Infomotions, Inc.The Turtles of Tasman / London, Jack, 1876-1916



Author: London, Jack, 1876-1916
Title: The Turtles of Tasman
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): morganson; oan; frederick; travers; josiah; tom; sled; daw; josiah childs; trail; frederick travers
Contributor(s): Johnson, Frank Tenney, 1874-1939 [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 52,626 words (really short) Grade range: 6-8 (grade school) Readability score: 73 (easy)
Identifier: etext16257
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Turtles of Tasman, by Jack London

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Turtles of Tasman

Author: Jack London

Release Date: July 10, 2005 [EBook #16257]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TURTLES OF TASMAN ***




Produced by Suzanne Shell, Taavi Kalju and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net





THE TURTLES OF TASMAN

BY

JACK LONDON

AUTHOR OF THE CALL OF THE WILD, TERRY, ADVENTURE, ETC.

NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS

Published by Arrangement with The Macmillan Company

Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1916. Reprinted October,
November, 1916; February, 1917, December, 1919.




TABLE OF CONTENTS

BY THE TURTLES OF TASMAN

THE ETERNITY OF FORMS

TOLD IN THE DROOLING WARD

THE HOBO AND THE FAIRY

THE PRODIGAL FATHER

THE FIRST POET

FINIS

THE END OF THE STORY




THE TURTLES OF TASMAN




BY THE TURTLES OF TASMAN


I

Law, order, and restraint had carved Frederick Travers' face. It was the
strong, firm face of one used to power and who had used power with
wisdom and discretion. Clean living had made the healthy skin, and the
lines graved in it were honest lines. Hard and devoted work had left its
wholesome handiwork, that was all. Every feature of the man told the
same story, from the clear blue of the eyes to the full head of hair,
light brown, touched with grey, and smoothly parted and drawn straight
across above the strong-domed forehead. He was a seriously groomed man,
and the light summer business suit no more than befitted his alert
years, while it did not shout aloud that its possessor was likewise the
possessor of numerous millions of dollars and property.

For Frederick Travers hated ostentation. The machine that waited outside
for him under the porte-cochere was sober black. It was the most
expensive machine in the county, yet he did not care to flaunt its price
or horse-power in a red flare across the landscape, which also was
mostly his, from the sand dunes and the everlasting beat of the Pacific
breakers, across the fat bottomlands and upland pastures, to the far
summits clad with redwood forest and wreathed in fog and cloud.

A rustle of skirts caused him to look over his shoulder. Just the
faintest hint of irritation showed in his manner. Not that his daughter
was the object, however. Whatever it was, it seemed to lie on the desk
before him.

"What is that outlandish name again?" she asked. "I know I shall never
remember it. See, I've brought a pad to write it down."

Her voice was low and cool, and she was a tall, well-formed,
clear-skinned young woman. In her voice and complacence she, too,
showed the drill-marks of order and restraint.

Frederick Travers scanned the signature of one of two letters on the
desk. "Bronislawa Plaskoweitzkaia Travers," he read; then spelled the
difficult first portion, letter by letter, while his daughter wrote it
down.

"Now, Mary," he added, "remember Tom was always harum scarum, and you
must make allowances for this daughter of his. Her very name
is--ah--disconcerting. I haven't seen him for years, and as for her...."
A shrug epitomised his apprehension. He smiled with an effort at wit.
"Just the same, they're as much your family as mine. If he _is_ my
brother, he is your uncle. And if she's my niece, you're both cousins."

Mary nodded. "Don't worry, father. I'll be nice to her, poor thing. What
nationality was her mother?--to get such an awful name."

"I don't know. Russian, or Polish, or Spanish, or something. It was just
like Tom. She was an actress or singer--I don't remember. They met in
Buenos Ayres. It was an elopement. Her husband--"

"Then she was already married!"

Mary's dismay was unfeigned and spontaneous, and her father's irritation
grew more pronounced. He had not meant that. It had slipped out.

"There was a divorce afterward, of course. I never knew the details. Her
mother died out in China--no; in Tasmania. It was in China that Tom--"
His lips shut with almost a snap. He was not going to make any more
slips. Mary waited, then turned to the door, where she paused.

"I've given her the rooms over the rose court," she said. "And I'm going
now to take a last look."

Frederick Travers turned back to the desk, as if to put the letters
away, changed his mind, and slowly and ponderingly reread them.


      "Dear Fred:

      "It's been a long time since I was so near to the old home,
      and I'd like to take a run up. Unfortunately, I played ducks
      and drakes with my Yucatan project--I think I wrote about
      it--and I'm broke as usual. Could you advance me funds for
      the run? I'd like to arrive first class. Polly is with me,
      you know. I wonder how you two will get along.

                                                             "Tom.

      "P.S. If it doesn't bother you too much, send it along
      next mail."


      _"Dear Uncle Fred":_

the other letter ran, in what seemed to him a strange, foreign-taught,
yet distinctly feminine hand.

      "Dad doesn't know I am writing this. He told me what he said
      to you. It is not true. He is coming home to die. He doesn't
      know it, but I've talked with the doctors. And he'll have to
      come home, for we have no money. We're in a stuffy little
      boarding house, and it is not the place for Dad. He's helped
      other persons all his life, and now is the time to help him.
      He didn't play ducks and drakes in Yucatan. I was with him,
      and I know. He dropped all he had there, and he was robbed.
      He can't play the business game against New Yorkers. That
      explains it all, and I am proud he can't.

      "He always laughs and says I'll never be able to get along
      with you. But I don't agree with him. Besides, I've never seen
      a really, truly blood relative in my life, and there's your
      daughter. Think of it!--a real live cousin!

                                                   "In anticipation,
                                                        "Your niece,
                                "BRONISLAWA PLASKOWEITZKAIA TRAVERS.

      "P.S. You'd better telegraph the money, or you won't see Dad
      at all. He doesn't know how sick he is, and if he meets any
      of his old friends he'll be off and away on some wild goose
      chase. He's beginning to talk Alaska. Says it will get the
      fever out of his bones. Please know that we must pay the
      boarding house, or else we'll arrive without luggage.

                                                            "B.P.T."


Frederick Travers opened the door of a large, built-in safe and
methodically put the letters away in a compartment labelled "Thomas
Travers."

"Poor Tom! Poor Tom!" he sighed aloud.


II

The big motor car waited at the station, and Frederick Travers thrilled
as he always thrilled to the distant locomotive whistle of the train
plunging down the valley of Isaac Travers River. First of all westering
white-men, had Isaac Travers gazed on that splendid valley, its
salmon-laden waters, its rich bottoms, and its virgin forest slopes.
Having seen, he had grasped and never let go. "Land-poor," they had
called him in the mid-settler period. But that had been in the days when
the placers petered out, when there were no wagon roads nor tugs to draw
in sailing vessels across the perilous bar, and when his lonely grist
mill had been run under armed guards to keep the marauding Klamaths off
while wheat was ground. Like father, like son, and what Isaac Travers
had grasped, Frederick Travers had held. It had been the same tenacity
of hold. Both had been far-visioned. Both had foreseen the
transformation of the utter West, the coming of the railroad, and the
building of the new empire on the Pacific shore.

Frederick Travers thrilled, too, at the locomotive whistle, because,
more than any man's, it was his railroad. His father had died still
striving to bring the railroad in across the mountains that averaged a
hundred thousand dollars to the mile. He, Frederick, had brought it in.
He had sat up nights over that railroad; bought newspapers, entered
politics, and subsidised party machines; and he had made pilgrimages,
more than once, at his own expense, to the railroad chiefs of the East.
While all the county knew how many miles of his land were crossed by the
right of way, none of the county guessed nor dreamed the number of his
dollars which had gone into guaranties and railroad bonds. He had done
much for his county, and the railroad was his last and greatest
achievement, the capstone of the Travers' effort, the momentous and
marvellous thing that had been brought about just yesterday. It had
been running two years, and, highest proof of all of his judgment,
dividends were in sight. And farther reaching reward was in sight. It
was written in the books that the next Governor of California was to be
spelled, Frederick A. Travers.

Twenty years had passed since he had seen his elder brother, and then it
had been after a gap of ten years. He remembered that night well. Tom
was the only man who dared run the bar in the dark, and that last time,
between nightfall and the dawn, with a southeaster breezing up, he had
sailed his schooner in and out again. There had been no warning of his
coming--a clatter of hoofs at midnight, a lathered horse in the stable,
and Tom had appeared, the salt of the sea on his face as his mother
attested. An hour only he remained, and on a fresh horse was gone, while
rain squalls rattled upon the windows and the rising wind moaned through
the redwoods, the memory of his visit a whiff, sharp and strong, from
the wild outer world. A week later, sea-hammered and bar-bound for that
time, had arrived the revenue cutter _Bear_, and there had been a
column of conjecture in the local paper, hints of a heavy landing of
opium and of a vain quest for the mysterious schooner _Halcyon_. Only
Fred and his mother, and the several house Indians, knew of the
stiffened horse in the barn and of the devious way it was afterward
smuggled back to the fishing village on the beach.

Despite those twenty years, it was the same old Tom Travers that
alighted from the Pullman. To his brother's eyes, he did not look sick.
Older he was of course. The Panama hat did not hide the grey hair, and
though indefinably hinting of shrunkenness, the broad shoulders were
still broad and erect. As for the young woman with him, Frederick
Travers experienced an immediate shock of distaste. He felt it vitally,
yet vaguely. It was a challenge and a mock, yet he could not name nor
place the source of it. It might have been the dress, of tailored linen
and foreign cut, the shirtwaist, with its daring stripe, the black
wilfulness of the hair, or the flaunt of poppies on the large straw hat
or it might have been the flash and colour of her--the black eyes and
brows, the flame of rose in the cheeks, the white of the even teeth that
showed too readily. "A spoiled child," was his thought, but he had no
time to analyse, for his brother's hand was in his and he was making his
niece's acquaintance.

There it was again. She flashed and talked like her colour, and she
talked with her hands as well. He could not avoid noting the smallness
of them. They were absurdly small, and his eyes went to her feet to make
the same discovery. Quite oblivious of the curious crowd on the station
platform, she had intercepted his attempt to lead to the motor car and
had ranged the brothers side by side. Tom had been laughingly
acquiescent, but his younger brother was ill at ease, too conscious of
the many eyes of his townspeople. He knew only the old Puritan way.
Family displays were for the privacy of the family, not for the public.
He was glad she had not attempted to kiss him. It was remarkable she had
not. Already he apprehended anything of her.

She embraced them and penetrated them with sun-warm eyes that seemed to
see through them, and over them, and all about them.

"You're really brothers," she cried, her hands flashing with her eyes.
"Anybody can see it. And yet there is a difference--I don't know. I
can't explain."

In truth, with a tact that exceeded Frederick Travers' farthest
disciplined forbearance, she did not dare explain. Her wide artist-eyes
had seen and sensed the whole trenchant and essential difference. Alike
they looked, of the unmistakable same stock, their features reminiscent
of a common origin; and there resemblance ceased. Tom was three inches
taller, and well-greyed was the long, Viking moustache. His was the same
eagle-like nose as his brother's, save that it was more eagle-like,
while the blue eyes were pronouncedly so. The lines of the face were
deeper, the cheek-bones higher, the hollows larger, the weather-beat
darker. It was a volcanic face. There had been fire there, and the fire
still lingered. Around the corners of the eyes were more
laughter-wrinkles and in the eyes themselves a promise of deadlier
seriousness than the younger brother possessed. Frederick was bourgeois
in his carriage, but in Tom's was a certain careless ease and
distinction. It was the same pioneer blood of Isaac Travers in both men,
but it had been retorted in widely different crucibles. Frederick
represented the straight and expected line of descent. His brother
expressed a vast and intangible something that was unknown in the
Travers stock. And it was all this that the black-eyed girl saw and knew
on the instant. All that had been inexplicable in the two men and their
relationship cleared up in the moment she saw them side by side.

"Wake me up," Tom was saying. "I can't believe I arrived on a train. And
the population? There were only four thousand thirty years ago."

"Sixty thousand now," was the other's answer. "And increasing by leaps
and bounds. Want to spin around for a look at the city? There's plenty
of time."

As they sped along the broad, well-paved streets, Tom persisted in his
Rip Van Winkle pose. The waterfront perplexed him. Where he had once
anchored his sloop in a dozen feet of water, he found solid land and
railroad yards, with wharves and shipping still farther out.

"Hold on! Stop!" he cried, a few blocks on, looking up at a solid
business block. "Where is this, Fred?"

"Fourth and Travers--don't you remember?"

Tom stood up and gazed around, trying to discern the anciently familiar
configuration of the land under its clutter of buildings.

"I ... I think...." he began hesitantly. "No; by George, I'm sure of it.
We used to hunt cottontails over that ground, and shoot blackbirds in
the brush. And there, where the bank building is, was a pond." He turned
to Polly. "I built my first raft there, and got my first taste of the
sea."

"Heaven knows how many gallons of it," Frederick laughed, nodding to the
chauffeur. "They rolled you on a barrel, I remember."

"Oh! More!" Polly cried, clapping her hands.

"There's the park," Frederick pointed out a little later, indicating a
mass of virgin redwoods on the first dip of the bigger hills.

"Father shot three grizzlies there one afternoon," was Tom's remark.

"I presented forty acres of it to the city," Frederick went on. "Father
bought the quarter section for a dollar an acre from Leroy."

Tom nodded, and the sparkle and flash in his eyes, like that of his
daughter, were unlike anything that ever appeared in his brother's eyes.

"Yes," he affirmed, "Leroy, the negro squawman. I remember the time he
carried you and me on his back to Alliance, the night the Indians burned
the ranch. Father stayed behind and fought."

"But he couldn't save the grist mill. It was a serious setback to him."

"Just the same he nailed four Indians."

In Polly's eyes now appeared the flash and sparkle.

"An Indian-fighter!" she cried. "Tell me about him."

"Tell her about Travers Ferry," Tom said.

"That's a ferry on the Klamath River on the way to Orleans Bar and
Siskiyou. There was great packing into the diggings in those days, and,
among other things, father had made a location there. There was rich
bench farming land, too. He built a suspension bridge--wove the cables
on the spot with sailors and materials freighted in from the coast. It
cost him twenty thousand dollars. The first day it was open, eight
hundred mules crossed at a dollar a head, to say nothing of the toll for
foot and horse. That night the river rose. The bridge was one hundred
and forty feet above low water mark. Yet the freshet rose higher than
that, and swept the bridge away. He'd have made a fortune there
otherwise."

"That wasn't it at all," Tom blurted out impatiently. "It was at Travers
Ferry that father and old Jacob Vance were caught by a war party of Mad
River Indians. Old Jacob was killed right outside the door of the log
cabin. Father dragged the body inside and stood the Indians off for a
week. Father was some shot. He buried Jacob under the cabin floor."

"I still run the ferry," Frederick went on, "though there isn't so much
travel as in the old days. I freight by wagon-road to the Reservation,
and then mule-back on up the Klamath and clear in to the forks of Little
Salmon. I have twelve stores on that chain now, a stage-line to the
Reservation, and a hotel there. Quite a tourist trade is beginning to
pick up."

And the girl, with curious brooding eyes, looked from brother to brother
as they so differently voiced themselves and life.

"Ay, he was some man, father was," Tom murmured.

There was a drowsy note in his speech that drew a quick glance of
anxiety from her. The machine had turned into the cemetery, and now
halted before a substantial vault on the crest of the hill.

"I thought you'd like to see it," Frederick was saying. "I built that
mausoleum myself, most of it with my own hands. Mother wanted it. The
estate was dreadfully encumbered. The best bid I could get out of the
contractors was eleven thousand. I did it myself for a little over
eight."

"Must have worked nights," Tom murmured admiringly and more sleepily
than before.

"I did, Tom, I did. Many a night by lantern-light. I was so busy. I was
reconstructing the water works then--the artesian wells had failed--and
mother's eyes were troubling her. You remember--cataract--I wrote you.
She was too weak to travel, and I brought the specialists up from San
Francisco. Oh, my hands were full. I was just winding up the disastrous
affairs of the steamer line father had established to San Francisco, and
I was keeping up the interest on mortgages to the tune of one hundred
and eighty thousand dollars."

A soft stertorous breathing interrupted him. Tom, chin on chest, was
asleep. Polly, with a significant look, caught her uncle's eye. Then
her father, after an uneasy restless movement, lifted drowsy lids.

"Deuced warm day," he said with a bright apologetic laugh. "I've been
actually asleep. Aren't we near home?"

Frederick nodded to the chauffeur, and the car rolled on.


III

The house that Frederick Travers had built when his prosperity came, was
large and costly, sober and comfortable, and with no more pretence than
was naturally attendant on the finest country home in the county. Its
atmosphere was just the sort that he and his daughter would create. But
in the days that followed his brother's home-coming, all this was
changed. Gone was the subdued and ordered repose. Frederick was neither
comfortable nor happy. There was an unwonted flurry of life and
violation of sanctions and traditions. Meals were irregular and
protracted, and there were midnight chafing-dish suppers and bursts of
laughter at the most inappropriate hours.

Frederick was abstemious. A glass of wine at dinner was his wildest
excess. Three cigars a day he permitted himself, and these he smoked
either on the broad veranda or in the smoking room. What else was a
smoking room for? Cigarettes he detested. Yet his brother was ever
rolling thin, brown-paper cigarettes and smoking them wherever he might
happen to be. A litter of tobacco crumbs was always to be found in the
big easy chair he frequented and among the cushions of the window-seats.
Then there were the cocktails. Brought up under the stern tutelage of
Isaac and Eliza Travers, Frederick looked upon liquor in the house as an
abomination. Ancient cities had been smitten by God's wrath for just
such practices. Before lunch and dinner, Tom, aided and abetted by
Polly, mixed an endless variety of drinks, she being particularly adept
with strange swivel-stick concoctions learned at the ends of the earth.
To Frederick, at such times, it seemed that his butler's pantry and
dining room had been turned into bar-rooms. When he suggested this,
under a facetious show, Tom proclaimed that when he made his pile he
would build a liquor cabinet in every living room of his house.

And there were more young men at the house than formerly, and they
helped in disposing of the cocktails. Frederick would have liked to
account in that manner for their presence, but he knew better. His
brother and his brother's daughter did what he and Mary had failed to
do. They were the magnets. Youth and joy and laughter drew to them. The
house was lively with young life. Ever, day and night, the motor cars
honked up and down the gravelled drives. There were picnics and
expeditions in the summer weather, moonlight sails on the bay, starts
before dawn or home-comings at midnight, and often, of nights, the many
bedrooms were filled as they had never been before. Tom must cover all
his boyhood ramblings, catch trout again on Bull Creek, shoot quail over
Walcott's Prairie, get a deer on Round Mountain. That deer was a cause
of pain and shame to Frederick. What if it was closed season? Tom had
triumphantly brought home the buck and gleefully called it
sidehill-salmon when it was served and eaten at Frederick's own table.

They had clambakes at the head of the bay and musselbakes down by the
roaring surf; and Tom told shamelessly of the _Halcyon_, and of the run
of contraband, and asked Frederick before them all how he had managed to
smuggle the horse back to the fishermen without discovery. All the young
men were in the conspiracy with Polly to pamper Tom to his heart's
desire. And Frederick heard the true inwardness of the killing of the
deer; of its purchase from the overstocked Golden Gate Park; of its
crated carriage by train, horse-team and mule-back to the fastnesses of
Round Mountain; of Tom falling asleep beside the deer-run the first time
it was driven by; of the pursuit by the young men, the jaded saddle
horses, the scrambles and the falls, and the roping of it at Burnt Ranch
Clearing; and, finally, of the triumphant culmination, when it was
driven past a second time and Tom had dropped it at fifty yards. To
Frederick there was a vague hurt in it all. When had such consideration
been shown him?

There were days when Tom could not go out, postponements of outdoor
frolics, when, still the centre, he sat and drowsed in the big chair,
waking, at times, in that unexpected queer, bright way of his, to roll
a cigarette and call for his _ukulele_--a sort of miniature guitar of
Portuguese invention. Then, with strumming and tumtuming, the live
cigarette laid aside to the imminent peril of polished wood, his full
baritone would roll out in South Sea _hulas_ and sprightly French and
Spanish songs.

One, in particular, had pleased Frederick at first. The favourite song
of a Tahitian king, Tom explained--the last of the Pomares, who had
himself composed it and was wont to lie on his mats by the hour singing
it. It consisted of the repetition of a few syllables. "_E meu ru ru a
vau_," it ran, and that was all of it, sung in a stately, endless,
ever-varying chant, accompanied by solemn chords from the _ukelele_.
Polly took great joy in teaching it to her uncle, but when, himself
questing for some of this genial flood of life that bathed about his
brother, Frederick essayed the song, he noted suppressed glee on the
part of his listeners, which increased, through giggles and snickers, to
a great outburst of laughter. To his disgust and dismay, he learned
that the simple phrase he had repeated and repeated was nothing else
than "I am so drunk." He had been made a fool of. Over and over,
solemnly and gloriously, he, Frederick Travers, had announced how drunk
he was. After that, he slipped quietly out of the room whenever it was
sung. Nor could Polly's later explanation that the last word was
"happy," and not "drunk," reconcile him; for she had been compelled to
admit that the old king was a toper, and that he was always in his cups
when he struck up the chant.

Frederick was constantly oppressed by the feeling of being out of it
all. He was a social being, and he liked fun, even if it were of a more
wholesome and dignified brand than that to which his brother was
addicted. He could not understand why in the past the young people had
voted his house a bore and come no more, save on state and formal
occasions, until now, when they flocked to it and to his brother, but
not to him. Nor could he like the way the young women petted his
brother, and called him Tom, while it was intolerable to see them twist
and pull his buccaneer moustache in mock punishment when his sometimes
too-jolly banter sank home to them.

Such conduct was a profanation to the memory of Isaac and Eliza Travers.
There was too much an air of revelry in the house. The long table was
never shortened, while there was extra help in the kitchen. Breakfast
extended from four until eleven, and the midnight suppers, entailing
raids on the pantry and complaints from the servants, were a vexation to
Frederick. The house had become a restaurant, a hotel, he sneered
bitterly to himself; and there were times when he was sorely tempted to
put his foot down and reassert the old ways. But somehow the ancient
sorcery of his masterful brother was too strong upon him; and at times
he gazed upon him with a sense almost of awe, groping to fathom the
alchemy of charm, baffled by the strange lights and fires in his
brother's eyes, and by the wisdom of far places and of wild nights and
days written in his face. What was it? What lordly vision had the other
glimpsed?--he, the irresponsible and careless one? Frederick remembered
a line of an old song--"Along the shining ways he came." Why did his
brother remind him of that line? Had he, who in boyhood had known no
law, who in manhood had exalted himself above law, in truth found the
shining ways?

There was an unfairness about it that perplexed Frederick, until he
found solace in dwelling upon the failure Tom had made of life. Then it
was, in quiet intervals, that he got some comfort and stiffened his own
pride by showing Tom over the estate.

"You have done well, Fred," Tom would say. "You have done very well."

He said it often, and often he drowsed in the big smooth-running
machine.

"Everything orderly and sanitary and spick and span--not a blade of
grass out of place," was Polly's comment. "How do you ever manage it? I
should not like to be a blade of grass on your land," she concluded,
with a little shivery shudder.

"You have worked hard," Tom said.

"Yes, I have worked hard," Frederick affirmed. "It was worth it."

He was going to say more, but the strange flash in the girl's eyes
brought him to an uncomfortable pause. He felt that she measured him,
challenged him. For the first time his honourable career of building a
county commonwealth had been questioned--and by a chit of a girl, the
daughter of a wastrel, herself but a flighty, fly-away, foreign
creature.

Conflict between them was inevitable. He had disliked her from the first
moment of meeting. She did not have to speak. Her mere presence made him
uncomfortable. He felt her unspoken disapproval, though there were times
when she did not stop at that. Nor did she mince language. She spoke
forthright, like a man, and as no man had ever dared to speak to him.

"I wonder if you ever miss what you've missed," she told him. "Did you
ever, once in your life, turn yourself loose and rip things up by the
roots? Did you ever once get drunk? Or smoke yourself black in the
face? Or dance a hoe-down on the ten commandments? Or stand up on your
hind legs and wink like a good fellow at God?"

"Isn't she a rare one!" Tom gurgled. "Her mother over again."

Outwardly smiling and calm, there was a chill of horror at Frederick's
heart. It was incredible.

"I think it is the English," she continued, "who have a saying that a
man has not lived until he has kissed his woman and struck his man. I
wonder--confess up, now--if you ever struck a man."

"Have you?" he countered.

She nodded, an angry reminiscent flash in her eyes, and waited.

"No, I have never had that pleasure," he answered slowly. "I early
learned control."

Later, irritated by his self-satisfied complacence and after listening
to a recital of how he had cornered the Klamath salmon-packing, planted
the first oysters on the bay and established that lucrative monopoly,
and of how, after exhausting litigation and a campaign of years he had
captured the water front of Williamsport and thereby won to control of
the Lumber Combine, she returned to the charge.

"You seem to value life in terms of profit and loss," she said. "I
wonder if you have ever known love."

The shaft went home. He had not kissed his woman. His marriage had been
one of policy. It had saved the estate in the days when he had been
almost beaten in the struggle to disencumber the vast holdings Isaac
Travers' wide hands had grasped. The girl was a witch. She had probed an
old wound and made it hurt again. He had never had time to love. He had
worked hard. He had been president of the chamber of commerce, mayor of
the city, state senator, but he had missed love. At chance moments he
had come upon Polly, openly and shamelessly in her father's arms, and he
had noted the warmth and tenderness in their eyes. Again he knew that he
had missed love. Wanton as was the display, not even in private did he
and Mary so behave. Normal, formal, and colourless, she was what was to
be expected of a loveless marriage. He even puzzled to decide whether
the feeling he felt for her was love. Was he himself loveless as well?

In the moment following Polly's remark, he was aware of a great
emptiness. It seemed that his hands had grasped ashes, until, glancing
into the other room, he saw Tom asleep in the big chair, very grey and
aged and tired. He remembered all that he had done, all that he
possessed. Well, what did Tom possess? What had Tom done?--save play
ducks and drakes with life and wear it out until all that remained was
that dimly flickering spark in a dying body.

What bothered Frederick in Polly was that she attracted him as well as
repelled him. His own daughter had never interested him in that way.
Mary moved along frictionless grooves, and to forecast her actions was
so effortless that it was automatic. But Polly! many-hued,
protean-natured, he never knew what she was going to do next.

"Keeps you guessing, eh?" Tom chuckled.

She was irresistible. She had her way with Frederick in ways that in
Mary would have been impossible. She took liberties with him, cosened
him or hurt him, and compelled always in him a sharp awareness of her
existence.

Once, after one of their clashes, she devilled him at the piano, playing
a mad damned thing that stirred and irritated him and set his pulse
pounding wild and undisciplined fancies in the ordered chamber of his
brain. The worst of it was she saw and knew just what she was doing. She
was aware before he was, and she made him aware, her face turned to look
at him, on her lips a mocking, contemplative smile that was almost a
superior sneer. It was this that shocked him into consciousness of the
orgy his imagination had been playing him. From the wall above her, the
stiff portraits of Isaac and Eliza Travers looked down like reproachful
spectres. Infuriated, he left the room. He had never dreamed such
potencies resided in music. And then, and he remembered it with shame,
he had stolen back outside to listen, and she had known, and once more
she had devilled him.

When Mary asked him what he thought of Polly's playing, an unbidden
contrast leaped to his mind. Mary's music reminded him of church. It was
cold and bare as a Methodist meeting house. But Polly's was like the mad
and lawless ceremonial of some heathen temple where incense arose and
nautch girls writhed.

"She plays like a foreigner," he answered, pleased with the success and
oppositeness of his evasion.

"She is an artist," Mary affirmed solemnly. "She is a genius. When does
she ever practise? When did she ever practise? You know how I have. My
best is like a five-finger exercise compared with the foolishest thing
she ripples off. Her music tells me things--oh, things wonderful and
unutterable. Mine tells me, 'one-two-three, one-two-three.' Oh, it is
maddening! I work and work and get nowhere. It is unfair. Why should she
be born that way, and not I?"

"Love," was Frederick's immediate and secret thought; but before he
could dwell upon the conclusion, the unprecedented had happened and Mary
was sobbing in a break-down of tears. He would have liked to take her in
his arms, after Tom's fashion, but he did not know how. He tried, and
found Mary as unschooled as himself. It resulted only in an embarrassed
awkwardness for both of them.

The contrasting of the two girls was inevitable. Like father like
daughter. Mary was no more than a pale camp-follower of a gorgeous,
conquering general. Frederick's thrift had been sorely educated in the
matter of clothes. He knew just how expensive Mary's clothes were, yet
he could not blind himself to the fact that Polly's vagabond makeshifts,
cheap and apparently haphazard, were always all right and far more
successful. Her taste was unerring. Her ways with a shawl were
inimitable. With a scarf she performed miracles.

"She just throws things together," Mary complained. "She doesn't even
try. She can dress in fifteen minutes, and when she goes swimming she
beats the boys out of the dressing rooms." Mary was honest and
incredulous in her admiration. "I can't see how she does it. No one
could dare those colours, but they look just right on her."

"She's always threatened that when I became finally flat broke she'd set
up dressmaking and take care of both of us," Tom contributed.

Frederick, looking over the top of a newspaper, was witness to an
illuminating scene; Mary, to his certain knowledge, had been primping
for an hour ere she appeared.

"Oh! How lovely!" was Polly's ready appreciation. Her eyes and face
glowed with honest pleasure, and her hands wove their delight in the
air. "But why not wear that bow so and thus?"

