Infomotions, Inc.Sixes and Sevens / Henry, O., 1862-1910



Author: Henry, O., 1862-1910
Title: Sixes and Sevens
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): father abram; shamrock jolnes; man ellison; miss lydia; new yorker; topaz city; miss chester
Contributor(s): ├Ârkman, Edwin, 1866-1951 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 65,684 words (short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 67 (easy)
Identifier: etext2851
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Title: Sixes and Sevens
       The Last of the Troubadours; The Sleuths; Witches' Loaves; The Pride of the Cities; Holding Up a Train; Ulysses and the Dogman; The Champion of the Weather; Makes the Whole World Kin; At Arms with Morpheus; A Ghost of a Chance; Jimmy Hayes and Muriel; The Door of Unrest; The Duplicity of Hargraves; Let Me Feel Your Pulse; October and June; The Church with an Overshot-Wheel; New York by Camp Fire Light; The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes; The Lady Higher Up; The Greater Coney; Law and Order; Transformation of Martin Burney; The Caliph and the Cad; The Diamond of Kali; The Day We Celebrate


Author: O. Henry


Release Date: August 14, 2000  [eBook #2851]
Most recently updated: October 24, 2005

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SIXES AND SEVENS***


E-text prepared by Glynn Burleson
and revised by Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.



SIXES AND SEVENS

by

O. HENRY







CONTENTS

       I. THE LAST OF THE TROUBADOURS
      II. THE SLEUTHS
     III. WITCHES' LOAVES
      IV. THE PRIDE OF THE CITIES
       V. HOLDING UP A TRAIN
      VI. ULYSSES AND THE DOGMAN
     VII. THE CHAMPION OF THE WEATHER
    VIII. MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN
      IX. AT ARMS WITH MORPHEUS
       X. A GHOST OF A CHANCE
      XI. JIMMY HAYES AND MURIEL
     XII. THE DOOR OF UNREST
    XIII. THE DUPLICITY OF HARGRAVES
     XIV. LET ME FEEL YOUR PULSE
      XV. OCTOBER AND JUNE
     XVI. THE CHURCH WITH AN OVERSHOT-WHEEL
    XVII. NEW YORK BY CAMP FIRE LIGHT
   XVIII. THE ADVENTURES OF SHAMROCK JOLNES
     XIX. THE LADY HIGHER UP
      XX. THE GREATER CONEY
     XXI. LAW AND ORDER
    XXII. TRANSFORMATION OF MARTIN BURNEY
   XXIII. THE CALIPH AND THE CAD
    XXIV. THE DIAMOND OF KALI
     XXV. THE DAY WE CELEBRATE




I

THE LAST OF THE TROUBADOURS


Inexorably Sam Galloway saddled his pony. He was going away from the
Rancho Altito at the end of a three-months' visit. It is not to be
expected that a guest should put up with wheat coffee and biscuits
yellow-streaked with saleratus for longer than that. Nick Napoleon,
the big Negro man cook, had never been able to make good biscuits.
Once before, when Nick was cooking at the Willow Ranch, Sam had been
forced to fly from his _cuisine_, after only a six-weeks' sojourn.

On Sam's face was an expression of sorrow, deepened with regret and
slightly tempered by the patient forgiveness of a connoisseur who
cannot be understood. But very firmly and inexorably he buckled his
saddle-cinches, looped his stake-rope and hung it to his saddle-horn,
tied his slicker and coat on the cantle, and looped his quirt on his
right wrist. The Merrydews (householders of the Rancho Altito), men,
women, children, and servants, vassals, visitors, employes, dogs, and
casual callers were grouped in the "gallery" of the ranch house, all
with faces set to the tune of melancholy and grief. For, as the coming
of Sam Galloway to any ranch, camp, or cabin between the rivers Frio
or Bravo del Norte aroused joy, so his departure caused mourning and
distress.

And then, during absolute silence, except for the bumping of a hind
elbow of a hound dog as he pursued a wicked flea, Sam tenderly and
carefully tied his guitar across his saddle on top of his slicker and
coat. The guitar was in a green duck bag; and if you catch the
significance of it, it explains Sam.

Sam Galloway was the Last of the Troubadours. Of course you know about
the troubadours. The encyclopaedia says they flourished between the
eleventh and the thirteenth centuries. What they flourished doesn't
seem clear--you may be pretty sure it wasn't a sword: maybe it was a
fiddlebow, or a forkful of spaghetti, or a lady's scarf. Anyhow, Sam
Galloway was one of 'em.

Sam put on a martyred expression as he mounted his pony. But the
expression on his face was hilarious compared with the one on his
pony's. You see, a pony gets to know his rider mighty well, and it is
not unlikely that cow ponies in pastures and at hitching racks had
often guyed Sam's pony for being ridden by a guitar player instead of
by a rollicking, cussing, all-wool cowboy. No man is a hero to his
saddle-horse. And even an escalator in a department store might be
excused for tripping up a troubadour.

Oh, I know I'm one; and so are you. You remember the stories you
memorize and the card tricks you study and that little piece on the
piano--how does it go?--ti-tum-te-tum-ti-tum--those little Arabian Ten
Minute Entertainments that you furnish when you go up to call on your
rich Aunt Jane. You should know that _omnae personae in tres partes
divisae sunt_. Namely: Barons, Troubadours, and Workers. Barons have no
inclination to read such folderol as this; and Workers have no time:
so I know you must be a Troubadour, and that you will understand Sam
Galloway. Whether we sing, act, dance, write, lecture, or paint, we
are only troubadours; so let us make the worst of it.

The pony with the Dante Alighieri face, guided by the pressure of
Sam's knees, bore that wandering minstrel sixteen miles southeastward.
Nature was in her most benignant mood. League after league of
delicate, sweet flowerets made fragrant the gently undulating
prairie. The east wind tempered the spring warmth; wool-white clouds
flying in from the Mexican Gulf hindered the direct rays of the April
sun. Sam sang songs as he rode. Under his pony's bridle he had tucked
some sprigs of chaparral to keep away the deer flies. Thus crowned,
the long-faced quadruped looked more Dantesque than before, and,
judging by his countenance, seemed to think of Beatrice.

Straight as topography permitted, Sam rode to the sheep ranch of old
man Ellison. A visit to a sheep ranch seemed to him desirable just
then. There had been too many people, too much noise, argument,
competition, confusion, at Rancho Altito. He had never conferred upon
old man Ellison the favour of sojourning at his ranch; but he knew he
would be welcome. The troubadour is his own passport everywhere. The
Workers in the castle let down the drawbridge to him, and the Baron
sets him at his left hand at table in the banquet hall. There ladies
smile upon him and applaud his songs and stories, while the Workers
bring boars' heads and flagons. If the Baron nods once or twice in his
carved oaken chair, he does not do it maliciously.

Old man Ellison welcomed the troubadour flatteringly. He had often
heard praises of Sam Galloway from other ranchmen who had been
complimented by his visits, but had never aspired to such an honour
for his own humble barony. I say barony because old man Ellison
was the Last of the Barons. Of course, Mr. Bulwer-Lytton lived too
early to know him, or he wouldn't have conferred that sobriquet
upon Warwick. In life it is the duty and the function of the Baron
to provide work for the Workers and lodging and shelter for the
Troubadours.

Old man Ellison was a shrunken old man, with a short, yellow-white
beard and a face lined and seamed by past-and-gone smiles. His ranch
was a little two-room box house in a grove of hackberry trees in the
lonesomest part of the sheep country. His household consisted of a
Kiowa Indian man cook, four hounds, a pet sheep, and a half-tamed
coyote chained to a fence-post. He owned 3,000 sheep, which he ran
on two sections of leased land and many thousands of acres neither
leased nor owned. Three or four times a year some one who spoke his
language would ride up to his gate and exchange a few bald ideas with
him. Those were red-letter days to old man Ellison. Then in what
illuminated, embossed, and gorgeously decorated capitals must have
been written the day on which a troubadour--a troubadour who,
according to the encyclopaedia, should have flourished between the
eleventh and the thirteenth centuries--drew rein at the gates of his
baronial castle!

Old man Ellison's smiles came back and filled his wrinkles when he
saw Sam. He hurried out of the house in his shuffling, limping way to
greet him.

"Hello, Mr. Ellison," called Sam cheerfully. "Thought I'd drop over
and see you a while. Notice you've had fine rains on your range. They
ought to make good grazing for your spring lambs."

"Well, well, well," said old man Ellison. "I'm mighty glad to see
you, Sam. I never thought you'd take the trouble to ride over to
as out-of-the-way an old ranch as this. But you're mighty welcome.
'Light. I've got a sack of new oats in the kitchen--shall I bring out
a feed for your hoss?"

"Oats for him?" said Sam, derisively. "No, sir-ee. He's as fat as a
pig now on grass. He don't get rode enough to keep him in condition.
I'll just turn him in the horse pasture with a drag rope on if you
don't mind."

I am positive that never during the eleventh and thirteenth centuries
did Baron, Troubadour, and Worker amalgamate as harmoniously as their
parallels did that evening at old man Ellison's sheep ranch. The
Kiowa's biscuits were light and tasty and his coffee strong.
Ineradicable hospitality and appreciation glowed on old man Ellison's
weather-tanned face. As for the troubadour, he said to himself that
he had stumbled upon pleasant places indeed. A well-cooked, abundant
meal, a host whom his lightest attempt to entertain seemed to delight
far beyond the merits of the exertion, and the reposeful atmosphere
that his sensitive soul at that time craved united to confer upon him
a satisfaction and luxurious ease that he had seldom found on his
tours of the ranches.

After the delectable supper, Sam untied the green duck bag and took
out his guitar. Not by way of payment, mind you--neither Sam Galloway
nor any other of the true troubadours are lineal descendants of the
late Tommy Tucker. You have read of Tommy Tucker in the works of the
esteemed but often obscure Mother Goose. Tommy Tucker sang for his
supper. No true troubadour would do that. He would have his supper,
and then sing for Art's sake.

Sam Galloway's repertoire comprised about fifty funny stories and
between thirty and forty songs. He by no means stopped there. He could
talk through twenty cigarettes on any topic that you brought up. And
he never sat up when he could lie down; and never stood when he could
sit. I am strongly disposed to linger with him, for I am drawing a
portrait as well as a blunt pencil and a tattered thesaurus will
allow.

I wish you could have seen him: he was small and tough and
inactive beyond the power of imagination to conceive. He wore an
ultramarine-blue woollen shirt laced down the front with a pearl-gray,
exaggerated sort of shoestring, indestructible brown duck clothes,
inevitable high-heeled boots with Mexican spurs, and a Mexican straw
sombrero.

That evening Sam and old man Ellison dragged their chairs out under
the hackberry trees. They lighted cigarettes; and the troubadour
gaily touched his guitar. Many of the songs he sang were the weird,
melancholy, minor-keyed _canciones_ that he had learned from the
Mexican sheep herders and _vaqueros_. One, in particular, charmed and
soothed the soul of the lonely baron. It was a favourite song of the
sheep herders, beginning: "_Huile, huile, palomita_," which being
translated means, "Fly, fly, little dove." Sam sang it for old man
Ellison many times that evening.

The troubadour stayed on at the old man's ranch. There was peace and
quiet and appreciation there, such as he had not found in the noisy
camps of the cattle kings. No audience in the world could have crowned
the work of poet, musician, or artist with more worshipful and
unflagging approval than that bestowed upon his efforts by old man
Ellison. No visit by a royal personage to a humble woodchopper or
peasant could have been received with more flattering thankfulness and
joy.

On a cool, canvas-covered cot in the shade of the hackberry trees Sam
Galloway passed the greater part of his time. There he rolled his
brown paper cigarettes, read such tedious literature as the ranch
afforded, and added to his repertoire of improvisations that he played
so expertly on his guitar. To him, as a slave ministering to a great
lord, the Kiowa brought cool water from the red jar hanging under the
brush shelter, and food when he called for it. The prairie zephyrs
fanned him mildly; mocking-birds at morn and eve competed with but
scarce equalled the sweet melodies of his lyre; a perfumed stillness
seemed to fill all his world. While old man Ellison was pottering
among his flocks of sheep on his mile-an-hour pony, and while the
Kiowa took his siesta in the burning sunshine at the end of the
kitchen, Sam would lie on his cot thinking what a happy world he lived
in, and how kind it is to the ones whose mission in life it is to give
entertainment and pleasure. Here he had food and lodging as good as
he had ever longed for; absolute immunity from care or exertion or
strife; an endless welcome, and a host whose delight at the sixteenth
repetition of a song or a story was as keen as at its initial giving.
Was there ever a troubadour of old who struck upon as royal a castle
in his wanderings? While he lay thus, meditating upon his blessings,
little brown cottontails would shyly frolic through the yard; a covey
of white-topknotted blue quail would run past, in single file, twenty
yards away; a _paisano_ bird, out hunting for tarantulas, would hop
upon the fence and salute him with sweeping flourishes of its long
tail. In the eighty-acre horse pasture the pony with the Dantesque
face grew fat and almost smiling. The troubadour was at the end of his
wanderings.

Old man Ellison was his own _vaciero_. That means that he supplied his
sheep camps with wood, water, and rations by his own labours instead
of hiring a _vaciero_. On small ranches it is often done.

One morning he started for the camp of Incarnacion Felipe de la Cruz y
Monte Piedras (one of his sheep herders) with the week's usual rations
of brown beans, coffee, meal, and sugar. Two miles away on the trail
from old Fort Ewing he met, face to face, a terrible being called King
James, mounted on a fiery, prancing, Kentucky-bred horse.

King James's real name was James King; but people reversed it because
it seemed to fit him better, and also because it seemed to please his
majesty. King James was the biggest cattleman between the Alamo plaza
in San Antone and Bill Hopper's saloon in Brownsville. Also he was the
loudest and most offensive bully and braggart and bad man in southwest
Texas. And he always made good whenever he bragged; and the more noise
he made the more dangerous he was. In the story papers it is always
the quiet, mild-mannered man with light blue eyes and a low voice who
turns out to be really dangerous; but in real life and in this story
such is not the case. Give me my choice between assaulting a large,
loudmouthed rough-houser and an inoffensive stranger with blue eyes
sitting quietly in a corner, and you will see something doing in the
corner every time.

King James, as I intended to say earlier, was a fierce,
two-hundred-pound, sunburned, blond man, as pink as an October
strawberry, and with two horizontal slits under shaggy red eyebrows
for eyes. On that day he wore a flannel shirt that was tan-coloured,
with the exception of certain large areas which were darkened by
transudations due to the summer sun. There seemed to be other clothing
and garnishings about him, such as brown duck trousers stuffed into
immense boots, and red handkerchiefs and revolvers; and a shotgun
laid across his saddle and a leather belt with millions of cartridges
shining in it--but your mind skidded off such accessories; what held
your gaze was just the two little horizontal slits that he used for
eyes.

This was the man that old man Ellison met on the trail; and when you
count up in the baron's favour that he was sixty-five and weighed
ninety-eight pounds and had heard of King James's record and that he
(the baron) had a hankering for the _vita simplex_ and had no gun with
him and wouldn't have used it if he had, you can't censure him if I
tell you that the smiles with which the troubadour had filled his
wrinkles went out of them and left them plain wrinkles again. But he
was not the kind of baron that flies from danger. He reined in the
mile-an-hour pony (no difficult feat), and saluted the formidable
monarch.

King James expressed himself with royal directness. "You're that old
snoozer that's running sheep on this range, ain't you?" said he. "What
right have you got to do it? Do you own any land, or lease any?"

"I have two sections leased from the state," said old man Ellison,
mildly.

"Not by no means you haven't," said King James. "Your lease expired
yesterday; and I had a man at the land office on the minute to take it
up. You don't control a foot of grass in Texas. You sheep men have got
to git. Your time's up. It's a cattle country, and there ain't any
room in it for snoozers. This range you've got your sheep on is mine.
I'm putting up a wire fence, forty by sixty miles; and if there's a
sheep inside of it when it's done it'll be a dead one. I'll give you a
week to move yours away. If they ain't gone by then, I'll send six men
over here with Winchesters to make mutton out of the whole lot. And if
I find you here at the same time this is what you'll get."

King James patted the breech of his shot-gun warningly.

Old man Ellison rode on to the camp of Incarnacion. He sighed many
times, and the wrinkles in his face grew deeper. Rumours that the
old order was about to change had reached him before. The end of
Free Grass was in sight. Other troubles, too, had been accumulating
upon his shoulders. His flocks were decreasing instead of growing;
the price of wool was declining at every clip; even Bradshaw, the
storekeeper at Frio City, at whose store he bought his ranch supplies,
was dunning him for his last six months' bill and threatening to cut
him off. And so this last greatest calamity suddenly dealt out to him
by the terrible King James was a crusher.

When the old man got back to the ranch at sunset he found Sam Galloway
lying on his cot, propped against a roll of blankets and wool sacks,
fingering his guitar.

"Hello, Uncle Ben," the troubadour called, cheerfully. "You rolled in
early this evening. I been trying a new twist on the Spanish Fandango
to-day. I just about got it. Here's how she goes--listen."

"That's fine, that's mighty fine," said old man Ellison, sitting on
the kitchen step and rubbing his white, Scotch-terrier whiskers. "I
reckon you've got all the musicians beat east and west, Sam, as far
as the roads are cut out."

"Oh, I don't know," said Sam, reflectively. "But I certainly do get
there on variations. I guess I can handle anything in five flats
about as well as any of 'em. But you look kind of fagged out, Uncle
Ben--ain't you feeling right well this evening?"

"Little tired; that's all, Sam. If you ain't played yourself out,
let's have that Mexican piece that starts off with: '_Huile, huile,
palomita_.' It seems that that song always kind of soothes and
comforts me after I've been riding far or anything bothers me."

"Why, _seguramente, senor_," said Sam. "I'll hit her up for you as
often as you like. And before I forget about it, Uncle Ben, you want
to jerk Bradshaw up about them last hams he sent us. They're just a
little bit strong."

A man sixty-five years old, living on a sheep ranch and beset by
a complication of disasters, cannot successfully and continuously
dissemble. Moreover, a troubadour has eyes quick to see unhappiness in
others around him--because it disturbs his own ease. So, on the next
day, Sam again questioned the old man about his air of sadness and
abstraction. Then old man Ellison told him the story of King James's
threats and orders and that pale melancholy and red ruin appeared
to have marked him for their own. The troubadour took the news
thoughtfully. He had heard much about King James.

On the third day of the seven days of grace allowed him by the
autocrat of the range, old man Ellison drove his buckboard to Frio
City to fetch some necessary supplies for the ranch. Bradshaw was hard
but not implacable. He divided the old man's order by two, and let him
have a little more time. One article secured was a new, fine ham for
the pleasure of the troubadour.

Five miles out of Frio City on his way home the old man met King James
riding into town. His majesty could never look anything but fierce and
menacing, but to-day his slits of eyes appeared to be a little wider
than they usually were.

"Good day," said the king, gruffly. "I've been wanting to see you.
I hear it said by a cowman from Sandy yesterday that you was from
Jackson County, Mississippi, originally. I want to know if that's a
fact."

"Born there," said old man Ellison, "and raised there till I was
twenty-one."

"This man says," went on King James, "that he thinks you was related
to the Jackson County Reeveses. Was he right?"

"Aunt Caroline Reeves," said the old man, "was my half-sister."

"She was my aunt," said King James. "I run away from home when I was
sixteen. Now, let's re-talk over some things that we discussed a few
days ago. They call me a bad man; and they're only half right. There's
plenty of room in my pasture for your bunch of sheep and their
increase for a long time to come. Aunt Caroline used to cut out sheep
in cake dough and bake 'em for me. You keep your sheep where they are,
and use all the range you want. How's your finances?"

The old man related his woes in detail, dignifiedly, with restraint
and candour.

"She used to smuggle extra grub into my school basket--I'm speaking of
Aunt Caroline," said King James. "I'm going over to Frio City to-day,
and I'll ride back by your ranch to-morrow. I'll draw $2,000 out of
the bank there and bring it over to you; and I'll tell Bradshaw to let
you have everything you want on credit. You are bound to have heard
the old saying at home, that the Jackson County Reeveses and Kings
would stick closer by each other than chestnut burrs. Well, I'm a
King yet whenever I run across a Reeves. So you look out for me along
about sundown to-morrow, and don't worry about nothing. Shouldn't
wonder if the dry spell don't kill out the young grass."

Old man Ellison drove happily ranchward. Once more the smiles filled
out his wrinkles. Very suddenly, by the magic of kinship and the good
that lies somewhere in all hearts, his troubles had been removed.

On reaching the ranch he found that Sam Galloway was not there. His
guitar hung by its buckskin string to a hackberry limb, moaning as the
gulf breeze blew across its masterless strings.

The Kiowa endeavoured to explain.

"Sam, he catch pony," said he, "and say he ride to Frio City. What for
no can damn sabe. Say he come back to-night. Maybe so. That all."

As the first stars came out the troubadour rode back to his haven. He
pastured his pony and went into the house, his spurs jingling
martially.

Old man Ellison sat at the kitchen table, having a tin cup of
before-supper coffee. He looked contented and pleased.

"Hello, Sam," said he. "I'm darned glad to see ye back. I don't know
how I managed to get along on this ranch, anyhow, before ye dropped in
to cheer things up. I'll bet ye've been skylarking around with some of
them Frio City gals, now, that's kept ye so late."

And then old man Ellison took another look at Sam's face and saw that
the minstrel had changed to the man of action.

And while Sam is unbuckling from his waist old man Ellison's
six-shooter, that the latter had left behind when he drove to town, we
may well pause to remark that anywhere and whenever a troubadour lays
down the guitar and takes up the sword trouble is sure to follow. It
is not the expert thrust of Athos nor the cold skill of Aramis nor
the iron wrist of Porthos that we have to fear--it is the Gascon's
fury--the wild and unacademic attack of the troubadour--the sword of
D'Artagnan.

"I done it," said Sam. "I went over to Frio City to do it. I couldn't
let him put the skibunk on you, Uncle Ben. I met him in Summers's
saloon. I knowed what to do. I said a few things to him that nobody
else heard. He reached for his gun first--half a dozen fellows saw him
do it--but I got mine unlimbered first. Three doses I gave him--right
around the lungs, and a saucer could have covered up all of 'em. He
won't bother you no more."

"This--is--King--James--you speak--of?" asked old man Ellison, while
he sipped his coffee.

"You bet it was. And they took me before the county judge; and the
witnesses what saw him draw his gun first was all there. Well, of
course, they put me under $300 bond to appear before the court, but
there was four or five boys on the spot ready to sign the bail. He
won't bother you no more, Uncle Ben. You ought to have seen how close
them bullet holes was together. I reckon playing a guitar as much as
I do must kind of limber a fellow's trigger finger up a little, don't
you think, Uncle Ben?"

Then there was a little silence in the castle except for the
spluttering of a venison steak that the Kiowa was cooking.

"Sam," said old man Ellison, stroking his white whiskers with a
tremulous hand, "would you mind getting the guitar and playing that
'_Huile, huile, palomita_' piece once or twice? It always seems to be
kind of soothing and comforting when a man's tired and fagged out."

There is no more to be said, except that the title of the story is
wrong. It should have been called "The Last of the Barons." There
never will be an end to the troubadours; and now and then it does seem
that the jingle of their guitars will drown the sound of the muffled
blows of the pickaxes and trip hammers of all the Workers in the
world.




II

THE SLEUTHS


In The Big City a man will disappear with the suddenness and
completeness of the flame of a candle that is blown out. All the
agencies of inquisition--the hounds of the trail, the sleuths of the
city's labyrinths, the closet detectives of theory and induction--will
be invoked to the search. Most often the man's face will be seen no
more. Sometimes he will reappear in Sheboygan or in the wilds of Terre
Haute, calling himself one of the synonyms of "Smith," and without
memory of events up to a certain time, including his grocer's bill.
Sometimes it will be found, after dragging the rivers, and polling the
restaurants to see if he may be waiting for a well-done sirloin, that
he has moved next door.

This snuffing out of a human being like the erasure of a chalk man
from a blackboard is one of the most impressive themes in dramaturgy.

The case of Mary Snyder, in point, should not be without interest.

A man of middle age, of the name of Meeks, came from the West to New
York to find his sister, Mrs. Mary Snyder, a widow, aged fifty-two,
who had been living for a year in a tenement house in a crowded
neighbourhood.

At her address he was told that Mary Snyder had moved away longer than
a month before. No one could tell him her new address.

On coming out Mr. Meeks addressed a policeman who was standing on the
corner, and explained his dilemma.

"My sister is very poor," he said, "and I am anxious to find her. I
have recently made quite a lot of money in a lead mine, and I want her
to share my prosperity. There is no use in advertising her, because
she cannot read."

The policeman pulled his moustache and looked so thoughtful and mighty
that Meeks could almost feel the joyful tears of his sister Mary
dropping upon his bright blue tie.

"You go down in the Canal Street neighbourhood," said the policeman,
"and get a job drivin' the biggest dray you can find. There's old
women always gettin' knocked over by drays down there. You might see
'er among 'em. If you don't want to do that you better go 'round to
headquarters and get 'em to put a fly cop onto the dame."

At police headquarters, Meeks received ready assistance. A general
alarm was sent out, and copies of a photograph of Mary Snyder that her
brother had were distributed among the stations. In Mulberry Street
the chief assigned Detective Mullins to the case.

The detective took Meeks aside and said:

"This is not a very difficult case to unravel. Shave off your
whiskers, fill your pockets with good cigars, and meet me in the cafe
of the Waldorf at three o'clock this afternoon."

Meeks obeyed. He found Mullins there. They had a bottle of wine, while
the detective asked questions concerning the missing woman.

"Now," said Mullins, "New York is a big city, but we've got the
detective business systematized. There are two ways we can go about
finding your sister. We will try one of 'em first. You say she's
fifty-two?"

"A little past," said Meeks.

The detective conducted the Westerner to a branch advertising office
of one of the largest dailies. There he wrote the following "ad" and
submitted it to Meeks:

"Wanted, at once--one hundred attractive chorus girls for a new
musical comedy. Apply all day at No. ---- Broadway."

Meeks was indignant.

"My sister," said he, "is a poor, hard-working, elderly woman. I do
not see what aid an advertisement of this kind would be toward finding
her."

"All right," said the detective. "I guess you don't know New York. But
if you've got a grouch against this scheme we'll try the other one.
It's a sure thing. But it'll cost you more."

"Never mind the expense," said Meeks; "we'll try it."

The sleuth led him back to the Waldorf. "Engage a couple of bedrooms
and a parlour," he advised, "and let's go up."

This was done, and the two were shown to a superb suite on the fourth
floor. Meeks looked puzzled. The detective sank into a velvet
armchair, and pulled out his cigar case.

"I forgot to suggest, old man," he said, "that you should have taken
the rooms by the month. They wouldn't have stuck you so much for 'em.

"By the month!" exclaimed Meeks. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, it'll take time to work the game this way. I told you it would
cost you more. We'll have to wait till spring. There'll be a new city
directory out then. Very likely your sister's name and address will be
in it."

Meeks rid himself of the city detective at once. On the next day some
one advised him to consult Shamrock Jolnes, New York's famous private
detective, who demanded fabulous fees, but performed miracles in the
way of solving mysteries and crimes.

After waiting for two hours in the anteroom of the great detective's
apartment, Meeks was shown into his presence. Jolnes sat in a purple
dressing-gown at an inlaid ivory chess table, with a magazine before
him, trying to solve the mystery of "They." The famous sleuth's thin,
intellectual face, piercing eyes, and rate per word are too well known
to need description.

Meeks set forth his errand. "My fee, if successful, will be $500,"
said Shamrock Jolnes.

Meeks bowed his agreement to the price.

"I will undertake your case, Mr. Meeks," said Jolnes, finally. "The
disappearance of people in this city has always been an interesting
problem to me. I remember a case that I brought to a successful
outcome a year ago. A family bearing the name of Clark disappeared
suddenly from a small flat in which they were living. I watched the
flat building for two months for a clue. One day it struck me that a
certain milkman and a grocer's boy always walked backward when they
carried their wares upstairs. Following out by induction the idea that
this observation gave me, I at once located the missing family. They
had moved into the flat across the hall and changed their name to
Kralc."

Shamrock Jolnes and his client went to the tenement house where Mary
Snyder had lived, and the detective demanded to be shown the room in
which she had lived. It had been occupied by no tenant since her
disappearance.

The room was small, dingy, and poorly furnished. Meeks seated himself
dejectedly on a broken chair, while the great detective searched the
walls and floor and the few sticks of old, rickety furniture for a
clue.

At the end of half an hour Jolnes had collected a few seemingly
unintelligible articles--a cheap black hat pin, a piece torn off a
theatre programme, and the end of a small torn card on which was the
word "left" and the characters "C 12."

Shamrock Jolnes leaned against the mantel for ten minutes, with his
head resting upon his hand, and an absorbed look upon his intellectual
face. At the end of that time he exclaimed, with animation:

"Come, Mr. Meeks; the problem is solved. I can take you directly to
the house where your sister is living. And you may have no fears
concerning her welfare, for she is amply provided with funds--for the
present at least."

Meeks felt joy and wonder in equal proportions.

"How did you manage it?" he asked, with admiration in his tones.

Perhaps Jolnes's only weakness was a professional pride in his
wonderful achievements in induction. He was ever ready to astound and
charm his listeners by describing his methods.

"By elimination," said Jolnes, spreading his clues upon a little
table, "I got rid of certain parts of the city to which Mrs. Snyder
might have removed. You see this hatpin? That eliminates Brooklyn. No
woman attempts to board a car at the Brooklyn Bridge without being
sure that she carries a hatpin with which to fight her way into a
seat. And now I will demonstrate to you that she could not have gone
to Harlem. Behind this door are two hooks in the wall. Upon one of
these Mrs. Snyder has hung her bonnet, and upon the other her shawl.
You will observe that the bottom of the hanging shawl has gradually
made a soiled streak against the plastered wall. The mark is
clean-cut, proving that there is no fringe on the shawl. Now, was
there ever a case where a middle-aged woman, wearing a shawl, boarded
a Harlem train without there being a fringe on the shawl to catch in
the gate and delay the passengers behind her? So we eliminate Harlem.

"Therefore I conclude that Mrs. Snyder has not moved very far away.
On this torn piece of card you see the word 'Left,' the letter 'C,'
and the number '12.' Now, I happen to know that No. 12 Avenue C is
a first-class boarding house, far beyond your sister's means--as we
suppose. But then I find this piece of a theatre programme, crumpled
into an odd shape. What meaning does it convey. None to you, very
likely, Mr. Meeks; but it is eloquent to one whose habits and training
take cognizance of the smallest things.

"You have told me that your sister was a scrub woman. She scrubbed the
floors of offices and hallways. Let us assume that she procured such
work to perform in a theatre. Where is valuable jewellery lost the
oftenest, Mr. Meeks? In the theatres, of course. Look at that piece of
programme, Mr. Meeks. Observe the round impression in it. It has been
wrapped around a ring--perhaps a ring of great value. Mrs. Snyder
found the ring while at work in the theatre. She hastily tore off a
piece of a programme, wrapped the ring carefully, and thrust it into
her bosom. The next day she disposed of it, and, with her increased
means, looked about her for a more comfortable place in which to live.
When I reach thus far in the chain I see nothing impossible about No.
12 Avenue C. It is there we will find your sister, Mr. Meeks."

Shamrock Jolnes concluded his convincing speech with the smile of
a successful artist. Meeks's admiration was too great for words.
Together they went to No. 12 Avenue C. It was an old-fashioned
brownstone house in a prosperous and respectable neighbourhood.

They rang the bell, and on inquiring were told that no Mrs. Snyder was
known there, and that not within six months had a new occupant come to
the house.

When they reached the sidewalk again, Meeks examined the clues which
he had brought away from his sister's old room.

"I am no detective," he remarked to Jolnes as he raised the piece of
theatre programme to his nose, "but it seems to me that instead of
a ring having been wrapped in this paper it was one of those round
peppermint drops. And this piece with the address on it looks to me
like the end of a seat coupon--No. 12, row C, left aisle."

Shamrock Jolnes had a far-away look in his eyes.

"I think you would do well to consult Juggins," said he.

"Who is Juggins?" asked Meeks.

"He is the leader," said Jolnes, "of a new modern school of
detectives. Their methods are different from ours, but it is said that
Juggins has solved some extremely puzzling cases. I will take you to
him."

They found the greater Juggins in his office. He was a small man with
light hair, deeply absorbed in reading one of the bourgeois works of
Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The two great detectives of different schools shook hands with
ceremony, and Meeks was introduced.

"State the facts," said Juggins, going on with his reading.

When Meeks ceased, the greater one closed his book and said:

"Do I understand that your sister is fifty-two years of age, with a
large mole on the side of her nose, and that she is a very poor widow,
making a scanty living by scrubbing, and with a very homely face and
figure?"

"That describes her exactly," admitted Meeks. Juggins rose and put on
his hat.

"In fifteen minutes," he said, "I will return, bringing you her
present address."

Shamrock Jolnes turned pale, but forced a smile.

Within the specified time Juggins returned and consulted a little slip
of paper held in his hand.

"Your sister, Mary Snyder," he announced calmly, "will be found at
No. 162 Chilton street. She is living in the back hall bedroom, five
flights up. The house is only four blocks from here," he continued,
addressing Meeks. "Suppose you go and verify the statement and then
return here. Mr. Jolnes will await you, I dare say."

Meeks hurried away. In twenty minutes he was back again, with a
beaming face.

"She is there and well!" he cried. "Name your fee!"

"Two dollars," said Juggins.

When Meeks had settled his bill and departed, Shamrock Jolnes stood
with his hat in his hand before Juggins.

"If it would not be asking too much," he stammered--"if you would
favour me so far--would you object to--"

"Certainly not," said Juggins pleasantly. "I will tell you how I did
it. You remember the description of Mrs. Snyder? Did you ever know a
woman like that who wasn't paying weekly instalments on an enlarged
crayon portrait of herself? The biggest factory of that kind in the
country is just around the corner. I went there and got her address
off the books. That's all."




III

WITCHES' LOAVES


Miss Martha Meacham kept the little bakery on the corner (the one
where you go up three steps, and the bell tinkles when you open the
door).

Miss Martha was forty, her bank-book showed a credit of two thousand
dollars, and she possessed two false teeth and a sympathetic heart.
Many people have married whose chances to do so were much inferior to
Miss Martha's.

Two or three times a week a customer came in in whom she began to take
an interest. He was a middle-aged man, wearing spectacles and a brown
beard trimmed to a careful point.

He spoke English with a strong German accent. His clothes were worn
and darned in places, and wrinkled and baggy in others. But he looked
neat, and had very good manners.

He always bought two loaves of stale bread. Fresh bread was five cents
a loaf. Stale ones were two for five. Never did he call for anything
but stale bread.

Once Miss Martha saw a red and brown stain on his fingers. She was
sure then that he was an artist and very poor. No doubt he lived in a
garret, where he painted pictures and ate stale bread and thought of
the good things to eat in Miss Martha's bakery.

Often when Miss Martha sat down to her chops and light rolls and jam
and tea she would sigh, and wish that the gentle-mannered artist might
share her tasty meal instead of eating his dry crust in that draughty
attic. Miss Martha's heart, as you have been told, was a sympathetic
one.

In order to test her theory as to his occupation, she brought from
her room one day a painting that she had bought at a sale, and set it
against the shelves behind the bread counter.

It was a Venetian scene. A splendid marble palazzio (so it said on the
picture) stood in the foreground--or rather forewater. For the rest
there were gondolas (with the lady trailing her hand in the water),
clouds, sky, and chiaro-oscuro in plenty. No artist could fail to
notice it.

Two days afterward the customer came in.

"Two loafs of stale bread, if you blease.

"You haf here a fine bicture, madame," he said while she was wrapping
up the bread.

"Yes?" says Miss Martha, revelling in her own cunning. "I do so admire
art and" (no, it would not do to say "artists" thus early) "and
paintings," she substituted. "You think it is a good picture?"

"Der balance," said the customer, "is not in good drawing. Der
bairspective of it is not true. Goot morning, madame."

He took his bread, bowed, and hurried out.

Yes, he must be an artist. Miss Martha took the picture back to her
room.

How gentle and kindly his eyes shone behind his spectacles! What a
broad brow he had! To be able to judge perspective at a glance--and
to live on stale bread! But genius often has to struggle before it is
recognized.

What a thing it would be for art and perspective if genius were backed
by two thousand dollars in bank, a bakery, and a sympathetic heart
to-- But these were day-dreams, Miss Martha.

Often now when he came he would chat for a while across the showcase.
He seemed to crave Miss Martha's cheerful words.

He kept on buying stale bread. Never a cake, never a pie, never one of
her delicious Sally Lunns.

She thought he began to look thinner and discouraged. Her heart ached
to add something good to eat to his meagre purchase, but her courage
failed at the act. She did not dare affront him. She knew the pride of
artists.

Miss Martha took to wearing her blue-dotted silk waist behind the
counter. In the back room she cooked a mysterious compound of quince
seeds and borax. Ever so many people use it for the complexion.

One day the customer came in as usual, laid his nickel on the
showcase, and called for his stale loaves. While Miss Martha was
reaching for them there was a great tooting and clanging, and a
fire-engine came lumbering past.

The customer hurried to the door to look, as any one will. Suddenly
inspired, Miss Martha seized the opportunity.

On the bottom shelf behind the counter was a pound of fresh butter
that the dairyman had left ten minutes before. With a bread knife
Miss Martha made a deep slash in each of the stale loaves, inserted
a generous quantity of butter, and pressed the loaves tight again.

When the customer turned once more she was tying the paper around
them.

When he had gone, after an unusually pleasant little chat, Miss Martha
smiled to herself, but not without a slight fluttering of the heart.

Had she been too bold? Would he take offense? But surely not. There
was no language of edibles. Butter was no emblem of unmaidenly
forwardness.

