The Project Gutenberg eBook of McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, September 1908, No. 5

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Title: McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, September 1908, No. 5

Author: Various

Release date: June 10, 2014 [eBook #45924]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Kiwibrit and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's Note:

For convenience, a Table of Contents and List of Illustrations have been added to this version.


[Translator's Note.] The suppressed memoirs of General Kuropatkin are in four bulky volumes and contain, in the aggregate, about 600,000 words. The first three volumes are devoted, mainly, to a detailed review of the three great battles of the Russo-Japanese war—Liao-yang, the Sha-ho, and Mukden—from the standpoint of modern military science. The fourth volume, which is entitled "Summing up of the War," covers a very wide field, dealing partly with Russia's national problems, her military history, and her policy in Asia, and partly with the causes of the late war, the rise of Japan as a military power, and the reasons for the overwhelming defeat of Russia's armies in the Far East.

VOL. XXXI       SEPTEMBER, 1908                   No. 5

Copyright, 1908, by The S. S. McClure Co. All rights reserved

Table of Contents


    By General Kuropatkin.
    By Stella Wynne Herron.
AIN'T YOU GWINE TO COME? by Edmund Vance Cooke. 509
JUNGLE BLOOD By Elmore Elliott Peake. 510
"THE HOUSE OF MUSIC" by Gertrude Hall 528
VERSES by A. E. Housman. 542
A CAVALRY PEGASUS by Will Adams. 557
THE BURIED ANCHOR by Perceval Gibbon. 590
A FOOTPATH MORALITY by Louise Imogen Guiney. 596
TAFT AND LABOR by George W. Alger. 597

List of Illustrations

Nicholas II., The Tsar of Russia and The Tsarevitch 483
State Councillor Alexander Mikhailovich Bezobrazoff 484
Admiral Alexeieff 485
Sergius de Witte 486
Two Views of Port Arthur 488
Taken at the Time of the War 489
Map Showing Field of the Operations that led to the War between
     Russia and Japan
"'I'd be glad to do it as a favor,' he said." 502
"'I cannot fight this peasant—I am a gentleman'." 504
"'It was of a suddenness, said Angélique blushing" 505
"That fight will long be remembered in the annals of the gang. 506
"An admiring concourse of small boys followed at a respectful distance. 508
"Most of the hotel negroes spent this recess in an adjacent dive." 512
"It was into this atmosphere that the student took his way" 515
"Heah's an ole devil i used to wrastle with,' he exclaimed shrilly" 517
"Old benjy continued to blink silently" 519
Four Drawings by Thomas R. Manley: 523
        1. Drawing. 523
        2. Drawing. 524
        3. Drawing. 525
        4. Drawing. 526
Dr. Emil Preetorius 544
Schuyler Colfax 544
Ulysses S. Grant 545
Francis Preston Blair 546
Horatio Seymour 546
John B. Henderson 547
Senator Charles D. Drake 548
Alexander T. Stewart 550
"'Are you interested in poetry, sir?' he said" 558
"'He used language to me, sir, and i am hiss sergeant'" 559
[No caption] "And so he continued his recital." 560
[No caption] Miss Cora? 561
William Ewart Gladstone. 567
Lord Randolph Churchill. 567
The Princess of Wales. 568
Melba as Marguerite in "Faust". 569
Mrs. Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes). 569
C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). 570
J. M. Barrrie. 571
Ellen Terry and her son, Gordon Craig, in "The Dead Heart". 572
Ellen Terry as Mistress Page in "Merry Wives of Windsor". 572
Ellen Terry as Lady Cecily Waynflete in "Captain
     Brassbound's Conversion".
George Bernard Shaw. 574
Miss Terry's Garden at Winchelsea; from a Photograph given
     by her to Miss Evelyn Smalley.
"Terrible tales of bloodshed and injustice reached the little sun-kissed
    village of Caen".
"At last, toward evening, she forced her way in". 580
"'I kiss the tips of your wings,' he said". 582





I have chosen, as the subject for this article, General Kuropatkin's narrative of the events which preceded the rupture with Japan, in February, 1904, and which may be regarded, historically, as the causes of the war that ensued. It contains many new facts, and throws a flood of light upon Russian governmental methods, upon Russia's Asiatic policy, and upon the character of the monarch who now sits on the Russian throne.

Kuropatkin begins this part of his work with a review of Russia's policy and territorial acquisitions in the Far East, which may be briefly summarized as follows: The question of obtaining an outlet on the Pacific Ocean was theoretically considered in Russia long ago; and the conclusion reached was that, in view of the sparseness of Russia's population east of Lake Baikal, and the insignificance of her commerce, foreign and domestic, in that part of the world, the task of getting access to the Pacific, which might involve a serious struggle, ought not to be imposed upon the existing generation. An outlet was not needed at that time, and it is not needed yet. The Russian War Department, moreover, has always regarded with apprehension, and as far as possible combatted, the opinion that "Russia is the most western of Asiatic states, not the most eastern of European," and that all her future lies beyond the Urals.

Prior to the Japanese-Chinese war, nobody questioned that the trans-Siberian railway should follow a route inside of Russian territory; but the weakness shown by China in 1894-5 suggested a new project, namely, to carry the road through Manchuria and thus shorten it by five hundred versts. General Dukhovski, governor-general of the Pri-Amur and commander of the forces in that territory, opposed this project, and pointed out that a line crossing the boundaries of China would not connect the Pri-Amur with European Russia securely, and would benefit the Chinese rather than the Russian population. His opinion was not approved, and this railroad, which had for Russia such immense importance, was carried through a foreign country. This change of route, which proved to be so unfortunate, was the first striking proof of the fact that Russia, in the Far East, had begun a policy of energetic action. The occupation of Port Arthur, the foundation of Dalny, the construction of the southern branch of the railway, the formation of a commercial fleet on the Pacific, and the timber enterprise of State Councillor Bezobrazoff on the Yalu River in northern Korea, were all links of one and the same chain, which was to unite permanently the destinies of Russia and the destinies of the Far East—and thus bring gain to Russia.




"There is a prevalent opinion," says Kuropatkin, "that if we had confined ourselves to the construction of the main trans-Siberian road, even though we built a part of it through northern Manchuria, there would have been no war; that the war was caused by our occupation of Port Arthur and Mukden, and, more particularly, by the Bezobrazoff timber enterprise in Korea. There is also an opinion, held by others, that the building of the main line through northern Manchuria should be regarded not merely as the first of our active enterprises in the Far East, but as the basis and foundation of them all, because if we had carried the road along the Amur, through our own territory, we should never have thought of occupying the southern part of Manchuria and the province of Kwang-tung."

After reviewing the Boxer uprising, the occupation of Manchuria by Russian troops for the protection of the railway, and the treaty agreement with China to evacuate southern Manchuria by April 8, 1903, and northern Manchuria within six months thereafter, General Kuropatkin, who was at that time Minister of War, begins his narrative of later events as follows:



Prior to the conclusion of the treaty with China, in April, 1902, there was a difference of opinion between the commander of Kwang-tung (Admiral Alexeieff) and myself, as to the expediency of evacuating Manchuria, and the importance to us of the southern part of that country. I believed that occupation of southern Manchuria would bring us no profit, but, on the contrary, would involve us in trouble with Japan on one side, through our nearness to Korea, and with China on the other, through our possession of Mukden. I therefore regarded the speedy evacuation of southern Manchuria and Mukden as a matter of extreme necessity. Admiral Alexeieff, on the other hand, as the commander of Kwang-tung, had reason to contend that occupation of southern Manchuria was important because it insured the safety of railroad communication between Kwang-tung and Russia.

This difference of opinion, however, ended with the ratification of the Russo-Chinese treaty of March 26, 1902 (April 8, N. S.). By the terms of that convention, our troops—with the exception of those guarding the railway—were to be removed, within specified periods, from all parts of Manchuria, southern as well as northern. This settlement of the question, was a great relief to the War Department, because it held out the hope of a "return to the West" in our military affairs. In the first period of six months, we were to evacuate the western part of southern Manchuria, from Shan-hai-kuan to the river Liao; and this we punctually did. In the second period of six months, we were to remove our troops from the rest of the province of Mukden, including the cities of Mukden and Yinkow (New Chwang).




The War Department regarded the agreement to evacuate the province of Mukden with approval, and made energetic preparations to carry it into effect. Barracks for the soldiers to be withdrawn were hastily erected between Blagovestchensk and Vladivostok, in the Pri-Amur country; plans of transportation were drawn up and approved; the movement of troops had begun; and Mukden had actually been evacuated; when, suddenly, everything was stopped by order of Admiral Alexeieff, the commander of Kwang-tung, whose reasons for taking such action have not, to this day, been sufficiently cleared up.[1] It is definitely known, however, that the change in policy which stopped the withdrawal of troops from southern Manchuria corresponded in time with the first visit to the Far East of State Councillor Bezobrazoff, retired. Mukden, which we had already evacuated, was6 reoccupied, as was also the city of Yinkow (New Chwang). The Yalu timber enterprise assumed more importance than ever, and in order [487] to give support to it, and to our other undertakings in northern Korea, Admiral Alexeieff, commander of Kwang-tung, sent a force of cavalry with field guns to Feng-wang-cheng.[2] Thus, instead of completing the evacuation of southern Manchuria, we moved into parts of it that we had never before occupied. At the same time, we allowed operations in connection with the Korean timber enterprise to go on, despite the fact that the promoters of this enterprise, contrary to instructions from St. Petersburg, were striving to give it a political and military character.

There is good reason to affirm that the unexpected change of policy that put a stop to the evacuation of the province of Mukden was an event of immense importance. So long as we held to our intention of withdrawing all our troops from Manchuria (except the railway guard and a small force at Kharbin), and so long as we refrained from invading Korea with our enterprises, there was little danger of a break with Japan; but we were brought alarmingly nearer to a rupture with that Power when, contrary to our agreement with China, we left our troops in southern Manchuria, and when, in the promotion of our timber enterprise, we entered northern Korea. The uncertainty, moreover, with regard to our intentions, alarmed not only China and Japan, but even England, America, and other Powers.




Witte Creates the Port of Dalny

In the early part of 1903, our situation in the Far East became very much involved. The interests of the Pri-Amur were thrown completely into the background, and General Dukhovski, the military commander and governor-general of that territory, was wholly ignored in the consideration and decision of the most important questions of Far Eastern policy. Meanwhile, in Manchuria—on Chinese territory—enterprises involving many millions of rubles were undertaken and carried on by virtue of authority that was wholly special. The Minister of Finance (M. Witte) was building and managing there a railroad about two thousand versts in length; he had the direction of a whole army corps of railway guards; he was trying to increase the economic importance of the railway by running in connection with it a fleet of sea-going steamers; he had on the Manchurian rivers a flotilla of smaller vessels, some of which carried guns and gunners; and in military matters he was so independent of the War Department that, without consulting the latter, he even selected and purchased abroad the artillery for the railway guard. Vladivostok, as a terminus, no longer seemed to satisfy the requirements of an international transit line, so, regardless of the fact that the province of Kwang-tung was subject to the authority of the provincial commander, M. Witte, without consulting either the latter or the Minister of War, located and created therein the spacious port of Dalny. The enormous sums of money spent there only lessened the importance and weakened the strength of Port Arthur, because it was necessary either to fortify Dalny, or prepare to have it seized by an enemy and used as a base of operations against us—a thing that afterward happened. Finally, the Minister of Finance managed the affairs of the Russo-Chinese Bank, and had at Peking, Seoul, and other points, his own agents (in Peking, Pokotiloff).

Incredible Schemes of Promoter Bezobrazoff

It thus appears that in 1903 M. Witte controlled or directed in the Far East not only railroads, but corps of troops, a fleet of commercial steamers, armed river boats, the port of Dalny, and the Russo-Chinese Bank. At the same time, Bezobrazoff and his company were developing their enterprises in Manchuria and Korea, and promoting, by every possible means, their [488] timber speculation on the Yalu. One incredible scheme of Bezobrazoff followed another; and in the summer of 1903 there was submitted to me for examination a project of his which provided for the immediate concentration in southern Manchuria of an army of 70,000 men. His aim was to utilize the timber company as a means of creating a sort of "screen," or barrier against a possible attack upon us by the Japanese, and in 1902-1903 his activity, and that of his adherents, assumed a very alarming form. Among the requests that he made of Admiral Alexeieff were, to send into Korean territory six hundred soldiers in civilian dress; to organize for service in the same locality a force of three thousand Khunkhuzes[3]; to give the agents of the timber company the support of four companies of chasseurs (six hundred mounted riflemen) to be stationed at Shakhedze, on the Yalu; and to occupy Feng-wang-cheng with a body of troops capable of acting independently. Admiral Alexeieff denied some of these requests, but, unfortunately, he consented to station one company of chasseurs (one hundred and fifty mounted riflemen) at Shakhedze, and to send a regiment of Cossack cavalry, with field guns, to Feng-wang-cheng. These measures were particularly serious and injurious to us, for the reason that they were taken at the very time when we were under obligations to evacuate the province of Mukden altogether.


Copyright, 1905, by Underwood & Underwood



The Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, and War (Witte, Lamsdorff and Kuropatkin) all recognized the danger that would threaten us if we continued to defer fulfilment of our promise to evacuate Manchuria, and, more especially, if we failed to put an end to Bezobrazoff's activity in Korea. These three Ministers, therefore, procured the appointment of a special council, which assembled in St. Petersburg on the 5th of April, 1903 (April 18, N. S.), and took into consideration certain propositions which Bezobrazoff had made to its members separately in writing. These propositions had for their object the strengthening of Russia's strategic position in the basin of the Yalu. All three of the Ministers above designated expressed themselves firmly and definitely in opposition to Bezobrazoff's proposals, and all agreed that if his enterprise on the Yalu were to be sustained, it must be upon a strictly commercial basis. The Minister of Finance showed conclusively that, for the next five or ten years, Russia's task in the Far East must be to tranquilize the country and bring to completion the work already undertaken there. He said, furthermore, that although the views of the different departments of the Government were not always precisely the same, there had never been—so far as the Ministers of War, Foreign Affairs, and Finance were concerned—any conflict of action. The Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out, particularly, the danger involved in Bezobrazoff's proposal to stop the withdrawal of troops from Manchuria.


Copyright, 1905, by Underwood & Underwood



The Tsar Takes Action

It pleased His Imperial Majesty to say, after he had listened to these expressions of opinion, that war with Japan was extremely undesirable, and that we must endeavor to restore in Manchuria a state of tranquillity. The company formed for the purpose of exploiting the timber on the river Yalu must be a strictly commercial organization, must admit foreigners who desired to participate, and must exclude all ranks of the army. I was then ordered to proceed to the Far East, for the purpose of acquainting myself, on the ground, with our needs, and ascertaining what the state of mind was in Japan. In the latter country, where I met with the most cordial and kind-hearted reception, I became convinced that the Government desired to avoid a rupture with Russia, but that it would be necessary [490] for us to act in a perfectly definite way in Manchuria, and to refrain from interference in the affairs of Korea. If we should go on with the adventure of Bezobrazoff & Co., we should be threatened with conflict. These conclusions I telegraphed to St. Petersburg. After my departure from that city, however, the danger of a rupture with Japan, on account of Korea, had increased considerably—especially when, on the 7th of May, 1903 (May 20, N. S.), the Minister of Finance announced that "after having had an explanation from State Councillor Bezobrazoff, he (the Minister) was not in disagreement with him, so far as the essence of the matter was concerned."

In the council that was held at Port Arthur, when I arrived there, Admiral Alexeieff, Lessar,[4] Pavloff,[5] and I cordially agreed that the Yalu enterprise should have a purely commercial character, and I said, furthermore, that, in my opinion, it ought to be abandoned altogether. I brought about the recall of several army officers who were taking part in it, and suggested to Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff, who was managing the military and political side of it, that he either resign his commission or give up employment which, in my judgment, was not suitable for an officer wearing the uniform of the General Staff. He chose the former alternative.

In view of the repeated assurances given me by Admiral Alexeieff that he was wholly opposed to Bezobrazoff's schemes; that he was holding them back with all his strength; and that he was a convinced advocate of a peaceful Russo-Japanese agreement, I left Port Arthur for St. Petersburg, in July, 1903 (O. S.), fully believing that the avoidance of a rupture with Japan was a matter entirely within our control. The results of my visit to the Far East were embodied in a special report to the Emperor, submitted July 24th, 1903 (August 6, N. S.), in which, with absolute frankness, I expressed the opinion that if we did not put an end to the uncertain state of affairs in Manchuria, and to the adventurous activity of Bezobrazoff in Korea, we must expect a rupture with Japan. Copies of this report were sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance, and met with their approval.

Kuropatkin's Protest Criticised

By some means unknown to me, this report was given publicity; and on the 11th of June, 1905 (June 24, N. S.), the newspaper Razsvet printed an article, by one Roslavleff, entitled "Which is the Greater?" the object of which was to prove that I must be included among the persons responsible for the rupture with Japan, because, through fear of Bezobrazoff, I signed the minutes of the Port Arthur council which put the Yalu enterprise under the protection of Russian troops and thus stopped the evacuation of Manchuria.[6] This article has been reprinted by many Russian and foreign journals, and there has never been any refutation of the misstatements that it contains with regard to my alleged action in signing certain fantastic minutes. M. Roslavleff quotes from my report to the Emperor the following sentences and paragraphs:

"Our actions in the basin of the Yalu and our behavior in Manchuria have excited in Japan a feeling of hostility to us, which, upon our taking any incautious step, may lead to war.... State Secretary Bezobrazoff's plan of operations, if carried out, will inevitably lead to a violation of the agreement that we made with China on the 26th of March, 1902 (April 8, N. S.), and will also cause, inevitably, complications with Japan.... The activity of State Secretary Bezobrazoff, toward the end of last year and at the beginning of this, has practically brought about already a violation of the treaty with China and a breach with Japan.... At the request of Bezobrazoff, Admiral Alexeieff sent a force of chasseurs to Shakhedze (on the Yalu) and kept a body of troops in Feng-wang-cheng. These measures put a stop to the evacuation of the province of Mukden.... Among other participants in the Yalu enterprise who have given trouble to Admiral Alexeieff is Actual State Councillor Balasheff, who has a disposition quite as warlike as that of Bezobrazoff. If Admiral Alexeieff had not succeeded in intercepting a dispatch from Balasheff to Captain Bodisco, with regard to 'catching all the Japanese,' 'punishing them publicly,' and 'taking action with volleys,' there would have been a bloody episode on the Yalu before this time.[7] Unfortunately, it is liable to happen any day, even now.... During my stay in Japan, I had an opportunity to see with what nervous apprehension the people regarded our activity on the Yalu, how they exaggerated our intentions, and how they were preparing to defend, with arms, their Korean interests. Our active operations there [491] have convinced them that Russia is now about to proceed to the second part of her Far Eastern program—that, having swallowed Manchuria, she is getting ready to gulp down Korea. The excitement in Japan is such that if Admiral Alexeieff had not shown wise caution—if he had allowed all the proposals of Bezobrazoff to go through—we should probably be at war with Japan now. There is no reason whatever to suppose that a few officers and soldiers, cutting timber on the Yalu, will be of any use in a war with Japan. Their value is trifling in comparison with the danger that the timber enterprise creates by keeping up the excitement among the Japanese people.... Suffice it to say that, in the opinion of Admiral Alexeieff, and of our ministers in Peking, Seoul, and Tokio, the timber enterprise may be the cause of war; and in this opinion I fully concur."

After quoting the above sentences and paragraphs from my report, M. Roslavleff says: "Thus warmly, eloquently, and shrewdly did Kuropatkin condemn the Yalu adventure, and thus clearly did he see, on the political horizon, the ruinous consequences that it would have for Russia. But why did not this bold and clear-sighted accuser protest against the decision of the Port Arthur council? Why, after making a few caustic remarks about Bezobrazoff, did he sign the minutes of the council which put the Yalu adventure under the protection of Russian troops, and thus stopped the evacuation of Manchuria? Why? Simply because, at that time, everybody was afraid of Bezobrazoff."

Such accusations, which have had wide publicity, require an explanation.

The council held at Port Arthur, in June, 1903, was called for the purpose of finding, if possible, some means of settling the Manchurian question without lowering the dignity of Russia. There were present at this council, in addition to Admiral Alexeieff and myself, Actual State Councillor Lessar, Russian minister in China; Chamberlain Pavloff, Russian minister in Seoul; Major General Vogak; State Councillor Bezobrazoff; and M. Plançon, an officer of the diplomatic service. We were all acquainted with the will of the Emperor that our enterprises in the Far East should not lead to war, and we had to devise means of carrying the Imperial will into effect. With regard to such means there were differences of opinion; but upon fundamental questions there was complete agreement. Among such fundamental questions were:

1. The Manchurian question.

On the 20th of June (July 3, N. S.) the council expressed its judgment with regard to this question as follows: "In view of the extraordinary difficulties and enormous administrative expenses that the annexation of Manchuria would involve, all the members of the council agree that it is, in principle, undesirable; and this conclusion applies not only to Manchuria as a whole, but also to its northern part."

2. The Korean question.

On the 19th of June (July 2, N. S.) the council decided that the occupation of the whole of Korea, or even of the northern part, would be unprofitable to Russia, and therefore undesirable. Our activity in the basin of the Yalu, moreover, might give Japan reason to fear a seizure by us of the northern part of the peninsula. On the 24th of June (July 7, N. S.) the council invited Actual State Councillor Balasheff and Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff, of the General Staff, to appear before it, and explain the status of the Yalu enterprise. From their testimony it appeared that the business was legally organized, the company holding permits from the Chinese authorities to cut timber on the northern side of the Yalu, and a concession from the Korean Government covering the southern side. Although the enterprise lost, to some extent, its provocative character, after the conclusions of the St. Petersburg council of April 5, 1903 (April 18, N. S.) became known in the province of Kwang-tung, its operations could not yet be regarded as purely commercial. Its affairs were managed by Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff, of the General Staff, although that officer was not officially in service.

After consideration of all the facts presented, the members of the council came to the conclusion that "although the Russian Timber Company really appears to be a commercial organization, its employment of officers of the active military service to do work that has military importance undoubtedly gives to it a politico-military aspect." The council, therefore, acknowledged the necessity of "taking measures, at once, to give the enterprise an exclusively commercial character, to exclude from it officers of the regular army, and to commit the management of the timber business to persons not employed in the service of the Empire." On the 24th of June (July 7, N. S.) these conclusions were signed by all the members of the council, including State Councillor Bezobrazoff.

It is evident, from the facts above set forth, that the statement in which M. Roslavleff charges the members of the council with signing minutes of proceedings that gave the Bezobrazoff adventure a place among useful imperial enterprises is fiction. Upon what it was based we do not know. The duty of immediately carrying into effect the conclusions of the council rested upon Admiral Alexeieff, by virtue of the authority given to him. The thing that he had [492] to do, first of all, and that he was fully empowered to do, was to recall our force from Feng-wang-cheng and the company of chasseurs from the Yalu. Why this was not done I do not know. Personally, I did not allow Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff to continue his connection with the timber company as an officer of the General Staff, and I may add that he and other officers who associated themselves with the enterprise did so without consulting me.

But no matter how effective might be the measures taken by Admiral Alexeieff to give the Yalu enterprise a purely commercial character, I still feared that this undertaking, which had obtained world-wide notoriety, would continue to have important political significance. In my report of July 24, 1903 (August 6, N. S.), which was presented to the Emperor upon my return from Japan, I therefore expressed the opinion that an end should be put to the operations of the timber company, and that the whole enterprise should be sold to foreigners.

"Must We Break the Russian Empire?"

The thought that our interests in Korea, which were of trifling importance, might bring us into conflict with Japan, caused me incessant anxiety during my stay in the latter country. On the 13th of June, 1903 (June 26, N. S.), when I was passing through the Inland Sea, on my way to Nagasaki, I wrote in my diary:

"If I were asked to express an opinion, from a military point of view, with regard to the comparative importance of Russian interests in different parts of the Empire, and upon different frontiers, I should put my judgment into the form of a pyramidal diagram, placing the least important of our interests at the top and the most important at the bottom, as follows:


"This diagram shows clearly where the principal energies of the Ministry of War should hereafter be concentrated, and what direction, in future, should be given to Russia's main powers and resources. The interests that lie at the foundation of our position as a nation are: (1) the defence of the territorial integrity of the Empire against the Powers of the Triple Alliance; and (2) employment of the forces of all our military districts for the preservation of internal peace and order. These are our principal tasks, and in comparison with them all the others have secondary importance. The diagram shows, furthermore, that our interests in the Pri-Amur region must be regarded as more important than our interests in Manchuria, and that the latter must take precedence of our interests in Korea. I am afraid, however, that, for a time at least, our national activity will be based on affairs in the Far East, and, if so, the pyramid will have to be turned bottom side up and made to stand on its narrow Korean top. But such a structure on such a foundation will fall. Columbus solved the problem of making an egg stand on its end by breaking the egg. Must we, in order to make our pyramid stand on its narrow Korean end, break the Russian Empire?"

Upon my return from Japan, I showed the above diagram to M. Witte, who agreed that it was correct.

Kuropatkin Asks to be Relieved

The establishment of the Viceroyalty in the Far East was for me a complete surprise. On the 2nd of August, 1903 (August 15, N. S.) I asked the Emperor to relieve me from duty as Minister of War, and after the great manœuvers I was granted an indefinite leave of absence, of which I availed myself with the expectation that my place would be filled by the appointment of some other person.

In September, 1903 (O. S.) the state of affairs in the Far East began to be alarming, and Admiral Alexeieff was definitely ordered to take all necessary measures to avoid war. The Emperor expressed his will to this effect with firmness, and did not limit or restrict in any way the concessions that should be made in order to avert a rupture with Japan. All that had to be done was to find a method of making such concessions that should be as little injurious as possible to Russian interests. During my stay in Japan, I became satisfied that the Japanese Government was disposed to consider Japanese and Korean affairs calmly, with a view to arriving at an agreement upon the basis of mutual concessions.




In view of the alarming situation in the Far East, I cut short my leave of absence, and, in reporting to the Emperor for duty, I gave this threatening state of affairs as my reason for returning. The Emperor, on the 10th of October, 1903 (October 23, N. S.), made the following marginal note upon my letter: "The alarm in the Far East is apparently beginning to subside." In October I recommended that the garrison of Vladivostok be strengthened, but permission to reinforce it was not given. Meanwhile, there was really no reëstablishment of tranquillity in the Far East, and our relations with Japan and China were becoming more and more involved.

On the 15th of October, 1903 (October 28, N. S.) I presented to the Emperor a special report on the Manchurian question, in which I showed that, in order to avoid complications with China and a rupture with Japan, we must put an end to our military occupation of southern Manchuria, and confine our activity and our administrative supervision to the northern part of that territory. My report was, in part, as follows:

The Great Advisability of Evacuation

"If we do not touch the boundary of Korea, and do not place garrisons between that boundary and the railway, we shall really convince the Japanese that we have no intention of first taking Manchuria and then seizing Korea. In all probability, they will then confine themselves to the peaceful promotion of their interests in the peninsula, and will neither take possession of it with troops, nor greatly increase the strength of their army at home. This will relieve us of the necessity of strengthening our forces in the Far East, and of supporting the heavy burden of an armed peace—even should there be no war. If, on the other hand, we annex southern Manchuria, all the questions that now trouble two nations and threaten to bring about an armed conflict will assume a still more critical aspect. Our temporary occupation of certain points between the railway and Korea will become permanent; our attention will be more and more attracted to the Korean frontier; and our attitude will confirm the suspicion of the Japanese that Russia intends to seize the peninsula.

"That our occupation of southern Manchuria will lead to Japanese occupation of southern Korea there can be no doubt. Beyond that, all is dark. One thing, however, is certain, and that is that if Japan takes this step, she will be compelled to increase rapidly her military strength, and we, in turn, shall respond by enlarging our Far Eastern force. Thus two nations whose interests are so different that they would seem destined to live in peace will begin a contest in which each will try to surpass the other in military resources and power. And we Russians shall do this at the expense of our fighting readiness in the West; at the sacrifice of the interest of our native population; and for the sake of portions of Korea which, so far as Russia is concerned, have no serious importance. If, moreover, other Powers take part in this rivalry, the struggle for military supremacy is liable to change, at any moment, into a deadly conflict, which may not only retard, for a long time, the peaceful development of our Far Eastern possessions, but check the growth and progress of the whole Empire.

Japan a Dangerous and Warlike Enemy

"Even if we should defeat Japan on the mainland (in Korea and Manchuria) we could not destroy her, nor obtain decisive results, without carrying the war into her territory. That, of course, would not be impossible, but to invade a country where there is a warlike population of forty-seven millions, and where even the women participate in wars of national defence, would be a serious undertaking, even for a Power as mighty as Russia. And if we do not destroy Japan utterly—if we do not deprive her of the right and the power to maintain a navy—she will wait until we are engaged in war in the West, and will then avail herself of the opportunity to attack us, either alone, or in coöperation with our Western enemies.

"It must not be forgotten that Japan can not only put quickly into the field, in Korea or Manchuria, a well organized and well trained army of from 150,000 to 180,000 men, but can do this without drawing at all heavily upon her population. If we take the German ratio of regular troops to population, namely, one per cent, we shall see that Japan, with her forty-seven millions of people, can maintain a force of 400,000 soldiers in time of peace, and 1,000,000 in time of war. And we must bear in mind the fact that, even if we reduce this estimate by two thirds, Japan, in a comparatively short time, will be able to oppose us in Korea, and march into Manchuria, with a regular army of from 300,000 to 350,000 men. If we make it our aim to annex Manchuria, we shall be compelled to increase our military strength to such an extent that, with our Far Eastern force alone, we can withstand the Japanese attack in the annexed territory."

From the above lines it will be seen how seriously the War Department regarded such an antagonist as Japan, and how much anxiety it felt concerning possible complications with that Power on account of Korea. At the time when this report was presented, and later, in November, [495] the negotiations that Admiral Alexeieff was carrying on with Japan not only made no progress, but became more critical, the Admiral still believing that to show a yielding disposition would only make matters worse.

Insignificance of Russia's Eastern Interests

Bearing in mind the clearly expressed will of the Emperor that all necessary measures should be taken to avoid war, and not expecting favorable results from Alexeieff's negotiations, I presented to His Majesty, on the 26th of November, 1903 (December 9, N. S.) a second report on the Manchurian question, in which I proposed that we return Port Arthur and the province of Kwang-tung to China, securing, in lieu thereof, certain special rights in the northern part of Manchuria. In substance, this proposition was that we admit the untimeliness of our attempt to get an outlet on the Pacific and abandon it altogether. The sacrifice might seem a grievous one to make, but I showed the necessity for it by presenting two important considerations. In the first place, by surrendering Port Arthur (which had been taken away from the Japanese) and by giving up southern Manchuria (with the Yalu enterprise), we should escape the danger of a rupture with Japan and China. In the second place, we should avoid the possibility of internal disturbances in European Russia. A war with Japan would be extremely unpopular, and would increase the feeling of dissatisfaction with the ruling authorities. My report was, in part, as follows:

"The economic interests of Russia in the Far East are extremely insignificant. We have as yet, thank God, no over-production in manufactures, because even our domestic markets are not yet glutted. There may be some export of articles from our factories and foundries, but it is largely due to artificial encouragement and will cease—or nearly cease—when such encouragement is withheld. Russia, therefore, has not yet grown up to the melancholy necessity of waging war in order to get markets for her products. As for our other interests in the Far East, the success or failure of a few coal or timber enterprises in Manchuria and Korea is not a matter of sufficient importance to make it worth while for Russia to run the risk of war on their account.

"The railway lines that we have built through Manchuria do not change the situation, and the hope that these lines will have world-wide importance, as avenues of international commerce, is not likely, in the near future, to be realized. Travelers, the mails, tea, and possibly some other merchandise, will go over them, but the great masses of heavy international freight which, alone, can give world-wide importance to a railway, will go by sea, simply because they cannot bear railway charges. Such is not the case, however, with local freight to supply local needs. This the roads—and especially the southern branch—will carry more and more, deriving from it most of their revenue, and, at the same time, stimulating the growth of the country, and, in southern Manchuria particularly, benefiting the Chinese population. But if we do not take special measures to direct even local freight to Dalny, that port is likely to suffer from the competition of Yinkow (New Chwang). Port Arthur has no value for Russia as the defence and terminus of a railway, unless that railway is part of an international transit route. The southern branch of the Eastern Chinese road has only—or chiefly—local importance, and, from an economic point of view, Russia does not need to protect it by means so costly as the fortifications of Port Arthur, a fleet of warships, and a garrison of 30,000 soldiers.

"It thus appears that the retention of a position of an aggressive character in Kwang-tung is no more supported by economic than it is by political and military considerations. What, then, are the aims that may involve us in war with Japan and China? Are such aims important enough to justify the great sacrifices that war will demand? The Russian people are powerful, and their faith in Divine Providence, as well as their devotion to their Tsar and their country, is unshaken. We may trust, therefore, that if Russia is destined to undergo the trial of war at the beginning of the twentieth century, she will come out of it with victory and glory. But she will have to make terrible sacrifices—sacrifices that may long retard the natural growth of the Empire.

"In the wars that we waged in the early years of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, the enemy invaded our territory, and we fought for the existence of Russia—marched forth in defence of our country and died for faith, Tsar, and Fatherland. If, in the early years of the twentieth century, war breaks out as the result of controverted questions arising in the Far East, the Russian people and the Russian army will execute the will of their Monarch with as much devotion and self-sacrifice as ever, and will give up their lives and their property for the sake of attaining complete victory; but they will have no intelligent comprehension of the objects for which the war is waged. For that reason there will be no such exaltation of spirit—no such outburst of patriotism—as that which accompanied the wars [496] that we fought either in self-defence or for objects dear to the hearts of the people.

"We are now living through a critical period. Internal enemies, aiming at the destruction of the dearest and most sacred foundations of our life, are invading even the ranks of our army. Large groups of the population have become dissatisfied, or mentally unsettled, and disorders of various sorts—mostly created by a revolutionary propaganda—are increasing in frequency. Cases in which troops have to be called out to deal with such disorders are much more common than they were even a short time ago. We must hope, however, that this evil has not yet taken deep root in Russian soil, and that by strict and wise measures it may be eradicated.

"If Russia were attacked from without, the people, with patriotic fervor, would undoubtedly repudiate the false teaching of the revolutionary propaganda, and show themselves as ready to answer the call of their revered Monarch, and to defend their Tsar and country, as they were in the early years of the eighteenth and particularly in the nineteenth century. If, however, they are asked to make great sacrifices in order to carry on a war whose objects are not clearly understood by them, the leaders of the anti-Government party will take advantage of the opportunity to spread sedition. Thus there will be introduced a new factor which, if we decide on war in the Far East, we must take into account.

"The sacrifices and dangers that we have experienced, or that we anticipate, as results of the position we have taken in the Far East, ought to be a warning to us when we dream of getting an outlet on the unfreezing waters of the Indian Ocean at Chahbar. It is already evident that the English are preparing to meet us there. The building of a railroad across the whole of Persia, and the establishment of a port at Chahbar, with fortifications, a fleet, etc., will simply be a repetition of our experience with the Eastern Chinese Railway and Port Arthur. In the place of Port Arthur, we shall have Chahbar, and instead of war with Japan, we shall have a still more unnecessary and still more terrible war with Great Britain.

"In view of the considerations above set forth, the questions arise: Ought we not to avoid the present danger at Port Arthur, as well as the future danger in Persia? Ought we not to return Kwang-tung, Port Arthur, and Dalny to China, give up the southern branch of the Eastern Chinese Railway, and get from China, in place of it, certain rights in northern Manchuria and a sum of, say, 250,000,000 rubles as reimbursement for expenses incurred by us in connection with the railway and Port Arthur?" Further on in my report I considered fully the advantages and disadvantages of such a decision, and set forth the principal advantages as follows: "(1) We shall escape the necessity of fighting Japan on account of Korea, and China on account of Mukden. (2) We shall be able to reëstablish friendly relations with both Japan and China. (3) We shall give peace and tranquillity, not only to Russia, but to the whole world."

Russia's Fatal Unpreparedness

Copies of this report were sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, and Admiral Alexeieff. Unfortunately, my views were not approved, and meanwhile the negotiations with Japan dragged along and became more and more involved. The future historian, who will have access to all the documents, may be able, from study of them, to determine why the will of the Russian Monarch to avoid war with Japan was not carried into effect by his principal co-workers. At present, it is only possible to say, unconditionally, that although neither the Emperor nor Russia desired war, we did not succeed in escaping it. The reason for the failure of the negotiations is evidently to be found in our ignorance of Japan's readiness for war, and her determination to support her contentions with armed force. We ourselves were not ready to fight, and resolved that it should not come to fighting. We made demands, but we had no intention of using weapons to enforce them—and, it may be added, they were not worth going to war about. We always thought, moreover, that the question whether there should be war or peace depended upon us, and we wholly overlooked Japan's stubborn determination to enforce demands that had for her such vital importance, and also her reliance upon our military unreadiness. Thus the negotiations were carried on by the respective parties under unequal conditions.

Then, too, our position was made worse by the form that Admiral Alexeieff gave to the negotiations intrusted to him. References were made that offended Japanese pride, and the whole correspondence became strained and difficult as a result of the Admiral's unfamiliarity with diplomatic procedure and his lack of competent staff assistance. He proceeded, moreover, upon the mistaken assumption that, in such a negotiation, it was necessary to display inflexibility and tenacity. His idea was that one concession, if made, would inevitably lead to another, and that a yielding policy would be more likely, in the end, to bring about a rupture with Japan than a policy of firmness. On the 25th of January, 1904 (February 6, N. S.) [497] diplomatic relations were broken off by the Japanese, and a few days later war began.

My opinions with regard to the relative importance of the tasks set before the War Department of Russia made me a convinced opponent of an active Asiatic policy.

1. Recognizing our military unreadiness on our western frontier, and taking into account also the urgent need of devoting our resources to the work of internal reorganization and reform, I thought that a rupture with Japan would be a national calamity, and I did everything in my power to prevent it. Throughout my long service in Asia, I was an advocate of an agreement with Great Britain there, and I was satisfied that there might also be a peaceable delimitation of spheres of influence in the Far East between Russia and Japan.

2. I regarded the building of the main line of the trans-Siberian railway through Manchuria as a mistake. The decision to adopt that route was made without my participation (I was then commander of the trans-Caspian territory); but it was contrary to the judgment of the War Department's representative in the Far East—General Dukhovski.

3. The occupation of Port Arthur took place before I became Minister of War, and I had nothing to do with it. I regard it as not only a mistake, but a fatal mistake. By thus acquiring, prematurely, an extremely inconvenient outlet on the Pacific, we broke up our good understanding with China and made an enemy of Japan.

4. I was always opposed to the timber enterprise on the Yalu, because I foresaw that it might bring about a rupture with Japan. I therefore took all possible measures to have it made an exclusively commercial affair, or to have it suppressed altogether.

5. So far as the Manchurian question is concerned, I made a sharp distinction between the comparative importance to us of northern Manchuria and southern Manchuria. At first, I was in favor of removing our troops as quickly as possible from both; but after the Boxer uprising, in 1900, I recognized the necessity of keeping on the railway at Kharbin three or four battalions of infantry, a battery, and a hundred Cossacks, as a reserve for the boundary guard.

6. When our position in the Far East became difficult, and there seemed to be danger of a rupture with Japan, I was in favor of decisive measures, and proposed that we avert war by admitting the untimeliness of our attempt to get an outlet on the Pacific; by restoring Port Arthur and Kwang-tung to China; and by selling the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway.

When Adjutant General Daniloff returned from Japan, he told me that, at the farewell dinner given him there, General Terauchi, the Japanese Minister of War, said that General Kuropatkin and he had done everything in their power to avert war. And yet, even now, I sometimes ask myself doubtfully, "Did I do everything that was within the bounds of possibility to prevent it?" The strong desire of the Emperor to avoid war with Japan was well known to me, as it was to his other co-workers, and yet we, who stood nearest to him, were unable to execute his will.


[Editor's Note.]—Among the first questions suggested by General Kuropatkin's narrative and the editorials, reports, and official proceedings that he quotes, are: Who was State Councillor Bezobrazoff? How did he acquire the extraordinary power that he evidently exercised in the Far East? Why was "everybody"—including the Minister of War—"afraid of him"? Why did even the Viceroy respond to his calls for troops, and why was his Korean timber company allowed to drag Russia into a war with Japan, against the opposition and resistance, apparently, of the Tsar, the Viceroy, the Minister of War, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Port Arthur council, and the diplomatic representatives of Russia in Peking, Tokio, and Seoul?

No replies to these questions can be found in General Kuropatkin's record of the events that preceded the rupture with Japan, but convincing answers are furnished by certain confidential documents found in the archives of Port Arthur and published, just after the close of the war, in the liberal Russian review Osvobozhdenie at Stuttgart.[8] Whether General Kuropatkin was aware of the existence of these documents or not, I am unable to say; but as they throw a strong side-light on his narrative, I shall append them thereto, and tell briefly, in connection with them, the story of the Yalu timber enterprise, as it is related in St. Petersburg.

In the year 1898, a Vladivostok merchant named Briner obtained from the Korean Government, upon extremely favorable terms, a [498] concession for a timber company that should have authority to exploit the great forest wealth of the upper Yalu River.[9] As Briner was a promoter and speculator, who had little means and less influence, he was unable to organize his company, and in 1902 he sold his concession to Alexander Mikhailovich Bezobrazoff, another Russian promoter and speculator, who had held the rank of State Councillor in the Tsar's civil service, and who was high in the favor of some of the Grand Dukes in St. Petersburg.

Bezobrazoff, who seems to have been a most fluent and persuasive talker, as well as a man of fine personal presence and bearing, soon interested his Grand Ducal friends in the fabulous wealth of the Far East generally, and in the extraordinary value of the Korean timber concession especially. They all took stock in his enterprise, and one of them, with a view to getting the strongest possible support for it, presented him to the Tsar. Bezobrazoff made upon Nicholas II. an extraordinarily favorable impression and, in the course of a few months, acquired an influence over him that nothing afterward seemed able to shake. That the Tsar became financially interested in Bezobrazoff's timber company is certain; and it is currently reported in St. Petersburg that the Emperor and the Empress Dowager, together, put into the enterprise several million rubles. This report may, or may not, be trustworthy; but the appended telegram (No. 5) sent by Rear Admiral Abaza, of the Tsar's suite, to Bezobrazoff, in November, 1903, indicates that the Emperor was interested in the Yalu enterprise to the extent, at least, of the two million rubles mentioned. Bezobrazoff's "Company," in fact, seems to have consisted of the Tsar, the Grand Dukes, certain favored noblemen of the Court, Viceroy Alexeieff, probably, and the Empress Dowager possibly. Bezobrazoff had made them all see golden visions of wealth to be amassed, power to be attained, and glory to be won, in the Far East, for themselves and the Fatherland. It was this known influence of Bezobrazoff with the Tsar that made "everybody" in the Far East "afraid of him"; that enabled him to enlist in the service of the timber company even officers of the Russian General Staff; that caused Alexeieff to respond to his call for troops to garrison Feng-wang-cheng and Shakhedze; and that finally changed Russia's policy in the Far East and stopped the withdrawal of troops from southern Manchuria.

General Kuropatkin says that the Russian evacuation of the province of Mukden "was suddenly stopped by an order of Admiral Alexeieff, whose reasons for taking such action have not, to this day, been sufficiently cleared up." The following telegram from Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff of the Russian General Staff to Rear Admiral Abaza, the Tsar's personal representative in St. Petersburg, may throw some light on the subject.

(No. 1.)

To Admiral Abaza,
House No. 50, Fifth Line,
Vassili Ostroff, St. Petersburg.

