Infomotions, Inc.The Veiled Lady and Other Men and Women / Smith, Francis Hopkinson, 1838-1915



Author: Smith, Francis Hopkinson, 1838-1915
Title: The Veiled Lady and Other Men and Women
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): joe; captain joe
Contributor(s): Clark, Walter, 1846-1924 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 61,375 words (short) Grade range: 9-11 (high school) Readability score: 67 (easy)
Identifier: etext4713
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

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

The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Veiled Lady, by F. Hopkinson Smith
#5 in our series by F. Hopkinson Smith

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing
this or any other Project Gutenberg file.

We encourage you to keep this file, exactly as it is, on your own disk,
thereby keeping an electronic path open for future readers.

Please do not remove this.

This header should be the first thing seen when anyone starts to
view the etext. Do not change or edit it without written permission.
The words are carefully chosen to provide users with the information
they need to understand what they may and may not do with the etext.
To encourage this, we have moved most of the information to the end,
rather than having it all here at the beginning.


**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*****These Etexts Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get etexts, and
further information, is included below.  We need your donations.

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
organization with EIN [Employee Identification Number] 64-6221541
Find out about how to make a donation at the bottom of this file.



Title: The Veiled Lady
       And Other Men and Women

Author: F. Hopkinson Smith

Release Date: December, 2003 [Etext #4713]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on March 6, 2002]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Veiled Lady, by F. Hopkinson Smith
********This file should be named vldld10.txt or vldld10.zip********

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, vldld11.txt
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, vldld10a.txt

Produced by Duncan Harrod


Project Gutenberg Etexts are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the US
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we usually do not
keep etexts in compliance with any particular paper edition.

The "legal small print" and other information about this book
may now be found at the end of this file.  Please read this
important information, as it gives you specific rights and
tells you about restrictions in how the file may be used.










THE VEILED LADY

And Other Men And Women

By

F. Hopkinson Smith





To my Readers:

This collection of stories has been labelled "The
Veiled Lady" as being the easiest way out of a
dilemma; and yet the title may be misleading. While,
beyond doubt, there is between these covers a most
charming and lovable Houri, to whom the nightingales
sing lullabies, there can also be found a surpassingly
beautiful Venetian whose love affairs upset
a Quarter, a common-sense, motherly nurse whose
heart warmed toward her companion in the adjoining
berth, a plucky New England girl with the courage
of her convictions, and a prim spinster whose only
consolation was the boarder who sat opposite.

Nor does the list by any means end here. Rough
sea-dogs, with friendly feelings toward other dogs,
crop up, as well as brave Titans who make derricks
of their arms and fender-piles of their bodies. Here,
too, are skinny, sun-dried Excellencies with a taste
for revolutions, well-groomed club swells with a taste
for adventure and cocktails, not to mention half a
dozen gay, rollicking Bohemians with a taste for
everything that came their way.

Perhaps it might have been best to enclose each
story in a separate cover, and then to dump the unassorted
lot upon the table, where those who wished
could make their choice. And yet, as I turn the leaves,
I must admit that, after all, the present form is best,
since each and every incident, situation, and bit of local
color has either passed before or was poured into the
wide-open eyes and willing ears of your most humble
and obedient servant

A Staid Old Painter.

150 East 34th Street,
New York, March 13, 1907.




THE VEILED LADY OF STAMBOUL



Joe Hornstog told me this story--the first part of
it; the last part of it came to me in a way which
proves how small the world is.

Joe belongs to that conglomerate mass of heterogeneous
nationalities found around the Golden Horn,
whose ancestry is as difficult to trace as a gypsy's.
He says he is a "Jew gentleman from Germany,"
but he can't prove it, and he knows he can't.

There is no question about his being part Jew,
and there is a strong probability of his being part
German, and, strange to say, there is not the slightest
doubt of his being part gentleman--in his own estimation;
and I must say in mine, when I look back
over an acquaintance covering many years and
remember how completely my bank account was at
his disposal and how little of its contents he appropriated.

And yet, were I required to hold up my hand in
open court, I would have to affirm that Joe, whatever
his other strains might be, was, after all, ninety-nine
per cent. Levantine--which is another way of saying
that he is part of every nationality about him.

As to his honesty and loyalty, is he not the chosen
dragoman of kings and princes when they journey
into far distant lands (he speaks seven languages
and many tribal dialects), and is he not today wearing
in his buttonhole the ribbon of the order of the
Mejidieh, bestowed upon him by his Imperial Highness
the Sultan, in reward for his ability and faithfulness?

I must admit that I myself have been his debtor--
not once, but many times. It was this same quick-
sighted, quick-witted Levantine who lifted me from
my sketching stool and stood me on my feet in the
plaza of the Hippodrome one morning just in time
to prevent my being trodden under foot by six Turks
carrying the body of their friend to the cemetery--
in time, too, to save me from the unforgivable sin
among Orientals, of want of reverence for their dead.
I had heard the tramp of the pall-bearers, and supposing
it to be that of the Turkish patrol, had kept
at work. They were prowling everywhere, day and
night, and during those days they passed every ten
minutes--nine soldiers in charge of an officer of
police--all owing to the fact that some five thousand
Armenians, anxious to establish a new form of government,
had been wiped out of existence only the
week before.

Once on my feet (Joe accomplished his purpose
with the help of my suspenders) and the situation
clear, I had sense enough left to uncover my head
and stand in an attitude of profound reverence until
the procession had passed. I can see them now--the
coffin wrapped in a camel's-hair shawl, the dead man's
fez and turban resting on top. Then I replaced my
hat and finished the last of the six minarets of the
mosque gleaming like opals in the soft light of the
morning.

This act of courtesy, due so little to my own initiative,
and so largely to Joe's, gained for me many
friends in and about the mosque--not only those of
the dead man, one of whom rowed a caique, but among
the priests who formed the funeral cortege--a fact
unknown to me until Joe imparted it. "Turk-man
say you good man, effendi," was the way he put it.
"You stoop over yourselluf humble for their dead."

On another occasion Joe again stood by my side
when, with hat off and with body in a half kotow, I
sat before the Pasha, who was acting chief of police
after that stormy Armenian week--it was over really
in five days.

"Most High Potentate," Joe began, translating
my plain Anglo-Saxon "Please, sir," into Eastern
hyperbolics, "I again seek your Excellency's presence
to make my obeisance and to crave your permission
to transfer to cheap paper some of the glories of this
City of Turquoise and Ivory. This, if your Highness
will deign to remember, is not the first time I have
trespassed. Twice before have I prostrated myself,
and twice has your Sublimity granted my request."

"These be troublous times," puffed his Swarthiness
through his mustache, his tobacco-stained fingers
meanwhile rolling a cigarette; a dark-skinned,
heavily-bearded Oriental, this Pasha, with an eye
that burned holes in you. "You should await a
more peaceful season, effendi, for your art."

"On account of the Armenians, your Excellency?"
I ventured to inquire with a smile.

"Yes." This, in translation by Joe, came with
a whistling sound, like the escaping steam of a
radiator.

"But why should I fear these disturbers of the
peace, your Supreme Highness? The Turk is my
friend, and has been for years. They know me and my
pure and unblemished life. They also know by this
time that I have been one of the chosen few among
nations who have enjoyed your Highness's confidence,
and to whom you have given protection."
Here my spine took the form of a horseshoe curve--
Moorish pattern. "As to these dogs of Armenians"
(this last was Joe's, given with a growl to show his
deep detestation of the race--part of his own, if he
would but acknowledge it), "your Excellency will
look out for them." He WAS looking out for them
at the rate of one hundred a day and no questions
asked or answered so far as the poor fellows were
concerned.

At this the distinguished Oriental finished rolling
his cigarette, looked at me blandly--it is astonishing
how sweet a smile can overspread the face of a Turk
when he is granting you a favor or signing the death
warrant of an infidel--clapped his hands, summoning
an attendant who came in on all fours, and whispered
an order in the left ear of the almost prostrate
man. This done, the Pasha rose from his seat,
straightened his shoulders (no handsomer men the
world over than these high-class Turks), shook my
hand warmly, gave me the Turkish salute--heart,
mouth, and forehead touched with the tips of flying
fingers--and bowed me out.

Once through the flat leather curtain that hid the
exit door of the Pasha's office, and into the bare
corridor, I led Joe to a corner out of the hearing
of the ever-present spy, and, nailing him to the wall,
propounded this query:

"What did the High-Pan-Jam say, Joe?"

Hornstog raised his shoulders level with his ears,
fanned out his fingers, crooked his elbows, and in his
best conglomerate answered:

"He say, effendi, that a guard of ein men, Yusuf,
his name--I know him--he is in the Secret Service--
oh, we will have no trouble with him--" Here
Joe chafed his thumb and forefinger with the movement
of a paying teller counting a roll. "He come
every morning to Galata Bridge for you me. He
say, too, if any trouble while you paint I go him--
ah, effendi, it is only Joe Hornstog can do these
things. The Pasha, he know me--all good Turk-men
know me. Where we paint now, subito? In the
plaza, or in the patio of the Valedee, like last year?"

"Neither. We go first to the Mosque of Suleiman.
I want the view through the gate of the court-yard,
with the mosque in the background. Best place is
below the cafe. Pick up those traps and come along."

Thus it was that on this particular summer afternoon
Joe and I found ourselves on the shadow side
of a wall up a crooked, break-neck street paved with
rocks, each as big as a dress-suit case, from which I
got a full view of the wonderful mosque tossing its
splendors into the still air, its cresting of minarets
so much frozen spray against the blue.

The little comedy--or shall I say tragedy?--began
a few minutes after I had opened my easel--I sitting
crouched in the shadow, my elbow touching the
plastered wall. Only Joe and I were present.
Yusuf, the guard, a skinny, half-fed Turk in fez
and European dress, had as usual betaken himself
to the cafe fronting the same sidewalk on which I
sat, but half a block away; far enough to be out of
hearing, but near enough to miss my presence should
I decamp suddenly without notifying him. There
he drank some fifty cups of coffee, each one the size
of a thimble, and smoked as many cigarettes, their
burned stubs locating his seat under the cafe awning
as clearly as peanut-shells mark a boy's at the circus.
I, of course, paid for both.

So absorbed was I in my work--the mosque never
was so beautiful as on that day--I gave no thought
to the fact that in my eagerness to hide my canvas
from the prying sun I had really backed myself into
a small wooden gate, its lintel level with the sidewalk
--a dry, dusty, sun-blistered gate, without lock or
hasp on the outside, and evidently long closed. Even
then I would not have noticed it, had not my ears
caught the sound of a voice--two voices, in fact--low,
gurgling voices--as if a fountain had just been
turned on, spattering the leaves about it. Then my
eye lighted, not only on the gate, but upon a seam or
split in the wood, half-way up its height, showing
where a panel was sometimes pushed back, perhaps
for surer identification, before the inside wooden
beam would be loosened.

So potent was the spell of the mosque's witchery
that the next instant I should have forgotten both
door and panel had not Joe touched the toe of my boot
with his own--he was sitting close to me--and in
explanation lifted his eyebrow a hair's breadth, his
eyes fixed on the slowly sliding panel--sliding noiselessly,
an inch at a time. Only then did my mind act.

What I saw was first a glow of yellow green, then
a mass of blossoms, then a throat, chin and face,
one after another, all veiled in a gossamer thin as a
spider's web, and last--and these I shall never forget
--a pair of eyes shining clear below and above the
veil, and which gazed into mine with the same steady,
full, unfrightened look one sometimes sees on the
face of a summer moon when it bursts through a
rift in the clouds.

"Don't move and don't look," whispered Joe in
my ear, a tone in his voice of one who had just seen
a ghost. "Allah! Ekber! Yuleima!"

"Who is she?" I answered, craning my neck to
see the closer.

"No speak now--keep still," he mumbled under
his breath.

It may have been the gossamer veil shading a
rose skin, making pink pearls of the cheeks and chin
and lending its charm to the other features; or it
may have been the wonderful eyes that made me
oblivious of Joe's warning, for I did look--looked
with all my eyes, and kept on looking.

Men have died for just such eyes. Even now,
staid old painter as I am, the very remembrance
of their wondrous size--big as a young doe's and as
pleading, their lids fringed by long feathery lashes
that opened and shut with the movement of a tired
butterfly--sends little thrills of delight scampering
up and down my spine. Bulbuls, timid gazelles, perfumed
narghilehs, anklets of beaten gold strung with
turquoise, tinkling cymbals, tiny turned-up slippers
with silk tassels on their toes--everything that told
of the intoxicating life of the East were mirrored in
their unfathomed depths.

Most of these qualities, I am aware, are found in
many another pair of lambent, dreamy eyes half-
hidden by the soft folds of a yashmak--eyes which
these houris often flash on some poor devil of a
giaour, knowing how safe they are and how slim his
chance for further acquaintance. Strange tales are
told of their seductive power and strange disappearances
take place because of them. And yet I saw
at a glance that there was nothing of all this in her
wondering gaze. Her eyes, in fact, were fixed neither
on Joseph nor on me, nor did they linger for one
instant on the beautiful mosque. It was my canvas
that held their gaze. Men and mosques were old
stories; pictures of either as astounding as a glimpse
into heaven.

Again Joe bent his head and whispered to me, his
glance this time on the mosque, on the hill, on the
cafe, where Yusuf sat sipping his coffee, talking to
me all the time out of the corner of his mouth.

"Remember, effendi, if Yusuf come we go way
chabouk. You look at your picture all time--paint--
no look at her. If Yusuf come and catch us it make
trouble for her--make trouble for you--make more
trouble for me. Police Pasha don't know she come to
this garden--I think somebody must help her. You
better stop now and go cafe. I find Yusuf. I no
like this place."

With this Hornstog rose to his feet and began packing
the trap, still whispering, his eyes on the ground.
Never once did he look in the direction of the houri
peering through the sliding panel.

The clatter of a horse's hoofs now resounded
through the still air. A mounted officer was approaching.
Joe looked up, turned a light pea-green,
backed his body into the gate with the movement
of an eel, put his cheek close to the sliding panel,
and whispered some words in Turkish. The girl
leaned a little forward, glanced at the officer as if
in confirmation of Joseph's warning, and smothering
a low cry, sprang back from the opening. The next
instant my eye caught the thumb and forefinger of
a black hand noiselessly closing the panel. Joe
straightened up, pulled himself into the position of
a sentinel on guard, saluted the officer, who passed
without looking to the right or left, drew a handkerchief
from his pocket, and began mopping his head.

"What the devil is it all about, Joe? Why, you
look as if you had had the wind knocked out of you."

"Oh, awful close, awful close! I tell you--but
not here. Come, we go 'way--we go now--not stay
here any more. If that officer see the lady with us
the Pasha send me to black mosque for five year and
you find yourself board ship on way to Tripoli. Here
come Yusuf--damn him! You tell him you no like
view of mosque from here--say you find another
place to-morrow--you do this quick. Hornstog
never lie."

On my way across the Galata Bridge to my quarters
in Pera that same afternoon Joe followed until
Yusuf had made his kotow and we had made ours, the
three ending in a triple flight of fingers--waited until
the guard was well on his way back to the Pasha's
office--it was but a short way from the Stamboul end
of the Galata--and drawing me into one of the small
cafes overlooking the waters of the Golden Horn,
seated me at the far end near a window where we
could talk without being overheard. Here Joe ordered
coffee and laid a package of cigarettes on the table.

"My! but that was like the razor at the throat--
not for all the hairs on my head would I had her
look out the small hole in the door when Serim come
along. Somebody must be take care of you, you Joe
Hornstog, that you don't make damn big fool of
yourselluf. Ha! but it make me creep like a spider
crawl."

I had pulled up a chair by this time and was facing
him.

"Now what is it? Who is the girl? Who was
the chap on horseback?"

"That man on the horse is Serim Pasha, chief
of the palace police. He has eyes around twice; one
in the forehead, one in each ear, one in the behind
of his head. He did not see her--if he did--well,
we would not be talk now together--sure not after
to-morrow night."

"But what has he got to do with it? What did you
say her name was? Yuleima?"

"Yes, Yuleima. What has Serim to do with her?
Well, I tell you. If she get away off go Serim's
head. Listen! I speak something you never hear
anywhere 'cept in Turk-man's land. I know it all--
everything. I know her prince--he knows me. I
meet him Damascus once--he told me some things
then--the tears run his cheeks down like a baby's
when he talk--and Serim know I know somethings!
Ah! that's why he not believe me if he catch me talk
to her. Afterward I find more out from my friend
in Yuleima's house--he is the gardener. Put your
head close, effendi."

I drew my chair nearer and listened.

"Yuleima," began Joe, "is one womans like no
other womans in all--"

But I shall not attempt the dragoman's halting,
broken jargon interspersed with Italian and German
words--it will grate on you as it grated on me. I
will assume for the moment--and Joe would be most
thankful to have me do so--that the learned Hornstog,
the friend of kings and princes, is as fluent in
English as he is in Turkish, Arabic, and Greek.

It all began in a caique--or rather in two caiques.
One was on its way to a little white house that nestles
among the firs at the foot of the bare brown hill overlooking
the village of Beicos. The other was bound
for the Fountain Beautiful, where the women and
their slaves take the air in the soft summer mornings.

In the first caique, rowed by two caique-jis gorgeously
dressed in fluffy trousers and blouses embroidered
in gold, sat the daughter of the rich Bagdad
merchant.

In the second caique, cigarette in hand, lounged
the nephew of the Khedive, Mahmoud Bey; scarce
twenty, slight, oval face with full lips, hair black as
sealskin and as soft, and eyes that smouldered under
heavy lids. Four rowers in blue and silver attended
his Highness, the amber-colored boat skimming the
waters as a tropical bird skims a lagoon.

The two had passed each other the week before
on the day of the Selamlik (the Turkish holiday)
while paddling up the Sweet Waters of Asia--a little
brook running into the Bosphorus and deep
enough for caiques to float, and every day since that
blissful moment my lady had spent the morning
under the wide-spreading plane-trees shading the
Fountain Beautiful--the Chesmegazell--attended by
her faithful slave Multif, her beautiful body stretched
on a Damascus rug of priceless value, her eager eyes
searching the blue waters of the Bosphorus.

On this particular morning--my lady had just
stepped into her boat--the young man was seen to
raise himself on his elbow, lift his eyelids, and a
slight flush suffused his swarthy cheeks. Then came
an order in a low voice, and the caique swerved in its
course and headed for the dot of white and gold in
which sat Multif and my lady. The Spanish caballero
haunts the sidewalk and watches all day beneath
his Dulcinea's balcony; or he talks to her across the
opera-house or bull-ring with cigarette, fingers, and
cane, she replying with studied movements of her
fan. In the empire of Mohammed, with a hundred
eyes on watch--eyes of eunuchs, spies, and parents--
love-making is reduced to a passing glance, brief as
a flash of light, and sometimes as blinding.

That was all that took place when the two caiques
passed--just a thinning of the silken veil, with only
one fold of the yashmak slipped over the eyes, softening
the fire of their beauty; then a quick, all-enfolding,
all-absorbing look, as if she would drink into her
very soul the man she loved, and the two tiny boats
kept each on its way.

The second act of the comedy opens in a small
cove, an indent of the Bosphorus, out of sight of
passing boat-patrols--out of sight, too, of inquisitive
wayfarers passing along the highroad from
Beicos to Danikeui. Above the cove, running from
the very beach, sweeps a garden, shaded by great
trees and tangles of underbrush; one bunch smothering
a summer-house. This is connected by a sheltered
path with the little white house that nestles among
the firs half-way up the steep brown hill that overlooks
the village of Beicos.

The water-patrol may have been friendly, or my
lady's favorite slave resourceful, but almost every
night for weeks the first caique and the second
caique had lain side by side in the boat-house in the
cove, both empty, except for one trusty man who
loved Mahmoud and who did his bidding without
murmur or question, no matter what the danger.
Higher up, her loose white robes splashed with the
molten silver of the moon filtering through overhanging
leaves, where even the nightingale stopped to
listen, could be heard the cooing of two voices. Then
would come a warning cry, and a figure closely
veiled would speed up the path. Next could be heard
the splash of oars of the first caique homeward bound.

Locksmiths are bunglers in the East compared to
patrols and eunuchs. Lovers may smile, but they
never laugh at them. There is always a day of
reckoning. A whisper goes around; some disgruntled
servant shakes his head; and an old fellow
with baggy trousers and fez, says: "My daughter,
I am surprised" or "pained" or "outraged," or
whatever he does say in polite Turkish, Arabic, or
Greek, and my lady is locked up on bread and water,
or fig-paste, or Turkish Delight, and all is over.
Sometimes the young Lothario is ordered back to his
regiment, or sent to Van or Trebizond or Egypt for
the good of his morals, or his health or the community
in which he lives. Sometimes everybody accepts the
situation and the banns are called and they live happy
ever after.

What complicated this situation was that the girl,
although as beautiful as a dream--any number of
dreams, for that matter, and all of paradise--was
a plebeian and the young man of royal blood. Furthermore,
any number of parents, her own two and twice
as many uncles and aunts, might get together and
give, not only their blessing, but lands and palaces--
two on the Bosphorus, one in Bagdad and another at
Smyrna, and nothing would avail unless his Imperial
Highness the Sultan gave his consent. Futhermore,
again, should it come to the ears of his August Presence
that any such scandalous alliance was in contemplation,
several yards of additional bow-strings
would be purchased and the whole coterie experience
a choking sensation which would last them the balance
of their lives.

Thus it was that, after that most blissful night
in the arbor--their last--in which she had clung to
him as if knowing he was about to slip forever from
her arms, both caiques were laid up for the season;
the first tight locked and guarded in the palace of
the young man's father, five miles along the blue
Bosphorus as the bird flies, and the second in the
little boat-house in the small indent of a cove under
the garden holding the beloved arbor, the little white
house, and My Lady of the diaphanous veil and the
all-absorbing eyes.

With the lifting of the curtain on the third act,
the scene shifts. No more Sweet Waters, no more
caiques nor stolen interviews, the music of hot kisses
drowned in the splash of the listening fountain. Instead,
there is seen a sumptuously furnished interior
the walls wainscoted in Moorish mosaics and lined
by broad divans covered with silken rugs. Small
tables stand about holding trays of cigarettes and
sweets. Over against a window overlooking a garden
lounges a group of women--some young, some old,
one or two of them black as coal. It is the harem
of the Pasha, the father of Mahmoud, Prince of the
Rising Sun, Chosen of the Faithful, Governor of a
province, and of forty other things beside--most
of which Joe had forgotten.

Months had passed since that night in the arbor.
Yuleima had cried her eyes out, and Mahmoud had
shaken his fists and belabored his head, swearing
by the beard of the Prophet that come what might
Yuleima should be his.

Then came the death of the paternal potentate,
and the young lover was free--free to come and go,
to love, to hate; free to follow the carriage of his
imperial master in his race up the hill after the ceremony
of the Selamlik; free to choose any number of
Yuleimas for his solace; free to do whatever pleased
him--except to make the beautiful Yuleima his
spouse. This the High-Mightinesses forbade. There
were no personal grounds for their objection. The
daughter of the rich Bagdad merchant was as gentle
as a doe, beautiful as a star seen through the soft
mists of the morning, and of stainless virtue. Her
father had ever been a loyal subject, giving of his
substance to both church and state, but there were
other things to consider, among them a spouse especially
selected by a council of High Pan-Jams, whose
decision, having been approved by their imperial master,
was not only binding, but final--so final that
death awaited any one who would dare oppose it. At
the feast of Ramazan the two should wed. Yuleima
might take second, third, or fortieth place--but not
first.

The young prince gritted his row of white teeth
and flashed his slumbering eyes--and they could
flash--blaze sometimes--with a fire that scorched.
Yuleima would be his, unsullied in his own eyes and
the world's, or she should remain in the little white
house on the brown hill and continue to blur her
beautiful eyes with the tears of her grief.

Then the favorite slave and the faithful caique-ji
--the one who found the little cove even on the darkest
night--put their heads together--two very cunning
and wise heads, one black and wrinkled and the
other sun-tanned and yellow--with the result that
one night a new odalisque, a dark-skinned, black-
haired houri, the exact opposite of the fair-skinned,
fair-haired Yuleima, joined the coterie in the harem
of the palace of the prince. She had been bought
with a great price and smuggled into Stamboul, the
story ran, a present from a distinguished friend of
his father, little courtesies like this being common
in Oriental countries, as one would send a bottle of
old Madeira from his cellar or a choice cut of venison
from his estate, such customs as is well known being
purely a matter of geography.

The chief blackamoor, a shambling, knock-kneed,
round-shouldered, swollen-paunched apology for a
man, with blistered, cracked lips, jaundiced pig eyes,
and the skin of a terrapin, looked her all over, grunted
his approval, and with a side-lunge of his fat empty
head, indicated the divan which was to be hers during
the years of her imprisonment.

One night some words passed between the two
over the division of bonbons, perhaps, or whose turn
it was to take afternoon tea with the prince--it had
generally been the new houri's, resulting in considerable
jealousy and consequent discord--or some trifle
of that sort (Joe had never been in a harem, and was
therefore indefinite), when the blackamoor, to punctuate
his remarks, slashed the odalisque across her
thinly covered shoulders with a knout--a not uncommon
mode of enforcing discipline, so Joe assured me.

Then came the great scene of the third act--
always the place for it, so dramatists say.

The dark-skinned houri sprang up, rose to her
full height, her eyes blazing, and facing her tormentor,
cried:

"You blackguard"--a true statement--"do you
know who I am?"

"Yes, perfectly; you are Yuleima, the daughter
of the Bagdad merchant."

The fourth act takes place on the outskirts of Stamboul,
in a small house surrounded by a high wall
which connects with the garden of a mosque. The exposure
by the eunuch had resulted in an investigation
by the palace clique, which extended to the Bagdad
merchant and his family, who, in explanation, not
only denounced her as an ungrateful child, cursing
her for her opposition to her sovereign's will, but
denied all knowledge of her whereabouts. They supposed,
they pleaded, that she had thrown herself
into the Bosphorus at the loss of her lover. Then
followed the bundling up of Yuleima in the still
watches of the night; her bestowal at the bottom of
a caique, her transfer to Stamboul, and her incarceration
in charge of an attendant in a deserted house
belonging to the mosque. The rumor was then set
on foot that it was unlawful to look steadily into the
waters of the Bosphorus or to attempt the salvage
of any derelict body floating by.

The prince made another assault on his hair and
tightened his fingers, this time with a movement as
if he was twisting them round somebody's throat,
but he made no outcry. It is hard to kick against
the pricks in some lands.

He did not believe the bow-string pillow-case and
solid-shot story, but he knew that he should never
look upon her face again. What he did believe was
that she had been taken to some distant city and there
sold.

For days he shut himself up in his palace. Then,
having overheard a conversation in his garden between
two eunuchs--placed there for that purpose--
he got together a few belongings, took his faithful
caique-ji, and travelled a-field. If what he had heard
was true she was in or near Damascus. Here would
he go. If, after searching every nook and cranny, he
failed to find her, he would return and carry out his
sovereign's commands and marry the princess--a
woman he had never laid his eyes on and who might
be as ugly as sin and as misshapen as Yuleima was
beautiful. It was while engaged in this fruitless
search that he met Joseph, to whom he had poured
out his heart (so Joe assured me, with his hand on
his shirt-front), hoping to enlist his sympathies and
thus gain his assistance.

All this time the heartbroken girl, rudely awakened
from her dream of bliss, was a prisoner in the
deserted house next the mosque. As the dreary
months went by her skin regained its pinkness and
her beautiful hair its golden tint,--walnut shells and
cosmetics not being found in the private toilet of the
priests and their companions. When the summer
came a greater privilege was given her. She could
never speak to any one and no one could speak to
her--even the priests knew this--but a gate opening
into the high-walled garden was left unlocked now
and then by one of the kind-hearted Mohammedans,
and often she would wander as far as the end of the
wall overlooking the Mosque of Suleiman, her attendant
always with her--a black woman appointed by
Chief-of-Police Selim, and responsible for her safety,
and who would pay forfeit with her head if Yuleima
escaped.

"And you think now, effendi," concluded Joe, as
he drained his last cup of coffee (Hornstog's limit
was twenty cups at intervals of three minutes each),
"that Joe be big damn fool to put his foots in this--
what you call--steel trap? No, no, we keep away.
To-morrow, don't it, we take Yusuf and go Scutari?
One beautiful fountain at Scutari like you never
see!"

"But can't her father help?" I asked, ignoring
his suggestion. His caution did not interest me. It
was the imprisoned girl and her suffering that occupied
my thoughts.

"Yes, perhaps, but not yet. I somethings hear
one day from the gardener who live with her father,
but maybe it all lie. He say Serim come and say--"
Again Joe chafed his thumb and forefinger, after the
manner of the paying teller. "Maybe ten thousand
piastres--maybe twenty. Her father would pay, of
course, only the Sultan might not like--then worse
trouble--nothing will be done anyhow until the wedding
is over. Then, perhaps, some time."

I did not go to Scutari the next day. I opened my
easel in the patio of the Pigeon Mosque and started
in to paint the plaza with Cleopatra's Needle in the
distance. This would occupy the morning. In the
afternoon I would finish my sketch of Suleiman.
Should Joe have a fresh attack of ague he could join
Yusuf at the cafe and forget it in the thimbelful
that cheers but does not inebriate.

With the setting up of my tripod and umbrella
and the opening of my color-box a crowd began
to gather--market people, fruit-sellers, peddlers,
scribes, and soldiers. Then a shrill voice rang out
from one of the minarets calling the people to prayer.
A group of priests now joined the throng about me
watched me for a moment, consulted together, and
then one of them, an old man in a silken robe of
corn-yellow bound about with a broad sash of baby
blue, a majestic old man, with a certain rhythmic
movement about him which was enchanting, laid
his hand on Joseph's shoulder and looking into
his eyes, begged him to say to his master that the
making of pictures of any living or dead thing, especially
mosques, was contrary to their religion, and
that the effendi must fold his tent.

All this time another priest, an old patriarch with
a fez and green turban and Nile-green robe overlaid
with another of rose-pink, was scrutinizing my face.
Then the corn-yellow fellow and the rose-pink patriarch
put their heads together, consulted for a moment,
made me a low bow, performed the flying-fingers act,
and floated off toward the mosque.

"You no go 'way, effendi," explained Joe. "The
priest in green turban say he remember you; he say
you holy man who bow yourselluf humble when dead
man go by. No stop paint."

The protests of the priests, followed by their consultation
and quiet withdrawal, packed the crowd the
closer. One young man in citizen's dress and fez stood
on the edge of the throng trying to understand the
cause of the excitement.

Joe, who was sitting by me assisting with the water-
cup, gazed into the intruder's face a moment, then
closed upon my arm with a grip as if he'd break it.

"Allah! Mahmoud Bey!" he whispered. "Yuleima's
prince. That's him with the smooth face."

The next instant the young man stood by my side.

"The people are only curious, monsieur," he said
in French. "If they disturb you I will have them
sent away. So few painters come--you are the first
I have seen in many years. If it will not annoy you,
I'd like to watch you a while."

"Annoy me, my dear sir!" I was on my feet
now, hat in hand. (If he had been my long-lost
brother, stolen by the Indians or left on a desert
island to starve--or any or all of those picturesque
and dramatic things--I could not have been more
glad to see him. I fairly hugged myself--it seemed
too good to be true.) "I will be more than delighted
if you will take my dragoman's stool. Get up, Joe,
and give--"

The request had already been forestalled. Joe
was not only up, but was bowing with the regularity
and precision of the arms of a windmill, his fingers,
with every rise, fluttering between his shirt-stud and
his eyebrows. On his second upsweep the young
prince got a view of his face--then his hand went
out.

"Why, it is Hornstog! We know each other. We
met in Damascus. You could not, monsieur, find a
better dragoman in all Constantinople."

Only three pairs of eyes now followed the movements
of my brush, the crowd having fallen back out
of respect for the young man's rank, Yusuf having
communicated that fact to those who had not recognized
him.

When the light changed--and it changed unusually
early that morning, about two hours ahead of
time (I helped)--I said to the prince:

"It may interest you to see me finish a sketch in
color. Come with me as far as Suleiman. We can
sit quite out of the sun up a little back street under
a wall, and away from everybody. I began the drawing
yesterday. See!" and I uncovered the canvas.

"Ah, Suleimanyeh! The most beautiful of all our
mosques. Yes, certainly I'll go."

Joe dug his knuckles into my thigh, under pretence
of steadying himself--he was squatting beside me like
a frog, helping with the water-cups--and gasped:
"No; don't take him--please, effendi! No--
no--"

I brushed Joe aside and continued: "We can send
for coffee and spend the afternoon. I'll have some
chairs brought from the cafe. Pick up everything,
Joe, and come along."

On the way to the crooked, break-neck street my
thoughts went racing through my head. On one side,
perhaps, a tap on the shoulder in the middle of the
night; half a yard of catgut in the hands of a Bashi-
Bazouk; an appeal to our consul, with the consciousness
of having meddled with something that did not
concern me. On the other a pair of tear-stained,
pleading eyes. Not my eyes--not the eyes of anybody
that I knew--but the kind that raise the devil
even in the heart of a staid old painter like myself.

Joe followed, with downcast gaze. He, too, was
scheming. He could not protest before the prince,
nor before Yusuf. That would imply previous
knowledge of the danger lurking in the vicinity of
the old wall. His was the devil and the deep sea.
Not to tell the prince of Yuleima's whereabouts,
after their combined search for her, and the fees the
prince had paid him, would be as cruel as it was disloyal.
To assist in Mahmoud's finding her would
bring down upon his own head--if it was still on his
shoulders--the wrath of the chief of police, as well
as the power behind him.

Once under the shadow of the wall, the trap unpacked,
easel and umbrella up, and water-bottle
filled, Joe started his windmill, paused at the third
kotow, looked me straight in the eye, and, with a tone
in his voice, as if he had at last come to some conclusion,
made this request:

"I have no eat breakfast, effendi--very hungry--
you please permit Joe go cafe with Yusuf--we stay
ONE hour, no more. Then I bring coffee. You see
me when I come--I bring the coffee myselluf."

He could not have pleased me more. How to get
rid of them both was what had been bothering me.

I painted on, both of us backed into the low gate
with the sliding panel, my eyes on the mosque, my
ears open for the slightest sound. We talked of the
wonderful architecture of the East, of the taper of
the minarets, of the grace and dignity of the priests,
of the social life of the people, I leading and he
following, until I had brought the conversation down
to the question:

"And when you young men decide to marry are
you free to choose, as we Europeans are?" I was
feeling about, wondering how much of his confidence
he would give me.

"No; that's why, sometimes, I wish I was like
one of the white gulls that fly over the water."

"I don't understand."

"I would be out at sea with my mate--that's
what I mean."

"Have you a mate?"

"I had. She is lost."

"Dead?"

"Worse."

I kept at work. White clouds sailed over the
mosque; a flurry of pigeons swept by; the air blew
fresh. With the exception of my companion and
myself the street was deserted. I dared not go any
further in my inquiries. If I betrayed any more
interest or previous knowledge he might think I was
in league against him.

"The girl, then, suffers equally with the man?"
I said, tightening one of the legs of my easel.

"More. He can keep his body clean; she must
often barter hers in exchange for her life. A woman
doesn't count much in Turkey. This is one of the
things we young men who have seen something of the
outside world--I lived a year in Paris--will improve
when we get the power," and his eyes flashed.

"And yet it is dangerous to help one of them to
escape, is it not?"

"Yes."

The hour was nearly up. Joe, I knew, had fixed
it, consulting his watch and comparing it with mine
so that I might know the coast was clear during that
brief period should anything happen.

"I was tempted to help one yesterday," I answered.
"I saw a woman's face that has haunted me
ever since. She may not have been in trouble, but
she looked so." Then quietly, and as if it was only
one of the many incidents that cross a painter's path,
I described in minute detail the gate, the sliding
panel, the veiled face and wondrous eyes, the approach
of the officer, the smothered cry of terror, the
black finger and thumb that reached out, and the
noiseless closing of the panel. What I omitted was
all reference to Joe or his knowledge of the girl.

Mahmoud was staring into my eyes now.

"Where was this?"

