The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, October, 1913 by Various


NO. 6

Copyright, 1913, by THE CENTURY CO. All rights reserved.


AMERICANS, NEW-MADE. Drawings by W. T. Benda
Facing page 894
AUTO-COMRADE, THE. Robert Haven Schauffler 850
Died: Rondeau Rymbel. Oliver Herford 955
A Triumph for the Fresh Air Fund. F. R. Gruger 957
Newport Note. Reginald Birch 960
DEVIL, THE, HIS DUE Philip Curtiss 895
DINNER OF HERBS,” “BETTER IS A. Picture by Edmund Dulac
Facing page 801
Picture by Harry Raleigh.
GHOSTS,” “DEY AIN’T NO Ellis Parker Butler 837
Pictures by Charles Sarka.
Illustrations by Reginald Birch.
HOMER AND HUMBUG. Stephen Leacock 952
Pictures by Bernard Boutet de Monvel.
PADEREWSKI AT HOME. Abbie H. C. Finck 900
Picture from a portrait by Emil Fuchs.
PARIS. Theodore Dreiser 904
Pictures by W. J. Glackens.
PROGRESSIVE PARTY, THE Theodore Roosevelt 826
Portrait of the author.
SCULPTURE. Charles Keck 917
Snobbery—America vs. England.
Our Tender Literary Celebrities.
Portrait of the author by Alvin L. Coburn.
SUNSET ON THE MARSHES. From the painting by George Inness
Facing page 824
TRADE OF THE WORLD PAPERS, THE James Davenport Whelpley
XVIII. The Foreign Trade of the United States 886
T. TEMBAROM. Frances Hodgson Burnett 929
Drawings by Charles S. Chapman.
WHITE LINEN NURSE, THE Eleanor Hallowell Abbott 857
Pictures, printed in tint, by Herman Pfeifer.


BEGGAR, THE James W. Foley 877
EMERGENCY. William Rose Benét 916
HUSBAND SHOP, THE Oliver Herford 956
Picture by Oliver Herford.
MOTHER, THE Timothy Cole 920
Picture by Alpheus Cole.
MYSELF,” “I SING OF Louis Untermeyer 960
PARENTS, OUR Charles Irvin Junkin 959
Pictures by Harry Raleigh.
SOCRATIC ARGUMENT. John Carver Alden 960





ED HILL drowses through the fleeting hours as though not only time, but mills, machinery, and railways were made for slaves. Hemmed in by the breathing silences of scattered woods, open fields, and the far reaches of misty space, it seems to forget that the traveler, studying New England at the opening of the nineteenth century through the windows of a hurrying train, might sigh for a vanished ideal, and concede the general triumph of a commercial age.

For such a one Red Hill held locked a message, and the key to the lock was the message itself: “Turn your back on the paralleled rivers and railroads, and plunge into the byways that lead into the eternal hills, and you will find the world that was and still is.”

Let such a traveler but follow a lane that leads up through willow and elderberry, sassafras, laurel, wild cherry, and twining clematis—a lane alined with slender wood-maples, hickory, and mountain-ash, and flanked, where it gains the open, with scattered juniper and oak, and he will come out at last on the scenes of a country’s childhood.

At right angles to the lane, a broad way cuts the length of the hill, and loses itself in a dip at each end toward the valleys and the new world. The broad way is shaded by one of two trees, the domed maple or the stately elm. At the summit of its rise stands an old church the green shutters of which blend with the caressing foliage of primeval trees. Its white walls and towering steeple dominate the scene. White, too, are the houses that gleam from behind the verdure of unbroken lawns and shrubbery—all but one, the time-stained brick of which glows blood-red against the black green of clinging ivy.

Not all these homes are alive. Here a charred beam tells the story of a fire, there a mound of trailing vines tenderly hides from view the shame of a ruin, and there again stands a tribute to the power of the new age—a house the shutters of which are closed and barred. White now only in patches, its scaling walls have taken on the dull gray of neglected pine.

[Pg 802]

For generations the houses of Red Hill have sent out men, for generations they have taken them back. Their cupboards guard trophies from the seven seas, paid for with the Yankee nutmeg, swords wrought from plowshares and christened with the blood of the oppressor, a long line of collegiate sheepskins, and last, but by no means least, recipes the faded ink and brittle paper of which sum the essence of ages of culinary wisdom.

Some of these clustered homes live the year round at full swing, but the life of some is cut down to a minimum in the winter, only to spring up afresh in summer, like the new stalk from a treasured bulb. Of such was the little kingdom of Red Hill. Upon its long, level crest it bore only three centers of life and a symbol: Maple House, the Firs, and Elm House, half hidden from the road by their distinctive trees, but as alive as the warm eyes of a veiled woman; and the church.

The supper call had sounded, and the children’s answering cries had ceased. Along the ribbon of the single road scurried an overladen donkey. Three lengths of legs bobbed at varying angles from her fat sides. Behind her hurried a nurse, aghast for the hundredth time at the donkey’s agility, never demonstrated except at the evening hour.

Half-way between Maple House and the Firs stood two bare-legged boys, working their toes into the impalpable dust of the roadway and rubbing the grit into their ankles in a final orgy of dirt before the evening wash. They called derisively to the donkey-load of children, bound to bed with the setting sun.

ON a day in early spring Alan Wayne was summoned to Red Hill. Snow still hung in the crevices of East Mountain. On the hill the ashes, after the total eclipse of winter, were meekly donning pale green. The elms of Elm House were faintly outlined in verdure, and stood like empty sherry-glasses waiting for warm wine. Farther down the road the maples stretched out bare, black limbs whose budding tufts of leaves served only to emphasize the nakedness of the trees. Only the firs, in a phalanx, scoffed at the general spring cleaning, and looked old and sullen in consequence.

The colts, driven by Alan Wayne, flashed over the brim of Red Hill to the level top. Coachman Joe’s jaw was hanging in awe, and so had hung since Mr. Alan had taken the reins. For the first time in their five years of equal life the colts had felt the cut of a whip, not in anger, but as a reproof for breaking. Coachman Joe had braced himself for the bolt, his hands itching to snatch the reins. But there had been no bolting, only a sudden settling down to business.

“Couldn’t of got here quicker if he’d let ’em bolt,” said he in subsequent description to the stable-hand and the cook. He snatched up a pail of water and poured it steadily on the ground. “Jest like that. He knew what was in the colts the minute he laid hands on ’em, and when he pulls ’em up at the barn door there wasn’t a drop left in their buckets, was there, Arthur?”

“Nary a drop,” said Arthur, stable-hand.

“And his face,” continued the coachman. “Most times Mr. Alan has no eyes to speak of, but to-day and that time Miss Nance stuck him with the hat-pin—’member, cook?—his eyes spread like a fire and eat up his face. This is a black day for the Hill. Somethin’ ’s going to happen. You mark me.”

In truth Mr. Alan Wayne had been summoned in no equivocal terms and, for all his haste, it was with nervous step he approached the house.

There was no den, no sanctuary beyond a bedroom, for any one at Maple House. No one brought work to Red Hill save such work as fitted into swinging hammocks and leafy bowers. Library opened into living-room and hall, hall into drawing-room, and drawing-room into the cool shadows and high lights of half-hidden mahogany and china closets. And here and there and everywhere doors opened out on to the Hill. It was a place where summer breezes entered freely and played, sure of a way out. Hence it was that Maple House as a whole became a tomb on that memorable spring morning when the colts first felt a master hand—a tomb where Wayne history was to be made and buried as it had been before.

Maple House sheltered a mixed brood. J. Y. Wayne, seconded by Mrs. J. Y., was the head of the family. Their daugh[Pg 803]ter, Nance Sterling, and her babies represented the direct line, but the orphans, Alan Wayne and Clematis McAlpin, were on an equal footing as children of the house. Alan was the only child of J. Y.’s dead brother. Clematis was also of Wayne blood, but so intricately removed that her exact relation to the rest of the tribe was never figured out twice to the same conclusion. Old Captain Wayne, retired from the regular army, was an uncle in a different degree to every generation of Waynes. He was the only man on Red Hill who dared call for a whisky and soda when he wanted it.

Drawn by Reginald Birch


When Alan reached the house, Mrs. J. Y. was in her garden across the road, surveying winter’s ruin, and Nance with her children had borne the captain off to the farm to see that oft-repeated wonder and always welcome forerunner of plenty, the quite new calf.

Clematis McAlpin, shy and long-limbed, just at the awkward age when woman misses being either boy or girl, had disappeared. Where, nobody knew. She might be bird’s-nesting in the swamp or crying over the “Idylls of the King” in the barn loft. Certainly she was not in the house. J. Y. Wayne had seen to that. Stern and rugged of face, he sat in the library alone and waited for Alan. He heard a distant screen-door open and slam. Steps echoed through the lonely house. Alan came and stood before him.

Alan was a man. Without being tall, he looked tall. His shoulders did not seem broad till you noticed the slimness of his hips. His neck looked too thin till you saw the strong set of his small head. In a word, he had the perfect proportion that looks frail and is strong. As he stood before his uncle, his eyes grew dull. They were slightly blood-shot in the corners, and with their dullness the clear-cut lines of his face seemed to take on a perceptible blur.

J. Y. began to speak. He spoke for a long quarter of an hour, and then summed up all he had said in a few words:

[Pg 804]

“I’ve been no uncle to you, Alan; I’ve been a father. I’ve tried to win you, but you were not to be won. I’ve tried to hold you, but it takes more than a Wayne to hold a Wayne. You have taken the bit with a vengeance. You have left such a wreckage behind you that we can trace your life back to the cradle by your failures, all the greater for your many successes. You’re the first Wayne that ever missed his college degree. I never asked what they expelled you for, and I don’t want to know. It must have been bad, bad, for the old school is lenient, and proud of men that stand as high as you stood in your classes and on the field. Money—I won’t talk of money, for you thought it was your own.”

For the first time Alan spoke.

“What do you mean, sir?” With the words his slight form straightened, his eyes blazed, there was a slight quivering of the thin nostrils, and his features came out clear and strong.

J. Y. dropped his eyes.

“I may have been wrong, Alan,” he said slowly, “but I’ve been your banker without telling you. Your father didn’t leave much. It saw you through junior year.”

Alan placed his hands on the desk between them and leaned forward.

“How much have I spent since then—in the last three years?”

J. Y. kept his eyes down.

“You know more or less, Alan. We won’t talk about that. I was trying to hold you, but to-day I give it up. I’ve got one more thing to tell you, though, and there are mighty few people that know it. The Hill’s battles have never entered the field of gossip. Seven years before you were born, my father—your grandfather—turned me out. It was from this room. He said I had started the name of Wayne on the road to shame and that I could go with it. He gave me five hundred dollars. I took it and went. I sank low with the name, but in the end I brought it back, and to-day it stands high on both sides of the water. I’m not a happy man, as you know, for all that. You see, though I brought the name back in the end, I never saw your grandfather again, and he never knew.

“Here are five hundred dollars. It’s the last money you’ll ever have from me; but whatever you do, whatever happens, remember this: Red Hill does not belong to a Lansing or to a Wayne or to an Elton. It is the eternal mother of us all. Broken or mended, Lansings and Waynes have come back to the Hill through generations. City of refuge or harbor of peace, it’s all one to the Hill. Remember that.”

He laid the crisp notes on the desk. Alan half turned toward the door, but stepped back again. His eyes and face were dull once more. He picked up the bills and slowly counted them.

“I shall return the money, sir,” he said and walked out.

He went to the stables and ordered the pony and cart for the afternoon train. As he came out he saw Nance, the children, and the captain coming slowly up Long Lane from the farm. He dodged back into the barn through the orchard and across the lawn. Mrs. J. Y. stood in the garden directing the relaying of flower-beds. Alan made a circuit. As he stepped into the road, swift steps came toward him. He wheeled, and faced Clem coming at full run. He turned his back on her and started away. The swift steps stopped so suddenly that he looked around. Clem was standing stock-still, one awkward, lanky leg half crooked as though it were still running. Her skirts were absurdly short. Her little fists, brown and scratched, pressed her sides. Her dark hair hung in a tangled mat over a thin, pointed face. Her eyes were large and shadowy. Two tears had started from them, and were crawling down soiled cheeks. She was quivering all over like a woman struck.

Alan swung around, and strode up to her. He put one arm about her thin form and drew her to him.

“Don’t cry, Clem,” he said, “don’t cry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

For one moment she clung to him and buried her face against his coat. Then she looked up and smiled through wet eyes.

“Alan, I’m so glad you’ve come!”

Alan caught her hand, and together they walked down the road to the old church. The great door was locked. Alan loosened the fastening of a shutter, sprang in through the window, and drew Clem after him. They climbed to the belfry. From the belfry one saw the whole world, with Red Hill as its center. Alan was disappointed. The Hill was still half naked, almost bleak. Maple House and[Pg 806] Elm House shone brazenly white through budding trees. They looked as though they had crawled closer to the road during the winter. The Firs, with its black border of last year’s foliage, looked funereal. Alan turned from the scene, but Clem’s little hand drew him back.

Drawn by Reginald Birch


Clematis McAlpin had happened between generations. Alan, Nance, Gerry Lansing, and their friends had been too old for her, and Nance’s children were too young. There were Elton children of about her age, but for years they had been abroad. Consequently, Clem had grown to fifteen in a sort of loneliness not uncommon with single children who can just remember the good times the half-generation before them used to have by reason of their numbers. This loneliness had given her in certain ways a precocious development while it left her subdued and shy even when among her familiars. But she was shy without fear, and her shyness itself had a flower-like sweetness that made a bold appeal.

“Isn’t it wonderful, Alan?” she said. “Yesterday it was cold and it rained and the Hill was black—black, like the Firs. To-day all the trees are fuzzy with green, and it’s warm. Yesterday was so lonely, and to-day you are here.”

Alan looked down at the child with glowing eyes.

“And, do you know, this summer Gerry Lansing and Mrs. Gerry are coming. I’ve never seen her since that day they were married. Do you think it’s all right for me to call her Mrs. Gerry, like everybody does?”

Alan considered the point gravely.

“Yes, I think that’s the best thing you could call her.”

“Perhaps when I’m really grown up I can call her Alix. I think Alix is such a pretty name, don’t you?”

Clem flashed a look at Alan, and he nodded; then, with an impulsive movement she drew close to him in the half-wheedling way of woman about to ask a favor.

“Alan, they let me ride old Dubbs when he isn’t plowing. The old donkey she’s so fat now she can hardly carry the babies. Some day when you’re not in a great hurry will you let me ride with you?”

Alan started down the ladder.

“Some day, perhaps, Clem,” he muttered. “Not this summer. Come on.” When they had left the church, he drew out his watch and started. “Run along and play, Clem.” He left her and hurried to the barn.

Joe was waiting.

“Have we time for the long road, Joe?” asked Alan as he climbed into the cart.

“Oh, yes, sir, especially if you drive, Mr. Alan.”

“I don’t want to drive. Let him go and jump in.”

The coachman gave the pony his head, climbed in, and took the reins. The cart swung out, and down the lane.

“Alan! Alan!”

Alan recognized Clem’s voice and turned. She was racing across a corner of the pasture. Her short skirts flounced madly above her ungainly legs. She tried to take the low stone wall in her stride. Her foot caught in a vine, and she pitched headlong into the weeds and grass at the roadside.

Alan leaped from the cart and picked her up, quivering, sobbing, and breathless.

“Alan,” she gasped, “you’re not going away?”

Alan half shook her as he drew her thin body close to him.

“Clem,” he said, “you mustn’t. Do you hear? You mustn’t. Do you think I want to go away?”

Clem stifled her sobs and looked up at him with a sudden gravity in her elfish face. She threw her bare arms around his neck.

“Good-by, Alan.”

He stooped and kissed her.

IF Alix Deering had not barked her pretty shins against the center-board in Gerry Lansing’s sailing-boat on West Lake, it is possible that she would in the end have married Alan Wayne instead of Gerry Lansing.

When two years before Alan’s dismissal Nance had brought Alix, an old school friend, to Red Hill for a fortnight, everybody had thought what a splendid match Alix and Alan would make. But it happened that Alan was very much taken up at the time with memory and anticipation of a certain soubrette, and before he awoke[Pg 807] to Alix’s wealth of charms the incident of the shins robbed him of opportunity.

Gerry, dressed only in a bathing-suit, his boat running free before a brisk breeze, had swerved to graze the Point, where half of Red Hill was encamped, when he caught sight of a figure lying on the outermost flat rock. He took it to be Nance.

“Jump!” he yelled as the boat neared the rock.

The figure started, scrambled to its feet, and sprang. It was Alix, still half asleep, who landed on the slightly canted floor of the boat. Her shins brought up with a thwack against the center-board, and she fell in a heap at Gerry’s feet. Her face grew white and strained; for a second she bit her lip, and then, “I must cry,” she gasped, and cried.

Gerry was big, strong, and placid. Action came slowly to him, but when it came it was sure. He threw one knee over the tiller, and gathered Alix into his arms. She lay like a hurt child, sobbing against his shoulder.

“Poor little girl,” he said, “I know how it hurts. Cry now, because in a minute it will all be over. It will, dear. Shins are like that.” And then before she could master her sobs and take in the unconscious humor of his comfort, the boat struck with a crash on Hidden Rock.

The nearest Gerry had ever come to drowning was when he had fallen asleep lying on his back in the middle of West Lake. Even with a frightened girl clinging to him, it gave him no shock to find himself in the water a quarter of a mile from shore. But with Alix it was different. She gasped, and in consequence gulped down a large mouthful of the lake. Then she broke into hysterical laughter and swallowed more. Gerry held her up, and deliberately slapped her across the mouth. In a flash anger sobered her. Her eyes blazed.

“You coward,” she whispered.

Gerry’s face was white and stern.

“Put one hand on my shoulder and kick with your feet,” he said. “I’ll tow you to shore.”

“Put me on Hidden Rock,” said Alix; “I prefer to wait for a boat.”

“It will take an hour for a boat to get here,” answered Gerry. “I’m going to tow you in. If you say another word I shall slap you again.”

In a dead silence they plowed slowly to shore, and when Gerry found bottom, he stood up, took Alix in his arms, and strode well up the bank before he set her down.

During the long swim she had had time to think, but not to forgive. She stamped her sodden feet, shook out her skirts, and then looked Gerry up and down. With his crisp, light hair; blue eyes, wide apart and well open; and six feet of well-proportioned bulk, Gerry was good to look at, but Alix’s angry eyes did not admit it. They measured him scornfully; but it was not the look that hurt him so much as the way she turned from him with a little shrug of dismissal and started along the shore for camp.

Gerry reached out and caught hold of her arm. She swung around, her face quite white.

“I see,” she said in a low voice, “you want it now.”

Gerry held her with his eyes.

“Yes,” he answered, “I want it now.”

“Why did you yell at me to jump into your horrible boat?”

“I took you for Nance.”

“You took me for Nance,” repeated Alix with a mimicry and in a tone that left no doubt as to the fact that she was in a nasty temper. “And why,” she went on, her eyes blazing and her slight figure trembling, “did you strike me—slap me across the face?”

“Because I love you,” replied Gerry, steadily.

“Oh!” gasped Alix. Her slate-gray eyes went wide open in unfeigned amazement, and suddenly the tenseness that is the essence of attack went out of her body. Instead of a self-possessed and very angry young woman, she became her natural self—a girl fluttering before her first really thrilling situation.

There was something so childlike in her sudden transition that Gerry was moved out of himself. For once he was not slow. He caught hold of her and drew her toward him.

But Alix was not to be plucked like a ripe plum. She freed herself gently but firmly, and stood facing him. Then she smiled, and with the smile she gained the upper hand. Gerry suddenly became awkward and painfully aware of his bare arms and legs. He felt exceptionally naked.

“When did it begin?” murmured Alix.

[Pg 808]

“What?” said Gerry.

“It,” said Alix. “When—how long have you loved me?”

Gerry’s face turned a deep red, but he raised his eyes steadily to hers. “It began,” he said simply, “when I took you in my arms and you laid your face against my shoulder and cried like—like a little kid.”

“Oh!” said Alix again, and blushed in her turn. She had lost the upper hand and knew it. Gerry’s arms went around her, and this time she raised her face and let him kiss her.

Drawn by Reginald Birch


“Now,” she said as they started for the camp, “I suppose I must call you Gerry.”

“Yes,” said Gerry, solemnly. “And I shall call you Little Miss Oh!”

So casual an engagement might easily have come to a casual end, but Gerry Lansing was quietly tenacious. Once moved, he stayed moved. No woman had ever stirred him before; he did not imagine that any other woman would stir him again.

To Alix, once the shock of finding herself engaged was passed, came full realization and a certain amount of level-headed calculation. She knew herself to be high-strung, nervous, and impulsive, a combination that led people to consider her lightly. On the day of the wreck Gerry had shown himself to be a man full grown. He had mastered her; she thought he could hold her.

Then came calculation. Alix was out of the West. All that money could do for her in the way of education and culture had been done, but no one knew better than she that her culture was a mere veneer in comparison with the ingrained flower of the Lansings’ family oak. Here was a man she could love, and with him he brought her the old homestead on Red Hill and an older brownstone front in New York the position of which was as unassailable socially as it was inconvenient as regards the present center of the city’s life. Alix reflected that if there was a fool to the bargain it was not she.

[Pg 809]

All Red Hill and a few Deerings gathered for the wedding, and many were the remarks passed on Gerry’s handsome bulk and Alix’s scintillating beauty; but the only saying that went down in history came from Alan Wayne when Nance, just a little troubled over the combination of Gerry and Alix, asked him what he thought of it.

Alan’s eyes narrowed, and his thin lips curved into a smile as he gave his verdict:

“Andromeda, consenting, chained to the rock.”

TO the surprise of his friends, Alan Wayne gave up debauch and found himself employment by the time the spring that saw his dismissal from Maple House had ripened into summer. He was full of preparation for his departure for Africa when a summons from old Captain Wayne reached him.

With equal horror of putting up at hotels or relatives’ houses, the captain, upon his arrival in town, had gone straight to his club, and forthwith become the sensation of the club’s windows. Old members felt young when they caught sight of him, as though they had come suddenly on a vanished landmark restored. Passing gamins gazed on his short-cropped gray hair, staring eyes, flaring collar, black string tie, and flowing broadcloth, and remarked:

“Gee! look at de old spoit in de winder!”

Alan heard the remark as he entered the club, and smiled.

“How do you do, sir?”

“Huh!” grunted the captain. “Sit down.” He ordered a drink for his guest and another for himself. He glared at the waiter. He glared at a callow youth who had come up and was looking with speculative eye at a neighboring chair. The waiter retired almost precipitously. The youth followed.

“In my time,” remarked the captain, “a club was for privacy. Now it’s a haven for bell-boys and a playground for whipper-snappers.”

“They’ve made me a member, sir.”

“Have, eh!” growled the captain, and glared at his nephew. Alan took inspection coolly, a faint smile on his thin face. The captain turned away his bulging eyes, crossed and uncrossed his legs, and finally spoke. “I was just going to say when you interrupted,” he began, “that engineering is a dirty job. Not, however,” he continued after a pause, “dirtier than most. It’s a profession, but not a career.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Alan. “They’ve got a few in the army, and they seem to be doing pretty well.”

“Huh, the army!” said the captain. He subsided, and made a new start. “What’s your appointment?”

“It doesn’t amount to an appointment. Just a job as assistant to Walton, the engineer the contractors are sending out. We’re going to put up a bridge somewhere in Africa.”

“That’s it. I knew it,” said the captain. “Going away. Want any money?”

The question came like solid shot out of a four-pounder. Alan started, colored, and smiled all at the same time.

“No, thanks, sir,” he replied; “I’ve got all I need.”

The captain hitched his chair forward, and glared out on the avenue.

“The Lansings,” he began, like a boy reciting a piece, “are devils for drink, the Waynes for women. Don’t you ever let ’em worry you about drink. Nowadays the doctors call us non-alcoholic. In my time it was just plain strong heads for wine. I say, don’t worry about drink. There’s a safety-valve in every Wayne’s gullet. But women, Alan!” The captain slued around his bulging eyes. “You look out for them. As your great-grandfather used to say, ‘To women, only perishable goods—sweets, flowers, and kisses.’ And you take it from me, kisses aren’t always the cheapest. They say God made everything down to little apples and Jersey lightning, but when He made women the devil helped.” The captain’s nervousness dropped from him as he deliberately drew out his watch and fob. “Good thing he did, too,” he added as a pleasing afterthought. He leaned back in his chair. A complacent look came over his face.

Alan got up to say good-by. The captain rose, too, and clasped the hand Alan held out.

“One more thing,” he said. “Don’t forget there’s always a Wayne to back a Wayne for good or bad.” There was a suspicion of moisture in his eye as he hurried his guest off.

[Pg 810]

Back in his rooms, Alan found letters awaiting him. He read them, and tore all up except one. It was from Clem. She wrote:

Dear Alan: Nance says you are going very far away. I am sorry. It has been raining here very much. In the hollows all the bridges are under water. I have invented a new game. It is called “steamboat.” I play it on old Dubbs. We go down into the valley, and I make him go through the water around the bridges. He puffs just like a steamboat, and when he gets out, he smokes all over. He is too fat. I hope you will come back very soon.


That evening Clem was thrown into a transport by receiving her first telegram. It read:

You must not play steamboat again; it is dangerous.


She tucked it in her bosom and rushed over to the Firs to show it to Gerry.

Gerry and Alix were spending the summer at the Firs, where Mrs. Lansing, Gerry’s widowed mother, was still nominally the hostess. They had been married two years, but people still spoke of Alix as Gerry’s bride, and, in so doing, stamped her with her own seal. To strangers they carried the air of a couple about to be married at the rational close of a long engagement. No children or thought of children had come to turn the channel of life for Alix. On Gerry, marriage sat as an added habit. It was beginning to look as though he and Alix drifted together not because they were carried by the same currents, but because they were tied.

Where duller minds would have dubbed Gerry the Ox, Alan had named him the Rock, and Alan was right. Gerry had a dignity beyond mere bulk. He had all the powers of resistance, none of articulation. Where a pin-prick would start an ox, it took an upheaval to move Gerry. An upheaval was on the way, but Gerry did not know it. It was yet afar off.

To the Lansings marriage had always been one of the regular functions of a regulated life, part of the general scheme of things. Gerry was slowly realizing that his marriage with Alix was far from a mere function, had little to do with a regular life, and was foreign to what he had always considered the general scheme of things. Alix had developed quite naturally into a social butterfly. Gerry did not picture her as chain-lightning playing on a rock, as Alan would have done; but he did in a vague way feel that bits of his impassive self were being chipped away.

Red Hill bored Alix, and she showed it. The first summer after the marriage they had spent abroad. Now Alix’s thoughts and talk turned constantly toward Europe. She even suggested a flying trip for the autumn, but Gerry refused to be dragged so far from golf and his club. He stuck doggedly to Red Hill till the leaves began to turn, and then consented to move back to town.

On their last night at the Firs, Mrs. Lansing, who was complimentary Aunt Jane to Waynes and Eltons, entertained Red Hill as a whole to dinner. With the arrival of dessert, to Alix’s surprise, Nance said, “Port all around, please, Aunt Jane.”

Lansings, Waynes, and Eltons were heavy drinkers in town, but it was a tradition, as Alix knew, that on Red Hill they dropped it—all but the old captain. It was as though, amid the scenes of their childhood, they became children, and just as a Frenchman of the old school will not light a cigarette in the presence of his father, so they would not take a drink for drink’s sake on Red Hill.

So Alix looked on interestedly as the old butler set glasses and started the port. When it had gone the round, Nance stood up, and with her hands on the table’s edge leaned toward them all. For a Wayne, she was very fair. As they looked at her, the color swept up over her bare neck. Its wave reached her temples, and seemed to stir the clustering tendrils of her hair. Her eyes were grave and bright with moisture. Her lips were tremulous.

“We drink to Alan,” she said; “to-day is Alan’s birthday.”

She sat down. They all raised their glasses. Little Clem had no wine. She put a thin hand on Gerry’s arm.

“Please, Gerry! Please!”

Gerry held down his glass. Clematis dipped in the tip of her little finger, and, as they all drank, gravely carried the drop of wine to her lips.

[Pg 811]

AS Judge Healey, gray-haired, but erect, walked up the avenue his keen glance fell on Gerry Lansing standing across the street before an art dealer’s window. Gerry’s eyes were fastened on a picture that he had long had in mind for a certain nook in the library of the town house.

It was the second anniversary of his wedding, and though it was already late in the afternoon, Gerry had not yet chosen his gift for Alix. He turned from the picture with a last long look and a shrug, and passed on to a palatial jeweler’s farther up the street.

For many years Judge Healey had been foster-father to Red Hill in general and to Gerry in particular. With almost womanly intuition he read what was in Gerry’s mind before the picture, and acting on impulse, the judge crossed the street and bought it.

While the judge was still in the picture shop, Gerry came out of the jeweler’s and started briskly for home. He had purchased a pendant of brilliants, extravagant for his purse, but yet saved to good taste by a simple originality in design.

He waited until the dinner-hour, and then slipped his gift into Alix’s hand as they walked down the stairs together. She stopped beneath the hall light.

“I can’t wait, dear; I simply can’t,” she said, and snapped open the case.

“Oh!” she gasped. “How dear! How perfectly dear! You old sweetheart!”

She threw her arms about his neck and kissed him twice; then she flew away to the drawing-room in search of Mrs. Lansing and the judge, the sole guests at the little anniversary dinner. Gerry straightened his tie and followed.

Alix’s tongue was rippling, her whole body was rippling, with excitement and pleasure. She dangled her treasure before their eyes. She laid it against her warm neck and ran to a mirror. The light in her eyes matched the light in the stones. The judge took the jewel and laid it in the palm of his strong hand. It looked in danger of being crushed.

“A beautiful thing, Gerry,” he said, “and well chosen. Some poet jeweler dreamed that twining design, and set the stones while the dew was still on the grass.”

After dinner the four gathered in the library, but they were hardly seated when Alix sprang up. Her glance had followed Gerry’s startled gaze. He was staring at the coveted picture he had been looking at in the gallery that afternoon. It hung in the niche in which his thoughts had placed it. Alix took her stand before it. She glanced inquiringly at the others. Mrs. Lansing nodded at the judge. Alix turned back to the picture, and gravity stole into her face. Then she faced the judge with a smile.

“We live,” she said, “in a Philistine age, don’t we? But I’ve never let my Philistinism drive pictures from their right place in the heart. Pictures in art galleries—” she shrugged her pretty shoulders—“I have not been trained up to them. To me they are mounted butterflies in a museum, cut flowers crowded at the florist’s. But this picture and that nook—they have waited for each other. You see the picture nestling down for a long rest, and it seems a small thing, and then it catches your eye and holds it, and you see that it is a little door that opens on a wide world. It has slipped into the room and become a part of life.”

A strange stillness followed Alix’s words. To the judge and to Gerry it was as though the picture had opened a window to her mind. Then she closed the window.

“Come, Gerry,” she said, turning, “make your bow to the judge and bark.”

Gerry was excited, though he did not show it.

“You have dressed my thoughts in words I can’t equal,” he said, and strolled out to the little veranda at the back of the house. He wanted to be alone for a moment and think over this flash of light that had followed a dark day. For the first time in a long while Alix had revealed herself. He did not begrudge the judge his triumph. He knew instinctively that coming from him instead of from the judge the picture would not have struck that intimate spark.

The next day Gerry gave his consent to Alix’s plan for a flying trip abroad, but with a reservation. The reservation was that she should leave him behind.

Judge Healey heard of this arrangement only when it was on the point of being put into effect. In fact, he was only just[Pg 812] in time at the steamer to wave good-by to Alix. Leaning over the rail, with her high color, moist red lips, and excited big eyes making play under a golden crown of hair and over a huge armful of roses, Alix presented a picture not easily forgotten.

The judge turned to Gerry.

“She ought not to be going without you, my boy.”

“Oh, it’s all right,” said Gerry, lightly. “She’s well chaperoned. It’s a big party, you know.”

But during the weeks that followed the judge saw it was not all right. Gerry had less and less time for golf and more and more for whisky and soda. The judge was troubled, and felt a sort of relief when from far away Alan Wayne cropped into his affairs and gave him something else to think about.

When Angus McDale of McDale & McDale called without appointment, the judge knew at once that he was going to hear something about Alan.

“Lucky to find you in,” puffed McDale. “It isn’t business exactly or I’d have ’phoned. I was just passing by.”

“Well, what is it?” asked the judge, offering his visitor a fresh cigar.

“It’s this. That boy, Alan Wayne—sort of protégé of yours, isn’t he?”

“Yes, in a way—yes,” said the judge, slowly, frowning. “What has Alan done now?”

“It’s like this,” said McDale. “Six months ago we sent Mr. Wayne out on contract as assistant to Walton. Walton no sooner got on the ground than he fell sick. He put Wayne in charge, and then he died. Now, this is the point. Mr. Wayne seems to have promoted himself to Walton’s pay. He had the cheek to draw his own as well. He won’t be here for weeks, but his accounts came in to-day. I want to know if you see any reason why we shouldn’t have that money back, to say the least.”

The judge’s face cleared.

“Didn’t he tell you why he drew Walton’s pay?”

“Not a word. Said he’d explain accounts when he got here, but that sort of thing takes a lot of explaining.”

“Well,” said the judge, “I can tell you. Walton’s pay went to his widow, through me. I’ve been doing some puzzling on this case already. Now will you tell me how Alan got the money without drawing on you?”

“Oh, there was plenty of money lying around. The job cost ten per cent. less than Walton’s estimate. If he’d come back, we’d have hauled him over the coals for that blunder. There was the usual reserve for work in inaccessible regions, and then the people we did the job for paid ten days’ bonus for finishing that much ahead of contract time.”

The judge mused.

“Was the job satisfactory to the people out there?” he asked.

“Yes, it was,” said McDale, bluntly; “most satisfactory. But there was a funny thing there, too. They wrote that while they did not approve of Mr. Wayne’s time-saving methods, the finished work had their absolute acceptance.”

The judge was silent for a moment.

“You want my advice?” he asked.

“Yes; not for our own sake, but for Wayne’s.”

“Well,” said the judge, “I’m going to give it to you for your sake. When you stumble across a boy that can cut ten per cent. off the working and time estimates of an old hand like Walton, you bind him to you with a long contract at any salary he wants. And just one thing more: when Alan Wayne steals a cent from you, or fifty thousand dollars, you come to me, and I’ll pay it.”

McDale’s eyes narrowed, and he puffed nervously at his cigar. He got up to take his leave.

“Judge,” he said, “your head is on right, and your heart’s in the right place, as well. I begin to see that widow business. Wayne sized us up for a hard-headed firm when it comes to paying out what we don’t have to, and we are. It wasn’t law, but he was right. Walton’s work was done just as if he’d been alive. Even a Scotchman can see that. You needn’t worry. A man that you’ll back for fifty thousand is good enough for McDale & McDale.”

IT was Alix who discovered Alan as the Elenic steamed slowly down the Solent. He was already comfortably established in his chair, with a small pile of fiction beside him.

[Pg 814]

Drawn by Reginald Birch


She paused before she approached him. Alan had always interested her. Perhaps it was because he had kept himself at a distance; but, then, he had a way of keeping his distance from almost everybody. Alix had thought of him heretofore as a modern exquisite subject to atavic fits that, in times past, had led him into more than one barbarous escapade. It was the flare of daring in these shameful outbursts that had saved him from a suspicion of effeminacy. Now, in London she had by chance heard things of him that forced her to a readjustment of her estimate. In six months Alan had turned himself into a mystery.

“Well,” she said, coming up behind him, “how are you?”

Alan turned his head slowly, and then threw off his rugs and sprang to his feet.

“The sky is clear,” he said; “where did you drop from?” His eyes measured her. She was ravishing in a fur toque and coat which had yet to receive their baptism of import duty.

“Oh,” said Alix, “my presence is humdrum. Just the usual returning from six weeks abroad. But you! You come from the haunts of wild beasts, and from all accounts you have been one.”

“Been one! From all accounts!” exclaimed Alan, a puzzled frown on his face. “Just what do you mean?”

They started walking.

“I mean that even in Africa one can’t hide from Piccadilly. In Piccadilly you are already known not as Mr. Alan Wayne, a New York social satellite, but as a whirlwind in shirt-sleeves. Ten Per Cent. Wayne, in short.” She looked at him with teasing archness. She could see that he was worried.

“Satellite is rather rough,” remarked Alan. “I never was that.”

“All bachelors are satellites in the nature of things—satellites to other men’s wives.”

“Have you a vacancy?” said Alan.

The turn of the talk put Alix in her element. She had never been an ingénue. She had been born with an intuitive defense. Finesse was her motto, and artificiality was her foil. It had never been struck from her hands. On the other hand, Alan knew that every woman who accepts battle can be reached, even if not conquered. It is the approaches to her heart that a woman must defend. Once those are passed, the citadel turns traitor.

They both knew they were embarking upon a dangerous game, but Alix had played it often. No pretty woman takes her European degree without ample occasion for practice, and Alix had been through the European mill. She threw out her daintily shod feet as she walked. She was full of life. She felt like skipping. The light of battle danced merrily in her eyes. She made no other reply.

“I met lots of people we both know,” she said at last.

“Which one of them passed on the news that I had taken to the ways of a wild beast?”

“Oh, that was the Honorable Percy. I caught only a few words. He was telling about a man known as Ten Per Cent. Wayne and the only time he’d ever seen the shirt-sleeve policy work with natives. When I learned it was Africa, I linked up with you at once and screamed, and he turned to me and said, ‘You know Mr. Wayne?’ And I said I had thought I did, but I found I only knew him tiré à quatre épingles, and wouldn’t he draw his picture over again. But just then Lady Merle signaled the retreat, and when the men came out, somebody else snaffled Collingeford before I got a chance.”

“Oh, Collingeford,” said Alan. “I remember.” He frowned and was silent.

“Alan,” said Alix after a moment, “let me warn you. I see a new tendency in you, but before it goes any further than a tendency, let me tell you that a thoughtful man is a most awful bore. When I caught sight of you I thought, ‘What a delightful little party!’ But if you’re going to be pensive, there are others—”

Alan glanced at her.

“Alix,” he said, mimicking her tone, “I see in you the makings of an altogether charming woman. I’m not speaking of the painstaking veneer,—I suppose you need that in your walk of life,—but what’s under it. There may be others, as you say,—pretty women have taken to wearing men for bangles,—but don’t you make a mistake. I’m not a bangle. I’ve just come from the unclothed world of real things. To me a man is just a man, and, what’s more, a woman is just a woman.”

“How un-American!” said Alix.

[Pg 815]

“It’s more than that,” said Alan; “it’s pre-American.”

Alix was thoughtful in her turn. Alan caught her by the arm and turned her toward the west. A yawl was just crossing the disk of the disappearing sun. Alix felt a thrill at his touch.

“It’s a sweet little picture, isn’t it?” she said. “But you mustn’t touch me, Alan. It can’t be good for us.”

“So you feel it, too,” said Alan, and took his hand from her arm.

During the voyage they were much together, not in dark corners, but waging their battle in the open—two swimmers that fought each other, forgetting to fight the tide that was bearing them out to sea. Alan was not a philanderer to snatch an unrequited kiss. To him a kiss was the seal on surrender. But to Alix the game was its own goal. As she had always played it, nobody had ever really won anything. However, it did not take her long to appreciate that in Alan she had an opponent who was constantly getting under her guard and making her feel things—things that were alarming in themselves, like the jump of one’s heart into the throat or the intoxication that goes with hot, racing blood.

Alan’s power over women was in voice and words. If he had been hideous, it would have been the same. With his tongue he carried Alix away, and gave her that sense of isolation which lulls a woman into laxity. One night as they sat side by side, a single great rug across their knees, Alan laid his hand under cover on hers. A quiver went through Alix’s body. Her closed hand stirred nervously, but she did not really draw it away.

“Alan,” she said, “I’ve told you not to. Please don’t! It’s common—this sort of thing.”

Alan tightened his grip.

“You say it’s common,” he said, “because you’ve never thought it out. Lightning was common till somebody thought it out. I sit beside you without touching you, and we are in two worlds. I grip your hand like this, and the abyss between us is closed. While I hold you, nothing can come between.”

Alix’s hand opened and settled into his. Alan went on:

“Words talk to the mind, but through my hand my body talks to yours in a language that was old before words were born. If I am full of dreams of you and a desert island, I don’t have to tell you about it, because you are with me. The things I want, you want. There are no other things in life; for while I hold you, our world is one and it is all ours. Nothing else can reach us.”

For a while they sat silent, then Alix recovered herself.

“After all,” she said, “we’re not on a desert island, but on a ship, with eyes in every corner.”

Alan leaned toward her.

“But if we were, Alix! If we were on a desert island, you and I—”

For a moment Alix looked into his burning eyes. She felt that there was fire in her own eyes too—a fire she could not altogether control. She disengaged herself and sprang up. Alan rose slowly and stood beside her. He did not look at her parted lips and hot cheeks; he had suddenly become languid.

“That’s it,” he drawled—“eyes in every corner. I wonder how many morals would stand without other people’s eyes to prop them up?”

Alix left him. She felt baffled, as though she had tried desperately to get a grip on Alan, and her hand had slipped. She felt that it was essential to get a grip on him. She had never played the losing side before, and she was troubled.

Premonition does not come to a woman without cause. Toward the end of the voyage Alix faced, wide-eyed, the revelation that the stakes of the game she and Alan had played were body and soul.

“Alan,” she said one night, with drooping head, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want to play any more. I want to quit.” She lifted tear-filled eyes to him. The foil of artificiality had been knocked from her hand. She was all woman, and defenseless.

Alan felt a trembling in all his limbs.

“I want to quit, too, Alix,” he said in his low, vibrating voice,[Pg 816] “but I’m afraid we can’t. You see, I’m beaten, too. While I was just in love with your body, we were safe enough; but now I’m in love with you. It’s the kind of love a man can pray for in vain. No head in it; nothing but heart. Honor and dishonor become mere names. Nothing matters to me but you.”

Drawn by Reginald Birch


Tears crawled slowly down Alix’s cheeks. She stood with her elbows on the rail and faced the ocean, so no one might see. Her hands were locked. In her mind her own thoughts were running. Somehow she could understand Alan without listening. If only Gerry had done this thing to her, she was thinking, the pitiless, wracking misery would have been joy at white heat. She was unmasked at last; but Gerry had not unmasked her. Not once since the day of the wreck and their engagement had Gerry unmasked himself.

Alan was standing with his side to the rail, his eyes leaving her face only to keep track of the promenaders, so that no officious friend could take her by surprise. He went on talking.

“Our judgment is calling to us to quit, but it is calling from days ago,” he said. “We wouldn’t listen then, and it’s only the echo we hear now. We can try to quit if you like; but when I am alone, I shall call for you, and when you are alone, you will call for me. We shall always be alone except when we are near each other. We can’t break the tension, Alix. It will break us in the end.”

The slow tears were still crawling down Alix’s cheeks. In all her life she had never suffered so before. She felt that each tear paid the price of all her levity.

“Alan,” she said with a quick glance at him, “did you know when we began that it was going to be like this?”

“No,” he answered. “I have trifled with many women, and I was ready to trifle with you. No one had ever driven you, and I wanted to drive you. I thought I had divorced passion and love. I thought perhaps you had, too. But love is here. I am not driving you. We are being driven.”

ALIX and Alan were in the grip of a fever that is hard to break save through satiety and ruin. They were still held apart by generations of sound tradition, but against this bulwark the full flood of modern life,[Pg 817] as they lived it, was directed. In Alan there was a counter-strain, a tradition of passion that predisposed him to accept the easy tenets of the growing sensual cult. As he found it more and more difficult to turn his thoughts away from Alix, he strove to regain the clear-headedness that only a year before had held him back from definite moral surrender.

With her things had not gone so far. From the security of the untempted she had watched her chosen world play with fire, and only now, when temptation assailed her, did she realize the weakness that lies in every woman once her outposts have fallen and her bare heart becomes engaged in the battle.

One early morning Nance sent for Alan. He found her alone. She had been crying. He came to her where she stood by the fire, and she turned and put her arms around his neck. She tried to smile, but her lips twitched.

“Alan,” she said, “I want you to go away.”

Alan was touched. He caught her wrists and took her arms from about his neck.

“You mustn’t do that sort of thing to me, Nance. I’m not fit for it.” He made her sit down on a great sofa before the fire and sat down beside her. “You remind me to-day of the most beautiful thing I ever heard said of you—by a spiteful friend.”

“What was it?” said Nance, turning her troubled eyes to him.

“She said, ‘She is only beautiful in her own home.’ I never understood it before. It’s a great thing to be beautiful in one’s own home.”

“Oh, Alan,” said Nance, catching his hand and holding it against her breast, “it is a great thing. It’s the greatest thing in life. That’s why I sent for you—because you are wrecking forever your chance of being beautiful in your own home. And worse than that, you are wrecking Alix’s chance. Of course you are blind. Of course you are mad. I understand, Alan, but I want to hold you close to my heart until you see—until the fever is cooled. You and Alix cannot do this thing. It isn’t as though her people and ours were of the froth of the nation. You and she started life with nothing but Puritan to build on. You may have built just play-houses of sand, but deep down the old rock foundation must endure. You must take your stand on that.”

Her eyes had been fixed in the fire, but now she turned them to his face. Alan sat with head hanging forward, his gaze and thoughts far beyond the confines of the room. Then he shook himself and got up to go.

“I wish we could, Nance,” he said gravely, and then added half to himself, half to her, “I’ll try.”

For some days Alan had been prepared to go away and take Alix with him, should she consent. Upon his arrival he had had an interview with McDale & McDale, in the course of which that firm opened its eyes and its pocket wider than it ever had before.

“You are out for money, Mr. Wayne,” had been the feeble remonstrance of the senior member.

“Just money,” replied Alan. “If you owed as much as I do, you would be out for it, too. Of course you’re not. What do you want? You’ve got my guaranty—ten per cent. under office estimates for work and time.”

When Alan left McDale & McDale’s offices he had contracted more or less on his own terms, and McDale, Jr., said to the senior:

“He’s only twenty-six—a boy. How did he beat us?”

“By beating Walton’s record first,” replied McDale, Sr. “And how he did that, time will show.”

As he walked slowly back from Nance’s, Alan was thinking that, after all, there was no reason why he should not cut and run—no reason except Alix.

He reached his rooms. As he crossed the threshold a premonition seized him. He felt as though some one were there. He glanced hurriedly about. The rooms were still in the disorder in which he had left them, and they were empty. Then he saw that he had stepped on a note that had been dropped through the letter-slip. He picked it up. A thrill went through him as he recognized Alix’s handwriting. There was no stamp. It must have been delivered by hand. He tore it open and read: “You said that a moment’s notice was all you asked. I will take the Montreal express with you to-day.”

Alan’s blood turned to liquid fire. The[Pg 818] note conjured before him a vision of Alix. He crushed it, and held it to his lips and laughed, not jeeringly, but in pure, uncontrolled excitement.

IT was not a coincidence that Gerry had sought out Alix at the very hour that Nance was summoning Alan. Gerry and Nance were driven by the same forewarning of catastrophe. Gerry had felt it first, but he had been slow to believe, slower to act. He had no precedent for this sort of thing. His whole being was in revolt against the situation in which he found himself. It was after a sleepless night, a most unheard of thing with him, that he decided he could let things go no longer. He went to Alix’s room, knocked, and entered.

Alix was up, though the hour was early for her. Fresh from her bath, she sat in a sheen of blue dressing-gown before the mirror doing her own hair. Gerry glanced about him and into the bath-room, looking for the maid.

“Good morning,” said Alix. “She’s not here. Did you want to see her?”

Gerry winced at the levity. He wondered how Alix could play the game she was playing and be gay. Alix finished doing her hair.

“There,” she said with a final pat, and turned to face Gerry.

He was standing beside an open window. He could feel the cold air on his hands. He felt like putting his head out into it. His head was hot.

“Alix,” he said suddenly without looking at her, “I want you to drop Alan.”

“But I don’t want to drop Alan,” replied Alix, lightly.

Gerry whirled around at her tone. His nostrils were quivering. To his amazement, his hands fairly itched to clutch her beautiful throat. He could hardly control his voice.

“Stop playing, Alix,” he gulped. “There’s never been a divorcée among the Lansings nor a wife-beater, and one is as near this room as the other right now.”

Gerry regretted the words as soon as he had said them, but Alix was not angry. She looked at him through narrowed eyes. She speculated on the sensation of being once again roughly handled by this rock of a man. Only once before had she seen Gerry angry and the sight had fascinated her then, as it did now. There was something tremendous and impressive in his anger and struggle for control—a great torrent held back by a great strong dam. She almost wished it would break through. She could almost find it in her to throw herself on the flood and let it carry her whither it would. She said nothing.

Gerry bit his lips and turned from her.

“And Alan, of all men!” he went on. At the words the current of her thoughts was changed. She found herself suddenly on the defensive. “Do you think you are the first woman he has played with and betrayed?” Gerry’s lip was curved to a sneer. “A philanderer, a man who surrounds himself with tarnished reputations.”

A dull glow came into Alix’s cheeks.

“Philanderers are of many breeds,” she said. “There are those who have the wit to philander with woman, and those who can rise only to a whisky or a golf-club. Whatever else Alan may be, he is not a time-server.”

Once aroused, Alix had taken up the gantlet with no uncertain hand. Her first words carried the war into the enemy’s camp, and they were barbed.

“What do you mean?” said Gerry, dully. He had not anticipated a defense.

“I mean what you might have deduced with an effort. What are you but a philanderer in little things where Alan is in great? What have you ever done to hold me or any other woman? I respected you once for what you were going to be. That has died. Did you think I was going to make you into a man?”

Gerry stood, breathing hard, a great despondency in his heart. Alix went on pitilessly:

[Pg 819]

“What have you become? A monumental time-server on the world, and you are surprised that a worker reaches the prize that you can not attain! ‘All things come to him who waits.’ That’s a trite saying; but how about this? There are lots of things that come to him who only waits that he could do without. The trouble with you is that you have built your life altogether on traditions. It is a tradition that your women are faithful; so you need not exert yourself to holding yours. It is a tradition that you can do no wrong; so you need not exert yourself to doing anything at all. You are playing with ghosts, Gerry. Your party was over a generation ago.”

Alix had calmed down. There was still time for Gerry to choke her to good effect. The hour could yet be his. But he did not know it. Smarting under the lash of Alix’s tongue, he made a final and disastrous false step.

“You try to humiliate me by placing me back to back with Alan?” he said, with his new-born sneer. Alix appraised it with calm eyes, and found it rather attractive. “Well, let me tell you that Alan is so small a man that if I dropped out of the world to-day, he’d sail for Africa to-morrow and think for the rest of his life of his escape from you as a close shave.”

Alix sprang to her feet. She was trembling. Gerry felt a throb of exultation. It was his turn to wound.

“What do you mean?” said Alix, very quietly; but it was the quiet of suppressed passion at white heat.

“I mean that Alan is the kind of man who finds other men’s wives an economy. He would take everything you have that’s worth taking, but not you.”

Alix’s eyes blazed at him from her white face. “Please go away,” she said. He started to speak. “Please go away,” she repeated. Her lips were quivering, and her face twitched in a way that was terrifying to Gerry. He hurried out, repeating to himself over and over: “You have made Alix cry. You have made Alix cry.”

Alix toyed with the silver on her dressing-table until he had gone, and then she swept across the room to her little writing-desk and wrote the note that Alan had found half an hour later in his rooms.

GERRY stood in the hall outside Alix’s room for a moment, hoping to hear a sob, a cry, anything for an excuse to go back. Instead he heard the scratch of a pen; but he was too troubled to deduce anything from that. He went slowly down the stairs and out into the street. The biting winter air braced him. He started to walk rapidly. At the end of an hour he found himself standing on a deserted pier. He took off his hat and let the wind cool his head.

“I have been a brute,” he said to himself. “I have made a woman cry—Alix!” He turned and walked slowly back to the avenue and into his club, but he still felt uneasy. A waiter brought a whisky and soda and put it at his elbow. Gerry turned on him.

“Who told you to bring that?” Then he felt ashamed of his petulance. “It’s all right, George,” he said more genially than he had spoken for many a day; “but I don’t want it. Take it away.”

He sat for a long time, and at last came to a resolution. Alix loved roses. He would send her enough to bank her room, and he would follow them home. He went up the avenue to his florist’s, and stood outside trying to decide whether it should be one mass of blood red or a color scheme. Suddenly the plate glass caught a reflection and threw it in his face. Gerry turned. A four-wheeler was passing. He could not see the occupant, but on top was a large, familiar trunk marked with a yellow girdle. On the trunk was a familiar label. He stared at it, and the label stared back at him, and finally danced before his mazed eyes as the cab disappeared into the traffic.

Gerry stood for a long while, stunned. He saw a lady bow to him from a carriage, and afterward he remembered that he had not bowed back. Somebody ran into him. He looked back at the flowers massed in the window, remembered that he did not need them now, and drew slowly away. Two men hailed him from the other side of the street. Gerry braced himself, nodded to them, and hailed a passing hansom. From the direction Alix’s cab had taken he knew the station for which she was bound. As he arrived on the platform they were giving the last call for the Montreal express. He caught sight of Alix hurrying through the gates, and followed. As she reached the first Pullman, somebody rapped on the window of the drawing-room. Gerry saw Alan’s face pressed against the pane. He watched Alix stop, turn, and climb the steps of the car, and then he wheeled and hurried from the station.

Where could he go? Not to his club and Alan’s. His face would betray the scandal with which the club would be buzzing to-morrow. Not to his big, comfortable house. It would be too gloomy. Even in disaccord, Alix had imparted to its somber oak and deep shadows the glow of[Pg 820] buoyant life. When she was there, one felt as though there were flowers in the house. Gerry was seized with a great desire to hide from his world, his mother, himself. He pictured the scare-heads in the papers. That the name of Lansing should be found in that galley! It was too much. He could not face it.

He bought a morning paper, full of shipping news, and, getting into a taxi, gave the address of his bank. On the way he studied the sailings’ column. He found what he wanted—the Gunter, due to sail that afternoon for Brazil, Pernambuco the first stop.

At the bank Gerry drew out the balance of his current account. It amounted to something over two thousand dollars. He took most of it in Bank of England notes. Then he started home to pack, but before he reached the house a vision of the servants, flurried after helping their mistress off, commiserating him to one another, pitying him to his face perhaps, or, in the case of the old butler, suppressing a great emotion, was too much for him. He drove instead to a big department store, and in an hour had bought a complete outfit. He lunched at one of the quiet restaurants that divide down-town from up-town.

He had avoided buying a ticket. As the Gunter warped out, the purser came to him.

“I understand you have no ticket.”

“No,” said Gerry, drawing a roll of bills. “How much is the passage to Pernambuco?”

The purser fidgeted.

“This is irregular, sir,” he said.

“Is it?” said Gerry, indifferently.

“I have no ticket-forms,” said the purser, weakening.

“I don’t want a ticket,” said Gerry. “I want a good room and three square meals a day.”

Long, quiet days on a quiet sea are a master sedative to a troubled mind. Gerry had a great deal to think through. He sat by the hour with hands loosely clasped, his eyes far out on the ocean, tracing the course of his married life, and measuring the grounds for Alix’s arraignment. Gerry was just and generous to others’ faults, but not to his own. He had forgotten the sting of Alix’s words, and, to his growing amazement, saw in himself their justification. A time-server he certainly had been.

The landfall of Pernambuco awoke him from reveries and introspection. He did not look upon this palm-strewn coast as a land of new beginnings; he sought merely a Lethean shore.

The ship crawled in from an oily sea to the long strip of harbor behind the reef. Above, the sun blazed from a bowl of unbroken blue; on land, the multicolored houses spread like a rainbow under a dark cloud of brown-tiled roofs. Beyond the trees was a line of high, stuccoed houses, each painted a different color, all weather-stained, and some with rusted balconies that threatened to topple on to the passer-by. One bore the legend, “Hôtel d’Europe.” There Gerry installed himself.

BETWEEN the hour of writing her note to Alan and the moment when she stepped on the train Alix had had no time to think. She was still driven by the impulse of anger that Gerry’s words had aroused. She did not reflect that the wound was only to her pride.

Alan held open the door of the drawing-room. She passed in, and he closed it. She did not feel as though she were in a train. On the little table stood a vase. It held a single perfect rose. Under the vase was a curious doily, strayed from Alan’s collection of exotic things. A cushion lay tossed on the green sofa, not a new cushion, but one that had been broken in to comforting. Alix took in every detail of the arrangement of the tiny room with her first breath. What forethought, what a note of rest with which to meet a troubled and hurried heart! But how insidious to frame an ignoble flight in such a homelike setting! She felt a slight revolt at the travesty.

Alan was standing with blazing eyes and working face, like an eager hound in leash. Alix threw back her veil and looked at him. With a quick stride forward he caught her to him, and kissed her mouth until she gasped for breath. With a flash she remembered his own words, “If ever I kiss you, I shall bring your soul out between your lips.” To Alix’s amazement, she did not feel an answering fire. Her body was being lashed with a living flame, and her body was cold. In that instant this seemed a terrible thing. She[Pg 821] had sold her birthright for a price, and the price was turning to dead leaves. She made an effort to kiss Alan in return, but with the effort shame came over her. There was so much in Alan’s kiss! The kiss had brought her soul out between her lips. Her soul stood naked before her, and one’s naked soul is an ugly thing. The kiss disrobed her, too, and from that last bourn of shame Alix suddenly revolted.

Gasping, she pushed Alan from her. Their eyes met. His were burning, hers were frightened. She moved slowly backward to the door, and with her hand behind her opened the latch. Alan did not move. He knew that if he could not hold her with his eyes, he could not hold her at all. The train started. Alix passed through the door and rushed to the platform. The porter was about to drop the trap on the steps. Alix slipped by him. With all her force she pushed open the door and jumped. The train was moving very slowly, but Alix reeled, and would have fallen had it not been for a passing baggageman. He caught her, and still in his arms, Alix looked back. Alan’s white face was at the window. He looked steadily at her.

“Ye almost wint with him, miss,” said the baggageman, with a full brogue and a twinkling eye.