For a long time that day her mind dwelt on the subject. She imagined
the scene when he should discover her little deception.

He would lay down his brushes and palette. There would stand his easel
with the picture he was painting in which the perspective was beyond
criticism.

He would prepare for his luncheon of dry bread and water. He would
slice into a loaf--ah!

Miss Martha blushed. Would he think of the hand that placed it there
as he ate? Would he--

The front door bell jangled viciously. Somebody was coming in, making
a great deal of noise.

Miss Martha hurried to the front. Two men were there. One was a young
man smoking a pipe--a man she had never seen before. The other was her
artist.

His face was very red, his hat was on the back of his head, his
hair was wildly rumpled. He clinched his two fists and shook them
ferociously at Miss Martha. _At Miss Martha_.

"_Dummkopf!_" he shouted with extreme loudness; and then
"_Tausendonfer!_" or something like it in German.

The young man tried to draw him away.

"I vill not go," he said angrily, "else I shall told her."

He made a bass drum of Miss Martha's counter.

"You haf shpoilt me," he cried, his blue eyes blazing behind his
spectacles. "I vill tell you. You vas von _meddingsome old cat!_"

Miss Martha leaned weakly against the shelves and laid one hand on her
blue-dotted silk waist. The young man took the other by the collar.

"Come on," he said, "you've said enough." He dragged the angry one out
at the door to the sidewalk, and then came back.

"Guess you ought to be told, ma'am," he said, "what the row is about.
That's Blumberger. He's an architectural draftsman. I work in the same
office with him.

"He's been working hard for three months drawing a plan for a new
city hall. It was a prize competition. He finished inking the lines
yesterday. You know, a draftsman always makes his drawing in pencil
first. When it's done he rubs out the pencil lines with handfuls of
stale bread crumbs. That's better than India rubber.

"Blumberger's been buying the bread here. Well, to-day--well, you
know, ma'am, that butter isn't--well, Blumberger's plan isn't good for
anything now except to cut up into railroad sandwiches."

Miss Martha went into the back room. She took off the blue-dotted silk
waist and put on the old brown serge she used to wear. Then she poured
the quince seed and borax mixture out of the window into the ash can.




IV

THE PRIDE OF THE CITIES


Said Mr. Kipling, "The cities are full of pride, challenging each to
each." Even so.

New York was empty. Two hundred thousand of its people were away
for the summer. Three million eight hundred thousand remained as
caretakers and to pay the bills of the absentees. But the two hundred
thousand are an expensive lot.

The New Yorker sat at a roof-garden table, ingesting solace through a
straw. His panama lay upon a chair. The July audience was scattered
among vacant seats as widely as outfielders when the champion batter
steps to the plate. Vaudeville happened at intervals. The breeze
was cool from the bay; around and above--everywhere except on the
stage--were stars. Glimpses were to be had of waiters, always
disappearing, like startled chamois. Prudent visitors who had ordered
refreshments by 'phone in the morning were now being served. The New
Yorker was aware of certain drawbacks to his comfort, but content
beamed softly from his rimless eyeglasses. His family was out of town.
The drinks were warm; the ballet was suffering from lack of both tune
and talcum--but his family would not return until September.

Then up into the garden stumbled the man from Topaz City, Nevada. The
gloom of the solitary sightseer enwrapped him. Bereft of joy through
loneliness, he stalked with a widower's face through the halls of
pleasure. Thirst for human companionship possessed him as he panted
in the metropolitan draught. Straight to the New Yorker's table he
steered.

The New Yorker, disarmed and made reckless by the lawless atmosphere
of a roof garden, decided upon utter abandonment of his life's
traditions. He resolved to shatter with one rash, dare-devil,
impulsive, hair-brained act the conventions that had hitherto been
woven into his existence. Carrying out this radical and precipitous
inspiration he nodded slightly to the stranger as he drew nearer the
table.

The next moment found the man from Topaz City in the list of the New
Yorker's closest friends. He took a chair at the table, he gathered
two others for his feet, he tossed his broad-brimmed hat upon a
fourth, and told his life's history to his new-found pard.

The New Yorker warmed a little, as an apartment-house furnace warms
when the strawberry season begins. A waiter who came within hail in an
unguarded moment was captured and paroled on an errand to the Doctor
Wiley experimental station. The ballet was now in the midst of a
musical vagary, and danced upon the stage programmed as Bolivian
peasants, clothed in some portions of its anatomy as Norwegian
fisher maidens, in others as ladies-in-waiting of Marie Antoinette,
historically denuded in other portions so as to represent sea nymphs,
and presenting the _tout ensemble_ of a social club of Central Park
West housemaids at a fish fry.

"Been in the city long?" inquired the New Yorker, getting ready the
exact tip against the waiter's coming with large change from the bill.

"Me?" said the man from Topaz City. "Four days. Never in Topaz City,
was you?"

"I!" said the New Yorker. "I was never farther west than Eighth
Avenue. I had a brother who died on Ninth, but I met the cortege at
Eighth. There was a bunch of violets on the hearse, and the undertaker
mentioned the incident to avoid mistake. I cannot say that I am
familiar with the West."

"Topaz City," said the man who occupied four chairs, "is one of the
finest towns in the world."

"I presume that you have seen the sights of the metropolis," said the
New Yorker, "Four days is not a sufficient length of time in which to
view even our most salient points of interest, but one can possibly
form a general impression. Our architectural supremacy is what
generally strikes visitors to our city most forcibly. Of course you
have seen our Flatiron Building. It is considered--"

"Saw it," said the man from Topaz City. "But you ought to come out our
way. It's mountainous, you know, and the ladies all wear short skirts
for climbing and--"

"Excuse me," said the New Yorker, "but that isn't exactly the point.
New York must be a wonderful revelation to a visitor from the West.
Now, as to our hotels--"

"Say," said the man from Topaz City, "that reminds me--there were
sixteen stage robbers shot last year within twenty miles of--"

"I was speaking of hotels," said the New Yorker. "We lead Europe in
that respect. And as far as our leisure class is concerned we are
far--"

"Oh, I don't know," interrupted the man from Topaz City. "There were
twelve tramps in our jail when I left home. I guess New York isn't
so--"

"Beg pardon, you seem to misapprehend the idea. Of course, you visited
the Stock Exchange and Wall Street, where the--"

"Oh, yes," said the man from Topaz City, as he lighted a Pennsylvania
stogie, "and I want to tell you that we've got the finest town marshal
west of the Rockies. Bill Rainer he took in five pickpockets out of
the crowd when Red Nose Thompson laid the cornerstone of his new
saloon. Topaz City don't allow--"

"Have another Rhine wine and seltzer," suggested the New Yorker. "I've
never been West, as I said; but there can't be any place out there to
compare with New York. As to the claims of Chicago I--"

"One man," said the Topazite--"one man only has been murdered and
robbed in Topaz City in the last three--"

"Oh, I know what Chicago is," interposed the New Yorker. "Have you
been up Fifth Avenue to see the magnificent residences of our mil--"

"Seen 'em all. You ought to know Reub Stegall, the assessor of Topaz.
When old man Tilbury, that owns the only two-story house in town,
tried to swear his taxes from $6,000 down to $450.75, Reub buckled on
his forty-five and went down to see--"

"Yes, yes, but speaking of our great city--one of its greatest
features is our superb police department. There is no body of men in
the world that can equal it for--"

"That waiter gets around like a Langley flying machine," remarked the
man from Topaz City, thirstily. "We've got men in our town, too, worth
$400,000. There's old Bill Withers and Colonel Metcalf and--"

"Have you seen Broadway at night?" asked the New Yorker, courteously.
"There are few streets in the world that can compare with it. When the
electrics are shining and the pavements are alive with two hurrying
streams of elegantly clothed men and beautiful women attired in
the costliest costumes that wind in and out in a close maze of
expensively--"

"Never knew but one case in Topaz City," said the man from the West.
"Jim Bailey, our mayor, had his watch and chain and $235 in cash taken
from his pocket while--"

"That's another matter," said the New Yorker. "While you are in
our city you should avail yourself of every opportunity to see its
wonders. Our rapid transit system--"

"If you was out in Topaz," broke in the man from there, "I could show
you a whole cemetery full of people that got killed accidentally.
Talking about mangling folks up! why, when Berry Rogers turned loose
that old double-barrelled shot-gun of his loaded with slugs at
anybody--"

"Here, waiter!" called the New Yorker. "Two more of the same. It
is acknowledged by every one that our city is the centre of art,
and literature, and learning. Take, for instance, our after-dinner
speakers. Where else in the country would you find such wit and
eloquence as emanate from Depew and Ford, and--"

"If you take the papers," interrupted the Westerner, "you must have
read of Pete Webster's daughter. The Websters live two blocks north of
the court-house in Topaz City. Miss Tillie Webster, she slept forty
days and nights without waking up. The doctors said that--"

"Pass the matches, please," said the New Yorker. "Have you observed
the expedition with which new buildings are being run up in New York?
Improved inventions in steel framework and--"

"I noticed," said the Nevadian, "that the statistics of Topaz City
showed only one carpenter crushed by falling timbers last year and he
was caught in a cyclone."

"They abuse our sky line," continued the New Yorker, "and it is likely
that we are not yet artistic in the construction of our buildings. But
I can safely assert that we lead in pictorial and decorative art. In
some of our houses can be found masterpieces in the way of paintings
and sculpture. One who has the entree to our best galleries will
find--"

"Back up," exclaimed the man from Topaz City. "There was a game last
month in our town in which $90,000 changed hands on a pair of--"

"Ta-romt-tara!" went the orchestra. The stage curtain, blushing pink
at the name "Asbestos" inscribed upon it, came down with a slow
midsummer movement. The audience trickled leisurely down the elevator
and stairs.

On the sidewalk below, the New Yorker and the man from Topaz City
shook hands with alcoholic gravity. The elevated crashed raucously,
surface cars hummed and clanged, cabmen swore, newsboys shrieked,
wheels clattered ear-piercingly. The New Yorker conceived a happy
thought, with which he aspired to clinch the pre-eminence of his city.

"You must admit," said he, "that in the way of noise New York is far
ahead of any other--"

"Back to the everglades!" said the man from Topaz City. "In 1900, when
Sousa's band and the repeating candidate were in our town you
couldn't--"

The rattle of an express wagon drowned the rest of the words.




V

HOLDING UP A TRAIN


   Note. The man who told me these things was for several years
   an outlaw in the Southwest and a follower of the pursuit he
   so frankly describes. His description of the _modus operandi_
   should prove interesting, his counsel of value to the
   potential passenger in some future "hold-up," while his
   estimate of the pleasures of train robbing will hardly induce
   any one to adopt it as a profession. I give the story in
   almost exactly his own words.
                                                         O. H.


Most people would say, if their opinion was asked for, that holding
up a train would be a hard job. Well, it isn't; it's easy. I have
contributed some to the uneasiness of railroads and the insomnia of
express companies, and the most trouble I ever had about a hold-up was
in being swindled by unscrupulous people while spending the money I
got. The danger wasn't anything to speak of, and we didn't mind the
trouble.

One man has come pretty near robbing a train by himself; two have
succeeded a few times; three can do it if they are hustlers, but five
is about the right number. The time to do it and the place depend upon
several things.

The first "stick-up" I was ever in happened in 1890. Maybe the way I
got into it will explain how most train robbers start in the business.
Five out of six Western outlaws are just cowboys out of a job and gone
wrong. The sixth is a tough from the East who dresses up like a bad
man and plays some low-down trick that gives the boys a bad name. Wire
fences and "nesters" made five of them; a bad heart made the sixth.

Jim S---- and I were working on the 101 Ranch in Colorado. The nesters
had the cowman on the go. They had taken up the land and elected
officers who were hard to get along with. Jim and I rode into La Junta
one day, going south from a round-up. We were having a little fun
without malice toward anybody when a farmer administration cut in
and tried to harvest us. Jim shot a deputy marshal, and I kind of
corroborated his side of the argument. We skirmished up and down the
main street, the boomers having bad luck all the time. After a while
we leaned forward and shoved for the ranch down on the Ceriso. We were
riding a couple of horses that couldn't fly, but they could catch
birds.

A few days after that, a gang of the La Junta boomers came to the
ranch and wanted us to go back with them. Naturally, we declined. We
had the house on them, and before we were done refusing, that old
'dobe was plumb full of lead. When dark came we fagged 'em a batch of
bullets and shoved out the back door for the rocks. They sure smoked
us as we went. We had to drift, which we did, and rounded up down in
Oklahoma.

Well, there wasn't anything we could get there, and, being mighty
hard up, we decided to transact a little business with the railroads.
Jim and I joined forces with Tom and Ike Moore--two brothers who had
plenty of sand they were willing to convert into dust. I can call
their names, for both of them are dead. Tom was shot while robbing a
bank in Arkansas; Ike was killed during the more dangerous pastime of
attending a dance in the Creek Nation.

We selected a place on the Santa Fe where there was a bridge across a
deep creek surrounded by heavy timber. All passenger trains took water
at the tank close to one end of the bridge. It was a quiet place, the
nearest house being five miles away. The day before it happened, we
rested our horses and "made medicine" as to how we should get about
it. Our plans were not at all elaborate, as none of us had ever
engaged in a hold-up before.

The Santa Fe flyer was due at the tank at 11.15 P. M. At eleven, Tom
and I lay down on one side of the track, and Jim and Ike took the
other. As the train rolled up, the headlight flashing far down the
track and the steam hissing from the engine, I turned weak all over.
I would have worked a whole year on the ranch for nothing to have
been out of that affair right then. Some of the nerviest men in the
business have told me that they felt the same way the first time.

The engine had hardly stopped when I jumped on the running-board on
one side, while Jim mounted the other. As soon as the engineer and
fireman saw our guns they threw up their hands without being told, and
begged us not to shoot, saying they would do anything we wanted them
to.

"Hit the ground," I ordered, and they both jumped off. We drove them
before us down the side of the train. While this was happening, Tom
and Ike had been blazing away, one on each side of the train, yelling
like Apaches, so as to keep the passengers herded in the cars. Some
fellow stuck a little twenty-two calibre out one of the coach windows
and fired it straight up in the air. I let drive and smashed the glass
just over his head. That settled everything like resistance from that
direction.

By this time all my nervousness was gone. I felt a kind of pleasant
excitement as if I were at a dance or a frolic of some sort. The
lights were all out in the coaches, and, as Tom and Ike gradually quit
firing and yelling, it got to be almost as still as a graveyard. I
remember hearing a little bird chirping in a bush at the side of the
track, as if it were complaining at being waked up.

I made the fireman get a lantern, and then I went to the express car
and yelled to the messenger to open up or get perforated. He slid the
door back and stood in it with his hands up. "Jump overboard, son," I
said, and he hit the dirt like a lump of lead. There were two safes
in the car--a big one and a little one. By the way, I first located
the messenger's arsenal--a double-barrelled shot-gun with buckshot
cartridges and a thirty-eight in a drawer. I drew the cartridges from
the shot-gun, pocketed the pistol, and called the messenger inside. I
shoved my gun against his nose and put him to work. He couldn't open
the big safe, but he did the little one. There was only nine hundred
dollars in it. That was mighty small winnings for our trouble, so we
decided to go through the passengers. We took our prisoners to the
smoking-car, and from there sent the engineer through the train to
light up the coaches. Beginning with the first one, we placed a man at
each door and ordered the passengers to stand between the seats with
their hands up.

If you want to find out what cowards the majority of men are, all you
have to do is rob a passenger train. I don't mean because they don't
resist--I'll tell you later on why they can't do that--but it makes
a man feel sorry for them the way they lose their heads. Big, burly
drummers and farmers and ex-soldiers and high-collared dudes and
sports that, a few moments before, were filling the car with noise and
bragging, get so scared that their ears flop.

There were very few people in the day coaches at that time of night,
so we made a slim haul until we got to the sleeper. The Pullman
conductor met me at one door while Jim was going round to the other
one. He very politely informed me that I could not go into that car,
as it did not belong to the railroad company, and, besides, the
passengers had already been greatly disturbed by the shouting and
firing. Never in all my life have I met with a finer instance of
official dignity and reliance upon the power of Mr. Pullman's great
name. I jabbed my six-shooter so hard against Mr. Conductor's front
that I afterward found one of his vest buttons so firmly wedged in the
end of the barrel that I had to shoot it out. He just shut up like a
weak-springed knife and rolled down the car steps.

I opened the door of the sleeper and stepped inside. A big, fat
old man came wabbling up to me, puffing and blowing. He had one
coat-sleeve on and was trying to put his vest on over that. I don't
know who he thought I was.

"Young man, young man," says he, "you must keep cool and not get
excited. Above everything, keep cool."

"I can't," says I. "Excitement's just eating me up." And then I let
out a yell and turned loose my forty-five through the skylight.

That old man tried to dive into one of the lower berths, but a screech
came out of it and a bare foot that took him in the bread-basket and
landed him on the floor. I saw Jim coming in the other door, and I
hollered for everybody to climb out and line up.

They commenced to scramble down, and for a while we had a three-ringed
circus. The men looked as frightened and tame as a lot of rabbits in
a deep snow. They had on, on an average, about a quarter of a suit of
clothes and one shoe apiece. One chap was sitting on the floor of the
aisle, looking as if he were working a hard sum in arithmetic. He was
trying, very solemn, to pull a lady's number two shoe on his number
nine foot.

The ladies didn't stop to dress. They were so curious to see a real,
live train robber, bless 'em, that they just wrapped blankets and
sheets around themselves and came out, squeaky and fidgety looking.
They always show more curiosity and sand than the men do.

We got them all lined up and pretty quiet, and I went through the
bunch. I found very little on them--I mean in the way of valuables.
One man in the line was a sight. He was one of those big, overgrown,
solemn snoozers that sit on the platform at lectures and look wise.
Before crawling out he had managed to put on his long, frock-tailed
coat and his high silk hat. The rest of him was nothing but pajamas
and bunions. When I dug into that Prince Albert, I expected to drag
out at least a block of gold mine stock or an armful of Government
bonds, but all I found was a little boy's French harp about four
inches long. What it was there for, I don't know. I felt a little mad
because he had fooled me so. I stuck the harp up against his mouth.

"If you can't pay--play," I says.

"I can't play," says he.

"Then learn right off quick," says I, letting him smell the end of my
gun-barrel.

He caught hold of the harp, turned red as a beet, and commenced to
blow. He blew a dinky little tune I remembered hearing when I was a
kid:


   Prettiest little gal in the country--oh!
   Mammy and Daddy told me so.


I made him keep on playing it all the time we were in the car. Now and
then he'd get weak and off the key, and I'd turn my gun on him and
ask what was the matter with that little gal, and whether he had any
intention of going back on her, which would make him start up again
like sixty. I think that old boy standing there in his silk hat and
bare feet, playing his little French harp, was the funniest sight I
ever saw. One little red-headed woman in the line broke out laughing
at him. You could have heard her in the next car.

Then Jim held them steady while I searched the berths. I grappled
around in those beds and filled a pillow-case with the strangest
assortment of stuff you ever saw. Now and then I'd come across a
little pop-gun pistol, just about right for plugging teeth with,
which I'd throw out the window. When I finished with the collection,
I dumped the pillow-case load in the middle of the aisle. There
were a good many watches, bracelets, rings, and pocket-books, with
a sprinkling of false teeth, whiskey flasks, face-powder boxes,
chocolate caramels, and heads of hair of various colours and lengths.
There were also about a dozen ladies' stockings into which jewellery,
watches, and rolls of bills had been stuffed and then wadded up tight
and stuck under the mattresses. I offered to return what I called the
"scalps," saying that we were not Indians on the war-path, but none of
the ladies seemed to know to whom the hair belonged.

One of the women--and a good-looker she was--wrapped in a striped
blanket, saw me pick up one of the stockings that was pretty chunky
and heavy about the toe, and she snapped out:

"That's mine, sir. You're not in the business of robbing women, are
you?"

Now, as this was our first hold-up, we hadn't agreed upon any code
of ethics, so I hardly knew what to answer. But, anyway, I replied:
"Well, not as a specialty. If this contains your personal property you
can have it back."

"It just does," she declared eagerly, and reached out her hand for it.

"You'll excuse my taking a look at the contents," I said, holding the
stocking up by the toe. Out dumped a big gent's gold watch, worth
two hundred, a gent's leather pocket-book that we afterward found
to contain six hundred dollars, a 32-calibre revolver; and the only
thing of the lot that could have been a lady's personal property was
a silver bracelet worth about fifty cents.

I said: "Madame, here's your property," and handed her the bracelet.
"Now," I went on, "how can you expect us to act square with you when
you try to deceive us in this manner? I'm surprised at such conduct."

The young woman flushed up as if she had been caught doing something
dishonest. Some other woman down the line called out: "The mean
thing!" I never knew whether she meant the other lady or me.

When we finished our job we ordered everybody back to bed, told 'em
good night very politely at the door, and left. We rode forty miles
before daylight and then divided the stuff. Each one of us got
$1,752.85 in money. We lumped the jewellery around. Then we scattered,
each man for himself.

That was my first train robbery, and it was about as easily done as
any of the ones that followed. But that was the last and only time
I ever went through the passengers. I don't like that part of the
business. Afterward I stuck strictly to the express car. During the
next eight years I handled a good deal of money.

The best haul I made was just seven years after the first one. We
found out about a train that was going to bring out a lot of money
to pay off the soldiers at a Government post. We stuck that train up
in broad daylight. Five of us lay in the sand hills near a little
station. Ten soldiers were guarding the money on the train, but they
might just as well have been at home on a furlough. We didn't even
allow them to stick their heads out the windows to see the fun. We
had no trouble at all in getting the money, which was all in gold. Of
course, a big howl was raised at the time about the robbery. It was
Government stuff, and the Government got sarcastic and wanted to know
what the convoy of soldiers went along for. The only excuse given was
that nobody was expecting an attack among those bare sand hills in
daytime. I don't know what the Government thought about the excuse,
but I know that it was a good one. The surprise--that is the keynote
of the train-robbing business. The papers published all kinds of
stories about the loss, finally agreeing that it was between nine
thousand and ten thousand dollars. The Government sawed wood. Here are
the correct figures, printed for the first time--forty-eight thousand
dollars. If anybody will take the trouble to look over Uncle Sam's
private accounts for that little debit to profit and loss, he will
find that I am right to a cent.

By that time we were expert enough to know what to do. We rode due
west twenty miles, making a trail that a Broadway policeman could have
followed, and then we doubled back, hiding our tracks. On the second
night after the hold-up, while posses were scouring the country in
every direction, Jim and I were eating supper in the second story of
a friend's house in the town where the alarm started from. Our friend
pointed out to us, in an office across the street, a printing press at
work striking off handbills offering a reward for our capture.

I have been asked what we do with the money we get. Well, I never
could account for a tenth part of it after it was spent. It goes
fast and freely. An outlaw has to have a good many friends. A highly
respected citizen may, and often does, get along with very few, but a
man on the dodge has got to have "sidekickers." With angry posses and
reward-hungry officers cutting out a hot trail for him, he must have
a few places scattered about the country where he can stop and feed
himself and his horse and get a few hours' sleep without having to
keep both eyes open. When he makes a haul he feels like dropping some
of the coin with these friends, and he does it liberally. Sometimes I
have, at the end of a hasty visit at one of these havens of refuge,
flung a handful of gold and bills into the laps of the kids playing
on the floor, without knowing whether my contribution was a hundred
dollars or a thousand.

When old-timers make a big haul they generally go far away to one of
the big cities to spend their money. Green hands, however successful a
hold-up they make, nearly always give themselves away by showing too
much money near the place where they got it.

I was in a job in '94 where we got twenty thousand dollars. We
followed our favourite plan for a get-away--that is, doubled on our
trail--and laid low for a time near the scene of the train's bad luck.
One morning I picked up a newspaper and read an article with big
headlines stating that the marshal, with eight deputies and a posse of
thirty armed citizens, had the train robbers surrounded in a mesquite
thicket on the Cimarron, and that it was a question of only a few
hours when they would be dead men or prisoners. While I was reading
that article I was sitting at breakfast in one of the most elegant
private residences in Washington City, with a flunky in knee pants
standing behind my chair. Jim was sitting across the table talking to
his half-uncle, a retired naval officer, whose name you have often
seen in the accounts of doings in the capital. We had gone there and
bought rattling outfits of good clothes, and were resting from our
labours among the nabobs. We must have been killed in that mesquite
thicket, for I can make an affidavit that we didn't surrender.

Now I propose to tell why it is easy to hold up a train, and, then,
why no one should ever do it.

In the first place, the attacking party has all the advantage. That
is, of course, supposing that they are old-timers with the necessary
experience and courage. They have the outside and are protected by
the darkness, while the others are in the light, hemmed into a small
space, and exposed, the moment they show a head at a window or door,
to the aim of a man who is a dead shot and who won't hesitate to
shoot.

But, in my opinion, the main condition that makes train robbing easy
is the element of surprise in connection with the imagination of the
passengers. If you have ever seen a horse that has eaten loco weed you
will understand what I mean when I say that the passengers get locoed.
That horse gets the awfullest imagination on him in the world. You
can't coax him to cross a little branch stream two feet wide. It looks
as big to him as the Mississippi River. That's just the way with the
passenger. He thinks there are a hundred men yelling and shooting
outside, when maybe there are only two or three. And the muzzle of a
forty-five looks like the entrance to a tunnel. The passenger is all
right, although he may do mean little tricks, like hiding a wad of
money in his shoe and forgetting to dig-up until you jostle his ribs
some with the end of your six-shooter; but there's no harm in him.

As to the train crew, we never had any more trouble with them than
if they had been so many sheep. I don't mean that they are cowards;
I mean that they have got sense. They know they're not up against a
bluff. It's the same way with the officers. I've seen secret service
men, marshals, and railroad detectives fork over their change as meek
as Moses. I saw one of the bravest marshals I ever knew hide his gun
under his seat and dig up along with the rest while I was taking toll.
He wasn't afraid; he simply knew that we had the drop on the whole
outfit. Besides, many of those officers have families and they feel
that they oughtn't to take chances; whereas death has no terrors for
the man who holds up a train. He expects to get killed some day,
and he generally does. My advice to you, if you should ever be in a
hold-up, is to line up with the cowards and save your bravery for an
occasion when it may be of some benefit to you. Another reason why
officers are backward about mixing things with a train robber is a
financial one. Every time there is a scrimmage and somebody gets
killed, the officers lose money. If the train robber gets away they
swear out a warrant against John Doe et al. and travel hundreds of
miles and sign vouchers for thousands on the trail of the fugitives,
and the Government foots the bills. So, with them, it is a question of
mileage rather than courage.

I will give one instance to support my statement that the surprise is
the best card in playing for a hold-up.

Along in '92 the Daltons were cutting out a hot trail for the officers
down in the Cherokee Nation, Those were their lucky days, and they got
so reckless and sandy, that they used to announce before hand what
job they were going to undertake. Once they gave it out that they
were going to hold up the M. K. & T. flyer on a certain night at the
station of Pryor Creek, in Indian Territory.

That night the railroad company got fifteen deputy marshals in
Muscogee and put them on the train. Beside them they had fifty armed
men hid in the depot at Pryor Creek.

When the Katy Flyer pulled in not a Dalton showed up. The next station
was Adair, six miles away. When the train reached there, and the
deputies were having a good time explaining what they would have done
to the Dalton gang if they had turned up, all at once it sounded like
an army firing outside. The conductor and brakeman came running into
the car yelling, "Train robbers!"

Some of those deputies lit out of the door, hit the ground, and kept
on running. Some of them hid their Winchesters under the seats. Two of
them made a fight and were both killed.

It took the Daltons just ten minutes to capture the train and whip
the escort. In twenty minutes more they robbed the express car of
twenty-seven thousand dollars and made a clean get-away.

My opinion is that those deputies would have put up a stiff fight at
Pryor Creek, where they were expecting trouble, but they were taken by
surprise and "locoed" at Adair, just as the Daltons, who knew their
business, expected they would.

I don't think I ought to close without giving some deductions from
my experience of eight years "on the dodge." It doesn't pay to rob
trains. Leaving out the question of right and morals, which I don't
think I ought to tackle, there is very little to envy in the life of
an outlaw. After a while money ceases to have any value in his eyes.
He gets to looking upon the railroads and express companies as his
bankers, and his six-shooter as a cheque book good for any amount. He
throws away money right and left. Most of the time he is on the jump,
riding day and night, and he lives so hard between times that he
doesn't enjoy the taste of high life when he gets it. He knows that
his time is bound to come to lose his life or liberty, and that the
accuracy of his aim, the speed of his horse, and the fidelity of his
"sider," are all that postpone the inevitable.

It isn't that he loses any sleep over danger from the officers of the
law. In all my experience I never knew officers to attack a band of
outlaws unless they outnumbered them at least three to one.

But the outlaw carries one thought constantly in his mind--and that is
what makes him so sore against life, more than anything else--he knows
where the marshals get their recruits of deputies. He knows that the
majority of these upholders of the law were once lawbreakers, horse
thieves, rustlers, highwaymen, and outlaws like himself, and that they
gained their positions and immunity by turning state's evidence, by
turning traitor and delivering up their comrades to imprisonment and
death. He knows that some day--unless he is shot first--his Judas will
set to work, the trap will be laid, and he will be the surprised
instead of a surpriser at a stick-up.

That is why the man who holds up trains picks his company with
a thousand times the care with which a careful girl chooses a
sweetheart. That is why he raises himself from his blanket of nights
and listens to the tread of every horse's hoofs on the distant road.
That is why he broods suspiciously for days upon a jesting remark or
an unusual movement of a tried comrade, or the broken mutterings of
his closest friend, sleeping by his side.

And it is one of the reasons why the train-robbing profession is not
so pleasant a one as either of its collateral branches--politics or
cornering the market.




VI

ULYSSES AND THE DOGMAN


Do you know the time of the dogmen?

When the forefinger of twilight begins to smudge the clear-drawn lines
of the Big City there is inaugurated an hour devoted to one of the
most melancholy sights of urban life.

Out from the towering flat crags and apartment peaks of the cliff
dwellers of New York steals an army of beings that were once men. Even
yet they go upright upon two limbs and retain human form and speech;
but you will observe that they are behind animals in progress. Each of
these beings follows a dog, to which he is fastened by an artificial
ligament.

These men are all victims to Circe. Not willingly do they become
flunkeys to Fido, bell boys to bull terriers, and toddlers after
Towzer. Modern Circe, instead of turning them into animals, has kindly
left the difference of a six-foot leash between them. Every one of
those dogmen has been either cajoled, bribed, or commanded by his own
particular Circe to take the dear household pet out for an airing.

By their faces and manner you can tell that the dogmen are bound in a
hopeless enchantment. Never will there come even a dog-catcher Ulysses
to remove the spell.

The faces of some are stonily set. They are past the commiseration,
the curiosity, or the jeers of their fellow-beings. Years of
matrimony, of continuous compulsory canine constitutionals, have
made them callous. They unwind their beasts from lamp posts, or the
ensnared legs of profane pedestrians, with the stolidity of mandarins
manipulating the strings of their kites.

Others, more recently reduced to the ranks of Rover's retinue, take
their medicine sulkily and fiercely. They play the dog on the end of
their line with the pleasure felt by the girl out fishing when she
catches a sea-robin on her hook. They glare at you threateningly if
you look at them, as if it would be their delight to let slip the dogs
of war. These are half-mutinous dogmen, not quite Circe-ized, and you
will do well not to kick their charges, should they sniff around your
ankles.

Others of the tribe do not seem to feel so keenly. They are mostly
unfresh youths, with gold caps and drooping cigarettes, who do not
harmonize with their dogs. The animals they attend wear satin bows in
their collars; and the young men steer them so assiduously that you
are tempted to the theory that some personal advantage, contingent
upon satisfactory service, waits upon the execution of their duties.

The dogs thus personally conducted are of many varieties; but they
are one in fatness, in pampered, diseased vileness of temper, in
insolent, snarling capriciousness of behaviour. They tug at the leash
fractiously, they make leisurely nasal inventory of every door step,
railing, and post. They sit down to rest when they choose; they wheeze
like the winner of a Third Avenue beefsteak-eating contest; they
blunder clumsily into open cellars and coal holes; they lead the
dogmen a merry dance.

These unfortunate dry nurses of dogdom, the cur cuddlers,
mongrel managers, Spitz stalkers, poodle pullers, Skye scrapers,
dachshund dandlers, terrier trailers and Pomeranian pushers of the
cliff-dwelling Circes follow their charges meekly. The doggies neither
fear nor respect them. Masters of the house these men whom they hold
in leash may be, but they are not masters of them. From cosey corner
to fire escape, from divan to dumbwaiter, doggy's snarl easily drives
this two-legged being who is commissioned to walk at the other end of
his string during his outing.

One twilight the dogmen came forth as usual at their Circes' pleading,
guerdon, or crack of the whip. One among them was a strong man,
apparently of too solid virtues for this airy vocation. His expression
was melancholic, his manner depressed. He was leashed to a vile white
dog, loathsomely fat, fiendishly ill-natured, gloatingly intractable
toward his despised conductor.

At a corner nearest to his apartment house the dogman turned down a
side street, hoping for fewer witnesses to his ignominy. The surfeited
beast waddled before him, panting with spleen and the labour of
motion.

Suddenly the dog stopped. A tall, brown, long-coated, wide-brimmed man
stood like a Colossus blocking the sidewalk and declaring:

"Well, I'm a son of a gun!"

"Jim Berry!" breathed the dogman, with exclamation points in his
voice.

"Sam Telfair," cried Wide-Brim again, "you ding-basted old
willy-walloo, give us your hoof!"

Their hands clasped in the brief, tight greeting of the West that is
death to the hand-shake microbe.

"You old fat rascal!" continued Wide-Brim, with a wrinkled brown
smile; "it's been five years since I seen you. I been in this town a
week, but you can't find nobody in such a place. Well, you dinged old
married man, how are they coming?"

Something mushy and heavily soft like raised dough leaned against
Jim's leg and chewed his trousers with a yeasty growl.

"Get to work," said Jim, "and explain this yard-wide hydrophobia
yearling you've throwed your lasso over. Are you the pound-master of
this burg? Do you call that a dog or what?"

"I need a drink," said the dogman, dejected at the reminder of his old
dog of the sea. "Come on."

Hard by was a cafe. 'Tis ever so in the big city.

They sat at a table, and the bloated monster yelped and scrambled at
the end of his leash to get at the cafe cat.

"Whiskey," said Jim to the waiter.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

"You're fatter," said Jim, "and you look subjugated. I don't know
about the East agreeing with you. All the boys asked me to hunt you up
when I started. Sandy King, he went to the Klondike. Watson Burrel, he
married the oldest Peters girl. I made some money buying beeves, and
I bought a lot of wild land up on the Little Powder. Going to fence
next fall. Bill Rawlins, he's gone to farming. You remember Bill, of
course--he was courting Marcella--excuse me, Sam--I mean the lady you
married, while she was teaching school at Prairie View. But you was
the lucky man. How is Missis Telfair?"

"S-h-h-h!" said the dogman, signalling the waiter; "give it a name."

"Whiskey," said Jim.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

"She's well," he continued, after his chaser. "She refused to live
anywhere but in New York, where she came from. We live in a flat.
Every evening at six I take that dog out for a walk. It's Marcella's
pet. There never were two animals on earth, Jim, that hated one
another like me and that dog does. His name's Lovekins. Marcella
dresses for dinner while we're out. We eat tabble dote. Ever try one
of them, Jim?"

"No, I never," said Jim. "I seen the signs, but I thought they said
'table de hole.' I thought it was French for pool tables. How does it
taste?"

"If you're going to be in the city for awhile we will--"

"No, sir-ee. I'm starting for home this evening on the 7.25. Like to
stay longer, but I can't."

"I'll walk down to the ferry with you," said the dogman.

The dog had bound a leg each of Jim and the chair together, and had
sunk into a comatose slumber. Jim stumbled, and the leash was slightly
wrenched. The shrieks of the awakened beast rang for a block around.

"If that's your dog," said Jim, when they were on the street again,
"what's to hinder you from running that habeas corpus you've got
around his neck over a limb and walking off and forgetting him?"

"I'd never dare to," said the dogman, awed at the bold proposition.
"He sleeps in the bed, I sleep on a lounge. He runs howling to
Marcella if I look at him. Some night, Jim, I'm going to get even with
that dog. I've made up my mind to do it. I'm going to creep over with
a knife and cut a hole in his mosquito bar so they can get in to him.
See if I don't do it!"

"You ain't yourself, Sam Telfair. You ain't what you was once. I don't
know about these cities and flats over here. With my own eyes I seen
you stand off both the Tillotson boys in Prairie View with the brass
faucet out of a molasses barrel. And I seen you rope and tie the
wildest steer on Little Powder in 39 1-2."

"I did, didn't I?" said the other, with a temporary gleam in his eye.
"But that was before I was dogmatized."

"Does Misses Telfair--" began Jim.

"Hush!" said the dogman. "Here's another cafe."

They lined up at the bar. The dog fell asleep at their feet.

"Whiskey," said Jim.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

"I thought about you," said Jim, "when I bought that wild land. I
wished you was out there to help me with the stock."

"Last Tuesday," said the dogman, "he bit me on the ankle because I
asked for cream in my coffee. He always gets the cream."

"You'd like Prairie View now," said Jim. "The boys from the round-ups
for fifty miles around ride in there. One corner of my pasture is in
sixteen miles of the town. There's a straight forty miles of wire on
one side of it."

"You pass through the kitchen to get to the bedroom," said the dogman,
"and you pass through the parlour to get to the bath room, and you
back out through the dining-room to get into the bedroom so you can
turn around and leave by the kitchen. And he snores and barks in his
sleep, and I have to smoke in the park on account of his asthma."

"Don't Missis Telfair--" began Jim.

"Oh, shut up!" said the dogman. "What is it this time?"

