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Title: Types of Prose Narratives: A Text-Book for the Story Writer

Author: Harriott Ely Fansler

Release date: January 4, 2021 [eBook #64210]

Language: English

Credits: MFR, Eleni Christofaki and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber's note.

A list of the changes made can be found at the end of the book.






Assistant Professor of English in the University of the
Philippines. Formerly Instructor in English
in Western Reserve University
at Cleveland, Ohio




Copyright, 1911,
Harriott Ely Fansler.



Inspiration for any craftsman lies in the history of his art and in a definite problem at hand. He feels his task dignified when he knows what has been done before him, and he has a starting point when he can enumerate the essentials of what he wants to produce. He then goes to his work with a zest that is in itself creative. There is a popular misconception, especially in the minds of young people and seemingly in the minds of many teachers and critics of literature, that geniuses have sprung full-worded from the brain of Jove and have worked without antecedents. There could not be to a writer a more cramping idea than that. It is the aim of the present volume to help dispel that illusion, and to set in a convenient form before students of narrative the twofold inspiration mentioned—a feeling for the past and a series of definite problems.

There has been no attempt at minuteness in tracing the type developments; though there has been the constant ideal of exactness and trustworthiness wherever developments are suggested. In other words, this book is not a scrutiny of origins, but a setting forth of essentials in kinds of narratives already clearly established. The analysis that gives the essentials has, of course, the personal element in it, as all such analyses must have; but the work is the work of one mind and is at least consistent. Since I have not had the benefit of other texts on the subject (for there are none that I[vi] know of) and since the inquiry into narrative types with composition in view is thus made, put together with illustrations, and published for the first time, it has been my especial aim to exclude everything dogmatic. As can readily be seen, the details have been worked out in the actual classroom. The safe thing about the use of such a text by other instructors is the fact that they and their pupils can test the truth of the generalizations by first-hand inquiry of their own.

The examples chosen from literature and here printed are specific as well as typical. They have been selected not only to illustrate general principles, but for other reasons as well—some for superior intrinsic worth; some for historical position; all because of possible inspiration. But none have been selected as models.

The themes written by my present and former pupils are added for the last reason—as sure reinforcement of the inspiration, as provokers to action. Often students fail to write because there is held up to them a model, something complicated and perfect in detail. They feel their apprenticeship keenly and hesitate to attempt a likeness to a masterpiece. But, on the other hand, when they get a glimpse of history and when they see the work of a fellow tyro, they know that an equally good or even better result is within their reach and so set to work at once. The productions of pupils under this historical-illustrative method, wherever it has been tried, have been encouraging. Seldom has any one failed to present an acceptable piece of work. Once in a while a "mistake" has been made that has reassured a teacher and a class of the accuracy of the contamination theory—the historical cross-grafting or counter influence of types; that[vii] is, sometimes in the endeavor to produce a theme that should vary from those he thought the other students would write, an earnest worker has unconsciously produced an example of the next succeeding type to be studied; unconsciously, because hitherto, of course, the classes have gone forward without a printed text.

This statement leads to the question, Why publish the literary examples? Why not merely give the references? Because school and even town libraries are limited. Twenty-five card-holders can scarcely get the same volume within the same week. Besides, the plan I consider good to insure the pupil's thorough acquaintance with the library accessible to him and with library methods and possibilities is quite other than this. This book is meant as a work-table guide for the student and as a time-saver for the teacher; hence all the necessary material should be immediately at hand. The instructor's concern in the teaching of narrative writing is just the twofold one mentioned before—to orientate the young scribbler and to give him a quick and sure inspiration. After that he is to be left alone to write, and the fewer the books around him the better.

The bibliography is added for two other classes of persons: those who desire to make a somewhat further and more minute study of type developments, and those who wish merely to read extensively or selectively in the works of fiction and history themselves. The list of books and authors is intended simply to be helpful, not exhaustive, and consequently contains, with but few exceptions, only those works that one might reasonably expect to find in a well-stocked college or city library.

I confess I hope that some amateur writer out of[viii] college or high school may chance upon the book and be encouraged by it to persevere. There are many delightful hours possible for one who enjoys composition, if he can but get a bit of a lift here and there or a new impulse to an occasionally flagging imagination. All but the very earliest literature has been produced thus—namely, by a conscious writing to a type, with an idea either of direct imitation, as in the case of Chaucer, who gloried in his "authorities;" or of variation and combination, as in the case of Walpole; or of equaling or surpassing in excellence, as in the case of James Fenimore Cooper; or of satire and supersedence, as in the case of Cervantes.

But to go back to the student themes here presented. They were written, with the exception of two, for regular class credit. These two were printed in a college paper as sophomore work. A number of the remaining came out in school publications after serving in the English theme box. All in all, they are the productions of actual students; from whom, it is hoped, other young writers may get some help and a good deal of entertainment. In each case the name of the author is affixed to his narrative, since he alone is responsible for the merits and faults of the piece.

In regard to the Filipino pupils no word is necessary: they speak for themselves. The work here given as theirs is theirs. I have not treated it in any way different from the way I treat all school themes, American or other. It is everyday work—criticized by the instructor, corrected by the pupil, and returned to the English office. The examples could be replaced from my present stock to the extent literally of some ten,[ix] some twenty, some two hundred fold. Naturally, of course, as is true of all persons using a foreign language, the Filipinos mistake idiom more often than anything else, and they write more fluently than they talk; but there is among them no dearth of material and no lack of thought. Indeed, the publishers have been embarrassed by the supply of interesting stories, especially in the earlier types. The temptation has been to add beyond the limits of the merely helpful and illustrative and to pass into the realm of the curious and entertaining. Regardless of literary quality, Filipino themes have today an historic value; many of them are the first written form of hitherto only oral tradition.

To say to how great an extent a writer and talker is indebted to his everyday working library is difficult. Like a sculptor to an excellent quarry, a teacher can indeed forget to give credit where credit is due, especially to the more general books of reference such as encyclopedias and histories of literature—Saintsbury, Chambers, Ticknor, Jusserand. I would speak of the "Standard Dictionary," that does all my spelling for me and not a little of my defining; and the "Encyclopedia Britannica," which in these days of special treatises is sometimes superciliously passed over, though it offers in its pages not only much valuable literary information, but some of that information in the form of very valuable literature. Next to these might be placed Dunlop's "History of Fiction;" and last, particular and occasional compilations like Brewer's and Blumentritt's, and criticism like Murray's, Keightley's and Newbigging's. Then there is the "World's Great Classics Series." Just how much I owe to these general texts I cannot perhaps[x] tell definitely; though I am not conscious of borrowing where I have not given full credit. As I have said before, direct treatises on my subject are lacking; so I shall have to bear alone the brunt of criticism on the analysis, or the main body of the book. I know of no one else to blame.

Grateful acknowledgment is due to my husband, Dean Spruill Fansler, for long-suffering kindness in answering appeals to his opinion and for reading the manuscript, compiling the bibliography, and making the index. Without his generous help I should hardly have found time or courage to put the chapters together.

In justice to former assistant English instructors in the United States who have successfully followed earlier unpublished outlines, and to my colleagues in the University of the Philippines who have been teaching from the book in manuscript form for nine months, it ought to be said that, whatever faults the work may have—and I fear they are all too many—it can hardly be dismissed as an immature and untried theory.

If there should be found any merit in the content of the book in general, I should like to have that ascribed to the influence of the department of English and Comparative Literature of Columbia University, where I had the privilege of graduate study with such scholars as Ashley Horace Thorndike, William Peterfield Trent and Jefferson Butler Fletcher.

My chief material debt is to the publishing firms who have very courteously permitted the reprinting of narratives selected from their copyrighted editions.

H. E. F.

University of the Philippines, Manila, 1911.



List of Stories xv-xx
Introduction xxi-xxvi
Part 1. Narratives of Imaginary Events
Chapter I. The Primitive-Religious Group 1-82
I. Myth—Classes of myths: primitive-tribal and artificial-literary—Myth age not a past epoch—How traditional myths are collected—How original myths are composed—Difference between myth and allegory, and myth and legend—Working definition—List of mythological deities: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hindu, Russian, Finnish, Norse, Filipino—Examples 1
II. Legend—Myth and legend compared—Saga—Saint legends—Geoffrey of Monmouth—Legendary romance—Modern literary legends—How to select and record a legend of growth—How to write a legend of art—Working definition—Examples 22
III. Fairy Tale—Attitude toward fairy stories—Fundamental characteristics of fairies—Northern fairies and their attributes—Some literary fairy tales—How to proceed to write a fairy tale—Summary definition—Partial lists of fairies of different countries: Northern, Irish and Scotch, Filipino, Russian, Arabian, and Miscellaneous—Examples 43
IV. Nursery Saga—Origin—The brothers Grimm—English nursery sagas—Distinguishing elements: kind of hero, rhymes, repetition of situation, supernatural element—A few specific suggestions—Working definition—Examples 65
Chapter II. Symbolic-Didactic Group 83-127
I. Fable—Æsop—Other early fabulists—"Hitopadesa" and "Panchatantra"—"Reynard the Fox" and bestiaries—Some more writers of fables—Working definition—Classes of fables: rational, non-rational, mixed—How to write an original fable—Maxims upon which fables may be built—Examples 83
[xii] II. Parable—Distinguishing characteristics—Tolstoy—Suggestions on writing a parable—Working definition—A list of proverbs that might be expanded into parables—Examples 101
III. Allegory—Characteristics—Plato's "Vision of Er"—Modern allegories—Some famous English allegories—Allegory fable, and parable differentiated—Working definition—How to write an allegory—Present-day interest in primitive types—Examples 112
Chapter III. Ingenious-Astonishing Group 128-254
I. Tale of Mere Wonder—Definition—Collections of wonder stories, ancient and modern—Suggestions for writing—Characteristic elements—Mediæval tales of chivalry—Heroic romances—Examples 128
II. Imaginary Voyage with a Satiric or Instructive Purpose—Distinguishing elements—Source of the type—Famous imaginary voyages—Suggestions on how to write a satiric imaginary voyage—Examples 150
III. Tale of Scientific Discovery and of Mechanical Invention—Relation to imaginary voyages—Essential elements—Kind of stories included in this type—Suggestions on how to write the type—Examples 194
IV. The Detective Story and Other Tales of Pure Plot—The detective story: connection with stories of ingenuity—Poe and Doyle—Other stories of plot—Romance—A few suggestions—Examples 225
Chapter IV. The Entertaining Group 255-344
I. Tale of Probable Adventure—Characteristics and definition—How to write a probable adventure—A warning—Examples 255
II. The Society Story—Definition—Pastoral Romance—Suggestions on writing a society story—Examples 277
III. The Humorous Story—Definition—Fableaux—Picaresque romance—Difference between a humorous story and a comic anecdote—Examples 299
IV. The Occasional Story—The spirit of the occasional story—Its masters—Suggestions for subjects—Examples 313
[xiii] Chapter V. The Instructive Group 345-394
I. The Moral Story—Differentiated from the symbolic-didactic group—Great authors who have written this type: Hawthorne, Johnson, Voltaire, Tolstoy, Cervantes—What to put in and what to leave out—Examples 345
II. The Pedagogical Narrative—Definition—Some famous pedagogical books—Froebel—Examples 361
III. The Story of Present Day Realism—What realism is—The realistic school—Suggestions on characters to treat—Examples 370
Chapter VI. The Artistic Group: the Real Short-Story 395-478
I. The Psychological Weird Tale—Origin—The School of Terror—Poe, Stevenson, Maupassant, and others—Suggestions on writing a weird tale—Material and method—Form—Examples 398
II. Story That Emphasizes Character and Environment—Kipling—Mary E. Wilkins Freeman—Hamlin Garland—Bret Harte—Suggestions and precautions—The "Character": Overbury and Hall—Novel of Manners—Trollope's Cathedral Town Studies—Examples 426
III. Story That Emphasizes Character and Events—Difference between character-place story and character-events story—Component elements of this type—A scrapbook suggestion—Other suggestions—Examples 455
Part II. Narratives of Actual Events
Chapter VII. Particular Accounts 479 -556
I. Incident—Definition—How to tell an incident—Examples 480
II. Anecdote—Meaning of the term—Ana—Collection of anecdotes—How to write an original anecdote—Examples 490
III. Eye-Witness Account—What it is and how to write it—An ancient eye-witness account—Literary eyewitness accounts—Examples 499
IV. Tale of Actual Adventure—The one necessary element—Suggestions for writing—Examples 512
V. The Traveler's Sketch—What a traveler's sketch includes—Great travel books—Fielding's gentle warning—A motto for the narrator—Examples 530
[xiv] Chapter VIII. Personal Accounts 557-611
I. Journal and Diary—The two distinguished—The range of journals—"Vida del Gran Tamurlan"—Great diaries—How to write journal and diary—Examples 557
II. Autobiography and Memoirs—Distinction—Cellini, Franklin, and others—Selection and coherence—Examples 572
III. Biography—Beginning in England of literary biography—Great biographies in English—Writer and subject—Beginning, emphasis, and attitude—Outline for a life—Examples 590
Chapter IX. Impersonal Accounts 612-645
I. Annals—What annals are—Famous old annals—Stow—Suggestions on material—Examples 613
II. Chronicles—Definition—Froissart, Ayala, "General Chronicle of Spain"—Saxo Grammaticus—Holinshed—True relations—Examples 626
Bibliography 647-660
Index 661-672





The World's Creation and the Birth of Wainamoinen From the Kalevala 14
Students' Themes
Origin of the Moon Emanuel Baja 16
The First Cocoanut Tree Manuel Reyes 18
The Lotus Ida Treat 21


Kenach's Little Woman William Canton 28
Students' Themes
A Legend of Gapan Teofilo Corpus 36
Manca: a Legend of the Incas Dorothea Knoblock 38
The Place of the Red Grass Sixto Guico 42

Fairy Tales

The Boggart From the English 55
Students' Themes
Cafre and the Fisherman's Wife Benito Ebuen 57
The Friendship of an Asuang and a Duende Emanuel Baja 58
A Tianac Frightens Juan Santiago Ochoa 61
The Black Cloth of the Calumpang Eusebio Ramos 63

Nursery Tales

Princess Helena the Fair From the Russian 69
Students' Themes
Juan the Guesser Bienvenido Gonzalez 73
The Shepherd who became King Vicente Hilario 78


Jupiter and the Countryman From the Spectator 90
The Drop of Water (Persian) From the Spectator 91
The Grandee at the Judgment Seat Kriloff 91
[xvi] The Lion and the Old Hare From the Hitopadesa 92
The Fox and the Crab From the Turkish 93
The Fool who Sells Wisdom From the Turkish 94
The Archer and the Trumpeter From the Turkish 95
Students' Themes
The Courtship of Sir Butterfly Maximo M. Kalaw 96
The Hat and the Shoes José R. Perez 98
The Crocodile and the Peahen Elisa Esguerra 99
The Old Man, his Son, and his Grandson Eutiquiano Garcia 100


The Three Questions Tolstoy 104
Students' Themes
A Master and his Servant Eusebio Ramos 110
The Parable of the Beggar and the Givers Dorothea Knoblock 111


The Artist Oscar Wilde 120
The House of Judgment Oscar Wilde 120
Students' Themes
The Chain that Binds Elizabeth Sudborough 123
The Love which Surpassed All Other Loves Florence Gifford 125

Tales of Mere Wonder

The Story of the City of Brass From the Arabian Nights 132
Student's Theme
The Magic Ring, the Bird, and the Basket Facundo Esquivel 147

Imaginary Voyages

Mellonta Tauta Edgar Allan Poe 155
Student's Theme
Busyong's Trip to Jupiter Manuel Candido 173

Tale of Scientific Discovery and Mechanical Invention

A Curious Vehicle Alexander Wilson Drake 200
Students' Themes
The Spyglass of the Past Hazel Orcutt 218
Up a Water Spout Edna Collister 221

Detective Story and Tale of Mere Plot

Thou Art the Man Edgar Allan Poe 228
Student's Theme
The Picture of Lhasa Hazel Orcutt 248

Tales of More-or-Less Probable Adventure

Fight with a Bear Charles Reade 257
Student's Theme
Secret of the Jade Tlaloc Dorothea Knoblock 267

Society Stories

The Fur Coat Ludwig Fulda 277
Student's Theme
The Lady in Pink Wilma I. Ball 289

Humorous Stories

The Expatriation of Jonathan Taintor Charles Battell Loomis 302
Students' Themes
Kileto and the Physician Lorenzo Licup 307
The Lame Man and the Deaf Family Santiago Rotea 311

Occasional Stories

The Lost Child François Coppée 315
Students' Themes
The Peace of Yesterdays Katherine Kurz 334
A Christmas Legend Ida F. Treat 342

Moral Story

Jeannot and Colin Voltaire 348

Pedagogical Narratives

Gertrude's Method of Instruction Pestalozzi 365
Student's Theme
Lawin-lawinan (a Filipino game) Leopoldo Uichanco 368

[xviii] Stories of Present-Day Realism

The Piece of String Maupassant 374
Students' Themes
A Social Error Ida Treat 382
The Lot of the Poor Agnes Palmer 388
Filipino Fear Walfrido de Leon 390

Psychological Weird Tales

The Signal-Man Charles Dickens 403
Student's Theme
Like a Thief in the Night Dorothea Knoblock 420

Stories That Emphasize Character and Environment

Muhammad Din Rudyard Kipling 432
Students' Themes
The Fetters Katherine Kurz 436
When Terry Quit Dorothea Knoblock 446
Nora Titay and Chiquito Joaquina E. Tirona 453

Stories That Emphasize Character and Events

The Necklace Maupassant 460
Student's Theme
Andong Justo Avila 470



A Near Tragedy Fielding 482
An Incident before Sadowa: Birds Divulge Army Secrets Newspaper 483
An Incident Related in a Letter Robert Louis Stevenson 484
Students' Themes
A Hero Dead Ida Treat 485
My First Day at School Máximo Kalaw 487
The Guinatan Prize Leopoldo Faustino 488


Coleridge's Retort 493
An Inevitable Misfortune 494
A Point Needing to be Settled 494
Patience 494
[xix] Preaching and Practice 495
Johnson's Dictionary 495
The Boy Kipling 496
Sir Godfrey Kneller Spence 496
Pope and the Trader Spence 497
The Capitan Municipal and the Jokers José Feliciano 497
An Instance of Bamboo Spanish Pilar Ejercito 498
Mr. Taft's Mistake Amando Clements 499

Eye-Witness Accounts

The Portuguese Revolution Newspaper 503
Student's Theme
A Contrast Adolfo Scheerer 509

Tales of Actual Adventures

The Bear Hunt Tolstoy 514
Students' Themes
Saladin and I Fight an Alupong Cecilio Esquivel 525
I Get Two Beatings Facundo Esquivel 527
The Fall of Juan Gregorio Farrales 528
A Narrow Escape from a Wild Carabao José Cariño 529

Travellers' Sketches

On the Way to Talavera George Borrow 534
Smyrna—First Glimpses of the East Thackeray 539
Student's Theme
A Trip from Curimao to Laoag Fernando Maramag 551

Journals and Diaries

Extracts from Pepys' Diary 562
Students' Themes
A Diary of Four Days Facundo Esquivel 564
A Journal: Mock Heroic Victoriano Yamzon 567

Autobiography and Memoirs

The Life of David Hume, Esq. Written by himself 575
Student autobiography Domingo Guanio 585
What I Remember of the Coming of the Americans Leopoldo Faustino 588

[xx] Biographies

Queen Christina Hawthorne 595
Students' Themes
Juan Luna's Life Dolores Asuncion 604
Life of Elizabeth Glade Nellie Barrington 607
The Biography of a Traitor Walfrido de Leon 609


The State of England, in Stephen's Reign Peterborough Chronicle 616
Students' Themes
Annals of Mangaldan Translated by Bernabe Aquino 621
Annals of Pagsanjan Dolores Zafra 622


Rivalry between Two Towns Froissart 630
Students' Themes
A Short History of Ilagan Fernando Maramag 636
Some Incidents of the Rebellion of 1898: A True Relation Marcelino Montemayor 639



There are many interesting possibilities for both the reader and the writer in a study of narrative types. It is a truism to say that everybody loves a story. Every race, every nation, every tribe, every family, has its favorite narratives. Every person has his and likes to repeat them. Even the driest old matter-of-fact curmudgeon delights in relating an incident if nothing else. Perhaps he tells you of how he lost and found again his pocket talisman—a buckeye, maybe, or a Portuguese cruzado. He will assure you that he does not really believe that the unfortunate events that followed his loss of it were occasioned by its absence, or the return of good-luck casually connected with its recovery; but still, he adds, he feels much better with the old thing in his pocket. "And that was a queer coincidence, wasn't it?" he insists, starting again over the details of the happening. So with us all: we all know and love stories, our own or another person's.

It is a fine thing to write a story. It is good through one's imagination and skill to entertain one's fellows or through one's accurate observation of life and history to benefit society. The narrator has always been honored. In earliest times he was the seer and prophet, forming the religion of his wandering tribe; later he was the welcomed guest, for whom alone the frowning castle's gate stood always open; and after the dark ages, in the time of the revival-of-the-love-of-written-things, he was[xxii] the favorite at the court of favoring princes, who lavished upon him preferment and money and humbly offered him the laurel crown, their highest tribute. In our own day his reward surpasses that of kings and presidents. They come to him, and for immortality invoke his name. In earliest times he composed in verse so that his story might be remembered and handed down. In latest times he writes most often in prose—a more difficult medium to handle with distinction, but one more widely understood and more readily appreciated than poetry.

Narrative as a general type needs no definition. What pure description is the ordinary reader might hesitate to assert, or exposition, or argumentation; but not story: he knows that. Let an author combine these others with a series of events, let him put them in as aids to the understanding or as ornaments on the thread of his recital, and they are accepted without question as elements of narration, be it prose or verse in form, true or fictitious in content. That is to say, though a story often contains to some extent all the other forms of writing too, we think of it as narrative because it carries us along a course of events. Frequently the teller spends much time in studying different styles and kinds of description and in analyzing various devices used to secure definite effects, because he wishes to call to his aid every bit of skill possible in portraying his characters and places; but general readers take his fine points of description and exposition as matters of course and are crudely interested in the happenings he has to relate. They are unconscious of the fact that much of their enjoyment comes from knowing how a hero looks,[xxiii] what his surroundings are, and what his disposition and usual character. A story-writer gives no small amount of attention also to transcribing conversations; but the ordinary reader takes these likewise as expected parts of narrative. But there is one thing that the author and the reader agree on at the outset as necessary to be settled; namely, the kind of story to be written or to be read.

It is pleasant to know that there are definite types of narratives that the world has always loved, and that there are new forms growing up as civilization becomes more complex. Some of the kinds of stories discussed in this book are older than the English language, older than Christianity, older even than the divisions of Aryan speech. They seem to be inherent forms of all literatures, to be as ancient as thought and as young as inspiration. They are in use to-day in every tongue.

This book attempts to set forth the distinguishing elements of the types that have persisted, those matters that a writer must take into account when producing or a critic when judging. Though its title emphasizes the fact that now-a-days most persons think of stories as being always in prose, the book discriminates but little in this respect. In reality a student of narrative cares hardly at all whether the vehicle be meter or not. He is concerned with something else. Language form is rather an accident of the time and the fashion than anything essential. It is not dependent on the author's personality even. Chaucer undoubtedly would write in prose to-day, whereas our modern idealists would certainly have lisped in numbers a hundred years ago. We study narrative types, therefore, with the idea that[xxiv] verse tales are but measured and rhythmical expression of the same forms—sometimes the best, sometimes merely the most popular expression—but that the development in presentation has been toward prose, especially for the more psychological and complex material.

On the basis of content, narratives fall naturally into two large divisions: those that recount imaginary happenings and those that recount actual happenings. These large divisions in turn fall into smaller and still smaller groups upon one basis or another—source, purpose, method, or what not.

Under the division of narratives of fictitious events we notice six groups, when we are thinking of source and purpose: (1) the primitive-religious; (2) the symbolic-didactic; (3) the ingenious-astonishing; (4) the merely entertaining; (5) the instructive; (6) the artistic. Within these groups come the following individual types: (1) myth, legend, fairy tale, nursery saga; (2) fable, parable, allegory; (3) the tale of mere wonder, the imaginary voyage with a satiric or expository purpose, the tale of scientific discovery and mechanical invention, the detective story; (4) the probable adventure, the society story, the humorous and picaresque story, the occasional story; (5) the moral tale, the pedagogical narrative, the realistic sketch; (6) the psychological weird tale; the story that emphasises place and character, the story that emphasizes events and character.

On the basis of form and of the attitude of the teller, narratives of actual events fall into three groups. The first set has five types: incident, anecdote, eye-witness account, traveler's sketch, and the tale of actual[xxv] adventure. The second set includes journal and diary, autobiography and memoirs, biography. The third set is composed of annals, and chronicles and true relations. Instead of naming these sets, we might describe them thus: The first is made up of particular accounts of the doings of the writer and others in chance groups; the second, of more-or-less extended accounts of the sayings and doings of individual personages who for the time are important and either write about themselves or are written about; the third, of impersonal accounts of the doings of larger or smaller sections of mankind as units.

Of course, the types fade into one another, and it is only in analyzing that a person would draw a hard and fast line between any two of them; but it is permissible to draw this line for the convenience of study and discussion. After an investigator has learned all the kinds, he may classify a given story into one or the other group according to the predominating characteristics, or he may make a group of narratives of mixed kinds, and consider the various elements.

If he is trying, however, to write also, as well as to study according to the suggestions of this book, it would be a good plan for him to endeavor to produce at each attempt a rather more than less pure example of the type under consideration, so as to get as a result not only an interesting narrative, but a working model either for criticism or further production. For a person to have studied carefully an analysis of a type, to have read a distinct literary example of it, and to have attempted to put together a narrative that contains the essential elements, ought to mean that he has in his possession a piece of knowledge that will be valuable to him all his life, irrespective[xxvi] of any purely artistic quality of his achievement. That quality will probably be present much more surely than he at first expects; for a large part of the excellence of a piece of literature results from definite knowledge on the part of the writer, a clear aim to produce a particular kind of composition, and an indefatigable perseverance in revision of details. By emphasis on knowledge and work one would not preclude inspiration. Indeed, one would thereby court it; for, as we all know, it comes usually only to the expert and patient toiler. Even Robert Burns labored long over his reputedly spontaneous songs. The thought came to him often at the plough, it is true; but he confesses that afterwards he spent many hours polishing his lines.






The traditional types—myth, legend, fairy tale, and nursery saga—are designated as primitive-religious in order to express the fact that they grew up in response to the reverent credulity of simple folk. The myths of all races are the embodiment of their highest prehistoric religious thinking. The legends are their semi-historical, semi-religious thinking. The fairy and nursery stories are modified forms of the other two. Consequently they all belong together in one group.

I. The Myth

There are two general classes of myths: the primitive-tribal and the artificial-literary, or myths of growth and myths of art.

From the point of view of ethnology, the myth of growth is primitive philosophy, and represents racial anthropomorphic thinking concerning the universe. Anthropomorphic is a term derived from the Greek ἄνθρωπος, meaning man, and μορφἠ, meaning shape or form, and is used to describe the tendency of people to[2] represent invisible forces as having human form (for example, the Deity), or natural forces like fire and wind as being animate, volitional agents. It is probably true that, at a very early stage in the development of both the individual and the race, every object is looked upon as having life; and later, if any distinction is made between animate and inanimate, spirits are yet regarded as agents controlling the inanimate and causing changes therein. A myth of growth is the verbal expression of this attitude of the mind of a people in its wider and deeper imaginings.

Doubtless after the first or second repetition of a myth, which some seer of a tribe chants in rude verse, the primitive listener is confused between fact and fancy. The non-essential incidents which the narrator adds from sheer love of making up a story are not distinguished from the incidents that really express the working of natural forces. So it happens that, in the time between the first starting up of the account and the analysis and explanation of it by some philosopher, a narrative handed down from father to son is believed in, word for word, as religious truth, though gaining details and losing its original meaning as it goes. As some one has said, it was because the Greeks had forgotten that Zeus meant the bright sky that they could talk of him as a king ruling a company of manlike deities on Mount Olympus.

There are many beautiful myths existing to-day in prose and poetry. In the tribal species, there is the great mass of Greek and Roman early religious stories and there are the Oriental and the Norse cycles. In the artificial group there are the later Greek and Roman[3] myths like those devised by Plato and Plutarch, and there are our more modern beautiful creations with myth elements like Milton's "Comus" and many of the poems of Keats, where not only the incidents are newly made but the deities also. In prose we have the delightful "Wonder Book," which Hawthorne prepared for children. We have become so familiar with "Paradise Lost" that we hardly realize that it is essentially myth—a great seer's expression of the anthropomorphism of his people. Like a true bard of old, Milton added much also to his people's thinking on the universe. How much he added we see fully only when we deliberately compare the extension and concreteness of his account with the meagerness of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Myth age not a past epoch

An error we are liable to fall into concerning myths is that of presuming that they are wholly things of the past; that nowadays nobody believes in them or tells them. In fact, many persons and many tribes believe in them and tell them. The myth age is not a past epoch, but a condition of thinking. It is always present somewhere and present to some extent always among all races. The primitive tribes of the Philippines believe implicitly in their myths. The Bontoc Igorots, for example, tell how the Moon woman, Kabigat, cut off the head of a child of the Sun man, Chal-chal, and thus taught head-hunting to earth people; some of them tell, too, how Coling, the Serpent Eagle, was made, and happens to be always hovering over their pueblo. Even the youngest child knows how the rice-bird came about, and why an Igorot never harms O-wug, the snake. These stories[4] are being gathered to-day by American scientists and are being written down for the first time. The native college students of the Islands have joined in a movement to preserve the traditions of the more civilized tribes also, and are industriously putting into written form the stories of their people. Most of these are not beliefs that are past, but beliefs about the past—a distinction noteworthy to the student of myths. Little children of all races are naturally in a myth age, and many of their imaginings are as beautiful as those of the old Greeks, and, if made known, would be as contributive to literature, I dare say. Poets are but grown-up children to whom Nature makes a continued concrete appeal, and they are always thinking myth-wise, we well know.

So it happens that even the most learned man is willing to listen to a new myth. All the reader demands is that it shall be either a scientifically made record of some present tribal belief or a beautiful and philosophical interpretation of the workings of nature—such a one as a simple, early pagan, but poetic and essentially refined, mind might imagine. Plato's myths were advisedly artificial. He deliberately set out to modify and improve the government of his time by means of religious stories, and he begged the other philosophers to attempt the like also. He gave his magnificent "Vision of Er" as an example of what might be done.

How traditional myths are collected

If one wishes to collect traditional myths among a primitive people, this is in general the way he proceeds: He calls to his aid the more elderly folk and the little children—those that have time and inclination to[5] talk. If he can not speak their dialect, he obtains an interpreter—if possible, one very intimate and sociable with the tribe. Then he himself tries to get into good fellowship with all, and to induce free and natural talking. He asks for tales of the sun and moon, the wind and the rain, grasses, flowers, birds, clouds, mountain-systems, river-chains, lightning, thunder, and whatever else their gods have charge of. He asks about the relation of these gods with the deities of neighboring peoples—which, if any, are to be feared and why. Then he makes note of as many historical facts as he can about the tribe—where it first lived, what are the topographical features of the remote and the immediate places of abode, how powerful the warriors are, what respect they command from outsiders, what are considered most honored occupations, and so on. These facts are not to go explicitly into the story, but are to form the background of explanation if he cares to seek or give one. Then, too, they may aid him in making a happy translation of the primitive oral narrative. The aim of the collector, however, is accuracy rather than beauty, though beauty may be present in his versions.

How original myths are composed

The writer of an original myth, on the other hand, tries to make his diction as exquisite as he can without affectation. He proceeds somewhat differently, though with no less forethought. If he wishes to use gods and goddesses already known, he attempts not to violate the generally accepted notions of their characteristics. He bears in mind that the beings of myths are large, ample, superhuman, of the race of the infinite. Above[6] mortals, they rule mortals or ignore them. The gods are never petty, though they may be trivial. They belong to the over-world. They are essential: they make day and night, the coming of the seasons, the roll of the ocean, the rising and setting of the constellations. Connected with them too, of course, he knows, are the lesser events of Nature's activity, the speaking of echo, the blooming of the slender narcissus at the edge of the pool, the drooping of the poplars. Hence the writer of a myth of art modifies or adds, but avoids making radical changes. If he chooses wholly to invent his deities, he picks out for each a definite phenomenon and keeps it steadily in mind in order that his created personage may be an appropriate one to perform the well-known actions of the natural force he is explaining. He makes the deeds of his beings far-reaching in result and does not forget to give them euphonious and suggestive names.

Difference between myth and allegory

There is a difference between myth and allegory as narratives, although myth is fundamentally allegorical in the broad sense of the term. The actors of myth are rather representative than figurative. Being grander they are at once more simple and dignified than those of allegory. The gods are not thin abstractions raised to concreteness, but are powerful forces reduced to the likeness of men.

Pure myth is different from pure legend likewise, though legend may have gods in it. Legend is generally confined to a particular person or event, or is connected with a definite spot and a limited result; whereas myth deals with universal phenomena.


Working definition of myth

The collector or composer of myths, accordingly, posits for himself some such working definition as this: A myth is a story accounting in a fanciful way for a far-reaching natural phenomenon. The basis on which the narrator proceeds is emphatically not science, but imagination and philosophy. He pictures the activities of the universe as the conduct of personal beings, as gods and goddesses doing good or evil, creating and destroying, ruling man or ignoring him, punishing and rewarding.

A List of Deities

Great Greek Deities Great Roman Deities
Zeus Jupiter (king)
Appollon Apollo (the sun)
Ares Mars (war)
Hermes Mercury (messenger)
Poseidon Neptune (ocean)
Hephaistos Vulcan (smith who made the armor of the gods)
Hera Juno (queen)
Demeter Ceres (tillage)
Artemis Diana (moon, hunting)
Athena Minerva (wisdom)
Aphrodite Venus (love and beauty)
Hestia Vesta (home life)
Dionysos Bacchus (wine and revelry)
Eros Cupid (the lad Love)
Pluton Pluto (king of Hades)
Kronos Saturn (Time, who devoured all his children except Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto)

[8] Juno was the wife of Jupiter, Hera of Zeus, Venus of Vulcan, Aphrodite of Hephaistos.

Persephone was wife of Pluton, Proserpine was wife of Pluto, Cybele was wife of Saturn, Rhea was wife of Kronos.

Egyptian Gods

Ra—the sun, usually represented as a hawk-headed man. He protects mankind, but has nothing in common with men.

Shu—light, a type of celestial force, for he is represented supporting the goddess of heaven. His consort was Tefnet.

Seb—the god of the earth; Nut was the goddess of heaven. These two are called "father of the gods."

Osiris—the good principle. He is in perpetual warfare with evil. He is the source of warmth, life and fruitfulness. Isis, his wife, was his counterpart in many respects. Osiris became the judge of the under-world, and Isis was the giver of death.

Horus—the son of Osiris. He avenged his father, who was slain by Typhon.

Seth, or Typhon—the brother of Osiris, and his chief opponent. He represented physical evil; he was the enemy of all good. His consort was Nebti.

Thoth—the god of letters, the clerk of the underworld, and the keeper of the records for the great judge, Osiris. The chief moon-god.

Ptah—the Egyptian Hephaestus, the divine architect.

Ma-t—the goddess of truth. She is characterized by the ostrich feather, the emblem of truth, on her head.

[9] Anubis—the jackal-headed, presided over tombs and mummification.

The Sphinx—a beneficent being who personified the fruit-bearing earth, and was a deity of wisdom and knowledge.

Hindoo Gods

Dyaus—the most ancient name for the supreme god. Dyaus, the heaven, married Prithivi, the earth, and they became the father and mother of the other Hindu gods. Dyaus is also the god of rain.

Indra—the rain-bringer. The son of Dyaus. He is a strong, impetuous warrior, drives a chariot drawn by pawing steeds, bears a resistless lance that is lightning.

Vishnu—one name for the sun; second god of the Hindu triad, literally the Pervader. (Brahma and Siva are the other two of the trinity.)

Vishnu is represented as being of blue color. His sacti, or wife, is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

Mitra—another name for the sun-god.

Rudra—the father of the storm-gods, the Maruts.

Maruts—the storm gods. "They overturn trees, destroy whole forests, they roar like lions, are swift as thought. In the Maruts we see blind strength and fury without judgment."

Vayu—sometimes the wind was thought of as a single personality. He was called Vayu.

Agni—the fire-god. Considered the messenger between the Hindus and heaven. He carried their offerings to Dyaus-pitar.

Varuna—the noblest figure of the Vedic religion. The[10] supreme god at one time. Sometimes he was the All-Surrounder. Later he was ruler of the seas.

Yama—the judge of the dead. He had a dog with four eyes and wide nostrils, whom he sent to earth to collect those about to die.

Vritva—an evil snake which had stolen some treasure and a maiden, Ushas. She was rescued by Indra.

Ushas (Ahana)—a pure, white-robed being from whose presence every dark thing fled away. Ushas never grows old, but she makes others old. (Same as Eos, Greek; Aurora, Latin.) She is the dawn; is also known by the name of Dahana.

Rita—a word to signify the all-pervading law of nature. It was the power that settled the path of the sun. The abode of Rita was in the east, and finally every good thing traveled in the path of Rita.

Asoura Medhas—the wise living one, the animation of moving mind and matter. He is the mysterious principle of life, is represented as one god high over everything. However, he mingles in the affairs of men.

Surya (same as Gr. Helios)—the special god who dwelt in the body of the sun.

Savitar—another personification of the sun. He is spoken of as golden-eyed, golden-tongued and golden-handed.


Kuvera—the god of riches.

Kamadeva—the god of love, represented as riding on a dove, and armed with an arrow of flowers and a bow, whose string is formed of bees.

Ganesha—the god of prudence and policy.


Russian Gods

Peroun—Lightning; the chief god.

Svaroga—begetter of fire and of the sun gods. Used also sometimes as name of chief god.

Dajh'bog—grandfather of the sun.

Kolyada—beneficent spirit who was supposed to visit the farms and villages in mid-winter and bring fertility to the pent-up herds and frost-bound seeds. A festival in honor of Kolyada was held about December 25, the date when the sun was supposed to triumph over the death in which Nature had gripped him, and to enter again on his new span of life.


Finnish Mythology (derived from Kalevala)

Ahto—god of the sea.

Hisi—evil spirit, also called Lempo. His son was Ahti, another name for Lemminkainen.

Lowjatar—Tuoni's daughter; mother of the nine diseases.

Mana—also called Tuoni; the god of death.

Manala—also called Tuonela; the Deathland, for it was the abode of Mana.

Suonetar—the goddess of the veins.

Tapio—the forest-god.

Ukko—the greatest god of the Finns.

Mielikki—the forest-goddess.

Osmotar—the wise maiden who first made beer.

Sampo—the magic mill forged by Ilmarinen, which brought wealth and happiness to its possessor.


Norse Deities

Odin—the All-father.

Thor—the thunderer.

Baldr—the shining god; he typifies day.

Freyr (Fro)—fruitfulness; the patron of seafarers.

Tyr—the god of war and athletic sports.

Bragi—god of poetry and eloquence.

Hodur—Baldur's twin brother; the god of darkness.

Heimdall—kept the keys of heaven; was the watchman of Asgard.

Ulle—god of the chase and of archery. A fast runner on stilts or snowshoes.

Mimir—most celebrated of the giants; god of wisdom and knowledge.

Loki—the god of strife and the spirit of evil. He had three cruel and hateful children: Fenris, a huge wolf; Hel, half black and half blue, who lived on men's brains and marrow; and Formungard, the monstrous serpent of Midgard. Loki's wife was Sigura.

Filipino Deities


Atasip—a demon of the ancient Tagalogs.

Bathala—principal god of the Tagalogs.

Dian Masalanta—the god which was the patron of lovers and the god of procreation.

Idinale—the god of husbandry.

Lakhanbakor or Lakhanbakod—a god who cured sickness.

Lakambui—a god who first (according to some writers) gave food.

Pasing-tabi sa nono—with this phrase the Tagalogs[13] used to pray the gods of the fields to allow them to walk on the fields and cultivate them.

Sinaya—a divinity which the fishermen used to pray to.

Sitan—a kind of evil spirit (a Mohametan word).

Sonat—the pontifex maximus of the ancient Tagalogs.


Laon—the supreme god.

Makabantog—the god of licentiousness and tumult.

Sigbin—certain familiar spirits, which used to accompany any woman. They made a bargain with her and served her constantly.

Solad—the Inferno.

Sikabay—Eve, the first woman.

Sikalak—the first man, Adam.

Sinburanen—the god who conducted the souls of the dead consigned to Hades.

Suinuran gods of the Inferno.

Tagalabong—spirits who lived in the fields and woods.

Yatangao—a god which made himself visible in the rainbow. Warriors going to battle invoked this god.


Bayguebay—the first woman or Eve.

Damakolen—the god who made the hills and mountains.

Makakoret—the god who created the air.

Makaponquis—the god who created water.

Malibud—the deity (fem.) who created woman.


Mamale—the god who created the earth.

Rioa-Rioa—a horrible and evil being which, suspended from the zenith like a large pendulum, approaches the earth and devours those men which his servant Tabankak gives him.

Salibud—the god who taught the first men to cultivate the fields, to trade, and to practice other industries.

Note: In the Filipino themes a foreign word is italicized only the first time it appears.

The World's Creation and the Birth of Wainamoinen

Long, long ago, before this world was created, there lived a lovely maiden called Ilmatar, the daughter of the Ether. She dwelt in the air—there were only air and water then—but at length she grew tired of always being on high, and came down and floated on the surface of the water. Suddenly, as she lay there, a mighty storm-wind began to blow and poor Ilmatar was tossed about helplessly on the waves, until at length the wind died down, the waves became still, and Ilmatar, worn out by the violence of the tempest, sank beneath the waters.

Then a magic spell overpowered her, and she swam on and on vainly seeking to rise above the waters, but always unable to do so. Seven hundred long weary years she swam thus, until one day she could not bear the loneliness longer, and cried out: "Woe is me that I have fallen from my happy home in the air, and cannot now rise above the surface of the waters. O great Ukko, ruler of the skies, come and aid me in my sorrow!"

No sooner had she ended her appeal to Ukko than a lovely duck flew down out of the sky, and hovered[15] over the waters looking for a place to alight; but it found none. Then Ilmatar raised her knees above the water, so that the duck might rest upon them; and no sooner did the duck spy them than it flew towards them and, without even stopping to rest, began to build a nest upon them.

When the nest was finished, the duck laid in it six golden eggs, and a seventh of iron, and sat upon to hatch them. Three days the duck sat on the eggs, and all the while the water around Ilmatar's knees grew hotter and hotter, and her knees began to burn as if they were on fire. The pain was so great that it caused her to tremble all over, and her quivering shook the nest off her knees, and the eggs all fell to the bottom of the ocean and broke in pieces. But these pieces came together into two parts and grew to a huge size, and the upper one became the arched heavens above us, and the lower one our world itself. From the white part of the egg came the moonbeams, and from the yolk the bright sunshine.

At last the unfortunate Ilmatar was able to raise her head out of the waters, and she then began to create the land. Wherever she put her hand there arose a lovely hill, and where she stepped she made a lake. Where she dived below the surface are the deep places of the ocean, where she turned her head towards the land there grew deep bays and inlets, and where she floated on her back she made hidden rocks and reefs where so many ships and lives have been lost. Thus the islands and the rocks and the firm land were created.

After the land was made Wainamoinen was born, but he was not born a child, but a full-grown man,[16] full of wisdom and magic power. For seven whole years he swam about in the ocean, and in the eighth he left the water and stepped upon the dry land. Thus was the birth of Wainamoinen, the wonderful magician.—From the Kalevala.

"Finnish Legends for English Children," by R. Eivind (T. Fisher Unwin).

Origin of the Moon

South and east of Manila Bay stretches a piece of land, on which there used to be a large forest surrounded and fringed by the Sierra Madre mountains on the east, and guarded by the active Taal volcano on the south. This volcano, which is on a small lake, is said to be always looking toward the east, shouting with his big mouth the name of Buan Buan, a very beautiful nymph who dwelt once in this deep forest. The large trees formed towering pillars, the vines and moss that grew wild, together with the blooming flowers, were ornaments of her court. The birds, the insects, and all kinds of animals were her subjects.

The people who live now in this land say that in the beginning of the world there was no such thing as the moon that shines at night. They assert that the origin of the moon came in this wise:

Many thousands of years ago, when the beautiful nymph Buan was in her court, a warlike tribe settled on her land of enjoyment. The invaders began to cultivate the rich soil of this place. Buan, seeing that her flowers would be destroyed and her birds driven away, fled toward the west in grief. On the sea she[17] saw a little banca into which she climbed and in which she drifted along until she came to an island near where the Sun sleeps.

One afternoon when the Sun was about to hide his last rays, he was met by the beautiful nymph, who at once said to him, "O Sun, bear me with you, and I will be your faithful wife forever." Without hesitation or doubt, the gallant Sun, who had been shining over the earth with open eyes looking for a wife, took Buan under his golden arm, and they together, as true lovers, departed.

The Arch-Queen of the Nymphs, ever quarrelsome and jealous, seeing the departure of Buan, sent lightning and hurled thunderbolts after the two fleeing lovers. Buan, who was peacefully slumbering on the breast of her lover, fell down into the water. The Sun in his fright ran away, and continued his course as usual. Pitied by the gods Buan did not drown, but floated on the foam of the sea. The Sun lighted the world the next morning with a great deal of heat and sorrow in his eyes, searching for his lost sweetheart. Buan, who was hidden in the foam that floated on the sea, did not come out until evening. By that time Sun had retired to his wonderful cave beneath the ocean. Buan wandered about until finally she saw a glittering light within the waves. In her fright she cried aloud. The Sun, who was suddenly awakened from his cave by her grief, saw her. With a satisfied heart he took her into his cave, where they dwelt for a whole night. They sat and talked about their love. The Sun taught her how to travel across the sky. However, he asked Buan not to follow him in any of his journeys.

[18] One afternoon Buan was sitting before the door of the cave waiting for her lover. Longing and sentiment grew strong in her, and she remembered the past days when she had lived in her forest court. This state of mind made her come out of the cave, and she rode on the air by magic. For fifteen successive nights she did this, yet she could not see her old home. Finally she asked her husband to bear her across heaven in order that she might see her home. The next morning the Sun took Buan on his back, and they sailed across the sky. The world became dark, for the sun could not then well illuminate the earth. The gods were astonished. The Arch-Queen of the Nymphs sent a storm of wind and rain, which made Buan turn into a soft brilliant mass of light. She was to be with her husband but once every thirty days. She was also punished by not being allowed to show herself entirely every night. She could not sail across heaven for more than thirteen or fourteen days at a time.

—Emanuel Baja.

The First Cocoanut Tree and the Creation of Man

There were three gods, Bathala, Ulilangkalulua, and Galangkalulua. Bathala, a very large giant, ruled the earth; Ulilangkalulua, a very large snake, ruled the clouds; and Galangkalulua, a winged head, wandered from place to place. In fact, each of these gods thought that he was the only living being in the universe.

The earth was composed of hard rocks. There were no seas and no oceans. There were also no plants and no animals. It was indeed a very lonely place. Bathala,[19] its true inhabitant, had often wanted to have some companions, but he wondered how he could provide these companions with food, drink, and shelter when there was nothing on the earth but rocks.

What was true of Bathala was also true of Ulilangkalulua. In his kingdom Ulilangkalulua saw nothing but white clouds. His solitary condition led him to visit other places. He often came down to the earth and enjoyed himself climbing high mountains and entering deep caves.

As he was at the top of a very high hill one day, he saw some one sitting on a large stone down below him. He was very greatly amazed and it was a very long time before he could speak. At last he said, "Sir, tell me who you are."

"I am Bathala, the ruler of the universe," answered the god. Ulilangkalulua was filled with anger when he heard these words. He approached Bathala and said, "If you declare yourself to be the ruler of all things, I challenge you to combat."

A long struggle took place, and after the fighting had continued about three hours Ulilangkalulua was slain. Bathala burned his body near his habitation.

Not many years after this event Galangkalulua, the wandering god, happened to find Bathala's house. Bathala received him and treated him kindly. Thus, they lived together for many years as true friends.

Unfortunately, Galangkalulua became sick. Bathala did not sleep day and night for taking care of his friend. When Galangkalulua was about to die, he called Bathala and said, "You have been very kind to me, and I have nothing to repay your kindness with. But if you will[20] do what I tell you, there is a way in which I can benefit you. You once told me that you had planned to create creatures of the same appearance as you in order that you might have subjects and companions, and that you had not been successful because you did not know how you could supply them with all the necessary things. Now, when I die, bury my body in Ulilangkalulua's grave. In this grave will appear the thing that will satisfy you."

Bathala did what Galangkalulua told him, and Galangkalulua's promise was fulfilled. From the grave grew a plant, whose nut contained water and meat. Bathala was very anxious to examine the different parts of the tree because he had never seen such a thing before. He took a nut and husked it. He found that its inner skin was hard and that the nut itself resembled the head of his friend, Galangkalulua. It had two eyes, a flat nose, and a round mouth. Bathala then looked at the tree itself and discovered that its leaves were really the wings of Galangkalulua and its trunk the body of his enemy, Ulilangkalulua.

Bathala was now free to carry out his plan. He created the first man and woman. He built a house for them, the roof and walls of which were made of the leaves of the cocoanut and the posts of which were cocoanut tree trunks. Thus lived happily under the cocoanut palm this couple for many years until the whole world was crowded with their children. These children still use the cocoanut for food and clothing—the leaves for making mats, hats, and brooms, and the fiber for rope and other things.

—Manuel Reyes.


The Lotus

Long ago, when the world was young, the Nile loved a maiden. She was Isis, daughter of a hundred stars, who, as she nightly climbed the dark pinnacle of cloud, drew her silver drapery across the stream's dark bosom. Many were the sighs he breathed throughout the long nights—but Isis heard him not; for the wind had told her of Osiris, Osiris the beautiful, the well-beloved, who daily waked the dreaming earth with his warm kiss. And afterwards Mira, the great Star-Mother, bending from her gleaming throne, had spoken of Osiris and his glittering steeds, while Isis listening, yearned for him whom she had never seen, whose radiance was brighter even than that of Nefra-the-fire-bearer, who, once in a century, flashed through the still heavens. So Isis heeded not the Nile, moaning at her feet, for her eyes were ever bent on the rim of the world, whence would come in rosy haste the heralds of Osiris.

But one morning, when the starry sisters were fleeing, one by one, to the silent underworld, Isis stayed in the dark cloudland. The night winds called her to hasten, but she heard them not, and stood waiting—while above the eastern horizon rose the Hours, streaking the heavens with their amber veils, and borne along behind them, Osiris himself, more radiant than her dreams. But Osiris, glad in the greetings of the jubilant earth, saw only a star-maiden lingering in her pale robes on the borders of the forbidden Kingdom. Catching up a barbed shaft, he hurled it shrieking through the air—and Isis fell.

The winds fled in horror from the earth; the air[22] shuddered, and shrank away; but the Nile, roaming in agony through the fields, stretched out his mighty arms and, with a great cry, gathered the lifeless star-maiden to his bosom. And there, where Isis fell, rose a starry flower, pale, but with the stain of the dawn in its heart.

—Ida F. Treat.

II. The Legend

Myth and legend compared

Historically the legend may or may not be a later development than the myth. The bards may have ascribed the fanciful deeds of the gods to their tribal heroes, or they may have elevated their tribal heroes into gods by exaggerating actual adventures into far-reaching phenomena. For our present study the descent is immaterial; the distinction is all. In the myth the chief actors are gods; in the legend, men—men endowed with superhuman strength often, to be sure, but still men, though the favorites of the gods. The course of events in the typical myth is pure and absolute imagination; the course of events in the typical legend is somewhat held down by facts. When the deeds are magnified or wholly fanciful, the characters are semi-historical; when the events or places are historical, the chief actors are generally imaginary.


In the myth-legend, or saga, the deeds transcend the ordinarily credible and the heroes are often directed by superhuman agencies. Perhaps the oldest examples of this kind are those recorded in the Sanscrit "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana", and the Persian "Shah Nameh." In the last occurs the beautiful story of Sohrab and Rustam, who lived six hundred[23] years before Christ. Firdousi, writing as late as the first decade of the eleventh century, was therefore working over very ancient material. Such combinations likewise of older tradition and later writing are the Anglo-Saxon "Beowulf", the French "Chanson de Roland", the Spanish "Cid", the Italian "Orlando Furioso" (which is the French story adapted), the German "Hildebrand", "Waltharilied", and "Nibelungen Nôt", and the Icelandic "Grettir the Strong" and "Volsunga Saga". The "Volsunga Saga" as we have it today is prose with some songs from the "Elder Edda". Legend in its written form as a composition type we think of as prose, though it may be verse, or prose and verse combined.

Saint legends

To the early church a legend meant the narrative of the life of a saint or a martyr, especially the account of his triumphs over temptation and of the miracles he witnessed or performed. Even to-day in some monasteries such stories are read at meals while the monks eat. It is interesting to note that the church distinguishes between legenda, things to be read, and credenda, things to be believed. What appears to be the earliest of these legends and the model of the others is said to have been written by St. John of Damascus, a monk of Syria, who lived in the eighth century. It is called "Barlaam and Josaphat" and contains besides the lives of the prince and the prophet many beautiful parables, one of which Shakespeare immortalized in the casket scene in the "Merchant of Venice". The life of Josaphat is in turn said to be the legendary life of the Buddha. There are many beautiful Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Christian stories of this[24] type. In the Cynewulfian group of Anglo-Saxon Lives of the Saints, the "Andreas" is considered very fine. With its account of St. Andrew's miraculous rescue of St. Matthew from prison among the heathen is a sturdy, realistic description of a stormy voyage on northern seas. "The Golden Legend", published by Caxton in 1483, is a translation of a celebrated medieval collection of lives of the greater saints, composed in Latin by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican archbishop of Genoa, in the thirteenth century.

Geoffrey of Monmouth

The great English legendary history and a great source-book of English literary legend is the Historia Britonum of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Besides giving us the original story of Lear and many other things in his record of British rulers down to the Saxon Invasion, this twelfth century author, building on the meager basis of an unknown Nennius and possibly a cleric's version of Welsh traditions, started the magnificent Arthurian cycle on its way. This Latin account joined the great stream of continental legendary romance, added to it and took from it, and came back into English in Layamon's "Brut" in the form of a series of metrical legends for the common people.

Legendary romance

That most original and enchanting of all the medieval legendary romance books, Malory's "Morte Darthur", stands between the old and the new English fiction in that it has the content of the one and the form of the other. In it were gathered up the religious element (that had come in with the tradition of Joseph of Arimathæa), the love element (of the Launcelot-Guinevere stories), and the national[25] element (Arthur, his wonderful Excalibur and his knights), and so emphasized, so incomparably set forth, so shaken together, if you please, that they combined and stayed together ever afterwards. On the form side, this work is prose and it is art—the first English prose fiction, so announced and so taken. It is literary legend. An artist conscious of his art offered the material not as history or religion, but as a thing of beauty. The preface states, "And for to pass the time this book shall be pleasant to read in, but for to give faith and belief that all is true that is contained herein, ye be at your liberty."

When stories such as these, either by an aim at history or at art, emphasize what has been believed, they are classed as legend; when they emphasize magic and combine history in a riotous way for the mere sake of astonishing, they are classed as wonder tales.

While on the one side legend shades off into myth and wonder tales, on the other it shades off into anecdote. A tendency to write legend instead of fact is always present. As soon as a man or a place becomes prominent, fictitious stories begin to spring up, founded not only on what was done, but also on what might have been done. But to persist, a legendary account must be true to the character and traits of the hero or town or tribe or race with which it deals; at least, it must be true to the popular conception of the character. Though innumerable, the versions of the Faust story, for example, are nevertheless essentially consistent. Typical legends shading off into history and anecdote are those about William Tell, Robert the Bruce, Alfred the Great, John Smith and Pocahontas,[26] and many of the popular tales about Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, and Rizal.

Modern literary legends

There are modern literary legends. An exquisite legend of a place is "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving. A terrific French novel is founded on the legendary idea of the Wandering Jew. A wholesome boys' story that is often mistaken for history is "The Man Without a Country." Selma Lagerlöf, who was given the Nobel prize in 1909 for the most original piece of literature, has written among others a saint's legend about a hermit who was won to brotherly love by a pair of birds that built a nest and hatched their young in his outstretched palms as, keeping a vow, he stood day and night praying heaven to take vengeance and destroy the sinful world. Allied to this species is one of Count Tolstoy's most widely read stories. It is built upon an idea current in all races and appearing in many legends; namely, of an angel sent by God to live a while among men. But Tolstoy, with his fervent devotion to the good of the people, has turned his narrative into a parable, and calls it "What Men Live By." Another beautiful religious narrative, an art legend tangent to tradition, is Henry Van Dyke's "The Other Wise Man."

How to select and record a legend of growth

It is easy for one to select a place legend. Every town in the world, I suppose, has stories connected with it that are only typically true. Almost every prominent topographical feature has an explanatory narrative current about it. Take any of these popular tales concerning the cliffs, river, mountain peak, spring, lake, gully, or pictured rocks of your neighborhood and[27] you have a legend, so long as your story confines itself to that particular spot, and does not let its subject be emphatically the result of great natural forces or of the cause of all subsequent similar formations. In other words, one must remember that the basis of legend is particular incident, while that of myth is universal phenomenon; the content of legend is exaggerated history, while the content of myth is fanciful science. All one needs to do to record such a place legend is to arrange the details in a coherent fashion and to write out the sentences in good, clear, simple English, sticking as close to the original oral account as correct syntax will allow. If one cares to write about people instead of places, one follows in general the same directions, being sure not to fall into mere anecdote or incident, but to have a full, complete account.

How to write a legend of art

To write a literary art legend, an author selects in history some period that he likes very much or some hero or heroine he has always admired, and notes down a number of facts that are connected with one another and with his subject; then he lets his imagination loose upon them. He uses terms and expressions of the age of which he is writing; phrases that now appear quaint add a flavor of reality to the tale. But he is careful, however, not to misuse words and thus commit what the critics call anachronism, by putting the idioms peculiar to one age or one people into the mouth of another. An occasional special touch is good, but too much straining for effect spoils a story. He gets rather into the mood of simple faith in greatness and goodness,[28] and tells of brave deeds and generous actions that might well have happened. Dramatic truth there must be; literal truth, not necessarily. A working definition runs somewhat like this:

Working definition

Legend is a narrative partly true and partly imaginary, about a particular person, event, place or natural feature; a story that has the semblance of history, but is in reality almost altogether fanciful, since the basic fact is amplified, abridged, or wholly changed at the will of the narrator.

Kenach's Little Woman

As the holy season of Lent drew nigh the Abbot Kenach felt a longing such as a bird of passage feels in the south when the first little silvery buds on the willow begin here to break their ruddy sheaths, and the bird thinks tomorrow it will be time to fly over seas to the land where it builds its nest in pleasant croft or under the shelter of homely eaves. And Kenach said, "Levabo oculos—I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help," for every year it was his custom to leave his abbey and fare through the woods to the hermitage on the mountainside, so that he might spend the forty days in fasting and prayer in the heart of solitude.

Now on the day which is called the Wednesday of Ashes he set out, but first he heard the mass of remembrance and led his monks to the altar steps, and knelt there in great humility to let the priest sign his forehead with a cross of ashes. And on the forehead of each of the monks the ashes were smeared in the[29] form of a cross, and each time the priest made the sign he repeated the words, "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return."

So with the ashes still in his brow and with the remembrance of the end of earthly days in his soul, he bent his steps towards the hermitage; and as he was now an aged man and nowise strong, Diarmait, one of the younger brethren, accompanied him in case any mischance should befall.

They passed through the cold forest, where green there was none, unless it were the patches of moss and the lichens on the rugged tree trunks and tufts of last year's grass, but here and there the white blossoms of the snowdrops peered out. The dead gray leaves and dry twigs crackled and snapped under their feet with such a noise as a wood fire makes when it is newly lighted; and that was all the warmth they had on their wayfaring.

The short February day was closing in as they climbed among the boulders and withered bracken on the mountainside, and at last reached the entrance of a cavern hollowed in the rock and fringed with ivy. This was the hermitage. The Abbot hung his bell on a thick ivy bough in the mouth of the caves; and they knelt and recited vespers and compline; and thrice the Abbot struck the bell to scare away the evil spirits of the night; and they entered and lay down to rest.

Hard was the way of their sleeping; for they lay not on wool or on down, neither on heather or bracken, nor yet on dry leaves, but their sides came against the cold stone, and under the head of each there was a stone for pillow. But being weary with the long journey,[30] they slept sound and felt nothing of the icy mouth of the wind blowing down the mountainside.

Within an hour of daybreak, when the moon was setting, they were awakened by the wonderful singing of a bird, and they rose for matins and strove not to listen, but so strangely sweet was the sound in the keen moonlight morning that they could not forbear. The moon set, and still in the dark sang the bird, and the gray light came, and the bird ceased; and when was white day they saw that all the ground and every stalk of bracken was hoary with frost, and every ivy leaf was crusted white round the edge, but within the edge it was all glossy green.

"What bird is this that sings so sweet before day in the bitter cold?" said the Abbot. "Surely no bird at all, but an Angel from heaven waking us from the death of sleep."

"It is the blackbird, Domine Abbas," said the young monk; "often they sing thus in February, however cold it may be."

"O soul, O Diarmait, is it not wonderful that the senseless small creatures should praise God so sweetly in the dark, and in the light before the dark, while we are fain to lie warm and forget His praise?" And afterwards he said, "Gladly could I have listened to that singing, even till tomorrow was a day; and yet it was but the singing of a little earth wrapped in a handful of feathers. O soul, tell me what it must be to listen to the singing of an Angel, a portion of heaven wrapped in the glory of God's love!"

Of the forty days thirty went by, and oftentimes now, when no wind blew, it was bright and delightsome[31] among the rocks, for the sun was gaining strength, and the days were growing longer, and the brown trees were being speckled with numberless tiny buds of white and pale green, and wild flowers were springing between the boulders and through the mountain turf.

Hard by the cave there was a wall of rock covered with ivy, and as Diarmait chanced to walk near it, a brown bird darted out from among the leaves. The young monk looked at the place from which it had flown, and behold! among the leaves and the hairy sinews of the ivy there was a nest lined with grass, and in the nest there were three eggs—pale green with reddish spots. And Diarmait knew the bird and knew the eggs, and he told the Abbot, who came noiselessly, and looked with a great love at the open house and the three eggs of the mother blackbird.

"Let us not walk too near, my son," he said, "lest we scare the mother from her brood, and so silence beforehand some of the music of the cold hours before the day." And he lifted his hand and blessed the nest and the bird, saying, "And He shall bless thy bread and thy water." After that it was very seldom they went near the ivy.

Now after days of clear and benign weather a shrill wind broke out from beneath the North Star, and brought with it snow and sleet and piercing cold. And the woods howled for distress of the storm, and the gray stones of the mountain chattered with discomfort. Harsh cold and sleeplessness were their lot in the cave, and as he shivered, the Abbot bethought him of the blackbird in her nest, and of the wet flakes driving in between the leaves of the ivy and stinging[32] her brown wings and patient bosom. And lifting his head from his pillow of stone he prayed the Lord of the elements to have the bird in His gentle care, saying,

"How excellent is Thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings."

Then after a little while he said, "Look out into the night, O son, and tell me if yet the storm be abated."

And Diarmait, shuddering, went to the mouth of the cavern, and stood there gazing and calling in a low voice, "Domine Abbas! My Lord Abbot! My Lord Abbot!"

Kenach rose quickly and went to him, and as they looked out the sleet beat on their faces, but in the midst of the storm there was a space of light, as though it were moonshine, and the light streamed from an Angel, who stood near the wall of rock with outspread wings, and sheltered the blackbird's nest from the wintry blast.

And the monks gazed at the shining loveliness of the Angel, till the wind fell and the snow ceased and the light faded away and the sharp stars came out and the night was still.

Now at sundown of the day that followed, when the Abbot was in the cave, the young monk, standing among the rocks, saw approaching a woman who carried a child in her arms; and crossing himself, he cried aloud to her, "Come not any nearer; turn thy face to the forest, and go down."

"Nay," replied the woman, "for we seek shelter[33] for the night, and food and the solace of fire for the little one."

"Go down, go down," cried Diarmait; "no woman may come to this hermitage."

"How canst thou say that, O monk?" said the woman. "Was the Lord Christ any worse than thou? Christ came to redeem woman no less than to redeem man. Not less did He suffer for the sake of woman than for the sake of man. Women gave service and tendance to Him and His Apostles. A woman it was who bore Him, else had men been left forlorn. It was a man who betrayed Him with a kiss; and woman it was who washed His feet with tears. It was a man who smote Him with a reed, but a woman who broke the alabaster box of precious ointment. It was a man who thrice denied Him; a woman stood by His cross. It was a woman to whom He first spoke on Easter morn, but a man thrust his hand into His side and put his finger in the prints of the nails before he would believe. And not less than men do women enter the heavenly kingdom. Why, then, shouldst thou drive my little child and me from thy hermitage and thy hospitality?"

Then Kenach, who had heard all that was said, came forth from the cave, and blessed the woman. "Well hast thou spoken, O daughter; come, and bring the small child with thee." And turning to the young monk, he said, "O soul, O son, O Diarmait, did not God send His Angel out of high heaven to shelter the mother bird? And was not that, too, a little woman in feathers? But now hasten, and gather wood and leaves, and strike fire from the flint, and make a hearth[34] before the cave, that the woman may rest and the boy have the comfort of the bright flame."

This was soon done, and by the fire sat the woman eating a little barley bread; but the child, who had no will to eat, came round to the old man, and held out two soft hands to him. And the Abbot caught him up from the ground to his breast, and kissed his golden head, saying, "God bless thee, sweet little son, and give thee a good life and a happy, and strength of thy small body, and if it be His holy will, length of glad days; and ever mayest thou be a gladness and deep joy to thy mother."

Then, seeing that the woman was strangely clad in an outland garb of red and blue and that she was tall, with a golden-hued skin and olive eyes, arched, very black eyebrows, aquiline nose, and a rosy mouth, he said, "Surely O daughter, thou art not of this land of Erinn in the sea, but art come out of the great world beyond?"

"Indeed, then, we have traveled far," replied the woman; "as thou sayest, out of the great world beyond. And now the twilight deepens upon us, and we would sleep."

"Thou shalt sleep safe in the cave, O daughter, but we will rest here by the embers. My cloak of goat's hair shalt thou have, and such dry bracken and soft bushes as may be found."

"There is no need," said the woman, "mere shelter is enough," and she added in a low voice, "Often has my little son had no bed wherein he might lie."

Then she stretched out her arms to the boy, and once more the little one kissed the Abbot, and as he[35] passed by Diarmait he put the palms of his hands against the face of the young monk, and said laughingly, "I do not think thou hadst any ill-will to us, though thou wert rough and didst threaten to drive us away into the woods."

And the woman lifted the boy on her arm, and rose and went towards the cavern; and when she was in the shadow of the rocks she turned towards the monks beside the fire and said, "My son bids me thank you."

They looked up, and what was their astonishment to see a heavenly glory shining about the woman and her child in the gloom of the cave. And in his left hand the child carried a little golden image of the world, and round his head was a starry radiance, and his right hand was raised in blessing.

For such a while as it takes the shadow of a cloud to run across a rippling field of corn, for so long the vision remained; and then it melted into the darkness, even as a rainbow melts away into the rain.

On his face fell the Abbot, weeping for joy beyond words; but Diarmait was seized with fear and trembling till he remembered the way in which the child had pressed warm palms against his face and forgiven him.

The story of these things was whispered abroad, and ever since, in that part of Erinn in the sea, the mother blackbird is called Kenach's Little Woman.

And as for the stone on which the fire was lighted in front of the cave, rain rises quickly from it in mist, and leaves it dry, and snow may not lie upon it, and even in the dead of winter it is warm to touch. And[36] to this day it is called the Stone of Holy Companionship.

—William Canton.

"W. V.'s Golden Legend" (Dodd, Mead & Co.).

A Legend of Gapan

In the early part of December, in the year 1889, a poor man named Carlos left the town where he lived to go to Gapan, about twenty miles distant.

Day was beginning to break as Carlos reached the foot of a hill, which he was just about to climb, when he heard the sound of music. Looking upward to find whence the sound came, he saw a bright white cloud. From the center of this cloud shone a ray of light, forming a circle in which were all the colors of the rainbow.

Carlos could scarcely believe his eyes, till he heard a sweet voice call his name. He hastened to climb the hill, and at the top found a very beautiful woman, around whom shone a light that made the stones and bushes sparkle like gems.

When the man had drawn near, our Blessed Lady—for it was she—told him that she wished a church to be built on that spot, and bade him go to Gapan and tell this fact to the priest. On reaching the town, Carlos went straight to the priest, and related what the Blessed Virgin had confided to him.

"I believe you," said the priest, "but to be still more certain, ask her who sends you for some sign by which we may know that she is really the Mother of God."

Afterwards Carlos went to the spot where the[37] Blessed Mother was waiting for him. As soon as he saw her, he immediately threw himself at her feet, and told her what the priest had said. With great tenderness our Lady bade him come to her the next day, saying she would give him the sign for which the priest had asked.

Carlos came the next day. "Go now," said the Blessed Virgin, "to the top of the hill, and gather the roses that are blooming there. Put them in your handkerchief, and bring them to me; I will tell you what to do with them."

Though Carlos believed that there were no roses there, he obeyed without a word. How great, then, was his surprise to find a garden rich with flowers! Filling his handkerchief with roses, he hurried back to the Blessed Virgin.

Our Lady took the roses in her pure hands, and letting them drop back into the handkerchief, said to Carlos, "Present these roses to the priest, and say that they are the proof of the command I give you. Do not show any one what you carry, and open your handkerchief only in the presence of the priest."

Thanking the Blessed Virgin, Carlos started once more for the town. When he reached the convent and was brought before the priest, he opened his handkerchief to show the sign that was to prove his words, and fresh, sweet-smelling roses, wet with dew, fell to the floor, while on the handkerchief itself appeared a beautiful picture of the Mother of God.

"The Blessed Virgin is here," said the father, and then he knelt before the picture and gave praise to God. The miraculous handkerchief was placed in the[38] church of Gapan, where it remained until a suitable chapel was built on the very top of the hill, as our Lady desired.

—Teofilo P. Corpus.

A Legend of the Incas

"We will rest here for a time, Uira." The hollow-eyed, tired-looking youth dismounted from his burro. His companion Uira, a short, swarthy-skinned Peruvian, turned and gazed down the mountainside whence they had come, upon the flat roofs of Quito, which seemed like a dream city, so lovely did the distance make it. "It is beautiful, is it not, Juan? My home, the home of the Incas, the most ancient city in all the land?"

"Yes, indeed, it is beautiful, and, Uira, while we rest, you shall tell me a tale of your people; some pretty legend of the Incas. I think nothing else would so thoroughly refresh me." Now Juan could by no exercise of ingenuity have touched a more responsive chord in the nature of his friend.

"Well, what shall it be, Juan? You have never heard the story of Manca, have you? It may not be what you would call a pretty legend; yet I think you would like it," said Uira, readily complying.

"Very well, I know I cannot help but enjoy it," said Juan, as he settled himself comfortably, with dried leaves for a couch and a tree stump for a pillow.

"Well," began Uira, his gaze still on the town below them.

"Uira, you're not beginning right; you should say many, many, years ago." The fine-featured Spanish[39] boy looked mischievously at the stolid descendant of the Incas.

"You perhaps have heard," went on Uira, discouraging flippancy by disregarding it, "of the story of Attahualpa; at least you have known something of it from the histories you have studied; how, before he died, the mighty Huayan Capar divided his kingdom between his two sons, Attahualpa and Huascar, half-brothers, giving to Attahualpa the northern region, Quito, which your geography calls Ecuador; how Huascar, arrogant in his newly-acquired greatness, demanded tribute from Quito. You know how Attahualpa angrily refused; how he came at the head of a great army to the seat of his brother's power, defeated Huascar, and taking from the conquered man kingdom and freedom, left him only his life. Then the Spaniards, curses on them all——"

"You forget that I am proud of my Spanish blood, Uira," the lad interrupted, his cheeks flushing with resentment.

"Ah, yes, Juan, I forgot. Forgive my hasty speech and unintended insult. But to go on, the Spaniards, mad with lust for gold, marched with armies legion in number. If you do not know, boy, how many legion is, look at the tree tops above you; the leaves are countless; they are legion. The invaders, with the Pizarro at their head, burned our homes, desecrated our temples, and captured Attahualpa, who, elated with his conquest, was returning to Quito. The Attahualpa, the records say, collected in one room and gave the Pizarro the wealth of the Incas; and your traditions tell you that in fear of his own life, Pizarro put his captive to death.[40] This is the story of Attahualpa as you have been taught it.

But I will now tell you what it is given only the few in whose veins still flows the blood of the Incas to know. Huayan had a daughter Manca, whose name is not written in the annals. She was sister to Attahualpa, and in her heart was all the mighty pride of the Incas. Oh, how she loved the name of her race! How she rejoiced in their conquests, their prowess! How she delighted to look upon the gold in the temples, and think that it was all part of the prosperity of her people! There was a woman, Juan, perhaps not beautiful, I cannot say, well worthy to bear the name of an Incan.

How she wept when Pizarro, with his Spanish followers, seized Attahualpa! But do not think that it was for fear that she wept, Juan. It was for injured pride; for sorrow that she was to lose her dearest friend, her brother.

But when the loyal girl found that Attahualpa, a ruler, a conqueror of men, and most of all, an Incan, was bargaining for his life with a roomful of gold as the price, she prayed to the gods she worshiped, to take her brother to the spirit world, before he should place this blot upon the nation. She—heroine that she was—would rather a thousand times have lost her companion than have had him coward enough to buy his life thus. Day and night she pondered and prayed, and planned ways by which she might ward off so awful an outrage against Incan pride. After a week of despair and vain thought, while Attahualpa was robbing the shrines of their ornaments to fill the great chamber[41] chosen by the Spanish general, Manca determined that since she could not by pleading with Attahualpa or by playing upon his love for his sister or his country or even for his gods, move him from his purpose, she would at least save him from himself.

This was Manca's purpose. Perhaps, Juan, I failed to tell you that Manca bore a very strong resemblance to her brother," and for the first time Uira looked away from Quito, and glanced questioningly at Juan. The boy nodded. "Go on," he said, his gaze, too, traveling to the city of antiquity, where, centuries ago, Manca made her hitherto unrecorded sacrifice.

"The spirited girl," went on Uira, "realized that when Pizarro had his booty, his cowardly fear for himself would outweigh his honor, and cause him to kill his prisoner; and so, when the day came on which Attahualpa was to open the doors of the treasure-filled chamber, Attahualpa lay at his home, guarded by servants, who were not to liberate him till sundown; and Manca, garbed in her brother's clothes, gave to Pizarro the store of wealth. As she walked home, along a lonely forest path, she received the poisoned arrow intended for Attahualpa. He, when he discovered his sister's bravery, slunk off to the mountains, with never a thought of the rumors which would forever darken his name. Thus Manca's life, by the sacrifice of which she had hoped that she might keep bright the fame of her brother, was given up for the sake of a coward's reputation. By crediting herself with the surrender of the wealth, she had intended that Attahualpa, though he had been defeated in battle, should still remain the hero of the Incas."


There was a pause. The man and the boy both were now staring down at Ecuador's capital city, whose pillars seemed to be floating in the mist just rising from Pinchincha's side.

"As you said, it is not a pretty legend. But don't you think, Uira, that Manca must have been very beautiful?"

—Dorothea Knoblock.

The Place of the Red Grass: or, The Invasion of Pangasinan by the Ilocanos

Long before the Spaniards discovered the Philippines, there was war in Luzon among the Pangasinan and Ilocano tribes. Each tribe had powerful chiefs of remarkable courage and bravery. It was believed that they were sons of gods, and possessed magical power. Among them was Palaris, the distinguished chief of the Pangasinanes, and Lumtuad, the skillful chief of the Ilocanos. These rulers were neighbors and the army of the one plundered the towns of the other. On account of this reason and also of the ambition of each to enlarge his dominion, a war broke out. Lumtuad collected three hundred ships in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. These ships were loaded with his chosen men armed with bolos, spears, and bows and arrows. These ships sailed toward the south, and entered the Gulf of Lingayen, Pangasinan. Palaris and his army went to meet them.

At first, the battle took place on the water. Lumtuad showed his skill to his enemy. He fought jumping from one ship to another. Unfortunately he was shot by an arrow and fell into the water. After his[43] death, his soldiers fought furiously, and drove back the enemy into the town.

When the invading army had landed all its forces, it pursued Palaris's army as far as Mangaldan, a town fifteen miles from Lingayen. When Palaris foresaw the future defeat of his army, he escaped into a sugar field. There by Lumtuad's scouts he was found sleeping. They thrust a lance through the middle of his body. But Palaris whirled himself free from the lance, killed some of these soldiers, and pursued the rest until his last breath was gone. He was then succeeded by his lieutenant Afilado, and the battle was renewed. Afilado's forces were entirely defeated and those who survived were killed outright. A river of blood flowed from the spot where the battle took place, and the grass that grows there today is red. The place where Palaris was struck was named after him.

After the war the victorious Ilocanos settled in the province of Pangasinan; so that now they constitute a greater number in population than the Pangasinanes themselves.

—Sixto Guico.

III. The Fairy Tale

The attitude toward fairy stories

"From Ghoulies and Ghoosties, long-leggetty Beasties, and Things that go Bump in the Night, Good Lord, deliver us!" the quaint old litany pleads, and is probably better representative of the attitude of primitive peoples toward the extraordinary personages of the sub-world than is our more modern and debonair view. We have come to look upon a fairy story as a mental holiday,[44] to enjoy which the narrator and the listener are off on a picnic. But not so do the unsophisticated folk think of the events. The grown-up primitive man believes more seriously in the tricks of goblins and sprites than do our most credulous modern children. To him, the good or malicious influence of the nunu or ticbalan is not a fiction, but a reality that must be reckoned with. Luckily he can reckon with it; for even in the earlier folk tales the fairies are not generally immortal, and they do not have unlimited power.

Fundamental characteristics of fairies

One chief characteristic that distinguishes these extra-natural beings from the gods is that the extra-natural are for the most part small and belong to the under-world. They are not so much superhuman as other than human. They may be checked or outwitted or even finally overcome. They have power to tease a man, though not the power utterly to destroy him. A pixy may cast a spell, but not forever. Jack-o-lantern, or Will-o-the-wisp, may lead astray into a bog and may hope that his victim be not a good wader, but the trick and the malicious wish are the extent of the evil. The victim usually in the end escapes. If he perishes, he has forgotten his charms or neglects to say his prayers.

There is a somewhat well-fixed literary atmosphere for English fairy stories and allusions. As we have said, they must have about them the air of holiday. The English elfin people are a merry folk from the dainty queen to the clumsiest boggart, and enjoy a bit of fun even at their own expense,—though, to tell the truth, the joke is usually the other way.

If you wish to write an original narrative about[45] these charming creatures, the best way to prepare is to get acquainted with them. No doubt you know where some of them live. Perhaps only this morning you chanced upon a forgotten hammock left swinging between two stout little sprigs of grass where a fairy had slept, or maybe last night you clearly heard the tinkle of pranckling feet and were too lazy or indifferent to go to the window to catch a glimpse of a wondrous sight. I pray you, if you have the chance again, join the masquerade, remembering only that if Oberon asks you why you are there, you must speak out frankly. His promise is

"We fairies never injure men
Who dare to tell us true."

Oh, yes, one more thing to remember! Leave before cock-crow if you expect to bring your wits with you.

If you are afraid to try the experiment of original sightseeing and fear Sir Topas's fate, do the next best thing. Seek out somebody who has witnessed a fairy revel, or been at a brownies' banquet, has outtricked a bogie, or propitiated an angry gnome, or, best of all, likely, has made a little green cloak and hood for the lubber-fiend of the kitchen hearth, and has seen him fling himself out-of-doors in high glee to return no more except with good luck. Watchers who have seen these things, I dare say, will have much to tell you. Get their narratives.

The Filipino fairies are not so winsome as the English, but they are far more actual. The English fairies are "but mortals beautifully masquerading," says Mr.[46] W. B. Yeats. He could find no fault with the Filipino fairies; for they are potent forces. Like the Irish deenee shee, the Filipino supernatural beings are thoroughly believed in by the peasants, and, like the Irish creatures, the Malayan are not always small, but may be small or large at will. Some of their manifestations are indeed gruesome; a few are harmless or even helpful; all are very interesting.

The educated young people of the Philippines have a mission to perform for the native fairies. It has become the fashion in some places to frown upon the unseen folk and to attempt to drive them out. The endeavor is commendable so far as it discriminates. The bad fairies should go. The wholesome ones should stay. They should stay for the sake of future native poetry and for the sake of all the little brown children who love stories.

Northern fairies and their attributes

A bare list of the names of fairies and subhuman beings is inspiring. In the Norse countries there are dwarfs, known also as trolls, kobalds, goblins, brownies, pucks, or elle-folk. It is said that 'they are less powerful than gods, but far more intelligent than men; that their knowledge is boundless and extends even to the future. They can transport themselves with celerity from one place to another, and love to hide behind rocks and repeat the last words of every conversation they overhear. Echoes are known as dwarfs' talk. A Tarnkappe each one owns, a tiny red cap which makes the wearer invisible. Dwarfs are ruled by a king spoken of in various northern countries as Andvari, Alberich, Elbegast, Gondemar, Laurin, or Oberon. He dwells[47] in a magnificent subterranean palace and owns a magic ring, an invisible sword, and a belt of strength. His subjects often fashion marvelous weapons and girdles. In general, dwarfs are kindly and helpful: sometimes they knead bread, grind flour, brew beer, and perform countless other household tasks; sometimes they harvest and thresh grain for the farmers. If ill-treated or turned to ridicule, these little creatures forsake the house never to come back to it again. Sometimes they take vengeance by means of changelings. Changelings are the weazened and puny offspring of the dwarfs which they substitute for unbaptized children that they steal from people who have offended them. The dwarfs, envious of the taller stature of the human race, desire to improve their own, and so consider it good morals thus to make their enemies their benefactors.'

Fairies, elves, and ariels include all the small creatures who are fair, good, and useful. They have their dwelling-place, it is said, 'in the airy realm of Alf-heim (home of the light-elves), situated between heaven and earth, whence they can flit downwards whenever they please, to attend to the plants and flowers, sport with the birds and butterflies, or dance in the silvery moonlight on the green.' They have golden hair, sweet musical voices, and magic harps. These gentle aerial beings, scholars say, were introduced into Europe by the Crusaders and the Moors of Spain. Before that time the creatures of the North had been cold and ungenial, like their heath-clad mountains, chilly lakes, and piny solitudes; but after the advent of the Peri of the East, who live in the sun or the rainbow and subsist on the odor of flowers, the Northern elves[48] took on more winning attributes and finally became beneficent and beautiful.

Many of the stories in the so-called fairy books are technically not fairy stories but nursery sagas, as we use the term today; for instance, most of those in Miss Mulock's "Fairy Book" and the larger part in the "Blue and the Green Fairy Books." They are English, French, German, and other Märchen retold. Jean Ingelow's "Mopsa the Fairy" has a good-sounding title for a typical fairy book, though the material seems to be literary rather than traditional. Brentano's creatures in translation surely bear literary names, whatever they have in the original. Dream-my-Soul and Sir Skip-and-a-Jump are suggestive of the pen. But Puck of Pook's Hill comes near to being of the solid traditional Northern type—at least in declaration. He says he is the oldest Old Thing in England—very much at your service if you care to have anything to do with him; but, by Oak and Ash and Thorn, he hates the painty-winged, wand-waving, sugar-and-shake-your-head set of imposters! He is for Wayland-Smith and magic and the old days before the Conquest. Charles Kingsley's Madam How and Lady Why are noble fairies without dispute—really goddesses; yet, strange to say, they have revealed themselves to a pedagogue and have permitted their work to be the subject of lectures. Still, they are companionable and wholesome and none the less marvelous than their more common sisters. This is an interesting contamination of genres—the pedagogical narrative combined with the fairy tale. Usually the combination is not so happily made.


How to proceed to write a fairy-tale

If a writer cares to attempt a new "old" fairy tale of the real sort, he might observe the following more specific suggestions, which were written out before "Puck of Pook's Hill" came into the hands of the author of this book, but which happen to express fairly well what might be deduced as Kipling's procedure. (1) Decide on the country in which the events are to take place. (2) If you are not already familiar with that country through the medium of traveling or residence, make yourself familiar with it by reading. The more you know about the common people and their superstitions, the better your story will be. (3) Make lists of names of the good and bad spirits of that country together with their occupations and powers. (4) From these lists pick out the being you are going to treat as your chief personage and clearly define to yourself its relation to the other spirits. (5) Then weave about this personality a series of events for which it is directly or indirectly responsible. (6) Be sure to make the fairies or spirits of the other world the chief actors. If living man comes in, he must be simply the object to whom they offer their favors or on whom they play their pranks or wreak their vengeance. It is the doings of the fairies or of the beings of the extra-natural world that you must make your reader interested in. (7) If you care to write a weird fairy tale, select the unpleasant spirits and proceed; but be sure not to make your story revolting instead of weird. A good weird tale is the work of a master and pleases because of its art. A horrible story any bungler can tell. (8) Finally,[50] remember the working definition: Summary definition A fairy tale is a narrative of imaginary events wherein the chief actors are beings other than man and the gods—beings who have power to help man or to tease and molest him, but not the power utterly to destroy him.


Northern Fairies

Duergar, or Dwerger—Gotho-German dwarfs, dwelling in rocks and hills; noted for their strength, subtlety, magical powers, and skill in metallurgy. They are personifications of the subterranean powers of nature.

Kobold—a house-spirit in German superstition; same as English Robin Goodfellow, or Puck.

Nick—a water-wraith or Kelpie. There are nicks in sea, lake, river, or waterfall. Sometimes represented as half-child, half-horse, the hoofs being reversed.

Nis, or Nisse—a Scandinavian fairy friendly to farm-houses.

Trolls—similar to Duergar; dwarfs of Northern mythology living in hills and mounds. They are represented as stumpy, misshapen, humpbacked, inclined to thieving and fond of carrying off children or substituting one of their own offspring for that of a human mother. They are said to dislike noise very much.

Stromkarl—a Norwegian musical spirit, like Neck.


Irish and Scotch Fairies

Banshee—domestic Spirit of certain Irish or Highland Scotch families; supposed to take an interest in their welfare.

Boggart (Scotch)—a local hobgoblin or spirit.

Bogie (Scotch, Welsh, and Irish)—a scarecrow, a goblin.

Brownie—the house spirit in Scottish superstition. Called in England Robin Goodfellow. Farms are his favorite abode.

Jack-a-lantern—a bog or marsh spirit who delights to mislead.

Lepracaun, or Leprechaun (Irish)—a fairy shoemaker.

Filipino Fairies and Other Minor Supernatural Creatures

The list that follows is necessarily very brief, for every tribe of the Philippine Islands has its host of mischievous creatures, whose chief delight is to annoy or frighten men. Others are of a more malignant nature, however; some cause sickness; some insanity; and occasionally some cause death, for the Filipinos as well as the Hungarians have their vampires.

The name of the tribe in which the belief in the spirit is most common is given in parentheses after the description:

Salut—the spirits of pestilence in general and cholera in particular. They are described as tall, thin persons dressed in flowing black robes, who walk the streets at night and knock at the doors of the houses to which they wish to carry death. (Tagalog, Pampango, Bicol.)

Matanda sa punso—a little old man who lives in a[52] mound of earth. He loves children, and is willing to help those who respect him and his house. (Tagalog.)

Lampong—a tall harmless creature with a horse's head and feet but a man's body. He lives in the woods, can travel very rapidly, and is deathly afraid of a rosary. He possesses some magic power. (Pangasinan.)

Camana—an evil spirit that lives in gloomy places. It can assume the form of any small animal, or can make itself invisible. If a person who comes across the camana does not propitiate it with food or something entertaining, he will become sick; and he can be cured only by an old woman who is a manganito. (Parts of Zambales.)

Patianak—Accounts about patianak are very contradictory. It is most commonly believed, however, to be a mischievous fairy that assumes the form of a small child and misleads travelers at night. It has a mirthful laugh that is very attractive. The only way for the victim to drive the fairy away and to find the right road is for him to take off his coat and wear it inside out. (Tagalog and Bicol.)

Mamamarang—a sorceress who fights with travelers in lonely places and tries to kill them that she may eat them. (Visayan.)

Managbatu—a spirit in the form of a man, which lives in trees and at midnight throws stones and clods at the houses near his dwelling. He can cause sickness to those that try to injure him. (Cagayan.)

Cafre—an enormous black man that smokes long cigars. He does very little harm, but delights in[53] frightening people. Some say he can transform himself into almost anything from a pig to a ball of fire. He appears only at night, of course. (Pampango, Tagalog, Bicol.)

Tigbalang—a demon who lives in trees, especially the baliti tree. His body is covered with long hair and one of his feet is a horse's hoof. His chief delight is to lead people astray and make them crazy, or to ravage banana plantations, to empty water jars, shake houses, and disturb people generally. (Tagalog.)

Tigabulak—a demon who in the form of an old man entices children with candy and cakes. After he has led them far from home, he puts them in a sack and carries them to his dwelling. Then he kills them and makes money out of their blood. (Tagalog.)

Caibaan—little mischievous field spirits who play tiny guitars. They steal dishes and hide them, and indulge in other pranks. (Pangasinan and Ilocano.)

Russian Fairies and Witches

Domovoy—the Russian brownie that lives behind the stove. If he is neglected, he waxes wroth and knocks the tables and benches around at night.

Baba-yaga—an ogress who lives on the edge of the forest, in a hut built so as to turn with the wind like a weathercock.

Rusalki—water sprites.

Vodianoi—river genii.

Lieshii and the Liesnik—forest demons.

Vampires—ghosts who steal by night from their tombs, and suck the blood of the living during their sleep.


Arabian Fairies and Witches

Jinn—a sort of fairies of Arabian mythology—the offspring of fire. (The singular of jinn is jinnee.)

Afreet—a sort of Arabian ghoul or demon—the epitome of what is terrible and monstrous in Arabian superstition.

Peri (plural of Peris)—Peri are delicate, gentle, fairy-like beings of Eastern mythology, begotten by fallen spirits. With a wand they direct the pure in mind the way to heaven.

Miscellaneous Fairies and Other Supernatural Creatures

Esprit Follet—the house-spirit of France.

