The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Best Short Stories of 1915, by Various

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Title: The Best Short Stories of 1915
       And the Yearbook of the American Short Story

Author: Various

Editor: Edward J. O'Brien

Release Date: January 7, 2007 [EBook #20303]
[Last updated: May 14, 2015]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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OF 1915



Grateful acknowledgment for permission to include the stories in this volume is made to the following authors, editors, publishers, and copyright holders:

To Charles Scribner’s Sons and Mr. Maxwell Struthers Burt for permission to reprint “The Water-Hole,” first published in Scribner’s Magazine; to Harper and Brothers and Mr. Donn Byrne for permission to reprint “The Wake,” first published in Harper’s Magazine; to The Masses Publishing Company and Mr. Will Levington Comfort for permission to reprint “Chautonville,” first published in The Masses; to Mr. William Addison Dwiggins for permission to reprint “La Dernière Mobilisation;” to P.F. Collier & Son, Incorporated, Galbraith Welch, and Mr. James Francis Dwyer for permission to reprint “The Citizen,” first published in Collier’s Weekly; to Mitchell Kennerley and Mrs. Frances Gregg Wilkinson for permission to reprint “Whose Dog—?” first published in The Forum; to Miss Margaret C. Anderson and Mr. Ben Hecht for permission to reprint “Life,” first published in The Little Review; to the Century Company and Mr. Arthur Johnson for permission to reprint “Mr. Eberdeen’s House,” first published in The Century Magazine; to the Ridgway Company and Mr. Virgil Jordan for permission to include “Vengeance is Mine!” first published in Everybody’s Magazine; to The Illustrated Sunday Magazine and Mr. Harris Merton Lyon for permission to reprint “The Weaver Who Clad the Summer,” first published in The Illustrated Sunday Magazine; to Mr. John T. Frederick and Mr. Walter J. Muilenburg for permission to reprint “Heart of Youth,” first published in The Midland; to the Every Week Corporation and Mr. Newbold Noyes for permission to reprint “The End of the Path,” first published in Every Week and The Associated Sunday Magazine; to The Illustrated Sunday Magazine and Mr. Seumas O’Brien for permission to reprint “The Whale and the Grass-Hopper,” first published in The Illustrated Sunday Magazine; to The Boston Daily Advertiser, The Boston Evening Record, and the Newspaper Enterprise Association for permission to reprint “In Berlin,” by Mary Boyle O’Reilly, first published in The Boston Daily Advertiser; to the Century Company and Miss Katharine Metcalf Roof for permission to reprint “The Waiting Years,” first published in The Century Magazine; to The Bellman Company and Mr. Benjamin Rosenblatt for permission to reprint “Zelig,” first published in The Bellman; to The Outlook Company and Mrs. Elsie Singmaster Lewars for permission to include “The Survivors,” first published in The Outlook; to Harper and Brothers and Mr. Wilbur Daniel Steele for permission to reprint “The Yellow Cat,” first published in Harper’s Magazine; to Charles Scribner’s Sons and Miss Mary Synon for permission to reprint “The Bounty Jumper,” first published in Scribner’s Magazine; and to The Curtis Publishing Company and Miss Fannie Hurst for permission to reprint “T.B.,” first published in The Saturday Evening Post.

Acknowledgments are specially due to The Boston Evening Transcript for permission to reprint the large body of material previously published in the columns of that paper.

I wish to specially express my gratitude to the following who have materially assisted by their efforts in making this yearbook of American fiction possible and more complete:

Mr. A.A. Boyden, Mr. Bruce Barton, Mr. Henry A. Bellows, Professor Albert Frederick Wilson, Mr. Barry Benefield, Mr. Douglas Z. Doty, Mr. Karl Edwin Harriman, Mr. Edward Frank Allen, Mr. Carl Hovey, Miss Sonya Levien, Mr. William Griffith, Mr. Arthur T. Vance, Mr. Mitchell Kennerley, Mr. H.M. Greene, Mr. Robert Bridges, Mr. J.B. Carrington, Mr. Hayden Carruth, Mr. Frederic A. Duneka, Mr. Henry J. Forman, Mr. Gilman Hall, Mr. Charles Hanson Towne, Miss Margaret Anderson, Mr. Charles Edison, Mr. Guido Bruno, Mr. William Marion Reedy, Mr. John T. Frederick, Mr. Burton Kline, Miss Dorothea Lawrance Mann, Miss Katharine Butler, Mr. Thomas H. Uzzell, Mr. Virgil Jordan, Mrs. Elsie Singmaster Lewars, Mr. Alfred A. Knopf, Miss Hilda Baker, Mr. William Stanley Braithwaite, and Mr. Francis J. Hannigan, in charge of the Periodical Department of the Boston Public Library. To Mr. Hannigan my special gratitude is due. My ability to find certain back numbers of periodicals which the publishers were unable to supply is due to his personal helpfulness and unsparing pains. In fact, his assistance at certain times almost amounted to collaboration.

I shall be grateful to my readers for corrections and particularly for suggestions leading to the wider usefulness of this annual volume. In particular, I shall welcome the receipt from authors and publishers, of stories published during 1916 which have qualities of distinction, and yet are not printed in periodicals falling under my regular notice. For such assistance I shall make due and grateful acknowledgment in next year’s annual.

If I have been guilty of any omissions in these acknowledgments, it is quite unintentional, and I trust that I shall be absolved for my good intentions.




In reaffirming the significant position of the American short story as compared with the English short story, I am more impressed than ever with the leadership maintained by American artists in this literary form. Mr. James Stephens has been criticising us for our curiously negative achievement in novel writing. He has compared the American novelist with the English novelist and found him wanting. He is compelled to deny literary distinction to the American novel, and he makes a sweeping indictment of American fiction in consequence. But does he know the American short story?

If you turn to the English magazines, you will find a certain form of conte of narrow range developed to a point of high literary merit in such a paper as the Nation or the New Statesman. But if you look for short stories in the literary periodicals, you will not find them, and if you turn to the popular English magazines, you will be amazed at the cheap and meretricious quality of the English short story.

It would be idle to dispute about the origin of the short story, for several literatures may claim its birth, but the American short story has been developed as an art form to the point where it may fairly claim a sustained superiority, as different in kind as in quality from the tale or conte of other literatures.

It would be difficult to trace the reasons for its specially healthy growth in a soil so idly fertilized as our American reading public, but it is less difficult and far more valuable to trace its development and changing standards from year to year as the field of its interest widens and its technique becomes more and more assured and competent.

Accordingly it seems advisable to undertake a study of the American short story from year to year as it is represented in the American periodicals which care most to develop its art and its audiences, and to appraise so far as may be the relative achievement of author and magazine in the successful fulfilment of this aim.

We have listened to much wailing during the past year about the absence of all literary qualities in our fiction. We have been judged by Englishmen and Irishmen who do not know our work and by Americans who do know it. We have been appraised at our real worth by Mr. Edward Garnett, who is probably the only English critic competent through sufficient acquaintance to discuss us. Mr. Owen Wister and Mr. Henry Sydnor Harrison have discussed us with each other, and bandied names to and fro rather uncritically. And Mr. Robert Herrick has endeavored to reassure us kindly and a little wistfully. Mr. Stephens has scolded us,and Mr. Howells and Mr. Alden have counselled us wisely. And many others have ventured opinions and offered judgment. The general verdict against American literature is Guilty! Is this wise? Is this just?

Twelve years ago, if the public had been sufficiently interested, such a dispute might have arisen about American poetry. If it had arisen, the jury would probably have shouted “Guilty!” with one voice. We had no faith in our poetry, and we were afraid of enthusiasm. It was not good form. One or two poets refused to despair of the situation. They affirmed their faith in our spiritual and imaginative substance persistently and in the face of apathy and discouragement. They made us believe in ourselves, and now American poetry is at the threshold of a new era. It is more vital than contemporary English poetry.

Has the time not come at last to cease lamenting the pitiful gray shabbiness of American fiction? We say that we have no faith in it, and we judge it by the books and stories that we casually read. If we are writers of fiction ourselves, perhaps we judge it by personal and temperamental methods and preferences, just as certain groups of American poets of widely different sympathies judge the poetry of their contemporaries to-day. Let us affirm our faith anyhow in our own spiritual substance. Let us believe in our materials and shape them passionately to a creative purpose. Let us be enthusiastic about life around us and the work that is being done, and in much less than twelve years from now a jury of novelists and critics will pronounce a very different verdict on American fiction from their verdict of to-day.

During the past year I have read over twenty-two hundred short stories in a critical spirit, and they have made me lastingly hopeful of our literary future. A spirit of change is acting on our literature. There is a fresh living current in the air. The new American spirit in fiction is typically voiced by such a man as Mr. Lincoln Colcord in a letter from which I have his permission to quote.

“There are many signs,” he writes, “that literature in America stands at a parting of ways. The technical-commercial method has been fully exploited, and, I think, found wanting in essential results, although it is a step toward higher things. The machinery for a great literature stands ready. The public taste is now being created. Add to this, the period in our national life: we are coming to our artistic maturity. Add the profound social transition that was upon us before the war. And add any factor you may choose for what may come after the war; for I think that momentous events stand on the threshold of the world.

“The main trouble with the fellows who are writing in America to-day is that they write too much—or rather, publish too much. A writer should be very glad to accept a small income for many years; he should deliberately keep his fortunes within bounds; and take his time. All this would have been a truism fifty years ago; the machinery for the other thing didn’t exist, and something in the way of a natural condition kept him in the simple path. But I don’t find fault with the machinery; the wider field and the larger figures are a direct boon to us. They do, however, impose an added strain upon our sincerity.”

I like to believe that the American writer is stiffening himself more and more to meet this strain. Commercialization has never affected any literature more than it has affected the American short story in the past. It is affecting our writing more than ever to-day. But here and there in quiet places, usually far from great cities, artists are laboring quietly for a literary ideal, and the leaven of their achievement is becoming more and more impressive every day. It is my faith and hope that this annual volume of mine may do something toward disengaging the honest good from the meretricious mass of writing with which it is mingled. I find that editors are beginning to react from the commercialized fiction that prevails to-day. They are beginning to learn that they are killing the goose which lays the golden eggs. The commercialized short story writer has less enthusiasm in writing for editors nowadays. The “movies” have captured him. Why write stories when scenarios are not only much less exhausting, but actually more remunerative? The literary tradesman is peddling his wares in other and wider markets, and the artistic craftsman is welcomed by the magazines more and more in his place. As Mr. Colcord points out, we have come at last to the parting of the ways.

I have undertaken to examine the short stories published in American magazines during 1914 and 1915 and to report upon my findings. As the most adequate means to this end, I have taken each short story by itself, and examined it impartially. I have done my best to surrender myself to the writer’s point of view, and granting his choice of material and interpretation of it in terms of life, have sought to test it by the double standard of substance and form. Substance is something achieved by the artist in every act of creation, rather than something already present, and accordingly a fact or group of facts in a story only obtain substantial embodiment when the artist’s power of compelling imaginative persuasion transforms them into a living truth. I assume that such a living truth is the artist’s essential object. The first test of a short story, therefore, in any qualitative analysis is to report upon how vitally compelling the writer makes his selected facts or incidents. This test may be known as the test of substance.

But a second test is necessary in this qualitative analysis if a story is to take high rank above other stories. The test of substance is the most vital test, to be sure, and if a story survives it, it has imaginative life. The true artist, however, will seek to shape this living substance into the most beautiful and satisfying form, by skilful selection and arrangement of his material, and by the most direct and appealing presentation of it in portrayal and characterization.

The short stories which I have examined in this study have fallen naturally into four groups. The first group consists of those stories which fail, in my opinion, to survive either the test of substance or the test of form. These stories are listed in the year-book without comment or a qualifying asterisk. The second group consists of those stories which may fairly claim to survive either the test of substance or the test of form. Each of these stories may claim to possess either distinction of technique alone, or more frequently, I am glad to say, a persuasive sense of life in them to which a reader responds with some part of his own experience. Stories included in this group are indicated in the year-book index by a single asterisk prefixed to the title. The third group, which is composed of stories of still greater distinction, includes such narratives as may lay convincing claim to a second reading, because each of them has survived both tests, the test of substance and the test of form. Stories included in this group are indicated in the year-book index by two asterisks prefixed to the title.

Finally, I have recorded the names of a small group of stories which possess, I believe, an even finer distinction—the distinction of uniting genuine substance and artistic form in a closely woven pattern with a spiritual sincerity so earnest, and a creative belief so strong, that each of these stories may fairly claim, in my opinion, a position of some permanence in our literature as a criticism of life. Stories of such quality are indicated in the year-book index by three asterisks prefixed to the title, and are also listed in a special “Roll of Honor.” Ninety-three stories published during 1915 are included in this list, and in compiling it I must repeat that I have permitted no personal preference or prejudice to influence my judgment consciously for or against a story. To the titles of certain stories, however, in this list, an asterisk is prefixed, and this asterisk, I must confess, reveals in some measure a personal preference. Stories indicated by this asterisk seem to me not only distinctive, but so highly distinguished as to necessitate their ultimate preservation between book covers. It is from this final short list that the stories reprinted in this volume have been selected.

It has been a point of honor with me not to republish an English story or a short story whose immediate publication in book form elsewhere seems likely. I have also made it a rule not to include more than one story by an individual author in the volume. The general and particular results of my study will be found explained and carefully detailed in the supplementary part of the volume. It only remains now to point out certain passing characteristics of the year for the sake of chronological completeness.

I suppose there can be no doubt that “Zelig” is by all odds the most nobly conceived and finely wrought story of the year. It is a peculiar satisfaction to find again this year, as in 1914, that the best story is the work of an unknown author. Mr. Rosenblatt’s story is in my opinion even more satisfying as a report of life than Mr. Conrad Richter’s “Brothers of No Kin,” which I felt to be the best story published during 1914. The American public is indebted to Professor Albert Frederick Wilson, of the New York University School of Journalism for the discovery and encouragement of Mr. Rosenblatt’s literary genius. Professor Wilson’s service to American literature in this matter should be adequately acknowledged.

The Bellman, in which “Zelig” appeared, is remarkable for the brilliance and power of its fiction. My averages this year show clearly that its percentage of distinctive stories is nearly double that of the American weekly which most nearly approaches it. The quality of the Bellman’s poetry is a matter of national knowledge. It is fully equalled by the Bellman’s fiction, which renders it one of the three or four American periodicals necessary to every student of our spiritual history.

One new periodical and one new short story writer claim unique attention this year for their recent achievement and abundant future promise. A year ago a slender little monthly magazine entitled the Midland was first issued in Iowa City. It attracted very little attention, and in the course of the year published but ten short stories. It has been my pleasure and wonder to find in these ten stories the most vital interpretation in fiction of our national life that many years have been able to show. Since the most brilliant days of the New England men of letters, no such group of writers has defined its position with such assurance and modesty.

One new short story writer has appeared this year whose five published stories open a new field to fiction and have a human richness of feeling and imagination rare in our oversophisticated literature. I refer to the fables of Seumas O’Brien. At first one is struck with their utter absence of form, and then one realizes that this is a conscious art that wanders truant over life and imagination. In Seumas O’Brien I believe that America has found a new humorist of popular sympathies, a rare observer and philosopher whose very absurdities have a persuasive philosophy of their own.

The two established writers whose sustained excellence this year is most impressive are Katharine Fullerton Gerould and Wilbur Daniel Steele. Lincoln Colcord’s two stories show qualities of artistic conscience reënforcing an imaginative substance so real that another year or two should suffice for him to take his place with the leaders of American fiction. I must affirm once more the genuine literary art of Fannie Hurst. The absolute fidelity of her dialogue to life and its revealing spirit, not despite, but rather because of the vulgarities she accepts, seem to me to assure her permanence in her best work.

A rare literary art, not dissimilar in fundamentals, and quite as marvellously documented, is revealed by Rupert Hughes in his series of stories in the Metropolitan Magazine this year. In “Michaeleen! Michaelawn!” he has succeeded greatly. It is a story which it will be difficult for Americans to forget.

What must have begun as a doubtful experiment and been continued only because it was a triumphantly demonstrated success has been the serial publication for the great average American public of my selection of the best twenty-one stories published in 1914. The Illustrated Sunday Magazine has evidently justified its daring, and the bold pioneering of its editor, Mr. Hiram M. Greene, to judge from the host of letters I have received from readers who have not read the best magazines in the past because, as many of them state, they feared that they were too “high-brow,” but who have been convinced, by the introduction to the best contemporary fiction afforded them weekly in the supplement to their Sunday newspaper, that such periodicals as Harper’s Magazine and Scribner’s Magazine have many qualities to commend them to the untrained reader. All this serves to illustrate my point that the commercial short story is not preferred by that imaginary norm of editors known as “the reading public.” If adequate means are employed to allay the average man’s suspicions of literature and to introduce him painlessly to the best that our writers are creating, my experience shows absolutely that he will respond heartily and make higher standards possible by his support. We have scarcely begun to build our democracy of letters.

Because an American publisher has been found who shares my faith in the democratic future of the American short story as something by no means ephemeral, this year-book of American fiction is assured of annual publication for several years. It is my wish annually to dedicate whatever there may be of faith and hope in each volume to the writer of short stories whose work during the year has brought to me the most definite message of idealism. It is accordingly my privilege this year to associate the present volume with the name of Benjamin Rosenblatt, who has contributed in “Zelig” a noble addition to American literature.

Edward J. O’Brien

South Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Twelfth Night, 1916



From Scribner’s Magazine

Some men are like the twang of a bow-string. Hardy was like that—short, lithe, sunburned, vivid. Into the lives of Jarrick, Hill, and myself, old classmates of his, he came and went in the fashion of one of those queer winds that on a sultry day in summer blow unexpectedly up a city street out of nowhere. His comings excited us; his goings left us refreshed and a little vaguely discontented. So many people are gray. Hardy gave one a shock of color, as do the deserts and the mountains he inhabited. It was not particularly what he said—he didn’t talk much—it was his appearance, his direct, a trifle fierce, gestures, the sense of mysterious lands that pervaded him. One never knew when he was coming to New York and one never knew how long he was going to stay; he just appeared, was very busy with mining companies for a while, sat about clubs in the late afternoon, and then, one day, he was gone.

Sometimes he came twice in a year; oftener, not for two or three years at a stretch. When he did come we gave him a dinner—that is, Jarrick, Hill, and myself. And it was rather an occasion. We would procure a table in the gayest restaurant we could find, near, but not too near, the music—Hill it was who first suggested this as a dramatic bit of incongruity between Hardy and the frequenters of Broadway—and the most exotic food obtainable, for a good part of his time Hardy, we knew, lived upon camp fare. Then we would try to make him tell about his experiences. Usually he wouldn’t. Impersonally, he was entertaining about South Africa, about the Caucasus, about Alaska, Mexico, anywhere you care to think; but concretely he might have been an illustrated lecture for all he mentioned himself. He was passionately fond of abstract argument. “Y’ see,” he would explain, “I don’t get half as much of this sort of thing as I want. Of course, one does run across remarkable people—now, I met a cow-puncher once who knew Keats by heart—but as a rule I deal only with material things, mines and prospects and assays and that sort of thing.” Poor chap! I wonder if he thought that we, with our brokering and our writing and our lawyering, dealt much with ideas! I remember one night when we sat up until three discussing the philosophy of prohibition over three bottles of port. I wonder how many other men have done the same thing!

But five years ago—no, it was six—Hardy really told us a real story about himself. Necessarily the occasion is memorable in our recollections. We had dined at Lamb’s, and the place was practically empty, for it was long after the theatre hour—only a drowsy waiter here and there, and away over in one corner a young couple who, I suppose, imagined themselves in love. Fancy being in love at Lamb’s! We had been discussing, of all things in the world, bravery and conscience and cowardice and original sin, and that sort of business, and there was no question about it that Hardy was enjoying himself hugely. He was leaning upon the table, a coffee-cup between his relaxed brown hands, listening with an eagerness highly complimentary to the banal remarks we had to make upon the subject. “This is talk!” he ejaculated once with a laugh.

Hill, against the combined attack of Jarrick and myself, was maintaining the argument. “There is no such thing as instinctive bravery,” he affirmed, for the fifth time at least, “amongst intelligent men. Every one of us is naturally a coward. Of course we are. The more imagination we’ve got the more we can realize how pleasant life is, after all, and how rotten the adjuncts of sudden death. It’s reason that does the trick—reason and tradition. Do you know of any one who is brave when he is alone—except, that is, when it is a case of self-preservation? No! Of course not. Did you ever hear of any one choosing to go along a dangerous road or to ford a dangerous river unless he had to—that is, any one of our class, any man of education or imagination? It’s the greater fear of being thought afraid that makes us brave. Take a lawyer in a shipwreck—take myself! Don’t you suppose he’s frightened? Naturally he is, horribly frightened. It’s his reason, his mind, that after a while gets the better of his poor pipe-stem legs and makes them keep pace with the sea-legs about them.”

“It’s condition,” said Jarrick doggedly—“condition entirely. All has to do with your liver and digestion. I know; I fox-hunt, and when I was younger—yes, leave my waist alone!—I rode jumping races. When you’re fit there isn’t a horse alive that bothers you, or a fence, for that matter, or a bit of water.”

“Ever try standing on a ship’s deck, in the dark, knowing you’re going to drown in about twenty minutes?” asked Hill.

Hardy leaned forward to strike a match for his cigarette. “I don’t agree with you,” he said.

“Well, but—” began Hill.

“Neither of you.”

“Oh, of course, you’re outside the argument. You lead an adventurous life. You keep in condition for danger. It isn’t fair.”

“No.” Hardy lit his cigarette and inhaled a puff thoughtfully. “You don’t understand. All you have to say does have some bearing upon things, but, when you get down to brass tacks, it’s instinct—at the last gasp, it’s instinct. You can’t get away from it. Look at the difference between a thoroughbred and a cold-blooded horse! There you are! That’s true. It’s the fashion now to discount instinct, I know; well—but you can’t get away from it. I’ve thought about the thing—a lot. Men are brave against their better reason, against their conscience. It’s a mixed-up thing. It’s confusing and—and sort of damnable,” he concluded lamely.

“Sort of damnable!” ejaculated Hill wonderingly.

“Yes, damnable.”

I experienced inspiration. “You’ve got a concrete instance back of that,” I ventured.

Hardy removed his gaze from the ceiling. “Er—” he stammered. “Why, yes—yes. That’s true.”

“You’d better tell it,” suggested Hill; “otherwise your argument is not very conclusive.”

Hardy fumbled with the spoon of his empty coffee-cup. It was a curious gesture on the part of a man whose franknesses were as clean-cut as his silences. “Well—” he began. “I don’t know. Perhaps. I did know a man, though, who saved another man’s life when he didn’t want to, when there was every excuse for him not to, when he had it all reasoned out that it was wrong, the very wrongest possible thing to do; and he saved him because he couldn’t help it, saved him at the risk of his own life, too.”

“He did!” murmured Hill incredulously.

“Go on!” I urged. I was aware that we were on the edge of a revelation.

Hardy looked down at the spoon in his hand, then up and into my eyes.

“It’s such a queer place to tell it”—he smiled deprecatingly—“here, in this restaurant. It ought to be about a camp-fire, or something like that. Here it seems out of place, like the smell of bacon or sweating mules. Do you know Los Pinos? Well, you wouldn’t. It was just a few shacks and a Mexican gambling-house when I saw it. Maybe it isn’t there any more, at all. You know—those places! People build them and then go away, and in a year there isn’t a thing, just desert again and shifting sand and maybe the little original old ranch by the one spring.” He swept the table-cloth with his hand, as if sweeping something into oblivion, and his eyes sought again the spoon. “It’s queer, that business. Men and women go out to lonely places and build houses, and for a while everything goes on in miniature, just as it does here—daily bread and hating and laughing—and then something happens, the gold gives out or the fields won’t pay, and in no time nature is back again. It’s a big fight. You lose track of it in crowded places.” He raised his head and settled his arms comfortably on the table.

“I wasn’t there for any particular purpose. I was on a holiday. I’d been on a big job up in Colorado and was rather done up, and, as there were some prospects in New Mexico I wanted to see, I hit south, drifting through Santa Fé and Silver City, until I found myself way down on the southern edge of Arizona. It was still hot down there—hot as blazes—it was about the first of September—and the rattlesnakes and the scorpions were still as active as crickets. I knew a chap that had a cattle outfit near the Mexican border, so I dropped in on him one day and stayed two weeks. You see, he was lonely. Had a passion for theatres and hadn’t seen a play for five years. My second-hand gossip was rather a godsend. But finally I got tired of talking about Mary Mannering, and decided to start north again. He bade me good-by on a little hill near his place. ‘See here!’ he said suddenly, looking toward the west. ‘If you go a trifle out of your way you’ll strike Los Pinos, and I wish you would. It’s a little bit of a dump of the United Copper Company’s, no good, I’m thinking, but the fellow in charge is a friend of mine. He’s got his wife there. They’re nice people—or used to be. I haven’t seen them for ten years. They say he drinks a little—well, we all do. Maybe you could write me how she—I mean, how he is getting on?’ And he turned red. I saw how the land lay, and as a favor to him I said I would.

“It was eighty miles away, and I drifted in there one night on top of a tired cow-horse just at sundown. You know how purple—violet, really—those desert evenings are. There was violet stretching away as far as I could see, from the faint violet at my stirrups to the deep, almost black violet of the horizon. Way off to the north I could make out the shadow of some big hills that had been ahead of me all day. The town, what there was of it, lay in a little gully. Along its single street there were a few lights shining like small yellow flowers. I asked my way of a Mexican, and he showed me up to where the Whitneys—that name will do as well as any—lived, in a decent enough sort of bungalow, it would seem, above the gully. He left me there, and I went forward and rapped at the door. Light shone from between the cracks of a near-by shutter, and I could hear voices inside—a man’s voice mostly, hoarse and high-pitched. Then a Chinaman opened the door for me and I had a look inside, into a big living-room beyond. It was civilized all right enough, pleasantly so to a man stepping out of two days of desert and Mexican adobes. At a glance I saw the rugs on the polished floor, and the Navajo blankets about, and a big table in the centre with a shaded lamp and magazines in rows; but the man in riding-clothes standing before the empty fire-place wasn’t civilized at all, at least not at that moment. I couldn’t see the woman, only the top of her head above the back of a big chair, but as I came in I heard her say, ‘Hush!—Jim!—please!’ and I noticed that what I could see of her hair was of that fine true gold you so seldom find. The man stopped in the middle of a sentence and swayed on his feet, then he looked over at me and came toward me with a sort of bulldog, inquiring look. He was a big, red-faced, blond chap, about forty, I should say, who might once have been handsome. He wasn’t now, and it didn’t add to his beauty that he was quite obviously fairly drunk. ‘Well?’ he said, and blocked my way.

“‘I’m a friend of Henry Martin’s,’ I answered. ‘I’ve got a letter for you.’ I was beginning to get pretty angry.

“‘Henry Martin?’ He laughed unsteadily. ‘You’d better give it to my wife over there. She’s his friend. I hardly know him.’ I don’t know when I’d seen a man I disliked as much at first sight.

“There was a rustle from the other side of the room, and Mrs. Whitney came toward us. I avoided her unattractive husband and took her hand, and I understood at once whatever civilizing influences there were about the bungalow we were in. Did you ever do that—ever step out of nowhere, in a wild sort of country, and meet suddenly a man or a woman who might have come straight from a pleasant, well-bred room filled with books and flowers and quiet, nice people? It’s a sensation that never loses its freshness. Mrs. Whitney was like that. I wouldn’t have called her beautiful; she was better; you knew she was good and clean-cut and a thoroughbred the minute you saw her. She was lovely, too; don’t misunderstand me, but you had more important things to think about when you were talking to her. Just at the moment I was wondering how any one who so evidently had been crying could all at once greet a stranger with so cordial a smile. But she was all that—all nerve; I don’t think I ever met a woman quite like her—so fine, you understand.”

Hardy paused. “Have any of you chaps got a cigarette?” he asked; and I noticed that his hand, usually the steadiest hand imaginable, trembled ever so slightly. “Well,” he began again, “there you are! I had tumbled into about as rotten a little, pitiful a little tragedy as you can imagine, there in a God-forsaken desert of Arizona, with not a soul about but a Chinaman, a couple of Scotch stationary engineers, an Irish foreman, two or three young mining men, and a score of Mexicans. Of course, my first impulse was to get out the next morning, to cut it—it was none of my business—although I determined to drop a line to Henry Martin; but I didn’t go. I had a talk with Mrs. Whitney that night, after her attractive husband had taken himself off to bed, and somehow I couldn’t leave just then. You know how it is, you drop into a place where nothing in the world seems likely to happen, and all of a sudden you realize that something is going to happen, and for the life of you you can’t go away. That situation up on top of the hill couldn’t last forever, could it? So I stayed on. I hunted out the big Irish foreman and shared his cabin. The Whitneys asked me to visit them, but I didn’t exactly feel like doing so. The Irishman was a fine specimen of his race, ten years out from Dublin, and everywhere else since that time; generous, irascible, given to great fits of gayety and equally unexpected fits of gloom. He would sit in the evenings, a short pipe in his mouth, and stare up at the Whitney bungalow on the hill above.

“‘That Jim Whitney’s a divvle,’ he confided to me once. ‘Wan of these days I’ll hit him over th’ head with a pick and be hung for murther. Now, what in hell d’ye suppose a nice girl like that sticks by him for? If it weren’t for her I’d ’a’ reported him long ago. The scut!’ And I remember that he spat gloomily.

“But I got to know the answer to that question sooner than I had expected. You see, I went up to the Whitneys’ often, in the afternoon, or for dinner, or in the evening, and I talked to Mrs. Whitney a great deal; although sometimes I just sat and smoked and listened to her play the piano. She played beautifully. It was a treat to a man who hadn’t heard music for two years. There was a little thing of Grieg’s—a spring song, or something of the sort—and you’ve no idea how quaint and sad and appealing it was, and incongruous, with all its freshness and murmuring about water-falls and pine-trees, there, in those hot, breathless Arizona nights. Mrs. Whitney didn’t talk much; she wasn’t what you’d call a particularly communicative woman, but bit by bit I pieced together something continuous. It seems that she had run away with Whitney ten years before—Oh, yes! Henry Martin! That had been a schoolgirl affair. Nothing serious, you understand. But the Whitney matter had been different. She was greatly in love with him. And the family had disapproved. Some rich, stuffy Boston people, I gathered. But she had made up her mind and taken matters in her own hands. That was her way—a clean-cut sort of person—like a gold-and-white arrow; and now she was going to stick by her choice no matter what happened; owed it to Whitney. There was the quirk in her brain; we all have a quirk somewhere, and that was hers. She felt that she had ruined his career; he had been a brilliant young engineer, but her family had kicked up the devil of a row, and, as they were powerful enough, and nasty enough, had more or less hounded him out of the East. Of course, personally, I never thought he showed any of the essentials of brilliancy, but that’s neither here nor there; she did, and she was satisfied that she owed him all she had. I suppose, too, there was some trace of a Puritan conscience back of it, some inherent feeling about divorce; and there was pride as well, a desire not to let that disgusting family of hers know into what ways her idol had fallen. Anyway, she was adamant—oh, yes, I made no bones about it, I up and asked her one night why she didn’t get rid of the hound. So there she was, that white-and-gold woman, with her love of music, and her love of books, and her love of fine things, and her gentleness, and that sort of fiery, suppressed Northern blood, shut up on top of an Arizona dump with a beast that got drunk every night and twice a day on Sunday. It was worse even than that. One night—we were sitting out on the veranda—her scarf slipped, and I saw a scar on her arm, near her shoulder.” Hardy stopped abruptly and began to roll a little pellet of bread between his thumb and his forefinger; then his tense expression faded and he sat back in his chair.

