The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VIII (of X)

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Title: The Wit and Humor of America, Volume VIII (of X)

Editor: Marshall P. Wilder

Release date: January 26, 2008 [eBook #24432]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Suzanne Lybarger, Annie McGuire, Brian Janes
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Library Edition


In Ten Volumes





Volume VIII

Funk & Wagnalls Company
New York and London




Boston Ballad, A.Walt Whitman1479
Branch Library, A.James Montgomery Flagg1446
Chief Mate, TheJames Russell Lowell1482
Columbia and the CowboyAlice MacGowan1582
Daniel Come to Judgment, AEdmund Vance Cooke1399
Darius Green and His Flying MachineJ. T. Trowbridge1539
"Day is Done, The"Phœbe Cary1628
Dictum SapientiJohn Paul1624
Duluth Speech, TheJ. Proctor Knott1606
Enchanted Hat, TheHarold MacGrath1510
Eve's DaughterEdward Rowland Sill1605
FateR. K. Munkittrick1554
Final Choice, TheEdmund Vance Cooke1427
Forbearance of the Admiral, TheWallace Irwin1553
Gentle Art of Boosting, TheJohn Kendrick Bangs1575
Girl and the Julep, TheEmerson Hough1401
Grandfather SqueersJames Whitcomb Riley1571
Guest at the LudlowBill Nye1503
HardTom Masson1625
Hon. Ranson PeabodyGeorge Ade1429
IcarusJohn G. Saxe1493
Is it I?Warwick S. Price1447
Johnny's LessonsCarroll Watson Rankin1570
Kaiser's Farewell to Prince HenryBert Leston Taylor1568
Life Elixir of Marthy, TheElizabeth Hyer Neff1555
LitigationBill Arp1533
Mr. Carteret and His Fellow
    Americans AbroadDavid Gray1462
Mr. Dooley on GolfFinley Peter Dunne1630
Niagara be DammedWallace Irwin1551
Not According to ScheduleMary Stewart Cutting1448
Nothing to WearWilliam Allen Butler1435
One of the PallsDoane Robinson1601
Paper: A PoemBenjamin Franklin1548
Road to a Woman's Heart, TheSam Slick1487
Sceptics, TheBliss Carman1626
Staccato to O Le Lupe, ABliss Carman1499
Table MannersJames Montgomery Flagg1400
V-A-S-E, TheJames Jeffrey Roche1603
Vive la BagatelleClinton Scollard1497
When the Sirup's on the FlapjackBert Leston Taylor1634


[Pg 1399]



Now, everything that Russell did, he did his best to hasten,
And one day he decided that he'd like to be a Mason;
But nothing else would suit him, and nothing less would please,
But he must take, and all at once, the thirty-three degrees.

So he rode the—ah, that is, he crossed the—I can't tell;
You either must not know at all, or else know very well.
He dived in—well, well, never mind! It only need be said
That somewhere in the last degree poor Russell dropped down dead.

They arrested all the Masons, and they stayed in durance vile
Till the jury found them guilty, when the Judge said, with a smile,
"I'm forced to let the prisoners go, for I can find," said he,
"No penalty for murder in the thirty-third degree!"
[Pg 1400]



When you turn down your glass, it's a sign
That you're not going to take any wign.
So turn down your plate
When they serve things you hate,
And you'll often be asked out to dign.
[Pg 1401]



In the warm sun of the southern morning the great plantation lay as though half-asleep, dozing and blinking at the advancing day. The plantation house, known in all the country side as the Big House, rested calm and self-confident in the middle of a wide sweep of cleared lands, surrounded immediately by dark evergreens and the occasional primeval oaks spared in the original felling of the forest. Wide and rambling galleries of one height or another crawled partially about the expanses of the building, and again paused, as though weary of the attempt to circumvent it. The strong white pillars, rising from the ground floor straight to the third story, shone white and stately, after the old Southern fashion, that Grecian style, simplified and made suitable to provincial purses by those Adams brothers of old England who first set the fashion in early American architecture. White-coated, with wide, cool, green blinds, with ample and wide-doored halls, and deep, low windows, the Big House, here in the heart of the warm southland, was above all things suited to its environment. It was all so safe and sure that there was no need for anxiety. Life here was as it had been for generations, even for the generation following the upheaval of the Civil War.

But if this were a kingdom apart and self-sufficient, what meant this thing which crossed the head of the plantation—this double line, tenacious and continuous, which[Pg 1402] shone upon the one hand dark, and upon the other, where the sun touched it, a cold gray in color? What meant this squat little building at the side of these rails which reached on out straight as the flight of a bird across the clearing and vanished keenly in the forest wall? This was the road of the iron rails. It clung close to the ground, at times almost sinking into the embankment now grown scarcely discernible among the concealing grass and weeds, although the track itself had been built but recently. This railroad sought to efface itself, even as the land sought to aid in its effacement, as though neither believed that this was lawful spot for it. One might say it made a blot upon this picture of the morning.

Perhaps it seemed thus to the tall young girl who now stood upon its long gallery, her tangle of high-rolled, red-brown hair held back by the hand which half shaded her eyes as she looked out discontentedly over the familiar scene. Miss Lady—for thus she was christened by the Big House servants; and she bore well the title—frowned now as she tapped a little foot upon the gallery floor. Perhaps it was not so much what she saw as what she did not see that made Miss Lady discontented, for this white rim of the forest bounded the world for her; yet after all, youth and the morning do not conspire with discontent. A moment more, light, fleet of foot, Miss Lady fled down the gallery steps, through the gate and out along the garden walk. Beyond the yard fence she was greeted riotously by a score of dogs and puppies, long since her friends and devoted admirers; as, indeed, were all dwellers, dumb or human, thereabout.

Had Miss Lady, or any observer, looked from the gallery off to the southward and down the railway track, there might thus have been discovered two figures just emerging from the rim of the forest something like a mile[Pg 1403] away; and these might have been seen growing slowly more distinct, as they plodded up the railway track toward the Big House. Presently they might have been discovered to be a man and a woman; the former tall, thin, dark and stooped; his companion, tall as himself, quite as thin, and almost as bent. The garb of the man was nondescript, neutral, loose; his hat dark and flapping. The woman wore a shapeless calico gown, and on her head was a long, telescopic sunbonnet of faded pink, from which she must perforce peer forward, looking neither to the right nor to the left.

The travelers, indeed, needed not to look to the right or the left, for the path of the iron rails led them directly on. They did not step to the gallery, did not knock at the door, or, indeed, give any evidences of their intentions, but seated themselves deliberately upon a pile of boards that lay near in the broad expanse of the front yard. Here they remained, silent and at rest, fitting well enough into the sleepy scene. No one in the house noticed them for a time, and they, tired by the walk, seemed willing to rest under the shade of the evergreens before making known their errand. They sat speechless and content for several moments, until finally a mulatto house-servant, passing from one building to another, cast a look in their direction, and paused uncertainly in curiosity. The man on the board-pile saw her.

"Here, Jinny! Jinny!" he called, just loud enough to be heard, and not turning toward her more than half-way. "Come here."

"Yessah," said the girl, and slowly approached.

"Get us a little melk, Jinny," said the speaker. "We're plumb out o' melk down home."

"Yessah," said Jinny, and disappeared leisurely, to be gone perhaps half an hour.[Pg 1404]

There remained little sign of life on the board-pile, the bonnet tube pointing fixedly toward the railway station, the man now and then slowly shifting one leg across the other, but staring out at nothing, his lower lip drooping laxly. When the servant finally brought back the milk-pail and placed it beside him, he gave no word of thanks. To all appearances, he was willing to wait here indefinitely, forgetful of the pail of milk, toward which the sun was creeping ominously close. The way back home seemed long and weary at that moment. His lip drooped still more laxly, as he sat looking out vaguely.

Not so calm seemed his consort, she of the sunbonnet. Restored to some extent by her tarrying in the shade, she began to shift and hitch about uneasily upon the board-pile. At length she leaned a bit to one side, reached into a pocket and taking out a snuff-stick and a parcel of its attendant compound, began to take a "dip" of snuff, after the habit of certain of the population of that region. This done, she turned with a swift jerk of the head, bringing to bear the tube of her bonnet in full force upon her lord and master.

"Jim Bowles," she said, "this here is a shame! Hit's a plumb shame!"

There was no answer, save an uneasy hitch on the part of the person so addressed. He seemed to feel the focus of the sunbonnet boring into his system. The voice in the bonnet went on, shot straight toward him, so that he might not escape.

"It's a plumb shame," said Mrs. Bowles again.

"I know it, I know it," said her husband at length, uneasily. "But, now, Sar' Ann, how kin I help it? The cow's daid and I kain't help it, and that's all about it. My God, woman!"—this with sudden energy,—"do you think I kin bring a cow to life that's been killed by the old rail[Pg 1405]road kyahs? I ain't no 'vangelist. It ain't my fault old Muley got killed."

"Ain't yore fault!"

"No, it ain't my fault. Whut am I going to do? I kaint get no otheh cow right now, and I done tol' you so. You reckon cows grows on bushes?"

"Grows on bushes!"

"Yes, or that they comes for nuthin'?"

"Comes for nuthin'!"

"Yes, Sar' Ann, that's whut I said. I tell you, it ain't so fur to come, ain't so fur up here, if you take it easy; only three mile. And Cunnel Blount'll give us melk as long as we want. I reckon he would give us a cow, too, if I ast him. I s'pose I could pay him out o' the next crop, if they wasn't so many things that has to be paid out'n the crop. It's too blame bad 'bout Muley." He scratched his head thoughtfully.

"Yes," responded his spouse, "Muley was a heap better cow then you'll ever git agin. Why, she gave two quo'ts o' melk the very mornin' she was done killed, two quo'ts. I reckon we didn't have to walk no three mile that mornin', did we? And she that kin' and gentle like—oh, we ain't goin' to git no new cow like Muley, no time right soon, I want to tell you that, Jim Bowles."

"Well, well, I know all that," said her husband, conciliatingly, a trifle easier now that the sunbonnet was for the moment turned aside. "That's all true, mighty true. But what kin you do?"

"Do? Why, do somethin'! Somebody sho' ought to suffer for this here. This new-fangled railroad a-comin' through here, a-killing things an' a-killing folks! Why, Bud Sowers said just the other week he heard of three darkies gittin' killed in one bunch down to Allenville. They standin' on the track, jes' talkin' and visitin' like.[Pg 1406] Didn't notice nuthin'. Didn't notice the train a-comin'. 'Biff!' says Bud; an' thah was them darkies."

"Yes," said Mr. Bowles, "that's the way it was with Muley. She just walk up out'n the cane, and stan' thah in the sun on ther track, to sort o' look aroun' whah she could see free for a little ways. Then, 'long comes the railroad train, an' biff! Thah's Muley!"

"Plumb daid."

"Plumb daid."

"And she a good cow fer us fer fo'teen yeahs. It don't look exactly right, now, does it? It sho' don't."

"It's a outrage, that's whut it is," said Sar' Ann Bowles.

"Well, we got the railroad," said her husband, tentatively.

"Yes, we got the railroad," said Sar' Ann Bowles, savagely, "and what yearthly good is hit? Who wants any railroad? Why, all the way here this mornin', I was skeered every foot of the way, afearin' that there ingine was goin' to come along an' kill us both!"

"Sho! Sar' Ann," said her husband, with superiority. "It ain't time for the train yit—leastwise I don't think it is." He looked about uneasily.

"That's all right, Jim Bowles. One of them ingines might come 'long most any time. It might creep up behine you, then, biff! Thah's Jim Bowles! Whut use is the railroad, I'd like to know? I wouldn't be caught a climbin' in one o' them thar kyars, not for big money. Supposin' it run off the track?"

"Oh, well, now," said her husband, "maybe it don't, always."

"But supposin' it did?" The front of the telescope turned toward him suddenly, and so burning was the focus this time that Mr. Bowles shifted his seat, and took refuge upon another board at the other end of the board-pile, out of range.[Pg 1407]

"Whut made you vote for this yere railroad?" said Sarah Ann, following him mercilessly with the bonnet tube. "We didn't want no railroad. We never did have one, and we never ought to a-had one. You listen to me; that railroad is goin' to ruin this country. Th' ain't a woman in these yeah bottoms but would be skeered to have a baby grow up in her house. Supposin' you got a baby; nice little baby, never did harm no one. You a-cookin' or somethin'—out to the smoke-house, like enough; baby alone for about two minutes. Baby crawls out on to the railroad track. Along comes the ingine, an' biff! Thah's baby!" Mrs. Bowles shed tears at this picture which she had conjured up, and even her less imaginative consort became visibly affected, so that for a moment he half-straightened up.

"Well, I dunno," said he, vaguely, and sighed softly; all of which irritated Mrs. Bowles to such an extent that she flounced suddenly around to get a better gaze upon her master. In this movement, her foot struck the pail of milk which had been sitting near, and overturned it.

"Jinny," she called out, "you, Jinny!"

"Yassam," replied Jinny, from some place on the gallery.

"Come here," said Mrs. Bowles. "Git me another pail o' melk. I done spilled this one."

"Yassam," replied Jinny, and presently returned with the refilled vessel.

"Well, anyway," said Jim Bowles at length, rising and standing with hands in pockets, inside the edge of the shade line of the evergreens, "I heard that there was a man came down through yere a few days ago. He was sort of taking count of the critters that done got killed by the railroad kyahs."

"That so?" said Sarah Ann, somewhat mollified.[Pg 1408]

"I reckon so," said Jim Bowles. "I 'lowed I'd ast Cunnel Blount here at the Big House, about that some time. O' course it don't bring Muley back, but then—"

"No, hit don't," said Sarah Ann, resuming her original position. "And our little Sim, he just loved that Muley cow, little Sim, he did. Say, Jim Bowles, do you heah me!"—this with a sudden flirt of the sunbonnet in an agony of actual fear. "Why, Jim Bowles, do you know that our little Sim might be a playin', out thah in front of ouah house, on to that railroad track, at this very minute? S'pose, s'posen—'long comes that there railroad train? Say, man, whut you standin' there in that there shade fer? We got to go! We got to git home! Come right along this minute, er we may be too late."

And so, smitten by this sudden thought, they gathered themselves together as best they might and started toward the railroad for their return. Even as they did so there appeared upon the northern horizon a wreath of smoke rising above the forest. There was the far-off sound of a whistle, deadened by the heavy intervening vegetation; presently there puffed into view one of the railroad trains, still new upon this region. Iconoclastic, modern, strenuous, it wabbled unevenly over the new-laid rails up to the station house, where it paused for a few moments ere it resumed its wheezing way to the southward. The two visitors at the Big House gazed at it open-mouthed for a time, until all at once her former thought crossed the woman's mind. She turned upon her husband.

"Thar hit goes! Thar hit goes!" she cried. "Right on straight to our house! Hit kaint miss hit! And little Sim, he's sure to be playin' out thah on the track. Oh, he's daid right this minute, he shorely is!"

Her speech exercised a certain force upon Jim Bowles.[Pg 1409] He stepped on the faster, tripped upon a clod and stumbled, spilling half the milk from the pail.

"Thah, now," said he. "Thah hit goes agin. Done spilled the melk. Well, hit's too far back to the house now fer mo'. But, now, mabbe Sim wasn't playin' on the track."

"Mabbe he wasn't!" said Sarah Ann scornfully. "Why, o' course he was."

"Well, if he was," said Jim Bowles, philosophically, "why, Sar' Ann, from whut I done notice about this here railroad train, why—it's too late now."

He might perhaps have pursued this logical line of thought further, had not there occurred an incident which brought the conversation to a close. Looking up, the two saw approaching them across the lawn, evidently coming from the little railway station, and doubtless descended from this very train, the alert, quick-stepping figure of a man evidently a stranger to the place. Jim and Sarah Ann Bowles stepped to one side as he approached and lifted his hat with a pleasant smile.

"Good morning," said the stranger. "It's a fine day, isn't it? Can you tell me whether or not Colonel Blount is at home this morning?"

"Well, suh," said Jim Bowles, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "he is, an' he ain't. He's home, o' course; that is, he hain't gone away no whah, to co'te er nothin'. But then ag'in he's out huntin', gone after b'ah. I reckon he's likely to be in 'most any day now."

"'Most any day?"

"Yessah. You better go on up to the house."

"Thank you," said the stranger. "I am very much obliged to you, indeed. I believe I'll wait here for just a little while. Good morning, sir. Good morning, madam."[Pg 1410]

He turned and walked slowly up the path toward the house, as the others pursued their way to the railroad track, down which they presently were plodding on their homeward journey. There was at least a little milk left in the pail when finally they reached their small log cabin, with its yard full of pigs and chickens. Eagerly they scanned the sides of the railway embankment as they drew near, looking for signs of what they feared to see. One need not describe the fierce joy with which Sarah Ann Bowles fell upon little Sim, who was presently discovered, safe and dirty, knocking about on the kitchen floor in abundant company of puppies, cats and chickens.

"I knowed he would be killed," said Sarah Ann.

"But he hain't," said her husband, triumphantly. And for one time in their married life there seemed to be no possible way in which she might contradict him, which fact for her constituted a situation somewhat difficult.

"Well, it hain't yore fault ef he hain't," said she at length.

The new-comer at the Big House was a well-looking figure enough as he advanced up the path toward the white-pillared galleries. In height just above middle stature, and of rather spare habit of body, alert, compact and vigorous, he carried himself with a self-respect redeemed from aggressiveness by an open candor of face and the pleasant forthright gaze of a kindly blue-gray eye. In spite of a certain gravity of mien, his eyes seemed wont to smile upon occasions, as witnessed divers little wrinkles at the corners. A hurried observer might have guessed his age within ten years, but might have been wrong upon either side, and might have had an equal difficulty in classifying his residence or occupation. It was evident that he was not ill at ease in this environment; for as he met coming around the corner an old colored[Pg 1411] man, who, with a rag in one hand and a bottle in the other, seemed intent upon some errand at the dog kennel beyond, he paused not in query or salutation, but tossed his umbrella to the servant and at the same time handed him his traveling-bag. "Take care of these, Bill," said he.

Bill, for that was indeed his name, placed the bag and umbrella upon a gallery floor, and with the air of owning the place himself, invited the visitor to enter.

"The Cunnel's not to home, suh," said Bill. "But you better come in and sed-down. I'll go call the folks."

"Never mind," said the visitor. "I reckon I'll just walk around a little outside. I hear Colonel Blount is off on a bear hunt."

"Yassah," said Bill. "An' when he goes he mostly gets b'ah. I'm right 'spondent dis time, though, 'deed I is, suh."

"What's the matter?"

"Why, you see, suh," replied Bill, leaning comfortably back against a gallery post. "It's dis-a-way. I'm just gwine out to fix up Old Hec's foot. He's ouah bestest b'ah dog, but he got so blame biggoty, las' time he was out, stuck his foot right intoe a ba'h's mouth. Now, Hec's lef' home, an' me lef' home to 'ten' to Hec. How kin Cunnel Blount git any b'ah widout me an' Hec along? I'se right 'spondent, dat's whut I is."

"Well, now, that's too bad," said the stranger, with a smile.

"Too bad? I reckon it sho' is. Fer, if Cunnel Blount don't get no b'ah—look out den, I kin tell you."

"Gets his dander up, eh?"

"Dandah—dandah! You know him? Th' ain't no better boss, but ef he goes out huntin' b'ah and don't get no b'ah—why, den dey ain't no reason gwine do foh him.

"Now, when you see Cunnel Blount come home, he'll[Pg 1412] come up along dat lane, him an' de dogs, an' dem no 'count niggers he done took 'long with him; an' when he gits up to whah de lane crosses de railroad track, ef he come' ridin' 'long easy like, now an' den tootin' his hawn to sort o' let us know he's a-comin'—ef he do dat-a-way, dat's all right,—dat's all right." Here the garrulous old servant shook his head. "But ef he don't—well den—"

"That's bad, if he doesn't, eh?"

"Yessah. Ef he don' come a-blowin' an' ef he do come a-singin', den look out! I allus did notice dat ef Cunnel Blount 'gins to sing 'ligious hymns, somethin's wrong, and somethin' gwine ter drap. He hain't right easy ter git 'long wif when he's a-singin'. But if you'll 'scuse me, suh, I got ter take care o' Hec. Jest make yourself to home, suh,—anyways you like."

The visitor contented himself with wandering about the yard, until at length he seated himself on the board-pile beneath the evergreen trees, and so sank into an idle reverie, his chin in his hand, and his eyes staring out across the wide field. He sat thus for some time, and the sun was beginning to encroach upon his refuge, when suddenly he was aroused by the faint and far-off sound of a hunting-horn. That the listener distinguished it at such a distance might have argued that he himself had known hound and saddle in his day; yet he readily caught the note of the short hunting-horn universally used by the Southern hunters, and recognized the assembly call for the hunting-pack. As it came near, all the dogs in the kennel yards heard it and raged to escape from their confinement. Old Bill came hobbling around the corner. Steps were heard on the gallery. The visitor's face showed a slight uneasiness as he caught a glance of a certain spot now suddenly made alive by the flutter of a soft gown and the flash of a bunch of scarlet ribbons. Thither[Pg 1413] he gazed as directly as he might under these circumstances, but the girl was gone before he had opportunity even to rise and remove his hat.

"That's her. That's Miss Lady," said Bill to his new friend, in a low voice. "Han'somest gal in the hull Delta. They'll all be right glad ter see the Cunnel back. He's got a b'ah shore, fer he's comin' a-blowin'."

Bill's joy was not long-lived, for even as the little cavalcade came in view, a tall figure on a chestnut hunting horse riding well in advance, certain colored stragglers coming behind, and the party-colored pack trotting or limping along on all sides, the music of the summoning horn suddenly ceased. Looking neither to the right nor to the left, the leader of the hunt rode on up the lane, sitting loose and careless in the saddle, his right hand steadying a short rifle across the saddle front. He rode thus until presently those at the Big House heard, softly rising on the morning air, the chant of an old church hymn: "On Jordan's strand I'll take my stand, An-n-n—"

"Oh, Lawd," exclaimed Bill. "Dat's his very wustest chune!"—saying which he dodged around the corner of the house.

Turning in from the lane at the yard gate, Colonel Calvin Blount and his retinue rode close up to the side door of the plantation house; but even here the master vouchsafed no salutation to those who awaited his coming. He was a tall man, broad-shouldered, lean and muscular; yet so far from being thin and dark, he was spare rather from physical exercise than through gaunt habit of body; his complexion was ruddy and sun-colored, and the long mustache hanging across his jaws showed a deep mahogany-red. Western ranchman one might have called him, rather than Southern planter. Scotch-Irish, generations back, perhaps, yet Southern always, and by birth[Pg 1414]right American, he might have been a war-lord of another land and day. No feudal baron ever dismounted with more assuredness at his own hall, to toss careless rein to a retainer. He stood now, tall and straight, a trifle rough-looking in his careless planter's dress, but every inch the master. A slight frown puckered up his forehead, giving to his face an added hint of sternness.

Colonel Blount busied himself with directions as to the horses and dogs. The latter came straggling along in groups or pairs or singly, some of them hobbling on three legs, many showing bitter wounds. The chase of the great bear had proved stern pastime for them. Of half a hundred hounds which had started, not two-thirds were back again, and many of these would be unfit for days for the resumption of their savage trade. None the less, as the master sounded again, loud and clear, the call for the assembly, all the dogs about the place, young and old, homekeepers and warriors, came pouring in with heads uplifted, each pealing out his sweet and mournful music. Blount spoke to dozens of them, calling each by its proper name.

In the confusion of the disbandment of the hunt, the master of the Big House had as yet hardly had time to look about him, but now, as the conclave scattered he found himself alone, and turning discovered the occupant of the board-pile, who arose and advanced, offering his hand.

"This is Colonel Blount, I presume," said he.

"Yes, sir, that's my name. I beg your pardon, I'm sure, but I didn't know you were there. Come right on into the house and sit down, sir. Now, your name was—?"

"Eddring," said the new-comer. "John Eddring. I am just down on the morning's train from the city."[Pg 1415]

"I'm right glad to see you, Mr. Eddring," said Colonel Blount, extending his hand. The two, without plan, wandered over toward the shade of the evergreen, and presently seated themselves at the board-pile.

"Well, Colonel Blount," said the visitor, "I reckon you must have had a good hunt."

"Yes, sir, there ain't a ba'h in the Delta can get away from those dogs. We run this fellow straight on end for ten miles; put him across the river twice, and all around the Black Bayou, but the dogs kept him hot all the time, I'm telling you, for more than five miles through the cane beyond the bayou."

"Who got the shot, Colonel?" asked Eddring—a question apparently most unwelcome.

"Well, I ought to have had it," said Blount, with a frown of displeasure. "The fact is, I did take a flying chance from horseback, when the ba'h ran by in the cane half a mile back of where they killed him. Somehow I must have missed. But man! you ought to have heard that pack for two hours through the woods. It certainly would have raised your hair straight up. You ever hunt ba'h, sir?"

"A little, once in a while, when I have had the time. You see, a railroad man can't always choose."

"Railroad man?" said Colonel Blount. A sudden gloom fell upon his ruddy face. "Railroad man, eh? Well, I wish you was something else. Now, I helped get that railroad through this country—if it hadn't been for me, they never could have laid a mile of track through here. But now, do you know what they done did to me the other day, with their damned old railroad?"

"No, sir, I haven't heard."

"Well, I'll tell you—Bill! Oh, Bill! Go into the house and get me some ice; and go pick some mint and bring[Pg 1416] it here to this gentleman and me—Say, do you know what that railroad did? Why, it just killed the best filly on my plantation, my best running stock, too. Now, I was the man to help get that railroad through the Delta, and I—"

"Well, now, Colonel Blount," said the other, "the road isn't a bad sort of thing for you all down here, after all. It relieves you of the river market, and it gives you a double chance to get out your cotton. You don't have to haul your cotton twelve miles back to the boat any more. Here is your station right at your door, and you can load on the cars any day you want to."

"Oh, that's all right, that's all right. But how about this killing of my stock?"

"Well, that's so," said the other, facing the point and ruminatingly biting a splinter between his teeth. "It does look as if we had killed about everything loose in the whole Delta during the last month or so."

"Are you on this railroad?" asked Blount suddenly.

"I reckon I'll have to admit that I am," said the other, smiling.

"Passenger agent, or something of that sort, I reckon? Well, let me tell you, you change your road. Say, there was a man down below here last week settling up claims—Bill! Ah-h, Bill! Where've you gone?"

"Yes," said Eddring, "it certainly did seem that when we built this road every cow and every nigger, not to mention a lot of white folks, made a bee-line straight for our right of way. Why, sir, it was a solid line of cows and niggers from Memphis to New Orleans. How could you blame an engineer if he run into something once in a while? He couldn't help it."

"Yes. Now, do you know what this claim-settler, or this claim-agent man did? Why, he paid a man down[Pg 1417] below here two stations—what do you think he paid him for as fine a heifer as ever eat cane? Why, fifteen dollars!"

"Fifteen dollars!"

"Yes, fifteen dollars."

"That looks like a heap of money for a heifer, doesn't it, Colonel Blount?"

"A heap of money? Why, no. Heap of money? Why, what do you mean?"

"Heifers didn't bring that before the road came through. Why, you would have had to drive that heifer twenty-five miles before you could get a market, and then she wouldn't have brought over twelve dollars. Now, fifteen dollars, seems to me, is about right."

"Well, let the heifer go. But there was a cow killed three miles below here the other day. Neighbors of mine. I reckon that claim agent wouldn't want to allow any more than fifteen dollars for Jim Bowles' cow, neither."

"Maybe not."

"Well, never mind about the cow, either; but look here. A nigger lost his wife down there, killed by these steam kyars—looks like the niggers get fascinated by them kyars. But here's Bill coming at last. Now, Mr. Eddring, we'll just make a little julep. Tell me, how do you make a julep, sir?"

Eddring hitched a little nearer on the board-pile. "Well, Colonel Blount," said he, "in our family we used to have an old silver mug—sort of plain mug, you know, few flowers around the edge of it—been in the family for years. Now, you take a mug like that and let it lie in the ice box all the time, and when you take it out, it's sort of got a white frost all over it. Now, my old daddy, he would take this mug and put some fine ice into it,—not too fine. Then he'd take a little cut loaf sugar, in another[Pg 1418] glass, and he'd mash it up in a little water—not too much water—then he'd pour that in over the ice. Then he would pour in some good corn whisky, till all the interstices of that ice were filled plumb up; then he'd put some mint—"

"Didn't smash the mint? Say, he didn't smash the mint, did he?" said Colonel Blount, eagerly, hitching over toward the speaker.

"Smash it? I should say not, sir! Sometimes, at certain seasons of the mint, he might just sort of take a twist at the leaf, to sort of release a little of the flavor, you know. You don't want to be rough with mint. Just twist it gently between the thumb and finger. Then you set it in nicely around the edge of the glass. Sometimes just a little powder of fine sugar around on top of the mint leaves, and then a straw—"

"Sir," said Colonel Blount, gravely rising and taking off his hat, "you are welcome to my home!"

Eddring, with equal courtesy, arose and removed his own hat.

"For my part," resumed Blount, judicially, "I rather lean to a piece of cut glass, for the green and the crystal look mighty fine together. I don't always make them with any sugar on top of the mint. But, you know, just a circle of mint—not crushed—not crushed, mind you—just a green ring of fragrance, so that you can bury your nose in it and forget your troubles. Sir, allow me once more to shake your hand. I think I know a gentleman when I see one."

"A gentleman," said the other, smiling slightly. "Well, don't shake hands with me yet, sir. I don't know. You see I'm a railroad man, and I'm here on business."

"Damn it, sir, if it was only your description of a julep, if it was only your mention of that old family silver[Pg 1419] mug, devoted to that sacred purpose, sir—that would be your certificate of character here. Forget your business. Come down here and live with me. We'll go huntin' ba'h together. Why, man, I'm mighty glad to make your acquaintance."

"But wait," said Eddring, "there may be two ways of looking at this."

"Well, there's only one way of looking at a julep," said Blount, "and that's down a straw. Now, I'll show you how we make them down here in the Sunflower country.

"But, as I as a-sayin'"—and here Blount set down the glasses midway in his compounding, and went on with his interrupted proposition,—"now here was that nigger that lost his wife. Of course he had a whole flock of children. Now, what do you think that claim agent said he would pay that nigger for his wife?"

"Well, I—"

"Well, but what do you reckon?"

"Why, I reckon about fifteen dollars."

"That's it, that's it!" said Blount, slapping his hand upon the board until the glasses jingled. "That's just what he did offer; fifteen dollars! Not a cent more."

"Well, now, Colonel Blount," said Eddring, "you know there's a heap of mighty trifling niggers loose in this part of the world. You see, that fellow would marry again in a little while, and he might get a heap better woman next time. There's a lot of swapping wives among the niggers at best. Now, here's a man lost his wife decent and respectable, and there's nothing on earth a nigger likes better than a good funeral, even if it has to be his own wife. Now, how many nigger funerals are there that cost fifteen dollars? I'll bet you if that nigger had it to do over again he'd a heap rather be rid of her and have the fifteen[Pg 1420] dollars. Look at it! Fine funeral for one wife and something left over to get a bonnet for his new wife. I'll bet there isn't a nigger on your place that wouldn't jump at a chance like that."

Colonel Blount scratched his head. "You understand niggers all right, I'll admit," said he. "But, now, supposin' it had been a white man?"

"Well, supposing it was?"

"We don't need to suppose. There was the same thing happened to a white family. Wife got killed—left three children."

"Oh, you mean that accident down at Shelby?"

"Yes, Mrs. Something-or-other, she was. Well, sir, damn me, if that infernal claim agent didn't have the face to offer fifteen dollars for her, too."

"Looks almost like he played a fifteen-dollar limit all the time, doesn't it?" said the visitor.

"It certainly does. It ain't right."

"Well, now, I heard about that woman. She was a tall, thin creature, with no liver left at all, and her chills came three times a week. She wouldn't work; she was red-headed and had only one straight eye; and as for a tongue—well, I only hope, Colonel Blount, that you and I will never have a chance to meet anything like that. Of course, I know she was killed. Her husband just hated her before she died, but blame me, just as soon as she was dead, he loved her more than if she was his sweetheart all over again. Now, that's how it goes. Say, I want to tell you, Colonel Blount, this road is plumb beneficent, if only for the fact that it develops human affection the way it does. Fifteen dollars! Why, I tell you, sir, fifteen dollars was more than enough for that woman." He turned indignantly on the board-pile.[Pg 1421]

"I reckon," said Colonel Blount, "that you would say that about my neighbor Jim Bowles' cow?"

"Certainly. I know about that cow, too. She was twenty years old and on her last legs. Road kills her, and all at once she becomes a dream of heifer loveliness. I know."

"I reckon," said Colonel Blount, still more grimly; "I reckon if that damned claim agent was to come here, he would just about say that fifteen dollars was enough for my filly."

"I shouldn't wonder. Now, look here, Colonel Blount. You see, I'm a railroad man, and I'm able to see the other side of these things."

"Oh, well, all right," said Blount, "but that don't bring my filly back. You can't get Himyah blood every day in the week. That filly would have seen Churchill Downs in her day, if she had lived."

"Yes; and if she had, you would have had to back her, wouldn't you? You would have trained that filly and paid a couple of hundred for it. You would have fitted her at the track and paid several hundred more. You would have bet a couple of thousand, anyway, as a matter of principle, and, like enough, you'd have lost it. Now, if this road paid you fifteen dollars for that filly and saved you twenty-five hundred or three thousand into the bargain, how ought you to feel about it? Are you twenty-five hundred behind or fifteen ahead?"

Colonel Calvin Blount had now feverishly finished his julep, and as the other stopped, he placed his glass beside him on the board-pile and swung a long leg across, so that he sat directly facing his enigmatical guest. The latter, in the enthusiasm of his argument, swung into a similar position, and so they sat, both hammering on the board between them.[Pg 1422]

"Well, I would like to see that damned claim agent offer me fifteen dollars for that filly," said Blount. "I might take fifty, for the sake of the road; but fifteen—"

"Well, what would you do?"

"Well, by God, sir, if I saw that claim agent—"

"Well, by God, sir, I'm that claim agent; and I do offer you fifteen dollars for that filly, right now!"

"What! You—"

"Yes, me!"

"Fifteen dollars!"

"Yes, sir, fifteen dollars."

Colonel Blount burst into a sudden song—"On Jordan's strand I'll take my stand!" he began.

"It's all she's worth," interrupted the claim agent.

Blount fairly gasped. "Do you mean to tell me," said he, in forced calm, "that you are this claim agent?"

"I have told you. That's the way I make my living. That's my duty."

"Your duty to give me fifteen dollars for a Himyah filly?"

"I said fifteen."

"And I said fifty."

"You don't get it."

"I don't, eh? Say, my friend"—Blount pushed the glasses away, his choler rising at the temerity of this, the only man who in many a year had dared to confront him. "You look here. Write me a check for fifty; an' write it now." With a sudden whip of his hand he reached behind him. Like a flash he pulled a long revolver from its holster. Eddring gazed into the round aperture of the muzzle and certain surrounding apertures of the cylinder. "Write me a check," said Blount, slowly, "and write it for fifty. I may tear it up when I get it—I don't care fifty cents for it—but you write it!"[Pg 1423]

The eyes of the two met, and which were the braver man it had been hard to tell. Neither flinched. Eddring returned a gaze as direct as that which he received. The florid face back of the barrel held a gleam of half-admiration at witnessing his deliberation. The claim agent's eye did not falter.

"You said fifty dollars, Colonel Blount," said he, just a suggestion of a smile at the corner of his mouth. "Don't you think there has been a slight misunderstanding between us two? If you are so blamed particular and really want a check for fifty, why, here it is." He busied himself a moment, and passed over a strip of paper. Even as he did so, the ire of Colonel Blount cooled as suddenly as it had gained warmth. A sudden contrition sat on his face, and he crowded the paper into his pocket with an air half shamed-faced.

"Sir—Mr. Eddring—" he began, falteringly.

"Well, what do you want? You've got your check, and you've got the railroad. We've paid our little debt to you."

"Sir," said Blount. "My friend—why, sir, here is your julep."