Familiar spirit—a spirit or demon supposed to be summoned by a necromancer or a soothsayer from the unseen world to attend upon him as a servant.

Fay—the French word for fairy, anglicised.

Gnome—one of a fabulous race of dwarfed and misshapen earth-spirits or goblins, reputed to be special guardians of mines and miners. (<French gnome, from the Greek.)

Hag—a forbidding or malicious old woman; a witch. (<A. S. haegtes, a fury.)

Hamadryad—a wood-nymph fabled to live and die with the tree she inhabited, the oak being considered as the tree preferred. (Greek mythology.)

Hornie, or Horny—the devil; so called because commonly represented with horns.

Imp—an evil spirit of low rank; a small, puny, or contemptible devil. (Russian folk tales often make use of this spirit.)

Undine—a female water-spirit without a soul, with[55] which she might be endowed only by marrying a mortal and bearing a child. (<Latin unda, wave.)

Werwolf—a person who, according to mediæval superstition, became voluntarily or involuntarily a wolf and in that form practiced cannibalism. (<A. S. wer, man + wulf, wolf.)

Wraith—a fantom of a living person, supposed to be ominous of that person's death.

Lamia—a female demon or vampire that enticed youths and fed upon their flesh and blood. (Classical mythology.)

Merrow—a mermaid. (Irish mythology.)

Monaciello—the house-spirit of Naples.

Nightmare—an evil spirit once supposed to oppress people during sleep. Called also Incubus. (<A. S. niht, night + maere, a nightmare.)

Ogre—a demon or monster that was supposed to devour human beings. (<French ogre. The derivation is uncertain.)

Ouphe—an elf or fairy. (<the Scandinavian. A variation of oaf = elf.)

Pigwidgeon—a very small fairy.

Sprite—a spirit of the earth or air.

Sylph—originally, a being, male or female, living in and on the air and intermediate between material and immaterial beings. (Used by Paracelsus. The word is undoubtedly of Greek origin.)

The Boggart

In the house of an honest farmer in Yorkshire, named George Gilbertson, a Boggart had taken up his abode. He here caused a good deal of annoyance, especially[56] by tormenting the children in various ways. Sometimes their bread and butter would be snatched away, or their porringers of milk be capsized by an invisible hand; for the Boggart never let himself be seen; at other times the curtains of their beds would be shaken backwards and forwards, or a heavy weight would press on them and nearly suffocate them. The parents had often, on hearing their cries, to fly to their aid. There was a kind of closet, formed by a wooden partition on the kitchen stairs, and a large knot having been driven out of one of the deal boards of which it was made, there remained a hole. Into this one day the farmer's youngest boy stuck the shoe horn with which he was amusing himself, when immediately it was thrown out again, and hit the boy on the head. The agent was, of course, the Boggart, and it soon became the children's sport (called laking with Boggart) to put the shoe horn into the hole and have it shot back at them.

The Boggart at length proved such a torment that the farmer and his wife resolved to quit the house and let him have it all to himself. This decision was put into execution, and the farmer and his family were following the last loads of furniture, when a neighbor named John Marshall came up: "Well, Georgey," said he, "and soa you're leaving t'ould hoose at last?" "Heigh, Johnny, my lad, I'm forced tull it; for that villain Boggart torments us soa, we can neither rest neet nor day for't. It seems loike to have such a malice again t'poor bairns, it ommost kills my poor dame here at thoughts on't, and soa, ye see, we're forced to flitt loike." He scarce had uttered the words when a voice from a deep upright churn cried out: "Aye, aye,[57] Johnny, we 're flitting, ye see." "Od hang thee," cried the poor farmer, "if I'd known thou'd been there, I wadn't ha' stirred a peg. Nay, nay, it's no use, Mally," said he to his wife, "we may as weel turn back to t'ould hoose as be tormented in another that's not so convenient."

From "English Fairy and Other Folk Tales." Selected and edited by Edwin Sidney Hartland (Walter Scott Pub. Co.).

Cafre and the Fisherman's Wife

Once in the little village of Babancal there lived a happy couple. They were poor and it was necessary for them both to work for their living. The husband's occupation was farming during the wet season and fishing during the dry season. The wife kept the house, helped the husband in some of his work, and in addition, made mats of buli, pandan, or ticay, and sacks of buli.

One night, at about six o'clock after a slight supper, when it was dolom (moonless), the husband went to fish. The wife remained alone at home and sat waiting for the husband, and, at the same time, making a mat. The house was lighted with a home-made lamp of bamboo and earth. The lampwick of ragged doth dipped in oil made from the fruit of the bitaog tree gave a very poor light.

At about midnight some one threw a dalag (a kind of fish) through the window. The wife was frightened and surprised. In a minute she recovered herself.

"Come in, Gregorio," she said, for she thought her husband was outside.

No one answered.


"Stop this nonsense. You know it is late now," she said angrily. "You had better come in and let us cook the fish and eat our supper." She did not rise from her seat and went on with her work.

In a few minutes a rod with another dalag hanging on it was thrust into the room. The fish fell on the floor before her.

"Oh, how foolish! Come in, I say," she said.

Hardly had she uttered the last word when the fish on the hook came down upon her head. She muttered some oaths and tried to catch the fish and take hold of the rod. But before she could do so, it was raised. Then she got up, took the lamp, and went to the window.

When she peeped out, she saw Cafre, the Spirit, grinning at her. His smile showed his large white teeth, forming a strong contrast with his dark complexion and the darkness of the night. The woman was frightened. She trembled and could not move an inch. She bent down her head to avoid his gaze. At last when she raised her eyes, he was gone.

—Benito C. Ebuen.

The Friendship of an Aswang and a Duende

About a half mile from Noveleta there is a small pond. The tall bamboo trees that grow at the edge of the water bow their heads toward each other so that they form a complete vaulted arch over the pond. There are but small spaces left between the thick leaves above and so the sunshine can hardly go through them. The lilies, the sea weed, and the falling leaves of the bamboo trees, decaying under the water have deposited a deep layer of sediment.


A long time ago a shooting meteor from heaven fell on the water of this pond. This meteor bore within it a beautiful nymph named Bituin. Her slender white body, whose skin was very delicate, was covered with beautiful leaves of the lilies whenever she came out of the water. Every night numberless fireflies lighted her dwelling with their fresh rays. Bituin had a large diamond, which she always put on a floating leaf at the center of the pond to serve as a light when it was dark.

Bituin had no neighbors for a number of years, and so she was not familiar with the form of man. However, as time glided on she was known by many, who began to love her. She did not dare to speak with men, because she was not familiar with the ugly complexion of the skin of mortals. One night an aswang was passing by this pond, and he heard the musical vibration of the bamboo leaves in harmony with the whistling sound of the wings of fireflies. He stopped and admired the beautiful nymph, who was sitting on the water, watching the wonderful rays of light from her large diamond. He was led to wonder at her beauty, and he fell in love with her. He asked Bituin to approach him, but his words had hardly died from his ugly lips when Bituin upon hearing his unfamiliar voice disappeared. There began the sadness of this aswang. Every night he passed by the pond only to see and to speak with Bituin, the beautiful and elusive nymph. Yet all his hopes and efforts were in vain.

This aswang laid himself to die near a heap of hay. Here lived an army of small men called duendes. The[60] duendes are usually good to those who are very strongly in love with women. At midnight one of these little creatures came out of the hay with a flute longer than himself. Little duende blew the flute, and the aswang thinking that the sweet vibration of the air came from the lips of Bituin, at once raised up his head and looked around. Aswang being a wild man said, "How is it that you little duendes are so troublesome?" "Master," said the little duende, "I came here to restore the broken heart of a lover and it is you." "How now can you comfort me?" said the aswang. "Come with me," said the little duende, "and show me where Bituin lives."

So they started toward the pond. On their way the duende, being as small as a little doll, often lost himself from the sight of his friend aswang. The duende was full of fun and jokes, and he was happy all the way. When they came near the pond little duende jumped over the thorny bushes that fringed the dwelling of Bituin. Now he rode on a lily leaf floating on the water, and he was singing a song at the same time that he was playing on his flute. He gathered some lily flowers and put one of them on his head. Duende skipped over the sea weeds as light as could be. Strange to say, the attractive music caught the ears of Bituin, and so she appeared before the duende. The music was so sweet, so charming, and so pleasant to her ears that fear of such a being never entered her thoughts. She approached the little duende, but he would not allow her to touch his enchanting flute. Aswang could not come inside. He tried to jump over the bushes, but he knew that he could not. All at once he[61] roared with a sharp tone that put Bituin to flight, and she never returned again.

Duende blamed the aswang for roaring, but the broken-hearted aswang in anger said, "Why did you not catch hold of her?" Duende did not answer and tried to flee, but aswang held him by the neck and tore him to pieces. So from that time on the duendes have not often been heard of; and, if they ever come, they do evil things and cause misfortune to little children. None of the aswangs since has ever been afraid of small creatures.

—Emanuel E. Baja.

A Tianac Frightens Juan

One harvest day, one of our neighbors, whose name is Juan, built a nipa hut on a farm amid his rice plantation. There he slept alone during the harvest time to look after his grain.

One night about twelve o'clock he began to feel the cold north wind, and the leaves began to rustle. By and by the wind stopped. He tried to sleep, but he could not, for the mosquitoes were too thick. He then went out of his hut and gathered some dry twigs and grasses and made a small fire to drive the mosquitoes away. When the fire began to kindle, he sat before his hut, facing a small hill. Not long afterward he heard the laughing of a child from the top of the hill. The child seemed to be very happy, for it laughed as hard as it could. Juan then began to wonder who the child was, for he knew that no one was living near him. Soon the laughing grew louder and louder and Juan began to be frightened. He supposed that the child was approaching him, but at once the laughing[62] stopped and again everything was silent about the field. He looked around him several times because he did not know what kind of creature that child was, and he feared that she might take hold of him from behind.

While Juan was thinking of what to do, a girl with white complexion and golden hair appeared before him laughing as hard as she could. Juan then was about to run away and call for help, but he knew that there was no one to help him, so he gathered all his strength and courage and approached the girl with his bolo in hand and said, "Tell me who you are or else this night is your last." The girl did not answer him, but continued laughing. He struck at her, but she at once vanished away and reappeared behind him laughing as hard as she could. He struck at her several times. He did not touch her at all and she laughed louder. Juan then threw his bolo at her and ran home shouting as he went along calling for help, "St. John, St. Peter, St. Nicholas, come and help me!" When he came to the forest a cricket alighted on his coat and began to sing. He mistook it for the girl, so he ran very fast. When he came to the town, the policemen tried to stop him, but they could not. He tried to tell them that a girl was singing behind him, but he was so terribly frightened that his calling to the gods confused him, and while he was running he shouted, "St. John sings, St. John sings, etc.," until he came to his house. His family asked him what the matter was, but he could not speak because of fatigue. By this time the cricket had flown away. Later the family found out that Juan had seen a tianac.

—Santiago Ochoa.


The Black Cloth of the Calumpang Tree

Once there lived on a lonely farm about two miles from the town of San Juan two brothers whose names were Mariano and Pedro. They were the sons of a farmer named Rafael.

Along the road leading from this farm to the town there was not a single house. There was a big calumpang tree by this road about a mile from the farm. Some of its large branches almost touched the ground. Many stories had been told about this calumpang; some said that they saw a ghost in the form of a white dog under it; others said they saw it in the form of a tall, thin black man sitting sideways on a big branch with eyes as large as saucers and with a big cigar a meter long in his mouth.

One day Mariano with his little brother Pedro went to the town to attend a procession. It was night when they started for home. On their way when they were out of the town, they heard a noise on one side of the road not far from them. It seemed to them that the noise was caused by the walking of a carabao, which was going along the road in the same direction they were going. They could not tell whether it was a carabao or not, for the grass was very tall. At last at an open side of the road, where the noise was, Pedro saw a little white dog. "Mariano, Mariano, see that little dog," whispered Pedro, touching the back of his brother with his finger. Pedro looked at it with great surprise. He could hardly believe that the little creature could make such a loud noise. The oftener they looked at the dog, the larger it appeared. Pedro now began to think that this dog was the one that somebody had seen[64] under the calumpang. He was afraid; he would not go behind nor before his brother; his hair stood on end, and he felt as if he were wearing a hat having a large brim; his heart beat faster than before, but he said not a word. The appearance of the dog reminded Mariano of the black man of the calumpang. For this reason he was more afraid than his little brother.

After a while a noise was again heard on the other side of the road. There appeared a white hog about the size of a carabao. It was also going in the same direction as the two brothers were. The hog was grunting, while there was seen coming from his mouth a continuous discharge of living charcoals. The minute the boys stopped, the dog and the hog stopped also. The two brothers intended to go back, but suddenly they heard another noise—pac, pac, pac. They looked behind them and saw a tall black horse mounted by a man dressed like the prince usually seen in comedies. The man's feet were so long that they almost touched the ground. The two brothers could do nothing but walk faster, in order that the horseman might not overtake them.

When they came near the calumpang, a black cloth was extended across the road. This cloth prevented their further advance, for it would bind them in case they should touch it. Mariano was then so much frightened that he could not keep from trembling. He felt as if the very hand of the black man of the calumpang was holding his head.

"Father, father!" cried Pedro with a prolonged voice, but nobody answered. The dog growled; the horse pounded the ground with his feet; the hog snorted,[65] while a greater amount of charcoal than before poured out of its mouth; the black cloth waved, producing a sound like the groaning of a sick man. Pedro grabbed his brother by the waist so tightly that Mariano could hardly breathe. Then Mariano remembered that he had in his pocket the remainder of a candle which a sexton had given him at the procession. He quickly lighted it. Instantly the ghosts disappeared. Mariano and Pedro reached home, but alas! they could neither eat nor sleep, for it seemed to them as if the ghosts were still around them.

—Eusebio Ramos.

IV. The Nursery Saga or Märchen


The ethnologists are not agreed concerning the history of nursery sagas, or märchen, as they call them. Whether such stories as "Jack-the-Giant-Killer" are reduced and modified forms of once greater sagas or whether they are immature stories arrested in their growth toward sagas, the scientists are still discussing. But happily for the narrator, as we noticed before, the question of origin is not of prime importance. He need consider it only so far as it helps to reveal the distinctions of the type.

As the generic title indicates, nursery sagas are tales told to children after lessons are done. Nobody wants instruction; nobody wants facts. "Once upon a time in a certain village" is definite enough. What the listener desires is action, things a-doing, Jack to kill the giant, Cinderella to marry the prince, Tom Thumb to get safely home. The end is always happy, no matter how many troubles the hero or heroine encounters during the course of the narrative. The brothers[66] Grimm expressed their realization that such an end is essential to a märchen. Their devoted scientific collecting and their charmingly sympathetic retelling have given back not only to Germany but also to the whole world much of its otherwise lost pleasure.

English nursery sagas

Good native nursery sagas are scarce in English. Many of our best known, like Cinderella, are importations. "Jack-the-Giant-Killer" and "Jack and the Bean-Stalk" and "Rumpelstiltskin"—or "Tom Tit Tot," as the older version has it—are recorded, however, as of English origin. They have been handed down verbally and in chapbooks and various other written forms for hundreds of years.

Distinguishing elements—the kind of hero

The most important distinguishing element of a nursery saga is the kind of hero. He is always human, very often sagacious of himself as well as finally fortunate because of the aid of some supernatural being or charm; but before the beginning of his adventure he is pretty generally considered foolish or a lazy ne'er-do-well. He is always of obscure origin, and is persistently ignored by history. The place where he lives or where he performs his deeds is selected at random, is of no practical importance, and might just as well have been any other. If the locality is definite and the details of the story are really pertinent, we have crossed the borderland into legend, which is very near to nursery saga. Indeed, say the students of folk-lore, the same story is often told in one country as a nursery saga and in another as a dignified national epic.


The uncouth rhymes occurring here and there[67] within the story are to the nursery saga what the refrain is to the ballad—a sure sign of its type. All the original tales I dare say had rhymes at first, even if many are without them to-day.

The artificial nursery saga is not always marked off closely from the fairy story. Some writers do not appear to have felt the traditional distinctions; but, when a differentiation is made, it is on the basis of the chief actor. The irresistible Alice is a true nursery saga heroine. Whether in "Wonderland" or "Through the Looking Glass" her adventures are her adventures, and not a fairy's. And although the dialogue of the characters is imposed by the brilliant naïveté of the author, it is yet clearly within our classification—as the delectable rhymes attest.

Repetition of situation

Another characteristic you will observe is the repetition of situation: Cinderella goes to the ball more than once; Jack-of-the-Bean-Stalk visits the castle in the sky three times; the king's wife is allowed two false guesses; and there are Cormelian's and Thunderdell's heads to be cut off as well and Gallingantus's.

Two of our worthy literary men, G. K. Chesterton and Bernard Shaw, have recently bandied words over the value and significance of such heroes as Jack. When you come to write an original nursery saga, you can decide for yourself whether you want your hero to conquer a foe greater and stronger than he or whether you want your hero to conquer a foe lesser than he because he himself is greater and stronger than all his foes and conquers by the magic force of his personality. In making the decision, however, you[68] should remember that "greater" and "lesser" are terms subject to a number of varying interpretations.

Supernatural element

After you have decided which kind your hero is to be, you must set about making him human despite the wonderful deeds you mean him to do. The more human, the more interesting; but he must be naturally human, not merely philosophically so. The homeliest touches of every-day life are exactly in keeping with your subject. No poetry here. If you have metrics interspersed, they must be "from jigging veins or rhyming mother wits." Nothing higher than "Fee, fi, fo, fum," or "Ninny, ninny not," or "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold," or "It is not so, nor 'twas not so, but indeed God forbid it should be so." Although your hero is to be human, he need not stand alone; he may have supernatural aid. A fairy, a witch, a charm, or anting-anting may help him. Success, of course, however, must ultimately depend upon his own bravery and wit. What makes the nursery saga different from the fairy story is just the element of the independence and prominence of the human hero. If supernatural agents are present in the nursery saga, they are only assistants: they are not the chief actors; in fact, they are usually at first opponents. The human person is the chief actor.

Tolstoy's Ivan the Fool surely wins by the force of his personality alone. He is one of the pure fools who think no evil and therefore make men good. Although he has the power the imps have given him to call up soldiers, rub gold out of oak leaves, and to cure the sick, he uses this power only for fool-wise ends: he heals beggars, gives away the gold, and[69] makes the soldiers sing. Despite its didactic purpose, this is a typical märchen in having the human fool hero in repeated situations, chanting crude rhymes, and being assisted finally by the supernatural agents that first opposed him.

A few specific suggestions

When you come to the writing, remember that your story is for a child, grown-up or not grown-up, and that you must therefore make the language simple and vivid. Use a good many crude similes and metaphores. Be concrete in comparisons about size, shape, color, garb, and the like. Though you select your hero with care, you need make no fine distinctions of character, since broad strokes will be most effective. Endow your personages, both the hero and his enemy, with a few mannerisms and let them display these often. Get quickly into the action of the story and keep things lively to the end.

Working definition

Here is the working definition: A nursery saga is a narrative of imaginary events wherein is celebrated a hero of a more-or-less humble origin, a child's hero, who, by his own wit and energy, together with the possession of a charm, is enabled to do stupendous deeds, which bring to him material happiness.

Princess Helena the Fair

We say that we are wise folks, but our people dispute the fact, saying, "No, no, we were wiser than you are." But shaskas tell us that before our grandfathers had learned anything, before their grandfathers were born——

There lived in a certain land an old man of this[70] kind who instructed his three sons in reading and writing and all book learning. Then he said to them, "Now, my children, when I die, mind you, come and read prayers over my grave."

"Very good, father, very good," they replied.

The two elder brothers were such fine strapping fellows, so tall and stout! But as for the youngest one, Ivan, he was like a half-grown lad or a half-fledged duckling, terribly inferior to the others. Well, their old father died. At that very time there came tidings from the king that his daughter, the Princess Helena the Fair, had ordered a shrine to be built for her with twelve columns, with twelve rows of beams. In that shrine she was sitting upon a high throne and awaiting her bridegroom, the bold young youth who with a single bound of his swift steed should reach high enough to kiss her on the lips. A stir ran through the whole youth of the nation. They took to licking their lips and scratching their heads, and wondering to whose share so great an honor would fall.

"Brothers," said: Vanyusha (Ivan), "our father is dead; which of us is to read prayers over his grave?"

"Whoever feels inclined, let him go!" answered the brothers.

So Vanya went. But as for his elder brothers they did nothing but exercise their horses and curl their hair and dye their mustaches.

The second night came.

"Brothers," said Vanya, "I've done my share of reading. It is your turn now; which of you will go?"

"Whoever likes can go and read. We've business to look after; don't you meddle."


And they cocked their caps and shouted and whooped and flew this way and shot that way and roved about the open country.

So Vanyusha read prayers this time also—and on the third night, too.

Well, his brothers got ready their horses, combed out their mustaches and prepared to go next morning to test their mettle before the eyes of Helena the Fair.

"Shall we take the youngster?" they thought. "No, no. What would be the good of him? He'd make folks laugh and put us to confusion; let's go by ourselves."

So away they went. But Vanyusha wanted very much to have a look at the Princess Helena the Fair. He cried, cried bitterly, and went out to his father's grave. And his father heard him in his coffin, and came out to him, shook the damp earth off his body, and said, "Don't grieve, Vanya. I'll help you in your trouble."

And immediately the old man drew himself up and straightened himself and called aloud and whistled with a ringing voice, with a shrill whistle.

From goodness knows where appeared a horse, the earth quaking beneath it, a flame rushing from its ears and nostrils. To and fro it flew, and then stood still before the old man, as if rooted in the ground, and cried, "What are thy commands?"

Vanya crept into one of the horse's ears and out of the other, and turned into such a hero as no skazka can tell of, no pen describe! He mounted the horse, set his arms akimbo, and flew, just like a falcon, straight to the home of the Princess Helena. With a wave of[72] his hand, with a bound aloft, he failed only by the breadth of two rows of beams. Back again he turned, galloped up, leapt aloft, and got within one beam row's breadth. Once more he turned, once more he wheeled, then shot past the eye like a streak of fire, took an accurate aim, and kissed the fair Helena right on the lips!

"Who is he? Who is he? Stop him!" was the cry. Not a trace of him was to be found!

Away he galloped to his father's grave, let the horse go free, prostrated himself on the earth, and besought his father's counsel. And the old man held counsel with him.

When he got home, he behaved as if he hadn't been anywhere. His brothers talked away, describing where they had been, what they had seen, and he listened to them as of old.

The next day there was a gathering again. In the princely halls there were more boyars and nobles than a single glance could take in. The elder brothers rode there. Their younger brother went there, too, but on foot, meekly and modestly, just as if he hadn't kissed the Princess, and seated himself in a distant corner. The Princess Helena asked for her bridegroom, wanted to show him to the world at large, wanted to give him half her kingdom; but the bridegroom did not put in an appearance! Search was made for him among the boyars, among the generals; everyone was examined in his turn—but with no result! Meanwhile, Vanya looked on, smiling and chuckling, and waiting till the bride should come to him herself.

"I pleased her then," says he, "when I appeared as[73] a gay gallant; now let her fall in love with me in my plain caftan."

Then up she rose, looked around with bright eyes that shed a radiance on all who stood there, and saw and knew her bridegroom, and made him take his seat by her side, and speedily was wedded to him. And he—good heavens! How clever he turned out, and how brave, and what a handsome fellow! Only see him mount his flying steed, give his cap a cock, and stick his elbows akimbo! Why, you'd say he was a king, a born king! You'd never suspect he was once only Vanyusha.

From "Russian Fairy and Folk Tales." Translated and edited by W. R. S. Ralston (Hurst and Company).

Juan the Guesser

Once there lived a youth by the name of Juan. He was the only son of a family and so he was dearly loved. One day his father said to him, "Juan, you are quite old now so you have to study." "Yes, father," said Juan obediently. Juan was then sent to a large town to school. But he did not study; he spent all his time going to places of amusement. When vacation was coming near, Juan bought a reader so that he could give proof that he studied. His father was very anxious to see him and so prepared a large fiesta in honor of his arrival. When Juan arrived, he would not speak his dialect, and if he was asked something he just answered "Si, señor." Everybody then was astonished; for all thought that he had learned so much that he had forgotten his own dialect.

One day Juan threw his father's plow into a well[74] because he wanted to show the people that he knew how to divine. The father came to him then and said, "Dear Juan, will you tell me where I can find the plow which I lost yesterday?" "Ah, father!" said Juan, "there is no difficulty in finding it; fetch my book and I will look it up." The father obeyed instantly and Juan looked in his book and said:

"A B C, A B C,
Oh, my father's plow is lost!
A B C, A B C,
It has the well for a host."

"Well, my book tells me that it is in the bottom of the well." The father ordered the servants to look in the well, and sure enough they found the plow in it. The father was very proud of his son now, for he had had a real proof of his ability. So Juan was called prophet and his name was heard everywhere.

Once the princess of his country lost a very valuable ring, and the king offered to marry her to the one who could find the ring. But he ordered that anyone who might attempt and not guess rightly should be beheaded. Many of the wise men in the kingdom attempted to guess, but nobody was right and so they had to be killed. The rumors of Juan's knowledge reached the king's ears, so he sent a carriage to his home in order to bring him to the palace. Juan did not want to go because he knew that he would surely be killed. He could not disobey the king, however, and so he got into the carriage. As soon as he entered the carriage he became very sad and thoughtful and repented of having tricked[75] his father. When they were quite near the town of the king, Juan opened his book and groaned sadly:

"Someone is to die,
Not far from here, oh, my!"

Instantly the carriage stopped and the driver presented himself before Juan and said, "Oh, sir! I beg you to pardon me; I am the one who stole the princess's ring. She was washing her hands in a dish one day and took the ring off her hand, and then threw the water away. While I was cleaning the garden I saw it and picked it up. Kindly forgive me, here is the ring!" Juan did not take the ring, but said, "I forgive you now; I thought you would not tell me anything about it, and I was going to tell the king to have you killed, for I knew, that you were the one who stole it; my book said so. As soon as we arrive at the palace, place the ring under the stairs and cover it with a cocoanut shell." The driver was very happy and promised to do everything he was commanded.

Juan was received with honors in the palace and when he was asked about the ring, he told everything about the theft of it from the information he had got from the driver and said, "My book tells me all of this and says that now it is under a cocoanut shell under the stairs." Everybody went down to look for it and they found it. Once more now Juan's knowledge was talked of everywhere. According to the king's promise, he was married to the princess. The marriage ceremony was celebrated with much pomp and splendor, and many kings from different countries came to attend it.


Once a neighbor king came to Juan's country. When he went to the palace and met the other king, he said, "If your son-in-law is really a prophet, I propose to you a wager. I have three watermelons in my ship; one of them has one seed, the other has two, and the other has three. Should your son-in-law guess which has one, which has two, and which has three seeds, I will give you half of my kingdom. But if he fails, you will have to give me half of yours." The king was well pleased to hear the proposal, and being confident of Juan's knowledge, he accepted it. Fortunately, while the two kings were conversing, the vassals of the foreign king stood near the door of Juan's room and talked about the watermelons. One of them said, "If I were the one to guess I would say that the smallest has three seeds, the largest has two, and the middle-sized has one, then I should be very rich and would be as powerful a king as our master." Juan, after hearing all that the men had said, went to his bed and pretended to be asleep. When the foreign king had gone away, his father-in-law went to awake him in his room, and told him everything about the challenge. Juan said that he was afraid of no defiance so long as he had his book. The next morning, when the king and he went to the boat, Juan told exactly the number of seeds in each watermelon, according to what he had heard, after reading, or rather feigning to read, some characters in his book. The fruits were cut open then and it was found out that Juan was right. The king, his father-in-law, was very happy and liked Juan very much, for he said that Juan was, without any doubt, the wisest man the world ever knew.


Not long after this another king came on a large ship loaded with money. He came to propose another challenge. He said that he had three earthen jars, filled with salt, water, and vinegar. And if Juan should guess what each contained, the load of this ship would be his father-in-law's; but if he should fail, the king had to give him in turn another ship full of money also. The king accepted the proposal immediately; but Juan was very sad because he knew that the king would order him to be beheaded if he should not guess rightly. So he decided to commit suicide before the day when he should appear before the contending monarchs. During the night he went down silently and threw himself in the river behind the palace, in which the foreign ship was anchored. He tried to drown himself, but he could not, for he knew how to swim. He heard then some men talking in the ship, and one of them said, "If that guesser could just know that the jar with white marking on the neck contains salt, and the one which has the largest lid holds vinegar, he would be the richest man on earth." Juan swam quietly back after hearing this and slept. The next morning Juan and the king went to the ship, and Juan, after turning back and forth the leaves of his reader, told rightly the contents of every jar. The king was very happy and held a large festival in honor of the wise Juan the Prophet.

Juan was afraid to hazard his life any more, so he burned his magic volume. From that time on he never guessed any more, because he said that his book was gone and so his knowledge, too.

—Bienvenido Gonzales.


The Shepherd Who Became King

Many years before the birth of Christ, when the victorious legions of Rome were gradually conquering the then known world, there lived in a foreign country a cruel and despotic king. He had a daughter in the very bloom and freshness of youth. She was so beautiful that many a young man of the country asked her father to allow him to be his son-in-law. The suitors were so many that the king determined to marry his daughter to somebody. But he could not find the right man. He sent proclamations to the different provinces of his kingdom, telling the people that he intended to marry his daughter to the man who could accomplish three things which the king would require the competitor to do; but if the competitor should fail to do the three things within the required time, his head should be cut off. Many young men attempted, but they were all killed.

Near the king's palace there was living at that time a shepherd. This man had, since his boyhood, devoted his life to the interests of his fellow countrymen. Everybody loved him.

One day while he was tending his sheep out in the fields, an old woman saw him and said, "Receive this pipe as a present from me. Whenever you want anything from any animal, blow this pipe and the desired animal will come to you. Keep this carefully for it will be of great service to you." The shepherd thanked her and went away. He wanted to know whether the woman was telling the truth or not. So he blew the pipe and said, "Come here, all the serpents." He no sooner said these words than hundreds of serpents[79] came to him hissing and twisting. Then he dismissed them.

He decided to compete for the hand of the princess. So he went to the palace in the evening and expressed his desire. "Ha! ha!" said the king, "do you want to have your head cut off, young man?" "We will see the result," said the shepherd proudly. "All right," said the king; "the first thing you must do is to eat in one day all of the bread there is to be found in my granary. You must either eat the bread or lose your head."

"I will go to the granary now and begin eating," said the shepherd.

"Well, go!" said the king, and he told a soldier to conduct the shepherd to the granary. The shepherd was locked up in the granary with nobody but himself and the bread. He took out the pipe which he had concealed under his coat. He blew the instrument and said, "Come here, all of the rats." He had just finished his command when thousands of rats came to him. He told them to eat all of the bread. The rats were so numerous that all of the bread was eaten before daybreak. Not a single crumb was left. Many rats arrived too late to get their share.

When the king and his court went to the granary in the morning, they were surprised to see that the building which was full of bread the day before was now totally empty. "All right," said the king, "you have to do the second thing. You must separate in one day the grains of corn from the grains of rice. Go to my granary, where you will find the corn and the rice. Remember the punishment."


"All right," said the shepherd; "I'll go to the granary this evening and begin my work."

So he went to the building where the corn and the rice were and there he was locked up again. He then blew his pipe and said, "Come here, all of the ants." Just then millions of ants arrived. He told the big ants to pick up all of the grains of corn and place them on one side of the granary. To the small ants he assigned the work of selecting the grains of rice and placing them on the other side of the building. The ants were so numerous that the entire work was finished before morning.

The king and his court were surprised to see that the shepherd had done his work. "Very well," said the king, "you have to accomplish the third and last thing and then you may marry my daughter."

"I'll do the work this afternoon," said the shepherd. "Good!" said the king. "Come here this afternoon at two o'clock. I'll give you twelve wild hares. Tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock you must return them to me without a change in any of them. The number must be exact."

At two o'clock in the afternoon the shepherd went to the palace. The king gave him the twelve hares. They were no sooner in the hands of the shepherd than they ran away. The king and his court laughed loudly and said, "He will not catch them. He is sure to fail in his work."

"We will see," said the shepherd proudly. He then went to his cottage. He blew his pipe and said, "Come all of the twelve hares of the king." He had no sooner said these words than the twelve hares came to him and began to jump about him.


An hour later the king sent one of his servants to see whether the shepherd was out looking for the hares or not. When the servant reached the shepherd's cottage, he was surprised to see the hares sleeping quietly by the side of the shepherd. The servant went back to the king and related to him all that he saw. The king grew pale and did not know what to do. He told the princess to go to the shepherd and try to get one of the hares. So the princess disguised herself as a country girl and went to the shepherd's cottage. The shepherd recognized her immediately. Her solicitations were all in vain. At last the shepherd said, "I'll give you one of the hares if you scrub my kitchen for me." To prevent herself from being married to the shepherd she said "Yes." So the shepherd told her to do her work. When she had finished her work, the shepherd gave her one of the hares. When she was a hundred yards from the shepherd's cottage, the shepherd blew his pipe and said, "Come here, the hare with the princess." He had just finished speaking when the hare ran away from the princess to the side of the cottage.

The princess was crying when she reached the palace and told the king how she had been fooled. The king determined to get one of the hares by means of money. So he disguised himself as a merchant, mounted a horse with two panniers slung on the sides, and went to the shepherd's cottage. But the shepherd recognized him at once. His solicitations also were in vain. Even the bag of gold was useless. The shepherd would not allow himself to be fooled. At last he said, "I'll give you one of the hares if you wash my feet." To prevent the marriage of the princess with the shepherd, the king [82] agreed. So he dismounted and washed the shepherd's dusty feet. Then the shepherd gave him one of the hares. The King put the animal in one pannier and went away. But his undertaking was unsuccessful. The note of the pipe and the cry of the shepherd excited the hare, who jumped out of the pannier and ran away.

The king went to the palace with a sad face. He told his courtiers how unsuccessful he had been, and went to his private room. The next day at two o'clock in the afternoon the shepherd returned the twelve hares. Not a single hare was changed.

But the king still refused to fulfill his promise. He told the shepherd to fill a bag with all the bad words he knew. The shepherd uttered every kind of bad words; but the bag was still empty. But one thing came to his mind. He said loudly, "The princess scrubbed my kitchen yesterday afternoon." The princess jumped from her seat and said, "The bag is full."

"No," said the king. "Continue." "The king," said the shepherd, "wa—wa—wash——" The king jumped from his throne and said, "That's enough," and tied the bag. The marriage was then arranged and the next day the shepherd and the princess were married.

From this time on the shepherd and princess lived happily for many years. He succeeded his father-in-law as king.

—Vincente M. Hilario.



We now turn to a set of stories with a new basis, the symbolic-didactic narratives: fables, parables, and allegories. By the word "symbolic" we shall understand that the stories mean something more than appears on the surface. By "didactic," the fact that the narratives are told for the purpose of teaching a lesson. The hearer no more believes in the mere literal occurrence than does the narrator himself. The meaning is the concern of both. For the time being, the story-teller has set himself up as a preacher, or the preacher as a story-teller. His object is to make vivid and dramatic a lesson in manners, morals, religion, politics, or art.

I. The Fable


The fable is a very old type of narrative, so old that critics are not sure of the place of its origin. Some think that it rose at the court of Crœsus with Æsop and spread eastward and westward. Others maintain that it came from India to the court of the Lydian king, and was adopted by Æsop, the king's state orator, as a most convenient device for impressing political lessons on a restless people in a scattered empire. Others say that there never was a man Æsop at all. But legend goes into detail to the effect that[84] this ancient politician was once a slave and that he rose from his servile condition to be the counsellor of kings by the sheer force of his brains and an appreciation of practical problems (much as our self-made men of today have risen). Once even, when sent as a royal messenger to a rebellious and distant part of the empire, he quelled a mob and saved his own life by his ready wit in telling a story and applying the moral. He wrote nothing himself, legend goes on to admit, but he scattered his practical narratives far and wide, and they were finally collected as a distinct species of literature.

Other early fabulists

Whatever the truth of the legend may be, it is certain that there were in the Greek language early collections of fables called "Æsop." More than three hundred years before Christ, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle translated stories from "Æsop." Plutarch and Lucian, in the second century after Christ, remade them. In the thirteenth century Marie de France versified a hundred of them, using an old English source which we cannot now find. She called her collection Ysopet, or "Little Æsop." Finally in 1447, Planudes, a monk of Constantinople, put forth in prose a collection of about three hundred stories, which bears the name of "Æsop."

Hitopadesa and Panchatantra

The East never stopped to cavil about the source of fables. It has always loved the type. The Hindoos have two very ancient Sanscrit collections of fable-like discourses—the "Panchatantra" (Five Books), written in prose, and the "Hitopadesa" (Friendly Instruction), in verse.[85] These differ from ordinary sets of fables in having the principle of connection throughout and in being, instead of mere brief tales, rather romantic and dramatic dialogues and expositions designed as text-books for the instruction of princes and those called to govern. Many selections, however, have been taken out, translated, modified, and used either as whole stories or as elements of larger ones.

Reynard the Fox and beastiaries

The very widely read and extensively translated eleventh century "Reynard the Fox" is a beast-epic, and not a fable in the technical sense of the term. As likewise the bestiaries are not fables. Those quaint medieval collections of false lore, modeled probably on some earlier Greek or Latin physiologus, were meant as doctrinal expository allegories rather than zoological treatises or than narratives which would fall within our present classification. Yet they are allied to this group in that they are symbolic and didactic and permit unnatural natural history.

Some more writers of fables

There have always been men who wrote of their own times original satires in the form of fables, exposing vice and folly. Phædrus, a freedman of Augustus, wrote five such books in the reign of Tiberius. Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Poggio knew and used the type. The greatest name in modern literature in connection with the fable is that of the Frenchman Jean de la Fontaine, who lived at the court of Louis Fourteenth. He expressed in exquisite verse-narrative very high social maxims. Many of our finest well-known fables are paraphrases of his lines. His own favorite was the "Oak and the Reed."[86] He is supposed to have drawn his inspirations from Phædrus. Our own English writers, Gay and Pope, Addison and Prior, Steele and Dodsley, Moore, Goldsmith, Cowper, and others, wrote fables both in prose and verse. Indeed, worthy old Henryson, of "Robin and Makyne" fame, wrote in the fifteenth century a book of "Morall Fables of Esope the Phrygian" in Chaucerian stanzas. One of these poems he calls the "Uplondish Mous and the Berger Mous." Kriloff, the Russian fabulist, who died in the middle of the nineteenth century, disputes the highest place with La Fontaine in the minds of many critics, especially for his originality. A twentieth century humorous set of rational apologues is George Ade's "Fables in Slang."

The popular "Uncle Remus" stories are negro animal-myths rather than fables. Though Kipling's first "Jungle Book" narratives are in effect sui generis, they belong with fable typically if anywhere, as the unnatural very natural beast philosophy evinces. "His Majesty's Servant," the last of the volume, is easily classified. Some of the later tales are animal-myths, however—to wit, "How Fear Came" and "How the Camel Got His Hump;" and some, like "The Miracle of Purun Bhagat," are legends; but the talk and actions of the animals in all are fable-wise. The French, it seems, have lately pushed the type the farthest, though in a logical direction. They have retained the animal talk and the satire, but have cast away the narrative. Under the patronage of Rostand, Sir Chanticler has come before the footlights. This play happens to be an anomalous union of the two old distinct meanings of the word "fable"—one, the undelying[87] story of a drama; the other, a symbolic, usually satiric, didactic tale.

Working definition

In the narrative sense of the term, a fable is a very brief invented, double-meaning story in which a lesson of every day practical morality is taught. The kind of lesson is one of the points that distinguish fable from parable and allegory. The fable never aims higher than inculcating maxims of prudential conduct—industry, caution, foresight, and the like—and these it will sometimes recommend at the expense of the higher, self-forgetting virtues. A typical fable reaches just the pitch of morality which the world will approve. In spirit the fable is often humorous, often ironical. In diction it is always simple, forceful, and appropriate.

Three classes of fables have been noticed: (1) the rational—in which the actors and speakers are solely human beings or the gods of mythology, (2) the non-rational—in which the heroes are solely animals, trees, vegetables, or inanimate objects, (3) the mixed—in which the rational and non-rational are combined.

Classes of fables

Now what distinguishes all these from myth and legend is the presence of the evident and acknowledged didactic purpose. What distinguishes the first class, the rational fable, from a parable is the low plane of the motive. Above the utilitarian the fable never rises. If the fable teaches honesty, it teaches it merely as the best policy. What distinguishes the non-rational and the mixed fables from allegory is both the limitation of the moral and the kind of hero. The lesson of the fable is always piquant, single, and clear. The actors in a fable are[88] always things concrete in nature as well as in the story.

The most popular, and hence the most typical of the three classes of fables, is the second, often called also the "beast fable." The beast fable departs somewhat from the laws of nature. In the dialogue, animals and inanimate objects act like human beings. A fox and a bear, for instance, will philosophize on politics. A lion and a mouse will exchange courtesies. But it is a remarkable feature of this type of story that we do not resent the incongruity. And that we do not resent it is because there is a truthfulness that is more interesting to us than is the natural order of the universe—namely, the truthfulness of characterization. Here the verisimilitude must be complete. Although acting the part of rational beings, the animals must be true to our accepted notion of their animal nature—a fox must be foxy; a bear, bearish; a lion, haughty; a mouse, timid; a cat, deceptive; a monkey, mischievous; a canary, dependent; an eagle, lofty; and so on, and so on. It is not necessary that they have no other characteristics, but it is necessary that they possess the commonly ascribed ones.

How to write an original fable

To write what is strictly a fable, a person will need to observe the distinctions of the type in general as cut off from parable on the one hand and allegory on the other, and to observe the distinctions of the subdivisions within the type. Then he must decide, of course, which subdivision he is going to follow, must select his moral, pick out his actors, think over their characteristics, and finally narrate a brief occurrence in a vivid, homely[89] style. The dialogue, while correct, should be very colloquial. It is well for one to pay especial attention to author's narrative, likewise, that it may be informing though limited. After all is told, the writer may or may not affix a maxim at the end, definitely and neatly stated. In either case, however, the lesson taught should be unmistakable. Original and spirited fables could be written in the field of civic morals, about which the world has just begun to think seriously. Despite the good work that is being done in the name of charity, there is room surely for pleasant satire when a Happy Childhood Society gives elaborately dressed dolls to naked babies.

If one chooses to write a rational fable, where the actors are human beings, one must be careful not to write a parable. The lesson of a fable is always unsentimentally practical—not spiritual. Where the actors are gods, or gods and men, the student-writer must distinguish fable from myth. He should not aim at explaining a universal phenomenon, but simply at teaching a single, acute, work-a-day lesson.

Armenian proverbs that might be used for fable maxims

1. When a man sees that the water does not follow him, he follows the water.

2. Strong vinegar bursts the cask.

3. Dogs quarrel among themselves, but against the wolf they are united.

4. Only a bearded man can laugh at a beardless face.

5. Make friends with a dog, but keep a stick in your hand.


6. One should not feel hurt at the kick of an ass.

7. Running is also an art.

8. He who speaks the truth must have one foot in the stirrup.

9. Before Susan had done prinking, church was over.

10. When you are going in, first consider how you are coming out.

11. The ass knows seven ways of swimming, but when he sees the water he forgets them all.

12. A shrewd enemy is better than a stupid friend.

13. Because the cat could get no meat he said, "Today is Friday."

14. A goat prefers one goat to a whole herd of sheep.

15. A near neighbor is better than a distant kinsman.

16. When I have honey, the flies come even from Bagdad.

Jupiter and the Countryman

Jupiter, to reward the piety of a certain countryman, promised to give him whatever he would ask. The countryman desired that he might have the management of the weather in his own estate. He obtained his request, and immediately distributed rain, snow, and sunshine among his several fields as he thought the nature of the soil required. At the end of the year when he expected to see a more than ordinary crop, his harvest fell infinitely short of that of his neighbors. Thereupon he[91] desired Jupiter to take the weather again into his own hands, for the countryman knew that otherwise he should utterly ruin himself.

—Spectator No. 25.

The Drop of Water

A drop of water fell out of a cloud into the sea, and finding itself lost amid such a countless number of its companions, broke out in complaint of its lot. "Alas! what an insignificant creature am I in this vast ocean of waters! My existence is of no concern to the universe; I am reduced to a kind of nothing, and I am less than the least works of God." It so happened that an oyster, which lay in the neighborhood of this drop, chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of its humble soliloquy. The drop lay a great while hardening in the shell till by degrees it was ripened into a pearl. The pearl fell into the hands of a diver, after a long series of adventures, and is at present the famous ornament fixed on the top of the Persian diadem.

—Persian fable. Adapted in the Spectator No. 293.

The Grandee at the Judgment-Seat

Once in the days of old a certain Grandee passed from his richly dight bed into the realm which Pluto sways. To speak more simply, he died. And so, as was anciently the custom, he appeared before the justice seat of Hades. Straightway he was asked, "Where were you born? What have you been?"


"I was born in Persia, and my rank was that of a Satrap. But, as my health was feeble during my lifetime, I never exercised any personal control in my province, but left everything to be done by my secretary."

"But you—what did you do?"

"I ate, drank, and slept; and I signed everything he set before me."

"In with him then at once to Paradise."

"How now, where is the justice of this?" thereupon exclaimed Mercury, forgetting all politeness.

"Ah, brother," answered Eacus, "you know nothing about it. But don't you see this? The dead man was a fool. What would have happened if he, who had such power in his hands, had unfortunately interfered in business? Why, he would have ruined the whole province. The tears which would have flowed then would have been beyond all calculation. Therefore, it is that he has gone into Paradise, because he did not interfere with business."

I was in court yesterday, and I saw a judge there. There can be no doubt that he will go into Paradise.


The Lion and the Old Hare

On the Mandara mountain there lived a Lion named Fierce-of-Heart, and he was perpetually making massacre of all the wild animals. The thing grew so bad that the beasts held a public meeting, and drew up a respectful remonstrance to the Lion in these words:

"Wherefore should your Majesty thus make carnage[93] of us all? If it may please you, we ourselves will daily furnish a beast for your Majesty's meal." Thereupon the Lion responded, "If that arrangement is more agreeable to you, be it so;" and from that time a beast was allotted to him daily, and daily devoured. One day it came to the turn of an old hare to supply the royal table, who reflected to himself as he walked along, "I can but die, and will go to my death leisurely."

Now Fierce-of-Heart, the lion, was pinched with hunger, and seeing the Hare so approaching, he roared out, "How darest thou thus delay in coming?"

"Sire," replied the Hare, "I am not to blame. I was detained on the road by another lion, who exacted an oath from me to return when I should have informed your Majesty."

"Go," exclaimed King Fierce-of-Heart in a rage; "show me instantly where this insolent villain of a lion lives."

The Hare led the way accordingly until he came to a deep well, whereat he stopped, and said, "Let my lord the King come hither and behold him." The Lion approached, and beheld his own reflection in the water of the well, upon which, in his passion, he directly flung himself, and so perished.

—Hitopadesa. Translated by Sir Edwin Arnold.

The Fox and the Crab

The Fox and the Crab lived together like brothers; together they sowed their land, reaped the harvest, thrashed the grain and garnered it.

The Fox said one day: "Let us go to the hill-top, and[94] whoever reaches it first shall carry off the grain for his own."

While they were (starting) to mount the steep, the Crab said:

"Do me a favor; before we set off running, touch me with your tail, so that I shall know it and be able to follow you."

The Crab opened his claws, and when the Fox touched him with his tail, he leaped forward and seized it, so that when the Fox reached the goal and turned around to see where the Crab was, the Crab fell upon the heap of grain and said: "These three bushels and a half are all mine." The Fox was thunderstruck and exclaimed:

"How did you get here, you rascal?"

This fable shows that deceitful men devise many methods and actions for getting things their own way, but that they are often defeated by the feeble.

—Turkish Fable. Translated by Epiphanius Wilson.

The Fool Who Sells Wisdom

A certain fool kept constantly passing through the streets of a town.

"Who will buy wisdom?" he cried in a loud voice. A citizen met him on his way, accosted him, and presented him with some small pieces of money.

"Sell me a little wisdom," he said.

"Here it is," replied the other, cuffing him heartily, and immediately putting into his hands a long thread.

"If you wish in the future to be wise and prudent," said the hawker to him, "always keep as far away from fools as the length of this thread."


Moral: We should avoid all connection and communication with fools and cranks.


The Archer and the Trumpeter

The Archer and the Trumpeter were travelling together in a lonely place. The Archer boasted of his skill as a warrior, and asked the Trumpeter if he bore arms.

"No," replied the Trumpeter, "I cannot fight. I can only blow my horn, and make music for those who are at war."

"But I can hit a mark at a hundred paces," said the Archer. As he spoke, an eagle appeared, hovering over the tree tops. He drew out an arrow, fitted it on the string, shot at the bird, which straightway fell to the ground, transfixed to the heart.

"I am not afraid of any foe; for that bird might just as well have been a man," said the Archer proudly. "But you would be quite helpless if anyone attacked you."

They saw at the moment a band of robbers, approaching them with drawn swords. The Archer immediately discharged a sharp arrow which laid low the foremost of the wicked men. But the rest soon overpowered him and bound his hands.

"As for this trumpeter, he can do us no harm, for he has neither sword nor bow," they said, and did not bind him, but took away his purse and wallet.

Then the Trumpeter said: "You are welcome, friends, but let me play you a tune on my horn."


With their consent he blew loud and long on his trumpet, and in a short space of time the guards of the King came running up at the sound, and surrounded the robbers and carried them off to prison.

When they unbound the hands of the Archer, he said to the Trumpeter: "Friend, I have learned to-day that a trumpet is better than a bow; for you have saved our lives without doing harm to anyone."

This fable shows that one man ought not to despise the trade of another. It also shows that it is better to be able to gain the help of others than to trust to our own strength.


The Courtship of Sir Butterfly

It was a beautiful May morning. The air was soft and balmy, still retaining the freshness of the evening. Sir Butterfly woke up very early to go to the garden and pay a visit to the beautiful flowers that grew there. The garden looked inviting. For there was already Miss Sampaguita, fresh as the morning with little drops of dew on her cheeks; there was the tall and graceful Miss Champaka; there was Miss Ilang-ilang, giving perfume to the balmy air that kissed her; there was Miss Sunflower with her face toward the Eastern Gate—all of them were expecting early and courteous visitors.

However, Sir Butterfly was a shrewd critic, and could find faults in each one of these beauties. But when he came before Miss Rose, he found himself at a loss what to say. In fact, he was fascinated by her beauty, and soon began to flutter about her. After a while he addressed her in this way:


"Fair Rose, thou art the queen of flowers;
This throne I give alone to thee;
And this I'll say at all hours,
The sweetest nectar thine must be.
"Thy garment of the purest green
Befits right well thy being a queen;
And this I have to say to thee,
The sweetest nectar thine must be.
"Thy cheeks are rosy, lips are red
With tints of freshness never dead;
Come, give me a kiss, sweet Rose,
Of thine own nectar sweet, a dose."

Here Miss Rose interrupted him. "Nay, nay, please do not flatter me," she said in a tone of affected coquetry.

But Sir Butterfly continued his recitation:

"Thy graceful form invites me
A dear embrace to give thee."

Saying this, he drew near her and passed his arms around her body. But what an embrace! The thorns held him fast; he was now a wounded prisoner. In a tone of anger and despair he cried: "Let me free, you ugly, ugly Miss Rose!"

Moral: The seemingly desirable is not always desirable, or circumstances alter estimates.

—Máximo M. Kalaw.


The Hat and the Shoes

Once a man owned two faithful servants, a hat and a pair of shoes. The shoes had always been jealous of the hat: in the first place, because the master carried the hat instead of the hat's carrying him; secondly, because the hat was given a great deal of care and had a regular place where it was put; while the shoes, who carried both the master and the hat, were just thrown anywhere after their service.

Of course the shoes did not feel satisfied with such partial treatment, and had long wished to have a short talk with the hat to discuss this matter of importance; but they had always been put far apart.

One day, while their master was asleep and while they were having a rest, a child got hold of the hat and the shoes as playthings. The shoes were then glad of this; for they could have a hearty chat. Soon afterwards, the child grew tired of playing and feel asleep. They then discussed their respective positions.

"Why is it, my friend," asked the shoes, who began the discussion, "that you are always carried by our master and taken good care of?"

"Don't be envious of my position, my friend shoes. Our master takes such good care of me because I protect the most important part of his body, while you, you just serve his feet," replied the hat.

"You are mistaken. Yes, you are entirely mistaken. I serve not only his feet, but his legs, body, and hands, and head too, and what is more, I, a servant, also serve you who are like myself," argued the shoes. The hat was ashamed because of what the shoes had expounded and was unable to continue the discussion.


Moral: When you occupy a position of dignity, don't think that those below you are your servants and their work is of little value; for generally those men are the ones who support you, and their services may be of more importance than yours.

—José R. Perez.

The Crocodile and the Peahen

Once there lived a young crocodile on the bank of the Pasig River. He was so fierce and so greedy that no animals dared to approach him. One day while he was resting on a rock, he thought of getting married. He said aloud, "I will give all that I have for a wife." As he pronounced these words, a coquettish peahen passed near him. The naughty crocodile expressed his wish again. The coquette listened carefully, and began to examine the crocodile's looks.

She said to herself, "I will marry this crocodile. He is very rich. Oh, my! If I could only have all those pearls and diamonds, I should be the happiest wife in the world." She made up her mind to marry the crocodile. She then alighted on the rock where the crocodile was, who made his offer again with extreme politeness, as a hypocrite always does. She thought that the big eyes of the crocodile were two beautiful diamonds and that the rough skin was made of pearls, so she accepted the proposal. The crocodile asked the peahen to sit on his mouth, that she might not spoil her beautiful feathers with mud. The foolish bird did as she was told. What do you think happened! He made a good dinner of his new wife.

Moral: Be attracted by quality rather than wealth.

—Elisa R. Esquerra.


The Old Man, His Son, and His Grandson

In olden times, when men lived to be two or three hundred years old, there dwelt a very poor family near a big forest. The household had but three members—a grandfather, a father, and a son. The grandfather was an old man of one hundred and twenty-five years. He was so old that the help of his housemates was needed to feed him. Many a time, and especially after meals, he related to his son and to his grandson his brave deeds while serving in the king's army, the responsible positions he filled after leaving a soldier's life; and he told entertaining stories of hundreds of years gone by. The father was not satisfied with the arrangement, however, and planned to get rid of the old man.

One day he said to his son, "At present, I am receiving a peso daily, but half of it is spent to feed your worthless grandfather. We do not get any real benefit from him. To-morrow let us bind him and take him to the woods, and leave him there to die."

"Yes, father," said the boy.

When the morning came, they bound the old man and took him to the forest. On their way home the boy said to his father, "Wait, I will go back, and get the rope." "What for?" asked his father, raising his voice. "To have it ready when your turn comes," replied the boy, believing that to cast every old man into the forest was the usual custom. "Ah! if that is likely to be the case with me, back we go, and get your grandfather again."

—Eutiquiano Garcia.


II. Parable

Parable contrasted with fable

The parable, like the fable, is a short didactic story; but the lesson of the parable is always spiritual, though not necessarily religious. The fable never rises above the common-place: it preaches a worldly morality. Self-interest and prudence are its tenets; it often satirizes; it laughs at mankind. The parable, on the contrary, is always serious: it is earnest and high in its purpose. It tries to win mankind to generosity and self-forgetting, or tries to shame him for his neglect by presenting good deeds in contrast with his, or tries to drive him forth to an awe-struck repentance by a representation of righteous anger.

The actors in a parable never violate the laws of nature. If animals appear, for instance, they do not talk. They follow as the friends or subjects of man, as in actual life. Man's dominion over them is spiritual; hence they may have a place in the parable along with him but not without him.

Characteristics of parables

Where the parable departs from the true story is in the fact that the men in the parable are types, and the deeds are symbolic. We have not Mr. John W. Richards, a particular farmer and an individual, plowing a field of corn in Mason County, Illinois, on July 3; but instead we have such statements as these: "The Farmer went out to plow his corn," "The Sower went out to sow the seeds," "A Householder hired laborers for his vineyard;" or "Once a King had two servants," or "The Prodigal sat among the swine in a far country." If the name[102] of an actor is ever individual—like that of Abraham, for instance, in Franklin's prose parable, or Abou Ben Adhem in Leigh Hunt's poem—the actor himself is nevertheless representative. Abraham stands for the whole Jewish people in its exclusiveness; and Abou Ben Adhem, for all doubters who yet love their fellow-men. A character's seeing of angels or hearing of the voice of the Deity does not break the versimilitude of parables; for these matters are readily taken subjectively.

The spiritual truth of a parable is generally independent and separable from the story, which can always be read as narrative of actual events, though it is meant to be symbolic. The interpretation comes from without. It is either left to be inferred by the reader or is written before or after the narrative in the form of a summarizing figure of speech or a detailed collated exposition. You remember that Christ took his disciples aside and explained his parables to them.


Count Tolstoy has written many parables. He combines his teaching with virile realism until he is as enthusiastically read as are the popular and less spiritual authors. "What Men Live By" is an exquisite example of his teaching, and, while it embodies a church legend, is a regular parable in form. It has the requisite generic atmosphere about it: the shoemaker and his wife, the rich purchaser, the kind foster-mother, and the children are all types. The intense realism comes in in the representation of Russian life. The lesson is given in an orderly exposition after the narrative of events is finished.

Suggestions on writing parables

In writing an original parable, one should avoid[103] the diction of the Bible, that is, should avoid phraseology archaic or especially religious; but it would be well to imitate the simplicity and straightforwardness of the Biblical narrative. A modern parable writer to be successful would avoid mawkishness, and what is popularly designated as "preaching,"—but he would shadow forth nevertheless very clearly a high, spiritual truth. He would study living examples carefully so as to express inevitable actions in a few luminous words. There are many noble lessons to be taught by the actions of typical men in typical situations.

Working definition

The adjectives symbolic, serious, spiritual, typical, and natural might be embodied in a working definition thus: A parable is a narrative of imaginary events, a symbolic didactic story, wherein the actors are always types of men or types of men and animals (never exclusively of animals), and whereof the lesson is always spiritual, single, and separate, and the tone is always serious, and the events always appear natural and customary.

A list of proverbs that might be expanded into parables

1. God understands the dumb.

2. What a man acquires in his youth serves as a crutch in his old age.

3. Begin with small things that you may achieve great.

4. He who steals an egg will steal a horse also.

5. One can spoil the good name of a thousand.

6. One bad deed begets another.


7. The grandfather ate unripe grapes and the grandson's teeth were set on edge.

8. What is play to the cat is death to the mouse (modern, political parable).

9. When a man grows rich, he thinks his walls are awry.

10. Better lose one's eyes than one's calling.

11. What the wind brings it will take away.

12. No one is sure that his light will burn till morning.

13. The scornful soon grow old.

14. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

15. Love ever so well, there is also hate; hate ever so much, there is also love.

16. To rise early is not everything; happy are they who have the help of God.

17. By asking, one finds the way to Jerusalem.

18. When God gives, he gives with both hands.

19. Until you see trouble you will never know joy.

20. We are intelligence, that we may be will.

21. Act only on that maxim which thou couldst will to become a universal law.

The Three Questions

It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it[105] proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently.

In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly what is the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.

But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that, one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore, in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.

Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were[106] his councillors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.

To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship.

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.

The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted, and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone.

When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.

The King went up to him and said: "I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?"

The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.


"You are tired," said the King, "let me take the spade and work a while for you."

"Thanks," said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.

When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

"Now rest awhile—and let me work a bit."

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

"I come to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home."

"Here comes some one running," said the hermit, "let us see who it is."

The King turned around, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best as he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and this King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him.[108] Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep—so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.

"Forgive me!" said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.

"I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for," said the King.

"You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!"

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his[109] servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.

Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg answer to the question he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

The King approached him, and said:

"For the last-time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man."

"You have already been answered," said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking at the King, who stood before him.

"How answered? What do you mean?" asked the King.

"Do you not see," replied the hermit. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man, and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important—Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with[110] whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"

—Count Leo M. Tolstoy.

"Twenty-Three Tales from Tolstoy," translated by L. and A. Maude (Oxford Press).

A Master and His Servant

Once a rich man was riding on horseback over a desert. He was going to the palace to be knighted by the king. With him was his trusty servant, who was to take care of their baggage and their food. As the master's horse was stronger than the servant's, the master went very far ahead. At last he came to a lonely tree by the road. He intended to stop in the shade, but when he got there, he found a poor trader almost dying of hunger. He had pity on him, so he threw him a piece of cake, which fell on his breast. Alas! the poor man could not move his hands to pick it up. The master, however, would not dismount and help the wretched man, but started on, leaving him about to die.

Soon the servant came to the same place. His heart was greatly moved upon seeing the traveler's pitiful appearance. As the servant was about to drink a few drops of water that still remained in a bottle, the suffering man looked at him. Therefore, he dismounted from his horse, and poured the water into the man's mouth. After a while the man could move his body a little. The servant thought that with a cup of pure warm water the poor traveler would recover his strength. But no water could be found in the desert. So he killed his[111] horse, took the blood from its heart, and gave it to the traveler. The servant did not leave the traveler until he could get up without help. At last the servant started on his journey with the baggage on his head, leaving his dead horse and the traveler in the middle of the desert. He left to the traveler some bread, clothes, the saddle and his hat.

It was evening when he arrived at the palace. His master had been waiting for him impatiently. Without asking a question, the master began to whip his servant, because he had lost everything except their baggage. The servant would have suffered more had not the king chanced to see him. Both were brought before the king, who asked the servant what the matter was. The poor servant knelt before the king with his hands crossed over his breast, and then told the whole story. Seeing that the servant was as respectful, brave, and kind as a knight ought to be, the king made him a noble instead of his master.

—Eusebio Ramos.

The Parable of the Beggar and the Givers

"Good people, alms! Alms for the poor!" whined an uncouth beggar who stood huddled close, to the cold stones of a shop wall, and there sought shelter from the wind.

Two brothers, well clad and warm, walking homeward together, turned and looked to see whence the appeal came. The elder carelessly tossed a silver piece into the out-stretched palm, and muttered, "Odious beggars!" Then he hastened on. The younger man, however, stopped and asked how such willing pauperism had gained ascendancy over pride. The alms-seeker then told[112] a story of search for employment, of repeated failures, and of the final surrender of self-esteem. The youth pitied the vagrant, and offered to furnish him a method of gaining independence. He readily accepted the help and a new worker began to labor in the vineyards of the brothers.

Some years later, when the time arrived for the people to send a new burgher to the capital to represent them, men came from the city to ask the fruit-gatherers which of their employers should be the choice for the office. Then the chief of the workmen spoke out, "The elder will fling you a coin and a curse. The younger will give you laws and improvements for your city. He will teach you to earn the coin for yourself."

The next year the giver of charity went to the great council in Berlin, while the giver of alms superintended the vine-growing and envied his brother's good fortune.

—Dorothea Knoblock.

III. Allegory

The word allegory is used widely to signify any figurative and symbolic writing (proverb, parable, metaphor, simile, or allegory proper); but we are going to use it in its distinctive and academic sense as a rhetorical and narrative type.


Like the fable and the parable, the allegory teaches a lesson; like them it is a story, but longer than either, more detailed than either. Connected with the actors in it are generally abstract ideas used figuratively, directly personified as people on adventures or used to form the atmosphere, the goal of[113] attainment, the place of destination, the road over which the hero travels. For instance, Youth sets out from the House of Innocence over the Road of Life and strays into the Path of Temptation that leads through the Wood of Error. Here he meets Falsehood and Shame, and overcomes them, for the time at least, and passes through the clearing of Experience toward the Castle of Perseverance, grim and dark and uninviting, that stands hard by, yet beyond, the House of Mirth, etc., etc.

When you write an allegory, you will not be so trite as this illustrative example, but will get a good idea, a good spiritual lesson, and will teach it with a unique and original plot in which the adventures themselves are interesting. The world's greatest prose allegory, "Pilgrim's Progress," has always been read for the story. The "Faerie Queene" as a metrical romance and a triple allegory of religion, Elizabeth's court, and the perfect man, has been a storehouse for prose narrators as well as for poets for three hundred years. Practically all the old morality plays were allegories. "Everyman," the best extant, is very vital indeed when put on the stage.

Plato's "Vision of Er"

Plato's great myth-allegory in the "Republic" was designed by him to teach his people his theory of the transmigration of souls and how they might safely pass over the river of Forgetfulness without being defiled and might hold fast to the heavenly way and follow after Justice and Virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Popularly the story is known as a vision; but[114] Socrates, Plato's literary character who tells the story, calls it a tale, a tale of a brave man Er, the Son of Armenius, who, on the twelfth day, as he was lying on the funeral pile, returned to life and told what he had seen in the other world.

This device of a vision was widely adopted, doubtless indirectly from Plato, as a good framework for allegory. We find the medieval poets dreaming dreams and letting their souls depart from their bodies pretty generally.

Modern Allegories

The romance and the allegory were the prime medieval types, and we find them persisting together or apart in our own English literature from William Langland's "Piers the Plowman" with its Tower of Truth, Conscience, Envy, Advice of Hunger, and the like, to Henry Van Dyke's "Blue Flower" with its crystal river flowing from a mysterious source. "The Hunter" and the "Artist's Secret" by Olive Schreiner and "Poems in Prose" by Oscar Wilde are exquisite modern examples. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote scarcely anything that is not inlaid with allegory. The "Great Stone Face" is a fine instance of how concrete pure allegory can be. It teaches a beautifully spiritual truth by the portrayal of American customs and everyday human shortsightedness. A good German prose allegory is "Peter Schlemihl: or, The Man Who Sold his Shadow." Stevenson's tremendous study, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," is really allegory.

A review of the names of the older but famous allegories will be perhaps more interesting and suggestive than the perusal from beginning to end of any[115] one of them would be, for they are for the most part long and tedious.

Some famous English allegories

In early Anglo-Saxon verse we find appearing the favorite device of allegory, the vision. In the "Dream of the Rood" the author tells of how he saw a strange Tree, the gallows of shame, now the glorious Tree of the Savior, and how it told its life-history. "The Address of the Soul to the Body" is a grim allegorical dialogue. In "The Phoenix," the fabulous bird represents Christ, as does also the Panther in the other poem, the sweet-breathed, lonely, harmless beast. These are all verse, and with the exception of the "Dream of the Rood" hardly narrative. The last two are really English bestiaries. "The Romaunt of the Rose," the greatest medieval allegory, in its English form, contains seventy-six hundred ninety-eight lines. You will find all these included in Chaucer's work, but only seventeen hundred five are his.[1] The "Parlament of Foules" and the "House of Fame," however, are his, but not "The Court of Love," "the Flower and the Leaf," "The Cockowe and the Nightingale." Between Chaucer and Spenser come Dunbar's "Thistle and the Rose" and "The Golden Targe;" Lydgate's "Temple of Glass;" Hawes's "Pastime of Pleasure;" Douglas's "Palace of Honour" and "King Hart;" Lyndesay's "Dream" and "Complaint of Papingo;" Barclay's "Ship of Fooles;" Sackville's "Induction" to the "Mirror for Magistrates." After Spenser, besides Phineas Fletcher's "The Purple Island" and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," come Addison's "Vision of Mirza," Parnell's "Paradise of Fooles," Thomson's "Castle of Indolence," Johnson's "Journey of a Day," Collin's "The Passions," and Aikin's "The Hill of Science."


In the beautiful Elizabethan English translation we have also the allegories of the Bible, of which the "Twenty-third Psalm" is doubtless the best known example, as it is perhaps the best loved quotation from the Old Testament. All the psalms put their truths allegorically in the broad literary sense. Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the other prophets often speak in strict allegorical narratives, which they explain either immediately or later. The great literary beauty of the "Revelation" depends on the exquisite use of allegory; the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations; the water of the river of life is for everyone that thirsteth.

Allegory and parable distinguished

Mention of Hawthorne's use of allegory calls to mind the distinction a student of narrative types must make between parable on the one hand and a particular kind of allegory on the other, that kind in which there are no abstractions. He asks himself, What is the difference when both narratives have only people for actors? He finds the answer in the fact that the actors of the parable are always representatives of a type, doing nothing outside the type, nothing individual, while the actors of that sort of allegory in which there are no personified abstractions are always individual men even though they may have universal vices or virtues; that is, they perform individual deeds and go through peculiar experiences, that not all the men of their class could perform and go through. But although more[117] individual, the allegory is less human than the parable; for the happenings of the parable are always probable, while those of the allegory may be probable, improbable, or so fantastic as to be wholly impossible.

The allegory is usually longer also than the parable. Besides, unlike the parable, the allegory demands no interpretation from without, but carries its interpretation along from name to name. Hence the allegory can be said to be an extended metaphor, and the parable, a long half simile. On the other hand, many proverbs are concise parables and many are also brief allegories.

Allegory and fable distinguished

Allegory meets fable on the fact that both may be satiric; but stands aside from fable on the fact that allegory is much longer and employs personified abstractions as characters. Hawthorne's "Celestial Railroad" is an example of humorous-satiric allegory. Parable, we recall, is always spiritual, allegory often so, and fable never.

Working definition

When you set out to write, therefore, you will have in mind a general summary somewhat like this: An allegory is a narrative of imaginary events designed to teach a series of utilitarian or spiritual truths—the actors in the events being either individuals with typical follies, vices, and virtues, or personified abstractions that go through individual and particular experiences.

How to write allegory

To proceed to write original allegory you will need to pay especial attention to (1) the series of lessons you mean to teach: Shall it be in the realm of politics, trade, education, or general morals? (2) The tone of your teaching: Shall it be[118] humorous or grave? (3) The kind of personages: Shall they be real persons made more-or-less typical and abstract, or shall they be abstractions made more-or-less concrete and individual? (4) The course of the action: What shall happen? There must be something a-doing that is in itself interesting and that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You must not fall into the error of merely enumerating and cataloguing. You must have a definite action going forward in which your personages take a necessary part. Allegory fell into disrepute in the past because of the attempts of lazy and careless writers. There is evidence of its revival as a popular type. A present-day writer in the Atlantic Monthly has shown us how vigorous, informing, and pungent it may be: "The Novelist's Allegory" is entirely worth while with its good old-fashioned flavor. (5) You must pay attention to the characterizations: you must see to it that the speeches you put into the mouths of your creatures could be delivered by them in the world or society you have got together. Everything in the action—the time, the place, the characters of the persons—must conform to the ideal nature of the subject. The laws of the actual universe you may violate, but not the laws of your imaginary universe. Moreover, the nearer the actual and the imaginary come together on essentials, the more effective your preaching will be. What you write as author's narrative must be vital and contributive.

Make your description of dress and gesture so vivid that it will quicken the imagination of your readers. Never yourself think of your personages as[119] abstractions. Let them live and move before you as real beings; then tell about them.

A testimony to the return of allegory into good favor is its use on the stage. We no longer are afraid to see that Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" is an allegorical satire and not the bucolic love tale that some persons try to make it, and that even the wonderful scene of Ase's death is pathos serving satire. Maeterlinck's "Blue Bird," which is unmistakable allegory, has pleased the latest theater-going public high and low.

Present-day interest in primitive types

This thought leads to a word in general on primitive types. Although it is becoming the fashion to be interested in them, and hence many poor specimens both in prose and verse will get into print, yet the writing of such simple and idealistic things by way of reaction from our intense and often hectic realism, is surely in the main wholesome, regardless of the value of the individual pieces. Years ago Count Tolstoy said, "The artist of the future will understand that to compose a fairy-tale, a little song which will touch, a lullaby or a riddle which will entertain, a jest which will amuse, or to draw a sketch such as will delight dozens of generations or millions of children and adults, is incomparably more important and more fruitful than to compose a novel, or a symphony, or paint a picture of the kind which diverts some members of the wealthy classes for a short time and is then forever forgotten. The region of this art of the simplest feelings accessible to all is enormous, and it is as yet almost untouched." Of course the hope of literary excellence for such an epoch, if it comes, will lie in the possibility[120] of the pieces being kept as Tolstoy's own are, very near to the naïve.

The Artist

One evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could think only in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth Forever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth forever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the Image of The Sorrow that endureth forever, he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a moment.

—Oscar Wilde.

"Poems in Prose" (Fortnightly Review, July 1, 1894).

The House of Judgment

And there was silence in the House of Judgment, and the Man came naked before God.

And God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.


And God said to the Man, "Thy life hath been evil, and thou hast shown cruelty to those in need of succor, and to those who lacked help thou hast been bitter and hard of heart. The poor called to thee and thou did'st not hearken, and thine ears were closed to the cry of my afflicted. The inheritance of the fatherless thou did'st take unto thyself, and thou did'st send the foxes into the vineyard of thy neighbor's field. Thou did'st take the bread of the children and give it to the dogs to eat, and my lepers who lived in the marshes, and were at peace and praised me thou did'st drive forth on the highway, and on mine earth out of which I made thee thou did'st spill innocent blood."

And the Man made answer and said, "Even so did I."

And again God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, "Thy life hath been evil, and the Beauty I have shown, thou hast sought for, and the Good I have hidden, thou did'st pass by. The walls of thy chamber were painted with images, and from the bed of thine abominations thou did'st rise up to the sound of flutes. Thou did'st build seven altars to the sins I have suffered, and did'st eat of the thing that may not be eaten, and the purple of thy raiment was broidered with the three signs of shame. Thy idols were neither of gold nor of silver that endure, but of flesh that dieth. Thou did'st stain their hair with perfumes, and put pomegranates in their hands. Thou did'st stain their feet with saffron and spread carpets before them. With antimony thou did'st stain their eyelids and their bodies thou did'st smear with myrrh. Thou did'st bow thyself to the ground before them, and the thrones of thy idols[122] were set in the sun. Thou did'st show to the sun thy shame and to the moon thy madness."

And the Man made answer and said, "Even so did I."

And the third time God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, "Evil hath been thy life, and with evil did'st thou requite good, and with wrong-doing kindness. The hands that fed thee thou did'st wound, and the breasts that gave thee suck thou did'st despise. He who came to thee with water went away thirsting and the outlawed men who hid thee in their tents at night thou did'st betray before dawn. Thine enemy who spared thee thou did'st slay in an ambush, and the friend who walked with thee thou did'st sell for a price, and to those who brought thee Love, thou did'st ever give Lust in thy turn."

And the Man made answer and said, "Even so did I."

And God closed the Book of the Life of the Man and said, "Surely I will send thee to Hell. Even into Hell will I send thee."

And the Man cried out, "Thou can'st not."

And God said to the Man, "Wherefore can I not send thee to Hell, and for what reason?"

"Because in Hell I have always lived," answered the Man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.

And after a space God spake, and said to the Man, "Seeing that I may not send thee into Hell, surely I will send thee unto Heaven. Even unto Heaven will I send thee."


And the Man cried out, "Thou can'st not."

And God said to the Man, "Wherefore can I not send thee unto Heaven and for what reason?"

"Because never, and in no place, have I been able to imagine it," answered the man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.


The Chain That Binds

It was morning when the youth started out from his father's house and sought the highway. Those the young man met on the road inquired of him, "Where are you going? What do you seek?"

He answered, "I seek Freedom!"

"Freedom!" exclaimed his questioners. "Are you not free? Are we not all our own masters?"

The young man smiled. "I do not mean freedom of thought and speech. That you may have. What I seek is liberation from heredity and environment, from the physical, intellectual, and spiritual laws that tyrannize over us and make us slaves."

His listeners turned away, some laughed, and some scorned, and some wept, and the young man traveled on. But all along the road he met those that scorned him and laughed at him, and soon his steps lagged, and his feet seemed leaden. Looking down, he saw a chain binding his ankles—the chain of Public Opinion. Now he must delay. Angrily he tore at the chain until the hasps broke, and he stood unbound.

Then he made haste; for he had already lost much time. Soon he met a vender of goods, and the vender stopped and besought the youth to buy a jewel. The young man desired the jewel, and he thought, "Why can[124] I not beat this man and steal his jewel?" But lo, his hands were fettered with the chain of Conscience, and he wrenched the chain till it fell apart. Then he beat the man and took his jewel and went on his way.

Ahead of him he saw a cloud, and from the cloud arose a mist, and the mist formed itself into many shapes, strange signs and symbols, the like of which he had never seen before. The youth cried out, "This is a new faith; I will embrace it." But his arms were bound behind him with the chain of Superstition; and he strove to break the chain, but when the lock gave way, the cloud and mist had disappeared.

Thus year after year sped on; the youth became a man; the man grew old before his time. When he broke a fetter, a new one took its place. The chains that bound him were innumerable. One by one he broke the laws that society and the ages had formed for him, but each wish that he gratified gave place to another.

The chains that he had worn and wrenched weighed on him. His flesh and spirit were chafed and sore. Weak and disheartened he sank down, and the memory of his fruitless life recurred to him. A voice arrested him, and looking up he saw a man older and more withered than he was.

And the stranger said, "Behold the chain that binds you now." The Seeker-after-Freedom looked down. His ankles were encumbered by the heaviest chain he had yet worn.

The old man continued. "You flaunted yourself in the face of your fellows. You boasted that you were greater than they. You are, in that you are the arch-sinner. You have sought to destroy those gifts with[125] which the Almighty endowed you. You found it easy to break the fetter of Love, of Conscience, of Remorse. This chain you cannot break. You welded it yourself. The strength of an armed force cannot tear it asunder; the fires of Perdition cannot melt it."

The traveler died, bound with the chain of Insatiable Desire.

—Elizabeth Sudborough.

The Love Which Surpassed All Other Loves

The girl's heart was lonely. She had never had the comforts of a home. And there was a yearning for some love which would fill her life. So she determined to set out in search of such a love. In her wanderings she met many hardships, and was scorned by everyone as a simpleton.

After she had wandered a year, one day a great eagle flew to her, and said, "I know what you are seeking. I can satisfy your wants. I am the governing force of the world; I am Love of Gold. Take me, and while I am with you, all will be well with you."

For a moment the girl was dazzled by the comforts which seemed stretched out before her if she would accept this Love. But her heart was not satisfied, and she shook her head. The eagle flew away with a taunting laugh.

Another year passed and still she had met nothing to quiet her longing. But one day as she was walking through a village, she saw a happy family seated on the door-step of a neat cottage. While she was looking at this group, she heard a voice, and, glancing down, saw a beautiful little wren.


"I am the Love of a Mother's Heart," said the little bird. "When all others fail, I still remain true. Take me and hide me in your bosom, that your mother's heart may be tender to you."

Tears came to the girl's eyes, for the little bird had touched a wound in her life, the neglect of her by her mother. But her longing was not yet satisfied, and so she passed on.

At the end of another year she was walking along the side of a quiet pond. She stopped and looked at the water, envying it its peace. A blue-jay was perched on the branch of a tree nearby, and soon he spoke to her. "I am the Love of Man for Woman. I have been known since the beginning of time. Let me be with you, that you may be a good wife."

The girl was strongly tempted to take this Love of which she had heard so much. Perhaps this was, after all, the Love she was seeking. As she meditated, the old longing came back with redoubled force. It would not do to make this Love a part of her life, so she sadly left the blue-jay, and went on.

The next year came, and the girl had become a woman, but her heart was still empty of love. She entered a quiet grove one evening, and, wearied, sat down on a log.

A lovely nightingale came and perched itself on her shoulder, and in a sweetly comforting tone said, "Many have had the same longing which you have had; but few have possessed the courage to resist temptations offered by other loves. I am the Love of Woman for Woman, the Love of True Friendship. I am greater and more enduring than any other love. Take me and hide me in[127] your heart. You will be happy then as few are privileged to be."

The girl was comforted, and she took the beautiful bird and placed it next her heart. At last her longing was satisfied, and she praised God for His Gift.

—Florence Gifford.



This large division of narratives of imaginary events is somewhat hard to name briefly, though it is definitely enough marked off as a distinct class when we consider the tone, the source, and the purpose. The whole air of these extravagant tales is that of sophistication. No reader however ignorant would mistake them for stories of primitive people. Though they sometimes contain supernatural creatures as actors, though they recount stupendous deeds, though they often proceed in simple diction, yet the reader is never confused as to the state of mind of the narrator. It is plain that, however much he may seem to wish to create credulity in the mind of the reader, the story-teller has none in his own mind. He is a non-believer—or better perhaps, a "make-believer," in the children's sense of the term. The source of his narrative is ingenuity, and the purpose is astonishment or satire. In the present study we shall notice four smaller divisions of this group: (1) the tale of mere wonder, (2) the imaginary voyage with a satiric or instructive purpose, (3) the tale of scientific discovery and mechanical invention, (4) the detective story and other tales of pure plot.


I. The Tale of Mere Wonder

Collections of wonder stories

In the species Tales of Mere Wonder, we mean to classify those stories of marvels that are told with the simple purpose of astonishing. The adventures of Sinbad the Sailor are typical. He comes upon a bird's egg, for instance, which he at first mistakes for the dome of a cathedral, or walks in a valley covered with diamonds the size of apples. The "Persian Tales" like the Arabian "Thousand and One Nights" are stories of wonder and enchantment. Though they are very old, many of them much older than their written form and traceable to the traditions of various countries, these Oriental stories as we have them to-day are not folk-tales in the strict sense of the term. They are put into a frame-work and are acknowledged to be narratives of ingenuity. The two earlier sets, translated into French, produced many imitations. Besides these there are the "Tartar Tales," the "Chinese Tales," "Mogol Tales," the "Turkish Tales," and so on. The most literary and perhaps the most valuable from the point of view of real thinking displayed in them are the very modern Oriental stories of George Meredith, published under the title "The Shaving of Shagpat." They are all wonder tales though extremely philosophical. Robert Louis Stevenson has given us the "New Arabian Nights."

Suggestions for writing

To write one of these exaggerations you need only recall your own or other persons' attempts at the fireside when the stock of folk stories has run low. You address your efforts to your eight and ten-year-old brothers who have got past Jack-the-Giant-Killer[130] and are in the stage of development that the people of the twelfth century were to whom Marie de France told her fables and her stories of mere wonder. The fine ladies and gentlemen of Henry the Second's day loved to hear of costly robes and magic carpets and jewelled beds worth half a kingdom, that came at the touch of a ring or at the murmuring of a secret phrase. Unfortunate princes, too, they enjoyed being told about, who allowed themselves to be misled by wily councilors, and lost for a time their kingdoms; beautiful princesses who sat enchanted in gorgeous underground palaces, waiting their deliverers; wonderful plants with otherwhere unheard-of properties; and animals with stupendous powers, like the monstrous birds that the Arabian writer says carried Nimrod through the air in a cage or with out-stretched wings sheltered Solomon's army from the sun. Chaucer, you know, began and

"left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That owned the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass
On which the Tartar king did ride."

This horse had a screw in his ear. If one got upon his back, turned the screw, and whispered a word, one might be instantly in the kingdom one named. If you can not dream out an original oriental story of your own, you might finish this of Chaucer's—The Squire's Tale. Remember that probability is not called for,[131] but only magnificence, splendor, magic, daring, and success on the part of your hero or heroine. Either may have wealth untold, dominion unlimited, and knowledge supernatural. Your diction may range from the simplest and the baldest to the most luxuriant and extravagant. Whatever matches your subject, no matter how extravagantly improbable, will be acceptable.

Medieval tales of chivalry

Like the stories of mere wonder in—fact a blending of them with legend—were the medieval tales of chivalry in the later and perverted editions. The elements are the same as those of the wonder tale, with the addition of riotous history; that is, the using of any deed of any hero for him or for someone else, with all the glamour of magic and luxuriance thrown about it.

Heroic romances

To modern readers a very uninteresting perversion of this type of narrative is the heroic romance of the second and third quarters of the seventeenth century, best represented perhaps by Le Grand Cyrus of Madam de Scudéri. Nobody, I suppose, to-day who had not a theory to prove could be persuaded to wade through the 6,679 pages of the ten octavo volumes of this walty story. But although the particular style of writing of Scudéri and her contemporaries has passed away, and fortunately never can return—thanks to Molière and Boileau—fantastic and gorgeous prose history had great popularity both on the Continent and in England for fifty years. The attitude of mind of those narrators is found in many moderns; namely, a desire to deal only with titled folk, or at least millionaires, for fear that heroes of[132] lower social standing or smaller bank accounts might be dull.

Our present-day mixers of fact and non-fact lean toward the probable, of course, rather than the marvelous, and would resent being classed with the heroic romancers; but any narrator would be proud to be able to tell well, as everybody with a child-like heart is delighted to listen to, an out-and-out story of mere wonder.

Story of the City of Brass

There was in olden times in Damascus of Syria a caliph named Abdel-Melik, the son of Marwan. One day as he was sitting with the great men of his empire, many of them being kings and sultans, a discussion took place among them about the tales of ancient nations. They called to mind the stories of Solomon, the son of David, and the power God gave him over genies and wild beasts and birds and other creatures, and they said, "We have heard, from those who lived before us that God bestowed not upon any one the like of that which he bestowed upon Solomon. So great was his power that he used to imprison genies and evil spirits in bottles of brass, and pour molten lead over them, and seal this cover with his seal."

Then Talib, one of the sultans, related that a man once embarked in a ship with a company of others, and they sailed away towards the island of Sicily, until a storm arose which drove them out of their course and carried them to the shores of an unknown land. This happened during the darkness of the night. In the morning, there came out to them from caves in that land, black men who wore no clothes, and who neither spoke[133] nor understood any language. They had a king of their own race, and he knew Arabic. The king, with a party of his companions, came to the ship, saluted and welcomed those who were in it, and inquired who they were and to what country they belonged. When they informed him, he said to them, "No harm shall befall you. There hath not come to us one of the sons of Adam before you."

The king then entertained them with a banquet, and after this the people of the ship went to amuse themselves on the shore. There they found a fisherman who had cast his net into the sea to catch fish. He drew the net up, and in it was a bottle of brass stopped with lead, which was sealed with the seal of Solomon, the son of David. The fisherman broke the seal, and there came forth from the bottle a blue smoke which united with the clouds of heaven, and instantly they heard a horrible voice saying, "Repentance! repentance! O prophet of God!" Then they saw the smoke form into a man of frightful appearance and gigantic size, whose head reached as high as a mountain, and immediately he disappeared from before their astonished eyes.

The blacks thought nothing of this event, but the people of the ship were terrified at the spectacle, and they went to the king to inquire about it. In answer to their inquiries the king said, "This is one of the genies who rebelled against King Solomon, and Solomon, to punish them, imprisoned them in bottles and threw them into the sea. When the fisherman casts his net, it generally brings up one of these bottles, and when the bottle is broken, a genie comes forth, and thinking that[134] Solomon is still living, he repents and cries out, "Repentance! O Prophet of God!"

The Prince of the Faithful, Abdel-Melik, wondered very much at this story, and he said, "I desire to see some of these bottles." Talib replied, "O Prince of the Faithful, thou canst do so. Send to thy viceroy in the western country, the Emeer Moosa, ordering him to journey to the sea we have mentioned, and to bring what thou desirest of these bottles." The Prince of the Faithful approved of this advice, and he sent Talib himself with a letter to the Emeer Moosa.

When the Emeer received the letter he read it, and he said to Talib, "I hear and obey the command of the Prince of the Faithful." Then he called together his great men, and he inquired of them about the bottles of King Solomon, and they told him to send for Abdes-Samad, "for," said they, "he is a knowing man and has traveled much. He is acquainted with the deserts and wastes and the seas, and their inhabitants, and their wonders, and their countries, and their districts. Send for him, and he will direct thee to the object of thy desire." So the Emeer sent for Abdes-Samad, and when he came he said to him, "O Abdes-Samad, our lord the Prince of the Faithful has commanded us to get for him some of the bottles of Solomon. I have little knowledge of the place where they are to be found, but it has been told to me that thou art acquainted with that country and routes. Wilt thou then help us to accomplish the wish of the Prince of the Faithful?" To this Abdes-Samad replied, "O Emeer, the route is difficult, far extending, and there are few tracks. It is a journey of two years going and the same returning,[135] and on the way there are dangers and horrors and extraordinary and wonderful things. Nevertheless, since it is the wish of the Prince of the Faithful, I am willing to undertake the journey with thee."

Then they began to make preparations, and as soon as everything was ready, the Emeer Moosa and Talib and Abdes-Samad set forth, accompanied by a troop of soldiers, and taking with them all things necessary for their expedition. They journeyed on till they came to a great palace. As the gates were opened, and they saw no guards at the doors, they dismounted from their horses and entered. The rooms were all of vast size and richly furnished, and the ceilings and walls were decorated with gold and silver, but in the whole building they did not see a single human being. In the midst of the palace was a chamber covered with a lofty dome, rising high into the air, around which were four hundred tombs. They went into one chamber, and they found in it a table with four feet made of alabaster, and having this inscription engraved on it

"Upon this table a thousand one-eyed kings have eaten and a thousand kings each sound in both eyes. All of them have quitted the world and taken up their abode in the burial grounds and the graves."

The Emeer Moosa and his companions took this table with them and went forth from the palace. Then they proceeded on their journey and traveled for three days, when they came to a high hill. On the top of the hill was a horseman of brass with a spear in his hand. The[136] spear had a flat, wide head, and it was so bright that it almost dazzled the eyes of the Emeer and his companions. Nevertheless they looked at it closely, and they were astonished at finding the following words inscribed upon it:

"O thou who comest unto me, if thou know not the way that leads to the City of Brass, rub the hand of the horseman, and he will turn, and then will stop, and in whatever direction he faces when he stops, travel in that direction without fear, for it will lead thee to the City of Brass."

When he read this the Emeer Moosa rubbed the hand of the horseman. Immediately the figure turned round with the speed of lightning, and when it stopped it faced a different direction from that in which they had been traveling. The party therefore turned to the way pointed out by the brazen horseman, and proceeded on their journey. One day they came to a round pillar of black stone, on the top of which appeared the upper half of the body of a black giant, or genie, with the lower part sunk down in the pillar. He was an object frightful to behold. He had two huge wings and four arms. Two of the arms were like those of a man, and the other two were like the legs of a lion. He had hair upon his head like the tails of horses, two eyes like two burning coals, and he had a third eye in his forehead, like the eye of a lynx, from which sparks of fire shot forth.

When the Emeer Moosa's party saw this genie they almost lost their senses through fear, and they turned round to flee away, but the Emeer told them that in the[137] state in which he was he could do them no harm. Then Abdes-Samad drew near to the pillar, and raising his voice he said to the genie, "O thou person, what is thy name, what is thy nature, and what has placed thee here in this manner!" Immediately the genie answered saying, "I am a genie and my name is Dahish." [And then he told them his nature and what had placed him there.]