“Let me have another cigarette,” he said to Jarrick. “No. Wait a minute! I’ll order some.”

He called a waiter and gave his instructions. “You see,” he continued, “when you run across as few nice women as I do that sort of thing is more than ordinarily disturbing. And then I suppose it was the setting, and her loneliness, and everything. Anyway, I stayed on, I got to be a little bit ashamed of myself. I was afraid that Mrs. Whitney would think me prompted by mere curiosity or a desire to meddle, so after a while I gave out that I was prospecting that part of Arizona, and in the mornings I would take a horse and ride out into the desert. I loved it, too; it was so big and spacious and silent and hot. One day I met Whitney on the edge of town. He was sober, as he always was when he had to be; he was a masterful brute, in his way. He stopped me and asked if I had found anything, and when I laughed he didn’t laugh back. ‘There’s gold here,’ he said. ‘Lots of gold. Did you ever hear the story of the Ten Strike Mine? Well, it’s over there.’ He swept with his arm the line of distant hills to the north. ‘The crazy Dutchman that found it staggered into Almuda, ten miles down the valley, just before he died; and his pockets were bulging with samples—pure gold, almost. Yes, by thunder! And that’s the last they ever heard of it. Lots of men have tried—lots of men. Some day I’ll go myself, surer than shooting.’ And he let his hands drop to his sides and stared silently toward the north, a queer, dreamy anger in his eyes. I’ve seen lots of mining men, lots of prospectors, in my time, and it didn’t take me long to size up that look of his. ‘Aha, my friend!’ I said to myself. ‘So you’ve got another vice, have you! It isn’t only rum that’s got a hold on you!’ And I turned my horse into the town.

“But our conversation seemed to have stirred to the surface something in Whitney’s brain that had been at work there a long time, for after that he would never let me alone about his Ten Strike Mine and the mountains that hid it. ‘Over there!’ he would say, and point to the north. From the porch of his bungalow the sleeping hills were plainly visible above the shimmering desert. He would chew on the end of a cigar and consider. ‘It isn’t very far, you know. Two days—maybe three. All we need’s water. No water there—at least, none found. All those fellows who’ve prospected are fools. I’m an expert; so are you. I tell you, Hardy, let’s do it! A couple of little old pack-mules! Eh? How about it? Next week? I can get off. God, I’d like money!’ And he would subside into a sullen silence. At first I laughed at him; but I can tell you that sort of thing gets on your nerves sooner or later and either makes you bolt it or else go. At the end of two weeks I actually found myself considering the fool thing seriously. Of course, I didn’t want to discover a lost gold-mine, that is, unless I just happened to stumble over it; I wanted to keep away from such things; they’re bad; they get into a man’s blood like drugs; but I’ve always had a hankering for a new country, and those hills, shining in the heat, were compelling—very compelling. Besides, I reflected, a trip like that might help to straighten Whitney up a little. I hadn’t much hope, to be sure, but drowning men clutch at straws. It’s curious what sophistry you use to convince yourself, isn’t it? And then—something happened that for two weeks occupied all my mind.”

Hardy paused, considered for a moment the glowing end of his cigarette, and finally looked up gravely; there was a slight hesitation, almost an embarrassment, in his manner. “I don’t exactly know how to put it,” he began. “I don’t want you chaps to imagine anything wrong; it was all very nebulous and indefinite, you understand—Mrs. Whitney was a wonderful woman. I wouldn’t mention the matter at all if it wasn’t necessary for the point of my story; in fact, it is the point of my story. But there was a man there—one of the young engineers—and quite suddenly I discovered that he was in love with Mrs. Whitney, and I think—I never could be quite sure, but I think she was in love with him. It must have been one of those sudden things, a storm out of a clear sky, deluging two people before they were aware. I imagine it was brought to the surface by the chap’s illness. He had been out riding on the desert and had got off to look at something, and a rattlesnake had struck him—a big, dust-dirty thing—on the wrist, and, very faint, he had galloped back to the Whitneys’. And what do you suppose she had done—Mrs. Whitney, that is? Flung herself down on him and sucked the wound! Yes, without a moment’s hesitation, her gold hair all about his hand and her white dress in the dirt. Of course, it was a foolish thing to do, and not in the least the right way to treat a wound, but she had risked her life to do it; a slight cut on her lip—you understand; a tiny, ragged place. Afterward, she had cut the wound crosswise, so, and had put on a ligature, and then had got the man into the house some way and nursed him until he was quite himself again. I dare say he had been in love with her a long while without knowing it, but that clinched matters. Those things come overpoweringly and take a man, down in places like that—semitropical and lonely and lawless, with long, empty days and moonlit nights. Perhaps he told Mrs. Whitney; he never got very far, I am sure. She was a wonderful woman—but she loved him, I think. You can tell those things, you know; a gesture, an unavoidable look, a silence.

“Anyway, I saw what had happened and I was sorry, and for a fortnight I hung around, loath to go, but hating myself all the while for not doing so. And every day Whitney would come at me with his insane scheme. ‘Over there! It isn’t very far. Two days—maybe three. How about it? Eh?’ and then that tense sweep of the arm to the north. I don’t know what it was, weariness, disgust, irritation of the whole sorry plan of things, but finally, and to my own astonishment, I found myself consenting, and within two days Whitney had his crazy pack outfit ready, and on the morning of the third day we set out. Mrs. Whitney had said nothing when we unfolded our intentions to her, nor did she say anything when we departed, but stood on the porch of the bungalow, her hand up to her throat, and watched us out of sight. I wondered what she was thinking about. The Voodoos—that was the name of the mountains we were heading for—had killed a good many men in their time.”

Hardy took a long and thoughtful sip from the glass in front of him before he began again. “I’ve knocked about a good deal in my life,” he said; “I’ve been lost—once in the jungle; I’ve starved; I’ve reached the point where I’ve imagined horrors, heard voices, you understand, and seen great, bearded men mouthing at me—a man’s pretty far gone when that happens to him—but that trip across the desert was the worst I’ve ever taken. By day it was all right, just swaying in your saddle, half asleep a good part of the time, the smell of warm dust in your nose, the three pack-mules plodding along behind; but the nights!—I tell you, I’ve sat about camp-fires up the Congo and watched big, oily black men eat their food, and I once saw a native village sacked, but I’d rather be tied for life to a West Coast nigger than to a man like Whitney. It isn’t good for two people to be alone in a place like that and for one to hate the other as I hated him. God knows why I didn’t kill him; I’d have to get up and leave the fire and go out into the night, and, mind you, I’d be shuddering like a man with the ague under that warm, soft air. And he never for a minute suspected it. His mind was scarred with drink as if a worm had bored its slow way in and out of it. I can see him now, cross-legged, beyond the flames, big, unshaven, heavy-jowled, dirty, what he thought dripping from his mouth like the bacon drippings he was too lazy to wipe away. I won’t tell you what he talked about; you know, the old thing; but not the way even the most wrong-minded of ordinary men talks; there was a sodden, triumphant deviltry in him that was appalling. He cursed the country for its lack of opportunity of a certain kind; he was like a hound held in leash, gloating over what he would do when he got back to the kennels of civilization again. And all the while, at the back of my mind, was a picture of that white-and-gold woman of his, way back toward the south, waiting his return because she owed him her life for the brilliant career she had ruined. It made you sometimes almost want to laugh—insanely. I used to lie awake at night and pray whatever there was to kill him, and do it quickly. I would have turned back, but I felt that every day I could keep him away from Los Pinos was a day gained for Mrs. Whitney. He was a dangerous maniac, too. The first day he behaved himself fairly well, but the second, after supper, when we had cleaned up, he began to fumble through the packs, and finally produced a bottle of brandy.

“‘Fine camping stuff!’ he announced. ‘Lots of results for very little weight. Have some?’

“‘Are you going to drink that?’ I asked.

“‘Oh, go to the devil!’ he snapped. ‘I’ve been out as much as you have.’ I didn’t argue with him further; I hoped if he drank enough the sun would get him. But the third night he upset the water-kegs, two of them. He had been carrying on some sort of weird celebration by himself, and finally staggered out into the desert, singing at the top of his lungs, and the first thing I knew he was down among the kegs, rolling over and over, and kicking right and left. The one that was open was gone; another he kicked the plug out of, but I managed to save about a quarter of its contents. The next morning I spoke to him about it. He blinked his red eyes and chuckled.

“‘Poor sort of stuff, anyway,’ he said.

“‘Yes,’ I agreed; ‘but without it you would blow out like a candle in a dust storm.’ After that we didn’t speak to each other except when it was necessary.

“We were in the foot-hills of the Voodoos by now, and the next day we got into the mountains themselves—great, bare ragged peaks, black and red and dirty yellow, like the cooled-off slake of a furnace. Every now and then a dry gully came down from nowheres; and the only human thing one could see was occasionally, on the sides of one of these, a shivering, miserable, half-dead piñon—nothing but that, and the steel-blue sky overhead, and the desert behind us, shimmering like a lake of salt. It was hot—good Lord! The horn of your saddle burned your hand. That night we camped in a canyon, and the next day went still higher up, following the course of a rutted stream that probably ran water once in a year. Whitney wanted to turn east, and it was all a toss-up to me; the place looked unlikely enough, anyway, although you never can tell. I had settled into the monotony of the trip by now and didn’t much care how long we stayed out. One day was like another—hot little swirls of dust, sweat of mules, and great black cliffs; and the nights came and went like the passing of a sponge over a fevered face. On the sixth day the tragedy happened. It was toward dusk, and one of the mules, the one that carried the water, fell over a cliff.

“He wasn’t hurt; just lay on his back and smiled crossly; but the kegs and the bags were smashed to bits. I like mules, but I wanted to kill that one. It was quiet down there in the canyon—quiet and hot. I looked at Whitney and he looked at me, and I had the sudden, unpleasant realization that he was a coward, added to his other qualifications. Yes, a coward! I saw it in his blurred eyes and the quivering of his bloated lips—stark dumb funk. That was bad. I’m afraid I lost my nerve, too; I make no excuses; fear is infectious. At all events, we tore down out of that place as if death was after us, the mules clattering and flapping in the rear. After a time I rode more slowly, but in the morning we were nearly down at the desert again; and there it lay before us, shimmering like a lake of salt—three days back to water.

“The next two days were rather a blur, as if a man were walking on a red-hot mirror that tipped up and down and tried to take his legs from under him. There was a water-hole a little to the east of the way we had come, and toward that I tried to head. One of the mules gave out, and staggered and groaned, and tried to get up again. I remember hearing him squeal, once; it was horrible. He lay there, a little black speck on the desert. Whitney and I didn’t speak to each other at all, but I thought of those two kegs of water he had upset. Have you ever been thirsty—mortally thirsty, until you feel your tongue black in your mouth? It’s queer what it does to you. Do you remember that little place—Zorn’s—at college? We used to sit there sometimes on spring afternoons. It was cool and cavern-like, and through the open door one could see the breeze in the maple-trees. Well, I thought about that all the time; it grew to be an obsession, a mirage. I could smell the moss-like smell of bock beer; I even remembered conversations we had had. You fellows were as real to me as you are real to-night. It’s strange, and then, when you come to, uncanny; you feel the sweat on you turn cold.

“We had ridden on in that way I don’t know how long, snatching a couple of feverish hours of sleep in the night, Whitney groaning and mumbling horribly, when suddenly my horse gave a little snicker—low, the way they do when you give them grain—and I felt his tired body straighten up ever so little. ‘Maybe,’ I thought, and I looked up. But I didn’t much care; I just wanted to crawl into some cool place and forget all about it and die. It was late in the afternoon. My shadow was lengthening. Too late, really, for much mirage; but I no longer put great stock in green vegetation and matters of that kind; I had seen too much of it in the last two days fade away into nothing—nothing but blistering, damned sand. And so I wouldn’t believe the cool reeds and the sparkling water until I had dipped down through a little swale and was actually fighting my horse back from the brink. I knew enough to do that, mind you, and to fight back the two mules so that they drank just a little at a time—a little at a time; and all the while I had to wait, with my tongue like sand in my mouth. Over the edge of my horse’s neck I could see the water just below; it looked as cool as rain. I was always a little proud of that—that holding back; it made up, in a way, for the funk of two nights earlier. When the mules and my horse were through I dismounted and, lying flat, bathed my hands, and then, a tiny sip at a time, began to drink. That was hard. When I stood up the heat seemed to have gone, and the breeze was moist and sweet with the smell of evening. I think I sang a little and waved my hands above my head, and, at all events, I remember I lay on my back and rolled a cigarette; and quite suddenly and without the slightest reason there were tears in my eyes. Then I began to wonder what had become of Whitney; I hadn’t thought of him before. I got to my feet, and just as I did so I saw him come over the little rise of sand, swaying in his saddle, and trying, the fool, to make his horse run. He looked like a great scarecrow blown out from some Indian maize-field into the desert. His clothes were torn and his mask of a face was seamed and black from dust and sweat; he saw the water and let out one queer, hoarse screech and kicked at his horse with wabbling legs.

“‘Look out!’ I cried, and stepped in his way. I had seen this sort of thing before and knew what to expect; but he rode me down as if I hadn’t been there. His horse tried to avoid me, and the next moment the sack of grain on its back was on the sands, creeping like a great, monstrous, four-legged thing toward the water. ‘Stay where you are,’ I said, ‘and I’ll bring you some.’ But he only crawled the faster. I grabbed his shoulder. ‘You fool!’ I said. ‘You’ll kill yourself!’

“‘Damn you!’ he blubbered. ‘Damn you!’ And before I knew it, and with all the strength, I imagine, left in him, he was on his feet and I was looking down the barrel of his gun. It looked very round and big and black, too. Beyond it his eyes were regarding me; they were quite mad, there was no doubt about that, but, just the way a dying man achieves some of his old desire to will, there was definite purpose in them. ‘You get out of my way,’ he said, and began very slowly to circle me. You could hardly hear his words, his lips were so blistered and swollen.

“And now this is the point of what I am telling you.” Hardy fumbled again for a match and relit his cigarette. “There we were, we two, in that desert light, about ten feet from the water, he with his gun pointing directly at my heart—and his hand wasn’t trembling as much as you would imagine, either—and he was circling me step by step, and I was standing still. I suppose the whole affair took two minutes, maybe three, but in that time—and my brain was still blurred to other impressions—I saw the thing as clearly as I see it now, as clearly as I saw that great, swollen beast of a face. Here was the chance I had longed for, the hope I had lain awake at night and prayed for; between the man and death I alone stood; and I had every reason, every instinct of decency and common sense, to make me step aside. The man was a devil; he was killing the finest woman I had ever met; his presence poisoned the air he walked in; he was an active agent of evil, there was no doubt of that. I hated him as I had never hated anything else in my life, and at the moment I was sure that God wanted him to die. I knew then that to save him would be criminal; I think so still. And I saw other considerations as well; saw them as clearly as I see you sitting here. I saw the man who loved Mrs. Whitney, and I saw Mrs. Whitney herself, and in my keeping, I knew, was all her chance for happiness, the one hope that the future would make up to her for some of the horror of the past. It would have been an easy thing to do; the most ordinary caution was on my side. Whitney was far larger than I, and, even in his weakened condition—I was weak myself—stronger, and he had a gun that in a flash of light could blow me into eternity. And what would happen then? Why, when he got back to Los Pinos they would hang him; they would be only too glad of the chance; and his wife?—she would die; I knew it—just go out like a flame from the unbearableness of it all. And there wasn’t one chance in a thousand that he wouldn’t kill me if I made a single step toward him. I had only to let him go and in a few minutes he would be dead—as dead as his poor brute of a horse would be within the hour. I felt already the cool relief that would be mine when the black shadow of him was gone. I would ride into town and think no more of it than if I had watched a tarantula die. You see, I had it all reasoned out as clearly as could be; there was morality and common sense, the welfare of other people, the man’s own good, really, and yet—well, I didn’t do it.”

“Didn’t?” It was Jarrick who put the question a little breathlessly.

“No. I stepped toward him—so! One step, then another, very slowly, hardly a foot at a time, and all the while I watched the infernal circle of that gun, expecting it every minute to spit fire. I didn’t want to go; I went against my will. I was scared, too, mortally scared; my legs were like lead—I had to think every time I lifted a foot—and in a queer, crazy way I seemed to feel two people, a man and a woman, holding me back, plucking at my sleeves. But I went. All the time I kept saying, very steady and quiet: ‘Don’t shoot, Whitney! D’you hear! Don’t shoot or I’ll kill you!’ Wasn’t it silly? Kill him! Why, he had me dead ten times before I got to him. But I suppose some trace of sanity was knocking at his drink-sodden brain, for he didn’t shoot—just watched me, his red eyes blinking. So! One step at a time—nearer and nearer—I could feel the sweat on my forehead—and then I jumped. I had him by the legs, and we went down in a heap. He shot then; they always do! But I had him tied up with the rags of his own shirt in a trice. Then I brought him water in my hat and let him drink it, drop by drop. After a while he came to altogether. But he never thanked me; he wasn’t that kind of a brute. I got him into town the morning of the second day and turned him over to his wife. So you see”—Hardy hesitated and looked at the circle of our faces with an odd, appealing look—“it is queer, isn’t it? All mixed up. One doesn’t know.” He sank back in his chair and began to scratch, absent-mindedly, at a holder with a match.

The after-theatre crowd was beginning to come in; the sound of laughter and talk grew steadily higher; far off an orchestra wailed inarticulately.

“What became of them?” I asked.

Hardy looked up as if startled. “The Whitneys? Oh—she died—Martin wrote me. Down there, within a year. One would know it would happen. Like a flame, I suppose—suddenly.”

“And the man—the fellow who was in love with her?”

Hardy stirred wearily. “I haven’t heard,” he said. “I suppose he is still alive.”

He leaned over to complete the striking of his match, and for an instant his arm touched a glass; it trembled and hung in the balance, and he shot out a sinewy hand to stop it, and as he did so the sleeve of his dinner jacket caught. On the brown flesh of his forearm I saw a queer, ragged white cross—the scar a snake bite leaves when it is cicatrized. I meant to avoid his eyes, but somehow I caught them instead. They were veiled and hurt.


From Harper’s Magazine

At times the muffled conversation in the kitchen resembled the resonant humming of bees, and again, when it became animated, it sounded like the distant cackling of geese. Then there would come a pause; and it would begin again with sibilant whispers, and end in a chorus of dry laughter that somehow suggested the crackling of burning logs.

Occasionally a figure would open the bedroom door, pass the old man as he sat huddled in his chair, never throwing a glance at him, and go and kneel by the side of the bed where the body was. They usually prayed for two or three minutes, then rose and walked on tiptoe to the kitchen, where they joined the company. Sometimes they came in twos, less often in threes, but they did precisely the same thing—prayed for precisely the same time, and left the room on tiptoe with the same creak of shoe and rustle of clothes that sounded so intensely loud throughout the room. They might have been following instructions laid down in a ritual.

The old man wished to heaven they would stay away. He had been sitting in his chair for hours, thinking, until his head was in a whirl. He wanted to concentrate his thoughts, but somehow he felt that the mourners were preventing him.

The five candles at the head of the bed distracted him. He was glad when the figure of one of the mourners shut off the glare for a few minutes. He was also distracted by the five chairs standing around the room like sentries on post and the little table by the window with its crucifix and holy-water font. He wanted to keep thinking of “herself,” as he called her, lost in the immensity of the oaken bed. He had been looking at the pinched face with its faint suspicion of blue since early that morning. He was very much awed by the nun’s hood that concealed the back of the head, and the stiffly posed arms and the small hands in their white-cotton gloves moved him to a deep pity.

Somebody touched him on the shoulder. “Michael James.”

It was big Dan Murray, a gaunt red farmer, who had been best man at his wedding.

“Michael James.”

“What is it?”

“I hear young Kennedy’s in the village.”

“What of that?”

“I thought it was best for you to know.”

Murray waited a moment, then he went out, on tiptoe, as everybody did, his movements resembling the stilted gestures of a mechanical toy.

Down the drive Michael heard steps coming. Then a struggle and a shrill giggle. Some young people were coming to the wake, and he knew a boy had tried to kiss a girl in the dark. He felt a dull surge of resentment.

She was nineteen when he married her; he was sixty-three. Because he had over two hundred acres of land and many head of milch and grazing cattle and a huge house that rambled like a barrack, her father had given her to him; and young Kennedy, who had been her father’s steward for years, and had been saving to buy a house for her, was thrown over like a bale of mildewed hay.

Kennedy had made several violent scenes. Michael James remembered the morning of the wedding. Kennedy waylaid the bridal-party coming out of the church. He was drunk. “Mark me,” he had said, very quietly for a drunken man—“mark me. If anything ever happens to that girl at your side, Michael James, I’ll murder you. I’ll murder you in cold blood. Do you understand?”

Michael James could be forgiving that morning. “Run away and sober up, lad,” he had said, “and come up to the house and dance.”

Kennedy had gone around the countryside for weeks, drunk every night, making threats against the old farmer. And then a wily sergeant of the Connaught Rangers had trapped him and taken him off to Aldershot.

Now he was home on furlough, and something had happened to her, and he was coming up to make good his threat.

What had happened to her? Michael James didn’t understand. He had given her everything he could. She had taken it all with a demure thanks, but he had never had anything of her but apathy. She had gone around the house apathetically, growing a little thinner every day, and then a few days ago she had lain down, and last night she had died, apathetically.

And young Kennedy was coming up for an accounting to-night. “Well,” thought Michael James, “let him come!”

Silence suddenly fell over the company in the kitchen. Then a loud scraping as they stood up, and a harsher grating as chairs were pushed back. The door of the bedroom opened and the red flare from the fire and lamps of the kitchen blended into the sickly yellow candle-light of the bedroom.

The parish priest walked in. His closely cropped white hair, strong, ruddy face, and erect back gave him more the appearance of a soldier than a clergyman. He looked at the bed a moment, and then at Michael James.

“Oh, you mustn’t take it like that, man,” he said. “You mustn’t take it like that. You must bear up.” He was the only one who spoke in his natural voice.

He turned to a lumbering farmer’s wife who had followed him in, and asked about the hour of the funeral. She answered in a hoarse whisper, dropping a courtesy.

“You ought to go out and take a walk,” he told Michael James. “You oughtn’t to stay in here all the time.” And he left the room.

Michael James paid no attention. His mind was wandering to strange fantasies he could not keep out of his head. Pictures crept in and out of his brain, joined as by some thin filament. He thought somehow of her soul, and then wondered what a soul was like. And then he thought of a dove, and then of a bat fluttering through the dark, and then of a bird lost at twilight. He thought of it as some lonely flying thing with a long journey before it and no place to rest. He could imagine it uttering the vibrant, plaintive cry of a peewit. And then it struck him with a great sense of pity that the night was cold.

In the kitchen they were having tea. The rattle of the crockery sounded very distinctly. He could distinguish the sharp, staccato ring when a cup was laid in a saucer, and the nervous rattle when cup and saucer were passed from one hand to the other. Spoons struck china with a faint metallic tinkle. He felt as if all the sounds were made at the back of his neck, and the crash seemed to burst in his head.

Dan Murray creaked into the room. “Michael James,” he whispered, “you ought to take something. Have a bite to eat. Take a cup of tea. I’ll bring it in to you.”

“Oh, let me alone, Daniel,” he answered. He felt he would like to kick him and curse him while doing so.

“You must take something.” Murray’s voice rose from a whisper to a low, argumentative sing-song. “You know it’s not natural. You’ve got to eat.”

“No, thank you, Daniel,” he answered. It was as if he were talking to a boy who was good-natured but tiresome. “I don’t feel like eating. Maybe afterward I will.”

“Michael James,” Murray continued.

“Well, what is it, Daniel?”

“Don’t you think I’d better go down and see young Kennedy and tell him how foolish it would be of him to come up here and start fighting? You know it isn’t right. Hadn’t I better go down? He’s at home now.”

“Let that alone, Daniel, I tell you.” The thought of Murray breaking into the matter that was between himself and the young man filled him with a sense of injured delicacy.

“I know he’s going to make trouble.”

“Let me handle that, like a good fellow, and leave me by myself, Daniel, if you don’t mind.”

“Ah well, sure. You know best.” And Murray crept out of the room.

As the door opened Michael could hear some one singing in a subdued voice and many feet tapping like drums in time with the music. They had to pass the night outside, and it was the custom, but the singing irritated him. He could fancy heads nodding and bodies swaying from side to side with the rhythm. He recognized the tune, and it began to run through his head, and he could not put it out of it. The lilt of it captured him, and suddenly he began thinking of the wonderful brain that musicians must have to compose music. And then his thoughts switched to a picture he had seen of a man in a garret with a fiddle beneath his chin.

He straightened himself up a little, for sitting crouched forward as he was put a strain on his back, and he unconsciously sat upright to ease himself. And as he sat up he caught a glimpse of the cotton gloves on the bed, and it burst in on him that the first time he had seen her she was walking along the road with young Kennedy one Sunday afternoon, and they were holding hands. When they saw him they let go suddenly, and grew very red, giggling in a half-hearted way to hide their embarrassment. And he remembered that he had passed them by without saying anything, but with a good-humored, sly smile on his face, and a mellow feeling within him, and a sage reflection to himself that young folks will be young folks, and what harm was there in courting a little on a Sunday afternoon when the week’s work had been done?

And he remembered other days on which he had met her and Kennedy; and then how the conviction had come into his mind that here was a girl for him to marry; and then how, quietly and equably, he had gone about getting her and marrying her, as he would go about buying a team of horses or make arrangements for cutting the hay.

Until the day he married her he felt as a driver feels who has his team under perfect control, and who knows every bend and curve of the road he is taking. But since that day he had been thinking about her and worrying and wondering exactly where he stood, until everything in the day was just the puzzle of her, and he was like a driver with a restive pair of horses who knows his way no farther than the next bend. And then he knew she was the biggest thing in his life.

The situation as it appeared to him he had worked out with difficulty, for he was not a thinking man. What thinking he did dealt with the price of harvest machinery and the best time of the year for buying and selling. He worked it out this way: here was this girl dead, whom he had married, and who should have married another man, who was coming to-night to kill him. To-night sometime the world would stop for him. He felt no longer a personal entity—he was merely part of a situation. It was as if he were a piece in a chess problem—any moment the player might move and solve the play by taking a pawn.

Realities had taken on a dim, unearthly quality. Occasionally a sound from the kitchen would strike him like an unexpected note in a harmony; the whiteness of the bed would flash out like a piece of color in a subdued painting.

There was a shuffling in the kitchen and the sound of feet going toward the door. The latch lifted with a rasp. He could hear the hoarse, deep tones of a few boys, and the high-pitched sing-song intonations of girls. He knew they were going for a few miles’ walk along the roads. He went over and raised the blind on the window. Overhead the moon showed like a spot of bright saffron. A sort of misty haze seemed to cling around the bushes and trees. The out-houses stood out white, like buildings in a mysterious city. Somewhere there was the metallic whir of a grasshopper, and in the distance a loon boomed again and again.

The little company passed down the yard. There was the sound of a smothered titter, then a playful resounding slap, and a gurgling laugh from one of the boys.

As he stood by the window he heard some one open the door and stand on the threshold.

“Are you coming, Alice?” some one asked.

Michael James listened for the answer. He was taking in eagerly all outside things. He wanted something to pass the time of waiting, as a traveler in a railway station reads trivial notices carefully while waiting for a train that may take him to the ends of the earth.

“Alice, are you coming?” was asked again.

There was no answer.

“Well, you needn’t if you don’t want to,” he heard in an irritated tone, and the speaker tramped down toward the road in a dudgeon. He recognized the figure of Flanagan, the football-player, who was always having little spats with the girl he was going to marry. He discovered with a sort of shock that he was slightly amused at this incident.

From the road there came the shrill scream of one of the girls who had gone out, and then a chorus of laughter. And against the background of the figure behind him and of young Kennedy he began wondering at the relationship of man and woman. He had no word for it, for “love” was a term he thought should be confined to story-books, a word to be suspicious of as sounding affected, a word to be scoffed at. But of this relationship he had a vague understanding. He thought of it as a criss-cross of threads binding one person to the other, or as a web which might be light and easily broken, or which might have the strength of steel cables and which might work into knots here and there and become a tangle that could crush those caught in it.

It puzzled him how a thing of indefinable grace, of soft words on June nights, of vague stirrings under moonlight, of embarrassing hand-clasps and fearful glances, might become, as it had become in the case of himself, Kennedy, and what was behind him, a thing of blind, malevolent force, a thing of sinister silence, a shadow that crushed.

And then it struck him with a sense of guilt that his mind was wandering from her, and he turned away from the window. He thought how much more peaceful it would be for a body to lie out in the moonlight than on a somber oak bedstead in a shadowy room with yellow, guttering candle-light and five solemn-looking chairs. And he thought again how strange it was that on a night like this Kennedy should come as an avenger seeking to kill rather than as a lover with high hope in his breast.

Murray slipped into the room again. There was a frown on his face and his tone was aggressive.

“I tell you, Michael James, we’ll have to do something about it.” There was a truculent note in his whisper.

The farmer did not answer.

“Will you let me go down for the police? A few words to the sergeant will keep him quiet.”

Michael James felt a pity for Murray. The idea of pitting a sergeant of police against the tragedy that was coming seemed ludicrous to him. It was like pitting a school-boy against a hurricane.

“Listen to me, Dan,” he replied. “How do you know Kennedy is coming up at all?”

“Flanagan, the football-player, met him and talked to him. He said that Kennedy was clean mad.”

“Do they know about it in the kitchen?”

“Not a word.” There was a pause.

“Well, listen here, now. Go right back there and don’t say a word about it. Wouldn’t it be foolish if you went down to the police and he didn’t come at all? And if he does come I can manage him. And if I can’t I’ll call you. Does that satisfy you?” And he sent Murray out, grumbling.

As the door closed he felt that the last refuge had been abandoned. He was to wrestle with destiny alone. He had no doubt that Kennedy would make good his vow, and he felt a sort of curiosity as to how it would be done. Would it be with hands, or with a gun, or some other weapon? He hoped it would be the gun. The idea of coming to hand-grips with the boy filled him with a strange terror.

The thought that within ten minutes or a half-hour or an hour he would be dead did not come home to him. It was the physical act that frightened him. He felt as if he were terribly alone and a cold wind were blowing about him and penetrating every pore of his body. There was a contraction around his breast-bone and a shiver in his shoulders.

His idea of death was that he would pitch headlong, as from a high tower, into a bottomless dark space.

He went over to the window again and looked out toward the barn. From a chink in one of the shutters there was a thread of yellow candle-light. He knew there were men there playing cards to pass the time.

Then terror came on him. The noise in the kitchen was subdued. Most of the mourners had gone home, and those who were staying the night were drowsy and were dozing over the fire. He felt he wanted to rush among them and to cry to them to protect him, and to cower behind them and to close them around him in a solid circle. He felt that eyes were upon him, looking at his back from the bed, and he was afraid to turn around because he might look into the eyes.

She had always respected him, he remembered, and he did not want to lose her respect now; and the fear that he would lose it set his shoulders back and steadied the grip of his feet on the floor.