"To hell with your julep, sir."

"My friend," said Blount, flushing. "You serve me right. I am forgetting my duties as a gentleman. I asked you into my house."

"I'll see you damned first," said Eddring, hotly.

"Right!" cried Blount, exultingly. "You're right. You are one of the fighting Eddrings, sure as you're born. Why, sir, come on in. You wouldn't punish the son of your uncle's friend, your own daddy's friend, would you? Why, man, I know your folks—"

But the ire of Eddring was now aroused. A certain smoldering fire, long with difficulty suppressed, began to flame in spite of him.[Pg 1424]

"Bring me out a plate," said he, bitterly, "and let me eat on the gallery. As you say, I am only a claim agent. Good God, man!" And then of a sudden his wrath arose still higher. His own hand made a swift motion. "Give me back that check," he said, and his extended hand presented a weapon held steady as though supported by the limb of a tree. "You didn't give me a fair show."

"Well, by the eternal," half-whispered Colonel Calvin Blount to himself. "Ain't he a fightin' chicken?"

"Give it to me," demanded Eddring; and the other, astounded, humbled, reached into his pocket and produced the paper.

"I will give it to you, boy," said he, soberly, "and twenty like it, if you'll forget all this and come into my house."

"I will not, sir," said Eddring. "This was business, and you made it personal."

"Oh, business!" said Blount.

"Sir," said John Eddring, "the world never understands when a fellow has to choose between being a business man and a gentleman. I can't afford to be a gentleman—"

"And you are so much one, my son," said Calvin Blount, grimly, "that you won't do anything but what you know is right. My friend, I won't ask you in again, not any more, right now. But when you can, come again, sir, some day. When you come right easy and pleasant, my son, why, you know I want you."

John Eddring's hard-set jaw relaxed, trembled, and he dared not commit himself to speech. With a straight look into Colonel Blount's eyes, he half turned away, and passed on down the path, Blount looking after him more than half-yearningly.

So intent, indeed, was the latter in his gaze upon the[Pg 1425] receding figure that he did not hear the swift rush of light feet on the gallery, nor turn until Miss Lady stood before him. The girl swept him a deep curtsey, spreading out the skirt of her biscuit-colored gown in mocking deference of posture.

"Please, Mr. Colonel," said she, "since he can't hear the dinner-bell, would he be good enough to tell whether or not he will come in and eat? Everything is growing cold; and I made the biscuits."

Calvin Blount put out his hand, and a softer shade came upon his face. "Oh, it is you, Miss Lady, is it?" said he. "Yes, I'm back home again. And you made the biscuits, eh?"

"I called to you several times," said Miss Lady. "Who is that gentleman you are staring at? Why doesn't he come in and eat with us?"

Colonel Blount turned slowly as Miss Lady tugged at his arm. "Who is he?" he replied, half-musingly. "Who is he? You tell me. He refused to eat in Calvin Blount's house; that's why he didn't come in, Miss Lady. He says he's the cow coroner on the railroad; but I want to tell you, he's the finest fellow and the nearest to a gentleman that ever struck this country. That's what he is. I'm mighty troubled over his going away."

"Why, he didn't drink his julep!" said Miss Lady, severely.

"No," said Blount, miserably.

"And he hasn't any other place to eat," said Miss Lady, argumentatively.


"And he—he hasn't been introduced to me," said Miss Lady, conclusively.


"Colonel Cal, call him!" said Miss Lady, decisively.[Pg 1426]

Her words roused the old planter.

"You—I say, Eddring; you, there! Come on back here! Forgot something!"

In spite of himself—or was it in union with himself?—John Eddring turned back, and at last stood hat in hand near to the others. A smile softened the stern features of Colonel Blount as he pointed, half-quizzically to the untasted julep on the board-pile.

"Besides, Mr. Eddring," said he; "besides, you have not yet heard that this young lady of ours, Miss Lady, here, helped make the dinner this evenin'. Now, sir, I ask, will you come?"

The same odd tremble caught the claim agent's lip, and he frowned to pull himself out of his own weakness before he made reply. Miss Lady, tall, well-rounded, dark-eyed, her ruff of red-brown hair thrown back, stood looking at him, her hand clasped upon Blount's arm.

Eddring bowed deeply. "Sir," he said, "it wasn't fair of you; but I yield to your superior weapons!"[Pg 1427]



"Dark doubts between the promise and event."—Young.

I rather thought that Alexander
Would sound well at the font,
While mother much preferred Leander
For him who swam the Hellespont.
Grandfather clamored for Uriah,
While grandma mentioned Obadiah.

Then mother spoke of Clarence, Cyril,
And Reginald and Claude,
But I thought none of them were virile
Like some such name as Ichabod.
Grandfather spoke for Jeremiah.
And grandma favored Azariah.

Then Harold, Gerald, Donald, Luke,
And lordly Roderick
Waged wordy war with Marmaduke
And Bernard and Theodoric,
While grandpa hinted Zachariah
And grandma thought of Hezekiah.
[Pg 1428]
We spoke of Gottlieb from the German,
Of Gaius, Caius, Saul,
Of Andrew, François, Ivan, Herman,
Of Caspar, Jasper, Peter, Paul.
Still grandpa stuck for Nehemiah,
And grandma ventured Jedediah.

From Aaron down to Zeph we went,
But Fate is so contrary!
For after the august event
The name we really chose was Mary!
Though grandma much preferred Maria,
And grandpa rooted for Sophia.
[Pg 1429]



The Fable of the Hoosier Bill of Fare and How the
Women Folks Cooked Up Things for
the Well-known Citizen.

Once upon a Time there was a Hired Hand who felt that he was cut out to be Somebody. Among the Agriculturists he was said to be too dosh-burned Toney because he wore gloves when he Toiled and on Sundays put on a slew of Agony, with sheet-iron Shoes pointed at the End and a neat Derby purchased in Terry Hut.

Now this Freckled Swain, whose name was Ransom, wanted to hop on the Inter-Reuben and go zipping away to see the Great World. He wanted to live in a Big Town where he would not have to walk on the Ploughed Ground and where he could get something Good to Eat. He was tired of the plain Vittles out on the Farm. They very seldom had anything on the Table except Chicken with Gravy, Salt-Rising Bread, Milk, seven or eight Vegetables, Crulls, Cookies, Apple Butter, Whortleberry Pie, Light Biscuit, Spare Ribs, Pig's Feet, Hickory Nut Cake and such like. This thing of drawing up every A. M. to the same old Lay Out of home-made Sausage, Buckwheat Cakes, Recent Eggs, Fried Mush and Mother's Coffee was beginning to wear on him. Often he dreamt of being in the Metropolis, where he could get an Oyster Stew, Sardines, and Ice Cream in the Winter Time.[Pg 1430]

At last his Dream came out of the Box. He went up to the City to attend a Law School and found himself domiciled in a Refined Joint that was a Cross between a Salon and a Beanery. It was one of those Regular Places kept by a thin Lady who had once ridden in her Own Carriage. Her Long Suit was Home Atmosphere. She had the Hall-Ways filled with it. What is more, she came from an Old Family. Lord Cornwallis once stopped at their House to get a Drink of Water and George Washington came very near sleeping in one of the Bed-Rooms. So that made the Board about 50 cents more on the Week.

Like all high class Boarding Houses, it was infested by some Lovely People. There was the girl who spelled it Edythe and was having her voice done over. She had a Mother to keep Cases on her and do the Press Work. Also there was the Grass Widow who remembered her Husband's name but had mislaid the Address. Also the Old Boarder who was always under the influence of Pepsin. He would come down to Breakfast wearing the Hoof-Marks of a Nightmare Seventeen Hands high and holler about the Food and tell the Young Lawyer how you can't believe anything you see in the Papers. Also there was a young man employed in a Furniture Store who knew that he could put Eddie Sothern on the Fritz if he ever got a Whack at the Drama. Unless some one got out an Injunction he would recite Poe's "Raven" while Edythe played Chills and Fever music on the Once-Piano. So the Astute Reader will understand that this was a sure enough Boarding House.

Ranse could have stood for the Intellectual Environment if there had been a little more doing in the Food Line. Instead of stacking it up on the Table and giving the word to Pitch In, the Refined Landlady had it brought on in stingy little Dabs by several Beautiful Heiresses[Pg 1431] who hated to hold Converse with Ordinary Boarders. About the time that Ranse, with the Farm Appetite, began to settle down to Business he would notice all the other People rolling up the Red Napkins and trying to get them into the Rings. If he kept on eating after that, they would give him the Eye.

Cereals were strongly featured at the polite Prunery. Ransom, while employed on the Farm, had often mixed up Chop Feed and Bran for the Shoats and Yearlings, but he never thought he would come down to eating it himself. Another Strong Card was a Soup that was quite Pale and had a couple of Vermicelli swimming around in it. And every Tuesday they served Dried Currants with Clinkers in them.

Before Ranse had been against the Health Food Proposition many moons he began to hanker for the yellow-legged Plymouth Rocks, the golden Butter and the kind of milk that comes from the Cow—take a Tin Cup and go right out to the Spring House and dip it up for yourself. Poor, eh?

Still, he figured that as soon as he got into Practice and began to connect with the Currency he could shake the Oatmeal Circuit and put up at an A1 Hotel.

Like all the other Country Boys of the Story Books, Ransom made a Ten-Strike in the City. He worked 18 hours per and in Due Time he was taken into the Firm and stopped shaving his Neck and wore Pajamas instead of a home-made Nightie.

Then he moved into a Hotel that had $40,000 worth of Paintings on the First Floor, so that no one had a right to kick even if the Push Button failed to work. All the Furniture was Louie Something. You take an ex-Farm-Hand and let him sit in a Gold Chair with Satin Monogram that is too Nice to lean against, and you can[Pg 1432] see at a Glance that he is sure enjoying himself. Ranse now began to go against the à la Carte Gag. The Menu was prepared by a Near-French Chef. For Fear that People might find Fault with the Food he always smothered it and covered it over with Goo.

Ranse began to find out that Goulasch meant Boiled Dinner with Perfumery in it, and also that there were seven different names for Hash. The only Thing that saved it from being Hash was the Piece of Lemon Peel tucked on the Side.

Ranse was not very strong for the French Cooking. Sometimes he would find himself Chicken-Hungry and he would order what he thought was Chicken and he would get a half section of cold storage Poulet covered with Armor Plate, a neat Ruffle around the Ankle and an Olive reposing on the Bosom. If he ordered Ice Cream he got something resembling a sample Paper Weight from the Quarries at Bedford, Indiana. And the Buckwheat Cakes! They looked like Doilies and tasted like Blotters. And the Demi-Tasse is an Awful Joke to spring on the Man who wants a Cup of Coffee.

Here was the Hon. Ransom, rich and prosperous and apparently happy, but in reality he was Dead Sore. Things appeared to be coming very Soft for him and yet that which he wanted most of all he could not get. He wanted the real old simon-pure Home Cooking: He recalled the Happy Days of Bean Soup and Punkin Pie and Cottage Cheese. Time and again he would see one of those old Friends on a Score-Card in a Restaurant and he would order it and get some Fake Imitation with Smilax all around the edges. So, after a while, he became discouraged and ate all the Junk that was set before him—Dope, Lemon Peel, Floral Decoration and all.

Often he would go to Banquets that cost as much as[Pg 1433] Ten a Throw. He would dally with Fish that had Glue Dressing on top of it and Golf Balls lying alongside. He would tackle Siberian Slush that had Hair Tonic floating on top of it. Then the Petrified Quail and the Cheese that should have been served in 1884. Often, sitting at these Magnificent Spreads, he thought to himself that he would willingly trade all the Tiffany Water on the Table for one Goblet of real Buttermilk.

After Ransom had insulted his Digestive Apparatus for many years with the horrible Concoctions of the Gents' Café he resolved to go back to his native Town and visit some of his Blood Relations so that he could get at least one more Crack at real American Grub.

He wrote that he was coming and his Kin became greatly Agitated.

"Our celebrated Cousin, the Hon. Ransom Peabody, is coming to visit us," they said. "We must make unusual Preparations to receive the big Battleship. He is Rich and High-Toned and has been living at one of those $6-a-Day Palaces and we must cut a big Melon when he shows up. He is accustomed to City Food and we must not insult him with ordinary Provender."

So they began framing up Dishes out of a Subscription Cook Book purchased the year before from a Lady with Gold Glasses and a grand flow of Language.

The Hon. Ransom arrived late one Evening and all Night he lay awake in the Spare Bed-Room, gloating over the prospect of a Home Breakfast.

"Me for the Sausage Cakes with the good old Sage rubbed into them," said Ranse. "I will certainly show the Buckwheats how to take a Joke and the way I'll dip into that Coffee will be a Caution. And mebbe I won't go to those Eggs direct from the Hen!"

He arose early, but had to wait two Hours. As he[Pg 1434] was from the City, the Family had postponed Breakfast until 9 o'clock. When he faced up to the Table he was Wolfish. First they gave him Grape Fruit au Kirsch. Then the Finger Bowl with the cute Rose Leaves floating idly on the dimpled Surface. Then a dainty Lamb Chop with an ornamental Fence around it and a sweet little cup of Cocoa in the China that Uncle Henry bought at the World's Fair. Then French Toast and Eggs à la Gazaza, with Christmas Trees stuck into them.

The Hon. Ransom arose and howled like a Siberian Wolf, which was Impolite of him. Before he went Home he did manage to get a little real Eating, but every one said he was very Eccentric to prefer such a simple dish as Fried Chicken.

Moral—Hurry up and get it before the Chef and the Cook-Book have us entirely Civilized.[Pg 1435]



Miss Flora M'Flimsey, of Madison Square,
Has made three separate journeys to Paris,
And her father assures me, each time she was there,
That she and her friend, Mrs. Harris
(Not the lady whose name is so famous in history,
But plain Mrs. H., without romance or mystery),
Spent six consecutive weeks, without stopping,
In one continuous round of shopping—
Shopping alone, and shopping together,
At all hours of the day, and in all sorts of weather,
For all manner of things that a woman can put
On the crown of her head, or the sole of her foot,
Or wrap round her shoulders, or fit round her waist,
Or that can be sewed on, or pinned on, or laced,
Or tied on with a string, or stitched on with a bow
In front or behind, above or below;
For bonnets, mantillas, capes, collars and shawls;
Dresses for breakfast, and dinners, and balls;
Dresses to sit in, and stand in, and walk in;
Dresses to dance in, and flirt in, and talk in;
Dresses in which to do nothing at all;
Dresses for winter, spring, summer and fall;
All of them different in color and shape,
Silk, muslin and lace, velvet, satin and crape,
Brocade and broadcloth, and other material,
[Pg 1436]Quite as expensive and much more ethereal;
In short, for all things that could ever be thought of,
Or milliner, modiste or tradesman be bought of,
From ten-thousand-franc robes to twenty-sous frills;
In all quarters of Paris, and to every store,
While M'Flimsey in vain stormed, scolded and swore,
They footed the streets, and he footed the bills!
The last trip, their goods shipped by the steamer Arago,
Formed, M'Flimsey declares, the bulk of her cargo,
Not to mention a quantity kept from the rest,
Sufficient to fill the largest-sized chest,
Which did not appear on the ship's manifest,
But for which the ladies themselves manifested
Such particular interest, that they invested
Their own proper persons in layers and rows
Of muslin, embroideries, worked underclothes,
Gloves, handkerchiefs, scarfs, and such trifles as those;
Then, wrapped in great shawls, like Circassian beauties,
Gave good-by to the ship, and go by to the duties.
Her relations at home all marveled, no doubt,
Miss Flora had grown so enormously stout
For an actual belle and a possible bride;
But the miracle ceased when she turned inside out,
And the truth came to light, and the dry-goods besides,
Which, in spite of Collector and Custom-House sentry,
Had entered the port without any entry.
And yet, though scarce three months have passed since the day
This merchandise went, on twelve carts, up Broadway,
This same Miss M'Flimsey of Madison Square,
The last time we met was in utter despair,
Because she had nothing whatever to wear!

Nothing to wear! Now, as this is a true ditty,
[Pg 1437]I do not assert—this, you know, is between us
That she's in a state of absolute nudity,
Like Powers's Greek Slave or the Medici Venus;
But I do mean to say, I have heard her declare,
When at the same moment she had on a dress
Which cost five hundred dollars, and not a cent less,
And jewelry worth ten times more, I should guess,
That she had not a thing in the wide world to wear!
I should mention just here, that out of Miss Flora's
Two hundred and fifty or sixty adorers,
I had just been selected as he who should throw all
The rest in the shade, by the gracious bestowal
On myself, after twenty or thirty rejections,
Of those fossil remains which she called her "affections,"
And that rather decayed but well-known work of art
Which Miss Flora persisted in styling her "heart."
So we were engaged. Our troth had been plighted,
Not by moonbeam or starbeam, by fountain or grove,
But in a front parlor, most brilliantly lighted,
Beneath the gas-fixtures, we whispered our love.
Without any romance, or raptures, or sighs,
Without any tears in Miss Flora's blue eyes,
Or blushes, or transports, or such silly actions,
It was one of the quietest business transactions,
With a very small sprinkling of sentiment, if any,
And a very large diamond imported by Tiffany.
On her virginal lips, while I printed a kiss,
She exclaims, as a sort of parenthesis,
And by way of putting me quite at my ease,
"You know I'm to polka as much as I please,
And flirt when I like—now, stop, don't you speak—
And you must not come here more than twice in the week,
Or talk to me either at party or ball,
But always be ready to come when I call;
[Pg 1438]So don't prose to me about duty and stuff,
If we don't break this off, there will be time enough
For that sort of thing; but the bargain must be
That, as long as I choose, I am perfectly free—
For this is a kind of engagement, you see,
Which is binding on you, but not binding on me."

Well, having thus wooed Miss M'Flimsey and gained her,
With the silks, crinolines, and hoops that contained her,
I had, as I thought, a contingent remainder
At least in the property, and the best right
To appear as its escort by day and by night;
And it being the week of the Stuckups' grand ball—
Their cards had been out a fortnight or so,
And set all the Avenue on the tiptoe—
I considered it only my duty to call,
And see if Miss Flora intended to go.
I found her—as ladies are apt to be found,
When the time intervening between the first sound
Of the bell and the visitor's entry is shorter
Than usual—I found; I won't say—I caught her,
Intent on the pier-glass, undoubtedly meaning
To see if perhaps it didn't need cleaning.
She turned as I entered—"Why, Harry, you sinner,
I thought that you went to the Flashers' to dinner!"
"So I did," I replied; "the dinner is swallowed,
And digested, I trust, for 'tis now nine and more,
So, being relieved from that duty, I followed
Inclination, which led me, you see, to your door;
And now will your ladyship so condescend
As just to inform me if you intend
Your beauty, and graces, and presence to lend
(All of which, when I own, I hope no one will borrow)
To the Stuckups' whose party, you know, is to-morrow?"
[Pg 1439]The fair Flora looked up, with a pitiful air,
And answered quite promptly, "Why, Harry, mon cher,
I should like above all things to go with you there,
But really and truly—I've nothing to wear."
"Nothing to wear! Go just as you are;
Wear the dress you have on, and you'll be by far,
I engage, the most bright and particular star
On the Stuckup horizon—" I stopped, for her eye,
Notwithstanding this delicate onset of flattery,
Opened on me at once a most terrible battery
Of scorn and amazement. She made no reply,
But gave a slight turn to the end of her nose
(That pure Grecian feature), as much as to say,
"How absurd that any sane man should suppose
That a lady would go to a ball in the clothes,
No matter how fine, that she wears every day!"
So I ventured again: "Wear your crimson brocade;"
(Second turn up of nose)—"That's too dark by a shade."
"Your blue silk"—"That's too heavy." "Your pink"—"That's too light."
"Wear tulle over satin"—"I can't endure white."
"Your rose-colored, then, the best of the batch"—
"I haven't a thread of point-lace to match."
"Your brown moire antique"—"Yes, and look like a Quaker."
"The pearl-colored"—"I would, but that plaguy dressmaker
Has had it a week." "Then that exquisite lilac,
In which you would melt the heart of a Shylock;"
(Here the nose took again the same elevation)—
"I wouldn't wear that for the whole of creation."
"Why not? It's my fancy, there's nothing could strike it
As more comme il faut"—"Yes, but, dear me, that lean
Sophronia Stuckup has got one just like it,
[Pg 1440]And I won't appear dressed like a chit of sixteen."
"Then that splendid purple, the sweet Mazarine;
That superb point d'aiguille, that imperial green,
That zephyr-like tarletan, that rich grenadine"—
"Not one of all which is fit to be seen,"
Said the lady, becoming excited and flushed.
"Then wear," I exclaimed, in a tone which quite crushed
Opposition, "that gorgeous toilette which you sported
In Paris last spring, at the grand presentation,
When you quite turned the head of the head of the nation,
And by all the grand court were so very much courted."
The end of the nose was portentously tipped up
And both the bright eyes shot forth indignation,
As she burst upon me with the fierce exclamation,
"I have worn it three times, at the least calculation,
And that and most of my dresses are ripped up!"
Here I ripped out something, perhaps rather rash,
Quite innocent, though; but to use an expression
More striking than classic, it "settled my hash,"
And proved very soon the last act of our session.
"Fiddlesticks, is it, sir? I wonder the ceiling
Doesn't fall down and crush you—you men have no feeling;
You selfish, unnatural, illiberal creatures,
Who set yourselves up as patterns and preachers,
Your silly pretense—why, what a mere guess it is!
Pray, what do you know of a woman's necessities?
I have told you and shown you I've nothing to wear,
And it's perfectly plain you not only don't care,
But you do not believe me" (here the nose went still higher).
"I suppose, if you dared, you would call me a liar.
Our engagement is ended, sir—yes, on the spot;
You're a brute, and a monster, and—I don't know what."
[Pg 1441]I mildly suggested the words Hottentot,
Pickpocket, and cannibal, Tartar, and thief,
As gentle expletives which might give relief;
But this only proved as a spark to the powder,
And the storm I had raised came faster and louder;
It blew and it rained, thundered, lightened and hailed
Interjections, verbs, pronouns, till language quite failed
To express the abusive, and then its arrears
Were brought up all at once by a torrent of tears,
And my last faint, despairing attempt at an obs-
Ervation was lost in a tempest of sobs.

Well, I felt for the lady, and felt for my hat, too,
Improvised on the crown of the latter a tattoo,
In lieu of expressing the feelings which lay
Quite too deep for words, as Wordsworth would say;
Then, without going through the form of a bow,
Found myself in the entry—I hardly know how,
On doorstep and sidewalk, past lamp-post and square,
At home and upstairs, in my own easy-chair;
Poked my feet into slippers, my fire into blaze,
And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
"Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar
Of the Russias to boot, for the rest of his days,
On the whole, do you think he would have much to spare,
If he married a woman with nothing to wear?"
Since that night, taking pains that it should not be bruited
Abroad in society, I've instituted
A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
That the fair Flora's case is by no means surprising,
But that there exists the greatest distress
In our female community, solely arising
[Pg 1442]From this unsupplied destitution of dress,
Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air
With the pitiful wail of "Nothing to wear."

Researches in some of the "Upper Ten" districts
Reveal the most painful and startling statistics,
Of which let me mention only a few:
In one single house on the Fifth Avenue,
Three young ladies were found, all below twenty-two,
Who have been three whole weeks without anything new
In the way of flounced silks, and thus left in the lurch,
Are unable to go to ball, concert or church.
In another large mansion near the same place
Was found a deplorable, heartrending case
Of entire destitution of Brussels point-lace.
In a neighboring block there was found, in three calls,
Total want, long continued, of camel's-hair shawls;
And a suffering family, whose case exhibits
The most pressing need of real ermine tippets;
One deserving young lady almost unable
To survive for the want of a new Russian sable;
Still another, whose tortures have been most terrific
Ever since the sad loss of the steamer Pacific,
In which were engulfed, not friend or relation
(For whose fate she, perhaps, might have found consolation,
Or borne it, at least, with serene resignation),
But the choicest assortment of French sleeves and collars
Ever sent out from Paris, worth thousands of dollars,
And all as to style most recherché and rare,
The want of which leaves her with nothing to wear,
And renders her life so drear and dyspeptic
That she's quite a recluse, and almost a skeptic,
For she touchingly says that this sort of grief
[Pg 1443]Can not find in Religion the slightest relief,
And Philosophy has not a maxim to spare
For the victims of such overwhelming despair.
But the saddest, by far, of all these sad features,
Is the cruelty practised upon the poor creatures
By husbands and fathers, real Bluebeards and Timons,
Who resist the most touching appeals made for diamonds
By their wives and their daughters, and leave them for days
Unsupplied with new jewelry, fans or bouquets,
Even laugh at their miseries whenever they have a chance,
And deride their demands as useless extravagance.
One case of a bride was brought to my view,
Too sad for belief, but alas! 'twas too true,
Whose husband refused, as savage as Charon,
To permit her to take more than ten trunks to Sharon.
The consequence was, that when she got there,
At the end of three weeks she had nothing to wear;
And when she proposed to finish the season
At Newport, the monster refused, out and out,
For his infamous conduct alleging no reason,
Except that the waters were good for his gout;
Such treatment as this was too shocking, of course,
And proceedings are now going on for divorce.

But why harrow the feelings by lifting the curtain
From these scenes of woe? Enough, it is certain,
Has here been disclosed to stir up the pity
Of every benevolent heart in the city,
And spur up humanity into a canter
To rush and relieve these sad cases instanter.
Won't somebody, moved by this touching description,
Come forward to-morrow and head a subscription?
[Pg 1444]Won't some kind philanthropist, seeing that aid is
So needed at once by these indigent ladies,
Take charge of the matter? Or won't Peter Cooper
The corner-stone lay of some new splendid super-
Structure, like that which to-day links his name
In the Union unending of Honor and Fame,
And found a new charity just for the care
Of these unhappy women with nothing to wear,
Which, in view of the cash which would daily be claimed,
The Laying-out Hospital well might be named?
Won't Stewart, or some of our dry-goods importers,
Take a contract for clothing our wives and our daughters?
Or, to furnish the cash to supply these distresses,
And life's pathway strew with shawls, collars and dresses,
Ere the want of them makes it much rougher and thornier,
Won't some one discover a new California?

O! ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day,
Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
From its swirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride
And the temples of Trade which tower on each side,
To the alleys and lanes, where Misfortune and Guilt
Their children have gathered, their city have built;
Where Hunger and Vice, like twin beasts of prey,
Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair;
Raise the rich, dainty dress, and the fine broidered skirt,
Pick your delicate way through the dampness and dirt.
Grope through the dark dens, climb the rickety stair
To the garret, where wretches, the young and the old,
Half starved and half naked, lie crouched from the cold;
See those skeleton limbs, those frost-bitten feet,
[Pg 1445]All bleeding and bruised by the stones of the street;
Hear the sharp cry of childhood, the deep groans that
From the poor dying creature who writhes on the floor;
Hear the curses that sound like the echoes of Hell,
As you sicken and shudder and fly from the door;
Then home to your wardrobes, and say, if you dare—
Spoiled children of fashion—you've nothing to wear!

And O! if perchance there should be a sphere
Where all is made right which so puzzles us here,
Where the glare and the glitter and tinsel of Time
Fade and die in the light of that region sublime,
Where the soul, disenchanted of flesh and of sense,
Unscreened by its trappings and shows and pretense,
Must be clothed for the life and the service above,
With purity, truth, faith, meekness and love,
O! daughters of Earth! foolish virgins, beware!
Lest in that upper realm you have nothing to wear!
[Pg 1446]



There is an old fellow named Mark,
Who lives in a tree in the Park.
You can see him each night,
By his library light,
Turning over the leaves after dark.
[Pg 1447]

IS IT I?[5]


Where is the man who has not said
At evening, when he went to bed,
"I'll waken with the crowing cock,
And get to work by six o'clock?"

Where is the man who, rather late,
Crawls out of bed at half-past eight,
That has not thought, with fond regard,
"It's better not to work too hard?"
[Pg 1448]



"Haven't you any coffee spoons, Kitty? I thought you had a couple of dozen when you went to housekeeping."

Marcia, with her sleeves rolled up from her round white arms, was rummaging in the sideboard, as she knelt beside it on the floor, her brown eyes peering into the corners.

"Yes, of course I have coffee spoons. Aren't they there? I'm sure I don't know what becomes of things."

Young Mrs. Fosdyke, stout and matronly, held a fat and placid year-old baby on her lap with one arm, while with the other hand she lunged out intermittently to pick up a much-chewed rubber dog cast upon the floor by the infant. "Oh, now I remember; they're at the bank, with the rest of the silver—we sent them there the summer we went to the seashore, and forgot to take them out again. I know it's dreadful to get in the habit of living in this picnic fashion; I'm ashamed sometimes to have any one come here. Not that I mind your having asked Mrs. Devereaux for Thanksgiving, Marcia; I don't want you to feel that way for a minute. I think it was nice of you to want to. If you don't mind having her here, I'm sure I don't. You know I've had such a time changing servants; and when you have three babies—"

Mrs. Fosdyke was accustomed to anticipate possible astonishment at the size of her young family by stating tersely to begin with that the three were all of the same[Pg 1449] age; if this were not literally true, it was true enough to account for the disposal of most of her time. In a small house, on a small income, with one maid, all departments can not receive attention; under such circumstances something has to go. Mrs. Fosdyke's attention went, rightly enough, to the children; there were no graces of management left for the household—there couldn't be; that was one reason why she never invited company any more. She felt apologetic even before her sister.

"I wish things were a little nicer here—but I know just how you feel about Mrs. Devereaux. No matter how rich a person is, it seems sort of desolate to be alone at a hotel in a small town on a holiday—Thanksgiving Day especially. And she was so good to you in Paris. I shall never forget it."

"I'm sure I never shall," said Marcia.

She saw with retrospective vision the scene of two years ago, when she, a terrified girl of twenty, just recovering from an illness, had missed connections with her party at a railway station, and had been blessedly taken in charge by a stranger whose spoken name carried recognition with it to any American abroad. Marcia had been taken to Mrs. Devereaux's luxurious house for the day, put to bed, comforted, telegrams and messages sent hither and thither to her friends; truly it was the kind of a thing one does not forget, that must claim gratitude forever.

She went on now: "I can't get over our meeting in the street here in this place, just the day we both came—the strangest coincidence! I could hardly believe my eyes. And then to drive back to her rooms with her and find myself telling her all I've been doing, just as if I had known her always—I'm sure, though, I feel as if I had. I do want to do something for her so much—it[Pg 1450] doesn't make any real difference, her being so rich and grand. And then I thought of our Thanksgiving dinner, and she seemed so pleased, and accepted at once. Of course she stipulated that we were to promise not to make any difference on her account, but I do want to have everything as pretty and characteristic as possible. And you needn't bother a bit about anything, Kitty. I'll do all the work, and there's a whole week to get ready in. We'll have Frank bring your wedding silver from the bank; you had so many lovely large pieces."

"I had ten cut glass and silver loving cups," annotated Kitty, in the tone of injury the recollection always produced in the light of her present needs. "It will take you hours and days to clean all those things, Marcia; that's why I never use them. When you have three babies all the same age—"

"Kersley will help me," said Marcia, deftly introducing another subject.

"Kersley!" There was deep surprise in Kitty's voice; she turned to fix her eyes on her sister. Marcia flushed independently of her will.

"Yes—didn't I tell you? He's coming out to his brother's over Thanksgiving."

"Oh!" said Kitty, with significance; she made a precipitate lunge for the rubber dog. There was an alert tone in her voice when she spoke again:



"How long is this thing to go on? Are you engaged to Kersley Battersby, or are you not? For if you're not, I don't think it's decent to keep him dangling on in this way any longer."

"Oh, Kitty, do stop!" Marcia ceased her investigations to relapse into a jumbled heap on the rug, her chin[Pg 1451] resting on her hand, her dark, vivacious little face tense. "I suppose I do consider that I'm engaged, if you will have me say it; he's the only man I could ever care for, but I'm not going to let him know it, not until he gets on his feet—not while he's only making fifteen dollars here and twenty dollars there, and some weeks not even that, painting labels for tomato cans and patent medicines. It does seem a pity that, after all the studying in Paris and winning the prize for his portraits in the Salon, it should take him so long to get a start here. I suppose you have to have a 'pull,' as in everything else. If he once knew that I really cared for him he'd lose his head and want to be married out of hand. I couldn't do a thing with him. He'd insist that it would help him to work if I were near all the time."

"Perhaps it would," suggested Kitty.

"Yes, and have all his family say that I've ruined his prospects—you can imagine how pleasant that would be! Everyone says that if a poor artist is hampered at the beginning he has no career at all. I enjoy things as they are, anyway, and if Kersley doesn't it's his own lookout. He's a perfect baby, great, big, blue-eyed, ridiculous, unpractical thing! What do you suppose he did when he was in Chester last month, just after I'd left there? Walked all the way into town and back, twenty miles—he hadn't enough money for his car fare—to buy me a little trumpery pin I wanted, when they had the identical thing on sale at the little shop by the station! Wasn't that like him? And with all his artistic talent, I have to tell him what kind of a necktie to get. Imagine him, with his hair, in a scarlet one, when he looks so adorable in dull blue. Let's change the subject. Is this your best centerpiece, with the color all washed out?"

"Yes."[Pg 1452]

"Then I'll finish that lace one I'm making and put yellow under it. Yellow is to be the color scheme, Kitty. I'm going to present you with some of those lovely glasses I saw at Ketterer's, with gilt flowers on them. I want you to let me pay for the chrysanthemums and all the extras—a few palms can be hired; they add so much to the effect. You know I got the money for those illustrations yesterday, and I don't care whether I have any clothes or not. I just want to do my prettiest for a Thanksgiving for Mrs. Devereaux."

"Very well, dear," said Kitty.

"I should think that woman wouldn't want such a time made over her," said Mr. Fosdyke to his wife, disgustedly, in private. There are married men who may on occasion be mistaken for bachelors, but Mr. Fosdyke was not of that ilk; the respectable bondage of one wedded to family claims was stamped upon him as with a die, in spite of a humorous tendency that was sometimes trying to his wife. "What's the sense? With all her millions she must be used to everything. I should think she'd like something plain and homelike for a change, instead of all this fuss and feathers. I'm worn out with it already. There seems to be a perfect upheaval downstairs, with all Marcia's decorations and color schemes and 'artistic effects.' My arm's broken lugging loving cups home from the bank—they weigh a ton. Why can't Mrs. Devereaux take us as we are?"

"Now, Frank, I've told you how Marcia feels about it," said his wife, reprovingly. "You know how intense she is—it gives her positive satisfaction to show her gratitude by working her fingers off and spending all the money she's got. She wants to make it a special occasion."

"Well, she's doing it," said Frank Fosdyke, with, how[Pg 1453]ever, a relenting smile; he was fond of whole-souled little Marcia. "I say, though, Kitty, what's Kersley doing here all the time? I thought he was living in New York. I can't go anywhere that I don't see that big smile of his and the gray suit. I'm always running across him with Marcia. It makes me feel like a fool. Am I to treat them as if they were engaged, or not?"

Mrs. Fosdyke shook her head. "Not yet."

"Can't he stop her shillyshallying?"

"Frank, I said 'Not yet.'"

"All right," said Frank, resignedly, moving around the darkened room, as he disrobed, with the catlike step of one whose ever haunting fear is that he may wake the baby.

Marcia had decreed against the old-fashioned, middle-of-the-day Thanksgiving dinner; half-past seven was early enough. "And it ought to be eight," she added, ruefully. "At any rate, the babies will be asleep, and Mrs. Fogarty is going to let her Maggie come and sit upstairs with them. Thank goodness, Ellen can cook the dinner, with my help, and wait on the table afterward. She's as nice and interested as she can be, and I'll keep her in good humor. I've promised to buy her a lovely new cap and apron. We've just decided what to have for the nine courses."

"Nine courses!"

