Infomotions, Inc.Bohemian Days Three American Tales / Townsend, George Alfred, 1841-1914



Author: Townsend, George Alfred, 1841-1914
Title: Bohemian Days Three American Tales
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): duff salter; salter; duff; agnes; zane; andrew zane; podge; suzette; plade; calvin; lear; pisgah; auburn risque; kensington; ralph; andy plade; william zane; andrew; agnes wilt; ralph flare; duff salter's
Contributor(s): Dakyns, Henry Graham, 1838-1911 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 68,775 words (short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 66 (easy)
Identifier: etext19288
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

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

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Bohemian Days, by Geo. Alfred Townsend

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.org


Title: Bohemian Days
       Three American Tales

Author: Geo. Alfred Townsend

Release Date: September 15, 2006 [EBook #19288]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BOHEMIAN DAYS ***




Produced by Bethanne M. Simms, Dave Macfarlane and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net









BOHEMIAN DAYS

*Three American Tales*

BY
GEO. ALFRED TOWNSEND
_"GATH"_


     "And David arose and fled to Gath. And he changed his behavior. And
     every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and
     every one that was discontented gathered themselves unto him. And
     the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a
     full year and four months."


H. CAMPBELL & CO., Publishers,
NO. 21 PARK ROW,
NEW YORK

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880,
By GEO. ALFRED TOWNSEND,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.

THE BURR PRINTING HOUSE
AND STEAM TYPE-SETTING OFFICE,
Cor. Frankfort and Jacob Sts.,
NEW YORK.




TO TEN FRIENDS AT DINNER,

GILSEY HOUSE, NEW YORK,

APRIL 21, 1879;

WHO MADE THIS PUBLICATION

_A PROMISE AND AN OBLIGATION_.




PREFACE.


So far from the first tale in this book being of political motive, it
was written among the subjects of it, and read to several of them in
1864. Perhaps the only _souvenir_ of refugee and "skedaddler" life
abroad during the war ever published, its preservation may one day be
useful in the socialistic archives of the South, to whose posterity
slavery will seem almost a mythical thing. With as little bias in the
second tale, I have etched the young Northern truant abroad during the
secession. The closing tale, more recently written, in the midst of
constant toil and travel, is an attempt to recall an old suburb, now
nearly erased and illegible by the extension of a great city, and may be
considered a home American picture about contemporary with the European
tales.




CONTENTS.


SHORT NOVELS.

THE REBEL COLONY IN PARIS             13

MARRIED ABROAD                        99

THE DEAF MAN OF KENSINGTON           155


CHORDS.

BOHEMIA                                9

LITTLE GRISETTE                       93

THE PIGEON GIRL                      149

THE DEAD BOHEMIAN                    279




BOHEMIA.


  The farther I do grow from _La Boheme_,
  The more I do regret that foolish shame
    Which made me hold it something to conceal,
  And so I did myself expatriate;
    For in my pulses and my feet I feel
  That wayward realm was still my own estate;
  Wise wagged our tongues when the dear nights grew late,
  And quainter, clearer, rose our quick conceits,
  And pure and mutual were our social sweets.
  Oh!  ever thus convivial round the gate
    Of Letters have the masters and the young
  Loitered away their enterprises great,
  Since Spenser revelled in the halls of state,
    And at his tavern rarest Jonson sung.




THE REBEL COLONY IN PARIS.

       *       *       *       *       *




I.

THE EXILES.


In the latter part of October, 1863, seven very anxious and dilapidated
personages were assembled under the roof of an old, eight-storied
tenement, near the church of St. Sulpice, in the city of Paris.

The seven under consideration had reached the catastrophe of their
decline--and rise. They had met in solemn deliberation to pass
resolutions to that effect, and take the only congenial means for
replenishment and reform. This means lay in miniature before a caged
window, revealed by a superfluity of light--a roulette-table, whereon
the ball was spinning industriously from the practised fingers of Mr.
Auburn Risque, of Mississippi.

Mr. Auburn Risque had a spotted eye and a bluishly cold face; his
fingers were the only movable part of him, for he performed respiration
and articulation with the same organ--his nose; and the sole words
vouchsafed by this at present were:
"Black--black--black--white--black--white--white--black"--etc.

The five surrounding parties were carefully noting upon fragments of
paper the results of the experiment, and likewise Master Lees, the
lessee of the chamber--a pale, emaciated youth, sitting up in bed, and
ciphering tremulously, with bony fingers; even he, upon whom disease had
made auguries of death, looked forward to gold, as the remedy which
science had not brought, for a wasted youth of dissipation and
incontinence.

They were all representatives of the recently instituted Confederacy.
Most of them had dwelt in Paris anterior to the war, and, habituated to
its luxuries, scarcely recognized themselves, now that they were forlorn
and needy. Note Mr. Pisgah, for example--a Georgian, tall, shapely and
handsome, with the gray hairs of his thirtieth year shading his working
temples; he had been the most envied man in Paris; no woman could resist
the magnetism of his eye; he was almost a match for the great Berger at
billiards; he rode like a centaur on the Boulevards, and counterfeited
Apollo at the opera and the masque. His credit was good for fifty
thousand francs any day in the year. He had travelled in far and
contiguous regions, conducted intrigues at Athens and Damascus, and
smoked his pipe upon the Nile and among the ruins of Sebastopol. Without
principle, he was yet amiable, and with his dashing style and address,
one forgot his worthlessness.

How keenly he is reminded of it now! He cannot work, he has no craft nor
profession; he knew enough to pass for an educated gentleman; not enough
to earn a franc a day. He is the _protege_ at present of his
washerwoman, and can say, with some governments, that his debts are
impartially distributed. He has only two fears--those of starvation in
France, and a soldier's death in America.

The prospect of a debtor's prison at Clichy has long since ceased to be
a terror. There, he would be secure of sustenance and shelter, and of
these, at liberty, he is doubtful every day.

Still, with his threadbare coat, he haunts the Casino and the Valentino
of evenings; for some mistresses of a former day send him billets.

He lies in bed till long after noon, that he may not have pangs of
hunger; and has yet credit for a dinner at an obscure _cremery_. When
this last confidence shall have been forfeited, what must result to
Pisgah?

He is striving to anticipate the answer with this experiment at
roulette; for he has a "system" whereby it is possible to break any
gambling bank--Spa, Baden, Wisbaden or Homburg. The others have systems
also, from Auburn Risque to Simp, the only son of the richest widow in
Louisiana, who disbursed of old in Paris ten thousand dollars annually.

His house at Passy was a palace in miniature, and his favorite a tragedy
queen. She played at the Folies Dramatiques, and drove three horses of
afternoons upon the Champs Elysees. She had other engagements, of
course, when Mr. Lincoln's "paper blockade" stopped Master Simp's
remittances, and he passed her yesterday upon the Rue Rivoli, with the
Russian ambassador's footman at her back, but she only touched him with
her silks.

Simp studied a profession, and was a volunteer counsel in the memorable
case of Jeems Pinckney against Jeems Rutledge. His speech, on that
occasion, occupied in delivery just three minutes, and set the
court-room in a roar. He paid the village editor ten dollars to compose
it, and the same sum to publish it.

"If you could learn it for me," said Simp, anxiously, "I would give you
twenty dollars."

This, his first and last public appearance, was conditional to the
receipt from his mother, of six thousand acres of land and eighty
negroes. It might have been a close calculation for a mathematician to
know how many black sweat-drops, how many strokes of the rawhide, went
into the celebrated dinner at the Maison Doree, wherein Master Simp and
only his lady had thirty-four courses, and eleven qualities of wine, and
a bill of eight hundred francs.

In that prosperous era, his inalienable comrade had been Mr. Andy Plade,
who now stood beside him, intensely absorbed.

Of late Mr. Plade's affection had been transferred to Hugenot, the only
possessor of an entire franc in the chamber. Hugenot was a short-set
individual, in pumps and an eye-glass, who had been but a few days in
the city. He was decidedly a man of sentiment. He called the Confederacy
"ow-ah cause," and claimed to have signed the call for the first
secession meeting in the South.

He asserted frankly that he was of French extraction, but only hinted
that he was of noble blood. He had been a hatter, but carefully ignored
the fact; and, having run the blockade with profitable cargoes fourteen
times, had settled down to be a respectable trader between Havre and
Nassau. Mr. Plade shared much of the sentiment and some of the money of
this illustrious personage.

There were rumors abroad that Plade himself had great, but embarrassed,
fortunes.

He was one of the hundred thousand chevaliers who hail the advent of war
as something which will hide their nothingness.

"I knew it," said Auburn Risque, at length, pinching the ball between
his hard palms as if it were the creature of his will. "My system is
good; yours do not validate themselves. You are novices at gambling; I
am an old blackleg." It was as he had said; the method of betting which
he proposed had seemed to be successful. He staked upon colors; never
upon numbers; and alternated from white to black after a fixed,
undeviating routine.

Less by experiment than by faith, the others gave up their own theories
to adopt his own. They resolved to collect every available sou, and,
confiding it to the keeping of Mr. Risque, send him to Germany, that he
might beggar the bankers, and so restore the Southern Colony to its
wonted prosperity.

Hugenot delivered a short address, wishing "the cause" good luck, but
declining to subscribe anything. He did not doubt the safety of "the
system" of course, but had an hereditary antipathy to gaming. The
precepts of all his ancestry were against it.

Poor Lees followed in a broken way, indicating sundry books, a guitar,
two pairs of old boots, and a canary bird, as the relics of his fortune.
These, Andy Plade, who possessed nothing, but thought he might borrow a
trifle, volunteered to dispose of, and Freckle, a Missourian, who was
tolerated in the colony only because he could be plucked, asserted
enthusiastically, and amid great sensation, that he yet had three
hundred francs at the banker's, his entire capital, all of which he
meant to devote to the most reliable project in the world.

At this episode, Pisgah, whose misfortunes had quite shattered his
nerves, proposed to drink at Freckle's expense to the success of the
system, and Hugenot was prevailed upon to advance twenty-one sous, while
Simp took the order to the adjacent _marchand du vin_.

When they had all filled, Hugenot, looking upon himself in the light of
a benefactor, considered it necessary to do something.

"Boys," he said, wiping his eves with the lining of a kid glove, "will
you esteem it unnatural, that a Suth Kurlinian, who sat--at an early
age, it is true--at the feet of the great Kulhoon, should lift up his
voice and weep in this day of ou-ah calamity?"

(Sensation, aggrieved by the sobs of Freckle, who, unused to spirits and
greatly affected--chokes.)

"When I cast my eye about this lofty chambah" (here Lees, who hasn't
been out of it for a year, hides himself beneath the bed-clothes); "when
I see these noble spih-its dwelling obscu' and penniless; when I
remembah that two short years ago, they waih of independent
fohtunes--one with his sugah, anotha with his cotton, a third with his
tobacco, in short, all the blessings of heaven bestowed upon a free
people--niggars, plantations, pleasures!--I can but lay my pooah hand
upon the manes of my ancestry, and ask in the name of ou-ah cause, is
there justice above or retribution upon the earth!"

A profound silence ensued, broken only by Mr. Plade, who called Hugenot
a man of sentiment, and slapped his back; while Freckle fell upon
Pisgah's bosom, and wished that his stomach was as full as his heart.

Mr. Simp, who had been endeavoring to recollect some passages of his
address, in the case of the Jeemses, for that address had an universal
application, and might mean as much now as on the original occasion,
brought down one of those decayed boots which the _marchand des habits_
had thrice refused to buy, and said, stoutly:

"'By Gad! think of it, hyuh am I, a beggah, by Gad, without shoes to my
feet, suh! The wuth of one nigga would keep me now for a yeah. At home,
by Gad, I could afford to spend the wuth of a staving field hand every
twenty-fouah houahs. I'll sweah!" cried Simp in conclusion, "I call this
hard."

"I suppose the Yankees have confiscated my stocks in the Havre
steamers," muttered Andy Plade. "I consider they have done me out of
twenty thousand dollars."

"Brotha writes to me, last lettah," continued Freckle, who had
recovered, "every tree cut off the plantation--every nigga run off, down
to old Sim, a hundred years old--every panel of fence toted away--no
bacon in smoke-house--not an old rip in stable--no corn, coon, possum,
rabbit, fox, dog or hog within ten miles of the place--house stands in a
mire--mire stands in desert--Yankee general going to conscrip brotha. I
save myself, sp'ose, for stahvation."

"Wait till you come down to my condition," faltered the proprietor,
making emphasis with his meagre finger--"I have been my own enemy; the
Yankees will but finish what is almost consummated now. I tell you,
boys, I expect to die in this room; I shall never quit this bed. I am
offensive, wasted, withered, and would look gladly upon Pere la
Chaise,[A] if with my bodily maladies my mind was not also diseased. I
have no fortitude; I am afraid of death!"

[Footnote A: The great Cemetery of Paris.]

The room seemed to grow suddenly cold, and the faces of all the inmates
became pale; they looked more squalid than ever--the threadbare
curtains, the rheumatic chairs, the soiled floor, sashes and wallpaper.

Mr. Hugenot fumbled his shirt-bosom nervously, and his diamond pin,
glaring like a lamp upon the worn garbs and faces of his compatriots,
showed them still wanner and meaner by contrast.

"Put the blues under your feet!" cried Auburn Risque, in his hard,
practical way; "my system will resurrect the dead. You shall have
clothes upon your backs, shoes upon your feet, specie in your pockets,
blood in your veins. Let us sell, borrow and pawn; we can raise a
thousand francs together. I will return in a fortnight with fifty
thousand!"




II.

RAISING THE WIND.


The million five hundred thousand folks in Paris, who went about their
pleasures that October night, knew little of the sorrows of the Southern
Colony.

Pisgah dropped in at the Chateau des Fleurs to beg a paltry loan from
some ancient favorite. The time had been, when, after a nightly debauch,
he had placed two hundred francs in her morning's coffee-cup. It was
mournful now to mark his premature gray hairs, as, resting his soiled,
faded coat-sleeve upon her _manteau de velour_, he saw the scorn of his
poverty in the bright eyes which had smiled upon him, and made his
request so humbly and so feverishly.

"Give me back, Feefine," he faltered, "only that fifty francs I once
tied in a gold band about your spaniel's neck. I am poor, my dear--that
will not move you, I know, but I am going to Germany to play at the
banks; if I win, I swear to pay you back ten francs for one!"

There was never a _lorette_ who did not love to gamble. She stopped a
passing gentleman and borrowed the money; the other saw it transferred
to Pisgah, with an expression of contempt, and, turning to a friend,
called him aloud a withering name.

Poor Pisgah! he would have drawn his bowie-knife once, and defied even
the emperor to stand between the man and himself after such an
appellation. He would have esteemed it a favor now to be what he was
named, and only lifted his creased beaver gratefully, and hobbled
nervously away, and stopping near by at a cafe drank a great glass of
absinthe, with almost a prayerful heart.

At Mr. Simp's hotel in the Rue Monsieur Le Prince much business was
transacted after dark. Monsieurs Freckle and Plade were engaged in
smuggling away certain relics of furniture and wearing apparel.

Mr. Simp already owed his landlord fifteen months' rent, for which the
only security was his diminishing effects.

If the mole-eyed concierge should suspect foul play with these, Simp
would be turned out of doors immediately and the property confiscated.

Singly and in packages the collateral made its exit. A half-dozen regal
chemises made to order at fifty francs apiece; a musical clock picked up
at Genoa for twelve louis; a patent boot-jack and an ebony billiard cue;
a Paduan violin; two statuettes of more fidelity than modesty, to be
sold pound for pound at the current value of bronze; divers
pipes--articles of which Mr. Simp had earned the title of connoisseur,
by investing several hundred dollars annually--a gutta-percha
self-adjusting dog-muzzle, the dog attached to which had been seized by
H. M. Napoleon III. in lieu of taxes, etc., etc.

Everything passed out successfully except one pair of pantaloons which
protruded from Freckle's vest, and that unfortunate person at once fell
under suspicion of theft. All went in the manner stated to Mr. Lees'
chamber, he being the only colonist who did not hazard the loss of his
room, chiefly because nobody else would rent it, and in part because his
landlady, having swindled him for six or eight years, had compunctions
as to ejecting him.

Thence in the morning, true to his aristocratic instincts, Mr. Simp
departed in a _voiture_ for the central bureau of the Mont de Piete,[B]
in the Rue Blanc Manteau. His face had become familiar there of late. He
carried his articles up from the curb, while the _cocher_ grinned and
winked behind, and taking his turn in the throng of widows, orphans,
ouvriers, and profligates and unfortunates of all loose conditions, Simp
was a subject of much unenviable remark. He came away with quite an
armful of large yellow certificates, and the articles were registered to
Monsieur Simp, a French subject; for with such passports went all his
compatriots.

[Footnote B: The government pawnbroking shop.]

Andy Plade spent twenty-four hours, meanwhile, at the Grand Hotel,
enacting the time-honored part of all things to all men.

He differed from the other colonists, in that they were weak--he was
bad. He spoke several languages intelligibly, and knew much of many
things--art, finances, geography--just those matters on which newly
arrived Americans desire information. His address was even fascinating.
One suspected him to be a leech, but pardoned the motive for the manner.
He called himself a broken man. The war had blighted his fair fortunes.
For a time he had held on hopefully, but now meant to breast the current
no longer. His time was at the service of anybody. Would monsieur like
to see the city? He knew its every cleft and den. So he had lived in
Paris five years--in the same manner, elsewhere, all his life.

A few men heard his story and helped him--one Northern man had given him
employment; his gratitude was defalcation.

To day he has sounded Hugenot; but that man of sentiment alluded to the
business habits of his ancestry, and intimated that he did not lend.

"Ou-ah cause, Andy," he says, with a flourish, "is now negotiating a
loan. When ou-ah beloved country is reduced to such straits, that she
must borow from strangers, I cannot think of relieving private
indigence."

Later in the day, however, Mr. Plade made the acquaintance of an
ingenuous youth from Pennsylvania, and obtaining a hundred francs, for
one day only, sent it straightway to Mr. Auburn Risque.

A second meeting was held at Lees' the third day noon, when the
originator of the "system" sat icily grim behind a table whereon eleven
hundred francs reposed; and the whole colony, crowding breathlessly
around, was amazed to note how little the space taken up by so great a
sum.

They opened a crevice that Lees might be gladdened with the sight of the
gold; for to-day that invalid was unusually dispirited, and could not
quit his bed.

"We are down very low, old Simp," said Pisgah, smilingly, "when either
the possession or the loss of that amount can be an event in our lives."

"You will laugh that it was so, a week hence," answered Auburn
Risque--"when you lunch at Peters' while awaiting my third check for a
thousand dollars apiece."

"I don't believe in the system," growled Lees, opening a cold draft from
his melancholy eyes: "I don't feel that I shall ever spend a sou of the
winnings. No more will any of you. There will be no winnings to spend.
Auburn Risque will lose. He always does."

"If you were standing by at the play I should," cried Risque, while the
pock-marks in his face were like the thawings of ice. "You would croak
like an old raven, and I should forget my reckoning."

"Come now, Lees," cried all the others; "you must not see bad omen for
the Colony;" and they said, in undertone, that Lees had come to be quite
a bore.

They were all doubtful, nevertheless. Their crisis could not be
exaggerated. Their interest was almost devout. Three thousand miles from
relief; two seas between, one of water and one of fire; at home,
conscription, captivity, death: the calamity of Southerners abroad would
merit all sympathy, if it had not been induced by waste, and unredeemed
by either fortitude or regret.

The unhappy Freckle, whose luckless admiration of the rest had been his
ruin, felt that a sonorous prayer, such as his old father used to make
in the Methodist meeting-house, would be a good thing wherewith to
freight Auburn Risque for his voyage. When men stake everything on a
chance, it is natural to look up to somebody who governs chances; but
Andy Plade, in his loud, bad way, proposed a huge toast, which they took
with a cheer, and quite confused Hugenot, who had a sentiment _apropos_.

Then they escorted Auburn Risque to the Chemin de fer du Nord,[C] and
packed him away in a third-class carriage, wringing his hand as if he
were their only hope and friend in the world.

[Footnote C: Northern Railway Station.]




III.

DEATH IN EXPATRIATION.


It was a weary day for the Southern Colony. They strolled about town--to
the Masque, the Jardin des Plantes, the Champ des Mars, the Marche aux
Chevaux, and finally to Freckle's place, and essayed a lugubrious hour
at whist.

"It is poor fun, Pisgah," said Mr. Simp, at last, "if we remember that
afternoon at poker when you won eight thousand francs and I lost six
thousand."

The conversation forever returned to Spa and Baden-Baden, and many
wagers were made upon the amount of money which Risque would gain--first
day--second day--first week, and so forth.

At last they resolved to send to Lees' chamber for the roulette-board,
and pass the evening in experiment. They drew Jacks for the party who
should fetch it, and Freckle, always unfortunate, was pronounced the
man. He went cheerfully, thinking it quite an honor to serve the Colony
in any capacity--for Freckle, representing a disaffected State, had
fallen under suspicion of lukewarm loyalty, and was most anxious to
clear up any such imputation.

His head was full of odd remembrances as he crossed the Place St.
Sulpice: his plain old father at the old border home, close and
hard-handed, who went afield with his own negroes, and made his sons
take the plough-handles, and marched them all before him every Sunday to
the plank church, and led the singing himself with an ancient
tuning-fork, and took up the collection in a black velvet bag fastened
to a pole.

He had foreseen the war, and sent his son abroad to avoid it. He had
given Freckle sufficient money to travel for five years, and told him in
the same sentence to guard his farthings and say his prayers. Freckle
could see the old man now, with a tear poised on his tangled eyelashes,
asking a farewell benediction from the front portico, upon himself
departing, while every woolly-head was uncovered, and the whole
assembled "property" had groaned "Amen" together.

That was patriarchal life; what was this? Freckle thought this much
finer and higher. He had not asked himself if it was better. He was
rather ashamed of his father now, and anxious to be a dashing gentleman,
like Plade or Pisgah.

Why did he play whist so badly? How chanced it that, having dwelt
eighteen months in Paris, he could speak no French? His only _grisette_
had both robbed him and been false to him. He knew that the Colony
tolerated him, merely. Was he indeed verdant, as they had said--obtuse,
stupid, lacking wit?

After all, he repeated to himself, what had the Colony done for him? He
had not now twenty francs to his name, and was a thousand francs in
debt; he had essayed to study medicine, but balked at the first lesson.
Yet, though these suggestions, rather than convictions, occurred to him,
they stirred no latent ambition. If he had ever known one high
resolution, the Southern Colony had pulled it up, and sown the place
with salt.

So he reached Master Lees' tenement; it was a long ascent, and toward
the last stages perilous; the stairs had a fashion of curving round
unexpectedly and bending against jambs and blank walls. He was quite out
of breath when he staggered against Lees' door and burst it open.

The light fell almost glaringly upon the bare, contracted chamber; for
this was next to the sky and close up to the clouds, and the window
looked toward the west, where the sun, sinking majestically, was
throwing its brightest smiles upon Paris, as it bade adieu.

And there, upon his tossed, neglected bed, in the full blaze of the
sunset, his sharp, sallow jaws dropped upon his neck, his cheeks
colorless and concave, his great eyes open wide and his hair unsmoothed,
Master Lees lay dead, with the roulette table upon his breast!

       *       *       *       *       *

When Freckle had raised himself from the platform at the base of the
first flight of stairs, down which he had fallen in his fright, he
hastened to his own chamber and gave the Colony notice of the depletion
of its number.

A deep gloom, as may be surmised, fell upon all. Lees had been no great
favorite of late, and it had been the trite remark for a year that he
was looking like death; but at this juncture the tidings came ominously
enough. One member, at least, of the Southern Colony would never share
the winnings of Auburn Risque, and now that they referred to his
forebodings of the morning, it was recalled that with his own demise, he
had prophesied the failure of "the system."

His end seemed to each young exile a personal admonition; they had known
him strong and spirited, and with them he had grown poor and unhappy.
Poverty is a warning that talks like the wind, and we do not heed it;
but death raps at our door with bony knuckles, so that we grow pale and
think.

They shuddered, though they were hardened young men, so unfeeling, even
after this reprimand, that they would have left the corpse of their
companion to go unhonored to its grave; separately they wished to do
so--in community they were ashamed; and Pisgah had half a hope that
somebody would demur when he said, awkwardly:

"The Colony must attend the funeral, I suppose. God knows which of us
will take the next turn."

Freckle cried out, however, that he should go, if he were to be buried
alive in the same tomb, and on this occasion only he appeared in the
light of an influential spirit.




IV.

THE DESPERATE CHANCE.


During all this time Mr. Auburn Risque, packed away in the omnibus
train, with a cheap cigar between his lips, and a face like a
refrigerator, was scudding over the rolling provinces of France,
thinking as little of the sunshine, and the harvesters of flax, and the
turning leaves of the woods, and the chateaux overawing the thatched
little villages, as if the train were his mail-coach, and France were
Arkansas, and he were lashing the rump of the "off" horse, as he had
done for the better part of his life.

Risque's uncle had been a great Mississippi jobber; he took U. S. postal
contracts for all the unknown world; route of the first class, six
horses and daily; route of the second class, semi-weekly and four
horses; third class, two horses and weekly; fourth class, one horse, one
saddle, and one small boy.

The young Auburn had been born in the stable, and had taken at once to
the road. His uncle found it convenient to put him to work. He can never
be faithfully said to have learned to _walk_; and recalls, as the first
incident of his life, a man who carried a baby and two bowie knives,
teaching him to play old sledge on the cushions of a Washita stage.

Thenceforward he was a man of one idea. He held it to be one of the
decrees, that he was to grow rich by gaming. As he went, by day or
night, in rain or fog or burning sun, by the margins of turgid
south-western rivers, where his "leaders" shied at the alligators asleep
in the stage-road; through dreary pine woods, where the owls hooted at
silence; over red, reedy, slimy causeways; in cane-breaks and bayous;
past villages where civilization looked westward with a dirk between its
teeth, and cracked its horsewhip; past rich plantations where the
negroes sang afield, and the planter in the house-porch took off his hat
to bow--here, there, always, everywhere, with his cold, hard,
pock-marked face, thin lips and spotted eye, Auburn Risque sat brooding
behind the reins, computing, calculating, overreaching, waiting for his
destiny to wrestle with Chance and bind it down while its pockets were
picked.

His whole life might have been called a game of cards. He carried a
deck forever next his heart. Sometimes he gambled with other
vehicles--stocks, shares, currency--but the cards were still his
mainstay, and he was well acquainted with every known or obsolete game.
There was no trick, nor fraud, nor waggery which he had not at his
fingers-ends.

It was his favorite theory that there was method in what seemed chance;
principles underlying luck; measures for infinity; clues to all
combinations.

Given one pack of cards, one man to shuffle, one to cut, one to deal,
and fair play, and it was yet possible to know just how many times in a
given number of games each card would fall to each man.

Given a roulette circle of one hundred numbered spaces and a blindfolded
man to spin the ball; it could be counted just how many times in one
thousand said ball would come to rest upon any one number.

No searcher for perpetual motion, no blind believer in alchemy, clung to
his one idea closer than Auburn Risque. He had shut all themes,
affections, interests, from his mind. He neither loved nor hated any
living being. He was penurious in his expenditures--never in his wagers.
He would stake upon anything in nature--a trot, an election, a battle, a
murder.

"Will you play picquet for one sou the game, one hundred and fifty
points?" says a soldier near by.

He accepts at once; the afternoon passes to night, and the lamps in the
roof are lighted. The cards flicker upon the seat; the boors gather
round to watch; they pass the French frontier, and see from their
windows the forges of Belgium, throwing fire upon the river Meuse.
Still, hour after hour, though their eyes are weary, and all the folks
are gone or sleeping, the cards fall, fall, fall, till there comes a jar
and a stop, and the guard cries, "Cologne!"

"You have won," says the soldier, laying down his money. "Good-night."

The Rhine is a fine stream, though our German friends will build
mock-castles upon it, and insist that it is the only real river in the
world.

Auburn Risque pays no more regard to it than though he were treading the
cedars and sands of New Jersey or North Carolina. He speaks with a
Franco-Russian, who has lost in play ten thousand francs a month for
three successive years, and while they discuss chances, expedients and
experiences, the Siebern-gebierge drifts by, they pass St. Goar and
Bingen, and the wonderful Rhine has been only a time, nothing of a
scene, as they stop abreast Biberich, and, rowed ashore in a flagboat,
make at once for the railway.

At noon, on the third day, Mr. Risque having engaged a frugal bed at a
little distance from Wisbaden, enters the grand saloon of the Kursaal,
and turning to the right, sees before him a perspective, to which not
all the marvels of art or nature afford comparison: a snug little room,
with a table of green baize in the centre of the floor, and about the
table sundry folks of various ages and degrees, before each a heap of
glittering coins, and in the midst of all a something which moves
forever, with a hurtle and a hum--the roulette.

Mark them! the weak, the profligate, the daring. There is old age,
watching the play, with its voice like a baby's cry; and the paper
whereon it keeps tremulous tally swimming upon eyes of perpetual
twilight.

The boy ventures his first gold piece with the resolve that, win or
lose, he will stake no more. He wins, and lies. At his side stands
beautiful Sin, forgetting its guilt and coquetry for its avarice. The
pale defaulter from over the sea hazards like one whose treasure is a
burden upon his neck, and the _roue_--blank, emotionless,
remorseless--doubling at every loss, walks penniless away to dinner with
a better appetite than he who saves a nation or dies for a truth.

The daintily dressed _coupeurs_ are in their chairs, eyeless, but
omniscient; the ball goes heedlessly, slaying or anointing where it
stays, and the gold as it is raked up clinks and glistens, as if it
struck men's hearts and found them as hard and sounding.

Mr. Risque advanced to the end of the table, and stood motionless a
little while, drinking it all into his passionless eyes, which, like
sponges, absorbed whatever they saw, but nothing revealed. At last his
right hand dropped softly to his vest pocket, as though it had some
interest in deceiving his left hand.

Apparently unconscious of the act, the right hand next slid over the
table edge, and silently deposited a five-franc piece upon the black
compartment.

"Whiz-z-z-z" started the ball from the fingers of the coupeurs--"click"
dropped the ball into a black department of the board; "clink! tingle!"
cried the money, changing hands; but not a word said Auburn Risque,
standing like a stalagmite with his eyes upon ten francs.

"Whiz-z-z!"--"click!" "click!" "tingle!"

Did he see the fifteen francs at all, half trance-like, half
corpse-like, as he stood, waiting for the third revolution, and waiting
again, and again, and again?

His five francs have grown to be a hundred; his cold hand falls
freezingly upon them; five francs replace the hundred he took
away--"Whizz!" goes the ball; "click!" stops the ball; the coupeur
seizes Mr. Risque's five francs, and Mr. Risque walks away like a
somnambulist.




V.

BURIED IN THE COMMON DITCH.


It would have been a strange scene for an American public, the street
corridor of the lofty house near the church of Saint Sulpice, on the
funeral afternoon.

The coffin lay upon a draped table, and festoons of crape threw phantom
shadows upon the soiled velvet covering. Each passing pedestrian and
cabman took off his hat a moment. The Southern Colony were in the
landlady's bureau enjoying a lunch and liquor, and precisely at three
o'clock they came down stairs, not more dilapidated than usual, while at
the same moment the municipal hearse drove up, attended by one _cocher_
and two _croquemorts_.[D]

[Footnote D: Literally, "parasites of death."]

The hearse was a cheap charity affair, furnished by the _Maire_ of the
_arrondissement_, though it was sprucely painted and decked with funeral
cloth. The driver wore a huge black chapeau, a white cotton cravat, and
thigh-boots, which, standing up stiffly as he sat, seemed to engulf him
to the ears.

When the _croquemorts_, in a business way, lifted the velvet from the
coffin, it was seen to be constructed of strips of deal merely,
unpainted, and not thicker than a Malaga raisin box.

There was some fear that it would fall apart of its own fragility, but
the chief _croquemort_ explained politely that such accidents never
happened.

"We have entombed four of them to-day," he said; "see how nicely we
shall lift the fifth one."

There was, indeed, a certain sleight whereby he slung it across his
shoulder, but no reason in the world for tossing it upon the hearse with
a slam. They covered its nakedness with velvet, and the _cocher_, having
taken a cigar from his pocket, and looking much as if he would like to
smoke, put it back again sadly, cracked his whip, and the cortege went
on. The _croquemorts_ kept a little way ahead, sauntering upon the
sidewalk, and their cloaks and oil-cloth hats protected them from a
drizzling rain, which now came down, to the grief of the mourners,
walking in the middle of the street behind the body. They were seven in
number, Messrs. Plade, Pisgah and Simp, going together, and apparently a
trifle the worse for the lunch; Freckle followed singly, having been
told to keep at a distance to render the display more imposing; the
landlady and her niece went arm in arm after, and behind them trode a
little old hunchback gentleman, neatly clothed, and bearing in his hand
a black, wooden cross, considerably higher than himself, on which was
painted, in white letters, this inscription:

  CHRISTOPHER LEES,
  CAROLINA DU NORD,
  ETATS CONFEDERE
    AMERIQUE.
  AGE VINGT-QUATRE.

A wreath of yellow immortelles, tied to the crosspiece, was interwoven
with these spangled letters:

  "R-E-G-R-E-T-S;"

and the solemn air of the old man seemed to evidence that they were not
meaningless.

The hunchback was Lees' principal creditor. He kept a small restaurant,
where the deceased had been supplied for two years, and his books showed
indebtedness of twenty-eight hundred francs, not a sou of which he
should ever receive. He could ill afford to lose the money, and had
known, indeed, that he should never be paid, a year previous to the
demise. But the friendlessness of the stranger had touched his heart.
Twice every day he sent up a basket of food, which was always returned
empty, and every Sunday climbed the long stairway with a bottle of the
best wine--but never once said, "Pay my bill."

Here he was at the last chapter of exile, still bearing his creditor's
cross.

"Give the young man's friends a lunch," he had said to the landlady: "I
will make it right;"--and in the cortege he was probably the only honest
mourner.

Not we, who know Frenchmen by caricature merely, as volatile, fickle,
deceitful, full of artifice, should sit in judgment upon them. He has
the least heart of all who thinks that there is not some heart
everywhere! The charity which tarrieth long and suffereth much wrong,
has been that of the Parisians of the Latin Quarter, during the American
war.

Along all the route the folks lifted their hats as the hearse passed by,
and so, through slush and mist and rain, the little company kept
straight toward the barriers, and turned at last into the great gate of
the cemetery of Mt. Parnasse.

They do not deck the cities of the dead abroad as our great sepulchres
are adorned.

Pere la Chaise is famed rather for its inmates than its tombs, and Mont
Parnasse and Monte Martre, the remaining places of interment, are even
forbidding to the mind and the eye.

A gate-keeper, in semi-military dress, sounded a loud bell as the hearse
rolled over the curb, and when they had taken an aisle to the left, with
maple trees on either side, and vistas of mean-looking vaults, a
corpulent priest, wearing a cape and a white apron, and attended by a
civil assistant of most villainous physiognomy, met the cortege and
escorted it to its destination.

This was the _fosse commune_--in plain English, the _common trench_--an
open lot adjacent to the cemetery, appropriated to bodies interred at
public expense, and presenting to the eye a spectacle which, considered
either with regard to its quaintness or its dreariness, stood alone and
unrivalled.

Nearest the street the ground had long been occupied, trench parallel
with trench, filled to the surface level, sodded green, and each grave
marked by a wooden cross. There was a double layer of bodies beneath,
lying side by side; no margin could of course be given at the surface;
the thickly planted crosses, therefore, looked, at a little distance,
like a great waste of heath or bramble, broken now and then by a dwarf
cedar, and hung to the full with flowers and tokens. The width of the
trenches was that of the added height of two full-grown men, and the
length a half mile perhaps; a narrow passage-way separated them, so
that, however undistinguishable they appeared, each grave could be
indentified and visited.

Close observation might have found much to cheer this waste of flesh,
this economy of space; but to this little approaching company the scene
was of a kind to make death more terrible by association.

A rough wall enclosed the flat expanse of charnel, over which the
scattered houses of the barriers looked widowed through their mournful
windows; and now and then a crippled crone, or a bereaved old pauper,
hobbled to the roadway and shook her white hairs to the rain.

It seemed a long way over the boggy soil to the newly opened trench,
where the hearse stopped with its wheels half-sunken, and the chief
_croquemort_, without any ado, threw the coffin over his shoulder and
walked to the place of sepulture. Five _fossoyeurs_, at the remote end
of the trench, were digging and covering, as if their number rather than
their work needed increase, and a soldier in blue overcoat, whose hands
were full of papers, came up at a commercial pace, and cried:

"_Corps trente-deux!_"

Which corresponded to the figures on the box, and to the number of
interments for the day.

The delvers made no pause while the priest read the service, and the
clods fell faster than the rain. The box was nicely mortised against
another previously deposited, and as there remained an interstice
between it and that at its feet, an infant's coffin made the space
complete.

The Latin service was of all recitations the most slovenly and
contemptuous; the priest might have been either smiling or sleeping; for
his very red face appeared to have nothing in common with his scarcely
moving lips; and the assistant looked straight at the trench, half
covetously, half vindictively, as if he meant to turn the body out of
the box directly, and run away with the grave-clothes. It took but two
minutes to run through the text; the holy water was dashed from the
hyssop; and the priest, with a small shovel, threw a quantity of clods
after it. "_Requiescat in pace!_" he cried, like one just awakened, and
now for the first time the grave-diggers ceased; they wanted the
customary fee, _pour boire_.

The exiles never felt so destitute before; not a sou could be found in
the Colony. But the little hunchback stepped up with the cross, and gave
it to the chief _fossoyeur_, dropping a franc into his hand; each of the
women added some sous, and the younger one quietly tied a small round
token of brass to the wood, which she kissed thrice; it bore these
words:

"_A mon ami._"

"A little more than kin and less than kind!" whispered Andy Plade, who
knew what such souvenirs meant, in Paris.

The Colony went away disconsolate; but the little hunchback stopped on
the margin, and looked once more into the pit where the box was fast
disappearing.

"Pardon our debts, _bon Dieu!_" he said, "as we pardon our debtors."

Shall we who have followed this funeral be kind to the stranger that is
within our gates? The quiet old gentleman standing so gravely over the
_fosse commune_ might have attracted more regard from the angels than
that Iron Duke who once looked down upon the sarcophagus of his enemy in
the Hotel des Invalides.

And so Lees was at rest--the master's only son, the heir to lands and
houses, and servants, and hopes. He had escaped the bullet, but also
that honor which a soldier's death conferred--and thus, abroad and
neglected, had existed awhile upon the charity of strangers, to expire
of his own wickedness, and accept, as a boon, this place among the bones
of the wretched.

How beat the hearts which wait for the strife to be done and for him to
return! The field-hands sleep more honored in their separate mounds
beneath the pine trees. The landlady's daughter may come sometimes to
fasten a flower upon his cross; but, like that cross, her sorrow will
decay, and Master Lees will mingle with common dust, passing out of the
memory of Europe--ay! even of the Southern Colony.

How bowed and wounded they threaded the way homeward, those young men,
whom the world, in its bated breath, had called rich and fortunate! Now
that they thought it over, how absurd had been this gambling venture!
They should lose every sou. They had, for a blind chance, exhausted the
patience of their creditors, and made away with their last
collateral--their last crust, and bed, and drink.

"I wish," said Simp, bitterly, "that I had been born one of my mother's
niggers. Bigad! a cabin, a wood fire, corn meal and a pound of pork per
diem, would keep me like a duke next winter."

Here they stopped at Simp's hotel, and, as he was afraid to enter alone,
the loss of his baggage being detected, the Colony consented to ascend
to his chamber.

"Monsieur Simp," said the fierce concierge, "here is a letter, the last
which I shall ever receive for you! You will please pay my bill
to-night, or I shall go to the office of the _prud'homme_; you are of
the _canaille_, sir! Where are your effects?"

"Whoop!" yelled Mr. Simp, in the landlady's face. "Yah-ah-ah! hoora
ah-ah! three cheers! we have news of our venture! This is a telegram!"

     "WISBADEN, Oct. 30.

     "The system wins! To-day and yesterday I took seven thousand one
     hundred francs. I have selected the 4th of November to break the
     bank.

     "AUBURN RISQUE."




VI.

THE OLD REVELRY REVIVED.


The Colony would have shouted over Master Lees' coffin at the receipt of
such intelligence. They gave a genuine American cheer, nine times
repeated, with the celebrated "tiger" of the Texan Rangers, as it had
been reported to them. Mr. Simp read the dispatch to the concierge, who
brightened up, begged his pardon, and hoped that he would forget words
said in anger.