"Just behind you. Lift your head--that seam
marks the sliding panel. She may come again when
she sees the top of my umbrella over the wall.
Listen! That's her step. She has some one with her
--crouch down close. There's only room for her head.
You may see her then without her attendant knowing
you are here. Quick! she is sliding the panel!"

Outside of Paris, overlooking the Seine, high up
on a hill, stands the Bellevue--a restaurant known
to half the world. Sweeping down from the perfectly
appointed tables lining the rail of the broad piazza;
skimming the tree-tops, the plain below, the twisting
river, rose-gold in the twilight, the dots of parks
and villas, the eye is lost in the distant city and the
haze beyond--the whole a-twinkle with myriads of
electric lights.

There, one night, from my seat against the opposite
wall (I was dining alone), I was amusing myself
watching a table being set with more than usual care;
some rich American, perhaps, with the world in a
sling, or some young Russian running the gauntlet
of the dressing-rooms. Staid old painters like myself
take an interest in these things. They serve to fill
his note-book, and sometimes help to keep him young.

When I looked again the waiter was drawing out
a chair for a woman with her back to me. In the
half-light, her figure, in silhouette against the cluster
of candles lighting the table, I could see that she was
young and, from the way she took her seat, wonderfully
graceful. Opposite her, drawing out his own
chair, stood a young man in evening dress, his head
outlined against the low, twilight sky. It was Mahmoud!

I sprang from my seat and walked straight toward
them. There came a low cry of joy, and then four
outstretched arms--two of them tight-locked about
my neck.

"Tell me," I asked, when we had seated ourselves,
Yuleima's hands still clinging to mine. "After I
left you that last night in the garden, was the boat
where we hid it?"

"Yes."

"Who rowed you to the steamer?"

"My old caique-ji."

"And who got the tickets and passports?"

"Hornstog."




LORETTA OF THE SHIPYARDS



I


For centuries the painters of Venice have seized
and made their own the objects they loved most in
this wondrous City by the Sea. Canaletto, ignoring
every other beautiful thing, laid hold of quays backed
by lines of palaces bordering the Grand Canal, dotted
with queer gondolas rowed by gondoliers, in queerer
hoods of red or black, depending on the guild to which
they belonged. Turner stamped his ownership on
sunset skies, silver dawns, illuminations, fetes, and
once in a while on a sweep down the canal past the
Salute, its dome a huge incandescent pearl. Ziem
tied up to the long wall and water steps of the Public
Garden, aflame with sails of red and gold: he is still
there--was the last I heard of him, octogenarian as
he is. Rico tacks his card to garden walls splashed
with the cool shadows of rose-pink oleanders dropping
their blossoms into white and green ripples, melting
into blue. As for me--I have laid hands on a canal
--the Rio Giuseppe--all of it--from the beginning
of the red wall where the sailors land, along its
crookednesses to the side entrance of the Public Garden,
and so past the rookeries to the lagoon, where
the tower of Castello is ready to topple into the sea.

Not much of a canal--not much of a painting
ground really, to the masters who have gone before
and are still at work, but a truly lovable, lovely, and
most enchanting possession to me their humble disciple.
Once you get into it you never want to get out,
and, once out, you are miserable until you get back
again. On one side stretches a row of rookeries--
a maze of hanging clothes, fish-nets, balconies hooded
by awnings and topped by nondescript chimneys of
all sizes and patterns, with here and there a dab
of vermilion and light red, the whole brilliant against
a china-blue sky. On the other runs the long brick
wall of the garden,--soggy, begrimed; streaked with
moss and lichen in bands of black-green and yellow
ochre, over which mass and sway the great sycamores
that Ziem loves, their lower branches interwoven
with zinnober cedars gleaming in spots where the prying
sun drips gold.

Only wide enough for a barca and two gondolas to
pass--this canal of mine. Only deep enough to let
a wine barge through; so narrow you must go all
the way back to the lagoon if you would turn your
gondola; so short you can row through it in five
minutes; every inch of its water surface part of
everything about it, so clear are the reflections; full
of moods, whims, and fancies, this wave space--one
moment in a broad laugh coquetting with a bit of
blue sky peeping from behind a cloud, its cheeks
dimpled with sly undercurrents, the next swept by
flurries of little winds, soft as the breath of a child
on a mirror; then, when aroused by a passing boat,
breaking out into ribbons of color--swirls of twisted
doorways, flags, awnings, flower-laden balconies,
black-shawled Venetian beauties all upside down, interwoven
with strips of turquoise sky and green
waters--a bewildering, intoxicating jumble of tatters
and tangles, maddening in detail, brilliant in color,
harmonious in tone: the whole scintillating with a
picturesqueness beyond the ken or brush of any
painter living or dead.

On summer days--none other for me in Venice
(the other fellow can have it in winter)--everybody
living in the rookeries camps out on the quay,
the women sitting in groups stringing beads, the
men flat on the pavement mending their nets. On
its edge, hanging over the water, reaching down, holding
on by a foot or an arm to the iron rail, are
massed the children--millions of children--I never
counted them, but still I say millions of children.
This has gone on since I first staked out my claim--
was a part of the inducement, in fact, that decided me
to move in and take possession--boats, children, still
water, and rookeries being the ingredients from which
I concoct color combinations that some misguided
people take home and say they feel better for.

If you ask me for how many years I have been sole
owner of this stretch of water I must refer you to
Loretta, who had lived just five summers when my
big gondolier, Luigi, pulled her dripping wet from
the canal, and who had lived eleven more--sixteen, in
all--when what I have to tell you happened.

And yet, Loretta's little mishap, now I come to
think of it, does not go back far enough. My claim
was really staked out before she was born (I am still
in possession--that is--I was last year, and hope to be
this), and her becoming part of its record is but the
sticking of two pins along a chart,--the first marking
her entrance at five and the second her exit at sixteen.
All the other years of my occupation--those
before her coming and since her going--were, of
course, full of the kind of joy that comes to a painter,
but these eleven years--well, these had all of this
joy and then, too, they had--Loretta.

I was in the bow of the gondola when the first
of these two pins found its place on the chart, working
away like mad, trying to get the exact shadow tones
on a sun-flecked wall. Luigi was aft, fast asleep, his
elbow under his head: I never object, for then he
doesn't shake the boat. Suddenly from out the hum
of the children's voices there came a scream vibrant
with terror. Then a splash! Then the gondola
swayed as if a barca had bumped it, and the next
thing I knew Luigi's body made a curve through
the air, struck the water, with an enormous souse,
and up came Loretta, her plump, wet little body
resting as easily on Luigi's hand, as a tray rests on a
waiter's. Another sweep with his free arm, and he
passed me the dripping child and clambered up
beside her. The whole affair had not occupied two
minutes.

That was a great day for me!

Heretofore I had been looked upon as a squatter:
possessing certain rights, of course, and more or less
welcome because of sundry lire expended for the temporary
use of fishing boats with sails up,--but still
an interloper. Now I became one of the thousand
families and the million children. These were all
in evidence in less than ten seconds; the peculiar
quality of that scream had done it; not only from
the top story of the highest rookery did they swarm,
but from every near-by campo, and way back to the
shipyards.

Luigi pushed the gondola to the quay and I
lifted out the water-soaked, blue-lipped little tot,
her hair flattened against her cheeks (she was
laughing now,--"It was nothing," she said, "my
foot slipped,") and placed her in the hands of
the longest-armed fishwife; and then Luigi disappeared
into a door, level with the quay, from which
he reappeared ten minutes later in a suit of dry
clothes, the property of a fisherman, and of so grotesque
a fit, the trousers reaching to his knees and the
cuffs of the coat to his elbows, that he set the population
in a roar. My Luigi, you might as well
know, is six feet and an inch, with the torso of a
Greek god and a face that is twin to Colleone's, and,
furthermore, is quite as distinguished looking as that
gentleman on horseback, even if he does wear a straw
hat instead of a copper helmet. After this Loretta
became part of my establishment, especially at luncheon
time, Luigi hunting her up and bringing her
aboard in his arms, she clinging to his grizzled, sunburned
neck. Often she would spend the rest of the
day watching me paint.

All I knew of her antecedents and life outside
of these visits was what Luigi told me. She was born,
he said, in the shipyards, and at the moment lived
in the top of the rookery nearest the bridge. She had
an only sister, who was ten years older; the mother
was the wife of a crab fisherman who had died some
years before; the two children and mother were
cared for by a brother crab fisherman. His son
Francesco, if report were true, was to marry the
sister when she turned fifteen, Francesco being four
years older. This last reference to Francesco came
with a shake of the head and a certain expression in
Luigi's eyes which told me at once that his opinion
of the prospective groom was not for publication--
a way he has when he dislikes somebody and is too
polite to express it.

"Fishes for crabs, like his father?" I asked.

"Yes, crabs and young girls," he answered with
a frown. "A poor lot, these crab catchers, Signore.
Was it the charcoal or a brush you wanted?"

Francesco did not interest me,--nor did the grownup
sister; nor the mother, over whom Luigi also
shrugged his shoulders. It was Loretta's chubbiness
that delighted my soul.

Even at five she was a delightful little body, and
full of entrancing possibilities. One can always tell
what the blossom will be from the bud. In her
case, all the essentials of beauty were in evidence:
dark, lustrous velvety eyes; dazzling teeth--not one
missing; jet-black hair--and such a wealth of it,
almost to her shoulders; a slender figure, small hands
and feet; neat, well-turned ankles and wrists, and
rounded plump arms above the elbows.

"What do you intend to do, little one, when you
grow up?" I asked her one morning. She was sitting
beside me, her eyes following every movement of my
brush.

"Oh, what everybody does. I shall string beads
and then when I get big like my sister I shall go to
the priest and get married, and have a ring and new
shoes and a beautiful, beautiful veil all over my
hair."

"So! And have you picked him out yet?"

"Oh, no, Signore! Why, I am only a little girl.
But he will surely come,--they always come."

These mornings in the gondola continued until she
was ten years old. Sometimes it was a melon held
high in the air that tempted her; or a basket of figs,
or some huge bunches of grapes; or a roll and a
broiled fish from a passing cook-boat: but the bait
always sufficed. With a little cry of joy the beads
would be dropped, or the neighbor's child passed to
another or whatever else occupied her busy head
and small hands, and away she would run to the water
steps and hold out her arms until Luigi rowed over
and lifted her in. She had changed, of course, in
these five years, and was still changing, but only as
an expanding bud changes. The eyes were the same
and so were the teeth--if any had dropped out, newer
and better ones had taken their places; the hair
though was richer, fuller, longer, more like coils of
liquid jet, with a blue sheen where the sky lights
touched its folds. The tight, trim little figure, too,
had loosened out in certain places--especially about
the chest and hips. Before many years she would
flower into the purest type of the Venetian--the most
beautiful woman the world knows.

At sixteen she burst into bloom.

I have never seen a black tulip, not a real velvet-
black, but if inside its shroud of glossy enfoldings--
so like Loretta's hair--there lies enshrined a mouth
red as a pomegranate and as enticing, and if above
it there burn two eyes that would make a holy man
clutch his rosary; and if the flower sways on its stalk
with the movement of a sapling caressed by a summer
breeze;--then the black tulip is precisely the kind of
flower that Loretta bloomed into.

And here the real trouble began,--just as it begins
for every other pretty Venetian, and here, too, must
I place the second pin in my chart.

It all came through Francesco. The older sister
had died with the first child, and this crab catcher
had begun to stretch out his claws for Loretta. She
and her mother still lived with Francesco's father,
who was a widower. The mother kept the house for
all,--had done so for Francesco and her daughter
during their brief married life.

In her persecution Loretta would pour out her
heart to Luigi, telling how they bothered her,--her
mother the most of all. She hated Francesco,--hated
his father,--hated everybody who wanted her to
marry the fisherman. (Luigi, poor fellow, had lost
his only daughter when she was five years of age,
which accounted, I always thought, for his interest
in the girl.)

One morning she called to him and waited on the
quay until he could hail a passing barca and step
from the gondola to its deck and so ashore. Then
the two disappeared through the gate of the garden.

"She is too pretty to go alone," he explained on
his return. "Every day she must pay a boy two
soldi, Signore, to escort her to the lace factory--the
boy is sick today and so I went with her. But their
foolishness will stop after this;--these rats know
Luigi."

From this day on Loretta had the Riva to herself.




II



So far there has been introduced into this story
the bad man, Francesco, with crab-like tendencies,
who has just lost his wife; the ravishingly beautiful
Loretta; the girl's mother, of whom all sorts of stories
were told--none to her credit; big tender-hearted
Luigi Zanaletto, prince of gondoliers, and last, and
this time least, a staid old painter who works in a
gondola up a crooked canal which is smothered in
trees, choked by patched-up boats and flanked by
tattered rookeries so shaky that the slightest earth
quiver would tumble them into kindling wood.

There enters now another and much more important
character,--one infinitely more interesting to
my beautiful Lady of the Shipyards than any grandfather
gondolier or staid old painter who ever lived.
This young gentleman is twenty-one; has a head like
the Hermes, a body like the fauns, and winsome, languishing
eyes with a light in their depths which have
set the heart of every girl along his native Giudecca
pitapatting morning, noon, and night. He enjoys
the distinguished name of Vittorio Borodini, and is
the descendant of a family of gondoliers--of the guild
of the Castellani--who can trace their ancestral calling
back some two hundred years (so can Luigi; but
then Luigi never speaks of it, and the Borodinis
always do). Being aristocrats, the Zanalettos and
Borodinis naturally fraternize, and as they live in
the same quarter--away up on the Giudecca--two
miles from my canal--the fathers of Vittorio and
Luigi have become intimate friends. Anything,
therefore, touching the welfare of any one of the
descendants of so honorable a guild is more or less
vital to the members of both families.

At the moment something HAD touched a Borodino
--and in the most vital of spots. This was nothing
less than the heart of young Vittorio, the pride
and hope of his father. He had seen the "Rose of
the Shipyards," as she was now called, pass the traghetto
of the Molo, off which lay his gondola awaiting
custom,--it was on one of the days when the
two-soldi boy acted as chaperon,--and his end had
come.

It had only been a flash from out the lower
corner of the left eye of Loretta as she floated
along past the big columns of the Palazzo of
the Doges, but it had gone through the young gondolier
and out on the other side, leaving a wound that
nothing would heal. She had not intended to hurt
him, or even to attract him;--he only happened to
be in the way when her search-light illumined his
path.

Vittorio knew at a glance that she came from the
rookeries and that he, the scion of a noble family,
should look higher for his mate, but that made no
difference. She was built for him and he was built
for her, and that was the end of it: not for an
intrigue--he was not constructed along those lines--
but with a ring and a priest and all the rest of it.
The main difficulty was to find some one who knew
her. He would not,--could not, confront her; nor
would he follow her home; but something must be
done, and at once: a conclusion, it will be admitted,
than an incalculable number of young Vittorios have
reached, sooner or later, the world over.

When, therefore, a rumor came to his ears that
Luigi the Primo was protecting her--the kind of
protection that could never be misunderstood in
Luigi's case--a piece of news which his informer was
convinced would end the projected intrigue of the
young gondolier, then and there and for all time,
Vittorio laughed so loud and so long, and so merrily,
that he lost, in consequence, two fares to San Giorgio,
and came near being reprimanded by the Gastaldo
for his carelessness.

That was why late one afternoon (I was painting
the sunset glow) just as Loretta reached the edge of
the quay on her way home, a young fellow, in white
duck with a sash of dark red silk binding and hanging
from his waist and a rakish straw hat tipped over his
handsome face, shot his gondola alongside mine and
leaned over to whisper something in Luigi's ear. And
that was why the girl in her long black shawl stopped,
and why Luigi immediately changed gondolas and
made for the quay, and why they all talked together
for a moment, the girl flashing and the boy beaming,
and that was why, too, they all three disappeared
a moment later in the direction of the high rookery
where lived the baffled, love-sick Francesco, his anxious
father, the much-talked-about mother, and the
Rose of the Shipyards.

In a garden where the soil is so rich that a seedling
of five--a mere slip--blooms into flower before
a foolish old painter can exhaust the subjects along
the canal, it is not surprising that a love affair reaches
its full growth between two suns. Not since the day
she had tumbled into the canal had she gone so headover
-heels--both of them. Nor did Luigi pull them
out. He helped in the drowning, really.

He was talking to himself when he came back--a
soft light in his eyes, a smile lingering around the
corners of his up-turned, grizzled mustache.

"It is good to be young, Signore, is it not?" was
all he said, and at once began bundling up my
traps.

Before the week was out,--nay, before the setting of
two suns--every gossip along the Riva--and they
about covered the population--had become convinced
that Loretta was lost to the Quarter. Unless a wedding
ring was to end it all Vittorio would never be
so bold in his attentions to Loretta, as to walk home
with her nights and wait for her mornings.

Luigi shook his head, but he did not help the gossips
solve the problem. He had had trouble enough
already with Vittorio's father.

"A common wench from the yards, I hear,
Luigi!" he had blazed out--"and you, I understand,
brought them together--you,--who have been my
friend for--"

"Stop, Borodini! Not another word! You are
angry, and when you are angry you are stupid. I
carried that girl in my arms when she was a baby!
I have watched over her ever since. A wench! Not
one of your own daughters has a heart so white. If
Vittorio is so great a coward as to listen to their talk
I'll keep her for his betters."

All this snapped out of Luigi's eyes and rolled
from under his crisp mustache as he repeated the outbreak
to me. What the end might be neither the
Giudecca nor San Giuseppe could decide. The Borodinis
were proud; Vittorio's father was one of the
gondoliers belonging to the palace and always rowed
the good Queen Margherita when she came incognito
to Venice,--a post which greatly enhanced his social
station. Vittorio was the only son, and already a
member of the traghetto, young as he was. But
then, were there any girls better than Loretta, or as
good? She helped her mother; she paid her share
of the rent to Francesco's father; she gave to the poor
box. That she was the sunshine of the Quarter every
one knew who heard her sweet, cheery voice. As to
her family, it was true that her mother was a Sicilian
who boiled over sometimes in a tempest of rage, like
Vesuvius,--but her father had been one of them.
And then again, was she not the chosen friend of
Luigi, the Primo, and of the crazy painter who
haunted the canal? The boy and his father might
be glad, etc., etc.

The only persons who were oblivious to the talk
were the two lovers. Their minds were made up.
Father Garola had promised, and they knew exactly
what to do, and when and where to do it. In the
meantime the Riva was a pathway of rose-tinted
clouds constructed for the especial use of two angels,
one of whom wore a straw hat with a red ribbon
canted over his sunburnt face, and the other a black
shawl with silken fringe, whose every movement suggested
a caress.

The one disgruntled person was Francesco.

He had supposed at first that, like the others, Vittorio
would find out his mistake;--certainly when he
looked closely into the pure eyes of the girl, and that
then, like the others, he would give up the chase;--
he not being the first gay Lothario who had been
taught just such a lesson.

Loretta's answer to the schemer, given with a toss
of her head and a curl of her lips, closed Francesco's
mouth and set his brain in a whirl. In his astonishment
he had long talks with his father, the two
seated in their boat against the Garden wall so no
one could overhear.

Once he approached Luigi and began a tale, first
about Vittorio and his escapades and then about
Loretta and her coquetry, which Luigi strangled with
a look, and which he did not discuss or repeat to
me, except to remark--"They have started in to
bite, Signore," the meaning of which I could but
guess at. At another time he and his associates concocted
a scheme by which Vittorio's foot was to slip
as he was leaving Loretta at the door, and he be fished
out of the canal with his pretty clothes begrimed with
mud;--a scheme which was checked when they began
to examine the young gondolier the closer, and which
was entirely abandoned when they learned that his
father was often employed about the palace of the
king. In these projected attacks, strange to say, the
girl's mother took part. Her hope in keeping her
home was in Loretta's marrying Francesco.

Then, dog as he was, he tried the other plan--all
this I got from Luigi, he sitting beside me, sharpening
charcoal points, handing me a fresh brush, squeezing
out a tube of color on my palette: nothing like a
romance to a staid old painter; and then, were not
both of us in the conspiracy as abettors, and up to
our eyes in the plot?

This other plan was to traduce the girl. So the
gondoliers on the traghetto began to talk,--behind
their hands, at first: She had lived in Francesco's
house; she had had a dozen young fishermen trapesing
after her; her mother, too, was none too good.
Then again, you could never trust these Neapolitans,
--the kitten might be like the cat, etc., etc.

Still the lovers floated up and down the Riva,
their feet on clouds, their heads in the heavens.
Never a day did he miss, and always with a wave
of her hand to me as they passed: down to Malamocco
on Sundays with another girl as chaperon, or over to
Mestre by boat for the festa, coming home in the
moonlight, the tip of his cigarette alone lighting her
face.

One morning--the lovers had only been waiting
for their month's pay--Luigi came sailing down the
canal to my lodgings, his gondola in gala attire,--
bunches of flowers tied at each corner of the tenda;
a mass of blossoms in the lamp socket; he himself
in his best white suit, a new red sash around his
waist--his own colors--and off we went to San
Rosario up the Giudecca. And the Borodinis turned
out in great force, and so did all the other 'inis, and
'olas, and 'ninos--dozens of them--and in came
Loretta, so beautiful that everybody held his breath;
and we all gathered about the altar, and good
Father Garola stepped down and took their hands;
and two candles were lighted and a little bell rang;
and then somebody signed a book--somebody with
the bearing of a prince--Borodini, I think--and then
Luigi, his rich, sunburned face and throat in contrast
with his white shirt, moved up and affixed his name
to the register; and then a door opened on the side
and they all went out into the sunlight.

I followed and watched the gay procession on its
way to the waiting boats. As I neared the corner of
the church a heavily-built young fellow ran past me,
crouched to the pavement, and hid himself behind one
of the tall columns. Something in his dress and
movement made me stop. Not being sure, I edged
nearer and waited until he turned his head. It was
Francesco.




III



The skies were never more beautiful that May, the
blossoms of the oleanders and the almond trees never
more lovely. Not only was my own canal alive with
the stir and fragrance of the coming summer, but all
Venice bore the look of a bride who had risen from
her bath, drawn aside the misty curtain of the morning,
and stood revealed in all her loveliness.

The sun shone everywhere, I say, but to me its
brightest rays fell on a garden full of fig trees and
flat arbors interwoven with grapevines, running down
to the water where there was a dock and a gondola--
two, sometimes,--our own and Vittorio's--and particularly
on a low, two-story, flat-roofed house,--a
kaleidoscope of color--pink, yellow, and green, with
three rooms and a portico, in which lived Vittorio, a
bird in a cage, a kitten-cat and the Rose of the Shipyards.

It is a long way round to my canal through San
Trovaso to the Zattere and across the Giudecca to
Ponte Lungo, and then along the edge of the lagoon
to this garden and dovecote, but that is the precise
route Luigi, who lived within a stone's throw of the
couple, selected morning after morning. He always
had an excuse:--he had forgotten the big bucket for
my water cups, or the sail, or the extra chair; and
would the Signore mind going back for his other oar?
Then again the tide was bad, and after all we might
as well row down the lagoon; it was easier and really
shorter with the wind against us--all nonsense, of
course, but I never objected.

"Ah, the Signore and dear Luigi!" she would
cry when she caught sight of our gondola rounding
into the landing. Then down the path she would
skip, the joyous embodiment of beauty and grace,
and help me out, Luigi following; and we would stroll
up under the fig trees, and she would begin showing
me this and that new piece of furniture, or pot, or
kettle, or new bread knife, or scissors, or spoon, which
Vittorio had added to their store since my last visit.
Or I would find them both busy over the gondola,--
he polishing his brasses and ferro, and she rehanging
the curtains of the tenda which she had washed and
ironed with her own hands.

In truth it was a very happy little nest that was
tucked away in one corner of that old abandoned
garden with its outlook on the broad water and its
connecting link with the row of neighbors' houses
flanking the side canal,--and no birds in or out of
any nest in all Venice ever sang so long and so
continuously nor were there any others so genuinely
happy the livelong day and night as these
two.

Did I not know something of the curious mixture
of love, jealousy, and suspicion which goes into the
making-up of an Italian, it would be hard for me to
believe that so lovely a structure as this dovecote, one
built with so much hope and alight with so much real
happiness, could ever come tumbling to the ground.
We Anglo-Saxons flame up indignantly when those
we love are attacked, and we demand proofs. "Critica,"
that bane of Venetian life--what this, that, or
the other neighbor tattles to this, that, and the other
listener, we dismiss with a wave of the hand, or with
fingers tight clenched close to the offender's lips, or
by a blow in the face. Not so the Italian. He
also blazes, but he will stop and wonder when his
anger has cooled; think of this and that; put two
and two together, and make ten of what is really
only four. This is what happened to the nest under
the grapevines.

I was in my own garden at the Britannia leaning
over the marble balcony, wondering what kept
Luigi--it was past ten o'clock--when the news
reached me. I had caught sight of his white shirt
and straw hat as he swung out behind the Salute
and headed straight toward me, and saw from
the way he gripped his oar and stretched his long
body flat with the force of each thrust, that he
had a message of importance, even before I saw his
face.

"A Dio, Signore!" he cried. "What do you think?
Vittorio has cursed Loretta, torn her wedding ring
from her finger, and thrown it in her face!"

"Vittorio!"

"Yes,--he will listen to nothing! He is a crazy
fool and I have done all I could. He believes every
one of the lies that crab-catching brute of a Francesco
is telling. It would be over by to-night, but Loretta
does not take it like the others: she says nothing.
You know her eyes--they are not like our Giudecca
girls. They are burning now like two coals of fire,
and her cheeks are like chalk."

I had stepped into the gondola by this time, my
first thought being how best to straighten out the
quarrel.

"Now tell me, Luigi--speak slowly, so I do not
miss a word. First, where is Loretta?"

"She was putting on her best clothes when I left--
those she bought herself. She will touch nothing Vittorio
gave her. She is going back to her mother in
an hour."

"But what happened? Has Francesco--?"

"Francesco has not stopped one minute since the
wedding. He has been talking to the fish-people,--
to everybody on the side street, saying that Loretta
was his old shoes that he left at his door, and the
fool Vittorio found them and put them on--that
sort of talk."

"And Vittorio believes it?"

"He did not at first,--but twice Francesco came
to see Loretta with messages from her mother, and
went sneaking off when Vittorio came up in his boat,
and then that night some one would tell him--'that
fellow meets Loretta every day;' that he was her old
lover. These people on the Giudecca do not like
the San Giuseppe people, and there is always jealousy.
If Vittorio had married any one from his own quarter
it would have been different. You don't know
these people, Signore,--how devilish they can be
and how stupid."

"That was why he threw the ring in her face?"

"No and yes. Yesterday was Sunday, and some
people came to see her from San Giuseppe, and they
began to talk. I was not there; I did not get there
until it was all over, but my wife heard it. They
were all in the garden, and one word led to another,
and he taunted her with seeing Francesco, and she
laughed, and that made him furious; and then he
said he had heard her mother was a nobody; and then
some one spoke up and said that was true--fools all.
And then Loretta, she drew herself up straight and
asked who it was had said so, and a woman's voice
came--'Francesco,--he told me--' and then Vittorio
cried--'And you meet him here. Don't deny
it! And you love him, too!--' and then the fool
sprang at her and caught her hand and tore the
ring from her finger and spat on it and threw it on
the ground. He is now at his father's house."

"And she said nothing, Luigi?" The story
seemed like some horrible dream.

"No, nor shed a tear. All she did was to keep
repeating--'Francesco! Francesco! Francesco!' I
got there at daylight this morning and have been there
ever since. I told her I was coming for you. She
was sitting in a chair when I went in,--bolt up;
she had not been in her bed. She seems like one in
a trance--looked at me and held out her hand. I
tried to talk to her and tell her it was all a lie,
but she only answered--'Ask Francesco,--it is
all Francesco,--ask Francesco.' Hurry, Signore,--
we will miss her if we go to her house. We will
go at once to our canal and wait for her. They have
heard nothing down there at San Giuseppe, and you
can talk to her without being interrupted, and then
I'll get hold of Vittorio. This way, Signore."

I had hardly reached the water landing of my canal
ten minutes later when I caught sight of her, coming
directly toward me, head up, her lips tight-set, her
black shawl curving and floating with every movement
of her body--(nothing so wonderfully graceful and
nothing so expressive of the wearer's moods as these
black shawls of the Venetians). She wore her gala
dress--the one in which she was married--white
muslin with ribbons of scarlet, her wonderful hair
in a heap above her forehead, her long gold earrings
glinting in the sunshine. All the lovelight had died
out of her eyes. In its place were two deep hollows
rimmed about by dark lines, from out which flashed
two points of cold steel light.

I sprang from my gondola and held out my hand:

"Sit down, Loretta, and let me talk to you."

She stopped, looked at me in a dazed sort of way,
as if she was trying to focus my face so as to recall
me to her memory, and said in a determined way:

"No, let me pass. It's too late for all that, Signore.
I am--"

"But wait until you hear me."

"I will hear nothing until I find Francesco."

"You must not go near him. Get into the gondola
and let Luigi and me take you home."

A dry laugh rose to her lips. "Home! There
is no home any more. See! My ring is gone! Francesco
is the one I want--now---NOW! He knows I
am coming,--I sent him word. Don't hold me, Signore,
--don't touch me!"

She was gone before I could stop her, her long,
striding walk increasing almost to a run, her black
shawl swaying about her limbs as she hurried toward
her old home at the end of the quay. Luigi started
after her, but I called him back. Nothing could be
done until her fury, or her agony, had spent itself.
These volcanoes are often short-lived. We looked
after her until she had reached the door and had
flung herself across the threshold. Then I sent Luigi
for my easel and began work.

The events that have made the greatest impression
upon me all my life have been those which have
dropped out of the sky,--the unexpected, the incomprehensible,
--the unnecessary--the fool things--the
damnably idiotic things.

First we heard a cry that caused Luigi to drop
canvas and easel, and sent us both flying down the
quay toward the rookery. It came from Loretta's
mother;--she was out on the sidewalk tearing her
hair; calling on God; uttering shriek after shriek.
The quay and bridge were a mass of people--some
looking with staring eyes, the children hugging their
mothers' skirts. Two brawny fishermen were clearing
the way to the door. Luigi and I sprang in
behind them, and entered the house.

On the stone floor of the room lay the body
of Francesco, his head stretched back, one hand
clutching the bosom of his shirt. Against the wall
stood Loretta; not a quiver on her lips; ghastly
white; calm,--the least excited person in the
room.

"And you killed him!" I cried.

"Yes,--he thought I came to kiss him--I did,
WITH THIS!" and she tossed a knife on the table.

The days that followed were gray days for Luigi
and me. All the light and loveliness were gone from.
my canal.

They took Loretta to the prison next the Bridge of
Sighs and locked her up in one of the mouldy cells
below the water line--dark, dismal pockets where, in
the old days, men died of terror.

Vittorio, Luigi, and I met there the next morning.
I knew the chief officer, and he had promised me
an interview. Vittorio was crying,--rubbing his
knuckles in his eyes,--utterly broken up and exhausted.
He and Luigi had spent the night together.
An hour before, the two had stood at Francesco's bedside
in the hospital of San Paulo. Francesco was still
alive, and with Father Garola bending over him had
repeated his confession to them both. He was madly
in love with her, he moaned, and had spread the
report hoping that Vittorio would cast her off, and,
having no other place to go, Loretta would come back
to him. At this Vittorio broke into a rage and would
have strangled the dying man had not the attendant
interfered. All this I learned from Luigi as we
waited for the official.

"This is a frightful ending to a happy life--" I
began when the officer appeared. "Let them talk
to each other for just a few moments. It can do no
harm."

The official shook his head. "It is against orders,
Signore, I cannot. He can see her when she is
brought up for examination."

"They will both have lost their senses by that
time," I pleaded. "Can't you think of some way? I
have known her from a child. Perhaps an order from
headquarters might be of some use." We were standing,
at the time, in a long corridor ending in a door
protected by an iron grating. This led to the underground
cells.

The chief fastened his eyes on me for an instant,
turned abruptly, called to an attendant, gave an order
in a low voice and, with the words to Vittorio--
"You are not to speak to her, remember," motioned
the sobbing man toward the grating. Luigi and I
followed.

She came slowly out of the shadows, first the
drawn face peering ahead, as if wondering why she
had been sent for, then the white crumpled dress,
and then the dark eyes searching the gloom of the
corridor. Vittorio had caught sight of her and was
clinging to the grating, his body shaking, his tears
blinding him.

The girl gave a half-smothered cry, darted forward
and covered Vittorio's hands with her own. Some
whispered word must have followed, for the old light
broke over her face and she would have cried out for
joy had not Luigi cautioned her. For a moment the
two stood with fingers intertwined, their bowed foreheads
kept apart by the cold grating. Then the boy,
straining his face between the bars, as if to reach her
lips, loosened one hand, took something from his
pocket and slipped it over her finger.

It was her wedding ring.




IV



Summer has faded, the gold of autumn has turned
to brown, and the raw, cold winds of winter have
whirled the dead leaves over rookeries, quay, and
garden. The boats rock at their tethers and now and
then a sea gull darts through the canal and sweeps on
to the lagoon. In the narrow opening fronting the
broad waters lawless waves quarrel and clash, forcing
their way among the frightened ripples of San Giuseppe,
ashy gray under the lowering sky.

All these months a girl has clung to an iron grating
or has lain on a pallet in one corner of her cell.
Once in a while she presses her lips to a ring on her
left hand, her face lighting up. Sometimes she
breaks out into a song, continuing until the keeper
checks her.

Then spring comes.

And with it the painter from over the sea.

All the way from Milan as far as Verona, and
beyond, there have been nothing but blossoms,--
masses of blossoms,--oleander, peach, and almond.

When the train reaches Mestre and the cool salt air
fans his cheek, he can no longer keep his seat, so eager
is he to catch the first glimpse of his beloved city,--
now a string of pearls on the bosom of the lagoon.

Luigi has the painter's hand before his feet can
touch the platform.

"Good news, Signore!" he laughs, patting my
shoulder. "She is free!"

"Loretta!"

"Yes,--she and Vittorio are back in their garden.
Borodini told the whole story to the good Queen
Mother when she came at Easter, and the king pardoned
her."

"Pardoned her! And Francesco dead!"

"Dead! No such good luck, Signore,--that brute
of a crab-fisher got well!"




A COAT OF RED LEAD



I



My offices are on the top floor of a high building
overlooking the East River and the harbor beyond--
not one of those skyscrapers punctured with windows
all of the same size, looking from a distance like huge
waffles set up on end--note the water-line of New
York the next time you cross the ferry and see if
you don't find the waffles--but an old-fashioned sort
of a high building of twenty years ago--old as the
Pyramids now, with a friendly janitor who comes to
me when I send for him instead of my going to his
"Office" when he sends for me; friendly elevator
boys who poke their heads from out their iron cages
and wait five seconds until I reach them, and an
obliging landlord who lets me use his telephone.

Mawkum, my chief draftsman--when you have
only one it is best to label him "Chief" to your
clients; they think the others are off building bridges
for foreign governments, or lunching at Delmonico's
with railroad presidents--my chief draftsman, I say,
occupies the room opening into mine. His outlook
is a brick wall decorated with windows, behind which
can be seen various clerks poring over huge ledgers,
a section of the roof topped with a chimney, and in
the blue perspective the square, squat tower of the
Produce Exchange in which hangs a clock. Both of
these connecting rooms open on the same corridor, a
convenient arrangement when clients wish to escape
without being seen, or for the concealing of bidders
who are getting plans and specifications for the same
tenders, especially when two of them happen to turn
up at the same moment.

Mawkum manages this, and with such adroitness
that I have often seen clients, under the impression
that the drafting-room was full, sit patiently in my
office and take their turn while he quietly munches
his sandwich behind closed panels--an illusion sustained
by a loud "Good-morning" from my chief
addressed to the circumambient air, followed by the
slamming of the corridor door. When I remonstrate
with Mawkum, insisting that such subterfuges are
beneath the dignity of the office, he contends that they
help business, and in proof quotes the old story of
the unknown dentist who compelled a suffering prince
to call the next day at noon, claiming that his list
was full, when neither man, woman nor child had
been in his chair for over a week--fame and fortune
being his ever after.