"Now, Kitty, it's no more trouble to have nine courses than two, if you manage properly. I'll make a number of the dishes the day before, and Ellen can see to the turkey herself; I'll show you my bill of fare afterward. I'm going to have the loveliest little menu cards, with golden pumpkins in wheat sheaves painted on them—so nice and Thanksgivingy! You've seen the yellow paper cases I've made for the ice pudding, and the candle shades—the[Pg 1454] color scheme, you know, is yellow. I'm going to ornament the dishes for the almonds and raisins and olives and the candied ginger and other things in the same way. Now, please don't worry about anything, Kitty! If people only make the arrangements beforehand, it's no trouble at all. It's all in the way one plans, and having a system about things."

"I hope so," said Mrs. Fosdyke; for she had her misgivings. In housekeeping it is only too often that two and two fail to make four.

Kersley Battersby, tall and handsome, coming in gayly at four o'clock on Thanksgiving afternoon, during a brief interval of the festivities at his brother's house, stopped short at the sight of Marcia's face.

"What's up?" he asked, reaching out his arms with the unconsciousness of habit, while Marcia, in her blue gingham gown, as mechanically retreated. Her tone was tragic.

"Ellen says she won't wait on the table; she says there's work for ten in the kitchen, and no lady would ask it of her. And I had it all arranged so beautifully. I don't know what we're to do. Kitty and I have been busy every minute, and Frank has had to take care of the babies all day. I didn't mean to make everyone so uncomfortable. He's gone out now, and she's upstairs with a headache."

"Well, you know you've always got me to fall back on," said Kersley, firmly. "My word, but the dining-room looks fine, though! I wouldn't know it for the same place." His gaze rested on the pretty scene with genuine admiration.

Loving cups in the corner of the room held the tall, yellow chrysanthemums against the florist's palms; yellow chrysanthemums waved from the vine-draped mantel[Pg 1455] and drooped from the prettiest loving cup of all over the yellow-lined lace centerpiece set on the satin-smooth "best" tablecloth. The silver was polished to perfection. The new goblets with their gilt flowers shone like bubbles, and on the sideboard a golden pumpkin hollowed into a dish among trailing vines was heaped high with yellow oranges and crimson apples and pearly hothouse grapes.

"Oh, yes, this is all right," sighed Marcia, "and the cooking is, and Frank has had his dress suit pressed and Kitty's gown is dear. But, Kersley, the dinner!" Her swimming eyes looked at him helplessly as she pushed back her disheveled hair. "You can't have nine courses with no one to serve them. Ellen even refuses to bring anything in. We can't get up and keep running around the table! It makes the whole thing a failure—worse than that, ridiculous. I didn't mind how hard I worked for dear Mrs. Devereaux, but I did want it all to be right."

"Poor girl!" said Kersley, tenderly, moving sympathetically very, very near her, with a repetition of the arm movement. "You're tired."

"Now, Kersley, please don't." Marcia again retreated with glowing cheeks. She tried to keep an unexpected tremulousness out of her voice. "I have enough on my mind without having you, too. If I were to spoil all your prospects now, I'd never forgive myself."

"You get so in the habit of saying that absurd thing," began Kersley, doggedly, "that—Never mind, never mind, Marcia dear. I won't bother you now. But you'll have to let me have my way in one thing, anyway—I'm going to help you out; I'm going to stay and wait on the table myself."

"Kersley!"[Pg 1456]

"I'll make a bang-up waiter; do it in style."


"Just pretend I'm the butler. It's been done lots of times before, you know; it's not a bit original. And I'd like to do something for Mrs. Devereaux, too, good old multi-millionairess. I owe her one for being such a trump to you. I'll make her one of my omelets, too, if Ellen will let me."

"But Mrs. Devereaux will recognize you!" Marcia felt wildly that she was half assenting, in spite of the absurdity of it.

"Recognize the butler? She won't know that he exists except to pass her things. Besides, she's only seen me a couple of times."

"But the family party at your brother's?"

"They'll have to get along without me. I'll cut back now and tell them, and get my dress suit, and then I'll turn myself loose in your kitchen. It's all decided, Marcia." He smiled brilliantly down at her from the height of his six feet, as Kersley could smile sometimes, when he wanted to get his own way. His finger tips touched her curling locks on his way past the ottoman upon which she had dropped.

She sat there after he had gone, her chin supported by her hand, her dark eyes looking intently before her into the yellow chrysanthemum. In spite of her boast to Kitty that she was satisfied with "things as they were," there were moments when a long-drawn-out future of joy withheld pressed upon little Marcia with strange heaviness—moments when it was hard to be always wise for two; there were, indeed, sudden, inexplicable moments when she longed weakly to give herself up to the alluring blissfulness of Kersley's kisses on her soft lips, no matter how unpractical he was. But she was too stanchly eager[Pg 1457] to do what was best for him to give way in the conduct of life; it was even a giddy sort of thing that she had given way to him in anything.

If a nervous and uncertain hilarity characterized the atmosphere of the dinner table that night, Mrs. Devereaux, in her black lace and diamonds, was happily unaware of its cause in the antics of the obsequious butler, who in the intervals of his calling threw kisses from behind the guest to the yellow-gowned Marcia, attempted to poise in the attitude of flight or that of benediction, or indulged in other pantomimes as extraordinary.

It was almost a relief when the intervals between the courses were unduly prolonged and conversation could proceed without spasmodic jerks on the part of the entertainers. Mrs. Devereaux herself, a rather slight, elderly woman with soft white hair elaborately arranged, and kind, brown eyes, responded with evident pleasure to Marcia's pretty, childlike warmth, and was politely cordial to Frank and Kitty. Her manner was at once quietly assured and quietly unassuming, although on her entrance her eyes had seemed furtively observant, as one who found herself among strange, if interesting, surroundings.

"I feel as if we might be Eskimos, by Jove!" Frank Fosdyke whispered with a secret gurgle to his wife, who responded only with an agonized "Hush!"

"This omelet is really delicious," said Mrs. Devereaux, kindly, in one of the pauses of the dinner. "I don't know that I have eaten one as good since I left Paris. May I ask if you have a woman or a man cook?"

"We have a man in the kitchen," said Marcia, unblushingly, Kersley being out there at the moment. "He has lived in Paris."[Pg 1458]

"Oh, the touch was unmistakable!" said Mrs. Devereaux. She turned graciously to Kitty. "I take a great interest in small establishments; my niece, Angela Homestead, is about to marry in moderate circumstances. Unlike many women in society, I have always looked after my own household. When I am at home the servants report to me for half an hour every morning to receive their orders for the day. So when Angela naturally came to me for advice, I said to her: 'Above all things, Angela, remember that a good cook is always worth what you pay for him.' The health of the family is so largely dependent on the food. With a French cook, a butler, a laundress and three maids, a simple establishment for two people can be kept up decently and in order; a retinue of servants is not necessary when you do not entertain. Of course, with less than three maids it is impossible to be clean."

"No, indeed," said Kitty.

"I should think not," assented Mr. Fosdyke, with unnecessary ardor.

"It is pleasant to have you agree with me," said Mrs. Devereaux, politely. "But, speaking of Paris, oddly enough, since we've been sitting here I have been reminded forcibly, though I can't imagine why, of a young man whom I met there a couple of times over a year ago—a tall, blond young artist who won a prize at the Salon. I haven't heard of him since, though he seemed to have rather unusual talent. I believe he left for New York. I can't recall his name, but perhaps you can help me to it. He painted children very fetchingly."

"Was it Kersley Battersby?" asked Marcia, with a swift frown at the owner of the name, who had doubled over suddenly.

"Kersley Battersby. The very man!" exclaimed Mrs.[Pg 1459] Devereaux, with animation. "How clever you are, my dear, to guess it! My sister, the Countess of Crayford, who has just come over this autumn, wants some one to paint her twin girls. It strikes me that he would be the very person to do it, if possibly you have his address. There was a sentiment, a bloom, one might call it, that seemed to characterize his children's heads particularly. They made a real impression on me."

"Yes, Battersby has a great deal of bloom," said Mr. Fosdyke, solemnly. "Bloom is what he excels in. Alphonse, fill Mrs. Devereaux's glass. I will look up his address in my notebook, Mrs. Devereaux. I have an impression that he is within reach."

He turned to Marcia provocatively, but she did not respond. Her brain was suddenly in a whirl that carried her past the wild incongruities of the situation. If Kersley had "prospects" like that—She did not dare to meet his eyes.

The dinner was excellent, the waiting perfect. Marcia was in a glow of happiness. She felt repaid for her work, her struggles, and the expenditure which would make a new gown this winter impossible. This was as she had wanted it to be—a little Thanksgiving feast for this woman who was her friend. Through all Mrs. Devereaux's interest in the others, the little inner bond was between her and Marcia. It did not matter that Ellen had stumped upstairs after the last cup of coffee, leaving Kersley to clear the table, or that the babies might wake up and cry. Nothing mattered when she knew that dear Mrs. Devereaux was pleased. She said to herself that this was what gave her such a strangely exhilarated feeling; and yet—When it was time for the guest to depart, and Marcia came from upstairs bringing Mrs. Dever[Pg 1460]eaux's fur cloak, that lady and Kitty both looked smilingly at the girl from the midst of a conversation.

"Must you go so soon?" pleaded Marcia.

"Yes, the carriage is waiting," said Mrs. Devereaux. "I am under the doctor's orders, you remember, my dear. I've had a charming Thanksgiving; you don't know how much I appreciate Mrs. Fosdyke's letting me spend it here. And one thing has appealed to me particularly, if you won't mind my saying it: I am more complimented, more touched, by being made one of your little family circle, without any alteration in your usual mode of living, than by any amount of the ceremony which is often so foolishly considered necessary—a man behind each chair, masses of orchids, and expensive menus." She smiled warmly at Marcia, and added: "It is to you that I really owe my introduction into this charmingly domestic household. Your sister, however, has made me partner to a little secret, in response to my inquiries; she says that you are about to be engaged to the very Mr. Battersby of whom we were speaking, and whose address she has given me, so that I may make arrangements at once for my nieces' portraits. She tells me that he has excellent prospects."

"Oh!" murmured Marcia, in sudden crimson embarrassment. She could actually feel Kersley's triumphant smile behind the dining-room portières.

"And as I am about to start on the Egyptian tour that will take me away for a year, I want to know if I may take advantage of having been made one of the family and ask you to make use of my cottage at Ardsley for the honeymoon—which I hope may last until my return, if Mr. Battersby's commissions don't call him away before. I will have my people put it at your disposal."

"Dear, dear Mrs. Devereaux!" cried Marcia. If some[Pg 1461]thing odd in the beating of her heart made her feel her further speech to be foolishly incoherent, it was, perhaps, not unattractively so to her smiling elders.

She did not hear Mr. Fosdyke's exclamation as the lights of Mrs. Devereaux's carriage disappeared from view: "Of all the Arabian Nights' entertainments! Who am I, anyway?"

She had been drawn into the dining-room with Kersley's outstretched arms closing around her firmly as she mechanically but ineffectually strove to retreat, his blue eyes beaming down on her as he whispered:

"Oh, Marcia, Marcia! This comes of trying to show gratitude to strangers. 'About to be engaged!' Accepting a honeymoon cottage before you'd accepted the man!"[Pg 1462]



"It must have been highly interesting," observed Mrs. Archie Brawle; "so much pleasanter than a concert."

"Rather!" replied Lord Frederic. "It was ripping!"

Mrs. Ascott-Smith turned to Mr. Carteret. She had been listening to Lord Frederic Westcote, who had just come down from town where he had seen the Wild West show. "Is it so?" she asked. "Have you ever seen them?" By "them" she meant the Indians.

Mr. Carteret nodded.

"It seems so odd," continued Mrs. Archie Brawle, "that they should ride without saddles. Is it a pose?"

"No, I fancy not," replied Lord Frederic.

"They must get very tired without stirrups," insisted Mrs. Archie. "But perhaps they never ride very long at a time."

"That is possible," said Lord Frederic doubtfully. "They are only on about twenty minutes in the show."

Mr. Pringle, the curate, who had happened in to pay his monthly call upon Mrs. Ascott-Smith, took advantage of the pause. "Of course, I am no horseman," he began apprehensively, "and I have never seen the red Indians, either in their native wilds or in a show, but I have read[Pg 1463] not a little about them, and I have gathered that they almost live on horseback."

Major Hammerslea reached toward the tea table for another muffin and hemmed. "It is a very different thing," he said with heavy impressiveness. "It is a very different thing."

The curate looked expectant, as if believing that his remarks were going to be noticed. But nothing was further from the Major's mind.

"What is so very different?" inquired Mrs. Ascott-Smith, after a pause had made it clear that the Major had ignored Pringle.

"It is one thing, my dear Madame, to ride a stunted, half-starved pony, as you say 'bareback,' and another thing to ride a conditioned British Hunter (he pronounced it huntaw) without a saddle. I must say that the latter is an impossibility." The oracle came to an end and the material Major began on the muffin.

There was an approving murmur of assent. The Major was the author of "Schooling and Riding British Hunters;" however, it was not only his authority which swayed the company, but individual conviction. Of the dozen people in the room, excepting Pringle, all rode to hounds with more or less enthusiasm, and no one had ever seen any one hunting without a saddle and no one had ever experienced any desire to try the experiment. Obviously it was an absurdity.

"Nevertheless," observed Lord Frederic, "I must say their riding was very creditable—quite as good as one sees on any polo field in England."

Major Hammerslea looked at him severely, as if his youth were not wholly an excuse. "It is, as I said," he observed. "It is one thing to ride an American pony and another to ride a British Hunter. One requires horse[Pg 1464]manship, the other does not. And horsemanship," he continued, "which properly is the guiding of a horse across country, requires years of study and experience."

Lord Frederic looked somewhat unconvinced but he said nothing.

"Of course the dear Major (she called it deah Majaw) is unquestionably right," said Mrs. Ascott-Smith.

"Undoubtedly," said Mr. Carteret. "I suppose that he has often seen Indians ride?"

"Have you often seen these Indians ride?" inquired Mrs. Ascott-Smith of the Major.

"Do you mean Indians or the Red Men of North America?" replied the Major. "And do you mean upon ponies in a show or upon British Hunters?"

"Which do you mean?" asked Mrs. Ascott-Smith.

"I suppose that I mean American Indians," said Mr. Carteret, "and either upon ponies or upon British Hunters."

"No," said the Major, "I have not. Have you?"

"Not upon British Hunters," said Mr. Carteret.

"But do you think that they could?" inquired Lord Frederic.

"It would be foolish of me to express an opinion," replied Mr. Carteret, "because, in the first place, I have never seen them ride British Hunters over jumps—"

"They would come off at the first obstacle," observed the Major, more in sorrow than in anger.

"And in the second place," continued Mr. Carteret, "I am perhaps naturally prejudiced in behalf of my fellow countrymen."

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked at him anxiously. His sister had married a British peer. "But you Americans are quite distinct from the red Indians," she said. "We quite un[Pg 1465]derstand that nowadays. To be sure, my dear Aunt—" She stopped.

"Rather!" said Mrs. Archie Brawle. "You don't even intermarry with them, do you?"

"That is a matter of personal taste," said Mr. Carteret. "There is no law against it."

"But nobody that one knows—" began Mrs. Ascott-Smith.

"There was John Rohlfs," said Mr. Carteret; "he was a very well known chap."

"Do you know him?" asked Mrs. Brawle.

The Curate sniggered. His hour of triumph had come. "Rohlfs is dead," he said.

"Really!" said Mrs. Brawle, coldly. "It had quite slipped my mind. You see I never read the papers during the hunting. But is his wife received?"

"I believe that she was," said Mr. Carteret.

The Curate was still sniggering and Mrs. Brawle put her glass in her eye and looked at him. Then she turned to Mr. Carteret. "But all this," she said, "of course, has nothing to do with the question. Do you think that these red Indians could ride bareback across our country?"

"As I said before," replied Mr. Carteret, "it would be silly of me to express an opinion, but I should be interested in seeing them try it."

"I have a topping idea!" cried Lord Frederic. He was a simple-minded fellow.

"You must tell us," exclaimed Mrs. Ascott-Smith.

"Let us have them down, and take them hunting!"

"How exciting!" exclaimed Mrs. Ascott-Smith. "What sport!"

The Major looked at her reprovingly. "It would be as I said," he observed.

"But it would be rather interesting," said Mrs. Brawle.[Pg 1466]

"It might," said the Major, "it might be interesting."

"It would be ripping!" said Lord Frederic. "But how can we manage it?"

"I'll mount them," said the Major with a grim smile. "My word! They shall have the pick of my stable though I have to spend a month rebreaking horses that have run away."

"But it isn't the mounts," said Lord Frederic. "You see I've never met any of these chaps." He turned to Mr. Carteret with a sudden inspiration. "Are any of them friends of yours?" he asked.

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked anxiously at Mr. Carteret, as if she feared that it would develop that some of the people in the show were his cousins.

"No," he replied, "I don't think so, although I may have met some of them in crossing the reservations. But I once went shooting with Grady, one of the managers of the show."

"Better yet!" said Lord Frederic. "Do you think that he would come and bring some of them down?" he asked.

"I think he would," said Mr. Carteret. He knew that the showman was strong in Grady—if not the sportsman.

The Major rose to go to the billiard room. "I have one piece of advice to give you," he said. "This prank is harmless enough, but establish a definite understanding with this fellow that you are not to be liable in damages for personal injuries which his Indians may receive. Explain to him that it is not child's play and have him put it in writing."

"You mean to have him execute a kind of release?" said Mr. Carteret.

"Precisely that," said the Major. "I was once sued for twenty pounds by a groom that fell off my best hunter and let him run away, and damme, the fellow recovered." He bowed to the ladies and left the room.[Pg 1467]

"Of course we can fix all that up," said Lord Frederic. "The old chap is a bit over cautious nowadays, but how can we get hold of this fellow Grady?"

"I'll wire him at once, if you wish," said Mr. Carteret, and he went to the writing table.

"When do you want him to come down?" he asked, as he wrote the address.

"We might take them out with the Pytchley on Saturday," said Lord Frederic, "but the meet is rather far from our station. Perhaps it would be better to have them on Thursday with Charley Ploversdale's hounds."

Mr. Carteret hesitated a moment. "Wouldn't Ploversdale be apt to be fussy about experiments? He's rather conservative, you know, about the way people are turned out. I saw him send a man home one day who was out without a hat. It was an American who was afraid that his hair was coming out."

"Pish," said Lord Frederic, "Charley Ploversdale is mild as a dove."

"Suit yourself," said Mr. Carteret. "I'll make it Thursday. One more question," he added. "How many shall I ask him to bring down?" At this moment the Major came into the room again. He had mislaid his eyeglasses.

"I should think that a dozen would be about the right number," said Lord Frederic, replying to Mr. Carteret. "It would be very imposing."

"Too many!" said the Major. "We must mount them on good horses and I don't want my entire stable ruined by men who have never lepped a fence."

"I think the Major is right about the matter of numbers," said Mr. Carteret. "How would three do?"

"Make it three," said the Major.

Before dinner was over a reply came from Grady say[Pg 1468]ing that he and three bucks would be pleased to arrive Thursday morning prepared for a hunting party.

This took place on Monday, and at various times during Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr. Carteret gave the subject thought. By Thursday morning his views had ripened. He ordered his tea and eggs to be served in his room and came down a little past ten dressed in morning clothes. He wandered into the dining-room and found Mrs. Ascott-Smith sitting by the fire entertaining Lord Frederic, as he went to and from the sideboard in search of things to eat.

"Good morning," said Mr. Carteret, hoarsely.

Lord Frederic looked around and as he noticed Mr. Carteret's morning clothes his face showed surprise.

"Hello!" he said, "you had better hurry and change, or you will be late. We have to start in half an hour to meet Grady."

Mr. Carteret coughed. "I don't think that I can go out to-day. It is a great disappointment."

"Not going hunting?" exclaimed Mrs. Ascott-Smith. "What is the matter?"

"I have a bad cold," said Mr. Carteret miserably.

"But, my dear fellow," exclaimed Lord Frederic, "it will do your cold a world of good!"

"Not a cold like mine," said Mr. Carteret.

"But this is the day, don't you know?" said Lord Frederic. "How am I going to manage things without you?"

"All that you have to do is to meet them at the station and take them to the meet," said Mr. Carteret. "Everything else has been arranged."

"But I'm awfully disappointed," said Lord Frederic. "I had counted on you to help, don't you see, and introduce them to Ploversdale. It would be more graceful for an American to do it than for me. You understand?"[Pg 1469]

"Yes," said Mr. Carteret, "I understand. It's a great disappointment, but I must bear it philosophically."

Mrs. Ascott-Smith looked at him sympathetically, and he coughed twice. "You are suffering," she said. "Lord Frederic, you really must not urge him to expose himself. Have you a pain here?" she inquired, touching herself in the region of the pleura.

"Yes," said Mr. Carteret, "it is rather bad, but I daresay that it will soon be better."

"I am afraid that it may be pneumonia," said his hostess. "You must take a medicine that I have. They say that it is quite wonderful for inflammatory colds. I'll send Hodgson for it," and she touched the bell.

"Please, please don't take that trouble," entreated Mr. Carteret.

"But you must take it," said Mrs. Ascott-Smith. "They call it Broncholine. You pour it in a tin and inhale it or swallow it, I forget which, but it's very efficacious. They used it on Teddy's pony when it was sick. The little creature died but that was because they gave it too much, or not enough, I forget which."

Hodgson appeared and Mrs. Ascott-Smith gave directions about the Broncholine.

"I thank you very much," said Mr. Carteret humbly. "I'll go to my room and try it at once."

"That's a good chap!" said Lord Frederic, "perhaps you will feel so much better that you can join us.

"Perhaps," said Mr. Carteret gloomily, "or it may work as it did on the pony." And he left the room.

After Hodgson had departed from his chamber leaving explicit directions as to how and how not to use the excellent Broncholine, Mr. Carteret poured a quantity of it from the bottle and threw it out of the window resolving to be on the safe side. Then he looked at his boots and[Pg 1470] his pink coat and white leathers which were laid out upon a chair. "I don't think there can be any danger," he thought, "if I turn up after they have started. I loathe stopping in all day." He dressed leisurely, ordered his horse, and some time after the rest of the household had sallied forth, he followed. As he knew the country and the coverts which Lord Ploversdale would draw, he counted on joining the tail of the hunt, thus keeping out of sight. He inquired of a rustic if he had seen hounds pass and receiving "no," for an answer he jogged on at a faster trot, fearing that the hounds might have gone away in some other direction. As he came around a bend in the road, he saw four women riding toward him, and as they drew near, he saw that it was Lady Violet Weatherbone and her three daughters. These young ladies were known as the Three Guardsmen, a sobriquet not wholly inappropriate; for, as Lord Frederic described them, they were "uncommon big boned, upstanding fillies," between twenty-five and thirty and very hard goers across any country, and always together.

"Good morning," said Mr. Carteret, bowing. "I suppose the hounds are close by?" It was a natural assumption, as Lady Violet on hunting days was never very far from the hounds.

"I do not know," she responded, and her tone further implied that she did not care.

Mr. Carteret hesitated a moment. "Has anything happened?" he asked.

"Yes," said Lady Violet frankly, "something has happened." Here the daughters modestly turned their horses away.

"Some one," continued Lady Violet, "brought savages to the meet." She paused impressively.

"Not really!" said Mr. Carteret with hypocritical surprise.[Pg 1471]

"Yes," said Lady Violet, "and while it would have mattered little to me, it was impossible—" She motioned with her head toward the three maidens, and paused.

"Forgive me," said Mr. Carteret, "but I hardly understand."

"At the first I thought," said Lady Violet, "that they were attired in painted fleshings, but upon using my glass, it was clear that I was mistaken. Otherwise, I should have brought them away at the first moment."

"I see," said Mr. Carteret. "It is outrageous."

"It is indeed!" said Lady Violet; "but the matter will not be allowed to drop. They were brought to the meet by that young profligate, Lord Frederic Westcote."

"You surprise me," said Mr. Carteret, wholly without shame. He bowed, started his horse, and jogged along for five minutes, then he turned to the right upon a crossroad and suddenly found himself upon the hounds. They were feathering excitedly about the mouth of a tile drain into which the fox had evidently gone. No master, huntsmen nor whips were in sight, but sitting, wet and mud daubed, upon horses dripping with muddy water were Grady dressed in cowboy costume and three naked Indians. Mr. Carteret glanced about over the country and understood. They had swum the brook at the place where it ran between steep clay banks and the rest of the field had gone around to the bridge. As he looked toward the south, he saw Lord Ploversdale riding furiously toward him followed by Smith, the first whip. Grady had not recognized him turned out in pink as he was, and for the moment he decided to remain incognito.

Before Lord Ploversdale, Master of Fox-hounds, reached the road, he began waving his crop. He appeared excited. "What do you mean by riding upon my hounds?" he shouted. He said this in several ways with[Pg 1472] various accompanying phrases, but neither the Indians nor Grady seemed to notice him. It occurred to Mr. Carteret that although Lord Ploversdale's power of expression was wonderful for England, it, nevertheless, fell short of Arizona standards. Then, however, he noticed that Grady was absorbed in adjusting a kodak camera, with which he was evidently about to take a picture of the Indians alone with the hounds. He drew back in order both to avoid being in the field of the picture and to avoid too close proximity with Lord Ploversdale as he came over the fence into the road.

"What do you mean, sir!" shouted the enraged Master of Fox-hounds, as he pulled up his horse.

"A little more in the middle," replied Grady, still absorbed in taking the picture.

Lord Ploversdale hesitated. He was speechless with surprise for the moment.

Grady pressed the button and began putting up the machine.

"What do you mean by riding on my hounds, you and these persons?" demanded Lord Ploversdale.

"We didn't," said Grady amiably, "but if your bunch of dogs don't know enough to keep out of the way of a horse, they ought to learn."

Lord Ploversdale looked aghast, and Smith, the whip, pinched himself to make sure that he was not dreaming.

"Many thanks for your advice," said Lord Ploversdale. "May I inquire who you and your friends may be?"

"I'm James Grady," said that gentleman. "This," he said, pointing to the Indian nearest, "is Chief Hole-in-the-Ground of the Olgallala Sioux. Him in the middle is Mr. Jim Snake, and the one beyond is Chief Skytail, being a Pawnee."[Pg 1473]

"Thank you, that is very interesting," said Lord Ploversdale, with polite irony. "Now will you kindly take them home?"

"See here," said Grady, strapping the camera to his saddle, "I was invited to this round-up regular, and if you hand me out any more hostile talk—" He paused.

"Who invited you?" inquired Lord Ploversdale.

"One of your own bunch," said Grady, "Lord Frederic Westcote. I'm no butter-in."

"Your language is unintelligible," said Lord Ploversdale. "Where is Lord Westcote?"

Mr. Carteret had watched the field approaching as fast as whip and spur could drive them, and in the first flight he noticed Lord Frederic and the Major. For this reason he still hesitated about thrusting himself into the discussion. It seemed that the interference of a third party could only complicate matters, inasmuch as Lord Frederic would so soon be upon the spot.

Lord Ploversdale looked across the field impatiently. "I've no doubt, my good fellow, that Lord Westcote brought you here, and I'll see him about it, but kindly take these fellows home. They'll kill all my hounds."

"Now you're beginning to talk reasonable," said Grady. "I'll discuss with you."

The words were hardly out of his mouth before the hounds gave tongue riotously and went off. The fox had slipped out of the other end of the drain and old Archer had found the line.

As if shot out of a gun the three Indians dashed at the stake and bound fence on the farther side of the road, joyously using their heavy quirts on the Major's thoroughbreds. Skytail's horse being hurried top much, blundered his take-off, hit above the knees and rolled[Pg 1474] over on the Chief, who was sitting tight. There was a stifled grunt and then the Pawnee word "Go-dam!"

Hole-in-the-Ground looked back and laughed one of the few laughs of his life. It was a joke which he could understand. Then he used the quirt again to make the most of his advantage.

"That one is finished," said Lord Ploversdale gratefully. But as the words were in his mouth, Skytail rose with his horse, vaulted up and was away.

The M. F. H. followed over the hedge shouting at Smith to whip off the hounds. But the hounds were going too fast. They had got a view of the fox and three whooping horsemen were behind them driving them on.

The first flight of the field followed the M. F. H. out of the road, and so did Mr. Carteret, and presently he found himself riding between Lord Frederic and the Major. They were both a bit winded and had evidently come fast.

"I say," exclaimed Lord Frederic, "where did you come from?"

"I was cured by the Broncholine," said Mr. Carteret.

"Is your horse fresh?" asked Lord Frederic.

"Yes," replied Mr. Carteret, "I happened upon them at the road."

"Then go after that man Grady," said Lord Frederic, "and implore him to take those beggars home. They have been riding on the hounds for twenty minutes."

"Were they able," asked Mr. Carteret, "to stay with their horses at the fences?"

"Stay with their horses!" puffed the Major.

"Go on, like a good chap," said Lord Frederic, "stop that fellow or I shall be expelled from the hunt. Was Lord Ploversdale vexed?" he added.

"I should judge by his language," said Mr. Carteret, "that he was vexed."[Pg 1475]

"Hurry on," said Lord Frederic. "Put your spurs in."

Mr. Carteret gave his horse its head and he shot to the front, but Grady was nearly a field in the lead, and it promised to be a long chase, as he was on the Major's black thoroughbred. The cowboy rode along with a loose rein and an easy balance seat. At his fences he swung his hat and cheered. He seemed to be enjoying himself, and Mr. Carteret was anxious lest he might begin to shoot for pure delight. Such a demonstration would have been misconstrued. Nearly two hundred yards ahead at the heels of the pack galloped the Indians, and in the middle distance between them and Grady rode Lord Ploversdale and Smith vainly trying to overtake the hounds and whip them off. Behind and trailing over a mile or more came the field and the rest of the hunt servants in little groups, all awestruck at what had happened. It was unspeakable that Lord Ploversdale's hounds, which had been hunted by his father and his grandfather, should be so scandalized.

Mr. Carteret finally got within a length of Grady and hailed him.

"Hello, Carty," said Grady, "glad to see you. I thought you was sick. What can I do? They've stampeded. But it's a great ad. for the show, isn't it? There's four reporters that I brought along."

"Forget about the show," said Mr. Carteret. "This isn't any laughing matter. It's one of the smartest packs in England. You don't understand."

"It will make all the better story in the papers," said Grady.

"No it won't," said Mr. Carteret. "They won't print it. It's like a blasphemy upon the Church."

"Whoop!" yelled Grady, as they tore through a bullfinch.[Pg 1476]

"Call them off," said Mr. Carteret, straightening his hat.

"But I can't catch 'em," said Grady, and that was the truth.

Lord Ploversdale, however, had been gaining on the Indians, and by the way in which he clubbed his heavy crop, loaded at the butt, it was apparent that he meant to put an end to the proceedings if he could.

Just then the hounds swept over the crest of a green hill, and as they went down the other side they viewed the fox in the field beyond. He was in distress, and it looked as if the pack would kill in the open. They were running wonderfully together, a blanket would have covered them, and in the natural glow of pride which came over the M. F. H., he loosened his grip upon the crop. But as the hounds viewed the fox, so did the three sons of the wilderness who were following close behind. From the hill-top fifty of the hardest going men in England saw Hole-in-the-Ground flogging his horse with the heavy quirt which hung from his wrist. The outraged British hunter shot forward scattering hounds to right and left, flew a ditch and hedge and was close on the fox, who had stopped to make a last stand. Without drawing rein, the astonished onlookers saw the lean Indian suddenly disappear under the neck of his horse and almost instantly swing back into his seat waving a brown thing above his head. Hole-in-the-Ground had caught the fox.

"Most unprecedented!" Mr. Carteret heard the Major exclaim. He pulled up his horse, as the field did with theirs, and waited apprehensively. He saw Hole-in-the-Ground circle around, jerk the Major's five hundred guinea hunter to a standstill close to Lord Ploversdale and address him. He was speaking in his own language.[Pg 1477]

As the Chief went on, he saw Grady smile.

"He says," says Grady, translating, "that the white chief can eat the fox if he wants him. He's proud himself, bein' packed with store grub."

The English onlookers heard and beheld with blank faces. It was beyond them.

The M. F. H. bowed stiffly as Hole-in-the-Ground's offer was made known to him. He regarded them a moment in thought. A vague light was breaking in upon him. "Aw, thank you," he said. "Smith, take the fox. Good afternoon!"

Then he wheeled his horse, called the hounds in with his horn and trotted out to the road that led to the kennels. Lord Ploversdale, though he had never been out of England, was cast in a large mold.

The three Indians sat on their panting horses, motionless, stolidly facing the curious gaze of the crowd; or rather they looked through the crowd, as the lion, with the high breeding of the desert, looks through and beyond the faces that stare and gape before the bars of his cage.

"Most amazing! Most amazing!" muttered the Major.

"It is," said Mr. Carteret, "if you have never been away from this." He made a sweeping gesture over the restricted English scenery, pampered and brought up by hand.

"Been away from this?" repeated the Major. "I don't understand."

Mr. Carteret turned to him. How could he explain it?

"With us," he began, laying an emphasis on the "us." Then he stopped. "Look into their eyes," he said hopelessly.[Pg 1478]

The Major looked at him blankly. How could he, Major Hammerslea, know what those inexplicable dark eyes saw beyond the fenced tillage—the brown, bare, illimitable range under the noonday sun, the evening light on far, silent mountains, the starlit desert![Pg 1479]



To get betimes in Boston town, I rose this morning early;
Here's a good place at the corner—I must stand and see the show.

Clear the way there, Jonathan!
Way for the President's marshal! Way for the government cannon!
Way for the Federal foot and dragoons—and the apparitions copiously tumbling.

I love to look on the stars and stripes—I hope the fifes will play Yankee Doodle.

How bright shine the cutlasses of the foremost troops!
Every man holds his revolver, marching stiff through Boston town.

A fog follows—antiques of the same come limping,
Some appear wooden-legged, and some appear bandaged and bloodless.

Why this is indeed a show! It has called the dead out of the earth!
The old grave-yards of the hills have hurried to see!
Phantoms! phantoms countless by flank and rear!
Cocked hats of mothy mould! crutches made of mist!
[Pg 1480]Arms in slings! old men leaning on young men's shoulders!

What troubles you, Yankee phantoms? What is all this chattering of bare gums?
Does the ague convulse your limbs? Do you mistake your crutches for fire-locks, and level them?
If you blind your eyes with tears, you will not see the President's marshal;
If you groan such groans, you might balk the government cannon.

For shame, old maniacs! Bring down those tossed arms, and let your white hair be;
Here gape your great grand-sons—their wives gaze at them from the windows,
See how well dressed—see how orderly they conduct themselves.

Worse and worse! Can't you stand it? Are you retreating?
Is this hour with the living too dead for you?

Retreat then! Pell-mell!
To your graves! Back! back to the hills, old limpers!
I do not think you belong here, anyhow.

But there is one thing that belongs here—shall I tell you what it is, gentlemen of Boston?

I will whisper it to the Mayor—he shall send a committee to England;
They shall get a grant from the Parliament, go with a cart to the royal vault—haste!
Dig out King George's coffin, unwrap him quick from the grave-clothes, box up his bones for a journey;
[Pg 1481]
Find a swift Yankee clipper—here is freight for you, black-bellied clipper,
Up with your anchor! shake out your sails! steer straight toward Boston bay.

Now call for the President's marshal again, bring put the government cannon,
Fetch home the roarers from Congress, make another procession, guard it with foot and dragoons.

This centre-piece for them:
Look! all orderly citizens—look from the windows, women!

The committee open the box, set up the regal ribs, glue those that will not stay,
Clap the skull on top of the ribs, and clap a crown on top of the skull.
You have got your revenge, old buster! The crown is come to its own, and more than its own.

Stick your hands in your pockets, Jonathan—you are a made man from this day;
You are mighty cute—and here is one of your bargains.
[Pg 1482]



My first glimpse of Europe was the shore of Spain. Since we got into the Mediterranean, we have been becalmed for some days within easy view of it. All along are fine mountains, brown all day, and with a bloom on them at sunset like that of a ripe plum. Here and there at their feet little white towns are sprinkled along the edge of the water, like the grains of rice dropped by the princess in the story. Sometimes we see larger buildings on the mountain slopes, probably convents. I sit and wonder whether the farther peaks may not be the Sierra Morena (the rusty saw) of Don Quixote. I resolve that they shall be, and am content. Surely latitude and longitude never showed me any particular respect, that I should be over-scrupulous with them.