Alix was tired and hungry when she got back home, but excitement kept her up. She felt that she stood on the threshold of new effort and a new life. After all, she thought, it was she who had made her dear old Gerry into a time-server. She could have made him into anything else if she had tried. She longed to tell him so. Perhaps he would catch her and crush her in his arms as Alan had done. She laughed at herself for wanting him to. She rang for the butler.

“Where’s your master, John?”

“I don’t know, ma’am. Mr. Gerry hasn’t come back since he went out this morning.” To John, Mr. Lansing was a person who had been dead for some time. His present overlords were Mr. and Mrs. Gerry and Mrs. Lansing when she was in town.

“Telephone to the club, and if he is there, tell him I want to see him,” said Alix, and turned to her welcome tea. The sandwiches seemed unusually small to her ravenous appetite.

Gerry was not at the club. Alix dressed resplendently for dinner. Never had she dressed for any other man with the care that she dressed for Gerry that night. But Gerry did not come. At half-past nine Alix ordered the table cleared.

“I’ll not dine to-night,” she said to John. “When your master comes, show him in here.” She sat on in the library, listening for Gerry’s step in the hall.

From time to time John came into the room to replenish the fire. On one of these occasions Alix told him he might go to bed; but an hour later he returned and stood in the door. Alix looked very small, curled up in a great leathern chair by the fire.

“It’s after one o’clock, ma’am,” said John. “Mr. Gerry won’t be coming in to-night.” Alix made no answer. John held his ground. “It’s time for you to go to bed, ma’am. Shall I call the maid?”

It was a long time since John had taken any apparent interest in his mistress. Alix had avoided him. She had felt that the old servant disapproved of her. More than once she had thought of discharging him, but he had never given her grounds that would justify her before Gerry. Now he was ordering her to bed, and instead of being angry, she was soothed. She wondered how she could ever have thought of discharging him. He seemed strong and restful, more like part of the old house than a servant. Alix got up.

“No, don’t call the maid. I won’t need her,” she said. Then she added, “Good night, John,” as she passed out.

John held wide the door, and bowed with a deference that was a touch more sincere than usual. “Good night,” he answered, as though he meant it.

Alix was exhausted, but it was long before she fell asleep. She cried softly. She wanted to be comforted. She had dressed so beautifully, she had been so beautiful, and Gerry had not come home. As she cried, her disappointment grew into a great trouble.

She awoke early from a feverish sleep. Immediately a sense of weight assailed her. She rang, and learned that Gerry had not yet come home. Then his words of yesterday suddenly came to her, “If I dropped out of the world to-day—” Alix stared wide-eyed at the ceiling. Why had she remembered those words? She lay for a[Pg 822] long time, thinking. Her breakfast was brought to her, but she did not touch it. It was almost noon in the cloudy Sunday morning when she roused herself from apathy. She sprang from the bed. She summoned Judge Healey with a note and Mrs. Lansing with a telegram. The telegram was carefully worded:

Please come and stay for a while. Gerry is away.

The judge found Alix radiating the freshness of a beautiful woman careful of her person; but it was the freshness of a pale flower. Alix was grave, and her gravity had a sweetness that made the judge’s heart bound. He felt an awakening in her that he had long watched for. She told him all the story of the day before in a steady monotone that omitted nothing and gave the facts only their own weight.

When she had finished, the judge patted her hand. “You would make a splendid witness, my dear,” he said. “Now, what you want is for me to find Gerry and bring him back, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” said Alix, “if you can.”

“Nonsense! Of course I can. Men don’t drop out of the world so easily nowadays. But I still want to know a thing or two. Are you sure Gerry knew nothing of your—er—excursion to the station?”

Alix shook her head.

“From the time he left my room and the house he has not been back.”

“Has he been to the club?”

Alix colored faintly. “I see,” said the judge, quickly. “I’ll ask there. I’ll go now.” He went off, and all that day he sought in vain for a trace of Gerry. He went to all his haunts in the city; he had telephoned to those outside. At night he returned to Alix, but it was Mrs. Lansing who received him in the library.

The judge was tired, and his buoyancy had deserted him. He told her of his failure. Mrs. Lansing was thoughtful, but not greatly troubled.

“Gerry,” she said, “has a level head. He may have gone away, but that is all. He can take care of himself.” She went to tell Alix that there was no news. When she came back, the judge turned to her.

“Well,” he asked, “What did she say?”

“Nothing, except that she wanted to know if you had tried the bank.”

The judge struck his fist into his left hand. “Never thought of it,” he said. “That child has a head!” He went to the telephone. From the president of the bank he traced the manager, from the manager, the cashier. Yes, Gerry had been at the bank on Saturday. The cashier remembered it because Mr. Lansing had drawn a certain account in full. He would not say how much.

“There,” said the judge, with a sigh of relief, “that’s something. It takes a steady nerve to draw a bank-account in full. You must take the news up-stairs. I’m off. I’ll follow up the clue to-morrow.”

There was a new look of content mingled with the worry in Mrs. Lansing’s face that made the judge say, as he held out his hand in farewell, “Things better?”

Mrs. Lansing understood him.

“Yes,” she answered, and added, “we have been crying together.”

There had been strength in Mrs. Lansing’s calm. She had been waiting, and now the waiting was over. Alix had given herself, tearful and almost wordless, into arms that were more than ready, and had then poured out her heart in a broken tale that would have confounded any court of justice, but which between women was clearer than logic.

At the end Mrs. Lansing said nothing. Instead, she petted Alix, carried her off to bed, and kept her there for three days. In her waking hours Alix added spasmodic bits to her confession—sage reflections after the event, dreamy “I wonders” that speculated in the past and in the measure of her emotions.

On the fourth day Alix got up, but on the fifth she stayed in bed. Mrs. Lansing found her pale and frightened. She had been crying.

“Alix,” she whispered, kneeling beside the bed, “what is it?”

Alix told her amid sobs.

“Oh, my dear,” said Mrs. Lansing, throwing her arms about her, “don’t cry. Don’t worry. The strength will come with the need. In the end you’ll be glad. So will Gerry. So will all of us.”

“It isn’t that,” said Alix, faintly.[Pg 823] “Oh, it isn’t that! I’m just thinking and thinking how terrible it would have been if I had run away—really run away! I keep imagining how awful it would have been. It is a nightmare.”

“Call it a nightmare if you like, sweetheart, but just remember that you are awake.”

Drawn by Reginald Birch


“Yes,” said Alix, softly, “I am awake now. Mother, I want to go to Red Hill. I know it’s early, but I want to go now. I want to watch the Hill come to life and dress up for the summer. It will amuse me. It’s long since I have watched for the first buds and the first swallows. I won’t mind the melting snow and the mud. It’s so long since I’ve seen clean country mud. I want to smell it.”

“You don’t know how bleak the Hill can be before spring,” objected Mrs. Lansing.

“Will it be any bleaker with me there than when you were alone?” asked Alix.

Mrs. Lansing came over to her and kissed her.

“No, dear,” she said.

IN the squalid Hôtel d’Europe Gerry occupied a large room that overlooked the quay. Even if there had been a better hotel in town, he would not have moved. Here he looked out on a scene of never-ceasing movement and color. The setting changed with the varying light. The false rains of the midsummer season came up in black horses of cloud, driven by a furious wind. They passed with a whirl and a veritable clatter of heavy drops hurled against the earth in a splendid volley. The long strip of the quay emptied at the first wet shot. The tatterdemalion crowd invaded every doorway and nook of shelter[Pg 824] with screams and laughter. Then came the sun again, and back came the throng to the fresh-washed quay.

Gerry missed his club, but for that he found a substitute. Cluny’s, next door to the hotel, was a strange hall of convivial pleasure. A massive square door, the masonry of which centuries had hardened and blackened to stone, gave on to a long hallway that ended in a wider dungeon. Here stood a bar and half a dozen teak tables. The floor was of stone flags.

The clientele had the cleavage of oil and water. One part stood to their drink at the bar, had it, and went out. The other sat to their glasses at the tables, and sat late. Among these was a pale, thin man of about Gerry’s age, with a mouth slightly twisted to humor until toward evening drink loosened it to mere weakness. One afternoon he nodded to Gerry, and Gerry left the bar for the tables. After that they sat together. The man was an American—the American consul. Gerry liked him, pitied him, and forgot to pity himself. One night he invited the consul to his room. They sat in the balcony, a bottle of whisky and a siphon between them. Gerry started to put his glass on the rail.

“Don’t do it,” said the consul, with his twisted smile; “it might carry away.” He went on more seriously. “It’s rotten. The whole place is rotten. There’s a blight on the men and the women and on the children. God!”

Gerry put down his glass untouched. “Why don’t you go home?”

The consul took a long drink, eyed the empty glass, and spoke into it.

“I used to think just like that. ’Why don’t you go home?’ I used to think I could go home, that it was just a question of buying a ticket and climbing aboard a liner. But—” he broke off, and glanced at Gerry as he refilled his glass.

“But what?” said Gerry.

“Well,” said the consul, “I’m just drunk enough to tell you. I’m only proud in the mornings before I’m thoroughly waked up. I used to drive a pen for a Western daily at twenty-five dollars a week. It was good pay, and I married on it. I and the girl lived like the corn-fed hogs of our native State. Life was one sunshine, and when the baby came, we joined hands, and said good-by to sorrow forever. Then her people got busy and landed me this job. The pay was three thousand, and if you want to see how big three thousand dollars a year can look, just go and stand behind any old kind of plow in Kansas. I jumped at it. We sold out our little outfit and raked up just enough to see me out here. The girl and the kid went to visit her people. I was to save up out of the first quarter’s pay and send for them. That was three years ago.”

“Do you see that steamer out there?” said Gerry. “Well, she’s bound for home. I want to give you the chance that comes after the last chance. I want you to let me send you home.”

The consul looked around. His pendulous lip twisted into a smile.

“So you took all that talk for the preamble to a touch!” he said.

“No, I didn’t,” said Gerry, indignantly.

“Well, well, never mind,” said the consul. “There’s nothing left to go back to, and there’s nothing left to go back. That little account in the bank, and what it may do for some poor devil, is the only monument I’ll ever build.”

The whisky-bottle was almost empty, but Gerry’s glass was still untouched. The consul pointed at it.

“You can still leave it alone? I don’t know where you come from, or what you’re loafing in this haven of time-servers for, but I’m going to give you a bit of advice: you take that steamer yourself.”

Gerry colored.

“I can’t,” he stammered. “There’s nothing left for me either to go home to.” He said nothing more. The consul had suddenly turned drowsy.

ALMOST a month had passed since Gerry landed on his Lethean shore, and it had served him well. But that night on the balcony woke him up. The world seemed to have time-servers in small regard. First Alix and now this consul chap. Gerry began to think of his mother. He strolled over to the cable station. The offices were undergoing repairs. The ground floor was unfurnished save for a table and one chair. In the chair sat a chocolate-colored employee with a long bamboo on the floor beside him. Gerry’s curiosity was aroused[Pg 825]. He went in and wrote his message to his mother, just a few words telling her he was all right. The chocolate gentleman folded the message, slipped it into the split end of the bamboo, and stuck it up through a hole in the ceiling to the floor above.

Loaned by George Inness, Jr. Color-Tone, engraved for THE CENTURY by H. Davidson




Gerry went out and rambled over the city. Night came on. He was restless. He wished he had not sent the message. It was forming itself into a link. He dined badly at a restaurant, and then wandered back to the quay. Arriving steamers were posted on a blackboard under a street lamp. The mail from New York was due to-morrow. The consul’s papers would be full of the latest New York society scandal—his scandal.

A long, raking craft was taking on its meager provisions. Gerry engaged its captain in a pantomime parley. The boat was bound for Penedo to take on cotton. Gerry decided to go to Penedo. Two of the crew went back with him to get his baggage. The hotel was closed. Gerry was the only guest, and he had his key. He had paid his weekly bill that day, so there was no need to wake any one up. In half an hour he and his belongings were stowed on the deck of the Josephina, and she was drifting slowly down to the bar.

Four days later they were off the mouth of the San Francisco. They doubled in, and tacked their way up to Penedo. There was no life in Penedo. It was desolate and lonely compared with the Hôtel d’Europe and the lively quay; so when a funny little stern-wheeler started up the river on its weekly trip to Piranhas, Gerry went with it.

Gerry chartered a ponderous canoe. At first he had a man to paddle him up and down and sometimes across the wide half-mile of water; but before long he learned to handle the thing himself. The heavy work soon trimmed his splendid muscles into shape. He supplied the hostelry with a variety of fish.

One morning he woke earlier than usual. The wave of life was running high in his veins. He sprang up and, still in his pajamas, hurried out for his morning swim. The break of day was gloriously chilly. A cool breeze, hurrying up from sea, was steadily banking up the mist that hung over the river. Gerry sprang into his canoe and pushed off. He drove its heavy length up-stream, not in the teeth of the current, for no man could do that, but skirting the shore, seizing on the help of every eddy, and keeping an eye out for the green, swirling mound that meant a pinnacle of rock just short of the surface. He went farther up the river than ever before. His muscles were keyed to the struggle. He passed the last jutting bend that the best boatmen on the river could master, and found himself in a bay protected by a spit of sand, rock-tipped and foam-tossed where it reached the river’s channel.

Gerry ran the canoe upon the shore and stepped on to the spit of sand. In that moment just to live was enough. Then the sun broke out, and helped the wind clear the last bank of mist from the river. As he looked, a sharp cry broke on his astonished ears.

Almost at the end of the tongue of sand stood a girl. Her hair was blowing about her slim shoulders. Over one of them she gazed, startled, at Gerry. He drew back, mumbling apologies that she could not have understood even if she could have heard them. Then she plunged with a clean, long dive into the river. But before she plunged she laughed. Gerry heard the laugh. With an answering call he threw himself into the water, and swam as he never swam before.

(To be continued)

End of HOME, Part I
[Pg 826]


THE National Progressive Party was born in Chicago, August 5, 1912, at a convention which nominated Roosevelt for the presidency. Since that time, though defeated in the national election, it has figured more and more in the legislative and political activities of State and Nation. In fact progressivism is the one altogether incalculable element in the political situation of this country at a time when all men are peering, puzzled and anxious, into the mists of the future. At THE CENTURY’S request Mr. Roosevelt prepared the following paper for the thoughtful attention of the people of this land. It is crowded with suggestion.—THE EDITOR.

UNDAMENTALLY the reason for the existence of the Progressive party is found in two facts: first, the absence of real distinctions between the old parties which correspond to those parties and, second, the determined refusal of the men in control of both parties to use the party organizations and their control of the Government for the purpose of dealing with the problems really vital to our people.

As to the first fact, it is hardly necessary to point out that the two old parties to-day no longer deal in any real sense with the issues of fifty and sixty years ago. At that time there was a very genuine division-line between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans of those years stood for a combination of all that was best in the political philosophies of both Jefferson and Hamilton; and under Lincoln they represented the extreme democratic movement which was headed by Jefferson and also that insistence upon national union and governmental efficiency which were Hamilton’s great contributions to our political life in the formative period of the republic. The Republicanism of that day was something real and vital, and the Republican party under Lincoln was the radical party of the country, abhorred and distrusted by the reactionaries and ultraconservatives, especially in the great financial centers, precisely as is now true of the Progressives. The Democratic party of that day, on the contrary, was no longer the party either of Jefferson or of Jackson, whose points of unlikeness were at least as striking as their points of likeness, and in the world of politics stood for slavery and for such development of the extreme particularistic doctrine euphoniously known as “States’ rights,” as to mean, when carried to its logical extreme, total paralysis of governmental functions and ultimately disunion.

The outbreak of the Civil War and its successful conclusion forced the majority of the conservative class of the North into[Pg 827] the Republican ranks; for when national dissolution is an issue, or even when any serious disaster is threatened, all other issues sink out of sight when compared with the vital need of sustaining the National Government. There is no possibility of even approximating to social and industrial justice if the National Government shows itself impotent to deal with malice domestic and foreign levy.

On the other hand, after the Civil War, the Democratic party found its position one of mere negation or mere antagonism to the Republican party. The Democrats in the Northern States had very different principles in the East and the West, and both in the East and the West alike they had nothing in common with the Democrats of the South save the bond of hatred to Republicanism.

UNDER such conditions it was inevitable that after the issues raised by the war were settled, and as year by year they tended more and more to become nebulous memories, the new issues which arose should divide the parties each within itself rather than serve as a basis for true party division. The bonds were those of name, custom, and tradition rather than of principle. Each party could pride itself on fervent fixity of opinion as regards the issues that were dead, but each party showed complete indecision of purpose in dealing with the problems that were living. A party which alternately nominated Mr. Bryan and Mr. Parker for President, and a party wherein Messrs. Penrose, La Follette, and Smoot stand as the three brothers of leadership, can by no possibility supply the need of this country for efficient and coherent governmental action as regards the really vital questions of the day. Each party contains within its leadership and membership men who are hopelessly sundered by whatever convictions they really hold and who act together simply for reasons of personal or party expediency. It is impossible to secure the highest service for the people from any party which, like the Democracy, is wedded to States’ rights, as against those peoples’ rights which can be obtained only by the exercise of the full power of the National Government. On the other hand it is utterly hopeless to expect any sincerity of devotion to any principle of concern to the people as a whole from a party the machinery of which is usurped and held by the powers that prey, in the political and business world; and this has been the case with the Republican party since the bosses in June, 1912, at Chicago stole from the rank and file their right to make their own platform and nominate their own candidates.

So much for the incongruous jumble of conflicting principles and policies within each party and the lack of real points of difference between them. Their showing on this point is so bad that by sheer force of habit our people have grown to accept as a matter of course and without surprise the situations to which it gives rise. For instance, in New York State there was very little genuine surprise among the people as a whole when in the legislature the Republican adherents of the Republican boss and the Democratic adherents of the Democratic boss, after deliberate caucus and conference, repudiated their preëlection pledges as to primary legislation, and joined with hearty good will to defeat the measure which both had promised to support. It would be difficult to imagine a better instance of the way in which our present party conditions insure the absolute powerlessness of the people when faced by a bipartizan combine of the two boss-ridden party machines, whose hostility each to the other is only nominal compared to the hostility of both to the people at large.

THE second fundamental fact of the situation partly depends upon this first fact. Where neither party ventures to have any real convictions upon the vital issues of the day it is normally impossible to use either as an instrument for meeting these vital issues. Most of these issues, at least in their present form, have become such during the lifetime of the present generation. There are, of course, issues of which this is not true. The need of fortifying the Panama Canal and of building and maintaining a thoroughly efficient navy of adequate size, find their justification in the policy of Washington, for instance, and neither policy can be antago[Pg 828]nized save by those who are the heirs of Washington’s bitterest and most insidious opponents. Again, the questions arising in connection with our international relations must to-day, as always, be settled exactly along the lines of general policy laid down by Washington, under penalty of risking grave national discredit and disgrace.

But most of the issues which nine times out of ten most concern the average man and average woman of our republic have reached their present form only within the lifetime of the men who are now of middle age. They are due to the profound social and economic changes of the last half-century, to the exhaustion of the soil and of our natural resources, to the rapid growth of manufacturing towns and great trading cities, and to the relative lowering of the level of life in many country districts, both from the standpoint of interest and the standpoint of profit. Whether we approach the problem having in view only the interests of the wage-worker or of the farmer or of the small business man, or having in view the interests of the public as a whole, we are obliged to face certain new facts. One is that in their actual workings the old doctrines of extreme individualism and of a purely competitive industrial system have completely broken down. Another is that if we are to grapple efficiently with the evils of to-day, it will be necessary to invoke the use of governmental power to a degree hitherto unknown in this country, and, in the interest of the democracy, to apply principles which the purely individualistic democracy of a century ago would not have recognized as democratic.

It is utterly useless to try to meet our needs by recreating the vanished conditions which rendered it possible for this vanished individualistic democracy to preach and practise what it did, and which preaching and practising of an extreme individualism, be it remembered, laid the corner of the very conditions against which we are in revolt to-day. The present-day need of our people is to achieve the purpose our predecessors in the democratic movement had at heart, even though it be necessary to abandon or reverse the methods by which they in their day sought to realize, and indeed often did realize, that purpose. The Progressive party is the only political instrumentality in existence to-day which recognizes the need of achieving this purpose by the new methods which under the changed industrial and social conditions are alone effective.

THIS means increased efficiency of governmental action. It does not mean in the slightest degree any impairment or weakening of individual character. The combination of efficient collective action and of individual ability and initiative is essential to the success of the modern state. It is in civil life as it is in military life. No amount of personal prowess will make soldiers collectively formidable unless they possess also the trained ability to act in common for a common end. On the other hand, no perfection of military organization will atone for the lack of the fighting edge in the man in the ranks. The same principle applies in civil life. We not merely recognize but insist upon the fact that in the life career of any man or any woman the prime factor as regards success or failure must be his or her possession of that bundle of qualities and attributes which in their aggregate we denominate as character; and yet that, in addition, there must be proper social conditions surrounding him or her.

Recognition of and insistence upon either fact must never be permitted to mean failure to recognize the other and complementary fact. The character of the individual is vital, and yet, in order to give it fair expression, it must be supplemented by collective action through the agencies of government. Our critics speak as if we were striving to weaken the strength of individual initiative. Yet these critics, who for the most part are either men of wealth who do not think deeply on subjects unconnected with the acquisition of wealth, or else men of a cloistered intellectualism, are themselves in practice the very men who are most ready to demand the exercise of collective power in its broadest manifestation; that is, through the police force, when there is danger of disorder or violence.

From a photograph; copyright by Pach Bros. Color-tone engraved for
The Century by H. Davidson


The growth in the complexity of community life means the partial substitution of collectivism for individualism, not to destroy, but to save individualism. A very[Pg 829] primitive country community hardly needs a constable at all. As it changes into a village and then into a city, it becomes necessary to organize a police force, and this not because the average man has deteriorated in individual initiative and prowess, but because social conditions have so changed as to make collective action necessary. When New York was a little village, a watchman with a lantern and a stave was able to grapple with the only type of law-breaker that had yet been developed. Nowadays, in place of this baggy-breeched, stave-and-lantern carrier, we have the complex machinery of our police department, with a personnel ranging from a plain-clothes detective to a khaki-clad mounted officer with an automatic-repeating pistol. As the complexity of life has grown, as criminals have become more efficient and possessed of a greater power of combined action, it has been necessary for the government to keep the peace by the development of the efficient use of its own police powers. It is just the same with many matters wholly unconnected with criminality. The government has been forced to take the place of the individual in a hundred different ways; in, for instance, such matters as the prevention of fires, the construction of drainage systems, the supply of water, light, and transportation. In a primitive community every man or family looks after his or its interest in all these matters. In a city it would be an absurdity either to expect every man to continue to do this, or to say that he had lost the power of individual initiative because he relegated any or all of these matters to the province of those public officers whose usefulness consists in expressing the collective activities of all the people.

IN other words, the multiplication of activities in a highly civilized and complex community is such that the enormous increase in collective activity is really obtained not as a substitute for, but as an addition to, an almost similar increase in the sphere of individual initiative and activity. There are, of course, cases of substitution; but, speaking roughly and on the whole, the statement as above made is accurate. The increase of collective activity for social and industrial purposes does not mean in any shape or way a deadening of individual character and initiative such as would follow on the effort virtually to apply the doctrines of the Marxian socialists; for “socialist” is a term so vague, and includes so many men working wisely for justice, that it is necessary to qualify it in order to define it. We are striving in good faith to produce conditions in which there shall be a more general division of material well-being, to produce conditions under which it shall be difficult for the very rich to become so very rich, and easier for the men without capital, but with the right type of character, to lead a life of self-respecting and hard-working well-being. The goal is a long way off, but we are striving toward it; and the goal is not socialism, but so much of socialism as will best permit the building thereon of a sanely altruistic individualism, an individualism where self-respect is combined with a lively sense of consideration for and duty toward others, and where full recognition of the increased need of collective action goes hand in hand with a developed instead of an atrophied power of individual action.

Now, it is fairly easy to gain a more or less half-hearted acceptance of these views as right in the abstract. All that the Progressive party is endeavoring to do is to apply them in the concrete.

WE are sundered from the men who now control and manage the Republican party by the gulf of their actual practices and of the openly avowed or secretly held principles which rendered it necessary for them to resort to these practices. The rank and file of the Republicans, as was shown in the spring primaries of 1912, are with us; but they have no real power against the bosses, and the channels of information are so choked that they are kept in ignorance of what is really happening. The doctrines laid down by Mr. Taft as law professor at Yale give the theoretical justification for the practical action of Mr. Penrose and Mr. Smoot. The doctrines promulgated by Mr. Nicholas Murray Butler, when he writes Mr. Barnes’s platform, serve to salve the consciences of those who, although they object to boss[Pg 830]ism on esthetic grounds, yet sincerely feel that governmental corruption is preferable to the genuine exercise of popular power. This acquiescence in wrong-doing as the necessary means of preventing popular action is not a new position. It was the position of many upright and well-meaning Tories who antagonized the Declaration of Independence and the movement which made us a nation. It was the position of a portion of the very useful Federalist party, which at the close of the eighteenth century insisted upon the vital need of national union and governmental efficiency, but which was exceedingly anxious to devise methods for making believe to give the people full power while really putting them under the control of a propertied political oligarchy.

The control of the Republican National Convention in June, 1912, in the interest of Mr. Taft was achieved by methods full of as corrupt menace to popular government as ballot-box stuffing or any species of fraud or violence at the polls. Yet it was condoned by multitudes of respectable men of wealth and respectable men of cultivation because in their hearts they regarded genuine control by what they called “the mob”—that is, the people—as an evil so great that compared with it corruption and fraud became meritorious. The Republican party of to-day has given absolute control of its destinies into the hands of a National Committee composed of fifty-three irresponsible and on the whole obscure politicians. It has specifically provided that these men, who have no responsibility whatever to the public, can override the lawfully expressed will of the majority in any state primary. It has perpetuated a system of representation at national conventions which gives a third of the delegates to communities where there is no real Republican vote, where no delegation for or against any man really represents anything, and where, in consequence, the National Committee can plausibly seat any delegates it chooses without exciting popular indignation. In sum, these fifty-three politicians have the absolute and unchallenged control of the National Convention. They do not have to allow the rank and file of the party any representation in that convention whatever, and, as has been shown in actual practice, they surrender to them any control whatever, on the occasion when they deem it imperatively necessary, merely as a matter of expediency and favor, and not as a matter of right or principle.

It is difficult to understand how under these conditions self-respecting men who in good faith uphold popular government can continue in the party. But it is entirely obvious why those in control of the party and its main supporters in the political, financial, and newspaper worlds advocate the system. They do it from precisely the same motives that actuate them in opposing direct primaries, in opposing the initiative and the referendum, in opposing the right of the people to control their own officials, in opposing the right of the people as against the right of the judges to determine what the Constitution, the fundamental law of the land, shall permit in the way of legislation for social and industrial justice. All persons who sincerely disbelieve in the right and the capacity of the people for self-rule naturally, and from their point of view properly, uphold a system of party government like that which obtains under the Republican National Committee. For precisely similar reasons they antagonize every proposal to give the people command of their own governmental machinery. For precisely similar reasons they uphold the divine right of the judiciary to determine what the people shall be permitted to do with their own government in the way of helping the multitudes of hard-working men and women of whose vital needs these well-meaning judges are entirely ignorant.

FROM the Democratic party as at present constituted we are radically divided both because of the utter incoherence within that party itself, and because the doctrines to which it is at present committed are either fundamentally false or else set forth with a rhetorical vagueness which makes it utterly futile to attempt to reduce them to practice. The Democratic party can accomplish nothing of good unless it deliberately repudiates its campaign pledges—unless it deliberately breaks the promises it solemnly made in order to acquire power. Such repudiation necessarily means an intellectual dishonesty so great that no skill in rhetorical[Pg 831] dialectics can cover or atone for it. To win power by definite promises, and then seek to retain it by the repudiation of those promises, would show a moral unfitness such as not to warrant further trust of any kind. Therefore we must proceed upon the assumption that the leaders of the Democracy meant what they said when they were seeking to obtain office. Their only performance so far, at the time that this article is written, is in connection with the tariff and with a discreditable impotence in foreign affairs. As a means of helping to solve great industrial and social problems, the tariff is merely a red herring dragged across the trail to divert our people from the real issues. The present tariff bill has been handled by precisely the same improper methods by which the Payne-Aldrich law was enacted. The only safe way of treating the tariff, that of a permanent non-partizan, expert tariff commission, providing for a schedule by schedule reunion, was deliberately repudiated. The Payne-Aldrich tariff was a thoroughly bad bill; and therefore I am all the more sorry to see the principles of evil tariff-making which it crystallized repeated in the Underwood-Wilson bill.

The Democratic party specifically asserted that by correcting the evils of the tariff they would reduce the cost of living, help the wage-worker and farmer, and take the most important step necessary to the solution of the trust problem. So far, there has not been the smallest evidence that these results will follow their action; and unless such results do follow from it, the Democratic tariff policy will be proved an empty sham.

I have read with care Mr. Wilson’s chapter in the “New Freedom” in which he professes to set forth his attitude as regards the trusts. The chapter does not contain, as far as I can find, one specific proposal for affirmative action. It does contain repeated, detailed, and specific misrepresentations of the Progressive position—misrepresentations so gross that all that is necessary in order to refute them is to challenge Mr. Wilson to produce a single line from the Progressive National platform, or from the speeches of the men who stood on that platform, which will bear out his assertions. Aside from these specific misrepresentations, there are various well-phrased general statements implying, approval of morality in the abstract, but no concrete proposal for affirmative action. A patient and sincere effort to find out what Mr. Wilson means by the “New Freedom” leaves me in some doubt whether it has any meaning at all. But if there is any meaning, the phrase means and can mean only freedom for the big man to prey unchecked on the little man, freedom for unscrupulous exploiters of the public and of labor to continue unchecked in a career of cutthroat commercialism, wringing their profits out of the laborers whom they oppress and the business rivals and the public whom they outwit. This is the only possible meaning that the phrase can have if reduced to action. It is, however, not probable that it has any meaning at all. It certainly can have no meaning of practical value if its coiner will not translate it out of the realm of magniloquent rhetoric into specific propositions affecting the intimate concerns of our social and industrial life to-day. To discriminate against a very few big men because of their efficiency, without regard to whether their efficiency is used in a social or anti-social manner, may perhaps be included in Mr. Wilson’s meaning; but this would be absolutely useless from every aspect, and harmful from many aspects, while all the other big unscrupulous men were left free to work their wicked will. The line should be drawn on conduct, not on size. The man who behaves badly should be brought to book, whether he is big or little; but there should be no discrimination against efficiency, if the results of the efficiency are beneficial to the wage-earners and the public.

WE have waited for a year to see such propositions made, and until they are made and put into actual practice, and until we see how they work, the phrase “New Freedom” must stand as any empty flourish of rhetoric, having no greater and no smaller value than all the similar flourishes invented by clever phrase-makers whose concern is with diction and not action. The problems connected with the trusts, the problems connected with child labor, and all similar matters, can be solved only by affirmative national action.[Pg 832] No party is progressive which does not set the authority of the National Government as supreme in these matters. No party is progressive which does not give to the people the right to determine for themselves, after due opportunity for deliberation, but without endless difficulty and delay, what the standards of social and industrial justice shall be; and, furthermore, the right to insist upon the servants of the people, legislative and judicial alike, paying heed to the wishes of the people as to what the law of the land shall be. The Progressive party believes with Thomas Jefferson, with Andrew Jackson, with Abraham Lincoln, that this is a government of the people, to be used for the people so as to better the condition of the average man and average woman of the nation in the intimate and homely concerns of their daily lives; and thus to use the government means that it must be used after the manner of Hamilton and Lincoln to serve the purposes of Jefferson and Lincoln.

We are for the people’s rights. Where these rights can best be obtained by exercise of the powers of the State, there we are for States’ rights. Where they can best be obtained by the exercise of the powers of the National Government, there we are for national rights. We are not interested in this as an abstract doctrine; we are interested in it concretely. Wisconsin possesses advanced laws in the interest of labor. There are other States in this respect more backward, where wage-workers, and especially women and child wage-workers, are left at the mercy of greedy and unscrupulous capitalists. Wherever this operates unjustly to favor the capitalists of other less advanced States at the expense of Wisconsin, and therefore for business reasons to make state legislatures fearful of passing laws for the proper safeguarding of the life, health, and liberty of the wage-workers, then we believe that the National Government should step in and by national action secure in the interest of the wage-workers uniform conditions throughout the Union. We hold it to be the duty of the National Government to put all the governmental resources of our people, national and state, behind the movement for the wise and sane uplifting of the men and women whose lives are hardest.

We believe in the principle of a living wage. We hold that it is ruinous for all our people, if some of our people are forced to subsist on a wage such that body and soul alike are stunted. We believe in safeguarding the body of the wage-worker, and in providing for his widow and children if he falls a victim to industrial accident. We believe in shortening the labor day to the point that will tell most for the laborer’s efficiency both as wage-worker and as citizen. In the Progressive National platform we inserted the following plank:


The supreme duty of the nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in state and nation for:—

Effective legislation looking to the prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases, overwork, involuntary unemployment, and other injurious effects incident to modern industry;

The fixing of minimum safety and health standards for the various occupations, and the exercise of the public authority of state and nation, including the federal control over interstate commerce and the taxing power, to maintain such standards;

The prohibition of child labor;

Minimum wage standards for working women, to provide a living scale in all industrial occupations;

The prohibition of night work for women and the establishment of an eight-hour day for women and young persons;

One day’s rest in seven for all wage workers;

The eight-hour day in continuous twenty-four-hour industries;

The abolition of the convict contract labor system; substituting a system of prison production for governmental consumption only; and the application of prisoners’ earnings to the support of their dependent families;

Publicity as to wages, hours and conditions of labor; full reports upon industrial accidents and diseases, and the opening to public inspection of all tallies, weights, measures and check systems on labor products;

Standards of compensation for death by[Pg 833] industrial accident and injury and trade diseases which will transfer the burden of lost earnings from the families of working people to the industry, and thus to the community;

The protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use;

The development of the creative labor power of America by lifting the last load of illiteracy from American youth and establishing continuation schools for industrial education under public control and encouraging agricultural education and demonstration in rural schools;

The establishment of industrial research laboratories to put the methods and discoveries of science at the service of American producers.

We favor the organization of the workers, men and women, as a means of protecting their interests and of promoting their progress.

These propositions are definite and concrete. They represent for the first time in our political history the specific and reasoned purpose of a great party to use the resources of the government in sane fashion for industrial betterment.

WE do not believe in confining governmental activity to the city. We believe that the problem of life in the open country is well nigh the gravest problem before this nation. The eyes and thoughts of those working for social and industrial reform have been turned almost exclusively toward the great cities, and toward the solution of the questions presented by their teeming myriads of people and by the immense complexity of their life. Yet nothing is more certain than that there can be no permanent prosperity unless the men and women who live in the open country prosper. The problems of the farm, of the village, of the country church, and the country school, the problems of getting most value out of and keeping most value in the soil, and of securing healthy and happy and well-rounded lives for those who live upon it, are fundamental to our national welfare. The first step ever taken toward the solution of these problems was taken by the Country Life Commission appointed by me, opposed with venomous hostility by the foolish reactionaries in Congress, and abandoned by my successor. Congress would not even print the report of this commission, and it was the public-spirited, far-sighted action of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce which alone secured the publication of the report. The farmers must organize as business men and wage-workers have organized, and the Government must help them organize.

IN dealing with business, the Progressive party is the only party which has put forth a rational and comprehensive plan. We believe that the business world must change from a competitive to a coöperate basis. We absolutely repudiate the theory that any good whatever can come from confining ourselves solely to the effort to reproduce the dead-and-gone conditions of sixty years ago—conditions of uncontrolled competition between competitors most of whom were small and weak. The reason that the trusts have grown to such enormous size is to be found primarily in the fact that we relied upon the competitive principle and the absence of governmental interference to solve the problems of industry. Their growth is specifically and precisely due to the practice of the archaic doctrines advocated by President Wilson under the pleasingly delusive title of the “New Freedom.”

We hold that all such efforts to reproduce dead-and-gone conditions are bound to result in failure or worse than failure. The breaking-up of the Standard Oil Trust, for example, has not produced the very smallest benefit. It has merely resulted in enormously increasing the already excessive profits of a small number of persons. Not the smallest benefit would accrue—on the contrary, harm would result—if in dealing with the Steel Corporation we merely substituted for one such big corporation four or five smaller corporations of the stamp of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. The “Survey” published a study of the conditions of life and labor among the wage-workers of this company which it is not too much to de[Pg 834]scribe as appalling. The effort to remedy conditions in connection with the trusts by the establishment, instead of one big company, of four such companies engaged in cutthroat competition, cannot work the smallest betterment, and would probably work appreciable harm. That kind of “new” freedom is nothing whatever but the old, old license for the powerful to prey on the feeble.

THERE is a very real need of governmental action, but it should be action along a totally different line. The result of the unlimited action of the competition system is seen at this moment in the bituminous coal-mines of West Virginia, where the independent operators, in the ferocity of their unregulated competition, and partly because they are forbidden to combine even for useful purposes, seek their profit in the merciless exploitation of the wage-workers who toil for them. The law, in the strict spirit of the “new freedom,” forbids them to combine for a useful purpose, and yet offers no check upon their dealing with their employees in a spirit of brutal greed. What is needed is thoroughgoing, efficient, and, if necessary, drastic supervision and control of the great corporations doing an interstate business, by means of a Federal administrative body akin in its functions to the Interstate Commerce Commission. This body should have power not only to enforce publicity, but to secure justice and fair treatment to investors, wage-workers, business rivals, consumers, and the general public alike.

Such an industrial commission should do as the Interstate Commerce Commission should do, that is, remember always its dual duty, the duty to the corporation and individual controlled no less than to the public. It is an absolute necessity that the investors, the owners, of an honest, useful, and decently managed concern, should have reasonable profit. It is impossible to run business unless this is done. Unless the business man prospers, there will be no prosperity for the rest of the community to share. He must have certainty of law and opportunity for honest and reasonable profit under the law.

Experience has proved that we cannot afford to leave the great corporations to determine for themselves without governmental supervision how they shall treat their employees, their rivals, their customers, and the general public. But experience has no less shown that it is as fatal for the agents of government to be unjust to the corporation as to fail to secure justice from them. In dealing with railways, for example, it is just as important that rates should not be too low as that they should not be too high. The living wage and the living rate are interdependent. In dealing with useful, honestly organized, and honestly managed railways, rates must be kept high enough to permit of proper wages and proper hours of labor for the men on the railroad, and to permit the company to pay compensation for the lives and limbs of those employees who suffer in doing its business; and at the same time to secure a reasonable reward to the investors—a reward sufficient to make them desirous to continue in this type of investment. Precisely the same course of action which should be followed in dealing with the railroads should also be followed by the Interstate Industrial Commission in dealing with the great industrial corporations engaged in interstate business.

WE believe that great fortunes, even when accumulated by the man himself, are of limited benefit to the country, and that they are detrimental rather than beneficial when secured through inheritance. We therefore believe in a heavily progressive inheritance tax—a tax which shall bear very lightly on small or ordinary inheritances, but which shall bear very heavily upon all inheritances of colossal size. We believe in a heavily graded income tax, along the same lines, but discriminating sharply in favor of earned, as compared with unearned, incomes.

It would be needless and burdensome to set forth in detail all the matters, national, state, and municipal, to which we would apply our principles. We believe that municipalities should have complete self-government as regards all the affairs that are exclusively their own, including the important matter of taxation, and that the burden of municipal taxation should be so shifted as to put the weight of land[Pg 835] taxation upon the unearned rise in value of the land itself rather than upon the improvements, the buildings; the effort being to prevent the undue rise of rent. We regard it as peculiarly the province of the government to supervise tenement-houses, to secure proper living conditions, and to erect parks and playgrounds in the congested districts, and to use the schools as social centers.

WE hold that all the agencies of government belong to the people, that the Constitution is theirs, and that the courts are theirs. The people should exercise their power, not to overthrow either the Constitution or the courts, but to overthrow those who would pervert them into agents against the popular welfare. We believe that where a public servant misrepresents the people, the people should have the right to remove him from office, and that where the legislature enacts a law which it should not enact or fails to enact a law which it should enact, the people should have the right on their own initiative to supply the omission. We do not believe that either power should be loosely or wantonly used, and we would provide for its exercise in a way which would make its exercise safe; but the power is necessary, and it should be provided.

We hold, moreover, with the utmost emphasis, that the people themselves should have the right to decide for themselves after due deliberation what laws are to be placed upon the statute-books and what construction is to be placed upon the constitutions, national and state, by the courts, so far as concerns all laws for social and industrial justice. This proposal has nothing whatever to do with any ordinary case at law. It has nothing to do with the exercise by the judge of judicial functions, or with his decision in any issue merely between man and man. It has to do only with the exercise by the court of political and legislative functions. We believe that it is wise to continue the American practice of using the courts as a check upon the legislature in this manner, but only so long as it is possible, in the event of conflict between the legislature and the court, to call in as arbiter the people who are the masters of both legislature and court, and whose own vital interests are at issue. The court and the legislature alike are the servants of the people, and they are dealing with the interests of the people; and the people, the masters of both, have the right to decide between them when their own most intimate concerns are at stake.

The present process of constitutional amendment is too long, too cumbrous, and too uncertain to afford an adequate remedy, and, moreover, after the amendment has been carried, the law must once more be submitted to the same court which was, perhaps, originally at fault, in order to decide whether the new law comes within the amendment. Provision should be made by which, after due deliberation, the people should be given the right themselves to decide whether or not a given law passed in the exercise of the police power for social or industrial betterment and declared by the court to be unconstitutional, shall, notwithstanding this, become part of the law of the land. This proposal has caused genuine alarm and been treated as revolutionary; but opposition to it can proceed only from complete misunderstanding both of the proposal and of the needs of the situation. Of course, however, the selfish opposition of the great corporation lawyers and of their clients is entirely intelligent; for these men alone are the beneficiaries of the present reign of hidden, of invisible, government, and they rely primarily on well-meaning but reactionary courts to thwart the forward movement.

CONCRETELY to illustrate just what we mean, our assertion is that the people have the right to decide for themselves whether or not they desire a workmen’s compensation law, or a law limiting the number of hours of women in industry, or deciding whether in unhealthy bakeshops wage-workers shall be employed more than a certain length of time per day, or providing for the safeguarding of dangerous machinery, or insisting upon the payment of wages in cash, or assuming and exercising full power over the conduct of corporations—the power denied by the court in connection with the Knight Sugar Case, but finally secured to the people by the[Pg 836] decision in the Northern securities case. Every one of these laws has been denied to the people, again and again, both by national and by state judges in various parts of the Union.

We hold emphatically that these matters are not properly matters for final judicial decision. The judges have no special opportunity and no special ability to determine the justice or injustice, the desirability or undesirability, of legislation of such a character. Indeed, in most cases, although not in all, the judges in the higher courts are so out of touch with the conditions of life affected by social and industrial legislation on behalf of the humble that they are peculiarly unfit to say whether the legislation is wise or the reverse. Moreover, whether they are fit or unfit, it is not their province to decide what the people ought or ought not to desire in matters of this kind. They are not law-makers; they were not elected or appointed for such purpose. They are not censors of the public in this matter. We do not purpose to exalt the legislature at their expense. We do not accept the view so common in other countries that the legislature should be the supreme source of power. On the contrary, our experience has been that the legislature is quite as apt to act unwisely as any other governmental body; and it is because of this fact that the experiment of so-called commission government in cities is being so widely tried. We respect the judges, we think that they are more apt on the whole to be good public servants than any other men in office; but we as emphatically refuse to subscribe to the doctrine of the divine right of judges as to the doctrine of the divine right of kings. We are not specially concerned with the question as to which of two public servants, the court or the legislature, shall have the upper hand of the other; but we are vitally concerned in seeing that the people have the upper hand over both. Any argument against our position on this point is merely an argument against democracy.

MOREOVER, any professed adherence to our other doctrines, while at the same time this doctrine is repudiated, means nothing. During the last forty years the beneficiaries of reaction have found in the courts their main allies; and this condition, so unfortunate for the courts, no less than for the people, has been due to our governmental failure to furnish methods by which an appeal can be taken directly to the people when, in any such case as the cases I have above enumerated, there is an issue between the court and the legislature. It is idle to profess devotion to our Progressive proposals for social and industrial betterment if at the same time there is opposition to the one additional proposal by which they can be made effective. It is useless to advocate the passing of laws for social justice if we permit these laws to be annulled with impunity by the courts, or by any one else, after they have been passed. This proposition is a vital point in the Progressive program.

To sum up, then, our position is, after all, simple. We believe that the government should concern itself chiefly with the matters that are of most importance to the average man and average woman, and that it should be its special province to aid in making the conditions of life easier for these ordinary men and ordinary women, who compose the great bulk of our people. To this end we believe that the people should have direct control over their own governmental agencies; and that when this control has been secured, it should be used with resolution, but with sanity and self-restraint, in the effort to make conditions of life and labor a little easier, a little fairer and better for the men and women of the nation.

[1]Copyright, 1913, by The Century Co. All rights reserved. The republication of this article, either in whole or in part, is expressly prohibited, except through special arrangement with The Century Co.

Half-tone plate engraved by C. W. Chadwick




[Pg 837]


Author of “Pigs is Pigs,” “Long Sam ’Takes Out,’” etc.


ONCE ’pon a time dey was a li’l’ black boy whut he name was Mose. An’ whin he come erlong to be ’bout knee-high to a mewel, he ’gin to git powerful ’fraid ob ghosts, ’ca’se dat am sure a mighty ghostly location whut he lib’ in, ’ca’se dey’s a grabeyard in de hollow, an’ a buryin’-ground on de hill, an’ a cemuntary in betwixt an’ between, an’ dey ain’t nuffin’ but trees nowhar excipt in de clearin’ by de shanty an’ down de hollow whar de pumpkin-patch am.

An’ whin de night come’ erlong, dey ain’t no sounds at all whut kin be heard in dat locality but de rain-doves, whut mourn out, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” jes dat trembulous an’ scary, an’ de owls, whut mourn out, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” more trembulous an’ scary dan dat, an’ de wind, whut mourn out, “You-you-o-o-o!” mos’ scandalous’ trembulous an’ scary ob all. Dat a powerful onpleasant locality for a li’l’ black boy whut he name was Mose.

’Ca’se dat li’l’ black boy he so specially black he can’t be seen in de dark at all ’cept by de whites ob he eyes. So whin he go’ outen de house at night, he ain’t dast shut he eyes, ’ca’se den ain’t nobody can see him in de least. He jes as invidsible as nuffin’. An’ who know’ but whut a great, big ghost bump right into him ’ca’se it can’t see him? An’ dat shore w’u’d scare dat li’l’ black boy powerful’ bad, ’ca’se yever’body knows whut a cold, damp pussonality a ghost is.

So whin dat li’l’ black Mose go’ outen de shanty at night, he keep’ he eyes wide open, you may be shore. By day he eyes ’bout de size ob butter-pats, an’ come sundown he eyes ’bout de size ob saucers; but whin he go’ outen de shanty at night, he eyes am de size ob de white chiny plate whut set on de mantel; an’ it powerful’ hard to keep eyes whut am de size oh dat from a-winkin’ an’ a-blinkin’.

So whin Hallowe’en come’ erlong, dat li’l’ black Mose he jes mek’ up he mind he ain’t gwine outen he shack at all. He cogitate’ he gwine stay right snug in de shack wid he pa an’ he ma, ’ca’se de rain-doves tek notice dat de ghosts are philanderin’ roun’ de country, ’ca’se dey mourn out, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” an’ de owls dey mourn out, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” an’ de wind mourn out, “You-you-o-o-o!” De eyes ob dat li’l’ black Mose dey as big as de white chiny plate whut set on de mantel by side de clock, an’ de sun jes a-settin’.

So dat all right. Li’l’ black Mose he scrooge’ back in de corner by de fireplace, an’ he ’low’ he gwine stay dere till he gwine to bed. But byme-by Sally Ann, whut live’ up de road, draps in, an’ Mistah Sally Ann, whut is her husban’, he draps in, an’ Zack Badget an’ de school-teacher whut board’ at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house drap in, an’ a powerful lot ob folks drap in. An’ li’l’ black Mose he seen dat gwine be one s’prise-party, an’ he right down cheerful ’bout dat.

So all dem folks shake dere hands an’ ’low “Howdy,” an’ some ob dem say: “Why, dere’s li’l’ Mose! Howdy, li’l’ Mose!” An’ he so please’ he jes grin’ an’ grin’, ’ca’se he ain’t reckon whut gwine happen. So byme-by Sally Ann, whut live up de road, she say’, “Ain’t no sort o’ Hallowe’en lest we got a jack-o’-lantern.” An’ de school-teacher, whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, she ’low’, “Hallowe’en jes no Hallowe’en at all ’thout we got a jack-o’-lantern.” An’ li’l’ black Mose he stop’ a-grinnin’, an’ he scrooge’ so far back in de corner he ’mos’ scrooge frough de wall. But dat ain’t no use, ’ca’se he ma say’, “Mose, go on down to de pumpkin-patch an’ fotch a pumpkin.”

“I ain’t want to go,” say’ li’l’ black Mose.

“Go on erlong wid yo’,” say’ he ma, right commandin’.

“I ain’t want to go,” say’ Mose ag’in.

“Why ain’t yo’ want to go?” he ma ask’.

[Pg 838]

Drawn by Charles Sarka


“’Ca’se I’s afraid ob de ghosts,” say’ li’l’ black Mose, an’ dat de particular truth an’ no mistake.

“Dey ain’t no ghosts,” say’ de school-teacher, whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, right peart.

“’Ca’se dey ain’t no ghosts,” say’ Zack Badget, whut dat ’fear’d ob ghosts he ain’t dar’ come to li’l’ black Mose’s house ef de school-teacher ain’t ercompany him.

“Go ’long wid your ghosts!” say’ li’l’ black Mose’s ma.

“Wha’ yo’ pick up dat nomsense?” say’ he pa. “Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ dat whut all dat s’prise-party ’low: dey ain’t no ghosts. An’ dey ’low dey mus’ hab a jack-o’-lantern or de fun all sp’iled. So dat li’l’ black boy whut he name is Mose he done got to fotch a pumpkin from de pumpkin-patch down de hollow. So he step’ outen de shanty an’ he stan’ on de door-step twell he get’ he eyes pried open as big as de bottom ob he ma’s wash-tub, mostly, an’ he say’, “Dey ain’t no ghosts.” An’ he put’ one foot on de ground, an’ dat was de fust step.

An’ de rain-dove say’, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he tuck anudder step.

An’ de owl mourn’ out, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he tuck anudder step.

An’ de wind sob’ out, “You-you-o-o-o!”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he tuck one look ober he shoulder, an’ he shut he eyes so tight dey hurt round de aidges, an’ he pick’ up he foots an’ run. Yas, sah, he run’ right peart fast. An’ he say’: “Dey ain’t no ghosts. Dey ain’t no ghosts.” An’ he run’ erlong de paff whut lead’ by de buryin’-ground on de hill, ’ca’se dey ain’t no fince eround dat buryin’-ground at all.

No fince; jes de big trees whut de owls an’ de rain-doves sot in an’ mourn an’ sob, an’ whut de wind sigh an’ cry frough. An’ byme-by somefin’ jes brush’ li’l’ Mose on de arm, which mek’ him run jes a bit more faster. An’ byme-by somefin’ jes brush’ li’l’ Mose on de cheek, which mek’ him run erbout as fast as he can. An’ byme-by somefin’ grab’ li’l’ Mose by de aidge of he coat, an’ he fight’ an’ struggle[Pg 839]’ an’ cry’ out: “Dey ain’t no ghosts. Dey ain’t no ghosts.” An’ dat ain’t nuffin’ but de wild brier whut grab’ him, an’ dat ain’t nuffin’ but de leaf ob a tree whut brush’ he cheek, an’ dat ain’t nuffin’ but de branch ob a hazel-bush whut brush’ he arm. But he downright scared jes de same, an’ he ain’t lose no time, ’ca’se de wind an’ de owls an’ de rain-doves dey signerfy whut ain’t no good. So he scoot’ past dat buryin’-ground whut on de hill, an’ dat cemuntary whut betwixt an’ between, an’ dat grabeyard in de hollow, twell he come’ to de pumpkin-patch, an’ he rotch’ down an’ tek’ erhold ob de bestest pumpkin whut in de patch. An’ he right smart scared. He jes de mostest scared li’l’ black boy whut yever was. He ain’t gwine open he eyes fo’ nuffin’, ’ca’se de wind go, “You-you-o-o-o!” an’ de owls go, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” an’ de rain-doves go, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!”

He jes speculate’, “Dey ain’t no ghosts,” an’ wish’ he hair don’t stand on ind dat way. An’ he jes cogitate’, “Dey ain’t no ghosts,” an’ wish’ he goose-pimples don’t rise up dat way. An’ he jes ’low’, “Dey ain’t no ghosts,” an’ wish’ he backbone ain’t all trembulous wid chills dat way. So he rotch’ down, an’ he rotch’ down, twell he git’ a good hold on dat pricklesome stem of dat bestest pumpkin whut in de patch, an’ he jes yank’ dat stem wid all he might.

“Let loosen my head!” say’ a big voice all on a suddent.

Dat li’l’ black boy whut he name is Mose he jump’ ’most outen he skin. He open’ he eyes, an’ he ’gin’ to shake like de aspen-tree, ’ca’se whut dat a-standin’ right dar behint him but a ’mendjous big ghost! Yas, sah, dat de bigges’, whites’ ghost whut yever was. An’ it ain’t got no head. Ain’t got no head at all! Li’l’ black Mose he jes drap’ on he knees an’ he beg’ an’ pray’:

“Oh, ’scuse me! ’Scuse me, Mistah Ghost!” he beg’. “Ah ain’t mean no harm at all.”

“Whut for you try to take my head?” ask’ de ghost in dat fearsome voice whut like de damp wind outen de cellar.

“’Scuse me! ’Scuse me!” beg’ li’l’ Mose. “Ah ain’t know dat was yo’ head, an’ I ain’t know you was dar at all. ’Scuse me!”

“Ah ’scuse you ef you do me dis favor,” say’ de ghost. “Ah got somefin’ powerful important to say unto you, an’ Ah can’t say hit ’ca’se Ah ain’t got no head; an’ whin Ah ain’t got no head, Ah ain’t got no mouf, an’ whin Ah ain’t got no mouf, Ah can’t talk at all.”

An’ dat right logical fo’ shore. Can’t nobody talk whin he ain’t got no mouf, an’ can’t nobody have no mouf whin he ain’t got no head, an’ whin li’l’ black Mose he look’, he see’ dat ghost ain’t got no head at all. Nary head.

So de ghost say’:

“Ah come on down yere fo’ to git a pumpkin fo’ a head, an’ Ah pick’ dat ixact pumpkin whut yo’ gwine tek, an’ Ah don’t like dat one bit. No, sah. Ah feel like Ah pick yo’ up an’ carry yo’ away, an’ nobody see you no more for yever. But Ah got somefin’ powerful important to say unto yo’, an’ if yo’ pick up dat pumpkin an’ sot it on de place whar my head ought to be, Ah let you off dis time, ’ca’se Ah ain’t been able to talk fo’ so long Ah right hongry to say somefin’.”

So li’l’ black Mose he heft up dat pumpkin, an’ de ghost he bend’ down, an’ li’l’ black Mose he sot dat pumpkin on dat ghostses neck. An’ right off dat pumpkin head ’gin’ to wink an’ blink like a jack-o’-lantern, an’ right off dat pumpkin head ’gin’ to glimmer an’ glow frough de mouf like a jack-o’-lantern, an’ right off dat ghost start’ to speak. Yas, sah, dass so.

“Whut yo’ want to say unto me?” inquire’ li’l’ black Mose.

“Ah want to tell yo’,” say’ de ghost, “dat yo’ ain’t need yever be skeered of ghosts, ’ca’se dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ whin he say dat, de ghost jes vanish’ away like de smoke in July. He ain’t even linger round dat locality like de smoke in Yoctober. He jes dissipate’ outen de air, an’ he gone intirely.

So li’l’ Mose he grab’ up de nex’ bestest pumpkin an’ he scoot’. An’ whin he come’ to de grabeyard in de hollow, he goin’ erlong same as yever, on’y faster, whin he reckon’ he’ll pick up a club in case he gwine have trouble. An’ he rotch’ down an rotch’ down an’ tek’ hold of a likely appearin’ hunk o’ wood what right dar. An’ whin he grab’ dat hunk of wood—

“Let loosen my leg!” say’ a big voice all on a suddent.

Dat li’l’ black boy ’most jump’ outen he skin, ’ca’se right dar in de paff is six[Pg 840] ’mendjus big ghostes, an’ de bigges’ ain’t got but one leg. So li’l’ black Mose jes natchully handed dat hunk of wood to dat bigges’ ghost, an’ he say’:

“’Scuse me, Mistah Ghost; Ah ain’t know dis your leg.”

An’ whut dem six ghostes do but stand round an’ confabulate? Yas, sah, dass so. An’ whin dey do so, one say’:

“’Pears like dis a mighty likely li’l’ black boy. Whut we gwine do fo’ to reward him fo’ politeness?”

An’ anudder say’:

“Tell him whut de truth is ’bout ghostes.”

So de bigges’ ghost he say’:

“Ah gwine tell yo’ somefin’ important whut yever’body don’t know: Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ whin he say’ dat, de ghostes jes natchully vanish away, an’ li’l’ black Mose he proceed’ up de paff. He so scared he hair jes yank’ at de roots, an’ whin de wind go’, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” an de owl go’, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” an’ de rain-doves go, “You-you-o-o-o!” he jes tremble’ an’ shake’. An’ byme-by he come’ to de cemuntary whut betwixt an’ between, an’ he shore is mighty skeered, ’ca’se dey is a whole comp’ny of ghostes lined up along de road, an’ he ’low’ he ain’t gwine spind no more time palaverin’ wid ghostes. So he step’ offen de road fo’ to go round erbout, an’ he step’ on a pine-stump whut lay right dar.