"Whiskey," said Jim.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

"Well, I'll be racking along down toward the ferry," said the other.

"Come on, there, you mangy, turtle-backed, snake-headed, bench-legged
ton-and-a-half of soap-grease!" shouted the dogman, with a new note in
his voice and a new hand on the leash. The dog scrambled after them,
with an angry whine at such unusual language from his guardian.

At the foot of Twenty-third Street the dogman led the way through
swinging doors.

"Last chance," said he. "Speak up."

"Whiskey," said Jim.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

"I don't know," said the ranchman, "where I'll find the man I want
to take charge of the Little Powder outfit. I want somebody I know
something about. Finest stretch of prairie and timber you ever
squinted your eye over, Sam. Now if you was--"

"Speaking of hydrophobia," said the dogman, "the other night he chewed
a piece out of my leg because I knocked a fly off of Marcella's arm.
'It ought to be cauterized,' says Marcella, and I was thinking so
myself. I telephones for the doctor, and when he comes Marcella says
to me: 'Help me hold the poor dear while the doctor fixes his mouth.
Oh, I hope he got no virus on any of his toofies when he bit you.' Now
what do you think of that?"

"Does Missis Telfair--" began Jim.

"Oh, drop it," said the dogman. "Come again!"

"Whiskey," said Jim.

"Make it two," said the dogman.

They walked on to the ferry. The ranchman stepped to the ticket
window.

Suddenly the swift landing of three or four heavy kicks was heard,
the air was rent by piercing canine shrieks, and a pained, outraged,
lubberly, bow-legged pudding of a dog ran frenziedly up the street
alone.

"Ticket to Denver," said Jim.

"Make it two," shouted the ex-dogman, reaching for his inside pocket.




VII

THE CHAMPION OF THE WEATHER


If you should speak of the Kiowa Reservation to the average New
Yorker he probably wouldn't know whether you were referring to a new
political dodge at Albany or a leitmotif from "Parsifal." But out
in the Kiowa Reservation advices have been received concerning the
existence of New York.

A party of us were on a hunting trip in the Reservation. Bud
Kingsbury, our guide, philosopher, and friend, was broiling antelope
steaks in camp one night. One of the party, a pinkish-haired young man
in a correct hunting costume, sauntered over to the fire to light a
cigarette, and remarked carelessly to Bud:

"Nice night!"

"Why, yes," said Bud, "as nice as any night could be that ain't
received the Broadway stamp of approval."

Now, the young man was from New York, but the rest of us wondered how
Bud guessed it. So, when the steaks were done, we besought him to
lay bare his system of ratiocination. And as Bud was something of a
Territorial talking machine he made oration as follows:

"How did I know he was from New York? Well, I figured it out as soon
as he sprung them two words on me. I was in New York myself a couple
of years ago, and I noticed some of the earmarks and hoof tracks of
the Rancho Manhattan."

"Found New York rather different from the Panhandle, didn't you, Bud?"
asked one of the hunters.

"Can't say that I did," answered Bud; "anyways, not more than some.
The main trail in that town which they call Broadway is plenty
travelled, but they're about the same brand of bipeds that tramp
around in Cheyenne and Amarillo, At first I was sort of rattled by the
crowds, but I soon says to myself, 'Here, now, Bud; they're just plain
folks like you and Geronimo and Grover Cleveland and the Watson boys,
so don't get all flustered up with consternation under your saddle
blanket,' and then I feels calm and peaceful, like I was back in the
Nation again at a ghost dance or a green corn pow-wow.

"I'd been saving up for a year to give this New York a whirl. I knew
a man named Summers that lived there, but I couldn't find him; so
I played a lone hand at enjoying the intoxicating pleasures of the
corn-fed metropolis.

"For a while I was so frivolous and locoed by the electric lights
and the noises of the phonographs and the second-story railroads
that I forgot one of the crying needs of my Western system of natural
requirements. I never was no hand to deny myself the pleasures of
sociable vocal intercourse with friends and strangers. Out in the
Territories when I meet a man I never saw before, inside of nine
minutes I know his income, religion, size of collar, and his wife's
temper, and how much he pays for clothes, alimony, and chewing
tobacco. It's a gift with me not to be penurious with my conversation.

"But this here New York was inaugurated on the idea of abstemiousness
in regard to the parts of speech. At the end of three weeks nobody in
the city had fired even a blank syllable in my direction except the
waiter in the grub emporium where I fed. And as his outpourings of
syntax wasn't nothing but plagiarisms from the bill of fare, he never
satisfied my yearnings, which was to have somebody hit. If I stood
next to a man at a bar he'd edge off and give a Baldwin-Ziegler look
as if he suspected me of having the North Pole concealed on my person.
I began to wish that I'd gone to Abilene or Waco for my _paseado_; for
the mayor of them places will drink with you, and the first citizen
you meet will tell you his middle name and ask you to take a chance
in a raffle for a music box.

"Well, one day when I was particular hankering for to be gregarious
with something more loquacious than a lamp post, a fellow in a caffy
says to me, says he:

"'Nice day!'

"He was a kind of a manager of the place, and I reckon he'd seen me
in there a good many times. He had a face like a fish and an eye like
Judas, but I got up and put one arm around his neck.

"'Pardner,' I says, 'sure it's a nice day. You're the first gentleman
in all New York to observe that the intricacies of human speech might
not be altogether wasted on William Kingsbury. But don't you think,'
says I, 'that 'twas a little cool early in the morning; and ain't
there a feeling of rain in the air to-night? But along about noon it
sure was gallupsious weather. How's all up to the house? You doing
right well with the caffy, now?'

"Well, sir, that galoot just turns his back and walks off stiff,
without a word, after all my trying to be agreeable! I didn't know
what to make of it. That night I finds a note from Summers, who'd
been away from town, giving the address of his camp. I goes up to
his house and has a good, old-time talk with his folks. And I tells
Summers about the actions of this coyote in the caffy, and desires
interpretation.

"'Oh,' says Summers, 'he wasn't intending to strike up a conversation
with you. That's just the New York style. He'd seen you was a regular
customer and he spoke a word or two just to show you he appreciated
your custom. You oughtn't to have followed it up. That's about as far
as we care to go with a stranger. A word or so about the weather may
be ventured, but we don't generally make it the basis of an
acquaintance.'

"'Billy,' says I, 'the weather and its ramifications is a solemn
subject with me. Meteorology is one of my sore points. No man can
open up the question of temperature or humidity or the glad sunshine
with me, and then turn tail on it without its leading to a falling
barometer. I'm going down to see that man again and give him a lesson
in the art of continuous conversation. You say New York etiquette
allows him two words and no answer. Well, he's going to turn himself
into a weather bureau and finish what he begun with me, besides
indulging in neighbourly remarks on other subjects.'

"Summers talked agin it, but I was irritated some and I went on the
street car back to that caffy.

"The same fellow was there yet, walking round in a sort of back corral
where there was tables and chairs. A few people was sitting around
having drinks and sneering at one another.

"I called that man to one side and herded him into a corner. I
unbuttoned enough to show him a thirty-eight I carried stuck under my
vest.

"'Pardner,' I says, 'a brief space ago I was in here and you seized
the opportunity to say it was a nice day. When I attempted to
corroborate your weather signal, you turned your back and walked off.
Now,' says I, 'you frog-hearted, language-shy, stiff-necked cross
between a Spitzbergen sea cook and a muzzled oyster, you resume where
you left off in your discourse on the weather.'

"The fellow looks at me and tries to grin, but he sees I don't and he
comes around serious.

"'Well,' says he, eyeing the handle of my gun, 'it was rather a nice
day; some warmish, though.'

"'Particulars, you mealy-mouthed snoozer,' I says--'let's have the
specifications--expatiate--fill in the outlines. When you start
anything with me in short-hand it's bound to turn out a storm signal.'

"'Looked like rain yesterday,' says the man, 'but it cleared off fine
in the forenoon. I hear the farmers are needing rain right badly
up-State.'

"'That's the kind of a canter,' says I. 'Shake the New York dust off
your hoofs and be a real agreeable kind of a centaur. You broke the
ice, you know, and we're getting better acquainted every minute. Seems
to me I asked you about your family?'

"'They're all well, thanks,' says he. 'We--we have a new piano.'

"'Now you're coming it,' I says. 'This cold reserve is breaking up
at last. That little touch about the piano almost makes us brothers.
What's the youngest kid's name?' I asks him.

"'Thomas,' says he. 'He's just getting well from the measles.'

"'I feel like I'd known you always,' says I. 'Now there was just one
more--are you doing right well with the caffy, now?'

"'Pretty well,' he says. 'I'm putting away a little money.'

"'Glad to hear it,' says I. 'Now go back to your work and get
civilized. Keep your hands off the weather unless you're ready to
follow it up in a personal manner, It's a subject that naturally
belongs to sociability and the forming of new ties, and I hate to see
it handed out in small change in a town like this.'

"So the next day I rolls up my blankets and hits the trail away from
New York City."

For many minutes after Bud ceased talking we lingered around the fire,
and then all hands began to disperse for bed.

As I was unrolling my bedding I heard the pinkish-haired young man
saying to Bud, with something like anxiety in his voice:

"As I say, Mr. Kingsbury, there is something really beautiful about
this night. The delightful breeze and the bright stars and the clear
air unite in making it wonderfully attractive."

"Yes," said Bud, "it's a nice night."




VIII

MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN


The burglar stepped inside the window quickly, and then he took his
time. A burglar who respects his art always takes his time before
taking anything else.

The house was a private residence. By its boarded front door and
untrimmed Boston ivy the burglar knew that the mistress of it was
sitting on some oceanside piazza telling a sympathetic man in a
yachting cap that no one had ever understood her sensitive, lonely
heart. He knew by the light in the third-story front windows, and by
the lateness of the season, that the master of the house had come
home, and would soon extinguish his light and retire. For it was
September of the year and of the soul, in which season the house's
good man comes to consider roof gardens and stenographers as vanities,
and to desire the return of his mate and the more durable blessings of
decorum and the moral excellencies.

The burglar lighted a cigarette. The guarded glow of the match
illuminated his salient points for a moment. He belonged to the third
type of burglars.

This third type has not yet been recognized and accepted. The police
have made us familiar with the first and second. Their classification
is simple. The collar is the distinguishing mark.

When a burglar is caught who does not wear a collar he is described as
a degenerate of the lowest type, singularly vicious and depraved, and
is suspected of being the desperate criminal who stole the handcuffs
out of Patrolman Hennessy's pocket in 1878 and walked away to escape
arrest.

The other well-known type is the burglar who wears a collar. He is
always referred to as a Raffles in real life. He is invariably a
gentleman by daylight, breakfasting in a dress suit, and posing as a
paperhanger, while after dark he plies his nefarious occupation of
burglary. His mother is an extremely wealthy and respected resident
of Ocean Grove, and when he is conducted to his cell he asks at once
for a nail file and the _Police Gazette_. He always has a wife in
every State in the Union and fiancees in all the Territories, and the
newspapers print his matrimonial gallery out of their stock of cuts of
the ladies who were cured by only one bottle after having been given
up by five doctors, experiencing great relief after the first dose.

The burglar wore a blue sweater. He was neither a Raffles nor one of
the chefs from Hell's Kitchen. The police would have been baffled
had they attempted to classify him. They have not yet heard of the
respectable, unassuming burglar who is neither above nor below his
station.

This burglar of the third class began to prowl. He wore no masks,
dark lanterns, or gum shoes. He carried a 38-calibre revolver in his
pocket, and he chewed peppermint gum thoughtfully.

The furniture of the house was swathed in its summer dust protectors.
The silver was far away in safe-deposit vaults. The burglar expected
no remarkable "haul." His objective point was that dimly lighted
room where the master of the house should be sleeping heavily
after whatever solace he had sought to lighten the burden of
his loneliness. A "touch" might be made there to the extent of
legitimate, fair professional profits--loose money, a watch, a
jewelled stick-pin--nothing exorbitant or beyond reason. He had seen
the window left open and had taken the chance.

The burglar softly opened the door of the lighted room. The gas was
turned low. A man lay in the bed asleep. On the dresser lay many
things in confusion--a crumpled roll of bills, a watch, keys, three
poker chips, crushed cigars, a pink silk hair bow, and an unopened
bottle of bromo-seltzer for a bulwark in the morning.

The burglar took three steps toward the dresser. The man in the bed
suddenly uttered a squeaky groan and opened his eyes. His right hand
slid under his pillow, but remained there.

"Lay still," said the burglar in conversational tone. Burglars of the
third type do not hiss. The citizen in the bed looked at the round end
of the burglar's pistol and lay still.

"Now hold up both your hands," commanded the burglar.

The citizen had a little, pointed, brown-and-gray beard, like that
of a painless dentist. He looked solid, esteemed, irritable, and
disgusted. He sat up in bed and raised his right hand above his head.

"Up with the other one," ordered the burglar. "You might be amphibious
and shoot with your left. You can count two, can't you? Hurry up,
now."

"Can't raise the other one," said the citizen, with a contortion of
his lineaments.

"What's the matter with it?"

"Rheumatism in the shoulder."

"Inflammatory?"

"Was. The inflammation has gone down." The burglar stood for a moment
or two, holding his gun on the afflicted one. He glanced at the
plunder on the dresser and then, with a half-embarrassed air, back at
the man in the bed. Then he, too, made a sudden grimace.

"Don't stand there making faces," snapped the citizen, bad-humouredly.
"If you've come to burgle why don't you do it? There's some stuff
lying around."

"'Scuse me," said the burglar, with a grin; "but it just socked me
one, too. It's good for you that rheumatism and me happens to be old
pals. I got it in my left arm, too. Most anybody but me would have
popped you when you wouldn't hoist that left claw of yours."

"How long have you had it?" inquired the citizen.

"Four years. I guess that ain't all. Once you've got it, it's you for
a rheumatic life--that's my judgment."

"Ever try rattlesnake oil?" asked the citizen, interestedly.

"Gallons," said the burglar. "If all the snakes I've used the oil of
was strung out in a row they'd reach eight times as far as Saturn, and
the rattles could be heard at Valparaiso, Indiana, and back."

"Some use Chiselum's Pills," remarked the citizen.

"Fudge!" said the burglar. "Took 'em five months. No good. I had some
relief the year I tried Finkelham's Extract, Balm of Gilead poultices
and Potts's Pain Pulverizer; but I think it was the buckeye I carried
in my pocket what done the trick."

"Is yours worse in the morning or at night?" asked the citizen.

"Night," said the burglar; "just when I'm busiest. Say, take down that
arm of yours--I guess you won't--Say! did you ever try Blickerstaff's
Blood Builder?"

"I never did. Does yours come in paroxysms or is it a steady pain?"

The burglar sat down on the foot of the bed and rested his gun on his
crossed knee.

"It jumps," said he. "It strikes me when I ain't looking for it. I had
to give up second-story work because I got stuck sometimes half-way
up. Tell you what--I don't believe the bloomin' doctors know what is
good for it."

"Same here. I've spent a thousand dollars without getting any relief.
Yours swell any?"

"Of mornings. And when it's goin' to rain--great Christopher!"

"Me, too," said the citizen. "I can tell when a streak of humidity the
size of a table-cloth starts from Florida on its way to New York. And
if I pass a theatre where there's an 'East Lynne' matinee going on,
the moisture starts my left arm jumping like a toothache."

"It's undiluted--hades!" said the burglar.

"You're dead right," said the citizen.

The burglar looked down at his pistol and thrust it into his pocket
with an awkward attempt at ease.

"Say, old man," he said, constrainedly, "ever try opodeldoc?"

"Slop!" said the citizen angrily. "Might as well rub on restaurant
butter."

"Sure," concurred the burglar. "It's a salve suitable for little
Minnie when the kitty scratches her finger. I'll tell you what! We're
up against it. I only find one thing that eases her up. Hey? Little
old sanitary, ameliorating, lest-we-forget Booze. Say--this job's
off--'scuse me--get on your clothes and let's go out and have some.
'Scuse the liberty, but--ouch! There she goes again!"

"For a week," said the citizen. "I haven't been able to dress myself
without help. I'm afraid Thomas is in bed, and--"

"Climb out," said the burglar, "I'll help you get into your duds."

The conventional returned as a tidal wave and flooded the citizen. He
stroked his brown-and-gray beard.

"It's very unusual--" he began.

"Here's your shirt," said the burglar, "fall out. I knew a man who
said Omberry's Ointment fixed him in two weeks so he could use both
hands in tying his four-in-hand."

As they were going out the door the citizen turned and started back.

"'Liked to forgot my money," he explained; "laid it on the dresser
last night."

The burglar caught him by the right sleeve.

"Come on," he said bluffly. "I ask you. Leave it alone. I've got the
price. Ever try witch hazel and oil of wintergreen?"




IX

AT ARMS WITH MORPHEUS


I never could quite understand how Tom Hopkins came to make that
blunder, for he had been through a whole term at a medical
college--before he inherited his aunt's fortune--and had been
considered strong in therapeutics.

We had been making a call together that evening, and afterward Tom
ran up to my rooms for a pipe and a chat before going on to his own
luxurious apartments. I had stepped into the other room for a moment
when I heard Tom sing out:

"Oh, Billy, I'm going to take about four grains of quinine, if you
don't mind-- I'm feeling all blue and shivery. Guess I'm taking cold."

"All right," I called back. "The bottle is on the second shelf. Take
it in a spoonful of that elixir of eucalyptus. It knocks the bitter
out."

After I came back we sat by the fire and got our briars going. In
about eight minutes Tom sank back into a gentle collapse.

I went straight to the medicine cabinet and looked.

"You unmitigated hayseed!" I growled. "See what money will do for a
man's brains!"

There stood the morphine bottle with the stopple out, just as Tom had
left it.

I routed out another young M.D. who roomed on the floor above, and
sent him for old Doctor Gales, two squares away. Tom Hopkins has too
much money to be attended by rising young practitioners alone.

When Gales came we put Tom through as expensive a course of treatment
as the resources of the profession permit. After the more drastic
remedies we gave him citrate of caffeine in frequent doses and strong
coffee, and walked him up and down the floor between two of us. Old
Gales pinched him and slapped his face and worked hard for the big
check he could see in the distance. The young M.D. from the next floor
gave Tom a most hearty, rousing kick, and then apologized to me.

"Couldn't help it," he said. "I never kicked a millionaire before in
my life. I may never have another opportunity."

"Now," said Doctor Gales, after a couple of hours, "he'll do. But keep
him awake for another hour. You can do that by talking to him and
shaking him up occasionally. When his pulse and respiration are normal
then let him sleep. I'll leave him with you now."

I was left alone with Tom, whom we had laid on a couch. He lay very
still, and his eyes were half closed. I began my work of keeping him
awake.

"Well, old man," I said, "you've had a narrow squeak, but we've pulled
you through. When you were attending lectures, Tom, didn't any of
the professors ever casually remark that m-o-r-p-h-i-a never spells
'quinia,' especially in four-grain doses? But I won't pile it up on
you until you get on your feet. But you ought to have been a druggist,
Tom; you're splendidly qualified to fill prescriptions."

Tom looked at me with a faint and foolish smile.

"B'ly," he murmured, "I feel jus' like a hum'n bird flyin' around a
jolly lot of most 'shpensive roses. Don' bozzer me. Goin' sleep now."

And he went to sleep in two seconds. I shook him by the shoulder.

"Now, Tom," I said, severely, "this won't do. The big doctor said you
must stay awake for at least an hour. Open your eyes. You're not
entirely safe yet, you know. Wake up."

Tom Hopkins weighs one hundred and ninety-eight. He gave me another
somnolent grin, and fell into deeper slumber. I would have made him
move about, but I might as well have tried to make Cleopatra's needle
waltz around the room with me. Tom's breathing became stertorous, and
that, in connection with morphia poisoning, means danger.

Then I began to think. I could not rouse his body; I must strive to
excite his mind. "Make him angry," was an idea that suggested itself.
"Good!" I thought; but how? There was not a joint in Tom's armour.
Dear old fellow! He was good nature itself, and a gallant gentleman,
fine and true and clean as sunlight. He came from somewhere down
South, where they still have ideals and a code. New York had charmed,
but had not spoiled, him. He had that old-fashioned chivalrous
reverence for women, that--Eureka!--there was my idea! I worked the
thing up for a minute or two in my imagination. I chuckled to myself
at the thought of springing a thing like that on old Tom Hopkins. Then
I took him by the shoulder and shook him till his ears flopped. He
opened his eyes lazily. I assumed an expression of scorn and contempt,
and pointed my finger within two inches of his nose.

"Listen to me, Hopkins," I said, in cutting and distinct tones, "you
and I have been good friends, but I want you to understand that in the
future my doors are closed against any man who acts as much like a
scoundrel as you have."

Tom looked the least bit interested.

"What's the matter, Billy?" he muttered, composedly. "Don't your
clothes fit you?"

"If I were in your place," I went on, "which, thank God, I am not, I
think I would be afraid to close my eyes. How about that girl you left
waiting for you down among those lonesome Southern pines--the girl
that you've forgotten since you came into your confounded money? Oh,
I know what I'm talking about. While you were a poor medical student
she was good enough for you. But now, since you are a millionaire,
it's different. I wonder what she thinks of the performances of that
peculiar class of people which she has been taught to worship--the
Southern gentlemen? I'm sorry, Hopkins, that I was forced to speak
about these matters, but you've covered it up so well and played your
part so nicely that I would have sworn you were above such unmanly
tricks."

Poor Tom. I could scarcely keep from laughing outright to see him
struggling against the effects of the opiate. He was distinctly angry,
and I didn't blame him. Tom had a Southern temper. His eyes were
open now, and they showed a gleam or two of fire. But the drug still
clouded his mind and bound his tongue.

"C-c-confound you," he stammered, "I'll s-smash you."

He tried to rise from the couch. With all his size he was very weak
now. I thrust him back with one arm. He lay there glaring like a lion
in a trap.

"That will hold you for a while, you old loony," I said to myself. I
got up and lit my pipe, for I was needing a smoke. I walked around a
bit, congratulating myself on my brilliant idea.

I heard a snore. I looked around. Tom was asleep again. I walked over
and punched him on the jaw. He looked at me as pleasant and ungrudging
as an idiot. I chewed my pipe and gave it to him hard.

"I want you to recover yourself and get out of my rooms as soon as
you can," I said, insultingly. "I've told you what I think of you. If
you have any honour or honesty left you will think twice before you
attempt again to associate with gentlemen. She's a poor girl, isn't
she?" I sneered. "Somewhat too plain and unfashionable for us since we
got our money. Be ashamed to walk on Fifth Avenue with her, wouldn't
you? Hopkins, you're forty-seven times worse than a cad. Who cares
for your money? I don't. I'll bet that girl don't. Perhaps if you
didn't have it you'd be more of a man. As it is you've made a cur
of yourself, and"--I thought that quite dramatic--"perhaps broken a
faithful heart." (Old Tom Hopkins breaking a faithful heart!) "Let me
be rid of you as soon as possible."

I turned my back on Tom, and winked at myself in a mirror. I heard
him moving, and I turned again quickly. I didn't want a hundred and
ninety-eight pounds falling on me from the rear. But Tom had only
turned partly over, and laid one arm across his face. He spoke a few
words rather more distinctly than before.

"I couldn't have--talked this way--to you, Billy, even if I'd heard
people--lyin' 'bout you. But jus' soon's I can s-stand up--I'll break
your neck--don' f'get it."

I did feel a little ashamed then. But it was to save Tom. In the
morning, when I explained it, we would have a good laugh over it
together.

In about twenty minutes Tom dropped into a sound, easy slumber. I felt
his pulse, listened to his respiration, and let him sleep. Everything
was normal, and Tom was safe. I went into the other room and tumbled
into bed.

I found Tom up and dressed when I awoke the next morning. He was
entirely himself again with the exception of shaky nerves and a tongue
like a white-oak chip.

"What an idiot I was," he said, thoughtfully. "I remember thinking
that quinine bottle looked queer while I was taking the dose. Have
much trouble in bringing me 'round?"

I told him no. His memory seemed bad about the entire affair. I
concluded that he had no recollection of my efforts to keep him awake,
and decided not to enlighten him. Some other time, I thought, when he
was feeling better, we would have some fun over it.

When Tom was ready to go he stopped, with the door open, and shook my
hand.

"Much obliged, old fellow," he said, quietly, "for taking so much
trouble with me--and for what you said. I'm going down now to
telegraph to the little girl."




X

A GHOST OF A CHANCE


"Actually, a _hod_!" repeated Mrs. Kinsolving, pathetically.

Mrs. Bellamy Bellmore arched a sympathetic eyebrow. Thus she expressed
condolence and a generous amount of apparent surprise.

"Fancy her telling everywhere," recapitulated Mrs. Kinsolving, "that
she saw a ghost in the apartment she occupied here--our choicest
guest-room--a ghost, carrying a hod on its shoulder--the ghost of
an old man in overalls, smoking a pipe and carrying a hod! The very
absurdity of the thing shows her malicious intent. There never was a
Kinsolving that carried a hod. Every one knows that Mr. Kinsolving's
father accumulated his money by large building contracts, but he never
worked a day with his own hands. He had this house built from his own
plans; but--oh, a hod! Why need she have been so cruel and malicious?"

"It is really too bad," murmured Mrs. Bellmore, with an approving
glance of her fine eyes about the vast chamber done in lilac and old
gold. "And it was in this room she saw it! Oh, no, I'm not afraid of
ghosts. Don't have the least fear on my account. I'm glad you put me
in here. I think family ghosts so interesting! But, really, the story
does sound a little inconsistent. I should have expected something
better from Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins. Don't they carry bricks in hods?
Why should a ghost bring bricks into a villa built of marble and
stone? I'm so sorry, but it makes me think that age is beginning to
tell upon Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins."

"This house," continued Mrs. Kinsolving, "was built upon the site of
an old one used by the family during the Revolution. There wouldn't
be anything strange in its having a ghost. And there was a Captain
Kinsolving who fought in General Greene's army, though we've never
been able to secure any papers to vouch for it. If there is to be a
family ghost, why couldn't it have been his, instead of a
bricklayer's?"

"The ghost of a Revolutionary ancestor wouldn't be a bad idea," agreed
Mrs. Bellmore; "but you know how arbitrary and inconsiderate ghosts
can be. Maybe, like love, they are 'engendered in the eye.' One
advantage of those who see ghosts is that their stories can't be
disproved. By a spiteful eye, a Revolutionary knapsack might easily be
construed to be a hod. Dear Mrs. Kinsolving, think no more of it. I am
sure it was a knapsack."

"But she told everybody!" mourned Mrs. Kinsolving, inconsolable. "She
insisted upon the details. There is the pipe. And how are you going to
get out of the overalls?"

"Shan't get into them," said Mrs. Bellmore, with a prettily suppressed
yawn; "too stiff and wrinkly. Is that you, Felice? Prepare my bath,
please. Do you dine at seven at Clifftop, Mrs. Kinsolving? So kind of
you to run in for a chat before dinner! I love those little touches of
informality with a guest. They give such a home flavour to a visit. So
sorry; I must be dressing. I am so indolent I always postpone it until
the last moment."

Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins had been the first large plum that the
Kinsolvings had drawn from the social pie. For a long time, the
pie itself had been out of reach on a top shelf. But the purse and
the pursuit had at last lowered it. Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins was the
heliograph of the smart society parading corps. The glitter of her wit
and actions passed along the line, transmitting whatever was latest
and most daring in the game of peep-show. Formerly, her fame and
leadership had been secure enough not to need the support of such
artifices as handing around live frogs for favours at a cotillon. But,
now, these things were necessary to the holding of her throne. Beside,
middle age had come to preside, incongruous, at her capers. The
sensational papers had cut her space from a page to two columns.
Her wit developed a sting; her manners became more rough and
inconsiderate, as if she felt the royal necessity of establishing
her autocracy by scorning the conventionalities that bound lesser
potentates.

To some pressure at the command of the Kinsolvings, she had yielded
so far as to honour their house by her presence, for an evening and
night. She had her revenge upon her hostess by relating, with grim
enjoyment and sarcastic humour, her story of the vision carrying
the hod. To that lady, in raptures at having penetrated thus far
toward the coveted inner circle, the result came as a crushing
disappointment. Everybody either sympathized or laughed, and there
was little to choose between the two modes of expression.

But, later on, Mrs. Kinsolving's hopes and spirits were revived by the
capture of a second and greater prize.

Mrs. Bellamy Bellmore had accepted an invitation to visit at Clifftop,
and would remain for three days. Mrs. Bellmore was one of the younger
matrons, whose beauty, descent, and wealth gave her a reserved seat
in the holy of holies that required no strenuous bolstering. She was
generous enough thus to give Mrs. Kinsolving the accolade that was so
poignantly desired; and, at the same time, she thought how much it
would please Terence. Perhaps it would end by solving him.

Terence was Mrs. Kinsolving's son, aged twenty-nine, quite
good-looking enough, and with two or three attractive and mysterious
traits. For one, he was very devoted to his mother, and that was
sufficiently odd to deserve notice. For others, he talked so little
that it was irritating, and he seemed either very shy or very deep.
Terence interested Mrs. Bellmore, because she was not sure which it
was. She intended to study him a little longer, unless she forgot
the matter. If he was only shy, she would abandon him, for shyness
is a bore. If he was deep, she would also abandon him, for depth is
precarious.

On the afternoon of the third day of her visit, Terence hunted up Mrs.
Bellmore, and found her in a nook actually looking at an album.

"It's so good of you," said he, "to come down here and retrieve the
day for us. I suppose you have heard that Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins
scuttled the ship before she left. She knocked a whole plank out of
the bottom with a hod. My mother is grieving herself ill about it.
Can't you manage to see a ghost for us while you are here, Mrs.
Bellmore--a bang-up, swell ghost, with a coronet on his head and a
cheque book under his arm?"

"That was a naughty old lady, Terence," said Mrs. Bellmore, "to tell
such stories. Perhaps you gave her too much supper. Your mother
doesn't really take it seriously, does she?"

"I think she does," answered Terence. "One would think every brick
in the hod had dropped on her. It's a good mammy, and I don't like
to see her worried. It's to be hoped that the ghost belongs to the
hod-carriers' union, and will go out on a strike. If he doesn't, there
will be no peace in this family."

"I'm sleeping in the ghost-chamber," said Mrs. Bellmore, pensively.
"But it's so nice I wouldn't change it, even if I were afraid,
which I'm not. It wouldn't do for me to submit a counter story of a
desirable, aristocratic shade, would it? I would do so, with pleasure,
but it seems to me it would be too obviously an antidote for the other
narrative to be effective."

"True," said Terence, running two fingers thoughtfully into his crisp,
brown hair; "that would never do. How would it work to see the same
ghost again, minus the overalls, and have gold bricks in the hod? That
would elevate the spectre from degrading toil to a financial plane.
Don't you think that would be respectable enough?"

"There was an ancestor who fought against the Britishers, wasn't
there? Your mother said something to that effect."

"I believe so; one of those old chaps in raglan vests and golf
trousers. I don't care a continental for a Continental, myself. But
the mother has set her heart on pomp and heraldry and pyrotechnics,
and I want her to be happy."

"You are a good boy, Terence," said Mrs. Bellmore, sweeping her silks
close to one side of her, "not to beat your mother. Sit here by me,
and let's look at the album, just as people used to do twenty years
ago. Now, tell me about every one of them. Who is this tall, dignified
gentleman leaning against the horizon, with one arm on the Corinthian
column?"

"That old chap with the big feet?" inquired Terence, craning his neck.
"That's great-uncle O'Brannigan. He used to keep a rathskeller on the
Bowery."

"I asked you to sit down, Terence. If you are not going to amuse, or
obey, me, I shall report in the morning that I saw a ghost wearing an
apron and carrying schooners of beer. Now, that is better. To be shy,
at your age, Terence, is a thing that you should blush to
acknowledge."



At breakfast on the last morning of her visit, Mrs. Bellmore startled
and entranced every one present by announcing positively that she had
seen the ghost.

"Did it have a--a--a--?" Mrs. Kinsolving, in her suspense and
agitation, could not bring out the word.

"No, indeed--far from it."

There was a chorus of questions from others at the table. "Weren't
you frightened?" "What did it do?" "How did it look?" "How was it
dressed?" "Did it say anything?" "Didn't you scream?"

"I'll try to answer everything at once," said Mrs. Bellmore,
heroically, "although I'm frightfully hungry. Something awakened
me--I'm not sure whether it was a noise or a touch--and there stood
the phantom. I never burn a light at night, so the room was quite
dark, but I saw it plainly. I wasn't dreaming. It was a tall man,
all misty white from head to foot. It wore the full dress of the old
Colonial days--powdered hair, baggy coat skirts, lace ruffles, and
a sword. It looked intangible and luminous in the dark, and moved
without a sound. Yes, I was a little frightened at first--or startled,
I should say. It was the first ghost I had ever seen. No, it didn't
say anything. I didn't scream. I raised up on my elbow, and then it
glided silently away, and disappeared when it reached the door."

Mrs. Kinsolving was in the seventh heaven. "The description is that of
Captain Kinsolving, of General Greene's army, one of our ancestors,"
she said, in a voice that trembled with pride and relief. "I really
think I must apologize for our ghostly relative, Mrs. Bellmore. I am
afraid he must have badly disturbed your rest."

Terence sent a smile of pleased congratulation toward his mother.
Attainment was Mrs. Kinsolving's, at last, and he loved to see her
happy.

"I suppose I ought to be ashamed to confess," said Mrs. Bellmore, who
was now enjoying her breakfast, "that I wasn't very much disturbed.
I presume it would have been the customary thing to scream and faint,
and have all of you running about in picturesque costumes. But, after
the first alarm was over, I really couldn't work myself up to a panic.
The ghost retired from the stage quietly and peacefully, after doing
its little turn, and I went to sleep again."

Nearly all listened, politely accepted Mrs. Bellmore s story as a
made-up affair, charitably offered as an offset to the unkind vision
seen by Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins. But one or two present perceived that
her assertions bore the genuine stamp of her own convictions. Truth
and candour seemed to attend upon every word. Even a scoffer at
ghosts--if he were very observant--would have been forced to admit
that she had, at least in a very vivid dream, been honestly aware of
the weird visitor.'

Soon Mrs. Bellmore's maid was packing. In two hours the auto would
come to convey her to the station. As Terence was strolling upon the
east piazza, Mrs. Bellmore came up to him, with a confidential sparkle
in her eye.

"I didn't wish to tell the others all of it," she said, "but I will
tell you. In a way, I think you should be held responsible. Can you
guess in what manner that ghost awakened me last night?"

"Rattled chains," suggested Terence, after some thought, "or groaned?
They usually do one or the other."

"Do you happen to know," continued Mrs. Bellmore, with sudden
irrelevancy, "if I resemble any one of the female relatives of your
restless ancestor, Captain Kinsolving?"

"Don't think so," said Terence, with an extremely puzzled air. "Never
heard of any of them being noted beauties."

"Then, why," said Mrs. Bellmore, looking the young man gravely in the
eye, "should that ghost have kissed me, as I'm sure it did?"

"Heavens!" exclaimed Terence, in wide-eyed amazement; "you don't mean
that, Mrs. Bellmore! Did he actually kiss you?"

"I said _it_," corrected Mrs. Bellmore. "I hope the impersonal pronoun
is correctly used."

"But why did you say I was responsible?"

"Because you are the only living male relative of the ghost."

"I see. 'Unto the third and fourth generation.' But, seriously, did
he--did it--how do you--?"

"Know? How does any one know? I was asleep, and that is what awakened
me, I'm almost certain."

"Almost?"

"Well, I awoke just as--oh, can't you understand what I mean? When
anything arouses you suddenly, you are not positive whether you
dreamed, or--and yet you know that-- Dear me, Terence, must I dissect
the most elementary sensations in order to accommodate your extremely
practical intelligence?"

"But, about kissing ghosts, you know," said Terence, humbly, "I
require the most primary instruction. I never kissed a ghost. Is
it--is it--?"

"The sensation," said Mrs. Bellmore, with deliberate, but slightly
smiling, emphasis, "since you are seeking instruction, is a mingling
of the material and the spiritual."

"Of course," said Terence, suddenly growing serious, "it was a dream
or some kind of an hallucination. Nobody believes in spirits, these
days. If you told the tale out of kindness of heart, Mrs. Bellmore,
I can't express how grateful I am to you. It has made my mother
supremely happy. That Revolutionary ancestor was a stunning idea."

Mrs. Bellmore sighed. "The usual fate of ghost-seers is mine," she
said, resignedly. "My privileged encounter with a spirit is attributed
to lobster salad or mendacity. Well, I have, at least, one memory left
from the wreck--a kiss from the unseen world. Was Captain Kinsolving a
very brave man, do you know, Terence?"

"He was licked at Yorktown, I believe," said Terence, reflecting.
"They say he skedaddled with his company, after the first battle
there."

"I thought he must have been timid," said Mrs. Bellmore, absently. "He
might have had another."

"Another battle?" asked Terence, dully.

"What else could I mean? I must go and get ready now; the auto will
be here in an hour. I've enjoyed Clifftop immensely. Such a lovely
morning, isn't it, Terence?"

On her way to the station, Mrs. Bellmore took from her bag a silk
handkerchief, and looked at it with a little peculiar smile. Then she
tied it in several very hard knots, and threw it, at a convenient
moment, over the edge of the cliff along which the road ran.

In his room, Terence was giving some directions to his man, Brooks.
"Have this stuff done up in a parcel," he said, "and ship it to the
address on that card."

The card was that of a New York costumer. The "stuff" was a
gentleman's costume of the days of '76, made of white satin, with
silver buckles, white silk stockings, and white kid shoes. A powdered
wig and a sword completed the dress.

"And look about, Brooks," added Terence, a little anxiously, "for a
silk handkerchief with my initials in one corner. I must have dropped
it somewhere."