But after all, Nature, though she may be more beautiful, is nowhere so entertaining as in man, and the best thing I have seen and learned at sea is our Chief Mate. My first acquaintance with him was made over my knife, which he asked to look at, and, after a critical examination, handed back to me, saying, "I shouldn't wonder if that 'ere was a good piece o' stuff." Since then he has transferred a part of his regard for my knife to its owner. I like folks who like an honest bit of steel, and take no interest whatever in "your Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff." There is always more than the average human nature in the man who has a hearty sympathy with iron.[Pg 1483] It is a manly metal, with no sordid associations like gold and silver. My sailor fully came up to my expectation on further acquaintance. He might well be called an old salt who had been wrecked on Spitzbergen before I was born. He was not an American, but I should never have guessed it by his speech, which was the purest Cape Cod, and I reckon myself a good taster of dialects. Nor was he less Americanized in all his thoughts and feelings, a singular proof of the ease with which our omnivorous country assimilates foreign matter, provided it be Protestant, for he was a man ere he became an American citizen. He used to walk the deck with his hands in his pockets, in seeming abstraction, but nothing escaped his eyes. How he saw I could never make out, though I had a theory that it was with his elbows. After he had taken me (or my knife) into his confidence, he took care that I should see whatever he deemed of interest to a landsman. Without looking up, he would say, suddenly, "There's a whale blowin' clearn up to win'ard," or, "Them's porpises to leeward: that means change o' wind." He is as impervious to cold as a polar bear, and paces the deck during his watch much as one of those yellow hummocks goes slumping up and down his cage. On the Atlantic, if the wind blew a gale from the northeast, and it was cold as an English summer, he was sure to turn out in a calico shirt and trousers, his furzy brown chest half bare, and slippers, without stockings. But lest you might fancy this to have chanced by defect of wardrobe, he comes out in a monstrous pea-jacket here in the Mediterranean, when the evening is so hot that Adam would have been glad to leave off his fig-leaves. "It's a kind o' damp and unwholesome in these ere waters," he says, evidently regarding the Midland Sea as a vile standing pool, in comparison with the bluff ocean. At meals he is superb, not[Pg 1484] only for his strengths, but his weaknesses. He has somehow or other come to think me a wag, and if I ask him to pass the butter, detects an occult joke, and laughs as much as is proper for a mate. For you must know that our social hierarchy on shipboard is precise, and the second mate, were he present, would only laugh half as much as the first. Mr. X. always combs his hair, and works himself into a black frock-coat (on Sundays he adds a waist-coat) before he comes to meals, sacrificing himself nobly and painfully to the social proprieties. The second mate, on the other hand, who eats after us, enjoys the privilege of shirt-sleeves, and is, I think, the happier man of the two. We do not have seats above and below the salt, as in old time, but above and below the white sugar. Mr. X. always takes brown sugar, and it is delightful to see how he ignores the existence of certain delicates which he considers above his grade, tipping his head on one side with an air of abstraction so that he may seem not to deny himself, but to omit helping himself from inadvertence, or absence of mind. At such times he wrinkles his forehead in a peculiar manner, inscrutable at first as a cuneiform inscription, but as easily read after you once get the key. The sense of it is something like this: "I, X., know my place, a height of wisdom attained by few. Whatever you may think, I do not see that currant jelly, nor that preserved grape. Especially a kind Providence has made me blind to bowls of white sugar, and deaf to the pop of champagne corks. It is much that a merciful compensation gives me a sense of the dingier hue of Havana, and the muddier gurgle of beer. Are there potted meats? My physician has ordered me three pounds of minced salt-junk at every meal." There is such a thing, you know, as a ship's husband: X. is the ship's poor relation.[Pg 1485]

As I have said, he takes also a below-the-white-sugar interest in the jokes, laughing by precise point of compass, just as he would lay the ship's course, all yawing being out of the question with his scrupulous decorum at the helm. Once or twice I have got the better of him, and touched him off into a kind of compromised explosion, like that of damp fireworks, that splutter and simmer a little, and then go out with painful slowness and occasional relapses. But his fuse is always of the unwillingest, and you must blow your match, and touch him off again and again with the same joke. Or rather, you must magnetize him many times to get him en rapport with a jest. This once accomplished, you have him, and one bit of fun will last the whole voyage. He prefers those of one syllable, the a-b abs of humor. The gradual fattening of the steward, a benevolent mulatto with whiskers and ear-rings, who looks as if he had been meant for a woman, and had become a man by accident, as in some of those stories by the elder physiologists, is an abiding topic of humorous comment with Mr. X. "That 'ere stooard," he says, with a brown grin like what you might fancy on the face of a serious and aged seal, "'s agittin' as fat's a porpis. He was as thin's a shingle when he come aboord last v'yge. Them trousis'll bust yit. He don't darst take 'em off nights, for the whole ship's company couldn't git him into 'em agin." And then he turns aside to enjoy the intensity of his emotion by himself, and you hear at intervals low rumblings, an indigestion of laughter. He tells me of St. Elmo's fires, Marvell's corposants, though with him the original corpos santos has suffered a sea change, and turned to comepleasants, pledges of fine weather. I shall not soon find a pleasanter companion. It is so delightful to meet a man who knows just what you do not. Nay, I think the tired mind finds[Pg 1486] something in plump ignorance like what the body feels in cushiony moss. Talk of the sympathy of kindred pursuits! It is the sympathy of the upper and nether mill-stones, both forever grinding the same grist, and wearing each other smooth. One has not far to seek for book-nature, artist-nature, every variety of superinduced nature, in short, but genuine human-nature is hard to find. And how good it is! Wholesome as a potato, fit company for any dish. The free masonry of cultivated men is agreeable, but artificial, and I like better the natural grip with which manhood recognizes manhood.

X. has one good story, and with that I leave him, wishing him with all my heart that little inland farm at last which is his calenture as he paces the windy deck. One evening, when the clouds looked wild and whirling, I asked X. if it was coming on to blow. "No, I guess not," said he; "bumby the moon'll be up, and scoff away that 'ere loose stuff." His intonation set the phrase "scoff away" in quotation-marks as plain as print. So I put a query in each eye, and he went on. "Ther' was a Dutch cappen onct, an' his mate come to him in the cabin, where he sot takin' his schnapps, an' says, 'Cappen, it's agittin' thick, an' looks kin' o' squally, hedn't we's good's shorten sail?' 'Gimmy my alminick,' says the cappen. So he looks at it a spell, an' says he, 'The moon's due in less'n half an hour, an' she'll scoff away ev'ythin' clare agin.' So the mate he goes, an' bumby down he comes agin, an' says, 'Cappen, this 'ere's the allfiredest, powerfullest moon 't ever you did see. She's scoffed away the main-togallants'l, an' she's to work on the foretops'l now. Guess you'd better look in the alminick agin, and fin' out when this moon sets.' So the cappen thought 'twas 'bout time to go on deck. Dreadful slow them Dutch cappens be." And X. walked away, rumbling inwardly, like the rote of the sea heard afar.[Pg 1487]



As we approached the inn at Amherst, the Clockmaker grew uneasy. "It's pretty well on in the evening, I guess," said he, "and Marm Pugwash is as onsartin in her temper as a mornin' in April; it's all sunshine or all clouds with her, and if she's in one of her tantrums she'll stretch out her neck and hiss like a goose with a flock of goslin's. I wonder what on airth Pugwash was a-thinkin' on when he signed articles of partnership with that are woman; she's not a bad-lookin' piece of furniture, neither, and it's a proper pity sich a clever woman should carry sich a stiff upper lip. She reminds me of our old minister Joshua Hopewell's apple-trees.

"The old minister had an orchard of most particular good fruit, for he was a great hand at buddin', graftin', and what not, and the orchard (it was on the south side of the house) stretched right up to the road. Well, there were some trees hung over the fence, I never seed such bearers: the apples hung in ropes, for all the world like strings of onions, and the fruit was beautiful. Nobody touched the minister's apples, and when other folks lost their'n from the boys, his'n always hung there like bait t' a hook, but there never was so much as a nibble at 'em. So I said to him one day, 'Minister,' said I, 'how on airth do you manage to keep your fruit that's so exposed, when no one else can't do it nohow?' 'Why,' says he, 'they are dreadfully pretty fruit, ain't they?' 'I guess,' said I,[Pg 1488] 'there ain't the like on 'em in all Connecticut.' 'Well,' says he, 'I'll tell you the secret, but you needn't let on to no one about it. That are row next the fence, I grafted it myself: I took great pains to get the right kind. I sent clean up to Roxberry and away down to Squawneck Creek.' I was afeard he was a-goin' to give me day and date for every graft, bein' a terrible long-winded man in his stories; so says I, 'I know that, minister, but how do you preserve them?' 'Why, I was a-goin' to tell you,' said he, 'when you stopped me. That are outward row I grafted myself with the choicest kind I could find, and I succeeded. They are beautiful, but so etarnal sour, no human soul can eat them. Well, the boys think the old minister's graftin' has all succeeded about as well as that row, and they sarch no further. They snicker at my graftin', and I laugh in my sleeve, I guess, at their penetration.'

"Now, Marm Pugwash is like the minister's apples, very temptin' fruit to look at, but desperate sour. If Pugwash had a watery mouth when he married, I guess it's pretty puckery by this time. However, if she goes to act ugly, I'll give her a dose of 'soft sawder' that will take the frown out of her frontispiece and make her dial-plate as smooth as a lick of copal varnish. It's a pity she's such a kickin' devil, too, for she has good points,—good eye, good foot, neat pastern, fine chest, a clean set of limbs, and carries a good—But here we are. Now you'll see what 'soft sawder' will do."

When we entered the house, the travelers' room was all in darkness, and on opening the opposite door into the sitting-room we found the female part of the family extinguishing the fire for the night. Mrs. Pugwash had a broom in her hand, and was in the act (the last act of female housewifery) of sweeping the hearth. The strong flickering light of the fire, as it fell upon her tall,[Pg 1489] fine figure and beautiful face, revealed a creature worthy of the Clockmaker's comments.

"Good evening, marm," said Mr. Slick. "How do you do? and how's Mr. Pugwash?" "He!" said she: "why, he's been abed this hour. You don't expect to disturb him this time of night, I hope?" "Oh, no," said Mr. Slick, "certainly not, and I am sorry to have disturbed you, but we got detained longer than we expected; I am sorry that—" "So am I," said she, "but if Mr. Pugwash will keep an inn when he has no occasion to, his family can't expect no rest."

Here the Clockmaker, seeing the storm gathering, stooped down suddenly, and, staring intently, held out his hand and exclaimed: "Well, if that ain't a beautiful child! Come here, my little man, and shake hands along with me. Well, I declare, if that are little feller ain't the finest child I ever seed. What, not abed yet? Ah, you rogue, where did you get them are pretty rosy cheeks? Stole them from mama, eh? Well, I wish my old mother could see that child, it is such a treat. In our country," said he, turning to me, "the children are all as pale as chalk or as yaller as an orange. Lord! that are little feller would be a show in our country. Come to me, my man." Here the "soft sawder" began to operate. Mrs. Pugwash said, in a milder tone than we had yet heard, "Go, my dear, to the gentleman; go, dear." Mr. Slick kissed him, asked him if he would go to the States along with him, told him all the little girls would fall in love with him, for they didn't see such a beautiful face once in a month of Sundays. "Black eyes,—let me see,—ah, mama's eyes, too, and black hair also; as I am alive, you are mama's own boy, the very image of mama." "Do be seated, gentlemen," said Mrs. Pugwash. "Sally, make a fire in the next room." "She ought to be proud of you,"[Pg 1490] he continued. "Well, if I live to return here, I must paint your face, and have it put on my clocks, and our folks will buy the clocks for the sake of the face. Did you ever see," said he, again addressing me, "such a likeness between one human and another, as between this beautiful little boy and his mother?" "I am sure you have had no supper," said Mrs. Pugwash to me; "you must be hungry, and weary, too. I will get you a cup of tea." "I am sorry to give you so much trouble," said I. "Not the least trouble in the world," she replied; "on the contrary, a pleasure."

We were then shown into the next room, where the fire was now blazing up, but Mr. Slick protested he could not proceed without the little boy, and lingered behind to ascertain his age, and concluded by asking the child if he had any aunts that looked like mama.

As the door closed Mr. Slick said, "It's a pity she don't go well in gear. The difficulty with those critters is to git them to start: arter that there is no trouble with them, if you don't check 'em too short. If you do they'll stop again, run back and kick like mad, and then Old Nick himself wouldn't start 'em. Pugwash, I guess, don't understand the natur' of the crittur; she'll never go kind in harness for him. When I see a child," said the Clockmaker, "I always feel safe with these women-folk; for I have always found that the road to a woman's heart lies through her child."

"You seem," said I, "to understand the female heart so well, I make no doubt you are a general favorite among the fair sex." "Any man," he replied, "that understands horses has a pretty considerable fair knowledge of women, for they are jist alike in temper, and require the very identical same treatment. Encourage the timid ones, be gentle and steady with the fractious, but lather the sulky ones like blazes.[Pg 1491]

"People talk an everlastin' sight of nonsense about wine, women and horses. I've bought and sold 'em all, I've traded in all of them, and I tell you there ain't one in a thousand that knows a grain about either on 'em. You hear folks say, Oh, such a man is an ugly-grained critter, he'll break his wife's heart; jist as if a woman's heart was as brittle as a pipe-stalk. The female heart, as far as my experience goes, is jist like a new india-rubber shoe: you may pull and pull at it till it stretches out a yard long, and then let go, and it will fly right back to its old shape. Their hearts are made of stout leather, I tell you; there's a plaguy sight of wear in 'em.

"I never knowed but one case of a broken heart, and that was in t'other sex, one Washington Banks. He was a sneezer. He was tall enough to spit down on the heads of your grenadiers, and near about high enough to wade across Charlestown River, and as strong as a tow-boat. I guess he was somewhat less than a foot longer than the moral law and catechism, too. He was a perfect pictur' of a man; you couldn't fault him in no particular, he was so just a made critter; folks used to run to the winder when he passed, and say, 'There goes Washington Banks; beant he lovely!' I do believe there wasn't a gal in the Lowell factories that warn't in love with him. Sometimes, at intermission, on Sabbath-days, when they all came out together (an amazin' handsom' sight, too, near about a whole congregation of young gals), Banks used to say, 'I vow, young ladies, I wish I had five hundred arms to reciprocate one with each of you; but I reckon I have a heart big enough for you all; it's a whopper, you may depend, and every mite and morsel of it at your service.' 'Well, how you do act, Mr. Banks!' half a thousand little clipper-clapper tongues would say, all at the same time,[Pg 1492] and their dear little eyes sparklin' like so many stars twinklin' of a frosty night.

"Well, when I last seed him he was all skin and bone, like a horse turned out to die. He was teetotally defleshed, a mere walkin' skeleton. 'I am dreadful sorry,' says I, 'to see you, Banks, lookin' so peaked. Why, you look like a sick turkey-hen, all legs! What on airth ails you?' 'I'm dyin', says he, 'of a broken heart.' 'What!' I says I, 'have the gals been jiltin' you?' 'No, no,' says he; 'I beant such a fool as that, neither.' 'Well,' says I, 'have you made a bad speculation?' 'No,' says he, shakin' his head, 'I hope I have too much clear grit in me to take on so bad for that.' 'What under the sun is it, then?' said I. 'Why,' says he, 'I made a bet the fore part of the summer with Leftenant Oby Knowles that I could shoulder the best bower of the Constitution frigate. I won my bet, but the anchor was so etarnal heavy that it broke my heart.' Sure enough, he did die that very fall; and he was the only instance I ever heard tell of a broken heart."[Pg 1493]




All modern themes of poesy are spun so very fine,
That now the most amusing muse, e gratia, such as mine,
Is often forced to cut the thread that strings our recent rhymes,
And try the stronger staple of the good old classic times.


There lived and flourished long ago, in famous Athens town,
One Dædalus, a carpenter of genius and renown;
('Twas he who with an auger taught mechanics how to bore,—
An art which the philosophers monopolized before.)


His only son was Icarus, a most precocious lad,
The pride of Mrs. Dædalus, the image of his dad;
And while he yet was in his teens such progress he had made,
He'd got above his father's size, and much above his trade.
[Pg 1494]


Now Dædalus, the carpenter, had made a pair of wings,
Contrived of wood and feathers and a cunning set of springs,
By means of which the wearer could ascend to any height,
And sail about among the clouds as easy as a kite!


"O father," said young Icarus, "how I should like to fly!
And go like you where all is blue along the upper sky;
How very charming it would be above the moon to climb,
And scamper through the Zodiac, and have a high old time!


"Oh wouldn't it be jolly, though,—to stop at all the inns;
To take a luncheon at 'The Crab,' and tipple at 'The Twins';
And, just for fun and fancy, while careering through the air,
To kiss the Virgin, tease the Ram, and bait the biggest Bear?


"O father, please to let me go!" was still the urchin's cry;
"I'll be extremely careful, sir, and won't go very high;
Oh if this little pleasure-trip you only will allow,
I promise to be back again in time to fetch the cow!"
[Pg 1495]


"You're rather young," said Dædalus, "to tempt the upper air;
But take the wings, and mind your eye with very special care;
And keep at least a thousand miles below the nearest star;
Young lads, when out upon a lark, are apt to go too far!"


He took the wings—that foolish boy—without the least dismay;
His father stuck 'em on with wax, and so he soared away;
Up, up he rises, like a bird, and not a moment stops
Until he's fairly out of sight beyond the mountain-tops!


And still he flies—away—away; it seems the merest fun;
No marvel he is getting bold, and aiming at the sun;
No marvel he forgets his sire; it isn't very odd
That one so far above the earth should think himself a god!


Already, in his silly pride, he's gone too far aloft;
The heat begins to scorch his wings; the wax is waxing soft;
Down—down he goes!—Alas!—next day poor Icarus was found
Afloat upon the Ægean Sea, extremely damp and drowned!
[Pg 1496]


The moral of this mournful tale is plain enough to all:—
Don't get above your proper sphere, or you may chance to fall;
Remember, too, that borrowed plumes are most uncertain things;
And never try to scale the sky with other people's wings!
[Pg 1497]


("Swift's Cheerful Creed")


A bumper to the jolly Dean
Who, in "Augustan" times,
Made merriment for fat and lean
In jocund prose and rhymes!
Ah, but he drove a pranksome quill!
With quips he wove a spell;
His creed—he cried it with a will—
Was "Vive la bagatelle!"

Oh, there were reckless jesters then!
And when a man was hit,
He quick returned the stroke again
With trenchant blade of wit.
'Twas parry, thrust, and counter-thrust
That round the board befell;
They quaffed the wine and crunched the crust
With "Vive la bagatelle!"

How rang the genial laugh of Gay
At Pope's defiant ire!
How Parnell's sallies brought in play
The rapier wit of Prior!
And how o'er all the banter's shift—
The laughter's fall and swell—
Upleaped the great guffaw of Swift,
[Pg 1498]With "Vive la bagatelle!"

O moralist, frown not so dark,
Purse not thy lip severe;
'T will warm the heart if ye but hark
The mirth of "yester year."
To-day we wear too grave a face;
We slave,—we buy and sell;
Forget a while mad Mammon's race
In "Vive la bagatelle!"
[Pg 1499]



O Le Lupe, Gelett Burgess, this is very sad to find:
In The Bookman for September, in a manner most unkind,
There appears a half-page picture, makes me think I've lost my mind.

They have reproduced a window,—Doxey's window,—(I dare say
In your rambles you have seen it, passed it twenty times a day,)
As "A Novel Exhibition of Examples of Decay."

There is Nordau we all sneer at, and Verlaine we all adore,
And a little book of verses with its betters by the score,
With three faces on the cover I believe I've seen before.

Well, here's matter for reflection, makes me wonder where I am.
Here is Ibsen the gray lion, linked to Beardsley the black lamb.
[Pg 1500]I was never out of Boston: all that I can say is, "Damn!"

Who could think, in two short summers we should cause so much remark,
With no purpose but our pastime, and to make the public hark,
When I soloed on The Chap-Book, and you answered with The Lark!

Do young people take much pleasure when they read that sort of thing?
"Well, they buy it," answered Doxey, "and I take what it will bring.
Publishers may dread extinction—not with such fads on the string.

"There is always sale for something, and demand for what is new.
These young men who are so restless, and have nothing else to do,
Like to think there is 'a movement,' just to keep themselves in view.

"There is nothing in Decadence but the magic of a name.
People talk and papers drivel, scent a vice, and hint a shame;
And all that is good for business, helps to boom my little game."

But when I sit down to reason, think to stand upon my nerve,
Meditate on portly leisure with a balance in reserve,
[Pg 1501]In he comes with his "Decadence!" like a fly in my preserve.

I can see myself, O Burgess, half a century from now,
Laid to rest among the ghostly, like a broken toy somehow,
All my lovely songs and ballads vanished with your "Purple Cow."

But I will return some morning, though I know it will be hard,
To Cornhill among the bookstalls, and surprise some minor bard,
Turning over their old rubbish for the treasures we discard.

I shall warn him like a critic, creeping when his back is turned,
"Ink and paper, dead and done with; Doxey spent what Doxey earned;
Poems doubtless are immortal, where a poem can be discerned!"

How his face will go to ashes, when he feels his empty purse!
How he'll wish his vogue were greater; plume himself it is no worse;
Then go bother the dear public with his puny little verse!

Don't I know how he will pose it; patronize our larger time;
"Poor old Browning; little Kipling; what attempts they made to rhyme!"
[Pg 1502]Just let me have half an hour with the nincompoop sublime!

I will haunt him like a purpose, I will ghost him like a fear;
When he least expects my presence, I'll be mumbling in his ear,
"O Le Lupe lived in Frisco, and I lived in Boston here.

"Never heard of us? Good heavens, can you never have been told
Of the Larks we used to publish, and the Chap-Books that we sold?
Where are all our first edition?" I feel damp and full of mould.
[Pg 1503]



We are stopping quietly here, taking our meals in our rooms mostly, and going out very little indeed. When I say we, I use the term editorially.

We notice first of all the great contrast between this and other hotels, and in several instances this one is superior. In the first place, there is a sense of absolute security when one goes to sleep here that can not be felt at a popular hotel, where burglars secrete themselves in the wardrobe during the day and steal one's pantaloons and contents at night. This is one of the compensations of life in prison.

Here the burglars go to bed at the hour that the rest of us do. We all retire at the same time, and a murderer can not sit up any later at night than the smaller or unknown criminal can.

You can get to Ludlow Street Jail by taking the Second avenue Elevated train to Grand street, and then going east two blocks, or you can fire a shotgun into a Sabbath-school.

You can pay five cents to the Elevated Railroad and get here, or you can put some other man's nickel in your own slot and come here with an attendant.

William Marcy Tweed was the contractor of Ludlow Street Jail, and here also he died. He was the son of a poor chair-maker, and was born April 3, 1823. From the chair business in 1853 to congress was the first false step.[Pg 1504] Exhilarated by the delirium of official life, and the false joys of franking his linen home every week, and having cake and preserves franked back to him at Washington, he resolved to still further taste the delights of office, and in 1857 we find him as a school commissioner.

In 1860 he became Grand Sachem of the Tammany Society, an association at that time more purely political than politically pure. As president of the board of supervisors, head of the department of public works, state senator, and Grand Sachem of Tammany, Tweed had a large and seductive influence over the city and state. The story of how he earned a scanty livelihood by stealing a million of dollars at a pop, and thus, with the most rigid economy, scraped together $20,000,000 in a few years by patient industry and smoking plug tobacco, has been frequently told.

Tweed was once placed here in Ludlow Street Jail in default of $3,000,000 bail. How few there are of us who could slap up that amount of bail if rudely gobbled on the street by the hand of the law. While riding out with the sheriff, in 1875, Tweed asked to see his wife, and said he would be back in a minute.

He came back by way of Spain, in the fall of '76, looking much improved. But the malaria and dissipation of Blackwell's Island afterward impaired his health, and having done time there, and having been arrested afterward and placed in Ludlow Street Jail, he died here April 12, 1878, leaving behind him a large, vain world, and an equally vain judgment for $6,537,117.38, to which he said he would give his attention as soon as he could get a paving contract in the sweet ultimately.

From the exterior Ludlow Street Jail looks somewhat like a conservatory of music, but as soon as one enters he readily discovers his mistake. The structure has 100 feet[Pg 1505] frontage, and a court, which is sometimes called the court of last resort. The guest can climb out of this court by ascending a polished brick wall about 100 feet high, and then letting himself down in a similar way on the Ludlow street side.

That one thing is doing a great deal toward keeping quite a number of people here who would otherwise, I think, go away.

James D. Fish and Ferdinand Ward both remained here prior to their escape to Sing Sing. Red Leary, also, made his escape from this point, but did not succeed in reaching the penitentiary. Forty thousand prisoners have been confined in Ludlow Street Jail, mostly for civil offenses. A man in New York runs a very short career if he tries to be offensively civil.

As you enter Ludlow Street Jail the door is carefully closed after you, and locked by means of an iron lock about the size of a pictorial family Bible. You then remain on the inside for quite a spell. You do not hear the prattle of soiled children any more. All the glad sunlight, and stench-condensing pavements, and the dark-haired inhabitants of Rivington street, are seen no longer, and the heavy iron storm-door shuts out the wail of the combat from the alley near by. Ludlow Street Jail may be surrounded by a very miserable and dirty quarter of the city, but when you get inside all is changed.

You register first. There is a good pen there that you can write with, and the clerk does not chew tolu and read a sporting paper while you wait for a room. He is there to attend to business, and he attends to it. He does not seem to care whether you have any baggage or not. You can stay here for days, even if you don't have any baggage. All you need is a kind word and a mittimus from the court.[Pg 1506]

One enters this sanitarium either as a boarder or a felon. If you decide to come in as a boarder, you pay the warden $15 a week for the privilege of sitting at his table and eating the luxuries of the market. You also get a better room than at many hotels, and you have a good strong door, with a padlock on it, which enables you to prevent the sudden and unlooked-for entrance of the chambermaid. It is a good-sized room, with a wonderful amount of seclusion, a plain bed, table, chairs, carpet and so forth. After a few weeks at the seaside, at $19 per day, I think the room in which I am writing is not unreasonable at $2.

Still, of course, we miss the sea breeze.

You can pay $50 to $100 per week here if you wish, and get your money's worth, too. For the latter sum one may live in the bridal chamber, so to speak, and eat the very best food all the time.

Heavy iron bars keep the mosquitoes out, and at night the house is brilliantly lighted by incandescent lights of one-candle power each. Neat snuffers, consisting of the thumb and forefinger polished on the hair, are to be found in each occupied room.

Bread is served to the Freshmen and Juniors in rectangular wads. It is such bread as convicts' tears have moistened many thousand years. In that way it gets quite moist.

The most painful feature about life in Ludlow Street Jail is the confinement. One can not avoid a feeling of being constantly hampered and hemmed in.

One more disagreeable thing is the great social distinction here. The poor man who sleeps in a stone niche near the roof, and who is constantly elbowed and hustled out of his bed by earnest and restless vermin with a tendency toward insomnia, is harassed by meeting in the[Pg 1507] court-yard and corridors the paying boarders who wear good clothes, live well, have their cigars, brandy and Kentucky Sec all the time.

The McAllister crowd here is just as exclusive as it is on the outside.

But, great Scott! what a comfort it is to a man like me, who has been nearly killed by a cyclone, to feel the firm, secure walls and solid time lock when he goes to bed at night! Even if I can not belong to the 400, I am almost happy.

We retire at 7:30 o'clock at night and arise at 6:30 in the morning, so as to get an early start. A man who has five or ten years to stay in a place like this naturally likes to get at it as soon as possible each day, and so he gets up at 6:30.

We dress by the gaudy light of the candle, and while we do so, we remember far away at home our wife and the little boy asleep in her arms. They do not get up at 6:30. It is at this hour we remember the fragrant drawer in the dresser at home where our clean shirts, and collars and cuffs, and socks and handkerchiefs, are put every week by our wife. We also recall as we go about our stone den, with its odor of former corned beef, and the ghost of some bloody-handed predecessor's snore still moaning in the walls, the picture of green grass by our own doorway, and the apples that were just ripening, when the bench warrant came.

The time from 6:30 to breakfast is occupied by the average, or non-paying inmate, in doing the chamberwork and tidying up his state-room. I do not know how others feel about it, but I dislike chamberwork most heartily, especially when I am in jail. Nothing has done more to keep me out of jail, I guess, than the fact that while there I have to make up my bed and dust the piano.[Pg 1508]

Breakfast is generally table d'hôte and consists of bread. A tin-cup of coffee takes the taste of the bread out of your mouth, and then if you have some Limburger cheese in your pocket you can with that remove the taste of the coffee.

Dinner is served at 12 o'clock, and consists of more bread with soup. This soup has everything in it except nourishment. The bead on this soup is noticeable for quite a distance. It is disagreeable. Several days ago I heard that the Mayor was in the soup, but I didn't realize it before. I thought it was a newspaper yarn. There is everything in this soup, from shop-worn rice up to neat's-foot oil. Once I thought I detected cuisine in it.

The dinner menu is changed on Fridays, Sundays and Thursdays, on which days you get the soup first and the bread afterward. In this way the bread is saved.

Three days in a week each man gets at dinner a potato containing a thousand-legged worm. At 6 o'clock comes supper with toast and responses. Bread is served at supper time, together with a cup of tea. To those who dislike bread and never eat soup, or do not drink tea or coffee, life at Ludlow Street Jail is indeed irksome.

I asked for kumiss and a pony of Benedictine, as my stone boudoir made me feel rocky, but it has not yet been sent up.

Somehow, while here, I can not forget poor old man Dorrit, the Master of the Marshalsea, and how the Debtors' Prison preyed upon his mind till he didn't enjoy anything except to stand off and admire himself. Ludlow Street Jail is a good deal like it in many ways, and I can see how in time the canker of unrest and the bitter memories of those who did us wrong but who are basking in the bright and bracing air, while we, to meet their ob[Pg 1509]ligations, sacrifice our money, our health and at last our minds, would kill hope and ambition.

In a few weeks I believe I should also get a preying on my mind. That is about the last thing I would think of preying on, but a man must eat something.

Before closing this brief and incomplete account as a guest at Ludlow Street Jail I ought, in justice to my family, to say, perhaps, that I came down this morning to see a friend of mine who is here because he refuses to pay alimony to his recreant and morbidly sociable wife. He says he is quite content to stay here, so long as his wife is on the outside. He is writing a small ready-reference book on his side of the great problem, "Is Marriage a Failure?"

With this I shake him by the hand and in a moment the big iron storm-door clangs behind me, the big lock clicks in its hoarse, black throat and I welcome even the air of Ludlow street so long as the blue sky is above it.[Pg 1510]


The Adventure of My Lady's Letter


It was half-after six when I entered Martin's from the Broadway side. I chose a table by the north wall and sat down on the cushioned seat. I ordered dinner, and the ample proportions of it completely hoodwinked the waiter as to the condition of my cardiac affliction: being, as I was, desperately and hopelessly and miserably in love. Old owls say that a man can not eat when he is in love. He can if he is mad at the way the object of his affections has treated him; and I was mad. To be sure, I can not recall what my order was, but the amount of the waiter's check is still vivid to my recollection.

I glanced about. The café was crowded, as it usually is at this hour. Here and there I caught glimpses of celebrities and familiar faces: journalists, musicians, authors, artists and actors. This is the time they drop in to be pointed out to strangers from out of town. It's a capital advertisement. To-night, however, none of these interested me in the slightest degree; rather, their animated countenances angered me. How could they laugh and look happy!

At my left sat a young man about my own age. He was also in evening dress. At my right a benevolent old gentleman, whose eye-glasses balanced neatly upon the[Pg 1511] end of his nose, was deeply interested in The Law Journal and a pint pf mineral water. A little beyond my table was an exiled Frenchman, and the irritating odor of absinthe drifted at times across my nostrils.

With my coffee I ordered a glass of Dantzic, and watched the flakes of beaten gold waver and settle; and presently I devoted myself entirely to my own particularly miserable thoughts.... To be in love and in debt! To be with the gods one moment and hunted by a bill-collector the next! To have the girl you love snub and dismiss you for no more lucid reason than that you did not attend the dance at the Country Club when you promised you would! It did not matter that you had a case on that night from which depended a large slice of your bread and butter; no, that did not matter. Neither did the fact that you had mixed the dates. You had promised to go, and you hadn't gone or notified the girl that you wouldn't go. Your apologetic telegram she had torn into halves and returned the following morning, together with a curt note to the effect that she could not value the friendship of a man who made and broke a promise so easily. It was all over. It was a dashed hard world. How the deuce do you win a girl, anyhow?

Supposing, besides, that you possessed a rich uncle who said that on the day of your wedding he would make over to you fifty thousand in Government three per cents? Hard, wasn't it? Suppose that you were earning about two thousand a year, and that the struggle to keep up smart appearances was a keen one. Wouldn't you have been eager to marry, especially the girl you loved? A man can not buy flowers twice a week, dine before and take supper after the theater twice a week, belong (and pay dues and house-accounts) to a country club, a town club and keep respectable bachelor apartments on two[Pg 1512] thousand ... and save anything. And suppose the girl was independently rich? Heigh-ho!

I find that a man needs more money in love than he does in debt. This is not to say that I was ever very hard pressed; but I hated to pay ten dollars "on account" when the total was only twenty. You understand me, don't you? If you don't, somebody who reads this will. Of course, the girl knew nothing about these things. A young man always falls into the fault of magnifying his earning capacity to the girl he loves. You see, I hadn't told her yet that I loved her, though I was studying up somebody on Moral and Physical Courage for that purpose.

And now it was all over!

I did not care so much about my uncle's gold-bonds, but I did think a powerful lot of the girl. Why, when I recall the annoyances I've put up with from that kid brother of hers!... Pshaw, what's the use?

His mother called him "Toddy-One-Boy," in memory of a book she had read long years ago. He was six years old, and I never think of him without that jingle coming to mind:

"Little Willie choked his sister,
She was dead before they missed her.
Willie's always up to tricks.
Ain't he cute, he's only six!"

He had the face of a Bouguereau cherub, and mild blue eyes such as we are told inhabit the countenances of angels. He was the most innocent-looking chap you ever set eyes on. His mother called him an angel; I should hate to tell you what the neighbors called him. He lacked none of that subtle humor so familiar in child-life. Heavens! the deeds I could (if I dared) enumerate.[Pg 1513] They turned him loose among the comic supplements one Sunday, and after that it was all over.

Hadn't he emptied his grandma's medicine capsules and substituted cotton? And hadn't dear old grandma come down stairs three days later, saying that she felt much improved? Hadn't he beaten out the brains of his toy bank and bought up the peanut man on the corner? Yes, indeed! And hadn't he taken my few letters from his sister's desk and played postman up and down the street? His papa thought it all a huge joke till one of the neighbors brought back a dunning dressmaker's bill that had lain on the said neighbor's porch. It was altogether a different matter then. Toddy-One-Boy crawled under the bed that night, and only his mother's tears saved him from a hiding.

All these I thought over as I sat at my table. She knew that I would have gone had it been possible. Women and logic are only cousins german. Six months ago I hadn't been in love with any one but myself, and now the Virgil of love's dream was leading me like a new Dante through his Inferno, and was pointing out the foster-brother of Sisyphus (if he had a foster-brother), pushing the stone of my lady's favor up the steeps of Forlorn Hope. Well, I would go up to the club, and if I didn't get home till mor-r-ning, who was there to care?

The Frenchman had gone, and the benevolent old gentleman. The crowd was thinning out. The young man at my left rose, and I rose also. We both stared thoughtfully at the hat-rack. There hung two hats: an opera-hat and a dilapidated old stovepipe. The young fellow reached up and, quite naturally, selected the opera-hat. He glanced into it, and immediately a wrinkle of annoyance darkened his brow. He held the hat toward me.

"Is this yours?" he asked.[Pg 1514]

I looked at the label.

"No." The wrinkle of annoyance sprang from his brow to mine. My opera-hat had cost me eight dollars.