And then Abdes-Samad said to the genie in the pillar, "Are there in this place any of the genies confined in bottles of brass from the time of Solomon?" He answered, "Yes, in the sea of El-Karkar, where dwell some of the descendants of Noah, whose country the deluge did not reach. They are separated from the rest of the sons of Adam." "And where," said Abdes-Samad, "is the way to the City of Brass, and the place in which are the bottles? What distance is there between us and it?" The genie answered, "It is near."

The party then proceeded in their journey, and in a little while they saw in the distance a great black object, and in it there seemed to be two fires corresponding with each other in position. "What is this great black object," asked the Emeer Moosa, "and what are these two corresponding fires?" "Be rejoiced, O Emeer," answered Abdes-Samad; "it is the City of Brass, and this is the appearance of it that I find described in the book of hidden treasures—that its wall is of black stones and it has two towers of brass, which resemble two corresponding fires; hence it is named the City of Brass."

Hastening on they arrived at the city, and they found that it was strongly fortified, and that its buildings were lofty, rising high into the air. Its walls were[138] one hundred and twenty feet high, and it had five and twenty gates. They stopped before the walk and endeavored to find one of the gates, but they could not. Then Emeer Moosa said to Abdes-Samad, "I do not see any gate to this city." Abdes-Samad answered, "I find it described in the book of hidden treasures that it has five and twenty gates, and that none of them may be opened but from within the city."

Then the Emeer Moosa took Talib and Abdes-Samad with him, and they ascended a mountain which was close by. And looking down upon the city, they saw it was greater and more beautiful than anything they had ever beheld. Its palaces were lofty, its domes were shining; rivers were running within it, and there were delightful gardens with trees bearing ripe fruit. But they did not see a human being within its walls. It was empty, still, without a voice, or a cheering inhabitant but the owl hooting in its gardens, and birds skimming in circles in its areas, and the raven croaking in its great streets.

After coming down from the mountain they passed the day trying to devise means of entering the city. At last it occurred to them to make a ladder, and the Emeer called to the carpenters and blacksmiths and ordered them to construct a ladder covered with plates of iron. This work occupied a month, and when it was finished, the ladder was set up against the wall, and one of the party ascended it. When he reached the top he stood, and, fixing his eyes towards the city, clapped his hands and cried out with a loud voice, "Thou art beautiful!" Then he cast himself down into the city and was killed. Seeing this the Emeer Moosa said, "If we do this with all our companions, there will not remain one of them,[139] and we shall be unable to accomplish the wish of the Prince of the Faithful. Let us depart and have no more to do with this city." But one of them answered, "Perhaps another may be more steady than he." Then a second ascended, and he did the same as the first, and then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth, and they continued to ascend by that ladder to the top of the wall, one after another, until twelve men of them had gone, acting as the first had acted.

Abdes-Samad now arose and said, "There is none can do this but myself." So he ascended the ladder, reciting verses of the Koran until he reached the top, when he clapped his hands and fixed his eyes. The people therefore called out to him, "O Abdes-Samad, do not cast thyself down. If you fall, we all perish." Then Abdes-Samad sat down upon the wall for a long time, reciting verses of the Koran, after which he rose and cried out, "O Emeer, no harm shall happen to you, for God has averted from me the effect of the artifice and fraud of the Evil One." The Emeer then said to him, "What hast thou seen, O Abdes-Samad?" He answered, "When I reached the top of the wall, I saw ten damsels, beautiful to behold, who made a sign to me with their hands as though they would say, 'Come to us.' And it seemed to me that beneath me was a sea, or great river, and I desired to cast myself down as our companions did. But I saw them dead, and I recited some words of the Koran, and so I cast not myself down. Therefore the damsels departed. There is no doubt that this is an enchantment contrived by the inhabitants of the city to keep every one from entering it."

Abdes-Samad then walked along the wall till he came[140] to the two towers of brass, when he saw that they had two gates of gold, without locks upon them, or any sign of the means of opening them. He remained looking at them a long time, and at last he saw in the middle of one of the gates a figure of a horseman of brass, having one hand stretched out as though he were pointing with it, and on the hand these words were inscribed:

"Turn the pin that is in the middle of the front of the horseman's body twelve times, and then the gate will open."

Abdes-Samad, having read this inscription, examined the horseman, and found in the middle of the front of this body a pin, strong, firm, and well fixed. He turned it twelve times, and immediately the gate opened with a noise like thunder. Abdes-Samad entered, and he walked on until he came to stairs, which he descended. At the foot of the stairs he found a place with handsome wooden benches on which there were dead people, and over their heads were shields, and swords, and bows, and arrows. One of the dead men, who appeared to be the oldest, was upon a high bench above the rest. Abdes-Samad thought that the keys of the city might be with this man. "Perhaps," said he to himself, "he was the gatekeeper, and these were under his authority." He therefore went up to the man, and raised his outer garment, and he found the keys hung to his waist. At the sight of them Abdes-Samad rejoiced exceedingly, and he took the keys and approached the gate in the wall of the city. He found that the keys fitted the locks, so he[141] turned them, and pulled the gate, which opened with a great noise. Then he cried out with a cry of joy, and the Emeer Moosa rejoiced at the safety of Abdes-Samad, and the opening of the gate of the city. The people thanked Abdes-Samad for what he had done, and they all hastened to enter the gate. But the Emeer Moosa cried out to them, saying, "O people, some accident may happen, and if all enter, all may perish. Therefore, let half of us enter and half remain outside."

The Emeer Moosa then entered the gate, and with him half of his troops, carrying their weapons of war. They saw their companions lying dead, and they buried them. They then entered the market of the city, which contained a number of lofty buildings. The shops were open, the scales hung up, and the stores full of all kinds of goods, but the merchants were all dead. They passed on to the silk market, in which were silks and brocades interwoven with gold and silver upon various colors, and the owners were dead, lying upon skins, and appearing almost as though they would speak. Leaving these they went on to the market of the money changers, all of whom they found dead, with varieties of silks beneath them, and their shops filled with gold and silver. After going through several other markets they came to a lofty palace, which they entered. There they found banners unfurled, and swords, and bows, and shields hung up by chains of gold and silver. In the passages of the palace were benches of ivory, ornamented with plates of brilliant gold and with silk, on which were dead men, whose skins had dried upon their bones. Going into the interior of the palace they came to a great hall, and four large and lofty chambers,[142] each one fronting another, and decorated with gold and silver and various colors. In the midst of the hall was a great fountain of alabaster, over which was a canopy of brocade, and in the chambers were decorated fountains, and tanks lined with marble, and channels of water flowed along the floors, the four streams meeting together in a great tank made of colored marbles.

The Emeer Moosa and his companions now entered the first chamber, and they found it filled with gold and silver, and pearls and jewels, and jacinths and precious minerals. They found in it chests full of red and yellow and white brocades. They then went into the second chamber, and opened a closet in it, and it was filled with weapons of war, consisting of gilded helmets, and coats of mail, and swords, and lances, and other instruments of war and battle. Then they passed to the third chamber, in which they found closets having upon their doors closed locks, and over them were curtains worked with various kinds of embroidery. They opened one of these closets, and found it filled with weapons decorated with varieties of gold and silver and jewels. From there they went to the fourth chamber, and it was full of utensils for food and drink, consisting of various vessels of gold and silver, and saucers of crystal, and cups set with brilliant pearls, and cups of carnelian. They took what suited them of these things, and each of the soldiers carried off what he could.

Then they passed on, and found a chamber constructed of polished marble adorned with jewels. They thought that upon the floor was running water, and if any one walked upon it he would slip. The Emeer Moosa therefore ordered Abdes-Samad to throw upon it[143] something, that they might be enabled to walk on it, and he did so, and they passed on. And they found in it a great dome constructed of stones gilt with red gold. The party had not beheld in all that they had seen anything more beautiful than this. In the midst of it there was a great dome-crowned structure of alabaster, around which were lattice windows, decorated and adorned with oblong emeralds. In it was a pavilion of brocade, raised upon columns of red gold, and within this were birds, the feet of which were emeralds. Beneath each bird was a net of brilliant pearls, spread over a fountain, and by the brink of the fountain was placed a couch adorned with pearls and jewels and jacinths, on which sat a damsel resembling the shining sun. Eyes had not beheld one more beautiful. She wore a garment of brilliant pearls, on her head was a crown of red gold, on her neck was a necklace of jewels, and upon her forehead were two jewels the light of which was like that of the sun. She seemed as though she were looking at the people round about her, and observing them to the right and left.

When the Emeer Moosa beheld this damsel, he wondered extremely at her loveliness, and he saluted her respectfully. But Talib said to the Emeer, "This damsel is dead. There is no life in her. How, then, can she return the salutation?" And he added, "O Emeer, she is skillfully embalmed. Her eyes were taken out after her death, and quicksilver put beneath them, after which they were restored to their places; so they gleam, and whenever the air puts them in motion the beholder imagines that she twinkles her eyes, though she is dead." Then they saw that the couch upon which the[144] damsel sat had steps, and upon the steps were two slaves, one of them white and the other black. In the hand of one of them was a weapon of steel, and in the hand of the other a jeweled sword that dazzled the eyes. Before the two slaves was a tablet of gold on which was the following inscription:

"O thou, if thou know me not, I will acquaint thee with my name and descent. I am Tedmur, the daughter of the King of the Amalekites. I possessed what none of the kings possessed, and ruled with justice. I gave and bestowed, and lived a long time in the enjoyment of happiness and an easy life, and emancipated female and male slaves. Thus I did until death came to my abode, and the case was this: Seven years in succession came upon us, during which no water descended on us from heaven, nor did any grass grow for us on the face of the earth. So we ate what food we had in our dwellings, and after that we fell upon the beasts and ate them, and there remained nothing. Upon this I caused the wealth to be brought, and measured it with a measure, and sent it by trusty men, who went about with it through all the districts, not leaving unvisited a single large city, to seek for some food. But they found none, and they returned to us with the wealth, after a long absence. Then we exposed to view our riches and our treasures, locked the gates of the fortresses in our city, and we all died, as thou beholdest and left what[145] we had built and what we had treasured. This is our story. Whoever arrives at our city, and enters it, let him take of the wealth what he can, but not touch anything that is on my body, for it is the covering of my person, and the attire with which I am fitted forth from the world. Therefore, let him not seize aught of it; for he would destroy himself."

The Emeer Moosa, when he read these words, was greatly astonished. Then he said to his companions, "Bring the sacks, and fill them with part of these riches and these vessels and rarities and jewels." But Talib said to him, "O Emeer, shall we leave this damsel with the things that are upon her? They are things that have no equal, and they are more than the riches thou hast taken, and will be the best present for the Prince of the Faithful." But the Emeer replied, "Seest thou, not that which the damsel hath given as a charge, in the inscription upon this tablet?" Talib, however, said, "And on account of these words wilt thou leave these riches and these jewels, when she is dead? What then should she do with these things, which are the ornaments of the world, and the decoration of the living? With a garment of cotton this damsel might be covered, and we are more worthy of the things than she." Then he drew near to the steps, and ascended them until he reached the spot between the two slaves, when suddenly one of them smote him upon his back and the other smote him with the sword that was in his hand, and struck off his head, and he fell down dead. Seeing this the people were much terrified, and the Emeer Moosa commanded[146] them to leave the city and close the gate as it was before.

They then proceeded on until they came in sight of a high mountain overlooking the sea. In it were many caves in which was a people of black, clad in hides, whose language was not known. And when the blacks saw the troops they ran away from them, while their women and children stood at the entrance of the cave. So the Emeer Moosa said, "O Abdes-Samad, what are these people?" And he answered, "These are the objects of the inquiry of the Prince of the Faithful." They therefore alighted and the tents were pitched and they had not rested when the king of the blacks came down from the mountain, and drew near to the troops. He was acquainted with the Arabic language, and when he came to Emeer Moosa he saluted him, and the Emeer returned his salute and treated him with honor. Then the king of the blacks said to the Emeer, "Are ye of mankind, or of the genies?" The Emeer answered, "We are of mankind, but as to you, there is no doubt that ye are of the genies, because of the greatness of your size." But the king of the blacks replied, "Nay, we are a people of the race of Adam, of the sons of Ham, the son of Noah. And this sea is known by the name of El-Karkar."

The Emeer then said to him, "We are the messengers and servants of the Caliph Abdel-Melik, and we have come on account of the bottles of brass that are here in your sea, in which are the genies imprisoned from the time of Solomon, the son of David. He hath commanded us to bring him some of them, that he may see them. Wilt thou help us in this matter?" The king of[147] the blacks replied, "Most willingly." Then he ordered the divers to bring up from the sea some of the bottles of Solomon, and they brought up twelve bottles, which the king gave to the Emeer. The Emeer Moosa was delighted, and Abdes-Samad also, and the soldiers, on account of the accomplishment of the wish of the Prince of the Faithful. The Emeer then presented to the king of the blacks many gifts.

Then they bade him farewell, and they journeyed back until they came to the land of Syria, and went to the palace of the Prince of the Faithful. The Emeer Moosa told him of all that he had seen, and of the case of Talib. And the Prince of the Faithful said to him, "Would that I had been with you that I might have beheld what ye beheld." He then took the bottles, and proceeded to open one after another, and the genies came forth from them saying, "Repentance! O Prophet of God! We will not return to the like conduct ever." After this the Prince of the Faithful caused the riches to be brought before him, and divided them among the people.

This is the end of that which hath come down to us of the history of the City of Brass.

"Stories from the Arabian Nights." Selected and edited by M. Clarke. (American Book Company.)

The Magic Ring, the Bird, and the Basket

The night was clear and cool when Juan and his father went to bed. Soon they fell asleep, lulled by the wind whistling among the trees. When midnight came, they were aroused from their sound sleep by the shouting of men and the roaring of fire. Juan and his father[148] jumped out of the house to save themselves. As they were hiding under a bamboo tree, four men came and tied the hands of the father and son with vines. Juan was strong enough to break the vines, but he did not try to, for fear that the robbers would kill them. The four men carried the poor captives to their boat and sailed away. Many of Juan's friends and relatives were also captured.

As they were sailing southward a terrible storm came. All the boats were sunk by the merciless waves. Before Juan reached the bottom, for he could not swim, a very big shark swallowed him. The shark, after swallowing Juan, went to its home in a big cave under the water. While he was kicking in the stomach of the shark, his knife fell from his pocket and the vines with which his hands were tied, broke. He opened his knife with his hands and teeth, and cut a hole through the stomach of the shark. Instead of floating to the surface of the water, Juan began to sink and sink as if something were pulling him downward. At last he came to a dry place. He met nobody there except a gray-bearded man, who asked him where he was going. Juan told his story.

"You are unfortunate, my boy," said the old man, "you will have a very hard time in reaching your home."

"But how may I reach home again?" said Juan.

The old man told him to climb the high mountain which could be seen from where they were standing. "When you reach the top, jump into the hole and you will be thrown up to the other world." When Juan was about to go, the old man gave him a ring. "This ring," he said, "is powerful. You can conquer the fiercest demon[149] on earth with the help of this ring. Ask from it anything, food, clothes, and other things, and you will have what you want. If you want to go to some place, you can reach it in a second. This ring will carry you to the top of the mountain."

When the old man was through giving the instructions, Juan found himself on the top of the mountain. Then he jumped into the hole. Suddenly he was blown up through the water and up in the air. He fell back on the water. He wished he were on land and instantly he was carried to a small village full of savages. Juan performed many miracles for the savages, so they elected him king.

One day they went hunting and soon they caught a deer. While they were taking off the hide, a big bird swooped and took the deer with it. Juan clung to the horns of the deer trying to take it from the bird, but in vain. The bird did not mind Juan for he was very small compared with it. It alighted on a very high cliff, left Juan and the dead deer there, and flew away. On the cliff was the bird's nest, and in it were three diamond-like round eggs which were about three feet in diameter.

Juan asked his magical ring to give him a very big basket. The basket came. Then he rolled the eggs into the basket. Juan seated himself between the eggs and asked his ring again to take him and the basket home. The basket was so heavy that the ring could not make it fly very fast. While they were sailing in the air, the bird came with its mate. They held the handle of the basket with their beaks and carried the basket back to the cliff. The power of the magical ring was helpless[150] because the birds were very strong. Juan, then, wished to be clad in armor. So said, so done. But he had no sword, so he asked the ring to give him one. When the birds reached the cliff, they alighted. Juan stepped from the basket and drew his sword. Whenever the birds pecked him, he would strike them on their necks with his sword. After fighting with him for more than half a day, the birds fell helpless on the rock.

Then the victor, Juan, asked the ring again to take him and the basket to his old home. When he reached the place, the once flourishing village was gone. Only a few huts were left standing.—Facundo Esquivel.

II. The Imaginary Voyage with a Satiric or Instructive Purpose

To the class of marvelous tales belong also what are known in France as "Voyages Imaginaires." In so far as the adventurers meet with super-extraordinary beings, or ride on fleas of the dimensions of elephants, or have monstrous spiders weave for a field of battle a web between the moon and the morning star, or in so far as they sail on seas of milk to islands of cheese and altogether suspend the semblance of possibility—in so far are they heroes of absurd tales of wonder. But the narrators of the stories of imaginary voyages for the most part had primarily other objects than mere amusement in view; namely, ridicule of the extravagant narrative by means of imitation and exaggeration, or ridicule of political and philosophic tenets by absurd application; or the story-tellers had instruction to give in civic and social theories by presenting the ideal in contrast with the real.


Source of the type

The first example and perhaps the source of this whole species of narrative is the "True History" of Lucian, which, is professedly fabulous and satiric. Lucian says that by his seas of milk and islands of cheese and the like, he is ridiculing the extravagant relations of the old poets and historians who tell incredible tales. Hundreds of years after Lucian, Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville by their marvelous accounts of remote countries set themselves in the class Lucian satirized. But we will take them up later, since they were real travellers simply exaggerating what they had seen in order the more surely to please a perverted historical taste. We are dealing now with acknowledged imagination. There are many famous imaginary voyages professedly satiric besides Lucian's. Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac's "History of the States and Empires of the Moon" is a satire on the pedantry and scholastic disputations of his age, the early seventeenth century, concerning the uninhabitableness of the lunar world. To the moon Bergerac makes an excursion and settles matters for himself. "Niel Klim's Underground Journey," by Ludvig Holberg of Denmark, is another famous imaginary trip.

Swift and Defoe

But no nation has surpassed England, and none indeed has even equalled her, in the production of this class of stories. "Gulliver's Travels," "Gaudentio de Lucca," and "Robinson Crusoe" are supreme. Swift's marvelous tale is, of course, satire; Berkley's extravagant one, philosophy and polemic; Defoe's seemingly true narration, religious dissent. But in the minds of the critics—and[152] in the mind of every school boy, I suppose—there is the judgment that Defoe succeeded in writing the best pure "story" story in all the world. On the one hand, accordingly, by its content of a sea voyage and a wreck on an unknown shore and by the controversial purpose of its author, and by the fact that it became the progenitor of a long line of marvelous narratives, the story of "Robinson Crusoe" links itself with the species of imaginary voyages and stands forth as the highest, though because of its virtues not the most representative, attainment of the class. On the other hand, "Robinson Crusoe" by its unaffected simplicity of diction, by its many minute circumstances, by its particularity as to persons, places, dates, and references, stands at the head as the greatest and best representative of another type of narratives,—the story of probable adventures. But one would finally class Defoe's story with realistic romance.

More typical of the present species, because more extravagant and not so seemingly actual, is the somewhat charming though long-forgotten story of the "Voyage of Peter Wilkins," written about 1750 by R. Paltock or Pultock. In this narrative the author created a new species of beings, which have been ranked among the most beautiful offsprings of imagination. In the "Curse of Kehama" Southey acknowledged them as the origin of the Glendoveers,

"The loveliest race of all of heavenly birth,
Hovering with gentle motion o'er the earth,
Amid the moonlight air,
In sportive flight, still floating round and round."


In Paltock's story they are not fairies, but flying men and women.

In imitation of Bergerac's voyage to the moon there appeared descriptions of journeys to the various heavenly bodies. The planet Venus, for instance, afforded opportunity for satire on amatory tendencies; Mercury, on fraud and avarice; and so on through the other planets and vices. Ridicule of the predominant passions of individuals was come at also. The arrant boaster is delectably set forth in the "Adventures of Baron Munchausen."

To narrate an imaginary voyage, therefore, on lines laid down in the past, you must take to yourself to begin with either a political and social theory or a general spirit of ridicule, either an instructive or a corrective temper.

If you take a political and social theory to establish you must show it in operation in a realm where there is perfect and ideal wisdom, where the obstacles in the world do not hold, as they do not in the Happy Valley, Utopia, and the New Atlantis.

Suggestion on how to write a satiric imaginary voyage

If you undertake to ridicule present mistaken tendencies and follies, your task will be a little harder. First you must work out your argument somewhat in detail before you begin your voyage, since you will need to fit adventures, objects, people, and speeches, either by way of exaggeration or oppositeness, to their modern counterparts. Next, you should have definitely in mind a few prominent leaders in the movement or a few promoters of the policy you mean to laugh at. You may take the portrait and[154] characteristics of these men as basis, and exaggerate and modify to suit your purpose. Just as a good cartoonist must know anatomy and the rules of correct drawing, so a caricaturist and satirist must know real people. It will happen probably that readers not in the secret of your originals will fail to recognize them surely, as people now fail to recognize de Bergerac's and Swift's; yet your story can not but be the livelier and better for your concrete thinking. And as we now read the "Journey to the Moon" and "Gulliver's Travels" for the amusing adventures, so your audience will enjoy your story for the same reason and no other. But you can hardly create amusing adventures without something to create them of, and the lives of real people are to be the stuff. This suggestion is merely the embodiment of the psychological fact that all the chimeras that man ever thought of are but modifications of real images. Then it will be well also to remember the convenience of allegory and to use it upon occasion. In fact, many imaginary voyages are but rough-and-ready allegories. Yet you must be careful not to over-do the allegory; for in the fourth place, you should strive for minute versimilitude. The nearer like the details of a real journey your small incidents are, the better your readers will be pleased with your large incidents. It is the little surprises of familiarity among strangeness that create the emotion of pleasure.

Last of all, and first of all, and altogether requisite is this virtue: To be a good narrator of imaginary voyages, you must be, like Defoe, the "best of liars." Nothing is too stupendous to tell if you only know how to tell it.


Mellonta Tauta

On Board Balloon "Skylark,"
April 1, 2848.

Now, my dear friend—now, for your sins, you are to suffer the infliction of a long gossiping letter. I tell you distinctly that I am going to punish you for all your impertinences by being as tedious, as discursive, as incoherent, and as unsatisfactory as possible. Besides, here I am, cooped up in a dirty balloon, with some one or two hundred of the canaille, all bound on a pleasure excursion (what a funny idea some people have of pleasure!), and I have no prospect of touching terra firma for a month at least. Nobody to talk to. Nothing to do. When one has nothing to do, then is the time to correspond with one's friends. You perceive then, why it is that I write you this letter—it is on account of my ennui and your sins.

Get ready your spectacles and make up your mind to be annoyed. I mean to write at you every day during this odious voyage.

Heigho! when will any Invention visit the human pericranium? Are we forever to be doomed to the thousand inconveniences of the balloon? Will nobody contrive a more expeditious mode of progress? The jog-trot movement, to my thinking, is little less than positive torture. Upon my word, we have not made more than a hundred miles the hour since leaving home! The very birds beat us—at least some of them. I assure you that I do not exaggerate at all. Our motion, no doubt, seems slower than it actually is—this on account of our having no objects about us by which to estimate our velocity, and on account of our going with the[156] wind. To be sure, whenever we meet a balloon we have a chance of perceiving our rate, and then, I admit, things do not appear so very bad. Accustomed as I am to this mode of traveling, I cannot get over a kind of giddiness whenever a balloon passes us in a current directly overhead. It always seems to me like an immense bird of prey about to pounce upon us and carry us off in its claws. One went over us this morning about sunrise, and so nearly overhead that its drag-rope actually brushed the net-work suspending our car, and caused us very serious apprehension. Our captain said that if the material of the bag had been the trumpery varnished "silk" of five hundred or a thousand years ago, we should inevitably have been damaged. This silk, as he explained it to me, was a fabric composed of the entrails of a species of earth-worm. The worm was carefully fed on mulberries—a kind of fruit resembling a water-melon—and, when sufficiently fat, was crushed in a mill. The paste thus arising was called papyrus in its primary state, and went through a variety of processes until it finally became "silk." Singular to relate, it was once much admired as an article of female dress! Balloons were also very generally constructed from it. A better kind of material, it appears, was subsequently found in the down surrounding the seed-vessels of a plant vulgarly called euphorbium, and at that time botanically termed milk-weed. This latter kind of silk was designated as silk-buckingham, on account of its superior durability, and was usually prepared for use by being varnished with a solution of gum caoutchouc—a substance which in some respects must have resembled the guttapercha now in common use. This caoutchouc was[157] occasionally called Indian rubber or rubber of twist, and was no doubt one of the numerous fungi. Never tell me again that I am not at heart an antiquarian.

Talking of drag-ropes—our own, it seems, has this moment knocked a man overboard from one of the small magnetic propellers that swarm in the ocean below us—a boat of about six thousand tons, and, from all accounts, shamefully crowded. These diminutive barques should be prohibited from carrying more than a definite number of passengers. The man, of course, was not permitted to get on board again, and was soon out of sight, he and his life-preserver. I rejoice, my dear friend, that we live in an age so enlightened that no such a thing as an individual is supposed to exist. It is the mass for which the true Humanity cares. By-the-by, talking of Humanity, do you know that our immortal Wiggins is not so original in his views of the Social Condition and so forth, as his contemporaries are inclined to suppose? Pundit assures me that the same ideas were put nearly in the same way, about a thousand years ago, by an Irish philosopher called Furrier, on account of his keeping a retail shop for cat peltries and other furs. Pundit knows, you know; there can be no mistake about it. How very wonderfully do we see verified every day, the profound observation of the Hindoo Aries Tottle (as quoted by Pundit): "Thus must we say that, not once or twice, or a few times, but with almost infinite repetitions, the same opinions came round in a circle among men."

April 2d.—Spoke to-day the magnetic cutter in charge of the middle section of floating telegraph wires. I learn that when this species of telegraph was first put into operation by Horse, it was considered quite impossible[158] to convey the wires over sea, but now we are at a loss to comprehend where the difficulty lay! So wags the world. Tempora mutantur—excuse me for quoting the Etruscan. What would we do without the Atlantic telegraph? (Pundit says Atlantic was the ancient adjective.) We lay to a few minutes to ask the cutter some questions, and learned, among other glorious news, that civil war is raging in Africa, while the plague is doing its good work beautifully both in Yurope and Ayesher. Is it not truly remarkable that, before the magnificent light shed upon philosophy by Humanity, the world was accustomed to regard War and Pestilence as calamities? Do you know that prayers were actually offered up in the ancient temples to the end that these evils (!) might not be visited upon mankind? Is it not really difficult to comprehend upon what principle of interest our forefathers acted? Were they so blind as not to perceive that the destruction of a myriad of individuals is only so much positive advantage to the mass!

April 3d.—It is really a very fine amusement to ascend the rope-ladder leading to the summit of the balloon-bag, and thence survey the surrounding world. From the car below you know the prospect is not so comprehensive—you can see little vertically. But seated here (where I write this) in the luxuriously-cushioned opened piazza of the summit, one can see everything that is going on in all directions. Just now there is quite a crowd of balloons in sight, and they present a very animated appearance, while the air is resonant with the hum of so many millions of human voices. I have heard it asserted that when Yellow or (Pundit will have it) Violet, who is supposed to have been the first aeronaut,[159] maintained the practicability of traversing the atmosphere in all directions, by merely ascending or descending until a favorable current was attained, he was scarcely hearkened to at all by his contemporaries, who looked upon him as merely an ingenious sort of madman, because the philosophers (!) of the day declared the thing impossible. Really now, it does seem to me quite unaccountable how anything so obviously feasible could have escaped the sagacity of the ancient savans. But in all ages the great obstacles to advancement in Art have been opposed by the so-called men of science. To be sure, our men of science are not quite so bigoted as those of old—oh, I have something so queer to tell you on this topic. Do you know that it is not more than a thousand years ago since the metaphysicians consented to relieve the people of the singular fancy that there existed but two possible roads for the attainment of Truth! Believe it if you can! It appears that long, long ago, in the night of Time, there lived a Turkish philosopher (or Hindoo possibly), called Aries Tottle. This person introduced or at all events propagated what was termed the deductive or a priori mode of investigation. He started with what he maintained to be axioms, or "self-evident truths," and thence proceeded "logically" to results. His greatest disciples were one Neuclid, and one Cant. Well, Aries Tottle flourished supreme until the advent of one Hog, surnamed the "Ettrick Shepherd," who preached an entirely different system, which he called the a posteriori or inductive. His plan referred altogether to Sensation. He proceeded by observing, analyzing, and classifying facts—instantiae naturae, as they were affectedly called—into general laws. Aries[160] Tottle's mode, in a word, was based on noumena; Hog's on phenomena. Well, so great was the admiration excited by this latter system that, at its first introduction, Aries Tottle fell into disrepute; but finally he recovered ground and was permitted to divide the realm of Truth with his more modern rival. The savans now maintained the Aristotelian and Baconian roads were the sole possible avenues to knowledge. "Baconian," you must know, was an adjective invented as equivalent to Hog-ian and more euphonious and dignified.

Now, my dear friend, I do assure you, most positively, that I represent this matter fairly, on the soundest authority; and you can easily understand how a notion so absurd on its very face must have operated to retard the progress of all true knowledge—which makes its advances almost invariably by intuitive bounds. The ancient idea confined investigations to crawling; and for hundreds of years so great was the infatuation about Hog especially, that a virtual end was put to all thinking, properly so called. No man dared utter a truth to which he felt himself indebted to his Soul alone. It mattered not whether the truth was even demonstrably a truth, for the bullet-headed savans of the time regarded only the road by which he had attained it. They would not even look at the end. "Let us see the means," they cried, "the means!" If, upon investigation of the means, it was found to come under neither the category Aries (that is to say, Ram), nor under the category Hog, why then the savans went no farther, but pronounced the "theorist" a fool, and would have nothing to do with him or his truth.

Now, it cannot be maintained even that by the crawling[161] system the greatest amount of truth would be attained in any long series of ages, for the repression of imagination was an evil not to be compensated for by any superior certainty in the ancient modes of investigation. The error of these Jurmains, these Vrinch, these Inglitch, and these Amriccans (the latter, by the way, were our own immediate progenitors), was an error quite analogous with that of the wiseacre who fancies that he must necessarily see an object the better the more closely he holds it to his eyes. These people blinded themselves by details. When they proceeded Hoggishly, their "facts" were by no means always facts—a matter of little consequence had it not been for assuming that they were facts and must be facts because they appeared to be such. When they proceeded on the path of the Ram, their course was scarcely as straight as a ram's horn, for they never had an axiom which was an axiom at all. They must have been very blind not to see this, even in their own day; for even in their own day many of the long "established" axioms had been rejected. For example, "Ex nihilo nihil fit"; "a body cannot act where it is not"; "there cannot exist antipodes"; "darkness cannot come out of light"—all these, and a dozen other similar propositions, formerly admitted without hesitation as axioms, were, even at the period of which I speak, seen to be untenable. How absurd in these people, then, to persist in putting faith in "axioms" as immutable bases of Truth! But even out of the mouths of their soundest reasoners it is easy to demonstrate the futility, the impalpability of their axioms in general. Who was the soundest of their logicians? Let me see! I will go and ask Pundit and be[162] back in a minute.... Ah, here we have it! Here is a book written nearly a thousand years ago and lately translated from Inglitch—which, by the way, appears to have been the rudiment of the Amriccan. Pundit says it is decidedly the cleverest ancient work on its topic, Logic. The author (who was much thought of in his day) was one Miller, or Mill; and we find it recorded of him, as a point of some importance, that he had a mill-horse called Bentham. But let us glance at the treatise!

Ah! "Ability or inability to conceive," says Mr. Mill, very properly, "is in no case, to be received as a criterion of axiomatic truth." What modern in his senses would ever think of disputing this truism? The only wonder with us must be, how it happened that Mr. Mill conceived it necessary even to hint at anything so obvious. So far, good—but let us turn over another paper. What have we here? "Contradictories cannot both be true—that is, cannot coexist in nature." Here Mr. Mill means, for example, that a tree must be either a tree or not a tree—that it cannot be at the same time a tree and not a tree. Very well; but I ask him why. His reply is this—and never pretends to be anything else than this—"Because it is impossible to conceive that contradictories can both be true." But this is no answer at all, by his own showing; for has he not just admitted as a truism that "ability or inability to conceive is in no case to be received as a criterion of axiomatic truth"?

Now I do not complain of these ancients so much because their logic is, by their own showing, utterly baseless, worthless and fantastic altogether, as because[163] of their pompous and imbecile proscription of all other roads of Truth, of all other means for its attainment than the two preposterous paths—the one creeping and the one of crawling—to which they have dared to confine the Soul that loves nothing so well as to soar.

By the by, my friend, do you not think it would have puzzled these ancient dogmaticians to have determined by which of their two roads it was that the most important and most sublime of all their truths was, in effect, attained? I mean the truth of Gravitation. Newton owed it to Kepler. Kepler admitted that his three laws were guessed at—these three laws of all laws which led the great Inglitch mathematician to his principle, the basis of all physical principle—to go behind which we must enter the Kingdom of Metaphysics: Kepler guessed—that is to say, imagined. He was essentially a "theorist"—that word now of so much sanctity, formerly an epithet of contempt. Would it not have puzzled these old moles, too, to have explained by which of the two "roads" a cryptographist unriddles a cryptograph of more than usual secrecy, or by which of the two roads Champollion directed mankind to those enduring and almost innumerable truths which resulted from his deciphering the Hieroglyphics?

One word more on this topic and I will be done boring you. Is it not passing strange that, with their eternal prattling about roads to Truth, these bigoted people missed what we now so clearly perceive to be the great highway—that of Consistency? Does it not seem singular how they should have failed to deduce from the works of God the vital fact that a perfect consistency must be an absolute truth! How plain has been[164] our progress since the late announcement of this proposition! Investigation has been taken out of the hands of the groundmoles and given, as a task, to the true and only true thinkers, the men of ardent imagination. These latter theorize. Can you not fancy the shout of scorn with which my words would be received by our progenitors were it possible for them to be now looking over my shoulder? These men, I say, theorize; and their theories are simply corrected, reduced, systematized—cleared, little by little, of their dross of inconsistency—until, finally, a perfect consistency stands apparent which even the most stolid admit, because it is a consistency, to be an absolute and an unquestionable truth.

April 4th.—The new gas is doing wonders, in conjunction with the new improvement with gutta percha. How very safe, commodious, manageable, and in every respect convenient are our modern balloons? Here is an immense one approaching us at the rate of at least a hundred and fifty miles an hour. It seems to be crowded with people—perhaps there are three or four hundred passengers—and yet it soars to an elevation of nearly a mile, looking down upon poor us with sovereign contempt. Still, a hundred or even two hundred miles an hour is slow traveling after all. Do you remember our flight on the railroad across the Kanadaw continent? Fully three hundred miles the hour—that was traveling. Nothing to be seen, though—nothing to be done but flirt, feast and dance in the magnificent saloons. Do you remember what an odd sensation was experienced, when, by chance, we caught a glimpse of external objects while the cars were in full flight? Everything seemed unique—in one mass. For my part, I cannot[165] say but that I preferred the traveling by the slow train of a hundred miles the hour. Here we were permitted to have glass windows—even to have them open—and something like a distinct view of the country was attainable.... Pundit says that the route for the great Kanadaw railroad must have been in some measure marked out about nine hundred years ago! In fact, he goes so far as to assert that actual traces of a road are still discernible—traces referable to a period quite as remote as that mentioned. The track, it appears, was double only; ours, you know, has twelve paths; and three or four new ones are in preparation. The ancient rails are very slight, and placed so close together as to be, according to modern notions, quite frivolous, if not dangerous, in the extreme. The present width of track—fifty feet—is considered, indeed, scarcely secure enough. For my part, I make no doubt that a track of some sort must have existed in very remote times, as Pundit asserts; for nothing can be clearer, to my mind, than that, at some period—not less than seven centuries ago, certainly—the Northern and Southern Kanadaw continents were united; the Kanawdians, then, would have been driven, by necessity, to a great railroad across the continent.

April 5th.—I am almost devoured by ennui. Pundit is the only conversible person on board; and he, poor soul, can speak of nothing but antiquities. He has been occupied all the day in the attempt to convince me that ancient Americans governed themselves! Did ever anybody hear of such an absurdity? That they existed in a sort of every-man-for-himself confederacy, after the fashion of the "prairie dogs" that we read of in fable.[166] He says that they started with the queerest ideas conceivable, viz: that all men are born free and equal—this in the very teeth of the laws of gradation so visibly impressed upon all things both in the moral and physical universe. Every man "voted," as they called it—that is to say, meddled with public affairs—until at length, it was discovered that what is everybody's business is nobody's, and that the "Republic" (so the absurd thing was called) was without a government at all. It is related, however, that the first circumstance which disturbed, very particularly, the self-complacency of the philosophers who constructed this "Republic" was the startling discovery that universal suffrage gave opportunity for fraudulent schemes, by means of which any desired number of votes might at any time be polled, without the possibility of prevention or even detection, by any party which should be merely villainous enough not to be ashamed of the fraud. A little reflection upon this discovery sufficed to render evident the consequences, which were that rascality must predominate—in a word, that a republican government could never be anything but a rascally one. While the philosophers, however, were busied in blushing at their stupidity in not having foreseen these inevitable evils, and intent upon the invention of new theories, the matter was put to an abrupt issue by a fellow of the name of Mob, who took everything into his own hands and set up a despotism, in comparison with which those of the fabulous Zeros and Hellofagabaluses were respectable and delectable. This Mob (a foreigner, by the by) is said to have been the most odious of all men that ever encumbered the earth. He was a giant in stature—insolent,[167] rapacious, filthy; had the gall of a bullock with the heart of a hyena and the brains of a peacock. He died, at length, by dint of his own energies, which exhausted him. Nevertheless, he had his uses, as everything has, however vile, and taught mankind a lesson which to this day it is in no danger of forgetting—never to run directly contrary to the natural analogies. As for Republicanism, no analogy could be found for it upon the face of the earth—unless we except the case of the "prairie dogs," an exception which seems, to demonstrate, if anything, that democracy is a very admirable form of government—for dogs.

April 6th.—Last night had a fine view of Alpha Lyrae, whose disk, through our captain's spy glass, subtends an angle of half a degree, looking very much as our sun does to the naked eye on a misty day. Alpha Lyrae, although so very much larger than our sun, by the by, resembles him closely as regards its spots, its atmosphere, and in many other particulars. It is only within the last century, Pundit tells me, that the binary relation existing between these two orbs began even to be suspected. The evident motion of our system in the heavens was (strange to say!) referred to an orbit about a prodigious star in the center of the galaxy. About this star, or at all events about a center of gravity common to all the globes of the Milky Way and supposed to be near Alcyone in the Pleiades, every one of these globes was declared to be revolving, our own performing the circuit in a period of 117,000,000 of years! We, with our present lights, our vast telescopic improvements, and so forth, of course find it difficult to comprehend the ground of an idea such as this. Its[168] first propagator was one Mudler. He was led, we must presume, to this wild hypothesis by mere analogy in the first instance; but, this being the case, he should have at least adhered to analogy in its development. A great central orb was, in fact, suggested; so far Mudler was consistent. This central orb, however, dynamically, should have been greater than all its surrounding orbs taken together. The question might then have been asked, "Why do we not see it?" We, especially, who occupy the mid region of the cluster—the very locality near which, at least, must be situated this inconceivable central sun. The astronomer, perhaps, at this point, took refuge in the suggestion of non-luminosity; and here analogy was suddenly let fall. But even admitting the central orb non-luminous, how did he manage to explain its failure to be rendered visible by the incalculable host of glorious suns glaring in all directions about it? No doubt what he finally maintained was merely a center of gravity common to all the revolving orbs—but here again analogy must have been let fall. Our system revolves, it is true, about a common center of gravity, but it does this in connection with and in consequence of a material sun whose mass more than counterbalances the rest of the system. The mathematical circle is a curve composed of an infinity of straight lines; but this idea of the circle—this idea of it which, in regard to all earthly geometry, we consider as merely the mathematical, in contradistinction from the practical, idea—is, in sober fact, the practical conception which alone we have any right to entertain in respect to those Titanic circles with which we have to deal, at least in fancy, when we suppose our[169] system, with its fellows, revolving about a point in the center of the galaxy. Let the most vigorous of human imaginations but attempt to take a single step toward the comprehension of a circuit so unutterable! It would scarcely be paradoxical to say that a flash of lightning itself, traveling forever upon the circumference of this inconceivable circle, would still forever be traveling in a straight line. That the path of our sun along such a circumference—that the direction of our system in such an orbit—would, to any human perception, deviate in the slightest degree from a straight line even in a million of years, is a proposition not to be entertained; and yet these ancient astronomers were absolutely cajoled, it appears, into believing that a decisive curvature had become apparent during the brief period of their astronomical history—during the mere point—during the utter nothingness of two or three thousand years! How incomprehensible, that considerations such as this did not at once indicate to them the true state of affairs—that of the binary revolution of our sun and Alpha Lyrae around a common center of gravity!

April 7th.—Continued last night our astronomical amusements. Had a fine view of the five Neptunian asteroids, and watched with much interest the putting of a huge impost on a couple of lintels in the new temple at Daphnis in the moon. It was amusing to think that creatures so diminutive as the lunarians, and bearing so little resemblance to humanity, yet evinced a mechanical ingenuity so much superior to our own. One finds it difficult, too, to conceive the vast masses which these people handle so easily, to be as light as our own reason tell us they actually are.


April 8th.—Eureka! Pundit is in his glory. A balloon from Kanadaw spoke us today and threw on board several late papers; they contain some exceedingly curious information relative to Kanawdian or rather Amriccan antiquities. You know, I presume, that laborers have for some months been employed in preparing the ground for a new fountain at Paradise, the Emperor's principal pleasure garden. Paradise, it appears, has been, literally speaking, an island time out of mind—that is to say, its northern boundary was always (as far back as any record extends) a rivulet, or rather a very narrow arm of the sea. This arm was gradually widened until it attained its present breadth—a mile. The whole length of the island is nine miles; the breadth varies materially. The entire area (so Pundit says) was, about eight hundred years ago, densely packed with houses, some of them twenty stories high: land (for some most unaccountable reason) being considered as especially precious just in this vicinity. The disastrous earthquake, however, of the year 2050, so totally uprooted and overwhelmed the town (for it was almost too large to be called a village) that the most indefatigable of our antiquarians have never yet been able to obtain from the site any sufficient data (in the shape of coins, medals or inscriptions) wherewith to build up even the ghost of a theory concerning the manners, customs, etc., etc., etc., of the aboriginal inhabitants. Nearly all that we have hitherto known of them is that they were a portion of the Knickerbocker tribe of savages infesting the continent at its first discovery by Recorder Riker, a knight of the Golden Fleece. They were by no means uncivilized, however, but cultivated various[171] arts and even sciences after a fashion of their own. It it related of them that they were acute in many respects, but were oddly afflicted with monomania for building what, in the ancient Amriccan, was denominated "churches"—a kind of pagoda instituted for the worship of two idols that went by the names of Wealth and Fashion. In the end, it is said, the island became, nine-tenths of it, church. The women, too, it appears, were oddly deformed by a natural protuberance of the region just below the small of the back—although, most unaccountably, this deformity was looked upon altogether in the light of a beauty. One or two pictures of these singular women have, in fact, been miraculously preserved. They looked very odd, very—like something between a turkeycock and a dromedary.

Well, these few details are nearly all that have descended to us respecting the ancient Knickerbockers. It seems, however, that while digging in the center of the emperor's garden (which, you know, covers the whole island), some of the workmen unearthed a cubical and evidently chiseled block of granite, weighing several hundred pounds. It was in good preservation, having received, apparently, little injury from the convulsion which entombed it. On one of its surfaces was a marble slab with (only think of it!) an inscriptiona legible inscription. Pundit is in ecstasies. Upon detaching the slab, a cavity appeared, containing a leaden box filled with various coins, a long scroll of names, several documents which appear to resemble newspapers, with other matters of intense interest to the antiquarian! There can be no doubt that all these are genuine Amriccan relics belonging to the tribe called Knickerbocker.[172] The papers thrown on board our balloon are filled with fac-similes of the coins, MSS., typography, etc., etc. I copy for your amusement the Knickerbocker inscription on the marble slab:

This Corner Stone of a Monument to the
Memory of
was laid with appropriate ceremonies on the
19th day of October, 1847,
the anniversary of the surrender of
Lord Cornwallis
to General Washington at Yorktown,
A. D. 1781,
under the auspices of the
Washington Monument Association of the
City of New York.

This, as I give it, is a verbatim translation done by Pundit himself, so there can be no mistake about it. From the few words thus preserved, we gleam several important items of knowledge, not the least interesting of which is the fact that a thousand years ago actual monuments had fallen into disuse—as was all very proper—the people contenting themselves, as we do now, with a mere indication of the design to erect a monument at some future time; a cornerstone being cautiously laid by itself "solitary and alone" (excuse me for quoting the great Amriccan poet Benton!) as a guarantee of the magnanimous intention. We ascertain, too, very distinctly, from this admirable inscription, the how as well as the where and the what, of the great[173] surrender in question. As to the where, it was Yorktown (wherever that was), and as to the what, it was General Cornwallis (no doubt some wealthy dealer in corn). He was surrendered. The inscription commemorates the surrender of—what?—why, "of Lord Cornwallis." The only question is what could the savages wish him surrendered for. But when we remember that these savages were undoubtedly cannibals, we are led to the conclusion that they intended him for sausage. As to the how of the surrender, no language can be more explicit. Lord Cornwallis was surrendered (for sausage) "under the auspices of the Washington Monument Association"—no doubt a charitable institution for the depositing of cornerstones. But, Heaven bless me! what is the matter? Ah, I see—the balloon has collapsed, and we shall have a tumble into the sea. I have, therefore, only time enough to add that, from a hasty inspection of the fac-similes of newspapers, etc., etc., I find that the great men in those days among the Amriccans, were one John, a smith, and one Zacchary, a tailor.

Good-bye, until I see you again. Whether you ever get this letter or not is point of little importance, as I write altogether for my own amusement. I shall cork the MS. up in a bottle, however, and throw it into the sea.

Yours everlastingly,

—Edgar Allan Poe.

Busyong's Trip to Jupiter

Singular indeed among such ordinary men as we come across in our everyday life Busyong might have[174] seemed to us, both on account of his features and of his attitude. He had wrinkles on his face which showed that he had smiled and laughed much in his life; but his expression was rather sardonic. He was a lively man, with a keen sense of what is serious and what is ludicrous. Owing to this peculiarity Busyong did not have many acquaintances among his tribe. However, he did not feel lonesome or forlorn; often he amused himself in observing in his people what he regarded as the overstepping of limits of propriety and decency. He was not a man of vast knowledge, yet he had exquisite common sense, which his few good friends admired.

Busyong entertained the idea of visiting the brightest planet, next to Venus, of our solar system, namely, Jupiter; for he had read in a certain book that Jupiter is inhabited, and the inhabitants can float in the air because of their lightness. "This is something to me," he said to himself. "Let us see what sort of people they are." So, led by curiosity, Busyong after several attempts succeeded in finding means by which he could go to Jupiter. He made a large balloon-like machine. When Busyong had prepared everything necessary for this aerial voyage, he began ascending from the top of Mt. Makiling at sunset. Nobody witnessed him, because he did not make the purpose of his voyage known to anybody. While he was ascending, he was delighted to observe the earth growing smaller and smaller. The machine of the balloon was so powerful that by turning a sort of button to its maximum capacity, as Busyong did, he had the balloon soon piercing the clouds and like a large condor soaring in the sky. When Busyong[175] found out that he could hardly breathe, he accelerated the speed of the balloon, so that in a few moments he found himself in a different atmosphere where he could breathe as well as before when he was yet near the earth. He was now near Jupiter, whose brightness had served him as a lighthouse. He had puffed out some of the vapor in the balloon, so that he might go down nearer the planet. It being very early in the morning, he resolved to take a rest; for he was tired of seeing nothing but stars and sky.

Presently, after about two hours, when the sun was just appearing from behind the planet, Busyong woke up. He was glad; for he had dreamt that he should see things which he had never seen before. After rubbing his eyes with a handkerchief, he began to look around him. With the aid of a telescope which he had brought he saw to his surprise large and small bodies of land and water, which he took for continents, islands, oceans, and lakes, respectively. Descending lower, he perceived mountains, some of which were hidden by clouds, and others that were unhidden, covered with trees. When he had directed his telescope towards a valley, he noticed to his happiness a poor dwelling of some human being. It was a hut with a roof similar to nipa and with a wooden ladder, near which was a cock. The sight of this dwelling gave rise in Busyong mind to a train of ideas regarding the inhabitants of the planet. So far it certainly looked like the country he had come from: it might still be the Philippines. Busyong decided to alight from his balloon on the top of a mountain near the hut. After he had eaten his breakfast, he began to descend the mountain.[176] It was not long before he reached its foot through devious paths.

When he appeared before the entrance of the cottage and looked in, he found a haggard middle-aged man, a sluttish old woman, and a wan-faced boy, all of a swarthy appearance, sitting on the floor. They were eating their frugal breakfast, which consisted of fried rice, coffee, and dried fish. They did not use spoons, but their plain dirty-nailed fingers. Busyong was surprised to find so great a similarity both in the form of the house and in the manner of eating between these people and those of his own country. Presently upon his saluting these inmates with a magandang araw po, a small lean red dog began to bark at him. The man, who was sitting in a squatting posture, turned his face and remained for a few moments staring at Busyong with a little fright mingled with wonder. Unfortunately when the old woman had cleaned her shriveled hands unconsciously with a piece of brown ragged cloth, the dog vomited on it without being noticed by any one of the family. Then with her disheveled hair she stood up to receive Busyong, who was a stranger to them; but the man prevented her from doing so. The man did not appear to understand Busyong, who again bade him a good morning, and so Busyong resolved to talk to him like a mute by signs. Having noticed a large farm not very far from the hut, Busyong beckoned the man, and made signs, asking him who the owner of the field was. The man, who seemed to be a farm laborer, pointed to him the way to the rich farmer's house. Busyong soon left him still staring with a vacant countenance and wide-open mouth.


Busyong had noticed the folly of the old woman when she wiped her hands with the dirty piece of cloth. It was not long after he had started to go that he heard such loud retchings from the hut that he stopped and turned around. He returned anxious to see what the matter was. When he appeared before the entrance of the cottage, he saw the peasant, who kept asking his wife in a compassionate manner what was the matter with her. The man received no answer; for his wife kept on retching so constantly that she thought that, like a sea cucumber, she had everted all her alimentary canal or was going to do so. The poor husband was so perplexed that he did not know what to do with her; sometimes he patted her breast; sometimes he rubbed her back as if he were stroking the bulik sa pula (a cock spotted with white and red, but mostly with red) that was near the ladder of the hut.

Presently, when the peasant saw Busyong observing his action, he drew near to him and said something in a tremulous voice. Busyong explained to the man by motions that the cause of all the trouble was perhaps the vomit of the dog on the piece of cloth. The man hurried to convince himself; and in his great anger he would have killed the poor animal, were it not for Busyong, who stopped him. The husband and the wife, whose convulsions had calmed somewhat, were angry with the dog, and even their little boy, pouting with smeared face, showed his anger by squalling at and whipping the animal; but at the same time the man and the old woman were afraid that Busyong might call an ambulance to take them all to a hospital or police station. In the midst of this excitement Busyong[178] availed himself of the opportunity to "strike when the emotional iron was hot." He exhorted the family concerning the custom of eating with fingers in such a philippic as might have had a very deep impression on the minds of all his hearers if they had understood him.

Busyong then departed, and he said to himself nodding, "Aha, I remember my grandmother often said to me when she would tell me amusing stories that in the vineyard of the Lord there are all sorts of things. I see now that her statement seems to hold good even in this new planet." When he had walked some distance, he looked around him, and took his handkerchief out of a pocket of his coat and with it wiped off the perspiration on his face. Feeling himself warm, he whiffed and said, "I see, this country appears to have the same warm climate as that of my native land. I wonder if the people here are all brown like the farm-laborer and me." After a few minutes' walk he saw a large town at a short distance, and among the small houses he perceived a steep roof which he took for the steeple of the church of the village. The first house he came to in the town was that of the rich farmer. It was a two-storied square wooden structure; in front of it was a small garden, and behind a small orchard. Busyong knocked at the door, and in a few moments a servant appeared.

"Is the farmer in?" Busyong inquired, hardly expecting to be understood. He knew no language but his own, and had to try to get along with that.

"Yes, sir," answered the servant, whose curiosity was awakened by the rather unfamiliar appearance of[179] Busyong, but who seemed to wonder not at all at his speech.

"Tell him, please, that a stranger desires to speak with him."

Without uttering a word, the servant went to comply with Busyong's request.

"Yes, invite him to come in," said the old farmer to his servant. "And, Andoy," he added, "tell Islao to come here to try these new sound assorters."

"Yes, sir," was the boy's reply as he went down the stairs.

The servant first led Busyong before the farmer.

"Here, Islao, see if you can put these new filterers into your ears without discomfort. I've improved on the others considerably, I think," said the old man as Busyong stepped into the room.

"Good morning, sir," said Busyong very respectfully, taking the proffered package and bowing, though he understood not a word.

"Oh! excuse me, sir, excuse me! I mistook you for my son," exclaimed the farmer, but seeing that Busyong was confused he motioned him to sit down, and then drawing from his ears a tiny pair of soft elastic-looking objects, put them back and motioned Busyong to imitate him by applying what was in the package to his own ears. Being naturally very curious and desiring above all things to make a good impression on the inhabitants of this strange planet, Busyong obeyed. But what was his astonishment to find that he now began to understand perfectly what the old man was saying, whom before he had not comprehended in the least, although the old fellow was already well launched[180] on a long exposition. Busyong's understanding began to work at about this point: "You see, I have greatly improved them. There has always hitherto been a sort of buzzing accompaniment. You don't feel any, do you? You understand me perfectly, don't you? I told my son Islao the difficulty could be overcome, But, you see, people have been so accustomed to getting along with the noise that they stopped being impatient at it. But I said since we had all the language sounds assorted and distributed to their proper concept centers, there was no reason why we should not be able to conduct outward the so-to-say 'mechanical' sounds. You understand me perfectly, don't you, sir, and with no buzzing. Is not that so?"

"Yes, truly; but much to my astonishment," replied Busyong, "for a moment ago I did not understand you, and now I do. On our planet I have heard of light or ray filterers that would distribute colors on a sensitive camera plate, but this is the first time I've heard of a language filterer, though I see that it works perfectly. But, sir, I remember that you were very busy when I came in, and now I am bothering you."

"Oh, no, sir; keep your seat, keep your seat, please. This is the time when I attend to visitors; from nine to twelve o'clock in the morning and from three to five o'clock in the afternoon; and even at any other time I am disposed to receive a guest, especially a stranger."

"Thank you, sir. My intrusion is perhaps justifiable by my being a stranger to this planet."

"A stranger to this planet! Will you explain yourself? Otherwise I shall think you are some ghost."

"Why, yes, I'll make myself clear as I can. I arrived[181] here just this morning from the planet Earth. Near the foot of that neighboring mountain I saw the hut of your farm laborer, who showed me your house."

"But how did you come to this planet!"

"By a special balloon which I made myself."

"Oh, yes, I remember now; I remember to have read—I do not recollect the name of the book—that such an aerial voyage from the earth to this planet or vice versa is possible. Oh, please, stay here with us; we shall be very glad to have you remain with us."

"Thank you, sir; yes, I'll stay here. Especially if you will explain to me this wonderful device by means of which I can understand your language and you mine. Now on Earth we have to go to the labor of memorizing a whole dictionary if we wish to converse with a fellow mortal of another nationality."

"Oh, yes; that's very bad. A great loss of time and energy. A long while ago, after we had perfected mechanical talking machines, somebody realized that we were wasting a great amount of time conversing with machinery when we couldn't understand our fellow men. So he set himself to thinking and he soon saw that the difference in languages is not a difference in ideas, but in sounds. So if he could just filter the sound waves as they entered the cranium, he could trust to consciousness to do the rest; for it always responds to phenomena after its own nature, not after the nature of the phenomena that it takes up—as the philosophers had long before proved. But I must stop talking. I want to hear about the Earth. I dare say your planet is much wiser than ours. Ours is very foolish in many ways, as you will see before long." And the farmer[182] got up to order one of his servants to prepare a room for Busyong.

The family of the old man, consisting of a wife and a grown-up son and a young daughter, then spent most of the day in eagerly questioning Busyong about the earth and its inhabitants. Night came on and the farmer remained alone conversing with Busyong beside a window until very late. They were beginning to feel sleepy when a confused noise of stringed instruments was heard from a neighboring house. Busyong soon lost his drowsiness.

"What is that music for? What does it mean at such at an hour as this? 'Tis one o'clock," Busyong said.

"These people are courting a lady, and their cackling is intended to win the love of the maiden—nay, I should say to annoy and disturb the neighbors from their rest; for that's really what they do," replied the old man with indignation. "This custom," he added, "although not widespread in this country, is yet after all very troublesome and indeed very ridiculous also."

"Now, I wonder if these people know the woman for whom they are offering their sacrifices."

"That is another folly about them. That is often the case; these people work hard making a loud noise with their wooden rattles in order to attain their purpose, but they don't have the slightest idea of the real character of the woman for whom they die deliriously; nay, they don't know even how she looks; whether she is ugly and haggard or whether she is like Venus, charming with beauty."

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, O Folly! But let us not fret[183] ourselves at the errors of mankind, for they seem to be natural both to this planet and to that of mine. Hark! who is that singing now so affectedly?"

"That is the head of the band, the Faust. Listen to his fastidious voice and the balder-dash with which it is accompanied."

Silence reigned for a time between the old man and Busyong. Upon hearing no longer the music which had occasioned his remarks the old man said, "Thanks to Dios, I think they are gone. Now let us go to bed. You must be very tired, Busyong. Good night."

"Good night," replied Busyong.

Next morning the old man told his son Islao to take a walk with Busyong around the town. In this exploration, for such did it appear rather than just a mere promenade to Busyong, who was a stranger to the planet, Islao led his friend directly to his large farm of rice. Then they went to the busiest part of the large town, where Busyong was delighted to observe the different kinds of stores—dry goods and hardware. When they came to a very lively street, Busyong found occasion to laugh in his characteristic sarcastic manner at the tremendous numbers of different kinds of signboards, some hanging flat against the doors of the stores, and some sticking out a long distance or even stretching across the entire width of the street. The size of the signboards ranged from the smallest of those which professional men use to the very large ones with which the managers of theaters announce a dramatic performance.

While the two friends were walking slowly along the street, for there were many people out, their attention[184] was very curiously attracted by the appearance of a scrawny young man, who came mincing by them. They stopped beside a telegraph post, while the young man went on, meeting a friend at a short distance, to whom he said, "Hallo, Tetoy (Aniceto). Donde vamus you?" "Hallo, Balatong," replied the friend. The rest of their conversation went on in a low tone in their peculiar dialect. Busyong and Islao overheard only their slipshod greetings.

"Islao, who is that man—that one who wears the hat with a wide ribbon whose colors are light blue and green, and black with white stripes resembling the skin of a skunk?" inquired Busyong.

"What man? Excuse me, I was looking at somebody else," said Islao. "Do you mean that one who wears a bright red, yellow, and green——"

"Crumpled small fish net around his collar I should say; yes, exactly, that one. Who's he?"

"Ha, ha, ha; oh, yes. He is one of the suitors of the girl who lives in front of our house. Balatong, I think is his name."

"Aha, the one who cackled last night, as your father said?"

"I don't know," laughing.

"And that other one with cross eyes, whose trousers are folded up five times, I think, showing his stockings, which are like the tidies of a chair back—who's he?"

"Who? That one who wears broad ribbon-like strings on his shoes? I don't know him. Don't you think he looks like a woman—I mean both of them—with their way of dressing? Aha, one of them—not the cross-eyed—has powder on his face, I think."


"Oh, yes, yes. You know, in my native country in the planet Earth only women are fond of and use such gaudy colors and such kind of stockings; and, indeed, they are only proper for women. But we used to——"

"But that's not all here; the worst is when these people use stockings—as I have had occasion to notice many times—stockings which are elaborately ornamented with the queerest fantastic designs; such as a burning dainty heart, a dove carrying a bunch of dama de noche with its toes—rather, a falcon or vulture I should say—great goodness!—make the dove carry a flower in its claws!"

"Aha, is that so? Why, thanks to goodness, in my native land no such queer people are to be found now, except very, very few. There used to be—but do you know what we call them in pure, simple Tagalog? We call them binabae; that is a bit worse than the English term 'sissy.' But from your own experience, tell me, Islao, what living being other than man have you observed making such a liberal display of gaudy colors in that most affected manner?"

"Why, among plants you mean? Like the parasite with beautifully colored flowers hanging on that window?"

"Well, not so low in the organic world as that," laughing heartily. "I don't mean a plant; I mean——"

"Oh, I get your point. You mean among birds like the gayly colored rooster of that man who is now hawking in that store, don't you?"

"Exactly, upon my wish, you have slipped from your tongue what I was precisely going to say."


"And I think you know why the birds, most especially the males, do have such bright colors."

"Why, yes; I suppose those smart young men have the same view in mind as that of the male birds, and meditate and dream that it is 'not proper at all for a man to be alone,' as, thinking of Priscilla, Miles Standish would say."

"Possibly, possibly," laughing. Islao did not understand the allusion, but he let it pass.

"Now be careful; don't speak loud," whispered Busyong.

Presently the two friends who were the object of Busyong and Islao's rather severe remarks shuffled towards Busyong and Islao, stopping near the telegraph post beside them. The two chums were going to separate when one of them, the cross-eyed, jabbered, "Oh, you teni espijo, ah? Porque? You ajos malo, eh?"

A sudden insuppressible peal of laughter was heard from Busyong and Islao, who soon tried to act as if they did not hear the blunder.

"Cosa ajos? Am no cook as you," said the other grinning over his glasses a little more easily than the first one.

"Cosa esti?" asked the cross-eyed one, pointing to his eyes with his dirty-nailed finger.

"T'at is call 'esquinting eyes.'"

"Ah, yes. Porque got espijo you, esquinting ais?"

"Oh, you don' know its value; t'at is to add weight," erecting his body and raising his low chest, but forgetting that the other had called him cross-eyed.

Their gabble would have lasted longer if it were not for two ladies who passed between them. Balatong, as the[187] young man who wore spectacles was called, started to mince along the busy street, scowling at Busyong and at Islao, who were suppressing their laughter as best they could, as he strutted before them. In a few moments Busyong and Islao began also to move about, and soon kept pace with two bald-headed men who happened to be walking the street in the same direction as theirs. Presently, one of the old men observed Balatong, who was peering at and caressing with a handkerchief one of his tapped shoes which had been stepped upon by a "brat," to use his own expression, as he had struggled along, distorting carefully his body to force a way through an idle crowd. Then in a sarcastic but indignant manner and forgetting what his companion was speaking about, the man said, "Oh, look at that Enigo. See how the lower edge of his long cloak flaps like a sail battered by the wind!"

"No," said the other old man, "that is not a cloak, but a plain coat."

"Well, I thought it was a cloak like those used by the people in the neighboring continent in time of cold weather. That's the reason why I said he was Enigo, for he uses a cloak now when it is warm, and I suppose he would use light clothes when it is cold."

"That is the fashion they say—and the latest one, too."

"Go to, the fashion!"

Meanwhile Busyong nudged Islao and whispered close to his ear, "Did you hear what these old men were talking about?"

Islao nodded, smiling.

Then the two old men climbed into a vehicle very[188] much like a carretela, and drove away. Busyong and Islao went into a saloon of fresh drinks and asked for a refreshment similar to milkshake.

"The owner of this saloon is a woman, according to the signboard at the door," remarked Busyong.

"Yes," said Islao, smiling; "I am sorry to say."

In the meantime Balatong stopped in front of a dry goods store on the opposite sidewalk and began to ruminate on his image as reflected in the glass of a counter, and at times twitched his scrawny body. Busyong and Islao were observing him. After a while a clerk of the store opened the door of the counter and turned a button on the back of a puppet, which hereto had been unnoticed by Balatong. Soon the dainty hands of the puppet, which were raised in front of its small breast, began to move back and forth, especially the delicate fingers, as if the whole figure had come to life. Balatong looked at the doll rather pleased at first. But when he noticed the remarkable similarity of all the clothes of the puppet with his own clothes, he began to be aroused and to feel offended, insomuch that he could not help going into the store to complain. He approached the man who had made the hands of the puppet move and called him to come outside. The man, who thought that he was going to show something on the counter which he wished to buy, followed him obediently. They stuttered in their native tongue, which ran thus in English:

"I think that that puppet is intended to offend me, because it is dressed exactly in the same way as I am; that is, with the same clothes, necktie, and hat, which I bought from this very store some time ago. However,[189] you have willfully—made—the—pup—pup—pup—pet—move its hands in such a way as that—pointing to himself and then to me—that is as much as to say I am a puppet," said Balatong, who began to be angry with the man, who was laughing candidly.

The man went back into the store, shrugging his square shoulders and paying no attention to the complaint of Balatong. Balatong insisted, squalling at the door in an aggressive attitude, "Aren't you goin' to take 'way the puppet from t'at counter?"

"E ko visa," muttered the clerk in his native dialect as he was dusting the chairs in the store.

Presently Busyong and Islao, who all this while had been mute spectators of the fray, came out of the saloon with a view to settle the dispute peacefully and justly, for, after all, they pitied Balatong, who, they thought, had got now into an inextricable strait. Islao, who could speak a little the peculiar dialect of the clerk, addressed the clerk confidentially in his own tongue, asking him what was the matter. The man answered in the same language which Busyong understood thus: "Why, this friend orders me to remove the puppet from that counter; for he says that he is not pleased with it."

"Well, well, is that the whole cause of this fuss?" asked Busyong, smiling.

Meanwhile Balatong was setting forth to Islao earnestly all his complaint with many, many studied complicated movements of both hands and body. Islao waited for him to finish stuttering, for he wanted to talk with him. Then, suspecting from the tone of his voice a smack of Kamkangan blood in Balatong, Islao thought[190] it best to feign comradeship for the sake of persuading him to behave in a more manly way. So, when Balatong had finished jabbering, Islao addressed him in the most friendly manner, saying laconically, "Abe, e ka makisankut ketang é mo balú.[2]"

Upon hearing these words, which he at first pretended not to have understood, Balatong suddenly became excited and perplexed. He gnashed his widely separated teeth, clenched his fists, and looked up into Islao's face with fiery eyes, saying, "Why d'you insult an' curse me? If I ha-have done wron', show me how; an' if not, qua de causa?"

Busyong and Islao smiled pityingly and ironically instead of being offended. On the other hand, bursting into a peal of laughter, the juvenile clerk said jocosely in a sort of Kamkanga dialect the following: "Aroo, our abe is an evangelical man—fine!—nay, he is a priest. How was it?—qua re cosa—ha, ha, ha."

Balatong became the more angry with the clerk inasmuch as he saw that the clerk was poking fun at him.

"I don' want to be the laughing stock of anybody," said Balatong indignantly.

"Don't be touchy, abe," said the clerk in his own dialect.

All of a sudden the exasperated Balatong seized a big stone from the street and dashed it against the glass of the counter, which broke into a thousand pieces. The people of the store and some passers-by were alarmed at the violent action of Balatong. Presently a robust [191]old man came hurriedly shuffling with his wooden shoes towards Balatong, and would have strangled him were it not for the opportune presence of a fat man who was one of the idle crowd that had been gathering at the door of the shop.

The fat man, who was carrying under his arm two large scissors in a folded white coat, interposed himself between the aggressor and Balatong, saying in dialect, "For the sake of our beloved country! Don't behave that way, fellow patriot! Don't, especially with one of the same skin as yours and in whose veins runs the same pure blood as that of yours. For the noblest ideal of our Talukap[3] party, countrymen, bethink yourselves!"

"Surely," replied the old man, whose anger was appeased by the slushy encomium of the intruder. "But this fellow here does not seem to be like a true native of this country, for look at what he has done with that counter, simply because he says he isn't pleased with that puppet there."

"Well, well," said in a friendly manner the intruder as he faced Balatong, "why do you behave that way?"

"Sherup! don' interfere with me; you had better mind only your incisors," retorted Balatong, imitating with his bony fingers the movement of the scissors he meant.

Busyong and Islao suddenly burst into prolonged laughter, while the rest remained silent drivelling with wide-opened mouths as they beheld the two men laughing heartily.


"Do you see! This friend is angry with me according to the tone of his voice. What did he say?" asked the fat man turning towards Busyong and Islao.

Islao nudged Busyong to get him to come out of the store.

"Come, come, let us go home, lest we hurt with our laughing their susceptible feelings, especially of that young dandy—pardon me, I mean doctor," said Islao aside to Busyong when they reached the corner of a street and turned to the left.

"O Momus, son of Mox!" exclaimed Busyong smiling after a short time, "how jocund indeed must you be with the people here!"

"Surely, he must be," said Islao.

"By the way, I remember that the tailor—that is, the fat man—seemed to boast a political party."

"Oh, yes!"

"What is that party?"

"It is called the National Talukap Party. You know, this country is a democracy in name, but an oligarchy in fact, as the people here say, for the government is in the hands of only a very few of the native countrymen; most of the power is in foreign hands. So the Talukap party aims to reverse the condition of things; nay, to have the control of the government wholly in the hands of the people of this country. I am warmly in favor of this policy. But what I do find objectionable in this Talukap party is their affectation and tautology, and their pretension and empty show in their outward conduct. For my part, I believe in doing things silently but effectively. On the other hand, I am not in favor of the other party, which is called the National[193] Kinagisnan Party, whose policy is to be contented slavishly with the present condition of things or with whatever condition for the time being. The people who belong to this Kinagisnan party are very few in comparison with those that belong to the Talukap party. Being in very close contact with the sovereign, the Kinagisnan people are very apt to become flatterers."

"Moreover, the ideal of your Talukap party, I think, becomes less feasible, if not impossible, when you consider these dandies like those two chums over there who are clasping one another by the waist. Indeed, they live in a very peculiar world by themselves."

"And with Momus, I suppose, as their Supreme Being."

"Ha, yes, I should think so, too. But after all they are not to be blamed. Everything goes step by step. Even my native country in the planet Earth has had the same defects practically as these people here. Now I am glad that there in my native land the people, especially the young men, have reached, by education and the bitter lesson of experience, of course, a stage where their old views of the world have become greatly changed, most especially in this respect: now they hate affectation under any form whatever, whether in dress, manners, knowledge or in deeds."

"Why, that is a condition to be envied greatly."

By this time the two friends, Busyong and Islao, were standing in front of the farmer's house. The old man and his wife were awaiting them in order that all might dine together. The rest of the day glided by pleasantly.

Next morning Busyong decided to return to the[194] planet Earth, although the old farmer and his son tried to delay him longer in Jupiter. He promised to come back to them. While in his large balloon, and recollecting vividly all the things he had observed in the country he was leaving, Busyong let his mind run upon the following ancient lines:

"Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!"

Just then he remembered with a start that when he had begun to crank his balloon he had taken out his sound assorters and laid them on the edge of the car. He had wanted to hear the familiar noise without distribution in order to feel that all was safe. And now when he looked for those precious assorters he could not find them. They must have fallen overboard. And worst of all, he had neglected to get the whole explanation from the Jupiterite.

—Manuel Candido.

III. Tale of Scientific Discovery and Mechanical Invention

Beginning in imaginary voyages

Tales of scientific discovery and mechanical invention appeal to us as being extremely modern. Yet the essential elements had a beginning at least two centuries and a half ago. The quality of the marvelous is easy enough to trace; and the logicalness hardly less so. We find[195] both in the imaginary voyages. De Bergerac discovers that he can lift himself from the earth by the expansion of phials of dew affixed to his person, and from this experiment he goes on to invent an elastic machine which bears him to the moon. Klim, too, arrives at his wonderful adventures by a scientific beginning: he sets out to explore a rocky orifice in the Weathercock Mountain, and causes himself to be let down by a rope. The rope snaps, and he is precipitated into an intra-terrestrial astral system, where he begins immediately to revolve around a planet Azar, his biscuits which he had attempted to throw away performing meanwhile an orbit around his own body. He alights, of course, finally by accident, and goes on with his governmental experiences.

Difference one of emphasis

These learned elements in the imaginary voyages point definitely to our modern stories. The difference lies in the emphasis: our modern stories are severely and consistently logical, and interest centers in the machine or the scientific theory. The reader does not ask to go on long journeys to see chimeras, but he asks to see ultra-logical man. He does not encourage the author in being satiric; he wants him to be inventive, to be more ingenious than the race has been. The reader wants the author to show him what man would be if he were consistently progressive and wise, what he would come to if he worked day and night at his science and applied what he learned,—indeed, what he already knows. For it is an open secret in the scientific world that there is hardly a wonderful modern machine that is not an almost foolishly simple application of a well-known[196] law. Take our marvelous future trains, for instance, that are to run on one rail and be as wide and commodious as houses—they are but to follow a principle that every school-boy sees in operation when he spins a top. I dare say, if some person would only write a story telling us where to affix the wheel and the balance, we might convert our present houses into private Pullmans, as it were, that could at any time transport us, family and all, with everyone of our personal and familiar conveniences intact therein, to any spot we chose, the only extra expense to us for each trip being a slight rent for wheel space for the time that we were running over the single-rail track that led thitherward.

Essential elements

Shading off from the imaginary voyage type, therefore, is this modern one which I have designated by the somewhat long title, tales of scientific discovery and mechanical invention. By this title I mean to distinguish stories in which the occurrences, though startling, are perfectly logical in sequence, granted the premise—extraordinary, but not improbable under the conditions set forth. The words discovery and mechanical express the fact that the sustaining structure of a story such as these is often some invention superimposed upon modern science. In the use of electricity, for instance, the characters in the narrative go one step further than Mr. Edison; in the construction and operation of the flying-machine, several steps further than the Wright brothers; in the discovery of elements, someone finds something more useful and of greater power than radium; or, after long experimenting, he mixes a paint so black or so white[197] that the object beneath it becomes invisible; and so on and so on—but all plausible, all with precise truth-likeness.

Stories of this type

Many of our present-day magazine stories are of this type. Of the earlier modern, the "Diamond Lens" by Fitz-James O'Brien is interesting. "The Spider's Eye" is still sometimes read. "The Life Magnet" is well known. A burlesque verse tale of mechanical invention is "The Wonderful One Hoss Shay" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The prince of all ingenious story-tellers, however, is Frank R. Stockton.

To construct a narrative of this class, you must of course first get your underlying theory. Experiments in the chemical and physical laboratory will afford many a starting point. They will at least suggest the realm in which to proceed. Astronomy, meteorology, geology, mechanics, mineralogy, geometry, optics, domestic science even,—select a simple problem in any of these and begin to imagine.

Suggestions on how to write the type

After you have the starting point, it is a good idea to fix your goal. Where should you like to go, what should you like to do, what powers should you like to have above those of your fellows? Do you wish to overcome the restrictions of distance, absence, darkness, death, birth, poverty, the past, the future, the present?

With these points of your theory settled, you must then look to the course of events. Shall the incidents befall you while discovering or while applying the scientific fact, while constructing or while working your machine? Shall you be looking forward or shall you be looking back upon the events? Next you must[198] find the point of greatest stress. The climax of a story with the first alternative will evidently be reached at the culmination of the inventor's labors; with the second alternative, at the most exciting adventure in the use of the machine or in the direct application of the scientific fact.

The logical close of the story is in both cases the disappearance of the machine or the scientist; but you will be repaid by thinking carefully over this matter and being here as elsewhere as ingenious and original as you can.

Your deductions must appear to be sound. Of course, your reasoning may have to be largely specious and in the gross, as it were, unless you are a better inventor than the inventors. But you have this advantage over the practical man: you can avoid the greater difficulties by keeping silent about them; and for actual achievement you can substitute assertion. You must seem on the surface, however, to be perfectly logical. The reader will not question you too closely, if you are only spirited and entertaining. But the next is a point that you must note without fail.

If the reader's interest in any particular part of your narrative will depend upon an understanding of a bit of mechanism or a scientific theory, you must be careful to supply the information beforehand. However trite to a mechanic or a scientist the principle may be, you must not assume that the casual reader knows it. He probably does not know it, or if he does, more than likely he has forgotten it. On the other hand, you must not appear to be self-assertively instructing him. What you can do is this: you can politely seem[199] to be recalling something to his memory, and can thus make the point clear, so that your future use of it will not fall flat.

To add a semblance of reality, it will be permissible to employ a few technical terms; but these also must be indisputably clear in meaning, and their use must not be pedantic. You should study, however, to put into the mouths of your characters the vocabulary that would be actually used by the kind of people you represent.

Genial humor is a fine asset to a writer of this type of narrative. If you can be artistically serious and philosophically gay at the same time you will not fail to please. The relationship of stories of scientific discovery and mechanical invention to imaginary voyages is testified to by the reader's expectation of a display of wit. But in the scientific, ridicule is softened down to genial logic. Although the aim in this kind of narrative is good construction rather than character-sketching, yet every neat touch of portraiture that you can add will help draw your composition away from the mere exercise and toward the literary production.

If you should choose your theory in the realm of art, you would by that very choice raise your story above the ordinary—I mean to say, of course, you would if you knew anything about art. Mr. Alexander Wilson Drake knows a great deal about art and has given us, besides many other beautiful surprises in Saint Nicholas and the Century, some narratives embodying exquisite theories of shadow and color.



The Curious Vehicle

Reprinted by permission of the Century Company.

It was midnight in early December. A dense silver mist hid the sleeping city, the street-lamps gave a faint yellow glimmer through the almost impenetrable gloom, the air was like the cold breath from the dying, the fog hanging in great drops on my clothing. Stray policemen had taken refuge in sheltering doorways, and my own footsteps echoed with unfamiliar and uncanny sound down the long street—the only sound that broke the midnight stillness, save the hoarse whistles of wandering and belated ferryboats on the distant river.

As I emerged from a narrow street into the main thoroughfare, my shivering attention was attracted to a curious covered vehicle standing in the bright glare of an electric light. It was neither carriage nor wagon, but an odd, strongly made affair, painted olive green, with square windows in the sides, reaching from just above the middle of the roof, and a smaller window in the back near the top. On each side of the middle window were two panels of glass. From the middle window only a dim light shone, like the subdued light from a nurse's lamp. On the seat in front, underneath a projecting hood, sat a little old black[201] man wrapped in a buffalo-robe and a great fur coat partly covered with a rubber cape or mackintosh, and with a fur cap pulled down over his ears. The horse was heavily blanketed, and also well protected with rubber covers. Both man and beast waited with unquestioning patience. Both seemed lost in reverie or sleep.

With chattering teeth I stood, wondering what could be going on in that queer box-like wagon at that time of night. The silence was oppressive. There stood the dimly lighted wagon; there stood the horse; there sat the negro—and I the only observer of this queer vehicle.

I stepped cautiously to the side of the wagon, and listened. Not a sound from within. Shivering and benumbed, I, too, like the policemen, took refuge in a doorway, and waited and watched for some sound or sign from that mysterious interior. I was too fond of adventure to give it up. It seemed to me that hours passed and I stood unrewarded. Just as I was reluctantly leaving, much chagrined to find that I had waited in vain, I saw, thrown against the window for a few moments only, a curious enlarged shadow of a man's head. It seemed to wear a kind of tam-o'-shanter, below which was a shade or visor sticking out beyond the man's face like the gigantic beak of a bird. A mass of wavy hair and beard showed underneath the cap. Suddenly the shadow disappeared, much to my disappointment, and although I watched in the fog and dampness for half an hour longer, it did not again appear.

I wandered home, puzzled and speculating, but determined that I would wait until morning if I were ever fortunate enough to come across the vehicle again. Weeks passed before the opportunity occurred, and even then, had it not been for a very singular incident, I doubt if I should[202] ever have fathomed the mystery of the curious vehicle.

It was Christmas eve, the night bitterly cold. I had clothed myself in my thickest ulster. My feet were incased in arctics, my hands in warm fur gloves, and with rough Scotch cap I felt sure I could brave the coldest night. Thus equipped, I started out, and when I returned at midnight in the beginning of a whirling, almost blinding snowstorm, the Christmas chimes were ringing, and the whole air seemed filled with Christmas cheer.

Turning a corner, I discovered the vehicle in the same place and position. This time, as I had before resolved, I would wait until morning if necessary. So I began pacing up and down the sidewalk in front of the vehicle, taking strolls of five or ten minutes apart, and then returning. I walked until I was almost exhausted. In spite of my heavy ulster I began to feel chilly, so I again took refuge in the doorway of a building opposite.

Should I give it up, I asked myself, after waiting so long? I stood debating the question. No, I would wait a little longer; so, puffing my pipe, I shivered, and watched for developments. At last I was about determined that I must go or perish, when suddenly I saw through the blinding snow the shadow of a pair of hands appear at the dimly lighted window, adjusting a frame or inner sash. You can imagine my interest in the proceedings.

Just at this moment a street sparrow, numb with the cold, and crowded from a window-blind by its companions, dropped, half falling, half flying, to the sidewalk directly in front of the window of the vehicle. It sat blinking in the bright rays of the electric light, quite bewildered, turning its little head first one way, then the other. In the meantime the shadows of the two hands were still visible. The[203] sparrow, probably attracted by the light and the movement of the hands, suddenly flew up, not striking the glass, but hovering with a quick motion of the wings directly in front of the window, its magnified shadow thrown on it by the rays of the electric light. Then the bird dropped to the ground. The occupant was evidently much startled by the large shadow coming so suddenly and at such a time of night. The shadow of his hands quickly disappeared, and so did the frame. In another moment the door of the vehicle opened, giving me a glimpse of a cozy and remarkable interior. It seemed, in contrast with the cold and storm without, filled with warmth and sunshine. It was like a pictorial little room rather than the inside of a wagon or carriage. The occupant looked out in a surprised, excited, and questioning way, as much as to say, "What could that have been?" His whole manner implied that he had been disturbed.

This was my opportunity, and, seizing it instantly, I walked boldly to the door of the vehicle, and said, "It was a little sparrow benumbed with the cold, that fluttered down to the sidewalk, where it lay for a moment, until, probably attracted by the light, it hovered for a few seconds before your window, then fell to the ground again."

I felt the man eying me intently, studying me with a most searching glance. Was he in doubt as to my sincerity? Was it a hidden bond of sympathy between us that made him suddenly relent and invite me to enter his vehicle? What else could have prompted him? For my own part, I instinctively felt for the man, without knowing why, a deep pity.

"Please step inside," he said; "it is cold."

And so, at last, I was really admitted, invited into the[204] little interior—that little interior which had piqued my curiosity for so long a time. Yes, I was admitted at last, and now had a chance to look about, and to study the general appearance of the occupant as he moved over for me to sit beside him on the roomy, luxurious seat. What a curious personality! He was a tall, raw-boned man of strong character. His soft, gray beard and hair made a marked contrast to the dark surroundings. Now I understood the shadow which I had seen thrown on the window for a few seconds. He wore a tam-o'-shanter cap, and beneath it, to protect his eyes from the lamp-light, a large visor, or shade, which threw his entire face into deep shadow, giving him the look of a painting by an old master. He had on a loose coat of some rough material.

Surely the interior of no conveyance could be more interesting than this. In the front, just back of the driver, were two square windows with sliding wooden shutters, and between the two was a little square mirror. Above these was a rod, from which hung a dark-green cloth curtain which could be drawn at will. Underneath was a chest, or cabinet, of shallow drawers filling the entire width of the carriage, with small brass rings by which to pull them out. On top of this cabinet stood several clear glass jars half filled with pure water. There were two or three oil-lamps with large shades hung in brackets with sockets like steamer-lamps, only one of which was lighted. Underneath the seat was a locker. On the floor of the conveyance, along its four sides, were oblong bars of iron, and in the center was a warm fur rug. One side only of the carriage opened. On the side opposite the door was a rack reaching from the window to the floor, in which stood six or eight light but strongly made frames, over which was stretched[205] the thinnest parchment-like paper. The top of the vehicle was tufted and padded. The prevailing color was dark green. In shape it was somewhat longer and broader than the usual carriage. There was a small revolving circular ventilator in front, over the mirror, which could be opened or closed at will, and which could also be used by the occupant for conversing with the driver.

The man arose, and, opening the ventilator, told the coachman to drive on. Meanwhile I enjoyed the wonderful effect of the little interior—its rich gloom, the strong light from the shaded lamp which was thrown over the floor, the bright electric light gleaming through the falling snow into the window on my left.

The night, being so disagreeable, made the interior seem very bright and comfortable by contrast, as the man closed the sliding wooden shutters, separating us entirely from the snowstorm without. There was an artificial warmth which I could not understand, and with it all a sense of security and coziness. The stranger's manner was both gentle and reassuring. We rode in silence over the rough pavement until we reached the smooth asphalt. Then he began:

"I do not consider myself superstitious, but somehow I don't like it—that little bird hovering in front of my window. It seems like a bad omen, and it was a shadow which startled me. My life seems haunted with shadows, and they always bring misfortune to me."

We were both silent for a time, when he went on: "How curious life is! Here am I riding with you, a total stranger, long past midnight. You are the first I have ever admitted into this wagon, with the exception of my faithful Cato, who is driving. If one could only see[206] from the beginning how strangely one's life is to be ordered."

The stranger's voice was rich and deep. I hoped he would continue so that I might get some idea of him and his peculiar mode of life, and what was going on night after night in this interior. I waited for him to proceed.

"Have you known trouble or sorrow in your life?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied; "I have lost nearly all who were dear to me in this round world."

"Then," said he, "I will tell you my story with the hope that it will be both understood and appreciated. I loved from childhood a charming girl, sweet and pure. I need not go into the detail of all that boyish love, but in my early manhood and her early womanhood we were married—and what a sweet bride she was!

"We lived in an old white farmhouse in a village near the great city—a beautiful place, a long, low, two-story-and-attic, farmhouse, probably fifty or sixty years old. How well I can see it—its sloping roof, the extension, the quaint doorway with side-lights and with a window over the top, the front porch with graceful shaped newels, the long piazza running the entire length of the extension, great chimneys at each end, and enormous pine-trees in front of the house! The house stood on a little elevation, with terraced bank, and with a pretty fence inclosing it. Beyond was an old well with lattice-work sides and door, and a pathway trodden by the foot of former occupants, long since dead. In front of the house were circular beds of old-time flowers—sweet-williams, lady's-slippers, larkspur, and foxglove. At the rear, great banks of tiger-lilies threw their delicate blue shadows against the white surface[207] of our little home. In one corner of our garden we had left the weeds to grow luxuriantly, like miniature forest trees, and found much pleasure in studying their beautiful forms. How fine they looked in silhouette against the sunset sky! On one side of the old-fashioned doorway were shrubs and a rose-of-Sharon tree, and on the other, honeysuckle and syringa-bushes. There were also many kinds of fruit and shade-trees.

"How happily we walked up and down the shady lanes of that little village! For us the birds sang sweetly. We took delight in our flowers and everything about us. In the evening we would enjoy the sunsets, returning home arm in arm in the afterglow, to sit in the cool of the evening on the piazza and to listen to the wind as it sighed through the pines. What music they made for us! We compared it with what poets of all ages had sung of them, and went to sleep, lulled to rest by the wind through their soft boughs."

He paused again, evidently thinking of the happy time.

"How can I tell you," he resumed, "of the life that went on in that simple old farmhouse? Our pleasant wood-fire on the hearth; a few photographs from the old masters on the walls; our favorite books of poetry and fiction, which we read together during the long winter evenings, while the pine-trees sighed outside, and all was so comfortable and cozy within; or the lovely walks in spring and summer, through the byways of the pretty little village, with its hedgerows, blackberries, and wild flowers. How we watched for the first violets, and what joy the early blossoms gave us! What pleasure we took in those delightful years, and how smoothly our lives ran on! Each day I went to the city, and was always cheered by the thought[208] that my sweet wife would be at the station to meet me. How pure she looked in the summer evening, clad in her thin white dresses, with a silver fan and brooch, her dark hair and eyes like those of a startled fawn!

"Well, I need not dwell longer on all this. It was only for a few short years, when one cruel, cold day, about the happy Christmas-time, she was taken ill, and grew steadily worse, and all that could be done for her would not save her. She died. I can see her now—her dark hair laid back on the pillow, and the peaceful, happy smile on her face. We buried her beneath the snow, in the old graveyard overlooking the river, and I went home broken-hearted."

I heard the poor fellow sigh, and for a time he was silent as the carriage went on through the snow. "What can be the connection of this queer craft with what he is telling me?" I thought. When he resumed, he said:

"For months I tried to live on in the little house, but life became terrible. In the evenings, as I sat by the pleasant log-fire, I would imagine I heard her footsteps on the stairs, and her voice calling me. I did my best to conquer my grief, but it was of no use. The light seemed gone out of my life. At last I could stand it no longer, and I moved all my worldly possessions to another house in the same village. I could not bear to think of going away from the place entirely.

"When the springtime came again, and the lovely flowers were in bloom, and the birds were singing their sweet songs; when the wind breathed softly through the pine-trees, and she was gone, the sunsets were in vain, and all nature seemed mourning. After this I busied myself with all kinds of occupation, but without success. Life became[209] sadder and sadder, until finally in despair I took a foreign trip. I traveled far and wide, but always with the same weary despondency and gloom. The image of my loved one was always with me. Nothing in life satisfied me. I wandered through country after country, looking at the old masters, grand churches, listening to cathedral music, but always before me was the same picture—the old, white farm-house, the great mournful pines, and with it all the memory of the sweet life now departed, for which nothing could make amends."

Then he was silent, and as we drove over the soft, snow-covered asphalt he became absorbed in thought.

"After a year or so of restless travel I drifted back to my own country and to the little village. Night after night I wandered around the empty house where we had lived, and through the little garden, and would stand at midnight listening to the sad sighing of the wind through the pine-trees, which to me sounded like a requiem for the dead. Many a moonlight night have I stood gazing into the windows, and imagined her looking out at me as in the happy days of old, and I would walk up and down the path thinking, oh, how sadly! of the times we used to return by it from our evening walks.