Our enterprises in East meet constantly with opposition from Dzan-Dzun of Mukden and Taotai of Feng-wang-cheng. Russian officer-merchants have been sent East to make reconnoissance and examine places on Yalu. They are accompanied by Khunkhuzes whom I have hired. The Dzan-Dzun, feeling that he is soon to be freed from guardianship of Russians, has become awfully impudent, and has even gone so far as to order Yuan to begin hostile operations against Russian merchants and Chinese accompanying them, and to put latter under arrest. Thanks to timely measures taken by Admiral, this order has not been carried out; but very fact shows that Chinese rulers of Manchuria are giving themselves free rein, and, of course, after we evacuate Manchuria, their impudence, and their opposition to Russian interests, will have no limit. Admiral (Alexeieff) took it upon himself to order that Mukden and Yinkow (New Chwang) be not evacuated. [10] To-day it has been decided to hold Yinkow, but, unfortunately, to move the troops out of Mukden. After evacuation of Mukden, state of affairs, so far as our enterprises are concerned, will be very, very much worse which, of course, is not desirable. [10] To-morrow I go to the Yalu myself.



Shortly before Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff sent this telegram to Admiral Abaza, Bezobrazoff, who had been several months in the Far East, started for St. Petersburg, with the intention, evidently, of seeing the Tsar and persuading him to order, definitely, a suspension of the evacuation of the province of Mukden, for the reason that "it would inevitably result in the liquidation of the affairs of the timber company." From a point on the road he sent back to Madritoff the following telegram, which bears date of March 26, 1903 (April 8, N. S.)—the very day when the evacuation of the province of Mukden should have been completed, in accordance with the Russo-Chinese agreement of March 26 (April 8, N. S.), 1902:

(No. 2.)

To Madritoff,
Port Arthur.

There will be an understanding attitude toward the affair after I make my first report. I am only afraid of being too late, as I shall not get there until the 3rd (April 16, N. S.) and the Master (Khozain) leaves for Moscow on the 4th (April 17, N. S.). I will do all that is possible and shall insist on manifestation of energy in one form or another. Keep me advised and don't get discouraged. There will soon be an end of the misunderstanding.



On April 11, 1903 (April 24, N. S.), Bezobrazoff sent Madritoff from St. Petersburg a telegram written, evidently, after he had made his first "report" to "the Master." It was as follows:

To Madritoff,,
Port Arthur.

Everything with me is all right. I hope to get my views adopted in full as conditions imposed by existing situation and force of circumstances. I hope that if they ask the opinion of the Admiral (Alexeieff), he, I am convinced (sic), will give me his support. That will enable me to put many things into his hands.



General Kuropatkin says that Admiral Alexeieff gave him "repeated assurances that he was wholly opposed to Bezobrazoff's schemes, and that he was holding them back with all his strength"; but the Admiral was evidently playing a double part. While pretending to be in full sympathy with Kuropatkin's hostility to the Yalu enterprise, he was supporting Bezobrazoff's efforts to promote that enterprise, Bezobrazoff rewarded him, and fulfilled his promise to "put many things into his hands" by getting him appointed Viceroy. Kuropatkin says that this appointment was a "complete surprise to him," and it naturally would be, because the Tsar acted on the advice of Bezobrazoff, von Plehve, Alexeieff, and Abaza, and not on the advice of Kuropatkin, Witte, and Lamsdorff. It will be noticed that von Plehve—the powerful Minister of the Interior—is never once mentioned by name in Kuropatkin's narrative. Everything seems to indicate that von Plehve formed an alliance with Bezobrazoff, and that, together, they brought about the dismissal of Witte, who ceased to be Minister of Finance on the 16th of August, 1903 (August 29, N. S.). Anticipating this result of his efforts, and filled with triumph at the prospect opening before him, Bezobrazoff wrote Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff, on the 12th of August, 1903 (August 25, N. S.), as follows:

(No. 4.)

The great saw-mill and the principal trade in timber will be transferred to Dalny, and this in copartnership with the Ministry of Finance. The Manchurian Steamship Line will have all our ocean freight, amounting to twenty-five million feet of timber, and the business will become international (mirovava). From this you will understand how I selected my base and my operating lines.

In view of the complete defeat of such clear-sighted statesmen and sane counsellors as Kuropatkin, [499] Witte, and Lamsdorff, there can be no doubt that Bezobrazoff's "base and operating lines" were well "selected."

The document that shows most clearly the interest of the Tsar in the Yalu timber enterprise is a telegram sent to Bezobrazoff at Port Arthur, in November, 1903, by Rear Admiral Abaza, who was then Director of the Special Committee on Far Eastern Affairs, over which the Tsar presided, and who acted as the latter's personal representative in all dealings with Bezobrazoff and the timber company. In the original of this telegram, significant words, such as "Witte," "Emperor," "millions," "garrison," "reinforcement," etc., were in cipher; but when Bezobrazoff read it, he (or possibly his private secretary) interlined the equivalents of the cipher words, and also, in one place, a query as to the significance of "artels"—did it mean chasseurs, or artillery? The following copy was made from the interlined original:

(No. 5.)

From Petersburg, Nov. 14-27, 1903.

To Bezobrazoff,
Port Arthur.

Witte has told the Emperor that you have already spent the whole of the two millions. Your telegram with regard to expenditures has made it possible for me to report on this disgusting slander and, at the same time, contradict it. Remember that the Master counts on your not touching a ruble more than the three hundred without permission in every case. Yesterday I reported again your ideas with regard to the reinforcement of the garrison and also with regard to the artels (chasseurs or artillery?) in the basin. The Emperor directed me to reply that he takes all that you say into consideration and that, in principle, he approves. In connection with this, the Emperor again confirmed his order that the Admiral telegraph directly to him. He expects a telegram soon, and immediately upon the receipt of the Admiral's statement, arrangements will be made with regard to the reinforcement of the garrison, and, at the same time, with regard to the chasseurs in the basin. In the course of the conversation, the Emperor expressed the fullest confidence in you.



General Kuropatkin refers, again and again, to the Tsar's "clearly expressed desire that war should be avoided," and he regrets that His Imperial Majesty's "co-workers" "were unable to execute his will." It is more than likely that Nicholas II. did wish to avoid war—if he could do so without impairing the value of the family investment in the Korean timber company—but from the above telegram it appears that, as late as November 27, 1903—only seventy days before the rupture with Japan—he was still disregarding the sane and judicious advice of Kuropatkin, was still expressing "the fullest confidence" in Bezobrazoff, and was still ordering troops to the valley of the Yalu.




I wonder," said Andrew F. Biron, manager of the White Star Mine, to his sister, as he watched, with drawn brows, André François, immaculate in a white flannel suit, bare-kneed and sailor-hatted, go down the street attended by the ministering Angélique, "what Providence had against me when it picked me for the father of Andrew François?"

"He is certainly the strangest child I have ever known," answered his sister irrelevantly, "and I have had experience with a good many—an old maid always does, you know."

"What he needs is to mix up with the other boys—to become Americanized. There is too much European varnish on him. It needs to be rubbed off so that the real boy underneath will show through."

"He needs something," assented his sister shortly, for she had looked with none too gracious an eye upon the advent of André François and his bonne, the volatile Angélique. "He thinks of nothing except how he is dressed—a miniature fop! He is now ten years old and he is absolutely helpless. He seems never to have learned to do anything for himself. There is no manliness nor independence in him—nothing but a head full of foolish, old-world notions about what is due a gentleman of his standing. As for Angélique, one moment she runs his errands and the next bullies him. Who ever heard of a big boy of ten with a nurse, anyway?" Miss Biron stopped a moment to catch her breath, then continued:

"To be frank with you, Andrew, I think you have been little less than criminal to take so little interest in him as to leave him for eight years in an environment of which you knew nothing. You should have had him home immediately after your wife's death, and not have waited until his grandmother died and the responsibility of your son was literally forced upon you."

"The responsibility of his son." All through a busy morning at the office the phrase remained subconsciously in Mr. Biron's mind. At noon hour, when the work slackened up, he set himself to face and thresh it out, for it was his policy to face and thresh out at the first opportunity any difficulty which confronted him.

For half an hour he paced his office, his hands thrust hard down into his pockets, in his mouth a black, unlighted cigar of the stogie species, upon which he chewed with all the concentrated violence which he would have liked to expend upon the problem in hand. His son—how well he remembered the little two-year-old codger, with his serious blue eyes and his fleece of yellow hair, whom he had taken tight in his arms and told not to forget his daddy, as he bid goodby on the steamer to his pretty, pale French wife going back on a visit to her native land.

After her death, little André François had at once found snug quarters in the home of his aristocratic Parisian grandmother, Madame Fouchette, a grand dame of the old régime. She wrote and begged to keep him. She said he would be placed in a good school—the best, indeed, in France—where, as a rule, none except the sons of noblemen were admitted. Year after year had drifted by, and the busy mine-manager in Colorado, occupied with a thousand and one matters of daily importance, had sent a monthly check of generous figure, together with a quarter-page of hurriedly type-written, kindly words, accompanied at Christmas, and at what he approximately made out to be André François' birthday, by a great miscellaneous box of toys. He religiously selected these as his wife had advised him to select them on that first Christmas—for he instinctively [501] mistrusted his own judgment in such matters—and varied them only in the matter of quantity, which he increased each year in allowance for the boy's growth.

Perhaps it was because he always pictured him as a tyro of two, unsteady on his legs, principally experimental in his speech, that he was so unprepared for the real André François, the above, plus eight formative years of growth in the French capital, an aristocratic grandmother's idolatry, and the training of a school where, "as a rule, only the sons of noblemen were received."

Mr. Biron recalled with a rueful smile that first meeting with his son and heir. André François, self-possessed, slim, and aristocratic, cultivating already the airs and graces of the young boulevardier, greeted the manager of the White Star with a careful—for he was none too sure of where the accent fell in his mother-tongue——

"I am delighted, my father," and kissed him ceremoniously, first on one cheek, then on the other. After which he devoted himself to directing Angélique—who had been his bonne ever since his mother's death and in whose care he had come across the ocean—in the disposal of his four trunks. Madame Fouchette, during her life, had spared neither time nor attention in providing André François with as many new suits and caps as his blue-blooded playmates.

The little raw town of fifteen hundred inhabitants, still half mining-camp, was not prepared for the youthful scion of the Old World, and regarded him as a huge joke. As for Angélique, in her high heels and infinitesimal aprons, with her coquettish airs and her showers of exclamations, nothing like her had ever been seen, except in an overnight show, where the traditional French maid, between a song and dance, whisked imaginary dust off parlor chairs.

At school André François was under a double disadvantage. In the class-room, he not only knew more than any other boy, but frequently and authoritatively corrected the teacher. In the yard his white flannel sailor suit, with its embroidered anchor and immense soft, red silk bow in front, his jaunty round sailor hat and dainty shoes—it had become the mode in Paris at that time to follow the English style in children's dress—were regarded with derisive and hostile looks by the sturdy blue-and- brown-overalled town boys. Indeed, the little transplanted Parisian, as he stood in line with his fellows, looked very much like a lonely orchid in a bunch of dusty field-flowers.

In the yard André François did not shine. His attitude was marked in the eyes of the indigenous youth by a supercilious stupidity. He neither knew nor cared for baseball, football, or any of the lesser sports which excite young America at playtime. He had, indeed, at first extended tentative invitations to a chosen few of his class-mates to engage in a fencing bout, but, finding that art entirely unknown, he contented himself, during recess, with sitting on the bench and reading from a French book, over the top of which he sometimes stared at his hot, excited school-mates with insolent superiority.

They returned his contempt with full measure. One and all looked upon André François as a special brand of "Dago"—under which general head they classified all things Latin—protected from their scorn and patriotism by an arbitrary higher power in the form of a father who was a mine manager.

André François, in turn, confided to his father that nobody but ignorant peasants, with whom no gentleman could associate, attended the school.

So matters stood without a change in either direction two weeks after André François' arrival in town. No change of environment seemed strong enough to move him from his accustomed ways of thought. Every morning he started out for school at a quarter of nine followed by the omnipresent Angélique. Every afternoon he returned at three o'clock, still followed by Angélique.

"Angélique! A nurse! A bonne!" As the manager of the White Star thought of her, he nearly bit the cigar, upon which he was chewing, in half. All the militant Americanism in him rose in revolt. He remembered his own bare-footed, swaggering youth, independent as the wind, insolent as a king. And now his son——. He stopped short in his pacing and stared wrathfully out into the street, which, like all the streets of the town, ended abruptly, without any preliminary slopes, in a sheer wall of rock which went up and up and up into a rugged mountain peak.

It chanced that school had just let out for the noon hour, and down the middle of the street, whistling to the full of his lungs, swinging in a circle around his head a long leather strap with a blue calico-covered book at the end for a weight, swaggered a sturdy specimen of young America. Mr. Biron gazed at him with an envious eye and sighed. Then a thought, sudden and sharp, popped into his head. He hesitated for a moment. But why not? Anything was worth trying.

The manager of the White Star was a man of action, so, without wasting further time in debate with himself, he beat a loud tattoo with his knuckles on the window glass. The whistling stopped.



He crooked his finger and motioned, and the deed was done. A moment later the ground-glass door opened, and a chunky, red-haired boy, with a belligerent eye, stood expectantly before him. The newcomer placed himself so that the big iron office safe furnished a background for him, and as he stood there with his feet wide apart, his hands in his pockets, he seemed as solidly planted as it. A shaft of noonday sunlight, coming through a side window, struck his hair and made a rubescent halo around his freckled face. The manager of the White Star looked him up and down, and the boy eyed him back look for look. At length Mr. Biron cleared his throat.

"What is your name, my lad?" he asked.

"James Joseph McCarthy," answered the boy, in the same quick, phonographic monotone that he had used on his first day at school, when the teacher had asked him the same question.

"Ah, yes—do you know my son, Andrew Francis Biron?"

"Sure. Most everybody knows Andray Franswa."

"And what do you think of—er—André François?"

The boy looked at him searchingly. "You oughter know—he's your kid," he said tersely.

"I know what I think," said Mr. Biron, "but I want to know what you think. That's what I brought you in for. I want to get some data on the subject."

The boy ran his hand through his hair, and his brow puckered, as he struggled to find a phrase by which to sum up his impression of André François. Then he said:

"Ah, gee——" he made an abortive effort, out of regard for parental feelings, to mitigate the vast contempt in his voice, "he's just a darn sissy."

"Um—I see. Are there any more sissies in town?"

"Nope. Not now. There uster be one onest, about a year ago, but he's all right now. We licked him till he got all right."

"And do you intend to lick André François until he gets all right?"

The scion of the McCarthys looked at him suspiciously for a moment, but seeing in his face rather a desire for honest information than the guile of a parent, he answered:

"Nope. Nobody dast to touch him."


"Why?" asked Mr. Biron with a gleam of hope, "would he fight?"

"Who? Him? Him fight? I guess not. It's cause you're his dad. My dad, he said that if I dast to lay a finger on Andray Franswa, he'd skin me alive—an' the rest o' the kids, their dads told 'em the same thing."

"I see," said the manager of the White Star, and he saw also that a certain disadvantage went with being the employer of nearly every man in the town.

He took a thoughtful turn around the office, for his conscience gave him a twinge at the critical moment, then stopped abruptly in front of James Joseph and took from his pocket a bright, new silver dollar.

"See this, Jimmie?" he asked, balancing it seductively on the tip of his index finger, "I will give you this, and further, I will see that no complaint is made to your father—if you lick André François."

Each of Jimmie's eyes grew as big and as round as the dollar.

"Sure? D' yer mean it? Gee, that'd be fine. There's goin' to be a circus next week in Briggs' lot, and us fellows is savin' up. Say—is that what you just said on the dead square?"

"On the dead square," said André François' father solemnly.

Jimmie held out his hand for the dollar. "Sure," he said, "I'll lick Andray Franswa. I'll lay low till that crazy Angélique is out of the way. Burbank, the assayer's assistant, is soft on her, and she stops to talk to him every afternoon, an' Andray Franswa walks as far as from school to the assayer's office alone. I'll get him then. I'm boss o' the gang, an' I kin lick fine. Onest I licked a kid an' he wasn't able to be out fer a week."

"Wait," said Mr. Biron, a little alarmed at the enthusiasm he had invoked. "Remember—you are acting under orders, and your orders are not to hurt him. Just roll him around in the mud good and plenty—and, Jimmie, spoil that white sailor suit."

Jimmie's eyes filled with fellow feeling. For the first time during the interview he and the White Star manager were equals.

"I guess you was a pretty nice kid yourself onest," he said, "an' I know how you must feel 'bout Andray Franswa."

He hesitated a moment, his face twitched with a fierce internal struggle, then he thrust out his arm straight from the shoulder and handed back to Mr. Biron the price of his service.

"I—I'd be glad to do it as a favor," he said.

"Thank you," said André François' father gravely, and he took and pocketed the dollar.

As Jimmie was about to leave the office he put out a detaining hand.

"Oh, by the way," he remarked, with elaborate casuality, "you said something of a circus in Briggs' lot—I can't get away myself, at present, but if you'd take this and go, and let me know if there is anything good, you'd oblige me greatly."

Jimmie McCarthy left the office of the White Star with his ethics and his honor satisfied, and with a dollar in the pocket of his blue overalls.

Thus was enacted the preliminary part of the plot to Americanize André François, fils.

The following afternoon the manager of the White Star sat at his office desk, a file of papers before him. But his attention wavered, and the nearer the clock hands drew to three, the less grew his concentration upon the file. At last the expected happened. The ground-glass door burst open, and in rushed the immaculate Angélique, her entire person in such dishevelment as the Rue St. Honoré had never seen. Her cap hung by one pin from her black hair, her ruffled swiss apron was under one arm. By the hand she dragged after her the panting André François. His hat was gone, his hair wet, his white sailor suit streaked terra cotta from the clayey mud of the street. His red tie, however, still made a brave flare of color under one ear.

"Father," he said in a high, excited voice, "I have been attacked!"

Angélique motioned him to be quiet.

"Oh, Monsieur Bir-on, oh, sair," she burst out, her round eyes becoming perfect spheres in her excitement, "Monsieur André François have been attack'. I have jus' stop to spik to a gentleman for a so leetle moment—when I look a-r-r-ound and zee thees so ter-r-ible boy make the tackle at Monsieur André François' legs. And nex'—O, ciel! I zee Monsieur André François high in the air, and then—splash! Quelle horreur! down in the depths of the mud pud-dle, and thees boy r-r-ool heem r-round an' r-round an' r-r-round. Barbare! Sauvage!" Angélique's voice broke, and she buried her face in her abbreviated apron to shut out the memory of a sight so uncivilized.

"Father," said André François, trembling with passion, "you will have him punished at once—publicly, so that every one may know that the indignity has been wiped out?"

"My boy," said Mr. Biron quietly, placing his hand on his son's shoulder, "I am not lord of a feudal principality. I cannot interfere. You will have to fight your own fights."

"But," said André François, angry tears [504] rushing to his eyes, "I cannot fight this peasant—I am a gentleman." And he drew himself up with a jerk, in his drabbled sailor suit, to his full three feet eight. This assumption of dignity was not without discomfort, for the muddy water from his over-long hair dripped down his neck in the back and into his eyes in the front.

"Of a certainty," affirmed Angélique with finality, "he is a gentleman. Madame Fouchette so raised heem."

"You will have to settle it your own way, Andrew. If you are too good to fight him, and he is not too good to fight you, I do not see what you can do—except run."

"I will not run," cried André François, his voice becoming shrill and childish with impotent rage. "I want him punished."

"I can do nothing for you," said his father shortly. "You had better go home now to your aunt and have your suit changed."

"Allons," said Angélique indignantly, and, catching André François by the hand, she started out. At the door she paused long enough to say devoutly, fixing the so unnatural father with a basilisk glance.

"Dieu vous garde, mon pauvre enfant."

The manager of the White Star even thought he heard a "Bête!" as the door was closed so decisively that one would almost say it was slammed. All of which the so unnatural parent endured with equanimity, and turned to his delayed files with a patient if dubious smile, for he had begun to do his parental duty as he saw it, and anything he began, whether it was a lockout, a new policy, or the training of his son, he saw through to the bitter end.

The next morning, when the White Star manager reached his office—and he got there early, for he began his day's work when his office boy was still comfortably snoring—- he found a small boy leaning against the door in the stiff and resigned position of a guard waiting to be relieved from duty. The only parts of him which moved were the toes of his bare legs, and these nimble members dibbled the clayey earth in front of the door-step.

As soon as this apparition caught sight of Mr. Biron, it straightened up into life.

"Kin I see you, Mr. Biron?" asked the boy eagerly, "on a matter o' business?"




"Certainly," said the manager of the White Star, "just step into the office."

The boy followed him in through the ground-glass door, shifted from one bare foot to the other, cleared his throat, then without further preliminary said:

"Say—d' you want Andray Franswa licked to-day?" Then, fixing him with a bargaining eye, "I'll do it dandy fer seventy-five cents. I kin fight 'most as good as Jimmie—I uster be the biggest kid here before he come an' licked me," he added, with reminiscent pride in a past glory.

Mr. Biron looked at him thoughtfully a moment, then said:

"I engaged Jimmie for the first job, and he did it satisfactorily. I think there may be a tacit contract existing between us that I give him, at least, the refusal of the rest."

"Nope," said the boy. "Jimmie, he ain't no pig. He told the bunch, 'You fellers go 'round an' see if yer kin git nuf for the circus what's comin'.' I bin waitin' a long time so's to be early nuf."

"I see," said Mr. Biron, "Jimmie does not believe in monopolies. He is a despot, but an enlightened one."

"Kin I have the job, then?"

"Very well," said Mr. Biron, "I engage you to lick André François—but with this reservation—mind you do not hurt him, and I will pay you the standard rate of one dollar for a first-class job."

This was the first but not the last of the manager's visitors. It was Saturday, and that whole morning the office of the White Star was besieged by applicants for a "job." Mr. Biron had his pick of the entire bellicose population of the town between the ages of nine and thirteen, and several more nefarious bargains were secretively struck in the shadow of the big iron safe, behind the discreet ground-glass door of the White Star office.



That afternoon Mr. Biron found it difficult to concentrate on the work before him, for, reasoning from cause to effect, and having produced the cause, he was subconsciously expectant of another visit from André and Angélique. Nothing, however, occurred to disturb him and, as he closed up his desk and safe, preparatory to leaving, he smiled grimly to himself.

"I never was stumped by a proposition yet," he muttered half aloud, as he walked home in the sunset, "and André François isn't going to be the first. He must have some red blood in his veins—his grandfather fought at Gettysburg, and I could fight my weight in wildcats at his age."

As he ate his dinner, half an hour later, his sister recounted to him the events of the day.

"Andrew Francis was attacked again," she said, casually nodding toward André François, who ate in silence—for she was a woman of sense. "He came home again covered with mud from head to foot. Angélique says he refused to run and she could do nothing——"

"But no," interrupted the bonne eagerly, and her words came like a string of firecrackers exploded by a small boy on the Fourth of July, "he came with a quickness—like zat!" and she clapped her hands. "Before I know, he have come behin' and trip Monsieur André François up from his legs. Zen I try to grab thees boy, but he is of a so great slipperiness as an eel! He have hit Monsieur André François—whack! He have poke heem an' make heem to fall into the mud. Zen he is away with a quickness—zipp! No person is of a similar quickness to catch heem."

During this display of wordy pyrotechnics, the son and heir of the house sat in sullen silence and broke his bread into small pieces. When it ended, he suddenly looked up.

"Father," he said, "I do not want Angélique to take me to school any longer. She is a fool."

"Sank you, sair," said the lady referred to sarcastically, "you have a great gratitude when I protec' your life." Then she turned to the manager of the White Star:

"Sair, I have the pleasure to inform you of somesing. In one month I am about to marry myself to the Mr. Bur-bank—he who makes known what is in the rocks."

"Kind of sudden, wasn't it, Angélique?" asked Mr. Biron.

"It was of a suddenness," said Angélique blushing. "I was greatly of a desire to go back to France, but I could not, an' the nex' bes' zing—zat is to marry myself. I mus' have a protector in thees so savage land where even the children are bloodthirsty. I am not of a nervousness to stan' everysing. Voilà!"



The next morning André François went to school minus his familiar. During the week and a half that followed he was "attacked" with startling frequency and regularity. Almost every afternoon he came home with his clothes muddy and torn.

He was grimly silent about the details of these mishaps.

Angélique was in despair.

"Ah, Madame," she said to Miss Biron, "in one short month he will not have a stitch to wear—out of the largesse of four trunks full. And the las' command of Madame Fouchette, it was 'Angélique, always make Monsieur André François to look like the little prince.' Ciel! how can one make heem to look like the little prince when thees so savage boys tear off his clothes? But I do my ver' bes'—I darn and darn and darn heem."

André François made no one his confidant, but day by day he grew more somber and silent. His early garrulity was quite gone. Instead of the air of hauteur which characterized him on his entrance to the town, he now had a pathetic droop. He even became careless about his clothes.

"He used to be so proud, so debonair," said Angélique sadly, "when he have the clean, white suit on, he is like the peacock, he know he is beautiful—but now—he does not care what he have on. No!"

"What can be the matter?" asked Miss Biron anxiously, for she was really worried by André François' looks; "he has never been seriously hurt in these little school-boy fights."

"Eh, bien! Madame! Is it not of a seriousness to be wound' in the pride? To be insult'? Monsieur André François has been made the gross insult many times. Those insult, they knaw heem in his heart. He zink. He zink all the time now. He zink of those many insult'! Some day he will have his revengement—you see."

About this time the manager of the White Star noticed a falling off in the number of applicants for his peculiar variety of "job." There was a slump in the André François market. One morning he called in a youngster whom he saw going early to school, stated his terms, and [507] made his usual proposal. The boy hesitated a few moments, then said:

"It'll cost yer a dollar an' a quarter now, Mr. Biron. Yer see, 'taint so easy as 'twas at first. 'Course Andray Franswa never runs, an' it's easy t' git him, but he's growin' awful savage. He kicks an' bites somethin' fierce, sir. He nearly chewed Harry Peters' finger offer him day 'fore yesterday."

The manager paid the extra quarter without any demur.

It was about this time also that Mr. Biron made a discovery which gratified him. He found, secreted under a pillow in the window-seat where André François usually sat, a dusty, copiously diagrammed book entitled, "The Manly Art of Self-Defense." It was an edition of twenty years ago, and had been used by Mr. Biron himself during his college days.

He put it back carefully and held his silence.

The following evening he proceeded in an experimental, roundabout way to get into a conversation with his son.

"Andrew," he said, with sociable casualness, to his heir, who now always ensconced himself in the window-seat directly after dinner, and kept a moody silence until Angélique took him off to bed, "you have never told me about your school days in France."

Accepting this remark as the statement of an irrefutable fact, André François merely remained politely silent.

"What do you do for recreation? What sport do you have now, for instance?"

"We fence, father," said André François, listlessly.

"Ah, yes," said the White Star manager, introducing his subject in as elaborately casual a way as a politician about to ask for a favor, "just so. Well, you see we don't do much fencing in America, not very much. Boxing, now, is more in our line."

A gleam of interest, which was not lost upon his father, shot into André François' weary eyes.

"Father," he asked timidly, "are you familiar with the manly art of self-defense?"

"I am, my son," answered the manager of the White Star gravely.

André François gazed at him questioningly a moment, then drew the manual from under the sofa cushion.

"I have been practising some of the things described in this book," he said, slowly opening it and disclosing diagrams of a heavy-muscled individual executing a wonderful curve along a dotted line marked "a—— a—— a," "but I am unable to make out the explanations attached to most of these figures. If you could show me the rudiments——" he finished tentatively.

It was at this point that the manager of the White Star joyously threw diplomacy to the winds.

"You bet I will," he cried enthusiastically, "we will have our first lesson to-night in the attic," and grasping his son's arm he started off.

Miss Biron and Angélique, sedately sewing by the fire in the next room, were electrified to see, a moment later, the manager of the White Star and André François rush madly through, banging a door at either end in their flight, and laughing at the top of their voices. They also stayed awake that night beyond their usual retiring time, for strange noises emanated from the attic long after the hour when a well-conducted father and son should have been in bed.

The next morning the manager of the White Star let the applicant in waiting know that no further business would be transacted, and the word went forth among the members of the gang that he would pay for no more André François lickings, and would tolerate no unpaid-for ones.

So, by the ultimatum of his father, André François went whither he would, unmolested except by word of mouth. But he underwent such martyrdom as only a small boy can receive at the hands of others of his kind.

Not only did the gang remember and resent his former attitude of superiority, but they looked on him as a source of revenue taken from them. His presence irritated them as the presence of a government-owned railroad might irritate a company of magnates shorn of their profits. His first position had been marked at least by a certain uniqueness and dignity. He had never been licked, even if he could have been.

Now, however, he was the lowest of the low. In the democracy of the gang, where might was right, he was a pariah, a proven coward, licked by each and every member, and ought, by the law of the survival of the fittest, to be kicked out. He was only allowed to intrude his presence on suffrance, because a higher power artificially protected him.

At recess, in school, he sat on the well-worn bench that ran around the yard and watched the others play or fight. No one ever spoke to him, except now and then to throw a taunt his way.

"Where's nursie, Annie?"

"Hello, sissy—are yer lost?"

"Where'd yer git that suit?" and similar personalities greeted him when one of the boys [508] chanced to notice his presence. Sometimes, as he walked home, pebbles and bits of hardened mud were sent richochetting after him, but this was the extent of any assault, for the manager of the White Star, sitting behind his ground-glass door, had it within his power to speak a potent word to the father of any boy who disobeyed him.

André François seldom spoke back, but his silence had something grim in it, and there was a portentous light in his eye.

At home he never complained, and Angélique, rejoiced that the régime of physical violence was over, snatched the time between stitches on a wonderful, beruffled trousseau, to make him "look like the little prince." Only his father knew how he spent his time every evening in the attic, and what passionate energy he put into his work. Neither alluded to it, but both knew that the lessons had an ultimate object.

And, one day, three weeks from the time he took his first boxing lesson, this object was unexpectedly accomplished.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and the gang, freed from the tyranny of school and the irritation of Saturday morning chores, were joyously disporting themselves in a vacant lot at the corner of the street. The first inning of a baseball game was just over, and the overalled players were lying on the ground disputing certain fine points of the play with the audience.

André François stopped, leaned on the top rail of the fence, and gazed at them a trifle wistfully. Jimmie McCarthy's roving eye discovered him, and he yelled out:

"You'd better run along, Annie—nursie will be out lookin' fer yer in a minnut."

The gang laughed flatteringly at the subtle wit of their leader. André François' face flushed a vivid crimson and his eyes darkened. Then he electrified the gang by leaping over the fence and rushing straight up to the redoubtable Jimmie.

He thrust out his chin and yelled up into the face of the surprised leader:

"I'll show you if I'm an Annie or not. D'you want to fight?"

Jimmie stood dumb with amazement a moment, then he laughed long and loud, for his sense of humor was Irish; and the whole gang joined in.

"S-a-a-y," he said, "yer wanter git licked again, d'yer? You must'er got inter the habit. I tell yer what—I got a baby brother two years old ter home. I'll go fetch him, and the two o' yez kin have it out."




It was here that André François' early training enabled him to make an impression. He stood up on his toes, as he had once seen the Marquis de Boissé stand up on his toes, and slapped Jimmie McCarthy across the mouth with his open palm, as he had seen that noble marquis slap a count of France.

But what followed was not an exchange of ultra courteous priorities to a duel. It was a good American fight in the middle of a ring of small boys, and what happened is what always happens when natural and scientific force stand up before each other. That fight will be long remembered in the annals of the gang, which, like the records of the great Homeric fights or the sagas of the primitive Northmen, are first handed down by word of mouth.

"I wished yer'd seen it, kid," said Charlie Brown, to his wide-eyed, freckled-faced junior, whom he was trying to bring up in the right way. "It'd bin an eddycation fer yer. Andray Franswa jumped round jest like he was made o' rubber. Every time that Jim grabbed fer him, he was on the other side an' had landed him one on the nose. Gee, yer oughter seen it bleed—it was worse'n the time Jim beat Buck Paxell. Now, Teddy, yer want ter keep yer eye on Andray Franswa, an' do same as yer see him doin'—'cause he's goin' ter be a great man some day like Jim Jeffries—see?"

That afternoon the manager of the White Star chanced to look out of his window, and he saw André François, with his white sailor hat, fashioned after that of Prince Edward, set rakishly over one ear, his hands in his pockets, whistling at the top of his lungs, come down the street. His face was muddy and bleeding, a great scratch cut across it from ear to ear, his hair was wild and tangled, but his swagger was that of a conqueror, and he took the middle of the road. An admiring concourse of small boys followed along at a respectful distance.

Mr. Biron smiled to himself. Then he took down his ledger, for he was a careful man of business, and read over a certain page. On it was written fourteen times:

"To Andrew Francis, licking ... $1.00"

"Um," said the manager of the White Star softly at the end of the addition, "fourteen dollars." Then he took another look out of the window:

"I never made a better bargain in my life."


De debbil done ast me to be his chile;
De debbil he's allus a follerin';
I run de debbil foh mos' a mile;
Don' you hear de debbil a-hollerin'?
I'se gwine to jine de fambly of de Lohd;
I'se gwine to glory in de mawnin';
I'se gwine to be bohn in de grace of Gohd;
Ain't you gwine to come to my bohnin'?
Come along-a sisteh, come along-a bruddeh,
Come along-a one an' a come along de uddeh,
Bring along a frien' an' a-bring along anuddeh;
Ain't you gwine to come to my bohnin'?
De debbil done temp' me to visit his roof;
De debbil he's allus a follerin';
I stomp my foot on de debbil's hoof;
Don' you hear de debbil a-hollerin'?
I'se gwine to jine de fambly of de Lohd;
De debbil's done quit his harryin';
I'se gwine to be married to de son of Gohd;
Ain't you gwine to come to my marryin'?
Come along-a sisteh, come along-a bruddeh,
Come along-a one an' a come along de uddeh,
Bring along a frien' an a-bring along anuddeh;
Ain't you gwine to come to my marryin'?
De debbil done beg me to sail his ship;
De debbil he's allus a follerin';
I smack my han' on de debbil's lip;
Don' you hear de debbil a hollerin'?
I'se gwine to sail in de ship of de Lohd
Dat's a runnin' to glory at de ferryin';
I'se gwine to be buried in de grace of Gohd;
Ain't you gwine to come to my buryin'?
Come along-a sisteh an' a come along-a bruddeh,
Come along-a one an' a come along de uddeh,
Bring along a frien' an' a bring along anuddeh;
Ain't you gwine to come to my buryin'?




He was a coal-black, box-headed negro, of a bulk and stature never before admitted to the dining-room of the Bluegrass Hotel. The blacks preferred by the management of that fastidious hostelry were agile, under-sized fellows with round heads and small hands; and Moss Harper would assuredly never have effected an entrance to the dining-room, had it not been for a waiters' strike, which made almost any kind of help welcome.

The lynx-eyed head waiter, prejudiced from the start against his gigantic underling, quickly discovered that salt-cellars and other small objects eluded Moss' clumsy fingers like drops of quicksilver; also, that the channels between the tables were wholly inadequate for the safe navigation of a vessel of this draft. Hence Moss' term of service would doubtless have been a very brief one, had it not been for an unforeseen event. On his way home the very first night, he broke the heads of half a dozen union pickets who had waylaid him in a dark alley, and this feat gave the strike a shock from which it died the next day.

Out of gratitude, and possibly also a desire to give the recalcitrant negroes an object-lesson, the management decided to tolerate Moss for a month. It was clearly a case of toleration. He broke more dishes than any four of the other waiters; he forgot orders; he trod on toes; and, although he was of a singularly peaceful disposition, never taking part in the multitudinous squabbles of the dining-room, the incessant gibes, sneers, and threats of his unionized associates would occasionally prove too much for even his equanimity. Then, like an infuriated gorilla, he would spring upon his tormentors, regardless of their number, and dearly indeed would they pay for their sport.

He was, moreover, a silent fellow; and his silence was not that of the well-bred waiter, but a solemn, profound, brooding, depressing thing, acquired, one could almost believe, in the African jungles where his forefathers had crept like wild beasts or squatted in superstitious terror. People, consequently, were a little afraid of him. It was told that he had once carried a piano up three flights of stairs on his back; and when he would pass down the dining-room with a seventy-pound tray balanced on the tips of three fingers as lightly as if it were a pie-pan, a certain bald-headed, white-waist-coated, pink-faced old bachelor, who made his home at the hotel, never tired of observing to strangers, with his dry little chuckle: "How'd you like to meet that boy on a lonely road, suh, afteh dark, with your gun at home?" And, in truth, Moss' huge black paw, suddenly appearing over their shoulders from behind, as he served a meal, was a trifle disconcerting to ladies with delicate nerves.

There was, however, a force of some kind, a sort of dumb nobility about the fellow, which made itself felt; and, in spite of his manifold shortcomings, he had, when his month was up, made a fairly favorable impression. Still, his fate was hanging in the balance when Fortune once more intervened in his behalf. An imaginative reporter on one of the Louisville papers, being hard pressed for a Sunday story, concocted an article entitled "A Congo King," in which he solemnly averred that the herculean waiter at the Bluegrass was the grandson of an African prince who had been captured by slavers on the upper Congo, after a desperate fight, and landed in Charleston in 1832.

From that hour Moss became a show-piece which the proprietors of the Bluegrass would not willingly have parted with. Guests almost daily asked to be shown the "Congo King." A German ethnologist who was touring the country ran down from Chicago to get some exact measurements of the royal descendant's head. An artist of State reputation painted him in what was alleged to be his grandfather's court costume—a strip of leopard-skin around his loins; and a photograph from this painting [511] made the most popular souvenir post-card which the hotel's news-stand had ever handled.

Curiously enough, his fame did not spoil him. Indeed, for any change in him, he might have been unaware of his fame, and possibly was unaware of it. At all events, he continued to pursue the simple routine of his life. He worked seven days in the week, from six in the morning until nine at night, with a respite from two till six. Most of the hotel negroes spent this recess in shooting craps and guzzling beer in an adjacent dive, but Moss devoted it to the prosecution of an enterprise very near to his heart. He was learning to read! He could already read a bill-of-fare, of course, to any near-sighted guest who had chanced to forget his glasses; but this was merely a mnemonic trick, assisted by the position of the words on the card. He yearned to be able to read "really and truly," out of a newspaper or a book.

One afternoon, after laying off his dining-room livery and getting into his own shabby clothes,—in which few of the Bluegrass guests would have recognized their Congo King!—he set off with unusual alacrity. At the street door he paused to turn up his collar and draw down his hat-brim, and then indifferently stepped out into a pelting shower. A block away he entered a second-hand book-store and bought a greasy, dog-eared Second Reader which he had priced the day before. Stowing his purchase in an inside pocket to keep it dry, he longingly eyed a passing street-car, for he was tired; but he put the temptation aside—five cents would buy a loaf of bread or two quarts of buttermilk—and stepped out into the rain again.

A walk of ten blocks brought him to the head of an ill-smelling, narrow alley, dotted with foul pools of water and bordered with tumble-down shanties. The rain had now ceased, and the sun, beating down more fiercely than ever, was raising a pestilential reek which had brought the black denizens of the alley to their tiny stoops for a breath of comparatively fresh air. Children, the smaller ones quite naked, pattered about like ducks in the black mud.

The number of men present, considering it was midday, would have surprised any one not familiar with the fact that the residents of Goosefoot Lane plied their varied trades mostly by night. Oily-skinned and blear-eyed from heat, drink, and loss of sleep, these gentlemen of color somewhat resembled the animals of an over-traveled menagerie, blinking stupidly, staring morosely into vacancy, slapping viciously at flies, and occasionally exposing their red mouths and gleaming teeth in a wide, fierce, carnivorous yawn. Some few, in a better humor, were drinking pailed beer and shooting craps. The women held their babies and chatted with their neighbors, while now and then some fat old mammy would waddle out into the lane to settle a row among the youngsters.

It was into this atmosphere that the student took his way, nodding at an acquaintance here and there, until he reached the shanty which the payment of four dollars a month in advance entitled him to call home. An old darky sat drowsing on the stoop. There was something ape-like about his long arms, his flat, wide-nostriled nose, and the mat of gray wool which crept down his forehead to within two inches of his eyebrows. Yet, on a closer inspection, his face was human, kindly, and benevolent, and even lit with a shrewd humor.

"This you' Secum Reader, sonny?" asked old Benjy, starting from his doze as Moss thrust the book into his hand. He fumbled in his pocket for his silver-rimmed spectacles,—cherished memento of better days,—pinched the book between his thick, knotted fingers, and opened it about as gracefully as a bear would open an oyster. Then he squinted at the page with an owl-like expression, moving the book now nearer, now farther, and turning it this way and that for a better light. For he was Moss' teacher, and it would be highly injurious to his prestige for him to show any flustration over this new volume. Nevertheless, he was not quite at ease.

"Yass—book-store man di'n' cheat you. He Secum Reader," he observed astutely, after moving his lips inaudibly for a moment. "Says so—right theh—top o' the page—in plain print. An' print don' lie! 'Member that, sonny,—print don' lie. Men lies, women lies, clouds lies—say it's gwine rain when it don' do nothin' but blow up a li'l' dust—but print neveh lies. 'Cause why? 'Cause the Good Book is print. But, sonny, if you gwine git an educashum, you gotter strike out for it—strike out—strike out."

"Ain't I strikin' out?" asked Moss in an aggrieved tone.

"Shuh, sonny, shuh. But this yere vollum make you scratch you' haid. Yass, indeed, sonny,—make you scratch you' haid. Purt' near makes me scratch mine!" The last, however, was accompanied by a low chuckle to indicate that it was only a joke; after which he adjusted his glasses afresh and again fixed his gaze on the book. "Wuds in heah, sonny, you neveh seen befo'. I done seen 'em, of co'se, [512] 'cause ole Mis' tuk me mos' through the Thud Reader befo' the Wah broke out. But, of co'se, my eyesight ain't what it was—no, sonny, 'tain't what it was." He stared harder than ever, shutting first one eye, as though squinting along his old coon-gun, then the other, blinking, and moving his lips. Finally his black face lighted.

"Heah's an ole devil I used to wrastle with!" he exclaimed shrilly. "Lawd, Lawd, how I used to wrastle with that ole devil! Succumstance! Succumstance! That's the ole devil!"

"Lemme see 'im," said Moss curiously, bending nearer.

"Right theh," answered Benjy proudly, pointing with his stub forefinger. "That long, crinkly, twis'ed feller. Looks a good 'eal like a dried fish-wum. Sonny, when you kin read a wud like him, easy-like, same as I do—succumstance—see!—suc-cum-stance—you' educashum mighty neah complete."

Satisfied with this feat, however, the old man turned from the text to the pictures, which were less trying, he declared, to his eyesight. His attention was at once caught by a little girl, in an old-fashioned pinafore, driving a hoop amid a fairly Edenic profusion of butterflies, flowers, and birds, with a squirrel eating a nut overhead. For a moment he stared fixedly through his grimy lenses, and then his hands trembled with excitement.

"Sonny," he almost shouted, "dis the same Secum Reader ole Mis' done learn me out of! Dar's li'l' gull with her hoop, and squ'ull up above. An' dar"—turning a page—"is li'l' boy with pony—spotted pony with a collah 'stid of breas'-strap. An' dar anudder li'l' boy with white rabbits. I 'members 'em all. I 'members what ole Mis' said about 'em all," he ran on eagerly, while Moss' own eyes grew large with wonder at the strange coincidence. "I 'members de day ole Mis' guve me de book. I done driv' her back that day fum the Law'ences', where she spend the day with ole Mis' Lutie. She spend lots of days with ole Mis' Lutie, 'cause ole Mis' Lutie's husband killed in Mexican Wah, same as ole Mistis'. An' as we driv' up the ca'igeway, Miss Pen and Marse Willie Hahpeh, her cousin, come kitin' by us on theh hosses, makin' sich a clatter, my hosses shied in the blackberry-bushes. But Miss Pen juss larf, like she always do when Marse Willie with her, and neveh slowed up a bit. Ole Mis' kind of sighed and sayed: 'Benjy, that gull gwine breck her neck some day on that hoss.' An' I say, 'Mis' Judie, neveh while Marse Willie aroun'. He got better use for her neck than breckin' it.' An' she say, 'Shut up, Benjy; you fohget they fust cousins.' So we kim on up to the po'ch. Then she han' me a book an' say, 'Benjy, that's Secum Reader. You done learn all they is in the Fust.' An', sonny, it's the same book, the same book."