The young fellow laughed rather lamely. "Do you live in New York?" he asked.

I nodded.

"So do I," he continued; "and yet it is evident that both of us have been neatly caught." He thought for a moment, then brightened. "I'll tell you what; let's match for the good one."

I gazed indignantly at the rusty stovepipe. "Done!" said I.

I lost; I knew that I should; and the young fellow walked off with the good hat. Then, with the relic in my hand, a waiter and myself began a systematic search. My hat was nowhere to be found. How the deuce was I to get up town to the club? I couldn't wear the old plug; I wasn't rich enough for such an eccentricity. I had nothing but a silk hat at the apartment, and I hated it because it was always in the way when I entered carriages and elevators.

Angrily, I strode up to the cashier's desk and explained the situation, leaving my address and the number of my apartment; my name wasn't necessary.

Troubles never come singly. Here I had lost my girl and my hat, to say nothing of my temper—of the three the most certain to be found again. I passed out of the café, bareheaded and hotheaded. I hailed a cab and climbed in. I had finally determined to return to my rooms and study. I simply could not afford to be seen with that stovepipe hat either on my head or under my arm. Had I been green from college it is probable that I should have worn it proudly and defiantly. But I had left college behind these six years.[Pg 1515]

Hang these old duffers who are so absent-minded! For I was confident that the benevolent old gentleman was the cause of all this confusion. Inside the cab I tried on the thing, just to get a picture in my mind of the old gentleman going it up Broadway with my opera-hat on his head. The hat sagged over my ears; and I laughed. The picture I had conjured up was too much for my anger, which vanished suddenly. And once I had laughed I felt a trifle more agreeable toward the world. So long as a man can see the funny side of things he has no active desire to leave life behind; and laughter does more to lighten his sorrows than sympathy, which only aggravates them.

After all, the old gentleman would feel the change more sharply than I. This was, in all probability, the only hat he had. I turned it over and scrutinized it. It was a genteel old beaver, with an air of respectability that was quite convincing. There was nothing smug about it, either. It suggested amiability in the man who had recently possessed it. It suggested also a mild contempt for public opinion, which is always a sign of superior mentality and advanced years. I began to draw a mental portrait of the old man. He was a family lawyer, doubtless, who lived in the past and hugged his retrospections. When we are young there is never any vanishing point to our day-dreams. Well, well! On the morrow he would have a new hat, of approved shape and pattern; unless, indeed, he possessed others like this which had fallen into my keeping. Perhaps he would soon discover his mistake, return to the café and untangle the snarl. I sincerely hoped he would. As I remarked, my hat had cost me eight dollars.

I soon arrived at my apartments, and got into a smoking-jacket. I rather delight in lolling around in a dress-shirt;[Pg 1516] it looks so like the pictures we see in the fashionable novels. I picked up Blackstone and turned to his "promissory notes." I had two or three out myself. It was nine o'clock when the hall-boy's bell rang, and I placed my ear to the tube. A gentleman wished to see me in regard to a lost hat.

"Send him up, James; send him up!" I bawled down the tube. Visions of the club returned, and I tossed Blackstone into a corner.

Presently there came a tap on the door, and I flung it wide. But my visitor was not the benevolent old gentleman. He was the Frenchman whose absinthe had offended me. He glanced at the slip of paper in his hand.

"I have zee honaire to address zee—ah—gentleman in numbaire six?"

"I live here."

"Delight'! We have meexed zee hats, I have zee r-r-regret. Ees thees your hat?" He held out, for my inspection, an opera-hat. "I am so absent-mind'—what you call deestrait?"—affably.

I took the hat, which at first glance I thought to be mine, and went over to the rack, taking down the old stovepipe.

"This is yours, then?" I said, smiling.

"Thousand thanks, m'sieu! Eet ees certain mine. I have zee honaire to beg pardon for zee confusion. My compliments! Good night!"

Without giving the hat a single glance, he clapped it on his head, bowed and disappeared, leaving me his card. He hadn't been gone two minutes when I discovered that the hat he had exchanged for the stovepipe was not mine. It came from the same firm, but the initials proved it without doubt to belong to the young fellow I had met at the table. I said some uncomplimentary things. Where[Pg 1517] the deuce was my hat? Evidently the benevolent old gentleman hadn't waked up yet.

Ting-a-ling! It was the boy's bell again.


"Another man after a hat. What's goin' on?"

"Send him up!" I yelled. It came over me that the Frenchman had made a second mistake.

I was not disappointed this time in my visitor. It was the benevolent old gentleman. Evidently he had not located his hat either, and might not for some time to come. I began to believe that I had given it to the Frenchman. He seemed terribly excited.

"You are the gentleman who occupies number six?"

"Yes, sir. This is my apartment. You have come in regard to a hat?"

"Yes, sir. My name is Chittenden. Our hats got mixed up at Martin's this evening; my fault, as usual. I am always doing something absurd, my memory is so bad. When I discovered my mistake I was calling on the family of a client with whom I had spent most of the afternoon. I missed some valuable papers, legal documents. I believed as usual that I had forgotten to take them with me. They were nowhere to be found at the house. My client has a very mischievous son, and it seems that he stuffed the papers behind the inside band of my hat. With them there was a letter. I have had two very great scares. A great deal of trouble would ensue if the papers were lost. I just telephoned that I had located the hat." He laughed pleasantly.

Good heavens! here was a howdy-do.

"My dear Mr. Chittenden, there has been a great confusion," I faltered. "I had your hat, but—but you have come too late."

"Too late?" he roared, or I should say, to be exact, shouted.[Pg 1518]

"Yes, sir."

"What have you done with it?"

"Not five minutes ago I gave it to a Frenchman, who seemed to recognize it as his. It was the Frenchman, if you will remember, who sat near your table in the café."

"And this hat isn't yours, then?"—helplessly.

"This" was a flat-brimmed hat of the Paris boulevards, the father of all stovepipe hats, dear to the Frenchman's heart.

"Candidly, now," said I with a bit of excusable impatience, "do I look like a man who would wear a hat like that?"

He surveyed me miserably through his eye-glasses.

"No, I can't say that you do. But what in the world am I to do?" He mopped his brow in the ecstasy of anguish. "The hat must be found. The legal papers could be replaced, but.... You see, sir, that boy put a private letter of his sister's in the band of that hat, and it must be recovered at all hazards."

"I am very sorry, sir."

"But what shall I do?"

"I do not see what can be done save for you to leave word at the café. The Frenchman is doubtless a frequenter, and may easily be found. If you had come a few moments sooner...."

With a gurgle of dismay he fled, leaving me with a half-finished sentence hanging on my lips and the Frenchman's chapeau hanging on my fingers. And my hat; where was my hat? (I may as well add here, in parenthesis, that the disappearance of my eight-dollar hat still remains a mystery. I have had to buy a new one.)

So the boy had put a letter of his sister's in the band of the hat, I mused. How like her kid brother! It seemed that more or less families had Toddy-One-Boys to look[Pg 1519] after. Pshaw! what a muddle because a man couldn't keep his thoughts from wool-gathering!

Well, here I had two hats, neither of which was mine. I could, at a pinch, wear the opera-hat, as it was the exact size of the one I had lost. But what was to be done with the Frenchman's?... Fool that I was! I rushed over to the table. The Frenchman had left his card, and I had forgotten all about it. And I hadn't asked the benevolent old gentleman where he lived. The Frenchman's card read: "M. de Beausire, No. —— Washington Place." I decided to go myself to the address, state the matter to Monsieur de Beausire, and rescue the letter. I knew all about these Toddy-One-Boys, and I might be doing some girl a signal service.

I looked at my watch. It was closing on to ten. So I reluctantly got into my coat again, drew on a topcoat, and put on the hat that fitted me. Probably the girl had been writing some fortunate fellow a love-letter. No gentleman will ever overlook a chance to do a favor for a young girl in distress. I had scarcely drawn my stick from the umbrella-jar when the bell rang once again.

"Hello!" I called down the tube. Why couldn't they let me be?

"Lady wants to see you, sir."

"A lady!"

"Yes, sir. A real lady; l-a-d-y. She says she's come to see the gentleman in number six about a plug hat. What's the graft, anyway?"

"A plug hat!"

"Yes, sir; a plug hat. She seems a bit anxious. Shall I send her up? She's a peach."

"Yes, send her up," I answered feebly enough.

And now there was a woman in the case! I wiped the perspiration from my brow and wondered what I should[Pg 1520] say to her. A woman.... By Jove! the sister of the mischievous boy! Old Chittenden must have told her where he had gone, and as he hasn't shown up, she's worried. It must be a tremendously important letter to cause all this hubbub. So I laid aside my hat and waited, tugging and gnawing at my mustache.... Had the Girl acted reasonably I shouldn't have gone to Martin's that night.

How easy it is for a woman to hurt the man she knows I is in love with her! And the Girl had hurt me more than I was willing to confess even to myself. She had implied that I had carelessly broken an engagement.

Soon there came a gentle tapping. Certainly the young woman had abundant pluck. I approached the door quickly, and flung it open.

The Girl herself stood on the threshold, and we stared at each other with bewildered eyes!


She was the most exquisite creature in all the wide world; and here she was, within reach of my hungry arms!

"You?" she cried, stepping back, one hand at her throat and the other against the jamb of the door.

Dumb as ever was Lot's wife (after the turning-point in her career), I stood and stared and admired. A woman would instantly have noticed the beauty of her sables, but I was a man to whom such details were inconsequent.

"I did not expect ... that is, only the number of the apartment was given," she stammered. "I ..." Then her slender figure straightened, and with an effort she subdued the fright and dismay which had evidently seized her. "Have you Mr. Chittenden's hat?"[Pg 1521]

"Mr. Chittenden's hat?" I repeated, with a tingling in my throat similar to that when you hit your elbow smartly on a corner. "Mr. Chittenden's hat?"

"Yes; he is so thoughtless that I dared not trust him to search for it alone. Have you got it?"

Heavens! how my heart beat at the sight of this beautiful being, as she stood there, palpitating between shame and anxiety! She was beautiful; and I knew instantly that I loved her better than anything else on earth.

"Mr. Chittenden's hat," I continued, as lucid as a trained parrot and in tones not wholly dissimilar.

"Can't you say anything more than that?"—impatiently.

How much more easily a woman recovers her poise than a man, especially when that man gives himself over as tamely as I did!

"Was it your letter he was seeking?" I cried, all eagerness and excitement as this one sane thought entered my head.

"Did he tell you that there was a letter in it?"—scornfully.

"Yes,"—guiltily. Heaven only knows why I should have had any sense of guilt.

"Give it to me at once,"—imperatively.

"The hat or the letter?" Truly, I did not know what I was about. Only one thing was plain to my confused mind, and that was the knowledge that I wanted to put my arms around her and carry her far, far away from Toddy-One-Boy.

"Are you mad, to anger me in this fashion?" she said, balling her little gloved hands wrathfully. Had there been real lightning in her eyes I'd have been dead this long while. "Do you dare believe that I knew you lived in this apartment?"[Pg 1522]

"I ... haven't the hat."

"You dared to search it?"—drawing herself up to a supreme height, which was something less than five-feet-two.

I became angry, and somehow found myself.

"I never pry into other people's affairs. You are the last person I expected to see this night."

"Will you answer a single question? I promise not to intrude further upon your time, which, doubtless, is very valuable. Have you either the hat or the letter?"

"Neither. I knew nothing about any letter till Mr. Chittenden came. But he came too late."

"Too late?"—in an agonized whisper.

"Yes, too late. I had, unfortunately, given his hat to another gentleman who made a trifling mistake in thinking it to be his own." Suddenly my manners returned to me. "Will you come in?"

"Come in? No! You have given the hat to another man? A trifling mistake! He calls it a trifling mistake!"—addressing the heavens, obscured though they were by the thickness of several ceilings. "Oh, what shall I do?" She began to wring her hands, and when a woman does that what earthly hope is there for the man who looks on?

"Don't do that!" I implored. "I'll find the hat." At a word from her, for all she had trampled on me, I would gladly have gone to Honolulu in search of a hat-pin. "The gentleman left me his card. With your permission I will go at once in search of him."

"I have a cab outside. Give me the address."

"I refuse to permit you to go alone."

"You have absolutely nothing to say in regard to where I shall or shall not go."

"In this one instance. I shall withhold the address."

How her eyes blazed![Pg 1523]

"Oh, it is easily to be seen that you do not trust me." I was utterly discouraged.

"I did not imply that," with the least bit of softening. "Certainly I would trust you. But ..."

"Well?"—as laughingly as I could.

"I must be the one to take out that letter,"—decidedly.

"I offer to bring you the hat untouched," I replied.

"I insist on going."

"Very well; we shall go together; under no other circumstances. This is a common courtesy that I would show to a perfect stranger."

I put on my hat, took up the Frenchman's card and tile, and bowed her gravely into the main hallway. We did not speak on the way down to the street. We entered the cab in silence, and went rumbling off southwest. When the monotony became positively unbearable I spoke.

"I regret to force myself upon you."

No reply.

"It must be a very important letter."

"To no one but myself,"—with extreme frigidity.

"His father ought to wring his neck,"—thinking of Toddy-One-Boy.

"Sir, he is my brother!"

"I beg your pardon." It seemed that I wasn't getting on very well.

We bumped across the Broadway tracks. Once or twice our shoulders touched, and the thrill I experienced was as painful as it was rapturous. What was in a letter that she should go to this extreme to recall it? A heat-flash of jealousy went over me. She had written to some other fellow; for there always is some other fellow, hang him!... And then a grand idea came into my erstwhile stupid head. Here she was, alone with me in a cab. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I could force her to listen to my explanation.[Pg 1524]

"I received your note," I began. "It was cruel and without justice."

Her chin went up a degree.

"The worst criminal is not condemned without a hearing, and I have had none."

No perceptible movement.

"We are none of us infallible in keeping appointments. We are liable to make mistakes occasionally. Had I known that Tuesday night was the night of the dance I'd have crossed to Jersey in a rowboat."

The chin remained precipitously inclined.

"I am poor, and the case involved some of my bread and butter. The work was done at ten, and even then I did not discover that I had in any way affronted you. I had it down in my note-book as Wednesday night."

The lips above the chin curled slightly.

"You see," I went on, striving to keep my voice even-toned, "my uncle is rich, but I ask no odds of him. I live entirely upon what I earn at law. It's the only way I can maintain my individuality, my self-respect and independence. My uncle has often expressed his desire to make me a handsome allowance, but what would be the use ... now?"—bitterly.

The chin moved a little. It was too dark to see what this movement expressed.

"It seems that I am only a very unfortunate fellow."

"You had given me your promise."

"I know it."

"Not that I cared,"—with cat-like cruelty; "but I lost the last train out while waiting for you. Not even a note to warn me! Not the slightest chance to find an escort! When a man gives his promise to a lady it does not seem possible that he could forget it ... if he cared to keep it."[Pg 1525]

"I tell you honestly that I mixed the dates." How weak my excuses seemed, now that they had passed my lips!

"You are sure that you mixed nothing else?"—ironically. (She afterward apologized for this.) "It appears that it would have been better to come alone."

"I regret I did not give you the address."

"It is not too late."

"I never retreat from any position I have taken."


Then both our chins assumed an acute angle and remained thus. When a woman is angry she is about as reasonable as a frightened horse; when a man is angry he longs to hit something or smoke a cigar. Imagine my predicament!

When the cab reached Washington Place and came to a stand I spoke again.

"Shall I take the hat in, or will you?"

"We shall go together."

Ah, if only I had had the courage to say: "I would it were for ever!" But I feared that it wouldn't take.

I rang the bell, and presently a maid opened the door.

"Is Monsieur de Beausire in?" I asked.

"No, sir, he is not," the maid answered civilly.

"Do you know where he may be found?"

"If you have a bill you may leave it,"—frostily and with sudden suspicion.

There was a smothered sound from behind me, and I flushed angrily.

"I am not a bill-collector."

"Oh; it's the second day of the month, you know. I thought perhaps you were."

"He has in his possession a hat which does not belong to him."

"Good gracious, he hasn't been stealing? I don't believe"—making as though to shut the door.[Pg 1526]

This was too much, and I laughed. "No, my girl; he hasn't been stealing. But, being absent-minded, he has taken another man's hat, and I am bringing his home in hopes of getting the one he took by mistake."

"Oh!" And the maid laughed shrilly.

I held out the hat.

"My land! that's his hat, sure enough. I was wondering what made him look so funny when he went out."

"Where has he gone?" came sharply over my shoulder.

"If you will wait," said the maid good-naturedly, "I will inquire."

We waited. So far as I was concerned, I hoped he was miles away, and that we might go on riding for hours and hours. The maid returned soon.

"He has gone to meet the French consul at Mouquin's."

"Which one?" I asked. "There are two, one down and one up town."

"I'm sure I don't know. You can leave the hat and your card."

"Thank you; we shall retain the hat. If we find monsieur he will need it."

"I'm sorry," said the maid sympathetically. "He's the worst man you ever saw for forgetting things. Sometimes he goes right by the house and has to walk back."

"I'm sorry to have bothered you," said I; and the only girl in the world and myself reëntered the cab.

"This is terrible!" she murmured as we drove off.

"It might be worse," I replied, thinking of the probable long ride with her: perhaps the last I should ever take!

"How could it be!"

I had nothing to offer, and subsided for a space.

"If we should not find him!"

"I'll sit on his front stoop all night.... Forgive[Pg 1527] me if I sound flippant; but I mean it." Snow was in the air, and I considered it a great sacrifice on my part to sit on a cold stone in the small morning hours. It looks flippant in print, too, but I honestly meant it. "I am sorry. You are in great trouble of some sort, I know; and there's nothing in the world I would not do to save you from this trouble. Let me take you home and continue the search alone. I'll find him if I have to search the whole town."

"We shall continue the search together,"—wearily.

What had she written to this other fellow? Did she love some one else and was she afraid that I might learn who it was? My heart became as lead in my bosom. I simply could not lose this charming creature. And now, how was I ever to win her?

It was not far up town to the restaurant, and we made good time.

"Would you know him if you saw him?" she asked as we left the cab.

"Not the least doubt of it,"—confidently.

She sighed, and together we entered the restaurant. It was full of theater-going people, music and the hum of voices. We must have created a small sensation, wandering from table to table, from room to room, the girl with a look of dread and weariness on her face, and I with the Frenchman's hat grasped firmly in my hand and my brows scowling. If I hadn't been in love it would have been a fine comedy. Once I surprised her looking toward the corner table near the orchestra. How many joyous Sunday dinners we had had there! Heigh-ho!

"Is that he?" she whispered, clutching my arm of a sudden, her gaze directed to a near-by table.

I looked and shook my head.

"No; my Frenchman had a mustache and a goatee."[Pg 1528]

Her hand dropped listlessly. I confess to the thought that it must have been very trying for her. What a plucky girl she was! She held me in contempt, and yet she clung to me, patiently and unmurmuring. And I had lost her!

"We may have to go down town.... No! as I live, there he is now!"

"Where?" There was half a sob in her throat.

"The table by the short flight of stairs ... the man just lighting the cigarette. I'll go alone."

"But I can not stand here alone in the middle of the floor...."

I called a waiter. "Give this lady a chair for a moment;" and I dropped a coin in his palm. He bowed, and beckoned for her to follow.... Women are always writing fool things, and then moving Heaven and earth to recall them.

"Monsieur de Beausire?" I said.

Beausire glanced up.

"Oh, eet ees ... I forget zee name?"

I told him.

"I am delight'!" he cried joyfully, as if he had known me all my life. "Zee chair; be seat'...."

"Thank you, but it's about the hats."


"Yes. It seems that the hat I gave you belongs to another man. In your haste you did not notice the mistake. This is your hat,"—producing the shining tile.

"Mon Dieu!" he gasped, seizing the hat; "eet ees mine! See! I bring heem from France; zee nom ees mine. V'là! And I nevaire look in zee uzzer hat! I am pairfickly dumfound'!" And his astonishment was genuine.

"Where is the other hat: the one I gave you?" I was in a great hurry.

"I have heem here," reaching to the vacant chair at his[Pg 1529] side, while the French consul eyed us both with some suspicion. We might be lunatics. Beausire handed me the benevolent old gentleman's hat, and the burden dropped from my shoulders. "Eet ees such a meestake! I laugh; eh?" He shook with merriment. "I wear two hats and not know zee meestake!"

I thanked him and made off as gracefully as I could. The girl rose as she saw me returning. When I reached her side she was standing with her slender body inclined toward me. She stretched forth a hand and solemnly I gave her Mr. Chittenden's hat. I wondered vaguely if anybody was looking at us, and, if so, what he thought of us.

The girl pulled the hat literally inside out in her eagerness; but her gloved fingers trembled so that the precious letter fluttered to the floor. We both stooped, but I was quicker. It was no attempt on my part to see the address; my act was one of common politeness. But I could not help seeing the name. It was my own!

"Give it to me!" she cried breathlessly.

I did so. I was not, at that particular moment, capable of doing anything else. I was too bewildered. My own name! She turned, hugging the hat, the legal documents and the letter, and hurried down the main stairs, I at her heels.

"Tell the driver my address; I can return alone."

"I can not permit that," I objected decidedly. "The driver is a stranger to us both. I insist on seeing you to the door; after that you may rest assured that I shall no longer inflict upon you my presence, odious as it doubtless is to you."

As she was already in the cab and could not get out without aid, I climbed in beside her and called the street and number to the driver.[Pg 1530]

"Legally the letter is mine; it is addressed to me, and had passed out of your keeping."

"You shall never, never have it!"—vehemently.

"It is not necessary that I should," I replied; "for I vaguely understand."

I saw that it was all over. There was now no reason why I should not speak my mind fully.

"I can understand without reading. You realized that your note was cruel and unlike anything you had done, and your good heart compelled you to write an apology; but your pride got the better of you, and upon second thought you concluded to let the unmerited hurt go on."

"Will you kindly stop, the driver, or shall I?"

"Does truth annoy you?"

"I decline to discuss truth with you. Will you stop the driver?"

"Not until we reach Seventy-first Street West."

"By what right—"

"The right of a man who loves you. There, it is out, and my pride has gone down the wind. After to-night I shall trouble you no further. But every man has the right to tell one woman that he loves her; and I love you. I loved you the moment I first laid eyes on you. I couldn't help it. I say this to you now because I perceive how futile it is. What dreams I have conjured up about you! Poor fool! When I was at work your face was always crossing the page or peering up from the margins. I never saw a fine painting that I did not think of you, or heard a fine piece of music that I did not think of your voice."

There was a long interval of silence; block after block went by. I never once looked at her.

"If I had been rich I should have put it to the touch some time ago; but my poverty seems to have been for[Pg 1531]tunate; it has saved me a refusal. In some way I have mortally offended you; how, I can not imagine. It can not be simply because I innocently broke an engagement."

Then she spoke.

"You dined after the theater that night with a comic-opera singer. You were quite at liberty to do so, only you might have done me the honor to notify me that you had made your choice of entertainment."

So it was out! Decidedly it was all over now. I never could explain away the mistake.

"I have already explained to you my unfortunate mistake. There was and is no harm that I can see in dining with a woman of her attainments. But I shall put up no defense. You have convicted me. I retract nothing I have said. I do love you."

I was very sorry for myself.

Cabby drew up. I alighted, and she silently permitted me to assist her down. I expected her immediately to mount the steps. Instead, she hesitated, the knuckle of a forefinger against her lips, and assumed the thoughtful pose of one who contemplates two courses.

"Have you a stamp?" she asked finally.

"A stamp?"—blankly.

"Yes; a postage-stamp."

I fumbled in my pocket and found, luckily, a single pink square, which I gave to her. She moistened it with the tip of her tongue and ... stuck it on the letter!

"Now, please, drop this in the corner box for me, and take this hat over to Mr. Chittenden's—Sixty-ninth."


"Do as I say, or I shall ask you to return the letter to me."

I rushed off toward the letter-box, drew down the lid, and deposited the letter—my letter. When I turned she[Pg 1532] was running up the steps, and a second later she had disappeared.

I hadn't been so happy in all my life!

Cabby waited at the curb.

Suddenly I became conscious that I was holding something in my hand. It was the benevolent old gentleman's stovepipe hat!

I pushed the button: pushed it good and hard. Presently I heard a window open cautiously.

"What is it?" asked a querulous voice.

"Mr. Chittenden?"


"Well, here's your hat!" I cried.[Pg 1533]



The fust case I ever had in a Justice Court I emploid old Bob Leggins, who was a sorter of a self-eddicated fool. I giv him two dollars in advanse, and he argud the case as I thot, on two sides, and was more luminus agin me than for me. I lost the case, and found out atterwards that the defendant had employed Leggins atter I did, and gin him five dollars to lose my case. I look upon this as a warnin' to all klients to pay big fees and keep your lawyer out of temtashun.

My xperience in litigashun hav not been satisfaktory. I sued Sugar Black onst for the price of a lode of shuks. He sed he wanted to buy sum ruffness, and I agreed to bring him a lode of shuks for two dollers. My waggin got broke and he got tired a waitin', and sent out atter the shuks himself. When I called on him for the pay, he seemed surprised, and sed it had cost him two dollars and a half to hav the shuks hauld, and that I justly owd him a half a dollar. He were more bigger than I was, so I swallered my bile and sued him. His lawyer pled a set-off for haulin'. He pled that the shuks was unsound; that they was barred by limitashuns; that they didn't agree with his cow; and that he never got any shuks from me. He spoak about a hour, and allooded to me as a swindler about forty-five times. The bedevild jewry went out, and brot in a verdik agin me for fifty cents, and four dollars for costs. I hain't saved many shuks on my plantashun[Pg 1534] sence, and I don't intend to til it gits less xpensiv! I look upon this as a warnin' to all foaks never to go to law about shuks, or any other small sirkumstanse.

The next trubble I had was with a feller I hired to dig me a well. He was to dig it for twenty dollers, and I was to pay him in meat and meal, and sich like. The vagabon kep gittin' along til he got all the pay, but hadn't dug nary a foot in the ground. So I made out my akkount, and sued him as follers, to wit:

Old John Hanks, to Bill Arp   Dr.
To 1 well you didn't dig$20

Well, Hanks, he hired a cheep lawyer, who rared round xtensively, and sed a heep of funny things at my xpense, and finally dismissd my case for what he calld its "ridikulum abserdum." I paid those costs, and went home a sadder and a wiser man. I pulld down my little kabbin and mooved it sum three hundred yards nigher the spring, and I hav drunk mity little well water sence. I look upon this case as a warnin' to all foaks never to pay for enything till you git it, espeshally if it has to be dug.

The next law case I had I ganed it all by myself, by the forse of sirkumstanses. I bot a man's note that was giv for the hire of a nigger boy, Dik. Findin' he wouldn't pay me, I sued him before old Squire Maginnis, beleevin' that it was sich a ded thing that the devil couldn't keep me out of a verdik. The feller pled failur of konsiderashun, and non est faktum, and ignis fatuis, and infansy, and that the nigger's name wasn't Dik, but Richard. The old Squire was a powerful sesesh, and hated the Yankees amazin'. So atter the lawyer had got thru his speech and finished up his readin' from a book called "Greenleaf," I rose forward to a attitood. Stretchin' forth my arms, ses I: "Squire Maginnis, I would ax, sur, if this is a time[Pg 1535] in the histry of our afflikted kountry when Yankee law books should be admitted in a Southern patriot's Court? Hain't we got a State of our own and a code of Georgy laws that's printed on Georgy sile? On the very fust page of the gentleman's book I seed the name of the sitty of Bosting. Yes, sur, it was ritten in Bosting, where they don't know no more about the hire of a nigger than an ox knows the man who will tan his hide." I sed sum more things that was pinted and patriotik, and closd my argyment by handin' the book to the Squire. He put on his speks, and atter lookin' at the book about a minit, ses he:

"Mr. Arp, you can have a judgment, and I hope that from hensefourth no lawyer will presoom to cum before this honerabul court with pisen dokyments to proove his case. If he do, this court will take it as an insult, and send him to jail."

I look upon this case as a warnin' to all foaks who gambel in law to hold a good hand and play it well. High jestice and patriotism are winning trumps.

My next case was about steelin' a hog. Larseny from the woods, I think they call it. I didn't hav but one hog, and we had to let him run out to keep him alive, for akorns was cheeper than corn at my house. Old Romulus Ramsour sorter wanted sum fresh meat, and so he shot my shote in the woods, and was catched carrying him home. He had cut off his ears and throwed 'em away; but we found 'em, with the under bit in the right and swaller fork in the left, and so Romulus was brot up square before the jewry, and his defense was that it was a wild hog. The jewry was out about two hours and brot in a verdik: "We, the jewry, know that shortly atter the war the kountry was scarce of provishuns, and in considerashun of the hard time our poor peepul had in maintainin' their families, and the temtashuns that surrounded 'em, we find the[Pg 1536] defendant not guilty, but we rekommend him not to do so any more." The motto of this case is that a man ortent to keep hogs in a poor naberhood.

After this I had a diffikulty with a man by the name of Kohen, and I thot I wouldn't go to law, but would arbytrate. I had bot Tom Swillins' wheat at a dollar a bushel, if he couldn't do any better, and if he could do better he was to cum back and giv me the prefferense. The skamp went off and sold the wheat to Kohen for a dollar and five cents, and Kohen knowd all about his kontrak with me. Me and him lik to hav fit, and perhaps would, if I hadn't been puny; but we finally left it to Josh Billins to arbytrate. Old Josh deliberated on the thing three days and nites, and finally brot in an award that Kohen should hav the wheat an' I should hav the prefferense. I hain't submitted no more cases to arbytration sinse, and my advise to all peepul is to arbytrate nuthin' if your case is honest, for there ain't no judge there to keep one man from trikkin' the other. An honest man don't stan no chance nowhere xceptin' in a court house with a good lawyer to back him. The motto of this case is, never to arbytrate nuthin' but a bad case, and take a good lawyer to advise, and pay him fur it before you do that.

But I got Fretman. I didn't, but my lawyer, Marks, did. Fretman was a nutmeg skhool teacher who had gone round my naborhood with his skool artikles, and I put down of Troup and Calhoun to go, and intended to send seven or eight more if he proved himself right. I soon found that the little nullifiers warn't lernin' enything, and on inquiry I found that nutmeg was a givin' powerful long recessess, and employin' his time cheefly in carryin' on with a tolerbul sized female gal that was a goin' to him. Troup sed he heerd the gal squeel one day, and he knowed Fretman was a squeezin' of her. I don't mind[Pg 1537] our boys a squeezin' of the Yankee gals, but I'll be blamed if the Yankees shall be a squeezin' ourn. So I got mad and took the children away. At the end of the term Fretman sued me for eighteen dollars, and hired a cheep lawyer to kollekt it. Before this time I had lerned sum sense about a lawyer, so I hired a good one, and spred my pokit book down before him, and told him to take what would satisfi him. And he took. Old Phil Davis was the jestice. Marks made the openin' speech to the effek that every profeshunal man ort to be able to illustrate his trade, and he therefore proposed to put Mr. Fretman on the stan' and spell him. This moshun was fout hard, but it agreed with old Phil's noshuns of "high jestice," and ses he: "Mr. Fretman, you will hav to spell, sur." Marks then swore him that he would giv true evidense in this case, and that he would spell evry word in Dan'l Webster's spellin' book correkly to the best of his knowledge and beleef, so help him, etc. I saw that he were a tremblin' all over like a cold wet dog. Ses Marks, "Mr. Fretman, spell 'tisik.'" Well, he spelt it, puttin' in a ph and a th and a gh and a zh, and I don't know what all, and I thot he were gone up the fust pop, but Marks sed it were right. He then spelt him right strate along on all sorts of big words, and little words, and long words, and short words, and he knowd 'em all, til finally Marks ses, "Now, sur, spell 'Ompompynusuk.'" Fretman drawd a long breth and sed it warn't in the book. Marks proved it was by a old preecher who was a settin' by, and old Phil spoke up with power, ses he, "Mr. Fretman, you must spell it, sur." Fretman was a swettin' like a run down filly. He took one pass at it, and missd.

"You can cum down, sur," ses Marks, "you've lost your case;" and shore enuf, old Phil giv a verdik agin him like a darn.[Pg 1538]

Marks was a whale in his way. At the same court he was about to nonsoot a Doktor bekaus he didn't hav his diplomy, and the Doktor begged the court for time to go home after it. He rode seven miles and back as hard as he could lick it, and when he handed it over, Marks, ses he, "Now, sur, you will just take the stand and translate this lattin' into English, so that the court may onderstand it." Well, he jest caved, for he couldn't do it.

He lost his case in two minits, for the old squire sed that a dokter who couldn't read his diplomy had no more right to praktise than a magistrate what couldn't read the license had to jine two cuple together.[Pg 1539]



If ever there lived a Yankee lad,
Wise or otherwise, good or bad,
Who, seeing the birds fly, didn't jump
With flapping arms from stake or stump,
Or, spreading the tail
Of his coat for a sail,
Take a soaring leap from post or rail,
And wonder why
He couldn't fly,
And flap, and flutter, and wish, and try,—
If ever you knew a country dunce
Who didn't try that as often as once,
All I can say is, that's a sign
He never would do for a hero of mine.

An aspiring genius was D. Green:
The son of a farmer, age fourteen;
His body was long and lank and lean,—
Just right for flying, as will be seen;
He had two eyes as bright as a bean,
And a freckled nose that grew between,
A little awry,—for I must mention
That he had riveted his attention
Upon his wonderful invention,
Twisting his tongue as he twisted the strings,
[Pg 1540]And working his face as he worked the wings,
And with every turn of gimlet and screw
Turning and screwing his mouth round, too,
Till his nose seemed bent
To catch the scent,
Around some corner, of new-baked pies,
And his wrinkled cheeks and his squinting eyes
Grew puckered into a queer grimace,
That made him look very droll in the face,
And also very wise.
And wise he must have been, to do more
Than ever a genius did before,
Excepting Dædalus, of yore,
And his son Icarus, who wore
Upon their backs
Those wings of wax
He had read of in the old almanacs.
Darius was clearly of the opinion
That the air is also man's dominion,
And that, with paddle or fin or pinion,
We soon or late shall navigate
The azure, as now we sail the sea.
The thing looks simple enough to me;
And, if you doubt it,
Hear how Darius reasoned about it.
"The birds can fly, an' why can't I?
Must we give in," says he, with a grin,
"That the bluebird an' phœbe
Are smarter'n we be?
Jest fold our hands an' see the swaller
An' blackbird an' catbird beat us holler?
Does the little, chatterin', sassy wren,
No bigger'n my thumb, know more than men?
Jest show me that!
[Pg 1541]Ur prove't the bat
Hez got more brains than's in my hat,
An' I'll back down, an' not till then!"
He argued further, "Nur I can't see
What's the use o' wings to a bumble-bee,
Fur to git a livin' with, more'n to me;
Ain't my business
Important's his'n is?
That Icarus
Made a perty muss:
Him an' his daddy Dædalus
They might 'a' knowed wings made o' wax
Wouldn't stand sun-heat an' hard whacks.
I'll make mine o' luther,
Ur suthin' ur other."

And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned,
"But I ain't goin' to show my hand
To nummies that never can understand
The fust idee that's big an' grand."
So he kept his secret from all the rest,
Safely buttoned within his vest;
And in the loft above the shed
Himself he locks, with thimble and thread
And wax and hammer and buckles and screws,
And all such things as geniuses use;
Two bats for patterns, curious fellows!
A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows;
Some wire, and several old umbrellas;
A carriage-cover, for tail and wings;
A piece of harness; and straps and strings;
And a big strong box,
In which he locks
These and a hundred other things.
[Pg 1542]His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke
And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk
Around the corner to see him work,—
Sitting cross-legged, like a Turk,
Drawing the wax-end through with a jerk,
And boring the holes with a comical quirk
Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk.
But vainly they mounted each other's backs,
And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks;
With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks
He plugged the knot-holes and calked the cracks;
And a bucket of water, which one would think
He had brought up into the loft to drink
When he chanced to be dry,
Stood always nigh,
For Darius was sly!
And whenever at work he happened to spy
At chink or crevice a blinking eye,
He let a dipper of water fly.
"Take that! an' ef ever ye git a peep,
Guess ye'll ketch a weasel asleep!
And he sings as he locks
His big strong box:—


"The weasel's head is small an' trim,
An' he is leetle an' long an' slim,
An' quick of motion an' nimble of limb,
An' ef yeou'll be
Advised by me,
Keep wide awake when ye're ketchin' him!"