"Madam," said Mr. Simp, with some dignity, "I have suffered and
forgotten much in this establishment; we have an aphorism, relative to
the last feather, in the English tongue. But lend me one hundred francs
till my instalment arrives from Germany, and I will forgive even the
present insult."

"Boys!" cried Andy Plade, "let us have a supper! We--that is, you--can
take the telegram to our several creditors, and raise enough upon it to
pass a regal night at the _Trois Freres_."

This proposition was received with great favor; the concierge gave Simp
a hundred francs; he ordered cigars and a gallon of punch, and they
repaired to his room to arrange the details of the celebration.

Freckle gave great offence by wishing that "Poor Lees" were alive to
enjoy himself; and Simp said, "Bigad, sir! Freckle, living, is more of a
bore than Lees, dead."

They resolved to attend supper in their dilapidated clothes, so that
what they had been might be pleasantly rebuked by what they were. "And
but for this feature," said Andy Plade, "it would have been well to
invite Ambassador Slidell." But Pisgah and Simp, who had applied to
Slidell several times by letter for temporary loans, were averse, just
now, to the presence of one who had forgotten "the first requisite of a
Southern Gentleman--generosity."

So it was settled that only the Colony and Hugenot were to come, each
man to bring one lady. Simp, Pisgah, and Freckle thought Hugenot a
villain. He had not even attended the obsequies of the lamented Lees.
But Andy Plade forcibly urged that Hugenot was a good speaker, and would
be needed for a sentiment.

In the evening a lunch was served by Mr. Simp, of which some young
ladies of the Paris _demi-monde_ partook; the "Bonnie Blue Flag" was
sung with great spirit, and Freckle became so intoxicated at two in the
morning that one of the young ladies was prevailed upon to see him to
his hotel.

There was great joy in the Latin Quarter when it was known that the
Southern Colony had won at Wisbaden, and meant to pay its debts. The
tailors, shoemakers, tobacconists, publicans, grocers and hosiers met in
squads upon corners to talk it over; all the gentlemen obtained loans,
and, as evidence of how liberal they meant to be, commenced by giving
away whatever old effects they had.

A _cabinet_ or small saloon of the most expensive restaurant in Paris
was pleasantly adorned for the first reunion of the Confederate exiles.

The ancient seven-starred flag, entwined with the new battle-flag, hung
in festoons at the head of the room, and directly beneath was the
portrait of President Davis. A crayon drawing of the C. S. N. V.
Florida, from the portfolio of the amateur Mr. Simp, was arched by two
crossed cutlasses, hired for the occasion; and upon an enormous iced
cake, in the centre of the table, stood a barefooted soldier, with his
back against a pine tree, defying both a Yankee and a negro.

At eleven o'clock P.M. the scrupulously dressed attendants heard a buzz
and a hurried tramp upon the stairs. They repaired at once to their
respective places, and after a pause the Southern Colony and convoy made
their appearance upon the threshold. With the exception of Pisgah and
Hugenot, all were clothed in the relics of their poverty, but their
hairs were curled, and they wore some recovered articles of jewelry.
They had thus the guise of a colony of barbers coming up from the gold
diggings, full of nuggets and old clothes.

By previous arrangement, the chair was taken by Andy Plade, supported by
two young ladies, and, after saying a welcome to the guests in elegant
French, he made a significant gesture to the chief waiter. The most
luscious Ostend oysters were at once introduced; they lifted them with
bright silver _fourchettes_ from plates of Sevres porcelain, and each
guest touched his lips afterward with a glass of refined _vermeuth_.
Three descriptions of soup came successively, an amber _Julien_, in
which the microscope would have been baffled to detect one vegetable
fibre, yet it bore all the flavors of the garden; a tureen of _potage a
la Bisque_, in which the rarest and tiniest shell-fish had dissolved
themselves; and at the last a _tortue_, small in quantity, but so
delicious that murmurs of "_encore_" were made.

Morsels of _viande_, so alternated that the appetite was prolonged--each
dish seeming a better variation of the preceding--were helped toward
digestion by the finest vintages of Burgundy; and the luscious _pates de
foie gras_--for which the plumpest geese in Bretagne had been invalids
all their days, and, if gossip be true, submitted in the end to a slow
roasting alive--introduced the fish, which, by the then reformed
Parisian mode, must appear after, not before, the _entree_.

A _sole au vin blanc_ gave way to a regal _mackerel au sauce
champignon_, and after this dish came confections and fruits _ad
libitum_, ending with the removal of the cloth, the introduction of
cigars, and a _marquise_ or punch of pure champagne.

It was a pleasant evening within and without; the windows were raised,
and they could see the people in the gardens strolling beneath the lime
trees; the starlight falling on the plashing fountain and the gray,
motionless statues; the pearly light of the lines of lamps, shining down
the long arcades; the glitter of jewelry and precious merchandise in the
marvellous _boutiques_; the groups which sat around the cafe beneath
with _sorbets_ and _glaces_, and sparkling wines; the old women in
Normandie caps and green aprons, who flitted here and there to take the
hire of chairs, and break the hum of couples, talking profane and sacred
love; around and above all, the Cardinal's grand palace lifting its
multitudinous pilasters, and seeming to prop up the sky.

It was Mr. Simp and his lady who saw these more particularly, as they
had withdrawn from the table, to exchange a memory and a sentiment, and
Hugenot had joined them with his most recent mistress; for the latter
was particularly unfortunate in love, being cozened out of much money,
and yet libelled for his closeness.

All the rest sat at the table, talking over the splendor of the supper,
and proposing to hold a second one at the famous Philippe's, in the Rue
Montorgueil. But Mr. Freckle, being again emboldened by wine, and
affronted at the subordinate position assigned him, repeatedly cried
that, for his part, he preferred the "old Latin Quarter," and challenged
the chairman to produce a finer repast than Magny's in the Rue
Counterscarp.

Pisgah, newly clothed _cap-a-pie_, was drinking absinthe, and with his
absent eyes, worn face and changing hairs, looked like the spectre of
his former self. Now and then he raised his head to give unconscious
assent to something, but immediately relapsed to the worship of his
nepenthe; and, as the long potations sent strong fumes to his temples,
he chuckled audibly, and gathered his jaws to his eyes in a vacant grin.
The gross, coarse woman at his side, from whom the other females shrank
with frequent demonstrations of contempt, was Pisgah's _blanchisseuse_.

He was in her debt, and paid her with compliments; she is old and
uninviting, and he owes her eight hundred francs. Hers are the new
garments which he wears to-night. Few knew how many weary hours she
labored for them in the floating houses upon the Seine. But she is in
love with Pisgah, and is quite oblivious of the general regard; for,
strange to such grand occasions, she has both eaten and imbibed
enormously, and it may be even doubted at present whether she sees
anything at all.

She strokes his cloth coat with her red, swollen hands, and proposes now
and then that he shall visit the wardrobe to look after his new hat; but
Pisgah only passes his arm about her, and drains his absinthe, and
sometimes, as if to reassure the company, shouts wildly at the wrong
places: "'At's so, boys!" "Hoorah for you!" "Ay! capital, gen'l'men,
capital!" And his partner, conscious that something has happened, laughs
to her waist, and leans forward, quite overcome, as if she beheld
something mirthful over her washboard.

The place was now quite dreamy with tobacco-smoke; Freckle was riotously
sick at the window, and Andy Plade, who had been borrowing small sums
from everybody who would lend, struck the table with a corkscrew, and
called for order.

"Drire rup!" cried Mr. Freckle, looking very attentively, but seeing
nothing.

"I have the honor to state, gentlemen of the Colony, that we have with
us to-night an eloquent representative of our country--one whose
business energy and enterprise have been useful both to his own fortunes
and to the South--one who is a friend of yours, and more than a dear
friend to me. We came from the same old Palmetto State, the first and
the last ditch of our revolution. I give you a toast, gentlemen, to
which Mr. Hugenot will respond:

"'The Mother Country and the Colony--good luck to both!'"

"Hoorah for you!" cried Pisgah, looking the wrong way.

The glasses rattled an instant, amid iterations of "Hear! hear!" and Mr.
Hugenot, rising, as it appeared from a bandbox, carefully surveyed
himself in a mirror opposite, and touched his nose with a small nosegay.

"I feel, my friends, rather as your host than your guest to-night--"

("It isn't yesternight"--from Freckle--"it's to-morroer night.")

"For I, gentlemen, stand upon my hereditary, if not my native heath; and
you are, at most, Frenchmen by adoption. That ancestry whose deeds will
live when the present poor representative of its name is departed drew
from this martial land its blood and genius."

(Loud cries of "Gammon" from Freckle, and disapprobation from Simp.)

"From the past to the present, my friends, is a short transition. I
found you in Paris a month ago, poor and dejected. You are here
to-night, with that luxury which was your heritage. And how has it been
restored?"

("'At's so!" earnestly, from Pisgah.)

"By hard, grovelling work? Never! No contact with vulgar clay has soiled
these aristocratic hands. The cavalier cannot be a mudsill! You are not
like the lilies of the field; they toil not, neither do they spin. You
have not toiled, gentlemen, but you have spun!"

(Great awakening, doubt, and bewilderment.)

"You have spun the roulette ball, and you have won!"

(Ferocious and unparalleled cheering.)

"And it has occurred to me, my friends, that ou-ah cause, in the present
tremendous struggle, has been well symbolized by these, its foreign
representatives. Calamity came upon the South, as upon you. It had
indebtedness, as you have had. Shall I say that you, like the South,
repudiated? No! that is a slander of our adversaries. But the parallel
holds good in that we found ourselves abandoned by the world. Nations
abroad gave us no sympathy; our neighbors at home laughed at our
affliction. They would wrest from us that bulwark of our liberties, the
African."

"Capital, gentlemen, capital!" from Pisgah.

"They demanded that we should toil for ourselves. Did we do so? Never!
We appealed to the chances, as you have done; we would fight the Yankee,
but we would not work. You would fight the bank, but you would not
slave; and as you have won at Wisbaden, so have we, in a thousand
glorious contests. Fill, then, gentlemen, to the toast which your
chairman has announced:

"'The Mother Country and the Colony--good luck to both!'"

The applause which ensued was of such a nature that the proprietors
below endeavored to hasten the conclusion of the dinner by sending up
the bill. Pisgah and the _blanchisseuse_ were embracing in a spirited
way, and Simp was holding back Freckle, who--persuaded that Hugenot's
remarks were in some way derogatory to himself--wished to toss down his
gauntlet.

"The next toast, gentlemen of the Colony," said Andy Plade, "is to be
dispatched immediately by the waiter, whom you see upon my right hand,
to the office of the telegraph; thence to Mr. Risque at Wisbaden:

"'The Southern exiles; doubtless the most immethodical men alive; but
the results prove they have the best system: no _Risque_, no winnings.'

"You will see, gentlemen," continued Mr. Plade, when the enthusiasm had
subsided, "that I place the toast in this envelope. It will go in two
minutes to Mr. Auburn Risque!"

The waiter started for the door; it was dashed open in his face, and
splattered, dirty, and travel-worn, Auburn Risque himself stood like an
apparition on the threshold.

"Perdition!" thundered Plade, staggered and pale-faced; "you were not to
break the bank till to-morrow."

The Colony, sober or inebriate, clustered about the door, and held to
each other that they might hear the explanation aright.

Auburn Risque straightened himself and glared upon all the besiegers,
till his pock-marked face grew white as leprosy, and every spot in his
secretive eye faded out in the glitter of his defiance.

"To-morrow?" he said, in a voice hard, passionless, inflectionless; "how
could one break the bank to-morrow, when all his money was gone
yesterday?"

"Gone!" repeated the Colony, in a breath rather than a voice, and
reeling as if a galvanic current had passed through the circle--"Gone!"

"Every sou," said Risque, sinking into a chair. "The bank gave me one
hundred francs to return to Paris; I risked twenty-five of it, hopeful
of better luck, and lost again. Then I had not enough money to get home,
and for forty kilometres of the way I have driven a _charette_. See!" he
cried, throwing open his coat; "I sold my vest at Compiegne last night,
for a morsel of supper."

"But you had won seven thousand one hundred francs!"

"I won more--more than eighteen thousand francs; but, enlarging my
stakes with my capital, one hour brought me down to a sou."

"The 'system' was a swindle," hissed Mr. Simp, looking up through red
eyes which throbbed like pulses. "What right had you to plunder us upon
your speculation?"

"The 'system' could not fail," answered the gamester, at bay; "it must
have been my manner of play. I think that, upon one run of luck, I gave
up my method."

"We do not know," cried Simp, tossing his hands wildly; "we may not
accuse, we may not be enraged--we are nothing now but profligates
without means, and beggars without hope!"

They sobbed together, bitterly and brokenly, till Freckle, not entirely
sober, shouted, "Good God, is it that gammon-head, Hugenot, who has
ruined us? Fetch him out from his ancestry; let me see him, I say! Where
is the man who took my three hundred francs!"

"I wish," said Simp, in a suicidal way, "that I were lying by Lees in
the _fosse commune_. But I will not slave; the world owes every man a
living!"

"Ay!" echoed the rest, as desperately, but less resolutely.

"This noise," said one of the waiters politely, "cannot be continued. It
is at any rate time for the _salon_ to be closed. We will thank you to
pay your bill, and settle your quarrels in the garden."

"Here is the account," interpolated Andy Plade, "dinner for thirteen
persons, nineteen hundred and fifty francs.

"Manes of my ancestry!" shrieked Hugenot, overturning the
_blanchisseuse_ in his way, and rushing from the house.

"We have not the money!" cried the whole Colony in chorus; and, as if by
concert, the company in mass, male and female, cleared the threshold and
disappeared, headed by Andy Plade, who kept all the subscriptions in his
pockets, and terminated by Freckle, who was caught at the base of the
stairs and held for security.




VII.

THE COLONY DISBANDED.


The Colony, as a body, will appear no more in this transcript. The
greatness of their misfortune kept them asunder. They closed their
chamber-doors, and waited in hunger and sorrow for the moment when the
sky should be their shelter and beggary their craft.

It was in this hour of ruin that the genius of Mr. Auburn Risque was
manifest. The horse is always sure of a proprietor, and with horses Mr.
Risque was more at home than with men.

"Man is ungrateful," soliloquized Risque, keeping along the Rue
Mouffetard in the Chiffoniers' Quarter; "a horse is invariably faithful,
unless he happens to be a mule. Confound men! the only excellence they
have is not a virtue--they can play cards!"

Here he turned to the left, followed some narrow thoroughfares, and
stopped at the great horse market, a scene familiarized to Americans, in
its general features, by Rosa Bonheur's "La Foire du Chevaux."

Double rows of stalls enclosed a trotting course, roughly paved, and
there was an artificial hill on one side, where draught-horses were
tested. The animals were gayly caparisoned, whisks of straw affixed to
the tails indicating those for sale; their manes and forelocks were
plaited, ribbons streamed over their frontlets, they were muzzled and
wore wooden bits.

We have no kindred exhibition in the States, so picturesque and so
animated. Boors in blouses were galloping the great-hoofed beasts down
the course by fours and sixes; the ribbons and manes fluttered; the
whips cracked, and the owners hallooed in _patois_.

Four fifths of French horses are gray; here, there was scarcely one
exception; and the rule extended to the asses which moved amid hundreds
of braying mulets, while at the farther end of the ground the teams were
parked, and, near by, seller and buyer, book in hand, were chaffering
and smoking in shrewd good-humor.

One man was collecting animals for a celebrated stage-route, and the
gamester saw that he was a novice.

"Do you choose that for a good horse?" spoke up Risque, in his practical
way, when the man had set aside a fine, sinewy draught stallion.

"I do!" said the man, shortly.

"Then you have no eye. He has a bad strain. I can lift all his feet but
this one. See! he kicks if I touch it. Walk him now, and you will remark
that it tells on his pace."

The man was convinced and pleased. "You are a judge," he said, glancing
down Risque's dilapidated dress; "I will make it worth something to you
to remain here during the day and assist me."

The imperturbable gamester became a feature of the sale. He was the
best rider on the ground. He put his hard, freckled hand into the jaws
of stallions, and cowed the wickedest mule with his spotted eye. He knew
prices as well as values, and had, withal, a dashing way of bargaining,
which baffled the traders and amused his patron.

"You have saved me much money and many mistakes," said the latter, at
nightfall. "Who are you?"

"I am the man," answered Risque, straightforwardly, "to work on your
stage-line, and I am dead broke."

The man invited Risque to dinner; they rode together on the Champs
Elysees; and next morning at daylight the gamester left Paris without a
thought or a farewell for the Colony.

It was in the Grand Hotel that Messrs. Hugenot and Plade met by chance
the evening succeeding the dinner.

"I shall leave Paris, Andy," said Hugenot, regarding his pumps through
his eye-glass. "My ancestry would blush in their coffins if they knew
ou-ah cause to be represented by such individuals as those of last
evening."

"Let us go together," replied Plade, in his plausible way; "you cannot
speak a word of any continental language. Take me along as courier and
companion; pay my travelling expenses, and I will pay my own board."

"Can I trust you, Suth Kurlinian?" said Hugenot, irresolutely; "you had
no money yesterday."

"But I have a plan of raising a thousand francs to-day. What say you?"

"My family have been wont to see the evidence prior to committing
themselves. First show me the specie."

"_Voila!_" cried Plade, counting out forty louis; "the day after
to-morrow I guarantee to own eighteen hundred francs."

It did not occur to Mr. Hugenot to inquire how his friend came to
possess so much money; for Hugenot was not a clever man, and somewhat in
dread of Andy Plade, who, as his school-mate, had thrashed him
repeatedly, and even now that one had grown rich and the other was a
vagabond, the latter's strong will and keen, bad intelligence made him
the master man.

Hugenot's good fortune was accidental; his cargoes had passed the
blockade and given handsome returns; but he shared none of the dangers,
and the traffic required no particular skill. Hugenot was, briefly, a
favorite of circumstances. The war-wind, which had toppled down many a
long, thoughtful head, carried this inflated person to greatness.

They are well contrasted, now that they speak. The merchant, elaborately
dressed, varnished pumps upon his effeminate feet, every hair taught its
curve and direction, the lunette perched upon no nose to speak of, and
the wavering, vacillating eye, which has no higher regard than his own
miniature figure. Above rises the vagabond, straight, athletic and
courageous, though a knave.

He is so much of a man physically and intellectually, that we do not see
his faded coat-collar, frayed cuffs, worn buttons, and untidy boots. He
is so little of a man morally, that, to any observer who looks twice,
the plausibility of the face will fail to deceive. The eye is deep and
direct, but the high, jutting forehead above is like a table of stone,
bearing the ten broken commandments. He keeps the lips ajar in a smile,
or shut in a resolve, to hide their sensuality, and the fine black beard
conceals the massive contour of jaws which are cruel as hunger.

It was strange that Plade, with his clear conception, should do less
than despise his acquaintance. On the contrary, he was partial to
Hugenot's society. The world asked, wonderingly, what capacities had the
latter? Was he not obtuse, sounding, shallow? Mr. Plade alone, of all
the Americans in Paris, asserted from the first that Hugenot was
far-sighted, close, capable. Indeed, he was so earnest in this
enunciation that few thought him disinterested.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was Master Simp who heard a bold step on the stairs that night, and a
resolute knock upon his own door.

"Arrest for debt!" cried Mr. Simp, falling tearfully upon his bed; "I
have expected the summons all day."

"The next man may come upon that errand," answered the ringing voice of
Andy Plade. "Freckle sleeps in Clichy to-night; Risque cannot be found;
the rest are as badly off; I have news for you."

"I am the man to be mocked," pleaded Simp; "but you must laugh at your
own joke; I am too wretched to help you."

"The Yankees have opened the Mississippi River; Louisiana is subjugated,
and communication re-established with your neighborhood; you can go
home."

"What fraction of the way will this carry me?" said the other, holding
up a five-franc piece. "My home is farther than the stars from me."

"It is a little sum," urged Mr. Plade; "one hundred dollars should pay
the whole passage."

Mr. Simp, in response, mimicked a man shovelling gold pieces, but was
too weak to prolong the pleasantry, and sat down on his empty trunk and
wept, as Plade thought, like a calf.

"Your case seems indeed hopeless," said the elder. "Suppose I should
borrow five hundred dollars on your credit, would you give me two
hundred for my trouble?"

Mr. Simp said, bitterly, that he would give four hundred and ninety-five
dollars for five; but Plade pressed for a direct answer to his original
proffer, and Simp cried "Yes," with an oath.

"Then listen to me! there is no reason to doubt that your neighbors have
made full crops for two years--cotton, sugar, tobacco. All this remains
at home unsold and unshipped--yours with the rest. Take the oath of
allegiance to the Yankee Government before its _charge des affaires_ in
Paris. That will save your crops from confiscation, and be your passport
to return. Then write to your former banker here, promising to consign
your cotton to him, if he will advance five hundred dollars to take you
to Louisiana. He knows you received of old ten thousand dollars per
annum. He will risk so small a sum for a thing so plausible and
profitable."

"I don't know what you have been saying," muttered Simp. "I cannot
comprehend a scheme so intricate; you bewilder me! What is a
consignment? How am I, bigad! to make that clear in a letter? Perhaps my
speech in the case of Rutledge _vs._ Pinckney might come in well at this
juncture."

"Write!" cried Plade, contemptuously; "write at my dictation."

That night the letter was mailed; Mr. Simp was summoned to his banker's
the following noon, and at dusk he met Andy Plade in the Place Vendome,
and paid over a thousand francs with a sigh.

On the third night succeeding, Messrs. Plade and Hugenot were smoking
their cigars at Nice, and Mr. Simp, without the least idea of what he
meant to do, was drinking cocktails on the Atlantic Ocean.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Francine," said Pisgah, with a woful glance at the dregs of absinthe in
the tumbler, "give me a half franc, my dear; I am poorly to-day."

"Monsieur Pisgah," answered Madame Francine, "give me nine hundred and
sixty-five francs, seventy-five centimes--that is your bill with me--and
I am poorly also."

"My love," said Pisgah, rubbing his grizzled beard against the madame's
fat cheek, "you are not hard-hearted. You will pity the poor old exile.
I love you very much, Francine."

"Stand off!" cried the madame; "_vous m'embate!_ You say you love me;
then marry me!"

"Nonsense, my angel!"

"I say marry me!" repeated the madame, stamping her foot. "You are rich
in America. You have slaves and land and houses and fine relatives. You
will get all these when the war closes; but if you die of starvation in
Paris, they amount to nothing. Marry me! I will keep you alive here; you
will give me half of your possessions there! I shall be a grand lady,
ride in my carriage, and have a nasty black woman to wash my fine
clothes."

"That is impossible, Francine," answered Pisgah, not so utterly degraded
but he felt the stigma of such a proposition from his
_blanchisseuse_--and as he leaned his faded hairs upon his unnerved and
quivering hands, the old pride fluttered in his heart a moment and
painted rage upon his neck and temples.

"You are insulted, my lord count!" cried Madame Francine; "an alliance
with a poor washerwoman would shame your great kin. Pay me my money, you
beggar! or I shall put the fine gentleman in prison for debt."

"That would be a kindness to me, madame," said Pisgah, very humbly and
piteously.

"You are right," she made answer, with a mocking laugh; "I will not save
your life: you shall starve, sir! you shall starve!"

In truth, this consummation seemed very close, for as Pisgah entered his
creamery soon afterward, the proprietor met him at the threshold.

"Monsieur Pisgah," he said, "you can have nothing to eat here, until you
pay a part of your bill with me; I am a poor man, sir, and have
children."

Pisgah kept up the street with heavy forebodings, and turned into the
place of a clothes-merchant, to whom his face had long been familiar.
When he emerged, his handsome habits, the gift of Madame Francine, hung
in the clothes-dealer's window, and Mr. Pisgah, wearing a common blouse,
a cap, and coarse hide shoes, repaired to the nearest wine-shop, and
drank a dead man's portion of absinthe at the zinc counter. Then he
returned to his own hotel, but as he reached to the rack for his key,
the landlady laid her hand upon it and shook her head.

"You are properly dressed, Monsieur Pisgah," she said; "those who have
no money should work; you cannot sleep in twenty-six to night, sir; I
have shut up the chamber, and seized the little rubbish which you left."

Pisgah was homeless--a vagabond, an outcast. He walked unsteadily along
the street in the pleasant evening, and the film of tears that shut the
world from his eyes was peopled with far-off and familiar scenes.

He saw his father's wide acres, with the sunset gilding the fleeces of
his sheep and crowning with fire the stacks of grain and the vanes upon
his granges. Then the twilight fell, and the slaves went homeward
singing, while the logs on the brass andirons lit up the windows of the
mansion, and every negro cabin was luminous, so that in the night the
homestead looked like a village. Then the moon rose above the woods,
making the lawn frosty, and shining upon the long porch, where his
mother came out to welcome him, attended by the two house-dogs, which
barked so loudly in their glee that all the hen-coops were alarmed, and
the peacocks in the trees held their tails to the stars and trilled.

"Come in, my son," said the mother, looking proudly upon the tall,
straight shape and glossy locks; "the supper is smoking upon the table;
here is your familiar julep, without which you have no appetite; the
Maryland biscuit are unusually good this evening, and there is the
yellow pone in the corner, with Sukey, your old nurse, behind it. Do you
like much cream in your coffee, as you used to? Bless me! the partridge
is plump as a duck; but here is your napkin, embroidered with your name;
let us ask a blessing before we eat!"

While all this is going on, the cat, which has been purring by the fire,
takes a wicked notion to frighten the canary bird, but the high old
clock in the corner, imported from England before the celebrated
Revolutionary war, impresses the cat as a very formidable object with
its stately stride-stride-stride--so that the cat regarding it a moment,
forgets the canary bird, and mews for a small portion of cream in a
saucer.

"Halloo! halloo!" says the parrot, awakened by a leap of the fire; for,
the back-log has broken in half, and Pisgah sees, by the increased
light, the very hair-powder gleam on the portrait of General Washington.
But now the cloth is removed, and the old-fashioned table folds up its
leaves; they sip some remarkable sherry, which grandfather regards with
a wheezy sort of laugh, and after they have played one game of draughts,
Mr. Pisgah looks at his gold chronometer, and asks if he has still the
great room above the porch and plenty of bedclothes.

This is what Mr. Pisgah sees upon the film of his tears--wealth,
happiness, manliness! When he dashes the tears themselves to the
pavement with an oath, what rises upon his eye and his heart?
Paris--grand, luxurious, pitiless, and he, at twilight, flung upon the
world, with neither kindred nor country--a thing unwilling to live,
unfit to die!

He strolled along the quay to the Morgue; the beautiful water of St.
Michel fell sibilantly cold from the fountain, and Apollyon above, at
the feet of the avenging angel, seemed a sermon and an allegory of his
own prostration. How all the folks upon the bridge were stony faced! It
had never before occurred to him that men were cold-blooded creatures.
He wondered if the Seine, dashing against the quays and piers beneath,
were not their proper element? Ay! for here were three drowned people on
the icy slabs of the Morgue, with half a hundred gazing wistfully at
them, and their fixed eyes glaring fishily at the skylight, as if it
were the surface of the river and they were at rest below.

So seemed all the landscape as he kept down the quay--the lines of high
houses were ridges only in the sea, and Notre Dame, lifting its towers
and sculptured facade before, was merely a high-decked ship, with
sailors crowding astern. The holy apostles above the portal were more
like human men than ever, with their silicious eyes and pulseless
bosoms; while the hideous gargoyles at the base of each crocheted
pinnacle, seemed swimming in the dusky evening.

It may have been that this aqueous phenomenon was natural to one
"half-seas over;" but not till he stood on the place of the Hotel de la
Ville, did Pisgah have any consciousness whatever that he walked upon
the solid world.

At this moment he was reminded, also, that he held a letter in his hand,
his landlady's gift at parting; it was dated, "Clichy dungeon," and
signed by Mr. Freckle.

     "Dear Pisgah," read the text, "I am here at claim of restaurateur;
     shall die to-morrow at or before twelve o'clock, if Andy Plade
     don't fork over my subscription of two hundred francs. Andy Plade
     damned knave--no mistake! No living soul been to see me, except
     letter from Hon. Mr. Slidell. He has got sixteen thousand dollars
     in specie for Simp. Where's Simp, dogorn him! Hon. S. sent to
     Simp's house; understood he'd sailed for America. Requested Hon. S.
     to give me small part of money as Simp's next friend. Hon. S.
     declined. Population of prison very great. Damned scrub stock!
     Don't object to imprisonment as much as the fleas. Fleas bent on
     aiding my escape. If they crawl with me to-morrow night as far
     again as last night I'll be clear--no mistake! Live on soup,
     chiefly. Abhor soup. Had forty francs here first day, but debtor
     with one boot and spectacles won it at _picquet_. Restaurateur says
     bound to keep me here a thousand years if I don't sock--shall
     die--no mistake! Come see me, _toute suite_. Fetch pocket-comb,
     soap, and English Bible.

     "Yours, in deep waters,                              FRECKLE."

"The whole world is in deep waters," said Pisgah, dismally. "So much the
better for them; here goes for something stronger!"

He repaired to the nearest drinking-saloon, and demanded a glass brimful
of absinthe, at which all the garcons and patrons held up their hands
while he drank it to the dregs.

"Sacristie!" cried a man with mouth wide open, "that gentleman can drink
clear laudanum."

"I wish," thought Pisgah, with a pale face, "that it had been laudanum;
I should have been dead by this time and all over. Why don't I get the
_delirium tremens_? I should like to be crazy. Oh, ho, ho, ho!" he
continued, laughing wildly, "to be in a hospital--nurses, soft bed, good
food, pity--oh, ho! that would be a fate fit for an emperor."

Here his eye caught something across the way which riveted it, and he
took half a step forward, exultingly. A great _caserne_, or barrack,
adjoined the Hotel de Ville, and twice every day, after breakfast and
dinner, the soldiers within distributed the surplus of their rations to
mendicants without. The latter were already assembling--laborers in
neat, common clothing, with idlers and profligates not more forbidding,
while a soldier on guard directed them where to rest and in what order
or number to enter the building. Pisgah halted a moment with his heart
in his throat. But he was very hungry, and his silver was half gone
already; if he purchased a dinner, he might not be left with sufficient
to obtain a bed for the night.

"Great God!" he said aloud, lifting his clenched hands and swollen eyes
to the stars, "am I, then, among the very dogs, that I should beg the
crumbs of a common soldier?"

He took his place in the line, and when at length his turn was
announced, followed the rabble shamefacedly. The _chasseurs_ in the
mess-room were making merry after dinner with pipes and cards, and one
of these, giving Pisgah a piece of bread and a tin basin of strong
soup, slapped him smartly upon the shoulder, and cried:

"My fine fellow! you have the stuff in you for a soldier."

"I am just getting a soldier's stuff into me," responded Pisgah,
antithetically.

"Why do you go abroad, hungry, ill-dressed, and houseless, when you can
wear the livery of France?"

Pisgah thought the soldier a very presuming person.

"I am a foreigner," he said, "a--a--a French Canadian (we speak
_patois_ there). My troubles are temporary merely. A day or two may make
me rich."

"Yet for that day or two," continued the _chasseur_, "you will have the
humiliation of begging your bread. What signifies seven years of
honorable service to three days of mendicancy and distress? We are well
cared for by the nation; we are respected over the world. It is a mean
thing to be a soldier in other lands; here we are the gentlemen of
France."

Pisgah had never looked upon it in that light, and said so.

"Your poverty may have unmanned you," repeated the other; "to recover
your own esteem do a manly act! We have all feared death as citizens;
but take cold steel in your hand, and you can look into your grave
without a qualm. I say to you," spoke the _chasseur_, clearly and
eloquently, "be one of us. Decide now, before a doubt mars your better
resolve! You are a young man, though the soulless career of a citizen
has anticipated the whitening of your hairs. Plant your foot; throw back
your shoulders; say 'yes!'"

"I do!" cried Pisgah, with something of the other's enthusiasm; "I was
born a gentleman, I will die a gentleman, or a soldier."

They put Mr. Pisgah among the conscripts recently levied, and he went
about town with a fictitious number in his hat, joining in their
bacchanal choruses. The next day he appeared in white duck jacket and
pantaloons, looking like an overgrown baker's boy, with a chapeau like a
flat, burnt loaf. He was then put through the manual, which seemed to
indicate all possible motions save that of liquoring up, and when he was
so fatigued that he had not the energy even to fall down, he was clasped
in the arms of Madame Francine, who had traced him to the barracks, but
was too late to avert his destiny.

"Oh! _mon amant!_" she cried, falling upon his neck. "Why did you go and
do it? You knew that I did not mean to see you starve."

"You have consigned me to a soldier's grave, woman!" answered Pisgah, in
the deepest tragedy tone.

"Do not say so, my _bonbon_!" pleaded the good lady, covering him with
kisses. "I would have worn my hands to the bone to save you from this
dreadful life. Suppose you should be sent to Algiers or Mexico, or some
other heathen country, and die there."

It was Pisgah's turn to be touched.

"My blood is upon your head, Francine! Have you any money?"

"Yes, yes! a gentleman, a _noir_, a _naigre_, for whom I have washed,
paid me fifty francs this evening. It is all here; take it, my love!"

"I do not know, creature! that your conduct permits me to do so," said
Pisgah, drawing back.

"You will drive me mad if you refuse," shrieked the blanchisseuse. "Oh!
oh! how wicked and wretched am I!"

"Enough, madame! step over the way for my habitual glass of absinthe. Be
particular about the change. We military men must be careful of our
incomes. Stay! you may embrace me if you like."

The poor woman came every day to the barracks, bringing some trifle of
food or clothing. She washed his regimentals, burnished his buckles and
boots, paid his losses at cards, and bought him books and tobacco. She
could never persuade herself that Pisgah was not her victim, and he
found it useful to humor the notion.

Down in the swift Seine, at her booth in the great lavatory, where the
ice rushed by and the rain beat in, she thought of Pisgah as she toiled;
and though her back ached and her hands were flayed, she never wondered
if her lot were not the most pitiable, and his in part deserved.

How often should we hard, selfish men, thank God for the weaknesses of
women!




VIII.

THE MURDER ON THE ALPS.


And so, with Mr. Pisgah on the road to glory, Mr. Simp on the smooth
sea, Mr. Freckle in the debtor's jail, Mr. Risque behind his
four-in-hand, and Mr. Lees in the charity grave, let us sit with the two
remaining colonists in the cabriolet at Bellinzona; for it is the month
of April, and they are to cross the great St. Gothard _en route_ for
Paris. Here is the scene: a gloomy stone building for the diligence
company; two great yellow diligences, empty and unharnessed in the area
before; one other diligence, packed full, with the horses' heads turned
northward, and the blue-nosed Swiss clerk calling out the names of
passengers; a half-dozen cabriolets looking at each other irresolutely
and facing all possible ways; two score of unwashed loungers, in red
neck-kerchiefs and velvet jackets, smoking rank, rakish, black cigars;
several streets of equal crookedness and filthiness abutting against a
grimy church, whence beggars, old women, and priests emerge continually;
and far above all, as if suspended in the air, a grim, battlemented
castle, a defence, as it seems, against the snowy mountains which march
upon Bellinzona from every side to crush its orchards and vineyards and
drown it in the marshes of Lago Maggiore.

"_Diligenza compito!_" cries the clerk, moving toward the waiting
cabriolet--"Signore Hugenoto."

"Here!" replies a small, consequential-looking person, reconnoitring the
interior of the vehicle.

"Le Signore Plaedo!"

"Ci," responds a dark, erect gentleman, striding forward and saying, in
clear Italian, "Are there no other passengers?"

"None," answered the clerk; "you will have a good time together; please
remember the guard!"

The guard, however, was in advance, a tall person, wrapped to the eyes
in fur, wearing a silver bugle in front of his cap, and covered with
buff breeches.

He flourished his whip like a fencing-master, moved in a cloud of
cigar-smoke, and, as he placed his bare hand upon the manes of his
horses, they reined back, as if it burned or frosted them.

"My ancestry," says the small gentleman, "encourage no imposition. Shall
we give the fellow a franc?"

The other had already given double the sum, and it was odd, now that one
looked at him, how pale and hard had grown his features.

"God bless me, Andy!" cries the little person, stopping short; "you have
not had your breakfast to-day; apply my smelling-bottle to your nose;
you are sick, man!"

"Thank you," says the other, "I prefer brandy; I am only glad that we
are quite alone."

The paleness faded out of his cheeks as he drank deeply of the spirits,
but the jaws were set hard, and the eyes looked stony and pitiless. The
man was ailing beyond all doubt.

The whip cracked in front; the great diligence started with a groan and
a crackling of joints; the little postilion set the cabriolet going with
a chirp and a whistle; the priests and idlers looked up excitedly; the
women rushed to the windows to flutter their handkerchiefs, and all the
beggars gave sturdy chase, dropping benedictions and damnations as they
went.

The small person placed his boots upon the empty cushion before and
regarded them with some benevolence; then he touched his mustache with a
comb, which he took from the head of his cane.

"It is surprising, Andy," he said, "how the growth of one's feet bears
no proportion to that of his head. Observe those pedals. One of my
ancestors must have found a wife in China. They have gained no increase
after all these pilgrimages--and I flatter myself that they are in some
sort graceful--ay? Now remark my head. What does Hamlet, or somebody,
say about the front of Jove? This trip to Italy has actually enlarged
the diameter of my head thirteen barleycorns! Thirteen, by measurement!"

The tall gentleman said not a word, but compressed his tall shoulders
into the corner of the coach, and muffled his face with his coat-collar
and breathed like one sleeping uneasily.

"It has been a cheap trip!" exclaimed the diminutive person, changing
the theme; "you have been an invaluable courier, Andy. The most ardent
patriot cannot call us extravagant."

"How much money have you left?" echoed the other in a suppressed tone.
"Count it. I will then tell you to a sou what will carry us to Paris."

The little person drew a wallet from his side-pocket and enumerated
carefully certain circular notes. "Eleven times twenty is two hundred
and twenty; twenty-five times two hundred and twenty, five thousand five
hundred, plus nine gold louis--total, five thousand seven hundred and
twenty-five francs."

One eye only of the large gentleman was visible through the folds of his
collar. It rested like a charmed thing upon the roll of gold and paper.
It was only an eye, but it seemed to be a whole face, an entire man. It
was full of thoughts, of hopes, of acts! Had the little person marked
it, thus sinister, and glittering and intense, he would have shrunk as
from a burning-glass.

He folded up the wallet, however, and slipped it into his inside-pocket,
while the other pushed forward his hat, so that it concealed even the
eye, and sat rigid and still in his corner.

"You have not named the fare to Paris."

The tall man only breathed short and hard.

"Don't you recollect?"

"No!"

"I have a 'Galignani' here; perhaps it is advertised. But hallo, Andy!"

The exclamation was loud and abrupt, but the silent person did not move.

"_The Confederate Privateer Planter will sail from Dieppe on
Tuesday_--(that is, to-morrow evening)--_she will cruise in the Indian
Ocean, if report be true._"

The tall man started suddenly and uncovered his face with a quick
gesture. It was flushed and earnest now, and he clutched the journal
almost nervously, though his voice was yet calm and suppressed.

"To-morrow night, did you say? A cruise on the broad sea--glory without
peril, gold without work; I would to God that I were on the Planter's
deck, Hugenot!"

"Why not do something for ou-ah cause, Andy?"

"I am to return to Paris for what? To be dunned by creditors, to be
marked for a parasite at the hotels, to be despised by men whom I serve,
and pitied by men whom I hate. This pirate career suits me. What is
society to me, whom it has ostracised? I was a gentleman once--quick at
books, pleasing in company, shrewd in business. They say that I have
power still, but lack integrity. Be it so! Better a freebooter at sea
than upon the land. I have half made up my mind to evil. Hugenot, listen
to me! I believe that were I to do one bad, dark deed, it would restore
me courage, resolution, energy."

The little gentleman examined the other with some alarm; but just now
the teams commenced the ascent of a steep hill, and as he beheld the
guard a little way in advance, he forgot the other's earnestness, and
raised his lunette.

"Andy," he said, "by my great ancestry! I have seen that man before.
Look! the height, the style, the carriage, are familiar. Who is he?"

His co-voyageur was without curiosity; the former pallidness and
silentness resumed their dominion over him, and the lesser gentleman
settled moodily back to his newspaper.