For a moment he was lost in reverie. His faded, age-filmed eyes, lifted to an archipelago of fleecy cloudlets, grew dreamy as his mind wandered back to the shady driveways of the old Harper mansion; the spacious, rose-curtained veranda; the cool, high-ceiled rooms within; Old Marse and Old Mis', Miss Pen and Miss Patty, and the troops of guests who kept the great house ringing with merriment, with few intermissions, from January till December.

"Times is change, sonny," he murmured plaintively. "Ole Mistis been grave-dust fo' thutty yeahs, eenamost, I reckon. Miss Pen done mah'd Marse Willie, spite of bein' fust cousins; de Wah kem on, an' Benjy—fool Benjy—run away with the Linkum sojers. Yass, ole fool Benjy run away with the Linkum sojers, an' been livin' on 'taters and sow-belly eveh since."

The new Second Reader was forgotten, and he rambled on with the tale of the old days—a tale which had neither beginning nor end, whose characters and events grew sharper with each repetition, and of which the old man never grew weary.

It was a tale of which Moss never grew weary, either. In his childhood it had served him in lieu of the fairy-tales which a white child hears at its mother's knees, and throughout his later years it had served him in lieu of books, pictures, music—in short, had been the sole food of his esthetic nature. At Harper Hall, before the War, according to Benjy, it was never too hot or too cold; birds and flowers were present throughout the year; the grass was always green, the streams were always full of water; nobody ever worked very hard; there was always time to fish and hunt, to dance and play the banjo; there was always plenty to eat. Best of all, there was always love. In that Garden of Eden, a broken head or a broken heart was equally sure of healing balm. Old Mis', Miss Pen, and Miss Patty were little lower than the angels.



Moss had heard of slavery, of course. He even knew that his father had been a slave. But the word conveyed little meaning to him. The war of which his father so often spoke was equally vague. The only clear thing about it was that it had ended the old times and begun the new. How vastly superior those old times had been to the new! What possible comparison [513] could there be, for instance, between Harper Hall and Goosefoot Lane? What a fallen creature was the landlord at the Bluegrass, compared with Benjy's old master! How miserable a thing was Moss' daily fare beside the feasts to which his father habitually used to sit down!

The old man was still muttering reminiscently, and Moss was still sitting with his chin buried in his hands, when an apparition appeared at the head of the Lane. It was a lady, with a white parasol and broad-brimmed white hat, daintily lifting a fluffy, many-ruffled white skirt, and exposing a pair of white shoes and stockings. She nodded amiably at the blacks on either side as she picked her way along, and halted once for a bit of chat; but at last she bore airily down on Moss Harper's stoop, where she folded her parasol as a dove might fold its wings on reaching its ledge.

It was then, and not till then, that a stranger, unless a Southerner, would have discovered that black blood flowed in her veins—that she was, in the vernacular of the South, a "nigger"—no more so and no less so than her thick-lipped, ebon-hued husband, Moss Harper.

She paused for a last covetous glimpse of the stream of life flowing past the head of the Lane, out there in the white man's world, and then, with a careless nod at her husband, she passed through the squat doorway of the musty den—a butterfly entering a rat-hole.

Moss had not spoken,—with elemental human nature mere words count for little,—but his mind glided from Benjy's broken recital to his wife. He never thought of her as half white, for she had been suckled at a black breast; she had played with black pickaninnies; her present associates were black, like her husband; and she spoke the jargon of the blacks. He preferred, in fact, to think of her as of his own race. Yet her undeniable beauty, her fair skin and her wavy hair, were facts to be reckoned with. And beneath that fair skin and wavy hair were other things to be reckoned with—yearnings and ambitions unknown to an Ethiopian, a taste for fine clothes, a discontent with her present state and [514] a blind groping for something better in the way of life, all handed down in her white father's blood.

It is true that the ladies for whom Estelle formerly acted as maid had pronounced her worthless—vain, frivolous, and dishonest. And they were right. She was a thief. The beautiful skirt which she had this day flaunted in the envious eyes of the wenches of Goosefoot Lane had been stolen from the laundry at which she worked three days in a week, and many a neat job of shoplifting had she done. Yet, after all, these were only mistaken means to a great End—means which, if history speaks true, were not unknown to a far-distant generation of our own race when they were groping their way out of the darkness of barbarism.

Of these means Moss, fortunately, knew nothing; for old Benjy, rigidly drilled in honesty by his mistress, had done the same for his son. But the End he saw, mistily and uncertainly, for Estelle had handed over to him a great deal of that which her father had handed down to her; and it was toward this end that he himself was now making his slow and painful way, with a Second Reader in his hand.

Estelle laid off her scented finery lingeringly and lovingly, put on a calico wrapper, and passed into the diminutive lean-to which they called a kitchen. Five minutes later she appeared at the front door, shot a searching glance up the Lane for anything of interest, and coolly announced supper. Then the man who, for eleven hours of seven days in the week, served other men with every luxury which the four quarters of the globe could supply, sat down to a meal of buttermilk, cold potatoes, and dry bread.

When Moss got home again that night, Estelle was sitting on the stoop alone, old Benjy having gone to bed with the chickens, as usual. His eyes brightened, for very often she was summoned to the laundry at night to take care of "immediate" work from the hotels, she being an expert at ironing women's fine fabrics. He sat down beside her on one of the benches which flanked the stoop, and she rested her head on his arm, as if weary.

"You done paid Fitzpatrick the rent to-day?" he finally asked.


"You show him that hole in the flo'?"

"Yass." She dropped her long dark lashes for an instant, and then added: "I tole him about it. He di'n' come here. I took the money to his saloom. You know, he sayed if he haved to come here again fo' that money, he th'ow us out in the alley."

"He ain' neveh tried to th'ow me yet," observed Moss quietly. "We'll th'ow ourseffs out befo' long. We ain' gwine to live in this hawg-pen all the time." He paused, and added more gently: "I don' want you to go to his saloom no mo', 'Stelle."

"I went in the side do'," she explained. "Nobody di'n' see me. An' I di'n' go no furder than the do'. But I won' go no mo' ef you don' want me to."

"I don' want you to," he repeated definitely. "I don' want him to insult you like he did me when I axed him to fix that hole what you could th'ow a bull thoo."

"Why, Mossie, you neveh tole me about that! What he say?" There was an indescribable undertone—possibly of amusement—in her velvety voice.

"He sayed he'd hoss-whip me ef I eveh come to his saloom again beggin' for repai's."

Estelle's lashes again quivered slightly, and her lips parted in the shadow of a smile—just enough to reveal the straight, faultless joint between her two rows of glistening teeth. She reached for the great black hand which rested on his knee and laid it in her lap, covering it with her own. It was as if she recognized in that member of sledge-hammer size and hardness a sure defense from all harm. Yet the light which played in her eyes, as she lazily turned her face toward his, was still half-ironical. Was it Caucasian fleering at Ethiopian—white blood mocking black?

"Moss, I'd lak to see him try to hoss-whip you." She laughed at the thought.

"You mus'n' want me to fight," he rebuked her quietly. "I don' lak to fight. I want to git where I won' never have to fight. When I gits awdained as preacher, we gwine live in the country, an' have a li'l' house with a gyahden, where dad kin potter roun' and raise us veg'tables. You won' have to wuk in no laundry then, or live in a hawg-pen lak this."

Estelle was quiet for several minutes, with her large eyes fixed reflectively on the stars.

"When you think you gwine be awdained?" she finally asked.

"Pretty soon, now; soon's I learns to read a li'l' better."

But in his heart he was not so sure. Old Benjy was of the opinion that he would at least have to go through the Third Reader to qualify for ordination, and he was only beginning the Second.

"You think you lak the country better as you do the city?" asked Estelle hesitatingly.

"Don' you?" he demanded in astonishment.

"Oh, I do," she hastened to assure him. "But I was juss wunnerin' ef you wou'n' [515] make mo money in a big chu'ch in the city as you would in a li'l' chu'ch in the country."

"Got to take li'l' chu'ch fust," he observed astutely.

That he was still dissatisfied with her question, Estelle seemed to detect by some sixth sense, for she ran on suavely: "You know, I neveh lived in the country, lak you. Tha's why I axed you what I did. I reckon I don' know how sweet the country is. Moss, I wish we gwine the country to-mo'ow to live!" She flung her arms about his neck and let herself settle down upon his broad chest.

Tears filled the giant's eyes. "I wish you was, honey. But I cyarn take you—juss yit. Got to wait a li'l' while—juss a li'l' while."

In that moment Estelle probably meant what she said. In that moment her love for the man whose name she bore was probably uppermost in her foolish heart. In that moment her impulse toward a higher life may have carried her beyond her love of finery, and she may have been willing to give up the city and the very questionable means which it afforded for securing that finery.




We drift along the placid stream of Time, complaining of the monotony of the voyage, when already the murmur of rapids which are to try every muscle and thrill every nerve might be heard if we but stilled our peevish notes long enough to listen. A week after the above events a party of four ladies from central Kentucky arrived one evening at the Bluegrass. The register showed them to be mother and daughters; and their gentle manners and soft voices, added to the beauty of the girls, had [516] put the clerk on his mettle, spurring him to an exhibition of his choicest Kentucky gallantry. He had just promised them a large, cool room on the second floor, containing two beds, and, in answer to their laughing, half-ironical request that they might be shown the Congo King, he had assured them that they should be seated at that royal scion's table.

"You certainly are entitled to the privilege," he added blandly, "for his real name is the same as yours."

"Harper?" queried the mother of the pretty trio, with some surprise.

"Yes; Moss Harper."

The four ladies exchanged quick glances.

"Why, our carriage-driver, long before the War, was an old negro named Moss. He had a son named Benjy, who ran away during the War. I don't want to impeach the genealogy of your King, but I wonder—" She stopped, as if recalling that her auditor was a stranger, then added, with a smile: "Anyhow, we must be waited on by him, now."

Moss was aware that the ladies at his table were scanning him with more interest than even his size and legendary history usually evoked, and he was not much surprised, therefore, when the eldest of them said: "Excuse me, please, but is your real name Moss Harper?"

"Yassum," he answered, halting instantly in his employment, as old Benjy had taught him to do, and dumbly waiting the lady's further pleasure.

"Do you know your father's name?"

"Yassum. Ole Benjy."

"Is he still living?"

"Yassum; livin' with me."

The lady's small white hand closed rather quickly on the table-cloth.

"Do you know what county he came from?"

"Yassum. Ole Bubbon; he done live at Hahpeh Hall." Then the lady's lighting eyes encouraged him to volunteer a word or two, contrary to his habit. "The Hahpehs all daid and gone now, though. All killed in the Wah."

One of the girls shot her sisters an amused glance, but Penelope Harper's lips quivered. In a voice which struck Moss as the sweetest he had ever heard, she continued: "I think I shall ask you to come to our room—No. 120—as soon as you are through with your duties here. I have something of interest to tell you."

To Moss, with the childish impatience of his race, it seemed as if he would never escape from the dining-room that night; for when he was on the point of leaving, at a little after nine, he was detailed to help take care of a party of a dozen or more that had just come in. It was, therefore, after ten when he gently tapped on the door of No. 120.

He had been too well bred by his father to sit down; and Mrs. Harper, not wishing to disturb his conception of propriety, though some laxity on the present occasion would have been permissible, let him stand just inside the door, with his greasy old hat clutched awkwardly between his hands and the shrunken sleeves of his butternut suit exposing four or five inches of muscular black wrist.

"In the first place, Moss," she began, after ascertaining a little more of his history, "I want to tell you that the Harpers are not all dead. I am a Harper myself. I am the Miss Pen that old Benjy must have often told you about."

"Not Miss Pen!" exclaimed Moss, with starting eyes, as if beholding an apparition. "Not the one that mah'd Marse Willie Hahpeh?"

"The very same," she assured him, smiling. "And these are my daughters. But Marse Willie is dead; he died a long time ago, during the War."

Verily, it was as if some magician had rung up the curtain on the past—that beautiful past of which his father had told him so much. He listened to Mrs. Harper's story in something like a trance, with his blue-black eyes half lost in reverie. And, thus forgetting himself, his awkwardness passed; his hands fell naturally by his side, his chest came out, his head rose, and he stood before the ladies in all the splendor of physique which Nature had invested him with.

"Now, Moss," Mrs. Harper concluded, "no Harper could ever neglect a descendant of our faithful old Moss, even though his son did run away during the War. We want to take care of you and Benjy. We'll give him a cabin by himself, and we'll give you and your wife another cabin. As fast as you learn the plantation work, you shall be advanced. With your strength and intelligence, I am sure that you can soon be earning good wages, and you will be much happier and better off than you are here. To-morrow afternoon, when you are at home, we'll drive out to see old Benjy, as he is probably too feeble to come here, and you can then tell us what you have decided to do. Meanwhile, to relieve any immediate needs, accept this." And she handed him a ten-dollar bill.

Just how he expressed his thanks, or how he got out of the room, Moss never clearly recalled, for his brain was whirling. But when he found himself in the street, with the cool




evening air on his heated brow, he started for home on a run. It was a rather dangerous thing for a black man to do, too, at that hour of the night, in a Southern city, since a policeman was likely to stop him with a tap on the head from a "billy."

But the first thing that stopped Moss was the glowing front of a pawnshop, near the head of Goosefoot Lane. In the window was a brooch which Estelle had paused to gaze at, with covetous eyes, every day for weeks. Moss had looked at it himself a good many times, dreaming rather than hoping to carry it home some day as a surprise for Estelle. Now he had the money, and, without a thought of the prodigality of his course, he entered the shop.

His heavy breathing did not escape the sharp eyes of the Hebrew proprietor, who would not have been at all surprised to see a pursuing policeman heave in sight. But when Moss showed his bill and asked for the brooch, the pawnbroker quickly went forward for the article, and, after taking into consideration his customer's evident hurry, he set a price of five dollars on it. Estelle would have got it for half that sum, but Moss paid the price without a murmur, and then sped on down the Lane, leaving the Hebrew well pleased with the transaction and fully convinced that his customer was a thief.

Estelle was not at home, to Moss' keen disappointment, and, though he took it that she was at the laundry, he woke his father to make sure. Old Benjy, as torpid as a woodchuck in January, was not easily roused; but Moss' repeated shouts and by no means gentle thumps finally brought him to his elbow, blinking dazedly.

"Daddy, Miss Pen's alive! She's at the hotel, and she's foun' us out, and gwine to teck us all back to Hahpeh Hall!"

Old Benjy continued to blink silently, and was evidently of the opinion that he had been dreaming. But when Moss had repeated the news twice or thrice, and the facts had finally filtered through Benjy's thick skull, he let out a yelp that would have shamed a coyote.

"Halleluyer! Halleluyer! Glory to Gawd! Bress de Lam'! Bress de Lam'!"

Moss, after confirming his supposition as to Estelle's whereabouts, did not wait for the broadside of questions which his father was sure to fire at him, but ran out to the stoop. Should he wait for her? Should he pin the brooch on her night-dress, and then, when she discovered it, overwhelm her with the good news? That would be fine, but it was far too severe a tax upon his patience. The next moment he was on the wing again.

No negroes were allowed to enter the laundry by the front door, or, indeed, by any door, unless employed about the place. But Moss stole in through the engine-room at the rear, and managed to make his way as far as the ironing-machines without challenge. Estelle was nowhere in sight, however; and, raising his voice above the clatter, he inquired as to where she was of a mulatto girl whom he had often seen with his wife.

"She done gone to git some medicine fur a haidache," answered the girl.

"How long 'go?"

"Juss li'l' while—not ten minutes."

At this, a wrinkled old negress, who had bent her head forward to catch the colloquy, showed her half-dozen yellow teeth in an evil grin.

"Sonny," she volunteered maliciously, "she been gone two hou's by the clock. The medicine that gull gwine arfter don' come fum no drug-sto'."

Moss had no time for further parley, for the threatening voice of the foreman warned him to depart without loss of time, and he glided swiftly out again; but in the starlight outside he paused, with the mist from the exhaust-pipe drifting into his upturned face.

Some of the joy had gone out of his eyes. Did the old woman mean that Estelle drank? Once or twice, recently, he thought he had detected liquor on her breath, but he had immediately dismissed the suspicion. Drinking, of course, was no heinous offense in his eyes; he daily saw too many white women drinking to hold such an opinion as that. Nevertheless, he himself had forgone liquor for years—old Benjy had preached him many a temperance sermon; and Estelle had allowed him to believe that she, too, never drank.

But now that the accursed maggot of doubt was in his brain, he could not cast it out, and its foul progeny multiplied thick and fast. With feverish haste he made the round of all the drug-stores in the vicinity; but Estelle was not to be seen. Twice he returned to the cabin; but the measured snoring of old Benjy, who had swallowed the good news as a child would a sugar-plum, and then calmly fallen asleep again, was the only sound that greeted his ears.

How quiet the cabin was! A chill solitude already seemed brooding over it, and the familiar objects of the room had taken on a strange appearance. With an unnamed, unnamable fear compressing his heart and making breathing difficult, he took his way back to the head of the Lane. After standing there a moment, straining his eyes in either direction, he began to wander slowly and a little wearily up and down the avenue, scrutinizing every woman who came within his range of vision.



He finally found himself, by mere chance, in front of his landlord's saloon. A passing thought brought his leaden feet to a stand-still. If Estelle should have gone out for a drink, and had had no money,—as he believed to be the case,—would she not have come to Fitzpatrick's? It would have been the last place to which he would have gone to ask credit for a drink, for, in the first place, no negroes were allowed to drink at Fitzpatrick's bar; in the second place, Fitzpatrick was no friend of his. Yet Estelle had gone there once with the rent! Maybe she had gone more than once; maybe——

A sound in the gloomy hallway along one side of the saloon suddenly made his steady-going heart give one great bound. It was Estelle's voice in silly, tipsy laughter, followed by a profane admonition, in a masculine voice, to keep still. Next came the cautious closing of a door and guarded footsteps. As rigid as iron, with his great fists clenched and his nostrils spread like an angry bull's, Moss waited for the pair to appear. But, instead of coming nearer, their footsteps receded until he heard them ascending the stairs at the other end of the hall; then they ceased.

One—two—three—four—five minutes Moss stood there, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, a film over his eyes, a noise like rushing waters in his ears. His sensations were very similar to those he had felt when a careless carpenter had once dropped an oak two-by-four on his head from the second story of a building; and now, as then, he automatically raised his hand to his scalp.

But at last he came out of the curious obsession; [520] he saw the twinkling arc-lights, heard the humming of the trolley-cars, and was conscious of people passing to and fro. With a strange smile, he took the packet containing the brooch from his pocket, slowly unwrapped it, and dropped the trinket to the sidewalk, after which he ground it under his heel. Then he crossed the street to a negro saloon—that is, a saloon for negroes, run by a white man. He poured himself a big drink. The villainous liquor trickled pleasantly through his interior, and he immediately ordered a second drink—then a third—then a fourth. This time the bartender, after an uneasy glance at the herculean shoulders and muddy eyes of his patron, substituted a weaker mixture for the fiery stuff he had been setting out. He also shifted a revolver beneath the bar into a slightly handier position.

But Moss walked quietly out and recrossed the street, with no hint of unsteadiness in his gait, in spite of his unusual potations. He softly entered Fitzpatrick's hallway, and in the dark recess behind the stairs he took his stand—a silent, grim, fearsome statue of obsidian hue and almost heroic size.

He waited for what seemed hours; but, queerly enough, he was not impatient, nor was he in the least excited. Occasionally a policeman sauntered past the entrance; at intervals a trolley-car thundered by; the bartender of the saloon slammed and locked the back door. Finally, a tower clock began to boom out the hour, and Moss, in the absence of anything else to do, counted the strokes.

Only twelve! He would have guessed that it was at least two o'clock. Then, having counted to twelve without much effort, he began to count his fingers over and over, to see how far he could go. At thirty-nine, being a little uncertain of the next number, he paused. During the pause he heard the swish of a skirt in the hall above. They were coming!

A woman's agonized shriek, a man's curse, a chance shot into the dark from his ever-ready revolver, a scuffle,—a very brief scuffle,—and then all was as still as before. Estelle had told her last lie; Fitzpatrick had dispensed his last drink.

Moss walked forward to the doorway, waited quietly until an officer who had heard the report of the revolver came running up, and then surrendered himself.

"I done kill 'em," he explained laconically.

Ten minutes later, in heavy manacles, he stepped down from the police ambulance at the entrance to the jail—a huge brick building, covering an entire block, with its barred windows rising story on story, a somber architectural jest at Civilization.

Some two months later, the governor of Kentucky was standing with his hands in his pockets at the window of his office, in the quaint capitol building at Frankfort, and gazing idly at the tablet in the sidewalk which marks the spot where William Goebel fell, the victim of an assassin's ball. He turned, at the rustle of a lady's skirts.

"Why, Pen! What angel sent you?" he exclaimed, pushing forward his easiest chair. "Pen, do you know you're just in time to save the gov'neh of Kentucky from a spell of the blues? It's a fact. I read a book last night, by a man named Buckle, about civilization and that sawt of thing, and the pesky thoughts stick to me like a nightmare. I was standin' by that window theh, just reviewin' the events which have taken place in our deah old State in the past quarter of a century, and I was askin' myself which way we were headed—up or down."

"Up, surely," answered Mrs. Harper. She looked at him with that candor and seriousness which is permitted only between old friends, and then continued: "Wilbur, I have a problem, too, and I want you to help me solve it. I want you to pardon a negro who was convicted last June in Louisville of a double murder, and who is now here in the penitentiary. He is the son of that Benjy of ours that ran off during the War, and the grandson of our old Moss. You remember them both. I never knew either of them to be guilty of a vicious act, and this boy—he's only twenty-five—killed his wife and the white man who had debauched her."

The governor sat playing with his pen-knife for some time after she had finished her story.

"I wish this Moss of yours had killed only the man, Pen," he observed. "That's what a white man would have done, and everybody would have applauded. But, then, a niggeh ain't a white man—never will be a white man. Pen, being gov'neh is a terribly responsible job. Now, you, for instance, ask me, one man, to set aside the findings of twelve men appointed by the people to determine this niggeh's guilt. Yet the pahdoning power was certainly given me for a purpose, and I intend to use it when I see fit. I'll take your word for it, Pen, that Moss is a good niggeh; I'll look into his case, and if you are not mistaken as to the facts, and will take him out to the Hall and keep him theh, I'll pahdon him. But I can't do it right away. In the [521] fust place, a little punishment will do him good. In the second place, theh's politics. Politics, Pen! To pahdon that niggeh now, my dear Pen, while the events are still so fresh, would make an awful row. The press would froth at the mouth. But in a year, mind you, or eighteen months at the most, I'll turn him loose."

"Oh, Wilbur, a year is such a long time!" exclaimed Mrs. Harper plaintively.

"Is it, Pen,—to you—at fifty-five?" he asked whimsically.

"Alas, no, not to me! I'm not in a cell. But I understand your position, Wilbur, and I'll submit to the inevitable. It is so much better than it might have been, and I am very, very grateful. But can I not intimate the good news to him, just to keep up his courage?"

"If you do it very diplomatically, Pen, and do not mention me."

Then, after she had left, he sat chuckling in his chair at the idea of asking a woman to be diplomatic under such circumstances.

The warden, after reading the Governor's note, turned to a guard. "Put a coat on 1610 and bring him to the reception-room."

"If you please," interposed Mrs. Harper, "I should like to see him just as he is, at his work."

She followed her conductor through the stifling prison-yard, cut off by the encircling hills from every current of air. On the hill-side, where the convicts were breaking stone, it seemed even hotter, the oven-like breath of the dog-day sun rebounding into one's face in almost palpable pulsations. Moss was one of a gang of fifty. He was naked to the waist, and his broad, sweaty back glistened in the sunlight like the skin of a porpoise; yet, in spite of the heat, his sledge rose and fell with the regularity of machinery.

"Has he given you any trouble?" asked Mrs. Harper of the guard.

"No'm. He ain't that kind. He's the kind that gits gloomy and either dies or goes nutty. But after a year or two we'll probably make a trusty of him, and then he'll be happier. Murderers generally make the best trusties."

When Mrs. Harper, after going forward a few steps alone, with a quickened pulse, spoke his name, Moss' sledge hung in mid-air, and he hearkened without looking up, as if doubting his ears. It was not until she repeated his name that he turned toward her. His face was neither bitter nor vindictive, but dull, oh, unutterably dull, as if he had said farewell forever to hope. He did not speak—to speak was against the rules. He did not even smile, but simply touched the brim of his wool hat.

Mrs. Harper, with a catch in her breath, stepped still nearer.

"Moss, I remain your friend," she began tremulously. "Benjy is with us, and we are taking the best care of him. And, listen, Moss! This is what I came to tell you. I am authorized to say, positively, by a power that is supreme, that, if your behavior is good, your detention here will not be more than eighteen months, and I hope only twelve. You can stand the work that long, can't you, knowing that we are waiting for you, ready to give you a home?"

Still his expression did not change, and still he did not speak.

"Don't you—don't you understand, Moss?" she asked, with quivering lips, fearful that his mind had already been shocked.

His slow words then came:

"Yassum, I kin stan' it. I could stan' it foreveh. But she's daid," he cried hoarsely. "I kill her—I choke her—with that han'!" thrusting out the member. "The same han' she used to put her li'l' han's roun' and hole so tight—same han' I used to pat her cheek with—same han'—" A shudder passed over his huge form until his teeth chattered.

"Oh, I know it's hard!" exclaimed the tender woman, suffering only less than he. "You have sinned, and you must do penance. But we've all sinned, and all done penance, and yet happiness comes again. Believe me, Moss, some day you'll be happy again. Be brave, and one month from to-day I'll be here to see you again. Meanwhile, can I do anything for you—take any word to Benjy?"

His lusterless eyes seemed to brighten a little.

"Mis' Pen, will you sot up a li'l' tombstone on her grave? Juss a li'l' one, so I kin fine it some day, when I gits out?"

And Penelope, with blinding eyes, promised.



A striking reversal of attitude may be noticed to-day toward innovations in the field of art. Time was, we are told by the biographers of the Old Masters, when the painter who dared to step beyond the pale of conventions current in his day, suffered the neglect and bitter scorn of his contemporaries. From the earliest period of artistic endeavor, the innovator has been on the defensive; whereas the cardinal sin in the modern artist is rather the failure to innovate or to startle us by some new form of disregard for the principles established by tradition. In the place of knowledge and patient scholarship, we find sophistication and a restless, conscious craving to produce an effect sufficiently startling to command the instant attention of a busy world. In the art of landscape painting particularly this desire to be effective at any cost has led many of the younger generation of artists to adopt for themselves hastily formed theories regarding the phenomena of light and air and to devote their lives to these, forgetting all else.

The result of all this is a modern school of landscape, the aims of which seem strangely more allied to scientific investigation than to artistic study, and a class of pictures which expound, frequently with great skill, the theories upon which they are accomplished; but which are rarely intelligible to any one not directly concerned with the study of art.

So it is with some sense of relief that we may turn our attention upon the achievements of an artist like Thomas R. Manley, whose drawings are reproduced here, not that they may be the subject of a written discourse, but that of themselves they may give pleasure to a wider public than it has hitherto been their fortune to command. They are the product of a quiet and orderly development carried on outside the clamor of the modern movement, simple masterpieces of landscape drawing as it has been practised since the days of Claude Lorrain. They present no "theory" upon which we may base a philosophical discussion, and there is nothing "new" about them at all beyond a simple technical invention of the artist's, whereby his line is rendered more soft and pliable than by the ordinary mediums of crayon or pencil.

What they do possess, however, and to a high degree, is the evidence of a mastery of the technique of design plus a finely trained intelligence and feeling. This technical mastery of design is perhaps the rarest of accomplishments at the present day, because it is the most difficult to acquire and makes too great a demand upon patience. And yet it is this which should and does satisfy most directly the unconscious esthetic sense in us all; for who cannot experience some inward pleasure in the form and movement of the hills and trees as they are expressed to us in these drawings? It is not essential to our enjoyment of these things that we should ourselves have knowledge of the technical means whereby they are conveyed; but it is these studied accomplishments which we are enjoying nevertheless; because through them our own sense of harmony is aroused. Let us note, for instance, the character of the lines used to represent the foliage in the first drawing reproduced, and see with what beautiful, rhythmic precision they produce at one and the same time the required tone and the movement of the thing represented. And again, in the trunks of the trees how fully the firm lines record the upward growth and the vicissitudes of weather suffered in their struggles to attain the majestic heights to which they rise. This method of drawing, in which light and shade is produced by lines which at the same time follow the form and movement of the objects represented, is perhaps the oldest and most conventional; but in the hands of a master like Mr. Manley it is more fully expressive and beautiful in its results than any other.

If to dwell upon points as technical as this seems a contradiction to the statement already made, to the effect that these reproductions are presented for what pleasure they may give the layman, it should be said that it is for the reason that such technicalities as are pointed out may well be within the understanding of all intelligent persons and that their elucidation may assist greatly toward a fuller appreciation of the more intellectual merits. And if we fail to consider sufficiently here those more poetic qualities and to attempt some description of the meanings and sensations conveyed to us by the pictures themselves, it will be because it seems that these are matters best left to the individual observer.


This is what might be called the "literary" side of pictures, and one upon which art criticism has come too largely to dwell. If, on the other hand, the discussion of pictures were content to confine itself to the pointing out of what constitutes the "art" of the work, might we not derive each for himself a more intimate pleasure in undisturbed enjoyment of those intellectual conceptions, which, though produced by the same picture, are, in no two of us, precisely alike?

There are represented in the four drawings here selected (from a collection so interesting that any selection at all was difficult) several phases of the artist's ability, each so well demonstrated that it is scarcely possible to choose between them. This versatility of mood is a noteworthy evidence in itself of the well grounded mastery of the artist and of his ability to deal with nature at all points. It is, in other words, no mere trick or specialty which he has learned as one might pick out note for note and learn by heart a tune upon the piano; but the work of a hand and eye and mind turned in perfect accord, like a single instrument capable of an infinite range of expression.

In the first of the drawings, that of the piece of woodland through which a path winds off to where it is lost to view among the trees, carrying our imagination with it to the contemplation of scenes still farther on, we find virtues of a more uncommon type than in the others. The large nobility—the monumental quality—is an aspect of nature wholly out of fashion in our day. The firm bed of earth we can feel under our feet with a sense that it is good to stand upon, and the fine pattern of trees and clouds swayed in common movement stirs one with that martial sense of activity, that vitality of impulse which recalls the memory of some high-winded, keen-aired autumn day. We have considered already the spirited and skilful drawing of the trees in this picture; but it is difficult to turn from it without again noting some of those qualities of line which are particularly well displayed in these parts of the composition. To render those long, bare, sinuous stems, growing upward with their roots unmistakably planted in the ground and not so that they have the appearance of hanging down from the clouds, is a feat of no small difficulty, to judge from the frequent instances one meets with of failure in this regard. This well established feeling of the growth from the ground upward of the trunks of the trees and the springing from the branches outward of the foliage, this complete and harmonious development of the whole structure from the seed, as it were, is the product of an exhaustive study, in all of its stages, of the life and characteristics of the tree itself.

We are confronted in the second drawing with a striking contrast to the first, in that the merits of vigorous and harmoniously balanced line and form are supplanted by the more tender effects of atmosphere, and the vigorous stroke becomes gentle in its handling of the delicate trees worn by the winds and but half seen through the uncertain twilight. Here, perhaps, the man is more in evidence than the draftsman, and the sensitive and sympathetic spirit of the artist seems abstracted for a time from the more tangible qualities which are the chief glory of the former work. But like the first drawing it possesses a carefully built up unity of sentiment and notes no point in the scene not concerned with the impression of loneliness and neglect it seems intended to convey.

The third and fourth drawings are more remarkable for skilled and accomplished draftsmanship than for the expression of any distinctive feature in the varying moods of nature. Our delight in them comes more from the beautiful precision of aim whereby a single stroke is made to record a number of interesting facts at the same time. In the drawing of the barn and shed over-topped by a rugged tree and with a middle ground filled by lively detail, we are reminded of the great masters of etching in the clever abbreviation of each of those details and the manner in which they are grouped or merged one into the other. And then, in the last one, note the contour of the earth, how well it is rendered by that cleverly foreshortened winding line of half obliterated roadway leading up the hill and into the fresh mass of foliage which crowns it. This ability to draw the solid ground so that it appears solid is a rare gift in any draftsman, and it may well be taken as an evidence of the fullness of his talent and training.

Like Constable, Mr. Manley has been content to draw his inspiration from the small section of the world in which circumstances have placed him, the quiet New Jersey country where Inness worked out for himself the distinguished place his name holds among American landscape painters. These drawings by no means represent the full range of Mr. Manley's activities, for he has won high esteem as a painter and an etcher and holds a position of importance as a miniaturist; but they are, perhaps, the things in which his rarest talents are displayed, as they are also the closest to his own pleasure in his art. They are the pastimes of an uncommonly sincere and scholarly master who shows integrity in play as well as in work, and who has carried on his career with an earnestness and a humility and modesty of character which all but deprived us of any sight of his achievements at all.



One elating, blue and white April morning saw a cheerful company of six assembling in a railroad-station waiting-room. There were the manager of the tour, Duprez—gray-haired in comparative youth, at once care-worn and accommodating looking—the foreign stamp on him not entirely obliterated by the stamp of the country; and his wife, the popular Pearl Wharton-Duprez, whose habit of facing the world as an audience must have found its way into her features; she was recognizable at sight for a singer. Her brilliant face, while not precluding the possibility of a heart, suggested less remotely a temper.

There was one Milen Odiesky, gripping a black violin-box; who listened to a hilarious conversation he but half understood, with a fixed smile, revealing a marked division between his two broad, white front teeth,—disagreeable, for some reason, though he might pass for handsome in a dark, hairy, Oriental way.

Then there was one who at first glance looked in the group as if he must be an aquaintance come to see them off. He was tall and proportionately broad, with stalwart shoulders, a deep chest, and a big neck; superlatively well groomed and dressed. The gloss of his silk hat was not broken by the wilfulness of one hair. He carried himself a trifle more than erect, and swept his limited horizon with a calm, kingly eye. His face was close-shaven, a smooth coppery rose, shading easily into the color of his close-cropped hair. His features were of the rather thick, round, good-natured type, and time was beginning to divide up his face into heavier masses than occur in the forties; but these facts did not prevent his presence on the whole from impressing an observer with the sense that he looked at something really very fine. This was Bronson, whose name on the program would occupy the most room: the great Bronson, Anthony, the tenor of long sustained fame—sustained, indeed, so long that these appearances in parts that knew him only by that fame had now been projected.

Then there was a little plump woman, the one who kept the others laughing; and she carried, besides what one is accustomed to see on the arms of travelers, all the things she had forgotten to put into her trunk; among which were an alarm-clock, a sponge-bag, a pink flannel dressing-sacque, and a little image of the Virgin. She bubbled on, in a voice as impossible to forget or mistake for another's as her face; which face, however, was not pretty, but so faithfully reflected a nature as to be memorable for its want of all malice, concealment, or suspicion. It was not that her features were child-like which accounted for her face bringing to mind a child's, but that it shared some quality inclining one on shortest acquaintance, without fear of rebuff, to treat its winsome, unsevere, uncritical owner familiarly and affectionately. She was not pretty, but certainly her dark-edged, misty, pale blue eyes, with their capacity in the same measure for humor and sentiment, under eyebrows sympathetically working with her thoughts, and lids stained a tender bistre, had an attaching sweetness; and the clear spaces of her face, the forehead and temples, something cool and rare, like the stamp of talent; while just beside her ear, where a faint lock of silken black hung an inch or so down a soft, sallow cheek, was a spot creating an instant desire to kiss it. This was Miss Nevers, the pianiste; Nevers, they briefly called her in speaking of her, pronouncing the name like an English one; Marie-Aimée they called her in speaking to her, all excepting Odiesky, who did not yet know her well enough; except, too, the sixth member of the party, who could never take it into his head to do so. The latter was a homely, thin man, neither young nor old, of the name of Snell, who was engaged to play common accompaniments, and tune the pianos. He stood near the others, but only ventured a smile where they laughed.

Yet he with the rest, as they trooped to the train, was conscious of a lift to his spirits. The tour was a turning the back upon the old and known. It had the charm of beginnings; it [529] opened to life, with this new combination, new possibilities. Hard work and wearing travel were a certainty in the prospect, but it showed nevertheless like a holiday, enlivened by daily change of scene, faces, food.

Beside these general justifications of a reasonable elation on starting, there was excuse for the festive jollity which made people turn to look after our friends as they progressed down the platform—the stately Bronson now carrying a bulging rubber sponge-bag, impossible to conceal—in the brilliant artistic auspices under which these musical peregrinations were undertaken, and the discovery, now that the artists were come together en troupe, that they severally brought elements promising uncommon liveliness and fun.

About five years had passed since the laurel-laden return of the Duprez Concert Company, when Marie-Aimée one morning, rather earlier than it is customary to make a call, rang the door-bell of a certain large impressive house.

Whether the explanations were hurry in dressing or absence of mind, she looked, on this occasion, somewhat as if her clothes, as the saying is, had been thrown at her. The velvet of her little bonnet needed brushing; and her little gloves, alas, mending. She wore no veil, and wisps of her hair had been blown on end. But this effect of disorder culminated in her face itself, where the colors were out of their places; her cheeks being pale, her poor small nose and her eyelids red. She had grown stouter since our last sight of her, and on this day was carrying herself so without pride or heed as to look fairly round-shouldered.

As she stood waiting, she must have forgotten that she was in a public street, or else felt bad beyond caring; two or three times she openly mopped her eyes. When, however, she faced the tall butler who opened the door, she appeared to have nothing worse the matter with her than a bad head-cold. She asked if Miss Cheriton were in, gave her card, and was shown into a vast hushed drawing-room. There, as soon as she had been left alone, she looked at herself in the mirror; after which she chose a seat with its back to the windows. She had occupied this but a moment, when, lest the thoughts stealing back upon her should drive her again to tears, she crossed over to the grand-piano glimmering in the half-light with liquid reflections of gilt moldings, brocade, and palms. She lifted the lid to peer at the name of the maker, and tried its tone with a scarce audible chord. Then she took up piece after piece of the music in the rack, questioning it as to Miss Cheriton's title to her high reputation as an amateur pianist.

On hearing a rustle, she hurriedly laid down the music, and got up, her heart rushing. Miss Cheriton had shaken hands, with expressions of pleasure in making her aquaintance, had offered her a seat, and taken one, before Marie-Aimée had been able to do more than clear her throat.

Miss Cheriton had allotted her a seat well in the lights; her curiosity about this caller could do no less; wherefore Marie-Aimée's reddened eyes at first refused a square encounter. But shortly, while Miss Cheriton was forcing a dullish conversation, Marie-Aimée forgot herself, and looked Miss Cheriton in the face; full as interested as she in the looks of the other at close range.

Marie-Aimée saw a well-grown young woman of eight or nine and twenty; faultlessly dressed in a fawn colored cloth matching her perfectly arranged abundant hair. Her face was entirely fine, if a little cold. She gave an impression of great self-poise; she could be imagined to have always thought and decided for herself, and had the fortune to see everything go as she wished, which no doubt she laid to the firm and just management she looked so capable of exercising. She had a beautiful calm complexion and calm dark-blue eyes, which weighed you thoughtfully, and would with difficulty, you fancied, alter their conclusions about you. But at least, Marie-Aimée felt with relief and hope, they were windows into a mind where there was room to breathe.

She began abruptly, in a suggestive pause occurring in Miss Cheriton's small talk, "You must be wondering what brought me."

The expression of Miss Cheriton's face, her only answer to this, signified that though she hoped she had not seemed to be wondering rudely, she would in effect be pleased to know.

Marie-Aimée picked at her glove. "It is this. I was told that I had been making mischief. And I came, wishing if possible to remedy it."

Miss Cheriton's eyebrows moved upward just enough to start a ripple in the beautiful smoothness of her forehead, and she waited, her eyes inquiring of Miss Nevers' troubled face; in their depths had flashed a prevision of what might be coming.

"I know I talk a dreadful lot," Marie-Aimée burst forth in disgust, "I tell everything I know. I can't keep to myself even stories that are against myself. Whatever is on my heart, I say it. I have been making a dreadful fool of myself—which is bad enough, but I feel worse about having given annoyance to others.... Mr. Bronson came to see me yesterday evening."


She paused, as after a piece of news. Miss Cheriton waited in silence, her face expressing nothing beyond polite attention.

"And he said that my doing as I have been doing made a lot of gossip, which inevitably reached you, and was calculated to give you a mistaken impression of our relations in the past——" Marie-Aimée's voice stuck.

After a moment, "Please, please, don't be distressed," murmured Miss Cheriton; and as if her uneasiness at the sight of tears had made her restless, left her seat, and went to stand beside the mantle-piece, leaning on it with one elbow, ornaments at choice within reach, to pick up and play with.

Marie-Aimée laughed through a sob. "You see? Was there ever such a fool? And this is the way I have been ever since I heard of his engagement. But I want you to understand, Miss Cheriton, that that's just me. How can he help it, unhappy man, if I am made this way? I have cried like a pump. I have cried upon the shoulder of every one who would stand it. But I had no right, no possible right, to lament in the highways like that. It was only—when my heart was full, I let it run over. But I never in the least meant it as a reproach to anyone,—any more, put it this way, than a sunflower going draggled and crazy at sunset. But he told me last night I made him ridiculous. Oh, he was gentle. For all that, the things he said troubled me horribly; and I made up my mind, after he had left, to come directly to you and explain, so that if reports have vexed you, you should not mind them after this."

Miss Cheriton said quietly, not looking at Marie-Aimée, but at an ivory Chinaman she held: "It is not necessary, Miss Nevers. I did indeed hear something, but I did not give it much thought."

Upon which Marie-Aimée, as if these words had contained all the encouragement necessary, proceeded eagerly, "We never, never were engaged. You will believe me, whatever you may hear. We merely have been friends for years. I had known him slightly a long time already, when we went on a tour together, with Madame Wharton-Duprez. It was then we became such chums.... Mercy on me, that tour! Shall I ever forget it? Will any of us?" She smiled, with a sudden drenched reflection of sunshine on her tear-bedabbled face.

"I know!" Miss Cheriton smiled too. "Mr. Bronson has spoken of it to me."

"Has he?" asked Marie-Aimée, brightening still further, rainbow-like, and immediately at greater ease with Miss Cheriton, from a responsiveness she felt in her smile when the ever fertile subject of the tour was broached, dear in its time to Anthony Bronson's heart. "That's good. For it will in part explain.... Don't you agree with me that laughing together makes a stronger bond than even weeping? Well, on that tour, what we did best and chiefly, was to laugh. Did he ever tell you——" She dropped her voice like a person having something good to relate, and fun played over her face in ripples, "the adventure of the water-melon? Yes, of course! I suppose he has told you everything. And the adventure of the face-wash and the curling-irons? And the night of the great thunderstorm? Oh, make him tell you that one. It is incredible, the number of things, and the description of things, that happened to us in those six months. It was as if we had been a sort of lightening-rod attracting all the incongruous, ludicrous, delicious happenings that should have been distributed over the country. Or else, it is that we were in a disposition of mind to find everything funny. Of course, it may have been that. But still—imagine our arriving once at a little place where we had never been heard of. There is a mistake. And no one expects us. And there is no hotel. And it ends in our being obliged to sleep in the empty jail, we women, a dovecote of a jail, with just two wee cells; oh, slumbers of sweetness and safety, after our many nights in strange hostelries. No need for once to look under the bed for burglars; and the men in a barn. Odiesky didn't get the hayseed out of his hair that season. And imagine—imagine having along with you a man who has a nightmare every time he drops off to sleep. A poor Mr. Snell who went with us was like that, and we used to run into one another in the lobbies, in curl-papers, at dead of night, flying to knock him up, he made such awful, such blood-curdling sounds, which could be heard all over the hotel. It is unkind to laugh at an infirmity, but the sounds he made, could you have heard them, would excuse me to you. And imagine—but try to—imagine the six of us, six people who feel themselves not a little famous, going fourteen miles in a single-seated wagon, that, or miss our connection, and complications without end. I don't believe I stopped laughing the whole way. You see it? We two, the grace and beauty of the party, enthroned upon the laps of ces messieurs—no other way, no other way possible, none. Wharton-Duprez in the arms of her own husband; and Odiesky astride the horse, postilion, having to drive; and poor little Snell on the floor with his knees over the dash-board; and the danger at any moment of the wagon breaking down——" She pieced out that fourteen-mile long ecstasy of merriment with more of a singularly rich, unaffected laugh, in the midst of which her face fell blankly serious, [531] and she held up, as if she had never seen it before, the hand which in the heat of her description she had been waving.