Her hands flashed to the task, and in a moment the miracle of taste and
difference achieved by her touch was apparent even to Frederick.

Polly was like her father, generous to the point of absurdity with her
meagre possessions. Mary admired a Spanish fan--a Mexican treasure that
had come down from one of the grand ladies of the Court of the Emperor
Maximilian. Polly's delight flamed like wild-fire. Mary found herself
the immediate owner of the fan, almost labouring under the fictitious
impression that she had conferred an obligation by accepting it. Only a
foreign woman could do such things, and Polly was guilty of similar
gifts to all the young women. It was her way. It might be a lace
handkerchief, a pink Paumotan pearl, or a comb of hawksbill turtle. It
was all the same. Whatever their eyes rested on in joy was theirs. To
women, as to men, she was irresistible.

"I don't dare admire anything any more," was Mary's plaint. "If I do she
always gives it to me."

Frederick had never dreamed such a creature could exist. The women of
his own race and place had never adumbrated such a possibility. He knew
that whatever she did--her quick generosities, her hot enthusiasms or
angers, her birdlike caressing ways--was unbelievably sincere. Her
extravagant moods at the same time shocked and fascinated him. Her voice
was as mercurial as her feelings. There were no even tones, and she
talked with her hands. Yet, in her mouth, English was a new and
beautiful language, softly limpid, with an audacity of phrase and
tellingness of expression that conveyed subtleties and nuances as
unambiguous and direct as they were unexpected from one of such
childlikeness and simplicity. He woke up of nights and on his darkened
eyelids saw bright memory-pictures of the backward turn of her vivid,
laughing face.


IV

Like daughter like father. Tom, too, had been irresistible. All the
world still called to him, and strange men came from time to time with
its messages. Never had there been such visitors to the Travers home.
Some came with the reminiscent roll of the sea in their gait. Others
were black-browed ruffians; still others were fever-burnt and sallow;
and about all of them was something bizarre and outlandish. Their talk
was likewise bizarre and outlandish, of things to Frederick unguessed
and undreamed, though he recognised the men for what they were--soldiers
of fortune, adventurers, free lances of the world. But the big patent
thing was the love and loyalty they bore their leader. They named him
variously?--Black Tom, Blondine, Husky Travers, Malemute Tom,
Swiftwater Tom--but most of all he was Captain Tom. Their projects and
propositions were equally various, from the South Sea trader with the
discovery of a new guano island and the Latin-American with a nascent
revolution on his hands, on through Siberian gold chases and the
prospecting of the placer benches of the upper Kuskokeem, to darker
things that were mentioned only in whispers. And Captain Tom regretted
the temporary indisposition that prevented immediate departure with
them, and continued to sit and drowse more and more in the big chair. It
was Polly, with a camaraderie distasteful to her uncle, who got these
men aside and broke the news that Captain Tom would never go out on the
shining ways again. But not all of them came with projects. Many made
love-calls on their leader of old and unforgetable days, and Frederick
sometimes was a witness to their meeting, and he marvelled anew at the
mysterious charm in his brother that drew all men to him.

"By the turtles of Tasman!" cried one, "when I heard you was in
California, Captain Tom, I just had to come and shake hands. I reckon
you ain't forgot Tasman, eh?--nor the scrap at Thursday Island.
Say--old Tasman was killed by his niggers only last year up German New
Guinea way. Remember his cook-boy?--Ngani-Ngani? He was the ringleader.
Tasman swore by him, but Ngani-Ngani hatcheted him just the same."

"Shake hands with Captain Carlsen, Fred," was Tom's introduction of his
brother to another visitor. "He pulled me out of a tight place on the
West Coast once. I'd have cashed in, Carlsen, if you hadn't happened
along."

Captain Carlsen was a giant hulk of a man, with gimlet eyes of palest
blue, a slash-scarred mouth that a blazing red beard could not quite
hide, and a grip in his hand that made Frederick squirm.

A few minutes later, Tom had his brother aside.

"Say, Fred, do you think it will bother to advance me a thousand?"

"Of course," Frederick answered splendidly. "You know half of that I
have is yours, Tom."

And when Captain Carlsen departed, Frederick was morally certain that
the thousand dollars departed with him.

Small wonder Tom had made a failure of life--and come home to die.
Frederick sat at his own orderly desk taking stock of the difference
between him and his brother. Yes, and if it hadn't been for him, there
would have been no home for Tom to die in.

Frederick cast back for solace through their joint history. It was he
who had always been the mainstay, the dependable one. Tom had laughed
and rollicked, played hooky from school, disobeyed Isaac's commandments.
To the mountains or the sea, or in hot water with the neighbours and the
town authorities--it was all the same; he was everywhere save where the
dull plod of work obtained. And work was work in those backwoods days,
and he, Frederick, had done the work. Early and late and all days he had
been at it. He remembered the season when Isaac's wide plans had taken
one of their smashes, when food had been scarce on the table of a man
who owned a hundred thousand acres, when there had been no money to
hire harvesters for the hay, and when Isaac would not let go his grip on
a single one of his acres. He, Frederick, had pitched the hay, while
Isaac mowed and raked. Tom had lain in bed and run up a doctor bill with
a broken leg, gained by falling off the ridge-pole of the barn--which
place was the last in the world to which any one would expect to go to
pitch hay. About the only work Tom had ever done, it seemed to him, was
to fetch in venison and bear-oil, to break colts, and to raise a din in
the valley pastures and wooded canyons with his bear-hounds.

Tom was the elder, yet when Isaac died, the estate, with all its vast
possibilities would have gone to ruin, had not he, Frederick, buckled
down to it and put the burden on his back. Work! He remembered the
enlargement of the town water-system--how he had manoeuvred and
financed, persuaded small loans at ruinous interest, and laid pipe and
made joints by lantern light while the workmen slept, and then been up
ahead of them to outline and direct and rack his brains over the
raising of the next week-end wages. For he had carried on old Isaac's
policy. He would not let go. The future would vindicate.

And Tom!--with a bigger pack of bear dogs ranging the mountains and
sleeping out a week at a time. Frederick remembered the final conference
in the kitchen--Tom, and he, and Eliza Travers, who still cooked and
baked and washed dishes on an estate that carried a hundred and eighty
thousand dollars in mortgages.


"Don't divide," Eliza Travers had pleaded, resting her soap-flecked,
parboiled arms. "Isaac was right. It will be worth millions. The country
is opening up. We must all pull together."

"I don't want the estate," Tom cried. "Let Frederick have it. What I
want...."

He never completed the sentence, but all the vision of the world burned
in his eyes.

"I can't wait," he went on. "You can have the millions when they come.
In the meantime let me have ten thousand. I'll sign off quitclaim to
everything. And give me the old schooner, and some day I'll be back with
a pot of money to help you out."

Frederick could see himself, in that far past day, throwing up his arms
in horror and crying:

"Ten thousand!--when I'm strained to the breaking point to raise this
quarter's interest!"

"There's the block of land next to the court house," Tom had urged. "I
know the bank has a standing offer for ten thousand."

"But it will be worth a hundred thousand in ten years," Frederick had
objected.

"Call it so. Say I quitclaim everything for a hundred thousand. Sell it
for ten and let me have it. It's all I want, and I want it now. You can
have the rest."

And Tom had had his will as usual (the block had been mortgaged instead
of sold), and sailed away in the old schooner, the benediction of the
town upon his head, for he had carried away in his crew half the
riff-raff of the beach.

The bones of the schooner had been left on the coast of Java. That had
been when Eliza Travers was being operated on for her eyes, and
Frederick had kept it from her until indubitable proof came that Tom was
still alive.

Frederick went over to his files and drew out a drawer labelled "Thomas
Travers." In it were packets, methodically arranged. He went over the
letters. They were from everywhere--China, Rangoon, Australia, South
Africa, the Gold Coast, Patagonia, Armenia, Alaska. Briefly and
infrequently written, they epitomised the wanderer's life. Frederick ran
over in his mind a few of the glimpsed highlights of Tom's career. He
had fought in some sort of foreign troubles in Armenia. He had been an
officer in the Chinese army, and it was a certainty that the trade he
later drove in the China Seas was illicit. He had been caught running
arms into Cuba. It seemed he had always been running something somewhere
that it ought not to have been run. And he had never outgrown it. One
letter, on crinkly tissue paper, showed that as late as the
Japanese-Russian War he had been caught running coal into Port Arthur
and been taken to the prize court at Sasebo, where his steamer was
confiscated and he remained a prisoner until the end of the war.

Frederick smiled as he read a paragraph: "_How do you prosper? Let me
know any time a few thousands will help you_." He looked at the date,
April 18, 1883, and opened another packet. "_May 5th_," 1883, was the
dated sheet he drew out. "_Five thousand will put me on my feet again.
If you can, and love me, send it along pronto--that's Spanish for
rush_."

He glanced again at the two dates. It was evident that somewhere between
April 18th and May 5th Tom had come a cropper. With a smile, half
bitter, Frederick skimmed on through the correspondence: "_There's a
wreck on Midway Island. A fortune in it, salvage you know. Auction in
two days. Cable me four thousand_." The last he examined, ran: "_A deal
I can swing with a little cash. It's big, I tell you. It's so big I
don't dare tell you_." He remembered that deal--a Latin-American
revolution. He had sent the cash, and Tom had swung it, and himself as
well, into a prison cell and a death sentence.

Tom had meant well, there was no denying that. And he had always
religiously forwarded his I O U's. Frederick musingly weighed the packet
of them in his hand, as though to determine if any relation existed
between the weight of paper and the sums of money represented on it.

He put the drawer back in the cabinet and passed out. Glancing in at the
big chair he saw Polly just tiptoeing from the room. Tom's head lay
back, and his breathing was softly heavy, the sickness pronouncedly
apparent on his relaxed face.


V

"I have worked hard," Frederick explained to Polly that evening on the
veranda, unaware that when a man explains it is a sign his situation is
growing parlous. "I have done what came to my hand--how creditably it is
for others to say. And I have been paid for it. I have taken care of
others and taken care of myself. The doctors say they have never seen
such a constitution in a man of my years. Why, almost half my life is
yet before me, and we Travers are a long-lived stock. I took care of
myself, you see, and I have myself to show for it. I was not a waster. I
conserved my heart and my arteries, and yet there are few men who can
boast having done as much work as I have done. Look at that hand.
Steady, eh? It will be as steady twenty years from now. There is nothing
in playing fast and loose with oneself."

And all the while Polly had been following the invidious comparison that
lurked behind his words.

"You can write 'Honourable' before your name," she flashed up proudly.
"But my father has been a king. He has lived. Have you lived? What have
you got to show for it? Stocks and bonds, and houses and servants--pouf!
Heart and arteries and a steady hand--is that all? Have you lived merely
to live? Were you afraid to die? I'd rather sing one wild song and burst
my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and
being afraid of the wet. When you are dust, my father will be ashes.
That is the difference."

"But my dear child--" he began.

"What have you got to show for it?" she flamed on. "Listen!"

From within, through the open window, came the tinkling of Tom's
_ukulele_ and the rollicking lilt of his voice in an Hawaiian _hula_. It
ended in a throbbing, primitive love-call from the sensuous tropic night
that no one could mistake. There was a burst of young voices, and a
clamour for more. Frederick did not speak. He had sensed something vague
and significant.

Turning, he glanced through the window at Tom, flushed and royal,
surrounded by the young men and women, under his Viking moustache
lighting a cigarette from a match held to him by one of the girls. It
abruptly struck Frederick that never had he lighted a cigar at a match
held in a woman's hand.

"Doctor Tyler says he oughtn't to smoke--it only aggravates," he said;
and it was all he could say.

As the fall of the year came on, a new type of men began to frequent the
house. They proudly called themselves "sour-doughs," and they were
arriving in San Francisco on the winter's furlough from the
gold-diggings of Alaska. More and more of them came, and they pre-empted
a large portion of one of the down-town hotels. Captain Tom was fading
with the season, and almost lived in the big chair. He drowsed oftener
and longer, but whenever he awoke he was surrounded by his court of
young people, or there was some comrade waiting to sit and yarn about
the old gold days and plan for the new gold days.

For Tom--Husky Travers, the Yukoners named him--never thought that the
end approached. A temporary illness, he called it, the natural
enfeeblement following upon a prolonged bout with Yucatan fever. In the
spring he would be right and fit again. Cold weather was what he needed.
His blood had been cooked. In the meantime it was a case of take it easy
and make the most of the rest.

And no one undeceived him--not even the Yukoners, who smoked pipes and
black cigars and chewed tobacco on Frederick's broad verandas until he
felt like an intruder in his own house. There was no touch with them.
They regarded him as a stranger to be tolerated. They came to see Tom.
And their manner of seeing him was provocative of innocent envy pangs to
Frederick. Day after day he watched them. He would see the Yukoners
meet, perhaps one just leaving the sick room and one just going in. They
would clasp hands, solemnly and silently, outside the door. The
newcomer would question with his eyes, and the other would shake his
head. And more than once Frederick noted the moisture in their eyes.
Then the newcomer would enter and draw his chair up to Tom's, and with
jovial voice proceed to plan the outfitting for the exploration of the
upper Kuskokeem; for it was there Tom was bound in the spring. Dogs
could be had at Larabee's--a clean breed, too, with no taint of the soft
Southland strains. It was rough country, it was reported, but if
sour-doughs couldn't make the traverse from Larabee's in forty days
they'd like to see a _chechako_ do it in sixty.

And so it went, until Frederick wondered, when he came to die, if there
was one man in the county, much less in the adjoining county, who would
come to him at his bedside.

Seated at his desk, through the open windows would drift whiffs of
strong tobacco and rumbling voices, and he could not help catching
snatches of what the Yukoners talked.

"D'ye recollect that Koyokuk rush in the early nineties?" he would hear
one say. "Well, him an' me was pardners then, tradin' an' such. We had
a dinky little steamboat, the _Blatterbat_. He named her that, an' it
stuck. He was a caution. Well, sir, as I was sayin', him an' me loaded
the little _Blatterbat_ to the guards an' started up the Koyokuk, me
firin' an' engineerin' an' him steerin', an' both of us deck-handin'.
Once in a while we'd tie to the bank an' cut firewood. It was the fall,
an' mush-ice was comin' down, an' everything gettin' ready for the
freeze up. You see, we was north of the Arctic Circle then an' still
headin' north. But they was two hundred miners in there needin' grub if
they wintered, an' we had the grub.

"Well, sir, pretty soon they begun to pass us, driftin' down the river
in canoes an' rafts. They was pullin' out. We kept track of them. When a
hundred an' ninety-four had passed, we didn't see no reason for keepin'
on. So we turned tail and started down. A cold snap had come, an' the
water was fallin' fast, an' dang me if we didn't ground on a
bar--up-stream side. The _Blatterbat_ hung up solid. Couldn't budge
her. 'It's a shame to waste all that grub,' says I, just as we was
pullin' out in a canoe. 'Let's stay an' eat it,' says he. An' dang me if
we didn't. We wintered right there on the _Blatterbat_, huntin' and
tradin' with the Indians, an' when the river broke next year we brung
down eight thousand dollars' worth of skins. Now a whole winter, just
two of us, is goin' some. But never a cross word out of him.
Best-tempered pardner I ever seen. But fight!"

"Huh!" came the other voice. "I remember the winter Oily Jones allowed
he'd clean out Forty Mile. Only he didn't, for about the second yap he
let off he ran afoul of Husky Travers. It was in the White Caribou. 'I'm
a wolf!' yaps Jones. You know his style, a gun in his belt, fringes on
his moccasins, and long hair down his back. 'I'm a wolf,' he yaps, 'an'
this is my night to howl. Hear me, you long lean makeshift of a human
critter?'--an' this to Husky Travers."

"Well?" the other voice queried, after a pause.

"In about a second an' a half Oily Jones was on the floor an' Husky on
top askin' somebody kindly to pass him a butcher knife. What's he do but
plumb hack off all of Oily Jones' long hair. 'Now howl, damn you, howl,'
says Husky, gettin' up."

"He was a cool one, for a wild one," the first voice took up. "I seen
him buck roulette in the Little Wolverine, drop nine thousand in two
hours, borrow some more, win it back in fifteen minutes, buy the drinks,
an' cash in--dang me, all in fifteen minutes."

One evening Tom was unusually brightly awake, and Frederick, joining the
rapt young circle, sat and listened to his brother's serio-comic
narrative of the night of wreck on the island of Blang; of the swim
through the sharks where half the crew was lost; of the great pearl
which Desay brought ashore with him; of the head-decorated palisade that
surrounded the grass palace wherein dwelt the Malay queen with her royal
consort, a shipwrecked Chinese Eurasian; of the intrigue for the pearl
of Desay; of mad feasts and dances in the barbaric night, and quick
dangers and sudden deaths; of the queen's love-making to Desay, of
Desay's love-making to the queen's daughter, and of Desay, every joint
crushed, still alive, staked out on the reef at low tide to be eaten by
the sharks; of the coming of the plague; of the beating of tom-toms and
the exorcising of the devil-devil doctors; of the flight over the
man-trapped, wild-pig runs of the mountain bush-men; and of the final
rescue by Tasman, he who was hatcheted only last year and whose head
reposed in some Melanesian stronghold--and all breathing of the warmth
and abandon and savagery of the burning islands of the sun.

And despite himself, Frederick sat entranced; and when all the tale was
told, he was aware of a queer emptiness. He remembered back to his
boyhood, when he had pored over the illustrations in the old-fashioned
geography. He, too, had dreamed of amazing adventure in far places and
desired to go out on the shining ways. And he had planned to go; yet he
had known only work and duty. Perhaps that was the difference. Perhaps
that was the secret of the strange wisdom in his brother's eyes. For
the moment, faint and far, vicariously, he glimpsed the lordly vision
his brother had seen. He remembered a sharp saying of Polly's. "You have
missed romance. You traded it for dividends." She was right, and yet,
not fair. He had wanted romance, but the work had been placed ready to
his hand. He had toiled and moiled, day and night, and been faithful to
his trust. Yet he had missed love and the world-living that was forever
a-whisper in his brother. And what had Tom done to deserve it?--a
wastrel and an idle singer of songs.

His place was high. He was going to be the next governor of California.
But what man would come to him and lie to him out of love? The thought
of all his property seemed to put a dry and gritty taste in his mouth.
Property! Now that he looked at it, one thousand dollars was like any
other thousand dollars; and one day (of his days) was like any other
day. He had never made the pictures in the geography come true. He had
not struck his man, nor lighted his cigar at a match held in a woman's
hand. A man could sleep in only one bed at a time--Tom had said that. He
shuddered as he strove to estimate how many beds he owned, how many
blankets he had bought. And all the beds and blankets would not buy one
man to come from the end of the earth, and grip his hand, and cry, "By
the turtles of Tasman!"

Something of all this he told Polly, an undercurrent of complaint at the
unfairness of things in his tale. And she had answered:

"It couldn't have been otherwise. Father bought it. He never drove
bargains. It was a royal thing, and he paid for it royally. You grudged
the price, don't you see. You saved your arteries and your money and
kept your feet dry."


VI

On an afternoon in the late fall all were gathered about the big chair
and Captain Tom. Though he did not know it, he had drowsed the whole day
through and only just awakened to call for his _ukulele_ and light a
cigarette at Polly's hand. But the _ukulele_ lay idle on his arm, and
though the pine logs crackled in the huge fireplace he shivered and took
note of the cold.

"It's a good sign," he said, unaware that the faintness of his voice
drew the heads of his listeners closer. "The cold weather will be a
tonic. It's a hard job to work the tropics out of one's blood. But I'm
beginning to shape up now for the Kuskokeem. In the spring, Polly, we
start with the dogs, and you'll see the midnight sun. How your mother
would have liked the trip. She was a game one. Forty sleeps with the
dogs, and we'll be shaking out yellow nuggets from the moss-roots.
Larabee has some fine animals. I know the breed. They're timber wolves,
that's what they are, big grey timber wolves, though they sport brown
about one in a litter--isn't that right, Bennington?"

"One in a litter, that's just about the average," Bennington, the
Yukoner, replied promptly, but in a voice hoarsely unrecognisable.

"And you must never travel alone with them," Captain Tom went on. "For
if you fall down they'll jump you. Larabee's brutes only respect a man
when he stands upright on his legs. When he goes down, he's meat. I
remember coming over the divide from Tanana to Circle City. That was
before the Klondike strike. It was in '94 ... no, '95, and the bottom
had dropped out of the thermometer. There was a young Canadian with the
outfit. His name was it was ... a peculiar one ... wait a minute it will
come to me...."

His voice ceased utterly, though his lips still moved. A look of
unbelief and vast surprise dawned on his face. Followed a sharp,
convulsive shudder. And in that moment, without warning, he saw Death.
He looked clear-eyed and steady, as if pondering, then turned to Polly.
His hand moved impotently, as if to reach hers, and when he found it,
his fingers could not close. He gazed at her with a great smile that
slowly faded. The eyes drooped as the life went out, and remained a face
of quietude and repose. The _ukulele_ clattered to the floor. One by one
they went softly from the room, leaving Polly alone.

From the veranda, Frederick watched a man coming up the driveway. By the
roll of the sea in his walk, Frederick could guess for whom the stranger
came. The face was swarthy with sun and wrinkled with age that was given
the lie by the briskness of his movements and the alertness in the keen
black eyes. In the lobe of each ear was a tiny circlet of gold.

"How do you do, sir," the man said, and it was patent that English was
not the tongue he had learned at his mother's knee. "How's Captain Tom?
They told me in the town that he was sick."

"My brother is dead," Frederick answered.

The stranger turned his head and gazed out over the park-like grounds
and up to the distant redwood peaks, and Frederick noted that he
swallowed with an effort.

"By the turtles of Tasman, he was a man," he said, in a deep, changed
voice.

"By the turtles of Tasman, he was a man," Frederick repeated; nor did he
stumble over the unaccustomed oath.




THE ETERNITY OF FORMS


A strange life has come to an end in the death of Mr. Sedley Crayden, of
Crayden Hill.

Mild, harmless, he was the victim of a strange delusion that kept him
pinned, night and day, in his chair for the last two years of his life.
The mysterious death, or, rather, disappearance, of his elder brother,
James Crayden, seems to have preyed upon his mind, for it was shortly
after that event that his delusion began to manifest itself.

Mr. Crayden never vouchsafed any explanation of his strange conduct.
There was nothing the matter with him physically; and, mentally, the
alienists found him normal in every way save for his one remarkable
idiosyncrasy. His remaining in his chair was purely voluntary, an act of
his own will. And now he is dead, and the mystery remains unsolved.

--_Extract from the Newton Courier-Times._


Briefly, I was Mr. Sedley Crayden's confidential servant and valet for
the last eight months of his life. During that time he wrote a great
deal in a manuscript that he kept always beside him, except when he
drowsed or slept, at which times he invariably locked it in a desk
drawer close to his hand.

I was curious to read what the old gentleman wrote, but he was too
cautious and cunning. I never got a peep at the manuscript. If he were
engaged upon it when I attended on him, he covered the top sheet with a
large blotter. It was I who found him dead in his chair, and it was then
that I took the liberty of abstracting the manuscript. I was very
curious to read it, and I have no excuses to offer.

After retaining it in my secret possession for several years, and after
ascertaining that Mr. Crayden left no surviving relatives, I have
decided to make the nature of the manuscript known. It is very long, and
I have omitted nearly all of it, giving only the more lucid fragments.
It bears all the earmarks of a disordered mind, and various experiences
are repeated over and over, while much is so vague and incoherent as to
defy comprehension. Nevertheless, from reading it myself, I venture to
predict that if an excavation is made in the main basement, somewhere in
the vicinity of the foundation of the great chimney, a collection of
bones will be found which should very closely resemble those which James
Crayden once clothed in mortal flesh.

--_Statement of Rudolph Heckler._


Here follows the excerpts from the manuscript, made and arranged by
Rudolph Heckler:


I never killed my brother. Let this be my first word and my last. Why
should I kill him? We lived together in unbroken harmony for twenty
years. We were old men, and the fires and tempers of youth had long
since burned out. We never disagreed even over the most trivial things.
Never was there such amity as ours. We were scholars. We cared nothing
for the outside world. Our companionship and our books were
all-satisfying. Never were there such talks as we held. Many a night we
have sat up till two and three in the morning, conversing, weighing
opinions and judgments, referring to authorities--in short, we lived at
high and friendly intellectual altitudes.

       *       *       *       *       *

He disappeared. I suffered a great shock. Why should he have
disappeared? Where could he have gone? It was very strange. I was
stunned. They say I was very sick for weeks. It was brain fever. This
was caused by his inexplicable disappearance. It was at the beginning of
the experience I hope here to relate, that he disappeared.

How I have endeavoured to find him. I am not an excessively rich man,
yet have I offered continually increasing rewards. I have advertised in
all the papers, and sought the aid of all the detective bureaus. At the
present moment, the rewards I have out aggregate over fifty thousand
dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

They say he was murdered. They also say murder will out. Then I say, why
does not his murder come out? Who did it? Where is he? Where is Jim? My
Jim?

       *       *       *       *       *

We were so happy together. He had a remarkable mind, a most remarkable
mind, so firmly founded, so widely informed, so rigidly logical, that it
was not at all strange that we agreed in all things. Dissension was
unknown between us. Jim was the most truthful man I have ever met. In
this, too, we were similar, as we were similar in our intellectual
honesty. We never sacrificed truth to make a point. We had no points to
make, we so thoroughly agreed. It is absurd to think that we could
disagree on anything under the sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish he would come back. Why did he go? Who can ever explain it? I am
lonely now, and depressed with grave forebodings--frightened by terrors
that are of the mind and that put at naught all that my mind has ever
conceived. Form is mutable. This is the last word of positive science.
The dead do not come back. This is incontrovertible. The dead are dead,
and that is the end of it, and of them. And yet I have had experiences
here--here, in this very room, at this very desk, that--But wait. Let me
put it down in black and white, in words simple and unmistakable. Let me
ask some questions. Who mislays my pen? That is what I desire to know.
Who uses up my ink so rapidly? Not I. And yet the ink goes.

The answer to these questions would settle all the enigmas of the
universe. I know the answer. I am not a fool. And some day, if I am
plagued too desperately, I shall give the answer myself. I shall give
the name of him who mislays my pen and uses up my ink. It is so silly to
think that I could use such a quantity of ink. The servant lies. I know.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have got me a fountain pen. I have always disliked the device, but my
old stub had to go. I burned it in the fireplace. The ink I keep under
lock and key. I shall see if I cannot put a stop to these lies that are
being written about me. And I have other plans. It is not true that I
have recanted. I still believe that I live in a mechanical universe. It
has not been proved otherwise to me, for all that I have peered over his
shoulder and read his malicious statement to the contrary. He gives me
credit for no less than average stupidity. He thinks I think he is real.
How silly. I know he is a brain-figment, nothing more.

There are such things as hallucinations. Even as I looked over his
shoulder and read, I knew that this was such a thing. If I were only
well it would be interesting. All my life I have wanted to experience
such phenomena. And now it has come to me. I shall make the most of it.
What is imagination? It can make something where there is nothing. How
can anything be something where there is nothing? How can anything be
something and nothing at the same time? I leave it for the
metaphysicians to ponder. I know better. No scholastics for me. This is
a real world, and everything in it is real. What is not real, is not.
Therefore he is not. Yet he tries to fool me into believing that he
is ... when all the time I know he has no existence outside of my own
brain cells.

       *       *       *       *       *

I saw him to-day, seated at the desk, writing. It gave me quite a shock,
because I had thought he was quite dispelled. Nevertheless, on looking
steadily, I found that he was not there--the old familiar trick of the
brain. I have dwelt too long on what has happened. I am becoming
morbid, and my old indigestion is hinting and muttering. I shall take
exercise. Each day I shall walk for two hours.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is impossible. I cannot exercise. Each time I return from my walk, he
is sitting in my chair at the desk. It grows more difficult to drive him
away. It is my chair. Upon this I insist. It _was_ his, but he is dead
and it is no longer his. How one can be befooled by the phantoms of his
own imagining! There is nothing real in this apparition. I know it. I am
firmly grounded with my fifty years of study. The dead are dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet, explain one thing. To-day, before going for my walk, I
carefully put the fountain pen in my pocket before leaving the room. I
remember it distinctly. I looked at the clock at the time. It was twenty
minutes past ten. Yet on my return there was the pen lying on the desk.
Some one had been using it. There was very little ink left. I wish he
would not write so much. It is disconcerting.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one thing upon which Jim and I were not quite agreed. He
believed in the eternity of the forms of things. Therefore, entered in
immediately the consequent belief in immortality, and all the other
notions of the metaphysical philosophers. I had little patience with him
in this. Painstakingly I have traced to him the evolution of his belief
in the eternity of forms, showing him how it has arisen out of his early
infatuation with logic and mathematics. Of course, from that warped,
squinting, abstract view-point, it is very easy to believe in the
eternity of forms.

I laughed at the unseen world. Only the real was real, I contended, and
what one did not perceive, was not, could not be. I believed in a
mechanical universe. Chemistry and physics explained everything. "Can no
being be?" he demanded in reply. I said that his question was but the
major promise of a fallacious Christian Science syllogism. Oh, believe
me, I know my logic, too. But he was very stubborn. I never had any
patience with philosophic idealists.

       *       *       *       *       *

Once, I made to him my confession of faith. It was simple, brief,
unanswerable. Even as I write it now I know that it is unanswerable.
Here it is. I told him: "I assert, with Hobbes, that it is impossible to
separate thought from matter that thinks. I assert, with Bacon, that all
human understanding arises from the world of sensations. I assert, with
Locke, that all human ideas are due to the functions of the senses. I
assert, with Kant, the mechanical origin of the universe, and that
creation is a natural and historical process. I assert, with Laplace,
that there is no need of the hypothesis of a creator. And, finally, I
assert, because of all the foregoing, that form is ephemeral. Form
passes. Therefore we pass."