When Mawkum gets tired of inspecting the brick
wall and the industrious clerks and the face of the
clock, he strolls leisurely into my room, plants himself
at my window--this occurs during one of those calms
that so often come to an office between contracts--and
spends hours in contemplating the view.

To me the stretch of sky and water, with its dividing
band of roof, tower and wharf, stretching from
the loop of steel--that spider-web of the mighty--to
the straight line of the sea, is a never-ending delight.
In the early morning its broken outline is softened
by a veil of silver mist embroidered with puffs
of steam; at midday the glare of light flashing from
the river's surface makes silhouettes of the ferry-
shuttles threading back and forth weaving the city's
life; at twilight the background of purple is bathed
in the glory of the sunset, while at night myriads of
fireflies swarm and settle, tracing in pencillings of
fire the plan of the distant town.

Mawkum, being commercially disposed, sees none
of these things; his gaze is fixed on the panting tugs
towing chains of canal boats; on the great floats
loaded with cars and the stately steamers slowing
down opposite their docks. Today he develops an
especial interest.

"That's the Tampico in from Caracas and the
Coast," he says, leaning across my desk, his fat
hand resting on my letter file. "She's loaded pretty
deep. Hides and tallow, I guess. 'Bout time we
heard from that Moccador Lighthouse, isn't it? Lawton's
last letter said we could look for his friend in
a month--about due now. Wish he'd come." And
he yawned wearily.

Mawkum's yawn indicated the state of his mind.
He had spent the previous three weeks in elaborating
the plans and specifications for a caisson to be used
under a bridge pier--our client assuring him that
he had, to use his own words, "a dead sure thing on
the award." When the bids were opened, Mawkum
congratulated him on his foresight and offered to
attend the funeral in a body, the client's bid being
some thirty per cent too high. Little episodes like
this add a touch of gayety to the hours spent in the
top of the high building.

Mawkum's yawn over--it is generally in three
sections, but can sometimes be curtailed--I interrupted
hurriedly with:

"What sort of a structure is it?" I knew, but I
wanted some other employment for his mouth.

"First order, screw pile, about a hundred and
twenty feet high, stuck on a coral reef at the mouth
of the harbor. 'Bout like our Fowey Rocks, off the
Florida coast. She's backing in." His eyes were
still on the Tampico, the floes of North River ice
hemming her in on all sides. "Passengers'll be off
in an hour. Wonder how they like our climate--
little chilly for pajamas."

Here Mawkum strolled into his room and began
overhauling the contents of a rack of drawings piled
one on top of the other like cordwood, labelled:
"Screw Pile Structures."

The next morning there came a timid knock at
Mawkum's door--the knock of a child with matches
to sell, or of one of those dear sisters who collect
for the poor. At a second summons, a little louder
than the first, the chief, with an impatient air, slid
from the high stool facing his drawing board, and
threw wide the door.

I craned my head and discovered a small, ivory-
tinted individual in a Panama hat, duck trousers and
patent-leather shoes. Wrapped about his shrivelled
frame, one red-lined end tossed gallantly over his
shoulder, was an enormous Spanish capa. This hid
every part of his body from his chin to the knees of
his cotton ducks. From where I sat he looked like
a conspirator in the play, or the assassin who lies in
wait up the dark alley. Once inside he wrinkled his
shoulders with the shivering movement of a horse
dislocating a fly, dropped the red-lined end of the
capa, removed his Panama and began a series of genuflections
which showed me at once that he had been
born among a people who imbibed courtesy with their
mother's, or their cocoanut's, milk.

"I am look' for the Grandioso Engineer," said the
visitor. "I am Senor Garlicho--" Then a shade
of uncertainty crossed his face: Mawkum was still
staring at him. "It is a mistake then, perhaps? I
have a letter from Senor Law-TON. Is it not to the
great designer of lighthouse which I speak?" This
came with more bows--one almost to the floor.

The mention of Lawton's name brought Mawkum
to his senses. He placed his fat hand on his vest,
crooked his back, and without the slightest allusion
to the fact that the original and only Grandioso occupied
the adjoining room, motioned the visitor to a
seat and opened the letter.

I thought now it was about time I should assert
my rights. Pushing back my chair, I walked rapidly
through my own and Mawkum's room and held out
my hand.

"Ah, Senor, I am delighted to meet you," I broke
out in Spanish. (Here I had Mawkum--he did not
understand a word.) "We have been expecting you;
our mutual friend, Mr. Lawton, has given me notice
of your coming--and how is the Senor and his
family?" And in a few minutes we three were
seated at my desk with Mawkum unrolling plans,
making sketches on a pad, figuring the cost of this
and that and the other thing; I translating for Mawkum
such statements as I thought he ought to know,
thus restoring the discipline and dignity of the office
--it never being wise to have more than one head to a
concern.

This partial victory was made complete when his
ivory-tinted Excellency loosened his waistcoat, dived
into his inside pocket and, producing a package of letters
tied with a string, the envelopes emblazoned with
the arms and seal of the Republic of Moccador, asked
if we might be alone. I immediately answered, both
in Spanish and English, that I had no secrets from
Senor Mawkum, but this did not prove satisfactory
and so Mawkum, with a wink to me, withdrew.

Mawkum gone, the little man--it is inconceivable
how small and withered he was; how yellow, how
spidery in many of his motions, especially with his
fingers stained with cigarettes, how punctilious, how
polite, how soft and insinuating his voice, and how
treacherous his smile--a smile that smiled all alone
by itself, while the cunning, glittering eyes recorded
an entirely different brain suggestion--Mawkum
gone, I say, the little man examined the door to see
that it was tight shut, glanced furtively about the
room, resumed his seat, slowly opened the largest
and most flaringly decorated envelope and produced
a document signed with a name and titles that covered
half the page. Then he began to talk at the rate of
fifty words to the second; like the rattle of a ticker
in a panic: of Alvarez, the saviour of his country--
his friend!--his partner; of the future of Moccador
under his wise and beneficent influence, the Lighthouse
being one of the first improvements; of its being
given to him to erect because of his loyalty to the
cause, and to the part he had taken in overturning
that despot, the Tyrant Paramba, who had ruled
the republic with a rod of iron. Now it was all over
--Paramba was living in the swamps, hunted like
a dog. When he was caught--and they expected it
every day--he would be brought to the capital, San
Juan, in chains--yes, Senor, in chains--and put to
work on the roads, so that everybody could spit upon
him--traitor! Beast, that he was! And there would
be other lighthouses--the whole coast was to be as
light as day. Senor Law-TON had said he could speak
with perfect confidence--he was doing so, trusting
to the honor of the Grandiose--the most distinguished
--etc., etc. And now--this in a summing-up voice
with a slower movement, about twenty words to the
second--would the Grandioso go in as a partner in
these ventures? The income he could assure me
would be so fixed that the light dues alone would pay
for the structure in two years--think of it, Senor,
in two years--perhaps less!--and forever after we
could both sit down and receive a small fortune, I
by the Tampico in drafts signed by his Excellency,
and he in his own hacienda surrounded by the patriots
who honored him and the wife and children he
adored.

At mention of the partnership a vague, cloudy
expression crossed my face; my companion caught
it, and continued:

Or (again the voice slowed down) I would be paid
for the structure on its erection by me on the reef.

Again my eyes wandered, and again he took the
cue:

Or--if that was not satisfactory--he would be
willing to pay for the ironwork alone as soon as it
arrived in the harbor of San Juan.

My Spanish is more like an old uniform that is
rubbed up for a parade and then put away in camphor.
Much of his talk was therefore lost on me; but
the last sentences were as clear as if they had dropped
from the lips of my old teacher, Senor Morales.

Half-rising from my chair, I placed my hand over
my shirt-front and thanked his Excellency for his
confidence--really one of the greatest compliments
that had ever been paid me in all my professional
career. To be at once the partner of two such distinguished
caballeros as General Alvarez, the saviour
of his country, and my distinguished guest, was an
honor that few men could resist, but--BUT--here I
picked up a lead pencil and a pad--BUT--the only
way I could permit myself to rob him of his just
desserts would be--here I traced a few lines on the
pad--would be--my voice now became impressive--
to receive one-third when it was erected in the yard
in Brooklyn, and the balance on delivery of the bills
of lading to his agent; payments to be made by his
distinguished Excellency's bankers in New York.

If the modification of terms in any way disappointed
the gentleman from San Juan, my closest
observation of his smile and glance failed to detect
it. He merely quivered his shoulders--a sort of
plural shrug--rolled his cigarette tighter between
his thumb and forefinger, remarked that the memoranda
were entirely satisfactory, and folding the
paper slid it carefully into his pocket; then with a
series of salaams that reminded me of a Mohammedan
spreading a prayer rug, and an "A Dios,
Senor," the ivory-tinted individual withdrew.

A week later Mawkum, carrying a tin case addressed
to his sun-dried Excellency, passed up the
gangplank of the Tampico; this he placed in that
gentleman's hands. Inside its soldered top were
the plans and specifications of a First Order Light,
to be made of iron, to be properly packed, and
to have three coats of red lead before shipment--together
with a cross-section of foundation to be placed
on the reef known as "La Garra de Lobo"--The
Claw of the Wolf--outside the harbor of San Juan--
all at the risk of his Supreme Excellency, Senor
Tomas Correntes Garlicho, of the Republic of Moccador,
South America--the price of the ironwork to
hold good for three months.

On his return to the office Mawkum took up his
position once more at my window, waited until the
Tampico, the case and his Excellency were well on
their way to Sandy Hook and started in on other
work. The next day the incident, like so many similar
ventures--his racks were full of just such estimates
--was forgotten. If any of the bread thus cast
upon the waters came back, the chief would be glad,
and so would the Grandioso; if not, we were both
willing to cut a fresh slice to keep it company.




II



Four months passed. The ice was out of the river;
the steam heat had been turned off in the high building
and the two time-worn awnings had been fixed to
my windows by the obliging janitor. The Tampico
had come and gone, and had come again. Its arrivals,
and departures were, as usual, always commented
upon by Mawkum, generally in connection with
"That Bunch of Dried Garlic," that being the irreverent
way in which he spoke of his ivory-tinted Excellency.
Otherwise the lighthouse, and all that pertained
to it, had become ancient history.

One lovely spring morning--one of those warm
mornings when every window and door is wide open
to get the breeze from Sandy Hook and beyond--
another visitor stepped into Mawkum's room. He
brought no letters of introduction, nor did he confine
himself to his mother tongue, although his nationality
was as apparent as that of his predecessor. Neither
did he possess a trace of Garlicho's affability or
polish. On the contrary, he conducted himself like
a muleteer, and spoke with the same sort of brutal
authority.

And the differences did not stop here. Garlicho
was shrivelled and sun-dried. This man was round
and plump--plump as a stuffed olive fished from a
jar of oil, and as shiny; dark-skinned, with a pair of
heavy eyebrows that met over a stub of a nose ending
in a knob; two keen rat eyes, a mouth hidden by a
lump of a mustache black as tar, and a sagging,
flabby chin which slunk into his collar. Next came
a shirt-front soiled and crumpled, and then the rest
of him in a suit of bombazine.

"You designed a lighthouse some months ago for
Mr. Garlicho, of San Juan," he blurted out with
hardly an accent. "I arrived this morning by the
Tampico. My name is Carlos Onativia." And he
laid a thin, elongated piece of cardboard on Mawkum's
desk.

Only the arrival of a South American fresh from
the Republic of Moccador, with a spade designed to
dig up a long-buried treasure could have robbed
Mawkum of his habitual caution of always guarding
plans and estimates from outsiders--a custom which
was really one of the fundamental laws of the office.
The indiscretion was no doubt helped by the discovery
that the owner of the spade spoke English, a
fact which freed him at once of all dependence on
the superior lingual attainments possessed by the
Grandioso in the adjoining room.

Down came the duplicate blue-prints without a
word of protest or any further inquiry, and before I
could reach the inquirer's side and be properly introduced
--I did not want to interfere too abruptly--
Mawkum had not only unrolled the elevation and
cross-sections, but had handed out a memorandum
showing the estimate of cost.

Onativia acknowledged my presence with a slight
bob of his head, loosened the upper button of his
coat, fished up a pair of glasses, stuck them on the
knob end of his nose, and began devouring the plans
in a way that showed both of us that it was not the
first time he had looked over a set of blue-prints.

"This estimate is for the ironwork alone," the
stranger said, "and is, as you see, good for three
months. The time, as you will note, has expired. Do
you now ask for an additional sum, or will the price
stand?" All this in the tone of a Tombs lawyer
cross-examining a witness.

Mawkum murmured that, as there had been no
advance in the cost of the raw material, the price
would stand.

"Very well. And now, what, in your judgment,
should be added for the cost of erection?"

"Can't say," answered Mawkum; "don't know the
coast or kind of labor, or the bottom of the reef--
may be coral, may be hard-pan, may be sand. Do YOU
know?"

"Yes--the coast is an ugly one, except four
months in the year. Site is twelve miles from San
Juan, exposed to the rake of the sea; bottom coral,
I understand; labor cheap and good for nothing,
and appliances none--except what can be shipped
from here." This came with the air of one who
knew.

I now took charge of the negotiations:

"We have refused to erect the structure or be
responsible for it after it leaves our dock. We told
Senor Garlicho so."

Onativia lowered his chin, arched his eyebrows
and looked at me over his glasses.

"I don't want you to erect it," he said in a purring
tone with a patronizing strain through it. "I'll do
that. What I want to know is what it would cost
HERE? That's what I came to New York to find out."

"Has Senor Garlicho been awarded the contract?"
I asked. It was useless to distribute any more bread
upon the waters; certainly not on the ripples washing
the shores of Moccador. If there were any business
in sight I could very easily give either one of them
an approximate cost; if there were none the bakery
was closed.

"No, Senor Garlicho has NOT been awarded the
contract. I am here to keep the affair alive. If I
had thought it necessary I would have brought a
certified check with me drawn to your order, which
I would have handed you with my card. The standing
of your firm prevented my doing so. This is
business, and I want to get back home as quick as
possible. Our coast is a dangerous one and the loss
of life increases every year. Do you want this matter
hung up for six weeks until we can communicate with
Mr. Garlicho? Every hour's delay in putting the
light on the Lobo means that many more deaths." As
he spoke a peculiar smile struggled from under his
black dab of a mustache, got as far as the base of his
nose and there collapsed.

My duty was now clear. Senor Garlicho, for some
reason unknown to me, had waited until his option
had expired and had then sent Onativia in his place.
This wiped out the past and made a new deal necessary
--one which included the price of erection on
the reef, a point which had not been raised in the
former negotiation.

"All right," I said, "you shall have the estimate.
What you want is the cost of erecting a structure like
the one here in the plans. Well, if it was to be put
on our Florida coast, where I think the conditions
are somewhat similar to those you describe, I would
advise you to add about one hundred thousand dollars
to the cost of the ironwork."

"Is that safe?" Again the smile worked itself
loose.

"Yes," I replied, "if you don't lose your plant too
often by bad weather. We have warnings of our coast
storms and can provide against them. I don't know
anything about yours--what are they like?"

"They come suddenly and without warning," he
rejoined; "typhoons, generally, with the tiles rattling
off the roofs and the natives hugging the cocoanut
trees." With this he turned to the plans again.
"Better add another twenty thousand--I want to be
safe," he said, in a tone that showed me he had at
last made up his mind.

I added it, marking the sum on the memorandum
which Mawkum had given him.

"Now, please put that in writing over your signature.
I'll call to-morrow at ten for the document.
Good-day."

When he was well down the corridor--we waited
really until we heard the down-chug of the elevator--
Mawkum looked at me and gave a low whistle.

"Add another twenty! What do you think is up?
That Bunch of Garlic is working some funny business,
or he wouldn't have sent that brigand up here."

I ruminated for a moment, walked to the window
and took in the brick wall, the clerks and the clock
tower. Frankly, I did not know what Garlicho was
up to. It was the first time that any passenger by
the Tampico, or any other steamer, from any quarter
of the globe, had asked either Mawkum or myself to
add one penny to the cost of anything. The effort
heretofore had been to cut down each item to the last
cent. Was the ivory-tinted gentleman going to build
the lighthouse at his own expense out of loyalty to
President Alvarez, the saviour of his country, and
then donate it to the Government, using our estimate
to prove the extent of his generosity? Or was there
a trick somewhere? I decided to sound Senor Onativia
the next morning, and find out.

I had not long to wait. He arrived on the minute,
bobbed to Mawkum, drew a chair to my desk and
squared, or rather rounded, his body in front of me.

"I will now tell you what I omitted to say yesterday,"
he began. "When an order comes for this
lighthouse--and it will arrive by the next steamer--
it will not be signed by Senor Garlicho, but by me.
I have reasons for this which I cannot explain, and
which are not necessary for you to know. The ironwork
--all you will have to furnish--will also be
shipped in my name. With the order will be sent a
letter introducing my bankers, who will call upon
you at your convenience, and who will pay the
amounts in the way you desire--one-third on the
signing of the contract (one of the firm will act as
my agent), one-third on erection and inspection of
the ironwork properly put together in the yard, and
the balance on delivery to them of the bills of lading.
Is that quite satisfactory?"

I bowed my head in answer.

"And have you signed your estimate showing what
you consider to be a fair price for both the lighthouse
itself and for the cost of its erection on the Lobo
Reef?"

"Yes; there it is," and I pointed to the document
lying on my desk. "And now one word, please.
When did you last see Mr. Lawton? He's our agent,
you know, and you must have met him in connection
with this matter. When Senor Garlicho arrived he
brought us a letter from him."

Onativia's lips curled slightly as he recognized the
hidden meaning of the inquiry, but his expression
never changed.

"I have never seen him. If I had I should not
have wasted my time in getting a letter from him
or from anybody else. As to Senor Garlicho, his
time has expired; he has not asked for its renewal,
and so far as this deal is concerned he does not count.
I am here, as I told you, to keep the affair alive. I
would have come sooner, but I have been away from
the city of San Juan for months. Most of us who
have opinions of our own have been away from San
Juan--some for years. San Juan has not been a
healthy place for men who believe in Paramba."

"And do you?"

"Absolutely. So do thousands of our citizens."

"You don't seem to agree with Senor Garlicho,
then. He thought your former president, Paramba,
a tyrant. As for President Alvarez, he looked upon
him as the saviour of his country."

The lips had full play now, the smile of contempt
wrinkling up to his eyelids.

"Saviour of his country! Saviour of his pocket!
Pardon me; I am not here to discuss the polities of
our people. Is this your estimate?" And he reached
over and picked it from my desk. "Ah, yes: forty
thousand dollars for the ironwork; one hundred and
twenty thousand for the erection on the Lobo Reef;
one hundred and sixty thousand in all. Thank you."
Here he tucked the paper in his pocket and rose from
his seat. "You will hear from me in a month, perhaps
earlier. Good-day." And he waddled out.

The return of the Tampico six weeks later brought
another South American consignment. This was a
roll of plans concealed in a tin case--the identical
package which Mawkum had handed the "Bunch
of Dried Garlic" months before, together with a
document stamped, restamped and stamped again,
containing an order in due form, signed "Carlos
Onativia," for a lighthouse to be erected on the
"Garra de Lobo"--this last was in red ink--with
shipping directions, etc., etc.

With it came the clerk of the bankers (he had the
case under his arm), a reputable concern within a
stone's throw of my office, who signed the contract
and paid the first instalment.

Then followed the erection of the ironwork in the
Brooklyn yard; its inspection by the engineer appointed
by the bankers; its dismemberment and final
coat of red lead--each tie-rod and beam red as sticks
of sealing-wax--its delivery, properly bundled and
packed, aboard a sailing vessel bound for San Juan,
and the payment of the last instalment.

This closed the transaction, so far as we were
concerned.

A year passed--two of them, in fact--during
which time no news of any kind reached us of the
lighthouse. Mawkum kept the duplicate blue-print of
the elevation tacked on the wall over his desk to show
our clients the wide range of our business, and I would
now and then try to translate the newspapers which
Lawton sent by every mail. These would generally
refer to the dissatisfaction felt by many of the Moccadorians
over the present government, one editorial,
as near as I could make out, going so far as to hint
that a secret movement was on foot to oust the
"Usurper" Alvarez and restore the old government
under Paramba. No reference was ever made to the
lighthouse. We knew, of course, that it had arrived,
for the freight had been paid: this we learned from
the brokers who shipped it; but whether it was still
in storage at San Juan or was flashing red and white
--a credit to Onativia's energy and a godsend to incoming
shipping--was still a mystery.

Mawkum would often laugh whenever Garlicho's
or Onativia's name was mentioned, and once in a
while we would discuss the difficulties they must have
encountered in the erection of the structure in the
open sea. One part of the transaction we could never
understand, and that was why Garlicho had allowed
the matter to lapse if the lighthouse was needed so
badly, and what were his reasons for sending Onativia
to renew the negotiations instead of coming
himself.

All doubts on this and every other point were set
at rest one fine morning by the arrival of a sunburned
gentleman with gray side-whiskers, a man I had not
seen for years.

"Why, Lawton!" I cried, grasping his hand.
"This is a surprise. Came by the Tampico, did you?
Oh, but I am glad to see you! Here, draw up a chair.
But stop--not a word until I ask you some questions
about that lighthouse."

The genial Scotchman broke out into a loud
laugh.

"Don't laugh! Listen!" I said to him. "Tell
me, why didn't Garlicho go on with the work, and
what do you know about Onativia?"

Lawton leaned back in his chair and closed one eye
in merriment.

"Garlicho did not go on with the work, my dear
friend, because he was breaking stone in the streets
of San Juan with a ball and chain around his ankle.
When Paramba came back to power he was tried for
high treason and condemned to be shot. He saved
his neck by turning over the lighthouse papers to
Onativia. As to Carlos Onativia, he is a product of
the soil. Started life as a coolie boss in a copper
mine, became manager and owner, built the bridge
over the Quitos River and the railroad up the
Andes; is the brightest man in Moccador and the
brains of the Paramba Government. One part of his
duty is to keep the people satisfied, and he does it
every single time; another is to divide with Paramba
every dollar he makes."

"But the lighthouse!" I interrupted. "Is it up?
You must have passed it on your way out of the
harbor."

"Up? Yes, and lighted every night--up in the
public garden in San Juan among the palms and
bananas. The people eat ice-cream on the first platform
and the band plays Sundays in the balcony
under the boat davits. The people are wild about it--
especially the women. It was the last coat of red
lead that did it."

And again the office rang with Lawton's laugh.




MISS MURDOCK,--"SPECIAL"



A row of gas jets hooded by green paper shades
lighting a long table at which sit half a dozen men in
their shirt sleeves writing like mad; against the wall
other men,--one drawing Easter lilies, another blocking
in the background around a photograph, a third
pasting clippings on sheets of brown paper. Every
few minutes a bare-headed boy in a dirty apron, with
smudged face and ink-stained fingers, bounds into
the stifling, smoke-laden room, skirts the long table,
dives through a door labelled "City Editor," remains
an instant and bounds out again, his hands
filled with long streamers of proof.

In the opening and shutting of the swinging door
a round-bodied, round-headed man in his shirt
sleeves comes into view. Covering his forehead,
shielding his eyes from the glare of the overhead
gas jet, is a half-moon of green leather held in place
by strings tied behind his ears. The line of shadow
caused by this shade makes a blank space about his
eyes and brings into relief his pale, flabby cheeks,
hard, straight mouth, and coarse chin. Only when he
lifts his head to give some order, or holds the receiver
of the telephone to his ear, can his eyes be exactly
located. Then they shine like a cat's in a cellar,--
gray, white, gray again, with a glint of metallic
green,--always the same distance apart, never wavering,
never blinking. Overstrung, overworked, nervous
men, working at high pressure, spurred by the
merciless lash of passing minutes, have these eyes.
So do cornered beasts fighting for air and space.
Eleven-thirty had just been tolled by the neighboring
clock; deliverance would come when the last form
of the morning edition was made up. Until then
safety could only be found in constant attack.

Outside the city editor's office, sprawled over a
pile of mail sacks, between the long table and the
swinging door, lay Joe Quinn, man-of-all-work,--boy,
in fact, for he was but nineteen, big for his age, with
arms and legs like cordwood and a back straight and
hard as a plank. Joe's duty was to keep his eyes
peeled, his ears open, and his legs in working order.
If a reporter wanted a fresh pad, a cup of water, or a
file of papers, Joe brought them; sometimes he
foraged for sandwiches and beer,--down four pair
of stairs, across the street into a cellar and up again;
sometimes he carried messages; oftener he made an
elevator of himself, running between the presses in
the basement and the desk behind the swinging door.
Fifty trips in a single night had not been an unusual
tally.

To the inmates of the room the boy was known as
"Joe" or "Quinn" or "Sonny." To the man with
the half-moon shade over his eyes he was "Say" or
"That Damned Kid." High-strung, high-pressure
editors omit the unnecessary, condensation being part
of their creed.

Up in the Franconia Notch, in a little hollow under
White Face and below Bog Eddy, Joe had been
known as "Jonathan's boy," Jonathan being the
name his father went by, the last half never being
used,--there being but one "Jonathan"--the one
whom everybody loved.

The cabin was still standing, where Joe was born,
--a slant of logs with a stone chimney and some out-
buildings; and his old father was still alive, and so
was his mother and his little "Sis." Summer mornings
the smoke would curl straight up from the rude
stone chimney, catch a current of air from the valley,
and stretch its blue arms toward the tall hemlocks
covering the slope of the mountain. Winter mornings
it lay flat, buffeted by the winds, hiding itself
later on among the trees. Joe knew these hemlocks,
--loved them,--had hugged them many a time, laying
his plump, ruddy cheek against the patches of cool
moss velveting their sides. "Nothin' like trees," his
old father had told him,--"real human when ye
know 'em."

To-night, as he lay stretched out on the mail sacks,
his ears unlatched, listening for the sound of the
night city editor's bell, or his gruff "Say, you!" his
mind kept reverting to their bigness and wide, all
embracing, protecting arms. A letter from Jonathan
received that morning, and still tucked away in his
inside pocket, had revived these memories.

"They've started to cut roads, son," it read. "I
was out gummin' yesterday and got up under White
Face. Won't be nothing left if they keep on. Cy
Hawkins sold his timber land to them last winter
and they've histed up a biler on wheels and a succular
saw, and hev cleared off purty nigh every tree clean
from the big windslash down to the East Branch. It
ain't going into building stuff; they're sending it
down to Plymouth to a pulp mill and grinding it up
to print newspapers on, so the head man told me.
Guess you know all about it, but it was news to me.
I told him it was a gol-darn-shame to serve a tree so,
being as how trees had feelings same as men, but he
laughed and said it warn't none of my bizness, and I
guess it ain't. Beats all what some folks will do for
money."

Joe thought so too,--had been thinking so ever
since he broke the seal of the letter that the postmaster
at Woodstock had directed for his father.
"Dad's right; trees have feelings," he kept repeating
to himself. And, as to being human, he could
recall a dozen that he had talked to and that had
talked back to him ever since he could remember.
His father had taught him their language on the long
days when he had trailed behind carrying the gum
bag or had hidden in the bushes while the old man
wormed himself along, his rifle in the hollow of his
arm, or when the two lay stretched out before their
camp fire.

"Dogs and trees, my son, will never go back on ye
like some folks I've hearn tell of. Allers find 'em
the same. See that yaller birch over thar?--Well,
I've knowed that birch over forty-two year and he
ain't altered a mite, 'cept his clothes ain't as decent
as they was, and his shoes is give out 'round the roots.
You kin see whar the bark's busted 'long 'round his
toes,--but his heart's all right and he's alive and
peart, too. You'll find him fust tree out in the spring,
--sometimes 'fore the sugar sap's done runnin'.
Purty soon, if you watch him same's me, ye'll see
him begin to shake all over,--kind o' shivery with
some inside fun; then comes the buds and, fust thing
ye know, he gives a little see-saw or two in the warm
air and out busts the leaves, and he a laughin' fit to
kill. Maybe the birds ain't glad, and maybe them
squirrels that's been snowed up all winter with their
noses out o' that crotch, ain't jes' holdin' their sides,
and maybe, too, them little sunbeams don't like to
sneak in and go to sleep on the bark all silvery and
shinin' like the ribbons on Sis's hat! They're human,
them trees is, I tell ye, son,--real human!

"And ye want to treat 'em with some perliteness,
too they're older'n anything 'round here 'cept the
rocks; and they've been holdin' up the dignity of this
valley, too,--kind o' 'sponsible for things. That's
another thing ye mustn't forgit. The fust folks that
come travellin' through this notch--'bout time the
Injins quit,--took notice on 'em, I tell ye. That's
what they come for. Bald Top and White Face was
all right, but it was the trees that knocked 'em silly.
That's what you kin read in the book school-teacher
has, and that's true. And see how they treat their
brothers that git toppled over,--by a windslash, maybe,
or lightnin' or a landslide, or some such cussed
thing, givin' 'em a shoulder to lean on same as you
would help a cripple. When they're clean down and
done for it ain't more'n a year or two 'fore they got
'em kivered all over with leaves, and then they git
tergether and hev a quiltin' party and purty soon
they're all over blankets o' green moss, and the others
jes stand 'round solemn and straight like's if they
was mountin' guard over their graves.

"It's wicked to kill most anything 'less ye got
some use--and a good one, too,--for the meat, but
it's a durned sight meaner to cut down a tree that
took so long to grow and that's been so decent all
its life, 'less ye can't do without the stuff ye git
out'n it."

Joe had listened and had drunk it all in, and his
love for the tall giants away back in the deep wilderness
had never left him. It was these dear old
friends more than anything else that had kept him at
home, under plea of helping his father, months after
he knew he ought to be up and doing if he would ever
be of any use to the old man in his later years.

It was Plymouth first, as stable boy, and then
down to Nashua and Boston as teamster and freight
handler, and then, by what he considered at the time
a lucky chance--(Katie Murdock, from his own
town, and now a reporter in the same newspaper
office with himself, had helped), man of all work in
this whirl where he felt like a fly clinging to a driving
wheel.

Stretching out his stout saw-log legs and settling
his big shoulders into the soft cushions made by the
sacks, his mind went back to the old sawmill,--
Baker's Mill,--and the dam backed up alongside the
East Branch. An old kingfisher used to sit on a
limb over the still water and watch for minnows,--a
blue and white fellow with a sharp beak. He had
frightened him away many a time. And there was
a hole where two big trout lived. He remembered
the willows, too, and the bunch of logs piled as high
as the mill. These would be rolled down and cant-
hooked under its saw when the spring opened, but
Baker never ground any one of them up into wood
pulp. It went into clapboards to keep out the cold,
and shingles to keep off the rain, and the "waste"
went under the kettles of the neighbors, the light of
the jolly flames dancing round the room. He had
carried many a bundle home himself that the old
man had sent to Jonathan. Most everybody sent
Jonathan something, especially if they thought he
needed it.

Then his mind reverted to his own share in the
whirl about him. It wasn't a job he liked, but there
wasn't anything else offering, and then Katie might
want somebody to look after her, and so it was just
as well he had the job. He and Katie had been
schoolmates together not so long ago, in the wooden
schoolhouse near the crossroads. She had gone to
college, and had come home with a diploma. She
was two or three years older than he was, but that
didn't make any difference to a boy and girl from
the same village when they had grown up alongside
of each other. He wondered how long it was to July,
when he was promised a week,--and so was Katie.
He knew just what they'd do; he could get two passes
to Plymouth,--his old friend the freight boss had
promised him that,--then about daylight, the time
the train arrived, he'd find Marvin, who drove the
stage up the valley and past his old home, and help
him curry his team and hitch up, and Marvin would
give them a ride free. He could feel the fresh air
on his cheeks as he rattled out of the village, across
the railroad track and out into the open. Tim
Shekles, the blacksmith, would be at work, and old
Mother Crawport would be digging in her garden,
early as it was; and out in the fields the crows would
be hunting corn; and pretty soon down would go the
wheels into the soft, clean gravel of the brook that
crossed the turnpike and out again on the other side
dripping puddles in the dirt; and soon the big trees
would begin, and keep on and on and on,--away
up to the tops of the mountains, the morning sun
silvering the mists sweeping up their sides,--
and--

"Say! you! Wake up! He's been hollering at
you for five minutes. GIT!"

Joe sat up and rubbed his eyes. The fresh air of
the morning had vanished.

"Yes, sir." He was on his feet now, alert as a
terrier that had sniffed a rat.

"YES, SIR, eh! How many times do you want me
to call you? Go and find Miss Murdock, and send
her here on the run. Tell her to get her hat and
cloak and show up in two minutes. I've got an
assignment for her on the East Side,--just come over
the 'phone. Hurry now! That damned kid ought
to be--"

But Joe was already out of the room and down
two pair of stairs. Before the minutes were up he
was back again, Katie Murdock with him. She was
sliding her arm into the sleeve of her jacket as she
entered.

"Forty-third and First Avenue, Miss Murdock,"
said the night city editor, lifting his head so that the
cat eyes had full play. "Girl overboard from one of
the ferry boats,--lives at 117.--Drowned, they say,--
some fellow mixed up in it. Take your snapshot
along and get everything. Find the mother if she's
got one and--"

But the girl had gone. She knew the value of time,
--especially at that hour, even if she had been but
a week in her new department of "Special." Her
chief knew it, too, or he wouldn't have sent her
at that hour. There was time--plenty of time if
everything went right,--thirty minutes, perhaps
an hour,--to spare, but they were not hers to
waste.

"Wait for me, Joe," she said, as she hurried past
him. "We'll go up town together, soon as the presses
start."

Joe threw himself again on the pile of sacks and
kept his ears open for orders. It was a bad night
for Katie to go out. She was plucky and could hold
her own,--had done so a dozen times,--once in a
street car when some fellow tried to be familiar,--
but he didn't like her to go, all the same. Nobody
who looked into her face and then down into her
blue eyes would ever make any mistake, but then some
men mightn't take the trouble to look. He'd wait
for her, no matter how late it might be. When she
came in she would be out of breath, and perhaps
hungry,--then he'd take her over to Cobb's for a cup
of coffee.

During the interim Joe's legs had been kept busy.
Not only had he rushed downstairs and up again half
a dozen times, springing to the night city editor's
curse, or pound, or shout, whichever had come handiest,
but he had also been twice to the corner for frankfurters
for reporters who hadn't had a crumb to eat
for hours. He was unwrapping the second one when
Katie burst in.

Her hat and coat were dripping wet and her hair
hung in disorder about her pale face. Her notes
were nearly completed; she had worked them out on
the elevated on her way downtown. Joe absorbed her
with a look, and slid to her side. Something in her
face told him of her errand; something of the suffering,
and perhaps horror,--and he wanted to get close
to her. The girl had reached the editor's desk now,
and was waiting until he had finished the paragraph
his pen was inditing.

"Well," he said, laying down his pen,--"What
have you got?" He was running his cat eyes over
the girl's notes as he spoke,--taking in at a glance
the "meat" of her report. Then he added,--"Get
any snaps?"

"No, sir, I--"

"Didn't I tell you I must have 'em?"

"Yes, but I couldn't do it. The mother was half
crazy and the two little children would have broken
your heart. She was the only one who could earn
anything--"

"And you got into the house and had the whole
bunch right in your fist and never snapped a shutter!
See here, Miss Murdock I ain't running a Bible class
and you're not working in the slums,--you can keep
that gush for some other place. You had your
camera and flash,--I saw you go out with them. I
wanted everything: corpse of girl, the mother, children;
where she was hauled out,--who hauled her
out,--her lover,--she went overboard for some fellow,
you remember,--I told you all that. Well,
you're the limit!"

Joe had moved up closer, now. He was formulating
in his mind what would happen to Katie if he
caught the night city editor under his chin and
slammed his head against the wall. He knew what
would happen to the editor and to himself, but it was
Katie's fate that kept his hands flat to his sides.

"I would rather throw up my position than have
done it, sir," Katie pleaded. "There are some things
never ought to be printed. This drowned girl--"

The night city editor sprang from his chair,
brushed the pile of notes aside with his hand, and
shouted

"Say, you! Find that damned boy, somebody,
if he isn't asleep!"

Joe, who was not ten feet away, stepped up and
faced him,--stepped so quickly that the man backed
away as if for more room.