"Will you look at my glove?" she said; promptly closing which parenthesis she continued, "As I was saying, it may have been that circumstances really justified us, or our mood, which was exceptional. For myself, I never enjoyed myself so much. Oh, I was impressionable then, and ready to be pleased. Every day a new place, every night a new triumph. It was Mr. Bronson's triumph, but his glory fell upon us all. We lived in an atmosphere of success; and people were so nice to us, we were entertained everywhere like king and court. It was then, you see, when we were together from morning until night, we grew to know each other so well. And, you know him, you know how kind he would be to a little person traveling as I was doing; kind does not express it, and thoughtful and considerate. And you know the charming companion that he is, even-tempered, easy-going, good fellow. And in traveling like that you know the thousand little services a man can render you, and, among artists, the good turns. He, you will have discovered, has not a touch of that queer jealousy so common among artists.

"But there was even more than all that. Before the end of our engagement, Wharton-Duprez had taken the most cattish dislike to me; I have never known why. And everything that woman could do to make things uncomfortable for me she took pains to do, even, will you believe it, contriving that my luggage should be left behind, and I forced to appear on the stage in the filthiest little coal-begrimed traveling-suit—at the fag end of the season, you understand. Ferdinand, her husband, did not dare to say a word. It would have been past endurance for me then, had it not been for Mr. Bronson's invariably showing himself my friend, and keeping her within limits. I had reason to be grateful to him, you see. I should have had to be a monster not to become devoted to him. You can put yourself in my place, can't you? And then, add to everything else his singing. Never, never, never, to me, has there been anything like it."

Miss Cheriton bowed her head, slowly, in agreement.

"If with all your heart ye truly seek me," murmured Marie-Aimée, looking as if she listened to a voice singing in her memory.

"In manly worth and honor clad," murmured the other, likewise.

"It opens a door, doesn't it," Marie-Aimée spoke low, as if they had entered a church, "into a world where it is all beautiful, calm, eternal— the only world—where whoever breathes its air must worship and must love; just his mere voice, when it is what I call his ballad-voice, doesn't it contain all romance? Moonlight, boats on lonely seas, lattices with roses; and when it is his anthem-voice, it contains, doesn't it, all aspiration, cathedrals, matin-bells, archangel's choirs——"

Again Miss Cheriton nodded dreamily; then, raising her eyes, which in listening she had dropped, forgot the one of whom they were speaking for interest in the face of the speaker, who looked ahead with eyes which clearly did not see what was before them, but the cloudy white pillars, one might have surmised, and dim glimmering splendors of some temple of Music and Love.

Marie-Aimée swept her hand across her forehead. "And I," she continued, raising her voice in a tone of plaintive exculpation, "I was born mad for music! A voice has power over me like a spell. And I am flesh and blood! And so——" she ended feebly, "do you wonder?"

Silence, while Marie-Aimée turned her face wholly from the light. But even while she made application of her little damp pocket-handkerchief, a stealing sense warmed her in all her woe that she had somehow made a friend of Miss Cheriton. The exemplary piece of tranquility there felt drawn to her; something communicated this unimaginable fact directly to her heart; and it melted her, as the hint of kindness always did, and inclined her now verily to make no more circumstances about it, but show her whole heart in abandoned frankness, repeating just once more the fault she was here to confess. But simultaneously with gratitude for that liking, rose in Marie-Aimée the need to repay it greatly; whence a caution to herself to proceed more than ever guardedly with the truth.

"And after we were come back," she took up again, "we naturally continued seeing a great deal of each other. I won't say we would not have done so from choice, but it was inevitable, too. Our profession threw us together, concerts, rehearsals; he used, besides, to bring every bit of new music to learn at my house, with me to play it over for him. And so on, for years; and to me, I tell it frankly, that light-hearted, unconventional comradeship of ours gave its principal charm to life. In the last year I have seen less of him, and latterly very much less. He was not singing much, he was under treatment for his throat, and often out of town by his doctor's directions. I missed him, but I am busy from morning until night, the week round, work and a thousand things. I thought [532] nothing of it. Do old friends need to see each other constantly to be assured nothing is changed? Then I hear of his engagement to you. I am thunderstruck! For never, never, never, had I dreamed of such a possibility. You see my folly? He was not bound to me by any promise, or by what you would call a moral obligation. There never had been any question of our marrying, not even at the beginning when we first got home, not even in my own mind—" Native honesty and poor human nature would not permit but that she should add, though in a tone that made little of it—" any definite, immediate, formulated idea of it. My poor sweet mother was living then, a sufficient reason against it. And when she was no longer there, all had got into a groove, and remained as it had been. And it seemed natural. I have nothing but what I earn. He was having bothers about money. He put all his in a mine, you know. We called ourselves poor working-people. But still! There it is! That's where you discover my bird's brain. That's me! The way I am! I flatly refused to believe it, and when I saw him again, I did not even ask. But I daresay I looked as he had never seen me look. Then he himself told me of it, as one tells such a thing to an old friend. And the past stood suddenly in a new light; and I saw clearly, in a flash, that just this and nothing else was to have been expected. And I knew that it was altogether the most fortunate thing that could happen to him; and, after the first, I acquiesced.

"Only, I followed my nature in making the outcry of one who has received a wound and is bleeding dreadfully. I have no dignity, Miss Cheriton. Discretion and I have never so much as been acquainted. I go around with my heart in my face, I forget my face, you see, in thinking of what has befallen me. And I run into some sympathetic woman who is fond of me, and she cries out 'Marie-Aimée, my poor child, what is the matter with you?' and I bend feebly upon her shoulder, and tell. And then I suppose she goes off and tells too. Hence, you see, the ground of Mr. Bronson's remonstrances with me yesterday evening. And in consequence of them I am here. I didn't know what else to do, Miss Cheriton. I hope it was best. And you do see, don't you? I have made the whole thing plain? I have made it all right? You know how he is, and now you have seen how I am, the inference will be simple! And I beg both your pardons. Oh, he is right, he is quite right, to feel put out with me, but not—" she forced a little watery smile, as she rose to take her leave—"not because it has ever seemed so terribly to a great singer's discredit that, when the whole world goes after him, among them should be a silly woman who does not manage to conceal her grande passion. It only makes him like Mario and others; you must not let it trouble you, Miss Cheriton. You must think of me in a thought of the same strain you bestow upon the thousands of photographs of him that have been sold in the course of his career, and are cherished and given places of honor in young ladies' rooms; and the sentimental follies school girls have committed in the way of sending him flowers and notes. Let these tributes to him merely increase your pride of possession. He is free from all blame, all, that is what I have wished you to feel assured of, or all—" she put out her hand in farewell—"except just a little, little bit. You don't mind? A little bit he certainly was to blame, though I suppose it can be laid to the account of his modesty, in not taking it home to himself that he could not be so nice, so consistently, persistently dear and nice to a person, without her falling to stupidly adoring him."

She stopped, and stood, vaguely shaking her head, prolonging her faint, watery, bitter-sweet smile; and would have withdrawn her hand, but Miss Cheriton retained it, by a firmer pressure, in the warm, kind clasp of hers. Marie-Aimée lifted her eyes, touched and full of thanks, to the fine calm eyes above her; and in their unclouded light read Anthony Bronson's unqualified exoneration, and that she herself had been impartially examined, and now stood classed, past appeal, among those soft, sweet, idiotic women who will fall into unwarranted love with any man of whom they see much, and are by their own passion made incapable of discerning the fact that he is not in love with them. The glance was full of honest sympathy for a sorrow so real; but it was not untinged with as much contempt as would be implied in the prayer, "I thank thee, my God, I am not as these women are!" Under which Marie-Aimée humbly bowed her head and waited but for the release of her hand to go. But Miss Cheriton, whom stiffness or delicacy kept from saying a word in reference to what she had heard, yet found herself utterly unwilling that her visitor should leave so uncheered. Still holding her hand, she told her, in a voice full of the suggestion of sincerity, the deep pleasure she had always had in hearing her; she amplified, tactfully, understandingly, upon all she had discovered of exquisite in her playing.

Marie-Aimée's face lightened a little; she had never become callous to praise. Miss Cheriton spoke of friends they had in common, from whom she had heard so much of her, of a sort that had long made it one of her most eager [533] wishes to know her. Whereupon Marie-Aimée, as ever responsive, gave herself into Miss Cheriton's hands, to be known. And the two were shortly making acquaintance as they might have done had they been presented to each other at the house of those mutual friends. One could not have dreamed, to hear them, what had gone before. They talked of music mostly, and musicians, wholly forgetful of time. To illustrate some point, Marie-Aimée went to the piano and played a bar or two; after which, as she would have risen, Miss Cheriton entreated against it; and when Marie-Aimée, who never resisted, asked what she should play, suggested a composition of Miss Nevers' own, which the latter had imagined so obscure, she said, as to be almost her only secret. And she found, to her astonishment, that Miss Cheriton, whether moved by genuine musical congeniality, or a vulgarer curiosity, had procured everything ever published of Marie-Aimée's. Afterwards, Miss Cheriton took the place at the piano of Marie-Aimée urgent. Then Marie-Aimée begged leave, and supplanted her, to show how a different sequence of chords would be better; and the woman of talent and the woman of cultivation spent a long hour, delightful to both; in the course of which Miss Cheriton found the quaint enthusiasm for Marie-Aimée felt by her innumerable friends accounted for; and Marie-Aimée came to disdain, as paltry praise, the definition "very fine girl" which one was accustomed to hear joined to the name of Kate Cheriton.

Smiting her brow, aghast, at the recollection of an appointment missed, Marie-Aimée jumped to her feet. By running she might still be in time to apologize. They shook hands again, warmly; and Marie-Aimée said, all her heart in her voice, "I hope you will be very happy."

In the street, Marie-Aimée, as she hurried along, could think of nothing but Miss Cheriton. She would send her as a wedding-gift the French great-grandmother's rococo cross, the choicest bit of jewelry she owned.

Her heart might have been so much dusty, worm-eaten wood; remarking its astonishing lightness and insensibility, she reverted in thought, almost flippantly, to the horrors besetting her when she left home that morning. Surely, if it were possible that with Tony's marriage brought as close as a visit to his intended brought it, she should feel as she felt, she might still hope to put on a good face about it to the world.

In this mood she went about a good part of that day; and talked to some with so much of a return to her old spirit that they disguised their surprise by a greater cheerfulness than really their mystification allowed them to feel. Meeting an old aquaintance who put on the face of a sympathizer to say, "My dear, I did feel for you when I heard of his engagement, you know whose I mean," she looked as if not sure she understood; and the old aquaintance, after a searching look at her, dropped her mournfulness, to proceed, "It seems to be a fine thing for Bronson, this marriage. I hear that Miss Cheriton will be a millionaire. People exaggerate, you think? But she has bought a superb place out of town?"

By the late afternoon, that curious, unseasonable, baseless good cheer was wearing off, like the effects of wine, and the world, through its fading fumes, was returning to look like the world of yesterday. Weariness was overtaking her; but her heart had not recommenced its clamorous aching; it was only a little sick, when she went into a music-store for a score she needed. She was looking this over, with her eyes rather than her mind, when her attention became fixed in memory upon that expression of Miss Cheriton's face from which she had judged her mission successful—Tony cleared. Suddenly, as in the middle of the night she had sometimes known that in a letter sent off there was a word misspelled, she felt that triumph of confidence in Miss Cheriton's eyes not to have been the work of her own explanations. She herself had been fully explained to Miss Cheriton before ever she set foot in her house. How could it have been otherwise?

Marie-Aimée's ghost-seeing eyes became fixed upon nothingness. She sat so a long time, her chin dropped in dolorous absorption; a figure which struck discomfort in the beholder. Another woman buying music bent over the counter and whispered to the clerk, who whispered back, and both stole glances at the unconscious, rigid, dumpy profile, stamped with tragedy, of the well-known pianiste, whose most intimate sorrow had become town-talk.

She went out at last into the hubbub of the streets, which seemed a cruelty of men, under the gorgeous sunset sky, which seemed a cruelty of Heaven's, and, as much as a great heaviness would allow, hurried home and to bed and the dark. It was no use! no use! Though Tony's conduct to her admitted of the face she had put on it to Miss Cheriton, and though the world's jury, upon full evidence, might have acquitted him, he not being the last shade of black, she herself knew, and something of incorruptible justice in the bottom of her heart would not let her blink it, that she had been badly, badly treated. But that was not the most woeful, that she should have been badly treated, or that she must live her days hereafter without him; [534 but that he, Tony, should have been capable of doing this thing to her, to her, who would have shed her blood for him, and he knew it.

In the days following, as she went about her crowded occupations, she did not, as she had allowed herself to do before, seek relief in speaking of what weighed upon her heart. But human strength did not suffice to keep the matter out of her face; her cheek was leaden, her eyes were in a fog.

But it was useless now, her avoiding Anthony Bronson's name. She had spoken too much before. Besides, too many remembered the soft, radiant, enamored face with which she had been used to beam up at him in those earliest days after their return from touring, and down upon which he had benignantly beamed, like a big, gratified idol. Furthermore, this gossip concerning persons so well known had too many of the elements which ensure a thing being repeated till everyone knows. Reports of "scenes" made by Marie-Aimée were still spreading after she had placed the seal upon her lips; and those who got them last did not know that they were old news; and as it was the least interested in her personally who last became au fait of her affairs, some among them took the view that little Nevers was disgracing herself; which sentiment once in the air, certain of Marie-Aimée's closer friends saw the matter more nearly in that light, experienced a reaction from too complete sympathy with her. One heard it said with a touch of impatience, "Some one ought to talk to Marie-Aimée!" Even those who loved her most, this, as it seemed, insistent and protracted harping upon an unfortunate attachment at last came near disgusting. And she did receive scoldings and lectures, of which she abjectly owned the justice; and she tried to keep herself more out of sight. Only so far as the necessity to earn a living made it imperative did she go about. Wherefore some whose invitations she refused said, "Nevers is moping. It is a pity she can't behave like the rest who have to suffer from the fickleness of man!"

A critical, less friendly attitude of the world toward her was beginning at last, through her dismal preoccupation, to penetrate her heart with its novel chill, and make the city where she had always lived seem not like home any more. She looked about, bewildered, for escape. The day of the Bronson-Cheriton wedding, too, was close at hand; but before it had arrived, there descended upon her from a distance a stern older married sister, whom rumors at last had aroused.

No one saw Marie-Aimée after the coming of this sister. To everyone's astonishment, in the busiest time of the season, Marie-Aimée's rooms were empty of her. It was thought that the sister had carried her off to keep her under surveillance: till it became known from Marie-Aimée herself, writing to her old friends, that she was in a convent of the Sacred Heart, hundreds of miles removed, and there proposed to remain until she had become free from the faintest taint of the folly that had made her a scandal and a laughing-stock,—yes, if she remained there until she died. Her time was profitably spent in study, and the giving of piano-lessons to the young girls receiving their education in the holy house. And she enjoyed the inestimable privilege, accorded to her by the Mother Superior, of weeping as much as she pleased.


To that little portion of the busy world-in-general which concerned itself with her, one may be sure it seemed very soon after her disappearance that it began to be said Nevers might be looked for again. Already? Yet, when one had grumbled that love, after all, does not last very long, he made calculations, and these told him that three years and more had slipped past since the tragico-comic retreat of the poor crossed-in-love. Certainly, something may be expected of three years.

She was really coming back? There was excitement. She was coming, no longer any doubt of it; there was glee, there was expanding of the heart. She was come; there was a rush to see her. Affection accounted for much of this; for the rest, curiosity to see the result of her three years. But when she had been seen, delight knew no reserve; each felt as if he had won a bet.

A movement arose, as a breeze comes up, and gradually gained force, till it resulted in a concert given for Marie-Aimée, a testimony of the regard felt for her, and the joy at her return. The occasion was made a magnificent one; the house was crowded, and contained such a proportion of personal friends of Marie-Aimée that the affair took the character of a huge family festivity. But the applause resounding when Marie-Aimée herself appeared to perform her little task at the piano was in excess of all the rest. In the sound, in the faces, in the air, one felt "How she is beloved!"

She came forward in the childlike manner one remembered of her, with that adorable absence of self-consciousness which touches more than grace, bowing from side to side with the moved air which infallibly moves, half in tears, yet smiling. To gratify her faithful, she had gone [535] into hearty extravagance, and appeared wonderfully encased in a warm delicious pink, worthy of the event, much of it rustling off far from her heels, not much of it at all troubling her dimpled arms and shoulders. She held her sweet little black head on one side, like a tender bird; it looked as if dragged over by the weight of a big rose in her hair. And the people could not be satisfied with clapping their hands. The public was for the occasion become romantic, and, as much as the artist, was applauding the woman who had loved and, by this token, triumphed over a villainous deserter. They kept it up ad absurdum, intoxicated by the noise they made, more and more touched by their own loyalty to the old favorite, wishing to proclaim it still more loudly; and so expressing at last, it is sad to say, far more than any one felt. But it had been a goodly demonstration, and all thought better of themselves when finally those who were eager to hear the playing began hushing, and silence gradually came about.

Then she played, and it was to many what they were pleased to call a revelation. It was at all events a fresh, delicate, inspirating, moving music. There were those who listened with eyes upturned, and thought of sunrise upon Eden; there were those who nodded surprise and commendation, and spoke of technique.

Marie-Aimée was one of those persons about whom all who know them talk. She offered opportunity for it, certainly, by herself talking; her manner of being and her ways were fertile in food for comment; but her modest ray of fame was also accountable, being felt to brighten all who could claim sufficient nearness to her to know her affairs.

Had she changed? was the capital question in the discussions of her following upon her return. Most said not in the least, except, the presumption was, toward Bronson. She was open-hearted as ever, merry once more as she had used to be when her star first rose among them. She was still the one that so lent herself to be loved and gently, almost enviously, laughed at. But if she were changed, as some maintained, it was for the better. She looked younger, rested; her face was clear and untroubled now. If, after the first, one missed something in her, she explained that it was her old faults.

"When I began to see glimmering ahead of me in the distance a triumphal re-entrance among you," she held forth to a little group, "I began to prepare for it. I tried to fit myself better to please you. For the bon Dieu's sake, I had tried to obtain a clean soul; but for the world's sake—your sake, my dears—I tried to become thin! I did gymnastics, I walked, I dosed myself, I gave up eating everything I liked, and you see the result? Honor my beautiful shape, will you? and do not press upon me sponge-cake and plum-cake, as you used to do. Then I became orderly. Haven't you noticed? All my buttons there, all my hooks and eyes. And every little spot at once rubbed out with cologne. When did you know such things of me before? But look at my head! I tell you I hunt up mirrors expressly to see myself in them; and I set my bonnet straight, and tuck in my loose ends. Then I became prudent. I always think before I act, now, and before I speak, and before I spend my money. And punctual! I catch trains, and I keep appointments. I look at my watch, like the rest of you, and see that it is time to go, and I go. I no longer, like some one I remember, sit down and play and play and play, or talk and talk and talk, till it is dinner time, and I have to be invited. And then I am not a chatter-box now, no, not what you could call a chatter-box."

Her joy at being again among her old friends softened and won them; and no less did the humility of her attitude toward the past. In regard to that she was shame-faced, apologetic, reformed.

So much of the story of her exile filtered through those who received it at first hand, that a legend of it was before long public property; and such a character was given the event, Marie-Aimée's own view perhaps initially tinging it for all, that, without fear of being thereby unacceptable, the multitude of those who stood with Marie-Aimée on a footing of good-humored comradeship neglected, even in speaking to her, to disguise their familiarity with what concerned her. It was common, on the ground of a perfect understanding with her, and a supposition of at least some small degree of that enmity which often succeeds love and takes satisfaction in hearing of Fortune's disparaging turns on the ex-beloved, to entertain her with late accounts of Bronson. And though she merely listened, as she would have done to anything well-intentioned, her unoffended air left a feeling that encouragement had not been wanting. One irresponsible, feather-brained youth, of the baritone variety, reached such recklessness, while regaling her with good stories as they stood waiting for her cab, as to inquire, "Have you heard the latest joke about old Bronson?" He brought his lips near her ear, and breathed through a chuckle: "They say it takes two years and seven months to get over being in love with Bronson, but if you marry him it doesn't take so long!" And as he laughed heartily, she let her bright laugh ring out companionably alongside of his. Having got into [536] her cab, she repeated the joke carefully over to herself, to apprehend the point of it.

It was not to have been expected that the peculiar extreme enthusiasm for Marie-Aimée, with the exaggerated form of tribute to her, should continue long unabated. Still, with discretion on her part, it might have had the ordinary length of such things. As it was, alas, there soon seemed occasion to believe that the public mind is ruled by the law of reaction: By so much as the public had gone beyond rational appreciation, it seemed now threatening to fall below it.

Those who watched Marie-Aimée's fortunes with most interest, with a sinking of the spirit began to note a decrease in her social popularity. As they witnessed this trifling evidence of it and that, these lifted their eyebrows and pushed out their chins, with the expression which one interprets, "But what can be done about it?" Whenever there was reference to her now, it seemed to bring about in the atmosphere a vague fall of temperature. A just appreciable effect of disappointment, disapproval, regret, followed the long-loved name.

Those fondest of her could scarcely be brought to speak of it; when they did speak, it was not frankly and openly, as everyone had used to discuss her affairs once, shaking the head amusedly. They talked in dreary undertones, and ended asking each other "Now, can you understand it?"

Presently, she was by certain ones avoided, because of an awkwardness they felt in meeting her, with a consciousness of what were best not mentioned—disagreeable to those accustomed to dealings with her of a perfect candor. When met, she was at best in these days indifferent fun, preoccupied, unlike herself, with little to say.

At last, as an increasing coldness takes a definite pattern of frost, certain persons refrained from calling upon her, explaining privately that they had heard it said that it was possible to come upon Anthony Bronson in her little drawing-room. This refraining did not signify by any means in all a wish to express condemnation; on the part of most it really expressed a good-humored wish not to be in the way.

It was as winter was waning, that, reversing somewhat the order of the day, one who had never called on her resolved to do so. With her clothes and her hair and her eyes full of March, she ascended to Miss Nevers' little flat. The door was opened by Marie-Aimée herself, who stood looking up, uncertain, inquiring.

"I fear you do not remember me," the visitor said. "May I come in?"

"Your voice," Marie-Aimée faltered, "is familiar —but the light—the light is behind you. Do, I pray, come in."

She hurried ahead into the drawing-room, which was unexpectedly light, from the reflection upon its ceiling of the snow on lower neighboring roofs. She turned and looked at the visitor who was entering; she uttered an exclamation, unfollowed by any word.

"I see you have recalled me," said the visitor. "Mrs. Bronson? Kate Cheriton that was?"

"Take a seat, I pray!" said Marie-Aimée faintly.

Mrs. Bronson looked around her for once. Though her eye confessed no more scrutiny than accords with good breeding, it missed little in the tiny room, warm-colored, crowded, a bit untidy, but genially so, as where a pair of evening gloves and a crumpled play-bill lay on a chair, and a lace bonnet saddled a green bronze lion. The walls were covered with gimcracks and pictures, among which in profusion photographs of the celebrated, overscrawled with their various calligraphies. The piano stood open, littered with music; a tea-table, ready for service, the kettle steaming, was drawn close to the fire; a faint smell of macaroons mingled in the air with the smell of violets, whereof a big double handful was fading in a bowl. A well-worn leather chair, deep and wide, patriarchal, was on one side of the fire-place; and, suggestively at its elbow, matches and an ash-tray.

In this seat, after her casual circular glance, Mrs. Bronson quietly arranged herself; and Marie-Aimée took the rocker on the opposite side of the fire. She dropped back in it, leaning, and loosely folded her hands; which no sooner had she done, than she sat upright, and moved forward to the edge of her chair.

There was a longer silence than is often suffered by persons of the world. To attempt "carrying off" anything whatsoever was not in Marie-Aimée's moyens.

"Do you know why I have come, Miss Nevers?" Mrs. Bronson asked.

Marie-Aimée regarded her with eyes as steady as they were inwardly frightened. Her whole face expressed what one had never expected to see in it, something very near hostility; its like could be imagined in the look of a tame animal uncertain whether harm is meant to its young.

"I judge you have come here to find Mr. Bronson," she answered, "I expect him at any moment."

It was plain there would be no delicate fencing this afternoon.

Mrs. Bronson shook her head, and laughed in spite of herself at this unheard-of directness. "Oh, no! I scarcely think he will come to-day, I mentioned at lunch that I should call on you."


This was spoken without the hint of a sneer, yet Marie-Aimée flushed.

"You are quite mistaken if you think he makes love to me," she blurted out, her breath coming quick.

Mrs. Bronson lifted her hand in deprecation. "And you are mistaken, my dear Miss Nevers, if you think I have come to make a vulgar scene about him. I am here, and solely, because I like you!"

Marie-Aimée stared, doubt in her eyes; then, expressing wonder by the faintest possible effect of a shrug, looked down in her lap, all her face slowly relaxing to a plaintive look of trouble. Her lips composed themselves to lines of such stiff stillness, it might be guessed that if she tried to speak they would tremble; she picked at the folds of her tea-gown, readjusting them, smoothing the fabric across her knees.

"I don't believe you have any idea how much I felt myself attracted to you that single time we met, Miss Nevers. You made my conquest completely, and I am not one who takes fancies. Though you are so contrary to all I am, it seemed to me I understood you better than all the others did, just as I had always felt that I appreciated your work more truly at its worth. I don't know what I would not have given to have you for a friend."

Marie-Aimée put out her hands, to stop her, her kindness at that moment hurt so much. But Mrs. Bronson went on eagerly. "You are not made right for this low world. Your very virtues have the effect of faults, and bring calamity upon you. There you are, one piece of honesty, lovingness, unselfishness; and the consequence,—you have no chance among us who are nothing of the sort. Being as you are would be all right in a world peopled with angels, but here——!"

Marie-Aimée, with a deepening look of dejection and a vast returning softness, slowly shook her head; rather as if she were trying to make these notions of herself fit into place, than in denial of what she heard.

"And now I find you doing something dreadfully foolish," Mrs. Bronson continued, with a remonstrative mother's persuasive inflections, "something, I am afraid, which will prove the deadliest mistake. I cannot resist the impulse to come and warn you of it, to try to drag you back into the safe path—all, I do assure you, because I so sincerely like and respect and admire you. Of those in question, believe me, it is you, you, who are the one I care about."

There was a pause. Marie-Aimée sat as if considering a proposition; but in reality she was only groping after thoughts among emotions. She made a gesture of resignation, casting up her hands and letting them drop again. "Well? I am listening, but is it not likely that I know already all you are intending to say?"

"No, no, it is not possible!" Mrs. Bronson said emphatically. "You cannot see clearly for yourself, else you would have turned back long ago. Mind you, I know how easy it will be for you to misunderstand me in this. Almost necessarily, you will imagine that it is myself I have principally in view, that I am jealous, perhaps, or anxious about appearances, concerned in the figure I myself cut in all this. But you would be wrong. To all that I am highly indifferent. Jealous! For jealousy there must be some remnant of the folly of fondness. And, for the rest, I refuse to grant that anything Mr. Bronson does can either lift or lower me. No, what he chooses to do affects me not at all. But for you, I tell you, I am sorry."

"If it is as you say," said Marie-Aimée, regaining a little life, "you need be troubled about nothing. It is all so much simpler than one thinks, than, I find, one is willing to think. Because once or twice a caller has found him here, a caller likewise, it has been taken for granted that he spends I don't know how much of his time with me, which is particularly false and unfair. He comes from time to time; I will be quite honest, perhaps once or twice in the week, when he happens to be in town. Then we try over music, and I tell him the gossip of the world which used to be his as well as mine, and we laugh together as we used to do. You know that I always had a knack of cheering him. And I give him tea, and let him smoke, and that is all. And is it not truly innocent enough?"

"I believe you perfectly, Miss Nevers. And for that you are willing to give up all that I know you are losing?"

Marie-Aimée repeated her little French gesture of resignation. "When it comes to contending with the evil mind of the world, how can one hope to do it? I used to believe in the world, I loved it. I have lately discovered it to be such that I care very little what I lose with it. Its good opinion? I don't want it any more!"

"Quite right, Miss Nevers. You are as right as possible in valuing the opinion of the world lightly. Still, the loss of all that comes to make life pleasant, from being on good terms with it, is serious. There should be something to counterbalance it, in that for the sake of which one renounces it. And you, will you tell me what you are getting? You are ruining your life, Miss Nevers, no other word serves, for a man who is perfectly willing to let you do it, for the satisfaction he derives from his occasional afternoons here of gossip and tea, music and smoke."

Marie-Aimée kept her eyes unflinchingly upon [538] Mrs. Bronson's, eyes full of resentment and denial, but she was too moved now to speak.

"He spoiled the best years of your life," Mrs. Bronson went on, her nostrils sharpening till their edges were white, a cold fire in her eyes. "Oh, how well I see now, now that I know him better, what his conduct would be with you. But when the moment came in which it was convenient, he set you aside without one second's hesitation. You patiently take the broken pieces of your life out of sight, you manage to put them together again, you reappear bravely patched up, poor child; oh, I saw you. To me, you were pathetic—and again, because it is convenient, just a little bit convenient, he takes you up, calmly, to break you into pieces a second time."

"You don't understand him!" burst forth Marie-Aimée, in her tone the deepest hopelessness that the other ever could understand.

"I don't understand him? I don't?"

"No, no, no!"

"Then you think three years of marriage not instructive?" Mrs. Bronson asked rapidly. "Or do you think him complicated? The truth is, he is as simple as simplicity. Suppose a man with one instinct, one motive, heretofore and forever: to do that which is at the moment easiest and pleasantest and most profitable for himself, and you have him. But you must, to have him exact, accommodate this tendency with a brain the most elementary; and must suppose his objects always of the lowest and most ordinary: little common satisfactions, material or mental, good wine and cigars, or the flattery of some woman's silly admiration. And, for I will do him justice, you must accommodate it with a constitution completely healthy, like a prize animal's, without any more viciousness than he has imagination. For the rest, ideas?" continued the coldly indignant woman, reaching a fearful fluency, "he has none. All the fine things which his singing brings to our minds have no existence in himself. Talent? I do you the credit, Miss Nevers, to suppose you with me in the secret of his musical talent. Talent he has none, nor ever had any, nor the least real love or appreciation of music. But a God-given voice he had, and an instinct for using it to perfection which he shares with nightingales and mocking-birds; and, besides these, what you call a presence, combined with an enormous vanity and an equal hatred of hard work!"

"Why do you say all this to me?" gasped Marie-Aimée, choking.

"Because I cannot conceive but that you misrepresent him to yourself, but that you still have illusions about him. If I were removed to-morrow, do you imagine he would by any chance marry you? If my removal left him wealthy, he would not marry at all; if it left him poor, you can be sure he would not marry you."

After another gesture of warding off, Marie-Aimée, shuddering, buried her face in her hands, as if blinding herself might deaden hearing too.

Mrs. Bronson at once accorded the respite for which this action seemed to entreat. She sat in silence, critically regarding the top of Marie-Aimée's bent head, as if one could hope to see through it into her brain.

"Can you tell me that all this is not so?" she asked at last, heat and anger conspicuously absent from her voice, speaking in that reasonable tone of debate which seems to lay a compulsion of reasonableness upon others. The question sounded genuine, as if, for plain human curiosity's sake, she would like to know if there could be two points of view about Anthony.

Marie-Aimée raised her face, all sickened protest and repudiation. "Everything you have said, and have made to sound so heinous, might, differently worded, fit perfectly into one's description of a nice normal boy. And is a boy unworthy of one's love? Say that Anthony Bronson remained all his life a boy, and who will contradict you? It is the same nature, that reaches out so simply toward what pleases him, that wants what it wants without thought of afterwards. But you must add to this, in his case, that sort of native kingliness of the great, who have never a doubt but theirs is the first right, and that others will be glad to yield for them. He has never meant to hurt anyone, one could not be further from cruel. He merely, in order to go where he would be, must drive steadily onward. He would be sorry if his wheels crushed anything, but that it should stop him could never enter his brain. Call it an incapacity, it is that of most strong, healthy big boys."

"It must have likewise characterized arboreal man."

"Don't, Mrs. Bronson!" Marie-Aimée cried, and rose whole-heartedly at last to the encounter, bringing to bear the most piercing of her arguments, "He is not happy now! He wants things as much as ever, but he no longer can get what he wants. He can't sing any more. His voice is gone. You think he doesn't care, but he does, indeed, he does! He feels so dreadfully out of it. The public is ungrateful. His friends are not yours, they scarcely any longer seem his own; your friends are not his; Everything has turned out wrong. Don't sneer at him. Nothing can brighten his life to what it was before. And he feels helpless against it, [539] just as the boy we were speaking of would feel. Oh, he is blue—blue! You have not made him happy!"

"Has he made me happy?"

"He has meant to!" Marie-Aimée said earnestly. "Your quarrel is with his whole manner of being. One must take him as he is."

"Yes! And whatever he is is to be enough, so he thinks in his calm Jovian babyhood. How could he but satisfy any woman? How should any but feel honored to be his servant and worshipper? the great, heavy, self-pleased, all-sufficient Male!"

"You married him!"

"You are right. My stupidity deserves exactly what I have got. But I didn't come here to speak of myself, or to complain of him. It has been vulgar enough, as it is. I beg your pardon and I beg you to believe, Miss Nevers, that I speak to no one—no one, I assure you—as I have spoken to you. I go my way, with my chin high, my eyes well above the heads of the scandal-mongering crowd. It was by accident I discovered his renewed visits to you; and the brazenness, the heartlessness of it, revolted even me, prepared for anything, God knows, in the way of calm, colossal selfishness. My first thought was the most common one—that he acted from pique, that his vanity could not quite stand having it blazed abroad that you had recovered. But I know him better than that, after all. I am just. It was simpler. It was nothing more than a big dog wanting to be petted. He felt in need of consolation, sympathy, condolence, some one to talk to about me—oh, I know it—and never stopping a moment to think of you, poor woman, he turned to the quarter where he felt surest of getting it. But what puzzles me beyond everything is that he should have guessed right. Pardon me, Marie-Aimée, but in those three years at the convent, what were you doing? You seem to have wasted your time. What was that far-spread anecdote that you had come out because it was all over, lived down, you were cured, immune? Did others make up this fable, or did you?"

"Ah, don't speak of it! I was in good faith."

"You really thought it was all done with? You honestly felt sure of yourself?"

"But certainly! More than sure! How otherwise would I have come back?"

"And then?"

"Then at the rehearsal for Mrs. MacDougal's charity concert I met him again. He had consented to sing, you remember, but afterwards withdrew. And I had scarcely more than seen him, when the three years might as well not have been. But to whom—dear me, to whom am I saying this?"

Mrs. Bronson leaned forward till she could touch Marie-Aimée's knee. "It's all right," she said gently. "Don't mind because it's I. I can understand," and as she saw tears springing into Marie-Aimée's eyes, she patted the knee, and murmured in her most soothing note, "You poor darling!"

"Oh, you needn't pity me at all!" Marie-Aimée laughed harshly through her tears. "When I think that I might—that there could have been the possibility—that those three years should so have changed me, that I should have grown so cold and dry-hearted, and proud of my dry-hearted coldness, and supposed it a virtue, and called it morality, that when he turned to his old comrade for a little cheer against the thickening shadows, the fast-coming gray hairs, the lost voice, the domestic misères, I might have refused, I am glad and grateful for the ill-name and the snubs that may follow me the rest of my life because I didn't." Whereupon her voice came utterly to wreck; she subsided into soft unrestrained weeping.

Mrs. Bronson with a distressed frown left her seat for the corner of a divan which was nearer Marie-Aimée. After listening helplessly a moment, fidgeting, embarrassed by her life-habit of undemonstrativeness, she put out her hands, quick as darting swallows, and enclosed one of Marie-Aimée's, pressing it, stroking it, murmuring, "Don't! Don't! You are a dear!"

Without a word Marie-Aimée turned her wet face to kiss the cheek of the consoler. Mrs. Bronson pressed closer to her; and the two sat crushed against each other with interlocked, hands—and so, silently drifted into a different relation. It was as if the thoughts of their blood had communed through their hands, and there were no need more to conceal anything.

"Imagine," Marie-Aimée said, in a voice cracked with rueful laughter, "that when I was in the convent I had reached the point of believing that it was one of the laws of nature which was being accomplished in me! I said that love was like a plant, and if it got neither sunshine nor rain, it perished. I was not in the least happy over it, you know. But I became philosophical about it, and was glad, as one might be over something one owned which was not beautiful, but had a practical use. When I went into that place, you know, I honestly believed I should never come out of it again; and I used to read his old letters, and pore upon photographs of him, and play over and over all the music associated with him.

"But one day I found them flatly wearying me. I shall never understand it! I could picture [540] seeing him again, meeting him in company with you at his side, and not minding. I could picture meeting him again, free, and anxious that all should be as before, and I could be calm over it, inclined, if anything, to refuse. I was worn out, I suppose. I imagined it was my illusion about him which had worn out. I judged him! But in the same breath I judged myself, as likewise incapable of any but shallow feelings; and I despised us both equally, and forgave him, as one forgives offences one no longer suffers from. And so, foolhardily, I come forth again. And when I see him, all I know is that it is he, the same one, who was all the romance of life to me once; that the same door is still open between our eyes through which we come and go familiarly into each other. All that I had thought dead and buried comes to life again. And I know that I may go into a convent for twenty years, that I might be buried and dust as many more, but when Anthony Bronson comes by, and we are face to face again, it will be all as nothing. And the marvel is that though it can only mean a return to suffering, I can only be glad. Isn't it strange?"

"Oh, yes!" Mrs. Bronson pressed one of her hands across her tearless eyes; her cheek was pale. "Strange, and beautiful. But terrible too!"

She got up abruptly, as if to escape an oppression from the atmosphere down on Marie-Aimée's level; she made a motion with her head as if to disengage it; and walking to the window, stood looking out across the snowy roofs and the steeples, to the dull distance, the bank of purplish dun hanging at the horizon over the enormous city, her eyes full of gloomy distances too.

In the long silence ensuing there developed small homely noises of tea-making, over yonder, near the fire.

"But it's all really wasted!" Mrs. Bronson exclaimed unexpectedly, as if in expostulation with herself as much as with Marie-Aimée, "I know it! You saw him again, he had grown older, it shocked you. His hair had turned—it is his time of life—it saddened you. You say he has lost his voice. That is a manner of speaking; nothing is wrong with his throat. But he has never cared to sing since he was married. A little careful practice, and he could sing very acceptably still—I won't say in public, but for his own pleasure—if he cared anything for music, and for that of others who have had a cult for his singing. You have thought him blue, and it has moved you. I understand it. But do believe me that he is a little bit of a humbug. Why should he be so blue? Everything is his own fault. Do you really believe that I have never tried? He is blue when he is with you, just because it will move you. He is not so very blue when among others. I can imagine circumstances, with which you would have nothing to do, you, nor music, nor the past, but simple, sordid, material circumstances, in which he would be perfectly happy, perfectly content—"

She had said this staring out of the window. She turned, feeling Marie-Aimée at her elbow. Marie-Aimée held toward her a cup of tea and a piece of thin bread-and-butter. Mrs. Bronson let her stand there, apparently not seeing these things, while she searched her little shut over-clouded face, which showed plainly enough a resolve to say no more about it. "But to you, I do believe, all this makes no difference!" Mrs. Bronson pursued. "Let him be, let him do, what he pleases, you will care just the same, just as much. Are you completely a fool, my dear, and blind as a mole, or—do you see more than we do? That's what I can't make out. I beg your pardon!"

She accepted the cup from her, and helped herself to the bread, and took a seat on the music-stool. She drew the gloves off her beautiful milk-white hands liberally begemmed with diamonds and sapphires, and mechanically folded her bread. She tasted the tea, and continued looking off out of the window. Marie-Aimée brought a cup of tea for herself, and stood in the window-place too, looking off, drinking.

What Mrs. Bronson thought in her long stare at the grave distance from which the light was beginning to depart, she may, as her eye caught the silhouette against it of the other woman's meek, set profile, have perceived the futility of saying. "You have a beautiful view," was her next remark.

Marie-Aimée deplored its not being to-day at its best; she described it by touches, when finest. And they talked a while like parties to the most ordinary call, of views, flats, and so forth, but in intonations so curiously detached and melancholy that they might have been ghosts talking over a tragedy that had its end three centuries ago.

Suddenly, over the roofs, flashed an arc of light, splendid; strings of lamp-like jewels, red and green and golden, publishing to earth and sky the name of an actor and of a melodrama. Mrs. Bronson looked at her watch, set down her cup, and rose.

"So I shall go as I came," she said; "I had thought I had such things to say to you, Miss Nevers, so to the point, so irrefutable, that you could not but listen to me. I thought that the fact that it was I who came to you and said [541] them would have its weight. I meant, at a pinch, Miss Nevers, to demand of you to leave, at all events to break off relations with Anthony. But now, see, I am going, and I have demanded nothing. I am all adrift. You have taken me out beyond my depth. You shall do as you feel right. As for me, I don't know. I have not a heart to lead me, as you have. I have only my common share of hard worldly sense, and you have made me feel that it might be unsafe sometimes to trust it. Do as you please. I don't know! I don't know! Perhaps it is you who are right, you who love him, and all we who are fools."

In Marie-Aimée's face, which her eyes were intently interrogating as she spoke this, Mrs. Bronson could not fail to read a perplexity equal to her own, but coupled with a forlornness such as her own nature could never match, no, not if Fate should place her alone on a storm-beaten rock in mid-ocean—as Marie-Aimée might have been imagined standing, with that face. Marie-Aimée drew in the air through her lips, till her shoulders were lifted, and let it out in a great sigh.

"Ah, we are poor things all!" Mrs. Bronson agreed, with an echo of the sigh; and repeated that gesture of pressing her hand to her eyes, not to hide tears, but as part of an attempt to concentrate the mental vision upon those mysteries in life which offer the effect of blank impenetrable walls. She tore away her hand almost at once, her brief pantomime declaring the uselessness of trying to understand anything, verily, of all that happens in this sorrowful world; and whether in mockery of it, or of herself, or in the wish merely to effect a change in the current of their thoughts, struck a startling, brilliant chord on the piano under her hand; and while it still vibrated, another, and another, and executed a cadenza that seemed to laugh aloud and shake fool's-bells.

"Do you remember," she sat fairly down before the keyboard, and preluded while she talked, "the last time? After that scene of blood and tears, you poor sweet thing, how you played for me, so dearly obliging as you were? And polonaises and waltzes you played; as well as elegies and nocturnes. And then I played and then you played. You played and played, my dear, till you had missed an engagement. I shall miss one now if I don't hurry off instantly, but let it be missed. I shall count it well done, if you will sit down here a moment and play for me."

"Oh," moaned Marie-Aimée, putting up the ever-willing hands, like a martyr in prayer, "don't ask me. And don't take it ill if I can't. It's not the same thing any longer." She let her head hang; "I haven't the heart for it to-night."

"I am a beast!" said Mrs. Bronson heartily, and without adding a note further to the musical phrase she was in the middle of, jumped up, sick at herself. And feeling of so little importance before depths of woe such as she suspected near her that it mattered nothing whether she apologized, she pressed Marie-Aimée's hand with all her strength, and murmuring, "I will take myself away," made haste to be gone.

Mrs. Bronson was conscious of a vast relief, by which she first learned in what suspense she had been living, when a few days later she recognized Marie-Aimée's hand-writing on a letter to her. She read:

"I went, you see, after all. I am at my sister's, to remain with her and the dear children until I have thought further what I had better do. You were right in wishing me to go, though not perhaps for the reasons you gave. My thoughts are not at all clear upon the subject of the rightness or wrongness of what I was doing then, or what I have done since. I felt sure I was justified against the whole world, and even now I find no good argument against it. Only, it came home to me that I who used to love everyone and have only feelings of kindness towards others, was fast coming to hate everybody, myself most, and it seemed a sufficient sign. But you won't think that was quite all. I did also think of you, who perhaps—which of us knows her own heart?—care more than you believe. Very likely not. But on the barest possibility of the sort, how could I continue obstinately fixed in my position?

