon 
which once upon a time I could handle with 
some skill. Let's have a duel with pitchforks. " 

"Pitchforks! What is it?" he asked. "I 
do not understand." 

"It's a favorite weapon in New England. 
My great-grandfather fought the Indians and 



THE MARRYERS 

the British with it, and it was one of the 
weapons with which I fought against poverty 
when I was a boy. It's a great blood-letter. 
I used to kill coons and hedgehogs with the 
pitchfork." 

"Please tell me what it is. What is it?" he 
pleaded. 

With my pencil I drew a picture of it and 
said: "This handle is about five feet in length 
and very strong. These three prongs are of 
steel and curved a little and long enough to go 
through the abdomen of the most prosperous 
mayor in France." 

"My God! It is the devil's weapon!" he 
exclaimed. 

"You may report to him that the American 
pitchfork is the 'devil-o^-ment' of our inter- 
view, and I shall name the day and hour as 
soon as I can get hold of the weapon." 

"I shall tell my friend, and, please, may I 
take the picture with me?" said Vincent. 

"Certainly, and you may say to him that I 
shall cable for the forks to-night, and that as 
soon as they arrive I shall appoint the day 
and hour." 

104 



THE MARRYERS 

He gave me his card. 

"You live here in Rome?" I asked. 

"I do." 

"Do you work for a living?" 

"I am a sculptor." 

"I have often thought that I should like to 
see a sculptor. Sit down till I get you framed 
and hung in my portrait-gallery." 

' ' I must go, ' ' said he. ' ' Perhaps you will do 
me the honor to call." 

I agreed to do so, just to show that I enter- 
tained no grudge, and with that he left me. 

Before going to bed that night I cabled to 
my secretary as follows : 

"Ship to me immediately four well-made 
American pitchforks, three tines each." 

I said nothing to Betsey of the proposed 
duel, but broke the news that I had met a 
great sculptor, and she wanted to see his 
studio, and next day we called there. Mrs. 
Mullet was sitting for a bust, in her dinner 
gown. Before we had had time to recognize 
the lady the artist had introduced her as the 
Madame Mullette, from Sioux City. 

"Isn't this an adorable place?" she asked 
105 



THE MARRYERS 

in that lyrical tone which one hears so often 
in the Italian capital. She pointed at busts 
of several Americans standing on pedestals 
and awaiting delivery. 

"Look at the whiskers embalmed in mar- 
ble!" Betsey exclaimed, as she gazed at one of 
the busts. It had that familiar chin tuft of 
the Zimmermann hay-seed and a dish collar 
and string tie. The face wore the brave, de- 
fiant, me-against- the- world look that I had 
observed in the statue of Titus, made after he 
had turned Palestine into a slaughter-house. 

"Why, that i'S our old friend from Prairie du 
Chien who came" over on the Toltec" I said. 
"You remember the man who is studying the 
history of the world, all about the life of the 
world, especially the life of the ancients?" 

"Yes, indeed," said Betsey. 

"He is one lumber king, and one very rich 
man," the artist remarked. 

"You are spending some time here in 
Rome," I said to Mrs. Mullet. 

"Oh, I am devoted to the Eternal City!" 
she exclaimed, and how she loved the sound of 
that musty old phrase "Eternal City"! She 
106 



THE MARRYERS 

added, "I have been here four times, and I 
love every inch of it." 

The sculptor resumed his work with a new 
sitter, while Mrs. Mullet went with us from 
end to end of the great studio and whispered 
at the first opportunity: 

"De Langueville is a wonderful man; he is 
a baron in his own country. If you want a 
bust he will let you pay for it in instalments. 
Five hundred dollars down and the remainder 
within three years." 

The hectic flush of art for Heaven's sake was 
in her face. 

"A bust is a good thing," I said. "I have 
often dreamed of having one. There are 
times when I feel as if I couldn't live without 
it. If I had a bust where I could look at it 
every day I suppose it would take some of the 
conceit out of me. When I had stood it as 
long as possible I could tie a rope around its 
neck and use it for an anchor on my row- 
boat." 

"Perhaps it would scare the fish," said 
Betsey. 

"In that case I could use it to hold down the 
8 107 



THE MARRYERS 

pork in the brine of the family barrel," I 
suggested. 

"Oh, I think that you would sculp beau- 
tifully," said Mrs. Mullet, in a tone of encour- 
agement, as she looked at my head. Then, by 
way of changing the subject, she added, "I 
believe that Colonel Wilton is a friend of 
yours." 

"Colonel Wilton!" I said, puzzling over the 
name with its new title. Even the American 
gentlemen enjoy titles. 

"Don't you remember meeting us in Saint 
Paul's? And didn't you trade hats and coats 
with him in New York?" 

"No, he traded with me," I said. "I know 
him like a book." 

"Is he not a friend of yours?" 

"It would be truer to say that I am a friend 
of his." 

I was on dangerous ground and thinking 
hard through all this. 

"But he knows Mr. Norris very well. I 
believe they are great friends." 

"You may believe it, but I don't," I an- 
swered, rather gravely. 
108 



THE MARRYERS 

I had to decide what to do, and quickly. I 
had not forgotten my promise to let Muggs 
alone, and it was of course the safer thing to 
do just to let him alone. But he had gone 
too far in expecting me to furnish him a 
character. 

Mrs. Mullet began to change color, and that 
led me to ask: 

"Is Wilton a friend of yours?" 

"We are engaged," said she. 

"Good heavens!" I exclaimed. 

I had heard that Mrs. Mullet had money, 
and she was good game for the neat Mr. 
Wilton. Now I could see his reason for letting 
us alone in Italy, where he was four thousand 
miles from danger. I saw, too, that I must 
take a course which would inevitably expose 
us to more trouble, for I could not permit this 
simple woman to be wronged. 

"Don't give him the source of your informa- 
tion," I said. "I want to speak kindly, and so 
I'shall only say that he's a fugitive from justice. 
The name Wilton is assumed." 

Mrs. Mullet fell into a chair and seemed 
to find it hard work to breathe. Betsey put 
109 



THE MARRYERS 

her smelling-salts under the lady's nose. She 
quickly regained her self-possession and rose 
and said, in a trembling voice: 

"Thank you! I am going home." 

She left, and again we paid our compliments 
to the artist, who politely left his work to 
speak with us. He asked me for information 
regarding certain Americans who owed him 
for busts. An actress had had herself put, 
life-size and nude, into white marble, and 
after making her first payment was maintain- 
ing a discreet silence in some part of the world 
unknown to the artist. 

"How coy!" Betsey exclaimed as she looked 
at the marble figure. 

A Brooklyn woman and her two daughters 
had sat for busts and then had weakened on 
the general proposition and abandoned the 
country when they were half finished. I made 
haste to depart for fear that he might 
wish to engage me as collector for his bust 
factory. 

Just beyond the door we met a young man 
who had come over on the boat with us, and 
stopped for a word with him. I was telling 
no 



THE MARRYERS 

him that I was going to see the Pantheon that 
afternoon, when Muggs greeted me. 

"It's a wonderful ruin/ 1 he remarked with 
a smile. 

I made no answer, and he entered the 
studio, probably to meet Mrs. Mullet. He 
would get his dismissal soon. Then what? 



IX 



A MODERN AMERICAN MARRYER ENTERS THE 
SCENE 

1HAVE read that there are no fairies in 
Italy, but I know better. Italy is full 
of them, and they are the most light-footed, 
friendly, impartial, democratic fairies in the 
world. They are liable to make friends with 
anybody. Like many Italians, they seem to 
live mostly on the foreign population. A num- 
ber of them adopted me for a residence. 
Sometimes, when they were playful, they made 
me feel like a winter resort. They used to en- 
joy tobogganing down the slopes of my shoul- 
ders and digging their toes in the snow; they 
held games here and there on my person, 
which seemed to be well attended. I got a 
glimpse of one of them now and then, and we 
became Acquainted with each other; and, while 
he was very shy, I am sure that he knew and 
112 



THE MARRYERS 

liked me. I called him Oberon. He and his 
kin did me a great service, for they taught me 
why people move their arms and shrug their 
shoulders so much in Italy. Then, too, I al- 
ways had company wherever I happened to be. 

So when Betsey and the Norris ladies im- 
plored me to go with them to Mrs. Dorsey's 
palace and hear a prince lecture, I reported that 
I was engaged to play with the fairies, where- 
upon they concluded that I wanted the time 
for meditation and left me out of their plans. 
So it happened that I was, fortunately, alone 
with Norris when Forbes arrived, a full day 
ahead of his schedule. 

The boy and I went out for a walk together. 

Before sailing he had spent two weeks coach- 
ing the ball-team of his college and was in fine 
form. His \ kindly blue eyes glowed with vi- 
tality and his skin was browned by the sun- 
light. As I looked at that tall, straight column 
of bone and muscle, with its broad shoulders 
and handsome head, I could not help saying : 

"If you were standing on a pedestal here in 
Rome there'd be a lot of gals in the gallery." 

1 ' Before you say things like that you should 



THE MARRYERS 

teach me how to answer them with wit and 
modesty," he said. 

1 'Keep your eye on me and you'll learn all 
the arts of modesty," I assured him. "And 
especially you will learn how to disarm suspi- 
cion when you are accused of wit." 

In a shaded walk of the Pincio Gardens he 
asked, "Is Gwendolyn looking well?" 

"She's more beautiful than ever, and very 
well," I said. "She will be disappointed when 
she finds you here." 

He stopped and faced me with a look of sur- 
prise, and asked : 

"Do you think so?" 

"I am sure of it, because she had planned to 
meet you with proper ceremony at the station 
and take you off to a real Roman luncheon. 
I am glad that you have come, for I have 
worked hard as your attorney and need a rest. 
I have had some fun with it, but I am delighted 
to turn the case over to you." 

He did not need a chart to understand me, 
for he said : 

"You must tell me what progress you have 
made with it." 

114 



THE MARRYERS 

"Well, I suppose you have read of the 
Count Carola." 

"Yes, and so has every one who knows 
Gwendolyn.'* 

"He is the plaintiff who seeks to establish 
the claim that he is a better man than you are. 
My defense has been so able that he has chal- 
lenged me, and I have named the weapons; 
they are to be pitchforks American pitch- 
forks." 

Forbes laughed and remarked : 
"You must take him for a bunch of hay." 
"June grass!" I answered. "We'll need 
some one to rake after, as we used to say on the 
farm, and I may ask you to be my second." 
"Does the count amount to much?" 
"Not much; I have had him added up and 
his total properly audited." 

"How are the judge and jury?" 
"The judge is in our favor; the jury is in 
doubt. Gwendolyn insists that you don't 
want to marry any one at present." 

"I want to, but I probably shall not," he 
answered. "When I marry I want to have 
done something besides having just lived. It 
"5 



THE MARRYERS 

seems as if it were due my wife. Besides, 
when I get married I want to stay married; I 
don't want any girl to marry me and give her 
heart to some other fellow. She must have 
time to be sure of one thing that I am the 
right man. That cannot be proven with pas- 
sionate vows or bouquets or guitar music, but 
only by sufficient acquaintance. On the other 
hand, I'd like to know, or think I know, that 
she is the right girl. If Gwendolyn really 
wants to marry a count it would be silly for me 
to try to convince her that I am the better 
fellow. She must see that for herself. If she 
doesn't, I should assume that she was right. 
God knows that I'm not so stuck on myself 
as to question her judgment. I'm very fond 
of her, but I have never let her suspect it." 

''If I were you I'd begin to arouse her 
suspicions." 

"That I propose to do, but delicately and 
without any guitar music. Love is a very sa- 
cred thing to me." 

"And the man who talks much about his 
love generally hasn't any," I suggested. 

"At least, if he has any love in him the 
116 



THE MARRYERS 

cheapest way of showing it is by talk and 
song." 

"It's so awful easy to make words lie," I 
agreed. 

"If she wants me to enter a lying-match 
with these Romeos I'll agree, but only on con- 
dition that it's a lying-match that we're only 
playing a game. I won't try to deceive her. 
Women are not fools or playthings any longer, 
are they? 

"Generally not, if they're born in America," 
I agreed. 

Here was the modern American lover, and I 
must acknowledge that I fell in love with him. 
He stood for honest loving a new type of 
chivalry and against the lying, romantic 
twaddle which had come down from the feudal 
world. That kind of thing had been a proper 
accessory of courts and concubines. It would 
not do for America. 

"I see that I am putting the case in good 
hands. Go in and win it," I said. 

"I'll make it my business while I'm here," 
said he. 

"You're a born business man. I know it's 
117 



THE MARRYERS 

fashionable to hate the word 'business/ but I 
like it. In love it looks for dividends of hap- 
piness." 

"And I've observed that a home has got to 
pay or go out of business," said he. "If 
Gwendolyn would put up with me I believe we 
could stand together to the end of the game." 

"I have some reason for saying that she is 
very fond of you," I declared. 

"I wouldn't dare ask you to explain, but 
you tempt me," he said. 

"A good attorney never tells all he knows 
unless he is writing a book," I answered. 

We had come to the Spanish Stairs, where 
converging ways poured a thin, noisy fall of 
tourists and guide-books into the street below. 
I had seen the Stairs in my youth. 