"Get a move on and send Miss Parker here. Hunt
for her,--if she isn't downstairs she may be at Cobb's
getting something to eat. Quick, now!" Then he
turned to Katie

"You better go home, Miss Murdock. You're
tired, maybe: anyhow, you're way off. Miss Parker'll
get what we want,--she isn't so thin-skinned. Here,
take that stuff with you,--it's no use to me."

The girl reached across the desk, gathered up the
scattered notes, and without a word left the room.
On the way downstairs she met Miss Parker coming
up, Joe at her heels. She was older than Katie,--
and harder; a woman of thirty-five, whose experience
had ranged from nurse in a reformatory to a night
reporter on a "Yellow." The two women passed
each other without even a nod. Joe turned and followed
Katie Murdock downstairs and into the night
air. Miss Parker kept on her way. As she glided
through the room to the city editor's office, she had the
air of a sleuth tracking a criminal.

Once outside in the night air, Joe drew Katie from
under the glare of the street lamp. Her eyes were
running tears,--at the man's cruelty and injustice,
she who had worked to any hour of the night to please
him.

Joe was boiling.

"I'll go back and punch him, if you'll let me. I
heard it all."

"No, it'll do no good,--both of us would get into
trouble, then."

"Well, then, I'll chuck my job. This ain't no
place for any decent girl nor man. Was it pretty bad
where you went, Katie?"

"Bad! Oh, Joe, you don't know. I said, last
week, when I forced my way into the room of that
poor mother whose son was arrested, that I'd never
report another case like it. But you ought to have
seen what I saw to-night. The poor girl worked in
a box factory, they told me, and this man hounded
her, and in despair she threw herself overboard. The
room was full when I got there,--policemen,--one or
two other reporters,--no woman but me. They had
brought her in dripping wet and I found her on the
floor,--just a child, Joe,--hardly sixteen,--her hair
filled with dirt from the water,--the old mother
wringing her hands. Oh, it was pitiful! I could
have flashed a picture,--nobody would have cared nor
stopped me,--but I couldn't. Don't you see I
couldn't, Joe? He has no right to ask me to do
these things,--nobody has,--it's awful. It's horrible!
What would that poor mother have said when
she saw it in the paper? I'll go home now. No,
you needn't come,--they'll want you. Go back upstairs.
Good-night."

Joe watched her until she caught an uptown car,
and then turned into the side door opening on the
narrow street. A truck had arrived while they were
talking, and the men were unloading some great
rolls of paper,--enormous spools. "What would dad
say if he saw what his trees had come to?" Joe
thought, as he stood for a moment looking them
over,--his mind going back to his father's letter.
One roll of wood pulp had already been jacked up
and was now feeding the mighty press. The world
would be devouring it in the morning; the drowned
girl would have her place in its columns,--so would
every other item that told of the roar and crash, the
crime, infamy, and cruelty of the preceding hours.
Then the issues would be thrown away to make room
for a fresher record;--some to stop a hole in a
broken window; some to be trampled under foot of
horse and man; many to light the fires the city
over.

"My poor trees!" sighed Joe, as he slowly
mounted the steps to the top floor. "There ain't no
common sense in it, I know. Got to make sumpin'
out o' the timber once they're cut down, but it gits
me hot all the same when I think what they've come
to. Gol-darn-shame to serve ye so! Trees has feelin's,
same's men,--that's what dad says, and that's
true!"

Miss Parker had done her work. Joe saw that
when he opened the paper the next morning: saw it
at a glance, and with a big lump in his throat and a
tightening of his huge fists. Flaring headlines
marked the first page; under them was a picture of
the girl in a sailor hat,--she had found the original
on the mantel and had slipped it in her pocket. Then
followed a flash photo of the dead girl lying on the
floor,--her poor, thin, battered and bruised body
straight out, the knees and feet stretching the wet
drapery,--nothing had been left out. Most of the
details were untrue,--the story of the lover being a
pure invention, but the effect was all right. Then,
again, no other morning journal had more than a
few lines.

Everybody congratulated her. "Square beat," one
man said, at which her gray, cold face lightened up.

"Glad you liked it," she answered with a nod of
her head,--"I generally 'get there.'"

When the night city editor arrived--the city editor
was ill and he had taken his place for the day--
he reached out and caught her hand. Then he drew
her inside the office. When she passed Joe again on
her way out, her smile had broadened.

"Got her pay shoved up," one of the younger men
whispered to another.

When Katie came in an hour later, no one in the
room but Joe caught the dark lines under her eyes
and the reddened lids,--as if she had passed a sleepless
night,--one full of terror. She walked straight
to where the boy stood at work.

"I've just seen that poor mother, Joe. I saw the
paper and what Miss Parker had said and I went
straight to her. I did not want her to think I had
been so cruel. When I got to her house this morning
there was a patrol wagon at the door and all the
neighbors outside. A woman told me she was all
right until somebody showed her the morning paper
with the picture of her drowned daughter; then she
began to scream and went stark mad, and they were
getting ready to take her to Ward's Island when I
walked in. You've seen the picture, haven't you?"

Joe nodded. He had seen the picture,--had it in
his hand. He dare not trust himself to speak,--
everybody was around and he didn't want to appear
green and countrified. Then again, he didn't want
to make it harder for Katie. She had had nothing
to do with it, thank God!

The door of the office swung open. The editor this
time caught sight of Katie, called her by name, and,
with a "Like to see you about a little matter,"
beckoned her inside and shut the door upon them
both.

A moment later she was out again, a blue envelope
in her hand.

"He's got me discharged, Joe. Here's a note from
the city editor," she said. Her voice quivered and
the tears stood in her eyes.

"Fired you!"

"Yes,--he says I'm too thin-skinned."

Joe stood for a moment with the front page of the
paper still in his hand. Something of Jonathan came
into his face,--the same firm lines about his mouth
that his father had when he crawled under the floor
timbers of the mill to save Baker's girl, pinned down
and drowning, the night of the freshet.

Crushing the sheet in his hand Joe walked straight
into the city editor's office, a swing in his movement
and a look in his eye that roused everybody in the
room.

"You've got Katie Murdock fired, she says," he
hissed between his teeth. "What fur?" He was
standing over the night city editor now, his eyes blazing,
his fists tightly closed.

"What business have you to ask?" growled the
editor.

"Every business!" There was something in the
boy's face that made the man move his hand toward a
paper weight.

"She's fired because she wouldn't do your dirty
work. Look at this!"--he had straightened out the
crumpled sheet now: "Look at it! That's your
work!--ain't a dog would a-done it, let alone a man.
Do you know what's happened? That girl's mother
went crazy when she saw that picture! You sent
that catamount, Miss Parker, to do it, and she done
it fine, and filled it full o' lies and dirt! Ye didn't
care who ye hurt, you--"

The man sprang to his feet.

"Here!--put yourself outside that door! Get out
or I'll--"

"Git out, will I!--ME!--I'll git out when you
eat yer words,--and you WILL eat 'em. Down they
go--"

Joe had him by the throat now, his fingers tight
under his chin, his head flattened against the wooden
partition. In his powerful grasp the man was as
helpless as a child.

"Eat it,--swallow it!--MORE--MORE--all of it!
damn ye!"

He was cramming the wad between the editor's
lips, one hand forcing open his teeth, the other holding
his head firm against the wall.

Then flinging the half strangled man from him he
turned, and facing the crowd of reporters and employes
--Miss Parker among them,--shouted:--

"And ye're no better,--none o' ye. Ye all hunt
dirt,--live on dirt and eat dirt. Ye're like a lot o'
buzzards stuck up on a fence rail waitin' fur an old
horse to die. Ain't one o' you reporters wouldn't
been glad to do what that catamount over there done
last night, and ain't one o' ye wouldn't take pay fur
it. Katie Murdock's fired? Yes,--two of us is fired,
--me and her. We'll go back whar we come from.
We mayn't be so almighty smart as some o' you city
folks be, but we're a blamed sight decenter. Up in
my country dead girls is sumpin' to be sorry fur, not
sumpin' to make money out'er, and settin' a poor
mother crazy is worse'n murder. Git out o' my way
thar, or I'll hurt some o' ye! Come, Katie!"




THE BEGUILING OF PETER GRIGGS



Peter was in his room when I knocked--up two
flights of stairs off Washington Square--Eighth
Street really--in one of those houses with a past--of
mahogany, open wood fires, old Madeira in silver
coasters pushed across hand-polished tables,--that
kind of a past.

None of all this could be seen in its present. The
marble steps outside were worn down like the teeth
of an old horse, and as yellow; the iron railings were
bent and cankered by rust; the front door was in
blisters; the halls bare, steps uncarpeted, and the
spindling mahogany balusters showed here and there
substitutes of pine.

Nor did the occupants revive any of its old-time
charm. The basement held a grocery--a kindling-
wood, ice and potato sort of grocery; the parlor
boasted a merchant tailor--much pressing and repairing,
with now and then a whole suit; the second floor
front was given over to a wig-maker and the second
story back to a manicure. Here the tide of the commercial
and the commonplace stopped--stopped just
short of the third floor where old Peter Griggs lived.

You would understand why if you knew the man.

Just as this particular old house possessed two
distinct personalities--one of the past and the other
of the present--so did the occupant of the third floor.

Downtown in the custom house, where he was employed
(he had something to do with invoices), he
was just plain Mr. Griggs--a short, crisp, "Yes and
so" little man--exact, precise and absurdly correct:
never, in all his life, had he made a mistake.

Up in these rooms on the third floor he was dear
old Peter--or Pete--or Griggsy--or whatever his
many friends loved best to call him. Up here, too,
he was the merriest companion possible; giving out
as much as he absorbed, and always with his heart
turned inside out. That he had been for more than
thirty years fastened to a high stool facing his desk
bespoke neither political influence nor the backing
of rich friends. Nobody, really, had ever wanted his
place. If they did they never dared ask for it--not
above their breath. They would as soon have thought
of ousting the old clock from its perch in the rotunda,
or moving one of the great columns that faced the
street. So he just stayed on ticking away at his post,
quite like the old clock itself, and getting stiffer and
stiffer in the line of his duty--quite like the columns
--and getting more and more covered with the dust
of long habit--quite like both of them.

This dust, being outside dust, and never sinking
the thousandth part of an inch below the surface, left
its mark on the man beneath as a live coal fading and
whitening leaves its covering of ashes on the spark.

These two--the ashes and the spark--made up the
sum of Peter's individuality. The ash part was what
he offered to the world of routine--the world he hated.
The spark part--cheery, warm, enthusiastic, full of
dreams, of imaginings, with an absorbing love for little
bits of beauty, such as old Satsuma, Cloisonne,
quaint miniatures and the like--all good, and yet
within reach of his purse--this part he gave to his
friends.

I am inside his room now, standing behind him
taking in the glow of the fire and the red damask
curtains shielding the door that leads to his bedroom;
my eye roving over the bookcases crammed with
books, the tables littered with curios and the mantel
covered with miniatures and ivories. I invariably do
this to discover his newest "find" before he calls my
attention to it. As he has not yet moved or given me
any other sign of recognition than a gruff "Draw up
a chair," in a voice that does not sound a bit like
him--his eyes all the time on the smouldering fire,
there is yet a chance to look him over before he begins
to talk. (We shall all be busy enough listening when
he does begin.)

I say "ALL," for there is a second visitor close behind
me, and the sound of still another footstep can
already be heard in the hall below.

It is the back of Peter's head now that interests
me, and the droop of his shoulders. They always
remind me of Leech's sketch of Old Scrooge waiting
for Marly's ghost, whenever I come upon him thus
unobserved. To-night he not only wears his calico
dressing-gown--unheard-of garment in these days
--but a red velvet cap pulled over his scalp. Most
bald men would have the cap black--but then most
bald men have not Peter's eye for color.

It's a queer head--this head of Peter Griggs. Not
at all like any other head I know. If I should attempt
to describe it, I should merely have to say bluntly
that it was more like an enlarged hickory-nut than
any other object I can think of. It is of the same
texture, too, and almost as devoid of hair. Except
on his temples, and close down where his collar binds
his thin neck, there is really very little hair left; and
this is so near the color of the shrivelled skin beneath
that I never know where one begins and the other
ends.

When I face him--and by this time I am facing
him--I must admit that the hickory-nut simile still
holds. There are no particular features, no decided
bumps, no decided hollows; the nose is only an enlarged
ridge, the cheeks and eye-sockets only seams.
But the eyes count--yes, the eyes count--count so
that you see at once that they are the live points of
the live coal smouldering beneath.

Here the hickory-nut as a simile goes all to pieces.
These eyes are the flash from some distant lighthouse,
burning dull when the commonplace of life passes before
him, and bursting into effulgence when something
touches his heart or stirs his imagination.
Downtown in the Dismal Tomb even the lighthouse
goes to smash. Here the eyes set so far back in his
head that they look for all the world like two wary
foxes peeping out of a hole, losing nothing of what is
going on outside--never being fooled, never being
wheedled or coaxed out of their retreat. "Can't
fool Mr. Griggs," some broker says, as he tries to
get his papers signed out of his turn. Uptown these
same foxes are running around loose in an abandonment
of jollity, frisking here and there, all restraint
cast aside--trusting everybody--and glad to. That's
why I couldn't understand his tone of voice when I
opened his door.

"Not sick, old fellow?" I cried. He had not yet
lifted his head or vouchsafed a single word of welcome.

"Yes, sick at heart. My old carcass is all right,
but inside--way down where a man lives--I'm sick
unto death. Take a look at the mantelpiece. You see
my best miniature's gone, don't you?"

"Not the Cosway?"

"Yes, the Cosway!"

"Stolen?"

"Worse than stolen! Oh, my boy, such mean
people live in the world! I couldn't believe it possible.
I've read in the papers something like it, but
that I should have been--oh, I can't get over it! It
haunts me like a ghost. It isn't the value--it's the
way it was done; and I was so helpless, and I meant
only to be kind."

The other men had arrived now and the three of us
were ranged around Peter in a circle, wondering with
wide-opened eyes at his tone of voice, his dismal expression,
and especially at the air of dejection which
seemed to ooze through every square inch of his calico
dressing-gown.

"Sit down, all of you," he continued "and listen.
And it's all your fault. If only one of you had come
up to see me! I waited and waited; I knew most of
you would be off somewhere eating your Thanksgiving
turkey, but that every mother's son of you should
have forgotten me--that's what I won't forgive you
for."

We, with one accord, began to make excuses, but
he waved us into silence.

"After a while I got so lonely I couldn't stand it
any longer. So about six o'clock I started out to dine
alone somewhere--some place where I had no associations
with any one of you. I hadn't gone as far
as Broadway when along came two men and a woman.
You'd have said 'two gentlemen and a lady'--I say
two men and a woman. I looked at them and they
looked at me. I saw they were from out of town, and
right away came the thought, they must be lonely,
too. Everybody is lonesome on Thanksgiving if he's
away from home, or, like me, has no place to go to.
The Large Man stopped and nudged the Small Man,
and the Woman turned and looked at me earnestly,
then all three talked together for a minute, then
I heard the Small Man say, 'I'll go you a ten on it,'
which conveyed no meaning to me. Then all three of
them walked back to where I stood and the Large Man
asked me where Foscari's restaurant was.

"Well, of course, that was in the next street, so I
volunteered to show them the place. On the way over
the Small Man and the Woman lagged behind and
I overheard them say that it would never do--that is,
the Woman said so; at which the Small Man laughed
and said they couldn't find a better. All this time the
Large Man held me by the arm in a friendly sort of
way, as if he were afraid I would stub my toe and fall
if he didn't help me over the gutters; telling me all
the time that he didn't know the ropes around New
York and how much obliged he was to me for taking
all this trouble to show him. Pretty soon we arrived
at Foscari's. I never dined there--never had been
inside the place. Cheap sort of a restaurant--down
two steps from the sidewalk, but they asked for
Foscari's, and that's where I took them.

"'Here's the place,' I said, and I lifted my hat to
the Woman and turned to go back.

"'No, don't go,' said the Large Man, still holding
on to my arm. 'You've been white and decent to us;
we're all stranded here. This is Thanksgiving--
come in and have dinner with us.'

"Then I began by thanking them and ended by
saying I couldn't. Then the Small Man began to
urge me, saying that out in his country, near the
Rockies, everybody was willing to sit down at anybody's
table when he was invited; and the Large
Man kept on squeezing my arm in a friendly sort of
way, so I finally said I didn't care if I did, and in we
all went. When we got inside the place was practically
empty--only one guest, really--and he was over
by the wall in a corner. There were only two waiters
--one an Irishman who said his name was Mike, with
a very red head and an enormous mouth--a queer
kind of a servant for that kind of a restaurant, I
thought--and the other a young Italian, who was
probably the cook.

"'You order,' said the Large Man. 'You know
what's good in New York.'

"So I ordered.

"And I want to tell you that the dinner was a
particularly good one--well cooked and well served.
We had soup and fish and an Italian ragout, macaroni,
peppers and two bottles of red wine. Before
the soup was over I was glad I'd come; glad, not only
because the dinner was all right, but because the people
were human kind of people--no foolishness about
them--no pretension. They were not our kind of
people, of course--couldn't find them in New York
if you looked everywhere--not born and brought up
here. The Woman was gentle and kindly, saying
very little, but the Large Man was a hearty, breezy
sort of fellow--even if his language at times was
rough and uncouth--at least I thought so. Big bones
and a well-fed body; quick in his movements, yet
slow in his talk, showing force and determination in
everything he said. The Small Man was as tough
physically and as alert mentally, but there wasn't
so much of him. He talked, however, twice as fast as
the Large Man, and said less.

"He talked of the city--how smart the people
were, how stuck up some of them, thinking they knew
it all, and how, if they but thought about it, they
must see after all that the West was the only thing
that kept the country alive. That kind of talk--not
in an offensive way--just as all of us talk when we
believe in our section of the country.

"All this time the solitary guest sat against the
wall listening. Near as I could make out he only had
one dish and a small bottle of wine. Presently he
made a remark--not to us--not to the room--more
as if to himself.

"'West is the only thing, is it? And every man
Jack of them from New England stock!'

"This, too, didn't come in any offensive spirit--
just as an aside, as if to keep himself company, being
lonely, of course.

"But the Large Man caught it before all the words
were out of his mouth.

"'Dead right, pard,' he said--I only quote his
words, gentlemen. 'My father came from Boston.
left there in '58. Where're you from?'

"'Boston,' answered the man looking at him over
the prongs of his fork.

"'That so? Well, why ain't you eatin' your
turkey with your folks? Got any?'

"'Yes, got a lot of them, but I was short of a
ticket.'

"Here the Large Man got up and went over to the
Man from Boston.

"'Shake for Boston,' he said, holding out his big
hand. 'And now bring that bottle over here and
chip in with us.' Then he opened his pocketbook and
took out a square slip of paper.

"'Here, tuck that in your clothes.' Again I must
remark, gentlemen, that I am only quoting their
language so that you can get a better idea of what
sort of people I was with. 'That's a pass to your
'burg. I'm going South and I won't use it.'

"There were five of us at the table now, the Bostonian
bringing over his plate without a word except
'Thank you,' and taking his share of the different
dishes.

"The talk now became very interesting. The
Large Man told stories of his early life on a farm
and the Bostonian recited verses, and recited them
very well, and the Woman laughed in the right place,
and when the cigars were brought and the coffee and
the cognac, I was sorry it was all over. That, when
I look back upon it, is the most extraordinary thing of
all. How a man of my experience could have--
Well, I won't stop, I'll just keep on.

"With the coffee, and before the red-headed Irishman
had brought the bill--oh, you should go round
to Foscari's and look at that Irishman just to see how
coarse and vulgar a man can be who spends his whole
life feeding animals who--no I WILL go on, for the
most interesting part is to come. When the coffee
was served, I say, the Large Man asked the waiter
where he could send a telephone message to his hotel
--wanted the porter to get his trunks down. The
Irishman answered: 'Out in the hall, to the right
o' where ye come in.' 'I'll go with you,' said the
Woman; so the two got up and I opened the door
for her, and we three sat down again--that is, the
Small Man, the Bostonian and myself.

"We talked on, not noticing the time; then the
Small Man looked at his watch, jumped up and called
out to the waiter: 'Where did you say that telephone
place was?'

"'In the hall--on the other side of that dure; ye
kin see it from where ye're sittin'.'

"'Well, he's taking a devil of a time to do his
telephoning' said the Small Man. 'Hold on to my
coffee till I go and punch him up.'

"The Bostonian and I kept on talking. He was a
draughtsman in an architect's office, so he told me,
and was promised a place the following week, and I
was very much interested in what he told me of his
walking the streets looking for work.

"Mike, the waiter, now laid the bill on the table.
I didn't want to know the amount; my hosts wouldn't
want me to see it, of course, and so I didn't look at
it. The Bostonian craned his head, but I forestalled
his glance and turned a plate over it before he could
read the total.

"Mike now approached.

"'Ye'd better pay now,' he said, 'before any more
o' ye skip. It's nine dollars and sixty cints.'

"'They'll all be back in a minute,' I said. 'Wait
till they come. I'm only an invited guest.'

"'I'll wait nothin'. The boss is out and I'm in
charge. H'ist out yer money.'

"The Bostonian had risen from the table now and
was looking at me as if I'd just been detected in picking
his pocket.

"'But I'm an invited guest,' I protested.

"'Invited guest, are ye?' continued the Irishman.
'And ye ordered the grub yersilf! You heard
him!' This to the Bostonian. 'Didn't he order the
stuff? Let's see yer wad. No more o' ye's goin' to
l'ave this room 'till I gits nine dollars and sixty
cints. Here, Macaroni'--and he called the Italian
--'ring up the station-house and till thim to sind
somebody 'round. Ye can't play that game on
me!"

"'My dear fellow,' I said--I had now to be as
courteous as I could--'I don't want to play anything
on you. You may be right in your views that these
people have served me a scurvy trick, but I don't
believe it.'

"'Well, thin, pull yer wad out, or I'll call the
perlice.'

"'Don't do anything of the kind,' I urged. 'My
name is Peter Griggs and I live quite near here.
Lived there for twenty years. You can find out all
about me from any of the neighbors; I haven't enough
money with me, but I'll go to my room and get it.'

"'No ye don't; none o' that guff for me!' You
can't think how coarse he was. Then he walked
deliberately over to the door and stood with his back
against it.

"The Bostonian now joined in.

"'It looks as if you had been buncoed, my friend,'
he said. 'It's an old dodge, this, of getting somebody
to pay for your dinner, especially on holidays, and
yet I can't see how anybody would pick you out as a
greenhorn. I'd divide the bill with you, but really,
as you know, I haven't the money.' I saw from his
tone that he was thinking better of me.

"'No, I'll pay it myself. You, certainly, were not
to blame. Will you go to my room with me, Mike?'
I called him Mike because it seemed the best way to
conciliate the man.

"'How far is it?' he asked, softening a little.

"'Two blocks.'

"'And ye'll pay if I go?'

"'Of course I will pay. Do I look like a man
who would cheat you?'

"'All right, come on.'

"I bade the Bostonian good-by, and we started.

"Mike didn't speak a word on the way, nor did I.
I felt like a suspected thief that a policeman was taking
to the station-house; I've passed them many
times in the street, and I've often wondered what was
passing in the thief's mind. I knew now. I knew,
too, what the Bostonian thought of me, and the
Italian, and Mike.

"Then a shiver went through me, and the next
moment I broke out into a cold sweat. I suddenly
remembered that I hadn't any money in my room. I
had given every cent, except two dollars of the amount
I had brought uptown with me, to my washerwoman
the night before. The bill was not due, but Mrs.
Jones wanted it for Thanksgiving and so I let her
have it. And yet, gentlemen--would you believe it!
--I walked on, trying to think if there mightn't be
some bills in the vest I'd worn the day before, or in
the top drawer of my desk or in a china cup on the
mantel. Really, it was an awful, awful position! I
couldn't run! I couldn't explain. I just had to
keep on.

"When I got here I turned up the light and asked
him to sit down while I searched my clothes--you
can see what disgrace does for a man--asked a common,
low, vulgar waiter to sit down in my room. He
didn't sit down--he just kept walking round and
round, peering into the bookcases, handling the little
things on the mantel, feeling the quality of the curtain
that hangs there at the door--like a pawnbroker
making up an inventory.

"Finally he said: 'Ye got a nice place here'--
the first words that had come from his lips since we
left the restaurant. 'The boss likes these jimcracks;
he's got a lot o' thim up where he lives. I seen him
pay twinty dollars to a Jew-dago for one o' THIM.'
And he pointed to my row of miniatures.

"By this time I was face to face with the awful
truth. There was nothing in the vest-pocket, nor in
the cup, and there was nothing in the drawer. The
only money I had was the two-dollar bill which had
been left over after paying Mrs. Jones. I spread it
out before him and looked him straight in the eye--
fearlessly--that he might know I wasn't telling him
an untruth.

"'My good man,' I said in my kindest voice, 'I
was mistaken. I find I have no money. I have paid
away every cent except these two dollars; take this
bill and let me come in to-morrow and pay the
balance.'

"'Good man be damned!' he said. 'I don't want
yer two dollars. I'll take this and call it square.'
Then he put my precious Cosway in his pocket and
without another word walked out of the room."

"But wouldn't they give it back to you when you
went for it?" I blurted out.

Peter leaned back in his chair and drummed on
the arm with his fingers.

"To tell the truth, I have been ashamed to go. I
suppose they will give it back when I ask them. And
every day I intended going and paying them the
money, and every day I shun the street as if a plague
was there. I will go some time, but not now. Please
don't ask me."

"Have you seen none of them since?" inquired
another of his visitors.

"Only the Bostonian. He walked up to me
while I was having my lunch in Nassau Street yesterday.

"'I came out better than you did,' he said. 'The
pass was good. I used it the next day. Just home
from the Hub.'"

"Accomplice, maybe," remarked Peter's third
visitor, "just fooling you with that architect
yarn."

"Buncoed that pass out of somebody else," suggested
the second visitor.

"Perhaps," Peter continued. "I give it up. It's
one of the things that can never be explained. The
Bostonian was polite, but he still thinks me a cheat.
He let me down as easy as he could, being a gentleman,
but I can never forget that he saw me come in
with them and order the dinner, and that then I tried
to sneak out of paying for it. Oh, it's dreadful!
Dreadful!"

Peter settled in his seat until only the top of his
red skull cap showed above the back of his easy chair.
For some minutes he did not speak, then he said
slowly, and as if talking to himself:

"Mean, mean people to serve me so!"

Some days later I again knocked at Peter's door.
I had determined, with or without his consent, to go
myself to Foscari's, redeem the miniature and explain
the circumstances, and let them know exactly
who Peter was. My hand had hardly touched the
panel when his cheery voice rang out:

"Whoever you are, come in!"

He had sprung from his chair now and had advanced
to greet me.

"Oh, is it you! So glad--come over here before
you get your coat off. Look!"

"The Cosway! You paid the bill and redeemed
it?"

"Didn't cost me a cent."

"They sent it to you, then, and apologized?"

"Nothing of the kind. Give me your hat and
coat and plump yourself down on that chair by the
fire. I've got the most extraordinary story to tell
you you've ever heard in your whole life."

He was himself again--the same bubbling spirit,
the same warmth in his manner, foxes out frolicking,
lighthouse flashing, everything let loose.

"Last night I was sitting here at my desk writing,
about nine o'clock, as near as I can remember"--
his voice dropped now to a tragic whisper, as if an
encounter with a burglar was to follow--"WHEN-_I_-
HEARD-A-HEAVY-TREAD-ON-THE-STAIRS, getting louder and
louder as it reached my door. Then came a knock
strong enough to crack the panels. I got up at once
and turned the knob. In the corridor stood the Large
Man. He was inside before I could stop him--I
couldn't have stopped him. You have no idea, my
dear friend, how big and strong that man is. What
he expected to see I don't know, but it evidently was
not what he found.

"'I had a hell of a time finding you,' he began,
looking about him in astonishment. 'Been up and
down everywhere inquiring. Only got your number
from that red-headed plate-shover half an hour
ago.'"

Peter's voice had now regained its customary
volume:

"I had backed to the fireplace by this time and had
picked up the poker, as if to punch the fire, but I
really intended to strike him if he advanced too close
or tried to help himself to any of my things. He
never took the slightest notice of my movements, or
waited for any answer to his outburst--just kept
right on talking.

"'You were so dead easy there warn't no fun in
it. I dropped to that the first time you opened your
head, but Sam had picked you out and it had to go
at that. My wife saw his mistake as soon as she got
her eyes on you, but Sam, like a fool, wouldn't listen.
He was to do the picking, and so I couldn't say a
word. When we all got outside, clear, we took a turn
around Washington Square so I could have my laugh
out on Sam, and when we got back you were gone
and so was the fellow from Boston who chipped
in, and so was that red-headed Irish waiter. That
knocked us silly--wife gave us rats, and I felt like
a yellow dog. Been a-feeling so ever since. The
Dago couldn't or wouldn't understand. Said we'd
better come in when the boss was there. We had to
take the eleven o'clock to Boston that night and had
only time to catch the train. When I got back at
six-ten to-night I drove to Foscari's, found the
Irishman and the boss, heard how he'd pulled your
leg--paid the bill--$9.60, wasn't it?--that's what
he said it was, anyhow--and here's your picture!'

"I had dropped the poker now and was motioning
him to a chair.

"'No, thank you, I won't sit down; ain't got time.
Got to take the eleven forty-five for Chicago. Well,
we had a lot of fun out of it, anyhow, only I didn't
intend it should end up the way it did. Just wanted
to get even with Sam and win my bet.'

"'Bet? I asked. I was still in the dark as to
what he meant.

"'Yes--bet Sam I'd bunco any New York man
he'd pick out, and you happened to be the one. You
see, wife and I and Sam were here for a few days and
we struck Thanksgiving and wanted some fun, and
we HAD it. You're white, old man all the way through
--white as cotton and our kind--never flunked once,
or turned a hair. Sally took an awful shine to you.
Shake! Next time I'm in New York I'll look you
up and if you ever come out our way we'll open a
keg o' nails, and make it red-hot for you, and don't
you forget it. Here's my card, so you can remember.'"

Peter picked up the card from the table, threw up
his chin, and broke into one of his infectious laughs.
I reached over and took it from his hand. It bore this
inscription:


J. C. MURPHY
General Travelling Agent
C. S. & Q. R. R.

OGDEN, UTAH




MISS JENNINGS'S COMPANION



The big Liner slowed down and dropped anchor
inside the Breakwater. Sweeping toward her, pushing
the white foam in long lines from her bow, her
flag of black smoke trailing behind, came the company's
tender--out from Cherbourg with passengers.

Under the big Liner's upper deck, along its top
rail, was strung a row of heads watching the tender's
approach--old heads--young heads--middle-aged
heads--Miss Jennings's among these last--their
eyes taking in the grim Breakwater with its beacon
light, the frowning casemates specked with sentinels,
and the line of the distant city blurred with masts
and spent steam. They saw, too, from their height
(they could look down the tender's smokestack) the
sturdy figure of her Captain, his white cap in relief
against the green sea, and below him the flat mass
of people, their upturned faces so many pats of color
on a dark canvas.

With the hauling taut and making fast of the fore
and aft hawsers, a group of sailors broke away from
the flat mass and began tugging at the gangplank,
lifting it into position, the boatswain's orders ringing
clear. Another group stripped off the tarpaulins
from the piles of luggage, and a third--the gangplank
in place--swarmed about the heaps of trunks,
shouldering the separate pieces as ants shoulder
grains of sand, then scurrying toward the tender's
rail, where other ants reached down and relieved them
of their loads.

The mass of people below now took on the shape of
a funnel, its spout resting on the edge of the gangplank,
from out which poured a steady stream of
people up and over the Liner's side.

Two decks below where Miss Jennings and her
fellow-travellers were leaning over the steamer's rail
craning their necks, other sights came into view.
Here not only the funnel-shaped mass could be seen,
but the faces of the individuals composing it, as well
as their nationality and class; whether first, second
or steerage. There, too, was the line of stewards
reaching out with open hands, relieving the passengers
of their small belongings; here too stood the
First Officer in white gloves and gold lace bowing to
those he knew and smiling at others; and here too
was a smooth-shaven, closely-knit young man in dark
clothes and derby hat, who had taken up his position
just behind the First Officer, and whose steady steel
gray eyes followed the movements of each and every
one of the passengers from the moment their feet
touched the gangplank until they had disappeared
in charge of the stewards.

These passengers made a motley group: first came
a stout American with two pretty daughters; then a
young Frenchman and his valet; then a Sister of
Charity draped in black, her close-fitting, white,
starched cap and broad white collar framing her face,
one hand clutching the rope rail as she stepped feebly
toward the steamer, the other grasping a bandbox,
her only luggage; next wriggled some college boys in
twos and threes, and then the rest of the hurrying
mass, followed close by a herd of emigrants crowding
and stumbling like sheep, the men with pillow-case
bundles over their backs, the women with babies
muffled in shawls.

When the last passenger was aboard, the closely-
knit young man with the steel gray eyes leaned forward
and said in a low voice to the First Officer:

"He's not in this bunch."

"Sure?"

"Yes--dead sure."

"Where will you look for him now, Hobson?"
continued the officer.

"Paris, maybe. I told the Chief we wouldn't get
anywhere on this lead. Well, so long"--and the
closely-knit young man swung himself down the gangplank
and disappeared into the cabin of the tender.

The scenes on the gangplank were now repeated
on the steamer. The old travellers, whose hand luggage
had been properly numbered, gave themselves
no concern--the stewards would look after their belongings.
The new travellers--the Sister of Charity
among them--wandered about asking questions that
for the moment no one had time to answer. She,
poor soul, had spent her life in restful places, and the
in-rush of passengers and their proper bestowal
seemed to have completely dazed her.

"Can I help you?" asked the First Officer--everybody
is ready to help a Sister, no matter what his
rank or how pressing his duties.

"Yes, please--I want to know where my room is.
It is Number 49, so my ticket says."

Here the Purser came up--he, too, would help
a Sister.

"Sister Teresa, is it not--from the Convent of
the Sacred Heart? Yes, we knew you would get on
at Cherbourg. You are on the lower deck in the same
stateroom with Miss Jennings. Steward--take the
Sister to--"

"With whom?" she cried, with a look of blank
amazement "But I thought I was alone! They
told me so at the office. Oh, I cannot share my room
with anybody. Please let--"

"Yes, but we had to double up. We would willingly
give you a room alone, but there isn't an empty
berth on board." He was telling the truth and
showed it in his voice.

"But I have the money to pay for a whole room.
I would have paid for it at the office in Paris, but
they told me it was not necessary."

"I know, Sister, and I'm very sorry, but it can't
be helped now. Steward, take Sister Teresa to Number
49." This last came as an order, and ended the
discussion.

When the Steward pushed open the door Miss Jennings
was sitting on the sofa berth reading, a long
gray cloak about her shoulders. She had a quiet,
calm face and steady eyes framed in gold spectacles.
She looked to be a woman of fifty who had seen life
and understood it.

"The officer says I am to share your room," began
Sister Teresa in a trembling voice. "Don't think
me rude, please, but I don't want to share your room.
I want to be alone, and so do you. Can't you help
me?"

"But I don't mind it, and you won't after you get
used to it." The voice was poised and well modulated
--evidently a woman without nerves--a direct,
masterful sort of woman, who looked you straight in
the eyes, was without guile, hated a lie and believed
in human nature. "And we ought to get on together,"
she continued simply, as if it were a matter
of course. "You are a Sister, and from one of the
French institutions--I recognize your dress. I'm a
nurse from the London Hospital. The First Officer
told me you had the other berth and I was looking
for you aboard the Cherbourg tender, but I couldn't
see you for the smoke, you were so far below me.
We'll get on together, never fear. Which bed will
you have--this one or the one curtained off?"

"Oh, do you take the one curtained off," she answered
in a hopeless tone, as if further resistance was
useless. "The sofa is easier perhaps for me, for I
always undress in the dark."

"No, turn on the light. It won't wake me--I'm
used to sleeping anywhere--sometimes bolt upright
in my chair with my hand on my patient."