“Git offen my chest!” say’ a big voice all on a suddent, ’ca’se dat stump am been selected by de captain ob de ghostes for to be he chest, ’ca’se he ain’t got no chest betwixt he shoulders an’ he legs. An’ li’l’ black Mose he hop’ offen dat stump right peart. Yes, sah; right peart.

“’Scuse me! ’Scuse me!” dat li’l’ black Mose beg’ an’ plead’, an’ de ghostes ain’t know whuther to eat him all up or not, ’ca’se he step’ on de boss ghostes’s chest dat a-way. But byme-by they ’low they let him go ’ca’se dat was an accident, an’ de captain ghost he say’, “Mose, you Mose, Ah gwine let you off dis time, ’ca’se you ain’t nuffin’ but a misabul li’l’ tremblin’ nigger; but Ah want you should remimber one thing mos’ particular’.”

“Ya-yas, sah,” say’ dat li’l’ black boy; “Ah, ’ll remimber. Whut is dat Ah got to remimber?”

De captain ghost he swell’ up, an’ he swell’ up, twell he as big as a house, an’ he say’ in a voice whut shake’ de ground:

“Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

So li’l’ black Mose he bound to remimber dat, an’ he rise’ up an’ mek’ a bow, an’ he proceed’ toward home right libely. He do, indeed.

An’ he gwine along jes as fast as he kin, whin he come’ to de aidge ob de buryin’-ground whut on de hill, an’ right dar he bound to stop, ’ca’se de kentry round about am so populate’ he ain’t able to go frough. Yas, sah, seem’ like all de ghostes in de world habin’ a conferince right dar. Seem’ like all de ghosteses whut yever was am havin’ a convintion on dat spot. An’ dat li’l’ black Mose so skeered he jes fall’ down on a’ old log whut dar an’ screech’ an’ moan’. An’ all on a suddent de log up and spoke:

“Get offen me! Get offen me!” yell’ dat log.

So li’l’ black Mose he git’ offen dat log, an’ no mistake.

An’ soon as he git’ offen de log, de log uprise, an’ li’l’ black Mose he see’ dat dat log am de king ob all de ghostes. An’ whin de king uprise, all de congergation crowd round li’l’ black Mose, an’ dey am about leben millium an’ a few lift over. Yas, sah; dat de reg’lar annyul Hallowe’en convintion whut li’l’ black Mose interrup’. Right dar am all de sperits in de world, an’ all de ha’nts in de world, an’ all de hobgoblins in de world, an’ all de ghouls in de world, an’ all de spicters in de world, an’ all de ghostes in de world. An’ whin dey see li’l’ black Mose, dey all gnash dey teef an’ grin’ ’ca’se it gettin’ erlong toward dey-all’s lunch-time. So de king, whut he name old Skull-an’-Bones, he step’ on top ob li’l’ Mose’s head, an’ he say’:

“Gin’l’min, de convintion will come to order. De sicretary please note who is prisint. De firs’ business whut come’ before de convintion am: whut we gwine do to a li’l’ black boy whut stip’ on de king an’ maul’ all ober de king an’ treat’ de king dat disrespictful’.”

An’ li’l’ black Mose jes moan’ an’ sob’:

“’Scuse me! ’Scuse me, Mistah King! Ah ain’t mean no harm at all.”

But nobody ain’t pay no attintion to him at all, ’ca’se yevery one lookin’ at a monstrous big ha’nt whut name Bloody Bones, whut rose up an’ spoke.

[Pg 842]

Drawn by Charles Sarka



“Your Honor, Mistah King, an’ gin’l’min an’ ladies,” he say’, “dis am a right bad case ob lazy majesty, ’ca’se de king been step on. Whin yivery li’l’ black boy whut choose’ gwine wander round at night an’ stip on de king ob ghostes, it ain’t no time for to palaver, it ain’t no time for to prevaricate, it ain’t no time for to cogitate, it ain’t no time do nuffin’ but tell de truth, an’ de whole truth, an’ nuffin’ but de truth.”

An’ all dem ghostes sicond de motion, an’ dey confabulate out loud erbout dat, an’ de noise soun’ like de rain-doves goin’, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” an’ de owls goin’, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” an’ de wind goin’, “You-you-o-o-o!” So dat risolution am passed unanermous, an’ no mistake.

So de king ob de ghostes, whut name old Skull-an’-Bones, he place’ he hand on de head ob li’l’ black Mose, an’ he hand feel like a wet rag, an’ he say’:

“Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ one ob de hairs whut on de head ob li’l’ black Mose turn’ white.

An’ de monstrous big ha’nt whut he name Bloody Bones he lay he hand on de head ob li’l’ black Mose, an’ he hand feel like a toadstool in de cool ob de day, an’ he say’:

“Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ anudder ob de hairs whut on de head ob li’l’ black Mose turn’ white.

An’ a heejus sperit whut he name Moldy Pa’m place’ he hand on de head ob li’l’ black Mose, an’ he hand feel like de yunner side ob a lizard, an’ he say’:

“Dey ain’t no ghosts.”

An’ anudder ob de hairs whut on de head ob li’l’ black Mose turn’ white as snow.

An’ a perticklar bend-up hobgoblin he put’ he hand on de head ob li’l’ black Mose, an’ he mek’ dat same remark, an’ dat whole convintion ob ghostes an’ spicters an’ ha’nts an’ yiver’thing, which am more ’n a millium, pass by so quick dey-all’s hands feel lak de wind whut blow outen de cellar whin de day am hot, an’ dey-all say, “Dey ain’t no ghosts.” Yas, sah, dey-all say dem wo’ds so fas’ it soun’ like de wind whin it moan frough de turkentine-trees whut behind de cider-priss. An’ yivery hair whut on li’l’ black Mose’s head turn’ white. Dat whut happen’ whin a li’l’ black boy gwine meet a ghost convintion dat-a-way. Dat’s so he ain’ gwine forgit to remimber dey ain’t no ghostes. ’Ca’se ef a li’l’ black boy gwine imaginate dey is ghostes, he gwine be skeered in de dark. An’ dat a foolish thing for to imaginate.

So prisintly all de ghostes am whiff away, like de fog outen de holler whin de wind blow’ on it, an’ li’l’ black Mose he ain’ see no ’ca’se for to remain in dat locality no longer. He rotch’ down, an’ he raise’ up de pumpkin, an’ he perambulate’ right quick to he ma’s shack, an’ he lift’ up de latch, an’ he open’ de do’, an’ he yenter’ in. An’ he say’:

“Yere’s de pumpkin.”

An’ he ma an’ he pa, an’ Sally Ann, whut live up de road, an’ Mistah Sally Ann, whut her husban’, an’ Zack Badget, an’ de school-teacher whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, an’ all de powerful lot of folks whut come to de doin’s, dey all scrooged back in de cornder ob de shack, ’ca’se Zack Badget he been done tell a ghost-tale, an’ de rain-doves gwine, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” an’ de owls am gwine, “Whut-whoo-o-o-o!” and de wind it gwine, “You-you-o-o-o!” an’ yiver’body powerful skeered. ’Ca’se li’l’ black Mose he come’ a-fumblin’ an’ a-rattlin’ at de do’ jes whin dat ghost-tale mos’ skeery, an’ yiver’body gwine imaginate dat he a ghost a-fumblin’ an’ a-rattlin’ at de do’. Yas, sah. So li’l’ black Mose he turn’ he white head, an’ he look’ roun’ an’ peer’ roun’, an’ he say’:

“Whut you all skeered fo’?”

’Ca’se ef anybody skeered, he want’ to be skeered, too. Dat’s natural. But de school-teacher, whut live at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, she say’:

“Fo’ de lan’s sake, we fought you was a ghost!”

So li’l’ black Mose he sort ob sniff an’ he sort ob sneer, an’ he ’low’:

“Huh! dey ain’t no ghosts.”

Den he ma she powerful took back dat li’l’ black Mose he gwine be so uppetish an’ contrydict folks whut know ’rifmeticks an’ algebricks an’ gin’ral countin’ widout fingers, like de school-teacher whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house knows, an’ she say’:

“Huh! whut you know ’bout ghosts, anner ways?”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he jes kinder stan’ on one foot, an’ he jes kinder suck’ he thumb, an’ he jes kinder ’low’:

[Pg 843]

“I don’ know nuffin’ erbout ghosts, ’ca’se dey ain’t no ghosts.”

So he pa gwine whop him fo’ tellin’ a fib ’bout dey ain’ no ghosts whin yiver’body know’ dey is ghosts; but de school-teacher, whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, she tek’ note de hair ob li’l’ black Mose’s head am plumb white, an’ she tek’ note li’l’ black Mose’s face am de color ob wood-ash, so she jes retch’ one arm round dat li’l’ black boy, an’ she jes snuggle’ him up, an’ she say’:

“Honey lamb, don’t you be skeered; ain’ nobody gwine hurt you. How you know dey ain’t no ghosts?”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he kinder lean’ up ’g’inst de school-teacher whut board at Unc’ Silas Diggs’s house, an’ he ’low’:

“’Ca’se—’ca’se—’ca’se I met de cap’n ghost, an’ I met de gin’ral ghost, an’ I met de king ghost, an’ I met all de ghostes whut yiver was in de whole worl’, an’ yivery ghost say’ de same thing: ’Dey ain’t no ghosts.’ An’ if de cap’n ghost an’ de gin’ral ghost an’ de king ghost an’ all de ghostes in de whole worl’ don’ know ef dar am ghostes, who does?”

“Das right; das right, honey lamb,” say’ de school-teacher. And she say’: “I been s’picious dey ain’ no ghostes dis long whiles, an’ now I know. Ef all de ghostes say dey ain’ no ghosts, dey ain’ no ghosts.”

So yiver’body ’low’ dat so ’cep’ Zack Badget, whut been tellin’ de ghost-tale, an’ he ain’ gwine say “Yis” an’ he ain’ gwine say “No,” ’ca’se he right sweet on de school-teacher; but he know right well he done seen plinty ghostes in he day. So he boun’ to be sure fust. So he say’ to li’l’ black Mose:

“’T ain’ likely you met up wid a monstrous big ha’nt what live’ down de lane whut he name Bloody Bones?”

“Yas,” say’ li’l’ black Mose; “I done met up wid him.”

“An’ did old Bloody Bones done tol’ you dey ain’ no ghosts?” say Zack Badget.

“Yas,” say’ li’l’ black Mose, “he done tell me perzackly dat.”

“Well, if he tol’ you dey ain’t no ghosts,” say’ Zack Badget, “I got to ’low dey ain’t no ghosts, ’ca’se he ain’ gwine tell no lie erbout it. I know dat Bloody Bones ghost sence I was a piccaninny, an’ I done met up wif him a powerful lot o’ times, an’ he ain’ gwine tell no lie erbout it. Ef dat perticklar ghost say’ dey ain’t no ghosts, dey ain’t no ghosts.”

So yiver’body say’:

“Das right; dey ain’ no ghosts.”

An’ dat mek’ li’l’ black Mose feel mighty good, ’ca’se he ain’ lak ghostes. He reckon’ he gwine be a heap mo’ comfortable in he mind sence he know’ dey ain’ no ghosts, an’ he reckon’ he ain’ gwine be skeered of nuffin’ never no more. He ain’ gwine min’ de dark, an’ he ain’ gwine min’ de rain-doves whut go’, “Oo-oo-o-o-o!” an’ he ain’ gwine min’ de owls whut go’, “Who-whoo-o-o-o!” an’ he ain’ gwine min’ de wind whut go’, “You-you-o-o-o!” nor nuffin’, nohow. He gwine be brave as a lion, sence he know’ fo’ sure dey ain’ no ghosts. So prisintly he ma say’:

“Well, time fo’ a li’l’ black boy whut he name is Mose to be gwine up de ladder to de loft to bed.”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he ’low’ he gwine wait a bit. He ’low’ he gwine jes wait a li’l’ bit. He ’low’ he gwine be no trouble at all ef he jes been let wait twell he ma she gwine up de ladder to de loft to bed, too. So he ma she say’:

“Git erlong wid yo’! Whut yo’ skeered ob whin dey ain’t no ghosts?”

An’ li’l’ black Mose he scrooge’, and he twist’, an’ he pucker’ up de mouf, an’ he rub’ he eyes, an’ prisintly he say’ right low:

“I ain’ skeered ob ghosts whut am, ’ca’se dey ain’ no ghosts.”

“Den whut am yo’ skeered ob?” ask he ma.

“Nuffin’,” say’ de li’l’ black boy whut he name is Mose; “but I jes feel kinder oneasy ’bout de ghosts whut ain’t.”

Jes lak white folks! Jes lak white folks!

[Pg 844]




IT is only a little provincial town, like many others in France. It has no famous monument, and the immediate neighborhood is neither imposing nor celebrated. And yet this little town, with its quiet streets, its modest houses, its limpid river, and its Champs de Mars, where in fine weather the prominent citizens come to discuss the events of the day, has a tranquil and intimate charm of its own, and the country thereabouts is so rich in smiling, changing views,—moist fields along the water’s-edge, wild heaths, and villages bathed in sunlight,—that the whole makes a picture that wins one’s heart at first sight.

Nemours lies in the department of Seine-et-Marne, that old part of France which used to be called La Brie, on the road leading from Fontainebleau to Montargis. As you approach the outlying houses, you come upon the first bridge that crosses the canal, on the sluggish waters of which glide unwieldy boats, heavily laden with wood, blocks of stone, or fine sand, and towed by mules or donkeys. Once over the bridge, to the right lies the main street, the Rue de Paris—naturally,[Pg 845] for what town of the provinces is without its Rue de Paris? And what Rue de Paris has not, on one side, a window with a tempting display of delicacies, and on the other, the shops of the haberdasher, the grain-seller, the ironmonger, the harness-maker, and the barber, who, in his shirt-sleeves, stands at his door waiting for customers; and last, the Café du Progrès, where, gathered about little tables, the men drink, and hold forth on the future of France. Then you cross a second stream, bordered with old lime-trees and overshadowed by the high walls of the convent. Here is the Hôtel de l’Ecu, which still has the royal arms on its worn façade, and in front of which the mail-coaches used to stop; here is the market-place; the church, which dates from the thirteenth century; and, before the church, the statue of the great man of the neighborhood, Etienne Bezout, the distinguished mathematician.

If the truth must be told, Etienne Bezout’s fame is hardly world-wide; but since, in the matter of celebrities, one takes what one can get, for many long years the townspeople have been glad to have this old worthy—with his eighteenth-century wig, and his finger pointing heavenward in an attitude of wisdom and abstraction—preside over their weekly markets and the meetings of their fire-company, as well as at their outpourings from mass, from funerals, weddings, and christenings.

Beyond the market-place there is yet a third bridge, the great bridge overlooking the river Loing. A few steps farther, and you are amused by the droll sight of the washerwomen as they beat out their linen, gossiping and shrieking on the bank, like so many frogs at the edge of a marsh. Over there is the old pond, where the cows linger, and farther still stands the feudal castle, with its square tower. Beyond this we look down on the garden of M. le Curé, the tanneries, the convent, the town mill, and, last of all, on the river, which, though choked with weeds, is charmingly picturesque by reason of its tiny islands, its bubbling waterfalls, and its Normandy poplars. Just across the bridge lie the suburbs of the little town, with its working-men’s houses, quaint roofs, and farm-yards; and then again the open country and the green fields.


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But to see Nemours as it should be seen, to catch the peculiar charm of this little corner of the provinces which Balzac has made famous in his “Ursule Mirouet,” we must retrace our steps. We must wander through certain fascinating old streets, with rough cobblestones and irregular sidewalks; the Rue du Prieuré, for instance, where the booths of the sabot-makers stand side by side with the tiny shops of the chair-caners; the Rue de l’Hospice, where old women in caps sit in their doorways knitting, and where the little orphan children march, two by two, under the guidance of the sisters of charity. We must glance at the gabled houses in the Place au Blé and the Place St.-Jean, or follow the Quai des Fosses, with its rows of flower-beds, where the trees make green arches along the edge of the river. Now we will steal into the courtyard of the old castle, which during the crusades was the fortress of the “great and mighty lords” of that part of the country, afterward the dwelling-place of the dukes of Nemours. Later, it was the bailiff’s court down to the time of the Revolution; since when it has gradually been transformed into a theater and dancing-hall, where nowadays traveling companies of actors stop to play “The Two Orphans” or “A Woman’s Punishment.” To-day the castle has a museum, for, just as any self-respecting town must have a “great man,” it must also have a museum, whether there is anything to put in it or not. Hence, it was an important day when the mayor of Nemours, adorned with his tricolored scarf, surrounded by the town councilors, and preceded by a flourish of trumpets, instituted this indispensable glory.

As we said before, the little town of Nemours has not been the scene of any startling event, but, like most of our provincial towns, it belongs to our past and is a part of our history. Its old walls have looked on some imposing ceremonies and have witnessed the arrival and departure of some celebrated personages. Did not Louis XIV himself condescend to enter Nemours in November, 1696? Later, in 1773, did not the Comtesse d’Artois choose it as a meeting-place with her sister, the Comtesse de Provence? One can imagine the militia of Nemours forming in line in the streets, the windows ablaze with lights, the thundering of cannon, the waving of flags, the sheriffs in their uni[Pg 847]forms of state, and the townspeople, on bended knees, offering to these great personages their homage and the freedom of the city.

Indeed, this meeting between the sisters must still stand as the most memorable incident in the annals or Nemours, for although in our day politics play a more important part than formerly, we must yet admit that official ceremonies have lost much of their old-time grandeur.


If we wish to understand the charm of the tranquil life of the provinces, we must visit some of the townspeople of Nemours, and see them at their daily tasks in the privacy of their own homes. In common with the most important world capitals, this tiny town has its own manner of living, its own customs and traditions. We should follow yonder stout gentleman as, umbrella in hand, he takes his daily walk with deliberate steps along the quay; we should say “Good afternoon” to M. le Curé, whose cassock we see among the trees of his quiet garden; we should also have a chat with the shoemaker at the corner; and, above all, we should not fail to have our beard trimmed by the barber in[Pg 848] the Rue Neuve. He is such a kindly fellow, this barber.


Just beyond the barber’s shop is the hatter’s, and he too seems well content with his lot. Not that his shop is spacious or his customers abundant. One wonders how many hats he sells in a week, for, in the memory of man, no one has ever seen two customers at the same time in his shop. Nevertheless, whenever you go into the Chappellerie des Elégants, you are certain to find M. Baudoin at his post behind the counter, alert and smiling, eager to show you all the novelties of the season. Above all things, do not venture to hint that his hats are not the very latest creations as to shape and style, as you would only surprise him, and inflict pain without standing a chance of convincing him. M. Baudoin is confident that he can compete with the most fashionable hatters in Paris, for has he not the best hats that are made? Besides, can Paris compare with Nemours? You would never make him believe it. He is proud of his native town, and despite his varied experience with men and things, he has never seen a finer city. This is the true provincial spirit.

M. Baudoin is no longer young. A few years more, and he will sell out his business, and with the proceeds of that sale, combined with his savings (for, like all good Frenchmen, he has been thrifty), will be able to end his peaceful life in ease and comfort. A little house in the suburbs, very new and very white; a tiny garden, with three or four fruit-trees, flower-beds with trim borders, and the inevitable fountain—this is M. Baudoin’s dream of an ideal old age.

This is, likewise, the dream of M. Robichon, the clock-maker; of M. Troufleau, the tailor; and of M. Camus, the grain-merchant, all of whom have spent their lives quietly in their little shops, selling from time to time a hat, a watch, or a bag of grain. For the most part, they have been happy. Their sons will have a modest inheritance, and will carry on[Pg 849] the trade of their fathers, unless one, fired with unusual ambition, should some day become a country doctor or lawyer’s clerk.

Color-Tone, engraved for THE CENTURY by H. Davidson




Such are the people, born in the little town or its immediate vicinity. In addition to this native population, there is a colony of residents who have come from Paris or elsewhere and, attracted by the charm of the place, have bought country houses in the neighborhood.

Although only two hours’ distance by rail from Paris, Nemours is a typical corner of the provinces, where members of the lower middle class, and even persons of independent means, come in search of rest and quiet; merchants who have retired from business, army officers on half-pay, professors grown gray in service, and, oddly enough, a large number of artists, painters, sculptors, and actors. Some come for the summer only; others live in or near Nemours all the year round.

It is not every French provincial town that can rival Nemours in one respect: beside one of the new and dreadful houses its owner has seen fit to erect a kind of ruin, an imitation in miniature of an old fortified castle, with simulated remains of battlements, sham doors of the middle ages, barred windows, etc. He has even taken the trouble to have a real bullet embedded in the wall of his precious ruin—a bullet fired, it is said, by the Prussians during their campaign in France! Above the bullet, the date of the memorable event is placed in large letters—1814! The bullet looks not unlike a tennis-ball; the ruin itself seems to be made of papier-mâché; and, with the new house by the side of the sham ruin, the tout ensemble of this delightful little property is a triumph of the grotesque. It is certain that it is not this new and expensive quarter which lends to Nemours its strange charm, any more than in other French towns, or in Paris itself, where the modern attempts at architecture are veritable eyesores.

After all, each man enjoys life in his own way; and so M. Chevillard, a retired lawyer, who does not own any ruins, and who, strange to say, does not desire any, has a passion of an entirely different kind. M. Chevillard’s passion is fishing. He has chosen Nemours as his abiding-place simply because its three watercourses abound in pike and roach; but that fact does not imply that M. Chevillard catches many of them. Nevertheless, every day we may see him seated placidly on his camp-stool, on the bank of the river, near the bridge, wearing an enormous straw hat, which the suns of many summers have tanned a rich golden-brown, the shade of well-toasted bread. He holds a fishing-rod in his hand; the line falls into the water, and its tiny red cork moves gently to and fro with the current. When this red cork drifts toward the dark shadows under the bridge, M. Chevillard jerks his rod up quickly, and we hear the line whistle in the air; then, in the twinkling of an eye, the cork falls back on the surface of the water, and the game begins again; and so it goes on all day and every day.

The strange thing is, however, that nearly every one in Nemours has this same passion for fishing. All along the river, the canal, and the smaller stream, we see rows of yellow hats, and, under them, any number of kindly men and women of all ages, who sit calmly from morning till night, watching their lines.

In addition to this large body of fishermen, there are sportsmen; but do not imagine that they are any more successful. Formerly, this part of the country abounded in game; but of late years, owing to the increasing number of these sportsmen, the pheasants have rapidly diminished. As the cost of a hunting license in France is moderate, the humblest grocer may have the privilege of stringing a cartridge-case across his chest, and, attired in brown linen, with his grandfather’s old gun on his shoulder, may revel in the joys of the chase. It is not the humble grocer alone, however, who is responsible for the terrible slaughter of birds. All the other grocers, his friends and neighbors, would feel themselves disgraced if they did not follow his example; so, along with the grocers come the ironmongers, the harness-makers, and the innkeepers, in such overwhelming numbers that within a week after the opening of the shooting season not a hair or a feather is left to tell the tale.

Greatly disturbed by this state of affairs, the sportsmen of Nemours decided to found a society for the protection of game. Alas! within a few months serious differences arose in the society, which was promptly divided into two rival factions. Each faction had its own territory;[Pg 850] and from that moment bird-shooting was forgotten by both parties in their eagerness to chase each other. The chief idea of each faction was to guard jealously its own territory; and fierce injunctions were sent to those imprudent sportsmen who ventured to trespass on forbidden ground. As the respective shooting territories grow smaller each year, and the two societies show no signs of being reconciled, there is grave reason to fear that some fine day, not knowing how else to utilize their powder and shot, the sportsmen of Nemours may be forced to fire at one another!

For my own part, I do not imagine that these gentlemen have as yet any idea of resorting to such extreme measures; but, peaceful and serene as the little town is, it has its own private quarrels. Just as there are two sportsmen’s societies, so there are two clubs—two rival clubs, known, quite properly, as the Union Club and the Peace Club, where every evening, before dinner, the half-pay captains and the retired merchants come to play whist at a penny a point. The members are kindly men, honest and peaceful; but there is not one of them who is not firmly convinced that any other club but his own is the resort of ill-bred fellows, not fit associates for himself or his friends. There is an abundance of gossip in this little town, and gossip travels fast at card-tables as well as tea-tables. However, only a certain set among the residents care to lend an ear to the local small-talk.

During the summer, many artists come in quest of rest or an industrious solitude. They are the ones who really enjoy and appreciate more than any one else the strange, sweet charm of this little provincial town, where every house has its garden, and every garden its flowers; where the peaceful days go by with a slow and regular rhythm, and the silence is broken only by the sound of the angelus or the ring of the blacksmith’s anvil.

The one noisy time in the week is market-day, when the throngs of covered wagons, drawn by strong cart-horses, the peasant women in their white caps and the men in their blue blouses bringing in cattle, poultry, fruit, and vegetables, make a lively and attractive scene; when the air is full of the crack of whips and the tinkle of bells, and gay with songs, cries, and laughter. But it may not be long before the country carts will give way to automobiles, the white caps to beflowered hats, and the blouses to jackets of the latest cut.


Author of “Romantic Germany,” “Romantic America,” etc.

UMAN nature abhors a vacuum, especially a vacuum inside itself. Offer the ordinary man a week’s vacation all alone, and he will look as though you were offering him a cell in Sing Sing.

“There are a great many people,” says that wise and popular oracle, Ruth Cameron, “to whom there is no prospect more terrifying than that of a few hours with only their own selves for company. To escape that terrible catastrophe, they will make friends with the most fearful bore or read the most stupid story…. If such people are marooned a few hours, not only without human companionship, but even without a book or magazine with which to screen their own stupidity from themselves, they are fairly frantic.”

If any one hates to be alone with himself, the chances are that he has not much of any self to be alone with. He is in as desolate a condition as a certain Mr. Pease of Oberlin, who, having lost his wife and children, set up his own tombstone and chiseled upon it this epitaph:

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“Here lies the pod.
The Pease are shelled and gone to God.”
Now, pod-like people are always solitary wherever other people are not; and there is, of course, nothing much more distressing than solitariness. These people, however, through sheer ignorance, fall into a confusion of thought. They suppose that solitude and solitariness are the same thing. To the artist in life there is just one difference between these two: it is the difference between heaven and its antipodes. For, to the artist in life, solitude is solitariness plus the Auto-comrade.

As it is the Auto-comrade who makes all the difference, I shall try to describe his appearance. His eyes are the most arresting part of him. They never peer stupidly through great, thick spectacles of others’ making. They are scarcely ever closed in sleep, and sometimes make their happiest discoveries during the small hours. Indeed, these hours are probably called small because the Auto-comrade often turns his eyes into the lenses of a moving-picture machine that is so entertaining that it compresses the hours to seconds. These eyes, through constant, alert use, have become sharp. They can pierce through the rinds of the toughest personalities, and even penetrate on occasion into the future. They can also take in whole panoramas of the past in one sweeping look. For they are of that “inner” variety through which Wordsworth, winter after winter, used to survey his daffodil-fields. “The bliss of solitude,” he called them.

The Auto-comrade has an adjustable brow. It can be raised high enough to hold and reverberate and add rich overtones to the grandest chords of thought ever struck by a Plato, a Buddha, or a Kant. The next instant it may easily be lowered to the point where Hy Mayer’s latest cartoon or the tiny cachinnation of a machine-made Chesterton paradox will not ring entirely hollow. As for his voice, it can at times be more musical than Melba’s or Caruso’s. Without being raised above a whisper, it can girdle the globe. It can barely breathe some delicious new melody; yet the thing will float forth not only undiminished, but gathering beauty, significance, and incisiveness in every land it passes through.

The Auto-comrade is an erect, wiry young figure of an athlete. As he trades at the Seven-League Boot and Shoe Concern, it never bothers him to accompany you on the longest tramps. His feet simply cannot be tired out. As for his hands, they are always alert to give you a lift up the rough places on the mountain-side. He has remarkable presence of body. In any emergency he is usually the best man on the spot.

A popular saw asserts that “looks do not count.” But in this case they do count. For the Auto-comrade looks exactly like himself. He is at once seer, creator, accomplisher, and present help in time of trouble. But his every-day occupation is that of entertainer. He is the joy-bringer—the Prometheus of pleasure. In his vicinity there is no such thing as ennui or lonesomeness. Emerson wrote:

“When I would spend a lonely day
Sun and moon are in my way.”
But for pals of the Auto-comrade, not only sun, moon, etc., are in the way, but all of his own unlimited resources. For every time and season he has a fittingly varied repertory of entertainment.

Now and again he startles you with the legerdemain feat of snatching brand-new ideas out of the blue, like rabbits out of a hat. While you stand at the port-hole of your cabin and watch the rollers rushing back to the beloved home-land you are quitting, he marshals your friends and acquaintances into a long line for a word of greeting or a rapid-fire chat, just as though you were some idol of the people, and were steaming past the Statue of Liberty on your way home from lion-slaughter in Africa, and the Auto-comrade were the factotum at your elbow who asks, “What name, please?”

After the friends and acquaintances, he even brings up your bêtes noires and dearest enemies for inspection and comment. Strangely enough, viewed in this way, these persons no longer seem so contemptible or pernicious or devilish as they once did. At this point your factotum rubs your eye-glasses bright with the handkerchief he always carries about for slate-cleaning purposes, and, lo! you even begin to discover hitherto unsuspected good points about the chaps.

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Then there are always your million and one favorite melodies which nobody but that all-around musical amateur, the Auto-comrade, can so exquisitely whistle, hum, strum, fiddle, blat, or roar. There is also a universeful of new ones for him to improvise. And he is the jolliest sort of fellow-musician, because, when you play or sing a duet with him, you can combine with the exciting give-and-take and reciprocal stimulation of the duet the godlike autocracy of the solo, with its opportunity for uninterrupted, uncoerced, wide self-expression. Sometimes, however, in the first flush of escape with him to the wilds, you are fain to clap your hand over his mouth in order the better to taste the essentially folkless savor of solitude. For music is a curiously social art, and Browning was right when he said, “Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.”

Perhaps you can find your entertainer a small lump of clay or modeling-wax to thumb into bad caricatures of those you love and good ones of those you hate, until increasing facility impels him to try and model not a Tanagra figurine, for that would be unlike his original fancy, but a Hoboken figurine, say, or a sketch for some Elgin (Illinois) marbles.

If you care anything for poetry and can find him a stub of pencil and an unoccupied cuff, he will be most completely in his element; for if there is any one occupation more closely identified with him than another, it is that of poet. And though all Auto-comrades are not poets, all poets are Auto-comrades. Every poem which has ever thrilled this world or another has been written by the Auto-comrade of some so-called poet. This is one reason why the so-called poets think so much of their great companions. “Allons! after the great companions!” cried old Walt to his fellow-poets. If he had not overtaken, and held fast to, his, we should never have heard the “Leaves of Grass” whispering “one or two indicative words for the future.” The bards have always obeyed this call. And they have known how to value their Auto-comrades, too. See, for example, what Keats thought of his:

Though the most beautiful Creature were waiting for me at the end of a Journey or a Walk; though the Carpet were of Silk, the Curtains of the morning Clouds; the chairs and Sofa stuffed with Cygnet’s down; the food Manna, the Wine beyond Claret, the Window opening on Winander mere, I should not feel—or rather my Happiness would not be so fine, as my Solitude is sublime. Then instead of what I have described, there is a sublimity to welcome me home—The roaring of the wind is my wife and the Stars through the window pane are my Children…. I feel more and more every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds—No sooner am I alone than shapes of epic greatness are stationed around me, and serve my Spirit the office which is equivalent to a King’s body-guard…. I live more out of England than in it. The Mountains of Tartary are a favorite lounge, if I happen to miss the Alleghany ridge, or have no whim for Savoy.

This last sentence not only reveals the fact that the Auto-comrade, equipped as he is with a wishing-mat, is the very best cicerone in the world, but also that he is the ideal tramping companion. Suppose you are mountain-climbing. As you start up into “nature’s observatory,” he kneels in the dust and fastens wings upon your feet. He conveniently adjusts a microscope to your hat-brim, and hangs about your neck an excellent telescope. He has enough sense, as well, to keep his mouth shut. For, like Hazlitt, he “can see no wit in walking and talking.” The joy of existence, you find, rarely tastes more cool and sweet and sparkling than when you and your Auto-comrade make a picnic thus, swinging in a basket between you a real, live thought for lunch. On such an occasion you come to believe that Keats, on another occasion, must have had his Auto-comrade in mind when he remarked to his friend Solitude that

“… it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.”
The Auto-comrade can sit down with you in thick weather on a barren lighthouse rock and give you a breathless day by hanging upon the walls of fog the mellow screeds of old philosophies, and causing to march and countermarch over[Pg 853] against them the scarlet and purple pageants of history. Hour by hour, too, he will linger with you in the metropolis, that breeder of the densest solitudes,—in market or morgue, subway, library, or lobby,—and hour by hour unlock you those chained books of the soul to which the human countenance offers the master key.

Something of a sportsman, too, is the Auto-comrade. He it is who makes the fabulously low score at golf—the kind of score, by the way, that is almost invariably born to blush unseen. And he will uncomplainingly, even zestfully, fish from dawn to dusk in a solitude so complete that there is not even a fin to break it. But if there are fish, he finds them. He knows how to make the flies float indefinitely forward through yonder narrow opening, and drop, as light as thistledown, in the center of the temptingly inaccessible pool. He knows without looking exactly how thick and prehensile are the bushes and branches that lie in wait for the back cast, and he can calculate to a grain how much urging the sulky four-pounder and the blest tie that binds him to the four-ounce rod will stand.

He is one of the handiest possible persons to have along in the woods. When you take him on a canoe-trip with others, and the party comes to “white water,” he turns out to be a dead shot at rapid-shooting. He is sure to know what to do at the supreme moment when you jam your setting-pole immutably between two rocks and, with the alternative of making a hole in the water, are forced to let it go and grab your paddle. And before you have time to reflect that the pale-face in the bow can be depended upon to do just one thing at such a time, and that is the exact opposite of what you are urging him to do, you are hung up on a slightly submerged rock at the head of the chief rapid just in time to see the rest of the party disappear around the lower bend. At such a time, simply look to the Auto-comrade. He will carry you through. Also there is no one like him at the moment when, having felled your moose, leaned your rifle against a tree, and bent down the better to examine him, the creature suddenly comes back to life.

In tennis, when you wake up to find that your racket has just smashed a lob on the bounce from behind the court, making a clean ace between your paralyzed opponents, you ought to know that the racket was guided by that superior sportsman; and if you are truly modest, you will admit that the miraculous triple play wherewith your team whisked the base-ball championship out of the fire in the fourteenth inning was pulled off by the unaided efforts of a certain Young Men’s Christian Association of Auto-comrades.

There are other games about which he is not so keen: solitaire, for instance. For solitaire is a social game that soon loses its zest if there be not some devoted friend or relative sitting by and simulating that pleasurable absorption in the performance which you yourself only wish that you could feel.

This great companion can keep you from being lonely even in a crowd. But there is a certain kind of crowd that he cannot abide. Beware how you try to keep him in a crowd of unadulterated human porcupines! You know how the philosopher Schopenhauer once likened average humanity to a herd of porcupines on a cold day, who crowd stupidly together for warmth, prick one another with their quills, are mutually repelled, forget the incident, grow cold again, and repeat the whole thing ad infinitum.

In other words, the human porcupine is the person considered at the beginning of this one-sided discussion who, to escape the terrible catastrophe of confronting his own inner vacuum, will make friends with the most hideous bore. This creature, however, is much more rare than the misanthropic Schopenhauer imagined. It takes a long time to find one among such folk as lumbermen, Gipsies, shirt-waist operatives, fishermen, masons, trappers, sailors, tramps, and teamsters. If the philosopher had only had the pleasure of knowing those teamsters who sent him into paroxysms of rage by cracking their whips in the alley, I am sure that he would never have spoken so harshly of their minds as he did. The fact is that porcupines are not extremely common among the very “common” people. It may be that there is something stupefying about the airs which the upper classes, the best people, breathe and put on, but the social climber is apt to find the human porcupine in increasing herds as he scales the[Pg 854] heights. This curious fact would seem incidentally to show that our misanthropic philosopher must have moved exclusively in some of the best circles.

Now, if there is one thing above all others that the Auto-comrade cannot away with, it is the flaccid, indolent, stodgy brain of the porcupine. If people have let their minds slump down into porcupinishness, or have never taken the trouble to rescue them from that ignominious condition—well, the Auto-comrade is no snob; when all’s said, he is a rather democratic sort of chap, though he has to draw the line somewhere, you know, and he really must beg to be excused from rubbing shoulders with such intellectual rabble, for instance, as blocks upper Fifth Avenue on Sunday noons. He prefers instead the rabble which, on all other noons of the week, blocks the lower end of that variegated thoroughfare.

Such exclusiveness lays the Auto-comrade open, of course, to the charge of inhospitality. But “is not he hospitable,” asks Thoreau, “who entertains good thoughts?” Personally, I think he is. And I believe that this sort of hospitality does more to make the world worth living in than much conventional hugging to your bosom of porcupines whose language you do not speak, yet with whom it is embarrassing to keep silence.

If the Auto-comrade mislikes the porcupine, however, the feeling is returned with exorbitant interest. The alleged failings of auto-comradeship have always drawn grins, fleers, nudges, and jokes from the auto-comradeless. It is time the latter should know that the joke is really on him; for he is the most forlorn of mankind. The other is never at a loss. He is invulnerable, being one whom “destiny may not surprise nor death dismay.” But the porcupine is liable at any moment to be deserted by associates who are bored by his sharp, hollow quills. He finds himself the victim of a paradox which decrees that the hermit shall “find his crowds in solitude” and never be alone; but that the flocker shall every now and then be cast into inner darkness, where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The laugh is on the porcupine; but the laugh turns almost into a tear when one stops to realize the nature of his plight. Why, the poor wretch is actually obliged to be near some one else in order to enjoy a sense of vitality! In other words, he needs somebody else to do his living for him. He is a vicarious citizen of the world, holding his franchise only by courtesy of Tom, Dick, and Harry.

All the same, it is rather hard to pity him very profoundly while he continues to feel quite so contemptuously superior as he usually does. Why, the contempt of the average porcupine for pals of the Auto-comrade is akin to the contempt which the knights of chivalry felt for those paltry beings who were called clerks because they possessed the queer, unfashionable accomplishment of being able to read and write.

I remember that the loudest laugh achieved by a certain class-day orator at college came when he related how the literary guy and the tennis-player were walking one day in the woods, and the literary guy suddenly exclaimed: “Ah, leave me, Louis! I would be alone.” Even apart from the stilted language in which the orator clothed the thought of the literary guy, there is, to the porcupine, something irresistibly comic in such a situation. It is to him as though the literary guy had stepped up to the nearest policeman and begged for the room at Sing Sing already referred to.

Indeed, the modern porcupine is as suspicious of pals of the Auto-comrade as the porcupines of the past were of sorcerers and witches—folk, by the way, who probably consorted with spirits no more malign than Auto-comrades. “What,” asked the porcupines of one another, “can they be up to, all alone there in those solitary huts? What honest man would live like that? Ah, they must be up to no good. They must be consorting with the Evil One. Well, then, away with them to the stake and the river!”

As a matter of fact, it probably was not the Evil One that these poor folk were consorting with, but the Good One. For what is a man’s Auto-comrade, anyway, but his own soul, or the same thing by what other name soever he likes to call it with which he divides the practical, conscious part of his brain, turn and turn about, share and share alike? And what is a man’s own soul but a small stream of the infinite, eternal water of life? And what is heaven but a vast harbor where myriad[Pg 855] streams of soul flow down, returning at last to their Source in the bliss of perfect reunion? I believe that many a Salem witch was dragged to her death from sanctuary; for church is not exclusively connected with stained glass and collection-baskets. Church is also wherever you and your Auto-comrade can elude the starched throng and fall together, if only for a moment, on your knees.

Like the girl you left behind you, your Auto-comrade has much to gain by contrast with your flesh-and-blood associates, especially if this contrast is suddenly brought home to you after a too long separation from him. I shall never forget the thrill that was mine early one morning after two months of close, uninterrupted communion with one of my best and dearest friends. At the very instant when the turn of the road cut off that friend’s departing hand-wave, I was aware of a welcoming, almost boisterous shout from the hills of dream, and, turning quickly, beheld my long-lost Auto-comrade rushing eagerly down the slopes toward me.

Few joys may compare with the joy of such a sudden, unexpected reunion. It is like “the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land.” No, this simile is too disloyal to my friend. Well, then, it is like a beaker full of the warm South when you are leaving a good beer country and are trying to reconcile yourself to ditch-water for the next few weeks. At any rate, similes or not, there were we two together again at last. What a week of weeks we spent, pacing back and forth on the veranda of our log cabin, where we overlooked the pleasant sinuosities of the Sebois and gazed out together over golden beech and ghostly birch and blood-red maple banners to the purple mountains of the Aroostook. And how we did take stock of the immediate past, chuckling to find that it had not been a quarter so bad as I had stupidly supposed. What gilded forest trails were those which we blazed into the glamourous land of to-morrow! And every other moment these recreative labors would be interrupted while I pressed between the pages of a note-book some butterfly or sunset leaf or quadruply fortunate clover which my Auto-comrade found and turned over to me. Between two of those pages, by the way, I afterward found the argument of this paper.

Then, when the first effervescence of our meeting had lost a little of its first, fine, carbonated sting, what Elysian hours we spent over the correspondence of those other two friends, Goethe and Schiller! Passage after passage we would turn back to re-read and muse over. These we would discuss without any of the rancor or dogmatic insistence or one-eyed stubbornness that usually accompany the clash of mental steel on mental steel from a different mill. And without making any one else lose the thread or grow short-breathed or accuse us passionately of reading ahead, we would, on the slightest provocation, out-Fletcher Fletcher chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy. And we would underline and bracket and side-line and overline the ragged little paper volume, and scribble up and down its margins, and dream over its foot-notes, to our hearts’ content.

Such experiences, though, are all too rare with me. Why? Because my Auto-comrade is a rather particular person and will not associate with me unless I toe his mark.

“Come,” I propose to him, “let us go on a journey.”

“Hold hard,” says he, and looks me over appraisingly. “You know the rule of the Auto-comrades’ Union. We are supposed to associate with none but fairly able persons. Are you a fairly able person?”

If it turns out that I am not, he goes on a rampage, and begins to talk like an athletic trainer. The first thing he demands is that his would-be associate shall keep on hand a jolly good store of surplus vitality. You are expected to supply him exuberance somewhat as you supply gasolene to your motor.

Now, of course, there are in the world not a few invalids and other persons of low physical vitality whose Auto-comrades happen to have sufficient gasolene to keep them both running, if only on short rations. Most of these cases, however, are pathological. They have hot boxes at both ends of the machine, and their progress is destined all too soon to cease and determine. The rest of these cases are the rare exceptions which prove the rule. For unexuberant yet unpathological pals of the Auto-comrade are as rare as harmonious households in which the efforts of a[Pg 856] devoted and blissful wife support an able-bodied husband.

The rule is that you have got to earn exuberance for two. “Learn to eat balanced rations right,” thunders the Auto-comrade, laying down the law; “exercise, perspire, breathe, bathe, sleep out of doors, and sleep enough, rule your liver with a rod of iron, don’t take drugs or nervines, cure sickness beforehand, do an adult’s work in the world, have at least as much fun as you ought to have.”

“That,” he goes on, “is the way to develop enough physical exuberance so that you will be enabled to overcome your present sad addiction to mob intoxication. And, provided your mind is not in as bad condition as your body, this physical over-plus will transmute some of itself into a spiritual exuberance. This will enable you to have more fun with your mind than an enthusiastic kitten has with its tail. It will enable you to look before and after, and purr over what is, as well as to discern, with pleasurable longing, what is not, and set forth confidently to capture it.”

But if, by any chance, you have allowed your mind to get into the sort of condition which the old-fashioned German scholar used to allow his body to get into, it develops that the Auto-comrade hates a flabby brain almost as much as he hates a flabby body. He soon makes it clear that he will not have much to do with any one who has not yet mastered the vigorous and highly complex art of not worrying. Also, he demands of his companion the knack of calm, consecutive thought. This is one reason why so many more Auto-comrades are to be found in crow’s-nests, Gipsy-vans, and shirt-waist factories than on upper Fifth Avenue. For, watching the stars and the sea from a swaying masthead, taking light-heartedly to the open road, or even operating a rather unwholesome sewing-machine all day in silence, is better for consecutiveness of mind than a never-ending round of offices, clubs, servants, committee meetings, teas, dinners, and receptions, to each of which one is a little late.

No matter what the ignorant or the envious may say, there is nothing really unsocial in a moderate indulgence in the art of auto-comradeship. A few weeks of it bring you back a fresher, keener appreciator of your other friends and of humanity in general than you were before setting forth. In the continuous performance of the psalm of life such contrasts as this of solos and choruses have a reciprocal advantage.

But auto-comradeship must not be overdone, as it was overdone by the medieval monks. Its delights are too delicious, its particular vintage of the wine of experience too rich, for long-continued consumption. Consecutive thought, though it is one of man’s greatest pleasures, is at the same time almost the most arduous labor that he can perform. And after a long spell of it, both the Auto-comrade and his companion become exhausted and, perforce, less comradely.

Besides the incidental exhaustion, there is another reason why this beatific association must have its time-limit; for, unfortunately, one’s Auto-comrade is always of the same sex as oneself, and in youth, at least, if the presence of the complementary part of creation is long denied, there comes a time when this denial surges higher and higher in subconsciousness, then breaks into consciousness, and keeps on surging until it deluges all the tranquillities, zests, surprises, and excitements of auto-comradeship, and makes them of no effect.

This is, perhaps, a wise provision for the salvation of the human digestion. For, otherwise, many a man, having tasted of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of auto-comradeship, might thereupon be tempted to retire to his hermit’s den hard by and endeavor to sustain himself for life on apple-sauce.

Most of us, however, long before such extremes have been reached, are sure to rush back to our kind for the simple reason that we are enjoying auto-comradeship so much that we want some one else to enjoy it with.

[Pg 857]



Author of “Molly Make-Believe,” etc.




ON the day of her graduation from the training-school, the White Linen Nurse was overcome by hysteria. For weeks she had been working too hard, and two or three cases with which she had been connected having gone wrong, she had racked herself with an absurd sense of responsibility. Now, in her distracted state, the visible sign of her self-contempt was the perfectly controlled expression of her trained-nurse face.

From a scene in her room with her two room-mates, in which confidences are exchanged, she rushed to the office of the Superintendent of Nurses, and hysterically demanded her own face. The Senior Surgeon was sent for, and after tartly telling the girl she was a fool, finally took her with him and his little crippled daughter for a thirty-mile trip into the country, where he had been summoned on a difficult case.

On their return, the Senior Surgeon lost control of the machine on a steep hill, and the three were thrown out.

On recovering consciousness, the White Linen Nurse and the Child find the Senior Surgeon pinned under their motor-car, and after receiving instructions as to its management, the Nurse runs the car into a brook, and the Senior Surgeon becomes aware for the first time that the car is afire. Momentarily unnerved by the thought of the peril in which he has been, the Senior Surgeon clings to the White Linen Nurse, and finally proposes that, since she has decided to give up professional nursing, she take up General Heartwork for him and his daughter. The proposal is in fact a proposal of marriage, and after a frank discussion of the situation (which is one of the most significant and powerful pieces of work of the author), the White Linen Nurse accepts.

In the course of the discussion the Senior Surgeon confesses an inherited tendency for drink, and adds that he leaves liquor alone for eleven months in the year, but always goes off to Canada every June for a hunting-trip, on which he drinks heavily. She insists that he go this year and that they marry before his departure, and not on his return, as he wishes. She wins her way, and the Senior Surgeon goes alone. Disquieting letters from her recall him before the end of the month.

NOBODY looks very well in the dawn. Certainly the Senior Surgeon didn’t. Heavily, as a man wading through a bog of dreams, he stumbled out of his cabin into the morning. Under his drowsy, brooding eyes appalling shadows circled. Behind his sunburn, deeper than his tan, something sinister and uncanny lurked wanly like the pallor of a soul. Yet the Senior Surgeon had been most blamelessly abed and asleep since griddle-cake-time the previous evening.

Only the mountains and the forest and the lake had been out all night. For seventy miles of Canadian wilderness only the mountains and the forest and the lake stood actually convicted of having been out all night. Dank and white with its vaporous vigil, the listless lake kindled wanly to the new day’s breeze. Blue with cold, a precipitous mountain peak lurched craggedly home through a rift in the fog. Drenched with mist, bedraggled with dew, a green-feathered pine-tree lay guzzling insatiably at a leaf-brown pool. As monotonous as a sob, the waiting birch canoe slosh-sloshed against the beach.

There was no romantic smell of red[Pg 858] roses in this June landscape; just tobacco smoke, and the faint reminiscent fragrance of fried trout, and the mournful, sizzling, pungent consciousness of a camp-fire quenched for a whole year with a tinful of wet coffee-grounds.

Gliding out cautiously into the lake as though the mere splash of a paddle might shatter the whole glassy surface, the Indian guide propounded the question that was uppermost in his mind.

“Cutting your trip a bit short this year, ain’t you, Boss?” he quizzed tersely.

Out from his muffling Mackinaw collar the Senior Surgeon parried the question with an amazingly novel sense of embarrassment.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he answered with studied lightness. “There are one or two things at home that are bothering me a little.”

“A woman, eh?” said the Indian guide, laconically.

“A woman?” thundered the Senior Surgeon. “A—woman? Oh, ye gods, no! It’s wall-paper.”

Then suddenly and unexpectedly in the midst of his passionate refutation the Senior Surgeon burst out laughing, boisterously, hilariously, like a crazy school-boy. Bluntly from an overhanging ledge of rock the echo of his laugh came mocking back at him. Down from some unvisioned mountain fastness the echo of that echo came wafting faintly to him.

The Senior Surgeon’s laugh was made of teeth and tongue and palate and a purely convulsive physical impulse; but the echo’s laugh was a fantasy of mist and dawn and inestimable balsam-scented spaces, where little green ferns and little brown beasties and soft-breasted birdlings frolicked eternally in pristine sweetness.

Seven miles farther down the lake, at the beginning of the rapids, the Indian guide spoke again. Racking the canoe between two rocks, paddling, panting, pushing, sweating, the Indian guide lifted his voice high, piercing, above the swirling roar of waters.

“Eh, Boss,” he shouted, “I ain’t never heard you laugh before!”

Neither man spoke again more than once or twice during the long, strenuous hours that were left to them. The Indian guide was very busy in his stolid mind trying to figure out just how many rows of potatoes could be planted fruitfully between his front door and his cowshed. I don’t know what the Senior Surgeon was trying to figure out.

It was just four days later, from a rolling, musty-cushioned hack, that the Senior Surgeon disembarked at his own front gate.

Even though a man likes home no better than he likes—tea, few men would deny the soothing effect of home at the end of a long, fussy railroad journey. Five o’clock, also, of a late June afternoon is a peculiarly wonderful time to be arriving home, especially if that home has a garden about it, so that you are thereby not rushed precipitously upon the house itself, as upon a cup without a saucer, but can toy visually with the whole effect before you quench your thirst with the actual draft.

Very, very deliberately, with his clumsy rod-case in one hand, and his heavy grip in the other, the Senior Surgeon started up the long, broad gravel path to the house. For a man walking as slow as he was, his heart was beating most extraordinarily fast. He was not accustomed to heart-palpitation. The symptom worried him a trifle. Incidentally, also, his lungs felt strangely stifled with the scent of June. Close at his right, an effulgent white-and-gold syringa-bush flaunted its cloying sweetness into his senses. Close at his left, a riotous bloom of phlox clamored red-blue-purple-lavender-pink into his dazzled vision. Multicolored pansies tiptoed velvet-footed across the grass. In soft, murky mystery a flame-tinted smoke-tree loomed up here and there like a faintly rouged ghost. Over everything, under everything, through everything, lurked a certain strange, novel, vibrating consciousness of occupancy—bees in the rose-bushes, bobolinks in the trees, a woman’s work-basket in the curve of the hammock, a doll’s tea-set sprawling cheerfully in the middle of the broad gravel path.

It was not until the Senior Surgeon had actually stepped into the tiny cream-pitcher that he noticed the presence of the doll’s tea-set. It was what the Senior Surgeon said as he stepped out of the cream-pitcher that summoned the amazing apparition from a ragged, green hole in the privet hedge. Startlingly white, startlingly professional,—dress, cap, apron,[Pg 859] and all,—a miniature white linen nurse sprang suddenly out at him like a tricky dwarf in a moving-picture show. Just at that particular moment the Senior Surgeon’s nerves were in no condition to wrestle with apparitions. Simultaneously, as the clumsy rod-case dropped from his hand, the expression of enthusiasm dropped from the face of the miniature white linen nurse.

“Oh, dear! oh, dear! oh, dear! have you come home!” wailed the familiar, shrill little voice.

Sheepishly the Senior Surgeon picked up his rod-case. The noises in his head were crashing like cracked bells. Desperately, with a boisterous irritability, he sought to cover also the lurching pound, pound, pound of his heart.

“What in hell are you rigged out like that for?” he demanded stormily.

With equal storminess the Little Girl protested the question.

“Peach said I could,” she attested passionately. “Peach said I could, she did! She did! I tell you, I didn’t want her to marry us that day. I was afraid, I was. I cried, I did. I had a convulsion; they thought it was stockings. So Peach said, if it would make me feel any gooderer, I could be the cruel new stepmother, and she’d be the unloved offspring, with her hair braided all yellow fluffikins down her back.”

“Where is—Miss Malgregor?” asked the Senior Surgeon, sharply.

Irrelevantly the Little Girl sank down on the gravel walk and began to gather up her scattered dishes.

“And it’s fun to go to bed now,” she confided amiably, “’cause every night I put Peach to bed at eight o’clock, and she’s so naughty always I have to stay with her. And then all of a sudden it’s morning—like going through a black room without knowing it.”

“I said, where is Miss Malgregor?” repeated the Senior Surgeon, with increasing sharpness.

Thriftily the Little Girl bent down to lap a bubble of cream from the broken pitcher.

“Oh, she’s out in the summer-house with the Wall-Paper Man,” she mumbled indifferently.

Altogether jerkily the Senior Surgeon started up the walk for his own perfectly formal and respectable brownstone mansion. Deep down in his lurching heart he felt a sudden most inordinate desire to reach that brownstone mansion just as quickly as possible, but abruptly even to himself he swerved off instead at the yellow sassafras-tree and plunged quite wildly through a mass of broken sods toward the rickety, no-account, cedar summer-house.

Startled by the crackle and thud of his approach, the two young figures in the summer-house jumped precipitously to their feet, and, limply untwining their arms from each other’s necks, stood surveying the Senior Surgeon in unspeakable consternation,—the White Linen Nurse and a blue-overalled lad most unconscionably mated in radiant youth and agonized confusion.

“Oh, my Lord, sir!” gasped the White Linen Nurse—“oh, my Lord, sir! I wasn’t looking for you for another week!”

“Evidently not,” said the Senior Surgeon, incisively. “This is the second time this evening that I’ve been led to infer that my home-coming was distinctly inopportune.”

Very slowly, very methodically, he put down first his precious rod-case and then his grip. His brain seemed fairly foaming with blood and confusion. Along the swelling veins of his arms a dozen primitive instincts went surging to his fists.

Then quite brazenly before his eyes the White Linen Nurse reached out and took the lad’s hand again.

“Oh, forgive me, Dr. Faber!” she faltered. “This is my brother.”

“Your brother? What? Eh?” choked the Senior Surgeon. Bluntly he reached out and crushed the young fellow’s fingers in his own. “Glad to see you, son,” he muttered, with a sickish sort of grin, and, turning abruptly, picked up his baggage again and started for the big house.

Half a step behind him his bride followed softly.

At the edge of the piazza he turned for an instant and eyed her a bit quizzically. With her big, credulous blue eyes, and her great mop of yellow hair braided childishly down her back, she looked inestimably more juvenile and innocent than his own little shrewd-faced six-year-old, whom he had just left domestically ensconced in the middle of the broad gravel path.

[Pg 860]

“For Heaven’s sake, Miss Malgregor,” he asked—“for Heaven’s sake, why didn’t you tell me that the Wall-Paper Man was your brother?”

Very contritely the White Linen Nurse’s chin went burrowing down into the soft collar of her dress, and as bashfully as a child one finger came stealing up to the edge of her red, red lips.

“I was afraid you’d think I was—cheeky, having any of my family come and live with us so soon,” she murmured almost inaudibly.

“Well, what did you think I’d think you were if he wasn’t your brother?” asked the Senior Surgeon, sardonically.

“Very economical, I hoped,” beamed the White Linen Nurse.

“All the same,” snapped the Senior Surgeon, with an irrelevance surprising even to himself—“all the same, do you think it sounds quite right and proper for a child to call her stepmother ’Peach’?”

Again the White Linen Nurse’s chin went burrowing down into the soft collar of her dress.

“I don’t suppose it is usual,” she admitted reluctantly. “The children next door, I notice, call theirs ’Crosspatch.’”

With a gesture of impatience, the Senior Surgeon proceeded on up the steps, yanked open the old-fashioned shuttered door, and burst quite breathlessly and unprepared upon his most amazingly reconstructed house. All in one single second chintzes, muslins, pale blond maples, riotous canary-birds stormed revolutionarily upon his outraged eyes. Reeling back utterly aghast before the sight, he stood there staring dumbly for an instant at what he considered, and rightly too, the absolute wreck of his black-walnut home.

“It looks like—hell!” he muttered feebly.

“Yes, isn’t it sweet?” conceded the White Linen Nurse, with unmistakable joyousness. “And your library—” Triumphantly she threw back the door to his grim workshop.

“Good God!” stammered the Senior Surgeon, “you’ve made it pink!”

Rapturously the White Linen Nurse began to clasp and unclasp her hands.

“I knew you’d love it,” she said.

Half dazed with bewilderment, the Senior Surgeon started to brush an imaginary haze from his eyes, but paused midway in the gesture, and pointed back instead to a dapper little hall-table that seemed to be exhausting its entire blond strength in holding up a slender green vase with a single pink rose in it. Like a caged animal buffeting for escape against each successive bar that incased it, the man’s frenzied irritation hurled itself hopefully against this one more chance for explosive exit.