I repeat, it was unanswerable. Yet did he answer with Paley's notorious
fallacy of the watch. Also, he talked about radium, and all but asserted
that the very existence of matter had been exploded by these later-day
laboratory researches. It was childish. I had not dreamed he could be so
immature.

How could one argue with such a man? I then asserted the reasonableness
of all that is. To this he agreed, reserving, however, one exception. He
looked at me, as he said it, in a way I could not mistake. The inference
was obvious. That he should be guilty of so cheap a quip in the midst of
a serious discussion, astounded me.

       *       *       *       *       *

The eternity of forms. It is ridiculous. Yet is there a strange magic in
the words. If it be true, then has he not ceased to exist. Then does he
exist. This is impossible.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have ceased exercising. As long as I remain in the room, the
hallucination does not bother me. But when I return to the room after an
absence, he is always there, sitting at the desk, writing. Yet I dare
not confide in a physician. I must fight this out by myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

He grows more importunate. To-day, consulting a book on the shelf, I
turned and found him again in the chair. This is the first time he has
dared do this in my presence. Nevertheless, by looking at him steadily
and sternly for several minutes, I compelled him to vanish. This proves
my contention. He does not exist. If he were an eternal form I could not
make him vanish by a mere effort of my will.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is getting damnable. To-day I gazed at him for an entire hour
before I could make him leave. Yet it is so simple. What I see is a
memory picture. For twenty years I was accustomed to seeing him there at
the desk. The present phenomenon is merely a recrudescence of that
memory picture--a picture which was impressed countless times on my
consciousness.

       *       *       *       *       *

I gave up to-day. He exhausted me, and still he would not go. I sat and
watched him hour after hour. He takes no notice of me, but continually
writes. I know what he writes, for I read it over his shoulder. It is
not true. He is taking an unfair advantage.

       *       *       *       *       *

Query: He is a product of my consciousness; is it possible, then, that
entities may be created by consciousness?

       *       *       *       *       *

We did not quarrel. To this day I do not know how it happened. Let me
tell you. Then you will see. We sat up late that never-to-be-forgotten
last night of his existence. It was the old, old discussion--the
eternity of forms. How many hours and how many nights we had consumed
over it!

On this night he had been particularly irritating, and all my nerves
were screaming. He had been maintaining that the human soul was itself a
form, an eternal form, and that the light within his brain would go on
forever and always. I took up the poker.

"Suppose," I said, "I should strike you dead with this?"

"I would go on," he answered.

"As a conscious entity?" I demanded.

"Yes, as a conscious entity," was his reply. "I should go on, from
plane to plane of higher existence, remembering my earth-life, you, this
very argument--ay, and continuing the argument with you."

It was only argument[1]. I swear it was only argument. I never lifted a
hand. How could I? He was my brother, my elder brother, Jim.

I cannot remember. I was very exasperated. He had always been so
obstinate in this metaphysical belief of his. The next I knew, he was
lying on the hearth. Blood was running. It was terrible. He did not
speak. He did not move. He must have fallen in a fit and struck his
head. I noticed there was blood on the poker. In falling he must have
struck upon it with his head. And yet I fail to see how this can be, for
I held it in my hand all the time. I was still holding it in my hand as
I looked at it.

[Footnote 1: (Forcible--ha! ha!--comment of Rudolph Heckler on margin.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is an hallucination. That is a conclusion of common sense. I have
watched the growth of it. At first it was only in the dimmest light
that I could see him sitting in the chair. But as the time passed, and
the hallucination, by repetition, strengthened, he was able to appear in
the chair under the strongest lights. That is the explanation. It is
quite satisfactory.

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall never forget the first time I saw it. I had dined alone
downstairs. I never drink wine, so that what happened was eminently
normal. It was in the summer twilight that I returned to the study. I
glanced at the desk. There he was, sitting. So natural was it, that
before I knew I cried out "Jim!" Then I remembered all that had
happened. Of course it was an hallucination. I knew that. I took the
poker and went over to it. He did not move nor vanish. The poker cleaved
through the non-existent substance of the thing and struck the back of
the chair. Fabric of fancy, that is all it was. The mark is there on the
chair now where the poker struck. I pause from my writing and turn and
look at it--press the tips of my fingers into the indentation.

       *       *       *       *       *

He _did_ continue the argument. I stole up to-day and looked over his
shoulder. He was writing the history of our discussion. It was the same
old nonsense about the eternity of forms. But as I continued to read, he
wrote down the practical test I had made with the poker. Now this is
unfair and untrue. I made no test. In falling he struck his head on the
poker.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some day, somebody will find and read what he writes. This will be
terrible. I am suspicious of the servant, who is always peeping and
peering, trying to see what I write. I must do something. Every servant
I have had is curious about what I write.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fabric of fancy. That is all it is. There is no Jim who sits in the
chair. I know that. Last night, when the house was asleep, I went down
into the cellar and looked carefully at the soil around the chimney. It
was untampered with. The dead do not rise up.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yesterday morning, when I entered the study, there he was in the chair.
When I had dispelled him, I sat in the chair myself all day. I had my
meals brought to me. And thus I escaped the sight of him for many hours,
for he appears only in the chair. I was weary, but I sat late, until
eleven o'clock. Yet, when I stood up to go to bed, I looked around, and
there he was. He had slipped into the chair on the instant. Being only
fabric of fancy, all day he had resided in my brain. The moment it was
unoccupied, he took up his residence in the chair. Are these his boasted
higher planes of existence--his brother's brain and a chair? After all,
was he not right? Has his eternal form become so attenuated as to be an
hallucination? Are hallucinations real entities? Why not? There is food
for thought here. Some day I shall come to a conclusion upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

He was very much disturbed to-day. He could not write, for I had made
the servant carry the pen out of the room in his pocket But neither
could I write.

       *       *       *       *       *

The servant never sees him. This is strange. Have I developed a keener
sight for the unseen? Or rather does it not prove the phantom to be what
it is--a product of my own morbid consciousness?

       *       *       *       *       *

He has stolen my pen again. Hallucinations cannot steal pens. This is
unanswerable. And yet I cannot keep the pen always out of the room. I
want to write myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have had three different servants since my trouble came upon me, and
not one has seen him. Is the verdict of their senses right? And is that
of mine wrong? Nevertheless, the ink goes too rapidly. I fill my pen
more often than is necessary. And furthermore, only to-day I found my
pen out of order. I did not break it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spoken to him many times, but he never answers. I sat and watched
him all morning. Frequently he looked at me, and it was patent that he
knew me.

       *       *       *       *       *

By striking the side of my head violently with the heel of my hand, I
can shake the vision of him out of my eyes. Then I can get into the
chair; but I have learned that I must move very quickly in order to
accomplish this. Often he fools me and is back again before I can sit
down.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is getting unbearable. He is a jack-in-the-box the way he pops into
the chair. He does not assume form slowly. He pops. That is the only way
to describe it. I cannot stand looking at him much more. That way lies
madness, for it compels me almost to believe in the reality of what I
know is not. Besides, hallucinations do not pop.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thank God he only manifests himself in the chair. As long as I occupy
the chair I am quit of him.

       *       *       *       *       *

My device for dislodging him from the chair by striking my head, is
failing. I have to hit much more violently, and I do not succeed perhaps
more than once in a dozen trials. My head is quite sore where I have so
repeatedly struck it. I must use the other hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

My brother was right. There is an unseen world. Do I not see it? Am I
not cursed with the seeing of it all the time? Call it a thought, an
idea, anything you will, still it is there. It is unescapable. Thoughts
are entities. We create with every act of thinking. I have created this
phantom that sits in my chair and uses my ink. Because I have created
him is no reason that he is any the less real. He is an idea; he is an
entity: ergo, ideas are entities, and an entity is a reality.

       *       *       *       *       *

Query: If a man, with the whole historical process behind him, can
create an entity, a real thing, then is not the hypothesis of a Creator
made substantial? If the stuff of life can create, then it is fair to
assume that there can be a He who created the stuff of life. It is
merely a difference of degree. I have not yet made a mountain nor a
solar system, but I have made a something that sits in my chair. This
being so, may I not some day be able to make a mountain or a solar
system?

       *       *       *       *       *

All his days, down to to-day, man has lived in a maze. He has never seen
the light. I am convinced that I am beginning to see the light--not as
my brother saw it, by stumbling upon it accidentally, but deliberately
and rationally. My brother is dead. He has ceased. There is no doubt
about it, for I have made another journey down into the cellar to see.
The ground was untouched. I broke it myself to make sure, and I saw what
made me sure. My brother has ceased, yet have I recreated him. This is
not my old brother, yet it is something as nearly resembling him as I
could fashion it. I am unlike other men. I am a god. I have created.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whenever I leave the room to go to bed, I look back, and there is my
brother sitting in the chair. And then I cannot sleep because of
thinking of him sitting through all the long night-hours. And in the
morning, when I open the study door, there he is, and I know he has sat
there the night long.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am becoming desperate from lack of sleep. I wish I could confide in a
physician.

       *       *       *       *       *

Blessed sleep! I have won to it at last. Let me tell you. Last night I
was so worn that I found myself dozing in my chair. I rang for the
servant and ordered him to bring blankets. I slept. All night was he
banished from my thoughts as he was banished from my chair. I shall
remain in it all day. It is a wonderful relief.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is uncomfortable to sleep in a chair. But it is more uncomfortable to
lie in bed, hour after hour, and not sleep, and to know that he is
sitting there in the cold darkness.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is no use. I shall never be able to sleep in a bed again. I have
tried it now, numerous times, and every such night is a horror. If I
could but only persuade him to go to bed! But no. He sits there, and
sits there--I know he does--while I stare and stare up into the
blackness and think and think, continually think, of him sitting there.
I wish I had never heard of the eternity of forms.

       *       *       *       *       *

The servants think I am crazy. That is but to be expected, and it is why
I have never called in a physician.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am resolved. Henceforth this hallucination ceases. From now on I shall
remain in the chair. I shall never leave it. I shall remain in it night
and day and always.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have succeeded. For two weeks I have not seen him. Nor shall I ever
see him again. I have at last attained the equanimity of mind necessary
for philosophic thought. I wrote a complete chapter to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is very wearisome, sitting in a chair. The weeks pass, the months
come and go, the seasons change, the servants replace each other, while
I remain. I only remain. It is a strange life I lead, but at least I am
at peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

He comes no more. There is no eternity of forms. I have proved it. For
nearly two years now, I have remained in this chair, and I have not seen
him once. True, I was severely tried for a time. But it is clear that
what I thought I saw was merely hallucination. He never was. Yet I do
not leave the chair. I am afraid to leave the chair.




TOLD IN THE DROOLING WARD


Me? I'm not a drooler. I'm the assistant, I don't know what Miss Jones
or Miss Kelsey could do without me. There are fifty-five low-grade
droolers in this ward, and how could they ever all be fed if I wasn't
around? I like to feed droolers. They don't make trouble. They can't.
Something's wrong with most of their legs and arms, and they can't talk.
They're very low-grade. I can walk, and talk, and do things. You must be
careful with the droolers and not feed them too fast. Then they choke.
Miss Jones says I'm an expert. When a new nurse comes I show her how to
do it. It's funny watching a new nurse try to feed them. She goes at it
so slow and careful that supper time would be around before she finished
shoving down their breakfast. Then I show her, because I'm an expert.
Dr. Dalrymple says I am, and he ought to know. A drooler can eat twice
as fast if you know how to make him.

My name's Tom. I'm twenty-eight years old. Everybody knows me in the
institution. This is an institution, you know. It belongs to the State
of California and is run by politics. I know. I've been here a long
time. Everybody trusts me. I run errands all over the place, when I'm
not busy with the droolers. I like droolers. It makes me think how lucky
I am that I ain't a drooler.

I like it here in the Home. I don't like the outside. I know. I've been
around a bit, and run away, and adopted. Me for the Home, and for the
drooling ward best of all. I don't look like a drooler, do I? You can
tell the difference soon as you look at me. I'm an assistant, expert
assistant. That's going some for a feeb. Feeb? Oh, that's feeble-minded.
I thought you knew. We're all feebs in here.

But I'm a high-grade feeb. Dr. Dalrymple says I'm too smart to be in the
Home, but I never let on. It's a pretty good place. And I don't throw
fits like lots of the feebs. You see that house up there through the
trees. The high-grade epilecs all live in it by themselves. They're
stuck up because they ain't just ordinary feebs. They call it the club
house, and they say they're just as good as anybody outside, only
they're sick. I don't like them much. They laugh at me, when they ain't
busy throwing fits. But I don't care. I never have to be scared about
falling down and busting my head. Sometimes they run around in circles
trying to find a place to sit down quick, only they don't. Low-grade
epilecs are disgusting, and high-grade epilecs put on airs. I'm glad I
ain't an epilec. There ain't anything to them. They just talk big,
that's all.

Miss Kelsey says I talk too much. But I talk sense, and that's more than
the other feebs do. Dr. Dalrymple says I have the gift of language. I
know it. You ought to hear me talk when I'm by myself, or when I've got
a drooler to listen. Sometimes I think I'd like to be a politician, only
it's too much trouble. They're all great talkers; that's how they hold
their jobs.

Nobody's crazy in this institution. They're just feeble in their minds.
Let me tell you something funny. There's about a dozen high-grade girls
that set the tables in the big dining room. Sometimes when they're done
ahead of time, they all sit down in chairs in a circle and talk. I sneak
up to the door and listen, and I nearly die to keep from laughing. Do
you want to know what they talk? It's like this. They don't say a word
for a long time. And then one says, "Thank God I'm not feeble-minded."
And all the rest nod their heads and look pleased. And then nobody says
anything for a time. After which the next girl in the circle says,
"Thank God I'm not feeble-minded," and they nod their heads all over
again. And it goes on around the circle, and they never say anything
else. Now they're real feebs, ain't they? I leave it to you. I'm not
that kind of a feeb, thank God.

Sometimes I don't think I'm a feeb at all. I play in the band and read
music. We're all supposed to be feebs in the band except the leader.
He's crazy. We know it, but we never talk about it except amongst
ourselves. His job is politics, too, and we don't want him to lose it. I
play the drum. They can't get along without me in this institution. I
was sick once, so I know. It's a wonder the drooling ward didn't break
down while I was in hospital.

I could get out of here if I wanted to. I'm not so feeble as some might
think. But I don't let on. I have too good a time. Besides, everything
would run down if I went away. I'm afraid some time they'll find out I'm
not a feeb and send me out into the world to earn my own living. I know
the world, and I don't like it. The Home is fine enough for me.

You see how I grin sometimes. I can't help that. But I can put it on a
lot. I'm not bad, though. I look at myself in the glass. My mouth is
funny, I know that, and it lops down, and my teeth are bad. You can tell
a feeb anywhere by looking at his mouth and teeth. But that doesn't
prove I'm a feeb. It's just because I'm lucky that I look like one.

I know a lot. If I told you all I know, you'd be surprised. But when I
don't want to know, or when they want me to do something I don't want
to do, I just let my mouth lop down and laugh and make foolish noises. I
watch the foolish noises made by the low-grades, and I can fool anybody.
And I know a lot of foolish noises. Miss Kelsey called me a fool the
other day. She was very angry, and that was where I fooled her.

Miss Kelsey asked me once why I don't write a book about feebs. I was
telling her what was the matter with little Albert. He's a drooler, you
know, and I can always tell the way he twists his left eye what's the
matter with him. So I was explaining it to Miss Kelsey, and, because she
didn't know, it made her mad. But some day, mebbe, I'll write that book.
Only it's so much trouble. Besides, I'd sooner talk.

Do you know what a micro is? It's the kind with the little heads no
bigger than your fist. They're usually droolers, and they live a long
time. The hydros don't drool. They have the big heads, and they're
smarter. But they never grow up. They always die. I never look at one
without thinking he's going to die. Sometimes, when I'm feeling lazy, or
the nurse is mad at me, I wish I was a drooler with nothing to do and
somebody to feed me. But I guess I'd sooner talk and be what I am.

Only yesterday Doctor Dalrymple said to me, "Tom," he said, "I just
don't know what I'd do without you." And he ought to know, seeing as
he's had the bossing of a thousand feebs for going on two years. Dr.
Whatcomb was before him. They get appointed, you know. It's politics.
I've seen a whole lot of doctors here in my time. I was here before any
of them. I've been in this institution twenty-five years. No, I've got
no complaints. The institution couldn't be run better.

It's a snap to be a high-grade feeb. Just look at Doctor Dalrymple. He
has troubles. He holds his job by politics. You bet we high-graders talk
politics. We know all about it, and it's bad. An institution like this
oughtn't to be run on politics. Look at Doctor Dalrymple. He's been here
two years and learned a lot. Then politics will come along and throw
him out and send a new doctor who don't know anything about feebs.

I've been acquainted with just thousands of nurses in my time. Some of
them are nice. But they come and go. Most of the women get married.
Sometimes I think I'd like to get married. I spoke to Dr. Whatcomb about
it once, but he told me he was very sorry, because feebs ain't allowed
to get married. I've been in love. She was a nurse. I won't tell you her
name. She had blue eyes, and yellow hair, and a kind voice, and she
liked me. She told me so. And she always told me to be a good boy. And I
was, too, until afterward, and then I ran away. You see, she went off
and got married, and she didn't tell me about it.

I guess being married ain't what it's cracked up to be. Dr. Anglin and
his wife used to fight. I've seen them. And once I heard her call him a
feeb. Now nobody has a right to call anybody a feeb that ain't. Dr.
Anglin got awful mad when she called him that. But he didn't last long.
Politics drove him out, and Doctor Mandeville came. He didn't have a
wife. I heard him talking one time with the engineer. The engineer and
his wife fought like cats and dogs, and that day Doctor Mandeville told
him he was damn glad he wasn't tied to no petticoats. A petticoat is a
skirt. I knew what he meant, if I was a feeb. But I never let on. You
hear lots when you don't let on.

I've seen a lot in my time. Once I was adopted, and went away on the
railroad over forty miles to live with a man named Peter Bopp and his
wife. They had a ranch. Doctor Anglin said I was strong and bright, and
I said I was, too. That was because I wanted to be adopted. And Peter
Bopp said he'd give me a good home, and the lawyers fixed up the papers.

But I soon made up my mind that a ranch was no place for me. Mrs. Bopp
was scared to death of me and wouldn't let me sleep in the house. They
fixed up the woodshed and made me sleep there. I had to get up at four
o'clock and feed the horses, and milk cows, and carry the milk to the
neighbours. They called it chores, but it kept me going all day. I
chopped wood, and cleaned chicken houses, and weeded vegetables, and
did most everything on the place. I never had any fun. I hadn't no time.

Let me tell you one thing. I'd sooner feed mush and milk to feebs than
milk cows with the frost on the ground. Mrs. Bopp was scared to let me
play with her children. And I was scared, too. They used to make faces
at me when nobody was looking, and call me "Looney." Everybody called me
Looney Tom. And the other boys in the neighbourhood threw rocks at me.
You never see anything like that in the Home here. The feebs are better
behaved.

Mrs. Bopp used to pinch me and pull my hair when she thought I was too
slow, and I only made foolish noises and went slower. She said I'd be
the death of her some day. I left the boards off the old well in the
pasture, and the pretty new calf fell in and got drowned. Then Peter
Bopp said he was going to give me a licking. He did, too. He took a
strap halter and went at me. It was awful. I'd never had a licking in my
life. They don't do such things in the Home, which is why I say the
Home is the place for me.

I know the law, and I knew he had no right to lick me with a strap
halter. That was being cruel, and the guardianship papers said he
mustn't be cruel. I didn't say anything. I just waited, which shows you
what kind of a feeb I am. I waited a long time, and got slower, and made
more foolish noises; but he wouldn't, send me back to the Home, which
was what I wanted. But one day, it was the first of the month, Mrs.
Brown gave me three dollars, which was for her milk bill with Peter
Bopp. That was in the morning. When I brought the milk in the evening I
was to bring back the receipt. But I didn't. I just walked down to the
station, bought a ticket like any one, and rode on the train back to the
Home. That's the kind of a feeb I am.

Doctor Anglin was gone then, and Doctor Mandeville had his place. I
walked right into his office. He didn't know me. "Hello," he said, "this
ain't visiting day." "I ain't a visitor," I said. "I'm Tom. I belong
here." Then he whistled and showed he was surprised. I told him all
about it, and showed him the marks of the strap halter, and he got
madder and madder all the time and said he'd attend to Mr. Peter Bopp's
case.

And mebbe you think some of them little droolers weren't glad to see me.

I walked right into the ward. There was a new nurse feeding little
Albert. "Hold on," I said. "That ain't the way. Don't you see how he's
twisting that left eye? Let me show you." Mebbe she thought I was a new
doctor, for she just gave me the spoon, and I guess I filled little
Albert up with the most comfortable meal he'd had since I went away.
Droolers ain't bad when you understand them. I heard Miss Jones tell
Miss Kelsey once that I had an amazing gift in handling droolers.

Some day, mebbe, I'm going to talk with Doctor Dalrymple and get him to
give me a declaration that I ain't a feeb. Then I'll get him to make me
a real assistant in the drooling ward, with forty dollars a month and my
board. And then I'll marry Miss Jones and live right on here. And if
she won't have me, I'll marry Miss Kelsey or some other nurse. There's
lots of them that want to get married. And I won't care if my wife gets
mad and calls me a feeb. What's the good? And I guess when one's learned
to put up with droolers a wife won't be much worse.

I didn't tell you about when I ran away. I hadn't no idea of such a
thing, and it was Charley and Joe who put me up to it. They're
high-grade epilecs, you know. I'd been up to Doctor Wilson's office with
a message, and was going back to the drooling ward, when I saw Charley
and Joe hiding around the corner of the gymnasium and making motions to
me. I went over to them.

"Hello," Joe said. "How's droolers?"

"Fine," I said. "Had any fits lately?"

That made them mad, and I was going on, when Joe said, "We're running
away. Come on."

"What for?" I said.

"We're going up over the top of the mountain," Joe said.

"And find a gold mine," said Charley. "We don't have fits any more.
We're cured."

"All right," I said. And we sneaked around back of the gymnasium and in
among the trees. Mebbe we walked along about ten minutes, when I
stopped.

"What's the matter?" said Joe.

"Wait," I said. "I got to go back."

"What for?" said Joe.

And I said, "To get little Albert."

And they said I couldn't, and got mad. But I didn't care. I knew they'd
wait. You see, I've been here twenty-five years, and I know the back
trails that lead up the mountain, and Charley and Joe didn't know those
trails. That's why they wanted me to come.

So I went back and got little Albert. He can't walk, or talk, or do
anything except drool, and I had to carry him in my arms. We went on
past the last hayfield, which was as far as I'd ever gone. Then the
woods and brush got so thick, and me not finding any more trail, we
followed the cow-path down to a big creek and crawled through the fence
which showed where the Home land stopped.

We climbed up the big hill on the other side of the creek. It was all
big trees, and no brush, but it was so steep and slippery with dead
leaves we could hardly walk. By and by we came to a real bad place. It
was forty feet across, and if you slipped you'd fall a thousand feet, or
mebbe a hundred. Anyway, you wouldn't fall--just slide. I went across
first, carrying little Albert. Joe came next. But Charley got scared
right in the middle and sat down.

"I'm going to have a fit," he said.

"No, you're not," said Joe. "Because if you was you wouldn't 'a' sat
down. You take all your fits standing."

"This is a different kind of a fit," said Charley, beginning to cry.

He shook and shook, but just because he wanted to he couldn't scare up
the least kind of a fit.

Joe got mad and used awful language. But that didn't help none. So I
talked soft and kind to Charley. That's the way to handle feebs. If you
get mad, they get worse. I know. I'm that way myself. That's why I was
almost the death of Mrs. Bopp. She got mad.

It was getting along in the afternoon, and I knew we had to be on our
way, so I said to Joe:

"Here, stop your cussing and hold Albert. I'll go back and get him."

And I did, too; but he was so scared and dizzy he crawled along on hands
and knees while I helped him. When I got him across and took Albert back
in my arms, I heard somebody laugh and looked down. And there was a man
and woman on horseback looking up at us. He had a gun on his saddle, and
it was her who was laughing.

"Who in hell's that?" said Joe, getting scared. "Somebody to catch us?"

"Shut up your cussing," I said to him. "That is the man who owns this
ranch and writes books."

"How do you do, Mr. Endicott," I said down to him.

"Hello," he said. "What are you doing here?"

"We're running away," I said.

And he said, "Good luck. But be sure and get back before dark."

"But this is a real running away," I said.

And then both he and his wife laughed.

"All right," he said. "Good luck just the same. But watch out the bears
and mountain lions don't get you when it gets dark."

Then they rode away laughing, pleasant like; but I wished he hadn't said
that about the bears and mountain lions.

After we got around the hill, I found a trail, and we went much faster.
Charley didn't have any more signs of fits, and began laughing and
talking about gold mines. The trouble was with little Albert. He was
almost as big as me. You see, all the time I'd been calling him little
Albert, he'd been growing up. He was so heavy I couldn't keep up with
Joe and Charley. I was all out of breath. So I told them they'd have to
take turns in carrying him, which they said they wouldn't. Then I said
I'd leave them and they'd get lost, and the mountain lions and bears
would eat them. Charley looked like he was going to have a fit right
there, and Joe said, "Give him to me." And after that we carried him in
turn.

We kept right on up that mountain. I don't think there was any gold
mine, but we might 'a' got to the top and found it, if we hadn't lost
the trail, and if it hadn't got dark, and if little Albert hadn't tired
us all out carrying him. Lots of feebs are scared of the dark, and Joe
said he was going to have a fit right there. Only he didn't. I never saw
such an unlucky boy. He never could throw a fit when he wanted to. Some
of the feebs can throw fits as quick as a wink.

By and by it got real black, and we were hungry, and we didn't have no
fire. You see, they don't let feebs carry matches, and all we could do
was just shiver. And we'd never thought about being hungry. You see,
feebs always have their food ready for them, and that's why it's better
to be a feeb than earning your living in the world.

And worse than everything was the quiet. There was only one thing worse,
and it was the noises. There was all kinds of noises every once in a
while, with quiet spells in between. I reckon they were rabbits, but
they made noises in the brush like wild animals--you know, rustle
rustle, thump, bump, crackle crackle, just like that. First Charley got
a fit, a real one, and Joe threw a terrible one. I don't mind fits in
the Home with everybody around. But out in the woods on a dark night is
different. You listen to me, and never go hunting gold mines with
epilecs, even if they are high-grade.

I never had such an awful night. When Joe and Charley weren't throwing
fits they were making believe, and in the darkness the shivers from the
cold which I couldn't see seemed like fits, too. And I shivered so hard
I thought I was getting fits myself. And little Albert, with nothing to
eat, just drooled and drooled. I never seen him as bad as that before.
Why, he twisted that left eye of his until it ought to have dropped out.
I couldn't see it, but I could tell from the movements he made. And Joe
just lay and cussed and cussed, and Charley cried and wished he was
back in the Home.

We didn't die, and next morning we went right back the way we'd come.
And little Albert got awful heavy. Doctor Wilson was mad as could be,
and said I was the worst feeb in the institution, along with Joe and
Charley. But Miss Striker, who was a nurse in the drooling ward then,
just put her arms around me and cried, she was that happy I'd got back.
I thought right there that mebbe I'd marry her. But only a month
afterward she got married to the plumber that came up from the city to
fix the gutter-pipes of the new hospital. And little Albert never
twisted his eye for two days, it was that tired.

Next time I run away I'm going right over that mountain. But I ain't
going to take epilecs along. They ain't never cured, and when they get
scared or excited they throw fits to beat the band. But I'll take little
Albert. Somehow I can't get along without him. And anyway, I ain't going
to run away. The drooling ward's a better snap than gold mines, and I
hear there's a new nurse coming. Besides, little Albert's bigger than I
am now, and I could never carry him over a mountain. And he's growing
bigger every day. It's astonishing.




THE HOBO AND THE FAIRY


He lay on his back. So heavy was his sleep that the stamp of hoofs and
cries of the drivers from the bridge that crossed the creek did not
rouse him. Wagon after wagon, loaded high with grapes, passed the bridge
on the way up the valley to the winery, and the coming of each wagon was
like an explosion of sound and commotion in the lazy quiet of the
afternoon.

But the man was undisturbed. His head had slipped from the folded
newspaper, and the straggling unkempt hair was matted with the foxtails
and burrs of the dry grass on which it lay. He was not a pretty sight.
His mouth was open, disclosing a gap in the upper row where several
teeth at some time had been knocked out. He breathed stertorously, at
times grunting and moaning with the pain of his sleep. Also, he was very
restless, tossing his arms about, making jerky, half-convulsive
movements, and at times rolling his head from side to side in the burrs.
This restlessness seemed occasioned partly by some internal discomfort,
and partly by the sun that streamed down on his face and by the flies
that buzzed and lighted and crawled upon the nose and cheeks and
eyelids. There was no other place for them to crawl, for the rest of the
face was covered with matted beard, slightly grizzled, but greatly
dirt-stained and weather-discoloured.

The cheek-bones were blotched with the blood congested by the debauch
that was evidently being slept off. This, too, accounted for the
persistence with which the flies clustered around the mouth, lured by
the alcohol-laden exhalations. He was a powerfully built man,
thick-necked, broad-shouldered, with sinewy wrists and toil-distorted
hands. Yet the distortion was not due to recent toil, nor were the
callouses other than ancient that showed under the dirt of the one palm
upturned. From time to time this hand clenched tightly and spasmodically
into a fist, large, heavy-boned and wicked-looking.