And then there flashed before him the thought of people who kill, of lines of soldiery rushing on trenches, of a stealthy, cowering man who slips through a jail door at dawn, and of a figure he had read of in books—a sinister figure with an ax and a red cloak.

As he looked down the yard he saw a figure turn in the gate and come toward the house. It seemed to walk slowly and heavily, as if tired. He knew it was Kennedy. He opened the kitchen door and slipped outside.

The figure coming up the pathway seemed to swim toward him. Then it would blur and disappear and then appear again vaguely. The beating of his heart was like the regular sound of a ticking clock. Space narrowed until he felt he could not breathe. He went forward a few paces. The light from the bedroom window streamed forward in a broad, yellow beam. He stepped into it as into a river.

“She’s dead,” he heard himself saying. “She’s dead.” And then he knew that Kennedy was standing in front of him.

The flap of the boy’s hat threw a heavy shadow over his face, his shoulders were braced, and his right hand, the farmer could see, was thrust deeply into his coat pocket.

“Aye, she’s dead,” Michael James repeated. “You knew that, didn’t you?” It was all he could think of saying. “You’ll come in and see her, won’t you?” He had forgotten what Kennedy had come for. He was dazed. He didn’t know what to say.

Kennedy moved a little. The light from the window struck him full in the face, and Michael James realized with a shock that it was as grim and thin-lipped as he had pictured it. A prayer rose in his throat, and then fear seemed to leave him all at once. He raised his head. The right hand had left the pocket now. And then suddenly he saw that Kennedy was looking into the room, and he knew he could see, through the little panes of glass, the huge bedstead and the body on it. And he felt a desire to throw himself between Kennedy and it, as he might jump between a child and a threatening danger.

He turned away his head, instinctively—why, he could not understand, but he felt that he should not look at Kennedy’s face.

Over in the barn voices rose suddenly. They were disputing over the cards. There was some one complaining feverishly and some one arguing truculently, and another voice striving to make peace. They died away in a dull hum, and Michael James heard the boy sobbing.

“You mustn’t do that,” he said. “You mustn’t do that.” And he patted him on the shoulders. He felt as if something unspeakably tense had relaxed and as if life were swinging back into balance. His voice shook and he continued patting. “You’ll come in now, and I’ll leave you alone there.” He took him under the arm.

He felt the pity he had for the body on the bed envelop Kennedy, too, and a sense of peace came over him. It was as though a son of his had been hurt and had come to him for comfort, and he was going to comfort him. In some vague way he thought of Easter-time.

He stopped at the door for a moment.

“It’s all right, laddie,” he said. “It’s all right,” and he lifted the latch.

As they went in he felt somehow as if high walls had crumbled and the three of them had stepped into the light of day.


From The Masses

They said that the Russian line was a hundred miles long. I know nothing about that, but I know that it extended as far as the eye could reach to the east and west, and that this had been so for many weeks. But time, as it is known in the outer world, had stopped for us. It was now November, and we had been without mails since late in August. Three days of hideous cold had come without warning, and before the snows, so that there was a foot of iron frost in the ground. This had to be bitten through in all our trench-making, and though we were on the southern slopes of the Carpathians, timber was scarce. At each of our recent meetings with the Austrian enemy, we had expected to feel the new strike—the different resistance of German reinforcement.

A queer sense had come to us from the Austrians. I had thought of it many times and others had spoken the same: that it didn’t matter greatly to them. They gave us fierce fighting, but always when we were exhausted and insane with our dead—they fell away before us. This had happened so often that we came to expect it, our chief puzzle being just how long they would hold out in each battle. Especially when our brigade was engaged, and we had entered into an intensity that was all the human could endure, I would almost stop breathing in the expectancy of the release of tension before us. When it did not come, I invariably found afterward that I was out of perspective with the mainline, on account of the fierceness of our immediate struggle. We were but one snapping loop of the fighting—too localized to affect the main front. The Austrians gave all in a piece, when they drew back.

Days were the same, a steady suffering. I did not know before what men could stand. We had weeks of life that formerly I would have considered fatal to adventure with through one night or day—exposure, fatigue, famine—and over all the passion for home, that slow lasting fire. I began to understand how the field-mice winter—how the northern birds live through, and what a storm, on top of a storm, means to all creatures of the north country that are forced to take what comes, when the earth tilts up into the bleak and icy gray. We forget this as men, until a war comes.

But all measuring of the world had ceased for our eyes. A man must have emotions for this, and we thought our emotions dead. I wonder if it can be understood—this being shaken down to the end, this facing of life and death without a personal relation?... Crawling out of the blanket in the morning, I have met the cold—such a shock throughout, that it centered like a long pin driven in the heart. I have seen my friends go, right and left on the field—those who helped tend the fire the night before—and met their end and my own peril without a quickened pulse. Of course, I knew something was changed for me, because I had not been this way. I had even lost the love of courage—that quality of field-work that used to raise my hair, so high and pure did it seem to my eyes.... But the night came, when I heard a little man mumbling over the fire to the effect that he hated it all—that the Little Father was making monkeys of us all—and a thrill shot over me, so that I knew I was alive. Yes, there was something to that.

“Sh-shh—” said I. Two others drew near, as if a bottle had been opened. And Firthus, my closest friend, gripped my arm, leaving a blue welt where his thumb had pressed.

“It’s as bad to say ‘sh-sh—’ as to say what he said,” Firthus whispered.

Yes, even in the coldness, there was a thrill to that. Perhaps we thrill at the first breath of that which is to come and change us over.

... For three days they had given our part of the line a different and extraordinary resistance, so that for three nights we camped in the same place. A valley was before us, and the infantry had tried to cross again and again, always meeting at a certain place in the hollows an enfilading fire from the forward low hills. We could not get enough men across to charge the emplacements.... We were mid-west of the west wing, it was said; and word came the third day that we were holding up the whole line; that the east was ready to drive through, in fact, was bending forward; that the west was marking time on our account—and here we were keeping the whole Russian invasion from spending the holidays in Budapest.

On that third day I was dispatching from brigade-headquarters to the trenches. The General and his staff stood in a shepherd’s house in the midst of a circle of rocks. Waiting there I began to understand that they were having difficulty in forcing the men forward in the later charges. The lines could see their dead of former advances, black and countless upon the valley snow. This was not good for the trenches.

... Now I realized that they were talking of Chautonville, the singer, the master of our folk-songs. We had heard of him along the line—how he had come running home to us out of Germany at the last moment in July—literally pelted forth, changed from an idol into an enemy and losing a priceless engagement-series on the Continent. He had not been the least bewildered, as the story went, rather enjoying it all.... They had monopolized him at the central headquarters, so that we had not heard him sing, but the gossip of it fired the whole line—a baritone voice like a thick starry dusk, having to do with magnolias and the south, and singing of the Russia that was to mean the world. Somehow he had made us gossip to that extent. So I was interested now to hear the name of Chautonville, and that he was coming.

He was to sing us forward again. There was a pang in that, as I craned forward to look at the valley. It was not for our entertainment, but to make us forget our dead, to make us charge the valley again over our dead—it being planned that a remnant might make the crossing and charge the emplacements.... He came—a short barrel of a man and fat. They had kept him well at the Center. He was valuable in the hospitals, it was said.

The least soldierly kind of a man I had seen in many days, save the Brigadier—so white and fat was Chautonville, the top of his head small, his legs short and thick, hands fat and white and tapering, a huge neck and chin with folds of white fat under it—a sort of a perfect bird dressed for present to the Emperor. Chautonville was big-eyed with all this—large, innocent brown eyes—innocent to me, but it was the superb health of the creature, his softness, clearness of skin and eye, that gave the impression to us, so lean and stringy. For his eyes were not innocent—something in them spoiled that. We were worn to buckskin and ivory, while here was a parlor kind of health—so clean in his linen, white folds of linen, about his collar and wrists. His chest was a marvel to look at—here in the field after weeks in the Carpathians. We were all range and angles, but this was a round barrel of a man, as thick as broad, his lips plump and soft, while we for weeks had licked a dry faded line, our faces strange with bone and teeth.

“What is it?” he asked the General.

I thought of a little doctor, called by others after consultation—an extra bit of dexterity required, this being the high-priced man. There was that indoor look of a barber about him, too.

The General explained that a new charge was to be ordered—that three had failed—that the men (while not exactly rebellious) faltered before the valley a fourth time this day—that the failures were costly in men—in short, that the inspiration of Chautonville was required now to sing them and the reserves across.... The Austrians would quickly give way, if the valley were passed.... Then the thousands would flood up the slopes and—Budapest and holidays.

“You want me to sing to them for courage—as it were?” Chautonville questioned.

I had marked his voice. I saw now that he needed all the thickness of throat and bust—that he used it all. I hoped they would not send me away with a message....

“You want me to walk up and down the trenches?”

“Yes, singing.”

He puffed his cheeks and blew out a long breath—as if enjoying the effect of the steam in the icy light.

“Are they under fire?” he asked.

“You see them from here—how silent they are! The enemy does not fire until we reach the valley.”

So he made no bones about his fears. Nothing of the charge would be required of him. He could withdraw after his inspiration.... Hate was growing within me. God, how I came to hate him—not for his cowardice—that was a novelty, and so freely acknowledged, but because he would sing the men to their death. This was the tame elephant that they use to subdue the wild ones—this the decoy—the little white bastard.

“Very well, I will walk up and down the trenches, singing—” He said it a bit cockily.

I was in no way a revolutionist, yet I vowed some time to get him, alone.... I seemed to see myself in a crowded city street at night—some city full of lights, as far as heaven from now—going in with the crowd under the lights—to hear him sing. There I could get him.... Not a revolutionist, at all; no man in the enlisted ranks more trusted than I; attached for dispatch-work at brigade-headquarters; in all likelihood of appearance so stupid, as to be accepted as a good soldier and nothing more.... Now I remembered how far I was from the lights of any city and crowded streets—here in the desperate winter fighting, our world crazed with punishment, and planning for real fighting in the Spring. The dead of the valley arose before my eyes.... Perhaps within an hour my room would be ready. Still I should be sorry to pass, and leave Chautonville living on.

They beckoned me to his escort. I followed, hoping to see him die presently. This new hope was to watch him die—and not do it with my hands. Yes, I trusted that Chautonville would not come back from the trenches.

The pits stretched out in either direction—bitten into the ground by the most miserable men the light of day uncovered—bitten through the snow and then through a thick floor of frost as hard as cement. I heard their voices—men of my own country—voices as from swooning men—lost to all mercy, ready to die, not as men, but preying, cornered animals—forgotten of God, it seemed, though that was illusion; forgotten of home which was worse to their hearts, and illusion, too. For we could not hold the fact of home. It had proved too hard for us. The bond had snapped. Only death seemed sure.

Chautonville opened his mouth.

It was like sitting by a fire, and falling into a dream.... He sang of our fathers and our boyhood; the good fathers who taught us all they knew, and whipped us with patience and the fear of God. He sang of the savory kitchen and the red fire-lit windows (bins full of corn and boxes high with wood); of the gray winter and the children of our house, the smell of wood-smoke and the low singing of the tea-kettle on the hearth.

And the officers followed him along the trenches, crying to us, “Prepare to charge!”

He sang of the ice breaking in the rivers—the groan of ice rotting in the lakes under the softness of the new life—of the frost coming up out of the fallows, leaving them wet-black and gleaming-rich. He sang of Spring, the spring-plowing, the heaviness of our labor, with spring lust in our veins, and the crude love in our hearts which we could only articulate in kisses and passion.

A roar from us at that—for the forgotten world was rushing home—the world of our maidens and our women.... He sang of the churches—sang of Poland, sang of Finland—of the churches and the long Sabbaths, the ministry of the gentle, irresistible Christ, of the Mary who mothered Him and mothered us all.

We were roaring like school-boys now behind him—the officer-men shouting to us to stand in our places and prepare to charge.

... He was singing of the Spring again—of the warm breath that comes up over the hills and plains—even to our little fields. On he went singing, and I followed like a dog or a child—hundreds of others following—the menacing voices just stabbing in through the song of open weather and the smell of the ground.... My father had sung it to me—the song of the soil, the song from the soil. And the smell of the stables came home, and the ruminating cattle at evening, the warm smell of the milking and the red that shot the dusk.... My mother taking the pails in the purple evening.

And this about us was the soldiery of Russia—the reek of powder, the iron frost, and the dead that moved for our eyes in the dip of the white valley. And each of us saw our field, our low earth-thatched barns, and each of us saw our mothers, and every man’s father sang.... We cried to him, when he halted a moment—and our hearts, they were burning in his steps—burning, and not with hatred.

Now he sang of the Springtime—and, my God—of our maidens! On the road from her house, I had sung it—coming home in the night from her house—when, in that great happiness which a man knows but once, I had leaped in the softness of the night, my heart traveling up the moon-ray in the driven flame of her kiss. (She did not sleep that night, nor I, for the husk of the world had been torn away.) ... He sang our maidens back to us—to each man, his maiden—their breasts near, and shaken with weeping. They held out our babes, to lure us home—crying “Come back!” to us....

And some had not seen the latest babe at her breast; and some of us only longed for that which we knew—the little hands and the wondering eyes at her skirts—hands that had helped us over the first rough mysteries of fatherhood.

And now I glimpsed the face of Chautonville in the mass—the open mouth. It was not the face that I had seen. For he had lied to me, as he had lied to the officers, and this was the face of an angel, and so happy. Long had he dreamed and long had he waited for this moment—and happy, he was, as a child on a great white horse. He was not singing us across the red-white valley. He was singing us home.

Then I heard the firing, and saw the officers trying to reach him, but we were there. We laughed and called to him, “Sing us the maidens again!”... “For I have a maiden—” a man said.... “Sing us the good Christ.” ... “For I was called to the ministry—” another cried.... “Sing of the Spring and the mothers at the milking—” for we all had our mothers who do not die.... He was singing of our homes in the north country—singing as if he would sing the Austrians home—and the Germans—and would to God that he had!

Then his voice came through to us—not in the great dusky baritone of song, but like a command of the Father: “Come on, men, we are going home!

... But I could not go. A pistol stopped me. So I lay on my elbow watching them turn back—a little circle of hundreds eager to die for him. All who had heard the singing turned homeward. And the lines came in from the east and from the west and deluged them.... Propped on my elbow, I saw them go down in the deluge of the obedient—watched until the blood went out and blurred the picture. But I saw enough in that darkening—that there was fine sanity in their dying. I wished that I could die with them. It was not slaughter, but martyrdom. It called me through the darkness—and I knew that some man’s song would reach all the armies—all men turning home together—each with his vision and unafraid.


From The Fabulist

On the left the road comes up the hill out of a pool of mist; on the right it loses itself in the shadow of a wood. On the farther side of the highway a hedgerow, dusty in the moonlight, spreads an irregular border of black from the wood to the fog. Behind the hedgerow slender poplar trees, evenly spaced, rule off the distance with inky lines.

A movement stirs the mist at the bottom of the hill. A monotonous rhythm grows in the silence. The mist darkens, and from it there emerges a strange shadowy column that reaches slowly up the hill, moving in silence to the sombre and muffled beating of a drum. As it draws nearer the shadow becomes two files of marching men bearing between them a long dim burden.

The leaders advance into the moonlight. Each two men are carrying between them a pole, and from pole to pole have been slung planks making a continuous platform. But that which is heaped upon the platform is hidden with muddy blankets.

The uniforms of the men—of various sorts, indicating that they are from many commands—are in shreds and spotted with stains of mould and earth; their heads are bound in cloths so that their faces are covered. The single drummer at the side of the column carries slung from his shoulder the shell of a drum. No flag flies from the staff at the column’s head, but the staff is held erect.

Slowly the head of the line advances to the shadow of the wood, touches it and is swallowed. The leaders, the bare flag-staff, the drummer disappear; but still from the shade is heard the muffled rhythm of the drum. Still the column comes out of the mist, still it climbs the hill and passes with its endless articulated burden. At last the rearmost couple disengages itself from the mist, ascends, and is swallowed by the shadow. There remain only the moonlight and the dusty hedgerow.

From the left the road runs from Belgium; to the right it crosses into France.

The dead were leaving their resting places in that lost land.


From Collier’s Weekly

The President of the United States was speaking. His audience comprised two thousand foreign-born men who had just been admitted to citizenship. They listened intently, their faces, aglow with the light of a new-born patriotism, upturned to the calm, intellectual face of the first citizen of the country they now claimed as their own.

Here and there among the newly made citizens were wives and children. The women were proud of their men. They looked at them from time to time, their faces showing pride and awe.

One little woman, sitting immediately in front of the President, held the hand of a big, muscular man and stroked it softly. The big man was looking at the speaker with great blue eyes that were the eyes of a dreamer.

The President’s words came clear and distinct:

You were drawn across the ocean by some beckoning finger of hope, by some belief, by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some expectation of a better kind of life. You dreamed dreams of this country, and I hope you brought the dreams with you. A man enriches the country to which he brings dreams, and you who have brought them have enriched America.

The big man made a curious choking noise and his wife breathed a soft “Hush!” The giant was strangely affected.

The President continued:

No doubt you have been disappointed in some of us, but remember this, if we have grown at all poor in the ideal, you brought some of it with you. A man does not go out to seek the thing that is not in him. A man does not hope for the thing that he does not believe in, and if some of us have forgotten what America believed in, you at any rate imported in your own hearts a renewal of the belief. Each of you, I am sure, brought a dream, a glorious, shining dream, a dream worth more than gold or silver, and that is the reason that I, for one, make you welcome.

The big man’s eyes were fixed. His wife shook him gently, but he did not heed her. He was looking through the presidential rostrum, through the big buildings behind it, looking out over leagues of space to a snow-swept village that huddled on an island in the Beresina, the swift-flowing tributary of the mighty Dnieper, an island that looked like a black bone stuck tight in the maw of the stream.

It was in the little village on the Beresina that the Dream came to Ivan Berloff, Big Ivan of the Bridge.

The Dream came in the spring. All great dreams come in the spring, and the Spring Maiden who brought Big Ivan’s Dream was more than ordinarily beautiful. She swept up the Beresina, trailing wondrous draperies of vivid green. Her feet touched the snow-hardened ground and armies of little white and blue flowers sprang up in her footsteps. Soft breezes escorted her, velvety breezes that carried the aromas of the far-off places from which they came, places far to the southward, like Kremenchug and Kerch, and more distant towns beyond the Black Sea whose people were not under the sway of the Great Czar.

The father of Big Ivan, who had fought under Prince Menshikov at Alma fifty-five years before, hobbled out to see the sunbeams eat up the snow hummocks that hid in the shady places, and he told his son it was the most wonderful spring he had ever seen.

“The little breezes are hot and sweet,” he said, sniffing hungrily with his face turned toward the south. “I know them, Ivan! I know them! They have the spice odor that I sniffed on the winds that came to us when we lay in the trenches at Balaklava. Praise God for the warmth!”

And that day the Dream came to Big Ivan as he plowed. It was a wonder dream. It sprang into his brain as he walked behind the plow, and for a few minutes he quivered as the big bridge quivers when the Beresina sends her ice squadrons to hammer the arches. It made his heart pound mightily, and his lips and throat became very dry.

Big Ivan stopped at the end of the furrow and tried to discover what had brought the Dream. Where had it come from? Why had it clutched him so suddenly? Was he the only man in the village to whom it had come?

Like his father, he sniffed the sweet-smelling breezes. He thrust his great hands into the sunbeams. He reached down and plucked one of a bunch of white flowers that had sprung up overnight. The Dream was born of the breezes and the sunshine and the spring flowers. It came from them and it had sprung into his mind because he was young and strong. He knew! It couldn’t come to his father or Donkov, the tailor, or Poborino, the smith. They were old and weak, and Ivan’s dream was one that called for youth and strength.

“Ay, for youth and strength,” he muttered as he gripped the plow. “And I have it!”

That evening Big Ivan of the Bridge spoke to his wife, Anna, a little woman, who had a sweet face and a wealth of fair hair.

“Wife, we are going away from here,” he said.

“Where are we going, Ivan?” she asked.

“Where do you think, Anna?” he said, looking down at her as she stood by his side.

“To Bobruisk,” she murmured.



“Ay, a long way farther.”

Fear sprang into her soft eyes. Bobruisk was eighty-nine versts away, yet Ivan said they were going farther.

“We—we are not going to Minsk?” she cried.

“Ay, and beyond Minsk!”

“Ivan, tell me!” she grasped. “Tell me where we are going!”

“We are going to America.”

To America?

“Yes, to America!”

Big Ivan of the Bridge lifted up his voice when he cried out the words “To America,” and then a sudden fear sprang upon him as those words dashed through the little window out into the darkness of the village street. Was he mad? America was 8,000 versts away! It was far across the ocean, a place that was only a name to him, a place where he knew no one. He wondered in the strange little silence that followed his words if the crippled son of Poborino, the smith, had heard him. The cripple would jeer at him if the night wind had carried the words to his ear.

Anna remained staring at her big husband for a few minutes, then she sat down quietly at his side. There was a strange look in his big blue eyes, the look of a man to whom has come a vision, the look which came into the eyes of those shepherds of Judea long, long ago.

“What is it, Ivan?” she murmured softly, patting his big hand. “Tell me.”

And Big Ivan of the Bridge, slow of tongue, told of the Dream. To no one else would he have told it. Anna understood. She had a way of patting his hands and saying soft things when his tongue could not find words to express his thoughts.

Ivan told how the Dream had come to him as he plowed. He told her how it had sprung upon him, a wonderful dream born of the soft breezes, of the sunshine, of the sweet smell of the upturned sod and of his own strength. “It wouldn’t come to weak men,” he said, baring an arm that showed great snaky muscles rippling beneath the clear skin. “It is a dream that comes only to those who are strong and those who want—who want something that they haven’t got.” Then in a lower voice he said: “What is it that we want, Anna?”

The little wife looked out into the darkness with fear-filled eyes. There were spies even there in that little village on the Beresina, and it was dangerous to say words that might be construed into a reflection on the Government. But she answered Ivan. She stooped and whispered one word into his ear, and he slapped his thigh with his big hand.

“Ay,” he cried. “That is what we want! You and I and millions like us want it, and over there, Anna, over there we will get it. It is the country where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the blood!”

Anna stood up, took a small earthenware jar from a side shelf, dusted it carefully and placed it upon the mantel. From a knotted cloth about her neck she took a ruble and dropped the coin into the jar. Big Ivan looked at her curiously.

“It is to make legs for your Dream,” she explained. “It is many versts to America, and one rides on rubles.”

“You are a good wife,” he said. “I was afraid that you might laugh at me.”

“It is a great dream,” she murmured. “Come, we will go to sleep.”

The Dream maddened Ivan during the days that followed. It pounded within his brain as he followed the plow. It bred a discontent that made him hate the little village, the swift-flowing Beresina and the gray stretches that ran toward Mogilev. He wanted to be moving, but Anna had said that one rode on rubles, and rubles were hard to find.

And in some mysterious way the village became aware of the secret. Donkov, the tailor, discovered it. Donkov lived in one half of the cottage occupied by Ivan and Anna, and Donkov had long ears. The tailor spread the news, and Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker, would jeer at Ivan as he passed.

“When are you going to America?” they would ask.

“Soon,” Ivan would answer.

“Take us with you!” they would cry in chorus.

“It is no place for cowards,” Ivan would answer. “It is a long way, and only brave men can make the journey.”

“Are you brave?” the baker screamed one day as he went by.

“I am brave enough to want liberty!” cried Ivan angrily. “I am brave enough to want—”

“Be careful! Be careful!” interrupted the smith. “A long tongue has given many a man a train journey that he never expected.”

That night Ivan and Anna counted the rubles in the earthenware pot. The giant looked down at his wife with a gloomy face, but she smiled and patted his hand.

“It is slow work,” he said.

“We must be patient,” she answered. “You have the Dream.”

“Ay,” he said. “I have the Dream.”

Through the hot, languorous summertime the Dream grew within the brain of Big Ivan. He saw visions in the smoky haze that hung above the Beresina. At times he would stand, hoe in hand, and look toward the west, the wonderful west into which the sun slipped down each evening like a coin dropped from the fingers of the dying day.

Autumn came, and the fretful whining winds that came down from the north chilled the Dream. The winds whispered of the coming of the Snow King, and the river grumbled as it listened. Big Ivan kept out of the way of Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker. The Dream was still with him, but autumn is a bad time for dreams.

Winter came, and the Dream weakened. It was only the earthenware pot that kept it alive, the pot into which the industrious Anna put every coin that could be spared. Often Big Ivan would stare at the pot as he sat beside the stove. The pot was the umbilical cord which kept the Dream alive.

“You are a good woman, Anna,” Ivan would say again and again. “It was you who thought of saving the rubles.”

“But it was you who dreamed,” she would answer. “Wait for the spring, husband mine. Wait.”

It was strange how the spring came to the Beresina that year. It sprang upon the flanks of winter before the Ice King had given the order to retreat into the fastnesses of the north. It swept up the river escorted by a million little breezes, and housewives opened their windows and peered out with surprise upon their faces. A wonderful guest had come to them and found them unprepared.

Big Ivan of the Bridge was fixing a fence in the meadow on the morning the Spring Maiden reached the village. For a little while he was not aware of her arrival. His mind was upon his work, but suddenly he discovered that he was hot, and he took off his overcoat. He turned to hang the coat upon a bush, then he sniffed the air, and a puzzled look came upon his face. He sniffed again, hurriedly, hungrily. He drew in great breaths of it, and his eyes shone with a strange light. It was wonderful air. It brought life to the Dream. It rose up within him, ten times more lusty than on the day it was born, and his limbs trembled as he drew in the hot, scented breezes that breed the Wanderlust and shorten the long trails of the world.

Ivan clutched his coat and ran to the little cottage. He burst through the door, startling Anna, who was busy with her housework.

“The Spring!” he cried. “The Spring!

He took her arm and dragged her to the door. Standing together they sniffed the sweet breezes. In silence they listened to the song of the river. The Beresina had changed from a whining, fretful tune into a lilting, sweet song that would set the legs of lovers dancing. Anna pointed to a green bud on a bush beside the door.

“It came this minute,” she murmured.

“Yes,” said Ivan. “The little fairies brought it there to show us that spring has come to stay.”

Together they turned and walked to the mantel. Big Ivan took up the earthenware pot, carried it to the table, and spilled its contents upon the well-scrubbed boards. He counted while Anna stood beside him, her fingers clutching his coarse blouse. It was a slow business, because Ivan’s big blunt fingers were not used to such work, but it was over at last. He stacked the coins into neat piles, then he straightened himself and turned to the woman at his side.

“It is enough,” he said quietly. “We will go at once. If it was not enough, we would have to go because the Dream is upon me and I hate this place.”

“As you say,” murmured Anna. “The wife of Littin, the butcher, will buy our chairs and our bed. I spoke to her yesterday.”

Poborino, the smith; his crippled son; Yanansk, the baker; Dankov, the tailor, and a score of others were out upon the village street on the morning that Big Ivan and Anna set out. They were inclined to jeer at Ivan, but something upon the face of the giant made them afraid. Hand in hand the big man and his wife walked down the street, their faces turned toward Bobruisk, Ivan balancing upon his head a heavy trunk that no other man in the village could have lifted.

At the end of the street a stripling with bright eyes and yellow curls clutched the hand of Ivan and looked into his face.

“I know what is sending you,” he cried.

“Ay, you know,” said Ivan, looking into the eyes of the other.

“It came to me yesterday,” murmured the stripling. “I got it from the breezes. They are free, so are the birds and the little clouds and the river. I wish I could go.”

“Keep your dream,” said Ivan softly. “Nurse it, for it is the dream of a man.”

Anna, who was crying softly, touched the blouse of the boy. “At the back of our cottage, near the bush that bears the red berries, a pot is buried,” she said. “Dig it up and take it home with you and when you have a kopeck drop it in. It is a good pot.”

The stripling understood. He stooped and kissed the hand of Anna, and Big Ivan patted him upon the back. They were brother dreamers and they understood each other.

Boris Lugan has sung the song of the versts that eat up one’s courage as well as the leather of one’s shoes.

“Versts! Versts! Scores and scores of them!
Versts! Versts! A million or more of them!
Dust! Dust! And the devils who play in it
Blinding us fools who forever must stay in it.”

Big Ivan and Anna faced the long versts to Bobruisk, but they were not afraid of the dust devils. They had the Dream. It made their hearts light and took the weary feeling from their feet. They were on their way. America was a long, long journey, but they had started, and every verst they covered lessened the number that lay between them and the Promised Land.

“I am glad the boy spoke to us,” said Anna.

“And I am glad,” said Ivan. “Some day he will come and eat with us in America.”

They came to Bobruisk. Holding hands, they walked into it late one afternoon. They were eighty-nine versts from the little village on the Beresina, but they were not afraid. The Dream spoke to Ivan, and his big hand held the hand of Anna. The railway ran through Bobruisk, and that evening they stood and looked at the shining rails that went out in the moonlight like silver tongs reaching out for a low-hanging star.

And they came face to face with the Terror that evening, the Terror that had helped the spring breezes and the sunshine to plant the Dream in the brain of Big Ivan.

They were walking down a dark side street when they saw a score of men and women creep from the door of a squat, unpainted building. The little group remained on the sidewalk for a minute as if uncertain about the way they should go, then from the corner of the street came a cry of “Police!” and the twenty pedestrians ran in different directions.

It was no false alarm. Mounted police charged down the dark thoroughfare swinging their swords as they rode at the scurrying men and women who raced for shelter. Big Ivan dragged Anna into a doorway, and toward their hiding place ran a young boy who, like themselves, had no connection with the group and who merely desired to get out of harm’s way till the storm was over.

The boy was not quick enough to escape the charge. A trooper pursued him, overtook him before he reached the sidewalk, and knocked him down with a quick stroke given with the flat of his blade. His horse struck the boy with one of his hoofs as the lad stumbled on his face.

Big Ivan growled like an angry bear, and sprang from his hiding place. The trooper’s horse had carried him on to the sidewalk, and Ivan seized the bridle and flung the animal on its haunches. The policeman leaned forward to strike at the giant, but Ivan of the Bridge gripped the left leg of the horseman and tore him from his saddle.

The horse galloped off, leaving its rider lying beside the moaning boy who was unlucky enough to be in a street where a score of students were holding a meeting.

Anna dragged Ivan back into the passageway. More police were charging down the street, and their position was a dangerous one.

“Ivan!” she cried, “Ivan! Remember the Dream! America, Ivan! America! Come this way! Quick!

With strong hands she dragged him down the passage. It opened into a narrow lane, and, holding each other’s hands, they hurried toward the place where they had taken lodgings. From far off came screams and hoarse orders, curses and the sound of galloping hoofs. The Terror was abroad.

Big Ivan spoke softly as they entered the little room they had taken. “He had a face like the boy to whom you gave the lucky pot,” he said. “Did you notice it in the moonlight when the trooper struck him down?”

“Yes,” she answered. “I saw.”

They left Bobruisk next morning. They rode away on a great, puffing, snorting train that terrified Anna. The engineer turned a stopcock as they were passing the engine, and Anna screamed while Ivan nearly dropped the big trunk. The engineer grinned, but the giant looked up at him and the grin faded. Ivan of the Bridge was startled by the rush of hot steam, but he was afraid of no man.

The train went roaring by little villages and great pasture stretches. The real journey had begun. They began to love the powerful engine. It was eating up the versts at a tremendous rate. They looked at each other from time to time and smiled like two children.