"Finally the little village became hateful to me. I could endure it no longer, and I shook its dust from my feet. With reluctance I moved away into the heart of the great city, but with the same longing in my heart—the same despair. I hunted up my two faithful black servants who had lived with us for several years. I bought a house in the old part of the city, and there we now live, and I am well cared for by them. Let me read you portions of a letter from her—one of the last she wrote," and he took[210] from his pocket a little morocco book with monogram in silver script letters. He rose and asked the driver to stop, and, turning the light up, said: "This will give you some idea of the sweet life, with its love of nature, that went on in and about that little cottage. The letter was written to me when I was in another city." He read as follows:

"My dear, I can hardly tell you how lovely the shadows looked as I strolled around our little house this evening, and was filled with delight by their beautiful but evasive forms. To begin with, you remember the exquisite, almost silhouette, shadow of the rose-of-Sharon bush by the front door. I gave it a long study to-night. Its fine, decorative character reminded me of a Japanese drawing, only it is far more delicate and subtle. If this could be painted in soft gray on the door-posts and around the little side windows, how it would beautify our plain dwelling, and what a permanent reminder it would be of our delightful summer days!

"But if I spend too much time on a single shadow, I shall have no room left to tell you of the greater ones we have enjoyed together.... From the path near the gate, and looking toward the house, I saw to-night, and seemed to feel for the first time, the wonderful tenderness of the great shadow which nearly covers the end and side of our home. How mysterious our kitchen became, with its shed completely inclosed in velvety gloom, suggesting both sorrow and tragedy; while the other end of the house was covered with fantastic forms, soft and ethereal, and with a delicacy indescribable.... But when the moon came up, and the soft shadows of the pines were cast on the pure white weather-boards of our little home,—the shadows of our own pines, the pines we love so well, and through whose[211] branches we have heard music sweet and low, soft and sad,—then I thought of you as I studied their masses tossing so gently, their movement almost imperceptible, and I longed for you as I studied their moving forms, their richness, variety, and texture—for you tell me of their artistic beauty—your delicate, poetic appreciation of their loveliness.... And at last, may the sun and moon shine brightly and cast beautiful shadows among and over the tombstones for you and for me, my dear, and may a blessed hope make the sunset of life glorious for us both."

When he had finished reading, and had asked the driver to drive on, he became absorbed and silent, and I thought, "How strange to be riding through the streets of the city after midnight in a whirling snow-storm with a stranger, in a vehicle so remarkable, listening to such a pathetic love-story, such a beautiful description of quiet domestic life." It was a charming idyl.

"You can get an idea from this," he said, "of the delightful, contented life which went on in the little cottage," and he sat holding the book in his hands as though he were living it all over again, while the bright silver script monogram gleamed and glistened on the cover until he turned down the light, and for a time we drove over the smooth asphalt in utter silence.

"Do you wonder," he suddenly asked, "that the shadow of that little bird has caused me uneasiness, and yet do you not see that almost the last letter she wrote to me was filled with omens, shadows? It is but natural that I should have some feeling about it—and yet, why should I care? I have only myself and my two old servants who could be affected by it, bad or good. For myself, my only desire is to live long enough to complete my work; then I am[212] both ready and willing to go. I shall welcome death with delight."

I had become so absorbed in his story that I had forgotten all about my surroundings; but now as he paused I again asked myself what strange connection had this sad story, and the letter, and all that he had been telling me, with the wagon; for I was sure that in some queer way the story would help to explain it all.

"While in Europe," he went on, "I studied the old masters a great deal, particularly the halos and nimbuses surrounding the heads of the saints. I cannot begin to tell you how interesting they became to me. I was struck with the exquisite workmanship bestowed on many of them, but fine as they were, they never came up to my idea of what a halo should be. As my loved one was so pure and gentle, I always thought of her as a saint (and indeed she is such), and I would become interested and imagine what kind of halo I would surround her with if I were painting her—not one of the halos of the old masters seemed fine enough or ethereal enough for her. I had always been fond of art, and had been considered a fair amateur artist. One evening after I had moved to the city, and while riding in a cab (oh, how gloomy!) on a snowy evening something like this very night, I looked through the window at an electric light, and there I saw the loveliest halo, in miniature. Such tints! A heavenly vision! I thought of the old masters, of the beautiful Siena Madonnas, and with sudden joy I thought: Why should I not paint the image of her I love? Why should I not clothe her in Madonna-like robes, with a halo which could come only out of the nineteenth century? Why should she not have a halo far outshining and far surpassing in beauty halo[213] ever painted by mortal man?' I rode nearly the whole night through, evidently to the despair of the driver, as I repeatedly asked him to stop opposite electric lights and street-lamps.

"From that day I had a new purpose in life. I had this wagon built just as you see it. For months I thought of it. Over and over again I drew my plans before the vehicle was actually constructed. Then I began my work. Old Cato, who is driving, sits night after night, unmindful of the cold, wrapped in his great fur coat, and he waits and I work through the midnight hours to conceive and make real the new Madonna."

What a strange, subtle connection the whole thing had, as he suddenly tapped on the small window and we stopped directly in front of an electric light! As he opened the sliding shutter I saw, through the frosted window and the feathery snow, such a vision of loveliness—a little halo that could scarcely be described in words. It was like a miniature circular rainbow, intensified and glorified by the glittering rays of the penetrating electric light.

"What could be more beautiful than that? Isn't it exquisite?" he asked. "Did ever painted saint have a halo like that?"

I held my breath, for I had never seen anything so beautiful.

"I have worked at it for a long time. I have not yet accomplished it, but I hope to. I am coming nearer to it every night in which I can work. There are not many during the winter; the conditions of atmosphere and temperature must be just right. On foggy nights, or when the air is filled with light, flying snow—these are the nights in which the little halos glow around the electric lights,[214] street-lamps, and lights in show-windows. Oh," he said, "they fill me with a happiness and delight I cannot describe, as I try all kinds of experiments to transfix the beautiful colors of their delicate rays!

"Let me show you," he went on, and he lifted one of the frames which I have already described, covered with a thin parchment-like paper. This he carefully buttoned to a groove in the window. On the surface of the stretched parchment the little halo glowed with its prismatic tints, and again I held my breath at the beauty of it. I, too, was becoming a halo-worshiper. Then he lifted from the rack on the side, and held up to the light, first one and then another of the frames, on the parchment surface of which he had actually traced lines of color, against the gloom beyond, radiating lines crossing and re-crossing, glowing with rainbow tints seen through and against the window.

"Do you know anything of Frankenstein's wonderful Magic Reciprocals, sometimes called Harmonic Responses?"[4] he asked. "How I longed for his marvelous power, so that I might experiment with them. But they were far beyond my skill, and also, perhaps, too scientific [215]and geometric for my purpose; and so I was forced to discard them and begin afresh in my own way. I have had reasonable success, although I have not yet reached the purity of color nor the brilliancy that I wish. I do not know that mortal man ever can. I have tried all sorts of experiments—lines of silver crossed with lines of gold; prismatic threads of silk; and now I have abandoned them all, and am beginning again, perhaps for the fortieth time. But if I am only able to do it, nothing can give me greater happiness. I can close my eyes in peace at last."

After he had shown me his experiments, he removed the little frame from the window, closed the sliding shutter on the side, and, turning the circular ventilator, asked the driver to drive on.

"Now for an extended view," he said, and he opened the shutter of one of the front windows, and then of the other on each side of the mirror. What a vista of loveliness! A long perspective of glowing halos, vanishing down the street through the flying snow, until they were mere specks of light in the distance. The whole atmosphere was filled with circular rainbows, and again he dwelt on their beauty.[216] They glowed with ultramarine, with delicate green, with gold and silver, and like light from burnished copper, and our little vehicle seemed a moving palace of delight as we drove on through the blinding storm. Turning into one of the narrower streets, away from the electric lights, we saw the long line of receding gas-lamps, each with its softly subdued nimbus, and he said in a low and gentle voice, almost a whisper, "The street of halos."

When he had closed the shutters again he said, "Let me show you my cabinet of colors and working tools." He pulled out a shallow drawer, and there, on small porcelain plaques (the kind used by water-color painters), side by side, in regular order, was every shade of red, from the faintest pink to the deepest crimson. He opened the next drawer, and instead of the red was an arrangement of blues, from delicate turquoise to deepest ultramarine. In the third drawer was an arrangement of yellows, running from Naples to deepest cadmium.

"I deal in primary colors," he said, "for what would you paint rainbows in but red, blue, and yellow?"

Then he opened the fourth drawer, and there, laid with precision, were long-handled brushes from the finest sable (mere pin-points) up to thick ones as large as one's finger. There were flat ones and round ones, short ones and long ones. As he opened the fifth drawer, "For odds and ends," he said. This was a little deeper than the others, and in it were sponges fine and coarse, erasers, scrapers, and boxes of drawing-tacks of various sizes. In the last drawer were soft white rags and sheets of blotting-paper of assorted sizes.

After he had shown me the contents of the cabinet he said, "I have been quite disturbed by the shadow of that[217] little bird. Will you join me in a glass of old sherry?" He opened the locker underneath the seat, and brought out an odd-shaped bottle, which he unscrewed, handing me a small, thistle-shaped glass and a tin box containing crackers.

"It is a bad night," he said, "a very bad night. I feel it, even with the warmth of this interior. Those long bars of iron are filled with hot water, which usually keeps me very warm."

Then he passed through the ventilator, to the driver, some crackers and sherry. After he had closed it, and put away the bottle, box, and glasses, we both mused a long time, the halo-painter completely lost in reverie, and I thinking of the undying love of such a man—a man who could love but one, and for whom no other eyes or voice could ever mean so much. With him love was an all-absorbing passion. He had given his heart without reserve, and for him no other love could ever bloom again. I thought of him sitting, night after night, in his solitary vehicle working at the halo—a new halo which should surround the head of her he loved. I thought of him in the lonely early morning hours, working at a nimbus which was far to outshine in beauty and delicacy any painted or dreamed of by God-fearing saint-painters of old.

He opened the shutters, and the light from the lamp began to grow dimmer as the early morning light shone faintly through the windows. I noticed the deep furrows of care and sorrow which marked his strong, pathetic face, purified by suffering and lighted by divine hope—the face of one who lived in another world, and for whom all of life was centered in his ideal—one who was in the world, but not of it.


As he bade me good-by, his face beamed in the early Christmas morning light with indescribable tenderness; and as the little wagon with its faithful old black driver disappeared through the snow, I thought again and again of the beautiful, touching love of the man who would sit night after night trying to realize his dream of beauty, to clothe in the garb of a saint the form of her he loved.

—Alexander W. Drake.

The Spyglass of the Past

It is possible for a man to have two hobbies. Dr. Aukirt demonstrated the fact. No one would have thought that the quiet man, who was so often poring over the Egyptian cases at the British Museum, was an optician; but then the truth is apt to be unsuspected. He used to say that it was all a mistake—that he was an explorer pure and simple, but that he explored the past and the heavens instead of the forest and rivers. At any rate, an archeologist he was, and a noted one too, or the British government would not have put him at the head of the expedition to excavate the ruins of Karnac, that greatest of all temples.

The men had gone to their camp as usual, but Dr. Aukirt remained behind. During the day an interesting inscription had been uncovered, and the moon shone in among the pillars of Karnac before the explorer thought of leaving the scene of the day's work. As he turned to go, he noticed a slight movement at his feet, and stopped. A tiny stream of sand was sliding slowly into a crevice between two stones in the pavement, and was disappearing beneath him. He seized a pick and[219] at length was able to dislodge the block. A flight of steps led down into the darkness. He soon stood at the foot of the stairway with the wealth of his discovery about him. The light from his pocket lamp was reflected from the thousands of silver points in the ceiling of lapis lazuli and from the porphyry pillars with their exquisite capitals of lotus leaves. Under a frieze of small windows was a divan with the imprint of a head so plainly visible in the draperies that it seemed as though the sleeper must have but just arisen, but the fabric crumbled to dust under the Doctor's hand.

At the other side of the room was a table, evidently a student's desk, with a litter of writing materials and curious instruments. Across an unfinished papyrus lay a brass tube with a lens at each end. Dr. Aukirt picked up the strange telescope and instinctively applied it to his eye, although he was convinced that he should be unable to see anything, for the body of the glass was a double curve, like a much elongated S. But as he pointed the lens toward the divan, a priestly figure seemed to be sleeping there, and this room brightened, light streamed in through the windows which had been hidden by the sand of hundreds of years. The Doctor looked up; everything was dusty and deserted.

When he reached the open air again, he saw that the sun was rising away at the rim of the desert; and once more he looked through the new-found spy-glass. The surface of the Nile that had been so peaceful a moment ago, was aswarm with boats. Figures of dusky slaves with sad Hebraic features passed and repassed with their burdens. He turned to the ruin which he[220] had just left, and beheld a stately temple with the sunbeams flashing from its carved and polished façade.

The puzzled and astonished archeologist went to his tent with his treasures, the papyrus and the glass, and for weeks he studied them that he might learn to use the instrument. Sometimes it seemed to him as though his search were to be rewarded, but the truth constantly eluded him, although by a smaller and smaller margin, or so he was pleased to think. One day he brought his glass once more to the banks of the Nile near Karnac. Victory seemed very near just now. Carefully he opened the instrument to its full extent—and saw a savage people warring with each other on the peaceful river bank. Then came a stronger tribe, and then a stronger still, until at length he saw the mighty procession of the Pharaoh coming to inspect the temple of Karnac. He saw the rise and fall of nations: the slow march of the ages passed before his vision like the gliding of a dream. The Egyptian had written truth: "I have made an instrument which will gather up the scattered and tangled images of the past, and focus them upon the present."

Appalled at the magnitude of his discovery, Dr. Aukirt stood in silence, and then the thought came, "Victory is not complete, the instrument can be so adjusted as to presage the future." He made what seemed to him the necessary changes; but when he attempted to look through his glass again, there was no light; the lens was broken.

—Hazel Adelle Orcutt.


Up a Water-Spout

I was a poor, hard-working sailor on a fishing smack plying between Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. My parents before me had been of scanty means, living from hand to mouth, and I was compelled early in life to provide for myself. Naturally, I had little education; that is, education from books; but if traveling possesses half the advantages attributed to it in that line, I own I must be the best educated man—I say this with all modesty—on this small globe of ours.

Once a year the captains of the several boats with their respective crews made a more extended trip down the coast for pickerel. This year with the usual company of fishing-craft we sailed southward toward the Bahamas.

Favorable winds hastened our journey until at a point just off Cape Fear we ran into a dead calm. For four days we never moved. The heat was scorching. The boards warped and cracked, and not even a flapping sail indicated the slightest disturbance in the air. All the boats had dropped anchor within hailing distance of each other, so with the aid of the dories to carry us around from one ship to another we passed the time quite agreeably.

On the fifth morning, however, a thick rim of cloud covered the western horizon and seemed to be moving rapidly toward us. Almost in the center of this cloud projected a small point of mist. It grew and widened, then shrank back to half its size, finally running down a long, slender finger until it reached the water. Instantly foam and spray began to rise, and we knew that[222] we were in the path of a water-spout. All anchors had been hoisted and the captains were giving hoarse orders to put on every inch of sail. But there seemed to be an upper current that was carrying that water-spout right among us; yet we were still becalmed and helpless.

As it approached it grew in circumference into a huge column of water, foaming and swirling in a horrible manner. Every man rushed for the cabin. We tightly closed the doors and windows. Then—we waited. The boat gave a sharp twist as we entered the whirling pool, and a great wave passed over us.

Silently we sat there expecting the boat to be swamped and broken into bits. But this is far from what really took place; for after the first shock, we felt the boat to be rising. Trembling and cautious we peeped out of the window. All the other boats were circling around in the air near us, and were rising too. We seemed to be surrounded by a hollow cylinder of water, also rising like ourselves. It seemed impossible, and yet we were forced to recognize the fact that we were inside the water-spout, and the suction that was drawing up the water, had picked our vessel up bodily and was carrying us—where? Where, indeed? Miles we went. Finally we left behind the column of water which had been growing thinner and thinner, and we passed swiftly through clouds and mists. Gradually these cleared away and the earth came into view. For three months our journey lasted. We wandered here and there over the earth wherever currents bore us. Luckily, we had an extraordinarily large supply of provisions on board.

One day we saw a dim speck in the distance and the watch involuntarily cried out, "A sail." We laughed,[223] but sure enough, within a few hours, another boat wheeled up along side. We had no way of stopping, so our communication was short. It was found out that they had met the same fate as we, and had, like us, probably been reported at home as lost at sea. They said that if by any chance we should return to earth, we should tell their friends that they were quite happy, only, were weary of such constant travel, but must continue it, they supposed, unless sometime in their course they might come upon another water-spout to afford them a passage to earth again. And I might add here, if we had not been thus fortunate, we should still be journeying monotonously through the heavens.

But the circumstance of all our trip that I felt would interest you most, is the fact that we saw and talked with Captain Anson. You remember Captain Anson, the man who set out in an airship to find the South Pole? Well, he has found it. He declares that it is a veritable Eden to which man can gain admittance only by passing through a water-spout, and it seems that his machine was thus transported, being caught in a spout while crossing an inland lake. Also he wished us to tell the people at home not to expect his return, for, he declares, he is supremely happy and has found a place far superior in climate and beauty to anything yet discovered on the earth. There, he asserts further, and we know this to be true for we beheld it ourselves, the problem of supplying energy is not a problem at all; for as a result of the magnetic force, so strong everywhere there, perpetual motion machines are used entirely for mechanical purposes. And I might add here that it was only through this magnetic attraction for the bolts[224] in our ship that we were able to stop at all. But here we hovered for several days until a particularly strong current seized the boat and carried us on. We sped from ocean to ocean, time and time again until we, too, were almost in despair, of ever seeing the earth again, except by a bird's-eye view.

But one cloudy day, as we were shipping quietly through the mist, we all experienced a sensation of falling. The mist began to grow thicker, and we were again surrounded by curved walls of rising water. We were filled with a sense of familiarity, for we recognized our water-spout. Having reached the bottom, with one short dive we were through that wall of water, and were sailing swiftly across the Atlantic in an opposite direction from the water-spout, which was fast disappearing over the horizon. We looked at it with regret; for we realized that probably never again should we have the opportunity of another such trip, unless perhaps sometime in our future journeyings we should come upon its like.

If fortune should never so favor us, then the way to that delightful land of the South Pole would be closed forever.

But if any of you feel inclined to travel, and see the world in a large perspective, go to some body of water, and watch for one of these natural elevators, and if one does happen in your way, be sure that all the hatches and windows are closed, and then steer straight for the center of that swirling mass; for this is a pleasant mode of travel—slow, and doesn't jar.

—Edna Collister.


IV. The Detective Story and Other Tales of Pure Plot

Detective story: Connection with stories of ingenuity

A few detective stories could be classed with our last preceding type as well as with this. Those like F. R. Burton's suppressed prize contribution to a Western newspaper might be put under mechanical inventions; that is, all that contain, like his, a practicable theory. The report goes that Mr. Burton and a friend worked together and produced a story of bank robbers who overcame the time-lock device. So explicitly was the ingenious method written out that the editors decided not to publish it, convinced that if they spread the knowledge abroad no time-lock thereafter would be secure. "The Black Pearl" by Victorien Sardou, on the other hand, might be called a scientific-discovery detective tale. It perfectly combines the two elements—mystery and the astounding action of a nature phenomenon.

Not all detective stories, however, are so dangerous or so interesting as these. Most, rather, are amusing or merely entertaining; but we class them in the ingenious group because of the effort at pure plot. There are many crude attempts at writing detective stories, and the cheap, ten-cent-novel kind disgusts persons of taste; but the popularity of the type attests its excellence. When in the hands of such men as Edgar Allan Poe and A. Conan Doyle, it yields an artistic short-story. "The Purloined Letter" and the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" are worthy of their fame. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and the "Mystery of Marie Rogêt" are not so pleasant, but are equally ingenious.


Of course, the author of the ordinary tale of this type has the advantage over the real detective, since the author first creates the mystery before solving it. His ingenuity, therefore, will lie revealed in the construction of the crime which he pretends to be unearthing and explaining. Evidently, though, his process of mind can be no different from that of the actual analyzer, who must unravel what to him is a real mystery. He, too, if he is to succeed, must re-image the whole train of events, not as points or dots, but as vivid scenes. Thus only will both workers come at small incidents that are original and ingenious and essentially pertinent. It happened that Poe, in the story of Marie Rogêt, was acting the part of a real detective, since he was reasoning upon an actual mystery, the details of which had baffled the police. In his imaginary case he reinstalled the crime as he felt it must have taken place, and, strange to say—or rather not strange to say, for Poe had the qualities of more than a paper detective—the facts, by a woman's confessions later, were found to be exactly as Poe had imagined them, even in minor details.

Other stories of plot

But stories that emphasize plot do not wholly lie in the detective's realm. There is the pure reasoner's great domain of fancy. "The Lady or the Tiger" illustrates the class completely, even by the whimsical ending. The man that could make up that situation could have solved it, or have carried it on interminably, as he laughingly shows you in the "Discourager of Hesitancy." His "Transferred Ghost" is another quirk, of "reasonable" fantasy. Poe's "Gold Bug" is almost pure plot and has[227] the interesting device of the cryptogram in addition. Pushkin's "Snow Storm" is built upon a queer coincidence.

The story that emphasizes plot is primarily a narrative of a series of happenings, and only incidentally the record of character or place. The author has no interest in what kind of men perform the deeds, except that they shall be the general large types: the soldier and his friend, the lover and his rival, the magistrate and the citizen, the sovereign and his subject, the doctor and his patient, and so on. Interest centers in the question, What will they do next? not, What are they and what will they become?


In longer prose the story with a plot is the romance, the modern romance. In it, too, the author is concerned mainly with the course of events. Take "Ivanhoe" or "The Prisoner of Zenda," for instance, and what have you?—actors about whom there is no question of character growth. What they were at the beginning, that they are at the end—except, perhaps, Rebecca. In romance the happenings are largely adventure. As they become preposterous the narrative borders on the mere wonder type.

A few suggestions

To write a detective tale or other story of pure plot, you must first get your plot—as the old fisherman would say about the eel when you wish to skin it. If you can grasp one and hold it, you are an expert. The difficulty will be that you will probably find your plot a shadow, when you hoped for a good solid piece of reasoning. In the detective tale you must propound your mystery at the beginning of the narrative and then work backwards to the[228] first step. In the other story, you must start out with the simplest and seemingly most insignificant incident and work steadily up to a fantastic or astounding climax. In the second you naïvely keep adding one to one, as it were, and get a hundred; in the first, you subtract one after one from your hundred until you get a unit.

Thou Art the Man

I will now play the Œdipus to the Rattleborough enigma. I will expound to you—as I alone can—the secret of the enginery that effected the Rattleborough miracle—the one, the true, the admitted, the undisputed, the indisputable miracle, which put a definite end to infidelity among the Rattleburghers and converted to the orthodox of the grandames all the carnal-minded who had ventured to be sceptical before.

This event—which I should be sorry to discuss in a tone of unsuitable levity—occurred in the summer of 18—. Mr. Barnabas Shuttleworthy—one of the wealthiest and most respectable citizens of the borough—had been missing for several days under circumstances which gave rise to suspicion of foul play. Mr. Shuttleworthy had set out from Rattleborough very early one Saturday morning, on horseback, with the avowed intention of proceeding to the city of——, about fifteen miles distant, and of returning the night of the same day. Two hours after his departure, however, his horse returned without him, and without the saddle-bags which had been strapped on his back at starting. The animal was wounded too, and covered with mud. These circumstances naturally gave rise to much alarm among the[229] friends of the missing man; and when it was found, on Sunday morning, that he had not yet made his appearance, the whole borough arose en masse to go and look for his body.

The foremost and most energetic in instituting this search was the bosom friend of Mr. Shuttleworthy—a Mr. Charles Goodfellow, or, as he was universally called, "Charley Goodfellow," or "Old Charley Goodfellow." Now, whether it is a marvellous coincidence, or whether it was that the name itself has an imperceptible effect upon the character, I have never yet been able to ascertain; but the fact is unquestionable, that there never yet was any person named Charles who was not an open, manly, honest, good-natured, and frank-hearted fellow, with a rich, clear voice, that did you good to hear it, and an eye that looked you always straight in the face, as much as to say: "I have a clear conscience myself, am afraid of no man, and am altogether above doing a mean action." And thus all the hearty, careless, "walking gentlemen", of the stage are very certain to be called Charles.

Now, "Old Charley Goodfellow," although he had been in Rattleborough not longer than six months or thereabouts, and although nobody knew anything about him before he came to settle in the neighborhood, had experienced no difficulty in the world in making the acquaintance of all the respectable people in the borough. Not a man of them but would have taken his bare word for a thousand at any moment; and as for the women, there is no saying what they would not have done to oblige him. And all this came of his having been christened Charles, and of his possessing, in consequence, that[230] ingenuous face which is proverbially the very "best letter of recommendation."

I have already said that Mr. Shuttleworthy was one of the most respectable and, undoubtedly, he was the most wealthy man in Rattleborough, while "Old Charley Goodfellow" was upon as intimate terms with him as if he had been his own brother. The two old gentlemen were next-door neighbors, and, although Mr. Shuttleworthy seldom, if ever, visited "Old Charley," and never was known to take a meal in his house, still that did not prevent the two friends from being exceedingly intimate, as I have just observed; for "Old Charley" never let a day pass without stepping in three or four times to see how his neighbor came on, and very often he would stay to breakfast or tea, and always to dinner; and then the amount of wine that was made way with by the two cronies at a sitting, it would really be a difficult thing to ascertain. "Old Charley's" favorite beverage was Chateau Margaux, and it appeared to do Mr. Shuttleworthy's heart good to see the old fellow swallow it, as he did, quart after quart; so that, one day, when the wine was in and the wit, as a natural consequence, somewhat out, he said to his crony, as he slapped him upon the back: "I tell you what it is, 'Old Charley,' you are, by all odds, the heartiest old fellow I ever came across in all my born days; and, since you love to guzzle the wine at that fashion, I'll be darned if I don't have to make thee a present of a big box of the Chateau Margaux. Od rot me," (Mr. Shuttleworthy had a sad habit of swearing, although he seldom went beyond "Od rot me," or "By gosh," or "By the jolly golly"). "Od rot me," says he, "if I don't send an order[231] to town this very afternoon for a double box of the best that can be got, and I'll make ye a present of it, I will!—ye needn't say a word now—I will, I tell ye, and there's an end of it; so look out for it—it will come to hand some of these fine days, precisely when ye are looking for it the least!" I mention this little bit of liberty on the part of Mr. Shuttleworthy, just by way of showing you how very intimate an understanding existed between the two friends.

Well, on the Sunday morning in question, when it came to be fairly understood that Mr. Shuttleworthy had met with foul play, I never saw any one so profoundly affected as "Old Charley Goodfellow." When he first heard that the horse had come home without his master, and without his master's saddle-bags, and all bloody from a pistol-shot, that had gone clean through and through the poor animal's chest without quite killing him—when he heard all this, he turned as pale as if the missing man had been his own dear brother or father, and shivered and shook all over as if he had had a fit of the ague.

At first he was too much overpowered with grief to be able to do anything at all, or to decide upon any plan of action; so that for a long time he endeavored to dissuade Mr. Shuttleworthy's other friends from making a stir about the matter, thinking it best to wait a while—say for a week or two, or a month, or two—to see if something wouldn't turn up, or if Mr. Shuttleworthy wouldn't come in the natural way, and explain his reasons for sending his horse on before. I dare say you have often observed this disposition to temporize, or to procrastinate, in people who are laboring under any very[232] poignant sorrow. Their powers of mind seem to be rendered torpid, so that they have a horror of anything like action, and like nothing in the world so well as to lie quietly in bed and "nurse their grief," as the old ladies express it—that is to say, ruminate over the trouble.

The people of Rattleborough had, indeed, so high an opinion of the wisdom and discretion of "Old Charley," that the greater part of them felt disposed to agree with him, and not make a stir in the business "until something should turn up," as the honest old gentleman worded it; and I believe that, after all, this would have been the general determination, but for the very suspicious interference of Mr. Shuttleworthy's nephew, a young man of very dissipated habits, and otherwise of rather bad character. This nephew, whose name was Pennifeather, would listen to nothing like reason in the matter of "lying quiet," but insisted upon making immediate search for the "corpse of the murdered man." This was the expression he employed, and Mr. Goodfellow acutely remarked at the time, that it was "a singular expression, to say no more." This remark of "Old Charley's" too, had great effect upon the crowd; and one of the party was heard to ask, very impressively, "how it happened that young Mr. Pennifeather was so intimately cognizant of all the circumstances connected with his wealthy uncle's disappearance, as to feel authorized to assert, distinctly and unequivocally, that his uncle was 'a murdered man.'" Hereupon some little squibbling and bickering occurred among the various members of the crowd, and especially between "Old Charley" and Mr. Pennifeather—although this latter[233] occurrence was, indeed, by no means a novelty, for little good-will had subsisted between the parties for the last three or four months; and matters had been gone so far that Mr. Pennifeather had actually knocked down his uncle's friend for some alleged excess of liberty that the latter had taken in the uncle's house, of which the nephew was an inmate. Upon this occasion "Old Charley" is said to have behaved with exemplary moderation and Christian charity. He arose from the blow, adjusted his clothes, and made no attempt at retaliation at all—merely muttered a few words about "taking summary vengeance at the first convenient opportunity,"—a natural and very justifiable ebullition of anger, which meant nothing, however; and, beyond doubt, was no sooner given vent to than forgotten.

However these matters may be (which have no reference to the point now at issue), it is quite certain that the people of Rattleborough, principally through the persuasion of Mr. Pennifeather, came at length to the determination of dispersion over the adjacent country in search of the missing Mr. Shuttleworthy. I say they came to this determination in the first instance. After it had been fully resolved that a search should be made, it was considered almost a matter of course that the seekers should disperse—that is to say, distribute themselves in parties—for the more thorough examination of the region round about. I forgot, however, by what ingenious train of reasoning it was that "Old Charley" finally convinced the assembly that this was the most injudicious plan that could be pursued. Convince them, however, he did—all except Mr. Pennifeather; and, in the end, it was arranged that a search should be instituted,[234] carefully and very thoroughly, by the burghers en masse, "Old Charley" himself leading the way.

As for the matter of that, there could have been no better pioneer than "Old Charley," whom everybody knew to have the eye of a lynx; but, although he led them into all manner of out-of-the-way holes and corners, by routes that nobody had ever suspected of existing in the neighborhood, and although the search was incessantly kept up day and night for nearly a week, still no trace of Mr. Shuttleworthy could be discovered. When I say no trace, however, I must not be understood to speak literally; for trace, to some extent, there certainly was. The poor gentleman had been tracked, by his horse's shoes (which were peculiar), to a spot about three miles to the east of the borough, on the main road leading to the city. Here the track made off into a bypath through a piece of woodland—the path coming out again into the main road, and cutting off about half a mile of the regular distance. Following the shoemarks down this lane, the party came at length to a pool of stagnant water, half hidden by the brambles, to the right of the lane, and opposite this pool all vestige of the track was lost sight of. It appeared, however, that a struggle of some nature had here taken place, and it seemed as if some large and heavy body, much larger and heavier than a man, had been drawn from the bypath to the pool. This latter was carefully dragged twice, but nothing was found; and the party were upon the point of going away, in despair of coming to any result, when Providence suggested to Mr. Goodfellow the expediency of draining the water off altogether. This project was received with cheers, and many high compliments[235] to "Old Charley" upon his sagacity and consideration. As many of the burghers had brought spades with them, supposing that they might possibly be called upon to disinter a corpse, the drain was easily and speedily effected; and no sooner was the bottom visible, than right in the middle of the mud that remained was discovered a black silk velvet waistcoat, which nearly every one present immediately recognized as the property of Mr. Pennifeather. This waistcoat was much torn and stained with blood, and there were several persons among the party who had a distinct remembrance of its having been worn by its owner on the very morning of Mr. Shuttleworthy's departure for the city; while there were others, again, ready to testify upon oath, if required, that Mr. P. did not wear the garment in question at any period during the remainder of that memorable day; nor could any one be found to say that he had seen it upon Mr. P.'s person at any period at all subsequent to Mr. Shuttleworthy's disappearance.

Matters now wore a very serious aspect for Mr. Pennifeather, and it was observed, as an indubitable confirmation of the suspicions which were excited against him, that he grew exceedingly pale, and when asked what he had to say for himself, was utterly incapable of saying a word. Hereupon, the few friends his riotous mode of living had left him deserted him at once to a man, and were even more clamorous than his ancient and avowed enemies for his instantaneous arrest. But, on the other hand, the magnanimity of Mr. Goodfellow shone forth with only the more brilliant lustre through contrast. He made a warm and intensely eloquent defense of Mr. Pennifeather, in which he alluded more than[236] once to his own sincere forgiveness of that wild young gentleman—"the heir of the worthy Mr. Shuttleworthy"—for the insult which he (the young gentleman) had, no doubt in the heat of passion, thought proper to put upon him (Mr. Goodfellow). "He forgave him for it," he said, "from the very bottom of his heart; and for himself (Mr. Goodfellow), so far from pushing the suspicious circumstances to extremity, which he was sorry to say, really had arisen against Mr. Pennifeather, he (Mr. Goodfellow) would make every exertion in his power, would employ all the little eloquence in his possession to—to—to—soften down, as much as he could conscientiously do so, the worst features of this really exceedingly perplexing piece of business."

Mr. Goodfellow went on for some half hour longer in this strain, very much to the credit both of his head and of his heart; but your warm-hearted people are seldom opposite in their observations—they run into all sorts of blunders, contre-temps and mal-apropos-isms, in the hot-headedness of their zeal to serve a friend—thus, often with the kindest intentions in the world, doing infinitely more to prejudice his cause than to advance it.

So, in the present instance, it turned out with all the eloquence of "Old Charley"; for, although he labored earnestly in behalf of the suspected, yet it so happened, somehow or other that every syllable he uttered of which the direct but unfitting tendency was not to exalt the speaker in the good opinion of his audience, had the effect of deepening the suspicion already attached to the individual whose cause he pled, and of arousing against him the fury of the mob.


One of the most unaccountable errors committed by the orator was his allusion to the suspected as "the heir of the worthy old gentleman, Mr. Shuttleworthy." The people had really never thought of this before? They had only remembered certain threats of disinheritance uttered a year or two previously by the uncle (who had no living relative except the nephew), and they had, therefore, always looked upon this disinheritance as a matter that was settled—so single-minded a race of beings were the Rattleburghers; but the remark of "Old Charley" brought them at once to a consideration of this point, and thus gave them to see the possibility of the threats having been nothing more than a threat. And straightway hereupon, arose the natural question of cui bono?—a question; that tended even more than the waistcoat to fasten the terrible crime upon the young man. And here, lest I may be misunderstood, permit me to digress for one moment merely to observe that the exceedingly brief and simple Latin phrase which I have employed, is invariably mistranslated and misconceived. "Cui bono" in all the crack novels and elsewhere—in those of Mrs. Gore, for example (the author of "Cecil"), a lady who quotes all tongues from the Chaldaean to Chickasaw, and is helped to her learning, "as needed," upon a systematic plan, by Mr. Beckford—in all the crack novels, I say, from those of Bulwer and Dickens to those of Turnapenny and Ainsworth, the two little Latin words cui bono are rendered "to what purpose?" or (as if quo bono), "to what good?" Their true meaning, nevertheless, is "for whose advantage." Cui, to whom; bono, is it for a benefit. It is a purely legal phrase, and applicable precisely in cases such as we have[238] under consideration, where probability of the doer of a deed hinges upon the probability of the benefit accruing to this individual or to that from the deed's accomplishment. Now in the present instance, the question cui bono? very pointedly implicated Mr. Pennifeather. His uncle had threatened him, after making a will in his favor, with disinheritance. But the threat had not been actually kept; the original will, it appeared, had not been altered. Had it been altered, the only supposable motive for murder on the part of the suspected would have been the ordinary one of revenge; and even this would have been counteracted by the hope of reinstation into the good graces of the uncle. But the will being unaltered, while the threat to alter remained suspended over the nephew's head, there appears at once the very strongest possible inducement for the atrocity; and so concluded very sagaciously, the worthy citizens of the borough of Rattle.

Mr. Pennifeather was, accordingly, arrested upon the spot, and the crowd, after some further search, proceeded homeward, having him in custody. On the route, however, another circumstance occurred tending to confirm the suspicion entertained. Mr. Goodfellow, whose zeal led him to be always a little in advance of the party, was seen suddenly to run forward a few paces, stoop, and then apparently to pick up some small object from the grass. Having quickly examined it, he was observed too, to make a sort of attempt at concealing it in his coat pocket; but this action was noticed, as I say, and consequently prevented, when the object picked up was found to be a Spanish knife which a dozen persons at once recognized as belonging to Mr. Pennifeather. Moreover,[239] his initials were engraved upon the handle. The blade of this knife was open and bloody.

No doubt now remained of the guilt of the nephew, and immediately upon reaching Rattleborough he was taken before a magistrate for examination.

Here matters again took a most unfavorable turn. The prisoner, being questioned as to his whereabouts on the morning of Mr. Shuttleworthy's disappearance, had absolutely the audacity to acknowledge that on that very morning he had been out with his rifle deer-stalking, in the immediate neighborhood of the pool where the bloodstained waistcoat had been discovered through the sagacity of Mr. Goodfellow.

This latter now came forward, and, with tears in his eyes, asked permission to be examined. He said that a stern sense of the duty he owed his Maker, not less than his fellow-men, would permit him no longer to remain silent. Hitherto, the sincerest affection for the young man (notwithstanding the latter's ill-treatment of himself, Mr. Goodfellow), had induced him to make every hypothesis which imagination could suggest, by way of endeavoring to account for what appeared suspicious in the circumstances that told so seriously against Mr. Pennifeather; but these circumstances were now altogether too convincing—too damning; he would hesitate no longer—he would tell all he knew, although his heart (Mr. Goodfellow's), should absolutely burst asunder in the effort. He then went on to state that on the afternoon of the day previous to Mr. Shuttleworthy's departure for the city, that worthy old gentleman had mentioned to his nephew, in his hearing (Mr. Goodfellow's), that his object in going to town on the morrow was to make a[240] deposit of an unusually large sum of money in the "Farmers' and Merchants' Bank," and that, then and there, the said Mr. Shuttleworthy had distinctly avowed to the said nephew his irrevocable determination of rescinding the will originally made, and of cutting him off with a shilling. He (the witness) now solemnly called upon the accused to state whether what he (the witness) had just stated was or was not the truth in every substantial particular. Much to the astonishment of every one present, Mr. Pennifeather frankly admitted that it was.

The magistrate now considered it his duty to send a couple of constables to search the chamber of the accused in the house of his uncle. From this search they almost immediately returned with the well-known steel-bound, russet leather pocket-book which the old gentleman had been in the habit of carrying for years. Its valuable contents, however, had been abstracted, and the magistrate in vain endeavored to extort from the prisoner the use which had been made of them, or the place of their concealment. Indeed, he obstinately denied all knowledge of the matter. The constables also discovered, between the bed and sacking of the unhappy man, a shirt and neck-handkerchief both marked with the initials of his name, and both hideously besmeared with the blood of the victim.

At this juncture, it was announced that the horse of the murdered man had just expired in the stable from the effects of the wound he had received, and it was proposed by Mr. Goodfellow that a post-mortem examination of the beast should be immediately made, with the view, if possible, of discovering the ball. This was accordingly[241] done; and, as if to demonstrate beyond a question the guilt of the accused, Mr. Goodfellow, after considerable searching in the cavity of the chest, was enabled to detect and to pull forth a bullet of very extraordinary size which, upon trial, was found to be exactly adapted to the bore of Mr. Pennifeather's rifle, while it was far too large for that of any other person in the borough or its vicinity. To render the matter even surer yet, however, this bullet was discovered to have a flaw or seam at a right angles to the usual suture, and upon examination, this seam corresponded precisely with an accidental ridge or elevation in a pair of moulds acknowledged by the accused himself to be his own property. Upon finding of this bullet, the examining magistrate refused to listen to any further testimony, and immediately committed the prisoner for trial—declining resolutely to take any bail in the case, although against this severity Mr. Goodfellow very warmly remonstrated, and offered to become surety in whatever amount might be required. This generosity on the part of "Old Charley" was only in accordance with the whole tenor of his amiable and chivalrous conduct during the entire period of his sojourn in the borough of Rattle. In the present instance the worthy man was so entirely carried away by the excessive warmth of his sympathy, that he seemed to have quite forgotten, when he offered to go bail for his young friend, that he himself (Mr. Goodfellow) did not possess a single dollar's worth of property upon the face of the earth.

The result of the committal may be readily foreseen. Mr. Pennifeather, amid the loud execrations of all Rattleborough, was brought to trial at the next criminal sessions,[242] when the chain of circumstantial evidence (strengthened as it was by some additional damning facts, which Mr. Goodfellow's sensitive conscientiousness forbade him to withhold from the court), was considered so unbroken and so thoroughly conclusive, that the jury, without leaving their seats, returned an immediate verdict of "Guilty of murder in the first degree." Soon afterward the unhappy wretch received sentence of death, and was remanded to the county jail to await the inexorable vengeance of the law.

In the meantime, the noble behavior of "Old Charley Goodfellow" had doubly endeared him to the honest citizens of the borough. He became ten times a greater favorite than ever; and, as a natural result of the hospitality with which he was treated, he relaxed, as it were, perforce, the extremely parsimonious habits which his poverty had hitherto impelled him to observe, and very frequently had little réunions at his own house, when wit and jollity reigned supreme—dampened a little, of course, by the occasional remembrance of the untoward and melancholy fate which impended over the nephew of the late lamented bosom friend of the generous host.

One fine day, this magnanimous old gentleman was agreeably surprised at the receipt of the following letter:

Charles Goodfellow, Esq., Rattleborough.

From H., F., B. & Co.

Chat. Mar. A.—No. 1—6 doz. bottles. (½ gross.)

"Charles Goodfellow, Esquire:

"Dear Sir—In conformity with an order transmitted to our firm about two months since, by our esteemed correspondent, Mr. Barnabas[243] Shuttleworthy, we have the honor of forwarding this morning, to your address, a double box of Chateau-Margaux, of the antelope brand, violet seal. Box numbered and marked as per margin.

"We remain, sir,
"Your most ob'nt ser'ts,
"Hoggs, Frogs, Bogs & Co."

"City of——,
June 21, 18—.

"P. S.—The box will reach you by wagon, on the day after your receipt of this letter. Our respects to Mr. Shuttleworthy.

"H., F., B. & Co."

The fact is, that Mr. Goodfellow had, since the death of Mr. Shuttleworthy, given over all expectation of ever receiving the promised Chateau-Margaux; and he, therefore, looked upon it now as a sort of especial dispensation of Providence in his behalf. He was highly delighted, of course, and in the exuberance of his joy, invited a large party of friends to a petit souper on the morrow, for the purpose of broaching the good old Shuttleworthy's present. Not that he said anything about "the good old Mr. Shuttleworthy" when he issued the invitations. The fact is, he thought much and concluded to say nothing at all. He did not mention to any one—if I remember aright—that he had received a present of Chateau-Margaux. He merely asked his friends to come and help him drink some of a remarkably fine quality and rich flavor that he had ordered up from the city a couple of months ago, and of which he would be in the receipt upon the morrow. I have often puzzled myself[244] to imagine why it was that "Old Charley" came to the conclusion to say nothing about having received the wine from his old friend, but I could never precisely understand his reason for the silence, although he had some excellent and very magnanimous reason, no doubt.

The morrow at length arrived, and with it a very large and highly respectable company at Mr. Goodfellow's house. Indeed, half the borough was there—I myself among the number—but, much to the vexation of the host, the Chateau-Margaux did not arrive until a late hour, and when the sumptuous supper supplied by "Old Charley" had been done very ample justice by the guests. It came at length, however—a monstrously big box of it there was, too—and as the whole party were in excessively good humor, it was decided, nem. con., that it should be lifted upon the table and its contents disembowelled forthwith.

No sooner said than done. I lent a helping hand; and, in a trice, we had the box upon the table, in the midst of all the bottles and glasses, not a few of which were demolished in the scuffle. "Old Charley," who was pretty much intoxicated, and excessively red in the face, now took a seat, with an air of mock dignity, at the head of the board, and thumped furiously upon it with a decanter, calling upon the company to keep order "during the ceremony of disinterring the treasure."

After some vociferation, quiet was at length fully restored, and, as very often happens in similar cases, a profound and remarkable silence ensued. Being then requested to force open the lid, I complied, of course, "with an infinite deal of pleasure." I inserted a chisel, and giving it a few slight taps with a hammer, the top[245] of the box flew suddenly off, and, at the same instant, there sprang up into a sitting position, directly facing the host, the bruised, bloody, and nearly putrid corpse of the murdered Mr. Shuttleworthy himself. It gazed for a few seconds, fixedly and sorrowfully, with its decaying and lack-lustre eyes, full into the countenance of Mr. Goodfellow; uttered slowly, but clearly and impressively, the words, "Thou art the man!" and then, falling over the side of the chest as if thoroughly satisfied, stretched out its limbs quivering upon the table.

The scene that ensued is altogether beyond description. The rush for the doors and windows was terrific, and many of the most robust men in the room fainted outright through sheer horror. But after the first wild, shrieking burst of affright, all eyes were directed to Mr. Goodfellow. If I live a thousand years, I can never forget the more than mortal agony which was depicted in that ghastly face of his, so lately rubicund with triumph and wine. For several minutes he sat rigidly as a statue of marble; his eyes seeming, in the intense vacancy of their gaze, to be turned inward and absorbed in the contemplation of his own miserable, murderous soul. At length their expression appeared to flash suddenly out into the external world, when, with a quick leap, he sprang from his chair, and falling heavily with his head and shoulders upon the table, and in contact with the corpse, poured out rapidly and vehemently a detailed confession of the hideous crime for which Mr. Pennifeather was then imprisoned and doomed to die.

What he recounted was in substance this: He followed his victim to the vicinity of the pool; there shot his horse with a pistol; despatched its rider with the butt[246] end; possessed himself of the pocket-book; and, supposing the horse dead, dragged it with great labor to the brambles by the pond. Upon his own beast he slung the corpse of Mr. Shuttleworthy, and thus bore it to a secure place of concealment a long distance off through the woods.

The waistcoat, the knife, the pocket-book, and bullet had been placed by himself where found, with the view of avenging himself upon Mr. Pennifeather. He had also contrived the discovery of the stained handkerchief and shirt.

Toward the end of the blood-chilling recital the words of the guilty wretch faltered and grew hollow. When the record was finally exhausted, he arose, staggered backward from the table, and fell—dead.

The means by which this happily-timed confession was extorted, although efficient, were simple indeed. Mr. Goodfellow's excess of frankness had disgusted me, and excited my suspicions from the first. I was present when Mr. Pennifeather had struck him, and the fiendish expression which then arose upon his countenance, although momentary, assured me that his threat of vengeance would, if possible, be rigidly fulfilled. I was thus prepared to view the maneuvering of "Old Charley" in a very different light from that in which it was regarded by the good citizens of Rattleborough. I saw at once that all the criminating discoveries arose, either directly or indirectly, from himself. But the fact which clearly opened my eyes to the true state of the case, was the affair of the bullet, found by Mr. G. in the carcass of the horse. I had not forgotten, although the Rattleburghers[247] had, that there was a hole where the ball had entered the horse, and another where it went out. If it were found in the animal then, after having made its exit, I saw clearly that it must have been deposited by the person who found it. The bloody shirt and handkerchief confirmed the idea suggested by the bullet; for the blood on examination proved to be capital claret, and no more. When I came to think of these things, and also of the late increase of liberality and expenditure an the part of Mr. Goodfellow, I entertained a suspicion which was none the less strong because I kept it altogether to myself.

In the meantime, I instituted a rigorous private search for the corpse of Mr. Shuttleworthy, and, for good reasons, searched in quarters as divergent as possible from those to which Mr. Goodfellow conducted his party. The result was that, after some days, I came across an old dry well, the mouth of which was nearly hidden by brambles; and here, at the bottom, I discovered what I sought.

Now, it so happened that I had overheard the colloquy between the two cronies, when Mr. Goodfellow had contrived to cajole his host into the promise of a box of Chateau-Margaux. Upon this hint I acted. I procured a stiff piece of whalebone, thrust it down the throat of the corpse; and deposited the latter in an old wine box—taking care so to double the body up as to double the whalebone with it. In this manner I had to press forcibly upon the lid to keep it down while I secured it with nails; and I anticipated, of course, that as soon as these latter were removed, the top would fly off and the body up.


Having thus arranged the box, I marked, numbered and addressed it as already told; and then writing a letter in the name of the wine merchants with whom Mr. Shuttleworthy dealt, I gave instructions to my servant to wheel the box to Mr. Goodfellow's door, in a barrow, at a given signal from myself. For the words which I intended the corpse to speak I confidently depended upon my ventriloquial abilities; for their effect, I counted upon the conscience of the murderous wretch.

I believe there is nothing more to be explained. Mr. Pennifeather was released upon the spot, inherited the fortune of his uncle, profited by the lessons of experience, turned over a new leaf, and led happily ever afterward a new life.

—Edgar Allan Poe.

The Picture of Lhasa

"Jim, Jim, come here quick! She's in sight! Oh, hustle!"

"Well, she'll stay where she is until I get there, won't she?" came a drawl from a little lower down on the precipitous path, as the speaker, in spite of his indifferent words, made strenuous efforts to join his companion on the rocky ledge with as little delay as possible. Behind him, scarcely visible, lay the trail winding about along the sides of the lofty mountains which have for so long been keeping this little corner of the earth from the knowledge of Western nations, while, far beneath him, rolled a little stream, the Kyi-chu, which dashed against the rocks as though it were impatient to be out in a broader world.


"I'm glad she's in sight, Chad," Jim continued, when he had gained the shelf of rock on which his companion stood, "but what is she, anyhow? I don't believe you said," and he laughed, with his eyes fastened upon the flash of reflected sunlight, his first sight of Lhasa and her wonderful Buddhist Cathedral.

"Is the camera all right?" Chad's voice was anxious. "It would be a pity to come so far and then have the plates no good."

"What's wrong with you, Chad? You don't intend to take a picture of a place ten miles away, do you?"

"Of course not, you idiot, but I wish that you had kept the camera yourself, instead of leaving it with John's load. I don't like the look of his yellow cap just now."

"You're too suspicious, Chad. John's a good fellow; aren't you Chinkey?" Jim called out as an evil-looking Chinaman came around a bend in the trail.

The Chinaman's only response was a look of utter ignorance, at which Jim laughed again, and said, "Just one look at the man ought to convince you that he is too dull to frighten a Yankee. Besides, he doesn't understand English, and can't possibly know that we are here to get the picture of Lhasa, and that of the Grand Lama, too, if we can." Had either of the men been looking, he might have seen the cunning in the one black eye of the servant; but the expression passed unnoticed.

"Another day and we'll be near enough to begin on the pictures. I'll be glad to start home, too. It has been a hard trip. I don't see why Milligan couldn't[250] have taken the pictures for his book himself, instead of sending us off here for them."

"Jim, my boy, where's your regard for your daily bread—and the butter therefor? Where should you be if you hadn't had this chance?"

"Well," Jim returned quickly, "I shouldn't have been ruining my constitution in this infernal climate, at any rate."

Chad looked him over with profound gravity. "Well, Jim, I'm glad you are telling me that you are cut out for an early grave; I should never have believed it if you hadn't said so yourself."

"Wouldn't there be a rumpus if the Lamas knew about this trip of ours?" Chad resumed as though fascinated with the idea. "I can see ourselves calling each other lucky because we only got kicked over this precipice here."

"You can occupy yourself with such thoughts if you want to," exclaimed Jim; "but I'm going to hustle up that John Chinaman. It seems to me he's pretty slow this evening, and I'm hungry."

"If your constitution is spoiled?" laughed Chad. "Well, good luck; call me when you're ready," and the young reporter threw himself down upon the rocks and looked off toward Lhasa. In a few minutes he heard Jim's voice raised in alarm. "John! John! Oh, John-n!" As Chad sprang up and started along the path, he met Jim coming back.

"Say, Chad, that rascal of a chink has vanished completely with a good half of the supplies, and if you say, 'I told you so,' I'll light out too!"

"Is the camera safe?" was Chad's instant response.


"Why, I guess so; the box is anyhow—I didn't look inside."

"Well, I guess we'll get along then. I ought to be able to cook well enough to suit a man of your enfeebled condition," and Chad looked at Jim's broad shoulders in some amusement in spite of the seriousness of the situation.

"Really, Chad, is it safe to go on? Do you think we ought to risk it?"

"Risk it! Are we going to take three months for preparation, and then come four thousand miles on a trip of this sort, only to give it up in sight of the end, because a rogue runs off? Well, I guess not."

"All right," Jim returned laconically, "I just wanted to know how you felt about it."

Some three hours later the two men were wrapped up in their furs ready for the night. "Say, Chad," said Jim, as he lay watching the stars in the clear sky, "what makes a Chinaman so afraid of a camera? I am quite certain that you never told me."

"I believe that they think a man's soul is killed when his picture is taken," said Chad sleepily. "'Buddha doesn't like it' is quite reason enough for most of 'em." The last sentence was half lost in a snore, and the Grand Lama was photographed a dozen times in Jim's dreams.

The next morning the two men set out again with the one donkey and its load which the Chinaman left to them, and, after a few hours' hard travel, they came to the mountain spur just above the capital of Tibet. The city was well within range, and a few minutes after they had arrived the camera was set up, and Chad was[252] finding the focus. While they were both occupied busily, a group of yellow-clad figures was approaching from a lamasery that was half-hidden on the mountainside. The leader of the band, a one-eyed Chinaman with an almost idiotic expression, was evidently greatly respected by his followers; for the party did not change its position without his direction. Slowly and with the utmost caution they approached the unconscious workers and surrounded them; then with a yell the mob of Buddhist priests was about the camera. In another instant it was rattling down the mountainside, Chad and Jim were firmly bound, and the march back had begun.

The few rays of sunlight that found entrance into the Buddhist lamasery served only to reveal the filthiness of the place; but not even the disgusting sights and odors could suppress the strangers' curiosity. In the first room was an immense statue of Buddha with a large cylinder in front of it. "A prayer wheel," whispered Chad. Jim nodded.

Suddenly Chad's eyes flashed with an inspiration. Turning to the leader he exclaimed, "You speak English now, don't you?"

The man bowed gravely, courteously. The honorable strangers' honorable conversation was greatly edifying, he murmured.

"Well, then," Chad continued, "Will you tell me why we are detained here?"

"The insignificant custom of the Tibetans is to resent having their souls destroyed." The voice was calm and matter-of-fact, but the words were terrible to the two men looking into the circle of hostile faces which showed so clearly their superstition and ignorance.


"You know, John, or Your Highness, if that suits your present position better," the Chinaman's face remained impassive, "you know how carefully we guarded the black box. Did you know that it was not an ordinary instrument, but the home of a spirit more powerful than even your Buddha there? The photographic spirit is the child of the Fire God, and the Fire God protects all who guard his children. See, here is a part of the Spirit's house," and Chad pulled an extra lens from his pocket. "With this I can attract the god's attention, and he will do my bidding." He placed the glass in the sunlight and the robe of the nearest Lama began to smolder. The priests started back in great alarm, but Chad continued with only a sufficient number of pauses for the leading Lama to translate to the others. "While you were masquerading as my servant, you saw how careful I was of the camera; you can judge for yourself whether or not the Fiery One will protect me. What do you think will be the fate of you who have destroyed this mighty spirit's home? I will tell you. He will descend from the sky and will burn you with a hotter fire than you have ever felt—a fire so hot that the spirit of the camera cannot approach it in intensity." And the Lama screamed as he felt the heat of the powerful ray upon his arm. "What do you think? Will you anger this mighty one by further crimes against his favorites?"

"Buddha will protect us," stolidly responded a priest.

"Ask your leader if Buddha could protect him from the burning of the camera spirit, and then judge[254] whether Buddha can guard you against the power of the Fire Dragon when he is roused to vengeance.

Panic began to seize upon the priests. One by one they disappeared until at length only the Chief Lama was left. "If the honorable gentlemen will tarry for a few moments I will bring them their beasts." When the donkeys were brought in, Chad looked their packs over and prepared them for the journey, while Jim started back to the ledge, hoping that part of their supplies might have been unmolested. When Chad came around the rock ten minutes later, he stopped in amazement and stared at the camera, which Jim had rescued from the tree in which it had lodged uninjured save for a broken plate.

As Chad approached, Jim looked up and said, "I've got one; I'll bet it's a dandy!"

—Hazel Orcutt.



In the group "entertaining" we may class all those narratives that are told simply for the purpose of pleasing the reader and passing away his time for him—tales of probable adventure, society stories, humorous stories, and stories for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bulk of magazine fiction is of this kind. The chief endeavor of the writer is to create the illusions of probability for a series of events that after all is imaginary. However numerous may be the actual incidents embodied, the course of the happening as a whole is nevertheless made-up. There is always a heightening or lowering of natural color, a modification of real occurrences, in order to produce the desired effect; namely, acceptance by the reader of the whole series, and especially the climax, which may be, for instance, the capture of the wild animal, the culmination of the love episode, the emphasis of the funny point, or the accident at the special celebration.

I. The Tale of Probable Adventure

Adventure narratives are essentially boys' stories—the grammar and high school boys who are past the "foolishness" of fairy tales and even of Oriental wonder stories, but are not yet appreciative of realism,[256] the quiet reflection of humdrum life. For many decades The Youth's Companion has furnished among its other good things excellent stories of adventure probable and actual. Stevenson's masterpiece is, of course, one of the two top-notches of excellence in the extended form of this type of story. How the species may be historically but a modification of the voyages imaginaires is obviously suggested no less by "Treasure Island" than by "Robinson Crusoe." It is the short form of this type that we are dealing with at present.


Stories of probable adventure are narratives of exciting and extraordinary events that, though really fictitious, might have happened. We can tell many of them from true adventures only by the testimony of the authors. "Captain Singleton's Tour Across Africa," critics have said, seems to the general reader quite as true an account as Stanley's; while the "Memoirs of a Cavalier," which records the adventures of a soldier in the army of Gustavus Adolphus, was long mistaken for autobiography.

The writing of a probable adventure

To write a tale of this kind you must put yourself into the mood of the bold hunter or traveller. You must imagine exciting things. Many of your own experiences have just missed being astounding. Add what-might-have-been, and you have a story of the type we are discussing. You catch the bear or the bear catches you. You swim across a turbulent river. You spend the night on an iceberg. You coast down the frightful curves of the twenty-five miles of the Benguet road with the steering gear of your automobile entirely useless. Remember, though, that the adventure must[257] seem real, however much you have drawn on your reading and imagination. You must know enough of animal, plant, and human life, and of geography, to be particular here and there and thus give verisimilitude to your pictures. In order to get a subject, suppose you think of what you consider the bravest physical act; then build up around it a swift, crisp narrative. You may use technical terms once in a while, such as a nervous story-teller would be likely to fling off and then explain; only be sure they are intelligible very soon.

An ordinary imagination supplemented by a "Baedeker" will enable any one to construct an acceptable probable adventure. Superior excellence will lie in the diction and style.

A warning

Because of the prevalence of this kind of narrative, you will need to guard yourself with especial care against the temptation to plagiarize. Be sure that your certification of authorship really tells the truth. It is easier to be original than you think; as George Bernard Shaw says, any man with brains can more easily compose a story or a play than steal one.

A Fight with a Bear

One day, being in a forest a few leagues from Dusseldorf, as Gerard was walking like one in a dream, thinking of Margaret and scarce seeing the road he trod, his companion laid a hand on his shoulder, and strung his cross-bow with glittering eye. "Hush!" said he, in a low whisper that startled Gerard more than thunder. Gerard grasped his axe tight, and shook a little; he heard a rustling in the wood hard by, and at the[258] same moment Denys sprang into the wood, and his crossbow went to his shoulder, even as he jumped. Twang! went the metal string; and after an instant's suspense he roared, "Run forward, guard the road! he is hit! he is hit!"

Gerard darted forward, and, as he ran, a young bear burst out of the wood right upon him; finding itself intercepted, it went upon its hind legs with a snarl, and, though not half-grown, opened formidable jaws and long claws. Gerard, in a fury of excitement and agitation, flung himself on it, and delivered a tremendous blow on its nose with his axe, and the creature staggered; another, and it lay groveling, with Gerard hacking it.

"Hallo, stop! You are mad to spoil the meat."

"I took it for a robber," said Gerard, panting. "I mean I had made ready for a robber, so I could not hold my hand."

"Ay, these chattering travelers have stuffed your head full of thieves and assassins; they have not got a real live robber in their whole nation. Nay, I'll carry the beast; bear you, though, my cross-bow."

"We will carry it by turns, then," said Gerard, "for 'tis a heavy load; poor thing, how its blood drips. Why did we slay it?"

"For supper and the reward the baillie of the next town shall give us."

"And for that it must die, when it had but just begun to live; and perchance it hath a mother that will miss it sore this night, and loves it as ours love us; more than mine does me."

"What, know you not that his mother was caught[259] in a pitfall last month, and her skin is now at the tanner's? and his father was stuck full of clothyard shafts t'other day, and died like Julius Cæsar, with his hands folded on his bosom, and a dead dog in each of them?"

But Gerard would not view it jestingly. "Why, then," said he, "we have killed one of God's creatures that was all alone in the world—as I am this day, in this strange land."

"You young milksop," roared Denys, "these things must not be looked at so, or not another bow would be drawn nor quarrel fly in the forest nor battlefield. Why, one of your kidney consorting with a troop of pike-men should turn them to a row of milk pails; it is ended; to Rome thou goest not alone; for never wouldst thou reach the Alps in a whole skin. I take thee to Remiremont, my native place, and there I marry thee to my young sister. She is blooming as a peach. Thou shakest thy head? Ah! I forgot; thou lovest elsewhere, and art a one-woman man, a creature to me scarce conceivable. Well, then, I shall find thee, not a wife, nor a leman, but a friend; some honest Burgundian who shall go with thee as far as Lyons; and much I doubt that honest fellow will be myself, into whose liquor thou hast dropped sundry powders to make me love thee; for erst I endured not doves in doublet and hose. From Lyons, I say, I can trust thee by ship to Italy, which being by all accounts the very stronghold of milksops, thou wilt there be safe; they will hear thy words, and make thee their duke in a twinkling."

Gerard sighed. "In sooth I love not to think of[260] this Dusseldorf, where we are to part company, good friend."

They walked silently, each thinking of the separation at hand; the thought checked trifling conversation, and at these moments it is a relief to do something, however insignificant. Gerard asked Denys to lend him a bolt. "I have often shot with a long-bow, but never with one of these."

"Draw thy knife and cut this one out of the cub," said Denys slyly.

"Nay, nay, I want a clean one."

Denys gave him three out of his quiver.

Gerard strung the bow and leveled it at a bough that had fallen into the road at some distance. The power of the instrument surprised him; the short but thick steel bow jarred him to the very heel as it went off, and the swift steel shaft was invisible in its passage. Only the dead leaves, with which November had carpeted the narrow road, flew about on the other side of the bough.

"Ye aimed a thought too high," said Denys.

"What a deadly thing! No wonder it is driving out the long-bow—to Martin's much discontent."

"Ay, lad," said Denys, triumphantly, "it gains ground every day, in spite of their laws and their proclamations to keep up the yewen bow, because, forsooth, their grandsires shot with it, knowing no better. You see, Gerard, war is not pastime. Men will shoot at their enemies with the hittingest arm and the killingest, not with the longest and missingest."

"Then these new engines I hear of will put both bows down; for these, with a pinch of black dust and[261] a leaden ball, and a child's finger, shall slay you Mars and Goliath and the Seven Champions."

"Pooh! pooh!" said Denys, warmly; "petrone nor harquebuss shall ever put down Sir Arbalest. Why, we can shoot ten times while they are putting their charcoal and their lead into their leathern smoke belchers, and then kindling their matches. All that is too fumbling for the field of battle; there a soldier's weapon needs be aye ready, like his heart."

Gerard did not answer, for his ear was attracted by a sound behind them. It was a peculiar sound, too, like something heavy, but not hard, rushing softly over the dead leaves. He turned round with some little curiosity. A colossal creature was coming down the road at about sixty paces distance.

He looked at it in a sort of calm stupor at first; but the next moment he turned ashy pale.

"Denys!" he cried. "O God! Denys!"

Denys whirled round.

It was a bear as big as a cart horse.

It was tearing along with its huge head down, running on a hot scent.

The very moment he saw it, Denys said in a sickening whisper:

"The cub!"

Oh! the concentrated horror of that one word, whispered hoarsely, with dilating eyes! For in that syllable it all flashed upon them both like a sudden stroke of lightning in the dark—the bloody trail, the murdered cub, the mother upon them, and it. DEATH.

All this in a moment of time. The next she saw them. Huge as she was, she seemed to double herself[262] (it was her long hair bristling with rage); she raised her head big as a bull's, her swine-shaped jaws opened wide at them, her eyes turned to blood and flame, and she rushed upon them, scattering the leaves about her like a whirlwind as she came.

"Shoot!" screamed Denys, but Gerard stood shaking from head to foot, useless.

"Shoot, man! ten thousand devils, shoot! Too late! Tree! tree!" and he dropped the cub, pushed Gerard across the road, and flew to the first tree and climbed it, Gerard the same on his side; and, as they fled, both men uttered inhuman howls like savage creatures grazed by death.

With all their speed one or other would have been torn to fragments at the foot of his tree; but the bear stopped a moment at the cub.

Without taking her bloodshot eyes off those she was hunting, she smelt it all round, and found, how, her Creator only knows, that it was dead, quite dead. She gave a yell such as neither of the hunted ones had ever heard, nor dreamed to be in nature, and flew after Denys. She reared and struck at him as he climbed. He was just out of reach.

Instantly she seized the tree, and with her huge teeth tore a great piece out of it with a crash. Then she reared again, dug her claws deep into the bark and began to mount it slowly, but as surely as a monkey.

Denys's evil star had led him to a dead tree, a mere shaft, and of no very great height. He climbed faster than his pursuer, and was soon at the top. He looked this way and that for some bough of another tree to spring to. There was none; and if he jumped down[263] he knew the bear would be upon him ere he could recover the fall, and make short work of him. Moreover, Denys was little used to turning his back on danger, and his blood was rising at being hunted. He turned to bay.

"My hour is come," thought he. "Let me meet death like a man." He kneeled down and grasped a small shoot to steady himself, drew his long knife, and clenching his teeth, prepared to job the huge brute as soon as it should mount within reach.

Of this combat the result was not doubtful.

The monster's head and neck were scarce vulnerable for bone and masses of hair. The man was going to sting the bear, and the bear to crack the man like a nut.

Gerard's heart was better than his nerves. He saw his friend's mortal danger, and passed at once from fear to blindish rage. He slipped down his tree in a moment, caught up the cross-bow which he had dropped in the road, and, running furiously up, sent a bolt into the bear's body with a loud shout. The bear gave a snarl of rage and pain and turned its head irresolutely.

"Keep aloof," cried Denys, "or you are a dead man."

"I care not," and in a moment he had another bolt ready and shot it fiercely into the bear, screaming "Take that! that! that!"

Denys poured a volley of oaths down at him. "Get away, idiot!"

He was right; the bear finding so formidable and noisy a foe behind him, slipped growling down the tree, rending deep furrows in it as she slipped. Gerard ran[264] back to his tree and climbed it swiftly. But while his legs were dangling some eight feet from the ground the bear came rearing and struck with her forepaw, and out flew a piece of bloody cloth from Gerard's hose. He climbed and climbed, and presently he heard as it were in the air a voice say, "Go out on the bough!" He looked, and there was a long massive branch before him shooting upwards at a slight angle; he threw his body across it, and by a series of convulsive efforts worked up it to the end.

Then he looked round panting.

The bear was mounting the tree on the other side. He heard her claws scrape; and saw her bulge on both sides of the massive tree. Her eye not being very quick, she reached the fork and passed it, mounting the main stem. Gerard drew breath more freely. The bear either heard him or found by scent she was wrong; she paused; presently she caught sight of him. She eyed him steadily, then quietly descended to the fork.

Slowly and cautiously she stretched out a paw and tried the bough. It was a stiff oak branch, sound as iron. Instinct taught the creature this; it crawled carefully out on the bough, growling savagely as it came.

Gerard looked wildly down. He was forty feet from the ground. Death below. Death moving slow but sure on him in a still more horrible form. His hair bristled. The sweat poured from him. He sat helpless, fascinated, tongue-tied.

As the fearful monster crawled growling towards him, incongruous thoughts coursed through his mind. Margaret, the Vulgate, where it speaks of the rage of a she-bear robbed of her whelps—Rome—Eternity.


The bear crawled on. And now the stupor of death fell on the doomed man; he saw the open jaws and bloodshot eyes coming, but in a mist.

As in a mist he heard a twang; he glanced down; Denys, white and silent as death, was shooting up at the bear. The bear snarled at the twang; but crawled on. Again the cross-bow twanged; and the bear snarled and came nearer. Again the cross-bow twanged, and the next moment the bear was close upon Gerard, where he sat, with hair standing stiff on end, and eyes starting from their sockets, palsied. The bear opened her jaws like a grave, and hot blood spouted from them upon Gerard as from a pump. The bough rocked. The wounded monster was reeling; it clung, it stuck its sickles of claws deep into the wood; it toppled, its claws held firm, but its body rolled off, and the sudden shock to the branch shook Gerard forward on his stomach with his face upon one of the bear's straining paws. At this, by a convulsive effort, she raised her head up, up, till he felt her hot fetid breath. Then huge teeth snapped together loudly close below him in the air, with a last effort of baffled hate. The ponderous carcass rent the claws out of the boughs; then pounded the earth with a tremendous thump. There was a shout of triumph below, and the very next instant a cry of dismay, for Gerard had swooned, and, without an attempt to save himself, rolled headlong from the perilous height.

Denys caught at Gerard and somewhat checked his fall; but it may be doubted whether this alone would have saved him from breaking his neck or a limb. His best friend now was the dying bear, on whose hairy carcass[266] his head and shoulders descended. Denys tore him off her. It was needless. She panted still, and her limbs quivered, but a hare was not so harmless; and soon she breathed her last, and the judicious Denys propped Gerard up against her, being soft, and fanned him. He came to by degrees, but confused, and feeling the bear all round him, rolled away, yelling.

"Courage," cried Denys, "le diable est mort."

"Is it dead, quite dead?" inquired Gerard from behind a tree; for his courage was feverish, and the cold fit was on him just now, and had been for some time.

"Behold," said Denys, and pulled the brute's ear playfully, and opened her jaws and put in his head, with other insulting antics; in the midst of which Gerard was violently sick.

Denys laughed at him.

"What is the matter now?" said he; "also, why tumble off your perch just when we had won the day?"

"I swooned, I trow."

"But why?"

Not receiving an answer, he continued, "Green girls faint as soon as look at you, but then they choose time and place. What woman ever fainted up a tree?"

"She sent her nasty blood all over me. I think the smell must have overpowered me. Faugh! I hate blood."

"I do believe it potently."

"See what a mess she has made me!"

"But with her blood, not yours. I pity the enemy that strives to satisfy you."


"You need not to brag, Maitre Denys; I saw you under the tree, the color of your shirt."

"Let us distinguish," said Denys coloring; "it is permitted to tremble for a friend."

Gerard, for answer, flung his arm around Denys's neck in silence.

—Charles Reade.

From "The Cloister and the Hearth."

The Secret of the Jade Tlaloc

"If only this paper on jade were finished!" sighed tall, dignified, blond Dolores. "These notes sound so interesting. 'Jade implements,'" she read, "'found in Mexico—source of mineral not yet discovered—theory that implements are relics of Eastern invasion disproved—jade said to exist in America,' My! I do think jade is the most delightful subject for investigation."

"Um-m!" Elsa, who, like her Spanish mother, was small, quick, dark, and adventure-loving, did not consider jade a particularly fascinating topic for study. "Now if—we—a—we—a——" she ruminated.

"If we—a——?" Dolores's sentences were always clearly thought out before she spoke them.

"If we—a—now if we could finish that paper, we might be able to sell it, you know," Elsa went on. "We certainly haven't an enviably large fortune." She reached into one of the dark pigeon-holes of her father's ponderous desk. "Ook-ook!" she pursed up her full red lips, as she held a yellow scroll from her and gingerly flicked away the dust which had collected upon it since her father's death. "Now here's what I call interesting. An old letter or something, written on[268] agave-leaf paper." From their long association with their father in his archeological researches, the girls had gained a more than superficial knowledge of Aztec customs and antiquities. "'We, the Aztecs, are a proud race,'" she readily translated. "'It is not for the Spaniards to glory in complete victory over us, for though they have conquered our bodies, they have not conquered our spirits. Well may they rejoice in the ruining of our beautiful cities. But when they search, and search in vain, for the wealth which they know has been ours, how they will rage! But their anger shall be as vain as their searching. Those of us who are left will not see the invaders glorying in what was once the splendor of the Aztecs. Rather will we bury, and hide from all future generations, if need be, the secrets of our riches. It is that my descendants may one day scoff at the descendants of those who have made me, who was a prince, a slave, that I am making this record. Among the mountains which the Spaniards have called the "Corderillas" is one in whose top is a hole of great depth, from which it is said, there once flowed streams of liquid fire, the vengeance of the gods upon the people. This mountain stands between two sister mountains of far greater height than itself, and is near the middle of the range.' Why, that might be Ahualtaper, right near here." Elsa had the topography of the country around their home very clearly mapped out in her mind.

Dolores nodded. "Go on," she said.

"'Half-way up the side which faces the rising sun,'" Elsa continued, "'is a ledge, upon which is a rock, apparently one with the mountainside, and in[269] which, when viewed from a distance, can be seen a resemblance to the cross of Tlaloc. One day a descendant of mine will find and displace this rock; whereupon, the entrance to the tomb of my ancestors will be revealed. There are many such tombs and many such mountains as those which I have described, but which I have not named. However, in the particular burial place to which I refer is a jade image of the god Tlaloc. It is studded with valuable turquoise. Where this image is found will also be found what should be the source of untold wealth to the discoverer.

"'In warning, let me say that none but the eldest son of a family must ever know of this document; and should he be tempted, ever, to part with it, let him remember that bodily want is preferable to the curses of the dead!'"

The two girls remained silent for a few moments. "Well," asked Elsa, at last, "what do you think of that?"

Dolores turned again to the desk. "It is interesting," she replied, "but of what use can it ever be to us? We could never find the place. Why, we've been in dozens of burial grottos already, and they are all pretty much alike." She opened another drawer. "Here is father's diary."

The book fell open at the page upon which the last entry had been made. "'May 15'—the day father became ill—'poor wrinkled old Gomez died today,'" she read. "'He wanted to give me information about a jade Tlaloc, some famous image which has been lost. He tried with his last breath to do me the service of aiding me in my research. He gave me also a very ancient[270] manuscript. I do not know where he got it. I hardly feel equal, to-night, to the task of translating it. Perhaps Elsa will do the translation tomorrow. If I could find such an idol, it would be of great value to me in my treatise on jade.'"

Elsa waited long enough only for Dolores to stop reading. "Dolores, we must find that idol."

Dolores looked gravely at her sister. "This is really a serious matter, Elsa. It would save us from the necessity of working if we could find it. But how can you and I alone accomplish anything? We should have to go into the mountains, and have a donkey, and camp in the open air, and——"

"Well," Elsa impatiently interrupted the enumeration of objections, "what of that? You and father and I used often to go into the mountains, and have a donkey, and camp in the open air; and father always depended more upon us than we upon him. You think it over while I get tea." Elsa left her sister sitting alone and looking out of the study windows to the solemn rugged Corderillas.

Dolores did consider the matter, with the result that, after a few weeks of study, of consulting maps and plans, and of preparation for the journey, the sisters were ready to begin the daring exploit whose aim was to complete the investigations which their father had begun.

Clad in rough, unsightly denim, and leading a burro which carried a very considerable store of provisions, they clambered up the jagged sides of Ahualtapec; they tore their way through thickets and fell upon cacti.


"We're lost," panted Dolores, finally, as she pulled the many thorns from her clothing. "Elsa, we're lost."

They had stopped, at about noon on the tenth day of their trip, to rest, and again to consult their maps.

Elsa stood upon a ledge and looked across to where, between two lofty mountains, rising to the south of Ahualtapec, a smaller rock mass showed itself, like a much overgrown hill-the shell of a long extinct volcano, and a very counterpart of Ahualtapec.

"Dolores," she pointed straight before her, "do you remember? A stone in which, when viewed from a distance, can be seen a resemblance to the cross of Tlaloc?"

"Oh, dear," complained Dolores, dejectedly, "and all this time wasted!"

"Now, Dolores!" small Elsa turned about determinedly, "you ought to shout for joy, for that certainly must be it. The rocks are bare around that spot, and you can see it plainly from here. It's on a ledge, too, just like the one we're on. We will start this very minute, Dolores."

Delaying long enough only for Elsa, who had a fine sense of location, to impress upon her mind the position of the cross, they began once more the tedious scrambling, tearing, tumbling down slopes and up slopes, across streams and through, streams; but they did not lose themselves again.

"Do you suppose," Dolores anxiously asked, "that we can ever move it?" as she saw how the ages had packed, and hardened the damp soil about the base of the boulder.


"We must." Elsa was resolved not to be defeated. "We absolutely must," she reiterated.

"How?" demanded Dolores.

Elsa's reply was to unstrap a bag from the burro's back, to take from it two trowels, and silently to offer one to Dolores. No explanation was necessary. For five days the girls scraped and dug away the hardened soil from the lower part of the cross-shaped stone, until at last the block began to tremble as though about to fall.

"Dolores! Dolores! It's top heavy, bless it!" Elsa was enthusiastically, insanely happy.

The fact that the stone was top-heavy made it possible for the girls, by dint of much tugging, heaving, and pushing, to roll it over the ledge, and to send it bumping down the mountainside. A narrow passage, wide enough to admit only one at a time, was thus opened. Pine torches were lit. Even Dolores was excited. They squeezed into the entrance, Elsa first. They rushed through the short tunnel, until, at the end, Elsa stumbled and sank to her knees.

"Oh, my! Dolores, just look!" she was holding her torch down to see what had caused her fall. "It's it," she remarked, disregarding rhetoric, while she pointed to a small turquoise-studded image of Tlaloc, the Neptune of the Aztecs.

The girls carried the idol into the little ante-room which was always a part of the burial grotto of an Aztec noble family. How pleasant, how cool, and damp it seemed in here, after their hot toil outside. The sisters had been in too many tombs to know any fear, to have any feeling of the presence of the dead. Their[273] own breathing sounded loud and labored amid the silence of the cave.

Dolores sat down on the moist floor, and examined the statues; she was thinking of the treasure; but Elsa, now that she was sure of finding the gold, or the jewels, or whatever the promise might have meant, desired to explore the grotto.

From the little ante-room she passed into the larger chamber. Here, for the first time, she felt chilled; she seemed so alone. She was sure she felt a ghost whisper near her. Her feet slipped on the wet earth. On the further side of the tomb she saw upon the ground an urn, on which rested a skull. By the shape of the urn and by the arrangement of the ornaments above it Elsa knew that it contained the ashes of a warrior. A drop of water splashed down from the ceiling and aroused her. She held her torch aloft. She looked unbelievingly at the roof. Then she walked slowly around the room, wonderingly, feeling and scrutinizing the walls.

"Dolores!" she called, "come quick!"

Dolores was not long in coming.

"And here is also what should be the source of untold wealth to the discoverer," Elsa was murmuring. "Dolores, do you see that green, that dull gray? How it shines? Don't you know, Dolores? It's jade, royal jade, Dolores!"

—Dorothea Knoblock.

II. The Society Story

What the society story is

Society stories are those non-consequential narratives of modern fashionable life which have in their[274] very lightness their sole excuse for being. They are set up as only partial reflections of the actual. Since their chief purpose is to please, they have no studied realism in them. All things intense and unattractive are omitted. If trouble appears, it is but as "sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh," as one of their authors might promptly quote, and everything is brought to harmonize with everything else at last. Richard Harding Davis for his "Van Bibber" tales seems to have found a wide public.

The pastoral romance

An older representative of the society story is the pastoral romance, once a very popular form of the love tale. In it we have a picture of country life, but it is not the hard, toil-beleaguered life of the real peasant. It is the imaginary out-of-doors living-for-a-few-days of the courtier who masquerades as a shepherd and sits cavalierly on a grassy bank with a golden crook in his hand, sighing out his heart in silvery madrigals. His lady-love is no ordinary milk-maid, but a courtly princess on vacation. In this romantic land of shepherd loves, nothing realistic enters. The talk in even the first examples is philosophic and in the later becomes euphuistic as well. The critics maintain that the pastoral romance as a type does not go more than ten years back of the middle of the fourteenth century, although we have "Aucassin and Nicolette" of the thirteenth and "Daphnis and Chloe" of the fifth. The prime fact of the history of the pastoral romance as a society story is that it grew up as a revolt against the licentious realism of the Italian novellieri. The "Arcadia" by Sannazaro, written about 1500, is the book that made[275] the epoch and established the rule for pastoral romance in all languages. Sannazaro took what had been foreshadowed by Boccaccio in the "Ameto" in 1340, and, enriching it with elements derived from Theocritus and Virgil, created the "perfect" example. From Sannazaro, Sir Philip Sidney borrowed the spirit, many episodes, and part of the name for his notable combination of prose and verse—the "Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia." Shakespeare, too, derived much from this important Italian book. For one thing, he took the name Ophelia; for another, his charming society pastoral drama "As You Like It" goes historically back to Sannazaro's "Arcadia" for its lyrics, out-of-doors courting, its real shepherds, its obvious love of nature, its touch of magic, and its wholesome morality. The lack of allegorical significance is also straight example from Sannazaro; but the love chain, the disguised shepherd princesses, the humorous element in connection with the coarse shepherds, a touch of adventure, and the cavalier tone are of later Spanish and English contamination, immediately through Lodge's prose romance "Rosalynd," and more remotely through Greene's three pastorals—"England's Mourning Garment," "Menaphon," and "Pandosto,"—and through Cervantes's "Galatea" and Montemayor's "Diana," and Ribeyro's Portuguese "Fragments."

Though the pastoral romance, as we notice, became more and more artificial, it always remained pure in tone. It centered itself in idealism and stood against the low, utterly debased, more realistic novella, which was its predecessor and continued rival for popularity. The pastoral held the field as the chief and most[276] influential prose form in Spain until the picaresque romance came to be recognized as a distinct genre.

Suggestions for writing

To write a modern society story that will be worth while is no easy task; for here an author readily descends to banalities, and the class itself is hardly acceptable to the serious critic. Yet stories of this kind are so popular and form (I am sorry to say) so large a part of the reading of our young women—and our young men, too, for that matter—that the type surely has come to stay for sometime and must be taken account of. To make your story commendable, then, you will need to be original and striking in your choice of situation and to write with a succinctness and verve that will animate even the commonplace. Be careful not to be sentimental. If you touch on love, do so with dignity—with either clean, pure humor, or unaffected seriousness. Try hard to save your hero from being a cad. The namby-pamby, third-generation-millionaire protagonist, if not altogether uninteresting, is surely exasperating to a sensible reader. By playful imitation, you might write a good satire on this class of story. If you do so, you will need to be familiar with one or more of the popular examples in order to use them specifically. Or you might try your hand at a pastoral, just for the history of the thing. If you care to adhere to certain elements of the genre, you could put together under this guise allegorical scenes in which the present lords of the earth figure as weak or lusty shepherds piping a tune to the watch-dogs of war, the sheep of commerce, and the Goddess of Getting-On. If you wish to be more than half serious, you can find countenance in a[277] number of our most recent light stories that undoubtedly turn toward the pastoral. This type, too, will give you a chance at a mixture of prose and verse. Here you can put in some of those fetching sylvan lyrics that you must have composed long before now and have always been afraid to mention.

The Fur Coat

Translated by Mrs. J. M. Lancaster. Copyright, 1903, by The Current Literature Publishing Company. Reprinted by permission.

Prof. Max Wiegand to Dr. Gustav Strauch

Berlin, November 20.

Dear Gustav—I have some news to tell you to-day which will certainly surprise you. I have separated from my wife, or rather we have separated from each other. We have come to an amicable agreement henceforth to live entirely independent of each other. My wife has gone to her family in Freiburg, where she will no doubt remain. I am for the present in our old house; perhaps in the spring I may look for a smaller house—perhaps not, for I can hardly hope to find so quiet a workroom as I now have, and the idea of moving appals me, especially when I think of my large library. You will, of course, want to know what has happened, though, to tell the truth, nothing has happened. The world will seek for all possible and impossible reasons why two people who married for love and who have for eleven years lived what is called happily together should now have decided to part. Yes, this world which thinks itself so wise, but whose judgments are nevertheless so petty, so superficial, will [278]doubtless be of the opinion that there is something hidden—will include this case too in one of the two great categories prepared for such affairs, because it can not conceive of the fact that life in its inexhaustible variety never repeats itself and that the same circumstances may assume different aspects according to the character and disposition of those interested. I need not tell you this, my dear Gustav. You will understand how two finely organized natures should rebel against a tie which binds them together after they have once become fully convinced that in all matters of real importance a mutual understanding is possible.

My wife and I are too unlike. Between her views of life and mine there yawns an impassable gulf. The first few years I hoped to influence her, to win her to my ways of thinking—she seemed so docile, so yielding, took so warm an interest in my work, so willingly allowed herself to be taught by me. Not till after our children's death did she begin to change. Her grief at this loss—a grief which neither of us has ever been able to live down—matured her, made her independent of me. A tendency to morbid introspection took possession of her, and gave increased tenacity to those ideas and convictions which my influence had hitherto held in check, though not wholly eradicated. She plunged deeper and deeper into those mists of sentimentally fantastic imaginings, passionately demanding my concurrence in her views. She lost all interest in my professional work, evidently regarding the results of my researches in natural science as troops from an enemy's camp. At last there was hardly a subject in the wide realm of nature and human existence on which we agreed. To be sure we never came to an open quarrel, but the breach[279] between us was constantly widening. Every day we saw more and more plainly that though we lived side by side, we no longer belonged to each other. This discovery irritated and distressed us, and at last forced all other feelings into the background. If we had not once loved each other so dearly, or even if we had now ceased to feel a mutual respect, this state of affairs might perhaps have lasted for years, but our ideas of the true meaning of marriage were too lofty, our sense of our own dignity as human beings too profound to permit us to be content with so incomplete a realization of our ideals. I hardly know who spoke first, but our resolution was at once taken, and the decisive words uttered as calmly and naturally as the overripe fruit falls from the tree. For the first time in many years we were able with perfect unanimity of sentiment to discuss a subject of the greatest importance to us both, and this fact alone soothed our overwrought nerves. We parted yesterday with the utmost decorum, without a word of reproach, a note of discord.

The many beautiful memories of our early married life, of the long years we had lived together, made it difficult to refrain from some manifestation of tenderness, and I assure you that I never felt greater respect for my wife than at the moment when, all petty considerations cast aside, the true magnanimity of her nature asserted itself. Her manner, what she said, and also what she did not say, robbed the situation of all trace of the commonplace, and gave it dignity. Deeply moved, almost in tears, we clasped hands in farewell, so we may look back upon the closing scene of our wedded life with unalloyed satisfaction.

I had already, with her consent, referred all business[280] details to our lawyers, for we were not even to communicate with each other by letter.

Life must begin again for both of us, and already I breathe more freely. The Rubicon is passed. I believe that you will congratulate me.

Prof. Max Wiegand to Dr. Gustav Strauch

Berlin, December 12.

Dear Gustav—Pardon me that I have so long delayed thanking you for your answer of friendly sympathy to my last letter.

I have been in no condition to write, and even now find it difficult. You congratulate me without reserve on a step which you regard as essential to my welfare and to my intellectual development, but you do not take into consideration what it means to separate from one who has for eleven years been one's constant companion, day and night. Indeed, it is only during these last dreary weeks that I, myself, have realized what the change signifies to me. Habit is all powerful, especially with men who, like you and me, live in the intellectual world and so require a solid sub-structure.

How are we to take observations from the tower battlements when its foundations are not firmly established? Of course, I am as certain as ever I was that our decision is for the best interests of us both, but in this queer world of ours we can take no step without unlooked-for results.

I am bothered from morn till night with trifles to which I have never given a thought since my bachelor days—things which I will not mention, so absurdly insignificant are they—and yet they rob me of my time and destroy my[281] peace. I am at a loss what steps to take to rid myself of the thousand petty cares and annoyances which my wife has hitherto borne for me. These servants! Now that the cat is away they think that they can do just as they please, and you have no idea of the silly obstacles over which I am continually stumbling, of the wretched pitfalls which beset my path. Here is one instance out of many: For several days it has been very cold, and I can not find my fur coat. With the chambermaid's assistance I have turned the whole house upside down, until she finally remembered that my wife, last spring, sent it to a furrier's to be kept from the moth. But to which furrier? I have been to a dozen and can not find it.

If I had only not agreed with my wife that we were, under no circumstances, to write to each other, I should simply ask her—but it is best so. No strain of the commonplace must mingle with the sad echoes of our farewell. No—a farce never follows a drama. Perhaps she might even imagine that I seize the first pretext to renew relations with her.


To-day it is six below zero.

Prof. Max Wiegand to Frau Emma Wiegand

Berlin, December 14.

Dear Emma—You will be greatly surprised at receiving a letter from me in spite of our mutual agreement, but do not fear that I have any intention of opening a correspondence with you. Our relations terminated with all possible dignity, and the sealed door shall never be re-opened. I have but to ask a simple question which you[282] alone can answer. What is the name of the man to whom you sent my fur coat last spring? Lina has forgotten the address. Hoping soon to receive an answer, for which I thank you in advance,


Frau Emma Wiegand to Prof. Max Wiegand

Freiburg, December 15.

Dear Max—His name is Palaschke, and he is on Zimmer Street. I can not understand Lina's forgetfulness, as she took the coat there herself.


Prof. Max Wiegand to Frau Emma Wiegand

Berlin, December 17.

Dear Emma—I must trouble you once more—for the last time. Herr Palaschke refuses to let the coat go without the ticket, as he has had several disagreeable experiences which have made it necessary to be very strict. But where is the ticket? I spent the whole morning looking for it, and, of course, Lina has not the slightest idea where it is. She flew into a rage when I found a little fault with her, and she leaves the house to-morrow. I prefer paying her till the end of her engagement, and in addition shall give her a moderate Christmas gift, for I can not stand for a great length of time such an impertinent person about me.

Well—be so kind as to write me a line telling me where to find the ticket. I have already taken a severe cold for want of the fur coat.

Hoping that you are well and quite comfortable with your family.



Frau Emma Wiegand to Prof. Max Wiegand

Freiburg, December 19.

Dear Max—The ticket is either in the second or third upper drawer of the little wardrobe in the dressing-room or in my desk, in the right or left pigeon-hole. I could find it in a minute if I were there. Lina has great faults, but she is very respectable. I doubt whether you can do better, and now, just before Christmas, you will not be able to replace her. You should have put up with her at least a fortnight longer, but it is none of my business. I hope your cold is better. I am quite well.