“What—have—you—done—with the big—black—escritoire that stood—there?” he demanded accusingly.

“Escritoire? Escritoire?” worried the White Linen Nurse. “Why—why, I’m afraid I must have mislaid it.”

“Mislaid it?” thundered the Senior Surgeon. “Mislaid it? It weighed three hundred pounds!”

“Oh, it did?” questioned the White Linen Nurse, with great blue-eyed interest. Still mulling apparently over the fascinating weight of the escritoire, she climbed up suddenly into a chair, and with the fluffy, broom-shaped end of her extraordinarily long braid of hair went angling wildly off into space after an illusive cobweb.

Faster and faster the Senior Surgeon’s temper began to search for a new point of exit.

“What do you suppose the servants think of you?” he stormed, “running round like that, with your hair in a pigtail, like a kid?”

“Servants?” cooed the White Linen Nurse. “Servants?” Very quietly she jumped down from the chair and came and stood looking up into the Senior Surgeon’s hectic face. “Why, there aren’t any servants,” she explained patiently. “I’ve dismissed every one of them. We’re doing our own work now.”

“Doing ’our own work?’” gasped the Senior Surgeon.

Worriedly the White Linen Nurse stepped back a little.

“Why, wasn’t that right?” she pleaded. “Wasn’t it right? Why, I thought people always did their own work when they were first married.” With sudden apprehensiveness she glanced round over her shoulder at the hall clock, and, darting out through a side door, returned almost instantly with a fierce-looking knife.

Color-Tone, engraved for THE CENTURY by H. C. Merrill and H. Davidson




“I’m so late now, and everything,” she[Pg 861] confided, “could you peel the potatoes for me?”

“No, I couldn’t,” said the Senior Surgeon, shortly. Equally shortly he turned on his heel, and, reaching out once more for his rod-case and grip, went on up the stairs to his own room.

One of the pleasantest things about arriving home very late in the afternoon is the excuse it gives you for loafing in your own room while other people are getting supper. No existent domestic sound in the whole twenty-four hours is as soothing at the end of a long journey as the sound of other people getting supper.

Stretched out at full length in a big easy-chair by his bedroom window, with his favorite pipe bubbling rhythmically between his gleaming white teeth, the Senior Surgeon studied his new “solid-gold bed” and his new sage-green wall-paper and his new dust-colored rug, to the faint, far-away accompaniment of soft-thudding feet and a girl’s laugh and a child’s prattle and the tink, tink, tinkle of glass, china, silver,—all scurrying consciously to the service of one man, and that man himself.

Very, very slowly, in that special half-hour an inscrutable little smile printed itself experimentally across the right-hand corner of the Senior Surgeon’s upper lip.

While that smile was still in its infancy, he jumped up suddenly and forced his way across the hall to his dead wife’s room,—the one ghost-room of his house and his life,—and there, with his hand on the turning door-knob, tense with reluctance, goose-fleshed with strain, his breath gasped out of him whether or no with the one word, “Alice!”

And, behold! there was no room there!

Lurching back from the threshold as from the brink of an elevator-well, the Senior Surgeon found himself staring foolishly into a most sumptuous linen-closet, tiered like an Aztec cliff with home after home for pleasant, prosy blankets and gaily fringed towels and cheerful white sheets reeking most conscientiously of cedar and lavender. Tiptoeing cautiously into the mystery, he sensed at one astonished, grateful glance how the change of a partition, the readjustment of a proportion, had purged like a draft of fresh air the stale gloom of an ill-favored memory. Yet so inevitable did it suddenly seem for a linen-closet to be built right there, so inevitable did it suddenly seem for the child’s meager playroom to be enlarged just there, that to save his soul he could not estimate whether the happy plan had originated in a purely practical brain or a purely compassionate heart.

Half proud of the brain, half touched by the heart, he passed on exploringly through the new playroom out into the hall again.

Quite distinctly now through the aperture of the back stairs the kitchen voices came wafting up to him.

“Oh, dear! oh, dear!” wailed his Little Girl’s peevish voice, “now that—that man’s come back again, I suppose we’ll have to eat in the dining-room all the time!”

“‘That man’ happens to be your darling father,” admonished the White Linen Nurse’s laughing voice.

“Even so,” wailed the Little Girl, “I love you best.”

“Even so,” laughed the White Linen Nurse, “I love you best.”

“Just the same,” cried the Little Girl, shrilly—“just the same, let’s put the cream-pitcher ’way up high somewhere, so he can’t step in it.”

As though from a head tilted suddenly backward the White Linen Nurse’s laugh rang out in joyous abandon.

Impulsively the Senior Surgeon started to grin; then equally impulsively the grin soured on his lips. So they thought he was clumsy? Eh? Resentfully he stared down at his hands, those wonderfully dexterous, yes, ambidexterous, hands that were the aching envy of all his colleagues. Interruptingly as he stared, the voice of the young Wall-Paper Man rose buoyantly from the lower hallway.

“Supper’s all ready, sir!” came the clear, cordial summons.

For some inexplainable reason, at that particular moment almost nothing in the world could have irritated the Senior Surgeon more keenly than to be invited to his own supper, in his own house, by a stranger. Fuming with a new sense of injury and injustice, he started heavily down the stairs to the dining-room.

Standing patiently behind the Senior Surgeon’s chair with a laudable desire to assist his carving in any possible emergency that might occur, the White Linen Nurse experienced her first direct marital rebuff.

[Pg 862]

“What do you think this is, an autopsy?” demanded the Senior Surgeon, tartly. “For Heaven’s sake, go and sit down!”

Quite meekly the White Linen Nurse subsided into her place.

The meal that ensued could hardly have been called a success, though the room was entrancing, the cloth snow-white, the silver radiant, the guinea-chicken beyond reproach.

Swept and garnished to an alarming degree, the young Wall-Paper Man presided over the gravy and did his uttermost, innocent country-best to make the Senior Surgeon feel perfectly at home.

Conscientiously, as in the presence of a distinguished stranger, the Little Crippled Girl most palpably from time to time repressed her insatiable desire to build a towering pyramid out of all the salt-and pepper-shakers she could reach.

Once when the young Wall-Paper Man forgot himself to the extent of putting his knife in his mouth, the White Linen Nurse jarred the whole table with the violence of her warning kick.

Once when the Little Crippled Girl piped out impulsively, “Say, Peach, what was the name of that bantam your father used to fight against the minister’s bantam?” the White Linen Nurse choked piteously over her food.

Twice some one spoke about this year’s weather. Twice some one volunteered an illuminating remark about last year’s weather. Except for these four diversions, restraint indescribable hung like a horrid pall over the feast.

Next to feeling unwelcome in your friend’s house, nothing certainly is more wretchedly disconcerting than to feel unwelcome in your own house. Grimly the Senior Surgeon longed to grab up all the knives within reach and ram them successively into his own mouth, just to prove to the young Wall-Paper Man what a—what a devil of a good fellow he was himself. Grimly the Senior Surgeon longed to tell the White Linen Nurse about the pet bantam of his own boyhood days, that he bet a dollar could lick any bantam her father ever dreamed of owning. Grimly the Senior Surgeon longed to talk dolls, dishes, kittens, yes, even cream-pitchers, to his little daughter; to talk anything, in fact, to any one; to talk, sing, shout anything that would make him, at least for the time being, one at heart, one at head, one at table, with this astonishingly offish bunch of youngsters: but grimly instead, out of his frazzled nerves, out of his innate spiritual bashfulness, he merely roared forth, “Where are the potatoes?”

“Potatoes?” gasped the White Linen Nurse. “Potatoes? Oh, potatoes?” she finished more blithely. “Why, yes, of course. Don’t you remember you didn’t have time to peel them for me? I was so disappointed!”

“You were so disappointed?” snapped the Senior Surgeon. “You? You?”

Janglingly the Little Crippled Girl knelt right up in her chair and shook her tiny fist right in her father’s face.

“Now, Lendicott Faber,” she screamed, “don’t you start in sassing my darling little Peach!”

“Peach?” snorted the Senior Surgeon. With almost supernatural calm he put down his knife and fork and eyed his offspring with an expression of absolutely inflexible purpose. “Don’t you ever,” he warned her—“ever, ever, let me hear you call—this woman ‘Peach’ again!”

A trifle faint-heartedly the Little Crippled Girl reached up and straightened her absurdly diminutive little white cap, and pursed her little mouth as nearly as possible into an expression of ineffable peace.

“Why, Lendicott Faber!” she persisted heroically.

“Lendicott!” exclaimed the Senior Surgeon. “What are you ‘Lendicotting’ me for?”

Hilariously with her own knife and fork the Little Crippled Girl began to beat upon the table.

“Why, you dear silly!” she cried—“why, if I’m the new marma, I’ve got to call you Lendicott, and Peach has got to call you Fat Father.”

Frenziedly the Senior Surgeon pushed back his chair and jumped to his feet. The expression on his face was neither smile nor frown, nor war nor peace, nor any other human expression that had ever puckered there before.

“God!” he said, “this gives me the willies!” and strode tempestuously from the room.

Out in his own workshop, fortunately, whatever the grotesque new pinkness, whatever the grotesque new perkiness, his[Pg 863] great free walking-spaces had not been interfered with. Slamming his door triumphantly behind him, he resumed once more the monotonous pace, pace, pace that for eighteen years had characterized his first night’s return to civilization.

Sharply around the corner of his battered old desk the little path started, wanly along the edge of his dingy book-shelves the little path furrowed, wistfully at the deep bay-window, where his favorite lilac-bush budded whitely for his departure, and rusted brownly for his return, the little path faltered, and went on again, on and on and on, into the alcove where his instruments glistened, up to the fireplace, where his college trophy-cups tarnished. Listlessly the Senior Surgeon began anew his yearly vigil. Up and down, up and down, round and round, on and on and on, through interminable ducks to unattainable dawns, a glutted, bacchanalian soul sweating its own way back to sanctity and leanness. Nerves always were in that vigil—raw, rattling nerves clamoring vociferously to be repacked in their sedatives. Thirst also was in that vigil; no mere whimpering tickle of the palate, but a drought of the tissues, a consuming fire of the bones. Hurt pride was also there, and festering humiliation.

But more rasping, this particular night, than nerves, more poignant than thirst, more dangerously excitative even than remorse, hunger rioted in him—hunger, the one worst enemy of the Senior Surgeon’s cause, the simple, silly, no-account, gnawing, drink-provocative hunger of an empty stomach. And one other hunger was also there—a sudden fierce new lust for life and living, a passion bare of love, yet pure of wantonness, a passion primitive, protective, inexorably proprietary, engendered strangely in that one mad, suspicious moment at the edge of the summer-house when every outraged male instinct in him had leaped to prove that, love or no love, the woman was his.

Up and down, up and down, round and round, eight o’clock found the Senior Surgeon still pacing.

At half-past eight the young Wall-Paper Man came to say good-by to him.

“As long as sister won’t be alone any more, I guess I’ll be moving on,” beamed the Wall-Paper Man. “There’s a dance at home Saturday night, and I’ve got a girl of my own,” he confided genially.

“Come again,” urged the Senior Surgeon. “Come again when you can stay longer.” With one honest prayer in stock, and at least two purely automatic social speeches of this sort, no man needs to flounder altogether hopelessly for words in any ordinary emergency of life. With no more mental interruption than the two-minute break in time, the Senior Surgeon then resumed his bitter-thoughted pacing.

At nine o’clock, however, patrolling his long, rangy book-shelves, he sensed with a very different feeling through his heavy oak door the soft, whirring swish of skirts and the breathy twitter of muffled voices. Faintly to his acute ears came the sound of his little daughter’s temperish protest, “I won’t! I won’t!” and the White Linen Nurse’s fervid pleading, “Oh, you must! you must!” and the Little Girl’s mumbled ultimatum, “Well, I won’t unless you do.”

Irascibly he crossed the room and yanked the door open abruptly upon their surprise and confusion. His nerves were very sore.

“What in thunder do you want?” he snarled.

Nervously for an instant the White Linen Nurse tugged at the Little Girl’s hand. Nervously for an instant the Little Girl tugged at the White Linen Nurse’s hand. Then with a swallow like a sob the White Linen Nurse lifted her glowing face to his.

“K—kiss us good night!” said the White Linen Nurse.

Telescopically all in that startling second, vision after vision beat down like blows upon the Senior Surgeon’s senses. The pink, pink flush of the girl; the lure of her; the amazing sweetness; the physical docility—oh, ye gods, the docility! Every trend of her birth, of her youth, of her training, forcing her now, if he chose it, to unquestioning submission to his will and his judgment! Faster and faster the temptation surged through his pulses. The path from her lips to her ear was such a little path; the plea so quick to make, so short, “I want you now!”

“K—kiss us good night!” urged the big girl’s unsuspecting lips. “Kiss us good night!” mocked the Little Girl’s tremulous echo.

[Pg 864]

Then explosively, with the noblest rudeness of his life, “No, I won’t!” said the Senior Surgeon, and slammed the door in their faces.

Falteringly up the stairs he heard the two ascending, speechless with surprise, perhaps, stunned by his roughness, still hand in hand, probably, still climbing slowly bedward, the soft, smooth, patient footfall of the White Linen Nurse and the jerky, laborious clang, clang, clang of a little dragging, iron-braced leg.

Up and down, round and round, on and on and on, the Senior Surgeon resumed his pacing. Under his eyes great shadows darkened. Along the corners of his mouth the lines furrowed like gray scars. Up and down, round and round, on and on and on and on.

At ten o’clock, sitting bolt upright in her bed, with her worried eyes straining bluely out across the Little Girl’s somnolent form into unfathomable darkness, the White Linen Nurse in the throb of her own heart began to keep pace with that faint, horrid thud, thud, thud in the room below. Was he passing the bookcase now? Had he reached the bay-window? Was he dawdling over those glistening scalpels? Would his nerves remember the flask in that upper desk drawer? Up and down, round and round, on and on, the harrowing sound continued.

Resolutely at last she scrambled out of her snug nest, and, hurrying into her great warm, pussy-gray wrapper, began at once very practically, very unemotionally, with matches and alcohol and a shiny glass jar, to prepare a huge steaming cup of malted milk. Beefsteak was vastly better, she knew, or eggs, of course; but if she should venture forth to the kitchen for real substantials the Senior Surgeon, she felt quite positive, would almost certainly hear her and stop her. So very stealthily thus, like the proverbial assassin, she crept down the front stairs with the innocent malted-milk cup in her hand, and then with her knuckles just on the verge of rapping against the grimly inhospitable door, went suddenly paralyzed with uncertainty whether to advance or retreat.

Once again through the somber, inert wainscoting, exactly as if a soul had creaked, the Senior Surgeon sensed the threatening, intrusive presence of an unseen personality. Once again he strode across the room and jerked the door open with terrifying anger and resentment.

As though frozen there on his threshold by her own bare little feet, as though strangled there in his doorway by her own great mop of gold hair, as stolid and dumb as a pink-cheeked graven image, the White Linen Nurse thrust the cup out awkwardly at him.

Absolutely without comment, as though she trotted on purely professional business and the case involved was of mutual concern to them both, the Senior Surgeon took the cup from her hand and closed the door again in her face.

At eleven o’clock she came again, just as pink, just as blue, just as gray, just as golden. And the cup of malted milk she brought with her was just as huge, just as hot, just as steaming, only this time she had smuggled two raw eggs into it.

Once more the Senior Surgeon took the cup without comment and shut the door in her face.

At twelve o’clock she came again. The Senior Surgeon was unusually loquacious this time.

“Have you any more malted milk?” he asked tersely.

“Oh, yes, sir!” beamed the White Linen Nurse.

“Go and get it,” said the Senior Surgeon.

Obediently the White Linen Nurse pattered up the stairs and returned with the half-depleted bottle. Frankly interested, she recrossed the threshold of the room and delivered her glass treasure into the hands of the Senior Surgeon as he stood by his desk. Raising herself to her tiptoes, she noted with eminent satisfaction that the three big cups on the other side of the desk had all been drained to their dregs.

Then very bluntly before her eyes the Senior Surgeon took the malted-milk bottle and poured its remaining contents out quite wantonly into his waste-basket. Then equally bluntly he took the White Linen Nurse by the shoulders and marched her out of the room.

“For God’s sake,” he said, “get out of this room, and stay out!”

Bang! the big door slammed behind her. Like a snarling fang, the lock bit into its catch.

[Pg 865]

“Yes, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse. Even just to herself, all alone there in the big black hall, she was perfectly polite. “Y-e-s, sir,” she repeated softly.

With a slightly sardonic grin on his face, the Senior Surgeon resumed his pacing up and down, round and round, on and on and on.

At one o’clock, in the dull, clammy chill of earliest morning, he stopped long enough to light his hearthfire. At two o’clock he stopped again to pile on a trifle more wood. At three o’clock he dallied for an instant to close a window. The new day seemed strangely cold. At four o’clock dawn, the wonder, the miracle, the long-despaired-of, quickened wanly across the east; then suddenly, more like a phosphorescent breeze than a glow, the pale, pale yellow sunshine came wafting through the green gloom of the garden. The vigil was over.

Stumbling out into the shadowy hall to greet the new day and the new beginning, the Senior Surgeon almost tripped and fell over the White Linen Nurse, sitting all huddled up and drowsy-eyed in a gray little heap on his outer threshold. The sensation of stepping upon a human body is not a pleasant one. It smote the Senior Surgeon nauseously through the nerves of his stomach.

“What are you doing here?” he fairly screamed at her.

“Just keeping you company, sir,” yawned the White Linen Nurse. Before her hand could reach her mouth again, another great childish yawn overwhelmed her. “Just—watching with you, sir,” she finished more or less inarticulately.

“Watching with me?” snarled the Senior Surgeon, resentfully. “Why should you watch with me?”

Like the frightened flash of a bird the heavy lashes went swooping down across the pink cheeks and lifted as suddenly again.

“Because you’re my—man,” yawned the White Linen Nurse.

Almost roughly the Senior Surgeon reached down and pulled the White Linen Nurse to her feet.

“God!” said the Senior Surgeon. In his strained, husky voice the word sounded like an oath. Grotesquely a little smile went scudding zigzag across his haggard face. With an impulse absolutely alien to him he reached out abruptly again and raised the White Linen Nurse’s hand to his lips. “Good God was what I meant—Miss Malgregor,” he grinned a bit sheepishly.

Quite bruskly then he turned and looked at his watch.

“I’d like my breakfast just as soon now as you can possibly get it,” he ordered peremptorily, in his own morbid, pathological emergency no more stopping to consider the White Linen Nurse’s purely normal fatigue than he in any pathological emergency of hers would have stopped to consider his own comfort, safety, or, perhaps, even life.

Joyously then like a prisoner just turned loose, he went swinging up the stairs to recreate himself with a smoke and a shave and a great splashing, cold shower-bath.

Only one thing seemed really to trouble him now. At the top of the stairs he stopped for an instant and cocked his head a bit worriedly toward the drawing-room, where from some slow-brightening alcove bird-carol after bird-carol went fluting shrilly up into the morning.

“Is that those damned canaries?” he asked briefly.

Very companionably the White Linen Nurse cocked her own towsled head on one side and listened with him for half a moment.

“Only four of them are damned canaries,” she corrected very gently. “The fifth one is a parrakeet that I got at a mark-down because it was a widowed bird and wouldn’t mate again.”

“Eh?” jerked the Senior Surgeon.

“Yes, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse, and started for the kitchen.

No one but the Senior Surgeon himself breakfasted in state at five o’clock that morning. Snug and safe in her crib up-stairs the Little Crippled Girl slumbered peacefully on through the general disturbance. And as for the White Linen Nurse herself, what with chilling and rechilling melons, and broiling and unbroiling steaks, and making and remaking coffee, and hunting frantically for a different-sized water-glass or a prettier-colored plate, there was no time for anything except an occasional hurried, surreptitious nibble half-way between the stove and the table.

[Pg 866]

Yet in all that raucous, early morning hour together neither man nor girl suffered toward the other the slightest personal sense of contrition or resentment; for each mind was trained equally fairly, whether reacting on its own case or another’s, to differentiate pretty readily between mean nerves and a mean spirit.

Only once, in fact, across the intervening chasm of crankiness did the Senior Surgeon hurl a smile that was even remotely self-conscious or conciliatory. Glancing up suddenly from a particularly sharp and disagreeable speech, he noted the White Linen Nurse’s red lips mumbling softly one to the other.

“Are you specially—religious, Miss Malgregor?” he grinned quite abruptly.

“No, not specially, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse. “Why, sir?”

“Oh, it’s only,” grinned the Senior Surgeon, dourly—“it’s only that every time I’m especially ugly to you, I see your lips moving as though in ‘silent prayer,’ as they call it; and I was just wondering if there was any special formula you used with me that kept you so everlastingly damned serene. Is there?”

“Yes, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse.

“What is it?” demanded the Senior Surgeon, quite bluntly.

“Do I have to tell?” gasped the White Linen Nurse. A little tremulously in her hand the empty cup she was carrying rattled against its saucer. “Do I have to tell?” she repeated pleadingly.

A delirious little thrill of power went fluttering through the Senior Surgeon’s heart.

“Yes, you have to tell me,” he announced quite seriously.

In absolute submission to his demand, though with very palpable reluctance, the White Linen Nurse came forward to the table, put down the cup and saucer, and began to finger a trifle nervously at the cloth.

“Oh, I’m sure I didn’t mean any harm, sir,” she stammered; “but all I say is,—honest and truly all I say is,—’Bah! he’s nothing but a man, nothing but a man, nothing but a man!’ over and over and over. Just that, sir.”

Uproariously the Senior Surgeon pushed back his chair and jumped to his feet.

“I guess, after all, I’ll have to let the little kid call you ‘Peach’ one day a week,” he acknowledged jocosely.

With great seriousness then he tossed back his great, splendid head, shook himself free apparently from all unhappy memories, and started for his workroom, a great, gorgeously vital, extraordinarily talented, gray-haired boy, lusting joyously for his own work and play again after a month’s distressing illness.

From the edge of the hall he turned round and made a really boyish grimace at her.

“Now, if I only had the horns or the cloven hoof that you think I have,” he called, “what an easy time I’d make of it, raking over all the letters and ads. that are stacked up on my desk!”

“Yes, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse.

Only once did he come back into the kitchen or dining-room for anything. It was at seven o’clock, and the White Linen Nurse was still washing dishes.

As radiant as a gray-haired god he towered up in the doorway. The boyish rejuvenation in him was even more startling than before.

“I’m feeling so much like a fighting-cock this morning,” he said, “I think I’ll tackle that paper on—that I have to read at Baltimore next month.” A little startlingly the gray lines furrowed into his cheeks again. “For Heaven’s sake, see that I’m not disturbed by anything!” he admonished her warningly.

It must have been almost eight o’clock when the ear-splitting scream from up-stairs sent the White Linen Nurse plunging out panic-stricken into the hall.

“Oh, Peach! Peach!” yelled the Little Girl’s frenzied voice, “come quick and see what Fat Father’s doing now, out on the piazza!”

Jerkily the White Linen Nurse swerved off through the French door that opened directly on the piazza. Had the Senior Surgeon hanged himself, she tortured, in some wild, temporary aberration of the “morning after”?

But stanchly and reassuringly from the farther end of the piazza the Senior Surgeon’s broad back belied her horrid terror. Quite prosily and in apparently perfect health he was standing close to the railing of the piazza. On a table directly beside him rested four empty bird-cages.[Pg 867] Just at that particular moment he was inordinately busy releasing the last canary from the fifth cage. Both hands were smouched with ink, and behind his left ear a fountain-pen dallied daringly.

At the very first sound of the White Linen Nurse’s step the Senior Surgeon turned and faced her with a sheepish sort of defiance.

“Well, now, I imagine,” he said—“well, now I imagine I’ve really made you mad.”

“No, not mad, sir,” faltered the White Linen Nurse—“no, not mad, sir, but very far from well.” Coaxingly, with a perfectly futile hand, she tried to lure one astonished yellow songster back from a swaying yellow bush. “Why, they’ll die, sir!” she protested. “Savage cats will get them.”

“It’s a choice of their lives or mine,” said the Senior Surgeon, tersely.

“Yes, sir,” droned the White Linen Nurse.

Quite snappishly the Senior Surgeon turned upon her.

“For Heaven’s sake, do you think canary-birds are more valuable than I am?” he demanded stentoriously.

Most disconcertingly before his glowering eyes a great sad, round tear rolled suddenly down the White Linen Nurse’s flushed cheek.

“N-o-o, not more valuable,” conceded the White Linen Nurse, “but more c-cunning.”

Up to the roots of the Senior Surgeon’s hair a flush of real contrition spread hotly.

“Why—Rae,” he stammered, “why, what a beast I am! Why—why—” In sincere perplexity he began to rack his brains for some adequate excuse, some adequate explanation. “Why, I’m sure I didn’t mean to make you feel badly,” he persisted. “Only I’ve lived alone so long that I suppose I’ve just naturally drifted into the way of having a thing if I wanted it and—throwing it away if I didn’t. And canary-birds, now? Well, really—” He began to glower all over again. “Oh, hell!” he finished abruptly, “I guess I’ll go on down to the hospital, where I belong!”

A little wistfully the White Linen Nurse stepped forward.

“The hospital?” she said. “Oh, the hospital. Do you think that perhaps you could come home a little bit earlier than usual to-night, and—and help me catch just one of the canaries?”

“What?” gasped the Senior Surgeon. Incredulously with a very inky finger he pointed at his own breast. “What? I?” he demanded. “I? Come home early from the hospital to help you catch a canary?”

Disgustedly, without further comment, he turned and stalked back again into the house.

The disgust was still in his walk as he left the house an hour later. Watching his exit down the long gravel path, the Little Crippled Girl commented audibly on the matter.

“Peach! Peach!” she called, “what makes Fat Father walk so—surprised?”

People at the hospital also commented upon him.

“Gee!” giggled the new nurses, “we bet he’s a Tartar! But isn’t his hair cute? And, say, is it really true that that Malgregor girl was pinned down perfectly helpless under the car and he wouldn’t let her out till she’d promised to marry him? Isn’t it awful? Isn’t it romantic?”

“Why, Dr. Faber’s back!” fluttered the old nurses. “Isn’t he wonderful? Isn’t he beautiful? But, oh, say,” they worried, “what do you suppose Rae ever finds to talk with him about? Would she ever dare talk things to him,—just plain every-day things,—hats, and going to the theater, and what to have for breakfast?” They gasped. “Why, yes, of course,” they reasoned more sanely. “Steak? Eggs? Even oatmeal? Why, people had to eat, no matter how wonderful they were. But evenings?” they speculated more darkly. “But evenings?” In the whole range of human experience was it even so much as remotely imaginable that, evenings, the Senior Surgeon and Rae Malgregor sat in the hammock and held hands? “Oh, gee!” blanched the old nurses.

“Good morning, Dr. Faber,” greeted the Superintendent of Nurses from behind her austere office desk.

“Good morning, Madam,” said the Senior Surgeon.

“Have you had a pleasant trip?” quizzed the Superintendent of Nurses.

“Exceptionally so, thank you,” said the Senior Surgeon.

[Pg 868]

“And—Mrs. Faber, is she well?” persisted the Superintendent of Nurses, conscientiously.

“Mrs. Faber?” gasped the Senior Surgeon. “Mrs. Faber? Oh, yes; why, of course. Yes, indeed, she’s extraordinarily well. I never saw her better.”

“She must have been very lonely without you this past month,” rasped the Superintendent of Nurses, perfectly polite.

“Yes, she was,” replied the flushed Senior Surgeon. “She—she suffered keenly.”

“And you, too?” drawled the Superintendent of Nurses. “It must have been very hard for you.”

“Yes, it was,” replied the Senior Surgeon. “I suffered keenly, too.”

Distractedly he glanced back at the open door. An extraordinarily large number of nurses, internes, orderlies, seemed to be having errands up and down the corridor that allowed them a peculiarly generous length of neck to stretch into the Superintendent’s office.

“Great Heavens!” snapped the Senior Surgeon, “what’s the matter with everybody this morning?” Tempestuously he started for the door. “Hurry up my cases, please, Miss Hartzen!” he ordered. “Send them to the operating-room, and let me get to work.”

At eleven o’clock, absolutely calm, absolutely cool, as pure as a girl in his white operating-clothes; cleaner, skin, hair, teeth, hands, than any girl who ever walked the face of the earth, in a white-tiled room as free from germs as himself, with three or four small glistening instruments, and half a dozen breathless assistants almost as spotless as himself, with his sleeves rolled back the whole length of his arms, and the faintest possible little grin twitching oddly at one corner of his mouth, he “went in,” as they say, to a new-born baby’s tortured, twisted spine, and took out fifty years, perhaps, of hunchbacked pain and shame and morbid passions flourishing banefully in the dark shades of a disordered life.

At half-past twelve he did an appendix operation on the only son of his best friend; at one o’clock he did another appendix operation. Whom it was on didn’t matter; it couldn’t have been worse on any one. At half-past one no one remembered to feed him. At two, in another man’s operation, he saw the richest merchant in the city go wafted out into eternity on the fumes of ether taken for the lancing of a sty. At three o’clock, passing the open door of one of the public waiting-rooms, an Italian peasant woman rushed out and spat in his face because her tubercular daughter had just died at the sanatorium where the Senior Surgeon’s money had sent her. Only in this one wild, defiling moment did the lust for alcohol surge up in him again, surge clamorously, brutally, absolutely mercilessly, as though in all the world only interminable raw whisky was hot enough to cauterize a polluted consciousness. At half-past three, as soon as he could change his clothes again, he rebroke and reset an acrobat’s priceless leg. At five o’clock, more to rest himself than anything else, he went up to the autopsy amphitheater to look over an exhibit of enlarged hearts whose troubles were permanently over.

At six o’clock, just as he was leaving the great building, with all its harrowing sights, sounds, and smells, a peremptory telephone call from one of the younger surgeons of the city summoned him back into the stuffy office again.

“Dr. Faber?”


“This is Merkley.”


“Can you come immediately and help me with that fractured-skull case I was telling you about this morning? We’ll have to trepan right away!”

“Trepan nothing!” grunted the Senior Surgeon. “I’ve got to go home early to-night—and help catch a canary.”

“Catch a what?” gasped the younger surgeon.

“A canary,” grinned the Senior Surgeon, mirthlessly.

“A what?” roared the younger man.

“Oh, shut up, you damned fool! Of course I’ll come,” said the Senior Surgeon.

There was no “boy” left in the Senior Surgeon when he reached home that night.

Gray with road-travel, haggard with strain and fatigue, it was long, long after the rosy sunset-time, long, long after the yellow supper light, that he came dragging up through the sweet-scented dusk of the garden and threw himself down without greeting of any sort on the top step of the piazza, where the White[Pg 869] Linen Nurse’s skirts glowed palely through the gloom.

Color-Tone, engraved for THE CENTURY by H. C. Merrill and H. Davidson




“Well, I put a canary-bird back into its cage for you,” he confided laconically. “It was a little chap’s soul. It sure would have gotten away before morning.”

“Who was the man that tried to turn it loose this time?” asked the White Linen Nurse.

“I didn’t say that anybody did,” growled the Senior Surgeon.

“Oh,” said the White Linen Nurse. “Oh.” Quite palpably a little shiver of flesh and starch went rustling through her. “I’ve had a wonderful day, too,” she confided softly. “I’ve cleaned the attic and darned nine pairs of your stockings and bought a sewing-machine and started to make you a white silk negligée shirt for a surprise.”

“Eh?” jerked out the Senior Surgeon.

The jerk seemed to liberate suddenly the faint vibration of dishes and the sound of ice knocking lusciously against a glass.

“Oh, have you had any supper, sir?” asked the White Linen Nurse.

With a prodigious sigh the Senior Surgeon threw his head back against the piazza railing and stretched his legs a little farther out along the piazza floor.

“Supper?” he groaned. “No; nor dinner, nor breakfast, nor any other blankety-blank meal as far back as I can remember.” Janglingly in his voice, fatigue, hunger, nerves, crashed together like the slammed notes of a piano. “But I wouldn’t move now,” he snarled, “if all the blankety-blank-blank foods in Christendom were piled blankety-blank-blank high on all the blankety-blank-blank tables in this whole blankety-blank-blank house.”

Ecstatically the White Linen Nurse clapped her hands.

“Oh, that’s just exactly what I hoped you’d say!” she cried. “’Cause the supper’s right here!”

“Here?” snapped the Senior Surgeon. Tempestuously he began all over again: “I tell you I wouldn’t lift my little finger if all the blankety-blank-blank-blank-blank—”

“Oh, goody, then!” said the White Linen Nurse. “’Cause now I can feed you! I sort of miss fussing with the canary-birds,” she added wistfully.

“Feed me?” roared the Senior Surgeon. Again something started a lump of ice tinkling faintly in a thin glass. “Feed me?” he began all over again.

Yet with a fragrant strawberry half as big as a peach held out suddenly under his nose, just from sheer, irresistible instinct he bit out at it, and nipped the White Linen Nurse’s finger instead.

“Ouch, sir!” said the White Linen Nurse.

Mumblingly down from an up-stairs window, as from a face flatted smouchingly against a wire screen, a peremptory summons issued.

“Peach! Peach!” called an angry little voice, “if you don’t come to bed now I’ll—I’ll say my curses instead of my prayers!”

A trifle nervously the White Linen Nurse scrambled to her feet.

“Maybe I’d better go,” she said.

“Maybe you had,” said the Senior Surgeon, quite definitely.

At the edge of the threshold the White Linen Nurse turned for an instant.

“Good night, Dr. Faber,” she whispered.

“Good night, Rae Malgregor—Faber,” said the Senior Surgeon.

“Good night what?” gasped the White Linen Nurse.

“Good night, Rae Malgregor—Faber,” repeated the Senior Surgeon.

Clutching at her skirts as though a mouse were after her, the White Linen Nurse went scuttling up the stairs.

Very late on into the night the Senior Surgeon lay there on his piazza floor, staring out into his garden. Very companionably from time to time, like a tame firefly, a little bright spark hovered and glowed for an instant above the bowl of his pipe. Puff, puff, puff; doze, doze, doze; throb, throb, throb, on and on and on and on into the sweet-scented night.

So the days passed, and the nights, and more days, and more nights—July, August, on and on and on. Strenuous, nerve-racking, heartbreaking surgical days, broken maritally only by the pleasant, soft-worded greeting at the gate, or the practical, homely appeal of good food cooked with heart as well as with hands, or the tingling, inciting masculine consciousness of there being a woman’s blush in the house. Strenuous, house-working, child-nursing, home-making domestic days, broken maritally only by the jaded, harsh[Pg 870] word at the gate, the explosive criticism of food, the deadening depressing feminine consciousness of there being a man’s vicious temper in the house.

Now and again, in one big automobile or another, the White Linen Nurse and the Senior Surgeon rode out together, always and forever with the Little Crippled Girl sitting between them, the other woman’s little crippled girl. Now and again in the late summer afternoons the White Linen Nurse and the Senior Surgeon strolled together through the rainbow-colored garden, always and forever with the Little Crippled Girl, the other woman’s little crippled girl, tagging close behind them with her little sad, clanking leg. Now and again in the long sweet summer evenings the White Linen Nurse and the Senior Surgeon sat on the clematis-shadowed porch together, always and forever with the Little Crippled Girl, the other woman’s little crippled girl, mocking them querulously from some vague upper window.

Now and again across the mutually ghost-haunted chasm that separated them flashed the incontrovertible signal of sex and sense, as when a new interne, grossly bungling, stood at the hospital window with a colleague to watch the Senior Surgeon’s car roll away as usual with its two feminine passengers.

“What makes the chief so stingy with that big handsome girl of his?” queried the new interne a bit resentfully. “He won’t ever bring her into the hospital, won’t ever ask any of us young chaps out to his house, and some of us come mighty near to being eligible, too. Who’s he saving her for, anyway? A saint? A miracle-worker? A millionaire medicine-man? They don’t exist, you know.”

“I’m saving her for myself,” snapped the Senior Surgeon, most disconcertingly from the doorway. “She—she happens to be my wife, not my daughter, thank you.” He hurried home that night as rattled as a boy, with a big bunch of new magazines and a box of candy as large as his head tucked courtingly under his arm.

Now and again across the chasm that separated them flashed the incontrovertible signal of mutual trust and appreciation, as when once, after a particularly violent vocal outburst on the Senior Surgeon’s part, he sobered down very suddenly and said:

“Rae Malgregor, do you realize that in all the weeks we’ve been together you’ve never once nagged me about my swearing? Not a word, not a single word!”

“I’m not very used to—words,” smiled the White Linen Nurse, a bit faintly. “All I know how to nag with is—is raw eggs. If we could only get those nerves of yours padded just once, sir!”

In August the Senior Surgeon suggested sincerely that the house was much too big for the White Linen Nurse to run all alone, but conceded equally sincerely, under the White Linen Nurse’s vehement protest, that servants, particularly new servants, did creak considerably round a house, and that maybe “just for the present” at least, until he finished the very nervous paper he was working on—perhaps it would be better to stay “just by ourselves.”

In September the White Linen Nurse wanted very much to go home to Nova Scotia to her sister’s wedding, but the Senior Surgeon was trying a very complicated and worrisome new brace on the Little Girl’s leg, and it didn’t seem quite kind to go. In October she planned her trip all over again. She was going to take the Little Crippled Girl with her this time. But with their trunks already packed and waiting in the hall, the Senior Surgeon came home from the hospital with a septic finger, and it didn’t seem quite best to leave him.

“Well, how do you like being married now?” asked the Senior Surgeon, a bit ironically in his workroom that night, after the White Linen Nurse had stood for an hour with evil-smelling washes and interminable bandages, trying to fix that finger the precise, particular way that he thought it ought to be fixed. “Well, how do you like being married now?” he insisted trenchantly.

“Oh, I like it all right, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse. A little bit wanly this time she smiled her pluck up into the Senior Surgeon’s questioning face. “Oh, I like it all right, sir. Oh, of course, sir,” she confided thoughtfully—“oh, of course, sir, it isn’t quite as fancy as being engaged, or quite as free and easy as being single; but, still,” she admitted with desperate honesty—[Pg 871]“but, still, there’s a sort of—a sort of a combination importance and—and comfort about it, sir, like a—like a velvet suit—the second year, sir.”

“Is that all?” quizzed the Senior Surgeon, bluntly.

“That’s all so far, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse.

In November the White Linen Nurse caught a bit of cold that pulled her down a little. But the Senior Surgeon didn’t notice it specially among all the virulent ills he lived and worked with from day to day. And then when the cold disappeared, Indian summer came like a reeking sweat after a chill. And the house was big, and the Little Crippled Girl was pretty difficult to manage now and then, and the Senior Surgeon, no matter how hard he tried not to, did succeed somehow in creating more or less of a disturbance at least every other day or two.

And then suddenly, one balmy, gold-and-crimson Indian summer morning, standing out on the piazza trying to hear what the Little Crippled Girl was calling from the window and what the Senior Surgeon was calling from the gate, the White Linen Nurse fell right down in her tracks, brutally, bulkily, like a worn-out horse, and lay, as she fell, a huddled white blot across the gray piazza.

“Oh, Father, come quick! Come quick! Peach has deaded herself!” yelled the Little Girl’s frantic voice.

Just with his foot on the step of his car the Senior Surgeon heard the cry and came speeding back up the long walk. Already there before him the Little Girl knelt, raining passionate, agonized kisses on her beloved playmate’s ghastly white face.

“Leave her alone!” thundered the Senior Surgeon. “Leave her alone, I say!”

Bruskly he pushed the Little Girl aside, and knelt to cradle his own ear against the White Linen Nurse’s heart.

“Oh, it’s all right,” he growled, and gathered the White Linen Nurse right up in his arms—she was startlingly lighter than he had supposed—and carried her up the stairs and put her to bed like a child in the great sumptuous guest-room, in a great sumptuous nest of all the best linens and blankets, with the Little Crippled Girl superintending the task with many hysterical suggestions and sharp, staccato interruptions. For once in his life the Senior Surgeon did not stop to quarrel with his daughter.

Rallying limply from her swoon, the White Linen Nurse at last stared out with hazy perplexity from her dimpling white pillows to see the Senior Surgeon standing amazingly at the guest-room bureau with a glass and a medicine-dropper in his hand, and the Little Crippled Girl hanging apparently by her narrow, peaked chin across the foot-board of the bed.

Gazing down worriedly at the lace-ruffled sleeve of her night-dress, the White Linen Nurse made her first public speech to the world at large.

“Who put me to bed?” whispered the White Linen Nurse.

Ecstatically the Little Crippled Girl began to pound her fists on the foot-board of the bed.

“Father did!” she cried in unmistakable triumph. “All the little hooks, all the little buttons! wasn’t it cunning?”

The Senior Surgeon would hardly have been human if he hadn’t glanced back suddenly over his shoulder at the White Linen Nurse’s quickly changing color. Quite irrepressibly, as he saw the red blood come surging home again into her cheeks, a short, chuckling little laugh escaped him.

“I guess you’ll live now,” he remarked dryly.

Then because a Senior Surgeon can’t stay home on the mere impulse of the moment from a great rushing hospital just because one member of his household happens to faint perfectly innocently in the morning, he hurried on to his work again, and saved a little boy, and lost a little girl, and mended a fractured thigh, and eased a gunshot wound, and came dashing home at noon in one of his thousand-dollar hours to feel the White Linen Nurse’s pulse and broil her a bit of tenderloin steak with his own thousand-dollar hands; and then went dashing off again to do one major operation or another, telephoned home once or twice during the afternoon to make sure that everything was all right, and, finding that the White Linen Nurse was comfortably up and about again, went sprinting off fifty miles somewhere on a meningitis consultation, and came dragging home at last, somewhere near midnight, to a big, black house brightened only by a single light in the kitchen, where[Pg 872] the White Linen Nurse went tiptoeing softly from stove to pantry in deft preparation of an appetizing supper for him.

Quite roughly again, without smile or appreciation, the Senior Surgeon took her by the shoulders and turned her out of the kitchen and started her up the stairs.

“Are you an idiot?” he said. “Are you an imbecile?” he came back and called up the stairs to her just as she was disappearing from the upper landing. Then up and down, round and round, on and on and on, the Senior Surgeon began suddenly to pace again.

Only, for some unexplainable reason to the White Linen Nurse up-stairs, his workroom didn’t seem quite large enough for his pacing this night. Along the broad piazza she heard his footsteps creak. Far, far into the morning, lying warm and snug in her own little bed, she heard his footsteps crackling through the wet-leafed garden paths.

Yet the Senior Surgeon didn’t look an atom jaded or forlorn when he came down to breakfast the next morning. He had on a brand-new gray suit that fitted his big, powerful shoulders to perfection, and the glad glow of his shower-bath was still reddening faintly in his cheeks as he swung around the corner of the table and dropped down into his place, with an odd little grin on his lips directed intermittently toward the White Linen Nurse and the Little Crippled Girl, who already waited him there at each end of the table.

“Oh, Father, isn’t it lovely to have my darling, darling Peach all well again!” beamed the Little Crippled Girl, with unusual friendliness.

“Speaking of your ’darling Peach,’” said the Senior Surgeon, abruptly—“speaking of your ‘darling Peach,’ I’m going to take her away with me to-day for a week or so.”

“Eh?” exclaimed the Little Crippled Girl.

“What? What, sir?” stammered the White Linen Nurse.

Quite prosily the Senior Surgeon began to butter a piece of toast; but the little twinkle about his eyes belied in some way the utter prosiness of the act.

“For a little trip,” he confided amiably, “a little holiday.”

A trifle excitedly the White Linen Nurse laid down her knife and fork and stared at him as blue-eyed and wondering as a child.

“A holiday?” she gasped. “To a—beach, you mean? Would there be a—a roller-coaster? I’ve never seen a roller-coaster.”

“Eh?” laughed the Senior Surgeon.

“Oh, I’m going, too! I’m going, too!” piped the Little Crippled Girl.

Most jerkily the Senior Surgeon pushed back his chair from the table, and swallowed half a cup of coffee at one single gulp.

“Going three, you mean?” he glowered at his little daughter. “Going three?” His comment that ensued was distinctly rough as far as diction was concerned, but the facial expression of ineffable peace that accompanied it would have made almost any phrase sound like a benediction. “Not by a damned sight!” beamed the Senior Surgeon. “This little trip is just for Peach and me.”

“But, sir—” fluttered the White Linen Nurse. Her face was suddenly pinker than any rose that ever bloomed.

With an impulse absolutely novel to him, the Senior Surgeon turned and swung his little daughter very gently to his shoulder.

“Your Aunt Agnes is coming to stay with you in just about ten minutes,” he affirmed. “That’s what’s going to happen to you. And maybe there’ll be a pony—a white pony.”

“But Peach is so—pleasant!” wailed the Little Crippled Girl. “Peach is so pleasant!” she began to scream and kick.

“So it seems,” growled the Senior Surgeon; “and she’s—dying of it.”

Tearfully the Little Girl wriggled down to the ground, and hobbled around and thrust her finger-tip into the White Linen Nurse’s blushiest cheek.

“I don’t want Peach to die,” she admitted worriedly; “but I don’t want anybody to take her away.”

“The pony is very white,” urged the Senior Surgeon with a diplomacy quite alien to him.

Abruptly the Little Girl turned and faced him.

“What color is Aunt Agnes?” she asked vehemently.

“Aunt Agnes is pretty white, too,” declared the Senior Surgeon.

With the faintest possible tinge of su[Pg 873]perciliousness the Little Girl lifted her sharp chin a trifle higher.

“If it’s just a perfectly plain white pony,” she said, “I’d rather have Peach. But if it’s a white pony with black blots on it, and if it can pull a little cart, and if I can whip it with a little switch, and if it will eat sugar lumps out of my hand, and if its name is—is ’Beautiful, Pretty Thing—’”

“Its name has always been ‘Beautiful, Pretty Thing,’ I’m quite sure,” insisted the Senior Surgeon. Inadvertently as he spoke he reached out and put a hand very lightly on the White Linen Nurse’s shoulder.

Instantly into the Little Girl’s suspicious face flushed a furiously uncontrollable flame of jealousy and resentment. Madly she turned upon her father.

“You’re a liar!” she screamed. “There is no white pony! You’re a robber! You’re a—a—drunk! You sha’n’t have my darling Peach!” She threw herself frenziedly into the White Linen Nurse’s lap.

Impatiently the Senior Surgeon disentangled the clinging little arms, and, raising the White Linen Nurse to her feet, pushed her gently toward the hall.

“Go to my workroom,” he said. “Quickly! I want to talk with you.”

A moment later he joined her there, and shut and locked the door behind him. The previous night’s loss of sleep showed plainly in his face now, and the hospital strain of the day before, and of the day before that, and of the day before that.

Heavily, moodily, he crossed the room and threw himself down in his desk chair, with the White Linen Nurse still standing before him as though she were nothing but a white linen nurse. All the splendor was suddenly gone from him, all the radiance, all the exultant purpose.

“Well, Rae Malgregor,” he grinned mirthlessly, “the little kid is right, though I certainly don’t know where she got her information. I am a liar. The pony’s name is not yet ’Beautiful, Pretty Thing’! I am a drunk. I was drunk most of June. I am a robber. I have taken you out of your youth and the love chances of your youth, and shut you up here in this great, gloomy old house of mine, to be my slave and my child’s slave and—”

“Pouf!” said the White Linen Nurse. “It would seem silly now, sir, to marry a boy.”

“And I’ve been a beast to you,” persisted the Senior Surgeon. “From the very first day you belonged to me I’ve been a beast to you, venting brutally on your youth, on your sweetness, on your patience, all the work, the worry, the wear and tear, the abnormal strain and stress of my disordered days and years; and I’ve let my little girl vent also on you all the pang and pain of her disordered days. And because in this great, gloomy, racketty house it seemed suddenly like a miracle from heaven to have service that was soft-footed, gentle-handed, pleasant-hearted, I’ve let you shoulder all the hideous drudgery, the care, one horrid homely task after another piling up, up, up, till you dropped in your tracks yesterday, still smiling!”

“But I got a good deal out of it, even so, sir!” protested the White Linen Nurse. “See, sir!” she smiled. “I’ve got real lines in my face now, like other women. I’m not a doll any more. I’m not a—”

“Yes,” groaned the Senior Surgeon; “and I might just as kindly have carved those lines with my knife. But I was going to make it all up to you to-day,” he hurried.[Pg 874] “I swear I was! Even in one short little week I could have done it, you wouldn’t have known me, I was going to take you away—just you and me. I would have been a saint. I swear I would! I would have given you such a great, wonderful, child-hearted holiday as you never dreamed of in all your unselfish life—a holiday all you, you, you! You could have dug in the sand if you’d wanted to. God! I’d have dug in the sand if you’d wanted me to. And now it’s all gone from me, all the will, all the sheer, positive self-assurance that I could have carried the thing through absolutely selflessly. That little girl’s sneering taunt, the ghost of her mother in that taunt—God! when anybody knocks you just in your decency, it doesn’t harm you specially; but when they knock you in your wanting-to-be-decent, it—it undermines you somewhere. I don’t know exactly how. I’m nothing but a man again now, just a plain, everyday, greedy, covetous, physical man on the edge of a holiday, the first clean holiday in twenty years, that he no longer dares to take!”

A little swayingly the White Linen Nurse shifted her standing weight from one foot to the other.

“I’m sorry, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse. “I’d like to have seen a roller-coaster, sir.”

Just for an instant a gleam of laughter went scudding zigzag across the Senior Surgeon’s brooding face, and was gone again.

“Rae Malgregor, come here!” he ordered quite sharply.

Very softly, very glidingly, like the footfall of a person who has never known heels, the White Linen Nurse came forward swiftly, and, sliding in cautiously between the Senior Surgeon and his desk, stood there, with her back braced against the desk, her fingers straying idly up and down the edges of the desk, staring up into his face, all readiness, all attention, like a soldier waiting further orders.

So near was she that he could almost hear the velvet heart-throb of her, the little fluttering swallow, yet by some strange, persistent aloofness of her, some determinate virginity, not a fold of her gown, not an edge, not a thread, seemed even to so much as graze his knee, seemed even to so much as shadow his hand, lest it short-circuit thereby the seething currents of their variant emotions.

With extraordinary intentness for a moment the Senior Surgeon sat staring into the girl’s eyes, the blue eyes too full of childish questioning yet to flinch with either consciousness or embarrassment.

“After all, Rae Malgregor,” he smiled at last, faintly—“after all, Rae Malgregor, Heaven knows when I shall ever get another holiday.”

“Yes, sir?” said the White Linen Nurse.

With apparent irrelevance he reached for his ivory paper-cutter and began bending it dangerously between his adept fingers.

“How long have you been with me, Rae Malgregor?” he asked abruptly.

“Four months—actually with you, sir,” said the White Linen Nurse.

“Do you happen to remember the exact phrasing of my—proposal of marriage to you?” he asked shrewdly.

“Oh, yes, sir!” said the White Linen Nurse. “You called it ’general heartwork for a family of two.’”

A little grimly before her steady gaze the Senior Surgeon’s own eyes fell, and rallied again almost instantly with a gaze as even and direct as hers.

“Well,” he smiled, “through the whole four months I seem to have kept my part of the contract all right, and held you merely as a drudge in my home. Have you, then, decided once and for all time, whether you are going to stay on with us or whether you will ‘give notice,’ as other drudges have done?”

With a little backward droop of one shoulder the White Linen Nurse began to finger nervously at the desk behind her, and turning half-way round, as though to estimate what damage she was doing, exposed thus merely the profile of her pink face, of her white throat, to the Senior Surgeon’s questioning eyes.

“I shall never—give notice, sir!” fluttered the white throat.

“Are you perfectly sure?” insisted the Senior Surgeon.

The pink in the White Linen Nurse’s profiled cheek deepened a little.

“Perfectly sure, sir,” declared the carmine lips.

Like the crack of a pistol, the Senior Surgeon snapped the ivory paper-cutter in two.

“All right, then,” he said. “Rae Malgregor, look at me! Don’t take your eyes from mine, I say! Rae Malgregor, if I should decide in my own mind, here and now, that it was best for you, as well as for me, that you should come away with me now for this week, not as my guest, as I had planned, but as my wife, even if you were not quite ready for it in your heart, even if you were not yet remotely ready for it, would you come because I told you to come?”

Heavily under her white eyelids, heavily under her black lashes, the girl’s eyes struggled up to meet his own.

“Yes, sir,” whispered the White Linen Nurse.

Abruptly the Senior Surgeon pushed back his chair from the desk and stood up. The important decision once made, no further finessing of words seemed either necessary or dignified to him.

“Go and pack your suitcase quickly, then,” he ordered. “I want to get away from here within half an hour.”

But before the girl had half crossed the[Pg 875] room he called to her suddenly. And his face in that moment was as haggard as though a whole lifetime’s struggle was packed into it.

“Rae Malgregor,” he drawled mockingly, “this thing shall be—barter ’way through to the end, with the credit always on your side of the account. In exchange for the gift of yourself—your wonderful self, and the trust that goes with it, I will give you,—God help me!—the ugliest thing in my life. And God knows I have broken faith with myself once or twice, but never have I broken my word to another. From now on, in token of your trust in me, for whatever the bitter gift is worth to you, as long as you stay with me, my Junes shall be yours, to do with as you please.”

“What, sir?” gasped the White Linen Nurse. “What, sir?”

Softly, almost stealthily, she was half-way back across the room to him, when she stopped suddenly and threw out her arms with a gesture of appeal and defiance.

“All the same, sir,” she cried passionately—“all the same, sir, the place is too hard for the small pay I get. Oh, I will do what I promised,” she declared with increasing passion; “I will never leave you; and I will mother your little girl; and I will servant your big house; and I will go with you wherever you say! And I will be to you whatever you wish; and I will never flinch from any hardship you impose on me, nor whine over any pain, on and on and on, all my days, all my years, till I drop in my tracks again, and die, as you say, ‘still smiling’: all the same,” she reiterated wildly, “the place is too hard! It always was too hard, it always will be too hard, for such small pay!”

“For such small pay?” gasped the Senior Surgeon.

About his heart a horrid, clammy chill began to settle. Sickeningly through his brain a dozen recent financial transactions began to rehearse themselves.

“You mean, Miss Malgregor,” he said a bit brokenly—“you mean that I haven’t been generous enough with you?”

“Yes, sir,” faltered the White Linen Nurse. All the storm and passion died suddenly from her, leaving her just a frightened girl again, flushing pink-white before the Senior Surgeon’s scathing stare. One step, two steps, three, she advanced toward him. “Oh, I mean, sir,” she whispered—“oh, I mean, sir, that I’m just an ordinary, ignorant country girl, and you—are further above me than the moon from the sea! I couldn’t expect you to—love me, sir, I couldn’t even dream of your loving me; but I do think you might like me just a little bit with your heart!”

“What?” cried the Senior Surgeon. “What?”

Whacketty-bang against the window-pane sounded the Little Crippled Girl’s knuckled fists. Darkly against the window-pane squashed the Little Crippled Girl’s staring face.

“Father,” screamed the shrill voice. “Father, there’s a white lady here, with two black ladies, washing the breakfast dishes! Is it Aunt Agnes?”

With a totally unexpected laugh, with a totally unexpected desire to laugh, the Senior Surgeon strode across the room and unlocked his door. Even then his lips against the White Linen Nurse’s ear made just a whisper, not a kiss.

“For God’s sake, hurry!” he said. “Let’s get out of here before any telephone-message catches me!”

Then almost calmly he walked out on the piazza and greeted his sister-in-law.

“Hello, Agnes!” he said.

“Hello, yourself!” smiled his sister-in-law.

“How’s everything?” he inquired politely.

“How’s everything with you?” parried his sister-in-law.

Idly for a few moments the Senior Surgeon threw out stray crumbs of thought to feed the conversation, while smilingly all the while from her luxuriant East Indian chair his sister-in-law sat studying the general situation. The Senior Surgeon’s sister-in-law was always studying something. Last year it was archæology; the year before, basketry; this year it happened to be eugenics, or something funny like that; next year, again, it might be book-binding.

“So you and your pink-and-white shepherdess are going off on a little trip together?” she queried banteringly.[Pg 876] “The girl’s a darling, Lendicott. I haven’t had as much sport in a long time as I had that afternoon last June when I came in my best calling clothes and helped her paint the kitchen woodwork. And I had come prepared to be a bit nasty, Lendicott. In all honesty, Lendicott, I might just as well ’fess up that I had come prepared to be just a little bit nasty.”

“She seems to have a way,” smiled the Senior Surgeon—“she seems to have a way of disarming people’s unpleasant intentions.”

A trifle quizzically for an instant the woman turned her face to the Senior Surgeon’s. It was a worldly face, a cold-featured, absolutely worldly face, with a surprisingly humorous mouth that warmed her nature just about as cheerfully, and just about as effectually, as one open fireplace warms a whole house. Nevertheless, one often achieved much comfort by keeping close to “Aunt Agnes’s” humorous mouth, for Aunt Agnes knew a thing or two, Aunt Agnes did, and the things that she made a point of knowing were conscientiously amiable.

“Why, Lendicott Faber,” she rallied him now, “why, you’re as nervous as a school-boy! Why, I believe—I believe that you’re going courting!”

More opportunely than any man could have dared to hope, the White Linen Nurse appeared suddenly on the scene in her little blue serge wedding-suit, with her traveling-case in her hand. With a gasp of relief the Senior Surgeon took her case and his own and went on down the path to his car and his chauffeur, leaving the two women temporarily alone. When he returned to the piazza, the woman of the world and the girl not at all of the world were bidding each other a really affectionate good-by, and the woman’s face looked suddenly just a little bit old, but the girl’s cheeks were most inordinately blooming.

In unmistakable friendliness his sister-in-law extended her hand to him.

“Good-by, Lendicott, old man!” she said, “and good luck to you!” A little slyly out of her shrewd, gray eyes, she glanced up sidewise at him. “You’ve got the devil’s own temper, Lendicott dear,” she teased, “and two or three other vices probably, and if rumor speaks the truth, you’ve run amuck more than once in your life; but there’s one thing I will say for you, though it prove you a dear stupid: you never were overquick to suspect that any woman could possibly be in love with you.”