No word was interchanged for several hours. They passed through shaggy
glens, under toppled towers and battlements, by squalid villages, and
within the sound of dashing streams. If they descended ever, it was to
gain breath for a longer ascent; for now the mountain snows were above
them on either side, and the Alps rose sublimely impassable in front.
The hawks careened beneath them; the chamois above dared not look down
for dizziness, and Hugenot said, at Ariola, that they were taking lunch
in a balloon. The manner of Mr. Plade now altered marvellously. It might
have been his breakfast that gave him spirit and speech; he sang a
merry, bad song, which the rocks echoed back, and all the goitred women
at the roadside stopped with their pack burdens to listen. He told a
thousand anecdotes. He knew all the story of the pass; how the Swiss,
filing through it, had scattered the Milanese; how Suwarrow and Massena
had made its sterility fertile with blood.

Hugenot's admiration amounted to envy. He had never known his associate
so brilliant, so pleasing; the exaltation was too great, indeed, to
arise from any ordinary cause; but Hugenot was not shrewd enough to
inquire into the affair. He wearied at length of the talk and of the
scene, and when at last they reached the region of perpetual ice, he
closed the cabriolet windows, and watched the filtering flakes, and
heard the snow crush under the wheels, and dropped into a deep sleep
which the other seemed to share.

The clouds around them made the mountains dusky, and the interior of the
carriage was quite gloomy. At length the large gentleman turned his
head, so that his ear could catch every breath, and he regarded the dim
outlines of the lesser with motionless interest. Then he took a straw
from the litter at his feet, and, bending forward, touched his comrade's
throat. The other snored measuredly for a while, but the titillation
startled him at length, and he beat the air in his slumber. When the
irritation ceased he breathed tranquilly again, and then the first-named
placed his hand softly into the sleeper's pocket. He drew forth the
wallet with steady fingers, and as coolly emptied it of its contents.
These he concealed in the leg of his boot, but replaced the book where
he had found it. For a little space he remained at rest, leaning against
the back of the carriage, with his head bent upon his breast and his
hands clenched like one at bay and in doubt.

The slow advance of the teams and the frequent changes of
direction--sometimes so abrupt as almost to reverse the
cabriolet--advised him that they were climbing the mountain by zigzags
or terraces. He knew that they were in the _Val Tremola_, or Trembling
Way, and he shook his comrade almost fiercely, as if relieved by some
idea which the place suggested.

"Hugenot," he said, "rouse up! The grandeur of the Alps is round about
us; you must not miss this scene. Come with me! Quit the vehicle! I know
the place, and will exhibit it."

The other, accustomed to obey, leaped to the ground immediately, and
followed through the snow, ankle deep, till they passed the diligence,
which kept in advance. The guard could not be seen--he might have
resorted to the interior; and the two pedestrians at once left the
roadway, climbing its elbows by a path more or less distinctly marked,
so that after a half hour they were perhaps a mile ahead. The agility of
Mr. Plade during this episode was the marvel of his companion. He scaled
the rocks like a goatherd, and his foot-tracks in the snow were long,
like the route of a giant. The ice could not betray the sureness of his
stride; the rare, thin atmosphere was no match for his broad, deep
chest. He shouted as he went, and tossed great boulders down the
mountain, and urged on his flagging comrade by cheer and taunt and
invective. No madman set loose from captivity could be guilty of so
extravagant, exaggerated elation.

At last they stood upon a little bridge spanning a chasm like a cobweb.
A low parapet divided it from the awful gulf. On the other side the
mountain lifted its jagged face, clammy with icicles, and far over all
towered the sterile peaks, above the reach of clouds or lightnings,
forever in the sunshine--forever desolate.

"Stand fast!" said the leader, suddenly cold and calm. "Uncover, that
the snow-flakes may give us the baptism of nature! There is no human God
at this vast height; they worship _Him_ in the flat world below. Give me
your hand and look down! You are not dizzy? One should be free from the
baseness of fear, standing here upon St. Gothard."

"If I had no qualm before," said Hugenot, "your words would make me
shudder."

"You have heard of the 'valley of the shadow'? Was your ideal like this?
I told you in Florence of the great poet Dante. You have here at a
glance more beauty and dread conjoined than even his mad fancy could
conjure up. That is the Tessino, braining itself in cataracts. Yonder,
where the clouds make a golden lake, laving forests of firs, lies Italy
as the Goths first beheld it, with their spears quivering. See how the
eagles beat the mist beneath!--that was a symbol that the Roman
standards should be rent."

The other, half in charm, half in awe, listened like one spell-bound,
with his fingers tingling and his eyeballs throbbing.

"This silence," said the elder, "is more freezing to me than the
bitterness of the cold. The very snow-flakes are dumb; nothing makes
discord but the avalanche; it is always twilight; men lie down in the
snows to die, but they are numb and cannot cry."

"Be still," replied the other, "your talk is strangely out of place. I
feel as if my ancestors in their shrouds were beside me."

"You are not wrong," cried the greater, raising his voice till it became
shrill and terrible; "your last moments are passing; that yawning ravine
is your grave. I told you an hour ago how one bad, dark deed would
redeem me. It is done! I have robbed you, and your death is essential to
my safety."

Hugenot sank upon the snow of the parapet, speechless and almost
lifeless. He clasped his hands, but could not raise his head; the whole
scene faded from his eye. If he had been weak before, he was impotent
now.

The strong man held him aloft by the shoulders with an iron grasp, and
his cold eye gave evidence to the horrible validity of his words.

"I do not lie or play, Hugenot," he said, in the same clear voice; "I
have premeditated this deed for many weeks. You are doomed! Only a
miracle can help you. The dangers of the pass will be my exculpation; it
will be surmised that you fell into the ravine. There will be no marks
of violence upon you but those of the sharp stones. We have been close
comrades. Only Omniscience can have seen premeditation. I have brought
you into this wilderness to slay you!"

The victim had recovered sufficiently to catch a part of this
confession. His lips framed only one reply--the dying man's last straw:

"After death!" he said; "have you thought of that?"

"Ay," answered the other, "long and thoroughly. Phantoms, remorses and
hells--they have all had their argument. I take the chances."

It was only a moment's struggle that ensued. The wretch clung to the
parapet, and called on God and mercy. He was lifted on high in the
strong arms, and whirled across the barrier. The other looked grimly at
the falling burden. He wondered if a dog or a goat would have been so
long falling. The distance was profound indeed; but to the murderer's
sanguine thought the body hung suspended in the air. It would not sink.
The clouds seemed to bear it up for testimony; the cold cliffs held
aloft their heads for justice; the snow-flakes fell like the ballots of
jurymen, voting for revenge--all nature seemed roused to animation by
this one act. An icicle dropped with a keen ring like a knife, and the
stream below pealed a shrill alarum.

He had done the bad, dark deed. Was he more resolute or courageous now
that he had taken blood upon his hands and shadow upon his soul?

The body disappeared at length, carried downward by the torrent; but a
wild bird darted after it, as if to reveal the secret of its
concealment, and then a noise like a human footfall crackled in the
snow.

"I like a man who takes the chances," said a cold, hard voice; "but
Chance, Andy Plade, decides against you to-day."




IX.

THE ONE GOOD DEED OF A PRIVATEERSMAN.


The murderer turned from his reverie with hands extended and trembling;
the snow was not more bleached than his bloodless face, and his feet
grew slippery and infirm. An alcove, which he had not marked, was hewn
in the brow of the precipice. It had been intended to shelter pilgrims
from the wind and the snow; and there, wrapped in his buff garments,
whose hue, assimilating to that of the rock, absorbed him from
detection, stood a witness to the deed--the guard to the diligence--none
other than Auburn Risque.

For an instant only the accused shrank back. Then his body grew short
and compact; he was gathering himself up for a life-struggle.

"Hold off!" said Risque, in his old, hard, measured way; "we guards go
armed; if you move, I shall scatter your brains in the snow; if I miss
you, a note of this whistle will summon my postilions."

The cold face was never more emotionless; he held a revolver in his
hand, and kept the other in his blank, spotted eye, as if locating the
vital parts with the end to bring him down at a shot.

"You do not play well," said Risque at length, when the other, ghastly
white, sat speechless upon the parapet; "if you were the student of
chance, that I have been, you would know that at murder the odds are
always against you!"

"You will not betray me?" pleaded Plade; "so inveterate a gamester can
have no conventional ideas of life or crime. I am ready to pay for your
discretion with half my winnings."

"I am a gambler," said Risque, curtly; "not an assassin! I always give
my opponents fair show. But I will not touch blood-money."

"What fair show do you give me?"

"Two hours' start. I am responsible for my passengers. Go on, unharmed,
if you will. But at Hospice I shall proclaim you. Every moment that you
falter spins the rope for your gallows!"

Plade did not dally, but took to flight at once. He climbed by the
angles of the terraces, and saw the diligence far below tugging up the
circuitous road. He ran at full speed; no human being was abroad
besides, but yet there were other footfalls in the snow, other sounds,
as of a man breathing hard and pursued upon the lonely mountain. The
fugitive turned--once, twice, thrice; he laughed aloud, and shook his
clenched hand at the sky. Still the flat, dead tramp followed close
behind, and the pace seemed not unfamiliar. It could not be--his blood
ceased to circulate, and stood freezing at the thought--was it the
march, the tread of Hugenot?

He dropped a loud curse, like a howl, and kept upon his way. The
footfalls were as swift; he saw their impressions at his heels--prints
of a small, lithe, human foot, made by no living man. He shut his eyes
and his ears, but the consciousness remained, the inexplicable
phenomenon of some invisible but familiar thing which would not leave
him; which made its register as it passed; which no speed could
outstrip, no argument exorcise.

Was it a sick fancy, a probed heart, or did the phantom of the dead man
indeed give chase?

Ah! there is but one class of folks whose faith in spirits nothing can
shake--the guilty, the bloody-handed.

He came to a perturbed rest at the huge, half-hospitable Hospice, to the
enthusiasm of the postilions.

"Will the gentleman have a saddle-horse?"

"A chariot?"

"A cabriolet?"

"Ten francs to Andermatt!"

"Thirty francs to Fluelen!"

"One hundred francs," cried Plade, "for the fleetest pony to Andermatt.
Ten francs to the postilion who can saddle him in two minutes. My mother
is dying in Lyons."

He climbed one of the dark flights of stairs, and an old, uncleanly monk
gave him a glass of Kerschwasser. He descended to the stables, and
cursed the Swiss lackeys into speed. He gave such liberal largess that
there was an involuntary cheer, and as he galloped away the great
diligence appeared in sight to rouse his haste to frenzy.

The telegraph kept above him--a single line; he knew the tardiness of
foot when pursued by the lightning. In one place, the conductor,
wrenched from the insulators, dropped almost to the ground. There was a
strap upon his saddle; he reined his nag to the side of the road, and,
making a knot about the wire, dashed off at a bound; the iron snapped
behind; his triumphant laugh pealed yet on the twilight, when the cries
of his pursuers rang over the fields of snow. They were aroused; he was
fleetly mounted, but they came behind in sledges.

The night closed over the road as he caught the wizard bells. The
moonlight turned the peaks to fire. The dark firs shook down their
burdens of snow. There were cries of wild beasts from the ravines below.
The post-houses were red with firelight. The steed floundered through
the snow-drifts driven by blow and halloo. It was a fearful ride upon
the high Alps; the sublimity of nature bowed down to the mystery of
crime!

Bright noon, on the third day succeeding, saw the fugitive emerge from
the railway station at Dieppe. He had escaped the Swiss frontier with
his life, but had failed to make sure that escape by reaching the harbor
at the appointed time. Broken in spirit, grown old already, he faltered
toward the town, and, stopping on the fosse-bridge, looked sorrowfully
across the shipping in the dock. Something caught his regard amid the
cloud of tri-color; he looked again, shading his eye with a tremulous
palm. There could not be a doubt--it was the Confederate standard--the
Stars and Bars.

The Planter had been delayed; she waited with steam up and an expectant
crew; her slender masts leaned against the sky; her anchor was lifted; a
knot of idlers watched her from the quay.

In a moment Mr. Plade was on board. He asked for the commander, and a
short, gristly, sunburnt personage being indicated, he introduced
himself with that plausible speech which had wooed so many to their
fall.

"I am a Charlestonian," said Plade; "a Yankee insulted me at the Grand
Hotel; we met in the Bois de Boulogne, and I ran him through the body.
His friends in Paris conspire against my life. I ask to save it now,
only to die on your deck, that it may be worth something to my country."

They went below, and the privateer put the applicant through a rigid
examination.

"This vessel must get to sea to night," he said. "I will not hazard
trouble with the French authorities by keeping you here. Spend the
afternoon ashore; we sail at eleven o'clock precisely; if at that time
you come aboard, I will take you."

Plade protested his gratitude, but the skipper motioned him to peace.

"You seem to be a gentleman," he added; "if I find you so, you shall be
my purser. But, hark!" he looked keenly at the other, and laid his hand
upon his throat--"I am under the espionage of the Yankee ambassador.
There are spies who seek to join my crew for treasonable ends; if I find
you one of these, you shall hang to my yard-arm!"

The felon walked into the dim old city, and seated himself in a
wine-shop. Some market folks were chanting in _patois_, and their
light-heartedness enraged him. He turned up a crooked street, and
stopped before an ancient church, grotesque with broken buttresses,
pinnacles, and gargoyles. The portal was wide open, and, as he entered,
some scores of school-children burst suddenly into song. It seemed to
him an accusation, shouted by a choir of angels.

At the end of the city, facing the sea, rose a massive castle. He scaled
its stairs, and passed through the courtyard, and, crossing the farther
moat, stood upon a grassy hill--once an outwork--whence the blue channel
was visible half way to England.

A knot of soldiers came out to regard him, and his fears magnified their
curiosity; he ran down the parapet, to their surprise, and re-entered
the town by a roundabout way. "I will take a chamber," he said, "and
shun observation."

An old woman, in a starched cap, who talked incessantly, showed him a
number of rooms in a great stone building. He chose a garret among the
chimney-stacks, and lit a fire, and ordered a newspaper and a bottle of
brandy. He sat down to read in loneliness. As he surmised, the murder
was printed among the "_Faits Divers_;" it gave his name and the story
of the tragedy. His chair rattled upon the tiles as he read, and the
tongs, wherewith he touched the fire, clattered in his nervous fingers.

The place was not more composed than himself; the flame was the noisiest
in the world; it crackled and crashed and made horrible shadows on the
walls. There were rats under the floor whose gnawings were like human
speech, and the old house appeared to settle now and then with a groan
as if unwilling to shelter guilt. As he looked down upon the clustering
roofs of the town they seemed wonderfully like a crowd of people gazing
up at his retreat. All the dormer-windows were so many pitiless eyes,
and the chimney-pots were guns and cannon to batter down his eyrie.

When night fell upon the city and sea, his fancies were not less
alarming. He could not rid himself of the idea that the dead man was at
his side. In vain he called upon his victim to appear, and laughed till
the windows shook. It was there, _there_, always THERE! He did not see
it--but it was _there_! He felt its breath, its eye, its influence. It
leaned across his shoulder; it gossiped with the shadows; it laid its
hand heavily upon his pocket where lay the unholy gold. Some prints of
saints and the Virgin upon the wall troubled him; their faces followed
him wherever he turned; he tore them down at length, and tossed them in
the fire, but they blazed with so great flame that he cried out for
fear.

The town-bells struck the hours; how far apart were the strokes! They
tolled rather than pealed, as if for an execution, and the lamps of some
passing carriages made a journey as of torches upon the ceiling.

After nine o'clock there was a heavy tread upon the stairs. It kept him
company, and he was glad of its coming; but it drew so close, at length,
that he stood upright, with the cold sweat upon his forehead.

The steps halted at his threshold; the door swung open; a corporal and a
soldier stood without, and the former saluted formally:

"Monsieur the stranger, will remain in his chamber under guard. I grieve
to say that he is an object of grave suspicion. _Au revoir!_"

The corporal retired without waiting for a reply; the soldier entered,
and, leaning his musket against the wall, drew a chair before the door
and sat down. The firelight fell upon his face after a moment, and
revealed to Mr. Plade his old associate, Pisgah!

The former uttered a cry of hope and surprise; the soldier waved him
back with a menace.

"I know you," he said; "but I am here upon duty; besides, I have no
friendship with a murderer."

"We are both victims of a mistake! This accusation is not true. Will you
take my hand?"

"I am forbidden to speak upon guard," answered Pisgah, sullenly. "Resume
your chair."

"At least join me in a glass."

"There is blood in it," said Pisgah.

"I swear to you, no! Let me ring for your old beverage, absinthe."

The soldier halted, irresolutely; the liquor came before he could
refuse. When once his lips touched the vessel, Mr. Plade knew that there
was still a chance for life.

In an hour Mr. Pisgah was impotent from intoxication; his musket was
flung down the stairway, the door was bolted upon him, and the prisoner
was gone.

He gained the Planter's deck as the screw made its first revolution;
they turned the channel-piles with a good-by gun; the motley crew
cheered heartily as they cleared the mole.

The pirate was at sea on her mission of plunder--the murderer was free!

The engines stopped abreast the city; the steamer lay almost motionless,
for there were lights upon the beach; a shrill "Ahoy!" broke over the
intervening waters, and the dip of oars indicated some pursuit. The
crew, half drunken, rallied to the edge of the vessel; knives glittered
amid the confusion of oaths and the click of pistols, while Mr. Plade
hastened to the skipper's side, and urged him for pity and mercy to
hasten seaward.

The other motioned him back, coldly, and the boatswain piped all hands
upon deck. Lafitte nor Kidd never looked down such desperate faces as
this gristly privateer, when his buccaneers were around him.

"Seamen," he spoke aloud, "you are afloat! Gold and glory await you; you
shall glut yourselves by the ruin of your enemy, and count your plunder
by the light of his burning merchantmen."

The knives flickered in the torchlight, and a cheer, like the howl of
the damned, went up.

"On the brink of such fortune, you find yourselves imperilled; treason
is with you; this pursuit, which we attend, is a part of its programme!
There is, within the sound of my voice, a spy!--a Yankee!"

The weapons rang again; the desperadoes pressed forward, demanding with
shrieks and imprecations that the man should be named.

"He is here," answered the captain, turning full upon the astonished
fugitive. "He came to me with a story of distress. I pitied him, and
gave him shelter; but I telegraphed to Paris to test his veracity, and I
find that he lied. No man has been slain in a duel as he states. I
believe him to be a Federal emissary, and he is in our power."

A dozen rough hands struck Plade to the deck; he staggered up, with
blood upon his face, and called Heaven to witness that he was no
traitor.

"Did you speak the truth to me to-day?" cried the accuser.

"I did not; had I done so, you would have refused me relief."

"What are you then? Speak!"

The murderer cowered, with a face so blanched that the blood ceased to
flow at its gashes.

"I cannot, I dare not tell!" he muttered.

The skipper made a sign to an attendant. A rope from the yard-arm was
flung about the felon's neck, and made fast in a twinkling. He struggled
desperately, but the fierce buccaneers held him down; his clothing was
rent, and his hairs dishevelled; he made three frantic struggles for
speech; but the loud cheers mocked his words as they brandished their
cutlasses in his eyes.

Then began that strange lifetime of reminiscence; that trooping of sins
and cruelties, in sure, unbroken continuity, through the reeling brain;
that moment of years; that great day of judgment, in a thought; that
last winkful of light, which flashes back upon time, and makes its
frailties luminous. And, higher than all offences, rose that of the fair
young wife deserted abroad, left to the alternatives of shame or
starvation. Her wail came even now, from the bed of the crowded
hospital, to follow him into the world of shadows.

"Monsieur the Commander," hailed the spokesman in the launch, "the
government of his Imperial Majesty does not wish to interpose any
obstacle to the departure of the Confederate cruiser. It is known,
however, that a person guilty of an atrocious crime is concealed on
board. In this paper, Monsieur the Capitaine will find all the
specifications. The name of the person, Plade. The crime of the person,
murder, with premeditation. The giving up of said person is essential to
the departure of the cruiser from his Imperial Majesty's waters."

There was blank silence on the deck of the privateer; the torches in the
launch threw a glare upon the water and sky. They lit up something
struggling between both at the tip of the rocking yard-arm. It was the
effigy of a man, bound and suspended, around which swept timidly the
bats and gulls, and the sea wind beat it with a shrill, jubilant cry.

"I have done justice unconsciously," said the privateer; "may it be
remembered for me when I shall do injustice consciously!"




X.

THE SURVIVING COLONISTS.


The catastrophe of the Colony and the episode having been attained, we
have only to leave Mr. Pisgah in Algiers, whither court-martial
consigned him, with the penalty of hard labor, and Mr. Risque on the
stage route he was so eminently fitted to adorn. The unhappy Freckle
continued in the prison of Clichy, and, having nothing else to do,
commenced the novel process of thinking. The prison stood high up on
Clichy Hill, walled and barred and guarded, like other jails, but within
it a fair margin of liberty was allowed the bankrupts, just sufficient
to make their fate terrible by temptation. Some good soul had endowed it
with a library; newspapers came every day; a cafe was attached to it,
where spirituous liquors were prohibited, to the wrath of the dry
throats and raging thirsts of the captives; there was a garden behind
it, and a billiard saloon, but these luxuries were not gratuitous; poor
Freckle could not even pay his one sou per diem to cook his rations, so
that the Prisoners' Relief Association had to make him a present of it.
He spent his time between his bare, cheerless bedroom and the public
hall. There were many Americans in the place; but none of them were
friendly with him when he was found to have no cash. Yet he heard them
speak together of their countrymen who had lain in the same jail years
before. Yonder was the room of Horace Greeley, incarcerated for a debt
which was not his own; here the blood-stains of the Pennsylvania youth
who looked out of the window, heedless of warning, and was shot dead by
the guard; there the ancient chair, in which Hallidore, the Creole, sat
so often, possessor of a million francs, but too obstinate to pay his
tailor's bill and go free. While Freckle thought of these, it was
suggested to him that he was a very wicked man. The tuitions of his
patriarchal father came to mind; he was seen on his knees, to the
infinite amusement of the other debtors, who were, however, quite too
polite to laugh in his face, and he no longer staked his ration of wine
at cards, whereby he had commonly lost it, but held long conversations
with an ardent old priest who visited the jail. The priest gave Freckle
_breviaries_ and catechisms, and told him that there was no peace of
mind outside of the apostolic fold.

So Freckle diligently embraced the ancient Romish faith, renounced the
tenets of his plain old sire as false and heretical, and earnestly
prepared himself to enter the priesthood.

In this frame of mind he was found by Mr. Simp, who had unexpectedly
returned to Paris, and, finding himself again prosperous, came to
release Freckle from the toils of Clichy.

The latter waved him away. "I wish to know none of you," he said. "I
shall serve out this term, and never again speak to an American abroad."

He was firm, and achieved his purpose. Enthusiasm often answers for
brains, and Freckle's religious zeal made him a changed man. He entered
a Jesuits' school after his discharge, and in another fashion became as
stern, severe, and self-denying as had been his father. He sometimes saw
his old comrade, Simp, driving down the Champs Elysees as Freckle came
from church in Paris, but the gallant did not recognize the young priest
in his dark gown and hose, and wide-rimmed hat.

They followed their several directions, and in the end, with the
lessening fortunes of the Confederacy, grew more moody, and yet more
ruined by the consciousness that after once suffering the agony of
expatriation, they had not improved the added chance to make of
themselves men, not Colonists.

It is not the pleasantest phase of our human nature to depict, but since
we have essayed it, let it close with its own surrounding shadow.

If we have given no light touch of womanhood to relieve its sombre
career, we have failed to be artistic in order to be true.

But that which made the Colonists weak has passed away. There are no
longer slaves at home--may there be no exiles abroad!




  LITTLE GRISETTE.


  Little Grisette, you haunt me yet;
    My passion for you was long ago,
    Before my head was heavy with snow,
  Or mine eye had lost its lustre of jet.
  In the dim old Quartier Latin we met;
    We made our vows one night in June,
    And all our life was honeymoon;
  We did not ask if it were sin,
    We did not go to kirk to know,
  We only loved and let the world
    Hum on its pelfish way below;
  Marked from our castle in the air,
    How pigmy its triumphal cars:
  Eight stories from the entry stair,
    But near the stars!

  Little Grisette, rich or in debt,
    We were too fond to chide or sigh--
    Never so poor that I could not buy
  A sweet, sweet kiss from my little Grisette.
  If I could nothing gain or get,
    By hook, or crook, or song, or story,
    Along the starving road to glory,
  I marvelled how your nimble thimble,
    As to a tune, danced fast and fleeting,
  And stopped my pen to catch the music,
    But only heard my heart a-beating;
  The quaint old roofs and gables airy
    Flung down the light for you to wear it,
  And made my love a queen in faery,
    To haunt my garret.

  Little Grisette, the meals you set
    Were sweeter to me than banquet feast;
    Your face was a blessing fit for a priest,
  At your smile the candle went out in a pet;
  The wonderful chops I shall never forget!
    If the wine was a trifle too sharp or rank,
    We kissed each time before we drank.
  The old gilt clock, aye wrong, was swinging
    The waxen floor your feet reflected;
  And dear Beranger's _chansons_ singing,
    You tricked at _picquet_ till detected.
  You fill my pipe;--is it your eyes
    Whereat I light your cigarette?
  On all but me the darkness lies
    And my Grisette!

  Little Grisette, the soft sunset
    Lingered a long while, that we might stay
    To mark the Seine from the breezy quay
  Around the bridges foam and fret;
  How came it that your eyes were wet
    When I ambitiously would be
    A man renowned across the sea?
  I told you I should come again--
    It was but half way round the globe--
  To bring you diamonds for your faith,
    And for your gray a silken robe:
  You were more wise than lovers are;
    I meant, sweetheart, to tell you true,
  I said a tearful "_Au revoir_;"
    You said, "_Adieu!_"

  Little Grisette, we both regret,
    For I am wedded more than wived;
    Those careless days in thought revived
  But teach me I cannot forget.
  Perhaps old age must pay the debt
    Young sin contracted long ago--
    I only know, I only know,
  That phantoms haunt me everywhere
    By busy day, in peopled gloam--
  They rise between me and my prayer,
    They mar the holiness of home!
  My wife is proud, my boy is cold,
    I dare not speak of what I fret:
  'Tis my fond youth with thee I fold,
    Little Grisette!




MARRIED ABROAD.

AN AMERICAN ROMANCE OF THE QUARTIER LATIN.




PART I.

TEMPTATION.


To say that Ralph Flare was "lonesome" would convey a feeble idea of his
condition. Four months in England had gone by wearily enough; but in
this great city of Paris, where he might as well have had no tongue at
all, for the uses he could put it to, he pined and chafed--and finally
swore.

An oath, if not relief in itself, conduces to that effect, and it
happened in this case that a stranger heard it.

"You are English," said the stranger, turning shortly upon Ralph Flare.

"I am not," replied that youth, "I am an American."

"Then we are countrymen," cried the other. "Have you dwelt long in the
Hotel du Hibou?"

Ralph Flare stated that he hadn't and that he had, and that he was bored
and sick of it, and had resolved to go back to the Republic, and fling
away his life in its armies.

"Pooh! pooh!" shouted the other, "I see your trouble--you have no
acquaintances. It is six o'clock; come with me to dinner, and you shall
know half of Paris, men and women."

They filed down the tortuous Rue Jacob, now thrice gloomy by the closing
shadows of evening, and turning into the Rue de Seine, stopped before
the doorway of a little painted _boutique_, whereon was written
"_Cremery du Quartier Latin_."

A tall, sallow, bright-eyed Frenchman was seated at a fragment of
counter within the smallest apartment in the world, and addressing this
man as "Pere George" the stranger passed through a second sash doorway
and introduced Ralph Flare to the most miscellaneous and democratic
assemblage that he had ever beheld in his life.

Two long yellow tables reached lengthwise down a long, narrow _salon_,
the floor whereof was made of tiles, and the light whereof fizzed and
flamed from two unruly burners. A door at the farther end opened upon a
cook-room, and the cook, a scorched and meagre woman, was standing now
in the firelight, talking in a high key, as only a Frenchwoman can talk.

Then there was Madame George, fat and handsome, and gossipy likewise,
with a baby, a boy, and a daughter; and the patrons of the place, twenty
or more in number, were eating and laughing and all speaking at the same
time, so that Ralph Flare was at first stunned and afterward astonished.

His new acquaintance, Terrapin, went gravely around the table, shaking
hands with every guest, and Ralph was wedged into the remotest corner,
with Terrapin upon his right, and upon his left a creature so naive and
petite that he thought her a girl at first, but immediately corrected
himself and called her a child.

Terrapin addressed her as Suzette, and stated that his friend Ralph was
a stranger and quite solitary; whereat Suzette turned upon him a pair of
soft, twinkling eyes, and laughed very much as a peach might do, if it
were possible for a peach to laugh. He could only say a horrible _bon
jour_, and make the superfluous intimation that he could not speak
French; and when Madame George gave him his choice of a dozen
unpronounceable dishes, he looked so utterly blank and baffled that
Suzette took the liberty of ordering dinner for him.

"You won't get the run of the language, Flare," said Terrapin,
carelessly, "until you find a wife. A woman is the best dictionary."

"You mean, I suppose," said Flare, "a wife for a time."

Little Suzette was looking oddly at him as he faced her, and when Ralph
blushed she turned quietly to her _potage_ and gave him a chance to
remark her.

She had dark, smooth hair, closing over a full, pale forehead, and her
shapely head was balanced upon a fair, round neck. There was an
alertness in her erect ear, and open nostril, and pointed brows which
indicated keen perception and comprehension; yet even more than this
generic quickness, without which she could not have been French, the
gentleness of Suzette was manifest.

Ralph thought to himself that she must be good. It was the face of a
sweet sister or a bright daughter, or one of those school-children with
whom he had played long ago. And withal she was very neat. If any
commandment was issued especially to the French, it enjoined tidiness;
but this child was so quietly attired that her cleanliness seemed a
matter of nature, not of command. Her cheap coral ear-drops and the thin
band of gold upon her white finger could not have been so fitting had
they been of diamonds; and her tresses, inclosed in a fillet of beads,
were tied in a breadth of blue ribbon which made a cunning lover's-knot
above. A plain collar and wristbands, a bright cotton dress and dark
apron, and a delicate slipper below--these were the components of a
picture which Ralph thought the loveliest and pleasantest and best that
he had ever known.

In his own sober city of the Middle States he would have been ashamed to
connect with these innocent features a doubt, a light thought, a desire.
Yet here in France, where climate, or custom, or man had changed the
relations though not the nature of woman, he did but as the world, in
blending with Suzette's tranquil face a series of ideas which he dared
not associate with what he had called pure, beautiful, or happy.

Now and then they spoke together, unintelligibly of course, but very
merrily, and Ralph's appetite was that of the great carnivora; potage,
beef, mutton, pullet, vanished like waifs, and then came the salad,
which he could not make, so that Suzette helped him again with her
sprightly white fingers, contriving so marvellous a dish that Ralph
thought her a little magician, and wanted to eat salad till daybreak.

"Now for the cards!" cried Terrapin, when they had finished the _cafe_
and the _eau-de-vie_; and as the parties ranged themselves about the
greater table, Terrapin, who knew everybody, gave their names and
avocations.

"That is Boetia, a journalist on the _Siecle_; you will observe that he
smokes his cigars quite down to the stump. The little man beside him,
with a blouse, is Haynau, fellow of the College of Beaux
Arts--dead-broke, as usual; and his friend, the sallow chap, is Moise,
whose father died last week, leaving him ten thousand francs. Moise, you
will see, has a wife, Feefine, though I suspect him of bigamy; and the
tall girl, with hair like midnight and a hard voice, is at present
unmarried. Those four fellows and their dames are students of medicine.
They have one hundred francs a month apiece, and keep house upon it."

"And Suzette," said Ralph Flare, impatiently.

"Oh, she is a _couturiere_, a dressmaker, but just now a clerk at a
glover's. She has dwelt sagely, generally speaking. She breakfasts upon
five sous; a roll, cafe, and a bunch of grapes--her dinner costs eighty
centimes, and she makes a franc and a half a day, leaving enough to pay
her room-rent."

"It is a little sum--seven dollars and a half a month--how is the girl
to dress?"

Terrapin shrugged his shoulders, but said nothing.

They played "ramps," an uproarious game; and Suzette was impetuous and
noisy as the rest, with brightened cheeks and eyes and a clear, silvery
voice. The stake was a bottle of Bordeaux. Few women play cards
honestly, and Suzette was the first to go out; but seeing that Ralph
floundered and lost continually, she gave him her attention, looking
over his hand, and talking for him, and counting with so dexterous
deceit that he escaped also, while Terrapin paid for the wine.

It was not the most reputable amusement in the world; but the hours were
winged, and midnight came untimely. Suzette tied on a saucy brown flat
streaming with ribbons, and bade them good-night, ending with Ralph, in
whose palm her little fingers lay pulsing an instant, bringing the blood
to his hand.

How mean the _cremery_ and its patrons seemed now that she was gone! The
great clamp at the portal of his hotel sounded very ghostly as he
knocked; the concierge was a hideous old man in gown and nightcap.

"_Toujours seul, monsieur_," he said, with an ugly grin.

"What does that mean, Terrapin?" said Ralph.

"He says that you always come home alone."

"How else should I come?" said Ralph, dubiously.

"How, indeed?" answered Terrapin.

It was without doubt a dim old pile--the Hotel du Hibou. What murderers,
and thieves, and Jacobins might not have ascended the tiles of the grand
stairway? There was a cumbrous mantel in his chamber, funereal with
griffins, and there were portraits with horribly profound eyes. The sofa
and the chairs were huge; the deep window-hangings were talking together
in a rustling, mocking way; while the bed in its black recess seemed so
very long and broad and high for one person, that Ralph sat down at the
stone table, too lonely or too haunted to sleep.

Would not even this old grave be made merry with sunlight, if little
Suzette were here?

He opened the book of familiar French phrases, and began to copy some of
them. He worked feverishly, determinedly, for quite a time. Then he read
the list he had made, half aloud. It was this:

"Good-morning, my pretty one!"

"Will you walk with me?"

"May I have your company to dinner?"

"What is your name?"

"I dare say you laugh at my pronunciation."

"I am lonely in Paris."

"Are you?"

"You ought to see my chambers."

"Let me buy you a bracelet!"

"I love you!"

Ralph's voice stopped suddenly. There were deep echoes in the great
room, which made him thrill and shudder. How still and terrible were the
silence and loneliness!

A pang, half of guilt, half of fear, went keenly to his heart. It seemed
to him that his mother was standing by his shoulder, pointing with her
thin, tremulous fingers to the writing beneath him, and saying:

"My boy, what does this mean?"

He held it in the candle-flame, and thought he felt better when it was
burned; but he could not burn all those thoughts of which the paper was
only a copy.




PART II.

POSSESSION.


If the _cremery_ had seemed lonely by gaslight, what must Ralph Flare
have said of it next morning, as he sat in his old place and watched the
_ouvriers_ at breakfast? They came in, one by one, with their baton of
brown bread, and called for two sous' worth of coffee and milk. The men
wore blouses of blue and white, and jested after the Gallic code with
the sewing-girls. This bread and coffee, and a pear which they should
eat at noon, would give them strength to labor till nightfall brought
its frugal repast. Yet they were happy as crickets, and a great deal
more noisy.

Here is little Suzette, smiling and skipping, and driving her glances
straight into Ralph Flare's heart.

"Good-day, sir," she cries, and takes a chair close by him, after the
manner of a sparrow alighting. She smooths back her pure wristbands,
disclosing the grace of the arm, and as she laughs in Ralph's face he
knows what she is saying to herself; it is more doubtful that he loves
her than that she knows it.

"_Peut-etre, monsieur, vous-avez besoin des gants?_"

She gave him the card of her _boutique_, and laughed like a sunbeam
playing on a rivulet, and went out singing like the witch that she was.

"I don't want gloves," said Ralph Flare; "I won't go to her shop."

But he asked Pere George the direction, notwithstanding; and though his
conscience seemed to be blocking up the way--a tangible, visible,
provoking conscience--he put his feet upon it and shut his lips, and
found the place.

Ralph Flare has often remarked since--for he is quite an artist
now--that of all scenes in art or nature that _boutique_ was to him the
rarest. He has tried to put it into color--the miniature counter, the
show-case, the background of boxes, each with a button looking
mischievously at him, or a glove shaking its forefinger, or a shapely
pair of hose making him blush, and the daintiest child in the world,
flushing and flirting and gossiping before him; but the sketch recalls
matters which he would forget, his hands lose command, something makes
his eye very dim, and he lays aside his implements, and takes a long
walk, and wears a sober face all that day.

We may all follow up the sequence of a young man's thoughts in doing a
strange wrong for the first time. If Ralph's passions of themselves
could not mislead him, there were not lacking arguments and advisers to
teach him that this was no offence, or that the usage warranted the sin.
He became acquainted, through Terrapin, with dozens of his countrymen;
the youngest and the oldest and the most estimable had their open
attachments. So far as he could remark, the married and the unmarried
tradesmen's wives in Paris were nearly equal in consideration. How could
he become perfect in the language without some such incentive and
associate?

His income was not considerable, but they told him that to double his
expenses was certain economy. He was very lonely, and he loved company.
His age was that at which the affections and the instincts alike impel
the man to know more of woman--the processes of her mind, her
capacities, her emotions, the idiosyncrasies which divided her from his
own sex.

Hitherto he had been chaste, though once when he had confessed it to
Terrapin, that incredulous person said something about the marines, and
repeated it as a good joke; he felt, indeed, that he was not entirely
manly. He had half a doubt that he was worthy to walk with men, else why
had not his desires, like theirs, been stronger than his virtue; and had
not the very feebleness of desire proved also a feebleness of power?
But, more than all, he had a weakness for Suzette.

There was old Terrapin, with bonnets and dresses in his wardrobe, and a
sewing-basket on his mantel, and with his own huge boots outside the
door a pair of tapering gaiters, and in his easy-chair a little being to
sing and chatter and mix his punch and make his cigarettes. Ah! how much
more entrancing would be Ralph's chamber with Suzette to garnish it! He
would make a thousand studies of her face; she should be his model, his
professor, his divinity! What was gross in her he would refine; what
dark he would make known. They would walk together by the river side,
into the parks, into the open country. He would know no regrets for the
friends across the sea. Europe would become beautiful to him, and his
art would find inspiration from so much loveliness. No indissoluble tie
would bind them, to make kindness a duty and love necessity. No social
tyranny should prescribe where he should visit, and where she should
not. The hues of the picture deepened and brightened as he imagined it.
He was resolved to do this thing, though a phantom should come to his
bedside every night, and every shadow be his accusation.

He committed to memory some phrases of French; Terrapin was his
interpreter, and they went together--those three and a sober
_cocher_--to the Bois de Boulogne. Terrapin stated to Suzette in a
shockingly informal way that Ralph loved her and would give her a
beautiful chamber and relieve her from the drudgery of the glove-shop.

They were passing down the broad, gravelled drive, with the foliage
above them edged with moonlight, the mock cataract singing musically
below, and the _cocher_, half asleep, nodding and slashing his horses.
And while Terrapin turned his head and made himself invisible in
cigar-smoke, Ralph folded Suzette to his breast, and kissed her once so
demonstratively that the _cocher_ awoke with a spring and nearly fell
off the box, but was quite too much of a _cocher_ to turn and
investigate the matter.

That was the ceremony, and that night the nuptials. Few young couples
make a better commencement. She gave him a list of her debts, and he
paid them. They removed from Ralph's dim quarters to a cheap and
cheerful chamber upon the new Boulevard. It was on the fifth floor; the
room was just adapted for so little a couple. Superficially observed,
the furniture resolved itself into an enormous clock and a monstrously
fine mirror; but after a while you might remark four small chairs and a
great one, a bureau and a wardrobe, a sofa and a canopied bed; and just
without the two gorgeously curtained windows lay a cunning balcony,
where they could sit of evenings, with the old ruin of the Hotel Cluny
beneath them, the towers of Notre Dame in the middle ground, and at the
horizon the beautifully wooded hill of Pere la Chaise.

Suzette had tristful eyes when they rested upon this cemetery. Her baby
lay there, without a stone--not without a flower.

"_Pauvre petite Jules!_" she used to say, nestling close to Ralph, and
for a little while they would not speak nor move, but the smoke of his
cigar made a charmed circle around them, and the stars came out above,
and the panorama of the great Boulevard moved on at their feet.