It was a month later when Mrs. Bellmore and one or two others of
the smart crowd were making up a list of names for a coaching trip
through the Catskills. Mrs. Bellmore looked over the list for a final
censoring. The name of Terence Kinsolving was there. Mrs. Bellmore ran
her prohibitive pencil lightly through the name.

"Too shy!" she murmured, sweetly, in explanation.




XI

JIMMY HAYES AND MURIEL


I


Supper was over, and there had fallen upon the camp the silence that
accompanies the rolling of corn-husk cigarettes. The water hole shone
from the dark earth like a patch of fallen sky. Coyotes yelped. Dull
thumps indicated the rocking-horse movements of the hobbled ponies as
they moved to fresh grass. A half-troop of the Frontier Battalion of
Texas Rangers were distributed about the fire.

A well-known sound--the fluttering and scraping of chaparral against
wooden stirrups--came from the thick brush above the camp. The rangers
listened cautiously. They heard a loud and cheerful voice call out
reassuringly:

"Brace up, Muriel, old girl, we're 'most there now! Been a long
ride for ye, ain't it, ye old antediluvian handful of animated
carpet-tacks? Hey, now, quit a tryin' to kiss me! Don't hold on to my
neck so tight--this here paint hoss ain't any too shore-footed, let me
tell ye. He's liable to dump us both off if we don't watch out."

Two minutes of waiting brought a tired "paint" pony single-footing
into camp. A gangling youth of twenty lolled in the saddle. Of the
"Muriel" whom he had been addressing, nothing was to be seen.

"Hi, fellows!" shouted the rider cheerfully. "This here's a letter fer
Lieutenant Manning."

He dismounted, unsaddled, dropped the coils of his stake-rope, and
got his hobbles from the saddle-horn. While Lieutenant Manning, in
command, was reading the letter, the newcomer, rubbed solicitously at
some dried mud in the loops of the hobbles, showing a consideration
for the forelegs of his mount.

"Boys," said the lieutenant, waving his hand to the rangers, "this
is Mr. James Hayes. He's a new member of the company. Captain McLean
sends him down from El Paso. The boys will see that you have some
supper, Hayes, as soon as you get your pony hobbled."

The recruit was received cordially by the rangers. Still, they
observed him shrewdly and with suspended judgment. Picking a comrade
on the border is done with ten times the care and discretion with
which a girl chooses a sweetheart. On your "side-kicker's" nerve,
loyalty, aim, and coolness your own life may depend many times.

After a hearty supper Hayes joined the smokers about the fire.
His appearance did not settle all the questions in the minds of
his brother rangers. They saw simply a loose, lank youth with
tow-coloured, sun-burned hair and a berry-brown, ingenuous face that
wore a quizzical, good-natured smile.

"Fellows," said the new ranger, "I'm goin' to interduce to you a lady
friend of mine. Ain't ever heard anybody call her a beauty, but you'll
all admit she's got some fine points about her. Come along, Muriel!"

He held open the front of his blue flannel shirt. Out of it crawled a
horned frog. A bright red ribbon was tied jauntily around its spiky
neck. It crawled to its owner's knee and sat there, motionless.

"This here Muriel," said Hayes, with an oratorical wave of his hand,
"has got qualities. She never talks back, she always stays at home,
and she's satisfied with one red dress for every day and Sunday, too."

"Look at that blame insect!" said one of the rangers with a grin.
"I've seen plenty of them horny frogs, but I never knew anybody to
have one for a side-partner. Does the blame thing know you from
anybody else?"

"Take it over there and see," said Hayes.

The stumpy little lizard known as the horned frog is harmless. He has
the hideousness of the prehistoric monsters whose reduced descendant
he is, but he is gentler than the dove.

The ranger took Muriel from Hayes's knee and went back to his seat
on a roll of blankets. The captive twisted and clawed and struggled
vigorously in his hand. After holding it for a moment or two, the
ranger set it upon the ground. Awkwardly, but swiftly the frog worked
its four oddly moving legs until it stopped close by Hayes's foot.

"Well, dang my hide!" said the other ranger. "The little cuss knows
you. Never thought them insects had that much sense!"



II


Jimmy Hayes became a favourite in the ranger camp. He had an endless
store of good-nature, and a mild, perennial quality of humour that is
well adapted to camp life. He was never without his horned frog. In
the bosom of his shirt during rides, on his knee or shoulder in camp,
under his blankets at night, the ugly little beast never left him.

Jimmy was a humourist of a type that prevails in the rural South
and West. Unskilled in originating methods of amusing or in witty
conceptions, he had hit upon a comical idea and clung to it
reverently. It had seemed to Jimmy a very funny thing to have about
his person, with which to amuse his friends, a tame horned frog with a
red ribbon around its neck. As it was a happy idea, why not perpetuate
it?

The sentiments existing between Jimmy and the frog cannot be exactly
determined. The capability of the horned frog for lasting affection
is a subject upon which we have had no symposiums. It is easier to
guess Jimmy's feelings. Muriel was his _chef d'oeuvre_ of wit, and as
such he cherished her. He caught flies for her, and shielded her from
sudden northers. Yet his care was half selfish, and when the time came
she repaid him a thousand fold. Other Muriels have thus overbalanced
the light attentions of other Jimmies.

Not at once did Jimmy Hayes attain full brotherhood with his comrades.
They loved him for his simplicity and drollness, but there hung above
him a great sword of suspended judgment. To make merry in camp is not
all of a ranger's life. There are horse-thieves to trail, desperate
criminals to run down, bravos to battle with, bandits to rout out of
the chaparral, peace and order to be compelled at the muzzle of a
six-shooter. Jimmy had been "'most generally a cow-puncher," he said;
he was inexperienced in ranger methods of warfare. Therefore the
rangers speculated apart and solemnly as to how he would stand fire.
For, let it be known, the honour and pride of each ranger company is
the individual bravery of its members.

For two months the border was quiet. The rangers lolled, listless,
in camp. And then--bringing joy to the rusting guardians of the
frontier--Sebastiano Saldar, an eminent Mexican desperado and
cattle-thief, crossed the Rio Grande with his gang and began to lay
waste the Texas side. There were indications that Jimmy Hayes would
soon have the opportunity to show his mettle. The rangers patrolled
with alacrity, but Saldar's men were mounted like Lochinvar, and were
hard to catch.

One evening, about sundown, the rangers halted for supper after a
long ride. Their horses stood panting, with their saddles on. The
men were frying bacon and boiling coffee. Suddenly, out of the
brush, Sebastiano Saldar and his gang dashed upon them with blazing
six-shooters and high-voiced yells. It was a neat surprise. The
rangers swore in annoyed tones, and got their Winchesters busy; but
the attack was only a spectacular dash of the purest Mexican type.
After the florid demonstration the raiders galloped away, yelling,
down the river. The rangers mounted and pursued; but in less than two
miles the fagged ponies laboured so that Lieutenant Manning gave the
word to abandon the chase and return to the camp.

Then it was discovered that Jimmy Hayes was missing. Some one
remembered having seen him run for his pony when the attack began, but
no one had set eyes on him since. Morning came, but no Jimmy. They
searched the country around, on the theory that he had been killed or
wounded, but without success. Then they followed after Saldar's gang,
but it seemed to have disappeared. Manning concluded that the wily
Mexican had recrossed the river after his theatric farewell. And,
indeed, no further depredations from him were reported.

This gave the rangers time to nurse a soreness they had. As has been
said, the pride and honour of the company is the individual bravery of
its members. And now they believed that Jimmy Hayes had turned coward
at the whiz of Mexican bullets. There was no other deduction. Buck
Davis pointed out that not a shot was fired by Saldar's gang after
Jimmy was seen running for his horse. There was no way for him to
have been shot. No, he had fled from his first fight, and afterward
he would not return, aware that the scorn of his comrades would be a
worse thing to face than the muzzles of many rifles.

So Manning's detachment of McLean's company, Frontier Battalion, was
gloomy. It was the first blot on its escutcheon. Never before in the
history of the service had a ranger shown the white feather. All of
them had liked Jimmy Hayes, and that made it worse.

Days, weeks, and months went by, and still that little cloud of
unforgotten cowardice hung above the camp.



III


Nearly a year afterward--after many camping grounds and many hundreds
of miles guarded and defended--Lieutenant Manning, with almost the
same detachment of men, was sent to a point only a few miles below
their old camp on the river to look after some smuggling there. One
afternoon, while they were riding through a dense mesquite flat, they
came upon a patch of open hog-wallow prairie. There they rode upon the
scene of an unwritten tragedy.

In a big hog-wallow lay the skeletons of three Mexicans. Their
clothing alone served to identify them. The largest of the figures had
once been Sebastiano Saldar. His great, costly sombrero, heavy with
gold ornamentation--a hat famous all along the Rio Grande--lay there
pierced by three bullets. Along the ridge of the hog-wallow rested
the rusting Winchesters of the Mexicans--all pointing in the same
direction.

The rangers rode in that direction for fifty yards. There, in a little
depression of the ground, with his rifle still bearing upon the three,
lay another skeleton. It had been a battle of extermination. There was
nothing to identify the solitary defender. His clothing--such as the
elements had left distinguishable--seemed to be of the kind that any
ranchman or cowboy might have worn.

"Some cow-puncher," said Manning, "that they caught out alone. Good
boy! He put up a dandy scrap before they got him. So that's why we
didn't hear from Don Sebastiano any more!"

And then, from beneath the weather-beaten rags of the dead man, there
wriggled out a horned frog with a faded red ribbon around its neck,
and sat upon the shoulder of its long quiet master. Mutely it told the
story of the untried youth and the swift "paint" pony--how they had
outstripped all their comrades that day in the pursuit of the Mexican
raiders, and how the boy had gone down upholding the honour of the
company.

The ranger troop herded close, and a simultaneous wild yell arose from
their lips. The outburst was at once a dirge, an apology, an epitaph,
and a paean of triumph. A strange requiem, you may say, over the body
of a fallen, comrade; but if Jimmy Hayes could have heard it he would
have understood.




XII

THE DOOR OF UNREST


I sat an hour by sun, in the editor's room of the Montopolis _Weekly
Bugle_. I was the editor.

The saffron rays of the declining sunlight filtered through the
cornstalks in Micajah Widdup's garden-patch, and cast an amber glory
upon my paste-pot. I sat at the editorial desk in my non-rotary
revolving chair, and prepared my editorial against the oligarchies.
The room, with its one window, was already a prey to the twilight.
One by one, with my trenchant sentences, I lopped off the heads of
the political hydra, while I listened, full of kindly peace, to the
home-coming cow-bells and wondered what Mrs. Flanagan was going to
have for supper.

Then in from the dusky, quiet street there drifted and perched himself
upon a corner of my desk old Father Time's younger brother. His
face was beardless and as gnarled as an English walnut. I never saw
clothes such as he wore. They would have reduced Joseph's coat to a
monochrome. But the colours were not the dyer's. Stains and patches
and the work of sun and rust were responsible for the diversity. On
his coarse shoes was the dust, conceivably, of a thousand leagues.
I can describe him no further, except to say that he was little and
weird and old--old I began to estimate in centuries when I saw him.
Yes, and I remember that there was an odour, a faint odour like aloes,
or possibly like myrrh or leather; and I thought of museums.

And then I reached for a pad and pencil, for business is business, and
visits of the oldest inhabitants are sacred and honourable, requiring
to be chronicled.

"I am glad to see you, sir," I said. "I would offer you a chair,
but--you see, sir," I went on, "I have lived in Montopolis only three
weeks, and I have not met many of our citizens." I turned a doubtful
eye upon his dust-stained shoes, and concluded with a newspaper
phrase, "I suppose that you reside in our midst?"

My visitor fumbled in his raiment, drew forth a soiled card, and
handed it to me. Upon it was written, in plain but unsteadily formed
characters, the name "Michob Ader."

"I am glad you called, Mr. Ader," I said. "As one of our older
citizens, you must view with pride the recent growth and enterprise of
Montopolis. Among other improvements, I think I can promise that the
town will now be provided with a live, enterprising newspa--"

"Do ye know the name on that card?" asked my caller, interrupting me.

"It is not a familiar one to me," I said.

Again he visited the depths of his ancient vestments. This time he
brought out a torn leaf of some book or journal, brown and flimsy with
age. The heading of the page was the _Turkish Spy_ in old-style type;
the printing upon it was this:

"There is a man come to Paris in this year 1643 who pretends to have
lived these sixteen hundred years. He says of himself that he was a
shoemaker in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion; that his name
is Michob Ader; and that when Jesus, the Christian Messias, was
condemned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman president, he paused to rest
while bearing his cross to the place of crucifixion before the door of
Michob Ader. The shoemaker struck Jesus with his fist, saying: 'Go;
why tarriest thou?' The Messias answered him: 'I indeed am going; but
thou shalt tarry until I come'; thereby condemning him to live until
the day of judgment. He lives forever, but at the end of every hundred
years he falls into a fit or trance, on recovering from which he finds
himself in the same state of youth in which he was when Jesus
suffered, being then about thirty years of age.

"Such is the story of the Wandering Jew, as told by Michob Ader, who
relates--" Here the printing ended.

I must have muttered aloud something to myself about the Wandering
Jew, for the old man spake up, bitterly and loudly.

"'Tis a lie," said he, "like nine tenths of what ye call history. 'Tis
a Gentile I am, and no Jew. I am after footing it out of Jerusalem,
my son; but if that makes me a Jew, then everything that comes out of
a bottle is babies' milk. Ye have my name on the card ye hold; and ye
have read the bit of paper they call the _Turkish Spy_ that printed
the news when I stepped into their office on the 12th day of June, in
the year 1643, just as I have called upon ye to-day."

I laid down my pencil and pad. Clearly it would not do. Here was an
item for the local column of the _Bugle_ that--but it would not do.
Still, fragments of the impossible "personal" began to flit through
my conventionalized brain. "Uncle Michob is as spry on his legs as a
young chap of only a thousand or so." "Our venerable caller relates
with pride that George Wash--no, Ptolemy the Great--once dandled him
on his knee at his father's house." "Uncle Michob says that our wet
spring was nothing in comparison with the dampness that ruined the
crops around Mount Ararat when he was a boy--" But no, no--it would
not do.

I was trying to think of some conversational subject with which to
interest my visitor, and was hesitating between walking matches and
the Pliocene age, when the old man suddenly began to weep poignantly
and distressfully.

"Cheer up, Mr. Ader," I said, a little awkwardly; "this matter may
blow over in a few hundred years more. There has already been a
decided reaction in favour of Judas Iscariot and Colonel Burr and the
celebrated violinist, Signor Nero. This is the age of whitewash. You
must not allow yourself to become down-hearted."

Unknowingly, I had struck a chord. The old man blinked belligerently
through his senile tears.

"'Tis time," he said, "that the liars be doin' justice to somebody.
Yer historians are no more than a pack of old women gabblin' at a
wake. A finer man than the Imperor Nero niver wore sandals. Man, I was
at the burnin' of Rome. I knowed the Imperor well, for in them days I
was a well-known char-acter. In thim days they had rayspect for a man
that lived forever.

"But 'twas of the Imperor Nero I was goin' to tell ye. I struck into
Rome, up the Appian Way, on the night of July the 16th, the year 64. I
had just stepped down by way of Siberia and Afghanistan; and one foot
of me had a frost-bite, and the other a blister burned by the sand of
the desert; and I was feelin' a bit blue from doin' patrol duty from
the North Pole down to the Last Chance corner in Patagonia, and bein'
miscalled a Jew in the bargain. Well, I'm tellin' ye I was passin'
the Circus Maximus, and it was dark as pitch over the way, and then I
heard somebody sing out, 'Is that you, Michob?'

"Over ag'inst the wall, hid out amongst a pile of barrels and old
dry-goods boxes, was the Imperor Nero wid his togy wrapped around his
toes, smokin' a long, black segar.

"'Have one, Michob?' says he.

"'None of the weeds for me,' says I--'nayther pipe nor segar. What's
the use,' says I, 'of smokin' when ye've not got the ghost of a chance
of killin' yeself by doin' it?'

"'True for ye, Michob Ader, my perpetual Jew,' says the Imperor;
'ye're not always wandering. Sure, 'tis danger gives the spice of our
pleasures--next to their bein' forbidden.'

"'And for what,' says I, 'do ye smoke be night in dark places widout
even a cinturion in plain clothes to attend ye?'

"'Have ye ever heard, Michob,' says the Imperor, 'of
predestinarianism?'

"'I've had the cousin of it,' says I. 'I've been on the trot with
pedestrianism for many a year, and more to come, as ye well know.'

"'The longer word,' says me friend Nero, 'is the tachin' of this new
sect of people they call the Christians. 'Tis them that's raysponsible
for me smokin' be night in holes and corners of the dark.'

"And then I sets down and takes off a shoe and rubs me foot that is
frosted, and the Imperor tells me about it. It seems that since I
passed that way before, the Imperor had mandamused the Impress wid
a divorce suit, and Misses Poppaea, a cilibrated lady, was ingaged,
widout riferences, as housekeeper at the palace. 'All in one day,'
says the Imperor, 'she puts up new lace windy-curtains in the palace
and joins the anti-tobacco society, and whin I feels the need of a
smoke I must be after sneakin' out to these piles of lumber in the
dark.' So there in the dark me and the Imperor sat, and I told him of
me travels. And when they say the Imperor was an incindiary, they lie.
'Twas that night the fire started that burnt the city. 'Tis my opinion
that it began from a stump of segar that he threw down among the
boxes. And 'tis a lie that he fiddled. He did all he could for six
days to stop it, sir."

And now I detected a new flavour to Mr. Michob Ader. It had not been
myrrh or balm or hyssop that I had smelled. The emanation was the
odour of bad whiskey--and, worse still, of low comedy--the sort that
small humorists manufacture by clothing the grave and reverend things
of legend and history in the vulgar, topical frippery that passes for
a certain kind of wit. Michob Ader as an impostor, claiming nineteen
hundred years, and playing his part with the decency of respectable
lunacy, I could endure; but as a tedious wag, cheapening his egregious
story with song-book levity, his importance as an entertainer grew
less.

And then, as if he suspected my thoughts, he suddenly shifted his key.

"You'll excuse me, sir," he whined, "but sometimes I get a little
mixed in my head. I am a very old man; and it is hard to remember
everything."

I knew that he was right, and that I should not try to reconcile him
with Roman history; so I asked for news concerning other ancients with
whom he had walked familiar.

Above my desk hung an engraving of Raphael's cherubs. You could yet
make out their forms, though the dust blurred their outlines
strangely.

"Ye calls them 'cher-rubs'," cackled the old man. "Babes, ye
fancy they are, with wings. And there's one wid legs and a bow
and arrow that ye call Cupid--I know where they was found. The
great-great-great-grandfather of thim all was a billy-goat. Bein' an
editor, sir, do ye happen to know where Solomon s Temple stood?"

I fancied that it was in--in Persia? Well, I did not know.

"'Tis not in history nor in the Bible where it was. But I saw it,
meself. The first pictures of cher-rubs and cupids was sculptured upon
thim walls and pillars. Two of the biggest, sir, stood in the adytum
to form the baldachin over the Ark. But the wings of thim sculptures
was intindid for horns. And the faces was the faces of goats. Ten
thousand goats there was in and about the temple. And your cher-rubs
was billy-goats in the days of King Solomon, but the painters
misconstrued the horns into wings.

"And I knew Tamerlane, the lame Timour, sir, very well. I saw him at
Keghut and at Zaranj. He was a little man no larger than yerself, with
hair the colour of an amber pipe stem. They buried him at Samarkand.
I was at the wake, sir. Oh, he was a fine-built man in his coffin,
six feet long, with black whiskers to his face. And I see 'em throw
turnips at the Imperor Vispacian in Africa. All over the world I
have tramped, sir, without the body of me findin' any rest. 'Twas
so commanded. I saw Jerusalem destroyed, and Pompeii go up in the
fireworks; and I was at the coronation of Charlemagne and the lynchin'
of Joan of Arc. And everywhere I go there comes storms and revolutions
and plagues and fires. 'Twas so commanded. Ye have heard of the
Wandering Jew. 'Tis all so, except that divil a bit am I a Jew. But
history lies, as I have told ye. Are ye quite sure, sir, that ye
haven't a drop of whiskey convenient? Ye well know that I have many
miles of walking before me."

"I have none," said I, "and, if you please, I am about to leave for my
supper."

I pushed my chair back creakingly. This ancient landlubber was
becoming as great an affliction as any cross-bowed mariner. He shook a
musty effluvium from his piebald clothes, overturned my inkstand, and
went on with his insufferable nonsense.

"I wouldn't mind it so much," he complained, "if it wasn't for the
work I must do on Good Fridays. Ye know about Pontius Pilate, sir, of
course. His body, whin he killed himself, was pitched into a lake on
the Alps mountains. Now, listen to the job that 'tis mine to perform
on the night of ivery Good Friday. The ould divil goes down in the
pool and drags up Pontius, and the water is bilin' and spewin' like a
wash pot. And the ould divil sets the body on top of a throne on the
rocks, and thin comes me share of the job. Oh, sir, ye would pity me
thin--ye would pray for the poor Wandering Jew that niver was a Jew if
ye could see the horror of the thing that I must do. 'Tis I that must
fetch a bowl of water and kneel down before it till it washes its
hands. I declare to ye that Pontius Pilate, a man dead two hundred
years, dragged up with the lake slime coverin' him and fishes
wrigglin' inside of him widout eyes, and in the discomposition of the
body, sits there, sir, and washes his hands in the bowl I hold for him
on Good Fridays. 'Twas so commanded."

Clearly, the matter had progressed far beyond the scope of the
_Bugle's_ local column. There might have been employment here for the
alienist or for those who circulate the pledge; but I had had enough
of it. I got up, and repeated that I must go.

At this he seized my coat, grovelled upon my desk, and burst again
into distressful weeping. Whatever it was about, I said to myself that
his grief was genuine.

"Come now, Mr. Ader," I said, soothingly; "what is the matter?"

The answer came brokenly through his racking sobs:

"Because I would not . . . let the poor Christ . . . rest . . . upon
the step."

His hallucination seemed beyond all reasonable answer; yet the effect
of it upon him scarcely merited disrespect. But I knew nothing that
might assuage it; and I told him once more that both of us should be
leaving the office at once.

Obedient at last, he raised himself from my dishevelled desk, and
permitted me to half lift him to the floor. The gale of his grief had
blown away his words; his freshet of tears had soaked away the crust
of his grief. Reminiscence died in him--at least, the coherent part of
it.

"'Twas me that did it," he muttered, as I led him toward the
door--"me, the shoemaker of Jerusalem."

I got him to the sidewalk, and in the augmented light I saw that his
face was seared and lined and warped by a sadness almost incredibly
the product of a single lifetime.

And then high up in the firmamental darkness we heard the clamant
cries of some great, passing birds. My Wandering Jew lifted his hand,
with side-tilted head.

"The Seven Whistlers!" he said, as one introduces well-known friends.

"Wild geese," said I; "but I confess that their number is beyond me."

"They follow me everywhere," he said. "'Twas so commanded. What ye
hear is the souls of the seven Jews that helped with the Crucifixion.
Sometimes they're plovers and sometimes geese, but ye'll find them
always flyin' where I go."

I stood, uncertain how to take my leave. I looked down the street,
shuffled my feet, looked back again--and felt my hair rise. The old
man had disappeared.

And then my capillaries relaxed, for I dimly saw him footing it away
through the darkness. But he walked so swiftly and silently and
contrary to the gait promised by his age that my composure was not all
restored, though I knew not why.

That night I was foolish enough to take down some dust-covered
volumes from my modest shelves. I searched "Hermippus Redivvus" and
"Salathiel" and the "Pepys Collection" in vain. And then in a book
called "The Citizen of the World," and in one two centuries old, I
came upon what I desired. Michob Ader had indeed come to Paris in the
year 1643, and related to the _Turkish Spy_ an extraordinary story. He
claimed to be the Wandering Jew, and that--

But here I fell asleep, for my editorial duties had not been light
that day.

Judge Hoover was the _Bugle's_ candidate for congress. Having to
confer with him, I sought his home early the next morning; and we
walked together down town through a little street with which I was
unfamiliar.

"Did you ever hear of Michob Ader?" I asked him, smiling.

"Why, yes," said the judge. "And that reminds me of my shoes he has
for mending. Here is his shop now."

Judge Hoover stepped into a dingy, small shop. I looked up at the
sign, and saw "Mike O'Bader, Boot and Shoe Maker," on it. Some wild
geese passed above, honking clearly. I scratched my ear and frowned,
and then trailed into the shop.

There sat my Wandering Jew on his shoemaker's bench, trimming a
half-sole. He was drabbled with dew, grass-stained, unkempt, and
miserable; and on his face was still the unexplained wretchedness, the
problematic sorrow, the esoteric woe, that had been written there by
nothing less, it seemed, than the stylus of the centuries.

Judge Hoover inquired kindly concerning his shoes. The old shoemaker
looked up, and spoke sanely enough. He had been ill, he said, for a
few days. The next day the shoes would be ready. He looked at me, and
I could see that I had no place in his memory. So out we went, and on
our way.

"Old Mike," remarked the candidate, "has been on one of his sprees. He
gets crazy drunk regularly once a month. But he's a good shoemaker."

"What is his history?" I inquired.

"Whiskey," epitomized Judge Hoover. "That explains him."

I was silent, but I did not accept the explanation. And so, when I had
the chance, I asked old man Sellers, who browsed daily on my
exchanges.

"Mike O'Bader," said he, "was makin' shoes in Montopolis when I come
here goin' on fifteen year ago. I guess whiskey's his trouble. Once a
month he gets off the track, and stays so a week. He's got a rigmarole
somethin' about his bein' a Jew pedler that he tells ev'rybody.
Nobody won't listen to him any more. When he's sober he ain't sich a
fool--he's got a sight of books in the back room of his shop that he
reads. I guess you can lay all his trouble to whiskey."

But again I would not. Not yet was my Wandering Jew rightly construed
for me. I trust that women may not be allowed a title to all the
curiosity in the world. So when Montopolis's oldest inhabitant
(some ninety score years younger than Michob Ader) dropped in to
acquire promulgation in print, I siphoned his perpetual trickle of
reminiscence in the direction of the uninterpreted maker of shoes.

Uncle Abner was the Complete History of Montopolis, bound in
butternut.

"O'Bader," he quavered, "come here in '69. He was the first shoemaker
in the place. Folks generally considers him crazy at times now. But
he don't harm nobody. I s'pose drinkin' upset his mind--yes, drinkin'
very likely done it. It's a powerful bad thing, drinkin'. I'm an old,
old man, sir, and I never see no good in drinkin'."

I felt disappointment. I was willing to admit drink in the case of my
shoemaker, but I preferred it as a recourse instead of a cause. Why
had he pitched upon his perpetual, strange note of the Wandering
Jew? Why his unutterable grief during his aberration? I could not yet
accept whiskey as an explanation.

"Did Mike O'Bader ever have a great loss or trouble of any kind?" I
asked.

"Lemme see! About thirty year ago there was somethin' of the kind, I
recollect. Montopolis, sir, in them days used to be a mighty strict
place.

"Well, Mike O'Bader had a daughter then--a right pretty girl. She was
too gay a sort for Montopolis, so one day she slips off to another
town and runs away with a circus. It was two years before she comes
back, all fixed up in fine clothes and rings and jewellery, to see
Mike. He wouldn't have nothin' to do with her, so she stays around
town awhile, anyway. I reckon the men folks wouldn't have raised no
objections, but the women egged 'em on to order her to leave town. But
she had plenty of spunk, and told 'em to mind their own business.

"So one night they decided to run her away. A crowd of men and women
drove her out of her house, and chased her with sticks and stones. She
run to her father's door, callin' for help. Mike opens it, and when he
sees who it is he hits her with his fist and knocks her down and shuts
the door.

"And then the crowd kept on chunkin' her till she run clear out of
town. And the next day they finds her drowned dead in Hunter's mill
pond. I mind it all now. That was thirty year ago."

I leaned back in my non-rotary revolving chair and nodded gently, like
a mandarin, at my paste-pot.

"When old Mike has a spell," went on Uncle Abner, tepidly garrulous,
"he thinks he's the Wanderin' Jew."

"He is," said I, nodding away.

And Uncle Abner cackled insinuatingly at the editor's remark, for he
was expecting at least a "stickful" in the "Personal Notes" of the
_Bugle_.




XIII

THE DUPLICITY OF HARGRAVES


When Major Pendleton Talbot, of Mobile, sir, and his daughter, Miss
Lydia Talbot, came to Washington to reside, they selected for a
boarding place a house that stood fifty yards back from one of the
quietest avenues. It was an old-fashioned brick building, with a
portico upheld by tall white pillars. The yard was shaded by stately
locusts and elms, and a catalpa tree in season rained its pink and
white blossoms upon the grass. Rows of high box bushes lined the fence
and walks. It was the Southern style and aspect of the place that
pleased the eyes of the Talbots.

In this pleasant, private boarding house they engaged rooms, including
a study for Major Talbot, who was adding the finishing chapters to his
book, "Anecdotes and Reminiscences of the Alabama Army, Bench, and
Bar."

Major Talbot was of the old, old South. The present day had little
interest or excellence in his eyes. His mind lived in that period
before the Civil War, when the Talbots owned thousands of acres of
fine cotton land and the slaves to till them; when the family mansion
was the scene of princely hospitality, and drew its guests from the
aristocracy of the South. Out of that period he had brought all its
old pride and scruples of honour, an antiquated and punctilious
politeness, and (you would think) its wardrobe.

Such clothes were surely never made within fifty years. The major was
tall, but whenever he made that wonderful, archaic genuflexion he
called a bow, the corners of his frock coat swept the floor. That
garment was a surprise even to Washington, which has long ago ceased
to shy at the frocks and broadbrimmed hats of Southern congressmen.
One of the boarders christened it a "Father Hubbard," and it certainly
was high in the waist and full in the skirt.

But the major, with all his queer clothes, his immense area of
plaited, ravelling shirt bosom, and the little black string tie with
the bow always slipping on one side, both was smiled at and liked in
Mrs. Vardeman' s select boarding house. Some of the young department
clerks would often "string him," as they called it, getting him
started upon the subject dearest to him--the traditions and history of
his beloved Southland. During his talks he would quote freely from the
"Anecdotes and Reminiscences." But they were very careful not to let
him see their designs, for in spite of his sixty-eight years, he could
make the boldest of them uncomfortable under the steady regard of his
piercing gray eyes.

Miss Lydia was a plump, little old maid of thirty-five, with smoothly
drawn, tightly twisted hair that made her look still older. Old
fashioned, too, she was; but ante-bellum glory did not radiate from
her as it did from the major. She possessed a thrifty common sense;
and it was she who handled the finances of the family, and met all
comers when there were bills to pay. The major regarded board bills
and wash bills as contemptible nuisances. They kept coming in so
persistently and so often. Why, the major wanted to know, could they
not be filed and paid in a lump sum at some convenient period--say
when the "Anecdotes and Reminiscences" had been published and paid
for? Miss Lydia would calmly go on with her sewing and say, "We'll pay
as we go as long as the money lasts, and then perhaps they'll have to
lump it."

Most of Mrs. Vardeman's boarders were away during the day, being
nearly all department clerks and business men; but there was one of
them who was about the house a great deal from morning to night. This
was a young man named Henry Hopkins Hargraves--every one in the house
addressed him by his full name--who was engaged at one of the popular
vaudeville theatres. Vaudeville has risen to such a respectable
plane in the last few years, and Mr. Hargraves was such a modest and
well-mannered person, that Mrs. Vardeman could find no objection to
enrolling him upon her list of boarders.

At the theatre Hargraves was known as an all-round dialect comedian,
having a large repertoire of German, Irish, Swede, and black-face
specialties. But Mr. Hargraves was ambitious, and often spoke of his
great desire to succeed in legitimate comedy.

This young man appeared to conceive a strong fancy for Major Talbot.
Whenever that gentleman would begin his Southern reminiscences, or
repeat some of the liveliest of the anecdotes, Hargraves could always
be found, the most attentive among his listeners.

For a time the major showed an inclination to discourage the advances
of the "play actor," as he privately termed him; but soon the young
man's agreeable manner and indubitable appreciation of the old
gentleman's stories completely won him over.

It was not long before the two were like old chums. The major set
apart each afternoon to read to him the manuscript of his book. During
the anecdotes Hargraves never failed to laugh at exactly the right
point. The major was moved to declare to Miss Lydia one day that young
Hargraves possessed remarkable perception and a gratifying respect
for the old regime. And when it came to talking of those old days--if
Major Talbot liked to talk, Mr. Hargraves was entranced to listen.

Like almost all old people who talk of the past, the major loved to
linger over details. In describing the splendid, almost royal, days
of the old planters, he would hesitate until he had recalled the name
of the Negro who held his horse, or the exact date of certain minor
happenings, or the number of bales of cotton raised in such a year;
but Hargraves never grew impatient or lost interest. On the contrary,
he would advance questions on a variety of subjects connected with the
life of that time, and he never failed to extract ready replies.

The fox hunts, the 'possum suppers, the hoe downs and jubilees in
the Negro quarters, the banquets in the plantation-house hall, when
invitations went for fifty miles around; the occasional feuds with the
neighbouring gentry; the major's duel with Rathbone Culbertson about
Kitty Chalmers, who afterward married a Thwaite of South Carolina;
and private yacht races for fabulous sums on Mobile Bay; the quaint
beliefs, improvident habits, and loyal virtues of the old slaves--all
these were subjects that held both the major and Hargraves absorbed
for hours at a time.

Sometimes, at night, when the young man would be coming upstairs to
his room after his turn at the theatre was over, the major would
appear at the door of his study and beckon archly to him. Going in,
Hargraves would find a little table set with a decanter, sugar bowl,
fruit, and a big bunch of fresh green mint.

"It occurred to me," the major would begin--he was always
ceremonious--"that perhaps you might have found your duties at the--at
your place of occupation--sufficiently arduous to enable you, Mr.
Hargraves, to appreciate what the poet might well have had in his mind
when he wrote, 'tired Nature's sweet restorer,'--one of our Southern
juleps."

It was a fascination to Hargraves to watch him make it. He took rank
among artists when he began, and he never varied the process. With
what delicacy he bruised the mint; with what exquisite nicety he
estimated the ingredients; with what solicitous care he capped the
compound with the scarlet fruit glowing against the dark green fringe!
And then the hospitality and grace with which he offered it, after the
selected oat straws had been plunged into its tinkling depths!

After about four months in Washington, Miss Lydia discovered one
morning that they were almost without money. The "Anecdotes and
Reminiscences" was completed, but publishers had not jumped at the
collected gems of Alabama sense and wit. The rental of a small house
which they still owned in Mobile was two months in arrears. Their
board money for the month would be due in three days. Miss Lydia
called her father to a consultation.

"No money?" said he with a surprised look. "It is quite annoying to be
called on so frequently for these petty sums. Really, I--"

The major searched his pockets. He found only a two-dollar bill, which
he returned to his vest pocket.

"I must attend to this at once, Lydia," he said. "Kindly get me my
umbrella and I will go down town immediately. The congressman from our
district, General Fulghum, assured me some days ago that he would use
his influence to get my book published at an early date. I will go to
his hotel at once and see what arrangement has been made."

With a sad little smile Miss Lydia watched him button his "Father
Hubbard" and depart, pausing at the door, as he always did, to bow
profoundly.

That evening, at dark, he returned. It seemed that Congressman Fulghum
had seen the publisher who had the major's manuscript for reading.
That person had said that if the anecdotes, etc., were carefully
pruned down about one half, in order to eliminate the sectional and
class prejudice with which the book was dyed from end to end, he might
consider its publication.

The major was in a white heat of anger, but regained his equanimity,
according to his code of manners, as soon as he was in Miss Lydia's
presence.

"We must have money," said Miss Lydia, with a little wrinkle above her
nose. "Give me the two dollars, and I will telegraph to Uncle Ralph
for some to-night."

The major drew a small envelope from his upper vest pocket and tossed
it on the table.

"Perhaps it was injudicious," he said mildly, "but the sum was so
merely nominal that I bought tickets to the theatre to-night. It's a
new war drama, Lydia. I thought you would be pleased to witness its
first production in Washington. I am told that the South has very fair
treatment in the play. I confess I should like to see the performance
myself."

Miss Lydia threw up her hands in silent despair.

Still, as the tickets were bought, they might as well be used. So that
evening, as they sat in the theatre listening to the lively overture,
even Miss Lydia was minded to relegate their troubles, for the hour,
to second place. The major, in spotless linen, with his extraordinary
coat showing only where it was closely buttoned, and his white hair
smoothly roached, looked really fine and distinguished. The curtain
went up on the first act of "A Magnolia Flower," revealing a typical
Southern plantation scene. Major Talbot betrayed some interest.

"Oh, see!" exclaimed Miss Lydia, nudging his arm, and pointing to her
programme.

The major put on his glasses and read the line in the cast of
characters that her finger indicated.


   Col. Webster Calhoun . . . . H. Hopkins Hargraves.


"It's our Mr. Hargraves," said Miss Lydia. "It must be his first
appearance in what he calls 'the legitimate.' I'm so glad for him."

Not until the second act did Col. Webster Calhoun appear upon the
stage. When he made his entry Major Talbot gave an audible sniff,
glared at him, and seemed to freeze solid. Miss Lydia uttered a
little, ambiguous squeak and crumpled her programme in her hand. For
Colonel Calhoun was made up as nearly resembling Major Talbot as one
pea does another. The long, thin white hair, curly at the ends, the
aristocratic beak of a nose, the crumpled, wide, ravelling shirt
front, the string tie, with the bow nearly under one ear, were almost
exactly duplicated. And then, to clinch the imitation, he wore the
twin to the major's supposed to be unparalleled coat. High-collared,
baggy, empire-waisted, ample-skirted, hanging a foot lower in front
than behind, the garment could have been designed from no other
pattern. From then on, the major and Miss Lydia sat bewitched, and
saw the counterfeit presentment of a haughty Talbot "dragged," as
the major afterward expressed it, "through the slanderous mire of a
corrupt stage."