“To what woman do you particularly refer?” mocked the Senior Surgeon, impatiently.

Quite brazenly to her own heart, which never yet apparently had stirred the laces that enshrined it, his sister-in-law pointed with persistent banter.

“Maybe I refer to myself,” she laughed, “and maybe to the only other lady present.”

“Oh!” gasped the White Linen Nurse.

“You do me much honor, Agnes,” bowed the Senior Surgeon. Quite resolutely he held his gaze from following the White Linen Nurse’s quickly averted face.

A little oddly for an instant the older woman’s glance hung on his.

“More honor perhaps than you think, Lendicott Faber,” she said, and kept right on smiling.

“Eh?” jerked the Senior Surgeon. Restively he turned to the White Linen Nurse.

Very flushingly on the steps the White Linen Nurse knelt arguing with the Little Crippled Girl.

“Your father and I are going away,” she pleaded. “Won’t you please kiss us good-by?”

“I’ve only got one kiss,” sulked the Little Crippled Girl.

“Give it to your father!” pleaded the White Linen Nurse.

Amazingly, all in a second, the ugliness vanished from the little face. Dartlingly, like a bird, the child swooped down and planted one large, round kiss on the astonished Senior Surgeon’s boot.

“Beautiful Father!” she cried. “I kiss your feet.”

Abruptly the Senior Surgeon plunged from the step and started down the walk. His cheek-bones were quite crimson.

Two or three rods behind him the White Linen Nurse followed falteringly. Once she stopped to pick up a tiny stick or a stone, and once she dallied to straighten out a snarled spray of red and brown woodbine.

Missing the sound or the shadow of her, the Senior Surgeon turned suddenly to wait for her. So startled was she by his intentness, so flustered, so affrighted, that just for an instant the Senior Surgeon thought that she was going to wheel in her tracks and bolt madly back to the house. Then quite unexpectedly she gave an odd, muffled little cry, and ran swiftly to him,[Pg 877] like a child, and slipped her bare hand trustingly into his. And they went on together to the car.

With his foot already half lifted to the step, the Senior Surgeon turned abruptly around, and lifted his hat, and stood staring back bare-headed for some unexplainable reason at the two silent figures on the piazza.

“Rae,” he said perplexedly—“Rae, I don’t seem to know just why, but somehow I’d like to have you kiss your hand to Aunt Agnes.”

Obediently the White Linen Nurse withdrew her fingers from his and wafted two kisses, one to “Aunt Agnes” and one to the Little Crippled Girl.

Then the White Linen Nurse and the Senior Surgeon climbed up into the tonneau of the car, where they had never, never sat alone before, and the Senior Surgeon gave a curt order to his man, and the big car started off again into interminable spaces.

Mutely, without a word, without a glance, passing between them, the Senior Surgeon held out his hand to her once more, as though the absence of her hand in his was suddenly a lonesomeness not to be endured again while life lasted.

Whizz, whizz, whizz, whir, whir, whir, the ribbony road began to roll up again on that hidden spool under the car.

When the chauffeur’s mind seemed sufficiently absorbed in speed and sound, the Senior Surgeon bent down a little mockingly and mumbled his lips inarticulately at the White Linen Nurse.

“See,” he laughed, “I’ve got a text, too, to keep my courage up. Of course you look like an angel,” he teased closer and closer to her flaming face; “but all the time to myself, to reassure myself, I just keep saying, ’Bah! she’s nothing but a woman, nothing but a woman, nothing but a woman!’”

Within the Senior Surgeon’s warm, firm grasp the White Linen Nurse’s calm hand quickened suddenly like a bud forced precipitously into full bloom.

“Oh, don’t—talk, sir,” she whispered. “Oh, don’t talk, sir! Just listen!”

“Listen? Listen to what?” laughed the Senior Surgeon.

From under the heavy lashes that shadowed the flaming cheeks the soul of the girl who was to be his peered up at the soul of the man who was to be hers, and saluted what she saw!

“Oh, my heart, sir!” whispered the White Linen Nurse. “Oh, my heart, my heart, my heart.”



ALWAYS beside me as I go my way
This beggar, Time, walks with his outstretched palms,
Demanding, not beseeching, of me alms—
Alms of the precious hours of my day.
So side by side we walk until my day
Is growing dusk, and Time’s purse of the years
Holds alms of mine, bright-jeweled with my tears,
Since I have given these treasured hours away.
Nor from his swollen purse will he give me
One hour, although with spendthrift song and gay
I flung him alms, nor ever said him nay.
A beggar and a miser both is he!
[Pg 878]


Author of “Wake Robin,” “Locusts and Wild Honey,” etc.


O sit on one’s rustic porch, or at the door of one’s tent, and see the bees working on the catnip or motherwort or clover, to see the cattle grazing leisurely in the fields or ruminating under the spreading trees, or the woodchucks creeping about the meadows and pastures, or the squirrels spinning along the fences, or the hawks describing great spirals against the sky; to hear no sound but the voice of birds, the caw of crows, the whistle of marmots, the chirp of crickets; to smell no odors but the odors of grassy fields, or blooming meadows, or falling rain; and amid it all, to lift one’s eyes to the flowing and restful mountain lines—this is to get a taste of the peace and comfort of the summer hills.

This boon is mine when I go to my little gray farm-house on a broad hill-slope on the home farm in the Catskills. Especially is it mine when, to get still nearer nature and beyond the orbit of household sounds and interruptions, I retreat to the big hay-barn, and on an improvised table in front of the big open barn-doors, looking out into the sunlit fields where I hoed corn or made hay as a boy, and write this and other papers.

The peace of the hills is about me and upon me, and the leisure of the summer clouds, whose shadows I see slowly drifting across the face of the landscape. The dissonance and the turbulence and the stenches of cities, how far off they seem; the noise and the dust and the acrimony of politics—how completely the hum of the honey-bees and the twitter of swallows blot them all out!

In the circuit of the hills, the days take form and character as they do not in town, or in a country of low horizons. George Eliot says in one of her letters: “In the country the days have broad open spaces and the very stillness seems to give a delightful roominess to the hours.” This is especially true in a hilly and mountainous country, where the eye has a great depth of perspective opened to it. Take those extra brilliant days that we so often have in the autumn—what a vivid sense one gets of their splendor amid the hills! The deep, cradle-like valleys, and the long flowing mountain lines, make a fit receptacle for the day’s beauty; they hold and accumulate it, as it were. I think of Emerson’s line:

“O, tenderly the haughty day fills his blue urn with fire.”
The valleys are vast blue urns that hold a generous portion of the lucid hours.

[Pg 879]

To feel to the full the peace of the hills, one must choose his hills, and see to it that they are gentle and restful in character. Abruptness, jagged lines, sharp angles, frowning precipices, while they may add an element of picturesqueness, interfere with the feeling of ease and restfulness that the peace of the hills implies. The eye is disturbed by a confusion of broken and abrupt lines as is the ear by a volume of discordant sounds. Long, undulating mountain lines, broad, cradle-like valleys, easy basking hill-slopes, as well as the absence of loud and discordant sounds, are a factor in the restfulness of any landscape.

My landscape is very old geologically, as old as the order of vertebrate animals, but young historically, having been settled only about one hundred and fifty years. The original forests still cover the tops of the mountains with a dark-green mantle, which comes well down upon their sides, where it is cut and torn and notched into by the upper fields of the valley farms.

I call my place Woodchuck Lodge, as I tell my friends, because we are beleagured by these rodents. There is a cordon of woodchuck-holes all around us. In the orchard, in the meadows, in the pastures, these whistling marmots have their dens. Here one might easily have woodchuck venison for dinner every day, yea, and for supper and breakfast, too, if one could acquire a taste for it. I tried to dine on a woodchuck once when I was a boy, but never have felt inclined to repeat the experiment. If one were born in the woods and lived in the woods, maybe he could relish a woodchuck. Talk about being autocthonous, and savoring of the soil—try a woodchuck! The feeding habits of this animal are as cleanly as those of a sheep or a cow—clover, plantain, peas, beans, cucumbers, cabbages, apples—all sweet and succulent things go to the making of his flabby body; yet he spends so much of his time in pickle in the ground that his flesh is rank with the earth flavor. He is not lean like a rabbit or a squirrel, nor so firm of muscle as a ’coon or a ’possum; he is little more than a skin filled with viscera. He is busy all summer storing up fat in his loose pouch of a body for fuel during his long winter sleep. This sleep appears to begin in late September, or after the first white frost. This year I saw my last specimen on the twenty-eighth of the month as he was running in great haste to his hole. Evidently he does not like the pinch of the cold. He is a fair-weather animal and is the epicure of the meadows and pastures. While the apples are still mellow on the ground, while the red-thorn is still dropping its fruit, and the aftermath is still fresh in the meadows, my woodchucks turn their backs upon the world and retreat to their underground chambers for their six months’ slumber. I know of no other hibernating animal that retires from the light of day so early in the season. His active life stretches from the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox, and that is about all. Half the year he is under ground, and at least half of each summer day. No wonder his flesh is rank with the earth flavor. He appears to live only to accumulate his winter store of fat. Apparently he comes out of his den in summer only to feed, and maybe occasionally to bask in the sunshine. He is never sportive or discursive like the birds and squirrels. Life is a very serious business with him, and he has reduced it to the lowest terms—eat, breed, and sleep. If woodchucks ever engage in any sort of play, like other wild creatures, I have never seen them, though I once had a tame young ’chuck that would play with the kitten.

The woodchuck probably sleeps more than half the time in summer; he economizes his precious fat. Only once have I seen his tracks on the snow. This was in late December; and following them up, I found the woodchuck wandering about the meadow like one half demented. Something had evidently gone wrong with him. Apparently he had not succeeded in storing up his usual amount of fat. He showed little fight, and we picked him up by the tail, put him into the sleigh, and brought him home. A place under the barn floor was given to him, but he did not long survive. All the glory of the fall, the heyday of the ’coon and the squirrels, the woodchuck misses. No golden October, no Indian summer for him; he has had his day.

Though the woodchuck’s muscles are flabby, his heart is stout. The farm-dog can kill him, but he cannot make him show fear or dismay; he is game to the last. Twice I have seen him from my porch at Woodchuck Lodge put on so bold a front,[Pg 880] and become so aggressive, when surprised in the middle of a field by a big shepherd-dog, that the dog did not dare attack him, but circled about, seeking some unfair advantage, only to be met at every point with those threatening, grating teeth. In one case the woodchuck was far from his hole, and he kept charging the dog and driving him nearer and nearer the stone wall, where his own safety lay. An observer inoculated with the idea of animal reason would have said that the tactics of the ’chuck were premeditated; but I am sure he was too much engrossed with the task of defending himself from the jaws of that dog to do any logical thinking or planning. It was only the fortunes of battle that finally brought the hunter and the hunted near the hole of safety, when, seeing his chance, the woodchuck made a sudden, successful dash, too hurried, I fancy, even to whistle his usual note of defiance. In the other case, the dog was of a still more timid nature, and when the surprised woodchuck showed fight, he concluded that he had no business at all with that particular ’chuck, which actually chased him from the meadow. I can still see the woodchuck’s bristling, expanded tail as he drove fiercely after the fleeing dog, which, with a tail anything but threatening, escaped over the wall into the road.

I find that one may be the principal actor in a little comedy, and not see the humor of it at all at the time. I know the humor of a race I had with a ’chuck last summer in my orchard was quite lost upon me till it was over, and the ’chuck was in his hole, and I was back upon my porch recovering my wind. The ’chuck was a hundred yards or more from his den when I leaped over the fence from the road and surprised him. I pressed him so closely that he took refuge in an apple-tree. Instantly seeing his mistake, as the missile I hurled struck the tree, he sprang down and rushed for his hole, a hundred and fifty feet away. But I got there first. The ’chuck paused twenty feet to one side and regarded me intently, defiantly. We stood and glared at each other a few moments, while I recovered my breath. I wanted the scalp of that “varmint.” I knew that he would make himself believe that I had planted my garden for his special benefit, and I wanted to anticipate that conclusion. I was weaponless. Twenty or more feet from me, on the opposite side from the ’chuck, I saw a stone that would answer my purpose. I calculated the chances; so did the woodchuck; I sprang for the stone and the ’chuck sprang for his hole, and was in it as my hand touched the stone. He had won! As I sat on my porch, the recklessness and absurdity of a man more than threescore and ten running down a woodchuck came over me; and I have not yielded to such a temptation since.

WHERE cattle and woodchuck thrive, there thrive I. The pastoral is in my veins. Clover and timothy, daisies and buttercups indirectly colored my youthful life; and if the dairy cow did not rock my cradle, her products sustained the hand that did rock it. Hence I love this land of wide, open, grassy fields, of smooth, broad-backed hills, and of long, sweeping mountain lines. The cow fits well into these scenes. It seems as if her broad, smooth muzzle and her potent tongue might have shaped the landscape; it is certainly her cropping that has brought about the hour-glass form of so many of the red-thorn trees, which give a unique feature to the fields. Her fragrant breath is upon the air, her hoof-prints are upon the highway; she may not yet have attained to wisdom, yet surely all her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are paths of peace. Hence, when her ways and her paths coincide with mine, I thrive best. From Woodchuck Lodge I look out upon broad pastures, lands where dairy herds have grazed for a hundred years, never the same herd for many summers, but all of the same habits and dispositions. They all scour the pastures in the same way, scattering, searching out every nook and corner, leaving no yard of ground unvisited, apparently hunting each day for the sweet morsel they missed the day before, disposing themselves in picturesque groups upon the hills; never massed, except under the shade-trees on hot days; slow-moving, making their paths here and there, lingering under the red-thorn trees, where the fruit begins to drop in September; tossing their heads above the orchard wall, where the fragrance of ripening apples is on the air; in the autumn lying[Pg 881] upon the cold, damp ground and ruminating contentedly, with no fear of our ills and pains before them; wading in the swamps, converging slowly toward the pasture-bars as milking-time draws nigh, with always some tardy, indifferent ones that the farm-dog has to hurry up; many colored—white, black, red, brown—at times showing rare gentleness and affection toward one another, such as licking one another’s heads or bodies, then spitefully butting or goring one another; occasionally one of them lifting up her head and sending her mellow voice over the hills like a horn, as if to give voice to a vague unrest, or invoking some far-off divinity to release the imprisoned Io—what a series of shifting rural pictures I thus have spread out before me! Such an atmosphere of peace and leisure over it all! The unhurrying and ruminating cattle make the days long; they make the fields friendly, the hills eloquent, the shade-trees idyllic. I wake up to hear the farmer summoning them from the field in the dewy summer dawns, and I listen for his call to them on the tranquil afternoons. One season an especially musical voice did the evening calling—a trained voice from beyond the hills. What a pleasure it was as we swung in our hammocks under apple-trees to hear the free, sonorous summons, and to see the response of the herd in many-colored lines converging down the slope to the bar-way!

When the meadows have gotten a new carpet of tender grass in September, and the cows are free to range in them, a new series of moving pictures greets the eye. The grazing forms have a finer setting now, and contentment and satisfaction are in every movement. How they sweep off the tender herbage, into what artistic groups they naturally fall, what pictures of peace and plenty they present! When they lie down to ruminate, Emerson’s sentence comes to mind: “And the cattle lying on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts.” As a matter of fact, I suppose no more vacant mind could be found in the universe than that of the cow when she is reposing in a field, chewing her cud. But she is the cause of tranquil if not of great thoughts in the lookers-on, and that is enough. Tranquillity attends her wherever she goes; it beams from her eyes, and lingers in her footsteps.

I sympathize with Whitman as he expressed himself in these lines:

“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them, long and long.
“They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or happy over the whole earth.”
IF one has a bit of the farmer in him, it is a pleasure in the country to have a real farmer for a neighbor—a man whose heart is in his work, who is not longing for the town or the city, who improves his fields, who makes two spears of grass grow where none grew before, whose whole farm has an atmosphere of thrift and well-being. There are so many reluctant, half-hearted farmers in our eastern States nowadays, so many who do only what they have to do in order to survive; who leave the paternal acres to run to weeds or brush; the paternal fences to fall into ruins; the paternal orchards untrimmed and unplowed; the paternal meadows unfertilized, while the fertilizer wastes in the barn-yard; who get but one spear of grass where their fathers or grandfathers got two or three; and whose plaint always is that farming does not pay. What is the matter with our rural population? Has all the good farming blood gone West, and do only the dregs of it remain?

It is the man who makes the farm, as truly as it is the man who makes any other business; it is the man behind the plow, as truly as it is the man behind the gun, that wins the battle. A half-heart never won a whole sheaf yet. The average farmer has deteriorated. He may know more, but he does less than his father. He is like the second or third steeping of the tea. Did the original settlers and improvers of the farms, and the generations[Pg 882] that followed them, leave all their virtue and grip in the soil? It is certainly true that in my section the last two generations have lived off the capital of labor and brains which their ancestors put into the land; only here and there has a man added anything, only here and there is a farmer who does not wish he had some other business. If such men had that other business, they would reap the same poor results. In the long run, you cannot reap where you have not sown, and the only seed you can sow, in any business that yields tenfold, is yourself—your own wit, your own industry. Unless you plant your heart with your corn, it will mostly go to suckers; unless you strike your own roots into the subsoil of your lands, it will not bear fruit in your character, or in your bank-account—all of which is simply saying that thin, leachy land will not bear good crops, and unless a man has the real farming stuff in him, his farm quickly shows it.

My neighbor makes smooth the way of the plow and of the mower. Last summer I saw him take enough stones and rocks from a three-acre field to build quite a fortress; and land whose slumbers had never been disturbed by the plow was soon knee-high with Hungarian grass. How one likes to see a permanent betterment of the land like that!—piles of renegade stone and rock. It is such things that make the country richer. If all New England and New York had had such drastic treatment years ago, the blight of discouraged farming never would have fallen upon them, and the prairie States would not have so far distanced the granite States. A granite soil should grow a better crop of men than the silt of lake or river bottom, though it yields less corn to the acre.

The prairie makes a strong appeal to a man’s indolence and cupidity; it is a place where he can sit at ease and let his team do most of his work. But I much doubt whether the western farms ever will lay the strong hands upon their possessors that our more varied and picturesque eastern farms lay. Every field in these farms has a character of its own, and the farms differ from one another as much as the people do. An eastern farm is the place for a home; the western farm is the place to grow wheat, pork, and beef. Oh, the flat, featureless, monotonous, cornstalk-littered middle West! how can the rural virtues of contentment and domesticity thrive there? There is no spot to make your nest except right out on the rim of the world; no spot for a walk or a picnic except in the featureless open of a thousand miles of black prairie—the roads black, straight lines of mud or dust through the landscape; the streams slow, indolent channels of muddy water; the woods, where there are woods, a dull assemblage of straight-trunked trees; the sky a brazen dome that shuts down upon you; there are no hills or mountains to lift it up. The prairie draws no strong distinct lines against the sky; the horizon is vague and baffling. Ah, my mountains are very old measured by the geologic calendar! Yet how foreign to our experience or ways of thinking it seems to speak of mountains as either old or young, as if birth and death apply to them also. But such is the fact: mountains have their day, which day is the geologist’s day of millions of years. My mountains were being carved out of a great plateau by the elements while the prairies were still under the sea, and while most of the Rocky Mountains and the Alps, and the Himalayas were gestating in the vast earth-womb. In point of age, these mountains beside the Catskills are like infants beside their great-grandfathers. Yet it is a singular contradiction that in their outlines old mountains look young, and young mountains look old. The only youthful feature about young mountains is that they carry their heads very high, and the only old feature about old mountains is that they have a look of repose and calmness and peace. All the gauntness, leanness, angularity, and crumbling decrepitude are with the young mountains; all the smoothness, plumpness, graceful flowing lines of youth are with the old mountains. Not till the rocks are clothed with soil made out of their own decay are outlines softened and life made possible. Youthful mountains like the Alps are battle-marked by the elements, and their proud heads are continually being laid low by frost, wind, and snow; they are scarred and broken by avalanches the season through. Old mountains, such as the Appalachian range, wear an armor of soil and verdure over their rounded forms[Pg 883] on which the arrows of time have little effect. The turbulent and noisy and stiff-necked period of youth is far behind them.

Hundreds of dairy-farms nestle in the laps of the Catskills; and their huge, grassy aprons, only a little wrinkled here and there, hold as many grazing herds. Woodchuck Lodge is well upon the knee of one of the ranges, and the fields we look upon are like green drapery lying in graceful curves and broad, smooth masses over huge extended limbs. Patches of maple forest here and there bend over a rounded arm or shoulder, like a fur cape upon a woman. Here and there also huge, weather-worn boulders rest upon the ground, dropped there by the moving ice-sheet tens upon tens of thousands of years ago; and here and there are streaks of land completely covered with smaller rocks wedged and driven into the ground. It used to be told me in my youth that the devil’s apron-string broke as he was carrying a load of these rocks overhead, and let the mass down upon the ground. The farmers seldom attempt to clear away these leavings of the devil.

MY interest in the birds is not as keen as it once was, but they are still an asset in my life. I must live where I can hear the crows caw, the robins sing, and the song-sparrow trill. If I can hear also the partridge drum, and the owl hoot, and the chipmunk cluck in the still days of autumn, so much the better. The crow is such a true countryman, so much at home everywhere, so thoroughly in possession of the land, going his way winter and summer in such noisy contentment and pride of possession, that I cannot leave him out. The bird I missed most in California was the crow. I missed his glistening coat in the fields, his ebony form and hearty call in the sky.

One advantage of sleeping out of doors, as we do at Woodchuck Lodge, is that you hear the day ushered in by the birds. Toward autumn you hear the crows first, making proclamation in all directions that it is time to be up and doing, and that life is a good thing. There is not a bit of doubt or discouragement in their tones. They have enjoyed the night, and they have a stout heart for the day. They proclaim it as they fly over my porch at five o’clock in the morning; they call it from the orchard, they bandy the message back and forth in the neighboring fields; the air is streaked with cheery greetings and raucous salutations. Toward the end of August, or in early September, I witness with pleasure their huge mass-meetings or annual congress on the pasture-hills or in the borders of the woods. Before that time, you see them singly or in loose bands; but on some day in late summer, or in early autumn, you see the clans assemble as if for some rare festival and grand tribal discussion. A multitudinous cawing attracts your attention when you look hillward and see a swarm of dusky forms circling in the air, their voices mingling in one dissonant wave of sound, while loose bands of other dusky forms come from all points of the compass to join them. Presently many hundred crows are assembled, alternately lighted upon the ground and silently walking about as if feeding, or circling in the air, cawing as if they would be heard in the next township. What they are doing or saying or settling, what it all means, whether they meet by appointment in the human fashion, whether it is a jubilee, a parliament, or a convention, I confess I should like to know. But second thought tells me it is more likely the gregarious instinct asserting itself after the scatterings and separations of the summer. The time of the rookery is not far off, when the inclement season will find all the crows from a large section of the country massed at night in lonely tree-tops in some secluded wood.

These early noisy assemblages may be preliminary to the winter union of the tribe. What an engrossing affair it seems to be with the crows, how oblivious they appear to all else in the world! The world was made for crows, and what concerns them is alone important. The meeting adjourns, from time to time, from the fields to the woods, then back again, the babel of voices waxing or waning according as they are on the wing or at rest. Sometimes they meet several days in succession and then disperse, going away in different directions and irregularly, singly or in pairs and bands, as men do on similar occasions. No doubt in these great reunions the crows experience some sort of feeling or emotion, though one would[Pg 884] doubtless err in ascribing to them anything like human procedure. It is not a definite purpose, but a tribal instinct, that finds expression in their jubilees.

The crow seems to have a great deal of business besides getting a living. How social, how communicative he is—what picnics he has in the fields and woods, how absolutely at home is he at all times and places! I see them from my window flying by, by twos or threes or more, on happy, holiday wings, sliding down the air, or diving and chasing one another, or walking about the fields, their coats glistening in the sun, the movement of their heads timing the movements of their feet—what an air of independence and respectability and well-being attends them always! The pedestrian crow! no more graceful walker ever trod the turf. How different his bearing from that of a game-bird, and from any of the falcon tribe. He never tries to hide like the former, and he is never morose and sulky like the latter. He is gay and social and in possession of the land; the world is his and he knows it, and life is good.

I suppose that if his flesh were edible, like that of the gallinaceous birds, he would have many more enemies and his whole demeanor would be different. His complacent, self-satisfied air would vanish. He would not advertise his comings and goings so loudly. He would be less conspicuous in the landscape; his huge mass-meetings in September would be more silent and withdrawn. Well, then, he would not be the crow—the happy, devil-may-care creature as we now know him.

His little gaily dressed brother, the jay, does not tempt the sportsman any more than the crow does, but he tempts other creatures—the owl and squirrels, and maybe the hawks. Hence his tribe is much less. His range is also more restricted, and his feeding habits are much less miscellaneous. Only the woods and groves are his; the fields and rivers he knows not.

The crow is a noisy bird. All his tribe are noisy, but the noise probably has little psychic significance. The raven in Alaska appears to soliloquize most of the time. This talkativeness of the crow tribe is probably only a phase of crow life, and signifies no more and no less than other phases—their color, their cunning, the flick of their wings, and the like. The barn-yard fowls are loquacious also, but probably their loquacity is not attended with much psychic activity.

In the mornings of early summer the out-of-door sleeper is more likely to be awakened by the song-birds. In June and early July they strike up about half-past three. “When it is light enough to see that all is well around you, it is light enough to sing,” they carol. “Before the early worm is stirring, we will celebrate the coming of day.” During the summer the song-sparrows have been the first to nudge me in the morning with their songs. One little sparrow especially would perch on the telephone-wire above the roadside and go through his repertoire of five songs with great regularity and joyousness. He will long be associated in my mind with those early, fragrant, summer dawns. One of his five songs fell so easily into words that I had only to call the attention of my friends to it to have them hear the words that I heard: “If, if, if you please, Mr. Durkee,”—the last word a little prolonged, and with a rising inflection. Another was not quite so well expressed by these words: “Please, please, speak to me, sweetheart.” The third one suggested this sentence: “Then, then, Fitzhugh says, yes, sir!” The fourth one was something like this: “If, if, if you seize her, do it quick.” The fifth one baffled me to suggest by words. But in August his musical enthusiasm began to decline. His different songs lost their distinctiveness and emphasis. It was as if they had faded and become blurred with the progress of the season.

The little birds are insignificant and unobtrusive on the great background of nature, yet if one learns to distinguish them and to love them, their songs may become a sort of accompaniment to one’s daily life. In May, while I was much occupied in repairing and making habitable an old farm-house, a solitary, mourning, ground-warbler, which one rarely sees or hears, came and tarried about the place for a week or ten days, singing most of each forenoon in the orchard and garden about the house, and giving to my occupation a touch of something rare and sylvan. He lent to the apple-trees, which I had known as a boy, an interest that the boy knew not. Then he went away, whether on the arrival of his mate or not I do not know.

Photograph, copyright, by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Color-tone made for THE CENTURY by Henry Davidson


[Pg 885]

A butternut-tree stands across the road in front of Woodchuck Lodge. One season the red squirrels stored the butternuts in the wall of one of the upper rooms of the unoccupied house, to which they gained access through a hole in the siding. When we moved in, in the summer, the squirrels soon became uneasy, and one day one of them began removing the butternuts, not to some other granary or place of safety, but to the grass and dry leaves on the ground in the orchard. He was unwittingly planting them by the act of hiding them. The automatic character of much animal behavior, the extent to which their lives flow in fixed channels, was well seen in the behavior of this squirrel. His procedure in transferring the nuts from his den in the house to the ground in the orchard, a distance of probably one hundred feet, was as definite and regular as that of a piece of machinery. He would rush up and over the roof of the house with a nut in his mouth, by those sharp, spasmodic sallies so characteristic of the movements of the red squirrel, down the corner of the house to the ground by the same jerky movements, across some rubbish and open ground in the same manner, alert and cautious, up the corner of a small building ten feet high and eight long, over its roof, with arched tail and spread feet, snickering and jerking, down to the ground on the other side, dashing to the trunk of an apple-tree ten feet away, up it a few feet to make an observation, then down to the ground again, and out into the grass, where he would carefully hide his nut, and cover it with leaves. Then back to the house again by precisely the same route and with precisely the same movements, and bring another nut. Day after day I saw him thus engaged till apparently all the nuts were removed. He probably did not know he was planting butternut-trees for other red squirrels, but that was what he was blindly doing. The crows and jays carry away and plant acorns and chestnuts in the same blind way, thereby often causing a pine forest to be succeeded by these trees.

The red squirrel is only an irregular storer of nuts in the autumn. In this respect he stands half-way between the chipmunk and the gray squirrel, one of which regularly lays up winter stores and the other none at all.

How diverse are the ways of nature in reaching the same end! Both the chipmunk and the woodchuck lay up stores against the needs of winter, the latter in the shape of fat upon his own ribs, and the former in the shape of seeds and nuts in his den in the ground; and I fancy that one of them is no more conscious of what he is doing than the other. Animals do not take conscious thought of the future; it is as if something in their organization took thought for them. One November, seized with the cruel desire to go to the bottom of the question of the chipmunk’s winter stores, I dug out one after he had got his house settled for the season. I found his den three feet below the surface of the ground—just beyond the frostline—and containing nearly four quarts of various seeds, most of them the little black grains of wild buckwheat—two hundred and fifty thousand of them, I estimated—all cleaned of their husks as neatly as if done by some patent machine.

How many perilous journeys along stone walls and through weedy tangles this store of seeds represented! One would say at least a thousand trips, beset by many dangers from hawks and cats and weasels and other enemies of the little rodent.

The chipmunk is provident; he is a wise housekeeper, but one can hardly envy him those three or four months of inaction in the pitchy darkness of his subterranean den. His mate is not with him, and evidently the oblivion of the hibernating sleep, like that of the woodchuck and of certain mice, is not his. The life of the red and gray squirrels, who are more or less active all winter, seems preferable. They lay up no stores and are no doubt often cold and hungry, but the light of day and the freedom of the snow and of the tree-tops are theirs. Abundant stores are a good thing for both man and beast, but action, adventure, struggle are better.

[Pg 886]



Author of “The Commercial Strength of Great Britain,” “Germany’s Foreign Trade,” etc.

UEEN Elizabeth was the founder of the school of “dollar diplomacy,” and to this day her memory is revered by the merchant gilds of London. This great queen paid much attention to the welfare of industry at home, and sent trade adventurers abroad to open avenues of foreign commerce; and in the degree with which the rulers and governments of all lands have observed the necessities and development of the material interests of their respective countries have nations flourished or marked time.

Through a peculiar misuse of the term, the foreign policy of the United States has been termed “dollar diplomacy,” whereas, partly because of national tradition and partly through lack of skill and experience, the diplomacy of America has less relation to the extension of foreign commerce than that of any other great modern nation. American diplomacy has been governed more by altruistic ideas, the protection of foreign peoples against themselves and others, the elimination of money tributes and indemnities, the recognition of new governments without conditions, and arbitration of international troubles as a neutral nation. In these and in many other ways America has played her part in various international controversies; but in the general scramble for selfish advantage in all these affairs she has taken little or no successful part. Yet American diplomacy has been called that of the “dollar,” and has been credited in the minds of many of her own citizens, as well as by foreigners, with a mercenary basis.

The people of a nation have it within their power to advance the interests of their foreign commerce in two ways: one by intelligent legislation at home, and the other by intelligent diplomacy abroad. The shipment of merchandise from one country to another means to the selling nation a foreign market for the raw material, the employment of labor to the extent of from thirty to ninety per cent. of the selling value of the goods, and the payment for this material and labor by foreigners in money or its equivalent. It is a clear gain in every phase of the transaction. There is an old frontier adage, which originated in the early days of the Western boom, to the effect that “outside money makes the camp.” It is a homely expression that summarizes the advantages of an export of two billion dollars’ worth of goods with a comprehensiveness equal to its original application. It is not too much to say that anything in the shape of legislation or of increased facilities which assists the outward flow of the products of labor is of unquestioned advantage to the producing nation. An unnatural, though perhaps comprehensible, attitude of suspicion toward successful export has come about in the United States. This has led to hostility toward special rail and water-rates for export, lower prices for bulk foreign business, niggardliness of national expenditures for diplomatic representation and for the work of the Department of Commerce and its foreign-trade bureau. It might almost be said that the great and growing figures of foreign trade, issued triumphantly every year by the government statisticians, have been achieved despite the obstructions placed in the path of their progress.

The growth of those figures in their largest aspect is due to organized private[Pg 887] effort, the methods and operations of which are a sealed book to the government official or the general public, and which unfortunately have shared in the recent and sweeping condemnation of the business methods of all big corporations. There has been no sifting of the wheat from the chaff, the good from the evil, with most deplorable results, for which both public and corporations are to blame. The natural result has been that in attempting to regulate the home activities of “big business” their foreign activities have been hindered and even checked. Lost ground in foreign directions is more difficult to regain than at home, for certain artificial and natural barriers always exist, which favor home markets, while foreign trade meets well-equipped rivals at least on equal terms, and often with a handicap.

In the year 1913 the people of the United States are entering upon a radical change in the national attitude toward domestic and foreign commerce. There is a partial reversal of policy toward home industry; there is also an important experiment afoot in diplomacy. It is too early to say just how radical these changes will be in the final reckoning, or what may be the outcome. It is quite possible that increased freedom of trade may bring good results at home; and if Congress recognizes the need of a commercial diplomacy auxiliary to that of the litterateur, the reformer, the peace-advocate, the missionary, and the general uplifter of mankind, and the administration provides competent, permanent, and resident commercial diplomats or attachés to all important American missions, a threatened disadvantage may be turned into a victory. At present, however, American foreign trade is the foot-ball of national politics.

Private enterprise, with its able American representatives abroad, is the only real guard against serious damage possessed by this great asset of the nation. The advance of American foreign commerce may be likened to a more or less friendly conflict with an allied army of foreign competitors. This is specially true of American trade, for it is generally a new-comer, and is regarded with dislike and antagonism to such an extent as to induce combinations of rivals to resist its advance.

The strongest efforts of American diplomacy should be directed to Russia and China to bring about a commercial entente between the United States and these two countries. The future of China as a market for foreign enterprise and merchandise will develop slowly, it is true, but the results will in time prove stupendous. In view of this, firm foundations should be laid for the structure of international trade, which will inevitably develop in the course of years. In the case of Russia there is no time to be lost. Here is a great area of wonderfully productive territory inhabited by scores of millions of people. Education is spreading among these people, and their wants are multiplying. Such foreign trade as has found a lodgment there is of the kind America wants, and will need more and more as her productiveness increases and the oversupply of home markets becomes more noticeable. England, Germany, France, the Low Countries, and those of Scandinavia are losing no time. Political, financial, commercial, and industrial bonds are being forged with all possible rapidity to this awakening nation of industrious people. American interests in Russia are already large, but their existence is due to private and not national initiative. As a nation we have not only done much to discourage the betterment of intercourse with Russia, but have even actually threatened the existence of American interests therein by inviting antagonism instead of friendly coöperation. It is not too late to remedy this unfortunate attitude, but the situation needs prompt, wise, and fearless handling by those responsible for the foreign policy of the United States.

American foreign commerce rests on a basis of international friendship. Once established, the needs of the respective countries determine the extent of international trading, modified as it must be, however, by conditions of transportation and such fiscal restrictions as may be imposed. Leaving the matter of price and quality to be dealt with by the industrial exporter, as must be the case, the influence of the Government remains as the most important outside factor in determining the prosperity of this trade. Under the control of the Government come the treaty-making power, with its bid for fa[Pg 888]vorable reception of American products; the official attitude toward facilities for the manufacturing of exports and toward transportation; and assistance in gathering information for exporters. The important, but more technical, details of foreign commerce can safely be left to private enterprise in its effort toward profitable trading. There is no doubt as to the good intention of government officials and of those who vote the money for their work: it is, of course, that American consumers shall benefit.

There are two points of view, however, well illustrated in the attitude of the British and the United States Government, respectively, as to the direction in which governmental efforts may be extended in the furtherance of foreign trade. The British Government pays great attention to the diplomatic end of the business, and lets private enterprise follow up any advantage gained. The United States Government spends vastly more money and effort upon the details of trade, but in many cases unfortunately attempts to build upon a shifting and insecure foundation, in that the relations of the two countries may be weak diplomatically, or there may be lack of knowledge or understanding as to the general conditions to be met. For some American consul to inform American manufacturers through the State Department of great openings for the sale of goods does not mean necessarily that these goods can be sold; for in some cases American competition would find itself hopelessly handicapped by the superior trade diplomacy and knowledge of its adversary, thus nullifying any possible superiority in goods or prices.

From a practical point of view, to analyze American foreign trade in detail would be an endless and useless task. It has grown to be what it is through exports of food-stuffs and raw materials, followed naturally by the surplus products of manufacturing. Of imports the same may be said, reversing the order of the progression. The land furnished the material, and labor came at its call from all parts of the world. The logical result of plenty of material, a constantly increasing supply of labor, combined with national ingenuity and a climate conducive to the development of nervous energy, is the production of more or less finished merchandise in such quantities as to keep half the ships of the world in daily use carrying it to and fro. Whether governmental intervention has helped or hindered has been the subject of controversy since this commerce began, and will continue until commerce ends; but out of it all must come a certain amount of wisdom, gained through experience, which should be of practical benefit to those on whom rests the responsibility of official coöperation with private adventure in foreign lands.

The three great foreign trading nations of the world are England, Germany, and the United States, in the order named. In 1912 the foreign commerce of England amounted to a little less than $6,000,000,000, that of Germany to more than $4,600,000,000, and that of the United States to nearly $4,200,000,000. The total foreign trade of these three countries is proportioned approximately between imports and exports as follows:




These figures mean that the United States is still a debtor nation. If the imports of gold brought the imports level with the exports in value, which they do not, but far from it, the figures would indicate that the American people were getting cash for their goods instead of merchandise, as would be the case if merchandise exports and imports were equal. The most considerable factors that annually balance this trade are the payments of interest and principal on American securities held abroad, remittances by American immigrants to foreign lands, money spent abroad by American tourists, and payments made to foreign-owned vessels for freight-charges on goods carried to and from America. There are several other factors in this balance, but the four named are the most considerable. In the case of England and Germany, as well as many other prosperous countries whose foreign-trade sheets show an excess of imports over exports, this excess represents the profit on trading abroad, and the inflow of returns upon capital invested abroad. In other words, these nations are creditor, or money-lending, communities. The imports of all money-lending coun[Pg 889]tries, like France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and others, considerably exceed the exports, while the exports of all borrowing, developing, or unequally developed countries, like Russia, the United States, Argentina, Rumania, and many others, exceed the imports, as the foreign investor must be paid his interest, and the only source of money for such payment is eventually either the product of the soil or of industry.

One hundred years ago, when the population of the United States was about seven millions, the American people imported annually considerably less than $100,000,000 worth of merchandise, less than ten per cent. of which came in free of duty. In 1912, when the population was more than ninety millions, the importations amounted to nearly $1,700,000,000, of which about fifty-four per cent. entered duty free. The average ad valorem rate of import duty on dutiable goods one hundred years ago was about forty per cent., and on the total imports, dutiable and free, it was about thirty-five per cent. In 1912 the average ad valorem on dutiable goods was about the same as one hundred years before, and on the total imports, both dutiable and free, it was about nineteen per cent. The progress of American foreign trade in one hundred years is recorded as follows:

Total Foreign
In one hundred years the population has increased more than thirteen times, and the foreign trade more than twenty-five times. In 1810 the per capita foreign trade of America was about $21, and in 1912 it was nearly $40. These latter figures are really much more significant than appears at first glance, for the population of America, as estimated in 1810, was composed of a larger proportion of effective producing units than in 1912. Few but white people were counted, the percentage of women and children was smaller, and virtually every white American was self-supporting. The estimate of to-day includes, therefore, a much larger percentage of human beings who, though counted as units in population, are not so potential in the material activities of the nation. The $40 per capita of 1912 is much more significant of the growth of American foreign interests, therefore, than merely the increase from the $21 of 1810 appears.

Speaking generally, the foreign trade of the United States has doubled every twenty years since 1830, regardless of wars, changes of government, administrative policies, the rise or decline of shipping interests, the increasing power of foreign competition, or the opening and development of competitive territory in other parts of the world. The development of industry in a country is usually written on the character of the imports and exports, and the changes that take place in the proportions of raw material and manufactured goods are most significant. In the case of the United States, these are strikingly shown in the more or less shifting percentages of a long period in the growth of the nation—a period fully covering the time the United States has figured to any marked degree in the economic affairs of the world. In the last eighty-two years American foreign trade has been roughly classified by percentages as follows:


Crude food-stuffs and food
Food-stuffs partly or
wholly manufactured
Crude manufactured
Manufactures for use
in manufacture
Manufactures ready for

The most noticeable features of the statement given above are that the importation of crude food-stuffs and food animals remain about the same in their relation to total imports, that the importation of partly manufactured food-stuffs has decreased, that the importation of materials for use in manufacture has enormously increased, and that the importation of manufactured goods ready for consump[Pg 890]tion has decreased by nearly two thirds. All of these figures, both of imports and exports, are based on values and not on quantities. The latter would be the most accurate measure of progress, as prices have changed materially—either fallen or increased, mostly the latter—on many important staples; but it would be virtually impossible to consider these matters from a point of view other than that of values, where everything is grouped under an inclusive total, and in all probability the change that might follow a quantitative analysis, rather than one based on values, would not materially alter any conclusions that might be drawn. The changes in American exports during the same period were by percentages as follows:


Crude food-stuffs and food
Food-stuffs partly or
wholly manufactured
Crude manufactured
Manufactures for use
in manufacture
Manufactures ready for

The noticeable features of the record of American exports for the last eighty-two years are that the export of food-stuffs has decreased rather than increased in proportion to business in other commodities; that the export of crude manufactured material has greatly decreased, and in fact, with the exception of cotton, has become a negligible quantity; and that the export of manufactured goods ready for consumption has increased enormously. Exports of cotton are now the basis of American export of raw material. Whereas the total production of cotton in the United States in 1830 was only about 1,000,000 bales, in 1912 the United States furnished nearly 11,000,000 bales for export, valued at $625,000,000, amounting to fully five sixths of the value of all raw material for manufacturing purposes exported by the United States in that year.

The export of raw cotton in the case of the United States does not mean any appreciable backwardness of home manufacture. The importations of manufactured cotton goods are decreasing annually, so far as cloths are concerned. In 1912 less than $8,000,000 in cotton cloth was imported from abroad. The heaviest importation of cotton goods was in laces and such other things as are specialties of foreign manufacture, in many cases hereditary trades, or trades dependent upon cheap, trained female labor, such as is not available in America. America uses nearly 6,000,000 bales of home-grown cotton every year in her own factories, and supplies not only the home market with manufactured goods, but manufactures more than $30,000,000 worth for foreign sale, in competition with the great spinning and manufacturing countries of Europe. The growing of cotton is not a raw-material industry in the strict sense of the word, for, owing to peculiarities of climate, certain features of the American labor supply, and the great amount of money this staple crop brings from abroad and distributes in non-manufacturing districts, it possesses a peculiar and great economic value to the country. Coal, tobacco, petroleum, and timber are the more important of the crude materials exported from the United States in addition to cotton; but the total value of all these is, as stated, about one sixth of the whole.

The total value of the exports of domestic merchandise from the United States in 1912 was about $2,363,000,000. As stated, cotton stands at the head of the list. The iron and steel industry comes next; the farmers of the United States furnish the third largest amount of merchandise for export; and machinery of all kinds, oils, paper, fruit, and chemicals, are the leaders in American export. The most interesting changes that have taken place in American foreign trade in the last few years are those that indicate certain possibilities of the future; in fact, they are in a way prophetic of what is to happen in the economic life of the nation. In 1902 93,000 head of cattle were imported, and in 1912 the importations numbered 325,000. In 1902 about 327,000 head of cattle were exported, and in 1912 only about 46,000. This means that the American people have nearly reached the point where the home market absorbs all cattle grown in the country, and that in future[Pg 891] other peoples, who in the past have been dependent upon the United States for their beef supply, must look elsewhere. The exportation of bread-stuffs has decreased materially, while importation has quadrupled, thus telling a story of shortage in food-supply, as did the change in the cattle movement. This same shortage is shown in like changes in the trade in meat products, dairy products, eggs, and nearly every other variety of staple food.

The United States produces half the copper of the world, but both exports and imports of this metal are increasing, showing that other countries are sending copper to this country for treatment. In 1902, America imported 135,000,000 pounds of tin plates, and in 1912 only 4,500,000 pounds. The exports of tin plates increased during the same period from 3,500,000 pounds to 183,000,000 pounds. Iron and steel show a marked decline in imports and an enormous gain in exports. The American people are no longer importing automobiles to any extent, but are increasing their sales abroad, and in 1912 sold $28,000,000 worth to foreign buyers. The importations of coffee virtually hold their own, amounting in 1912 to nearly 1,000,000,000 pounds; but owing to increased prices, the value of this importation is nearly double that of 1902. The exports of the iron and steel industry of the United States, including the manufactures of these materials as well, now amount to about $1,000,000 per day. Europe takes the higher class of goods, and Canada and South America take the rails, structural iron and steel, heavy castings, and other like products that constitute the heavy tonnage of the industry.

The countries taking their largest proportionate share of their imports from the United States are: Haiti, 69 per cent.; Honduras, 68 per cent.; Canada, 62 per cent.; Santo Domingo, 61 per cent.; Panama, 56 per cent.; Mexico, 55 per cent.; Cuba, 53 per cent.; and Costa Rica 51 per cent. England takes 17.3 per cent. of her imports from the United States, Germany 13.3 per cent., and France 8.6 per cent. Of the South American countries, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru take from 20 to 30 per cent. of their imports from the United States, while others take smaller percentages, ranging from the 13.8 of Argentina and the 12.8 of Brazil to the 2.8 per cent. of Bolivia. Other countries draw very slightly upon the United States for their imports, notably China, which takes only 5 per cent.; India, 3 per cent.; Morocco, less than 1 per cent.; Servia, 1 per cent.; and about the same for Turkey and Rumania. The great markets for American products at the present, in total value of goods sold to the peoples of these countries, are England, purchasing as she does from America goods to the amount of $572,000,000; Canada, $285,000,000; Germany, $283,000,000; France, $119,000,000; the Netherlands, $117,000,000; Italy, $70,000,000; Cuba, $57,000,000; Mexico, $56,000,000; Russia, $52,000,000; Austria-Hungary, Argentina, and Belgium, between $45,000,000 and $50,000,000 each, and Australia, Brazil, and Japan, between $27,000,000 and $32,000,000 each.

Of the export trade of the United States, 60 per cent. goes to Europe, 23 per cent. to North America, 6 per cent. to South America, 5 per cent. to Asia, 4 per cent. to Oceanica, and 2 per cent. to Africa. American producers send more than 90 per cent. of their entire foreign shipments, or more than $2,000,000,000 worth of goods, to nineteen countries, and the remaining ten per cent. covers the trade with all the rest of the world. England buys about 26 per cent. of the total American export; Canada 15 per cent.; Germany 13 per cent.; France 7 per cent.; the Netherlands 4 per cent.; Italy, Cuba, and Belgium, each 3 per cent.; Mexico, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Russia, and Brazil, each 2 per cent.; and Spain, Austria-Hungary, Panama, China, and the Philippines, each about 1 per cent.

Official figures of imports and exports are useful as indications from which deductions may safely be drawn, but they are not an accurate record of the trade relations of any two countries. In some cases the indirect trade of the United States with certain countries is much larger than custom-house figures would indicate, in that American goods are purchased by other nations, who act as distributors or intermediaries in conducting the foreign trade of the world. This is very largely so in American trade with England. That country is credited with purchases of American goods far in excess[Pg 892] of the needs of the British people. These goods are bought by English firms whose dealings are largely with other foreign countries, and by them sold to their customers on the Continent of Europe, in Asia, Oceanica, or elsewhere. A striking example of this is the American trade with Russia. It is impossible to state exactly the value of American goods which in time find their way to the Russian consumer, but it is vastly in excess of the amount of trade between the United States and Russia, or $52,380,000, as given in government statistics. In the official statement of exports of American cotton, Russia is credited by the Department of Commerce figures as receiving 64,590 bales, valued at $3,796,867.

American consuls in Russia, and the cotton experts of that country, estimate that Russia consumes annually nearly $50,000,000 worth of American raw cotton, an amount nearly equal to the total export to Russia of all American goods, according to United States government figures. That the government figures are misleading is due to the fact that they are figures of direct business only; and direct trade between the United States and Russia is, for geographical, transportation, and financial reasons, more or less hampered. American cotton is bought for Russia in London, Hamburg, Antwerp, Copenhagen, and other great European markets. The exports are credited in the United States to the ports mentioned, and while the ultimate destination does not affect the totals of American foreign trade, it does lead to wide-spread confusion as to the comparative value of the various foreign markets for American products. This is particularly unfortunate in the case of Russia, a country with which the United States has recently had some difficulty in the matter of a treaty of mutual trade and friendship. Judging from United States government statistics, American trade relations with Russia might be regarded as almost negligible; whereas in fact they are already of the greatest value and importance, to say nothing of the brilliant prospects of possible trade expansion in the near future. Even the government figures show a direct sale to Russia of nearly $50,000,000 worth of American goods, deducting the direct sales of cotton. With a known consumption of $50,000,000 worth of American cotton, this gives at least $100,000,000 as the value of American sales to Russia. Cotton, however, is not the only merchandise sold indirectly, and if other goods are handled in the same way to an equal amount, it is possible that the annual sales of American goods to Russia amount to nearly $200,000,000, or four times the amount allowed by United States official figures.

This correction would give Russia fourth instead of ninth place in the list of great buyers of American goods. This is the most striking illustration of the deceptive feature of government trade-statistics in determining the order of importance of foreign buyers of American goods, though there are other countries which suffer in the estimation of exporters for the same reason. As has been already stated, it was peculiarly unfortunate that this was so in the case of Russia, for those who, for reasons of their own, favored national retaliation against that country through mutual trade relations used United States government statistics to support their argument, and the American public naturally accepted these data at their apparent value. A final and accurate determination of the value of each foreign country as a market for American merchandise, a laborious and almost impossible task, would undoubtedly lead to interesting and unexpected results. It would not only make many changes in the list of the most important customers, but would immediately suggest possibilities of more direct trading, which would stimulate American rail, shipping, and financial interests, increase profits by cutting out the middleman, and in the end give added stimulus to American foreign trade.

One of the most serious difficulties that confront the American Government in its dealings with foreign nations is the inelasticity of the American tariff laws. The most sensible and scientific tariff law which the United States could have,—allowing that the principle of tariff for revenue and protection is to prevail,—is such rate of duty as may be deemed advisable, all things considered; an arrangement whereby a surtax could be imposed upon goods from countries discriminating against American merchandise, and a trading margin for treaty-making purposes, ranging from the normal rate of duty, as[Pg 893] set forth in the customs laws, to absolute free trade between the treaty-making powers. There is little or no hope that such a law can prevail or will be formally advocated by any political party in power; but it is a hopeful sign that it has been seriously suggested and discussed by men prominent in the councils of the nation. That tariff laws will in time be formulated on that basis is likely, but such a statement reaches further into the domain of prophecy than is apparently warranted in the present temper of actual legislation. There is a simple truth, apparently often forgotten or ignored, and it is that to give is necessary, to be able to take, in all dealings between nations, as much as between individuals. All trading is in the end a compromise, presumably mutually beneficent and equally so. It rests with the wit and ability of the trader to see that he at least comes out even. It would be interesting to know just how far the late President McKinley intended to go in his advocacy of better foreign-trade relations for the United States had not his tragic death cut short his program. The last speech he made at Buffalo was crowded with significance of what might come later. It was in a sense as though he were only preparing the way for an important development of American fiscal policy in connection with foreign trade. Those who were in his closest confidence in the days just prior to his death have knowledge of an evolution that had taken place in his mind—a mind that had given more thorough thought and study to tariff matters than almost any other in America at that time. They firmly believe that at the moment the life of President McKinley ended, he had planned a pronunciamento in favor of concessions to American foreign-trade interests which would have startled the country, put the Republican party in line with the mass of the voters who desired tariff revision, and of which his Buffalo speech strongly advocating reciprocity in commerce was only the opening paragraph. Had he lived, this one thing might have made a vast difference in the subsequent fortunes of the Republican party; but when he died his place was taken by a man whose marvelous activities did not include an interest in the tariff. In fact, as he frankly expressed it, the subject “bored” him, as it does many others, unfortunate for the country as this may be.

The American diplomatic service has passed through some remarkable phases in the last twenty-five years. A few years ago it was quite frankly used as a means for rewarding political services to the party in power. No good could possibly come out of such a system. There were some exceptions to the general rule that American ambassadors and ministers were either indifferent to or else ignorant of the needs of the United States in international politics, but they were few and far between. More recently men have been selected for the most important places by reason of their wealth and social standing. Some of those selected made excellent representatives, but owing to the shortness of their terms of office they had no more than familiarized themselves with their surroundings than they were either recalled or found it expedient to return to their native land.

President Wilson has apparently established a new plan, or rather revived an old one. He is selecting his foreign representatives from the class known in Europe as the “intellectuals.” This policy is adopted at a highly critical time in the history of the foreign trading of the United States, and at a time when virtually all the great international questions and controversies are those of respective economic advantage, one nation over another. It comes also at a time when the great commercial and industrial rivals of the United States are pursuing a different policy, one which is perhaps worth considering. England and Germany to a notable degree, and France, Russia, and some others of the great Powers to a sufficient degree to be noticeable, are training men for all diplomatic positions, and promotions are made even to the highest places almost entirely upon the merits and suitability of the candidates. The young man who enters the foreign office service of England or Germany in a subordinate position has within his power, if he develop accordingly, to become in time an ambassador to some important country. He is thoroughly tried out, step by step, as consul and minister before the highest rank is given to him. He is moved about from one part of the world to another until he becomes in truth a cosmopolitan not only in thought and[Pg 894] habit, but in language and knowledge. The most serious part of the education of these men is, first, the economics of their own country, and, secondly, the economics of the country to which they are to be accredited. This education is practical and not theoretical. This is true to so great an extent that, when a technical matter of trade enters into a controversy between the two state departments, the minister or ambassador is often found fully qualified to fight the battle himself in aid of the material interests of the country he represents. There are no more practical men anywhere than a majority of these who now represent the progressive industrial countries of Europe as foreign ministers or ambassadors. This particular feature of their equipment for the office is not unnecessarily paraded, however, for their social and political qualifications are more in the public eye. It is in the private talks at the State Department at Washington, in London, Berlin, Paris, St. Petersburg, or elsewhere, that their real fighting strength is disclosed. It is not a question of private fortune with them, for their governments remove any anxiety on that score by an adequate and even abundant allowance of funds not only for salaries, but for housing and maintenance. The British ambassador to Washington receives more in salary and expense allowance than does the President of the United States in proportion to the necessary expenditures of his office.

To the American manufacturer, deeply engaged with his cost of production and the filling of orders, it may appear that too much stress is laid upon the function of foreign diplomacy in the success of American business abroad; but it will not be necessary to give emphasis to its importance with those Americans who have already pioneered their business into remote parts of the world. They know, through bitter experience, how inefficiency in an American embassy or legation can hinder and even destroy the greater possibilities for American success.

At present, and for years past, the fortunes of American foreign trading depend, so far as diplomacy is concerned, upon the character, ability, common sense, and adroitness of the individual government representative abroad rather than upon the Government or the system as a whole. Within the year 1912 we had the two extremes: in one country an able, intelligent, and practical man, working persistently for weeks to bring about a commercial entente cordiale between the United States and the country in which he was stationed; and in another country American interests were forced to appeal to English or other foreign representatives to help them through a time of stress, because the American representative considered things commercial as outside of the province of his labors. Both of these men are out of office now not because one was useful and the other useless, but because of the system, or lack of system, which required their places for others.

An English minister who was stationed in an important country a few years ago failed when there to secure certain large contracts for English builders. This same minister is still in the service, but is now kicking his heels in an unimportant place, where what he does or does not is of little consequence. A certain German ambassador was recently denied the place of his choice because he had done so well where he was that his services were still needed at that point; but when the crisis has passed, he will get his reward all the more surely.

The day will come in America when it will be realized that a nation can well afford to cheapen for export by every means in its power, and that such cheapness does not necessarily mean discrimination against the home consumer. There are few signs of the dawn of this day at the moment, and it will come only when the ultimate and general overproduction of manufactures forces the attention of the whole nation upon the need of still greater markets elsewhere. There is one comfort for the people of the United States, possessed in no such degree by any other nation at the present time or for several generations to come, and that is, the abounding possibilities of the North American continent in its natural resources, and the amazing vitality and resourcefulness of its inhabitants.




A Few Types of Foreign Women Sketched, in New York, from the Life

By W. T. Benda











[Pg 895]


OW, Furniss was a devil. I mean that exactly, and if I might, I should like to explain it, for I wish to draw a distinction between the devils and the merely devilish. If argot had not spoiled the phrase, I might have said that he was a regular devil, as distinguished from the volunteer, the territorial, the occasional, or the would-be devil.

The distinction between a regular devil and one who is merely devilish is exactly the distinction between the professional and the amateur in all occupations. The devilish do things purely for the éclat of the doing, while the devils do them because they want the things done. A professional carpenter carpenters in order that he may have a table, to be used for his varying ends; an amateur uses his tools merely for the sake of the chips. That an occasional amateur displays unusual brilliancy in the accomplishment has nothing to do with the distinction. The real devils, moreover, regard the devilish purely with a mild amusement, if they regard them at all. Their only vexation is that of professional craftsmen at the “pin-money” workers, whose spasmodic efforts cut into legitimate trade.

The most powerful proof which I can bring to the statement that Furniss was a real devil, however, is the one that he did not regard himself as a devil at all. On the contrary, he regarded himself as an industrious citizen, fairly successful in the accomplishments of his ends. As a career, devilishness did not interest him in the slightest. Its material rewards were all that he sought.