"And now, lest the sympathy you showed me be troubled on my account, I want you to be sure that I shall not be unhappy. For one thing, because there is something strangely compensating in the assurance a person may gain that the one she loves is never, to the edge of doom, to lack the whole love of at least one heart; and then, because I believe you will grant a request I am about to make, oh, more humbly and supplicatingly than pen and ink can show: which is that you will try to see him more truly, to discern what is good and lovable in him; and that—I find it difficult. Yet why? Let me seem brazen and indelicate, I will finish. I have thought I divined that he is a pensioner of yours, and sometimes a straightened one. It cannot be but that you are by nature as generous as you are kind, nothing else would accord with your forehead and eyes. I can only think that you have imagined things about him, that his marriage perhaps was mercenary, and this has been your revenge. Do [542] differently hereafter. Show him and yourself this respect. Grudge him not the independence and the honors that beseem the state of the lion growing old. For, do not deceive yourself, he has been great. Those upon whom God bestows such a gift are marked for the reverence of others.

"You will forgive my meddling and will do what I ask? You asked me to go, and I went. You could not demand it, nor can I demand this. Yet let it be as a bargain between us, will you?

"For your infinite kindness and gentleness and generosity to myself, receive the assurance of my utmost gratitude; and for the affection you were so good as to say you feel for me, a return of affection which is of sufficient strength, I believe, to outlast all that divides us.


Mrs. Bronson kissed the name, like a school-girl; but glancing back over the letter could not repress a laugh tinged with disdain as the thought presented itself: "She wishes to provide against his missing her. Oh, the poor child, how well she knows him, after all!" Rising to the noblest height of her nature, she determined to set the figure of Anthony Bronson's income, as near as her fortune permitted, at what should represent her own estimate of his loss in Marie-Aimée; at the same time reflecting that very much less—but very much less, indeed—would quite as effectually have kept him from missing her overmuch.


There pass the careless people
That call their souls their own:
Here by the road I loiter,
How idle and alone.
Ah, past the plunge of plummet,
In seas I cannot sound,
My heart and soul and senses,
World without end, are drowned.
His folly has not fellow
Beneath the blue of day
That gives to man or woman
His heart and soul away.
There flowers no balm to sain him
From east of earth to west
That's lost for everlasting
The heart out of his breast.
Here by the laboring highway
With empty hands I stroll:
Sea-deep, till doomsday morning
Lie lost my heart and soul.
From "A Shropshire Lad."


When I arrived in the United States again, the impeachment trial was over and President Johnson had been acquitted. There had indeed not been any revolutionary disturbance, but the public mind was much agitated by what had happened.

I had, since I left Washington, been quietly engaged in editing the Detroit Post, when one day in the spring of 1867 I received, quite unexpectedly, a proposition from the proprietors of the Westliche Post, a daily journal published in the German language in St. Louis, Missouri, inviting me to join them, and offering me, on reasonable terms, a property interest in their prosperous concern. On further inquiry I found the proposition advantageous, and accepted it. My connection with the Detroit Post, which, owing to the excellent character of the persons with whom it brought me into contact, had been most pleasant, was amicably dissolved, and I went to St. Louis to take charge of the new duties.

A particular attraction to me in this new arrangement was the association with Dr. Emil Preetorius, one of the proprietors of the Westliche Post. He was a native of the Bavarian Palatinate, the same province in which in 1849 the great popular uprising in favor of the National Constitution of Germany had taken place, and of the town of Alzei, which, according to ancient legend, had been the home of the great fiddler among the heroes of the Nibelungenlied—"Volker von Alzeien," grim Hagen's valiant brother in arms. The town of Alzei still carries a fiddle in its coat of arms. Mr. Preetorius was a few years older than I. He had already won the diploma of Doctor of Laws when the revolution of 1848 broke out. With all the ardor of his soul he threw himself into the movement for free government and had to leave the Fatherland in consequence. But all the idealism of 1848 he brought with him to his new home in America. As a matter of course, he at once embraced the anti-slavery cause with the warmest devotion and became one of the leaders of the German-born citizens of St. Louis, who, in the spring of 1861, by their courageous patriotism, saved their city and their State to the Union. He then remained in public life as a journalist and as a speaker of sonorous eloquence.

The Convention of 1868

In the winter of 1867-8, as I have said, I made a visit to Germany. Not long after my return to St. Louis, the Republican State Convention was held for the purpose of selecting delegates for the Republican National Convention which was to meet at Chicago on the 20th of May. I was appointed one of the delegates at large, and at its first meeting the Missouri delegation elected me its chairman. At Chicago [544] a surprise awaited me which is usually reckoned by men engaged in politics as an agreeable one. The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mr. Marcus L. Ward, informed me that his committee had chosen me to serve as the temporary chairman of the Republican National Convention. It was an entirely unexpected honor, which I accepted with due appreciation. I made as short a speech as is permissible on such occasions, and, after the customary routine proceedings, surrendered the gavel to the permanent president, General Joseph R. Hawley of Connecticut.




That General Grant would be nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency was a foregone conclusion. As to the nomination for the vice-presidency, there was a rather tame contest, which resulted in the choice of Schuyler Colfax, the Speaker of the National House of Representatives, who at that time enjoyed much popularity and seemed to have a brilliant future before him, but was fated to be wrecked on the rocks of finance.


From the collection of F. H. Meserve



When the Committee on Resolutions made its report, I observed with surprise that the proposed platform contained nothing on the subject of an amnesty to be granted to any of the participants in the late rebellion. This omission struck me as a grave blunder. Should the great Republican party go into the next contest for the presidency without, in its profession of faith and its program of policy, holding out a friendly hand to the erring brethren who were to return to their old allegiance, and without marking out for itself a policy of generosity and conciliation? I resolved at once upon an effort to prevent so grievous a mistake by offering an amendment to the platform. Not knowing whether the subject had not been thought of in the committee, or whether a resolution touching it had been debated and voted down there, and deeming it important that my amendment should be adopted by the Convention without a discussion that might have let loose the lingering war passions of some hot-heads, I drew up a resolution which did not go as far as I should have liked it to go, but which would substantially accomplish the double object I had in view—the encouragement of well-disposed Southerners and the commitment of the Republican party—without arousing any opposition. It was as follows:

"That we highly commend the spirit of magnanimity and forbearance with which men who have served in the rebellion, but who now frankly and honestly coöperate with us in [545] restoring the peace of the country and reconstructing the Southern State governments upon the basis of impartial justice and equal rights, are received back into the communion of the loyal people; and we favor the removal of the disqualifications and restrictions imposed upon the late rebels in the same measure as the spirit of disloyalty will die out, and as may be consistent with the safety of the loyal people."




The resolution received general applause when it was read to the Convention, and, as I had hoped, it was adopted and made a part of the platform without a word of adverse debate.




Grant, the Candidate of the Whole Republic

The presidential campaign of 1868 was not one of uncommon excitement or enthusiasm. The Republican candidate, General Grant, was then at the height of his prestige. He had never been active in politics and never identified himself with any political party. Whether he held any settled opinions on political questions, and, if so, what they were, nobody could tell with any assurance. But people were willing to take him for the presidency, just as he was. It is quite probable, and it has frequently been said, that, had the Democrats succeeded in "capturing" him as their candidate, he would have been accepted with equal readiness on that side. He was one of the most striking examples in history of the military hero who is endowed by the popular imagination with every conceivable capacity and virtue. People believed in perfectly good faith that the man who had commanded such mighty armies, and conducted such brilliant campaigns, and won such great battles, must necessarily be able and wise and energetic enough to lead in the solution of any problem of civil government; that he who had performed great tasks of strategy in the field must be fitted to accomplish great tasks of statesmanship in the forum or in the closet. General Grant had the advantage of such presumptions in the highest degree, especially as he had, in addition to his luster as a warrior, won a reputation for wise generosity and a fine tact in fixing the terms of Lee's surrender and in quietly composing the disagreements which had sprung from the precipitate action of General Sherman in treating with the Confederate General Johnston. On the whole, the country received the candidacy of General Grant as that of a deserving and a safe man.




On the other hand, the Democratic party had not only to bear the traditional odium of the sympathy of some of its prominent members with the rebellion, which at that time still counted for much, but it managed to produce an especially unfavorable impression by the action of its convention. Its platform stopped but little short of advocating violence to accomplish the annulment of the reconstruction laws adopted by Congress, and it demanded the payment of a large part of the national debt in depreciated greenbacks. The floundering search for a candidate and the final forcing of the nomination upon the unwilling, weak, and amiable Horatio Seymour presented an almost ludicrous spectacle of helplessness, while the furious utterances of the fiery Frank Blair, the candidate for [547] the vice-presidency, sounded like the wild cries of a madman bent upon stirring up another revolution when the people wanted peace. The Democrats were evidently riding for a fall.




I was called upon for a good many speeches in the campaign, and had large and enthusiastic audiences. One of the experiences I had in this campaign I remember with especial pleasure. The movement in favor of paying off national bonds, not in coin, but in depreciated paper money, which found advocacy in the Democratic platform, was in fact not confined to the ranks of the Democratic party. Although the Republican Convention had in its platform sternly declared against any form of repudiation, yet that movement found supporters among the Republicans, too, especially among people of confused moral notions, small politicians eager to win a cheap popularity by catering to questionable impulses, and politicians of higher rank nervously anxious to catch every popular breeze and inclined to bend to it whenever it seemed to blow with some force.

An Appeal to the Plain People

In the early part of the campaign I was asked [548] to make a series of speeches in Indiana, and to begin with an outdoor mass-meeting at a little place—if I remember rightly its name was Corydon—near the Illinois line, at which a large number of farmers were expected. While a great crowd was gathering, I dined at the village hotel with the members of the local committee. They seemed to have something on their minds, which finally came forth, apparently with some hesitation. One of them, after a few minutes of general silence, turned to me with a very serious mien, as if he had to deliver an important message, saying that they thought it their duty to inform me of a peculiar condition of the public mind in that region: that the people around there were all, Republicans as well as Democrats, of the opinion that all the United States bonds should be paid off in greenbacks and that an additional quantity of greenbacks should be issued for that purpose; that there was much feeling on that question, and that they, the committee, would earnestly ask me, if I could not conscientiously advocate the same policy, at least not to mention the subject in my speech.




Having been informed that there had been a good deal of greenback talk in that neighborhood, I was not surprised. But I thought it a good opportunity to administer a drastic lesson to my chicken-hearted party friends. "Gentlemen," I said, "I have been invited here to preach Republican doctrines to your people. The Democratic platform advocates the very policy which you say is favored by your people. The Republican platform emphatically condemns that policy. I think it is barefaced, dishonest, rascally repudiation. If your people favor this, they stand in eminent need of a good, vigorous talking to. But if you, the committee managing this meeting, do not want me to speak my mind on this subject, I shall not speak at all. I shall leave instantly, and you may do with the meeting as you like."

It was as if a bombshell had dropped among my committee-men. They were in great consternation and cried out accordingly. I had [549] been announced as the principal speaker. A large number of people had come to hear me. If I left, there would be a great disappointment which would hurt the party. But I did not mean it—did I?

I assured them that I was in dead earnest. I would stay and speak only on condition that I should feel at perfect liberty to express my convictions straightforwardly and impressively. They looked at one another as if in great doubt what to do, and then, after a whispered consultation, told me that, of course, if I insisted, they must let me have my way; but they begged me to "draw it mild." I replied that I could not promise to "draw it mild," but that I believed they were mistaken in thinking that their people, if properly told the truth, would favor the rascally policy of repudiation. They shook their heads and sighed, and "hoped there would be no row."

The meeting was very large, mostly plain country people, men and women. The committee-men sat on the platform on both sides of me, with anxious faces, evidently doubtful of what would happen. I had put the audience in sympathetic temper when in the due order of my speech I reached the bond question. Then I did not "draw it mild." I described the circumstances under which the bonds were sold by our government and bought by our creditors: the rebellion at the height of its strength; our armies in the field suffering defeat after defeat; our regular revenues sadly insufficient to cover the expenses of the war; our credit at a low ebb; a gloomy cloud of uncertainty hanging over our future. These were the circumstances under which our government called upon our own citizens and upon the world abroad for loans of money. The people whom we then called bond-holders lent their money upon our promise that the money should be paid back in coin. They did so at a great risk, for if we had failed in the war, they might have lost all or much of what they had lent us. Largely owing to the help they gave us in our extremity, we succeeded. And now are we to turn round and denounce them as speculators and bloodsuckers, and say that we will not give them in the day of success and prosperity what we promised them in the day of our need and distress? Would not that be downright knavery and a crime before God and men?

When I had advanced thus far, cries of "shame! shame!" came from the audience. Then I began to denounce the vile politicians who advocated such a disgraceful course, first the Democrats who had made such an ignominious proposition a part of their platform, and then the Republicans who, believing that such a movement might develop some popular strength, had cowardly bent their knees to it. By this time my hearers were thoroughly warmed up, and when I opened my whole vocabulary of strong language, in all parts of the crowd arose such cries as "You are right!" "Bully for you!" "Give it to them!" "Hit them again!" and other ebullitions of the unsophisticated mind; and when I added that I had been told the whole population of this region were in favor of that crime of repudiating the honest debts of the republic, and that I had in their name repelled the charge as a dastardly slander, my hearers broke out in a storm of applause and cheers lasting long enough to give me time to look round at my committee-men, who returned my gaze with a smile of pitiable embarrassment on their faces.

The Moral Cowardice of Politicians a National Danger

When my speech was over, I asked them what they now thought of the repudiation sentiment in their neighborhood. Ah, they had "never been so astonished in their lives." One of them attempted to compliment me upon my "success in so quickly turning the minds of those people." But I would not let them have that consoling conception of the facts, and answered that I had not turned the minds of those people at all; that their feelings and impulses were originally honest; that I had only called forth a manifestation of that original honesty; and that if the local political leaders had believed in the original honesty of the people and courageously stood up for truth and right instead of permitting themselves to be frightened by a rascally agitation and of pusillanimously pandering to it, they would have had the same experience.

In fact, the same experience has repeated itself in the course of my political activity again and again until a late period. I have had an active part in a great many political campaigns and probably addressed as many popular meetings as any man now living; and I have always found that whenever any public question under public discussion had in it any moral element, an appeal to the moral sense of the people proved uniformly the most powerful argument. I do not, of course, mean to say that there were not at all times many persons accessible to selfish motives and liable to yield to the seduction of the opportunity for unrighteous gain, and that such evil influences were not at times hard to overcome. But with the majority of the people, notably the "plain people"—using the term in the sense in which Abraham Lincoln was wont to use it—I found the question "is this morally right?" to have ultimately more weight than the question "will this be profitable?"




We have, indeed, sometimes witnessed so-called "crazes" in favor of financial policies that were essentially immoral, such as the "inflation craze" and the "silver craze," gaining an apparently almost irresistible momentum among the people. But that was not owing to a real and wide-spread demoralization of the popular conscience, but rather to an artful presentation of the question which covered up and disguised the moral element in it, and so deceived the unsophisticated understanding, and also to the cowardice of politicians of high as well as low rank, who, instead of courageously calling things by their right names, would, against their better convictions, yield to what they considered a strong current of opinion, for fear of jeopardizing their personal popularity. I have seen men of great ability and high standing in the official world do the most astonishing things in this respect when they might, as far as their voices could be heard, have easily arrested the vicious heresies by a bold utterance of their true opinions. The moral cowardice of the politicians is one of the most dangerous ailments of democracies.

Missouri Retires Senator Henderson

To me the Republican victory brought a promotion which I had not anticipated while I was active in the campaign. One of the United States Senators from Missouri, Mr. John B. Henderson, had voted in the impeachment trial for the acquittal of President Johnson. He was a gentleman of superior ability and of high character, but he had voted for the acquittal of [551] Andrew Johnson. He had done so for reasons entirely honorable and entirely consistent with his principles and convictions of right, but in disregard of the feelings prevalent among his constituents and in spite of a strong pressure brought upon him by hosts of Republicans in his own State; and as his term as a Senator was just then expiring, this clash was fatal to his prospects of a reëlection. The warmest of his friends frankly recognized the absolute impossibility of keeping him in his place.

Indeed, all the Republican Senators who had voted for Johnson's acquittal found themselves more or less at variance with their party in their respective States; but Republicanism in Missouri was in one respect somewhat different from Republicanism elsewhere. In Missouri a large part of the population had joined the rebellion. The two parties in the Civil War had not been geographically divided. The Civil War had therefore had the character of a neighborhood war—in Missouri it was not only State against State, or district against district, but house against house. The bitter animosities of the civil conflict survived in Missouri much longer than in the northern States, and any favor shown to "the traitor" Andrew Johnson appeared to the great mass of Missouri Republicans simply unpardonable.

The immediate consequence of Mr. Henderson's course was that his colleague in the Senate, Mr. Charles D. Drake, obtained a directing influence in the party which for the moment seemed to be undisputed. Senator Drake was an able lawyer and an unquestionably honest man, but narrow-minded, dogmatic, and intolerant to a degree. He aspired to be the Republican "boss" of the State—not, indeed, as if he had intended to organize a machine for the purpose of enriching himself or his henchmen. Corrupt schemes were absolutely foreign to his mind. He merely wished to be the recognized authority dictating the policies of his party and controlling the federal offices in Missouri. This ambition overruled with him all others.

Senator Drake was of small stature, but he planted his feet upon the ground with demonstrative firmness. His face, framed with grey hair and a short, stubby white beard and marked with heavy eyebrows, usually wore a stern and often even a surly expression. His voice had a rasping sound, and his speech, slow and peremptory, was constantly accompanied with a vigorous shake of the forefinger which meant laying down the law. I do not know to what religious denomination he belonged; but he gave the impression that no religion would be satisfactory to him that did not provide for a well-kept hell-fire to roast sinners and heretics. Still, he was said to be very kind and genial in his family and in the circle of his intimate friends. But in politics he was inexorable. I doubt whether, as a leader, he was ever really popular with the Republican rank and file in Missouri. But certain it is that most of the members of his party, especially in the country districts, stood much in awe of him.

How Schurz Became a Candidate

Mr. Drake, very naturally, wished to have at his side, in the place of Mr. Henderson, a colleague sympathizing with him and likely to shape his conduct according to Senator Drake's wishes. He chose General Ben Loan of the western part of the State, a gentleman of excellent character, and respectable but not uncommon abilities. Senator Drake permitted it to go forth as a sort of decree of his that Mr. Loan should be elected to the Senate, and, although the proposition did not seem to meet with any hearty response in the State, he would have been so elected, had not another candidacy intervened.

It happened in this wise: I was a member of a little club consisting of a few gentlemen of the same way of thinking in politics, who dined together and discussed current events once or twice a month. At one of those dinners, soon after the presidential election of 1868, the conversation turned upon the impending election of Senator Henderson's successor and the candidacy of Mr. Drake's favorite, General Loan. We were all agreed in heartily disliking Mr. Drake's kind of statesmanship. We likewise agreed in disliking the prospect of seeing Mr. Drake duplicated in the Senate—indeed fully duplicated—by the election of Mr. Loan. But how prevent it? We all recognized, regretfully, the absolute impossibility of getting the Legislature to reëlect Mr. Henderson. But what other candidate was there to oppose to Mr. Loan? One of our table turned round to me and said: "You!" The others instantly and warmly applauded.

The thought that I, a comparative newcomer in Missouri, should be elected senator in preference to others, who had been among the leaders in the great crisis of the State only a few years ago, seemed to me extravagant, and I was by no means eager to expose myself to what I considered almost certain defeat. But my companions insisted, and I finally agreed that a "feeler" might be put out in the Globe-Democrat, the leading Republican journal in St. Louis, of which Colonel William M. Grosvenor, a member of our little table-company, was the editor in chief. The number of Republican papers in the State which responded [522] approvingly was surprisingly large, and I soon found myself in the situation of an acknowledged candidate for the senatorship "in the hands of his friends." It seemed that when "stumping" the State in the last campaign, I had won more favor with the country people than I myself was aware of. Still, my chances of success would have been slim, had not my principal adversary, Senator Drake, appeared in person upon the scene.

When he learned that my candidacy was developing strength, he hurried from Washington to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, to throw the weight of his personal influence with the Legislature into the scale against me. By his side appeared General Loan. There was then perfect justification for me to be on the ground with some of my friends. My manager was Colonel Grosvenor, the editor of the Globe-Democrat, an uncommonly bright, genial, active, and energetic young man. I could not have had a more efficient and more faithful champion, or a more skilful tactician. In their talks with members of the Legislature my opponents were reckless in the extreme. They denounced me as a foreign intruder, as a professional revolutionist, as a "German infidel," as a habitual drunkard, and what not.

Our plan of campaign was very simple: Not a word against my competitor, General Loan; no champagne or whisky, nor even cigars; no noisy demonstrations; no promises of offices or other pledges in case of my election; but a challenge to General Loan and also to Senator Drake, if he would accept it, to meet me in public debate before the day when the caucus of the Republican majority for the nomination of a senatorial candidate was to be held. The campaign attracted much attention throughout the North and was commented upon in the newspapers, mostly in my favor. There were some symptoms of friendly zeal in my behalf. My friend Sigismund Kaufmann in New York telegraphed to me that if I needed any money for my campaign he would put $10,000 at my disposal. I telegraphed back my thanks, but declined the money, since I had no use for it. My reliance was upon the public debate.

A Joint Debate for a Senatorship

Senator Drake accepted the challenge for himself and General Loan. Arrangements were made for two meetings on two consecutive evenings. On the first evening I was to open with a speech of a certain length, and on the second evening Loan and Drake were to answer me, and I was to close. The announcement, as it went over the State, attracted from the country districts—as well as the cities—so many of the friends of the two candidates who wished to witness what they considered a great event, that the hotels of the State capital were crowded to the utmost.

Remembering the debate between Lincoln and Douglas at Quincy, Illinois, to which I had listened ten years before, I kept my opening speech in a calm, somewhat tame defensive tone, reserving my best ammunition for my closing argument and putting forth in a somewhat challenging manner only a few sharp points which I wished Drake to take up the next evening. The effect of my speech was satisfactory in a double sense. My supporters were well pleased with the courtesy and moderation with which I had stated my position and repelled certain attacks, and Mr. Drake was jubilant. He could not conceal his anticipation of triumph. Before a large crowd he said in a loud voice: "That man was described to me as a remarkable orator, something like Cicero and Demosthenes combined. But what did we hear? A very ordinary talk. Gentlemen, to-morrow night about this hour General Carl Schurz will be as dead as Julius Cæsar!" When I heard this, I was sure that his speech would be as bitter, overbearing, and dictatorial as I could wish, and that thus he would deliver himself into my hands.

The next evening the great hall of the assembly was crowded to suffocation. General Loan spoke first. His speech was entirely decent in tone but quite insignificant in matter. Its only virtue was its brevity. It received only that sort of applause which any audience will grant to any respectable man's utterance which is not too long and not offensive, even if uttered in a voice too low to be heard.

Senator Drake then mounted the rostrum with a defiant air, as of one who would make short work of his antagonists. After a few remarks concerning his attitude on the negro question, he took me in hand. Who was I, to presume to be a candidate for the Senate? He would, indeed, like to inquire a little into my past career, were it not that he would have to travel too far—to Germany, and to various places in this country, to find out whether there was not much to my discredit. But he had no time for so long a journey, however instructive such a search might be. This insinuation was received by the audience with strong signs of displeasure, which, however, stirred up Mr. Drake to greater energy. Then he launched into a violent attack on the Germans of Missouri, for whose political character and conduct he made me responsible. He denounced them as an ignorant crowd, who did not understand [553] English, read only their German newspapers, and were led by corrupt and designing rings; as marplots and mischief-makers who could never be counted upon, and whose presence in the Republican party hurt that party more than it helped it. Finally, after having expressed his contempt for the newspapers and the politicians who supported my candidacy, he closed with an elaborate eulogy of General Loan and of himself, the length of which seemed to tire the audience, for it was interrupted by vociferous calls for me coming from all parts of the house. The immediate effect of Mr. Drake's speech was perceptibly unfavorable to him and his candidate—especially his bitter denunciation of the Germans and of a large part of the Republican party which advocated my election, for many members of the Legislature remembered how important an element of their constituency those same Germans formed, and how much their political standing depended on those same newspapers.

When I rose, the audience received me with a round of uproarious cheers. I succeeded in putting myself into relations of good humor even with my opponents by introducing myself as "a young David who, single-handed and without any weapon except his sling and a few pebbles in his pouch, had to meet in combat two heavily armed Goliaths at once." The audience laughed and cheered again. I next brushed away Mr. Loan's "harmless" speech with a few polite phrases and "passed from the second to the principal."

I then proceeded to take the offensive against Mr. Drake in good earnest. To the great amusement of my hearers I punctured with irony and ridicule the pompous pretence that he was the father of the new constitution with which Missouri was blessed. I took up his assault upon the Germans. I asked the question, "Who was it that at the beginning of the war took prisoners the rebel force assembled in camp Jackson and thus saved St. Louis and the State to the Union, and who was foremost on all the bloody fields in Missouri?" The whole audience shouted "The Germans! The Germans!" I asked where Mr. Drake was in those critical days, and answered that having been a Democrat before the war, pleading the cause of slavery, he sat quietly in his law office, coolly calculating when it would be safe for him to pronounce himself openly for the Union, while the Germans were shedding their blood for that Union. This was a terrible thrust.

My unfortunate victim nervously jumped to his feet and called my friend, General McNeil, who was present, to witness that the General himself advised him to stay quietly at home, because he could do better service there than twenty men in the field. Whereupon General McNeil promptly answered: "Yes, but that was long after the beginning of the war"—an answer which made Mr. Drake sink back into his chair, while the meeting burst out in a peal of laughter. Soon he rose again to say that I was wrong in imputing to him any hostility to the Germans, for he was their friend. My reply instantly followed that then we had to take what he had said of them to-night as a specimen of Mr. Drake's characteristic friendship. The audience again roared with laughter.

But the sharpest arrow was still to be shot. I reviewed the Senator's career as a party leader—how he had hurled his anathema against every Republican who would not take his word as law, thus disgusting and alienating one man after another, and was now seeking to read out of the party every man and every newspaper, among them the strongest journal in the State, that supported me. Almost every sentence drew applause. But when I reached my climax, picturing Mr. Drake as a party leader so thinning out his following that he would finally stand "lonesome and forlorn, surrounded by an immensity of solitude, in desolate self-appreciation," the general hilarity became so boisterous and the cheering so persistent, that I had to wait minutes for a chance to proceed. I closed my speech in a pacific strain. There had been talk that, if I were elected, the unseemly spectacle would be presented of two Senators from the same State constantly quarrelling with one another. I did not apprehend anything of the kind. I was sure that if we ever differed, Senator Drake would respect my freedom of opinion, and I certainly would respectfully recognize his. Our watchword would be: "Let us have peace."

When I had finished there was another outbreak of tumultuous applause and a rush for a handshake, the severest I have ever had to go through. With great difficulty I had to work my way to my tavern and to bed, where I lay long awake hearing the jubilant shouts of my friends on the streets. The first report I received in the morning was that Mr. Drake had quickly withdrawn from last night's meeting before its adjournment, had hurried to his hotel, had asked for his bill and the washing he had given out, and when told that his shirts and collars were not yet dry, had insisted upon having them instantly whether wet or dry, and then had hurried to the railroad station for the night train East. The party-dictatorship was over, and its annihilation was proclaimed by the flight of the dictator.


The Republic's Crowning Honor to an Adopted Son

That same day the caucus of the Republican members of the Legislature took place. I was nominated for the senatorship on the first ballot, and on motion the nomination was made unanimous. My election by the Legislature followed in due course. No political victory was ever more cleanly won. My whole election expenses amounted only to my board bill at the hotel, and absolutely unencumbered by any promise of patronage or other favor I took my seat in the Senate of the United States on the 4th of March, 1869. My colleague, Mr. Drake, courteously escorted me to the chair of the president of the Senate where I took the oath of office.

I remember vividly the feelings which almost oppressed me as I first sat down in my chair in the Senate chamber. Now I had actually reached the exalted public position to which my boldest dreams of ambition had hardly dared to aspire. I was still a young man, just forty. Little more than sixteen years had elapsed since I had landed on these shores, a homeless waif saved from the wreck of a revolutionary movement in Europe. Then I was enfolded in the generous hospitality of the American people, opening to me, as freely as to its own children, the great opportunities of the new world. And here I was now, a member of the highest law-making body of the greatest of republics. Should I ever be able fully to pay my debt of gratitude to this country, and to justify the honors that had been heaped upon me? To accomplish this, my conception of duty could not be pitched too high. I recorded a vow in my own heart that I would at least honestly endeavor to fulfil that duty; that I would conscientiously adhere to the principle "Salus populi, suprema lex"; that I would never be a sycophant of power nor a flatterer of the multitude; that, if need be, I would stand up alone for my conviction of truth and right; and that there would be no personal sacrifice too great for my devotion to the republic.

My first official duty was to witness, with the Senate, the inauguration of General Grant as President of the United States. I stood near the same spot from which, eight years before, I had witnessed the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. It was a remarkable contrast—then the anxious patriot, in the hour of stress, with pathetic tenderness appealing to the wayward children of the nation; now the victorious soldier speaking in the name of the restored national authority. General Grant's inaugural address, evidently his own work, was somewhat crude in style, but breathed a rugged honesty of purpose. With particular rigor it emphasized our obligations to the national creditor—in striking contrast to Mr. Johnson's last annual message, which had stopped little short of advising downright repudiation.

On the whole, General Grant's accession to the presidency was welcomed by almost everybody with a sense of relief. It put an end to the unseemly, not to say scandalous brawl between the executive and the legislative branches of the national government, which at times came near threatening the peace of the country. It was justly expected to restore the government to its proper dignity and to furnish, if not a brilliant, at least a highly decent and efficient business administration. As General Grant had really not owed his nomination to any set of politicians, nor even, strictly speaking, to his identification with a political party, he enjoyed an independence of position which offered him peculiarly favorable possibilities for emancipating the public service from the grasp of the spoils politician, and the friends of civil service reform looked up to him with great hope.

It was not unnatural that in the absolute absence of political experience he should not only have had much to learn concerning the nature and conduct of civil government, but that he should also have had much to unlearn of the mental habits and the ways of thinking he had acquired in the exercise of almost unlimited military command. This was strikingly illustrated by some remarkable incidents.

A. T. Stewart and the Law of the Treasury

As usual, the nominations made by the President for Cabinet offices were promptly ratified by the Senate without being referred to any committee. But after this had been done, it was remembered and reported to President Grant that one of the nominees so confirmed, Mr. A. T. Stewart of New York, whom President Grant had selected for the secretaryship of the treasury, as a person engaged in commerce, was disqualified by one of the oldest laws on the statute-book—in fact, the act of September 2, 1789, establishing the Treasury Department. That this law, which provided that the Treasury Department, having the administration of the custom houses under its control, should not have at its head a merchant or importer in active business, was an entirely proper, indeed, a necessary one, had never been questioned. The next morning, March 6th, I had occasion to call upon President Grant for the purpose of presenting to him a congratulatory message from certain citizens of St. Louis. I found him alone, engaged in writing something on a half-sheet of [555] note-paper. "Mr. President," I said, "I see you are busy, and I do not wish to interrupt you. My business can wait." "Never mind," he answered, "I am only writing a message to the Senate." My business was quickly disposed of, and I withdrew.

In the course of that day's session of the Senate a message from the President was brought in, in which, after quoting the statute of September 2, 1789, the President asked that Mr. Stewart be exempted by joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress from the operation of the law which stood in Mr. Stewart's way. There were some signs of surprise among Senators when the message was read, but Mr. Sherman at once asked unanimous consent to introduce a bill in accordance with the President's wish. But Mr. Sumner objected to the immediate consideration thereof because of its great importance. This stopped further proceedings, and the bill was laid on the table never to be heard of again. However, the President's message had evidently made an impression, and there was forthwith a little council held in the cloakroom, which agreed that some Senator should without delay go to see Mr. Elihu B. Washburn, the new Secretary of State, who was General Grant's intimate friend, and urgently ask him to suggest to the President that, while there was now perfect good feeling all round, it would be prudent for him to drop Mr. Stewart and to abstain from demanding the suspension or the repeal of good laws which he found in his way. Whether Mr. Washburn did carry this admonition to President Grant, I do not know. Probably he did, for Mr. Stewart was promptly dropped. Mr. Boutwell of Massachusetts was made Secretary of the Treasury in Mr. Stewart's place, and the repeal or suspension of the old law was never again heard of.

A Governor's Right to His Staff

So this incident passed, harmless. But the cloakroom of the Senate, where Senators amused one another with the gossip of the day, continued to buzz with anecdotes about President Grant's curious notions of the nature and functions of civil government. One of these anecdotes, told by a Senator who was considered one of the best lawyers in that body and one of the most jealous of the character of his profession, was particularly significant. He heard a rumor that President Grant was about to remove a Federal judge in one of the territories of the United States. The Senator happened to know that judge as a lawyer of excellent ability and uncommon fitness for the bench, and he went to the President to remonstrate against so extreme a measure as the removal of a judge unless there were cogent reasons for it connected with the administration of the office. President Grant admitted that, as far as he knew, there was no allegation of the unfitness of the judge, as a judge, "but," he added, "the governor of the territory writes me that he cannot get along with that judge at all, and is very anxious to be rid of him; and I think the governor is entitled to have control of his staff." The Senator closed his story by saying that he found it to be a delicate as well as a difficult job to make the great general in the chair of the President of the United States understand how different the relations between a territorial governor and a Federal judge were from those between a military commander and his staff officers. The anecdote was received by the listeners with a laugh, but the mirth was not far from apprehension. However, there being sincere and perfect goodwill on both sides, things went on pleasantly in the expectation that the military hero at the head of the government would learn what he needed to know and that the men in places of political power would treat him with due consideration and fairness.

Grant Presses for San Domingo Annexation

It was a few days later when I met President Grant at an evening reception given by Colonel Forney, the Secretary of the Senate. I was somewhat surprised when I saw the President coming toward me from the opposite side of the room, saying: "Senator, you have not called to see me at the White House for some time, and I have been wanting to speak to you." All I could say in response was that I was very sorry to have missed a conversation I might have had with him, but that I knew him to be a busy man who should not be robbed of his time by merely conventional visits. He repeated that he wished very much to see me. Would I not call upon him at my earliest convenience some evening? I put myself at once at his service, and went to the White House the next night. He received me in the library room and invited me to sit with him on a sofa. He plunged forthwith into the subject he had at heart. "I hear you are a member of the Senate committee that has the San Domingo treaty under consideration," he said, "and I wish you would support the treaty. Won't you do that?" I thought it would be best not to resort to any circumlocution in answering so pointblank a summons, but to be entirely frank. I said I should be sincerely happy to act with his administration whenever and wherever I conscientiously could, but in this case, I was sorry to confess, I was not able to do as he wished, [556] because I was profoundly convinced it would be against the best interests of the republic. Then I gave him some of my dominant reasons; in short, acquisition and possession of such tropical countries with indigestible, unassimilable populations would be highly obnoxious to the nature of our republican system of government; it would greatly aggravate the racial problems we had already to contend with; those tropical islands would, owing to their climatic conditions, never be predominantly settled by people of Germanic blood; this federative republic could not, without dangerously vitiating its vital principles, undertake to govern them by force, while the populations inhabitating them could not be trusted with a share in governing our country; to the difficulties we had under existing circumstances to struggle with in our Southern States, much greater and more enduring difficulties would be added; and for all this the plan offered absolutely no compensating advantages. Moreover, the conversations I had had with Senators convinced me that the treaty had no chance of receiving the two-thirds vote necessary for its confirmation, and I sincerely regretted to see his administration expose itself to a defeat which, as I thought, was inevitable.

The Liveryman and the Foreign Mission

I spoke with the verve of sincere conviction, and at first the President listened to me with evident interest, looking at me as if the objections to the treaty which I expressed were quite new to him and made an impression on his mind. But after a little while I noticed that his eyes wandered about the room, and I became doubtful whether he listened to me at all. When I had stopped, he sat silent for a minute or two. I, of course, sat silent too, waiting for him to speak. At last he said in a perfectly calm tone, as if nothing had happened: "Well, I hope you will at least vote for the confirmation of Mr. Jones, whom I have selected for a foreign mission."

I was very much taken aback by this turn of the conversation. Who was Mr. Jones? If the President had sent his nomination to the Senate, it had escaped me. I had not heard of a Mr. Jones as a nominee for a foreign mission. What could I say? The President's request that I should vote for Mr. Jones sounded so child-like and guileless, at the same time implying an apprehension that I might not vote for the confirmation of Mr. Jones, which he had evidently much at heart, that I was sincerely sorry that I could not promptly answer "Yes." I should have been happy to please the President. But I had to tell him the truth. So I gathered myself together and replied that I knew nothing of Mr. Jones, either by personal acquaintance or by report; that it was the duty of the Committee on Foreign Relations to inquire into the qualifications for diplomatic service of the persons nominated for foreign missions and to report accordingly to the Senate, and that if Mr. Jones was found to possess those qualifications, it would give me the most genuine pleasure to vote for him. This closed the conference.

A few days later there was a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Relations. After having disposed of some other business, Charles Sumner, its chairman, said in his usual grave tone: "Here is the President's nomination of Mr. Jones for the mission to Brussels. Can any member of the committee give us any information concerning Mr. Jones?" There was a moment's silence. Then Senator Morton of Indiana, a sarcastic smile flickering over his face—I see him now before me—replied: "Well, Mr. Jones is about the most elegant gentleman that ever presided over a livery stable." The whole committee, except Mr. Sumner, broke out in a laugh. Sumner, with unbroken gravity, asked whether any other member of the committee could give any further information. There was none. Whereupon Mr. Sumner suggested that the nomination be laid over for further inquiry, which was done.

At a subsequent meeting the committee took up the case of Mr. Jones again. It was a matter of real embarrassment to every one of us. We all wished to avoid hurting the feelings of President Grant. There had been no malice in Senator Morton's remark about the elegant gentleman presiding over a livery stable. Morton was one of the staunchest administration men, but he simply could not resist the humor of the occasion. I do not recollect what the result of the "further inquiry" was. I have a vague impression that Mr. Jones turned out to be in some way connected with the street-car lines in Chicago, and to have had much to do with horses, which was supposed to be the link of sympathy between him and President Grant. However reluctant the committee was to wound the President's feelings in so personal a matter, yet it did not think it consistent with its sense of duty and dignity positively to recommend to the Senate to confirm the nomination of Mr. Jones. It therefore, if I remember rightly, reported it back to the Senate without any recommendation, whereupon the Senate indulgently ratified it.

The foregoing article will be the last of the Carl Schurz Reminiscences to appear in McClure's Magazine. The writing of the Memoirs was broken off at this point by Mr. Schurz' death, which occurred in 1906. A conclusion to the series, compiled by Mr. Frederic Bancroft from Carl Schurz' notes and letters, will appear in Volume III of the book, which will be issued in the fall.



The orderly-room was quiet; only the clicking of the Troop Clerk's type-writer broke the stillness in sharp taps. Captain Campbell and Sergeant Stone were at their desks, absorbed in papers. Presently Stone pushed his work aside, and, hunting in a pigeonhole, brought forth a grimy bundle.

"Are you interested in poetry, sir?" he said. Captain Campbell, alias Shorty, sat up, with a snort, and peered over the piled-up findings of a court-martial case. "Am I a love-sick puppy? Do I look as if I were interested in poetry?" Shorty's hair was mussed and matted, his flannel shirt (he never wore a coat, if he could help it) was open at the throat, and the dust of the early-morning drill still adhered to his countenance, giving it a curiously gray-veiled appearance—he said he hadn't had time to wash. Stone was forced to admit that his appearance was not poetic.

"Well," he said, "I guess this isn't really poetry—just a stab at it. Shall I read——"

"Sergeant Stone," interrupted his captain vehemently, "if you've been such an ass as to try to write poetry, I'll be condemned if I keep you as Top of my troop. No, don't attempt to explain; I know it all! There's a girl at the bottom of it: there always is. Poetry leads to everything and anything. Soon you'll be neglecting your duties, and then, I warn you,—I warn you,—you're busted! 'Member Sergeant Johnson? Good soldier, but very foolish man. Went and got married—what a fool! No good any more. Poetry will do the same for you."

Stone had been trying to stem the torrent. "For the Lord's sake, Captain, what do you take me for? I haven't been writin' any poetry."

"What do you mean, then, insinuating that you have? There's only one man living now who can write poetry, but be hanged if I'd want him in my troop."

"Still," said Stone, with his boyish, dimpling grin, "you've a poet in the troop, in spite of you. It's Teddy Ryan."

"Ryan! That freckled kid? Why, he's a pretty fair soldier. Reckon his poetry must be right rotten. Don't believe he knows enough to spell 'cat,' even. What you got there? Hand 'em over, only hurry up. I got to go to headquarters soon. Oh, this is goin' to be a picnic!" Shorty was chuckling over the soiled scraps.

The first one was ominously entitled "Destinny, by Prvt. T. Ryan 5th Mont. Inf. U. S. V. 1898," and set forth:

I do not like my tacks and bacon,
They allus sets my belly aken.
I do not like to tote a gun,
It seems like I was son of one.
And lots of other things they done
to me I do not like at all.
I wish I never had inlisted
My feet is allus gettin' blistered
It's allus drillin drillin drillin
And eating grub that isent fillin.
And that is why I do not wanter stay.
And O By jimminy dont i wish my time
was up and i could get away.

"You bet he did," laughed Shorty. "You read these?" turning to Stone.

"Sure. Aren't they rich? Read 'Soljer and Moskeeter' an' 'To My Hoss.' There's a horse on you in that last."

"Soldier and Mosquito" proved to be a dialogue.

Soljer says:
"When we do go to bed
We do try to sleep instead
Of lyeing awake.
But we cannot for you kno
The pesky moskeeto
Our blood does take."
Moskeeter says:
"When that feller goes to bed
he covers up his head
In the dark,
i cannot cannot eat her
so I starve says poor moskeeter,
Grim and stark."


"Soldier seems to be a he an' a she too. An' he is sure impartial," remarked Captain Campbell. "Even a mosquito must have a point of view—darn little nuisances!"

"'Life is one long gorgeous sunset if your head-net works as planned,'" agreed Stone, quoting from the American Mandalay. "Go on an' read 'To My Hoss,' You'll appreciate that."

My hoss is gentle has no fears,
And is slow if you dont ticcle his years.
He has fore long legs and a drawn out hed,
And so is cald a quadruped.
Saturday morning enspection time
i groom my hoss up clene and fine,
But if his saddel aint packed wel,
You bet Shorty gives me hel.
My hoss must be fed before the men,
Wen i dont do it I get hel agen,
My hosses tale is very long
the end of him and the end of my song.

"I know," chuckled Shorty, "what was the inspiration for that second verse. I jumped all over him one Saturday for havin' his canteen on the near side an' his picket-pin upside-down where it would blame well spit him if he should fall on it. He's right he got all that was coming to him. I only got time for one more now—a short one. What shall it be?"

"Try 'Fiting Joe And Dewey'; that's a bit different—might be classed under 'Poems of Ambition'."

Shorty shuffled the papers and read:

Theres heaps of places in the world men wud lik to been and see
But i tell you
And I tell you true,
That theres only 2 for me.
Ide like to have worn my Countrys blu
In the calvery riding or holding the tiller
With Fiting joe at San Wan Hill or with Dewey at Manilla.
And the old man says:
"Ive been in slews of battels and ime toting in my shin
A bullit from a johnny-rebils killer,
With Fiting joe at San Wan Hill or Dewey a t manilla."

"How in Tophet did you come by this stuff, Sergeant?" asked the Captain, as he got up to [559] put on his small coat, and, on tiptoe before a little hanging mirror, tried, ineffectually, to calm his upstanding hair with the ten-toothed comb of nature.