Mr. Hargraves had used his opportunities well. He had caught the
major's little idiosyncrasies of speech, accent, and intonation
and his pompous courtliness to perfection--exaggerating all to the
purposes of the stage. When he performed that marvellous bow that the
major fondly imagined to be the pink of all salutations, the audience
sent forth a sudden round of hearty applause.

Miss Lydia sat immovable, not daring to glance toward her father.
Sometimes her hand next to him would be laid against her cheek, as if
to conceal the smile which, in spite of her disapproval, she could not
entirely suppress.

The culmination of Hargraves's audacious imitation took place in the
third act. The scene is where Colonel Calhoun entertains a few of the
neighbouring planters in his "den."

Standing at a table in the centre of the stage, with his friends
grouped about him, he delivers that inimitable, rambling, character
monologue so famous in "A Magnolia Flower," at the same time that he
deftly makes juleps for the party.

Major Talbot, sitting quietly, but white with indignation, heard
his best stories retold, his pet theories and hobbies advanced and
expanded, and the dream of the "Anecdotes and Reminiscences" served,
exaggerated and garbled. His favourite narrative--that of his duel
with Rathbone Culbertson--was not omitted, and it was delivered with
more fire, egotism, and gusto than the major himself put into it.

The monologue concluded with a quaint, delicious, witty little
lecture on the art of concocting a julep, illustrated by the act.
Here Major Talbot's delicate but showy science was reproduced to a
hair's breadth--from his dainty handling of the fragrant weed--"the
one-thousandth part of a grain too much pressure, gentlemen, and you
extract the bitterness, instead of the aroma, of this heaven-bestowed
plant"--to his solicitous selection of the oaten straws.

At the close of the scene the audience raised a tumultuous roar of
appreciation. The portrayal of the type was so exact, so sure and
thorough, that the leading characters in the play were forgotten.
After repeated calls, Hargraves came before the curtain and bowed, his
rather boyish face bright and flushed with the knowledge of success.

At last Miss Lydia turned and looked at the major. His thin nostrils
were working like the gills of a fish. He laid both shaking hands upon
the arms of his chair to rise.

"We will go, Lydia," he said chokingly. "This is an
abominable--desecration."

Before he could rise, she pulled him back into his seat. "We will
stay it out," she declared. "Do you want to advertise the copy by
exhibiting the original coat?" So they remained to the end.

Hargraves's success must have kept him up late that night, for neither
at the breakfast nor at the dinner table did he appear.

About three in the afternoon he tapped at the door of Major Talbot's
study. The major opened it, and Hargraves walked in with his hands
full of the morning papers--too full of his triumph to notice anything
unusual in the major's demeanour.

"I put it all over 'em last night, major," he began exultantly. "I had
my inning, and, I think, scored. Here's what the _Post_ says:


   His conception and portrayal of the old-time Southern colonel,
   with his absurd grandiloquence, his eccentric garb, his quaint
   idioms and phrases, his moth-eaten pride of family, and his
   really kind heart, fastidious sense of honour, and lovable
   simplicity, is the best delineation of a character role on
   the boards to-day. The coat worn by Colonel Calhoun is itself
   nothing less than an evolution of genius. Mr. Hargraves has
   captured his public.


"How does that sound, major, for a first nighter?"

"I had the honour"--the major's voice sounded ominously frigid--"of
witnessing your very remarkable performance, sir, last night."

Hargraves looked disconcerted.

"You were there? I didn't know you ever--I didn't know you cared for
the theatre. Oh, I say, Major Talbot," he exclaimed frankly, "don't
you be offended. I admit I did get a lot of pointers from you that
helped me out wonderfully in the part. But it's a type, you know--not
individual. The way the audience caught on shows that. Half the
patrons of that theatre are Southerners. They recognized it."

"Mr. Hargraves," said the major, who had remained standing, "you have
put upon me an unpardonable insult. You have burlesqued my person,
grossly betrayed my confidence, and misused my hospitality. If I
thought you possessed the faintest conception of what is the sign
manual of a gentleman, or what is due one, I would call you out, sir,
old as I am. I will ask you to leave the room, sir."

The actor appeared to be slightly bewildered, and seemed hardly to
take in the full meaning of the old gentleman's words.

"I am truly sorry you took offence," he said regretfully. "Up here we
don't look at things just as you people do. I know men who would buy
out half the house to have their personality put on the stage so the
public would recognize it."

"They are not from Alabama, sir," said the major haughtily.

"Perhaps not. I have a pretty good memory, major; let me quote a
few lines from your book. In response to a toast at a banquet given
in--Milledgeville, I believe--you uttered, and intend to have printed,
these words:


   The Northern man is utterly without sentiment or warmth except
   in so far as the feelings may be turned to his own commercial
   profit. He will suffer without resentment any imputation cast
   upon the honour of himself or his loved ones that does not bear
   with it the consequence of pecuniary loss. In his charity, he
   gives with a liberal hand; but it must be heralded with the
   trumpet and chronicled in brass.


"Do you think that picture is fairer than the one you saw of Colonel
Calhoun last night?"

"The description," said the major frowning, "is--not without grounds.
Some exag--latitude must be allowed in public speaking."

"And in public acting," replied Hargraves.

"That is not the point," persisted the major, unrelenting. "It was a
personal caricature. I positively decline to overlook it, sir."

"Major Talbot," said Hargraves, with a winning smile, "I wish you
would understand me. I want you to know that I never dreamed of
insulting you. In my profession, all life belongs to me. I take what I
want, and what I can, and return it over the footlights. Now, if you
will, let's let it go at that. I came in to see you about something
else. We've been pretty good friends for some months, and I'm going
to take the risk of offending you again. I know you are hard up for
money--never mind how I found out; a boarding house is no place to
keep such matters secret--and I want you to let me help you out of the
pinch. I've been there often enough myself. I've been getting a fair
salary all the season, and I've saved some money. You're welcome to a
couple hundred--or even more--until you get--"

"Stop!" commanded the major, with his arm outstretched. "It seems that
my book didn't lie, after all. You think your money salve will heal
all the hurts of honour. Under no circumstances would I accept a loan
from a casual acquaintance; and as to you, sir, I would starve before
I would consider your insulting offer of a financial adjustment of the
circumstances we have discussed. I beg to repeat my request relative
to your quitting the apartment."

Hargraves took his departure without another word. He also left the
house the same day, moving, as Mrs. Vardeman explained at the supper
table, nearer the vicinity of the down-town theatre, where "A Magnolia
Flower" was booked for a week's run.

Critical was the situation with Major Talbot and Miss Lydia. There was
no one in Washington to whom the major's scruples allowed him to apply
for a loan. Miss Lydia wrote a letter to Uncle Ralph, but it was
doubtful whether that relative's constricted affairs would permit him
to furnish help. The major was forced to make an apologetic address to
Mrs. Vardeman regarding the delayed payment for board, referring to
"delinquent rentals" and "delayed remittances" in a rather confused
strain.

Deliverance came from an entirely unexpected source.

Late one afternoon the door maid came up and announced an old coloured
man who wanted to see Major Talbot. The major asked that he be sent
up to his study. Soon an old darkey appeared in the doorway, with his
hat in hand, bowing, and scraping with one clumsy foot. He was quite
decently dressed in a baggy suit of black. His big, coarse shoes shone
with a metallic lustre suggestive of stove polish. His bushy wool was
gray--almost white. After middle life, it is difficult to estimate the
age of a Negro. This one might have seen as many years as had Major
Talbot.

"I be bound you don't know me, Mars' Pendleton," were his first words.

The major rose and came forward at the old, familiar style of address.
It was one of the old plantation darkeys without a doubt; but they had
been widely scattered, and he could not recall the voice or face.

"I don't believe I do," he said kindly--"unless you will assist my
memory."

"Don't you 'member Cindy's Mose, Mars' Pendleton, what 'migrated
'mediately after de war?"

"Wait a moment," said the major, rubbing his forehead with the tips
of his fingers. He loved to recall everything connected with those
beloved days. "Cindy's Mose," he reflected. "You worked among the
horses--breaking the colts. Yes, I remember now. After the surrender,
you took the name of--don't prompt me--Mitchell, and went to the
West--to Nebraska."

"Yassir, yassir,"--the old man's face stretched with a delighted
grin--"dat's him, dat's it. Newbraska. Dat's me--Mose Mitchell. Old
Uncle Mose Mitchell, dey calls me now. Old mars', your pa, gimme a pah
of dem mule colts when I lef' fur to staht me goin' with. You 'member
dem colts, Mars' Pendleton?"

"I don't seem to recall the colts," said the major. "You know I was
married the first year of the war and living at the old Follinsbee
place. But sit down, sit down, Uncle Mose. I'm glad to see you. I hope
you have prospered."

Uncle Mose took a chair and laid his hat carefully on the floor beside
it.

"Yassir; of late I done mouty famous. When I first got to Newbraska,
dey folks come all roun' me to see dem mule colts. Dey ain't see
no mules like dem in Newbraska. I sold dem mules for three hundred
dollars. Yassir--three hundred.

"Den I open a blacksmith shop, suh, and made some money and bought
some lan'. Me and my old 'oman done raised up seb'm chillun, and
all doin' well 'cept two of 'em what died. Fo' year ago a railroad
come along and staht a town slam ag'inst my lan', and, suh, Mars'
Pendleton, Uncle Mose am worth leb'm thousand dollars in money,
property, and lan'."

"I'm glad to hear it," said the major heartily. "Glad to hear it."

"And dat little baby of yo'n, Mars' Pendleton--one what you name Miss
Lyddy--I be bound dat little tad done growed up tell nobody wouldn't
know her."

The major stepped to the door and called: "Lydia, dear, will you
come?"

Miss Lydia, looking quite grown up and a little worried, came in from
her room.

"Dar, now! What'd I tell you? I knowed dat baby done be plum growed
up. You don't 'member Uncle Mose, child?"

"This is Aunt Cindy's Mose, Lydia," explained the major. "He left
Sunnymead for the West when you were two years old."

"Well," said Miss Lydia, "I can hardly be expected to remember you,
Uncle Mose, at that age. And, as you say, I'm 'plum growed up,' and
was a blessed long time ago. But I'm glad to see you, even if I can't
remember you."

And she was. And so was the major. Something alive and tangible had
come to link them with the happy past. The three sat and talked over
the olden times, the major and Uncle Mose correcting or prompting each
other as they reviewed the plantation scenes and days.

The major inquired what the old man was doing so far from his home.

"Uncle Mose am a delicate," he explained, "to de grand Baptis'
convention in dis city. I never preached none, but bein' a residin'
elder in de church, and able fur to pay my own expenses, dey sent me
along."

"And how did you know we were in Washington?" inquired Miss Lydia.

"Dey's a cullud man works in de hotel whar I stops, what comes from
Mobile. He told me he seen Mars' Pendleton comin' outen dish here
house one mawnin'.

"What I come fur," continued Uncle Mose, reaching into his
pocket--"besides de sight of home folks--was to pay Mars' Pendleton
what I owes him."

"Owe me?" said the major, in surprise.

"Yassir--three hundred dollars." He handed the major a roll of bills.
"When I lef' old mars' says: 'Take dem mule colts, Mose, and, if it be
so you gits able, pay fur 'em'. Yassir--dem was his words. De war had
done lef' old mars' po' hisself. Old mars' bein' 'long ago dead, de
debt descends to Mars' Pendleton. Three hundred dollars. Uncle Mose is
plenty able to pay now. When dat railroad buy my lan' I laid off to
pay fur dem mules. Count de money, Mars' Pendleton. Dat's what I sold
dem mules fur. Yassir."

Tears were in Major Talbot's eyes. He took Uncle Mose's hand and laid
his other upon his shoulder.

"Dear, faithful, old servitor," he said in an unsteady voice, "I don't
mind saying to you that 'Mars' Pendleton' spent his last dollar in the
world a week ago. We will accept this money, Uncle Mose, since, in a
way, it is a sort of payment, as well as a token of the loyalty and
devotion of the old regime. Lydia, my dear, take the money. You are
better fitted than I to manage its expenditure."

"Take it, honey," said Uncle Mose. "Hit belongs to you. Hit's Talbot
money."

After Uncle Mose had gone, Miss Lydia had a good cry--for joy; and the
major turned his face to a corner, and smoked his clay pipe
volcanically.

The succeeding days saw the Talbots restored to peace and ease. Miss
Lydia's face lost its worried look. The major appeared in a new frock
coat, in which he looked like a wax figure personifying the memory
of his golden age. Another publisher who read the manuscript of the
"Anecdotes and Reminiscences" thought that, with a little retouching
and toning down of the high lights, he could make a really bright
and salable volume of it. Altogether, the situation was comfortable,
and not without the touch of hope that is often sweeter than arrived
blessings.

One day, about a week after their piece of good luck, a maid brought
a letter for Miss Lydia to her room. The postmark showed that it
was from New York. Not knowing any one there, Miss Lydia, in a mild
flutter of wonder, sat down by her table and opened the letter with
her scissors. This was what she read:


   DEAR MISS TALBOT:

   I thought you might be glad to learn of my good fortune. I
   have received and accepted an offer of two hundred dollars
   per week by a New York stock company to play Colonel Calhoun
   in "A Magnolia Flower."

   There is something else I wanted you to know. I guess you'd
   better not tell Major Talbot. I was anxious to make him some
   amends for the great help he was to me in studying the part,
   and for the bad humour he was in about it. He refused to let
   me, so I did it anyhow. I could easily spare the three
   hundred.

   Sincerely yours,

   H. HOPKINS HARGRAVES,

   P.S. How did I play Uncle Mose?


Major Talbot, passing through the hall, saw Miss Lydia's door open
and stopped.

"Any mail for us this morning, Lydia, dear?" he asked.

Miss Lydia slid the letter beneath a fold of her dress.

"The _Mobile Chronicle_ came," she said promptly. "It's on the table
in your study."




XIV

LET ME FEEL YOUR PULSE


So I went to a doctor.

"How long has it been since you took any alcohol into your system?" he
asked.

Turning my head sidewise, I answered, "Oh, quite awhile."

He was a young doctor, somewhere between twenty and forty. He wore
heliotrope socks, but he looked like Napoleon. I liked him immensely.

"Now," said he, "I am going to show you the effect of alcohol upon
your circulation." I think it was "circulation" he said; though it may
have been "advertising."

He bared my left arm to the elbow, brought out a bottle of whiskey,
and gave me a drink. He began to look more like Napoleon. I began to
like him better.

Then he put a tight compress on my upper arm, stopped my pulse with
his fingers, and squeezed a rubber bulb connected with an apparatus on
a stand that looked like a thermometer. The mercury jumped up and down
without seeming to stop anywhere; but the doctor said it registered
two hundred and thirty-seven or one hundred and sixty-five or some
such number.

"Now," said he, "you see what alcohol does to the blood-pressure."

"It's marvellous," said I, "but do you think it a sufficient test?
Have one on me, and let's try the other arm." But, no!

Then he grasped my hand. I thought I was doomed and he was saying
good-bye. But all he wanted to do was to jab a needle into the end of
a finger and compare the red drop with a lot of fifty-cent poker chips
that he had fastened to a card.

"It's the haemoglobin test," he explained. "The colour of your blood
is wrong."

"Well," said I, "I know it should be blue; but this is a country of
mix-ups. Some of my ancestors were cavaliers; but they got thick with
some people on Nantucket Island, so--"

"I mean," said the doctor, "that the shade of red is too light."

"Oh," said I, "it's a case of matching instead of matches."

The doctor then pounded me severely in the region of the chest. When
he did that I don't know whether he reminded me most of Napoleon or
Battling or Lord Nelson. Then he looked grave and mentioned a string
of grievances that the flesh is heir to--mostly ending in "itis." I
immediately paid him fifteen dollars on account.

"Is or are it or some or any of them necessarily fatal?" I asked.
I thought my connection with the matter justified my manifesting a
certain amount of interest.

"All of them," he answered cheerfully. "But their progress may be
arrested. With care and proper continuous treatment you may live to be
eighty-five or ninety."

I began to think of the doctor's bill. "Eighty-five would be
sufficient, I am sure," was my comment. I paid him ten dollars more on
account.

"The first thing to do," he said, with renewed animation, "is to find
a sanitarium where you will get a complete rest for a while, and allow
your nerves to get into a better condition. I myself will go with you
and select a suitable one."

So he took me to a mad-house in the Catskills. It was on a bare
mountain frequented only by infrequent frequenters. You could see
nothing but stones and boulders, some patches of snow, and scattered
pine trees. The young physician in charge was most agreeable. He gave
me a stimulant without applying a compress to the arm. It was luncheon
time, and we were invited to partake. There were about twenty inmates
at little tables in the dining room. The young physician in charge
came to our table and said: "It is a custom with our guests not
to regard themselves as patients, but merely as tired ladies and
gentlemen taking a rest. Whatever slight maladies they may have are
never alluded to in conversation."

My doctor called loudly to a waitress to bring some phosphoglycerate
of lime hash, dog-bread, bromo-seltzer pancakes, and nux vomica tea
for my repast. Then a sound arose like a sudden wind storm among pine
trees. It was produced by every guest in the room whispering loudly,
"Neurasthenia!"--except one man with a nose, whom I distinctly heard
say, "Chronic alcoholism." I hope to meet him again. The physician in
charge turned and walked away.

An hour or so after luncheon he conducted us to the workshop--say
fifty yards from the house. Thither the guests had been conducted by
the physician in charge's understudy and sponge-holder--a man with
feet and a blue sweater. He was so tall that I was not sure he had a
face; but the Armour Packing Company would have been delighted with
his hands.

"Here," said the physician in charge, "our guests find relaxation
from past mental worries by devoting themselves to physical
labour--recreation, in reality."

There were turning-lathes, carpenters' outfits, clay-modelling
tools, spinning-wheels, weaving-frames, treadmills, bass drums,
enlarged-crayon-portrait apparatuses, blacksmith forges, and
everything, seemingly, that could interest the paying lunatic guests
of a first-rate sanitarium.

"The lady making mud pies in the corner," whispered the physician in
charge, "is no other than--Lula Lulington, the authoress of the novel
entitled 'Why Love Loves.' What she is doing now is simply to rest her
mind after performing that piece of work."

I had seen the book. "Why doesn't she do it by writing another one
instead?" I asked.

As you see, I wasn't as far gone as they thought I was.

"The gentleman pouring water through the funnel," continued the
physician in charge, "is a Wall Street broker broken down from
overwork."

I buttoned my coat.

Others he pointed out were architects playing with Noah's arks,
ministers reading Darwin's "Theory of Evolution," lawyers sawing
wood, tired-out society ladies talking Ibsen to the blue-sweatered
sponge-holder, a neurotic millionaire lying asleep on the floor, and
a prominent artist drawing a little red wagon around the room.

"You look pretty strong," said the physician in charge to me. "I think
the best mental relaxation for you would be throwing small boulders
over the mountainside and then bringing them up again."

I was a hundred yards away before my doctor overtook me.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

"The matter is," said I, "that there are no aeroplanes handy. So I am
going to merrily and hastily jog the foot-pathway to yon station and
catch the first unlimited-soft-coal express back to town."

"Well," said the doctor, "perhaps you are right. This seems hardly the
suitable place for you. But what you need is rest--absolute rest and
exercise."

That night I went to a hotel in the city, and said to the clerk: "What
I need is absolute rest and exercise. Can you give me a room with one
of those tall folding beds in it, and a relay of bellboys to work it
up and down while I rest?"

The clerk rubbed a speck off one of his finger nails and glanced
sidewise at a tall man in a white hat sitting in the lobby. That man
came over and asked me politely if I had seen the shrubbery at the
west entrance. I had not, so he showed it to me and then looked me
over.

"I thought you had 'em," he said, not unkindly, "but I guess you're
all right. You'd better go see a doctor, old man."

A week afterward my doctor tested my blood pressure again without the
preliminary stimulant. He looked to me a little less like Napoleon.
And his socks were of a shade of tan that did not appeal to me.

"What you need," he decided, "is sea air and companionship."

"Would a mermaid--" I began; but he slipped on his professional
manner.

"I myself," he said, "will take you to the Hotel Bonair off the coast
of Long Island and see that you get in good shape. It is a quiet,
comfortable resort where you will soon recuperate."

The Hotel Bonair proved to be a nine-hundred-room fashionable hostelry
on an island off the main shore. Everybody who did not dress for
dinner was shoved into a side dining-room and given only a terrapin
and champagne table d'hote. The bay was a great stamping ground for
wealthy yachtsmen. The _Corsair_ anchored there the day we arrived.
I saw Mr. Morgan standing on deck eating a cheese sandwich and gazing
longingly at the hotel. Still, it was a very inexpensive place. Nobody
could afford to pay their prices. When you went away you simply left
your baggage, stole a skiff, and beat it for the mainland in the
night.

When I had been there one day I got a pad of monogrammed telegraph
blanks at the clerk's desk and began to wire to all my friends for
get-away money. My doctor and I played one game of croquet on the golf
links and went to sleep on the lawn.

When we got back to town a thought seemed to occur to him suddenly.
"By the way," he asked, "how do you feel?"

"Relieved of very much," I replied.

Now a consulting physician is different. He isn't exactly sure whether
he is to be paid or not, and this uncertainty insures you either the
most careful or the most careless attention. My doctor took me to
see a consulting physician. He made a poor guess and gave me careful
attention. I liked him immensely. He put me through some coordination
exercises.

"Have you a pain in the back of your head?" he asked. I told him I had
not.

"Shut your eyes," he ordered, "put your feet close together, and jump
backward as far as you can."

I always was a good backward jumper with my eyes shut, so I obeyed.
My head struck the edge of the bathroom door, which had been left
open and was only three feet away. The doctor was very sorry. He had
overlooked the fact that the door was open. He closed it.

"Now touch your nose with your right forefinger," he said.

"Where is it?" I asked.

"On your face," said he.

"I mean my right forefinger," I explained.

"Oh, excuse me," said he. He reopened the bathroom door, and I took my
finger out of the crack of it. After I had performed the marvellous
digito-nasal feat I said:

"I do not wish to deceive you as to symptoms, Doctor; I
really have something like a pain in the back of my head." He
ignored the symptom and examined my heart carefully with a
latest-popular-air-penny-in-the-slot ear-trumpet. I felt like a
ballad.

"Now," he said, "gallop like a horse for about five minutes around the
room."

I gave the best imitation I could of a disqualified Percheron being
led out of Madison Square Garden. Then, without dropping in a penny,
he listened to my chest again.

"No glanders in our family, Doc," I said.

The consulting physician held up his forefinger within three inches of
my nose. "Look at my finger," he commanded.

"Did you ever try Pears'--" I began; but he went on with his test
rapidly.

"Now look across the bay. At my finger. Across the bay. At my finger.
At my finger. Across the bay. Across the bay. At my finger. Across the
bay." This for about three minutes.

He explained that this was a test of the action of the brain. It
seemed easy to me. I never once mistook his finger for the bay. I'll
bet that if he had used the phrases: "Gaze, as it were, unpreoccupied,
outward--or rather laterally--in the direction of the horizon,
underlaid, so to speak, with the adjacent fluid inlet," and "Now,
returning--or rather, in a manner, withdrawing your attention, bestow
it upon my upraised digit"--I'll bet, I say, that Henry James himself
could have passed the examination.

After asking me if I had ever had a grand uncle with curvature of the
spine or a cousin with swelled ankles, the two doctors retired to the
bathroom and sat on the edge of the bath tub for their consultation. I
ate an apple, and gazed first at my finger and then across the bay.

The doctors came out looking grave. More: they looked tombstones and
Tennessee-papers-please-copy. They wrote out a diet list to which I
was to be restricted. It had everything that I had ever heard of to
eat on it, except snails. And I never eat a snail unless it overtakes
me and bites me first.

"You must follow this diet strictly," said the doctors.

"I'd follow it a mile if I could get one-tenth of what's on it," I
answered.

"Of next importance," they went on, "is outdoor air and exercise. And
here is a prescription that will be of great benefit to you."

Then all of us took something. They took their hats, and I took my
departure.

I went to a druggist and showed him the prescription.

"It will be $2.87 for an ounce bottle," he said.

"Will you give me a piece of your wrapping cord?" said I.

I made a hole in the prescription, ran the cord through it, tied it
around my neck, and tucked it inside. All of us have a little
superstition, and mine runs to a confidence in amulets.

Of course there was nothing the matter with me, but I was very ill.
I couldn't work, sleep, eat, or bowl. The only way I could get any
sympathy was to go without shaving for four days. Even then somebody
would say: "Old man, you look as hardy as a pine knot. Been up for a
jaunt in the Maine woods, eh?"

Then, suddenly, I remembered that I must have outdoor air and
exercise. So I went down South to John's. John is an approximate
relative by verdict of a preacher standing with a little book in his
hands in a bower of chrysanthemums while a hundred thousand people
looked on. John has a country house seven miles from Pineville. It
is at an altitude and on the Blue Ridge Mountains in a state too
dignified to be dragged into this controversy. John is mica, which is
more valuable and clearer than gold.

He met me at Pineville, and we took the trolley car to his home. It
is a big, neighbourless cottage on a hill surrounded by a hundred
mountains. We got off at his little private station, where John's
family and Amaryllis met and greeted us. Amaryllis looked at me a
trifle anxiously.

A rabbit came bounding across the hill between us and the house.
I threw down my suit-case and pursued it hotfoot. After I had run
twenty yards and seen it disappear, I sat down on the grass and wept
disconsolately.

"I can't catch a rabbit any more," I sobbed. "I'm of no further use in
the world. I may as well be dead."

"Oh, what is it--what is it, Brother John?" I heard Amaryllis say.

"Nerves a little unstrung," said John, in his calm way. "Don't worry.
Get up, you rabbit-chaser, and come on to the house before the
biscuits get cold." It was about twilight, and the mountains came up
nobly to Miss Murfree's descriptions of them.

Soon after dinner I announced that I believed I could sleep for a year
or two, including legal holidays. So I was shown to a room as big and
cool as a flower garden, where there was a bed as broad as a lawn.
Soon afterward the remainder of the household retired, and then there
fell upon the land a silence.

I had not heard a silence before in years. It was absolute. I raised
myself on my elbow and listened to it. Sleep! I thought that if I only
could hear a star twinkle or a blade of grass sharpen itself I could
compose myself to rest. I thought once that I heard a sound like
the sail of a catboat flapping as it veered about in a breeze, but
I decided that it was probably only a tack in the carpet. Still I
listened.

Suddenly some belated little bird alighted upon the window-sill, and,
in what he no doubt considered sleepy tones, enunciated the noise
generally translated as "cheep!"

I leaped into the air.

"Hey! what's the matter down there?" called John from his room above
mine.

"Oh, nothing," I answered, "except that I accidentally bumped my head
against the ceiling."

The next morning I went out on the porch and looked at the mountains.
There were forty-seven of them in sight. I shuddered, went into the
big hall sitting room of the house, selected "Pancoast's Family
Practice of Medicine" from a bookcase, and began to read. John came
in, took the book away from me, and led me outside. He has a farm of
three hundred acres furnished with the usual complement of barns,
mules, peasantry, and harrows with three front teeth broken off. I had
seen such things in my childhood, and my heart began to sink.

Then John spoke of alfalfa, and I brightened at once. "Oh, yes," said
I, "wasn't she in the chorus of--let's see--"

"Green, you know," said John, "and tender, and you plow it under after
the first season."

"I know," said I, "and the grass grows over her."

"Right," said John. "You know something about farming, after all."

"I know something of some farmers," said I, "and a sure scythe will
mow them down some day."

On the way back to the house a beautiful and inexplicable creature
walked across our path. I stopped irresistibly fascinated, gazing
at it. John waited patiently, smoking his cigarette. He is a modern
farmer. After ten minutes he said: "Are you going to stand there
looking at that chicken all day? Breakfast is nearly ready."

"A chicken?" said I.

"A White Orpington hen, if you want to particularize."

"A White Orpington hen?" I repeated, with intense interest. The fowl
walked slowly away with graceful dignity, and I followed like a child
after the Pied Piper. Five minutes more were allowed me by John, and
then he took me by the sleeve and conducted me to breakfast.

After I had been there a week I began to grow alarmed. I was sleeping
and eating well and actually beginning to enjoy life. For a man in
my desperate condition that would never do. So I sneaked down to the
trolley-car station, took the car for Pineville, and went to see one
of the best physicians in town. By this time I knew exactly what to do
when I needed medical treatment. I hung my hat on the back of a chair,
and said rapidly:

"Doctor, I have cirrhosis of the heart, indurated arteries,
neurasthenia, neuritis, acute indigestion, and convalescence. I am
going to live on a strict diet. I shall also take a tepid bath at
night and a cold one in the morning. I shall endeavour to be cheerful,
and fix my mind on pleasant subjects. In the way of drugs I intend to
take a phosphorous pill three times a day, preferably after meals, and
a tonic composed of the tinctures of gentian, cinchona, calisaya, and
cardamon compound. Into each teaspoonful of this I shall mix tincture
of nux vomica, beginning with one drop and increasing it a drop each
day until the maximum dose is reached. I shall drop this with a
medicine-dropper, which can be procured at a trifling cost at any
pharmacy. Good morning."

I took my hat and walked out. After I had closed the door I remembered
something that I had forgotten to say. I opened it again. The doctor
had not moved from where he had been sitting, but he gave a slightly
nervous start when he saw me again.

"I forgot to mention," said I, "that I shall also take absolute rest
and exercise."

After this consultation I felt much better. The reestablishing
in my mind of the fact that I was hopelessly ill gave me so much
satisfaction that I almost became gloomy again. There is nothing more
alarming to a neurasthenic than to feel himself growing well and
cheerful.

John looked after me carefully. After I had evinced so much interest
in his White Orpington chicken he tried his best to divert my mind,
and was particular to lock his hen house of nights. Gradually the
tonic mountain air, the wholesome food, and the daily walks among
the hills so alleviated my malady that I became utterly wretched and
despondent. I heard of a country doctor who lived in the mountains
nearby. I went to see him and told him the whole story. He was a
gray-bearded man with clear, blue, wrinkled eyes, in a home-made suit
of gray jeans.

In order to save time I diagnosed my case, touched my nose with my
right forefinger, struck myself below the knee to make my foot kick,
sounded my chest, stuck out my tongue, and asked him the price of
cemetery lots in Pineville.

He lit his pipe and looked at me for about three minutes. "Brother,"
he said, after a while, "you are in a mighty bad way. There's a chance
for you to pull through, but it's a mighty slim one."

"What can it be?" I asked eagerly. "I have taken arsenic and gold,
phosphorus, exercise, nux vomica, hydrotherapeutic baths, rest,
excitement, codein, and aromatic spirits of ammonia. Is there anything
left in the pharmacopoeia?"

"Somewhere in these mountains," said the doctor, "there's a plant
growing--a flowering plant that'll cure you, and it's about the only
thing that will. It's of a kind that's as old as the world; but of
late it's powerful scarce and hard to find. You and I will have to
hunt it up. I'm not engaged in active practice now: I'm getting along
in years; but I'll take your case. You'll have to come every day in
the afternoon and help me hunt for this plant till we find it. The
city doctors may know a lot about new scientific things, but they
don't know much about the cures that nature carries around in her
saddlebags."

So every day the old doctor and I hunted the cure-all plant among the
mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge. Together we toiled up steep
heights so slippery with fallen autumn leaves that we had to catch
every sapling and branch within our reach to save us from falling. We
waded through gorges and chasms, breast-deep with laurel and ferns;
we followed the banks of mountain streams for miles; we wound our way
like Indians through brakes of pine--road side, hill side, river side,
mountain side we explored in our search for the miraculous plant.

As the old doctor said, it must have grown scarce and hard to find.
But we followed our quest. Day by day we plumbed the valleys, scaled
the heights, and tramped the plateaus in search of the miraculous
plant. Mountain-bred, he never seemed to tire. I often reached home
too fatigued to do anything except fall into bed and sleep until
morning. This we kept up for a month.

One evening after I had returned from a six-mile tramp with the old
doctor, Amaryllis and I took a little walk under the trees near the
road. We looked at the mountains drawing their royal-purple robes
around them for their night's repose.

"I'm glad you're well again," she said. "When you first came you
frightened me. I thought you were really ill."

"Well again!" I almost shrieked. "Do you know that I have only one
chance in a thousand to live?"

Amaryllis looked at me in surprise. "Why," said she, "you are as
strong as one of the plough-mules, you sleep ten or twelve hours every
night, and you are eating us out of house and home. What more do you
want?"

"I tell you," said I, "that unless we find the magic--that is, the
plant we are looking for--in time, nothing can save me. The doctor
tells me so."

"What doctor?"

"Doctor Tatum--the old doctor who lives halfway up Black Oak Mountain.
Do you know him?"

"I have known him since I was able to talk. And is that where you go
every day--is it he who takes you on these long walks and climbs that
have brought back your health and strength? God bless the old doctor."

Just then the old doctor himself drove slowly down the road in his
rickety old buggy. I waved my hand at him and shouted that I would
be on hand the next day at the usual time. He stopped his horse and
called to Amaryllis to come out to him. They talked for five minutes
while I waited. Then the old doctor drove on.

When we got to the house Amaryllis lugged out an encyclopaedia and
sought a word in it. "The doctor said," she told me, "that you needn't
call any more as a patient, but he'd be glad to see you any time as
a friend. And then he told me to look up my name in the encyclopaedia
and tell you what it means. It seems to be the name of a genus of
flowering plants, and also the name of a country girl in Theocritus
and Virgil. What do you suppose the doctor meant by that?"

"I know what he meant," said I. "I know now."

A word to a brother who may have come under the spell of the unquiet
Lady Neurasthenia.

The formula was true. Even though gropingly at times, the physicians
of the walled cities had put their fingers upon the specific
medicament.

And so for the exercise one is referred to good Doctor Tatum on Black
Oak Mountain--take the road to your right at the Methodist meeting
house in the pine-grove.

Absolute rest and exercise!

What rest more remedial than to sit with Amaryllis in the shade,
and, with a sixth sense, read the wordless Theocritan idyl of the
gold-bannered blue mountains marching orderly into the dormitories of
the night?




XV

OCTOBER AND JUNE


The Captain gazed gloomily at his sword that hung upon the wall. In
the closet near by was stored his faded uniform, stained and worn by
weather and service. What a long, long time it seemed since those old
days of war's alarms!

And now, veteran that he was of his country's strenuous times, he had
been reduced to abject surrender by a woman's soft eyes and smiling
lips. As he sat in his quiet room he held in his hand the letter he
had just received from her--the letter that had caused him to wear
that look of gloom. He re-read the fatal paragraph that had destroyed
his hope.


   In declining the honour you have done me in asking me to be
   your wife, I feel that I ought to speak frankly. The reason
   I have for so doing is the great difference between our ages.
   I like you very, very much, but I am sure that our marriage
   would not be a happy one. I am sorry to have to refer to this,
   but I believe that you will appreciate my honesty in giving
   you the true reason.


The Captain sighed, and leaned his head upon his hand. Yes, there were
many years between their ages. But he was strong and rugged, he had
position and wealth. Would not his love, his tender care, and the
advantages he could bestow upon her make her forget the question of
age? Besides, he was almost sure that she cared for him.

The Captain was a man of prompt action. In the field he had been
distinguished for his decisiveness and energy. He would see her and
plead his cause again in person. Age!--what was it to come between him
and the one he loved?

In two hours he stood ready, in light marching order, for his greatest
battle. He took the train for the old Southern town in Tennessee where
she lived.

Theodora Deming was on the steps of the handsome, porticoed old
mansion, enjoying the summer twilight, when the Captain entered the
gate and came up the gravelled walk. She met him with a smile that was
free from embarrassment. As the Captain stood on the step below her,
the difference in their ages did not appear so great. He was tall and
straight and clear-eyed and browned. She was in the bloom of lovely
womanhood.

"I wasn't expecting you," said Theodora; "but now that you've come you
may sit on the step. Didn't you get my letter?"

"I did," said the Captain; "and that's why I came. I say, now, Theo,
reconsider your answer, won't you?"

Theodora smiled softly upon him. He carried his years well.
She was really fond of his strength, his wholesome looks, his
manliness--perhaps, if--

"No, no," she said, shaking her head, positively; "it's out of the
question. I like you a whole lot, but marrying won't do. My age and
yours are--but don't make me say it again--I told you in my letter."

The Captain flushed a little through the bronze on his face. He was
silent for a while, gazing sadly into the twilight. Beyond a line of
woods that he could see was a field where the boys in blue had once
bivouacked on their march toward the sea. How long ago it seemed now!
Truly, Fate and Father Time had tricked him sorely. Just a few years
interposed between himself and happiness!

Theodora's hand crept down and rested in the clasp of his firm, brown
one. She felt, at least, that sentiment that is akin to love.

"Don't take it so hard, please," she said, gently. "It's all for the
best. I've reasoned it out very wisely all by myself. Some day you'll
be glad I didn't marry you. It would be very nice and lovely for a
while--but, just think! In only a few short years what different
tastes we would have! One of us would want to sit by the fireside and
read, and maybe nurse neuralgia or rheumatism of evenings, while the
other would be crazy for balls and theatres and late suppers. No, my
dear friend. While it isn't exactly January and May, it's a clear case
of October and pretty early in June."

"I'd always do what you wanted me to do, Theo. If you wanted to--"

"No, you wouldn't. You think now that you would, but you wouldn't.
Please don't ask me any more."

The Captain had lost his battle. But he was a gallant warrior, and
when he rose to make his final adieu his mouth was grimly set and his
shoulders were squared.

He took the train for the North that night. On the next evening he was
back in his room, where his sword was hanging against the wall. He was
dressing for dinner, tying his white tie into a very careful bow. And
at the same time he was indulging in a pensive soliloquy.