Their first difficulties were financial, of course. Suzette would have
liked a silken robe, a new bonnet, a paletot, gloves and concomitants
unlimited. She delighted to walk upon the Boulevard, the Rue Rivoli, and
into the Palais Royal, looking into the shop-windows and selecting what
she would buy when Ralph's remittances came. Her hospitality when his
friends visited him did less honor to her purse than to her heart. She
certainly made excellent punches; Terrapin thought her cigarettes
unrivalled; she was fond of cutting a fruit-pie, and was quite a
_connoisseur_ with wines. Ralph did not wonder at her tidiness when the
laundry bills were presented, but doubted that the _coiffeur_ beautified
her hair; and one day, when a cool gentleman in civil uniform knocked at
the door, and insisted upon the immediate payment of a bill for fifty
francs, he lost his temper and said bad words. What could be done?
Suzette was sobbing; Ralph detested "scenes;" he threatened to leave
the hotel and Paris, and frightened her very much--and paid the money.

"You said, Suzette, that you had rendered a full account of all your
indebtedness. You told me a lie!"

"Poor boy," she replied, "this debt was so old that I never expected to
hear of it."

"Have you any more--old or otherwise?"

Suzette said demurely that she did not owe a sou in the world, but was
able to recall thirty francs in the course of the afternoon, and assured
him, truly, that this was the last.

Still, she lacked economy. They went to the same _cremery_, but her
meals cost one half more than his. She never objected to a ride in a
_voiture_; she liked to go to the balls, but walked very soberly upon
his arm, recognizing nobody, and exacting the same behavior from Ralph.
Let him look at an unusually pretty girl, through a shop-window, upon
his peril! If a letter came for him signed Lizzie, or Annie, or Mary,
she took the dictionary and tried to interpret it, and in the end called
him a _vilain_ and wept.

Toward the letters signed "Lizzie" she conceived a deep antipathy. With
a woman's instinct she discerned that "Lizzie" was more to Ralph than
any other correspondent. A single letter satisfied her of this; and when
he was reading it, for the second time, she snatched it from his hand
and flung it fiercely upon the floor. Ralph's eyes blazed menace and her
own cowered.

"Take up that letter, Suzette!"

"I won't!"

"Take it up, I say! I command! instantly!" He had risen to his feet,
and was the master now. She stooped, with pale jealousy lying whitely in
her temples, and gave it to him meekly, and sat down very stricken and
desolate. There was one whom he loved better than her--she felt it
bitterly--a love more respectful, more profound--a woman, perhaps, whom
he meant to make his wife some day, when SHE should be only a shameful
memory!

It may have been the reproach of this infidelity, or the thought of his
home, or the infatuation of his present guileful attachment, which kept
Ralph Flare from labor.

There was the great Louvre, filled with the riches of the old masters,
and the galleries of the Luxembourg with the gems of the French school,
so marvellous in color and so superb in composition, and the mighty
museum of Versailles, with its miles of battle pictures--yet the third
month of his tenure in Paris was hastening by, and he had not made one
copy.

Suzette was a bad model. She _posed_ twice, but changed her position,
and yawned, and said it was ridiculous. He had never made more than a
crayon portrait of her. He found, too, that five hundred francs a month
barely sufficed to keep them, and once, in the interval of a remittance,
they were in danger of hunger. Yet Suzette plied her needle bravely, and
was never so proud as when she had spread the dinner she had earned. In
acknowledgment of this fidelity Ralph took her to a grand _magasin_,
where they examined the goods gravely, as married folks do, consulting
each other, and trying to seem very sage and anxious.

There probably was never such a bonnet as Suzette's in the world. It was
black, and full of white roses, and floating a defiant ostrich-plume,
and tied with broad red ribbons, whereby she could be recognized from
one end of the Luxembourg gardens to the other.

The paletot was clever in like manner; she made the dress herself, and
its fit was perfection, showing her plump little figure all the plumper,
while its black color set off the whiteness of her simple collar, and
with those magic gaiters, Ralph's gift also, he used to sit in the big
chair, peering at her, and in a quandary as to whether he had ever been
so happy before, or ever so disquieted.

"Now, my little woman," said Ralph, "I have redeemed my promises; you
have a chamber, and garments, and subsistence--more than any of your
friends--and I am with you always; few wives live so pleasantly; but
there is one thing which you must do."

Suzette, sitting upon his knee, protested that he could not command any
impossible thing which she would not undertake.

"You must work a little; we are both idle, and if we continue so, may
have _ennui_ and may quarrel. After three days I will not pay for your
breakfasts, and every day in which you do not breakfast with me, paying
for yourself, I will give you no dinner. Remember it, Suzette, for I am
in earnest."

Her color fell a little at this, for she had no love for the needle. It
was merrier in the _boutique_ to chat with customers, yet she started
fairly, and for a week earned a franc a day. The eighth day came; she
had no money. Ralph put on his hat and went down the _Rue L'Ecole de
Medecin_ without her; but his breakfast was unpalatable, indigestible.
Five o'clock came round; she was sitting at the window, perturbedly
waiting to see how he would act.

It wrung his heart to think that she was hungry, but he tried to be very
firm.

"I am going to dinner, Suzette! I keep my word, you see."

"It is well, Ralph."

That night they said little to each other. The dovecote was quite cold,
for the autumn days were running out, and they lighted a hearth fire.
Suzette made pretence of reading. She had an impenitent look; for she
conceived that she had been cruelly treated, and would not be soothed
nor kissed. Ralph smoked, and said over some old rhymes, and, finally
rising, put on his cloak.

"I am going out, Suzette; you don't make my room cheerful."

"_Bien!_"

He walked very slowly and heavily down the stairs, to convince her that
he was really going or hoping to be recalled, but she did not speak. He
saw the light burning from his windows as he looked up from below. He
was regretful and angry. At Terrapin's room he drank much raw brandy and
sang a song. He even called the astute Terrapin a humbug, and toward
midnight grew quarrelsome. They escorted him to his hotel door; the
light was still burning in his room. He was sober and repentant when he
had ascended the long stairs, though he counterfeited profound
drunkenness when he stood before her.

She had been weeping, and in her white night-habit, with her dark hair
falling loosely upon her shoulders, she was very lovely. The clock
struck one as they looked at each other. She fell upon his neck and
removed his garments, and wrapped him away between the coverlets; and he
watched her for a long time in the flickering light till a deep sleep
fell upon him, so that he could not feel how closely he was clasped in
her arms.




PART III.

CONSCIENCE.


Lest it has not been made clear in these paragraphs whether Suzette was
a good or a wicked being, we may give the matured and recent judgment of
Ralph Flare himself. Put to the test of religion, or even of
respectability, this intimacy was baneful. A wild young man had broken
his honor for the companionship of a poor, errant girl. She was poor,
but she hated to work; she had no regard for his money; she did not
share his ambition. Making against her a case thus clear and certain,
Ralph Flare entered for Suzette the plea of _not_ wicked, and this was
his defence!

_She was educated in France._ Particular sins lose their shame in some
countries. Woman in France had not the high mission and respect which
she fulfilled in his own land. Suzette was one of many children. Her
father was the cultivator of a few acres in Normandy. Her mother died as
the infant was ushered into the world. To her father and brothers she
was of an unprofitable sex, and her sisters disliked her because she
was handsomer than they. Her childhood was cheerless enough, for she had
quick instincts, and her education availed only to teach her how grand
was the world, and how confined her life. She left her home by stealth,
in the night, and alone. In the city of Cherbourg she found occupation.
She dwelt with strangers; she was lonely; her poverty and her beauty
were her sorrows. She was a girl only till her fifteenth year.

The young mother has but one city of refuge--Paris. Without friends she
passed the bitterness of reminiscence. Through the poverty of skill or
sustenance she lost her boy, and the great city lay all before her where
to choose. Luckily, in France every avenue to struggle was not closed to
her sisterhood; with us such gather only the wages of sin. It was not
there an irreparable disgrace to have fallen. For a full year she lived
purely, industriously, lonely; what adventures ensued Ralph knew
imperfectly. She met, he believed that she loved him. It was not
probable, of course, that she came out of the wrestle unscathed. She
deceived in little things, but he knew when to trust her. She was
quick-tempered and impatient of control, but he understood her, and
their quarrels were harbingers of their most happy seasons. She was
generous, affectionate, artless. He did not know among the similar
attachments of his friends any creature so pliable, so true, so
beautiful.

It was upon her acquaintances that Ralph placed the blame when she
erred. Fanchette was one of these--the dame of a student from Bretagne,
a worldly, plotting, masculine woman--the only one whom he permitted to
visit her. It was Fanchette who loaned her money when she was indolent,
and who prompted her to ask favors beyond his means.

Toward the end of every month Ralph's money ran out, and then he was
petulant and often upbraided her. Those were the only times when he
essayed to study, and he would not walk with her of evenings, so
destitute. Then Fanchette amused her: "Sew in my room," she would say;
"Ralph will come for you at eight o'clock." But Ralph never went, and
Fanchette poisoned his little girl's mind.

"When will you leave Paris, baby?" said Suzette one evening, as she
returned from her friend's and found him sitting moodily by the fire.

"Very soon," he replied crisply; "that is, if ever I have money or
resolution enough to start."

"Won't you take me with you, little one?"

"No!"

"You don't love me any more!"

"Pish!"

"Kiss me, my boy!"

"Oh, go away, you bother me--you always bother me when my money is low.
Haven't I told you about it before?"

But the next morning as Suzette made her toilet, older and more
silently, he felt repentant, and called her to him, and they talked a
long while of nothingnesses. He had a cruel way of playing with her
feelings.

"Suzette," he would say, "would you like me to take you to my country
and live with you forever?"

"Very much, my child!"

"My father has a beautiful farm, which he means to give to me. There is
a grand old house upon it, and from the high porch you can see the blue
bay speckled with sails. The orchards are filled with apples and pears.
You must walk an hour to get around the corn-fields, and there is a
picnic ground in the beech-woods, where we might entertain our friends.
I have many friends. How jolly you would look in my big rocking-chair,
before the fireplace blazing with logs, and with your lap full of
chestnuts, telling me of Paris life!"

She was drinking it all in, and the blood was ripe in her cheeks.

"Think, little one," he said, "of passing our days there, you and I! I
have made you my wife, for example; I paint great pictures; you are
proud of me; everybody respects you; you have your saddle-horse and your
tea-parties; you learn to be ashamed of what you were; you are anxious
to be better--not in people's eyes only, but in mine, in your own. To do
good deeds; to sit in the church hearing good counsel; to be patted upon
the forehead by my father--his daughter!--and to call my brother your
brother also. Thus honored, contented, good, your hairs turn gray with
mine. We walk along hand in hand so evenly that we do not perceive how
old we are growing. We may forget everything but our love; that remains
when we are gone--a part of our children's inheritance."

He spoke excellent French now; to her it was eloquence. Her arms were
around his neck. He could feel her heart, beating. He had expressed what
she scarcely dared to conceive--all her holiest, profoundest hopes, her
longing for what she had never been, for what she believed she would try
to be worthy of.

"Oh, my baby," she cried, half in tears, "you make me think! I have
never thought much or often; I wish I was a scholar, as you are, to tell
you how, since we have dwelt together, something like that has come to
me in a dream. Perhaps it is because you talk to me so that I love you
so greatly. Nobody ever spoke to me so before. That is why I am angry
when your proud friend Lizzie writes to you. All that good fortune is
for her; you are to quit Paris and me. My name will be unworthy to be
mentioned to her. How shall I be in this bad city, growing old; yet I
would try so earnestly to improve and be grateful!"

"Would you, truly, sweetheart?"

She only sobbed and waited; he coughed in a dry way and unclasped her
hands.

"I pity you, poor Suzette," he said, "but it is quite impossible for us
to be more to each other. My people would never speak to me if I behaved
so absurdly. Go to bed now, and stop crying; good-night."

She staggered up, so crushed and bowed and haggard that his conscience
smote him. He could not have done a greater cruelty to one like
her--teaching her to hope, then to despair. The next day, and the next,
she worked at Fanchette's. His remittance did not come; he was out of
temper, and said in jest that he would set out for Italy within a week.
There was a pale decision in her countenance the fourth morning. She put
on her gray robe and a little cap which she had made. He did not offer
to kiss her, and she did not beseech it. He saw her no more until nine
o'clock, when she came in with Fanchette, and her cheeks were flushed
as with wine. This made him more angry. He said nothing to either of
them and went to sleep silently.

The fifth day she returned as before. He was sitting up by the
fireplace; his rent was due; he was quite cast down, and said:

"Dear, when my purse was full you never went away two whole days,
leaving me alone."

"You are to leave me, Ralph, forever!" But she was touched, and in the
morning said that she would come back at midday. Still no remittance. He
felt like a bear. Twelve o'clock came--Suzette did not appear. It
drifted on to one; he listened vainly for her feet upon the stairs. At
two he sat at the window watching; she entered at three, half mild, half
timorous, and gave him a paper of sugar plums.

"Where did those come from?" he asked, with a scowl.

"Fanchette gave them to me."

"I don't believe it; there is _kirsch wasser_ on your lips; you have
been drinking."

She drew her handkerchief from her pocket; a little box, gilt-edged,
came out with it, and rolled into the middle of the floor. Suzette
leaped for it with a quick pallor; he wrenched it from her hands after a
fierce struggle, and delving into the soft cotton with which it was
packed, brought out sleeve-buttons of gold and a pearl breastpin. They
were new and glittering, and they flashed a burning suspicion into his
heart. He forced her unresisting into a chair, and flung them far out of
the window, over the house-roofs. Then he sat down a moment to gain
breath, and marked her with eyes in which she saw that she was already
tried and sentenced.

"Who gave you those things, Suzette?" he asked in a forced, strange
monotone.

"My ancient _patronne_."

"What's her name?"

"I don't know."

"Where does she live?"

"I shan't tell you."

He held her wrist tightly and pressed her back till her eyes were
compelled to mark his white, pinched lips and altogether bloodless
temples. His hand tightened upon her; his full, boyish figure
straightened and heightened beyond nature; his regard was terrible. A
terrible fear and silence fell around about them.

"These are the gifts of a man," he whispered; "you do not know it better
than I. I shall walk out for one hour; at the end of that time there
must not be even a ribbon of yours in this chamber."




PART IV.

REMORSE.


He gave the same order to the proprietor as he passed down-stairs, and
hurried at a crazy pace across the Pont des Arts to the rooms of
Terrapin. That philosopher was playing whist with his friends, and gave
as his opinion that Ralph was "spooney."

Ralph drank much, talked much, chafed more. Somebody advised him to
travel, but he felt that Europe had nothing to show him like that which
he had lost. He told Madame George the story at the _cremery_.

"Ah, monsieur," she said, "that is the way with all love in Paris."

He played "ramps" with the French, but the game impressed him as stupid,
and he tried to quarrel with Boetia, who was too polite to be vexed. He
drank pure cognac, to the astonishment of the Gauls, but it had no
visible effect upon him, and Pere George held up his hands as he went
away, saying: "Behold these Americans! they do everything with a fever;
brandy affects them no more than water."

The room in the fifth story was very cold now. He tried to read in bed,
but the novel had no meaning in it. He walked up and down the balcony in
the November night, where he had often explained the motions of the
stars to her. They seemed to miss her now, and peeped inquisitively. He
looked into the bureau and wardrobe, half ashamed of the hope that she
had left some _souvenir_. There was not even a letter. She had torn a
leaf, on which she had written her name, out of his diary. The sketches
he had made of her were gone; if she had only taken her remembrance out
of his heart, it would have been well. Then he reasoned, with himself,
sensibly and consistently. It was a bad passion at first. How would it
have shamed his father and mother had they heard of it! Its continuance
was even more pernicious, making him profligate and idle; introducing
him to light pleasures and companies; enfeebling him, morally and
physically; diverting him from the beautiful arts; weakening his
parental love; divorcing him from grand themes and thoughts. He could
never marry this woman. Their heart-strings must have been wrung by some
final parting; and now that she had been proved untrue, was it not most
unmanly that he should permit her to stand even in the threshold of his
mind? It was a good riddance, he said, pacing the floor in the
firelight; but just then he glanced into the great mirror, and stood
fixed to mark the pallor of his face. Say what he might, laugh as he
did, with a hollow sound, that absent girl had stirred the very
fountains of his feelings. Not learned, not beautiful, not anything to
anybody but him--there was yet the difference between her love and her
deceit, which made him content or wretched.

He felt this so keenly that he lifted his voice and cursed--himself,
her, society, mankind. Then he cried like a child, and called himself a
calf, and laughed bitterly, and cried again.

There was no sleep for him that night. He drank brandy again in the
morning, and walked to the banker's. His remittance awaited him, and he
came out of the Rue de la Paix with thirty gold napoleons in his pocket.

He met all the Americans at breakfast at Trappe's in the Palais Royal,
and strolling to the morgue with a part of them, kept on to Vincennes,
and spent a wretched day in the forest. At the Place de la Bastille,
returning, he got into a cabriolet alone and searched ineffectually
along the Rue Rivoli for a companion who would ride with him. "Go
through the Rue de Beaux Arts!" he said, as they crossed Pont Neuf. This
is a quiet street in the Latin Quarter filled with cheap _pensions_, in
one of which dwelt Fanchette. His heart was wedged in his throat as he
saw at the window little Suzette sewing. She wore one of the dresses he
had given her. Her face was old and piteous; she was red-eyed and worked
wearily, looking into the street like one on a rainy day.

When she saw him, he thought, by her start and flush, that she was going
to fall from the chair; but then she looked with a dim, absent manner
into his face, like one who essays to remember something that was very
dear but is now quite strange. He was pleased to think that she was
miserable, and would have given much to have found her begging bread, as
she did that night of him.

He had ridden by on purpose to show that he had money, and she sent him
by Terrapin's word a petition for a few francs to buy her a chamber.
Fanchette's friend had come home from the country, and it would not do
for her to occupy their single bedroom; but Ralph made reply by deputy,
to the effect that the donor of the jewelry would, he supposed, give her
a room. It was a weary week ensuing; he drank spirits all the time, and
made love to an English governess in the Tuileries garden, and when
Sunday came, with a rainy, windy, dismal evening, he went with Terrapin
and Co. to the Closerie des Lilas.

This is the great ball of the Latin Quarter. It stands near the barriers
upon the Boulevard, and is haunted with students and grisettes. Commonly
it was thronged with waltzers, and the scene on gala nights, when all
the lamps were aflame, and the music drowned out by the thunder of the
dance, was a compromise between Paradise and Pandemonium. To-night there
was a beggarly array of folk; the multitude of _garcons_ contemplated
each other's white aprons, and old Bullier, the proprietor, staggering
under his huge hat, exhibited a desire to be taken out and interred. The
wild-eyed young man with flying, carroty locks, who stood in the set
directly under the orchestra, at that part of the floor called "the
kitchen," was flinging up his legs without any perceptible enjoyment,
and the policemen in helmets, and cuirassiers, who had hard work to keep
order in general, looked like lay figures now, and strolled off into the
embowered and sloppy gardens. There were not two hundred folk under the
roofs. Ralph had come here with the unacknowledged thought of meeting
Suzette, and he walked around with his cigar, leaning upon Terrapin's
arm and making himself disagreeable.

Suddenly he came before her. She seemed to have arisen from the earth.
She looked so weak and haggard that he was impelled to speak to her; but
he was obdurate and hard-hearted. He could have filled her cup of
bitterness and watched her drink it to the dregs, and would have been
relentless if she was kneeling at his feet.

"Flare, what makes you tremble so?" said Terrapin; "are you cold?
Confound it, man, you are sick! Sit here in the draft and take some
cognac."

"No," answered Ralph, "I am all right again. You see my girl there?
(Don't look at her!) You know some of these girls, old fellow? I mean to
treat two of them to a bottle of champagne. She will see it. I mean for
her to do so. Who are these passing? Come with me."

He walked by Suzette and her friend as if they had been invisible, and
addressed those whom he pursued with such energy that they shrank back.
He made one of them take his arm, and hurried here and there, saying
honeyed words all the time, by which she was affrighted; but every
smile, false as it was, fell into Suzette's heart.

Weary, wan, wretched, she kept them ever in view, crossing his path now
and then, in the vain thought that she might have one word from him,
though it were a curse. He took his new friends into an alcove. She saw
the wine burst from the bottle, and heard the clink of the glasses as
they drank good health. She did not know that all his laughter was
feigned, that his happiness was delirium, that his vows were lies. She
did not believe Ralph Flare so base as to put his foot upon her, whom he
had already stricken down.

And he--he was all self, all stone!--he laid no offence at his own door.
He did not ask if her infidelity was real or if it had no warrant in his
own slight and goading. The poor, pale face went after him
reproachfully. Every painful footfall that she made was the patter of a
blood-drop. Such unnatural excitement must have some termination. He
quarrelled with a waiter. Old Bullier ordered a cuirassier to take him
to the door; he would have resisted, but Terrapin whispered: "Don't be
foolish, Flare; if you are put out it will be a triumph for the girl;"
and only this conviction kept him calm. The cyprians whom he wooed
followed him out; he turned upon them bitterly when he had crossed the
threshold, and leaping into a carriage was driven to his hotel, where
he slept unquietly till daybreak.

See him, at dawn, in deep slumber! his face is sallow, his lips are dry,
his chest heaves nervously as he breathes hard. It is a bad sleep; it is
the sleep of bad children, to whom the fiend comes, knowing that the
older they grow the more surely are they his own.

This is not, surely, the bashful young man who started at the phantom of
his mother, and sinned reluctantly. Aye! but those who do wrong after
much admonishment are wickeder than those who obey the first bad
impulse. He is ten times more cast away who thinks and sins than he who
only sins and does not think.

Ralph Flare was one of your reasoning villains. His conscience was not a
better nature rising up in the man, and saying "this is wrong." It was
not conscience at all; it was only a fear. Far down as Suzette might be,
she never could have been unfeeling, unmerciful as he. It is a bad
character to set in black and white, yet you might ask old Terrapin or
any shrewd observer what manner of man was Ralph, and they would say,
"So-so-ish, a little sentimental, spooney likewise; but a good fellow, a
good fellow!" And more curious than all, Suzette said so too.

He rose at daylight, and dressed and looked at himself in the glass. He
felt that this would not do. His revenge had turned upon himself. He had
half a mind to send for Suzette, and forgive her, and plead with her to
come back again. The door opened: she of whom he thought stood before
him, more marked and meagre than he; and the old tyranny mounted to his
eyes as he looked upon her. He knew that she had come to be pardoned, to
explain, and he determined that she should suffer to the quick.




PART V.

TYRANNY.


If this history of Ralph Flare that we are writing was not a fiction, we
might make Suzette give way at once under the burden of her grief, and
rest upon a chair, and weep. On the contrary, she did just the opposite.
She laughed.

Human nature is consistent only in its inconsistencies. She meant to
break down in the end, but wished to intimidate him by a show of
carelessness, so she first said quietly: "Monsieur Ralph, I have come to
see to my washing; it went out with yours; will you tell the proprietor
to send it to me?"

"Yes, madame."

"May I sit down, sir? It is a good way up-stairs, and I want to breathe
a minute."

"As you like, madame."

He was resting on the sofa; she took a chair just opposite. There was a
table between them, and for a little while she looked with a ghastly
playfulness into his eyes, he regarding her coldly and darkly; and then,
she laughed. It was a terrible laugh to come from a child's lips. It was
a woman's pride, drowning at the bottom of her heart, and in its last
struggle for preservation sending up these bubbles of sound.

We talk of tragic scenes in common life; this was one of them. The
little room with its waxed, inlaid floor, the light falling bloodily in
at the crimson curtains and throwing unreal shadows upon the spent fire,
the disordered furniture, the unmade bed; and there were the two actors,
suffering in their little sphere what only _seems_ more suffering in
prisons and upon scaffolds, and playing with each other's agonies as not
more refined cruelty plays with racks and tortures.

"You are pleased, madame," said Ralph.

"No, I am wondering what has changed you. There are black circles around
your eyes; you have not shaved; the bones of your cheeks are sharp like
your chin, and you are yellow and bent like a dry leaf."

"I have had an excess of money lately. Being free to do as I like, I
have done so."

She looked furtively around the room. "Somebody has gone away from here
this morning--is it true?"

He laughed suggestively.

"I saw you with two girls last night; the company did you honor; it was
one of them, perhaps."

"You guess shrewdly," he replied.

"This is her room now; it may be she will object to see me here."

"You are right," said Ralph Flare, with mock courtesy, rising up. "When
you lived with me I permitted no one to visit me in your absence. My
late friends will be vexed. You have finished the business which brought
you here, and I must go to breakfast now."

Ralph was a good actor. Had he thought Suzette really meant to go, he
would have fallen on his knees.

"Stop, Ralph, my boy," she cried. "I know that you do not love me; I
can't see why I ever believed that you did. But let me sit with you a
little while. You drove me from you once. I know that you have found
one to fill my place; but, _enfant_, I love you. I want to take your
head in my arms as I have done a hundred times, and hear you say one
kind word before we part forever."

"There was a time," he said slowly, "when you did not need my embraces.
I was eager to give them. I did not give you kindness only; I gave you
nourishment, shelter, clothing, money. You were unworthy and ungrateful.
You are nothing to me now. Do not think to wheedle me back to be your
fool again."

"Oh! for charity, my child, not for love--I am too wretched to hope
that--for pity, let me sit by your side five minutes. I cannot put it
into words why I beg it, but it is a little thing to grant. If one
starved you, or had stolen from you, and asked it so earnestly, you
would consent. I only want you to think less bitterly of me. You must
needs have some hard thoughts. I have done wrong, my boy, but you do not
know all the cause, and as what I mean to say cannot make place in your
breast for me now, you will know that it is true, because it has no
design. Oh! _Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!_ It is so hard to have but one deep
love, and yet find that love the greatest sorrow of one's life. It is so
hard to have loved my boy so well, and to know that to the end of his
days he hated me."

She said this with all the impetuosity of her race; with utter
abandonment of plan or effort, yet with a wild power of love and gesture
which we know only upon the stage, but which in France is life, feeling,
reality.

She sat down and sobbed, raising her voice till it rolled with a shrill
music which made him quiver, through the parted curtain and into the
turbulent street. There were troops passing beneath the balcony, and the
clangor of drums and bugles climbed between the stone walls, as if to
pour all its mockery into the little room.

Ralph Flare hated to see a woman cry; it pained him more than her; so he
lifted her in his arms and carried her to the sofa and placed her head
upon his breast. For a long while she sat in that strange luxury of
grief, and she was fearful that he would send her away before her
agitation could pass, and she might speak. His face wore an incredulous
sneer as she spoke, though he knew it was absolute truth. She told him
how wretched she had been, so wretched that even temptation respected
her; how she had never known the intensity of her passion for him till
they were asunder; how all previous attachments were as ice to fire
compared to this; and how the consciousness of its termination should
make her desolate forever.

"I looked upon you," she said, "as one whom I had trained up. Since I
have lost my little Jules I have needed something to care for. I taught
you to speak my language as if you were a baby. You learned the coinage
of the land, and how to walk through the city, and all customs and
places, precisely as a child learns them from his mother. Alas! you were
wiser than I, and it made me sad to feel it. It was like the mother's
regret that her boy is getting above her, in mind, in stature, so that
he shall be able to do without her. Yet with that fear there is a pride
like mine, when I felt that you were clever. Ah! Ralph, you loved to
make me feel how weak and mean I was. You played with my poor heart,
sick enough before, and little by little I felt your love gliding away
from me, till at last you told me that it was gone. You said you should
leave France, never to return--God forgive you if it was not true!--and
when you treated me worst, I was tempted to hear kind words from
another. Fanchette's friend has a rich cousin who admires me. He is to
live in Paris many years. I never loved him, but I am poor, and many
women marry only for a home. He offered that and more to me. I would not
hear it. Oh! if you had only said one tender word to me in those days of
temptation. I begged you for it. When I was humblest at your feet you
put your heel upon me most.

"One night when I had the greatest trouble of all he sat beside me and
plied his suit, and was pleasanter, my boy, than you have ever been; and
then, rising, he placed that box of jewelry in my lap and ran away. I
left it upon Fanchette's mantel that night. She filled my head with
false thoughts next day. I never meant while you were in Paris to do you
any wrong; but I put those jewels in my pocket, meaning to give them up
again; you found them, and I was made wretched."

Ralph made that dry, biting cough which he used to express unbelief. She
only bent her head and wept silently.

"When all was gone, poor me! I have found much sorrow in my little life,
but we are light-hearted in France, and we live and laugh again. Perhaps
you have made me more like one of your countrywomen. I do not
know--only that I can never be happy any more.

"Since we have dwelt apart my tempter has been to see me every day. He
has grand chambers which he will give me, and rich wardrobes, and a
watch, and a voiture. It is a dazzling picture for one who toils, going
all her days on foot, and lovely only to be deceived. But I hate that
man now, because he has come between you and me, and I have slept upon
my tears alone."

She melted again into a long, loud wail, and he proposed nervously that
they should walk into the gardens near by. He said little, and that
contemptuously, tossing his cane at the birds, much interested in a
statue, delighted with the visitors beneath the maroon trees; and she
followed him here and there, very weak, for she had eaten no breakfast,
and not so deceived but she knew that he labored to wound her. He asked
her into a cafe, cavalierly, and was very careful to make display of his
napoleons as he paid. He did not invite her, but she followed him to his
hotel again, and here, as if with terrible _ennui_, he threw himself
upon his bed and feigned to sleep, while she crouched at his table and
wrote him a contrite letter. It was sweetly and simply worded, and asked
that he should let her return to him for his few remaining days in
Paris. If he could not grant so much, might she speak to him in the
street; come to see him sometimes, if only to be reviled; love him,
though she could not hope to be loved? She gave him this note with her
face turned away, and faltered the request that he would think ere he
replied, and hurried to the balcony without, that she might not trouble
him with the presence of her sorrow.

How the street beneath her, into which she looked, had changed since the
nights when they talked together upon this balcony! There was bright
sunshine, but it fell leeringly, not laughingly, upon the columns of the
Odean Theatre, upon the crowds on the Boulevard, upon the decrepit baths
of Julian, upon the far heights of Belleville, upon her more cheerlessly
than upon all.

She listened timorously for his word of recall. She wondered if he were
not writing a reply. Yes, that was his manner; he was cold and sharp of
speech, but he was an artist with his pen. She thought that her long
patience had moved him. Perhaps she should be all forgiven. Aye! they
should dwell together a few days longer. It was a dismal thought that it
must be for a few days, yet that would be some respite, and then they
could part friends; though her heart so clung to his that a parting
should rend it from her, she wanted to live over their brief happiness
again.

"Oh!" said Suzette, in the end, laying her cheek upon the cold iron of
the balcony, "I wish I had died at my father's home of pining for
something to love rather than to have loved thus truly, and have it
accounted my shame. If I were married to this man I could not be his
fonder wife; but because I am not he despises me. All day I have crawled
in the dust; I have made myself cheap in his eyes. If I were prouder he
might not love me more, but his respect would be something."

She rallied and took heart. Pride is the immortal part of woman. With a
brighter eye she entered the room. Her letter, blotted with tears, lay
crumpled and torn upon the floor at his bedside, and he, with his face
to the wall, was snoring sonorously.

"Ralph Flare," cried Suzette, "arise! that letter is the last olive
branch you shall ever see in my hand; _adieu_!"

He opened his eyes yawningly. Suzette, with trembling lips and nostrils,
clasped the door-knob. It shut behind her with a shock. Her feet were
quick upon the stairs; he pursued her like one suddenly gone mad, and
called her back with something between a moan and a howl.

"Do not go away, Suzette," he cried; "I only jested. I meant this
morning to search you out and beg you to come back. I would not lose you
for France--for the world. Be not rash or retaliatory! become not the
companion of this Frenchman who has divided us. We will commence again.
I have tested your fidelity. You shall have all the liberty that you
need, everything that I have; say to me, sweetheart, that you will
stay!"

For a moment her bright eyes were scintillant with wrath and
indignation. He who had racked her all day for his pleasure was bound
and prostrate now. Should she not do as much for her revenge?

"I have no other friend now," he pleaded; "my nights have been
sleepless, solitary. In the days I have drunk deeply, squandered my
money, tried all dissipations, and proved them disappointments. If you
leave me I swear that I will plague myself and you."

"Oh! Ralph," said Suzette, "I do not wonder at the artfulness of women
after this day's lesson. Something impels me to return your cruelty; it
is a bad impulse, and I shall disobey it. I thank God, my baby, that I
cannot do as you have done to me."

She wept again for the last time, but he kissed her tears away, and
wondered where the great shame lay, upon that child or upon him?




PART VI.

DESERTION.


When the last fresh passion was over, Suzette, whose face had grown
purer and sadder, roused Ralph Flare to his more legitimate ambition.
"My child," she said, "if you will work in the gallery every day I will
sew in one of the great _magasans_."

To see that he commenced fairly, she went with him into the Louvre, and
he selected a fine Rembrandt--an old man, bearded and scarred, massively
characterized, and clothed in magic light and shadow.

As Ralph stood at his easel, meditating the master, Suzette now
fluttered around him, now ran off to the far end of the long hall, where
he could see her in miniature, the sweetest portrait in France. At last
he was really absorbed, and she went into the city to fulfil her
promise. She was nimble of finger, and though the work distressed her at
first, she thought of his applause, and persevered.

Their method was the marvel of the unimaginative Terrapin, who made some
philosophic comments upon the "spooney" socially considered, and cut
their acquaintance.

They breakfasted at the _cremery_ at seven o'clock with the _ouvriers_,
and dined at one of Duvall's bouillon establishments. Suzette found the
work easier as she progressed. She was finally promoted to the place of
_coupeur_, or cutter, and had the superintendence of a work-room, where
she made four francs a day, and so paid all her expenses. At the end of
the second month he took the money which he otherwise would have
required for board, and bought her a watch and chain at the _Palais
Royale_. At the same time he put the finishing touch to his picture, and
when hung upon his wall, between their photographs, Suzette danced
before it, and took half the credit upon herself.

Foolish Suzette! she did not know how that old man was her most
dangerous rival. He had done what no beautiful woman in France could
do--weakened her grasp upon Ralph Flare's heart. For now Ralph's old
enthusiasm for his profession reasserted itself. It was his first and
deepest love after all.

"My baby," he said one night, "there was a great artist named
Raphael--and he had a little mistress, whom I don't think a whit
prettier than mine. She was called the _Fornarina_, just as you may be
called the _Coutouriere_, and he painted her portrait in the characters
of saints and of the Virgin. She will be remembered a thousand years,
because Raphael so loved and painted her. But he was not a great artist
only because he loved the _Fornarina_. He had something that he loved
better, and so have I."

"One more beloved than Suzette?" she cried.

"Yes! it is art. I loved you more than my art before; but I am going
back to my first love."

Suzette tossed her head and said that she could never be jealous of a
picture, and went her way with a simple faith and toiled; and as she
toiled the more, so grew her love the purer and her content the more
equal. She was not the aerial thing she had been. Retaining her
elasticity of spirit, she was less volatile, more silent, more careful,
more anxious.

It is wiser, not happier, to reach that estate called thought; for now
she asked herself very often how long this chapter of her life would
last. Must the time come when he must leave her forever? She thought it
the bitterest of all to part as they had done before, with anger; but
any parting must be agony where she had loved so well. As he lay
sleeping, he never knew what tears of midnight were plashing upon his
face. He could not see how her little heart was bleeding as it throbbed.
Yet she went right on, though sometimes the tears blinded her, till she
could not see her needle; but the consciousness that this love and labor
had made her life more sanctified was, in some sort, compensation.

One Sunday she rose before Ralph, and thinking that she was unobserved,
stole out of the hotel and up the Boulevard. He followed her,
suspiciously. She crossed the Place de la Sorbonne, turned the transept
of the Pantheon, and entered the old church of St. Etienne du Mont.

It was early mass. The tapers which have been burning five hundred years
glistened upon the tomb of the holy St. Genevieve. Here and there old
women and girls were kneeling in the chapels, whispering their sins into
the ears of invisible priests. And beneath the delicate tracery of
screen and staircase, and the gloriously-painted windows, and the image
of Jesus crucified looking down upon all, some groups of poor people
were murmuring their prayers and making the sign of the cross.

Ralph entered by a door in the choir. He saw Suzette stand pallidly
beside the holy water, and when she had touched it with the tips of her
fingers, and made the usual rites, she staggered, as if in shame, to a
remote chair, and kneeling down covered her face with her missal. Now
and then the organ boomed out. The censers were swung aloft, dispensing
their perfumes, and all the people made obeisance. Ralph did not know
what it all meant. He only saw his little girl penitent and in prayer,
and he knew that she was carrying her sin and his to the feet of the
Eternal Mercy.

He feigned sleep in the same way each Sunday succeeding, and she
disappeared as before. After a while she spoke of her family, and
wondered if her father would forgive her. She would not have forgiven
him three months ago, but was quite humble now.

She sent her photograph to the old man, and a letter came back, the
first she had received for two years.

She felt unwilling, also, to receive further gifts or support from
Ralph. If I were his wife, she said, it might be well, but since it is
not so, I must not be dependent.

Foolish Suzette again! She did not know that men love best where they
most protect. The wife who comes with a dower may climb as high as her
husband's pocket, but seldom lies snugly at his heart. Her changed
conduct did not draw him closer to her. He felt uneasy and unworthy. He
missed the artfulness which had been so winning. He had jealousies no
longer to keep his passion quick, for he could not doubt her devotion.
There was nothing to lack in Suzette, and that was a fault. She had
become modest, docile, truthful, grave. A noble man might have
appreciated her the better. Ralph Flare was a representative man, and he
did not.

His friends in America thought his copy from Rembrandt wonderful. Their
flattery made his ambition glow and flame. His mother, whose woman's
instinct divined the cause of his delay in Paris, sent him a pleading
letter to go southward; and thus reprimanded, praised, rewarded, what
was he to do?

He resolved to leave France--and without Suzette!

He had not courage to tell her that the separation was final. He spoke
of an excursion merely, and took but a handful of baggage. She had
doubts that were like deaths to her; but she believed him, and after a
feverish night went with him in the morning to the train. He was to
write every day.

Would she take money?

"No."

But she might have unexpected wants--sickness, accident, charity?

"If so," she said trustfully, "would not her boy come back?"

He had just time to buy his ticket and gain the platform. He folded her
in his arms, and exchanged one long, sobbing kiss. It seemed to Ralph
Flare that the sound of that kiss was like a spell--the breaking of the
pleasantest link in his life--the passing from sinfulness to a baser
selfishness--the stamp and seal upon his bargain with ambition, whereby
for the long future he was sold to the sorrow of avarice and the
deceitfulness of fame.

There was a sharp whistle from the locomotive--who invented that whistle
to pierce so many bosoms at parting?--the cars moved one by one till the
last, in which he was seated, sprang forward with a jerk; and though she
was quite blind, he saw her handkerchief waving till all had vanished,
and he would have given the world to have shed one tear.

He has gone on into the free country, and to-night he will sleep under
the shadow of the mountains.

She has turned back into the dark city, and she will not sleep at all in
her far-up chamber.

It is only one heart crushed, and thousands that deserve more sympathy
beat out every day. We only notice this one because it shall lie
bleeding, and get no sympathy at all.




PART VII.

DISSOLVING VIEW.


That he might not meet with his own countrymen, Ralph halted at Milan,
and in the great deserted gallery of the Brera went steadily to work.
If, as it often happened, Suzette's pale face got between him and the
canvas, he mentioned his own name and said "renown," and took a turn in
the remote corridor where young Raphael's _Sposializo_ hung opposite
that marvel of Guercino's--poor Hagar and her boy Ishmael driven
abroad. These adjuncts and the fiercer passion of self had their effect.

He never wrote to Suzette, but sent secretly for his baggage, and was
well pleased with the consciousness that he could forget her. After
three months he set out for Florence and studied the masterpieces of
Andrea del Sarto, and tried his hand at the _Flora_ of Titian.

He went into society somewhat, and was very much afraid his unworthy
conduct in Paris might be bruited abroad. Indeed, he could hardly
forgive himself the fondness he had known, and came to regard Suzette as
a tolerably bad person, who had bewitched him. He burned all her
letters, and a little lock of hair he had clipped while she was asleep
once, and blotted the whole experience out of his diary. The next Sunday
he went to hear the Rev. Mr. Hall preach, and felt quite consoled.

The summer fell upon Val d'Arno like the upsetting of a Tuscan
_Scaldino_, and Ralph Flare regretfully took his departure northward.
All the world was going to Paris--why not he? Was he afraid? Certainly
not; it had been a great victory over temptation to stay away so long.
He would carry out the triumph by braving a return.

In accordance with his principles of economy, he took a third-class
ticket at Basle. He could so make better studies of passengers; for,
somehow, your first-class people have not character faces. The only
character you get out of them is the character of wine they consume.

He left the Alps behind him, and rolled all day through the prosaic
plains of France; startling the pale little towns, down whose treeless
streets the sun shone, oh! so drearily, and taking up boors and
market-folks at every monastic station. There was a pretty young girl
sitting beside Ralph in the afternoon, but he refused to talk to her,
for he was schooling himself, and preferred to scan the features of an
odd old couple who got in at Troyes.