"Why, sir, Ryan gave 'em to me to read. He came into my room two or three nights ago an' asked me if I wouldn't like to see them. Said he'd written that 'Destinny' quite a time ago, but that all the others were just recently finished; that he'd been writing a lot lately, an' felt as if he just had to show 'em to somebody, an' he thought the other fellows would laugh at him. He said I might keep an' read them to anybody I thought would appreciate them. He thinks they're Shaksperean."

"Well," said Shorty, grabbing his hat and preparing to bolt, "I have sure appreciated 'em. But, you mark my words, there's a girl behind this. A fellow like Ryan doesn't go squanderin' rhymes for nothin', hombre. Adios." And off shot Shorty, with hands jammed deep in his pockets.

"He's smart, all right," said Stone to himself; "the girl's there. Where the deuce is that bloomin' ode, 'To my Lady-Frend'?" Finding it, he read:

Heaven meant things to go in 2s Cora,
Thats why i am alone unhappy single.
There won't be a bird or animal refuse Cora
Each with other folks to mingle.
So why do you give me the cold sholder Cora
Is it becaws youre shi or love another?
If youd only speak to your deer soljer Cora,
Ide fite a feller if he was my brother.
The moone is shining britely in the ski my Cora deer
The nite is late the village clock strikes 2.
Yes everything says 2 my years can hear Cora,
And that is why i think of you.

"Poor kid, he seems to be up against it! Wonder where he got that about the village clock? Must have been doin' some promiscious readin'. He said that was the best 'piece' he'd written. I wonder if he—I wonder if she——" Still wondering, Stone carefully put the precious manuscript away and turned back to work, resolving to corral Private T. Ryan at the first opportunity.

Private T. Ryan proved obliging, however, and came into Stone's room after supper to get his verses and the first sergeant's opinion of them.


"'he used language to me, sir, and i am hiss sergeant'"


"What do I think about 'em, kid? Why, I think they're mighty interestin'. Take a chair. I didn't know you had it in you. But that one about your lady-friend, now; is that straight goods or is it a poet's pipe-dream?"

"It's true, all right. You know who she is, too. Cora Sheean—father's that retired chief trumpeter; lives over back o' the ridin'-hall."


"Cora Sheean! Why, yes, I know who she is." Mrs. Sheean did Stone's washing, and he had often seen red-haired Cora, and heard of her, too; for she was the belle of the post in "enlisted" circles. "She's a mighty pretty girl, Ted,—here's luck to you,—but she's so bloomin' popular it's liable to be heavy goin'. You tell me all about it, an' maybe I can help you some"; and Stone began a rapid-fire broadside of questions, in the midst of which arrived John Whitney.

"Howdy," he remarked. "Say, yo' runnin' a pumpin'-station, Jerry?"

"No, I'm not. Now, either you clear out or come in an' help. I showed you Ryan's poetry—an' you remember that one about his lady-friend? Well, it's true, an' he's tellin' me about it. Do you mind his comin' in, kid? He can probably help you better than I can, as he's had so much more experience with Eliz——"

"Shut up! Yo'-all are mighty fond of refe'in' to that lady. I notice yo' get a letter every day yo'self!"

"Set down," said Ryan. "No, I don't mind, but don't you ever let on. There's Hansen, now. He'd devil me all over the place if he caught on."

And so he continued his recital. Yes, Cora had flirted outrageously with him. "But she says she ain't ever goin' ter marry no private; I got ter be a sergeant anyway, or she won't look at me." He was going to hold her to that; he was going to work hard, and there was a good chance, for there would be two non-coms to get their discharge next week. No, he hadn't always been fond of poetry; only this last winter. Will Carleton was a fine poet. "'Member 'bout that feller who fell through the ceilin' into the butter-tub?—or was it a churn he fell in?" But Ella Wheeler Wilcox was the finest poet who ever wrote a line. "So all-fired hot," she was. He had two books full of her things. He always wrote verses when he felt sort of lonely or Cora had been making him mad. "I write 'em about everything. To-day, at Retreat, now, I thought they'd keep us standin' there till kingdom come; an' when them bugles was blowin' the last part, that goes down an' up an' down again twice, an' then has a little wiggle to it, yer know, why, the words to it just popped into my head. Like this": And he sang:


Rhymes came easy when he felt like it. Sometimes he could write 'em when he felt extra good, too. It had to be one way or the other; he couldn't write a bit when things were just common. And he was awfully fond of Cora. He'd give up 'most anything he had if [561] she'd only say she'd marry him. But Hansen was a Q. M. sergeant an' put on dog, an' had reenlisted pay an' all, an' it cut a big figger with her. He wasn't worried about any of the other fellers; he could beat them out easy; but Hansen had him buffaloed. "An' I say, Sergeant, don't you tell Shorty I want ter get married or he won't do a blame thing for me."

"Sure thing," said Stone, "I won't tell him. But look here, kid; if I can work a pull for you,—an' I'll do the best I can,—will the lady have you, after all?"

"I think I can work it. I believe she's got a fondness for me, but she's that proud she wouldn't never marry nothin' but a sergeant; her father was chief trumpeter, yer know. Say, do please give me a recommend ter Shorty, an' I'll try mer very best ter do the work well an' be a good soldier."

"Glad to hear you say that; 'cause, I warn you, if you don't make a good non-com, you get busted. We can't run this troop on sentiment. Yes, I'll tell the captain I think you'll do for a corporal, if that'll ease your mind any; as for your getting a sergeancy, that's your own lookout later. It all depends on what sort you prove yourself to be. If it isn't the right sort, back you go."

"'I was a corporal wanst; I was rejuiced aftherwards,'" murmured Whitney. "Yes, Ted, I'll tell Shorty, too, that you'd make a good non-com. Will yo' leave yo' vuhses? I want to read 'em again. Goodnight. Next time I see Miss Cora, I'll make yo' ears bu'n." And, as Ryan departed with abject thanks, visibly cheered, Whitney stretched out his hand. "Speakin' of Kiplin', hand over that Lady-Friend yonder—want to learn her; she's a gem. Say, do yo' think Hansen's in earnest over that?"


"Ask me an' I say no. I know that Knudt down to the ground. He isn't the marryin' kind."

"Soldier of fortune, pyo' an' simple, he is," said Whitney; "always on the go; an' do yo' think he's goin' to pin himself down anywhere? Not he. He's only in this for the fun of the thing, an' it's a heap better fo' the little Cora girl if he stays out."

"I'm with you. He couldn't tie up to one girl, never in his bloomin' life. Between you an' me an' the lamp-post, he's goin' to the bad in more ways than one. 'Wine, women, an' song,' an' consequent mix-ups in his accounts. He's gettin' too crooked to stay quartermaster. Shorty's about decided to put him back in the line. Why, only yesterday he came over to me an' said, 'Say, make me out a afferdavid, will you? I lost my carbine.' I knew blame well he hadn't lost it, so I said right quick, 'That so? How much you get for it?'

"'Why,' he says, 'the man only gave me three-fif—. Say, Stone, you're darn smart! But help a feller out a bit, won't you? I had to have the money.'

"'No,' I said, 'I won't. You get out of here. I'm not goin' to perjure my soul so's you can have any three-fifteen, or three-fifty, or whatever it was.' The big yap! An', you can bet your life, if it had come down to his carbine, he's been doin' some tall monkeyin' with the accounts an' the troop fund. An' yet, with it all, I can't help liking him; there's so many good things about him. If he's your friend once, he's your friend for always—never knew such a man to stick. He's been awfully good to me when there's no call to be, an' helped me in lots of little ways."

"Yes," said Whitney; "an' the things he's seen, an' the places he's been, an' the messes [562] he's been mixed up in—an' he knows how to tell it, too. That takes with the little Cora girl, of co'se. Better fo' her, though, if he'd keep away. I like him all right fo' myself, but he's liable to be crooked anywheres. Little Teddy Ryan's clean strain, but he wouldn't show up to much advantage beside Knudt. Dixon goes out to-mo'w; I s'pose that's what yo're thinkin' of fo' the kid. Who gets the sergeancy? Decided?"

"Yep. Melody's jumped, an' Sullivan gets it, but I don't think Shorty's thought of who'd be corporal. I'll try an' fix it in the mornin'."

Accordingly, next morning Stone nominated the poet to be Corporal Ryan.

"What the——!" said Shorty. "I've no use for a poet, I was thinkin' of Terry—what?"

"Well, only that Terry drinks an' Ryan never does. I don't think his verse-makin' will interfere with his duties; it hasn't hitherto, an' if he doesn't make good, we can try some one else."

"Have it your own way, then. The way you run this troop is scandalous. There's not another T. C. in the army who gets bossed by his Top the way I do." And off went Shorty chuckling, having decided two days before that Ryan was to be corporal, and well knowing that Stone would defy even the colonel before he would run counter to an order given by his adored captain.

Two nights later Stone and Whitney were again together.

"Well," said Whitney, "I've just seen the new co'poral goin', in all his glory, to the little Cora girl's. He didn't take long to get his stripes an' chevrons."

"To get! What you talkin' about? He had 'em all ready. Stevens saw him take 'em out of his locker already fixed on a new suit."

"That's what I call befo'handed. But the little cuss is so blame happy over it all."

"Yes," said Stone; "happy, an' wooin' the Muse again, too. Hope he don't mix her up with his Cora. Will you look at this? And the length of it? It's an ode to the troop, an' he hasn't left out anybody. Wonder where he got the time to do it all! Read the first three verses an' then the last; they're all you need to waste your time on."

So Whitney read:

Come comrads come your carbeans load
While neer and far I sing my oad.
There never was a troop like owers
It does deserve all bueateous flowers.
Ower Captain in the army is the best
But he doesent give you any rest
And sergeants Stone and Whitny is very fine to,
The best sergeants who breth ever drew.
And now I come with unwiling pennence,
To tell you about ower 2 lootennence.
Lootenent Burns a Prints could be,
But Spurs isent neerly as educated as me.
So galopp on my gallent troop,
Let no one to a bob-tale stoop,
Its prayses sound from East to West
For all agree J troop is best.
Corporal T. Ryan
Poet Lariat of J troop
18th U. S. Cav.

"Lariat! Gee! Wonder he didn't put 'an' picket-pin.' The second line of that last verse is mighty ambiguous. Do you s'pose he means a hawse or a dishono'able discharge?"

"Don't know," said Stone. "An' look at the last two lines:

Its prayses sound from East to West
For all agree J troop is best.

Sounds like a soap advertisement to me. An' up there about the lieutenants. Wonder if an' 'unwiling pennence' meant a reluctant pen 'cause he didn't care to mention Spurs an' had to have a rhyme?"

"It's likely. But look yere, Jerry. Yo' an' I don't breathe. Our breath draws us."

"Pretty strong breath it must be, then."

"Hush, man! Yo' goin' to show these to Shorty?"

"I was thinkin' maybe he wouldn't like to think Ryan was still writin', now that he's a corporal."

"Ah, go on; show it. Shorty won't care."

And Shorty didn't. Only, after a delighted snort over the ode, he sent forth the order: "You tell him I say this has got to be the last. If I catch him writin' any more monkey-doodle verses, I'll bust him quick as a minute. If he wants to be a non-com in my troop, he's got to put his whole mind to it."

Ryan obeyed, and, unsaddling his Pegasus, set himself to work with such a will that as time went on he came to be one of the best non-coms in the troop, particularly where the instruction of recruits was concerned; for he seemed to have a special sympathy with them, and a knack of imparting the correct way to do things; His suit with Cora prospered, too, for she paid more attention to the corporal than she had to the private; but, being past grand mistress of the art of flirtation, she always contrived some little act or remark to chasten her lover's spirit and keep him sufficiently humble, as an offset [563] to any particular favoritism that might have uplifted his spirits; which manoeuver always successfully puzzled Teddy. "First she's all sweet as candy; next minute I get the throw-down." But he never despaired, and came back strongly on the rebound, inquiring periodically, "Say, Cora, you're goin' ter marry me when I get mer sergeancy, ain't yer?" And she would reply, laughing: "Yes, when you get to be a sergeant I'll marry yer; an' that'll be when the river catches fire."

Time wore on, and the summer drew to a close. Hansen was no longer the quartermaster-sergeant, so he was not such an impressive figure as he had been. One payday Captain Campbell instructed Stone to read the men a lecture on the sin of drunkenness. "Not that I mind a man's gettin' drunk so much, but when the whole troop goes on a booze, it's a blame sight too much of a good thing. We're not to have any such time in J barracks as we did last month. You tell 'em that, an' make it red-hot."

So Stone, translating liberally, read them a severe lecture, ending up with: "An' if any of you big yaps comes home drunk, don't care who he is, he gets put under arrest. Savvy? That's straight."

The troop paid honors to an ultimatum when it was paraded before them, and it was a straight-walking, sober crowd that rounded up at J barracks that night. But, shortly before reveille, sounds of song and hilarity disturbed the sleepers, and Stone was obliged to rise and place Sergeant Knudt Hansen under arrest. He had returned from town in an exceedingly talkative frame of mind, and was now tipsily enlightening his squad-room on the disgracefully small quantity of drinks that could be bought on a sergeant's pay.

"I hate to do it, old man," said Stone, "but I'll have to put you under arrest. You know what I said, and now you've gone an' done this deliberately."

"Aw right. 'Sh mer own fault—only 'sh bad exshample to 'resht shergeant before shquad-room o' privatshes; mosht demoralizin'."

"I'm sorry, Hansen, but I must do it. You are confined to quarters for two days." And Stone retired, grieved that Hansen, of all men, should have been the one to suffer for the sake of an example.

"Gee!" said Brown, "I never thought Stone'd do that!"

"Wouldn't he, though?" rejoined Ryan. "You bet your boots, a sergeant looks all same buck to the Top."

"Hansen'll lay it up to him, you see," said Hickey, looking at the big man now sprawled out on his bunk in noisy slumber.

"Not on yer life, Dope," said Brown. "Hansen's too much sense fer that. He'll see the Top's side of it." And so it proved, for, after a few half-laughs, half-apologetic words from his first sergeant, Hansen agreed that there had been no other course to pursue.

"And, anyway," he said, with a grin, "I'll get a goot rest, yess. It iss about time I loafed some. I shall sleep."

Now, sleep was all very well for that day and part of the next, but by the afternoon of the second day Sergeant Knudt Hansen's active mind and body became saturated with rest and extremely bored. He had read everything he could lay his hands on, even including a vagrant copy of "Edgeworth's Moral Tales" that had wandered, Heaven knows how, into the troop library. While affording him food for sarcastically profane comment in the slimy sediment of at least six different languages, this estimable work had, if anything, increased his ennui. His body began actually to ache for action of some sort; almost anything would do at a pinch.

Strolling disconsolately through the hall, whom should he chance to see but Corporal Ryan, who was in charge of quarters for that day, busily cleaning his saber (for the next day was Saturday), and singing cheerfully, "'You're in the army now.'"

"Let up on that musical, you gamin; it iss not to the ear pleasant," growled Hansen. Besides his other grievance that Ryan's cheerfulness flicked on the raw, the little corporal had cut out the big sergeant several times lately with Cora.

"Ah, g'wan an' soak yer swelled head!" retorted Ryan respectfully, and, bending to his work, began to carol forth the delectable ballad of the "Rubber Dolly." Hansen advanced into the room.

"See here, Meester Freshie, that iss no way to speak to your sergeant! Oh, yess; I am knowing what you mean. You t'ank, because Cora go with you a leetle, you can come it ofer me here, too—not?"

"You leave her name out o' that," said Teddy, straightening up and reddening. "She's got nothin' ter do with it, an' you leave her be."

"Oho! The leetle man tank she iss so sweet and innocent a leetle girl, I am not fit to speak of her—yess? Why, she—" And Hansen started in to enumerate in no very choice language certain fabricated insinuations against the character of the popular Miss Cora Sheean. But they were barely out of his mouth before Teddy Ryan's fist was in it. Blindly the big [564] Swede struck back, catching Ryan on the nose and drawing the blood; and then they started in in earnest.

"Hello, hello! What's all this?" demanded Captain Campbell, popping in on the scene like a vibrant little jack-in-the-box. Hansen drew off. "He used language to me, sir, and I am hiss sergeant; it iss him that I am teaching hiss place," he explained sullenly.

"But, Cap'en," cried Ryan, "he said—he said—I can't tell yer what he said," he finished slowly.

"Well, I can tell what I'll say, an' pretty blame quick! Hansen, you're a bully, that's what. Next time tackle some one nearer your size; an' you get three days' confinement. Ryan (for heaven's sake get a handkerchief an' wipe your nose), I'll give you a day, too; for fightin' your sergeant an' for gettin' into a fight when you're left in charge of quarters." Thus it was that the Captain ended the fight, but the consequences stretched far beyond him and were in the hands of Cora.

"You oughter been ter J Troop yesterday," quoth Corporal Brown the next evening, while sitting on Miss Cora Sheean's front step. "Hansen an' Ryan had a fight. Hansen said somepin', an' Ryan went fer him, an' they had it hot. Nobody was by, an' Ryan won't tell, so we don't know what Hansen said."

Cora was staring at him with eyes wide with concern. "My Lord!" she gasped, "is he hurt?"

"Naw, Hansen ain't hurt none. He's a fighter, an' Ryan ain't big enough ter——"

"Stupid! I mean Teddy Ryan. Is he hurt?"

"Naw; only a black eye an' a nose-bleed. Cap'en stopped 'em before Hansen had a chance ter do much."

"Thank Gawd!" sighed Cora, sinking back in relief. "Look here, Mr. Brown, will you do me a favor? Will you tell Mr. Ryan that if he can run over here early to-morrow mornin', I got somethin' I want ter give him?"

When the bearer of tidings had departed, Cora sat up very straight, with tightly clasped hands, repeating vacantly, with an ambiguous mixture of pronouns, "He might er killed him—he might er killed him!" For to her the fight between these men had only one meaning; intuitively she knew herself to be the cause. "He fought for me," she said, "I know he did. An' I want Teddy Ryan. I want him!"

Next morning she peeped out of the window and watched the approach of the sturdy, honest-faced little corporal before she went to open the door for him herself.

"You wanted ter see me?" he said, fingering his hat shyly.

"Yes; I—I heard you'd been in a fight. I—I wanted to read you a lecture. That's an awful eye you got, Mr. Ryan!"

"I'm sorry you don't like it, Miss Cora, but I had to; you'd have wanted me to if you'd known."

"Oh!" cried Cora, and her heart whispered: "Then it was about me, just as I thought, and the dear won't tell me." But aloud she said, "It ain't ever right to fight, an' I didn't think it of you, Mr. Ryan."

"I had to," he repeated awkwardly, and turned away. "Is that all you had ter say ter me? I must go back; but I thought Brown said that you had somethin' ter give me."

"Yes," said Cora in a very scared, small voice. "I have—me!"

"Cora! Do you mean it, girlie? Do you really mean it?" And two short but strong arms went round her. "But I ain't a sergeant yet, nor won't be for ever so long."

"Oh, Teddy!" said Cora, and hid her face right over his second button, "I ain't lovin' yer chevrons; I'm lovin' you."

Shorty received the joyous news in ominous silence. "When's the weddin'?" he demanded abruptly.

"Oh, sometime next month, I guess," said the proud husband-to-be.

"Nothin' of the sort. You get married next week; do you hear? No mañana about this business; get it over as quick as possible. You'll be worthless to me for long enough, as it is. A great poet you are! The whole thing was nothin' but the girl, just as I told Sergeant Stone."

So J Troop had a wedding, and the whole troop turned out in force, brave in full dress, from Shorty down to the latest junior rook—the only member not present being Sergeant Hansen, who had no interest in the proceedings. And the punch flowed so freely and so strongly that every man who tried to enlighten the absent one told a totally different story.

Spring had come again at Fort Hotchkiss, and one soft evening, as Stone and Whitney were sitting on the porch, Sergeant Theodore Ryan, now proudly sporting his three chevrons, came up to them, smiling a wide-mouthed, foolish smile.

"Well, what's up, hombre?"

"Recruits fer J Troop—over to my quarters."

"Recruits! You don't mean to say there's two of 'em?"

Ryan nodded. "Twins," he assented beamingly.

"'Heaven meant things to go in twos, Cora,'" quoted Whitney.


Copyright, 1908, by Ellen Terry (Mrs. Carew)

One of the best "audiences" that actor or actress could wish for was Mr. Gladstone. He used often to come and see the play at the Lyceum from a little seat in the O. P. entrance, and he nearly always arrived five minutes before the curtain went up. One night I thought he would catch cold—it was a bitter night—and I lent him my white scarf.

He could always give his whole great mind to the matter in hand. This made him one of the most comfortable people to talk to that I have ever met.

I contrasted his punctuality, when he came to see "King Lear," with the unpunctuality of Lord Randolph Churchill, who came to see the play the very next night with a party of men friends and arrived when the first act was over. Lord Randolph was, all the same, a great admirer of Henry Irving. He confessed to him once that he had never read a play of Shakespeare's in his life, but that after seeing Henry act he thought it was time to begin. A very few days later he astonished us with his complete and masterly knowledge of at least half a dozen of the plays. He was a perfect person to meet at a dinner or supper—brilliantly entertaining, and queerly simple. He struck one as being able to master any subject that interested him, and, once a Shakespeare performance at the Lyceum had fired his interest, there was nothing about that play, or about past performances of it, which he did not know. His beautiful wife, now Mrs. George Cornwallis West, wore a dress at supper one evening which gave me the idea for the Lady Macbeth dress, afterwards painted by Sargent. The bodice of Lady Randolph's gown was trimmed all over with green beetles' wings. I told Mrs. Comyns Carr about it, and she remembered it when she designed my Lady Macbeth dress.

The present Princess of Wales, when she was Princess May of Teck, used often to come to the Lyceum with her mother, Princess Mary, and to supper in the Beefsteak Room. In 1891 she chose to come as her birthday treat, which was very flattering to us.

A record of those Beefsteak Room suppers would be a pleasant thing to possess. I have such a bad memory. I see faces round the table—the face of Liszt among them—but when I try to think when it was, or how it was, the faces vanish. Singers were often among Henry Irving's guests in the Beefsteak Room—Patti, Melba, Calvé, Albani, and many others.

I once watched Patti sing from behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. My impression from that point of view was that she was actually a bird. She could not help singing. Her head, flattened on top, her nose, tilted downwards like a lovely little beak, her throat, swelling and swelling as it poured out that extraordinary volume of sound, all made me think that she must have been a nightingale before she was transmigrated into a human being. I imagine that Tetrazzini, whom I have not yet heard, must have this bird-like quality.

The dear, kind-hearted Melba has always been a good friend of mine. The first time I met her was in New York at a supper party, and she had a bad cold, and therefore a frightful speaking voice for the moment. I shall never forget the shock it gave me. Thank goodness, I very soon [566] afterwards heard her again when she hadn't a cold, and she spoke as exquisitely as she sang. She was one of the first to offer her services for my Jubilee performance at Drury Lane, but unfortunately she was ill when the day came and could not sing. She had her dresses in "Faust" copied from mine by Mrs. Nettleship, and I came across a note from her the other day, thanking me for having introduced her to "an angel." Another note sent round to me during a performance of "King Arthur" in Boston I shall always prize:

"You are sublime, adorable, ce soir.... I wish I were a millionaire—I would throw all my millions at your feet. If there is another procession, tell the stage-manager to see those imps of Satan don't chew gum. It looks awful.

Love. Melba."

I think at that time it was the solemn procession of mourners following the dead body of Elaine who were chewing gum, but we always had to be prepared for it among our American "supers," whether they were angels or devils or courtiers.

In "Faust" we "carried" about six leading devils for the Brocken scene and recruited the forty others from local talent in the different towns that we visited. Their general instructions were to throw up their arms and look fierce at certain music cues. One night I noticed a girl going through the most terrible contortions with her jaw, and thought I must say something. "That's right, dear. Very good, but don't exaggerate."

"How?" was all the answer that I got; and the girl continued to make faces as before. I was contemplating a second attempt, when Templeton, the lime-light man, who had heard me speak to her, touched me gently on the shoulder. "Beg pardon, miss, she don't mean it. She's only chewing gum."

An "Alice in Wonderland" Letter

One of my earliest friends among literary folk was Mr. Charles Dodgson—or Lewis Carroll—or "Alice in Wonderland." Ah, now you know what I am talking about. I can't remember when I didn't know him. I think he must have seen Kate act as a child, and having given her "Alice"—he always gave his young friends "Alice" at once by way of establishing pleasant relations—he made progress as the years went on through the whole family. Finally he gave "Alice" to my children.

He was a splendid theatre-goer, and took the keenest interest in all the Lyceum productions, frequently writing to me to point out slips in the dramatist's logic which only he would ever have noticed. He did not even spare Shakespeare. I think he wrote these letters for fun, as some people make puzzles, anagrams, or limericks.

Mr. Dodgson's kindness to children was wonderful. He really loved them and put himself out for them. The children he knew who wanted to go on the stage were those who came under my observation, and nothing could have been more touching than his ceaseless industry on their behalf. This letter to my sister Floss is characteristic of his "Wonderland" style when writing to children:

"My dear Florence:

"Ever since that heartless piece of conduct of yours (I allude to the affair of the Moon and the blue silk gown), I have regarded you with a gloomy interest, rather than with any of the affection of former years—so that the above epithet 'dear' must be taken as conventional only, or perhaps may be more fitly taken in the sense in which we talk of a 'dear' bargain, meaning to imply how much it has cost us; and who shall say how many sleepless nights it has cost me to endeavour to unravel (a most appropriate verb) that 'blue silk gown'?

"Will you please explain to Tom about that photograph of the family group which I promised him? Its history is an instructive one, as illustrating my habits of care and deliberation. In 1867 the picture was promised him, and an entry made in my book. In 1869, or thereabouts, I mounted the picture on a large card, and packed it in brown paper. In 1870, or 1871, or thereabouts, I took it with me to Guildford, that it might be handy to take with me when I went up to town. Since then I have taken it two or three times to London, and on each occasion (having forgotten to deliver it to him) I brought it back again.

"This was because I had no convenient place in London to leave it in. But now I have found such a place. Mr. Dubourg has kindly taken charge of it—so that it is now much nearer to its future owner than it has been for seven years. I quite hope, in the course of another year or two, to be able to remember to bring it to your house; or perhaps Mr. Dubourg may be calling even sooner than that and take it with him. You will wonder why I ask you to tell him instead of writing myself. The obvious reason is that you will be able, from sympathy, to put my delay in the most favourable light; to make him see that, as hasty puddings are not the best of puddings, so hasty judgments are not the best of judgments, and that he ought to be content to wait even another seven years for his picture, and to sit 'like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.'




"This quotation, by the way, is altogether a misprint. Let me explain it to you. The passage originally stood, 'They sit, like patients on the Monument, smiling at Greenwich.' In the next edition 'Greenwich' was printed short, 'Greenh,' and so got gradually altered into 'Grief.' The allusion, of course, is to the celebrated Dr. Jenner, who used to send all his patients to sit on the top of the Monument (near London Bridge) to inhale fresh air, promising them that, when they were well enough, they should go to 'Greenwich Fair.' So, of course, they always looked out towards Greenwich, and sat smiling to think of the treat in store for them. A play was written on the subject of their inhaling the fresh air, and was for some time attributed to him (Shakespeare), but it is certainly not in his style. It was called 'The Wandering Air,' and was lately revived at the Queen's Theatre. The custom of sitting on the Monument was given up when Dr. Jenner went mad,


Copyrighted by the London Stereoscopic Co.



and insisted on it that the air was worse up there, and that the lower you went the more airy it became. Hence he always called those little yards, below the pavement, outside the kitchen windows, 'the kitchen airier,' a name that is still in use.


Copyrighted by W. & D. Downey



"All this information you are most welcome to use, the next time you are in want of something to talk about. You may say you learned it from 'a distinguished etymologist,' which is perfectly true, since anyone who knows me by sight can easily distinguish me from all other etymologists.

"What parts are you and Polly now playing?

"Believe me to be (conventionally)

"Yours affectionately,
C. Dodgson.."

"Sentimental Tommy" Writes Himself

No two men could be more unlike than Mr. Dodgson and Mr. J. M. Barrie, yet there are more points of resemblance than "because there's a 'b' in both!" If "Alice in Wonderland" is the children's classic of the library, and one perhaps even more loved by the grown-up children than by the others, "Peter Pan" is the children's stage classic, and here again elderly children are the most devoted admirers. I am a very old child, nearly old enough to be a "beautiful great-grandmother" (a part that I am sure Mr. Barrie could write for me), and I go and see "Peter" year after year and love him more each time.



There is one advantage in being a grown-up child—you are not afraid of the pirates or the crocodile.

I first became an ardent lover of Mr. Barrie through "Sentimental Tommy" and I simply had to write and tell him how hugely I had enjoyed it. In reply I received this letter from Tommy himself:

"Dear Miss Ellen Terry:

"I just wonder at you. I noticed that Mr. Barrie, the author (so-called), and his masterful wife had a letter they wanted to conceal from me, so I got hold of it, and it turned out to be from you, and not a line to me in it! If you like the book, it is me you like, not him, and it is to me you should send your love, not to him. Corp thinks, however, that you did not like to make the first overtures, and if that is the explanation, I beg herewith to send you my warm love (don't mention this to Elspeth), and to say that I wish you would come and have a game with us in the Den (Don't let on to Grizel that I invited you). The first moment I saw you, I said to myself 'This is the kind I like,' and while the people round about me were only thinking of your acting, I was wondering which would be the best way of making you my willing slave, and I beg to say that I believe I have 'found a way,' for most happily the very ones I want most to lord it over are the ones who are least able to resist me.

"We should have ripping fun. You would be Jean MacGregor, captive in the Queen's Bower, but I would climb up at the peril of my neck to rescue you, and you would faint in my strong arms; and wouldn't Grizel get a turn when she came upon you and me whispering sweet nothings in the Lovers' Walk. I think it advisable to say in writing that I would only mean them as nothings (because Grizel is really my one), but so long as they were sweet, what does that matter (at the time)? And, besides, you could love me genuinely, and I would carelessly kiss your burning tears away.

"Corp is a bit fidgetty about it, because he says I have two to love me already, but I feel confident that I can manage more than two.

"Trusting to see you at the Cuttle Well on Saturday when the eight o'clock bell is ringing,

I am, Your Indulgent Commander,

"T. Sandys."

"P. S.—Can you bring some of the Lyceum armour with you, and two hard-boiled eggs?"

Henry Irving once thought of producing Mr. Barrie's play "The Professor's Love Story." He was delighted with the first act, but when he read the rest he did not think the play would do for the Lyceum. It was the same with many plays which were proposed for us. The ideas sounded all right, but as a rule the treatment was too thin, and the play, even if good, on too small a scale for the theatre.

Mrs. Craigie's Great Promise

One of our playwrights from whom I always expected a great play was Mrs. Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes). A little one-act play of hers, "Journeys End in Lovers' Meeting," in which I first acted with Johnston Forbes Robertson and Terriss at a special matinée in 1894, brought about a friendship between us that lasted until her death. Of her it could indeed be said with poignant truth, "She should have died hereafter." Her powers had not nearly reached their limit.



From the painting by Miss Maud Porter


Lent by the Press Picture Agency.



Pearl Craigie had a man's intellect, a woman's wit and apprehension. "Bright," as the Americans say, she always managed to be even in the dullest company, and she knew how to be silent at times, to give the "other fellow" a chance. Her executive ability was extraordinary. Wonderfully tolerant, she could at the same time not easily forgive any meanness or injustice that seemed to her deliberate. Hers was a splendid spirit.

I shall always bless that little play of hers which first brought me near to so fine a creature. I rather think that I never met any one who gave out so much as she did. To me, at least, she gave, gave all the time. I hope she was not exhausted after our long "confabs." I was most certainly refreshed and replenished.


Photograph by the London Autotype Co.



The first performance of "Journeys End in Lovers' Meeting" she watched from a private box with the Princess of Wales (our present Queen) and Henry Irving. She came round afterwards just burning with enthusiasm and praising me for work which was really not good. She spoiled me for other women.

Her best play was, I think, "The Ambassador," in which Violet Vanbrugh, who is now Mrs. Bouchier, played a pathetic part very beautifully, and made a great advance in her profession. There was some idea of Pearl Craigie writing a play for Henry Irving and me, but it never came to anything. There was a play on the same subject as "The School for Saints," and another about Guizot.

Feb. 11, 1898.

"My very dear Nell:

"I have an idea for a real four-act comedy (in these matters nothing daunts me!), founded on a charming little episode in the private lives of Princess Lieven (the famous Russian ambassadress), and the celebrated Guizot, the French Prime Minister and historian. I should have to veil the identity slightly, and also make the story a husband-and-wife story; it would be more amusing this way. It is comedy from [572] beginning to end. Sir Henry would make a splendid Guizot, and you the ideal Madame de Lieven. Do let me talk it over with you. 'The School for Saints' was, as it were, a born biography. But the Lieven-Guizot idea is a play.

"Yours ever affectionately,

"Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie."

In another letter she writes:

"I am changing all my views about so-called 'literary' dialogue. It means pedantry. The great thing is to be lively."

"Captain Brassbound's Conversion"

It has always been a reproach against Henry Irving in some mouths that he neglected the modern English playwright; and of course the reproach included me to a certain extent. I was glad, then, to show that I could act in the new plays when Mr. Barrie wrote "Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire" for me, and after some years' delay I was able to play in Mr. Bernard Shaw's "Captain Brassbound's Conversion." Of course I could not have played in "little" plays of this school at the Lyceum with Henry Irving, even if I had wanted to; they are essentially plays for small theatres and a single "star."



Copyrighted by Window & Grove


In Mr. Shaw's "A Man of Destiny" there were two good parts, and Henry, at my request, considered it, although it was always difficult to fit a one-act play into the Lyceum bill. For reasons of his own Henry never produced Mr. Shaw's play, and there was a good deal of fuss made about it at the time, 1897. But ten years ago Mr. Shaw was not so well known as he is now, and the so-called "rejection" was probably of use to him as an advertisement. "A Man of Destiny" has been produced since, but without any great success. I wonder if Henry and I could have done more with it?


Copyrighted by Window & Grove


At this time Mr. Shaw and I frequently corresponded. It began by my writing to ask him as musical critic of the Saturday Review, to tell me frankly what he thought of the chances of a composer-singer friend of mine. He answered "characteristically," and we developed a perfect fury for writing to each other. Sometimes the letters were on business, sometimes they were not, but always his were entertaining, and mine were, I suppose, "good copy," as he drew the character of Lady Cecily Waynflete in "Brassbound" entirely from my letters. He never met me until after the play was written. In 1902 he sent me this ultimatum:—

"3rd April, 1902.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw's compliments to Miss Ellen Terry.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw has been approached by Mrs. Langtry with a view to the immediate and splendid production of 'Captain Brassbound's Conversion.'


"Mr. Bernard Shaw, with the last flash of a trampled-out love, has repulsed Mrs. Langtry with a petulance bordering on brutality.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw has been actuated in this ungentlemanly and unbusinesslike course by an angry desire to seize Miss Ellen Terry by the hair and make her play Lady Cecily.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw would be glad to know whether Miss Ellen Terry wishes to play Martha at the Lyceum instead.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw will go to the length of keeping a minor part open for Sir Henry Irving when 'Faust' fails, if Miss Ellen Terry desires it.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw lives in daily fear of Mrs. Langtry recovering sufficiently from her natural resentment of his ill manners to re-open the subject.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw begs Miss Ellen Terry to answer this letter.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw is looking for a new cottage or house in the country and wants advice on the subject.

"Mr. Bernard Shaw craves for the sight of Miss Ellen Terry's once familiar handwriting."



Isn't it Horace who says that there is nothing to prevent the man who laughs from speaking the truth? I think I have heard so, and I always remember it coupled with the name of Bernard Shaw. He laughs, but he speaks the truth.[11] The first time he came to my house I was not present, but a young American lady, [574] who had long adored him from the other side of the Atlantic, took my place as hostess. I had to be at the theatre, as usual, but I took great pains to have everything looking nice; I spent a long time putting out my best blue china, and ordered a splendid dinner, quite forgetting that the honoured guest usually dined off a Plasmon biscuit and a bean.

Mr. Shaw— a Gentle Creature with "Brainstorms"

Mr. Shaw read "Arms and the Man" to my young American friend, Miss Sally Fairchild, without even going into the dining-room where the blue china was spread out to delight his eye. My daughter, Edy, was present at the reading, and appeared so much absorbed in some embroidery and paid the reader so few compliments about his play, that he expressed the opinion that she behaved as if she had been married to him for twenty years.

The first time I ever saw Mr. Shaw in the flesh—I hope he will pardon me such an anti-vegetarian expression—was when he took his call after the first production of "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" by the Stage Society. He was quite unlike what I had imagined from his letters.


By permission of Frederick H. Evans



When at last I was able to play in "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" I found Bernard Shaw wonderfully patient at rehearsal. I look upon him as a good, kind, gentle creature whose "brainstorms" are due to the Irishman's love of a fight; they never spring from malice or anger. It doesn't answer to take Bernard Shaw seriously. He is not a man of convictions; that is one of the charms of his plays, to me, at least. One never knows how the cat is really jumping. But it jumps. Bernard Shaw is alive, with nine lives, like the cat.

Shakespeare's Rabelaisian Mood

On Whit Monday, 1902, I received a telegram from Mr. Tree saying that he was coming down to Winchelsea to see me on "an important matter of business." I was at the time suffering from considerable depression about the future.

The Stratford-on-Avon visit had inspired me with the feeling that there was life in the old 'un yet, and had distracted my mind from the [575] strangeness of no longer being at the Lyceum permanently with Henry Irving. But there seemed to be nothing ahead, except two matinées a week with him at the Lyceum, to be followed by a provincial tour in which I was only to play twice a week, as Henry's chief attraction was to be "Faust." This sort of "dowager" engagement did not tempt me. Besides, I hated the idea of drawing a large salary and doing next to no work. So when Mr. Tree proposed that I should play Mrs. Page (Mrs. Kendal being Mrs. Ford) in "Merry Wives of Windsor" at His Majesty's, it was only natural that I should accept the offer joyfully. I telegraphed to Henry Irving, asking him if he had any objection to my playing at His Majesty's. He answered: "Quite willing if proposed arrangements about matinées are adhered to."

I have thought it worth while to give the facts about this engagement, because so many people seemed at the time and afterwards to think that I had treated Henry Irving badly by going on playing in another theatre, and that theatre one where a certain rivalry with the Lyceum as regards Shakespearian productions had grown up. There was absolutely no foundation for the rumors that my "desertion" caused further estrangement between Henry Irving and me.

"Heaven give you many, many merry days and nights," he telegraphed to me on the first night, and after that first night, the jolliest that I ever saw, he wrote delighting in my success. It was a success, there was no doubt about it. Some people accused the "Merry Wives" of rollicking and "mafficking" overmuch, but these were the people who forgot that we were acting in a farce, and that farce is farce, even when Shakespeare is the author. The audience at first used to seem rather amazed. This thwacking, rough-and-tumble, Rabelaisian horse-play Shakespeare? Impossible! But as the evening went on we used to capture even the most civilized, and force them to return to a simple Jacobian frame of mind.

In my later career I think I have had no success like this. Letters rained on me—yes, even love-letters, as if, to quote Mrs. Page, it were still "the holiday-time of my beauty." As I would always rather make an audience laugh than see them weep, it may be guessed how much I enjoyed the hearty laughter at His Majesty's during the run of the madcap absurdity of "Merry Wives of Windsor."




On the nineteenth of July, 1902, I acted at the Lyceum for the last time, although I did not know it then. These last Lyceum days were very sad. The reception given by Henry to the Indian princes who were in England for the Coronation was the last flash of the splendid hospitality which had for so many years been one of the glories of the theatre.

During my provincial tour with Henry Irving in the autumn of this year I thought long and anxiously over the proposition that I should play in "Dante." I heard the play read, and saw no possible part for me in it. I refused a large sum of money to go to America with Henry Irving, because I could not consent to play a part even worse than the one that I had played in "Robespierre." As things turned out, although "Dante" did fairly well at Drury Lane, the Americans would have none of it, and Henry had to fall back upon his repertoire.

Ibsen's "Vikings"

Having made the decision against "Dante," I began to wonder what I should do. My partnership with Henry Irving was definitely broken; most inevitably and naturally "dissolved." There were many roads open to me. I chose the one which was, from a financial point of view, madness. Instead of going to America, and earning £12,000, I decided to take a theatre with my son, and produce plays in conjunction with him.

I hope it will be remembered, when I am spoken of by the youngest critics after my death as a "Victorian" actress, lacking in enterprise, an actress belonging to the "old school," that I produced a spectacular play of Ibsen's in a manner which possibly outstripped the scenic ideas of to-day by a century; of which at any rate the orthodox theatre managers of the present age would not have dreamed. At the Imperial Theatre, where I spent my financially unfortunate season in April, 1903, I gave my son a free hand. Naturally I am not inclined to criticise his methods. When I worked with him I found him far from unpractical. It was the modern theatre which was unpractical when he was in it. It was wrongly designed, wrongly built. We had to disembowel the Imperial behind scenes before he could even start, and then the great height of the proscenium made his lighting lose all its value.

When his idea of dramatic significance clashed with Ibsen's, strange things would happen. Mr. Bernard Shaw, though impressed by Ted's work and the beauty that he brought on to the stage of the Imperial, wrote to me that the symbolism of the first act of "Vikings" was Dawn, youth rising with the morning sun, reconciliation, rich gifts, brightness, lightness, pleasant feelings, peace. On to this sunlit scene stalks Hiördis, a figure of gloom, revenge, of feud eternal, of relentless hatred and uncompromising unforgetfulness of wrong.

At the Imperial, said Mr. Shaw, the curtain rose on profound gloom. When you could see anything, you saw eld and severity—old men with white hair personating the gallant young sons of Ormulf; everywhere murky cliffs and shadowy spears, melancholy, darkness. Into this symbolic night enter, in a blaze of limelight, a fair figure robed in complete fluffy white fur, a gay and bright Hiördis, with a timid manner and hesitating utterance! The last items in the topsy-turviness of Ted's practical significance were entirely my fault.

I singed my wings a good deal in the Imperial limelight, which, although our audiences complained of the darkness on the stage, was the most serious strain on my purse. But a few provincial tours did something towards restoring some of the money that I had lost in management.

On one of these tours I produced "The Good Hope," a play by the Dutch dramatist, Heijermans, dealing with life in a fishing village. This was almost as new a departure for me as my season at the Imperial. The play was essentially modern in construction and development—full of action, but the action of incident rather than the action of stage situation. It had no "star" parts, but every part was good, and the gloom of the story was made bearable by the beauty of the atmosphere, of the sea, which played a bigger part in it than any of the visible characters. For the first time I played an old woman, a very homely old peasant woman, too. I flattered myself that I was able to assume a certain roughness and solidity of the peasantry in "The Good Hope," but although I stumped about heavily in large sabots, the critics said that I walked like a fairy instead of like a fisherwoman.

My last Shakespearian part was Hermione in "A Winter's Tale." By some strange coincidence it fell to me to play it exactly fifty years after I had played the little boy Mamilius in the same play. I sometimes think that Fate is the best of stage-managers. Hermione is a gravely beautiful part, well-balanced, difficult to act, but certain in its appeal. If only it were possible to put on the play in a simple way and arrange the scenes to knit up the ravelled interest, I should hope to play Hermione again.




"C'est le crime qui fait la honte, et non pas l'échafaud."

The clock in the public gardens outside the Conciergerie had just struck the half hour. Richard, the prison warder, a rough old veteran whose patient face wore that air of tolerant kindliness which stamps the features of all whose duty it is to be the daily witness of human suffering, stirred uneasily in his hard wooden chair. Somewhere in the huge building a gate clanged noisily, and the old man opened his eyes with the guilty start of the daydreamer and looked expectantly round towards the door.

The room in which he sat, with its simple wooden bed, its plain deal table in the center, its squalid jug and basin in the corner, was but one of a score or so of similar cells in the old Conciergerie prison. To Richard it had always seemed a dingy apartment enough, but even to his accustomed eye, as it fell upon the little white linen bonnet which hung from a peg beside the bed and looked so singularly out of place amid its surroundings, the gloom had never appeared so deep and joyless as it did upon this warm evening of July, in that time of bloodshed, of passion, and of terror, that sinister summer of 1793. The dazzling light which flooded the stone courtyard outside seemed reluctant to force its way through the high barred window of this dingy cage, as if timid of intruding its brilliance upon a scene whose atmosphere was already clouded by the shadow of death.