"But it is one of the rules of our order to dress
and undress in the dark," the Sister pleaded; "candles
are luxuries only used for the sick, and so we
do without them."

"All right--just as you say," rejoined Miss Jennings
cheerily. "My only desire was to make you
comfortable."

That night at dinner Sister Teresa and Nurse
Jennings found themselves seated next to each other,
the Chief Steward, who had special orders from the
First Officer to show Miss Jennings and her companion
every courtesy, having conducted them to
their seats.

Before the repast was half over, the two had attracted
the attention of all about them. What was
particularly noticed was the abstemious self-denying
life of the Sister so plainly shown in the lines of her
grave, almost hard, face, framed close in the tight
bands of white linen concealing every vestige of her
hair, the whole in strong contrast to the kind, sympathetic
face of the Nurse, whose soft gray locks hung
loosely about her temples. Their history, gleaned at
the First Officer's table had also become public property.
Nurse Jennings had served two years in South
Africa, where she had charge of a ward in one of the
largest field hospitals outside of Pretoria; on her
return to England, she had been placed over an important
case in one of the London hospitals--that
of a gallant Canadian officer who had been shipped
home convalescent, and who had now sent for her
to come to him in Montreal. The good Sister was one
of those unfortunate women who had been expelled
from France under the new law, and who was now
on her way to Quebec, there to take up her life-work
again. This had been the fifth refugee, the officer
added, whom the Line had cared for.

When the hour for retiring came, Sister Teresa,
with the remark that she would wait until Miss Jennings
was in bed before she sought her own berth,
followed her companion to the stateroom, bade her
good-night, and then, with her hand on the knob,
lingered for a moment as if there was still some further
word on her lips.

"What is it?" asked the Nurse, with one of her
direct, searching glances. "Speak out--I'm a
woman like yourself, and can understand."

"Well, it's about the Hour of Silence. I must
have one hour every day when I can be alone. It has
been the custom of my life and I cannot omit it. It
will be many days before we reach the land, and
there is no other place for me to pray except in here.
Would you object if I--"

"Object! Of course not! I will help you to keep
it, and I will see, too, that the Stewardess does not
disturb you. Now, is there anything else? Tell me
--I love people who speak right out what they mean."

"No--except that I always rise at dawn, and will
be gone when you wake. Good-night."

The morning after this first night the two lay in
their steamer chairs on the upper deck. The First
Officer, noticing them together, paused for a moment
on his way to the bridge:

"You knew, of course, Miss Jennings, that Hobson
went back to Cherbourg on the tender. He left
good-by for you."

"Hunting for somebody, as usual, I suppose?"
she rejoined.

"Yes"--and he passed on.

"A wretched life, isn't it," said Nurse Jennings,
"this hunting for criminals? This same man, Mr.
Hobson, after a hunt of months, found one in my
ward with a bullet through his chest."

"You know him then?" asked Sister Teresa, with
a tremor in her voice.

"Yes--he's a Scotland Yard man."

"And you say he was looking for some one on
board and didn't find him?"

"No, not yet, but he will find him, he always does;
that's the pity of it. Some of these poor hunted people
would lead a different life if they had another
chance. I tried to save the one Hobson found in my
ward. He was quite frank with me, and told me
everything. When people trust me my heart always
goes out to them--so much so that I often do very
foolish things that are apt to get me into trouble.
It's when they lie to me--and so many do--making
one excuse after another for their being in the ward
--that I lose all interest in them. I pleaded with Hobson
to give the man another chance, but I could do
nothing. Thief as he was, he had told the truth. He
had that quality left, and I liked him for it. If I had
known Hobson was on his track I'd have helped him
in some way to get off. He stole to help his old
mother, and wasn't a criminal in any sense--only
weak-hearted. The law is cruel--it never makes
allowances--that's where it is wrong."

"Cruel!--it's brutal. It is more brutal often than
the crime," answered Sister Teresa in a voice full of
emotion. "Do you think the man your friend was
looking for here on board will escape?"

"No, I'm afraid not. There is very little chance
of any criminal escaping when they once get on his
track, so Mr. Hobson has told me. If he is on this
steamer he must run another gauntlet in New York,
even if he is among the emigrants. You know we
have over a thousand on board. If he is not
aboard they will track him down. Dreadful,
isn't it?"

"Poor fellow," said Sister Teresa, a sob in her
voice, "how sorry I am for him. If men only knew
how much wiser mercy is than justice in the redemption
of the world." Here she rose from her chair,
and gathering her black cloak about her crossed to
the rail and looked out to sea. In a few minutes she
returned. "Let us walk out to the bow where we
can talk undisturbed," she said. "The constant
movement of the passengers on deck, passing backward
and forward, disturbs my head. I see so few
people, you know."

When they reached the bow, she made a place
beside her for the Nurse.

"Don't misunderstand what I said about the brutality
of the law," she began. "There must be laws,
and brutal men who commit brutal crimes must be
punished. But there are so many men who are not
brutal, although the crimes may be. I knew of one
once. We had educated his little daughter--such a
sweet child! The man himself was a scene-painter
and worked in the theatres in London. Sometimes
he would take part in the play himself, making up
for the minor characters, although most of his time
was spent in painting scenery. He had married a
woman who was on the stage, and she had deserted
him for one of the actors, and left her child behind.
Her faithlessness nearly broke his heart. Through
one of our own people in London he found us and
sent the child to the convent where we have a school
for just such cases. When the girl got to be seventeen
years old he sent for her and she went to London
to see him. He remembered her mother's career, and
guarded her like a little plant. He never allowed her
to come to the theatre except in the middle of the day.
Then she would come where he was at work up on
the top of the painting platform high above the stage.
There he and she would be alone. One morning
while he was at work one of the scene-shifters--a man
with whom he had had some difficulty--met the girl
as she was crossing the high platform. He had never
seen her before and, thinking she was one of the
chorus girls, threw his arm about her. The girl
screamed, the scene-painter dropped his brushes, ran
to her side, hit the man in the face--the scene-shifter
lost his balance and fell to the stage. Before he died
in the hospital he told who had struck him; he told
why, too; that the scene-painter hated him; and that
the two had had an altercation the day before--about
some colors; which was not true, there only having
been a difference of opinion. The man fled to Paris
with his daughter. The girl today is at one of our
institutions at Rouen. The detectives, suspecting
that he would try to see her, have been watching that
place for the last five months. All that time he has
been employed in the garden of a convent out of
Paris. Last week we heard from a Sister in London
that some one had recognized him, although he had
shaved off his beard--some visitor or parent of one
of the children, perhaps, who had come upon him
suddenly while at work in the garden beds. He is
now a fugitive, hunted like an animal. He never
intended to harm this man--he only tried to save
his daughter--and yet he knew that because of the
difficulty that he had had with the dead man and the
fact that his daughter's testimony would not help
him--she being an interested person--he would be
made to suffer for a crime he had not intended to
commit. Now, would you hand this poor father over
to the police? In a year his daughter must leave the
convent. She then has no earthly protection."

Miss Jennings gazed out over the sea, her brow
knit in deep thought. Her mind went back to the
wounded criminal in the hospital cot and to the look
of fear and agony that came into his eyes when Hobson
stood over him and called him by name. Sister
Teresa sat watching her companion's face. Her
whole life had been one of mercy and she never lost
an opportunity to plead its cause.

The Nurse's answer came slowly:

"No, I would not. There is misery enough in the
world without my adding to it."

"Would you help him to escape?"

"Yes, if what you tell me is true and he trusted
me."

Sister Teresa rose to her feet, crossed herself, and
said in a voice that seemed to come through pent-up
tears:

"Thank God! I go now to pray. It is my Hour
of Silence."

When she returned, Nurse Jennings was still in
her seat in the bow. The sun shone bright and warm,
and the sea had become calm."

"You look rested, Sister," she said, looking up
into her face. "Your color is fresher and the dark
rings have gone from your eyes. Did you sleep?"

"No, I wait for the night to sleep. It is hard
enough then."

"What did you do?"

"I prayed for you and for myself. Come to the
stateroom--I have something to tell you."

"Tell it here," said Nurse Jennings in a more
positive tone.

"No, it might hurt you, and others will notice.
Come quick, please, or my courage will fail."

"Can't I hear it to-night--" She was comfortable
where she was and remembered the narrow, steep
steps to the lower deck.

"No! come now--and QUICK."

At the tone of agony in the Sister's voice Miss
Jennings scrutinized her companion's face. Her
trained ear had caught an indrawn, fluttering sob
which she recognized as belonging to a certain form
of hysteria. Brooding over her troubles, combined
with the effects of the sea air, had unstrung the dear
Sister's nerves.

"Yes, certainly," assented Miss Jennings. "Let
me take your arm--step carefully, and lean on me."

On reaching the stateroom, Sister Teresa waited
until Miss Jennings had entered, then she locked the
door and pulled the curtains close.

"Listen, Miss Jennings, before you judge me.
You remember yesterday how I pleaded with you
to help me find a bedroom where I could be alone.
You would not, and I could do nothing but let matters
take their course. Fate has placed me in your
hands. When you said that you were on the lookout
for me and that you knew Hobson, the detective, I
knew that all was lost unless your heart went out
to me. I know him, too. I faced his eyes when I
came aboard. I staggered with fright and caught
at the ropes, but he did not suspect--I saw in his face
that he did not. He may still trace me and arrest
me when I land. If anybody comes for me, say you
met me in the hospital where you work."

Nurse Jennings stood staring into the woman's
eyes. Her first impulse was to ring the bell for the
Steward and send for the ship's doctor. Sudden
insanity, the result of acute hysteria, was not uncommon
in women leading sedentary lives who had gone
through a heavy strain, and the troubles of this poor
Sister had, she saw, unseated her reason.

"Don't talk so--calm yourself. No one is seeking
you. You ought to lie down. Come--"

"Yes, I know you think I am crazy--I am crazy
--crazy from a horrible fear that stares me in the
face--from a spectre that--"

"Sister, you MUST lie down! I'll ring for the
Doctor and he--"

Sister Teresa sprang forward and caught the hand
of the Nurse before it touched the bell.

"Stop! STOP!--or all will be lost! I am not a
Sister--I am the scene-painter--the father of that
girl! See!" He threw back his hood, uncovering
his head and exposed his short-cropped hair.

Nurse Jennings turned quickly and looked her
companion searchingly in the face. The surprise
had been so great that for an instant her breath left
her. Then slowly the whole situation rushed over
and upon her. This man had made use of her privacy
--had imposed upon her--tricked her.

"And you--you have dared to come into this
room, making me believe you were a woman--and
lied to me about your Hour of Silence and all
the--"

"It was the only way I could be safe. You and
everybody else would detect me if I did not shave
and fix up my face. You said a minute ago the
dark rings had gone from my eyes--it is this paint-
box that did it. Think of what it would mean to
me to be taken--and my little girl! Don't--don't
judge me wrongly. When I get to New York I
promise never to see you again--no one will ever
know. If you had been my own sister I could not
have treated you with more respect since I have been
in the room. I will do anything you wish--to-night
I will sleep on the floor--anything, if--"

"To-night! Not another hour will you stay here.
I will go to the Purser at once and--"

"You mean to turn me out?"

"Yes."

"Oh, merciful God! Don't! Listen--you MUST
listen. Let me stay! What difference should it make
to you. You have nursed hundreds of men. You
have saved many lives. Save mine--give me back
my little girl! She can come to me in Quebec and
then we can get away somewhere in America and be
safe. I can still pass as a Sister and she as a child
in my charge until I can find some place where I can
throw off my disguise. See how good the real Sisters
are to me; they do not condemn me. Here is a
letter from the Mother Superior in Paris to the
Mother Superior of a convent in Quebec. It is not
forged--it is genuine. If they believe in me, why
cannot you? Let me stay here, and you stay, too.
You would if you could see my child."

The sound of a heavy step was heard outside in the
corridor.

Then came a quick, commanding voice: "Miss
Jennings, open the door, please."

The Nurse turned quickly and made a step toward
the door. The fugitive sank upon the sofa and drew
the hood over his face.

Again her name rang out--this time in a way that
showed them both that further delay was out of the
question.

Nurse Jennings shot back the bolt.

Outside stood the First Officer.

"There has been a bad accident in the steerage.
I hate to ask you, Miss Jennings, knowing how tired
you are--but one of the emigrants has fallen down
the forecastle hatch. The Doctor wants you to come
at once."

During the rest of the voyage Nurse Jennings
slept in the steerage; she would send to Number 49
during the day for her several belongings, but she
never passed the night there, nor did she see her
companion. The case was serious, she told the Stewardess,
who came in search of her, and she dared not
leave.

The fugitive rarely left the stateroom. Some
days he pleaded illness and had his meals brought to
him; often he ate nothing.

As the day approached for the vessel to arrive in
New York a shivering nervousness took possession
of him. He would stand behind the door by the hour
listening for her lightest footfall, hoping against hope
that, after all, her heart would soften toward him.
One thought absorbed him: would she betray him,
and if so, when and where? Would it be to the First
Officer--the friend of Hobson--or would she wait
until they reached New York and then hand him over
to the authorities?

Only one gleam of hope shone out illumining his
doubt, and that was that she never sent to the stateroom
during the Hour of Silence, thus giving him a
chance to continue his disguise. Even this ray was
dimmed when he began to realize as they approached
their destination that she had steadily avoided him,
even choosing another deck for a breath of fresh air
whenever she left her patient. That she had welcomed
the accident to the emigrant as an excuse for
remaining away from her stateroom was evident.
What he could not understand was, if she really pitied
and justified him, as she had done his prototype, why
she should now treat him with such suspicion. At
her request he had opened his heart and had trusted
her; why then could she not forgive him for the
deceit of that first night--one for which he was not
responsible?

Then a new thought chilled him like an icy wind:
her avoidance of him was only an evidence of her
purpose! Thus far she had not exposed him, because
then it would be known aboard that they had shared
the stateroom together. He saw it all now. She was
waiting until they reached the dock. Then no one
would be the wiser.

When the steamer entered her New York slip and
the gangplank was hoisted aboard, another thick-set,
closely-knit man pushed his way through the crowd
at the rail, walked straight to the Purser and whispered
something in his ear. The next moment he
had glided to where the Nurse and fugitive were
standing.

"This is Miss Jennings, isn't it? I'm from the
Central Office," and he opened his coat and displayed
the gold shield. "We've just got a cable from Hobson.
He said you were on board and might help.
I'm looking for a man. We've got no clew--don't
know that he's on board, but I thought we'd look
the list over. The Purser tells me that you helped
the Doctor in the steerage--says somebody had been
smashed up. Got anything to suggest?--anybody
that would fit this description: 'Small man, only five-
feet-six; blue eyes'"--and he read from a paper in
his hand.

"No, I don't think so. I was in the steerage, of
course, four or five days, and helped on a bad case,
but I didn't notice anybody but the few people immediately
about me."

"Perhaps, then, among the first-class passengers?
Anybody peculiar there? He's a slick one, we hear,
and may be working a stunt in disguise."

"No. To tell you the truth, I was so tired when
I came aboard that I hardly spoke to any one--no one,
really, except my dear Sister Teresa here, who shared
my stateroom. They have driven her out of France
and she is on her way to a convent in Quebec. I go
with her as far as Montreal."




SAM JOPLIN'S EPIGASTRIC NERVE



I



"You eat too much, Marny." It was Joplin, of
Boston, who was speaking--Samuel Epigastric Joplin,
his brother painters called him. "You treat your
stomach as if it were a scrap-basket and you dump
into it everything you--"

"I do? You caricature of a codfish ball!"

"Yes, you do. You open your mouth, pin back
your ears and in go pickles, red cabbage, Dutch
cheese. It's insanity, Marny, and it's vulgar. No
man's epigastric can stand it. It wouldn't make any
difference if you were a kangaroo with your pouch
on the outside, but you're a full-grown man and ought
to have some common-sense."

"And you think that if I followed your idiotic
theory it would keep me out of my coffin, do you?
What you want, Joppy, is a square meal. You never
had one, so far as I can find out, since you were
born. You drank sterilized milk at blood temperature
until you were five; chewed patent, unhulled
wheat bread until you were ten, and since that time
you've filled your stomach with husks--proteids, and
carbohydrates, and a lot of such truck--isn't that
what he calls em, Pudfut?"

The Englishman nodded in assent.

"And now just look at you, Joppy, instead of a
forty-inch chest--"

"And a sixty-inch waist," interjected Joplin with
a laugh, pointing at Marny's waistcoat.

"I acknowledge it, old man, and I'm proud of it,"
retorted Marny, patting his rotundity. "Instead, I
say, of a decent chest your shoulders crowd your
breast-bone; your epigastric, as you call it--it's your
solar plexus, Joppy--but that's a trifle to an anatomist
like you--your epigastric scrapes your back-
bone, so lonely is it for something warm and digestible
to rub up against, and your-- Why, Joppy, do
you know when I look at you and think over your
wasted life, my eyes fill with tears? Eat something
solid, old man, and give your stomach a surprise.
Begin now. Dinner's coming up--I smell it. Open
your port nostril, you shrivelled New England bean,
and take in the aroma of beatific pork and greens.
Doesn't that put new life into you? Puddy, you and
Schonholz help Joppy to his feet and one or two of
you fellows walk behind to pick up the pieces in
case he falls apart before we can feed him. There's
Tine's dinner-bell!"

White-capped, rosy-checked, bare-armed Tine had
rung that bell for this group of painters for two
years past--ever since Mynheer Boudier of the
Bellevue over the way, who once claimed her
services, had reproved Johann, the porter, for blocking
up with the hotel trunks that part of the sidewalk
over which the steamboat captain slid his gangplank.
Thereupon Tine slipped her pretty little feet into her
white sabots--she and Johann have been called in
church since--and walked straight over to the Holland
Arms. Johann now fights the steamboat captain,
backed not only by the landlord of the Arms,
who rubs his hands in glee over the possession of two
of his competitor's best servants, but by the whole
coterie of painters whose boots Johann blacks, whose
kits be packs and unpacks, whose errands he runs;
while Tine, no less loyal and obliging, darns their
stockings, mends their clothes, sews on buttons,
washes brushes, stretches canvases, waits on table,
rings the dinner-bell, and with her own hands scrubs
every square inch of visible surface inside and out
of this quaint old inn in this sleepy old town of Dort-
on-the-Maas--side-walks, windows, cobbles--clear to
the middle of the street, her ruddy arms bare to the
elbow, her sturdy, blue-yarn-stockinged legs thrust
into snow-white sabots to keep her trim feet from the
wet and slop.

Built in 1620, this inn of the Holland Arms--so
the mildewed brick in the keystone over the arch
of the doorway says--and once the home of a Dutchman
made rich by the China trade, whose ships cast
anchor where Fop Smit's steamboats now tie up (I
have no interest in the Line); a grimy, green-
moulded, lean-over front and moss-covered, sloping-
roof sort of an inn, with big beams supporting the
ceilings of the bedrooms; lumbering furniture blackened
with the smoke of a thousand pipes flanking the
walls of the coffee-room; bits of Delft a century old
lining the mantel; tiny panes of glass with here and
there a bull's-eye illumining the squat windows;
rows of mugs with pewter tops crowding the narrow
shelves beside the fireplace, and last, and by no means
least, a big, bulky sun-moon-and-stars clock, with one
eye always open, which strikes the hours as if it meant
to beat the very life out of them.

But there is something more in this coffee-room--
something that neither Mynheer Boudier of the
Bellevue nor any other landlord in any other hostelry,
great or small, up and down the Maas, can
boast. This is the coffee-room picture gallery--free
to whoever comes.

It began with a contribution from the first impecunious
painter in payment of an overdue board-bill,
his painting being hung on a nail beside the clock.
Now; all over the walls--above the sideboard with its
pewter plates and queer mugs; over the mantel holding
the Delft, and between the squat windows--are
pinned, tacked, pasted and hung--singly and in
groups--sketches in oil, pastel, water color, pencil
and charcoal, many without frames and most of them
bearing the signature of some poor, stranded painter,
preceded by the suggestive line, "To my dear friend,
the landlord"--silent reminders all of a small cash
balance which circumstances quite beyond their control
had prevented their liquidating at the precise
hour of their departure.

Mynheer had bowed and smiled as each new contribution
was handed him and straightway had found
a hammer and a nail and up it went beside its fellows.
He never made objection: the more the merrier. The
ice wind would soon blow across the Maas from
Papendrecht, the tall grasses in the marshes turn
pale with fright, and the lace-frost with busy fingers
pattern the tiny panes, and then Johann would pack
the kits one after another, and the last good-byes take
place. But the sketches would remain. Oh! yes, the
sketches would remain and tell the story of the summer
and every night new mugs would be filled around
the coal-fire, and new pipes lighted--mugs and pipes
of the TOWNSPEOPLE this time, who came to feast
their eyes,--and, although the summer was gone,
the long winter would still be his. No, Mynheer
never objected!

And this simple form of settlement--a note of
hand (in color), payable in yearly patronage--has
not been confined to modern times. Many an inn
owes its survival to a square of canvas--the head of
a child, a copper pot, or stretch of dune; and more
than one collector now boasts of a masterpiece which
had hung for years on some taproom wall, a sure but
silent witness of the poverty of a Franz Hals,
Wouverman or Van der Helst.

Each year had brought new additions to the impecunious
group about Mynheer's table.

Dear old Marny, with his big boiler amidships,
his round, sunburned face shaded by a wide-brimmed,
slouch hat--the one he wore when he lived with the
Sioux Indians--loose red tie tossed over one shoulder,
and rusty velveteen coat, was an old habitue. And
so was dry, crusty Malone, "the man from Dublin,"
rough outside as a potato and white inside as its
meal. And so, too, was Stebbins, the silent man of
the party, and the only listener in the group. All
these came with the earliest birds and stayed until
the boys got out their skates.

But there were others this year who were new.
Pudfut, the Englishman, first--in from Norway,
where he had been sketching on board some lord's
yacht--he of the grizzly brown beard, brown ulster
reaching to his toes, gray-checked steamer-cap and
brierwood pipe--an outfit which he never changed--
"slept in them," Marny insisted.

"Me name's Pudfut," he began, holding out his
hand to Marny. "I've got a letter in my clothes
for ye from a chap in Paris."

"Don't pull it out," had come the answer.
"Put it there!" and within an hour the breezy fellow,
his arm through the Englishman's, had trotted
him all over Dort from the Groote Kerk to the old
Gate of William of Orange, introducing him to every
painter he met on the way, first as Pudfut, then as
Puddy, then as Pretty-foot, then as Tootsie-Wootsie,
and last as Toots--a name by which he is known in
the Quartier to this day. This done, he had taken
him up to his own room and had dumped him into
an extra cot--his for the rest of the summer.

Then Schonholz wandered in--five gulden a week
board was the magnet--a cheese-faced, good-natured
German lad with forehead so high that when he raised
his hat Marny declared, with a cry of alarm, that
his scalp had slipped, and only regained his peace
of mind when he had twisted his fat fingers in the
lad's forelock to make sure that it was still fast.
Schonholz had passed a year at Heidelberg and carried
his diploma on his cheek--two crisscross slashes
that had never healed--spoke battered English, wore
a green flat-topped cap, and gray bobtailed coat with
two rows of horn buttons ("Come to shoot chamois,
have you?" Marny had asked when he presented his
credentials.)--laughed three-quarters of the time
he was awake, and never opened his kit or set a palette
while he was in Dort. "Too vet and too fodgy all
dime," was the way he accounted for his laziness.

Last came Joplin--a man of thirty-five; bald as an
egg and as shiny. ("Dangerous to have a hen
around," Marny would say, rubbing the pate after
the manner of a phrenologist.) Gaunt, wiry; jerky
in his movements as a Yankee clock and as regular
in his habits: hot water when he got up--two glasses,
sipped slowly; cold water when he went to bed, head
first, feet next, then the rest of him; window open
all night no matter how hard it blew or rained; ate
three meals a day and no more; chewed every mouthful
of food thirty times--coffee, soup, even his drinking
-water (Gladstone had taught him that, he
boasted)--a walking laboratory of a man, who knew
it all, took no layman's advice, and was as set in his
ways as a chunk of concrete.

And his fads did not stop with his food; they
extended to his clothes--everything he used, in fact.
His baggy knickerbockers ended in leather leggins
to protect his pipe-stem shanks; his shirts buttoned
all the way down in front and went on like a coat;
he wore health flannels by day and a health shirt at
night ("Just like my old Aunt Margaret's wrapper,"
whispered Marny in a stage voice to Pudfut);
sported a ninety-nine-cent silver watch fastened to a
leather strap (sometimes to a piece of twine); stuck
a five-hundred-dollar scarab pin in his necktie--
"Nothing finer in the Boston Museum," he maintained,
and told the truth--and ever and always enunciated
an English so pure and so undefiled that
Stebbins, after listening to it for a few minutes, proposed,
with an irreverence born of good-fellowship,
that a subscription be started to have Joplin's dialect
phonographed so that it might be handed down to
posterity as the only real and correct thing.

"Are you noticing, gentlemen, the way in which
Joplin handles his mother tongue?" Stebbins had
shouted across the table: "never drops his 'g's,'
never slights his first syllable; says 'HUmor' with an
accent on the 'HU.' But for the fact that he pronounces
'bonnet' 'BUNNIT' and 'admires' a thing
when he really ought only to 'like' it, you could
never discover his codfish bringing up. Out with
your wallets--how much do you chip in?"

These peculiarities soon made Joplin the storm-
centre of every discussion. Not only were his views
on nutrition ridiculed, but all his fads were treated
with equal disrespect. "Impressionism," "plein
air," the old "line engraving" in contrast to the
modern "half-tone" methods--any opinion of Joplin's,
no matter how sane or logical, was jostled, sat
on, punched in the ribs and otherwise maltreated until
every man was breathless or black in the face with
assumed rage--every man except the man jostled, who
never lost his temper no matter what the provocation,
and who always came up smiling with some such
remark as: "Smite away, you Pharisees; harmony
is heavenly--but stupid. Keep it up--here's the
other cheek!"

On this particular night Joplin, as I have said,
had broken out on diet. Some movement of Marny's
connected with the temporary relief of the lower
button of his waistcoat had excited the great Bostonian's
wrath. The men were seated at dinner
inside the coffee-room, Johann and Tine serving.

"Yes, Marny, I'm sorry to say it, but the fact is
you eat too much and you eat the wrong things. If
you knew anything of the kinds of food necessary to
nourish the human body, you would know that it
should combine in proper proportions proteid, fats,
carbohydrates and a small percentage of inorganic
salts--these are constantly undergoing oxidation and
at the same time are liberating energy in the form of
heat."

"Hear the bloody bounder!" bawled Pudfut from
the other end of the table.

"Silence!" called Marny, with his ear cupped in
his fingers, an expression of the farthest-away-boy-
in-the-class on his face.

Joplin waved his hand in protest and continued,
without heeding the interruption: "Now, if you're
stupid enough to stuff your epigastrium with pork,
you, of course, get an excess of non-nitrogenous fats,
and in order to digest anything properly you must
necessarily cram in an additional quantity of carbohydrates
--greens, potatoes, cabbage--whatever Tine
shoves under your nose. Consult any scientist and
see if I am not right--especially the German doctors
who have made a specialty of nutrition. Such men
as Fugel, Beenheim and--"

Here a slice of Tine's freshly-cut bread made a
line-shot, struck the top of Joplin's scalp, caromed on
Schonholz's shirt-front and fell into Stebbins's lap,
followed instantly by "Order, gentlemen!" from
Marny. "Don't waste that slab of proteid. The
learned Bean is most interesting and should not be
interrupted."

"Better out than in," continued Joplin, brushing
the crumbs from his plate. "Bread--fresh bread
particularly--is the very worst thing a man can put
into his stomach."

"And how about pertaties?" shouted Malone. "I
s'pose ye'd rob us of the only thing that's kep' us
alive as a nation, wouldn't ye?"

"I certainly would, 'Loney, except in very small
quantities. Raw potatoes contain twenty-two per
cent. of the worst form of non-nitrogenous food, and
seventy-eight per cent. of water. You, Malone, with
your sedentary habits, should never touch an ounce
of potato. It excites the epigastric nerve and induces
dyspepsia. You're as lazy as the devil and should
only eat nitrogenous food and never in excess. What
you require is about one hundred grams of protein,
giving you a fuel value of twenty-seven hundred calories,
and to produce this fifty-five ounces of food a
day is enough. When you exceed this you run to
flesh--unhealthy bloat really--and in the wrong
places. You've only to look at Marny's sixty-inch
waist-line to prove the truth of this theory. Now look
at me--I keep my figure, don't I? Not a bad one for
a light-weight, is it? I'm in perfect health, can run,
jump, eat, sleep, paint, and but for a slight organic
weakness with my heart, which is hereditary in my
family and which kills most of us off at about seventy
years of age, I'm as sound as a nut. And all--all,
let me tell you, due to my observing a few scientific
laws regarding hygiene which you men never seem
to have heard of."

Malone now rose to his feet, pewter mug in hand,
and swept his eye around the table.

"Bedad, you're right, Joppy," he said with a wink
at Marny--"food's the ruination of us all; drink
is what we want. On yer feet, gintlemen--every
mother's son of ye! Here's to the learned, livin'
skeleton from Boston! Five per cint. man and
ninety-five per cint. crank!"




II



The next morning the group of painters--all except
Joplin, who was doing a head in "smears" behind
the Groote Kerk a mile away--were at work in the
old shipyard across the Maas at Papendrecht. Marny
was painting a Dutch lugger with a brown-madder
hull and an emerald-green stern, up on the ways for
repairs. Pudfut had the children of the Captain
posed against a broken windlass rotting in the tall
grass near the dock, and Malone and Schonholz, pipe
in mouth, were on their backs smoking. "It wasn't
their kind of a mornin'," Malone had said.

Joplin's discourse the night before was evidently
lingering in their minds, for Pudfut broke out with:
"Got to sit on Joppy some way or we'll be talked to
death," and he squeezed a tube of color on his palette.
"Getting to be a bloody nuisance."

"Only one way to fix him," remarked Stebbins,
picking up his mahlstick from the grass beside him.

"How?" came a chorus.

"Scare him to death."

The painters laid down their brushes. Stebbins
rarely expressed an opinion; any utterance from him,
therefore, carried weight.

"Go for him about his health, I tell you," continued
Stebbins, dragging a brush from the sheaf
in his hand.

"But there's nothing the matter with him," answered
Marny. "He's as skinny as a coal-mine
mule, but he's got plenty of kick in him yet."

"You're dead right, Marny," answered Stebbins,
"but he doesn't think so. He's as big a fool over
every little pain as he is over his theories."

"Niver cracked his jaw to me about it," sputtered
Malone from between the puffs of his pipe.

"No, and he won't. I don't jump on him as
you fellows do and so I get his confidence. He's
in my room two or three times every night going
over his symptoms. When his foot's asleep he thinks
he's got creeping paralysis. Every time his breath
comes short, his heart's giving out."

"That's hereditary!" said Marny; "he said so."

"Hereditary be hanged! Same with everything
else. Last night he dug me out of bed and wanted
me to count his pulse--thought it intermitted. He's
hipped, I tell you, on his health!"

"That's because he lives on nothing," rejoined
Marny. "Tine puts the toast in the oven over night
so it will be dry enough for him in the morning--
she told me so yesterday. Now he's running on sour
milk and vinegar--'blood too alkaline,' he says--got
a chalky taste in his mouth!"

"Well, whatever it is, he's a rum-nuisance," said
Pudfut, "and he ought to be jumped on."

"Yes," retorted Stebbins, "but not about his food.
Jump on him about his health, then he'll kick back
and in pure obstinacy begin to think he's well--that's
his nature."

"Don't you do anything of the kind," protested
Marny. "Joppy's all right--best lad I know. Let
him talk; doesn't hurt anybody and keeps everything
alive. A little hot air now and then helps his
epigastric."

Malone and Schonholz had raised themselves on
their elbows, twisted their shoulders and had put
their heads together--literally--without lifting their
lazy bodies from the warm, dry grass--so close that
one slouch hat instead of two might have covered
their conspiring brains. From under the rims of
these thatches came smothered laughs and such unintelligible
mutterings as:

"Dot's de vay, by chimminy, 'Loney! And den
I--"

"No, begorra! Let me have a crack at him fu'st!"

"No, I vill before go and you come--"

"Not a word to Marny, remimber; he'd give it
away--"

"Yes, but we vill tell Poodfut und Sthebbins, eh?"

That afternoon the diabolical plot was put in
motion. The men had finished for the day; had
crossed the ferry and had found Joplin wandering
around the dock looking for a new subject. The
Groote Kerk "smear" was under his arm.

Pudfut, under pretence of inspecting the smear--
a portrait of the old Sacristan on a bench in front of
the main entrance--started back in surprise on seeing
the Bostonian, and asked with an anxious tone in
his voice:

"Aren't you well, old man? Look awfully yellow
about the gills. Worked too hard, haven't you? No
use overdoing it."

"Well? Of course I'm well! Sound as a nut.
Little bilious, maybe, but that's nothing. Why?"

"Oh, nothing! Must say, though, you gave me a
twist when I came on you suddenly. Maybe it's your
epigastric nerve; maybe it's your liver and will pass
off, but I'd knock off work for a day or two if I were
you."

Malone now took a hand.

"Let me carry yer kit, Joppy, ye look done up.
What's happened to ye, man, since mornin'?"

"Never felt better in my life," protested Joplin.
"No, I'll carry it--not heavy--"

Then he quickened his pace--they were all on their
way back to the inn--and overtook Stebbins and
Schonholz.

"Stebbins, old man--"

"Yes, Joppy."

"What I told you last night is turning out just
as I expected. Heart's been acting queer all morning
and my epigastric nerve is very sensitive. Puddy
says I look awful. Do you see it?"

Stebbins looked into the Bostonian's face, hesitated,
and said with an apologetic tone in his voice:

"Well, everybody looks better one time than another.
You've been working too hard, maybe."

"But do I look yellow?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, Joppy, you do--yellow
as a gourd--not always, just now and then when
you walk fast or run upstairs."

"I've been afraid of that. Was my pulse all right
when you counted it last night?"

"Yes, certainly--skipped a beat now and then,
but that's nothing. I had an uncle once who had a
pulse that wobbled like that. He, of course, went off
suddenly; some said it was apoplexy; some said it
was his heart--these doctors never agree. I wouldn't
worry about it, old man. Hold on, Pudfut, don't
walk so fast."

Pudfut held on, and so did Schonholz and Malone,
and then the four slipped behind a pile of oil barrels
and concentrated their slouch hats and Schonholz
slapped his thigh and said with a smothered laugh
that it was "sphlendeed!" and Malone and Pudfut
agreed, and then the three locked arms and went
singing up the street, their eyes on Joplin's pipe-
stem legs as he trotted beside Marny on his way to
the inn.

When the party reached the coffee-room Marny
called Tine to his side, spread out the fingers and
thumb of one hand, and that rosy-cheeked lass without
the loss of a second, clattered over to the little
shelf, gathered up five empty mugs and disappeared
down the cellar steps. This done the coterie drew
their chairs to one of Tine's hand-scrubbed tables
and sat down, all but Joplin, who kept on his way to
his room. There the Bostonian remained, gazing out
of the window until Johann had banged twice on his
door in announcement of dinner. Then he joined the
others.

When all were seated Schonholz made a statement
which was followed with results more astounding to
the peace of the coterie than anything which had
occurred since the men came together.

"I haf bad news, boys," he began, "offle bad news.
Mine fader has wrote dat home I must. Nod anuder
mark he say vill he gif me. Eef I could sell somedings
--but dat ees very seldom. No, Marny, you
don't can lend me noddings. What vill yourselluf
do? Starve!"

"Where do you live, Schonholz?" asked Joplin.

"By Fizzenbad."

"What kind of a place is it--baths?"

"Yes."

"What are they good for?" continued Joplin in
a subdued tone.

"Noddings, but blenty peoples go."

"I can tell you, Joppy," said Pudfut gravely,
with a wink at Malone. "There are two spas, both
highly celebrated. Lord Ellenboro spent a month
there and came back looking like another man. One
is for the liver and the other for something or other,
I can't recollect what."

"Heart?" asked Joplin.

"I don't know."