They came to Minsk, the biggest town they had ever seen. They looked out from the car windows at the miles of wooden buildings, at the big church of St. Catharine, and the woolen mills. Minsk would have frightened them if they hadn’t had the Dream. The farther they went from the little village on the Beresina the more courage the Dream gave to them.

On and on went the train, the wheels singing the song of the road. Fellow travelers asked them where they were going. “To America,” Ivan would answer.

“To America?” they would cry. “May the little saints guide you. It is a long way, and you will be lonely.”

“No, we shall not be lonely,” Ivan would say.

“Ha! you are going with friends?”

“No, we have no friends, but we have something that keeps us from being lonely.” And when Ivan would make that reply Anna would pat his hand and the questioner would wonder if it was a charm or a holy relic that the bright-eyed couple possessed.

They ran through Vilna, on through flat stretches of Courland to Libau, where they saw the sea. They sat and stared at it for a whole day, talking little but watching it with wide, wondering eyes. And they stared at the great ships that came rocking in from distant ports, their sides gray with the salt from the big combers which they had battled with.

No wonder this America of ours is big. We draw the brave ones from the old lands, the brave ones whose dreams are like the guiding sign that was given to the Israelites of old—a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night.

The harbor master spoke to Ivan and Anna as they watched the restless waters.

“Where are you going, children?”

“To America,” answered Ivan.

“A long way. Three ships bound for America went down last month.”

“Ours will not sink,” said Ivan.


“Because I know it will not.”

The harbor master looked at the strange blue eyes of the giant, and spoke softly. “You have the eyes of a man who sees things,” he said. “There was a Norwegian sailor in the White Queen, who had eyes like yours and he could see death.”

“I see life!” said Ivan boldly. “A free life—”

“Hush!” said the harbor master. “Do not speak so loud.” He walked swiftly away, but he dropped a ruble into Anna’s hand as he passed her by. “For luck,” he murmured. “May the little saints look after you on the big waters.”

They boarded the ship, and the Dream gave them a courage that surprised them. There were others going aboard, and Ivan and Anna felt that those others were also persons who possessed dreams. She saw the dreams in their eyes. There were Slavs, Poles, Letts, Jews, and Livonians, all bound for the land where dreams come true. They were a little afraid—not two per cent of them had ever seen a ship before—yet their dreams gave them courage.

The emigrant ship was dragged from her pier by a grunting tug and went floundering down the Baltic Sea. Night came down, and the devils who, according to the Esthonian fishermen, live in the bottom of the Baltic, got their shoulders under the stern of the ship and tried to stand her on her head. They whipped up white combers that sprang on her flanks and tried to crush her, and the wind played a devil’s lament in her rigging. Anna lay sick in the stuffy women’s quarters, and Ivan could not get near her. But he sent her messages. He told her not to mind the sea devils, to think of the Dream, the Great Dream that would become real in the land to which they were bound. Ivan of the Bridge grew to full stature on that first night out from Libau. The battered old craft that carried him slouched before the waves that swept over her decks, but he was not afraid. Down among the million and one smells of the steerage he induced a thin-faced Livonian to play upon a mouth organ, and Big Ivan sang Paleer’s “Song of Freedom” in a voice that drowned the creaking of the old vessel’s timbers, and made the seasick ones forget their sickness. They sat up in their berths and joined in the chorus, their eyes shining brightly in the half gloom:

“Freedom for serf and for slave,
Freedom for all men who crave
Their right to be free
And who hate to bend knee
But to Him who this right to them gave.”

It was well that these emigrants had dreams. They wanted them. The sea devils chased the lumbering steamer. They hung to her bows and pulled her for’ard deck under emerald-green rollers. They clung to her stern and hoisted her nose till Big Ivan thought that he could touch the door of heaven by standing on her blunt snout. Miserable, cold, ill, and sleepless, the emigrants crouched in their quarters, and to them Ivan and the thin-faced Livonian sang the “Song of Freedom.”

The emigrant ship pounded through the Cattegat, swung southward through the Skagerrack and the bleak North Sea. But the storm pursued her. The big waves snarled and bit at her, and the captain and the chief officer consulted with each other. They decided to run into the Thames, and the harried steamer nosed her way in and anchored off Gravesend.

An examination was made, and the agents decided to transship the emigrants. They were taken to London and thence by train to Liverpool, and Ivan and Anna sat again side by side, holding hands and smiling at each other as the third-class emigrant train from Euston raced down through the green Midland counties to grimy Liverpool.

“You are not afraid?” Ivan would say to her each time she looked at him.

“It is a long way, but the Dream has given me much courage,” she said.

“To-day I spoke to a Lett whose brother works in New York City,” said the giant. “Do you know how much money he earns each day?”

“How much?” she questioned.

“Three rubles, and he calls the policemen by their first names.”

“You will earn five rubles, my Ivan,” she murmured. “There is no one as strong as you.”

Once again they were herded into the bowels of a big ship that steamed away through the fog banks of the Mersey out into the Irish Sea. There were more dreamers now, nine hundred of them, and Anna and Ivan were more comfortable. And these new emigrants, English, Irish, Scotch, French, and German, knew much concerning America. Ivan was certain that he would earn at least three rubles a day. He was very strong.

On the deck he defeated all comers in a tug of war, and the captain of the ship came up to him and felt his muscles.

“The country that lets men like you get away from it is run badly,” he said. “Why did you leave it?”

The interpreter translated what the captain said, and through the interpreter Ivan answered.

“I had a Dream,” he said, “a Dream of freedom.”

“Good,” cried the captain. “Why should a man with muscles like yours have his face ground into the dust?”

The soul of Big Ivan grew during those days. He felt himself a man, a man who was born upright to speak his thoughts without fear.

The ship rolled into Queenstown one bright morning, and Ivan and his nine hundred steerage companions crowded the for’ard deck. A boy in a rowboat threw a line to the deck, and after it had been fastened to a stanchion he came up hand over hand. The emigrants watched him curiously. An old woman sitting in the boat pulled off her shoes, sat in a loop of the rope, and lifted her hand as a signal to her son on deck.

“Hey, fellers,” said the boy, “help me pull me muvver up. She wants to sell a few dozen apples, an’ they won’t let her up the gangway!”

Big Ivan didn’t understand the words, but he guessed what the boy wanted. He made one of a half dozen who gripped the rope and started to pull the ancient apple woman to the deck.

They had her halfway up the side when an undersized third officer discovered what they were doing. He called to a steward, and the steward sprang to obey.

“Turn a hose on her!” cried the officer. “Turn a hose on the old woman!”

The steward rushed for the hose. He ran with it to the side of the ship with the intention of squirting the old woman, who was swinging in midair and exhorting the six men who were dragging her to the deck.

“Pull!” she cried. “Sure, I’ll give every one of ye a rosy red apple an’ me blessing with it.”

The steward aimed the muzzle of the hose, and Big Ivan of the Bridge let go of the rope and sprang at him. The fist of the great Russian went out like a battering ram; it struck the steward between the eyes, and he dropped upon the deck. He lay like one dead, the muzzle of the hose wriggling from his limp hands.

The third officer and the interpreter rushed at Big Ivan, who stood erect, his hands clenched.

“Ask the big swine why he did it?” roared the officer.

“Because he is a coward!” cried Ivan. “They wouldn’t do that in America!”

“What does the big brute know about America?” cried the officer.

“Tell him I have dreamed of it,” shouted Ivan. “Tell him it is in my Dream. Tell him I will kill him if he turns the water upon this old woman.”

The apple seller was on deck then, and with the wisdom of the Celt she understood. She put her lean hand upon the great head of the Russian and blessed him in Gaelic. Ivan bowed before her, then as she offered him a rosy apple he led her toward Anna, a great Viking leading a withered old woman who walked with the grace of a duchess.

“Please don’t touch him,” she cried, turning to the officer. “We have been waiting for your ship for six hours, and we have only five dozen apples to sell. It’s a great man he is. Sure he’s as big as Finn MacCool.”

Some one pulled the steward behind a ventilator and revived him by squirting him with water from the hose which he had tried to turn upon the old woman. The third officer slipped quietly away.

The Atlantic was kind to the ship that carried Ivan and Anna. Through sunny days they sat up on deck and watched the horizon. They wanted to be among those who would get the first glimpse of the wonderland.

They saw it on a morning with sunshine and soft winds. Standing together in the bow, they looked at the smear upon the horizon, and their eyes filled with tears. They forgot the long road to Bobruisk, the rocking journey to Libau, the mad buckjumping boat in whose timbers the sea devils of the Baltic had bored holes. Everything unpleasant was forgotten, because the Dream filled them with a great happiness.

The inspectors at Ellis Island were interested in Ivan. They walked around him and prodded his muscles, and he smiled down upon them good-naturedly.

“A fine animal,” said one. “Gee, he’s a new white hope! Ask him can he fight?”

An interpreter put the question, and Ivan nodded. “I have fought,” he said.

“Gee!” cried the inspector. “Ask him was it for purses or what?”

“For freedom,” answered Ivan. “For freedom to stretch my legs and straighten my neck!”

Ivan and Anna left the Government ferryboat at the Battery. They started to walk uptown, making for the East Side, Ivan carrying the big trunk that no other man could lift.

It was a wonderful morning. The city was bathed in warm sunshine, and the well-dressed men and women who crowded the sidewalks made the two immigrants think that it was a festival day. Ivan and Anna stared at each other in amazement. They had never seen such dresses as those worn by the smiling women who passed them by; they had never seen such well-groomed men.

“It is a feast day for certain,” said Anna.

“They are dressed like princes and princesses,” murmured Ivan. “There are no poor here, Anna. None.”

Like two simple children, they walked along the streets of the City of Wonder. What a contrast it was to the gray, stupid towns where the Terror waited to spring upon the cowed people. In Bobruisk, Minsk, Vilna, and Libau the people were sullen and afraid. They walked in dread, but in the City of Wonder beside the glorious Hudson every person seemed happy and contented.

They lost their way, but they walked on, looking at the wonderful shop windows, the roaring elevated trains, and the huge skyscrapers. Hours afterward they found themselves in Fifth Avenue near Thirty-third Street, and there the miracle happened to the two Russian immigrants. It was a big miracle inasmuch as it proved the Dream a truth, a great truth.

Ivan and Anna attempted to cross the avenue, but they became confused in the snarl of traffic. They dodged backward and forward as the stream of automobiles swept by them. Anna screamed, and, in response to her scream, a traffic policeman, resplendent in a new uniform, rushed to her side. He took the arm of Anna and flung up a commanding hand. The charging autos halted. For five blocks north and south they jammed on the brakes when the unexpected interruption occurred, and Big Ivan gasped.

“Don’t be flurried, little woman,” said the cop. “Sure I can tame ’em by liftin’ me hand.”

Anna didn’t understand what he said, but she knew it was something nice by the manner in which his Irish eyes smiled down upon her. And in front of the waiting automobiles he led her with the same care that he would give to a duchess, while Ivan, carrying the big trunk, followed them, wondering much. Ivan’s mind went back to Bobruisk on the night the Terror was abroad.

The policeman led Anna to the sidewalk, patted Ivan good-naturedly upon the shoulder, and then with a sharp whistle unloosed the waiting stream of cars that had been held up so that two Russian immigrants could cross the avenue.

Big Ivan of the Bridge took the trunk from his head and put it on the ground. He reached out his arms and folded Anna in a great embrace. His eyes were wet.

“The Dream is true!” he cried. “Did you see, Anna? We are as good as they! This is the land where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the blood!”

The President was nearing the close of his address. Anna shook Ivan, and Ivan came out of the trance which the President’s words had brought upon him. He sat up and listened intently:

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let those great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.

The President finished. For a moment he stood looking down at the faces turned up to him, and Big Ivan of the Bridge thought that the President smiled at him. Ivan seized Anna’s hand and held it tight.

“He knew of my Dream!” he cried. “He knew of it. Did you hear what he said about the dreams of a spring day?”

“Of course he knew,” said Anna. “He is the wisest in America, where there are many wise men. Ivan, you are a citizen now.”

“And you are a citizen, Anna.”

The band started to play “My Country, ’tis of Thee,” and Ivan and Anna got to their feet. Standing side by side, holding hands, they joined in with the others who had found after long days of journeying the blessed land where dreams come true.


From The Forum

“Hey—there’s ladies here, move on—you!” The tone was authoritative and old John, the village drunkard, crouched away.

“I warn’t doin’ nothin’,” he clutched feebly at the loose hanging rags that clothed him, “only wanted to see same’s them. Guess this pier’s big enough to hold us all.”

“Halloo, John, have a drink?” A grinning boy held a can of salt water toward him.

The quick maudlin tears sprang to the old man’s eyes. “Little fellers,” he muttered, “little fellers, they oughtn’t ter act that way.”

“Give him a new necktie, he’s gotta go to dinner with the Lodge.” A handful of dank sea-weed writhed around the old man’s neck. “That’s a turtle, that is,” the boy went on, the need for imparting information justifying his lapse from ragging the drunkard. “There—swimming round—it’s tied to that stake. You orter’ve seen it at low tide when it was on the beach. It weighs ninety pounds.”

“I seen a turtle onct,” the drunkard quavered. “It was bigger’n that. En they tied it to a stake—en it swam round—en it swam round—.” His sodden brain clutched for something more to say, some marvel with which to hold the interest of the gathered boys. It was good to talk. If only they would let him talk to them. If only they would let him sit on the store porch and smoke and gossip. He wouldn’t be the town disgrace—

“Well—go on—what’d’t do?”

“Hey you!”—the boys were interrupted by the authoritative voice—“I told you to move on, didn’t I—now if I tell you again I’ll run you in. D’yer hear? What you boys let that old bum hang around you for anyway. What’s he doin’ here?”

“Aw, he’s fun. He warn’t doin’ nothin’. He was just awatchin’ it swim. It’s tied to that post. It don’t come up no more.”

“Watchin’ it swim, eh, was he? A’right. Whose dog is it?” The officer turned and sauntered away.

Sudden horror seized the old man. The liquor seemed drained out of his veins: his brain worked almost quickly. “Whose dog—whose dog? Say!” he darted after the retreating boys. “Say—that ain’t no dog—is it—no dog? Tied up like that to drown—say—”

“Aw—keep off—I told you onct—it’s a turtle for the Lodge dinner.” The boy shook himself free.

The old man stood a moment, shaken. His pulpy brain worked dimly toward the conception of the pain that was consuming him. “Whose dog—” that man had asked—and he hadn’t meant to help it—“whose dog!” They could do it—tie up a dog to drown in sight of people—like that—cruel. He saw the policeman coming toward him again. In a sudden frenzy he clutched his tattered garments about him and began to run, to run toward the end of the pier.

The boys raced after him. “What yer gonter do?” they shouted. “What yer gonter do?”

The old man turned and looked at them a moment with twitching features. “I’m gonter die,” he said.

“Come on, you fellers—come on—the drunk’s gonter dive—come on—he’s cryin’!”

There was a splash. A surge of green filth and mud spread and dyed the water. A row of expectant heads leaned over the rail. “Say—he ain’t come up.” They waited.

The policeman strolled leisurely down in response to their repeated cries. “Who ain’t come up? What, him—the drunk?” The officer leaned lethargically over the rail. “What’m I gonter do? Why, leave ’m. He ain’t got no folks gonter sit up nights waitin’ fer ’m. Now you young ones go along home to your suppers,” he indulgently commanded, “and you little fellers, if you want crabs, be ’round here early. By to-morrow this place will be fairly swarmin’ with them.”


From The Little Review

The sun was shining in the dirty street.

Old women with shapeless bodies waddled along on their way to market.

Bearded old men who looked like the fathers of Jerusalem walked flatfooted, nodding back and forth.

“The tread of the processional surviving in Halsted Street,” thought Moisse, the young dramatist who was moving with the crowd.

Children sprawled in the refuse-laden alleys. One of them ragged and clotted with dirt stood half-dressed on the curbing and urinated into the street.

Wagons rumbled, filled with fruits and iron and rags and vegetables.

Human voices babbled above the noises of the traffic. Moisse watched the lively scene.

“Every day it’s the same,” he thought; “the same smells, the same noise and people swarming over the pavements. I am the only one in the street whose soul is awake. There’s a pretty girl looking at me. She suspects the condition of my soul. Her fingers are dirty. Why doesn’t she buy different shoes? She thinks I am lost. In five years she will be fat. In ten years she will waddle with a shawl over her head.”

The young dramatist smiled.

“Good God,” he thought, “where do they come from? Where are they going? No place to no place. But always moving, shuffling, waddling, crying out. The sun shines on them. The rain pours on them. It burns. It freezes. To-day they are bright with color. To-morrow they are gray with gloom. But they are always the same, always in motion.”

The young dramatist stopped on the corner and looking around him spied a figure sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against the wall of a building.

The figure was an old man.

He had a long white beard.

He had his legs tucked under him and an upturned tattered hat rested in his lap.

His thin face was raised and the sun beat down on it, but his eyes were closed.

“Asleep,” mused Moisse.

He moved closer to him.

The man’s head was covered with long silky white hair that hung down to his neck and hid his ears. It was uncombed. His face in the sun looked like the face of an ascetic, thin, finely veined.

He had a long nose and almost colorless lips and the skin on his cheeks was white. It was drawn tight over his bones, leaving few wrinkles.

An expression of peace rested over him—peace and detachment. Of the noise and babble he heard nothing. His eyes were closed to the crowded frantic street.

He sat, his head back, his face bathed in the sun, smileless and dreaming.

“A beggar,” thought Moisse, “asleep, oblivious. Dead. All day he sits in the sun like a saint, immobile. Like one of the old Alexandrian ascetics, like a delicately carved image. He is awake in himself but dead to others. The waves cannot touch him. His thoughts, oh to know his thoughts and his dreams?”

Suddenly the eyes of the young dramatist widened. He was looking at the beggar’s long hair that hung to his neck.

“It’s moving,” he whispered half aloud. He came closer and stood over the old man and gazed intently at the top of his head.

The hair was swaying faintly, each separate fiber moving alone....

It shifted, rose imperceptibly and fell. It quivered and glided....

“Lice,” murmured Moisse.

He watched.

Silent and asleep the old man sat with his thin face to the sun and his hair moved.

Vermin swarmed through it, creeping, crawling, tiny and infinitesimal.

Every strand was palpitating, shuddering under their mysterious energy.

At first Moisse could hardly make them out, but his eyes gradually grew accustomed to the sight. And as he watched he saw the hair swell like waves riding over the water, saw it drop and flutter, coil and uncoil of its own accord.

Vermin raised it up, pulled it out, streaming up and down tirelessly in vast armies.

They crawled furiously like dust specks blown thick through the white beard.

They streamed and shifted and were never still.

They moved in and out, from no place to no place, but always moving, frantic and frenzied.

An old woman passed and with a shake of her head dropped two pennies into the upturned hat. Moisse hardly saw her. He saw only the palpitating swarms that were now facing, easily visible, through the gray white hair.

Some ventured down over the white ascetic face, crawling in every direction, traveling around the lips and over the closed eyes, emerging suddenly in thick streams from behind the covered ears and losing themselves under the ever moving beard.

And Moisse, his senses strained, thought he heard a noise—a faint crunching noise.

He listened.

The noise seemed to grow louder. He began to itch but he remained bending over the head. He could hear them, like a faraway murmur, a purring, uncertain sound.

“They’re shouting and groaning, crying out, weeping and laughing,” he mused. “It is life ... life....”

He looked up and down the crowded burning street with its frantic crowd, and smiled.

“Life,” he repeated....

He walked away. Before him floated the hair of the beggar moving as if stirred by a slow wind, and he itched.

“But who was the old man?” he thought.

A young woman, plump and smiling, jostled him. He felt her soft hip pressing against him for a moment.

A child running barefoot through the street brushed against his legs. He felt its sticky fingers seize him for an instant and then the child was gone. On he walked.

Three young men confronted him for a second time. He passed between two of them, squeezed by their shoulders.

A shapeless old woman bumped him with her back as she shuffled past.

Two children dodged in and out screaming and seized his arm to turn on.

The young dramatist stopped and remained standing still, looking about him.

Then he laughed.

“Life,” he murmured again; and

“I am the old man,” he added, “I ... I....”


From The Saturday Evening Post

The figurative underworld of a great city has no ventilation, housing or lighting problems. Rooks and crooks who live in the putrid air of crime are not denied the light of day, even though they loathe it. Cadets, social skunks, whose carnivorous eyes love darkness, walk in God’s sunshine and breathe God’s air. Scarlet women turn over in wide beds and draw closer velvet curtains to shut out the morning. Gamblers curse the dawn.

But what of the literal underworld of the great city? What of the babes who cry in fetid cellars for the light and are denied it? What of the Subway trackwalker, purblind from gloom; the coalstoker, whose fiery tomb is the boiler room of a skyscraper; sweatshop workers, a flight below the sidewalk level, whose faces are the color of dead Chinese; six-dollar-a-week salesgirls in the arc-lighted subcellars of six-million-dollar corporations?

This is the literal underworld of the great city, and its sunless streets run literal blood—the blood of the babes who cried in vain; the blood from the lungs of the sweatshop workers whose faces are the color of dead Chinese; the blood from the cheeks of the six-dollar-a-week salesgirls in the arc-lighted subcellars. But these are your problems and my problems and the problems of the men who have found the strength or the fear not to die rich. The babe’s mother, who had never known else, could not know that her cellar was fetid; she only cried out in her anguish and hated vaguely in her heart.

Sara Juke, in the bargain basement of the Titanic Department Store, did not know that lint from white goods clogs the lungs, and that the air she breathed was putrefied as from a noxious swamp. Sometimes a pain, sharp as a hatpin, entered between her shoulder blades. But what of that? When the heart is young the heart is bold, and Sara could laugh upward with the musical glee of a bird.

There were no seasons, except the spring and fall openings and semi-annual clearing sales, in the bargain basement of the Titanic store. On a morning when the white-goods counter was placing long-sleeve, high-neck nightgowns in its bargain bins, and knit underwear was supplanting the reduced muslins, Sara Juke drew her little pink knitted jacket closer about her narrow shoulders and shivered—shivered, but smiled. “Br-r-r! October never used to get under my skin like this.”

Hattie Krakow, roommate and co-worker, shrugged her bony shoulders and laughed; but not with the upward glee of a bird—downward rather, until it died in a croak in her throat. But then Hattie Krakow was ten years older than Sara Juke; and ten years in the arc-lighted subcellar of the Titanic Department Store can do much to muffle the ring in a laugh.

“Gee, you’re as funny as your own funeral—you are! You keep up the express pace you’re going and there won’t be another October left on your calendar.”

“That’s right; cheer me up a bit, dearie. What’s the latest style in undertaking?”

“You’ll know sooner ’n me if—”

“Aw, Hat, cut it! Wasn’t I home in bed last night by eleven?”

“I ain’t much on higher mathematics.”

“Sure I was. I had to shove you over on your side of the bed; that’s how hard you was sleeping.”

“A girl can’t gad round dancing and rough-housing every night and work eight hours on her feet, and put her lunch money on her back, and not pay up for it. I’ve seen too many blue-eyed dolls like you get broken. I—”


Sara Juke rolled her blue eyes upward, and they were full of points of light, as though stars were shining in them; and always her lips trembled to laugh.

“There ain’t nothing funny, Sara.”

“Oh, Hat, with you like a owl!”

“If I was a girl and had a cough like I’ve seen enough in this basement get; if I was a girl and my skirtband was getting two inches too big, and I had to lie on my left side to breathe right, and my nightie was all soaked round the neck when I got up in the morning—I wouldn’t just laugh and laugh. I’d cry a little—I would.”

“That’s right, Hat; step on the joy bug like it was a spider. Squash it!”

“I wouldn’t just laugh and laugh, and put my lunch money on my back instead of eggs and milk inside of me, and run round all hours to dance halls with every sporty Charley-boy that comes along.”

“You leave him alone! You just cut that! Don’t you begin on him!”

“I wouldn’t get overheated, and not sleep enough; and—”

“For Pete’s sake, Hat! Hire a hall!”

“I should worry! It ain’t my grave you’re digging.”

“Aw, Hat.”

“I ain’t got your dolly face and your dolly ways with the boys; but I got enough sense to live along decent.”

“You’re right pretty, I think, Hat.”

“Oh, I could daub up, too, and gad with some of that fast gang if I didn’t know it don’t lead nowheres. It ain’t no cinch for a girl to keep her health down here, even when she does live along decent like me, eating regular and sleeping regular, and spending quiet evenings in the room, washing-out and mending and pressing and all. It ain’t no cinch even then, lemme tell you. Do you think I’d have ever asked a gay bird like you to come over and room with me if I hadn’t seen you begin to fade like a piece of calico, just like my sister Lizzie did?”

“I’m taking that iron-tonic stuff like you want and spoiling my teeth—ain’t I, Hat? I know you been swell to me and all.”

“You ain’t going to let up until somebody whispers T.B. in your shell-pink ear; and maybe them two letters will bring you to your senses.”



“Who’s he?”

“Gee, you’re as smart as a fish on a hook! You oughtta bought a velvet dunce cap with your lunch money instead of that brown poke bonnet. T.B. was what I said—T.B.”

“Honest, Hat, I dunno—”

“For heaven’s sake! Too Berculosis is the way the exhibits and the newspapers say it. L-u-n-g-s is another way to spell it. T.B.”

“Too Berculosis!” Sara Juke’s hand flew to her little breast. “Too Berculosis! Hat, you—you don’t—”

“Sure I don’t. I ain’t saying it’s that—only I wanna scare you up a little. I ain’t saying it’s that; but a girl that lets a cold hang on like you do and runs round half the night, and don’t eat right, can make friends with almost anything, from measles to T.B.”

Stars came out once more in Sara Juke’s eyes, and her lips warmed and curved to their smile. She moistened with her forefinger a yellow spit curl that lay like a caress on her cheek. “Gee, you oughtta be writing scare heads for the Evening Gazette!”

Hattie Krakow ran her hand over her smooth salt-and-pepper hair and sold a marked-down flannellette petticoat.

“I can’t throw no scare into you so long as you got him on your mind. Oh, lud! There he starts now—that quickstep dance again!”

A quick red ran up into Miss Juke’s hair and she inclined forward in the attitude of listening as the lively air continued.

“The silly! Honest, ain’t he the silly? He said he was going to play that for me the first thing this morning. We dance it so swell together and all. Aw, I thought he’d forget. Ain’t he the silly—remembering me?”

The red flowed persistently higher.

“Silly ain’t no name for him, with his square, Charley-boy face and polished hair; and—”

“You let him alone, Hattie Krakow! What’s it to you if—”

“Nothing—except I always say October is my unlucky month, because it was just a year ago that they moved him and the sheet music down to the basement. Honest, I’m going to buy me a pair of earmuffs! I’d hate to tell you how unpopular popular music is with me.”

“Huh! You couldn’t play on a side comb, much less play on the piano like Charley does. If I didn’t have no more brains than some people—honest, I’d go out and kill a calf for some!”

“You oughtta talk! A girl that ain’t got no more brains than to gad round every night and every Sunday in foul-smelling, low-ceilinged dance halls, and wear paper-soled slippers when she oughtta be wearing galoshes, and cheesecloth waists that ain’t even decent instead of wool undershirts! You oughtta talk about brains—you and Charley Chubb!”

“Yes, I oughtta talk! If you don’t like my doings, Hattie Krakow, there ain’t no law says we gotta room together. I been shifting for myself ever since I was cash-girl down at Tracy’s, and I ain’t going to begin being bossed now. If you don’t like my keeping steady with Charley Chubb—if you don’t like his sheet-music playing—you gotta lump it! I’m a good girl, I am; and if you got anything to in-sinuate; if—”

“Sara Juke, ain’t you ashamed!”

“I’m a good girl, I am; and there ain’t nobody can cast a reflection on—on—”

Tears trembled in her voice and she coughed from the deep recesses of her chest, and turned her head away, so that her profile was quivering and her throat swelling with sobs.

“I—I’m a good girl, I am.”

“Aw, Sara, don’t I know it? Ain’t that just where the rub comes? Don’t I know it? If you wasn’t a good girl would I be caring?”

“I’m a good girl, I am!”

“It’s your health, Sara, I’m kicking about. You’re getting as pale and skinny as a goop; and for a month already you’ve been coughing, and never a single evening home to stick your feet in hot water and a mustard plaster on your chest.”

“Didn’t I take the iron tonic and spoil my teeth?”

“My sister Lizzie—that’s the way she started, Sara; right down here in this basement. There never was a prettier little queen down here. Ask any of the old girls. Like you in looks and all; full of vim too. That’s the way she started, Sara. She wouldn’t get out in the country on Sundays or get any air in her lungs walking with me evenings. She was all for dance halls, too, Sara. She—she—Ain’t I told you about her over and over again? Ain’t I?”

“Sh-h-h! Don’t cry, Hat. Yes, yes; I know. She was a swell little kid; all the old girls say so. Sh-h-h!”

“The—the night she died I—I died too; I—”

“Sh-h-h, dearie!”

“I ain’t crying, only—only I can’t help remembering.”

“Listen! That’s the new hit Charley’s playin’—Up to Snuff! Say, ain’t that got some little swing to it? Dum-dum-tum-tee-tum-m-m! Some little quick-step, ain’t it? How that boy reads off by sight! Looka, will you? They got them left-over ribbed undervests we sold last season for forty-nine cents out on the grab table for seventy-four. Looka the mob fighting for ’em! Dum-dum-tum-tee-tum-m-m!”

The day’s tide came in. Slowly at first, but toward noon surging through aisles and round bins, upstairs and downstairs—in, round and out. Voices straining to be heard; feet shuffling in an agglomeration of discords—the indescribable roar of humanity, which is like an army that approaches but never arrives. And above it all, insistent as a bugle note, reaching the basement’s breadth, from hardware to candy, from human hair to white goods, the tinny voice of the piano—gay, rollicking.

At five o’clock the patch of daylight above the red-lighted exit door turned taupe, as though a gray curtain had been flung across it; and the girls, with shooting pains in their limbs, braced themselves for the last hour. Shoppers, their bags bulging and their shawls awry, fumbled in bins for a last remnant; hatless, sway-backed women, carrying children, fought for mill ends. Sara Juke stood first on one foot and then on the other to alternate the strain; her hands were hot and dry as flannel, but her cheeks were pink—very pink.

At six o’clock Hattie Krakow untied her black alpaca apron, pinned a hat as nondescript as a bird’s nest at an unrakish angle and slid into a warm gray jacket.

“Ready, Sara?”

“Yes, Hat.” But her voice came vaguely, as through fog.

“I’m going to fix us some stew to-night with them onions Lettie brought up to the room when she moved—mutton stew, with a broth for you, Sara.”

“Yes, Hat.”

Sara’s eyes darted out over the emptying aisles; and, even as she pinned on her velveteen poke bonnet at a too-swagger angle, and fluffed out a few carefully provided curls across her brow, she kept watch and, with obvious subterfuge, slid into her little unlined silk coat with a deliberation not her own. “Coming, Sara?”

“Wait, can’t you? My—my hat ain’t on right.”

“Come on; you’re dolled up enough.”

“My—my gloves—I—I forgot ’em. You—you can go on, Hat.” And she must burrow back beneath the counter.

Miss Krakow let out a snort, as fiery with scorn as though flames were curling on her lips.

“Hanging round to see whether he’s coming, ain’t you? To think they shot Lincoln and let him live! Before I’d run after any man living, much less the excuse of a man like him! A shiny-haired, square-faced little rat like him!”