Prof. Max Wiegand to Frau Emma Wiegand

Berlin, December 21.

Dear Emma—The ticket is not to be found either in the wardrobe or in the desk. Perhaps it slipped out when you were packing, and was thrown away. I can think of no other explanation.

To-morrow or next day I will again go to Herr Palaschke, and try to wheedle him out of my property by all possible blandishments and assurances, but to-day I am confined to my room, for my cold has resulted in a severe attack of neuralgia.

I had a dreadful scene with the cook yesterday. On the day of your departure she gave me notice, and when I tried to persuade her to remain she turned on me and told me in a very insolent manner that I knew nothing about house-keeping, and that it was only out of sympathy for you, dear Emma, that she had so long remained with us at such low wages, and that she should leave immediately. I answered calmly, but firmly, that she must stay till the[284] end of her engagement. Then she began to cry and storm, and at last was so outrageously impertinent as to declare that even you could not manage to live with me. I lost my temper and must, I suppose, have called her an "impudent woman," though I can not remember saying it. Unfortunately for me I have had no experience in dealing with viragos.

Two hours later, after supper, I rang and discovered that she was already gone, bag and baggage, leaving in the kitchen a badly spelled billet doux, in which she threatened me with a lawsuit for calling her an "impudent woman," in case I should refuse to give her a certificate of character.

I am now entirely without servants. The porter's wife blacks my shoes for a handsome consideration, and brings me from the café meals which ought to be condemned by the health inspector. As you have truly remarked, it will be impossible to replace these women before the New Year, but I have already written to a dozen employment bureaus, and will go myself as soon as I am able to leave the house. This has grown into a long letter, my dear Emma, but when the heart is full the pen runs rapidly.

I also suspect that abominable cook of taking my gold sleeve buttons—those left me by Uncle Friedrich—though I have, of course, no proof. Have you any idea where they are? If so please drop me a line. Good-by, my dear Emma, and I trust you are more comfortable than I am.

Your Max.

Frau Emma Wiegand to Prof. Max Wiegand

Freiburg, December 23.

Dear Max—I have read with much sympathy your account of your little mishaps and annoyances. The cook[285] often spoke to me very much as she did to you, but I put up with it because she is a good cook, and only cooks who know nothing are polite. Now you see what I have had to stand for years, and that there are problems in that department also which can not be solved by natural science.

I can not, at this instance, advise you what to do, and should not consider myself justified in doing so now that our intimate relations have been terminated in so dignified a manner, as you so truly remark in your first letter. As for the furrier's ticket and the sleeve buttons, I will wager that I could find them both in five minutes. You must remember how often you have hunted in vain for a thing which I have found at the first attempt. Men occasionally discover a new truth but never an old button.

Since a correspondence has been begun by you, I have a little request to make. I forgot before I left to ask you for the letters which you wrote me during our engagement, and which at my request you put in your safe. They are my property, and I should like to have them as a reminder of happier days. Will you be so kind as to send them to me?

Wishing you a Merry Christmas,


Prof. Max Wiegand to Frau Emma Wiegand

Berlin, December 25.

My Dear Emma—Your kind wish that I might have a Merry Christmas has not been fulfilled. I never spent so melancholy a Christmas Eve. You will not wonder that I could not bear to accept the invitations of friends—to be a looker-on at family rejoicings—so I stayed at home, entirely alone. I found it utterly impossible to get a servant[286] before New Year's, and yesterday was even without a helper from outside. The porter's wife put a cold supper on the table for me early in the afternoon, for she was too busy later with Christmas preparations for her children. A smoky oil lamp took the place of the Christmas tree which you always adorned so charmingly and with such exquisite taste every year, and there were none of those pretty surprises by which you supplied my wants and wishes almost before I was conscious of them. There was nothing on the Christmas table but my old fur coat, which Herr Palaschke—softened by my entreaties and assurances and perhaps also by the spirit of Christmastide—had allowed me to take the preceding day. It was as cold as charity in the room, for the fire had gone out and it was beyond my skill to rekindle it, so I put on the fur coat, sat down by the smoky lamp, and read over the letters which I wrote you during the time of our engagement and which I had taken from their eleven years' resting-place to send to you to-day.

Dear Emma, I can not tell you how they have moved me. I cried like a child, not over the tragic ending of our marriage alone, but at the change in myself which I recognize. They are very immature and in many ways not in accordance with my present way of thinking, but what a fresh, frank, warm-blooded fellow I was then, and how I loved you! How happy I was! How artlessly and unreservedly did I give myself up to my happiness! Till now I have thought that there has been a gradual, slow change in you alone, but now I see that I also have altered, and God knows, when I compare the Max of those days with the Max of to-day, I do not know to which to give the preference. In the sleepless nights which I have lately spent, I[287] have thought over the possibility of transforming myself into the Max I then was, and grave doubts have suggested themselves whether the differences in our views of matters and things were really as great as they seemed to us, whether there is not outside of them something eternally human, some neutral ground where we might continue to have interests in common.

Try and see, dear Emma, whether such a voice does not speak also to your soul. We can not undo the past, but nothing could give me greater consolation in my present unhappy condition than to know that you could say yes to this question, for your departure has left a void in my house and in my life that I can never, never fill.

Thy most unhappy Max.

Frau Emma Wiegand to Prof. Max Wiegand

Freiburg, December 27.

Dear Max—I very willingly gave you information as long as it related only to tickets and sleeve buttons, but I must decline answering the question contained in your last letter. Did you really believe, you old Pedant, that I left your home—which was also mine—because we disagreed in our views of matters and things in general? Then you are mightily mistaken. I left you because I saw more plainly every day that you no longer loved me. Yes, I had become a burden to you—you wanted to get rid of me. If in that dignified parting scene you had said one single tender word to me, I should probably have stayed, but, as usual, you were on your high horse, from which you have now had so lamentable a tumble just because your servants have left you. I too have served you faithfully, though you do not[288] seem to have recognized that fact. I never let the fire go out on your hearth. It was not my fault when it grew cold.

Who knows whether you would have noticed the void left by my going if your fur coat had not also been missing? This gave you an opportunity of opening a correspondence with me, and it seems to be only fitting that it should now close, since you have once more regained possession of your property. I, at least, have nothing more to say.

Good-by forever,


Prof. Max Wiegand to Dr. Gustav Strauch

Berlin, January 8.

Dear Gustav—I have a great piece of news to tell you. My wife returned to me yesterday, and at my earnest solicitation. I thought I could no longer live with her, but I find it equally impossible to live without her. I have just discovered that she too was very unhappy during the time of our separation, but she would never have acknowledged it, for hers is the stronger character of the two. I do not know how to explain the miracle, but we love each other more dearly than ever. We are celebrating a new honeymoon. The great questions of life drove us apart, but is it only the little ones which have reunited us? Would you suppose that one could find a half-desiccated heart in the pocket of an old fur coat? The stately edifice of my worldly knowledge totters on its foundations, dear Gustav. I have a great deal to unlearn.


—Ludwig Fulda.


The Lady in Pink

If I hadn't had to stop in the middle of my painting and run down to the house to get some more rose-madder I never in the world should have seen her; I had to leave all my things up on the hill with little David, and on the way down to the village I passed the place.

The only thing I remember now is that I was hurrying along by a stone wall which was higher than my head and that above it dark pines clustered in pointed masses against a blue and white sky—it was just the kind of sky Bougereau would have loved, with soft, opaque clouds—when I came past the gate, and one can never go by a gate, you know, and not look in, and it was there that I saw her. She was sitting on a bench built under a tree—the trunk of which did for the perpendicular in the composition and gave such a good contrast in color, too, for she—well, there she was just sitting there with her hands in her lap, her head against the tree and her feet out in front of her, and oh, dreams of loveliness—her dress was pink! Think of that! Rose pink where it touched the grass, lavender pink where it fell in shadows, shell pink where the sun flickered on it—and in her hand she held a kind of golden straw hat, and that was just dripping with roses, and they were the pinkest of all. Oh! it was a picture for the gods. I made quick work of my errand and hastened back to tell David about it.

"Well, I've seen it," I announced breathlessly, coming up the slope.

"Seen what?" asked David, not stopping from his clover chain.


"My masterpiece," I answered, squirting out much more of the rose-madder than I needed—this paltry little sketch I was working on now would have to be finished up and gotten out of the road for real work.

"Where?" asked David, with the laconic briefness of childhood.

"Down inside the big gate—behind the stone wall."

"Oh, that's where the Cory's live—there's a stream there, with pollywogs in it." David's mind was beginning to wander.

"But you never saw such a study in pink in all your life—think of it—pink dress—all different shades of pink—pink roses for the high-note, and then pale pink repeated in the cheeks and then way off in the background there were some pink hollyhocks." "My, oh, my," I added to myself, stubbing gamboge into the canvass to get a sunshiny effect, "My, oh, my—she sat there just like a Grenze—a Gainsborough lady, now, never would have had the courage to have leaned against the tree in that lackadaisical manner; the Lady in Pink—Whistler painted a Lady in White—I shall paint the Lady in Pink! Tomorrow I shall begin, David," I said, "tomorrow I am going down to get my masterpiece."

"Well, but you can't go in the Cory's to get it," said David; "that's private grounds."

Private grounds! The words stunned me. Couldn't an artist usually go any place he liked?

"Private grounds!" I echoed, "oh, yes; why that's so. Why, what on earth will I do?"

"I don't know," said David, with a half-rising inflection showing an abstract sympathy.


"Think of that! And there it all is just waiting to be painted. Why, look here, David, how on earth did you ever get in to know there were pollywogs?"

"Oh," said David, "the folks were away."

"Well, I will wait then till they are all away! But, good heavens, what am I thinking about! The garden isn't what I want—it's the Lady in Pink." I began packing up my paints—there was no use trying to do anything more now.

"Well, at any rate, we will go down tomorrow," said I, wiping some brushes on my handkerchief, "and maybe in the meanwhile we can think up a way to get in."

"Oh, let's go now," suggested David, seeing that things were really moving.

"You mean it?" I asked, rather astonished at his sudden desire for action.

"All right, then! You fold up the camp stool and umbrella and I'll take the box and the pallet along with me."

"Dear me! What on earth now will we ever say when we get there?" I began on the way down the hill.

"We might ask for a glass of milk."

"Oh, no, we can't do that—it isn't in the country."

"Well, I might ask for some hollyhocks."

"Well, I guess not! The hollyhocks can't be picked—they're part of the masterpiece."

"Then you think something yourself," and David lapsed into a discouraged silence.

But I couldn't think of anything save that I must and would have the lady at any cost and though I[292] couldn't see how I was going to get it, I had a very clear picture of myself in the garden, painting away.

"You just wait till we get there," I said to David, as we stumped down the walk together. David was used to my enthusiasms over all sorts of things which he usually only vaguely assented that he could see, and though he never said much when I fell to talking about principles of art, I liked to have him with me always when I worked, because he had such a joyous, fresh little face. I couldn't help but catch the sunshine of it when I did an outdoor sketch; and if I had lived in the days when no picture was complete without a Love in it, David would always have been the one to have posed for me.

Presently we came near the gate and, to speak truly, I was becoming a bit fearful as to just what was going to happen, but David, eager and anticipatory, hopped on ahead of me and peered in.

"Oh!" he called back, "there isn't anything here at all."

"Oh, isn't there?" I said; "you don't mean to say it's gone in."

"If you mean the lady, she isn't here."

And true enough, when I came up there wasn't a soul in sight. How empty the place looked! It was just like a disappointing exhibition—here were all the people come to see the great works, and when the door was reached, there hung a sign which said that the management was sorry, but the best paintings had been delayed on the way, and wouldn't be here till tomorrow at two o'clock! I gazed at my ruined masterpiece—the background was all there, but there was no picture,[293] for what moaning had broad green masses of foliage and shaded distances apart from a contrasting center of interest, of what meaning was there anyhow in a landscape without a human touch?

David pressed his hand on the latch of the gate and it opened for him. I have always liked to think since that he was the one that really opened the way there.

"Let's go in," he said in a half challenging whisper, but with eyes pleading authority from me.

I couldn't resist. "Well, all right—it will be like Corot wandering around in the forest of Fontainbleau—and if anybody comes——" I didn't know what I would do, so I took my pallet in my hand fancying to myself it would do very well for a shield against any contingent. So we slowly walked up the winding path together.

"The pollywogs are over there," said David, pointing a slender finger toward the house.

"You never mind them," I answered, "what we are here for is to get the setting of this picture. My! Almost any view would do—I never saw so many colors in all my life. Look, David, at that bust over there with the gray-green leaves brushing up against the gray stone—oh, there ought to be a peacock under there, to give a strong iridescent blue note—do you suppose there is a peacock around any place?" I said, laying down my pallet and circling my eyes with my hands so as to localize the color masses better.

But David was sorting pebbles on the walk and so I expected no answer from him, but was scarcely prepared for the one I did receive.


"No, there is no peacock here, but—can I do anything for you?"

I swept around and there was that radiant figure in pink, melting into the green behind her, the soft roundness of her figure echoed in the larger circling outlines of the trees, her brown hair the delicate counterpart in color of the ground she stood on, and her eyes, deep ultramarine, the concentrated blue of all the pale sky—what a picture, what a picture! My imagination flew to grasp it, and I forgot everything but that I must have it, swept up clean from the pallet and made living on the canvas.

"Yes," I said, "yes—there is something you can do for me. You can stay right there—or you can go over there and sit down, while I get you," and I dashed back to the gate after my paints.

When I returned she was still standing and the corners of her lips were twitching. They were very red. I began unpacking my tubes and unfolding my easel. "Wouldn't you like to sit on the bench over there? You have no idea how much the tree trunk will help out the composition." And I begged her silently.

But she stood there perfectly still and looked at me with eyes full of question; they had a moving highlight in them, like the sun on a wave—if I could only catch that!

"You want to get me!" she finally stammered.

"Oh, yes!" I said, "don't you see? I was walking by the gate and I saw you, and I want you to pose for me," and then as I saw her hesitate, "oh, surely you don't mind being gotten?" With what a terror the thought filled me—but I had to do it somehow.


"Well—only—but why don't you paint the little boy?"

"Oh, David! Oh, I paint him in everything—he comes in the sunshine and the blowing wind and all the feeling of movement I ever get in a picture—and then if people are happy when they look at the picture, that is because David was with me when I painted it. David is a little Love."

Well, she never said a word, but I think she understood what I meant, because she went over and sat down and called David to her and began talking with him. I am sure I had no idea what she was saying to him, because I set to the work then with all my might. I sketched in the figure, and set up my pallet with plenty of color and then flew to the brushes; it seemed as if I could work with the culminative inspiration of all the painting I had ever done.

While I was blocking in the hat with the roses, she looked up.

"Won't you tell me what it is going to be?" she asked with the air of having thought of the question some time before.

"Well," I replied, knowing I would have to make a step somehow, "Whistler painted a Lady in White, so I thought I would call this the Lady in Pink; and if it comes out and I really get you——"

"If you really get me?"

"Why, yes; if I can just catch you the way I want you; that is one of the troubles of the artist, you know—he never really is sure whether he is going to be able to get what he wants or——"

"Not even when he is so eager about it?"


"No, not always then," I laughed, wondering though if she didn't know that inspiration was in truth something more than eagerness.

"Not even—when he is painting in a garden—like this?"

Her eyes were brimming with a half-concealed mirth.

"Oh, this garden is a lovely place," I answered, "but it wouldn't make all the picture—there's got to be some spirit in it beside—a kind of informing mood. Now it is very quiet here and you are posing for me——"

"Oh! so I must be quiet, too?"

"Yes, I suppose so," I answered boldly enough; "only, of course, a different kind of quiet, you know; for if the garden is still, that's because—well, there isn't anybody mowing the grass, or there isn't any wind or—oh, the quietness of a person sitting in a garden is quite a different thing."

She kept looking at me all the time I was saying this, and then replied slowly:

"I see; you don't want me just to sit still."

"Certainly not," I answered. "I want you to be—"

Her eyes suddenly became dreamy, and I felt much more at ease.

"It's like David and the sunshine," she went on.

"Yes, just exactly; you are to be the spirit of the garden, the human symbol of its mood—its real meaning," and happy that she understood the way I felt about David, I fell to laying on the paint in broad, easy strokes, wondering how I could ever imitate the emerald transparency of the trees.

She did not speak again and presently my glance[297] returned to her. She was holding David's cap in her hand and looking out—nowhere, I guess. I stopped my work, stepping back to study it and survey the scene.

"I'm glad you like my garden," she finally said, smiling; and such a smile as she gave me—it was like a stream of golden haze on a white flower, a change very subtle, and yet so striking.

"Your garden is the very best place yet I've found to work in," I said, well pleased. "It is just as fine a place as the Forest of Fontainebleau, and Corot did some great masterpieces there."

"Well, then, this surely ought to be your masterpiece, because, according to your own definition, you have all the conditions just perfect; the garden, and David——"

"Besides you," I interrupted, looking at her through the point of the easel, hoping to see the smile again; but she had suddenly changed her position, quite unconscious that in doing so she had spoiled the composition. But it made no difference, for I already had the posture, and the dress with its lavender and shell-pink lights and all the green behind—it was all there on the canvas, and the echo of it all on my pallet just like the memory of an overture which has played with all the various themes; and as to the rest—ah, she had indeed given me a glimpse of the tender mood and the stilling charm with which I wished to finish the picture. I was quite content.

Presently a tide of yellow evening light flooded into the garden, making the ground luminous and throwing deep shadows everywhere. I laid down my brushes.


"I shall have to stop now," I said, "evening is coming on—I shall have to be going," and I whistled for David.

He came running across the grass, one hand full of hollyhocks. "Oh, my stars, David!" I exclaimed, "what have you been doing?"

"Never mind," said the lady, "you know you have been helping yourself to things, too," and she rose and came over.

"Oh, there I am," she said lightly, looking at what I had done.

"No, indeed," I hastened to assure her, "that isn't you—yet; so far it is a composition in pink and green, but you aren't in it. When I put in the sunlit background, then David comes, you know, and then when I put a gentle repose in every line of the figure, and a dreamy, tender sweetness in the face, then I will be painting the real spirit of the garden—don't you see?"

And then, oh, my heart, she smiled again, but this time such a smile as no man deserves twice—and stooped and kissed David.

"He says he wants to get me for his painting, David. Shall I let him?"

"Why, hasn't he gotten you already?" asked David, tying the hollyhocks with grass.

"Yes, I think he has," she answered slowly. "David, you are a little Love," she added.

"Yes, isn't he, though!" I said.

—Wilma I. Ball.


III. The Humorous Story

The humorous story is but the other side of the society story. It is not a thorough study in realism either, for then it would be sad for a large part—as George Meredith has shown us; but it is rather a course of events more or less skilfully arranged to produce a laugh. There is transposition here, suppression there, exaggeration in many places. The reader joins the author in the conspiracy to concoct fun, and as a result both have a good time. The refinement and taste of these narratives range all the long distance from the vulgar horse-play and impossible dialect of the newspaper "funny page" to the genuine humor of Mrs. Stowe's "Sam Lawson" fireside stories and the quiet pleasantness of Sarah Orne Jewett's character sketches in "The Country of the Pointed Firs." Mark Twain began the foundation of that distinction which he now has as the greatest of modern humorists in his early volume of sketches, entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog."

The fableau

This type of story probably originated in the medieval French fableau,[5] which was a short humorous tale of the people—one recounting some ludicrous situation. It was generally written in octosyllabic couplets, a metrical form which was admirably suited to sharp, spirited narrative by reason of its skip, its carelessness, its sauciness. Boccaccio and his long train of Italian and other followers retold in prose many of these French stories; but it must be admitted that the condensation and the rapidity of the [300]older metrical tales become diffuseness and sometimes tediousness in the prose version. The fableau was sometimes satiric; usually baldly, even coarsely realistic. Its purpose, however, was always to amuse. Chaucer retold five or more fableaux. He is a jolly narrator, and carries one along often in spite of one's prejudice in favor of modesty and decency. He is honest enough, however, to warn the reader of possible unpalatableness and modern enough to attempt to excuse himself on the basis of art.

Picaresque romance

That the picaresque romances embody such stories as the fableau is perfectly evident. Dissect, for instance, "Lazarillo de Tormes," or better, "Guzman de Alfarache," and you will see that the various adventures of the heroes would make capital fableaux or humorous contes. The idea of combining low adventures into a series connected with one hero comes down from the days of Nero, when Petronius Arbiter wrote his "Satyricon." But the term picaresque romance refers to the Spanish popular tales of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the heroes of which are rascals, or picaros. As sharpers, they are the prototypes of our more modern Yankee in fiction who always "does" the other fellow before the other fellow "does" him. Some of them, like the "Yank," are not so much mean as just bold and resourceful when at a disadvantage. They go to court like the Connecticut Yankee and see their betters, whom they criticise most straightforwardly. They are older and naughtier Tom Sawyers and Huckleberry Finns. In short, by their vernacular of the highway and by their impudent deeds they stand in the historical[301] line of types which includes the heroes of the fableau and the heroes of the modern burlesque or comic tale. The difference between humorous and comic and between comic and burlesque is a difference of degree.

Of the direct imitations of these Spanish rogues there is the French Gil Blas; there are the English Roderick Random, Jonathan Wild, and Miss Becky Sharp; there is the Amateur Cracksman; and, come to think about it, there is our own late American Saturday Evening Post's ubiquitous Mr. Farthest North, promoter, success attend him!

To write a humorous story you will need to employ epigram, point, climax, colloquialisms, and perhaps dialect. If you touch dialect, however, take care to know what you are about; for nothing is more repellent to a reader familiar with a particular vernacular than to be confronted with pitiful and incorrect attempts at it. To write negro dialect you should be as well versed as Joel Chandler Harris; to write Irish, as apt as Samuel Lover or W. B. Yeats; to reveal children, as sympathetic as Kate Douglas Wiggin; to give us boy's fun, as charming and wholesome as Thomas Bailey Aldrich; to combine humor and the ingenious tale, you should be as inventive as Frank R. Stockton; and to smile at Americans and their foibles you should be as patriotic and kindly as Charles Battell Loomis.

George Washington Cable, Ian Maclaren, Thomas Nelson Page, J. M. Barrie, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman have written excellent dialect, but they are not primarily humorists. They use the vernacular of the people as aids to character revelation.


The difference between a humorous story and comic anecdote is the difference of length and veracity. An anecdote purports to be true. A humorous story, only "drawn from life."

The Expatriation of Jonathan Taintor

Reprinted by permission from Loomis's "Cheerful Americans." Copyright, Henry Holt and Company.

While I was in London I met a New York friend who was stopping in that America-in-London, Bloomsbury, and during our conversation he told me that he had for a fellow-boarder no less a person than Jonathan Taintor.

I felt that I ought to know Jonathan Taintor, and I have since found out that most people have heard something concerning him; but although the name had a good old Connecticut sound, I could not fit Mr. Taintor into any nook, so I frankly said to my friend: "Jonathan Taintor lies in the future for me."

"Why, I'll have to introduce you. I believe he's been written up before, but he's such a character that it will do you good to meet him. Can't you come to dinner tonight?"

Now, I had been reckoning on going that evening to the opera at Covent Garden; but characters do not pop around every corner, and, besides, I had not seen my New York friend for a long time, so I accepted his cordial invitation.

That evening at seven I went to the American boarding-house in Bedford Place, just off High Holborn, and was soon sitting at dinner with my friend.

Directly opposite me sat a man who might have left the valley of the Connecticut five minutes before. There are Taintors all about the Haddams that look just like [303]him. He was short, thick-set, with dreamy blue eyes, a ruddy face that betokened a correct life, a curved nose, broad, straight, shaven upper lip, and a straggling silver chin-beard.

There was more or less twang in the tones of every one at the table, but his voice had a special nasal quality that seemed to bespeak a lifetime of bucolic Yankee existence. It was really so pronounced as to sound stagy.

The talk at dinner was desultory, and Mr. Taintor said little. I noticed that he had a dish of corned beef and cabbage, although the pièce de résistance for the rest of us was beef with a Yorkshire pudding. He left the table before coffee was served, but not before my friend had asked him to join us later on the balcony for a smoke and chat.

When we went up we found him already on the balcony, smoking a corn-cob pipe of American manufacture. My friend introduced us, and he shook my hand with one downward jerk. How often have I felt that pressure in the rural districts of Connecticut!

When Mr. Taintor learned that I had been in London only a week and had just come from Middletown, his face lighted up with interest, and he said:

"You have passed my wife in the street. She often comes to town market days."

"Oh, then she's not with you," was my somewhat idiotic reply.

"No, she ain't; an' unless the good Lord heaves enough sand into the Atlantic to make the walkin' good, she won't never be with me."

"You must be anxious to get back? Been over here some weeks?" said I.


"A matter of thirty year," he replied, and sighed prodigiously.

"Why, you must be quite an Englishman by this time."

He looked troubled. "Dew I look English?" said he.

"No, no," I replied, comfortingly; "you might pass for Uncle Sam."

"Well, I hope I'll never pass fer anythin' wuss," said he. "It's jest thirty year in November sence I left America, an' I've be'n in this dreary taown ever sence; but I ain't never read an English noospaper nor ridden in an English omnibus or horse-car or steam-car, neither, an' I try to eat as much as possible what I would ef I was at home with Cynthy. An' I'm a Republican clean through."

"Well, what's keeping you here?" said I.

Mr. Taintor pressed down the tobacco in his pipe to make it burn better, and said: "I can't stan' the trip. Y'see, when we was married we thought we'd cross the ocean on aour weddin'-trip. Father hed lef' me comfor'ble, an' Cynthy hed be'n dead-set on crossin' all through aour courtship. Fact is, her sister Sairy said 'at 'at was all she was marryin' fer; but of course Sairy was a great joker, an' I knowed better. Well, we went daown to Noo York the day before the steamer sailed, an' we put up at a hotel there on Broadway, an' durin' the evenin' some women got talkin' to Cynthy, an' told her haow awful sick she was like to be ef she hedn't never be'n on the ocean before. Well, it frightened her so that she backed plumb aout er the harness—said she guessed we'd better go to Saratogy instead; an' the upshot was we hed aour fust an' last quar'l then. I told her I'd bought the tickets fer Europe an' we'd hev to go, an' she said she would n' expose herself to two or three weeks of sickness under the idee it[305] was a picnic party, an' all I could say to her couldn't shake her. Well, it was bad enough losin' the price of one ticket, but I couldn't lose the price of two, an' so we finally come to an agreement. She was to go up to Saratogy, although the season up ther' was over, an' I was to cross the ocean alone. It was too late to git my money back, an', to tell the truth, I allers did hate to give a plan up, 'thout I hed sufficient reason; so nex' mornin' we went daown to the dock, fer we'd made up, an' she was comin' ter see me off. She took on consid'able, an' I was cut up myse'f, partic'larly when I thought of the ticket thet was bein' thrown away. But she caught a glimpse of the waves behind a ferry-boat, an' she turned white as a sheet an' shook her head; so I kissed her good-by, an' the steamer sailed away with me on it, an' her a-wavin' her arms an' cryin' on the dock."

"Poor fellow!" said I, sympathetically.

"Well, the amount of seasickness she saved herself by stayin' to hum couldn't be reckoned 'thougt I was a scholar, which I ain't. I took to my berth before we was aout of sight of land, an' ef the brimstun of the future is any wuss 'an what I suffered, I don't want to die. But I wished I could die all the way over. I come right here to London, because there was a man I knew comin' here, too, an' I wrote to Cynthy to come right over as soon as she could, an' we'd live aour lives aout here; fer bad as it was here, nothin' on top of creation could temp' me to go back, not even her pretty face."

He stopped a minute and half closed his eyes, and I fancy he was calling her pretty face back through the thirty years.

"Well, well, that was hard lines," said I.


"Yes, but it was wuss when I got her reply. She told me she hed n't hed a happy minute sence I left, although she hed gone up to Saratogy, but the water tasted like something was into it, an' she'd come away after one day, an' was now on the farm at Goodspeed's Landing. An' she said thet ef I'd be'n so sick she 'd proba'ly die, an' she could n't bear to think of bein' heaved into the Atlantic, an' must stop where she was. Ah me! Sence then we 've be'n as lovin' as we could be, writin' reg'lar an' rememberin' each other's birthdays an' aour weddin' anniversaries; but we hain't sot eyes on each other, an' won't until we 're both safe on that other shore they tell us abaout. An' I hope thet trip 'll be a smooth one."

"And what does Mrs. Taintor do all alone?"

He knocked the ashes out of his pipe and put it into his pocket before he replied:

"She runs the old farm as I never could have run it. She's a born farmer, that wife of mine is. She has a hired man to help, but she does a good share of the work herself, an' every year she sen's me half the airnings; an' I live on here, hatin' it all an' hopin' for the time to come when the ocean'll either dry up or freeze over, or that Cynthy will overcome her dislike to the trip. Married life ain't e'zac'ly pleasant so fur apart, but I c'n truthfully say we 've never quar'led sence I come here, an' I ain't seen a woman sence I landed thet could hold a candle to Cynthy. Cynthy is a pretty gal."

Shortly afterward the old man retired to his own room, and then my friend, who had not spoken once since we came out, wickedly hinted that maybe Mr. Taintor only imagined that he loved Cynthia, and that they were happier separated; but I hate to spoil idyls in that way. To me it[307] is very beautiful, the thought of that dear old lady in Connecticut, who runs the farm and writes loving letters to her expatriated spouse and sends him a share of the profits, but who cannot overcome her antipathy to the unstable sea. And when I think of Mr. Taintor as he appeared that evening in Bloomsbury, with his honest Yankee traditions, and his ardent love far his absent wife, I say, "Hurrah for both of them!"

—Charles Battell Loomis.

Kileto and the Physician

It was now about a month and a half since Kileto felt something harsh in his throat. He took a mirror and opened his mouth as wide as possible. On looking at the mirror he saw some of his large papillae. He was so greatly frightened to see such "red bodies," as he called them, that he exclaimed, "Ah, dear Life, you are going to depart soon! But, anyhow, I will at once go to the doctors to have these things identified." Without further delay, he went to a doctor, whose name I must not mention, lest he be angry with me for publishing this piece of news.

The doctor, after examining Kileto's throat, opened his book of medicine and searched in it for half an hour. Then after he was tired of not finding the right place to read, he said to Kileto, "Such sickness as you have is rarely found in other men. Your disease is called 'Sampaga' in our dialect. However, I will give you a prescription." "Doctor," said Kileto, "do you think I shall ever be cured of my sickness?" "Why, yes," answered[308] the doctor; "only it will take several months before your disease can be cured. Perhaps, with the help of God and me, you will recover sooner. I want to ask you several questions. Will you answer me patiently?"

"Yes," answered Kileto.

"Well, do you smoke cigarettes?"

"Yes, sir; three packages a day would not be sufficient."

"Well, this is the first habit you must abstain from. Do you chew betel-nut?"

"Yes, sir."

"That is the second habit you must abstain from. Do you often go to church?"

"Yes, sir; once in a year, if my wife happens to remind me of it."

"You!—a Catholic!—or a pagan?"

"I am both Catholic and pagan."

"Well, well, if ever you expect to recover, these three things you must do—you must abstain from smoking, chewing betel-nut, and you must go to church every Sunday, for the purification of your soul."

Kileto went home, somewhat relieved. He told his wife what the doctor bade him do. He did all that the doctor had ordered. He went to the church every day—morning and afternoon—praying the whole "rosario." Moreover, he confessed his sins to the priest. He abstained from smoking and from chewing betel-nut.

Every day, after he had gone to church, he went to consult the doctor, who always gave him medicine. Almost all sorts of poisons to kill bacteria were prescribed. One day the doctor said to Kileto, "Do not[309] come here for several days. I am going to study about your sickness. I will tell you the truth—you will die when your sampaga bursts." This statement of the doctor made Kileto very sad.

After a week, Kileto consulted the doctor again. "I think," said the doctor, "I had better burn your 'sampaga.' What do you say?"

"Well, you may do whatever you think best."

"But no," rejoined the doctor; "I'd better inject medicine into your body."

"All right, sir. I told you that you may do whatever you think best." Then the doctor injected medicine into Kileto's body. Kileto, because of the results of this injection, was displeased with the doctor, for he could hardly walk home.

One day as Kileto's wife was looking in a mirror, she found the image of her large papillae, which were like her husband's. Of course, she was very much frightened, lest she also had "Sampaga." She took her small boy of ten years to the window and looking at his tongue, found out that he also had papillae. "These sampagas," she said, "must be common." So she examined the tongues of everybody who came near her. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "these things must be natural. Oh, God, you save my husband! But I will fool my husband. I will tell him I have the same disease that he has."

When her husband came, she immediately led him to the window and showed her papillae. "You see," she said, "I have the same disease as you have. How now? Then we shall die together." To frighten her husband more, she said, "Open your mouth, and let me[310] see how your 'sampagas' are getting along." Then Kileto opened his mouth. His wife examined then, and said to him, "Your sampagas are increasing." At this statement Kileto jumped with great horror, and said, "Oh, yes, my end is coming." "Now I see," replied the wife, "how like a small boy you are. I have been told by a student that with these 'red bodies' we taste our food. So you need not be afraid. Just look at the tongues of everybody, and you will see that they have the 'papillae,' as the student calls them."

Kileto was convinced, and regretted the great error he had committed. He had spent on medicine all his and his wife's earnings for two years.

One day Kileto, when left alone in the house, said to himself, "I know now the reason why the doctor said that I would die when my 'sampagas' burst. Of course, these are not 'sampagas'; and how could they burst? These things grow with the man. I am uncertain, however, whether the doctor had a private purpose in not telling me at once that the things I have on my tongue are 'papillae,' or whether he had not acquired enough knowledge in his medical studies to be able to distinguish the papillae from the disease called 'sampaga.'

"But in spite of all the trouble he gave me—injecting medicine into my limbs, which made me lame for three days, wringing, as it were, all my money from my hands—I am grateful to him. Why? Because I was made religious, going to church once every two days. I abstained from chewing betel-nut, and smoking cigarettes, and now I care no more for them."

Whenever the members of the family are in good[311] humor, they talk of this story and laugh until they are out of breath.

—Lorenzo Licup.

The Lame Man and the Deaf Family

One cloudy afternoon while I was wandering along the road between Paco and Pandacan, I met a lame man limping down the way. The man seemed very tired, and he was carrying on his head a pot which I thought contained water. The fellow was a mestizo and was dressed in a white suit. Seeing me, he said, "Will you please show me a house where I can ask for a drink of water?" I could not answer him at once, because I nearly laughed in his face when I saw it was only his long bigote that made his split upper-lip unnoticed at a distance. Wishing to have some fun out of him I showed him the house that stood in an orchard on one side of the road.

The house that I pointed out belonged to a family all the members of which were deaf; namely, the father, the mother, and a daughter. Because of a kind of sickness that occurred in the family some years before, they had lost their sense of hearing. People had nicknamed them the "Deaf Family."

The man, or Mr. Bigote as I shall call him in honor of his long mustache, went limping directly to the house; and, without letting Mr. Bigote notice me, I followed [312]him and hid behind the tall grasses that grew near the orchard. From my place I had a good view of the orchard and could hear the conversation between Mr. Bigote and the members of the family.

The orchard was a trapezium in shape. Except the front, which was separated by a wire fence from the road, all sides of it were surrounded by tall grasses. On each vertex of the trapezium stood an ilang-ilang tree. At the center stood a small nipa house facing the road. Around the house were several banana trees and camote plants. The house was old, and yet its stairs were made of stone. Under the bamboo floor of the building I could see a large blind dog. Near the foot of the stairs the daughter of the Deaf Family was sitting on a stone, giving food to her hog. It was a very fat hog, but neither ear nor tail could be seen attached to its great body.

The dialogue was begun by Mr. Bigote. "Good morning, madam," he said politely.

"We do not want to sell our hog, sir," answered the girl.

"I do not mean to buy your hog, but I only ask for a drink of water, for I am very thirsty," said the lame man quietly.

"Sir, it is very fat, because I always feed it well. You will not see its ears and tail because that bad dog ate them when their owner was yet small," answered the girl, pointing to the blind dog that was barking at Mr. Bigote.

Noticing that she did not hear him very well, Mr. Bigote shouted, "Let me have a drink of water!"

"Mother, here is a man who wants to buy our hog,"[313] shouted the young person to her mother, who was then, I supposed, cooking their lunch.

The mother peeped through the window and when she saw Mr. Bigote exclaimed angrily, "What! Are you going to marry that Bangus? I will wake your father. Tambucio, here is your daughter. She wants to marry a bangus."

"I am only asking for a drink of water, madam," said Mr. Bigote.

But when the father saw his wife very angry at the man who was standing near their stairs, he asked Mr. Bigote angrily, "Why did you hurt my dog?"

"Do not be angry, sir. I come to ask for a drink of water and not to harm your dog," answered Mr. Bigote.

Thinking that the man had said something bad to him, the father took a piece of wood and went down stairs. Seeing the danger, Mr. Bigote ran limping to the road, but the father followed him and struck the pot he was carrying on his head. The pot, which I had thought contained water, was broken, and I was very much surprised to see Mr. Bigote covered with molasses.

—Santiago Y. Rotea.

IV. The Occasional Story

The spirit of the occasional story

A story for a special occasion may be of any narrative type the author chooses: it may be a legend, a tale of mere wonder, a humorous story, a study in realism, a weird tale, or a ghost story (if one should select All Saints' Eve). Anything the author feels inclined to write[314] will fall within the class provided it have about it the general atmosphere of a particular celebration. If that be the Fourth of July, the reader expects patriotism or its popular substitute, firecrackers; if Thanksgiving, gladness and generosity; if Christmas, reverence and good-will, and for the Northern people some pagan jollity in addition, for it is well recognized that we Anglo-Saxons have incorporated into the Christian festival our Druidical Yule-tide; if New Year's, then forgiveness and well-wishing to all and a sense of everybody's putting his best foot foremost; if Easter, hope and the joy of spring-time.

Its masters

It might be well to think and read a little about Easter if you want to write a special story. Not much has been done with that season, though it is full of possibilities. It, too, is a combination of old and new ideals. We have many beautiful Christmas legends and tales, even by the great authors—Dickens, Thackeray and many of the French and Spanish short-story tellers; and by our later writers, as well. Professor Van Dyke, Professor Mabie, Kate Douglas Wiggin, William Canton, Bret Harte, almost everyone who has written, in fact,—but Easter stories are harder to find.


The English-speaking peoples have not so many special days as have the Latin. The adherents of the Catholic church have all the Saints' days to celebrate. These yield many pretty fancies. Keats has made famous St. Agnes' Eve. The other religions, too, are worth thinking about. The Mohammedans and the Buddhists are devotees, and have interesting customs. Besides the religious memorials[315] there are the nations' hero days. And then, too, the special anniversaries of societies and associations. One's own school commencement, the best event of one's favorite college—there are surely many inspirations for occasional stories.

The Lost Child

Translated by J. Matthewman. Copyright, 1894, by The Current Literature Publishing Company. Reprinted by permission.

On that morning, which was the morning before Christmas, two important events happened simultaneously—the sun rose, and so did M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy.

Unquestionably the sun, illuminating suddenly the whole of Paris with its morning rays, is an old friend, regarded with affection by everybody. It is particularly welcome after a fortnight of misty atmosphere and gray skies, when the wind has cleared the air and allowed the sun's rays to reach the earth again. Besides all of which the sun is a person of importance. Formerly, he was regarded as a god, and was called Osiris, Apollyon, and I don't know what else. But do not imagine that because the sun is so important he is of greater influence than M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy, millionaire banker, director of the Comptoir Général de Crédit, administrator of several big companies, deputy and member of the General Counsel of the Eure, officer of the Legion of Honor, etc., etc. And whatever opinion the sun may have about himself, he certainly has not a higher opinion than M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy has of himself. So we are authorized to state, and we consider ourselves justified in stating, that on the [316]morning in question, at about a quarter to eight, the sun and M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy rose.

Certainly the manner of rising of these two great powers mentioned was not the same. The good old sun began by doing a great many pretty actions. As the sleet had, during the night, covered the bare branches of the trees in the boulevard Malesherbes, where the hôtel Godefroy is situated, with a powdered coating, the great magician sun amused himself by transforming the branches into great bouquets of red coral. At the same time he scattered his rays impartially on those poor passers-by whom necessity sent out, so early in the morning, to gain their daily bread. He even had a smile for the poor clerk, who, in a thin overcoat, was hurrying to his office, as well as for the grisette, shivering under her thin, insufficient clothing; for the workman carrying half a loaf under his arm, for the car-conductor as he punched the tickets, and for the dealer in roast chestnuts, who was roasting his first panful. In short, the sun gave pleasure to everybody in the world. M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy, on the contrary, rose in quite a different frame of mind. On the previous evening he had dined with the Minister for Agriculture. The dinner, from the removal of the potage to the salad, bristled with truffles, and the banker's stomach, aged forty-seven years, experienced the burning and biting of pyrosis. So the manner in which M. Jean-Baptiste Godefroy rang for his valet-de-chambre was so expressive that, as he got some warm water for his master's shaving, Charles said to the kitchen-maid:

"There he goes! The monkey is barbarously ill-tempered again this morning. My poor Gertrude, we're going to have a miserable day."


Whereupon, walking on tiptoe, with eyes modestly cast down, he entered the chamber of his master, opened the curtains, lit the fire, and made all the necessary preparations for the toilet with the discreet demeanor and respectful gestures of a sacristan placing the sacred vessels on the altar for the priest.

"What sort of weather this morning?" demanded M. Godefroy curtly, as he buttoned his undervest of gray swansdown upon a stomach that was already a little too prominent.

"Very cold, sir," replied Charles meekly. "At six o'clock the thermometer marked seven degrees above zero. But, as you will see, sir, the sky is quite clear, and I think we are going to have a fine morning."

In stropping his razor, M. Godefroy approached the window, drew aside one of the hangings, looked on the boulevard, which was bathed in brightness, and made a slight grimace which bore some resemblance to a smile.

It is all very well to be perfectly stiff and correct, and to know that it is bad taste to show feeling of any kind in the presence of domestics, but the appearance of the roguish sun in the middle of December sends such a glow of warmth to the heart that it is impossible to disguise the fact. So M. Godefroy deigned, as before observed, to smile. If some one had whispered to the opulent banker that his smile had anything in common with that of the printer's boy, who was enjoying himself by making a slide on the pavement, M. Godefroy would have been highly incensed. But it really was so all the same; and during the space of one minute this man, who was so occupied by business matters, this leading light in the financial and political worlds, indulged in the childish pastime of watching the passers-by,[318] and following with his eyes the files of conveyances as they gaily rolled in the sunshine.

But pray do not be alarmed. Such a weakness could not last long. People of no account, and those who have nothing to do, may be able to let their time slip by in doing nothing. It is very well for women, children, poets, and riffraff. M. Godefroy had other fish to fry; and the work of the day which was commencing promised to be exceptionally heavy. From half-past eight to ten o'clock he had a meeting at his office with a certain number of gentlemen, all of whom bore a striking resemblance to M. Godefroy. Like him, they were very nervous; they had risen with the sun, they were all blasés, and they all had the same object in view—to gain money. After breakfast (which he took after the meeting), M. Godefroy had to leap into his carriage and rush to the Bourse, to exchange a few words with other gentlemen who had also risen at dawn, but who had not the least spark of imagination among them. (The conversations were always on the same subject—money.) From there, without losing an instant, M. Godefroy went to preside over another meeting of acquaintances entirely void of compassion and tenderness. The meeting was held round a baize-covered table, which was strewn with heaps of papers and well provided with ink-wells. The conversation again turned on money, and various methods of gaining it.

After the aforesaid meeting he, in his capacity of deputy, had to appear before several commissions (always held in rooms where there were baize-covered tables and ink-wells and heaps of papers). There he found men as devoid of sentiment as he was, all utterly incapable of neglecting any occasion of gaining money, but who, nevertheless,[319] had the extreme goodness to sacrifice several hours of the afternoon to the glory of France.

After having quickly shaved he donned a morning suit, the elegant cut and finish of which showed that the old beau of nearly fifty had not ceased trying to please. When he shaved he spared the narrow strip of pepper-and-salt beard round his chin, as it gave him the air of a trustworthy family man in the eyes of the Arrogants and of fools in general. Then he descended to his cabinet, where he received the file of men who were entirely occupied by one thought—that of augmenting their capital. These gentlemen discussed several projected enterprises, all of them of considerable importance, notably that of a new railroad to be laid across a wild desert. Another scheme was for the founding of monster works in the environs of Paris, another of a mine to be worked in one of the South American republics. It goes without saying that no one asked if the railway would have passengers or goods to carry, or if the proposed works should manufacture cotton nightcaps or distil whisky; whether the mine was to be of virgin gold or of second-rate copper: certainly not. The conversation of M. Godefroy's morning callers turned exclusively upon the profits which it would be possible to realize during the week which should follow the issue of the shares. They discussed particularly the values of the shares, which they knew would be destined before long to be worth less than the paper on which they were printed in fine style.

These conversations, bristling with figures, lasted till ten o'clock precisely, and then the director of the Comptoir Général de Crédit, who, by the way, was an honest man—at least, as honest as is to be found in business—courteously[320] conducted his last visitor to the head of the stairway. The visitor named was an old villain, as rich as Crœsus, who, by a not uncommon chance, enjoyed the general esteem of the public; whereas, had justice been done to him, he would have been lodging at the expense of the State in one of those large establishments provided by a thoughtful government for smaller delinquents; and there he would have pursued a useful and healthy calling for a lengthy period, the exact length having been fixed by the judges of the supreme court. But M. Godefroy showed him out relentlessly, notwithstanding his importance—it was absolutely necessary to be at the Bourse at 11 o'clock—and went into the dining-room.

It was a luxuriously furnished room. The furniture and plate would have served to endow a cathedral. Nevertheless, notwithstanding that M. Godefroy took a gulp of bicarbonate of soda, his indigestion refused to subside, consequently the banker could only take the scantiest breakfast—that of a dyspeptic. In the midst of such luxury, and under the eye of a well-paid butler, M. Godefroy could only eat a couple of boiled eggs and nibble a little mutton chop. The man of money trifled with dessert—took only a crumb of Roquefort—not more than two cents' worth. Then the door opened and an overdressed but charming little child—young Raoul, four years old—the son of the company director, entered the room, accompanied by his German nursery governess.

This event occurred every day at the same hour—a quarter to eleven, precisely, while the carriage which was to take the banker to the Bourse was awaiting the gentleman who had only a quarter of an hour to give to paternal sentiment. It was not that he did not love his son. He did[321] love him—nay, he adored him, in his own particular way. But then, you know, business is business.

At the age of forty-two, when already worldly-wise and blasé, he had fancied himself in love with the daughter of one of his club friends—Marquis de Neufontaine, an old rascal—a nobleman, but one whose card-playing was more than open to suspicion, and who would have been expelled from the club more than once but for the influence of M. Godefroy. The nobleman was only too happy to become the father-in-law of a man who would pay his debts, and without any scruples he handed over his daughter—a simple and ingenuous child of seventeen, who was taken from a convent to be married—to the worldly banker. The girl was certainly sweet and pretty, but she had no dowry except numerous aristocratic prejudices and romantic illusions, and her father thought he was fortunate in getting rid of her on such favorable terms. M. Godefroy, who was the son of an avowed old miser of Andelys, had always remained a man of the people, and intensely vulgar. In spite of his improved circumstances, he had not improved. His entire lack of tact and refinement was painful to his young wife, whose tenderest feelings he ruthlessly and thoughtlessly trampled upon. Things were looking unpromising, when, happily for her, Madame Godefroy died in giving birth to her firstborn. When he spoke of his deceased wife, the banker waxed poetical, although had she lived they would have been divorced in six months. His son he loved dearly for several reasons—first, because the child was an only son; secondly, because he was a scion of two such houses as Godefroy and Neufontaine; finally, because the man of money had naturally great respect for the heir to many millions. So the youngster had golden rattles and[322] other similar toys, and was brought up like a young Dauphin. But his father, overwhelmed with business worries, could never give the child more than fifteen minutes per day of his precious time—and, as on the day mentioned, it was always during "cheese"—and for the rest of the day the father abandoned the child to the care of the servants.

"Good morning, Raoul."

"Good morning, papa."

And the company director, having put his serviette away, sat young Raoul on his left knee, took the child's head between his big paws, and in stroking and kissing it actually forgot all his money matters and even his note of the afternoon, which was of great importance to him, as by it he could gain quite an important amount of patronage.

"Papa," said little Raoul suddenly, "will Father Christmas put anything in my shoe to-night?"

The father answered with "Yes, if you are a good child." This was very striking from a man who was a pronounced freethinker, who always applauded every anti-clerical attack in the Chamber with a vigorous "Hear, hear." He made a mental note that he must buy some toys for his child that very afternoon.

Then he turned to the nursery governess with:

"Are you quite satisfied with Raoul, Mademoiselle Bertha?"

Mademoiselle Bertha became as red as a peony at being addressed, as if the question were scarcely comme il faut, and replied by a little imbecile snigger, which seemed fully to satisfy M. Godefroy's curiosity about his son's conduct.

"It's fine to-day," said the financier, "but cold. If you[323] take Raoul to Monceau Park, mademoiselle, please be careful to wrap him up well."

Mademoiselle, by a second fit of idiotic smiling, having set at rest M. Godefroy's doubts and fears on that essential point, he kissed his child, left the room hastily, and in the hall was enveloped in his fur coat by Charles, who also closed the carriage door. Then the faithful fellow went off to the café which he frequented, Rue de Miromesnil, where he had promised to meet the coachman of the baroness who lived opposite, to play a game of billiards, thirty up—and spot-barred, of course.

Thanks to the brown bay—for which a thousand francs over and above its value was paid by M. Godefroy as a result of a sumptuous snail supper given to that gentleman's coachman by the horse-dealer—thanks to the expensive brown bay which certainly went well, the financier was able to get through his many engagements satisfactorily. He appeared punctually at the Bourse, sat at several committee tables, and at a quarter to five, by voting with the ministry, he helped to reassure France and Europe that the rumors of a ministerial crisis had been totally unfounded. He voted with the ministry because he had succeeded in obtaining the favors which he demanded as the price of his vote.

After he had thus nobly fulfilled his duty to himself and his country, M. Godefroy remembered what he had said to his child on the subject of Father Christmas, and gave his coachman the address of a dealer in toys. There he bought, and had put in his carriage, a fantastic rocking-horse, mounted on castors—a whip in each ear; a box of leaden soldiers—all as exactly alike as those grenadiers of the Russian regiment of the time of Paul I, who all had black[324] hair and snub noses; and a score of other toys, all equally striking and costly. Then, as he returned home, softly reposing in his well-swung carriage, the rich banker, who, after all, was a father, began to think with pride of his little boy and to form plans for his future.

When the child grew up he should have an education worthy of a prince, and he would be one, too, for there was no longer any aristocracy except that of money, and his boy would have a capital of about 30,000,000 francs.

If his father, a pettifogging provincial lawyer, who had formerly dined in the Latin Quarter when in Paris, who had remarked every evening when putting on a white tie that he looked as fine as if he were going to a wedding—if he had been able to accumulate an enormous fortune, and to become thereby a power in the republic; if he had been able to obtain in marriage a young lady, one of whose ancestors had fallen at Marignan, what an important personage little Raoul might become. M. Godefroy built all sorts of air-castles for his boy, forgetting that Christmas is the birthday of a very poor little child, son of a couple of vagrants, born in a stable, where the parents only found lodging through charity.

In the midst of the banker's dreams the coachman cried: "Door, please," and drove into the yard. As he went up the steps M. Godefroy was thinking that he had barely time to dress for dinner; but on entering the vestibule he found all the domestics crowded in front of him in a state of alarm and confusion. In a corner, crouching on a seat, was the German nursery-governess, crying. When she saw the banker she buried her face in her hands and wept still more copiously than before. M. Godefroy felt that some misfortune had happened.


"What's the meaning of all this? What's amiss? What has happened?"

Charles, the valet de chambre, a sneaking rascal of the worst type, looked at his master with eyes full of pity and stammered: "Mr. Raoul—"

"My boy?"

"Lost, sir. The stupid German did it. Since four o'clock this afternoon he has not been seen."

The father staggered back like one who had been hit by a ball. The German threw herself at his feet, screaming: "Mercy, mercy!" and the domestics all spoke at the same time.

"Bertha didn't go to parc Monceau. She lost the child over there on the fortifications. We have sought him all over, sir. We went to the office for you, sir, and then to the Chamber, but you had just left. Just imagine, the German had a rendezvous with her lover every day, beyond the ramparts, near the gate of Asniéres. What a shame! It is a place full of low gipsies and strolling players. Perhaps the child has been stolen. Yes, sir, we informed the police at once. How could we imagine such a thing? A hypocrite, that German! She had a rendezvous, doubtless, with a countryman—a Prussian spy, sure enough!"

His son lost! M. Godefroy seemed to have a torrent of blood rushing through his head. He sprang at Mademoiselle, seized her by the arms and shook her furiously.

"Where did you lose him, you miserable girl? Tell me the truth before I shake you to pieces. Do you hear? Do you hear?"

But the unfortunate girl could only cry and beg for mercy.


The banker tried to be calm. No, it was impossible. Nobody would dare to steal his boy. Somebody would find him and bring him back. Of that there could be no doubt. He could scatter money about right and left, and could have the entire police force at his orders. And he would set to work at once, for not an instant should be lost.

"Charles, don't let the horses be taken out. You others, see that this girl doesn't escape. I'm going to the Prefecture."

And M. Godefroy, with his heart thumping against his sides as if it would break them, his hair wild with fright, darted into his carriage, which at once rolled off as fast as the horses could take it. What irony! The carriage was full of glittering playthings, which sparkled every time a gaslight shone on them. For the next day was the birthday of the divine Infant at whose cradle wise men and simple shepherds alike adored.

"My poor little Raoul! Poor darling! Where is my boy?" repeated the father as in his anguish he dug his nails into the cushions of the carriage. At that moment all his titles and decorations, his honors, his millions, were valueless to him. He had one single idea burning in his brain. "My poor child! Where is my child?"

At last he reached the Prefecture of Police. But no one was there—the office had been deserted for some time.

"I am M. Godefroy, deputy from L'Eure—. My little boy is lost in Paris; a child of four years. I must see the Prefect."

He slipped a louis into the hand of the concièrge.

The good old soul, a veteran with a gray mustache, less for the sake of the money than out of compassion for the poor father, led him to the Prefect's private apartments.[327] M. Godefroy was finally ushered into the room of the man in whom were centred all his hopes. He was in evening dress, and wore a monocle; his manner was frigid and rather pretentious. The distressed father, whose knees trembled through emotion, sank into an armchair, and, bursting into tears, told of the loss of his boy—told the story stammeringly and with many breaks, for his voice was choked by sobs.

The Prefect, who was also father of a family, was inwardly moved at the sight of his visitor's grief, but he repressed his emotion and assumed a cold and self-important air.

"You say, sir, that your child has been missing since four o'clock."


"Just when night was falling, confound it. He isn't at all precocious, speaks very little, doesn't know where he lives, and can't even pronounce his own name?"

"Unfortunately that is so."

"Not far from Asnières gate? A suspected quarter. But cheer up. We have a very intelligent Commissaire de Police there. I'll telephone to him."

The distressed father was left alone for five minutes. How his temples throbbed and his heart beat!

Then, suddenly, the Prefect reappeared, smiling with satisfaction. "Found!"

Whereupon M. Godefroy rushed to the Prefect, whose hand he pressed till that functionary winced with the pain.

"I must acknowledge that we were exceedingly fortunate. The little chap is blond, isn't he? Rather pale? In blue velvet? Black felt hat, with a white feather in it?"


"Yes, yes; that's he. That's my little Raoul."

"Well, he's at the house of a poor fellow down in that quarter who had just been at the police office to make his declaration to the Commissaire. Here's his address, which I took down: 'Pierron, rue des Cailloux, Levallois-Perret.' With good horses you may reach your boy in less than an hour. Certainly, you won't find him in an aristocratic quarter; his surroundings won't be of the highest. The man who found him is only a small dealer in vegetables."

But that was of no importance to M. Godefroy, who, having expressed his gratitude to the Prefect, leaped down the stairs four at a time, and sprang into his carriage. At that moment he realized how devotedly he loved his child. As he drove away he no longer thought of little Raoul's princely education and magnificent inheritance. He was decided never again to hand over the child entirely to the hands of servants, and he also made up his mind to devote less time to monetary matters and the glory of France and attend more to his own. The thought also occurred to him that France wouldn't be likely to suffer from the neglect. He had hitherto been ashamed to recognize the existence of an old-maid sister of his father, but he decided to send for her to his house. She would certainly shock his lackeys by her primitive manners and ideas. But what of that? She would take care of his boy, which to him was of much more importance than the good opinion of his servants. The financier, who was always in a hurry, never felt so eager to arrive punctually at a committee meeting as he was to reach the lost little one. For the first time in his life he was longing through pure affection to take the child in has arms.

The carriage rolled rapidly along in the clear, crisp night[329] air down boulevard Malesherbes; and, having crossed the ramparts and passed the large houses, plunged into the quiet solitude of suburban streets. When the carriage stopped M. Godefroy saw a wretched hovel, on which was the number he was seeking; it was the house where Pierron lived. The door of the house opened immediately, and a big, rough-looking fellow with red mustache appeared. One of his sleeves was empty. Seeing the gentleman in the carriage, Pierron said cheerily: "So you are the little one's father. Don't be afraid. The little darling is quite safe," and, stepping aside in order to allow M. Godefroy to pass, he placed his finger on his lips with: "Hush! The little one is asleep!"

Yes, it was a real hovel. By the dim light of a little oil lamp M. Godefroy could just distinguish a dresser from which a drawer was missing, some broken chairs, a round table on which stood a beer-mug which was half empty, three glasses, some cold meat on a plate, and on the bare plaster of the wall two gaudy pictures—a bird's-eye view of the Exposition of 1889, with the Eiffel Tower in bright blue, and the portrait of General Boulanger when a handsome young lieutenant. This last evidence of weakness of the tenant of the house may well be excused, since it was shared by nearly everybody in France. The man took the lamp and went on tiptoe to the corner of the room where, on a clean bed, two little fellows were fast asleep. In the little one, around whom the other had thrown a protecting arm, M. Godefroy recognized his son.

"The youngsters were tired to death, and so sleepy," said Pierron, trying to soften his rough voice. "I had no idea when you would come, so gave them some supper and put them to bed, and then I went to make a declaration[330] at the police office. Zidore generally sleeps up in the garret, but I thought they would be better here, and that I should be better able to watch them."

M. Godefroy, however, scarcely heard the explanation. Strangely moved, he looked at the two sleeping infants on an iron bedstead and covered with an old blanket which had once been used either in barracks or hospital. Little Raoul, who was still in his velvet suit, looked so frail and delicate compared with his companion that the banker almost envied the latter his brown complexion.

"Is he your boy?" he asked Pierron.

"No," answered he. "I am a bachelor, and don't suppose I shall ever marry, because of my accident. You see, a dray passed over my arm—that was all. Two years ago a neighbor of mine died, when that child was only five years old. The poor mother really died of starvation. She wove wreaths for the cemeteries, but could make nothing worth mentioning at that trade—not enough to live. However, she worked for the child for five years, and then the neighbors had to buy wreaths for her. So I took care of the youngster. Oh, it was nothing much, and I was soon repaid. He is seven years old, and is a sharp little fellow, so he helps me a great deal. On Sundays and Thursdays, and the other days after school, he helps me push my handcart. Zidore is a smart little chap. It was he who found your boy."

"What!" exclaimed M. Godefroy—"that child!"

"Oh, he's quite a little man, I assure you. When he left school he found your child, who was walking on ahead, crying like a fountain. He spoke to him and comforted him, like an old grandfather. The difficulty is, that one can't easily understand what your little one says—English[331] words are mixed up with German and French. So we couldn't get much out of him, nor could we learn his address. Zidore brought him to me—I wasn't far away; and then all the old women in the place came round chattering and croaking like so many frogs, and all full of advice.

"'Take him to the police,'" said some.

But Zidore protested.

"That would scare him," said he, for like all Parisians, he has no particular liking for the police—"and besides, your little one didn't wish to leave him. So I came back here with the child as soon as I could. They had supper, and then off to bed. Don't they look sweet?"

When he was in his carriage, M. Godefroy had decided to reward the finder of his child handsomely—to give him a handful of that gold so easily gained. Since entering the house he had seen a side of human nature with which he was formerly unacquainted—the brave charity of the poor in their misery. The courage of the poor girl who had worked herself to death weaving wreaths to keep her child; the generosity of the poor cripple in adopting the orphan, and above all, the intelligent goodness of the little street Arab in protecting the child who was still smaller than himself—all this touched M. Godefroy deeply and set him reflecting. For the thought had occurred to him that there were other cripples who needed to be looked after as well as Pierron, and other orphans as well as Zidore. He also debated whether it would not be better to employ his time looking after them, and whether money might not be put to a better use than merely gaining money. Such was his reverie as he stood looking at the two sleeping children.

Finally, he turned round to study the features of the[332] greengrocer, and was charmed by the loyal expression in the face of the man, and his clear, truthful eyes.

"My friend," said M. Godefroy, "you and your adopted son have rendered me an immense service. I shall soon prove to you that I am not ungrateful. But, for to-day—I see that you are not in comfortable circumstances, and I should like to leave a small proof of my thankfulness."

But the hand of the cripple arrested that of the banker, which was diving into his coat-pocket where he kept bank-notes.

"No, sir; no! Anybody else would have done just as we have done. I will not accept any recompense; but pray don't take offense. Certainly, I am not rolling in wealth, but please excuse my pride—that of an old soldier; I have the Tonquin medal—and I don't wish to eat food which I haven't earned."

"As you like," said the financier; "but an old soldier like you is capable of something better. You are too good to push a handcart. I will make some arrangement for you, never fear."

The cripple responded by a quiet smile, and said coldly: "Well, sir, if you really wish to do something for me—"

"You'll let me care for Zidore, won't you?" cried M. Godefroy, eagerly.

"That I will, with the greatest of pleasure," responded Pierron, joyfully. "I have often thought about the child's future. He is a sharp little fellow. His teachers are delighted with him."

Then Pierron suddenly stopped, and an expression came over his face which M. Godefroy at once interpreted as one of distrust. The thought evidently was: "Oh, when he has once left us he'll forget us entirely."


"You can safely pick the child up in your arms and take him to the carriage. He'll be better at home than here, of course. Oh, you needn't be afraid of disturbing him. He is fast asleep, and you can just pick him up. He must have his shoes on first, though."

Following Pierron's glance M. Godefroy perceived on the hearth, where a scanty coke fire was dying out, two pairs of children's shoes—the elegant ones of Raoul, and the rough ones of Zidore. Each pair contained a little toy and a package of bonbons.

"Don't think about that," said Pierron in an abashed tone. "Zidore put the shoes there. You know children still believe in Christmas and the child Jesus, whatever scholars may say about fables; so, as I came back from the commissaire, as I didn't know whether your boy would have to stay here to-night, I got those things for them both."

At which the eyes of M. Godefroy, the freethinker, the hardened capitalist, and blasé man of the world, filled with tears.

He rushed out of the house, but returned in a minute with his arms full of the superb mechanical horse, the box of leaden soldiers, and the rest of the costly playthings bought by him in the afternoon, and which had not even been taken out of the carriage.

"My friend, my dear friend," said he to the green grocer, "see, these are the presents which Christmas has brought to my little Raoul. I want him to find them here, when he awakens, and to share them with Zidore, who will henceforth be his playmate and friend. You'll trust me now, won't you? I'll take care both of Zidore and of you, and then I shall ever remain in your debt, for not only have you found my boy, but you have also reminded me, who[334] am rich and lived only for myself, that there are other poor who need to be looked after. I swear by these two sleeping children, I won't forget them any longer."

Such is the miracle which happened on the 24th of December of last year, ladies and gentlemen, at Paris, in the full flow of modern egotism. It doesn't sound likely—that I own; and I am compelled to attribute this miraculous event to the influence of the Divine Child who came down to earth nearly nineteen centuries ago to command men to love one another.

—François Coppée.

The Peace of Yesterdays

It was a wet, unpleasant evening in February, and little Miss Hicks, hurrying homeward with her chop for to-morrow's dinner, felt wet and unpleasant, too. Her jacket was too thin for such weather, and her worn shoes, splashing over the muddy pavement, made her dread the twinges of rheumatism which would surely follow. She paused a moment for breath beneath the sheltering awning of a book-store, and, as she shook her dripping skirts, she glanced into the gaily lighted windows. It happened to be the evening before Valentine's day, and the windows of the shop were filled with the usual "tokens of affection"; riotous cupids with garlands of roses and forget-me-nots, reposing on beds of celluloid; lovely scrolls in delicate pinks and blues with amorous, gilded verses inscribed on them; wonderful creations in silks of brilliant hue, at which all the small girls of the neighborhood gazed covetously. On one side lay a heap of comic valentines in ugly, staring reds and yellows, but Miss Hicks never noticed them, for she had eyes[335] only for the gorgeous visions on the other side. As she looked at them, a flood of suddenly-released memories came into her head which made her cheeks for a moment grow youthfully pink and her faded eyes glow like stars.

The door of the shop closed with a final bang, and the lights went out suddenly. But Miss Hicks only smiled happily to herself, as she hurried through the remaining squares to her own dingy little house in dingy little Lombard street. The dim street lamp showed a sign, battered and discolored, of "Miss M. Hicks, Fashionable Milliner," and as the owner of the shop opened the creaking door, stepped inside, and lighted a lamp, a few old-fashioned hats and bonnets could be faintly discerned on the narrow counter, while in the one small showcase were sundry faded ribbons and drooping birds.

"It's a wonder to me," her nearest neighbors would often say, "how that Miss Hicks manages to get along; kith nor kin she don't seem to have none, and the customers she's got ain't enough to keep body and soul together. But I've heard as how she gets an annuity from some dead relatives and that probably helps her out, if she's real good at scrimping and saving."

But in spite Of the solicitude of her neighbors, they never found out any certain facts about the little woman in rusty black, who was always either sitting at her window, sewing on the hats of her few customers, or else taking a solitary stroll through the dingy, narrow streets. She went walking usually when the daylight was nearly gone, for in a timid, childish way she shrank from observation, and preferred to commune with herself rather than join her neighbors in friendly gossip.

Generally she liked to be slow about preparing and[336] eating her meals, for in this way they took up quite a part of the long, lonely day; but to-night she was in such a hurry about her few preparations and did everything with such an air of abstraction that she nearly amputated a finger while cutting bread, and entirety forgot to put anything in the tea-pot except hot water. When at last the dishes had been washed and carefully put away, each in its own proper place, when the sleek white cat had been given a generous saucer of milk, then Miss Hicks, with an air of trembling and hesitating eagerness, placed a chair against the old-fashioned cupboard in the living-room, and reaching up, to the peril of life and limb, drew forth from its inmost recesses a square pasteboard box. She carefully wiped off the dust on its surface—it was probably the only dusty article in her whole establishment—and, carrying the box to the kitchen table, deposited it there with a loving little pat.

But now, when her intentions seemed practically accomplished, something held her back; it seemed an though invisible fingers were closing over her own to keep her from opening the box, from prying into the things which she had not had the courage to look at for such long, long years. She thought, with a shiver, of these years. Fifteen of them! And so clear does memory sometimes become that Miss Hicks could distinctly remember when she had placed the last letter in the box—her "Treasure Box" she had often called it lovingly—and as she thought of all that had happened since she had put that letter in, of all the loneliness and desolation of those fifteen years, she bent her head on the little green box and cried softly.

After a while she raised her head, and with a quick[337] flash of determination in her grey eyes, took the lid from the box and turned the contents out on the table. On top of the heap lay several yellowed envelopes, quaintly embossed, with "Miss Mary Ellen Hicks" written on them in faded, boyish writing. With a caressing touch Miss Hicks put these aside and picked up a bent tintype of a boy with laughing eyes and a tender, pleasant mouth. At this she looked a long time, at first with a little answering smile for the smile in the picture, then with misty reminiscent eyes. More modern valentines came next in the pile; much more elaborate, too, these were, and the verses seemed chosen by a more discriminating eye. She put them all aside, with a sigh and a loving look for each, and picked up the one at the very bottom; the envelope bore a western postmark and was not elaborate nor fanciful as the others had been, nor were the contents anything more than a sheet of paper folded around the picture of a man—a man who, in spite of the lines of weariness in his face, had still the boyish eyes and kind mouth of the other picture. On the paper was written, in a strong, angular hand:

"Dear heart, try to think of me and remember me to-day, even though I am so far away from home and you. I am sorry that I have no other valentine to send you, but there is more love in this scrap of paper than in all the valentines in creation. I am thinking just now how, a year ago, you and I were sitting in the dear old home parlor, making valentines for the neighbors' children, and when I think of the difference between then and now, I feel as sad and depressed as the wailing pines around me. I have had such strange premonitions to-day,[338] too; I seem to see such a long vista of years before me and you do not seem to have a share in any of them. Dear heart, I want you to promise me that you will never forget me, no matter where I may be, whether I am living or dead. If I know this it will take away, in part at least, my loneliness and my feeling of desertion on this desolate ranch. Good-bye, dear, and God bless you.

Your Dan."

The paper dropped from Miss Hicks' nerveless fingers as she remembered that first long year of separation—a lonely year, even though it was she herself who had urged Dan to be independent of his rich, crotchety old uncle and to seek his own fortune away somewhere, so that he might be the man she wanted him to be. She remembered achingly how long she had waited for another letter, at first with eager anticipation, later with dread; how slowly time had passed after that tender little valentine note, and how one day some of her own letters came back to her, marked unclaimed. And then she thought of the time, several years later, when her mother had died and when she felt for the first time the old grief of utter loneliness and misery, and the desolation of those months came over her again, in one great sickening wave that made her shake from head to foot; she recalled the days that followed, full of visits from kind and condoling neighbors, who gradually let her alone when they saw how much she desired it; the nights, full of grief and unsatisfied longing, when she gave way unrestrainedly to the sorrow which was pent up during the day.

But—and Miss Hicks straightened up with a proud[339] little smile, though her lips still trembled—at all events she had remained faithful to her promise; though doubts had often assailed her, she had kept the tryst bravely, and she comforted herself often by thinking, when she felt especially tired and alone, that if Dan were living, he would surely find his way back to her some day, and if he were dead she had a childish little feeling of relief that he was watching over her and protecting her all the time.

The clock struck eleven slow, even strokes, and Miss Hicks, in amazement at the lateness of the hour, hastily put the valentines in the box, and with one last look, set it back on the shelf, and went to bed. She tossed restlessly for a long time, for her thoughts and the recollections they had awakened were sadder than usual. But still she felt glad that at last she had had the courage to call back openly the memories that she had striven to put aside for so long. And when she did finally fall asleep, her dreams made her thin lips part in happy curves, and caused her to utter now and then deep, unconscious sighs of content.

The next morning was sunshiny, with no trace of yesterday's gloom, and the little street seemed to have become dry as if by magic, and to have lost for the time being its dinginess in the sunshine poured out on it so liberally. Miss Hicks sat at her window, busied with re-trimming an old bonnet; but there was no reflection of sunshine in her face. The reaction due to what she had done last night had come over her, and the memories which had seemed sweet then were unpleasant and bitter this morning. All her life, she thought sadly, was made up of unrealised hopes and ungranted desires;[340] whatever had been dear to her had been taken away when she most needed it; every disaster and trouble had come upon her when she was least ready to meet it. And now she thought with a sigh, she had become too old to ever have it different; it seemed to her that never had her eyes been so lifeless, her mouth so lined and careworn, her hair so thin and grey as they had appeared this morning in her little mirror. What an unfair thing the world was anyway, she thought, as she bit off her thread reflectively and watched the mail-carrier coming briskly across the street. What a lot of mail those people next door did get! Even that was not divided fairly.

But—and she stared in astonishment—the mail-carrier was actually coming to her house; at this very minute he was climbing her rickety little steps and knocking at her battered little door. She hastily dropped her work and hurried to open the latch.

"It must be the wrong place," she began deprecatingly, but he shoved a bulky envelope through the crack in the door and with a pleasant "Guess it's yours, all right; good morning," was off again before she could demonstrate further. It certainly must be hers, for it said, "Miss Mary Ellen Hicks, Lombard Street, Midville," in big, bold characters on the envelope; it was an embossed one, too, with gay cupids and garlands of roses on the border. Miss Hicks looked at it wonderingly at first; then she smiled with the pleased anticipation of a child, and she prepared to cut the envelope carefully, carefully. She looked at the post-mark, but it was too blurred to be plainly seen—and just then a thought came to her that made her grow suddenly white and tremble. No, no, it was impossible; but what if—?[341] Such things had happened, many and many a time, and just because such things never had happened to her was no reason that they might not occur now. She was almost afraid to see what the envelope held, and she turned it over hesitatingly in her hand; but finally with shaking fingers she cut the paper, blew it open, and drew out the folded paper inside. Expectantly she unfolded it, her heart beating high, her lips parted in anticipation. Then suddenly daylight seemed to leave her, and when the mistiness had cleared away, she found herself staring at a hideous cartoon in flaring red and green, of an old maid with cork-screw curls, a thin, angular figure, and a long hooked nose, while underneath was boldly printed:

"You're the meanest old maid in the city—
With that we'll all surely agree;
We know you once thought you were pretty,
But no trace of it now can we see.
And, say, have you e'er learned the meaning
Of sweetheart, or lover, or beau?
One look at your face, and we needn't
Take the trouble to hear you say 'no'."

The cutting doggerel seemed imprinted in letters of fire on Miss Hicks's brain; it burned through her and made her heart beat nearly to suffocation. But the two small boys who were waiting at the corner, were grievously disappointed; they expected at least to see her come out off her house in wrath, and demand justice somewhere, as several others of their victims had done. They waited for nearly an hour; then, when a mate called them across the street, they ran off with him, forgetting[342] their disappointment altogether after a few moments of play.

But the numb little figure in the milliner's shop had not forgotten; at noon she was still sitting limply in her chair, gazing out at nothing with burning, brilliant eyes, that now had knowledge in their depths where before there had been only wonder. Her mouth quivered pitifully, though she tried bravely to make it firm and resolute. She had had a glimpse into the Present, harsh and unsympathetic, and she shrank back again into the Past, where she had been much more happy and contented. The To-days were not for her; from henceforth, she knew, all her solace and companionship, all her brief happiness and pleasures, all her longings and desires—the rest of her life, in short—must be lived in the quiet, peace-bringing Yesterdays.

—Katherine Kurz.

A Christmas Legend

There was great commotion in the forest, for the south wind, heavy with cloying fragrance of the jasmine, had been the bearer of wondrous tidings. The forest sang with joy, for, after these many years, it was to have a share in the great festival of the Master's birthday. This, was the news that the south wind had brought, and he had told, too, how an angel would come to choose the tree whom the Master had most loved.

"It is I whom the Master loves," spoke the oak, rearing his great head in the still air. "I heard the angels sing at his birth; and often has he rested in the shade at my feet. It is fitting that I be chosen."

"Nay, old oak," cried the palm, shaking her plumes[343] in eager denial. "Whose branches did the multitude wave at the Master's entry into Jerusalem? I have been already chosen!" There were many in the forest who nodded their approval to this speech of the palm's, but the olive sighed, and whispered:

"I have watched with him in Gethsemane, and he has wet my feet with his tears."

"But I," cried the cedar, stretching his tense arms to the listening stars, "I heard his dying groans, and my heart is stained with his blood; it was upon me that his body was nailed—me, who watched over his boyhood on the plains of Nazareth!" The forest was very still as the cedar finished, and only the chestnut ventured to speak—shaking out her broad leaves, and distilling everywhere the heavy fragrance of her blossoms.

"I am ready for the feast," she said complacently. "Last night, while all of you were sleeping, an angel came, and lit these candles of mine."

Thus spoke among themselves the rulers of the forest, while the south wind played among their branches; nor did they notice the tiny tree that listened at their feet, and crooned lullabies to the drowsy birds.

The winged months flew by. In the forest, the days passed as before; and, after the south wind had sung its farewell to the tree-tops, the forest forgot the tidings which the breeze had brought. Only one tree remembered; the lullaby which it sang to the birds nestled in its arms was of the wonderful birthday festival of the Master.

Finally came the North Wind, calling to the forest to prepare for its long sleep. The trees, one by one, cast off their brilliant raiment—the cedar, last of all—and[344] stood gaunt and naked under the dark sky. Only the tiny tree in the shadow of the oak did not heed, and bravely defied the fierce jestings of the North Wind. "Oho' little tree," he roared, whirling the snowflakes through its tiny boughs, "doff your green garment and go to sleep! Or, perhaps, you are waiting for the angel?" Then the forest laughed long and loud. "Little tree," it jeered, "cling to the oak; the angel will step upon you!"

But even as it jeered, a great light broke through the forest; the trees were afraid and bowed themselves as before a storm. And when they lifted up their heads, behold! the little tree stood straight and tall in its robes of green, and in its topmost branch there gleamed a star.

—Ida F. Treat.



The Instructive Group is composed of those narratives whose chief purpose is to inform the reader of certain conditions and problems of which he ought to take intelligent account. The writer may offer a solution, as in the moral story; or a theory, as in the pedagogical narrative; or he may simply present the picture, as in a realistic sketch, and leave knowledge to bring reform by the sheer natural law by which daylight scatters the evils of darkness.

I. The Moral Story

Distinguished from symbolic-didactic group

The moral story must not be confused with the fable, parable, or allegory. It is like them in that its chief purpose is to teach, but it differs from them in not being figurative or symbolic. It is always particular and professedly literal. Its boast is that it sticks close to facts—the facts of "life," people's needs, if not their history. In other words, though fictitious, it pretends to be entirely worth while because of the concrete lesson it teaches. It sets out to show you the evil consequences of some vice or folly or the good result of a pious act.

The critics have never had a very cordial word for[346] this type of narrative: the usual smugness of it is offensive. Many old legends are moral tales. The "Gesta Romanorum" was largely meant to instruct in pious ways. Boccaccio, even, cares for ethical effect, when he writes such stories as "Griselda." A modern reader is entirely out of patience with the complacent self-righteousness of Gualtieri. Chaucer's easy and captivating style and his true pathos and appreciation of dramatic moments can not altogether keep down our irritation at an egregious monster parading under the guise of a beneficent lord and a loving husband. Our irritation, of course, is really directed not toward Chaucer or Boccaccio, but toward the Middle Ages, that could take such a character as this and feel no umbrage—no shadowing of the brute over man.


There have been a number of examples of moral tales in modern literature. Hawthorne's "Ambitious Guest" is one. "Lady Eleanor's Mantle" is another, though it is also a legend; for a moral narrative, just as an occasional narrative, may be of any type the author chooses. "Murad the Unlucky" by Maria Edgeworth is the Oriental wonder tale turned didactic. What makes this or that a story with a moral is the author's obvious concern about the lesson he means to teach. His narrative is nothing in itself: it is what it is because of the author's purpose. Stowe Doubtless the most widely influential moral story ever written is "Uncle Tom's Cabin." It is a striking example of how much more powerful is concrete narrative than abstract argument. The Americans were ready for the sermon, but they never would have listened to it from the pages of a controversial tract. A[347] story, they took to their heads and their hearts. It is the fate of moral narratives of this sort, however, to be for the time only; and seldom do any rise to the plane of real literature. "Rasselas" has endured partly because of the fame of its great author, and partly because of its high and true pessimism. Readers naturally like pessimism, and when it is of this good, philosophic sort, they feel justified in their taste. Johnson and Voltaire The theme is Johnson's favorite topic—the vanity of human wishes, the futility of the quest for happiness. Voltaire's "Candide," which came out in France two weeks before "Rasselas," is on the same topic with practically the same moral. But Voltaire was an agnostic and a cynic, while Johnson was a most conventional pietist. Addison and Steele as well as Johnson included didactic stories in their periodicals. Tolstoy, Cervantes Count Tolstoy, in his desire to help his countrymen, has written many parables, allegories, and moral tales. They are read by foreigners because of the pictures of Russian life. So are Cervantes's "Novelas Ejemplares" read for their fresh and spritely character-pictures of Andalusia. They are instructive moral tales, as their name indicates and as their author very definitely asserted. So idiomatic, spirited, and graceful are they that, though the oldest stories of their class in Spanish literature, they are without successful rivals.

An exercise in this kind of narrative surely will not hurt you, and you may get some benefit from it, even if the chance reader should not like your preaching. Try, however, to make the story interesting in itself and to have the moral seem to grow naturally out of[348] the action, rather than the action out of the moral. Avoid platitudes, and reveal the customs and manners of your people so faithfully that the student of social science might use your narrative for data.

Jeannot and Colin

Many trustworthy persons can vouch for having seen Jeannot and Colin when they went to school at Issoire in Auvergne, a town famous all over the world for its college and its kettles. Jeannot was the son of a dealer in mules, a man of considerable reputation; Colin owed his existence to a worthy husbandman who dwelt on the outskirts of the town, and cultivated his farm with the help of four mules, and who, after paying tolls and tallage, scutage and salt duty, poundage, poll-tax, and tithes, did not find himself particularly well off at the end of the year.

Jeannot and Colin were very handsome lads for natives of Auvergne; they were much attached to each other, and had little secrets together and private understandings, such as old comrades always recall with pleasure when they afterward meet in a wider world.

Their school days were drawing near their end, when a tailor one day brought Jeannot a velvet coat of three colors, with a waistcoat of Lyons silk in excellent taste to match. This suit of clothes was accompanied by a letter addressed to Monsieur de La Jeannotiere. Colin admired the coat, and was not at all jealous; but Jeannot assumed an air of superiority which distressed Colin. From that moment Jeannot paid no more heed to his lessons, but was always looking at his reflection in the glass, and despised everybody but himself. Some time afterward[349] a footman arrived post-haste bringing a second letter, addressed this time to His Lordship the Marquis de La Jeannotiere; it contained an order from his father for the young nobleman, his son, to be sent to Paris. As Jeannot mounted the chaise to drive off, he stretched out his hand to Colin with a patronizing smile befitting his rank. Colin felt his own insignificance, and wept. So Jeannot departed in all his glory.

Readers who like to know all about things may be informed that Monsieur Jeannot, the father, had rapidly gained immense wealth in business. You ask how those great fortunes are made? It all depends upon luck. Monsieur Jeannot had a comely person, and so had his wife; moreover, her complexion was fresh and blooming. They had gone to Paris to prosecute a lawsuit which was ruining them, when Fortune, who lifts up and casts down human beings at her pleasure, presented them with an introduction to the wife of an army hospital contractor, a man of great talent, who could boast of having killed more soldiers in one year than the cannon had destroyed in ten. Jeannot took the lady's fancy, and Jeannot's wife captivated the gentleman. Jeannot soon became a partner in business, and entered into other speculations. When one is in the current of the stream, one need only let one's self drift, and thus an immense fortune may sometimes be made without any trouble. The beggars watch you from the bank, as you glide along in full sail, open their eyes in astonishment; they wonder how you have managed to get on; they envy you, at all events, and write pamphlets against you which you never read. That was what happened to Jeannot senior, who was soon styled Monsieur de La Jeannotiere, and, after buying a[350] marquisate, at the end of six months he took the young nobleman, his son, away from school, to launch him into the fashionable world of Paris.

Colin, always affectionately disposed, wrote a kind letter to his old schoolfellow, offering his congratulations. The little marquis sent him no answer, which grieved Colin sorely.

The first thing that his father and mother did for the young gentleman was to get him a tutor. This tutor, who was a man of distinguished manners and profound ignorance, could teach his pupil nothing. The marquis wished his son to learn Latin, but the marchioness would not hear of it. They consulted the opinion of a certain author who had obtained considerable celebrity at that time from some popular works which he had written. He was invited to dinner, and the master of the house began by saying:

"Sir, as you know Latin, and are conversant with the manners of the court—"

"I, sir! Latin! I don't know a word of it," answered the man of learning; "and it is just as well for me that I don't, for one can speak one's own language better when the attention is not divided between it and foreign tongues. Look at all our ladies; they are far more charming in conversation than men; their letters are written with a hundred times more grace of expression. They owe that superiority over us to nothing else but their ignorance of Latin."

"There, now! Was I not right?" said the lady. "I want my son to be a man of wit, and to make his way in the world. You see that if he were to learn Latin it would be his ruin. Tell me, if you please, are plays and[351] operas performed in Latin? Are the proceedings in court conducted in Latin, when one has a lawsuit on hand? Do people make love in Latin?"

The marquis, confounded by these arguments, passed sentence, and it was decided that the young nobleman should not waste his time in studying Cicero, Horace, and Virgil.

"But what is he to learn, then? For, I suppose, he will have to know something. Might he not be taught a little geography?"

"What good will that do him?" answered the tutor. "When my lord marquis goes to visit his country-seat, will not his postillions know the roads? There will be no fear of their going astray. One does not want a sextant in order to travel, and it is quite possible to make a journey between Paris and Auvergne without knowing anything about the latitude and longitude of either."

"Very true," replied the father; "but I have heard people speak of a noble science, which is, I think, called astronomy."

"Bless my soul!" rejoined the tutor. "Do we regulate our behavior in this world by the stars? Why should my lord Marquis wear himself out in calculating an eclipse, when he will find it predicted correctly to a second in the almanac, which will moreover inform him of all the movable feasts, the age of the moon, and that of all the princesses in Europe?"

The marchioness was quite of the tutor's opinion, the little marquis was in a state of highest delight, and his father was very undecided.

"What is my son to be taught, then?" said he.

"To make himself agreeable," answered the friend[352] whom they had consulted; "for, if he knows the way to please, he will know everything worth knowing. It is an art which he will learn from her Ladyship, his mother, without the least trouble to either of them."

The marchioness, at these words, smiled graciously upon the courtly ignoramus, and said:

"It is easy to see, sir, that you are a most accomplished gentleman; my son will owe all his education to you. I imagine, however, that it will not be a bad thing for him to know a little history."

"Nay, madam, what good would that do him?" he answered. "Assuredly, the only entertaining and useful history is that of the passing hour. All ancient history, as one of our clever writers has observed, is admitted to consist of nothing but fables, and for us moderns it is an inextricable chaos. What does it matter to the young gentleman, your son, if Charlemagne instituted the twelve Paladins of France, or if his successor had an impediment in his speech?"

"Nothing was ever more wisely said!" exclaimed the tutor. "The minds of children are smothered under a mass of useless knowledge, but of all sciences, that which seems to me the most absurd, and the one best adapted to extinguish every spark of genius, is geometry. That ridiculous science concerns itself with surfaces, lines, and points which have no existence in nature. In imagination a hundred thousand curved lines may be made to pass between a circle and a straight line which touches it, although in reality you could not insert as much as a straw. Geometry, indeed, is nothing more than a bad joke."

The marquis and his lady did not understand much[353] of the meaning of what the tutor was saying, but they quite agreed with him. "A nobleman like his Lordship," he continued, "should not dry up his brain with such unprofitable studies. If, some day, he should want one of those sublime geometricians to draw a plan of his estates, he can have them measured for money. If he should wish to trace out the antiquity of his lineage, which goes back to the most remote ages, all he will have to do will be to send for some learned Benedictine. It is the same with all the other arts. A young lord born under a lucky star is neither a painter, nor a musician, nor an architect, nor a sculptor, but he may make all these arts flourish by encouraging them with his generous approval. Doubtless it is much better to patronize than to practice them. It will be quite enough if my lord the young Marquis has taste; it is the part of artists to work for him, and thus there is a great deal of truth in the remark that people of quality (that is, if they are very rich), know everything without learning anything, because, in point of fact and in the long run, they are masters of all the knowledge they can order and pay for."

The agreeable ignoramus then resumed his part in the conversation, and said:

"You have well remarked, madam, that the great end of man's existence is to succeed in society. Is it, forsooth, any aid to the attainment of this success to have devoted one's self to the sciences? Does any one ever think in select company of talking about geometry? Is a gentleman ever asked what star rises to-day with the sun? Does any one at the supper-table ever want to know if Clodion, the Long-Haired, crossed the Rhîne?"

"No, indeed!" exclaimed the marchioness de la Jeannotiere,[354] whose charms had been her passport into the world of fashion, "and my son must not stifle his genius by studying all that trash. But, after all, what is he to be taught? For it is a good thing that a young lord should be able to shine when occasion offers, as my noble husband has said. I remember once hearing an abbé remark that the most entertaining science was something the name of which I have forgotten—it begins with a B."

"With a B, madam? It was not botany, was it?"

"No, it certainly was not botany that he mentioned; it began, as I tell you, with a B, and ended in onry."

"Ah, madam, I understand! It was blazonry, or heraldry. That is indeed a most profound science. But it has ceased to be fashionable since the custom has died out of having one's coat of arms painted on one's carriage doors; it was the most useful thing imaginable in a well-ordered state. Besides, that line of study would be endless, for at the present day there is not a barber who is without his armorial bearings, and you know that whatever becomes common loses its attraction."

Finally, after all the pros and cons of the different sciences had been examined and discussed, it was decided that the young marquis should learn dancing.

Dame Nature, who arranges everything according to her own will and pleasure, had given him a talent which soon developed, securing him prodigious success; it was that of singing street ballads in a charming style. His youthful grace accompanying this superlative gift caused him to be regarded as a young man of the highest promise. He was a favorite with the ladies, and, having his head crammed with songs, he had no lack of mistresses to whom to address his verses. He stole the line "Bacchus[355] with the Loves at play" from one ballad, and made it rhyme with "night and day" taken from another, while a third furnished him with "charms" and "alarms." But inasmuch as there were always a few feet more or less than were wanted in his verses, he had them corrected at the rate of twenty sovereigns a song. And "The Literary Year" placed him in the same rank with such sonneteers as La Fare, Chaulieu, Hamilton, Sarrasin, and Voiture.

Her ladyship the marchioness then believed that she was indeed the mother of a genius, and gave a supper to all the wits of Paris. The young man's head was soon turned; he acquired the art of talking without knowing the meaning of what he said, and perfected himself in the attainment of being fit for nothing. When his father saw him so eloquent, he keenly regretted that he had not had him taught Latin, or he would have purchased some high legal appointment for him. His mother, who was of more heroic sentiments took upon herself to solicit a regiment for her son; in the meantime he made love—and love is sometimes more expensive than a regiment. He squandered his money freely, while his parents drained their purses and credit to a lower and lower ebb by living in the grandest style.