So day after day
He stitched and tinkered and hammered away,
[Pg 1543]Till at last 'twas done,—
The greatest invention under the sun!
"An' now," says Darius, "hooray fer some fun!"

'T was the Fourth of July,
And the weather was dry,
And not a cloud was on all the sky,
Save a few light fleeces, which here and there,
Half mist, half air,
Like foam on the ocean went floating by:
Just as lovely a morning as ever was seen
For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.

Thought cunning Darius: "Now I shan't go
Along 'ith the fellers to see the show.
I'll say I've got sich a terrible cough!
An' then, when the folks 'ave all gone off,
I'll hev full swing
Fer to try the thing,
An' practyse a leetle on the wing."
"Ain't goin' to see the celebration?"
Says Brother Nate. "No; botheration!
I've got sich a cold—a toothache—I—
My gracious!—feel's though I should fly!"

Said Jotham, "'Sho!
Guess ye better go."
But Darius said, "No!
Shouldn't wonder 'f yeou might see me, though,
'Long 'bout noon, ef I git red
O' this jumpin', thumpin' pain 'n my head."
For all the while to himself he said:—

"I tell ye what!
I'll fly a few times around the lot,
[Pg 1544]To see how 't seems, then soon 's I've got
The hang o' the thing, ez likely 's not,
I'll astonish the nation,
An' all creation,
By flyin' over the celebration!
I'll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull;
I'll dance on the chimbleys; I'll stan' on the steeple;
I'll flop up to winders an' scare the people!
I'll light on the libbe'ty-pole, an' crow;
An' I'll say to the gawpin' fools below,
'What world 's this 'ere
That I've come near?'
Fer I'll make 'em b'lieve I'm a chap f'm the moon!
An' I'll try a race 'ith their ol' bulloon."
He crept from his bed;
And, seeing the others were gone, he said,
"I'm gittin' over the cold'n my head."
And away he sped,
To open the wonderful box in the shed.

His brothers had walked but a little way,
When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say,
"What is the feller up to, hey?"
"Do'no': the's suthin' ur other to pay,
Ur he wouldn't 'a' stayed to hum to-day."
Says Burke, "His toothache's all'n his eye!
He never'd miss a Fo'th-o'-July,
Ef he hedn't got some machine to try."
Then Sol, the little one, spoke: "By darn!
Le's hurry back an' hide'n the barn,
An' pay him fur tellin' us that yarn!"
"Agreed!" Through the orchard they crept back,
Along by the fences, behind the stack,
And one by one, through a hole in the wall,
[Pg 1545]In under the dusty barn they crawl,
Dressed in their Sunday garments all;
And a very astonishing sight was that,
When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat
Came up through the floor like an ancient rat.
And there they hid;
And Reuben slid
The fastenings back, and the door undid.
"Keep dark!" said he,
"While I squint an' see what the' is to see."

As knights of old put on their mail,—
From head to foot an iron suit,
Iron jacket and iron boot,
Iron breeches, and on the head
No hat, but an iron pot instead,
And under the chin the bail
(I believe they call the thing a helm),
Then sallied forth to overwhelm
The dragons and pagans that plagued the realm,—
So this modern knight
Prepared for flight,
Put on his wings and strapped them tight,
Jointed and jaunty, strong and light,—
Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip;
Ten feet they measured from tip to tip!
And a helm had he, but that he wore,
Not on his head, like those of yore,
But more like the helm of a ship.
"Hush!" Reuben said,
"He's up in the shed!
He's opened the winder,—I see his head!
He stretches it out, an' pokes it about,
Lookin' to see 'f the coast is clear
[Pg 1546]An' nobody near:
Guess he do'no' who's hid in here!
He's riggin' a spring-board over the sill!
Stop laffin', Solomon! Burke, keep still!
He's a climbin' out now—Of all the things!
What's he got on? I van, it's wings!
An' that t'other thing? I vum, it's a tail!
An' there he sets, like a hawk on a rail!
Steppin' careful, he travels the length
Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength.
Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat,
Peeps over his shoulder, this way an' that,
Fur to see 'f the 's any one passin' by;
But the' 's on'y a ca'f an' a goslin' nigh.
They turn up at him a wonderin' eye,
To see—The dragon! he's goin' to fly!
Away he goes! Jimminy! what a jump!
Flop—flop—an' plump
To the ground with a thump!
Flutt'rin an' flound'rin', all 'n a lump!"

As a demon is hurled by an angel's spear,
Heels over head, to his proper sphere,—
Heels over head and head over heels,
Dizzily down the abyss he wheels,—
So fell Darius. Upon his crown,
In the midst of the barn-yard, he came down,
In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings,
Broken braces and broken springs,
Broken tail and broken wings,
Shooting-stars, and various things,
Barn-yard litter of straw and chaff,
And much that wasn't so sweet by half.
Away with a bellow fled the calf;
[Pg 1547]And what was that? Did the gosling laugh?
'Tis a merry roar from the old barn door,
And he hears the voice of Jotham crying,
"Say, D'rius! how do you like flyin'?"
Slowly, ruefully, where he lay,
Darius just turned and looked that way,
As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff.
"Wal, I like flyin' well enough,"
He said; "but the' ain't sich a thunderin' sight
O' fun in't when ye come to light."

I just have room for the MORAL here:
And this is the moral: Stick to your sphere.
Or, if you insist, as you have the right,
On spreading your wings for a loftier flight,
The moral is, Take care how you light.
[Pg 1548]



Some wit of old,—such wits of old there were,—
Whose hints showed meaning, whose allusions care,
By one brave stroke to mark all human kind,
Called clear blank paper every infant mind!
Then still, as opening sense her dictates wrote,
Fair virtue put a seal, or vice a blot.

The thought was happy, pertinent, and true;
Methinks a genius might the plan pursue.
I (can you pardon my presumption), I—
No wit, no genius—yet for once will try.

Various the papers various wants produce,
The wants of fashion, elegance and use.
Men are as various; and, if right I scan,
Each sort of paper represents some man.

Pray not the fop,—half powder and half lace,—
Nice as a bandbox were his dwelling-place;
He's the gilt paper, which apart you store,
And lock from vulgar hands in the escritoire.

Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth,
Are copy-paper, of inferior worth,—
Less prized, more useful, for your desk decreed.
[Pg 1549]Free to all pens, and prompt at every need.

The wretch whom avarice bids to pinch and spare,
Starve, cheat, and pilfer, to enrich an heir,
Is coarse brown paper, such as peddlers choose
To wrap up wares which better men will use.

Take next the miser's contrast, who destroys
Health, fame and fortune in a round of joys.
Will any paper match him? Yes, throughout.
He's a true sinking paper, past all doubt.

The retail politician's anxious thought
Deems this side always right, and that stark naught;
He foams with censure, with applause he raves,—
A dupe to rumors, and a tool of knaves:
He'll want no type his weakness to proclaim
While such a thing as foolscap has a name.

The hasty gentleman, whose blood runs high,
Who picks a quarrel if you step awry,
Who can't a jest, or hint, or look endure,—
What's he? What? Touch-paper, to be sure.

What are our poets, take them as they fall,
Good, bad, rich, poor, much read, not read at all?
Them and their works in the same class you'll find:
They are the mere waste paper of mankind.

Observe the maiden, innocently sweet;
She's fair white paper, an unsullied sheet,
On which the happy man, whom fate ordains,
May write his name, and take her for his pains.

One instance more, and only one, I'll bring;
[Pg 1550]'Tis the great man who scorns a little thing,
Whose thoughts, whose deeds, whose maxims, are his own,
Formed on the feelings of his heart alone;
True genuine royal paper is his breast,—
Of all the kinds most precious, purest, best.
[Pg 1551]



"Them beauties o' Nature," said Senator Grabb,
As he spat on the floor of Justitia's halls,
"Is pretty enough and artistic enough—
Referrin', of course, to Niagara Falls,
Whose waters go rumblin' and mumblin' and grumblin'
And tearin' and stumblin' and bumblin' and tumblin'
And foamin' and roarin'
And plungin' and pourin'
And wastin' the waters God gave to us creechers
To wash down our liquor and wash up our feechers—
Then what in the deuce
Is the swish-bingled use
O' keepin' them noisy old cataracts busy
To give folks a headache and make people dizzy?

"Some poets and children and cripples and fools
They say that them Falls is eternal. That so?
Say, what is Eternity, Nature, and God
Compared to the Inter-Graft Gaslighting Co.?
Could all the durn waterfalls born in creation
Compete with a sugar or soap corporation?
But Nature, you feel,
Has a voice in the deal?
She ain't. For I'm deaf both in that ear and this un—
[Pg 1552]If Nature talks Money I'm willin' to listen!
So bring on your dredges,
And shovels and sledges,
Yer bricklayers, masons, yer hammers and mauls—
The public be dammed while we dam up the Falls.

"Just look at the plans o' me beautiful dream!
A sewer-pipe conduit to carry the Falls
Past eight hundred mill-wheels (great savin' of steam):
The cliffs to be covered with dump heaps and walls,
With many a smokestack and fly-wheel and pulley,
Bridge, engine, and derrick—say, won't it look bully!
With, furnaces smokin',
And stokers a-stokin'
With factory children a-workin' like Scotches
A-turnin' out chewing-gum, shoe-laces, watches,
And kitchen utensils,
And patent lead-pencils,
And mission-oak furniture, pie-crust, and flannels—
Thus turnin' Niag' to legitimate channels.

"The province o' Beauty," said Senator Grabb,
"Is bossed by us fellers that know what to do.
When Senator Copper hogs half of a State
He builds an Art Palace on Fift' Avenoo.
What people believed in the dark Middle Ages
Don't go in this chapter o' history's pages,
And the worship of mountains
And rivers and fountains
Is sinful, idolatrous, dark superstition—
And likely to lose in a cash proposition.
Ere the good time is past
Let's get busy and cast
Our bread on the waterfall—it'll come back.
We'll first pass the Grabb Bill, and then pass the sack."
[Pg 1553]



I ain't afeard o' the Admiral,
Though a common old tar I be,
And I've oftentimes spoke to the Admiral
Expressin' a bright idee;
For he's very nice at takin' advice
And a tractable man is he.

For once I says to the Admiral,
Unterrified, though polite,
"Don't think me critical, Admiral,
But yer vessel ain't sailin' right;
For our engine should be burnin' wood
And our rattlelines should be tight."

But when I spoke to the Admiral
He wasn't inclined to scold,
Though me words, addressed to the Admiral,
Was intimate-like and bold,
(But he was up on deck at the time
And I was down in the hold).
[Pg 1554]



Once I planted some potatoes
In my garden fair and bright;
Long I waited,
And no sprout appeared in sight.

But my "peachblows" in the cellar,
On the cold and grimy flag,
All serenely
Sprouted greenly
In an ancient paper bag.
[Pg 1555]



"An-ndrew! An-ndrew!"

"Yes, Marthy."

"Andrew, what be you doin' out there? You've ben sayin' 'Yes, Marthy,' for the last ten minutes."

The patient, middle-aged face of Andrew appeared in the doorway, its high, white forehead in sharp contrast with the deeply tanned features below it.

"I've jest ben takin' your buryin' clothes off the line an' foldin' 'em up. It is such a good day to air 'em for fall—and, then,—I jest hate to tell you!—the moths has got into the skirt of your shroud. I sunned it good, but the holes is there yet."

"Moths!" screamed the thin voice, sharpened by much calling to people in distant rooms. "Then they've got all over the house, I presume to say, if they've got into that. Why don't you keep it in the cedar chist?"

"Because it's full of your laid-by clothes now, and I keep my black suit that you had me git for the funeral in there, too. There ain't room. You told me allus to keep your buryin' clothes in a box in the spare room closet, so's they'd be handy to git if they was wanted in the night. You told me that four or five years ago, Marthy."

"So I did. And I presume to say that my good three-ply carpet that mother gave me when we was married is jest reddled with moths—if they're in that closet. If it wasn't for keepin' that spare room ready for the cousins[Pg 1556] in Maine when they come to the buryin', I'd have you take up that carpet and beat it good and store it in the garret. My, oh, my, what worries a body has when they can't git around to do for themselves! Now it's moths, right on top of Mr. Oldshaw's death after he'd got my discourse all prepared on the text I picked out for him. He had as good as preached it to me, and it was a powerful one, a warnin' to the ungodly not to be took unawares. I advised him to p'int it that way. Then, Jim Woodworth's Mary is leavin' the choir to marry and go west, and I jest won't have Palmyra Stockly sing 'Cool Siloam' over me. I can settle that right now, for I couldn't abide the way she acted about that church fair—and she sings through her nose anyway. An-ndrew!"

"Yes, Marthy."

"You oughtn't to go walkin' off when a body is talkin' to you. You allus do that."

"I c'n hear you, Marthy. I'm jest in the kitchen. I thought the dinner had b'iled dry."

"Are you gittin' a b'iled dinner? It smells wonderful good. What you got in it?"

"Corned beef and cabbage and onions and potatoes and turnips. I've het up a squash pie and put out some of the cider apple sauce that will spile if it isn't et pretty soon. I'll put the tea a-drawin' soon's the kittle b'iles."

Andrew's voice came into the sick room in a mechanical recitative, as if accustomed to recount every particular of the day's doings.

"Well, I guess you can bring me some of it. You bring me a piece of the corned beef and consid'able of the cabbage and potaters and an onion or two. And if that cider apple sauce is likely to spile, I might eat a little of it; bring me a cooky to eat with it. And a piece of the squash pie. What else did you say you had?"[Pg 1557]

"That's all."

"Don't forgit to put on consid'able of bread. It's a good while till supper, and I don't dast to eat between meals."

Andrew brought the tray to the bedside and propped up the invalid before he ate his own dinner. He had finished it and cleared up the table before the high voice called again: "An-ndrew!"

"Yes, Marthy."

"Is there any more of the corned beef? You brought me such a little mite of a piece."

"Yes, there's plenty more, but I knew you'd object if I brought it first. Like it, did you?"

"Yes, it was tol'able. Them vegetables was a little rich, but maybe they won't hurt me. You might bring me another cooky when you come.—Now, you set down a minute while you're waitin' for my dishes. I've ben worryin' 'bout them moths every minute since you told me, and somethin' has got to be done."

"I know it. I hated to tell you, but I thought you ought to know. I guess I c'n clean 'em out the next rainy spell when I have to stay in."

"No, you can't wait for that. And you can't do it anyway. There's things a man can do, and then again there's things he can't. You're uncommon handy, Andrew, but you're a man."

Andrew's deprecatory gesture implied that he couldn't help it.

"I've thought of that ever so much in the years that I've ben layin' here, and I've worried about what you're goin' to do when I ain't here to plan and direct for you. Those moths are jest an instance. Now, what you goin' to do when you have to think for yourself?"[Pg 1558]

"I do' know, but you ain't goin' to git up a new worry 'bout that, I hope?"

"No, it is not a new worry. It's an old one, but it's such a delicate subject, even between man and wife, that I've hesitated to speak of it. Andrew, I don't want you to stay single but jest six months—jest six months to the very day after I'm laid away. I've spoken to Hannah Brewster to come in and do for you twice a week, same as she does now, and to mend your socks and underclothes for six months, and then I want you to—git married."

"Why, Marthy!"

"You needn't gasp like you was struck. I presume to say you'd do it anyway without thinkin' it over well beforehand. I've allus planned and thought things over for you till I don't know whether you'd be capable of attendin' to that or not. And I'd go off a sight easier if I knew 'twas all settled satisfactory. I'd like to know who's goin' to keep my house and wear my clothes and sun my bed quilts, and I could have her come and learn my ways beforehand."

"Good gracious, Marthy! There's a limit to plannin'—and directin'—even for as smart a woman as you be. You're not goin' to know whether she'll—consent or not, not while—while you're here, yet. And you're gittin' no worse; it does seem like you're gittin' better all the time. Last time Aunt Lyddy was here she said you was lookin' better'n she ever see you before. I told her you'd picked up in your appetite consid'able. You'll git up yet and be my second wife yourself."

"Yes, Aunt Lyddy allus thinks great things 'bout me; she never would believe how low I've ben, but I guess I know how I be. No, you can't head me off that way, with the moths in my best things and one of my grandmother's silver spoons missin'. If there's one thing a fore[Pg 1559]thoughtful woman ought to plan beforehand, it's to pick out the woman who's to have her house and her things and her husband."

Andrew wriggled uncomfortably. "I shouldn't wonder if the dish water was a-b'ilin', Marthy."

"No, it isn't. You haven't got fire enough. And we'd better settle this matter while we're at it."

"Settle it! Why, Marthy, you talk 's if you wanted me to go 'n' git married on the spot and bring my second wife home to you before—while you're still here. I'm no Mormon. Like's not you've got her selected; you're such a wonderful hand to settle things."

"I can't say 's I've got her selected—not the exact one—but I've ben runnin' over several in my mind. We'd better have several to pick from, and then if some refused you, we'd still have a chance."

"But how would you git any of 'em to consent?" asked Andrew with a show of interest.

"How else but ask 'em? They would understand how I feel about you. The hull town knows how I've laid here expectin' every day to be to-morrow, and if I want that thing settled before I go, I don't see how it could make talk."

"Now, who had you sorted out to pick from?" and Andrew leaned back comfortably in his chair. His wife punched up her pillow to lift her head higher.

"Well, there's the widows first. I've sorted them over and over till I've got 'em down to four that ain't wasteful cooks nor got too many relations. There's Widow Jackson—"

"She's weakly," promptly decided Andrew.

"And Mary Josephine Wilson—"

"She don't go to our church. What about the old maids?"[Pg 1560]

"I don't take much stock in old maids. The likeliest person I know, and I wouldn't call her an old maid, either, is Abilonia Supe. Her mother was counted the best breadmaker in North Sudbury, and Abby was the neatest darner in her class at sewing school."

"But, why, Marthy, isn't Abby promised to Willy Parks?"

"No; I asked Mis' Parks about that yisterday. She said Willy had been waitin' on Abby for four or five years, but they'd had a misunderstandin' this summer, and it was broke off for good."

"He ought to be horsewhipped!" said Andrew warmly. "Abilonia Supe is the finest girl in North Sudbury."

"Ye-es," admitted Marthy reluctantly. "You're sure she wouldn't be too young for you, are you?"

"Too young? For me? I don't want to marry my grandmother, I guess. And I'm not Methusalem myself," and he shook the stoop out of his back and spread the thin hair across his bald spot. His wife looked at him in wondering surprise.

"Abby has had rather a hard time since her mother died," she said weakly.

"Indeed she has, and she deserves to have it easy now. She needs somebody to take care of her if that scamp—and she isn't bad lookin', either—Abby isn't. I tell you, Marthy, there isn't your beat in the hull town for managin' forethoughtedness. Sick or well, you've allus ben a captain at managin'. Now, come to think it over, this isn't a bad idee. But, how'll we git her consent? Maybe I'd better step over and—well—ruther lead up to the subject. I might—"

"That dish water's a-b'ilin', Andrew. It's a-b'ilin' hard. I c'n hear it."

Andrew started briskly for the kitchen, and the dishes[Pg 1561] clattered merrily. An hour later he framed himself in the doorway in his Sunday clothes.

"I have to go down to the store this afternoon to git that baggin' for the hops, and I can jest as well 's not go round by Supes' and—sort of—talk that over with Abby—and tell her your wishes. I never deny you nothin', Marthy; you know that. If it'll be any comfort to you, I'll jest brace up and do it, no matter how hard it is."

"Well—say, Andrew, wait a minute. Maybe you'd better wait till we talk it over a little more. I might consult with Abby, myself, on the subject—An-ndrew! An-ndrew! That man is gittin' a good deal deafer'n he'll own to."

It was quite supper time when Andrew returned; it was too late to cook anything, so he brought Marthy some of the Sunday baked beans and brown bread, with the cider apple sauce.

"Well, you must 'a' had a time of it with her," suggested his wife as he placed the tray. "I hope you didn't do more'n make a suppositious case and find out what her sentiments was."

"That was what I set out to do, but she was so surprised an' asked so many questions that I jest had to up and tell her what I was drivin' at. I told her that it was your last wish, and that you'd set your heart on it till you felt like you couldn't die easy unless you knew who was goin' to have your house and your beddin' and—me, and after I'd reasoned with her quite a spell and she'd ruther got used to the idee, she saw how 'twas. I thought you'd like to have it settled, because you allus do, and, as you say, there's no tellin' what day'll be to-morrow. Then, that Willy Parks is likely to come back and spile the hull plan."

"Settle it all? Why, what did she say to it?"[Pg 1562]

"I guess you may call it settled. I asked her if she'd consider herself engaged to me—"

"What? What's that? Engaged to you?"

"Yes; isn't that what you wanted?"

"What did she say to that?"

"She said yes, she guessed that she would, though she would like to think it over a little."

"I didn't presume to think you'd go and get it all settled without talkin' it over with me, and I calc'lated to—to do the arrangin' myself. What did she say when she consented to it, Andrew?"

Andrew squirmed on the edge of his chair. "I guess my tea is coolin' out there. I'd better go and eat, now."

"A minute more won't make no difference. What did she say?"

"She said—why, she said—a whole lot of things. She said she never expected to marry; that she wanted to give her life to makin' folks happy and doin' for them, folks that had a sorrow—but the Lord hadn't given her any sorrowful folks to do for. It's my opinion that she thought consid'able of that fickle Willy Parks. Then I reasoned with her some, and she come to see that maybe this was the app'inted work for her to do—considerin' you'd set your heart on it so. She said she didn't know but I needed lookin' after and doin' for as much as any one she knew, and it would be a pleasure to—now, Marthy, let me go and have my tea."

"What else did she say?"

"Well, she said I certainly had—that I had—a hard trial this trip, and I'd served my time so faithfully it would be a comfort and a pleasure to—now, Marthy, I know my tea's cold."

It took him so long to have his tea and wash the dishes and bring in the squashes for fear of frost that Marthy[Pg 1563] had no further opportunity to consider the new position of her husband as an engaged man that night. She resumed the subject early the next morning.

"Andrew, I want you should go and bring Abilonia over here as soon as you git the work done up. There's so much I want to arrange with her, and you never know what day'll be to-morrow. And them moths ought to be seen to right off—

"What be you goin' up stairs for? You needn't put on your Sunday clothes jest for that. She'll have to see you in your old clothes many a year after you're—ah—when she comes to live here."

"Yes, but that's not now. I'm only engaged to her; I'm only sort of courtin' now, as you might say."

He came back in a little while, bringing a gentle, brown-eyed young woman, who laid away her things and took an apron from her bag with the air of one accustomed to do for others.

"Did you want to see me particularly, Mis' Dobson? I hope you're not feelin' worse?"

"I do' know's I slep' much las' night, and I have an awful funny feelin' round my heart this mornin'. I'm preparin' for the worst. You know 'Two men shall be grindin' at the mill and'—"

"Oh, now, you aren't so bad as all that. You look as smart as a spring robin—you do look wonderful well, Mis' Dobson. Now, what can I do for you?"

"There's a lot of things to look after, Abilonia, now that you—that you—that—"

"Yes, I know there are, and I'll just delight to take hold and do them. I told Mr. Dobson that I wanted to begin to do for you both right away. I'm real glad you thought—of it, Mis' Dobson, for I've nobody else, now, to care for, and I should love to take care of poor Mr.[Pg 1564] Dobson and try to make him happy—just real happy—the best of anybody in the world. He looked so pleased when I told him so."

"Did he? He did!"

"Yes, his face just lighted up when I told him that we all knew how faithful he'd been to his trust through such a long, hard siege, how kind and patient, and that it would be a privilege to try to make it up to him a little."

"Oh—ah—well, what did he say to that?"

"He just said the hand of the Lord had fallen rather heavy on him, but he'd tried to bear the burden the best he could, and if he held out to the end the Lord would reward him. And he said it was the Lord's mercy to give him such a good, clever wife to take care of—since she was sickly. Now, would you like me to bake you some cookies this morning, or do the mending?"

"I don't know. Did Andrew say that? Well, he has been faithful. You're goin' to git an awful good man, Abilonia. Say, don't you tell him, or it'll scare him, but I'm goin' to do a terrible resky thing. I'm goin' to set up here in the bed a little spell. Go you up to the top bureau drawer in the spare room and git my black shawl. I know I might fall over dead, but I'm goin' to take the resk."

"Why, Mis' Dobson, it isn't safe!"

"Safe or not, I'm goin' to do it. I'm goin' to set up a spell. I never stop for consequences to myself when I set out to do a thing."

The perilous feat was accomplished without tragedy. After she had had a nap, propped up in the bed, Mrs. Dobson's soul rose to greater heights of daring, when Abilonia remarked that Mrs. Dobson's plum-colored silk was the very thing for a lining to her own silk quilt, and as it would not be worn again she might as well take it over and make it up. She was adding that she would like[Pg 1565] to have a crayon portrait made of Mr. Dobson to hang beside that of his wife which adorned the parlor in ante-mortem state, when Marthy interrupted: "Abilonia, go you and git me a dress. There ought to be a brown poplin hangin' in the little room closet, unless somebody moved it last spring in housecleanin' time. You bring that down. I want to git my feet onto the floor."

When Andrew came home to get dinner he stopped in the kitchen door, dumb with amazement. Marthy sat by the table in the big wooden chair peeling apples, while Abilonia rolled out the pie crust and told about the church quilting bee.

The next Sunday Andrew did not change his best suit, as usual, after church, and his wife remarked the fact as she sat in a blanketed chair by the living room fire in the evening, with her "Christian Register" in her hand.

"Well, you know—I've ben thinkin'—Abby's settin' over there by herself, and it must be lonesome for the girl. And—if I'm—sort of—engaged to her—don't you see, Marthy? I don't want to leave you—but it's my duty to keep company with her. I want to carry out your wishes exact—every one. You can't ask a thing too hard for me to do."

"Yes, I know that, Andrew. If ever a man done his duty, it's you. And you've had little reward for it, too. I'm tryin' to git you a second wife that'll have her health and—and—yes, I presume to say that Abilonia'll ruther look for you to set a while, now that she is bespoke to you."

"Yes, that's what I guess I ought to do," and he rose briskly.

"Say, Andrew! Don't be in such a hurry. Come back a minute. You gear up ole Jule to the buggy and git down a comforter for me. I c'n walk some, to-day, and if you[Pg 1566] help me I c'n git into the buggy. I feel like the air would do me good.—Yes, I presume to say it'll be the death of me, but you never knew me to stop for that, did you? Git my circular cloak and the white cloud for my head. Yes, I'm goin', Andrew. When I git my mind made up, you know what it means."

There was a light in Abilonia's parlor when they drove up, and a man's figure showed through the glass panel of the door as he opened it.

"Willy Parks!" cried Mrs. Dobson in a queer voice.

"Yes, walk right in, Mr. Dobson. That isn't Mrs. Dobson with you—is it possible!—after so many years. Let me help you steady her. Well, this is a surprise! Just walk into the parlor and sit down. Abby's down cellar putting away the milk, but she'll be up in a minute."

"It's consid'able of a surprise to see you here, Willy; it's consid'able of a disapp'intment—to Mis' Dobson. She had set her mind on—on—" ventured Andrew mildly.

"Yes, so I heard—and I thought I'd come home. Abby tells me that she is engaged to you—that she has given her solemn promise."

"That's what she has," said Andrew firmly. "That's what she has, and Mis' Dobson has set her mind on it—and I never refuse her nothin'. I don't want nothin' to reproach myself for. You went off and left that girl—the finest girl in town—and near about broke her heart. You ought to be ashamed to show yourself now."

"I am, Mr. Dobson," said the young man gravely, "and I deserve to lose her. But when I heard that she was engaged to you—as it were—it brought me to my senses, and, since you are my rival, I am going to ask you to be magnanimous. She is so good and true that I believe she will forgive me and take me back if you will release her—you[Pg 1567] and Mrs. Dobson. You wouldn't hold her while Mrs. Dobson looks so smart as she does to-night—"

"No, Andrew, we won't hold her. It wouldn't be right. She's young—and—and real good lookin', and it would be a pity to spile a good match for her. We oughtn't to hold her—here she is. We will release you from your engagement to—to us, Abilonia—and may you be happy! I'm feelin' a sight better lately; that last bitters you got for me is a wonderful medicine, Andrew. I presume to say I'll be round on my feet yet, before long, and be able to take as good care of you as you have took of me all these years. It's a powerful medicine, that root bitters. We better be goin', Andrew. They've got things to talk about. Good night, Abilonia. Good night, Willy."[Pg 1568]



Auf wiedersehen, brother mine!
Farewells will soon be kissed;
And, ere you leave to breast the brine,
Give me once more your fist;

That mailed fist, clenched high in air
On many a foreign shore,
Enforcing coaling stations where
No stations were before;

That fist, which weaker nations view
As if 'twere Michael's own.
And which appals the heathen who
Bow down to wood and stone.

But this trip no brass knuckles. Glove
That heavy mailed hand;
Your mission now is one of Love
And Peace—you understand.

All that's American you'll praise;
The Yank can do no wrong.
To use his own expressive phrase,
[Pg 1569]Just "jolly him along."

Express surprise to find, the more
Of Roosevelt you see,
How much I am like Theodore,
And Theodore like me.

I am, in fact, (this might not be
A bad thing to suggest,)
The Theodore of the East, and he
The William of the West.

And, should you get a chance, find out—
If anybody knows—
Exactly what it's all about,
That Doctrine of Monroe's.

That's entre nous. My present plan
You know as well as I;
Be just as Yankee as you can;
If needs be, eat some pie.

Cut out the kraut, cut out Rhine wine,
Cut out the Schützenfest,
The Sängerbund, the Turnverein,
The Kommers, and the rest.

And if some fool society
"Die Wacht am Rhein" should sing,
You sing "My Country 'tis of Thee"—
The tune's "God Save the King."

To our own kindred in that land
There's not much you need tell.
Just tell them that you saw me, and
That I was looking well.
[Pg 1570]



'Tis very, very late; poor mamma and Cousin Kate,
Papa and Aunty Jane, all know it to their sorrow.
Struggling with the mystery of Latin, Greek, and history,
They're learning Johnny's lessons for the morrow.

His relatives are bright; still, it takes them half the night
With only four of them—ofttimes a friend they borrow—
To grapple with hard sums, and to fill young John with crumbs
Of wisdom 'gainst the coming of the morrow.

They bitterly complain; still, with only one small brain,
The boy needs all his kin can give him, for oh!
These lessons, if they slight 'em, how can poor John recite 'em
To a dozen wiser teachers on the morrow.
[Pg 1571]



"My grandfather Squeers," said the Raggedy Man,
As he solemnly lighted his pipe and began—

"The most indestructible man, for his years,
And the grandest on earth, was my grandfather Squeers!

"He said, when he rounded his three-score-and-ten,
'I've the hang of it now and can do it again!'

"He had frozen his heels so repeatedly, he
Could tell by them just what the weather would be;

"And would laugh and declare, 'while the Almanac would
Most falsely prognosticate, he never could!'

"Such a hale constitution had grandfather Squeers
That, though he'd used 'navy' for sixty odd years,

"He still chewed a dime's-worth six days of the week,
While the seventh he passed with a chew in each cheek:

"Then my grandfather Squeers had a singular knack
Of sitting around on the small of his back,

"With his legs like a letter Y stretched o'er the grate
[Pg 1572]Wherein 'twas his custom to ex-pec-tor-ate.

"He was fond of tobacco in manifold ways,
And would sit on the door-step, of sunshiny days,

"And smoke leaf-tobacco he'd raised strictly for
The pipe he'd used all through The Mexican War."

And The Raggedy Man said, refilling the bowl
Of his own pipe and leisurely picking a coal

From the stove with his finger and thumb, "You can see
What a tee-nacious habit he's fastened on me!

"And my grandfather Squeers took a special delight
In pruning his corns every Saturday night

"With a horn-handled razor, whose edge he excused
By saying 'twas one that his grandfather used;

"And, though deeply etched in the haft of the same
Was the ever-euphonious Wostenholm's name,

"'Twas my grandfather's custom to boast of the blade
As 'A Seth Thomas razor—the best ever made!'

"No Old Settlers' Meeting, or Pioneers' Fair,
Was complete without grandfather Squeers in the chair,

"To lead off the programme by telling folks how
'He used to shoot deer where the Court-House stands now'—

"How 'he felt, of a truth, to live over the past,
When the country was wild and unbroken and vast,

"'That the little log cabin was just plenty fine
[Pg 1573]For himself, his companion, and fambly of nine!—

"'When they didn't have even a pump, or a tin,
But drunk surface-water, year out and year in,

"'From the old-fashioned gourd that was sweeter, by odds,
Than the goblets of gold at the lips of the gods!'"

Then The Raggedy Man paused to plaintively say
It was clockin' along to'rds the close of the day—

And he'd ought to get back to his work on the lawn,—
Then dreamily blubbered his pipe and went on:

"His teeth were imperfect—my grandfather owned
That he couldn't eat oysters unless they were 'boned';

"And his eyes were so weak, and so feeble of sight,
He couldn't sleep with them unless, every night,

"He put on his spectacles—all he possessed,—
Three pairs—with his goggles on top of the rest.

"And my grandfather always, retiring at night,
Blew down the lamp-chimney to put out the light;

"Then he'd curl up on edge like a shaving, in bed,
And puff and smoke pipes in his sleep, it is said:

"And would snore oftentimes, as the legends relate,
Till his folks were wrought up to a terrible state,—

"Then he'd snort, and rear up, and roll over; and there
In the subsequent hush they could hear him chew air.

"And so glaringly bald was the top of his head
[Pg 1574]That many's the time he has musingly said,

"As his eyes journeyed o'er its reflex in the glass,—
'I must set out a few signs of Keep Off the Grass!'

"So remarkably deaf was my grandfather Squeers
That he had to wear lightning-rods over his ears

"To even hear thunder—and oftentimes then
He was forced to request it to thunder again."
[Pg 1575]



The Idiot was very late at breakfast, so extremely late in fact that some apprehension was expressed by his fellow boarders as to the state of his health.

"I hope he isn't ill," said Mr. Whitechoker. "He is usually so prompt at his meals that I fear something is the matter with him."

"He's all right," said the Doctor, whose room adjoins that of the Idiot in Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog's Select Home for Gentlemen. "He'll be down in a minute. He's suffering from an overdose of vacation—rested too hard."

Just then the subject of the conversation appeared in the doorway, pale and haggard, but with an eye that boded ill for the larder.

"Quick!" he cried, as he entered. "Lead me to a square meal. Mary, please give me four bowls of mush, ten medium soft-boiled eggs, a barrel of sautée potatoes and eighteen dollars' worth of corned beef hash. I'll have two pots of coffee, Mrs. Pedagog, please, four pounds of sugar and a can of condensed milk. If there is any extra charge you may put it on the bill, and some day when Hot Air Common goes up thirty or forty points I'll pay."

"What's the matter with you, Mr. Idiot?" asked Mr. Brief. "Been fasting for a week?"

"No," replied the Idiot. "I've just taken my first week's vacation, and between you and me I've come back to business so as to get rested up for the second."[Pg 1576]

"Doesn't look as though vacation agreed with you," said the Bibliomaniac.

"It doesn't," said the Idiot. "Hereafter I am an advocate of the Russell Sage system. Never take a day off if you can help it. There's nothing so restful as paying attention to business, and no greater promoter of weariness of spirit and vexation of your digestion than the modern style of vacating. No more for mine, if you please."

"Humph!" sneered the Bibliomaniac. "I suppose you went to Coney Island to get rested up Bumping the Bump and Looping the Loop and doing a lot of other crazy things."

"Not I," quoth the Idiot. "I didn't have sense enough to go to some quiet place like Coney Island, where you can get seven square meals a day, and then climb into a Ferris Wheel and be twirled around in the air until they have been properly shaken down. I took one of the 400 Vacations. Know what that is?"