They were two old people of the country, and they sat together in the
descending shadows of the day, quite like in garb and feature, their
chins a little peakish, and the hairs of both turning gray. The man was
commonplace, as he leaned upon a staff, and between their feet were
paniers of purchases they had been making, which the woman regarded
indifferently, as if her heart reached farther than her eyes, and met
some soft departed scene which she would have none other see.

"She has a good face," said Flare. "I wish she would keep there a moment
more. By George, she looks like somebody I have known."

The old man nodded on his staff. The rumble of the carriages subdued to
a lull all lesser talk or murmurs, and the sky afar off brought into
sharp relief the two Gallic profiles, close together, as if they were
used to reposing so; yet in the language of their deepening lines lay
the stories of lives very, very wide apart.

"The old girl's face is soft," said Ralph Flare. "She has brightened
many a bit of Belgian pike road, and the brown turban on her head is in
clever contrast to the silver shimmer of her hairs. How anomalous are
life and art! How unconscious is this old lady of the narrow escape she
is making from perpetuation! Doubtless she works afield beside that old
Jacques Bonhomme, and drinks sour wine or Normandy cider on Sundays.
That may be the best fate of Suzette, but it must be an amply dry
reformation for any little grisette to contemplate. For such prodigals
going home there is no fatted calf slain. No fathers see them afar off
and run to place the ring upon their fingers. They renounce precarious
gayety for persistent slavery. The keen wit of the student is exchanged
for the pipe and mug and dull oath of the boor. I wish every such girl
back again to so sallow a fate, and pity her when she gets there."

And so, with much unconscious sentimentality, and the two old market
people silent before him, Ralph Flare's eyes half closed also, and the
lull of the wheels, the long lake streaks of the sedative skies, the
coming of great shadows like compulsions to slumber, made his forehead
fall and the world go up and down and darken.

It was the old woman who shook him from that repose; she only touched
him, but her touch was like a lost sense restored. He thrilled and sat
stock still, with her withered blue hand on his arm, and heard the
pinched lips say, unclosing with a sort of quiver:

"Baby!"

He looked again, and seemed to himself to grow quite old as he looked,
and he said,

"_Enfant perdu!_"

The turban kept its place, the peaked chin kept as peaked; there seemed
even more silver in the smooth hair, and the old serge gown drooped as
brownly; but the sweet old face grew soft as a widow's looking at the
only portrait she guards, and a tear, like a drop of water exhumed, ran
to the tip of her nostril.

"Suzette!" he said, "my early sin; do you come back as well with the
turning of my hairs? Has the first passion a shadow long as forever? Why
have we met?"

"Not of my seeking was this meeting, Ralph. Speak softly, for my husband
sleeps, and he is old like thee and me. If my face is an accusation, let
my lips be forgiveness. The love of you made my life dutiful; the loss
of you saddened my days, but it was the sadness of religion! I sinned no
more, and sought my father's fields, and delayed, with my hand purified
by his blessing, the residue of his sands of life. I made my years good
to my neighbors, the sick, the bereaved. I met the temptations of the
young with a truer story than pleasure tells, and when I married it was
with the prelude of my lost years related and forgiven. With children's
faces the earnestness and beauty of life returned; for this, for more,
for all, may your reward be bountiful!"

There is no curse like the dream of old age. Ralph Flare felt, with the
sudden whitening of each separate hair, the sudden remembrance of each
separate folly; and the moments of grief he had wrung from the little
girl of the Quartier Latin revived like one's mean acts seen through
others' eyes.

"Pardon you, child, Suzette?" he said; "to me you were more than I
hoped, more than I wished. I asked your face only, and you gave me your
heart. For the unfaithfulness, for the wrath, for the unmanliness, for
the tyranny with which I treated you, my soul upbraids me."

"How thankful am I," she answered; "the terror to me was that you had
learned in the Quartier lessons to make your after-life monotonous. I am
happy."

Their hands met; to his gray beard fell the smile upon her mouth; they
forget the Quartier Latin; they felt no love but forgiveness, which is
the tenderest of emotions. The whistle blew shrilly; the train stopped;
Ralph Flare awoke from sleep; but the old couple were gone.

He went to Paris, and, contrary to his purpose, inquired for her. She
had been seen by none since his departure. He wrote to the Maire of her
commune, and this was the reply:

     "_Ralph, Merci! Pardonne!_

     "SUZETTE."

He felt no loss. He felt softened toward her only; and he turned his
back on the Quartier Latin with a man's easy satisfaction that he could
forget.




  THE PIGEON GIRL.

  On the sloping market-place,
    In the village of Compeigne,
  Every Saturday her face,
    Like a Sunday, comes again;
  Daylight finds her in her seat,
  With her panier at her feet,
    Where her pigeons lie in pairs;
  Like their plumage gray her gown,
  To her sabots drooping down;
  And a kerchief, brightly brown,
    Binds her smooth, dark hairs.

  All the buyers knew her well,
    And, perforce, her face must see,
  As a holy Raphael
    Lures us in a gallery;
  Round about the rustics gape,
  Drinking in her comely shape,
    And the housewives gently speak,
  When into her eyes they look,
  As within some holy book,
  And the gables, high and crook,
    Fling their sunshine on her cheek.

  In her hands two milk-white doves,
    Happy in her lap to lie,
  Softly murmur of their loves,
    Envied by the passers-by;
  One by one their flight they take,
  Bought and cherished for her sake,
    Leaving so reluctantly;
  Till the shadows close approach,
  Fades the pageant, foot and coach,
  And the giants in the cloche
    Ring the noon for Picardie.

  Round the village see her glide,
    With a slender sunbeam's pace!
  Mirrored in the Oise's tide,
    The gold-fish float upon her face;
  All the soldiers touch their caps;
  In the cafes quit their naps
    Garcon, guest, to wish her back;
  And the fat old beadles smile
  As she kneels along the aisle,
  Like Pucelle in other while,
    In the dim church of Saint Jacques.

  Now she mounts her dappled ass--
    He well-pleased such friend to know--
  And right merrily they pass
    The armorial chateau;
  Down the long, straight paths they tread
  Till the forest, overhead,
    Whispers low its leafy love;
  In the archways' green caress
  Rides the wondrous dryadess--
  Thrills the grass beneath her press,
    And the blue-eyed sky above.

  I have met her, o'er and o'er,
    As I strolled alone apart,
  By a lonely carrefour
    In the forest's tangled heart,
  Safe as any stag that bore
  Imprint of the Emperor;
    In the copse that round her grew
  Tiptoe the straight saplings stood,
  Peeped the wild boar's satyr brood,
  Like an arrow clove the wood
    The glad note of the cuckoo.

  How I wished myself her friend!
    (So she wished that I were more)
  Jogging toward her journey's end
    At Saint Jean au Bois before,
  Where her father's acres fall
  Just without the abbey wall;
    By the cool well loiteringly
  The shaggy Norman horses stray,
  In the thatch the pigeons play,
  And the forest round alway
    Folds the hamlet, like a sea.

  Far forgotten all the feud
    In my New World's childhood haunts,
  If my childhood she renewed
    In this pleasant nook of France;
  Might she make the blouse I wear,
  Welcome then her homely fare
    And her sensuous religion!
  To the market we should ride,
  In the Mass kneel side by side,
  Might I warm, each eventide,
    In my nest, my pretty pigeon.




THE DEAF MAN OF KENSINGTON.

A TALE OF AN OLD SUBURB.

       *       *       *       *       *




CHAPTER I.

THE MURDER.


Between the Delaware River and Girard Avenue, which is the market street
of the future, and east of Frankfort Road, lies Kensington, a
respectable old district of the Quaker City, and occupying the same
relation to it that Kensington in England does to London. Beyond both
Kensingtons is a Richmond, but the English Richmond is a beauteous hill,
with poetical recollections of Pope and Thomson, while our Richmond is
the coal district of Philadelphia, flat to the foot and dingy to the
eye.

Kensington, however, was once no faint miniature of the staid British
suburb. The river bending to the eastward there conducts certain of the
streets crookedly away from the rectangular Quaker demon who is ever
seeking to square them. Along the water side, or near it, passes a sort
of Quay Street, between ship-yards and fish-houses on the one side, and
shops or small tenements on the other, and this street scarcely
discloses the small monument on the site of the Treaty Tree, where
William Penn in person satisfied the momentary expectations of his
Indian subjects.

Nearly parallel to the water side street is another, wider and more
aristocratic, and lined with many handsome dwellings of brick, or even
brown-stone, where the successful shipbuilders, fishtakers, coal men,
and professional classes have established themselves or their posterity.
This street was once called Queen, afterward Richmond Street, and it is
crossed by others, as Hanover, Marlborough, and Shackamaxon, which
attest in their names the duration of royal and Indian traditions
hereabout. Pleasant maple, sometimes sycamore and willow trees shade
these old streets, and they are kept as clean as any in this ever-mopped
and rinsed metropolis, while the society, though disengaged from the
great city, had its better and worser class, and was fastidious about
morals and behavior, and not disinclined to express its opinion.

One winter day in a certain year Kensington had a real sensation. The
Delaware was frozen from shore to shore, and one could walk on the ice
from Smith's to Treaty Island, and from Cooper's Point to the mouth of
the Cohocksink. On the second afternoon of the great freeze fires were
built on the river, and crowds assembled at certain smooth places to see
great skaters like Colonel Page cut flourishes and show sly gallantry to
the buxom housewives and grass widows of Kensington and the Jerseys. A
few horses were driven on the ice, and hundreds of boys ran merrily with
real sleighs crowded down with their friends. A fight or two was
improvised, and unlicensed vendors set forth the bottle that inebriates.
In the midst of the afternoon gayety a small boy, kneeling down to
buckle up to a farther hole the straps on his guttered skates, saw just
at his toe something like human hair. The small boy rose to his feet and
stamped with all his might around that object, not in any apprehension
but because small boys like to know; and when the ice had been well
broken, kneeling down and pulling it out in pieces with his mitten, the
small boy felt something cold and smooth, and then he poked his finger
into a human eye. It was a dead man. No sooner had the urchin found this
out than he bellowed out at the top of his voice, running and falling as
he yelled: "Murder! Murder! Murder!"

From all parts of the ice, like flies chasing over a silver salver
toward some sweet point of corruption, the hundreds and thousands
swarmed at the news that a dead body had been found. When they arrived
on the spot, spades, picks, and ice-hooks had been procured by those
nearest shore, and the whole mystery brought from the depths of the
river to the surface.

There lay together on the ice two men, apparently several days in the
water, and with the usual look of drowned people of good
condition--glassy and of fixed expression, as if in the moment of death
a consenting grimness had stolen into their countenances, neither
composed nor terrified.

The bodies had been already recognized when the main part of the crowd
arrived. Kensington people, generally, knew them both.

"It's William Zane and his business partner, Sayler Rainey! They own one
of the marine railways at Kensington. Come to think of it, I haven't
seen them around for nearly a week, neighbor!" exclaimed an old man.

"It's a case of drowning, no doubt," spoke up a little fellow who did a
river business in old chains and junk. "You see they had another
ship-mending place on the island opposite Kinsington, and rowin'
theirselves over was upset and never missed!"

"Quare enough too!" added a third party, "for yisterday I had a talk
with young Andrew Zane, this one's son (touching the body with his
foot), and Andrew said--a little pale I thought he was--says he, 'Pop's
_about_.'"

Here a little buzz of mystery--so grateful to crowds which have come far
over slippery surface and expect much--undulated to the outward
boundaries. As the people moved the ice cracked like a cannon shot, and
they dispersed like blackbirds, to rally soon again.

"Here's a doctor! Now we'll know about it! _He's_ here!" was exclaimed
by several, as an important little man was pushed along, and the
thickest crowd gave him passage. The little man borrowed a boy's cap to
kneel on, adjusted a sort of microscopic glass to his nose, as if plain
eyes had no adequate use to this scientific necessity, and he called up
two volunteers to turn the corpses over, keep back the throng, give him
light, and add imposition to apprehension. Finally he stopped at a place
in the garments of the principal of the twain. "Here is a hole," he
exclaimed, "with burned woollen fibre about it, as if a pistol had been
fired at close quarters. Draw back this woollen under-jacket! There--as
I expected, gentlemen, is a pistol shot in the breast! What is the name
of the person? Ah! thank you! Well, William Zane, gentlemen, was shot
before he was drowned?"

The great crowd swayed and rushed forward again, and again the ice
cracked like artillery. Before the multitude could swarm to the honey of
a crime a second time, the news was dispersed that both of the drowned
men had bullet wounds in their bodies, and both had been undoubtedly
murdered. Some supposed it was the work of river pirates; others a
private revenge, perpetrated by some following boat's party in the
darkness of night. But more than one person piped shrilly ere the people
wearily scattered in the dusk for their homes on the two shores of the
river: "How did it happen that young Zane, the old un's son, said
yisterday that his daddy was about, when he's been frozen in at least
three days?"




CHAPTER II.

THE FLIGHT.


A handsome residence on the south side of Queen Street had been the home
of the prosperous ship-carpenter, William Zane. His name was on the door
on a silver plate. As the evening deepened and the news spread, the bell
was pulled so often that it aided the universal alarm following a crime,
and a crowd of people, reinforced by others as fast as it thinned out,
kept up the watch on ever-recurring friends, coroner's officers and
newspaper reporters, as they ascended the steps, looked grave, made
inquiries, and returned to dispense their information.

But there was very little indignation, for Zane had been an insanely
passionate man, rather hard and exacting, and had he been found dead
alone anywhere it would probably have been said at once that he brought
it on himself. His partner, Rainey, however, had conducted himself so
negatively and mildly, and was of such general estimation, that the
murder of the senior member of the film took on some unusual public
sympathy from the reflected sorrow for his fellow-victim. The latter had
been one of Zane's apprentices, raised to a place in the establishment
by his usefulness and sincere love of his patron. Just, forbearing,
soft-spoken, and not avaricious, Sayler Rainey deserved no injury from
any living being. He was unmarried, and, having met with a
disappointment in love, had avowed his intention never to marry, but to
bequeath all the property he should acquire to his partner's only son,
Andrew Zane.

What, then, was the motive of this double murder? The public
comprehension found but one theory, and that was freely advanced by the
rash and imputative in the community of Kensington: The murderer was he
who had the only known temptation and object in such a crime. Who could
gain anything by it but Andrew Zane, the impulsive, the mischief-making
and oft-restrained son of his stern sire, who, by a double crime, would
inherit that undivided property, free from the control of both parent
and guardian?

"It is parricide! that's what it is!" exclaimed a fat woman from
Fishtown. "At the bottom of the river dead men tell no tales. The
rebellious young sarpint of a son, who allus pulled a lusty oar, has
chased them two older ones into the deep water of the channel, where a
pistol shot can't be heard ashore, and he expected the property to be
his'n. But there are gallowses yet, thank the Lord!"

"Mrs. Whann, don't say that," spoke up a deferential voice from the face
of a rather sallow-skinned young man, with long, ringleted, yellow hair.
"Don't create a prejudice, I beg of you. Andrew Zane was my classmate.
He gave his excellent father some trouble, but it shouldn't be
remembered against him now. Suppose, my friends, that you let me ring
the bell and inquire?"

"Who's that?" asked the crowd. "He's a fine, mature-looking, charitable
young man, anyway."

"Its the old Minister Van de Lear's son, Calvin. He's going to succeed
his venerable and pious poppy in Kensington pulpit. They'll let him in."

The door closed when Calvin Van de Lear entered the residence of the
late William Zane. When it reopened he was seen with a handkerchief in
his hand and his hat pulled down over his eyes, as if he had been
weeping.

"Stop! stop! don't be going off that way!" interposed the fat fishwife.
"You said you would tell us the news."

"My friends," replied Calvin Van de Lear, with a look of the greatest
pain, "Andrew Zane has not been heard from. I fear your suspicions are
too true!"

He crossed the street and disappeared into the low and elderly residence
of his parents.

"Alas! alas!" exclaimed a grave and gentle old man. "That Andrew Zane
should not be here to meet a charge like this! But I'll not believe it
till I have prayed with my God."

Within the Zane residence all was as in other houses on funeral eves. In
the front parlor, ready for an inquest or an undertaker, lay the late
master of the place, laid out, and all the visitors departed except his
housekeeper, Agnes, and her friend, "Podge" Byerly. The latter was a
sunny-haired and nimble little lady, under twenty years of age, who
taught in one of the public schools and boarded with her former
school-mate, Agnes Wilt. Agnes was an orphan of unknown parentage, by
many supposed to have been a niece or relative of Mr. Zane's deceased
wife, whose place she took at the head of the table, and had grown to be
one of the principal social authorities in Kensington. In Reverend Mr.
Van de Lear's church she was both teacher and singer. The young men of
Kensington were all in love with her, but it was generally understood
that she had accepted Andrew Zane, and was engaged to him.

Andrew was not dissipated, but was fond of pranks, and so restive under
his father's positive hand that he twice ran away to distant seaports,
and thus incurred a remarkable amount of intuitive gossip, such as
belongs to all old settled suburban societies. This occasional firmness
of character in the midst of a generally light and flexible life, now
told against him in the public mind. "He has nerve enough to do anything
desperate in a pinch," exclaimed the very wisest. "Didn't William Zane
find him out once in the island of Barbadoes grubbing sugar-cane with a
hoe, and the thermometer at 120 in the shade? And didn't he swear he'd
stay there and die unless concessions were made to him, and certain
things never brought up again? Didn't even his iron-shod father have to
give way before he would come home? Ah! Andrew is light-hearted, but he
is an Indian in self-will!"

To-night Agnes was in the deepest grief. Upon her, and only her, fell
the whole burden of this double crime and mystery, ten times more
terrible that her lover was compromised and had disappeared.

"Go to bed, Podge!" said Agnes, as the clock in the engine-house struck
midnight. "Oblige me, my dear! I cannot sleep, and shall wait and watch.
Perhaps Andrew will be here."

"I can't leave you up, Aggy, and with that thing so near." She locked
toward the front parlor, where, behind the folding-doors, lay the dead.

"I have no fear of _that_. He was always kind to me. My fears are all in
this world. O _darling_!"

She burst into sobs. Her friend kissed her again and again, and knew
that feelings between love and crime extorted that last word.

"Aggy," spoke the light-hearted girl, "I know that you cannot help
loving him, and as long as he is loved by you I sha'n't believe him
guilty. Must I really leave you here?"

Her weeping friend turned up her face to give the mandatory kiss, and
Podge was gone.

Agnes sat in solitude, with her hands folded and her heart filled with
unutterable tender woe, that so much causeless cloud had settled upon
the home of her refuge. She could not experience that relief many of us
feel in deep adversity, that it is all illusion, and will in a moment
float away like other dreams. Brought to this house an orphan, and twice
deprived of a mother's love, she had only entered woman's estate when
another class of cares beset her. Her beauty and sweetness of
disposition had brought her more lovers than could make her happy. There
was but one on whom she could confer her heart, and this natural choice
had drawn around her the perils which now overwhelmed them all.
Accepting the son, she incurred the father's resentment upon both; for
he, the dead man yonder, had also been her lover.

"Oh, my God!" exclaimed the anguished woman, kneeling by her chair and
laying her cheek upon it, while only such tears as we shed in supreme
moments saturated her handkerchief, "what have I done to make such
misery to others? How sinful I must be to set son and father against
each other! Yet, Heavenly Father, I can but love!"

There was a cracking of something, as if the dead man in the great,
black parlor had carried his jealousy beyond his doom and was breaking
from his coffin to upbraid her. A door burst open in the dining-room,
which was behind her, and then the dining-room door also unclosed, and
was followed by a cold, graveyard draft. A moment of superstition
possessed Agnes. "Guard me, Saviour," she murmured.

At the dining-room threshold, advancing a little over the sill, as if to
rush upon her, was the figure of a man, dressed, head to foot, in
sailor's garments--heavy woollens, comforter, tarpaulin overalls, and
knit cap. He looked at her an instant, standing there, shivering, and
then he retired a pace or two and closed the door to the cellar, by
which he had entered the house. Even this little movement in the
intruder had something familiar about it. He advanced again, directly
and rapidly, toward her, but she did not scream. He threw both arms
around her, and she did not cry. Something had entered with that bold
figure which extinguished all crime and superstition in the monarchy of
its presence--Love.

A kiss, as fervent and long as only the reunited ever give with purity,
drew the soul of the suspected murderer and his sweetheart into one
temple.

"Agnes," he whispered hoarsely, when it was given, "they have followed
me hard to-night. Every place I might have resorted to is watched. All
Kensington--my oldest friends--believe me guilty! I cannot face it. With
this kiss I must go."

"Oh, Andrew, do not! Here is the place to make your peace; here take
your stand and await the worst."

"Agnes," he repeated, "I have no defence. Nothing but silence would
defend me now, and that would hang me to the gallows. I come to put my
life and soul into your hands. Can you pray for me, bad as I am?"

"Dear Andrew," answered Agnes, weeping fast, "I have no power to stop
you, and I cannot give you up. Yes, I will pray for you now, before you
start on your journey. Go open those folding-doors and we will pray in
the other room."

"What is there?"

"Your father."

He stopped a long while, and his cheek was blanched.

"Go first," he whispered finally. "I am not afraid."

She led the way to the bier, where the body, with the frost hardly yet
thawed from it, lay under the dim light of the chandelier. Turning up
the burners it was revealed in its relentless, though not unhappy,
expression--a large and powerful man, bearded and with tassels of gray
in his hair.

The young man in his coarse sailor's garb, muffled up for concealment
and disguise, placed his arm around Agnes, and his knees were unsteady
as he gazed down on the remains and began to sob.

"Dear," she murmured, also weeping, "I know you loved him!"

The young man's sobs became so loud that Agnes drew him to a chair, and
as she sat upon it he laid his head in her lap and continued there to
express a deep inward agony.

"I loved him always," he articulated at last, "so help me God, I did!
And a _parricide_! Can you survive it?"

"Andrew," she replied, "I have taken it all to heaven and laid the sin
there. Forever, my darling, intercession continues for all our offences
only there. It must be our recourse in this separation every day when we
rise and lie down. Though blood-stained, he can wash as white as snow."

"I will try, I will try!" he sobbed; "but your goodness is my reliance,
dearest. I have always been disobedient to my father, but never thought
it would come to this."

"Nor I, Andrew. Poor, rash uncle!"

"Agnes," whispered Andrew Zane, rising with a sudden fear, "I hear
people about the house--on the pavement, on the doorsteps. Perhaps they
are suspecting me. I must fly. Oh! shall we ever meet again under a
brighter sky? Will you cling to me? I am going out, abandoned by all the
world. Nothing is left me but your fidelity. Will it last? You know you
are beautiful!"

"Oh, sad words to say!" sighed Agnes. "Let none but you ever say them to
me again. Beautiful, and to the end of such misery as this! My only
love, I will never forsake you!"

"Then I can try the world again, winter as it is. Once more, oh, God!
let me ask forgiveness from these frozen lips. My father! pursue me not,
though deep is my offence! Farewell, farewell forever!"

He disappeared down the cellar as he had come, and Agnes heard at the
outer window the sound of his escaping. When all was silent she fell to
the floor, and lay there helplessly weeping.




CHAPTER III.

THE DEAF MAN.


The inquest was held, and the jury pronounced the double crime murder by
persons unknown, but with strong suspicion resting on Andrew Zane and an
unknown laborer, who had left Pettit's or Treaty Island, at night, in an
open boat with William Zane and Sayler Rainey. A reward was offered for
Andrew Zane and the laborer.

The will of the deceased persons made Andrew Zane full legatee of both
estates, and left a life interest in the Queen Street house, and $2000 a
year to "Agnes Wilt, my ward and housekeeper." The executors of the Zane
estate were named as Agnes Wilt, Rev. Silas Van de Lear, and Duff
Salter. The two dead men were interred together in the old Presbyterian
burial-ground, and after a month or two of diminishing excitement,
Kensington settled down to the idea that there was a great mystery
somewhere; that Andrew Zane was probably guilty; but that the principal
evidence against him was his own flight.

As to Agnes, there was only one respectable opinion--that she was a
superb work of nature and triumph of womanhood, notwithstanding romantic
and possibly awkward circumstances of origin and relation. All men, of
whatever time of life and for whatsoever reason, admired her--the mean
and earthy if only for her mould, the morally discerning for her
beautiful quality that pitied, caressed, encouraged, or elevated all who
came within her sphere.

"Preachers of the Gospel ought to have such wives," said the Rev. Silas
Van de Lear, looking at his son Calvin, "as Agnes Wilt. She is the most
handy churchwoman in all my ministration in Kensington, which is now
forty years. Besides being pious, and virtuous, and humble before God,
she is very comely to the eye, and possesses a house and an independent
income. A wife like that would naturally help a young minister to get a
higher call."

Young Calvin, who was expected to succeed his father in the venerable
church close by, and was studying divinity, said with much cool
maturity:

"Pa, I've taken it all in. She's the only single girl in Kensington
worth proposing to. It's true that we don't know just who she is, but
it's not that I'm so much afraid of as her, her--in short, her piety."

"Piety does not stand in the way of marriage," answered the old man, who
was both bold and prudent, wise and sincere. "In the covenant of God
nothing is denied to his saints in righteousness. The sense of wedded
pleasure, the beauty that delights the eye, love, appetite, children,
and financial independence--all are ours, no less as of the Elect than
as worldly creatures. The love of God in the heart warms men and women
toward each other."

"Oh, as to that!" exclaimed Calvin, "I've been warmed toward Miss Agnes
since I was a boy. I think she is superb. But she is a little too good
for me. She looks at me whenever I talk to her, whereas the proper way
of humility would be to look down. She has been in love with Andrew
Zane, you know!"

"That," said the preacher, "is probably off; though I never discovered
in Andrew more evil than a light heart and occasional rebellion. If she
loves him still, do not be in haste to jar her sensibility. It is
thoughtfulness which engenders love."

The young women of Kensington were divided about Agnes Wilt. The poorer
girls thought her perfect. But some marriageable and some married women,
moving in her own sphere of society, criticised her popularity, and said
she must be artful to control so many men. There are no depths to which
jealousy cannot go in a small suburban society. Agnes, as an orphan, had
felt it since childhood, but nothing had ever happened until now to
concentrate slander as well as sympathy upon her. It was told abroad
that she had been the mistress of her deceased benefactor, who had
fallen by the hands of his infuriated son. Even the police authorities
gave some slight consideration to this view. Old people remarked: "If
she has been deceiving people, she will not stop now. She will have
other secret lovers."

Inquiries had been made for some time as to who the unknown executor,
Duff Salter, might be, when one day Rev. Mr. Van de Lear walked over to
the Zane house with a broad-shouldered, grave, silent-eyed man, who wore
a very long white beard reaching to his middle. As he was also tall and
but little bent, he had that mysterious union of strength and age which
was perfected by his expression of long and absolute silence.

"Agnes," said Mr. Van de Lear, "this is an old Scotch-Irish friend and
classmate of the late Mr. Zane, Duff Salter of Arkansas. He cannot hear
what I have said, for he is almost stone deaf. However, go through the
motions of shaking hands. I am told he has heard very little of anything
for the past ten years. An explosion in a quicksilver mine broke his
ear-drums."

Agnes, dressed in deep black, shook hands with the grave stranger
dutifully, and said:

"I am sure you are welcome, sir."

Mr. Salter looked at her closely and gently, and seemed to be pleased
with the inspection, for he took a small gold box from his pocket,
unlocked it and sniffed a pinch of snuff, and then gave a sneeze, which
he articulated, plain as speech, into the words: "Jericho! Jericho!"
Then placing the box in the pocket of his long coat, he remarked:

"Miss Agnes, as one of the executors is a lady, and another is our
venerable friend here, who has no inclination to attend to the
settlement of Mr. Zane's estate, it will devolve upon me to examine the
whole subject. I am a stranger in the East. As Mr. Van de Lear may have
told you, I don't hear anything. Will I be welcome as a boarder under
your roof as long as I am looking into my old friend's books and
papers?"

"Not only welcome, but a protection to us, sir," answered Agnes.

He took a set of ivory tablets from his pocket, with a pencil, and
handing it to her politely, said:

"Please write your answer."

She wrote "Yes."

The deaf lodger gave as little trouble as could have been expected. He
had a bedroom, and moved a large secretary desk into it, and sat there
all day looking at figures. If he ever wanted to make an inquiry, he
wrote it on the tablets, and in the evening had it read and answered.
Agnes was a good deal of the time preoccupied, and Podge Byerly, who
wrote as neatly as copper-plate, answered these inquiries, and conducted
a little conversation of her own. Podge was a slender blonde, with fine
blue eyes and a mischievous, sylph-like way of coming and going. Her
freedom of motion and address seemed to concern the stranger. One day
she wrote, after putting down the answer to a business inquiry:

"Are you married?"

He hesitated some time and wrote back, "I hope not."

She retorted, "Could one forget if one was married?"

He replied on the same tablet: "Not when he tried."

Podge rubbed it all off, and thought a minute, and then concluded that
evening's correspondence:

"You are an old tease!"

The next morning, as usual, she wrapped herself up warmly and took the
omnibus for her school, and saw him watching her out of the upper
window. That night, instead of any inquiries, he stalked down in his
worked slippers--the dead man's--and long dressing gown, and, after
smiling at all, took Podge Byerly's hand and looked at it. This time he
spoke in a sweet, modulated voice,

"Very pretty!"

She was about to reply, when he gave her the ivory tablet, and put his
finger on his lip.

She wrote, "Did you ever fight a duel?"

He shook his head "No."

She wrote again, "What else do they do in Arkansas?"

He replied, "They love."

Then Mr. Duff Salter sneezed very loudly, "Jericho! Jericho! Jericho!"
Podge ran off at such a serious turn of responses, but was too much of a
woman not to be lured back of her own will. He wrote later in the
evening this touching query:

"How do the birds sing now? Are they all dumb?"

She answered, "Many can hear who never heard them."

He wrote again, "Are you suspicious?"

She replied, "_Very_. Are you?"

He shook his head "No."

"I believe he _is_," said Podge, turning to Agnes, who had entered. "He
looks as if he had asked that question of himself."

Duff Salter seized his handkerchief and sneezed into it, "Jericho-o!
Jericho-wo!"

Podge was sure he was suspicious the next night when she read on his
tablets the rather imputative remark,

"Is there anything demoralizing in teaching public schools?"

She replied tartly, "Yes, stupid old visitors and parents!"

"Excuse me!" he wrote; "I meant politicians."

She replied in the same spirit as before, "I think politicians are
divine!"

Duff Salter looked a little wondering out of those calm gray eyes and
his strong, yet benevolent Scotch-Irish countenance. Podge, who now
talked freely with Agnes in his presence, said confidently:

"I believe I can tantalize this good old granny by giving him doubts
about me! I am real bad, Aggy; you know that! It is no story to tell
it!"

"Oh! we are both bad enough to try to improve," exclaimed Agnes
absently.

"Jericho! Jericho! Jericho!" sneezed Duff Salter.

He came down every evening, and began respectfully to bow to Agnes and
to smile on Podge, and then stretched his feet out to the ottoman, drew
his tablets up to the small table and proceeded to write. They hallooed
into his ear once or twice, but he said he was deaf as a mill-stone, and
might be cursed to his face and wouldn't understand it. They had formed
a pleasing opinion of him, not unmixed with curiosity, when one night he
wrote on the back of a piece of paper:

"Have you any idea who wrote this anonymous note to me?"

Podge Byerly took the note and found in a woman's handwriting these
words:

     "Mr. Duff Salter, I suppose you know where you are. Your hostesses
     are very insinuating and artful--and what else, _you can find out_!
     One man has been murdered in that family; another has disappeared.
     They say in Kensington the house of Zane is haunted.

     "A WARNER."

Podge read the note, and her tears dropped upon it. He moved forward as
if to speak to her, but correcting himself hastily, he wrote upon the
tablets:

"Not even a suspicious person is affected the least by an anonymous
letter. I only keep it that possibly I may detect the sender!"




CHAPTER IV.

A SUITOR.


Duff Salter and the ladies were sitting in the back parlor one evening
following the events just related, when the door-bell rang, and Podge
Byerly went to see who was there. She soon returned and closed the door
of the front parlor, leaving a little crack, by accident, and lighted
the gas there.

"Aggy," whispered Podge, coming in, "there's Mr. Calvin Van de Lear, our
future minister. He's elegantly dressed, and has a nosegay in his hand."

"Can't you entertain him, dear?"

"I would be glad enough, but he asked in a very decided way for you."

"For me?"

Agnes looked distressed.

"Yes; he said very distinctly, 'I called to pay my respects particularly
to Miss Agnes to-night.'"

Agnes left the room, and Duff Salter and Podge were again together.
Podge could hear plainly what was said in the front parlor, and partly
see, by the brighter light there, the motions of the visitor and her
friend. She wrote on Duff Salter's tablet, "A deaf man is a great
convenience!"

"Why?" wrote the large, grave man.

"Because he can't hear what girls say to their beaux."

"Is that a beau calling on our beautiful friend?"

"I'm afraid so!"

"How do you feel when a beau comes?"

"We feel important."

"You don't feel grateful, then; only complimented."

"No; we feel that on one of two occasions we have the advantage over a
man. We can play him like a big fish on a little angle."

"When is the other occasion?"

"Some women," wrote Podge, "play just the same with the man they
marry!"

Duff Salter looked up surprised.

"Isn't that wrong?" he wrote.

She answered mischievously, "A kind of!"

The large, bearded man looked so exceedingly grave that Podge burst out
laughing.

"Don't you know," she wrote, "that the propensity to plague a man
dependent on you is inherent in every healthy woman?"

He wrote, "I do know it, and it's a crime!"

Podge thought to herself "This old man is dreadfully serious and
suspicious sometimes."

As Duff Salter relapsed into silence, gazing on the fire, the voice of
Calvin Van de Lear was heard by Podge, pitched in a low and confident
key, from the parlor side:

"I called, Agnes, when I thought sufficient time had elapsed since the
troubles here, to express my deep interest in you, and to find you, I
hoped, with a disposition to turn to the sunny side of life's affairs."

"I am not ready to take more than a necessary part in anything outside
of this house," replied Agnes. "My mind is altogether preoccupied. I
thank you for your good wishes, Mr. Van de Lear."

"Now do be less formal," said the young man persuasively. "I have always
been Cal. before--short and easy, Cal. Van de Lear. _You_ might call me
almost anything, Aggy."

"I have changed, sir. Our afflictions have taught me that I am no longer
a girl."

"You won't call me Cal., then?"

"No, Mr. Van de Lear."

"I see how it is," exclaimed the visitor. "You think because I am
studying for orders I must be looked up to. Aggy, that's got nothing to
do with social things. When I take the governor's place in our pulpit I
shall make my sermons for this generation altogether crack, sentimental
sermons, and drive away dull care. That's my understanding of the good
shepherd."

"Mr. Van de Lear, there are some cares so natural that they are almost
consolation. Under the pressure of them we draw nearer to happiness.
What merry words should be said to those who were bred under this roof
in such misfortunes as I have now--as the absent have?"

Podge saw Agnes put her handkerchief to her face, and her neck shake a
minute convulsively. Duff Salter here sneezed loudly: "Jericho!
Jerichew! Je-ry-cho-o!" He produced a tortoise-shell snuff-box, and
Podge took a pinch, for fun, and sneezed until the tears came to her
eyes and her hair was shaken down. She wrote on the tablets,

"Men could eat dirt and enjoy it."

He replied, "At last dirt eats all the men."

"It's to get rid of them!" wrote Podge. "My boys at school are dirty by
inclination. They will chew anything from a piece of India rubber shoe
to slippery elm and liquorice root. One piece of liquorice will
demoralize a whole class. They pass it around."

Duff Salter replied, "The boys must have something in their mouths; the
girls in their heads!"

"But not liquorice root," added Podge.

"No; they put the boys in their heads!"

"Pshaw!" wrote Podge, "girls don't like boys. They like nice old men who
will pet them."

Here Podge ran out of the room and the conversation in the front parlor
was renewed. The voice of Calvin Van de Lear said:

"Agnes, looking at your affairs in the light of religious duty, as you
seem to prefer, I must tell you that your actions have not always been
perfect."

Nothing was said in reply to this.

"I am to be your pastor at some not distant day," spoke the same voice,
"and may take some of that privilege now. As a daughter of the church
you should give the encouragement of your beauty and favor only to
serious, and approved, and moral young men. Not such scapegraces as
Andrew Zane!"

"Sir!" exclaimed Agnes, rising. "How dare you speak of the poor absent
one?"

"Sit down," exclaimed Calvin Van de Lear, not a bit discomposed. "I have
some disciplinary power now, and shall have more. A lady in full
communion with our church--a single woman without a living
guardian--requires to hear the truth, even from an erring brother. You
have no right to go outside the range at least of respectable men, to
place your affections and bestow your beauty and religion on a
particularly bad man--a criminal indeed--one already fled from this
community, and under circumstances of the greatest suspicion. I mean
Andrew Zane!"

"Hush!" exclaimed Agnes; "perhaps he is dead."

A short and awkward quiet succeeded, broken by young Van de Lear's
interruption at last:

"Aggy, I don't know but it is the best thing. Is it so?"

"For shame, sir!"

"He wouldn't have come to any good. I know him well. We went to school
together here in Kensington. Under a light and agreeable exterior he
concealed an obstinacy almost devilish. All the tricks and daredevil
feats we heard of, he was at the head of them. After he grew up his eyes
fell on you. For a time he was soberer. Then, perceiving that you were
also his father's choice, he conspired against his father, repeatedly
absconded, and gave that father great trouble to find and return him to
his home, and still stepped between Mr. Zane and his wishes. Was that
the part of a grateful and obedient son?"

Not a word was returned by Agnes Wilt.

"How ill-advised," continued Calvin Van de Lear, "was your weakness
during that behavior! Do you know what the tattle of all Kensington is?
That you favored both the father and the son! That you declined the son
only because his father might disinherit him, and put off the father
because the son would have the longer enjoyment of his property! I have
defended you everywhere on these charges. They say even more, _Miss_
Agnes--if you prefer it--that the murder of the father was not committed
by Andrew Zane without an instigator, perhaps an accessory."

The voice of Agnes was heard in hasty and anxious imploration:

"For pity's sake, say no more. Be silent. Am I not bowed and wretched
enough?"

She came hastily to the fissure of the door and looked in, because Duff
Salter just then sneezed tremendously:

"Jericho-o-o-o! Jer-ry-cho-o-o!"

Podge Byerly reappeared with a pack of cards and shuffled them before
Duff Salter's face.

They sat down and played a game of euchre for a cent a point, the
tablets at hand between them to write whatever was mindful. Duff Salter
was the best player.

"I believe," wrote Podge, "that all Western men are gamblers. Are you?"

He wrote, to her astonishment,

"I was."

"Wasn't it a sin?"

"Not there."

"I thought gambling was a sin everywhere?"

"It is everywhere done," wrote Duff Salter. "You are a gambler."

"That's a fib."

"You risk your heart, capturing another's."

"My heart is gone," added Podge, blushing.

"What's his name?" wrote Duff Salter.

"That's telling."

Again the voices of the two people in the front parlor broke on Podge's
ear:

"You must leave me, Mr. Van de Lear. You do not know the pain and wrong
you are doing me."

"Agnes, I came to say I loved you. Your beauty has almost maddened me
for years. Your resistance would give me anger if I had not hope left. I
know you loved me once."

"Sir, it is impossible; it is cruel."

"Cruel to love you?" repeated the divinity student. "Come now, that's
absurd! No woman is annoyed by an offer. I swear I love you reverently.
I can put you at the head of this society--the wife of a clergyman. Busy
tongues shall be stilled at your coming and going, and the shadow of
this late tragedy will no more plague your reputation, protected in the
bosom of the church and nestled in mine."

Sounds of a slight struggle were heard, as if the amorous young priest
were trying to embrace Agnes.

Podge arose, listening.

The face of Duff Salter was stolid, and unconscious of anything but the
game of cards.

"I tell you, sir!" exclaimed Agnes, "that your attentions are offensive.
Will you force me to insult you?"

"Oh! that's all put on, my subtle beauty. You are not alarmed by these
delicate endearments. Give me a kiss!"

"Calvin Van de Lear, you are a hypocrite. The gentleman you have
slandered to win my favor is as dear to me as you are repulsive. Nay,
sir, I'll teach you good behavior!"

She threw open the folding-doors just as Duff Salter had come to a
terrific sneeze.

"Jericho! Jericho! Jer-rick-co-o-o-oh!"