The man lay in the dry grass of a tiny glade that ran down to the
tree-fringed bank of the stream. On either side of the glade was a
fence, of the old stake-and-rider type, though little of it was to be
seen, so thickly was it overgrown by wild blackberry bushes, scrubby
oaks and young madrono trees. In the rear, a gate through a low paling
fence led to a snug, squat bungalow, built in the California Spanish
style and seeming to have been compounded directly from the landscape of
which it was so justly a part. Neat and trim and modestly sweet was the
bungalow, redolent of comfort and repose, telling with quiet certitude
of some one that knew, and that had sought and found.

Through the gate and into the glade came as dainty a little maiden as
ever stepped out of an illustration made especially to show how dainty
little maidens may be. Eight years she might have been, and, possibly, a
trifle more, or less. Her little waist and little black-stockinged
calves showed how delicately fragile she was; but the fragility was of
mould only. There was no hint of anaemia in the clear, healthy complexion
nor in the quick, tripping step. She was a little, delicious blond,
with hair spun of gossamer gold and wide blue eyes that were but
slightly veiled by the long lashes. Her expression was of sweetness and
happiness; it belonged by right to any face that sheltered in the
bungalow.

She carried a child's parasol, which she was careful not to tear against
the scrubby branches and bramble bushes as she sought for wild poppies
along the edge of the fence. They were late poppies, a third generation,
which had been unable to resist the call of the warm October sun.

Having gathered along one fence, she turned to cross to the opposite
fence. Midway in the glade she came upon the tramp. Her startle was
merely a startle. There was no fear in it. She stood and looked long and
curiously at the forbidding spectacle, and was about to turn back when
the sleeper moved restlessly and rolled his hand among the burrs. She
noted the sun on his face, and the buzzing flies; her face grew
solicitous, and for a moment she debated with herself. Then she tiptoed
to his side, interposed the parasol between him and the sun, and
brushed away the flies. After a time, for greater ease, she sat down
beside him.

An hour passed, during which she occasionally shifted the parasol from
one tired hand to the other. At first the sleeper had been restless,
but, shielded from the flies and the sun, his breathing became gentler
and his movements ceased. Several times, however, he really frightened
her. The first was the worst, coming abruptly and without warning.
"Christ! How deep! How deep!" the man murmured from some profound of
dream. The parasol was agitated; but the little girl controlled herself
and continued her self-appointed ministrations.

Another time it was a gritting of teeth, as of some intolerable agony.
So terribly did the teeth crunch and grind together that it seemed they
must crash into fragments. A little later he suddenly stiffened out. The
hands clenched and the face set with the savage resolution of the dream.
The eyelids trembled from the shock of the fantasy, seemed about to
open, but did not. Instead, the lips muttered:

"No; by God, no. And once more no. I won't peach." The lips paused, then
went on. "You might as well tie me up, warden, and cut me to pieces.
That's all you can get outa me--blood. That's all any of you-uns has
ever got outa me in this hole."

After this outburst the man slept gently on, while the little girl still
held the parasol aloft and looked down with a great wonder at the
frowsy, unkempt creature, trying to reconcile it with the little part of
life that she knew. To her ears came the cries of men, the stamp of
hoofs on the bridge, and the creak and groan of wagons heavy-laden. It
was a breathless California Indian summer day. Light fleeces of cloud
drifted in the azure sky, but to the west heavy cloud banks threatened
with rain. A bee droned lazily by. From farther thickets came the calls
of quail, and from the fields the songs of meadow larks. And oblivious
to it all slept Ross Shanklin--Ross Shanklin, the tramp and outcast,
ex-convict 4379, the bitter and unbreakable one who had defied all
keepers and survived all brutalities.

Texas-born, of the old pioneer stock that was always tough and stubborn,
he had been unfortunate. At seventeen years of age he had been
apprehended for horse-stealing. Also, he had been convicted of stealing
seven horses which he had not stolen, and he had been sentenced to
fourteen years' imprisonment. This was severe under any circumstances,
but with him it had been especially severe, because there had been no
prior convictions against him. The sentiment of the people who believed
him guilty had been that two years was adequate punishment for the
youth, but the county attorney, paid according to the convictions he
secured, had made seven charges against him and earned seven fees. Which
goes to show that the county attorney valued twelve years of Ross
Shanklin's life at less than a few dollars.

Young Ross Shanklin had toiled in hell; he had escaped, more than once;
and he had been caught and sent back to toil in other and various hells.
He had been triced up and lashed till he fainted, had been revived and
lashed again. He had been in the dungeon ninety days at a time. He had
experienced the torment of the straightjacket. He knew what the humming
bird was. He had been farmed out as a chattel by the state to the
contractors. He had been trailed through swamps by blood hounds. Twice
he had been shot. For six years on end he had cut a cord and a half of
wood each day in a convict lumber camp. Sick or well, he had cut that
cord and a half or paid for it under a whip-lash knotted and pickled.

And Ross Shanklin had not sweetened under the treatment. He had sneered,
and cursed, and defied. He had seen convicts, after the guards had
manhandled them, crippled in body for life, or left to maunder in mind
to the end of their days. He had seen convicts, even his own cell-mate,
goaded to murder by their keepers, go to the gallows cursing God. He had
been in a break in which eleven of his kind were shot down. He had been
through a mutiny, where, in the prison yard, with gatling guns trained
upon them, three hundred convicts had been disciplined with
pick-handles wielded by brawny guards.

He had known every infamy of human cruelty, and through it all he had
never been broken. He had resented and fought to the last, until,
embittered and bestial, the day came when he was discharged. Five
dollars were given him in payment for the years of his labour and the
flower of his manhood. And he had worked little in the years that
followed. Work he hated and despised. He tramped, begged and stole, lied
or threatened as the case might warrant, and drank to besottedness
whenever he got the chance.

The little girl was looking at him when he awoke. Like a wild animal,
all of him was awake the instant he opened his eyes. The first he saw
was the parasol, strangely obtruded between him and the sky. He did not
start nor move, though his whole body seemed slightly to tense. His eyes
followed down the parasol handle to the tight-clutched little fingers,
and along the arm to the child's face. Straight and unblinking, he
looked into her eyes, and she, returning the look, was chilled and
frightened by his glittering eyes, cold and harsh, withal bloodshot, and
with no hint in them of the warm humanness she had been accustomed to
see and feel in human eyes. They were the true prison eyes--the eyes of
a man who had learned to talk little, who had forgotten almost how to
talk.

"Hello," he said finally, making no effort to change his position. "What
game are you up to?"

His voice was gruff and husky, and at first it had been harsh; but it
had softened queerly in a feeble attempt at forgotten kindliness.

"How do you do?" she said. "I'm not playing. The sun was on your face,
and mamma says one oughtn't to sleep in the sun."

The sweet clearness of her child's voice was pleasant to him, and he
wondered why he had never noticed it in children's voices before. He sat
up slowly and stared at her. He felt that he ought to say something, but
speech with him was a reluctant thing.

"I hope you slept well," she said gravely.

"I sure did," he answered, never taking his eyes from her, amazed at the
fairness and delicacy of her. "How long was you holdin' that contraption
up over me?"

"O-oh," she debated with herself, "a long, long time. I thought you
would never wake up."

"And I thought you was a fairy when I first seen you."

He felt elated at his contribution to the conversation.

"No, not a fairy," she smiled.

He thrilled in a strange, numb way at the immaculate whiteness of her
small even teeth.

"I was just the good Samaritan," she added.

"I reckon I never heard of that party."

He was cudgelling his brains to keep the conversation going. Never
having been at close quarters with a child since he was man-grown, he
found it difficult.

"What a funny man not to know about the good Samaritan. Don't you
remember? A certain man went down to Jericho--"

"I reckon I've been there," he interrupted.

"I knew you were a traveller!" she cried, clapping her hands. "Maybe you
saw the exact spot."

"What spot?"

"Why, where he fell among thieves and was left half dead. And then the
good Samaritan went to him, and bound up his wounds, and poured in oil
and wine--was that olive oil, do you think?"

He shook his head slowly.

"I reckon you got me there. Olive oil is something the dagoes cooks
with. I never heard of it for busted heads."

She considered his statement for a moment.

"Well," she announced, "we use olive oil in our cooking, so we must be
dagoes. I never knew what they were before. I thought it was slang."

"And the Samaritan dumped oil on his head," the tramp muttered
reminiscently. "Seems to me I recollect a sky pilot sayin' something
about that old gent. D'ye know, I've been looking for him off'n' on all
my life, and never scared up hide or hair of him. They ain't no more
Samaritans."

"Wasn't I one?" she asked quickly.

He looked at her steadily, with a great curiosity and wonder. Her ear,
by a movement exposed to the sun, was transparent. It seemed he could
almost see through it. He was amazed at the delicacy of her colouring,
at the blue of her eyes, at the dazzle of the sun-touched golden hair.
And he was astounded by her fragility. It came to him that she was
easily broken. His eye went quickly from his huge, gnarled paw to her
tiny hand in which it seemed to him he could almost see the blood
circulate. He knew the power in his muscles, and he knew the tricks and
turns by which men use their bodies to ill-treat men. In fact, he knew
little else, and his mind for the time ran in its customary channel. It
was his way of measuring the beautiful strangeness of her. He calculated
a grip, and not a strong one, that could grind her little fingers to
pulp. He thought of fist-blows he had given to men's heads, and
received on his own head, and felt that the least of them could shatter
hers like an eggshell. He scanned her little shoulders and slim waist,
and knew in all certitude that with his two hands he could rend her to
pieces.

"Wasn't I one?" she insisted again.

He came back to himself with a shock--or away from himself, as the case
happened. He was loth that the conversation should cease.

"What?" he answered. "Oh, yes; you bet you was a Samaritan, even if you
didn't have no olive oil." He remembered what his mind had been dwelling
on, and asked, "But ain't you afraid?"

She looked at him uncomprehendingly.

"Of ... of me?" he added lamely.

She laughed merrily.

"Mamma says never to be afraid of anything. She says that if you're
good, and you think good of other people, they'll be good, too."

"And you was thinkin' good of me when you kept the sun off," he
marvelled.

"But it's hard to think good of bees and nasty crawly things," she
confessed.

"But there's men that is nasty and crawly things," he argued.

"Mamma says no. She says there's good in every one."

"I bet you she locks the house up tight at night just the same," he
proclaimed triumphantly.

"But she doesn't. Mamma isn't afraid of anything. That's why she lets me
play out here alone when I want. Why, we had a robber once. Mamma got
right up and found him. And what do you think! He was only a poor hungry
man. And she got him plenty to eat from the pantry, and afterward she
got him work to do."

Ross Shanklin was stunned. The vista shown him of human nature was
unthinkable. It had been his lot to live in a world of suspicion and
hatred, of evil-believing and evil-doing. It had been his experience,
slouching along village streets at nightfall, to see little children,
screaming with fear, run from him to their mothers. He had even seen
grown women shrink aside from him as he passed along the sidewalk.

He was aroused by the girl clapping her hands as she cried out.

"I know what you are! You're an open air crank. That's why you were
sleeping here in the grass."

He felt a grim desire to laugh, but repressed it.

"And that's what tramps are--open air cranks," she continued. "I often
wondered. Mamma believes in the open air. I sleep on the porch at night.
So does she. This is our land. You must have climbed the fence. Mamma
lets me when I put on my climbers--they're bloomers, you know. But you
ought to be told something. A person doesn't know when they snore
because they're asleep. But you do worse than that. You grit your teeth.
That's bad. Whenever you are going to sleep you must think to yourself,
'I won't grit my teeth, I won't grit my teeth,' over and over, just like
that, and by and by you'll get out of the habit.

"All bad things are habits. And so are all good things. And it depends
on us what kind our habits are going to be. I used to pucker my
eyebrows--wrinkle them all up, but mamma said I must overcome that
habit. She said that when my eyebrows were wrinkled it was an
advertisement that my brain was wrinkled inside, and that it wasn't good
to have wrinkles in the brain. And then she smoothed my eyebrows with
her hand and said I must always think _smooth_--_smooth_ inside, and
_smooth_ outside. And do you know, it was easy. I haven't wrinkled my
brows for ever so long. I've heard about filling teeth by thinking. But
I don't believe that. Neither does mamma."

She paused, rather out of breath. Nor did he speak. Her flow of talk had
been too much for him. Also, sleeping drunkenly, with open mouth, had
made him very thirsty. But, rather than lose one precious moment, he
endured the torment of his scorching throat and mouth. He licked his dry
lips and struggled for speech.

"What is your name?" he managed at last.

"Joan."

She looked her own question at him, and it was not necessary to voice
it.

"Mine is Ross Shanklin," he volunteered, for the first time in forgotten
years giving his real name.

"I suppose you've travelled a lot."

"I sure have, but not as much as I might have wanted to."

"Papa always wanted to travel, but he was too busy at the office. He
never could get much time. He went to Europe once with mamma. That was
before I was born. It takes money to travel."

Ross Shanklin did not know whether to agree with this statement or not.

"But it doesn't cost tramps much for expenses," she took the thought
away from him. "Is that why you tramp?"

He nodded and licked his lips.

"Mamma says it's too bad that men must tramp to look for work. But
there's lots of work now in the country. All the farmers in the valley
are trying to get men. Have you been working?"

He shook his head, angry with himself that he should feel shame at the
confession when his savage reasoning told him he was right in despising
work. But this was followed by another thought. This beautiful little
creature was some man's child. She was one of the rewards of work.

"I wish I had a little girl like you," he blurted out, stirred by a
sudden consciousness of passion for paternity. "I'd work my hands off.
I ... I'd do anything."

She considered his case with fitting gravity.

"Then you aren't married?"

"Nobody would have me."

"Yes they would, if...."

She did not turn up her nose, but she favoured his dirt and rags with a
look of disapprobation he could not mistake.

"Go on," he half-shouted. "Shoot it into me. If I was washed--if I wore
good clothes--if I was respectable--if I had a job and worked
regular--if I wasn't what I am."

To each statement she nodded.

"Well, I ain't that kind," he rushed on.

"I'm no good. I'm a tramp. I don't want to work, that's what. And I like
dirt."

Her face was eloquent with reproach as she said, "Then you were only
making believe when you wished you had a little girl like me?"

This left him speechless, for he knew, in all the deeps of his new-found
passion, that that was just what he did want.

With ready tact, noting his discomfort, she sought to change the
subject.

"What do you think of God?" she asked.

"I ain't never met him. What do you think about him?"

His reply was evidently angry, and she was frank in her disapproval.

"You are very strange," she said. "You get angry so easily. I never saw
anybody before that got angry about God, or work, or being clean."

"He never done anything for me," he muttered resentfully. He cast back
in quick review of the long years of toil in the convict camps and
mines. "And work never done anything for me neither."

An embarrassing silence fell.

He looked at her, numb and hungry with the stir of the father-love,
sorry for his ill temper, puzzling his brain for something to say. She
was looking off and away at the clouds, and he devoured her with his
eyes. He reached out stealthily and rested one grimy hand on the very
edge of her little dress. It seemed to him that she was the most
wonderful thing in the world. The quail still called from the coverts,
and the harvest sounds seemed abruptly to become very loud. A great
loneliness oppressed him.

"I'm ... I'm no good," he murmured huskily and repentantly.

But, beyond a glance from her blue eyes, she took no notice. The silence
was more embarrassing than ever. He felt that he could give the world
just to touch with his lips that hem of her dress where his hand rested.
But he was afraid of frightening her. He fought to find something to
say, licking his parched lips and vainly attempting to articulate
something, anything.

"This ain't Sonoma Valley," he declared finally. "This is fairy land,
and you're a fairy. Mebbe I'm asleep and dreaming. I don't know. You and
me don't know how to talk together, because, you see, you're a fairy and
don't know nothing but good things, and I'm a man from the bad, wicked
world."

Having achieved this much, he was left gasping for ideas like a stranded
fish.

"And you're going to tell me about the bad, wicked world," she cried,
clapping her hands. "I'm just dying to know."

He looked at her, startled, remembering the wreckage of womanhood he had
encountered on the sunken ways of life. She was no fairy. She was flesh
and blood, and the possibilities of wreckage were in her as they had
been in him even when he lay at his mother's breast. And there was in
her eagerness to know.

"Nope," he said lightly, "this man from the bad, wicked world ain't
going to tell you nothing of the kind. He's going to tell you of the
good things in that world. He's going to tell you how he loved hosses
when he was a shaver, and about the first hoss he straddled, and the
first hoss he owned. Hosses ain't like men. They're better. They're
clean--clean all the way through and back again. And, little fairy, I
want to tell you one thing--there sure ain't nothing in the world like
when you're settin' a tired hoss at the end of a long day, and when you
just speak, and that tired animal lifts under you willing and hustles
along. Hosses! They're my long suit. I sure dote on hosses. Yep. I used
to be a cowboy once."

She clapped her hands in the way that tore so delightfully to his heart,
and her eyes were dancing, as she exclaimed:

"A Texas cowboy! I always wanted to see one! I heard papa say once that
cowboys are bow-legged. Are you?"

"I sure was a Texas cowboy," he answered. "But it was a long time ago.
And I'm sure bow-legged. You see, you can't ride much when you're young
and soft without getting the legs bent some. Why, I was only a
three-year-old when I begun. He was a three-year-old, too, fresh-broken.
I led him up alongside the fence, clumb to the top rail, and dropped
on. He was a pinto, and a real devil at bucking, but I could do
anything with him. I reckon he knowed I was only a little shaver. Some
hosses knows lots more 'n' you think."

For half an hour Ross Shanklin rambled on with his horse reminiscences,
never unconscious for a moment of the supreme joy that was his through
the touch of his hand on the hem of her dress. The sun dropped slowly
into the cloud bank, the quail called more insistently, and empty wagon
after empty wagon rumbled back across the bridge. Then came a woman's
voice.

"Joan! Joan!" it called. "Where are you, dear?"

The little girl answered, and Ross Shanklin saw a woman, clad in a soft,
clinging gown, come through the gate from the bungalow. She was a
slender, graceful woman, and to his charmed eyes she seemed rather to
float along than walk like ordinary flesh and blood.

"What have you been doing all afternoon?" the woman asked, as she came
up.

"Talking, mamma," the little girl replied "I've had a very interesting
time."

Ross Shanklin scrambled to his feet and stood watchfully and awkwardly.
The little girl took the mother's hand, and she, in turn, looked at him
frankly and pleasantly, with a recognition of his humanness that was a
new thing to him. In his mind ran the thought: _the woman who ain't
afraid_. Not a hint was there of the timidity he was accustomed to
seeing in women's eyes. And he was quite aware, and never more so, of
his bleary-eyed, forbidding appearance.

"How do you do?" she greeted him sweetly and naturally.

"How do you do, ma'am," he responded, unpleasantly conscious of the
huskiness and rawness of his voice.

"And did you have an interesting time, too?" she smiled.

"Yes, ma'am. I sure did. I was just telling your little girl about
hosses."

"He was a cowboy, once, mamma," she cried.

The mother smiled her acknowledgment to him, and looked fondly down at
the little girl. The thought that came into Ross Shanklin's mind was the
awfulness of the crime if any one should harm either of the wonderful
pair. This was followed by the wish that some terrible danger should
threaten, so that he could fight, as he well knew how, with all his
strength and life, to defend them.

"You'll have to come along, dear," the mother said. "It's growing late."
She looked at Ross Shanklin hesitantly. "Would you care to have
something to eat?"

"No, ma'am, thanking you kindly just the same. I ... I ain't hungry."

"Then say good-bye, Joan," she counselled.

"Good-bye." The little girl held out her hand, and her eyes lighted
roguishly. "Good-bye, Mr. Man from the bad, wicked world."

To him, the touch of her hand as he pressed it in his was the capstone
of the whole adventure.

"Good-bye, little fairy," he mumbled. "I reckon I got to be pullin'
along."

But he did not pull along. He stood staring after his vision until it
vanished through the gate. The day seemed suddenly empty. He looked
about him irresolutely, then climbed the fence, crossed the bridge, and
slouched along the road. He was in a dream. He did not note his feet nor
the way they led him. At times he stumbled in the dust-filled ruts.

A mile farther on, he aroused at the crossroads. Before him stood the
saloon. He came to a stop and stared at it, licking his lips. He sank
his hand into his pants pocket and fumbled a solitary dime. "God!" he
muttered. "God!" Then, with dragging, reluctant feet, went on along the
road.

He came to a big farm. He knew it must be big, because of the bigness of
the house and the size and number of the barns and outbuildings. On the
porch, in shirt sleeves, smoking a cigar, keen-eyed and middle-aged, was
the farmer.

"What's the chance for a job?" Ross Shanklin asked.

The keen eyes scarcely glanced at him.

"A dollar a day and grub," was the answer.

Ross Shanklin swallowed and braced himself.

"I'll pick grapes all right, or anything. But what's the chance for a
steady job? You've got a big ranch here. I know hosses. I was born on
one. I can drive team, ride, plough, break, do anything that anybody
ever done with hosses."

The other looked him over with an appraising, incredulous eye.

"You don't look it," was the judgment.

"I know I don't. Give me a chance. That's all. I'll prove it."

The farmer considered, casting an anxious glance at the cloud bank into
which the sun had sunk.

"I'm short a teamster, and I'll give you the chance to make good. Go and
get supper with the hands."

Ross Shanklin's voice was very husky, and be spoke with an effort.

"All right. I'll make good. Where can I get a drink of water and wash
up?"




THE PRODIGAL FATHER

I


Josiah Childs was ordinarily an ordinary-appearing, prosperous business
man. He wore a sixty-dollar, business-man's suit, his shoes were
comfortable and seemly and made from the current last, his tie, collars
and cuffs were just what all prosperous business men wore, and an
up-to-date, business-man's derby was his wildest adventure in head-gear.
Oakland, California, is no sleepy country town, and Josiah Childs, as
the leading grocer of a rushing Western metropolis of three hundred
thousand, appropriately lived, acted, and dressed the part.

But on this morning, before the rush of custom began, his appearance at
the store, while it did not cause a riot, was sufficiently startling to
impair for half an hour the staff's working efficiency. He nodded
pleasantly to the two delivery drivers loading their wagons for the
first trip of the morning, and cast upward the inevitable, complacent
glance at the sign that ran across the front of the building--CHILDS'
CASH STORE. The lettering, not too large, was of dignified black and
gold, suggestive of noble spices, aristocratic condiments, and
everything of the best (which was no more than to be expected of a scale
of prices ten per cent. higher than any other grocery in town). But what
Josiah Childs did not see as he turned his back on the drivers and
entered, was the helpless and mutual fall of surprise those two worthies
perpetrated on each other's necks. They clung together for support.

"Did you catch the kicks, Bill?" one moaned.

"Did you pipe the head-piece?" Bill moaned back.

"Now if he was goin' to a masquerade ball...."

"Or attendin' a reunion of the Rough Riders...."

"Or goin' huntin' bear...."

"Or swearin' off his taxes...."

"Instead of goin' all the way to the effete East--Monkton says he's
going clear to Boston...."

The two drivers held each other apart at arm's length, and fell limply
together again.

For Josiah Childs' outfit was all their actions connotated. His hat was
a light fawn, stiff-rimmed John B. Stetson, circled by a band of Mexican
stamped leather. Over a blue flannel shirt, set off by a drooping
Windsor tie, was a rough-and-ready coat of large-ribbed corduroy. Pants
of the same material were thrust into high-laced shoes of the sort worn
by surveyors, explorers, and linemen.

A clerk at a near counter almost petrified at sight of his employer's
bizarre rig. Monkton, recently elevated to the managership, gasped,
swallowed, and maintained his imperturbable attentiveness. The lady
bookkeeper, glancing down from her glass eyrie on the inside balcony,
took one look and buried her giggles in the day book. Josiah Childs saw
most of all this, but he did not mind. He was starting on his vacation,
and his head and heart were buzzing with plans and anticipations of the
most adventurous vacation he had taken in ten years. Under his eyelids
burned visions of East Falls, Connecticut, and of all the home scenes he
had been born to and brought up in. Oakland, he was thoroughly aware,
was more modern than East Falls, and the excitement caused by his garb
was only to be expected. Undisturbed by the sensation he knew he was
creating among his employes, he moved about, accompanied by his manager,
making last suggestions, giving final instructions, and radiating fond,
farewell glances at all the loved details of the business he had built
out of nothing.

He had a right to be proud of Childs' Cash Store. Twelve years before he
had landed in Oakland with fourteen dollars and forty-three cents. Cents
did not circulate so far West, and after the fourteen dollars were gone,
he continued to carry the three pennies in his pocket for a weary while.
Later, when he had got a job clerking in a small grocery for eleven
dollars a week, and had begun sending a small monthly postal order to
one, Agatha Childs, East Falls, Connecticut, he invested the three
coppers in postage stamps. Uncle Sam could not reject his own lawful
coin of the realm.

Having spent all his life in cramped New England, where sharpness and
shrewdness had been whetted to razor-edge on the harsh stone of meagre
circumstance, he had found himself abruptly in the loose and
free-and-easy West, where men thought in thousand-dollar bills and
newsboys dropped dead at sight of copper cents. Josiah Childs bit like
fresh acid into the new industrial and business conditions. He had
vision. He saw so many ways of making money all at once, that at first
his brain was in a whirl.

At the same time, being sane and conservative, he had resolutely avoided
speculation. The solid and substantial called to him. Clerking at eleven
dollars a week, he took note of the lost opportunities, of the openings
for safe enterprise, of the countless leaks in the business. If, despite
all this, the boss could make a good living, what couldn't he, Josiah
Childs, do with his Connecticut training? It was like a bottle of wine
to a thirsty hermit, this coming to the active, generous-spending West
after thirty-five years in East Falls, the last fifteen of which had
been spent in humdrum clerking in the humdrum East Falls general store.
Josiah Childs' head buzzed with the easy possibilities he saw. But he
did not lose his head. No detail was overlooked. He spent his spare
hours in studying Oakland, its people, how they made their money, and
why they spent it and where. He walked the central streets, watching the
drift of the buying crowds, even counting them and compiling the
statistics in various notebooks. He studied the general credit system of
the trade, and the particular credit systems of the different districts.
He could tell to a dot the average wage or salary earned by the
householders of any locality, and he made it a point of thoroughness to
know every locality from the waterfront slums to the aristocratic Lake
Merritt and Piedmont sections, from West Oakland, where dwelt the
railroad employes, to the semi-farmers of Fruitvale at the opposite end
of the city.

Broadway, on the main street and in the very heart of the shopping
district, where no grocer had ever been insane enough to dream of
establishing a business, was his ultimate selection. But that required
money, while he had to start from the smallest of beginnings. His first
store was on lower Filbert, where lived the nail-workers. In half a
year, three other little corner groceries went out of business while he
was compelled to enlarge his premises. He understood the principle of
large sales at small profits, of stable qualities of goods, and of a
square deal. He had glimpsed, also, the secret of advertising. Each week
he set forth one article that sold at a loss to him. This was not an
advertised loss, but an absolute loss. His one clerk prophesied
impending bankruptcy when butter, that cost Childs thirty cents, was
sold for twenty-five cents, when twenty-two-cent coffee was passed
across the counter at eighteen cents. The neighbourhood housewives came
for these bargains and remained to buy other articles that sold at a
profit. Moreover, the whole neighbourhood came quickly to know Josiah
Childs, and the busy crowd of buyers in his store was an attraction in
itself.

But Josiah Childs made no mistake. He knew the ultimate foundation on
which his prosperity rested. He studied the nail works until he came to
know as much about them as the managing directors. Before the first
whisper had stirred abroad, he sold his store, and with a modest sum of
ready cash went in search of a new location. Six months later the nail
works closed down, and closed down forever.

His next store was established on Adeline Street, where lived a
comfortable, salaried class. Here, his shelves carried a higher-grade
and a more diversified stock. By the same old method, he drew his crowd.
He established a delicatessen counter. He dealt directly with the
farmers, so that his butter and eggs were not only always dependable but
were a shade better than those sold by the finest groceries in the city.
One of his specialties was Boston baked beans, and so popular did it
become that the Twin Cabin Bakery paid him better than handsomely for
the privilege of taking it over. He made time to study the farmers, the
very apples they grew, and certain farmers he taught how properly to
make cider. As a side-line, his New England apple cider proved his
greatest success, and before long, after he had invaded San Francisco,
Berkeley, and Alameda, he ran it as an independent business.

But always his eyes were fixed on Broadway. Only one other intermediate
move did he make, which was to as near as he could get to the Ashland
Park Tract, where every purchaser of land was legally pledged to put up
no home that should cost less than four thousand dollars. After that
came Broadway. A strange swirl had come in the tide of the crowd. The
drift was to Washington Street, where real estate promptly soared while
on Broadway it was as if the bottom had fallen out. One big store after
another, as the leases expired, moved to Washington.

The crowd will come back, Josiah Childs said, but he said it to himself.
He knew the crowd. Oakland was growing, and he knew why it was growing.
Washington Street was too narrow to carry the increasing traffic. Along
Broadway, in the physical nature of things, the electric cars, ever in
greater numbers, would have to run. The realty dealers said that the
crowd would never come back, while the leading merchants followed the
crowd. And then it was, at a ridiculously low figure, that Josiah Childs
got a long lease on a modern, Class A building on Broadway, with a
buying option at a fixed price. It was the beginning of the end for
Broadway, said the realty dealers, when a grocery was established in its
erstwhile sacred midst. Later, when the crowd did come back, they said
Josiah Childs was lucky. Also, they whispered among themselves that he
had cleared at least fifty thousand on the transaction.