And I thought how many thousands 

Of awe-encumbered men, 
Each bearing his Hare and Baedeker, 

Had passed the Stairs since then. 

We made our way through crowded thor- 
oughfares to the Pantheon and were in the 
thicket of vast columns when some one 
118 




How that blue monocle and the new attire and 
the smooth upper lip had changed the whole 
effect of Muggs! 




THE MARRYERS 

touched my arm. Who was this man with a 
blue monocle over his right eye, whose look 
was so familiar? Ah, to be sure, it was Muggs. 
Again his mustache had disappeared, as had 
my hat and coat and the old suit of clothes, and 
how that blue monocle and the new attire and 
the smooth upper lip had changed the whole 
effect of Muggs! Evidently the man was 
prosperous and entering a new career. How 
does it happen that he has come in my way 
again, I asked myself, and then I remembered 
that he knew that I was to be there. What 
was I to expect now? violence or 

He smiled. 

" Charming day, isn't it?" hesaid, in his most 
agreeable tone. 

He had neatly and deliberately removed his 
monocle as he spoke. 

"Very! I suppose that stained-glass win- 
dow of yours is a memorial to Wilton?" 

He only smiled. 

"As a European you're a great success," I 
went on. 

"Beginning a new life from the ground up," 
said he, and added, with a glance at the 
119 



THE MARRYERS 

great bronze doors, "Isn't this a wonderful 
place?" 

"Yes, it was intended for a mammoth safe 
where reputations could be stored and em- 
bellished and kept, but it didn't work." 

"They cracked it and got away with the 
reputations," said he, with a smile. 

' ' Exactly ! In my opinion every man should 
have his own private pantheon, and see that 
his reputation is as strong as the safe. It's the 
discrepancy that's dangerous. People won't 
allow a reputation to stay where it does not 
belong." 

He stepped closer and said, in a confidential 
tone, "I'm trying to improve mine, and I wish 
you would help me." 

"How?" 

"Come to a little dinner that I am giving 
and say a good word for me when you can." 

"Are you trying to marry Mrs. Mullet?" 

"Yes, I've fallen in love, and, as God's my 
witness, I'm living honest." 

"Muggs, I'll help you to get a reputation, 
but I won't help you to get a wife," I said. 
"You must get the reputation first, and it will 
120 



THE MARRYERS 

take you a long time. You'll have to try to 
pay back the money you've taken and keep 
it up long enough to prove your good 
faith." 

Muggs's plan was quite apparent. He 
wanted an all-around treaty of peace. He 
was still levying blackmail; the thing he de- 
manded was not cash, but a character. 

"That's exactly what I hope to do," he ex- 
plained. ' ' I shall have all kinds of money, and 
I propose to square every account." 

"That's all right, provided Mrs. Mullet 
knows the whole plan and is willing to under- 
take the responsibility." 

He looked into my eyes, and said clearly in 
his smile: "You're the worst ass of a lawyer 
that I ever saw in my life. I've tried to be 
decent, and you've wiped your boots on me. 
Wait and see what happens now." 

All that seemed to be in his smile, but not 
a word of it passed his lips . He neatly ad j ust ed 
the blue monocle and lifted his hat and said 
"Good afternoon," and walked away. 

I, too, had my smile, for I could not help 
thinking how this biter was being bitten, and 

121 



THE MARRYERS 

how his old friends, the ghosts of the past, 
were now bearing down upon him. 

We tramped to St. Peters, where squads of 
tourists seemed to be reading prayers out of 
red prayer-books and where a learned judge 
from Seattle, who had lost his pocket-book in a 
crowd near the statue of St. Peter, was deliver- 
ing impassioned and highly prejudiced views 
of church and state to the members of his 
party. 

We lunched at Latour's, where a long and 
limber - looking blond lady, who sat beside a 
Pomeranian poodle with a napkin tucked un- 
der his collar, consumed six cups of coffee and 
a foot and a half of cigarettes while we were 
eating. She was one of the most engaging 
ruins of the feudal world. What a theme for 
an artist was in the painted face and the sign 
of the dog! The head waiter told us that she 
was an American who had been studying art 
in Italy for years. 

She ought to be mentioned in the guide- 
books, I thought, as we were leaving. 

We tramped miles to an old barracks of a 
building called the Cancellaria, which, accord- 

122 



THE MARRYERS 

ing to Baedeker, was clothed in "majestic 
simplicity." 

"Baedeker is the Barnum of Europe,*' I said, 
as we went on, "but he is generally more 
conservative." 

We arrived at the Grand Hotel a little 
before six. I went with Forbes to the Norris's 
apartments. Gwendolyn opened the door for 
us and greeted the young man with enthu- 
siasm and led him to the parlor. Betsey was 
there, and we went at once to our own room. 

"There's a new count in the game," she re- 
marked, as soon as we had sat down together 
"the Count Raspagnetti, whom we met to-day 
at Mrs. Dorsey's. He's the grandest thing in 
Rome six feet tall, with a monocle and a 
black beard, and is very good-looking. He's 
no down-at-the-heel aristocrat, either; has 
quite a fortune and two palaces in good repair, 
and has passed the guitar-and-balcony stage. 
He's about thirty-two, and seems to be very 
nice and sensible. Mrs. Dorsey calls him the 
dearest man in the world, and she has invited 
us to dinner to meet him again. It was a dead 
set for Gwendolyn, and the child was deeply 
9 123 



THE MARRYERS 

impressed. It isn't surprising; these Italian 
men are most fascinating." 

"I suppose so," I said, wearily. "The 
countless counts of Italy are getting on my 
nerves. Counts are a kind of bug that gets 
into the brains of women and feeds there until 
their heads are as empty as a worm-eaten 
chestnut." 

"Not at all," said Betsey; "but if she must 
have a title " 

"She mustn't," I said. 

"You can't stop her." 

"That remains to be seen," was my answer. 

"Richard had better get a move on him," 
said Betsey. "He can't dally along as you 
did." 

"Let him get his breath he's only just 
landed." 

According to my custom I dined with Norris 
in his suite. Forbes went with the ladies to 
the dining-room. 

"Aren't you about ready to go back?" I 
asked, as I thought of Muggs's smile. 

"I should like to," he said, "but the girls are 
having the time of their lives, and this air is 
124 



THE MARRYERS 

making a new man of me. Then the young 
count seems to have let go; he doesn't annoy 
us any more. I'm hoping that Forbes will 
settle this count business." 

While we were eating a telegram was put in 
my hands which read as follows : 

I am stopping at the Bristol in Florence and 
must have your professional advice immediately. 
I cannot goto Rome, so will you kindly come here. 
I am in serious trouble. If I am not at hotel 
look for me third corridor of paintings, Uffizi 
Gallery. Please regard this as strictly con- 
fidential. M. MULLET. 

I answered that she should look for me the 
next day, and said to Norris: 

"I have to go to Florence to-morrow." 

"Take the car and your wife and the young 
people," said he. "The roads are fine, and 
you'll enjoy it." 

I thanked him for the suggestion. 

"There's one other thing," said he. "If 
you think Forbes means business tell him at the 
first opportunity that I am an ex-convict, and 
let me know how he takes it. We must be 
fair to him." 

125 



THE MARRYERS 

"Leave it to me." 

"We'll take them down to Naples with the 
motor-car soon," said Norris. "Vesuvius is 
active again, and we must see her in eruption." 

He did not suspect that another Vesuvius 
was beginning to quake beneath us, and I did 
not have the heart to speak of it. I hoped 
that I could serve as a shock-absorber in the 
new eruption and save him any worry. 



X 



A DAY OF ADVENTURES WITH TUSCAN ARTISTS 
AND OTHERS 

NEXT morning I found Betsey and the 
young people eager for the trip to 
Florence. Richard and I had breakfast to- 
gether at eight-thirty. 

"There's a new count in the game," said he, 
as soon as we were seated together. "He 
came to our table last evening. He's a grand 
chap and in favor with the king, to whom he is 
going to present Gwendolyn and her mother. 
He knows how to talk to women, and I don't. 
I shall not be in it with him." 

"As to which is the best man it's her judg- 
ment, not yours, that's important," I said. 
"So long as I am managing the case you must 
take nothing for granted. Put her on the 
witness-stand, and let's know what she has to 
say about it. Before that I must tell ye 
127 



THE MARRYERS 

something in confidence. Norris is about 
the best fellow that I ever knew, but he got 
into trouble when he was a boy. He was the 
victim of circumstances and went to prison- 
served a year." 

"I heard of that long ago," said Forbes. 

"What!" I exclaimed, in astonishment. 

"Nobody cares anything about that. Every- 
body knows that he's a good man now that 
is enough in America." 

"Do many know it?" 

"Probably not. I have heard that even 
Gwendolyn and her mother do not know it." 

It surprised and in a way it pleased me to 
learn that I had told him what he already 
knew. I remembered that he had said, in his 
walk with me, that the distinguished editor 
who had got the tragic story from my lips was 
an uncle of his. So, after all, it was not strange 
that he should know. 

"I presume that he had a wild youth, but 
he's a good man," Forbes added. 

That was all we said about it. 

Our drive, which began at midday, took us 
through the loveliest vineyards in Italy. I 
128 



THE MARRYERS 

shall never forget the vivid-green valley of the 
Arno as it looked that day. Lace-like vines 
spreading over the cresset tops of the olives 
and between them and rilling the air with color ; 
stately poplar rows and dark spires of cypress ; 
distant purple mountain walls and white pal- 
aces on misty heights they were some of 
the items. Here in these vineyards, and in 
others ILve them, are about the best tillers in 
the world a simple, honest, beauty-loving 
people who are the soul of Italy, and, in the 
main, no country has a better asset. 

On the road we met the Litchmans, of 
Chicago, touring with their yelling-machine 
and a special car trailing behind them rilled 
with clothes and millinery. 

That night we dined together and went to 
the opera. It was all Greek to me, but it was 
great! They woke me at one, and we went 
home. Next morning, having learned that 
Mrs. Mullet was not at her hotel, we all 
proceeded to the vast Uffizi Gallery. Grand 
place! 

What a wonderful procession these people 
in marble and paint see every day in the parade 
129 



THE MARRYERS 

of weary pilgrims, in the moving mosaic of 
humanity. What a Babel of tongues, all 
speaking Baedeker! I wonder if the gods, 
emperors, and painted masterpieces fully ap- 
preciate this endless human caravan. It is 
far more wonderful than they. Who are these 
people? Ask any of them, and he will be apt 
to tell you that the rest are fools; that almost 
every one of them is looking for conversational 
thunder and knockers! 

Some hurry. 

"Two more galleries to see, and the train 
goes at five," you hear one of them saying. 

I was nearly bowled over and trampled upon 
by three German women who had lost their 
party. 

Once these marble floors were almost ex- 
clusively the highway of the highbrows. Now 
the sacred children of the imagination are 
being introduced to a new crowd. Newness 
is its chief characteristic. Here are the over- 
grown multitude of the newly rich, the truly 
rich, and the untruly rich. Here are the 
newly married, the unmarried, the over-mar- 
ried, and the slightly married, and the well- 
130 



THE MARRYERS 

married from all lands, some of them new re- 
cruits in the great army of art. 

We passed through the Hall of the Ancient 
Imperial Shoats into the long corridor filled 
with statuary. 

"The old gods seem to have had desperate 
battles before they gave up," Betsey said to 
me. "Most of them lost either an arm or a leg 
in the war." 

"Many were beheaded and chucked into 
the garbage-barrels," I answered. "The way 
Jupiter and Minerva were beaten up was a 
caution. It wasn't right; it wasn't decent. 
They were a harmless, inoffensive lot; they 
had never done anything to anybody. A lot 
of things were laid at their doors, but nothing 
was ever proved against J em. These days we 
know enough to appreciate harmlessness." 

"They were very beautiful," said Betsey, 
"but they're a crippled lot now." 

"Yes, most of them have artificial limbs," I 
answered. "All they do now is to pose in 
vaudeville for the entertainment of humanity." 

As we neared the room where I was to meet 
Mrs. Mullet we bade the young people go 



THE MARRYERS 

their way and look for us at the door about 
twelve- thirty. 

We found the lady copying the portraits of 
our first parents. Her breast began to heave 
in a storm of emotion as she looked at us. 

"Who are your friends?" I quickly asked, 
by way of diverting her thought. 

"This is Adam and Eve," said she, almost 
tearfully. 

"I'm glad to see that they don't make com- 
pany of us," Betsey declared. 

"They receive everybody in that same suit 
of clothes," I answered. "And Eve's enter- 
tainment is so simple apples right off the 
tree!" 

"I don't see but that they look just as 
aristocratic as they would if they had sprung 
from poor but respectable parents," said 
Betsey. 

"Adam looks like a rather shiftless, good- 
natured young fellow, easily led, but, on the 
whole, I like them both," was my answer. 
"They're frank and open and aboveboard. 
If you're looking for your first ancestors and 
must have them, I don't think you could do 
132 



THE MARRYERS 

better. Certainly Mr. Darwin has nothing to 
offer that compares with them." 