"'Pon my honour, I believe Theo was right, after all. Nobody can deny
that she's a peach, but she must be twenty-eight, at the very kindest
calculation."

For you see, the Captain was only nineteen, and his sword had never
been drawn except on the parade ground at Chattanooga, which was as
near as he ever got to the Spanish-American War.




XVI

THE CHURCH WITH AN OVERSHOT-WHEEL


Lakelands is not to be found in the catalogues of fashionable summer
resorts. It lies on a low spur of the Cumberland range of mountains
on a little tributary of the Clinch River. Lakelands proper is
a contented village of two dozen houses situated on a forlorn,
narrow-gauge railroad line. You wonder whether the railroad lost
itself in the pine woods and ran into Lakelands from fright and
loneliness, or whether Lakelands got lost and huddled itself along
the railroad to wait for the cars to carry it home.

You wonder again why it was named Lakelands. There are no lakes, and
the lands about are too poor to be worth mentioning.

Half a mile from the village stands the Eagle House, a big, roomy
old mansion run by Josiah Rankin for the accommodation of visitors
who desire the mountain air at inexpensive rates. The Eagle House
is delightfully mismanaged. It is full of ancient instead of modern
improvements, and it is altogether as comfortably neglected and
pleasingly disarranged as your own home. But you are furnished with
clean rooms and good and abundant fare: yourself and the piny woods
must do the rest. Nature has provided a mineral spring, grape-vine
swings, and croquet--even the wickets are wooden. You have Art to
thank only for the fiddle-and-guitar music twice a week at the hop in
the rustic pavilion.

The patrons of the Eagle House are those who seek recreation as a
necessity, as well as a pleasure. They are busy people, who may be
likened to clocks that need a fortnight's winding to insure a year's
running of their wheels. You will find students there from the lower
towns, now and then an artist, or a geologist absorbed in construing
the ancient strata of the hills. A few quiet families spend the
summers there; and often one or two tired members of that patient
sisterhood known to Lakelands as "schoolmarms."

A quarter of a mile from the Eagle House was what would have been
described to its guests as "an object of interest" in the catalogue,
had the Eagle House issued a catalogue. This was an old, old mill that
was no longer a mill. In the words of Josiah Rankin, it was "the only
church in the United States, sah, with an overshot-wheel; and the only
mill in the world, sah, with pews and a pipe organ." The guests of
the Eagle House attended the old mill church each Sabbath, and heard
the preacher liken the purified Christian to bolted flour ground to
usefulness between the millstones of experience and suffering.

Every year about the beginning of autumn there came to the Eagle House
one Abram Strong, who remained for a time an honoured and beloved
guest. In Lakelands he was called "Father Abram," because his hair was
so white, his face so strong and kind and florid, his laugh so merry,
and his black clothes and broad hat so priestly in appearance. Even
new guests after three or four days' acquaintance gave him this
familiar title.

Father Abram came a long way to Lakelands. He lived in a big, roaring
town in the Northwest where he owned mills, not little mills with pews
and an organ in them, but great, ugly, mountain-like mills that the
freight trains crawled around all day like ants around an ant-heap.
And now you must be told about Father Abram and the mill that was a
church, for their stories run together.

In the days when the church was a mill, Mr. Strong was the miller.
There was no jollier, dustier, busier, happier miller in all the land
than he. He lived in a little cottage across the road from the mill.
His hand was heavy, but his toll was light, and the mountaineers
brought their grain to him across many weary miles of rocky roads.

The delight of the miller's life was his little daughter, Aglaia.
That was a brave name, truly, for a flaxen-haired toddler; but
the mountaineers love sonorous and stately names. The mother had
encountered it somewhere in a book, and the deed was done. In her
babyhood Aglaia herself repudiated the name, as far as common use
went, and persisted in calling herself "Dums." The miller and his wife
often tried to coax from Aglaia the source of this mysterious name,
but without results. At last they arrived at a theory. In the little
garden behind the cottage was a bed of rhododendrons in which the
child took a peculiar delight and interest. It may have been that she
perceived in "Dums" a kinship to the formidable name of her favourite
flowers.

When Aglaia was four years old she and her father used to go through
a little performance in the mill every afternoon, that never failed
to come off, the weather permitting. When supper was ready her mother
would brush her hair and put on a clean apron and send her across to
the mill to bring her father home. When the miller saw her coming in
the mill door he would come forward, all white with the flour dust,
and wave his hand and sing an old miller's song that was familiar in
those parts and ran something like this:


   "The wheel goes round,
    The grist is ground,
       The dusty miller's merry.
    He sings all day,
    His work is play,
       While thinking of his dearie."


Then Aglaia would run to him laughing, and call:

"Da-da, come take Dums home;" and the miller would swing her to his
shoulder and march over to supper, singing the miller's song. Every
evening this would take place.

One day, only a week after her fourth birthday, Aglaia disappeared.
When last seen she was plucking wild flowers by the side of the road
in front of the cottage. A little while later her mother went out to
see that she did not stray too far away, and she was already gone.

Of course every effort was made to find her. The neighbours gathered
and searched the woods and the mountains for miles around. They
dragged every foot of the mill race and the creek for a long distance
below the dam. Never a trace of her did they find. A night or two
before there had been a family of wanderers camped in a grove near by.
It was conjectured that they might have stolen the child; but when
their wagon was overtaken and searched she could not be found.

The miller remained at the mill for nearly two years; and then his
hope of finding her died out. He and his wife moved to the Northwest.
In a few years he was the owner of a modern mill in one of the
important milling cities in that region. Mrs. Strong never recovered
from the shock caused by the loss of Aglaia, and two years after they
moved away the miller was left to bear his sorrow alone.

When Abram Strong became prosperous he paid a visit to Lakelands and
the old mill. The scene was a sad one for him, but he was a strong
man, and always appeared cheery and kindly. It was then that he was
inspired to convert the old mill into a church. Lakelands was too
poor to build one; and the still poorer mountaineers could not assist.
There was no place of worship nearer than twenty miles.

The miller altered the appearance of the mill as little as possible.
The big overshot-wheel was left in its place. The young people who
came to the church used to cut their initials in its soft and slowly
decaying wood. The dam was partly destroyed, and the clear mountain
stream rippled unchecked down its rocky bed. Inside the mill the
changes were greater. The shafts and millstones and belts and pulleys
were, of course, all removed. There were two rows of benches with
aisles between, and a little raised platform and pulpit at one end.
On three sides overhead was a gallery containing seats, and reached
by a stairway inside. There was also an organ--a real pipe organ--in
the gallery, that was the pride of the congregation of the Old Mill
Church. Miss Phoebe Summers was the organist. The Lakelands boys
proudly took turns at pumping it for her at each Sunday's service.
The Rev. Mr. Banbridge was the preacher, and rode down from Squirrel
Gap on his old white horse without ever missing a service. And Abram
Strong paid for everything. He paid the preacher five hundred dollars
a year; and Miss Phoebe two hundred dollars.

Thus, in memory of Aglaia, the old mill was converted into a blessing
for the community in which she had once lived. It seemed that the
brief life of the child had brought about more good than the three
score years and ten of many. But Abram Strong set up yet another
monument to her memory.

Out from his mills in the Northwest came the "Aglaia" flour, made from
the hardest and finest wheat that could be raised. The country soon
found out that the "Aglaia" flour had two prices. One was the highest
market price, and the other was--nothing.

Wherever there happened a calamity that left people destitute--a fire,
a flood, a tornado, a strike, or a famine, there would go hurrying a
generous consignment of the "Aglaia" at its "nothing" price. It was
given away cautiously and judiciously, but it was freely given, and
not a penny could the hungry ones pay for it. There got to be a saying
that whenever there was a disastrous fire in the poor districts of a
city the fire chief's buggy reached the scene first, next the "Aglaia"
flour wagon, and then the fire engines.

So this was Abram Strong's other monument to Aglaia. Perhaps to a poet
the theme may seem too utilitarian for beauty; but to some the fancy
will seem sweet and fine that the pure, white, virgin flour, flying on
its mission of love and charity, might be likened to the spirit of the
lost child whose memory it signalized.

There came a year that brought hard times to the Cumberlands. Grain
crops everywhere were light, and there were no local crops at all.
Mountain floods had done much damage to property. Even game in the
woods was so scarce that the hunters brought hardly enough home to
keep their folk alive. Especially about Lakelands was the rigour felt.

As soon as Abram Strong heard of this his messages flew; and the
little narrow-gauge cars began to unload "Aglaia" flour there. The
miller's orders were to store the flour in the gallery of the Old Mill
Church; and that every one who attended the church was to carry home a
sack of it.

Two weeks after that Abram Strong came for his yearly visit to the
Eagle House, and became "Father Abram" again.

That season the Eagle House had fewer guests than usual. Among them
was Rose Chester. Miss Chester came to Lakelands from Atlanta, where
she worked in a department store. This was the first vacation outing
of her life. The wife of the store manager had once spent a summer at
the Eagle House. She had taken a fancy to Rose, and had persuaded her
to go there for her three weeks' holiday. The manager's wife gave her
a letter to Mrs. Rankin, who gladly received her in her own charge and
care.

Miss Chester was not very strong. She was about twenty, and pale and
delicate from an indoor life. But one week of Lakelands gave her a
brightness and spirit that changed her wonderfully. The time was early
September when the Cumberlands are at their greatest beauty. The
mountain foliage was growing brilliant with autumnal colours; one
breathed aerial champagne, the nights were deliciously cool, causing
one to snuggle cosily under the warm blankets of the Eagle House.

Father Abram and Miss Chester became great friends. The old miller
learned her story from Mrs. Rankin, and his interest went out quickly
to the slender lonely girl who was making her own way in the world.

The mountain country was new to Miss Chester. She had lived many years
in the warm, flat town of Atlanta; and the grandeur and variety of the
Cumberlands delighted her. She was determined to enjoy every moment of
her stay. Her little hoard of savings had been estimated so carefully
in connection with her expenses that she knew almost to a penny what
her very small surplus would be when she returned to work.

Miss Chester was fortunate in gaining Father Abram for a friend and
companion. He knew every road and peak and slope of the mountains near
Lakelands. Through him she became acquainted with the solemn delight
of the shadowy, tilted aisles of the pine forests, the dignity of the
bare crags, the crystal, tonic mornings, the dreamy, golden afternoons
full of mysterious sadness. So her health improved, and her spirits
grew light. She had a laugh as genial and hearty in its feminine
way as the famous laugh of Father Abram. Both of them were natural
optimists; and both knew how to present a serene and cheerful face to
the world.

One day Miss Chester learned from one of the guests the history of
Father Abram's lost child. Quickly she hurried away and found the
miller seated on his favourite rustic bench near the chalybeate
spring. He was surprised when his little friend slipped her hand into
his, and looked at him with tears in her eyes.

"Oh, Father Abram," she said, "I'm so sorry! I didn't know until
to-day about your little daughter. You will find her yet some day--
Oh, I hope you will."

The miller looked down at her with his strong, ready smile.

"Thank you, Miss Rose," he said, in his usual cheery tones. "But I do
not expect to find Aglaia. For a few years I hoped that she had been
stolen by vagrants, and that she still lived; but I have lost that
hope. I believe that she was drowned."

"I can understand," said Miss Chester, "how the doubt must have made
it so hard to bear. And yet you are so cheerful and so ready to make
other people's burdens light. Good Father Abram!"

"Good Miss Rose!" mimicked the miller, smiling. "Who thinks of others
more than you do?"

A whimsical mood seemed to strike Miss Chester.

"Oh, Father Abram," she cried, "wouldn't it be grand if I should prove
to be your daughter? Wouldn't it be romantic? And wouldn't you like to
have me for a daughter?"

"Indeed, I would," said the miller, heartily. "If Aglaia had lived I
could wish for nothing better than for her to have grown up to be just
such a little woman as you are. Maybe you are Aglaia," he continued,
falling in with her playful mood; "can't you remember when we lived at
the mill?"

Miss Chester fell swiftly into serious meditation. Her large eyes were
fixed vaguely upon something in the distance. Father Abram was amused
at her quick return to seriousness. She sat thus for a long time
before she spoke.

"No," she said at length, with a long sigh, "I can't remember anything
at all about a mill. I don't think that I ever saw a flour mill in my
life until I saw your funny little church. And if I were your little
girl I would remember it, wouldn't I? I'm so sorry, Father Abram."

"So am I," said Father Abram, humouring her. "But if you cannot
remember that you are my little girl, Miss Rose, surely you can
recollect being some one else's. You remember your own parents, of
course."

"Oh, yes; I remember them very well--especially my father. He wasn't a
bit like you, Father Abram. Oh, I was only making believe: Come, now,
you've rested long enough. You promised to show me the pool where you
can see the trout playing, this afternoon. I never saw a trout."

Late one afternoon Father Abram set out for the old mill alone. He
often went to sit and think of the old days when he lived in the
cottage across the road. Time had smoothed away the sharpness of his
grief until he no longer found the memory of those times painful. But
whenever Abram Strong sat in the melancholy September afternoons on
the spot where "Dums" used to run in every day with her yellow curls
flying, the smile that Lakelands always saw upon his face was not
there.

The miller made his way slowly up the winding, steep road. The trees
crowded so close to the edge of it that he walked in their shade, with
his hat in his hand. Squirrels ran playfully upon the old rail fence
at his right. Quails were calling to their young broods in the wheat
stubble. The low sun sent a torrent of pale gold up the ravine that
opened to the west. Early September!--it was within a few days only of
the anniversary of Aglaia's disappearance.

The old overshot-wheel, half covered with mountain ivy, caught patches
of the warm sunlight filtering through the trees. The cottage across
the road was still standing, but it would doubtless go down before the
next winter's mountain blasts. It was overrun with morning glory and
wild gourd vines, and the door hung by one hinge.

Father Abram pushed open the mill door, and entered softly. And then
he stood still, wondering. He heard the sound of some one within,
weeping inconsolably. He looked, and saw Miss Chester sitting in a dim
pew, with her head bowed upon an open letter that her hands held.

Father Abram went to her, and laid one of his strong hands firmly upon
hers. She looked up, breathed his name, and tried to speak further.

"Not yet, Miss Rose," said the miller, kindly. "Don't try to talk yet.
There's nothing as good for you as a nice, quiet little cry when you
are feeling blue."

It seemed that the old miller, who had known so much sorrow himself,
was a magician in driving it away from others. Miss Chester's sobs
grew easier. Presently she took her little plain-bordered handkerchief
and wiped away a drop or two that had fallen from her eyes upon Father
Abram's big hand. Then she looked up and smiled through her tears.
Miss Chester could always smile before her tears had dried, just as
Father Abram could smile through his own grief. In that way the two
were very much alike.

The miller asked her no questions; but by and by Miss Chester began to
tell him.

It was the old story that always seems so big and important to the
young, and that brings reminiscent smiles to their elders. Love was
the theme, as may be supposed. There was a young man in Atlanta, full
of all goodness and the graces, who had discovered that Miss Chester
also possessed these qualities above all other people in Atlanta or
anywhere else from Greenland to Patagonia. She showed Father Abram the
letter over which she had been weeping. It was a manly, tender letter,
a little superlative and urgent, after the style of love letters
written by young men full of goodness and the graces. He proposed for
Miss Chester's hand in marriage at once. Life, he said, since her
departure for a three-weeks' visit, was not to be endured. He begged
for an immediate answer; and if it were favourable he promised to fly,
ignoring the narrow-gauge railroad, at once to Lakelands.

"And now where does the trouble come in?" asked the miller when he had
read the letter.

"I cannot marry him," said Miss Chester.

"Do you want to marry him?" asked Father Abram.

"Oh, I love him," she answered, "but--" Down went her head and she
sobbed again.

"Come, Miss Rose," said the miller; "you can give me your confidence.
I do not question you, but I think you can trust me."

"I do trust you," said the girl. "I will tell you why I must refuse
Ralph. I am nobody; I haven't even a name; the name I call myself is
a lie. Ralph is a noble man. I love him with all my heart, but I can
never be his."

"What talk is this?" said Father Abram. "You said that you remember
your parents. Why do you say you have no name? I do not understand."

"I do remember them," said Miss Chester. "I remember them too well.
My first recollections are of our life somewhere in the far South. We
moved many times to different towns and states. I have picked cotton,
and worked in factories, and have often gone without enough food and
clothes. My mother was sometimes good to me; my father was always
cruel, and beat me. I think they were both idle and unsettled.

"One night when we were living in a little town on a river near
Atlanta they had a great quarrel. It was while they were abusing and
taunting each other that I learned--oh, Father Abram, I learned that I
didn't even have the right to be--don't you understand? I had no right
even to a name; I was nobody.

"I ran away that night. I walked to Atlanta and found work. I gave
myself the name of Rose Chester, and have earned my own living ever
since. Now you know why I cannot marry Ralph--and, oh, I can never
tell him why."

Better than any sympathy, more helpful than pity, was Father Abram's
depreciation of her woes.

"Why, dear, dear! is that all?" he said. "Fie, fie! I thought
something was in the way. If this perfect young man is a man at all he
will not care a pinch of bran for your family tree. Dear Miss Rose,
take my word for it, it is yourself he cares for. Tell him frankly,
just as you have told me, and I'll warrant that he will laugh at your
story, and think all the more of you for it."

"I shall never tell him," said Miss Chester, sadly. "And I shall never
marry him nor any one else. I have not the right."

But they saw a long shadow come bobbing up the sunlit road. And then
came a shorter one bobbing by its side; and presently two strange
figures approached the church. The long shadow was made by Miss Phoebe
Summers, the organist, come to practise. Tommy Teague, aged twelve,
was responsible for the shorter shadow. It was Tommy's day to pump the
organ for Miss Phoebe, and his bare toes proudly spurned the dust of
the road.

Miss Phoebe, in her lilac-spray chintz dress, with her accurate little
curls hanging over each ear, courtesied low to Father Abram, and shook
her curls ceremoniously at Miss Chester. Then she and her assistant
climbed the steep stairway to the organ loft.

In the gathering shadows below, Father Abram and Miss Chester
lingered. They were silent; and it is likely that they were busy with
their memories. Miss Chester sat, leaning her head on her hand, with
her eyes fixed far away. Father Abram stood in the next pew, looking
thoughtfully out of the door at the road and the ruined cottage.

Suddenly the scene was transformed for him back almost a score of
years into the past. For, as Tommy pumped away, Miss Phoebe struck
a low bass note on the organ and held it to test the volume of air
that it contained. The church ceased to exist, so far as Father Abram
was concerned. The deep, booming vibration that shook the little
frame building was no note from an organ, but the humming of the mill
machinery. He felt sure that the old overshot-wheel was turning; that
he was back again, a dusty, merry miller in the old mountain mill. And
now evening was come, and soon would come Aglaia with flying colours,
toddling across the road to take him home to supper. Father Abram's
eyes were fixed upon the broken door of the cottage.

And then came another wonder. In the gallery overhead the sacks of
flour were stacked in long rows. Perhaps a mouse had been at one of
them; anyway the jar of the deep organ note shook down between the
cracks of the gallery floor a stream of flour, covering Father Abram
from head to foot with the white dust. And then the old miller stepped
into the aisle, and waved his arms and began to sing the miller's
song:


   "The wheel goes round,
    The grist is ground,
       The dusty miller's merry."


--and then the rest of the miracle happened. Miss Chester was leaning
forward from her pew, as pale as the flour itself, her wide-open eyes
staring at Father Abram like one in a waking dream. When he began the
song she stretched out her arms to him; her lips moved; she called to
him in dreamy tones: "Da-da, come take Dums home!"

Miss Phoebe released the low key of the organ. But her work had been
well done. The note that she struck had beaten down the doors of a
closed memory; and Father Abram held his lost Aglaia close in his
arms.

When you visit Lakelands they will tell you more of this story. They
will tell you how the lines of it were afterward traced, and the
history of the miller's daughter revealed after the gipsy wanderers
had stolen her on that September day, attracted by her childish
beauty. But you should wait until you sit comfortably on the shaded
porch of the Eagle House, and then you can have the story at your
ease. It seems best that our part of it should close while Miss
Phoebe's deep bass note was yet reverberating softly.

And yet, to my mind, the finest thing of it all happened while Father
Abram and his daughter were walking back to the Eagle House in the
long twilight, almost too glad to speak.

"Father," she said, somewhat timidly and doubtfully, "have you a great
deal of money?"

"A great deal?" said the miller. "Well, that depends. There is plenty
unless you want to buy the moon or something equally expensive."

"Would it cost very, very much," asked Aglaia, who had always counted
her dimes so carefully, "to send a telegram to Atlanta?"

"Ah," said Father Abram, with a little sigh, "I see. You want to ask
Ralph to come."

Aglaia looked up at him with a tender smile.

"I want to ask him to wait," she said. "I have just found my father,
and I want it to be just we two for a while. I want to tell him he
will have to wait."




XVII

NEW YORK BY CAMP FIRE LIGHT


Away out in the Creek Nation we learned things about New York.

We were on a hunting trip, and were camped one night on the bank of a
little stream. Bud Kingsbury was our skilled hunter and guide, and it
was from his lips that we had explanations of Manhattan and the queer
folks that inhabit it. Bud had once spent a month in the metropolis,
and a week or two at other times, and he was pleased to discourse to
us of what he had seen.

Fifty yards away from our camp was pitched the teepee of a wandering
family of Indians that had come up and settled there for the night. An
old, old Indian woman was trying to build a fire under an iron pot
hung upon three sticks.

Bud went over to her assistance, and soon had her fire going. When he
came back we complimented him playfully upon his gallantry.

"Oh," said Bud, "don't mention it. It's a way I have. Whenever I see a
lady trying to cook things in a pot and having trouble I always go to
the rescue. I done the same thing once in a high-toned house in. New
York City. Heap big society teepee on Fifth Avenue. That Injun lady
kind of recalled it to my mind. Yes, I endeavours to be polite and
help the ladies out."

The camp demanded the particulars.

"I was manager of the Triangle B Ranch in the Panhandle," said Bud.
"It was owned at that time by old man Sterling, of New York. He wanted
to sell out, and he wrote for me to come on to New York and explain
the ranch to the syndicate that wanted to buy. So I sends to Fort
Worth and has a forty dollar suit of clothes made, and hits the trail
for the big village.

"Well, when I got there, old man Sterling and his outfit certainly
laid themselves out to be agreeable. We had business and pleasure so
mixed up that you couldn't tell whether it was a treat or a trade half
the time. We had trolley rides, and cigars, and theatre round-ups, and
rubber parties."

"Rubber parties?" said a listener, inquiringly.

"Sure," said Bud. "Didn't you never attend 'em? You walk around and
try to look at the tops of the skyscrapers. Well, we sold the ranch,
and old man Sterling asks me 'round to his house to take grub on the
night before I started back. It wasn't any high-collared affair--just
me and the old man and his wife and daughter. But they was a
fine-haired outfit all right, and the lilies of the field wasn't in
it. They made my Fort Worth clothes carpenter look like a dealer in
horse blankets and gee strings. And then the table was all pompous
with flowers, and there was a whole kit of tools laid out beside
everybody's plate. You'd have thought you was fixed out to burglarize
a restaurant before you could get your grub. But I'd been in New York
over a week then, and I was getting on to stylish ways. I kind of
trailed behind and watched the others use the hardware supplies, and
then I tackled the chuck with the same weapons. It ain't much trouble
to travel with the high-flyers after you find out their gait.  I got
along fine. I was feeling cool and agreeable, and pretty soon I was
talking away fluent as you please, all about the ranch and the West,
and telling 'em how the Indians eat grasshopper stew and snakes, and
you never saw people so interested.

"But the real joy of that feast was that Miss Sterling. Just a little
trick she was, not bigger than two bits' worth of chewing plug; but
she had a way about her that seemed to say she was the people, and you
believed it. And yet, she never put on any airs, and she smiled at me
the same as if I was a millionaire while I was telling about a Creek
dog feast and listened like it was news from home.

"By and by, after we had eat oysters and some watery soup and truck
that never was in my repertory, a Methodist preacher brings in a kind
of camp stove arrangement, all silver, on long legs, with a lamp under
it.

"Miss Sterling lights up and begins to do some cooking right on the
supper table. I wondered why old man Sterling didn't hire a cook, with
all the money he had. Pretty soon she dished out some cheesy tasting
truck that she said was rabbit, but I swear there had never been a
Molly cotton tail in a mile of it.

"The last thing on the programme was lemonade. It was brought around
in little flat glass bowls and set by your plate. I was pretty
thirsty, and I picked up mine and took a big swig of it. Right there
was where the little lady had made a mistake. She had put in the lemon
all right, but she'd forgot the sugar. The best housekeepers slip up
sometimes. I thought maybe Miss Sterling was just learning to keep
house and cook--that rabbit would surely make you think so--and I says
to myself, 'Little lady, sugar or no sugar I'll stand by you,' and I
raises up my bowl again and drinks the last drop of the lemonade. And
then all the balance of 'em picks up their bowls and does the same.
And then I gives Miss Sterling the laugh proper, just to carry it off
like a joke, so she wouldn't feel bad about the mistake.

"After we all went into the sitting room she sat down and talked to me
quite awhile.

"'It was so kind of you, Mr. Kingsbury,' says she, 'to bring my
blunder off so nicely. It was so stupid of me to forget the sugar.'

"'Never you mind,' says I, 'some lucky man will throw his rope over a
mighty elegant little housekeeper some day, not far from here.'

"'If you mean me, Mr. Kingsbury,' says she, laughing out loud, 'I hope
he will be as lenient with my poor housekeeping as you have been.'

"'Don't mention it,' says I. 'Anything to oblige the ladies.'"

Bud ceased his reminiscences. And then some one asked him what he
considered the most striking and prominent trait of New Yorkers.

"The most visible and peculiar trait of New York folks," answered Bud,
"is New York. Most of 'em has New York on the brain. They have heard
of other places, such as Waco, and Paris, and Hot Springs, and London;
but they don't believe in 'em. They think that town is all Merino. Now
to show you how much they care for their village I'll tell you about
one of 'em that strayed out as far as the Triangle B while I was
working there.

"This New Yorker come out there looking for a job on the ranch. He
said he was a good horseback rider, and there was pieces of tanbark
hanging on his clothes yet from his riding school.

"Well, for a while they put him to keeping books in the ranch store,
for he was a devil at figures. But he got tired of that, and asked for
something more in the line of activity. The boys on the ranch liked
him all right, but he made us tired shouting New York all the time.
Every night he'd tell us about East River and J. P. Morgan and the
Eden Musee and Hetty Green and Central Park till we used to throw tin
plates and branding irons at him.

"One day this chap gets on a pitching pony, and the pony kind of
sidled up his back and went to eating grass while the New Yorker was
coming down.

"He come down on his head on a chunk of mesquit wood, and he didn't
show any designs toward getting up again. We laid him out in a tent,
and he begun to look pretty dead. So Gideon Pease saddles up and
burns the wind for old Doc Sleeper's residence in Dogtown, thirty
miles away.

"The doctor comes over and he investigates the patient.

"'Boys,' says he, 'you might as well go to playing seven-up for his
saddle and clothes, for his head's fractured and if he lives ten
minutes it will be a remarkable case of longevity.'

"Of course we didn't gamble for the poor rooster's saddle--that was
one of Doc's jokes. But we stood around feeling solemn, and all of us
forgive him for having talked us to death about New York.

"I never saw anybody about to hand in his checks act more peaceful
than this fellow. His eyes were fixed 'way up in the air, and he was
using rambling words to himself all about sweet music and beautiful
streets and white-robed forms, and he was smiling like dying was a
pleasure.

"'He's about gone now,' said Doc. 'Whenever they begin to think they
see heaven it's all off.'

"Blamed if that New York man didn't sit right up when he heard the Doc
say that.

"'Say,' says he, kind of disappointed, 'was that heaven? Confound it
all, I thought it was Broadway. Some of you fellows get my clothes.
I'm going to get up.'

"And I'll be blamed," concluded Bud, "if he wasn't on the train with a
ticket for New York in his pocket four days afterward!"




XVIII

THE ADVENTURES OF SHAMROCK JOLNES


I am so fortunate as to count Shamrock Jolnes, the great New York
detective, among my muster of friends. Jolnes is what is called the
"inside man" of the city detective force. He is an expert in the use
of the typewriter, and it is his duty, whenever there is a "murder
mystery" to be solved, to sit at a desk telephone at headquarters and
take down the messages of "cranks" who 'phone in their confessions to
having committed the crime.

But on certain "off" days when confessions are coming in slowly and
three or four newspapers have run to earth as many different guilty
persons, Jolnes will knock about the town with me, exhibiting, to my
great delight and instruction, his marvellous powers of observation
and deduction.

The other day I dropped in at Headquarters and found the great
detective gazing thoughtfully at a string that was tied tightly around
his little finger.

"Good morning, Whatsup," he said, without turning his head. "I'm glad
to notice that you've had your house fitted up with electric lights at
last."

"Will you please tell me," I said, in surprise, "how you knew that? I
am sure that I never mentioned the fact to any one, and the wiring was
a rush order not completed until this morning."

"Nothing easier," said Jolnes, genially. "As you came in I caught the
odour of the cigar you are smoking. I know an expensive cigar; and
I know that not more than three men in New York can afford to smoke
cigars and pay gas bills too at the present time. That was an easy
one. But I am working just now on a little problem of my own."

"Why have you that string on your finger?" I asked.

"That's the problem," said Jolnes. "My wife tied that on this morning
to remind me of something I was to send up to the house. Sit down,
Whatsup, and excuse me for a few moments."

The distinguished detective went to a wall telephone, and stood with
the receiver to his ear for probably ten minutes.

"Were you listening to a confession?" I asked, when he had returned to
his chair.

"Perhaps," said Jolnes, with a smile, "it might be called something of
the sort. To be frank with you, Whatsup, I've cut out the dope. I've
been increasing the quantity for so long that morphine doesn't have
much effect on me any more. I've got to have something more powerful.
That telephone I just went to is connected with a room in the Waldorf
where there's an author's reading in progress. Now, to get at the
solution of this string."

After five minutes of silent pondering, Jolnes looked at me, with a
smile, and nodded his head.

"Wonderful man!" I exclaimed; "already?"

"It is quite simple," he said, holding up his finger. "You see
that knot? That is to prevent my forgetting. It is, therefore, a
forget-me-knot. A forget-me-not is a flower. It was a sack of flour
that I was to send home!"

"Beautiful!" I could not help crying out in admiration.

"Suppose we go out for a ramble," suggested Jolnes.

"There is only one case of importance on hand just now. Old man
McCarty, one hundred and four years old, died from eating too many
bananas. The evidence points so strongly to the Mafia that the police
have surrounded the Second Avenue Katzenjammer Gambrinus Club No. 2,
and the capture of the assassin is only the matter of a few hours. The
detective force has not yet been called on for assistance."

Jolnes and I went out and up the street toward the corner, where we
were to catch a surface car.

Half-way up the block we met Rheingelder, an acquaintance of ours, who
held a City Hall position.

"Good morning, Rheingelder," said Jolnes, halting.

"Nice breakfast that was you had this morning."

Always on the lookout for the detective's remarkable feats of
deduction, I saw Jolnes's eye flash for an instant upon a long
yellow splash on the shirt bosom and a smaller one upon the chin of
Rheingelder--both undoubtedly made by the yolk of an egg.

"Oh, dot is some of your detectiveness," said Rheingelder, shaking all
over with a smile. "Vell, I pet you trinks und cigars all round dot
you cannot tell vot I haf eaten for breakfast."

"Done," said Jolnes. "Sausage, pumpernickel and coffee."

Rheingelder admitted the correctness of the surmise and paid the bet.
When we had proceeded on our way I said to Jolnes:

"I thought you looked at the egg spilled on his chin and shirt front."

"I did," said Jolnes. "That is where I began my deduction. Rheingelder
is a very economical, saving man. Yesterday eggs dropped in the market
to twenty-eight cents per dozen. To-day they are quoted at forty-two.
Rheingelder ate eggs yesterday, and to-day he went back to his usual
fare. A little thing like this isn't anything, Whatsup; it belongs to
the primary arithmetic class."

When we boarded the street car we found the seats all
occupied--principally by ladies. Jolnes and I stood on the rear
platform.

About the middle of the car there sat an elderly man with a short,
gray beard, who looked to be the typical, well-dressed New Yorker. At
successive corners other ladies climbed aboard, and soon three or four
of them were standing over the man, clinging to straps and glaring
meaningly at the man who occupied the coveted seat. But he resolutely
retained his place.

"We New Yorkers," I remarked to Jolnes, "have about lost our manners,
as far as the exercise of them in public goes."

"Perhaps so," said Jolnes, lightly; "but the man you evidently refer
to happens to be a very chivalrous and courteous gentleman from Old
Virginia. He is spending a few days in New York with his wife and two
daughters, and he leaves for the South to-night."

"You know him, then?" I said, in amazement.

"I never saw him before we stepped on the car," declared the
detective, smilingly.

"By the gold tooth of the Witch of Endor!" I cried, "if you can
construe all that from his appearance you are dealing in nothing else
than black art."

"The habit of observation--nothing more," said Jolnes. "If the old
gentleman gets off the car before we do, I think I can demonstrate to
you the accuracy of my deduction."

Three blocks farther along the gentleman rose to leave the car. Jolnes
addressed him at the door:

"Pardon me, sir, but are you not Colonel Hunter, of Norfolk,
Virginia?"

"No, suh," was the extremely courteous answer. "My name, suh, is
Ellison--Major Winfield R. Ellison, from Fairfax County, in the same
state. I know a good many people, suh, in Norfolk--the Goodriches, the
Tollivers, and the Crabtrees, suh, but I never had the pleasure of
meeting yo' friend, Colonel Hunter. I am happy to say, suh, that I am
going back to Virginia to-night, after having spent a week in yo' city
with my wife and three daughters. I shall be in Norfolk in about ten
days, and if you will give me yo' name, suh, I will take pleasure in
looking up Colonel Hunter and telling him that you inquired after him,
suh."

"Thank you," said Jolnes; "tell him that Reynolds sent his regards, if
you will be so kind."

I glanced at the great New York detective and saw that a look of
intense chagrin had come upon his clear-cut features. Failure in the
slightest point always galled Shamrock Jolnes.

"Did you say your _three_ daughters?" he asked of the Virginia
gentleman.

"Yes, suh, my three daughters, all as fine girls as there are in
Fairfax County," was the answer.

With that Major Ellison stopped the car and began to descend the step.

Shamrock Jolnes clutched his arm.

"One moment, sir," he begged, in an urbane voice in which I alone
detected the anxiety--"am I not right in believing that one of the
young ladies is an _adopted_ daughter?"

"You are, suh," admitted the major, from the ground, "but how the
devil you knew it, suh, is mo' than I can tell."

"And mo' than I can tell, too," I said, as the car went on.

Jolnes was restored to his calm, observant serenity by having wrested
victory from his apparent failure; so after we got off the car he
invited me into a cafe, promising to reveal the process of his latest
wonderful feat.

"In the first place," he began after we were comfortably seated, "I
knew the gentleman was no New Yorker because he was flushed and uneasy
and restless on account of the ladies that were standing, although he
did not rise and give them his seat. I decided from his appearance
that he was a Southerner rather than a Westerner.

"Next I began to figure out his reason for not relinquishing his seat
to a lady when he evidently felt strongly, but not overpoweringly,
impelled to do so. I very quickly decided upon that. I noticed that
one of his eyes had received a severe jab in one corner, which was red
and inflamed, and that all over his face were tiny round marks about
the size of the end of an uncut lead pencil. Also upon both of his
patent leather shoes were a number of deep imprints shaped like ovals
cut off square at one end.

"Now, there is only one district in New York City where a man is bound
to receive scars and wounds and indentations of that sort--and that
is along the sidewalks of Twenty-third Street and a portion of Sixth
Avenue south of there. I knew from the imprints of trampling French
heels on his feet and the marks of countless jabs in the face from
umbrellas and parasols carried by women in the shopping district that
he had been in conflict with the amazonian troops. And as he was a
man of intelligent appearance, I knew he would not have braved such
dangers unless he had been dragged thither by his own women folk.
Therefore, when he got on the car his anger at the treatment he had
received was sufficient to make him keep his seat in spite of his
traditions of Southern chivalry."

"That is all very well," I said, "but why did you insist upon
daughters--and especially two daughters? Why couldn't a wife alone
have taken him shopping?"

"There had to be daughters," said Jolnes, calmly. "If he had only a
wife, and she near his own age, he could have bluffed her into going
alone. If he had a young wife she would prefer to go alone. So there
you are."

"I'll admit that," I said; "but, now, why two daughters? And how, in
the name of all the prophets, did you guess that one was adopted when
he told you he had three?"

"Don't say guess," said Jolnes, with a touch of pride in his air;
"there is no such word in the lexicon of ratiocination. In Major
Ellison's buttonhole there was a carnation and a rosebud backed by a
geranium leaf. No woman ever combined a carnation and a rosebud into
a boutonniere. Close your eyes, Whatsup, and give the logic of your
imagination a chance. Cannot you see the lovely Adele fastening the
carnation to the lapel so that papa may be gay upon the street? And
then the romping Edith May dancing up with sisterly jealousy to add
her rosebud to the adornment?"

"And then," I cried, beginning to feel enthusiasm, "when he declared
that he had three daughters--"

"I could see," said Jolnes, "one in the background who added no
flower; and I knew that she must be--"

"Adopted!" I broke in. "I give you every credit; but how did you know
he was leaving for the South to-night?"

"In his breast pocket," said the great detective, "something large and
oval made a protuberance. Good liquor is scarce on trains, and it is a
long journey from New York to Fairfax County."

"Again, I must bow to you," I said. "And tell me this, so that my last
shred of doubt will be cleared away; why did you decide that he was
from Virginia?"

"It was very faint, I admit," answered Shamrock Jolnes, "but no
trained observer could have failed to detect the odour of mint in the
car."