Looking in with bold suavity, Calvin Van de Lear made a bow and took up
his hat.

"Good-night," he said, "most reputable ladies, two of a kind!"

"I think," wrote Duff Salter frigidly, as the young man slammed the door
behind him, "that we'll make a pitcher of port sangaree and have a
little glass before we go to bed. We will all three take a hand at
cards. What shall we play?"

"Euchre--cut-throat!" exclaimed Podge Byerly, rather explosively.

Duff Salter seemed to have heard this, for, with his grave eyes bent on
Agnes, he echoed, dubiously:

"Cut-throat!"

With an impatient motion Podge Byerly snatched at the cards, and they
fell to the floor.

Agnes burst into tears and left the room.

"Upon my word," thought Podge Byerly, "I believe this old gray rat is a
detective officer!"

There was a shadow over the best residence on Queen Street.

Anonymous letters continued to come in almost by every mail, making
charges and imputations upon Agnes, and frequently connecting Podge
Byerly with her.

Terrible epithets--such as "Murderess!" "A second Mrs. Chapman!"
"Jezebel," etc.--were employed in these letters.

Many of them were written by female hands or in very delicate male
chirography, as if men who wrote like women had their natures.

There was one woman's handwriting the girls learned to identify, and she
wrote more often than any--more beautifully in the writing, more
shameless in the meaning, as if, with the nethermost experience in
sensuality, she was prepared to subtleize it and be the universal
accuser of her sex.

"What fiends must surround us!" exclaimed Agnes. "There must be a
punishment deeper than any for the writers of anonymous letters. A
murderer strikes the vital spot but once. Here every commandment is
broken in the cowardly secret letter. False witness, the stab, illicit
joy, covetousness, dishonor of father and mother, and defamation of
God's image in the heart, are all committed in these loathsome letters."

"Yes," added Podge Byerly, "the woman who writes anonymous letters, I
think, will have a cancer, or wart on her eye, or marry a bow-legged
man. The resurrectionists will get her body, and the primary class in
the other world will play whip-top with the rest of her."

Agnes and Podge went to church prayer-meeting the night following Calvin
Van de Lear's repulse at their dwelling, and Mr. Duff Salter gave each
of them an arm.

Old Mr. Van de Lear led the exercises, and, after several persons had
publicly prayed by the direction of the venerable pastor, Calvin Van de
Lear, of his own motion and as a matter of course, took the floor and
launched into a florid supplication almost too elegant to be extempore.

As he continued, Podge Byerly, looking through her fingers, saw a
handsome, high-colored woman at Calvin's side, stealing glances at Agnes
Wilt.

It was the wife of Calvin Van de Lear's brother, Knox--a blonde of
large, innocent eyes, who usually came with Calvin to the church.

While Podge noticed this inquisitive or stray glance, she became
conscious that something in the prayer was directing the attention of
the whole meeting to their pew.

People turned about, and, with startled or bold looks, observed Agnes
Wilt, whose head was bowed and her veil down.

The voice of Calvin Van de Lear sounded high and meaningful as Podge
caught these sentences:

"Lord, smite the wicked and unjust as thou smotest Sapphira by the side
of Ananias. We find her now in the mask of beauty, again of humility,
even, O Lord, of religion, leading the souls of men down to death and
hell. Thou knowest who stand before Thee to do lip service. All hearts
are open to Thee. If there be any here who have deceived Thine elect by
covetousness, or adultery, or _murder_, Lord, make bare Thine arm!"

The rest of the sentence was lost in the terrific series of sneezes from
Duff Salter, who had taken too big a pinch of snuff and forgot himself,
so as to nearly lift the roof off the little old brick church with his
deeply accentuated,

"Jer-i-cho-whoe!"

Even old Silas Van de Lear looked over the top of the pulpit and smiled,
but, luckily, Duff Salter could hardly hear his own sneezes.

As they left the church Agnes put down her veil, and trembled under the
stare of a hundred investigating critics.

When they were in the street, Podge Byerly remarked:

"Oh! that we had a man to resent such meanness as that. I think that
those who address God with slant arrows to wound others, as is often
done at prayer-meeting, will stand in perdition beside the writers of
anonymous letters."

"They are driving me to the last point," said Agnes. "I can go to church
no more. When will they get between me and heaven? Yet the Lord's will
be done."




CHAPTER V.

THE GHOST.


Spring broke on the snug little suburb, and buds and birds fulfilled
their appointments on the boughs of willows, ailanthuses, lindens, and
maples. Some peach-trees in the back yard of the Zane House hastened to
put on their pink scarves and bonnets, and the boys said that an old
sucker of Penn's Treaty Elm down in a ship-yard was fresh and blithsome
as a second wife. In the hearts and views of living people, too, spring
brought a budding of youthfulness and a gush of sap. Duff Salter
acknowledged it as he looked in Podge Byerly's blue eyes and felt her
hands as they wrapped his scarf around him, or buttoned his gloves.
Whispering, and without the tablets this time, he articulated:

"Happy for you, Mischief, that I am not young as these trees!"

"We'll have you set out!" screamed Podge, "like a piece of hale old
willow, and you'll grow again!"

Duff Salter frequently walked almost to her school with Podge Byerly,
which was far down in the old city. They seldom took the general cut
through Maiden and Laurel Streets to Second, but kept down the river
bank by Beach Street, to see the ship-yards and hear the pounding of
rivets and the merry adzes ringing, and see youngsters and old women
gathering chips, while the sails on the broad river came up on wind and
tide as if to shatter the pier-heads ere they bounded off.

In the afternoons Duff Salter sometimes called on Rev. Silas Van de
Lear, who had great expectations that Duff would build them a
much-required new church, with the highest spire in Kensington.

"Here, Brother Salter, is an historic spot," wrote the good old man. "I
shouldn't object to a spire on my church, with the figure of William
Penn on the summit. Friend William and his sons always did well by our
sect."

"Is it an established fact that he treated with the Indians in
Kensington?" asked Duff Salter, on his ivory tablets.

"Indisputable! Friend Penn took Thomas Fairman's house at
Shackamaxon--otherwise Eel-Hole--and in this pleasant springtime, April
4, 1683, he met King Tammany under the forest elm, with the savage
people in half-moon circles, looking at the healthy-fed and
business-like Quaker. There Tammany and his Indian allies surrendered
all the land between the Pennypack and Neshaminy."

"A Tammany haul!" interrupted young Calvin Van de Lear, rather
idiotically. "What did the shrewd William give?"

"Guns, scissors, knives, tongs, hoes, and Indian money, and
gew-gaws--not much. Philadelphia had no foundation then, and Shackamaxon
was an established place. We are the Knickerbockers here in
Kensington."

"An honest Quaker would not build a spire," wrote Duff Salter, with a
grim smile.

Duff Salter was well known to the gossips of Kensington as a fabulously
rich man, who had spent his youth partly in this district, and was of
Kensington parentage, but had roved away to Mexico as a sailor boy, or
clerk, or passenger, and refusing to return, had become a mule-driver in
the mines of cinnabar, and there had remained for years in nearly
heathen solitude, until once he arrived overland in Arkansas with a
train from Chihuahua, the whole of it, as was said, laden with silver
treasure, and his own property. He had been disappointed in love, and
had no one to leave his riches to. This was the story told by Reverend
Silas Van de Lear.

The people of Kensington were less concerned with the truth of this tale
than with the future intentions of the visitor.

"How long he tarries in Zane's homestead!" said the people that spring.
"Hasn't he settled that estate yet?"

"It never will be settled if he can help it," said public Echo, "as long
as there are two fine young women there, and one of them so fascinating
over men!"

Indeed, Duff Salter received letters, anonymous, of course--the
anonymous letter was then the suburban press--admonishing him to beware
of his siren hostess.

"_She has ruined two men_," said the elegant female handwriting before
observed. "_You must want to be the subject of a coroner's inquest. That
house is bloody and haunted, rich Mr. Duff Salter! Beware of Lady
Agnes, the murderess! Beware, too, of her accomplice, the insinuating
little Byerly!_"

Duff Salter walked out one day to make the tour of Kensington. He passed
out the agreeable old Frankford road, with its wayside taverns, and hay
carts, and passing omnibuses, and occasional old farm-like houses,
interspersed with newer residences of a city character, and he strolled
far up Cohocksink Creek till it meandered through billowy fields of
green, and skirted the edges of woods, and all the way was followed by a
path made by truant boys. Sitting down by a spring that gushed up at the
foot of a great sycamore tree, the grandly bearded traveller, all
flushed with the roses of exercise, made no unpleasing picture of a Pan
waiting for Echo by appointment, or holding talk with the grazing goats
of the poor on the open fields around him.

"How changed!" spoke the traveller aloud. "I have caught fishes all
along this brook, and waded up its bed in summer to cool my feet. The
girl was beside me whose slender feet in innocent exposure were placed
by mine to shame their coarser mould. We thought we were in love, or as
near it as are the outskirts to some throbbing town partly instinctive
with a coming civic destiny. Alas! the little brook that once ran
unvexed to the river, freshening green marshes at its outlet, has become
a sewer, discolored with dyes of factories, and closed around by
tenements and hovels till its purer life is over. My playmate, too,
flowed on to womanhood, till the denser social conditions shut her in;
she mingled the pure current of her life with another more turgid, and
dull-eyed children, like houses of the suburbs, are builded on her
bosom. I am alone, like this old tree, beside the spring where once I
was a sapling, and still, like its waters, youth wells and wells, and
keeps us yet both green in root. Come back, O Love! and freshen me, and,
like a rill, flow down my closing years!"

Duff Salter's shoulder was touched as he ceased to speak, and he found
young Calvin Van de Lear behind him.

"I have followed you out to the country," said the young man, howling in
the elder's ear, "because I wanted to talk to you aloud, as I couldn't
do in Kensington."

Duff Salter drew his storied ivory tablets on the divinity student, and
said, crisply, "Write!"

"No, old man, that's not my style. It's too slow. Besides, it admits of
nothing impressive being said, and I want to convince you."

"Jericho! Jericho!" sneezed Duff Salter. "Young man, if you stun my ear
that way a third time I'll knock you down. I'm deaf, it's true, but I'm
not a hallooing scale to try your lungs on. If you won't write, we can't
talk."

With impatience, yet smiling, Calvin Van de Lear wrote on the tablets,

"Have you seen the ghost?"

"Ghost?"

"Yes, the ghosts of the murdered men!"

"I never saw a ghost of anything in my life. What men?"

"William Zane and Sayler Rainey."

"Who has seen them?"

"Several people. Some say it's but one that has been seen. Zane's ghost
walks, anyway, in Kensington."

"What for?"

"The fishwomen and other superstitious people say, because their
murderers have not been punished."

"And the murderers are--"

"Those who survived and profited by the murder, of course?"

"Jer-ri-choo-woo!" exploded Duff Salter. "Young man," he wrote
deliberately, "you have an idle tongue."

"Friend Salter, you are blind as well as deaf. Do you know Miss Podge
Byerly?"

"No. Do you?"

"She's common! Agnes Wilt uses her as a stool-pigeon. She fetches, and
carries, and flies by night. One of the school directors shoved her on
the public schools for intimate considerations. Perhaps you'll see him
about the house if you look sharp and late some night."

"Jer-rich-co! Jericho!"

Duff Salter was decidedly red in the face, and his grave gray eyes
looked both fierce and convicted. He _had_ seen a school director
visiting the house, but thought it natural enough that he should take a
kind interest in one of the youthful and pretty teachers. The deaf man
returned to his pencil and tablets.

"Do you know, Mr. Van de Lear, that what you are saying is indictable
language? It would have exposed you to death where I have lived."

The young man tossed his head recklessly. Duff Salter now saw that his
usually sallow face was flushed up to the roots of his long dry hair and
almost colorless whiskers, as if he had been drinking liquors.
Forgetting to use the tablets, Calvin spoke aloud, but not in as high a
key as formerly:

"Mr. Salter, Agnes Wilt has no heart. She was a step-niece of the late
Mrs. Zane--her brother's daughter. The girl's father was a poor
professional man, and died soon after his child was born, followed at no
great distance to the grave by his widow. While a child, Agnes was cold
and subtle. She professed to love me--that was the understanding in our
childhood. She has forgotten me as she has forgotten many other men. But
she is beautiful, and I want to marry her. You can help me."

"What do you want with a cold and calculating woman?" wrote Duff Salter
stiffly. "What do you want particularly with such a dangerous woman--a
demon, as you indicate?"

"I want to save her soul, and retrieve her from wickedness. Upon my
word, old man, that's my only game. You see, to effect that object would
set me up at once with the church people. I'm told that a little
objection to my prospects in the governor's church begins to break out.
If I can marry Agnes Wilt, she will recover her position in Kensington,
and make me more welcome in families. I don't mind telling you that I
have been a little gay."

"That's nothing," wrote Duff Salter smilingly. "So were the sons of
Eli."

"Correct!" retorted Calvin. "I need a taming down, and only matrimony
can do it. Now, with your aid I can manage it. Miss Wilt does not fancy
me. She can be made to do so, however, by two causes."

"And they are--"

"Her fears and her avarice. I propose to bring this murder close home to
her. If not a principal in it, she is an undoubted accessory after the
fact. Andrew Zane paid her a visit the night the dead bodies were
discovered in the river."

"You are sure of this?"

"Perfectly. I have had a detective on his track; too late to arrest the
rascal, but the identity of a sailor man who penetrated into the house
by the coal-hole is established by the discovery of the clothing he
exchanged for that disguise--it was Andrew Zane. Concealment of that
fact from the law will make her an accessory."

"Jericho! Jericho!" sneezed Duff Salter, but with a pale face, and said:

"That fact established would be serious; but it would be a gratuitous
and vile act for you, who profess to love her."

"It is love that prompts me--love and pain! A divine anger, I may call
it. I propose to make myself her rescuer afterward, and establish myself
in her gratitude and confidence. You are to help me do this by watching
the house from the inside."

"Dishonorable!"

"You were the friend of William Zane, the murdered man. Every obligation
of friendship impels you to discover his murderer. You are rich; lend me
money to continue my investigations. I know this is a cool proposition;
but it is better than spending it on churches."

"Very well," wrote Duff Salter, "as the late Mr. Zane's executor, I will
spend any proper sum of money to inflict retribution upon his injurers.
I will watch the house."

They went home through Palmer Street, on which stood the little brick
church--the street said to be occasionally haunted by Governor Anthony
Palmer's phantom coach and four, which was pursued by his twenty-one
children in plush breeches and Panama hats, crying, "Water lots! water
fronts! To let! to lease!"

As Duff Salter entered the house he saw the school director indicated by
Calvin Van de Lear sitting in the parlor with Podge Byerly. For the
first time Duff Salter noticed that they looked both intimate and
confused. He tried to reason himself out of this suspicion. "Pshaw," he
said; "it was my uncharitable imagination. I'll go back, as if to get
something, and look more carefully."

As the deaf man reopened the parlor-door he saw the school director
making a motion as if to embrace Podge, who was full of blushes and
appearing to shrink away.

"There's no imagination about that," thought Duff Salter. "If I could
only hear well enough my ears might counsel me."

He felt dejected, and his suspicions colored everything--a most
deplorable state of mind for a gentleman. Agnes, too, looked guilty, as
he thought, and hardly addressed a smile to him as he passed up to his
room.

Duff Salter put on his slippers, lighted his gas, drew the curtains down
and set the door ajar, for in the increasing warmth of spring his grate
fire was almost an infliction.

"I have not been wise nor just," he said to himself. "My pleasing
reception in this house, and feminine arts, have altogether obliterated
my great duty, which was to avenge my friend. Yes, suspicion was my
duty. I should have been suspicious from the first. Even this vicious
young Van de Lear, shallow as he is, becomes my unconscious accuser. He
says, with truth, that every obligation of friendship impels me to
discover the murderers of William Zane."

Duff Salter arose, in the warmth of his feelings, and paced up and down
the floor.

"Ah, William Zane," he said, "how does thy image come back to me! I was
the only friend he would permit. In pride of will and solitary purpose
he was the greatest of all. Rough, unpolished, a poor scholar, but full
of energy, he desired nothing but he believed it his. He desired me to
be his friend, and I could not have resisted if I would. He made me go
with him even on his truant expeditions, and carry his game bag along
the banks of the Tacony, or up the marshes of Rancocus. Yet it was a
happy servitude; for beneath his impetuous mastery was a soul of
devotion. He loved like Jove, and permitted no interposition in his
flame; his dogmatism and force were barbarous, but he gave like a child
and fought like a lion. I saw him last as he was about to enter on
business, in the twenty-first year of his age, an anxious young man with
black hair in natural ringlets, a pale brow, gray eyes wide apart, and
a narrow but wilful chin. He was ever on pivot, ready to spring. And
murdered!"

Duff Salter looked at the door standing ajar, attracted there by some
movement, or light, or shadow, and the very image he was describing met
his gaze. There were the black ringlets, the pale forehead, the anxious
yet wilful expression, and the years of youthful manhood. It was nothing
in this world if not William Zane!

Duff Salter felt paralyzed for a minute, as the blood flowed back to his
heart, and a sense of fright overcame him. Then he moved forward on
tip-toe, as if the image might dissolve. It did dissolve as he advanced;
with a tripping motion it receded and left a naked space. In the
darkness of the stairway it absorbed itself, and the deaf man grasped
the balustrade where it had stood, and by his trembling shook the rails
violently. He then staggered back to his mantel, first bolting the door,
as if instinctively, and swallowed a draught of brandy from a medicinal
bottle there.

"There is a ghost abroad!" exclaimed Duff Salter with a shudder. "I have
seen it."

He turned the gas on very brightly, so as to soothe his fears with
companionable light. Then, while the perspiration stood upon his
forehead, Duff Salter sat down to think.

"Why does it haunt me?" he said. "Yet whom but me should it haunt?--the
executor of my friend, intrusted with his dying wishes, bound to him by
ancient ties, and recreant to the high duty of punishing his murderers?
The ghost of William Zane admonishes me that there can be no repose for
my spirit until I take in hand the work of vengeance. Yes, if women
have been accessory to that murder, they shall not be spared. Miss Agnes
is under surveillance; let her be blameless, or beware!"




CHAPTER VI.

ENCOMPASSED.


"He looks scared out of last year's growth," remarked Podge Byerly when
Duff Salter came down-stairs next day.

"Happy for him, dear, he is not able to hear what is around him in this
place!" exclaimed Agnes aloud.

They always talked freely before their guest, and he could scarcely be
alarmed even by an explosion.

Duff wrote on his tablets during breakfast:

"I must employ a smart man to do errands for me, and rid me of some of
the burdens of this deafness. Do you know of any one?"

"A mere laborer?" inquired Agnes.

"Well, an old-fashioned, still-mouthed fellow like myself--one who can
understand my dumb motions."

Agnes shook her head.

Said Duff Salter to himself:

"She don't want me to find such an one, I guess." Then, with the tablets
again, he added, "It's necessary for me to hunt a man at once, and keep
him here on the premises, close by me. I have almost finished up this
work of auditing and clearing the estate. I intend now to pay some
attention to the tragedy, accident, or whatever it was, that led to Mr.
Zane's cutting off. You will second me warmly in this, I am sure."

Agnes turned pale, and felt the executor's eyes upon her.

Podge Byerly was pale too.

Duff Salter did not give them any opportunity to recover composure.

"To leave the settlement of this estate with such a cloud upon it would
be false to my trust, to my great friend's memory, and, I may add, to
all here. There is a mystery somewhere which has not been pierced. It is
very probably a domestic entanglement. I shall expect you (to Agnes),
and you, too," turning to Podge, "to be absolutely frank with me. Miss
Agnes, have you seen Andrew Zane since his father's body was brought
into this house!"

Agnes looked around helplessly and uncertain. She took the tablets to
write a reply. Something seemed to arise in her mind to prevent the
intention. She burst into tears and left the table.

"Ha!" thought Duff Salter grimly, "there will be no confession there.
Then, little Miss Byerly, I will try to throw off its guard thy saucy
perversity; for surely these two women understand each other."

After breakfast he followed Podge Byerly down Queen Street and through
Beach, and came up with her as she went out of Kensington to the
Delaware water-front about the old Northern Liberties district.

Duff bowed with a little of diffidence amid all his gravity, and sneezed
as if to hide it:

"Jericho!--Miss Podge, see the time--eight o'clock, and an hour before
school. Let us go look at the river."

They walked out on the wharf, and were wholly concealed from shore by
piles of cord-wood and staves.

"I like to get off here, away from listeners, where I need not be
bellowed at and tire out well-meaning lungs. Now--Jericho! Jericho!" he
sneezed, without any sort of meaning. "Miss Podge," said Duff Salter,
"if you look directly into my eyes and articulate distinctly, I can hear
all you say without raising your voice higher than usual. How much money
do you get for school teaching?"

"Five hundred dollars."

"Is that all? What do you do with it?"

"Support my mother and brother."

"And yourself also?"

"Oh! yes."

"She can't do it!" exclaimed Duff Salter inwardly; "that director comes
in the case. Miss Podge, how old is your brother?"

"Twenty-four. He's my junior," she said archly. "I'm old."

"Why do you support a man twenty-four years old? Did he meet with an
accident?"

"He was taken sick, and will never be well," answered Podge warily.

"Excuse me!" exclaimed Duff Salter, "was it constitutional disease? You
know I am interested."

"No, sir. He was misled. A woman, much older than himself, infatuated
him while a boy, and he married her, and she broke his health and ruined
him."

Podge's eyes fell for the first time.

Duff Salter grasped her hand.

"And you tell me!" he exclaimed, "that you keep three grown people on
five hundred dollars a year? Don't you get help from any other quarter?"

"Agnes has given me board for a hundred dollars a year," said Podge,
"but times have changed with her now, and money is scarce. She would
take other boarders, but public opinion is against her on all sides.
It's against me too. But for love we would have separated long ago."

Podge's tears came.

"What right had you," exclaimed Duff Salter, rather angrily, "to
maintain a whole family on the servitude of your young body, wearing its
roundness down to bone, exciting your nervous system, and inviting
premature age upon a nature created for a longer girlhood, and for the
solace of love?"

She did not feel the anger in his tones; it seemed like protection, for
which she had hungered.

"Why, sir, all women must support their poor kin."

"Men don't do it!" exclaimed Duff Salter, pushing aside his gray apron
of beard to see her more distinctly. "Did that brother who rushed in
vicious precocity to maintain another and a wicked woman ever think of
relieving you from hard labor?"

"He never could be anything less to me than brother!" exclaimed Podge;
"but, Mr. Salter, if that was only all I had to trouble me! Oh, sir,
work is occupation, but work harassed with care for others becomes
unreal. I cannot sleep, thinking for Agnes. I cannot teach, my head
throbs so. That river, so cold and impure, going along by the wharves,
seems to suck and plash all day in my ears, as we see and hear it now.
At my desk I seem to see those low shores and woods and marshes, on the
other side, and the chatter of children, going all day, laps and eddies
up like dirty waves between me and that indistinct boundary. I am
floating on the river current, drowning as I feel, reaching out for
nothing, for nothing is there. All day long it is so. I was the best
teacher in my rank, with certainty of promotion. I feel that I am losing
confidence. It is the river, the river, and has been so since it gave up
those dead bodies to bring us only ghosts and desolation."

"It was a faithful witness," spoke Duff Salter, still harsh, as if under
an inner influence. "Yes, a boy--a little boy such as you teach at
school--had the strength to break the solid shield of ice under which
the river held up the dead and bring the murder out. Do you ever think
of that as you hear a spectral river surge and buoy upward, whose waves
are made by children's murmurs--innocent children haunting the guilty?"

"Do you mean me, Mr. Salter? Nothing haunts me but care."

"I have been haunted by a ghost," continued Duff Salter. "Yes, the ghost
of my playmate has come to my threshold and peeped on me sitting there
inattentive to his right to vengeance. We shall all be haunted till we
give our evidence for the dead. No rest will come till that is done."

"I must go," cried Podge Byerly. "You terrify me."

"Tell me," asked Duff Salter in a low tone, "has Andrew Zane been seen
by Agnes Wilt since he escaped?"

"Don't ask me."

"Tell me, and I will give you a sum of money which shall get you rest
for years. Open your mind to me, and I will send you to Europe. Your
brother shall be my brother; your invalid mother will receive abundant
care. I will even ask you to love me!"

An instant's blushes overspread Podge's worn, pale face, and an
expression of restful joy. Then recurring indignation made her pale
again to the very roots of her golden hair.

"Betray my friend!" she exclaimed. "Never, till she will give me leave."

"I have lost my confidence in you both," said Duff Salter coldly,
releasing Podge's arm. "You have been so indifferent in the face of this
crime and public opinion as to receive your lovers in the very parlor
where my dead friend lay. Agnes has admitted it by silence. I have seen
your lover releasing you from his arms. Miss Byerly, I thought you
artless, even in your arts, and only the dupe, perhaps, of a stronger
woman. I hoped that you were pure. You have made me a man of suspicion
and indifference again." His face grew graver, yet unbelieving and hard.

Podge fled from his side with alarm; he saw her handkerchief staunching
her tears, and people watching her as she nearly ran along the sidewalk.

"Jericho! Jerichoo! Jer--"

Duff Salter did not finish the sneeze, but with a long face called for a
boat and rower to take him across to Treaty Island.

Podge arrived at school just as the bell was ringing, and, still in
nervousness and tears, took her place in her division while the Bible
was read. She saw the principal's eye upon her as she took off her
bonnet and moistened her face, and the boys looked up a minute or two
inquiringly, but soon relapsed to their individual selfishness. When the
glass sashes dividing the rooms were closed and the recitations began,
the lapping sound of the river started anew. A film grew on her eyes,
and in it appeared the distant Jersey and island shore, with the
uncertain boundary of point, cove, and marsh, like a misty cold line,
cheerless and void of life or color, as it was every day, yet standing
there as if it merely came of right and was the river's true border, and
was not to be hated as such. Podge strained to look through the
illusion, and walked down the aisle once, where it seemed to be, and
touched the plaster of the wall. She had hardly receded when it
reappeared, and all between it and her mind was merely empty river,
wallowing and lapping and sucking and subsiding, as if around submerged
piers, or wave was relieving wave from the weight of floating things
like rafts, or logs, or buoys, or bodies. Into this wide waste of muddy
ripples every sound in the school-room swam, and also sights and colors,
till between her eye-lash and that filmy distant margin nothing existed
but a freshet, alive yet with nothing, eddying around with purposeless
power, and still moving onward with an under force. The open book in her
hand appeared like a great white wharf, or pier, covered with lime and
coal in spots and places, and pushed forward into this hissing,
rippling, exclaiming deluge, which washed its base and spread beyond.
Podge could barely read a question in the book, and the sound of her
voice was like gravel or sand pushed off the wharf into the river and
swallowed there. She thought she heard an answer in a muddy tone and
gave the question out again, and there seemed to be laughter, as if the
waters, or what was drowned in them, chuckled and purled, going along.
She raised her eyes above the laughers, and there the boundary line of
Jersey stood defined, and all in front of it was the drifting Delaware.
It seemed to her that boys were darting to and fro and swapping seats,
and one boy had thrown a handful of beans. She walked down the aisle as
if into water, wading through pools and waves of boys, who plashed and
gurgled around her. She walked back again, and a surf of boys was thrown
at her feet. The waters rose and licked and spilled and flowed onward
again. Podge felt a sense of strangling, as if going down, in a hollow
gulf of resounding wave, and shouted:

"Help! Save me! Save me!"

She heard a voice like the principal teacher's, say in a lapping, watery
way, "Miss Byerly, what is the meaning of this? Your division is in
disorder. Nobody has recited. Unless you are ill I must suspend you and
call another teacher here."

"Help! I'm floating off upon the river. Save me! I drown! I drown!"

The scholars were all up and excited. The principal motioned another
lady teacher to come, and laid Podge's head in the other's lap.

"Is it brain fever?" he asked.

"She has been under great excitement," Podge heard the other lady say.
"The Zane murder occurred in her family. Last night, I have been told,
Miss Byerly refused Mr. Bunn, our principal school director, and a man
of large means, who had long been in love with her."

"Where is he?" said the principal.

"I heard it from his sister," said the other lady. "Mortified at her
refusal, because confident that she would accept him, he sailed this day
for Europe."

These were the last words Podge Byerly heard. Then it seemed that the
waters closed over her head.

       *       *       *       *       *

Agnes, left alone in the homestead, had a few days of perfect relief,
except from anonymous letters and newspaper clippings delivered by mail.
That refined handwriting which had steadily poured out the venom of some
concealed hostility survived all other correspondence--delicate as the
graceful circles of the tiniest fish-hooks whose points and barbs enter
deepest in the flesh.

"Whom can this creature be?" asked Agnes, bringing up her strong mind
from its trouble. "I can have made no such bitter enemy by any act of
mine. A man would hardly pursue so light a purpose with such stability.
There is more than jealousy in it; it is sincere hate, drawn, I should
think, from a deep social or mental resentment, and enraged because I do
not sink under my troubles. Yes, this must be a woman who believes me
innocent but wishes my ruin. Some one, perhaps, who is sinning
unsuspected, and, in her envy of another and purer one, gloats in the
scandal which does not justly stain me. The anonymous letter," thought
Agnes, "is a malignant form of conscience, after all!"

But life, as it was growing to be in the Zane house, was hardly worth
living. Podge Byerly was broken down and dangerously ill at her mother's
little house. All of Agnes's callers had dropped off, and she felt that
she could no longer worship, except as a show, at Van de Lear's church;
but this deprivation only deepened Agnes's natural devotion. Duff Salter
saw her once, and oftener heard her praying, as the strong wail of it
ascending through the house pierced even his ears.

"That woman," said Duff, "is wonderfully armed; with beauty, courage,
mystery, witchery, she might almost deceive a God."

The theory that the house was haunted confirmed the other theory that a
crime rested upon its inmates.

"Why should there be a ghost unless there had been a murder?" asked the
average gossip and Fishtowner, to whom the marvellous was certain and
the real to be inferred from it. Duff Salter believed in the ghost, as
Agnes was satisfied; he had become unsocial and suspicious in look, and
after two or three days of absence from the house, succeeding Podge's
disappearance, entered it with his new servant.

Agnes did not see the servant at all for some days, though knowing that
he had come. The cook said he was an accommodating man, ready to help
her at anything, and of no "airs." He entered and went, the cook said,
by the back gate, always wiped his feet at the door, and appeared like a
person of not much "bringing up." One day Agnes had to descend to the
kitchen, and there she saw a strange man eating with the cook; a rough
person with a head of dark red hair and grayish red beard all round his
mouth and under his chin. She observed that he was one-legged, and used
a common wooden crutch on the side of the wooden leg. Two long scars
covered his face, and one shaggy eyebrow was higher than the other.

"I axes your pardon," said the man; "me and cook takes our snack when we
can, mum."

A day or two after Agnes passed the same man again at the landing on the
stairway. He bowed, and said in his Scotch or Irish dialect,

"God bless ye, mum!"

Agnes thought to herself that she had not given the man credit for a
certain rough grace which she now perceived, and as she turned back to
look at him he was looking at her with a fixed, incomprehensible
expression.

"Am I being watched?" thought Agnes.

One day, in early June, as Agnes entered the parlor, she found Reverend
Silas Van de Lear there. At the sight of this good old man, the
patriarch of Kensington, by whom she had been baptized and received into
the communion, Agnes Wilt felt strongly moved, the more that in his eyes
was a regard of sympathy just a little touched with doubt.

"My daughter!" exclaimed the old man, in his clear, practised
articulation, "you are daily in my prayers!"

The tears came to Agnes, and as she attempted to wipe them away the good
old gentleman drew her head to his shoulder.

"I cannot let myself think any evil of you, dear sister, in God's
chastising providence," said the clergyman. "Among the angels, in the
land that is awaiting me, I had expected to see the beautiful face
which has so often encouraged my preaching, and looked up at me from
Sabbath-school and church. You do not come to our meetings any more. My
dear, let us pray together in your affliction."

The old man knelt in the parlor and raised his voice in prayer--a clear,
considerate, judicial, sincere prayer, such as age and long authority
gave him the right to address to heaven. He was not unacquainted with
sorrow himself; his children had given him much concern, and even
anguish, and in Calvin was his last hope. A thread of wicked commonplace
ran through them all; his sterling nature in their composition was lost
like a grain of gold in a mass of alloy. They had nothing ideal, no
reverence, no sense of delicacy. Taking to his arms a face and form that
pleased him, the minister had not ingrafted upon it one babe of any
divinity; that coarser matrix received the sacred flame as mere mud
extinguishes the lightning. He fell into this reminiscence of personal
disappointment unwittingly, as in the process of his prayer he strove to
comfort Agnes. The moment he did so the cold magistracy of the prayer
ceased, and his voice began to tremble, and there ran between the
ecclesiastic and his parishioner the electric spark of mutual grief and
understanding.

The old man hesitated, and became choked with emotion.

As he stopped, and the pause was prolonged, Agnes herself, by a powerful
inner impulsion, took up the prayer aloud, and carried it along like
inspiration. She was not of the strong-minded type of women, rather of
the wholly loving; but the deep afflictions of the past few months,
working down into the crevices and cells of her nature, had struck the
impervious bed of piety, and so deluged it with sorrow and the lonely
sense of helplessness that now a cry like an appeal to judgment broke
from her, not despair nor accusation, but an appeal to the very equity
of God.

It arose so frankly and in such majesty, finding its own aptest words by
its unconscious instinct, that the aged minister was presently aware of
a preternatural power at his side. Was this woman a witch, genius,
demon, or the very priestess of God, he asked.

The solemn prayer ranged into his own experience by that touch of nature
which unlocks the secret spring of all, being true unto its own deep
needs. The minister was swept along in the resistless current of the
prayer, and listened as if he were the penitent and she the priest. As
the petition died away in Agnes's physical exhaustion, the venerable man
thought to himself:

"When Jacob wrestled all night at Peniel, his angel must have been a
woman like this; for she has power with God and with men!"




CHAPTER VII.

FOCUS.


Calvin Van de Lear had been up-stairs with Duff Salter, and on his way
out had heard the voice of Agnes Wilt praying. He slipped into the back
parlor and listened at the crevice of the folding-door until his father
had given the pastoral benediction and departed. Then with cool
effrontery Calvin walked into the front parlor, where Agnes was sitting
by the slats of the nearly darkened window.

"Pardon me, Agnes," he said. "I was calling on the deaf old gentleman
up-stairs, and perceiving that devotions were being conducted here,
stopped that I might not interrupt them."

Calvin's commonplace nature had hardly been dazed by Agnes's prayer. He
was only confirmed in the idea that she was a woman of genius, and would
take half the work of a pastor off his hands. In the light of both
desire and convenience she had, therefore, appreciated in his eyes. To
marry her, become the proprietor of her snug home and ravishing person,
and send her off to pray with the sick and sup with the older women of
the flock, seemed to him such a comfortable consummation as to have
Heaven's especial approval. Thus do we deceive ourselves when the spirit
of God has departed from us, even in youth, and construe our dreams of
selfishness to be glimmerings of a purer life.

Calvin was precocious in assurance, because, in addition to being
unprincipled, he was in a manner ordained by election and birthright to
rule over Kensington. His father had been one of those strong-willed,
clear-visioned, intelligent young Eastern divinity students who brought
to a place of more voluptuous and easy burgher society the secular vigor
of New England pastors. Being always superior and always sincere, his
rule had been ungrumblingly accepted. Another generation, at middle age,
found him over them as he had been over their parents--a righteous,
intrepid Protestant priest, good at denunciation, counsel, humor, or
sympathy. The elders and deacons never thought of objecting to anything
after he had insisted upon it, and in this spirit the whole church had
heard submissively that Calvin Van de Lear was to be their next pastor.
This, of course, was conditional upon his behavior, and all knew that
his father would be the last man to impose an injurious person on the
church; they had little idea that "Cal." Van de Lear was devout, but
took the old man's word that grace grew more and more in the sons of the
Elect, and the young man had already professed "conviction," and
voluntarily been received into the church. There he assumed, like an
heir-apparent, the vicarship of the congregation, and it rather
delighted his father that his son so promptly and complacently took
direction of things, made his quasi pastoral rounds, led
prayer-meetings, and exhorted Sunday-schools and missions. A priest
knows the heart of his son no more than a king, and is less suspicious
of him. The king's son may rebel from deferred expectation; the priest's
son can hardly conspire against his father's pulpit. In the minister's
family the line between the world and the faith is a wavering one;
religion becomes a matter of course, and yet is without the mystery of
religion as elsewhere, so that wife and sons regard ecclesiastical
ambition as meritorious, whether the heart be in it piously or
profanely. Calvin Van de Lear was in the church fold of his own accord,
and his father could no more read that son's heart than any other
member's. Indeed, the good old man was especially obtuse in the son's
case, from his partiality, and thus grew up together on the same root
the flower of piety and hypocrisy, the tree and the sucker.

"Calvin," replied Agnes, "I do not object to your necessary visits here.
Your father is very dear to me."

"But can't I return to the subject we last talked of?" asked the young
man, shrewdly.

"No. That is positively forbidden."

"Agnes," continued Calvin, "you must know I love you!"

Agnes sank to her seat again with a look of resignation.

"Calvin," she said, "this is not the time. I am not the person for such
remarks. I have just risen from my knees; my eyes are not in this
world."

"You will be turning nun if this continues."

"I am in God's hands," said Agnes. "Yet the hour is dark with me."

"Agnes, let me lift some of your burden upon myself. You don't hate me?"

"No. I wish you every happiness, Calvin."

"Is there nothing you long for--nothing earthly and within the compass
of possibility?"

"Yes, yes!" Agnes arose and walked across the floor almost
unconsciously, with the palms of her hands held high together above her
head. As she walked to and fro the theological student perceived a
change so extraordinary in her appearance since his last visit that he
measured her in his cool, worldly gaze as a butcher would compute the
weight of a cow on chance reckoning.

"What is it, dear Agnes?"

He spoke with a softness of tone little in keeping with his unfeeling,
vigilant face.

"Oh, give me love! Now, if ever, it is love! Love only, that can lift me
up and cleanse my soul!"

"Love lies everywhere around you," said the young man. "You trample it
under your feet. My heart--many hearts--have felt the cruel treatment.
Agnes, _you_ must love also."

"I try to do so," she exclaimed, "but it is not the perfect love that
casteth out fear! God knows I wish it was."

Her eyes glanced down, and a blush, sudden and deep, spread over her
features. The young man lost nothing of all this, but with alert
analysis took every expression and action in.

"May I become your friend if greater need arises, Agnes? Do not repulse
me. At the worst--I swear it!--I will be your instrument, your subject."

Agnes sat in the renewed pallor of profound fear. God, on whom she had
but a moment before called, seemed to have withdrawn His face. Her black
ringlets, smoothed upon her noble brow in wavy lines, gave her something
of a Roman matron's look; her eyebrows, dark as the eyes beneath that
now shrank back yet shone the larger, might have befitted an Eastern
queen. Lips of unconscious invitation, and features produced in their
wholeness which bore out a character too perfect not to have lived
sometime in the realms of the great tragedies of life, made Agnes in her
sorrow peerless yet.

"Go, Calvin!" she said, with an effort, her eyes still upon the floor;
"if you would ever do me any aid, go now!"

As he passed into the passageway Calvin Van de Lear ran against a man
with a crutch and a wooden leg, who looked at him from under a head of
dark-red hair, and in a low voice cursed his awkwardness. The man bent
to pick up his crutch, and Calvin observed that he was badly scarred and
had one eyebrow higher than the other.

"Who are you, fellow?" asked Calvin, surprised.

"I'm Dogcatcher!" said the man. "When ye see me coming, take the other
side of the street."

Calvin felt cowed, not so much at these mysterious words as at a hard,
lowering look in the man's face, like especial dislike.

Agnes Wilt, still sitting in the parlor, saw the lame servant pass her
door, going out, and he looked in and touched his hat, and paused a
minute. Something graceful and wistful together seemed to be in his
bearing and countenance.

"Anything for me?" asked Agnes.

"Nothing at all, mum! When there's nobody by to do a job, call on Mike."

He still seemed to tarry, and in Agnes's nervous condition a mysterious
awe came over her; the man's gaze had a dread fascination that would not
let her drop her eyes. As he passed out of sight and shut the street
door behind him Agnes felt a fainting feeling, as if an apparition had
looked in upon her and vanished--the apparition, if of anything, of him
who had lain dead in that very parlor--the stern, enamored master of the
house whose fatherhood in a fateful moment had turned to marital desire,
and crushed the luck of all the race of Zanes.