Betsey and I had our little dialogues about 
many objects in our way, and now we had got 
Mrs. Mullet righted, so to speak, and on a 
firm working basis. She showed us through the 
gallery. I remember that she was particularly 
interested in the Botticelli paintings. 

Mrs. Mullet said that she adored the 
Madonna a case of compound adoration, 
for in its adoring group Botticelli succeeded in 
painting the most inhuman piety that the 
world has seen. 

"Isn't that glorious?" Mrs. Mullet asked, 
as we stopped before his Venus a tall lady 
standing on half a cockle-shell, neatly poised 
on breezy water. 

"She has crooked feet," said Betsey. 

"Well, I guess yours would be crooked if you 
had been to sea on a cockle-shell," I said, which 
will prove to the learned reader that we were 
about as ignorant of art as any in that hurrying 
crowd of misguided people. 

"Oh, I think it's a wonderful thing! Look 
at the colors!" Mrs. Mullet exclaimed. 



THE MARRYERS 

"But the toes are so long they are rippling 
toes. Those on the right foot look as if they 
had just finished a difficult run on the piano," 
Betsey insisted. 

"She might be called the Long-toed Venus," 
I suggested. "But she isn't to blame for 
that. I suppose she was born with that in- 
firmity.' 7 

So we crude and business-like Americans 
went on, as we flitted here and there, sipping 
the honey from each flower of art. 

Twelve-thirty had arrived, and I suggested 
to Betsey that she should meet the young 
people and go with them wherever they pleased, 
and that they could find me at the hotel at 
four. She left us, and I asked Mrs. Mullet 
what I could do for her. 

"I'm in perfectly awful trouble," she sighed, 
with rising tears. 

"Tell me all about it," I said. "But please 
do not weep, or people will wonder what this 
cruel old man has been doing to you." 

"That man insisted that I should have my 
bust made and my portrait painted and agreed 
to pay for them, but now of course I shall have 




THE MARRYERS 

to pay for them myself. He has threatened 
to sue me for a hundred thousand dollars for 
breach of promise. It will take more than half 
my property." 

"Don't worry about the suit/' I said. "I'll 
agree to save you any cost in that matter. As 
to the bust, you can use it for a milestone in 
your history. The painting will show you 
how you looked when you were not as wise 
as you are now. You can look at it and take 
warning." 

"I couldn't bear to look at them. I feel as 
if I never wanted to see myself again. I have 
written to everybody at home about this 
engagement. It's just perfectly dreadful!" 

Again she was near breaking down. 

"You ought to be glad not sorrowful," I 
said. ' ' That man can't even play a guitar. If 
he had a title or a fortune we wouldn't mind 
his being a scamp, but he hasn't. He hasn't 
even a coat of arms. ' 

"There! I'm not going to cry, after all," 
she declared, as she wiped her eyes. "I'm 
glad you've kept me from breaking down." 

"I wonder that you didn't wait until you 



THE MARRYERS 

knew him better before making this engage- 
ment/' I said. 

"But he was so gentlemanly and nice," she 
went on; "and Mr. Pike, the lumber king 
from Michigan, introduced him to me and 
said that he had known him a long time. Then 
the colonel is acquainted with counts and 
barons and other grand people. He claimed 
to be an old friend of yours and of Mr. Norris. 
He said that the last time he called on you he 
went away with your hat by mistake, and 
showed me your initials in the one he wore." 

' ' He often associates with property of a ques- 
tionable character, but I was not aware that he 
had got in with the counts and barons," I said. 

"He knows the Count Carola very well," she 
declared. 

"Leave them to each other they deserve 
it," I said. "Return to Rome and refer Wil- 
ton to me, and refuse to have anything more to 
do with him." 

She asked for my bill, but I assured her that 
dollars were too small for such a service, and 
that I couldn't think of accepting anything 
less than thanks in a case of that kind. 
136 



THE MARRYERS 

I left her and got a bite to eat and went to 
our hotel at three-thirty. Betsey was waiting 
for me at the door. She was pale and excited. 

" We've had a dreadful time/' said she. 
" Gwendolyn and I had gone on while Richard 
was paying our bill in a shop. Suddenly a 
young man came and spoke to Gwendolyn. 
Richard saw it. In a second I heard a hor- 
rible thump and saw the young Italian lying 
in the mud. He didn't try to get up. Looked 
as if he was sleeping." 

"It's bad weather for Romeoing," I an- 
swered. "That count should have waited till 
the streets were dry. Where are they?" 

"Gwendolyn is in the parlor. Richard said 
that we should look for him on the road and 
took a fiacre and flew. The girl is frightened." 

Betsey brought her out, and we got into the 
car and sped away. 

"One more count!" I exclaimed, with a 
laugh. 

"One less count!" said Gwendolyn. "I'm 
sure he's dead." 

"Ladies have limited rights outside the 
house in Italy," I said. 



THE MARRYERS 

"I don't mind those silly men," said 
Gwendolyn. "I've been spoken to like that 
a dozen times, but I hurry along and pretend 
that I do not hear them." 

"That count will be careful after this," I 
suggested. 

" If he lives, " said Gwendolyn. "I'm afraid 
that his head is cracked." 

"His head was cracked long ago," was my 
answer. 

"Uncle Soc," said Gwendolyn (she had be- 
gun to call me Uncle Soc there in Italy), 
"Richard and Italy could never get along 
together." 

"Richard, Gwendolyn, and America are a 
better combination," I suggested. 

"What a pretty thought!" she exclaimed, 
just as we overtook the young man about a 
mile out on the highway to Rome. 

"Get in here and behave yourself," I said. 
"You've had exercise enough." 

"I could stand more, if necessary," he 
answered, with a laugh, as he sat down 
with us. 

That ride to Rome was one of the merriest 
138 



THE MARRYERS 

in my life. For the young people it had been 
a day of joy and progress, but on the whole it 
hadn't been a highly creditable day. So let's 
drop the curtain right here and let it go into 
history. 
10 



XI 



IN WHICH WE GET INTO THE FLASH AND 
GLITTER OF HIGH LIFE 

TV TEXT evening Betsey and I went to dinner 
1 \| with Mrs. Moses Fraley, of Terre Haute, 
at a fashionable hotel. There we saw a show- 
window in one of the greatest matrimonial 
department stores in Europe. Buyers and 
sellers and bought and sold were there in full 
force to inspect the bargains, and we were able 
to note reliably the undertone of the market ; 
and our observations had some effect, I believe, 
on the fortunes of Miss Norris. 

Nothing was said of "the count" in our in- 
vitation, but we hoped to have at least a look 
at him. We put on our best clothes, and our 
plain, agricultural natures were well disguised 
when the impressive head porter at our destina- 
tion helped us out of Norris's car and almost 
touched his forehead on the pavement at sight 
140 



THE MARRYERS 

of us. That bow was easily worth a two-franc 
piece, and he got it. 

"The Yank and his franc are easily parted," 
Betsey remarked, as we entered the great 
whirling door. 

We were in the game, and I was firmly 
resolved to keep pace with our compatriots 
from Terre Haute for one evening, anyhow. 
Two more double-franc pieces in the coat-room 
established my reputation. With a good suit 
of clothes and the sudden expenditure of two 
dollars and a half you can acquire a reputation 
in any European hotel. Reputations are the 
cheapest things in Europe, but the costs for 
upkeep are considerable. Every young man 
in the place was trying to do something for us 
and I began to feel the rich, blue blood in my 
veins. 

Mrs. Fraley and her niece, in long trains, 
received and presented us to their guests. 
Among them was the lady from Flint who had 
got the cramp in her leg at Hadrian's Villa, 
and who lived at the same boarding-house with 
Mrs. Fraley. Her name was Sampf "Mrs. 
Sampf," they called her. I always have to go 
141 



THE MARRYERS 

to my note-book when I try to think of that 
name. We always refer to her as the lady 
whose name sounded like boiling mush. 
There were also a sad but handsome young 
woman of the name of Rantone, a Minnesota 
girl who had married an Italian doctor; Mr. 
Pike, the whiskered lumber king who was 
studying the history of the world and whose 
bust we had surveyed in the studio of De 
Langueville, and a certain young man con- 
nected with one of the embassies. 

"The count couldn't come," said Mrs. Fra- 
ley . * c He wrote that nothing would please him 
more than to meet Mr. and Mrs. Socrates Pot 
ter, but that he was, unfortunately, quite ill." 

I did not know until then that these good 
people had come to meet us. 

"Perhaps you'll help us to appraise our loss 
by giving me his name," I suggested. 

"Oh, it is the wonderful Count Carola!" 
said she. "He is about the most fascinating 
creature that I ever saw." 

My brain reeled and fell at her feet and 
called silently for help. In half a second it had 
picked itself up again. 
142 



THE MARRYERS 

We went into the dining-room. What a fair 
of jewels and laces and fresh-cut flowers! At 
eleven o'clock they were going to have a dance 
kind of a surprise party! They called it 
The Ball of the Roses. Our table had a big 
crop of red and white roses, and in the middle 
of it was a little fountain among ferns. Its 
spray fell with a pleasant sound upon water- 
lilies in a big, mossy bowl. 

The retired lumber king sat opposite me, and 
a retired frog sat between us on a lily-pad at 
the edge of the fountain-bowl. He was a good- 
sized real frog who was planning to return to 
active life, I judged, for he sat with alert 
eyes as if on the lookout for a business oppor- 
tunity. I observed that he looked hopefully 
at me when I sat down at the right of Mrs. 
Fraley, with Mrs. Sampf at my side, as if will- 
ing to abandon the frivolous life any minute 
if I could suggest an opening for an energetic 
young frog. Mrs. Fraley explained that the 
frog was tied to the edge of the bowl by 
a silk thread which was fastened about his 
neck. I ceased then to fear and suspect 
him. 



THE MARRYERS 

I could not help thinking how much good 
Terre Haute money had gone into these 
decorations, and we should have been just as 
well pleased without the frog and the fountain. 

Here we are at last right in the midst of 
things grandeur! high life! nobility! abdo- 
minal hills and valleys! fair slopes of rolling, 
open country with their stones imbedded in 
gold and platinum! toes twinging with gout! 
faces with the utohel look on them ! 

What a pantheon of rococo deities was this 
dining-room princes and princesses, counts 
and discounts, countesses and marquises, 
Wall Street millionaires and millionheiresses, 
and average American wives and widows with 
friends and dining-men. What is a dining- 
man? He's a professional diner-out. He has 
only to look aristocratic and speak Italian 
or English with a Fifth- Avenue accent and be 
able to recognize the people worth while. A 
fat old English duchess with a staff in her hand 
and the royal purple in her hair made her way 
to her table with the walk of an apple-woman. 
There was no nonsense about her, no illusions, 
no clinging to a vanished youth. She was a 
144 




THE MARRYERS 

real woman, and I could have kissed the hem 
of her garments for joy. 

A lady sat at one of the tables who suggested 
the chloride of nitrogen, being so fat and 
fetched in at the waist that her shoulders 
heaved at every breath, and one could not look 
at her without fearing that she would explode 
and fill the air with hooks and eyes and but- 
tons. 

A large, swell-front, fully furnished Penn- 
sylvania widow sat near us with her young 
daughter and a marquis and a well-earned 
reputation for great wealth. It seemed to be 
a busy, popular, agreeable reputation, with 
many acquaintances in the room. The widow's 
costume pleaded for observation and secured it, 
for she sat serene and prodigious in jeweled fat 
and satin, dripping pearls and emeralds and 
diamonds. There was a battlement of dia- 
monds on her brow and a cinch of them on her 
neck, surrounded by a stone wall of pearls as 
big as the marbles that I used to play with as a 
boy. Hanging from her ears were two mam- 
moth pearls, either of which in a sling might 
have slain Goliath. Her shoulders glowed with 
i45 



THE MARRYERS 

gems, and a stomacher of diamonds adorned 
her intemperate zone. What a fresco of Amer- 
ican abundance she made in the remarkable 
decorations of that room. By and by she 
drew a wallet from her breast and paid her 
bill. 

"How wonderful!" our hostess exclaimed, 
suddenly. 

A princess in red slippers and with no 
stockings on her feet, as Mrs. Fraley informed 
me, strode in with her young man and took 
a table near us. She had been a Wisconsin 
girl, and her happy Fifth Avenue dialect rose 
like the spray of a fountain and fell lightly on 
our ears. 

"We had a sockless statesman in our 
country, but I never heard of a sockless 
princess before," Mrs. Sampf sputtered. 
"They tell me that some of these aristocrats 
are very poor." 

Mrs. Sampf had been to Egypt and the 
Holy Land, and talked freely of her travels. 

"Yes, we went up the Nile to see the dam," 
she said. "It's a good dam, I guess, but I 
didn't care much for it. What I wanted to see 
146 



THE MARRYERS 

was the life. The folks are awful dirty; I 
wanted to take a scrubbing-brush and some 
Pearline and go at 'em." 

"A few American women with scrubbing- 
brushes would improve the Egyptian race," I 
suggested. ''How about the food?" 

" Heavens! I've et everything there is go- 
ing, I guess; it would take you a month to 
learn the names of the vittles. I've got 'em 
all in my diary." 

"I suppose you enjoyed the ruins," I said. 