XIX

THE LADY HIGHER UP


New York City, they said, was deserted; and that accounted, doubtless,
for the sounds carrying so far in the tranquil summer air. The breeze
was south-by-southwest; the hour was midnight; the theme was a bit of
feminine gossip by wireless mythology. Three hundred and sixty-five
feet above the heated asphalt the tiptoeing symbolic deity on
Manhattan pointed her vacillating arrow straight, for the time, in
the direction of her exalted sister on Liberty Island. The lights of
the great Garden were out; the benches in the Square were filled with
sleepers in postures so strange that beside them the writhing figures
in Dore's illustrations of the Inferno would have straightened into
tailor's dummies. The statue of Diana on the tower of the Garden--its
constancy shown by its weathercock ways, its innocence by the coating
of gold that it has acquired, its devotion to style by its single,
graceful flying scarf, its candour and artlessness by its habit of
ever drawing the long bow, its metropolitanism by its posture of swift
flight to catch a Harlem train--remained poised with its arrow pointed
across the upper bay. Had that arrow sped truly and horizontally it
would have passed fifty feet above the head of the heroic matron whose
duty it is to offer a cast-ironical welcome to the oppressed of other
lands.

Seaward this lady gazed, and the furrows between steamship lines began
to cut steerage rates. The translators, too, have put an extra burden
upon her. "Liberty Lighting the World" (as her creator christened
her) would have had a no more responsible duty, except for the size
of it, than that of an electrician or a Standard Oil magnate. But to
"enlighten" the world (as our learned civic guardians "Englished" it)
requires abler qualities. And so poor Liberty, instead of having a
sinecure as a mere illuminator, must be converted into a Chautauqua
schoolma'am, with the oceans for her field instead of the placid,
classic lake. With a fireless torch and an empty head must she dispel
the shadows of the world and teach it its A, B, C's.

"Ah, there, Mrs. Liberty!" called a clear, rollicking soprano voice
through the still, midnight air.

"Is that you, Miss Diana? Excuse my not turning my head. I'm not as
flighty and whirly-whirly as some. And 'tis so hoarse I am I can
hardly talk on account of the peanut-hulls left on the stairs in me
throat by that last boatload of tourists from Marietta, Ohio. 'Tis
after being a fine evening, miss."

"If you don't mind my asking," came the bell-like tones of the golden
statue, "I'd like to know where you got that City Hall brogue. I
didn't know that Liberty was necessarily Irish."

"If ye'd studied the history of art in its foreign complications
ye'd not need to ask," replied the offshore statue. "If ye wasn't
so light-headed and giddy ye'd know that I was made by a Dago and
presented to the American people on behalf of the French Government
for the purpose of welcomin' Irish immigrants into the Dutch city of
New York. 'Tis that I've been doing night and day since I was erected.
Ye must know, Miss Diana, that 'tis with statues the same as with
people--'tis not their makers nor the purposes for which they were
created that influence the operations of their tongues at all--it's
the associations with which they become associated, I'm telling ye."

"You're dead right," agreed Diana. "I notice it on myself. If any of
the old guys from Olympus were to come along and hand me any hot air
in the ancient Greek I couldn't tell it from a conversation between a
Coney Island car conductor and a five-cent fare."

"I'm right glad ye've made up your mind to be sociable, Miss Diana,"
said Mrs. Liberty. "'Tis a lonesome life I have down here. Is there
anything doin' up in the city, Miss Diana, dear?"

"Oh, la, la, la!--no," said Diana. "Notice that 'la, la, la,' Aunt
Liberty? Got that from 'Paris by Night' on the roof garden under me.
You'll hear that 'la, la, la' at the Cafe McCann now, along with
'garsong.' The bohemian crowd there have become tired of 'garsong'
since O'Rafferty, the head waiter, punched three of them for calling
him it. Oh, no; the town's strickly on the bum these nights.
Everybody's away. Saw a downtown merchant on a roof garden this
evening with his stenographer. Show was so dull he went to sleep. A
waiter biting on a dime tip to see if it was good half woke him up.
He looks around and sees his little pothooks perpetrator. 'H'm!' says
he, 'will you take a letter, Miss De St. Montmorency?' 'Sure, in a
minute,' says she, 'if you'll make it an X.'

"That was the best thing happened on the roof. So you see how dull it
is. La, la, la!"

"'Tis fine ye have it up there in society, Miss Diana. Ye have the
cat show and the horse show and the military tournaments where the
privates look grand as generals and the generals try to look grand
as floor-walkers. And ye have the Sportsmen's Show, where the girl
that measures 36, 19, 45 cooks breakfast food in a birch-bark wigwam
on the banks of the Grand Canal of Venice conducted by one of the
Vanderbilts, Bernard McFadden, and the Reverends Dowie and Duss. And
ye have the French ball, where the original Cohens and the Robert
Emmet-Sangerbund Society dance the Highland fling one with another.
And ye have the grand O'Ryan ball, which is the most beautiful pageant
in the world, where the French students vie with the Tyrolean warblers
in doin' the cake walk. Ye have the best job for a statue in the whole
town, Miss Diana.

"'Tis weary work," sighed the island statue, "disseminatin' the
science of liberty in New York Bay. Sometimes when I take a peep down
at Ellis Island and see the gang of immigrants I'm supposed to light
up, 'tis tempted I am to blow out the gas and let the coroner write
out their naturalization papers."

"Say, it's a shame, ain't it, to give you the worst end of it?" came
the sympathetic antiphony of the steeplechase goddess. "It must be
awfully lonesome down there with so much water around you. I don't see
how you ever keep your hair in curl. And that Mother Hubbard you are
wearing went out ten years ago. I think those sculptor guys ought to
be held for damages for putting iron or marble clothes on a lady.
That's where Mr. St. Gaudens was wise. I'm always a little ahead of
the styles; but they're coming my way pretty fast. Excuse my back a
moment--I caught a puff of wind from the north--shouldn't wonder if
things had loosened up in Esopus. There, now! it's in the West--I
should think that gold plank would have calmed the air out in that
direction. What were you saying, Mrs. Liberty?"

"A fine chat I've had with ye, Miss Diana, ma'am, but I see one
of them European steamers a-sailin' up the Narrows, and I must be
attendin' to me duties. 'Tis me job to extend aloft the torch of
Liberty to welcome all them that survive the kicks that the steerage
stewards give 'em while landin.' Sure 'tis a great country ye can come
to for $8.50, and the doctor waitin' to send ye back home free if he
sees yer eyes red from cryin' for it."

The golden statue veered in the changing breeze, menacing many points
on the horizon with its aureate arrow.

"So long, Aunt Liberty," sweetly called Diana of the Tower. "Some
night, when the wind's right. I'll call you up again. But--say! you
haven't got such a fierce kick coming about your job. I've kept a
pretty good watch on the island of Manhattan since I've been up here.
That's a pretty sick-looking bunch of liberty chasers they dump down
at your end of it; but they don't all stay that way. Every little
while up here I see guys signing checks and voting the right ticket,
and encouraging the arts and taking a bath every morning, that was
shoved ashore by a dock labourer born in the United States who never
earned over forty dollars a month. Don't run down your job, Aunt
Liberty; you're all right, all right."




XX

THE GREATER CONEY


"Next Sunday," said Dennis Carnahan, "I'll be after going down to see
the new Coney Island that's risen like a phoenix bird from the ashes
of the old resort. I'm going with Norah Flynn, and we'll fall victims
to all the dry goods deceptions, from the red-flannel eruption of
Mount Vesuvius to the pink silk ribbons on the race-suicide problems
in the incubator kiosk.

"Was I there before? I was. I was there last Tuesday. Did I see the
sights? I did not.

"Last Monday I amalgamated myself with the Bricklayers' Union, and in
accordance with the rules I was ordered to quit work the same day on
account of a sympathy strike with the Lady Salmon Canners' Lodge No.2,
of Tacoma, Washington.

"'Twas disturbed I was in mind and proclivities by losing me job,
bein' already harassed in me soul on account of havin' quarrelled
with Norah Flynn a week before by reason of hard words spoken at the
Dairymen and Street-Sprinkler Drivers' semi-annual ball, caused by
jealousy and prickly heat and that divil, Andy Coghlin.

"So, I says, it will be Coney for Tuesday; and if the chutes and the
short change and the green-corn silk between the teeth don't create
diversions and get me feeling better, then I don't know at all.

"Ye will have heard that Coney has received moral reconstruction. The
old Bowery, where they used to take your tintype by force and give ye
knockout drops before having your palm read, is now called the Wall
Street of the island. The wienerwurst stands are required by law to
keep a news ticker in 'em; and the doughnuts are examined every four
years by a retired steamboat inspector. The nigger man's head that
was used by the old patrons to throw baseballs at is now illegal;
and, by order of the Police Commissioner the image of a man drivin'
an automobile has been substituted. I hear that the old immoral
amusements have been suppressed. People who used to go down from New
York to sit in the sand and dabble in the surf now give up their
quarters to squeeze through turnstiles and see imitations of city
fires and floods painted on canvas. The reprehensible and degradin'
resorts that disgraced old Coney are said to be wiped out. The
wipin'-out process consists of raisin' the price from 10 cents to 25
cents, and hirin' a blonde named Maudie to sell tickets instead of
Micky, the Bowery Bite. That's what they say--I don't know.

"But to Coney I goes a-Tuesday. I gets off the 'L' and starts for the
glitterin' show. 'Twas a fine sight. The Babylonian towers and the
Hindoo roof gardens was blazin' with thousands of electric lights, and
the streets was thick with people. 'Tis a true thing they say that
Coney levels all rank. I see millionaires eatin' popcorn and trampin'
along with the crowd; and I see eight-dollar-a-week clothin'-store
clerks in red automobiles fightin' one another for who'd squeeze the
horn when they come to a corner.

"'I made a mistake,' I says to myself. 'Twas not Coney I needed.
When a man's sad 'tis not scenes of hilarity he wants. 'Twould be
far better for him to meditate in a graveyard or to attend services
at the Paradise Roof Gardens. 'Tis no consolation when a man's lost
his sweetheart to order hot corn and have the waiter bring him the
powdered sugar cruet instead of salt and then conceal himself, or to
have Zozookum, the gipsy palmist, tell him that he has three children
and to look out for another serious calamity; price twenty-five cents.

"I walked far away down on the beach, to the ruins of an old pavilion
near one corner of this new private park, Dreamland. A year ago that
old pavilion was standin' up straight and the old-style waiters was
slammin' a week's supply of clam chowder down in front of you for a
nickel and callin' you 'cully' friendly, and vice was rampant, and you
got back to New York with enough change to take a car at the bridge.
Now they tell me that they serve Welsh rabbits on Surf Avenue, and you
get the right change back in the movin'-picture joints.

"I sat down at one side of the old pavilion and looked at the surf
spreadin' itself on the beach, and thought about the time me and Norah
Flynn sat on that spot last summer. 'Twas before reform struck the
island; and we was happy. We had tintypes and chowder in the ribald
dives, and the Egyptian Sorceress of the Nile told Norah out of her
hand, while I was waitin' in the door, that 'twould be the luck of
her to marry a red-headed gossoon with two crooked legs, and I was
overrunnin' with joy on account of the allusion. And 'twas there that
Norah Flynn put her two hands in mine a year before and we talked of
flats and the things she could cook and the love business that goes
with such episodes. And that was Coney as we loved it, and as the hand
of Satan was upon it, friendly and noisy and your money's worth, with
no fence around the ocean and not too many electric lights to show the
sleeve of a black serge coat against a white shirtwaist.

"I sat with my back to the parks where they had the moon and the
dreams and the steeples corralled, and longed for the old Coney. There
wasn't many people on the beach. Lots of them was feedin' pennies into
the slot machines to see the 'Interrupted Courtship' in the movin'
pictures; and a good many was takin' the sea air in the Canals of
Venice and some was breathin' the smoke of the sea battle by actual
warships in a tank filled with real water. A few was down on the sands
enjoyin' the moonlight and the water. And the heart of me was heavy
for the new morals of the old island, while the bands behind me played
and the sea pounded on the bass drum in front.

"And directly I got up and walked along the old pavilion, and there
on the other side of, half in the dark, was a slip of a girl sittin'
on the tumble-down timbers, and unless I'm a liar she was cryin' by
herself there, all alone.

"'Is it trouble you are in, now, Miss,' says I; 'and what's to be done
about it?'

"''Tis none of your business at all, Denny Carnahan,' says she,
sittin' up straight. And it was the voice of no other than Norah
Flynn.

"'Then it's not,' says I, 'and we're after having a pleasant evening,
Miss Flynn. Have ye seen the sights of this new Coney Island, then? I
presume ye have come here for that purpose,' says I.

"'I have,' says she. 'Me mother and Uncle Tim they are waiting beyond.
'Tis an elegant evening I've had. I've seen all the attractions that
be.'

"'Right ye are,' says I to Norah; and I don't know when I've been
that amused. After disportin' me-self among the most laughable moral
improvements of the revised shell games I took meself to the shore
for the benefit of the cool air. 'And did ye observe the Durbar, Miss
Flynn?'

"'I did,' says she, reflectin'; 'but 'tis not safe, I'm thinkin', to
ride down them slantin' things into the water.'

"'How did ye fancy the shoot the chutes?' I asks.

"'True, then, I'm afraid of guns,' says Norah. 'They make such noise
in my ears. But Uncle Tim, he shot them, he did, and won cigars. 'Tis
a fine time we had this day, Mr. Carnahan.'

"'I'm glad you've enjoyed yerself,' I says. 'I suppose you've had a
roarin' fine time seein' the sights. And how did the incubators and
the helter-skelter and the midgets suit the taste of ye?'

"'I--I wasn't hungry,' says Norah, faint. 'But mother ate a quantity
of all of 'em. I'm that pleased with the fine things in the new Coney
Island,' says she, 'that it's the happiest day I've seen in a long
time, at all.'

"'Did you see Venice?' says I.

"'We did,' says she. 'She was a beauty. She was all dressed in red,
she was, with--'

"I listened no more to Norah Flynn. I stepped up and I gathered her
in my arms.

"''Tis a story-teller ye are, Norah Flynn', says I. 'Ye've seen no
more of the greater Coney Island than I have meself. Come, now, tell
the truth--ye came to sit by the old pavilion by the waves where you
sat last summer and made Dennis Carnahan a happy man. Speak up, and
tell the truth.'

"Norah stuck her nose against me vest.

"'I despise it, Denny,' she says, half cryin'. 'Mother and Uncle
Tim went to see the shows, but I came down here to think of you. I
couldn't bear the lights and the crowd. Are you forgivin' me, Denny,
for the words we had?'

"''Twas me fault,' says I. 'I came here for the same reason meself.
Look at the lights, Norah,' I says, turning my back to the sea--'ain't
they pretty?'

"'They are,' says Norah, with her eyes shinin'; 'and do ye hear the
bands playin'? Oh, Denny, I think I'd like to see it all.'

"'The old Coney is gone, darlin',' I says to her. 'Everything moves.
When a man's glad it's not scenes of sadness he wants. 'Tis a greater
Coney we have here, but we couldn't see it till we got in the humour
for it. Next Sunday, Norah darlin', we'll see the new place from end
to end."




XXI

LAW AND ORDER


I found myself in Texas recently, revisiting old places and vistas. At
a sheep ranch where I had sojourned many years ago, I stopped for a
week. And, as all visitors do, I heartily plunged into the business at
hand, which happened to be that of dipping the sheep.

Now, this process is so different from ordinary human baptism that it
deserves a word of itself. A vast iron cauldron with half the fires
of Avernus beneath it is partly filled with water that soon boils
furiously. Into that is cast concentrated lye, lime, and sulphur,
which is allowed to stew and fume until the witches' broth is strong
enough to scorch the third arm of Palladino herself.

Then this concentrated brew is mixed in a long, deep vat with cubic
gallons of hot water, and the sheep are caught by their hind legs and
flung into the compound. After being thoroughly ducked by means of a
forked pole in the hands of a gentleman detailed for that purpose,
they are allowed to clamber up an incline into a corral and dry or
die, as the state of their constitutions may decree. If you ever
caught an able-bodied, two-year-old mutton by the hind legs and felt
the 750 volts of kicking that he can send though your arm seventeen
times before you can hurl him into the vat, you will, of course, hope
that he may die instead of dry.

But this is merely to explain why Bud Oakley and I gladly stretched
ourselves on the bank of the nearby _charco_ after the dipping, glad
for the welcome inanition and pure contact with the earth after our
muscle-racking labours. The flock was a small one, and we finished at
three in the afternoon; so Bud brought from the _morral_ on his saddle
horn, coffee and a coffeepot and a big hunk of bread and some side
bacon. Mr. Mills, the ranch owner and my old friend, rode away to the
ranch with his force of Mexican _trabajadores_.

While the bacon was frizzling nicely, there was the sound of horses'
hoofs behind us. Bud's six-shooter lay in its scabbard ten feet away
from his hand. He paid not the slightest heed to the approaching
horseman. This attitude of a Texas ranchman was so different from the
old-time custom that I marvelled. Instinctively I turned to inspect
the possible foe that menaced us in the rear. I saw a horseman dressed
in black, who might have been a lawyer or a parson or an undertaker,
trotting peaceably along the road by the _arroyo_.

Bud noticed my precautionary movement and smiled sarcastically and
sorrowfully.

"You've been away too long," said he. "You don't need to look around
any more when anybody gallops up behind you in this state, unless
something hits you in the back; and even then it's liable to be only
a bunch of tracts or a petition to sign against the trusts. I never
looked at that _hombre_ that rode by; but I'll bet a quart of sheep
dip that he's some double-dyed son of a popgun out rounding up
prohibition votes."

"Times have changed, Bud," said I, oracularly. "Law and order is the
rule now in the South and the Southwest."

I caught a cold gleam from Bud's pale blue eyes.

"Not that I--" I began, hastily.

"Of course you don't," said Bud warmly. "You know better. You've
lived here before. Law and order, you say? Twenty years ago we had
'em here. We only had two or three laws, such as against murder before
witnesses, and being caught stealing horses, and voting the Republican
ticket. But how is it now? All we get is orders; and the laws go out
of the state. Them legislators set up there at Austin and don't do
nothing but make laws against kerosene oil and schoolbooks being
brought into the state. I reckon they was afraid some man would go
home some evening after work and light up and get an education and go
to work and make laws to repeal aforesaid laws. Me, I'm for the old
days when law and order meant what they said. A law was a law, and a
order was a order."

"But--" I began.

"I was going on," continued Bud, "while this coffee is boiling, to
describe to you a case of genuine law and order that I knew of once
in the times when cases was decided in the chambers of a six-shooter
instead of a supreme court.

"You've heard of old Ben Kirkman, the cattle king? His ranch run
from the Nueces to the Rio Grande. In them days, as you know, there
was cattle barons and cattle kings. The difference was this: when
a cattleman went to San Antone and bought beer for the newspaper
reporters and only give them the number of cattle he actually owned,
they wrote him up for a baron. When he bought 'em champagne wine and
added in the amount of cattle he had stole, they called him a king.

"Luke Summers was one of his range bosses. And down to the king's
ranch comes one day a bunch of these Oriental people from New York
or Kansas City or thereabouts. Luke was detailed with a squad to
ride about with 'em, and see that the rattlesnakes got fair warning
when they was coming, and drive the deer out of their way. Among the
bunch was a black-eyed girl that wore a number two shoe. That's all I
noticed about her. But Luke must have seen more, for he married her
one day before the _caballard_ started back, and went over on Canada
Verde and set up a ranch of his own. I'm skipping over the sentimental
stuff on purpose, because I never saw or wanted to see any of it. And
Luke takes me along with him because we was old friends and I handled
cattle to suit him.

"I'm skipping over much what followed, because I never saw or wanted
to see any of it--but three years afterward there was a boy kid
stumbling and blubbering around the galleries and floors of Luke's
ranch. I never had no use for kids; but it seems they did. And I'm
skipping over much what followed until one day out to the ranch drives
in hacks and buckboards a lot of Mrs. Summers's friends from the
East--a sister or so and two or three men. One looked like an uncle
to somebody; and one looked like nothing; and the other one had on
corkscrew pants and spoke in a tone of voice. I never liked a man who
spoke in a tone of voice.

"I'm skipping over much what followed; but one afternoon when I rides
up to the ranch house to get some orders about a drove of beeves that
was to be shipped, I hears something like a popgun go off. I waits
at the hitching rack, not wishing to intrude on private affairs. In
a little while Luke comes out and gives some orders to some of his
Mexican hands, and they go and hitch up sundry and divers vehicles;
and mighty soon out comes one of the sisters or so and some of the two
or three men. But two of the two or three men carries between 'em the
corkscrew man who spoke in a tone of voice, and lays him flat down in
one of the wagons. And they all might have been seen wending their way
away.

"'Bud,' says Luke to me, 'I want you to fix up a little and go up to
San Antone with me.'

"'Let me get on my Mexican spurs,' says I, 'and I'm your company.'

"One of the sisters or so seems to have stayed at the ranch with
Mrs. Summers and the kid. We rides to Encinal and catches the
International, and hits San Antone in the morning. After breakfast
Luke steers me straight to the office of a lawyer. They go in a room
and talk and then come out.

"'Oh, there won't be any trouble, Mr. Summers,' says the lawyer. 'I'll
acquaint Judge Simmons with the facts to-day; and the matter will be
put through as promptly as possible. Law and order reigns in this
state as swift and sure as any in the country.'

"'I'll wait for the decree if it won't take over half an hour,' says
Luke.

"'Tut, tut,' says the lawyer man. 'Law must take its course. Come back
day after to-morrow at half-past nine.'

"At that time me and Luke shows up, and the lawyer hands him a folded
document. And Luke writes him out a check.

"On the sidewalk Luke holds up the paper to me and puts a finger the
size of a kitchen door latch on it and says:

"'Decree of ab-so-lute divorce with cus-to-dy of the child.'

"'Skipping over much what has happened of which I know nothing,' says
I, 'it looks to me like a split. Couldn't the lawyer man have made it
a strike for you?'

"'Bud,' says he, in a pained style, 'that child is the one thing I
have to live for. _She_ may go; but the boy is mine!--think of it--I
have cus-to-dy of the child.'

"'All right,' says I. 'If it's the law, let's abide by it. But I
think,' says I, 'that Judge Simmons might have used exemplary
clemency, or whatever is the legal term, in our case.'

"You see, I wasn't inveigled much into the desirableness of having
infants around a ranch, except the kind that feed themselves and sell
for so much on the hoof when they grow up. But Luke was struck with
that sort of parental foolishness that I never could understand. All
the way riding from the station back to the ranch, he kept pulling
that decree out of his pocket and laying his finger on the back of it
and reading off to me the sum and substance of it. 'Cus-to-dy of the
child, Bud,' says he. 'Don't forget it--cus-to-dy of the child.'

"But when we hits the ranch we finds our decree of court obviated,
_nolle prossed_, and remanded for trial. Mrs. Summers and the kid
was gone. They tell us that an hour after me and Luke had started for
San Antone she had a team hitched and lit out for the nearest station
with her trunks and the youngster.

"Luke takes out his decree once more and reads off its emoluments.

"'It ain't possible, Bud,' says he, 'for this to be. It's contrary
to law and order. It's wrote as plain as day here--"Cus-to-dy of the
child."'

"'There is what you might call a human leaning,' says I, 'toward
smashing 'em both--not to mention the child.'

"'Judge Simmons,' goes on Luke, 'is a incorporated officer of the law.
She can't take the boy away. He belongs to me by statutes passed and
approved by the state of Texas.'

"'And he's removed from the jurisdiction of mundane mandamuses,' says
I, 'by the unearthly statutes of female partiality. Let us praise the
Lord and be thankful for whatever small mercies--' I begins; but I see
Luke don't listen to me. Tired as he was, he calls for a fresh horse
and starts back again for the station.

"He come back two weeks afterward, not saying much.

"'We can't get the trail,' says he; 'but we've done all the
telegraphing that the wires'll stand, and we've got these city rangers
they call detectives on the lookout. In the meantime, Bud,' says he,
'we'll round up them cows on Brush Creek, and wait for the law to take
its course.'"

"And after that we never alluded to allusions, as you might say.

"Skipping over much what happened in the next twelve years, Luke was
made sheriff of Mojada County. He made me his office deputy. Now,
don't get in your mind no wrong apparitions of a office deputy doing
sums in a book or mashing letters in a cider press. In them days his
job was to watch the back windows so nobody didn't plug the sheriff
in the rear while he was adding up mileage at his desk in front. And
in them days I had qualifications for the job. And there was law
and order in Mojada County, and schoolbooks, and all the whiskey
you wanted, and the Government built its own battleships instead of
collecting nickels from the school children to do it with. And, as I
say, there was law and order instead of enactments and restrictions
such as disfigure our umpire state to-day. We had our office at
Bildad, the county seat, from which we emerged forth on necessary
occasions to soothe whatever fracases and unrest that might occur in
our jurisdiction.

"Skipping over much what happened while me and Luke was sheriff, I
want to give you an idea of how the law was respected in them days.
Luke was what you would call one of the most conscious men in the
world. He never knew much book law, but he had the inner emoluments of
justice and mercy inculcated into his system. If a respectable citizen
shot a Mexican or held up a train and cleaned out the safe in the
express car, and Luke ever got hold of him, he'd give the guilty party
such a reprimand and a cussin' out that he'd probable never do it
again. But once let somebody steal a horse (unless it was a Spanish
pony), or cut a wire fence, or otherwise impair the peace and
indignity of Mojada County, Luke and me would be on 'em with habeas
corpuses and smokeless powder and all the modern inventions of equity
and etiquette.

"We certainly had our county on a basis of lawfulness. I've known
persons of Eastern classification with little spotted caps and
buttoned-up shoes to get off the train at Bildad and eat sandwiches
at the railroad station without being shot at or even roped and drug
about by the citizens of the town.

"Luke had his own ideas of legality and justice. He was kind of
training me to succeed him when he went out of office. He was always
looking ahead to the time when he'd quit sheriffing. What he wanted
to do was to build a yellow house with lattice-work under the porch
and have hens scratching in the yard. The one main thing in his mind
seemed to be the yard.

"'Bud,' he says to me, 'by instinct and sentiment I'm a contractor.
I want to be a contractor. That's what I'll be when I get out of
office.'

"'What kind of a contractor?' says I. 'It sounds like a kind of a
business to me. You ain't going to haul cement or establish branches
or work on a railroad, are you?'

"'You don't understand,' says Luke. 'I'm tired of space and horizons
and territory and distances and things like that. What I want is
reasonable contraction. I want a yard with a fence around it that you
can go out and set on after supper and listen to whip-poor-wills,'
says Luke.

"That's the kind of a man he was. He was home-like, although he'd had
bad luck in such investments. But he never talked about them times on
the ranch. It seemed like he'd forgotten about it. I wondered how,
with his ideas of yards and chickens and notions of lattice-work, he'd
seemed to have got out of his mind that kid of his that had been taken
away from him, unlawful, in spite of his decree of court. But he
wasn't a man you could ask about such things as he didn't refer to in
his own conversation.

"I reckon he'd put all his emotions and ideas into being sheriff.
I've read in books about men that was disappointed in these poetic
and fine-haired and high-collared affairs with ladies renouncing
truck of that kind and wrapping themselves up into some occupation
like painting pictures, or herding sheep, or science, or teaching
school--something to make 'em forget. Well, I guess that was the way
with Luke. But, as he couldn't paint pictures, he took it out in
rounding up horse thieves and in making Mojada County a safe place
to sleep in if you was well armed and not afraid of requisitions or
tarantulas.

"One day there passes through Bildad a bunch of these money investors
from the East, and they stopped off there, Bildad being the dinner
station on the I. & G. N. They was just coming back from Mexico
looking after mines and such. There was five of 'em--four solid
parties, with gold watch chains, that would grade up over two hundred
pounds on the hoof, and one kid about seventeen or eighteen.

"This youngster had on one of them cowboy suits such as tenderfoots
bring West with 'em; and you could see he was aching to wing a couple
of Indians or bag a grizzly or two with the little pearl-handled gun
he had buckled around his waist.

"I walked down to the depot to keep an eye on the outfit and see that
they didn't locate any land or scare the cow ponies hitched in front
of Murchison's store or act otherwise unseemly. Luke was away after a
gang of cattle thieves down on the Frio, and I always looked after the
law and order when he wasn't there.

"After dinner this boy comes out of the dining-room while the train
was waiting, and prances up and down the platform ready to shoot all
antelope, lions, or private citizens that might endeavour to molest
or come too near him. He was a good-looking kid; only he was like all
them tenderfoots--he didn't know a law-and-order town when he saw it.

"By and by along comes Pedro Johnson, the proprietor of the Crystal
Palace _chili-con-carne_ stand in Bildad. Pedro was a man who liked to
amuse himself; so he kind of herd rides this youngster, laughing at
him, tickled to death. I was too far away to hear, but the kid seems
to mention some remarks to Pedro, and Pedro goes up and slaps him
about nine feet away, and laughs harder than ever. And then the boy
gets up quicker than he fell and jerks out his little pearl-handle,
and--bing! bing! bing! Pedro gets it three times in special and
treasured portions of his carcass. I saw the dust fly off his clothes
every time the bullets hit. Sometimes them little thirty-twos cause
worry at close range.

"The engine bell was ringing, and the train starting off slow. I goes
up to the kid and places him under arrest, and takes away his gun. But
the first thing I knew that _caballard_ of capitalists makes a break
for the train. One of 'em hesitates in front of me for a second, and
kind of smiles and shoves his hand up against my chin, and I sort of
laid down on the platform and took a nap. I never was afraid of guns;
but I don't want any person except a barber to take liberties like
that with my face again. When I woke up, the whole outfit--train, boy,
and all--was gone. I asked about Pedro, and they told me the doctor
said he would recover provided his wounds didn't turn out to be fatal.

"When Luke got back three days later, and I told him about it, he was
mad all over.

"'Why'n't you telegraph to San Antone,' he asks, 'and have the bunch
arrested there?'

"'Oh, well,' says I, 'I always did admire telegraphy; but astronomy
was what I had took up just then.' That capitalist sure knew how to
gesticulate with his hands.

"Luke got madder and madder. He investigates and finds in the depot
a card one of the men had dropped that gives the address of some
_hombre_ called Scudder in New York City.

"'Bud,' says Luke, 'I'm going after that bunch. I'm going there and
get the man or boy, as you say he was, and bring him back. I'm sheriff
of Mojada County, and I shall keep law and order in its precincts
while I'm able to draw a gun. And I want you to go with me. No Eastern
Yankee can shoot up a respectable and well-known citizen of Bildad,
'specially with a thirty-two calibre, and escape the law. Pedro
Johnson,' says Luke, 'is one of our most prominent citizens and
business men. I'll appoint Sam Bell acting sheriff with penitentiary
powers while I'm away, and you and me will take the six forty-five
northbound to-morrow evening and follow up this trail.'

"'I'm your company,' says I. 'I never see this New York, but I'd like
to. But, Luke,' says I, 'don't you have to have a dispensation or a
habeas corpus or something from the state, when you reach out that far
for rich men and malefactors?'

"'Did I have a requisition,' says Luke, 'when I went over into the
Brazos bottoms and brought back Bill Grimes and two more for holding
up the International? Did me and you have a search warrant or a posse
comitatus when we rounded up them six Mexican cow thieves down in
Hidalgo? It's my business to keep order in Mojada County.'

"'And it's my business as office deputy,' says I, 'to see that
business is carried on according to law. Between us both we ought to
keep things pretty well cleaned up.'

"So, the next day, Luke packs a blanket and some collars and his
mileage book in a haversack, and him and me hits the breeze for New
York. It was a powerful long ride. The seats in the cars was too short
for six-footers like us to sleep comfortable on; and the conductor had
to keep us from getting off at every town that had five-story houses
in it. But we got there finally; and we seemed to see right away that
he was right about it.

"'Luke,' says I, 'as office deputy and from a law standpoint, it don't
look to me like this place is properly and legally in the jurisdiction
of Mojada County, Texas.'

"'From the standpoint of order,' says he, 'it's amenable to answer
for its sins to the properly appointed authorities from Bildad to
Jerusalem.'

"'Amen,' says I. 'But let's turn our trick sudden, and ride. I don't
like the looks of this place.'

"'Think of Pedro Johnson,' says Luke, 'a friend of mine and yours shot
down by one of these gilded abolitionists at his very door!'

"'It was at the door of the freight depot,' says I. 'But the law will
not be balked at a quibble like that.'

"We put up at one of them big hotels on Broadway. The next morning I
goes down about two miles of stairsteps to the bottom and hunts for
Luke. It ain't no use. It looks like San Jacinto day in San Antone.
There's a thousand folks milling around in a kind of a roofed-over
plaza with marble pavements and trees growing right out of 'em, and I
see no more chance of finding Luke than if we was hunting each other
in the big pear flat down below Old Fort Ewell. But soon Luke and me
runs together in one of the turns of them marble alleys.

"'It ain't no use, Bud,' says he. 'I can't find no place to eat at.
I've been looking for restaurant signs and smelling for ham all over
the camp. But I'm used to going hungry when I have to. Now,' says he,
'I'm going out and get a hack and ride down to the address on this
Scudder card. You stay here and try to hustle some grub. But I doubt
if you'll find it. I wish we'd brought along some cornmeal and bacon
and beans. I'll be back when I see this Scudder, if the trail ain't
wiped out.'

"So I starts foraging for breakfast. For the honour of old Mojada
County I didn't want to seem green to them abolitionists, so every
time I turned a corner in them marble halls I went up to the first
desk or counter I see and looks around for grub. If I didn't see what
I wanted I asked for something else. In about half an hour I had
a dozen cigars, five story magazines, and seven or eight railroad
time-tables in my pockets, and never a smell of coffee or bacon to
point out the trail.

"Once a lady sitting at a table and playing a game kind of like
pushpin told me to go into a closet that she called Number 3. I went
in and shut the door, and the blamed thing lit itself up. I set down
on a stool before a shelf and waited. Thinks I, 'This is a private
dining-room.' But no waiter never came. When I got to sweating good
and hard, I goes out again.

"'Did you get what you wanted?' says she.

"'No, ma'am,' says I. 'Not a bite.'

"'Then there's no charge,' says she.

"'Thanky, ma'am,' says I, and I takes up the trail again.

"By and by I thinks I'll shed etiquette; and I picks up one of them
boys with blue clothes and yellow buttons in front, and he leads me to
what he calls the caffay breakfast room. And the first thing I lays my
eyes on when I go in is that boy that had shot Pedro Johnson. He was
setting all alone at a little table, hitting a egg with a spoon like
he was afraid he'd break it.

"I takes the chair across the table from him; and he looks insulted
and makes a move like he was going to get up.

"'Keep still, son,' says I. 'You're apprehended, arrested, and in
charge of the Texas authorities. Go on and hammer that egg some
more if it's the inside of it you want. Now, what did you shoot Mr.
Johnson, of Bildad, for?'

"And may I ask who you are?' says he.

"'You may,' says I. 'Go ahead.'

"'I suppose you're on,' says this kid, without batting his eyes. 'But
what are you eating? Here, waiter!' he calls out, raising his finger.
'Take this gentleman's order.

"'A beefsteak,' says I, 'and some fried eggs and a can of peaches and
a quart of coffee will about suffice.'

"We talk awhile about the sundries of life and then he says:

"'What are you going to do about that shooting? I had a right to shoot
that man,' says he. 'He called me names that I couldn't overlook, and
then he struck me. He carried a gun, too. What else could I do?'

"'We'll have to take you back to Texas,' says I.

"'I'd like to go back,' says the boy, with a kind of a grin--'if it
wasn't on an occasion of this kind. It's the life I like. I've always
wanted to ride and shoot and live in the open air ever since I can
remember.'

"'Who was this gang of stout parties you took this trip with?' I asks.

"'My stepfather,' says he, 'and some business partners of his in some
Mexican mining and land schemes.'

"'I saw you shoot Pedro Johnson,' says I, 'and I took that little
popgun away from you that you did it with. And when I did so I noticed
three or four little scars in a row over your right eyebrow. You've
been in rookus before, haven't you?'

"'I've had these scars ever since I can remember,' says he. 'I don't
know how they came there.'

"'Was you ever in Texas before?' says I.

"'Not that I remember of,' says he. 'But I thought I had when we
struck the prairie country. But I guess I hadn't.'

"'Have you got a mother?' I asks.

"'She died five years ago,' says he.

"Skipping over the most of what followed--when Luke came back I turned
the kid over to him. He had seen Scudder and told him what he wanted;
and it seems that Scudder got active with one of these telephones as
soon as he left. For in about an hour afterward there comes to our
hotel some of these city rangers in everyday clothes that they call
detectives, and marches the whole outfit of us to what they call a
magistrate's court. They accuse Luke of attempted kidnapping, and ask
him what he has to say.

"'This snipe,' says Luke to the judge, 'shot and wilfully punctured
with malice and forethought one of the most respected and prominent
citizens of the town of Bildad, Texas, Your Honor. And in so doing
laid himself liable to the penitence of law and order. And I hereby
make claim and demand restitution of the State of New York City for
the said alleged criminal; and I know he done it.'

"'Have you the usual and necessary requisition papers from the
governor of your state?' asks the judge.

"'My usual papers,' says Luke, 'was taken away from me at the hotel by
these gentlemen who represent law and order in your city. They was two
Colt's .45's that I've packed for nine years; and if I don't get 'em
back, there'll be more trouble. You can ask anybody in Mojada County
about Luke Summers. I don't usually need any other kind of papers for
what I do.'

"I see the judge looks mad, so I steps up and says:

"'Your Honor, the aforesaid defendant, Mr. Luke Summers, sheriff of
Mojada County, Texas, is as fine a man as ever threw a rope or upheld
the statutes and codicils of the greatest state in the Union. But
he--'

"The judge hits his table with a wooden hammer and asks who I am.