Now, at midnight, on the thirtieth of October, Furniss, with the best intentions in the world, was standing in a group in the ball-room of the Fitchly Country Club, harmlessly singing “Auld Lang Syne.” At one minute past twelve the engineer turned out all the lights, having standing instructions to do so, for Fitchly was a goodly town, and on this particular night the steward had forgotten to make an exception. The result was that which usually occurs when the lights are turned out on a perfectly respectable and usually sane gathering of grown men and women—every bit of asininity in the mob swarmed to the surface. There were cat calls, screams, and suggestive labials, while all the naturally executive began groping toward the door and the steward.

What the others did, however, did not matter. It was generally understood that they were merely devilish, and no score was to be counted against them. Furniss, on the other hand, played everything for stakes, and his tally had to meet with a reckoning. For, when the lights left their sudden wave of darkness on the mixed and rollicking group, Furniss quietly and modestly followed the promptings of his profession, turned slowly, gathered the nearest woman into his arms, and thoroughly and deliberately kissed her. Who she was he had not the slightest idea, nor did he, indeed, have any very lively curiosity. The act was purely professional, perfectly methodic, as automatic and unemotional as a response in a ritual. Thus, despite Fur[Pg 896]niss’s known make-up, the fact would have passed unnoticed had it not been for two things, first, that, owing to the deliberateness of Furniss and the quickness of the engineer, the lights went on again before he was through, and the second that the woman thus discovered in his arms was the only one in the room whom he would have had the slightest reason for wanting to kiss. It was a perfect triumph of circumstantial evidence.

The sudden hush which fell on the group when the lights were restored at once displayed the awfulness of Furniss’s depravity, as viewed by the Fitchly Country Club, in riot assembled. Had any other man been caught in the same act, with any other woman, there would have been merely a triumphant outcry of self-acknowledged devilishness. The man would have bought at the bar below, and the women would have screamed themselves to their motors; but, by some unusual instinct that was positively primitive, every man and woman in the room realized that Furniss was a professional and his act took a much more vital aspect. By the same perfect precision of instinct not a single iota of blame was attached to the lady in question, for the accurate conception of Furniss on the part of the Country Club demonstrated also that she was only an instrument in a tragedy of the elements. One does not accuse a person of being an accessory to a cyclone.

At the vivid and not wholly beautiful picture thus presented by the electrics, the whole room foolishly and utterly unsuccessfully attempted to give an imitation of a gathering which knows that nothing has happened. After the awful hush of the first moment, the women began quietly conversing in tones unusually subdued; the men began skylarking and shouting on subjects unusually hollow. The object of instructing the engineer to turn on the lights again, after midnight, had been to allow the dance to continue until two in the morning. At one there was not a single person left in the ball-room, and the waiters were already sweeping up the fragments. Some fragments, however, they could not sweep, and these make the following prelude:

Ten years before, at the age of twenty-five, Furniss had had one chance in a million of being decent; that is to say, he had nearly married a good woman, and that woman, needless to explain, was the one whom by sheer accident he kissed just ten years later. Furthermore, it was the nearest that he had ever come to marrying anybody, or ever would come, and it was a hollow victory for the law of chances.

Furniss was a devil because he came of that stock. It bred true to type, merely with refinements in each succeeding generation. His father was a stout, red-faced man of the kind that, thirty years ago, drove trotting-horses to a red-wheeled run-about, with wooden knobs on the reins, and loops to hold to—a true example of the days when it took absolute defiance to be a sporting-man. Furniss himself drove the best-looking motor-car in Fitchly, and his effect was esthetically better than his father’s, for, owing to the rigidity of the thing, it is much easier to have a good taste in motor-cars than in horses. His mother was a blonde, expensively-dressed woman of the type which goes through life in the hideous belief that tight-lacing will make feminine obesity anything but revolting.

Yet at twenty-five Furniss had had his chances. He went to college and played foot-ball. He played it well. It is frequently the noblest thing that men of his stamp ever do, except one. They sometimes get into the army, and into the cavalry; less frequently into the infantry, but never, absolutely never, into the engineers. It was, moreover, the heyday of the college athlete, those golden years of the nineties when men wore huge white Y’s and H’s on high-necked sweaters at mountain resorts all summer, and when reputations lasted more than a year. With one of these reputations Furniss had come out of college, and tentatively, against its judgment, Fitchly had received him. It was one of those inconceivable cases when reason and instinct battle. Everybody knew old man Furniss and had not the slightest illusions about him; yet here was young Furniss a half-back at Yale! Time has helped us to understand these things nowadays, but they troubled us then.

In Furniss’s case reason won over instinct, and Fitchly received him with open arms which wavered slightly. The only return he made was to fall mildly in love with Helen Witherspoon. It would be nice to think that something in the[Pg 897] sweet, old-fashioned manner of this dainty, refined girl, whose ancestors had been immigrants two hundred years before Furniss’s, appealed to the brute and barbaric in the foot-ball hero, and perhaps it did, but a more plausible reason for his falling in love with her was that every one else was doing it. It was the temptation of the desired, the invitation of a contest, and of all things this appealed most to Furniss. Every one was doing it; but in a very short time it narrowed down to Furniss and Butley Smith, of the well-known legal firm of Smith, Smith & Smith, which drew up the city charter and refused to accept criminal practice. She married Smith. You could hardly call it a disappointed love-affair. It was rather precision by elimination, and Furniss was eliminated. Furnisses were all right as half-backs, but we didn’t marry them in Fitchly; at least Father and Mother Witherspoon didn’t marry them, and in Fitchly they did the marrying.

From Furniss’s point of view it was unfortunate, but it was natural. As an economic system, marriage did not wholly persuade him, anyway.

So Furniss reverted to type, and did well at it. He lost little of his athletic good looks, and he was certainly invaluable as a club-man. Thirty-five found him stocky, but not fat, with a face rather round, but not repellent; a tiny, trim mustache; the inevitable blue serge and that almost offensively white linen which one associates with the broker type—that whiteness which threatens to, but does not quite, suggest scented soap. It would have been extremely difficult to say whether or not he had brains. His achievements rather pointed to the fact that he had, and his tastes to the fact that he had not; but, in any case, he made money, and whatever might be his misdeeds, he never bothered any one by telling about them. He manufactured in quantity the best off-set drill in America, and furthermore, as he held the patents, the wholesale jobbers who bought the drill troubled not one whit with his morals. The society of Fitchly shook its head occasionally, but on the whole kept him along. It would be extremely difficult to drop a man who had nowhere to drop to; and as he asked nothing of Fitchly, there was nothing to refuse. This occasion at the Country Club, then, was the first real instance in which the elements had come in conflict.

Of the many mixed emotions which accompanied the premature withdrawal from the Country Club that night, only two will suffice for illustration, as they marked the extremes—those of Furniss himself and of Butley Smith, the Menelaus of the ravished Helen. Those of Furniss, indeed, were no doubt very similar to the emotions of the son of Priam himself on the occasion of the original Hellenic uprising—an amusing incident and an unfortunate one, but why this unseemly outcry? His kissing some one when the lights went out had been a perfectly consistent act. It was not an emotional impulse; it was, in a way, a duty to the conventions, and how was he to know that the recipient was a former sweetheart? He had no desire to repeat the crime. The attitude of the Country Club had made osculation rather nauseous. It would seem better breeding not to notice it; and yet, and yet, it was rather funny that it should have been Helen. It was the first personal illustration which Furniss had ever had of the dramatic, and he began to ponder. If you ever wish to reclaim a devil, just try him on the dramatic. It is the only uplifting influence which sleeps in the souls of most of them.

The emotions of Butley Smith were less happily chosen. He also felt the impulse of the drama, but his was the stiff and unnatural drama of the classic schools, for his cue directed him to punch in the face of the offending Furniss. It was a glowing idea, but it wasn’t practical, as associates of Butley brutally pointed out when they drew attention to the fact that the face of the ex-half-back, and the present associate of half the prize-fighters in the East, would be an extremely hard one to pummel, and their logic suggests an admirable course of action for one who would play a dramatic part in such histories. If you must be an outraged husband, be one in a novel or a play, where you will always be able to thrash or horsewhip or shoot the villain within an inch of his life. The physical incapacity of villains in these circles is admirable. In real life, unfortunately, they are quite apt to be fully the equals of the outraged husband, or otherwise the husbands would be less frequently outraged.

[Pg 898]

The probabilities of this situation were easily comprehended by a legal mind which spurned a criminal practice, and Butley Smith had to take his satisfaction in biding his time, reserving, however, the privilege of biting his lip, to which extent he lived up to the unities. Meantime the situation in Fitchly did not improve.

Just how bad the situation was growing, just how fitfully the pot was boiling, how it was even fanned by his own disregard of it, was utterly aside from the observation of Furniss. He never knew, for example, and probably would not have cared if he did, that there had been a proposition to expel him from the Fitchly Country Club. But, then, as was pointed out by Carter of the firm of Carter, Pills & Carter, who did take an occasional criminal case, if an action were instituted against Furniss, it must necessarily involve the guileless Helen, and, whatever might be the popular verdict, just how much she could be called an accomplice would be a decision extremely delicate for the trained legal mind. It was certain that Furniss’s face had borne no scratches when the lights went on again.

So Butley boiled and chafed under his natural injunction against punching Furniss, and bit his lip, and bided his time, until ultimately it began to react on Helen, whose original emotions had been as simple as those of the criminal. He boiled and chafed and bided his time until the desperate Helen resolved on a terrible step—no less than an actual move to the walls of Ilium. She wrote a note, and invited Furniss to meet her in the private dining-room of the Fitchly Inn.

He went. We will not flatter Furniss. Any note in a feminine handwriting would have brought him just the same, and his mood was not of the most elevated. His dim, uncertain stirrings of the dramatic on the morning of the thirty-first had gone permanently back to sleep, and on this particular day he had reasons to be distinctly savage, for he had just lost a forty-thousand-dollar order for the off-set drill, and he had no active inclinations toward mushrooms. Still, business was business, and one had to buy luncheon for two, anyway.

So Helen met him, and Helen pleaded. Aside from the boiling of Butley, her feminine sense of the just had told her that wrong must be righted and happy endings must prevail. She had not the rude melodrama of her consort, which saw a trouncing as the only fit remedy for non-patrons of husbandry; but she had, nevertheless, an Emersonian theory of compensation, which perceived that the apparent impunity of the outrager was contrary to the ultimate laws of existence. So Helen pleaded, and Paris got mad. He didn’t like Butley, anyway. He would apologize to Helen, but he wouldn’t to Menelaus. He couldn’t see that the affair was international, anyway. It seemed to him distinctly Parisian. But Helen wore a tailored gown with a fringe of lace at her neck, so Paris surrendered, and the entente cordiale was restored. He promised to apologize at the Quoits Club that very day, and that evening, at a prearranged dinner, the nations would banquet in harmony. Seven stalwart oxen would be killed, a libation poured to the gods, and for seven hours—

But just then the waiter brought the bill.

The bill, with tips, was twenty-four dollars and sixty cents, and with a sudden recollection of the forty-thousand-dollar order, Furniss reverted to type. With the usual inconsistency of a man who can lose large sums with apparent indifference, he raved and fumed at the loss of a penny. He raved and fumed all the afternoon at his office, and it was not until well after five that he made an unaccustomed appearance at the Quoits Club, still raging and fuming, with the only horror that a man of his type can ever know—the horror of losing money.

Butley Smith was already at the Quoits Club, as Helen well knew he would be; but Furniss was an unaccustomed presence. He usually preferred the Racquets, where the stakes were worth playing, and his advent in this, the stronghold of strictly civil practice, made a commotion. The commotion, moreover, soon attracted the attention of Butley, who was straying through the tables looking for a partner.

Now, Butley Smith was rated a magnificent card-player, which meant that he played auction like a stop-watch, and poker like a two-year-old child. The exact opposite was true, by reputation, of Furniss, and at sight of him in the stronghold of his own followers, who demanded his[Pg 899] redemption, Butley had a sudden golden inspiration. He ceased biting his lip, and his time was bid. He would beard the lion in his den, and beard him he did.

“Furniss,” he said, “are you busy?”

Furniss looked up in perplexity.

“Suppose,” continued Butley, “that we throw a few hands of poker.”

Butley was right. With Furniss of Fitchly that was indeed an audacious suggestion to give, but, brooding on the circumstances of the last two months, in the minds of the Quoits Club it instantly assumed Homeric proportions. The turn of a card, the fall of a die, a woman’s honor—there was a romance about it that struck clear home to their devilishness; a veritable thrill went among them. Only Furniss was mystified; but, then, he was a devil, and naturally did not know how it felt to be devilish. But he saw light—his own light, a light that is not on land or sea, only in the waters under the earth.

“I’m on,” he said, and Butley dealt.

In a crowded club-room at five o’clock in the afternoon a two-handed game would ordinarily have been a monstrosity, but this was no ordinary contest. It was a fight to the very death, and without a word the spectators gathered at the only points where it is proper for spectators to gather in a poker-game—without a word and without a suggestion to join.

I want to do justice to that game, but the truth is that Butley did not win a single hand—or just one in the early part.

“I raise you four,” said Furniss as the clock struck six.

Butley glanced at his hand.

“It’s yours,” he said sadly, and regretfully laid down three jacks, while Furniss rapidly shuffled an ace high into the pack and looked at his watch.

Six o’clock had been fixed as the hour for stopping, as both had confessed the common engagement for dinner, and Butley rose with the sad, sweet air of one defeated, but still game. Knowing Furniss of Fitchly, the onlookers applauded. But Furniss was busily counting his chips.

“Twenty—twenty-two—twenty-four—twenty-four-fifty”—the last chip! A sudden warm triumph came over him. Like a flash, he drew ten cents from his pocket.

“Butley,” he exclaimed, “I’ll match you for a dime.”

Was it a challenge to game on all fields? Was it a contemptuous fling at the triviality of the winnings? Or was it really the recognition of the instincts of one sportsman by another? Butley did not know; but if Furniss was flinging down the glove, he would still pick it up again. Any one would die game for ten cents, and with the debonair air of the devilish, Butley drew forth a coin and slapped it down on the table. Two heads. Furniss had won, and Butley had paid for the luncheon.

Nevertheless, most astounding of all, the unities were suddenly restored, for across the table, with a genial, companionable smile, Furniss was extending the right hand of fellowship.

“Butley,” he said, and honestly, with the thought of twenty-four-sixty, “if there is anything that I have to apologize for, you can take this for my apology.”

Now at this point there settles down a despondency like a pall. Oh, how one might wish that one could leave them there with that happy scene as a curtain, and that devils were not, and that they were all merely devilish. But this is the story of Furniss.

For after the prearranged dinner that evening, while Furniss and Butley were making a four at bridge with the hosts, fair Helen, who played bridge not at all, was strumming faint chords in the music-room. And during his partner’s play, while Butley was racking his mathematical memory to recall every card that had ever been played in the world, this Furniss pushed in through the curtains, and Helen looked up.

“You apologized?” she asked him, softly, still playing the bass.

He nodded.

She looked down, then up again wistfully.

“For my sake?”

“For your sake,” lied Furniss, his eyes like a babe’s.

She took both hands from the keyboard and faced him, while Furniss leaned over. She did not move back, and a slow, gentle smile reflected his own while Furniss deliberately kissed her.

In the card-room Menelaus was recalling the bid.

“One lily,” he said with elation.

[Pg 900]



RIOND-BOSSON, Paderewski’s beautiful place at Morges, on the Swiss side of Lake Geneva, has become one of the show-places of Europe not only on account of its famous owner, but also for its orchards, greenhouses, and the chicken farm, which is one of Mme. Paderewska’s chief cares. Better still, it is a charming home, where the world’s greatest pianist and his wife spend the happiest part of their lives, the time when he is free to compose, to practise, and to surround himself with friends, to whom in gracious hospitality both manage to devote much time. Neither appears officially before luncheon; but Mme. Paderewska, shaded by a sunbonnet, accompanied by several dogs, and followed by a retinue of workmen, is one of the frequent morning sights about the premises. She oversees everything, the house,—notably the kitchen, in which both she and Paderewski are greatly interested,—the chickens, and the growing of the fruit and vegetables. Besides this, she attends to her husband’s enormous correspondence, and is always ready with help and advice to smooth difficulties out of his way.

The Paderewskis are very fond of animals, especially dogs and parrots. The wild birds, too, receive Mme. Paderewska’s care, and by her special orders birdhouses have been placed on every tree on the place. She has her reward, for the air is filled with the melody of their songs. With all the other demands on her time, she finds leisure for collecting material for a cook-book, which promises to be a valuable work, many of its recipes being the result of her personal experience.

Paderewski spends most of the morning and afternoon hours in his own study. He finds some time for exercise during the day, grass-cutting on lawn and fields being his favorite outdoor work; and although his priceless hands have to be protected by gloves, he gets a good deal of fun as well as benefit from being a “farm-hand.” At luncheon-time he appears, after a hard morning’s work, looking well, happy, and boyish, dressed, like Mark Twain, in pure white, and ready to chat delightfully on any subject, whether it be gastronomy, American politics, his own interesting South-American experiences, or other topics.

Paderewski’s love of the picturesque made him long to own one of the splendid old châteaux that abound in that part of Switzerland; but the more practical counsels of his wife prevailed, and their home is simply a comfortable modern house, standing at the top of a large, sloping, green field. It is built somewhat in the chalet type, of red brick, with many balconies, and a stately front terrace, and it commands a magnificent prospect, first of the rose-garden, then of the wide sweep of green, bordered by huge trees—lindens, chestnuts, and evergreens. Farther on is the lake, with a splendid view of Mont Blanc for a background. Flowers abound: orange-trees in tubs, geraniums, heliotrope, mignonette, and chiefly roses, which not only fill the formal rose-garden, but scramble over the fences of the chicken-yards, a mass of pink-and-red bloom; while in the orchard, between the espalier-grown fruit-trees, there is almost an equal number of tall rose-bushes, all in bloom in July.

Half-tone plate engraved for THE CENTURY by H. Davidson




[Pg 901]

There are many portraits of Paderewski at Riond-Bosson, but none except the pencil-sketch by Burne-Jones has represented both the strength and the spirituality of his head. This portrait hangs in the salon, surrounded by old prints, which are one of the master’s hobbies. Fragonard’s pictures are evidently among his favorites, as they also occupy a place of honor in the drawing-room. Autographed engravings by Alma-Tadema, caricatures of Paderewski by well-known artists, and photographs of famous friends—Modjeska, Saint-Saëns, and Sembrich, among others—adorn the house from top to bottom; and Paderewski is the possessor of a remarkable collection of old Swiss prints of towns and scenery. A few very interesting family photographs hang in the library, a whole group being of Mme. Paderewska in her childhood and girlhood, a maiden with beautiful dreamy eyes and a delicate face, framed in dusky hair.

There are seven pianos in the house, two being in the drawing-room; but it is in his own study that Paderewski does all his practising and composing. His practising would be both an encouragement and a discouragement to students. Hour after hour he works, with the patience that none but the greatest possess, polishing and repolishing phrases that sound perfect even to a practised ear, but which do not satisfy his critical judgment. Only occasionally does he allow himself the relaxation of playing even a page of music; after this he returns relentlessly to octave work, to staccato finger-passages, to separate phrases from Liszt’s sonatas, to the more difficult portions of his own magnificent “Variations et fugue,” to snatches of Chopin, or to bits of Debussy, whose piano-music he likes.

Paderewski has much admiration for the greatest masters of the French school: Gounod, Bizet, and especially Saint-Saëns, whom he considers the greatest living musician. With enthusiasm he tells of Saint-Saëns’s achievement in playing four Mozart concertos from memory at the age of seventy-six. He also admires Massenet, particularly his “Jongleur,” which he calls the French composer’s masterpiece. He feels that Gounod’s “Faust,” even more than his “Roméo et Juliette,” is immortal, and that “Carmen” is one of the works which can never grow old, and of which one cannot tire. He finds Gounod’s influence in Bizet’s compositions, and still more in those of Tschaikovsky, who in all his work was dominated by the great Frenchman, the “Faust” waltz even having colored Tschaikovsky’s symphonic ideas, coming into them either in conventional waltz time or in the unusual rhythm of five beats, as in the second movement of the “Symphonie Pathétique.” Still more pronounced is Tschaikovsky’s debt to Gounod in “Eugen Onegin,” where, in the love-scene, this same waltz phrase appears reversed, though almost identical with that in “Faust.” “But I prefer the father,” Paderewski adds. To him, as to many other lovers of “Faust,” the “Soldiers’ Chorus” is uninteresting; but he singles out for special admiration Mefisto’s striking song of the “Veau d’or,” his serenade, and the “immortally beautiful” love-music.

Acquaintance with Tschaikovsky’s music means knowing the whole Russian school, Paderewski says, although the younger Russian musicians repudiate him and Rubinstein, just as Russian writers turn against their greatest representative, and call Turgenieff a foreigner, expatriated, and untrue to Russian characteristics. The first and last movements of Tschaikovsky’s best-loved symphony, the “Pathétique,” Paderewski considers sublime; but he regards the other two as rather commonplace.

His opinion of the modern French school has not changed since his talk with Mr. Daniel Gregory Mason, which was published in THE CENTURY for November, 1908. Some of the Debussy piano-music appeals to him; but he still considers “Pelléas” little more than color, and rather monotonous color.

“I think I must be very old-fashioned,” he once said, “for I know many persons no younger than I who like it.” His own “Variations,” in which some listeners found a surface resemblance to the modern French school, have no more real relation to it than has the music of Chopin or of Liszt.

Paderewski is as great in gastronomy as in music, and he believes the subject of food is “the most important question” in our country. Of Americans he says: “They are rich—rich enough to spoil French cooking,” meaning their frequent[Pg 902] indifference to quality, a fact which he deeply deplores; for in this art, to him as to other connoisseurs, the French are supreme. “You have good fruits, good meats, but nothing else is good except the scallops, which are the best thing you have. The fish is abominable.” In saying this he probably had in mind the cold-storage fish served in our hotels. “You have destroyed your lobsters, your salmon, your terrapin, your forests. You never think that another generation is coming.”

America is not the only country he censures thus sharply. The English are still more blameworthy, for their food-stuffs are perfection, and yet nothing tastes good; though he admitted that one could get excellent dinners in some London restaurants and private houses.

The sour cherry, which Europe owes to Lucullus, is Paderewski’s favorite fruit. Following the Roman’s example, he has imported the choicest varieties for his Swiss home. These trees came from Poland, and those who ate of the fruit agreed with Paderewski’s statement that they are “the aristocrats among cherries.”

Perhaps the most vital subject to the great Pole is his own beloved country. He is considered an important factor in the Polish-European politics of the day. Considerable apprehension was felt as to the possible effect of his speech on his inflammable compatriots at the Chopin centenary, in 1910, and at the presentation of the magnificent monument which Paderewski had caused to be erected at Cracow in commemoration of the Polish victory over the order of Teutonic Knights at Grunewald, in 1410. One of his countrymen was the sculptor of the splendid equestrian statue of Wladislaus II. The mere description of the scenes that followed, of the acclamations of the Poles, the cheers of thousands for their beloved Paderewski, moves the hearer deeply; what it must have meant to the man in whose honor those thousands gathered from all Poland—a man ready to give his heart’s blood for his country—can be known only to himself and to his wife. Among the interesting souvenirs of this occasion are autographs of many distinguished Poles who gathered to do honor to Poland and to Paderewski. It is hardly strange that the Powers that hold Poland should have felt that very serious consequences might arise from this one man’s magnetism, enthusiasm, and patriotism.

In the speech he made at the Chopin centenary, he advanced an interesting theory to explain the genius of his country and the unrest and moodiness of the Poles. He believes that, as a nation, they are like their music, and live in a perpetual state of tempo rubato, caused by a physical defect—arrhythmia, or unevenness of heartbeat. He was not in the best of health; and being unable to play at this festival, he offered that honor to his American pupil and friend Ernest Schelling, who passed through the ordeal triumphantly, satisfying not only his Polish audience, but his sponsor by his interpretation of the works of Poland’s idol, Chopin.

Paderewski is not addicted to talking much about himself; but occasionally he gives his friends a glimpse of the real man. One autobiographic incident concerns his own playing. Berlin has always been unjust to Paderewski, not for artistic reasons, but on political grounds. One well-known critic, after hearing Paderewski play, went to the artist’s room, his eyes filled with tears of joy, to congratulate the master; but later, obeying the official mot d’ordre which is frequently used in the attempt to kill great artists, he wrote most disagreeably about Paderewski, who, in relating the experience, added half deprecatingly: “He spoiled me by his call. It is easy to be spoiled; and he was so pleased the first time that I thought he would come again.”

The remarkable songs to the poems of Catulle Mendès, which Paderewski published a few years ago, were written, he told us, in three weeks; and in that year, produced in an incredibly short space of time, the piano sonata and the sketch of the symphony also saw the light. The scoring of the latter he could not finish until three years later. The composer is very particular about his manuscript, and if he makes an error, he rewrites the whole page. At times he could score only one page; at others, as many as five; and he smilingly says, “I was so proud of my five pages, even if they were all rests.” He himself has to study the piano accompaniments to his later songs, and he says that “it is foolish to make them so difficult.”

His South-American experiences had been of great interest to him both from the[Pg 903] point of view of the artist and that of the observer. He had played ten times in Buenos Aires to growing houses and increasing enthusiasm, the last of the series being to a $12,000 audience; he had tasted barbecued beef at a great plantation feast, and found it very unpalatable; he had studied the agricultural conditions of the South-American countries, and had been amazed at the natural wealth of the Argentine Republic, at its forests of trees unknown to us, and still more at its humus, forty meters deep, which makes a soil so fertile that it will last for centuries with no enriching. Being a practical farmer himself, and deeply interested in the good of his own land and forests, every detail of this extraordinary wealth fascinated the great pianist.

Like many other famous artists of to-day, Paderewski finds the making of records for a phonograph far more trying and fatiguing than playing in public. He says he would “rather play at twenty concerts than once for a phonograph.” One of these records was so difficult to make, and needed so many repetitions to insure perfection in every note, not only artistically, but acoustically, that he almost dislikes to hear it. It is safe to predict that his admirers will not share this feeling, and that his own “Cracovienne,” Mendelssohn’s “Hunting-Song,” and Liszt’s “Campanella,” to mention only three, will become popular additions to their collections of records. He has a large number of Oriental records, in which he is greatly interested. Years ago, when he first went to San Francisco, he spent much of his spare time at the Chinese theater listening to their music; so the study of Oriental tunes is no new thing, although, thanks to the recording machines, it has taken a new form.

Never shall we forget our last afternoon at Riond-Bosson, when Paderewski played for us, giving almost a professional recital, at which the greatest of all the music he played was his own “Variations et fugue,” Opus 23. To hear them in the concert-hall, as New York audiences have heard them, is a great experience; but to hear them in a room, with three or four enthusiasts as the only listeners, is a much greater one. Mme. Wilkonska, Paderewski’s sister; Miss Mickiewicz, granddaughter of the famous Polish poet; Mr. Blake, a young Polish sculptor, and we two, were the only persons there besides the pianist and his wife. She stood at his side to turn the leaves for him, although he hardly glanced at the printed page; but as he had not played this composition in a long time, and had had only a few hours’ practice to recall it to memory and fingers, he preferred to have the music before him. Lovers of music will recall the majestic theme in octaves upon which Paderewski has built one of the most splendid sets of variations in all music, one worthy to be compared with Schubert’s sublime variations on his song of “Death and the Maiden.” He had thundered out his theme, when two of Mme. Paderewska’s dogs began a mad romp through the room. Paderewski’s hands dropped from the keys, and the culprits were summarily put out, little realizing their sins. They reappeared at doors and windows, scratching and barking; but, once fairly launched, Paderewski was undisturbed by their small noises, and played on to the end. After finishing the fugue, he replied, in answer to questions, that one of the variations was difficult, then mentioned another, and ended by repeating several of the best variations and also the splendid fugue.

We had been privileged to enjoy an experience such as Liszt described in his book on Chopin, when the other great Polish composer-pianist let his friends hear his own works interpreted by himself; but at Riond-Bosson there was no jarring note of Philistinism such as Liszt found in the aristocratic salons in which Chopin played.

[Pg 904]



Author of “Sister Carrie,” “Jennie Gerhardt,” etc.


WHEN the train rolled into the Gare du Nord, it must have been about eight o’clock in the evening. X. had explained to me that, in order to make my entrance into Paris properly gay and interesting, we were to dine at the Café de Paris, then visit the Folies-Bergère, and afterward have supper at the Abbaye Thélème. Now, as usual, X. was alert and prepared. He had industriously piled all the bags close to the door, and was hanging out of a window, doing his best to signal a facteur. I was to stay in the car and hand all the packages down rapidly while he ran to secure a taxi and an inspector, and in other ways to clear away the impediments to our progress. With great executive enthusiasm he told me that we must be at the Hôtel Normandy by eight-fifteen or twenty, and that by nine o’clock we must be ready to sit down in the Café de Paris to an excellent dinner, which he had ordered by telegraph.

I recall my wonder in entering Paris—the lack of any extended suburbs, the sudden flash of electric lights and electric cars. Mostly we seemed to be entering through a tunnel or gully, and then we were there. The noisy facteurs in their caps and blue aprons were all about the cars. They ran and chattered and gesticulated, wholly unlike the porters at Paddington and Waterloo, Victoria and Euston. The one we finally secured, a husky little enthusiast, did his best to gather all our packages in one grand mass[Pg 905] and shoulder them, stringing them on a single strap. The result of it was that the strap broke right over a small pool of water, and among other things the canvas bag containing my blanket and magnificent shoes fell into the water.

The excited facteur was fairly dancing in anguish, doing his best to get the packages strung together. Between us we relieved him of about half of them, and from about his waist he unwrapped another large strap and strung the remainder on that. Then we hurried on, for nothing would do but that we must hurry. A taxi was secured, and all our luggage piled on it. It looked half suffocated under bundles as it swung away, and we were off at a mad clip through crowded, electric-lighted streets. I pressed my nose to the window and took in as much as I could, while X., between calculations as to how much time this would take and that would take and whether my trunk had arrived safely, expatiated laconically on French characteristics.

“You smell this air? It is characteristic of Paris.”

“The taxis always go like this.” We were racing like mad.

“There is an excellent type; look at her.”

“Now you see the chairs out in front. They are this way all over Paris.”

I was looking at the interesting restaurant life, which never really seems to be interrupted anywhere in Paris. One can always find a dozen chairs, if not fifty or a hundred, somewhere out on the sidewalk, under the open sky or a glass roof, with little stone-topped tables beside them, the crowd surging to and fro in front. Here one can sit and have one’s coffee, liqueur, sandwich. Everybody seems to do it; it is as common as walking in the streets.

We whirled through street after street, partaking of this atmosphere, and finally swung up in front of a rather plain hotel, which was close to the Avenue de l’Opéra, on the corner of the Rue St. Honoré and the Rue de l’Echelle. Our luggage was quickly distributed, and I was shown into my room by a maid who could not speak English. I unlocked my belongings and rapidly changed my clothes, while X., breathing mightily, fully arrayed, soon appeared, saying that I should await him at the door below, where he would arrive with our guests. I did so, and in fifteen minutes he returned, the taxi spinning up out of a steady stream that was flowing by. I think my head was dizzy with the whirl of impressions which I was garnering, but I did my best to keep a sane view of things, and to get my impressions as sharp and clear as I could.

I am satisfied of one thing in this world, and that is that the commonest intelligence is very frequently confused or hypnotized or overpersuaded by certain situations, and that the weaker ones are ever full of the wildest forms of illusion. We talk about the sanity of life. I question whether it exists. Mostly it is a succession of confusing, disturbing impressions which are only rarely valid. This night I know I was moving in a sort of maze, and when I stepped into the taxi and was introduced to two ladies, I easily succumbed to what was obviously their great beauty.

Greuze has painted over and over the type that I saw before me—soft, buxom, ruddy womanhood. I think the two may have been respectively twenty-four and twenty-six. The elder was smaller than the younger, although both were of good size, and not so ruddy; but both were plump, round-faced, dimpled, and with a wealth of brownish-black hair, white teeth, smooth, plump arms, necks, and shoulders. Their chins were adorably rounded, their lips red, and their eyes laughing and gay. They began laughing and chattering the moment I entered, extending their soft, white hands, and saying things in French which I could not understand. X. was smiling, beaming through his monocle in an amused, superior way. The older girl was arrayed in pearl-colored silk, with a black mantilla spangled with silver, and the younger had a dress of peachblow hue, with a white lace mantilla, that was also spangled, and they breathed a faint perfume.

I shall never forget the grand air with which this noble band went into the Café de Paris. We were in fine feather, and the ladies radiated a charm and a flavor which immediately attracted attention. This brilliant café was aglow with lights and alive with people. It is not large in size, and is triangular in shape. The charm of it comes not so much from the luxury of the fittings, which are luxu[Pg 906]rious enough, but from their exceedingly good taste and the fame of the cuisine. One does not see a bill of fare here that indicates prices. You order what you like, and are charged what is suitable. Champagne is not an essential wine, as it is in some restaurants; you may drink what you please. There is a delicious sparkle and spirit to the place which can spring only from a high sense of individuality. Paris is supposed to provide nothing better than the Café de Paris in so far as food is concerned.

I turned my attention to the elder of the two ladies, who was quite as vivacious, if not quite so forceful, as her younger sister. I never before knew what it meant to sit in a company of this kind, welcomed as a friend, looked to for gaiety as a companion and admirer, and yet not able to say a word in the language of the occasion. There were certain words which could be quickly acquired, such as “beautiful,” “charming,” “very delightful,” and so on, for which X. gave me the French equivalent, and then I could make complimentary remarks, which he would translate for all, and the ladies would say things in reply which would come to me by the same medium. It went gaily enough, for the conversation would not have been of a high order if I had been able to speak French. X. objected to being used constantly as an interpreter, and when he became stubborn and chatted gaily without stopping to explain, I was compelled to fall back on the resources of looks, smiles, and gestures. It interested me to see how quick these women were to adapt themselves to the difficulties of the situation. They were constantly laughing and chaffing between themselves, looking at me and saying obviously flattering things, and then laughing at my discomfiture in not being able to understand. The elder explained what certain objects were by lifting them up and insisting on the French name. X. was constantly telling me of the remarks they made at my expense, and how sad they thought it was that I could not speak French.

We departed finally for the Folies-Bergère, where the newest sensation of Paris, Mistinguett, was playing. She proved to be a brilliant hoyden to look upon; a gay, slim, yellow-haired tomboy who seemed to fascinate the large audience by her boyish manners and her wayward air. There was a brilliant chorus in spangled silks and satins. The vaudeville acts were about as good as they are anywhere. I did not think that the performance was any better than one might see in one or two places in New York, though of course the humor was much broader. Now and then one of their remarkable bons mots was translated for me by X. just to give me an inkling of the character of the place. Back of the seats was a great lobby, or promenade, where some of the demi-monde of Paris were congregated—beautiful creatures, in many instances, and as unconventional as you please. I was particularly struck with the smartness of their costumes and the cheerfulness of their faces. The companion type in London and New York is somewhat colder-looking. Their eyes snapped with Gallic intelligence, and they walked as though the whole world held their point of view and no other.

From here at midnight we left for the Abbaye Thélème, and there I encountered the best that Paris has to show in the way of that gaiety and color and beauty and smartness for which it is famous. One really ought to say a great deal about the Abbaye Thélème, because it is the last word, the quintessence, of midnight excitement and international savoir-faire. The Russian and the Brazilian, the Frenchman, the American, the Englishman, the German, and the Italian—all these meet here on common ground. I saw much of restaurant life in Paris while I was there, but nothing better than this. Like the Café de Paris, it was very small when compared with restaurants of similar repute in New York and London. I fancy it was not more than sixty feet square; only it was not square, but pentagonal, almost circular. To begin with, the tables were around the walls, with seats which had the wall for the back; and then, as the guests poured in, the interior space was filled with tables brought in for the purpose. Later in the morning, when the guests began to leave, these tables were taken out again, and the space was devoted to dancing and entertainers.

As in the Café de Paris, I noticed that it was not so much the quality of the furnishings as the spirit of the place which was important. This latter was compounded[Pg 907] of various elements, success being the first one, perfection of service another, absolute individuality of cooking another, and lastly the subtlety and magnetism of sex, which is capitalized and used in Paris as it is nowhere else in the world. Until I stepped into this restaurant I never actually realized what it is that draws a certain moneyed element to Paris. The tomb of Napoleon, the Panthéon, and the Louvre are not the significant attractions of that important city. Those things have their value and constitute an historical and artistic element that is imposing, romantic, and forceful; but over and above that there is something else, and that is sex. I did not learn until later what I am going to say now, but it might as well be said here, for it illustrates the point exactly. A little experience and inquiry in Paris quickly taught me that the owners and managers of the more successful restaurants encourage and help to sustain a certain type of woman whose presence is desirable. She must be young, beautiful, or attractive, and, above all things, possessed of temperament. A woman can rise in the café and restaurant world of Paris quite as she can on the stage, and she can easily be graduated from the Abbaye Thélème and Maxim’s to the stage; and, on the other hand, the stage contributes freely to the atmosphere of Maxim’s, the Abbaye Thélème, and other similar resorts. A large number of the figures seen here and at the Folies-Bergère and at other places of the same type are interchangeable. They are in the restaurants when they are not on the stage, and they are on the stage when they are not in the restaurants. They rise or fall by a world of strange devices, and you can hear brilliant or ghastly stories illustrating either conclusion. Paris—this aspect of it—is a perfect maelstrom of sex, and it is sustained by the wealth and the curiosity of the stranger, as well as of the Frenchman.

The Abbaye Thélème on this occasion presented a brilliant scene. Outside a small railing near the door several negro singers, a mandolin-and a guitar-player, and several stage dancers were congregated. A throng of people was pouring through the doors, all with their tables previously arranged for. Outside, where a January wind was blowing, you could hear a perfect uproar of slamming taxi doors, and the calls of doormen and chauffeurs getting their vehicles in and out of the way. The company generally, as on all such occasions, was alert to see who was present and what the general spirit of the occasion was to be. Instantly I detected a number of Americans; three amazingly beautiful Englishwomen, such as I had not seen in England, and their escorts; a few Spaniards or South Americans; and, after that, a variety of persons whom I took to be largely French, although it was impossible to tell. The Englishwomen interested me because in all my stay in Europe I never saw three other women quite so beautiful, and because in all my stay in England I scarcely saw a good-looking Englishwoman. X. suggested that they were of that high realm of fashion which rarely remains in London during the winter, when I was there; that if I came again in May or June, and went to the races, I would see plenty of them. Their lovely hair was straw-colored, and their cheeks and foreheads were a faint pink and cream. Their arms and shoulders were delightfully bare, and they carried themselves with amazing hauteur. By one o’clock, when the majority of the guests had arrived, this room fairly shimmered with white silks and satins, white arms and shoulders, roses in black hair, and blue and lavender ribbons fastened about hair of a lighter color. There were jewels in plenty,—opals and amethysts, turquoises and rubies,—and there was a perfect artillery of champagne corks. Every table was attended by its silver bucket of ice, and the mandolins and guitars in their crowded angle were strumming mightily.

As we seated ourselves, I speculated interestedly as to what drew all these people from all parts of the world to see this, to be here together. I do not know where you could go and for a hundred francs see more of really amazing feminine beauty. I do not know where for the same money you could buy the same atmosphere of lightness and gaiety and enthusiasm. This place was fairly vibrating with a wild desire to live. I fancy the majority of those who were here for the first time, and particularly of the young, would tell you that they would rather be here than in any other spot you could name. The place had a peculiar glitter of beauty which was compounded[Pg 908] by the managers with great skill. The waiters were all deft, swift, suave, good-looking; the dancers who stepped out on the floor after a few moments were of an orchid-like Spanish type—ruddy, brown, full-bodied, black-haired, black-eyed. They had on dresses that were as close-fitting as the scales of a fish, and that glittered with the same radiance. They waved and rattled and clashed castanets and tambourines and danced wildly and sinuously to and fro among the tables. Some of them sang, or voices accompanied them from the raised platform devoted to music.

After a while red, blue, pink, and green balloons were introduced, anchored to the champagne bottles, and allowed to float gaily in the air. Paper parcels of small paste balls of all colors, and as light as feathers, were distributed for the guests to throw at one another. In ten minutes a wild artillery battle was raging. Young girls were up on their feet, their hands full of these colored weapons, pelting the male strangers of their selection. You would see tall Englishmen and Americans exchanging a perfect volley of colored spheres with girls of various nationalities—laughing, chattering, calling, screaming. The cocotte in all her dazzling radiance was here, exquisitely dressed, her white arms shimmering.

After a time, when the audience had worn itself through excitement to satisfaction or weariness, or both, a few of the tables were cleared away and the dancing began, occasional guests joining. There were charming dances in costume from Russia, from Scotland, from Hungary, and from Spain. I myself waltzed with a Spanish dancer, and had the wonder of seeing an American girl rise from her table and dance with more skill and grace than the employed talent. A wine-enthused Englishman, a handsome youth of twenty-six or more, took the floor and remained there gaily prancing about from table to table, dancing alone or with whomsoever would welcome him. What looked like a dangerous argument started at one time because a high-mettled Brazilian considered that he had been insulted. A cordon of waiters and the managers soon adjusted that. It was between three and four in the morning when we finally left, and I was very tired. It was decided that we should meet for dinner; and since it was almost daylight, I was glad when we had seen our ladies to their apartment and returned to our hotel.

I shall never forget my first morning in Paris—the morning that I woke up after about two hours’ sleep or less, prepared to put in a hard day at sight-seeing, because X. had a program which must be adhered to. He could be with me only until Monday, when he had to return. It was fortunately a bright day, a little hazy and chill, but agreeable. I looked out of the window of my very comfortable room on the fifth floor, which gave out on a balcony overhanging the Rue St. Honoré, and watched the crowd of French people below coming to work. It would be hard to say what makes the difference between a crowd of Englishmen and a crowd of Frenchmen, but there is a difference. It struck me that these men and women walked faster, and that their movements were more spirited than those of the English or Americans. They looked more like Americans, though, than like the English, and they were much more cheerful than either, chatting and talking as they came. I was interested to see whether I could make the maid understand that I wanted coffee and rolls without talking French, but the wants of American travelers are an old story to French maids; and no sooner did I say “Café” and make the sign of drinking from a cup than she said, “Oh, oui, oui, oui; oh, oui, oui, oui,” and disappeared. Presently the coffee was brought me, with rolls and butter and hot milk; and I ate my breakfast as I dressed.

About nine o’clock X. arrived with his program. I was to walk in the garden of the Tuileries which was close at hand, where he would join me later. We were to go for a walk in the Rue de Rivoli as far as a certain bootmaker’s, who was to make me a pair of shoes for the Riviera. Then we were to visit a haberdasher’s or two, and after that go straight about the work of sight-seeing, visiting the old book-stalls on the Seine, the churches of St.-Etienne-du-Mont, Notre-Dame, Ste.-Chapelle, thereafter regulating our conduct by the wishes of several guests who were to appear.

We started off briskly, and my first adventure in Paris led me straight to the gardens of the Tuileries, lying west of the[Pg 909] Louvre. If any one wanted a proper introduction to Paris, I should recommend this above all others. Such a noble piece of gardening as this is the best testimony France has to offer as to its taste, discrimination, and sense of the magnificent. I should say, on mature thought, that we shall never have anything like it in America. We have not the same lightness of fancy.

I recall walking in here and being struck at once with the magnificent proportions of it all,—the breadth and stately lengths of its walks, the utter wonder and charm of its statuary,—snow-white marble nudes standing out on the green grass and marking the circles, squares, and paths of its entire length. No such charm and beauty could be attained in America because we would not permit the public use of the nude in this fashion.

Everywhere I went in Paris I was struck by the charming unity in the conduct of business between husband and wife and son and daughter. We talk much about the economic independence of women in America. It seems to me that the French have solved it in the only way that it can be solved. Madame helps her husband in his business and they make a success of it together. Monsieur Galoyer took the measurements for my shoes, but madame entered them in a book, and to me the shop was fifty times as charming for her presence. She was pleasingly dressed, and the shop looked as though it had experienced the tasteful touches of a woman’s hand. It was clean and bright and smart, and smacked of good housekeeping; and this was equally true of book-stalls, haberdashers’ shops, art-stores, coffee-rooms, and places of public sale generally. Wherever madame was, and she looked nice, there was a nice store; and monsieur looked as fat and contented as could reasonably be expected in the circumstances.

I shall never forget this first morning’s impression of Paris, although all my impressions of it were delightful and inspiring, from the poorest quarter of the Charenton district to the perfections of the Bois and the region about the Arc de Triomphe. It chanced that this morning was bright, and I saw the Seine glimmering over the stones of its shallow banks and racing madly. How much the French have made of little in the way of a river! It is not very wide—about half as wide as the Thames at Blackfriars Bridge, and not so wide as the Harlem River. Here the Seine was as bright as a new button, its banks properly lined with gray, but not dull-looking, walls, the two streets which parallel it on each side alive with traffic; at every few blocks a handsome bridge; every block a row of very habitable, if not imposing, apartment-houses; at various points views of Notre-Dame, the Tuileries, the Cours-la-Reine, of the Trocadéro, and the Eiffel Tower. I followed the Seine from city wall to city wall one day, from Charenton to Issy, and found every inch of it delightful. I was never tired of looking at the wine-barges near Charenton; the little bathing-pavilions and passenger-boats in the vicinity of the Louvre; the brick-barges, hay-barges, coal-barges, and Heaven knows what else plying between the city’s heart and points down-stream past Issy. It gave me the impression of being one of the brightest, cleanest rivers in the world—a river on a holiday. I saw it once at Issy at what is known in Paris as the “green hour,” which is five o’clock, when the sun was going down, and a deep, palpable fragrance wafted from a vast manufactory of perfume filled the air. Men were poling boats of hay, and laborers in their great wide-bottomed corduroy trousers, blue shirts, and inimitable French caps, were trudging homeward, and I felt as though the world had nothing to offer Paris which it did not already have. I could have settled in a small house in Issy and worked as a laborer in a perfume factory, carrying my dinner-pail with me every morning, with a right good-will, or such was the mood of the moment. As I write this, the mood comes back.

This morning, on our way to St.-Etienne-du-Mont and the cathedral, we examined the book-stalls along the Seine. To enjoy them, one has to be in an idle mood and love out of doors; for they consist of a dusty row of four-legged boxes, with lids coming quite to your chest in height, and reminding one of those high-legged counting-tables at which clerks sit on tall stools making entries in their ledgers. These boxes are old and paintless and weather-beaten; and at night the very dusty-looking keepers, who from early[Pg 910] morning until dark have had their shabby-backed wares spread out where dust and sunlight and wind and rain can attack them, pack them in the body of the box on which they are lying and close the lid. You can always see an idler or two here, perhaps many idlers, between the Quai d’Orsay and the Quai Voltaire.

Paris is as young in its mood as any city in the world. It is as wildly enthusiastic as a child. This morning I noticed here the strange occurrence of battered-looking old fellows singing to themselves, which I never noticed anywhere else in this world. Age sits lightly on the Parisian, I am sure, and youth is a wild fantasy, an exciting realm of romantic dreams. The Parisian, from the keeper of a market-stall to the prince of the money world or of art, wants to live gaily, briskly, laughingly, and he will not let the necessity of earning his living deny him. I felt it in the churches, the depots, the department stores, the theaters, the restaurants, the streets—a wild, keen desire for life, with the blood and the body to back it up. It must be in the soil and the air, for Paris sings. It is like poison in the veins, and I felt myself growing positively giddy with enthusiasm. I believe that for the first six months Paris would be a disease from which one would suffer greatly and recover slowly. After that you would settle down to live the life you found there in contentment and with delight, but you would not be in so much danger of wrecking your very mortal body and your uncertainly immortal soul.

Now there was luncheon at Foyot’s, a little restaurant near the Luxembourg and the Musée de Cluny, where the wise in the matter of food love to dine, and where, as usual, X. was at his best. Foyot’s, as the initiated will attest, is a delightful place to lunch or dine, for the cooking is perfection itself. The French, while entirely discarding show in many instances, and allowing their restaurants to look as though they had been put together with an effort, nevertheless attain an individuality of atmosphere which is delightful. For the life of me I could not tell why this little restaurant seemed so smart and bright, for there was nothing either smart or bright about it when I examined it in detail; and so I was compelled to attribute the impression to the all-pervading temperament of the owner. Always, in these cases, there is a man, or a woman, quite remarkable for his point of view; and although I did not see him, I fancied the owner, whatever his name, must be such a man. Otherwise you could not take such simple appointments and make them into anything so pleasing and so individual.

Later in the day we took a taxi through singing streets, lighted by a springtime sun, and came finally to the Restaurant Prunier, where it was necessary to secure a table and order dinner in advance; and thence to the Théâtre des Capucines in the Rue des Capucines, where tickets for a farce had to be secured; and thence to a café near the Avenue de l’Opéra, where we were to meet Madame de J., who, out of the goodness of her heart, was to help entertain me while I was in the city.

We came to her out of the whirl of the “green hour,” when the Paris boulevards in this vicinity were fairly swarming with people—the gayest world I have ever seen. We have enormous crowds in New York, but they seem to be going somewhere very much more definitely than in Paris. With us there is an eager, strident, almost objectionable effort to get home or to the theater or to the restaurant which one can easily resent, it is so inconsiderate and indifferent. In London you do not feel that there are any crowds that are going to the theaters or the restaurants; and if they are, they are not very cheerful about it. They are enduring life; they have none of the lightness of the Parisian world. I think it is all explained by the fact that Parisians feel keenly that they are living now, and that they wish to enjoy themselves as they go. The American and the Englishman—the Englishman much more than the American—have decided that they are going to live in the future. Only the American is a little angry about his decision, and the Englishman a little meek or patient. Both feel that life is intensely grim. But the Parisian, while he may feel or believe it, decides wilfully to cast it off. He lives by the way, out of books, restaurants, theaters, boulevards, and the spectacle of life generally. The Parisians move briskly, and they come out where they can see one another—out into the great wide-sidewalked boulevards and the thousands upon thousands of cafés, and make themselves comfortable and talka[Pg 911]tive and gay. It is obvious that everybody is having a good time, not merely trying to have it; that they are enjoying the wine-like air, the brasseries, the net-like movements of the cabs, the dancing lights of the roadways, and the flare of the shops. It may be chill or drizzling in Paris, but you scarcely feel it. Rain can scarcely drive the people off the streets; literally it does not, for there are crowds whether it rains or not, and they are not despondent. This particular hour that brought us to the bar was essentially thrilling, and I was interested to see what Madame de J. was like.

We were sitting at a table, sipping a brandy and soda, when she entered, a brisk, genial, sympathetic French person whose voice on the instant gave me a delightful impression of her. It was the loveliest voice I ever heard, soft and musical, a colorful voice touched with both gaiety and sadness. Her eyes were light blue, her hair was brown, and her manner sinuous and insinuating. She seemed to have the spirit of a delightfully friendly collie or a child, and all the vitality and alertness that go with either. I had a chance to observe her keenly. In a moment she turned to me and asked whether I knew either of two American authors whom she knew, men of considerable repute. Knowing them both very well, it surprised me to think that she knew them. From the way she spoke, she seemed to have been on the friendliest terms with both; and any one by looking at her could have understood why they should have taken an interest in her.

If she had been of a somewhat more calculating type, I fancy that, with her intense charm of face and manner and her intellect and voice, she would have been very successful. I gained the impression that she had been on the stage in some small capacity; but she had been too diffident, not really brazen enough for the grim world in which the French actress rises. I soon gained the impression that she was a charming blend of emotion, desire, and refinement which one sometimes meets with in the demi-monde. She would have done better in literature or music or art, and she seemed fitted by her moods and her understanding to be a light in any one of them or all.

I shall never forget how she looked at me, quite in the spirit of a gay uncertain child, and how quickly she made me feel that we should get along very well together. “Why, yes,” she said in her soft voice, “I will go about with you, although I should not know what is best to see. But I shall be here, and if you want to come for me, we can see things together.” Suddenly she reached over and took my hand and pressed it genially, as though to seal the bargain. Then Madame de J., promising to join us at the theater, went away.

I would not say more of this evening except that it gave me another glimpse of this unquestionably remarkable woman, who was especially charming in a pale bluish-gray dress and gray furs. She helped entertain us through what to me was a somewhat dull performance of a farce in a tongue I did not understand. I was entertained by the effective character work of the actors, but nothing compensates, as I found everywhere, for ignorance of French.

When we came out of this theater at half-past eleven, Madame de J. was anxious to return to her apartment, and X. said he’d give me an additional taste of the very vital café life of Paris.

The strange impression which all this world of restaurant life gave me, still endures. Obviously, when we arrived at twelve o’clock, the fun was just getting under way. Some of these places, like the first one we entered, were no larger than a fair-sized room in an apartment, but crowded with a gay and even giddy throng of Americans, South Americans, English, and others. One of the tricks in Paris to make a restaurant successful is to keep it small, so that it has an air of overflow and activity. Here, after allowing room for the red-jacketed orchestra, the piano, and the waiters, there was scarcely space for the forty or fifty guests who were present. Champagne was twenty francs the bottle, and champagne was all that was served. It was necessary here, as at all the restaurants, to contribute to the support of the musicians; and if a strange young woman should sit at your table for a moment and share either the wine or the fruit which would be quickly offered, you would have to pay for that. Peaches were three francs each, and grapes five francs the bunch. It was plain that all these things are offered[Pg 912] in order that the house might thrive and prosper. It was so at all of them.

The personality of X. supplied a homy quality of comfortable companionship. He was so full of a youthful zest to live, and so keen after the shows and customs of the world, that to be near him was to enjoy the privilege of great company. I never pondered why he was so popular with women, or why his friends in different walks of life constituted so great a company. He seemed to have known thousands of all sorts, and to be at home in all conditions. That persistent, unchanging atmosphere of “All is well with me,” to maintain which was as much a duty as a tradition with him, made for exceedingly pleasant companionship.

This very remarkable evening X. and I spent wandering from one restaurant to another in an effort to locate a certain Rillette, a girl of whom I had heard when we first came to Paris. She had been one of the most distinguished figures of the stage. Four or five years before she had held at the Folies-Bergère much the same position recently attained by Mistinguett, who was just then enthralling Paris; in other words, she was the sensation of that stormy world of art and romance of which these restaurants are a part. She was more than that. She had a wonderful mezzo-soprano voice of great color and richness and a spirit for dancing that was Greek in its quality. I was anxious to get at least a glimpse of this exceptional Parisian type, the real spirit of this fast world, the true artistic poison-flower, the lovely hooded cobra, before she should be too old or too wretched to be interesting.

At one café, quite by accident, we encountered Miss F., whom I had not seen since we left Fishguard, and who was here in Paris doing her best to outshine the women of the gay restaurants in the matter of dresses, hats, and beauty. I must say she presented a ravishing spectacle, quite as wonderful as any of the other women who were to be seen here; but she lacked, as I was to note, the natural vivacity of the French. We Americans, despite our high spirits and our healthy enthusiasm for life, are nevertheless a blend of the English, the German, and some of the sedate nations of the North, and we are inclined to a physical and mental passivity which is not common to the Latins. This girl, vivid creature that she was, did not have the spiritual vibration which accompanies the Frenchwomen. As far as spirit was concerned, she seemed superior to most of the foreign types present; but the Frenchwomen are naturally gayer, their eyes brighter, their motions lighter. She gave us at once an account of her adventures since I had seen her. I could not help marveling at the disposition which set above everything else in the world the privilege of moving in this peculiar realm, which fascinated her much. As she told me on the Mauretania, all she hoped for was to become a woman of Machiavellian finesse, and to have some money. If she had money and attained to real social wisdom, conventional society could go to the devil; for the successful adventuress, according to her, was welcome anywhere—that is, everywhere she would care to go. She did not expect to retain her beauty entirely; but she did expect to have some money, and meanwhile to live brilliantly, as she deemed that she was now doing. Her comments on the various women of her class were as hard and accurate as they were brilliant. I remember her saying of one woman, with an easy sweep of her hand, “Like a willow, don’t you think?” Of another, “She glows like a ruby.” It was true; it was fine character delineation.

At Maxim’s, an hour later, she decided to go home, so we took her to her hotel, and then resumed our pursuit of Rillette. After much wandering, we finally came upon her, about four in the morning, in one of those showy pleasure-resorts that I have described.

“Ah, yes, there she is!” X. exclaimed, and I looked to a distant table to see the figure he indicated, that of a young girl seemingly not more than twenty-four or twenty-five, a white silk neckerchief tied about her brown hair, her body clothed in a rather nondescript costume for a world as showy as this. Most of the women wore evening clothes. She had on a skirt of light-brown wool, a white shirtwaist open in the front, with the collar turned down, showing her pretty neck. Her skirt was short, and her sleeves were short, showing a solid fore arm. Before she noticed X. we saw her take a slender girl in black for a partner and dance, with others, in the open space between the tables that circled[Pg 913] the walls. Her face did not suggest the depravity which her career would indicate, although it was by no means ruddy; but she seemed to scorn rouge. Her eyes—eyes are always revealing in a forceful personage—were large and vague and brown, set beneath a wide, full forehead—very wonderful eyes. In her idle security and profound nonchalance, she appeared like a figure out of the Revolution or the Commune. She would have been magnificent in a riot, marching up a Parisian street, her white band about her brown hair, carrying a knife, a gun, or a flag. She would have had the courage, too; for it was plain that life had lost much of its charm and she nearly all of her caring. When her dance was done, she came over to us, and extended an indifferent hand to X. He told me, after their light conversation in French, that he had chided her to the effect that her career was ruining her once lovely voice. “I shall find it again at the next corner,” she said, and walked smartly away.


“Some one should write a novel about a woman like that,” X. explained. “She ought to be painted. It is amazing the sufficiency of soul that goes with that type. There aren’t many like her. She could be the sensation of Paris again if she wanted to, would try. But she won’t. See what she said of her voice just now.” He shook his head. I smiled approvingly, for obviously the appearance of the woman, her full, compelling eyes, bore him out.

She was a figure of distinction in this restaurant world, for many knew her and kept track of her. I watched her from time to time talking with the guests of one table and another, and the chemical content which made her exceptional was as obvious as though she were a bottle and bore a label. To this day she stands out in my mind, in her simple dress and indifferent manner, as perhaps the one forceful, significant figure that I saw in all the cafés of Paris or elsewhere.