And she went on: 

"I saw a bull temple; it was very nice. 
You know, they used to worship bulls. I 
don't know what for. They must have been 
hard up for something to worship. There was 
five of us traveling on our own hooks. We 
saw one temple that was quite nicely carved 
had crows and goats on it. I love goats. 
Sometimes I think that I must have been a 
goat in some previous life." 

I disagreed with her. 

"The pyramids were curious things," she 
continued. "Some folks never slid down into 
'em at all after traveling all that distance, but 
i47 



THE MARRYERS 

I slid. Since I was a child I have always loved 
sliding. The most interesting thing I saw was 
three baby camels and some Highland soldiers 
in Jerusalem with no pants on and funny little 
skirts that came down to their knees," she 
continued. "In the Holy Land I saw a lot of 
men in skirts with baggy pants reaching from 
their knees down." 

She was apparently much interested in the 
subject of pants, and hurried on : 

"I found a wonderful old knocker there. 
By the way, I'm making a collection of 
knockers. Have you seen any good ones here 
in Rome?" 

"Not a knocker! But I haven't been look- 
ing for them." And I added, "I wonder some 
one doesn't make a collection of pants pants 
of every age and clime." 

"What kind of pants did the ancient 
Romans wear?" she asked. 

"The same as Adam the style hadn't 
changed in ages." 

This woman had got a knocker in Jerusalem, 
and seen some baby camels and a number of 
pantless men; she had seen a bull temple and 
148 



THE MARRYERS 

slid into a pyramid in Egypt; she had "et 
vittles" everywhere, and suffered from cramp 
in sundry places, and languished in a hot, 
stuffy state-room with a quarrelsome lady 
from Connecticut, all for sixteen hundred dol- 
lars and four months of time. Yet far more 
than half of the great caravan of American 
tourists invading Europe and the East get no 
more than she did. The poetry and beauty of 
the Old World and the money of the New are 
thus wasted on each other. 

"America is a pretty good country," I sug- 
gested. "There are buildings in New York as 
wonderful as any you will see here, and our 
scenery is excellent." 

"But we have no ruins," said Mrs. Fraley. 

"On the contrary, we have the grandest 
ruins in the world," I insisted. "We have the 
ruins of slavery and of the old error of unequal 
rights; there all our feudal inheritance has 
been turned into ruins. Even that everlast- 
ing lake of fire, which is still needed in Europe, 
is with us a cold and mossy ruin. Nothing in 
it but garbage these days. We have physical 
ruins, too, and very ancient ones, but we are a 
149 



THE MARRYERS 

working community, not a show. In our 
structures, like the Pennsylvania Station, is 
the sublimity of hope and promise, not the 
sublimity of death and decay.'* 

My friends looked at me with surprise. They 
had heard only the lyrical chorus of their coun- 
trymen accompanied by the jingle of francs. 

"You're right," said the lumber king. "I 
thought that I'd try to live here a few years 
because I can't find enough playmates in 
America; every one is busy there. So I 
thought I'd come over here and study and 
fool around. It's done me good." 

"Fooling around is better than nothing if 
done with energy and vigor," I suggested. 
"A capable fool-arounder isn't worth much, 
but he can keep his liver busy. Here they 
have professional fool-arounders with gold 
letters on their caps to set the pace. It's all 
right for a while, but you'll want to get back 
to the lumber business." 

"Maybe you're right, but Europe has done 
me a lot o' good," said Mr. Pike. "The cure 
up at Kissingen fixed my stomach trouble. 
Cost like Sam Hill, but it knocked it out." 
150 



THE MARRYERS 

"What was the cure?" I asked. 
"Made me walk ten miles a day, and take 
baths and give up pastry, and go to bed at 



nine/' 



"And you had to travel four thousand miles 
and give up a lot of good American money to 
learn that?" I asked. "Old Doctor Common 
Sense, assisted by a little will-power, would have 
done that for you without charge right in your 
own home. Is it possible that the old doctor 
has gone out of business in Prairie du Chien?" 

"He died long ago," said the lumber king. 
"We have to be led to water like a horse these 
days." 

"We follow Cook in the trails of Baedeker 
instead of following the hired man, and we 
value everything according to its cost," I 
answered. "But it's good for the Yankee to 
travel in a pieless world." 

"Travel is such a wonderful thing!" ex- 
claimed MFS. Fraley, who preferred to paddle 
in the heavenly gush-ways. "Don't you love 
Italy?" 

I took off my mental shoes and stockings 
and began to paddle with her. 



THE MARRYERS 

" Grand country!" I splashed. 

Then she lay down in the stream and got 
wet all over as follows: 

' ' It's so wonderful ! I love the churches and 
their music, and mosaics and statues, and the 
palaces and the nobility," Mrs. Fraley chant- 
ed. "These well-bred Italians look so aristo- 
cratic!" 

"And they act so aristocratic nothing to 
do but eat and drink and sleep and dance and 
get married!" was my answer. "We're rather 
careless about those things in America. A real 
aristocrat always gets married very carefully 
and so rescues himself from the curse of toil 
if need be. We don't take any pains with 
our marrying. We marry in the most off- 
hand, reckless fashion just to gratify our emo- 
tions." 

"We forget that a dollar married is better 
than two dollars earned," said Betsey. 

"And isn't soiled by perspiration," I said. 
"In this room are some of the shrewdest 
marryers in the world men who by careful 
attention to the business have amassed for- 
tunes. Here, too, are some of the most 
152 



THE MARRYERS 

promising young marryers in Italy. They are 
sure to make their mark." 

" Indeed! You must tell me of them," said 
the good soul. 

"I shall tell you of one only not now but 
before I leave you," I answered. 

There was a high, moral purpose back of 
this remark, but it seemed to get me into 
trouble, for I had no sooner finished it than the 
frog gave a swift leap, broke his halter, and 
landed on me. I suppose that he was an 
Italian frog. Possibly he had only slipped 
his halter I never learned the precise facts. 
Anyhow, he had got on the edge of the bowl 
unobserved, and picked out a partner. He 
could not have chosen a worse place to land, 
for he struck my shirt with a noisy thud just 
under my necktie, and bounded into a dish of 
French dressing and out of it. I saw him 
bracing, and was about to seize him when he 
fetched a leap that took him over the head of 
the lumber king. The frog landed with a wet 
thump on the bare back of the sockless prin- 
cess who sat close behind Mr. Pike and 
tumbled into her train. He was not much of 



THE MARRYERS 

a bareback -rider, that's a sure thing. The 
princess gave a rebel yell and jumped to her 
feet and in honest Wisconsin English wanted 
to know what in God's name it was. The 
frog had got his toe-nails caught in some 
lace, and was captured by a waiter. Ladies 
who had not spoken the American language 
in years used it freely. 

The princess left the room with her friends 
and a quantity of French dressing on her 
back. The diplomat looked at me and smiled 
and said: 

"The princess is in hard luck, and I can't 
help speaking of it. If a meteor should fall 
into Italy it would land on the princess. Her 
husband gets drunk now and then and beats 
her up. I believe that he has worn out 
several canes on her person. I saw her once 
when she had been beaten black and blue. 
She decided then to leave him." 

"But didn't?" I asked. 

"No; her husband made love to her again, 
and she couldn't resist him. He's a great 
love-maker. Two or three times she has been 
on the point of going back to her people, but 



THE MARRYERS 

hasn't. Poor thing! She's too proud to go 
home and acknowledge the truth that she 
has been a fool and her husband a brute." 

I was now pretty well prepared for my next 
talk with Mrs. Norris. 

We left the dining-room, and I took Mrs. 
Fraley to a seat in the corridor and told her 
of the knight-like temperament of the young 
Count Carola, and of his high rank as a dis- 
coverer of wealth and beauty. 

She showed no surprise, but said: "We had 
heard that he was engaged to Miss Norris, but 
the count says that the report is untrue. He 
has not really asked my niece to marry him yet, 
but he calls her the most beautiful woman he 
ever saw. Do you blame him?" 

"Not a bit, although your niece is the 
second girl to whom he has awarded the first 
premium within three days. There may be 
others, but that is going some." 

All this had no effect on the armor-clad, 
brain-proof lady to whom it was addressed. 

"It's his natural chivalry," she said, as I 
rose to go. 

"And discovering the most beautiful woman 

n 155 



THE MARRYERS 

in the world is his daily habit," was my an- 
swer; and we bade each other good night. 

When Betsey and I were going home she 
gave me an account of her talk with Mrs. 
Rantone. The young woman's father had 
been a successful Minnesota grocer. The 
family came to Italy on a Cook's tour. The 
young man fell in love with the grocer's 
daughter, and they met him everywhere they 
went. He followed them to Minnesota, and 
the two were married there. Mrs. Rantone 
had said that he was a fine man and an ex- 
cellent doctor, but that his friends would have 
nothing to do with her because she was the 
daughter of a tradesman of moderate means. 
They had supposed that every American who 
traveled abroad was rich, as indeed such 
travelers ought to be. After living nearly 
eight years in Rome she had only three 
Italian friends. She naturally felt that she 
was a dead weight on the shoulders of her 
husband; that she could contribute nothing to 
his success and she was most unhappy. 

" Are your parents still living in Minnesota?" 
Betsey asked. 

156 



THE MARRYERS 

"They're all alone in the old home," said the 
poor expatriate. 

"They must miss you terribly." 

"Well, why did they bring me here?" was 
her pathetic answer. 

I could see that Betsey was recovering from 
the fascinations of the marriage market. 

"The 'devil-cements' of this night should 
have some effect on the price of Romeos," I 
remarked. 

"And the insanity of Juliets," said Betsey. 
"I'm going to spring this on Gwen and her 
mother. But they won't believe it." 

When we arrived at our hotel its porter gave 
me a note from Norris which said: 

"Please come to my room on receipt of 
this." 



XII 

IN WHICH NORRIS TAKES HIS LIGHT FROM 
UNDER THE BUSHEL 

I FOUND Morris in bed, propped up with 
pillows and looking very pale. His 
mother and nurse were with him; the ladies 
had gone out to dinner with Forbes and 
would spend an hour or so at the ball. 

"I had a bad turn at ten o'clock," said 
Norris, "but the doctor came and patched me 
up, and has gone out for a walk. Mother, will 
you and the nurse go into the other room 
until I call you? I want to talk with Mr. 
Potter." 

Mrs. Norris, the elder, was a slim, tender 
little woman, with a flavor of the old-time 
Yankee folks in her customs and conversa- 
tion. When she was not doing something for 
her "boy," as she called him, I often found her 
sitting in her rocking-chair by the window 
158 



THE MARRYERS 

with her fancy-work or her Bible. Once when 
I sat waiting to see Norris, while he was nap- 
ping, she sang "The Old, Old Story " in a low 
voice as she rocked. 

Before leaving the room that night, when I 
had been summoned to his bedside, she went 
to his bed and leaned over him and looked 
thoughtfully into his face. Then she gently 
touched it with her hand. 

"How is my boy feeling now?" she asked. 

"Oh, I'm better, mother," he answered, 
cheerfully. 

"You look more and more like your father," 
she said, standing by the bed, with her hands 
on her hips, reluctant to leave him. 

"I wish I were as good a man as my father," 
said Norris. 

"Your father! He is one of the saints of 
heaven," she answered. 

Then she turned away and went through the 
door which the nurse had left open in her 
departure. 

"I am glad that you heard her say that," 
said Norris. "It will help you to understand 
my father. I remember hearing a man say 



THE MARRYERS 

once that my father would go to Hades for a 
friend. Of course that overdrew it, but he 
was a most generous man, and what a woman 
my mother is! I often wake in the night and 
find her looking down at me, and she's up at 
daylight every morning. Wherever she is 
there's a home something not made with 
hands, and it is very dear to me." 

"The old, old sort there's not many of 
them left, "I said. 

"Now, for the new sort," he whispered, as 
he drew a letter from his breast pocket and 
passed it to me. 

It was from the young Count Carola, and I 
was not in the least surprised by this message 
in English which, with all its impurity, was 
better than the count knew : 

It has become possible for me to render you a 
service, and I am glad to do the same, knowing 
that you are one of nature's noblemen. As you 
know, my income is not large, and I sometimes 
write articles for a newspaper here in Rome and 
for another in Naples, being fond of literature 
and politics. To-day a man asked me to read a 
story which they had and translate it into the 
Italian language. I found that it was an ac- 
count of your career and told of things which, 
160 



THE MARRYERS 

if they were published, would injure you and 
your family. I could not believe them, know- 
ing, as I do, that you are the soul of honor. I 
told the man that it was false, and that he had 
better not publish it. After some arguments 
he gave up all idea of publishing the story, and 
gave it over to me. I was glad to do what I 
did, because I love you and the dear madame 
and your beautiful daughter, Miss Gwendolyn. 
It would not be consistent with the honesty of a 
gentleman of my standing to take anything 
from a friend for such a favor, and I ask you to 
offer me no reward but your friendship. So 
please do not think of it again. But may I 
not hope that you will let me try to win your 
heart. Mine is an ancient name and family, 
and every member of it has lived honest to this 
day. I would like to go to America and go to 
work in some business. I am tired of living 
idle and would be thankful for your advice. I 
am also very much worried, and I speak of it 
with regrets. I hear that Mrs. Norris is favor- 
able to the Count Raspagnetti. You would 
not, I am sure, permission your daughter to 
marry him without securing information about 
his character, which you can accomplish it so 
easily here in Rome. 