He didn't,--had never heard the place mentioned
until Schonholz had called its name a moment before.

Joplin played with his knife and made an attempt
to nibble a slice of Tine's toast, but he made no reply.
All the fight of every kind seemed to have been
knocked out of him.

"Better take Fizzenbad in, Joppy," remarked
Pudfut in an undertone. "May do you a lot of
good."

"How far is it, Schonholz?" asked Joplin, ignoring
the Englishman's suggestion.

"Oh, you leafe in de morgen and you come by
Fizzenbad in a day more as do one you go oud mid."

"No--can't afford it."

Here Joplin pushed back his chair, and with the
remark that he thought he would go downtown for
some colors, left the room.

"It's working like a dose of salts," cried Pudfut
when the Bostonian was out of hearing. "Hasn't
said 'epigastric nerve,' 'gram' or 'proteids' once.
Got real human in an hour. Stebbins, you're a
wonder."

The next morning everybody was up bright and
early to see Schonholz off. One of Fop Smit's packets
was to leave for Rotterdam at seven and Schonholz
was a passenger. He could go by rail, but the boat
was cheaper. No deceptions had been practised and
no illusions indulged in as to the cause of his departure.
He had had his supplies cut off, was flat broke
and as helpless as a plant without water. They had
all, at one time or another, passed through a similar
crisis and knew exactly what it meant. A purse, of
course, could have been made up--Marny even insisted
on sharing his last hundred francs with him--
and Mynheer would have allowed the board-bill to
run on indefinitely with or without an addition to
his collection, but the lad was not built along those
lines.

"No--I go home and help mine fader once a leetle,
den maybe I come back, don't it?" was the way he
put it.

The next morning, when the procession formed to
escort him through the Old Gate, every man answered
to his name except Joplin--he had either overslept
himself or was taking an extra soak in his portable
tub.

"Run, Tine, and call Mr. Joplin," cried Marny--
"we'll go ahead. Tell him to come to the dock."

Away clattered the sabots up the steep stairs, and
away they scurried down the bare corridor to Joplin's
room. There Tine knocked. Hearing no response
she pushed open the door and looked in. The
room was empty! Then she noticed that the bed had
not been slept in, nor had anything on the washstand
been used. Stepping in softly for some explanation
of the unusual occurrence--no such thing had ever
happened in her experience, not unless she had been
notified in advance--her eye rested on a letter addressed
to Stebbins propped up in full view against a
book on Joplin's table. Catching it up as offering
the only explanation of his unaccountable disappearance,
she raced downstairs and, crossing the cobbles
on a run, laid the letter in Stebbins's hand.

"For me, Tine?"

The girl nodded, her eyes on the painter's.

The painter broke the seal and his face grew
serious. Then he beckoned to Marny and read the
contents aloud, the others crowding close:

Dear Stebbins:

Keep my things until I send for them. I take the night train
for Rotterdam. Tell Schonholz I'll join him there and go on
with him to Fizzenbad. Sorry to leave this way, but I could
not bear to bid you all good-by. Joplin.




III



That night the table was one prolonged uproar.
The conspirators had owned up frankly to their share
of the villany, and were hard at work concocting
plans for its undoing. Marny was the one man in
the group that would not be pacified; nothing that
either Pudfut, Stebbins or Malone had said or could
say changed his mind--and the discussion, which had
lasted all day, brought him no peace.

"Drove him out!--that's what you did, you bull-
headed Englishman--you and Malone and Stebbins
ought to be ashamed of yourselves. If I had known
what you fellows were up to I'd have pitched you all
over the dike. Cost Joppy a lot of money and break
up all his summer work! What did you want to guy
him like that for and send him off to be scalded and
squirted on in a damned Dutch--"

"But we didn't think he'd take it as hard as
that."

"You didn't, didn't you! What DID you think
he'd do? Didn't you see how sensitive and nervous
he was? The matter with you fellows is that Joppy
is a thoroughbred and you never saw one of his kind
in your life. Ever since he got here you've done
nothing but jump all over him and try to rile him,
and he never squawked once--came up smiling every
time. He's a thoroughbred--that's what he is!"

The days that followed were burdened with a sadness
the coterie could not shake off. Whatever they
had laughed at and derided in Joplin they now longed
for. The Bostonian may have been a nuisance in one
way, but he had kept the ball of conversation rolling
--had started it many times--and none of the others
could fill his place. Certain of his views became respected.
"As dear old Joppy used to say," was a
common expression, and "By Jove, he was right!"
not an uncommon opinion. In conformity with his
teachings, Marny reduced his girth measure an inch
and his weight two pounds--not much for Marny,
but extraordinary all the same when his appetite was
considered.

Pudfut, in contrition of his offence, wrote his English
friend Lord Something-or-other, who owned the
yacht, and who was at Carlsbad, begging him to run
up and see the "best ever" and "one of us"--and
Malone never lost an opportunity to say how quick he
was in repartee, or how he missed him. Stebbins
kept his mouth shut.

He had started the crusade, he knew, and was
personally responsible for the result. He had tried
to arouse Joplin's obstinacy and had only aroused his
fears. All he could do in reparation was to keep in
touch with the exile and pave the way for his homecoming.
If Joppy was ill, which he doubted, some
of the German experts in whom the Bostonian believed
would find the cause and the remedy. If he
was "sound as a nut," to quote Joplin's own words,
certainty of that fact, after an exhaustive examination
by men he trusted, would relieve his nervous
mind and make him all the happier.

The first letter came from Schonholz. Liberally
translated, with the assistance of Mynheer, who spoke
a little German, it conveyed the information that the
Bostonian, after being put on a strict diet, had been
douched, pounded and rubbed; was then on his second
week of treatment; had one more to serve; was
at the moment feeling like a fighting-cock, and after
a fifth week at Stuckbad, in the mountains, where
he was to take the after-cure, would be as strong as
a three-year-old, and as frisky.

The second letter was from Joplin himself and
was addressed to Stebbins. This last was authentic,
and greatly relieved the situation. It read:

Nothing like a thoroughly trained expert, my dear Stebbins.
These German savants fill me with wonder. The moment Dr.
Stuffen fixed his eyes upon me he read my case like an open
book. No nitrogenous food of any kind, was his first verdict; hot
douches and complete rest packed in wet compresses, the next.
I am losing flesh, of course, but it is only the "deadwood" of the
body, so to speak. This Dr. Stuffen expects to replace with new
shoots--predicts I will weigh forty pounds more--a charming and,
to me, a most sane theory. You will be delighted also to hear
that my epigastric nerve hasn't troubled me since I arrived.
Love to the boys, whom I expect to see before the month is out.
Joppy.


"Forty pounds heavier!" cried Marny from his
end of the table. "He'll look like a toy balloon in
knee pants. Bully for Joppy! I wouldn't let any
Schweizerkase with a hot douche get within a hundred
yards of me, but then I'm not a bunch of nerves
like Joppy. Anyhow, boys, we'll give the lad a welcome
that will raise the roof. Joppy thin was pretty
good fun, but Joppy fat will be a roaring farce."

And so it was decided, and at once all sorts and
kinds of welcomes were discussed, modified, rearranged
and discussed again. Pudfut suggested meeting
him in Rotterdam and having a night of it.
Malone thought of chartering a steam launch, hiring
a band and bringing him past the towns with flags
flying. Stebbins and Marny favored some demonstration
nearer home, where everybody could join in.

The programme finally agreed upon included a
pathway of boughs strewn with wild flowers from the
steamboat landing, across the planking, over the cobbles,
under the old Gate of William of Orange, and
so on to the door of the inn; the appointment of Tine,
dressed in a Zeeland costume belonging to her grand-
mother, as special envoy, to meet him with a wreath
of laurel, and Johann in short clothes--also heirlooms
--was to walk by his side as First Groom of the
Bed Chamber.

The real Reception Committee, consisting of
Mynheer in a burgomaster suit borrowed from a
friend, and the four painters--Marny as a Dutch
Falstaff, Pudfut as a Spanish Cavalier, Stebbins got
up as a Night Watch, and Malone in the costume
of a Man-at-Arms--all costumes loaned for the occasion
by the antiquary in the next street--were to
await Joplin's coming in the privacy of the Gate--
almost a tunnel--and so close to the door of the inn
that it might have passed for a part of the establishment
itself.

Meantime the four painters were to collect
material for the decoration of the coffee-room--
wreaths of greens over the mantel and festoons of ivy
hanging down the back of Joplin's chair being prominent
features; while Mynheer, Tine and Johann were
to concentrate their energies in preparing a dinner
the like of which had never been eaten since the
sluiceways in the dikes drowned out the Spanish
duke. Not a word of all this, of course, had reached
the ears of the Bostonian. Half, three-quarters, if
not all, the enjoyment of the occasion would be
realized when they looked on Joplin's face and read
his surprise.




IV



The eventful day at last arrived. Stebbins, as prearranged,
had begged the exile to telegraph the exact
hour of his departure and mode of travel from Rotterdam,
suggesting the boat as being by far the best,
and Joplin had answered in return that Fop Smit's
packet, due at sundown the following day, would
count him among its passengers.

The deep tones of the whistle off Papendrecht sent
every man to his post, the villagers standing back in
amazement at the extraordinary spectacle, especially
at Tine and Johann in their queer clothes, who, being
instantly recognized, were plied with questions.

The boat slowed down; made fast; out came the
gangplank; ashore went the little two-wheel carts
drawn by the sleepy, tired dogs; then the baskets of
onions were rolled off, and the few barrels of freight,
and then two or three passengers--among them a
small, feeble man, in a long coat reaching to his
heels--made their way to the dock.

NO JOPPY!!

"That's the last man to come ashore here," said
Marny. "What's become of the lad?"

"Maybe he's gone aft," cried Stebbins; "maybe--"

Here Tine gave a little scream, dropped her wreath
and running toward the small, feeble man, threw
her arms around his neck. Marny and the others
bounded over the cobbles, tossing the bystanders out
of the way as they forged ahead. When they reached
Joplin he was still clinging to Tine, his sunken
cheeks and hollow deep-set eyes telling only too
plainly how great an effort he was making to keep on
his legs. The four painters formed a close bodyguard
and escorted their long-lost brother to the inn.

Mynheer, in his burgomaster suit, met the party
at the door, conducted them inside and silently drew
out the chairs at the coffee-room table. He was too
overcome to speak.

Joplin dropped into the one hung with ivy and
rested his hands on the table.

"Lord! how good it is to get here!" he said,
gazing about him, a tremble in his voice. "You don't
know what I've gone through, boys."

"Why, we thought you were getting fat, Joppy,"
burst out Marny at last. Up to this time his voice,
like that of the others, seemed to have left him, so
great was his surprise and anxiety.

Joplin waved his forefinger toward Marny in a
deprecatory way, as if the memory of his experience
was too serious for discussion, played with his fork
a moment, and said slowly:

"Will you lay it up against me, fellows, if I tell
you the truth? I'm not as strong as I was and a
good deal of the old fight is out of me."

"Lay up nothin'!" cried Malone. "And when it
comes to fightin' ye kin count on me every--"

"Dry up!" broke in Marny. "You're way off,
Malone. No, Joppy, not a man here will open his
head: say the rest."

"Well, then, listen," continued the Bostonian. "I
did everything they told me: got up at daylight;
walked around the spring seven times; sipped the
water; ate what they prescribed; lay in wet sheets
two hours every day; was kneaded by a man with a
chest as hairy as a satyr's and arms like a blacksmith's;
stood up and was squirted at; had everything
about me looked into--even stuck needles in my arm
for a sample of my blood; and at the end of three
weeks was so thin that my trousers had to be lapped
over in the back under a leather strap to keep them
above my hips, and my coat hung down as if it were
ashamed of me. Doctor Stuffen then handed me a
certificate and his bill. This done he stood me up
and repeated this formula--has it printed--all
languages:

"'You have now thrown from your system every
particle of foul tissues, Mr.--, ah, yes--Mr. Joblin,
I believe.' And he looked at the paper. 'You
thought you were reasonably fat, Mr. Joblin. You
were not fat, you were merely bloated. Go now to
Stuckbad for two weeks. There you will take the
after-cure; keep strictly to the diet, a list of which
I now hand you. At the expiration of that time you
will be a strong man. Thank you--my secretary will
send you a receipt.'

"Well, I went to Stuckbad--crawled really--put
up at the hotel and sent for the resident doctor, Professor
Ozzenbach, Member of the Board of Pharmacy
of Berlin, Specialist on Nutrition, Fellow of the
Royal Society of Bacteriologists, President of the
Vienna Association of Physiological Research--that
kind of man. He looked me all over and shook his
head. He spoke broken English--badly.

"'Who has dreated you, may I ask, Meester
Boblin?'

"'Doctor Stuffen, at Fizzenbad.'

"'Ah, yes, a fery goot man, but a leedle de times
behindt. Vat did you eat?'

"I handed him the list.

"'No vonder dot you are thin, my frent--yoost
as I oxpected--dis ees de olt deory of broteids. Dot
is all oxbloded now. Eef you haf stay anuder mont
you vould be dead. Everyting dot he has dold you
vas yoost de udder way; no bread, no meelk, no vegebubbles
--noddings of dis, not von leedle bit. I vill
make von leest--come to-morrow.'"

"Did you go, Joppy?" inquired Stebbins.

"DID _I_ GO? Yes, back to the depot and on to
Cologne. That night I ate two plates of sauerkraut,
a slice of pork and a piece of cheese the size of my
hand; slept like a top."

"So the proteids and carbohydrates didn't do your
epigastric any good, old chap," remarked Pudfut in
an effort to relieve the gloom.

"Proteids, carbohydrates and my epigastric be
damned," exploded Joplin. "On your feet, boys, all
of you. Here's to the food of our fathers, with every
man a full plate. And here's to dear old Marny, the
human kangaroo. May his appetite never fail and
his paunch never shrink!"




MISS BUFFUM'S NEW BOARDER



I



He was seated near the top end of Miss Buffum's
table when I first saw his good-natured face with its
twinkling eyes, high cheekbones and broad, white
forehead in strong contrast to the wizened, almost
sour, visage of our landlady. Up to the time of his
coming every one had avoided that end, or had gradually
shifted his seat, gravitating slowly toward the
bottom, where the bank clerk, the college professor
and I hobnobbed over our soup and boiled mutton.

It was his laugh that attracted my attention--the
first that had come from the upper end of the table
in the memory of the oldest boarder. Men talk of
the first kiss, the first baby, the first bluebird in the
spring, but to me, who have suffered and know, the
first, sincere, hearty laugh, untrammelled and unlimited,
that rings down the hide-bound table of a
dismal boarding-house, carries with it a surprise and
charm that outclasses them all. The effect on this
occasion was like the opening of a window letting in
a gust of pure air. Some of the more sensitive
shivered at its freshness, and one woman raised her
eyeglasses in astonishment, but all the rest craned
their heads in the new boarder's direction, their
faces expressing their enjoyment. As for Miss Buffum
and the schoolmistress, they so far forgot themselves
as to join audibly in the merriment.

What the secret of the man's power, or why the
schoolteacher--who sat on Miss Buffum's right--
should have become suddenly hilarious, or how Miss
Buffum herself could be prodded or beguiled into
smiles, no one at my end of the table could understand;
and yet, as the days went by, it became more
and more evident that not only were these two cold,
brittle exteriors being slowly thawed out, but that
every one else within the sound of his seductive voice
was yielding to his influence. Stories that had lain
quiet in our minds for months for lack of a willing
or appreciative ear, or had been told behind our
hands,--small pipings most of them of club and
social gossip, now became public property, some
being bowled along the table straight at the new
boarder, who sent his own rolling back in exchange,
his big, sonorous voice filling the room as he replied
with accounts of his life in Poland among the peasants;
of his experiences in the desert; of a shipwreck
off the coast of Ceylon in which he was given up for
lost; of a trip he made across the Russian steppes in
a sleigh--each adventure ending in some strangely
humorous situation which put the table in a roar.

None of these narratives, however, solved the mystery
of his identity or of his occupation. All our
good landlady knew was that he had driven up in a
hack one afternoon, bearing a short letter of introduction
from a former lodger--a man who had lived
abroad for the previous ten years--introducing Mr.
Norvic Bing; that after its perusal she had given
him the second-story front room, at that moment
empty--a fact that had greatly influenced her--and
that he had at once moved in. His trunks--there
were two of them--had, she remembered, been
covered with foreign labels (and still were)--all of
which could be verified by any one who had a right
to know and who would take the trouble to inspect
his room when he was out, which occurred every day
between ten in the morning and six in the afternoon,
and more often between six in the afternoon and ten
the next morning. The slight additional information
she possessed came from the former lodger's
letter, which stated that the bearer, Mr. Norvic Bing,
was a native of Denmark, that he was visiting
America for the first time, and that, desiring a place
where he could live in complete retirement, the writer
had recommended Miss Buffum's house.

As to who he was in his own country--and he certainly
must have been some one of importance, judging
from his appearance--and what the nature of his
business, these things did not concern the dear lady
in the least. He was courteous, treated her with
marked respect, was exceedingly agreeable, and had
insisted--and this she stated was the one particular
thing that endeared him to her--had insisted on paying
his board a MONTH IN ADVANCE, instead of waiting
until the thirty days had elapsed. His excuse for
this unheard-of idiosyncrasy was that he might some
day be suddenly called away, too suddenly even to
notify her of his departure, and that he did not want
either his belongings or his landlady's mind disturbed
during his absence.

Miss Buffum's summing up of Bing's courtesy and
affability was shared by every one at my end of the
table, although some of them differed as regarded his
origin and occupation.

"Looks more like an Englishman than a Dane,"
said the bank clerk; "although I don't know any
Danes. But he's a daisy, anyhow, and ought to have
his salary raised for being so jolly."

"I don't agree with you," rejoined the professor.
"He is unquestionably a Scandinavian--you can see
that in the high cheekbones and flat nose. He is evidently
studying our people with a view of writing a
book. Nothing else would persuade a man of his
parts to live here. I lived in just such a place the
winter I spent in Dresden. You want to get close to
the people when you study their peculiarities. But
whoever he is, or wherever he comes from, he is a most
delightful gentleman--perfectly simple, and so sincere
that it is a pleasure to hear him talk."

As for myself, I am ashamed to say that I did
not agree with either the bank clerk or the professor.
Although I admitted Mr. Bing's wide experience
of men and affairs, and his marvellous powers
of conversation, I could not divest myself of the conviction
that underneath it all there lay something
more than a mere desire to be either kindly or entertaining;
in fact, that his geniality, though outwardly
spontaneous, was really a cloak to hide another side
of his nature--a fog into which he retreated--and
that some day the real man would be revealed.

I made no mention of my misgivings to any of my
fellow-boarders. My knowledge of men of his class
--brilliant conversationalists with a world-wide experience
to draw upon--was slight, and my grounds
for doubting his sincerity were so devoid of proof
that few persons would have considered them anything
but the product of a disordered mind.

And yet I still held to my opinion.

I had caught something, I fancied, that the others
had missed. It occurred one night after he had told
a story and was waiting for the laugh to subside.
Soon a strange, weary expression crept over his face
--the same look that comes into the face of a clown
who has been hurt in a tumble and who, while wrestling
with the pain, still keeps his face a-grin. Suddenly,
from out of his merry, smooth-shaven face,
there came a flash from his eyes so searching, so keen,
so suspicious, so entirely unlike the man we knew, so
foreign to his mood at the moment, that I instantly
thought of the burglar peering through the painted
spectacles of the family portrait while he watched
his unconscious victim counting his gold.

This conviction so possessed me that I found
myself for days after peering into Bing's face, watching
for its repetition--so much so that the professor
asked me with a laugh:

"Has Mr. Bing hypnotized you as badly as he has
the ladies? They hang on his every word. Curious
study of the effect of mind on matter, isn't it?"

The second time I caught the strange flash was
BEFORE he had told his story--when his admonitory
glance--his polite way of compelling attention--was
sweeping the table. In its course his eyes rested for
an instant on mine, kindled with suspicion, and then
there flashed from their depths a light that seemed
to illuminate every corner of my brain. When I
looked again his face was wreathed in smiles, his
eyes sparkling with merriment. Instantly my doubts
returned with redoubled force. What had he found
in that instantaneous flash, I wondered? Had he
read my thoughts, or had he, from his place behind
the painted canvas, caught some expression on some
victim's face which had roused his fears?

Then a delightful thing happened to me. I was but
a young fellow trying to get a foothold in literature,
who had never been out of his own country, and who
spoke no tongue but his own; he was a man of the
world, a traveller over the globe and speaking five
languages.

"If you're not going out," he said, that same night,
"come and have a smoke with me." This in his
heartiest manner, laying his hand on my shoulder as
he spoke. "You'll find me in my room. I've some
books that may interest you, and we can continue our
talk by my coal-fire. Come with me now."

We had had no special talk--none that I could
remember. I recalled that I had asked him an irrelevant
question after the flash had vanished, and that
he had answered me in return--but no talk followed.

"I never invite any one up here," he began when
we reached his room; "the place is so small"
Here he closed the door, drew up the only armchair
in the room and placed me in it--"but it is large
enough for a place to crawl into and sleep--much
larger, I can tell you, than I have had in many other
parts of the world. I can write here, too, without
interruption. What else do we want, really?--To
be warm, to be fed and then to have some congenial
spirits about us! I am quite happy, I assure you,
with all those dear, good people downstairs. They
are so kind, and they are so human, and they are all
honest, each in his way, which is always refreshing
to me. Most people, you know, are not honest."
And he looked me over curiously.

I made no answer except to nod my assent. My
eyes were wandering over the room in the endeavor
to find something to confirm my suspicions--over the
two trunks with their labels; over a desk littered,
piled, crammed with papers; over the mantel, on
which was spread a row of photographs, among them
the portrait of a distinguished-looking woman with
a child resting in her lap, and next to it that of a man
in uniform.

"Yes--some of my friends across the sea." I had
not asked him--he had read my mind. "This one
you did not see--I keep it behind the others--three
of them, like a little pair of steps--all I have left.
The oldest is named Olga, and that little one in the
middle, with the cap on her head--that is Pauline."

"Your children?"

"Yes."

"Where are they?"

"Oh, many thousand miles from here! But we
won't talk about it. They are well and happy. And
this one"--here he took down the photograph of the
man in full uniform--"is the Grand Duke Vladimir.
Yes, a soldierly-looking man--none of the others are
like him. But come now, tell me of yourself--you
have some one at home, too?"

I nodded my head and mentioned my mother and
the others at home.

"No sweetheart yet? No?--You needn't answer
--we all have sweethearts at your age--at mine
it is all over. But why did you leave her? It is so
hard to do that. Ah, yes, I see--to make your bread.
And how do you do it?"

"I write."

He lowered his brows and looked at me under
his lids.

"What sort of writing? Books? What is called
a novel?"

"No--not yet. I work on special articles for the
newspapers, and now and then I get a short story
or an essay into one of the magazines."

He was replacing the pictures as I talked, his back
to me. He turned suddenly and again sought my eye.

"Don't waste your time on essays or statistics.
You will not succeed as a machine. You have imagination,
which is a real gift. You also dream, which
is another way of saying that you can invent. If you
can add construction to your invention, you will come
quite close to what they call genius. I saw all this
in your face to-night; that is why I wanted to talk
to you. So many young men go astray for want of a
word dropped into their minds at the right time. As
for me, all I know is statistics, and so I will never be
a genius." And a light laugh broke from his lips.
"Worse luck, too. I must exchange them for money.
Look at this--I have been all day correcting the
proofs."

With this he walked to his table--he had not yet
taken a seat, although a chair was next to my own--
and laid in my lap a roll of galley-proofs.

"It is the new encyclopaedia. I do the biographies,
you see--principally of men and the different towns
and countries. I have got down now to the R's--
Richelieu--Rochambeau--" his fingers were now
tracing the lines. "Here is Romulus, and here is
Russia--I gave that half a column, and--dry work,
isn't it? But I like it, for I can write here by my
fire if I please, and all my other time is my own.
You see they are signed 'Norvic Bing.' I insisted
on that. These publishers are selfish sometimes, and
want to efface a writer's personality, but I would not
permit it, and so finally they gave in. But no more
of that--one must eat, and to eat one must work, so
why quarrel with the spade or the ground? See that
you raise good crops--that is the best of all."

Then he branched off into a description of a ball
he had attended some years before at the Tuileries--
of the splendor of the interior; the rich costumes of
the women; the blaze of decorations worn by the men;
the graciousness of the Empress and the charm of
her beauty--then of a visit he had made to the Exile
a few months after he had reached Chiselhurst.
Throwing up his hands he said: "A feeble old man
with hollow eyes and a cracked voice. Oh, such a
pity! For he was royal--although all Europe
laughed."

When the time came for me to go--it was near midnight,
to my astonishment--he followed me to the
door, bidding me good-night with both hands over
mine, saying I should come again when he was at
leisure, as he had been that night--which I promised
to do, adding my thanks for what I declared was the
most delightful evening I had ever spent in my life.

And it had been--and with it there had oozed out
of my mind every drop of my former suspicion.
There was another side that he was hiding from us,
but it was the side of tenderness for his children--
for those he loved and from whom he was parted.
I had boasted to myself of my intuition and had
looked, as I supposed, deep into his heart, and all I
found were three little faces. With this came a certain
feeling of shame that I had been stupid enough
to allow my imagination to run away with my judgment.
Hereafter I would have more sense.

All that winter Bing was the life of the house.
The days on which his seat was empty--off getting
statistics for the encyclopaedia, I explained to my
fellow-boarders, I being looked upon now as having
special information owing to my supposed intimacy,
although I had never entered his room since that
night--on these days, I say, the table relapsed into
its old-time dullness.

One night I found his card on my pin-cushion. I
always locked my door myself when I left my room--
had done so that night, I thought, but I must have
forgotten it. Under his name was written: "Say
good-by to the others."

I concluded, of course, that it was but for a few
days and that he would return as usual, and hold out
his two big generous hands to each one down the
table, leaving a warmth behind him which they had
not known since he last pressed their palms--and so
on down until he reached Miss Buffum and the school-
teacher, who would both rise in their seats to welcome
him.

With the passing of the first week the good lady
became uneasy; the board, as usual, had been paid in
advance, but it was the man she missed. No one
else could add the drop of oil to the machinery of the
house, nor would it run smoothly without him.

At the end of the second week she rapped at my
door and with trembling steps led me to Bing's room.
She had opened it with her own pass-key--a liberty
she never allowed any one to take except herself, and
never then unless some emergency arose. It was
empty of everything that belonged to him--had been
for days. The room had been set in order and the
bed had been made up by the maid the day he left
and had not been slept in since. Trunks, books,
manuscripts, photographs--all were gone--not a vestige
of anything belonging to him was visible.

I stooped down and examined the grate. On the
top of the dead coals lay a little heap of ashes--all
that was left of a package of letters.




II



Five years passed. Times had changed with me.
I had long since left my humble quarters at Miss
Buffum's and now had two rooms in an uptown apartment
-house. My field of work, too, had become enlarged.
I had ceased to write for the Sunday papers
and was employed on special articles for the magazines.
This had widened my acquaintance with men
and with life. Heretofore I had known the dark
alleys and slums, the inside of station-houses, bringing
me in contact with the police and with some of the
detectives, among them Alcorn of the Central Office,
a man who had sought me out of his own accord.
Many of these trusted me and from them I gathered
much of my material. Now I explored other fields.
With the backing of the editor I often claimed seats
at the opening of important conventions--not so much
political as social and scientific; so, too, at many of
the public dinners given to our own and distinguished
foreign guests, would a seat be reserved for me, my
object being the study of men when they were off their
guard--reading their minds, finding out the man
behind the mask, a habit I had never yet thrown off.
Most men have some mental fad--this was mine.
Sometimes my articles found an echo in a note written
to me by the guests themselves; this would fill
me with joy. Often I was criticised for the absurdity
of my views.

On this occasion a great banquet was to be given
to Prince Polinski, a nephew of the Czar and possible
heir to the throne. The press had been filled with the
detail of his daily life--of the dinners, teas and functions
given by society in his honor; of his reception
by the mayor, of his audience at the White House;
of the men who guarded his person; of his "opinions,"
"impressions" and "views" on this, that and
the other thing, but so far no one had dissected the
man himself.

What our editor wanted was a minute analysis of
the mind of a young Russian studied at close range.
The occasion of the banquet was selected because
I could then examine him at my leisure. The
results were to be used by the editor in an article
of his own, my memoranda being only so much
padding.

When I entered and took up a position near the
door where I could look him over, Delmonico's largest
reception-room was crowded with guests: bankers,
railroad presidents, politicians, officers of the army
and navy, judges, doctors, and the usual collection of
white shirt-fronts that fill the seats at a public dinner
of this kind. The Prince was in the uniform of an
officer of the Imperial Navy. He was heavily built
and tall, with a swarthy face enlivened by a pointed
mustache. The Russian Ambassador at his side was
in full dress and wore a number of decorations: these
two needed no pointing out. Some of the others
were less distinguishable-among them a heavily-
built man in evening-dress, with a full beard and
mustache which covered his face almost to his eyes--
soft and bushy as the hair on a Spitz dog and as
black. With a leather apron and a broad-axe he
would have passed at a masquerade for an executioner
of the olden time. Despite this big beard, there was
a certain bearing about the man--a certain elegance
both of manner and gesture--talking with his hands,
accentuating his sentences with outstretched fingers,
lifting his shoulders in a shrug (I saw all this from
across the room where I stood)--that showed clearly
not only his high position, but his breeding. What
position he held under the Prince I was, of course,
unaware, but it must have been very close, for the
big Russian kept him constantly at the royal side. I
noted, too, that the Prince was careful to introduce
him to many who were brought up to shake his
hand.

When the procession was formed to march into
the dining-hall, Polinski came first on the arm of
the mayor; then followed a group of dignitaries,
including the Ambassadors, the black-bearded man
walking by the side of the Prince, who would now
and then turn and address him.

My seat was against the wall opposite the dais,
and knowing that I should have scant opportunity
to study the Prince's face from where I sat, I edged
my way along the side of the corridor, the crowd
making progress difficult for him, but easy for me,
as I crept close to the wall. When I reached the door
opening into the banquet hall I took up a position
just inside the jamb, so that I could get a full view of
the Prince as he passed.

At this instant I became aware that a pair of broad
shoulders were touching mine. Turning quickly, I
found myself looking into the face of the bearded
Russian. His eyes were fastened on mine, an inquiring,
rather surprised look on his face, as if he was
wondering at the bad manners of a man who would
thrust himself ahead of a royal personage. For an
instant the features were calm and impassive, then as
he continued to look at me there flashed out of his eyes
a search-light glance that shot straight through me.

It was Bing!

Bearded like a Cossack; more heavily built, solemn,
dignified, elegant in carriage and demeanor,
with not a trace of jollity about him--but Bing all
the same! I could have sworn to it!

The flash burned for an instant; the eyes behind
the canvas dodged back, then with a graceful wave
of the hand he turned to the Ambassador who was
now abreast of him and said in a voice so low that
I caught the words but not the full tone:

"Isn't it a charming sight, your Excellency?
There is nothing like the hospitality of these wonderful
Americans." And the two passed into the
brilliantly-lighted hall.

I made my way to my seat and sat thinking it over.
That he had recognized me was without question;
that he had ignored me was equally true--why, I
could not tell.

For years I had made him one of my heroes. He
had stood for cheerfulness, for contentment with one's
lot, for consideration for another--and always a
weaker brother. When his abrupt departure had been
criticised by my fellow-boarders, I had stemmed the
tide against him, dilating on his love for his children,
on his loneliness away from them; on his
simplicity, his common-sense, his desire to help even
a young fellow like me who had no claim upon him.
In return he had seen fit to treat me with contempt
--I who would have been so proud to tell him how
his advice had helped me and what progress I had
made by following it.

The incident took such hold upon me that I found
myself dissecting his mentality instead of that of the
Great Personage in the public eye. As I analyzed
my feelings I found that he had hurt my heart
more than my pride. I would have been so glad
to shake his hand--so glad to rejoice with him
over his changed conditions--once the occupant of a
front room in a cheap boarding-house, supporting
himself by filling space in the columns of an encyclopaedia,
and now the bosom friend of Princes and
Ambassadors!

Then a doubt arose in my mind. WAS it Bing?
Had I not made a mistake? How could a smooth-
shaven Dane with blond hair transform himself
into a swarthy Russian with the beard of a Cossack?
There was, it is true, no change in the eyes or in the
round head--in the whiteness and width of the forehead,
or the breadth of the shoulders. All these I
went over one by one as I watched him every now
and then lean across the table and speak to some of
the distinguished guests that surrounded him. The
thing which puzzled me was his grave, sedate
demeanor, dignified, almost austere at times. A man,
I thought, might grow a beard and dye it, but how
could he grow a different set of manners, how
smother his jollity, how wipe out his spontaneous
buoyancy?

No, it was not Bing! It was only my stupid self.
I was always ready to find the mysterious and
unnatural. I turned to the guest next me.

"Do you know who that man is on the dais," I
asked; "the one all black and white, with the big
beard?"

"Yes, one of the Prince's suite; some jaw-breaking
name with an '-usski' on the end of it. He
brought him with him; looks like a bull pup chewing
a muff, doesn't he?"

I smiled at the comparison, but I was still in doubt.

When the banquet broke up I hurried out ahead of
the others and posted myself at the top of the staircase
leading down to the side door of the street. The
Prince's carriage--an ordinary cab--was ordered to
this door to escape the crowd and to avoid any delay.
This I learned from my old friend Alcorn of the
Central Office, who was in charge of the detectives at
the dinner, and who in answer to my request said:

"Certainly I'll let you through. Come alone, and
don't speak to me as you go by. I'll say you're one
of us. The crowd thinks he's going out by the other
door, and you can get pretty close to him."

The Prince came first, wrapped in furs--the black-
bearded Russian at his side in overcoat, silk hat and
white gloves. The Ambassador and the others had
bidden them good-night at the top of the staircase.

Under Alcorn's direction I had placed myself just
inside the street door where I could slip out behind
the Prince and his black-bearded companion. As a
last resort I determined to walk straight up to him
and say: "You haven't forgotten me, Mr. Bing, have
you?" If I had changed so as to need proof of my
identity Alcorn would furnish it. Whatever his
answer, his voice would solve my mystery.

He walked down the stairs with an easy, swinging
movement, keeping a little behind the Prince; waited
until Alcorn had opened the street door and with a
nod of thanks followed Polinski out into the night.
Once outside I shrank back into the shadow of the
doorway and held my breath to catch his first spoken
word--to the coachman--to the Prince--to any one
who came in his way.

At this moment a man in a slouch hat and poorly
dressed, a light cane under his arm, evidently a
tramp, hurried across the street to hold the cab door.
I edged nearer, straining my ears.

The Prince bent his head and stooped to enter the
cab. The tramp leaned forward, shot up his right
arm; there came a flash of steel, and the next instant
the tramp lay writhing on the sidewalk, one hand
twisted under his back, the other held in the viselike
grip of the black-bearded man. Alcorn rushed past
me, threw himself on the prostrate tramp, slipped
a pair of handcuffs over his wrists, dragged him to his
feet, and with one hand on his throat backed him into
the shadow of the side door.

The Prince smiled and stepped into his carriage.
The black-bearded man dusted his white gloves one
on the other, gave an order in a low tone to the coachman,
took his place beside his companion and the two
drove off.

I stood out in the rain and tried to pull myself
together. The rapidity of the attack; the poise and
strength of the black-bearded Russian; the quickness
with which Alcorn had risen to the occasion; the
absence of all outcry or noise of any kind--no one
but ourselves witnessing the occurrence--had taken
my breath away. That an attack had been made on
the life of the Prince, and that it had been frustrated
by his friend, was evident. It was also evident that
accosting a Prince on the sidewalk at night without
previous acquaintance was a dangerous experiment.
When I recovered my wits both Alcorn and the
would-be assassin had disappeared. So had the cab.

Only two morning journals had an account of the
affair; one dismissed it with a fling at the police for
not protecting our guests from annoyance, and the
other stated that a drunken tramp had demanded the
price of a night's lodging from the Prince as he was
leaving Delmonico's, and that a member of the
Prince's suite had held the fellow until a policeman
came along and took him to the station-house. Not a
word of the murderous lunge, the flash of steel, the
viselike grip of the black-bearded man or the click
of the handcuffs.