“I ain’t neither, waiting. I guess I got a right to find my gloves. I—I guess I gotta right. He’s as good as you are, and better. I—I guess I gotta right.” But the raspberry red of confusion dyed her face.

“No, you ain’t waiting! No, no; you ain’t waiting,” mimicked Miss Krakow, and her voice was like autumn leaves that crackle underfoot. “Well, then, if you ain’t waiting here he comes now. I dare you to come on home with me now, like you ought to.”

“I—you go on! I gotta tell him something. I guess I’m my own boss. I got to tell him something.”

Miss Krakow folded her well-worn hand bag under one arm and fastened her black cotton gloves.

“Pf-f-f! What’s the use of wasting breath!”

She slipped into the flux of the aisle, and the tide swallowed her and carried her out into the bigger tide of the street and the swifter tide of the city—a flower on the current, her blush withered under the arc-light substitution for sunlight, the petals of her youth thrown to the muddy corners of the city streets.

Sara Juke breathed inward, and under her cheaply pretentious lace blouse a heart, as rebellious as the pink in her cheeks and the stars in her eyes, beat a rapid fantasia; and, try as she would, her lips would quiver into a smile.

“Hello, Charley!”

“Hello yourself, Sweetness!” And, draping himself across the white-goods counter in an attitude as intricate as the letter S, behold Mr. Charley Chubb! Sleek, soap-scented, slim—a satire on the satyr and the haberdasher’s latest dash. “Hello, Sweetness!”

“How are you, Charley?”

“Here, gimme your little hand. Shake.”

She placed her palm in his, quivering.

You of the classes, peering through lorgnettes into the strange world of the masses, spare that shrug. True, when Charley Chubb’s hand closed over Sara Juke’s she experienced a flash of goose flesh; but, you of the classes, what of the Van Ness ball last night? Your gown was low, so that your neck rose out from it like white ivory. The conservatory, where trained clematis vines met over your heads, was like a bower of stars; music; his hand, the white glove off, over yours; the suffocating sweetness of clematis blossoms; a fountain throwing fine spray; your neck white as ivory, and—what of the Van Ness ball last night?

Only Sara Juke played her poor little game frankly and the cards of her heart lay on the counter.

“Charley!” Her voice lay in a veil.

“Was you getting sore, Sweetness?”

“All day you didn’t come over.”

“Couldn’t, Sweetness. Did you hear me let up on the new hit for a minute?”

“It’s swell, though, Charley; all the girls was humming it. You play it like lightning too.”

“It must have been written for you, Sweetness. That’s what you are, Up to Snuff, eh, Queenie?” He leaned closer, and above his tall, narrow collar dull red flowed beneath the sallow, and his long white teeth and slick-brushed hair shone in the arc light. “Eh, Queenie?”

“I gotta go now, Charley. Hattie’s waiting home for me.” She attempted to pass him and to slip into the outgoing stream of the store, but with a hesitation that belied her. “I—I gotta go, Charley.”

He laughed, clapped his hat slightly askew on his polished hair and slid his arm into hers.

“Forget it! But I had you going—didn’t I, sister? Thought I’d forgot about to-night, didn’t you? and didn’t have the nerve to pipe up. Like fun I forgot!”

“I didn’t know, Charley; you not coming over all day and all. I thought maybe your friend didn’t give you the tickets like he promised.”

“Didn’t he? Look! See if he didn’t!”

He produced a square of pink cardboard from his waistcoat pocket and she read it, with a sudden lightness underlying her voice:


Supper                 Wardrobe Free
Admit Gent and Lady    Fifty Cents

“Oh, gee, Charley! And me such a sight in this old waist and all. I didn’t know there was supper too.”

“Sure! Hurry, Sweetness, and we’ll catch a Sixth Avenue car. We wanna get in on it while the tamales are hot.”

And she must grasp his arm closer and worm through the sidewalk crush, and straighten her velveteen poke so that the curls lay pat; and once or twice she coughed, with the hollow resonance of a chain drawn upward from a deep well.

“Gee, I bet there’ll be a jam!”

“Sure! There’s some live crowd down there.”

They were in the street car, swaying, swinging, clutching; hemmed in by frantic, home-going New York, nose to nose, eye to eye, tooth to tooth. Round Sara Juke’s slim waist lay Charley Chubb’s saving arm, and with each lurch they laughed immoderately, except when she coughed.

“Gee, ain’t it the limit? It’s a wonder they wouldn’t open a window in this car!”

“Nix on that. Whatta you wanna do—freeze a fellow out?”

Her eyes would betray her.

“Any old time I could freeze you, Charley.”


“You’re the one that freezes me all the time. You’re the one that keeps me guessing and guessing where I stand with you.”

A sudden lurch and he caught her as she swayed.

“Come, Sweetness, this is our corner. Quit your coughing there, hon; this ain’t no T.B. hop we ’re going to.”

“No what?”

“Come along; hurry! Look at the crowd already.”

“This ain’t no—what did you say, Charley?”

But they were pushing, shoving, worming into the great lighted entrance of the hall. More lurching, crowding, jamming. “I’ll meet you inside, kiddo, in five minutes. Pick out a red domino; red’s my color.”

“A red one? Gee! Looka; mine’s got black pompons on it. Five minutes, Charley; five minutes!”

Flags of all nations and all sizes made a galaxy of the Sixth Avenue hall. An orchestra played beneath an arch of them. Supper, consisting of three-inch-thick sandwiches, tamales, steaming and smelling in their buckets, bottles of beer and soda water, was spread on a long picnic table running the entire length of the balcony.

The main floor, big as an armory, airless as a tomb, swarmed with dancers.

After supper a red sateen Pierrette, quivering, teeth flashing beneath a saucy half mask, bowed to a sateen Pierrot, whose face was as slim as a satyr’s and whose smile was as upturned as the eye slits in his mask.

“Gee, Charley, you look just like a devil in that costume—all red, and your mouth squinted like that!”

“And you look just like a little red cherry, ready to bust.”

And they were off in the whirl of the dance, except that the close-packed dancers hemmed them in a swaying mob; and once she fell back against his shoulder, faint.

“Ain’t there a—a upstairs somewheres, Charley, where they got air? All this jam and no windows open! Gee ain’t it hot? Let’s go outside where it’s cool—let’s.”

“There you go again! No wonder you got a cold on you—always wanting air on you! Come, Sweetness; this ain’t hot. Here, lemme show you the dip I get the girls crazy with. One, two, three—dip! One, two, three—dip! Ugh!”

“Gee, ain’t it a jam, though?”

“One, two, three!”

“That’s swell, Charley! Quit! You mustn’t squeeze me like that till—till you’ve asked me to be engaged, Charley. We—we ain’t engaged yet, are we, Charley?”

“Aw, what difference does that make? You girls make me sick—always wanting to know that.”

“It—it makes a lot of difference, Charley.”

“There you go on that Amen talk again. All right, then; I won’t squeeze you no more, Stingy!”

Her step was suddenly less elastic and she lagged on his arm.

“I—I never said you, couldn’t, Charley. Gee, ain’t you a great one to get mad so quick. Touchy! I only said not till we’re engaged.”

He skirted the crowd, guiding her skillfully.

“Stingy! Stingy! I know ’em that ain’t so stingy as you.”



“Aw, I’m ashamed to say it.”

“Listen! They’re playin’ the new one—Up to Snuff! Faster! Don’t make me drag you, kiddo. Faster!”

They were suddenly in the center of the maze, as tight-packed as though an army had conspired to close round them. She coughed and, in her effort at repression coughed again.

“Charley, I—honest, I—I’m going to keel. I—I can’t stand it packed in here—like this.”

She leaned to him, with the color drained out of her face; and the crowd of black and pink and red dominos, gnomes gone mad, pressed, batted, surged.

“Look out, Sweetness! Don’t give out in here! They’ll crush us out. Ain’t you got no nerve? Here; don’t give out now! Gee! Watch out, there! The lady’s sick. Watch out! Here; now sit down a minute and get your wind.”

He pressed her shoulders downward and she dropped whitely on a little camp chair hidden underneath the balcony.

“I gotta get out, Charley; I gotta get out and get air. I feel like I’m going to suffocate in here. It’s this old cough takes the breath out of me.”

In the foyer she revived a bit and drank gratefully of the water he brought; but the color remained out of her cheeks and the cough would rack her.

“I guess I oughtta go home, Charley.”

“Aw, cut it! You ain’t the only girl I’ve seen give out. Sit here and rest a minute and you’ll be all right. Great Scott! I came here to dance.”

She rose to her feet a bit unsteadily, but smiling.

“Fussy! Who said I didn’t?”

“That’s more like it.”

And they were off again to the lilt of the music but, struggle as she would, the coughing and the dizziness and the heat took hold of her and at the close of the dance she fainted quietly against his shoulder.

And when she finally caught at consciousness, as it passed and repassed her befuddled mind, she was on the floor of the cloak room, her head pillowed on the skirt of a pink domino.

“There, there, dearie; your young man’s waiting outside to take you home.”

“I—I’m all right!”

“Certainly you are. The heat done it. Here; lemme help you out of your domino.”

“It was the heat done it.”

“There; you’re all right now. I gotta get back to my dance. You fainted right up against him, dearie; and I seen you keel.”

“Gee, ain’t I the limit!”

“Here; lemme help you on with your coat. Right there he is, waiting.”

In the foyer Sara Juke met Charley Chubb shamefacedly.

“I spoilt everything, didn’t I?”

“I guess you couldn’t help it. All right?”

“Yes, Charley.” She met the air gratefully, worming her little hand into the curve of his elbow. “Gee! I feel fine now.”

“Come; here’s a car.”

“Let’s walk up Sixth Avenue, Charley; the air feels fine.”

“All right.”

“You ain’t sore, are you, Charley? It was so jammed dancing, anyway.”

“I ain’t sore.”

“It was the heat done it.”


“Honest, it’s grand to be outdoors, ain’t it? The stars and—and chilliness and—and—all!”

“Listen to the garden stuff!”


She squeezed his arm and drew back, shamefaced. His spirits rose.

“You’re a right loving little thing when you wanna be.”

They laughed in duet; and before the plate-glass window of a furniture emporium they must stop and regard the monthly-payment display, designed to represent the $49.50 completely furnished sitting room, parlor and dining room of the home felicitous—a golden-oak room, with an incandescent fire glowing right merrily in the grate; a lamp redly diffusing the light of home; a plaster-of-Paris Cupid shooting a dart from the mantelpiece; and, last, two figures of connubial bliss, smiling and waxen, in rocking chairs, their waxen infant, block-building on the floor, completing the picture.

“Gee, it looks as snug as a bug in a rug! Looka what it says too: ‘You Get the Girl; We’ll Do the Rest!’ Some little advertisement, ain’t it? I got the girl all right—ain’t I, hon?”


“Look at the papa—slippers and all! And the kid! Look at the kid, Sweetness.”

Her confusion nearly choked her and her rapid breath clouded the window glass.

“Yeh, Charley! Looka the little kid! Ain’t he cute?”

An Elevated train crashed over their heads, drowning out her words; but her smile, which flickered like light over her face, persisted and her arm crept back into his. At each shop window they must pause, but the glow of the first one remained with her.

“Look, Sweetness—Red Swag, the Train King! Performance going on now. Wanna go in?”

“Not to-night. Let’s stay outside.”

“Anything your little heart de-sires.”

They bought hot chestnuts, city harbingers of autumn, from a vender and let fall the hulls as they walked. They drank strawberry ice-cream soda, pink with foam. Her resuscitation was complete; his spirits did not wane.

“I gotta like a queen pretty much not to get sore at a busted evening like this. It’s a good thing the ticket didn’t cost me nothing.”

“Ain’t it, though?”

“Look! What’s in there—a exhibit?”

They paused before a white-lighted store front and he read laboriously:



“Oh!” She dragged at his arm.

“Aw, come on, Sweetness; nothing but a lot of T.B.’s.”

“Let’s—let’s go in. See, it’s free. Looka—it’s all lit up and all; see, pictures and all.”

“Say, ain’t I enough of a dead one without dragging me in there? Free! I bet they pinch you for something before you get out.”

“Come on, Charley; I never did see a place like this.”

“Aw, they’re all over town.”

He followed her in surlily enough and then, with a morbid interest, round a room hung with photographs of victims in various emaciated stages of the white plague.

“Oh! Oh! Ain’t it awful? Ain’t it awful? Read them symptoms. Almost with nothing it—it begins. Night sweats and losing weight and coughing, and—oh—”

“Look! Little kids and all! Thin as matches.”

“Aw, see, a poor little shaver like that! Look! It says sleeping in that dirty room without a window gave it to him. Ugh, that old man! ‘Self-indulgence and intemperance.’ Looka that girl in the tobacco factory. Oh! Oh! Ain’t it awful! Dirty shops and stores, it says; dirty saloons and dance halls—weak lungs can’t stand them.”

“Let’s get out of here.”

“Aw, look! How pretty she is in this first picture; and look at her here—nothing but a stack of bones on a stretcher. Aw! Aw!”

“Come on!”

“Courage is very important, it says. Consumptives can be helped and many are cured. Courage is—”

“Come on; let’s get out of this dump. Say, it’s a swell night for a funeral.”

She grasped at his coat sleeve, pinching the flesh with it, and he drew away half angrily.

“Come on, I said.”

“All right!”

A thin line filed past them, grim-faced, silent. At the far end of the room, statistics in red inch-high type ran columnwise down the wall’s length. She read, with a gasp in her throat:

  1. Ten thousand people died from tuberculosis in the city of New York last year.
  2. Two hundred thousand people died from tuberculosis in the United States last year.
  3. Records of the Health Department show that there are 31,631 living cases of tuberculosis in the city of New York.
  4. Every three minutes some one in the United States dies from consumption.

“Oh, Charley, ain’t it awful!”

At a desk a young man, with skin as pink as though a strong wind had whipped it into color, distributed pamphlets to the outgoing visitors—a thin streamlet of them; some cautious, some curious, some afraid.

“Come on; let’s hurry out of here, Sweetness. My lung’s hurting this minute.”

They hurried past the desk; but the young man with the clear pink skin reached over the heads of an intervening group, waving a long printed booklet toward the pair.

“Circular, missy?”

Sara Juke straightened, with every nerve in her body twanging like a plucked violin string; and her eyes met the clear eyes of the young clerk.

Like a doll automaton she accepted the booklet from him; like a doll automaton she followed Charley Chubb out into the street, and her limbs were trembling so she could scarcely stand.

“Gotta hand it to you, Sweetness. Even made a hit on the fellow in the lung shop! He didn’t hand me out no literachure. Some little hit!”

“I gotta go home now, Charley.”

“It’s only ten.”

“I better go, Charley. It ain’t Saturday night.”

At the stoop of her rooming house they lingered. A honey-colored moon hung like a lantern over the block-long row of shabby-fronted houses. On her steps and to her fermenting fancy the shadow of an ash can sprawled like a prostrate human being.


She clutched his arm.

“Whatcha scared about, Sweetness?”

“Oh, Charley, I—I feel creepy to-night.”

“That visit to the Morgue was enough to give anybody the blind staggers.”

Her pamphlet was tight in her hand.

“You ain’t mad at me, Charley?”

He stroked her arm, and the taste of tears found its way to her mouth.

“I’m feeling so sillylike to-night, Charley.”

“You’re all in, kiddo.”

In the shadow he kissed her.

“Charley, you—you mustn’t, unless we’re—engaged.” But she could not find the strength to unfold herself from his arms. “You mustn’t, Charley!”

“Great little girl you are, Sweetness—one great little girl!”

“Aw, Charley!”

“And, to show you that I like you, I’m going to make up for this to-morrow night. A real little Saturday-night blow! And don’t forget Sunday afternoon—two o’clock for us, down at Crissey’s Hall. Two o’clock.”

“Two o’clock.”


“Oh, Charley, I—”

“What, Sweetness?”

“Oh, nothing; I—I’m just silly to-night.”

Her hand lay on his arm, white in the moonlight and light as a leaf; and he kissed her again, scorching her lips.

“Good night, Sweetness.”

“Good night, Charley.”

Then up four flights of stairs, through musty halls and past closed doors, their white china knobs showing through the darkness, and up to the fourth-floor rear, and then on tiptoe into a long, narrow room, with the moonlight flowing in.

Clothing lay about in grotesque heaps—a woman’s blouse was flung across the back of a chair and hung limply; a pair of shoes stood beside the bed in the attitude of walking—tired-looking shoes, run down at the heels and skinned at the toes. And on the far side of the three-quarter bed the hump of an outstretched figure, face turned from the light, with sparse gray-and-black hair flowing over the pillow.

Carefully, to save the slightest squeak, Sara Juke undressed, folded her little mound of clothing across the room’s second chair, groping carefully by the stream of moonlight. Severe as a sibyl in her straight-falling night-dress, her hair spreading over her shoulders, her bare feet pattered on the cool matting. Then she slid into bed lightly, scarcely raising the covers. From the mantelpiece the alarm clock ticked with emphasis.

An hour she lay there. Once she coughed, and smothered it in her pillow. Two hours. She slipped from under the covers and over to the littered dresser. The pamphlet lay on top of her gloves; she carried it to the window and, with her limbs trembling and sending ripples down her night robe, read it. Then again, standing there by the window in the moonlight, she quivered so that her knees bent under her.

After a while she raised the window slowly and without a creak, and a current of cool air rushed in and over her before she could reach the bedside.

On her pillow Hattie Krakow stirred reluctantly, her weary senses battling with the pleasant lethargy of sleep; but a sudden nip in the air stung her nose and found out the warm crevices of the bed. She stirred and half opened her eyes.

“For Gawd’s sake, Sara, are you crazy? Put that window down! Tryin’ to freeze us out? Opening a window with her cough and all! Put it down! Put—it—down!”

Sara Juke rose and slammed it shut, slipping back into the cold bed with teeth that clicked. After a while she slept; but lightly, with her mouth open and her face upturned. And after a while she woke to full consciousness all at once, and with a cough on her lips. Her gown at the yoke was wet; and her neck, where she felt it, was damp with cold perspiration.

“Oh—oh—Hattie! Oh—oh!”

She burrowed under her pillow to ease the trembling that seized her. The moon had passed on, and darkness, which is allied to fear, closed her in—the fear of unthinking youth who knows not that the grave is full of peace; the fear of abundant life for senile death; the cold agony that comes in the night watches, when the business of the day is but a dream and Reality visits the couch.

Deeper burrowed Sara Juke, trembling with chill and night sweat.

Drowsily Hattie Krakow turned on her pillow, but her senses were too weary to follow her mind’s dictate.

“Sara! ’Smatter, Sara? ’Smat-ter?” Hattie’s tired hand crept toward her friend; but her volition would not carry it across and it fell inert across the coverlet. “’Smatter, dearie?”


“’Smat-ter, dear-ie?”


In the watches of the night a towel flung across the bedpost becomes a gorilla crouching to spring; a tree branch tapping at the window an armless hand, beckoning. In the watches of the night fear is a panther across the chest sucking the breath; but his eyes cannot bear the light of day, and by dawn he has shrunk to cat size. The ghastly dreams of Orestes perished with the light; phosphorus is yellowish and waxlike by day.

So Sara Juke found new courage with the day, and in the subbasement of the Titanic store the morning following her laughter was ready enough. But when the midday hour arrived she slipped into her jacket, past the importunities of Hattie Krakow, and out into the sun-lashed noonday swarm of Sixth Avenue.

Down one block—two, three; then a sudden pause before a narrow store front liberally placarded with invitatory signs to the public, and with a red cross blazoning above the doorway. And Sara Juke, whose heart was full of fear, faltered, entered.

The same thin file passed round the room, halting, sauntering, like grim visitors in a grim gallery. At a front desk a sleek young interne, tiptilted in a swivel chair, read a pink sheet through horn-rimmed glasses.

Toward the rear the young man whose skin was the wind-lashed pink sorted pamphlets and circulars in tall, even piles on his desk.

Round and round the gallery walked Sara Juke; twice she read over the list of symptoms printed in inch-high type; her heart lay within her as though icy dead, and her eyes would blur over with tears. Once, when she passed the rear desk, the young man paused in his stacking and regarded her with a warming glance of recognition.

“Hello!” he said. “You back?”

“Yes.” Her voice was the thin cry of a quail.

“You must like our little picture gallery, eh?”

“Oh! Oh!” She caught at the edge of his desk and tears lay heavy in her eyes.


“Yes; I—I like it. I wanna buy it for my yacht.”

Her ghastly simulacrum of a jest died in her throat; and he said quickly, a big blush suffusing his face:

“I was only fooling, missy. You ain’t got the scare, have you?”

“The scare?”

“Yes; the bug? You ain’t afraid you’ve ate the germ, are you?”

“I—I dunno.”

“Pshaw! There’s a lot of ’em comes in here more scared than hurt, missy. Never throw a scare till you’ve had a examination. For all you know you got hay fever, eh! Hay fever!” And he laughed as though to salve his words.

“I—got all them things on the red-printed list, I tell you. I—I got ’em all, night sweats and all. I—I got ’em.”

“Sure you got ’em, missy; but that don’t need to mean nothin’ much.”

“I got ’em, I tell you.”

“Losin’ weight?”


He inserted two fingers in her waistband.


“You a doctor?”

He performed a great flourish.

“I ain’t in the profesh, missy. I’m only chief clerk and bottle washer round here; but—”

“Where is the doctor? That him reading down there? Can I ask him—I—Oh! Ain’t I scared!”

He placed his big, cool hand over her wrist and his face had none of its smile.

“I know you are, little missy. I seen it in you last night when you and—and—”

“My—my friend.”

“—your friend was in here. There’s thousands come in here with the scare on, and most of ’em with a reason; but I picked you out last night from the gang. Funny thing, but right away I picked you. ‘A pretty little thing like her’—if you’ll excuse me for saying it—’a pretty little thing like her,’ I says to myself. ‘And I bet she ain’t got nobody to steer her!’”

“Honest, did you?”

“Gee, it ain’t none of my put-in; but when I seen you last night—funny thing—but when I seen you, why, you just kinda hit me in the eye; and, with all that gang round me, I says to myself: ‘Gee, a pretty little thing like her, scared as a gazelle, and so pretty and all; and no one to give her the right steer!’”

“Aw, you seen me?”

“Sure! Wasn’t it me reached out the pamphlet to you? You had on that there same cutey little hat and jacket and all.”

“Does it cost anything to talk to the doctor down there?”

“Forget it! Go right down and he’ll give you a card to the Victoria Clinic. I know them all over there and they’ll look you over right, little missy, and steer you. Aw, don’t be scared; there ain’t nothing much wrong with you—maybe a sore spot, that’s all. That cough ain’t a double-lunger. You run over to the clinic.”

“I gotta go back to the store now.”

“After store, then.”


“Sure! Old Doc Strauss is on after five too. If I ain’t too nervy I’m off after six myself. I could meet you after and we could talk over what he tells you—if I ain’t too nervy?”


“Blaney’s my name—Eddie Blaney. Ask anybody round here about me. I—I could meet you, little missy, and—”

“I can’t to-night, Mr. Blaney. I gotta go somewheres.”


“I gotta.”

“To-morrow? To-morrow’s Sunday, little missy. There’s a swell lot of country I bet you ain’t never seen, and Old Doc Strauss is going to tell you to get acquainted with it pretty soon.”


“Yes. That’s what you need, outdoors; that’s what you need, little missy. You got a color like all indoors—pretty, but putty.”

“You—you don’t think there’s nothing much the matter with me, do you, Mr. Blaney?”

“Sure I don’t. Why, I got a bunch of Don’ts for you up my sleeve that’ll color you up like drug-store daub.”

Tears and laughter trembled in her voice.

“You mean that the outdoor stuff will do it, Mr. Blaney?”

“That’s the talk!”

“But you—you ain’t the doctor.”

“I ain’t, but I ain’t been deaf and dumb and blind round here for three years. I can pick ’em every time. You’re taking your stitch in time, little missy. You ain’t even got a wheeze in you. Why, I bet you ain’t never seen red!”

“No!” she cried, with quick comprehension.

“Sure you ain’t!”

More tears and laughter in her voice.

“I’m going to-night, then—at six, Mr. Blaney.”

“Good! And to-morrow? There’s a lot of swell country and breathing space round here I’d like to introduce you to. I bet you don’t know whether Ingleside Woods is kindling or a breakfast food—now do you?”


“Ever had a chigger on you?”


“Ever sleep outdoors in a bag?”

“Say, whatta you think I am?”

“Ever seen the sun rise, or took the time to look up and see several dozen or a couple of thousand or so stars glittering all at once?”

“Aw, come off! We ain’t doing teamwork in vaudeville.”

“Gee, wouldn’t I like to take you out and be the first one to make you acquainted with a few of the things that are happening beyond Sixth Avenue—if I ain’t too nervy, little missy?”

“I gotta go somewheres at two o’clock to-morrow afternoon, Mr.—Mr. Blaney; but I can go in the morning—if it ain’t going to look like I’m a freshie.”

“In the morning! Swell! But where—who—” She scribbled on a slip of paper and fluttered it into his hand. “Sara Juke! Some little name. Gee! I know right where you live. I know a lot of cases that come from round there. I used to live near there myself, round on Henry Street. I’ll call round at nine, little missy. I’m going to introduce you to the country, eh?”

“They won’t hurt at the clinic, will they, Mr. Blaney? I’m losing my nerve again.”

“Shame on a pretty little thing like you losing her nerve! Gee! I’ve seen ’em come in here all pale round the gills and with nothing but the whooping cough. There was a little girl in here last week who thought she was ready for Arizona on a canvas bed; and it wasn’t nothing but her rubber skirt-band had stretched. Shame on you, little missy! Don’t you get scared! Wait till you see what I’m going to show you out in the country to-morrow—leaves turning red and all. We’re going to have a heart-to-heart talk out there—eh? A regular lung-to-lung talk!”

“Aw, Mr. Blaney! Ain’t you killing!”

She hurried down the room, laughing.

At Sharkey’s on Saturday night the entire basement café and dance hall assumed a hebdomadal air of expectancy; extra marble-topped tables were crowded about the polished square of dancing space; the odor of hops and sawdust and cookery hung in visible mists over the bar.

Girls, with white faces and red lips and bare throats, sat alone at tables or tête-à-tête with men too old or too young, and ate; but drank with keener appetite.

A self-playing piano performed beneath a large painting of an undraped Psyche; a youth with yellow fingers sang of Love. A woman whose shame was gone acquired a sudden hysteria at her lone table over her milky-green drink, and a waiter hustled her out none too gently.

In the foyer at seven o’clock Sara Juke met Charley Chubb, and he slid up quite frankly behind her and kissed her on the lips. At Sharkey’s a miss is as good as her kiss!

“You—you quit! You mustn’t!”

She sprang back, quivering, her face cold-looking and blue; and he regarded her with his mouth quirking.

“Huh! Hoity-toity, ain’t you? Hoity-toity and white-faced and late, all at once, ain’t you? Say, them airs don’t get across with me. Come on! I’m hungry.”

“I didn’t mean to yell, Charley—only you scared me. I thought maybe it was one of them fresh guys that hang round here; all of ’em look so dopey and all. I—you know I never was strong for this place, Charley.”

“Beginning to nag, are you?”

“No, no, Charley. No, no!”

They drew up at a small table.

“No fancy keeling act to-night, kiddo. I ain’t taking out a hospital ward, you know. Gad, I like you, though, when you’re white-looking like this! Why’d you dodge me at noon to-day and to-night after closing? New guy? I won’t stand for it, you know, you little white-faced Sweetness, you!”

“I hadda go somewheres, Charley. I came near not coming to-night, neither, Charley.”

“What’ll you eat?”

“I ain’t hungry.”

“Thirsty, eh?”


He regarded her over the rim of the smirchy bill of fare.

“What are you, then, you little white-faced, big-eyed devil?”

“Charley, I—I got something to—to tell you. I—”

“Bring me a lamb stew and a beer, light. What’ll you have, little white-face?”

“Some milk and—”

“She means with suds on, waiter.”

“No—no; milk, I said—milk over toast. Milk toast—I gotta eat it. Why don’t you lemme talk, Charley? I gotta tell you.”

He was suddenly sober.

“What’s hurting you? One milk toast, waiter; tell them in the kitchen the lady’s teeth hurt her. What’s up, Sweetness?” And he must lean across the table and imprint a fresh kiss on her lips.

“Don’t—don’t—don’t! For Gawd’s sake, don’t!” She covered her face with her hands; and such a trembling seized her that they fell pitifully away again and showed her features, each distorted, “You mustn’t, Charley! Mustn’t do that again, not—not for three months—you—you mustn’t.”

He leaned across the table; his voice was like sleet—cold, thin, cutting:

“What’s the matter—going to quit?”


“Got another guy you like better?”

“Oh! Oh!”

“A queenie can’t quit me first and get away with it, kiddo. I may be a soft-fingered sort of fellow, but a queenie can’t quit me first and get away with it. Ask ’em about me round here; they know me. If anybody in this little duet is going to do the quitting act first it ain’t going to be you. What’s the matter? Out with it!”

“Charley, it ain’t that—I swear it ain’t that!”

“What’s hurting you, then?”

“I gotta tell you. We gotta go easy for a little while. We gotta quit doing the rounds for a while till—only for a little while. Three months he said would fix me. A grand old doc he was!

“I been to the clinic, Charley. I hadda go. The cough—the cough was cuttin’ me in two. It ain’t like me to go keeling like I did. I never said much about it; but, nights and all, the sweats and the cough and the shooting pains was cutting me in two. We gotta go easy for a while, Charley; just—”

“You sick, Sara?” His fatty-white face lost a shade of its animation. “Sick?”

“But it ain’t, Charley. On his word he promised it ain’t! A grand old doc, with whiskers—he promised me that. I—I am just beginning; but the stitch was in time. It ain’t a real case yet, Charley. I swear, on my mother’s curl of hair, it ain’t.”

“Ain’t what? Ain’t what?”

“It ain’t! Air, he said, right living—early hours and all. I gotta get out of the basement. He’ll get me a job. A grand old man! Windows open; right living. No—no dancing and all, for a while, Charley. Three months only, Charley; and then—”

“What, I say—”

“It ain’t, Charley! I swear it ain’t. Just one—the left one—a little sore down at the base—the bottom. Charley, quit looking at me like that! It ain’t a real case—it ain’t; it ain’t!”

“It ain’t what?”

“The—the T.B. Just the left one; down at—”

“You—you—” An oath as hot as a live coal dropped from his lips and he drew back, strangling. “You—you got it, and you’re letting me down easy. You got it, and it’s catching as hell! You got it, you white devil, and—and you’re tryin’ to lie out of it—you—you—”

“Charley! Charley!”

“You got it, and you been letting me eat it off your lips! You devil, you! You devil, you! You devil, you!”

“Charley, I—”

“I could kill you! Lemme wash my mouth! You got it; and if you got it I got it! I got it! I got it! I—I—”

He rushed from the table, strangling, stuttering, staggering; and his face was twisted with fear.

For an hour she sat there, waiting, her hands folded in her lap and her eyes growing larger in her face. The dish of stew took on a thin coating of grease and the beer died in the glass. The waiter snickered. After a while she paid for the meal out of her newly opened wage envelope and walked out into the air.

Once on the street, she moaned audibly into her handkerchief. There is relief in articulation. Her way lay through dark streets, where figures love to slink in the shadows. One threw a taunt at her and she ran. At the stoop of her rooming house she faltered, half fainting and breathing deep from exhaustion, her head thrown back and her eyes gazing upward.