I made light of the whole matter to save him 

worry, but what I saw in it was a conspiracy 

between Muggs and the count; Muggs had 

dictated most of the letter. The thumb-print 

161 



THE MARRYERS 

of Muggs was unmistakable. "Nature's no- 
bleman," "the soul of honor," "a gentleman 
of my standing," "lived honest!" Who but 
the nugiferous Muggs, with his cheap, learned- 
by-rote polish, would express himself in that 
fashion? Any one who had known Muggs for 
an hour would see his hand in this letter. 
There were his stock phrases and that peculiar 
adverbial weakness of his. Who but Muggs 
could have written that sentence calculated 
to answer Morris's chief objection to such a 
man idleness? He had delivered the whip 
into the hands of the count, but was holding 
the reins. The business part of the thing being 
over, Muggs had let him finish the letter in his 
own way. 

"Who is the Count Raspagnetti?" Norris 
asked. 

"I do not know him." 

"A new candidate of whom I have not 
heard!" 

"And another discoverer of wealth and 
beauty," I said. "Refer him to me. Above 
all, don't have any communication with the 
slim count." 

162 




THE MARRYERS 

"Potter, you are a great friend," he said. 
"What the Count Carola wants is to marry 
my daughter, and I shall not submit to it." 

His anger had risen as he spoke. He whis- 
pered his determination with a clenched fist. 

"At last we have come to a parting of the 
ways," he went on. "I don't know how I 
shall do it, but I'm going to confess my sins. 
We'll get the family together, and I'll lay my 
heart bare. It's the only thing to do. It will 
be hard on Gwendolyn, but not so hard as 
marrying a reprobate. It will be hard on my 
wife, but there are things worse than disgrace." 

"I welcome you back to happiness and 
sanity," I said, giving him my hand. 

"Do you think I have been crazy?" 

"Well, you haven't been right in your head 
on this subject, not quite sane about it. You 
have reminded me of a woman I knew who 
threw her cat out of a second-story window. 
The cat with open claws landed on top of a 
bald-headed gentleman. Then she tumbled 
down a flight of stairs and broke a clavicle and 
the nose of a man who was coming up. And 
what do you think it was all about?" 
163 



THE MARRYERS 

He smiled as he looked up at me and shook 
his head. 

1 ' Nothing, ' ' I said. ' ' She thought the house 
was afire when it wasn't. If you stand up to 
this thing like a man you'll be surprised by 
what happens and by the immensity of your 
former folly. Women are not playthings. 
They are built to carry trouble. A good 
woman can walk off, like a pack-horse, with a 
burden of trouble. You haven't been fair to 
your women. You have treated them as if 
they were too good to be human. It's a gross 
injustice." 

"Call my mother," said Norris, "and then 
go down and meet Gwendolyn and Mary and 
bring them here. I'm going to make an end 
of this thing to-night." 

"Please remember this don't get excited, 
keep cool, and take it easy. I'll stand by you." 

"Oh, I'm quite calm now that my mind is 
made up," said he. "If it kills me I couldn't 
die in a better cause." 

I called his mother and went below stairs. 
As I waited I thought of the new plan of 
Muggs. The count's letter clearly intimated 
164 



THE MARRYERS 

that Norris must be his friend or he would 
publish the facts. If he could force a mar- 
riage he would share the financial end in some 
manner with Muggs. A little after one o'clock 
the ladies arrived with Richard Forbes. I 
took charge of Gwendolyn and her mother, 
and the boy bade us good night. 

We sat down together for a moment. 

"We had a wonderful time," said Gwen- 
dolyn. ' ' All the aristocracy of Rome was there. ' ' 

"Including the wonderful Count Raspag- 
netti, ' ' her mother added. ' ' The young Count 
Carola stood near as we got into our car. He 
is the most pathetic thing!" 

"We must have nothing more to say to 
him," I said. "He has discovered another 
most beautiful woman in the world in Miss 
Muriel Fraley, of Terre Haute. He is one of 
the greatest beauty-finders that I have ever 
seen. But we must have nothing more to say 
to him. He has resorted to blackmail to 
achieve his purpose." 

"What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Norris. 

Before I could answer she suddenly opened 
her heart to me. 

165 



THE MARRYERS 

"So many things have happened and are 
happening which I cannot understand," said 
she. "My husband has never taken me into 
his confidence. I have long known that he 
was troubled about something. It has always 
seemed to annoy him if I rapped ever so 
softly on the door of his mystery. Now I do 
not dare to come near it for fear of making 
him worse. You seem to know the man 
Wilton. Who is he? Why does he turn up 
in Italy? I detest him, and I am sure that my 
husband does also." 

"Mr. Norris has had business relations with 
him, but they are now at an end," I answered. 

"So I had hoped," said she. "But he 
called here to see my husband yesterday. Of 
course he didn't succeed. The nurse gave 
Mr. Norris the card, and his symptoms changed 
suddenly and were alarming. I am terribly 
worried and nervous. I love my husband, and 
I've felt often that I haven't been a good wife 
to him, but he would not let me." 

Her eyes had filled with tears. 

"Your unhappiness will end this night. 
Come with me to Whitfield's room. He has 
166 



THE MARRYERS 

something to tell you. He asked me to meet 
you here." 

"How strange!" said Mrs. Norris, as she rose 
with a frightened look. 

I led the way, and we proceeded in silence 
to the room where Norris lay. His mother sat 
beside him on the bed. 

''Mary and Gwendolyn, come here," he said. 

He took a hand of each in his as they stood 
by his bedside. 

"Potter, I want you to stay with us and 
hear what I have to say," he called to me. 

A little moment of silence followed in which 
his spirit seemed to be breaking its fetters. 

"Mary, I have sinned against you," he said. 
"It was your right to know long since what I 
have now to tell you. But I was a coward. 
I loved you and feared to lose your love, and so 
I kept you from knowing the truth about me. 
Then came Gwendolyn, and the lovelier she 
grew the more cowardly I became. I hadn't 
the heart to tell either of you what I now must 
tell, that I went to prison long ago for a crime. 
It was not a very bad crime, but bad enough 
to disgrace you." 

167 



THE MARRYERS 

In a flash the thought came to me that he 
was not going to tell the whole truth; he would 
protect his father's good name. 

Mrs. Norris put her arm about her husband's 
neck and kissed him tenderly. "My love," 
said she, "I knew all that years ago, but for 
fear of hurting you I've never spoken of it. 
Long, long ago I knew all about your trouble." 

His mother rose from the bed where she 
had been calmly sitting with bowed head and 
tearful eyes. 

"Not all," said she. "You do not know 
that he took my husband's sin upon him, and 
that all these years he has been suffering in 
silence for the sake of another. I am sure 
there is no greater saint in heaven than this 



man." 



"Oh, Whitfield! Why didn't you let me 
help you?" said his wife, as she sank to her 
knees beside him. 

The scene had suddenly become too sacred 
for any words of mine. 

Not one of us spoke for a while, but there was 
something above all words in the silence. It 
was feebly expressed at length in these of 
168 



THE MARRYERS 

Norris, and I like to recall them when I begin 
to feel a bit cynical : 

"I'm no saint. I'm just an average Ameri- 
can business man very human, very foolish! 
But there are many who would do more than 
I have done for the love of a friend. My 
father was such a man." 

Gwendolyn came and kissed me when I bade 
them good night, and I drew her aside and 
said to her: 

"With such men in America why are we 
looking for counts in Italy?" 

She made no answer, but I understood the 
little squeeze of gratitude which my hand felt. 



XIII 

IN WHICH I FIGHT A DUEL WITH ONE OF THE 
OLDEST WEAPONS IN THE WORLD 

NEXT morning a note came to Betsey 
from Mrs. Norris saying that she and 
Gwendolyn had decided to spend the whole 
day at home with their patient, and would, 
therefore, be unable to ride out as they had 
planned to do. She inclosed another letter 
of dog-like servility from the slim count and 
asked me to see what I could do to suppress 
him. In this letter he referred to me as a 
vulgar fellow who had disregarded his chal- 
lenge. This she did not understand, and 
rightly thought that I would know what he 
meant. 

So I was reminded that the pitchforks and 

the time to use them had arrived. I informed 

De Langueville of the fact. He invited me 

to call at his studio at noon, and added that he 

170 




THE MARRYERS 

oped it would be convenient to bring the 
forks with me. I sent Betsey out shopping 
and 'phoned for Richard, and when he came to 
my room I met him with one of those weapons 
in my hands. 

"I am ready for the stern arbitrament of 
the pitchfork," I said. "Will you come with 
me?" 

"Certainly," said he. 

"Come on," I said, as I started with one of 
the forks in my hands. "I'm going to get 
through with my haying to-day if possible." 

"Hadn't we better send the forks by mes- 
senger?" said Richard. 

"No, I'd rather carry them myself," I 
answered. "I don't want them to be delayed 
or lost in transit." 

"They are not so elegant as swords or guns," 
he said, as he took one of the forks. 

"They are more reputable," I assured him. 

We made our way into the crowded street 
and soon entered a drug shop to buy some 
first-aid materials, and deposited our forks in 
a corner near a small boy who sat on a stool 
devouring prunes. He soon discovered a bet- 

12 171 



THE MARRYERS 

ter use for his prunes and amused himself by 
impaling them on the fork tines. When we 
were ready to go we gathered the fruit and 
gave it back to the boy. 

I never had so much fun with a pitchfork 
in all my life. In fact, I can think of no more 
promising field for the pitchfork than the city 
of Rome. It is an exciting tool, and as an 
inspirer of reminiscence the fork is even 
mightier than the sword or the pen. Mine 
rose above me like a lightning-rod, and currents 
of thought began to play around the burnished 
tines. I never dreamed that there were so 
many ex-farmers of our own land in Italy. A 
number of them stopped us to indulge in 
stories of the hay-field. We might have 
learned of many a busy and exciting day on 
"the old farm," but time pressed and we sprang 
into a cab and soon entered the studio of the 
sculptor with the forks in our hands. 

"Here we are," I said, as De Langueville 
opened the door. 

To my painful surprise, the young count was 
there. He was looking at a sword when we 
caught sight of him. He sheathed and laid it 
172 



THE MARRYERS 

down on a table and joined the sculptor, who 
had begun to examine the forks. The end of 
each tine excited their interest. De Langue- 
ville felt them, and then there was a little 
dialogue in Italian between him and his friend 
which was not wholly lost upon me. 

"They use it to fight Indians," said the 
sculptor. 

"They are poisoned," said the count, as his 
eye detected some stains on the steel which 
had been made by the prune- juice. 

"I think so," the other answered, and then, 
addressing me in English, he asked: 

"Will you kindly name the day and hour?" 

"Here and now," was my answer. 

Another dialogue in Italian followed, and 
then De Langueville said to me: 

"It is impossible. The count requests for 
more time." 

"I have no more time to waste on this little 
matter," I said. "If he wishes to call it off 

But he didn't no such luck for me ! I had 
talked too much. The count had taken excep- 
tion to the words "call it off." They must 
have sounded highly insulting, for he flew mad, 



THE MARRYERS 

as they say in Connecticut, and stepped for- 
ward with a fine flourish and seized one of the 
forks. "Call it off" was apparently the one 
thing which the count could not stand, and I 
had meant to be careful. His rich Italian blood 
mounted to his face. I began to like him better. 

"I will fight you here and at present if my 
friend the baron will give to us the permis- 
sion," he declared. 

"One moment," said the baron, as he hurried 
away. 

We sat in silence for five minutes or so when 
he returned with a surgeon. 

I could not run now, and there were no trees 
to climb, although there was an heroic figure 
of the New Italy with a kind of staging that 
rose to her chin. There was also a long alley 
that was lined with busts and statues. 

"It looks as if we are in for it," Forbes 
whispered. 

"I'm ready," I assured him. "A man who 
talks as much as I do ought to be willing 
to fight, especially when there's no chance to 
run. I enjoy life and safety as much as any 
one, but you can carry it too far." 




THE MARRYERS 

Forbes turned away and conferred with the 
sculptor, and placed us about fifteen feet 
apart. 

"I will count three, and at the last number 
you will approach together and fight," said 
De Langueville. 

The young count had no lack of courage, for 
I have since learned that he regarded me as a 
kind of human cobra with poisoned fangs more 
than a foot long. He was rather pale when 
we stood face to face. 

I am a man a little past fifty, and not so 
quick as when I was a boy, no doubt, but I 
have always kept myself in good shape 
tramped and chopped wood and hoed beans 
enough to feed Boston for a month of Satur- 
days; so I think that I am as strong as ever. 
I had no sanguinary designs upon the count; 
I chiefly harbored preservative designs upon 
myself. I had got into this trouble in a good 
cause, and my white feathers were carefully 
dyed. Of course I couldn't acknowledge that 
a count was better than a mister. 