"No," said Mr. Brief. "I didn't know there were 400 Vacations with only 365 days in the year. What do you mean?"

"I mean the kind of Vacation the people in the 400 take," explained the Idiot. "I've been to a house-party up in Newport with some friends of mine who're in the swim, and I tell you it's hard swimming. You'll never hear me talking about a leisure class in this country again. Those people don't know what leisure is. I don't wonder they're always such a tired-looking lot."

"I was not aware that you were in with the smart set," said the Bibliomaniac.

"Oh yes," said the Idiot. "I'm in with several of 'em—way in. So far in that I'm sometimes afraid I'll never get out. We're carrying a whole lot of wild-cats on margin[Pg 1577] for Billie Van Gelder, the cotillion leader; Tommy de Cahoots, the famous yachtsman, owes us about $8,000 more than he can spare from his living expenses on one of his plunges into Copper, and altogether we are pretty long on swells in our office."

"And do you mean to say those people invite you out?" asked the Bibliomaniac.

"All the time," said the Idiot. "Just as soon as one of our swell customers finds he can't pay his margins he comes down to the office and gets very chummy with all of us. The deeper he is in it the more affable he becomes. The result is there are house-parties and yacht cruises and all that sort of thing galore on tap for us every summer."

"And you accept them, eh?" said the Bibliomaniac scornfully.

"As a matter of business, of course," replied the Idiot. "We've got to get something out of it. If one of our customers can't pay cash, why we get what we can. In this particular case Mr. Reginald Squandercash had me down at Newport for five full days, and I know now why he can't pay up his little shortage of $800. He's got the money, but he needs it for other things, and now that I know it I shall recommend the firm to give him an extension of thirty days. By that time he will have collected from the De Boodles, whom he is launching in society—C. O. D.—and will be able to square matters with us."

"Your conversation is Greek to me," said the Bibliomaniac. "Who are the De Boodles, and for what do they owe your friend Reginald Squandercash money?"

"The De Boodles," explained the Idiot, "are what is known as Climbers, and Reginald Squandercash is a Booster."

"A what?" cried the Bibliomaniac.[Pg 1578]

"A Booster," said the Idiot. "There are several Boosters in the 400. For a consideration they will boost wealthy Climbers into Society. The Climbers are people like the De Boodles, who have suddenly come into great wealth, and who wish to be in it with others of great wealth who are also of high social position. They don't know how to do the trick, so they seek out some Booster like Reggie, strike a bargain with him, and he steers 'em up against the 'Among Those Present' Game until finally you find the De Boodles have a social cinch."

"Do you mean to say that Society tolerates such a business as that?" demanded the Bibliomaniac.

"Tolerates?" laughed the Idiot. "What a word to use! Tolerates? Why, Society encourages, because Society shares the benefits. Take this especial vacation of mine. Society had two five-o'clock teas, four of the swellest dinners you ever sat down to, a cotillion where the favors were of solid silver and real ostrich feathers, a whole day's clam-bake on Reggie's steam yacht, with automobile runs and coaching trips galore. Nobody ever declines one of Reggie's invitations, because what he has from a Society point of view is the best the market affords. Why, the floral decorations alone at the Fête Champêtre he gave in honor of the De Boodles at his villa last Thursday night must have cost $5,000, and everything was on the same scale. I don't believe a cent less than $7,500 was burned up in the fire-works, and every lady present received a souvenir of the occasion that cost at least $100."

"Your story doesn't quite hold together," said Mr. Brief. "If your friend Reggie has a villa and a steam yacht, and automobiles and coaches, and gives fêtes champêtres that cost fifteen or twenty thousand dollars, I don't see why he has to make himself a Booster of in[Pg 1579]ferior people who want to get into Society. What does he gain by it? It surely isn't sport to do a thing like that, and I should think he'd find it a dreadful bore."

"The man must live," said the Idiot. "He boosts for a living."

"When he has the wealth of Monte Cristo at his command?" demanded Mr. Brief.

"Reggie hasn't a cent to his name," said the Idiot. "I've already told you he owes us $800 he can't pay."

"Then who in thunder pays for the villa and the lot and all those hundred-dollar souvenirs?" asked the Doctor.

"Why—this year, the De Boodles," said the Idiot. "Last year it was Colonel and Mrs. Moneybags, whose daughter, Miss Fayette Moneybags, is now clinching the position Reggie sold her at Newport over in London, whither Reggie has consigned her to his sister, an impecunious American Duchess—the Duchess of Nocash—who is also in the boosting business. The chances are Miss Moneybags will land one of England's most deeply indebted peers, and if she does, Reggie will receive a handsome cheque for steering the family up against so attractive a proposition."

"And you mean to tell us that a plain man like old John De Boodle, of Nevada, is putting out his hard-earned wealth in that way?" demanded Mr. Brief.

"I didn't mean to mention any names," said the Idiot. "But you've spotted the victim. Old John De Boodle, who made his $60,000,000 in six months after having kept a saloon on the frontier for forty years, is the man. His family wants to get in the swim, and Reggie is turning the trick for them—and after all, what better way is there for De Boodle to get in? He might take sixty villas at Newport and not get a peep at the Divorce Colony[Pg 1580] there, much less a glimpse of the monogamous set acting independently. Not a monkey in the Zoo would dine with the De Boodles, and in his most eccentric moment I doubt if Tommy Dare would take them up unless there was somebody to stand sponsor for them. A cool million might easily be expended without results, by the De Boodles themselves, but hand that money over to Reggie Squandercash, whose blood is as blue as his creditors sometimes get, and you can look for results. What the Frohmans are to the stage, Reggie Squandercash is to Society. He's right in it; popular as all spenders are; lavish as all people spending other people's money are apt to be. Old De Boodle, egged on by Mrs. De Boodle and Miss Mary Ann De Boodle, now known as Miss Marianne De Boodle, goes to Reggie and says, 'The old lady and my girl are nutty on Society. Can you land 'em?' 'Certainly,' says Reggie, 'if your pocket is long enough.' 'How long is that?' asks De Boodle, wincing a bit. 'A hundred thousand a month, and no extras, until you're in,' says Reggie. 'No reduction for families?' asks De Boodle, anxiously. 'No,' says Reggie. 'Harder job.' 'All right,' says De Boodle, 'here's my cheque for the first month.' That's how Reggie gets his Newport villa, his servants, his horses, yacht, automobiles and coaches. Then he invites the De Boodles up to visit him. They accept, and the fun begins. First it's a little dinner to meet my friends Mr. and Mrs. De Boodle, of Nevada. Everybody there, hungry, dinner from Sherrys, best wines in the market. De Boodles covered with diamonds, a great success, especially old John De Boodle, who tells racy stories over the demi-tasse when the ladies have gone into the drawing-room. De Boodle voted a character. Next thing, Bridge Whist party. Everybody there. Society a good winner. The De Boodles magnificent[Pg 1581] losers. Popularity cinched. Next, yachting party. Everybody on board. De Boodle on deck in fine shape. Champagne flows like Niagara. Poker game in main cabin. Food everywhere. De Boodles much easier. Stiffness wearing off, and so on and so on until finally Miss De Boodle's portrait is printed in nineteen Sunday newspapers all over the country. They're launched, and Reggie comes into his own with a profit for the season in a cash balance of $50,000. He's had a bully time all summer, entertained like a Prince, and comes to the rainy season with a tidy little umbrella to keep him out of the wet."

"And can he count on that as a permanent business?" asked Mr. Whitechoker.

"My dear sir, the Rock of Gibraltar is no solider and no more permanent," said the Idiot. "For as long as there is a 400 in existence human nature is such that there will also be a million who will want to get into it."

"At such a cost?" demanded the Bibliomaniac.

"At any cost," replied the Idiot. "Even people who know they can not swim want to get in it."[Pg 1582]



"When the circus come to town,
Mighty me! Mighty me!
Jest one wink from that ol' clown,
When he's struttin' up an' down
To the music Bim—bam—bee!
Oh, sich sights, sich sights to see,
When the circus come to town!"

Blowout was on a boom.

The railroad from above was coming through, and Blowout was to be a city with that mysterious and rather disconcerting abruptness with which tiny Western villages do become cities in these circumstances.

It had been hoped that the railroad would be through by the Fourth of July, when the less important celebration of the nation's birthday might be combined with the proper marking of that event. But though tales came down to Blowout of how the contractors were working night and day shifts, and shipping men from the East in order to have the road through in time, though the Wagon-Tire House had entertained many squads of engineers and even occasional parties of the contractors' men, the railroad was not through on the Fourth.

Something much more important was arranged by Providence, however—at least, more important in the eyes of the children of the Wagon-Tire House. Frosty La Rue's grand aggregation of talent was to be in Blow[Pg 1583]out for a week, and the human performers were stopping at Huldah Sarvice's hotel.

If one can go far enough back to remember the awe and mystery surrounding a circus, and then imagine a circus coming bodily to lodge in one's own dwelling, to eat with the knives and forks at one's table—a circus which could swallow fire and swords, and things of that sort, just eating off plates in the ordinary manner, with Sissy waiting on the table behind its chairs—if one can get back to this happy time, it will be possible to comprehend some of the rapture the twins, Gess and Tell, experienced while Frosty La Rue's show abode at the Wagon-Tire House.

They lorded it over every other child in Blowout, shining with reflected splendor. They were the most sought after of any of the boys in school, for Romey was too young to afford information. La Rue himself looked upon them and said that they were "likely little fellers," and that he "wouldn't mind having them to train." Think of that! To train!

Aunt Huldah, with bat-like blindness to their best advantages, had stated to Mr. La Rue that their father was in—well—in Kansas, and had only left them with her, as it were, "on demand."

For one dreadful moment the twins envied Aunt Huldah's real orphans. Then, realizing that Aunt Huldah would no more give up Sissy or Ally than she would give up them, they reflected that the ambition of boys is apt, in this cold, unsympathetic world, to be thwarted by their elders, and settled down to the more active and thorough enjoyment of what they might have.

The company consisted of old La Rue; his second wife, who figured upon the bill as Signorina Ippolita di Castelli, an ex-circus rider of very mature years; Frosty's[Pg 1584] factotum, a Mexican by the name of José Romero; little Roy, the Aerial Wonder, son of Frosty and the Signorina; and last and most important of all, Minnie La Rue.

The show was well known in the Texas cattle country, and well loved. Frosty's daughter—she was only sixteen when he was last at Blowout, more than a year ago—was a pretty little thing, and her father had trained her to be a graceful tight-rope performer. He himself did some shooting from horseback, which most of the cowboys who applauded it could have beaten.

Frosty La Rue drank hard, and he was very surly when he was drinking. Even Aunt Huldah's boundless charity found it difficult to speak well of his treatment of Minnie. The Signorina could take care of herself—and of the Aerial Wonder as well. But the heft of her father's temper, and sometimes the weight of his hand also, fell on the young girl when things went amiss.

And things had gone amiss, more particularly in regard to her, during the last six months. Up to that time she had looked like a child, small for her age, silent, with big, wistful eyes, deft, clever fingers, and a voice and manner that charmed every audience—in short, the most valuable piece of property in La Rue's outfit.

The girl had bloomed into sudden and lovely girlhood when Kid Barringer saw her at Abilene, in April, patiently performing the tricks that had been taught her, obediently risking her young life that there might be plenty of money for her father to lose at the monte table, and that they might all be clothed and fed.

Kid had known the La Rue family and the girl for years, and when he promptly lost his heart to this surprising development of its daughter, he went frankly to the head of the clan and asked for her like a man.

There was no fault to find with Kid Barringer. He was[Pg 1585] good-looking, more intelligent than most of his mates, an honest, industrious and kind-hearted fellow, of whom his employers spoke well. If the girl cared for him—and Kid asserted that he had asked her and found out that she did care—she could not hope to do better.

But, of course, for La Rue to give up this most valuable chattel was out of the question. What he did, therefore, was to fly into a rage, refuse the Kid's offer in language which would have precipitated a brawl had the young man been less earnest in his wooing, and consign Minnie to the watchful vigilance of her stepmother.

And the cowboy had been vainly following the show during the whole two months that had passed since this episode, anxiously watching his poor little hard-worked sweetheart, hoping to get a word from her, meaning in any case to reassure her, and show her that he had not given up.

Matters were in this state when the "aggregation" settled down at the Wagon-Tire House for the week during which the Fourth of July was to occur. For this occasion La Rue promised a display of fireworks "superior to anything ever shown in West Texas."

The fame of this spectacle had preceded the show. It had been given in Emerald the year before, and all the cowboys who had seen it there brought back word that it was "the finest ever." The particular feature was in the closing act which La Rue had christened "Columbia Enlightening the World."

For this performance a wire was stretched across the street from the top of one building to another. La Rue intended this year to have it stretched from the Roundup to the Wagon-Tire House. Across this wire Minnie was to walk, dressed as Columbia, with a high-spiked diadem upon her head, her whole form outlined with colored fires,[Pg 1586] and bearing certain rockets which were set off when she reached the center of the street.

Everybody in the Wagon-Tire House liked the girl; Frosty was offensively polite or aggressively insulting; Mrs. La Rue was, as Troy Gilbert said, "a pretty tough specimen"; or, if one would rather follow Aunt Huldah's cheerful and charitable lead, "She looked a heap nicer, and appeared a heap better, in the show than out of it"; the Aerial Wonder was something of a terrestrial terror; but there was no question that Minnie La Rue was one of the sweetest and best little girls ever brought up in an inappropriate circus.

Therefore, when Kid Barringer appeared, a day after the La Rue family, and told the boys freely what the situation of his affairs was, he received unlimited sympathy and offers of assistance.

"I wish I could help you, Kid," Troy Gilbert said. "There isn't a soul in town that doesn't feel as though that little girl ought to be taken out of that man's keeping. But you see he's her own father, I reckon—says he is—and the law can't go behind that."

"If you boys would fix up a scheme to get me a chance to speak to Minnie—" Kid began. "At first I thought I could steal her just as easy as anything. She'd be glad to go; I had a little note from her—Say, Gib," he broke off suddenly, with a catch in his voice, "he's liable to strike her—to hurt her—when he's drinking."

"Well, if it went as far as that, here in Blowout, I would arrest him, you know," Gilbert suggested.

"It won't," Kid returned, dejectedly; "not at the Wagon-Tire House. Aunt Huldy has a good effect on him—or rather, bad effect, for that purpose. He's jest behavin' himself so straight, that Aunt Huldy won't hear a word about him bein' the meanest that ever was."[Pg 1587]

Troy was thinking intently.

"Say, Kid, I've got an idea. Do you reckon Aunt Huldy thinks too well of Frosty to help us out a little? If she doesn't, I believe the thing's as good as done. I saw that there 'Columbia Enlightening the World' at Emerald last year, and I know exactly how I could fix it so as to let you—well, you wait a minute, and I'll give you all the details. It's the only thing on the program that separates your girl from the Signorina for five minutes."

It must have been that Aunt Huldah saw more harm in Frosty La Rue than she was willing to mention; for an hour later Gilbert had made his arrangements.

"Now, Kid," he counseled, "I want you to make yourself scarce around here from now on. Don't let Frosty know you're in the diggin's at all. We boys are going to give it out that you've gone to Fort Worth, so that he and Mrs. La Rue won't watch Miss Minnie quite so close."

The Kid obediently withdrew from public life, spending most of his days in the back room of the big store, where a few sympathizing friends were always ready to bear him company; and the word went out that he had, in despair, given up camping on Miss Minnie's trail and gone off to Fort Worth.

This intelligence reaching old man La Rue—Gilbert wondered a little if it were possible any of it came to him through Aunt Huldah—had the desired effect of relaxing the watch upon the girl.

The first move in Gilbert's game was to waylay Frosty's Mexican, and bribe him to feign sickness. To this José promptly consented; and he counterfeited with such vigor, and so to the life, that the proprietor of the show was beside himself; for it was too late to teach a new man the management of the fireworks.[Pg 1588]

And now came Gilbert's second move. He approached the old man with the inquiry, "Why, what's the racket, Frosty? Something the matter with some of your outfit?"

La Rue sweepingly condemned the whole republic of Mexico in general, and José Romero in particular, winding up with the statement that the no-account greaser had gone and got sick, here at the last minute—Frosty would seem to imply, out of sheer perversity—and when it was too late to teach another his duties.

Upon this, Gilbert unfolded his scheme with a careful carelessness.

"Fireworks? Why, do you know, Frosty, I believe I could do your fireworks for you all right. I know fireworks pretty well, and I saw your 'Columbia' at Emerald last year."

"And would you do it, Gilbert?" asked La Rue. "It wouldn't pay," added the tight-fisted old fellow. "It wouldn't pay you—a man like you; but—"

"Oh, I just don't want to see the boys disappointed and the show spoiled," rejoined Gilbert. "I don't want any money."

La Rue was almost ready to embrace the sheriff of Wild Horse County. His burdens had not been light, even before the despised José's defection. There was a multitude of things, big and little, which could not well be carried with a show of the sort, but had always to be picked up locally, at the last moment; and a crude little cow-town like Blowout not only failed to supply many of these, but stood, as one might say, with dropped jaw at the very suggestion of them—at the mere mention of their unfamiliar names.

And so the company—otherwise the La Rue family—had to produce much of the paraphernalia out of its inner consciousness, which meant that the old man's temper[Pg 1589] was continually rasped, that the Signorina's nerves and her ingenuity were on a strain, and that Minnie was hard at work from dawn till dark, practising between whiles.

Troy Gilbert had put it most hopefully when he said that he knew fireworks pretty well—or one might say that the statement was susceptible of two different interpretations. As a matter of fact, Troy knew fireworks only from the spectator's side of the question.

He now had José Romero moved over into the back room of his place, where he might mitigate the rigors of that alien's confinement, and at the same time receive from the Mexican very necessary instruction.

Mercifully, there was an ample supply of fireworks, for the show was to be repeated at Antelope, over in Lone Jack County, and again at Cinche.

Moreover, drawing heavily, as he had been instructed, upon Kid Barringer's bank account, Gilbert wrote to Fort Worth and ordered a duplicate set of these fireworks sent on to Cinche. And in the darkness of night, when Blowout was wrapped in slumber, Gilbert and Romero rode silently out, down the flank of the divide, across the plain and into a little cañon six or seven miles distant in the breaks of Wild Horse Creek.

All day, in the intervals of his business duties, Gilbert had been receiving theoretical instructions; now with the set of fireworks which was to have dazzled and delighted the residents of Antelope, he made practical experiment of the knowledge so gained. The little show, witnessed only by the naked walls of the cañon and such prairie-dogs and jack-rabbits as had been untimely aroused from their slumbers, went off fairly well—which is to say that most of Gilbert's fingers and nearly all of his features went back to Blowout sound and entire.

"Oh, I got the hang of the business," he declared again[Pg 1590] and again, as they rode along through the soft Texas night; "I got the hang of it. I can make the whole first part go all right. The thing now is to get that Columbia act fixed so as to give the boys a run for their money, and leave a chance for Minnie and Kid."

The two rode home, and later José went to bed in Gilbert's back room, where work was going forward upon a mysterious-looking structure.


"In our village hall a Justice stands:
A neater form was never made of board."

Frosty La Rue's grand aggregation of talent had given two shows in a tent on the third of July.

On the Fourth there would again be two tent-shows, one in the afternoon and one at night; and at the close of the night performance, when the "concert" of an ordinary circus takes place, there was to be "a grand open-air spectacle," as Frosty himself put it.

For this purpose a platform had been erected, upon which Frosty and the Signorina could do a knife-throwing turn; and where the Aerial Wonder could give an infantile exhibition with a small bicycle.

A wire had been stretched across Comanche Street from the top of the Roundup to the top of the Wagon-Tire House, and upon this was to be given the most ambitious performance of the evening, "Columbia Enlightening the World."

All day long on the Fourth, the town was full of rejoicing young Texas masculinity, mounted upon Texas ponies, careering about the streets in conspicuously full enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.[Pg 1591] And all day long Frosty La Rue's tent-show did a land-office business.

Poor old Frosty! Many of the cowboys could shoot better than he; but they didn't shoot at colored glass balls. The bareback riding also came under some contempt; but the spangles and pink fleshings carried much weight, the Signorina painted most artistically, and, as Aunt Huldah said, "When she was a-goin' right fast on that fat white hoss, with the little platform on his back, an' a-smilin' an' kissin' her hand, she did really look right nice."

Minnie's trapeze acts were truly fine, and were appreciated at their full value; and the beautiful little figure walking the wire twenty feet above the ground was greeted with unlimited enthusiasm.

When the evening came, old Frosty, inclined to be as nervous and irritable with Gilbert as he dared, came running into the latter's place worrying about the fireworks.

"Now you chase yourself along," advised the sheriff, good-naturedly. "Just get right along, an' 'tend to your little old illuminated knife-throwin' trick. 'Tain't ten minutes till that's due, an' you've got a crowd that's good for five hundred dollars if it's good for a cent, when you pass the hat. And," he added, delight in the scheme he was working getting the better of his natural instinct for literal truth, "and luck—just fool luck—has sent you the finest fireworks operator in West Texas. Shoo out of here now, an' 'tend to your own job, an' let me 'tend to mine!"

As for the children of the Wagon-Tire House, they were perhaps more glorious on that warm, dark July night than anything in their after lives could make them. This is not to say that the six were not destined for happy or distinguished careers; but, after all, the magnificence of an occasion depends greatly upon the point of view; and the small hill is a high mountain to the little child.[Pg 1592]

They had been permitted to extend invitations to the more favored of their young friends. Bunt Tarver and Roach Porterman's two small girls, with Eddie Beach, who lived on a ranch outside of Blowout and stayed all night at the Wagon-Tire House (in a state of bliss that was almost cataleptic), were among the little bunch that presented themselves to go upon the roof of the kitchen, from which a magnificent view of the fireworks was to be had.

"I can't have it," Troy announced. "I can't have you children up here."

"Oh, yes, Gib—oh, yes, you can. They won't—" Aunt Huldah's voice sank to a murmur, which Troy Gilbert answered with a shake of the head.

"Well, ef they do see anything, they'll keep still—my chil'en are trained to mind; and these others are all good people;" and Aunt Huldah beamed upon the palpitating, expectant, alarmed little band.

"Keep still!"—what an awful phrase for such a connection! Gilbert turned and asked them kindly, "Will you, kids? Will you keep right still, whatever you see?"

Only Gess and Tell were bold enough to put the horror into words.

"'Tain't no use fer us to promise," Gess said huskily. "We're jest bound to holler when the fireworks begins to go off, even if we had promised cross-yer-heart."

And Tell piped in, after him, as usual:

"W'y, a circus is jest hollerin'—or some hollerin' is the best part of a circus." And he added, with a suspicious tremble in his voice, "I'd rather go downstairs an' set in the kitchen, if we can't holler."

Troy burst out laughing at sight of the dejected faces.

"Oh, holler all you want to—holler as much as you can—I don't mean hollerin'. I expect to do some pretty con[Pg 1593]siderable hollerin' myself, and I've got a lot of the boys promised to holler at the right time. But there's to be a little—a little extra performance up here on the roof, and if you see anything queer about it, you mustn't let on—you mustn't tell."

"That's all right," assured Aunt Huldah, turning to descend the narrow little stairway. "They'll do jest as you tell 'em, Gib. Mind you don't tip them soap boxes over an' fall off'n the roof, chil'en. Sissy, you keep tight hold of Ally's hand—she's apt to fly when the big performance comes;" and Aunt Huldah's rich, mellow, chuckling laugh came back to them up the stairs.

One would have said that nothing on earth could make matters more glorious to the children of the Wagon-Tire House on this Fourth of July evening; but after Troy Gilbert's words, they trod not upon the earthen roof of the hotel, but on air; they sat not upon soap boxes, but on thrones.

Nay, kings were small people compared to them. There was to be a mysterious extra performance, in which the sheriff was implicated; it would take place under their very noses, and they were asked to assist, to keep still about it!

Gilbert had said truly: the crowd was a big one, and most enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, there were nearly a hundred cowboys on hand who had been let into Gilbert's scheme. The fireworks were equally successful whether they blazed splendidly or fizzled ingloriously. It was enough for the boys that Troy Gilbert was doing the act; they whooped at every figure, and whooped again at Troy's unaccustomed drollery.

There was a strain of intense expectancy in the audience, communicated, though without their knowledge, to those not in the secret from those who were; so that the crowd was wildly eager, without altogether knowing why.[Pg 1594]

After the display of pin-wheels, fiery serpents, bouquets, Roman candles and rockets, old Frosty and Mrs. Frosty (otherwise the Signorina Ippolita di Castelli) came on the small platform to do their knife-throwing-act, the knives trailing fiery tails. This kept the audience entertained during the time necessary to prepare the Columbia act.

"Bet you'd be scared to do that," whispered Eddie Beach.

"Bet I wouldn't," Gess made answer. "I'd jest as soon sling them old knives—Mr. La Rue said me an' Tell was likely boys to train. I bet Ally'd hold as still as the Signorina 'f I was to throw them knives at her."

For the Columbia performance Gilbert had, during the day, stretched another wire about five feet and three inches above the big wire on which Minnie was to walk. Indeed, it was this secondary wire which had caused the eruption of old Frosty demanding to "know."

When the knife-throwing act was finished, there was a short pause followed by a little murmur of applause; and this grew louder and louder, until it was a medley of whoops, yells, stamping, and calls in every tone and key for the next act—the grand stroke of the performance. Frosty and the Signorina forbore to go upon the roof of the Roundup to receive Minnie, until they should see her start from the roof of the hotel.

Figures were seen upon the top of the Wagon-Tire House (both roofs were flat) and Frosty strained his eyes eagerly toward that end of the big wire. The wondering children drew back and refrained even from whispering among themselves—Troy's caution was not needed. Strange doings, indeed, were going forward about the end of the wire. Troy Gilbert was apparently pushing a reluctant figure toward it—it looked as though the person[Pg 1595] were tied, and he laughed and struck her when she seemed unwilling.

Finally, Columbia began to move out slowly along the wire. She was everything that audience or proprietor could desire. The spiked tiara was on her head, blazing with violet light. Down her back hung her fair curling hair; in her hands was the long balancing pole—Columbia's scepter of power; and her white draperies were illuminated with fires of blue and crimson and violet.

The children stared, silent, motionless, expectant. They were nearer than those in the street and had had opportunity to observe the irregularity of Columbia's launching.

There was a little outburst of applause when she first appeared. But as she moved out over the wire, the silence was so complete that the coughing of one of the patient ponies on the outskirts of the crowd was plainly audible.

Those in the secret were silent, in ecstasies of admiration. The children kept still because they had been told to—whatever they saw. Those not instructed were mute with amazement—a sort of creeping awe.

Most of the audience had seen Minnie that afternoon in the tent-show, her slender girlish form clad in spangled gauze, her delicate blonde prettiness enhanced by the attire, doing her trapeze act. She had then moved with the lithe grace of a young deer; her face had been all eager animation. What sort of thing was this, that seemed to advance along the wire as though it were on casters—that was never seen to take a step? What face was this, strange, staring, immobile as a face carved in wood?

"Gee!" murmured one of the X Q K boys, who had come in late and was uninformed. "Gee, I ain't been a-drinkin' a thing—what in the name o' pity ails that gal!"

"Great Scott; she gives me the mauley-grubs! Ugh!"[Pg 1596] and his companion shivered. But save for these murmured comments, the crowd was intensely still.

Suddenly, about the middle of the street, Columbia's forward movement slackened, checked altogether. This was not unexpected, for midway the rockets fastened about her waist, and upon her crown were to be discharged. The manner in which these latter went off brought shrieks and groans from the crowd below. They fizzed up into Columbia's face, they burned against her bodice, they struck her arms. "Oh! oh! Poor soul! she'll have her eyes put out! She'll be killed!" cried a woman's voice from the street.

"I might 'a' known better than to trust that fool Gilbert with them fireworks," groaned old Frosty. "That there girl is worth more'n a hundred dollars a month to me. If I was to take her East I could hire her out for two hundred, easy, an' here she's likely to get all crippled up, so's't she won't never be no account."

Columbia was the only personage unmoved by all the fiery demonstrations; she stood rigid, looking strangely massive and tall, till the last rocket had spent itself. Then her progress began again with a sort of jerk. A shudder went over her frame, the pole wavered in her hands—those hands that seemed so limp and lifeless—she tottered, made a violent movement with her head, then swayed out sidewise and fell—holding the pole tight in her hands!

And the strangest sound went up from that big assembly, a mingled sound of groans and smothered outcries, and also what one might have sworn—had it not seemed impossible—was wild hysteric laughter.

Gess and Tell and Eddie Beach, luxuriating in Troy's permission to "holler as much as they pleased," emitted shrieks that would have chilled the blood of any whom this strange spectacle had not already terrified.[Pg 1597]

For, instead of falling to the ground twenty feet below, as would have been natural, and lying there, a mangled body, Columbia hung to the wire, a mad, fantastic, incredible spectacle, head downward, in a blaze of inverted patriotic splendor!

The wildest confusion ensued. Frosty was beside himself. He simply danced and yelled where he stood. Those who were in the secret shouted themselves hoarse with rapture, capering like dervishes, embracing one another; those who were not, screamed with horror and dismay.

As all gazed fascinated, something drifted down from the hanging figure. A cowboy plunged forward, caught it up, and there broke upon the sudden stillness which had followed this incident, a roar of hearty laughter, as he held high in the blaze of light that came from the pendent figure, Columbia's wooden-seeming countenance—a false face!

Instantly, the shouting and confusion broke out again. The figure began to sway; and the light draperies were ignited by some bit of fire which had been brought into contact with them, by the inversion of Columbia's proper position.

The figure showed that, beyond the streaming golden hair—the beautiful fair hair which Aunt Huldah had cut from Daisy's head, and which Daisy had given with loving generosity—and the stuffed-out waist of Columbia's classic robe, the only anatomy Columbia possessed was an upright post with a wheel at the bottom—a caster indeed!—which had run upon the big wire.

At the top of Columbia's head there had been another wheel, which ran, trolley-like, upon the upper wire; and a slender wire traveling along the lower, or footway wire, had drawn the figure forward.

Some obstacle had been met in the overhead wire; and[Pg 1598] when the figure was jerked forward, harder and harder, to overcome this, the upper attachment finally gave way entirely and allowed the figure to fall. Only Gilbert's precaution of looping a heavy wire from axle to axle of the lower wheel around the footway wire, had prevented Columbia from falling to the ground.

As the explanation began to spread over the crowd—not in whispers, but in shouts, mingled with roars of laughter—those who had been instructed beforehand pressed round old Frosty and the Signorina in a dense mass.

Threats, complaints, demands, all sorts of outcries filled the air.

"You old fakir!"

"What do you mean by it, Frosty?"

"Do you think you're a-goin' to run a blazer like this on us, and we'll swaller hit like hit was catnip tea?"

"What fer did ye want to fool us thataway?"

"We ain't a-goin' to stand it—we'll——"

"Gentlemen, jest be quiet. Let me out—let me git across the street to the Wagon-Tire—where my daughter is—and I can explain things."

"Explain nothin'!" was the cry; "you'll explain right here! Do you think Blowout is a-goin' to stand this kind o' thing?"

"Who put you up to run this blazer on us? Them fellers at Plain View? Er them scrubs at Cinche? This town ain't a-goin' to stand it!"

"Gentlemen," came Frosty's pipe again, "gentlemen, let me out—jest let me git to my daughter—let me git out o' here before it's too late! This is some o' that scoundrel Kid Barringer's doin's. Let me out, gentlemen!"

But the old man had gone the wrong way about it. Kid was one of them, a good fellow, and much liked.[Pg 1599] Even those who knew nothing now scented a romance. The big crowd hemmed old Frosty in and held him there with pretended wrath and resentment.

At the back door of the Wagon-Tire House, just before the wooden Columbia appeared to the eyes of Blowout, a meeting had taken place. From that door Aunt Huldah had stepped with Minnie clinging to her arm. In the dense shadow Kid Barringer was waiting with two of the best ponies in Wild Horse County. He came eagerly forward.

"Kid," said Aunt Huldah's heartsome voice, "here's Minnie—I've brung her to you. I b'lieve we're doin' right. You're a good boy, Kid. An' I know you love her an' will take keer o' her. Ef you wasn't to, you'd shore have me to fight!" and she chuckled genially.

"Good-by, honey. Ye needn't to look skeered. We-all have got ye now, an' we'll take keer of ye—the hull kit an' bilin' o' us. Good-by, bless your sweet little heart!"

With the word Minnie was in her saddle, swung there by her lover's strong arms, and away across the levels beside him.

And while, back in Blowout, the Signorina fairly clawed, cat-like, to get through that wall of cowboys and across the street to where (believing Kid Barringer to be as far away as Fort Worth) she had left Minnie scarce half an hour before—while the old man shouted and swore and protested and fairly wept with rage and apprehension; Kid Barringer reached his left hand out to his companion, saying:

"Slack him down a little, honey; we're safe now. Mr. Ferguson, the Presbyterian preacher—he's promised me—I told him—an' he's a-goin' to marry us. His place ain't half a mile further on, an' he's lookin' fer us. We're safe now, my poor little girl."[Pg 1600]

The cowboys, with roars of delight, fished down the remains of the dangling Columbia, while the original performer, to whom Columbia's figure was understudy, stood in Mr. Ferguson's little parlor, waiting for that gentleman to bring in a second witness. Her little fair head was resting on Kid's broad shoulder; Kid's arm was around her slender figure; and she was saying, between laughter and tears:

"Kid, how do you reckon that old machine Columbia is getting along with my turn, back there at Blowout?"

And the happy bridegroom made blissful answer: "I don't know—or keer—honey. She can go it on her head for all of us, can't she? She give us our chance to get away, and that was all we wanted. Aunt Huldy is the Lord's own people. I'll never forget her. You wouldn't hardly 'a' thought I was good enough, if Aunt Huldy hadn't a-recommended me, I don't believe. My little girl ain't never a-goin' to get to walk no more wires."[Pg 1601]



I were a pall to the burrying,
Joe's finally out of the way,
Nothing 'special ailing of him,
Just old age and gen'ral decay.
Hope to the Lord that I'll never be
Old and decrepit and useless as he.
Cuss to his family the last five year—
Monstrous expensive with keep so dear—
'Sides all the fuss and worrying.
Terrible trial to get so old;
Cur'us a man will continue to hold
So on to life, when it's easy to see
His chances for living, tho' dreadfully slim,
Are better than his family are lotting for him.
Joe was that kind of a hanger on;
Hadn't no sense of the time to quit;
Stunted discretion and stall-fed grit
Helped him unbuckle many a cinch,
Where a sensible man would have died in the pinch.
Kind of tickled to have him gone;
Bested for once and laid away,
Got him down where he's bound to stay;
I were a pall to his burrying.

Knowed him for more than sixty year back—
[Pg 1602]Used to be somewhat older than him
Fought him one night to a husking bee;
Licked him in manner uncommon complete;
Every one said 'twas a beautiful fight;
Joe he wa'n't satisfied with it that way,
Kept dinging along, and when he got through
The worst looking critter that you ever see
Were stretched on a bed rigged up in the hay—
They carted me home the following day.
Got me a sweetheart purty and trim,
Told me that I was a heap likelier than Joe;
Mittened him twict; he kept on the track,
Followed her round every place she would go;
Offered to lick him; says she, "It's a treat,
Let's watch and find out what the poor critter will do."
Watched him, believing the thing was all right—
That identical girl is Joe's widow to-night.
Run to be justice, then Joe he run, too;
Knowed I was pop'lar and he hadn't a friend,
So there wa'n't no use of my hurrying.
The 'lection came off, we counted the votes;
I hadn't enough; Joe had them to lend.
Now all the way through I had been taking notes
Of his disagreeable way,
And it tickles me now to be able to say
He's bested for good in the end;
Got him down where he's bound to stay;
I were a pall to his burrying.
[Pg 1603]



From the madding crowd they stand apart,
The maidens four and the Work of Art;

And none might tell from sight alone
In which had Culture ripest grown—

The Gotham Million fair to see,
The Philadelphia Pedigree,

The Boston Mind of azure hue,
Or the soulful Soul from Kalamazoo—

For all loved Art in a seemly way,
With an earnest soul and a capital A.