"Half-past five," said Richard to himself, with a yawn. "My little captive will soon be back."

He glanced up at the few simple garments that lay neatly folded on a low shelf beneath the window. "Poor little soul!" he murmured. "She was surely created for sunnier scenes than this! But there," he added, after a moment's reflection, "justice can't afford to make distinctions! Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, we all suffer alike—when we get found out!"

Richard's reverie was interrupted by a loud knock at the door, which was immediately flung open, and a short, middle-aged man, dressed almost entirely in faded black, entered the room.

The newcomer closed the door behind him with a swift, sinuous movement and, turning noiselessly, confronted the startled veteran with a malevolent expression in his small, beady eyes.

Richard could not conceal his astonishment.

"The Deputy Chabot!" he exclaimed, with an air of surprise.

"It is indeed the Deputy Chabot," replied the other.

The warder rose awkwardly to his feet.

"I am very sorry," he said apologetically, "but the prison regulations do not allow admittance to the public. It is against the rules." He crossed to the door as though to open it. With a quick gesture the Deputy stopped him.

"I am not of the public," he said in a pompous voice. "I am above regulations." He took a paper from the pocket of his coat. "See here, I have a pass signed by the Police Commissioner." And he handed the paper to Richard.

With great difficulty the old man retrieved a large pair of horn spectacles from his forehead and adjusted them on the very tip of his nose.

"'Admit Citizen Chabot,'" he read, spelling out each word laboriously, "'Deputy of the Department of Loir-et-Cher, member of the Legislative Assembly ... um ... um ...; signed Guellard, Police Commissioner.' That seems correct enough," he added, as he re-folded the document and handed it back to its owner.

The Deputy laughed shortly. "As you see," he said, "your regulations are of no great value where a man of my position is concerned."




Richard still hesitated. "Perhaps you are not aware that this is the cell of the prisoner, Charlotte Corday."

"The criminal, Charlotte Corday?" corrected the other. "Yes, I am perfectly aware. I have just come from her trial, where I spent a very dull afternoon, and wasted much valuable time."

"You were at the trial?" exclaimed the warder, with a fresh note of anxiety in his voice. "Then you can tell me, citizen. What has happened?"

"What has happened?" repeated the Deputy scornfully. "The only thing that could possibly have happened, I am thankful to say. Justice has been done. Marat's, the martyr Marat's death will be avenged. The woman who struck so foul a blow at liberty and the Constitution has been sentenced!" He walked up and down the narrow cell in his excitement. Suddenly, stopping short in front of the old man, "She dies on the scaffold this evening," he ended in a quiet voice of triumph.

Richard sank heavily into a chair. A troubled look came over his face.

"Ah, I am sorry," he said, after a pause. "The wife will be sorry, too," he added thoughtfully, "and my little boy, my little Jean, he will be sorry. The wife has taken a great fancy to this Charlotte Corday," he explained; "and little Jean, he thinks the world of her. But there, she spoils him," he continued apologetically. "Well, well, citizen, I am indeed sorry."

Chabot had not moved during the old man's speech. "You are sorry for a murderess who receives her just deserts?" he asked.

"I am sorry for a lovely woman," replied the warder. "I am an old veteran of the Conciergerie," he went on. "I have had many prisoners pass through my hands; and I judge them by what they are, not by what they may have done; not by what they may be accused of doing.

"I know nothing of this Charlotte Corday," he continued, "nothing beyond what I have seen of her during the last few days. I have never questioned her as to her crime, nor as to her reasons for committing it. That is none of my business," with a shrug of his shoulders. "My duty is to keep her here, to take care that she does not escape, to see that she has whatever is necessary—which is little enough," he added with a smile. "I judge people as I find them; and I have found this girl gentle and well-behaved. The wife likes her, and my little Jean worships the ground she treads on. She gives me no trouble; she is more than grateful for any small kindness; and Heaven knows there is not much that I can do."

The old man was quite out of breath. He crossed over to the window, mopping his brow as he went.

"I see," said the Deputy bitterly; "like the rest of them, you are won over by her beauty!"

"I am too old for that," replied the warder. "I am won over by her charm, if you will; by her sweet nature. And the wife, too, and little Jean; and he is a good judge of character, I can tell you, is little Jean."

Chabot turned away with an expression of disgust.

"She is a devil," he exclaimed, with a tone of intense hatred in his voice, "she is a fiend in human form!"

Richard thought for a moment before replying.

"You may be right, citizen," he said, "but to me, at any rate, she seems a quiet, modest girl enough; and my little Jean, he——"

"Modest!" interrupted Chabot. "Bah! is it modest to force one's way into a man's bedroom? Is murder, cold-blooded murder, a practice that commends itself to modest persons?" He turned round with an angry snarl. "I tell you," he said, "she is a devil!"

The old warder shrugged his shoulders, as he was wont to do when his powers of argument failed him—and argument was not his strong point.

"Well," he stoutly reiterated, "I am sorry for her, nevertheless. She is only a girl; so young, so frail, so delicate——"

"Delicate!" burst in the indignant Deputy. "Why, after she had murdered Marat—and," he smiled sarcastically, "with what delicacy she performed the deed, eh?—when the porter, Laurent Basse, rushed in to seize her, it was only after twice striking her with a chair that he was able to overpower her. Oh, she is a delicate creature, truly!"

For the moment Richard seemed nonplussed.

"Well," he replied with determination, "I would not strike any woman with a chair myself. Ask the wife whether I would! Not—" he added, as though to explain this apparent idiosyncrasy of his—"not while the good God has given me two hands for the purpose."


There was a brief silence, during which Richard's glance fell upon the few pathetic garments so carefully folded upon the narrow bed.

"So my poor little prisoner is to die today," he murmured sadly.

"Yes," answered the Deputy, "and I am glad of it. There is no room in France for such vermin. They must be exterminated, and the sooner the better. I know what I am saying, and I tell you that this woman Corday is a dangerous character. She has others behind her. She is but an accomplice. I am here this evening," he explained, "to try and find out from her the names of her confederates. She would give no satisfactory replies this afternoon, but perhaps, now that the fear of death is upon her, we may be more successful."




"Well," affirmed the veteran, with the stubbornness of his class, "whatever you may say, I cannot help pitying the girl. How I am to break the news to little Jean, I don't know!" he added pathetically. "Myself, I shall have no appetite for supper. Poor girl! My heart goes out to her in her time of trouble."

"Yes," said Chabot, with a sardonic smile, "and yours is not the only heart, my friend."

Richard looked puzzled.

"There is a young painter," continued the Deputy, "Hauer, by name. He has been sketching her in the court-house; yes, and speaking to her as well. He had better be careful," he added threateningly. "I have my eye on him; and so has the Committee of Public Safety." Chabot was standing by the window; he picked up one of the garments lying folded there on the shelf, examined it for a moment, and threw it down again in disdain.

"Yes, this Citizen Hauer is a fool. Like you," he turned to Richard, "and your little Jean, and the rest. His head has been turned by the woman's looks. He will lose it altogether if he is not careful."

To so simple a mind as that of the old warder, the Deputy's fierce and bitter hatred toward his prisoner seemed difficult to understand until he remembered certain stories connected with her arrest, stories in which his visitor had played an important, if not a very edifying part.

In early life Chabot had been a member of the priesthood, but renounced his vows in order to enter the sphere of politics. After the murder of Marat, when Charlotte Corday had been conveyed to the Abbaye prison, Chabot was among those who had helped to search her, a task in which his zeal had so far outrun his discretion as to induce him to retain a watch which he found upon the prisoner's person, until she somewhat sarcastically reminded him of his early and apparently forgotten vows of priestly poverty.

It was Chabot, too, who, suspecting Charlotte of having important papers concealed about her, had profited by the fact of her hands being tied to search for them. The wretched girl, supposing him to be bent upon some fresh outrage, sprang away with so violent a gesture, in her efforts to elude his touch, that the front of her dress burst open. With a natural and spontaneous movement of shame, she turned quickly away and stood with her face to the wall, begging to be allowed to rearrange her dress. So genuine was her emotion, and so strongly did her innocent modesty appeal to her jailors, that the request was immediately granted, and she was even permitted to draw down and arrange her sleeves in such a manner as to interpose them between her wrists and the cords that bound her none too tenderly.

Richard recalled those incidents, which had been related to him by Lafondée, the dentist, who lived opposite Marat's house, and who had been one of the first to rush to the scene of the murder; and he smiled knowingly to himself as he looked across the narrow space at the passionate, revengeful face of the ex-priest.

He was about to formulate some further arguments in defence of his little protégée, when a movement at the threshold of the cell attracted his attention, and in another moment the object of his thoughts stood framed in the open doorway.

What a child she looked, standing there, with her hands behind her back, wearing a simple country-made frock of some dark material, a white fichu crossed over her breast and fastened behind at the waist. Her auburn hair was tied back by a green ribbon, and a little white cap, the "bonnet" of the period, similar to that worn by Marie Antoinette in David's celebrated picture, rested lightly upon her small, girlish head.

There was nothing of the convicted criminal about her appearance, save the slight shade of pallor which these last few days of captivity had left upon her cheek; there was nothing of the prisoner in her bearing, save that her hands were bound behind her. Her wide gray eyes, fresh from the dazzling sunshine of the street, seemed to open wider still in an endeavor to pierce the prison gloom into which she was returning. But, as she saw the old warder's homely figure, standing there in a kindly attitude of welcome, an expression of relief, almost of happiness, illumined her face.

Two soldiers, who had accompanied her as far as the entrance, withdrew as soon as their prisoner had crossed the threshold, and the door closed upon them.

The old warder advanced to meet his captive.

"So you are back again, citizeness?" he said, with an assumed cheerfulness which he was far from feeling.

"Ah, my good friend," replied the girl, in a low voice, which bore signs of the long and fatiguing cross-examination to which she had just been subjected, "I shall not trouble you much longer."

Richard shrugged his shoulders, as though to deny that any trouble was involved in the care of so well-behaved a prisoner.




"I will tell the wife of your return," he said. "You promised to take your supper with us, you remember."

"I fear I must break my promise," said Charlotte, with a sad smile. "There will be no time for supper to-night."

"But my little Jean is so looking forward——"

"Poor little Jean," she interrupted; "I am so sorry to disappoint him. But he will forgive me, I know. And by the by," she continued, "I am expecting a visitor this evening. Will you please see that he is admitted the moment he arrives?"

Chabot, who up to this time had been sitting unperceived in the corner of the cell, gave vent to a low chuckle.

Charlotte looked about at the sound, and as her eye fell upon the sinister figure of the ex-priest, she could not repress a shudder.

"You!" she exclaimed, starting back suddenly.

Chabot advanced toward her, with mock politeness, which the expression on his face belied. "At your service!" he said, with a low bow.

"But why are you here? What do you want with me?" asked the frightened girl.

"I am here to see you, on a little matter of—er—business. I want a few moments' conversation with you."

Charlotte turned an appealing glance upon the old warder. "Surely," she exclaimed, with a tone of passionate entreaty in her voice, "surely I have a right to ask that the short hour of life that is left to me shall be undisturbed?"

Richard made a weak, deprecating movement with his hands. "I am not to blame," he explained. "The Deputy has a pass, signed by the Police Commissioner."

He crossed over behind the prisoner, and was about to untie her hands. Chabot, noticing his intention, stopped him with a peremptory gesture.

"Leave that to me," he said. "I will see to it myself."

"But—citizen—" the old man began.

Chabot pointed sternly toward the door.

"Go!" he said. "Go! For time is short, and I have things to say to the prisoner in private."

Richard hesitated, as though about to refuse, but his natural weakness was no match for the firm attitude of the Deputy, and, after an uneasy glance at Charlotte Corday, he shambled clumsily to the threshold and went out.

Chabot crossed to the door and made sure that it was properly closed. Then he turned quickly and advanced to where Charlotte was still standing.

"And now," he said, "now that we are alone, quite alone together, you and I, let us for the moment forget our mutual—shall I say dislike?—our distrust of one another, eh?"

He approached and laid his hands upon her wrists, stooping to undo the cords with which the prisoner was bound.

At his touch Charlotte, who had been watching his movements with a look of terror on her face, sprang sharply back, as though she had been stung by some poisonous reptile.

"Don't come near me!" she exclaimed passionately. "I could not bear you to touch me!"

She retreated to the farthest end of the cell and stood at bay there with her back to the wall.

"As you will! as you will!" replied the other. "I merely thought that perhaps you would chat more freely if—but no matter."

"Will you not sit down?" he added, motioning her to a chair.

"I will stand!" she answered coldly.

"By all means," said Chabot, in an amused voice, "by all means. But I suppose you have no objection to my sitting?"

The girl made no reply.

Chabot ensconced himself as comfortably as possible in the hard wooden chair which the warder had vacated.

"Let us be sensible," he said, after a pause. "Your little game is over, you know. You have lost."

"I have won!" exclaimed Charlotte, with a touch of triumph in her voice.

"We will not discuss the point," said Chabot. "I do not argue with women. I wish you to tell me what you were unwilling, and very naturally unwilling, to admit at your trial—the true motive of your crime. I want to know the source from which came the inspiration. You have executed the deed alone, but you cannot have planned it alone. Others have helped you. You are to die, remember, alone; to suffer alone; and yet it is not you alone who are guilty. There are, there must be, others who have urged you to commit this crime. The Girondist Barbaroux, for instance," he suggested, "a friend of yours, who has just been arrested——"

"Had nothing whatever to do with it," exclaimed the girl, breaking in upon his unfinished sentence. "What I have done, I have done alone, and I am proud of it! I confided in none; I asked advice of none. The idea was my own; the conception was my own; and I carried it out by myself!"

There was in her voice a note of exultation, of glory, of triumph in the success of her crime; she seemed almost to boast of the solitude of her guilt, as though conscious of the fact that [584] one executes but ill that which another's brain has conceived.

"Oh, it is very loyal of you to try and conceal the identity of your accomplices," said Chabot, with a sneer.

"My loyalty is for my country alone. It was my love of her that inspired me to plan my project; my love of her that helped me to undertake it; my desire for her welfare that gave me strength to carry it out!"

"Indeed," said the Deputy sardonically. "And doubtless it required unusual strength to deal so fatal a blow, straight to the heart!"

The girl looked at him in surprise.

"The indignation in my own heart showed me the way," she said quietly.

"One would think," continued Chabot, "that you had practised with the knife before on some other——" He left the sentence unfinished.

The blood rushed to Charlotte's cheek. A fire of indignation and resentment burned in her usually tender eyes, making them blaze and flame until even the cold-blooded Deputy was moved to admire the beauty of this emotional woman, so fierce in the defence of her honor.

"You know well that I am no ordinary assassin," she exclaimed. "My hands are clean in the eyes of Heaven. My soul is guiltless before God."

The ex-priest took a step forward. "How dare you speak of God? You?"

"I dare speak of Him," replied the girl, in an impassioned voice, "because I believe that it was He who inspired me, as He inspired Judith of old, to make this sacrifice in the cause of liberty. I believe that He chose me to bear this message of His righteous vengeance to a people who have forgotten His name; that He nerved my arm to strike the blow at which you wonder. I have completed my task," she went on, in a quieter tone, "I leave the rest to others. I have avenged much innocent blood. I have prevented the shedding of much more." She turned proudly round and faced the Deputy with flashing eyes.

"I have killed one man," she said, "to save a hundred thousand!"

Chabot smiled grimly.

"Do you then imagine," he asked, "that you have murdered all the Marats?"

"I have destroyed one," she retorted. Her fearless gaze met the crafty eyes of her examiner, and they quailed before it.

"Perhaps the others will be afraid," she added meaningly.

"I must admit," replied the Deputy with a nervous assumption of jocularity, "I am relieved to think that for the moment I am beyond the reach of those pretty hands of yours. For I have no desire, believe me, to be added to the list of your victims!"

Charlotte smiled scornfully. "You need have no fears," she said. "Were my hands as free as yours, or my heart as black, you would still be safe. You surely cannot flatter yourself that the question of the life or death of such as you could be of any importance to the State."

The natural egotism of the man was wounded; his vanity was touched. Confident of Charlotte's helplessness, he approached to within a few feet of her.

"Are you not afraid to speak in such a tone to me?" he asked. "We are alone here—" he looked meaningly round at the empty cell. "The walls are thick. No one can hear us."

Charlotte looked him up and down with a slow, scornful gaze. "Afraid?" she asked. "Of you?" She smiled. "Do you think that one can look at you; at your shifty eyes—at your restless mouth—" involuntarily the Deputy's hand rose to his lips—"without discovering the secret which you conceal so badly behind a mask of insult and of bluster? Do you think I cannot see what a coward you are at heart?"

"Truly polite!" exclaimed the other nervously. "At any rate, I am no murderer!"

"Because you have not the courage!" replied the girl. "But be sure that however great the guilt of those who have shed all this innocent blood, you who have allowed it to be spilt will also have to answer for it."

Her face was transfigured by emotion as she spoke. She seemed to be gazing into the caverns of eternity with the eyes of some inspired prophetess. "I look forward into the future," she continued, "and I see you, and the other brigands who surrounded Marat, whom God only allows to live so as to make their fall the more terrible,—so as to frighten all who would attempt to establish their fortunes on the ruins of a misguided people,—I see you dragged by force up the scaffold steps—the ladder to Eternity which I scale so willingly—till your coward's eyes gaze forth flinching from that blood-stained casement, that is for me the window looking out on immortality!"

Chabot stared in amazement at this young girl, who seemed to speak with the assurance of a seer. He could not subdue his admiration of a woman who was so obviously fearless of death. "Come," he said, "I like your pluck." He inspected her with a critical eye. "You're not a bad-looking girl, either, for an aristocrat." He came very close to her, apparently unconscious of the loathing with which she regarded his approach. "Turn round and let me have a look [585] at you," he ordered. Charlotte did not seem to have heard him, but kept her head high in the air, and the same lofty look of disdain in her eye.

"Proud, are you?" said the deputy, with a snarl. "I suppose I'm not good enough to speak to you, eh?"

Charlotte still remained silent.

"Hoity toity!" continued Chabot, "with your fine airs and graces! You won't be so damned haughty in an hour's time, I know! You won't hold your head so high then, I'll be bound!" He came quite close and leered into her face. "Why do you treat me like this?" he asked. "Aren't I good enough for you?" There was no tremor of fear in the girl's attitude, but almost unconsciously she turned her head away. "Come here!" he said sharply. "Come closer!" Charlotte Corday did not move. Chabot stooped until his face was only a few inches from hers. "I've a good mind to take a kiss from you," he said, with an ugly smile. "What do you say to that, eh?" he asked. The girl moved her head still further away so as to avoid looking upon the hideous features which were now so close to her own pure lips.

"What's the use of making all this fuss?" said Chabot impatiently. Still no reply from the woman, who, beneath her appearance of calm and courage, could feel her heart beating wildly with terror and apprehension. "What?" continued the Deputy. "Look at me!" he commanded. Then, as Charlotte seemed to pay no attention to his orders, "Damn you!" he said, "you shall look at me!" And he placed his hands upon her shoulders and turned her quickly round so as to face him.

Then, and not till then, did her self-reliance give way. With the amorous touch of his hateful fingers upon her neck, she realized the helplessness and horror of her position. With a convulsive movement she tried to free her hands. The face of her enemy came closer and closer to hers, and she read the coarse desires of his vicious soul in the lustful brightness of his eyes. In a perfect agony of disgust and terror she fought desperately to fling herself out of his reach.

"Let me go!" she appealed, "let me go! Ah, God!" she cried, in a strangled voice, "Let me go!"

Her cry must have been loud enough to penetrate the thick prison door, for in a moment it was flung open, and two men, Richard and another, rushed into the room, and Charlotte was aware that the old warder had interposed his burly person between her and the man she loathed.

"I should have known better than to leave you alone with a man of his character," exclaimed the veteran, glowering at the ex-priest. "The wife will never forgive me."

Chabot had recovered his self-possession, and was regarding the old man's perturbation with evident amusement.

The stranger who had entered the cell with Richard was a young man of about thirty, clean-shaven, with dark, almost black hair shading a high, intellectual brow and eyes of unusual brilliance. He was dressed in the uniform, such as it was, of the National Guard, but his appearance was not that of a soldier, and the artist's block and sketching materials which he carried in his hand proclaimed him to be, what indeed he was, a portrait painter.

He had heard the woman's agonized cry. The scene that he had witnessed on entering the room had shown him the cause of her distress, and, with the blind, impetuous rage which the sight of any act of violence or injustice towards the weak or helpless rouses in a young and chivalrous soul, he rushed to where Chabot was standing and seized that worthy violently by the shoulder.

"What the devil are you doing?" he demanded furiously.

"That is no business of yours," retorted Chabot, coolly disengaging himself from the other's grasp. "You evidently do not know who I am, young man."

"I have no wish to. It does not interest me. But I do know that you are not wanted here!"

"I am the Deputy Chabot, of the Department of Loir-et-Cher!"

"Indeed," replied the young man, apparently unabashed by so much distinction. "Well, I am Jean Jacques Hauer! And to the devil with your 'deputy'!"

"So you are the fortunate Citizen Hauer," said Chabot, with a dark smile of comprehension. "I see, I see!"

"What do you mean?" asked the artist threateningly.

Chabot turned to Charlotte Corday with a bow.

"I congratulate you, mademoiselle," he said, with meaning in his voice, "I congratulate you on the possession of so well-bred, so well-mannered a lover!"

Hauer sprang forward with a cry of rage, and would have hurled himself upon the Deputy, had not Charlotte's quiet voice stopped him.

"Leave him alone," she begged. "Let him be, I pray you. He is not worthy of your anger."

Chabot moved toward the entrance slowly.

"Good-by, mademoiselle," he said, "and [586] thank you"—ironically—"thank you for a very pleasant chat, which I shall always remember, when you are—what shall we say?—forgotten!"

Charlotte faced him with quiet dignity.

"I may be forgotten," she replied, "and that soon. But what I have done shall not readily be forgotten."

With a sarcastic laugh the Deputy crossed the threshold and was gone.

Richard watched his departure with evident relief, and then turned to address his prisoner.

"There is a priest without," he said, "who asks whether you desire his services."

Charlotte shook her head. "Will you thank him on my behalf for his kindness. But I do not need the offices of the Church."

She crossed to the table and leaned one hand upon it.

"The blood that I have spilt, and my blood that I am about to shed, are the only sacrifices that I can offer to God," she said. "I have no fears. He knows all, and will forgive."

The warder bowed his head, took a last look round the cell to see that all was well, and left the room.


As the door closed Charlotte sank into a chair and buried her face in her hands. The long trial and the incidents that had followed it had been very tiring. She was young and lonely, and her last hour had come. Small wonder then that for a moment she should give way to emotion or that her eyes should brim with the bitter tears of fatigue and disappointment.

Hauer watched her in silence for a little while, and then crossed the narrow room and stood beside her chair.

"Perhaps you would rather be alone?" he said, in a tender voice of pity.

Charlotte raised her shining eyes to his, and a grave smile stole like a shadow to her lips.

"No, no," she exclaimed, holding out a detaining hand, "I have but few moments left to me, and still fewer friends. Stay with me, Monsieur Hauer, if you will, and," she added in a lighter tone, "you may finish the portrait."

He took his painting materials from the table, set up the small portable easel, arranged the palette and brushes in his hand, and commenced his work upon the portrait of the prisoner, which he had begun in the court-house, and which, at her request and by permission of her judges, he was now to be allowed to complete.

And as he painted, they talked together, quietly, sympathetically, with the understanding and the occasional silence of old friends, these two who had but learned to know each other during the last few days, but from whose short acquaintance were destined to spring, for the one, a friendship which did much to lighten the burden of these last hours, for the other, a love which he was to bear in his heart to the end of an adventurous career.

This girl, who had lost her mother at an early age; who had ever since lived a simple, secluded, somewhat lonely existence, first in the convent of L'Abbaye-aux-Dames, and subsequently under the care of an old aunt at Caen; who had never found a friend in whom to confide her troubles; now for the first time discovered a sympathetic listener, who gradually drew from her the sad story of her life and of the sinister events that led up to the tragedy with which it was to close.

As a girl she had been much alone; had played alone, thought alone, lived alone. And in her case, as in that of many others, solitude had been the mother of great thoughts. Hers was not an unhappy childhood, but her happiness had sprung from sources other than those usually open to children. She drew most of her pleasure from books, from Plutarch, from Corneille, the poet, her ancestor, of whom she was justly proud, and who had declared that poetry and heroism were of the same race, the one carrying out what the other conceived.

So had she grown up at Caen, dreaming much of her country's welfare, filled with a romantic ambition to do something for France, something grand, something noble.

And then came all the horrors of the Revolution. Terrible tales of bloodshed and injustice reached the little sun-kissed village of Caen. The name of Marat was on every tongue—Marat, who made the streets run with blood; Marat, the murderer of thousands whose only crime was loyalty; Marat, through whose wanton ferocity the blood-stained Loire was discolored for miles, to whose rage for extermination the gloomy solitude of the towns and the desolation of the country bore ghastly testimony. The very crimson of the autumn woods seemed to reflect the bloodshed of those cruel September massacres.

It was then, no doubt, that the thought first entered the mind of this young girl; the idea that perhaps she, though only a woman, with no knowledge of the world, without experience, might achieve what men seemed frightened to attempt, something that should help to retrieve the lost honor of France. It was ambitious, surely; but then, was not Joan of Arc a girl?

Marat, the murderer of peace, if only he were dead, thought Charlotte Corday, peace would [587] be restored. "It is expedient for one man to die for all."

The shadow of Marat darkened the whole picture, and in the background stood the scaffold, which liberty was mounting in company with the victims of this murderer, at whose name one shuddered, as at the mention of death. Marat, without Danton's courage or the integrity of Robespierre, seemed but a wild beast bent on devouring France.

Charlotte saw her beloved country in its death agony, she saw the victims and the tyrant. She sought to avenge the one, to punish the other, to save all.

Many a long summer night did she lie awake in her little attic room at Caen, wondering what she should do. Suddenly all seemed to clear before her. Her mind was made up.

After a sad parting with her family, who believed that she was going to England with the many other refugees who found a haven there at this time, she started for Paris, arriving there with no friend save a battered copy of her beloved Plutarch. During the two days and nights that she spent at the little Hotel de la Providence in the Rue des Vieux Augustins, but one thought was uppermost in her mind; to seek out Marat and do what she had to do.

The recital of these incidents had brought a tinge of color into the girl's cheeks, and to Hauer, as he sat and gazed at her in admiration, her beauty appealed irresistibly. He could picture the whole scene as she described it. In imagination he accompanied heron that early morning walk, on the fatal Saturday, the eve of the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille, when she went to the Palais Royal to buy the knife with which the murder was committed. He could fancy, as she described it, the sun shining through the trees, the children playing in the public gardens. She told him how she had helped one little curly-headed lad to recover his top which had rolled through the railings out of reach. The little fellow had kissed her, little realizing what she carried so carefully hidden in her bosom. In his heart Hauer blessed that little boy; he was grateful for that childish kiss, the last that Charlotte was to know. He followed her to the house in the Rue des Cordeliers, where Marat lived, and where for so long she strove in vain to gain admission, until, at last, toward evening, she forced her way in.

"You know the rest," continued Charlotte. "How I pretended to be a traitor to my cause.—God will forgive me," she added, "for we owe no truth to tyrants.—How I informed Marat of the names of the refugee deputies at Caen who were organizing the Federalist movement. 'Ah!' he exclaimed, his irresistible thirst for blood rekindled at the thought of these new victims, 'they shall be guillotined within a week!' Guillotined!" repeated Charlotte, rising to her feet. "My friends! The patriots of Caen!"

She turned and saw Hauer's eye fixed upon her as though awaiting the end of the story. "And then?" he asked.

There was silence for a short space, broken only by the quick breathing of the girl.

"I stabbed him to the heart."

"Did you not realize——?"

"I realized nothing," she interrupted, "save that I was carrying out my unalterable purpose. I felt no more remorse than if I were treading on the head of some loathsome snake. The hideousness of Marat's appearance, the squalor of his surroundings, the infamy of his character, all these urged me on to accomplish the deed I had planned. And in my heart a voice kept whispering that the end justified the means."

"Brave little Jesuit!"

"Oh, I am glad I killed him! I have no regrets, none. I was ready, I am ready now, to pay the penalty." She paused, "Ah, I weary you with all this," she said. "But I have had no one to speak to, all these days; nobody seems to understand——"

"I understand," said Hauer with feeling.

"Yes, I believe you do, and I thank you for it." She sat at the table where the artist was putting the finishing touches to his picture.

"I had hoped that an old friend of mine," she added, "one on whose loyalty I relied implicitly, would have appeared to defend me at the trial. I wrote and asked him. But he never came. He did not even trouble to reply. Well," she sighed, "I am no poorer for the loss of such a friend."

Hauer laid down his brushes, rose, and stood before her. His voice was unsteady, and his face had grown pale.

"Others may fail you," he exclaimed, "but you know that I will always stand by you, though the whole world turn against you."

He took both her hands in one of his, and, looking into her eyes, saw down to the very depths of her pure soul. A rush of memories flooded his brain as he gazed at this woman whose life was to close so soon.

He recalled the very first time he had ever seen her—how long ago was it?—in the gardens at Caen, opposite the little Church of St. Antoine. Five years ago; and yet to him it seemed but yesterday. She had been a girl then; a timid, neatly-dressed girl of nineteen she looked, as she walked slowly along, deep in meditation, intent upon her own thoughts. [588] Hauer was sitting sketching beneath a tree as she passed. She dropped one of the books she was carrying; he picked it up for her; she thanked him. That was all—and yet at the sound of that one word something had stirred in the young artist's heart, something that he had not been able to understand at the time, but that he had understood in the court-house today, when he heard once more the music of her voice—something that he understood now, and knew to be love.

"Charlotte," he exclaimed, with a sudden passionate cry, as he flung himself on his knees at her feet, "I love you, I love you!"

The girl gazed tenderly down at him, with a look of innocent affection in those eyes which no hint of any deeper passion had ever illumined. She laid her hand lightly upon his head for a moment and then drew him to his feet.

"Please, monsieur," she said gently, "please; you will not say that. You are my very good friend, and you must think of me as a friend, and nothing more. You know well that I can never be grateful enough for the blessing of your friendship, and for all you have done for me."

Hauer had recovered his self-possession. "Alas! I have done nothing for you—I, who would gladly lay down my life for your happiness."

"You have done much," replied the girl. "You have spoken to me, when all others were afraid and held aloof. You have given me the comfort of your welcome society, while other friends stayed away. Are your words of sympathy nothing?" she asked. "Ah, I could not bear to think that I should cause you any unhappiness. I pray you, let us be friends, and friends only. The parting will be the easier for that."

"Don't speak of parting," he cried, aghast at the picture conjured up in his imagination by her ominous words.

"And yet it is to be so soon. In a little while I shall go out of your life forever. I shall be nothing to you but a memory. It is hard enough to have to die, do not make it harder for me."

"Charlotte!" cried the young man in an agonized voice, "you shall not go out of my life like this! I will kill myself! I will share your fate. I cannot live without you!"

The girl gazed up at him with a look of infinite tenderness and pity. "Do you really love me?" she asked.


"Remember then that the price of love is sacrifice; and do as I ask." She sat down on the edge of the hard bed and drew him down beside her.

"Is it so easy for me to be brave?" she asked, "to leave the sunshine, to say goodby to all the bright and beautiful things of this world, to life and love? Do not make it harder for me; then. Ah, I pray you, forget me; or rather, rejoice at my fate, remembering that the cause for which I lay down my life is indeed a glorious one. Help me to bear the trials of this last scene bravely, with a courage you would wish to see in one you loved."

Hauer seized her hands and kissed them feverishly.

Charlotte smiled sadly at him.

"I have had but little tenderness in my life," she said. "Your kisses are dear to me, believe. I will bear them in my hands to the scaffold, as I shall bear the comfort of your friendship in my heart.

"Do not weep for me," she added, as the tears, which he was unable to control, fell and mingled with his kisses upon her pale hands. "I want all your help, all your courage, if I am to face the end bravely, to meet death with a smile."

There was a loud and peremptory knock at the entrance. With a swift exclamation Hauer crossed the floor and threw open the door.

A tall man, dressed entirely in black, with a thick beard half covering a sallow but not unkindly face, entered the room. He carried a long red smock over his shoulder, a short piece of thick cord in his hand, and to his wide leather belt was suspended a pair of shears. It was Charles Henry Sanson, the public executioner.

A momentary expression of terror flitted across Charlotte Corday's eyes as they gazed upon this sinister figure, whose mission required no explanation. After a brief inward struggle, she regained possession of her wonted calm and faced the unwelcome visitor with an unflinching gaze.

The executioner advanced, holding out the red smock, a roughly made cloak of common scarlet material, which condemned persons wore on their way to the scaffold. Without a word spoken on either side, Charlotte allowed him to throw this garment round her shoulders.

Sanson then drew the shears from his belt. But the prisoner, anticipating his intention, stopped him with a quick gesture and took the instruments from his hand.

"Give them to me," she said quietly, and the man obeyed. Then, throwing off her cap, she unbound the ribbon with which her hair was confined and with a quick, graceful movement of the head, shook down its burden of auburn hair so that it covered her shoulders. With a few swift strokes of the scissors she cut off the waving masses, which fell in a heap in her lap [589] and at her feet, and handed the shears back to Sanson. With her bared head, its aureole of close-cropped hair crowning the small oval face beneath it, Charlotte looked like some beautiful boy, and it was evident that even the impassive executioner was moved by her charm and by the tender grace of her every movement.

One of the many curls which she had severed so ruthlessly had fallen into the bosom of her dress, and Charlotte now held it in her hand and turned toward Hauer, who had been watching the sacrifice with much emotion.

"Will you accept this?" she asked timidly, "I—it is all I have to give. If you would care to have it——"

The young man took it tenderly from her and raised it to his lips.

"I shall hold it dearer than all else in the world," he said; "this lock of your beautiful hair."

"Is it beautiful? I used to be very vain of my hair once." She smiled. "If you will keep it," she continued, "and perhaps look at it sometimes, and, when you do, recall the memory of one to whom you were kind—of one who will never forget—who will offer prayers for your welfare and your happiness at the very throne of God——" She brushed away a tear that had crept out unseen upon her cheek, and for the moment her voice failed her.

Sanson moved forward silently and seized her wrist with one hand, while with the other he shook out the short coil of cord which he held.

The blood flamed in Charlotte's cheek, and she shrank back suddenly, dreading some fresh indignity.

"Ah, no!" she exclaimed passionately. "I beg of you! Not that again! I promise you, I will be good!" she reiterated, standing with her hands behind her, like some frightened child expecting punishment, "I will keep still! I will do whatever you tell me. I will not move. Oh, let me be free, for this last hour of my life!"

Hauer approached the executioner. "Surely she has suffered enough already," he said. "Look at her wrists." For the severity of her former bondage had left cruel marks upon the white skin of her delicate arms.

Sanson spoke for the first time. His voice was low and had a tone of refinement which perhaps reassured his listeners.

"You need not be afraid," he said. "I am not rough. I will not hurt you. It is for the best."

Charlotte looked up into his face and, reading there nothing but the desire of a blunt but honest man to discharge an unpleasant duty with as little pain as possible to all concerned, submitted without further entreaty.

"As you will," she said, holding out her hands to him. He laid one small wrist across the other and with a few quick turns of the rope tied her hands behind her back, fastening them securely but without unnecessary severity.

As he opened the cell-door, a loud tumult rose from the street below. Charlotte drew back in terror.

"What sound is that?" she asked trembling.

"'Tis but the crowd growing impatient. Do not be frightened," said Sanson in a reassuring voice. "You are safe enough with me."

Hauer stepped forward. "I will accompany you," he said, in a determined tone.

"No, no!" entreated the girl. "Please not. 'Farewell' is always a hard word to say. I shall want all my courage on the scaffold." She moved towards the door, then turned again to the artist. "One last request I have to make," she said. "That you will send the portrait to my old father at Argentan. It will comfort his heart, perhaps," she added, "and help him to forgive me for disposing of my life without his permission."

"Now," she continued, "let us say goodby."

With an effort Hauer restrained his tears. He fell on one knee at her feet, as though to kiss her hands once more. But she shook her head sadly, unable to lift them, bound as they were, to his lips. "Ah, no," she said, "you see, it is no longer allowed!"

Hauer raised the edge of her red smock and kissed it passionately. "I kiss the tips of your wings!" he said.

Charlotte turned to the executioner, who was waiting somewhat impatiently at the door. "I am ready," she said. Then, as her eye fell upon the lonely kneeling figure of her lover, "Farewell," she added. "Farewell, for the last time. God bless you for all that you have been to me. You will not forget me, I know. And I shall carry with me the memory of your friendship to the end. Be happy in the knowledge that I am glad to die for France; and remember that it is guilt alone that brings disgrace, and not the scaffold!"

With a resolute step she walked through the open door and out into the tumult of the street.

An hour later, when the warder, Richard, entered the cell, he found the young artist still on his knees, convulsive sobs shaking his whole body, while tears of anguish rained down his cheeks and fell unheeded upon a long lock of hair which he was holding tenderly in his hands and which he now and again raised to his lips.

With a grunt, half scorn, half sympathy, the old warder shook his head and, closing the door quickly behind him, stole away in search of the more cheerful society of his wife and little Jean.



There was a tale that Oom Piet used to tell, of the days when he showed his back to the tax-gatherers, and trekked east to the very edge of the world, where the veld broke into patches of sand and shelved down into the sea. It was the only one of all his stories that did not make him out a hero; the rest were all of war with the kafirs and hunting in new-found lands, where the game was so thick that it jostled for pasture. But this was a tale of wonder, and he wondered over it contentedly till he went to that place where all riddles are answered.

It began always with the long Odyssey of the trek, while the slow wagons drew indomitably to ever fresh horizons and each dawn showed a new country and the fresh spoor of buck. Then there were the mountains, seen afar for days, that stood across his track; he had searched them north and south for more than a month ere he found the winding thread of valley that let him through. Not once but a dozen times in that year-long journey his ripe craft of war had served him well, and the wagons had been laagered in time to stand off an attack of kafirs; each lonely battle was fresh in his memory, and he never omitted to tell how his wife crouched beside him as he fought, loading his spare rifle and passing it into his hand. Sometimes, at this stage in the history, some of his old force would return to him, and one could see all the face harden and grow keen behind the big beard. Oom Piet was very old and much under the dominion of his years; for him one thing in a story was as much as another; and he always carried us through every stage of that trek, from the Bushmen he shot in the mountains to the baby he buried at Weenen Drift.[12]

And thus at last, when they had passed through an easy country, where Zulu satraps from the north ruled the terror-stricken kraals, and nothing any longer had the power to make him wonder, they came upon the sea. It was a still evening when they drew down to its shore, and before them the unimagined ocean filled the world and lay against the sky, and its murmur hushed the long-familiar noises of the veld. A broken reef of rock stood a hundred yards from the beach and the water creamed about it; the crags were like gapped and broken teeth. Oom Piet stood with his wife's hand on his arm and his three sons at his elbow, and all five gazed awhile in silence. The spell of the stillness and the great space worked within them all.

"It is a place of peace, at all events," said Oom Piet, at last.

The hand on his arm tightened. Susanna looked up at him with a smile.

"But I am glad I am not alone here," she answered.

As for the lads, theirs was a bewilderment that stilled their judgment. Klein Piet, the eldest, leaned on his rifle and stared out at the sea with empty eyes, for it spoke to unguessed depths in his soul; and Jan and Andries were both a little afraid. They had nothing to say, and when presently Piet led the way back to the wagons, they followed him hesitating, casting nervous glances over their shoulders as they went. Even by the fires, as they sat together over their evening meal, some constraint remained with them, so that they talked with an effort of trivial things while their thoughts abode elsewhere, and Susanna looked from one to another with a little frown of perplexity. Not one of them could have told what troubled him, or guessed that in his very name of Van Praagh there closed a long tradition of the salt and sound of the sea.

It was when a new dawn had shown them the place in clear light, unwitched by evening shadows and calm, that Piet made his decision. Landward of the sand the veld was rich, with patches of bush; a stream ran through it handily, and to his eyes, wise in a hundred aspects of game land, cattle land, and mealie land, it spoke of security and comfort. He was not a man to be drawn from his sure judgment by trifles of liking and curiosity; he had lived too close to [591] the real things of life to be deluded by semblances; but none the less, there was gladness for him that all these good things, the materials of a home and a livelihood, lay at the flank of that great tame sea, to whose noise his ears were already become accustomed. There was a welcome in the sound of it; under the morning sun it showed a face as bright as a host's; and when the lads came back from the beach, with their hair blown about their faces and their hands full of shells, they found him sitting on an ant hill, in the middle of a square he had marked out with big smooth stones.

"What is it?" asked Klein Piet.

"Our house," answered his father. "We will build it here, with the stoop looking out to the water. That—" he pointed a line with his finger—"that shall be the front of it, to face the sun each day when he up-saddles. There, yonder, shall be the kraals; and we will live between the sea and the veld and have the best of both. What do you think of it?"

Andries laughed delightedly; a new thing was always a good thing for him. Jan, too, was pleased and curious; only Klein Piet looked grave, but not with any doubt or dissatisfaction.

"Well?" asked the father again. "What do you think of it, my son?"

Klein Piet answered slowly. "I think well of it," he said, meeting his father's gaze with his steady blue eyes; "so well, father, that I should have stayed in any case, even if you had turned back."

"Eh?" The elder man doubted if he heard aright.

Klein Piet seemed to be in a dream. "I only know," he said, in the same slow manner of speech, "that this place I stand on is like a birthplace to me. I must have dreamed of it when I was a child."

The younger boys were watching the pair of them in wonder. Piet put out his hand to his son.

"Then we shall not quarrel," he said. "I cannot say what it is, the finger of God stirring or the lusts of the flesh, but the same thing has hold of me, Klein Piet. I am fallen at the same dyke; I could not leave this place if I would."

Only Susanna was not completely at her ease. Piet found no matter for surprise in this, but looked to see a change when the house should be built and the offices of home-keeping should have set up landmarks in her life. A Boer woman should live between her kitchen and her bed, he was used to say, and he held to this unswervingly even when the kitchen was but the cheek of a wood-fire in the veld and the bed the windy sail of a wagon. So when her face showed that the strangeness of the place did not abate for her, when she shrank from being alone and shivered at the on-coming of the nights that strode in from the sea, he only smiled on her and was careful to be close to her, and was glad, with a mild satisfaction, that the long trek and the fights and the sorrows had left her womanly and soft. She was a De Villiers from the western edge of the Karoo, fair and still as all the women of that stock are; but it never happened to him to think of the dead men and women who had gone to the making of her family, soldiers and gospellers and martyrs, but never a sailor among them. Neither did it happen that he took any account of his kafirs, for Piet was sound Boer to the bone; or he might have seen that they, too, had their fears and misgivings. The black man's solitude is peopled with ghosts and devils; beyond the ring of his firelight, the dark is uneasy with presences; and it was not fear of the Zulus alone that kept these tremblers close about the camp, and cowed them to an anxious obedience the sjambok could never have commanded.

Indeed, there was no time for Piet and his sons to become infected with doubts, for they set to work at once on the building of their house. The stone thereabouts lay over the face of the land in rounded boulders and splintered cleanly under the sledge-hammer. The house they devised to face the sea was to be of stone from eaves to the foot of the walls and rooted well in the ground. Piet marked it all out with little gutters, and, since he himself was the strongest of them, he set the lads to dig a firm foundation with half the kafirs, while he took the other half to split and carry stone. They had all a good will to work; their task was to justify to themselves their choice of a home, and the skinny kafirs had to bend their naked backs freely to keep pace with the eager work of their masters. The thud of the picks and the ring of Piet's great hammer made a loud answer to the ceaseless murmur and rustle of the sea on the sand; even Susanna was stirred from her cares by the briskness of the work.