Over the narrow street stars glittered, dozens and myriads of them.

Literature has little enough to say of the heartaches and the heartburns of the Sara Jukes and the Hattie Krakows and the Eddie Blaneys. Medical science concedes them a hollow organ for keeping up the circulation. Yet Mrs. Van Ness’ heartbreak over the death of her Chinese terrier, Wang, claims a first-page column in the morning edition; her heartburn—a complication of midnight terrapin and the strain of her most recent rôle of corespondent—obtains her a suite de luxe in a private sanitarium.

Vivisectionists believe the dog is less sensitive to pain than man; so the social vivisectionists, in problem plays and best sellers, are more concerned with the heartaches and heartburns of the classes. But analysis would show that the sediment of salt in Sara Juke’s and Mrs. Van Ness’ tears is equal.

Indeed, when Sara Juke stepped out of the street car on a golden Sunday morning in October, her heart beat higher and more full of emotion than Mrs. Van Ness could find at that breakfast hour, reclining on her fine linen pillows, an electric massage and a four-dollar-an-hour masseuse forcing her sluggish blood to flow.

Eddie Blaney gently helped Sara to alight, cupping the point of her elbow in his hand; and they stood huddled for a moment by the roadway while the car whizzed past, leaving them in the yellow and ocher, saffron and crimson countryside.

“Gee! Gee-whiz!”

“See! I told you. And you not wanting to come when I called for you this morning—you trying to dodge me and the swellest Indian summer Sunday on the calendar!”


“Wait! We ain’t started yet, if you think this is swell.”

“Oh! Let’s go over in them woods. Let’s.” Her lips were apart and pink crept into her cheeks, effacing the dark rims of pain beneath her eyes. “Let’s hurry.”

“Sure; that’s where we’re going—right over in there, where the woods look like they’re on fire; but, gee, this ain’t nothing to the country places I know round here. This ain’t nothing. Wait!”

The ardor of the inspired guide was his, and with each exclamation from her the joy of his task doubled itself.

“If you think this is great, wait—just you wait. Gee, if you like this, what would you have said to the farm? Wait till we get to the top of the hill.”

Fallen leaves, crisp as paper, crackled pleasantly under their feet; and through the haze that is October’s veil glowed a reddish sun, vague as an opal. A footpath crawled like a serpent through the woods and they followed it, kicking up the leaves before them, pausing, darting, exclaiming.

“I—Honest, Mr. Blaney, I—”


“Eddie, I—I never did feel so—I never was so—so—Aw, I can’t say it.” Tears sprang to her eyes.

“Sure, you never was. I never was, neither, before—before—”

“Before what?”

“Before I had to.”

“Had to?”

“Yeh; both of them. Bleedin’ all the time. Didn’t see nothing but red for ’leven months.”


“Yeh; three years ago. Looked like Arizona on a stretcher for me.”

“You—so big and strong and all!”

He smiled at her and his teeth flashed.

“Gad, little girl, if you got a right to be scared, whatta you think I had? I seen your card over at the clinic last night, and you ain’t got no right to have that down-and-out look on you had this morning. If you think you got something to be scared at you looka my old card at the clinic some day; they keep it for show. You oughtta seen me the day I quit the shipping room, right over at the Titanic, too, and then see whether you got something to be scared at.”

“You—you used to work there?”

“Six years.”

“I—I ain’t scared no more, Eddie; honest, I ain’t!”

“Gee, I should say not! They ain’t even sending you up to the farm.”

“No, no! They’re going to get me a job. A regular outdoor, on-the-level kind of a job. A grand old doc, with whiskers! I ain’t a regular one, Eddie; just the bottom of one lung don’t make a regular one.”

“Well, I guess not, poor little missy. Well, I guess not.”

“Three months he said, Eddie. Three months of right livin’ like this, and air and all, and I’ll be as round as a peach, he said. Said it hisself, without me asking—that’s how scared I was. Round as a peach!”

“You can’t beat that gang over there at the clinic, little missy. They took me out of the department when all the spring water I knew about ran out of a keg. Even when they got me out on the farm—a grown-up guy like me—for a week I thought the crow in the rooster was a sidewalk faker. You can’t beat that, little missy.”

“He’s a grand old man, with whiskers, that’s going to get me the job. Then in three months I—”

“Three months nothing! That gang won’t let you slip back after the three months. They took a extra shine to me because I did the prize-pupil stunt; but they won’t let anybody slip back if they give ’em half a chance. When they got me sound again, did they ship me back to the shipping department in the sub-basement? Not muchy! Looka me now, little missy! Clerk in their biggest display; in three months a raise to ninety dollars. Can you beat it? Ninety dollars would send all the shipping clerks of the world off in a faint.”

“Gee, it—it’s swell!”


“Look! Look!”

“Persimmons!” A golden mound of them lay at the base of a tree, piled up against the hole, bursting, brown. “Persimmons! Here; taste one, little missy. They’re fine.”

“Eat ’em?”


She bit into one gently; then with appetite.

“M-m-m! Good!”

“Want another?”

“M-m-m—my mouth! Ouch! My m—mouth!”

“Gee, you cute little thing, you! See, my mouth’s the same way too. Feels like a knot. Gee, you cute little thing, you—all puckered up and all.”

And he must link her arm in his and crunch-crunch over the brittle leaves and up a hillside to a plateau of rock overlooking the flaming country; and from the valley below, smoke from burning mounds of leaves wound in spirals, its pungency drifting to them.

“See that tree there? It’s a oak. Look; from a little acorn like this it grew. See, this is a acorn, and in the start that tree wasn’t no bigger than this little thing.”

“Quit your kiddin’!” But she smiled and her lips were parted sweetly; and always unformed tears would gloze her eyes.

“Here, sit here, little lady. Wait till I spread this newspaper out. Gee! Don’t I wish you didn’t have to go back to the city by two o’clock, little lady! We could make a great day of it here, out in the country; lunch at a farm and see the sun set and all. Some day of it we could make if—”

“I—I don’t have to go back, Eddie.”

His face expanded into his widest smile.

“Gee, that’s great! That’s just great!”


“What you thinking of, little lady, sitting there so pretty and all?”


“Nothing? Aw, surely something!”

A tear formed and zigzagged down her cheek.

“Nothing, honest; only I—I feel right happy.”

“That’s just how you oughtta feel, little lady.”

“In three months, if—aw, ain’t I the nut?”

“It’ll be a big Christmas, won’t it, little missy, for both of us? A big Christmas for both of us; you as sound and round as a peach again, and me shooting up like a skyrocket on the pay roll.”

A laugh bubbled to her lips before the tear was dry.

“In three months I won’t be a T.B., not even a little bit.”

“Sh-h-h! On the farm we wasn’t allowed to say even that. We wasn’t supposed to even know what them letters mean.”

“Don’t you know what they mean, Eddie?”

“Sure I do!” He leaned toward her and placed his hand lightly over hers. “T.B.—True Blue—that’s what they mean, little lady.”

She could feel the veins in his palm throbbing.


From The Century

It loomed there, high and large, uncompromised by the gloom of mist about it, unruffled by the easterly gusts that bent the two rows of larches which stretched in deliberate diagonal lines from the street to the corners of its grim façade. Hastings could hear the beating of the sea; it was probably in that chaos of space behind the house. As he stood leaning against one of the tall gate-posts and surveying the scene, he began to feel, almost in spite of himself, in sympathy with it.

A motor drew up near where he stood. Instinctively his attention was directed from it to the green Georgian portal, which at the moment was drawn in to permit somebody to pass out. She was in glaring contrast to her setting; she was fresh and lovely, young and fashionable-looking. She paused on the wide stone step, glanced up at the sky, opened her umbrella, and briskly proceeded down the avenue to the gate. Within a few yards of it she raised her eyes from the puddled gravel and started back at sight of him.

“Jack!” she cried out. “How did you get here? Why didn’t you tell me? I am this minute on my way to meet you.”

“I’m admiring your summer home, Julia—Julia dear,” he said to her, a little constrained. “It’s sad and desolate, and everything that I suppose you want it to be. I expected to hate it. I thought that having spent most of my life away from all this, I should have lost every scrap of—tolerance for New England. But ever since I set foot in Rockface—”

“When did you, Jack?” she demanded.

“An hour ago. I’ve been in the strangest mood ever since.”

“Come, now, and tell me about it,” she suddenly saw the need to say, walking away from him to dismiss the grinning chauffeur.

Hastings lingered alone in the hall.

“It’s much nicer by the fire,” Julia called to him impatiently from the next room. And he followed the sound of her voice; he moved slowly over to a chair, opposite her own, and sat down, forgetting to talk. “I vow I’m amused,” she exclaimed, “at the way you take it. You’ve made letters full of fun of me for settling my parents ’on that ugly little Massachusetts point’; you’ve laid it all down to my ‘Middle-Western love of Puritan relics’ and ‘Eastern culturine,’ and scorned my ‘romantic inexperience’; and here you come, redolent of Europe, to be as much impressed by our choice as if you were a Montana school-girl!” He smiled back, but it was obvious that he hadn’t heard a word. “What’s the matter with you, Jacky?” she asked interestedly; “had a bad journey?”

He tried to concentrate his faculties on looking genial and at the same time intelligent.

“It was just like me, Julia,” he began, the ghost of cheerfulness on his face. “I took the earliest sort of train, instead of the one I telephoned you I’d take. You see, to have landed at night, after all the years—think of it! And then to go walking around by myself, seeing things crop suddenly up that I hadn’t thought of since—well—scarcely since I was born. No wonder I couldn’t sleep. This morning, like a stranded idiot, I got out at that little way-station of yours, and realized for the first time that I didn’t have a blessed idea where you lived.”

“Rockface is about as enormous as a biscuit. Anybody could have told you.”

“That’s the strangest part of it,” recollected Hastings. “You see, I had a curious hunch about it; I felt a little forsaken. I was actually surprised and irritated that somebody—I didn’t know who—wasn’t waiting to meet me.

“There was something about the place, Julia,” he gravely pursued, “made me feel justified in thinking a hospitable welcome was due me ... Oh I don’t mean because you were here! But—well—the veil of sea-turn that half-hid the buildings across the square made me feel the need of some kind of greeting—I expected one!—right on the spot! Can you understand? And—instead—the cold east wind blew round me as if I were an outcast.

“I stole down the first crooked street I came to. I stared at the house-fronts, at the little square panes of the sagging window-sashes, at the dingy doors, with those short, steep flights of steps leading down to the side-walks.”

Julia sobered to a tentative frown. Jack’s eyes were bigger than usual, and he did look, notwithstanding the feverish flush on his cheeks, rather fagged. How she had been counting the days for him to come! It didn’t seem possible that the visit which he had been promising for so long to make her should have finally materialized. Wasn’t it really an indication,—she pondered while again happily she sized up the situation,—if he took so much trouble for her, that he did, after all, care more perhaps than she had sometimes thought? But what an extraordinary meeting it had been! He had at once launched forth on this extreme discourse. She sat back, and let her eyes rest on him with amused tolerance, her smile attentively adjusted to suit his mood; for her moment’s anxiety vanished at further sight of his strong, broad shoulders and the handsome appearance he made in her favorite high-back chair, his firm hands grasping the arms of it.

“You’ve stayed away from America too long,” she said carelessly; “Paris is bad for you.”

He leaned forward, his delicately modeled cheekbones emphasized by the firelight, his hair becomingly awry.

“I knew it would all be as it was,” he went inspiredly on. “There was a thick clump of hedge, cold and dreary in the mist, that awoke pictures of a prison I used to dread the sight of when I was—I don’t know how old. Once I partly thought I must be dreaming; so I put out my hand and touched the wet, sodden picket of an old fence. I looked suspiciously behind me. But there was only an old man behind, fully two hundred yards away. Then the idea came to me that it would be a relief to talk to somebody; I hadn’t interchanged a word with any one since I got off the ship. All kinds of impressions, you see, had been accumulating, and they thronged like phantoms about me.

“I wanted to hear myself speak—to see if I could. So I turned, and waited for him to come. The rain was dripping all around; there wasn’t another sound anywhere. Now, this is the queerest thing of all: what do you think I said to him?” Jack leaned forward, his eyes darting intensely over her face. “I said: ‘Can you tell me the way to Mr. Eberdeen’s house?’”

“Mr.—Eberdeen’s house!” She stood abruptly up. “Who—who told you,” she gasped, “that this was Mr. Eberdeen’s house?”

He stood up, too, stepping back from her. “You must have told me,” he said, aware of his quivering lips, “in one of your letters. The name came to me—”

“I never told you,” she stated emphatically, “I never told any one—for—for—why did you ask such a question of that old man?”

His gaze wandered.

“My throat felt parched from disuse. It took a distinct effort to make the words sound articulate.

“‘Sure, now,’ answered the old man, while I was still puzzling to explain to myself the question I had asked him, ‘but never have I heard it called that—not since my father died from the cold he caught drivin’ the mare up from Portsville. Ther’ was a time, in the days when they talked of it bein’ ha’nted, you’d hear folks call it Eberdeen Manor; but not—no, and my father likely’s been dead these forty years now—never, Mr. Eberdeen’s house!”

“‘Mr. Eberdeen—there was such a person, then?’

“‘There’ll be a time, me boy, when they’ll doubt yerself was a living thing.’ He straightened his bent body reprehensibly; he shook his head. ‘Walk back to the next corner,’ he muttered, ‘and turn to yer left. It’ll be down there ber the cliffs, if nobody’s stolen it. Somebody’ll sure ’nough be there ter point it out to yer.’

“‘I’m a stranger,’ I apologized; ‘I really didn’t know.’

“‘Know!’ he shouted. ‘Who was it owned the land this ’ere street runs over? Who built it? Who was it paid fer the church on the hill? Who did fer the sick, and gave to the poor, and got nothin’ hisself fer the trouble but grief and loneliness and a broken heart? Wher’ did yer come from?’

“And he surveyed me, as if the mere fact of his seeing me for the first time made him doubt my intentions. Still I stood there waiting.

“‘What was he like? What did he do? Who was he?’ I couldn’t help flinging out in my wonderment.

“‘As good’s’ll ever come back from wher’ yer’ve been, or ’ll pray fer the like of yer, I reckon. Judge not, I tell yer, that yer be not yerself judged.’

“I tried to smile at the old man.

“‘Good-day to yer,’ he grumbled, and walked back in the direction from which he had come. I watched until he was lost in the thickness.”

Julia looked at Hastings in astonishment. Just another glimmer of anxiety crossed her mind; but any foolish worry she might have had for him was merged in her consciousness of something indeed more staggering.

“Do you think,” she brooded, “that it can be true—that—that the house is—was—haunted?”

“I had,” Jack unresponsively continued—“I couldn’t help it—on the way a queer loathing of the little village. The gaunt house-fronts obtruded themselves so obstinately, so self-satisfiedly, like anemic country parsons, with their eyes close together, giving me a mean, soulless stare. Every object testified to its lack of any temperamental share in the joy of living. The emptiness of the streets seemed pitiless; their narrowness was oppressive.”

“I love every inch of it,” said Julia, defiantly.

Hastings was silent. He looked at the dry, colorless walls, covered with circuitous lines of crackling old paint.

“Was this furniture here, Julia?” he asked.

“Not this,” she exclaimed with pride.

“No wonder,” he argued half to himself, “that the next generation preferred black walnut, even with all its grapes and gewgaws! Horrible as it was, it wasn’t so orthodox and priggish and mirthless as what came before.”

He strayed out into the hall again; he viewed its stateliness, its expurgated elegance. “Well, this has got me, Julia—seriously,” he said with a surprised realization that she was standing beside him. “It’s—it’s immense.”

“Oh, that,” she cried out, “from you!” And slowly she stepped closer to say something to him; but she thought better of it. “Don’t you think,” she just let slip, “I’ve made it look at least—well—old?”

“As only a Westerner could want to make it look.” His sense of humor affectionately covered any lack of enthusiasm.

“Come, Jacky,” she urged at last, “I’ll show you all of it before lunch is ready.”

The stairs rose straight in the rear of the hall, directly opposite the main entrance, with its border of finely traceried windows, branching squarely to right and left two thirds of the way up. By the first door above the side whither Julia conducted her guest she stepped fondly back and announced:

“This, Jack, is your room. I hope you will like it.”

“Yes,” he murmured, distractedly gazing about him.

Despite the freshness of everything, despite the new woolen carpets, with their correct geometric designs, ones Julia had had copied from some battered relics which she had somehow acquired, despite the new chintzes and the recently refinished furniture so deliberately assembled there for the first time, despite the spickness and spanness of each suitably collected detail of the room’s decorations, a musty smell in the air caught his breath. The floor swooped reminiscently down toward the right; the boards of it made a stifled creak as he stepped across them. He himself was a little unsteady. The window gave on impenetrable fog. Hastings threw up the sash and peered out into the dampness; he heard the sound of unseen boats groping their ways through the distance; the water lapped and laved below him.

“Jack!” Julia called.

He turned to her, dazed, smiling in that way he had of trying to conceal his consciousness of inattention.

“Of course, it seems plain and spare and—rather humble, after Europe. I know that.”

As if directed by her words, his eyes swept rapidly over the room.

“It’s no use, Julia,” he answered; “if you’re New England to the core, you can’t get free of it. I’d like every drop of New England blood drained out of me, and something—say Hebrew or—or Middle-West,” he laughed, “substituted in place of it. To you this is ‘pretty’ and ‘cozy’ and—and ‘cheerful’; to me—well, it’s like an orgy of blue laws; it’s the personification of witch-lore—like self-inflicted penance for I don’t know what.” He glanced at her in excitement, shifting his hands uneasily in and out of his pockets.

“Yes,” she said slowly. “I had thought, nevertheless, that you might like it.”

“Like it?” he echoed. “That’s the trouble. I wish I weren’t so full of the meaning of it all. Can you fancy how a monk might feel, who’d been away on a vacation, just getting back to his cell? Like it? I can’t help liking it. It’s my proper setting; I see that fast enough. But I’ve come back to find how inexorable and harsh and catechismical it is, and naturally I resent being what I am. Oh—” he broke off, suddenly realizing the folly of his harangue, and after another moment he added: “It’s delightful, Julia dear, really. If only all the Westerners could come to New England and revive it—and all the New-Englanders move West and revive themselves!”

They went on from room to room.

“You Westerners,” Hastings reiterated—“oh, I don’t just know what the difference is, for you’re New England, too. Only you’ve got so much else mixed up with it. You’ve become free-lances; your more recent, less bigoted adventures have made you forget.”

“What?” asked Julia, indignantly.

But he was at a loss, as he looked about him, to explain, however much each new survey of the scene convinced him. “Here,” he muttered, “everything has been steeping so long in the attenuated resolutions that drove us to come; everything is still conscientiously soaked—saturated—in the barren memory of it.”

You’re not,” said Julia, testily, to draw him out. “Precious little of it you’ve had! Two years at a school! You’re more foreign than you are New England. Remember—your—”

“Yes. I don’t forget I’ve one foreign ancestor to boast of, and bless Heaven for it! How my great-grandmother ever happened to marry—see this! “Hastings went on, incoherently catching her arm and waving his other over the exquisite array of her “colonial” chamber. “Now, this, to you, is—well—it’s as ‘amusing’ as if you’d tried to furnish a room to imitate one in Cinderella’s palace, as ‘interesting’ as if you’d done it Louis Sixteenth, or—or—its meaning is hardly more personal to you than the room you furnished in Munich that winter.”—She blushed admiringly at memory of their first meeting.—“The problem appealed to you, and you made it charming. But to me—”

“You really hate it,” said Julia, determined to face the facts.

“I really love it,” he retorted sadly, “the way you couldn’t help loving a parent, even though you mightn’t believe in him.”

“Jack,” she characteristically cried out to him again, “there is one thing more that I hardly dare show you then. You’ll think me such a fool. I—”

A servant appeared to announce that luncheon was ready.

“Don’t say anything to them against it,” she told him on the way down.

That wasn’t, however, what made him silent during the meal. He took little part in the conversation except when Mr. and Mrs. Elliott plied him with questions, which he then found himself answering with only unsatisfactory vagueness—answers that he could do nothing, not even when Julia flew tenderly to his rescue, to make any better. Yes, he liked the house, he said gravely. It was a nice old house. And he thought how murky, despite its new coats of cleaning, was that far corner up near the ceiling. No, he wasn’t sorry, he responded, that he had left the École des Beaux Arts to devote all his time to painting; it was the one thing he was suited for. Yes, his foreign great-grandfather had been a portrait-painter. He couldn’t remember what his name was. Tremaine? Henry Tremaine. That was it. Julia was looking hard at him. She was gazing down at her plate. He knew he had eaten nothing. He could not eat. No, he wasn’t at all hungry. Why was it so chilly? he thought. Doubtless he had picked up a germ. The house, he muttered to himself, was on his nerves. It was so everlastingly gloomy! Julia had reinhabited it too authentically. “Eberdeen Manor”—“Mr. Eberdeen’s House.” What names!

An hour afterward he told Julia he was dead sleepy and that, contrary to all his habits, he was going up-stairs to take a nap. Dinner was at seven? All right, he would be in better shape by then. He felt wretchedly, but he didn’t say so.

Out in the hall he paused a moment at the foot of the wide lower staircase. The ticking of a good many clocks came to him from different parts of the house; they seemed to focus their monotonous activity especially on his hearing. Extraordinary recollections swept him. He remembered having heard an old nurse, Sarah Teale, describe how her aunt once rushed out the back door right in the midst of frying doughnuts, and was instantly stricken with paralysis on account of it. There was a low groaning; a moan floated to him from somewhere above. Bravely he forced himself to climb the stairs toward it. He turned the knob. The door stuck. He shook it again, and it yielded.


It was nearly dark when he awoke. A late, a very late, an unnaturally late, afternoon dusk shadowed in streaks across the floor. He could hardly breathe. The windows were close shut. The striped shades were drawn down to the sills. But he could see the yellowed print of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”—the one he had bought at Milan—hanging on the panel above the empty hearth. There was the sand-shaker on his maple desk. That old lithograph of the two kittens over beside the bureau was crooked. He must remember to straighten it. The wall-paper was getting dingy.

He stretched himself. A sharp pain was going through his head. But it was late; he must get up and dress, or he wouldn’t be ready in time.

The clothes he had just taken off lay across an arm of the painted chair by his bed. He lifted the coat, and let it fall from his grasp. He moved over to the wash-stand. The Chinese pitcher was as light as if filled with air when he turned its nose to the basin. The hat-tub stood on end between the wash-stand and the closet door. He reached for the battered old red tassel of the bell-rope and pulled it. It was so late,—it was getting later,—he must hurry, whether Simpkins came or not. He could manage. And he opened the closet door, sighing at the bothersome prospect of getting into his togs. He ran his hand over his hair. Where was the mirror? And, damme! he had no light!

The shoes were a trifle hard to draw on, too small for him; the breeches were badly in need of pressing; the coat was stiff. He began opening drawers in the bureau, delving through piles of neatly folded linen and silk. At last he chose a shirt and put it on over his head. He laid aside the purple satin waistcoat until he should have arranged his stock, which he found tight, and difficult to make meet in the back. But he finally got it adjusted; he brought the thick, wide ends around in front, tied them in a huge bow while he walked over to the window and gazed out. Fine night. The mist had gone, the stars were dimly appearing. He turned back for his waistcoat and jacket. By mistake he opened the closet door again instead of the one which led into the hall.

“I knew you would come!” she said, approaching so near to him from out the somber blackness of the garments which draped the walls that he could see her quite plainly by the light of the candle in her hand. She wasn’t a day over twenty. If she was pale, it was more the pallor of fright than of ill health, or perhaps only because her skin showed so white, lighted by the faint glare, in contrast to her deep eyes and to the thick, glossy braids bound round and round above her forehead. “John, John, won’t you speak to me?”

He took a step forward, faltering. At that moment there was a brusque movement beside him, and he turned to behold there a young man, dressed in knee-breeches, wearing a purple waistcoat and velvet coat, as like unto himself as his own image.

“Duty bade me come,” the stranger answered stiffly, as if it was for his ears that her words had been intended.

Hastings’ gaze flew to meet hers, which he was astonished to find still directed on him instead of on the speaker. He felt himself melted to pity by her frailness and beauty and charm, so that he turned almost angrily toward the intruder, who, at that moment, however, began to address her in tones Hastings could but admire:

“To you!” cried out the young stranger—“you, for whom duty knows no promptings!”

At that, Hastings turned to her again, his heart rent by the plea she uttered.

“But you love me? You love me? Oh, say it to me!” And she was looking not at his counterpart; she was imploring him, she was stretching her arms out to him, she was veritably making her plea to him, as if he were the one who had elicited it.

“I will do anything for you—anything!” he would have promised her had not the threat of the stranger so like unto himself interrupted.

“Don’t mock my patience, Lydia,” Hastings heard as once more he shifted his eyes to the speaker.

It was maddening how from one to the other of them his sympathies veered. The sepulchral voice of the man seemed to express Hastings’ own thoughts; yet her sweet appeal awoke resentful fury for what words he dared say to her. If only Hastings might explain, when she stared so reproachfully, that it was only he who had spoken!

Momentarily at a loss, she put the candle down on a little shelf. She rubbed her hands one about the other as if her doing so might lessen the affront which she had now somehow to meet. When at last she spoke, her calm, even tones were like the loveliness of primroses; her eyes were brimming with simple trustfulness.

“You own me, O my husband,” she said, “heart—heart, body, and soul. Do with me what you will.”

Why should she be so abject? But when Hastings heard the voice of that other, he was again awed by it.

“Think not that I haven’t avenged myself!” the voice sneeringly proclaimed.

Hastings looked. For the first time he noticed that the stranger’s arm was in a sling; there was a mole on the cheek near the corner of those tightly compressed lips.

She shook like a leaf in a gale. For dread minutes she faced Hastings tremblingly. Coming nearer to him she murmured:

“Are you badly hurt, my—my husband?”

Hastings glanced down at his own arm, on which her eyes seemed to rest; then he suddenly beheld, almost as one beholds one’s self in a mirror, his counterpart recoil from her reach while he exclaimed scornfully:

“Don’t—don’t touch me! Nor pray think that your wiles will ever win from me any forgiveness.”

She stopped stock-still.

“Is he dead?” she demanded.

“Ah, then, you do admit, do you, that you love him?” the other flung at her. “Say it to me! say it to me!” he charged, and he half closed his eyes; “or—by Heaven! I will—”

Hastings felt the justice of this accusation, and turned doubtingly back to the girl for her answer. She stared at him, waiting.

“What is the use?” she asked in despair. “Would you believe me?”

“If you confess I will believe you,” stated the stranger.

It seemed to Hastings that she grew visibly taller; her face underwent a spasm of pain; and apparently unable longer to remain silent, she cried out to him:

“Can it be that for you a confession is more to be believed than aught which has not to be confessed?” And Hastings could feel the touch of her hand cold on his wrist.

But the other insisted so convincingly that Hastings looked at him once more with confidence.

“The truth,” she said sadly, “is only for those who have faith; you—you prefer the sinner, whom you may crush into a penitent. Your egotism demands the power to forgive; you have not the courage to love.”

The stranger took a step nearer her, but she was looking at Hastings.

“He is the only one who is worthy to believe me—he, whom you blame me for loving. I do love him, then, but with a love no codes of yours can understand. For I am innocent, to use the word by which you forgivingly call the unjustly accused.”

Hastings quailed beneath the bitterness of her irony; he saw, too, how the man who so resembled him fell back against an old calico bag, stuffed with remnants probably, that hung on a hook right behind where he had been standing; but when he faced her once more, he marveled at the change in her appearance.

Her brows were raised, contracted gently, resolutely; her eyes were yearningly fixed on Hastings; her lips were parted tenderly for the generous appeal she had at last found the need to make to him.

“Forgive me, O my husband!” she begged. “Nothing can come between us, nothing shall. But I could not love you as I do if I loved not others—if, for the chance love that came my way, I should give in exchange no thanks. You understand me? You would not have me avoid what I was made to love? You would not have me disregard the sunlight and the sea and the stars in the sky? Yes, it is true, my husband, I loved him. He said that my fingers on the spinet made into harmony all the discords of the day; he said that I wove them away, with the notes of birds and the sound of running brooks and the sighing of the wind, into patterns, as in the long winter evenings I could spin flax at my wheel. It made me happy to have him love me. It filled me with strength. It taught me many new things I could do for you. John, John, say that you forgive me?”

Though Hastings wanted to take her in his arms, he was impelled to turn away from her and to view that silent figure still leaning against the calico bag, whose head was lifted haughtily in deference to her supplication.

“He loved you, too,” she continued to Hastings, “because you loved me. He did not mean to kiss me.” She just raised her hands, as if involuntarily, and let them fall at her sides. “You thought that he was stealing me from you. He couldn’t; he can’t; and nobody can—now, nor ever. His kiss was as pure as the perfume of lilies, pressed close to breathe; it but made sweeter your love and mine, your life and mine.”

“Adulteress! With my curses go to him, then, forever!”

The cry brought Hastings round to that other whose presence he had forgotten. But next moment she was down before him; Hastings felt her arms tight clasped about his knees.

“My husband, listen to me!” she implored. “I—we—there is somebody else to be considered.” Hastings shuddered. “We—you and I—shall be the parents of a child! I have not told you. For the sake of our child, from you, that child’s father, I must ask forgiveness!”

She bowed her head sobbingly against Hastings. He put his hand on her hair and was drawing her up to him when the stranger rushed forward to tear her fiercely away.

“Lies! lies!” the stranger ranted. “Go to him, I tell you! His child—his mistress shall not dishonor my house. Go to him, for he isn’t dead, and he needs you—you who are not needed here.”

“Don’t! don’t!” she screamed out to Hastings. “I am your wife, the mother of your—!”

Hastings sprang toward her. He saw that her hands were raised straight up in the air. Just as he was about to reach forth to her, the stranger plunged before him, caught the gray chiffon from her shoulders, and pressed it madly on her throat. Hastings leaped upon him, pulled him away, pinned him to the floor, rolled over him.

She had gone. The room was in darkness.

Hastings felt for the door. It yielded. He opened another door, and stepped through it.

His head swam in the midst of the lights outside. He slunk back like one who hesitates to confront the unknown. The stairs were there before him; he began to descend, his right hand held forth, his eyes fastened in horror upon it. Then, as he heard the distant hum of voices below, once more pompous and erect he swung down the last broad treads between the landing and the floor.

A servant who passed uttered a cry and vanished; but that did not deter him. With long strides he boldly rounded the familiar corner to the dining-room door and entered.

He flourished his right hand wildly in the air. He saw that it was bleeding.

“See, see!” he called to them. “At last he is dead. I have killed him! I have killed him!”

The room seemed to recede in the distance. Something snapped inside his brain. Everything was different. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, with shrieks of terror, were moving to the pantry-door far at the other end. Confusedly he saw Julia try to force herself toward him; saw her half come, heard his name on her lips. He wanted to smile, he wanted to bend down over her affectionately; but when he sought to reach her with his bloody hand, she shrank back, turned, and fled with the others. He shouted to them; but he stumbled, and thought he might fall. He caught hold of the table. After that all was blackness.