So I faced the blue-blooded warrior as if 
he were a cock in a field of good timothy, with 



THE MARRYERS 

rain-clouds in the sky. We stood with our 
forks raised, and the six tines rang upon one 
another as soon as the word was given. He 
was overwrought by his fear of poison, I sup- 
pose, and had not the power of arm and 
shoulder that I had. We shoved and twisted, 
and then he broke away and came on with 
little stabs at the air. Suddenly I caught his 
tines in mine and wrenched the fork from his 
hands. Forbes has said that I looked savage, 
and I believe him, for I was getting hot. 

"First blood!" I shouted, as I rushed toward 
him, intending to pick up his fork and put it 
back in his hands. But he did not stop to 
learn my intentions. "First blood!" meant 
murder to him. I had taken but a step in his 
direction when he was in full flight. I didn't 
blame him a bit. I would have fled; any one 
would have fled. That yell and the prune- 
juice did it. 

"Hold on!" I shouted, with a fork in each 
hand, as I chased him a hundred feet or more 
down a long aisle lined with the busts of 
grocers, butchers, brokers, and lumber kings. 
The words "Hold on!" must have sounded 
176 




First blood!" I shouted, as I rushed toward 
him, intending to pick up his fork and put 
it back in his hands. 




THE MARRYERS 

nasty, for he put on more steam. I did not 
mean to hurt him; I only wished to take his 
hand and congratulate him on his speed. But 
I couldn't go fast enough. Before I was half 
down the aisle he had got to the end of it and 
jumped over the high shelf between the marble 
presentments of the missing actress and the 
Michigan lumber dealer. I knew better than 
to laugh it was ill-bred but I could not help 
it. Now I could hear the feet of the count 
hurrying toward me. I ought to have kept 
still. 

"We cannot fight with such weapons," said 
the baron; "it is barbarous." 

"If you will fight me with the sword I shall 
prove to you my grand courage," said the 
young count, as he emerged, panting, from 
behind a group of statues. 

"I need no further proof of your courage," 
I said, gently. "You act brave enough to 
suit me." 

"Try me with the sword," he urged. "You 
are one coward; you are one coward. You 
have attacka me when the weapon was not in 
my hand." 



THE MARRYERS 

Richard came forward coolly and put his 
hand on the count's arm. 

"You are wrong, and you ought to apolo- 
gize," he said, firmly. 

The count turned upon him with a polite 
bow, and said : 

' 'Perhaps you will give me the satisfaction." 

"If you like, I'll take it up for him," said 
Forbes, with admirable coolness. " He is older 
than you, and not accustomed to the sword." 

"Look here I won't let you fight for me," 
I said. "These fellows are used to the sword 
and pistol. They have nothing else to do and 
are looking for a sure thing. Fight him with 
your fists if he's bound to fight again." 

"Him! That would be too sure a thing, 
I'm afraid," said Richard. "I've practised this 
game of fencing at college and the Fencers' 
Club. I'm not afraid of the count." 

I had observed that a number of swords had 
been lying on a table near us. Before Rich- 
ard's remark was finished the count had picked 
up one of them and said to my friend: 

"Come you are not fearful like a lady. 
Give me one chance." 
178 



THE MARRYERS 

Before anything more could be done or said 
the young men were at it, and, to my great 
relief, I saw that Forbes was able to take care 
of himself. The count was a clever swordsman, 
but my friend was stronger and just as quick. 

It is about the prettiest survival of feudal 
times, this bloody game of the sword. 

I observed that the clock in the studio 
indicated the moment of 12.18 when the con- 
test began. It lasted for an hour or more, as 
I thought, when it ended with blood-flowing 
from the sword-arm of the count at 12.21. 
The count was satisfied and breathing heavily. 
Forbes was fresh and strong. 

"It is enough," the slim count shouted, and 
the battle was over. 

"You play with the sword so skilful," the 
latter panted, as De Langueville and the 
surgeon began to dress his wound. 

"All you need is a pair of lungs," said 
Forbes. "The pair you have may do for 
sucking cigarettes, but not for fighting." 

"And I politely request that you do not use 
them again in making love to Miss Norris," I 
said. "Hereafter I shall carry a fork with me, 
179 



THE MARRYER5 

and any man who follows us again will get it 
run into him. But now that you know that 
they do not want to graft you on their family 
tree you will, of course, annoy them no more. 
I expect you're a much better fellow than you 
seem to be." 

"And they will permission her to marry 
Raspagnetti?" he demanded. 

"Why not?" was my query. 

"Well, he has been married already and has 
amuse himself by dragging his wife around 
his palace by the hairs of her head." 

"It's a bad fashion," I said; "it wears out 
the carpets." 

He looked puzzled. 

"But it's an ancient diversion of the Ro- 
mans," I went on, remembering that panel in 
one of the galleries which portrayed the ex- 
traction of the whiskers of a captive who was 
tied hand and foot one of the basest amuse- 
ments I can think of. 

As we talked the surgeon was at work on the 
arm of the young man. 

"Let's go and get a bite to eat," Richard 
proposed, and we made our escape. 
180 




THE MARRYERS 

While we were eating he said: 

" Don't say anything of my part in this little 
scrap. I'm ashamed of it. To draw blood 
from him is like taking candy from a child." 

At the hotel Richard found a cable that 
summoned him to New York. Late that 
afternoon Gwendolyn and her mother and 
Betsey went with him to the station where he 
took a train for the north. I bade the boy 
good-by and said as I did so: 

"Leave the case in my hands again." 

"It's hopeless!" said he. 

"Not exactly!" I answered. 

"She has turned me down." 

"Turned you down?" 

"Yes, I had a talk with her last evening." 

"You'll have to try it again some other 
evening," I said. 

"She doesn't want to marry any one. 
That's about the way she puts it but more 
politely. I told her that if she didn't want to 
be proposed to again she'd better avoid me. 
I expect to convince her that she's wrong." 

He left me, and I went to see Norris, who 
had sent word that he wished to talk with me. 
181 



XIV 

MISS GWENDOLYN DEFINES HER POSITION 

1 FOUND Norris looking better, and it's a 
sure thing that I was looking worse. I 
felt weary the natural reaction of all that 
deviltry! Exercise with the pitchfork is all 
right under proper circumstances, but a man 
near fifty years of age should use more care 
than I had done in the choice of circum- 
stances, 

"What's the matter?" was the query of 
Norris. 

"Been fightm'," I said, remembering how I 
had answered a similar question of my father 
one day when I returned from school with a 
black eye and my trousers torn. "They kep' 
pickin' on me." 

Then I told him the story of my quarrel 
with the slim count and its climax. But I 
182 



THE MARRYERS 

said nothing of Forbes's part in the matter. 
We laughed so loudly that the nurse entered 
in a panic to see what was the matter. 

" Nothing's the matter except good health/' 
I said. " We're both twenty years younger 
than we were a short time ago, and if you 
know any remedy for that go and throw it out 
of the window." 

She retired from the scene, and we went 
on with our talk. 

"You're about the most versatile lawyer 
that I ever knew," said he. "Such devotion 
I did not deserve or expect. If there's any 
more fighting to be done we'll hire a boy. 
For what you have done I say 'Thanks/ and 
you know what I mean by that. Gosh 
t' Almighty! I'm going to get out of bed, and 
we'll have some fun." 

"I'm beginning to long for the old sod!" I 
remarked. 

"So'm I. Let's go south for a little while 
and then home. It looks as if we should have 
to take a count with us as a souvenir." 

"The Raspagnetti?" I asked. 

"The same," said he. "Read that." 
183 



THE MARRYERS 

He drew from under his pillow a letter from 
the Count Raspagnetti, which said: 

I am sorry that you are sick, for I desire so 
much to talk with you and tell you, I should say, 
how profoundly I am in love with your beauti- 
ful and accomplished daughter. The esteemed 
Monsignor who bears this note, and who is my 
friend and yours also, can tell you that I am 
worthy of your confidence, although unworthy, 
so to speak, of such an adorable creature as 
Miss Gwendolyn. But I feel in my heart that 
I cannot be happy without her. I assure you 
that I would rather die than find it impossible 
to make her my wife. So I hope that you will 
let me see you soon, if your health should cherish 
the endurance, and permit me to speak of such 
things to her. 

I had scarcely finished reading it when 
Norris said: 

"The Monsignor, whom I had met in New 
York, and who is one of the most courtly 
gentlemen you can imagine, came to see me 
this morning and recommended the count 
without reserve as one of the first gentlemen 
of Italy. I guess he's all right, and I agree 
with my wife that we will put it up to Gwen- 
dolyn and let her do as she likes. If she must 
have a title I presume she couldn't do better." 
184 



THE MARRYERS 

I was about to suggest that she would need 
a special allowance for hair-restorer, but re- 
strained myself. I thought that I wouldn't 
say anything disagreeable unless it should be 
necessary and also susceptible of proof. 

"What does Gwendolyn think of him?" I 
asked. 

"I haven't said a word to Gwendolyn 
about him yet. I'll have a talk with her to- 
morrow or perhaps to-night. When I awoke 
this morning about two o'clock Gwendolyn and 
her mother were standing by the bed. The 
girl has taken the notion that she must do the 
nursing herself. I haven't been fair to them. 
I guess it's up to me to let them do the marry- 
ing. Mrs. Norris seems to like this man, and 
if Gwendolyn wants him I shall fall in line. 
I'm not going to be a Czar even in the interest 
of democracy." 

"It's the wisest possible course," I agreed. 

"I wish that you'd post yourself about the 
sailings," said he, as I left him. 

I broke a Roman record that evening went 
to bed at eight. In Rome the day doesn't 
really begin until about that hour. At two 
185 



THE MARRYERS 

o'clock people are coming out of the cafes, and 
the blood of Italy is in full song. Betsey 
complained that I yelled in my sleep, and I 
believed her. 

The voice of the nightingales awoke me just 
before daylight. What a mellow- voiced chorus 
it is! A man has got to search his memory if 
he's going to try to describe it. The softest 
tones of the flute are in that song. It has an 
easy-flowing conversational lilt. It's a kind 
of swift, tumbling brook of flute music. As 
the light grew a noisy band of sparrows came 
on the scene. For a little while the soft 
phrases of the nightingales were woven into 
the sparrows' chatter. They ceased suddenly. 
I rose and dressed and went down into the 
little park outside my windows just as the 
sun's light began to show in the sky. In a 
moment I saw a young lady approaching in 
one of the garden paths. 

She waved to me and called, " Hello, Uncle 
Soc!" 

It was Gwendolyn. 

' ' Child ! Why are you not in bed ?" I asked . 

"I've worked at idleness so long and so hard 
186 



THE MARRYERS 

that I'm taking a little vacation," said she. 
"I sat all night with father. He couldn't 
sleep, and we talked and talked, and then I 
read to him and he fell asleep half an hour 
ago, and I came down for a breath of the 
morning air." 

"Don't get reckless with your holiday all 
night is a rather long pull," I suggested. 

"I enjoyed every minute. You see, I've 
never had a chance to do anything for him. 
My father has always been so busy, and I 
away in school or traveling with my mother or 
Mrs. Mushtop. I was never quite so happy as 
I am now." 

"There's nothing so restful as honest toil," 
I said. "The fact is you've been overworking 
in the past struggling with luncheons, teas, 
dinners, dressmakers, and dances, and getting 
through at midnight. It's too much for any 
human being. If you could only go to work in 
a laundry or a kitchen or a sick-room, how rest- 
ful and soothing it would be!" 

"I understand you now, Uncle Soc," said 
she. "We must see that it pays. Last night 
I was so well paid for my work! I discovered 

13 187 



THE MARRYERS 

my father. The night passed like magic and 
filled me with happiness. To-day life is worth 
living. He told me of his boyhood, and I told 
him of my girlhood and that I wanted to make 
it different. 

"'You must let me do the nursing,' I said. 

"' Why ?' he asked. 

"'Because I love you,' I told him, and what 
do you think he said?" 

"My thinker got overheated and blew up 
the other day, and is undergoing repairs," I 
answered. "So you'll have to tell me." 

"I shall remember it so long as I live," she 
went on, with tears in her eyes, "for he said, 
'I've found a daughter, and it's the best thing 
that's happened to me since I found a wife." 

"My, what a night! You found the great- 
est luxury in the world, which is work," I said. 
"Don't go to dissipating like a child with a 
can of jelly and make yourself sick of it. Go 
easy. Be temperate." 

"Uncle Soc, you dear old thing!" she ex- 
claimed. "I'm beginning to know you bet- 
ter, too. I want you to tell me something. 
Father said that we should be going home 
188 



THE MARRYERS 

soon. Now, what can I take to Richard? It 
must be something very, very nice something 
that he will be sure to like." 

"Why take anything to Richard ?" I asked. 

"I refuse to tell you why," she answered. 
"But please remember that I have not the 
slightest hope of every marrying Richard." 

"You have lost your heart in Italy," I said. 
"But I was kind o' hoping that you'd re- 
cover it." 

"I know that you and father have been 
worried about that, but you didn't know me 
so well as you thought. I had heard much 
about these Italians, and they are handsome 
men, and the Count Raspagnetti is a very 
grand gentleman. I have been impressed, for 
I am as human as other girls, but I cannot 
marry the count, and if he asks me I shall tell 
him so; and I can do it with a clear conscience, 
for I have given him no encouragement." 