It was an entirely different store from his previous ones. There were no
more bargains. Everything was of the superlative best, and superlative
best prices were charged. He catered to the most expensive trade in
town. Only those who could carelessly afford to pay ten per cent. more
than anywhere else, patronised him, and so excellent was his service
that they could not afford to go elsewhere. His horses and delivery
wagons were more expensive and finer than any one else's in town. He
paid his drivers, and clerks, and bookkeepers higher wages than any
other store could dream of paying. As a result, he got more efficient
men, and they rendered him and his patrons a more satisfying service. In
short, to deal at Childs' Cash Store became almost the infallible index
of social status.

To cap everything, came the great San Francisco earthquake and fire,
which caused one hundred thousand people abruptly to come across the Bay
and live in Oakland. Not least to profit from so extraordinary a boom,
was Josiah Childs. And now, after twelve years' absence, he was
departing on a visit to East Falls, Connecticut. In the twelve years he
had not received a letter from Agatha, nor had he seen even a photograph
of his and Agatha's boy.

Agatha and he had never got along together. Agatha was masterful. Agatha
had a tongue. She was strong on old-fashioned morality. She was
unlovely in her rectitude. Josiah never could quite make out how he had
happened to marry her. She was two years his senior, and had long ranked
as an old maid She had taught school, and was known by the young
generation as the sternest disciplinarian in its experience. She had
become set in her ways, and when she married it was merely an exchange
of a number of pupils for one. Josiah had to stand the hectoring and
nagging that thitherto had been distributed among many. As to how the
marriage came about, his Uncle Isaac nearly hit it off one day when he
said in confidence: "Josiah, when Agatha married you it was a case of
marrying a struggling young man. I reckon you was overpowered. Or maybe
you broke your leg and couldn't get away."

"Uncle Isaac," Josiah answered, "I didn't break my leg. I ran my
dangdest, but she just plum run me down and out of breath."

"Strong in the wind, eh?" Uncle Isaac chuckled.

"We've ben married five years now," Josiah agreed, "and I've never known
her to lose it."

"And never will," Uncle Isaac added.

This conversation had taken place in the last days, and so dismal an
outlook proved too much for Josiah Childs. Meek he was, under Agatha's
firm tuition, but he was very healthy, and his promise of life was too
long for his patience. He was only thirty-three, and he came of a
long-lived stock. Thirty-three more years with Agatha and Agatha's
nagging was too hideous to contemplate. So, between a sunset and a
rising, Josiah Childs disappeared from East Falls. And from that day,
for twelve years, he had received no letter from her. Not that it was
her fault. He had carefully avoided letting her have his address. His
first postal money orders were sent to her from Oakland, but in the
years that followed he had arranged his remittances so that they bore
the scattered postmarks of most of the states west of the Rockies.

But twelve years, and the confidence born of deserved success, had
softened his memories. After all, she was the mother of his boy, and it
was incontestable that she had always meant well. Besides, he was not
working so hard now, and he had more time to think of things besides his
business. He wanted to see the boy, whom he had never seen and who had
turned three before his father ever learned he was a father. Then, too,
homesickness had begun to crawl in him. In a dozen years he had not seen
snow, and he was always wondering if New England fruits and berries had
not a finer tang than those of California. Through hazy vistas he saw
the old New England life, and he wanted to see it again in the flesh
before he died.

And, finally, there was duty. Agatha was his wife. He would bring her
back with him to the West. He felt that he could stand it. He was a man,
now, in the world of men. He ran things, instead of being run, and
Agatha would quickly find it out. Nevertheless, he wanted Agatha to come
to him for his own sake. So it was that he had put on his frontier rig.
He would be the prodigal father, returning as penniless as when he
left, and it would be up to her whether or not she killed the fatted
calf. Empty of hand, and looking it, he would come back wondering if he
could get his old job in the general store. Whatever followed would be
Agatha's affair.

By the time he said good-bye to his staff and emerged on the sidewalk,
five more of his delivery wagons were backed up and loading.

He ran his eye proudly over them, took a last fond glance at the
black-and-gold letters, and signalled the electric car at the corner.


II

He ran up to East Falls from New York. In the Pullman smoker he became
acquainted with several business men. The conversation, turning on the
West, was quickly led by him. As president of the Oakland Chamber of
Commerce, he was an authority. His words carried weight, and he knew
what he was talking about, whether it was Asiatic trade, the Panama
Canal, or the Japanese coolie question. It was very exhilarating, this
stimulus of respectful attention accorded him by these prosperous
Eastern men, and before he knew it he was at East Falls.

He was the only person who alighted, and the station was deserted.
Nobody was there expecting anybody. The long twilight of a January
evening was beginning, and the bite of the keen air made him suddenly
conscious that his clothing was saturated with tobacco smoke. He
shuddered involuntarily. Agatha did not tolerate tobacco. He half-moved
to toss the fresh-lighted cigar away, then it was borne in upon him that
this was the old East Falls atmosphere overpowering him, and he resolved
to combat it, thrusting the cigar between his teeth and gripping it with
the firmness of a dozen years of Western resolution.

A few steps brought him into the little main street. The chilly, stilted
aspect of it shocked him. Everything seemed frosty and pinched, just as
the cutting air did after the warm balminess of California. Only several
persons, strangers to his recollection, were abroad, and they favoured
him with incurious glances. They were wrapped in an uncongenial and
frosty imperviousness. His first impression was surprise at his
surprise. Through the wide perspective of twelve years of Western life,
he had consistently and steadily discounted the size and importance of
East Falls; but this was worse than all discounting. Things were more
meagre than he had dreamed. The general store took his breath away.
Countless myriads of times he had contrasted it with his own spacious
emporium, but now he saw that in justice he had overdone it. He felt
certain that it could not accommodate two of his delicatessen counters,
and he knew that he could lose all of it in one of his storerooms.

He took the familiar turning to the right at the head of the street, and
as he plodded along the slippery walk he decided that one of the first
things he must do was to buy sealskin cap and gloves. The thought of
sleighing cheered him for a moment, until, now on the outskirts of the
village, he was sanitarily perturbed by the adjacency of dwelling houses
and barns. Some were even connected. Cruel memories of bitter morning
chores oppressed him. The thought of chapped hands and chilblains was
almost terrifying, and his heart sank at sight of the double
storm-windows, which he knew were solidly fastened and unraisable, while
the small ventilating panes, the size of ladies' handkerchiefs, smote
him with sensations of suffocation. Agatha'll like California, he
thought, calling to his mind visions of roses in dazzling sunshine and
the wealth of flowers that bloomed the twelve months round.

And then, quite illogically, the years were bridged and the whole leaden
weight of East Falls descended upon him like a damp sea fog. He fought
it from him, thrusting it off and aside by sentimental thoughts on the
"honest snow," the "fine elms," the "sturdy New England spirit," and the
"great homecoming." But at sight of Agatha's house he wilted. Before he
knew it, with a recrudescent guilty pang, he had tossed the half-smoked
cigar away and slackened his pace until his feet dragged in the old
lifeless, East Falls manner. He tried to remember that he was the owner
of Childs' Cash Store, accustomed to command, whose words were listened
to with respect in the Employers' Association, and who wielded the gavel
at the meetings of the Chamber of Commerce. He strove to conjure visions
of the letters in black and gold, and of the string of delivery wagons
backed up to the sidewalk. But Agatha's New England spirit was as sharp
as the frost, and it travelled to him through solid house-walls and
across the intervening hundred yards.

Then he became aware that despite his will he had thrown the cigar away.
This brought him an awful vision. He saw himself going out in the frost
to the woodshed to smoke. His memory of Agatha he found less softened by
the lapse of years than it had been when three thousand miles
intervened. It was unthinkable. No; he couldn't do it. He was too old,
too used to smoking all over the house, to do the woodshed stunt now.
And everything depended on how he began. He would put his foot down. He
would smoke in the house that very night ... in the kitchen, he feebly
amended. No, by George, he would smoke now. He would arrive smoking.
Mentally imprecating the cold, he exposed his bare hands and lighted
another cigar. His manhood seemed to flare up with the match. He would
show her who was boss. Right from the drop of the hat he would show her.

Josiah Childs had been born in this house. And it was long before he
was born that his father had built it. Across the low stone fence,
Josiah could see the kitchen porch and door, the connected woodshed, and
the several outbuildings. Fresh from the West, where everything was new
and in constant flux, he was astonished at the lack of change.
Everything was as it had always been. He could almost see himself, a
boy, doing the chores. There, in the woodshed, how many cords of wood
had he bucksawed and split! Well, thank the Lord, that was past.

The walk to the kitchen showed signs of recent snow-shovelling. That had
been one of his tasks. He wondered who did it now, and suddenly
remembered that his own son must be twelve. In another moment he would
have knocked at the kitchen door, but the _skreek_ of a bucksaw from the
woodshed led him aside. He looked in and saw a boy hard at work.
Evidently, this was his son. Impelled by the wave of warm emotion that
swept over him, he all but rushed in upon the lad. He controlled himself
with an effort.

"Father here?" he asked curtly, though from under the stiff brim of his
John B. Stetson he studied the boy closely.

Sizable for his age, he thought. A mite spare in the ribs maybe, and
that possibly due to rapid growth. But the face strong and pleasing and
the eyes like Uncle Isaac's. When all was said, a darn good sample.

"No, sir," the boy answered, resting on the saw-buck.

"Where is he?"

"At sea," was the answer.

Josiah Childs felt a something very akin to relief and joy tingle
through him. Agatha had married again--evidently a seafaring man. Next,
came an ominous, creepy sensation. Agatha had committed bigamy. He
remembered Enoch Arden, read aloud to the class by the teacher in the
old schoolhouse, and began to think of himself as a hero. He would do
the heroic. By George, he would. He would sneak away and get the first
train for California. She would never know.

But there was Agatha's New England morality, and her New England
conscience. She received a regular remittance. She knew he was alive. It
was impossible that she could have done this thing. He groped wildly for
a solution. Perhaps she had sold the old home, and this boy was somebody
else's boy.

"What is your name?" Josiah asked.

"Johnnie," came the reply.

"Last name I mean?"

"Childs, Johnnie Childs."

"And your father's name?--first name?"

"Josiah Childs."

"And he's away at sea, you say?"

"Yes, sir."

This set Josiah wondering again.

"What kind of a man is he?"

"Oh, he's all right--a good provider, Mom says. And he is. He always
sends his money home, and he works hard for it, too, Mom says. She says
he always was a good worker, and he's better'n other men she ever saw.
He don't smoke, or drink, or swear, or do anything he oughtn't. And he
never did. He was always that way, Mom says, and she knew him all her
life before ever they got married. He's a very kind man, and never hurts
anybody's feelings. Mom says he's the most considerate man she ever
knew."

Josiah's heart went weak. Agatha had done it after all--had taken a
second husband when she knew her first was still alive. Well, he had
learned charity in the West, and he could be charitable. He would go
quietly away. Nobody would ever know. Though it was rather mean of her,
the thought flashed through him, that she should go on cashing his
remittances when she was married to so model and steady-working a
seafaring husband who brought his wages home. He cudgelled his brains in
an effort to remember such a man out of all the East Falls men he had
known.

"What's he look like?"

"Don't know. Never saw him. He's at sea all the time. But I know how
tall he is. Mom says I'm goin' to be bigger'n him, and he was five feet
eleven. There's a picture of him in the album. His face is thin, and he
has whiskers."

A great illumination came to Josiah. He was himself five feet eleven. He
had worn whiskers, and his face had been thin in those days. And Johnnie
had said his father's name was Josiah Childs. He, Josiah, was this model
husband who neither smoked, swore, nor drank. He was this seafaring man
whose memory had been so carefully shielded by Agatha's forgiving
fiction. He warmed toward her. She must have changed mightily since he
left. He glowed with penitence. Then his heart sank as he thought of
trying to live up to this reputation Agatha had made for him. This boy
with the trusting blue eyes would expect it of him. Well, he'd have to
do it. Agatha had been almighty square with him. He hadn't thought she
had it in her.

The resolve he might there and then have taken was doomed never to be,
for he heard the kitchen door open to give vent to a woman's nagging,
irritable voice.

"Johnnie!--you!" it cried.

How often had he heard it in the old days: "Josiah!--you!" A shiver went
through him. Involuntarily, automatically, with a guilty start, he
turned his hand back upward so that the cigar was hidden. He felt
himself shrinking and shrivelling as she stepped out on the stoop. It
was his unchanged wife, the same shrew wrinkles, with the same
sour-drooping corners to the thin-lipped mouth. But there was more
sourness, an added droop, the lips were thinner, and the shrew wrinkles
were deeper. She swept Josiah with a hostile, withering stare.

"Do you think your father would stop work to talk to tramps?" she
demanded of the boy, who visibly quailed, even as Josiah.

"I was only answering his questions," Johnnie pleaded doggedly but
hopelessly. "He wanted to know--"

"And I suppose you told him," she snapped. "What business is it of his
prying around? No, and he gets nothing to eat. As for you, get to work
at once. I'll teach you, idling at your chores. Your father wa'n't like
that. Can't I ever make you like him?"

Johnnie bent his back, and the bucksaw resumed its protesting skreek.
Agatha surveyed Josiah sourly. It was patent she did not recognise him.

"You be off," she commanded harshly. "None of your snooping around
here."

Josiah felt the numbness of paralysis creeping over him. He moistened
his lips and tried to say something, but found himself bereft of speech.

"You be off, I say," she rasped in her high-keyed voice, "or I'll put
the constable after you."

Josiah turned obediently. He heard the door slam as he went down the
walk. As in a nightmare he opened the gate he had opened ten thousand
times and stepped out on the sidewalk. He felt dazed. Surely it was a
dream. Very soon he would wake up with a sigh of relief. He rubbed his
forehead and paused indecisively. The monotonous complaint of the
bucksaw came to his ears. If that boy had any of the old Childs spirit
in him, sooner or later he'd run away. Agatha was beyond the endurance
of human flesh. She had not changed, unless for the worse, if such a
thing were possible. That boy would surely run for it, maybe soon. Maybe
now.

Josiah Childs straightened up and threw his shoulders back. The
great-spirited West, with its daring and its carelessness of
consequences when mere obstacles stand in the way of its desire, flamed
up in him. He looked at his watch, remembered the time table, and spoke
to himself, solemnly, aloud. It was an affirmation of faith:

"I don't care a hang about the law. That boy can't be crucified. I'll
give her a double allowance, four times, anything, but he goes with me.
She can follow on to California if she wants, but I'll draw up an
agreement, in which what's what, and she'll sign it, and live up to it,
by George, if she wants to stay. And she will," he added grimly. "She's
got to have somebody to nag."

He opened the gate and strode back to the woodshed door. Johnnie looked
up, but kept on sawing.

"What'd you like to do most of anything in the world?" Josiah demanded
in a tense, low voice.

Johnnie hesitated, and almost stopped sawing. Josiah made signs for him
to keep it up.

"Go to sea," Johnnie answered. "Along with my father."

Josiah felt himself trembling.

"Would you?" he asked eagerly.

"Would I!"

The look of joy on Johnnie's face decided everything.

"Come here, then. Listen. I'm your father. I'm Josiah Childs. Did you
ever want to run away?"

Johnnie nodded emphatically.

"That's what I did," Josiah went on. "I ran away." He fumbled for his
watch hurriedly. "We've just time to catch the train for California. I
live there now. Maybe Agatha, your mother, will come along afterward.
I'll tell you all about it on the train. Come on."

He gathered the half-frightened, half-trusting boy into his arms for a
moment, then, hand in hand, they fled across the yard, out of the gate,
and down the street. They heard the kitchen door open, and the last they
heard was:

"Johnnie!--you! Why ain't you sawing? I'll attend to your case
directly!"




THE FIRST POET


SCENE: _A summer plain, the eastern side of which is bounded by grassy
hills of limestone, the other sides by a forest. The hill nearest to the
plain terminates in a cliff, in the face of which, nearly at the level
of the ground, are four caves, with low, narrow entrances. Before the
caves, and distant from them less than one hundred feet, is a broad,
flat rock, on which are laid several sharp slivers of flint, which, like
the rock, are blood-stained. Between the rock and the cave-entrances, on
a low pile of stones, is squatted a man, stout and hairy. Across his
knees is a thick club, and behind him crouches a woman. At his right and
left are two men somewhat resembling him, and like him, bearing wooden
clubs. These four face the west, and between them and the bloody rock
squat some threescore of cave-folk, talking loudly among themselves. It
is late afternoon. The name of him on the pile of stones is Uk, the
name of his mate, Ala; and of those at his right and left, Ok and Un._

_Uk:_

Be still!

(_Turning to the woman behind him_)

Thou seest that they become still. None save me can make his kind be
still, except perhaps the chief of the apes, when in the night he deems
he hears a serpent.... At whom dost thou stare so long? At Oan? Oan,
come to me!

_Oan:_

I am thy cub.

_Uk:_

Oan, thou art a fool!

_Ok and Un:_

Ho! ho! Oan is a fool!

_All the Tribe:_

Ho! ho! Oan is a fool!

_Oan:_

Why am I a fool?

_Uk:_

Dost thou not chant strange words? Last night I heard thee chant strange
words at the mouth of thy cave.

_Oan:_

Ay! they are marvellous words; they were born within me in the dark.

_Uk:_

Art thou a woman, that thou shouldst bring forth? Why dost thou not
sleep when it is dark?

_Oan:_

I did half sleep; perhaps I dreamed.

_Uk:_

And why shouldst thou dream, not having had more than thy portion of
flesh? Hast thou slain a deer in the forest and brought it not to the
Stone?

_All the Tribe:_

Wa! Wa! He hath slain in the forest, and brought not the meat to the
Stone!

_Uk:_

Be still, ye!

(_To Ala_)

Thou seest that they become still.... Oan, hast thou slain and kept to
thyself?

_Oan:_

Nay, thou knowest that I am not apt at the chase. Also it irks me to
squat on a branch all day above a path, bearing a rock upon my thighs.
Those words did but awaken within me when I was peaceless in the night.

_Uk:_

And why wast thou peaceless in the night?

_Oan:_

Thy mate wept, for that thou didst heat her.

_Uk:_

Ay! she lamented loudly. But thou shalt make thy half-sleep henceforth
at the mouth of the cave, so that when Gurr the tiger cometh, thou
shalt hear him sniff between the boulders, and shalt strike the flints,
whose stare he hatest. Gurr cometh nightly to the caves.

_One of the Tribe:_

Ay! Gurr smelleth the Stone!

_Uk:_

Be still!

(_To Ala_)

Had he not become still, Ok and Un would have beaten him with their
clubs.... But, Oan, tell us those words that were born to thee when Ala
did weep.

_Oan (arising):_

They are wonderful words. They are such:

    The bright day is gone--

_Uk:_

Now I see thou art liar as well as fool: behold, the day is not gone!

_Oan:_

But the day was gone in that hour when my song was born to me.

_Uk:_

Then shouldst thou have sung it only at that time, and not when it is
yet day. But beware lest thou awaken me in the night. Make thou many
stars, that they fly in the whiskers of Gurr.

_Oan:_

My song is even of stars.

_Uk:_

It was Ul, thy father's wont, ere I slew him with four great stones, to
climb to the tops of the tallest trees and reach forth his hand, to see
if he might not pluck a star. But I said: "Perhaps they be as
chestnut-burs." And all the tribe did laugh. Ul was also a fool. But
what dost thou sing of stars?

_Oan:_

I will begin again:

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sad, sad, sad--

_Uk:_

Nay, the night maketh thee sad; not sad, sad, sad. For when I say to
Ala, "Gather thou dried leaves," I say not, "Gather thou dried leaves,
leaves, leaves." Thou art a fool!

_Ok and Un:_

Thou art a fool!

_All the Tribe:_

Thou art a fool!

_Uk:_

Yea, he is a fool. But say on, Oan, and tell us of thy chestnut-burs.

_Oan:_

I will begin again:

    The bright day is gone--

_Uk:_

Thou dost not say, "gone, gone, gone!"

_Oan:_

I am thy cub. Suffer that I speak: so shall the tribe admire greatly.

_Uk:_

Speak on!

_Oan:_

I will begin once more:

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sad, sad--

_Uk:_

Said I not that "sad" should be spoken but once? Shall I set Ok and Un
upon thee with their branches?

_Oan:_

But it was so born within me--even "sad, sad--"

_Uk:_

If again thou twice or thrice say "sad," thou shalt be dragged to the
Stone.

_Oan:_

Owl Ow! I am thy cub! Yet listen:

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sad--

Ow! Ow! thou makest me more sad than the night doth! The song--

_Uk:_

Ok! Un! Be prepared!

_Oan (hastily):_

Nay! have mercy! I will begin afresh:

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sad.
    The--the--the--

_Uk:_

Thou hast forgotten, and art a fool! See, Ala, he is a fool!

_Ok and Un:_

He is a fool!

_All the Tribe:_

He is a fool!

_Oan:_

I am not a fool! This is a new thing. In the past, when ye did chant, O
men, ye did leap about the Stone, beating your breasts and crying, "Hai,
hai, hai!" Or, if the moon was great, "Hai, hai! hai, hai, hai!" But
this song is made even with such words as ye do speak, and is a great
wonder. One may sit at the cave's mouth, and moan it many times as the
light goeth out of the sky.

_One of the Tribe:_

Ay! even thus doth he sit at the mouth of our cave, making us marvel,
and more especially the women.

_Uk:_

Be still!... When I would make women marvel, I do show them a wolf's
brains upon my club, or the great stone that I cast, or perhaps do whirl
my arms mightily, or bring home much meat. How should a man do
otherwise? I will have no songs in this place.

_Oan:_

Yet suffer that I sing my song unto the tribe. Such things have not been
before. It may be that they shall praise thee, seeing that I who do make
this song am thy cub.

_Uk:_

Well, let us have the song.

_Oan (facing the tribe):_

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sa--sad.
    But the stars are very white.
    They whisper that the day shall return.
    O stars; little pieces of the day!

_Uk:_

This is indeed madness. Hast thou heard a star whisper? Did Ul, thy
father, tell thee that he heard the stars whisper when he was in the
tree-top? And of what moment is it that a star be a piece of the day,
seeing that its light is of no value? Thou art a fool!

_Ok and Un:_

Thou art a fool!

_All the Tribe:_

Thou art a fool!

_Oan:_

But it was so born unto me. And at that birth it was as though I would
weep, yet had not been stricken; I was moreover glad, yet none had given
me a gift of meat.

_Uk:_

It is a madness. How shall the stars profit us? Will they lead us to a
bear's den, or where the deer foregather, or break for us great bones
that we come at their marrow? Will they tell us anything at all? Wait
thou until the night, and we shall peer forth from between the boulders,
and all men shall take note that the stars cannot whisper.... Yet it may
be that they are pieces of the day. This is a deep matter.

_Oan:_

Ay! they are pieces of the moon!

_Uk:_

What further madness is this? How shall they be pieces of two things
that are not the same? Also it was not thus in the song.

_Oan:_

I will make me a new song. We do change the shape of wood and stone, but
a song is made out of nothing. Ho! ho! I can fashion things from
nothing! Also I say that the stars come down at morning and become the
dew.

_Uk:_

Let us have no more of these stars. It may be that a song is a good
thing, if it be of what a man knoweth. Thus, if thou singest of my club,
or of the bear that I slew, of the stain on the Stone, or the cave and
the warm leaves in the cave, it might be well.

_Oan:_

I will make thee a song of Ala!

_Uk (furiously):_

Thou shalt make me no such song! Thou shalt make me a song of the
deer-liver that thou hast eaten! Did I not give to thee of the liver of
the she-deer, because thou didst bring me crawfish?

_Oan:_

Truly I did eat of the liver of the she-deer; but to sing thereof is
another matter.

_Uk:_

It was no labour for thee to sing of the stars. See now our clubs and
casting-stones, with which we slay flesh to eat; also the caves in which
we dwell, and the Stone whereon we make sacrifice; wilt thou sing no
song of those?

_Oan:_

It may be that I shall sing thee songs of them. But now, as I strive
here to sing of the doe's liver, no words are born unto me: I can but
sing, "O liver! O red liver!"

_Uk:_

That is a good song: thou seest that the liver is red. It is red as
blood.

_Oan:_

But I love not the liver, save to eat of it.

_Uk:_

Yet the song of it is good. When the moon is full we shall sing it about
the Stone. We shall beat upon our breasts and sing, "O liver! O red
liver!" And all the women in the caves shall be affrightened.

_Oan:_

I will not have that song of the liver! It shall be Ok's song; the tribe
must say, "Ok hath made the song!"

_Ok:_

Ay! I shall be a great singer; I shall sing of a wolf's heart, and say,
"Behold, it is red!"

_Uk:_

Thou art a fool, and shalt sing only, "Hai, hai!" as thy father before
thee. But Oan shall make me a song of my club, for the women listen to
his songs.

_Oan:_

I will make thee no songs, neither of thy club, nor thy cave, nor thy
doe's-liver. Yea! though thou give me no more flesh, yet will I live
alone in the forest, and eat the seed of grasses, and likewise rabbits,
that are easily snared. And I will sleep in a tree-top, and I will sing
nightly:

    The bright day is gone.
    The night maketh me sad, sad, sad,
                     sad, sad, sad--

_Uk:_

Ok and Un, arise and slay!

(_Ok and Un rush upon Oan, who stoops and picks up two casting-stones,
with one of which he strikes Ok between the eyes, and with the other
mashes the hand of Un, so that he drops his club. Uk arises._)

_Uk:_

Behold! Gurr cometh! he cometh swiftly from the wood!

(_The Tribe, including Oan and Ala, rush for the cave-mouths. As Oan
passes Uk, the latter runs behind Oan and crushes his skull with a blow
of his club._)

_Uk:_

O men! O men with the heart of hyenas! Behold, Gurr cometh not! I did
but strive to deceive you, that I might the more easily slay this
singer, who is very swift of foot.... Gather ye before me, for I would
speak wisdom.... It is not well that there be any song among us other
than what our fathers sang in the past, or, if there be songs, let them
be of such matters as are of common understanding. If a man sing of a
deer, so shall he be drawn, it may be, to go forth and slay a deer, or
even a moose. And if he sing of his casting-stones, it may be that he
become more apt in the use thereof. And if he sing of his cave, it may
be that he shall defend it more stoutly when Gurr teareth at the
boulders. But it is a vain thing to make songs of the stars, that seem
scornful even of me; or of the moon, which is never two nights the same;
or of the day, which goeth about its business and will not linger though
one pierce a she-babe with a flint. But as for me, I would have none of
these songs. For if I sing of such in the council, how shall I keep my
wits? And if I think thereof, when at the chase, it may be that I babble
it forth, and the meat hear and escape. And ere it be time to eat, I do
give my mind solely to the care of my hunting-gear. And if one sing when
eating, he may fall short of his just portion. And when, one hath eaten,
doth not he go straightway to sleep? So where shall men find a space for
singing? But do ye as ye will: as for me, I will have none of these
songs and stars.

Be it also known to all the women that if, remembering these wild words
of Oan, they do sing them to themselves, or teach them to the young
ones, they shall be beaten with brambles. Cause swiftly that the wife of
Ok cease from her wailing, and bring hither the horses that were slain
yesterday, that I may apportion them. Had Oan wisdom, he might have
eaten thereof; and had a mammoth fallen into our pit, he might have
feasted many days. But Oan was a fool!

_Un:_

Oan was a fool!

_All the Tribe:_

Oan was a fool!




FINIS


It was the last of Morganson's bacon. In all his life he had never
pampered his stomach. In fact, his stomach had been a sort of negligible
quantity that bothered him little, and about which he thought less. But
now, in the long absence of wonted delights, the keen yearning of his
stomach was tickled hugely by the sharp, salty bacon.

His face had a wistful, hungry expression. The cheeks were hollow, and
the skin seemed stretched a trifle tightly across the cheek-bones. His
pale blue eyes were troubled. There was that in them that showed the
haunting imminence of something terrible. Doubt was in them, and anxiety
and foreboding. The thin lips were thinner than they were made to be,
and they seemed to hunger towards the polished frying-pan.

He sat back and drew forth a pipe. He looked into it with sharp
scrutiny, and tapped it emptily on his open palm. He turned the
hair-seal tobacco pouch inside out and dusted the lining, treasuring
carefully each flake and mite of tobacco that his efforts gleaned. The
result was scarce a thimbleful. He searched in his pockets, and brought
forward, between thumb and forefinger, tiny pinches of rubbish. Here and
there in this rubbish were crumbs of tobacco. These he segregated with
microscopic care, though he occasionally permitted small particles of
foreign substance to accompany the crumbs to the hoard in his palm. He
even deliberately added small, semi-hard woolly fluffs, that had come
originally from the coat lining, and that had lain for long months in
the bottoms of the pockets.

At the end of fifteen minutes he had the pipe part filled. He lighted it
from the camp fire, and sat forward on the blankets, toasting his
moccasined feet and smoking parsimoniously. When the pipe was finished
he sat on, brooding into the dying flame of the fire. Slowly the worry
went out of his eyes and resolve came in. Out of the chaos of his
fortunes he had finally achieved a way. But it was not a pretty way.
His face had become stern and wolfish, and the thin lips were drawn very
tightly.

With resolve came action. He pulled himself stiffly to his feet and
proceeded to break camp. He packed the rolled blankets, the frying-pan,
rifle, and axe on the sled, and passed a lashing around the load. Then
he warmed his hands at the fire and pulled on his mittens. He was
foot-sore, and limped noticeably as he took his place at the head of the
sled. When he put the looped haul-rope over his shoulder, and leant his
weight against it to start the sled, he winced. His flesh was galled by
many days of contact with the haul-rope.