I should like to add here, before I part forever with this curious and feverish[Pg 914] Parisian restaurant world, that, after much and careful observation, my conclusion has been that it was too utterly feverish, artificial, and exotic not to be dangerous and grimly destructive, if not merely touched upon at long intervals.


This world of champagne-drinkers was apparently interested in only two things—the flare and glow of the restaurants, which were always brightly lighted and packed with people, and women. In the last analysis, women were the glittering attraction; and truly one might say they were glittering. Fine feathers make fine birds, and nowhere more so than in Paris. But there were many birds who would have been fine in much less showy feathers. In many instances they craved and secured a demure simplicity which was even more destructive than the flaring costumes of the demi-monde. It was strange to see American innocence, the products of Petosky, Michigan, and Hannibal, Missouri, cheek by jowl with the most daring and the most flagrant women that the great metropolis could produce. I did not know until later how hard some of these women were, how schooled in vice, how weary of everything save this atmosphere of festivity and the privilege of wearing beautiful clothes. It was a scorching lesson, and it displayed vice as an upper and a nether millstone between which youth and beauty are ground or pressed quickly to a worthless mass. I would defy anybody to live in this atmosphere as long as five years and not exhibit strongly the telltale marks of decay.

Most people come here for a night or two, or a month or two, or once in a year or so, and then return to the comparatively dull world from which they emanated, which is fortunate. If they were here a little while, this deceptive world of delight would lose all its glamour; for in a very few days you see through the dreary mechanism by which it is produced: the browbeating of shabby waiters by greedy managers, the extortionate charges and tricks by which money is lured from the pockets of the unwary, the wretched rooms and garrets from which some of these butterflies emanate, to wing here in seeming delight and then disappear. When the natural glow of youth has gone, then come powder and paint for the face,[Pg 915] belladonna for the eyes, rouge for the lips, palms, and nails, and perfumes and ornament and the glitter of good clothing; but underneath it all one reads the weariness of the eye, the sickening distaste for bargaining hour by hour and day by day, the cold mechanism of what was once natural, instinctive coquetry.

You feel constantly that many of these women would sell their souls for one last hour of delight, and that some of them would then gladly take poison, as many of them doubtless do, to end it all.

Consumption, cocaine, and opium maintain their persistent toll. This is a furnace of desire, this Montmartre district, and it burns furiously with a hard, white-hot flame until there is nothing left save black cinders and white ashes. Those who can endure its consuming heat are quite welcome to its wonders until emotion and feeling and beauty are no more.

Tailpiece, PARIS
[Pg 916]

Headpiece, EMERGENCY

I’VE borne it out. There wasn’t much to bear,
By your own tenets; but there was for me,—
A flaming onslaught; cohorts furiously
Charging the ramparts; fearful thunders booming;
Lightning and holocaust, and Terror looming
With black war-towers on the sky-line there!
You saw not even a gnat to make one wince
While your own buoyant thoughts beat up the blue.
Let me be glad of that. The happier you!
I found myself alone to face disaster
Through age-long seconds. While your pulse beat faster
For mirth, my own—stopped dead, a moment since.
Then, at my elbow—and whole worlds away—
You turned; and I was snatching at my breath
After a sudden bout with worse than death,
With worse than beasts of Ephesus, uprisen
One moment from my heart that is their prison.
I bore it out. That’s all there is to say.
They flash unwarning on our dozing acts,
The angel or the fiend. It seems to me
There’s nothing too sublime for Man to be
(In such clear moments),—naught too foully crawling!
What “self” is most our own, when this appalling
Apocalypse lights up the inmost facts?
Something is changed; even though one drops back
In the next instant to the old routine,
Forgets the risk and is, as he has been,
The slowly-trailing, patient slug of Time,
Neither contemptible nor yet sublime,
Inching with pain along the beaten track;
Something is changed—the mind paints heavens and hells;
And I, their dizzy colors in my brain,
Wonder just what is “sane” and what “insane,”
And what one can be sure of—where we’re master
Of our own triumphs, or our own disaster…?
But that’s enough. Let’s talk of something else!
Tailpiece, EMERGENCY
ELIHU VEDDER, from the Bust by Charles Keck






[Pg 920]

Drawn by Alpheus Cole


DEAR solacer and goddess of the hearth,
O mother! whose enfolding arms and breast
Cradle the infant world from dawn’s fair birth
To the sun’s ripening noon with loving girth;
How oft, in dreaming, of thy sheltering rest,
Whose ingle-glow now kindles to new worth
Our souls, we see thy phantom figure blest,
Still ministrant, in light and beauty dressed.
Where light is, thitherward the spirit tends:
Mankind were yet within the womb of night,
From joy imprison’d save for thy sweet might,
Save for the flame thy love forever lends.
While beacon-like thy fire throws its spark,
We shall not fear, though all the world grow dark.

Color-Tone, engraved for THE CENTURY by H. C. Merrill and H. Davidson




[Pg 921]



FALLING in love is specially a critical business for simple-minded persons who have room in their heads for only one idea at a time. It has a tendency to shift the basis of their existence in a perilous degree before they are in the least aware what has happened to them.

Like most persons who earn their living at the daily risk of their lives, Teddy Rocco was not burdened with too active an imagination. He did his regular ninety miles an hour round the motordromes on a “Yellow Fiend” autocycle with a simple faith in his luck and no higher aspirations than he could express in this way:

“No, sir, you won’t find me in this speed game one day longer than it takes me to clean up the price of a share in a cement garage, with machine-tools complete, and beat it back to sunny Jax, Florida.”

It was this ambition that led him, when he was not racing, to give exhibitions at Santoni’s velodrome at Palmetto Beach, a track known to the speed profession as the “Devil’s Soup-plate.” It was the same lack of imagination that enabled him to hear of the introduction of Miss Sadie Simmons to the soup-plate with feelings of unmingled disgust.

“A girl!” he ejaculated, and made for Santoni’s office with his features richly adorned with chain lubricant. “A girl! Yes, and a speed limit, too, I reckon, and pretty-pretty stunts, and bouquets—what do you know? Better call it the ’Angel’s Roundabout,’ and be done!”

The graphite lubricant failed to conceal the scowl on his face as he burst into the office. The proprietor, a keen purveyor of popular excitement, was rubbing his hands in Mephistophelian satisfaction over a new poster.

“Daredevil Ted Rocco,” it said, and “Wild Will Ryan”; and below, in big red type that crowded the rest almost off the sheet, “Miss Sadie Simmons, America’s Queen of the Track.” From which the sagacious reader will infer that Miss Simmons was new and unproved; otherwise Santoni would infallibly have billed her as “Crazy Sadie,” in suggestion of death-defying recklessness.

“Hullo, Teddy!” cried Santoni in his mighty voice. “What you been doing to your face?”

“Greasin’ up,” Teddy answered shortly, and cast a malevolent glance at the bill. “Listen here, San. What’s all this talk about a skirt comin’ on? We don’t run any musical leg-show here, you know. If you let a dame on to this track, it’s going to put the speeds on the blink, and then you’ll need a complete Ziegfeld chorus to hold the crowd. I’ve got a fine motion-picture of myself bein’ paced by something in bag-tights and a picture-hat.”

Santoni frowned warningly, jerked his head toward the half-open door of his sanctum, and passed a large, embarrassed hand over his heavy showman’s jowl.

“I do’ know, Ted,” he growled.[Pg 922] “Maybe she ain’t any funeral, either, if you can believe her. But if you fancy your chance, you can argue the point with her yourself, for she’s right here. Miss Simmons!”

From Santoni’s sanctum came the sound of a chair abruptly pushed back, and the click of high heels on the floor. The proprietor turned away under the pretense of affixing the poster to the wall; then the door opened wide and revealed “America’s Queen of the Track.”

For a moment she inspected Teddy Rocco with the interest of a professional rival. He did not look at all like a daredevil just then, but merely a rather astonished little man with a square mechanic’s jaw and a compact, wiry figure, his sleeves rolled up and his arms and face besmeared. There was some reason for his astonishment, too, for in America’s “Queen,” instead of the superannuated, hard-featured circus-performer he had expected, he saw a rather shy, spruce little girl, with bright, black eyes and an absurdly small nose. Her dark hair hung in two thick, glossy ropes over her shoulders, and her skirt was short enough to reveal several inches of well-modeled ankle.

“What is it, Mr. Santoni?” she asked in a small, husky voice.

“It’s only Ted Rocco,” explained the proprietor. “He don’t think you’ll be fast enough for this track.”

The girl stared at Teddy as though he had questioned her respectability.

“How do you know I won’t?” she demanded.

They were particularly bright eyes. The daredevil shifted uncomfortably, and his own eyes wandered over the room as though in search of succor.

“It isn’t that, exactly,” he stammered; “but, you see, miss, we let ’em rip here. My makers pay for speed, and I got to show speed or I don’t collect.”

“You aren’t so much,” retorted the “Queen.” “I bet you don’t average ninety, and I touched ninety myself at Coney last week.”

The daredevil’s eyes ceased to wander, meeting hers in a stare of blank incredulity.

“You did ninety? You!” he said. “For the love of Mike!”

“Why shouldn’t I? My makers pay for speed, too. And when they send me along something with more power to it, I guess I’ll lap you every mile. I think you’re mean to knock me just because I’m not a man.”

“You see?” said Santoni, shrugging his shoulders.

Whereupon the daredevil mumbled apologies, and retreated to the garage in great discomfiture. He sat brooding on a pile of gasolene-cans and watched Wild Will Ryan circling the track in a private try-out; but instead of the racing auto-cycle, he saw only two black eyes that stared reproachfully, and heard a small, curiously deep, and husky voice that assured him over and over again that he was mean.

When Ryan dismounted, red-eyed and hoarse from cleaving the air like a projectile, Ted was still fidgeting with a wrench and muttering gloomily.

“Is it a goil?” asked Ryan.

“Search me. It looks like one—a little brown girl about as big as a ten-cent cigar. But with a nerve! Tips me the crinkled nose because I said she might get in the way on a small track. Reckons I don’t average ninety—me, that’s held five records! And when her dear manufacturers, understand me, send her the cute little peacherino of a sixteen-cylinder, eighty-horse dynamite-gun that they’re building for her to go to finishing-school on, she’s going to make me look like a pram-pusher with paralysis. Can you beat it?”

“Never heard of her,” said Ryan. “She must be a new one in this game.”

“Oh, she’s all kinds of new, take it from me. But if she tries to do ninety an hour round this saucer, we won’t pick up enough of her to be worth dressing.”

Teddy swung off to remove the stains of toil from his face. When he reappeared, normally dapper, as becomes a successful autocyclist, he found little Miss Simmons preparing to try the track. Her costume wrung from him an involuntary exclamation. Her cap, coat, and knickers were all of gleaming scarlet leather.

“Isn’t she the dandy?” grinned Ryan, as they stood aside and watched her. “I reckon she knows the business, at that. She just shooed her mechanic away, and started in to fix all the juice connections herself. And look at her now, testing every spoke with her fingers. Some great kid!”

“What’s she riding?” asked Teddy.

[Pg 923]

“Flying Centaur; new make, I guess. Bet she pulls down a wad for it, too. Chunky little thing, ain’t she? You wouldn’t think she carried metal to see her in skirts. If she took a spill at ninety, she’d bounce some.”

“Oh, shut your head!” exclaimed Teddy Rocco, with a sudden anger that puzzled even himself.

It was not without a tinge of professional jealousy that the two young men stood in the center of the course and watched Miss Simmons pull her bright new machine to the starting-point and climb into the saddle. In Teddy’s mind there was also a certain jealousy of Santoni, who held her for the start. But with the first healthy rip of the exhaust, and the first smooth and perfect circle she described round the soup-plate, these feelings were submerged in professional appreciation.

Moment by moment she gathered speed, mounting the steep banking accurately with every lap, until she was roaring and rattling round the very uppermost edge like a bright-red marble in a basin. Santoni slowly sauntered over to them, performing a sort of involuntary waltz as he turned to follow her with his goggle eyes.

“Maybe she ain’t no funeral, either,” he said.

“You ought to be lynched for letting her do it, San,” said Teddy. “It isn’t a girl’s game.”

“Well, wouldn’t that jar you?” Santoni turned on Ryan with palms outspread. “First he was sore because he thought she couldn’t ride, and now he’s sore because she can!”

Teddy made no reply. A new and strange feeling gripped him by the throat until he choked. As he watched the track, a picture engraved itself indelibly on his heart: a tiny scarlet figure astride a machine that roared round and round with fiendish energy until it hung out almost horizontally from the steep rim of the banking. Sadie’s black eyes were narrowed to slits; her roped hair flew out behind her; her lips were compressed in the lust of speed as she braced her strong little knees and elbows hard against the leaping of her angry motor. This was a sort of girl he had never imagined in his wildest speculations. A girl who understood motors, he thought, could not fail to be in every other way admirable. From such a girl, for example, a man need never fear anything less than a square deal.

When she cut off her ignition and slipped gradually down the banking, he was the first to assist her to alight.

“Say, kid, I want to tell you I’m sorry,” he whispered before the others ran up. “I’m glad you’re going to ride with us.”

For a moment the “Queen’s” eyes danced with pleasure; then they became softly diffident again as she turned away to stable her machine.

“I don’t fancy I’ll let the show down so badly,” she smiled over her shoulder.

In truth, the popularity of Sadie Simmons among the crowds that flocked to the velodrome was immediate and great. She was irresistibly diminutive and dainty, and silent and retiring in manner when not racing; but once on her machine, rattling and bouncing round the circumscribed track with the noise of a whole express-train, she was transformed into a little red imp of daring unexcelled by the men; and though they consistently beat her when it came to a test, it was Sadie whom the crowds cheered and the fans petted.

A faded woman, of an incurable pessimism, clucked everywhere after her, like a hen after an adventurous duckling. Except for this unexhilarating person, whom she addressed as “Aunty,” but who frequently forgot the suggested relationship and called her “Miss,” Sadie appeared to be quite alone in the world. She accepted with frank pleasure the friendly advances of the fans, the comradeship of Wild Will Ryan, and the wondering worship of Teddy Rocco.

One morning Ryan emerged from the garage, laughing immoderately, and pressing a hand to his face.

“What’s bitin’ you, Irish?” inquired Teddy.

The big Irishman withdrew his hand, and exhibited a cheek decorated with the imprint of small and oily fingers on a ground that flamed scarlet.

“It’s little Sadie; she’s straight, that’s all,” he replied with a grin, as though he had discovered a choice witticism.

Teddy tore off his coat and flung it from him recklessly, and his cheek flamed suddenly redder than Ryan’s.

“Yes, and you’ll be stiff when I’m through with you, you big loafer!” he said savagely.[Pg 924] “How’d you find that out?”

Ryan stretched forth a long arm, and swept his colleague into a hug like a bear’s.

“Be aisy, little man,” he said. “I just tried to kiss her while she was fightin’ with a set o’ new piston-rings. I got mine all right—from the lady.”

But Teddy tore loose and rushed into the garage, where he found Sadie still struggling with a recalcitrant piston of her dismounted motor. He seized a cold chisel from the work-bench.

“What did that fresh Mick say to you?” he demanded.

“Drop it at once, Teddy,” commanded Sadie. “When I can’t manage Ryan with my own hands, I’ll get a gun. Besides, I want you to hold these rings tight for me, so I can push this piston in.”

Teddy obeyed, marveling at the strength of the small brown fingers that had essayed the task unaided. Once more that strange, choking sensation assailed him, and he felt his eyes unaccountably filling with tears.

“Sadie, you’re an everlasting little marvel,” he said. “I expect you’ll marry one of these rich fans; but I wish it was me.”

“I don’t want to marry anybody,” the girl replied. “Say, can’t you hold those rings in without trembling so?”

“But you got to marry somebody,” Teddy insisted.

“I don’t have to,—there, that’s well in at last,—at least not for a long time, till I get good and ready. And then he’ll have to be extra good and handsome and rich. I’m awfully ambitious, you know.”

“That’s all right, kid,”—Teddy swallowed a lump in his throat,—“but take care you don’t put it off too long.”

The girl looked up from her work with a puzzled air.

“Take a good slant at me,” explained Teddy. “Don’t you see anything in my eyes?”

“They look queer, kind of anxious and strained. They’re like Will Ryan’s.”

“Everybody that stays in this game as long as we have gets the same look. It comes from being scared stiff once or twice, and not being able to forget it.”

“I’m never scared,” said Miss Simmons, with a toss of her shapely little head.

“You haven’t begun yet. Wait till some one drops in front of you in the last lap, and you have just half a second to make up your mind whether you’ll run over him or take a chance among the crowd. One stunt like that, and you won’t be so pretty.”

“Then you can ask me again,” said Miss Simmons, with her usual quiet self-possession. “I can almost see you doing it.”

“I tell you it’s no game for a girl,” Teddy persisted.

“Why not? I’d look nicer dead than you.”

“Touch wood when you say that,” advised Teddy, laying his own hand on the bench.

“I won’t,” the girl retorted. “I reckoned all the chances before I came into the game, and there’s no one to cry over me if I did get killed except Aunty, and she’s made up her mind to it long ago and become quite resigned. Besides, I’ve taken chances ever since I can remember. Did you ever play the carnivals? I was raised in them, if you can call it that. I did the high dive for years into a sort of canvas bucket half-full of water, and I don’t think I’ve a scare in me.”

TEDDY ROCCO might have recalled this conversation, with superstitious interest in its prophetic nature, the week before he left for the prize meetings; but that, with most other things, was swept out of his mind when he hunted for Santoni with blood on his face, swearing that he had always intended to kill the proprietor and might as well get it over.

It all happened in consequence of Santoni’s attempt to achieve a gala finish to his season before his stars departed. To that end, he had employed many banners in decoration of the velodrome, and one of them, insecurely affixed to its post, came loose while the riders were in mid-career. It fluttered aimlessly down upon the track, was caught up in the wind of Ryan’s rush, danced a little behind him, and finally wrapped itself round Sadie’s front wheel. There was a gasp of horror from the spectators as the flimsy, yellow cotton wound itself tightly on the hub.

For a fraction of a second the heavy cycle, urged by its frantic motor, slurred along the track with its front wheel jammed; then the tire burst, the forks snapped like carrots, and Sadie’s tiny red[Pg 925] figure shot ahead over the handle-bars, struck the wire fence in front of the spectators, and fell back limply on the track.

In that final emergency she had retained presence of mind enough to cut off the ignition, and below her on the incline her machine lay crumpled and inert, as silent and shattered as herself.

Teddy Rocco was fully fifty yards behind; that is, he had a good long second in which to do his thinking. To his left was Sadie’s machine, on his right the crowd yelled an inarticulate chorus of fear and warning, which he heard above the roar of his motor. Dead ahead of him lay a small, outstretched figure in torn and dusty scarlet leather; and immediately above the white little face was a clear foot of almost perpendicular banking.

With a prayer for speed, he tore his throttle wide open, and steered straight for that pale, blood-stained face until he could see the dark lashes on the flickering eyelids; then with a violent swerve he shot up the incline, and cleared her by inches.

The spectators cried aloud in terror as his front wheel rose on the wire mesh in front of them, raced along it for a yard or two, shaved a fence-post, and slipped back upon the track. The machine lurched sickeningly into the hollow of the banking in a last effort to recover its balance.

Teddy Rocco’s engine had stopped as he cleared the girl, and his toe was pressed hard into the fork of his front wheel. The braked tire screeched along the track, and when at last he struck the ground, his speed was not more than twenty miles an hour. To the crowd it seemed that he lay just where he had fallen, and they roared aloud in relief, and in admiration of what appeared to be purely consummate pluck and skill.

When Teddy recovered his senses, drank out of a flask that Ryan held to his lips, and stared about him, the first thing he saw was a tiny patch of red disappearing over the edge of the track in the arms of the attendants. Behind walked the faded woman he knew as “Aunty,” wringing her hands in utterly justified pessimism. At one entrance a knot of spectators filed sadly out, and among them a frightened woman wept without restraint.

Teddy went mad. He wanted to follow the little red patch wherever it might be bound. Restrained from this, he desired greatly the death of Santoni.

“I told him them things was dangerous,” he repeated, with the futile insistence of an intoxicated man.

When they laid hands on him again, he fainted, and it was then that they had the first opportunity to ascertain that his shoulder was dislocated. With the tenderness of a woman, Ryan picked him up and bore him away.

DURING the week before he was due to depart Teddy besieged the hospital in which lay Sadie’s tortured little form, and sent up flowers daily, until at last the nurse assured him that she had been able to see them, and even to hold some of them in her hand. At this he begged and stormed and wept until he was allowed to see her, despite the fact that, as they explained to him in vain, it was not visitors’ day.

But when he stood at her bedside, and she smiled wanly up at him out of her bandages, and even put forth a very white little hand for him to shake, a great peace came over him. There was still enough of her, after all, to be worth dressing.

“Tough luck, Teddy-Eddy!” she whispered in that deep, small voice of hers. “Just to think I might never hear the band play for the start again, or the engine rip when I turn on the juice—it gives me a lot to worry about. You ought to be glad I didn’t take you at your word that day in the garage when you wanted to lay Ryan out and asked me to marry you. Look at what a fix you’d be in now!”

“It wouldn’t have made any difference,” murmured Teddy. “I’d have wanted you just the same.”

“Do you mean to say you’d marry a wreck like me, Teddy Rocco? I’m all to pieces; you haven’t a notion how badly I got mashed.”

“And I don’t care, neither,” said Teddy, stoutly. “You’re alive, thank Heaven! And you’re Sadie Simmons, and you can smile. Shall I send for a parson?”

“What, now?”

“Only say the word.”

The girl picked at the sheet for a moment, and her eyes, now ringed with suf[Pg 926]fering and no longer bright, searched his face wonderingly; but they found no trace of an emotion other than eagerness to be as good as his word.

“I don’t know,” she said at last; “it’ll need thinking over. You know, it was hitting the wire fence that saved me, Teddy. It was like diving into a net.”

“Pretty hard net,” grinned the boy, reminiscently.

“Lucky for you, or you’d have gone through it. Teddy boy, why didn’t you run over me? I’m so small! You must have been mad to ride into the fence like that.”

“Who told you?” demanded Teddy.

“Nurse. She says you hadn’t a chance in a thousand to get round me without breaking your neck. I always liked you, Teddy. I’m glad you’re brave.”

“Then why not marry me, Sadie?” The boy came closer, while the nurse hovered about impatiently. “You can’t come back, you know. However good they patch you up, you’re done with the game.”

“Marry you, after what I said about looking for a rich guy? I’m bad and selfish, and I want so much. And I’m older than you think—nearly nineteen. I only wore my hair that way for a stall. Would you really marry me now, when I’m all cut up and no one else would look at me?”

“Call me and see,” suggested Teddy, quietly.

“I’ll let you know later, Teddy. It depends—”

“But I’m going to Dayton to-night to race, and then I go South again. How am I to know?”

Sadie considered for a moment with eyes closed. When she opened them again, her face was very grave.

“Come past here on your way to the depot,” she said, “and look at this window above the bed. It’s the fourth from the end. If the blind’s up, you can bring along your parson.”

“And if it’s down?”

“If it’s down, it will mean that you’d better forget all about me.”

“Then leave it up, Sadie,” he whispered as the nurse bustled up suggestively. “I’m only two thousand short of buying a garage in Florida, where I used to work. You’d love to be down there—all sunshine, pelicans, palms, and sugar-cane, and butterflies as big as your hand soaring about. You’d get well and strong down there, Sadie, and I’d be so good to you! Don’t let them pull it down!”

The nurse came nearer and began to fidget with the pillows.

“I’ll have to get you to leave now, young man,” she said. “The doctor will be here in a moment.”

“Take care of yourself, Teddy,” smiled the girl, waving her hand feebly as he tore himself away. “Touch wood as you go out.”

She set her teeth for the doctor’s visit, and said not a word until he had finished his examination; but her black eyes studied his face in an agony of suspense. A momentary smile, accompanied by a raising of his bushy, gray eyebrows, gave her the cue.

“Doctor, will I get well?” she asked almost under her breath.

“Why, of course,” replied the doctor. “As well as ever you were, I’m hoping.”

“But—but will I be ugly?”

“Little Miss Vanity!” grinned the doctor. “You ought to be thankful you have a breath left in your body. No, you won’t be ugly, if you mean disfigured. Of course there’ll be scars—”

“Do you think I’ll be able to ride again?” persisted the girl.

“I don’t know why you shouldn’t be able to ride; but I guess when you set eyes on the track you won’t want to. As for the rest, the cuts are pretty clean and not deep. I should say, on the whole, that you’ll have to look fairly close into the glass to see the one on your cheek, and your hair will cover the scalp-wound. The others aren’t anywhere to prevent you from wearing low-cut frocks. Now, are you satisfied, daughter of Eve?”

“Yes, thank you, Doctor. If the bone in my arm mends all right, that is. It’s hurting a whole lot to-day.”

“That means precisely that it is mending,” said the doctor as he picked up his bag to depart. “And now that you’re sure of your precious beauty, you’d better try to get some sleep.”

Sadie closed her eyes obediently, but her brows were knitted in thought. When the doctor had moved on, she looked up again with a sigh.

“Nurse, the light bothers my eyes, and I can’t turn my head,” she said.[Pg 927] “Will you please pull down the blind?”

WHILE it is still young and overflowing with vitality, the human frame is able to summon life forces to its aid that can sometimes knit up broken bones and torn tissues as though by magic power. Teddy Rocco had seen various striking demonstrations of this quality in his racing career, but it had never occurred to him that a mere girl might possess it. He was greatly astonished, therefore, on meeting Ryan at a southern track, to hear that Sadie was once more riding for the “Flying Centaur” people.

“She don’t look a cent worse,” said Ryan. “Same little red suit, same little smile, same throaty little voice. And she’s making good, too. Been all over the West, and packed up a nice parcel of the long green. Not that she’ll ever need it; that kid will marry a million some day. One of the guys that was following her round was big rich.”

All that day Teddy rode entirely without judgment, and his old daredevil dash was not in him. In fact, that was becoming his consistent experience. Every time he would set his teeth and let his engine out to the last notch to pass the man in front, a blind seemed to shut down in front of him, or a little red figure would appear stretched on the track ahead, and he would let the chance slip by.

Consequently, when he returned to give exhibitions at the Devil’s Soup-plate, he was no nearer the white southern garage of his dreams than he had been the previous season. And the life of a speed-man is short,—much shorter, as a rule, than that of a boxing champion.

That garage, gleaming in the sun, with a palm or two in front and lizards basking in its shadow, had been Teddy’s lodestar for years; but on the first day of their meeting, Sadie’s brisk little figure had slipped into the picture, and he could not imagine the place now without seeing her standing at the door in a white dress, with no hat, but with a bunch of crimson flowers at her waist.

“This is my finish,” he told Santoni; “I’m a has-been. I’ve started seein’ things. I won’t ride after this season.”

Then he learned, with a shock, that Sadie was to be his racing-companion once more. She had walked into Santoni’s office and offered to give exhibitions on the old terms; and Santoni, being too good a business man, and too stout withal to stand on his head for joy, had shaken her by both hands, and spent an afternoon in devising a poster more sensational than any he had previously compassed.

When he wrote “America’s Foremost Queen of the Track” it seemed to him weak and colorless; and he threw adjectives into it until Sadie had a title as long as her arm.

Teddy slipped away and hid himself when he saw her arrive, with a knot of admirers, to survey the track. An expensively tailored costume emphasized her recent prosperity, and her obvious gaiety of manner was like a snub. When she laughingly pointed out to her companions the precise spot on which she had struck the providential wire fence, Teddy shuddered and turned away.

In the garage he came upon a mechanic overhauling her mount, an excessively powerful machine with four cylinders, its frame enameled bright scarlet, and nickeled in an unusual degree. It looked a sufficiently dangerous mount for a strong and skilful man racing on a spacious track. He shrank from seeing Sadie ride it in the restricted circle of the soup-plate.

When they appeared on the track in the evening, however, he could no longer ignore her presence. Indeed, she came behind him and slapped him gaily on the shoulder, such a trim, joyously captivating midget, in her scarlet leather motor-jacket, that his heart leaped at the sight of her.

“Who said I couldn’t come back, Teddy Rocco?” she asked, and the familiar, curious huskiness of her voice thrilled him so that he could not reply.

“I’m going to make you look like a never-was to-night, Teddy-Eddy,” she went on, with a sort of malicious exhilaration in her manner. “I expect you’re still single?”

“Oh, cut it out, Sadie!” he pleaded. “I never done you any harm.”

“Do you love me as much as ever?” asked little Miss Simmons, with an unwonted feline delight in cruelty. “The villain thought he had the poor little girl just where he wanted her, didn’t he? But the kind, handsome doctor rescued her all right; and now she’s going to make the villain look like thirty cents.”

“You’ll have to go some,” said Teddy, grinning miserably, as he stooped to adjust[Pg 928] his carbureter. When he mounted his machine he was in a white-hot, searing temper. If all the women in the world had been laid side by side on an endless track, he would have ridden over their necks at that moment with an exquisite pleasure.

But though he rode with the courage of bitterness and desperation, he soon found that Sadie had the heels of him. Once or twice when she shot past him with an almost crazy recklessness, the thought flashed through his mind that an imperceptible swerve of his handle-bar would all but inevitably end both their lives, and he weakly throttled down his engine, fearful lest the subconscious working of his tortured mind might communicate a tremor to his arm; and every time that Sadie passed him with a vicious spurt of her diabolical scarlet mount, he caught in her eye a gleam of impish triumph.

It was when he found himself riding behind her, with his front wheel a hand’s-breadth from her hind one, that he realized how utterly his nerve had failed. Ever and again, under his front wheel appeared a white, blood-flecked little face, with eyelashes that quivered in agony. With a sob, he cut out his engine and slid slowly down the track.

“I’m through,” he said to a mechanic who seized his cycle. “I don’t think I’ll need her again.”

For a long time he sat in the gloom of the garage in dumb agony, and even there the rip of Sadie’s powerful engine followed him above the cheers of the crowd. Now and then, in the midst of the uproar, he could hear the voice of Santoni yelling the laps; then there was a final outburst of cheering. When it died away, Sadie’s motor was silent. A moment later, as it seemed to him, the door of the workshop slammed, and he looked up, to see her standing before him, her black eyes dancing in that strange exhilaration that he had noted before, her chest heaving with excitement under the vivid scarlet of her jacket.

“I’ve shaded your track record, Teddy Rocco!” she cried. “I’ve beaten you to bits! Now say I can’t come back! I’ve come, haven’t I?”

“I guess,” said Teddy, humbly.

“And what’s more, I’ve cleaned up three thousand dollars this season, and I haven’t a scar left on me that you could see in this light. But you’ll have to take my word for that. We can talk on level terms now, Teddy. I’m as good as ever I was, don’t you think?”

“I expect so,” stammered Teddy. “It’s me that’s in bad. I’ve lost heart, Sadie, and my nerve’s gone. I’ve been scared a time too many.”

“Then get your machine and rush me away,” cried Sadie, “and marry me the first minute you can; and we’ll get out of this to Florida in the morning, and see the garage and the sunshine and the butterflies. It’s a square deal now, Teddy-Eddy. Stand up and kiss your honey-bird, you brave, silly, big-hearted, mush-headed little man; for I love you so much I couldn’t have offered you anything less, and I’ve waited so long, my heart feels like it will burst!”

[Pg 929]

Headpiece, T. Tembarom

Author of “That Lass o’ Lowrie’s,” “The Shuttle,” etc.


HEN Tembarom repeated the words “and you’re going to listen,” Lady Joan began to stare at him. It was not the ridiculous boyish drop in his voice which arrested her attention. It was a fantastic, incongruous, wholly different thing. He had suddenly dropped his slouch, and stood upright. Did he realize that he had slung his words at her as if they were an order given with the ring of authority?

“I’ve not bucked against anything you’ve said or done since you’ve been here,” he went on, speaking fast and grimly. “I didn’t mean to. I had my reasons. There were things that I’d have given a good deal to say to you and ask you about, but you wouldn’t let me. You wouldn’t give me a chance to square things for you—if they could be squared. You threw me down every time I tried.”

He was too wildly incomprehensible with his changes from humanness to folly. Remembering what he had attempted to say on the day he had followed her in the avenue, she was inflamed again.

“What in the name of New York slang does that mean?” she demanded.

“Never mind New York,” he answered, cool as well as grim. “A fellow that’s learned slang in the streets has learned something else as well. He’s learned to keep his eyes open. He’s on to a way of seeing things. And what I’ve seen is that you’re so doggone miserable that—that you’re almost down and out.”

This time she spoke to him in the voice with the quality of deadliness in it which she had used to her mother.

“Do you think that because you are in your own house you can be as intrusively insulting as you choose?” she said.

“No, I don’t,” he answered.[Pg 930] “What I think is quite different. I think that if a man has a house of his own, and there’s any one in big trouble under the roof of it,—a woman most of all,—he’s a cheap skate if he doesn’t get busy and try to help—just plain, straight help.”

He saw in her eyes all her concentrated disdain of him, but he went on, still obstinate and cool and grim.

“I guess ‘help’ is too big a word just yet. That may come later, and it mayn’t. What I’m going to have a try at now is making it easier for you—just easier.”

Her contemptuous gesture registered no impression on him, as he paused a moment and looked fixedly at her.

“You just hate me, don’t you?” It was a mere statement which couldn’t have been more impersonal to himself if he had been made of wood. “That’s all right. I seem like a low-down intruder to you. Well, that’s all right, too. But what ain’t all right is what your mother has set you on to thinking about me. You’d never have thought it yourself. You’d have known better.”

“What,” she said fiercely, “is that?”

“That I’m mutt enough to have a mash on you.”

The common slangy crassness of it was a kind of shock. She caught her breath and merely stared at him. But he was not staring at her; he was simply looking straight into her face, and it amazingly flashed upon her that the extraordinary words were so entirely unembarrassed and direct that they were actually not offensive. He was merely telling her something in his own way, not caring the least about his own effect, but absolutely determined that she should hear and understand it.

Her caught breath ended in something which was like a half-laugh. His queer, sharp, incomprehensible face, his queer, unmoved voice, were too extraordinarily unlike anything she had ever seen or heard before.

“I don’t want to be brash, and what I want to say may seem kind of that way to you; but it ain’t. Anyhow, I guess it’ll relieve your mind. Lady Joan, you’re a looker—you’re a beaut from Beautsville. If I were your kind, and things were different, I’d be crazy about you—crazy. But I’m not your kind—and things are different.” He drew a step nearer still to her in his intentness. “They’re this different: why, Lady Joan, I’m dead stuck on another girl!”

She caught her breath again, leaning forward.


“She says she’s not a lady; she threw me down just because all this darned money came to me,” he hastened on, and suddenly he was imperturbable no longer, but flushed and boyish, and more of New York than ever. “She’s a little bit of a quiet thing, and she drops her h’s; but gee! You’re a looker—you’re a queen, and she’s not. But little Ann Hutchinson—Why, Lady Joan, as far as this boy’s concerned,”—and he oddly touched himself on the breast,—“she makes you look like thirty cents.”

Joan quickly sat down on the chair she had just left. She rested an elbow on the table and shaded her face with her hand. She was not laughing; she scarcely knew what she was doing or feeling.

“You are in love with Ann Hutchinson,” she said, in a low voice.

“Am I?” he answered hotly. “Well, I should smile!” He disdained to say more.

Then she began to know what she felt. There came back to her in flashes scenes from the past weeks in which she had done her worst by him; in which she had swept him aside, loathed him, set her feet on him, used the devices of an ingenious demon to discomfit and show him at his poorest and least ready. And he had not been giving a thought to the thing for which she had striven to punish him. And he plainly did not even hate her. His mind was clear, as water is clear. He had come back to her this evening to do her a good turn—a good turn! Knowing what she was capable of in the way of arrogance and villainous temper, he had determined, despite herself, to do her a good turn.

“I don’t understand you,” she faltered.

“I know you don’t. But it’s only because I’m so dead easy to understand. There’s nothing to find out. I’m just friendly—friendly, that’s all.”

“You would have been friends with me!” she exclaimed. “You would have told me, and I wouldn’t let you! Oh!”—with an impulsive flinging out of her hand to him,—“you good—good fellow!”

“Good be darned!” he answered, taking the hand at once.

[Pg 931]

“You are good to tell me! I have behaved like a devil to you. But, oh! if you only knew!”

His face became mature again, but he took a most informal seat on the edge of the table near her.

“I do know, part of it. That’s why I’ve been trying to be friends with you all the time.” He said his next words deliberately. “If I was the woman Jem Temple Barholm had loved, wouldn’t it have driven me mad to see another man in his place—and remember what was done to him? I never even saw him, but, good God!”—she saw his hand clench itself,—“when I think of it, I want to kill somebody! I want to kill half a dozen. Why didn’t they know it couldn’t be true of a fellow like that!”

She sat up stiffly and watched him.

“Do—you—feel like that—about him?”

“Do I!” he said hotly. “There were men there that knew him, there were women there that knew him: why wasn’t there just one to stand by him? A man that’s been square all his life doesn’t turn into a card-sharp in a night. Damn fools! I beg your pardon!” he said hastily. And then, as hastily again: “No, I mean it. Damn fools!”

“Oh!” she gasped just once.

Her passionate eyes were suddenly blinded with tears. She caught at his clenched hand and dragged it to her, letting her face drop on it and crying like a child.

The way he took her breakdown was just like him and like no one else. He put the other hand on her shoulder and spoke to her exactly as he had spoken to Miss Alicia on that first afternoon.

“Don’t you mind me, Lady Joan,” he said. “Don’t you mind me a bit. I’ll turn my back. I’ll go into the billiard-room and keep them playing until you get away up-stairs. Now we understand each other, it’ll be better for both of us.”

“No, don’t go! Don’t!” she begged. “It is so wonderful to find some one who sees the cruelty of it.” She spoke fast and passionately. “No one would listen to any defense of him. My mother simply raved when I said what you are saying—what you said of him just now.”

“Do you want”—he put it to her with a curious comprehending of her emotion—“to talk about him? Would it do you good?”

“Yes! yes! I have never talked to any one. There has been no one to listen.”

“Talk all you want,” he answered with immense gentleness. “I’m here.”

“I can’t understand it even now, but he would not see me,” she broke out. “I was half mad. I wrote, and he would not answer. I went to his chambers when I heard he was going to leave England. I went to beg him to take me with him, married or unmarried. I would have gone on my knees to him. He was gone! Oh, why? Why?”

“You didn’t think he’d gone because he didn’t love you?” he asked her quite literally and unsentimentally. “You knew better than that?”

“How could I be sure of anything? When he left the room that awful night he would not look at me! He would not look at me!”

“Since I’ve been here I’ve been reading a lot of novels, and I’ve found out a lot of things about fellows that are not the common, practical kind. Now, he wasn’t. He’d lived pretty much like a fellow in a novel, I guess. What’s struck me about that sort is that they think they have to make noble sacrifices, and they’ll just walk all over a woman because they won’t do anything to hurt her. There’s not a bit of sense in it, but that was what he was doing. He believed he was doing the square thing by you, and you may bet your life it hurt him like hell. I beg your pardon; but that’s the word—just plain hell.”

“I was only a girl. He was like iron. He went away alone. He was killed, and when he was dead the truth was told.”

“That’s what I’ve remembered,” he said quite slowly, “every time I’ve looked at you. By gee! I’d have stood anything from a woman that had suffered as much as that.”

It made her cry, his genuineness, and she did not care in the least that the tears streamed down her cheeks. How he had stood things! How he had borne, in that odd, unimpressive way, insolence and arrogance for which she ought to have been blackballed by decent society! She could scarcely bear it.

“Oh! to think it should have been you,” she wept, “just you who understood!”

“Well,” he answered speculatively,[Pg 932] “I mightn’t have understood as well if it hadn’t been for Ann. By jinks! I used to lie awake at night sometimes, thinking, ‘Supposing it had been Ann and me!’ That’s why I understood.”

He put out his hand and caught hers and frankly squeezed it—squeezed it hard; and the unconventional clutch was a wonderful thing to her.

“It’s all right now, ain’t it?” he said. “We’ve got it straightened out. You’ll not be afraid to come back here if your mother wants you to.” He stopped for a moment and then went on with something of hesitation: “We don’t want to talk about your mother. We can’t. But I understand her, too. Folks are different from each other in their ways. She’s different from you. I’ll—I’ll straighten it out with her if you like.”

“Nothing will need straightening out after I tell her that you are going to marry Little Ann Hutchinson,” said Joan, with a half-smile, “and that you were engaged to her before you saw me.”

“Well, that does sort of finish things up, doesn’t it?” said T. Tembarom.

He looked at her so speculatively for a moment after this that she wondered whether he had more to say. He had.

“There’s something I want to ask you,” he ventured.

“Ask anything.”

“Do you know any one—just any one—who has a photo—just any old photo—of Jem Temple Barholm?”

She was rather puzzled.

“I know a woman who has worn one for eight years. Do you want to see it?”

“I’d give a good deal to,” he replied. She took a flat locket from her dress and handed it to him.

“Women don’t wear lockets in these days,”—he could barely hear her voice, it was so low,—“but I’ve never taken it off. I wanted him near my heart. It’s Jem!”

He held it on the palm of his hand and stood under the light, studying it as if he wanted to be sure he wouldn’t forget it.

“It’s—sorter like that picture of Miles Hugo, ain’t it?” he suggested.

“Yes; people always said so. That was why you found me in the picture-gallery the first time we met.”

“I knew that was the reason, and I knew I’d made a break when I butted in,” he answered. Then, still looking at the photograph, he said: “You’d know that face again most anywhere you saw it, I guess. A man would know a face like that again wherever he saw it. Thank you, Lady Joan.”

He handed back the picture, and she put out her hand again.

“I think I’ll go to my room now,” she said. “You’ve done a strange thing to me. You’ve taken nearly all the hatred and bitterness out of my heart. I shall want to come back here whether my mother comes or not—I shall want to.”

“The sooner the quicker,” he said. “And so long as I’m here, I’ll be ready and waiting.”

“Don’t go away,” she said softly. “I shall need you.”

“Isn’t that great?” he cried, flushing delightedly. “Isn’t it just great that we’ve got things straightened so that you can say that. Gee! This is a queer old world! There’s such a lot to do in it, and so few hours in the day. Seems like there ain’t time to stop long enough to hate anybody and keep a grouch on. A fellow’s got to keep hustling not to miss the things worth while.”

The liking in her eyes was actually wistful.

“That’s your way of thinking, isn’t it?” she said. “Teach it to me if you can. I wish you could. Good night.” She hesitated a second. “God bless you!” she added quite suddenly, almost fantastic the words sounded to her, that she, Joan Fayre, should be calling down devout benisons on the head of T. Tembarom—T. Tembarom!

HER mother was in her room when she reached it. She had come up early to look over her possessions and Joan’s before she began her packing. The bed, the chairs, and the tables were spread with evening, morning, and walking-dresses, and the millinery collected from their combined wardrobes. She was examining anxiously a laces-appliquéd-and-embroidered white coat, and turned a slightly flushed face toward the opening door.

“I am going over your things as well as my own,” she said. “I shall take what I can use. You will require nothing in London. What is the matter?” she said sharply, as she saw her daughter’s face.

Joan came forward, feeling it a strange thing that she was not in the mood to fight—to lash out and be glad to do it.

[Pg 933]

“Captain Palliser told me as I came up that Mr. Temple Barholm had been talking to you,” her mother went on. “He heard you having some sort of scene as he passed the door. As you have made your decision, of course I know I needn’t hope that anything has happened.”

“What has happened has nothing to do with my decision. He wasn’t waiting for that,” Joan answered her. “We were both entirely mistaken, Mother.”

“What are you talking about?” cried Lady Mallowe. “What do you mean by mistaken?”

“He doesn’t want me; he never did,” Joan answered again. A shadow of a smile hovered over her face, and there was no derision in it, only a warming recollection of his earnestness when he had said the words she quoted, “He is what they call in New York ’dead stuck on another girl.’”

Lady Mallowe sat down on the chair that held the white coat, and she did not push the coat aside.

“He told you that in his vulgar slang!” she gasped out. “You—you ought to have struck him dead with your answer.”

“Except poor Jem Temple Barholm,” was the amazing reply she received, “he is the only friend I ever had in all my life.”

T was business of serious importance which was to bring Captain Palliser’s visit to a close. He explained it perfectly to Miss Alicia a day or so after Lady Mallowe and her daughter left them. He had lately been most amiable in his manner toward Miss Alicia, and had given her much valuable information about companies and stocks. He rather unexpectedly found it imperative that he should go to London and Berlin to “see people,” dealers in great financial schemes who were deeply interested in solid business speculations such as his own.

“I suppose he will be very rich some day,” Miss Alicia remarked the first morning she and T. Tembarom took their breakfast alone together after his departure. “It would frighten me to think of having as much money as he seems likely to have quite soon.”

“It would scare me to death,” said Tembarom. She knew he was making a sort of joke, but she thought the point of it was her tremor at the thought of great fortune.

“He seemed to think that it would be an excellent thing for you to invest in—I’m not sure whether it was the India Rubber Tree Company, or the mahogany-forests, or the copper-mines that have so much gold and silver mixed in them that it will pay for the expense of the digging,” she went on.

“I guess it was the whole lot,” put in Tembarom.

“Perhaps it was. They are all going to make everybody so rich that it is quite bewildering. He is very clever in business matters. And so kind. He even said that if I really wished it, he might be able to invest my income for me and actually treble it in a year. But of course I told him that my income was your generous gift to me, and that it was far more than sufficient for my needs.”

Tembarom put down his coffee-cup so suddenly to look at her that she was fearful that she had appeared to do Captain Palliser some vague injustice.

“I am sure he meant to be most obliging, dear,” she explained. “I was really quite touched. He said most sympathetically and delicately that when women were unmarried, and unaccustomed to investment, sometimes a business man could be of use to them. He forgot”—affectionately—“that I had you.”

Tembarom regarded her with tender curiosity. She often opened up vistas for him as he himself opened them for the Duke of Stone.

“If you hadn’t had me, would you have let him treble your income in a year?” he asked.

Her expression as that of a soft, woodland rabbit or a trusting spinster dove.

“Well, of course, if one were quite alone in the world and had only a small income, it would be nice to have it wonderfully added to in such a short time,” she answered. “But it was his friendly solicitude which touched me.”

“If the time ever comes when you haven’t got me,” said Tembarom, buttering his toast,[Pg 934] “just you make a dead sure thing of it that you don’t let any solicitous business gentleman treble your income in a year.”

“Temple,” gasped Miss Alicia, “you—you surely cannot mean that you do not think Captain Palliser is—sincere!”

Tembarom laughed outright his most hilarious and comforting laugh.

“Sincere?” he said. “He’s sincere down to the ground—in what he’s reaching after; but he’s not going to treble your income or mine. If he ever makes that offer again, you just tell him I’m interested, and that I’ll talk it over with him.”

Their breakfast was at an end, and he got up, laughing again, as he came to her end of the table, and put his arm round her shoulders in the unconventional young caress she adored him for.

“It’s nice to be by ourselves again for a while,” he said. “Let us go for a walk together. Put on the little bonnet and dress that are the color of a mouse. Those little duds just get me. You look so pretty in them.”

The sixteen-year-old blush ran up to the roots of her gray side-ringlets. Just imagine his remembering the color of her dress and bonnet, and thinking that anything could make her look pretty! She was overwhelmed with innocent and grateful confusion. There really was no one else in the least like him.

“I wonder if it is wrong of me to be so pleased,” Miss Alicia thought. “I must make it a subject of prayer.”

She was pathetically serious, having been trained to a view of the great first cause as figuratively embodied in the image of a gigantic, irascible, omnipotent old gentleman specially wrought to fury by feminine follies connected with becoming headgear.

“It has sometimes even seemed to me that our Heavenly Father has a special objection to ladies,” she had once timorously confessed to Tembarom. “I suppose it is because we are so much weaker than men, and so much more given to vanity and petty vices.”

He had caught her in his arms and actually hugged her that time. Their intimacy had reached the point where the affectionate outburst did not alarm her.

“Say,” he had laughed, “it’s not the men who are going to have the biggest pull with the authorities when folks try to get into the place where things are evened up. What I’m going to work my passage with is a list of the few ‘ladies’ I’ve known. You and Ann will be at the head of it. I shall just slide it in at the box-office window and say: ’Just look over this, will you? These were friends of mine, and they were mighty good to me. I guess if they didn’t turn me down, you needn’t. I know they’re in here. Reserved seats. I’m not expecting to be put with them, but if I’m allowed to hang around where they are, that’ll be heaven enough for me.’”

“I know you don’t mean to be irreverent, dear Temple,” she had gasped, “I am quite sure you don’t. It is—it is only your American way of expressing your kind thoughts.” Somehow or other, he was always so comforting.

He held her arm as they took their walk. She had become used to that also, and no longer thought it odd. It was only one of the ways he had of making her feel that she was being taken care of. They had not been able to have many walks together since the arrival of the visitors, and this occasion was at once a cause of relief and inward rejoicing. The entire truth was that she had not been altogether happy about him of late. Sometimes, when he was not talking and saying amusing New York things which made people laugh, he seemed almost to forget where he was and to be thinking of something which baffled and tried him. The way in which he pulled himself together when he realized that any one was looking at him was, to her mind, the most disturbing feature of his fits of abstraction.

As they walked through the park and the village, her heart was greatly warmed by the way in which every person they met greeted him. They liked him, really liked him. Every man touched his cap or forehead with a friendly grin. It was as if there were some extremely human joke between them. Miss Alicia had delightedly remembered the Duke of Stone’s saying that he was “the most popular man in the county.”

Tembarom was rather silent during the first part of their walk, and when he spoke it was of Captain Palliser.

“He’s a fellow that’s got lots of curiosity. I guess he’s asked you more questions than he’s asked me,” he began at last, and he looked at her interestedly, though she was not aware of it.

[Pg 935]

“I thought,—” she hesitated slightly because she did not wish to be critical,—“I sometimes thought he asked me too many. He asked so much about you and your life in New York, but more, I think, about you and Mr. Strangeways. He was really quite persistent once or twice about poor Mr. Strangeways.”

“What did he ask?”

“He asked if I had seen him, and if you had preferred that I should not. He calls him your mystery, and thinks your keeping him here is so extraordinary.”

“I guess it is, the way he’d look at it,” Tembarom dropped in.

“He was so anxious to find out what he looked like. He asked how old he was and how tall, and whether he was quite mad or only a little, and where you picked him up, and when, and what reason you gave for not putting him in some respectable asylum. I could only say that I really knew nothing about him, and that I hadn’t seen him because he had a dread of strangers and I was a little timid.”

She hesitated again.

“I wonder,” she said, still hesitating even after her pause—“I wonder if I ought to mention a rather rude thing I once saw him do?”

“Yes, you ought,” Tembarom answered promptly, “I’ve a reason for wanting to know.”

“It was such a singular thing to do—in the circumstances,” she went on obediently. “He knew, as we all know, that Mr. Strangeways must not be disturbed. One afternoon I saw him walk slowly backward and forward before the west room window. He had something in his hand, and kept looking up. That was what first attracted my attention—his queer way of looking up. Quite suddenly he threw something which rattled on the panes of glass; it sounded like gravel or small pebbles. I couldn’t help believing he thought Mr. Strangeways would be startled into coming to the window.”

Tembarom smiled.

“He did that twice,” he said. “Pearson caught him at it, though Palliser didn’t know he did. He’d have done it three times, or more than that, perhaps, but I casually mentioned in the smoking-room one night that some curious fool of a gardener-boy had thrown some stones and frightened Strangeways, and that Pearson and I were watching for him, and that if I caught him, I was going to knock his block off—bing! He didn’t do it again. Darned fool! And he’d better not try it again when he comes back,” remarked Tembarom.

Miss Alicia’s surprised expression made him laugh.

“Do you think he will come back?” she exclaimed, “after such a long visit?”

“Oh, yes, he’ll come back. He’ll come back as often as he can until he’s got a chunk of my income to treble—or until I’ve done with him.”

“Until you’ve done with him, dear?” she said inquiringly.

“Oh, well,” he said casually, “I’ve a sort of idea that he may tell me something I’d like to know. I’m not sure; I’m only guessing. But even if he knows it, he won’t tell me until he gets good and ready, and thinks I don’t want to hear it.”

He would not talk any more of Captain Palliser or allow her to talk of him. He began to make jokes, and led her to other subjects. He asked her to go to the Hibblethwaites’ cottage and pay a visit to Tummas. He had learned to understand his accepted privileges in the making of cottage visits by this time; and when he clicked any wicket-gate, the door was open before he had time to pass up the wicket-path. They called at several cottages, and he nodded at the windows of others where faces appeared as he passed by.

They had a happy morning together, a pleasant drive in the afternoon, and a cozy evening in the library.

About nine o’clock he laid his paper aside and spoke to her.

“I’m going to ask you to do me a favor,” he said. “I couldn’t ask it if we weren’t alone like this. I know you won’t mind. I’m going to ask you to go to your room rather early. I want to try a sort of stunt on Strangeways. I want to bring him down-stairs if he’ll come. I’m not sure I can get him to do it; but he’s been a heap better lately, and perhaps I can.”

“Is he so much better as that?” she said. “Will it be safe?”

He looked as serious as she had ever seen him look, even a trifle more serious.

“I don’t know how much better he is,” was his answer.[Pg 936] “Sometimes you’d think he was almost all right, and then—The doctor says that if he could get over being afraid of leaving his room, it would be a big thing for him. He wants him to go to his place in London so that he can watch him.”

“Do you think you could persuade him to go?”

“I’ve tried my level best, but so far nothing doing.”

He got up and stood before the mantel, his back against it, his hands in his pockets.

“I’ve found out one thing,” he said. “He’s used to houses like this. Every now and again he lets something out quite natural. He knew that the furniture in his room was Jacobean—that’s what he called it—and he knew it was fine stuff. He wouldn’t have known that if he’d been a piker. I’m going to try if he won’t let out something else when he sees things here, if he’ll come.”

“You have such a wonderfully reasoning mind, dear,” said Miss Alicia as she rose.

“If Ann had been with him,” he said, rather gloomily, “she’d have caught on to a lot more than I have. I don’t feel very chesty about the way I’ve managed it.”

Miss Alicia went up-stairs shortly afterward, and half an hour later Tembarom told the footmen in the hall that they might go to bed. The experiment he was going to make demanded that the place should be cleared of any disturbing presence. He had been thinking it over for some time past. He had sat in the private room of the great nerve specialist in London and had talked it over with him. He had talked of it with the duke on the lawn at Stone Hover. There had been a flush of color in the older man’s cheek-bones, and his eyes had been alight as he took his part in the discussion. He had added the touch of his own personality to it, as always happened.

“We are having some fine moments, my dear fellow,” he had said, rubbing his hands. “This is extremely like the fourth act. I’d like to be sure what comes next.”

“I’d like to be sure myself,” Tembarom answered. “It’s as if a flash of lightning came sometimes, and then things clouded up. And sometimes when I am trying something out, he’ll get so excited that I daren’t go on until I’ve talked to the doctor.”

It was the excitement he was dubious about to-night. It was not possible to be quite certain as to the entire safety of the plan; but there might be a chance, even a big chance, of wakening some cell from its deadened sleep. Sir Ormsby Galloway had talked to him a good deal about brain-cells, and he had listened faithfully, and learned more than he could put into scientific English. Gradually, during the past months, he had been coming upon strangely exciting hints of curious possibilities. They had been mere hints at first, and had seemed almost absurd in their unbelievableness; but each one had linked itself with another, and led him on to further wondering and exploration. When Miss Alicia and Palliser had seen that he looked absorbed and baffled, it had been because he had frequently found himself, to use his own figures of speech, “mixed up to beat the band.” He had not known which way to turn; but he had gone on turning because he could not escape from his own excited interest, and the inevitable emotion roused by being caught in the whirl of a melodrama. That was what he’d dropped into—a whacking big play. It had begun for him when Palford butted in that night and told him he was a lost heir, with a fortune and an estate in England; and the curtain had been jerking up and down ever since. But there had been thrills in it, queer as it was. Something doing all the time, by gee!

He sat and smoked his pipe and wished Ann were with him because he knew he was not as cool as he had meant to be. He felt a certain tingling of excitement in his body, and this was not the time to be excited. He waited for some minutes before he went up-stairs. It was true that Strangeways had been much better lately. He had seemed to find it easier to follow conversation. During the last few days, Tembarom had talked to him in a matter-of-fact way about the house and its various belongings. He had at last seemed to waken to an interest in the picture-gallery. Evidently he knew something of picture-galleries and portraits, and found himself relieved by his own clearness of thought when he talked of them.

“I feel better,” he said two or three times. “Things seem clearer—nearer.”

“Good business!” exclaimed Tem-[Pg 937]barom. “I told you it’d be that way. Let’s hold on to pictures. It won’t be any time before you’ll be remembering where you’ve seen some.”

He had been secretly rather strung up; but he had been very gradual in approaching his final suggestion that some night, when everything was quiet, they might go and look at the gallery together.

“What you need is to get out of the way of wanting to stay in one place,” he argued. “The doctor says you’ve got to have change, and even going from one room to another is a fine thing.”

Strangeways had looked at him anxiously for a few moments, even suspiciously, but his face had cleared after the look. He drew himself up and passed his hand over his forehead.

“I believe—perhaps he is right,” he murmured.

“Sure he’s right,” said Tembarom. “He’s the sort of chap who ought to know. He’s been made into a baronet for knowing. Sir Ormsby Galloway, by jingo! That’s no slouch of a name. Oh, he knows, you bet your life!”

This morning when he had seen him he had spoken of the plan again. The visitors had gone away; the servants could be sent out of sight and hearing; they could go into the library and smoke and he could look at the books. And then they could take a look at the picture-gallery if he wasn’t too tired. It would be a change, anyhow.

TO-NIGHT, as he went up the huge staircase, Tembarom’s calmness of being had not increased. He was aware of a quickened pulse. The dead silence of the house added to the unusualness of things. He could not remember ever having been so anxious before, except on the occasion when he had taken his first day’s “stuff” to Galton. But he showed no outward signs of excitement when he entered the room and found Strangeways standing, perfectly attired in evening dress.