I made no answer, being unhorsed by this 
unexpected turn. 

"I do not propose to marry any one, and if 
you will think for a moment you will know 
why." 

189 



THE MARRYERS 

In a flash her meaning came to me. She'd 
have to tell her father's secret to the man she 
married, and that she would never do. Again 
that old skeleton in the family closet was 
grinning at us. 

"Gwendolyn, my thinker has been worn out 
by overwork here in Italy or it would not have 
been asleep at its post," I said. "I take off 
my hat to you and keep it off as long as you're 
near me. Jiminy Christmas! I like the 
stuff you're made of, but look here the case 
isn't hopeless. I'll show you a way out of 
this trouble some day. Come on, let's go in 
and have some breakfast. I'm hungry as a 
bear." 

"No, thanks! I must go back to my pa- 
tient," said the girl. "I never eat any 
breakfast." 

"The breakfast habit is purely American. 
You'll acquire it by and by," I assured her. 
"Wait until you get a settled liking for long 
days and short nights." 

She left me, and I thought that I would take 
a little walk under the trees before going in. 
I had not gone a dozen paces when Muggs 
190 



THE MARRYERS 

came along. He was looking pale and thin 
and rather untidy. 

"I knew that you were an early riser," said 
he. "I came to find you if I could." 

He must have seen a look of anger in my 
face, for he went on: 

"Don't be hard on me. I've come to bring 
you that two hundred dollars, with fifty added 
for the hat and coat." 

He gave me a check, and it nearly knocked 
me down with astonishment. "What cunning 
ruse is this?" I asked myself, and said : "You're 
not looking well." 

"I can't eat or sleep," he continued. "I've 
been walking the streets since midnight. 
There's something I wanted to say, but I'm 
not up to it now. I'll try to see you again 
within a day or two." 

He bade me good morning and went on. 
and I was puzzled by the serious look in his 
face. 



XV 

SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THE MAN MUGGS 

SOME people are so careless with their af- 
fections that they even forget where they 
laid 'em the day before, and often go about 
sputtering like an old gentleman who has lost 
his spectacles. My grandfather was once so 
mad at a table on which he had found them 
lying, unexpectedly, that he seized a poker 
and put a dent in it. He was like many mod- 
ern lovers divorced and otherwise. They 
should remember that misplaced affection has 
made more trouble than anything else. 

Mrs. Mullet had been a bit careless with 
her affections, and especially in taking Mr. 
Pike's recommendation of Colonel Wilton. 
What could have been the motive of Mr. 
Pike? 

Mrs. Mullet called to see us next morning. 
192 



THE MARRYERS 

"Something very strange has happened," 
said she. 

"If you were to tell me something that 
wasn't strange I wouldn't believe it," I 
answered. "Go ahead; you can't astonish 
me." 

"Please read this letter," she requested, as 
she drew a sheet of paper from an envelope and 
put it into my hands and added, "It's from 
Colonel Wilton." 

"From Wilton!" I exclaimed, and began 
reading aloud the singular human document. 
His emotion conferred rank upon her, for he had 
addressed Mrs. Mullet in this baronial fashion : 

MY DEAR LADY MAUDE, I have completed 
the payments due to date on the bust and the 
oil-painting, because I have decided that if I 
cannot have you I must have them. I want 
to live with them, for I believe they will help 
me. I tell you the God's truth, I have been a 
bad man, but I want to be better and make good 
to every one I have wronged. I can't do it for 
a little while yet, but I'm going to as sure as 
there's a God in heaven. I was a fool to write 
that letter, but I was discouraged. You are 
the only woman I ever loved. I take back 
all that I wrote in that letter. I won't put any 
price on you. I can't. You are better than 

193 



THE MARRYERS 

all the money in the world. I don't blame 
you a bit for not having anything more to do 
with me. You don't know what I have suffered; 
you can't know, but / know. I shall never 
give you a moment's trouble. Don't be afraid 
to meet me in the street. I may look at you, 
but I shall not speak to you. Don't hate me; 
but, if you can, ask Jesus Christ to forgive me 
and help me to live honest. I don't believe that 
He wants me to suffer always like this. Don't 
hate me, because I love you, and please remem- 

*** me M LYSANDER WILTON. 

Its script was curious. Every word was 
written with extreme care, and some were 
embellished with little flourishes. I remem- 
bered how slowly and carefully he had formed 
the letters in that signature in my office. 

There were tears in the eyes of Mrs. Mullet 
when I folded the letter and looked into her 
face. 

"What do you think of it?" she asked. 

"Sounds as if he meant it, but he's an able 
sounder," I answered. 

"He had a good case and has given up all 
claim upon her," said Betsey, in the tone of 
gentle protest. 

"Oh, well! he wouldn't dare to bring a suit 
194 



THE MARRYERS 

here or in America," I objected. ''She might 
get the hatchet, but he would get the ax." 

"How would you explain his payments on 
the bust and the portrait?" Betsey asked. 

Sure enough, why was he buying the bust 
and the painting, and how had he got the 
money to do it? 

"It looks as if he had gone out of his mind," 
said Betsey. 

"Nobody could blame him for going out of 
his mind," was my answer. "If I had his 
mind I'd go out of it." 

"Perhaps she has driven him into a new and 
a better mind," said Betsey. 

"That's possible. There's plenty of room 
outside his old mental horizon. If it's honest 
love I should think he would die of astonish- 
ment to find such goods on himself." 

"Well, you see, he was not very well, and I 
was a kind of mother to him here," Mrs. 
Mullet answered, as she wiped her eyes. 
"He was kind and thoughtful and so very 
handsome. I was really fond of him." 

Mrs. Mullet yielded again to her emotions. 

She was not a bad sort of a woman, after all. 



THE MARRYERS 

True, she was still afflicted with a light attack 
of the beauty disease. But she had a heart 
in her. She was, too, "a well - fashioned, 
enticing creature," as Samuel Pepys would 
have said. I didn't blame Muggs for leaping 
in love with her. It was as natural as for a 
boy to leap into a swimming-hole. 

"What shall I do?" she asked, presently. 

"Study art as hard as you can," I said. 
"Botticelli may help you to forget Muggs. 
But don't fail to tell me what happens. I've 
got to know how Muggs gets along with his 
new affliction." 

She agreed to keep me posted, and left us. 

A note came from Mrs. Fraley that after- 
noon. She wished to see me on a matter of 
business, and wouldn't we go and drink tea 
with them at five? They were spending the 
day in the Capitoline Museum, where Muriel 
was at work. 

We couldn't drink tea with them, and so 
Betsey proposed that we walk to the museum 
and see what they wanted. We did it. 

Miss Muriel was copying a figure of Soc- 
rates on the fragment of a frieze. The beauty 
196 



THE MARRYERS 

disease had visibly progressed in her hair a 
shade richer, eyes more strongly underscored. 
Old Socrates was so different, sitting in con- 
versation and leaning forward on his staff. 
One bare foot rested comfortably on the other. 
They were a good-sized pair of industrious and 
reliable feet. He seemed to be addressing his 
argument to the young lady who sat before 
him. The expression of the big toe on his 
right foot indicated that it was not wholly 
unmoved by his words. 

Mrs. Fraley beckoned me aside and whispered : 

"The dear child is making wonderful 
progress. She is copying that for one of the 
New York magazines. Muriel has made a 
great social success in Rome. Mrs. Wartz has 
taken her up, and her name is in the Paris 
Herald almost every day." 

In a moment she made an illuminating 
proposal : 

"I want to borrow fifty thousand dollars 
on good security the bonds of the Great 
Bend & Lake Michigan Traction Company," 
she said. "I would pay you a liberal fee if 
you would help me." 

197 



THE MARRYERS 

"It's a bad time to borrow money," I an- 
swered. " Is it a bust or a painting ?" 

"Neither; it's Miss Muriel's marriage por- 
tion. The count has proposed, and I find 
that he is one of the dearest, noblest young 
men that ever lived." 

There was no help for these people. An 
appeal to their minds was like shooting into 
the sky or writing in water. You couldn't 
land on them. 

"Oh, then it's a husband!" I exclaimed. 

"Yes, and we want to take him home with 



us." 



"He requires cash down?" 

"I believe it is usual." 

"Are you sure that Muriel could manage 
him? He's pretty coltish and has never been 
halter-broke. He might rare up an' pull away 
an' run off with the money." 

"He loves her to distraction, he worships 
and adores her, and she is very, very fond of 
him." 

"You are far from your friends here," I said. 
"Suppose you ask the count to call on me and 
talk it over. It may be that I could arrange 
198 



THE MARRYERS 

easy terms. Possibly we could even get him 
on the instalment plan, with a small payment 
down." 

"I would not dare suggest it," said Mrs. 
Fraley. 

"Cable to your banker, and if the bonds are 
good he ought to be able to get the money for 
you." 

"I thought of that, but to save time I 
hoped that you would be willing to let me 
have it." 

"I wouldn't assist you to commit a folly 
which you are sure to regret," I answered. 
"In my opinion he would be dear at ten dol- 
lars. It looks to me like taking over a liability 
instead of an asset." 

"We didn't ask for your opinion," said Miss 
Muriel, as she blushed with indignation. 

1 * My opinions are as easy to get as counts in 
Italy," I said. "You don't have to ask for 
them. I give you one thing more my best 
wishes . Good-by ! ' ' 

With that we left them. Things began to 
move fast. Norris came down to dinner, and 
we all sat together in the dining-room with the 
199 



THE MARRYERS 

new count. It was the last despairing effort 
of mama to grasp the persimmon. She had 
boosted her daughter within easy reach of 
said persimmon, but Gwendolyn refused to 
pull it down. Her attitude was polite but 
firm. 

"It doesn't look good to me," she seemed to 
be saying. 

The count told thrilling tales of royal 
friends and palaces, and they all rang like 
good metal, for this count was a real aristocrat. 
Still, "No, thanks " was in the voice and man- 
ner of Gwendolyn. He twanged airy compli- 
ments on his little guitar. 

"No, thanks!" 

Gwendolyn gave me a sly wink and sug- 
gested that I should tell a story. I saw what 
was expected of me and got the floor and 
kept it. Finally the count played his best 
trump. They would be invited to a fte in 
the palace of a certain noted prince. 

"No, thanks!" said Gwendolyn, before her 
mother could answer. "It is very kind of 
you, but we shall be so busy getting ready 
to sail." 

200 



THE MARRYERS 

The count took his medicine like a thorough- 
bred. 

"And you you must not be astonished to 
see me in America before much time, I should 
say," he answered. 

"What a joy to welcome you there!" Mrs. 
Norris exclaimed. 

Then followed a little duet in Fifth Avenue 
and Roman dialect with monocle and minuet 
accompaniment by the great artists Norris and 
Raspagnetti based on these allegations: 

First: She was so glad to have had the great 
pleasure of meeting him. 

Second: He was so glad to have had the 
honor of meeting her and her daughter. 

Third: She was so sorry to say good-by. 

Fourth: She was a dear lady, and could 
never know how much pain it " afflicted upon 
him" to say good-by; but fortunately she 
was not leaving him hopeless. 

The climax had passed. 

Gwendolyn got her hand kissed, and so did 
her mother there was no dodging that but 
it was our last experience with the hand- 
smackers of Italy. 

We had a happy American evening together 

201 



THE MARRYERS 

in the Norris apartments, and Mrs. Norris 
seemed to enjoy my imitation of her parting 
with the count. The first occurrence of note 
in the morning was Mrs. Mullet. She was 
getting to be a perennial, but she grew a 
foot that day in our estimation. She had 
brought with her a note from Muggs. He 
was very ill in his room and begged her to 
come and see him as a last favor. What 
should she do? 

"Let's go and see him you and I and Mrs. 
Potter, ' ' was my suggestion. ' ' This has all the 
ear-marks of a case of true love. My pro- 
fessional advice has never been sought in a 
case of that kind; but come on, let's see what 
there is to it." 

We went and found Muggs abed, with a 
high fever. No more nonsense now ! I've got 
to be decently serious for a few minutes. 
We were amazed to see how the sight of Mrs. 
Mullet affected him, and how tenderly he 
clung to her hands, and begged her to forget 
the man he had been. She turned to me with 
wet eyes and said: 

"I cannot leave him like this. I shall send 
202 




THE MARRYERS 

for a nurse and doctor, and take care of him. 
He has no friends here." 

"Bully for you!" I said. "If he's out of 
money I'll help you pay the bills." 

We went away a little mystified by this 
behavior on the part of Muggs. 

We were leaving next day for the south, and 
Mrs. Mullet came to say good-by to us. 

"How is your patient?" I asked. 

"He was delirious all night, and dictated 
letters to me as if I had been his stenographer. 
I took them down with a pencil. I have 
brought two of them for you to read. I do 
not understand them; perhaps you will know 
what they mean." 

The first was addressed to a man in Mexico, 
and it said: 

DEAR MACK, At last my ship has come in, 
and I am doing what I have longed to do for 
many years, and what I have dreamed of doing 
a thousand times. I inclose a check for all 
that I owe you, with interest. Forgive me. 
Please forgive me. I didn't know what I was 
doing. I expected to return it within a 
week, but I lost it all. I want you to tell 
every one that knows me that I am an honest 
man. 