A young widow of good position in their neighborhood, who had only a moderate income, was kind enough to make some effort to prevent the great wealth of the Marquis and Marchioness de La Jeannotiere from going altogether, by consenting to marry the young marquis with a view to appropriating what remained. She enticed him to her house, let him make love to her, allowed him to see that she was not quite indifferent to him, and[356] made him her devoted slave without the least difficulty. At one time she would give him commendation, and at another time counsel; she became his father's and mother's best friend. An old neighbor suggested marriage. The parents, dazzled with the splendor of the alliance, joyfully fell in with the scheme, and promised their only son to their most intimate lady friend. The young marquis was thus about to wed the woman he adored, and by whom he was loved in return. The friends of the family congratulated him; the marriage settlement was ready to be signed; the bridal dress and the nuptial hymn were both well under way.

One morning our young gentleman was on his knees before the charmer whom fond affection and esteem were so soon to make his own. They were tasting in animated and tender converse the first fruits of future happiness, settling how they should lead a life of perfect bliss, when one of his mother's footmen presented himself, scared out of his wits.

"Here's fine news which may surprise you!" said he; "the bailiffs are in the house of my lord and lady, removing the furniture. Everything has been seized by the creditors. There is talk of arresting people, and I am going to do what I can to get my wages paid."

"Let us see what has happened," said the marquis, "and discover the meaning of all this."

"Yes," said the widow, "go and punish those rascals—go, at once!"

He hurried homeward. When he arrived at the house his father was already in prison, and all the servants had fled, each in a different direction, carrying off whatever they had been able to lay their hands on. His[357] mother was alone, helpless, forlorn, and bathed in tears; she had nothing left her but the remembrance of her former prosperity, her beauty, her faults, and her foolish extravagance.

After the son had condoled with his mother for a long time, he said at last:

"Let us not despair. This young widow loves me to distraction; she is even more generous than she is wealthy, I can assure you. I will fly to her for help, and bring her to you."

So he returned to his mistress, and found her engaged in private conversation with a fascinating young officer.

"What! Is that you, my Lord de La Jeannotiere? What business have you with me? How can you leave your mother by herself in this way? Go, and stay with the poor woman, and tell her that she shall always have my good wishes. I am in want of a waiting woman now, and will gladly give her the preference."

"My lad," said the officer, "you seem pretty tall and straight; if you would like to enter my company, I will make it worth your while to enlist."

The marquis, utterly astounded and inwardly furious, went off in search of his former tutor, confided all his troubles to him, and asked his advice. He proposed that he should become like himself, a tutor of the young.

"Alas! I know nothing; you have taught me nothing whatever, and you are the primary cause of all my unhappiness!" And as he spoke he began to sob.

"Write novels," said a wit who was present; "it is an excellent resource to fall back upon in Paris."

The young man, in more desperate straits than ever,[358] hastened to the house of his mother's father-confessor. He was a Theatine monk of the very highest reputation, who had charge of the souls of none but ladies of the first rank in society. As soon as he saw him, the reverend gentleman rushed to meet him.

"Good gracious! My lord Marquis, where is your carriage? How is your honored mother, the Marchioness?"

The unfortunate young fellow related the disaster that had befallen his family. As he explained the matter further the Theatine assumed a graver air, one of less concern and more self-importance.

"My son, herein you may see the hand of Providence; riches serve only to corrupt the heart. The Almighty has shown special favor to your mother in reducing her to beggary. Yes, sir, so much the better! She is now sure of her salvation."

"But, father, in the meantime are there no means of finding some help in this world?"

"Farewell, my son! A lady of the court is waiting for me."

The marquis almost fainted. He was treated after much the same manner by all his friends, and learned to know the world better in half a day than he had in all the rest of his life.

While thus plunged in overwhelming despair, he saw an old-fashioned traveling chaise, more like a covered tumbril than anything else, and furnished with leather curtains, followed by four enormous wagons, all heavily laden. In the chaise was a young man in rustic attire; his round and rubicund face had an air of kindness and good temper. His little wife, whose sunburnt countenance had a pleasing if not refined expression, was[359] jolted about as she sat beside him; and since the vehicle did not go quite so fast as a dandy's chariot, the traveler had plenty of time to look at the marquis as he stood motionless, absorbed in his grief.

"Oh, good heavens!" he exclaimed, "I believe that is Jeannot there!"

Hearing that name, the marquis raised his eyes, and the chaise stopped.

"'Tis Jeannot himself! Yes, it is Jeannot!"

The fat little man sprang to the ground with a single leap, and ran to embrace his companion. Jeannot recognized Colin, shame showing in his face.

"You have forsaken your old friend," said Colin, "but be you as grand a lord as you like, I shall never cease to love you."

Jeannot, confounded and cut to the heart, amid sobs, told him something of his history.

"Come into the inn where I am lodging, and tell me the rest," said Colin; "kiss my little wife, and let us go and dine together."

They went, all three of them, on foot, and the baggage followed.

"What in the world is all this paraphernalia? Does it belong to you!" inquired Jeannot.

"Yes, it is all mine and my wife's; we are just come from the country. I am at the head of a large tin, iron, and copper factory, and have married the daughter of a rich tradesman and general provider of all useful commodities for great folks and small. We work hard, and God gives us His blessing. We are satisfied with our condition in life, and are quite happy. We will help our friend Jeannot. Give up being a marquis; all the[360] splendor in the world is not worth a good friend. Return with me into the country. I will teach you my trade, which is not a difficult one to learn; I will give you a share in the business, and we will live together with light hearts in the little place where we were born."

Jeannot, overcome by this kindness, struggled between sorrow and joy, tenderness and shame. He said to himself:

"All my fashionable friends have proved false to me, and Colin, whom I despised, is the only one who comes to my rescue. What a lesson!"

Colin's example in generosity revived in Jeannot's heart the germ of goodness that the world had never quite choked. He felt that he could not desert his father and mother.

"We will take care of your mother," said Colin, "and as for your good father, who is in prison—I know something of business matters—his creditors, when they see that he has nothing more, will agree to an easy settlement. I will see to all that myself."

Colin was as good as his word, and succeeded in effecting the father's release from prison. Jeannot returned to his old home with his parents, who resumed their former occupation. He married Colin's sister, who, being like her brother in disposition, rendered her husband very happy. And so Jeannot the father, and Jeannotte the mother, and Jeannot the son, came to see that vanity is no true source of happiness.

—Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire.

From "Little Masterpieces of Fiction," Vol. VII (Doubleday, Page & Co).


II. The Pedagogical Narrative

Some famous pedagogical books

The pedagogical narrative can hardly be called "story," not only because of the intent of the writer to instruct, but also because of the specialness of the subject-matter itself. "Leonard and Gertrude," however, has continued to be read as story in an interpreted form for many years. "Interpreted" connotes what the modern versions of "Leonard and Gertrude" really are, redactions. When the cumbersome and somewhat eccentric sentences of the original were made over, the plot was found to be of a good deal of interest, the character-sketching peculiarly fine, and the lessons taught high and noble and practical as well. Pestalozzi himself had gradually learned how to teach children, and he not only told, but showed others. For that is what a pedagogical story is—a working theory of instruction set up in scenes and actions: it is exposition made narrative. Do you want to know how to teach Jimmy and Margaret? This good old Swiss pedagogue will show you how Gertrude taught her children, mother and school mistress, priest and village reformer as she was. If you had lived in Queen Elizabeth's day and wanted to know how and what to teach your boy or girl, you could have asked the gentle Roger, the queen's own schoolmaster. You can ask him now how he taught; for he put his thoughts down in a volume which bears the name of his professional office—quaintly spelled "Scholemaster"—and shows you his methods of work in forming the mind of the perfect gentleman. This sober pedagogical treatise, which is not narrative, not[362] story, was published only after Ascham's death; but many years before, when he was a very young man and much gayer but hardly less wise, he set forth in "Toxophilus," the archer, a picture of how amusement and learning can be combined. The exposition proceeds in the form of a dialogue (the old fashioned literary type called débat) between a lover of books and a lover of exercise. "Toxophilus" is not exactly story either, but it approaches story, and is important to our type because of the intense and far-reaching influence it has had on modern pedagogy in inspiring a looking-out for the development of the body as well as the mind, and in emphasizing the giving of instruction in an interesting form.

From Ascham's "Schoolmaster" John Lyly got the suggestion for his two famous romances of Euphues, the "well-formed" one. A young man should be euphues in all things, said Ascham, and Lyly undertook to show a Briton thus as he moved about in society, at home, abroad, in friendship and love. So popular did Euphues become that all the ladies and gentlemen of Elizabeth's court modelled their speech on his.

Charming old Sir Isaac Walton joined the pedagogues and gave us a set of delightful walks and talks on angling. He teaches one to be a "complete" angler—an artist at his pastime.

A sort of hand-book of etiquette for the golden youths of the Renaissance was Castiglione's "Courtier," "a sketch of a cultivated nobleman in those most cultivated days." The author shows by what precepts and practice a fine gentleman is made. So well did he write that his own name ever since has been a synonym[363] for nobility and manliness. He gives us a picture of the purest and most elevated court in Italy, that of Guidobaldo da Montefeltra, duke of Urbino. A discussion is held in the duchess's drawing-room to settle the question, what constitutes a perfect courtier. The type selected differs in no material way from the ideal gentleman of the present day.

All of these books are the work of persons who set out seriously to teach—except perhaps the gentle Isaac, who probably wrote what he wrote for sheer pleasure and taught by the way. And they all include what the modern pedagogical narrative includes—disguised exposition. For the most part the modern species is short. A publisher now-a-days, I suppose, could hardly be induced to present an educational system thinly disguised in a long romance. Consequently most of such stories come out in our educational periodicals as better or poorer literature, better or poorer teaching.

Rousseau's "The New Héloise" and "Emile" might be mentioned here were they not more nearly harangues than stories. Their effect in renovating France domestically, though, will forever connect them with the word pedagogy. They are surely a pedagogue's "fiction," since their author took no care of his real children.

These treatises were almost immediately influential in England, but now the theories began to be set forth in more truly narrative form. In "The Fool of Quality" (by Henry Brooke), the hero goes about spreading benevolence and cash and displaying his physical strength and an educational theory as well, as to how an English Christian young gentleman should be[364] brought up. The later development of such teaching was naturally books addressed directly to children. Thomas Day's "Sandford and Merton" had in it stories and dialogues for young people to read for themselves, in which they were taught the value of the sciences and the virtues. Maria Edgeworth's "Frank" and "Rosamond" and Jacob Abbott's "Rollo Books" are for still more juvenile audiences, and in Froebel's "Mother Plays" the baby, even, comes into its own.


This work necessarily, however, was addressed to the parent. A tiny cyclopedia of story, song, game, and theory, it is great pedagogy, and in the original, at least, acceptable literature. The object of all teaching-narratives should be that which Froebel expresses in his comment on one of his own little games taught in a dialogue between a mother and her son. You recall that his double purpose is to teach the mother what and how to teach the child. He says, "The deep import of The Light-Bird is hinted in the song and motto. Beware, however, of the only one contained in the play. Not only The Light-Bird but all the plays which precede and follow it have many meanings. Neither must it be supposed that the meaning suggested by me is, if not the sole, at least the highest one. My songs, mottoes, and commentaries are offered simply with the hope that they may aid you to recognize and hold fast some part of what you yourself feel while playing these games and to suggest to you how you may awaken corresponding feelings in your child."

If you want to write a pedagogical narrative that will startle the world, adopt the motto of Froebel, the charm of Ascham and Walton, the graciousness of[365] Castiglione, and the hard common sense of Pestalozzi, and then proceed. But hold! You will need to have something to teach. Perhaps you would better not try romance as a vehicle, but would better stick to our briefer types. Suppose you put into narrative form, as others have done since the days of the great kindergartner, a simple game for children, or your favorite and most helpful method of study.

Gertrude's Method of Instruction

It was quite early in the morning when Arner (the people's father), Glulhi (his lieutenant), and the pastor went to the mason's cottage. The room was not in order when they entered, for the family had just finished breakfast, and the dirty plates and spoons still lay upon the table. Gertrude was at first somewhat disconcerted, but the visitors reassured her, saying kindly: "This is as it should be; it is impossible to clear the table before breakfast is eaten!"

The children all helped wash the dishes, and then seated themselves in their customary places before their work. The gentlemen begged Gertrude to let everything go on as usual, and after the first half hour, during which she was a little embarrassed, all proceeded as if no stranger were present. First the children sang their morning hymns, and then Gertrude read a chapter of the Bible aloud, which they repeated after her while they were spinning, rehearsing the most instructive passages until they knew them by heart. In the mean time, the oldest girl had been making the children's beds in the adjoining room, and the visitors noticed through the open door that she silently repeated what the others were[366] reciting. When this task was completed, she went into the garden and returned with vegetables for dinner, which she cleaned while repeating Bible-verses with the rest.

It was something new for the children to see three gentlemen in the room, and they often looked up from their spinning toward the corner where the strangers sat. Gertrude noticed this, and said to them: "Seems to me you look more at these gentlemen than at your yarn." But Harry answered: "No, indeed! We are working hard, and you'll have finer yarn to-day than usual."

Whenever Gertrude saw that anything was amiss with the wheels or cotton, she rose from her work, and put it in order. The smallest children, who were not old enough to spin, picked over the cotton for carding, with a skill which excited the admiration of the visitors.

Although Gertrude thus exerted herself to develop very early the manual dexterity of her children, she was in no haste for them to learn to read and write. But she took pains to teach them early how to speak; for, as she said, "of what use is it for a person to be able to read and write, if he cannot speak?—since reading and writing are only an artificial sort of speech." To this end she used to make the children pronounce syllables after her in regular succession, taking them from an old A-B-C book she had. This exercise in correct and distinct articulation was, however, only a subordinate object in her whole scheme of education, which embraced a true comprehension of life itself. Yet she never adopted the tone of instructor toward her children; she did not say to them: "Child, this is your head, your nose, your[367] hand, your finger;" or: "Where is your eye, your ear?"—but instead, she would say: "Come here, child, I will wash your little hands," "I will comb your hair," or: "I will cut your finger-nails." Her verbal instruction seemed to vanish in the spirit of her real activity, in which it always had its source. The result of her system was that each child was skillful, intelligent and active to the full extent that its age and development allowed.

The instruction she gave them in the rudiments of arithmetic was intimately connected with the realities of life. She taught them to count the number of steps from one end of the room to the other; and two of the rows of five panes each, in one of the windows, gave her an opportunity to unfold the decimal relations of numbers. She also made them count their threads while spinning, and the number of turns on the reel, when they wound the yarn into skeins. Above all, in every occupation of life she taught them an accurate and intelligent observation of common objects and the forces of nature.

All that Gertrude's children knew, they knew so thoroughly that they were able to teach it to the younger ones; and this they often begged permission to do. On this day, while the visitors were present, Jones sat with each arm around the neck of a smaller child, and made the little ones pronounce the syllables of the A-B-C book after him; while Lizzie placed herself with her wheel between two of the others, and while all three spun, taught them the words of a hymn with the utmost patience.

When the guests took their departure, they told Gertrude they would come again on the morrow. "Why?" she returned. "You will only see the same thing over[368] again." But Glulphi said: "That is the best praise you could possibly give yourself." Gertrude blushed at this compliment, and stood confused when the gentlemen kindly pressed her hand in taking leave.

The three could not sufficiently admire what they had seen at the mason's house, and Glulphi was so overcome by the powerful impression made upon him, that he longed to be alone and seek counsel of his own thoughts. He hastened to his room, and as he crossed the threshold, the words broke from his lips: "I must be schoolmaster in Bonnal!" All night visions of Gertrude's schoolroom floated through his mind, and he only fell asleep toward morning. Before his eyes were fairly open, he murmured: "I will be schoolmaster!"—and hastened to Arner to acquaint him with his resolution.

—Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

"Leonard and Gertrude" (D. C. Heath & Co.).


In the beautiful town of Santa Maria, children were very fond of playing many curious games. Not a single day or moonlight evening could pass without one's seeing some children playing along the wide streets.

One bright evening in the month of July, after the angelus bell rang, Mapacla, in company with some playmates, went to Zandoval Street, where many children were romping. When they reached the place, they agreed to play Lawin-lawinan. Mapacla was chosen by all to be the sisiw (chicken), and a playmate, Malacas by name, to be the lawin (hawk). The chicken and the hawk were the principal characters of the game. The rest of the children formed a circle: each one with outstretched[369] arms held the hand of the one next him till the circle was formed. The space between each two children was called the door, the owners of which were the children by whom it was formed. The chicken stood inside the circle, and the hawk stood outside.

The game was then begun. The hawk went to the first door, asking, "What door is this?"

"To your honorable stomach," answered the owner of the door.

"And this?" asked the hawk, after approaching another door.

"To your long throat," answered the owner.

The hawk repeated the same question, as he went around from door to door, till he reached the last one.

"Have you anything to sell me?" asked the hawk of the door owner.

"A good fat red chicken!" answered the owner.

"Let me see its scales," remarked the hawk, as he grasped the feet of the chicken. "This is a fine quality of wild bird," he added; "will you have him crow?"

"Crow!" said the owner to the chicken.

"Tic—to—la—la—oe," cried the chicken.

"Fine!" said the hawk. "How much will you sell him for?"

"For one peso," answered the owner.

After the bargain had been made and the hawk was about to catch the chicken, the circle began to whirl around, allowing no space for the hawk to enter. By chance, however, the hawk, thrusting himself through a space, reached the interior of the circle. Every owner was then afraid that the chicken might be caught by the hawk. The whirling of the circle was immediately[370] stopped, and every door was left wide open. The chicken with all his might ran swiftly out of the circle. The hawk was so slow in following that he was captured inside. The circle began to whirl again, till, accidentally, the hawk, struggling for his escape, made his way out. Sometimes the chicken, pursued by the hawk, entered the circle, but immediately ran out whenever there was danger of being caught. At last when the chicken became tired, the hawk caught him.

The punishment was then inflicted. The hawk ordered himself to be carried on the shoulders of the chicken. The order was obeyed without delay. After the chicken had walked a few paces with the heavy load on him, he stopped and started another game, choosing another chicken to be chased by the hawk.

—Leopoldo Uichanco.

III. The Story of Present Day Realism


"Realism," says Mr. Howells, "is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material." The business of the narrator is to observe and record, he says; all that enters into fiction should be simple, natural and honest. The material must be plain, average, everyday humanity. There is no need of a hero or heroine. There is no need of a plot. The love of the passionate and heroic is a crude and unwholesome thing.

Following these tenets there has grown up a school of writers who undertake to present the world just as it is with no heightening and no lowering of color. They select bits of life and reproduce them exactly.[371] The process is "not so much photographic as microscopic." Nothing is too inane or commonplace. All that a workman needs is a seeing eye, honesty, and a vocabulary, say they. Many of the sketches, of course, seem extremely flat, and the reader involuntarily asks, Why and wherefore? The answer is laconic—life: these are the actual problems of humanity rather than abstract moral truths or highflown idealism; the Scab and Trusty No. 49 are with us in the street; these are the Children of the Public, the Children of the Ghetto; this is the modern Jungle; these are Vignettes of Manhattan; these are the feelings of a maiden lady in a Massachusetts village; these are the happenings of a real Wedding Journey; thus the new-rich build houses in the Back Bay district and attempt to get into society; this is a Modern Instance.

For source of realistic method we shall need to notice again the audacious intimacy of the picaresque romance and the extraordinary minuteness of detail that marked the illustrations and pretended anecdotes of the controversial pamphleteers of the early eighteenth century. Take for illustration the verisimilitude of the repetitions and digressions in the "True Relation of the Apparition of Mrs. Veal," by which Defoe hoodwinked the public—so completely, in fact, that critics are even now divided on the question as to whether he was or was not reporting a real interview. Most of his contemporaries took the matter as bona fide news; their successors took it as invention; and now Mr. George Aitken comes forward with proof of its occurrence; that is, he maintains that Defoe got—in just the way he says he got it—the written report of the actual[372] interview with the person who saw the ghost. The contention only goes to demonstrate that Defoe was a great captain of the pen who could sail extremely close to life. That he could make romance truer than fact we well know.

Added to the patient minuteness of the controversialists and the boldness of the rogue narrators who dared to take us to the back-doors and bed-rooms of the nobility and to the haunts of criminals, came later as an element of realistic method, Jane Austen's home subjects, non-partizanship, and gentle raillery.

Some realistic writers

When "Daisy Miller" was written a few decades ago, the Americans were incensed. Henry James did not care, however. Just so we appear abroad, he said, among the more restrained and more cultivated peoples. Howells's "Lady of the Aroostook" seemed a kinder if similar and no less true picture. These brief narratives are hardly novels; and though they are more than tales, they yet are not what we technically call the artistic short-story; they are surely, however, studies in realism.

It is upon this distinction,—namely, that absolute realism would naturally preclude even the slight artificiality that there must be about the truly technical short-story—that we make two divisions in our study of such work as that of Howells, James, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. The point is, realism may be as long-drawn out or as brief as life. The technical short-story, however, has a limit on both sides. So has the novel. Each of our great realists has attempted novels; all have written exquisite short stories.


Suggestions on characters to treat

To write a present-day realistic sketch you will not need to look far for a subject. Just divest yourself of preconceived ideas of the romantic in fiction, and begin anywhere. Everything is of interest to the realist. A butcher's boy; an octogenarian millionaire; a petty thief; a plodding, respectable, humdrum government clerk; an ordinary mother with her ordinary baby on an ordinary day; a flighty society belle, and a society belle who is not flighty; a sensible matron; an idiot child,—all are his. The interest of your sketch will be in the particularity and niceness of details. You will need to be more truthful than a camera, which always makes people and surroundings look either better or worse than they are. Color and sound and smell and atmosphere and temperature, and temperament, gesture and thought, passing impression and settled purpose, you can record. If any of your characters succeeds, it must be as in life—with half defeat; if any one is defeated, it must be as in life—with half success and a conflicting sense of shame and of relief. You must have something happening, however slight, and thus avoid a mere enumeration of characteristics. You are to show us the person in action. A mere analysis of his vices and virtues, his general mental attitude, would be pure exposition, when you want narrative.

Your diction should be as good as you can make it by care and revision. Howells and James are both stylists of the most polished kind; though Tolstoy, whom Howells recognizes as master, thirty years ago left off any concern for sentence effect. He repeats or reiterates at will. You, however, cannot afford to disregard[374] the rules of the rhetoricians—not until you have become as famous as the Russian count or have a message as distinct as his.

Remember, then, that a good realistic sketch demands on your part an honest, and truthful purpose, a mind freed from the glamor of romance or climax, a sure eye, and exquisite workmanship, in the relation of an ordinary, every-day event.

The Piece of String

On all the roads leading to Goderville the peasants and their wives were coming to town for market day. The men shambled along at an easy-going gait, with bodies bent forward. Their long legs were deformed and twisted through hard work—from the weight of the plough, which at the same time throws the left shoulder too high and ruins the figure; from mowing the grain, which effort causes the knees to spread too far apart; and from all the other slow and painful labours of country life. Their blue blouses, starched to a sheenlike varnish and finished at collar and waistbands with little designs in white stitching, stood from their bony bodies like balloons ready for flight, with a head, two arms and two feet protruding.

Some of the men had a cow or calf in tow at the end of a rope, while their wives followed close behind the animal, switching it over the haunches with a leafy branch to hasten its pace.

The women carried large baskets, out of which stuck the heads of chickens and ducks. They took much shorter and quicker steps than the man. Their lanky, spare figures were decorated with mean little shawls[375] pinned across their flat breasts. Each head bore a white linen cover, bound close to the hair and surmounted by a cap.

Now and then there went by a waggonette drawn by a pony on a jerky trot, which jostled the two men on the seat in a ludicrous manner and made the woman at the end of the cart hold the sides firmly for ease from the rough jolting.

In the Goderville market-place was a great crowd of men and animals. The horns of the cattle, the high, long-napped hats of the well-to-do peasants, and the head-dresses of women bobbed above the level of that crowd. Noisy voices, sharp and shrill, kept up a wild and ceaseless clamour, only outdone now and then by a great guffaw of laughter from the strong lungs of a jolly bumpkin, or a prolonged moo from a cow tied to the wall of some house.

Everywhere it smelled of stables, of milk and manure, of hay and sweat. The air was redolent with that sourish, disagreeable odour savouring of man and beast which is peculiar to the labourers of the fields.

Master Hauchecorne, of Bréauté, had just arrived at Goderville and was directing his steps to the square when he observed on the ground a little bit of string. Economical like all true Normans, Master Hauchecorne considered that anything useful was worth picking up, and he bent down painfully, for he suffered from rheumatism. He picked up the scrap of twine from the ground, and was preparing to wind it up carefully when he noticed Master Malandain, the harness-maker, looking at him from his doorway. Once they had a quarrel over a halter and had kept angry ever since, both of[376] them holding spite. Master Hauchecorne was smitten with a certain sense of shame at being seen thus by his enemy searching in the dirt for a mere bit of string. He hastily hid his find under his blouse, then in the pocket of his breeches—after which he pretended to be still looking at his feet for something which he had not yet found. At length, he started toward the market-place, his body almost bent double by his chronic pains.

He lost himself at once in the slow, clamorous throng, which was agitated by perpetual bickerings. The prospective buyers, after looking the cows over, would go away only to return perplexed; always fearing to be taken in; never reaching a decision, but narrowly watching the seller's eyes, seeking in the end to detect the deceit of the man and the defect in his animal.

The women, having put their big baskets at their feet, had pulled out the poultry, which lay upon the ground with legs tied, with frightened eyes and scarlet combs.

They listened to offers, maintaining their prices with a sharp air and impressive face, or else at a sweep accepting a reduced price, crying after the customer who left reluctantly, "It's settled, Anthime; I'll let you have them!"

Then, by degrees, the square emptied, and, as the Angelus struck noon, those living at a distance flocked to the inns.

At Jourdain's, the dining-room was filled with guests, as full as the great courtyard was with vehicles of every description—carts, gigs, waggonettes, tilburies, nondescript jaunting cars, yellow with mud, misshapen, patched up, lifting their shafts to heaven like two arms,[377] or else in a sorry plight with nose in the mud and back in the air.

Right opposite to where the diners were at table, the immense fireplace, all brightly aflame, imparted a genial warmth to the backs of the people ranged on the right. Three spits were turning, loaded with chickens, with pigeons, and with legs of mutton; and a delicious odour of roast meat and of gravy gushing over roast brown skin took wing from the hearth, kindled good humour, and made mouths water.

All the aristocracy of the plough were eating there at Jourdain's, the innkeeper who dealt in horses—a shrewd fellow, who had a goodish penny put by.

The dishes were passed and emptied, as were likewise huge jugs of yellow cider. Every one recounted his dealings—his buying and selling. They gave news of the crops. The weather was good for greens, but somewhat wet for wheat.

All at once a drum rolled in the court before the house. Almost everybody save the too indifferent, immediately sprang to their feet and ran to the door, or to the windows, with mouth still full and napkin in hand.

After the public crier had stopped his racket, he launched forth in a jerky voice, making his pauses at the wrong time:

"Be it known to the inhabitants of Goderville, and in general to all persons present at the market, that there was lost this morning on the Beauzeville road, between nine and ten o'clock, a black leather pocketbook containing five hundred francs and business papers. You are requested to return it to the mayor's office at once, or[378] to Master Fortune Houlbreque, of Manneville. There will be twenty francs reward."

Then the man went away. They heard once more from afar the dull drum-beats and the fading voice of the crier.

After that, they began to discuss this event, counting the chances Master Houlbreque yet had of recovering or not recovering his pocketbook.

And the meal went on.

They were finishing their coffee when the corporal of police appeared on the threshold.

He asked:

"Master Hauchecorne, of Bréauté—is he here?"

Hauchecorne, seated at the other end of the table, answered:

"Here I am."

And the corporal resumed:

"Master Hauchecorne, will you have the kindness to come with me to the mayor's office? The mayor would like to speak to you."

The peasant, surprised and disturbed, tossed off his drink and arose, worse bent than in the morning; because the first steps after a rest were always especially difficult. He started off, repeating:

"Here I am; here I am."

And he followed the corporal.

The mayor was awaiting him, seated in his official chair. He was the notary of the place, a large, grave man of pompous speech.

"Master Hauchecorne," he said, "you were seen this morning, on the Beauzeville road, to pick up the pocket-book lost by Master Houlbreque, of Manneville."


The countryman, confused, stared at the mayor, already frightened by this suspicion attaching to him—why he could not understand.

"I—I—I picked up that pocket-book?"

"Yes, you."

"On my word of honour, I didn't even know nothing about it."

"You were seen."

"They saw me—me? Who's they what saw me?" said Master Hauchecorne.

"Master Malandain, the harness-maker."

Then the old man remembered, understood, and reddened with anger.

"Ah! he saw me, did he, the rascal? He saw me pick up this here string. Look, your worship."

And, rummaging at the bottom of his pocket, he pulled out the little piece of string.

But the incredulous mayor shook his head.

"You will not make me believe, Master Hauchecorne, that Master Malandain, who is a man worthy of all respect, has taken this bit of cord for a pocket-book."

The peasant, furious, raised his hand, and spit at his side to bear witness to his honour, repeating:

"F'r all that, it's God's truth, holy truth, your worship. There! My soul and my salvation knows it's true!"

The mayor resumed:

"After having picked the article up, you even searched also a long while in the mud to make sure if money had fallen out of it."

The good man choked with rage and terror.

"If them can say—if them can say—such lies as that[380] to take away an honest man's name! If them can say—"

However he might protest, he was not believed.

He was confronted by Master Malandain, who repeated and supported his statement. They railed at each other for an hour. Master Hauchecorne demanded that they search his pockets. Nothing was found upon him.

Finally, the mayor, very much perplexed, let him go with the warning that he would inform the public prosecutor, and ask for orders.

The news had spread abroad. When he came out of the mayor's office, the old man was the centre of curiosity and questioning, both serious and jeering, but into which not the least resentment entered. And he began recounting the long rigmarole of the string. They did not believe him. They grinned.

He went along, stopped by every one, or accosting his acquaintances, going over and over his story and his protestations, pointing to his pockets turned inside out to prove he had nothing.

They said to him:

"Come now, you old rascal!"

And he became angry, exasperated, feverish, disconsolate at being doubted, and forever telling his story.

Night fell. It became time to go home. He started out with three of his neighbours, to whom he pointed out the spot where he had picked up the bit of string; and, all along the road, he recited his adventure.

That evening he made a round of the village of Bréauté so as to tell everyone. He found only unbelievers.


He was ill of it all through the night.

The next day about one in the afternoon, Marius Paumelle, a farm helper of Master Breton, the market-gardener at Ymauville, returned the pocket-book and its contents to Master Houlbreque of Manneville.

This man maintained he had found it on the road, but, not knowing how to read, had carried it home and turned it over to his master.

The news spread to the suburbs. Master Hauchecorne was informed. Immediately he set himself the task of going about relating his story, capping it with this climax. He was triumphant.

"What hurt me the mostest," he said, "was not the thing itself, don't you see, but the lies. Nothing hurts so as when lies 's told about you."

All day long he talked of his adventure. He told it on the roads to the people passing, at the tavern to people who were drinking, and then to the people coming out of church the next Sunday. He even stopped strangers to tell them the tale. He felt relieved by this time, yet something troubled him without his knowing just what it was. People had a mocking manner as they listened.

They did not appear convinced. He almost felt their tattle behind his back.

Tuesday of the next week, he went to the Goderville market, solely impelled by the need of recounting his affair.

Malandain, standing in his doorway, began to laugh as he saw him pass. For what?

He accosted a farmer of Criquetot who did not permit him to finish, but, landing him a thump in the pit[382] of the stomach, cried in his face, "Get out, you great rogue!" Then he turned on his heel.

Master Hauchecorne, altogether abashed, grew more and more disturbed. Why had he been dubbed "a great rogue?"

When seated at table in Jourdain's tavern, he again began to explain the particulars.

A Montvilliers horse-dealer yelled at him:

"Don't tell me, you old fox! I know your piece of string yarn!"

Hauchecorne stammered, "B—b—but it's found, the pocket-book!"

To which the other retorted:

"That'll do, daddy! There's one who finds, and another who gives up. Neither is no one the wiser."

The peasant was choked off. At last he understood. They accused him of having had the pocket-book returned by a crony—by an accomplice.

He tried to protest. The whole table started to laugh.

He could not finish his meal, and took his leave amidst their mocking and derision.

He returned to his home, ashamed and indignant, stifled with rage, with confusion; all the more dejected because, with his Norman cunning, he was capable of having done what they accused him of, and even of bragging of it as a good trick. His innocence vaguely appeared to him as impossible to prove; his roguery was too well known. And he felt struck to the heart by the injustice of the suspicion.

Again he commenced to tell of his adventure; every day its recital lengthened, each time containing new[383] proofs, more energetic protestations, and more solemn oaths which he prepared in his solitary hours. His mind was altogether occupied by the story of the piece of string. He was believed all the less as his defense grew more complicated and his arguments more artful.

"Now, those are the proofs of a liar," they said behind his back.

He felt this. It consumed his strength. He exhausted himself in useless efforts.

He went into a visible decline.

The jokers now made him detail the story of "The Piece of String" to amuse them, just as you persuade a soldier who has come through a campaign to tell his version of a battle. At last his mind began to give way.

Near the end of December he took to his bed.

He died the first week in January, and, in the delirium of the throes of death he protested his innocence, repeating, "A little piece of string—little piece of string—see, here it is, your worship."

—Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant.

"Little Masterpieces of Fiction," Vol. VI (Doubleday, Page & Co.).

A Social Error

The little kindergarten teacher turned hastily from the office window.

"Miss Adams," she said abruptly, "I'm worried."

The "Lady Head" looked up from her ledger.

"Worried," she repeated, with an odd little smile, "are you ever anything so plebeian?"

The other woman tossed her chin impatiently.

"Really, Miss Adams," she said stiffly, "I wish you[384] had given that class of Italians to—well, anyone but Caroline."

The lady at the desk stiffened perceptibly.

"And why not?" she inquired tersely. "You certainly must be aware that the reason I chose Caroline to fill the vacancy was because I thought her fitted—particularly fitted," she added, with deliberate emphasis.

The little woman looked down at her excited chief with a quietly speculative smile.

"Do you think," she said slowly, "that Caroline has the real social instinct?"

The Lady Head was becoming annoyed.

"One might think," she snapped, "that the training Caroline has received in her own home would amply fit her to meet—"

"Any of the men of her own set," interrupted the other woman. "But as for managing a club of hot-headed Italians—"

"Well, doesn't she manage them?" reiterated the woman at the desk, half rising from her low chair. "I should like to have you name a club that is more orderly—more—"

"Indeed, it is orderly enough," admitted the little kindergartner.

"There!" sniffed the Lady Head triumphantly, then with a sudden change of tone, "I really do not understand your objection. As for the boys—they adore her!"

"That is where the trouble lies." The little kindergartner leaned forward over the desk and her voice was very serious. "Miss Adams," she began slowly, "you have been here five weeks—I have worked in this[385] district for fifteen years. I know every boy and girl, every man and woman, who comes to this house. And I also know"—the speaker paused impressively—"that when a girl who is as young and as good-looking as Caroline treats the young men of her club with the same informality that she would show to the callers in her father's home—believe me, there will be disastrous consequences."

"Do you mean—Do you dare—" the Lady Head's lifted eyebrows completed her question.

This little kindergartner stood firm. "I think Caroline should be warned," she insisted quietly. "Her Italians are so young—so hot-blooded, and I'm afraid she has been encouraging them a little, too—"

"Nonsense!" the other woman sprang quickly to her feet. "I have never heard anything so ridiculous—so utterly preposterous! Do my years of experience count for nothing in comparison with yours? Am I entirely lacking in good judgment—in common sense? My dear woman, I have always made friends of my club boys, invited them to my home—even young anarchists! Falling in love with her! Preposterous!" She paused for a moment breathless, and then began a fresh onslaught.

"If Caroline has not sufficient tact—"

A girl's blonde head appeared in the office doorway.

"Did you call met?" she lisped sweetly. "I was passing through the hall and I thought I heard my name spoken." She paused, with a questioning glance at the two women.

The Lady Head was the first to recover her composure, and she rustled across the room with outstretched hands. "My dear Caroline," she said. "We were just[386] speaking of you—and your charming little club," she added, with a side glance at her assistant.

The girl threw back her dark furs with a smile. "How good of you," she said gratefully. "I'm frightfully late to-day, but to-night is our party, and I stopped down town for the boys."

The Lady Head patted the girl's plump fingers. "Are you going to dance, too?" she inquired.

The girl laughed. "Indeed I am. But I really don't know how I'm going to manage it. The boys are all so jealous, and Tony—oh, Tony is the grandest dancer!"

She flitted out of the tiny office, and the two women watched her as she climbed the broad stairs followed closely by her chattering, gesticulating pupils.

As the last peal of laughter floated down over the balusters the little kindergartner turned to the Lady Head.

"You see?" she said simply.

The Lady Head turned upon her a sweet, uncomprehending smile. "I think it is lovely!" she breathed.

The night lamp burned steadily in the office of the settlement. The wind howled through the deserted street, flinging the rain in noisy gusts against the window panes and shrieking dismally down the empty corridors. From somewhere on the floor above came the rhythmic banging of a piano and the shuffle and stamp of dancing feet.

The Lady Head closed her book with a yawn.

"What a stupid evening," she sighed. The kindergarten teacher laid down her sewing and walked slowly to the window.

"The elements are attempting to enliven things,"[387] she remarked dryly as she lifted the heavy curtains. Even as she spoke there was a blinding flash, a click and the house was dark.

Up stairs the music ceased, there was a confused murmur of voices—a shout—a crash—and a woman's scream. The lights come on again—the two women turned, their faces ashen, and hastened up the long stairs.

A pale-faced girl was crouched against the farther wall of the big gymnasium. At her feet sprawled the limp body of a man, and behind her a swarthy black-browed girl was struggling in the grasp of two stalwart Italians who were trying to wrest something from her frantic fingers. Her hands relaxed as the two women appeared in the door, and a shining bit of steel flew across the room and tinkled on the floor at the feet of the Lady Head. She picked it up grimly and pushed her way to the center of the crowd. The girl by the wall sprang to her feet with a wild shriek, but the woman turned on her savagely.

"Hush!" she hissed, "you little fool!" Then to the crowd, "What does this mean?" she demanded sternly. "What does this mean?"

A young Italian, who stood at one side nursing his slashed knuckles, was the spokesman.

"Him—" with a wave towards the man on the floor—"he's Tony De Sil', and her"—the gesture included the hysterical girl—"She dance with Ton' all-a-time."

"And she?" The Lady Head looked toward the Italian girl whose stiletto she was holding gingerly between her fingers.

"Her?"—the narrator pointed a laconic forefinger. "She's Tony's girl."


When the weeping Caroline had been sent home in her father's carriage, and when the ambulance had creaked out through the gateway, the Lady Head turned to her little assistant.

"If there are any fatal results from this—this criminal bit of negligence," she stated coldly, "I shall hold you personally responsible. You should have informed me of this long ago. Remember, you have been here fifteen years!"

—Ida F. Treat.

The Lot of the Poor

Two women were walking with rapid but tired steps down one of the most disreputable streets in the city.

"My," said the tallest one, turning up the collar of her threadbare coat, "don't this wind make you feel like you was dressed in your bones?"

The other woman, who was, if possible, more shabby-looking, pushed her red gloveless hands deeper into her pockets.

"Yes, and I forgot to wear my sables to-day, ain't it too bad?" she returned in a dreary tone, whose irony was somewhat modified by the chattering of her teeth.

"Mary Jane, you just quit talkin' like that," burst out the other, evidently the older of the two. "You didn't never use to be that way before you commenc't workin' out by the day. Why you was the jolliest girl in the factory and allays made the best of everything; but now nothin' is ever good enough for you. Of course none of us would mind having things a little better, but as far as I can see, things have allays been this way with us and allays will be, wishin' or no wishin'."


"I ain't sayin' they won't," Mary Jane said shortly.

"Well, I know it, you ain't sayin' nothin'; that's just the trouble. I wish you'd tell me what's the matter with you, Mary Jane, 'Tain't natural for a girl like you to be so dull and sulky."

"'Tain't natural, did you say?" flared up the other. "'Tain't natural to wonder why the lady you work for wears silks and satins, while your own clothes are almost too ragged to cover you? Ain't it natural," she asked with blazing eyes, "to want to tear a few silks off of her back to cover your own? You ain't never seen nice things near you, Ann. You've allays worked in the factory; so what do you know about such things? I tell you, if you worked in one of those palaces on Fifth Avenue all day and then come back to this at night, you'd see the difference."

"Don't you s'pose I've seen swell things and people?" remonstrated the older woman. "I ain't no fool; but I've reasoned out that there's a few people meant to be rich, and the rest of us ain't, that's all!"

"But it ain't a few people, Ann. It seems like most everybody had plenty to eat and wear but us. Why ain't we in it, too? Why don't I live in that fine house where I work instead down in this hole? It seems like we'd been cheated somewhere; but I s'pose there ain't no use talkin' about it. Good-night."

Ann watched the girl as she climbed the rickety steps of the "palace" which fate had assigned to her.

"They're all that way sometimes. I remember—well, she'll get used to it like all the rest of us."

—Agnes Palmer.


Filipino Fear.

One cloudy afternoon when a heavy rain seemed swaying back and forth in a thick mist which was then lowering, and long red streaks of lightning followed by loud rolling thunder seemed trying to break the mist to let the rain fall, there were in a little nipa house in the country below, among aged cocoanut palms, two lonely persons suffering from superstition and fear of the extraordinary phenomena that surrounded them.

The house was just big enough for the two. Its roof, windows and sides were made of cogon. The floor and door were made of narrow bamboo strips nailed side by side. In one corner of the room on a bed, made also of bamboo, sat a boy of eight. There was in the expression and look of the boy a feeling of unknown fear mingled with surprise, because his father, a lusty old superstitious man, who was then holding a blunt stick, had driven their domestic creatures from the house to the open field where there was no means of securing shelter from the heavy rain, whose first large drops were now clattering on the leaves. The boy had a kind disposition, especially toward his pets—a sense that he had inherited from his father. This was the first time that he had seen his father act thus unkindly toward their animals. His surprise was much increased when he saw his father dash at the windows and doors and fling everyone of them open, then retreat to the middle and look sideways. He saw him draw a long agitated breath. Then, seeming to have recovered his wits, he hastened toward one of the windows and took from the outside a portion of a dried cocoanut leaf. He cut two long narrow strips from it and made them into loops. After placing one around his neck, he[391] uttered a short prayer. He then handed the other loop to his still amazed child and said, "Wear this, dear child, around thy neck."

"Why, father?" inquired the innocent boy, "can this protect me?"

"Yes, child, prayer and that alone can save us."

"What has this in it, father? It seems to me to be nothing but a piece of cocoanut leaf. Isn't it?" said the boy.

"It is a strip from a cocoanut leaf, but—it has—"

"If so, then," interrupted the acute boy, "why can't these palms around us that bear these leaves protect themselves against the elements. I have often seen, father, palms burned to their very stalks, which older people told me had been struck by lightning. Where did you get this strip, father?"

"Well, I got this from a bunch of leaves which is tied just below our front window," pointing to the place, "together with some live leaves. That bunch you yourself carried to the church two years ago when your mother was yet living. You have never peeped into church since then. But once a year in town the mass of the Sunday immediately before Fast Friday is dedicated to palm and olive leaves. Hundreds of children like you crowd the church on that day carrying with them their bunch of leaves, and while the service is being celebrated they will joyfully shake them. After holy water has been sprinkled on the leaves, then they are holy, and it is not pious to play with them. After the mass the bunch of leaves is to be tied to the door or to the window of the house as a protection from thunder and lightning. On days of this kind every one wears a strip of these[392] leaves around his neck. When you go out again, you may look at the windows of the houses to see if what I say is true."

Indeed; those bunches of palms and olive leaves are marked characteristics of typical Filipino houses. The leaves are usually tied or wound in artistic ways, with beautiful hangings on them. All the decorations, however, are composed of the same kind of leaves.

The boy was quite satisfied at his father's story. After a little reflection he remembered that he had truly carried such leaves to church. The rain was then falling fast, and the lightning and thunder still followed one another in rapid succession. The cold winds from outside and the fearful sight of the brilliant flashes made the boy shrink.

"I am cold, father, and I fear those long and fiery zigzag paths which the whip of the driver of that rolling thunder is making in heaven. I wonder why you don't shut those windows," said the boy.

"Never, my son, for there is danger in shutting them. Remember that the thunder will pass thru anything and burn that which dares obstruct its way. Besides, my grandfather told me that days of this kind are rare, for they are days for scourging foul things on earth. If we shut ourselves up here, Bathala, the ruler of the earth, who watches and sees all things done, may suspect that we are hiding something foul and so send his scourger here to punish us."

The young listener who was attentive to the story of his father started up at a sudden and astounding crash of thunder. He curled himself up in the lap of his father, folded his arms around his father's neck, and[393] shut his eyes. After a while he continued, "And, therefore, every foul deed on earth will be punished?"

"Yes, everything foul; so runs our proverb: 'Debt must be paid.' If you commit a sin you must be punished according to the nature of your sin."

The fearful peal of thunder that had so frightened the boy was the last. It silenced the fury of the weather. The rain was falling lightly now and sheets of fire were distinguished only from afar, but no more thunder sounded. The boy was dropping off into a light slumber when he heard his kitty mew. He opened his eyes and saw his pet very wet and cold. He pitied the little creature, so he said almost with tears, "I wish, father, you had not been so unkind to our animals, our sole friends in this solitary place. See what you have done. You have driven them out in the rain where they could get no shelter; and now every one of them is wet and shivering."

"Now, don't worry about them, my boy," said his father rather moved by his filial appeal, "they are not hurt at all. I drove them away, not because I was cross or unkind, but because it is not safe to keep them inside on such a stormy day as this. For thunder is likely to strike them. Boys of your age are likely to be harmed by such animals. For to some of them thunder imparts its explosive power. And sometimes thunder takes the form of animals. Here is a story that has been told to me by many and which they believe true.

"'Once there was a boy riding on a carabao on a stormy day. He was hurrying home lest the rain should catch him, but when he was near home he caught sight of a small pig wandering aimlessly down the road. It[394] was very fat and very tame. The boy dismounted from the carabao and tried to catch the pig, but when he was yet quite a long way off from it the animal ran against a tree and there was a loud sound of thunder. The tree ignited. The boy fell down unconscious and was slightly hurt. He recovered only at home. His story has been told and retold ever since. It was said that if that boy had caught the animal and it had received a jar while in the boy's arms it would have burst like thunder and so burned the boy. But if the boy had safely carried it home and treated it with a vinegar bath the explosive power would have been gone and the animal would have been the best kind of food on earth.' Old men say that such animals are fruits of thunder."

"Oh, then, it would not be so bad after all, father. I might try to catch one some time," said the boy.

"That you must not," said the father sternly.

"But is that true, father, that the fungi which we find abounding in bamboo groves are the flowers caused by thunder?" said the boy inquisitively.

"Yes, my son, truly, and that's why they are very delicious. You can't find them growing except after stormy days and after thunder and lightning. After days of lightning and thunder like the present, groups of women and boys may be seen roaming about the country in search of these delicious flowers for their food."

By this time the storm was over. The two prepared their supper, since it was already evening. After eating they went to bed feeling secure in the efficacy of the palm leaves hung in the door.

—Walfrido de Leon.



The short-story as a production of an artist conscious of rules and striving for definite effects within limitations is a thing of the nineteenth century. Only gradually have writers come to the feeling for singleness and unity. It would appear that before the days of Poe and Maupassant brief narratives were brief because of their source or their type, or because the author did not happen to have a rich vein of digression and incident. They were then rather what we think of as tales than what we have come to regard as the real short-story.

We have hitherto in our study been making little or no distinction in our use of the terms narrative, story, and tale, nor have we understood the adjective short with any but its usual significance. We shall from now on, however, understand the term short-story technically, and employ the hyphen, as Matthews has employed it, to suggest the significance.

A short-story is very perceptibly shorter than a romance or a novel. It is indeed about like a chapter of one of these. In no case must the reading require more than one sitting, says Poe. On the other hand, it may not be so short as an ordinary incident or anecdote,[396] but far longer. It is more complex, more dignified, and has distinguishing essential elements.

It is not possible, of course, to make a hard and fast definition, but there are certain qualities we pretty generally expect to find. A short-story may be of any type from a myth to a realistic sketch; it may emphasize environment, plot, or character; but it must have unity, it must have directness, it must have climax, however slight. The effect should be single, not multiple. Hence anything like digression or episode is entirely out of place. The end should not be delayed, nor yet should it be precipitated. It should come just at the right time, and be as proper as the catastrophe of a tragedy. It should be but the beginning made special and concrete, the middle continued in harmony, the conclusion come upon both inevitably. "Make another end to it?" says Stevenson[7] in answering an objection to one of his stories. "Ah, yes, but that's not the way I write; the whole tale is implied; I never use an effect when I can help it unless it prepares the effects that are to follow; that's what a story consists in. To make another end; that is to make the beginning all wrong. The dénouement of a long story is nothing, it is just 'a full close,' which you may approach and accompany as you please—it is a coda, not an essential number in the rhythm; but the body and end of a short-story is bone-of-the-bone and blood-of-the-blood of the beginning."

Students of this type of narrative find Poe the first man to reveal a consciousness of any strictly limiting [397]tenets. Poe worked to definite rules which he himself made. He saw intrinsic reasons why a short-story should be short. His predecessors, Irving and others, had not seen them. Even Hawthorne, who fulfilled them many times, said nothing about them. But Poe both formulated and preached them. He exemplified them, too, and other men followed.

The list of good short-story writers is so great that particular mention of any seems invidious. Some of our less known men have done as good work as our best. For names by countries, you may notice the bibliography at the end of this book. Kipling's stories for a large part emphasize place; Poe's, very often plot; and Hawthorne's and Stevenson's, mostly psychological phenomena—character and whimsical expressions of it; Miss Wilkins's altogether reveal temperament and characteristics; while Maupassant's generally record events which include a stab of fate.

On the basis of artistic purpose, the short-story divides itself into three types: the weird tale, stories that emphasize environment and typical personality, stories that emphasize events and character.

Every narrator whenever he sets his pen to paper must deal with place, plot, and people; but the artistic short-story writer, because of the limitation of his form, is forced to a selection of emphasis. He can not at will, as the biographer can, dilate upon the ancestry of his hero if he means to present the personage in action; if he wants to indulge in an environment analysis, the short-story writer has not time to wind up and unwind a mystery; if he has decided to give us the crisis event of a character, he must perforce touch but lightly on[398] place. We shall find, then, that while each good short-story has the three elements present and skilfully managed, it has also one or the other more strongly emphasized—or at most two, in practical neglect of the third.

I. The Psychological Weird Tale


Our idea of the required form of the weird tale has come to be that of the modern artistic short-story; but all the elements of the type save form were present in England in the middle of the eighteenth century in the terror school started by Walpole's "Castle of Otranto." The author declared his work to be an attempt to blend the ancient romance and the modern novel. By modern novel he meant the stories of Richardson, Fielding, Smollet, and their less worthy contemporaries; by ancient romance he must have meant the Oriental wonder tale; for he has sliding panels, trap doors, subterranean passages, and a general extravagance in an attempt at magnificence. Indeed, in regard to the multiplicity of detail, this school is often called the Gothic. The difference between the narratives of the school of terror and the Oriental wonder tale is the difference of atmosphere. While the ancient tale is mysterious, it is seldom if ever morbid. Especially is the cheerfulness true of the stories of mediæval chivalry that later embodied the wonder tale. Enchantment there is, but it is airy; if there be any vaults, they are not damp. The school of terror But the "Castle of Otranto" by Walpole, the "Old English Baron" by Clara Reeve, the "Romance of the Forest," the "Mysteries of Udolpho," and the "Italian" by Mrs.[399] Radcliffe, and "The Monk" by Matthew Lewis,—the six chief romances of the school of terror,—are all damp, dark, ghostly, and morbid. Mrs. Radcliffe, however, added an element of eighteenth-century rationalism in her attempt at explanation; inasmuch as she always refers her constant suggestions of the supernatural to ordinary causes. Moreover, she interspersed her work with excellent landscape description in harmony or contrast with her theme. The contributions, then, of the romances of the school of terror are (1) frightful mechanism, (2) a general tone of Gothic fantasticalness, (3) weird place-impressions that can be explained by natural causes, and (4) terror of physical or supernatural punishment and death.

Edgar Allen Poe

To point out how much Edgar Allan Poe on the mere material side is indebted to this set of writers, possibly through Charles Brockden Brown and the American school of terror, we need only to name over to ourselves two of his famous weird tales together with their grosser elements. "The Fall of the House of Usher" has general arabesqueness plus hollow groans, echoing footsteps, high pointed windows excluding light, a person imprisoned in a metal vault (the hero in the "Castle of Otranto" is imprisoned in a gigantic metal helmet), terror of death, consonant landscape description, natural causes for weird sounds. The "Pit and the Pendulum" has a dungeon of the Inquisition, horrible instrument of torture, brink over which to fall, bodily and mental fear of death (Lewis's monk is snatched by demons from the Inquisition and carried to a cliff of the Sierra Morena off which he is commanded to fling himself).


But Poe is as far away from the crude and bungling methods of the earlier writers as he is near their materials. How cracking doors and opening vaults, quaking houses, and walking dead, outer terrific elements and inner terrific sensation and morbid imaginative perception reaching madness, can be fused into one harmonized, unified, piercing, intense prose poem he has shown us in this same "Fall of the House of Usher." Nothing of the kind could be better. His own cruder attempt is set forth in the fore-study, "Berenice," which might be considered good if the other story were not immeasurably better. A side sketch of quite a different tone, yet almost as weird, is his beautiful color symphony of the "Masque of the Red Death." All are exquisite artistic creations.


Poe's "William Wilson," an imaginative psychological horror study of conscience, has been paralleled if not surpassed by Stevenson's "Markheim." "Markheim" is more concrete, especially at the beginning; there is more of story and less of symbolism about it; but the climax is the same, or rather the reverse; for in Poe's story William Wilson's worse self murders his better, while in Stevenson's story Markheim's better self, the murderer, who really hates his deed, triumphs over his worse self, the coward and liar.

In Poe's story the weirdness results from the fact that Wilson's conscience, which he kills, is a concrete double with the same name and appearance. Stevenson has united this device of a double with weird place-description and weird deed-narrative. He has kept the thing more psychological and less symbolic by making[401] the second presence explainable as an hallucination, more shadowy than Poe's.

Maupassant and others

"What is It? a Mystery" by Fitz James O'Brien shows how very, very material the horror story may be; and yet O'Brien's is not an uninteresting narrative; for it is full of vigor and truth-likeness in the beginning; the end only is bad art; where the frightened people take a plaster cast of the mysterious being they have captured and can not see. "The Hand" by Maupassant is another such touch horror tale, but of course better told. His "Apparition" is almost pure narrative and builds to a fine realistic climax, despite the ghostliness of the visitant. Matthew's "Venetian Glass" is also weird plot rather than weird place, while "The Wind in the Rose Bush" is emphatically character study, and the "Phantom Rickshaw" is a good old-fashioned, if Oriental, ghost story.

Suggestions on writing a weird tale

For your first attempt at this type of narrative, you might try the modern ghost story, and later, when more practised, the delicate psychological analysis of states of conscience. The modern ghost stories differ from folk-tales concerning weird beings in this respect particularly: the modern ghost is usually explainable, a fact you would expect because of our inheritance from the terror school. He is a logical ghost—a creature of one's own making, an hallucination at best or a white cow at worst. The author sets out to depict not so much the ghost, as the ghost's effect upon the hero. In a number of instances the modern narrative of this kind rises to the plane of the true short-story, complying[402] with all the canons of art. Read for example one of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's six "Stories of the Supernatural," of which the "Wind in the Rose Bush" is one.

Material and method

The material is comparatively simple. Get eerie circumstances, a credulous or boastfully incredulous mind, a probable incident, an explainable apparition, and any modern setting that will hold the course of events together. See to it that the construction is unified and coherent. Build to a climax, and stop quickly afterwards. Make the apparition a logical outgrowth of the environment and the state of mind of the victim. The ghost of the folk-tale usually appears to the half-witted, the foolish, the credulous; but the ghost of the modern story, to prove his existence, perhaps, is far bolder; he speaks out to the skeptic, the person who calls a shadow a shadow. That the unearthly spirit must catch the strong man at his weak moment is obvious—otherwise there would be no story. But when the events are given, stop. Do not explain too much.


It is well to notice the different methods of getting the facts before the reader. Sometimes everything is set forth by the author, and the characters speak but little or not at all. Sometimes one character speaks in a continued monologue. Sometimes the events come out in conversation or dialogue, the dramatic method, and the author appears but little. When he appears not at all we have true drama instead of narrative. The larger number of stories, doubtless, are a mixture of author and character talk.


The Signal-Man

"Halloa! Below there!"

When he heard a voice thus calling to him he was standing at the door of his box with a flag in his hand, furled around its short pole. One would have thought, considering the nature of the ground, that he could not have doubted from what quarter the voice came; but, instead of looking up to where I stood oh the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about and looked down the line. There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said for my life what. But I know it was remarkable enough to attract my notice, even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset that I had shadowed my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all.

"Halloa! Below!"

From looking down the line he turned himself about again and, raising his eyes, saw my figure high above him.

"Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?"

He looked up at me without replying, and I looked down at him without pressing him too soon with a repetition of my idle question. Just then there came a vague vibration in the earth and air, quickly changing into a violent pulsation, and an oncoming rush that caused me to start back as though it had force to draw me down. When such vapor as rose to my height from this rapid train had passed me and was skimming away over the landscape, I looked down again and saw him[404] refurling the flag he had shown while the train went by.

I repeated my inquiry. After a pause, during which he seemed to regard me with fixed attention, he motioned with his rolled-up flag towards a point on my level, some two or three hundred yards distant. I called down to him, "All right!" and made for that point. There, by dint of looking closely about me, I found a rough zigzag descending path notched out, which I followed.

The cutting was extremely deep and unusually precipitate. It was made through a clammy stone that became oozier and wetter as I went down. For these reasons I found the way long enough to recall a singular air of reluctance or compulsion with which he had pointed out the path.

When I came down low enough upon the zigzag descent to see him again, I saw that he was standing between the rails on the way by which the train had lately passed, in an attitude as if he were waiting for me to appear. He had his left hand at his chin, and that left elbow rested on his right hand, crossed over his breast. His attitude was one of such expectant watchfulness that I stopped a moment, wondering at it.

I resumed my downward way and, stepping out upon the level of the railroad and drawing nearer to him, saw that he was a dark, sallow man with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows. His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw. On either side a dripping-wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all view but a strip of sky; the perspective one way only a crooked prolongation of this great dungeon; the shorter perspective in the other direction terminating in a gloomy red light, and the gloomier entrance to a black tunnel, in whose[405] massive architecture there was a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air. So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot that it had an earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world.

Before he stirred I was near enough to him to have touched him. Not even then removing his eyes from mine, he stepped back one step and lifted his hand.

This was a lonesome post to occupy (I said), and it had riveted my attention when I looked down from up yonder. A visitor was a rarity, I should suppose; not an unwelcome rarity, I hoped! In me he merely saw a man who had been shut up within narrow limits all his life, and who, being at last set free, had a newly awakened interest in these great works. To such purpose I spoke to him; but I am far from sure of the terms I used, for besides that I am not happy in opening any conversation, there was something in the man that daunted me.

He directed a most curious look towards the red light near the tunnel's mouth and looked all about it, as if something were missing from it, and then looked at me.

That light was part of his charge—was it not?

He answered in a low voice, "Don't you know it is?"

The monstrous thought came into my mind as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face that this was a spirit, not a man. I have speculated since whether there may have been infection in his mind.

In my turn I stepped back. But in making the action I detected in his eyes some latent fear of me. This put the monstrous thought to flight.


"You look at me," I said, forcing a smile, "as if you had a dread of me."

"I was doubtful," he returned, "whether I had seen you before."


He pointed to the red light he had looked at.

"There?" I said.

Intently watchful of me, he replied (but without sound), "Yes."

"My good fellow, what should I do there? However, be that as it may, I never was there, you may swear."

"I think I may," he rejoined. "Yes. I am sure I may."

His manner cleared, like my own. He replied to my remarks with readiness and in well-chosen words. Had he much to do there? Yes, that was to say, he had enough responsibility to bear; but exactness and watchfulness were what was required of him, and of actual work—manual labor—he had next to none. To change that signal, to trim those lights and to turn this iron handle now and then was all he had to do under that head. Regarding those many long and lonely hours of which I seemed to make so much he could only say that the routine of his life had shaped itself into that form and he had grown used to it. He had taught himself a language down here—if only to know it by sight and to have formed his own crude ideas of its pronunciation could be called learning it. He had also worked at fractions and decimals, and tried a little algebra; but he was, and had been as a boy, a poor hand at figures. Was it necessary for him when on duty always to remain[407] in that channel of damp air, and could he never rise into the sunshine from between those high stone walls? Why, depended upon times and circumstances. Under some conditions there would be less upon the line than under others, and the same held good as to certain hours of the day and night. In bright weather he did choose occasions for getting a little above these lower shadows; but, being at all times liable to be called by his electric bell and at such times listening for it with redoubled anxiety, the relief was less than I would suppose.

He took me into his box, where there was a fire, a desk for an official book in which he had to make certain entries, a telegraphic instrument with its dial, face and needle, and the little bell of which he had spoken. On my trusting that he would excuse the remark that he had been well educated and (I hoped I might say without offence) perhaps educated above that station, he observed that instances of slight incongruity in such wise would rarely be found wanting among large bodies of men; that he had heard it was so in work-houses, in the police force, even in that last desperate resource, the army; and that he knew it was so, more or less, in any great railway staff. He had been, when young (if I could believe it, sitting in that hut—he scarcely could), a student of natural philosophy, and had attended lectures; but he had run wild, misused his opportunities, gone down, and never risen again. He had no complaint to offer about that. He had made his bed and he lay upon it. It was far too late to make another.

All that I have here condensed he said in a quiet manner, with his grave dark regards divided between me and the fire. He threw in the word "Sir" from time to[408] time, and especially when he referred, to his youth—as though to request me to understand that he claimed to be nothing but what I found him. He was several times interrupted by the little bell, and had to read off messages, and send replies. Once he had to stand without the door and display a flag as a train passed and make some verbal communication to the driver. In the discharge of his duties I observed him to be remarkably exact and vigilant, breaking off his discourse at a syllable and remaining silent until what he had to do was done.

In a word, I should have set this man down as one of the safest of men to be employed in that capacity, but for the circumstance that while he was speaking to me he twice broke off with a fallen color, turned his face towards the little bell when it did not ring, opened the door of the hut (which was kept shut to exclude the unhealthy damp), and looked out towards the red light near the mouth of the tunnel. On both of those occasions he came back to the fire with the inexplicable air upon him which I had remarked, without being able to define when we were so far asunder.

Said I, when I rose to leave him, "You almost make me think that I have met with a contented man."

(I am afraid I must acknowledge that I said it to lead him on.)

"I believe I used to be so," he rejoined in the low voice in which he had first spoken; "but I am troubled, sir, I am troubled."

He would have recalled the words if he could. He had said them, however, and I took them up quickly.

"With what? What is your trouble?"


"It is very difficult to impart, sir. It is very, very difficult to speak of. If ever you make me another visit I will try to tell you."

"But I expressly intend to make you another visit. Say, when shall it be?"

"I go off early in the morning, and I shall be on again at ten to-morrow night, sir."

"I will come at eleven."

He thanked me and went to the door with me. "I'll show my white light, sir," he said in his peculiar low voice, "till you have found the way up. When you have found it, don't call out! And when you are at the top, don't call out!"

His manner seemed to make the place strike colder to me, but I said no more than "Very well."

"And when you come down to-morrow night, don't call out! Let me ask you a parting question. What made you cry 'Halloa! Below there!' to-night?"

"Heaven knows," said I. "I cried something to that effect—"

"Not to that effect, sir. Those were the very words. I know them well."

"Admit those were the very words. I said them, no doubt because I saw you below."

"For no other reason?"

"What other reason could I possibly have?"

"You had no feeling that they were conveyed to you in any supernatural way?"


He wished me good-night and held up his light. I walked by the side of the down line of rails (with a very disagreeable sensation of a train coming behind[410] me) until I found the path. It was easier to mount than to descend, and I got back to my inn without any adventure.

Punctual to my appointment, I placed my foot on the first notch of the zigzag next night as the distant clocks were striking eleven. He was waiting for me at the bottom with his white light on. "I have not called out," I said when we came close together; "may I speak now?" "By all means, sir." "Good-night, then, and here's my hand." "Good-night, sir, and here's mine." With that we walked side by side to his box, entered it, closed the door and sat down by the fire.

"I have made up my mind, sir," he began, bending forward as soon as we were seated, and speaking in a tone but a little above a whisper, "that you shall not have to ask me twice what troubles me. I took you for some one else yesterday evening. That troubles me."

"That mistake?"

"No. That some one else."

"Who is it?"

"I don't know."

"Like me?"

"I don't know. I never saw the face. The left arm is across the face and the right arm is waved—violently waved. This way."

I followed his action with my eyes and it was the action of an arm gesticulating with the utmost passion and vehemence, "For God's sake clear the way!"

"One moonlight night," said the man, "I was sitting here when I heard a voice cry 'Halloa! Below there!' I started up, looked from that door, and saw this some one else standing by the red light near the tunnel[411] waving as I just now showed you. The voice seemed hoarse with shouting and it cried, 'Look out! Look out!' And then again, 'Halloa! Below there! Look out!' I caught up my lamp, turned it on red, and ran towards the figure, calling, 'What's wrong? What has happened? Where?' It stood just outside the blackness of the tunnel. I advanced so close upon it that I wondered at its keeping the sleeve across its eyes. I ran right up at it, and had my hand stretched out to pull the sleeve away, when it was gone."

"Into the tunnel," said I.

"No. I ran on into the tunnel five hundred yards. I stopped and held up my lamp above my head and saw the figures of the measured distance and saw the wet stains stealing down the walls and trickling through the arch. I ran out again faster than I had run in (for I had a mortal abhorrence of the place upon me), and I looked all round the red light, with my own red light, and I went up the iron ladder to the gallery atop of it, and I came down again and ran back here. I telegraphed both ways, 'An alarm has been given. Is anything wrong?' The answer came back, both ways, 'All well.'"

Resisting the slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine, I showed him how that this figure must be a deception of his sense of sight, and how that figures, originating in disease of the delicate nerves that minister to the functions of the eye, were known to have often troubled patients, some of whom had become conscious of the nature of their affliction and had even proved it by experiments upon themselves. "As to an imaginary cry," said I, "do but listen for a moment to the[412] wind in this unnatural valley, while we speak so slow and to the wild harp it makes of the telegraph wires!"

That was all very well, he returned, after we had sat listening for a while, and he ought to know something of the wind and wires—he who so often passed long winter nights there, alone and watching. But he would beg to remark that he had not finished.

I asked his pardon and he slowly added these words, touching my arm:

"Within six hours after the appearance the memorable accident on this line happened, and within ten hours the dead and the wounded were brought along through the tunnel over the spot where the figure had stood."

A disagreeable shudder crept over me, but I did my best against it. It was not to be denied, I rejoined, that this was a remarkable coincidence, calculated deeply to impress his mind. But it was unquestionable that remarkable coincidences did continually occur and they must be taken into account in dealing with such a subject. Though to be sure I must admit, I added (for I thought I saw that he was going to bring the objection to bear upon me), men of common sense did not allow much for coincidence making the ordinary calculations of life.

He again begged to remark that he had not finished.

I again begged his pardon for being betrayed into interruptions.

"This," he said, again laying his hand upon my arm and glancing over his shoulder with hollow eyes, "was just a year ago. Six or seven months passed and I had recovered from the surprise and shock, when one morning,[413] as the day was breaking, I, standing at the door, looked towards the red light and saw the spectre again." He stopped with a fixed look at me.

"Did it cry out?"

"No. It was silent."

"Did it wave its arm?"

"No. It leaned against the shaft of the light with both hands before the face. Like this."

Once more I followed his action with my eyes. It was an action of mourning. I have seen such an attitude in stone figures on tombs.

"Did you go up to it?"

"I came in and sat down, partly to collect my thoughts, partly because it had turned me faint. When I went to the door again, daylight was above me and the ghost was gone."

"But nothing followed? Nothing came of this?"

He touched me on the arm with his forefinger twice or thrice, giving a ghastly nod each time.

"That very day, as the train came out of the tunnel, I noticed at a carriage window on my side what looked like a confusion of hands and heads and something waved. I saw it just in time to signal the driver, stop! He shut off and put his brake on, but the train drifted past here a hundred and fifty yards or more. I ran after it and as I went along heard terrible screams and cries. A beautiful young lady had died instantaneously in one of the compartments and was brought in here and laid down on this floor between us."

Involuntarily I pushed my chair back suddenly, as I looked from the boards, at which he pointed, to himself.


"True, sir. True. Precisely as it happened, so I tell it you."

I could think of nothing to say, to any purpose, and my mouth was very dry. The wind and the wires took up the story with a long lamenting wail.

He resumed. "Now, sir, mark this and judge how my mind is troubled. The spectre came back a week ago. Ever since it has been there, now and again, by fits and starts."

"At the light?"

"At the danger-light."

"What does it seem to do?"

He repeated, if possible, with increased passion and vehemence, that former gesticulation of, "For God's sake, clear the way!"

Then he went on. "I have no peace or rest for it. It calls to me, for many minutes together, in an agonized manner, 'Below there! Look out! Look out!' It stands waving to me. It rings my little bell—"

I caught at that. "Did it ring your bell yesterday evening when I was here and you went to the door?"


"Why, see," said I, "how your imagination misleads you. My eyes were on the bell and my ears were open to the bell, and if I am a living man it did not ring at those times. No, nor at any other time, except when it was rung in the natural course of physical things by the station communication with you."

He shook his head. "I have never made a mistake as to that yet, sir. I have never confused the spectre's ring with the man's. The ghost's ring is a strange vibration in the bell that it derives from nothing else, and I[415] have not asserted that the bell stirs to the eye. I don't wonder that you failed to hear it. But I heard it."

"And did the spectre seem to be there when you looked out?"

"It was there."

"Both times?"

He repeated firmly: "Both times."

"Will you come to the door with me and look for it now?"

He bit his under lip as though he were somewhat unwilling, but arose. I opened the door and stood on the step while he stood in the doorway. There was the danger-light. There was the dismal mouth of the tunnel. There were the high, wet stone wells of the cutting. There were the stars above them.

"Do you see it?" I asked him, taking particular note of his face. His eyes were prominent and strained, but not very much more so, perhaps, than my own had been when I had directed them earnestly towards the same spot.

"No," he answered. "It is not there."

"Agreed," said I.

We went in again, shut the door, and resumed our seats. I was thinking how best to improve this advantage, if it might be called one, when he took up the conversation in such a matter-of-course way, so assuming that there could be no serious question of fact between us, that I felt myself placed in the weakest of positions.

"By this time you will fully understand, sir," he said, "that what troubles me so dreadfully is the question, What does the spectre mean?"


I was not sure, I told him, that I did fully understand.

"What is its warning against?" he said, ruminating, with his eyes on the fire and only by times turning them on me. "What is the danger? Where is the danger? There is danger overhanging somewhere on the line. Some dreadful calamity will happen. It is not to be doubted this third time after what has gone before. But surely this is a cruel haunting of me. What can I do?"

He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the drops from his heated forehead.

"If I telegraph danger on either side of me, or on both, I can give no reason for it," he went on, wiping the palms of his hands. "I should get into trouble and do no good. They would think I was mad. This is the way it would work—Message: 'Danger! Take care!' Answered: 'What danger? Where?' Message: 'Don't know. But for God's sake, take care!' They would discharge me. What else could they do?"

His pain of mind was most pitiable to see. It was the mental torture of a conscientious man oppressed beyond endurance by an unintelligible responsibility involving life.

"When it first stood under the danger-light," he went on, putting his dark hair back from his head and drawing his hands outward across and across his temples in an extremity of feverish distress, "why not tell me where that accident was to happen, if it must happen? Why not tell me how it could be averted, if it could have been averted? When on its second coming it hid its face, why not tell me, instead, 'She is going to die. Let them keep her at home?' If it came, on those two[417] occasions, only to show me that its warnings were true and so to prepare me for the third, why not warn me plainly now? And I, Lord help me! A mere poor signal man in this solitary station! Why not go to somebody with credit to be believed and power to act?"

When I saw him in this state I saw that for the poor man's sake, as well as for the public safety, what I had to do for the time was to compose his mind. Therefore, setting aside all question of reality or unreality between us, I represented to him that whoever thoroughly discharged his duty must do well, and that at least it was his comfort that he understood his duty, though he did not understand these confounding appearances. In this effort I succeeded far better than in the attempt to reason him out of his conviction. He became calm; the occupations incidental to his post as the night advanced began to make larger demands on his attention; and I left him at two in the morning. I had offered to stay through the night, but he would not hear of it.

That I more than once looked back at the red light as I ascended the pathway, that I did not like the red light, and that I should have slept but poorly if my bed had been under it, I see no reason to conceal. Nor did I like the two sequences of the accident and the dead girl. I see no reason to conceal that, either.

But what ran most in my thoughts was the consideration, how ought I to act, having become the recipient of this disclosure? I had proved the man to be intelligent, vigilant, painstaking and exact; but how long might he remain so, in his state of mind? Though in a subordinate position, still he held a most important[418] trust, and would I (for instance) like to stake my own life on the chances of his continuing to execute it with precision?

Unable to overcome a feeling that there would be something treacherous in my communicating what he had told me to his superiors in the company, without first being plain with himself and proposing a middle course to him, I ultimately resolved to offer to accompany him (otherwise keeping his secret for the present) to the wisest medical practitioner we could hear of in those parts, and to take his opinion. A change in his time of duty would come round next night, he had apprised me, and he would be off an hour or two after sunrise, and on again soon after sunset. I had appointed to return accordingly.

Next evening was a lovely evening, and I walked out early to enjoy it. The sun was not yet quite down when I traversed the field-path near the top of the deep cutting. I would extend my walk for an hour, I said to myself, half an hour on and half an hour back, and it would then be time to go to my signal-man's box.

Before pursuing my stroll I stepped to the brink and mechanically looked down from the point from which I had first seen him. I cannot describe the thrill that seized upon me, when, close at the mouth of the tunnel I saw the appearance of a man with his left sleeve across his eyes, passionately waving his right arm.

The nameless horror that oppressed me passed in a moment, for in a moment I saw that this appearance of a man was a man indeed, and that there was a little group of other men standing at a short distance to whom he seemed to be rehearsing the gesture he made. The[419] danger-light was not yet lighted. Against its shaft a little low hut, entirely new to me, had been made of some wooden supports and tarpaulin. It looked no bigger than a bed.

With an irresistible sense that something was wrong—with a flashing self-reproachful fear that fatal mischief had come of my leaving the man here and causing no one to be sent to overlook or correct what he did—I descended the notched path with all the speed I could make.

"What is the matter?" I asked the men.

"Signal-man killed this morning, sir."

"Not the man belonging to that box?"

"Yes, sir."

"Not the man I know?"

"You will recognize him, sir, if you knew him," said the man who spoke for the others, solemnly uncovering his own head and raising an end of the tarpaulin, "for his face is quite composed."

"O, how did this happen, how did this happen?" I asked, turning from one to another as the hut closed in again.

"He was cut down by an engine, sir. No man in England knew his work better, but somehow he was not clear of the outer rail. It was just at broad day. He had struck the light and had the lamp in his hand. As the engine came out of the tunnel his back was towards her and she cut him down. That man drove her and was showing how it happened. Show the gentleman, Tom."

The man, who wore a rough dark dress, stepped back to his former place at the mouth of the tunnel:

"Coming round the curve in the tunnel, sir," he[420] said, "I saw him at the end, like as if I saw him down a perspective glass. There was no time to check speed, and I knew him to be very careful. As he didn't seem to take heed of the whistle, I shut it off when we were running down upon him and called to him as loud as I could call."

"What did you say?"

"I said, 'Below there! Look out! Look out! For God's sake, clear the way!"

I started.

"Ah! it was a dreadful time, sir. I never left off calling to him. I put this arm before my eyes not to see, and I waved this arm to the last; but it was no use."

Without prolonging the narrative to dwell on any one of its curious circumstances more than any other, I may, in closing it, point out the coincidence that the warning of the engine driver included not only the words which the unfortunate signal-man had repeated to me as haunting him, but also the words which I myself—not he—had attached, and that only in my own mind, to the gesticulation he had imitated.

—Charles Dickens.

"Like a Thief in the Night"

"How many more days of this miserable tramping have we before us, Ivan?" It was a rough voice that spoke—a voice hardened with bitterness and hatred.

"But four days more, Peter, and then the railroad. There lies Mansk below us, and it is not far from Mansk to Vilna, not even by such a detour as we must make."

Peter paused again in his eating and looking out from their woodland hiding-place toward the scraggly[421] village, asked doubtingly, "You are sure they will not fail us? For I swear, Ivan, I'll walk no further than Vilna."

Ivan twisted his scarred lips into a semblance of a smile. "The brotherhood never fail," he said. "And now that we have finished our supper, we may rest for the night, eh, Lev?" The speaker, who showed evidences of association with the upper classes, turned to the young Jewish lad sprawled beside him on the mouldy ground. The boy was laboriously spelling out words in a greasy, dog-eared tract which he tried to conceal when he saw Ivan's eyes upon him.

"Hello," exclaimed the nihilist fanatic, "what have we here?" He took the grimy pamphlet from the likewise grimy hands of the youth. "Ho-ho," he laughed boisterously, for once forgetting that sometimes even trees have ears. "Ho-ho! a merry jest, indeed! Lev reading up on transmigration! Did you think to become learned, you pitiable young dog? Have you not had meted out to you the full amount of education allowed you miserable Jews? What can you understand of such things as these? Ho-ho! yes, a joke indeed!"

The boy gulped. His narrow nostrils widened, and the corners of his sensitive mouth twitched. "I know I don't know much, Ivan. I found it on the way and kept it, for it helps sometimes, wh-when I wish I hadn't come."

"Ho-ho," laughed Ivan again. "When he wishes he hadn't come! As if he could have helped coming! Where, indeed, could the brotherhood have found a more innocent-looking hiding-place for their papers?[422] But there, Lev, you shall have your thesis, since you feel the need of amusement, you precious infant. And, Peter, perhaps you will rest more peacefully when I tell you that Loris Pleschivna, that government spy-cat—" here Ivan paused to observe the interest which he knew that this name would create, while Lev, frightened, glanced backward—"was shot two weeks ago," finished the narrator, impressively.

Peter's yellow face showed great relief, but the boy whitened. "Well, Lev, are you not glad! Or perhaps, mighty philosopher, you think that his soul will come and steal the papers while you keep watch to-night, eh?" And Ivan grinned—a hideous, tooth-displaying grin. But Lev only shivered and looked around at the darkness.

The night, one of those dear nights whose very paleness intensifies the shadows and pictures the ghosts of the past to the guilty mind, had fallen. The two older men rolled themselves in blankets and went to sleep without delay.

The young Jew sat alone, waiting for morning. For hours he remained in the same position, his hands over his eyes that he might not see; but his ears were alert to the slightest suggestion of sound. In those weary minutes he lived over the scanty pleasures and the great tribulations of his life, the joyless life of the persecuted Polish Jew. The crackling of a dry leaf nearby aroused him. He looked up quickly, apprehensively. A long wailing howl came from somewhere in the darkness. Lev stiffened, staring into the shadows before him. From a clump of bushes directly opposite peered two weird green eyes. The lad's lower lip sagged loosely.[423] As the strange eyes approached he unconsciously moaned. Ivan and Peter stirred. Suddenly Ivan jumped up. "Lev, Lev, what is it?" But the boy sat rigid. Ivan also looked at the green eyes in the underbrush. Then he laughed, laughed long and heartily. "Did you think it was a soul, Lev? A dog, and you afraid! Perhaps it is a soulful dog." Ivan had sufficient culture not to laugh at his own joke, but he waited for Peter's appreciation and Peter gave it. Lev's only reply was to draw his hand across his brow. The palm came down damp and clammy. "But it is just as well," went on Ivan, "that we are awake, for it will soon be daylight, and we had best be moving."

In five minutes the trio were on their watchful way to skirt the little village of Mansk. The trio, did I say? No, the quartet, I meant, for two men, one with misshapen lips, the other with decided Jewish features, went ahead; and close behind them walked a leathery visaged man, who had for a companion a scraggly half-starved cur, with ghastly green eyes. Occasionally the Jew turned, and, looking into those green eyes, shivered. "Well," said Ivan, "perhaps it is the soul of Pleschivna, eh?" In answer the dog whimpered. "It may be," said the Jew, stupidly, "it may be," and he shivered again.

The cold was of the damp clinging sort, against which no amount of clothing can protect one. The three men on the tree-covered hill overlooking the thatched brown cottages of Mansk, drew up their coat collars and shivered. They had turned back and were seeking for something. The scrawny green-eyed dog with them whined a low whine like a human moan.

"Curse the dog!" exclaimed one vagabond in a rasping[424] voice. "I'll have him following us no longer with his ghostly howls. And I tell you, Ivan, it is useless to go back further, for Lev had the papers when we were here before."

"Yes, curse the dog," returned the man with the ever-grinning mouth. "Curse him, of course; and since you feel such deep affection for him, why not present him with one of those tablets meant for Pleschivna's palate? Perhaps they would even so fulfill their intended purpose. What say you, Lev?"

The dull-eyed Jewish lad stared at the dog as if fascinated. "It may be," he said and shivered again. It was, indeed, a very cold night.

"Well, and the papers?" Peter impatiently queried.

"I say, then, it is useless to go forward to Vilna without them. We must search about here. Perhaps Lev has an opinion." But Lev was thinking only of a much-thumbed philosophical tract in his pocket. "Or, perhaps, learned theosophist, you believe that the dog has taken them. You could not tell us somewhat of them yourself, could you, Lev?"

"Lev! Why, he's afraid of his own shadow! He would not dare to tell a lie, not even to himself," Peter scoffed.

Again the dog whimpered. He went up to Lev and licked the boy's hand. Ivan watched the performance interestedly. "None the less," he said, "the dog shall have his dose; and that right now. He follows us about like an evil spirit." The men disposed themselves as on the evening before.

How Lev had prayed for the night! And now that his prayer was answered, how he stared into the thick,[425] solid blackness and longed for the grey light of morning! With straining ears he listened to the midnight stillness. He had not even thought of sleep. If only he could rid himself of that dullness or could concentrate his thoughts!

A figure broke through the bushes. "Ivan, Ivan!" came Peter's voice. "Ivan, wake up!" Ivan roused himself. "Well, Peter, why do you create such a disturbance?" Ivan's speech was pettish, though still husky from interrupted sleep. "Ivan, I got up and gave the dog the dose, as you said. He slunk off into the woods. I followed. I don't know why. It was almost midnight when he gave a sharp cry and dropped. I swear I had never lost sight of him for an instant. I went up to look. He was dead. And, Ivan, from his very mouth I took—the papers!" Peter waxed triumphantly dramatic, his every low-spoken word sounding in Lev's ears with the loudness of a tribal war-whoop. After much fumbling in the darkness he placed in Ivan's hands a slightly torn packet.

"A light!" Ivan spoke tersely.

Peter struck a light. Trembling, Ivan spread out the documents. A gruesome, unearthly howl, like the triumphant screech of a resentful soul came to them through the blackness. With an awful oath Ivan turned to Peter. "The signatures, you ignoramus, you imbecile!" he cried, pointing to the ragged holes in the papers. "They are gone!"

And Lev shivered, for the night was very cold.

—Dorothea Knobloch.


II. The Story That Emphasizes Character and Environment.

Rudyard Kipling

The large number of Kipling's stories could not have been written outside India, or at least the Orient. They are of the East eastern. "Without Benefit of Clergy," "Muhammad Din," "The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows," "The Man Who Would Be King"—the very names conjure up the environment. They do more than that; they almost tell the story. Before he began to write, Kipling knew thoroughly his adopted literary land; in the same way all successful writers must know theirs if they mean to reveal the influence of surroundings on character, if they mean to give, as many writers do, a miniature of the locality in each sketch. To read one of Mary E. Wilkins's stories is to catch the flavor of all New England. Her nun is indeed a New England nun. Nowhere else do people keep house quite so; but in scores of Massachusetts and Connecticut homes the women, married and single, are 'that partic'lar'—or nearly as particular as Louisa Ellis. But wait a minute!Mary E. Wilkins Freeman If there are tens of women like Louisa Ellis, wherein comes the story? Why, do you not see?—just in the plus, the superfluity of New Englandishness that there is in Louisa. It is the breadth of that more-so that gave Miss Wilkins her twenty-four stories in the same book, and others outside it. And here is the point: in this kind of story, your writer must know his locality so well that the sameness of the people has a difference in each family and in each member of that family. In other words, his characters must be[427] persons, not figureheads; they may be types, it is true, but they must have the soul of individuality breathed into them. For instance, in this one collection of stories Miss Wilkins has two Louisas, and they both are typically of New England, they both have suitors, and they both are averse to marriage; moreover, each slight course of events is built on the impulse of the woman to avoid matrimony. But here the likeness ends; for the women are individuals, and the lovers are different from each other. The character-drawing of these two stories is a daring attempt on the part of the author, but it is a remarkably successful one.

Hamlin Garland

Hamlin Garland has been almost as successful with his middle Northwest as Miss Wilkins has with her New England. His stories can not be called quaint, as hers can, nor sweet exactly; but they can be said to be as graphic, faithful, straightforward, homely, and to have been compiled with as patient and sympathetic an observation—not so minute, but as unerring. They are freer, bolder, more like the country he portrays. With Mr. Garland perhaps we have more of the out-of-doors, literal country, the black soil into which the people's lives are ploughed and from which they come out again sometimes at the top of the corn tassel. With Miss Wilkins the country is more that country not built with hands, eternal in characteristics. Of both writers the work is great work, and you can not go astray in taking either for your model. "Up the Coolly" is a remarkable tragedy—for tragedy it is. "The Return of the Private" is all too pathetically true. "Among the Corn Rows" is startlingly realistic, and "A Branch Road"—well, doubtless people[428] have varying opinions about the usefulness of such pictures, but nobody can gainsay the excellence of the craftsmanship.

Bret Harte

In a somewhat different way, with just as much realism maybe, but surely with a large dash of romance, Bret Harte pre-empted California as a literary land two decades before these younger writers staked out their claims. "Tennessee's Partner" and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" are perfect in their way, and their way is this way: the place-character narrative.

Suggestions and precautions

To write such a narrative, you must have vividly and accurately in mind your selected environment. It is to form the color of your picture. If you do not think you know thus intimately any locality, open your eyes. The beautiful fact about living is, that we all always live somewhere, and that same somewhere is full of a number of things, and of nothing more surely than of local color. It is your business as a writer to add this color constantly to your stories; but the best way to proceed is not to attempt to spread it on from the outside, but to let it shine through from within. To be sure, it must be on the valleys and hills, the streets and the houses and the window curtains; but it must also be in the speech of your peoples, in their notions, their attitude toward each other and toward the great and little questions of human relationship. Besides knowing the environment, you must know indisputably some individuals of the place. You can not draw a life-like sketch from an abstraction. The canvas painters have taught us that truth, and so have the sculptors. For[429] every figure they have a living model. They must know where the bones and sinews are, even if they mean to etherealize. So must you, and you have a harder problem; your figure must speak. One false tone, and you mar the impression. Mary E. Wilkins, excellent artist that she is, has impaired one of her strongest stories, "The Revolt of Mother," by a lapse of art in respect to two of her characters. The girl and boy are not old enough for the age the author intimates; or what she says that they are is too old for what they prove that they are when they speak and when they keep silent even,—especially the girl. Moreover, we feel that the mother is ten or fifteen years younger, than the age given her. These are minor points, one admits, and, as we say, the story is excellent; but in so far as it fails in little ways it is not superfine, though one of the most lovable and dramatic, of Miss Wilkins's productions. In art you must not make this mistake; it is no answer to assert that in life the woman was sixty and the boy and girl fourteen and twenty. On the basis of the character-drawing the woman is forty-five or fifty and the children are twins, less than sixteen years old. In other words, a realist that is an artist as well selects not only what is true but also what will immediately without argument seem true. Miss Wilkins usually is convincing.

In addition to an unmistakably clear knowledge of place and personality, you must know both local dialect and family vernacular. The various individuals of your sketch, if they happen to belong to the same household, must speak as if they so belonged. In actual life when you converse with a company of persons, you can pick[430] out two members of the same family as readily as you can pick out two members of the same community. Your character-narrative must reveal this likeness, not by declaration especially, but by a subtle unity of vocabulary that does not at the same time preclude individuality.

The character Overbury and Hall

The writers of this kind of short-story owe much to the past. We are inclined to think of quiet and truthful character sketchers, who reveal an appreciative knowledge of the influence of environment, as distinctly a late nineteenth century brotherhood; but the fact is that while moderate realism is undoubtedly the last artistic word on the subject of effective character-revelation, it is also the first. The modern novel of manners (and the artistic short-story of the same class as an offshoot of it) drew from a full stream of realism. As far back as the age of Overbury and Bishop Hall the public was interested in prose character-sketches. The fact that essays could have such names as "The Tinker" and "The Milkmaid" was a promise of the light of common day. Then the gentle de Coverley papers came on with their slight narrative and continued portrait, their delightful skits on class environment and tradition;The novel of manners then, Tristram Shandy's frank shamelessness about familiar things; then the Vicar of Wakefield's struggling poverty; and finally the women entered—Evelina, Belinda, Emma, Mary Barton, and the gentle ladies of Cranford, bringing with them the tea-table and the trials of the parlor and of factory life. The only thing that was needed to make the archetype complete by the middle of the nineteenth[431] century was for some one to take persistently the same large yet specific environment. Trollope's Cathedral Town Studies Anthony Trollope did so in his Cathedral Town Studies. What ran parallel for a time with the novel of manners, but had a later and fuller development, is the psychological problem novel, begun by Richardson and Fielding and handed over to the late nineteenth century writers by Charlotte Brontë. This psychological problem novel bears the same relation to the novel of manners as the character-events short-story bears to the character-environment one.

You doubtless realize, as every one realizes, that a good short-story is hard to write, but in the hardness comes the inspiration. If you succeed, you have scored a triumph. But for your comfort, be assured that the possibility is not beyond even a high-school student. The attempt in very instructive at least.

Remember that you are not writing a biography, but a place-character narrative in the short-story form. You are not called on to record every incident in the life of your subject or even every important incident. The happenings may all be minor, in fact. The only essential thing is that you reveal the indissoluble connection between environment and characteristics. The person is what he is because he has lived at that place with those habitual surroundings.