The place where Piet labored at the stone was under the bank of the stream, where it ran deep and slow, and curved curiously between little hard headlands of rock and easy bosoms of sand; so that when he was plying the great sledge and cutting out the stone in big, flat cakes, he was hidden from the lads who dug on the foundations of the house, a couple of hundred paces away. There was little enough to fear now, but his old lore of war still governed him, and he carried his rifle to his work with him, and had chosen to work in a spot where he could not be suddenly approached by one coming secretly through the hummocks. Here, at noon, on the fourth or [592] fifth day of the building, he was laboring happily. His was the part to swing the great sledge on the wedges; three, four full-bodied blows, each ringing true as a bell on the iron wedges, and a fat, flat slice of stone jarred loose from the body of the rock, to be hauled apart by the kafirs; and then in with the wedges again. He had joy in his strength, and in the pretty skill of never missing the head of the wedge; so that he worked on without fatigue and did not look about him. It was when another big flake of stone was broken away, that an exclamation from one of the kafirs made him turn sharply to look up-stream.

He was never sure what manner of man he saw, watching him from the far side of the spruit. For one thing, there was sweat in his eyes; for another, he turned to grasp his rifle, and when he turned back, the man was gone. But in the couple of moments that the man was in view, Piet saw that he was white, a short, strongly-built white man, dark against the pale sand. And though he could never find a phrase for the impression in his mind, the thing that puzzled him was the utter strangeness of the man's appearance. Whether it was the fashion of his clothes, his attitude, his looks, or just the mere whole of him, he could never explain. But, "it seemed to me as if he were none of God's making," he always added.

It was a matter of no more than a couple of breaths; then his bewilderment broke up, and caution took its place. He bustled his kafirs together and shepherded them out of the streambed and back to the camp, coming last with his rifle cocked in the crook of his arm to guard against any possible danger. He saw that work had ceased in the foundations of the house; the lads and the kafirs were gathered in a knot in the pit, and their voices buzzed in talk. But he gave no notice to that.

"We are being watched," he said to them. "Back to the laager and get your guns."

And once again the square of wagons became a fort, and the little family stood to its arms against all comers, for its right to live in the place it had chosen.

Piet told them what he had seen; it was little enough, and he had no key to its meaning. Susanna, having helped to lay the spare rifles and the ammunition ready, had gone back to her fire, for pots must be watched though the veld were alive with enemies. The men, each standing on a wagon wheel, searching the country with keen eyes, turned the thing over in their minds.

"You are sure he was white, father?" asked Jan.

Piet was quite sure.

"And he had no gun?"

"No," replied Piet. "He had nothing in his hands at all."

They spoke without turning their heads or ceasing for an instant in the watch they kept.

"Then," said Klein Piet, with assurance, "it must be the English. Only the English go about without guns in a wild country, and collect taxes."

The explanation seemed reasonable to them all; they would have been less dismayed if a black foe had shown himself in force. The feeling that dragged the Boer people up by the roots and set them trekking into the unknown was no mere antipathy to taxation; it was founded on an abiding mistrust and hatred of the English who were multiplying in the land. Piet's strong face took on an added grimness as Klein Piet's explanation forced itself on him.

"But perhaps," suggested Andries, the youngest, "it is just an Englishman on trek. He would not trouble us."

That was a comfortable thought, too. Piet kept his boys on watch for another hour, but nothing showed, and then they ate quickly, and he disposed them for a search. It was all done in good order and after the approved fashion; as each moved forward, his retreat was covered by another's rifle; and between them they scoured all the broken ground within a couple of miles.

"Well," said Piet at last, when the search was over and they had not found so much as a spoor of a foot, "this is a wonderful thing."

"You are sure it was a man you saw?" asked Klein Piet, doubtfully. "The sun plays tricks with a man's eyes, sometimes."

But Piet was not to be shaken. "As sure," he said, "as I am here. But what kind of man—" he broke off, frowning. "There is nothing for it," he added, "but to go on with the work and be wary."

"Yes, the work." Klein Piet turned to him. "When you came back from the spruit, we had just found a curious thing where we were digging."

"An iron cross," put in young Andries.

"A cross?" repeated the father.

"It is not a cross," said Klein Piet, quickly. "It is—something else. Come and see it, father."

They had been talking together outside their laager, and now they went across to the great pit that the lads and the kafirs had dug to plant the house in. The digging was not yet all done, and where the morning's labor had ended, Klein Piet pointed to the thing of which he had spoken. Only a part of it was uncovered—two [593] curving, spade-ended arms of rust-red iron, and a shaft which stuck out of the earth.

"Is that not a cross, father?" cried Andries. "See, it has arms and——"

Piet shook his head. "No, it's no cross," he answered. "How can it have come here? I remember once a man who rode on commando, an Englishman, and he had pictures of such things as this on his arms, pricked into the skin. This is an anchor, a piece of a ship."

Klein Piet, standing by his side, laughed suddenly, so short and harsh a laugh that Piet turned to him in surprise.

"I might have known," said Klein Piet. "Of course it is part of a ship. There have been ships here, once; can't you feel that there have been ships hereabouts?"

At another time Piet would have shown little patience with this manner of talk; but now his mind was full of other concerns, and he let it pass.

"We must dig the thing out," he said. "It will be heavy to lift, though. Take a pair of spades and see how big it is."

Klein Piet and Jan jumped down into the pit and set to work, while Andries and Piet watched. It was no hard matter to unbury the shank of the anchor; the easy earth came away in heaping shovelfuls, and presently the whole of it lay bare, with its great wooden stock rotted to threads and its ring pitted and thin with rust. Jan leaned on his shovel and stared at it; Klein Piet knelt by it and swept away earth with his hands.

"Perhaps there was a wreck here," Piet was saying. "Some ship may have been driven up by a storm and the sea have beaten it to pieces, so that all the wooden parts floated away and this was left."

Klein Piet, on his knees, still grubbing away with his hands, laughed at him.

"No," he said. "That is not so, father. For there is a chain fast to this anchor."

He had worried a hole with his hands, and sure enough, when they came to look, there was a link of a great chain running from the anchor ring into the earth.

"Now," said Klein Piet, rising from his knees; "who will tell me what the other end of that chain is fast to?"

It was a strange thing for a house-building Boer to find; their shovels only showed them that there was a long chain there, running level perhaps six feet below the surface of the ground. They bared a couple of fathoms of it, red as gold with its long burial, and then Piet bade them halt.

"We must cut it," he said. "It will be hard work, but plainer to do than digging up the whole of it. And for today, let us go back to camp and leave it."

Piet was a little resentful of these things that had arrived to disturb the course of his work. First, the sudden stranger who left no spoor where he walked, and now the anchor lying where the roots of his home should be—they were beyond the calculations of an upright Boer. Like many more sophisticated men, Piet relied on his environment possessing a certain quality; when foreign elements colored it, when it was flavored with unascertained ingredients, a sort of helplessness sapped his powers; he was like a man walking blindfold. Only his bull-headed pluck served him at such times; and now, when he doubted and was uneasy, he held on without hesitation in the task he had undertaken. A brand-wacht was maintained that night, the four of them taking turns to sit sentry by the great wood fire; and though, during his turn of the watch, the night seemed alive with lurking men who stared and slunk, he faced the new dawn with no leak in his courage.

That day, they set to work at cutting through the great chain that was fast to the anchor ring. Their equipment for such a purpose was poor; there was nothing for it but to flog a cold chisel through the wrought iron; and though the rust flaked from it if one but scratched with a fingernail, the metal below was sound and tough yet, a heartbreaking thing to assault with mere strength of arm. Further, there is a science of cutting with the cold edge which was outside all their knowledge. The younger lads took turns to hold the chisel while Piet and Klein Piet, swinging alternately, rung a strenuous bob-major on its head; but the hot hours passed in sweat and labor, and afternoon was upon them, while the chain seemed scarcely scratched. It was cruel work for all of them, jarring to the arms and stunning to the ears. At last, Piet dropped his sledge-hammer and wiped the wet from his face.

"Honest men made that chain," he said. "We shall be all to-morrow cutting at it. Hullo! What kafir is this?"

None of them had seen the approach of the kafir who now stood on the edge of the pit looking down at them; he carried his hand to his head in a salute as they looked up at him. He was an old kafir, with tufts of white on his chin and a skin hanging on his loins, gaunt and big and upstanding, with a kind of dignity that was new to them in kafirs. He supported their stare with no embarrassment, and gave them back an unabashed regard of quiet curiosity.

"Who are you?" demanded Piet. "Where do you come from?"

But the kafir could speak no Dutch; he made [594] a reply in some tongue of his own, sonorous and full-throated, and raised his hand again in salute.

"We must know where he comes from," said Piet to the lads. "Between ourselves and our own kafirs, we must find some language he can understand."

They came out of the pit and took the kafir back to the camp with them, leaving their tools where they lay. The old man went in obedience to their gestures without demur, and squatted himself on his hams to be talked to. The average Boer knows no native tongues; he will not condescend so far to the kafir; but Piet and his sons had yielded to their vicissitudes, and between them could command quite a number of dialects. Tembu, Fingo and the "kitchen "Now," she continued, "let us say goodby." kafir" of the Cape failed to gain any response; Klein Piet's few words of Bechuana only made the old man laugh; the Griqua "clicks" made him laugh more. Then, by an inspiration, Piet put a question in Basuto, the harsh speech of the mountaineers. Up went the black hand in a salute, and the old kafir replied in the same tongue.

"I am a doctor," he told them. "I am of The Men (the Zulus). I am walking north to my own people."

He spoke with a seriousness that was like courtesy, so attentive and gracious. To each of Piet's questions he gave a considered answer, ample and careful. There was no war in these parts, he told them; the nearest kraal was four days away. In any case, his people would not concern themselves with a single family of white people; they had nothing to fear.

"But," said Piet, "since I have been here, I have seen another white man. He watched me at work from a distance. Do you know who he was?"

The old kafir listened to him with a sedulous attention.

"It is said," he answered, "that white men have been seen hereabouts. My grandfather saw them, and his father. But I have never seen them."

Piet stared at him. "Your grandfather?" he cried. "But I saw him yesterday."

The old kafir nodded. "It is a tale that is told," he said. "A very old tale. White men came from yonder—" his lean finger waved to the darkling sea southwards,—"traveling on the water in a——" he paused for a word.

"A ship," said Piet. "I know."

The old man nodded. "This was in the old times, before we Men had come to this country," he went on; "when white men were dreams. Here their ship halted; and that same night, the great wind of the year drove down on them. It was a wind that struck men as with a club and killed them; it lifted the sea as mowers lift hay and stacked it high on the veld, so that here where we sit was all water, and the shore was a mile inland. And with the water, the wind carried their ship, plunging and turning like a cow in a torrent; when the sea went back to its place, it stood here on the land, great and wonderful, with its white men swarming about it. That iron at which you were sweating was the hook with which they held their ship in one place."

Evening had come upon them while they talked; its shadows were cast over the sea and the shore, and the old kafir's strong face was lit by the leaping fire at which they sat. Piet looked over his shoulder at the darkling dome of the night, under which they sat in a hush of solitude.

"Yes," he said. "And what became of them?"

The old kafir spread his hands asunder before him.

"Who can tell?" he answered. "They were killed, of course; the kafirs who had escaped to the hills came back and made war on them. It lasted a while, for the white men fought cleverly; but in the end, there was a creeping by night, a narrowing ring of assegais, the hush of stealth; and last the roar of the warcry and a charge. The kafirs thronged on that ship like ants on a carrion; in the middle of it, the white men put fire to their powder, and all the ship and the fighters vanished in a spring of fire. Yes, all the white men were killed; but still they have been seen, slinking through the hills and returning by the stream. They were killed, but who is to say what became of them?"

The four Boers looked at one another; their breath came short and harsh. Piet recalled all that sense of strangeness with which the sight of the man by the stream had filled him; the growing night was suddenly dangerous and fearful.

Klein Piet turned to the old kafir. "All this was very long ago?" he said.

The kafir considered, with a forefinger that calculated on the fingers of his other hand.

"My grandfather was old," he said. "So old that he was blind. And his grandfather had heard it as a tale of olden times."

Piet was still in thrall to the awe of the thing.

"Then I saw a spirit?" he demanded.

The old kafir shrugged, and a silence fell between them all. Jan and Andries had understood less than the half of what was said, but the ill-ease reached them like a contagion and they sat very close together, their eyes wide open and quick.


Piet was about to ask further questions, when Jan suddenly gripped his brother and started.

"Hark!" he cried. "What is that?"

The quick alarm strung them all to tenseness; only the old kafir cocked his eyebrow humorously and spat into the fire. The others rested where they sat, straining their ears.

"There!" cried Jan again.

It was a dull noise of metal on metal that they heard, a muffled ring and clink; it sounded again and again.

"Someone is cutting at the chains," said Piet hoarsely.

"It is they," said Klein Piet.

Susanna's hand stole into Piet's arm; he had almost forgotten that she was sitting a little behind him, so still had she been. But the touch of her hand made him the equal of his terrors; the man with a wife to shield cannot afford fears. He pressed her hand and rose to his feet.

"We are shivering like old women round a death-bed," he said. "Klein Piet, get your rifle; we will see who is mending our work for us."

Klein Piet obeyed, swallowing to ease his tight throat; the old kafir rose too, and the three of them went forth from the light of the fires and across the crisp grass to that dark pit where yet the "clink, clink" of the unseen work was sounding. Piet and his son walked abreast, the kafir a little behind them; his bare feet were soundless as he strode. The Boer was conscious of no fear; only of a strange lightening of his senses and a pricking in his skin such as he had known when he had lain on his rifle at night waiting for a charge of kafirs. As they went, the sound of the hammers grew clearer, till they could pick out the heavy note of the great sledge and the lighter cadence of the top-mall. They halted by an end of bush to mark the steady ring of them and make sure of their breath; the old kafir went on a few paces.

"So the tale was true," they heard him say; and then Piet sprang out, with Klein Piet at his heels, flung up his gun, and fired at the pit. The smoke of the shot blew back into their faces; its noise, peremptory and sudden, thrust their alert faculties from their poise; an effort was needed ere they saw clear again. The pit was empty.

"What did you see?" cried Klein Piet.

"I don't know," answered Piet. "I thought—but I don't know. Let us go and see what they have done to the chain."

Klein Piet had his tinderbox in his pocket; by the light he made, they both bent to look at the link on the ground.

"It is deeper," said Klein Piet. "The cut is half through the iron."

They went back to the camp in a silence of utter bewilderment. To his wife's look and the questions of the younger boys, Piet only answered that he had found no one. The old kafir had gone off without a word to his place among Piet's kafirs, and presently Susanna moved off to her bed in the wagon. Piet packed Jan and Andries off after her, and remained smoking by the fire with Klein Piet opposite him.

"Now," said Klein Piet, when they were alone; "what was it you saw?"

Piet took the pipe from his lips and gazed at him across the fire.

"As sure as death," he said, "I saw the pit swarming with men like birds over a wheatfield. And you?"

"I saw it too," answered Klein Piet. "And the men with the hammers—they were naked to the waist and hairy like baboons."

They stared at each other stupidly, half-aghast at the knowledge they shared. Their faces, in the firelight, were white and hard.

"Have we trekked too far?" said Piet, almost in a whisper. "Can a man trek to hell? God, there are those hammers again."

Clink, Clink! they sounded, pounding away in the night, clear and even as the ticking of a clock.

"They will have it cut by morning," whispered Klein Piet. "What will happen then?"

Piet was listening to the sounds, with his pipe poised in front of his mouth. He shook his head.

"I don't know," he answered. "But we will see. Klein Piet, you and I will keep the brand-wacht to-night. If anything is to happen, we will be awake for it."

"Yes, father," answered Klein Piet mechanically, and then the talk between them dropped. On either side of the fire they sat in long stages of silence, listening to the hammers plying in the night, their noise making a rhythm above the slow murmur of the water on the beach. A little wind got up, blowing from the north; it carried the scent of the seaweed and the damp sand to their nostrils and fanned their smoldering fire to a clearer glow. Somewhere in the bush a jackal sobbed like a lost child; the wood ask clicked and rustled as it burned out and settled down. And through it all, like the dominant of a harmony, the hammers spoke their unceasing clink and the darkness stirred like a windy arras.

Perhaps the rhythm lulled him somewhat; perhaps he was but sunk in a deeper thought; but Piet did not notice his son spring to his feet. Klein Piet shook him from his stupor; he came back to himself and to the agitated face of the young man leaning over him.

"The hammers have ceased," he shouted.


Klein Piet gabbled the words with lips that puckered and sagged in an ague of excitement. The elder man rose forthwith.

"Now we shall see!" he said.

He went down to crawl under one of the wagons into the open, but remained on his knees under it. Klein Piet, on all fours at his side, shivered and gulped. Their eyes wrestled with the baffling dark, and their pulses checked and raced; for something was moving out yonder. They could see but the loom of a great bulk, a blackness blacker than the night, something vast and tall—and it moved. As their eyes grew familiar with the darkness, they could see plainly that it moved; it seemed to slide slowly. Then, delicate but quite clear, some voice called and others answered. The sliding bulk took on an outline; it made a vague tracery against the faint sky as it neared them; each instant it was plainer to see. Piet, intent, every faculty set like a cocked pistol, noted a long flank, a tall, window-pierced structure that sloped. Old pictures and forgotten names fermented in his memory.

"Allemachtig! It's a ship," he cried.

Superbly she passed them, that lost galleon of the young world, slipped from her age-long anchorage. Her high sides were a-bristle with her guns; her sails were sheeted and her head was to the east. There was a great company of men on board of her; on her high poop, rising like a citadel, a little group of them was black and busy. As she passed down the beach, she dipped and lifted like a burdened ship in a seaway. It was then Klein Piet had his moment of madness. Suddenly he screamed like a girl and began to scramble forward. "Wait for me!" he cried. "I will go with you. I am a sailor too."

He would have run down towards her, but Piet grasped him and held on. He struggled and they rolled together on the grass, fighting with one another. Then Klein Piet ceased as suddenly as he had begun.

"I am better now," he gasped, and Piet let him rise. They stood up together and gazed seaward. A squall was blowing in from the east, thick and black, with a gleam of white water under it. Was it a sail they saw, a ship that heeled to the brisk wind and was screened from sight by the rain? They crawled back under the wagon as the first wetness lit on their faces, and sat there together.

"If you tell me you saw a ship," said Piet suddenly, "I will call you a liar."

"Yes," said Klein Piet. "I must be a liar, for I saw one."

When Oom Piet finished this tale, he was wont to knock out his pipe on the heel of his boot.

"But in the morning, when we went back to our work," he always added, "there was the chain—cut through!"


Along the Hills, height after height
Tosses the dappled light;
Waters unhindered flow;
The cuckoo calls beyond the third hedgerow;
And young winds nothing can quell
Scale the wild-chestnut citadel,
Again to make
Its thousand faery white pagodas shake.
Up many a lane,
The blue vervain
A coverlid hath featly spread
For the bees' bed,
That those tired sylvan thieves
May lie most soft on the sweet and scalloped leaves.
To-morrow morn,
Will high uphold
Each cinquefoil of plain gold;
Hogwood in white will hood herself apace,
And betony flaunt a varied gypsy mace,
On the waste common by some rock
Her lone dark-centred wheel draw in
Long, long ere dusk begin.
This day
Of infinite May
Is far more fitly yours than ours,
O spirit-bodied flowers!
What heart disordered sore
Comes through the greenwood door,
Shall for your sake
Find sap and soil and dew, and shall not break:
And hearts beneath no ban
Will in your sight some penance do for man,
Poor lagging man, content to be
Sick with the impact of eternity,
Who might keep step with you in the low grass,
Best part of one strange pageant made in joy to pass!
Not ye, not ye, the privilege disown
To flourish fair, and fall fair, and be strewn
Deep in that Will of God, where blend
The origin of beauty and the end.



A labor record considered solely in its utilitarian aspect as a vote-getting device is not especially important to the general public. The attitude of a presidential candidate, however, towards the industrial and social problems of the working people is another matter. Does he know what they are? Does he see the great economic questions of labor and capital with eyes blinded by class prejudice or does he see them with the clear vision of a statesman? Does he intend to play a man's part in helping to solve them? The answer to these inquiries is of interest not merely to the capitalists and the workers but to all of us.

In his judicial career Mr. Taft has rendered some decisions in matters brought before him as a judge, which are bound to be a subject of discussion in the coming campaign. One group of these decisions deals with what may be described as rules of industrial warfare.

International agreement has done much toward civilizing international war. Capital and labor have no Hague Court. The limitations upon the scope and method of their warfare must come from the courts and the legislatures. The Treaty of Paris provided for the rights of neutrals, for the freedom of peaceful ships of commerce from plunder and destruction in war. The rights of neutrals in industrial war are less protected but are no less important. In that warfare the neutral party—the public—stands much as Mr. Pickwick did between the rival editors, receiving the fire-tongs on one side of the head and the carpet-bag on the other. The labor question in its militant phase is a public question largely because the public has no desire to occupy Mr. Pickwick's unhappy position.

It happens that all the so-called labor decisions which Judge Taft made when on the bench involve directly and primarily the rights of the general public and of outsiders having no direct part in any industrial quarrel, who against their will have been drawn into the warfare between capital and labor. In deciding these cases it has been necessary not only to consider the rights of labor in industrial disputes, but to pass upon the right of the general public and of disinterested outsiders to be let alone.

A Veto to Economic Excommunication

The first of these cases was one decided by Judge Taft in 1890 when he was a judge of the Superior Court of Cincinnati. A Bricklayers' Union in Cincinnati, having about four hundred members, had a dispute with the firm of Parker Brothers, contracting bricklayers. The Union wanted Parker Brothers to pay a fine it had imposed upon one of their employees who was a member of the Union, to reinstate an apprentice who had left them, and to discharge another apprentice. Parker Brothers refused to do so. A strike was accordingly called. The Union also declared a boycott against Parker Brothers, and its business agent issued a circular to material men, contractors, and owners, which concluded with this announcement: "Any firm dealing in building materials who ignores this request, is hereby notified that we will not work his material upon any building nor for any contractor by whom we are employed. (Signed) Bricklayers' Union No. 1." One of the contractors to whom this notice was sent was the Moore Lime Company, engaged in selling lime in Cincinnati. Parker Brothers were customers of the Moores, and the Moores continued selling lime to them, notwithstanding the notice. Another circular was then sent out by the Union to its members, which read as follows: "Bricklayers' Union No. 1, Ohio. We, the members of the Bricklayers' Union, will not use material supplied by the following dealers until further notice": and in the list they put Moore & Company. The effect of the circular was to interfere with Moore & Company's business and to cause loss to their customers, who feared a similar fate. On these facts the Moores sued the Union for damage which they claimed had been done to their business by a wrongful and malicious conspiracy. The case was tried by a jury, which gave the Moores $2,250 damages. An [598] appeal was taken by the Union to the Superior Court of Cincinnati, where Judge Taft presided.

The facts just related show the issue involved. The Moores' employees had no grievance against them. The only grievance which the Bricklayers had against them was that they refused to permit themselves to be used as a battering-ram in an assault on Parker Brothers. The Union insisted on the right to boycott Moore's Lime Company because Moore's Lime Company would not assist them in injuring the Parkers. Judge Taft decided, as other judges have decided in many cases, that such a combination to injure the Moores was without just cause or legal excuse and was illegal. This, so far as the Moores were concerned, was not a strike case, but a boycott, and in his decision Taft was very careful to draw the distinction and so express himself that the legal rights of labor in a lawful strike should not be impaired. He says:

If the workmen of an employer refuse to work for him except on better terms at a time when their withdrawal will cause great loss to him, and they intentionally inflict such loss to coerce him to come to their terms, they are bona fide exercising their lawful right to dispose of their labor for the purpose of lawful gain. But the dealings between Parker Brothers and their material men, or between such material men and their customers had not the remotest natural connection either with defendants' wages or their other terms of employment. There was no competition or possible contractual relation between the plaintiffs and defendants, where their interests were naturally opposed. The right of the plaintiffs (Moore & Company) to sell their material was not one which, in its exercise, brought them into legitimate conflict with the rights of defendants' Union and its members to dispose of their labor as they chose. The conflict was brought about by the efforts of defendants to use plaintiffs' right of trade to injure Parker Brothers, and, upon failure of this, to use plaintiffs' customers' right of trade to injure plaintiffs. Such effort cannot be in the bona fide exercise of trade, is without just cause, and is, therefore, malicious. The immediate motive of defendants here was to show to the building world what punishment and disaster necessarily followed a defiance of their demands. The remote motive of wishing to better their condition by the power so acquired, will not, as we think we have shown, make any legal justification for defendants' acts.

The doctrine of excommunication, the great engine of the Church in the Middle Ages, has not been revived and transferred from the Pope to the labor unions.

End of the Engineers' Famous "Rule 12"

The next decision of Taft's in a labor dispute came after his elevation to the Federal Bench, and again involved the same principle—the extent to which the rights of a third party, against whom neither labor nor capital has any grievance, can be impaired by involving him against his will in labor disputes. This case arose out of a strike of locomotive engineers on the Toledo-Ann Arbor Railroad in 1893. The strike had been called after numerous conferences between the railroad officials and Mr. Arthur, the representative of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. It was a legitimate strike, as against the Toledo-Ann Arbor Railroad, for higher wages. The phase of the controversy which came into court for Judge Taft's consideration, however, was not the strike itself, but grew out of an attempt by the Union to compel other railroads to refuse to receive freight from the Toledo Road and thereby paralyze that road and coerce it into granting the demands of the engineers.

On March 7, 1893, Mr. Arthur sent to the chairman of the General Adjustment Committees of the Brotherhood on eleven railroad systems in Ohio and neighboring States the following telegram: "There is a legal strike in force upon the Toledo-Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railroad. See that the men on your road comply with the laws of the Brotherhood. Notify your general manager." A "legal" strike, as the term was used, meant one to which the Grand Chief of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers had consented, and meant the promulgation of Rule 12 of the organization, which provided in substance that after a strike had been declared against a railroad, it should, while the strike continued, be "a violation of obligation for a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers who may be employed on a railroad running in connection with or adjacent to said road, to handle the property belonging to said road or system in any way that may benefit said company with which the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers is at issue."

In obedience to Mr. Arthur's telegram, representatives of the Brotherhood on various railroads notified the general managers of these railroads that after a certain date the engineers would refuse to haul cars or freight forwarded by the Toledo Road. Some of these railroads thereafter notified the management of the Toledo Railroad that in view of the threatened actions of their own engineers, they would be obliged to discontinue receiving or forwarding freight for the road. The Toledo thereupon obtained from Judge Taft in the United States Circuit Court an injunction against the Pennsylvania Railroad and other railroad companies, enjoining them from refusing to handle its freight and commanding them to perform their railroad functions as required by the Interstate Commerce Act, which made it a criminal offense for connecting railroads to refuse to receive or transport freight from one another's lines. Mr. [599] Arthur was made a party, and the injunction, issued, and sustained after hearing, directed him to rescind his order putting into effect Rule 12 of his organization. The decree did not require the employees of these other railroads to continue to work for the railroads if they saw fit to strike, but it did require them, as long as they were in the employ of those railroads, to handle the freight of the Toledo Road as they would the freight of any other road.

The opinion which Judge Taft wrote in this case is a long one. He quotes the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, which clearly made it a criminal offense for the officers, agents, or employees of any of these connecting roads wilfully to refuse to receive and transmit the freight of the Toledo Road, and declares that the attempt of the Locomotive Engineers to compel the railroads to commit this criminal offense through this Rule 12 was unlawful. As to the rule itself, he says, after an exhaustive examination of it in connection with the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Law:

We have thus considered with some care the criminal character of Rule 12 and its enforcement, not only, as will presently be seen, because it assists in determining the civil liabilities which grow out of them, but also because we wish to make it plain, if we can, to the intelligent and generally law-abiding men who compose the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, as well as to their usually conservative chief officer, what we cannot believe they appreciate, that notwithstanding their perfect organization and their charitable, temperance and other elevated and useful purposes, the existence of Rule 12 under their organic law makes the Brotherhood a criminal conspiracy against the laws of their country.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers acquiesced in the criticism of this section of their laws and removed it. The fact that this organization is in existence today, unimpaired in power and authority throughout the American railroad world, is an indication of its willingness to recognize and obey the law of the land. Its conduct in subsequently withdrawing the rule shows that Judge Taft was justified in setting forth with such painstaking clearness the illegality of the rule, with the expectation that its illegality would be recognized and the rule abolished—a confidence which was justified by its results.

Phelan Sentence in the Pullman Strike

The next labor decision made by Judge Taft was in the well-known Phelan case in the great Pullman strike of 1894. The organization with which he was then called upon to deal was of a totally different character from that of the Locomotive Engineers. It was one managed in entire disregard of the law, the courts, and the public. Eugene V. Debs, the chief agent of that organization, the American Railway Union, is today the Socialist candidate for the presidency. In the Pullman strike of 1894 Judge Taft sent one of Debs' chief assistants—Phelan—to jail for six months. If his judicial conduct in this matter merits criticism, here are the facts on which that criticism must be based:

Some of us have fairly hazy notions today as to the Pullman strike and what it was all about. It began in May, 1894. The employees of the Pullman Company, engaged in making cars at Pullman, Illinois, went on a strike because of the refusal of the Company to restore wages which had been reduced in the preceding year. The American Railway Union, which then comprised some two hundred and fifty thousand railway employees which Debs had organized and over which he was master in control, later endorsed this strike and started in actively to make it a success. The principal means by which that success was sought was by declaring a boycott on Pullman cars. In Judge Taft's opinion in the Phelan case (Thomas vs. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. Rd. Co.), he gives the plan and scope of this boycott as follows:

Pullman cars are used on a large majority of the railways of the country. The members of the American Railway Union, whose duty it was to handle Pullman cars on such railways, were to refuse to do so, with the hope that the railway companies, fearing a strike, would decline further to haul them in their trains and inflict a great pecuniary injury upon the Pullman Company. In case these railroads failed to yield to the demand, every effort was to be made to tie them up and cripple the doing of any business whatever by them, and particular attention was to be directed to the freight traffic, which it was known was the chief source of revenue. As the lodges of the American Railway Union extended from the Alleghany Mountains to the Pacific Coast, it will be seen that it was contemplated by those engaged in carrying out their plans, that in case of a refusal of the railway companies to join the Union in its attack upon the Pullman Company, there would be a paralysis of all railroad traffic of every kind throughout the vast territory traversed by the lines using Pullman cars.

Phelan came to Cincinnati to carry on this warfare against the Pullman Company by paralyzing, if he could, all the railroads centering there. He did not stop even with the railroads using Pullman cars, but ordered a strike against the Big Four, which used none of these cars. On the day Phelan called the strike in Cincinnati, Debs telegraphed to him to let the Big Four alone if it was not using Pullman cars, to which Phelan answered: "I cannot keep others out if Big Four is excepted. The rest are emphatic on all together or none. The tie-up is successful." Debs replied "About twenty-five lines are paralyzed. More following. Tremendous [600] blockade." A few days later Debs telegraphed: "Advices from all points show our position strengthened. Baltimore & Ohio, Pan Handle, Big Four, Lake Shore, Erie, Grand Trunk, and Michigan Central are now in the fight. Take measures to paralyze all those which enter Cincinnati. Not a wheel turning between here and the Canadian line."

"Starvation of a Nation" Illegal

On the day that Debs telegraphed Phelan to take measures to paralyze all those lines which entered Cincinnati—work which was already well under way—at the very crisis of the strike, on the application of the receiver of the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway Company, and on a petition which alleged a malicious conspiracy to prevent the receiver from operating that road, Phelan was arrested by an order of Judge Taft for inciting the employees of the receiver to quit their employment and for urging them to prevent others from taking their places, by persuasion if possible, by clubbing if necessary. The receiver asked for the commitment of Phelan for contempt, alleging that the whole boycott was an unlawful and criminal conspiracy, and that, for his acts in maliciously inciting the employees of the receiver, who was operating the railroad under order of the United States Court, to leave his employ in pursuance of that unlawful combination, Phelan was in contempt of court.

Was the combination of Debs and his associates illegal? Judge Taft said that it was, not only because boycotts are illegal under the law of every State in the Union where the question has arisen, with one possible exception, but because this combination of men, in their efforts to gain their own personal ends, had trampled upon the rights of the public. He said:

The railroads have become as necessary to the life and health and comfort of the people of the country as are the arteries in the human body, and yet Debs and Phelan and their associates propose, by inciting the employees of all the railways in the country to suddenly quit their service without any dissatisfaction with the terms of their employment, to paralyze utterly all the traffic by which the public live, and in this way to compel Pullman, for whose acts neither the public nor the railway companies are in the slightest degree responsible and over whose acts they can lawfully exercise no control, to pay more wages to his employees. Certainly the starvation of a nation cannot be a lawful purpose of a combination, and it is utterly immaterial whether the purpose is effected by means usually lawful or otherwise.

The "starvation of a nation," for such purposes, by such means, stopped, so far as Phelan was concerned, on the day these words were read by Judge Taft—the 13th day of July, 1894. It stopped because after a protracted and exciting trial, in which many witnesses were called and Phelan was fully heard in his own defense, Taft sent Phelan to jail for six months. Those who believe that the starvation of a nation is within the rights of labor engaged in a private quarrel, must tell us wherein this Judge did wrong.

These three cases are legal landmarks showing the limitations of industrial warfare. They are what the lawyers call "leading cases." They lay down clearly and dispassionately the law which marks the rights of the public to remain unmolested by the conflict of labor and capital at war. Such decisions are in American law what the Treaty of Paris is in the Law of Nations—a declaration of the rights of neutrals.

If, as a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Taft is to suffer from unpopularity created in any quarter by these decisions which he made as judge, he must endure it, for the search for popularity is not a part of the functions of a judge.

The Courage of Great Judges

The picture of Taft in the Phelan case, reading in a court-room crowded with angry and hostile men a decision which was to send their leader to jail; a decision which was to play a large part in determining one of the most distressing industrial wars of our day;—this picture recalls another court, another great occasion long ago.

In 1768 John Wilkes, who had been prosecuted relentlessly by the British Crown, and who had been outlawed and driven to France, returned to England, appeared before Lord Mansfield in the Court of Kings Bench, and demanded that the judgment of outlawry be reversed. The nation was frenzied by faction. Abuse and threats of personal violence were heaped upon the Chief Justice. In a courtroom crowded with the enemies of Wilkes, the greatest of English judges reversed and annulled the decree of outlawry. In doing it, he gave what seemed a death blow to his own favor with the King, who had placed the judicial ermine on his shoulders. After he had rendered this judgment, facing the angry sycophants of the Crown, he spoke these words:

If during the King's reign I have ever supported his government and assisted his measures, I have done it without any other reward than the consciousness of doing what I thought right. If I have ever opposed, I have done it upon the points themselves, without mixing in party or faction, and without any collateral views. I honor the King and respect the people; but many things required by the favor of either are, in my account, objects not worth ambition. I wish popularity, but it is that popularity which follows, not that which is run after. It is that popularity [601] which, sooner or later, never fails to do justice to the pursuit of noble ends by noble means. I will not do that which my conscience tells me is wrong, upon this occasion, to gain the huzzas of thousands, or the daily praise of all the papers which come from the press. I will not avoid doing what I think is right, though it should draw on me the whole artillery of libels; all that falsehood and malice can invent or that the credulity of a deluded populace can swallow.

The two qualities which make a great judge are wisdom and moral courage. No great judge ever lived who did not possess them both. When the Phelan case was on trial before Judge Taft, it was a time of tremendous excitement. It was the very crisis of a great strike. The friends of the Judge feared for his life and asked him not to read his decision from the bench. He read it. The last sentence of that decision directed the marshal safely to convey Phelan to the Warren County Jail. When he read that final sentence he turned to the packed court-room and looking squarely into the angry faces before him said: "If there is any power in the army of the United States to run those trains, the trains will be run." To those who honor judicial courage no less than judicial wisdom, such occasions deserve to be recalled and remembered, for they are part of the great traditions of the bench.

But these decisions are not solely declarations of public rights. They contain statements of the legal rights of labor organizations in strikes, stated so clearly that the decisions have been cited time and again in subsequent litigation by labor organizations themselves as precedents in their favor. They affirm unequivocally the right of labor organizations to strike to better the condition of their members, and the right to use peaceable persuasion to prevent other employees from taking the place of strikers, a right which in some jurisdictions, particularly Pennsylvania, has been denied.

The Right to Strike

Quite apart from his judicial decisions, Taft's position on the strike question is clearly stated in public addresses. Last January, at Cooper Institute, he said to an audience of workingmen: "Now what is the right of the labor unions with respect to the strike? I know that there has been at times a suggestion in the law that no strike can be legal. I deny this. Men have the right to leave the employ of their employer in a body in order to impose on him as great an inconvenience as possible to induce him to come to their terms. They have the right in their labor unions to delegate to a leader power to say when to strike. They have the right in advance to accumulate by contributions of all members of the labor union a fund which shall enable them to live during the strike. They have the right to use persuasion with all other employees who are invited to take their places in order to convince them of the advantage to labor of united action. It is the business of the courts and the police to respect these rights with the same degree of care that they respect the owners of capital in the protection of their property and business."

No public man has placed himself more clearly on record on the so-called injunction question. The plank of the Republican platform which advocates a modification of the present federal court practice, under which injunctions are issued without notice to organizations sought to be enjoined, is a plank adopted at Mr. Taft's request and suggestion. The jurist who, in a decision in the coal mine cases of 1902 in West Virginia, described an organization which has done more for the coal miners than any other social force, the United Mine Workers, as a band of walking delegates fattening on the poor and ignorant, declared in the same decision that no injunction had ever been issued in strike cases which was not entirely justified by the facts. Judge Taft says this is not true; that such injunctions have been issued unjustly; and in his Cooper Union address he said:

But it is said that the writ of injunction has been abused in this country in labor disputes and that a number of injunctions have been issued which ought never to have been issued. I agree that there has been abuse in this regard. President Roosevelt referred to it in his last message. I think it has grown largely from the practice of issuing injunctions ex parte, that is, without giving notice or hearing to the defendants.... Under the original Federal judiciary act it was not permissible for the Federal courts to issue an injunction without notice. There had to be notice, and, of course, a hearing. I think it would be entirely right in this class of cases to amend the law and provide that no temporary restraining order should issue until after notice and a hearing.

He at the same time expressed himself in favor of having contempt proceedings for violations of injunctions heard by a judge other than the one who issued the injunction. But to the proposal that in such cases the ancient power of the courts to protect their own dignity and authority be taken from them and turned over to juries of laymen selected by interested parties and subject to all the passions and prejudices inevitable in such trials—to this he is opposed.

The Laborer's Right to Protection

One decision of Judge Taft's on a highly important labor question has been generally overlooked and deserves mention. The interests of [602] labor in the law are not confined to strike questions. Its rights in peace are no less important than in war. The working people are deeply interested in the enforcement of laws which protect them against unnecessary dangers in employment. The position of Judge Taft on this important question is best shown by the contrast made by one of his decisions (Narramore vs. C., C., C. & St. Louis Railroad Co.) with the leading case in New York on the same subject. Both of these cases involve statutes directing employers to furnish certain specific protection for the safety of employees. In both cases the employer failed to obey the law which required the furnishing of that protection. The New York Court of Appeals decided that notwithstanding the statute, if the employee stayed at work knowing that the employer had not obeyed the law, and knowing the danger created by the employer's failure to obey the law, by the mere fact of his remaining at work, the employee assumed as a matter of law the risks of being injured and could have no claims against the employer for injuries so sustained. This construction obviously makes the protective statute a dead letter and absolutely worthless.

Judge Taft, in a case in which this same reasoning was advanced, and in which the decision of this New York Court of Appeals was cited as an authority, refused to follow it and rendered a decision which leaves full vitality to protective legislation. The case was one in which a railroad company had failed to obey the law which required it to fill or block frogs and furnish guard rails on their tracks. The plaintiff, a railway employee, kept at work, knowing that the frogs were not blocked, and was hurt through the absence of the protection which the statute required the railroad to furnish him. He had a verdict from the jury, the railroad appealed, and its lawyer, Judson Harmon, argued that the verdict should be set aside because the man had kept at work knowing the railroad's violation of the law, and had therefore by legal implication contracted with the railroad to take all the chances of being hurt. Judge Taft refused to follow the New York case, declaring:

The only ground for passing such a statute is found in the inequality of terms upon which the railroad company and its servants deal in regard to the dangers of their employment. The manifest legislative purpose was to protect the servant by positive law, because he had not previously shown himself capable of protecting himself by contract, and it would entirely defeat its purpose thus to permit the servant to contract the master out of the statute.

This case has been cited all over the United States by counsel for workmen injured through the failure of their employers to furnish the protection required by statute for their safety. Perhaps a majority of the State courts follow the New York case, and say that protective legislation intended for the benefit of working men at work is of no legal value to them if they stay at work. The legal theory on which the workman assumes the risks of personal injury need not here be discussed. Judge Taft, however, decided that when a law is made applying to a dangerous business, in which four thousand men are killed and sixty-five thousand are injured every year, the intention was that the railroads should obey that law, and it should not be nullified "by construction." In this conclusion he does not lack judicial support of high character.

This, in substance, is Taft's labor record so far as his judicial career is concerned. Its consideration by the general public can be useful but for one purpose, which is this: A country like ours cannot afford to elect a class president. It cannot afford to elect a president in whose mind the distinction between lawlessness and personal rights is not clear and distinct; who to please one class will weaken the foundations of the liberty and peace of a whole nation. It can still less afford to elect a president to whom the working people are but pawns on the chessboard, and to whom prosperity means peace at any price by the sacrifice of the rights of the working people, so long as the mills are at work and property is secure in the possessions which it has somehow acquired. The enemies of our democracy are at both extremes.

The Socialists attacked Roosevelt with greater bitterness than any president who had preceded him, because he had not been a class president, and because he had not ignored the interests and rights of the working people and thereby helped still further to increase the constantly growing "class-conscious" body of dissatisfied men marching under the Socialists' banner. That section of the press which supports lawless property has attacked him because he has disturbed "values" and "vested interests." There is no sure protection for property but justice. Suppression of the labor organizations will not insure it; they should not and cannot be suppressed. Nor is there on the other hand any protection for the public if at the demands of a class, no matter how large its voting strength, the peace of the whole country is to be jeopardized by weakening the foundations of law which impose just limitations on industrial warfare. We need for president a man who will recognize and protect the just rights of both rich and poor and thereby protect American democracy against its class enemies. By these standards Mr. Taft must be judged.


[1] Documents throwing light upon the action of Admiral Alexeieff will be found at the end of General Kuropatkin's historical narrative, although they are not a part thereof. These documents will also explain the important part that State Councillor Bezobrazoff played in the Far East, and indicate the source of his extraordinary power.

[2]   A town on the road from Mukden and Liao-yang to the mouth of the Yalu River in northern Korea.

[3]  Mounted Manchurian bandits.

[4]  The Russian minister in China.

[5]  The Russian minister in Korea.

[6]   The documents at the end of General Kuropatkin's narrative will explain why an officer as powerful even as the Minister of War might be supposed to fear Bezobrazoff—a retired official of the civil service who, personally, had no importance whatever.

[7]   In June, 1903, there was a good deal of friction between the employees of the Bezobrazoff company and those of a Japanese-Chinese syndicate which had obtained from the Korean Government, in March, a timber concession in this same region. Two Chinese were shot by the Russians, and the rafts of the syndicate were seized. Balasheff's dispatch probably referred to this or some similar incident, and the Captain Bodisco to whom it was addressed was probably an officer in the service of the Bezobrazoff company on the Yalu.—G. K.

[8]   "Osvobozhdenie," No. 75, Stuttgart, August 19, N. S., 1905. No question has ever been raised, I think, with regard to the authenticity of these letters and telegrams; but if there were any doubt of it, such doubt would be removed by a comparison of them with General Kuropatkin's history.—G. K.

[9]   Asakawa, who seems to have investigated this matter carefully, says that the original contract for this concession dated as far back as August 26, 1896, when the Korean king was living in the Russian legation at Seoul as a refugee.—"The Russo-Japanese Conflict," by K. Asakawa, London, 1905, p. 289.

[10]   The italics are my own.—G. K.

[11]   Since I wrote this, a friend has supplied the quotation, but as I know no Latin, less Greek, and the least possible amount of bad French, I cannot answer for its correctness! "Quamquam ridentem dicere verum quid vetat?"

[12]  The Ford of Weeping.