14 203 



THE MARRYERS 

The second letter was to the Honorable 
Whitfield Norris, and it said: 

DEAR SIR, At last I am able to do what I 
have wanted to do for years. I inclose a check 
for all the money you have given me, with in- 
terest to date. Please send me a receipt for the 
same. I always intended to make good and 
live honest, and I want you to think well of me, 
for I think that you are the greatest man I ever 
met. 

All this puzzled me at first, and I went at 
once with Mrs. Mullet to Muggs's room. The 
sick man's fever had abated, and his head was 
clear. 

"You have been dictating a letter to Norris, " 
I said. 

"What letter ?" he asked. 

"Didn't you dictate a letter to Norris last 
night?" 

"No," he answered, sadly. 

"Have you any money?" I asked. 

"I have made a little money out of an old 
investment in a copper-mine," he answered, in 
a faint voice. "It has begun to pay, and 
they have sent me eighteen hundred dollars. 
There's eleven hundred left. It's in the 
204 



THE MARRYERS 

Banca d'ltalia. In my book you'll find a 
check for that two hundred dollars. It's on 
the bureau there." 

"You gave me that," I said. 

"Did I?" he whispered, and was sound 
asleep in a few seconds. 

I returned to Mrs. Mullet, full of sober 
thought. 

"Those letters are the voice of his soul," I 
said. "It really wants to pay up and be 
honest." 

She saw my meaning and wept, and said, as 
soon as she could speak : 

"Perhaps", in the sight of God, he has 
already paid his debts." 

"An honorable delirium isn't quite enough," 
I said, "but it does show that his soul is ac- 
quiring good habits." 

"I'm so happy that you think so," she 
answered. 

"Yes, I'd rather have him now with all his 
past than any count I have seen in Italy. 
There are all kinds of pasts, but Muggs is 
ashamed of his that's something! Of course 
it isn't safe to jump at conclusions, but it looks 
205 



THE MARRYERS 

as if the love of a decent woman had done a 
good deal for him." 

I left her with a happy smile on her face, and 
way down in me I could hear my soul laughing 
at the wise old country lawyer who had got 
Muggs so securely placed in his rogue's gal- 
lery. He had been reading law in a better 
book than any on his shelves. I had once 
smiled when I had read in one of Mr. Chester- 
ton's essays that "Christianity looks for the 
honest man inside the thief." I said to myself 
that I had never seen the honest man afore- 
mentioned. But here he was at last. I de- 
scribed him to Betsey. 

"The love of that woman has done it," 
said she. 

"The love of a good woman is a big thing," 
I answered, as I put my arm around her. 
"Kind o' like the finger o' Jesus touching the 
eyes o' the blind that's the way it looks to 



me." 



Next day we drove to Naples. Good-by, 

Rome, city of lovely shapes and jeweled walls 

and golden ceilings, graveyard of races and 

empires, paradise of saints and industrious 

206 



THE MARRYERS 

marryers! How's that for a valedictory? 
Well, you see, I bought a guitar, and it's time 
I began to practise. 

Naples is different. It's a kind of theater. 
There the very poor play the part of the 
starving mendicant as soon as they are able 
to walk; the cheap tradesman plays the self- 
sacrificing saint; the fairly well-to-do man 
plays the part of a millionaire with his trap 
and horses on the Via Roma, and every driver 
plays the tyrant. The song of the lash, 
which had its part in the ancient music of 
Persia, fills the air of the old city. 

It worried us, and we went to Sicily and 
spent a month at Taormina a place of which 
I do not dare to speak for fear of dropping into 
poetry, and when I drop into poetry I make a 
good deal of a splash, as you may have ob- 
served, and it takes me a week to get dry. 
Norris fell in love with it, and so did the 
ladies. I wondered how I was going to get 
them to move, but not for long. 

Gwendolyn and I, sitting alone in the old 
Greek theater one lovely afternoon, had the 
talk for which I had been watching my chance. 
207 



THE MARRYERS 

We sat looking out between the time-worn 
columns at u^tna and the sea. 

"I'm tired of ancient history!" said she, 
closing her guide-book. 

"Let's try modern history," I suggested. 
"If you will let me be your Baedeker for a 
minute I should like to point out to you a 
noble structure in America which is ' clothed 
in majestic simplicity.' ' 

"What is it?" she asked, eagerly. 

"The character of Richard Forbes," I an- 
swered. "There's one fact in his history of 
supreme importance to you and me." 

"Only one!" she exclaimed. 

"At least one," I answered. "It is this: 
for years he has known every unpleasant fact 
in the story of your father's life." 

"Uncle Soc," she interrupted, with a look 
of joy in her face, "is it is it really true, or are 
you just saying it to please me?" 

"It's really true," I said. "When I can't 
help it I tell the truth. I'm never reckless or 
immoderate in the use of it, for there's no 
sense in giving it out in chunks so big that they 
excite suspicion. I'm kind o' careful with the 
208 



THE MARRYERS 

truth when I tell ye that Richard Forbes is 
better than all the statues and paintings and 
domes and golden ceilings in Italy." 

"Uncle Soc, do you think that you could 
get rooms for us on the next steamer," she 
asked. 

"Oh, what's your hurry?" I demanded. 

She rose and said, with a proud, imperious 
gesture: 

"Me for the United States!" 

"I've already engaged the rooms, for I knew 
what would happen after we had had our 
talk," I said. 

We were waiting to take our steamer in 
Naples. The day after we reached there 
Mrs. Fraley called to see us. She had read in a 
Roman newspaper that we were at Bertolini's, 
and she had come over to talk with me "about 
a dreadful occurrence." She had raised the 
spondoolix, and Miss Muriel had achieved the 
count. They had lived in paradise for three 
weeks and four days when the count got mad 
at Muriel and actually beat her over the 
shoulders with his riding-whip. It was all be- 
cause the dear child had turkey-trotted with 
209 



THE MARRYERS 

a young Englishman at a ball. She had 
meant no harm poor thing ! all the girls 
were learning these new-fangled dances. Mrs. 
Fraley had naturally objected to the count's 
use of the whip, whereupon he had shown her 
the door and bade her leave his apartments. 
So she with the beautiful feet had been com- 
pelled to walk out of the place which her 
bounty had provided and go back to the dear 
old boarding-house. Muriel had followed her. 
They knew not what to do. Would I please 
advise her? 

" You've done the right thing," I said. 
"Keep away from him. He'll be using his 
cane next. The whip is a good thing, but not 
if it comes too late in life." 

"But how about my money?" she asked. 
"I can't afford to lose that." 

"My dear madame, you have already lost 
it. You may as well charge that to the 
educational fund. To some people knowledge 
comes high. I had a good reason for advising 
you against this marriage. In our land every 
home is a little republic that "plays its part 
in the larger republics of the town and the 

210 



THE MARRYERS 

county, and the affairs of each home and the 
welfare of its inhabitants are the concern of 
all. Here every home is a little independent 
kingdom. Its master is its king. His will is 
mostly its law. When he gets mad his whip or 
his cane may fall upon the transgressor. It's 
the old feudal spirit the ancient habit of 
thought and hand. Of course in most coun- 
tries wife-beating is forbidden, but generally the 
woman knows better than to complain, for she 
finds that it doesn't pay. So she cringes and 
obeys and holds her tongue. In America that 
sort of thing doesn't go. If a man tries it, 
the republic of the town gets hold of him right 
away. Really, I'd about as soon have the 
rights of a goat as the rights of a woman in 
Europe. In spite of that she's often well 
treated." 

I was interrupted by the porter's clerk, who 
came with a telegram. It was from Muriel, 
and it said: 

Please tell my aunt to return immediately. 
We have made up, and are very, very happy, 
and we shall both be delighted to see her. 

I read it aloud, and she rose and said : 

211 



THE MARRYERS 

"I'm so glad. Please pardon me for 
troubling you again." 

I pardoned her, and she went away, and so 
another American girl had begun to toughen 
her skin and adjust her spirit to the feudal 
plan. 

The day we sailed a curious thing came to 
pass in a letter to Norris from Muggs in the 
handwriting of Mrs. Mullet. It said: 

I hope you will be glad to learn that good luck 
has come to me. I thank God that I am able to 
return the last sum of money you gave me, 
with interest to date. My check for it is 
inclosed herewith. An old investment of 
mine, long supposed to be worthless, has 
turned out well. I have sold a part of my 
stock in it, and with the rest I hope to square 
accounts with you before long. My health is 
better, and within a week or so I expect to be 
married to the noblest woman in the world. 

The man's dream had come to pass. His 
check was in the letter, and there was good 
money behind it. 

"I congratulate you, 9 ' I said to Norris when 
he showed me the letter. "You've really 
found an honest man inside a thief." 

"Without your help it would have been 

212 



THE MARRYERS 

impossible," said he. "It's worth ten years 
of any man's life to have done it. I suppose 
there's an honest man inside every thief if 
we could only get at him." 

"And no man is as bad as he seems, and, 
therefore, if you ever feel like shooting me 
don't," was my answer. 

"What luck that she didn't get hold of a 
count!" Betsey exclaimed. "She was one of 
the most willing marryers that ever crossed the 



sea." 



"But she didn't know how to advertise," I 
said. "Nobody knew that she had money. 
One personal in the London Mail or the Paris 
Herald would have crowded the Excelsior 
Hotel with impoverished noblemen." 

"And yet I would have supposed that the 
worst of them would have been better than 
Muggs." 

"Not I," was my answer. "Both Muggs 
and the counts have been mere adventurers 
trying to get something for nothing. Muggs 
knew that he was doing wrong. His offense 
was so bad that he couldn't doubt its badness. 
But the consciences of the counts never get 
213 



THE MARRYERS 

any exercise. They don't know that idleness 
is a crime, that a bought husband is baser than 
a poodle-dog. They are absolutely convinced 
of their own respectability. For that reason 
the average thief has a far better chance of 
being faced about." 

We sailed. Mrs. Sampf, with a chestful of 
knockers, and the lumber king, with his bust 
and portrait, were among our shipmates. The 
latter had had a stroke of hard luck. Two 
gamblers at his hotel had won his confidence 
and taken a hank of his fleece at bridge whist. 
He had made up his mind that American play- 
mates were more to his liking, that Grant was 
greater than Alexander, and that universal 
peace was a dream. This he confided to me 
one evening as we were lying off Gibraltar in 
the glare of the searchlights. 

Brooms of light were sweeping the waters for 
fear some sneaking nation would steal in upon 
them like a thief in the night. 

"These Europeans know better than to 

trust one another," said I. "Billions for 

ships an* forts an* armies, an* every dollar of 

it testifies to the fact that not one of these 

214 



THE MARRYERS 

powers can trust another. 'Yes, you're a 
good talker/ they seem to say, 'but I know 
you of old. I'll eat with ye, and drink with 
ye, and buy with ye, and sell with ye, but 
dinged if I'll trust ye!"' 

"They're a lot of scamps over here," was 
the conclusion of Mr. Pike. 

"And especially unreliable in bridge whist," 
I said. 

"But I've made money on the trip," said the 
lumber king. "I bought some shares in a 
copper-mine for fifteen thousand dollars, and 
they're worth at least ten times that. I hap- 
pened to know the mine, and he needed the 
money." 

"If I were you I'd have the details of that 
transaction engraved on my bust and set it 
up in my bedroom," I said, with a laugh. 

"Why so?" 

"It would give you a chance to. get ac- 
quainted with yourself." 

"Oh, I was honest with him!" said he. "I 
told him I'd give him thirty days to redeem 
the stock." 

"Was it Wilton?" 

215 



THE MARRYERS 

' ' Yes. Do you know him ? ' * 

"I know him, and if the stock is as good as 
you say it will be redeemed." 

And it was, and I began to understand 
why Pike had been hand in glove with 
Wilton. He had been trying to get hold of 
his property. 

We wept for joy at the sight of our native 
land who doesn't? and Norris, who looked 
as strong as ever, said that he longed to get 
back to his task. 

Richard met us at the dock, and the young 
people fell into each other's arms. 

"Gwendolyn!" Mrs. Norris exclaimed. 

"Look here," said I. "This pair of marry- 
ers is not to be interfered with any more." 

Muggs and his new wife sailed on the 
Titanic, and he met his death on the stricken 
ship like a gentleman; but the bride was 
saved, and came to see us in Pointview and 
told us the story of that night. 

The ship was a part of the machinery of the 

great thought trust, which has the world in 

its grip. The power behind her engines was 

thinking in terms of dollars and cents to be 

216 



THE MARRYERS 

gained through the advertisement of a swift 
voyage and down she went in a thousand 
fathoms of icy water. 

I said to Norris when we were speaking of 
this tragedy as we sat by his fireside: 

"The greatest of all commandments is this: 
'Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." 

"Neither money nor titles, nor pride nor 
fear, nor power, nor church nor state," he 
added. 

"Amen!" was my answer. 

Then there fell a long silence, and well down 
in the depths of it is the end of my story. 



THE END 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 



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