There is this precaution, however, that you must take; you must not let your narrative degenerate into a mere analysis and enumeration of qualities. You are to write a story. And to write a story you must have a happening or a series of happenings, however mild.[432] Usually one of these should be of more importance than the others, and the others should be related to it as subordinates, in order that the effect may be single. Any part of the life of your people that lies behind the day of your revelation, if mentioned at all, should be told in retrospect; whatever lies ahead, if mentioned at all, can be only prophecy. And, finally, here is a little secret, an open one among artists, but one shut away from the herd of common scribblers; what you do not tell but only skilfully suggest is what makes for excellence and immortality.

The Story of Muhammad Din

"Who is the happy man? He that sees in his own house at home, little children crowned with dust, leaping and falling and crying."—Munichandra, translated by Professor Peterson.

The polo ball was an old one, scarred, chipped and dinted. It stood on the mantelpiece among the pipe-stems which Iman Din, khitmatgar, was cleaning for me.

"Does the heaven-born want this ball?" said Imam Din, deferentially.

The heaven-born set no particular store by it; but of what use was a polo ball to a khitmatgar?

"By your honour's favour, I have a little son. He has seen this ball and desires it to play with. I do not want it for myself."

No one would for an instant accuse portly old Imam Din of wanting to play with polo balls. He carried out the battered thing into the veranda, and there followed a hurricane of joyful squeaks, a patter of small feet, and the thud-thud-thud of the ball rolling along the ground. Evidently the little son had been waiting outside[433] the door to secure his treasure. But how had he managed to see that polo ball?

Next day, coming back from office half an hour earlier than usual, I was aware of a small figure in the dining-room—a tiny, plump figure in a ridiculously inadequate shirt, which came, perhaps, half way down the tubby stomach. It wandered round the room, thumb in mouth, crooning to itself as it took stock of the pictures. Undoubtedly this was the "little son."

He had-no business in my room, of course; but was so deeply absorbed in his discoveries that he never noticed me in the doorway. I stepped into the room and startled him nearly into a fit. He sat down on the ground with a gasp. His eyes opened and his mouth followed suit. I knew what was coming and fled, followed by a long, dry howl which reached the servants' quarters far more quickly than any command of mine had ever done. In ten seconds Imam Din was in the dining-room. Then despairing sobs arose, and I returned to find Imam Din admonishing the small sinner, who was using most of his shirt as a handkerchief.

"This boy," said Imam Din, judiciously, "is a budmash—a big budmash. He will, without doubt, go to the jail-khana for his behaviour." Renewed yells from the penitent, and an elaborate apology to myself from Imam Din.

"Tell the baby," I said, "that the Sahib is not angry and take him away." Imam Din conveyed my forgiveness to the offender, who had now gathered all his shirt round his neck, stringwise, and the yell subsided into a sob. The two set off for the door. "His name," said Imam Din, as though the name were part of the crime,[434] "is Muhammad Din, and he is a budmash." Freed from present danger, Muhammad Din turned round in his father's arms and said gravely, "It is true that my name is Muhammad Din, Tahib, but I am not a budmash. I am a man!"

From that day dated my acquaintance with Muhammad Din. Never again did he come into my dining-room; but on the neutral ground of the garden we greeted each other with much state, though our conversation was confined to "Talaam, Tahib" from his side, and "Salaam, Muhammad Din" from mine. Daily on my return from office the little white shirt and the fat little body used to rise, from the shade of the creeper-covered trellis where they had been hid, and daily I checked my horse there that my salutation might not be slurred over or given unseemly.

Muhammad Din never had any companions. He used to trot about the compound, in and out of the castor-oil bushes, on mysterious errands of his own. One day I stumbled upon some of his handiwork far down the grounds. He had half buried the polo-ball in dust, and stuck six shriveled old marigold flowers in a circle round it. Outside that circle again was a rude square, traced out in its bits of red brick alternating with fragments of broken china; the whole bounded by a little bank of dust. The water-man from the well-curb put in a plea for the small architect, saying that it was only the play of a baby and did not much disfigure my garden.

Heaven knows that I had no intention of touching the child's work then or later; but that evening a stroll through the garden brought me unawares full on it, so[435] that I trampled, before I knew, marigold heads, dust bank and fragments of broken soap-dish into confusion past all hope of mending. Next morning I came upon Muhammad Din crying softly to himself over the ruin I had wrought. Some one had cruelly told him that the Sahib was very angry with him for spoiling the garden, and he had scattered his rubbish, using bad language the while. Muhammad Din laboured for an hour at effacing every trace of the dust-bank and pottery fragments, and it was with a tearful and apologetic fact that he said, "Talaam, Tahib," when I came home from office. A hasty inquiry resulted in Imam Din informing Muhammad Din that, by my singular favour, he was permitted to disport himself as he pleased. Whereat the child took heart and fell to tracing the ground-plan of an edifice which was to eclipse the marigold-polo-ball creation.

For some months the chubby little eccentricity revolved in his humble orbit among the castor-oil bushes and in the dust; always fashioning magnificent palaces from stale flowers thrown away by the bearer, smooth water-worn pebbles, bits of broken glass, and feathers pulled, I fancy, from my fowls—always alone, and always crooning to himself

A gaily spotted sea-shell was dropped one day close to the last of his little buildings, and I looked that Muhammad Din should build something more than ordinarily splendid on the strength of it. Nor was I disappointed. He meditated for the better part of an hour, and his crooning rose to a jubilant song. Then he began tracing in the dust. It would certainly be a wondrous palace, this one, for it was two yards long and[436] a yard broad in ground-plan. But the palace was never completed.

Next day there was no Muhammad Din at the head of the carriage-drive, and no "Talaam, Tahib" to welcome my return. I had grown accustomed to the greeting, and its omission troubled me. Next day Imam Din told me that the child was suffering slightly from fever and needed quinine. He got the medicine, and an English doctor.

"They have no stamina, these brats," said the doctor, as he left Imam Din's quarters.

A week later, though I would have given much to have avoided it, I met on the road to the Mussulman burying-ground Imam Din, accompanied by one other friend, carrying in his arms, wrapped in a white cloth, all that was left of little Muhammad Din.

—Rudyard Kipling.

"Plain Tales from the Hills." (Doubleday, Page & Co., 1907.)

The Fetters

The cool maples rustled temptingly before the open kitchen window, and seemed to mock the busy worker within. Flies buzzed at the screen, door, and at intervals found entrance through sundry gaps in the rusty screening. Inside there was the endless clatter of dishes, the hissing sound of frying meat, and occasionally a sharp exclamation in a nervous, high-pitched voice. The owner of the voice, a woman of about thirty-five, was walking busily around the kitchen. A soiled gingham apron nearly covered a worn gray skirt, and several large safety-pins held her waist together over her flat chest. Premature wrinkles hardened her eyes[437] and mouth. Her hair drawn back over a high, bony forehead, was twisted into an untidy little knot at the back of her head. On each of her cheeks, just below the bone, came and went bright spots of color—the only color about her, for her hair had no glints of light and her apathetic blue eyes seemed absolutely devoid of luster.

As she hastened back and forth, opening the oven door, setting the table, inspecting the contents of various kettles steaming on the big stove, she still found time to throw a glance, now and then, out to the rickety porch, where a pale-faced little girl sat in an old red porch-chair. The child's big eyes, startlingly prominent in her wan face, followed the woman, and, when the latter looked at her, a sudden smile would curve the straight little lips. But at times she would look away from the kitchen out beyond to the wheat-fields, gleaming yellow in the August sun—and still farther to the cool green woods, with the hard blue sky above them. Then the child would sigh, and her face would grow wondering and anxious, as she turned back again and smiled at the woman in the kitchen—a curious, wistful, unchildlike smile. On the step beside her lay a worn little home-made crutch.

"Here come the men-folks, mother," the child exclaimed suddenly. Her mother came to the door, and shading her eyes with her apron, peered up the dusty lane. Then she went back to the house and hurriedly finished setting the table. The heavy plates and cups were hardly in place on the red-checked cloth before the men came clattering up the walk and up the porch. Most of them had a smile for the pale little girl in the[438] chair, and one had brought her a bunch of red field-poppies, already half withered, in his big hand. The child took them eagerly, laying their vivid petals lovingly against her pale cheek. The rest of the men filed past with a grin or a roughly tender, word—all but the last. He came up the steps, his forehead wrinkled in a scowl evidently habitual, his mouth hard, his eyes deep-set and forbidding. He did not even notice the child, and she shrank back in her chair, her lip trembling, her eyes wide with fear.

"Dinner near ready, Jane?" he demanded in a gruff tone. Jane gave a brief little nod and hurried on with the rest of the preparations. Rough laughter, scraping of boots, loud clattering of knives on plates, and a continual demand for replenishment, followed the course of the dinner. Jane sat wearily, but her plateful of cabbage and pork lay untasted before her. Out on the porch the little girl sipped a glass of milk and watched the cool dimness of the distant woods.

The men pushed back their chairs, wiped their mouths with the backs of their brown hands, and hurried away to the fields. Jane's husband stopped for a moment to mend a rip in his boot. It was a difficult rip to mend and his temper was soon exhausted.

"Why don't ye learn that white-faced brat out there to work!" he stormed, "us short o' hands an' her less good than none at all—an' a nuisance to boot." Jane suddenly turned and let a saucer fall. Her lips were compressed for a moment, then she went down on one knee and carefully picked up the fragments of china.

"What a snap ye've got, next to what brother Dan's wife had," Jim went surlily on. "Dan made her go[439] out an' tend his grapes, while all ye've got to do is cook a little and wash up—an' ye act as if ye was worked hard. Dan's wife never kicked—she'd be'n sorry if she had," and he gave a hard dry laugh in appreciation of his own humor.

But Jane did not hear this last remark; she was thinking of her brother-in-law's wife, a frail little woman whose life had been made up of pruning grapevines or cutting grapes, working side by side with the Italian women whom her husband hired, working harder than any of them did, too, and for far less recompense. She remembered how angry Dan had been because his wife had appeared one afternoon in a shirt-waist, instead of the usual wrapper. It was a clumsy, cheap, ill-made thing, but Margaret's eyes had danced when Jane came to see her that day. And she remembered how Dan had come in and declared he wanted no high-falutin' things around his house; that he had married to get some one to work for him, not for a parlor ornament. Poor little Margaret! How her thin cheeks had flushed and her timid eyes filled with tears! But she died not long after—Jane gave a half-envious sigh.

"Goin' to stand there all day lookin' at nothin'?" a gruff voice asked suddenly, and she started. The knife with which she had been peeling potatoes to fry for supper, slipped and cut her finger. She went over to the sink and wiped away the red streak, while her husband shufflingly made his exit, grumbling to himself over the foolishness of ever bothering with such a useless baggage as a woman. On the porch he stumbled over the little crutch and kicked it aside with an oath.


The afternoon wore away slowly. Little Meg slept on her cot upstairs, her cheeks hot and damp, her arms flung wide in the weariness of childhood. Jane sewed steadily at a heap of burlap grain bags, until the sun went down in a riot of yellow and crimson behind the trees. Jane put away her sewing, gently woke Meg, and prepared to go downstairs to get supper ready. She stopped to look at the sunset before she went down. Along the road beyond came the rattle of wheels; a buggy passed in which sat a woman in solitary state. A striped silk dress enveloped her ample person, a hat with nodding red roses and a broad white brim shaded a pair of stupid, comfortable eyes, and cast its shadow over a mouth that fairly sagged with good humor and good living. Her fat hands, lying idly in her lap and holding the reins loosely, were pulled back and forth by the jogging brown horse. Jane recognized in the woman Mrs. Petersen, her nearest neighbor, and half hungrily surmised that she was returning home from a meeting of the "Tuesday Social Club." The buggy leisurely passed the house and disappeared along the dusty lane.

Suddenly, in one rush of emotion, the whole barrenness of Jane's lot came over her. She thought of the long days filled with unceasing labor—the dull, gray days that stretched endlessly behind her and yet more endlessly before her. Her life seemed one wearying round of dish-washing and cooking, of going to bed utterly worn out and of rising next morning just as tired as she had been the night before. She felt a terrible grudge rise in her against her husband—and she allowed this grudge now to fill her soul completely, instead[441] of crushing out such feelings as she had hitherto done. Why had he never helped her to have a good time as other women had? Why had he forgotten that she was a woman and fond of dainty things? She thought of the stern young fellow who had courted her when she was a girl—so very long ago that was. And how she had married him, and how proud she had been of him, and how she had boasted of his thrift to all her neighbors. And then she remembered how sternness which she admired in the youth had changed into surliness in the man; how gradually—little by little—she had lost hope—she who had hoped for so much and had had to little given her. On her, and on her alone, the brunt of all his displeasure and of all his wrath had fallen.

Then suddenly her face cleared; as she heard a sleepy yawn from the bed; little Meg lay watching her, her sleep-filled eyes smiling their same brave smile. At least, Jane thought, she had Meg—and Dan's wife had not even had a Meg. Dan's wife had never known the sweetness of clinging hands and the comfort of damp baby kisses. So even for her, life still held compensation. She looked out at the west where the riotous reds had now faded to soft rose and gray. The outlines of the woods were softened and the nodding tree-tops seemed beckoning her to come away with them. Almost involuntarily the woman stretched out her hands towards the trees, and her hungry eyes filled with tears. Perhaps some day, when little Meg became stronger—perhaps some day they two—just they—might go away somewhere, together—somewhere where the world was all soft rose and gray, where there were no endless days of[442] toil, no angry voice, nothing but peace. Then perhaps Meg would—

"Jane," a rough voice broke in on her musings, "fer God's sake, woman, what ails ye? Seven o'clock an' no bite to eat ready!"

Jane hurriedly rose from the window. For the first time in her life she had let her day-dreams really make her forget her dull, common-place world. She stopped to smooth Meg's moist curls, and ran downstairs. There at the foot stood her husband, a whole day's displeasure frowning forth in his face, an angry light in his eyes.

"I know it's late, Jim—it's too bad," Jane faltered, "but you never had to wait before. I was busy—I was thinking—I—"

"Busy!" he sneered. "Busy! Settin' down doin' nothin' but hushin' that blamed brat. Let her alone. She ain't only a nuisance anyhow—spend yer time on something worth while."

Half unconsciously Jane looked at her hands; the forefinger of the right was rough and needle-pricked, and her hands were red and raw from much dish-washing and cleaning. She thought to herself how often she longed to caress little Meg, to hug her and rock her for a whole afternoon, to love, love, love her to her heart's content—but she had never found time. Then her husband's last cutting words came back to her. She took a step forward, the suffering of years in her face. The red spots on her cheeks were very red now. "Can I help it," she gasped, "that my baby is a puny little thing? Is it my fault? What care has she ever had, excepting what I have been able to steal for her? If you were a man like other men—not a brute—then perhaps[443] you would understand!" She clinched her hand and looked defiantly up into his face.

Jim stood still for a moment, astonished at the outburst from his meek wife. Then his quick anger blazed up, and, lifting his big hand, he struck Jane full in the face. She fell back against the stairway, her face white, save for the red spots which were livid now. Her eyes, were full of tears from the force of the blow. She heard Jim's voice from a distance.

"No use waitin' here forever," he grumbled. "I'll go to Reynold's an' get a bite; his wife'll probably have it waitin'." And she saw him turn to the door along which Meg just came tapping. The child hurried to get out of his way. Jim slouched heavily through the room, and out of the house, his big boots creaking as he went.

Jane sat down on the step. Her head ached from the force of the blow. She felt dazed with the suddenness of everything. Little Meg came and sat down beside her, patting Jane's rough hand with her soft palm to attract her attention; then she settled down quietly beside her, her bright head leaning on her mother's apron. Darkness came, but Jane did not stir. Meg had gone to sleep.

Suddenly the crutch beside them slipped and rattled against the wall. Meg woke and cried out with fright. Jane absently took the child in her arms and tried to soothe her, but Meg was thoroughly frightened and refused to be comforted. At length she was quiet and Jane carried her to bed. In a few moments, her baby-fear forgotten, she was again fast asleep. Jane went over to the window and crouched there, bitterness[444] in her heart. Over in the west the shadowy outlines of the trees looked mysterious, aloof, unsympathetic; so did the cold white stars over them. Sympathy seemed to have gone out of everything in the whole world. And Jane leaned heavily on the sill and thought.

For a long time she sat there, until she heard Meg stir restlessly on the bed. Then she rose and looked mechanically towards the Reynolds house. A bright light burned in a lower room, so she knew that her husband was still there, talking over the day's affairs with Farmer Reynolds. Her husband! She felt a sudden shrinking at the mere word. She decided that she hated him, she knew that she hated him, with the pent-up hatred of years. And she shuddered when she thought of to-morrow and the next to-morrow, and all the dull to-morrows that would have to come—and he must be in them all; that was the thought which made her sick and faint. She lay down on the bed beside Meg, merely loosening her waist and uncoiling her hair. Physical weariness brought a dreamless sleep. She woke with a start, after a sleep that seemed to have lasted for centuries. There was strange noises downstairs—gruff, muffled voices, queer shuffling as of heavy boots, and then a sudden scraping against the outer door. With a quick unreasoning fear at her heart, Jane flew down the stairs and out into the kitchen. Some one had lighted the oil lamp there. Her eyes saw at first only a blurred group before her. Her vision cleared gradually, until the blur resolved itself into four men, with alarmed, puzzled faces, who were carrying several boards on which lay something covered with a big coat. Jane held her breath, while the men looked sheepishly at one another. Then[445] she ran to the heap, lifted the coat, and looked down at her husband. His face was hard and set, the jaw projecting; but the usual sneer was gone from his mouth, and his closed eyes gave him an expression of peace. Jane dropped the coat as if dazed and turned helplessly to the men. They, equally helpless, nudged Farmer Reynolds forward to act as spokesman. His big, kindly face was abashed and solemn, his fingers nervously twirled his rough cap.

"It was a stroke, mum," he managed to jerk out at last, "some kind of a fit, Doc says. It carried him right, off, too, quicker'n a wink, an' not a mite o' pain. There he was a-sittin' an' scrappin' like a good feller one minute—an' then his face kind o' went pale, an' over he keeled. First we knew it was him on the floor, clean knocked out." Reynolds was becoming garrulous in his efforts to relieve the embarrassment of the situation, but Jane had already forgotten him. They had laid Jim on the floor and Jane sat down beside him, carefully adjusting his tumbled coat and smoothing the rough hair off his low forehead. She did it all in a calm and matter-of-fact way. The men looked helplessly at one another, while Jane, utterly unconscious of them, continued her ministrations to the dead. Was it a few hours ago or was it many years ago that she had vowed never to call him husband again? She had forgotten—after all, it didn't matter. Nothing really mattered now.

Suddenly there came a tapping down the steps. The stair door was pushed open, and a towsled, barefooted, night-gowned little figure appeared on the threshold. "Mother," Meg quivered, "where are you?" When she[446] saw her mother, she made straight for her, almost tumbling over the crutch in her haste. She threw her arms, lovingly around her mother's neck. Jane started—the queer, dazed look left her eyes, though her cheeks were still pale, save for one long red mark. With a little sob she turned, crushed the child to her, and began to cry.

"Oh, but we did love him, Meg, didn't we?" she sobbed. "And he was good to us, just as good as he knew how to be. Oh, Meg, Meg, if I had only been a better wife to him!"

—Katherine Kurz.

When Terry "Quit"

"Gad! and to think, Jim, that I ever lived on Front street!" The frock-coated, silk-hatted stage manager removed the big black cigar from his mouth, and with a pudgy little finger, on which sparkled a blue diamond of unusual size, he flicked away the ashes. "Though it really was a rather decent sort of a place then, you know." He addressed his companion, a press-agent, first, however, carefully readjusting the cigar so that it should be at such an angle to his lips as to suggest sportiness.

Now, the south side of the thoroughfare just mentioned consists chiefly of warehouses and saloons, the north side chiefly of saloons and pawnshops. On summer days the street squirms with chickens, bulldogs and babies; but on the warm evenings, when the pawnshops and the warehouses are closed, when the saloons are doing a lucrative business, then the chickens roost on the back fences, the bulldogs doze lazily on the stone[447] flaggings, and in the stuffy little sleeping apartments above the saloons the children of the saloon-keepers dream of the envy which, by means of delicious chili-sauce sandwiches, they will create the next day among the children of the pawnbrokers.

The two men were now approaching the most prosperous saloon in the street. Streams of light, coming from both above and below the little green baize door, shone on a swinging signboard. "Tim Dugan's Café," the gilt letters informed any who were unacquainted with the neighborhood. Boorish men could be heard calling jocularly for more beer, and the constant slamming of the cash drawer mingled with the clinking of heavy glasses.

"A song! It's time fer a chune!" called a raucous voice.

"Aha, yer right there, it's Terry fer us," acquiesced one of the crowd.

"Terry! Terry! it's oop on the table fer ye, Terry." The cry was accompanied by much loud laughter and the shuffling of heavy boots. Labor-hardened hands clapped approval, and then for a moment there was silence.

"'A sailor's wife a sailor's star shall be.'"

The sweet, though untrained tenor voice, rang high and clear.

"'Yo-ho-oh, boyoys, ho—'"

The two fashionably dressed men stopped in front of the short door.

"Jove! what a voice!" the manager breathed.

"'A long, long life to my sweet wife!'"

No sound interrupted the ringing sailor ballad.


"Let's go in and have a drink," suggested the press-agent, when the song was finished.

As unobtrusively as possible the two men entered.

"More! more!" the appreciative, if unschooled, audience was demanding, and in the clatter of applause the strangers were unnoticed.

"'I have come to say good-bye, Dolly Grey.'"

The then new popular song thrilled the listeners with its martial rhythm, as the plaintive cadences of the beautiful voice rang in their ears.

"'Good-bye, Dolly, I must leave you.'"

The singer's glance fell on the new listeners. His merry eyes wavered and his face flushed until it became as red as his curly hair. He stopped short in the chorus.

"I guess it's me that's been yowling anough fer tunight, byes," he mumbled, as he climbed down from the table and, sliding behind the counter, donned the white apron which proclaimed him a bartender.

"Wy, Terry, wat's the matter wit ye? We got a have one more afore ye quit."

But Terry shook his head vigorously in an emphatic "no," as he rapidly cleaned the thick glasses.

The two men from the world of dazzling footlights ordered drinks, paid doubly for them, made a bluff at enjoying the poor liquor, and then quietly left the café, and continued their walk past the warehouses, pawnshops and saloons of Front street.

The next morning, when the heavy wagons were rattling over the cobble-stones of the narrow, dirty thoroughfare, and the children of the pawnbrokers were engaged in throwing "spit-balls" at the children of the saloon-keepers, "Tim Dugan's Café" was for the second time[449] honored with the entrance of the stage-manager of the minstrel show which was to be in town the next week. This potentate had come on ahead of his company to adjust some little difficulty with the play-house owners, and now that that business had been settled, another matter of importance presented itself: the tenor soloist, no longer in his prime, had left.

The manager sauntered up to the bar, rested his right elbow on the marble slab, settled his "silk" hat more comfortably on his head, shoved his left hand deep into his trousers' pocket—whereupon an attractive chinking sound could be heard—and crossed his gaitered feet.

"One," he announced, and the ruddy-haired Irish lad, who had been busy washing glasses, quickly, deftly, filled a mug with frothy beer.

"Ahem!" The manager puffed up his heavy chest and leaned both elbows on the bar.

Then, ensued a whispered dialogue, during which Terry Flynn's laughing eyes alternately grew round with wonder and twinkled with pleasure.

"Sorry!" gasped the bartender at last, "not a bit of it. Ye cin bet yer shiny, boots, an' it's me as 'll do it!"

The manager, smiling with the satisfaction of having clinched an excellent bargain, made his way among the chickens, bulldogs and babies of Front street and soon left the beery atmosphere far behind him.

Terry, however, kept his own council. Not until the following Monday did he give any information concerning the identity of the "swell gent" who had so strangely visited him.

Then how the inhabitants of Front street rejoiced![450] Terry Flynn—often called "Irish" for short—redheaded Terry Flynn, who had many a time caused a quarrel to be forgotten by breaking into a song as he rattled the mugs on the bar—Terry—their Terry—was going on the stage! He would own a silk tile, and wear diamond studs—but he would sing no more for Front street.

How the bony-fisted, generous men, in spite of their keen regret at losing him, rejoiced in Terry's good fortune!

"Ha'n't I said, ag'in an' ag'in, as Terry could sing twicet as fine as the feller 'at sang 'atween the acks o' 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' one time w'en I went an' seen it? Ha'n't I now?" queried a delighted teamster.

"Aye, that ye 'ave, Jawn, that ye 'ave," replied a pensioned sailor, also jubilant over the fame in store for Terry.

As for Terry himself, he had not yet recovered from his surprise, and so had little room for other emotions. He was too ignorant, too fresh from his peat-carrying labors in the shamrock country, to have any fear of stage fright. Indeed, that word was not in his stunted vocabulary.

He went that afternoon to rehearse "Nancy Lee," with the rest of the company, newly arrived, who were to join him in the "yo-ho's." How well the song sounded when supplemented by such a chorus! Terry's blood quickened! He did not observe the coldness of the other singers towards him. He would have cared little if he had felt the lack of friendliness, for so sunny was his Irish temperament, so strong his Irish independence and congeniality, that he would not easily have lost[451] hope of winning the good will of his associates. Moreover Terry was so humble that he would rather have expected them to stand a little aloof at first; but when, black-faced and white-gloved, he stood upon the great stage of the Opera House, and filled the domed auditorium with his strong, beautiful tenor notes, he knew nothing save that he was one of "them actor fellows" now; that the men and women from the world of wealth were listening to him. His eyes sparkled with excitement.

"A long, long life to my sweet wife," he sang.

In the silence of the people Terry instinctively recognized their appreciation.

"Nancy Lee—"

The vaulted ceiling sent the round, high notes back to the eager ears of the audience.

"Yo-ho-boyoys, ho—"

The "yo-ho" didn't sound with the proper vigor. It was flat. A frown appeared between Terry's arched eyebrows. He was singing his "Yo-ho's" alone! Slowly he turned, still singing, to face the other minstrels. Some one snickered, "Do you see us singing with a bar-tender?"


Terry stopped. A calloused fist, with strong muscle and Irish temper to speed it, shot out.

"Curtain!" called the manager, wildly. The audience, though somewhat surprised, accepted this performance as a ridiculous climatic ending to one of the "stunts," and gave a vigorous applause. But Terry heeded neither applause nor curtain. He was demonstrating to these unmannerly show men, that though[452] they might refuse to sing with a bar-tender, they could not refuse to accept from one a lesson in pugilism.

Terry paused to take a long breath. He glared at the men, one of whom was holding a handkerchief to a rapidly swelling eye, another of whom was hugging an aching side. Terry had done his work quickly. The manager hastened up to interfere.

"They might a' told me so afore. It isn't me as they need be makin' a fool of. I'm made as good as them, even if it do be a truth that I sell the beer they drink," Terry said, dazed. He picked up the battered opera hat which had been part of his costume and started towards the door.

"My dear Mr. Flynn, I will adjust this little misunderstanding. I assure you, it shall not occur again."

Terry turned. "Why," he laughed strangely, as he picked a bit of lint from his sleeve. "Aren't ye knowin'? I'd be ashamed t' sing, with such dum poor excuses fer men," he replied, and made his way down the rickety stairway, to the street, not stopping even to remove the grease-paint.

"It's them as might a been men, and told me," he sobbed as he walked slowly back again to dirty, ill-lighted Front street, to don again his white apron; to pass the amber-colored foamy liquid over the bar; to sing "Nancy Lee" in Tim Dugan's Café; to sing for the rough men who would deem it a sacrilege to lift their harsh voices with Terry's sweet plaintive tones.

—Dorothea G. Knoblock.


Nora Titay and Chiquito

Nora Titay, a widow of fifty, came home from the gambling house one afternoon in bad humor. Her hair hung carelessly over her wrinkled face, which always looked as if it had been dipped in a barrel of flour. As she walked along the street, she spat and muttered, with her mouth full of buyo, "Pshe, this cursed panguingue will ruin me. I had bad luck this week. Yesterday I lost ten pesos, and now twelve. I haven't a single penny left. I wonder where Rosa and I will get the money to buy our food. I have sold her ring to pay my debts. To-morrow, there will be another game. I shall play again to see if I can recover what I have lost. But where shall I get money? Oh, I see! Chiquito is coming to-night to court Rosa. He is very rich, and is willing to give anything he has if he can only win my daughter's love. But foolish girl! She does not like him, because he is a Chinaman. She prefers to love that poor, simple student, Pedro. I will force her to marry Chiquito; then I can play panguingue at any time. I shall soon be rich."

"Rosa," said Titay as soon as she arrived at the house, "you must look well to-night, for Chiquito is coming. You must not show any sour face to him. I want you to marry him whether you like to or no. Do you understand me? Now, don't say anything or I will whip you," said Titay, seriously. "Why don't you marry him yourself, mamma? You will be a good partner for him since you love him better than I do," said Rosa laughing. "What, you foolish girl! Do you mean to joke me, your mother? I am looking out for your good,"[454] said Titay angrily, then slapped and pinched her daughter. They were still quarreling when Chiquito came.

"Buena noche, Nola Tetay y Senolita Losa," said Chiquito in his poor Spanish, when he came.

"Buenas noches, Chiquito," replied Titay with a smile. "Here is a basket of oranges and tikoy for you and Senolita Losa," said Chiquito, while he was uncovering the basket. "What a very good son-in-law, I have!" murmured Titay. "Chiquito, to-morrow afternoon you must come here ready to marry Rosa. Bring a priest with you, and get a wedding dress for her. But, by the way, lend me a sum of money, for I must buy something." Chiquito was so glad that he immediately handed to her his purse. "What kind of dress shall I bring, mother?" asked Chiquito eagerly. "You must ask Rosa about that," murmured Titay. Chiquito went to Rosa, who was looking out of the window, absorbed in thought. "Senolita Losa, what kind of dress should you like for our wedding?" asked Chiquito politely. "Baboy! (swine) what wedding do you mean? Do you think I would marry you, baboy?" said Rosa, angrily. "Your mother told me that I must come here to-morrow afternoon, and you and I should be married," said Chiquito. "You had better marry mother. She is more fit for you. Now, go away." Nora Titay was so busily counting her money and thinking how many times she could play panguingue with it that she did not hear the quarrel. "Nola Tetay, Losa is angry with me. She does not want to marry me," said Chiquito.

"Never mind, you can go home now, Chiquito, and be ready for to-morrow. I will see that she accepts the proposal," said Titay. Chiquito went home gladly, and[455] Titay got busy compelling Rosa to marry Chiquito, till the daughter was forced to make a promise.

The next day, at the appointed hour, Chiquito came with a priest. But Rosa could not be found in the house. A letter was found instead saying that Rosa had eloped with Pedro. Chiquito, disliking to lose his money, asked for Titay's hand. They were married that very day.

—Joaquina E. Tirona.

III. The Story That Emphasizes Character and Events

Difference between character-place story and character-events story

Obviously the character-events story is different from the character-place story just in the emphasis and because of it. The personality of the chief actor of a story of events, does not necessarily spring from the scene of action. In fact, the personality very often is in strong contrast with the place. A soldier for instance by some chance may be left stranded on an oasis in the desert; the purpose of the writer in having him there may be to set forth a number of strange occurrences that bring out his character, or the author may wish to demonstrate some truth about wild animals. A woman may be on a Pullman car bringing her dying husband home with her from Denver to New York. The author will then be concerned with an analysis of the woman's mind as events come to her. A person may be standing at the prisoner's dock and may tell his life. Place will concern the author a great deal in a certain sense, but it will be not the character-making place, but the event-making[456] place,—the battle-ground, the cricket field. If a different character met the same events in the same place, he might act otherwise. It is the conjunction of character and events that the author is revealing and the reader watching. Let us name over a few of the great stories and collections of this kind to see if the titles suggest anything: "The Necklace" by Maupassant; "The Father" by Björnson; "The Siege of Berlin" by Daudet; "The Substitute" by Coppée; "The Insurgent" by Halévy; "Mateo Falcone" by Mérimeé; "The Shot" by Pushkin; "The Greater Inclination," "Crucial Instances," "The Descent of Man, and Other Stories," by Mrs. Wharton.

Component elements of this type

We might say that the representative short-story of this type is a combination of romanticism, realism, metaphysics, and modern journalism. A concentrated extract of the work of Scott, Jane Austen, Thackeray, George Eliot and Reade. The list suggests the history of the novel since Fielding's day and the elements it acquired and transmitted to the short-story. You have probably studied how Scott, when Lord Byron out-ran him, turned from metrical to prose romance; how Scott created with the "Waverley Novels" (which of course are not novels in the usual sense) a new romance, the historical, which immediately took its place as a permanent type of literature. On the side of stirring events our present short-story often epitomises Scott. He said himself he wrote for soldiers, sailors, and young people of bold and daring dispositions. There is no limit, therefore, in choice of events. The record may be the most startling. It usually, however, is not extravagant[457] beyond what a healthy and cheerful imagination can enjoy. Our temperance is due no doubt to the restraining influence of Jane Austen and her late followers in realism. She tried to teach her own age to laugh at itself good-naturedly and to bridle romance with common sense. "Northanger Abbey," written in 1798, was a direct satire of the terror school, which was popular before her day and Scott's. Moderns have enthroned Jane Austen as a perfect artist, and all good fiction writers have learned the lesson she taught. In general, her work belongs with the story that emphasizes manners and environment; but her most popular novel, "Pride and Prejudice," has in addition to the reflection of environment a sequence of interesting events and a spiritedness that together make it an extended prototype of the story that emphasizes both character and happenings. To Scott's boldness and Jane Austen's satiric restraint, time added George Eliot's metaphysical curiosity. Since her day we are all interested in duty, destiny, freedom of will, mind-habit. She showed us how a neighborly man becomes a miser, how a miser becomes once more a neighborly man; how a lovable but morally and physically timid man becomes a scoundrel. Most of our short stories now-a-days display an element of such analysis; many of them are wholly constituted upon an inquiry; some, beginning just in front of the crisis, give us a feeling of past complicating events, and with one flash show us the present tangle; others with a swift relentlessness pile happening upon happening until, panting for breath, we stumble upon the momentous climax. Very often, too, at the end, we are left in an atmosphere of[458] pessimism—sometimes it is only a companionable little chill like that Thackeray used to give us, wherein, laughing and chattering, we shake hands with our brothers to keep warm; sometimes, it is like Maupassant's, a hard, dull bitterness of cold—

"A chill no coat however stout,
Of homespun stuff can quite shut out."

Wherever the pessimism comes from, almost invariably a little bit of it joins swiftness, realism, metaphysical curiosity, and one other element probably inherited from the novel; namely, a striking semblance of actuality. No matter how thrilling the events may be, they are usually convincing. Charles Reade had the trick of taking his facts from newspaper reports. Many of our present-day writers keep a scrap-book, and they very often build their most successful stories on actual events, making up the participants from what they imagine they must have been.

The characters, then, in this kind of narrative are often more or less fictitious, being a combination of traits well-known to the author—traits of different individuals of the type displayed; while in the other kind of artistic short-story, it is the slight course of events that is made up, to fit the actual character and the actual place.

A scrap-book suggestion

Whatever else you do as a writer—even as an amateur one in school—it will surely repay you to keep a scrap-book. The very old adage that facts are stranger than fiction is indisputably true. When in your newspaper reading you[459] run across a fine course of events that is character-revealing, or ought to be, just cut out the report and paste it in your book. Think upon the case leisurely and let the personages develop; then write up the events as simply and swiftly as you can consistent with the effect you mean to produce. Hawthorne's "Ambitious Guest" originated thus.

Other suggestions

If at present you have in mind no series of happenings, suppose you ask some acquaintance what is the strangest course of actual events he ever personally knew about. When he answers you, then question him on the actors concerned, remembering that this time you are going to write not a pure plot story but one that will express the conjunction of character and events. Keep in mind also your present limitations. You do not need to tell everything that might be told about your protagonists; you do not have to follow them from the baptismal font to the marriage altar and from the marriage altar to the grave. You may not know the facts about them connected therewith; you may know only a small portion of their lives; but ten to one you will know more incidents than it is necessary to mention. What you do tell, however, must be absolutely clear. The actual events may have been but a string of episodes in real life, but when you relate them they must appear like a full, round period. Look carefully after your connectives; on them hangs largely the success of your story. It goes without saying that you must have a climax, or highest point. Every sentence that you write before it, even the first, must lead toward it; every sentence that you write after it, even the last, must lead from[460] it. You must ruthlessly suppress any phrase that does not add strength to your chosen scene. Be sure your story has totality.

The Necklace

She was one of those pretty, charming girls who are sometimes, as if through the irony of fate, born into a family of clerks. She was without dowry or expectations, and had no means of becoming known, appreciated, loved, wedded, by any rich or influential man; so she allowed herself to be married to a small clerk belonging to the Ministry of Public Instruction. She dressed plainly because she could not afford to dress well, and was unhappy because she felt she had dropped from her proper station, which for women is a matter of attractiveness, beauty, and grace, rather than of family descent. Good manners, an intuitive knowledge of what is elegant, nimbleness of wit, are the only requirements necessary to place a woman of the people on an equality with one of the aristocracy.

She fretted constantly, feeling all things delicate and luxurious to be her birthright. She suffered on account of the meagreness of her surroundings, the bareness of the walls, the tarnished furniture, the ugly curtains; deficiencies which would have left any other woman of her class untouched, irritated and tormented her. The sight of the little Breton peasant who did her humble housework engendered hopeless regrets followed by fantastic dreams. She thought of a noiseless, hallowed anteroom, with Oriental carpets, lighted with tall branching candlesticks of bronze and of two big, knee-breeched footmen, drowsy from the stove-heated air, dozing in great[461] armchairs. She thought of a long drawing-room hung with ancient brocade, of a beautiful cabinet holding priceless curios, of an alluring, scented boudoir intended for five o'clock chats with intimates, with men famous and courted, and whose acquaintance is longed for by all women.

When she sat down to dinner, at the round table spread with a cloth three days old, opposite her husband, who uncovered the tureen, and exclaimed with ecstasy, "Ah, I like a good stew! I know nothing to beat this!" she thought of dainty dinners, of shining plate, of tapestry which peopled the walls with human shapes, and with strange birds flying among fairy trees. And then she thought of delicious viands served in costly dishes, and of murmured gallantries which you listen to with a comfortable smile while you are eating the rose-tinted flesh of a trout or the wing of a quail.

She had no handsome gowns, no jewels—nothing, though these were her whole life; it was these that meant existence to her. She would so have liked to please, to be thought fascinating, to be envied, to be sought out. She had a friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, who was very rich, but whom she did not like to go to see any more because she would come home jealous, covetous.

But one evening her husband returned home jubilant, holding a large envelope in his hand.

"Here is something for you," he said.

She tore open the cover sharply, and drew out a printed card bearing these words: "The Minister of Public Instruction and Mme. Georges Ramponneau request the honor of M. and Mme. Loisel's company at the[462] palace of the Ministry on Monday evening, January 18th."

Instead of being delighted as her husband expected, she threw the invitation on the table with disgust, muttering, "What do you think I can do with that?"

"But, my dear, I thought you would be pleased. You never go anywhere, and this is such a rare opportunity. I had hard work to get it. Every one is wild to go; it is very select, and invitations to clerks are scarce. The whole official world will be there."

She looked at him with a scornful eye, as she said petulantly, "And what have I to put on my back?" He had not thought of that. He stammered, "Why, the dress you wear to the theatre; it certainly looks all right to me."

He stopped in despair, seeing his wife was crying. Two big tears rolled down from the corners of her eyes to the corners of her mouth.

"What's the matter? What's the matter?" he faltered.

With great effort she controlled herself, and replied coldly, while she dried her wet cheeks:

"Nothing, except that I have no dress, and for that reason, cannot go to the ball. Give your invitation to some fellow-clerk whose wife is better provided than I am."

He was dumfounded, but replied:

"Come, Mathilde, let us see now—how much would a suitable dress cost; one you could wear at other times—something quite simple?"

She pondered several moments, calculating, and guessing too, how much she could safely ask for without[463] an instant refusal or bringing down upon her head a volley of objections from her frugal husband.

At length she said hesitatingly, "I can't say exactly, but I think I could do with four hundred francs."

He changed color because he was laying aside just that sum to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre, with several friends, who went down there on Sundays to shoot larks. Nevertheless, he said: "Very well, I will give you four hundred francs. Get a pretty dress."

The day of the ball drew nearer, and Mme. Loisel seemed despondent, nervous, upset, though her dress was all ready. One evening her husband observed: "I say, what is the matter, Mathilde? You have been very queer lately." And she replied, "It exasperates me not to have a single ornament of any kind to put on. I shall look like a fright—I would almost rather stay at home." He answered: "Why not wear flowers? They are very fashionable at this time of the year. You can get a handful of fine roses for ten francs."

But she was not to be persuaded. "No, it's so mortifying to look poverty-stricken among women who are rich."

Then her husband exclaimed: "How slow you are! Go and see your friend, Mme. Forestier, and ask her to lend you some jewels. You know her well enough to do that."

She gave an exclamation of delight: "True! I never thought of that!"

Next day she went to her friend and poured out her woes. Mme. Forestier went to a closet with a glass door, took out a large jewel box, brought it back, opened it,[464] and said to Mme. Loisel, "Here, take your choice, my dear."

She looked at some bracelets, then at a pearl necklace, and then at a Venetian cross curiously wrought of gold and precious stones. She tried on the ornaments before the mirror, hesitated, was loath to take them off and return them. She kept inquiring, "Have you any more?"

"Certainly, look for yourself. I don't know what you want."

Suddenly Mathilde discovered, in a black satin box, a magnificent necklace of diamonds, and her heart began to beat with excitement. With trembling hands she took the necklace and fastened it round her neck outside her dress, becoming lost in admiration of herself as she looked in the glass. Tremulous with fear lest she be refused, she asked, "Will you lend me this—only this?"

"Yes, of course I will."

Mathilde fell upon her friend's neck, kissed her passionately, and rushed off with her treasure.

The day of the ball arrived.

Mme. Loisel was a great success. She was prettier than them all, lovely, gracious, smiling, and wild with delight. All the men looked at her, inquired her name, tried to be introduced; all the officials of the Ministry wanted a waltz—even the minister himself noticed her. She danced with abandon, with ecstacy, intoxicated with joy, forgetting everything in the triumph of her beauty, in the radiance of her success, in a kind of mirage of bliss made up of all this worship, this adulation, of all these stirring impulses, and of that realization of perfect surrender, so sweet to the soul of woman.


She left about four in the morning.

Since midnight her husband had been sleeping in a little deserted anteroom with three other men whose wives were enjoying themselves. He threw over her shoulders the wraps he had brought, ordinary, everyday garments, contrasting sorrily with her elegant ball dress. She felt this, and wanted to get away so as not to be seen by the other women, who were putting on costly furs.

Loisel detained her: "Wait a little; you will catch cold outside; I will go and call a cab."

But she would not listen to him, and hurried downstairs. When they reached the street they could not find a carriage, and they began to look for one, shouting to the cabmen who were passing by. They went down toward the river in desperation, shivering with cold. At last they found on the quays one of those antiquated, all-night broughams, which, in Paris, wait till after dark before venturing to display their dilapidation. It took them to their door in the Rue des Martyrs, and once more, wearily, they climbed the stairs.

Now all was over for her; as for him, he remembered that he must be at the office at ten o'clock. She threw off her cloak before the glass, that she might behold herself once more in all her magnificence. Suddenly she uttered a cry of dismay—the necklace was gone!

Her husband, already half-undressed, called out, "Anything wrong?"

She turned wildly toward him: "I have—I have—I've lost Mme. Forestier's necklace!"

He stood aghast: "Where? When? You haven't!"

They looked in the folds of her dress, in the folds of[466] her cloak, in her pocket, everywhere. They could not find it.

"Are you sure," he said, "that you had it on when you left the ball?"

"Yes; I felt it in the corridor of the palace."

"But if you had lost it in the street, we should have heard it fall. It must be in the cab."

"No doubt. Did you take his number?"

"No. And didn't you notice it either?"


They looked at each other, terror-stricken. At last Loisel put on his clothes.

"I shall go back on foot," he said, "over the whole route we came by, to see if I can't find it."

He went out, and she sat waiting in her ball dress, too dazed to go to bed, cold, crushed, lifeless, unable to think.

Her husband came back at seven o'clock. He had found nothing. He went to Police Headquarters, to the newspaper office—where he advertised a reward. He went to the cab companies—to every place, in fact, that seemed at all hopeful.

She waited all day in the same awful state of mind at this terrible misfortune.

Loisel returned at night with a wan, white face. He had found nothing.

"Write immediately to your friend," said he, "that you have broken the clasp of her necklace, and that you have taken it to be mended. That will give us time to turn about."

She wrote as he told her.

By the end of the week they had given up all hope.[467] Loisel, who looked five years older, said, "We must plan how we can replace the necklace."

The next day they took the black satin box to the jeweler whose name was found inside. He referred to his books.

"You did not buy that necklace of me, Madame. I can only have supplied the case."

They went from jeweler to jeweler, hunting for a necklace like the lost one, trying to remember its appearance, heartsick with shame and misery. Finally, in a shop at the Palais Royal, they found a string of diamonds which looked to them just like the other. The price was forty thousand francs, but they could have it for thirty-six thousand. They begged the jeweler to keep it three days for them, and made an agreement with him that he should buy it back for thirty-four thousand, francs if they found the lost necklace before the last of February.

Loisel had inherited eighteen thousand francs from his father. He could borrow the remainder. And he did borrow right and left, asking a thousand francs from one, five hundred of another, five louis here, three louis there. He gave notes, assumed heavy obligations, trafficked with money-lenders at usurious rates, and, putting the rest of his life in pawn, pledged his signature over and over again. Not knowing how he was to make it all good, and terrified by the penalty yet to come, by the dark destruction which hung over him, by the certainty of incalculable deprivations of body and tortures of soul, he went to get the new bauble, throwing down upon the jeweler's counter the thirty-six thousand francs.


When Mme. Loisel returned the necklace, Mme. Forestier said to her coldly: "Why did you not bring it back sooner? I might have wanted it."

She did not open the case—to the great relief of her friend.

Supposing she had! Would she have discovered the substitution, and what would she have said? Would she not have accused Mme. Loisel of theft?

Mme. Loisel now knew what it was to be in want, but she showed sudden and remarkable courage. That awful debt must be paid, and she would pay it.

They sent away their servant, and moved up into a garret under the roof. She began to find out what heavy housework and the fatiguing drudgery of the kitchen meant. She washed the dishes, scraping the greasy pots and pans with her rosy nails. She washed the dirty linen, the shirts and dish-towels, which dried upon the line. She lugged slops and refuse down to the street every morning, bringing back fresh water, stopping on every landing, panting for breath. With her basket on her arm, and dressed like a woman of the people, she haggled with the fruiterer, the grocer, and the butcher, often insulted, but getting every sou's worth that belonged to her. Each month notes had to be met, others renewed, extensions of time procured. Her husband worked in the evenings, straightening out tradesmen's accounts; he sat up late at night, copying manuscripts at five sous a page.

And this they did for ten years.

At the end of that time they had paid up everything, everything—with all the principal and the accumulated compound interest.


Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become a domestic drudge, sinewy, rough-skinned, coarse. With towsled hair, tucked-up skirts, and red hands, she would talk loudly while mopping the floor with great splashes of water. But sometimes, when alone, she sat near the window, and she thought of that gay evening long ago, of the ball where she had been so beautiful, so much admired. Supposing she had not lost the necklace—what then? Who knows? Who knows? Life is so strange and shifting. How exceedingly easy it is to be ruined or saved!

But one Sunday, going for a walk in the Champs Élysées to refresh herself after her hard week's work, she accidentally came upon a familiar-looking woman with a child. It was Mme. Forestier, still young, still lovely, still charming.

Mme. Loisel became agitated. Should she speak to her? Of course. Now that she had paid, she would tell her all about it. Why not? She went up to her.

"How do you do, Jeanne?"

The other, astonished at the easy manner toward her assumed by a plain housewife whom she did not recognize, said:

"But, Madame, you have made a mistake; I do not know you.

"Why, I am Mathilde Loisel!"

Her friend gave a start.

"Oh, my poor Mathilde," she cried, "how you have changed!"

"Yes; I have seen hard days since last I saw you; hard enough—and all because of you."

"Of me? And why?"


"You remember the diamond necklace you loaned me to wear at the Ministry ball?"

"Yes, I do. What of it?"

"Well, I lost it!"

"But you brought it back—explain yourself."

"I bought one just like it, and it took us ten years to pay for it. It was not easy for us who had nothing, but it is all over now, and I am glad."

Mme. Forestier stared.

"And you bought a necklace of diamonds to replace mine?"

"Yes; and you never knew the difference, they were so alike." And she smiled with joyful pride at the success of it all.

Mme. Forestier, deeply moved, took both her hands.

"Oh, my poor Mathilde! My necklace was paste. It was worth only about five hundred francs!"

—Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant.

"Little Masterpieces of Fiction." Volume V. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


Andong was the only son of Isio, an ex-gobernadorcillo (president) of Tuao, Cagayan. At an early age Andong went to Manila to study; but, unfortunately, his father died and the boy could not finish his career, but returned to his native town to take care of his helpless mother. Shortly after his arrival at Tuao, his mother died, and Andong became a poor orphan. During his orphanage he lived miserably, but worked hard in order to release himself from poverty. He cultivated, year after year, his small piece of land, which he inherited[471] from his father. After ten years he had earned a considerable sum, and bought twenty-five carabaos and one hundred hectares of land. He made a trip to Ilocos Norte, and succeeded in getting several Ilocano families to live and to work on his plantation.

One day, while he was working in his field, he received a message from the gobernadorcillo, notifying him of his nomination as a cabeza de barangay (councilor), and Andong, instead of insulting the police, as many had done, said, "Well, leave with me the letter, and I will call on the gobernadorcillo this afternoon." When Andong had finished his work in the field, he called at the gobernadorcillo's house, and talked with him about his unexpected nomination. Andong said, "I have no objection to serving my municipality, for it is the duty of every citizen to serve his town government the best he can, and I am thankful to the government for having nominated me as one of the principales; but before I accept the office, I wish to see the tax list of my district to know whether any of the people are in arrears, for I do not want to lose my property, which I have earned by hard labor, to answer for the debts of the people of my district, nor can I go to look for them in other provinces, nor—"

"Whether you are willing, or not, you are forced to accept your nomination," interrupted the gobernadorcillo, "and to-day your property is hypothecated to pay the debts of your people to the government."

"But, sir, who has hypothecated my property? Is it possible that anybody has the right to confiscate my property?"

"Surely," said the gobernadorcillo. "Some of the[472] principales and I have been informed that you own many hectares of land, and that you are immensely rich, so the governor of our province has confirmed your nomination as cabeza de barangay."

"I accept my nomination, but I do not want to answer for the debt of the people under my command," said Andong.

"Whether you like it or not, you will be cabeza de barangay, and be compelled to pay all the debts of your people," answered the gobernadorcillo.

"Well, I will think about the matter first," replied Andong, and he went to the house of Aning, an old ex-gobernadorcillo, to consult him.

The gobernadorcillo was not surprised at Andong's nomination, for he was one of those principales who had recommended Andong to the council. Aning advised Andong to accept the office. "A cabeza de barangay is always respected and honored by the people," said the gobernadorcillo. "He receives no salary, to be sure, but he gets gifts of eggs, chickens, pigs, fruits, which when sold bring much money. Besides, when he wants to build a house for himself, some of his people bring him lumber, rattan, cogon, and other materials, while the others erect the house without any pay." "But I do not like to molest my people, and I hate to see them serve me as a master, for they are my brothers," answered Andong.

"Do you prefer then to die from hunger rather than to cheat your people as your predecessors did?" asked Aning. "Yes, I prefer death, to seeing my people oppressed," replied Andong. Disgusted at the servile conversation of the ex-gobernadorcillo, Andong[473] left him in vegetating complacency, sitting on a bamboo chair with a fan in his hand.

Unwillingly Andong became a cabeza de barangay. During the first year of his office he gave eighty pesos to the government to pay the debts of his runaway people.

Now his wealth was decreasing, for his duties made him neglect his work in the field. The fact that he was becoming poorer each day, led him into despair. He remembered the advice of Aning; but he had no courage to abuse his poor people. He could not deceive them, for to deceive such people would be the same as stealing. But who would pay back the money lost? This was the question which worried him many times.

To forget his painful situation he took to drinking basi (Ilocano wine which is extracted from the sugar cane), and became a drunkard. He forgot entirely his old business, and in his intoxicated moments he often exclaimed: "While I live, let me enjoy the fruit of my own toil instead of paying it all over to the government."

On account of his drunkenness, he neglected to collect the taxes from his people, and the deficit doubled the following year. At first nobody wanted to lend him money to pay his debt to the government; for his property was already hypothecated; but, at last a kind and rich officer lent him the money he needed, at twenty per cent interest, and with the condition that if he could not pay his debt within the period of two-years, his property would be pledged for the second time in favor of the creditor. Andong fell into a long meditation. He remembered once more the advice of Aning, and he was revolving in his mind plans which might release him[474] from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, he decided to go to Ittong, an ex-cabeza de barangay, to ask for advice.

Andong asked Ittong to work for his election to the office of gobernadorcillo, in order that he might be saved from his critical situation. But wise Ittong advised him not to seek such an office; for it was worse than a cabeza de barangay: "The best thing for you to do is to let the government confiscate your property, go to prison, and then when you are released from jail, you can earn again your lost property," he said.

"Your advice seems excellent to me," answered Andong, "but can't they nominate me again as cabeza de barangay when I accumulate more property?"

"Since you have not held the office during a period of ten years, they can oblige you to accept the office again," said Ittong.

Andong, after a long pause, said to Ittong: "I want to be elected gobernadorcillo so that I can save my property instead of going to jail."

"If you desire it, I can recommend you to my friends Islao, Ansong, Momong, Ipi, and Cadio, who will nominate you as the candidate of our party for the coming election," said Ittong. "I thank you for your kindness," said Andong, and bade good-bye to his future advocate, Ittong.

Andong was nominated as the candidate of Ittong's party for gobernadorcillo. Ambeng, the candidate of the opposing party, was more popular than Ittong, consequently he was more sure to succeed in the coming election. The critical day was approaching. Many of the cabezas de barangay went to pay their contributions to the municipal treasurer, in order to be allowed to vote.[475] On the eve of the election the drum of the tribunal never stopped beating and the voters of the town kept flocking to the polling-place. On the morning of the election, all the principales in their holiday dresses awaited the governor at the tribunal. When the governor came, they took off their hats and followed him. They entered the tribunal, and sat around a long table, presided over by the governor. Before beginning the election, the governor delivered a short speech of welcome and he emphasized that they must elect that man who was rich, honest, and capable. After a long discussion, Ambeng was elected by a big majority.

Andong was disappointed and disgusted over his defeat. But while Ambeng's party was still celebrating their triumph the governor of the province received a telegram from the central government, announcing Andong's nomination as gobernadorcillo of Tuao. Ambeng was elected by the people, but Andong had been recommended to the governor-general by the curate of the town, the governor of the province, and the chief of the guardia civil; so Andong was appointed to the office he sought.

On the day of Andong's possession, the people of Tuao held a holiday in his honor. There was a land parade in which all the princapales of the town took part. After the parade, Andong went to the tribunal to take his oath before the justice of the peace. After this ceremony the chief of police read his administrative program, in which he obliged every one of his people to go to mass on Sundays and holidays, and prohibited gambling, drunkenness, and stealing.

Time flew. After three months' administration, Andong[476] became worried over his business; for he was compelled to visit every day his superiors, and to go to mass on Sundays and holidays. However, he was a zealous ruler. He organized a militia. He succeeded in pacifying the Igorrotes, who were fighting one another, and he caught many of the bandits, who were ravaging the neighboring towns.

Everything was going all right, when, unexpectedly, Andong received an order from the court of justice to appear before the judge to answer all the complaints of the people about his abuses in the government. Andong, before going to court went to see Ittong, his old advocate. Ittong advised him not to be afraid. "Call officially your witnesses," he said, "and tell them that you will put them into prison if they declare against you." The wind was strong against Andong. Nobody could save him from his trouble. The prison was awaiting him. Andong was perplexed; he did not know what to do. While he was looking at the neighboring mountains, a wise thought came to his mind. "I will go and live in those woods with the Igorrotes, rather than to suffer the oppression of my superiors and the hatred of my own people!" he exclaimed. Meanwhile, he received an urgent despatch from a friend, announcing that the government had discharged him from his office, and had sentenced him to be put into prison. Immediately, Andong and one of his servants fled from Tuao and sought refuge in the neighboring forests, there to live like wild men, with no ambition above that of the brute, caring only for their next meal, but harboring in their hearts a deadly hatred of Spanish rule.

—Justo E. Avila.

[477] PART II




The second large division heading explains itself. In an atmosphere of facts all the true narrative types stand. Whether these types are used as retainers of truth only is another question. Manifestly they are not. Manifestly there is much fiction that succeeds merely because it is cast in the true story mold. But the concern of the writer who chooses any one of these forms is to pour truth into it, whether the truth be historical actualities or only artistic probabilities.

It is more helpful to consider the types on their simplest basis; hence in a study like this, one would assume for content always real happenings. The necessity that the story go unquestioned does not, however, excuse the recorder of actual events from using his imagination. Indeed, only by using it can he come to write true history or true biography. Without "the inward eye" one cannot see the past. Without sympathy—which is another word for imagination—one cannot know his fellowman. A biographer, an historian, above all else should be able to see the unseen, not the unseen of the unreal, but the unseen of the real, a vastly different thing! The two are exact opposites, the what-is and the what-was set over against the what-was-not and the what-could-not-be.

In this chapter five types of narratives of actual events are grouped as particular accounts, or adventitious[480] history, in contrast with continuous personal history, and continuous impersonal, or community history.

Particular accounts have to do with those small happenings that seem to come by chance, those events that form, as it were, complete and detachable bits of life. That is to say, each relation is of something that has taken place or been witnessed in a comparatively short time—an incident of a trip downtown, a characteristic action of a great man, an important political event, an adventure, a brief series of pleasures.

I. The Incident


The word "incident" comes from the Latin and means "falling upon or into something, impinging from without;" hence something depending upon or contained in another thing, as its principal. In narrative, then, it is the record of a subordinate act or of an event happening at the same time as some other event and of less importance. Any little occurrence may be considered an incident. The report of it generally has excuse for being in the fact that knowledge of it throws light on the main event or intensifies interest therein. Accordingly every good narrative of this type possesses a horizon larger than itself. Somewhere within the story there is a clause connecting the event with other occurrences or with the prime occurrence.

How to tell an incident

An incident may or may not be an eye-witness account. Indeed, an incident may be told by a person removed the third, the hundredth degree from the happening. The essential thing is the evidence of reality. Of course there are[481] fictitious incidents—like those in "Robinson Crusoe"—but the whole care of the writer in such cases is to simulate truth. Very often a work of fiction is but a skillful piecing together of actual small happenings. An incident is valued in itself for one of two reasons—either for the fact which it records or for the author's humanity revealed in the narration. Though slight, an incident should be well told. It need not be pointed, but it should proceed in an orderly and interesting fashion. The diction should be natural. As hinted before, an incident should have a setting. The reader ought to be able to feel something of where the characters have come from and whither they are going. The more nicely such a coherence is suggested, the more pleasing the little story will be.

One thinks of the quiet delightfulness of Wordsworth's Incidents which he calls "Poems on the Naming of Places." They are small stories out of his life and the lives of his friends—natural records out of natural living, but as charming and interesting as any tale of

"Naiad by the side
Of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere,
Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance."

Robert Browning's "Incident of the French Camp" is an example of the more stirring small happening. Books of travel are largely series of incidents, but because of the continued presence of the same personality fall into a class distinct from this. Good letter-writers are usually fascinating relators of incidents. Cowper, Jane Welsh Carlyle, Dorothy Osborne, Gray,[482] Lowell, Edward Fitzgerald, charmed not only their correspondents but all their later readers. The earlier accounts of his life away from home that "R. L. S." sent back to his mother contain exquisite small bits of narration.

A Near Tragedy

A most tragical incident fell out this day at sea. While the ship was under sail, but making, as will appear, no great way, a kitten, one of four of the feline inhabitants of the cabin, fell from the window into the water: an alarm was immediately given to the captain, who was then upon deck, and received it with the utmost concern. He immediately gave orders to the steersman in favor of the poor thing, as he called it; the sails were instantly slackened, and all hands, as the phrase is, employed to recover the poor animal. I was, I own, extremely surprised at all this; less, indeed, at the captain's extreme tenderness, than at his conceiving any possibility of success; for, if puss had had nine thousand instead of nine lives, I concluded they had been all lost. The boatswain, however, had more sanguine hopes; for, having stript himself of his jacket, breeches, and shirt, he leapt boldly into the water, and, to my great astonishment, in a few minutes, returned to the ship, bearing the motionless animal in his mouth. Nor was this, I observed, a matter of such great difficulty as it appeared to my ignorance, and possibly may seem to that of my fresh-water readers: the kitten was now exposed to air and sun on the deck, where its life, of which it retained no symptoms, was despaired of by all.

The captain's humanity, if I may so call it, did not so[483] totally destroy his philosophy as to make him yield himself up to affliction on this melancholy occasion. Having felt his loss like a man, he resolved to show he could bear it like one; and, having declared he had rather have lost a cask of rum or brandy, betook himself to thrashing at backgammon with the Portuguese friar, in which innocent amusement they passed nearly all their leisure hours.

But as I have, perhaps, a little too wantonly endeavored to raise the tender passions of my readers in this narrative, I should think myself unpardonable if I concluded it without giving them the satisfaction of hearing that the kitten at last recovered, to the great joy of the good captain; but to the great disappointment of some of the sailors, who asserted that the drowning a cat was the very surest way of raising a favorable wind: a supposition of which, though we have heard several plausible accounts, we will not presume to assign the true original reason.

—Henry Fielding.

"Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon."

Birds Divulge Army Secrets

During the night, before the battle of Sadowa, an Austrian division commanded by the archduke, retreating before the Prussian army, had bivouacked near a town in Bohemia, facing north, says Sir Evelyn Wood, in the London Gazette.

At midnight the archduke, when resting in a peasant's cottage, was awakened by the arrival of a gypsy, having come to report the advance of the enemy.

The archduke, who spoke Romany fluently, asked:[484] "How do you know? Our outposts have not reported any movement."

"That, your highness, is because the enemy is some way off."

"Then how do you know?"

The gypsy, pointing to the dark sky, lighted by the moon, observed: "You see those birds flying over the woods from north to south?"

"Yes; what of them?"

"Those birds do not fly by night unless disturbed, and the direction of their flight indicates that the enemy is coming this way."

The archduke put his division under arms and reinforced the outposts, which in two hours' time were heavily attacked.

An Incident Related In a Letter

7:20 P. M.—I must tell you a thing I saw to-day. I was going down to Portobello in the train, when there came into the next compartment (third-class) an artisan, strongly marked with smallpox, and with sunken, heavy eyes—a face hard and unkind, and without anything lovely. There was a woman on the platform seeing him off. At first sight, with her one eye blind and the whole cast of her features strongly plebeian, and even vicious, she seemed as unpleasant as the man; but there was something beautifully soft, a sort of light of tenderness, as on some Dutch Madonna, that came over her face when she looked at the man. They talked for a while together through the window; the man seemed to have been asking for money. "Ye ken the last time," she said, "I gave ye two shillings for your lodgin', and ye said—"it[485] died off in a whisper. Plainly Falstaff and Dame Quickly over again. The man laughed unpleasantly, even cruelly, and said something; and the woman turned her back on the carriage and stood a long while so, and, do what I might, I could catch no glimpse of her expression, although I thought I saw the heave of a sob in her shoulders. At last, after the train was already in motion, she turned and put two shillings into his hand. I saw her stand and look after us with a perfect heaven of love on her face—this poor one-eyed Madonna—until the train was out of sight; but the man, sordidly happy with his gains, did not put himself to the inconvenience of one glance to thank her for her ill-deserved kindness.

—Robert Louis Stevenson.

In letter to Mrs. Stillwell, Sept. 16, 1873.

A Hero Dead

It was very dark in the east corridor of the Armory, and, save for the quiet footfall of the ever-watchful orderly, there was no sound in the silent room where the nation's dead lay wrapped in the great silk flag. In the shadow of the stairway, a group of secret-service men were nervously whispering among themselves, with occasional glances that strove to penetrate the black void that lay beyond the crape-hung doorway.

Their sergeant stood a little apart from the others, an alert figure, with a hand that lingered suggestively about his hip-pocket. For three days he had kept unwearied watch while thousands had paid their last homage to the dead servant of the people, and the strain was telling upon him. The nation had lost a hero, but John MacDonald had lost his idol—and his best friend.[486] Through his mind was sweeping a strong revulsion at conditions which could have fostered so wanton a murder; and a sudden and passionate hatred of the dark race to whose salvation this man had been a martyr threatened almost to unman this stern son of the service. That very day he had sent away with a curse a paralytic old negro who had brought his handful of field-lilies to the bier of the savior of his race. MacDonald had felt no qualm at his action, and when, later, he had found the poor flowers lying withered outside the closed door, he kicked them aside with an oath. In a measure, the stern old Scotchman had not been responsible for his actions at that time, for it was just then that he had heard the dread rumor which was spreading its dark wake through the crapehung corridors. That very night while the whole nation was yet bowed in its sorrow, an attempt was to be made to steal the body of the dead hero. The crime seemed scarcely to be believed, but the men of the secret-service, scattered throughout the dark corridor, were awake and ready.

John MacDonald, striving vainly in his grief-saddened heart to frame a reason for it all, wondered how he had been able to resist the old negro with his tear-wet face and pleading voice. That black creature was a man like himself, and he, also, had loved the great man who was lying so quietly in the folds of his country's flag. "O Lincoln," he spoke, raising a clenched hand toward the black doorway, "they have murdered you, they have taken you from us, but still—" Suddenly his muscles stiffened, and something very akin to a chill crept about the roots of his hair. There had come the quiet but unmistakable sound of a footfall from the[487] room where the dead lay. The Scotchman stood a man of stone, and while his very hair stiffened with horror, a mighty wrath swept over his whole being. They were at it, then, those fiends who dared to desecrate the body of his lord with their filthy touch. With a movement like a cat, MacDonald drew his ready weapon, and, with a call to his startled subordinates, stepped boldly over the threshold.

In a moment, the room was filled with the glare of torches, and the secret-service men, crowding in the doorway, saw the leveled weapon of their chief sink inertly to his side.

On the black catafalque the hero lay, beneath the outstretched wings of the eagle of the republic, and at his feet, sobbing out his grief-stricken heart, knelt an old negro.

—Ida Treat.

My First Day at School

The room was not large enough for a schoolroom. The floor, the wall, and the roof were all made of bamboo. In the center of the room was a long, narrow, roughly-made table, at which sat closely twenty or thirty pupils. There were also two or three benches here and there, on which sat new boys and girls. At the end of the long table sat a rather old but fierce-looking man, the schoolmaster. In his left hand he held a book, and in his right, a whip; for at that time the principle governing schools was that knowledge could not be gained without severe bodily punishment.

When I entered the schoolroom, my "cartilla" in hand, this was the first scene that met my eyes. It happened[488] that Titay, a cousin of mine, had been sent to school on that day also; so we had the same lesson. In harsh tones the teacher ordered us to study the vowels of the Spanish alphabet. And with a loud voice we repeated again and again, a, e, i, o, u, until we knew them—at least we thought so—by heart.

At last our turn came; and we were called to go to our teacher. My cousin (a girl) was at his left side, while I was at his right.

"What is this?" the teacher asked my cousin.

"A," she answered, correctly.

However, at his second, third, and fourth questions, she was confused and could not answer. But I really knew "a, e, i, o, u," by heart, for my kind mother had taught them to me; so I proudly corrected every mistake she had made. After every correction, the teacher would say to me, "Tira la oreja" (meaning, "Pull her ears"). And with what boyish pleasure did I pull her ears! She cried and resolved never to go to school again.

When I returned home, I was very boastful, and told everybody in the household of my triumph. Thus I received encouragement in my first school day, and after that I continued to study with interest till I myself received some bodily punishment.

—Máximo M. Kalaw.

The Guinatan Prize

One day I came to the schoolhouse tardy. When I entered the door, I saw the pupils standing side by side in a row and facing the teacher. There was one column of numbers on the blackboard, near which the teacher stood with a long wooden pointer in his hand. As soon[489] as I saw the numbers on the board, I knew at once that there would be a contest. So I laid down my books on the floor, took off my hat, and stood next to the last boy.

"Teacher, Leopoldo does not belong here. He is the captain-general. Therefore, he should stand next to Federico," said the last boy as soon as he saw me.

"No," said the teacher, "he came in tardy. Boys, you must learn to come to school on time," he continued.

The teacher then gave us names: he named the first boy general, the second major-general, the third captain-general, and so on. I, being the last boy, was named ranchero, or the cook of the army.

"He who is the general at the end of the contest will be given a cup of guinatan as a prize," said the teacher.

"Now begin, Martin," he continued. Martin began to add the numbers on the board with accuracy, and finished within forty seconds. The major-general did the same, but he finished within forty-five seconds. The captain-general added the numbers within forty-two seconds. So he pulled the ear of the major-general, and they exchanged places. Before, my turn came, there had been many changes already, a soldier had beaten a colonel, a sergeant had passed a lieutenant.

"All right, Leopoldo," said the teacher.

"One—six—fourteen—twenty-two—thirty—thirty-six—forty-five. Carry four. Eight—ten—fifteen—twenty-one—twenty-nine—thirty-five—forty!" I said without stopping to take a breath.

"Forty seconds!" announced the teacher.


The teacher wanted to try me again, but the boys said they should like to hear the general first.

"All right. Go on, Martin," said the teacher.

This time Martin failed. He finished within thirty-seven seconds, but he made a mistake. The boys shouted.

Fortunately, the time was up. So I was pronounced the victor. The teacher bought a cup of guinatan, the sweet fruit mixture that Filipino children so much love, and gave it to me. I was very proud then. When I reached home, I told my mother all that had happened. She was very happy.

—Leopoldo Faustino.

II. The Anecdote

Meaning of the term

In the sense in which a proverb is a condensed parable, an anecdote is a condensed character-sketch or biography. Like many of our other terms the word "anecdote" itself reveals to an extent its present meaning. It is derived from the Greek and signifies "something not published." This is the sense in which Cicero uses it when he speaks of a book of anecdotes on which he was engaged, but which he talks of confiding to a single friend only, as if it were not intended ever to be published. In literature the word has been used to denote either secret histories or portions of ancient writers which have remained long in manuscript and are edited for the first time. The anecdotes of Procopius, which were published in London in 1674 under the title "The Secret History of the Court of Justinian," are evidence of the first significance; and Dr. Johnson's reference to the English-French fashion of using the word for a[491] "biographical minute passage of private life" establishes the second meaning.

In our day, collections of anecdotes—criticisms and observations, smart sayings and ludicrous tales, delivered by eminent men in conversation and recorded by their friends or discovered among their papers after their death, and put together with historical incidents concerning them—are published under the term ana.


The ancients were in the habit of indulging in this species of literature. From earliest periods Oriental nations have preserved the intimate talk of their wise men. From them the Greeks and Romans took up the practice. Plato and Xenophon recorded the colloquially expressed ideas of their master Socrates. It appears that Julius Cæsar compiled a book of apophthegms in which he related the bon mots of Cicero; and a freedman of that orator, taken with his master's liveliness and wit, composed three books of a work entitled "De Jocis Ciceronis."

Eighteenth century collections

But the term ana seems to have been applied to such collections only so far back as the fifteenth century. The information and anecdotes picked up by Poggio and his friend Barthelemi Montepolitiano during a literary trip in Germany "are to be called," says another friend in a letter, "Poggiana and Montepolitiana." Perhaps the most typical, and surely a very famous and interesting, production of this species of narrative in English is the "Walpoliana," a transcript of the literary conversation of Horace Walpole, Earl of Oxford. Selden's "Table Talk" was considered by Dr. Johnson good[492] ana, better than the French. But incomparably superior to all, a collection the most remarkable in the English language-and indeed, in any language (as a writer in the "Britannica" asserts)—is James Boswell's "Life of Samuel Johnson." Though not conforming to the type of collection either in name or in form of presentation, this, according to Carlyle, "the greatest production of the eighteenth century," depends for its value mainly upon its ana. "Its interest," the same writer goes on to say, "arises, not from the details it furnishes of the events of Dr Johnson's career, still less from any attempt at a discriminating estimate of his work and character, but the graphic representation it gives of his habitual manner of life and speech. The animate greatness of Johnson appears, more than in all his writings, in his portrait delineated with the exactness of sharply-defined photograph, as he appeared, to the eyes of his admiring biographer, in his daily deshabille."

That is the secret of anecdote—it must get at the real man in however small a part.

While a book of ana is a collection of short, pointed, true colloquial relations of more or less detached interesting particulars concerning a person of consequence, a single anecdote is one of those interesting particulars entirely detached, short, pointed, true, and colloquial. A book of anecdotes is a group of stories, miscellaneous so far as subject matter is concerned. Spence's "Anecdotes" is a very famous eighteenth century literary set; and Percy's is an early nineteenth, with the stories selected—as the preface ostensibly gives notice—for their moral effect, and arranged according to the virtue[493] illustrated or the subject treated—humanity, generosity, kindness; science, art, and so on.

How to write an anecdote

As we have seen, to be most interesting an anecdote must be singularly expressive of the peculiarities of the person represented; or if the event recorded is not in the form of a character episode, but rather in the form of an unusual happening, it must be consonant with the accepted popular notion of the man's personality. To write an original anecdote you will need to pick out of your past experience or the experience of some one of your acquaintances a story of a more or less important personage in your neighborhood, a happening that has never hitherto been written down. If the person concerned is not very well known or if the trait of character revealed would not be immediately recognized by his friends, you might prefix a slight statement that will help point your narrative. Remember, however, that an anecdote must be very brief; also that it must have a single and complete climax; and that you must under no circumstance be induced to add another word after the climax is reached.

Coleridge's Retort

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was so bad a horseman that when he mounted he generally attracted unfavorable notice. On a certain occasion he was riding along a turnpike road in the country of Durham, when he was met by a wag, who, mistaking his man, thought the rider a good subject for sport. "I say, young man," cried the rustic, "did you see a tailor on the road?" "Yes, I[494] did; and he told me that if I went a little farther, I should meet a goose."

An Inevitable Misfortune

When Boswell was first introduced to Dr. Johnson, he apologized to him for being a Scotchman. "I find," said he, "that I am come to London at a bad time when great popular prejudice has gone forth against us North Britons; but when I am talking to you, I am talking to a large and liberal mind, and you know that I cannot help coming from Scotland." "Sir, replied the doctor, archly, "no more can the rest of your countrymen."

A Point Needing to Be Settled

A Scottish clergyman, being one day engaged in visiting some member of his flock, came to the door of a house where his gentle tapping could not be heard for the noise of contention inside. After waiting a little, he opened the door and walked in, saying with an authoritative voice, "I should like to know who is the head of this house?"

"Weel, sir," said the husband and father, "if ye sit doon a wee, we'll may be able to tell ye, for we're just trying to settle that point."


When Lord Chesterfield was one day at Newcastle House, the Duke happened to be particularly busy, so the Earl was requested to sit down in an anteroom. "Garnet upon Job," a book dedicated to the Duke, happened to lie in the window; and his Grace, upon entering[495] found the Earl so busily engaged in reading, that he asked how he liked the commentary. "In any other place," replied Chesterfield, "I should not think much of it; but there is such great propriety in putting a volume upon patience in the room where every visitor has to wait for your Grace, that here it must be considered as one of the best books in the world."

Preaching and Practice

Dr. Channing had a brother, a physician, and at one time they both lived in Boston. One day, a countryman in search of a divine, knocked at the doctor's door, when the following dialogue ensued:

"Does Mr. Channing live here?"

"Yes, sir."

"Can I see him?"

"I am he."


"Yes, sir."

"You must have altered considerably since I heard you preach!"

"Oh, I see your mistake now. It's my brother who preaches. I practice."

Johnson's Dictionary

When Dr. Johnson had completed his dictionary, which had quite exhausted the patience of Mr. Andrew Millar, his bookseller, the latter acknowledged the receipt of the last sheet, in the following note:

"Andrew Millar sends his compliments to Mr. Samuel Johnson with the money for the last sheet of the[496] copy of the dictionary, and thanks God he has done with him."

To this rude note the doctor returned the following smart answer:

"Samuel Johnson returns his compliments to Mr. Andrew Millar, and is very glad to find (as he does by his note), that Andrew Millar has the grace to thank God for anything."

—Percy's "Anecdotes."

The Boy Kipling

Rudyard Kipling's keen and sympathetic understanding of all the diversified and picturesque varieties of human nature found in British India, is too well recognized as part of his power to need assertion; but a little anecdote which his mother remembers of his boyhood is not without a pretty allegorical significance. It was at Nasik, on the Dekhan plain, not far from Bombay, when the little fellow, trudging over the ploughed field, with his hand in that of the native husbandman, called back to her in the Hindustani, which was as familiar to him as English, "Good-by, this is my brother!"

—Professor Norton, in a biographical sketch.

Sir Godfrey Kneller

Pope tells the following story about the great portrait painter:

"As I was sitting by Sir Godfrey Kneller one day, whilst he was drawing a picture, he stopped and said: 'I can't do so well as I should do, unless you flatter me a little; pray flatter me, Mr. Pope! you know I love[497] to be flattered.' I was at once willing to try how far his vanity would carry him, and, after considering a picture, which he had just finished, for a good while very attentively, I said to him in French (for he had been talking for some time before in that language): "On lit dans les Écritures Saintes, que le bon Dieu faisoit l'homme aprés son image: mais, je crois, que s'il voudroit faire un autre a présent, qu'il le feroit apres l'image que voilá.' Sir Godfrey turned round and said very gravely, 'Vous avez raison, Mons Pope; par Dieu, je le crois aussi.'"


Here is another: Mr. Pope was with Sir Godfrey Kneller one day, when his nephew, a Guinea trader, came in. "Nephew," said Sir Godfrey, "you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world." "I don't know how great you may be," said the Guinea man, "but I don't like your looks; I have often bought a man much better than both of you together, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas."

—Dr. Warburton.

The Capitan Municipal and the Jokers

Once there lived in the town of Balanga an old Capitan Municipal who was nicknamed carabao; for he was a very big man and also a very great eater.

One day as a land parade was going on in honor of Dr. Rizal, three well-known jokers of the town were following the procession, when they suddenly came to a small pond in the street. And one of them said, "What a nice time our public carabao had taking his mid-day bath in here." "Oh! yes, he must have had a very good[498] time indeed," replied the two. But unexpectedly the Capitan was at their back, hearing all they said about him.

Therefore as soon as the procession was over, they were arrested in the Municipal building. And on the next day they were tried and sentenced by the Capitan to fill in all the ponds of the streets around the town, and also to drain them properly.

—José Feliciano.

An Instance of Bamboo Spanish

In the Ateneo de Manila all the pupils are forbidden to speak any language except Spanish.

One day the pupils of the college went out to the yard to play baseball. It happened that one of the boys who was watching the game was hurt at the kneejoint, and fell down on the ground. The boy cried so loud that the rector at once went hurriedly to see what was happening in the yard. He saw the boy sitting on the ground with one of his legs bent. He approached him, and said, "What has happened to you, my boy?" And the boy feeling yet the pain that the ball had caused him, answered, "Father, while I was watching my companions who were playing baseball my—, my—," "What?" said the rector, impatiently. "Father, my—, my—," answered the boy, showing his kneejoint as he was pronouncing the word "my." "Do you mean your leg?" said the rector. "No, father I mean my—," replied the boy. "But your what" cried the rector, "say what you mean to say." The boy, who was trying hard to find the word in Spanish for kneejoint, answered at last, "my vino-vinohan, father, was hurt." The rector,[499] though very angry at the boy's dullness, laughed heartily at his dictionary-making powers.

Note—The word in Tagalog for knee-joint is "alak-alakan," which is similar to the Tagalog word "alak," meaning wine in English and vino in Spanish. The boy, not knowing the proper word in Spanish for knee-joint, derived the word "vino-vinohan" from the Spanish word vino, which means alak (wine) in Tagalog.

Mr. Taft's Mistake

It was a bright day when a crowd of people stood before a platform decorated with palm leaves and roofed with a banner of stars and stripes. The eyes of the spectators, who were all eager to hear the speech of the well-known eloquent orator and skillful politician, Mr. William H. Taft, were fixed on the personages on the platform.

At last, after an ovation by the multitude, Mr. Taft rose up and addressed the audience thus: "Señoras y caballos."[8]

—Amando Clemente.

III. The Eye-Witness Account

Eye-witness account is to true story what realism is to fiction. Exactness is the aim of the narrator. He endeavors to tell precisely what he saw and heard. A great deal of our newspaper "copy" is supposed to be of this type, and likewise much court testimony. The attorneys try to separate distinctly fact from fancy. What a man really must have seen and what he thought he saw are often very different. It appears [500]at first that an unembellished account would be the easiest thing in the world to give, but it takes only a little observation to convince one that few persons can tell what they see or hear; few indeed know what they see or hear. With the bare actuality, they are constantly confounding what they thought or inferred. As a rule, only the man educated to the work can report truthfully.

A unique and curious ancient document of this type is found in a little book that was published by the Spanish Academy of History in 1783, called "El Passo Honroso" or the Passage of Honor. It is a formal eyewitness account prepared on the spot by Delena, one of the authorized scribes of John II, and gives minutely the events of a passage of arms held against all comers in 1434 at the bridge of Orbigo, near the city of Leon, during thirty days, at a moment when the road was thronged with knights going over for a solemn festival to the neighboring shrine of Santiago.[9] Suero de Quiñones, the challenger, was a true gentleman of chivalry, it seems, and had been wearing in sentimental bondage to a noble lady a chain of iron around his neck one day in each week. From his bondage he could be freed only by bringing to her as ransom a minimum number of real spears broken by him and his friends in fair fight. So they stood—ten of them—for thirty days challenging all comers. Delena records sixty-eight opponents; six hundred and twenty-seven encounters; sixty-six broken lances; one dead knight; and many wounded, among whom were Quiñones himself [501]and eight of his fellow-champions. Along with the general narrative is a full account of the religious and chivalric ceremonies as they were actually indulged in from day to day. Such a minute and elaborate and fully authenticated eye-witness record of not fictitious but real "knightly guists and fierce encounters" is manifestly invaluable to a student of chivalry.

It is interesting to think of this dapper young scribe sitting on the side-lines watching the combatants and taking down his notes as the telling rushes were made by either party; and then sending his copy hot from the pen to his royal reader. I suppose we might well call Señor Delena the historical prototype of our modern athletics reporter.

Many of our best literary men have had longer or shorter apprenticeships at getting "copy." Dickens served for a number of years. Facts for a reporter do not come at call; he can not turn them on, so to speak, nor is he permitted to make them up. He must find them. Consequently to be successful he needs to have an ear for news, and an eye for the graphic, a simple but full vocabulary, and a pen made supple by much practice. He must seem to be at home in any department of human action. All his words must carry with them a large tone of veracity. He can hardly afford to make slips even on his minor details, since his brother reporters visit the same scene at the same time.

Literary eye-witness account, however, need not be devoid of all expression of personal feeling. It is only necessary that the writer make clear to his reader which are thoughts and feelings and which are facts. Indeed, the best effect of such a narration will often[502] come from the contrast. The artist lets us into his own state of mind, describes perhaps more or less minutely the stage-setting of his little occurrence—especially if any part is necessary to complete understanding later—portrays in general the types of people who were or might have been concerned, and then drops from his pen one by one the facts cold, clear-cut, unembellished, orderly in sequence, with their participants graphically and cleanly outlined, and thus gains his effect. He is as precise as a lawyer, but he has been also as crafty, in the good sense of the word. He has prepared us to appreciate his facts. If he interprets to us afterwards, he does so in a reflective and an apparently hesitating way that seems to leave us in full possession of our own opinions, which will prove to be in reality only corroborative of his.

It will be good practice for you to attempt to give an eye-witness account of some occurrence. If two or three of your friends were present at the same happening, you may enjoy comparing reports. There will probably be more than one incident to relate; if there is, you must be careful to have sequence and coherence in all that you say. You should anticipate and answer any questions one would naturally ask of an oral reporter. Stop when you have finished. Doubtless you have noticed the unpleasant habit many narrators have of starting over again and repeating all or part of the tale. The temptation does not so readily come to a writer, of course, as to a speaker—unless the writer is paid by the word.

Your readers will not resent interpretation even if it be philosophical, if it be not mixed with the narration[503] and be only honest and of the pragmatic school—interrogative and not dogmatic. Indeed, mankind likes philosophy when it seems to come as an inevitable though tentative summing-up of our almost bewilderingly multiple phenomena.

Story of the Revolution in the Portuguese Capital

Cherbourg, October 8.—On board the Royal Mail Steam Packet liner Asturias, which arrived from Lisbon this morning, were a number of passengers who witnessed the fighting in the Portuguese capital on Wednesday, among them M. Octave Castaigne, a lawyer, of Tournai, who was among the passengers by the Asturias who ventured to land at Lisbon on Wednesday.

"On Tuesday evening," said M. Castaigne, "we were informed by a wireless message that the revolution had broken out in Portugal. From far out at sea was heard the thunder of the cannon and as we entered the Tagus the crackle of rifle fire. On our arrival before Lisbon we noticed that the cruisers Sao Rafael and Adamastor, which were flying the Republican flag, were still firing on the town.

"About ten o'clock the fusillade ceased and a party of five passengers, including two Americans and myself, went ashore. The lower part of the town had the appearance of a city of the dead. The houses were shut and marks of rifle-shots and shells were to be seen everywhere. The centre of the city, on the contrary, was alive with people. The crowd was vociferously acclaiming the Republican flag, which was flying, not only from the public buildings, but from nearly every house. It struck me very clearly that anyone who had had the[504] courage to shout "Long live the King!" would have been shot dead on the spot. The crowd was largely composed of soldiers and sailors under arms, and patrols were also moving about in automobiles to any part of the town that appeared to be greatly menaced by the Royalist troops.

"We reached the City Hall, which was surrounded by a huge crowd, just at the moment when the Republic was being proclaimed. The Republican leaders from the balcony of the building were haranguing the people, whose enthusiasm was indescribable. From time to time the cheers of the crowd were broken by rifle volleys and the reports of cannon.

"When the official ceremony was ended, we succeeded in entering the City Hall. The new Ministers were receiving visitors and were conversing with anyone who presented himself. One of the passengers by the Asturias approached President Braga, and in a short speech congratulated him on the proclamation of the Republic. Dr. Braga replied that he was happy to receive our visit, and added that the Portuguese Republic was definitely established.

"After leaving the City Hall, we proceeded to the most dangerous part of the city, that is to say, the Avenida do Liberdade and the Dom Pedro square. The houses showed signs off cannon shots and the roofs of the majority of them had collapsed. The Avenida do Liberdade was still occupied by the opposing forces. The Republican troops occupied one end of the street, while the Royalists were in possession of the other extremity, being separated by a distance of about five hundred yards. The battle was still in progress. I admit that I[505] was somewhat afraid, and as the shots whistled by I hid myself behind the shelter of a house.

"At the risk of being killed any minute our party succeeded in reaching the Avenida restaurant. That part of the restaurant facing the Avenida do Liberdade was in ruins, and the walls were full of bullet holes. (M. Castaigne has saved some of the bullets as souvenirs.) The Recio railway station had been destroyed by artillery fire and the railway lines had been torn up. The Necessidades Palace shows traces of numerous shells, but it is stated that the interior of the royal residence has suffered even more, shells having simply rained on the roof.

"The Red Cross Society showed admirable devotion during the fighting. I saw its members go into the thick of the fight to pick up the wounded, who on Wednesday were estimated to number over a thousand. The number of killed is considerable, but at the time it was impossible to obtain correct figures."

London, October 9.—The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company's steamer Asturias, which left Lisbon on Thursday, arrived at Southampton yesterday morning, having among her passengers several Englishmen and South Americans who witnessed many of the episodes of the revolution. Among these was General Garcia, who has had experience enough of revolution in South America.

The general told an "Evening News" correspondent that he and six others went into Lisbon on Wednesday. "We found the streets littered with wounded," he said. "A body of troops was being moved from one side of the city to the other, and in the districts through which they passed people were flying panic-stricken, but otherwise everybody was orderly and the city was quiet.


"The Republican flags were on the buildings and all trace of resistance was over. Soldiers were going into shops and houses pulling down pictures of the king, tearing them up and trampling them underfoot. As we passed along, a picture of the King came flying out of a doorway and dropped at our feet. My secretary picked it up. He was immediately surrounded by soldiers, who ordered him to destroy it at once.

"I went to the municipal buildings and there saw members of the provisional government, who allowed me to cable to my own government in Cuba. I should say the estimate of fifty killed and three hundred wounded is not high enough, but the list is remarkably small, all considered. I have seen many revolutions, but none so beautifully carried out as this."

Paris, October 9.—"The abounding joying joy of the people—tempered by admirable self-control—and repeated evidences of careful organization—these were the things which impressed me most."

In these words Mr. Charles H. Sherrill, American Minister to Argentina, told a Herald correspondent at the Hotel Majestic last night, of a visit he paid to Lisbon on Wednesday, a few hours after the overthrow of the Portuguese monarchy. With Mrs. Sherrill and their young son he was a passenger on the Asturia, which touched at Lisbon.

"The shooting began about two o'clock on Tuesday morning," he continued. "It was at six o'clock on Wednesday morning that we came into the harbor. The bombardment of the palace had ceased, but with our glasses we could see the dents which the shells had made in the walls.


"I disembarked at about one o'clock in the afternoon and went to the American Legation to see if it had suffered damage. I found the streets swarming with inhabitants, who were singing and shouting in their joy. Save for this celebration there were few evidences of the conflict in the lower part of the town.

"But it was different in the Avenida, the broad thoroughfare leading to the elevation back of the city. The insurgents had permitted the Royalists to form in Rocio square, in the down town district. The insurgents then took their position on the hills above, holding the Royalists in a trap, hedged in on the other side by the attacking ships in the bay.

"From the elevation at the upper end of the field, guns had been aimed down the Avenida. The avenue had been stripped of trees, windows had been shattered and the fronts of buildings which projected farther than others had been partly demolished. The American Legation escaped even the slightest damage.

"Occasionally I encountered a wall which bore striking evidence of the battle. Blood was matted upon it and blood had coagulated in the gutters, indicating only too plainly that several lives had been lost there. Whole groups in the sidewalk had been mowed down by shell from the field-guns.