He awoke amid the appointments of the chamber which Julia had called his room. A quick flood of memories, some clear and accurate, others vague and troublesome, inundated his tired consciousness. Gradually he became aware of a thick, muddy pain rolling in dreadful rhythmic waves through his head. He looked toward the clock on the mantelpiece to see if it wasn’t time to get up. He met the eyes of Mrs. Elliott. He lifted himself, falling back on the pillow. The pillow was as cold as ice. She came over to him.

“Dear boy—you feel better?”

“Better? Better?” he echoed. “Why are you here?”

“Your head is cooler. You’ve been—you—my dear child, you may as well know it—you fainted last night—yesterday. You were worn out; you caught cold, and had—a chill. You hadn’t eaten anything since—not since—” She fondled the bed-clothes. “You’ll be all right now. Your head—struck something. The doctor said you weren’t to talk—”

It hurt him to move his eyes. The sockets ached. He tried hard to realize what she had told him, repeating snatches of it feverishly over to himself.

“Is it dangerous?” he finally got to the point of asking.

“No; a slight—just a very slight concussion.”

“Concussion?” He floundered in the ominous meaning of it until Julia came in. Every time he spoke they begged him not to. She looked so real to him, so natural, so tangibly alive! When she put her face down by his he trembled, and burst out crying like a child. He was afraid she would go away. She sat on the edge of the bed, her hands about one of his. The other hand lay bandaged on the counterpane.

The next day he was better, but he wasn’t allowed to get up; and he was secretly not sorry not to have to try. The weakness which followed the first shock had made him submissive to the situation; he began to be used to the fact that he was ill; even the nurse’s presence he philosophically accepted, so resigned was he to the necessity. He asked questions concerning his pulse and temperature, wanted to know if the bags of ice could be dispensed with soon. Julia read aloud to him for an hour every morning.

But, having a half-attentive interest in what she read, he would look fixedly at her and try to piece together his jumbled recollections. Partly from lack of strength, mostly because he was loath to admit to anybody that his brain wasn’t normally clear, he let the questions which rose to his lips pass unuttered. Once he exclaimed irrelevantly:

“Where, Julia, did that portrait come from?” And when he caught the intensity of her stare, he looked around the walls, and, smiling bashfully, concealed his embarrassment by saying, “I’m really listening, but I must have dozed for a second.” At times he would gaze wonderingly at the ceiling, lose himself following the lines of the panels, or counting the little square panes in the window-sashes. He sometimes slept, but not quite soundly; half his somnolence was busy with irrational calculations beyond his control.

A musty smell elusively kept fading as soon as he was aware of breathing it; a dim room, in which the windows were shut close and the shades pulled down, drifted through his quick fancy into darkness; he would find himself deliriously sorting many strange garments into piles, counting them, opening drawers to take others out, until the accumulations drove him to despair. His right hand throbbed under the tight bandage; he kept fingering the bandage and pressing on the sore spots. Everything about him would seem suddenly definite and real as compared with the dismal bewilderment of his dreamings. Perhaps the doctor would enter, with professional cheerfulness. But then, right in the middle of answering some question, Hastings would be blinded by a great rush of bright light through the opened door.

A day came when all this phantasmagoria ceased to bother him; with returning vigor he had to make less and less effort to forget it, until at last it altogether went. The joy of new health swept over him, filling the gaps and low, miasmic areas of his mentality, as the rising tide fills the empty pools of the shore.


It was a month after the day of John Hastings’s arrival at Rockface. Unlike that day, the weather was sunny and mild; big cumulus clouds moved languidly through the sky, as if it were midsummer instead of late October. Julia was crocheting, and he was watching her. They were sitting in front of the house on a leaf-strewn grass-plot near the avenue between the lines of larches that, now calm in the windless forenoon, stretched diagonally from the street to the corners of the bland old façade.

“But if you knew all along,” he, with his habitual freshness of wonder, put to her, “that it was, that it is, really Mr. Eberdeen’s house, why in the name of things didn’t you tell me then?”

She became irritatingly absorbed in her work.

“I thought,” she at length said, “that you were pretending not to know, and I wanted, in that case, to discover what other—what else you might be holding back from me.”

“Holding back from you? What else?” he echoed. “What else was there?”

“I wasn’t sure, you see. Nothing that I knew,” she affirmed frankly, laughing away the sudden rigor of sadness on his face. “There was another reason, though. There was something which I had been saving for the very last moment to show you. But I was rather ashamed of wanting to so much, and, after the way you had taken the rest of the house, I hesitated. Just as I finally was going to, lunch was ready—remember?”

Hastings awkwardly withdrew his right hand, which had been resting palm downward on his knee, and thrust it into his pocket.

“Julia,” he cried out, in characteristic disregard of all context, “suppose Mr. Eberdeen should turn out to have been—well—a relative, or something? It might account, you know, for my asking that question, and—and for how everything here”—he looked inclusively round him—“for how this all impressed me so.”

She waited, hopeful of the time having at last come when he might wish to confide in her whatever it was—if, indeed, he knew—that had happened; but he only ingenuously continued to hold out to her the possibility of his new idea.

“No,” she told him, with a disappointment which she couldn’t conceal, “he wasn’t. I’ve looked up his entire history. He died right here, and he had no children. Your pedigree I know by heart.”

Hastings smiled at her thoroughness.

“What,” he exclaimed, “if some unrecorded forebear of mine has eluded you? Somebody,” he dreamily improvised, “who knew this house, who was familiar with every turn of the road, every habit of the mist. It’s just such a smug little, old, weather-worn town like Rockface, where any New Englander is likely to find traces of forgotten ancestors.”

The sound of footsteps made them both look toward the gate.

“Who is it? Why is he coming here?” Julia demanded half-indignantly under her breath.

“The same old man I met, but so much older!” whispered Hastings, unexpectedly puzzled whether to welcome or dread this intrusion.

“I have searched the streets through for him ever since,” she remonstrated; “I have asked everybody I saw, and no one in the whole place could tell me of any old man answering his description.”

They watched his slow, difficult approach over the gravel. He came forward without making the slightest recognition of their presence. Stopping full in front of them, he took off his hat, applied a straggling red handkerchief uncertainly to his face, and stared up at the house-front.

“They tell me,” he muttered, not once looking at either of his interlocutors, “that yer’ve been and sold it. So yer couldn’t stand it, eh, after all? It’s what Al Makepeace said ’u’d be the case. Looks innocent, though, as herself did, now, don’t it?”

“We’ve sold it,” Julia protested, “only because—because we can’t stay here. Jack—Mr. Hastings—and I are going to be married. We are going to live in Europe. My father and mother didn’t want—”

“Yer can’t make a new dog out of an old dog, ner learn an old dog new tricks,” he went on disregardingly; “and I guess it’s the same fur’s houses be concerned.”

“Who are you, anyway?” Hastings asked, getting up to offer the old man a chair.

“Who am I?” the old man echoed, suddenly attentive. “Dear me, dear me! Whose father was it as planted—and I had his own word fer it—all these ’ere tam’rack trees, and dug the well by the south door? And seen the lady of the house herself, mind yer, go out ’tween them stone posts fer the last time—and darker than pitch it was, too—on her way that night she went to meet Henry—”

At this point the old man was seized by a fit of coughing. When he recovered from it, he just stood there, gazing ahead of him, shaken with the palsy of years, so that he failed to heed the questions they thrice repeated to him.

“No wonder yer couldn’t sleep in it, with her curse on the big empty halls! When the crops themselves died the night afterward, without a sign of a frost comin’ down to touch them! It was the devil’s own guilt in her that did it, Al says. Poor man! poor man! And yer tried ter dress it all up like a corpse, as if yer thought it was dead; but it came to life on yer, did it?” he mumbled, laughing incomprehensibly to himself. “When yer leavin’? To-morrer? Sooner the better fer yer, I guess. Good-day.” With which imprecation the old man turned, feebly put on his hat, and dragged himself back down the avenue whence he had come.

They saw the last vestige of him disappear forever.

“He’s like a broken spirit brooding over the neighborhood,” Hastings said, shivering despite himself.

Julia began to crochet again, nervously absorbed in what she was doing.

“His scattered, crazy words are like the last gasp of the little village. How he epitomizes all the cramped, pent-up emotions of the starved inhabitants who have gone—all the passions that must have so drearily burnt themselves out here, with nothing to note but the shifting of the winds or the digging of some well! They who were obliged, from sheer ennui, to create dramas out of their Puritan prejudices. Can’t you breathe contagion in the very atmosphere? Julia, I’ve had enough of it; I’m glad we’re going. If I stayed here a month longer, I should get to feel as indigenous as that gnarled old apple-tree; the ghosts of the soil would claim me.”

She stood up and walked away from him across the gravel avenue, as if doing so might help her to seize this occasion for what she had decided at last to tell him. She realized that she must be quick, that in another hour her parents’ return might end this one good opportunity for which she had longed and waited.

“Jack dear,” she said, moving back toward him, seeing how her own excitement was reflected in the way he, too, had arisen and taken a few steps towards her, “tomorrow is our last day, and there’s something that we must talk about before we go.”

His head was bowed, his eyes focused tensely up at hers, his arms hanging beside him; the sensitive smile hovered more and more dimly on his lips; his whole body swayed imperceptibly, like the beating of a pulse.

“Jack,” she got out, going still closer to him, “I want to show you—Mrs. Eberdeen’s room.”

He would never quite realize the fullness of the shock it gave him; no deliberate attack could have been so vulnerably aimed, and the completeness of the blow was the greater for being one which he had been unwittingly preparing all along to receive. The house looked miles away; far over it three ducks flew southward.

On the landing above the broad part of the staircase they paused a moment. Instead of going up the left branch, which led to Jack’s door, she took him to the right, where, at the head of the stairs, there was another door directly opposite his. As soon as he saw it he went forward quickly and turned the knob. It stuck; it was locked; and rather timorously he stepped back to meet Julia’s searching look as she handed him a rusty old key.

The musty smell poured out on them like the damp from an opened vault.

She took his hand. They stepped across the threshold.

He saw the lithograph of the two kittens, age-worn and time-blurred, still crooked on the wall beside the bureau; there was the sand-shaker on the maple desk; there hung the yellowed print of the “Last Supper” above the fireplace—all stark and ghostly in that uncannily late afternoon light, which not even the morning sun could dispel.

He clutched her hand. He looked at the bed, which hadn’t been smoothed or touched since he had lain in it a month ago. He remembered it as uncomprehendingly as one remembers mislaying a lost object in a forgotten place. He remembered waking. But the rest he had done was lost in the shadows.

“So this is where it happened—here! How have I ever been in this room before?”

What happened?” she asked him eagerly, firmly.

“I fainted—before I was sick. But why—why here?” he begged.

She had prepared her answer; she had many times rehearsed it; but the words now served inadequately.

“You hadn’t eaten anything,” she stated softly. “You hadn’t slept. You had a fever, and your brain was so tired from—from everything that when you started for your room,—the one opposite, which I had shown to you,—you carelessly turned to the right, and came into this room instead, which I hadn’t had a chance yet to tell you about. Haven’t you ever known, since, that you did it?”

He shook his head.

“This was Mrs. Eberdeen’s room,” she went on. “It has always been just like this,—at least I think it has,—always, since the house was built. I kept it as a curiosity. I called it Mrs. Eberdeen’s room because the natives said she was wicked and had brought ruin to the house. I reasoned that this was why nobody had taken these things away or changed them—the wall-paper, I mean, the bed, the carpet, the pictures. And there’s precisely one thing,” she impetuously concluded, as if she couldn’t postpone longer telling him, “that I myself have added.”

Hastings smiled wanly at her. She guided him round to the wall at the side of the door in front of which they had been standing; she started to speak again before she saw what it was to which she had referred; and so her own words prevented her from hearing the smothered sound of his recognition.

“I found this,” she said, trying to speak carelessly and forcing herself steadfastly to regard it, “in an old shop twelve miles down the Poochuck Road. Isn’t it quaint? I got it—because, Jack, it looked like you, and—and because it exactly fitted this panel!”

But her attempted gaiety sank dismally in the silence which followed. They just stood there. The minutes thudded by; the mustiness enwrapped them. Outside the window a dead piece of branch fell crackling to the ground. Gradually he grew to be unaware of her presence, so sharp and rapid were the currents which successively swept him; and her petty curiosity, all her poor need for speculation, was lost in the depth of the spell cast over him now. She dared not look at him, she dared not take her eyes off the object before them.

It was crudely painted. It was the portrait of a young man dressed a hundred or more years ago. He seemed to be walking forward out of the picture. In many places the pigment was so nearly gone that the brown fuzz of canvas showed through. The colors clung as delicate as cobwebs to the stern face and erect stalwart figure.

“Who is it?” Hastings articulated, scarce audibly. But though he had to ask, if only to save himself from going mad, his words were no more than frail signals of his distress, for he knew that he alone knew the answer. Electrically, crashingly, it had been borne in upon him at almost the first instant of his beholding them where it was that he had seen before those tightly compressed lips, with the mole still visible near the corner; he knew those calm, cruel eyes, still averted from his own; in a flash he had identified the purple satin waistcoat.

“You, Jack,”—she faced him determinedly—“you looked like him; you were like him, absolutely, in every detail, when you came into the dining-room!”

“When I came—” he repeated at a loss.

“Yes. It wasn’t here, in this room, that you fainted. You went outside, down the stairs. Elizabeth saw you. You pushed open the dining-room door. Mother, father, I—we all saw you come in, wearing clothes like these,” she pointed.

“Yes, yes, yes. I remember; I did put them on.”

“But you didn’t, you couldn’t have! O Jack, don’t you understand me? You weren’t really wearing them!”

All at once he felt something crunch beneath his feet, and he looked down, then back up at the portrait. The large square of glass which apparently once covered it had been shattered; there were a few triangles still sticking in the edge of the frame; the rest was in smaller bits on the floor. Instinctively he brought his right hand to a level with his face, and saw the scar upon it.

“It’s a mystery, Jack dear. Can’t you see it is? And it is so much more interesting never to explain it,” she essayed fearfully, feigning a laugh of regained naturalness. “We shall never, never find out who he was, by whom it was painted, or what made you break it, or why—”

“Ah,” he shouted eagerly, defying, as the memories came crowding into his brain, the doubts which had freshly assailed him. “I told you it might be possible! And he did have, after all—for that man was the father of her child!”

“Whose child?” Julia gasped.

But love and pity for her whom he could not name kept him from answering. And in the drift of his silence the vision capriciously failed him. He looked at Julia. He looked back at the wall. It was nothing but a funny old picture which hung there confronting them. The commonplaceness, beside it, of Julia’s long-drawn expression made him snicker, until, as a result of this accidental reaction, they were both actually giggling aloud.

He turned away from her. She watched him cross to the bureau. He pulled out each one of the drawers in turn. He peered blankly into them, where there was only the smell of mold and whirring dust to greet his pains.

He persistently scanned the room again. What had become of the hat-tub? Why had the Chinese water-jug gone from the squalid little wash-stand? Baffled and solemn, he went back over to her.

“Haven’t you taken some things away?”

“Nothing. Not even so much as a splinter. What are you trying to find?”

Timidly catching her hand he cried:

“Come with me, please.” And he drew her to the closet door. But when he opened it, he let go her hand in his amazement.

A slit of window at the far end let in a ray of sun. There were rows and rows of wooden hooks, but there seemed nothing on them. Steeling himself boldly to view it, he turned to where there might have dangled that calico bag stuffed with pieces against which the stranger had leaned. He went forward and felt over the empty spaces to satisfy himself.

“Yes, Julia,” he slowly brought out, “you are right; it was a dream—a mystery.” And he nodded vacantly to her.

“If only, Jack, you could remember it all!”

She stretched out her arms to him. But just as she was coming nearer, he caught sight of something lying between them on the floor. He darted for it, picked it up, and ran with it out of the shadow. Then, in terror, he saw that it was a piece of crumpled gray chiffon, and that there were the stains of blood upon it.


From Everybody’s Magazine

A psychologist has said that most dreams indicate some deep fear or some deep wish that lies dormant in the dreamer. One curious thing about this is that the psychologist was a German. Another is that none of my companions in the dugout at Le Prêtre seemed to find in my experience anything entirely new to them. I leave you to judge which it was—fear or desire—that came to light in me in the trenches of Pont-à-Mousson.

Foot by foot we had driven the Germans out of the forest of Le Prêtre; and when the winter came down on us we had brought up behind the ridge overlooking the Moselle, with the enemy on the other side, fifteen miles away from Metz.

They managed to keep the river open, but otherwise let us alone. There was nothing to do for weeks but to sit tight. With cement, moss, burlap, and a few rugs and a boiler and some steam-pipe we stole at Pont-à-Mousson, we made our dugouts pretty comfortable.

Excepting myself and the rest of the aëroplane corps, our work had been each day to do so and so much digging, hauling, figuring, firing into the air, mechanically protecting ourselves from shells that we took as a matter of course, like wind and rain. We did not even know when we had won a point against the unseen enemy. We did not feel their resistance as one feels a push. Some one who had charge of those matters figured it out on paper, and we moved forward or back as their calculations said. Outside our company we knew nothing of the general state of affairs.

Once in a while, especially about Christmas, one of us would get a bundle of books, papers and magazines from a friend. Then we talked—talked; we discussed again and again the reasons for the war, the object of it, what we were going to do to Germany when it was over. Every evening we tried Germany over again, put her culture, commerce, social system on the rack, found her guilty and had her hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Christmas Eve, 1914, I had turned in warm and excited and confused with the whirl of ideas we had been discussing, gathered around our steam-pipe. I had a restless night in the stuffy dugout. About midnight the German firing commenced in the direction of Metz. Toward morning, Christmas Day, they stopped, and I fell into a long, dreamy sleep.

It was Christmas Eve, 1916. Two long, haggard years of the war had dragged by, to a wailing crescendo of misery, famine, disease, and madness. We had been hurled up and down an invisible line of death, bending and pressing it back and forth like a horde of ants at a thread.

Every human thought and fact had by now changed in us. As we formerly recognized our friends, we seemed to know each other now as the citizens of a new state on earth, in which the people did not live by productive labor, nor in houses, nor in families, but like strange bees in an unknown place, sexless, unconscious of our activity, destroying instead of building. It was as if we had been born that way. All memory of another life was sunk deep into the subconscious. We had become highly specialized things, yet knew not in what or for what. Birth and death had lost their meaning.

Tens of thousands of us had disappeared. Thousands took their places nonchalantly. As the opening of the third year approached, there was in the air the wild and brooding sense of the millions of German and Austrian lives and as many of the Allies that had gone out before their time.

Earth seemed to stir into consciousness of it.

The carnival of Chaos had spread like a wanton dementia. Italy had long since flung aside her sane reserve and plunged into the carnage for the shreds of Austria she desired—Tyrol, Dalmatia, Istria, and Albania. Rumania and Greece had joined with Servia and bound the Balkans into a temporary brotherhood. Together with Russia and Italy at Haskoi they had scattered the crazy Turkish army like chaff and swarmed on to the Bosphorus. The allied fleet drove a withering wedge of steel and fire through the Dardanelles. Constantinople fell.

As to a Bacchanal of Blood, the colonies tore out of the map every shred of German colonial territory there was, and poured into Europe their flood of black, white, and yellow men. Little Denmark, catching the festive spirit, reached out for Schleswig-Holstein; and the rest, coveting the Kiel Canal, lent a willing hand to the useful tool. Holland, sore from being the frail buffer between the struggling combatants, placed her interests in the British hands, and opened another gate to the heart of Germany.

Russia debouched her million after million upon the East, and though they died dumbly like flies before the German walls of steel at Thorn and Bromberg, they swept the Germans back over the Vistula and out of East Prussia down to the line of the Warthe and Oder. Austria, torn by internal dissension, was ringed in the upper basin of the Danube, where the Tyrol, the Carpathians, and the Germans protected the few shattered loyal ones.

There was not a German vessel left on the Seven Seas. Her fleet had been put to sleep in the Frisian marshes, outnumbered by the British on the outside, and cut off from supplies by troops landed through Denmark and Holland.

On the West they stood behind the Rhine. The drive had been rapid and relentless from all sides. They left their villages empty except for the dead as they went before the closing ring of steel. They took everything with them that might be used as fuel, as material for ammunition, and left their cities razed more completely than the invader could have done it.

Christmas night found us where Ludwigshafen had been. For two months we had stood, unable to move an inch farther. The thick deluge of fire the Germans rolled upon us at every advance amazed us. There could not long be a bit of iron or copper or saltpeter or food left inside the ring.

We had no knowledge of the source of this indomitable resistance. For months not a living soul had been able to pass across the lines, nor had a single message of any kind or a reply to any, by any means, come out of Germany. For three to five miles about the lines there was a devastated ring, bare of everything, swept by fire and death. Beyond that was grim and gruesome silence. The airmen could see little. Houses were apparently deserted and the people lived in the woods or in the ground. Every particle of earth that could be spared was used to grow something to eat. In the large cities buildings and bridges were torn down. Their cut stone and iron went to the making of fort and cannon.

This Christmas Eve, as we sat in our cement dugout, the silence outside was brooding and heavy. Snow had fallen for a week and there had been no fighting. In the intervals of our talk there was only the sound of a famished cat’s wailing outside. We talked of the war, and of what we were going to do with Germany when the end came.

The talk of the world had been done. The nations at home sat like the knitting ring about the guillotine, waiting for the final scene to be staged. Germany was no more in the world’s mind. They had tried to think about her. Their thought had been brought to folly and confusion. Already she was forgotten. She had become a piece of territory that shortly their armies would occupy. Condemnations of her culture, of her aspirations, of her part in the greatest of the world’s wars, had come to nothing, and were abandoned. Pompous plans for her reorganization, superior homilies to the German people on peace and freedom from their wicked masters, good advice on the improvement of their culture—all these had been written to a shred. To preserve its dignity the world wished to forget them. Its dull, avid gaze saw not beyond the moment toward which it had strained, leaving its mind and simple sincerity of soul behind.

This was the night of the final assault. In a circle of three hundred miles, the word was written, on land and sea, in seven tongues and among a score of races—“AT MIDNIGHT.” We were then to draw tight the halter upon the throat of Germany. Der Tag had become The Hour—Ours. The mailed fist was to have its gauntlet stripped from it and a naked hand should pay us tribute.

Steadily we had battered down the stone and steel chain about her. We stood before the Rhine in dead of winter. At one sweep we were to stretch our arm across it and with the other crush the mighty militant menace that lay at bay between.

The slopes that were old in story, that had sustained the surge of unnumbered hordes from East and West and South and North; in whose grapes were the bloods of Roman, Teuton, Slav, Mongol, and Frank; that had been the source and shelter of a race’s song, science, and story—lay in silent slumber, muffled in midwinter’s snows.

That race stood at bay before its fellow’s vengeance. By this time all those of alien blood had dropped away from its single body like engrafted limbs. Its trunk stood bare and barkless before the blast, we to wring from its bloody, unbowed head, obeisance to our will—a will that had begun in covetousness of commerce, in rancor of humiliating reminiscence, in rage of race rivalry, a will that had grown beyond our grasp, beyond our consciousness. We lusted for the day that should press from Germany’s lips, “Your will be done.”

Unthinking were we that then would come the days of dull and devious diplomacy, of division of domain, of dragging indemnity from a people dumb and disheartened by devastation and death. At all costs to beat the breath from her body! The hour had come when this resistant something should be ours, ours, the Briton’s, the Frenchman’s, the Russian’s, the Italian’s, the Serb’s, the Rumanian’s, the Montenegrin’s, the Dane’s, the Mongol’s!

At midnight we moved, in silence. It seemed as if we heard from the Carpathians to the Rhine, from the sea to the Alps, the anthem of arms, the stir of destruction go up as we moved. We wrangled for the outpost places, that when the closing of the steel ring was flashed across the circle we might be first to see the white flag at our point.

I was fortunate—one of the three sent to see how clear the road from Ludwigshafen to Mannheim, and to cover the river crossing.

I was off and my aëroplane rose quickly. There were no lights beyond the Rhine. Where Mannheim used to be was darkness. The three miles between us and the river lay motionless in the moonlight. The Rhine was tight in ice. The batteries at the angle of the Neckar were invisible. In wonder I came down to three hundred feet and circled, watching our men creep tentatively up to the sharp-cut bank, hesitate, clamber down, and start across the ice recklessly. They were not spiked, never dreaming of getting to the ice at all.

The dark figures slipped and slid and fell. It was so still and the moon so bright I could hear the cracks shoot across the untried sheet and see the men’s faces twisted in apprehension. They were the only moving things. It was clear the Germans had fallen back. They had abandoned Malstatt by night—but Mannheim—and the Rhine! It was unbelievable. I rose and coasted down to above the Mannheim parade-ground. There was nothing to be heard but the distant stir of our line.

I touched. My machine ran along, bumping over hundreds of bodies lightly covered by the new snow. I got out, stumbled over them at my feet, felt them. They were not long dead. I looked about me at the dark, silent city of Mannheim. A panic took me. I ran to my machine, tried to get it off, but failed and sat numb and transfixed, vainly groping in the darkness of my mind for the thought that would not form, till my comrades came to me with blanched faces and bit by bit in swift succession pieced for me the words that could not find utterance, having never been uttered in the world’s life before.

The rest—a flowing phantasmagoria that tore me too far out of human experience, even of dream—to tell again. The thousands crumpled up in full-dress uniform, stained and tattered, beneath the new snow of the parade-ground, fallen at a moment, at a word, hands here and there stiffened in salute to the flag slow moving in the graying winter’s dawn. Death we had seen,—but here in the streets and in the houses, in all corners and in all byways, the vivid faces of those who had sought death freely, each face telling with ghastly eloquence a tale that had never been told in the life of man, of a race self-destroyed at a moment, at a word, for a vision which it alone had understood, leaving its epitaph in the words on the poison vials which a government machine efficient to the last had supplied—“Der Tag ist zu uns”—“The Day is Ours.”

Then through the blenching words that flashed along the closed circle of steel in all the tongues of Europe, the shrinking thought leaped to our dumb, numb mind and throbbed upon them like the insistent resounding clangor of a titanic brazen shield, as if beaten by a grimacing god:

Germany is yours, O sons of men! What now?

I woke at dawn to the boisterous, bold boom of the batteries of Metz. They seemed to speak in glorious wide-mouthed joy of Til Eulenspiegel and the young Siegfried.

I thanked God for the Germans.


From The Illustrated Sunday Magazine

I had always felt vaguely that there must be at times an intense pathos which overcame the master-worker in perishable materials—the actor in his supreme moment; the singer, the musician—I thought—must feel a bitter regret that his glory cannot live but must die, in articulo gloriæ, with the sound, the effect he has created. Bernhardt seemed to me to have that in the back of her mind when she exulted over her appearance in the moving pictures. “I am immortal,” she cried, dramatically—always dramatic, that old lady—“I am a film.” So thin a bridge to immortality!

The actor, the singer, the musician; struggling through years and over obstacles to attain perfection—and then what? A brief triumph in a perishable art; a transient, fugitive gracing of a day, an hour, a moment ... and then another forgotten mortal artist. I remembered Gautier’s decision, “The coin outlasts Tiberius.” Paint, chisel, then, or write if you wish your work to endure.

No doubt here was wisdom in a little box; and I fell to wondering stupidly what there could possibly be in being a worker at the other, the evanescent thing. I remembered a certain kind of moth that dies soon after it is born. Are these people moths?

And then one night a ragtag ghost came and answered me.


It was eleven o’clock. Outside it was snowing, and so I remained in Pigalle’s, loath to leave, and killing the time with a book. Pigalle’s was one of those basement eating places in New York’s West Thirties, a comfy, tight, cosy sort of a cellar. An Italian table d’hôte, of course, though not like the usual; it had more character and less popularity. You seldom saw a blond skin there, the place being unknown to the night-tramping hordes of avid New Yorkers who crowd into all the “foreign” places and devour all the foreign food they can find. Mostly the habitués were French and Italian, gentle, noisy people who did, in their way, slight damage to the fine arts. By nine-thirty, they were done eating and gone; almost all the lights were turned out and chairs were piled up on the tables, out of the way of the early morning mop. By ten Pigalle and his wife and several others, mostly sculptors, scene painters and musicians, were gathered beneath the light at the main table and had begun their nightly game of poker. From then on it was slim gambling and loud, staccato chatter in French and Italian.

At eleven, then, this night, the cautious door-bell tinkled. Some kind of a world knocking at mine and wanting to get in, I thought. Some kind of an adventure out there, demanding to be encountered; some kind of a soul pounding at the walls of my soul. Every time the doorbell tinkles, whoever has this Show is setting a new scene. Or, no. The wall opens and the genie slips through, spreads his rug on the ground and begins to make new magic before your very eyes. Never a doorbell rang yet, I thought, that didn’t bring a bit of heaven or hell—or mere purgatory—with it.

At eleven the doorbell tinkled and the fat little waitress-maid-scrubwoman-second cook, a Lombard wench by the name, the sweet ineffable name of Philomène, waddled over and opened the door a tiny space. Pigalle occasionally sold liquor without a license; hence his caution as to visitors. She let in an odd apparition; with doubts, I thought; certainly with mutterings and rolling of her black eyes. At any rate she knew him, whether for well or ill.

The man cast his eyes around, saw that the only open table save the poker table was the one I held, and came and sat down opposite me. With a slightly insolent motion he dragged his chair around sidewise, turned his shoulder to me and stared across the room at a gaudy lithograph of the good ship Isabella bound for Naples, eighty-five dollars first class. Philomène, with a porky look, asked him what he wished.

He announced in French that he desired of all things to “strangle a parrokeet.” This was some absurd slang for saying he wanted an absinthe.

He was a gaunt, tall, round-shouldered, queer old fellow with a gray beard and a matted moustache, colored with the brown stain of cigarette smoke. As ugly, I thought, as ugly as—oh, Socrates. And yet with something lovable about him. And his combination of dress was certainly odd enough: a frayed, cutaway coat with extremely long tails, dripping wet and dangling cylindrically like sections of melted stovepipe; mussy, baggy old gray trousers; a blue plush waistcoat; a black, but clean muffler pinned tight up under his chin with a safety pin of the brassiest; and a broad-brimmed black slouch hat, so broad of brim that he walked forever in its shadow. This hat he kept on all the time. His hands were long and clean and white—the virile, sensitive hands of a poet, I thought. The eyes were the fascinating feature of the man. I said to myself right away, “This man is a mystic.” Though they burned brightly in their sockets, they had a trick of turning abruptly dim; a sort of film or veil, closed over them. “Druid or old Celt,” I murmured. “Give him a bit of mistletoe and he’d call his gods right down into my demi-tasse and scare the poker game into fits.”

He swallowed his whole glass of absinthe in five gulps—a performance that it would make a cow shudder to watch—threw back his head, and, with a hoarse burr, called for another. This time he spoke English; but the burr was decidedly Scotch. Pigalle now looked around at him—gross, pleasant, Provençal Pigalle—and nodded; then went on placidly shuffling the tiny cards in his great fat hands.

When the second absinthe came the old man took it slowly; settled himself back on his shoulder-blades and the tail of his spine, and pulled his hat down level with his eyes, as if he intended to spend a considerable time with us. He called for a package of French cigarettes—cigarettes jaunes—and proceeded to color his moustache a riper brown. “Now my adventure has knocked and come in,” I thought. “If he is my adventure, I cannot help him—nor can I keep him off. He is the primum mobile. It is up to him.”

Suddenly my ears were shocked with a sharp argument between two young fellows at the poker table. No, it was not about the game. One said something; the other shrieked his answer; the first shouted back; the second in a violent burst that had a finality about it slammed down his cards and said something curt, with a solemn rolling of his eyes.