The trail led along the frozen breast of the Yukon. At the end of four
hours he came around a bend and entered the town of Minto. It was
perched on top of a high earth bank in the midst of a clearing, and
consisted of a road house, a saloon, and several cabins. He left his
sled at the door and entered the saloon.

"Enough for a drink?" he asked, laying an apparently empty gold sack
upon the bar.

The barkeeper looked sharply at it and him, then set out a bottle and a
glass.

"Never mind the dust," he said.

"Go on and take it," Morganson insisted.

The barkeeper held the sack mouth downward over the scales and shook it,
and a few flakes of gold dust fell out. Morganson took the sack from
him, turned it inside out, and dusted it carefully.

"I thought there was half-a-dollar in it," he said.

"Not quite," answered the other, "but near enough. I'll get it back with
the down weight on the next comer."

Morganson shyly poured the whisky into the glass, partly filling it.

"Go on, make it a man's drink," the barkeeper encouraged.

Morganson tilted the bottle and filled the glass to the brim. He drank
the liquor slowly, pleasuring in the fire of it that bit his tongue,
sank hotly down his throat, and with warm, gentle caresses permeated his
stomach.

"Scurvy, eh?" the barkeeper asked.

"A touch of it," he answered. "But I haven't begun to swell yet. Maybe I
can get to Dyea and fresh vegetables, and beat it out."

"Kind of all in, I'd say," the other laughed sympathetically. "No dogs,
no money, and the scurvy. I'd try spruce tea if I was you."

At the end of half-an-hour, Morganson said good-bye and left the saloon.
He put his galled shoulder to the haul-rope and took the river-trail
south. An hour later he halted. An inviting swale left the river and led
off to the right at an acute angle. He left his sled and limped up the
swale for half a mile. Between him and the river was three hundred yards
of flat ground covered with cottonwoods. He crossed the cottonwoods to
the bank of the Yukon. The trail went by just beneath, but he did not
descend to it. South toward Selkirk he could see the trail widen its
sunken length through the snow for over a mile. But to the north, in the
direction of Minto, a tree-covered out-jut in the bank a quarter of a
mile away screened the trail from him.

He seemed satisfied with the view and returned to the sled the way he
had come. He put the haul-rope over his shoulder and dragged the sled up
the swale. The snow was unpacked and soft, and it was hard work. The
runners clogged and stuck, and he was panting severely ere he had
covered the half-mile. Night had come on by the time he had pitched his
small tent, set up the sheet-iron stove, and chopped a supply of
firewood. He had no candles, and contented himself with a pot of tea
before crawling into his blankets.

In the morning, as soon as he got up, he drew on his mittens, pulled the
flaps of his cap down over his ears, and crossed through the cottonwoods
to the Yukon. He took his rifle with him. As before, he did not descend
the bank. He watched the empty trail for an hour, beating his hands and
stamping his feet to keep up the circulation, then returned to the tent
for breakfast. There was little tea left in the canister--half a dozen
drawings at most; but so meagre a pinch did he put in the teapot that he
bade fair to extend the lifetime of the tea indefinitely. His entire
food supply consisted of half-a-sack of flour and a part-full can of
baking powder. He made biscuits, and ate them slowly, chewing each
mouthful with infinite relish. When he had had three he called a halt.
He debated a while, reached for another biscuit, then hesitated. He
turned to the part sack of flour, lifted it, and judged its weight.

"I'm good for a couple of weeks," he spoke aloud.

"Maybe three," he added, as he put the biscuits away.

Again he drew on his mittens, pulled down his ear-flaps, took the rifle,
and went out to his station on the river bank. He crouched in the snow,
himself unseen, and watched. After a few minutes of inaction, the frost
began to bite in, and he rested the rifle across his knees and beat his
hands back and forth. Then the sting in his feet became intolerable, and
he stepped back from the bank and tramped heavily up and down among the
trees. But he did not tramp long at a time. Every several minutes he
came to the edge of the bank and peered up and down the trail, as though
by sheer will he could materialise the form of a man upon it. The short
morning passed, though it had seemed century-long to him, and the trail
remained empty.

It was easier in the afternoon, watching by the bank. The temperature
rose, and soon the snow began to fall--dry and fine and crystalline.
There was no wind, and it fell straight down, in quiet monotony. He
crouched with eyes closed, his head upon his knees, keeping his watch
upon the trail with his ears. But no whining of dogs, churning of sleds,
nor cries of drivers broke the silence. With twilight he returned to the
tent, cut a supply of firewood, ate two biscuits, and crawled into his
blankets. He slept restlessly, tossing about and groaning; and at
midnight he got up and ate another biscuit.

Each day grew colder. Four biscuits could not keep up the heat of his
body, despite the quantities of hot spruce tea he drank, and he
increased his allowance, morning and evening, to three biscuits. In the
middle of the day he ate nothing, contenting himself with several cups
of excessively weak real tea. This programme became routine. In the
morning three biscuits, at noon real tea, and at night three biscuits.
In between he drank spruce tea for his scurvy. He caught himself making
larger biscuits, and after a severe struggle with himself went back to
the old size.

On the fifth day the trail returned to life. To the south a dark object
appeared, and grew larger. Morganson became alert. He worked his rifle,
ejecting a loaded cartridge from the chamber, by the same action
replacing it with another, and returning the ejected cartridge into the
magazine. He lowered the trigger to half-cock, and drew on his mitten to
keep the trigger-hand warm. As the dark object came nearer he made it
out to be a man, without dogs or sled, travelling light. He grew
nervous, cocked the trigger, then put it back to half-cock again. The
man developed into an Indian, and Morganson, with a sigh of
disappointment, dropped the rifle across his knees. The Indian went on
past and disappeared towards Minto behind the out-jutting clump of
trees.

But Morganson conceived an idea. He changed his crouching spot to a
place where cottonwood limbs projected on either side of him. Into these
with his axe he chopped two broad notches. Then in one of the notches he
rested the barrel of his rifle and glanced along the sights. He covered
the trail thoroughly in that direction. He turned about, rested the
rifle in the other notch, and, looking along the sights, swept the trail
to the clump of trees behind which it disappeared.

He never descended to the trail. A man travelling the trail could have
no knowledge of his lurking presence on the bank above. The snow surface
was unbroken. There was no place where his tracks left the main trail.

As the nights grew longer, his periods of daylight watching of the trail
grew shorter. Once a sled went by with jingling bells in the darkness,
and with sullen resentment he chewed his biscuits and listened to the
sounds. Chance conspired against him. Faithfully he had watched the
trail for ten days, suffering from the cold all the prolonged torment of
the damned, and nothing had happened. Only an Indian, travelling light,
had passed in. Now, in the night, when it was impossible for him to
watch, men and dogs and a sled loaded with life, passed out, bound south
to the sea and the sun and civilisation.

So it was that he conceived of the sled for which he waited. It was
loaded with life, his life. His life was fading, fainting, gasping away
in the tent in the snow. He was weak from lack of food, and could not
travel of himself. But on the sled for which he waited were dogs that
would drag him, food that would fan up the flame of his life, money that
would furnish sea and sun and civilisation. Sea and sun and civilisation
became terms interchangeable with life, his life, and they were loaded
there on the sled for which he waited. The idea became an obsession, and
he grew to think of himself as the rightful and deprived owner of the
sled-load of life.

His flour was running short, and he went back to two biscuits in the
morning and two biscuits at night. Because, of this his weakness
increased and the cold bit in more savagely, and day by day he watched
by the dead trail that would not live for him. At last the scurvy
entered upon its next stage. The skin was unable longer to cast off the
impurity of the blood, and the result was that the body began to swell.
His ankles grew puffy, and the ache in them kept him awake long hours at
night. Next, the swelling jumped to his knees, and the sum of his pain
was more than doubled.

Then there came a cold snap. The temperature went down and down--forty,
fifty, sixty degrees below zero. He had no thermometer, but this he knew
by the signs and natural phenomena understood by all men in that
country--the crackling of water thrown on the snow, the swift sharpness
of the bite of the frost, and the rapidity with which his breath froze
and coated the canvas walls and roof of the tent. Vainly he fought the
cold and strove to maintain his watch on the bank. In his weak condition
he was an easy prey, and the frost sank its teeth deep into him before
he fled away to the tent and crouched by the fire. His nose and cheeks
were frozen and turned black, and his left thumb had frozen inside the
mitten. He concluded that he would escape with the loss of the first
joint.

Then it was, beaten into the tent by the frost, that the trail, with
monstrous irony, suddenly teemed with life. Three sleds went by the
first day, and two the second. Once, during each day, he fought his way
out to the bank only to succumb and retreat, and each of the two times,
within half-an-hour after he retreated, a sled went by.

The cold snap broke, and he was able to remain by the bank once more,
and the trail died again. For a week he crouched and watched, and never
life stirred along it, not a soul passed in or out. He had cut down to
one biscuit night and morning, and somehow he did not seem to notice it.
Sometimes he marvelled at the way life remained in him. He never would
have thought it possible to endure so much.

When the trail fluttered anew with life it was life with which he could
not cope. A detachment of the North-West police went by, a score of
them, with many sleds and dogs; and he cowered down on the bank above,
and they were unaware of the menace of death that lurked in the form of
a dying man beside the trail.

His frozen thumb gave him a great deal of trouble. While watching by the
bank he got into the habit of taking his mitten off and thrusting the
hand inside his shirt so as to rest the thumb in the warmth of his
arm-pit. A mail carrier came over the trail, and Morganson let him pass.
A mail carrier was an important person, and was sure to be missed
immediately.

On the first day after his last flour had gone it snowed. It was always
warm when the snow fell, and he sat out the whole eight hours of
daylight on the bank, without movement, terribly hungry and terribly
patient, for all the world like a monstrous spider waiting for its prey.
But the prey did not come, and he hobbled back to the tent through the
darkness, drank quarts of spruce tea and hot water, and went to bed.

The next morning circumstance eased its grip on him. As he started to
come out of the tent he saw a huge bull-moose crossing the swale some
four hundred yards away. Morganson felt a surge and bound of the blood
in him, and then went unaccountably weak. A nausea overpowered him, and
he was compelled to sit down a moment to recover. Then he reached for
his rifle and took careful aim. The first shot was a hit: he knew it;
but the moose turned and broke for the wooded hillside that came down to
the swale. Morganson pumped bullets wildly among the trees and brush at
the fleeing animal, until it dawned upon him that he was exhausting the
ammunition he needed for the sled-load of life for which he waited.

He stopped shooting, and watched. He noted the direction of the animal's
flight, and, high up on the hillside in an opening among the trees, saw
the trunk of a fallen pine. Continuing the moose's flight in his mind he
saw that it must pass the trunk. He resolved on one more shot, and in
the empty air above the trunk he aimed and steadied his wavering rifle.
The animal sprang into his field of vision, with lifted fore-legs as it
took the leap. He pulled the trigger. With the explosion the moose
seemed to somersault in the air. It crashed down to earth in the snow
beyond and flurried the snow into dust.

Morganson dashed up the hillside--at least he started to dash up. The
next he knew he was coming out of a faint and dragging himself to his
feet. He went up more slowly, pausing from time to time to breathe and
to steady his reeling senses. At last he crawled over the trunk. The
moose lay before him. He sat down heavily upon the carcase and laughed.
He buried his face in his mittened hands and laughed some more.

He shook the hysteria from him. He drew his hunting knife and worked as
rapidly as his injured thumb and weakness would permit him. He did not
stop to skin the moose, but quartered it with its hide on. It was a
Klondike of meat.

When he had finished he selected a piece of meat weighing a hundred
pounds, and started to drag it down to the tent. But the snow was soft,
and it was too much for him. He exchanged it for a twenty-pound piece,
and, with many pauses to rest, succeeded in getting it to the tent. He
fried some of the meat, but ate sparingly. Then, and automatically, he
went out to his crouching place on the bank. There were sled-tracks in
the fresh snow on the trail. The sled-load of life had passed by while
he had been cutting up the moose.

But he did not mind. He was glad that the sled had not passed before the
coming of the moose. The moose had changed his plans. Its meat was worth
fifty cents a pound, and he was but little more than three miles from
Minto. He need no longer wait for the sled-load of life. The moose was
the sled-load of life. He would sell it. He would buy a couple of dogs
at Minto, some food and some tobacco, and the dogs would haul him south
along the trail to the sea, the sun, and civilisation.

He felt hungry. The dull, monotonous ache of hunger had now become a
sharp and insistent pang. He hobbled back to the tent and fried a slice
of meat. After that he smoked two whole pipefuls of dried tea leaves.
Then he fried another slice of moose. He was aware of an unwonted glow
of strength, and went out and chopped some firewood. He followed that up
with a slice of meat. Teased on by the food, his hunger grew into an
inflammation. It became imperative every little while to fry a slice of
meat. He tried smaller slices and found himself frying oftener.

In the middle of the day he thought of the wild animals that might eat
his meat, and he climbed the hill, carrying along his axe, the haul
rope, and a sled lashing. In his weak state the making of the cache and
storing of the meat was an all-afternoon task. He cut young saplings,
trimmed them, and tied them together into a tall scaffold. It was not so
strong a cache as he would have desired to make, but he had done his
best. To hoist the meat to the top was heart-breaking. The larger pieces
defied him until he passed the rope over a limb above, and, with one end
fast to a piece of meat, put all his weight on the other end.

Once in the tent, he proceeded to indulge in a prolonged and solitary
orgy. He did not need friends. His stomach and he were company. Slice
after slice and many slices of meat he fried and ate. He ate pounds of
the meat. He brewed real tea, and brewed it strong. He brewed the last
he had. It did not matter. On the morrow he would be buying tea in
Minto. When it seemed he could eat no more, he smoked. He smoked all his
stock of dried tea leaves. What of it? On the morrow he would be smoking
tobacco. He knocked out his pipe, fried a final slice, and went to bed.
He had eaten so much he seemed bursting, yet he got out of his blankets
and had just one more mouthful of meat.

In the morning he awoke as from the sleep of death. In his ears were
strange sounds. He did not know where he was, and looked about him
stupidly until he caught sight of the frying-pan with the last piece of
meat in it, partly eaten. Then he remembered all, and with a quick start
turned his attention to the strange sounds. He sprang from the blankets
with an oath. His scurvy-ravaged legs gave under him and he winced with
the pain. He proceeded more slowly to put on his moccasins and leave
the tent.

From the cache up the hillside arose a confused noise of snapping and
snarling, punctuated by occasional short, sharp yelps. He increased his
speed at much expense of pain, and cried loudly and threateningly. He
saw the wolves hurrying away through the snow and underbrush, many of
them, and he saw the scaffold down on the ground. The animals were heavy
with the meat they had eaten, and they were content to slink away and
leave the wreckage.

The way of the disaster was clear to him. The wolves had scented his
cache. One of them had leapt from the trunk of the fallen tree to the
top of the cache. He could see marks of the brute's paws in the snow
that covered the trunk. He had not dreamt a wolf could leap so far. A
second had followed the first, and a third and fourth, until the flimsy
scaffold had gone down under their weight and movement.

His eyes were hard and savage for a moment as he contemplated the extent
of the calamity; then the old look of patience returned into them, and
he began to gather together the bones well picked and gnawed. There was
marrow in them, he knew; and also, here and there, as he sifted the
snow, he found scraps of meat that had escaped the maws of the brutes
made careless by plenty.

He spent the rest of the morning dragging the wreckage of the moose down
the hillside. In addition, he had at least ten pounds left of the chunk
of meat he had dragged down the previous day.

"I'm good for weeks yet," was his comment as he surveyed the heap.

He had learnt how to starve and live. He cleaned his rifle and counted
the cartridges that remained to him. There were seven. He loaded the
weapon and hobbled out to his crouching-place on the bank. All day he
watched the dead trail. He watched all the week, but no life passed over
it.

Thanks to the meat he felt stronger, though his scurvy was worse and
more painful. He now lived upon soup, drinking endless gallons of the
thin product of the boiling of the moose bones. The soup grew thinner
and thinner as he cracked the bones and boiled them over and over; but
the hot water with the essence of the meat in it was good for him, and
he was more vigorous than he had been previous to the shooting of the
moose.

It was in the next week that a new factor entered into Morganson's life.
He wanted to know the date. It became an obsession. He pondered and
calculated, but his conclusions were rarely twice the same. The first
thing in the morning and the last thing at night, and all day as well,
watching by the trail, he worried about it. He awoke at night and lay
awake for hours over the problem. To have known the date would have been
of no value to him; but his curiosity grew until it equalled his hunger
and his desire to live. Finally it mastered him, and he resolved to go
to Minto and find out.

It was dark when he arrived at Minto, but this served him. No one saw
him arrive. Besides, he knew he would have moonlight by which to return.
He climbed the bank and pushed open the saloon door. The light dazzled
him. The source of it was several candles, but he had been living for
long in an unlighted tent. As his eyes adjusted themselves, he saw three
men sitting around the stove. They were trail-travellers--he knew it at
once; and since they had not passed in, they were evidently bound out.
They would go by his tent next morning.

The barkeeper emitted a long and marvelling whistle.

"I thought you was dead," he said.

"Why?" Morganson asked in a faltering voice.

He had become unused to talking, and he was not acquainted with the
sound of his own voice. It seemed hoarse and strange.

"You've been dead for more'n two months, now," the barkeeper explained.
"You left here going south, and you never arrived at Selkirk. Where have
you been?"

"Chopping wood for the steamboat company," Morganson lied unsteadily.

He was still trying to become acquainted with his own voice. He hobbled
across the floor and leant against the bar. He knew he must lie
consistently; and while he maintained an appearance of careless
indifference, his heart was beating and pounding furiously and
irregularly, and he could not help looking hungrily at the three men by
the stove. They were the possessors of life--his life.

"But where in hell you been keeping yourself all this time?" the
barkeeper demanded.

"I located across the river," he answered. "I've got a mighty big stack
of wood chopped."

The barkeeper nodded. His face beamed with understanding.

"I heard sounds of chopping several times," he said. "So that was you,
eh? Have a drink?"

Morganson clutched the bar tightly. A drink! He could have thrown his
arms around the man's legs and kissed his feet. He tried vainly to utter
his acceptance; but the barkeeper had not waited and was already passing
out the bottle.

"But what did you do for grub?" the latter asked. "You don't look as if
you could chop wood to keep yourself warm. You look terribly bad,
friend."

Morganson yearned towards the delayed bottle and gulped dryly.

"I did the chopping before the scurvy got bad," he said. "Then I got a
moose right at the start. I've been living high all right. It's the
scurvy that's run me down."

He filled the glass, and added, "But the spruce tea's knocking it, I
think."

"Have another," the barkeeper said.

The action of the two glasses of whisky on Morganson's empty stomach and
weak condition was rapid. The next he knew he was sitting by the stove
on a box, and it seemed as though ages had passed. A tall,
broad-shouldered, black-whiskered man was paying for drinks. Morganson's
swimming eyes saw him drawing a greenback from a fat roll, and
Morganson's swimming eyes cleared on the instant. They were
hundred-dollar bills. It was life! His life! He felt an almost
irresistible impulse to snatch the money and dash madly out into the
night.

The black-whiskered man and one of his companions arose.

"Come on, Oleson," the former said to the third one of the party, a
fair-haired, ruddy-faced giant.

Oleson came to his feet, yawning and stretching.

"What are you going to bed so soon for?" the barkeeper asked
plaintively. "It's early yet."

"Got to make Selkirk to-morrow," said he of the black whiskers.

"On Christmas Day!" the barkeeper cried.

"The better the day the better the deed," the other laughed.

As the three men passed out of the door it came dimly to Morganson that
it was Christmas Eve. That was the date. That was what he had come to
Minto for. But it was overshadowed now by the three men themselves, and
the fat roll of hundred-dollar bills.

The door slammed.

"That's Jack Thompson," the barkeeper said. "Made two millions on
Bonanza and Sulphur, and got more coming. I'm going to bed. Have
another drink first."

Morganson hesitated.

"A Christmas drink," the other urged. "It's all right. I'll get it back
when you sell your wood."

Morganson mastered his drunkenness long enough to swallow the whisky,
say good night, and get out on the trail. It was moonlight, and he
hobbled along through the bright, silvery quiet, with a vision of life
before him that took the form of a roll of hundred-dollar bills.

He awoke. It was dark, and he was in his blankets. He had gone to bed in
his moccasins and mittens, with the flaps of his cap pulled down over
his ears. He got up as quickly as his crippled condition would permit,
and built the fire and boiled some water. As he put the spruce-twigs
into the teapot he noted the first glimmer of the pale morning light. He
caught up his rifle and hobbled in a panic out to the bank. As he
crouched and waited, it came to him that he had forgotten to drink his
spruce tea. The only other thought in his mind was the possibility of
John Thompson changing his mind and not travelling Christmas Day.

Dawn broke and merged into day. It was cold and clear. Sixty below zero
was Morganson's estimate of the frost. Not a breath stirred the chill
Arctic quiet. He sat up suddenly, his muscular tensity increasing the
hurt of the scurvy. He had heard the far sound of a man's voice and the
faint whining of dogs. He began beating his hands back and forth against
his sides. It was a serious matter to bare the trigger hand to sixty
degrees below zero, and against that time he needed to develop all the
warmth of which his flesh was capable.

They came into view around the outjutting clump of trees. To the fore
was the third man whose name he had not learnt. Then came eight dogs
drawing the sled. At the front of the sled, guiding it by the gee-pole,
walked John Thompson. The rear was brought up by Oleson, the Swede. He
was certainly a fine man, Morganson thought, as he looked at the bulk of
him in his squirrel-skin _parka_. The men and dogs were silhouetted
sharply against the white of the landscape. They had the seeming of two
dimension, cardboard figures that worked mechanically.

Morganson rested his cocked rifle in the notch in the tree. He became
abruptly aware that his fingers were cold, and discovered that his right
hand was bare. He did not know that he had taken off the mitten. He
slipped it on again hastily. The men and dogs drew closer, and he could
see their breaths spouting into visibility in the cold air. When the
first man was fifty yards away, Morganson slipped the mitten from his
right hand. He placed the first finger on the trigger and aimed low.
When he fired the first man whirled half around and went down on the
trail.

In the instant of surprise, Morganson pulled the trigger on John
Thompson--too low, for the latter staggered and sat down suddenly on the
sled. Morganson raised his aim and fired again. John Thompson sank down
backward along the top of the loaded sled.

Morganson turned his attention to Oleson. At the same time that he noted
the latter running away towards Minto he noted that the dogs, coming to
where the first man's body blocked the trail, had halted. Morganson
fired at the fleeing man and missed, and Oleson swerved. He continued to
swerve back and forth, while Morganson fired twice in rapid succession
and missed both shots. Morganson stopped himself just as he was pulling
the trigger again. He had fired six shots. Only one more cartridge
remained, and it was in the chamber. It was imperative that he should
not miss his last shot.

He held his fire and desperately studied Oleson's flight. The giant was
grotesquely curving and twisting and running at top speed along the
trail, the tail of his _parka_ flapping smartly behind. Morganson
trained his rifle on the man and with a swaying action followed his
erratic flight. Morganson's finger was getting numb. He could scarcely
feel the trigger. "God help me," he breathed a prayer aloud, and pulled
the trigger. The running man pitched forward on his face, rebounded from
the hard trail, and slid along, rolling over and over. He threshed for
a moment with his arms and then lay quiet.

Morganson dropped his rifle (worthless now that the last cartridge was
gone) and slid down the bank through the soft snow. Now that he had
sprung the trap, concealment of his lurking-place was no longer
necessary. He hobbled along the trail to the sled, his fingers making
involuntary gripping and clutching movements inside the mittens.

The snarling of the dogs halted him. The leader, a heavy dog, half
Newfoundland and half Hudson Bay, stood over the body of the man that
lay on the trail, and menaced Morganson with bristling hair and bared
fangs. The other seven dogs of the team were likewise bristling and
snarling. Morganson approached tentatively, and the team surged towards
him. He stopped again and talked to the animals, threatening and
cajoling by turns. He noticed the face of the man under the leader's
feet, and was surprised at how quickly it had turned white with the ebb
of life and the entrance of the frost. John Thompson lay back along the
top of the loaded sled, his head sunk in a space between two sacks and
his chin tilted upwards, so that all Morganson could see was the black
beard pointing skyward.

Finding it impossible to face the dogs Morganson stepped off the trail
into the deep snow and floundered in a wide circle to the rear of the
sled. Under the initiative of the leader, the team swung around in its
tangled harness. Because of his crippled condition, Morganson could move
only slowly. He saw the animals circling around on him and tried to
retreat. He almost made it, but the big leader, with a savage lunge,
sank its teeth into the calf of his leg. The flesh was slashed and torn,
but Morganson managed to drag himself clear.

He cursed the brutes fiercely, but could not cow them. They replied with
neck-bristling and snarling, and with quick lunges against their
breastbands. He remembered Oleson, and turned his back upon them and
went along the trail. He scarcely took notice of his lacerated leg. It
was bleeding freely; the main artery had been torn, but he did not know
it.

Especially remarkable to Morganson was the extreme pallor of the Swede,
who the preceding night had been so ruddy-faced. Now his face was like
white marble. What with his fair hair and lashes he looked like a carved
statue rather than something that had been a man a few minutes before.
Morganson pulled off his mittens and searched the body. There was no
money-belt around the waist next to the skin, nor did he find a
gold-sack. In a breast pocket he lit on a small wallet. With fingers
that swiftly went numb with the frost, he hurried through the contents
of the wallet. There were letters with foreign stamps and postmarks on
them, and several receipts and memorandum accounts, and a letter of
credit for eight hundred dollars. That was all. There was no money.

He made a movement to start back toward the sled, but found his foot
rooted to the trail. He glanced down and saw that he stood in a fresh
deposit of frozen red. There was red ice on his torn pants leg and on
the moccasin beneath. With a quick effort he broke the frozen clutch of
his blood and hobbled along the trail to the sled. The big leader that
had bitten him began snarling and lunging, and was followed in this
conduct by the whole team.

Morganson wept weakly for a space, and weakly swayed from one side to
the other. Then he brushed away the frozen tears that gemmed his lashes.
It was a joke. Malicious chance was having its laugh at him. Even John
Thompson, with his heaven-aspiring whiskers, was laughing at him.

He prowled around the sled demented, at times weeping and pleading with
the brutes for his life there on the sled, at other times raging
impotently against them. Then calmness came upon him. He had been making
a fool of himself. All he had to do was to go to the tent, get the axe,
and return and brain the dogs. He'd show them.

In order to get to the tent he had to go wide of the sled and the savage
animals. He stepped off the trail into the soft snow. Then he felt
suddenly giddy and stood still. He was afraid to go on for fear he would
fall down. He stood still for a long time, balancing himself on his
crippled legs that were trembling violently from weakness. He looked
down and saw the snow reddening at his feet. The blood flowed freely as
ever. He had not thought the bite was so severe. He controlled his
giddiness and stooped to examine the wound. The snow seemed rushing up
to meet him, and he recoiled from it as from a blow. He had a panic fear
that he might fall down, and after a struggle he managed to stand
upright again. He was afraid of that snow that had rushed up to him.

Then the white glimmer turned black, and the next he knew he was
awakening in the snow where he had fallen. He was no longer giddy. The
cobwebs were gone. But he could not get up. There was no strength in his
limbs. His body seemed lifeless. By a desperate effort he managed to
roll over on his side. In this position he caught a glimpse of the sled
and of John Thompson's black beard pointing skyward. Also he saw the
lead dog licking the face of the man who lay on the trail. Morganson
watched curiously. The dog was nervous and eager. Sometimes it uttered
short, sharp yelps, as though to arouse the man, and surveyed him with
ears cocked forward and wagging tail. At last it sat down, pointed its
nose upward, and began to howl. Soon all the team was howling.

Now that he was down, Morganson was no longer afraid. He had a vision of
himself being found dead in the snow, and for a while he wept in
self-pity. But he was not afraid. The struggle had gone out of him. When
he tried to open his eyes he found that the wet tears had frozen them
shut. He did not try to brush the ice away. It did not matter. He had
not dreamed death was so easy. He was even angry that he had struggled
and suffered through so many weary weeks. He had been bullied and
cheated by the fear of death. Death did not hurt. Every torment he had
endured had been a torment of life. Life had defamed death. It was a
cruel thing.

But his anger passed. The lies and frauds of life were of no consequence
now that he was coming to his own. He became aware of drowsiness, and
felt a sweet sleep stealing upon him, balmy with promises of easement
and rest. He heard faintly the howling of the dogs, and had a fleeting
thought that in the mastering of his flesh the frost no longer bit. Then
the light and the thought ceased to pulse beneath the tear-gemmed
eyelids, and with a tired sigh of comfort he sank into sleep.




THE END OF THE STORY


I

The table was of hand-hewn spruce boards, and the men who played whist
had frequent difficulties in drawing home their tricks across the uneven
surface. Though they sat in their undershirts, the sweat noduled and
oozed on their faces; yet their feet, heavily moccasined and
woollen-socked, tingled with the bite of the frost. Such was the
difference of temperature in the small cabin between the floor level and
a yard or more above it. The sheet-iron Yukon Stove roared red-hot, yet,
eight feet away, on the meat-shelf, placed low and beside the door, lay
chunks of solidly frozen moose and bacon. The door, a third of the way
up from the bottom, was a thick rime. In the chinking between the logs
at the back of the bunks the frost showed white and glistening. A window
of oiled paper furnished light. The lower portion of the paper, on the
inside, was coated an inch deep with the frozen moisture of the men's
breath.

They played a momentous rubber of whist, for the pair that lost was to
dig a fishing hole through the seven feet of ice and snow that covered
the Yukon.