"Nearly every man I saw and many boys carried guns. They were not rifles of the 'homespun' variety—these arms—but Mausers and equally effective weapons. These were evidences of preparation. Fully a thousand people were waving flags—the red and green flag of the new Republic—a further proof that the revolution had not come just when it did by accident.


"For the new Portuguese flag is a rather complicated affair. Across a blue circle in the centre is a curved line in white bearing the inscription, 'Patria e Liberdade.' Half the space of the background is red—revolution—and green, symbolizing hope.

"I followed a crowd and a band into the City Hall. There in a large room I saw the President and his cabinet in session, probably drawing up one of the new government's addresses to the people. It was plain to me that these were not men who had been 'pitchforked' into office over night. Their appearance was that of sober, responsible officials. I was simply a curiosity-seeker, of course, and kept my identity concealed.

"As I walked along I heard two shots fired in a side street. A moment later a cart drove by in which lay two bodies. A crowd formed at the scene of the shooting, but there was no suspicion of a riot. Among the thousands of people I saw that day there was not a single person who appeared to be under the influence of liquor. There seemed to be no looting; no outrages were committed. It was a most impressive object-lesson of the self-control which a Latin people is able to maintain when it is imbued with a serious purpose.

"Country folk were pouring into town by the thousands, and these reflected the joy and satisfaction felt by the residents of the city. They afforded a rebuke to the suspicion that the revolutionary feeling was confined to Lisbon itself. The spirit of the people was best expressed by two words, composing a headline which stretched across the front page of an afternoon newspaper. Translated, it read simply: 'At Last!'

"And it was apparent also that the revolution was[509] accomplished with as little bloodshed as possible. The insurgents were merciful—if that term is permissible in this connection. Shells fired from the ships in the bay were directed in such a way that they should explode over the town, carrying the desired warning, but causing the minimum amount of damage.

"I was told that the dead and wounded numbered three thousand. I am certain this was a great exaggeration. My estimate is about 600 or 700, basing these figures on information obtained at the headquarters of the Red Cross Society.

"Most of the residents of Lisbon give the greatest share of credit for the result to the seamen. A hero was made of every sailor who appeared in the streets. The crowds cheered him heartily, but the army officers aroused much less enthusiasm.

"Save for these evidences of jubilation Lisbon was quiet and orderly—think of it, only a few hours after such an uprising as this! The bodies of the dead had been removed, the wounded were being nursed and business was proceeding almost normally. In front of every bank was a guard of sailors to protect the financial interests of the people. It seems strange that I, who have lived in South America two years, was forced to come to Europe in order to see a revolution."

A Contrast

On the night of February 4, 1910, the eve of the carnival, I went to take a walk in the Luneta. Already from the distance I could see the hippodrome in the carnival grounds well illuminated. "What is going on in there?" I asked myself, and not being able to explain[510] the matter, and urged by my curiosity to know everything, I walked in that direction.

Many people, foreigners as well as natives, were crowding up and down the sidewalk near the fence enclosing the carnival grounds. There were also constabulary guards at almost every thirty spaces to prevent the people from peeping through the fence. But in spite of the presence of these guards some people, nevertheless, seized the opportunity that offered now and then while the guard was not looking, and peeped through the fence.

I then saw that I was not the only one who was anxious to know what was going on in the hippodrome, and, what is more, my anxiety grew stronger. Then a moment came when I lost a little self-control, and I, too, shared some of those opportunities that offered. But suddenly there came the guard who warned us to stop the business. At that very moment, an American came along and he, too, could not help wanting to see what was going on inside. But the guard went to him at once and said: "No se permite eso, si tu quieres ver lo que hay adentro, puede Vd. pasar por la puerta central." "Vd. sabi muy bein que eso no verdad, sabi," replied the American angrily. Then the guard told him that he had received orders to see that people did not peep through the fence. "To h—— with your orders!" said the American. "Well, este habla el commanding officer," replied the guard. "Oh, nom porta!" At this moment an American policeman came along and asked the American what was the matter. "This fellow wants to prevent me from peeping through this fence when I am on neutral ground," "Well, that is just what I am going to[511] do," replied the policeman, and he again explained him the order. "I don't care for that order!" "Well, if you don't shut up, I shall take you to the police station!" "You may!" Then the policeman told him to walk on; for he did not know what he was talking about. "All right," said the gentleman, and he walked away; but he came back and asked the policeman what his number was. "It makes no difference what my number is," said the officer of the law. "Well, I want to know it." "My number is——, and my name is——; and what's your name?" "My name is——, and I am the secretary in the public——"(!). "All right," said the policeman, and both men took opposite directions.

Two bystanders who witnessed this incident began to argue as to what would have happened had the American gentleman been a Filipino. One of them said that if the man were a Filipino and had argued with the officer of the law in that way, he would have received a good knock on his head. The other said that he was satisfied with the way the American policeman behaved himself.

I then returned and walked toward the central gate of the carnival grounds, and there, to my surprise, I saw the very same American gentleman come and walk straight inside without saying a word to the guard. Then a Filipino came along and asked the guard to be allowed to go in, but, unfortunately, according to the guard, only the stockholders were allowed to enter.

Was the American gentleman a stockholder? He alone knows.

—Adolfo Scheerer.


IV. The Tale of Actual Adventure

Tales of actual adventure differ from the other true narratives in the fact of the necessary presence of an exciting occurrence. Danger at hand and overcome is the keynote of the action. The happening may be slight or tremendous, or serious or humorous; but in every case it acquires a certain amount of dignity from the possible disaster.

The narration is usually in the first person, though not necessarily. In the "Library of Universal Adventure," compiled by William Dean Howells and Thomas Sergeant Perry eighteen years ago, the larger number of the stories are autobiographic in form. This book is a quaint comment on Howells's non-sensationalistic attitude of today. Though purporting to be true, these stories are almost lurid in their romanticism. They present man in the familiar struggle with untimely death, led thither by various motives and accidents. We see Pliny the Elder with insatiable curiosity sailing calmly toward the destructive volcano; we see the lonely scientist Audubon on his Western trip in early America weighing his chance of life against his watch, that is coveted by a murderous hag and her two drunken sons; we see the runaway slave Frederick Douglass, attempting to slip along the very precarious underground railroad to safety; of course, there is mutiny at sea, and shipwreck on unknown shores. Indeed, here we find all the despised paraphernalia of blood-curdling romance, true, with Mr. Howells's name signed on the package.[10]

[513] Obviously such stories are written to climaxes, though any manifest straining for emphasis in a true narrative is resented by the reader. All the skill you have got from your former attempts to write realistically ought to help you here. You should put in enough minutiæ to convince, but omit enough to be interesting. The general effect of your style should be that of directness and swiftness. Whatever power of psychological analysis you have, should come to your aid, but it should appear only in keen and brief flashes as you hurry along with the events. Descriptive touches of objective nature may be used for emphasis in harmony or contrast, especially at the end or the beginning of the adventure, though these are a somewhat trite device. Whatever else you do, try to write simply and naturally. Do not exaggerate. You will be judged chiefly on your tone of veracity.

There is a large and interesting field here for the amateur writer. This type of story allies itself with the probable adventure, and in fact is generally lost therein. The successful authors of boys' books for the most part make use of the coalescence. Boys at a certain age are extremely exacting, and when their entertainers have to relate their stories orally as well as pen them, they are often as solicitous to find authority for their fictions as were Macpherson and Chatterton.


The Bear-Hunt

(The adventure here narrated is one that happened to Tolstoy himself in 1858. More than twenty years later he gave up hunting on humanitarian grounds.)

We were out on a bear-hunting expedition. My comrade had shot at a bear, but only gave him a flesh wound. There were traces of blood on the snow, but the bear had got away.

We all collected in a group in the forest to decide whether we ought to go after the bear at once or wait two or three days till he should settle down again. We asked the peasant bear-drivers whether it would be possible to get round the bear that day.

"No. It's impossible," said an old bear-driver. "You must let the bear quiet down. In five days' time it will be possible to surround him; but if you followed him now, you would only frighten him away and he would not settle down."

But a young bear-driver began disputing with the old man, saying that it was quite possible to get round the bear now.

"On such snow as this," said he, "he won't go far, for he is a fat bear. He will settle down before evening; or, if not, I can overtake him on snow-shoes."

The comrade I was with was against following up the bear, and advised waiting. But I said:

"We need not argue. You do as you like, but I will follow up the track with Damian. If we get round the bear, all right. If not, we lose nothing. It is still early, and there is nothing else for us to do to-day."

The others went back to the sledges and returned to[515] the village. Damian and I took some bread and remained behind in the forest.

When they had all left us, Damian and I examined our guns, and after tucking the skirts of our warm coats into our belts, we started off, following the bear's tracks.

The weather was fine, frosty and calm; but it was hard work snow-shoeing. The snow was deep and soft; it had not caked together at all in the forest, and fresh snow had fallen the day before, so that our snow-shoes sank six inches deep in the snow, and sometimes more.

The bear's tracks were visible from a distance, and we could see how he had been going; sometimes sinking in up to his belly and ploughing up the snow as he went. At first, while under large trees, we kept in sight of his track; but when it turned into a thicket of small firs, Damian stopped.

"We must leave the trail now," said he. "He has probably settled somewhere here. You can see by the snow that he has been squatting down. Let us leave the track and go round; but we must go quietly. Don't shout or cough, or we shall frighten him away."

Leaving the track, therefore, we turned off to the left. But when he had gone about five hundred yards, there were the bear's traces again right before us. We followed them and they brought us out onto the road. There we stopped, examining the road to see which way the bear had gone. Here and there in the snow were prints of the bear's paw, claws and all, and here and there the marks of a peasant's bark shoes. The bear had evidently gone towards the village.

As we followed the road, Damian said:

"It's no use watching the road now. We shall see[516] where he has turned off, to right or left, by the marks in the soft snow at the side. He must have turned off somewhere, for he won't have gone on to the village."

We went along the road for nearly a mile, and then saw, ahead of us, the bear's track turning off the road. We examined it. How strange! It was a bear's track right enough, only not going from the road into the forest, but from the forest onto the road! The toes were pointing towards the road.

"This must be another bear," I said.

Damian looked at it and considered a while.

"No," said he. "It's the same one. He's been playing tricks, and walked backwards when he left the road."

We followed the track and found it really was so! The bear had gone some ten steps backwards, and then, behind a fir tree, had turned round and gone straight ahead. Damian stopped and said:

"Now, we are sure to get round him. There is a marsh ahead of us and he must have settled down there. Let us go round it."

We began to make our way round through a fir thicket. I was tired out by this time, and it had become still more difficult to get along. Now I glided onto juniper bushes and caught my snow-shoes in them, now a tiny fir tree appeared between my feet, or, from want of practice, my snow-shoes slipped off; and now I came upon a stump or a log hidden by the snow. I was getting very tired, and was drenched with perspiration, and I took off my fur cloak. And there was Damian all the time, gliding along as if in a boat, his snow-shoes moving as if of their own accord, never catching against[517] anything, nor slipping off. He even took my fur and slung it over his shoulders, and still kept urging me on.

We went on for two more miles, and came out on the other side of the marsh. I was lagging behind. My snow-shoes kept slipping off, and my feet stumbled. Suddenly Damian, who was ahead of me, stopped and waved his arm. When I came up to him, he bent down, pointing with his hand and whispered:

"Do you see the magpie chattering above that undergrowth? It scents the bear from afar. That is where he must be."

We turned off and went on for more than another half-mile, and presently we came onto the old track again. We had, therefore, been right round the bear, who was now within the track we had left. We stopped, and I took off my cap and loosened all my clothes. I was as hot as in a steam bath, and as wet as a drowned rat. Damian, too, was flushed, and wiped his face with his sleeve.

"Well, sir", he said, "we have done our job, and now we must have a rest."

The evening glow already showed red through the forest. We took off our snow-shoes and sat down on them, and get some bread and salt out of our bags. First I ate some snow, and then some bread; and the bread tasted so good that I thought I had never in my life had any like it before. We sat there resting until it began to grow dusk, and then I asked Damian if it was far to the village.

"Yes," he said, "it must be above eight miles. We will go on there tonight, but now we must rest. Put on your fur coat, sir, or you'll be catching cold."


Damian flattened down the snow, and breaking off some fir branches made a bed of them. We lay down side by side, resting our heads on our arms. I do not remember how I fell asleep. Two hours later I woke up, hearing something crack.

I had slept so soundly that I did not know where I was. I looked around me. How wonderful! I was in some sort of a hall, all glittering and white with gleaming pillars, and when I looked up I saw, through delicate white tracery, a vault, raven black and studded with coloured lights. After a good look I remembered that we were in the forest and that what I took for a hall and pillars were trees covered with snow and hoar-frost, and the coloured lights were stars twinkling between the branches.

Hoar-frost had settled in the night; all the twigs were thick with it, Damian was covered with it, it was on my fur coat, and it dropped down from the trees. I woke Damian, and we put on our snow-shoes and started. It was very quiet in the forest. No sound was heard but that of our snow-shoes pushing through the soft snow, except when now and then a tree, cracked by the frost, made the forest resound. Only once we heard the sound of a living creature. Something rustled close to us and then rushed away. I felt sure it was the bear, but when we went to the spot whence the sound had come we found the footmarks of hares, and saw several young aspen trees with their bark gnawed. We had startled some hares while they were feeding.

We came out on the road and followed it, dragging our snow-shoes behind us. It was easy walking now. Our snow-shoes clattered as they slid behind us from[519] side to side of the hard-trodden road: The snow creaked under our boots, and the cold hoar-frost settled on our faces like down. Seen through the branches, the stars seemed to be running to meet us, now twinkling, now vanishing, as if the whole sky were on the move.

I found my comrade sleeping, but woke him up and related how we had got round the bear. After telling our peasant host to collect beaters for the morning, we had supper and lay down to sleep.

I was so tired that I could have slept on till midday if my comrade had not roused me. I jumped up and saw that he was already dressed and busy doing something to his gun.

"Where is Damian?" said I.

"In the forest long ago. He has already been over the tracks you made, and been back here, and now he has gone to look after the beaters."

I washed and dressed and loaded my guns, and then we got into a sledge and started.

The sharp frost still continued. It was quiet and the sun could not be seen. There was a thick mist above us and hoar-frost still covered everything.

After driving about two miles along the road, as we came near the forest, we saw a cloud of smoke raising from a hollow, and presently reached a group of peasants, both men and women, armed with cudgels.

We got out and went up to them. The men sat roasting potatoes and laughing and talking with the women.

Damian was there, too, and when we arrived the people got up and Damian led them to place them in the circle we had made the day before. They went along[520] in single file, men and women, thirty in all. The snow was so deep that we could only see them from their waists upwards. They turned into the forest and my friend and I followed in their track.

Though they had trodden a path, walking was difficult; but, on the other hand, it was impossible to fall; it was like walking between two walls of snow.

We went on in this way for nearly half a mile, when all at once we saw Damian coming from another direction—running towards us on his snow-shoes and beckoning us to join him. We went towards him and he showed us where to stand. I took my place and looked round me.

To my left were tall fir trees, between the trunks of which I could see a good way, and, like a black patch just visible behind the trees, I could see a beater. In front of me was a thicket of young firs about as high as a man, their branches weighed down and stuck together with snow. Through this copse ran a path thickly covered with snow, and leading straight up to where I stood. The thicket stretched away to the right of me and ended in a small glade where I could see Damian placing my comrade.

I examined both my guns and considered where I had better stand. Three steps behind me was a tall fir.

"That's where I'll stand," thought I, "and then I can lean my second gun against the tree;" and I moved towards the tree, sinking up to my knees in the snow at each step. I trod the snow down, and made a clearance about a yard square to stand on. One gun I kept in my hand; the other, ready cocked, I placed leaning up against the tree. Then I unsheathed and replaced my[521] dagger, to make sure that I could draw it easily in case of need.

Just as I had finished these preparations, I heard Damian shouting in the forest:

"He's up! He's up!"

And as soon as Damian shouted, the peasants round the circle all replied in their different voices.

"Up, up, up! Ou! Ou! Ou!" shouted the men.

"Ay! Ay! Ay!" screamed the women in high pitched tones.

The bear was inside the circle, and as Damian drove him on, the people all round kept shouting. Only my friend and I stood silent and motionless, waiting for the bear to come towards us. As I stood gazing and listening, my heart beat violently. I trembled, holding my gun fast.

"Now, now," I thought. "He will come suddenly. I shall aim, fire, and he will drop—"

Suddenly, to my left, but at a distance, I heard something falling on the snow. I looked between the tall fir trees, and, some fifty paces off, behind the trunks, saw something big and black. I took aim and waited, thinking:

"Won't he come any nearer?"

As I waited I saw him move his ears, turn and go back, and then I caught a glimpse of the whole of him in profile. He was an immense brute. In my excitement I fired and heard my bullet go "flop" against a tree. Peering through the smoke I saw my bear scampering back into the circle and disappearing among the trees.

"Well," thought I, "My chance is lost. He won't[522] come back to me. Either my comrade will shoot him or he will escape through the line of beaters. In any case he won't give me another chance."

I reloaded my gun, however, and again stood listening. The peasants were shouting all round, but to the right, not far from where my comrade stood, I heard a woman screaming in a frenzied voice:

"Here he is! Here he is! Come here, come here! Oh! Oh! Ay! Ay!"

Evidently she could see the bear. I had given up expecting him and was looking to the right at my comrade. All at once I saw Damian with a stick in his hand, and without his snow-shoes, running along a footpath towards my friend. He crouched down beside him, pointing his stick as if aiming at something, and then I saw my friend raise his gun and aim in the same direction. Crack! He fired.

"There," thought I, "he has killed him."

But I saw that my comrade did not run towards the bear. Evidently he had missed him, or the shot had not taken full effect.

"The bear will get away," I thought. "He will go back, but he won't come a second time towards me. But what is that?"

Something was coming towards me like a whirlwind, snorting as it came, and I saw the snow flying up quite near me. I glanced straight before me, and there was the bear, rushing along the path through the thicket right at me, evidently beside himself with fear. He was hardly half a dozen paces off; and I could see the whole of him—his black chest and enormous head with a reddish patch. There he was, blundering straight at me and[523] scattering the snow about as he came. I could see by his eyes that he did not see me, but, mad with fear, was rushing blindly along, and his path led him straight at the tree under which I was standing. I raised my gun and fired. He was almost upon me now, and I saw that I had missed. My bullet had gone past him, and he did not even hear me fire, but still came headlong towards me. I lowered my gun and fired again, almost touching his head. Crack! I had hit but not killed him.

He raised his head and, laying his ears back, came at me, showing his teeth.

I snatched at my other gun, but almost before I had touched it he had flown at me and, knocking me over into the snow, had passed right over me.

"Thank goodness, he has left me," thought I.

I tried to rise, but something pressed me down and prevented my getting up. The bear's rush had carried him past me, but he had turned back and had fallen on me with the whole weight of his body. I felt something heavy weighing me down and something warm above my face, and I realized that he was drawing my whole face into his mouth. My nose was already in it, and I felt the heat of it and smelt his blood. He was pressing my shoulders down with his paws so that I could not move; all I could do was to draw my head down towards my chest, away from his mouth, trying to free my nose and eyes, while he tried to get his teeth into them. Then I felt that he had seized my forehead just under the hair with the teeth of his lower jaw and the flesh below my eyes with his upper jaw, and was closing his teeth. It was as if my face were being cut with knives. I struggled to get away, while he made haste to close his jaws,[524] like a dog gnawing. I managed to twist my face away, but he began drawing it again into his mouth.

"Now," thought I, "my end has come!"

Then I felt the weight lifted and, looking up, I saw that he was no longer there. He had jumped off me and run away.

When my comrade and Damian had seen the bear knock me down and begin worrying me, they rushed to the rescue. My comrade, in his haste, blundered and, instead of following the trodden path, ran into the deep snow and fell down. While he was struggling out of the snow the bear was gnawing at me. But Damian, just as he was, without a gun and with only a stick in his hand, rushed along the path shouting:

"He's eating the master! He's eating the master!"

And, as he ran, he called to the bear:

"Oh, you idiot! What are you doing? Leave off! Leave off!"

The bear obeyed him and, leaving me, ran away. When I rose there was as much blood on the snow as if a sheep had been killed, and the flesh hung in rags above my eyes, though in my excitement I felt no pain.

My comrade had come up by this time, and the other people collected round; they looked at my wound and put snow on it. But I, forgetting about my wounds, only asked:

"Where's the bear? Which way has he gone?"

Suddenly I heard:

"Here he is! Here he is!"

And we saw the bear again running at us. We seized our guns, but before any one had time to fire he had run past He had grown ferocious and wanted to gnaw me[525] again, but, seeing so many people, he took fright. We saw by his track that his head was bleeding, and we wanted to follow him up, but, as my wounds had become very painful, we went, instead, to the town to find a doctor.

The doctor stitched up my wounds with silk and they soon began to heal.

A month later we went to hunt that bear again, but I did not get a chance of finishing him. He would not come out of the circle, but went round and round, growling in a terrible voice.

Damian killed him. The bear's lower jaw had been broken and one of his teeth knocked out by my bullet. He was a huge creature and had splendid black fur.

I had him stuffed and he now lies in my room. The wounds on my forehead healed up so that the scars can scarcely be seen.

—Leo M. Tolstoy.

"Twenty-three Tales from Tolstoy." (Oxford.) Written about 1872.

Saladin and I Fight an Alupong

As I remember, it was a windy afternoon in April, 1906, that I was nearly bitten by an alupong, a very poisonous snake, when I was out on our farm during harvest. The day was beginning to cool. The men and women were busy cleaning the rice that had been threshed the night before.

I went out with my dog, Saladin, to play with the other boy on the farm. While we were running and jumping on the great, long pile of hay I heard my dog barking. I quickly ran to see what was the matter.[526] Saladin was leaping and running as he barked. He was after a big snake, which from time to time stopped and raised its crested head to bite.

I was very much excited. I shouted to encourage my dog. I took a good-sized lump of dried earth and threw it with all my might at the snake. Then I cried to the boys, "A snake, a snake! Come, here is a big snake! Look!"

All the boys came, but when they reached the place the poisonous animal was gone. Saladin was standing on his hind legs and was barking as he scratched the side of an ant hill. I went near the dog. I saw what was the matter. Then I turned to the boys and said, "It is gone into this hole. Let us make it come out."

I pulled up one of the poles of the fence surrounding the place where the rice was being cleaned, and with it I hastened back to the ant hill. Then I pushed this pointed pole, about one and one-half inches in diameter and four feet in length, into the hole. The other boys were far from me, but my dog was alert near the place. I heard the snake spit and hiss inside. Then I suddenly pulled away the pole. When I saw the animal coming out quickly, I speedily turned to run, but I missed my first step and fell to the ground.

You may fancy how greatly I was frightened. During that short, critical moment I expected the deadly bite, but to my great relief I had time to stand up without being bitten. I looked back and saw how my dog had saved my life. He was fighting with the snake. In that very place the two killed each other, after a short time.

—Cecilio R. Esquivel.


I Get Two Beatings

One afternoon my mother beat me for some cause which I have forgotten. After I had wiped my tears I went into our orchard just across the road. It was very nice to stay under the orange and cocoa trees because of the sweet breeze which was coming from the river at the end of the orchard.

As I was rambling about I came to the river bank, which is about thirty feet high. When I looked down I saw two wild tomato plants full of red fruit. "Ah!" I exclaimed, "what good tomato plants. I will take the fruit home to appease mother's anger." Accordingly I began to look for a path down to the water. The path which I found was very steep, and so it was hard for me to go down. When I reached the edge of the water I saw a man catching insects to use for bait.

"Where are you going, my lad?" he said.

"I am going to get the fruit of those two tomato plants. Can't you see them?" I asked, pointing to the plants.

"I tried to get those this morning, but I could not."

"Anyhow, I will try," I continued.

So I began to climb the steep slope with both hands and feet. While I was climbing the man said, "Look out. If you fall, you will surely roll into the water." My desire to appease my mother's anger was so great that I paid no heed to what he said. After struggling for a few minutes I caught hold of a long root of the madre cacao tree, which was growing on the bank. With the help of this and several others I reached the place where the tomatoes were. When I had filled one of my pockets with the red fruits the root to which I was holding[528] broke in two and down I rolled, with my head foremost, into the water. I should have drowned had not the man saved me. When I was carried on land I found out that my back was badly hurt. I had received two wounds, one over the left eyebrow and one in the forehead, from some thorns. The scars can be seen to this day. When I went home my mother asked me why I had my clothes wet. I told her the whole story, but when she saw my wounds she became so angry that she beat me again.

—Facundo Esquivel.

The Fall of Juan

One day while Juan, Pedro and I were in the church tower looking at a procession, we saw a nest hanging from the cogon roof. For a while no one of us seemed to want it, but soon Juan said, "That is mine." Then Pedro approached him, saying, "I will have it," and he pushed Juan away. As I was very much interested in the beautiful nest, I went near them and said, "The first one that can get it shall have it." So I jumped and grabbed it. Then Pedro said, "Let us divide the eggs so that each of us will have a share."

"No, no," I cried, "I must have it all."

For a long time the quarrel grew worse and worse until it finally became a fight. Then a sad thing occurred. Pedro rushed toward me and snatched at the nest, but I pushed him away. Then Juan came with the same intention. Seeing that I was in danger, I laid the nest on the floor and grasped Juan by the neck. As he tried to throw me, I pushed him out of the door. Down, down he went as fast as an arrow. Now all of us thought that he would be dashed to pieces, but when, by scrambling[529] and sliding, we at last reached the bottom of the long, dark, winding stairs, we found him swelling with pride and boasting of himself as a brave boy.

—Gregorio Farrales.

A Narrow Escape from a Wild Carabao

In 1903 I narrowly escaped being killed by a wild carabao. There were many of us pursuing this animal, but, after seeing that the buffalo was very fierce, all of my companions got so afraid that they withdrew. Since I had the best horse, I continued following the wild beast. My ambition to distinguish myself both in horseback riding and in catching wild cattle was great. So, at the time when we were pursuing the animal, I had in mind that if I alone could succeed in catching the wild carabao, it would surely be an honor to me. So I followed the animal closely. When I was just a few feet behind it it suddenly turned back and fell upon my pony. I also tried to turn back, but in vain; the carabao overcame us. At this time I was entirely hopeless of my life. The sharp horn of the cruel beast stuck deeply into the thighs of my poor pony. I did not know what to do then, for the cruel beast would surely pursue me if I should dismount. So I grasped my saddle with all my might. But after a while my poor pet languished and fell. Then I did my best to get away from danger. The carabao would have pursued me at once, but its horns stuck tight into the muscles of my horse, and consequently it was delayed a little. Meanwhile I got into a cell of a big rock, and exactly at the very moment I squeezed in the mad buffalo struck the opening with its horns. Fortunately, the aperture was too small for the[530] head of the animal to enter. But still the sharp points of its horns could reach me and I received a wound at the back of my neck. Luckily, I had a bolo with me, and reaching out bravely, I stabbed the nose of the cruel beast. It surely received a severe wound. But, instead of running away, the animal became angrier than before and butted again and again at the opening. My eyes were nearly struck by the sharp pointed horns. In order to save myself from further injury I stabbed this time one of the glowing eyes of the buffalo. Blood gushed out at me. When the wild beast felt the pains of the wounds it began to move away with regret. After the carabao had gone I bemoaned the death of my favorite pony. I decided to take revenge upon the beast. In order to accomplish this I first went home. When I told my parents about the accident they at once consented to my taking their gun. So the next morning I set out with many companions. We easily found the same wild carabao roaming in the broad forest. It was still very mad, for it began to chase us immediately, coming swiftly towards us, looking sidewise with its one eye. Without hesitation I let my bullet go and the beast fell dead.

—José M. Cariño.

V. The Traveler's Sketch

A traveler's sketch is an orderly and extended account of the incidents of a journey—the sights, sounds, experiences, impressions and conclusions of the writer. Incidents and anecdotes may be given by the narrator in the first or third person; but a traveler's sketch is[531] always first person. There may be the other forms included, together with descriptions and historical references; but what makes a traveler's sketch a traveler's sketch is the personal flavor. The question the reader always asks is, not what kind of city is Lisbon, but what impression did it make on Fielding.

Great travel books

There have been only a few great travel books written. Perhaps, because the people that are worth while are not gadabouts; perhaps, because only a few men are generous enough or idle enough to give themselves over completely to impressions; surely, because not every one who travels has the ability to see what ought to be seen or to express himself entertainingly after he has seen it. The narrator needs an eye made quiet, that looks into the heart of things. He needs also wit and a wide humanity. If he stalks his way through a place as an Englishman only, or if he buys it through lavishly as an American, he will have nothing to tell that we care to listen to. The public is not won by a string of foreign names merely. A little trip from New York to Boston would furnish a Smollet or a Sterne with more observations than a journey around the world would a dull-minded pedant. George Borrow could tell of distributing Bibles in Spain, and yet give us one of the best travel books in any language. Henry Fielding could be on his death journey, as he was on his voyage to Lisbon, and well know it, as he did, and yet he could write with such an 'indomitable gallantry of spirit, such an irrepressible joy of life, such an insatiably curious eye for humanity,' such a new relish for every fresh face, that the reader could easily imagine[532] that the laughing, genial, ironic, but altogether compassionate and broad-minded, manly fellow had not a care in the world.

The "Voyage and Travaille of Sir John Mandeville" is a book very precious to the English language, if not to the history of facts. It was intended as a road-book to the Holy Land, and was produced as early as 1356. It is precious not only because of the marvelous tales skillfully woven in as reports of the belief of various cities—stories which have been inspirations to hundreds of romancers—but because of the fact that it was, so far as we know, the first piece of English prose of any considerable extent to depart from the beaten track of medieval theology and philosophy, and the first piece of original prose to reveal any personality, to have any style, any flavor of the author. Altho because of its stooping to the delight that men of that day took in marvels it places itself really in the class of imaginary voyages, it yet belongs with good travel books in this one essential—vivacity and personal charm.

Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, because of his irresponsibility in padding his account with marvelous tales, placed himself with Mandeville and the wonder books; but the result of his "Travels" was scientific in the effect his evidence that he had really been to the far East had upon Columbus and the earlier navigators.

An interesting bit of Anglo-Saxon actual travel account is the story of Ohthere and Wulfstan inserted by King Alfred into his translation of the "History of Orosius," and told as the king took it down from the[533] lips of these sea-rovers themselves sometime during the ninth century.

Sturdy old Sam Johnson by his "Journey to the Western Isles" added a substantial volume to the very short eight-or-ten-inch shelf of great travel book.

In many ways Bayard Taylor was the ideal traveler, putting himself into sympathy with the people whom he went among, wearing their dress, eating their food, speaking their language. But he failed to produce great literature, for some reason or other—perhaps because he wrote for the newspapers. His "Views Afoot, or Europe seen with Knapsack and Staff" and other "copy" of the sort are interesting reading, however. Darwin's record of the Voyage of the Beagle is invaluable to science.

Richard Henry Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast" is an excellent boys' book, and has a fine feeling of adventure about it. But we may not mention the work of any more travel writers, Stevenson, James, Curtis, Stanley, Roosevelt, or others in other languages.

Fielding's gentle warning

Many of our travel books were written as letters and journals; some, as notes or strict diaries. You might put your sketch into the form of a letter to a friend. The chief thing you need to remember in relating any journey, however long or short, is Fielding's gentle warning to know what to omit: "To make a traveler an agreeable companion to a man of sense, it is necessary, not only that he should have seen much, but that he should have overlooked much of what he hath seen.... A motto for the narrator[Some voyage-writers] waste their time and paper with recording things and facts of so common a kind that[534] they challenge no other right of being remembered than as they had the honor of having happened to the author, to whom nothing seems trivial that in any manner happens to himself. Of such consequence do his own actions appear to one of his kind that he would probably think himself guilty of infidelity should he omit the minutest thing in the detail of his journal. That the fact is true, is sufficient to give it a place there without any consideration whether it is capable of pleasing or surprising, of diverting or informing the reader." By implication Fielding gives the travel book its motto: to please and surprise, divert and inform.

"On the Way to Talavera"

The next day's journey brought me to a considerable town, the name of which I have forgotten. It is the first in New Castile, in this direction. I passed the night as usual in the manger of the stable, close beside the Caballeria; for, as I traveled upon a donkey, I deemed it incumbent upon me to be satisfied with a couch in keeping with my manner of journeying, being averse, by any squeamish and over delicate airs, to generate a suspicion amongst the people with whom I mingled that I am aught higher than what my equipage and outward appearance might lead them to believe. Rising before daylight, I again proceeded on my way, hoping ere night to be able to reach Talavera, which I was informed was ten leagues distant. The way lay entirely over an unbroken level, for the most part covered with olive trees. On the left, however, at the distance of a few leagues, rose the mighty mountains which I have already mentioned. They run[535] eastward in a seemingly interminable range, parallel with the route which I was pursuing; their tops and sides were covered with dazzling snow, and the blasts which came sweeping from them across the wide and melancholy plains were of bitter keenness.

"What mountains are those?" I inquired of a barber-surgeon, who, mounted like myself on a grey burra, joined me about noon, and proceeded in my company for several leagues. "They have many names, Caballero," replied the barber; "according to the names of the neighbouring places so they are called. Yon portion of them is styled the Serriania of Plasencia; and opposite to Madrid they are termed the Mountains of Guadarama, from a river of that name which descends from them; they run a vast way, Caballero, and separate the two kingdoms, for on the other side is Old Castile. They are mighty mountains, and though they generate much cold, I take pleasure in looking at them, which is not to be wondered at, seeing that I was born among them, though at present, for my sins, I live in a village of the plain. Caballero, there is not another such range in Spain; they have their secrets, too—their mysteries—strange tales are told of those hills, and of what they contain in their deep recesses, for they are a broad chain, and you may wander days and days amongst them without coming to any termino. Many have lost themselves on those hills, and have never again been heard of. Strange things are told of them; it is said that in a certain place there are deep pools and lakes in which dwell monsters, huge serpents as long as a pine tree, and horses of the flood, which sometimes come out and commit mighty damage. One thing is certain, that yonder, far away to the west,[536] in the heart of those hills, there is a wonderful valley, so narrow that only at midday is the face of the sun to be descried from it. That valley lay undiscovered and unknown for thousands of years; no person dreamed of its existence, but at last, a long time ago, certain hunters entered it by chance, and then what do you think they found, Caballero? They found a small nation or tribe of unknown people, speaking an unknown language, who perhaps, had lived there since the creation of the world, without intercourse with the rest of their fellow creatures, and without knowing that other beings besides themselves existed! Caballero, did you never hear of the valley of the Batuecas? Many books have been written about that valley and those people, Caballero, I am proud of yonder hills; and were I independent, and without wife or children, I would purchase a burra like that of your own, which I see is an excellent one, and far superior to mine, and travel amongst them till I knew all their mysteries, and had seen all the wondrous things they contain."

Throughout the day I pressed the burra forward, only stopping once in order to feed the animal; but, notwithstanding that she played her part very well, night came on, and I was still about two leagues from Talavera. As the sun went down, the cold became intense; I drew the old Gypsy cloak, which I still wore, closer around me, but I found it quite inadequate to protect me from the inclemency of the atmosphere. The road, which lay over a plain, was not very distinctly traced, and became in the dusk rather difficult to find, more especially as cross roads leading to different places were of frequent occurrence.


I however, proceeded in the best manner I could, and when I became dubious as to the course which I should take, I invariably allowed the animal on which I was mounted to decide. At length the moon shone out faintly, when suddenly by its beams I beheld a figure moving before me at a slight distance. I quickened the pace of the burra, and was soon close at its side. It went on, neither altering its pace nor looking round for a moment. It was the figure of a man, the tallest and bulkiest that I had hitherto seen in Spain, dressed in a manner strange and singular for the country. On his head was a hat with a low crown and broad brim, very much resembling that of an English waggoner; about his body was a long loose tunic or slop, seemingly of coarse ticken, open in front, so as to allow the interior garments to be occasionally seen; these appeared to consist of a jerkin and short velveteen pantaloons. I have said that the brim of the hat was broad, but broad as it was, it was insufficient to cover an immense bush of coal-black hair, which, thick and curly, projected, on either side; over the left shoulder was flung a kind of satchel, and in the right hand was held a long staff or pole.

There was something peculiarly strange about the figure, but what struck me the most was the tranquility with which it moved along, taking no heed of me, though of course aware of my proximity, but looking straight forward along the road, save when it occasionally raised a huge face and large eyes toward the moon, which was now shining forth in the eastern quarter.

"A cold night," said I at last. "Is this the way to Talavera?"

"It is the way to Talavera, and the night is cold."


"I am going to Talavera," said I, "as I suppose you are yourself."

"I am going thither, so are you, Bueno."

The tones of the voice which delivered these words were in their way quite as strange and singular as the figure to which the voice belonged; they were not exactly the tones of a Spanish voice, and yet there was something in them that could hardly be foreign; the pronunciation also was correct, and the language, though singular, faultless. But I was most struck with the manner in which the last word, bueno, was spoken. I had heard something like it before, but where or when I could by no means remember. A pause now ensued; the figure stalking on as before with the most perfect indifference, and seemingly with no disposition either to seek or avoid conversation.

"Are you not afraid," said I at last, "to travel these roads in the dark? It is said that there are robbers abroad."

"Are you not rather afraid," replied the figure, "to travel these roads in the dark?—you who are ignorant of the country, who are a foreigner, an Englishman?"

"How is it that you know me to be an Englishman?" demanded I, much surprised.

"That is no difficult matter," replied the figure; "the sound of your voice was enough to apprise me of that."

"You speak of voices," said I; "suppose the tone of your own voice were to tell me who you are?"

"That it will not do," replied my companion; "you know nothing about me—you can know nothing about me."


"Be not sure of that, my friend; I am acquainted with many things of which you have little idea."

"For example," said the figure.

"For example," said I, "you speak two languages."

The figure moved on, seemed to consider a moment and then said slowly, bueno.

"You have two names," I continued; "one for the house and the other for the street; both are good, but the one by which you are called at home is the one which you like best."

The man walked on about ten paces, in the same manner as he had previously done; all of a sudden he turned, and taking the bridle of the burra gently in his hand, stopped her. I had now a full view of his face and figure, and those huge features and Herculean form still occasionally revisit me in my dreams. I see him standing in the moonshine, staring me in the face with his deep calm eyes. At last he said:

"Are you then one of us?"

—George Borrow.

"The Bible in Spain." The World's Classics (Oxford Press).

"Smyrna: First Glimpses of the East"

"I am glad that the Turkish part of Athens was extinct, so that I should not be baulked of the pleasure of entering an Eastern town by an introduction to any garbled or incomplete specimen of one. Smyrna seems to me the most Eastern of all have seen; as Calais will probably remain to the Englishman, the most French town in the world. The jack-boots of the postilions don't seem so huge elsewhere, or the tight stockings of the maid-servants so Gallic. The churches and the ramparts[540] and the little soldiers on them, remain forever impressed upon your memory; from which larger temples and buildings, and whole armies have subsequently disappeared; and the first words of actual French heard spoken, and the first dinner at 'Quillacq's' remain after twenty years as clear as on the first day. Dear Jones, can't you remember the exact smack of the white hermitage, and the toothless old fellow singing 'Largo al factotum?'"

The first day in the East is like that. After that there is nothing. The wonder is gone, and the thrill of that delightful shock, which so seldom touches the nerves of plain men of the world, though they seek for it everywhere. One such looked out at Smyrna from our steamer and yawned without the least excitement, and did not betray the slightest emotion, as boats with real Turks on board came up to the ship. There lay the town with minarets and cypresses, domes and castles; great guns were firing off, and the blood-red flag of the Sultan flaring over the gulf's edge, and as you looked at them with the telescope, there peered out of the general mass a score of pleasant episodes of Eastern life—there were cottages with quaint roofs; silent cool kioska, where the chief of the eunuchs brings down the ladies of the harem. I saw Hassan, the fisherman, getting his nets; and Ali Baba going off with his donkey to the great forest for wood. Smith looked at these wonders quite unmoved; and I was surprised at his apathy; but he had been at Smyrna before. A man only sees the miracle once: though you yearn after it ever so, it won't come again. I saw nothing of Ali Baba and Hassan the next time we came to Smyrna, and had some doubts (recollecting the[541] badness of the inn) about landing at all. A person who wishes to understand France and the East should come in a yacht to Calais or Smyrna, land for two hours, and never afterward go back again.

But those two hours are beyond measure delightful. Some of us were querulous up to that time and doubted of the wisdom of making the voyage. Lisbon, we owned, was a failure. Athens a dead failure; Malta very well, but not worth the trouble and seasickness; in fact, Baden-Baden or Devonshire would be a better move than this; when Smyrna came and rebuked all mutinous Cockneys into silence. Some men may read this who are in want of a sensation. If they love the odd and picturesque, if they loved the "Arabian Nights" in their youth, let them book themselves on board one of the Peninsular and Oriental vessels and try one dip into Constantinople or Smyrna. Walk into the bazaar and the East is unveiled to you; how often and often have you tried to fancy this, lying out on a summer holiday at school! It is wonderful, too, how like it is; you may imagine that you have been in the place before, you seem to know it so well!

"The beauty of that poetry is, to me, that it was never too handsome; there is no fatigue of sublimity about it. Schacabac and the little Barber play as great a part in it as the heroes; there are no uncomfortable sensations of terror; you may be familiar with the great Afreet, who was going to execute the travelers for killing his son with a date stone. Morgiana, when she kills the Forty Robbers with boiling oil, does not seem to hurt them in the least; and though King Schahrier makes a practice of cutting off his wives' heads, yet you fancy[542] they got them on again in some of the back rooms of the palace, where they are dancing and playing on dulcimers. How fresh, easy, good-natured is all this! How delightful is that notion of the pleasant Eastern people about knowledge, where the height of science is made to consist in the answering of riddles and all the mathematicians and magicians bring their great beards to bear on a conundrum!

"When I got into the bazaar among this race, somehow I felt as if they were all friends. There sat the merchants in their little shops, quiet and solemn, but with friendly looks. There was no smoking, it was the Ramazan; no eating—the fish and meats fizzing in the enormous pots of the cook-shops are only for the Christians. The children abounded; the law is not so stringent upon them, and many wandering merchants were there selling figs (in the name of the Prophet, doubtless), for their benefit, and elbowing onward with baskets of grapes and cucumbers. Countrymen passed bristling over with arms, each with a huge bellyful of pistols and daggers in his girdle; fierce, but not the least dangerous. Wild swarthy Arabs, who had come in with the caravans, walked solemnly about, very different in look and demeanor from the sleek inhabitants of the town. Greeks and Jews squatted and smoked, their shops tended by sallow-faced boys, with large eyes, who smiled and welcomed you in; negroes bustled about in gaudy colors; and women, with black nose-bags and shuffling yellow slippers chattered and bargained at the doors of the little shops. There was the rope quarter and the sweetmeat quarter, and the pipe bazaar and the arm bazaar, and the little turned-up shoe quarter, and[543] the shops where ready-made jackets and pelisses were swinging, and the region where, under the ragged awnings, regiments of tailors were at work. The sun peeps through these awnings of mat or canvas, which are hung over the narrow lanes of the bazaar and ornaments them with a thousand freaks of light and shadow. Cogia Hassan Alhabbal's shop is in a blaze of light; while his neighbor, the barber and coffee-house keeper, has his premises, his low seats and narghilés, his queer pots and basins, in the shade. The cobblers are always good-natured; there was one who, I am sure, has been revealed to me in my dreams, in a dirty old green turban, with a pleasant wrinkled face like an apple; twinkling his little gray eyes as he held them up to the gossips, and smiling under a delightful old gray beard, which did the heart good to see. You divine the conversation between him and the cucumber man, as the Sultan used to understand the language of birds. Are any of those cucumbers stuffed with pearls, and is that Armenian with the black square turban Haroun Alraschid in disguise, standing yonder by the fountain where the children are drinking—the gleaming marble fountain, checked all over with light and shadow, and engraved with delicate Arabesques and sentences from the Koran?

"But the greatest sensation of all is when the camels come. Whole strings of real camels, better even than in the procession of Blue Beard, with soft rolling eyes and bended necks, swaying from one side of the bazaar to the other to and fro, and treading gingerly with their great feet. Oh, you fairy dreams of boyhood! Oh, you sweet meditations of half-holidays, here you are realized[544] for half an hour! The genius which presides over youth led up to do a good action that day. There was a man sitting in an open room ornamented with fine long-tailed sentences of the Koran; some in red, some in blue; some written diagonally over the paper; some so shaped as to represent ships, dragons, or mysterious animals. The man squatted on a carpet in the middle of this room, with folded arms, waggling his head to and fro, swaying about, and singing through his nose choice phrases from the sacred work. But from the room above came a clear voice of many little shouting voices, much more musical than that of Naso in the matted parlor, and the guide told us it was a school, so we went upstairs to look.

"I declare, an my conscience, the master was in the act of bastinadoing a little mulatto boy; his feet were in a bar, and the brute was laying on with a cane; so we witnessed the howling of the poor boy, and the confusion of the brute who was administering the correction. The other children were made to shout, I believe, to drown the noise of their little comrade's howling; but the punishment was instantly discontinued as our hats came up over the stair-trap, and the boy cast loose, and the bamboo huddled into a corner, and the schoolmaster stood before us abashed. All the small scholars in red caps, and the little girls in gaudy handkerchiefs turned their big wondering dark eyes toward us; and the caning was over for that time, let us trust. I don't envy some schoolmasters in a future state. I pity that poor little blubbering Mahometan; he will never be able to relish the 'Arabian Nights' in the original as long as he lives.

"From this scene we rushed off somewhat discomposed[545] to make a breakfast off red mullets and grapes, melons, pomegranates, and Smyrna wine, at a dirty little comfortable inn to which we were recommended; and from the windows of which we had a fine, cheerful view of the gulf and its busy craft, and the loungers and merchants along the shore. There were camels unloading at one wharf, and piles of melons much bigger than the Gibraltar cannon-balls at another. It was the fig season, and we passed through several alleys encumbered with long rows of fig-dressers, children and women for the most part, who were packing the fruit diligently into drums, dipping them in salt water first, and spreading them neatly over with leaves; while the figs and leaves are drying, large white worms crawl out of them and swarm over the decks of the ships which carry them to Europe and to England, where small children eat them with pleasure—I mean the figs, not the worms—and where they are still served at wine parties at the universities. When fresh they are not better than elsewhere; but the melons are of admirable flavor, and so large that Cinderella might almost be accommodated with a coach made of a big one, without any very great distention of its original proportions.

"Our guide, an accomplished swindler, demanded two dollars as the fee for entering the mosque, which others of our party subsequently saw for sixpence, so we did not care to examine that place of worship. But there were other cheaper sights, which were to the full as picturesque, for which there was no call to pay money, or indeed, for a day, scarcely to move at all. I doubt whether a man who would smoke his pipe on a bazaar counter all day, and let the city flow by him, would not[546] be almost as well employed as the most active curiosity hunter.

"To be sure he would not see the women. Those in the bazaar were shabby people for the most part, whose black masks nobody would feel a curiosity to remove. You could see no more of their figure than if they had been stuffed in holsters; and even their feet were brought to a general splay uniformity by the double yellow slippers which the wives of true believers wear. But it is in the Greek and Armenian quarters, and among those poor Christians who were pulling figs, that you see the beauties; and a man of a generous disposition may lose his heart half a dozen times a day in Smyrna. There was the pretty maid at work at a tambour frame in an open porch, with an old duenna spinning by her side, and a goat tied up to the railings of the little court garden; there was the nymph who came down the stair with the pitcher on her head, and gazed with great calm eyes, as large and stately as Juno's; there was the gentle mother, bending over a queer cradle, in which lay a small crying bundle of infancy. All these three charmers were seen in a single street in the Armenian quarter, where the house doors are all open, and the women of the families sit under the arches in the court. There was the fig girl, beautiful beyond all others, with an immense coil of deep black hair twisted round a head of which Raphael was worthy to draw the outline, and Titian to paint the color. I wonder the Sultan has not swept her off, or that the Persian merchants, who come with silks and sweetmeats have not kidnapped her for the Shah of Tehean.

"We went to see the Persian merchants at their khan,[547] and purchased some silks there from a swarthy, black-bearded man with a conical cap of lambswool. Is it not hard to think that silks bought of a man in a lambswool cap, in a caravanseria, brought hither on the backs of camels, should have been manufactured after all at Lyons? Others of our party bought carpets, for which the town is famous; and there was one absolutely laid in a stock of real Smyrna figs, and purchased three or four real Smyrna sponges for his carriage; so strong was his passion for the genuine article.

"I wonder that no painter has given us familiar views of the East; not processions, grand sultans, or magnificent landscapes, but faithful transcripts of everyday Oriental life, such as each street will supply to him. The camels afford endless motives, couched in the market places, lying by thousands in the camel square, snorting and bubbling after their manner, the sun blazing down on their backs, their slaves and keepers lying behind them in the shade; and the Caravan Bridge, above all, would afford a painter subjects for a dozen of pictures. Over this Roman arch, which crosses the Meles river, all the caravans pass on their entrance to the town. On one side, as we sat and looked at it, was a great row of plane trees; on the opposite bank a deep wood of tall cypresses, in the midst of which rose up innumerable gray tombs, surmounted with the turbans of the defunct believers. Beside the stream the view was less gloomy. There was under the plane trees a little coffee house, shaded by a trellis-work, covered over with a vine and ornamented with many rows of shining pots and water-pipes, for which there was no use at noonday now, in the time of Ramazan.


"Hard by the coffee house was a garden and a bubbling marble fountain, and over the stream was a broken summerhouse, to which amateurs may ascend for the purpose of examining the river, and all round the plane trees plenty of stools for those who were inclined to sit and drink sweet, thick coffee or cool lemonade made of fresh green citrons. The master of the house, dressed in a white turban and light blue pelisse, lolled under the coffee-house awning; the slave in white with a crimson striped jacket, his face as black as ebony, brought up pipes and lemonade again, and returned to his station at the coffee house, where he curled his black legs together and began singing out of his flat nose to the thrumming of a long guitar with wire string. The instrument was not bigger than a soup ladle, with a long straight handle, but its music pleased the performer, for his eyes rolled shining about, and his head wagged, and he grinned with an innocent intensity of enjoyment that did one good to look at. And there was a friend to share his pleasure; a Turk dressed in scarlet and covered all over with dagger and pistols, sat leaning forward on his little stool, rocking about and grinning quite as eagerly as the black minstrels. As he sang and we listened, figures of women bearing pitchers went passing over the Roman bridge which we saw between the large trunks of the planes; or gray forms of camels were seen stalking across it, the string preceded by the little donkey, who is always here their long-eared conductor.

"These are very humble incidents of travel. Wherever the steamboat touches the shore adventure retreats into the interior, and what is called romance vanishes.[549] It won't bear the vulgar gaze; or rather the light of common day puts it out, and it is only in the dark that it shines at all. There is no cursing and insulting of Giaours now. If a cockney looks or behaves in a particularly ridiculous way, the little Turks come out and laugh at him. A Londoner is no longer a spittoon for true believers; and now that dark Hassan sits in his divan and drinks champagne, and Selim has a French watch, and Zuleika perhaps takes Morrison's pills, Byronism becomes absurd instead of sublime, and is only a foolish expression of cockney wonder. They still occasionally beat a man for going into a mosque, but this is almost the only sign of ferocious vitality left in the Turk of the Mediterranean coast, and strangers may enter scores of mosques without molestation. The paddlewheel is the great conqueror. Wherever the captain cries 'Stop her!' civilization stops, and lands in the ship's boat, and makes a permanent acquaintance with the savages on shore. Whole hosts of crusaders have passed and died and butchered here in vain. But to manufacture European iron into pikes and helmets was a waste of metal; in the shape of piston rods and furnace pokers it is irresistible; and I think an allegory might be made showing how much stronger commerce is than chivalry, and finishing with a grand image of Mahomet's crescent being extinguished in Fulton's boiler.

"This I thought was the moral of the day's sights and adventures. We pulled off the steamer in the afternoon—the Inbat blowing fresh and setting all the craft in the gulf dancing over its blue waters. We were presently under weigh again, the captain ordering his engines to work only at half power, so that a French[550] steamer which was quitting Smyrna at the same time might come up with us and fancy she could beat the irresistible Tagus. Vain hope! Just as the Frenchman neared us, the Tagus shot out like an arrow and the discomfited Frenchman went behind. Though we all relished the joke exceedingly, there was a French gentleman on board who did not seem to be by any means tickled with it; but he had received papers at Smyrna containing news of Marshal Bugeaud's victory at Isley and had this land victory to set against our harmless little triumph at sea.

"That night we rounded the Island of Mitylene, and next day the coast of Troy was in sight, and the tomb of Achilles—a dismal-looking mound that rises on a low, dreary, barren shore—less lively and not more picturesque than the Schelot or the mouth of the Thames. Then we passed Tenedos and the forts and town at the mouth of the Dardanelles. The weather was not too hot, the water as smooth as at Putney, and everybody happy and excited at the thought of seeing Constantinople tomorrow. We had music on board all the way from Smyrna. A German commis voyageur, with a guitar, who had passed unnoticed until that time, produced his instrument about midday and began to whistle waltzes. He whistled so divinely that the ladies left their cabins and men laid down their books. He whistled a polka so bewitchingly that two young Oxford men began whirling round the deck and performed that popular dance with much agility until they sank down tired. He still continued an unabated whistling, and as nobody would dance, pulled off his coat, produced a pair of castanets and whistling a mazurka, performed it with tremendous[551] agility. His whistling made everybody gay and happy—made those acquainted who had not spoken before, and inspired such a feeling of hilarity in the ship that that night, as we floated over the Sea of Marmora, a general vote was expressed for broiled bones and a regular supper party. Punch was brewed and speeches were made, and, after a lapse of fifteen years, I heard the 'Old English Gentleman' and 'Bright Chanticleer Proclaims the Morn,' sung in such style that you would almost fancy the proctors must hear and send us all home."

—William Makepeace Thackeray.

"A Journey from Cornhill to Cairo."

A Trip from Currimao to Laoag

Late in the afternoon of last April third, Mr. C. Guia and I left Currimao for San Nicolas and Laoag, respectively. We traveled in a cart drawn by a fat gray cow.

At first it was not altogether pleasant to go now up then down the irregular road, and besides, the cart—a shoe-box-shaped sort of buggy with bamboo sides and floor—was far from being comfortable. The driver was a sturdy broad-shouldered country fellow, dressed in a red home-spun shirt worn outside of his tight dark-green trousers, rolled up above his knees. His big bolo, suspended from his tough belt that he wore outside, was at his left; while his callugung—a saucer-shaped hat made from a dried wild squash—was dangling at his right.

Since we left Currimao he had not addressed us a single word, but all of a sudden when the cart stopped in front of a ragged cottage, he cried out loud as if we[552] were deaf, "Apu, arac quen maiz," which means, "Sirs, wine and corn." Mr. Guia and I rose from our squatting posture on the floor by the side of our steamer trunks and suit cases and got down to buy for our driver the things that he needed.

When we entered, the inner appearance of the cottage in the dim light of a small oil lamp hanging from the middle of the ceiling aroused somewhat my pity for the occupants. In one corner a rather old though fat woman was cooking supper, while in another corner were fishing nets, a new plow, a hunting spear and a callugung. In the corner near the door were rough boxes on which were ragged mats and red pillows. In the middle of the room was a basket of corn which an old, muscular man was husking when we entered and which he left to attend to our needs. We were invited to sit on a long bamboo bench which occupied one side of the room and where we remained as mute as statues until our driver, having filled his stomach with vino and having given his animal enough corn, summoned us to continue our journey.

We went out, and as the moon was now shining brightly, we had a front view of the cottage. The cogon roof, on which were perched some chickens, was pyramid-like, and the walls, broken at places but patched with rice-sacks through which the dim light of the lamp was visible, were made of bamboo. The porch, at the middle of which was a wooden staircase shaded by broad eaves, was piled full of corn.

After we paid the old man for what he supplied our now half-drunk driver, we again assumed our uncomfortable position in the cart. The road was now smooth[553] and I was surprised to find ourselves suffering still the disagreeable upward and downward movement of the cart. I examined the two solid wooden wheels, and I found that they were not round, but oval. But the beautiful panorama of the country soon made me forget my discomfort in the cart. On our left and right were square rice-fields—some yellow with ripe grain and others green with young leaves—dotted here and there with hamlets or solitary trees so that they resembled a checker-board.

All the while that I was admiring this view, Mr. Guia seemed to be buried in deep thought. We were cabin-mates in the steamship Bustamante that brought us from Manila, and therefore I had known him for but three days, during which he was always cheerful and gay. But now what a sad and mournful countenance! His youthful and oval face, hitherto jovial and beaming with health, was pale. I was very sorry to see my companion thus afflicted with grief, and I said in a sympathetic voice, "Mr. Guia, are you sick?" He answered, "No, I am not. But, my friend, my mo-mo-mother died nine days ago, and that's why, as you see, I am mourning." Indeed, he was mourning, for he wore a black cap, suit, tie and shoes. I dared not continue our conversation along that line, for I knew it would but grieve him the more. So I expressed my condolence by silence. After a moment of quietude he told the driver something in Ilocano which I did not understand.

Suddenly the driver began to sing with a tremulous voice a common country ditty called "Dalla-dalluc." As it was getting late, I was soon lulled into a sound sleep. I think I had slept for about two hours when a[554] loud barking of five dogs awoke me. When I looked around, I found that we were in a town, for we were passing by a church whose stone wall was black with moss and at whose rear a river was flowing. I asked Mr. Guia in what town we were and he answered, "Why, we are in San Nicolas now." I replied, "Then here we part." He exclaimed, "Oh, no! You are very tired, and it would be better for you to spend the rest of the night at my house. Besides you will not, I am sure, be able to wake the banquero (boatman), for it is now past midnight. To-night is also the celebration of what we call Umbras in honor of my dead mother, and I should like you to be my special guest." I thanked him very much for his kind invitation, and, of course, in the face of the obstacle he foretold, I was glad enough to accept.

The cart turned a corner and stopped suddenly in front of a somewhat large wooden corrugated iron roofed house—a typical town residence in the Philippines. We got down immediately from the cart, and we were met at the gate by a boy of about fifteen years of age. After Mr. Guia told the boy to look to our baggage, he conducted me to the sala, where he met his relatives.

While the affectionate greetings were going on between Mr. Guia and his family, I had time to observe all that was in the room. In one corner were young women and young men playing cards around a circular marble table, while in another corner were old women, talking of the high merits of the departed one. In the corner near the door where I was standing, a crowd of old fellows were drinking basi—a wine made from sugar cane—and I noticed our driver joining them. The walls seemed to be very plain; indeed all the decorations were[555] covered with black cloth. In the center of the sala was a large rectangular table on which were different kinds of food ready to be eaten. The viands, however, were cold, so I judged that the table must have been set early in the evening.

As I was wondering why the table was placed there, Mr. Guia came and took me into his room where my baggage was put. My thought was still centered upon the table, and my curiosity led me to ask my friend about it. Before he answered me, he smiled, and then said, "You must know that it is the custom of the Ilocanos the ninth night after the death of any grown-up person to celebrate a mourning festival called Umbars. Each friend of the dead person brings during that day food either cooked or uncooked. That on the table is the cooked food, which is considered to be sacred and which, as you have just seen, is being watched by the people in the room. Nobody is supposed to touch the food before the prayer, which will begin at three o'clock. After the prayer is over, which will last for about two hours, then all the guests will eat the food, but at the head of the table a vacant seat is left for the spirit of the dead to sit. After the feast the guests depart, and the festival ends."

During the time that Mr. Guia was explaining to me the Umbras, I was able to wash myself and to change my traveling suit. So after he finished, he conducted me into the dining-room where we both ate a hearty meal. Naturally, after we had finished eating, we joined the company of young men and young women, to each of whom I was introduced and with whom we played cards until the time for prayers. In the midst of the[556] prayer I asked the permission of Mr. Guia to go to his room to pack up my things so that I should be able to leave after the prayer.

When all the guests had departed, I bade good-bye to my friend and his sorrow-stricken relatives. Within fifteen minutes I reached Laoag, and was once more safe in the hands of a brother with whom I spent a pleasant three weeks' sojourn.

—Fernando M. Maramág.



Within the group of personal accounts come the more-or-less extended records of the sayings and doings of men and women in their most acute individuality. It is intimate, detailed living that is expressed in a diary, in memoirs, or a biography. These have a peculiar charm. We expect endearing things in a diary, interesting ones in an autobiography, and, if not surprisingly informing, then surely upright and praiseworthy ones, often patriotic, in a biography.

I. Journal and Diary


As words, journal and diary mean the same thing. They both denote a daily record. Journal comes immediately from the French jour meaning day, and remotely from the same Latin word from which we get diurnal. Diary comes directly from the Latin dies. If there be any difference in the use of the titles, it lies in the object the maker of the daily record has in mind. A journal is written for a reader. A diary is kept for the writer's own amusement or profit. Both mix little and great affairs promiscuously.

The range of journals

A journal, of course, is likely to treat of a fewer number of trivial things than is a diary, and oftener[558] the less personal, though Swift's wonderful "Journal to Stella," written in the little language and meant for "no eye but hers and the faithful Dingley's" is as personal as can be. James Madison's stately record of the American Constitutional Convention stands at the antipodes, we might say; and Hesdin's "Journal of a Spy in Paris during the Reign of Terror," far off to the right perhaps; and the Swiss poet, Henri Fréderic Amiel's private philosophical and moral reflections, his "Journal Intime," far to the left. In the middle might come the travelers' journals—like Fielding's "Voyage to Lisbon" and Montaigne's "Voyage in Italy," or even John C. Fremont's soldier explorations—as typical of the daily record that is personal, yet not intensely so, and is written to be read.

A quaint and at once extremely romantic travel-journal of this sort is the Vida del Gran Tamurlan, perhaps the oldest piece of travel writing in Spanish literature. It is the daily record of the voyages and residences of the ambassadors of Henry the Third on a diplomatic mission to Tamburlane the Great—that same old Tartar potentate and conqueror whom Marlowe made immortal by putting into his mouth those high-astounding terms and that flowing blank verse, which so exactly suited his character as well as Marlowe's own. The adventures of this embassy were minutely written down by Ruy Gonsalez de Clavijo from May, 1403, when it started, to March, 1406, when it returned. In the report he describes the city of Constantinople which the ambassadors passed through when it was at the height of its tottering greatness.[559] An incident recorded is very quaint. These fifteenth century public servants, extremely human and not at all unlike our modern ones, were desirous when off on special business not only to serve their government well but also to do as much sight-seeing on their own account as possible. Hence they haunted the churches and other places of relics. But one day they failed to see all they wished to in the church of San Juan de la Piedra, and for the following reason, bless you! "The Emperor went to hunt, and left the keys with the Empress his wife, and when she gave them she forgot to give those where the said relics were, etc., etc." Delicious episode! Exactly the essence of this type of narrative. It makes one suspect that despite all the pompous history that has been got together about them the kings and queens of old were really human beings. But Clavijo was writing a journal as well as a diary, for he tells us of bigger things. He and his two friends go on to Samarcand and find the great Conqueror and experience his lavish hospitality in a series of magnificent festivals, but, strange to say, witness also his death; at least he dies when they are at his court, and Clavijo tells of the troubles the embassy had therefore in getting ready to return. Argote de Molina, in 1582, a hundred and seventy-six years later, wrote a discourso upon Clavijo and got out the first public edition of this journal, which, for the sake of sales probably, he called "The Life of the Great Tamerlane," a thing it was not, but only partly. Marlowe wrote his "Tamburlane" in 1586 or 1587. He might well have seen Clavijo's journal.

Great diaries

Diary is for the most part more intimate, more[560] private than journal, though a diary need not necessarily be private. In fact a writer of such a record sometimes hands it about among his friends—that is, part of it. Other parts he invariably keeps to himself, either never to be read by another or to be read only after the writer has ceased to live or has ceased to care about the effect of his words. The astoundingly frank and intimate diary of the famous Samuel Pepys, kept up by him through the first nine years of the Restoration, has only just now reached its complete publication. Details at first suppressed for one reason or another have, as they have been made public from time to time, gradually changed the world's conception of the character of this bustling servant of the crown. And not strange to say; for a diary of all forms of writing is the most revealing. John Evelyn, the friend and patron of Pepys, wrote himself down no less surely a non-genius than Pepys wrote himself a genius. They both, however, give us, in addition to a knowledge of their personal affairs, invaluable pictures of the men and doings of their day. Fanny Burney's "Diary," egotistical and minute, but one of the great books of literature, is a gallery of portraits of the late eighteenth century celebrities—King George and Queen Charlotte, Reynolds, Burke, Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, Garrick, and many others—all her friends. Gideon Welles's "Diary," which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly during 1909-10, though, like that of Pepys, an account of public matters, was, like that of Pepys, a private account not meant to be seen at the time. All these records have[561] their value for late readers in their honesty and minuteness. It is on such revelations that we depend for our correct conception of by-gone affairs.

A diary or a journal, then, is first of all a narrative of real events. Fiction in this form, like Defoe's "Journal of the Plague" or the diary parts of Charles Reade's "Cloister and the Hearth," is so for the sake of the verisimilitude.

Writing the type

If you wish to write a journal, you might imagine yourself sending it across the ocean to some relative or acquaintance who cares to know about the doings of you yourself, your family, your friends, your community. You may reflect your own sentiments and those of others; you may give anecdotes, eye-witness accounts, reports, hear-says, incidents, opinions, explanations, and bare facts. You may touch upon your pleasures, your joys, and even your troubles; but your vexations and regrets you would surely reserve for your diary.

If you write a diary, you should be frank and absolutely natural. Any playing to the gallery is a denial of the whole tone of diary. You may be ever so selfish and egotistical, or ever so trivial and vain, if you are only honest. If we feel that you are recording exactly what you think, revealing exactly what is, we shall read you with delight, so seldom does one man get at the real thought of another. You may even be pious—a most severe trial on a reader's interest—and we will follow you so long as you are sincere.


Extracts from Diary of Samuel Pepys

November, 1661.

3d. (Lord's day.) At night my wife and I had a good supper by ourselves of a pullet hashed, which pleased me much to see my condition come to allow ourselves a dish like that.

4th. With my wife to the opera, where we saw "The Bondman," which of old we both did so doate on, and do still, though to both our thinking not so well acted here, having too great expectations, as formerly at Salisbury Court. But for Betterton, he is called by us both the best actor in the world.

5th. To the Dolphin, where Armiger and I and Captaine Cocke sat late and drank much, seeing the boys in the streets flying their crackers. This day being kept all day very strictly in the city.

7th. I met with letters at home from my Lord at Lisbon, which speak of his being well, and he tells me he had seen at the court there, the day before he wrote this letter, the Juego de Toro (bullfight). Peg Kite now hath declared she will have the beggarly rogue the weaver, and so we are resolved neither to meddle nor make with her.

8th. This morning up early, and to my Lord Chancellor's, with a letter to him from my Lord, and did speak with him, and he did ask me whether I was son to Mr. Talbot Pepys or no (with whom he was once acquainted in the Court of Requests), and spoke to me with great respect. To the Sunne in New Fish Street, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir William Batten and we all were to dine, and by discourse found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler.


9th. With my Lady all the afternoon. My Lady did mightily urge me to lay out money upon my wife, which I perceived was a little more earnest than ordinary, and so I seemed to be pleased with it, and do resolve to bestow a lace on her.

10th. (Lord's day.) At St. Gregory's, where I heard our Queen Katherine the first time by name publicly prayed for. And heard Dr. Buck upon "Woe unto thee, Corazin," &c., where he started a difficulty, which he left to another time to answer, about why God should give means of grace to those people which he knew would not receive them, and deny to others, which he himself confesses, if they had had them, would have received them and they would have been effectual, too. I would I could hear him explain this when he do come to it.

11th. Captain Ferrers carried me the first time that ever I saw any gaming-house, to one, entering into Lincolne's Inn Fields, at the end of Bell Yard, where strange the folly of men to lay and lose much money, and very glad I was to see the manner of a gamester's life, which I see is very miserable and poor and unmanly. And thence he took me to a dancing school in Fleet Streete, where we saw a company of pretty girls dance, but I do not in myself like to have young girls exposed to so much vanity. So to the Wardrobe, where I found my Lady had agreed upon a lace for my wife at £6, which I seemed much glad of that it was no more, tho in my mind I think it too much, and I pray God to keep me so to order myself and my wife's expenses that no inconvenience in purse or honour follow my prodigality.

"Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys," 4 volumes. (David McKay. 1889. Philadelphia.)


A Diary of Four Days

Feb. 5, Saturday.

I awoke at 6 o'clock. It has become my habit not to get up earlier than half past 6 on vacation days. After breakfast I went to the physics laboratory to make up my back work.

The first experiment that I tried to perform was about Atwood's Machine. I was not half thru when the string broke. Not being able to find another, I went to the office to see whether I had a letter or not. I was very glad to receive one, for it was from home. I was very much disappointed, however, to hear that my mother was sick. My father asked me to go and see Dr. Bautista, so after dinner I went to Santa Cruz. The office was closed when I reached it. At last the doctor came. I had a long talk with him about the sickness of my mother. He gave me the formula of the medicine which my mother should take and told me the dose. After giving him five pesos I went away and bought the medicine. I stayed in the Escolta till it was dark, looking for some one who was going to our town. Not being able to find anybody, I have come back to my boarding-house with the determination to go home myself and take mother's medicine. I must study my lesson in physics, however, before I go to bed.

Feb. 6, Sunday.

At about 6 o'clock this morning I was in the railroad station. At 6 sharp the train left for San Isidro. I was very lonely in the car, for the passengers were few. There were six Chinamen and a few Filipinos. While the train was going on I kept myself busy reading my textbook in chemistry. I reached the station of San[565] Isidro at 10 o'clock. It was about 11 when I reached home. I was very glad to find my mother better then.

I ate my dinner with all the members of our family. After staying at home for about two hours I started for San Isidro with my brother. I was delayed at the ferry, for a company of American soldiers was using the banca. I reached the station at about 2 o'clock, and as the train would not leave for an hour, I went to the cock-pit nearby. It so happened that they were having a surtada. This is the first time I have entered a cock-pit since 1904.

At 3 o'clock the train came. I reached Manila at 8 o'clock. It is now 9:30. I am going to bed earlier than usual, for I am very tired.

Feb. 7, Monday.

I went to school as usual this morning, though I did not recite my lessons very well. This evening I attended the Harty Club. We were few in number, so Father Finnegan, our director, took us with him to the observatory. All of us had a chance to look at the moon. Thru the telescope the moon looked like the yolk of an egg with black spots. The astronomer said that the black spots are craters of volcanoes. The moon when seen thru the telescope is not so beautiful as when you look at it with the naked eye.

The astronomer, who was a Spanish priest, explained the way the moon gets its light. He could speak English very well, but his pronunciation was bad. He pronounced "sun," "soon," and "top," "tawp." There were many other words which he did not pronounce very well, but he used these two so often that they were impressed on my mind. Another word he used very often was "extremities."


When you asked this fat man a question, he would laugh at you if what you asked was not sensible. Lava asked him what planets are inhabited. He laughed without ceasing for about two minutes, and then said, "Why, my boy, none except ours. If any planet is inhabited, the people must be very different from us."

It was 8 o'clock when we went home. Tomorrow is a laboratory day, so I am going to bed, for I have no lesson to prepare except in English.

Feb. 8, Tuesday.

I was awakened from a sound sleep by a dreadful dream. When I opened my eyes it was daylight. My dream was about Halley's comet. We talked so much about this thing last night that it came into my dream. I thought it was the 19th of May. My mother roused me, for they could see something beautiful. When I looked out I saw that it was Halley's comet. I tried to explain to them what it was, but I was interrupted in my explanation because I perceived that the comet was coming nearer to us. We were obliged to leave the house, for the comet was coming directly toward us. When we were out of the house the comet struck it. It was set on fire. We tried our best to quench the flames, but in vain. While the house was burning I awoke. I was very glad that I awoke, for my lesson in English was not yet prepared.

I recited my lessons as usual. This afternoon Mr. Bulatao and I visited the observatory again. Our guide showed all the pieces of apparatus to us. From the top of the building I had a very fine general view of Manila. After our visit I came home, and now I am going to study my lessons.

—Facundo Esquivel.


"Something Doing"


Thursday, March 17, 1910.—My friend Protasio and I went to one of the fairs in the Tondo church-yard to buy an awit for the instructor in English. On our way home we met a group of gentlemen, eight of them, among whom I recognized one of my schoolmates, Pedro Pineda. My companion looked Pedro squarely in the face, but this one came up to us, with arms akimbo, and presently addressed my companion in this manner: "What do you want? Why do you look at me?" "Is there any cause for which you speak to me thus?" answered my companion. "Why? What do you want? Let us have a boxing match!"

I did my best to make my acquaintances desist from their plan, but my efforts were in vain. Protasio took off his diamond ring and handed it to me. I put it on the upper part of my right thumb, suspecting nothing from the companions of Pedro.

In the dark this unworthy fellow thrust his hands into his big pocket, and by the dim light of the evening star I noticed him put on iron knuckles. Mad with rage, I shouted, "Take off your—!" but hardly had I begun when just above my left ear fell a terrible blow. I felt no pain, but the stroke deafened me. Still I lost no time mustering my courage, and no sooner had I summoned my latent forces than I stood with my back against the church-yard fence. Confronted by four young men, one of whom was the sturdy machinist who delivered me the first blow, I raised my right arm to ward off another dreadful box in the face, when, to my surprise, I heard the crash of an iron rod. The cane which I had with me[568] had done its duty; when I was about to receive a blow more serious than the first, up rose my hand and with an impulse it hit hard the right shoulder of my sturdy opponent. Overjoyed at this incident I caused my bent cane to swing back and forth until my four opponents, realizing that I had an iron cane, ran away as fast as their legs could carry them.

Protasio received several wounds from the iron knuckles—one on the right arm, two on the head and one just above the left ear. Breathless and bloody, I heard him utter the cry, "What! Four people to one?" The people at the fair overheard the tumult; they rushed to the scene and saw us two, one bloody, the other holding a bent cane, safe and sound. But our good opponents had run away, carrying with them my friend's new baliwag hat.

"Fie! Cowards!" roared my companion, as we turned around the narrow street beside the church. "Why did those folks fight with us four to one?"

"Well, although they have made a serious mistake, Tasio," I remarked, "you cannot blame them; you will know the cause when you study the psychology of a mob."

He found no word with which to answer me; his right arm he could hardly raise, and the blood streamed in great quantities from the back of his head. I conducted him to his house and told him not to go to school for two days. For my part, I felt nothing particularly painful except two things—a swelling on my forehead and the bruised place on my face where I received that blow without notice.

Friday, March 18.—This morning I went to school,[569] and, although I was tired from last night's pugilistic contest, I worked at the office of the English department. But in the midst of my meditations on a perplexing mistake which a second-year student had made in his short-story theme, upon my shoulders fell two hands. I looked up, rather amazed at the sudden attack, but I saw Mr. Fansler's familiar face. "Ready, Victor!" said he. "Ready for the banquet, do you mean?" "No, to meet Mr. Beattie."

I remembered I had to go with several people on a launch to meet Mr. Beattie, who had returned from a visit to the States. I put on my buntal hat, with a minute-man's start, and ran down the flight of steps of the Normal School building.

Gathered around the portico were the superintendent of the Normal School, the representatives of the faculty and the representatives of the various classes. Mr. Fansler and I joined the cheerful group, three-fifths of which consisted of blooming femininity. As we walked along the acacia grove we felt no heat, but on the open road, where fell the blistering sun's rays, the women lagged. "They feel the heat, to be sure!" I said to myself. "These women at the Normal, I suppose, are not used to heat. Tender and fresh, they have little or no exercise."

But necessity was to compel them to run a short race that day. The buzz of the street car wire along Calle Real made them walk faster, and finally they really began to run; as lightly as doves, however. The car took us down to Plaza de Magallanes, back of the Treasury building, but we did not find our launch there.

As I walked along the edge of the Pasig River bank[570] I noticed a small, booth-like hut, in which I saw an old woman seated on a stool. She held in her right hand a bunch of perforated banana leaves, with which she drove away the flies that tried to alight on the rice and fried fish. Presently a man came, ate his ten-centavo meal of rice and a half fish, and departed after the manner of a Frenchman. But soon I saw my companions going on board the launch and I followed them.

The boat was not very big; it had just enough room to accommodate the young women and to allow the fellows to sit contiguously on the sides. All at once the launch began sailing down the smooth river and within ten minutes we had passed around Engineer Island.

Out in the bay the billows rose. The foam began to appear in greater quantities as we sailed farther and farther into the sea. The boat swung to and fro as she courtesied to the waves. But upon looking round, I discovered that some of the young ladies were seasick. I was trying to reason out the cause of this malady when all of a sudden a spray of salt water threw itself directly at my face and my tongue felt the liquid.

"What a nasty taste salt water has!" I exclaimed, as I tried to suppress with an effort the sudden change in my stomach.

"How do you like it, Yamzon?" asked fat Memije, the spherical student of the Academy. Without waiting for an answer, "That's good! The water will make you fat. Should you like to know how I got fat?" continued he, whom I always compare to a sponge because of his capacity for imbibing water in great quantities. "Yes," I muttered, ungraciously. "Well, I drink four glasses of water before meals and after meals." "But not salt[571] water," I rejoined. "No, no; fresh water is what you need."

Just then we spied the Tean, which was bringing back Mr. Beattie. As we approached we saw a man who was so much like him that the ample instructor of the correspondence department exclaimed in her not too melodious and high-pitched voice, "There's our dear old superintendent!"

"He's no longer your dear old superintendent," thought I.

Fifteen minutes passed, and Mr. Beattie showed no signs of ever having come back. But when the ship-master appeared on the upper deck he told us Mr. Beattie would soon be ready to show his face to us. And he was. We cheered him and hailed him; hats were taken off; handkerchiefs waved in the air; and the former superintendent of the Normal School responded to us, while a twelve-inch smile beamed on his countenance.

Saturday, March 19, 1910.—My short trip yesterday reminded me of our voyage to Lucena last Thanksgiving. The first thing I did immediately after breaking-my-fast was to go to my desk and take out from the lowest case the account of this trip which I wrote while we were sailing. I have read the thing through and I will gladly repeat it for you. It begins thus:

"On Thanksgiving afternoon the Normal debating team, on board of the steamer Lal-Loc, set out for Lucena."—There! I can't write it for you now. My brother is calling me. But I'll just say we won the debate and had a glorious time.

—Victoriano Yamzon.


II. Autobiography and Memoirs

Distinction between autobiography and memoirs

Although the words "autobiography" and "memoirs" are often used interchangeably, the meanings differ somewhat as journal and diary; that is, an autobiography is always written to be read by a public, large or small; memoirs are sometimes secret, like those of Mirabeau when on his mission to Prussia. The two forms are both, however, personal accounts by the writer of his own doings and sayings as well as of the doings and sayings of others connected with him in the same events.

Gibbon has used the word memoirs as a title for what we generally call his autobiography; but critics consider the term "memoirs" strictly as signifying a record of events put down within a limited time in the author's life—or a record of important events that he can "remember," selected out of a long life. Memoirs in the first sense are usually written by persons of large affairs, like Prince von Metternich in the French-Austrian crisis, or Mme. de Staël-Holstein during her ten years of exile, or the Italian poet Silvio Pellico while serving his decade of imprisonment for taking part in the Carbonari movements. Many of the writers other than English seem to try to exclude the personal element from memoirs; though Catherine II of Russia in her account of her life as Grand Duchess is straightforward and intimate enough. Frederick the Great, too, in his memoirs of his military and political campaigns has succeeded in delineating quite exactly his own character as conceived of by others; while Charles[573] V in his "Autobiographical Leaves" (which are memoirs) has revealed to the world an entirely new side of himself.

Cellini, Franklin and others

Autobiography is more extended than memoirs. This "self-life-writing" runs from the birthday of the author to the time of the composition of the narrative. Details are sometimes many, sometimes few, according to the taste and leisure of the recorder, but the account is always complete and unified. One of the greatest autobiographies written is that of Benvenuto Cellini, a Florentine artist of the sixteenth century. Men lived intense and violent lives in those days, fervidly devoted to ideals and grossly material at the same time. Cellini epitomizes them all. His narrative is an Italian classic. A most entertaining English autobiography is Colley Cibber's "Apology for My Life." Actor and dramatist, he too had much to tell. But the American philosopher and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, has carried off the prize for widespread popularity and readableness. The story goes, whether true or not, that his "Autobiography" has been translated into more languages than any other book except the Bible. The narrative is full of shrewd common-sense and practical example. Our fathers used to say that no one is a true American who has not read it. What is of value to us now in the consideration of it is its simplicity both in diction and tone. Franklin was truly a very great man, and nowhere greater than in his unpretentious honesty.

Like a diary, an autobiography should be most genuine and original in content. Sometimes the impulse to record one's life goes even so far as to take[574] the form of confessions, like those of the great Latin father, St. Augustine. Our own English ecclesiastic, Cardinal Newman, defended himself and his faith in his "Apologia." But this that ought to be the truest of the true forms very easily becomes forced and hectic, like Rousseau's. Though a man must be honest, there is no need for him to tell everyone of his inmost thoughts, or mention all his meannesses. De Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" long ago justified itself by its high tone, and by the fact that it became the basis of his "Autobiography."

Some points to be observed in writing

It is easy to start an autobiography. Most writers begin with their birth and parentage. To proceed after the first few pages is not so easy perhaps, because of the possibilities. What to choose is the question; for everybody has had more experiences than he could possibly record. Apt selection is what makes a good life history—selection under a governing sense of unity and progression. Moreover, a writer of any chronical story should carefully arrange the transitions. Good including phrases both backward and forward-looking should be used, as well as precise small conjunctions. Such sets as Cellini has, "At this moment the whole world was, etc.," "I am now making a great leap forward when I tell," "Continuing as I did my artillery practice for a whole month," "In the meantime I had," "I must not forget to give some indication of how large the figure was, a thing which I can best do by telling you a very laughable occurrence," "The more I longed for rest the more did troubles spring up," "Before this I should have told of my friendship with, etc." The[575] diction of memoirs is somewhat determined by circumstances and subject; but if you write an autobiography, you should see to it that your words and constructions are unmistakably simple. Be as modest as is consistent with your great deeds, and as cheerful as the fates will allow. If you make yourself out a good fellow, do so by the general impression of your narrative, not by assertion. Set before the reader enough of your actions and he will tabulate your character for you. Your business is to relate; his, to judge. You may, however, disclose some of your motives. The only difficulty here is, that people may not believe you, or you may not have understood yourself at the time. Whatever else you do, be sure to let us see a human being like ourselves, not some impossible creature made out of paper and ink. If you care for an outline, it would not be amiss to follow that prepared for biography.

The Life of David Hume, Esq., Written by Himself

It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity; therefore, I shall be short. It may be thought an instance of vanity that I pretend at all to write my life; but this narrative shall contain little more than the history of my writings; as indeed almost all my life has been spent in literary pursuits and occupations. The first success of most of my writings was not such as to be an object of vanity.

I was born the twenty-sixth of April, 1711, old style, at Edinburgh. I was of a good family, both by father and mother: my father's family is a branch of the Earl of Home's, or Hume's; and my ancestors had been proprietors of the estate which my brother possesses, for[576] several generations. My mother was daughter of Sir David Falconer, president of the college of justice; the title of Lord Halkerton came by succession to her brother.

My family, however, was not rich, and being myself a younger brother, my patrimony, according to the mode of my country, was, of course, very slender. My father, who passed for a man of parts, died when I was an infant, leaving me, with an elder brother and a sister, under the care of our mother, a woman of singular merit, who, though young and handsome, devoted herself entirely to the rearing and educating of her children. I passed through the ordinary course of education with success, and was seized very early with a passion for literature, which has been the ruling passion of my life and the great source of my enjoyments. My studious disposition, my sobriety and my industry gave my family a notion that the law was the proper profession for me; but I found an insurmountable aversion to everything but the pursuits of philosophy and general learning, and while they fancied I was poring upon Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the authors I was secretly devouring.

My very slender fortune, however, being unsuitable to this plan of life, and my health being a little broken by my ardent application, I was tempted, or rather forced, to make a very feeble trial for entering into a more active scene of life. In 1734 I went to Bristol with some recommendations to several eminent merchants, but in a few months found that scene totally unsuitable to me. I went over to France with a view of prosecuting my studies in a country retreat, and I there laid that[577] plan of life which I have steadily and successfully pursued. I resolved to make a very rigid frugality supply my deficiency of fortune, to maintain unimpaired my independency, and to regard every object as contemptible except the improvement of my talents in literature.

During my retreat in France, first at Rheims, but chiefly at La Fletche, in Anjou, I composed my Treatise of Human Nature. After passing three years very agreeably in that country, I came over to London in 1737. In the end of 1738 I published my treatise, and immediately went down to my mother and my brother, who lived at his country house and was employing himself very judiciously and successfully in the improvement of his fortune.

Never literary attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur among the zealots. But being naturally of a cheerful and sanguine temper, I very soon recovered the blow and prosecuted with great ardor my studies in the country. In 1742 I printed at Edinburgh the first part of my Essays. The work was favorably received and soon made me entirely forget my former disappointment. I continued with my mother and brother in the country, and in that time recovered the knowledge of the Greek language, which I had too much neglected in my early life.

In 1745 I received a letter from the Marquis of Annandale, inviting me to come and live with him in England; I found also that the friends and family of that young nobleman were desirous of putting him under my[578] care and direction, for the state of his mind and health required it. I lived with him a twelve-month. My appointments during that time made a considerable accession to my small fortune. I then received an invitation from General St. Clair to attend him as a secretary to his expedition, which was at first meant against Canada, but ended in an incursion on the coast of France. Next year, to wit, 1747, I received an invitation from the general to attend him in the same station in his military embassy to the courts of Vienna and Turin. I then wore the uniform of an officer and was introduced at these courts as aide-de-camp to the general, along with Sir Harry Erkine and Captain Grant, now General Grant. These two years were almost the only interruptions which my studies have received during the course of my life: I passed them agreeably and in good company; and my appointments, with my frugality, had made me reach a fortune which I called independent, the most of my friends were inclined to smile when I said so: in short, I was now master of near a thousand pounds.

I had always entertained a notion that my want of success in publishing the Treatise of Human Nature had proceeded more from the manner than the matter, and that I had been guilty of a very usual indiscretion in going to the press too early. I, therefore, cast the first part of the work anew in the Inquiry concerning Human Understanding while I was at Turin. But this piece was at first little more successful than the Treatise of Human Nature. On my return from Italy I had the mortification to find all England in a ferment on account of Dr. Middleton's Free Inquiry, while my performance was entirely overlooked and neglected. A new edition, which[579] had been published at London, of my Essays, moral and political, met not with a much better reception.

Such is the force of natural temper that these disappointments made little or no impression on me. I went down, in 1749, and lived two years with my brother at his country house, for my mother was now dead. I there composed the second part of my Essay, which I called Political Discourses, and also my Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, which is another part of my Treatise that I cast anew. Meanwhile my bookseller, A. Millar, informed me that my former publications (all but the unfortunate Treatise) were beginning to be the subject of conversation; that the sale of them was gradually increasing and that new editions were demanded. Answers by reverends and right reverends came out two or three in a year, and I found by Dr. Warburton's railing that the books were beginning to be esteemed in good company. However, I had fixed a resolution, which I inflexibly maintained, never to reply to anybody, and not being very irascible in my temper, I have easily kept myself dear of all literary squabbles. These symptoms of a rising reputation gave me encouragement, as I was ever more disposed to see the favorable than unfavorable side of things, a turn of mind which it is more happy to possess than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year.

In 1751 I removed from the country to the town, the true scene for a man of letters. In 1752 were published at Edinburgh, where I then lived, my Political Discourses, the only work of mine that was successful on its first publication. It was well received at home and abroad. In the same year was published at London my[580] Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, which, in my own opinion (who ought not to judge on that subject), is, of all my writings, historical, philosophical or literary, incomparably the best. It came unnoticed and unobserved into the world.

In 1752 the Faculty of Advocates chose me their librarian, an office from which I received little or no emolument, but which gave me the command of a large library. I then formed the plan of writing the History of England, but, being frightened with the notion of continuing a narrative through a period of seventeen hundred years, I commenced with the accession of the house of Stuart, an epoch when, I thought, the misrepresentations of faction began chiefly to take place. I was, I own, sanguine in my expectations of the success of this work. I thought that I was the only historian that had at once neglected present power, interest and authority and the cry of popular prejudices, and as the subject was suited to every capacity, I expected proportional applauses. But miserable was my disappointment; I was asailed by one cry of reproach, disapprobation, and even detestation; English, Scotch and Irish, Whig and Tory, churchman and sectary, free thinker and religionist, patriot and courtier, united in their rage against the man who had presumed to shed a generous tear for the fate of Charles I and the Earl of Strafford; and after the first ebullitions of their fury were over, what was still more mortifying, the book seemed to sink into oblivion. Mr. Millar told me that in a twelve-month he had sold only forty-five copies of it. I scarcely, indeed, heard of one man in the three kingdoms, considerable for rank or letters, that could endure the book. I must only[581] except the primate of England, Dr. Herring, and the primate of Ireland, Dr. Stone, which seemed two odd exceptions. These dignified prelates separately sent me messages not to be discouraged.

I was, however, I confess, discouraged; and had not the war been at that time breaking out between France and England, I had certainly retired to some provincial town of the former kingdom, have changed my name and never more have returned to my native country. But as this scheme was not now practicable, and the subsequent volume was considerably advanced, I resolved to pick up courage and to persevere.

In this interval I published at London my Natural History, of Religion, along with some other small pieces. Its public entry was rather obscure, except only that Dr. Hurd wrote a pamphlet against it, with all the illiberal petulance, arrogance and scurrility which distinguished the Warburtonian school; This pamphlet gave me some consolation for the otherwise indifferent reception of my performance.

In 1756, two years after the fall of the first volume, was published the second volume of my history, containing the period from the death of Charles I till the revolution. This performance happened to give less displeasure to the Whigs and was better received. It not only rose, itself, but helped to buoy up its unfortunate brother.

But though I had been taught by experience that the Whig party were in possession of bestowing all places, both in the state and in literature, I was so little inclined to yield to their senseless clamor that in above a hundred alterations, which study, reading or reflection engaged[582] me to make in the reigns of the two first Stuarts, I have made all of them invariably on the Tory side. It is ridiculous to consider the English constitution before that period as a regular plan of liberty.

In 1759, I published my history of the house of Tudor. The clamor against this performance was almost equal to that against the history of the two first Stuarts. The reign of Elizabeth was particularly obnoxious. But I was now callous against the impressions of public folly and continued very peaceably and contentedly, in m