Duff Salter was sitting at his writing table, with an open snuff-box
before him, and, as Calvin Van de Lear entered his room, Duff took a
large pinch of snuff and shoved the tablets forward. Calvin wrote on
them a short sentence. As Duff Salter read it he started to his feet and
sneezed with tremendous energy:

"Jeri-cho! Jericho! Jerry-cho-o-o!"

He read the sentence again, and whispered very low:

"Can't you be mistaken?"

"As sure as you sit there!" wrote Calvin Van de Lear.

"What is your inference?" wrote Duff Salter.

"Seduction!"

The two men looked at each other silently a few minutes, Duff Salter in
profound astonishment, Calvin Van de Lear with an impudent smile.

"And so religious!" wrote Duff Salter.

"That is always incidental to the condition," answered Calvin.

"It must be a great blow to your affection?"

"Not at all," scrawled the minister's son. "It gives me a sure thing."

"Explain that!"

"I will throw the marriage mantle over her. She will need me now!"

"But you would not take a wife out of such a situation?"

"Oh! yes. She will be as handsome as ever, and only half as proud."

Duff Salter walked up and down the floor and stroked his long beard, and
his usually benevolent expression was now dark and ominous, as if with
gloom and anger. He spoke in a low tone as if not aware that he was
heard, and his voice sounded as if he also did not hear it, and could
not, therefore, give it pitch or intonation:

"Is this the best of old Kensington? This is the East! Where I dreamed
that life was pure as the water from the dear old pump that quenched my
thirst in boyhood--not bitter as the alkali of the streams of the
plains, nor turbid like the rills of the Arkansas. I pined to leave that
life of renegades, half-breeds, squaws, and nomads to bathe my soul in
the clear fountains of civilization,--to live where marriage was holy
and piety sincere. I find, instead, mystery, blood, dishonor, hypocrisy,
and shame. Let me go back! The rough frontier suits me best. If I can
hear so much wickedness, deaf as I am, let me rather be an unsocial
hermit in the woods, hearing nothing lower than thunder!"

As Duff Salter went to his dinner that day he looked at Agnes sitting in
her place, so ill at ease, and said to himself,

"It is true."

       *       *       *       *       *

Another matter of concern was on Mr. Duff Salter's mind--his
serving-man. Such an unequal servant he had never seen--at times full of
intelligence and snap, again as dumb as the bog-trotters of Ireland.

"What was the matter with you yesterday?" asked the deaf man of Mike one
day.

"Me head, yer honor!"

"What ails your head?"

"Vare-tigo!"

"How came that?"

"Falling out of a ship!"

"What did you strike but water?"

"Wood; it nearly was the death of me. For weeks I was wid a cracked head
and a cracked leg, yer honor!"

Still there was something evasive about the man, and he had as many
moods and lights as a sea Proteus, ugly and common, like that batrachian
order, but often enkindled and exceedingly satisfactory as a servant. He
often forgot the place where he left off a certain day's work, and it
had to be recalled to him. He was irregular, too, in going and coming,
and was quite as likely to come when not wanted as not to be on the spot
when due and expected. Duff Salter made up his mind that all the Eastern
people must have bumped their heads and became subject to vertigo.

One day Duff Salter received this note:

     "MR. DEAF DUFF: Excuse the familiarity, but the coincidence amuses
     me. I want you to make me a visit this evening after dark at my
     quarters in my brother, Knox Van de Lear's house, on Queen Street
     nearly opposite your place of lodging. If Mars crosses the orbit of
     Venus to-night, as I expect--there being signs of it in the milky
     way,--you will assist me in an observation that will stagger you on
     account of its results. Do not come out until dark, and ask at my
     brother's den for                                   CAL."

"I will not be in to-night, Mike," exclaimed Duff Salter a little while
afterward. "You can have all the evening to yourself. Where do you spend
your spare time?"

"On Traity Island," replied Mike with a grin. "I doesn't like Kinsington
afther dark. They say it has ghosts, sur."

"But only the ghosts of they killed as they crossed from Treaty Island."

"Sure enough! But I've lost belafe in ghosts since they have become so
common. Everybody belaves in thim in Kinsington, and I prefer to be
exclusive and sciptical, yer honor."

"Didn't you tell me yesterday that you believed in spirits going and
coming and hoping and waiting, and it gave you great comfort?"

"Did I, sur? I forgit it inthirely. It must have been a bad day for my
vartigo."

Duff Salter looked at his man long and earnestly, and from head to foot,
and the inspection appeared to please him.

"Mike," he said, in his loud, deafish voice, "I am going to cure you of
your vertigo."

"Whin, dear Mister Salter."

"Perhaps to-morrow," remarked Duff Salter significantly. "I shall have a
man here who will either confer it on you permanently or cure you
instantly."

Duff Salter put on his hat, took his stick, and drew the curtains down.

Mike was sitting at the writing table arranging some models of vessels
and steam tugs as his employer turned at the doorway and looked back,
and, with a countenance more waggish than exasperated, Duff Salter shook
his cane at the unobservant Irishman, and sagely gestured with his head.

Agnes was about to take the head of the tea-table as he came down the
stairs.

"No," motioned Duff Salter, and pointed out of doors.

He gave a slight examination to Agnes, so delicate as to be almost
unnoticed, though she perceived it.

Duff sat at the tea side and wrote on his tablets:

"How is little Podge coming on?"

"Growing better," replied Agnes, "but she will be unfit to teach her
school for months. Kind friends have sent her many things."

Duff Salter waited a little while, and wrote:

"I wish I could leave everybody happy behind me when I go away."

"Are you going soon?"

"I am going at once," wrote Duff Salter with a sudden decision. "I am
not trusted by anybody here, and my work is over."

Agnes sat a little while in pain and wistfulness. Finally she wrote:

"There is but one thing which prevents our perfect trust in you; it is
your distrust of us."

"I _am_ distrustful--too much so," answered, in writing, the deaf man.
"A little suspicion soon overspreads the whole nature, and yet, I think,
one can be generous even with suspicion. Among the disciples were a
traitor, a liar, a coward, and a doubter; but none upbraid the last,
poor Thomas, and he is sainted in our faith. Do you know that suspicion
made me deaf? Yes; if we mock Nature with distrust, she stops our ears.
Do you not remember what happened to Zacharias, the priest? He would not
believe the angel who announced that his wife would soon become a
mother, and for his unbelief was stricken dumb!"

The deaf guest had either stumbled into this illustration, or written it
with full design. He looked at Agnes, and the pale and purple colors
came and went upon her face as she bent her body forward over the table.
Duff Salter arose and spoke with that lost voice, like one in a vacuum,
while he folded his tablet.

"Agnes," he said, "it has been cruel to a man of such a sceptical soul
as mine to educate him back from the faith he had acquired to the
unfaith he had tried to put behind him. Why did you do it? The
suppression of the truth is never excusable. The secret you might have
scattered with a word, when suspicion started against you, is now
diffused through every family and rendezvous in Kensington."

She looked miserable enough, and still received the stab of her guest's
magisterial tongue like an affliction from heaven.

"I had also become infected with this imputation," continued Duff
Salter. "All things around you looked sinister for a season. A kind
Providence has dispelled these black shadows, and I see you now the
victim of an immeasurable mistake. Your weakness and another's obstinacy
have almost ruined you. I shall save you with a cruel hand; let the
remorse be his who hoped to outlive society and its natural suspicions
by a mere absence."

"I will not let you upbraid him," spoke Agnes Wilt. "My weakness was the
whole mistake."

"Agnes," said the grave, bearded man, "you must walk through Kensington
to-morrow with me in the sight of the whole world."

She looked up and around a moment, and staggered toward a sofa, but
would have fallen had not Duff Salter caught her in his arms and placed
her there with tender strength. He whispered in her ear:

"Courage, little _mother_!"




CHAPTER VIII.

A REAL ROOF-TREE.


Ringing the bell at the low front step of a two-story brick dwelling,
Duff Salter was admitted by Mr. Knox Van de Lear, the proprietor, a
tall, plain, commonplace man, who scarcely bore one feature of his
venerable father. "Come in, Mr. Salter," bellowed Knox, "tea's just
a-waitin' for you. Pap's here. You know Cal, certain! This is my good
lady, Mrs. Van de Lear. Lottie, put on the oysters and waffles! Don't
forgit the catfish. There's nothing like catfish out of the Delaware,
Mr. Salter."

"Particularly if they have a corpse or two to flavor them," said Calvin
Van de Lear in a low tone.

Mrs. Knox Van de Lear, a fine, large, blonde lady, took the head of the
table. She had a sweet, timid voice, quite out of quantity with her bone
and flesh, and her eyelashes seemed to be weak, for they closed together
often and in almost regular time, and the delicate lids were quite as
noticeable as her bashful blue eyes.

"Lottie," said Rev. Silas Van de Lear, "I came in to-night with a little
chill upon me. At my age chills are the tremors from other wings
hovering near. Please let me have the first cup of coffee hot."

"Certainly, papa," said the hostess, making haste to fill his cup. "You
don't at all feel apprehensive, do you?"

"No," said the old man, with his teeth chattering. "I haven't had
apprehensions for long back. Nothing but confidence."

"Oh, pap!" put in Knox Van de Lear, "you'll be a preachin' when I'm a
granddaddy. You never mean to die. Eat a waffle!"

"My children," said the old man, "death is over-due with me. It gives me
no more concern than the last hour shall give all of us. I had hoped to
live for three things: to see my new church raised; to see my son Calvin
ready to take my place; to see my neighbor, Miss Wilt, whom I have seen
grow up under my eye from childhood, and fair as a lily, brush the dew
of scandal from her skirts and resume her place in our church, the
handmaid of God again."

"Amen, old man!" spoke Calvin irreverently, holding up his plate for
oysters.

"Why, Cal," exclaimed the hostess, closing her delicately-tinted eyelids
till the long lashes rested on the cheek, "why don't you call papa more
softly?"

"My son," spoke the little old gentleman between his chatterings, "in
the priestly office you must avoid abruptness. Be direct at all
important times, but neither familiar nor abrupt. I cannot name for you
a model of address like Agnes Wilt."

"Isn't she beautiful!" said Mrs. Knox. "Do you think she can be
deceitful, papa?"

"I have no means to pierce the souls of people, Lottie, more than
others. I don't believe she is wicked, but I draw that from my reason
and human faith. That woman was a pillar of strength in my
Sabbath-school. May the Lord bring her forth from the furnace refined by
fire, and punish them who may have persecuted her!"

"Cal is going into a decline on her account," said Knox. "I know it by
seeing him eat waffles. She refused Cal one day, and he came home and
eat all the cold meat in the house."

"Mr. Salter," the hostess said, raising her voice, "you have a beautiful
woman for a landlady. Is she well?"

"Very melancholy," said Duff Salter. "Why don't you visit her?"

"Really," said the hostess, "there is so much feeling against Agnes
that, considering Papa Van de Lear's position in Kensington, I have been
afraid. Agnes is quite too clever for me!"

"I hope she will be," said Duff Salter, relapsing to his coffee.

"He didn't hear what you said, Lot," exclaimed Calvin. "The old man has
to guess at what we halloo at him."

"Have you appraised the estate of the late William Zane?" asked the
minister, with his bold pulpit voice, which Salter could hear easily.

"Yes," replied the deaf guest. "It comes out strong. It is worth, clear
of everything and not including doubtful credits, one hundred and eighty
thousand dollars."

"That is the largest estate in Kensington," exclaimed the clergyman.

"I shall release it all within one week to Miss Agnes," said Duff
Salter. "You are too old, Mr. Van de Lear, to manage it. I have finished
my work as co-executor with you. The third executor is Miss Wilt. With
the estate in her hands she will change the tone of public opinion in
Kensington, perhaps, and the fugitive heir must return or receive no
money from the woman he has injured!"

"I am entirely of your opinion," said Reverend Mr. Van de Lear. "Agnes
was independent before; this will make her powerful, and she needs all
the power she can get to meet this insensate suburban opinion. When I
was a young man, commencing to minister here, I had rivals enough, and
deeply sympathize with those who must defend themselves against the
embattled gossip of a suburban society."

Mrs. Knox Van de Lear opened and closed her eyes with a saintly sort of
resignation.

"I am glad for Agnes," she said. "But I fear the courts will not allow
her, suspected as she is, to have the custody of so much wealth that has
descended to her through the misfortunes of others, if not by crimes."

"You are right, Lot," said Calvin. "Her little game may be to get a
husband as soon as she can, who will resist a trustee's appointment by
the courts."

"Can _she_ get a husband, Cal?"

"Oh, yes! She's lightning! There's old Salter, rich as a Jew. She's
smart enough to capture him and add all he has to all that was coming to
Andrew Zane."

Mr. Salter drew up his napkin and sneezed into it a soft articulation of
"Jericho! Jericho!"

"Cal, don't you think you have some chance there yet?" asked Knox Van
de Lear. "I hoped you would have won Aggy long ago. It's a better show
than I ever had. You see I have to be at work at six o'clock, winter and
summer, and stay at the bookbindery all day long, and so it goes the
year round."

"Indeed, it is so!" exclaimed the hostess, slowly shutting down her
silken lids of pink. "My poor husband goes away from me while I still
sleep in the dark of dawn; he only returns at supper."

"Well, haven't you got brother Cal?" asked the bookbinder. "He's better
company than I am, Lottie."

"But Calvin is in love with Miss Wilt," said the lady, softly unclosing
her eves.

"No," coolly remarked Calvin, "I am not in love with her. You know that,
Lottie."

"Well, Calvin, dear, you would be if you thought she was pure and clear
of crime."

"Don't ask me foolish questions!" said Calvin.

The lady at the head of the table wore a pretty smile which she shut
away under her eyelids again and again, and looked gently at Calvin.

"Dear Agnes!" ejaculated Mrs. Knox, "I never blamed her so much as that
bold little creature, Podge Byerly! No one could make any impression
upon Agnes's confidence until that bright little thing went to board
with her. It is so demoralizing to take these working-girls, shop-girls
and school-teachers, in where religious influences had prevailed! They
became inseparable; Agnes had to entertain such company as Miss Byerly
brought there, and it produced a lowering of tone. She looked around her
suddenly when these crimes were found out, and all her old mature
friends were gone. It is so sad to lose all the wholesome influences
which protect one!"

Duff Salter had been eating his chicken and catfish very gravely, and as
he stopped to sneeze and apologize he noticed that Calvin Van de Lear's
face was insolent in its look toward his brother's wife.

"Wholesome influence," said Calvin, "will return at the news of her
money, quick enough!"

"Poor dear Cal!" exclaimed the lady; "he is still madly in love!"

"My friends," spoke up Duff Salter, "your father is a very sick man. Let
us take him to a chamber and send for his doctor."

Mr. Van de Lear had been neglected in this conversation; it was now seen
that he was in collapse and deathly pale. He leaned forward, however,
from strong habit, to close the meal with a blessing, and his head fell
forward upon the table. Duff Salter had him in his arms in a moment, and
bore him into the little parlor and placed him on a sofa.

"Give me some music, children," he murmured. "Oh, my brother Salter! I
would that you could hear with me the rustling sounds I hear in music
now! There are voices in it keeping heavenly time, saying, 'Well done!
well done!' My strong, kind brother, let me lean upon your breast. Had
we met in younger days I feel that we would have been very friendly with
each other."

Duff Salter already had the meagre little man upon his breast, and his
long, hale beard descended upon the pale and aged face.

Mrs. Knox Van de Lear seated herself at the piano and began a hymn, and
Calvin Van de Lear accompanied her, singing bass. The old man closed his
eyes on Duff Salter's breast, and Mr. Knox Van de Lear went out softly
to send for a physician. Duff Salter, looking up at a catch in the
singing, saw that Calvin Van de Lear was leaning familiarly on the
lady's shoulder while he turned the leaves of the book of sacred music.

"I am very sick," said the old clergyman, still shaken by the chills.
"Perhaps we shall meet together no more. My fellow-executor, do my part
in this world! In all my life of serving the church and its Divine
Master, I have first looked out for the young people. They are most
helpless, most valuable. See that Sister Agnes is mercifully cared for!
If young Andrew Zane returns, deal gently with him too. Let us be kind
to the dear boys, though they go astray. The dear, dear boys!"

Duff Salter received the brave little man's head again upon his breast,
and said to himself:

"May God speedily take him away in mercy!"

The doctor, returning with Knox Van de Lear, commanded the minister to
be instantly removed to a chamber, and Duff Salter, unassisted, walked
up-stairs with him like a father carrying his infant to bed. As they
placed the wasted figure away beneath the coverlets, he put his arm
around Duff Salter's neck.

"Brother," he said hoarsely, the chill having him in its grasp, "God has
blessed you. Can you help my new church?"

"I promise you," said Duff Salter, "that after your people have done
their best I will give the remainder. It shall be built!"

"Now, God be praised!" whispered the dying pastor. "And let Thy servant
depart in peace."

"Amen!" from somewhere, trembled through the chamber as Duff Salter, his
feet muffled like his voice, in the habit of mute people who walk as
they hear, passed down the stairway.

Duff Salter took his seat in the dining-room, which was an extension of
Knox Van de Lear's plain parlor, and buried his face in his palms. Years
ago, when a boy, he had attended preaching in Silas Van de Lear's little
chapel, and it touched him deeply that the nestor of the suburb was
about to die; the last of the staunch old pastors of the kirk who had
never been silent when liberty was in peril. The times were not the
same, and the old man was too brave and simple for the latter half of
his century. As Duff Salter thought of many memories associated with the
Rev. Silas Van de Lear's residence in Kensington, he heard his own name
mentioned. It was a lady's voice; nothing but acute sensibility could
have made it so plain to a deaf man:

"Husband," said the lady with the slumberous eyelids, "go out with the
pitcher and get us half a gallon of ale. Cal and Mr. Salter and myself
are thirsty."

"I have been for the doctor, Lottie; let Cal go."

"Cal?" exclaimed the lady, very quietly raising her lashes. "It would
not do for him to go for _ale_! He is to be the junior pastor, my dear,
as soon as papa is buried, over the Van de Lear church."

"All right," said the tired husband, "I'll go. We must all back up Cal."

As soon as the door closed upon Mr. Knox Van de Lear, a kiss resounded
through the little house, and a woman's voice followed it, saying:

"Imprudent!"

"Oh, bah!" spoke Calvin Van de Lear. "Salter is deaf as a post. Lottie,
Agnes Wilt has been ruined!"

In the long pause following this remark the deaf man peeped through his
fingers and saw the lady of the house kiss her husband's brother again
and again.

"I am so glad," she whispered. "Can it be true?"

"It's plain as a barn door. She'll be a mother before shad have run out,
or cherries come in."

"The proud creature! And now, Cal dear, you see nothing exceptionally
saint-like there?"

"I see shame, friendlessness, wealth, and welcome," spoke the young man.
"It's just my luck!"

"But the deaf man? Will he not take her part?"

"No. I shall show him to-night what will cure his partiality. Lottie,
you must let me marry her."

The large, blonde lady threw back her head until the strong, animal
throat and chin stood sharply defined, and white and scarlet in color as
the lobster's meat.

"Scoundrel!" she hissed, clenching Calvin's wrist with an almost
maniacal fury.

At this moment a bell began to toll on the neighboring fire company's
house, and Knox Van de Lear entered with the pitcher of ale.

"They're tolling the fire bell at the news of father's dying," said
Knox.

Calvin filled a glass of ale, and exclaimed:

"Here's to the next pastor of Kensington!" as he laughingly drained it
off.

"Oh, brother Cal!" remarked the hostess as she softly dropped her
eyelids and smiled reprovingly; "this irreverence comes of visiting Miss
Agnes Wilt too often. I must take you in charge."

Duff Salter gave a furious sneeze:

"Jericho! Oh! oh! Jericho!"

Calvin Van de Lear closed the door between the dining-room and the
parlor, and drew Duff Salter's tablets from his pocket and wrote:

"I want you to go up on the house roof with me."

Duff looked at him in surprise, and wrote in reply:

"Do you mean to throw me off?"

Calvin's sallow complexion reddened a very little as he laughed
flippantly, and stroked his dry side-whiskers and took the tablets
again:

"I want you to see the ghost's walk," he wrote. "Come along!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing the sick father's door, Calvin led Duff Salter up to the garret
floor, where a room with rag carpet, dumb-bells, boxing-gloves,
theological books, and some pictures far from modest, disclosed the
varied tastes of an entailed pulpit's expectant. Calvin drew down the
curtain of the one window and lighted a lamp. There was a table in the
middle of the floor, and there the two men conducted a silent
conversation on the ivory tablets.

"This is my room," wrote Calvin. "I stay here all day when I study or
enjoy myself. The governor doesn't come in here to give me any advice
or nose around."

"Is Mrs. Knox Van de Lear serious as to religious matters?"

"Very," wrote Calvin, sententiously, and looked at Duff Salter with the
most open countenance he had ever been seen to show. Duff merely asked
another question:

"Has she a good handwriting? I want to have a small document very neatly
written."

Calvin went over to a trunk, unlocked it, and took out a bundle of what
appeared to be lady's letters, and selecting one, folded the address
back and showed the chirography.

"Jericho! Jerry-cho! cho! O cho!" sneezed Duff Salter. "The most
admirable writing I have ever seen."

Calvin took the tablets.

"I have been in receipt of some sundry sums of money from you, Salter,
to follow up this Zane mystery. I hope to be able to show you to-night
that it has not been misinvested."

"You have had two hundred dollars," wrote Duff Salter. "What are your
conclusions?"

"Andrew Zane is in Kensington."

"Where?"

"In the block opposite are several houses belonging to the Zane estate.
One of them stood empty until within a month, when a tenant unknown to
the neighborhood, with small furniture and effects--evidently a mere
servant--moved in. My brother's wife has taken a deep interest in the
Zane murder, and being at home all day, her resort is this room, where
she can see, unobserved, the whole _menage_ and movement in the block
opposite."

"Why did she feel so much interested?"

"Honor bright!" Calvin wrote. "Well, Mrs. Knox was a great admirer of
the late William Zane. They were very intimate--some thought under
engagement to marry. Suddenly she accepted my brother, and old Zane
turned out to be infatuated with his ward. We may call it rivalry and
reminiscence."

"Jer-i-choo-wo!"

Duff Salter, now full of smiles, proffered a pinch of snuff to his host,
who declined it, but set out a bottle of brandy in reciprocal
friendship.

"Go on," indicated Salter to the tablets.

"One morning, just before daybreak, my brother's wife, glancing out of
this window--"

"In this room, you say, before daybreak?"

Calvin looked viciously at Duff Salter, who merely smiled.

"She saw," said Calvin Van de Lear, "an object come out of the trap-door
on Zane's old residence and move under shelter of the ridge of the roof
to the newly-tenanted dwelling in the same block, and there disappear
down the similar trap."

"Jericho! Jericho!--Proceed."

"It was our inference that probably Andrew Zane was making stealthy
visits to Agnes, and we applied a test to her. To our astonishment we
found she had only seen him once since the murder, and that was the
night the bodies were discovered."

"How could you extract that from a self-contained woman like Agnes
Wilt?" asked Duff Salter, deeply interested.

"We got it from Podge Byerly."

"Jerusalem!" exclaimed Duff Salter aloud, knocking over the snuff-box
and forgetting to sneeze. "Mr. Calvin Van de Lear, it is a damned lie."

Calvin locked up with some surprise but more conceit.

"I'm a first-class eavesdropper," he wrote, and held it up on the tablet
to Duff's eyes. "We got the fact from Podge's bed-ridden brother, a
scamp who destroyed his health by excesses and came back on Podge for
support. Knowing how corruptible he was, I got access to him and paid
him out of your funds to wheedle out of Podge all that Lady Agnes told
her. She had no idea that her brother communicated with any person, as
he was unable to walk, and she told him for his amusement secrets she
never dreamed could go out of the house. We corresponded with him by
mail."

"Calvin," wrote Duff Salter, "you never thought of these things
yourself."

"To give the devil his credit, my brother's wife suggested that device."

"Jericho-o-o-oh!"

Duff Salter was himself again.

"Well, Salter," continued the heir-apparent of Kensington, "we laid our
heads together, and the mystery continued to deepen why Andrew Zane
infested the residence of his murdered father if he never revealed
himself to the woman he had loved. Not until the discovery that Agnes
Wilt had been ruined could we make that out."

They were both looking at each other intently as Duff Salter read the
last sentence.

"It then became plain to us," continued Calvin, "that Andrew Zane wanted
to abandon the woman he had seduced, as was perfectly natural. He
haunted and alarmed the house and kept informed on all its happenings,
but cut poor Agnes dead."

"The infamous scoundrel!" exclaimed Duff Salter, looking very dark and
serious.

"Now, Salter," continued Calvin, "we had a watch set on that ridge of
roofs every night, and another one at the old Zane house, front and
rear, and the apparition on the roof was so irregular that we could not
understand what occasions it took to come out until we observed that
whenever your servant was out of the neighborhood a whole night, the
roof-walker was sure to descend into Zane's trap."

"Jer-i-cho-ho-ho!"

"To-night, as we have made ourselves aware, your servant is not in
Kensington. We saw him off to Treaty Island. I am watching at this
window for the man on the roof. The moment he leaves the trap-door of the
tenant's house, it will be entered by officers at the waving of this
lamp at my window. One officer will proceed along the roof and station
himself on the Zane trap, closing that outlet. At the same time the Zane
house will be entered front and rear and searched. The time is due. It
is midnight. Come!"

Calvin pointed to a ladder that led from the corner of his study to the
roof, and Duff Salter nodded his head acquiescently.

They went up the ladder and thrust their heads into the soft night of
early summer.

There was starlight, but no moon.

The engine bell just ceased to toll as they looked forth on the
scattered suburb, and at points beheld the Delaware flowing darkly,
indicated by occasional lights of vessels reflected upward, and by the
very distant lamps on the Camden shore.

Most of the houses within the range of vision were small, patched, and
irregular, except where the black walls of the even blocks on some
principal streets strode through.

Scarcely a sound, except the tree frogs droning, disturbed the air, and
Kensington basked in the midnight like some sleeping village of the
plains, stretching out to the fields of cattle and the savory truck
farms.

Duff Salter mentally exclaimed:

"Here, like two angels of good or evil, we spy upon the dull old hamlet,
where nothing greater has happened than to-night since the Indians
bartered their lands away for things of immediate enjoyment. Are not
most of these people Indians still, ready to trade away substantial
lands of antique title for the playthings of a few brief hours? Yes,
heaven itself was signed away by man and woman for the juices of one
forbidden fruit. Here, where the good old pastor, like another William
Penn, is running his stakes beyond the stars and peopling with angels
his possessions there, the savage children are occupied with the trifles
of lust, covetousness, and deceit. They are no worse than the sons of
Penn, who became apostates to his charity and religion before the breath
had left his body. So goes the human race, whether around the Tree of
Knowledge or Kensington's Treaty Tree."

Duff Salter felt his arm pulled violently, and heard his companion
whisper,

"There! Do you see it?"

Across the street, only a few hundred feet distant, an object emerged
from the black mass of the buildings and moved rapidly along the
opposite ridge of houses against the sky, drawing nearer the two
watchers as it advanced, and passing right opposite.

Duff Salter made it out to be a woman or a figure in a gown.

It looked neither to the right nor left, and did not stoop nor cower,
but strode boldly as if with right to the large residence of the Zanes,
where in a minute it faded away.

Duff Salter felt a little superstitious, but Calvin Van de Lear shot
past him down the ladder.

Duff heard the curtain at the window thrown up as the divinity student
flashed his lamp and saw the door of the house whence the apparition had
come, forced by the police.

As he descended the ladder Calvin Van de Lear extended Duff's hat to
him, and pointed across the way.

They were not very prompt reaching the door of the Zane residence, but
were still there in time to employ Duff Salter's key, instead of
violence, to make the entry.

"Gentlemen," said the deaf man, with authority, "there is no occasion of
any of you pressing in here to alarm a lady. Mr. Van de Lear and myself
will make the search of the house which you have already guarded,
front, back, and above, and rendered it impossible for the object of
your warrant to escape."

The dignity and commanding stature of Duff Salter had their effect.

Calvin Van de Lear and Duff Salter entered the silent house, lighted the
gas, and walked from room to room, finally entering the apartment of
Duff Salter himself.

There sat Mike, the serving-man, in his red hair, uneven eyebrows,
crutch, and wooden leg, as quietly arranging the models of vessels and
steamers as if he had not anticipated a midnight call nor ceased his
labor since Duff Salter had gone out.

"Damnation!" exclaimed Calvin Van de Lear, pale with exertion and rage,
"are you here? I thought you were at Treaty Island."

"Misther Salter," said the Irishman, "I returned, do you see, because I
forgot something and wanthed a drop of your brandy, sur."

Duff Salter walked up to the speaker and seized him by the lapels of his
coat, and placing the other hand upon his head, tore off the entire
red-haired scalp which covered him.

"Andrew Zane," said Duff Salter in a low voice, "your disguise is
detected. Yield yourself like a man to your father's executor. You are
my prisoner!"




CHAPTER IX.

IN COURT.


Agnes Wilt awoke and said her prayers, unconscious of any event of the
night. At the breakfast-table she met Duff Salter, who took both her
hands in his.

"Agnes," said Duff Salter--"let me call you so hereafter--did you hear
the bell toll last night?"

"No," she replied with agitation. "For what, Mr. Salter?"

"The good priest of Kensington is dying."

"Beloved friend!" she said, as the tears came to her eyes. "And must he
die uncertain of my blame or innocence? Yet he will learn it in that
wiser world!"

"Agnes, I require perfect submission from you for this day. Will you
give it in all things?"

She looked at him a moment in earnest reflection, and said finally:

"Yes, unless my conscience says 'no.'"

"Nothing will be asked of you that you cannot rightfully do. Decision is
what is needed now, and I will bring you through triumphantly if you
will obey me."

"I will."

"At eleven o'clock we must go to the magistrate's office. I will walk
there with you."

"Am I to be arrested?" she asked, hesitating.

"If you go with me it will not be an arrest."

"Mr. Salter," she cried, in a burst of anguish, "I am not fit to be seen
upon the streets of Kensington."

He took her in his arms like a daughter.

"Yes, yes, poor girl! The mother of God braved no less. You can bear it.
But all this morning I must be closely engaged. An important event
happened last night. At eleven, positively, be ready to go out with me."

Agnes was ready, and stepped forth into the daylight on the main
thoroughfare of Queen Street. Almost every window was filled with
gazers; the sidewalks were lined with strollers, loiterers, and people
waiting. She might have fainted if Duff Salter's arm had not been there
to sustain her.

A large fishwife, with a basket on her head, was standing beside her
comely grown daughter, who had put her large basket down, and both
devoured Agnes with their eyes.

"Staying in the house, Beck," exclaimed the mother of the girl, "has
been healthy for some people."

"Yes, mammy," answered the girl; "it's safer standing in market with
catfish. He! he! he!"

A shipbuilder's daughter was on the front steps, a slender girl of dark,
smooth skin and features, talking to a grown boy. The girl bowed: "How
do you do, Miss Agnes?" The grown boy giggled inanely.

Two old women, near neighbors of Agnes, had their spectacles wiped and
run out to a proper focus, and the older of the two had a double pair
upon her most insidious and suspicious nose. As Agnes passed, this old
lady gave such a start that she dropped the spectacles off her nose, and
ejaculated through the open window, "Lord alive!"

At Knox Van de Lear's house the fine-bodied, feline lady with
nictitating eyes, drew aside the curtain, even while the dying man above
was in frigid waters, that she might slowly raise and drop her ambrosial
lids, and express a refined but not less marked surprise. Agnes, by an
excitement of the nerves of apprehension, saw everything while she
trembled. She could read the dates of all the houses on the painted
cornices of the water-spouts, and saw the cabalistic devices of old
insurance companies on the property they covered. Pigeons flying about
the low roofs clucked and chuckled as if their milky purity had been
incensed, and little dogs seemed to draw near and trot after, too
familiarly, as if they scented sin.

There were two working-men from Zane & Rainey's ship-yard who had known
kindness to their wives from Agnes when those wives were in confinement.
Both took off their hats respectfully, but with astonishment
overwhelming their pity.

Half the fire company had congregated at one corner of the street--lean,
runners of men in red shirts, and with boots outside their trousers.
They did not say a word, but gazed as at a riddle going by. Yet at one
place a Sabbath scholar of Agnes came out before her, and, making a
courtesy, said:

"Teacher, take my orange blossom!"

The flower was nearly white, and very fragrant. Duff Salter reached out
and put it in his button-hole.

So excited were the sensibilities of Agnes that it seemed to her the old
door-knockers squinted; the idle writing of boys on dead walls read with
a hidden meaning; the shade-trees lazily shaking in summer seemed to
whisper; if she looked down, there now and then appeared, moulded in the
bricks of the pavement, a worn letter, or a passing goose foot, the
accident of the brickyard, but now become personal and intentional. The
little babies, sporting in their carriages before some houses, leaned
forward and looked as wise and awful as doctors in some occult
diagnosis. Cartwheels, as they struck hard, articulated, "What, out!
Boo! boohoo!" Sunshine all slanted her way. Hucksters' cries sounded
like constables' proclamation: "Oyez! oyez!"

With the perceptions, the reflections of Agnes were also startlingly
alert. She seemed two or three unfortunate people at once. Now it was
Lady Jane Grey going to the tower. Now it was Beatrice Cenci going to
torture. Now it was Mary Magdalene going to the cross. At almost every
house she felt a kindness speak for her, except mankind; a recollection
of nursing, comforting, praying with some one, but all forgotten now.
"_Via Crucia, Via Crucia_," her thorn-torn feet seemed to patter in the
echoes of her ears and mind, and there arose upon her spirit the
sternest curse of women, direful with God's own rage, "I will greatly
multiply thy sorrow and thy conception."

Thus she reached the magistrate's little office, around the door of
which was a little crowd of people, and Duff Salter led her in the
private door to the residence itself. A cup of tea and a decanter of
wine were on the table. The magistrate's wife knew her, and kissed her.
Then Agnes broke down and wept like a little child.

The magistrate was a lame man, and a deacon in Van de Lear's church,
quite gray, and both prudent and austere, and making use of but few
words, so that there was no way of determining his feelings on the case.
He took his place behind a plain table and opened court by saying,

"Who appears? Now!"

Duff Salter rose, the largest man in the court-room. His long beard
covered his whole breast-bone; his fine intelligent features, clear,
sober eyes, and hale, house-bleached skin, bore out the authority
conceded to him in Kensington as a rich gentleman of the world.

"Mr. Magistrate," said Duff Salter, "this examination concerns the
public and the ends of justice only as bears upon the death of the late
citizens of Kensington, William Zane and Saylor Rainey. It is a
preliminary examination only, and the person suspected by public gossip
has not retained counsel. With your permission, as the executor of
William Zane, I will conduct such part of the inquiry here as my duty
toward the deceased, and my knowledge of the evidence, notwithstanding
my frontier notions of law, suggest to me."

"You prosecute?" asked the magistrate, and added, "Yes, yes! I will!"

Calvin Van de Lear got up and bowed to the magistrate.

"Your Honor, my deep interest in Miss Agnes Wilt has driven me to leave
the bedside of a dying parent to see that her interests are properly
attended to in this case. Whenever she is concerned I am for the
defence."

"Yes!" exclaimed the magistrate. "Salter, have you a witness?"

"Mike Donovan!" called Duff Salter.

A red-haired Irishman, with one eyebrow higher than the other, and scars
on his face, walked into the alderman's court from the private room, and
was sworn.

"Donovan," spoke Duff Salter, standing up, "relate the occurrences of a
certain night when you rowed the prisoner, Andrew Zane, and certain
other persons, from Treaty Island to an uncertain point in the River
Delaware."

"Stop! stop!" exclaimed Calvin Van de Lear, rising. "It seems to me I
have seen that fellow's face before. Donovan, hadn't you a wooden leg
when last I saw you?"

"No doubt of it," answered the Irishman.

"Why haven't you got it on now?" cried Calvin, scowling.

"Because, yer riverence, me own legs was plenty good enough on this
occasion."

"Now, now, I won't!" ordered the sententious little magistrate.

"Proceed with the narrative," cried Duff Salter, "and repeat no part of
the conversation in that boat."

"It was a dark and lowering night," said the waterman, "as we swung
loose from Traity Isle. I sat a little forward of the cintre, managing
the oars. Mr. Andrew Zane was in the bow, on the watch for difficulties.
In the stern sat the boss, Mr. William Zane. Between him and me--God's
rest to him!--sat the murdered gintleman, well-beloved Saylor Rainey!
The tide was running six miles an hour. We steered by the lights of
Kinsington."

"Then you are confident," said Duff Salter, "that the whole length of
the skiff separated William Zane from his son?"

"As confident, yer honor, as that the batteau had two inds. They niver
were nearer, the one to the tother, than that, for the whole of the
ixpidition. And scarcely one word did Mr. Andrew utter on the whole ov
that bloody passage."

"Say nothing, for the present, about any conversations," commanded Duff
Salter, "but go on with the occurrences briefly."

"I had been a very little while, ye must understand me, gintlemen, in
the imploy of thim two partners. After they entered the boat they spoke
nothing at all, at all, for siveral minutes. It was all I could do wid
the strong tide to keep the boat pinted for Kinsington, and I only
noticed that Mr. Rainey comminced the conversation in a low tone of
voice. Just at that time, or soon afterward, your Honor, a large vessel
stood across our bow, going down stream in the night, and I put on all
my strength, at Mr. William Zane's order, to cross in front of her, and
did so. I was so afraid the ship would take us under that I put my whole
attintion to my task, not daring to disobey so positive a boss as Mr.
Zane, though it was agin my judgment, indade."

All in the court and outside the door and windows were giving strict
attention. Even Andrew Zane, whose face had been rather sullen, listened
with a pale spot on his cheeks.

"Go on," said Duff Salter gently. "You relate it very well."

"As we had cleared the ship, gintlemen, I paused an instant to wipe the
sweat from my brows, though it was a cold night, for I was quite spint.
I then perceived that Mr. Rainey and the master were disputing and
raising their voices higher and higher, and what surprised me most of
all, your Honor, was the unusual firmness of Mr. Rainey, who was
ginerally very obedient to the boss. He faced the boss, and would not
take his orders, and I heard him once exclaim: 'Shame on you, sir; he is
your son!'"

"Stop! stop!" cried Duff Salter. "You were not to repeat conversations.
What next?"

"In the twinklin' of an eye," resumed the witness, "the masther had
sazed his partner by the throat and called him a villain. They both
stood up in the boat, the masther's hand still in Mr. Rainey's collar,
and for an instant Mr. Rainey shook himself loose and cried--"

"Not a word!" exclaimed Duff Salter. "What was _done_?"

"Mr. Rainey cried out something, all at once. The masther fetched a
terrible oath and fell back upon his seat. 'You assisted in this
villainy!' he shouted. They clinched, and I saw something shine dimly in
Mr. William Zane's hand. The report told me what it was. I lifted one
oar in a feeling of horror, and the boat swung round abruptly on the
blade of the other, and Mr. Rainey, released from the masther's grip,
fell overboard in the dark night."

Nothing was said by any person in the court except a suppressed "Bah!"
from Calvin Van de Lear.

"Silence! Order! I won't!" exclaimed the lame magistrate, rising from
his seat. "Now! Go on!"

"I dropped both oars in me terror, and one of them floated away in the
dark. We all stood up in the boat. 'My God!' exclaimed the masther,
'what have I done?' As quick as the beating of my heart he placed the
pistol at his own head. I saw the flash and heard the report. Mr.
William Zane fell overboard."

There was a shudder of horror for a moment, and then a voice outside the
window, hoarse and cheery, shouted to the outer crowd, "Andrew is
innocent! Three cheers for Andrew Zane!"

The people in and out of the warm and densely-pressed office
simultaneously gave cheers, calling others to the scene, and the old
magistrate, lame as he was, arose and looked happy.

"No arrests!" he cried. "Right enough! Good! Now, attention!"

But Andrew Zane kept his seat with an expression of obstinacy, and
glared at Calvin Van de Lear, who was trembling with rage.

"Well got up, on my word!" exclaimed Calvin. "Who is this fellow?"

"Go on and finish your story!" commanded Duff Salter.

"God forgive Mike Donovan, your Honor!" continued the witness. "I'm
afraid if Mr. William Zane had been the only man overboard I wouldn't
have risked me life. He was a hard, overbearin' masther. But I thought
of his poor son, standin' paralyzed-like, and the kind Mr. Rainey
drownin' in the wintry water, and I jumped down in the dark flood to
rescue one or both. From that day to this, the two partners I never saw.
It was months before I saw America at all, or the survivin' okkepant of
the boat."