"It's mighty unusual, a cold snap like this in March," remarked the man
who shuffled. "What would you call it, Bob?"

"Oh, fifty-five or sixty below--all of that. What do you make it, Doc?"

Doc turned his head and glanced at the lower part of the door with a
measuring eye.

"Not a bit worse than fifty. If anything, slightly under--say
forty-nine. See the ice on the door. It's just about the fifty mark, but
you'll notice the upper edge is ragged. The time she went seventy the
ice climbed a full four inches higher." He picked up his hand, and
without ceasing from sorting called "Come in," to a knock on the door.

The man who entered was a big, broad-shouldered Swede, though his
nationality was not discernible until he had removed his ear-flapped cap
and thawed away the ice which had formed on beard and moustache and
which served to mask his face. While engaged in this, the men at the
table played out the hand.

"I hear one doctor faller stop this camp," the Swede said inquiringly,
looking anxiously from face to face, his own face haggard and drawn from
severe and long endured pain. "I come long way. North fork of the Whyo."

"I'm the doctor. What's the matter?"

In response, the man held up his left hand, the second finger of which
was monstrously swollen. At the same time he began a rambling,
disjointed history of the coming and growth of his affliction.

"Let me look at it," the doctor broke in impatiently. "Lay it on the
table. There, like that."

Tenderly, as if it were a great boil, the man obeyed.

"Humph," the doctor grumbled. "A weeping sinew. And travelled a hundred
miles to have it fixed. I'll fix it in a jiffy. You watch me, and next
time you can do it yourself."

Without warning, squarely and at right angles, and savagely, the doctor
brought the edge of his hand down on the swollen crooked finger. The man
yelled with consternation and agony. It was more like the cry of a wild
beast, and his face was a wild beast's as he was about to spring on the
man who had perpetrated the joke.

"That's all right," the doctor placated sharply and authoritatively.
"How do you feel? Better, eh? Of course. Next time you can do it
yourself--Go on and deal, Strothers. I think we've got you."

Slow and ox-like, on the face of the Swede dawned relief and
comprehension. The pang over, the finger felt better. The pain was gone.
He examined the finger curiously, with wondering eyes, slowly crooking
it back and forth. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a
gold-sack.

"How much?"

The doctor shook his head impatiently. "Nothing. I'm not
practising--Your play, Bob."

The Swede moved heavily on his feet, re-examined the finger, then turned
an admiring gaze on the doctor.

"You are good man. What your name?"

"Linday, Doctor Linday," Strothers answered, as if solicitous to save
his opponent from further irritation.

"The day's half done," Linday said to the Swede, at the end of the hand,
while he shuffled. "Better rest over to-night. It's too cold for
travelling. There's a spare bunk."

He was a slender brunette of a man, lean-cheeked, thin-lipped, and
strong. The smooth-shaven face was a healthy sallow. All his movements
were quick and precise. He did not fumble his cards. The eyes were
black, direct, and piercing, with the trick of seeming to look beneath
the surfaces of things. His hands, slender, fine and nervous, appeared
made for delicate work, and to the most casual eye they conveyed an
impression of strength.

"Our game," he announced, drawing in the last trick. "Now for the rub
and who digs the fishing hole."

A knock at the door brought a quick exclamation from him.

"Seems we just can't finish this rubber," he complained, as the door
opened. "What's the matter with _you_?"--this last to the stranger who
entered.

The newcomer vainly strove to move his icebound jaws and jowls. That he
had been on trail for long hours and days was patent. The skin across
the cheekbones was black with repeated frost-bite. From nose to chin was
a mass of solid ice perforated by the hole through which he breathed.
Through this he had also spat tobacco juice, which had frozen, as it
trickled, into an amber-coloured icicle, pointed like a Van Dyke beard.

He shook his head dumbly, grinned with his eyes, and drew near to the
stove to thaw his mouth to speech. He assisted the process with his
fingers, clawing off fragments of melting ice which rattled and sizzled
on the stove.

"Nothing the matter with me," he finally announced. "But if they's a
doctor in the outfit he's sure needed. They's a man up the Little Peco
that's had a ruction with a panther, an' the way he's clawed is
something scand'lous."

"How far up?" Doctor Linday demanded.

"A matter of a hundred miles."

"How long since?"

"I've ben three days comin' down."

"Bad?"

"Shoulder dislocated. Some ribs broke for sure. Right arm broke. An'
clawed clean to the bone most all over but the face. We sewed up two or
three bad places temporary, and tied arteries with twine."

"That settles it," Linday sneered. "Where were they?"

"Stomach."

"He's a sight by now."

"Not on your life. Washed clean with bug-killin' dope before we
stitched. Only temporary anyway. Had nothin' but linen thread, but
washed that, too."

"He's as good as dead," was Linday's judgment, as he angrily fingered
the cards.

"Nope. That man ain't goin' to die. He knows I've come for a doctor, an'
he'll make out to live until you get there. He won't let himself die. I
know him."

"Christian Science and gangrene, eh?" came the sneer. "Well, I'm not
practising. Nor can I see myself travelling a hundred miles at fifty
below for a dead man."

"I can see you, an' for a man a long ways from dead."

Linday shook his head. "Sorry you had your trip for nothing. Better stop
over for the night."

"Nope. We'll be pullin' out in ten minutes."

"What makes you so cocksure?" Linday demanded testily.

Then it was that Tom Daw made the speech of his life.

"Because he's just goin' on livin' till you get there, if it takes you a
week to make up your mind. Besides, his wife's with him, not sheddin' a
tear, or nothin', an' she's helpin' him live till you come. They think a
almighty heap of each other, an' she's got a will like hisn. If he
weakened, she'd just put her immortal soul into hisn an' make him live.
Though he ain't weakenin' none, you can stack on that. I'll stack on it.
I'll lay you three to one, in ounces, he's alive when you get there. I
got a team of dawgs down the bank. You ought to allow to start in ten
minutes, an' we ought to make it back in less'n three days because the
trail's broke. I'm goin' down to the dawgs now, an' I'll look for you in
ten minutes."

Tom Daw pulled down his earflaps, drew on his mittens, and passed out.

"Damn him!" Linday cried, glaring vindictively at the closed door.


II

That night, long after dark, with twenty-five miles behind them, Linday
and Tom Daw went into camp. It was a simple but adequate affair: a fire
built in the snow; alongside, their sleeping-furs spread in a single bed
on a mat of spruce boughs; behind the bed an oblong of canvas stretched
to refract the heat. Daw fed the dogs and chopped ice and firewood.
Linday's cheeks burned with frost-bite as he squatted over the cooking.
They ate heavily, smoked a pipe and talked while they dried their
moccasins before the fire, and turned in to sleep the dead sleep of
fatigue and health.

Morning found the unprecedented cold snap broken. Linday estimated the
temperature at fifteen below and rising. Daw was worried. That day would
see them in the canyon, he explained, and if the spring thaw set in the
canyon would run open water. The walls of the canyon were hundreds to
thousands of feet high. They could be climbed, but the going would be
slow.

Camped well in the dark and forbidding gorge, over their pipe that
evening they complained of the heat, and both agreed that the
thermometer must be above zero--the first time in six months.

"Nobody ever heard tell of a panther this far north," Daw was saying.
"Rocky called it a cougar. But I shot a-many of 'em down in Curry
County, Oregon, where I come from, an' we called 'em panther. Anyway, it
was a bigger cat than ever I seen. It was sure a monster cat. Now how'd
it ever stray to such out of the way huntin' range?--that's the
question."

Linday made no comment. He was nodding. Propped on sticks, his moccasins
steamed unheeded and unturned. The dogs, curled in furry balls, slept in
the snow. The crackle of an ember accentuated the profound of silence
that reigned. He awoke with a start and gazed at Daw, who nodded and
returned the gaze. Both listened. From far off came a vague disturbance
that increased to a vast and sombre roaring. As it neared,
ever-increasing, riding the mountain tops as well as the canyon depths,
bowing the forest before it, bending the meagre, crevice-rooted pines on
the walls of the gorge, they knew it for what it was. A wind, strong and
warm, a balmy gale, drove past them, flinging a rocket-shower of sparks
from the fire. The dogs, aroused, sat on their haunches, bleak noses
pointed upward, and raised the long wolf howl.

"It's the Chinook," Daw said.

"It means the river trail, I suppose?"

"Sure thing. And ten miles of it is easier than one over the tops." Daw
surveyed Linday for a long, considering minute. "We've just had fifteen
hours of trail," he shouted above the wind, tentatively, and again
waited. "Doc," he said finally, "are you game?"

For answer, Linday knocked out his pipe and began to pull on his damp
moccasins. Between them, and in few minutes, bending to the force of the
wind, the dogs were harnessed, camp broken, and the cooking outfit and
unused sleeping furs lashed on the sled. Then, through the darkness, for
a night of travel, they churned out on the trail Daw had broken nearly a
week before. And all through the night the Chinook roared and they urged
the weary dogs and spurred their own jaded muscles. Twelve hours of it
they made, and stopped for breakfast after twenty-seven hours on trail.

"An hour's sleep," said Daw, when they had wolfed pounds of straight
moose-meat fried with bacon.

Two hours he let his companion sleep, afraid himself to close his eyes.
He occupied himself with making marks upon the soft-surfaced, shrinking
snow. Visibly it shrank. In two hours the snow level sank three inches.
From every side, faintly heard and near, under the voice of the spring
wind, came the trickling of hidden waters. The Little Peco, strengthened
by the multitudinous streamlets, rose against the manacles of winter,
riving the ice with crashings and snappings.

Daw touched Linday on the shoulder; touched him again; shook, and shook
violently.

"Doc," he murmured admiringly. "You can sure go some."

The weary black eyes, under heavy lids, acknowledged the compliment.

"But that ain't the question. Rocky is clawed something scand'lous. As I
said before, I helped sew up his in'ards. Doc...." He shook the man,
whose eyes had again closed. "I say, Doc! The question is: can you go
some more?--hear me? I say, can you go some more?"

The weary dogs snapped and whimpered when kicked from their sleep. The
going was slow, not more than two miles an hour, and the animals took
every opportunity to lie down in the wet snow.

"Twenty miles of it, and we'll be through the gorge," Daw encouraged.
"After that the ice can go to blazes, for we can take to the bank, and
it's only ten more miles to camp. Why, Doc, we're almost there. And when
you get Rocky fixed up, you can come down in a canoe in one day."

But the ice grew more uneasy under them, breaking loose from the
shore-line and rising steadily inch by inch. In places where it still
held to the shore, the water overran and they waded and slushed across.
The Little Peco growled and muttered. Cracks and fissures were forming
everywhere as they battled on for the miles that each one of which meant
ten along the tops.

"Get on the sled, Doc, an' take a snooze," Daw invited.

The glare from the black eyes prevented him from repeating the
suggestion.

As early as midday they received definite warning of the beginning of
the end. Cakes of ice, borne downward in the rapid current, began to
thunder beneath the ice on which they stood. The dogs whimpered
anxiously and yearned for the bank.

"That means open water above," Daw explained. "Pretty soon she'll jam
somewheres, an' the river'll raise a hundred feet in a hundred minutes.
It's us for the tops if we can find a way to climb out. Come on! Hit her
up I! An' just to think, the Yukon'll stick solid for weeks."

Unusually narrow at this point, the great walls of the canyon were too
precipitous to scale. Daw and Linday had to keep on; and they kept on
till the disaster happened. With a loud explosion, the ice broke asunder
midway under the team. The two animals in the middle of the string went
into the fissure, and the grip of the current on their bodies dragged
the lead-dog backward and in. Swept downstream under the ice, these
three bodies began to drag to the edge the two whining dogs that
remained. The men held back frantically on the sled, but were slowly
drawn along with it. It was all over in the space of seconds. Daw
slashed the wheel-dog's traces with his sheath-knife, and the animal
whipped over the ice-edge and was gone. The ice on which they stood,
broke into a large and pivoting cake that ground and splintered against
the shore ice and rocks. Between them they got the sled ashore and up
into a crevice in time to see the ice-cake up-edge, sink, and
down-shelve from view.

Meat and sleeping furs were made into packs, and the sled was abandoned.
Linday resented Daw's taking the heavier pack, but Daw had his will.

"You got to work as soon as you get there. Come on."

It was one in the afternoon when they started to climb. At eight that
evening they cleared the rim and for half an hour lay where they had
fallen. Then came the fire, a pot of coffee, and an enormous feed of
moosemeat. But first Linday hefted the two packs, and found his own
lighter by half.

"You're an iron man, Daw," he admired.

"Who? Me? Oh, pshaw! You ought to see Rocky. He's made out of platinum,
an' armour plate, an' pure gold, an' all strong things. I'm mountaineer,
but he plumb beats me out. Down in Curry County I used to 'most kill the
boys when we run bear. So when I hooks up with Rocky on our first hunt I
had a mean idea to show 'm a few. I let out the links good an' generous,
'most nigh keepin' up with the dawgs, an' along comes Rocky a-treadin'
on my heels. I knowed he couldn't last that way, and I just laid down
an' did my dangdest. An' there he was, at the end of another hour,
a-treadin' steady an' regular on my heels. I was some huffed. 'Mebbe
you'd like to come to the front an' show me how to travel,' I says.
'Sure,' says he. An' he done it! I stayed with 'm, but let me tell you I
was plumb tuckered by the time the bear tree'd.

"They ain't no stoppin' that man. He ain't afraid of nothin'. Last fall,
before the freeze-up, him an' me was headin' for camp about twilight. I
was clean shot out--ptarmigan--an' he had one cartridge left. An' the
dawgs tree'd a she grizzly. Small one. Only weighed about three hundred,
but you know what grizzlies is. 'Don't do it,' says I, when he ups with
his rifle. 'You only got that one shot, an' it's too dark to see the
sights.'

"'Climb a tree,' says he. I didn't climb no tree, but when that bear
come down a-cussin' among the dawgs, an' only creased, I want to tell
you I was sure hankerin' for a tree. It was some ruction. Then things
come on real bad. The bear slid down a hollow against a big log.
Downside, that log was four feet up an' down. Dawgs couldn't get at bear
that way. Upside was steep gravel, an' the dawgs'd just naturally slide
down into the bear. They was no jumpin' back, an' the bear was
a-manglin' 'em fast as they come. All underbrush, gettin' pretty dark,
no cartridges, nothin'.

"What's Rocky up an' do? He goes downside of log, reaches over with his
knife, an' begins slashin'. But he can only reach bear's rump, an' dawgs
bein' ruined fast, one-two-three time. Rocky gets desperate. He don't
like to lose his dawgs. He jumps on top log, grabs bear by the slack of
the rump, an' heaves over back'ard right over top of that log. Down they
go, kit an' kaboodle, twenty feet, bear, dawgs, an' Rocky, slidin',
cussin', an' scratchin', ker-plump into ten feet of water in the bed of
stream. They all swum out different ways. Nope, he didn't get the bear,
but he saved the dawgs. That's Rocky. They's no stoppin' him when his
mind's set."

It was at the next camp that Linday heard how Rocky had come to be
injured.

"I'd ben up the draw, about a mile from the cabin, lookin' for a piece
of birch likely enough for an axe-handle. Comin' back I heard the
darndest goings-on where we had a bear trap set. Some trapper had left
the trap in an old cache an' Rocky'd fixed it up. But the goings-on. It
was Rocky an' his brother Harry. First I'd hear one yell and laugh, an'
then the other, like it was some game. An' what do you think the fool
game was? I've saw some pretty nervy cusses down in Curry County, but
they beat all. They'd got a whoppin' big panther in the trap an' was
takin' turns rappin' it on the nose with a light stick. But that wa'n't
the point. I just come out of the brush in time to see Harry rap it.
Then he chops six inches off the stick an' passes it to Rocky. You see,
that stick was growin' shorter all the time. It ain't as easy as you
think. The panther'd slack back an' hunch down an' spit, an' it was
mighty lively in duckin' the stick. An' you never knowed when it'd jump.
It was caught by the hind leg, which was curious, too, an' it had some
slack I'm tellin' you.

"It was just a game of dare they was playin', an' the stick gettin'
shorter an' shorter an' the panther madder 'n madder. Bimeby they wa'n't
no stick left--only a nubbin, about four inches long, an' it was Rocky's
turn. 'Better quit now,' says Harry. 'What for?' says Rocky. 'Because if
you rap him again they won't be no stick left for me,' Harry answers.
'Then you'll quit an' I win,' says Rocky with a laugh, an' goes to it.

"An' I don't want to see anything like it again. That cat'd bunched back
an' down till it had all of six feet slack in its body. An' Rocky's
stick four inches long. The cat got him. You couldn't see one from
t'other. No chance to shoot. It was Harry, in the end, that got his
knife into the panther's jugular."

"If I'd known how he got it I'd never have come," was Linday's comment.

Daw nodded concurrence.

"That's what she said. She told me sure not to whisper how it
happened."

"Is he crazy?" Linday demanded in his wrath.

"They're all crazy. Him an' his brother are all the time devilin' each
other to tom-fool things. I seen them swim the riffle last fall, bad
water an' mush-ice runnin'--on a dare. They ain't nothin' they won't
tackle. An' she's 'most as bad. Not afraid some herself. She'll do
anything Rocky'll let her. But he's almighty careful with her. Treats
her like a queen. No camp-work or such for her. That's why another man
an' me are hired on good wages. They've got slathers of money an'
they're sure dippy on each other. 'Looks like good huntin',' says Rocky,
when they struck that section last fall. 'Let's make a camp then,' says
Harry. An' me all the time thinkin' they was lookin' for gold. Ain't ben
a prospect pan washed the whole winter."

Linday's anger mounted. "I haven't any patience with fools. For two
cents I'd turn back."

"No you wouldn't," Daw assured him confidently. "They ain't enough grub
to turn back, an' we'll be there to-morrow. Just got to cross that last
divide an' drop down to the cabin. An' they's a better reason. You're
too far from home, an' I just naturally wouldn't let you turn back."

Exhausted as Linday was, the flash in his black eyes warned Daw that he
had overreached himself. His hand went out.

"My mistake, Doc. Forget it. I reckon I'm gettin' some cranky what of
losin' them dawgs."


III

Not one day, but three days later, the two men, after being snowed in on
the summit by a spring blizzard, staggered up to a cabin that stood in a
fat bottom beside the roaring Little Peco. Coming in from the bright
sunshine to the dark cabin, Linday observed little of its occupants. He
was no more than aware of two men and a woman. But he was not interested
in them. He went directly to the bunk where lay the injured man. The
latter was lying on his back, with eyes closed, and Linday noted the
slender stencilling of the brows and the kinky silkiness of the brown
hair. Thin and wan, the face seemed too small for the muscular neck, yet
the delicate features, despite their waste, were firmly moulded.

"What dressings have you been using?" Linday asked of the woman.

"Corrosive, sublimate, regular solution," came the answer.

He glanced quickly at her, shot an even quicker glance at the face of
the injured man, and stood erect. She breathed sharply, abruptly biting
off the respiration with an effort of will. Linday turned to the men.

"You clear out--chop wood or something. Clear out."

One of them demurred.

"This is a serious case," Linday went on. "I want to talk to his wife."

"I'm his brother," said the other.

To him the woman looked, praying him with her eyes. He nodded
reluctantly and turned toward the door.

"Me, too?" Daw queried from the bench where he had flung himself down.

"You, too."

Linday busied himself with a superficial examination of the patient
while the cabin was emptying.

"So?" he said. "So that's your Rex Strang."

She dropped her eyes to the man in the bunk as if to reassure herself of
his identity, and then in silence returned Linday's gaze.

"Why don't you speak?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "What is the use? You know it is Rex
Strang."

"Thank you. Though I might remind you that it is the first time I have
ever seen him. Sit down." He waved her to a stool, himself taking the
bench. "I'm really about all in, you know. There's no turnpike from the
Yukon here."

He drew a penknife and began extracting a thorn from his thumb.

"What are you going to do?" she asked, after a minute's wait.

"Eat and rest up before I start back."

"What are you going to do about...." She inclined her head toward the
unconscious man.

"Nothing."

She went over to the bunk and rested her fingers lightly on the
tight-curled hair.

"You mean you will kill him," she said slowly. "Kill him by doing
nothing, for you can save him if you will."

"Take it that way." He considered a moment, and stated his thought with
a harsh little laugh. "From time immemorial in this weary old world it
has been a not uncommon custom so to dispose of wife-stealers."

"You are unfair, Grant," she answered gently. "You forget that I was
willing and that I desired. I was a free agent. Rex never stole me. It
was you who lost me. I went with him, willing and eager, with song on my
lips. As well accuse me of stealing him. We went together."

"A good way of looking at it," Linday conceded. "I see you are as keen a
thinker as ever, Madge. That must have bothered him."

"A keen thinker can be a good lover--"

"And not so foolish," he broke in.

"Then you admit the wisdom of my course?"

He threw up his hands. "That's the devil of it, talking with clever
women. A man always forgets and traps himself. I wouldn't wonder if you
won him with a syllogism."

Her reply was the hint of a smile in her straight-looking blue eyes and
a seeming emanation of sex pride from all the physical being of her.

"No, I take that back, Madge. If you'd been a numbskull you'd have won
him, or any one else, on your looks, and form, and carriage. I ought to
know. I've been through that particular mill, and, the devil take me,
I'm not through it yet."

His speech was quick and nervous and irritable, as it always was, and,
as she knew, it was always candid. She took her cue from his last
remark.

"Do you remember Lake Geneva?"

"I ought to. I was rather absurdly happy."

She nodded, and her eyes were luminous. "There is such a thing as old
sake. Won't you, Grant, please, just remember back ... a little ... oh,
so little ... of what we were to each other ... then?"

"Now you're taking advantage," he smiled, and returned to the attack on
his thumb. He drew the thorn out, inspected it critically, then
concluded. "No, thank you. I'm not playing the Good Samaritan."

"Yet you made this hard journey for an unknown man," she urged.

His impatience was sharply manifest. "Do you fancy I'd have moved a step
had I known he was my wife's lover?"

"But you are here ... now. And there he lies. What are you going to do?"

"Nothing. Why should I? I am not at the man's service. He pilfered me."

She was about to speak, when a knock came on the door.

"Get out!" he shouted.

"If you want any assistance--"

"Get out! Get a bucket of water! Set it down outside!"

"You are going to...?" she began tremulously.

"Wash up."

She recoiled from the brutality, and her lips tightened.

"Listen, Grant," she said steadily. "I shall tell his brother. I know
the Strang breed. If you can forget old sake, so can I. If you don't do
something, he'll kill you. Why, even Tom Daw would if I asked."

"You should know me better than to threaten," he reproved gravely, then
added, with a sneer: "Besides, I don't see how killing me will help your
Rex Strang."

She gave a low gasp, closed her lips tightly, and watched his quick eyes
take note of the trembling that had beset her.

"It's not hysteria, Grant," she cried hastily and anxiously, with
clicking teeth. "You never saw me with hysteria. I've never had it. I
don't know what it is, but I'll control it. I am merely beside myself.
It's partly anger--with you. And it's apprehension and fear. I don't
want to lose him. I do love him, Grant. He is my king, my lover. And I
have sat here beside him so many dreadful days now. Oh, Grant, please,
please."

"Just nerves," he commented drily. "Stay with it. You can best it. If
you were a man I'd say take a smoke."

She went unsteadily back to the stool, where she watched him and fought
for control. From the rough fireplace came the singing of a cricket.
Outside two wolf-dogs bickered. The injured man's chest rose and fell
perceptibly under the fur robes. She saw a smile, not altogether
pleasant, form on Linday's lips.

"How much do you love him?" he asked.

Her breast filled and rose, and her eyes shone with a light unashamed
and proud. He nodded in token that he was answered.

"Do you mind if I take a little time?" He stopped, casting about for the
way to begin. "I remember reading a story--Herbert Shaw wrote it, I
think. I want to tell you about it. There was a woman, young and
beautiful; a man magnificent, a lover of beauty and a wanderer. I don't
know how much like your Rex Strang he was, but I fancy a sort of
resemblance. Well, this man was a painter, a bohemian, a vagabond. He
kissed--oh, several times and for several weeks--and rode away. She
possessed for him what I thought you possessed for me ... at Lake
Geneva. In ten years she wept the beauty out of her face. Some women
turn yellow, you know, when grief upsets their natural juices.

"Now it happened that the man went blind, and ten years afterward, led
as a child by the hand, he stumbled back to her. There was nothing left.
He could no longer paint. And she was very happy, and glad he could not
see her face. Remember, he worshipped beauty. And he continued to hold
her in his arms and believe in her beauty. The memory of it was vivid in
him. He never ceased to talk about it, and to lament that he could not
behold it.

"One day he told her of five great pictures he wished to paint. If only
his sight could be restored to paint them, he could write _finis_ and be
content. And then, no matter how, there came into her hands an elixir.
Anointed on his eyes, the sight would surely and fully return."

Linday shrugged his shoulders.

"You see her struggle. With sight, he could paint his five pictures.
Also, he would leave her. Beauty was his religion. It was impossible
that he could abide her ruined face. Five days she struggled. Then she
anointed his eyes."

Linday broke off and searched her with his eyes, the high lights focused
sharply in the brilliant black.

"The question is, do you love Rex Strang as much as that?"

"And if I do?" she countered.

"Do you?"

"Yes."

"You can sacrifice? You can give him up?"

Slow and reluctant was her "Yes."

"And you will come with me?"

"Yes." This time her voice was a whisper. "When he is well--yes."

"You understand. It must be Lake Geneva over again. You will be my
wife."

She seemed to shrink and droop, but her head nodded.

"Very well." He stood up briskly, went to his pack, and began
unstrapping. "I shall need help. Bring his brother in. Bring them all
in. Boiling water--let there be lots of it. I've brought bandages, but
let me see what you have in that line.--Here, Daw, build up that fire
and start boiling all the water you can.--Here you," to the other man,
"get that table out and under the window there. Clean it; scrub it;
scald it. Clean, man, clean, as you never cleaned a thing before. You,
Mrs. Strang, will be my helper. No sheets, I suppose. Well, we'll manage
somehow.--You're his brother, sir. I'll give the anaesthetic, but you
must keep it going afterward. Now listen, while I instruct you. In the
first place--but before that, can you take a pulse?..."


IV

Noted for his daring and success as a surgeon, through the days and
weeks that followed Linday exceeded himself in daring and success.
Never, because of the frightful mangling and breakage, and because of
the long delay, had he encountered so terrible a case. But he had never
had a healthier specimen of human wreck to work upon. Even then he would
have failed, had it not been for the patient's catlike vitality and
almost uncanny physical and mental grip on life.

There were days of high temperature and delirium; days of heart-sinking
when Strang's pulse was barely perceptible; days when he lay conscious,
eyes weary and drawn, the sweat of pain on his face. Linday was
indefatigable, cruelly efficient, audacious and fortunate, daring hazard
after hazard and winning. He was not content to make the man live. He
devoted himself to the intricate and perilous problem of making him
whole and strong again.

"He will be a cripple?" Madge queried.

"He will not merely walk and talk and be a limping caricature of his
former self," Linday told her. "He shall run and leap, swim riffles,
ride bears, fight panthers, and do all things to the top of his fool
desire. And, I warn you, he will fascinate women just as of old. Will
you like that? Are you content? Remember, you will not be with him."

"Go on, go on," she breathed. "Make him whole. Make him what he was."

More than once, whenever Strang's recuperation permitted, Linday put him
under the anaesthetic and did terrible things, cutting and sewing,
rewiring and connecting up the disrupted organism. Later, developed a
hitch in the left arm. Strang could lift it so far, and no farther.
Linday applied himself to the problem. It was a case of more wires,
shrunken, twisted, disconnected. Again it was cut and switch and ease
and disentangle. And all that saved Strang was his tremendous vitality
and the health of his flesh.

"You will kill him," his brother complained. "Let him be. For God's sake
let him be. A live and crippled man is better than a whole and dead
one."

Linday flamed in wrath. "You get out! Out of this cabin with you till
you can come back and say that I make him live. Pull--by God, man,
you've got to pull with me with all your soul. Your brother's travelling
a hairline razor-edge. Do you understand? A thought can topple him off.
Now get out, and come back sweet and wholesome, convinced beyond all
absoluteness that he will live and be what he was before you and he
played the fool together. Get out, I say."

The brother, with clenched hands and threatening eyes, looked to Madge
for counsel.

"Go, go, please," she begged. "He is right. I know he is right."

Another time, when Strang's condition seemed more promising, the brother
said:

"Doc, you're a wonder, and all this time I've forgotten to ask your
name."

"None of your damn business. Don't bother me. Get out."

The mangled right arm ceased from its healing, burst open again in a
frightful wound.

"Necrosis," said Linday.

"That does settle it," groaned the brother.

"Shut up!" Linday snarled. "Get out! Take Daw with you. Take Bill, too.
Get rabbits--alive--healthy ones. Trap them. Trap everywhere."

"How many?" the brother asked.

"Forty of them--four thousand--forty thousand--all you can get. You'll
help me, Mrs. Strang. I'm going to dig into that arm and size up the
damage. Get out, you fellows. You for the rabbits."

And he dug in, swiftly, unerringly, scraping away disintegrating bone,
ascertaining the extent of the active decay.

"It never would have happened," he told Madge, "if he hadn't had so many
other things needing vitality first. Even he didn't have vitality
enough to go around. I was watching it, but I had to wait and chance it.
That piece must go. He could manage without it, but rabbit-bone will
make it what it was."

From the hundreds of rabbits brought in, he weeded out, rejected,
selected, tested, selected and tested again, until he made his final
choice. He used the last of his chloroform and achieved the
bone-graft--living bone to living bone, living man and living rabbit
immovable and indissolubly bandaged and bound together, their mutual
processes uniting and reconstructing a perfect arm.