That night I found Alcorn.

"Did that fellow try to stab the Prince?" I asked.

"Yes."

"With a knife?"

"No, a sword cane."

"The papers didn't say so."

"No, I didn't intend they should. Wouldn't have
been pleasant reading for his folks in St. Petersburg.
Besides, we haven't rounded up his gang yet."

"The Prince didn't seem to lose his nerve?" I
asked.

"No, he isn't built that way."

"You know him, then?"

"Yes--been with him every day since he arrived."

"Who is the black-bearded man with him?"

"He is his intimate friend, Count Lovusski. Been
all over the world together."

"Is Lovusski his ONLY name?" This seemed to
be my chance.

Alcorn turned quickly and looked into my face.

"On the dead quiet, is it?"

"Yes, Alcorn, you can trust me."

"No--he's got half a dozen of 'em. In Paris in
'70 he was Baron Germunde with estates in Hungary.
Lived like a fighting-cock; knew everybody at the
Palace and everybody knew him--stayed there all
through the Franco-Prussian War. In London in
'75 he was plain Mr. Loring, trying to raise money
for a mine somewhere in Portugal--knew nobody
but stockbrokers and bank presidents. In New York
five years ago he was Mr. Norvic Bing, and worked
on some kind of a dictionary; lived in a boarding-
house on Union Square."

I could not conceal my delight.

"I knew I was right!" I cried, laying my hand on
his arm. "I lived with him there a whole winter."

"Yes, he told me so. That's why I am telling you
the rest of it." Alcorn was smiling, a curious expression
lighting his face.

"And how came he to be such a friend of the
Prince's?" I asked.

"He isn't his friend--isn't anybody's friend.
He's a special agent of the Russian Secret Service."




CAPTAIN JOE AND THE SUSIE ANN



Wide of beam, stout of mast, short-bowspritted,
her boom clewed up to clear her deck load of rough
stone; drawing ten feet aft and nine feet for'ard; a
twelve-horse hoisting engine and boiler in her forecastle;
at the tiller a wabbly-jointed, halibut-shaped,
moon-faced (partially eclipsed, owing to a fringe of
dark whiskers), sleepy-eyed skipper named Baxter,--
such was the sloop Susie Ann, and her outfit and her
commander, as she lay alongside the dock in New
London Harbor, ready to discharge her cargo at the
site of Shark Ledge Lighthouse, eight miles seaward.

On the dock itself, over a wharf post sprawled
her owner, old Abram Marrows, a thin, long, badly
put together man, awkward as a stepladder and as
rickety, who, after trying everything from farming
to selling a patent churn, had at last become a shipowner,
the Susie Ann, comprising his entire fleet.
Marrows had come to see her off; this being the
sloop's first trip for the season.

Lying outside the Susie Ann--her lines fast to
an off-shore spile, was the construction tug of the
lighthouse gang, the deck strewn with diving gear,
water casks and the like,--all needed in the furthering
of the work at the ledge. On the tug's forward
deck, hat off and jacket swinging loose, stood Captain
Joe Bell in charge of the submarine work at the site,
glorious old Captain Joe, with the body of a capstan,
legs stiff as wharf posts, arms and hands tough as
cant hooks and heart twice as big as all of them put
together.

Each and every piece of stone,--some of them
weighed seven tons,--stowed aboard the Susie Ann,
was, when she arrived alongside the foundation of
the lighthouse, to be lowered over her side and sent
down to Captain Joe to place in thirty feet of water.
This fact made him particular both as to the kind of
vessel engaged and the ability of the skipper. Bad
seamanship might not only endanger the security
of the work but his own life as well,--a diver not
being as quick as a crab or blackfish in getting from
under a seven-ton stone dropped from tripdogs at
the signal to "lower away."

Captain Joe's inspection of the Susie Ann's skipper
was anything but satisfactory, judging from the
way he opened his battery of protest.

"Baxter ain't fittin', I tell ye, Abram Marrows,"
he exploded. "He ain't fittin' and never will be.
Baxter don't know most nothin'. Set him to grubbin'
clams, Abram, but don't let him fool 'round the
Ledge. He'll git the sloop ashore, I tell ye, or drop
a stone and hurt somebody. Go and git a MAN som'ers
and put him in charge,--not a half-baked--" here
he lowered his muzzle and fired point-blank at the
object of his wrath,--"Yes, and I'll say it to your
face, Captain Baxter. You take my advice and lay
off for this v'yage,--it ain't no picnic out to the
Ledge. You ain't seen it since we got the stone 'bove
high water. Reg'lar mill tail! You go ashore, I
tell ye,--or ye'll lose the sloop."

Many of the men ranged along the top of the cabin
of the tug, or perched on its rail, wondered at the
vehemence of the captain's attack, "Moon-faced
Baxter," as he was called, having a fair reputation
as a seaman. They knew, too, that Captain Joe was
aware of the condition of Marrows's affairs, for it had
been common talk that the bank had loaned Abram
several hundred dollars with the sloop as security on
the captain's own personal inspection. Some of them
had even been present when Mrs. Marrows,--a faded
old woman with bleached eyes and a pursed-up mouth,
her shawl hooding her head and pinned close under
her chin with her thumb and forefinger,--had begged
Captain Joe to try the Susie Ann for a few loads
until Abram could "ketch up," and had heard his
promise to help her.

But they made no protest. Such outbursts on the
captain's part were but the escaping steam from the
overcharged boiler of his indignation. Underneath
lay the firebox of his heart, chock full of red-hot
coals glowing with sympathy for every soul who
needed his help. If his safety valve let go once in a
while it was to escape from greater danger.

His long range ammunition exhausted, Captain
Joe turned on his heel and walked aft to where his
diving gear was piled, venting his indignation at
every step. This time the outburst was directed to
me,--(it was my weekly inspection at the Ledge).

"Can't jam nothin' into his head, sir. Stubbornest
mule 'round this harbor. Warn't for that wife
o' his Abe Marrows would a-been high and dry long
ago. Every time he gits something purty good he
goes and fools it away;--sold his farm and bought
that sloop; then he clapped a plaster on it in the bank
to start a cook shop. But the wife's all right;--only
last week she come to me lookin' like she'd bu'st out
cryin',--sayin' the sloop was all they had, and I
promised her then I'd use the Susie, but she never
said nothin' 'bout Baxter being in charge, or I'd
stopped him 'fore he loaded her. Well, there ain't no
tellin' what nat'ral born fools like Abe Marrows'll
do, but it's something ornery and criss-cross if Abe
Marrows does it. That woman's worked her fingers
off for him, but he'll git her in the poor-house yit,--
see if he don't."

Marrows had heard every word of Captain Joe's
outburst, but he made no answer except to lift his thin
elbows and spread his fingers in a deprecatory way, as
if in protest. Baxter maintained a dogged silence;--
the least said in answer the better. Captain Joe Bell
was not a man either to contradict or oppose;--better
let him blow it all out. Both owner and skipper determined
to take the risk. The Susie Ann had been laid
up all winter awaiting the opening of the spring work,
and the successful carrying out of the present venture
was Marrows's only escape from financial ruin, and
Baxter's only chance of getting his back wages.
There was an unpaid bill, too, for caulking, then a
year old, lying in Abram's bureau drawer, together
with an account at Mike Lavin's machine shop for
a new set of grate bars, now almost worn out. Worse
than all the bank's lien on the sloop was due in a few
weeks. What money the sloop earned, therefore,
must be earned quickly.

And then again, Abram ruminated, Shark Ledge
wasn't the worst place on the coast,--despite Captain
Joe's warning,--especially on this particular morning,
when a light wind was blowing off shore. Plenty
of other sloops had delivered stone over their rails
to the divers below. Marrows remembered that he
had been out to the Ledge himself when the
Screamer came up into the wind and crawled slowly
up until her forefoot was within a biscuit toss of the
stone pile.

What Marrows forgot was that Captain Bob
Brandt of Cape Ann had then held the spokes of the
Screamer's wheel,--a man who knew every twist and
turn of the treacherous tide.

So Baxter shook out the sloop's jib and mainsail
and started on his journey eight miles seaward, with
orders to make fast on arrival to the spar buoy which
lay within a few hundred yards of the Ledge, and
there wait until the tide turned, when she could drop
into position to unload. The tug with all of us on
board would follow when we had taken on fresh water
and coal.

On the run out Captain Joe watched the sloop
until she had made her first tack, then he turned to
his work and again busied himself in overhauling his
diving dress; tightening the set-screws in his copper
collar, re-cording his breastplate and putting new
leather thongs in his leaden shoes. There was some
stone on the sloop's deck which was needed to complete
a level down among the black fish and torn
cod,--twenty-two feet down,--where the sea kelp
streamed up in long blades above the top of his helmet
and the rock crabs scurried out of his way. If Baxter
didn't make a "tarnel fool of himself and git into
one o' them swirl-holes," he intended to get these
stones into place before night.

He knew these "holes," as he did every other swirl
around the ledge and what they could do and what
they couldn't. They were his swirls, really,--for he
had placed every individual fragment of the obstructions
that caused them with his own hands, in thirty
feet of water.

Some three years before the site had been marked
by a spindle bearing an iron cage and fastened to a
huge boulder known as Shark Ledge Rock, and covered
at low water. The unloading of various sloops
and schooners under his orders had enlarged this
submerged rock to a miniature island, its ragged
crest thrust above the sea. This obstruction to the
will of the wind and tide, and the ever-present six-
mile current, caused by the narrowing of Long Island
Sound in its onrush to the sea, acted as a fallen log
that blocks a mountain stream, or a boulder that
plugs a torrent. That which for centuries had been a
steady "set" every six hours east and west, had now
become a "back-and-in suck" fringed by a series of
swirling undercurrents dealing death and destruction
to the ignorant and unwary.

Not been long since a schooner loaded with concrete
had been saved from destruction by the merest
chance, and later on a big scow caught in the swirl
had parted her buoy lines and would have landed
high and dry on the stone pile had not Captain Joe
run a hawser to her, twisted its bight around the drum
of his engine and warped her off just in time to save
her bones from sea worms.

As the tug approached, the Ledge, looming up on
the dim horizon line, looked like a huge whale
spouting derricks, a barnacle of a shanty clinging to
its back. Soon there rose into relief the little knot of
men gathered about one of the whale's fins--our
landing stage,--and then, as we came alongside, the
welcome curl of the smoke, telling of fried pork and
saleratus biscuit.

Captain Joe's orders now came thick and fast.

"Hurry dinner, Nichols,"--this to the shanty
cook, who was leaning out of the galley window,--
"And here,--three or four o' ye, git this divin' stuff
ashore, and then all hands to dinner. The wind's
ag'in Baxter,--he won't git here for an hour.
Startin' on one o' them long legs o' his'n now,"--and
the captain's eye rested on the sloop beating up
Fisher's Island way.

"And, Billy,--'fore ye go ashore, jump into the
yawl and take a look at that snatch block on the spar
buoy,--that clam digger may want it 'fore night."

This spar buoy lay a few hundred yards off the
Whale's Snout. Loaded vessels were moored to this
quill bob, held in place by a five-ton sinker, until
they were ready to drop into the eddy and there discharge
their stone.

Dinner over the men fell to work, each to his job.
The derrick gang was set to shifting a boom on to the
larger derrick, the concrete mixers picked up their
shovels, and I went to work on the pay-roll of the
week. This I always figured up in the little dry-
goods box of a room opening out of the galley in the
end of our board shanty, its window looking toward
Montauk.

As I leaned my arms on the sill for a glimpse of
the wide expanse of blue and silver, the cotton rag
that served as a curtain flapped in my face. I pushed
it aside and craned my neck north and south. The
curtain had acted as a weather vane,--the wind had
hauled to the east.

The sky, too, had dulled. Little lumpy clouds
showed near the horizon line, and, sailing above these,
hung a dirt spot of vapor, while aloft glowed some
prismatic sundogs, shimmering like opals. Etched
against the distance, with a tether line fastened to the
spar buoy, lay the Susie Ann. She had that moment
arrived and had made fast. Her sails were furled,
her boom swinging loose and ready, the smoke from
her hoister curling from the end of her smoke pipe
thrust up out of the forward hatch.

Then I looked closer in.

Below me, on the concrete platform, rested our
big air pump, and beside it stood Captain Joe. He
had slipped into his diving dress and was at the
moment adjusting the breastplates of lead, weighing
twenty-five pounds each, to his chest and back. His
leaden shoes were already on his feet. With the
exception of his copper helmet, the signal line around
his wrist, and the life line about his waist, he was
ready to go under water.

Pretty soon he would don his helmet, and, with
a last word to Jimmy, his tender, would tuck his chin
whisker inside the round opening, wait until the face
plate was screwed on, and then, with a cheerful nod
behind the glass, denoting that his air was coming all
right, would step down his rude ladder into the sea,--
down,--down,--down to his place among the crabs
and the seaweed.

Suddenly my ears became conscious of a conversation
carried on in a low tone around the corner of the
shanty.

"Old Moon-face'll have to git up and git in a
minute," said a derrick man to a shoveller,--born
sailors, these,--"there'll be a red-hot time 'round
here 'fore night."

"Well, there ain't no wind."

"Ain't no wind,--ain't there? See that bobble
waltzin' in?"

I looked seaward, and my eyes rested on a
ragged line of silver edging the horizon toward
Montauk.

"Does look soapy, don't it?" answered the shoveller.
"Wonder if Cap'n Joe sees it."

Cap'n Joe had seen it--fifteen minutes ahead of
anybody else,--had been watching it to the exclusion
of any other object. He knew the sea,--knew every
move of the merciless, cunning beast; had watched
it many a time, lying in wait for its chance to tear
and strangle. More than once had he held on to the
rigging when, with a lash of its tail, it had swept
a deck clean, or had stuck to the pumps for days
while it sucked through opening seams the life-
blood of his helpless craft. The game here would be
to lift its victim on the back of a smooth under-
roller and with mighty effort hurl it like a battering
ram against the shore rocks, shattering its timbers
into drift wood.

"Billy," said Captain Joe to the shoveller, "go
down to the edge of the stone pile and holler to the
sloop to cast off and make for home. Hurry, now!
And, Jimmy,"--this to his pump tender,--"unhook
this breastplate,--there won't be no divin', today.
I've been mistrustin' the wind would haul ever since
I got up this mornin'."

The shoveller sprang from the platform and began
clambering over the slippery, slimy rocks like a crab,
his red shirt marked with the white "X" of his
suspenders in relief against the blue water. When he
reached the outermost edge of the stone pile, where
the ten-ton blocks lay, he made a megaphone of his
fingers and repeated the captain's orders to the Susie
Ann.

Baxter listened with his hands cupped to his ears.

"Who says so?" came back the reply.

"Cap'n Joe."

"What fur?"

"Goin' to blow,--don't ye see it?"

Baxter stepped gingerly along the sloop's rail.
Obeying the order meant twenty-four hour's delay
in making sure of his wages,--perhaps a week, spring
weather being uncertain. He didn't "see no blow."
Besides, if there was one coming, it wasn't his
sloop or his stone. When he reached the foot
of the bowsprit Moon-face sent this answer over
the water:

"Let her blow and be d--! This sloop's chartered
to deliver this stone. We've got steam up and
the stuff's goin' over outside. Get your divers ready.
I ain't shovin' no baby carriage and don't you forgit
it. I'm comin' on! Cast off that buoy line, you,"--
this to one of his men.

Captain Joe continued stripping off his leaden
breastplate. He had heard his order repeated and
knew that it had been given correctly,--Baxter's subsequent
proceedings did not interest him. If he
had anything to say in answer it was of no moment
to him. His word was law on the Ledge; first, because
the men daily trusted their lives to his guidance, and,
second, because they all loved him with a love hard
for a landsman to understand, especially today, when
the boss and the gang never, by any possibility, pull
together.

"Baxter says he's comin' on, sir," said Billy, when
he reached the captain's side, the grin on his sunburnt
face widening until its two ends hooked over his ears.
Billy had heard nothing so funny for weeks.

"Comin' on?"

"That's what he hollered. Wants you to git ready
to take his stuff, sir."

I was out of the shanty now. I came in two
jumps. With that squall rushing from the eastward
and the tide making flood, any man who would leave
the protection of the spar buoy for the purpose of
unloading was fit for a lunatic asylum.

Captain Joe had straightened up and was screening
his eyes with his hand when I reached his side,
his gaze rivetted on the loosened sloop, which had now
hauled in her tether line and was drifting clear of the
buoy. The captain was still incredulous.

"No, he ain't comin'," he said to me. "He's all
right,--he'll port his helm in a minute,--but he'd
better send up his jib"--and he swept his eye around,
--"and that quick, too."

At this instant the sloop wavered and lurched
heavily. The outer edge of the insuck had caught
her bow.

Men's minds work quickly in times of great danger,
--minds like Captain Joe's. In a flash he had taken
in the fast-approaching roller, froth-capped by the
sudden squall; the surging vessel and the scared face
of Baxter, who, having realized his mistake was
now clutching wildly at the tiller and shouting orders
to his men, none of which could be carried out.
Captain Joe knew what would happen,--what had
happened before, and what would happen again
with fools like Baxter,--now,--in a minute,--before
he could reach the edge of the stone pile, hampered
as he was in a rubber suit that bound his arms and
tied his great legs together. And he understood too
the sea's game, and that the only way to outwit it
would be to use the beast's own tactics. When it
gathered itself for the thrust and started in to hurl
the doomed vessel the full length of its mighty arms,
the sloop's only safety lay in widening the space. A
cushion of backwater would then receive the sloop's
forefoot in place of the snarling teeth of low crunching
rocks.

He had kicked off both shoes by this time and was
shouting out directions to Baxter, who was slowly
and surely being sucked into the swirl:--

"Up with your jib! No,--NO! Let that mainsail
alone! UP! Do ye want to git her on the stone
pile, you? Port your helm! PORT! O GOD!--
Look at him!!"

Captain Joe had slid from the platform now and
was flopping his great body over the slimy, slippery
rocks like a seal, falling into water holes every other
step, crawling out on his belly, rolling from one slanting
stone to another, shouting to his men, every time
he had the breath:--

"Man that yawl and run a line as quick as God'll
let ye--out to the buoy! Do ye hear? Pull that
fall off the drum of the h'ister and git the end of a
line on it! She'll be on top of us in a minute and
the mast out of her! QUICK!"

Jimmy sprang for a coil of rope; Billy and the
others threw themselves after him; while half a dozen
men working around the small eddy in the lee of the
diminutive island caught up the oars and made a
dash for the yawl.

All this time the sloop, under the uplift of the first
big Montauk roller,--the skirmish line of the attack,
--surged, bow on, to destruction. Baxter, although
shaking with fear, had sense enough left to keep her
nose pointed to the stone pile. The mast might come
out of her, but that was better than being gashed
amidships and sunk in thirty feet of water.

Captain Joe, his rubber suit wet and glistening
as a shiny porpoise, his hair matted to his head, had
now reached the outermost rock opposite the doomed
craft, and stood near enough to catch every expression
that crossed Baxter's face, who, white as chalk, was
holding the tiller with all his strength, cap off, his
blousy hair flying in the increasing gale, his mouth
tight shut. Go ashore she must. It would be every
man for himself then. No help would come,--no
help COULD come. Captain Joe and his men would
run for shelter as soon as the blow fell, and leave
them to their fate. Men like Baxter are built to think
this way.

All these minutes--seconds, really,--Captain Joe
stood bending forward, watching where the sloop
would strike, his hands outstretched in the attitude
of a ball-player awaiting a ball. If her nose should
hit the sharp, square edges of one of the ten-ton
blocks, God help her! She would split wide open
like a melon. If by any chance her forefoot should
be thrust into one of the many gaps between the
enrockment blocks,--spaces from two to three feet
wide,--and her bow timbers thus take the shock, there
was a living chance to save her.

A cry from Baxter, who had dropped the tiller and
was scrambling over the stone-covered deck to the
bowsprit, reached the captain's ears, but he never
altered his position. What he was to do must be done
surely. Baxter didn't count,--wasn't in the back of
his head. There were plenty of willing hands to pick
up Baxter and his men.

Then a thing happened which, if I had not seen it,
I would never have believed possible. The water
cushion of the outsuck helped,--so did the huge roller
which, in its blind rage, had underestimated the distance
between its lift and the wide-open jaws of the
rock,--as a maddened bull often underestimates
the length of its thrust, its horns falling short of the
matador.

Whatever the cause, Captain Joe watched his
chance, sprang to the outermost rock, and, bracing
his great snubbing posts of legs against its edge,
reversed his body, caught the wavering sloop on his
broad shoulders, close under her bowsprit chains, and
pushed back with all his might.

Then began a struggle between the strength of the
man and the lunge of the sea. With every succeeding
onslaught, and before the savage roller could fully
lift the staggering craft to hurl her to destruction,
Captain Joe, with the help of the outsuck, would
shove her back from the waiting rocks. This was
repeated again and again,--the men in the rescuing
yawl meanwhile bending every muscle to carry out
the captain's commands.

Sometimes his head was free enough to shout his
orders, and sometimes both man and bow were
smothered in suds.

"Keep that fall clear!" would come his order
"Stand ready to catch the yawl! Shut that--" here
a souse would stop his breath,--"shut that furnace
door! Do ye want the steam out of the b'iler?"--
etc., etc.

That the slightest misstep on the slimy rocks on
which his feet were braced meant sending him under
the sloop's bow where he would be caught between her
forefoot and the rocks and ground into pulp concerned
him as little as did the fact that Baxter and his men
had crawled along the bowsprit over his head and had
dropped to the island without wetting their shoes.
That his diving suit was full of water and he soaking
wet to the skin, made not the slightest difference
to him--no more than it would to a Newfoundland
dog saving a child. His thoughts were on other
things,--on the rescuing yawl speeding toward the
spar buoy, on the stout hands and knowing ones who
were pulling for all they were worth to that anchor
of safety;--on two of his own men who, seeing Baxter's
cowardly desertion, had sprung like cats at the
bowsprit of the sloop in one of her dives, and were
then on the stern ready to pay out a line to the yawl
when she reached the goal. No,--he'd hold on "till
hell froze over."

A hawser now ripped itself clear from out the crest
of a roller. This meant that the two cats, despite the
increasing gale and thrash of the onrushing sea had
succeeded in paying out a stern line to the men in
the yawl, who had slipped it through the snatch block
fastened in the buoy. It meant, too, that this line
had been connected with the line they had brought
with them from the island, its far end being around
the drum of our hoister.

A shrill cry now came from one of the crew in the
yawl alongside the spar buoy, followed instantly by
the clear, ringing order, "GO AHEAD!"

Now a burst of feathery steam plumed skyward,
and then the slow "chuggity-chug" of our drum cogs
rose in the air. The stern line straightened until it
was as rigid as a bar of iron, sagged for an instant
under the slump of the staggering sloop, straightened
again, and remained rigid. The sloop, held by the
stern line, crept slowly back to safety.

Captain Joe looked over his shoulder, noted the
widening distance, and leaped back to the inshore
rocks.

Late that afternoon, when the tug, with Captain
Joe and me on board, reached the tug's moorings
in New London harbor, the dock was crowded with
anxious faces,--Abram Marrows and his wife among
them. It had been an anxious day along the shore
road. The squall, which had blown for half an hour
and had then slunk away toward Little Gull, grumbling
as it went, had sent everything that could seek
shelter bowling into New London Harbor under close
reefs. It had also started Marrows and his wife on
a run to the dock, where they had stood for hours
straining their eyes seaward, each incoming vessel,
as she swooped past the dock into the inner basin,
adding to their anxiety.

"Wouldn't give a keg o' sp'ilt fish for her. Ain't
a livin' chance o' savin' her," had bellowed the
captain of a fishing smack, as he swept by, within
biscuit-toss of the dock, his boom submerged, the
water curling over the rail.

"She went slap ag'in them chunks o' cut stone!"
shouted the mate of a tug through the window of a
pilot house.

"Got her off with her bow split open, but they
can't keep her free! Sunk by now, I guess," had
yelled one of the crew of a dory making for the shipyard.

As each bulletin was shouted back over the water
in answer to the anxious inquiries of Marrows, the
wife would clasp her fingers the tighter. She made
no moan or outburst. Abram would blame her and
say it was her fault,--everything was her fault that
went wrong.

When the tug had made fast to a wharf spile Captain
Joe cleared the stringpiece, and walked straight
to Marrows. He was still soaking wet underneath his
clothes, only his outer garments being dry,--a condition
which never affected him in the least, "salt
water bein' healthy," he would say.

"What did I tell ye, Abram Marrows?" he
exploded, in a voice that could be heard to the turnpike.
"Didn't I say Baxter warn't fittin', and that
he ought ter be grubbin' clams? Go and dig a hole
some'er's and cover him up head and ears,--and dig
it quick, too, and I'll lend ye a shovel."

"Well, but, Captain Joe,"--protested Marrows.

"Don't you 'well' me. Well, nothin'. You're
bad as him. Go and dig a hole and BOTH on ye git
in it!"--and he pushed through the crowd on his
way to his house, I close at his heels.

The wife, who but that moment had heard the glad
news of the rescue from the lips of a deck hand, now
hurried after the captain and laid her hand on his
arm. Her eyes were red from weeping; strands of
gray hair strayed over her forehead and cheeks; her
lips were tightly drawn; the anxiety of the last few
hours had left its mark.

"Don't go, Captain Joe, till I kin speak to ye,"
she pleaded, in a trembling voice,--speaking through
fingers pressed close to her lips.

"No,--I don't want to hear nothin'. She's all
right, I tell ye,--tighter 'n a drum and not a drop
of water in her. Got some of my men aboard and
we'll unload her to-morrow. You go home, old
woman; you needn't worry."

"Yes, but you must listen,--PLEASE listen."

She had followed him up the dock and the two
stood apart from the crowd.

"Well, what is it?"

"I want to thank ye,--and I want--"

"No, you don't want to thank nothin'. She's all
right, I tell ye."

She had tight hold of his arm now and was
looking up into his face, all her gratitude in her
eyes.

"But I do,--I must,--please listen. You've
helped us so. It's all we have. If we'd lost the sloop
I'd 'a' give up."

The captain's rough, hard hand went out and
caught the woman's thin fingers. A peculiar cadence
came into his voice.

"All ye have? Do you think I don't know it?
That's why I was under her bowsprit."




"AGAINST ORDERS"



"Here comes Captain Bogart--we'll ask him,"
said the talkative man.

His listeners were grouped about one of the small
tables in the smoking-room of the Moldavia, five days
out. The question was when the master of a vessel
should leave his ship. In the incident discussed
every man had gone ashore--even the life-saving
crew had given her up: the master had stuck to his
post.

The captain listened gravely.

"Yes--if there's one chance in a thousand of saving
her. Regulations are pretty plain; can't forget
'em unless you want to," and he walked on.

That night at dinner I received a message to come
to the captain's cabin. He had some coffee that an
old Brazilian had sent him. His steward hailed from
Rio, and knew how to grind and boil it.

Over the making the talk veered to the inquiry in
the smoking-room.

"When ought a commander to abandon his ship,
Captain?" I asked.

"When his passengers need him. Passengers first,
ship next, are the orders. They're clear and exact--
can't mistake 'em."

"You speak as if you had had some experience."
A leaf from out the note-book of a live man doing
live things is as refreshing as a bucket of cool water
from a deep well.

"Experience! Been forty years at sea."

"Some of them pretty exciting, I suppose."

"Yes. Half a dozen of 'em."

He emptied his cup, rose from his seat, and pushing
back his chair, began pacing the floor, stepping
into the connecting chart-room, bending for an instant
over the map, and stepping back again, peering
through the small window a-grime with the spray of
a north-easter.

My question, I could see, had either revived some
unpleasant memory or the anxiety due to the sudden
shift of wind--it had been blowing south-west all day
--had made him restless.

As my eyes followed his movements I began to
realize the enormous size of the man. Walking the
deck, head up, body erect, his broad shoulders pulled
back, his round, solid girth tightly confined in his
simple uniform, he looked the brawny, dominant,
forceful commander that he was--big among the
biggest passengers. Here, pacing the small cabin,
his head almost touching the ceiling, his great frame
filled the small narrow room as an elephant would
fill a boudoir. Everything seemed too small for him
--the table, even the chair which he had now regained,
the tiny egg-shell cup which he was still
grasping.

Looking closer--his head in full profile against
the glow of the electric light--I caught the straight
line of the ruddy, seamed neck--a bull's neck in
strength, a Greek athlete's in refinement of line--
sweeping up into the close-cropped, iron-gray hair.
Then came the round of the head; the massive forehead,
strong, straight nose; thin, compressed lips,
moulded thin and kept compressed by a life of
determined effort; square-cut chin and the iron jaw
that held the lips and chin in place.

When he rose to his feet again I had another
surprise. To my astonishment he was not a Colossus
at all--not in pounds and inches. On the contrary,
he was but little above the average size. What
had impressed me had not been his bulk, but his
reserve force. Tigers stretched out in cages produce
this effect; so do powerful machines that dig, crunch,
or pound--dormant until their life-steam sets them
going.

The gale increased in violence. We got now the
lift of the steamer's bow, staggering under tons of
water, and the whir of the screw in mid-air. The
captain glanced at the barometer, drew his body to its
full height, reached for his storm-coat, slipped it on,
and was about to swing back the door opening on the
deck, when the chirp of a canary rang through the
room. At the sound he turned quickly and walked
back to where the cage hung.

"Ho, little man!" he cried in the same tone of
voice in which he would have addressed a child;
"woke you up, did we? Sorry, old fellow; tuck your
head down again and take another nap."

The bird stretched out its bill, fluttered its wings,
pecked at the captain's outstretched finger, and burst
into song.

"Yours, captain?" I had not noticed the bird
before.

"Yes; had him for years."

Instantly the absurdity of the companionship broke
upon me. What possible comfort, I thought, could
a man like the captain take in so tiny a creature?
It was the lion and the mouse over again--the eagle
and the tom-tit--the bear and the rabbit. He must
have noticed my surprise and amusement, for he
added with a smile:

"Must have something. Gets pretty lonesome
sometimes when you have no wife nor children, and
there are none anywheres for me." He had withdrawn
his fingers now, and was buttoning his coat
close about his broad chest, his eyes still on the bird
that was splitting its little throat in a burst of song.

"But he's so small," I laughed. "I should think
you'd have a dog--seems nearer your size."

I once saw a man struck by a spent bullet. I
remember the sudden pallor, the half gasp, and the
expression of pain that followed. Then the man
uttered a cry. The same expression crossed the captain's
face, but there was no gasp and no cry; only
a straightening of the lips and a tightening-up of the
iron jaw. Then, without a word of any kind in
answer, he caught up his cap, swung back the door,
and with the wind full on his chest, breasted his way
to the bridge.

When the door swung open a moment later it
closed on the first officer--a square, thick-set, round-
headed man, with mild blue eyes set in a face framed
by a half-circle of reddish-brown whiskers, the face
tanned by twenty-five years of sea service, fifteen of
them with Captain Bogart.

"Getting soapy," he said; "wind haulin' to the
east'ard. Goin' to have a nasty night." As he spoke
he stripped off his tarpaulins, hung them to a hook
in the chart-room, and wiping the salt grime from
his face with his coat cuff, took the captain's empty
seat at the table.

I knew by the captain's silent departure that I
had made a break of some kind, but I could not locate
it. Perhaps the first officer might explain.

"Captain lost his wife, didn't he?" I asked,
moving my chair to make room.

"No--never had one." He leaned forward and
filled one of the empty cups. "Why did you
think so?"

"Well, more from the tone of his voice than
anything else. Some trouble about it, wasn't there?"

"There was. His sweetheart was burned to death
ten years ago--lamp got upset." These men are
direct in their speech. It comes from their life-long
habit of giving short, crisp, meaning orders. He had
reached for the sugar now, and was dropping the
lumps slowly into his cup.

"That explains it, then," I answered. "We were
talking about the bird over there, and he said a man
must have something to love, being without wife or
children, and then I told him a big man like himself,
I should think, would rather have a dog--"

The first officer put down his cup, jerked his body
around, and said, his blue eyes looking into mine:

"You didn't say that, did you?"

I nodded my head.

"Mighty sorry. Don't any of us talk to him of his
dog. What did he say?"

"Nothing. Turned a little pale, got up, and went
out."

"Too bad! You didn't know, of course--wish
I'd posted you."

"Then he DID have a dog?"

"Yes, belonged to that poor girl."

"What became of him?"

The first officer leaned over the table and rested
his elbows on the cloth, his chin in the palms of his
hands. For some time he did not speak. Outside I
could hear the thrash of the sea and the slosh of spent
waves coursing through the deck gutters.

"You want to hear about that dog, do you?" he
asked, straightening up. "Well, I can tell you if
any man can, but you're to keep mum about it to the
captain."

Again I nodded.

He fumbled in his outside pocket, drew forth a
short pipe, rapped out the dead ashes, refilled it
slowly from a pouch on the table, lighted it, and
settled himself in his chair.

"I'll begin at the beginning, for then you'll understand
how I came to be mixed up in it. I saw that
dog when he first came aboard, and I want to say right
here that the sight of him raised a lump in my throat
big as your fist, for he was just the mate of the one
I owned when I used to look after my father's sheep
on the hills where we lived. Then, again, I took to
him because he wasn't the kind of a pet I'd ever seen
at sea before--we'd had monkeys and parrots and a
bobtail cat, but never a dog--not a real, human dog.

"He was one of those brown-and-white combed-
out collies we have up in my country, with a long,
pointed nose that could smell a mile and eyes like
your mother's--they were so soft and tender. One
of those dogs that when he put his cold nose alongside
your cheek and snuffed around your whiskers you
loved him--you couldn't help it--and you knew he
loved you. As for the captain--the dog was never
three feet from his heels. Night or day, it was just
the same--up on the bridge, followin' him with his
eyes every time he turned, or stretched out beside
his berth when he was asleep. Hard to understand
how such a man can love a dog until you saw that
one. Then, again, this dog had another hold upon
the captain, for the girl had loved him just the same
way.

"And he had the best nose in a fog--seemed as if
he could sniff things as they went by or came on
dead ahead. After a while the captain would send
him out with the bow-watch in thick weather, and
there he'd crouch, his nose restin' on the rail, his eyes
peerin' ahead. Once he got on to a brigantine comin'
bow on minutes before the lookout could see her--
smelt her, the men said, just as he used to smell the
sheep lost on the hillside at home. It was thick as
mud--one of those pasty fogs that choke you like
hot steam. We had three men in the cro'nest and two
for'ard hangin' over her bow-rail. The dog began to
grow restless. Then his ears went up and his tail
straightened out, and he began to growl as if he had
seen another dog. The captain was listenin' from
the bridge, and he suspected somethin' was wrong
and rang 'Slow down!' just in time to save us from
smashing bow on into that brigantine. Another time
he rose on his hind legs and 'let out' a yelp that
peeled everybody's eyes. Then the slippery, barnacle-
covered bottom of a water-logged derelict went
scootin' by a few yards off our starboard quarter.
After that the men got to dependin' on him--'Ought
to have a first mate's pay,' I used to tell the captain,
at which he would laugh and pat the dog on the
head.

"One morning about eight bells, some two hundred
miles off Rio--we were 'board the Zampa, one of our
South American line, with eighteen first-class passengers,
half of 'em women, and ten or twelve emigrants
--when word came to the bridge that a fire
had started in the cargo. We had a lot of light
freight on board and some explosives which were to
be used in the mines in the mountains off the coast,
so fire was the last thing we wanted. Bayard--did I
tell you the dog's name was Bayard?--that's what
the girl called him--was on the bridge with Captain
Bogart. I was asleep in my bunk. First thing I
knew I felt the dog's cold nose in my face, and the
next thing I was on the dead run for the after-hatch.
I've had it big and ugly a good many times in my
life; was washed upon a pile of rocks once stickin'
up about a cable's length off our coast, and hung to
the cracks until I dropped into a lifeboat; and
another time I was picked up for dead off Natal and
rolled on a barrel till I came to. But that racket
aboard the Zampa was the worst yet.