Pearson, setting things in order at the other side of the room, was taking note of him furtively over his shoulder. Quite in the casual manner of the ordinary man, he had expressed his intention of dressing for the evening, and Pearson had thanked his stars for the fact that the necessary garments were at hand. From the first, he had not infrequently asked for articles such as only the resources of a complete masculine wardrobe could supply; and on one occasion he had suddenly wished to dress for dinner, and the lame excuses it had been necessary to make had disturbed him horribly instead of pacifying him. To explain that his condition precluded the necessity of the usual appurtenances would have been out of the question. He had been angry. What did Pearson mean? What was the matter? He had said it over and over again, and then had sunk into a hopelessly bewildered mood, and had sat huddled in his dressing-gown staring at the fire. Pearson had been so harrowed by the situation that it had been his own idea to suggest to his master that all possible requirements should be provided. There were occasions when it appeared that the cloud over him lifted for a passing moment, and a gleam of light recalled to him some familiar usage of his past. When he had finished dressing, Pearson had been almost startled by the amount of effect produced by the straight, correctly cut lines of black and white. The mere change of clothes had suddenly changed the man himself—had “done something to him,” Pearson put it. After his first glance at the mirror he had straightened himself, as if recognizing the fault of his own carriage. When he crossed the room it was with the action of a man who has been trained to move well. The good looks, which had been almost hidden behind a veil of uncertainty of expression and strained fearfulness, became obvious. He was tall, and his lean limbs were splendidly hung together. His head was perfectly set, and the bearing of his square shoulders was a soldierly thing. It was an extraordinarily handsome man Tembarom and Pearson found themselves gazing at. Each glanced involuntarily at the other.

“Now, that’s first-rate. I’m glad you feel like coming,” Tembarom plunged in. He didn’t intend to give him too much time to think.

“Thank you. It will be a change, as you said,” Strangeways answered. “One needs change.”

His deep eyes looked somewhat deeper than usual, but his manner was that of any well-bred fellow doing an accustomed thing. If he had been an ordinary guest[Pg 938] in the house, and his host had dropped into his room, he would have comported himself in exactly the same way.

They went together down the corridor as if they had passed down it together a dozen times before. On the stairway Strangeways looked at the tapestries with the interest of a familiarized intelligence.

“It is a beautiful old place,” he said as they crossed the hall. “That armor was worn by a crusader.” He hesitated a moment when they entered the library, but it was only for a moment. He went to the hearth and took the chair his host offered him, and, lighting a cigar, sat smoking it. If T. Tembarom had chanced to be a man of an analytical or metaphysical order of intellect, he would have found during the last month many things to lead him far in mental argument concerning the weird wonder of the human mind—of its power where its possessor, the body, is concerned, its sometime closeness to the surface of sentient being, its sometime remoteness. He would have known, awed, marveling at the blackness of the pit into which it can descend, the unknown shades that may enfold it and imprison its gropings. The old Duke of Stone had sat and pondered many an hour over stories his favorite companion had related to him. What curious and subtle processes had the queer fellow not been watching in the closely guarded quiet of the room where the stranger had spent his days: the strange thing cowering in its darkness; the ray of light piercing the cloud one day and seeming lost again the next; the struggles the imprisoned thing made to come forth—to cry out that it was only immured, not wholly conquered, and that some hour would arrive when it would fight its way through at last! Tembarom had not entered into psychological research. He had been entirely uncomplex in his attitude, sitting down before his problem as a besieger might have sat down before a castle. The duke had sometimes wondered whether it was not a good enough thing that he had been so simple about it, merely continuing to believe the best with an unswerving obstinacy and lending a hand when he could. A never flagging sympathy had kept him singularly alive to every chance, and now and then he had illuminations which would have done credit to a cleverer man, and which the duke had rubbed his hands in half-amused, half-touched elation. How he had kept his head and held to his purpose!

T. Tembarom talked but little as he sat in his big chair and smoked. Best let him alone and give him time to get used to the newness, he thought. Nothing must happen that could give him a jolt. Let things sort of sink into him, and perhaps they’d set him to thinking and lead him somewhere. Strangeways himself evidently did not want talk. He never wanted it unless he was excited. He was not excited now, and had settled down as if he was comfortable. Having finished one cigar, he took another, and began to smoke it much more slowly than he had smoked his first. The slowness began to arrest Tembarom’s attention. This was the smoking of a man who was either growing sleepy or sinking into deep thought, becoming oblivious to what he was doing. Sometimes he held the cigar absently between his strong, fine fingers, seeming to forget it. Tembarom watched him do this until he saw it go out, and its white ash drop on the rug at his feet. He did not notice it, but sat sinking deeper and deeper into his own being, growing more remote. What was going on under his absorbed stillness? Tembarom would not have moved or spoken “for a block of Fifth Avenue,” he said internally. The dark eyes seemed to become darker until there was only a pin’s point of light to be seen in their pupils. It was as if he were looking at something at a distance—at a strangely long distance. Twice he turned his head and appeared to look slowly round the room, but not as normal people look—as if it also was at the strange, long distance from him, and he were somewhere outside its walls. It was an uncanny thing to behold.

“How dead-still the room is!” Tembarom found himself thinking.

It was “dead-still.” And it was “a queer deal,” sitting, not daring to move, just watching. Something was bound to happen, sure. What was it going to be?

Strangeways’s cigar dropped from his fingers and appeared to rouse him. He looked puzzled for a moment, and then stooped quite naturally to pick it up.

“I forgot it altogether. It’s gone out,” he remarked.

“Have another,” suggested Tembarom, moving the box nearer to him.

[Pg 939]

“No, thank you.” He rose and crossed the room to the wall of book-shelves. And Tembarom’s eye was caught again by the fineness of movement and line the evening clothes made manifest. “What a swell he looked when he moved about like that! What a swell, by jingo!”

He looked along the line of shelves and presently took a book down and opened it. He turned over its leaves until something arrested his attention, and then he fell to reading. He read several minutes, while Tembarom watched him. The silence was broken by his laughing a little.

“Listen to this,” he said, and began to read something in a language totally unknown to his hearer. “A man who writes that sort of thing about a woman is an old bounder, whether he’s a poet or not. There’s a small, biting spitefulness about it that’s cattish.”

“Who did it?” Tembarom inquired softly. It might be a good idea to lead him on.

“Horace. In spite of his genius, the ‘Lampoons’ make you feel he was rather a blackguard.”

“Horace!” For the moment T. Tembarom forgot himself. “I always heard he was a sort of Y. M. C. A. old guy—old Horace Greeley. The ‘Tribune’ was no yellow journal when he had it.”

He was sorry he had spoken the next moment. Strangeways looked puzzled.

“The ’Tribune,’” he hesitated. “The Roman tribune?”

“No, New York. He started it—old Horace did. But perhaps we’re not talking of the same man.”

Strangeways hesitated again.

“No, I think we’re not,” he answered politely.

“I’ve made a break,” thought Tembarom. “I ought to have kept my mouth shut. I must try to switch him back.”

Strangeways was looking down at the back of the book he held in his hand.

“This one was the Latin poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 B.C. You know it,” he said.

“Oh, that one!” exclaimed Tembarom, as if with an air of immense relief. “What a fool I was to forget! I’m glad it’s him. Will you go on reading, and let me hear some more? He’s a winner from Winnersville, that Horace is.”

Perhaps it was a sort of miracle, accomplished by his great desire to help the right thing to happen, to stave off any shadow of the wrong thing. Whatsoever the reason, Strangeways waited only a moment before turning to his book again. It seemed to be a link in some chain slowly forming itself to draw him back from his wanderings. And T. Tembarom, lightly sweating as a frightened horse will, sat smoking another pipe and listening intently to “Satires” and “Lampoons,” read aloud in the Latin of 65 B.C.

“By gee!” he said faithfully, at intervals, when he saw on the reader’s face that the moment was ripe, “He knew it all,—old Horace,—didn’t he?”

He had steered his charge back. Things were coming along the line to him. He’d learned Latin at one of these big English schools. Boys always learned Latin, the duke had told him. They just had to. Most of them hated it like thunder, and they used to be caned when they didn’t recite it right. Perhaps if he went on, he’d begin to remember the school. A queer part of it was that he did not seem to notice that he was not reading his own language.

He did not, in fact, seem to remember anything in particular, but went on quite naturally for some minutes. He had replaced Horace on the shelf and was on the point of taking another book when he paused, as if recalling something else.

“Weren’t we going to see the picture-gallery?” he inquired. “Isn’t it getting late? I should like to see the portraits.”

“No hurry,” answered T. Tembarom. “I was just waiting till you were ready. But we’ll go right away, if you like.”

They went without further ceremony. As they walked through the hall and down the corridors side by side, an imaginative person might have felt that perhaps the eyes of an ancient, darkling portrait or so looked down at the pair curiously: the long, loosely built New Yorker rather slouching along by the soldierly almost romantic figure which in a measure suggested that others not unlike it might have trod the same oaken floor, wearing ruff and doublet, or lace jabot and sword. There was a far cry between the two, but they walked closely in friendly union. When they entered the picture-gallery, Strangeways paused a moment again, and stood peering down its length.

[Pg 940]

“It is very dimly lighted. How can we see?” he said.

“I told Pearson to leave it dim,” Tembarom answered.

He tried, and succeeded tolerably well, to say it casually as he led the way ahead of them. He and the duke had not talked the scheme over for nothing. As his grace had said, they had “worked the thing up.” As they moved down the gallery, the men and women in their frames looked like ghosts staring out to see what was about to happen.

“We’ll turn up the lights after a while,” T. Tembarom explained still casually. “There’s a picture here I think a good deal of. I’ve stood and looked at it pretty often. It reminded me of someone the first day I set eyes on it; but it was quite a time before I made up my mind who it was. It used to drive me half dotty trying to think it out.”

“Which one?” asked Strangeways.

“We’re coming to it. I want to see if it reminds you of any one. And I want you to see it sudden.” “It’s got to be sudden,” he had said to the duke. “If it’s going to pan out, I believe it’s got to be sudden. When he first sees that picture he’s got to get a jolt—he’s got to.”

That was why Tembarom had the lights left dim. He had told Pearson to leave a lamp that he could turn up quickly.

The lamp was on a table near by and was shaded by a screen. He took it from the shadow and lifted it suddenly, so that its full gleam fell upon the portrait of the handsome youth with the lace collar and the dark, drooping eyes. It was done in a second, with a dramatically unexpected swiftness. His heart fairly thumped.

“Who’s that?” he demanded, with abruptness so sharp-pitched that the gallery echoed with the sound. “Who’s that?”

He heard a hard, quick gasp, a sound which was momentarily a little horrible, as if the man’s soul was being jerked out of his body’s depths.

“Who is he?” Tembarom cried again. “Tell me!”

After the gasp, Strangeways stood still and stared. His eyes were glued to the canvas, drops of sweat came out on his forehead, and he was shuddering. He began to back away with a look of gruesome struggle. He backed and backed, and stared and stared. The gasp came twice again, and then his voice seemed to tear itself loose from some power that was holding it back.

“Th—at!” he cried. “It is—it—is Miles Hugo!”

The last words were almost a shout, and he shook as if he would have fallen. But T. Tembarom put his hand on his shoulder and held him, breathing fast himself. Gee! if it wasn’t like a thing in a play!

“Page at the court of Charles the Second,” he rattled off. “Died of smallpox when he was nineteen. Miles Hugo! Miles Hugo! You hold on to that for all you’re worth. And hold on to me. I’ll keep you steady. Say it again.”

“Miles Hugo,” the poor majestic-looking fellow almost sobbed it. “Where am I? What is the name of this place?”

“It’s Temple Barholm, in the county of Lancashire, England. Hold on to that, too—like thunder!”

Strangeways held the young man’s arm with hands that clutched. He dragged at him. His nightmare held him yet; Tembarom saw it, but flashes of light were blinding him.

“Who,” he pleaded in a shaking and hollow whisper, “are you?”

Here was a stumper, by jingo! and not a minute to think it out. But the answer came all right.

“My name’s Tembarom. T. Tembarom.” And he grinned his splendid grin from sheer sense of relief. “I’m a New Yorker—Brooklyn. I was just forked in here anyhow. Don’t you waste time thinking over me. You sit down here and do your durndest with Miles Hugo.”

EMBAROM did not look as though he had slept particularly well, Miss Alicia thought, when they met the next morning; but when she asked him whether he had been disappointed in his last night’s experiment, he answered that he had not. The experiment had come out all right, but Strangeways had[Pg 941] been a good deal worked up, and had not been able to sleep until daylight. Sir Ormsby Galloway was to arrive in the afternoon, and he’d probably give him something quieting. “Had the coming down-stairs seemed to help him to recall anything?” Miss Alicia naturally inquired. Tembarom thought it had. He drove to Stone Hover and spent the morning with the duke; he even lunched with him. He returned in time to receive Sir Ormsby Galloway, however, and until that great personage left, they were together in Mr. Strangeways’ rooms.

“I guess I shall get him up to London to the place where Sir Ormsby wants him,” he said rather nervously, after dinner. “I’m not going to miss any chances. If he’ll go, I can get him away quietly some time when I can fix it so there’s no one about to worry him.”

She felt that he had no inclination to go much into detail. He had never had the habit of entering into the details connected with his strange charge. She did not ask questions because she was afraid she could not ask them intelligently.

During the passage of the next few weeks, Tembarom went up to London several times. Once he seemed called there suddenly, as it was only during dinner that he told her that he was going to take a late train, and should leave the house after she had gone to bed. She felt as though something important must have happened, and hoped it was nothing disturbing.

When he had said that Captain Palliser would return to visit them, her private impression, despite his laugh, had been that it must surely be some time before this would occur. But a little more than three weeks later he appeared, preceded only half an hour by a telegram, asking whether he might not spend a night with them on his way farther north. He could not at all understand why the telegram, which he said he had sent the day before, had been delayed.

A certain fatigued haggardness in his countenance caused Miss Alicia to ask whether he had been ill, and he admitted that he had at least not been well, as a result of long and too hurried journeys, and the strenuousness of extended and profoundly serious interviews with his capitalist and magnates.

“No man can engineer gigantic schemes to success without feeling the reaction when his load drops from his shoulders,” he remarked.

“You’ve carried it quite through?” inquired Tembarom.

“We have set on foot one of the largest, most substantially capitalized companies in the European business world,” Palliser replied with the composure which is almost indifference.

“Good!” said Tembarom, cheerfully.

He watched his guest a good deal during the day. He was a bad color for a man who had just steered clear of all shoals and reached the highest point of success. He had a haggard eye as well as a haggard face. It was a terrified eye when its desperate determination to hide its terrors dropped from it for an instant, as a veil might drop. A certain restlessness was manifest in him, and he talked more than usual. He was going to make a visit in Northumberland to an elderly lady of great possessions. It was to be vaguely gathered that she was somewhat interested in the great company—the Cedric. She was a remarkable old person who found a certain agreeable excitement in dabbling in stocks. She was rich enough to be in a position to regard it as a sort of game, and he had been able on several occasions to afford her entertainment.

“If she can play with things that way, she’ll be sure to want stock in it,” Tembarom remarked.

“If she does, she must make up her mind quickly,” Palliser smiled, “or she will not be able to get it. It is not easy to lay one’s hands on even now.”

Tembarom thought of certain speculators of entirely insignificant standing of whom he had chanced to see and hear anecdotes in New York. He always detested “bluff,” whatsoever its disguise.

“He’s got badly stung,” was his internal comment as he sucked at his pipe and smiled urbanely at Palliser across the room as they sat together. “He’s come here with some sort of deal on that he knows he couldn’t work with any one but just such a fool as he thinks I am. I guess,” he added in composed reflectiveness, “I don’t really know how big a fool I do look.”

Whatsoever the deal was, he would be likely to let it be known in time.

[Pg 942]

“He’ll get it off his chest if he’s going away to-morrow,” decided Tembarom. “If there’s anything he’s found out, he’ll use it. If it doesn’t pan out as he thinks it will, he’ll just float away to his old lady.”

He gave Palliser every chance, talking to him and encouraging him to talk, even asking him to let him look over the prospectus of the new company and explain details to him, as he was going to explain them to the old lady in Northumberland. He opened up avenues; but for a time Palliser made no attempt to stroll down them. His walk would be a stroll, Tembarom knew, being familiar with his methods. He seemed to be thinking things over before he decided upon the psychological moment at which he would begin, if he began. When a man had a good deal to lose or to win, Tembarom realized that he would be likely to hold back until he felt something like solid ground under him.

After Miss Alicia had left them for the night, perhaps he felt, as a result of thinking the matter over, that he had reached a foothold of a firmness at least somewhat to be depended upon.

“What a change you have made in that poor woman’s life!” he said, walking to the side table and helping himself to a brandy and soda. “What a change!”

“It struck me that a change was needed just about the time I dropped in,” answered his host.

“All the same,” suggested Palliser, tolerantly, “you were immensely generous. She wasn’t entitled to expect it, you know.”

“She didn’t expect anything, not a darned thing,” said Tembarom. “That was what hit me.”

Palliser smiled a cold, amiable smile.

“Do you purpose to provide for the future of all your indigent relatives even to the third and fourth generation, my dear chap?” he inquired.

“I won’t refuse till I’m asked, anyhow,” was the answer.

“Asked!” Palliser repeated. “I’m one of them, you know, and Lady Mallowe is another. There are lots of us, when we come out of our holes. If it’s only a matter of asking, we might all descend on you.”

Tembarom, smiling, wondered whether they hadn’t descended already, and whether the descent had so far been all that they had anticipated.

Palliser strolled down his opened avenue with an incidental air which was entirely creditable to his training of himself. His host acknowledged that much.

“You are too generous,” said Palliser. “You are the sort of fellow who will always need all he has, and more. The way you go among the villagers! You think you merely slouch about and keep it quiet, but you don’t. You’ve set an example no other landowner can expect to live up to. It’s too lavish. It’s pernicious, dear chap. I know all about the cottage you are doing over for Pearson and his bride. You had better invest in the Cedric.”

Palliser had reason to be so much more eager than he professed to be that momentarily he swerved, despite himself, and ceased to be casual.

“It is an enormous opportunity,” he said—“timber lands in Mexico, you know. If you had spent your life in England, you would realize that timber has become a desperate necessity, and that the difficulties which exist in the way of supplying the demand are almost insuperable. These forests are virtually boundless, and the company which controls them—”

“That’s a good spiel!” broke in Tembarom.

It sounded like the crudely artless interruption of a person whose perceptions left much to be desired.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand,” he replied rather stiffly.

“There was a fellow I knew in New York who used to sell type-writers, and he had a thing to say he used to reel off when any one looked like a customer. He used to call it his ’spiel.’”

Palliser’s quick glance at him asked questions, and his stiffness did not relax itself.

“Is this New York chaff?” he inquired coldly.

“No,” Tembarom said. “You’re not doing it for ten per. He was.”

“No, not exactly,” said Palliser. “Neither would you be doing it for ten per if you went into it.” His voice changed. He became slightly haughty.[Pg 943] “Perhaps it was a mistake on my part to think you might care to connect yourself with it. You have not, of course, been in the position to comprehend such matters.”

But the expression of Tembarom’s face did not change. He only gave a half-awkward sort of laugh.

“I guess I can learn,” he said.

Palliser felt the foothold become firmer. The bounder was interested, but, after a bounder’s fashion, was either nervous or imagined that a show of hesitation looked shrewd. The slight hit made at his inexperience in investment had irritated him and made him feel less cock-sure of himself. A slightly offended manner might be the best weapon to rely upon.

“I thought you might care to have the thing made clear to you,” he continued indifferently. “I meant to explain. You may take the chance or leave it, as you like, of course. That is nothing to me at this stage of the game. But, after all, we are, as I said, relatives of a sort, and it is a gigantic opportunity. Suppose we change the subject.”

Palliser paused in an unconcerned opening of a copy of the Sunday “Earth.”

“Oh, I don’t mind trying to catch on to what’s doing in any big scheme,” said Tembarom.

Palliser’s manner at the outset was perfect. He produced his papers without too obvious eagerness. He spread them upon the table, and coolly examined them himself before beginning his explanation. There was more to explain to a foreigner and one unused to investment than there would be to a man who was an Englishman and familiar with the methods of large companies, he said. He went into technicalities, so to speak, and used rapidly and lightly some imposing words and phrases, to which T. Tembarom listened attentively, but without any special air of illumination. He dealt with statistics and the resulting probabilities. He made apparent the existing condition of England’s inability to supply an enormous and unceasing demand for timber. He had acquired divers excellent methods of stating his case to the party of the second part.

“He made me feel as if a fellow had better hold on to a box of matches like grim death, and that the time wasn’t out of sight when you’d have to give fifty-seven dollars and a half for a toothpick,” Tembarom later said to the duke.

What Tembarom was thinking as he listened to him was that he was not getting over the ground with much rapidity.

“If he thought I wanted to know what he thinks I’d a heap rather not know, he’d never tell me,” he speculated. “If he gets a bit hot in the collar, he may let it out. Thing is to stir him up. He’s lost his nerve a bit, and he’ll get mad pretty easy.”

“Of course money is wanted,” Palliser said at length. “Money is always wanted, and as much when a scheme is a success as when it isn’t. Good names, with a certain character, are wanted. The fact of your inheritance is known everywhere; and the fact that you are an American is a sort of guaranty of shrewdness.”

“Is it?” said T. Tembarom. “Well,” he added slowly, “I guess Americans are pretty good business men.”

Palliser thought that this was evolving upon perfectly natural lines, as he had anticipated it would. The fellow was flattered and pleased.

He went on in smooth, casual laudation:

“No American takes hold of a scheme of this sort until he knows jolly well what he’s going to get out of it. You were shrewd enough,” he added significantly, “about Hutchinson’s affair. You ‘got in on the ground floor’ there. That was New York forethought, by Jove!”

Tembarom shuffled a little in his chair, and grinned a faint, pleased grin.

“I’m a man of the world, my boy—the business world,” Palliser commented, hoping that he concealed his extreme satisfaction. “I know New York, though I haven’t lived there. I’m only hoping to. Your air of ingenuous ignorance is the cleverest thing about you,” which agreeable implication of the fact that he had been privately observant and impressed ought to have fetched the bounder if any thing would.

T. Tembarom’s grin was no longer faint, but spread itself. Palliser’s first impression was that he had “fetched” him. But when he answered, though the very crudeness of his words seemed merely the result of his betrayal into utter tactlessness by soothed vanity, there was something—a shade of something—not entirely satisfactory in his face and nasal twang.

“Well, I guess,” he said, “New York did teach a fellow not to buy a gold brick off every con man that came along.”

Palliser was guilty of a mere ghost of a[Pg 944] start. Was there something in it, or was he only the gross, blundering fool he had trusted to his being? He stared at him a moment, and saw that there was something under the words and behind his professedly flattered grin—something which must be treated with a high hand.

“What do you mean?” he exclaimed haughtily. “I don’t like your tone. Do you take me for what you call a ’con man’?”

“Good Lord, no!” answered Tembarom; and he looked straight at Palliser and spoke slowly. “You’re a gentleman, and you’re paying me a visit. You could no more try on a game to do me in my own house than—well, than I could tell you if I’d got on to you if I saw you doing it. You’re a gentleman.”

Palliser glared back into his infuriatingly candid eyes. He was a far cry from being a dullard himself; he was sharp enough to “catch on” to the revelation that the situation was not what he had thought it, the type was more complex than he had dreamed. The chap had been playing a part; he had absolutely been “jollying him along,” after the New York fashion. He became pale with humiliated rage, though he knew his only defense was to control himself and profess not to see through the trick. Until he could use his big lever, he added to himself.

“Oh, I see,” he commented acridly. “I suppose you don’t realize that your figures of speech are unfortunate.”

“That comes of New York streets, too,” Tembarom answered with deliberation. “But you can’t live as I’ve lived and be dead easy—not dead easy.”

Palliser had left his chair, and stood in contemptuous silence.

“You know how a fellow hates to be thought dead easy”—Tembarom actually went to the insolent length of saying the words with a touch of cheerful confidingness—“when he’s not. And I’m not. Have another drink.”

There was a pause. Palliser began to see, or thought he began to see, where he stood. He had come to Temple Barholm because he had been driven into a corner and had a dangerous fight before him. In anticipation of it he had been following a clue for some time, though at the outset it had been one of incredible slightness. Only his absolute faith in his theory that every man had something to gain or lose, which he concealed discreetly, had led him to it. He held a card too valuable to be used at the beginning of a game. Its power might have lasted a long time, and proved an influence without limit. He forbore any mental reference to blackmail; the word was absurd. One used what fell into one’s hands. If Tembarom had followed his lead with any degree of docility, he would have felt it wiser to save his ammunition until further pressure was necessary. But behind his ridiculous rawness, his foolish jocularity, and his professedly candid good humor, had been hidden the Yankee trickster who was fool enough to think he could play his game through. Well, he could not.

During the few moments’ pause he saw the situation as by a photographic flashlight. He leaned over the table and supplied himself with a fresh brandy and soda from the tray of siphons and decanters. He gave himself time to take the glass up in his hand.

“No,” he answered, “you are not ‘dead easy.’ That’s why I am going to broach another subject to you.”

Tembarom was refilling his pipe.

“Go ahead,” he said.

“Who, by the way, is Mr. Strangeways?”

He was deliberate and entirely unemotional. So was T. Tembarom, when, with match applied to his tobacco, he replied between puffs as he lighted it:

“You can search me. You can search him, too, for that matter. He doesn’t know who he is himself.”

“Bad luck for him!” remarked Palliser, and allowed a slight pause again. After it he added, “Did it ever strike you it might be good luck for somebody else?”

“Somebody else?” Tembarom puffed more slowly, because his pipe was lighted.

Palliser took some brandy in his soda.

“There are men, you know,” he suggested, “who can be spared by their relatives. I have some myself, by Jove!” he added with a laugh. “You keep him rather dark, don’t you?”

“He doesn’t like to see people.”

“Does he object to people seeing him? I saw him once myself.”

“When you threw the gravel at his window?”

Palliser stared contemptuously.

[Pg 945]

“What are you talking about? I did not throw stones at his window,” he lied. “I’m not a school-boy.”

“That’s so,” Tembarom admitted.

“I saw him, nevertheless. And I can tell you he gave me rather a start.”


Palliser half laughed again. He did not mean to go too quickly; he would let the thing get on Tembarom’s nerves gradually.

“Well, I’m hanged if I didn’t take him for a man who is dead.”

“Enough to give any fellow a jolt,” Tembarom admitted again.

“It gave me a ‘jolt.’ Good word, that. But it would give you a bigger one, my dear fellow, if he was the man he looked like.”

“Why?” Tembarom asked laconically.

“He looked like Jem Temple Barholm.”

He saw Tembarom start. There could be no denying it.

“You thought that? Honest?” he said sharply, as if for a moment he had lost his head. “You thought that?”

“Don’t be nervous. Perhaps I couldn’t have sworn to it. I did not see him very close.”

T. Tembarom puffed rapidly at his pipe, and only ejaculated, “Oh!”

“Of course he’s dead. If he wasn’t,”—with a shrug of his shoulders,—“Lady Joan Fayre would be Lady Joan Temple Barholm, and the pair would be bringing up an interesting family here.” He looked about the room, and then, as if suddenly recalling the fact, added, “By George! you’d be selling newspapers, or making them—which was it?—in New York!”

It was by no means unpleasing to see that he had made his hit there. T. Tembarom swung about and walked across the room with a very perturbed expression.

“Say,” he put it to him, coming back, “are you in earnest, or are you just saying it to give me a jolt?”

Palliser studied him. The American sharpness was not always so keen as it seemed. His face would have betrayed his uneasiness to the dullest onlooker.

“Have you any objection to my seeing him in his own room?” Palliser inquired.

“It does him harm to see people,” Tembarom said with nervous bruskness. “It worries him.”

Palliser smiled a quiet, but far from agreeable, smile. He enjoyed what he put into it.

“Quite so; best to keep him quiet,” he returned. “Do you know what my advice would be? Put him in a comfortable sanatorium. A lot of stupid investigations would end in nothing, of course, but they’d be a frightful bore.”

He thought it extraordinarily stupid in T. Tembarom to come nearer to him with an eagerness entirely unconcealed, if he really knew what he was doing.

“Are you sure that if you saw him close you’d know, so that you could swear to him?” he demanded.

“You’re extremely nervous, aren’t you?” Palliser watched him with smiling coolness. “Of course Jem Temple Barholm is dead; but I’ve no doubt that if I saw this man of yours, I could swear he had remained dead—if I were asked.”

“If you knew him well, you could make me sure. You could swear one way or another. I want to be sure,” said Tembarom.

“So should I in your place; couldn’t be too sure. Well, since you ask me, I could swear. I knew him well enough. He was one of my most intimate enemies. What do you say to letting me see him?”

“I would if I could,” Tembarom replied, as if thinking it over. “I would if I could.”

Palliser treated him to the far from pleasing smile again.

“But it’s quite impossible at present?” he suggested. “Excitement is not good for him, and all that sort of thing. You want time to think it over.”

Tembarom’s slowly uttered answer, spoken as if he were still considering the matter, was far from being the one he had expected.

“I want time; but that’s not the reason you can’t see him right now. You can’t see him because he’s not here. He’s gone.”

Then it was Palliser who started, taken totally unaware in a manner which disgusted him altogether. He had to pull himself up.

“He’s gone!” he repeated.[Pg 946] “You are quicker than I thought. You’ve got him safely away, have you? Well, I told you a comfortable sanatorium would be a good idea.”

“Yes, you did.” T. Tembarom hesitated, seeming to be thinking it over again. “That’s so.” He laid his pipe aside because it had gone out.

He suddenly sat down at the table, putting his elbows on it and his face in his hands, with a harried effect of wanting to think it over in a sort of withdrawal from his immediate surroundings. This was as it should be. His Yankee readiness had deserted him altogether.

“By Jove! you are nervous!” Palliser commented. “It’s not surprising, though. I can sympathize with you.” With a markedly casual air he himself sat down and drew his documents toward him. “Let us talk of something else,” he said. He preferred to be casual and incidental, if he were allowed. It was always better to suggest things and let them sink in until people saw the advantage of considering them and you. To manage a business matter without open argument or too frank a display of weapons was at once more comfortable and in better taste.

“You are making a great mistake in not going into this,” he suggested amiably. “You could go in now, as you went into Hutchinson’s affair, ‘on the ground floor.’ That’s a good enough phrase, too. Twenty thousand pounds would make you a million. You Americans understand nothing less than millions.”

But T. Tembarom did not take him up. He muttered in a worried way from behind his shading hands, “We’ll talk about that later.”

“Why not talk about it now, before anything can interfere?” Palliser persisted politely, almost gently.

Tembarom sprang up, restless and excited. He had plainly been planning fast in his temporary seclusion.

“I’m thinking of what you said about Lady Joan,” he burst forth. “Say, she’s gone through all this Jem Temple Barholm thing once; it about half killed her. If any one raised false hopes for her, she’d go through it all again. Once is enough for any woman.”

His effect at professing heat and strong feeling made a spark of amusement show itself in Palliser’s eye. It struck him as being peculiarly American in its affectation of sentiment and chivalry.

“I see,” he said. “It’s Lady Joan you’re disturbed about. You want to spare her another shock. You are a considerate man, as well as a man of business.”

“I don’t want her to begin to hope if—”

“Very good taste on your part.” Palliser’s polite approval was admirable, but he tapped lightly on the paper after expressing it. “I don’t want to seem to press you about this, but don’t you feel inclined to consider it? I can assure you that an investment of this sort would be a good thing to depend on if the unexpected happened. If you gave me your check now, it would be Cedric stock to-morrow, and quite safe. Suppose you—”

“I—I don’t believe you were right—about what you thought.” The sharp-featured face was changing from pale to red. “You’d have to be able to swear to it, anyhow, and I don’t believe you can.” He looked at Palliser in eager and anxious uncertainty. “If you could,” he dragged out, “I shouldn’t have a check-book. Where would you be then?”

“I should be in comfortable circumstances, dear chap, and so would you if you gave me the money to-night, while you possess a check-book. It would be only a sort of temporary loan in any case, whatever turned up. The investment would quadruple itself. But there is no time to be lost. Understand that.”

T. Tembarom broke out into a sort of boyish resentment.

“I don’t believe he did look like him, anyhow,” he cried. “I believe it’s all a bluff.” His crude-sounding young swagger had a touch of final desperation in it as he turned on Palliser. “I’m dead sure it’s a bluff. What a fool I was not to think of that! You want to bluff me into going into this Cedric thing. You could no more swear he was like him than—than I could.”

The outright, presumptuous, bold stripping bare of his phrases infuriated Palliser too suddenly and too much. He stepped up to him and looked into his eyes.

“Bluff you, you young bounder!” he flung out at him. “You’re losing your head. You’re not in New York streets here. You are talking to a gentleman. No,” he said furiously,[Pg 947] “I couldn’t swear that he was like him, but what I can swear in any court of justice is that the man I saw at the window was Jem Temple Barholm, and no other man on earth.”

Tembarom and Palliser
When he had said it, he saw the astonishing dolt change his expression utterly again, as if in a flash. He stood up, putting his hands in his pockets. His face changed, his voice changed.

“Fine!” he said. “First-rate! That’s what I wanted to get on to.”

AFTER this climax the interview was not so long as it was interesting. Two men, as far apart as the poles, as remote from each other in mind and body, in training and education or lack of it, in desires and intentions, in points of view and trend of being, as nature and circumstances could make them, talked in a language foreign to each other of a wildly strange thing. Palliser’s arguments and points of aspect were less unknown to T. Tembarom than his own were to Palliser. He had seen something very like them before, though they had developed in different surroundings and had been differently expressed. The colloquialism “You’re not doing that for your health” can be made to cover much ground in the way of the stripping bare of motives for action. This was what, in excellent and well-chosen English, Captain Palliser frankly said to his host. Of nothing which T. Tembarom said to him in his own statement did he believe one word or syllable. The statement in question was not long or detailed. It was, of course, Palliser saw, a ridiculously impudent flinging together of a farrago of nonsense, transparent in its effort beyond belief. Before he had listened five minutes with the distinctly “nasty” smile, he burst out laughing.

“That is a good ‘spiel,’ my dear chap,” he said. “It’s as good a ‘spiel’ as your type-writer friend used to rattle off when he thought he saw a customer; but I’m not a customer.”

Tembarom looked at him interestedly for about ten seconds. His hands were thrust into his trousers’ pockets, as was his almost invariable custom. Absorption and speculation, even emotion and excitement, were usually expressed in this unconventional manner.

“You don’t believe a darned word of it,” was his sole observation.

“Not a darned word,” Palliser smiled. “You are trying a ‘bluff,’ which doesn’t do credit to your usual sharpness. It’s a bluff that is actually silly. It makes you look like an ass.”

“Well, it’s true,” said Tembarom; “it’s true.”

Palliser laughed again.

“I only said it made you look like an ass,” he remarked.[Pg 948] “I don’t profess to understand you altogether, because you are a new species. Your combination of ignorance and sharpness isn’t easy to calculate on. But there is one thing I have found out, and that is, that when you want to play a particularly sharp trick you are willing to let people take you for a fool. I’ll own you’ve deceived me once or twice, even when I suspected you. I’ve heard that’s one of the most successful methods used in the American business world. That’s why I only say you look like an ass. You are an ass in some respects; but you are letting yourself look like one now for some shrewd end. You either think you’ll slip out of danger by it when I make this discovery public, or you think you’ll somehow trick me into keeping my mouth shut.”

“I needn’t trick you into keeping your mouth shut,” Tembarom suggested. “There’s a straight way to do that, ain’t there?” And he indelicately waved his hand toward the documents pertaining to the Cedric Company.

It was stupid as well as gross, in his hearer’s opinion. If he had known what was good for him he would have been clever enough to ignore the practical presentation of his case made half an hour or so earlier.

“No, there is not,” Palliser replied, with serene mendacity. “No suggestion of that sort has been made. My business proposition was given on an entirely different basis. You, of course, choose to put your personal construction upon it.”

“Gee whizz!” ejaculated T. Tembarom. “I was ’way off, wasn’t I?”

“I told you that professing to be an ass wouldn’t be good enough in this case. Don’t go on with it,” said Palliser, sharply.

“You’re throwing bouquets. Let a fellow be natural,” said Tembarom.

“That is bluff, too,” Palliser replied more sharply still. “I am not taken in by it, bold as it is. Ever since you came here, you have been playing this game. It was your fool’s grin and guffaw and pretense of good nature that first made me suspect you of having something up your sleeve. You were too unembarrassed and candid.”

“So you began to look out,” Tembarom said, considering him curiously, “just because of that.” Then suddenly he laughed outright, the fool’s guffaw.

It somehow gave Palliser a sort of puzzled shock. It was so hearty that it remotely suggested that he appeared more secure than seemed possible. He tried to reply to him with a languid contempt of manner.

“You think you have some tremendously sharp ‘deal’ in your hand,” he said, “but you had better remember you are in England, where facts are like sledge-hammers. You can’t dodge from under them as you can in America. I dare say you won’t answer me, but I should like to ask you what you propose to do.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do any more than you do,” was the unilluminating answer. “I don’t mind telling you that.”

“And what do you think he will do?”

“I’ve got to wait till I find out. I’m doing it. That was what I told you. What are you going to do?” he added casually.

“I’m going to Lincoln’s Inn Fields to have an interview with Palford & Grimby.”

“That’s a good enough move,” commented Tembarom, “if you think you can prove what you say. You’ve got to prove things, you know. I couldn’t, so I lay low and waited, just like I told you.”

“Of course, of course,” Palliser himself almost grinned in his derision. “You have only been waiting.”

“When you’ve got to prove a thing, and haven’t much to go on, you’ve got to wait,” said T. Tembarom—“to wait and keep your mouth shut, whatever happens, and to let yourself be taken for a fool or a horse-thief isn’t as gilt-edged a job as it seems. But proof’s what it’s best to have before you ring up the curtain. You’d have to have it yourself. So would Palford & Grimby before it’d be stone-cold safe to rush things and accuse a man of a penitentiary offense.”

He took his unconventional half-seat on the edge of the table, with one foot on the floor and the other one lightly swinging. “Palford & Grimby are clever old ducks, and they know that much. Thing they’d know best would be that to set a raft of lies going about a man who’s got money enough to defend himself, and to make them pay big damages for it afterward, would be pretty bum business. I guess they know all about what proof stands for. They may have to wait; so may you, same as I have.”

Palliser realized that he was in the position of a man striking at an adversary whose construction was of india-rubber. He struck home, but left no bruise and drew no blood, which was an irritating thing. He lost his temper.

“Proof!” he jerked out. “There will be proof enough, and when it is made public, you will not control the money you threaten to use.”

“When you get proof, just you let me hear about it,” T. Tembarom said.[Pg 949] “And all the money I’m threatening on shall go where it belongs, and I’ll go back to little old New York and sell papers if I have to. It won’t come as hard as you think.”

The flippant insolence with which he brazened out his pretense that he had not lied, that his ridiculous romance was actual and simple truth, suggested dangerous readiness of device and secret knowledge of power which could be adroitly used.

“You are merely marking time,” said Palliser, rising, with cold determination to be juggled with no longer. “You have hidden him away where you think you can do as you please with a man who is an invalid. That is your dodge. You’ve got him hidden somewhere, and his friends had better get at him before it is too late.”

“I’m not answering questions this evening, and I’m not giving addresses, though there are no witnesses to take them down. If he’s hidden away, he’s where he won’t be disturbed,” was T. Tembarom’s rejoinder. “You may lay your bottom dollar on that.”

Palliser walked toward the door without speaking. He had almost reached it when he whirled about involuntarily, arrested by a shout of laughter.

“Say,” announced Tembarom, “you mayn’t know it, but this lay-out would make a first-rate turn in a vaudeville. You think I’m lying, I look like I’m lying, I guess every word I say sounds like I’m lying. To a fellow like you, I guess it couldn’t help sound that way. And I’m not lying. That’s where the joke comes in. I’m not lying. I’ve not told you all I know because it’s none of your business and wouldn’t help; but what I have told you is the stone-cold truth.”

He was keeping it up to the very end with a desperate determination not to let go his hold of his pose until he had made his private shrewd deal, whatsoever it was. At least, so it struck Palliser, who merely said:

“I’m leaving the house by the first train to-morrow morning.” He fixed a cold gray eye on the fool’s grin.

“Six forty-five,” said T. Tembarom. “I’ll order the carriage. I might go up myself.”

The door closed.

TEMBAROM was looking cheerful enough when he went into his bedroom. He had become used to its size and had learned to feel that it was a good sort of place. It had the hall bedroom at Mrs. Bowse’s boarding-house “beaten to a frazzle.” There was about everything in it that any man could hatch up an idea he’d like to have. He had slept luxuriously on the splendid carved bed through long nights, he had lain awake and thought out things on it, he had lain and watched the fire-light flickering on the ceiling, as he thought about Ann and made plans, and “fixed up” the Harlem flat which could be run on fifteen per. He had picked out the pieces of furniture from the Sunday “Earth” advertisement sheet, and had set them in their places. He always saw the six-dollar mahogany-stained table set for supper, with Ann at one end and himself at the other. He had grown actually fond of the old room because of the silence and comfort of it, which tended to give reality to his dreams. Pearson, who had ceased to look anxious, and who had acquired fresh accomplishments in the form of an entirely new set of duties, was waiting, and handed him a telegram.

“This just arrived, sir,” he explained. “James brought it here because he thought you had come up, and I didn’t send it down because I heard you on the stairs.”

“That’s right. Thank you, Pearson,” his master said.

He tore the yellow envelop, and read the message. In a moment Pearson knew it was not an ordinary message, and therefore remained more than ordinarily impassive of expression. He did not even ask of himself what it might convey.

Mr. Temple Barholm stood still a few seconds, with the look of a man who must think and think rapidly.

“What is the next train to London, Pearson?” he asked.

“There is one at twelve thirty-six, sir,” he answered. “It’s the last till six forty-five in the morning. You have to change at Crowley.”

“You’re always ready, Pearson,” returned Mr. Temple Barholm. “I want to get that train.”

Pearson was always ready. Before the last word was quite spoken he had turned and opened the bedroom door.

[Pg 950]

“I’ll order the dog-cart; that’s quickest, sir,” he said. He was out of the room and in again almost immediately. Then he was at the wardrobe and taking out what Mr. Temple Barholm called his “grip,” but what Pearson knew as a Gladstone bag. It was always kept ready packed for unexpected emergencies of travel.

Tembarom and Pearson
Mr. Temple Barholm sat at the table and drew pen and paper toward him. He looked excited; he looked more troubled than Pearson had seen him look before.

“The wire’s from Sir Ormsby Galloway, Pearson,” he said. “It’s about Mr. Strangeways. He’s done what I used to be always watching out against: he’s disappeared.”

“Disappeared, sir!” cried Pearson, and almost dropped the Gladstone bag. “I beg pardon, sir. I know there’s no time to lose.” He steadied the bag and went on with his task without even turning round.

His master was in some difficulty. He began to write, and after dashing off a few words, suddenly stopped, and then tore them up.

“No,” he muttered, “that won’t do. There’s no time to explain.” Then he began again, but tore up his next lines also. “That says too much and not enough. It’d scare the life out of her.”

He wrote again, and ended by folding the sheet and putting it into an envelop.

“This is a message for Miss Alicia,” he said to Pearson. “Give it to her in the morning. I don’t want her to worry, because I had to go in a hurry. Tell her everything’s going to be all right; but you needn’t mention that anything’s happened to Mr. Strangeways.”

“Yes, sir,” answered Pearson.

Mr. Temple Barholm was already moving about the room, doing odd things for himself rapidly, and he went on speaking.

“I want you and Rose to know,” he said, “that whatever happens, you are both fixed all right—both of you. I’ve seen to that.”

“Thank you, sir,” Pearson faltered, made uneasy by something new in his tone. “You said whatever happened, sir—”

“Whatever old thing happens,” his master took him up.

“Not to you, sir. Oh, I hope, sir, that nothing—”

Mr. Temple Barholm put a cheerful hand on his shoulder.

“Nothing’s going to happen that’ll hurt any one. Things may change, that’s all. You and Rose are all right, Miss Alicia’s all right, I’m all right. Come along. Got to catch that train.”

In this manner he took his departure.

(To be continued)

[Pg 951]

Topics of the Time
THIS number of THE CENTURY closes its eighty-sixth volume, and the November number will begin what we confidently believe will be the most important year in the history of this magazine. The period through which we are living is, in its display of scientific accomplishment and clashing social forces, the most broadly significant and humanly spectacular in our forty-three years of existence, and it is our ambition to be, as nearly as possible, representative of the times in which we live.

Recognizing that this is, in a real and vital sense, the very age of fiction, we plan that each number beginning with the November CENTURY shall contain, in addition to a leading article on modern conditions, an exceptional fiction feature. In fact the present number, containing the beginning of the anonymous serial, “Home,” and Colonel Roosevelt’s paper on the Progressive Party, illustrates our purpose.

In the November number the fiction feature will be an extraordinary story by Stephen French Whitman entitled “The Woman from Yonder,” and the non-fiction feature will be a paper entitled “The Militant Women—and Women” by Edna Kenton, which, for dignity, power, and clarity, states the case for the feminists as it never has been stated. Indeed no person with a mind in the least open can read Miss Kenton’s brief without sympathy and understanding. Also it is typical of many clarifying papers on many timely subjects which we plan to publish through the year.

In December the non-fiction feature will be an absorbing paper on “The Search for a Modern Religion” by Winston Churchill. In January the fiction feature will be a most unusual story by May Sinclair. In February we shall begin a new and important serial novel.

Of course this does not mean that our leaders shall exhaust our resources. Each number will contain other stories and other papers on subjects of current importance. The leaders, however, are intended to be the most important papers on their several subjects that the world can produce.

An eminent novelist declared to us years ago in his newspaper days his belief that reporting was the noblest work of man. In later years, when he had added art to his reports of life and was selling his novels by the hundreds of thousands, he confirmed the statement of his enthusiastic youth. Modern fiction is, literally, a report of life, colored by personality, and formed by art. Its appeal is universal. Its power is greater than any other engine of civilization. It is to this period what poetry, what preaching, what oratory, and what editorials have been to preceding periods. It is practically the only effective means of approaching the minds of millions of intelligent persons. It influences to a greater or a less degree the imagining, the thinking, and the living of nearly all who are literate.

During the coming years THE CENTURY will recognize this important function of fiction, but in so doing it will not the less regard fiction as an art. Roughly speaking, one half of each number will be devoted to serials and short stories, and we shall, in their selection, work toward an ideal. The problem of selection will be more complex than for some other magazines, perhaps, for CENTURY readers are of many and varied tastes. There must be fiction for all kinds of cultivated readers, for the lovers of artistry and subtlety and the fine distinctions of human nature and for those who revel in plot and climax. There must be fiction for the laughter-loving and fiction for those for whom fiction seriously interprets life. But whatever its kind it must all possess a common[Pg 952] quality, and this, we realize, it will take long to attain consistently.

Apart from fiction and in addition to the distinguished series of papers on great current movements already foretold, THE CENTURY has planned for the coming year a number of features of extraordinary interest and value. In November, for example, Professor Edward Alsworth Ross, the distinguished sociologist of the University of Wisconsin, will begin an examination into Immigration which cannot fail to stir every American deeply, and undoubtedly will blaze the way to greatly needed reforms. This is no sensational “campaign,” nor is it a dry, scientific compilation, but a searching study of great human facts and conditions that make their own prophecy. And, early in the winter, Hilaire Belloc will begin an important series of papers on French Revolutionary subjects.

In literature we have in preparation several papers of permanent and vital interest. Albert Bigelow Paine, for example, the biographer of Mark Twain, will contribute, from European wanderings in an automobile under his own leisurely guidance, papers bubbling with the humor that is his special possession. The same note of vitality underlies the year’s projects in biography, history, and science.

In politics THE CENTURY will remain wholly non-partizan. From time to time, as passing events or other occasions demand, we shall deal with political personages and parties and policies from a point of view altogether remote from any mere political interest, and for the broad purpose of enlightening all citizens irrespective of partizan creed. We expect, for example, when new situations develop, to follow Mr. Roosevelt’s paper with papers by political leaders of equal prominence upon the changing purposes and objects of their respective parties.

Art has always been THE CENTURY’S special field, and our plans involve an interesting and important year. But there is another use for pictures than the selection and display of beautiful and admirable specimens of art. One picture is often more descriptive than pages upon pages of the most skilful text, and we purpose to reproduce freely, for the information of CENTURY readers, examples illustrating the more important transitional tendencies in the art and sculpture of our day.

In Lighter Vein

Author of “Literary Lapses,” “Nonsense Novels,” etc.

IDO not mind confessing that for a long time past I have been very skeptical about the classics. I was myself trained as a classical scholar. It seemed the only thing to do with me. I acquired such a singular facility in handling Latin and Greek that I could take a page of either of them, distinguish which it was by glancing at it, and, with the help of a dictionary and a compass, whip off a translation of it in less than three hours.

But I never got any pleasure from it. I lied about the pleasure of it. At first, perhaps, I lied through vanity. Any scholar will understand the feeling. Later on I lied through habit; later still because, after all, the classics were all that I had and so I valued them. I have seen a deceived dog thus value a pup with a broken leg, and a pauper child nurse a dead doll with the sawdust out of it. So I nursed my dead Homer and my broken Demosthenes though I knew that there was more sawdust in the stomach of one modern author than in the whole lot of them. Observe, I do not say which it is that has it full of it.

So, I say, I began to lie about the classics. I said to people who knew no Greek that there was a sublimity, a majesty about Homer which they could never hope to grasp. I said it was like the sound of the sea beating against the granite cliffs of the[Pg 953] Ionian Esophagus; or words to that effect. As for the truth of it, I might as well have said that it was like the sound of a rum distillery running a night shift on half-time. At any rate this is what I said about Homer, and when I spoke of Pindar,—the dainty grace of his strophes,—and Aristophanes, the delicious sallies of his wit, sally after sally, each sally explained in a note, calling it a sally, I managed to suffuse my face with a coruscation of appreciative animation which made it almost beautiful.

I admitted of course that Vergil, in spite of his genius, had a hardness and a cold glitter which resembled rather the brilliance of a cut diamond than the soft grace of a flower. Certainly I admitted this: the mere admission of it would knock the breath out of any one who was arguing.

From such talks my friends went away saddened. The conclusion was too cruel. It had all the cold logic of a syllogism (like that almost brutal form of argument so much admired in the Paraphernalia of Socrates). For if:—

Vergil and Homer and Pindar had all this grace, and pith, and these sallies,
And if I read Vergil and Homer and Pindar,
And if they only read Mrs. Wharton and Mrs. Humphry Ward,
Then where were they?
So, continued lying brought its own reward in the sense of superiority, and I lied some more.

When I reflect that I have openly expressed regret, as a personal matter, even in the presence of women, for the missing books of Tacitus, and the entire loss of the Abracadabra of Polyphemus of Syracuse, I can find no words in which to beg for pardon. In reality I was just as much worried over the loss of the ichthyosaurus. More, indeed: I’d like to have seen it; but if the books Tacitus did lose were like those he didn’t, I wouldn’t.

I believe all scholars lie like this. An ancient friend of mine, a clergyman, tells me that in Hesiod he finds a peculiar grace that he doesn’t find elsewhere. He’s a liar. That’s all. Another man, in politics and in the legislature, tells me that every night before going to bed he reads over a page or two of Thucydides to keep his mind fresh. Either he never goes to bed or he’s a liar. Doubly so; no one could read Greek at that frantic rate; and, anyway, his mind isn’t fresh. How could it be?—he’s in the legislature. I don’t object to his talking freely of the classics, but he ought to keep it for the voters. My own opinion is that before he goes to bed he takes whisky; why call it Thucydides?


I know there are solid arguments advanced in favor of the classics. I often hear them from my colleagues. My friend the Professor of Greek tells me that he truly believes the classics have made him what he is. This is a very grave statement, if well founded. Indeed, I have heard the same argument from a great many Latin and Greek scholars. They all claim, with some heat, that Latin and Greek have practically made them what they are. This damaging charge against the classics should not be too readily accepted. In my opinion some of these men would be what they are, no matter what they were.

Be this as it may, I for my part bitterly regret the lies I have told about my appreciation of Latin and Greek literature. I am anxious to do what I can to set things right. I am therefore engaged on, indeed have nearly completed, a work which will enable all readers to judge the matter for themselves. What I have done is a translation of all the great classics, not in the usual literal way but on a design that brings them into harmony with modern life.

The translation is intended to be within reach of everybody. It is so designed that the entire set of volumes can go on a shelf twenty-seven feet long, or even longer. The first edition will be an édition de luxe bound in vellum, or perhaps in buckskin, and sold at five hundred dollars. It will be limited to five hundred copies, and, of course, sold only to the feeble-minded. The next edition will be the Literary Edition, sold to artists, authors, and actors.

[Pg 954]

My plan is to transpose the classical writers so as to give, not the literal translation word for word, but what is really the modern equivalent. Let me give an odd sample or two to show what I mean. Take the passage in the First Book of Homer that describes Ajax, the Greek, dashing into the battle in front of Troy. Here is the way it runs (as nearly as I remember) in the usual word for word translation of the classroom, as done by the very best professor, his spectacles glittering with the literary rapture of it.

Then he too Ajax on the one hand leaped (or possibly jumped) into the fight wearing on the other hand yes certainly a steel corselet (or possibly a bronze under tunic) and on his head of course yes without doubt he had a helmet with a tossing plume taken from the mane (or perhaps extracted from the tail) of some horse which once fed along the banks of the Scamander (and it sees the herd and raises its head and paws the ground) and in his hand a shield worth a hundred oxen and on his knees two especially in particular greaves made by some cunning artificer (or perhaps blacksmith) and he blows the fire and it is hot.

Thus Ajax leaped (or, better, was propelled from behind) into the fight.


Now that’s grand stuff. There is no doubt of it. There’s a wonderful movement and force to it. You can almost see it move, it goes so fast. But the modern reader can’t get it. It won’t mean to him what it meant to the early Greek. The setting, the costume, the scene have all got to be changed in order to let the modern reader have a real equivalent so as to judge for himself just how good the Greek verse is. In my translation I alter the original just a little, not much but just enough to give the passage a form that reproduces for us the proper literary value of the verses, without losing anything of their majesty. It describes, I may say, the Directors of the American Industrial Stocks plunging into the Balkan War Cloud:

Then there came rushing to the shock of war
Mr. McNicoll of the C. P. R.
He wore suspenders and about his throat
High rose the collar of a sealskin coat.
He had on gaiters and he wore a tie,
He had his trousers buttoned good and high;
About his waist a woollen undervest
Bought from a sad-eyed farmer of the West.
(And every time he clips a sheep he sees
Some bloated plutocrat who ought to freeze.)
Thus in the Stock Exchange he burst to view,
Leaped to the post, and shouted, “Ninety-two!”
There! That’s Homer, the real thing! Just exactly as it sounded to the rude crowd of Greek peasants who sat in a ring and guffawed at the rhymes and watched the minstrel stamp it out into “feet” as he recited it!

Let me take another example, this time from the so-called Catalogue of the Ships, which fills up nearly an entire book of Homer. This famous passage names all the ships, one by one, and names the chiefs who sailed on them, and names the particular town, or hill, or valley that each came from. It has been much admired. It has that same majesty of style that has been brought to an even loftier pitch in the New York Business Directory and the City Telephone Book. It runs along, as I recall it, something after this fashion:

And first indeed oh, yes, was the ship of Homistogetes, the Spartan, long and swift, having both its masts covered with cowhide and two banks of oars. And he, Homistogetes, was born of Hermogenes and Ophthalmia, and was at home in Syncope beside the fast-flowing Paresis. And after him came the ship of Preposterus, the Eurasian, son of Oasis and Hysteria,

—and so on, endlessly.

Instead of this I substitute, with the permission of the New York Central Railway, a more modern example, the official catalogue of their locomotives, taken almost word for word from the list compiled by their Chief Superintendent of Rolling[Pg 955] Stock and rendered into Homeric verse. I admit that he wrote it in hot weather.

Busy Bees
Out in the yard and steaming in the sun
Stands locomotive engine number forty-one;
Seated beside the windows of its cab
Are Pat McGraw and Peter James McNab.
Pat comes from Troy and Peter from Cohoes,
And when they pull the throttle, off she goes;
And as she vanishes there comes to view
Steam locomotive engine number forty-two.
Observe her mighty wheels, her easy roll,
With William J. McArthur in control.
They say her engineer some time ago
Lived on a farm outside of Buffalo,
Whereas her fireman, Henry Edward Foy,
Attended school in Springfield, Illinois.
Thus does the race of men decay and rot—
Please observe that if Homer had actually written that last line, it would have been quoted for nearly three thousand years as one of the deepest sayings ever said. Orators would still be rounding out their speeches with the majestic phrase (in Greek), “Some men can hold their jobs”; essayists would open their most scholarly dissertations with the words, “It has been finely said by Homer that some men can hold their jobs”; and the clergy in the mid-pathos of a funeral sermon would lift an eve skyward and echo, “and some can not.”

This is what I should like to do: I’d like to take a large stone and write on it—

“The classics are only primitive literature. They belong in the same class as primitive machinery, primitive music, and primitive medicine,”

—and then throw it through the windows of a UNIVERSITY and hide behind a fence to see the professors buzz!

THERE has long been current in New Haven what is sure to be an apocryphal story of college loyalty, told at the expense of Anson Phelps Stokes, the popular secretary of Yale. Secretary Stokes is an ordained clergyman in the Episcopal Church, and, so the story goes, as he was once journeying west on the train in non-clerical garb, a man of the self-appointed missionary type approached, and asked him solemnly:

“I beg your pardon, sir, but are you a Christian man?”

Startled, Dr. Stokes looked up and said:

“Oh, d—— it, no.”

The man turned to go, saying in a deeply offended tone:

“Well, I only asked you if you were a Christian man. I don’t see—”

Impulsively, Dr. Stokes caught him by the arm.

“Oh, I beg your pardon,” he said. “I beg your pardon. I thought you asked me if I was a Princeton man!”