And through the whole trying period, especially as Strang mended,
occurred passages of talk between Linday and Madge. Nor was he kind, nor
she rebellious.

"It's a nuisance," he told her. "But the law is the law, and you'll need
a divorce before we can marry again. What do you say? Shall we go to
Lake Geneva?"

"As you will," she said.

And he, another time: "What the deuce did you see in him anyway? I know
he had money. But you and I were managing to get along with some sort
of comfort. My practice was averaging around forty thousand a year
then--I went over the books afterward. Palaces and steam yachts were
about all that was denied you."

"Perhaps you've explained it," she answered. "Perhaps you were too
interested in your practice. Maybe you forgot me."

"Humph," he sneered. "And may not your Rex be too interested in panthers
and short sticks?"

He continually girded her to explain what he chose to call her
infatuation for the other man.

"There is no explanation," she replied. And, finally, she retorted, "No
one can explain love, I least of all. I only knew love, the divine and
irrefragable fact, that is all. There was once, at Fort Vancouver, a
baron of the Hudson Bay Company who chided the resident Church of
England parson. The dominie had written home to England complaining that
the Company folk, from the head factor down, were addicted to Indian
wives. 'Why didn't you explain the extenuating circumstances?' demanded
the baron. Replied the dominie: 'A cow's tail grows downward. I do not
attempt to explain why the cow's tail grows downward. I merely cite the
fact.'"

"Damn clever women!" cried Linday, his eyes flashing his irritation.

"What brought you, of all places, into the Klondike?" she asked once.

"Too much money. No wife to spend it. Wanted a rest. Possibly overwork.
I tried Colorado, but their telegrams followed me, and some of them did
themselves. I went on to Seattle. Same thing. Ransom ran his wife out to
me in a special train. There was no escaping it. Operation successful.
Local newspapers got wind of it. You can imagine the rest. I had to
hide, so I ran away to Klondike. And--well, Tom Daw found me playing
whist in a cabin down on the Yukon."

Came the day when Strang's bed was carried out of doors and into the
sunshine.

"Let me tell him now," she said to Linday.

"No; wait," he answered.

Later, Strang was able to sit up on the edge of the bed, able to walk
his first giddy steps, supported on either side.

"Let me tell him now," she said.

"No. I'm making a complete job of this. I want no set-backs. There's a
slight hitch still in that left arm. It's a little thing, but I am going
to remake him as God made him. Tomorrow I've planned to get into that
arm and take out the kink. It will mean a couple of days on his back.
I'm sorry there's no more chloroform. He'll just have to bite his teeth
on a spike and hang on. He can do it. He's got grit for a dozen men."

Summer came on. The snow disappeared, save on the far peaks of the
Rockies to the east. The days lengthened till there was no darkness, the
sun dipping at midnight, due north, for a few minutes beneath the
horizon. Linday never let up on Strang. He studied his walk, his body
movements, stripped him again and again and for the thousandth time made
him flex all his muscles. Massage was given him without end, until
Linday declared that Tom Daw, Bill, and the brother were properly
qualified for Turkish bath and osteopathic hospital attendants. But
Linday was not yet satisfied. He put Strang through his whole repertoire
of physical feats, searching him the while for hidden weaknesses. He put
him on his back again for a week, opened up his leg, played a deft trick
or two with the smaller veins, scraped a spot of bone no larger than a
coffee grain till naught but a surface of healthy pink remained to be
sewed over with the living flesh.

"Let me tell him," Madge begged.

"Not yet," was the answer. "You will tell him only when I am ready."

July passed, and August neared its end, when he ordered Strang out on
trail to get a moose. Linday kept at his heels, watching him, studying
him. He was slender, a cat in the strength of his muscles, and he walked
as Linday had seen no man walk, effortlessly, with all his body, seeming
to lift the legs with supple muscles clear to the shoulders. But it was
without heaviness, so easy that it invested him with a peculiar grace,
so easy that to the eye the speed was deceptive. It was the killing
pace of which Tom Daw had complained. Linday toiled behind, sweating and
panting; from time to time, when the ground favoured, making short runs
to keep up. At the end of ten miles he called a halt and threw himself
down on the moss.

"Enough!" he cried. "I can't keep up with you."

He mopped his heated face, and Strang sat down on a spruce log, smiling
at the doctor, and, with the camaraderie of a pantheist, at all the
landscape.

"Any twinges, or hurts, or aches, or hints of aches?" Linday demanded.

Strang shook his curly head and stretched his lithe body, living and
joying in every fibre of it.

"You'll do, Strang. For a winter or two you may expect to feel the cold
and damp in the old wounds. But that will pass, and perhaps you may
escape it altogether."

"God, Doctor, you have performed miracles with me. I don't know how to
thank you. I don't even know your name."

"Which doesn't matter. I've pulled you through, and that's the main
thing."

"But it's a name men must know out in the world," Strang persisted.
"I'll wager I'd recognise it if I heard it."

"I think you would," was Linday's answer. "But it's beside the matter. I
want one final test, and then I'm done with you. Over the divide at the
head of this creek is a tributary of the Big Windy. Daw tells me that
last year you went over, down to the middle fork, and back again, in
three days. He said you nearly killed him, too. You are to wait here and
camp to-night. I'll send Daw along with the camp outfit. Then it's up to
you to go to the middle fork and back in the same time as last year."


V

"Now," Linday said to Madge. "You have an hour in which to pack. I'll go
and get the canoe ready. Bill's bringing in the moose and won't get back
till dark. We'll make my cabin to-day, and in a week we'll be in
Dawson."

"I was in hope...." She broke off proudly.

"That I'd forego the fee?"

"Oh, a compact is a compact, but you needn't have been so hateful in the
collecting. You have not been fair. You have sent him away for three
days, and robbed me of my last words to him."

"Leave a letter."

"I shall tell him all."

"Anything less than all would be unfair to the three of us," was
Linday's answer.

When he returned from the canoe, her outfit was packed, the letter
written.

"Let me read it," he said, "if you don't mind."

Her hesitation was momentary, then she passed it over.

"Pretty straight," he said, when he had finished it. "Now, are you
ready?"

He carried her pack down to the bank, and, kneeling, steadied the canoe
with one hand while he extended the other to help her in. He watched her
closely, but without a tremor she held out her hand to his and prepared
to step on board.

"Wait," he said. "One moment. You remember the story I told you of the
elixir. I failed to tell you the end. And when she had anointed his eyes
and was about to depart, it chanced she saw in the mirror that her
beauty had been restored to her. And he opened his eyes, and cried out
with joy at the sight of her beauty, and folded her in his arms."

She waited, tense but controlled, for him to continue, a dawn of wonder
faintly beginning to show in her face and eyes.

"You are very beautiful, Madge." He paused, then added drily, "The rest
is obvious. I fancy Rex Strang's arms won't remain long empty.
Good-bye."

"Grant...." she said, almost whispered, and in her voice was all the
speech that needs not words for understanding.

He gave a nasty little laugh. "I just wanted to show you I wasn't such a
bad sort. Coals of fire, you know."

"Grant...."

He stepped into the canoe and put out a slender, nervous hand.

"Good-bye," he said.

She folded both her own hands about his.

"Dear, strong hand," she murmured, and bent and kissed it.

He jerked it away, thrust the canoe out from the bank, dipped the paddle
in the swift rush of the current, and entered the head of the riffle
where the water poured glassily ere it burst into a white madness of
foam.




PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA




ZANE GREY'S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LIGHT OF WESTERN STARS

A New York society girl buys a ranch which becomes the center of
frontier warfare. Her loyal superintendent rescues her when she is
captured by bandits. A surprising climax brings the story to a
delightful close.


THE RAINBOW TRAIL

The story of a young clergyman who becomes a wanderer in the great
western uplands--until at last love and faith awake.


DESERT GOLD

The story describes the recent uprising along the border, and ends with
the finding of the gold which two prospectors had willed to the girl who
is the story's heroine.


RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE

A picturesque romance of Utah of some forty years ago when Mormon
authority ruled. The prosecution of Jane Withersteen is the theme of the
story.


THE LAST OF THE PLAINSMEN

This is the record of a trip which the author took with Buffalo Jones,
known as the preserver of the American bison, across the Arizona desert
and of a hunt in "that wonderful country of deep canons and giant
pines."


THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT

A lovely girl, who has been reared among Mormons, learns to love a young
New Englander. The Mormon religion, however, demands that the girl shall
become the second wife of one of the Mormons--Well, that's the problem
of this great story.


THE SHORT STOP

The young hero, tiring of his factory grind, starts out to win fame and
fortune as a professional ball player. His hard knocks at the start are
followed by such success as clean sportsmanship, courage and honesty
ought to win.


BETTY ZANE

This story tells of the bravery and heroism of Betty, the beautiful
young sister of old Colonel Zane, one of the bravest pioneers.


THE LONE STAR RANGER

After killing a man in self defense, Buck Duane becomes an outlaw along
the Texas border. In a camp on the Mexican side of the river, he finds a
young girl held prisoner, and in attempting to rescue her, brings down
upon himself the wrath of her captors and henceforth is hunted on one
side by honest men, on the other by outlaws.


THE BORDER LEGION

Joan Randle, in a spirit of anger, sent Jim Cleve out to a lawless
Western mining camp, to prove his mettle. Then realizing that she loved
him--she followed him out. On her way, she is captured by a bandit band,
and trouble begins when she shoots Kells, the leader--and nurses him to
health again. Here enters another romance--when Joan, disguised as an
outlaw, observes Jim, in the throes of dissipation. A gold strike, a
thrilling robbery--gambling and gun play carry you along breathlessly.


THE LAST OF THE GREAT SCOUTS, by Helen Cody Wetmore and Zane Grey

The life story of Colonel William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," as told by
his sister and Zane Grey. It begins with his boyhood in Iowa and his
first encounter with an Indian. We see "Bill" as a pony express rider,
then near Fort Sumter as Chief of the Scouts, and later engaged in the
most dangerous Indian campaigns. There is also a very interesting
account of the travels of "The Wild West" Show. No character in public
life makes a stronger appeal to the imagination of America than "Buffalo
Bill," whose daring and bravery made him famous.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


STORIES OF RARE CHARM BY GENE STRATTON-PORTER

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list

       *       *       *       *       *

MICHAEL O'HALLORAN, Illustrated by Frances Rogers.

Michael is a quick-witted little Irish newsboy, living in Northern
Indiana. He adopts a deserted little girl, a cripple. He also assumes
the responsibility of leading the entire rural community upward and
onward.


LADDIE. Illustrated by Herman Pfeifer.

This is a bright, cheery tale with the scenes laid in Indiana. The story
is told by Little Sister, the youngest member of a large family, but it
is concerned not so much with childish doings as with the love affairs
of older members of the family. Chief among them is that of Laddie and
the Princess, an English girl who has come to live in the neighborhood
and about whose family there hangs a mystery.


THE HARVESTER. Illustrated by W.L. Jacobs.

"The Harvester," is a man of the woods and fields, and if the book had
nothing in it but the splendid figure of this man it would be notable.
But when the Girl comes to his "Medicine Woods," there begins a romance
of the rarest idyllic quality.


FRECKLES. Illustrated.

Freckles is a nameless waif when the tale opens, but the way in which he
takes hold of life; the nature friendships he forms in the great
Limberlost Swamp; the manner in which everyone who meets him succumbs to
the charm of his engaging personality; and his love-story with "The
Angel" are full of real sentiment.


A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST. Illustrated.

The story of a girl of the Michigan woods; a buoyant, loveable type of
the self-reliant American. Her philosophy is one of love and kindness
towards all things; her hope is never dimmed. And by the sheer beauty of
her soul, and the purity of her vision, she wins from barren and
unpromising surroundings those rewards of high courage.


AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW. Illustrations in colors.

The scene of this charming love story is laid in Central Indiana. The
story is one of devoted friendship, and tender self-sacrificing one. The
novel is brimful of the most beautiful word painting of nature, and its
pathos and tender sentiment will endear it to all.


THE SONG OF THE CARDINAL. Profusely illustrated.

A love ideal of the Cardinal bird and his mate, told with delicacy and
humor.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


MYRTLE REED'S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset and Dunlap's list.


       *       *       *       *       *

LAVENDER AND OLD LACE.

A charming story of a quaint corner of New England, where bygone romance
finds a modern parallel. The story centers round the coming of love to
the young people on the staff of a newspaper--and it is one of the
prettiest, sweetest and quaintest of old-fashioned Love stories.


MASTER OF THE VINEYARD.

A pathetic love story of a young girl, Rosemary. The teacher of the
country school, who is also master of the vineyard, comes to know her
through her desire for books. She is happy in his love till another
woman comes into his life. But happiness and emancipation from her many
trials come to Rosemary at last. The book has a touch of humor and
pathos that will appeal to every reader.


OLD ROSE AND SILVER.

A love story,--sentimental and humorous,--with the plot subordinate to
the character delineation of its quaint people and to the exquisite
descriptions of picturesque spots and of lovely, old, rare treasures.


A WEAVER OF DREAMS.

This story tells of the love-affairs of three young people, with an
old-fashioned romance in the background. A tiny dog plays an important
role in serving as a foil for the heroine's talking ingeniousness. There
is poetry, as well as tenderness and charm, in this tale of a weaver of
dreams.


A SPINNER IN THE SUN.

An old-fashioned love story, of a veiled lady who lives in solitude and
whose features her neighbors have never seen. There is a mystery at the
heart of the book that throws over it the glamour of romance.


THE MASTER'S VIOLIN.

A love story in a musical atmosphere. A picturesque, old German virtuoso
consents to take for his pupil a handsome youth who proves to have an
aptitude for technique, but not the soul of an artist. The youth cannot
express the love, the passion and the tragedies of life as can the
master. But a girl comes into his life, and through his passionate love
for her, he learns the lessons that life has to give--and his soul
awakes.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


KATHLEEN NORRIS' STORIES

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list

       *       *       *       *       *

MOTHER. Illustrated by F.C. Yohn.

This book has a fairy-story touch, counterbalanced by the sturdy reality
of struggle, sacrifice, and resulting peace and power of a mother's
experiences.


SATURDAY'S CHILD.

Frontispiece by F. Graham Cootes.

Out on the Pacific coast a normal girl, obscure and lovely, makes a
quest for happiness. She passes through three stages--poverty, wealth
and service--and works out a creditable salvation.


THE RICH MRS. BURGOYNE.

Illustrated by Lucius H. Hitchcock.

The story of a sensible woman who keeps within her means, refuses to be
swamped by social engagements, lives a normal human life of varied
interests, and has her own romance.


THE STORY OF JULIA PAGE.

Frontispiece by Allan Gilbert.

How Julia Page, reared in rather unpromising surroundings, lifted
herself through sheer determination to a higher plane of life.


THE HEART OF RACHAEL.

Frontispiece by Charles E. Chambers.

Rachael is called upon to solve many problems, and is working out these,
there is shown the beauty and strength of soul of one of fiction's most
appealing characters.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


THE NOVELS OF MARY ROBERTS RINEHART

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask far Grosset & Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

"K." Illustrated.

K. LeMoyne, famous surgeon, drops out of the world that has known him,
and goes to live in a little town where beautiful Sidney Page lives. She
is in training to become a nurse. The joys and troubles of their young
love are told with that keen and sympathetic appreciation which has made
the author famous.


THE MAN IN LOWER TEN.

Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy.

An absorbing detective story woven around the mysterious death of the
"Man in Lower Ten." The strongest elements of Mrs. Rinehart's success
are found in this book.


WHEN A MAN MARRIES.

Illustrated by Harrison fisher and Mayo Bunker.

A young artist, whose wife had recently divorced him; finds that his
aunt is soon to visit him. The aunt, who contributes to the family
income and who has never seen the wife, knows nothing of the domestic
upheaval. How the young man met the situation is humorously and most
entertainingly told.


THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE. Illus. by Lester Ralph

The summer occupants of "Sunnyside" find the dead body of Arnold
Armstrong, the son of the owner, on the circular staircase. Following
the murder a bank failure is announced. Around these two events is woven
a plot of absorbing interest.


THE STREET OF SEVEN STARS.

Illustrated (Photo Play Edition.)

Harmony Wells, studying in Vienna to be a great violinist, suddenly
realizes that her money is almost gone. She meets a young ambitious
doctor who offers her chivalry and sympathy, and together with
world-worn Dr. Anna and Jimmie, the waif, they share their love and
slender means.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


SEWELL FORD'S STORIES

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

SHORTY McCABE. Illustrated by Francis Vaux Wilson.

A very humorous story. The hero, an independent and vigorous thinker,
sees life, and tells about it in a very unconventional way.


SIDE-STEPPING WITH SHORTY.

Illustrated by Francis Vaux Wilson.

Twenty skits, presenting people with their foibles. Sympathy with human
nature and an abounding sense of humor are the requisites for
"side-stepping with Shorty."


SHORTY McCABE ON THE JOB.

Illustrated by Francis Vaux Wilson.

Shorty McCabe reappears with his figures of speech revamped right up to
the minute. He aids in the right distribution of a "conscience fund,"
and gives joy to all concerned.


SHORTY McCABE'S ODD NUMBERS

Illustrated by Francis Vaux Wilson.

These further chronicles of Shorty McCabe tell of his studio for
physical culture, and of his experiences both on the East side and at
swell yachting parties.


TORCHY. Illus. by Geo. Biehm and Jas. Montgomery Flagg.

A red-headed office boy, overflowing with wit and wisdom peculiar to the
youths reared on the sidewalks of New York, tells the story of his
experiences.


TRYING OUT TORCHY. Illustrated by F. Foster Lincoln.

Torchy is just as deliriously funny in these stories as he was in the
previous book.


ON WITH TORCHY. Illustrated by F. Foster Lincoln.

Torchy falls desperately in love with "the only girl that ever was," but
that young society woman's aunt tries to keep the young people apart,
which brings about many hilariously funny situations.


TORCHY, PRIVATE SEC. Illustrated by F. Foster Lincoln.

Torchy rises from the position of office boy to that of secretary for
the Corrugated Iron Company. The story is full of humor and infectious
American slang.


WILT THOU TORCHY. Illus. by F. Snapp and A.W. Brown.

Torchy goes on a treasure search expedition to the Florida West Coast,
in company with a group of friends of the Corrugated Trust and with his
friend's aunt, on which trip Torchy wins the aunt's permission to place
an engagement ring on Vee's finger.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


THE NOVELS OF CLARA LOUISE BURNHAM

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

JEWEL: A Chapter in Her Life.

Illustrated by Maude and Genevieve Cowles.

A story breathing the doctrine of love and patience as exemplified in
the life of a child. Jewel will never grow old because of the
immortality of her love.


JEWEL'S STORY BOOK. Illustrated by Albert Schmitt.

A sequel to "Jewel," in which the same characteristics of love and
cheerfulness touch and uplift the reader.


THE INNER FLAME. Frontispiece in color.

A young mining engineer, whose chief ambition is to become an artist,
but who has no friends with whom to realize his hopes, has a way opened
to him to try his powers, and, of course, he is successful.


THE RIGHT PRINCESS.

At a fashionable Long Island resort, a stately English woman employs a
forcible New England housekeeper to serve in her interesting home. Many
humorous situations result. A delightful love affair runs through it
all.


THE OPENED SHUTTERS.

Illustrated with Scenes from the Photo Play.

A beautiful woman, at discord with life, is brought to realize, by her
new friends, that she may open the shutters of her soul to the blessed
sunlight of joy by casting aside self love.


THE RIGHT TRACK.

Frontispiece in color by Greene Blumenschien.

A story of a young girl who marries for money so that she can enjoy
things intellectual. Neglect of her husband and of her two step children
makes an unhappy home till a friend brings a new philosophy of happiness
into the household.


CLEVER BETSY. Illustrated by Rose O'Neill.

The "Clever Betsy" was a boat--named for the unyielding spinster whom
the captain hoped to marry. Through the two Betsy's a delightful group
of people are introduced.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


B.M. BOWER'S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset and Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHIP OF THE FLYING U.

Wherein the love affairs of Chip and Delia Whitman are charmingly and
humorously told.


THE HAPPY FAMILY.

A lively and amusing story, dealing with the adventures of eighteen
jovial, big hearted Montana cowboys.


HER PRAIRIE KNIGHT.

Describing a gay party of Easterners who exchange a cottage at Newport
for a Montana ranch-house.


THE RANGE DWELLERS.

Spirited action, a range feud between two families, and a Romeo and
Juliet courtship make this a bright, jolly story.


THE LURE OF THE DIM TRAILS.

A vivid portrayal of the experience of an Eastern author among the
cowboys.


THE LONESOME TRAIL.

A little branch of sage brush and the recollection of a pair of large
brown eyes upset "Weary" Davidson's plans.


THE LONG SHADOW.

A vigorous Western story, sparkling with the free outdoor life of a
mountain ranch. It is a fine love story.


GOOD INDIAN.

A stirring romance of life on an Idaho ranch.


FLYING U RANCH.

Another delightful story about Chip and his pals.


THE FLYING U'S LAST STAND.

An amusing account of Chip and the other boys opposing a party of school
teachers.


THE UPHILL CLIMB.

A story of a mountain ranch and of a man's hard fight on the uphill road
to manliness.


THE PHANTOM HERD.

The title of a moving-picture staged it New Mexico by the "Flying U"
boys.


THE HERITAGE OF THE SIOUX.

The "Flying U" boys stage a fake bank robbery for film purposes which
precedes a real one for lust of gold.


THE GRINGOS.

A story of love and adventure on a ranch in California.


STARR OF THE DESERT.

A New Mexico ranch story of mystery and adventure.


THE LOOKOUT MAN.

A Northern California story full of action, excitement and love.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


THE NOVELS OF WINSTON CHURCHILL

       *       *       *       *       *

THE INSIDE OF THE CUP. Illustrated by Howard Giles.

The Reverend John Hodder is called to a fashionable church in a
middle-western city. He knows little of modern problems and in his
theology is as orthodox as the rich men who control his church could
desire. But the facts of modern life are thrust upon him; an awakening
follows and in the end he works out a solution.


A FAR COUNTRY. Illustrated by Herman Pfeifer.

This novel is concerned with big problems of the day. As _The Inside of
the Cup_ gets down to the essentials in its discussion of religion, so
_A Far Country_ deals in a story that is intense and dramatic, with
other vital issues confronting the twentieth century.


A MODERN CHRONICLE. Illustrated by J.H. Gardner Soper.

This, Mr. Churchill's first great presentation of the Eternal Feminine,
is throughout a profound study of a fascinating young American woman. It
is frankly a modern love story.


MR. CREWE'S CAREER. Illus. by A.I. Keller and Kinneys.

A new England state is under the political domination of a railway and
Mr. Crewe, a millionaire, seizes a moment when the cause of the people
is being espoused by an ardent young attorney, to further his own
interest in a political way. The daughter of the railway president plays
no small part in the situation.


THE CROSSING. Illustrated by S. Adamson and L. Baylis.

Describing the battle of Fort Moultrie, the blazing of the Kentucky
wilderness, the expedition of Clark and his handful of followers in
Illinois, the beginning of civilization along the Ohio and Mississippi,
and the treasonable schemes against Washington.


CONISTON. Illustrated by Florence Scovel Shinn.

A deft blending of love and politics. A New Englander is the hero, a
crude man who rose to political prominence by his own powers, and then
surrendered all for the love of a woman.


THE CELEBRITY. An episode.

An inimitable bit of comedy describing an interchange of personalities
between a celebrated author and a bicycle salesman. It is the purest,
keenest fun--and is American to the core.


THE CRISIS. Illustrated with scenes from the Photo-Play.

A book that presents the great crisis in our national life with splendid
power and with a sympathy, a sincerity, and a patriotism that are
inspiring.


RICHARD CARVEL. Illustrated by Malcolm Frazer.

An historical novel which gives a real and vivid picture of Colonial
times, and is good, clean, spirited reading in all its phases and
interesting throughout.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


JOHN FOX, JR'S. STORIES OF THE KENTUCKY MOUNTAINS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset and Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE.

Illustrated by F.C. Yohn.

The "lonesome pine" from which the story takes its name was a tall tree
that stood in solitary splendor on a mountain top. The fame of the pine
lured a young engineer through Kentucky to catch the trail, and when he
finally climbed to its shelter he found not only the pine but the
_foot-prints of a girl_. And the girl proved to be lovely, piquant, and
the trail of these girlish foot-prints led the young engineer a madder
chase than "the trail of the lonesome pine."


THE LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME

Illustrated by F.C. Yohn.

This is a story of Kentucky, in a settlement known as "Kingdom Come." It
is a life rude, semi-barbarous; but natural and honest, from which often
springs the flower of civilization.

"Chad," the "little shepherd" did not know who he was nor whence he
came--he had just wandered from door to door since early childhood,
seeking shelter with kindly mountaineers who gladly fathered and
mothered this waif about whom there was such a mystery--a charming waif,
by the way, who could play the banjo better that anyone else in the
mountains.


A KNIGHT OF THE CUMBERLAND.

Illustrated by F.C. Yohn.

The scenes are laid along the waters of the Cumberland, the lair of
moonshiner and of feudsman. The knight is a moonshiner's son, and the
heroine a beautiful girl perversely christened "The Blight." Two
impetuous young Southerners' fall under the spell of "The Blight's"
charms and she learns what a large part jealousy and pistols have in the
love making of the mountaineers.

Included in this volume is "Hell fer-Sartain" and other stories, some of
Mr. Fox's most entertaining Cumberland valley narratives.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ask for complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


BOOTH TARKINGTON'S NOVELS

May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

SEVENTEEN. Illustrated by Arthur William Brown.

No one but the creator of Penrod could have portrayed the immortal young
people of this story. Its humor is irresistible and reminiscent of the
time when the reader was Seventeen.


PENROD. Illustrated by Gordon Grant.

This is a picture of a boy's heart, full of the lovable, humorous,
tragic things which are locked secrets to most older folks. It is a
finished, exquisite work.


PENROD AND SAM. Illustrated by Worth Brehm.

Like "Penrod" and "Seventeen," this book contains some remarkable phases
of real boyhood and some of the best stories of juvenile prankishness
that have ever been written.


THE TURMOIL. Illustrated by C.E. Chambers.

Bibbs Sheridan is a dreamy, imaginative youth, who revolts against his
father's plans for him to be a servitor of big business. The love of a
fine girl turns Bibb's life from failure to success.


THE GENTLEMAN FROM INDIANA. Frontispiece.

A story of love and politics,--more especially a picture of a country
editor's life in Indiana, but the charm of the book lies in the love
interest.


THE FLIRT. Illustrated by Clarence F. Underwood.

The "Flirt," the younger of two sisters, breaks one girl's engagement,
drives one man to suicide, causes the murder of another, leads another
to lose his fortune, and in the end marries a stupid and unpromising
suitor, leaving the really worthy one to marry her sister.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction_

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


NOVELS OF FRONTIER LIFE BY WILLIAM MacLEOD RAINE

HANDSOMELY BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED.

May be had wherever books are sold Ask for Grosset and Dunlap's list.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAVERICKS.

A tale of the western frontier, where the "rustler," whose depredations
are so keenly resented by the early settlers of the range, abounds. One
of the sweetest love stories ever told.


A TEXAS RANGER.

How a member of the most dauntless border police force carried law into
the mesquit, saved the life of an innocent man after a series of
thrilling adventures, followed a fugitive to Wyoming, and then passed
through deadly peril to ultimate happiness.


WYOMING.

In this vivid story of the outdoor West the author has captured the
breezy charm of "cattleland," and brings out the turbid life of the
frontier with all its engaging dash and vigor.


RIDGWAY OF MONTANA.

The scene is laid in the mining centers of Montana, where politics and
mining industries are the religion of the country. The political
contest, the love scene, and the fine character drawing give this story
great strength and charm..


BUCKY O'CONNOR.

Every chapter teems with wholesome, stirring adventures, replete with
the dashing spirit of the border, told with dramatic dash and absorbing
fascination of style and plot.


CROOKED TRAILS AND STRAIGHT.

A story of Arizona; of swift-riding men and daring outlaws; of a bitter
feud between cattle-men and sheep-herders. The heroine is a most unusual
woman and her love story reaches a culmination that is fittingly
characteristic of the great free West.


BRAND BLOTTERS.

A story of the Cattle Range. This story brings out the turbid life of
the frontier, with all its engaging dash and vigor, with a charming love
interest running through its 320 pages.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *





End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Turtles of Tasman, by Jack London

*** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TURTLES OF TASMAN ***

***** This file should be named 16257.txt or 16257.zip *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:
        http://www.gutenberg.org/1/6/2/5/16257/

Produced by Suzanne Shell, Taavi Kalju and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net


Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial
redistribution.



*** START: FULL LICENSE ***

THE FULL PROJECT GUTENBERG LICENSE
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU DISTRIBUTE OR USE THIS WORK

To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at
http://gutenberg.net/license).


Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United
States.

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or
1.E.9.

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (www.gutenberg.net),
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided
that

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.

1.F.

1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

1.F.2.  LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the "Right
of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal
fees.  YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICT
LIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSE
PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH F3.  YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THE
TRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BE
LIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR
INCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH
DAMAGE.

1.F.3.  LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover a
defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTIBILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.


Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at http://www.pglaf.org.


Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive
Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at
http://pglaf.org/fundraising.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email
business@pglaf.org.  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at http://pglaf.org

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director
     gbnewby@pglaf.org

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit http://pglaf.org

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit: http://pglaf.org/donate


Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

     http://www.gutenberg.net

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

*** END: FULL LICENSE ***


Colophon

This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext16257, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext16257



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."