"When I jumped in among the men the smoke
was creepin' out between the lids of the hatch. We
ripped that off and began diggin' up the cargo--
crates of chairs, rolls of mattin', some spruce scantling
--runnin' the nozzle of the hose down as far as
we could get it. There were no water-tight compartments
which we could have flooded in those days as
there are now, or we could have smothered it first
off. What we had to do was to fight it inch by inch.
I knew where the explosives were, and so did the
captain and purser, but the crew didn't--didn't even
know they were aboard, and I was glad they didn't.
We had picked most of 'em up at Rio--or they'd
made a rush maybe for the boats, and then we'd had
to shoot one or two of 'em to teach the others manners.
In addition to every foot of hose we had 'board I
started a line of buckets and then rushed a gang below
to cut through the bulkhead to see if we could get at
the stuff better.

"The men fell to with a will. Fire ain't so bad
when you take hold of it in time, and as long as there
is plenty of steam pressure--and there was--you can
almost always get on top of it, unless something turns
up you don't count on.

"That's what happened here. I was standin' on
the coamings of the hatch at the time, peerin' down
into the smoke and steam, thinking the fire was
nearly out, directing the men what to h'ist out and
what to leave, when first thing I knew there came
a dull, heavy thump, as if we'd struck a rock
amidships, and up puffed a cloud of smoke and
sparks that keeled me over on my back and nearly
blinded me.

"I knew then that the fire had just begun to take
hold; that thump might have been a cask of rum or
it might have been a box of nitro-glycerine. Whatever
it was, there was no time to waste in stoppin'
the blaze before it reached the rest of the cargo.

"Captain Bogart had felt the shock and now came
runnin' down the deck with the dog at his heels. He
knew I'd take care of the fire and he hadn't left the
bridge, but the way she shook and heaved under the
explosion was another thing.

"By this time the passengers were huddled together
on the upper deck, frightened to death, as
they always are, the women the coolest in the crowd.
All except two little old women, sisters, who lived
out of Rio and who had been with us before. Fire
was one of the things that scared them to death, and
they certainly were scared. They hung to the rail,
their arms around each other--the two together didn't
weigh a hundred and fifty pounds; always reminded
me of two shiverin' little monkeys, these two old
women, although maybe it ain't nice for me to say
it--and looked down over the rail into the sea, and
said they never could go down the ladder, and did
all the things badly scared women do, short of pitching
themselves overboard, which sometimes occurs.
The captain stopped and talked to 'em--told 'em there
was no danger--his ears open all the time for another
let-go, and the dog nosed round and put out his paw
as if to make good what the captain had promised.

"The water was goin' in now pretty lively--all
the pumps at work--the light stuff bein' heaved overboard
as fast as it came out. By dark we'd got the
fire under so that we had steam where before we'd
had smoke and flame. The passengers had quieted
down and some of 'em had gone back to their staterooms
to get their things together, and everything
was going quiet and peaceable--this was about nine
o'clock--when there came another half-smothered
explosion and the stokers began crawlin' up like rats.
Then the chief engineer stumbled out--no hat nor
coat, his head all blood where a flying bolt had gashed
him. Some of her bilge plates was loose, he said, and
the water half up to the fire-boxes. Next a column
of flame came pouring out of her companionway,
which crisped up four of our boats and drove everybody
for'ard. We knew then it was all up with us.

"The captain now sent every man to the boats--
those that would float--and we began to get the passengers
and crew together--about sixty, all told.
That's pretty nasty business at any time. They're
like a flock of sheep, huddlin' together, some wantin'
to stay and some crazy to go; or they are shiverin'
with fright and ready to knife each other--anything
to get ahead or back or wherever they think it is
safest. This time most of 'em had got on to the
explosives; they knew something was up, either with
the boilers or the cargo, and every one of them
expected to be blown up any minute.

"I stood by the rail, of course, and had told off
the men I could trust, puttin' 'em in two lines to let
'em through one at a time, women first, then the old
men, and so on--same old story; you've seen it, no
doubt--and had got four boats overboard and filled
--the sea was pretty calm--and three of 'em away
and out of range of fallin' pieces if she did take a
notion to let go suddenly, when the dog sprang out
of the door at the top of the stairs leading down to
the main deck, barkin' like mad, runnin' up to the
captain, who stood just behind me, pullin' at his
trousers, and runnin' back again. Then a yell came
from the boat below that one of the old women was
missing: it was her sister. One half-crazy man said
she'd jumped overboard--he was crowdin' up to the
rail and didn't want to stop for anything--and
another said she had gone off in the first boat, which
I knew was a lie.

"'Have you sent them both down?' asked Captain
Bogart.

"'No, sir; only one,' I said--and I hadn't.

"Just then a steward stepped up with a bundle
of clothing in his hand.

"'I tried to get her out, but she'd locked herself
in the stateroom, sir. It was all afire when I
come up.'

"It took about two seconds for Captain Bogart
to jump clear of the crowd, run half the length of the
deck and plunge through the door leadin' to the main
deck, the dog boundin' after him.

"I've been through a good many anxious minutes
in my life, but those were the worst I'd had up to
date. He and I had been pretty close ever since I
went to sea. He's ten years older than I am, but he
gave me my first chance. Yes; that kind of thing
takes the heart out of you, and they were both in it.
Hadn't been for the dog we wouldn't have missed her,
maybe, although the captain was keeping tally of the
passengers and crew.

"Three minutes, they said it was--more like three
hours to me--I held the crowd back, wondering how
long I ought to wait if he didn't come up, knowing
my duty was to stay where I was, when the dog
sprang out of the door, half his hair singed off him,
barkin' and jumpin' as if he had been let out for a
romp; and then came the captain staggerin' along,
his face scorched, his coat half burned off him, the
woman in his arms in a dead faint and pretty nigh
smothered. The old fool had locked herself in her
stateroom--he had to break down the door to get
at her--cryin' she'd rather die there than be separated
from her sister.

"We made room for the two--the half-crazy man
fallin' back--and the captain lowered her himself
into the boat alongside her sister, and then he sent
me down the ladder behind her to catch the others
when they came down and see that everything was
ready to cast off.

"I could see the captain now from my position in
the boat, up against the sky--he was the last man on
the ship--holding the dog close to him. Once I
thought he was going to bring him down in his arms,
he held him so tight.

"Next time I looked he was coming down the
ladder slowly, one foot at a time, the dog looking
down at him, his big, human eyes peering into the
captain's face, his long, pointed nose thrust out, his
ears bent forward. If he could have spoken--and he
looked as if he was speaking--he would be telling
him how glad he felt at savin' the old woman, and
how happy he was that they'd all three got clear.
My own collie used to talk to me like that--had
a kind of low whine when he'd get that way; tell
me about his sheep stuck in the snow, and the way
the--"

The first officer stopped, cleared his throat, shook
the ashes from his pipe and laid it on the table. After
a while he went on. His words came slower now, as
if they hurt him.

"When the captain got half-way down the ladder
I saw him stand still for a moment and look straight
tip into the dog's eyes. Then I heard him say:

"'Down, Bayard! Stay where you are.'

"The dog crouched and lay with his paws on the
edge of the rail. That's what he'd done all his life--
just obeyed orders without question. Again I saw
the captain stop. This time he slipped his hand into
his side-pocket, half drew out his revolver, put it
back again, and kept on his way down the ladder to
the boat.

"Then the captain's order rang out:

"'Get ready to shove off!'

"Hardly had the words left his lips when there
came another dull, muffled roar, and a sheet of flame
licked the whole length of the deck. Then she fell
over on her beam.

"'My God!' I cried; 'left that dog to die!'

For a moment the first officer did not answer. Then
he raised his eyes to mine and said in a voice full of
emotion:

"Yes; there was nothin' else to do. It's against
orders to take animals into life-boats. They take
room and must be fed, and we hadn't a foot of space
or an ounce of grub and water to spare, and we had
two hundred miles to go. I begged the captain. 'I'll
give Bayard my place,' I said. I knew he was right;
but I couldn't help it. 'Let me go back and get
him.' I know now it would have been foolish; but
I'd have done it all the same. So would you, maybe,
if you'd known that dog and seen his trusting eyes
lookin' out of his scorched face and remembered what
he'd just done.

"The captain never looked at me when he answered.
He couldn't; his eyes were too full.

"'Your place is where you are, sir,' he said, short
and crisp. 'Shove off, men.'

"He will never get over it. That dog stood for
the girl he'd lost, somehow. That's the captain's bell.
I'm wanted on the bridge. Good-night."

Again the cabin door swung free, letting in a blast
of raw ice-house air, the kind that chills you to the
bone. The gale had increased. Through the opening
I could hear the combers sweeping the bow and the
down-swash of the overflow striking the deck below.

With the outside roar came the captain, his tarpaulins
glistening with spray, his cap pulled tight
down to his ears, his storm-beaten face ruddy with
the dash and cut of the wind. He looked like a sea
Titan that had stepped aboard from the crest of
a wave.

If he saw me--I was stretched out on the sofa by
this time--he gave no sign. Opening his tarpaulins
and thrashing the water from his cap, he walked
straight to the cage, peered in, and said softly:

"Ah, my little man! Asleep, are you? I just
came down to take a look at the chart and see how you
were getting on. We're having some weather on the
bridge."




MUGGLES'S SUPREME MOMENT



I



A most estimable young man was Muggles: a clean-
shaven, spick-and-span, well-mannered young man--
particular as to the brushing of his hat, the tying of
his scarf and the cut of his clothes; more than particular
as to their puttings-on and puttings-off--sack-
coat and derby for mornings; top hat and frock for
afternoons; bobtail and black tie for stags, and full
regalia of white choker, white waistcoat and swallowtail
for smart dinners and the opera.

He knew, too, all the little niceties of social life--
which arm to give to his hostess in escorting her out
to dinner; on which side of a hansom to place a lady;
the proper hours for calling; the correct thing in
canes, umbrellas, stick-pins and cigar-cases; the way
to balance a cup of afternoon tea on one knee while
he toyed with a lettuce sandwich teetering on the
other--all the delicate observances so vital to the
initiated and so unimportant to the untutored and
ignorant. Then Muggles was a kind and considerate
young man--extremely kind and intrusively considerate;
always interesting himself in everybody's
affairs and taking no end of trouble to straighten
them out whether importuned or not--and he seldom
was.

This idiosyncrasy had gained for him during his
college days the title of "Mixey." This in succeeding
years had been merged into "Muddles" and
finally to "Muggles," as being more euphonious and
less insulting. Of late among his intimates he had
been known as "The Goat," due to his constant habit
of butting in at any and all times, a sobriquet which
clings to him to this day.

His real name--the one he inherited from his
progenitors and now borne by his family--was one
that stood high in the fashionable world: a family
that answered to the more dignified and aristocratic
patronymic of Maxwell--a name dating back to the
time of Cromwell, with direct lineage from the Earl
of Clanworthy--john, Duke of Essex, Lord Beverston
--that sort of lineage. No one of the later Maxwells,
it is true, had ever been able to fill the gap of a
hundred years or more between the Clanworthys and
the Maxwells, but a little thing like that never made
any difference to Muggles or his immediate connections.
Was not the family note-paper emblazoned
with the counterfeit presentment of a Stork Rampant
caught by the legs and flopping its wings over a
flattened fish-basket; and did not Muggles's cigarette-
case, cuff-buttons and seal ring bear a similar design?
And the wooden mantel in the great locked library,
and which was opened and dusted twice a year--the
books, not the mantel--did it not support a life-sized
portrait of the family bird done in wood, with three
diminutive storklets clamoring to be fed, their open
mouths out-thrust between their mother's breast and
the top edge of the fish-basket, enwreathed by a more
than graceful ribbon bearing the inscription, "We
feed the hungry"--or words to that effect?

None of these evidences of wealth and ancestry,
it must be said, ever impressed the group of scoffers
gathered about the wood fire of the "Ivy" in his
college days, or about the smart tables at the "Magnolia
Club" in his post-graduate life. To them he
was still "Mixey," or "Muddles," or "Muggles," or
"The Goat," depending entirely upon the peculiar
circumstances connected with the mixing up or the
butting in.

To his credit be it said the descendant of earls and
high-daddies never lost his temper at these onslaughts.
If Bender, or Podvine, or little Billy Salters pitched
into him for some act of stupidity--due entirely to
his misguided efforts to serve some mutual friend--
Muggles would argue, defend and protest, but the
discussion would always end with a laugh and his
signing the waiter's check and ordering another one
for everybody.

"Why the devil, Muggles, did you insist last night
on that Boston girl's riding home from the theatre in
the omnibus, you goat?" thundered Podvine one
morning at the club, "instead of letting her--"

"My dear fellow," protested Muggles, "it was
much more comfortable in the omnibus, and--"

"--And broke up her walk home with Bobby,
you idiot! He had to take the owl train home, and
she won't see him for a month. Didn't you know they
were engaged?"

"No--"

"Of course you didn't, Muggles, but you could
have seen it in her face if you'd looked. You always
put your foot in it clean up to your pants' pocket!"

"You've been at it again, have you, Muggles?"
burst out Bender that same night "Listen to the
Goat's last, boys. Jerry wanted to buy that swamp
meadow next his place on Long Island and had been
dickering with the old fellow who owns it all winter,
telling him it would be a good place to raise cranberries
if it was dug out and drained, and they had
almost agreed on the price--about twice what it was
worth--when down goes Muggles to spend the night
and Jerry blabs it all out, and just why he wanted
it, and the next morning Muggles, to clinch the deal
and help Jerry, slips over to the hayseed and tells
him how the Sunnybrook Club are going to buy
Jerry's place, and how they wanted the swamp for
a hatchery--all true--and that the hayseed oughtn't
to wait a moment, but send word by HIM that the
deal was closed, because the club-house being near by
would make all the rest of his land twice as valuable;
and the old Skeezicks winked his eye and shifted
his tobacco and said he'd think about it, and now you
can't buy that sink-hole for twenty times what it's
worth, and the Sunnybrook is looking for another
site nearer Woodvale. Regular clown you are, Muggles.
Exactly like that fellow at the circus who holds
up one end of the tent and then, before the supes can
reach it, drops it for the other end."

When the results of this last well-intentioned effort
with its disastrous consequences became clear to the
Goat, that spotless gentleman leaned back in his
chair, threw hick his shoulders, shot out his cuffs, readjusted
his scarfpin and replied in an offended tone:

"All owing, my dear fellow, to the stupidity of
the agricultural class. I told the farmer he would
regret it, and he will. As for myself, I was awfully
disappointed. I had planned to run all the way back
to Jerry's and tell him the good news before be went
to sleep that night, and--"

"Disappointed, were you? How do you think
Jerry felt? Made a lot of difference to him, I tell
you, not selling his place to the club. Been a whole
year working it up. It's smothered now under a
blanket--about ninety per cent of its value--and
the Sunnybrook scheme would have pulled him out
with a margin! Now it's deader than last year's
shad. What the club wanted was a hatchery built
over a spring, and that's why that swamp was necessary
to the deal. Oh, you're the limit, Muggles!"

It was while smarting under these criticisms that
the steward one morning in June brought him his
letters. One was from Monteith--Class of '9l--a
senior when Muggles was a freshman--and was
postmarked "Wabacog, Canada," where Monteith
owned a lumber mill--and where he ran it himself
and everything connected with it from stumpage
to scantling. "There is a broad stream that
runs into the lake, ... and above the mill
there are bass weighing ten pounds, ... and
back in the primeval forest bears, ... and
now and then a moose--" So ran the letter. Muggles
had spread it wide open by this time and was
reading it aloud--everybody knowing Monteith--and
the group never having any secrets of this kind from
each other.

"Come up, old chap," the letter continued, "and
stay a week--two, if you can work it--and bring
Bender, and little Billy and Poddy, and three or four
more. The bungalow holds ten. Wire when--I'm
now putting things on ice."

Muggles looked around the circle and sent interrogatory
Marconigrams with his eyebrows. In
response Podvine said he'd go, and so did Billy
Salters. Bender thought he could come a day or two
later--the earning of their daily bread was not an
absorbing task with these young gentlemen--their
fathers had done that years before.

Muggles ran over in his mind the list of his engagements:
he was due at Gravesend on the tenth for a
week, to play golf; at his aunt's country-seat in
Westchester on the eleventh for the same length of
time, and on the twelfth he was expected to meet a
yacht at Cold Spring Harbor for a cruise up the
coast. He had accepted these invitations and had
fully intended to keep each and every one. Monteith's
letter, however, seemed to come at a time when
he really needed a more virile and bracing life than
was offered by the others. Here was a chance to
redeem his reputation. Lumber camps meant big
men doing big things--things reeking with danger,
such as falling trees, forest fires and log jams.
There might also be hair-breadth escapes in the hunting
of big game and the tramping of the vast wilderness.
This dressing three times a day and spending
the intermediate hours hitting wooden balls, or lounging
in a straw chair under a deck awning, had become
tiresome. What he needed was to get down to Nature
and hug the sod, and if there wasn't any sod then
he would grapple with whatever took its place.

Muggles dropped his legs to the floor, straightened
his back, beckoned to a servant, motioned for a telegraph
blank--exertion is tabooed at the Magnolia--
untelescoped a gold pencil hooked to his watch-chain
and wrote as follows:

"Thanks. Coming Tuesday."




II



Wabacog covers a shaved place in a primeval forest
which slopes to a lake of the same name. Covering
this bare spot are huge piles of sawed lumber--
Monteith's axe-razors did the shaving--surrounding
an enormous mill surmounted by a smokestack of
wrought iron topped with a bird-cage spark arrester,
the whole flanked by a runway emerging from the
lake, up which climb in mournful procession the
stately bodies of fallen monarchs awaiting the cutting
irony of the saw. Farther along, on another clearing,
stands a square building labelled "Office," and still
farther on, guarded by sentinel trees and encircled
by wide piazzas, sprawls a low-roofed bungalow, its
main entrance level with a boardwalk ending in the
lake. This was Monteith's home. Here during the
winter's logging he housed himself in complete seclusion,
and here in summer he kept open house for
whoever would answer in person his welcoming
letters.

Anything so rude and primeval, or so comforting
and inviting, was beyond the experience of Muggles
and his friends. This became apparent before
they had shed their coats and unpacked their
bags. There was a darky who answered to the name
of Jackson who could not only crisp trout to a turn,
but who could compound cocktails, rub down muscular
backs shivering from morning plunges in the
lake, make beds, clean guns, wait on the table, and in
an emergency row a canoe. There were easy chairs
and low-pitched divans overspread with Turkey rugs
and heaped with piles of silk cushions; there were
wooden lockers, all open, and each one filled with
drinkables and smokables--drinkables with white
labels, and smokables six inches long with cuffs halfway
down their length; there was an ice-chest sampling
a larger house in the rear; there was a big, wide,
all-embracing fireplace that burst its sides laughing
over the good time it was having (the air was cool at
night), and outside, redolent with perfume and glistening
in the sunshine, there was a bed of mint protected
by a curbing of plank which rivalled in its
sweet freshness those covering the last resting-places
of the most hospitable of Virginians.

And there was Monteith!

Some men are born rich; some inherit a pair of
scissors fitted to strong thumbs and forefingers, some
have to lie awake nights wondering what they will
do next to help their surplus run to waste, and some
pass sleepless hours devising plans by which they can
catch in their empty pockets the clippings and drippings
of all three. Muggles's host was none of these.
What he possessed he had worked for--early, late and
all the time. His father had stood by and seen the
old homestead in his native Southern State topple into
ashes, Only the gaunt chimney left; the son had
worked his way through college, and then with
diploma in one hand and his courage in the other--
all he owned--had shaken the dust of civilization
from his shoes and had struck out for the Northern
wilds: Wabacog was the result.

All these years he had kept in touch with his
college chums, and when the day of his success
arrived, and he was his own master, with the inborn
good-fellowship that marked his race, he had unbuttoned
his pocket, shaken out his heart and let loose
a hospitality that not only revived the memories of
his childhood, but created a new kind of joy in
the hearts of his guests. Hence the bungalow--hence
Jackson--hence the lockers and the ice-chest, and
hence the bed quilt of mint.

"This is your room, Muggles--and, Bender, old
man, yours is next Podvine, you are across the
hall," was his welcome. "Breakfast is any time you
want it; dinner at six. Now come here! See that
line of lockers and that ice-chest? Don't forget 'em,
please! Step up, Jackson--take a look at him, boys.
That darky can mix anything known to man. He
never sleeps, and he's never tired. If you don't call
on him for every blessed thing you want day or night,
there'll be trouble."

They fished and canoed; they hunted bears--a fact
known to the bear, who kept out of their way--never
was in it, Bender insisted; they went overboard every
morning, one after another, in the almost ice-cold
water of the lake, out again red as lobsters, back on a
run, whooping with the cold to the blazing fire of
the bungalow which Jackson had replenished with
bundles of dried balsam that cracked and snapped
with a roar while it toasted the bare backs and
scorched the bare legs of each one in turn (the balsam
was gathered the year before for this very purpose).
They roamed the woods, getting a crack once in a
while at a partridge or a squirrel; they strolled about
the mill, listening to the whir of the saws and watching
the "cut" as it was rolled away and was made
to feed the huge piles of lumber and timber flanking
the runway and far enough away from the huge
stack to be out of the way of treacherous sparks; and
at night they sat around Jackson's constantly replenished
fire and told stories of their college days or
revived the current gossip of the club and the Street.

Muggles ruminated over each and every experience
--all new to him--and kept his eyes open for the
psychological moment when he would burst asunder
the bonds of conventionality and rise to the full
measure of his abilities. The Clanworthys had swung
battle-axes and ridden milk-white chargers into the
thickest of the fray. His turn would come; he felt
it in his knee: then these unbelievers would be
silenced.

His host interested him enormously, especially his
masterful way of handling his men. He himself had
been elected foreman of Hose Carriage No. 1 in the
village near his father's country seat, and still held
that important office. His cape and fire-boots fitted
him to a nicety, and so did his helmet. No. 1 had
been called out but once in its history, and then to
the relief of a barn which, having lost heart before the
rescuers reached it, had sunk to the ground in despair
and there covered itself with ashes. He had been criticised,
he remembered, much to his chagrin, for the
way he had conducted the rescue party; but it would
never happen again. After this he would pattern his
conduct after Monteith, who seemed to accomplish
by a nod and a wave of the hand what he had split
his throat in trying to enforce. He did not put these
thoughts into words; neither did he whisper them
even in the ears of Podvine or Monteith--the two
men who understood him best and who guyed him the
least--especially Monteith, who never forgot that his
college chum was his guest. He confided them
instead to Monteith's big, red-faced foreman--half
Canadian, part French, and the rest of him Irish--
who was another source of wonder. Muggles's inherent
good humor and willingness to oblige had made
an impression on the lumber-boss and he was always
willing to answer any fool question the young New
Yorker asked--a privilege which he never extended
to his comrades.

"What do I do when somepin' catches fire?" the
boss replied to one of Muggles's inquiries--they were
sitting in the office alone, Bender and little Billy
having gone fishing with Jackson. "I'd blow that
big whistle ye see hooked to the safety, first. Ye
never heard it?--well, don't! It'll scare the life out
o' ye. If the mill catches before we can get the
pumps to work it's all up with us. If the piles of
lumber git afire we kin save some of 'em if the wind's
right; that's why we stack up the sawed stuff in
separate piles."

"What do you do first--squirt water on it?"

"No, we ain't got no squirts that'll reach. Best
way to handle the piles o' lumber is to start a line
of bucket-men from the lake and cover the piles with
anything you can catch up--blankets, old carpets,
quilts; keep 'em soaked and ye kin fight it for a
while; that's when one pile's afire, and ye're tryin'
to save the pile next t'it. Light stuff is all over in half
an hour--no matter how big the pile is--keep the
rags soaked--that's my way."

That night before the blazing coals Muggles broke
out on some theories of putting out a conflagration
that made Bender sit up straight and little Billy
Salters cup his ears in attention. Monteith also
craned his neck to listen.

"Who the devil taught you that, Mixey?" asked
Bender. "You talk as if you were Chief of the
Big Six."

"Why, any fireman knows that. I've been running
with a machine for years." The calm way with
which Muggles said this, shaking the ashes from his
cigar as he spoke, showed a certain self-reliance.
"Out in our village I'm foreman of the Hose
Company."

The sudden roar that followed this announcement
shook the big glasses and bottles on the low table.

"So you'd keep the blankets soaked, would you?"
remarked Billy, winking at the others.

"I certainly would." This came with a certain
triumphant tone in his voice.

"Learned that practising on his head," whispered
Podvine.

"Right you are, Poddy; but Muggles, suppose the
mill caught first," chipped in Monteith. The mill
was the apple of his eye. Fire was what he dreaded
--he never could insure the mill fully against fire.
"What would you protect first--the mill or the piles
of lumber?"

"The lumber, of course--the mill can use its
pumps if the engine-room escapes."

"Better save the mill," rejoined Monteith thoughtfully.
"Trade is pretty dull." Then he rose from
his seat, reached for his hat and strolled out on the
portico to take a look around before he turned in.

Muggles's masterful grasp of a science of which his
companions knew as little as they did of the Patagonian
dialects came as a distinct surprise. What
else had the beggar been picking up in the way of
knowledge? Maybe Muggles wasn't such a goat, after
all. That Monteith had approved of his tactics only
increased their respect for their companion. Muggles
caught the meaning of the look in their faces and his
waistcoat began to pinch him across his chest. This
life was what he needed, he said to himself. Here
were big men--the lumber-boss was one--and he was
another--doing big things. Nothing like getting
down to primeval Nature for an inspiration! "Hugging
the sod," as he named it, had had its effect not
only on himself, but on his fellows. They would
never have felt that way toward him at the Magnolia.
The week at Wabacog had widened their horizon--
widened everybody's horizon--as for himself he felt
like a Western prairie with limitless possibilities ending
in mountains of accomplishment.

That night, an hour after midnight, Muggles found
himself sitting bolt upright in bed. Outside, filling
the air of the wilderness, bellowed and roared the
deep tones of the steam siren. Then came a babel of
voices gaining in distinctness and volume:

"Fire, FIRE, FIRE!"

Muggles sprang through the door and ran full tilt
into Jackson and Bender, who had vaulted from their
beds but a second before. The next instant every man
in the bungalow, Monteith at their head, came tumbling
out, one after the other.

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" rang the cry, repeated by
a hundred mill hands rushing toward the mill. A
spark had worked its way through the arrester, some
one said, had fallen into the sawed stuff, been nursed
into a blaze by the night wind, and a roaring flame
was in full charge of one pile of lumber and likely
to take possession of another.

Muggles looked about him.

HIS SUPREME MOMENT HAD COME!

The blood of the Clanworthys rose in his veins.
The Pass lay before him--so did the Bridge. A full
suit of dove-colored pajamas and a pair of turned-up
Turkish slippers was not exactly the kind of uniform
that either Leonidas or Horatius would have chosen
to fight his way to glory, but there was no time to
change them.

With a whoop to Bender, who had really begun to
believe in him, and a commanding order to Jackson,
the three stripped the costly Turkish rugs from the
lounges, and blankets from the beds, and, following
his lead, dashed through the woods to the relief of the
endangered pile of lumber. On the way they passed
a gang of Canucks, carrying buckets. It was but
the work of a moment to arrange these into a posse
of relays with Bender on the lake end of the line and
Jackson next the pile, the gang passing the buckets
from hand to hand.

This done Muggles snatched a ladder from an
adjacent building, threw it against the threatened
lumber, skipped up its rungs like a squirrel and
stood in silhouette against the flaring blaze, his
dove-gray flannels flapping about his thin legs, his
attenuated arms gyrating orders to the relief party,
who had spread the rugs and blankets on the fire-
endangered side of the pile of lumber and who were
now soaking them with water under Muggles's direction.
Now and then, as some part of the burning
mass would collapse, a shower of sparks and smoke
would obscure Muggles; then he could be seen brushing
the live coals from his pajamas, darting here and
there, shouting: "More water! More water! Here,
on this end! All together now!" fighting his way
with hand raised to keep the heat from blistering his
face, a very Casabianca on the burning deck.

Soon the tongues of flame mounting skyward grew
less in number; columns of black smoke took the place
of the shower of sparks; the light flickering on the
frightened tree-trunks began to pale; from the rugs
and blankets the hot steam no longer rose in clouds.
The crisis had passed! The pile was saved! Muggles
had won!

During all this time neither Monteith nor the big
lumber-boss had put in an appearance; nor had Podvine
nor little Billy Salters lent a hand. Bender had
stuck to his post and so had Jackson, oblivious of the
whereabouts of any other member of the coterie except
Muggles, whose clothespin of a figure came into
relief now and then against the flare of the flames.
Then Bender made his way back to the bungalow.

The last man to leave the deck was Muggles.

Backing slowly down the ladder one rung at a
time, his face blistered, his pajamas burnt into holes,
he examined the surrounding lumber; saw that all
his orders had been carried out, gave some parting
instructions to the men to watch out for sparks,
especially those around the edge of the saved pile,
and then slowly, and with great dignity, made his
way to the bungalow--his destiny fulfilled, his honor
maintained and his position assured among his fellows.
He had now only to await the plaudits of his
comrades!

As he pushed open the door and looked about him
the color rose in his cheeks and a kind of a hotness
came from inside his pajamas. Grouped about the
low table, heaped with specimens of cut glass, a
squatty bottle, a siphon and a bowl of cracked ice, sat
every member of the coterie--Bender among them--
Monteith in the easy chair at their head. If any
other occupation had engrossed their attention since
the alarm sounded there was no evidence of it either
in their appearance or in the tones of their voices.

"Lo, the Conquering Hero," broke out Podvine.
"Get up Billy and put a wreath of laurel over his
scorched and blistered brow."

Muggles, for a moment, did not reply. The shock
had taken his breath away. He supposed every man
had worked himself into exhaustion. The only thing
that had really dimmed his own triumph was the
fear that on reaching the bungalow he might find
the blackened remains of one or more of his comrades
stretched out on the floor.

"Didn't you fellows try to save anything?" he
exploded.

"Wasn't anything to save--mill was in no
danger."

"Why, the whole place would have gone if I
hadn't--"

"You're quite right, Muggles," said Monteith.
"Let up on him, boys. You worked like a beaver,
old man. Sorry about the rugs--one was an old
Bokhara--but that's all right--of course you didn't
stop to think."

"Well, but, Monteith--what's a rug or two when
you have to save a pile of--what's the lumber worth,
anyhow?"

"Oh, well, never mind--let it go, old man."

Bender, who was still soaking wet from splashing
buckets, and since his return to the bungalow
had been boiling mad clear through, sprang to his
feet.

"I'll tell you--I've just found out. As the pile
now stands it's worth four thousand dollars. If it
had burned up it would have been worth six. It's
insured, you goat!"


The End






The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Veiled Lady, by F. Hopkinson Smith
********This file should be named vldld10.txt or vldld10.zip********

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, vldld11.txt
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, vldld10a.txt

Produced by Duncan Harrod

More information about this book is at the top of this file.

We are now trying to release all our etexts one year in advance
of the official release dates, leaving time for better editing.
Please be encouraged to tell us about any error or corrections,
even years after the official publication date.

Please note neither this listing nor its contents are final til
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.

Most people start at our Web sites at:
http://gutenberg.net or
http://promo.net/pg

These Web sites include award-winning information about Project
Gutenberg, including how to donate, how to help produce our new
etexts, and how to subscribe to our email newsletter (free!).


Those of you who want to download any Etext before announcement
can get to them as follows, and just download by date.  This is
also a good way to get them instantly upon announcement, as the
indexes our cataloguers produce obviously take a while after an
announcement goes out in the Project Gutenberg Newsletter.

http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext03 or
ftp://ftp.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext03

Or /etext02, 01, 00, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90

Just search by the first five letters of the filename you want,
as it appears in our Newsletters.


Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
time it takes us, a rather conservative estimate, is fifty hours
to get any eBook selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.   Our
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If the value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour in 2002 as we release over 100 new text
files per month:  1240 more eBooks in 2001 for a total of 4000+
We are already on our way to trying for 2000 more eBooks in 2002
If they reach just 1-2% of the world's population then the total
will reach over half a trillion eBooks given away by year's end.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away 1 Trillion eBooks!
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only about 4% of the present number of computer users.

Here is the briefest record of our progress (* means estimated):

eBooks Year Month

    1  1971 July
   10  1991 January
  100  1994 January
 1000  1997 August
 1500  1998 October
 2000  1999 December
 2500  2000 December
 3000  2001 November
 4000  2001 October/November
 6000  2002 December*
 9000  2003 November*
10000  2004 January*


The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation has been created
to secure a future for Project Gutenberg into the next millennium.

We need your donations more than ever!

As of February, 2002, contributions are being solicited from people
and organizations in: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut,
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West
Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

We have filed in all 50 states now, but these are the only ones
that have responded.

As the requirements for other states are met, additions to this list
will be made and fund raising will begin in the additional states.
Please feel free to ask to check the status of your state.

In answer to various questions we have received on this:

We are constantly working on finishing the paperwork to legally
request donations in all 50 states.  If your state is not listed and
you would like to know if we have added it since the list you have,
just ask.

While we cannot solicit donations from people in states where we are
not yet registered, we know of no prohibition against accepting
donations from donors in these states who approach us with an offer to
donate.

International donations are accepted, but we don't know ANYTHING about
how to make them tax-deductible, or even if they CAN be made
deductible, and don't have the staff to handle it even if there are
ways.

The most recent list of states, along with all methods for donations
(including credit card donations and international donations), may be
found online at http://www.gutenberg.net/donation.html

Donations by check or money order may be sent to:

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
PMB 113
1739 University Ave.
Oxford, MS 38655-4109

Contact us if you want to arrange for a wire transfer or payment
method other than by check or money order.


The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation has been approved by
the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization with EIN
[Employee Identification Number] 64-622154.  Donations are
tax-deductible to the maximum extent permitted by law.  As fund-raising
requirements for other states are met, additions to this list will be
made and fund-raising will begin in the additional states.

We need your donations more than ever!

You can get up to date donation information at:

http://www.gutenberg.net/donation.html


***

If you can't reach Project Gutenberg,
you can always email directly to:

Michael S. Hart <hart@pobox.com>

Prof. Hart will answer or forward your message.

We would prefer to send you information by email.


**The Legal Small Print**


(Three Pages)

***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you. It also tells you how
you may distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT
By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement. If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from. If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS
This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etexts,
is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor Michael S. Hart
through the Project Gutenberg Association (the "Project").
Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

Please do not use the "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark to market
any commercial products without permission.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works. Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects". Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] Michael Hart and the Foundation (and any other party you may
receive this etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims
all liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including
legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE
OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from. If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy. If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.

THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS". NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

INDEMNITY
You will indemnify and hold Michael Hart, the Foundation,
and its trustees and agents, and any volunteers associated
with the production and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
texts harmless, from all liability, cost and expense, including
legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of the
following that you do or cause:  [1] distribution of this etext,
[2] alteration, modification, or addition to the etext,
or [3] any Defect.

DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm"
You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,
or:

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word
     processing or hypertext software, but only so long as
     *EITHER*:

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);
          OR

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Foundation of 20% of the
     gross profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation"
     the 60 days following each date you prepare (or were
     legally required to prepare) your annual (or equivalent
     periodic) tax return.  Please contact us beforehand to
     let us know your plans and to work out the details.

WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?
Project Gutenberg is dedicated to increasing the number of
public domain and licensed works that can be freely distributed
in machine readable form.

The Project gratefully accepts contributions of money, time,
public domain materials, or royalty free copyright licenses.
Money should be paid to the:
"Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

If you are interested in contributing scanning equipment or
software or other items, please contact Michael Hart at:
hart@pobox.com

[Portions of this header are copyright (C) 2001 by Michael S. Hart
and may be reprinted only when these Etexts are free of all fees.]
[Project Gutenberg is a TradeMark and may not be used in any sales
of Project Gutenberg Etexts or other materials be they hardware or
software or any other related product without express permission.]

*END THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.10/04/01*END*

End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of The Veiled Lady, by F. Hopkinson Smith


Colophon

This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext4713, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext4713



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."