Long they worshipped; but no one broke
The sacred stillness, until upspoke

The Western one from the nameless place,
Who, blushing, said: "What a lovely vase!"

Over three faces a sad smile flew,
And they edged away from Kalamazoo.

But Gotham's haughty soul was stirred
[Pg 1604]To crush the stranger with one small word.

Deftly hiding reproof in praise,
She cries: "'T is, indeed, a lovely vaze!"

But brief her unworthy triumph when
The lofty one from the house of Penn,

With the consciousness of two grandpapas,
Exclaims: "It is quite a lovely vahs!"

And glances round with an anxious thrill,
Awaiting the word of Beacon Hill.

But the Boston maid smiles courteouslee
And gently murmurs: "Oh, pardon me!

"I did not catch your remark, because
I was so entranced with that charming vaws!"

Dies erit prœgelida
Sinistra quum Bostonia.
[Pg 1605]



I waited in the little sunny room:
The cool breeze waved the window-lace, at play,
The white rose on the porch was all in bloom,
And out upon the bay
I watched the wheeling sea-birds go and come.
"Such an old friend,—she would not make me stay
While she bound up her hair." I turned, and lo,
Danaë in her shower! and fit to slay
All a man's hoarded prudence at a blow:
Gold hair that streamed away
As round some nymph a sunlit fountain's flow.
"She would not make me wait!"—but well I know
She took a good half-hour to loose and lay
Those locks in dazzling disarrangement so!
[Pg 1606]



The House having under consideration the joint resolution (S. R. No. 11), extending the time to construct a railroad from the St. Croix river or lake to the west end of Lake Superior and to Bayfield—

Mr. Knott said:—

Mr. Speaker: If I could be actuated by any conceivable inducement to betray the sacred trust reposed in me by those to whose generous confidence I am indebted for the honor of a seat on this floor; if I could be influenced by any possible consideration to become instrumental in giving away, in violation of their known wishes, any portion of their interest in the public domain for the mere promotion of any railroad enterprise whatever, I should certainly feel a strong inclination to give this measure my most earnest and hearty support; for I am assured that its success would materially enhance the pecuniary prosperity of some of the most valued friends I have on earth,—friends for whose accommodation I would be willing to make almost any sacrifice not involving my personal honor or my fidelity as the trustee of an express trust. And that fact of itself would be sufficient to countervail almost any objection I might entertain to the passage of this bill not inspired by an imperative and inexorable sense of public duty.

But, independent of the seductive influences of private friendship, to which I admit I am, perhaps, as susceptible[Pg 1607] as any of the gentlemen I see around me, the intrinsic merits of the measure itself are of such an extraordinary character as to commend it most strongly to the favorable consideration of every member of this House, myself not excepted, notwithstanding my constituents, in whose behalf alone I am acting here, would not be benefited by its passage one particle more than they would be by a project to cultivate an orange grove on the bleakest summit of Greenland's icy mountains. (Laughter.)

Now, sir, as to those great trunk lines of railway, spanning the continent from ocean to ocean, I confess my mind has never been fully made up. It is true they may afford some trifling advantages to local traffic, and they may even in time become the channels of a more extended commerce. Yet I have never been thoroughly satisfied either of the necessity or expediency of projects promising such meagre results to the great body of our people. But with regard to the transcendent merits of the gigantic enterprise contemplated in this bill I never entertained the shadow of a doubt. (Laughter.)

Years ago, when I first heard that there was somewhere in the vast terra incognita, somewhere in the bleak regions of the great Northwest, a stream of water known to the nomadic inhabitants of the neighborhood as the river St. Croix, I became satisfied that the construction of a railroad from that raging torrent to some point in the civilized world was essential to the happiness and prosperity of the American people, if not absolutely indispensable to the perpetuity of republican institutions on this continent. (Great laughter.) I felt instinctively that the boundless resources of that prolific region of sand and pine shrubbery would never be fully developed without a railroad constructed and equipped at the expense of the Government, and perhaps not then. (Laughter.) I had[Pg 1608] an abiding presentiment that, some day or other, the people of this whole country, irrespective of party affiliations, regardless of sectional prejudices, and "without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," would rise in their majesty, and demand an outlet for the enormous agricultural productions of those vast and fertile pine barrens, drained in the rainy season by the surging waters of the turbid St. Croix. (Great laughter.)

These impressions, derived simply and solely from the "eternal fitness of things," were not only strengthened by the interesting and eloquent debate on this bill, to which I listened with so much pleasure the other day, but intensified, if possible, as I read over this morning the lively colloquy which took place on that occasion, as I find it reported in last Friday's "Globe." I will ask the indulgence of the House while I read a few short passages, which are sufficient, in my judgment, to place the merits of the great enterprise contemplated in the measure now under discussion beyond all possible controversy.

The honorable gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Wilson), who, I believe, is managing this bill, in speaking of the character of the country through which this railroad is to pass, says this:—

"We want to have the timber brought to us as cheaply as possible. Now, if you tie up the lands in this way, so that no title can be obtained to them,—for no settler will go on these lands, for he can not make a living,—you deprive us of the benefit of that timber."

Now, sir, I would not have it by any means inferred from this that the gentleman from Minnesota would insinuate that the people out in his section desire this timber merely for the purpose of fencing up their farms, so that their stock may not wander off and die of starvation[Pg 1609] among the bleak hills of the St. Croix. (Laughter.) I read it for no such purpose, sir, and make no such comment on it myself. In corroboration of this statement of the gentleman from Minnesota, I find this testimony given by the honorable gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Washburn). Speaking of these same lands, he says:

"Under the bill, as amended by my friend from Minnesota, nine tenths of the land is open to actual settlers at $2.50 per acre; the remaining one tenth is pine-timbered land, that is not fit for settlement, and never will be settled upon; but the timber will be cut off. I admit that it is the most valuable portion of the grant, for most of the grant is not valuable. It is quite valueless; and if you put in this amendment of the gentleman from Indiana, you may as well just kill the bill, for no man and no company will take the grant and build the road."

I simply pause here to ask some gentleman better versed in the science of mathematics than I am to tell me, if the timbered lands are in fact the most valuable portion of that section of country, and they would be entirely valueless without the timber that is on them, what the remainder of the land is worth which has no timber on it at all. (Laughter.)

But further on I find a most entertaining and instructive interchange of views between the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Rogers), the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Washburn), and the gentleman from Maine (Mr. Peters) upon the subject of pine lands generally, which I will tax the patience of the House to read:—

"Mr. Rogers. Will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question?

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. Certainly.

"Mr. Rogers. Are these pine lands entirely worthless except for timber?[Pg 1610]

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. They are generally! worthless for any other purpose. I am perfectly familiar with that subject. These lands are not valuable for purposes of settlement.

"Mr. Farnsworth. They will be after the timber is taken off?

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. No, sir.

"Mr. Rogers. I want to know the character of these pine lands.

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. They are generally sandy, barren lands. My friend from the Green Bay district (Mr. Sawyer) is himself perfectly familiar with this question, and he will bear me out in what I say, that these pine-timber lands are not adapted to settlement.

"Mr. Rogers. The pine lands to which I am accustomed are generally very good. What I want to know is, what is the difference between our pine lands and your pine lands?

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. The pine timber of Wisconsin generally grows upon barren, sandy land. The gentleman from Maine (Mr. Peters), who is familiar with pine lands, will, I have no doubt, say that pine timber grows generally upon the most barren lands.

"Mr. Peters. As a general thing pine lands are not worth much for cultivation."

And further on I find this pregnant question, the joint production of the two gentlemen from Wisconsin:—

"Mr. Paine. Does my friend from Indiana suppose that in any event settlers will occupy and cultivate these pine lands?

"Mr. Washburn, of Wisconsin. Particularly without a railroad?"

Yes, sir, "particularly without a railroad." It will be asked after a while, I am afraid, if settlers will go any[Pg 1611]where unless the Government builds a railroad for them to go on. (Laughter.)

I desire to call attention to only one more statement, which I think sufficient to settle the question. It is one made by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Paine), who says:—

"These lands will be abandoned for the present. It may be that at some remote period there will spring up in that region a new kind of agriculture, which will cause a demand for these particular lands; and they may then come into use and be valuable for agricultural purposes. But I know, and I can not help thinking that my friend from Indiana understands, that for the present, and for many years to come, these pine lands can have no possible value other than that arising from the pine timber which stands on them."

Now, sir, who, after listening to this emphatic and unequivocal testimony of these intelligent, competent and able-bodied witnesses (laughter), who that is not as incredulous as St. Thomas himself, will doubt for a moment that the Goshen of America is to be found in the sandy valleys and upon the pine-clad hills of St. Croix? (Laughter.) Who will have the hardihood to rise in his seat on this floor and assert that, excepting the pine bushes, the entire region would not produce vegetation enough in ten years to fatten a grasshopper? (Great laughter.) Where is the patriot who is willing that his country shall incur the peril of remaining another day without the amplest railroad connection with such an inexhaustible mine of agricultural wealth? (Laughter.) Who will answer for the consequences of abandoning a great and warlike people, in possession of a country like that, to brood over the indifference and neglect of their Government? (Laughter.) How long would it be before they would take to studying[Pg 1612] the Declaration of Independence, and hatching out the damnable heresy of secession? How long before the grim demon of civil discord would rear again his horrid head in our midst, "gnash loud his iron fangs, and shake his crest of bristling bayonets"? (Laughter.)

Then, sir, think of the long and painful process of reconstruction that must follow, with its concomitant amendments to the Constitution; the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth articles. The sixteenth, it is of course understood, is to be appropriated to those blushing damsels who are, day after day, beseeching us to let them vote, hold office, drink cock-tails, ride astraddle, and do everything else the men do. (Roars of laughter.) But above all, sir, let me implore you to reflect for a single moment on the deplorable condition of our country in case of a foreign war, with all our ports blockaded, all our cities in a state of siege; the gaunt spectre of famine brooding like a hungry vulture over our starving land; our commissary stores all exhausted, and our famishing armies withering away in the field, a helpless prey to the insatiate demon of hunger; our navy rotting in the docks for want of provisions for our gallant seamen, and we without any railroad communication whatever with the prolific pine thickets of the St. Croix. (Great laughter.)

Ah, sir, I could very well understand why my amiable friends from Pennsylvania (Mr. Myers, Mr. Kelley and Mr. O'Neill) should be so earnest in their support of this bill the other day, and if their honorable colleague, my friend, Mr. Randall, will pardon the remark, I will say I considered his criticism of their action on that occasion as not only unjust, but ungenerous. I knew they were looking forward with the far-reaching ken of enlightened statesmanship to the pitiable condition in which Phila[Pg 1613]delphia will be left, unless speedily supplied with railroad connection in some way or other with this garden spot of the universe. (Laughter.) And besides, sir, this discussion has relieved my mind of a mystery that has weighed upon it like an incubus for years. I could never understand before why there was so much excitement during the last Congress over the acquisition of Alta Vela. I could never understand why it was that some of our ablest statesmen and most disinterested patriots should entertain such dark forebodings of the untold calamities that were to befall our beloved country unless we should take immediate possession of that desirable island. But I see now that they were laboring under the mistaken impression that the Government would need the guano to manure the public lands on the St. Croix. (Great laughter.)

Now, sir, I repeat I have been satisfied for years that if there was any portion of the inhabited globe absolutely in a suffering condition for want of a railroad it was these teeming pine barrens of the St. Croix. (Laughter.) At what particular point on that noble stream such a road should be commenced I knew was immaterial, and so it seems to have been considered by the draughtsman of this bill. It might be up at the spring or down at the foot-log, or the Watergate, or the fish-dam, or anywhere along the bank, no matter where. (Laughter.) But in what direction should it run, or where should it terminate, were always to my mind questions of the most painful perplexity. I could conceive of no place on "God's green earth" in such straitened circumstances for railroad facilities as to be likely to desire or willing to accept such a connection. (Laughter.) I knew that neither Bayfield nor Superior City would have it, for they both indignantly spurned the munificence of the Government when[Pg 1614] coupled with such ignominious conditions, and let this very same land grant die on their hands years and years ago, rather than submit to the degradation of a direct communication by railroad with the piny woods of the St. Croix; and I knew that what the enterprising inhabitants of those giant young cities would refuse to take would have few charms for others, whatever their necessities or cupidity might be. (Laughter.)

Hence, as I have said, sir, I was utterly at a loss to determine where the terminus of this great and indispensable road should be, until I accidentally overheard some gentleman the other day mention the name of "Duluth." (Great laughter.) Duluth! The word fell upon my ear with peculiar and indescribable charm, like the gentle murmur of a low fountain stealing forth in the midst of roses, or the soft, sweet accents of an angel's whisper in the bright, joyous dream of sleeping innocence. Duluth! 'Twas the name for which my soul had panted for years, as the hart panteth for the water-brooks. (Renewed laughter.) But where was Duluth? Never, in all my limited reading, had my vision been gladdened by seeing the celestial word in print. (Laughter.) And I felt a profounder humiliation in my ignorance that its dulcet syllables had never before ravished my delighted ear. (Roars of laughter.) I was certain the draughtsman of this bill had never heard of it, or it would have been designated as one of the termini of this road. I asked my friends about it, but they knew nothing of it. I rushed to the library, and examined all the maps I could find. (Laughter.) I discovered in one of them a delicate, hair-like line, diverging from the Mississippi near a place marked Prescott, which I supposed was intended to represent the river St. Croix, but I could nowhere find Duluth.[Pg 1615]

Nevertheless, I was confident it existed somewhere, and that its discovery would constitute the crowning-glory of the present century, if not of all modern times. (Laughter.) I knew it was bound to exist in the very nature of things; that the symmetry and perfection of our planetary system would be incomplete without it (renewed laughter); that the elements of material nature would long since have resolved themselves back into original chaos, if there had been such a hiatus in creation as would have resulted from leaving out Duluth. (Roars of laughter.) In fact, sir, I was overwhelmed with the conviction that Duluth not only existed somewhere, but that, wherever it was, it was a great and glorious place. I was convinced that the greatest calamity that ever befell the benighted nations of the ancient world was in their having passed away without a knowledge of the actual existence of Duluth; that their fabled Atlantis, never seen save by the hallowed vision of inspired poesy, was, in fact, but another name for Duluth; that the golden orchard of the Hesperides was but a poetical synonym for the beer gardens in the vicinity of Duluth. (Great laughter.) I was certain that Herodotus had died a miserable death because in all his travels and with all his geographical research he had never heard pf Duluth. (Laughter,) I knew that if the immortal spirit of Homer could look down from another heaven than that created by his own celestial genius upon the long lines of pilgrims from every nation of the earth to the gushing fountain of poesy opened by the touch of his magic wand; if he could be permitted to behold the vast assemblage of grand and glorious productions of the lyric art called into being by his own inspired strains, he would weep tears of bitter anguish that, instead of lavishing all the stores of his mighty genius upon the fall of Ilion, it had[Pg 1616] not been his more blessed lot to crystallize in deathless song the rising glories of Duluth. (Great and continued laughter.) Yet, sir, had it not been for this map, kindly furnished me by the Legislature of Minnesota, I might have gone down to my obscure and humble grave in an agony of despair, because I could nowhere find Duluth. (Renewed laughter.) Had such been my melancholy fate, I have no doubt that, with the last feeble pulsation of my breaking heart, with the last faint exhalation of my fleeting breath, I should have whispered, "Where is Duluth?" (Roars of laughter.)

But, thanks to the beneficence of that band of ministering angels who have their bright abodes in the far-off capital of Minnesota, just as the agony of my anxiety was about to culminate in the frenzy of despair, this blessed map was placed in my hands; and as I unfolded it a resplendent scene of ineffable glory opened before me, such as I imagine burst upon the enraptured vision of the wandering peri through the opening gates of paradise. (Renewed laughter.) There, there for the first time, my enchanted eye rested upon the ravishing word "Duluth."

This map, sir, is intended, as it appears from its title, to illustrate the position of Duluth in the United States; but if gentlemen will examine it, I think they will concur with me in the opinion that it is far too modest in its pretensions. It not only illustrates the position of Duluth in the United States, but exhibits its relations with all created things. It even goes farther than this. It lifts the shadowy veil of futurity, and affords us a view of the golden prospects of Duluth far along the dim vista of ages yet to come.

If gentlemen will examine it, they will find Duluth not only in the centre of the map, but represented in the centre[Pg 1617] of a series of concentric circles, one hundred miles apart, and some of them as much as four thousand miles in diameter, embracing alike in their tremendous sweep the fragrant savannas of the sun-lit South and the eternal solitudes of snow that mantle the ice-bound North. (Laughter.) How these circles were produced is perhaps one of those primordial mysteries that the most skillful paleologist will never be able to explain. (Renewed laughter.) But the fact is, sir, Duluth is preeminently a central place, for I am told by gentlemen who have been so reckless of their own personal safety as to venture away into those awful regions where Duluth is supposed to be that it is so exactly in the centre of the visible universe that the sky comes down at precisely the same distance all around it. (Roars of laughter.)

I find by reference to this map that Duluth is situated somewhere near the western end of Lake Superior; but as there is no dot or other mark indicating its exact location, I am unable to say whether it is actually confined to any particular spot, or whether "it is just lying around there loose." (Renewed laughter.) I really can not tell whether it is one of those ethereal creations of intellectual frostwork, more intangible than the rose-tinted clouds of a summer sunset,—one of those airy exhalations of the speculator's brain, which I am told are ever flitting in the form of towns and cities along those lines of railroad, built with Government subsidies, luring the unwary settlers as the mirage of the desert lures the famishing traveler on, and ever on, until it fades away in the darkening horizon,—or whether it is a real bona fide, substantial city, all "staked off," with the lots marked with their owners' names, like that proud commercial metropolis recently discovered on the desirable shores of San Domingo. (Laughter.) But, however that may be, I am[Pg 1618] satisfied Duluth is there, or thereabout, for I see it stated here on this map that it is exactly thirty-nine hundred and ninety miles from Liverpool (laughter), though I have no doubt, for the sake of convenience, it will be moved back ten miles, so as to make the distance an even four thousand. (Renewed laughter.)

Then, sir, there is the climate of Duluth, unquestionably the most salubrious and delightful to be found anywhere on the Lord's earth. Now, I have always been under the impression, as I presume other gentlemen have, that in the region around Lake Superior it was cold enough for at least nine months in the year to freeze the smokestack off a locomotive. (Great laughter.) But I see it represented on this map that Duluth is situated exactly halfway between the latitudes of Paris and Venice, so that gentlemen who have inhaled the exhilarating airs of the one or basked in the golden sunlight of the other may see at a glance that Duluth must be a place of untold delights (laughter), a terrestrial paradise, fanned by the balmy zephyrs of an eternal spring, clothed in the gorgeous sheen of ever-blooming flowers, and vocal with the silvery melody of nature's choicest songsters. (Laughter.) In fact, sir, since I have seen this map I have no doubt that Byron was vainly endeavoring to convey some faint conception of the delicious charms of Duluth when his poetic soul gushed forth in the rippling strains of that beautiful rhapsody:

"Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume,
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gul in her bloom;
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;
Where the tints of the earth and the hues of the sky,
In color though varied, in beauty may vie?"

(Laughter.)[Pg 1619]

As to the commercial resources of Duluth, sir, they are simply illimitable and inexhaustible, as is shown by this map. I see it stated here that there is a vast scope of territory, embracing an area of over two million square miles, rich in every element of material wealth and commercial prosperity, all tributary to Duluth. Look at it, sir (pointing to the map). Here are inexhaustible mines of gold, immeasurable veins of silver, impenetrable depths of boundless forest, vast coal-measures, wide, extended plains of richest pasturage, all, all embraced in this vast territory, which must, in the very nature of things, empty the untold treasures of its commerce into the lap of Duluth. (Laughter.)

Look at it, sir! (Pointing to the map.) Do not you see from these broad, brown lines drawn around this immense territory that the enterprising inhabitants of Duluth intend some day to inclose it all in one vast corral, so that its commerce will be bound to go there, whether it would or not? (Great laughter.) And here, sir (still pointing to the map), I find within a convenient distance the Piegan Indians, which, of all the many accessories to the glory of Duluth, I consider by far the most inestimable. For, sir, I have been told that when the small-pox breaks out among the women and children of that famous tribe, as it sometimes does, they afford the finest subjects in the world for the strategical experiments of any enterprising military hero who desires to improve himself in the noble art of war (laughter); especially for any valiant lieutenant general, whose

"Trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting has grown rusty,
And eats into itself for lack
Of somebody to hew and hack."

(Great laughter.)[Pg 1620]

Sir, the great conflict now raging in the Old World has presented a phenomenon in military science unprecedented in the annals of mankind—a phenomenon that has reversed all the traditions of the past as it has disappointed all the expectations of the present. A great and warlike people, renowned alike for their skill and valor, have been swept away before the triumphant advance of an inferior foe, like autumn stubble before a hurricane of fire. For aught I know, the next flash of electric fire that shimmers along the ocean cable may tell us that Paris, with every fibre quivering with the agony of impotent despair, writhes beneath the conquering heel of her loathed invader. Ere another moon shall wax and wane the brightest star in the galaxy of nations may fall from the zenith of her glory never to rise again. Ere the modest violets of early spring shall ope their beauteous eyes, the genius of civilization may chant the wailing requiem of the proudest nationality the world has ever seen, as she scatters her withered and tear-moistened lilies o'er the bloody tomb of butchered France. But, sir, I wish to ask if you honestly and candidly believe that the Dutch would have ever overrun the French in that kind of style if General Sheridan had not gone over there and told King William and Von Moltke how he had managed to whip the Piegan Indians. (Great laughter.)

And here, sir, recurring to this map, I find in the immediate vicinity of the Piegans "vast herds of buffalo" and "immense fields of rich wheat lands."

(Here the hammer fell.)

(Many cries: "Go on!" "Go on!")

The Speaker. Is there objection to the gentleman from Kentucky continuing his remarks? The Chair hears none. The gentleman will proceed.[Pg 1621]

Mr. Knott. I was remarking, sir, upon these vast "wheat fields" represented on this map as in the immediate neighborhood of the buffaloes and the Piegans, and was about to say that the idea of there being these immense wheat fields in the very heart of a wilderness, hundreds and hundreds of miles beyond the utmost verge of civilization, may appear to some gentlemen as rather incongruous, as rather too great a strain on the "blankets" of veracity. But to my mind there is no difficulty in the matter whatever. The phenomenon is very easily accounted for. It is evident, sir, that the Piegans sowed that wheat there and plowed it with buffalo bulls. (Great laughter.) Now, sir, this fortunate combination of buffaloes and Piegans, considering their relative positions to each other and to Duluth, as they are arranged on this map, satisfies me that Duluth is destined to be the beef market of the world.

Here, you will observe (pointing to the map), are the buffaloes, directly between the Piegans and Duluth; and here, right on the road to Duluth, are the Creeks. Now, sir, when the buffaloes are sufficiently fat from grazing on these immense wheat fields, you see it will be the easiest thing in the world for the Piegans to drive them on down, stay all night with their friends, the Creeks, and go into Duluth in the morning. (Great laughter.) I think I see them now, sir, a vast herd of buffaloes, with their heads down, their eyes glaring, their nostrils dilated, their tongues out, and their tails curled over their backs, tearing along toward Duluth, with about a thousand Piegans on their grass-bellied ponies yelling at their heels! (Great laughter.) On they come! And as they sweep past the Creeks, they join in the chase, and away they all go, yelling, bellowing, ripping, and tearing along, amid clouds[Pg 1622] of dust, until the last buffalo is safely penned in the stockyards of Duluth! (Shouts of laughter.)

Sir, I might stand here for hours and hours, and expatiate with rapture upon the gorgeous prospects of Duluth, as depicted upon this map. But human life is too short and the time of this House far too valuable to allow me to linger longer upon the delightful theme, (Laughter.) I think every gentleman on this floor is as well satisfied as I am that Duluth is destined to become the commercial metropolis of the universe, and that this road should be built at once. I am fully persuaded that no patriotic representative of the American people, who has a proper appreciation of the associated glories of Duluth and the St. Croix, will hesitate a moment to say that every able-bodied female in the land, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, who is in favor of "women's rights" should be drafted and set to work upon this great work without delay. (Roars of laughter.) Nevertheless, sir, it grieves my very soul to be compelled to say that I can not vote for the grant of lands provided for in this bill.

Ah, sir, you can have no conception of the poignancy of my anguish that I am deprived of that blessed privilege! (Laughter.) There are two insuperable obstacles in the way. In the first place, my constituents, for whom I am acting here, have no more interest in this road than they have in the great question of culinary taste now perhaps agitating the public mind of Dominica, as to whether the illustrious commissioners who recently left this capital for that free and enlightened republic would be better fricasseed, boiled, or roasted (great laughter); and, in the second place, these lands which I am asked to give away, alas, are not mine to bestow! My relation to them[Pg 1623] is simply that of trustee to an express trust. And shall I ever betray that trust? Never, sir! Rather perish Duluth! (Shouts of laughter.) Perish the paragon of cities! Rather let the freezing cyclones of the bleak Northwest bury it forever beneath the eddying sands of the raging St. Croix! (Great laughter.)[Pg 1624]



That 'tis well to be off with the old love
Before one is on with the new
Has somehow passed into a proverb,—
But I never have found it true.

No love can be quite like the old love,
Whate'er may be said for the new—
And if you dismiss me, my darling,
You may come to this thinking, too.

Were the proverb not wiser if mended,
And the fickle and wavering told
To be sure they're on with the new love
Before they are off with the old?
[Pg 1625]



I wrote some foolish verses once
On love. Unhappy churl!
The metre makes me shudder still,
I sent them to a girl.

I know that girl, and if I should,
Like Byron, wake some day
To find Fame written on my brow,
She'd give those lines away.

So now I have to watch myself
Each hour. Oh, hapless plight!
For if I should be great, of course,
Those lines would come to light.
[Pg 1626]



It was the little leaves beside the road.

Said Grass, "What is that sound
So dismally profound,
That detonates and desolates the air?"
"That is St. Peter's bell,"
Said rain-wise Pimpernel;
"He is music to the godly,
Though to us he sounds so oddly,
And he terrifies the faithful unto prayer."

Then something very like a groan
Escaped the naughty little leaves.

Said Grass, "And whither track
These creatures all in black,
So woebegone and penitent and meek?"
"They're mortals bound for church,"
Said the little Silver Birch;
"They hope to get to heaven
And have their sins forgiven,
If they talk to God about it once a week."

And something very like a smile
[Pg 1627]Ran through the naughty little leaves.

Said Grass, "What is that noise
That startles and destroys
Our blessed summer brooding when we're tired?"
"That's folk a-praising God,"
Said the tough old cynic Clod;
"They do it every Sunday,
They'll be all right on Monday;
It's just a little habit they've acquired."

And laughter spread among the little leaves.
[Pg 1628]



The day is done, and darkness
From the wing of night is loosed,
As a feather is wafted downward,
From a chicken going to roost.

I see the lights of the baker,
Gleam through the rain and mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That I can not well resist.

A feeling of sadness and longing
That is not like being sick,
And resembles sorrow only
As a brickbat resembles a brick.

Come, get for me some supper,—
A good and regular meal—
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the pain I feel.

Not from the pastry bakers,
Not from the shops for cake;
I wouldn't give a farthing
[Pg 1629]For all that they can make.

For, like the soup at dinner,
Such things would but suggest
Some dishes more substantial,
And to-night I want the best.

Go to some honest butcher,
Whose beef is fresh and nice,
As any they have in the city,
And get a liberal slice.

Such things through days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
For sad and desperate feelings,
Are wonderful remedies.

They have an astonishing power
To aid and reinforce,
And come like the "finally, brethren,"
That follows a long discourse.

Then get me a tender sirloin
From off the bench or hook.
And lend to its sterling goodness
The science of the cook.

And the night shall be filled with comfort,
And the cares with which it begun
Shall fold up their blankets like Indians,
And silently cut and run.
[Pg 1630]



"An' what's this game iv goluf like, I dinnaw?" said Mr. Hennessy, lighting his pipe with much unnecessary noise. "Ye're a good deal iv a spoort, Jawnny: did ye iver thry it?"

"No," said Mr. McKenna. "I used to roll a hoop onct upon a time, but I'm out of condition now."

"It ain't like base-ball," said Mr. Hennessy, "an' it ain't like shinny, an' it ain't like lawn-teenis, an' it ain't like forty-fives, an' it ain't"—

"Like canvas-back duck or anny other game ye know," said Mr. Dooley.

"Thin what is it like?" said Mr. Hennessy. "I see be th' pa-aper that Hobart What-d'ye-call-him is wan iv th' best at it. Th' other day he made a scoor iv wan hundherd an' sixty-eight, but whether 'twas miles or stitches I cudden't make out fr'm th' raypoorts."

"'Tis little ye know," said Mr. Dooley. "Th' game iv goluf is as old as th' hills. Me father had goluf links all over his place, an', whin I was a kid, 'twas wan iv th' principal spoorts iv me life, afther I'd dug the turf f'r th' avenin', to go out and putt"—

"Poot, ye mean," said Mr. Hennessy. "They'se no such wurrud in th' English language as putt. Belinda called me down ha-ard on it no more thin las' night."

"There ye go!" said Mr. Dooley, angrily. "There ye go! D'ye think this here game iv goluf is a spellin'[Pg 1631] match? 'Tis like ye, Hinnissy, to be refereein' a twinty-round glove contest be th' rule iv three. I tell ye I used to go out in th' avenin' an' putt me mashie like hell-an'-all, till I was knowed fr'm wan end iv th' county to th' other as th' champeen putter. I putted two men fr'm Roscommon in wan day, an' they had to be took home on a dure.

"In America th' ga-ame is played more ginteel, an' is more like cigareet-smokin', though less onhealthy f'r th' lungs. 'Tis a good game to play in a hammick whin ye're all tired out fr'm social duties or shovellin' coke. Out-iv-dure golf is played be th' followin' rules. If ye bring ye'er wife f'r to see th' game, an' she has her name in th' paper, that counts ye wan. So th' first thing ye do is to find th' raypoorter, an' tell him ye're there. Thin ye ordher a bottle iv brown pop, an' have ye'er second fan ye with a towel. Afther this ye'd dhress, an' here ye've got to be dam particklar or ye'll be stuck f'r th' dhrinks. If ye'er necktie is not on sthraight, that counts ye'er opponent wan. If both ye an' ye'er opponent have ye'er neckties on crooked, th' first man that sees it gets th' stakes. Thin ye ordher a carredge"—

"Order what?" demanded Mr. McKenna.

"A carredge."

"What for?"

"F'r to take ye 'round th' links. Ye have a little boy followin' ye, carryin' ye'er clubs. Th' man that has th' smallest little boy it counts him two. If th' little boy has th' rickets, it counts th' man in th' carredge three. The little boys is called caddies; but Clarence Heaney that tol' me all this—he belongs to th' Foorth Wa-ard Goluf an' McKinley Club—said what th' little boys calls th' players'd not be fit f'r to repeat.

"Well, whin ye dhrive up to th' tea grounds"[Pg 1632]

"Th' what?" demanded Mr. Hennessy.

"Th' tea grounds, that's like th' home-plate in base-ball or ordherin' a piece iv chalk in a game iv spoil five. It's th' be-ginnin' iv ivrything. Whin ye get to th' tea grounds, ye step out, an' have ye'er hat irned be th' caddie. Thin ye'er man that ye're goin' aginst comes up, an' he asks ye, 'Do you know Potther Pammer?' Well, if ye don't know Potther Pammer, it's all up with ye: ye lose two points. But ye come right back at him with an upper cut: 'Do ye live on th' Lake Shore dhrive?' If he doesn't, ye have him in th' nine hole. Ye needn't play with him anny more. But, if ye do play with him, he has to spot three balls. If he's a good man an' shifty on his feet, he'll counter be askin' ye where ye spend th' summer. Now ye can't tell him that ye spent th' summer with wan hook on th' free lunch an' another on th' ticker tape, an' so ye go back three. That needn't discourage ye at all, at all. Here's yer chance to mix up, an' ye ask him if he was iver in Scotland. If he wasn't, it counts ye five. Thin ye tell him that ye had an aunt wanst that heerd th' Jook iv Argyle talk in a phonograph; an', onless he comes back an' shoots it into ye that he was wanst run over be th' Prince iv Wales, ye have him groggy. I don't know whether th' Jook iv Argyle or th' Prince iv Wales counts f'r most. They're like th' right an' left bower iv thrumps. Th' best players is called scratch-men."

"What's that f'r?" Mr. Hennessy asked.

"It's a Scotch game," said Mr. Dooley, with a wave of his hand. "I wonder how it come out to-day. Here's th' pa-aper. Let me see. McKinley at Canton. Still there. He niver cared to wandher fr'm his own fireside. Collar-button men f'r th' goold standard. Statues iv Heidelback, Ickleheimer an' Company to be erected in Washington. Another Vanderbilt weddin'. That sounds like goluf, but[Pg 1633] it ain't. Newport society livin' in Mrs. Potther Pammer's cellar. Green-goods men declare f'r honest money. Anson in foorth place some more. Pianny tuners f'r McKinley. Li Hung Chang smells a rat. Abner McKinley supports th' goold standard. Wait a minyit. Here it is: 'Goluf in gay attire.' Let me see. H'm. 'Foozled his aproach,'—nasty thing. 'Topped th' ball.' 'Three up an' two to play.' Ah, here's the scoor. 'Among those prisint were Messrs. an' Mesdames'"—

"Hol' on!" cried Mr. Hennessy, grabbing the paper out of his friend's hands. "That's thim that was there."

"Well," said Mr. Dooley, decisively, "that's th' goluf scoor."[Pg 1634]



When the sirup's on the flapjack and the coffee's in the pot;
When the fly is in the butter—where he'd rather be than not;
When the cloth is on the table, and the plates are on the cloth;
When the salt is in the shaker and the chicken's in the broth;
When the cream is in the pitcher and the pitcher's on the tray,
And the tray is on the sideboard when it isn't on the way;
When the rind is on the bacon, and likewise upon the cheese,
Then I somehow feel inspired to do a lot of rhymes like these.
[Pg 1635]

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Desk Standard


This entirely new work, which is the most recent of the abridgments from the New Standard Dictionary, describes and explains 80,000 words, phrases, and topics of interest.

It is a special handy-sized dictionary designed particularly for desk use in the office, the college, the study, and for handy reference on the library table.

Its vocabulary is sufficiently inclusive to cover all words that may be met with in study or in reading.

Every term has its own alphabetical place in the main vocabulary—no confusing appendix.

It contains more than 6,000 discriminating articles and groups of Synonyms, occupying 11,700 lines—2,000 more than any other dictionary of the same size. There are 1,200 Pictorial Illustrations.

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[Pg 1636]

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NEW YORK and LONDON[Pg 1637]

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ONE ALPHABETICAL ORDER throughout its entire vocabulary, an immense time-saving feature,—no divided pages, supplemental vocabularies, etc.

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RULES GOVERNING THE PLURALS of nouns and their formation are a great help.

GRAMMATICAL AND RHETORICAL CONSTRUCTION are aided by the special rules which the New Standard explains.

THE SYLLABIC DIVISION OF WORDS is shown by the simplest possible system.

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[Pg 1638]

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Over 8,100 classified synonyms with their various shades of meaning carefully discriminated, this being an exclusive feature of this work. Nearly 4,000 classified antonyms. Correct use of prepositions shown by illustrative examples. Hints and helps on the accurate use of words, revealing surprizing possibilities of fulness, freedom, and variety of utterance.

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[1] Lippincott's Magazine.

[2] By permission of Life Publishing Company.

[3] Lippincott's Magazine.

[4] By permission of Life Publishing Company.

[5] Lippincott's Magazine.

[6] Copyright, 1905, by the Metropolitan Magazine Company.

[7] From "At the Sign of the Dollar," by Wallace Irwin. Copyright, 1905, by Fox, Duffield & Co.

[8] From "Nautical Lays of a Landsman," by Wallace Irwin. Copyright, 1904, by Dodd, Mead & Co.

[9] Lippincott's Magazine.

[10] By permission of Life Publishing Company.