"Bud Oakley,' says I. 'Office deputy of the sheriff's office of Mojada
County, Texas. Representing,' says I, 'the Law. Luke Summers,' I
goes on, 'represents Order. And if Your Honor will give me about ten
minutes in private talk, I'll explain the whole thing to you, and show
you the equitable and legal requisition papers which I carry in my
pocket.'

"The judge kind of half smiles and says he will talk with me in
his private room. In there I put the whole thing up to him in such
language as I had, and when we goes outside, he announces the
verdict that the young man is delivered into the hands of the Texas
authorities; and calls the next case.

"Skipping over much of what happened on the way back, I'll tell you
how the thing wound up in Bildad.

"When we got the prisoner in the sheriff's office, I says to Luke:

"'You, remember that kid of yours--that two-year old that they stole
away from you when the bust-up come?'

"Luke looks black and angry. He'd never let anybody talk to him about
that business, and he never mentioned it himself.

"'Toe the mark,' says I. 'Do you remember when he was toddling around
on the porch and fell down on a pair of Mexican spurs and cut four
little holes over his right eye? Look at the prisoner,' says I, 'look
at his nose and the shape of his head and--why, you old fool, don't
you know your own son?--I knew him,' says I, 'when he perforated Mr.
Johnson at the depot.'

"Luke comes over to me shaking all over. I never saw him lose his
nerve before.

"'Bud,' says he. 'I've never had that boy out of my mind one day or
one night since he was took away. But I never let on. But can we hold
him?-- Can we make him stay?-- I'll make the best man of him that ever
put his foot in a stirrup. Wait a minute,' says he, all excited and
out of his mind--'I've got some-thing here in my desk--I reckon it'll
hold legal yet--I've looked at it a thousand times--"Cus-to-dy of the
child,"' says Luke--'"Cus-to-dy of the child." We can hold him on
that, can't we? Le'me see if I can find that decree.'

"Luke begins to tear his desk to pieces.

"'Hold on,' says I. 'You are Order and I'm Law. You needn't look for
that paper, Luke. It ain't a decree any more. It's requisition papers.
It's on file in that Magistrate's office in New York. I took it along
when we went, because I was office deputy and knew the law.'

"'I've got him back,' says Luke. 'He's mine again. I never thought--'

"'Wait a minute,' says I. 'We've got to have law and order. You and me
have got to preserve 'em both in Mojada County according to our oath
and conscience. The kid shot Pedro Johnson, one of Bildad's most
prominent and--'

"'Oh, hell!' says Luke. 'That don't amount to anything. That fellow
was half Mexican, anyhow.'"




XXII

TRANSFORMATION OF MARTIN BURNEY


In behalf of Sir Walter's soothing plant let us look into the case of
Martin Burney.

They were constructing the Speedway along the west bank of the Harlem
River. The grub-boat of Dennis Corrigan, sub-contractor, was moored
to a tree on the bank. Twenty-two men belonging to the little green
island toiled there at the sinew-cracking labour. One among them, who
wrought in the kitchen of the grub-boat was of the race of the Goths.
Over them all stood the exorbitant Corrigan, harrying them like the
captain of a galley crew. He paid them so little that most of the
gang, work as they might, earned little more than food and tobacco;
many of them were in debt to him. Corrigan boarded them all in the
grub-boat, and gave them good grub, for he got it back in work.

Martin Burney was furthest behind of all. He was a little man, all
muscles and hands and feet, with a gray-red, stubbly beard. He was too
light for the work, which would have glutted the capacity of a steam
shovel.

The work was hard. Besides that, the banks of the river were humming
with mosquitoes. As a child in a dark room fixes his regard on the
pale light of a comforting window, these toilers watched the sun that
brought around the one hour of the day that tasted less bitter. After
the sundown supper they would huddle together on the river bank, and
send the mosquitoes whining and eddying back from the malignant puffs
of twenty-three reeking pipes. Thus socially banded against the foe,
they wrenched out of the hour a few well-smoked drops from the cup of
joy.

Each week Burney grew deeper in debt. Corrigan kept a small stock of
goods on the boat, which he sold to the men at prices that brought
him no loss. Burney was a good customer at the tobacco counter. One
sack when he went to work in the morning and one when he came in at
night, so much was his account swelled daily. Burney was something
of a smoker. Yet it was not true that he ate his meals with a pipe
in his mouth, which had been said of him. The little man was not
discontented. He had plenty to eat, plenty of tobacco, and a tyrant
to curse; so why should not he, an Irishman, be well satisfied?

One morning as he was starting with the others for work he stopped at
the pine counter for his usual sack of tobacco.

"There's no more for ye," said Corrigan. "Your account's closed. Ye
are a losing investment. No, not even tobaccy, my son. No more tobaccy
on account. If ye want to work on and eat, do so, but the smoke of ye
has all ascended. 'Tis my advice that ye hunt a new job."

"I have no tobaccy to smoke in my pipe this day, Mr. Corrigan," said
Burney, not quite understanding that such a thing could happen to him.

"Earn it," said Corrigan, "and then buy it."

Burney stayed on. He knew of no other job. At first he did not realize
that tobacco had got to be his father and mother, his confessor and
sweetheart, and wife and child.

For three days he managed to fill his pipe from the other men's sacks,
and then they shut him off, one and all. They told him, rough but
friendly, that of all things in the world tobacco must be quickest
forthcoming to a fellow-man desiring it, but that beyond the immediate
temporary need requisition upon the store of a comrade is pressed with
great danger to friendship.

Then the blackness of the pit arose and filled the heart of Burney.
Sucking the corpse of his deceased dudheen, he staggered through his
duties with his barrowful of stones and dirt, feeling for the first
time that the curse of Adam was upon him. Other men bereft of a
pleasure might have recourse to other delights, but Burney had only
two comforts in life. One was his pipe, the other was an ecstatic hope
that there would be no Speedways to build on the other side of Jordan.

At meal times he would let the other men go first into the grub-boat,
and then he would go down on his hands and knees, grovelling fiercely
upon the ground where they had been sitting, trying to find some stray
crumbs of tobacco. Once he sneaked down the river bank and filled his
pipe with dead willow leaves. At the first whiff of the smoke he spat
in the direction of the boat and put the finest curse he knew on
Corrigan--one that began with the first Corrigans born on earth and
ended with the Corrigans that shall hear the trumpet of Gabriel blow.
He began to hate Corrigan with all his shaking nerves and soul. Even
murder occurred to him in a vague sort of way. Five days he went
without the taste of tobacco--he who had smoked all day and thought
the night misspent in which he had not awakened for a pipeful or two
under the bedclothes.

One day a man stopped at the boat to say that there was work to be had
in the Bronx Park, where a large number of labourers were required in
making some improvements.

After dinner Burney walked thirty yards down the river bank away from
the maddening smell of the others' pipes. He sat down upon a stone. He
was thinking he would set out for the Bronx. At least he could earn
tobacco there. What if the books did say he owed Corrigan? Any man's
work was worth his keep. But then he hated to go without getting even
with the hard-hearted screw who had put his pipe out. Was there any
way to do it?

Softly stepping among the clods came Tony, he of the race of Goths,
who worked in the kitchen. He grinned at Burney's elbow, and that
unhappy man, full of race animosity and holding urbanity in contempt,
growled at him: "What d'ye want, ye--Dago?"

Tony also contained a grievance--and a plot. He, too, was a Corrigan
hater, and had been primed to see it in others.

"How you like-a Mr. Corrigan?" he asked. "You think-a him a nice-a
man?"

"To hell with 'm," he said. "May his liver turn to water, and the
bones of him crack in the cold of his heart. May dog fennel grow upon
his ancestors' graves, and the grandsons of his children be born
without eyes. May whiskey turn to clabber in his mouth, and every time
he sneezes may he blister the soles of his feet. And the smoke of his
pipe--may it make his eyes water, and the drops fall on the grass that
his cows eat and poison the butter that he spreads on his bread."

Though Tony remained a stranger to the beauties of this imagery, he
gathered from it the conviction that it was sufficiently anti-Corrigan
in its tendency. So, with the confidence of a fellow-conspirator, he
sat by Burney upon the stone and unfolded his plot.

It was very simple in design. Every day after dinner it was Corrigan's
habit to sleep for an hour in his bunk. At such times it was the duty
of the cook and his helper, Tony, to leave the boat so that no noise
might disturb the autocrat. The cook always spent this hour in walking
exercise. Tony's plan was this: After Corrigan should be asleep he
(Tony) and Burney would cut the mooring ropes that held the boat
to the shore. Tony lacked the nerve to do the deed alone. Then the
awkward boat would swing out into a swift current and surely overturn
against a rock there was below.

"Come on and do it," said Burney. "If the back of ye aches from the
lick he gave ye as the pit of me stomach does for the taste of a bit
of smoke, we can't cut the ropes too quick."

"All a-right," said Tony. "But better wait 'bout-a ten minute more.
Give-a Corrigan plenty time get good-a sleep."

They waited, sitting upon the stone. The rest of the men were at work
out of sight around a bend in the road. Everything would have gone
well--except, perhaps, with Corrigan, had not Tony been moved to
decorate the plot with its conventional accompaniment. He was of
dramatic blood, and perhaps he intuitively divined the appendage to
villainous machinations as prescribed by the stage. He pulled from his
shirt bosom a long, black, beautiful, venomous cigar, and handed it to
Burney.

"You like-a smoke while we wait?" he asked.

Burney clutched it and snapped off the end as a terrier bites at a
rat. He laid it to his lips like a long-lost sweetheart. When the
smoke began to draw he gave a long, deep sigh, and the bristles of his
gray-red moustache curled down over the cigar like the talons of an
eagle. Slowly the red faded from the whites of his eyes. He fixed his
gaze dreamily upon the hills across the river. The minutes came and
went.

"'Bout time to go now," said Tony. "That damn-a Corrigan he be in the
reever very quick."

Burney started out of his trance with a grunt. He turned his head and
gazed with a surprised and pained severity at his accomplice. He took
the cigar partly from his mouth, but sucked it back again immediately,
chewed it lovingly once or twice, and spoke, in virulent puffs, from
the corner of his mouth:

"What is it, ye yaller haythen? Would ye lay contrivances against the
enlightened races of the earth, ye instigator of illegal crimes? Would
ye seek to persuade Martin Burney into the dirty tricks of an indecent
Dago? Would ye be for murderin' your benefactor, the good man that
gives ye food and work? Take that, ye punkin-coloured assassin!"

The torrent of Burney's indignation carried with it bodily assault.
The toe of his shoe sent the would-be cutter of ropes tumbling from
his seat.

Tony arose and fled. His vendetta he again relegated to the files of
things that might have been. Beyond the boat he fled and away-away; he
was afraid to remain.

Burney, with expanded chest, watched his late co-plotter disappear.
Then he, too, departed, setting his face in the direction of the
Bronx.

In his wake was a rank and pernicious trail of noisome smoke that
brought peace to his heart and drove the birds from the roadside into
the deepest thickets.




XXIII

THE CALIPH AND THE CAD


Surely there is no pastime more diverting than that of mingling,
incognito, with persons of wealth and station. Where else but in those
circles can one see life in its primitive, crude state unhampered by
the conventions that bind the dwellers in a lower sphere?

There was a certain Caliph of Bagdad who was accustomed to go down
among the poor and lowly for the solace obtained from the relation
of their tales and histories. Is it not strange that the humble and
poverty-stricken have not availed themselves of the pleasure they
might glean by donning diamonds and silks and playing Caliph among
the haunts of the upper world?

There was one who saw the possibilities of thus turning the tables on
Haroun al Raschid. His name was Corny Brannigan, and he was a truck
driver for a Canal Street importing firm. And if you read further
you will learn how he turned upper Broadway into Bagdad and learned
something about himself that he did not know before.

Many people would have called Corny a snob--preferably by means of
a telephone. His chief interest in life, his chosen amusement, and
his sole diversion after working hours, was to place himself in
juxtaposition--since he could not hope to mingle--with people of
fashion and means.

Every evening after Corny had put up his team and dined at a
lunch-counter that made immediateness a specialty, he would clothe
himself in evening raiment as correct as any you will see in the palm
rooms. Then he would betake himself to that ravishing, radiant roadway
devoted to Thespis, Thais, and Bacchus.

For a time he would stroll about the lobbies of the best hotels, his
soul steeped in blissful content. Beautiful women, cooing like doves,
but feathered like birds of Paradise, flicked him with their robes as
they passed. Courtly gentlemen attended them, gallant and assiduous.
And Corny's heart within him swelled like Sir Lancelot's, for the
mirror spoke to him as he passed and said: "Corny, lad, there's not
a guy among 'em that looks a bit the sweller than yerself. And you
drivin' of a truck and them swearin' off their taxes and playin' the
red in art galleries with the best in the land!"

And the mirrors spake the truth. Mr. Corny Brannigan had acquired the
outward polish, if nothing more. Long and keen observation of polite
society had gained for him its manner, its genteel air, and--most
difficult of acquirement--its repose and ease.

Now and then in the hotels Corny had managed conversation and
temporary acquaintance with substantial, if not distinguished, guests.
With many of these he had exchanged cards, and the ones he received he
carefully treasured for his own use later. Leaving the hotel lobbies,
Corny would stroll leisurely about, lingering at the theatre entrance,
dropping into the fashionable restaurants as if seeking some friend.
He rarely patronized any of these places; he was no bee come to suck
honey, but a butterfly flashing his wings among the flowers whose
calyces held no sweets for him. His wages were not large enough to
furnish him with more than the outside garb of the gentleman. To have
been one of the beings he so cunningly imitated, Corny Brannigan would
have given his right hand.

One night Corny had an adventure. After absorbing the delights of an
hour's lounging in the principal hotels along Broadway, he passed up
into the stronghold of Thespis. Cab drivers hailed him as a likely
fare, to his prideful content. Languishing eyes were turned upon him
as a hopeful source of lobsters and the delectable, ascendant globules
of effervescence. These overtures and unconscious compliments Corny
swallowed as manna, and hoped Bill, the off horse, would be less lame
in the left forefoot in the morning.

Beneath a cluster of milky globes of electric light Corny paused to
admire the sheen of his low-cut patent leather shoes. The building
occupying the angle was a pretentious _cafe_. Out of this came a
couple, a lady in a white, cobwebby evening gown, with a lace wrap
like a wreath of mist thrown over it, and a man, tall, faultless,
assured--too assured. They moved to the edge of the sidewalk and
halted. Corny's eye, ever alert for "pointers" in "swell" behaviour,
took them in with a sidelong glance.

"The carriage is not here," said the lady. "You ordered it to wait?"

"I ordered it for nine-thirty," said the man. "It should be here now."

A familiar note in the lady's voice drew a more especial attention
from Corny. It was pitched in a key well known to him. The soft
electric shone upon her face. Sisters of sorrow have no quarters fixed
for them. In the index to the book of breaking hearts you will find
that Broadway follows very soon after the Bowery. This lady's face was
sad, and her voice was attuned with it. They waited, as if for the
carriage. Corny waited too, for it was out of doors, and he was never
tired of accumulating and profiting by knowledge of gentlemanly
conduct.

"Jack," said the lady, "don't be angry. I've done everything I could
to please you this evening. Why do you act so?"

"Oh, you're an angel," said the man. "Depend upon woman to throw the
blame upon a man."

"I'm not blaming you. I'm only trying to make you happy."

"You go about it in a very peculiar way."

"You have been cross with me all the evening without any cause."

"Oh, there isn't any cause except--you make me tired."

Corny took out his card case and looked over his collection. He
selected one that read: "Mr. R. Lionel Whyte-Melville, Bloomsbury
Square, London." This card he had inveigled from a tourist at the King
Edward Hotel. Corny stepped up to the man and presented it with a
correctly formal air.

"May I ask why I am selected for the honour?" asked the lady's escort.

Now, Mr. Corny Brannigan had a very wise habit of saying little
during his imitations of the Caliph of Bagdad. The advice of Lord
Chesterfield: "Wear a black coat and hold your tongue," he believed in
without having heard. But now speech was demanded and required of him.

"No gent," said Corny, "would talk to a lady like you done. Fie upon
you, Willie! Even if she happens to be your wife you ought to have
more respect for your clothes than to chin her back that way. Maybe it
ain't my butt-in, but it goes, anyhow--you strike me as bein' a whole
lot to the wrong."

The lady's escort indulged in more elegantly expressed but fetching
repartee. Corny, eschewing his truck driver's vocabulary, retorted as
nearly as he could in polite phrases. Then diplomatic relations were
severed; there was a brief but lively set-to with other than oral
weapons, from which Corny came forth easily victor.

A carriage dashed up, driven by a tardy and solicitous coachman.

"Will you kindly open the door for me?" asked the lady. Corny assisted
her to enter, and took off his hat. The escort was beginning to
scramble up from the sidewalk.

"I beg your pardon, ma'am," said Corny, "if he's your man."

"He's no man of mine," said the lady. "Perhaps he--but there's no
chance of his being now. Drive home, Michael. If you care to take
this--with my thanks."

Three red roses were thrust out through the carriage window into
Corny's hand. He took them, and the hand for an instant; and then the
carriage sped away.

Corny gathered his foe's hat and began to brush the dust from his
clothes.

"Come along," said Corny, taking the other man by the arm.

His late opponent was yet a little dazed by the hard knocks he had
received. Corny led him carefully into a saloon three doors away.

"The drinks for us," said Corny, "me and my friend."

"You're a queer feller," said the lady's late escort--"lick a man and
then want to set 'em up."

"You're my best friend," said Corny exultantly. "You don't understand?
Well, listen. You just put me wise to somethin'. I been playin' gent a
long time, thinkin' it was just the glad rags I had and nothin' else.
Say--you're a swell, ain't you? Well, you trot in that class, I guess.
I don't; but I found out one thing--I'm a gentleman, by--and I know it
now. What'll you have to drink?"




XXIV

THE DIAMOND OF KALI


The original news item concerning the diamond of the goddess Kali was
handed in to the city editor. He smiled and held it for a moment above
the wastebasket. Then he laid it back on his desk and said: "Try the
Sunday people; they might work something out of it."

The Sunday editor glanced the item over and said: "H'm!" Afterward he
sent for a reporter and expanded his comment.

"You might see General Ludlow," he said, "and make a story out of this
if you can. Diamond stories are a drug; but this one is big enough
to be found by a scrubwoman wrapped up in a piece of newspaper and
tucked under the corner of the hall linoleum. Find out first if
the General has a daughter who intends to go on the stage. If not,
you can go ahead with the story. Run cuts of the Kohinoor and J. P.
Morgan's collection, and work in pictures of the Kimberley mines and
Barney Barnato. Fill in with a tabulated comparison of the values of
diamonds, radium, and veal cutlets since the meat strike; and let it
run to a half page."

On the following day the reporter turned in his story. The Sunday
editor let his eye sprint along its lines. "H'm!" he said again. This
time the copy went into the waste-basket with scarcely a flutter.

The reporter stiffened a little around the lips; but he was whistling
softly and contentedly between his teeth when I went over to talk with
him about it an hour later.

"I don't blame the 'old man'," said he, magnanimously, "for cutting it
out. It did sound like funny business; but it happened exactly as I
wrote it. Say, why don't you fish that story out of the w.-b. and use
it? Seems to me it's as good as the tommyrot you write."

I accepted the tip, and if you read further you will learn the facts
about the diamond of the goddess Kali as vouched for by one of the
most reliable reporters on the staff.

Gen. Marcellus B. Ludlow lives in one of those decaying but
venerated old red-brick mansions in the West Twenties. The General
is a member of an old New York family that does not advertise. He is
a globe-trotter by birth, a gentleman by predilection, a millionaire
by the mercy of Heaven, and a connoisseur of precious stones by
occupation.

The reporter was admitted promptly when he made himself known at the
General's residence at about eight thirty on the evening that he
received the assignment. In the magnificent library he was greeted by
the distinguished traveller and connoisseur, a tall, erect gentleman
in the early fifties, with a nearly white moustache, and a bearing so
soldierly that one perceived in him scarcely a trace of the National
Guardsman. His weather-beaten countenance lit up with a charming smile
of interest when the reporter made known his errand.

"Ah, you have heard of my latest find. I shall be glad to show you
what I conceive to be one of the six most valuable blue diamonds in
existence."

The General opened a small safe in a corner of the library and brought
forth a plush-covered box. Opening this, he exposed to the reporter's
bewildered gaze a huge and brilliant diamond--nearly as large as a
hailstone.

"This stone," said the General, "is something more than a mere jewel.
It once formed the central eye of the three-eyed goddess Kali, who is
worshipped by one of the fiercest and most fanatical tribes of India.
If you will arrange yourself comfortably I will give you a brief
history of it for your paper."

General Ludlow brought a decanter of whiskey and glasses from a
cabinet, and set a comfortable armchair for the lucky scribe.

"The Phansigars, or Thugs, of India," began the General, "are the
most dangerous and dreaded of the tribes of North India. They are
extremists in religion, and worship the horrid goddess Kali in the
form of images. Their rites are interesting and bloody. The robbing
and murdering of travellers are taught as a worthy and obligatory
deed by their strange religious code. Their worship of the three-eyed
goddess Kali is conducted so secretly that no traveller has ever
heretofore had the honour of witnessing the ceremonies. That
distinction was reserved for myself.

"While at Sakaranpur, between Delhi and Khelat, I used to explore the
jungle in every direction in the hope of learning something new about
these mysterious Phansigars.

"One evening at twilight I was making my way through a teakwood
forest, when I came upon a deep circular depression in an open space,
in the centre of which was a rude stone temple. I was sure that this
was one of the temples of the Thugs, so I concealed myself in the
undergrowth to watch.

"When the moon rose the depression in the clearing was suddenly filled
with hundreds of shadowy, swiftly gliding forms. Then a door opened in
the temple, exposing a brightly illuminated image of the goddess Kali,
before which a white-robed priest began a barbarous incantation, while
the tribe of worshippers prostrated themselves upon the earth.

"But what interested me most was the central eye of the huge wooden
idol. I could see by its flashing brilliancy that it was an immense
diamond of the purest water.

"After the rites were concluded the Thugs slipped away into the forest
as silently as they had come. The priest stood for a few minutes in
the door of the temple enjoying the cool of the night before closing
his rather warm quarters. Suddenly a dark, lithe shadow slipped down
into the hollow, leaped upon the priest; and struck him down with a
glittering knife. Then the murderer sprang at the image of the goddess
like a cat and pried out the glowing central eye of Kali with his
weapon. Straight toward me he ran with his royal prize. When he was
within two paces I rose to my feet and struck him with all my force
between the eyes. He rolled over senseless and the magnificent jewel
fell from his hand. That is the splendid blue diamond you have just
seen--a stone worthy of a monarch's crown."

"That's a corking story," said the reporter. "That decanter is exactly
like the one that John W. Gates always sets out during an interview."

"Pardon me," said General Ludlow, "for forgetting hospitality in the
excitement of my narrative. Help yourself."

"Here's looking at you," said the reporter.

"What I am afraid of now," said the General, lowering his voice, "is
that I may be robbed of the diamond. The jewel that formed an eye of
their goddess is their most sacred symbol. Somehow the tribe suspected
me of having it; and members of the band have followed me half around
the earth. They are the most cunning and cruel fanatics in the
world, and their religious vows would compel them to assassinate the
unbeliever who has desecrated their sacred treasure.

"Once in Lucknow three of their agents, disguised as servants in a
hotel, endeavoured to strangle me with a twisted cloth. Again, in
London, two Thugs, made up as street musicians, climbed into my window
at night and attacked me. They have even tracked me to this country.
My life is never safe. A month ago, while I was at a hotel in the
Berkshires, three of them sprang upon me from the roadside weeds. I
saved myself then by my knowledge of their customs."

"How was that, General?" asked the reporter.

"There was a cow grazing near by," said General Ludlow, "a gentle
Jersey cow. I ran to her side and stood. The three Thugs ceased their
attack, knelt and struck the ground thrice with their foreheads. Then,
after many respectful salaams, they departed."

"Afraid the cow would hook?" asked the reporter.

"No; the cow is a sacred animal to the Phansigars. Next to their
goddess they worship the cow. They have never been known to commit any
deed of violence in the presence of the animal they reverence."

"It's a mighty interesting story," said the reporter. "If you don't
mind I'll take another drink, and then a few notes."

"I will join you," said General Ludlow, with a courteous wave of his
hand.

"If I were you," advised the reporter, "I'd take that sparkler to
Texas. Get on a cow ranch there, and the Pharisees--"

"Phansigars," corrected the General.

"Oh, yes; the fancy guys would run up against a long horn every time
they made a break."

General Ludlow closed the diamond case and thrust it into his bosom.

"The spies of the tribe have found me out in New York," he said,
straightening his tall figure. "I'm familiar with the East Indian cast
of countenance, and I know that my every movement is watched. They
will undoubtedly attempt to rob and murder me here."

"Here?" exclaimed the reporter, seizing the decanter and pouring out a
liberal amount of its contents.

"At any moment," said the General. "But as a soldier and a connoisseur
I shall sell my life and my diamond as dearly as I can."

At this point of the reporter's story there is a certain vagueness,
but it can be gathered that there was a loud crashing noise at the
rear of the house they were in. General Ludlow buttoned his coat
closely and sprang for the door. But the reporter clutched him firmly
with one hand, while he held the decanter with the other.

"Tell me before we fly," he urged, in a voice thick with some inward
turmoil, "do any of your daughters contemplate going on the stage?"

"I have no daughters--fly for your life--the Phansigars are upon us!"
cried the General.

The two men dashed out of the front door of the house.

The hour was late. As their feet struck the side-walk strange men of
dark and forbidding appearance seemed to rise up out of the earth and
encompass them. One with Asiatic features pressed close to the General
and droned in a terrible voice:

"Buy cast clo'!"

Another, dark-whiskered and sinister, sped lithely to his side and
began in a whining voice:

"Say, mister, have yer got a dime fer a poor feller what--"

They hurried on, but only into the arms of a black-eyed, dusky-browed
being, who held out his hat under their noses, while a confederate of
Oriental hue turned the handle of a street organ near by.

Twenty steps farther on General Ludlow and the reporter found
themselves in the midst of half a dozen villainous-looking men with
high-turned coat collars and faces bristling with unshaven beards.

"Run for it!" hissed the General. "They have discovered the possessor
of the diamond of the goddess Kali."

The two men took to their heels. The avengers of the goddess pursued.

"Oh, Lordy!" groaned the reporter, "there isn't a cow this side of
Brooklyn. We're lost!"

When near the corner they both fell over an iron object that rose from
the sidewalk close to the gutter. Clinging to it desperately, they
awaited their fate.

"If I only had a cow!" moaned the reporter--"or another nip from that
decanter, General!"

As soon as the pursuers observed where their victims had found refuge
they suddenly fell back and retreated to a considerable distance.

"They are waiting for reinforcements in order to attack us," said
General Ludlow.

But the reporter emitted a ringing laugh, and hurled his hat
triumphantly into the air.

"Guess again," he shouted, and leaned heavily upon the iron object.
"Your old fancy guys or thugs, whatever you call 'em, are up to date.
Dear General, this is a pump we've stranded upon--same as a cow in New
York (hic!) see? Thas'h why the 'nfuriated smoked guys don't attack
us--see? Sacred an'mal, the pump in N' York, my dear General!"

But further down in the shadows of Twenty-eighth Street the marauders
were holding a parley.

"Come on, Reddy," said one. "Let's go frisk the old 'un. He's been
showin' a sparkler as big as a hen egg all around Eighth Avenue for
two weeks past."

"Not on your silhouette," decided Reddy. "You see 'em rallyin' round
The Pump? They're friends of Bill's. Bill won't stand for nothin' of
this kind in his district since he got that bid to Esopus."

This exhausts the facts concerning the Kali diamond. But it is deemed
not inconsequent to close with the following brief (paid) item that
appeared two days later in a morning paper.

"It is rumored that a niece of Gen. Marcellus B. Ludlow, of New York
City, will appear on the stage next season.

"Her diamonds are said to be extremely valuable and of much historic
interest."




XXV

THE DAY WE CELEBRATE


"In the tropics" ("Hop-along" Bibb, the bird fancier, was saying to
me) "the seasons, months, fortnights, week-ends, holidays, dog-days,
Sundays, and yesterdays get so jumbled together in the shuffle that
you never know when a year has gone by until you're in the middle of
the next one."

"Hop-along" Bibb kept his bird store on lower Fourth Avenue. He was an
ex-seaman and beachcomber who made regular voyages to southern ports
and imported personally conducted invoices of talking parrots and
dialectic paroquets. He had a stiff knee, neck, and nerve. I had gone
to him to buy a parrot to present, at Christmas, to my Aunt Joanna.

"This one," said I, disregarding his homily on the subdivisions of
time--"this one that seems all red, white, and blue--to what genus of
beasts does he belong? He appeals at once to my patriotism and to my
love of discord in colour schemes."

"That's a cockatoo from Ecuador," said Bibb. "All he has been taught
to say is 'Merry Christmas.' A seasonable bird. He's only seven
dollars; and I'll bet many a human has stuck you for more money by
making the same speech to you."

And then Bibb laughed suddenly and loudly.

"That bird," he explained, "reminds me. He's got his dates mixed.
He ought to be saying '_E pluribus unum_,' to match his feathers,
instead of trying to work the Santa Claus graft. It reminds me of the
time me and Liverpool Sam got our ideas of things tangled up on the
coast of Costa Rica on account of the weather and other phenomena to
be met with in the tropics.

"We were, as it were, stranded on that section of the Spanish main
with no money to speak of and no friends that should be talked about
either. We had stoked and second-cooked ourselves down there on a
fruit steamer from New Orleans to try our luck, which was discharged,
after we got there, for lack of evidence. There was no work suitable
to our instincts; so me and Liverpool began to subsist on the red rum
of the country and such fruit as we could reap where we had not sown.
It was an alluvial town, called Soledad, where there was no harbour
or future or recourse. Between steamers the town slept and drank rum.
It only woke up when there were bananas to ship. It was like a man
sleeping through dinner until the dessert.

"When me and Liverpool got so low down that the American consul
wouldn't speak to us we knew we'd struck bed rock.

"We boarded with a snuff-brown lady named Chica, who kept a rum-shop
and a ladies' and gents' restaurant in a street called the _calle
de los_ Forty-seven Inconsolable Saints. When our credit played
out there, Liverpool, whose stomach overshadowed his sensations of
_noblesse oblige_, married Chica. This kept us in rice and fried
plantain for a month; and then Chica pounded Liverpool one morning
sadly and earnestly for fifteen minutes with a casserole handed down
from the stone age, and we knew that we had out-welcomed our liver.
That night we signed an engagement with Don Jaime McSpinosa, a hybrid
banana fancier of the place, to work on his fruit preserves nine miles
out of town. We had to do it or be reduced to sea water and broken
doses of feed and slumber.

"Now, speaking of Liverpool Sam, I don't malign or inexculpate him
to you any more than I would to his face. But in my opinion, when an
Englishman gets as low as he can he's got to dodge so that the dregs
of other nations don't drop ballast on him out of their balloons. And
if he's a Liverpool Englishman, why, fire-damp is what he's got to
look out for. Being a natural American, that's my personal view. But
Liverpool and me had much in common. We were without decorous clothes
or ways and means of existence; and, as the saying goes, misery
certainly does enjoy the society of accomplices.

"Our job on old McSpinosa's plantation was chopping down banana stalks
and loading the bunches of fruit on the backs of horses. Then a native
dressed up in an alligator hide belt, a machete, and a pair of AA
sheeting pajamas, drives 'em over to the coast and piles 'em up on the
beach.

"You ever been in a banana grove? It's as solemn as a rathskeller at
seven A. M. It's like being lost behind the scenes at one of these
mushroom musical shows. You can't see the sky for the foliage above
you; and the ground is knee deep in rotten leaves; and it's so still
that you can hear the stalks growing again after you chop 'em down.

"At night me and Liverpool herded in a lot of grass huts on the edge
of a lagoon with the red, yellow, and black employes of Don Jaime.
There we lay fighting mosquitoes and listening to the monkeys
squalling and the alligators grunting and splashing in the lagoon
until daylight with only snatches of sleep between times.

"We soon lost all idea of what time of the year it was. It's just
about eighty degrees there in December and June and on Fridays and at
midnight and election day and any other old time. Sometimes it rains
more than at others, and that's all the difference you notice. A
man is liable to live along there without noticing any fugiting of
tempus until some day the undertaker calls in for him just when he's
beginning to think about cutting out the gang and saving up a little
to invest in real estate.

"I don't know how long we worked for Don Jaime; but it was through two
or three rainy spells, eight or ten hair cuts, and the life of three
pairs of sail-cloth trousers. All the money we earned went for rum and
tobacco; but we ate, and that was something.

"All of a sudden one day me and Liverpool find the trade of committing
surgical operations on banana stalks turning to aloes and quinine in
our mouths. It's a seizure that often comes upon white men in Latin
and geographical countries. We wanted to be addressed again in
language and see the smoke of a steamer and read the real estate
transfers and gents' outfitting ads in an old newspaper. Even Soledad
seemed like a centre of civilization to us, so that evening we put
our thumbs on our nose at Don Jaime's fruit stand and shook his grass
burrs off our feet.

"It was only twelve miles to Soledad, but it took me and Liverpool two
days to get there. It was banana grove nearly all the way; and we got
twisted time and again. It was like paging the palm room of a New York
hotel for a man named Smith.

"When we saw the houses of Soledad between the trees all my
disinclination toward this Liverpool Sam rose up in me. I stood him
while we were two white men against the banana brindles; but now, when
there were prospects of my exchanging even cuss words with an American
citizen, I put him back in his proper place. And he was a sight, too,
with his rum-painted nose and his red whiskers and elephant feet with
leather sandals strapped to them. I suppose I looked about the same.

"'It looks to me,' says I, 'like Great Britain ought to be made to
keep such gin-swilling, scurvy, unbecoming mud larks as you at home
instead of sending 'em over here to degrade and taint foreign lands.
We kicked you out of America once and we ought to put on rubber boots
and do it again.'

"'Oh, you go to 'ell,' says Liverpool, which was about all the
repartee he ever had.

"Well, Soledad, looked fine to me after Don Jaime 's plantation.
Liverpool and me walked into it side by side, from force of habit,
past the calabosa and the Hotel Grande, down across the plaza toward
Chica's hut, where we hoped that Liverpool, being a husband of hers,
might work his luck for a meal.

"As we passed the two-story little frame house occupied by the
American Club, we noticed that the balcony had been decorated all
around with wreaths of evergreens and flowers, and the flag was
flying from the pole on the roof. Stanzey, the consul, and Arkright,
a gold-mine owner, were smoking on the balcony. Me and Liverpool
waved our dirty hands toward 'em and smiled real society smiles; but
they turned their backs to us and went on talking. And we had played
whist once with the two of 'em up to the time when Liverpool held all
thirteen trumps for four hands in succession. It was some holiday, we
knew; but we didn't know the day nor the year.

"A little further along we saw a reverend man named Pendergast, who
had come to Soledad to build a church, standing under a cocoanut palm
with his little black alpaca coat and green umbrella.

"'Boys, boys!' says he, through his blue spectacles, 'is it as bad as
this? Are you so far reduced?'

"'We're reduced,' says I, 'to very vulgar fractions.'

"'It is indeed sad,' says Pendergast, 'to see my countrymen in such
circumstances.'

"'Cut 'arf of that out, old party,' says Liverpool. 'Cawn't you tell
a member of the British upper classes when you see one?'

"'Shut up,' I told Liverpool. 'You're on foreign soil now, or that
portion of it that's not on you.'

"'And on this day, too!' goes on Pendergast, grievous--'on this most
glorious day of the year when we should all be celebrating the dawn of
Christian civilization and the downfall of the wicked.'

"'I did notice bunting and bouquets decorating the town, reverend,'
says I, 'but I didn't know what it was for. We've been so long out of
touch with calendars that we didn't know whether it was summer time or
Saturday afternoon.'

"'Here is two dollars,' says Pendergast digging up two Chili silver
wheels and handing 'em to me. 'Go, my men, and observe the rest of the
day in a befitting manner.'

"Me and Liverpool thanked him kindly, and walked away.

"'Shall we eat?' I asks.

"'Oh, 'ell!' says Liverpool. 'What's money for?'

"'Very well, then,' I says, 'since you insist upon it, we'll drink.'

"So we pull up in a rum shop and get a quart of it and go down on the
beach under a cocoanut tree and celebrate.

"Not having eaten anything but oranges in two days, the rum has
immediate effect; and once more I conjure up great repugnance toward
the British nation.

"'Stand up here,' I says to Liverpool, 'you scum of a despot limited
monarchy, and have another dose of Bunker Hill. That good man, Mr.
Pendergast,' says I, 'said we were to observe the day in a befitting
manner, and I'm not going to see his money misapplied.'

"'Oh, you go to 'ell!' says Liverpool, and I started in with a fine
left-hander on his right eye.

"Liverpool had been a fighter once, but dissipation and bad company
had taken the nerve out of him. In ten minutes I had him lying on the
sand waving the white flag.

"'Get up,' says I, kicking him in the ribs, 'and come along with me.'

"Liverpool got up and followed behind me because it was his habit,
wiping the red off his face and nose. I led him to Reverend
Pendergast's shack and called him out.

"'Look at this, sir,' says I--'look at this thing that was once a
proud Britisher. You gave us two dollars and told us to celebrate the
day. The star-spangled banner still waves. Hurrah for the stars and
eagles!'

"'Dear me,' says Pendergast, holding up his hands. 'Fighting on this
day of all days! On Christmas day, when peace on--'

"'Christmas, hell!' says I. 'I thought it was the Fourth of July.'"



"Merry Christmas!" said the red, white, and blue cockatoo.

"Take him for six dollars," said Hop-along Bibb. "He's got his dates
and colours mixed."



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