"You may explain how that came to be," intimated Duff Salter, grimly
superintending the court.

"Well, sir! As I dived from the skiff my head encountered a solid
something which made me see a thousand flashes av lightning in one
second. I was so stunned that I had only instinct--I belave ye call it
that--to throw my ar-rum around the murthering object and hold like
death. Ye know, judge, how drownin' men will hold to straws. That straw,
yer Honor, was the spar of a vessel movin' through the water. It was, I
found out afterward, one of the pieces which had wedged the ship on the
Marine Railway, where she had been gettin' repaired, and she comin' off
hurriedly about dusk, had not been loosened from her. I raised my voice
by a despairin' effort, and screamed 'Help! help!' When I came to I was
on an Austrian merchant ship, bound to Wilmington, North Carolina, for
naval stores, and then to Trieste. The blow of the spar had given me a
slight crack av the skull."

"That crack is wide open yet," said Calvin Van de Lear.

"Begorra," returned the Irishman, facing placidly around until he found
the owner of the voice, "Mr. Calvin Van de Lear, it would take many such
a blow, sur, to fracture your heart!"

"Go on now, Donovan, and finish your tale. You were carried off to
Trieste?" spoke Duff Salter.

"I was, sir. At Wilmington no news had been recaved of any tragedy in
Philadelphia, and when I told my story there to a gentleman he concluded
I was ravin' and a seein' delusions. The Austrian was short av a crew,
and the docthor said if they could get away to sea he could make me
effective very soon. I was too helpless to go on deck or make
resistance. Says I, 'It's the will av God.'"

A round of applause greeted this story as it was ended, and cheerful
hands were extended to the witness and the prisoner. Calvin Van de Lear,
however, exclaimed:

"Alderman, what has all this to do with the prisoner's ignominious
flight for months from his home and from persons he abandoned to
suspicion and shame? This man is an impostor."

"Will you take the stand, Mr. Andrew Zane?" asked Duff Salter.

"No," replied the late fugitive. "I have been hunted and slandered like
a wolf. I will give no evidence in Kensington, where I have been so
shamefully treated. Let me be sent to a higher court, and there I will
speak."

"Alas!" Duff Salter said, with grave emphasis, "it is you father's old
and obstinate spirit which is speaking. You are the ghost I thought was
his at the door of my chamber. Mr. Magistrate, swear me!"

Duff Salter gravely kissed the Testament and stood ready to depose, when
Calvin Van de Lear again interrupted.

"Are you not deaf?" asked the divinity student. "Where are your tablets
that you carry every day? You seem to hear too well, I consider."

"You are right," cried Duff Salter, turning on his interrogator like a
lion. "I am wholly cured of deafness, and my memory is as acute as my
hearing."

Calvin Van de Lear turned pale to the roots of his dry, yellow whiskers.

"Devil!" he muttered.

"My testimony covers only a single point," resumed the strong, direct,
and imposing witness. "I saw the face of this prisoner for the first
time since his babyhood in his father's house not many weeks ago. It
resembled his father's youthful countenance, as I knew it, so greatly
that I really believed his parent haunted the streets of Kensington,
according to the rumor. The supposed apparition drove me to investigate
the mysterious death of William Zane. I believed that Agnes knew the
story, but was under this prisoner's command of secrecy. Seeking an
assistant, the witness, Donovan, forced himself upon me. In a short time
I was confounded by the contradictions of his behavior. Looking deeper
into it, I suspected that in his suit of clothing resided at different
times two men: the one an agent, the other a principal; the one a
reality, the other a disguise. I armed myself and had the duller and
less observant of these doubles row me out upon the Delaware on such a
night as marked the tragedy he witnessed. When we reached the middle of
the river I forced the story of the coincidence from him by reasoning
and threats."

"Ha! ha!" exclaimed Calvin Van de Lear. "Is this an Arkansas snake
story?"

"The young Zane had gratified a wilful passion to penetrate the
residence of his father, and look at its inmates and the situation from
safe harborage there. He found that Donovan in his roving sailor's life
had played the crippled sea beggar in the streets of British cities,
tying up his natural leg and fitting a wooden leg to the knee--a trick
well known to British ballad singers. That leg was in Donovan's
sea-chest, as it had been left in this city, and also the crutch
necessary to walk with it. Mr. Zane and Donovan had exchanged the leg
and crutch, and the former matched his fellow with a wig and patches.
Thus convertible, they had for a little while deceived everybody, but
for further convenience Mr. Zane ensconced himself as a tenant in a
neighboring house, and when the apparatus was in request by Donovan, he
crossed on the roofs between the trap-doors, and still was master of his
residence."

"What does all this disclose but the intrigue of despairing guilt?"
exclaimed young Van de Lear. "He had destroyed the purity of a lady and
abandoned her, and was afraid to show his real face in Kensington."

"We will see as to that," replied Duff Salter. "I had hoped to respect
the lady's privacy, but Mr. Zane has refused to testify. Call Agnes
Wilt."

All in the magistrate's office rose at the mention of this name, only
Andrew Zane keeping his seat amid the crowd. Calvin Van de Lear
officiously sought to assist the witness in, but Duff Salter pressed him
back and gave the sad and beautiful woman his arm. She was sworn, and
stood there blushing and pale by turns.

"What is your name?" asked Duff Salter gently. "Speak very plain, so
that all these good friends of yours may make no mistake."

"My name," replied the lady, "is Agnes Zane. I am the wife of Mr. Andrew
Zane."

"Very good," said Duff Salter soothingly. "You are the wife of Andrew
Zane; wedded how long ago, madam?"

"Eight months."

"Do you see any person in this court-room, Mrs. Zane, that you wish to
identify? Let all be seated."

Poor Agnes looked timidly around the place, and saw a person, at whom
all were gazing, rise and reach his arms toward her.

"Gracious God!" she whispered, "is it he?"

"It is, dear wife," cried Andrew Zane. "Come to my heart."




CHAPTER X.

THE SECRET MARRIAGE.


Reverend Silas Van de Lear was drawing his latest breaths in the house
of one of his elder sons, and only his lips were seen to move in silent
prayer, when a younger fellow-clergyman entering, to a cluster of his
cloth attending there, said audibly:

"This is a strange _denouement_ to the great Kensington scandal, which
has happened this afternoon."

The large, voluptuous lady with the slowly declining eyelids raised them
quietly as in languid surprise.

"You mean the Zane murder? What is it?" asked a minister, while others
gathered around, showing the ministry to have human curiosity even in
the hour and article of death.

"Miss Agnes Wilt, the especial favorite of our dying patriarch here, was
married to young Andrew Zane some time before his father died. There was
no murder in the case. Zane the elder, in one of his frequent fits of
wild and arrogant rage, which were little less than insanity, killed his
partner, Rainey, and in as sudden remorse took his own life."

"What was the occasion of Zane's rage?"

"That is not quite clear, but the local population here is in a violent
reaction against the accusers of young Zane and his wife. The church
recovers a valuable woman in Agnes Zane."

Mrs. Knox Van de Lear had a vial of smelling salts in her hand, and this
vial dropping suddenly on the floor called attention to the fact that
the lady had a little swooning turn. She was herself again in a minute,
and her eyes slowly unclosed and lifted their tender curtains prettily.

"I am so glad for dear Agnes," she said with a natural loudness in that
hushed room. "It even made me forget papa to find Agnes innocent."

The dying minister seemed to catch the words. A ministerial colleague
bent down to hear his low articulation:

"Agnes innocent!" said Silas Van de Lear, and strove to clasp his hands.
"The praying of the righteous availeth much!"

The physician said the good man's pulse ceased to beat at that minute,
and they raised around his scarcely cold remains a hymn to heaven.

Mean time, at the alderman's court, a surprising scene was witnessed.
For a few minutes everybody was in a frenzy of delight, and Duff Salter
was the hero of the hour. The alderman made no effort to discipline any
person; people hugged and laughed, and entreated to shake hands with
Andrew Zane, and in the pleasing confusion Calvin Van de Lear slunk out,
white as one condemned to be whipped.

"Now! now! We will! Yes!" said the sententious old alderman. "Come to
order. Andrew Zane must be sworn!"

At this moment the Kensington volunteer fire apparatus stopped opposite
the alderman's office and began to peal its bells merrily. The young
husband's obstinacy slowly giving way, seemed to be gone entirely when,
searching the room with his eye, he detected the flight of Calvin Van de
Lear. He kissed the little book as if it were a box of divine balm, and
raised his voice, looking still tenderly at Agnes, and addressing Duff
Salter:

"Will you examine me, my father's friend?"

"Yes, now! You will!" exploded the alderman.

"No, take your own method, thou alternate of the late Mike Donovan,"
exclaimed Duff Salter with a smile.

"I never thought there could be an excuse for my behavior," said Andrew
Zane, "until this unexpected kind treatment had encouraged me. Indeed,
my friends, I am in every alternative unfortunate. To defend myself I
must reflect upon the dead. I will not make a defence, but tell my story
plainly.

"My father was a man of deeds--a kind, rude business man. He loved me
and I worshipped him, though our apposite tempers frequently brought us
in conflict. Neither of us knew how to curb the other or be curbed in
turn. Above all things I learned to fear my father's will; it was
invincible.

"My wife and I grew up in my widower father's family, and fell in love,
and had an understanding that at a proper season we would marry. That
season could not be long postponed when Agnes's increasing beauty and my
ardor kept pace together. I sought an occasion to break the secret to my
father, and his reception of it filled me with terror. 'Marry Agnes!'
he replied. 'You have no right to her. Your mother left her to me. I
may marry her myself.'

"If he had never formed this design before it was now pursued with his
well-known tireless energy. The suggestion needed no other encouragement
than her beauty, ever present to inflame us both. Her household habits
and society were to his liking; he offered me everything but that which
embraced all to me. 'Go to Europe!' he said. 'Take a wife where you
will; but Agnes you shall not have. I will give you money, pleasure, and
independence, but I love where you have looked. Agnes will be your
mother, not your wife!'

"Alas! gentlemen, this purpose of my father was not mere tyranny; he
loved her, indeed, and that was the insurmountable fact. My betrothed
had too much reason to know it. We mingled our tears together and
acknowledged our dependence and duty, but we loved with that youthful
fulness which cannot be mistaken nor dissuaded. In our distress we went
to that kind partner whom my father had raised from an apprentice to be
his equal, and asked him what to do. He told us to marry while we could.
Agnes preferred an open marriage as least in consequences, and involving
every trouble in the brave outset. I hoped to wean my father from his
wilfulness, and yet protect my affection by a secret marriage, to which
with difficulty I prevailed on my betrothed to consent. After our
marriage I found my husband's domain no less invaded by my father's
suit, until life became intolerable and it was necessary to speak. Poor,
brave Rainey, feeling keenly for us, fixed the time and place. He had
seldom crossed my father, and I trembled for his safety, but never
could have anticipated what came to pass.

"Mr. Rainey said to us, 'I will tell your father, while we are crossing
the river some evening in a batteau, that you and Agnes are married, and
his suit is fruitless. He will be unable to do worse than sit still and
bear it in the small limits of the boat, and before we touch the other
shore will get philosophy from time and consideration.'

"That plan was carried out. Shall I recount the dreadful circumstances
again? Spare me, I entreat you!"

"No, I won't! The whole truth!" exclaimed the stern magistrate. "Tell
it!"

"You are making no mistake, my young friend," said Duff Salter. "It will
all be told very soon."

"As we started from Treaty Island, on that dark winter night," continued
Andrew Zane, growing pale while he spoke, "Mr. Rainey said to me, 'Go in
the bow. You are not to speak one word. I will face your father astern.'
The oarsman, Donovan, had a hard pull. The first word I heard my father
say was, 'That is none of your affair.' 'It is everybody's affair,'
answered Mr. Rainey, 'because you make it so. Behave like a gentleman
and a parent. The young people love each other.' 'I have the young
lady's affections,' said my father. 'You are making her miserable,' said
Mr. Rainey, 'and are deceiving yourself. She begins to hate you.' 'You
are an insolent liar!' exclaimed my father. 'If you mix in this business
I will throw you out of the firm.' 'That is no intimidation to me,'
answered his partner. 'Prosperity can never attend the business of a
cruel and unjust man. I shall be a brother to Andrew and a father to
Agnes, since you would defraud them so. William Zane, I will see them
married and supported!' With that my father threw himself in mere
physical rage upon Mr. Rainey. They both arose, and Mr. Rainey shook
himself loose and cried, 'You are outwitted, partner. I saw them
married! They are man and wife!'

"With this my father's rage had no expression short of recklessness. He
always carried arms, and was unconquerable. His ready hand had sought
his weapon, I think, hardly consciously. His dismay and indignation for
an instant destroyed his reason at Mr. Rainey's sudden statement of
fact.

"My God! can I further particularize on such a scene? In a moment of
time I saw before my eyes a homicide of insanity, a suicide of remorse;
and to end all, the sailor in the boat, as if set crazy by these
occurrences, leaped overboard also."

This narrative, given with rising energy of feeling by Andrew Zane, was
heard with breathless attention. Andrew paused and glanced at his wife,
whose face was bathed with the inner light of perfect relief. The
greater babe of secrecy had ceased to travail with her.

"Mr. Magistrate," said the young husband, "as I am under my oath, I can
only relate the acts which followed from the inference of my feelings.
My first sense was that of astonishment too intense not to appear unreal
and even amusing. It seemed to me that if I would laugh out loud all
would come back, as delusions yield to scepticism and mockery. But it
was too cold not to be real, the scene and persons were too familiar to
be erroneous. I had to realize that I was in one of the great and
terrible occasional convulsions of human nature. Do you know how it next
affected me? With an instant's sense of sublimity! I said to myself,
'How dared I marry so much beauty and womanly majesty? Doing so, I have
tempted the old gods and their fates and furies. This is poetical
punishment for my temerity.' Still all the while I was laboring at the
one scull left in the boat while my brain was fuming so, and listening
for sounds on the water. I heard the sailor cry twice, and then his
voice fainted away. I began to weep at the oar while I strained upon it,
and called 'Help!' and implored God's intervention. At last I sat down
in the boat, worn out and in despair, and let it drift down all the
city's front, past lights and glooms and floating ice, and wished that I
were dead. My father's kindness and all our disagreements rose to mind,
and it seemed God's punishment that I had married where his intentions
were. Yet to know the truth of this, I said a prayer upon my knees in
the wet boat while my teeth chattered, and before the end of my prayer
had come I was thinking of my wife's pure name, and how this would spot
her as with stains of blood unless I could explain it.

"When I reached this stage of my exalted sensibilities I was nearly
crazed. There had been no witness of our marriage except the minister,
and he was already dead. We had been married at the country parsonage of
an old retired minister beyond Oxford church, on the road from Frankford
town, as we drove out one afternoon, and I prevailed with my
conscientious wife to yield her scruples to our heart's necessity.
'Great God!' I thought aloud--for none could hear me there--'how
dreadfully that secret marriage will compromise my wife! Who will
believe us without a witness of what I must assert--a story so
improbable that I would not believe it myself? I must say that I married
my wife secretly from my father's house, confessing deceit for both of
us, and with Agnes's religious professions, a sin in the church's
estimation. If there could be an excuse for me, the strict people of
Kensington will accord none to her. They will charge on her maturer mind
the whole responsibility, paint her in the colors of ingratitude, and
find in her greatest poverty the principal motive. Yes, they may be
wicked enough to say she compassed the death of my father by my hands,
to get his property.'

"I had proceeded thus far when the terror of our position became
luminous like the coming fire on a prairie, which shows everything but a
way of escape. 'Where is your father?' they would ask of me in
Kensington. 'He is drowned.' 'How drowned?' 'He shot himself.' 'Why did
he shoot himself?' 'Because I had married his ward.' 'But his partner is
gone too.' 'He is murdered.' 'Why murdered?' 'Because he interceded for
me.' 'Where is your witness?' 'He has disappeared.' I saw the wild
improbability of this tale, and thought of past notorious quarrels with
my father ended by my voluntary absence. There were but two points that
seemed to stick in my nervous mind: 'It never would do to tell our
marriage at that moment, and I must find that sailor, who might still be
living.'"

"He found me, sure enough, begorra!" exclaimed Mike Donovan, giving the
relief of laughter to that intense narrative.

"Cowardly as you may call my resolution, gentlemen, it was all the
resolution I had left. To partake of the inheritance left me by both
partners in our house I feared to do. 'Let us do the penance of
suspicious separation,' I said to Agnes; 'as your husband I command you
to let me go!' She yielded like a wife, and stood my hostage in
Kensington for all those melancholy months. I had just learned the place
for which the bark which passed us on that eventful night had cleared,
when the two bullet-pierced bodies were discovered in the ice. That
night I sailed for Wilmington, North Carolina. When I arrived there the
bark was gone for the Mediterranean, but I heard of my sailor, wounded,
in her hospital. I sailed from Charleston for Cuba, and from Cuba to
Cadiz, and thence I embarked for Trieste. At Trieste I found the ship,
but Donovan had sailed for Liverpool. From Liverpool I tracked him to
the River Plate, and thence to Panama. You will ask how I lived all
those months? Ask him."

He turned to Duff Salter.

"Mr. Magistrate," spoke Duff Salter, a little confused. "I sent him
drafts at his request. He knew me to be the resident executor, and wrote
to me. I did it because of the pity I had for Agnes, and my faith in her
assurance that he was innocent."

"Good! Yes!" exclaimed the magistrate. "I would have done the same
myself."

"I returned with my man," concluded Andrew Zane. "I was now so confident
that I did not fear; but a hard obstinacy, coming on me at times, I
know not how, impelled me to postpone my vindication and make a test of
everybody. I was full of suspicion and bitterness--the reaction from so
much undeserved anxiety. I was the ghost of Kensington, and the spy upon
my guardian, but the unknown sentry upon my wife's honor all the while.

"Magistrate!"--the young man turned to the alderman, and his face
flushed--"is there no punishment at law for men, and women too, who have
cruelly persecuted my wife with anonymous letters, intended to wound her
brave spirit to the quick?"

"Plenty of it," said the magistrate. "Yes, I will. I will warrant them
all."

"I will not forget it," said Andrew Zane darkly.

"My husband, forget everything!" exclaimed Agnes. "Except that we are
happy. God has forgiven us our only deceit, which has been the
temptation of many in dear old Kensington."

The old magistrate arose. "Case dismissed," he said: "Dinner is ready in
the next room for Mr. and Mrs. Zane, and Judge Salter. I fine you all a
dinner. Yes, yes! I will!"




CHAPTER XI.

TREATY ELM.


Andrew Zane was leaning on his elbow, in bed, listening to the tolling
bell for the old pastor of Kensington. He had not attended the funeral,
fearing to trust his eyes and heart near Calvin Van de Lear, for the
unruly element in his blood was not wholly stilled. Good and evil,
gratitude and recollection, contended within him, and Agnes just escaped
from the long shadow of his father's rage--had forebodings of some
violence when the two young men should meet in the little thoroughfare
of Kensington--the one with the accumulated indignities he had suffered
liable to be aroused by the other's shallow superciliousness. Agnes had
but one friend to carry her fears to--Him "who never forsaketh." She had
not persisted that her husband should attend the old pastor's funeral,
whither Duff Salter escorted her, and going there, relieved from all
imputation, her evidently wedded state was seen with general respect.
People spoke to her as of old, congratulated her even at the grave, and
sought to repair their own misapprehensions, suspicions, and severities,
which Agnes accepted without duplicity.

Andrew Zane was leaning up in bed hearing the tolling bell when Agnes
reappeared.

"Husband," she said, "only Knox Van de Lear was at the grave, of the
pastor's sons."

"Ha!" exclaimed Andrew.

"He looked worse than grief could make him. A terrible tale is afloat in
Kensington."

Husband and wife looked at each other a moment in silence.

"They say," continued Agnes, "that Calvin Van de Lear has fled with his
brother's wife. That is the talk of the town. Professing to desire some
clothing for the funeral, they took a carriage together, and were driven
to Tacony yesterday, where the afternoon train, meeting the steamboat
from Philadelphia, took them on board for New York."

Andrew fell back on his pillow.

"God has hedged me all around," he answered. "While Calvin Van de Lear
lived in Kensington I was in revengeful temptation all the time. He has
escaped, and my soul is oppressed no more. Do you know, Agnes, that the
guilty accomplice of Calvin, his brother's wife, wrote all the worst
letters which anonymously came through the post?"

Agnes replied:

"I never suspected it. My heart was too full of you. But Mr. Salter told
me to-day that he unravelled it some time ago. Calvin Van de Lear showed
him, in a moment of egotism, the conquest he had made over an unknown
lady's affections, and passages of the correspondence. The keen old man
immediately identified in the handwriting the person who addressed him a
letter against us soon after his arrival in the East. But he did not
tell me until to-day. How did you know she was the person?"

Andrew Zane blushed a little, and confessed:

"Agnes, she used to write to me. Seeing the anonymous letters you
received, I knew the culprit instantly. It was that which precipitated
the flight. She feared that her anonymous letters would result in her
arrest and public trial for slander, as they would have done. The
magistrate promised me that he would issue his warrant for every person
who had employed the public mails to harass my wife, and when you
entered this room my darker passions were again working to punish that
woman and her paramour."

"Dearest, let them be forgotten. Yes, forgiven too. But poor Mr. Knox
Van de Lear! They have stolen his savings and mortgaged his household
furniture, which he was confiding enough to have put in his wife's name.
That is also a part of the story related around the good pastor's
grave."

"Calvin has not escaped," exclaimed Andrew Zane. "As long as that
tigress accompanies him he has expiation to make. Voluptuous, jealous,
restless, and, like a snake in the tightness of her folds and her
noiseless approach, she will smother him with kisses and sell him to his
enemies."

"Do you know her so well?" asked Agnes placidly.

"Very well. She was corrupt from childhood, but only a few of us knew
it. She grew to be beautiful, and had the quickened intelligence which,
for a while, accompanies ruined women: the unnatural sharpening of the
duplicity, the firmer grasp on man as the animal, the study of the
proprieties of life, and apparent impatience with all misbehavior. Her
timid voice assisted her cunning as if with a natural gentleness, and
invited onward the man who expected in her ample charms a bolder spirit.
She betook herself to the church for penance, perhaps, but remained
there for a character. My wife, if I have suffered, it was, perhaps, in
part because for every sin is some punishment; that woman was _my_
temptress also!"

His face was pale as he spoke these words, but he did not drop his eyes.
The wife looked at him with a face also paled and startled.

"Remember," said Andrew Zane, "that I was a man."

She walked to him in a moment and kissed his forehead.

"I will have no more deceit," said Andrew. "That is why I give you this
pain. It was long, my darling, before we loved."

"That was the source, perhaps, of Lottie's anger with me," spoke Agnes.

"I think not. There was not a sentiment between us. It is the way,
occasionally, that a very bad woman is made, by marriage or wealth,
respectable, and she declares war on her own past and its imitators. You
were pursued because you had exchanged deserts with her. You were pure
and abused; she was approved but tainted. Not your misfortunes but your
goodness rebuked her, and she lashed you behind her _alias_, as every
demon would riot in lashing the angels."

"My husband," exclaimed Agnes, "where did you draw such secrets from
woman's nature? God has blessed you with wisdom. I felt, myself, by some
intuition of our sex, that it was sin, not virtue, that took such pains
to upbraid me."

"I drew them from the old, old plant," answered Andrew Zane; "the Tree
of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yonder, where I skimmed the surface of a
bad woman; here, where I am forgiven."

"If you felt remorse," said Agnes, "you were not given up."

"After _we_ were engaged that woman cast her eyes on my widowed father
and notified me that I must not stand in her way. 'If you embarrass me
by one word,' she said to me in her pretty, timid way, but with the look
of a lion out of her florid fringes, 'I will shatter your future
hearthstone. You are not fit to marry a Christian woman like Agnes Wilt.
I am good enough for your father--yes,' she finished, with terrible
irony, 'and to be your mother!' Those words went with me around the
world. Agnes, was I not punished?"

"To think that the son of so good a man should be bound to such a
tyrant."

"Yes, she will make him steal for her, or worse. He will end by being
her most degraded creature, leading and misleading to her. Theirs is an
unreturning path. God keep us all faithful!"

Duff Salter became again mysterious. He sent for his trunks, and gave
his address as the "Treaty House," on Beach Street, nearly opposite the
monument, only a square back from the Zane house.

"Andrew," said Salter, when the young husband sought him there, "I
concluded to move because there will be a nurse in that house before
midsummer. If I was deaf as I once was, it would make no difference. But
a very slight cry would certainly pierce my restored sensibilities now."

The Treaty House was a fine, old-fashioned brick, with a long saloon or
double parlor containing many curiosities, such as pieces of old ships
of war, weapons used in Polynesia and brought home by old sea captains,
the jaws of whales and narwhals, figure-heads from perished vessels,
harpoons, and points of various naval actions. In those days, before
manufactures had extended up all the water streets, and when domestic
war had not been known for a whole generation, the little low marble
monument on the site of William Penn's treaty with the Indians attracted
hundreds of strangers, who moistened their throats and cooled their
foreheads in the great bar parlor of the Treaty House. It was still a
secluded spot, shady and dewy with venerable trees, and the moisture
they gave the old brown and black bricks in the contiguous houses, some
of them still stylish, and all their windows topped with marble or
sandstone, gray with the superincumbent weight of time or neglect. Large
rear additions and sunless sideyards carried out the idea of a former
gentry. Some buttonwood trees, now thinning out with annual age,
conveyed by their speckled trunks the notion of a changing social
standard, white and brown, native and foreign, while the lines of maples
stood on blackened boles like old retired seamen, bronzed in many
voyages and planted home forever. But despite the narrow, neglected,
shady street, the slope of Shackamaxon went gently shelving to the edges
of long sunny wharves, nearly as in the day when Penn selected this
greensward to meet his Indian friends, and barter tools and promises for
forest levels and long rich valleys, now open to the sky and murmurous
with wheat and green potato vines.

Sitting before the inn door, on drowsy June afternoons, Duff Salter
heard the adzes ring and hammers smite the thousand bolt-heads on lofty
vessels, raised on mast-like scaffolds as if they meant to be launched
into the air and go cleared for yonder faintly tinted spectral moon,
which lingered so long by day, like the symbol of the Indian race,
departed but lambent in thoughtful memories. Duff had grown
superstitious; he came out of the inn door sidewise, that he might
always see that moon over his right shoulder for good luck.

One morning Andrew Zane appeared at the Treaty House before Duff Salter
had taken his julep, after the fashion of malarious Arkansas.

"Mr. Salter, it is all over. There is a baby at our house."

"Girl?"

"Just that!"

"I thought so," exclaimed Duff Salter. "It was truly mother's labor, and
ought to have been like Agnes. We will give her a toast."

"In nothing but water," spoke Andrew soberly. "I hope I have sown my
wild oats."

"I will imitate you," heartily responded Duff Salter; "for it occurred
to me in Arkansas that people shot and butchered each other so often
because they threw into empty stomachs a long tumbler of liquor and
leaves. You are well started, Andrew. Your father's and his partner's
estate will give you an income of $10,000. What will you do?"

"I have no idea whatever. My mind is not ready for business. My serious
experience has been followed by a sort of stupor--an inquiry, a detached
relation to everything."

"Let it be so awhile," answered the strong, gray-eyed man. "Such rests
are often medicine, as sleep is. The mind will find its true channel
some day."

"Can I be of service to you, Mr. Salter? Money would be a small return
of our obligations to you."

"No, I am independent. Too independent! I wish I had a wife."

"Ah! Agnes told me that besides seeing the baby when you came to the
house, little Mary Byerly would be there. She is well enough to be out,
and has lost her invalid brother."

"If you see me blush, Andrew," said Duff Salter, "you needn't tell of
it. I am in love with little Podge, but it's all over. With no
understanding of woman's sensibilities, I shook that fragile child in my
rude grasp, and frightened her forever. What will you call your baby?"

"Agnes says it shall be _Euphemia_, meaning 'of good report.' You know
it came near being a young lady of bad report."

"As for me, Andrew, I shall make the contract for the steeple and
completion of the new church, and then take a foreign journey. Since I
stopped sneezing I have no way to disguise my sensibilities, and am more
an object of suspicion than ever."

Duff Salter peeped at the beautiful mother and hung a chain of gold
around the baby's neck, and was about slipping out when Podge Byerly
appeared. She made a low bow and shrank away.

"Follow her," whispered Andrew Zane. "If she is cool now she will be
cold hereafter, unless you nurse her confidence."

With a sense of great youthfulness and demerit, Duff Salter entered the
parlors and found Podge sitting in the shadows of that thrice notable
room where death and grief had been so often carried and laid down. The
little teacher was pale and thin, and her eyes wore a saddened light.

"I am very glad to see you again," said Duff Salter. "I wanted your
forgiveness."

Striking the centre of sympathy by these few words, the late deaf man
saw Podge's throat agitated.

"If you knew," he continued, "how often I accused myself since your
illness, you would try to excuse me."

After a little silence Podge said,

"I don't remember just what happened, Mr. Salter. Was it you who sent me
many beautiful and dainty things while I was sick? I thought it might
be."

"You guessed me, then? At least I was not forgotten."

"I never forgot you, sir; but ever since my illness you seem to have
been a part of the dread river and its dead. I have often tried to
restore you as I once thought of you, but other things rise up and I
cannot see you. My head was gone, I suppose."

"Alas, no! I drove away your heart. If that would come back, the
wandering head would follow, little friend. Are you afraid of me?"

"Sometimes. One thing, I think, is your deafness. While you were deaf
you seemed so natural that we talked freely before you, prattling out
our fancies undisguised. We wouldn't have done it if we knew that you
heard as well as we. That makes me afraid too. Oh! why did you deceive
us so?"

"I only deceived myself. A foolish habit, formed in pique, of affecting
not to hear, adhered to me long before we were acquainted. If you will
let me drive you out into the country to-morrow I will tell you the
whole of my silly story. The country roads are what you need, and I need
your consideration as much."

The next day a buggy stopped at the door, and Podge, sitting at the
window with her bonnet on, saw Duff Salter, hale and strong, holding the
reins. She was helped into the buggy by Andrew Zane, and in a few
minutes the two were in the open country pointing toward old Frankford.
They rode up the long stony street of that old village, whose stone or
rough-cast houses suggested the Swiss city of Basle whence the early
settlers of Frankford came. Then turning through the factory dale called
Little Britain, they sped out the lane, taking the general direction of
Tacony Creek, and followed that creek up through different little
villages and mill-seats until they came to nearly the highest mill-pond,
in the stony region about the Old York road. A house of gray and reddish
stones, in irregular forms, mortised in white plaster, sat broadside to
the lawn before it, which was covered with venerable trees, and bordered
at the roadside by a stone rampart, so that it looked like a hanging
lawn. A gate at the lawn-side gave admission to a lane, behind which was
the ancient mill-pond suspended in a dewy landscape, with a path in the
grass leading up the mill-race, and on the pond a little scow floated in
pond-lilies. All around were chestnut trees, their burrs full of fruit.
Across the lane, only a few feet from the house, the ancient mill gave
forth a snoring and drumming together as if the spirit of solitude was
having a dance all to itself and only breathing hard. Then the crystal
water, shooting the old black mill-wheel, fell off it like the beard
from Duff Salter's face, and went away in pools and flakes across a
meadow, under spontaneous willow trees which liked to stand in moisture
and cover with their roots the harmless water-snakes. A few cottages
peeped over the adjacent ridges upon the hidden dale.

"What a restful place!" exclaimed Podge Byerly. "I almost wish I might
be spirit of a mill, or better still, that old boat yonder basking in
the pond-lilies and holding up its shadow!"

"I am glad you like it," said Duff Salter. "Let us go in and see if the
house is hospitable."

As Podge Byerly walked up the worn stone walk of the lawn she saw a
familiar image at the door--her mother.

"You here, mother?" said Podge. "What is the meaning of it?"

"This is my house, my darling. There is our friend who gave it to us.
You will need to teach no more. The mill and a little farm surrounding
us will make us independent."

Podge turned to Duff Salter.

"How kind of you!" she said. "Yet it frightens me the more. These
surprises, tender as they are, excite me. Everything about you is
mysterious. You are not even deaf as you were. What silly things you may
have heard us say."

"Dear girl," exclaimed Duff Salter, "nothing which I heard from your
lips ever affected me except to love you. You cured me of years of
suspicion, and I consented to hear again. The world grew candid to me;
its sounds were melodious, its silence was sincere. It is you who are
deaf. You cannot hear my heart."

"I hear no other's, at least," said Podge. "Tell me the story of your
strange deceit."

They drew chairs upon the lawn. Podge took off her bonnet and looked
very delicate as her color rose and faded alternately in the emotions of
one wooed in earnest and uncertain of her fate.

"I have not come by money without hard labor," said the hale and
handsome man. "This gray beard is not the creation of many years. It is
the fruit of anxiety, toil, and danger. My years are not double yours."

"You have recovered at least one of your faculties since I knew you,"
said Podge slyly.

"You mean hearing. The sense of feeling too, perhaps--which you have
lost. But this is my tale: After I went to Mexico, and became the
superintendent of a mine, I found my nature growing hard and my manner
imperious, not unlike those of my dead friend, William Zane. The hot
climate of Mexico and confinement in the mines, hundreds of feet below
the surface and in the salivating fumes of the cinnabar retorts,
assisted to make me impetuous. I fought more than one duel, and, like
all men who do desperate things, grew more desperate by experience
until, upon one occasion, I was made deaf by an explosion in the bowels
of the ground. For one year I could hear but little. In that year I was
comparatively humble, and one day I heard a workman say, 'If the boss
gets his hearing back there will be no peace about the mine.' This set
me to thinking. 'How much of my suspicion and anger,' I said, 'is the
result of my own speaking. I provoked the distemper of which I am
afflicted. I start the inquiries which make me distrustful. I hear the
echo of my own idle words, and impeach my fellow-man upon it. Until I
find a strong reason for speech, I will remain deaf as I have been.'
That strong reason never arrived, my little girl, until all reason
ceased to be and love supplanted it."

"There is no reason, then, in your present passion," said Podge dryly.

"No. I am so absolutely in love that there is no resisting it. It is
boyishness wholly."

"I think I should be afraid of a man," said Podge, "who could have so
much will as to hold his tongue for seven years. Suppose you had a
second attack, it might never come to an end. What were you thinking
about all that time?"

"I thought how deaf, blind, and dumb was any one without love. I found
the world far better than it had seemed when I was one of its
chatterers. By my voluntary silence I had banished the disturbing
element in Nature; for our enemy is always within us, not without. In
that seven years, for most of which I heard everything and answered
none, except by my pencil, I was prosperous, observant, sober, and
considerate. The deceit of affecting not to hear has brought its
penalty, however. You are afraid of me."

"Were you ever in love before?"

"I fear I will surprise you again by my answer," said Duff Salter. "I
once proposed marriage to a young girl on this very lawn. It was in the
springtime of my life. We met at a picnic in a grove not far distant.
She was a coquette, and forgot me."

Podge said she must have time to know her heart. Every day they made a
new excursion, now into the country of the Neshaminy, and beyond it to
the vales of the Tohicken and Perkiomen. They descended the lanes along
the Pennypack and Poqessing, and followed the Wissahickon to its
sources. Podge rapidly grew in form and spirits, and Agnes and Andrew
Zane came out to spend a Saturday with them.

Mean time Andrew Zane was in a mystic condition--uncertain of purpose,
serious, and studious, and he called one night at the Treaty tavern to
see Duff Salter. Duff had gone, however, up the Tacony, and in a
listless way Andrew sauntered over to the little monument erected on the
alleged site of the Indian treaty. He read the inscription aloud:

"Treaty Ground of William Penn and the Indian Nations, 1682. Unbroken
Faith! Pennsylvania, founded by deeds of Peace!"

As Andrew ceased he looked up and beheld a man of rather portly figure,
with the plain clothes of a Quaker, a broad-brimmed hat, knee-breeches,
and buckled shoes. Something in his countenance was familiar. Andrew
looked again, and wondered where he had seen that face. It then occurred
to him that it was the exact likeness of William Penn. The man locked at
Andrew and said,

"Thee is called to preach!"

"Sir?" exclaimed Andrew.

In the same tone of voice the man exclaimed,

"Thee is called to preach!"

Andrew looked with some slight superstition at the peculiar man, with
such a tone of authority, and said again, but respectfully:

"Do I understand you as speaking to me, sir?"

"Thee is called to preach!" said the object, in precisely the same tone
of voice, and vanished.

Andrew Zane walked across to the hotel and saw Duff Salter, freshly
arrived, looking at him intently.

"Did you see a person in Quaker dress standing by the monument an
instant past?"

"I saw nobody but yourself," said Duff heartily. "I have been looking at
you some moments."

"As truly as I live, a man in Quaker dress spoke to me at the monument's
side."

"What did he say?"

"He said three times, deliberately, 'Thee is called to preach!'"

"That's queer," said Duff, looking curiously at Andrew. "My friend, that
man spoke from within you. Do you know that it is the earnest desire of
your wife, and a subject of her prayers, that you may become a
minister?"

"I didn't know it," said Andrew. "But there is something startling in
this apparition. I shall never be able to forget it."

To the joy of Agnes, now a happy wife and mother, her husband went
seriously into the church, and the moment his intention was announced of
entering the ministry, there arose a spontaneous and united wish that he
would take the pulpit in his native suburb.

"Agnes," said the young man, "the dangers I have passed, the tragedy of
my family, your piety and my feelings, all concur in this step. I feel a
new life within me, now that I have settled upon this design."

"I would rather see you a good minister than President," exclaimed
Agnes. "The desires of my heart are fully answered now. When you saw the
image standing by the Treaty tree at that instant I was upon my knees
asking God to turn your heart toward the ministry."

"Here in Kensington," spoke Andrew, "we will live down all imputation
and renew our family name. Here, where we made our one mistake, we will
labor for others who err and suffer. Such an escape as ours can be
celebrated by nothing less than religion."

Duff Salter went to Tacony for the last time on the Sunday Andrew Zane
entered the church. He did not speak a word, but at the appearance of
Podge Byerly drew out the ancient ivory tablets and wrote:

"I'll never speak again until you accept or refuse me."

She answered, "What are you going to do if I say _no_?"

"I have bought two tickets for Europe," wrote Duff Salter. "One is for
you, if you will accept it. If not I shall go alone and be deaf for the
remainder of my days."

Podge answered by reaching out her lips and kissing Duff Salter plumply.

"There," she said, "I've done it!"

Duff Salter threw the tablets away, and standing up in a glow of
excitement, gave with great unction his last articulate sneeze:

"Jericho! Jericho!"




  THE DEAD BOHEMIAN.

         *       *       *       *       *

      My hope to take his hand,
      His world my promised land,
  I thought no face so beautiful and high.
      When he had called me "Friend,"
      I reached ambition's end,
  And Art's protection in his kindly eye.

      My dream was quickly run--
      I knew Endymion;
  His wing was fancy and his soarings play;
      No great thirsts in him pent,
      His hates were indolent,
  His graces calm and eloquent alway.

      Not love's converse now seems
      So tender to my dreams
  As he, discursive at our mutual desk,
      Most fervid and most ripe,
      When dreaming at his pipe,
  He made the opiate nights grow Arabesque.

      His crayon never sharp,
      No discord in his harp,
  He made such sweetness I was discontent;
      He knew not the desire
      To rise from warmth to fire,
  And with his magic rend the firmament.

      Perhaps some want of faith,
      Perhaps some past heart-scath,
  Took from his life the zest of reaching far--
      And so grew my regret,
      To see my pride forget
  That many watched him like a risen star.

      Some moralist in man--
      Even Bohemian--
  Feathers the pen and nerves the archer too.
      Not dear decoying art,
      But the crushed, loving heart,
  Makes the young life to its resolves untrue.

      Therefore his haunts were sad;
      Therefore his rhymes were glad;
  Therefore he laughed at my reproach and goad--
      With listless dreams and vague,
      Passed not the walls of Prague,
  To hew some fresh and individual road.

      Still like an epic round,
      With beautifulness crowned,
  I read his memory, tenderer every year,
      Complete with graciousness,
      Gifted and purposeless,
  But to my heart as some grand Master dear.


THE END




[Transcriber's Note: Inconsistencies of spelling, punctuation and accents
in the original have been retained in this etext.]






End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Bohemian Days, by Geo. Alfred Townsend

*** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BOHEMIAN DAYS ***

***** This file should be named 19288.txt or 19288.zip *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:
        http://www.gutenberg.org/1/9/2/8/19288/

Produced by Bethanne M. Simms, Dave Macfarlane 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.org/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.org

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.org),
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 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.org

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 etext19288, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext19288



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."