To my amazement, the odd old fish across from me boomed out with equal violence: “Ben trovato!” None of them paid any attention to him.

I may have shown some of my surprise at his action, for he turned suddenly to me, and asked: “Did you understand what he said?”

I replied that I did not.

“He said, roughly translated: ‘Sufficient unto eternity is the glory of the hour.’ Yes. And it is true. Sufficient unto eternity is the glory of the hour, young man. There’s many an artist who must—” he stopped short and began biting his finger ends.

My mind reverted to Bernhardt’s film and the question about the moth. “Who must—what?” I prodded. “Content himself with this catch phrase?”

“Content himself? Damnation, no! Must feel the keener triumph in a piece of work, young man, just because it is perishable.” He thumped the table and breathed hard. I got the full paregoric reek of his drink. “What is this stork-legged Verlaine going to say?” I thought to myself. But he contented himself with breathing for a few moments and that odd film dropped over his eyes. “Just because the thing is ended, and dies out of men’s minds almost as soon as it is ended”—he seemed to be feeling slowly for the words—“if the work was right, was masterly done, there’s a sort of higher joy in knowing that it triumphed—and was suddenly gone—like a sunset, like a light on the water, like a summer.” He asked abruptly: “You think I have ‘spiders on my ceiling’—you think I am crazy?”

“On the contrary. Can you make this clearer to me, this—?”

“My agreement that sufficient unto eternity is the glory of the hour?” He sipped his absinthe. “With your patience. Let me see. I can give you a favorite example of mine, about a friend of mine named Andy Gordon—something like a story?” Now in his eyes there was an eager shine.

“Go on.”

“You know, my friend, I am Highland Scotch.” (He pronounced it Heeland.) “I may be queer. That all depends. But don’t be alarmed at the way I put things. I am not out of my head. Now this yarn about Andy Gordon. Remember,” said he, tapping the table with his long white finger, and smiling at me in a charming manner, “sufficient unto eternity is the glory of the hour. By the way, that young fellow over there who said that is a violoncellist. ‘Grand ducal ’cello to the imperial violin,’ you know.”

I reconsidered him in the wink of an eye. He is not Socrates and he is not Verlaine, I said to myself. This old lovable scarecrow is the Ancient Mariner, and he is going to hold me with his glittering eye and I am going to listen like a three years’ child. The very fellow: the “skinny hand,” the “long gray beard”—and doubtless, too, the true Ancient Mariner smelled of tobacco and drink. Certainly he talked poetry. And so did my old man, miraculously, almost without effort. So I sat back and listened, while he told his story.


Andy Gordon was for all his years a weaver in the mills at Glastonbury; just an ordinary human stick or stone, as you might call it, doing his mechanical work at the machine like a machine—until one day he drew his pay, before you could say Jack Robinson, and started off walking anywhere. He did it of a sudden and without seeming cause, but inwardly there was a pressing retraction upon his soul that told him to get away from the mechanical actualities.

He was feeling himself tired to death that day he drew his money; and, of course, he was still young. And when a young man really wants very much to die, he always comes out of that valley (at any rate, so people say) with something new in his heart. Andy walked off anywhere, just so he got to the hills.

And when he arrived at the hills, it was all very, very sweet. They were just coming light yellow and the bluebirds were there before him, touring the air just for the fun of it. And he made right away a queer discovery—he knew for the first time that New Year’s is not the first day of January, at all. It’s the first day of spring. Men are right silly, Andy thought, calling some dead and sodden day in mid-winter by the fancy, saucy name of New. The thing that is New, of course, is the Green. The New Year is the Green Year.

Well, he had a hunk of bread in his pocket and some onions, and a man can walk a long way upon the strength of that; so he went along up a road when he felt like it and over a hill when he felt like that. But most of the time his heart was very sad in his body and his mind took no pleasure of the bluebirds. For he was thinking that his life wasn’t very much. He could see nothing in working year after year at the mill. And yet that was all he was good for (so he thought).

On and on and on walked Andy. There were parts of those hills where he walked that probably nobody, not even the Indian, ever traversed. Anything could happen there—where the woods are dark with pine or sunny with birch, and where echoes are the only memory (and they never last long). It was so far away, up in through there; as I’ve said, anything could happen there and we would never hear of it. All day long the cold brooks run down, brown from the juices of the hemlock bark, over browned stones—but of course they never talk and tell anything.

About noon, Andy found himself upon an old disused and overgrown road, that for years had been traveled only by rabbits and skunks and woodchucks and deer. And in a clearing at one side he saw an old log cabin which had not been lived in for years and years. There was a bit of brook at the back and an old wind-break of pine trees.

“Now I will eat a snack here,” Andy said to himself, “and afterward, may God have mercy on my soul, I will lie down and nap under the pine and try to sleep off whatever it is that is bothering me.”

And he did so, lying down beneath the pine—

He closed one eye gently and slowly (like letting a lid down on a box of playthings) and then he closed the other eye the same way; and then he knew nothing at all until suddenly a Voice came clap out of the blue sky, calling his name, “Andy Gordon, man! Andy Gordon!” over the hills and far.

Andy was amazed, of course, and said: “Here I am,” with all his might, but without making a bit of sound (just as we all do in dreams).

“The thing the matter with you,” went on the great Voice, without any introduction or anything of the sort but coming from everywhere and nowhere at once, “is that you need Work. You are tired to death with work; work-with-a-little-’w’ is killing the soul out of you, Andy; work-with-a-little-’w’ always does that to men, if you give it the whole chance. But that can’t be helped. You’re bound to have a whole lot of it in your life But—if you don’t mix some Big-’W’ Work in with it, then indeed and indeed your life will be disastrous and your days will be dead.”

Andy did not know but what he was a-dreaming, though his eyes were now wide open and he could see a robin hopping on the sod. “What is it you mean by Big-’W’ Work?” he asked.

“Of course, that’s the Work you love for the Work’s sake. It’s Work you do because you love the thing itself you’re working for.”

“You make that hard to understand,” said Andy.

“Well, and it will be hard for people to understand you when you’re at that sort of Work. They know well enough what you’re about as long as you turn ’em out yards of flannel down at Glastonbury, don’t they?”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” said Andy.

“And it would be the same way if you were a smith and turned ’em out horse shoes, or a bill clerk and turned ’em out bills. They’d understand that.”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” said Andy.

“But the trouble with that work-with-a-little-’w’ is that you do it only for the pay there is in it—never for the love of it—that’s why it seems to you a shame to waste your whole life at it, you know.”

“Indeed it does, and that’s why I’m here away from it all,” said Andy.

“All very well for a while,” said the Voice. “But you’ll have to keep on at it somewhat—say, half your life at work-with-a-little-’w,’ sitting at your machine down yonder at the mill, turning ’em out the stuff they know to be useful.”

At that Andy fell silent and was sad again. Where would he find a beginning at the Big-“W” Work? he asked himself.

But the Voice seemed to know what was in his mind, and answered him: “I can give you that sort of Work. But it will take the best there is in you to do that sort of Work; and the Work will surely die as soon as you’ve accomplished it. And there will be no money in it for you, at all, and a great deal of pain, care and weariness. But you will find great love in your Work, and for your Work; and though it all vanishes at once you will experience so wonderful a joy that it will seem as if, night and day, God is whispering the secrets of life in your ear.”

“What is the Work like?” asked Andy.

“Would you be willing to try it? Remember, it is difficult and wearying and is dead as soon as it is born.”

“Yes, by glory, I would,” shouted Andy.

Then dress this maid until you die!” commanded the Voice.

At the words, my friend, there was music of a million armies of all sorts of birds, whistling and whirring over the green earth; and the echoes of their tremendous singing shook all the trillions of tiny new leaves and made the waves of air to dance—how shall I say?—like the waves of a sea of music running out forever.

And there, on the grass, sure enough, was a little naked baby girl just able to stand.

Very quiet, she was, and she looked up at Andy with eyes of a fairy blue—as if they’d been colored by that very same fairy that goes about with a brush coloring all the violets we ever see. (The ones we never see, you know, are never colored.)

“We-e-ell!” cried Andy, puckering up his lips and squinting up his eye-lids. “And who are you?”

“I’m early Summer,” she lisped. “And I’m in a dreadful hurry. I’d like some lemon-colored silk—for a mantle, you know?—And some apple-green tassels for my hair. And please do be quick about it. I’m due, you see. So I’ll be ever so much obliged if you’ll only hurry.”

Andy whistled ruefully. “Now, that would take some weaving, miss.” He hesitated. “I don’t think I’m that skillful.”

The little goddess looked hurriedly away over her shoulder as if she were about to depart.

“And then,” Andy continued, “I have no loom up here; and no warp; and no filling. Nothing at all to work with, you see. I—”

But while he was stumbling about with his excuses, he saw the little one actually fading away before his eyes; and a pain most bitter caught at his heart, as if he were losing all his life. So he cried out:

“But I’ll try miss. Give me a little time, miss. Oh, please, my wee bairn. I have an old handloom of my grandfather’s; and I can go and hurry and fetch all the stuff up here somehow and I’ll work as fast as I can. Indeed, I’ll try my best.”

Whereat, you see, the babe came back to him, smiling as sweetly as early Summer ever smiled. “There really isn’t such an awful hurry,” she said. “We can always have Weather, you know, and hold these things back a bit.”

That was the beginning of it.

Andy was about twenty-eight years old then, and he really had an awful time of it at first trying to work out by hand the wonderful stuffs and colors. There was the fern-design, spangled with Sweet William, for instance. It was only to be the edging on a shawl for her, but he spent three days and two nights on it; and then she asked him to make it over with jack-in-the-pulpit inset, because she was sure to grow tired very soon of Sweet William; then she changed her mind about jack-in-the-pulpit and decided on wintergreen berries. This is just a sample of one teeny bit of what she demanded. And Andy was very awkward; so naturally he began complaining of his shuttles being too clumsy for such fine work and the cobwebby filling getting tangled up in his thumbs and after a bit of chewing his nails in despair he swore the thing never could be done by hand.

No sooner had he got that out, than he heard the Voice roar loud like an emperor’s voice and say:

“The Big-’W’ Work you love to do must be done by hand. It can’t be done any other way. That is why you were given thumbs, when the other beasts got none.”

So Andy found it was no use quarreling with the tools. He looked at his hands, holding them up before him, and he thought: “Well, the Voice is right. My hands wouldn’t be any good without my thumbs. I have hands and thumbs both and surely they were given me for the reason the Voice mentions. At any rate, I know no better.”

That made Andy set to work all the harder, for the idea of Thumb-and-Craft was new to him; and that made his craft very interesting to him, so that he became determined to stick to it until he got the beauty out of it. (All the same, it was a frightfully backward Summer that year; and nobody—except Andy—thought very well of her.)

He found indeed that he would have to work as fast as his fingers could go. For the little Summer grew big and bigger in an amazingly short time; and she kept throwing things away as fast as she put them on just as the Voice had foretold.

Her days, though, went happily along, all full of sweet smells out of cups and umbels of flowers and from the liquor of the leaves as they steeped in the hot sun; and Andy himself felt quite happy (when he wasn’t terribly interested in his Work, and then he paid attention to nothing at all save what was between his thumb and forefinger). But while he worked and the Summer danced or dozed and grew before him, he noticed something he had never noticed until then—As the Summer grew older, she kept asking him for darker blues. While she was little she had liked light greens, but week by week as time went on she insisted more and more that he put in plenty of blue.

“Bluer and bluer,” muttered Andy, and a wee shot of pain hit his heart. “Yes, it’s bluer and bluer, all right, I know. And finally some day ’twill all be steel-blue everywhere—in the snow-drifts and in the skies—and neither the lass nor I will be here then.”

Well may you believe that the departing of that first Summer was a sad matter to him. He had done his best, you see, and a whole new world of trying had been thrown open to him. And really he was beginning to get the knack of that kind of weaving. And she was a fine big apple-cheeked woman now, and—

“Well, if I do say it myself,” growled Andy, “she looks very handsome in those dresses; and for the first time in my life I take a Pride in my Work.”

But in spite of all that the Voice came, you must know, and told him this little dream-girl must die, and there would be another, a different little girl next year; and all the weaving must be gone through with again.

“Shall I be weaving this lass her shroud?” asked Andy of the Voice.

But the Voice did not answer him.

When Andy told all this to her, his first Summer cried for a whole week in amongst the trees and over the pastures and meadows—

And then one morning, she was no longer there.

Andy sat in the doorway of the cabin and stared across the hills. He saw pine trees, ever green, and he made up his mind she had not died but had gone into one of them so as to live forever. And then he fell to thinking how there were so many millions of pine trees, and he guessed to himself how each of the millions of Summers we have had must have gone into one of those trees so as never to die but to be always of the Green Folk, ever green. Well, he rocked back and forth keening soft to himself, when he happened to hear the Voice again and the Voice said:

“You must see by now, Andy, it’s just as I told you. You’ve no money now, have you? You have spent it all, buying stuff to weave her garments from. And she has worn the garments and has thrown them away; so there is nothing left. Nothing left except the joy of good work well done, and the feeling that God has really whispered in your ear. Now you’ll have to go back down to Glastonbury and the work with-the-little-’w.’ You’ll have to stay there through the winter, Andy, and save your pay. But when the time comes again, I’ll call you.”

So Andy put a padlock on the old log cabin where his loom was set up and went back down to the mill-town. And being as he was a clever man, he was put back on his job right away. And the gray mists of winter packed down on the gray town and on the little gray people in the town. And Andy worked at his machine.

The next spring he got the call, just as the Voice had said he would. He drew his pay and, now that he knew a bit of what was required of him, he laid in a fair supply of what he should need. Then he was off into the hills. And one day there came the birds riding up on the winds like cavaliers with feathers dancing about; and when they began their keen bugling it pierced here and there and everywhere and made the walls of Winter to tumble down the same as Jericho’s did. And sure enough, there a new babe teetered on her toes in the midst of the grass. Naked as a flower she was, and she smiled up at him.

So he wove for her with the lightest heart you can ever imagine. But, afterward, she went away in tears, the same as the other had done and as all Summers do; and Andy picked out a new pine tree and guessed she was keeping it green.

“Shall I be weaving this lass her shroud?” he had asked again. But again the Voice had made no answer.

So, naturally, the Summers came and came; and Andy wove and Worked and clad them. In time he became, as you may well believe, the finest hand-weaver (of Summer things, I mean) that was on earth in his day. He became so good at his hand-work that in winter, at the mill, he was actually clumsy at his machine! So it was just ’tother way round, as you see, from what it was when he started. He was so clumsy then with his hands that he thought everything had to be done by machine you remember. But now he could outdo with his mortal hands anything that was ever done by machine.

And another queer thing happened to him; he got so he had a totally different idea of what work was. For his mates down in Glastonbury told him, “You work only during the winter, don’t you?”

Whereas, he found himself answering: “Why, no. ’Tis just the other way around. I can work only during the summer. I can’t work at all during the winter. I’m dead all winter long—like all the Green Things.” Then his comrades spoke wildly of him and touched their heads. They had learned the American idea, you see. Andy was crazy and he was lazy; and he didn’t know when he had a good job; and there was no money in loafing. And all that sort of thing.

Now, I could keep you here all night telling you what all went on with Summer after Summer, and Summer after Summer, and Summer after Summer; until Andy grew old and wrinkled and ugly and very sweet in his mind and cleverer and defter and finer in his finger-weaving. But the main carry of it all is just as I’ve been telling you—So we have him coming along, year after year, loving his little lasses and his blues and greens and yellows and the way he could put ’em together and make Beauty.

That was the way he lived. And now this is the way he died.

Always, I think I told you, Andy asked the question: “And shall I be weaving this lass a shroud?”

And never had the Voice answered him.

Well, came one Summer that lived a long, long time and ran and tried to hide in far places when told she had to die; and to Andy it seemed he loved that Summer so fond and fair, more than any and all. Andy was sixty-eight then and for full forty years had done his winter stint and his Big ‘W’ Work in the hills. But he did not feel tired that year. No; he simply felt odd-like, as if it might be something unforeseen was going to happen to him and it would not tell its name to him first. (You know how you feel that way sometimes—as if wings were flying over your head and you think you see their shadows on the grass; but you look up and see no wings at all in the sky. Then you say: “Isn’t the sky a queer color to-day?” and you feel uneasy.)

So it came about that while that Summer lingered and hid and ran, Andy again asked the old, old question he had always asked and to which he had never received an answer:

“Shall I be weaving this lass her shroud?”

And, lo and behold, the Voice, very soft and full of kindness, said: “If ’twill please you, you might as well, Andy. Your Work is done. But—a question first. Have you ever once regretted the labor and the loss I have put upon you?”

Andy said to himself, “I am about to die.” In a loud, clear tone though he answered: “Not once, O Voice! The joy I felt, the triumph I felt as I handed her a bit of master-work and she flung it to the idle winds was in itself enough. As I look back at it, there has been no labor and there has been no loss. I have heard God’s whisper in my ears, and that will be sufficient for me until the end of eternity.”

So the Voice said: “You know all there is to know. Weave the shroud.”

Andy took steel-blue floss and at right angles he shot it with white; and he made it so thin and fine that a million miles of it would not weigh a hundred pounds. And he said to himself, “I will weave a hundred pounds of it; and I’ll wrap her in it myself, all softly, around and around, like as if she was a dead bride of the Green Folk’s king, I will.”

So Andy set to work, grim as Death himself. He bit his lip hard, and a queer shine came into his eyes; and he worked day and night, fast and faster, eating nothing and sleeping not at all—smoking away like a demon on his pipe and weaving miles and miles to his heart’s desire.

“It shall be my master-bit,” he told himself.

He never even looked out the window, so close was he on the heel of his work. “It shall be my master-bit,” he kept saying to himself. The light got poorer and dimmer and there was a shorter lasting of it. Less light meant longer work; so it was thirty days and thirty nights before he got it anywhere near finished. No, it wasn’t fully done. How could it be? The Summer Fellows never finished anything complete, you know.

But ’twas beautiful, just the same, all shimmering cold blue, and white like apple blossoms that have blanched and are ready to fall. And there was mile upon mile of it. It was wondrously fine, finer than anything Andy had done until then. It was really his master-bit, as he had said it would be. And he would have kept on and woven more, but—

He looked of a sudden out his window, one morning, in the gray, and he could not see that Summer anywhere!

He went to the door and shaded his eyes with his hands and peered over miles and miles of hills; and far down one gusset of valley he saw her dull-green robes a-trailing. He cried for joy. (You know—when you have lost a thing that you loved and found it again.)

Famished and weak he was, but he gathered the miles and pounds of that shroud in his arms and started down the roads and over the hills after her, calling till his heart would break and his voice went dry:

“Wait for me, lass. I’ve woven your shroud! Wait for me, lass. I’m coming! I’ve your beautiful, downy shroud here—”

And he would stumble along, so weak the sweat broke out on him and he scarce could lift a leg. But with the shroud over his arm, he went on and on and on as best he could; his long, ragged gray hair a-flying and a wild glare in his eyes and those eyes fast fixed on the Summer as she slipped away.

’Twas in this fashion he came to the summit of a foothill and could go no further. The cold had smitten to his bones, though the sweat still stood on his skin. He dropped down on the ground and slept a bit—but not sound asleep, and in his sleep he had awful dreams which made him wake.

He started up, crying weakly: “I have your shroud, lass. Wait for me!”

And then he noticed—It was snowing!

The soft white flakes he saw, dropping upon the earth like light years, my boy, years that themselves will be dropping and dropping forever and ever by tens of hundreds of thousands of millions and covering everything, all we do, all we are or were, far and wide with a white sameness—a big mound here where a Hero Worked, a flatness there where a zero worked—but all white, and all the same.

Andy put his hand to his forehead as if in a dream, and then—let me see; what did he do?—he wrung his hands and he cried out:

“Look yonder, look yonder! Oh, now I see why the Voice never answered me when I asked about the shroud! Now I see. I see my presumption, and I understand the silence—’tis God Himself who weaves the shroud for every Summer. Look yonder at the snowflakes a-coming down! I can see God’s shuttle weaving in and out amongst them. In and out amongst the years of snowflakes I can see God’s hand, pushing the shuttle and weaving the shroud that will wrap the Summers and all and all—And I was so bold with my poor little shroud here, my master-bit of weaving—”

And he broke down and began sobbing and threw himself face down upon the ground, wiping away at his tears with the wonderful weft he had made.

Then the great Voice came out of the wind and the darkening sky, sturdy as a great captain’s, and shouted aloud through the thick of the flakes:

Pray, but regret not, Andy. You did the Work of your Hand!

So he died in the snow on the top of that hill, the contented artist of a perished dream, the master worker in a fabric that immediately dissolved. What he had told the Voice was true; the triumph he felt as he handed over to the Summer a bit of his best and she threw it away to the drifting winds like a bit of dying music—the joy he felt then was enough to last him till eternity ended. He had heard God’s whisper in his ear; and he never would have heard it if he had stayed in the mill. He had done what God wanted him to do, a beautiful thing as beautifully as he knew how—and he felt at last that the beauty of it was somehow not lost at all.


Abruptly the old man left and went out into the snowy night. For there were tears in his eyes.


The poker game was finished. Pigalle sauntered slowly over to my table.

“You know Handy?” he asked, slowly, in his broken English.

“Who’s that?”

“The hole man that ees just go out. ’Is name ees Handy Gor-don.” He rolled his great expressive eyes. “’E’s cra-zee man. Also wot you call loafer: ’e do not work wen ’e wish not to. But, mon Dieu, ’ow ’e can play, that man!” He made a suave, swelling gesture with his hands and arms and heaved up his great bulk gracefully. “’Ow ’e can play! ’Ow ’e can play!”

“He is Andy Gordon!” I exclaimed. “What is he? A weaver?”


“A weaver? Makes cloth—like this?” I held up the corner of the tablespread.

Corpo, no!” ejaculated the astonished Pigalle. “Handy ees violinist-a.”


From The Midland

The boy on the cultivator straightened as the horses walked from the soft, spongy ground of the cornfield to the firmer turf at the side of the road. He spoke sharply to the plodding team and turned the cultivator around, lowering the blades for another row. Then, when the horses had fallen into a slow walk, he slouched down, and with bent head watched the hills of young corn pass beneath him.

He could not have been more than sixteen or seventeen, for his eager eyes looked out from under soft lashes, and his face showed the smooth, healthy tan of a boy. His brown hands were so small that he could barely keep a firm grasp on the heavy levers. When he raised the blades, his fingers became streaked with red and the corners of his mouth drew back and grew hard with concentrated effort. Occasionally he tugged at the reins knotted about his shoulders, but, except for his low, abrupt commands to the horses, he was silent. At the end of the row he raised the shovels, got off the cultivator stiffly, and stretched himself out in the new spring grass of a little rise by the roadside.

All around him the world was full of soft color and light. Close by, in the sun the corn-field was a sea of shimmering green, while the more distant fields of grain were dark against the light ash of plowed land. Above, the sun shone slanting from the blue of an early June sky. The air, clean and clear, was already pervaded with the drowsy lassitude of noon.

The boy looked listlessly out over the long rows of corn still to be cultivated. Near at hand the young stalks seemed strong enough to win in their struggle toward the sun, but the distant corn lay like a filmy shadow of green on the black soil. Behind the cultivator, a flock of blackbirds fed in the fresh-turned earth. The boy watched them with half-shut eyes. When one of the birds had fed, it would hop upon a lump of wet, black earth, and being satisfied that it could eat no more, would skim in rapid, undulating flight to the row of willows in the next pasture. On a fence-post, a meadow-lark filled the silence with a liquid flow of music. As it laid back its head in an abandon of joy, the boy noticed how the sun accentuated the vivid splash of black on its yellow throat.

The meadow-lark flew away. The boy got up and climbed listlessly into the cultivator seat. The tugs straightened and the horses walked again into the corn. One of the team, however, a heavy, powerful bay, lagged continually, at times almost stopping.

The cultivator slid sidewise, and the blades tore the corn out by the roots. The boy jerked the reins, slapping them over the horse’s back. “Get along there, Jim!” he called. Jim pulled evenly for a moment, then lagged again. In sudden violence of anger, the boy pulled cruelly at the horse’s mouth, cursing in low, abrupt sentences. The horse stopped, the blades slipped, again tearing up a hill of corn. From sheer rage the boy was silent, then he jumped from the cultivator, and gathering the slack of the reins, hit the horse about the head with all his might. His face was dry and white, his eyes blazing. As he continued to strike the horse, he found expression.

“You damn, lazy brute, you! I’ll show you who’s running this job—you or me!” His words came sharply, in gasps, between blows. Then he cursed again; cursed the work and the horse. Fine lines of fatigue showed in his face. At last he stopped. A slight color had come to his cheeks. For a moment he watched the horse, which stood with muscles moving in quivering ripples of pain and fear; then he walked soberly back and climbed upon the cultivator seat. The horses moved on. They walked evenly now, starting at any movement of the boy, who stared steadily at the swiftly moving ground, two red spots still burning through the tan of his cheeks.

They went once across the field. On the return, the boy stopped impetuously by the road and jumping down from the seat walked to the horse he had beaten. The horse quivered and shied toward its mate. The boy stroked its neck.

“Whoa, Jim! Whoa, boy!” he repeated.

He hesitated a moment, then went across the road to the meadow and picked an armful of young tufts of clover. He fed it to the horses, a handful at a time. They ate eagerly, all trace of fear gone as they reached out their necks for the young grass. Over the boy’s face passed a conflict of expressions. At one time the cheeks were soft, and a boyish look lay in his eyes. Then came a strange, dry expression, as of age, which formed tense lines about his mouth; but as he climbed up to the seat of the cultivator, the softer expression remained.

The horses were beginning to draw at the tugs when the boy heard a horse galloping on the road behind him. He looked back. One of the neighbor boys, Bill Symonds, was riding furiously down the hill. The boy turned quickly about in the seat as if he had not seen Bill and tried to hurry the horses. What did Bill want, anyway? It was like him to blunder along when he wasn’t wanted! His big, greasy face shaded by the long hair falling unkempt over his forehead had always made the boy dislike Bill. He tightened the reins.

“Hey, Frank, wait a minute!” Bill slid awkwardly from the colt’s back.

The boy twisted the reins about the levers and turned in the seat.

“How are you, Bill,” he answered without animation.

Bill tied the colt, a bay, to the willows.

“Well, what do you think of my new colt?” He came closer and lounged forward against the fence. “I broke him in myself—all alone, too! Now, that was a job, Lord! You ought t’ seen him buckin’ an’ standin’ on his hind legs!”

They were silent for a moment. Bill amused himself by flinging clods at the colt, which jumped wildly each time one struck him, his body quivering, his eyes white and distended.

After a few clods Bill turned to the boy.

“I guess maybe I’ll be leavin’ soon.”

The boy looked up quickly.

“Yep. I’m goin’ off to my brother’s ranch in Dakota. I’m gettin’ tired of the work here—it’s too hard. It’s work, work, work all the time with a little while for eatin’ and sleepin’. All summer you c’n work your head off and then in winter you can lay off for a couple of months and don’t know what to do.”

The boy looked out over the fields. Even Bill could go away. The heavy, flabby cheeks, from which the small eyes peered inquisitively, disgusted the boy. Bill picked up another bit of turf and threw it so that the colt jumped wildly, pulling the young willows almost to the ground.

The boy turned to Bill, his face flushed.

“Say—if you want to stay around here you got to cut out firing stones at that colt. You’ll never get ’im tame that way—you thick-headed fool!”

Bill stood quiet for a moment. The boy saw an expression of incredulous surprise on Bill’s face. Then it became brick-red. He did not wait for Bill to answer but started the horses.

When he looked back, Bill was riding away over the top of the hill, his body swaying with the rhythm of the gallop. The boy was glad that Bill was angry. He didn’t want people around. And besides, why did Bill have a chance to go away? His eyes grew hot.

The morning passed slowly. When finally the shadow of the cottonwood tree at the corner of the pasture pointed directly to the north, the boy unhitched, cleaned the cultivator shovels carefully with a handful of grass and placed them upon the hooks. With the reins about his back, he trudged up the long slope of the hill, through the warm dust, swinging his water-pail in cadence with his steps. They reached the top of the hill. The house was only a short distance from the road. He could see his father carrying a basket of wood to the house. He hoped that his father would not come and help him unharness the horses. He wanted to be alone; he dreaded facing their conversation at the dinner-table. His eyes grew hot again. Everything was so old to him! He always came home just at dinner time, his father always worked about the barn, finishing work a little before so that he might help unharness the horses. And dinner was always ready when they came in the house. The boy kicked a clod viciously.

At the water trough he stopped and the thirsty horses drank deeply. His father came out of the barn, a pitchfork in his hand, and sat down on the edge of the trough, fanning himself with his hat. The boy noticed that his father seemed more tired than usual. His brown hair was already mixed with gray and was damp where the hat had rested. His eyes seemed less cheerful than usual, and his face less red.

When the horses raised their heads from the trough, the boy led them to their stalls. His father followed him.

“How was cultivatin’, Frank?” he asked as he stepped into the barn.

“Oh, it wasn’t bad.”

“The ground was pretty hard, wasn’t it?”

“Not very.”

In silence they unharnessed the horses, which buried their heads in the newly-cut hay and blew the fragrant, spicy dust from their nostrils. As the boy unloosed the collar of his horse, it slipped and fell upon his foot. His face writhed in a flash of temper and he began cursing in a low tone, heavily and deliberately. Then he picked up the collar and struck the horse. Under lowered eyelashes he saw his father stand in the doorway, his face white with repressed anger. The boy stopped suddenly. He had never seen his father look like that before. He heard him turn in the doorway.

The horses fed, they walked through the hot, deserted farm-yard to the house. As they entered the shaded living-room, his mother came from the kitchen, humming a bit of tune. Her eyes lit up when she saw them. She talked cheerfully as she worked. The boy said nothing. He seemed to be looking out of the open window into the orchard; instead, through his lowered eyelashes, he followed his mother’s movements about the room as she set the small table for three, still humming as she worked. The boy saw that she stopped often to cough. This was not unusual, but once the cough became so strong that it left her face colorless. Uneasily sympathetic, he noted that after this she did not hum again. Whenever she looked his way, the boy turned his head, not so soon but that he could see and feel the half-fearful appeal that darkened her eyes.

After the glasses had been filled, the three drew up to the table. The dinner was eaten in silence. The eyes of the boy constantly returned to his mother’s face. Somehow she seemed different to-day. He wished that she didn’t wear that black dress, it made her face look too white and her eyes too large and bright. He ate rapidly. Why didn’t his father and mother talk? They used to tease him about one of the neighbor girls. But they had not for a long time now. He wondered why. Why didn’t they say something? It was too still.

As soon as he had finished his meal, he drank the water left in his glass and pushed back his chair. His mother looked quickly at his father. The boy watched them closely and uneasily. Both seemed to be shrinking from something. His father carefully folded and unfolded his newspaper. Then he laid it beside his plate and cleared his throat. He turned in his chair.

“Wait a minute, Frank,” he spoke with hesitation.

The boy turned, looked at his father a moment, and then sat down.

“I don’t think we’ll cultivate this afternoon, Frank,” his father commenced slowly.

“Why—” The boy started to speak but stopped. He saw the frightened grayness return to his mother’s face. His father, too, seemed restless. He crossed and recrossed his knees nervously.

“Well, Frank,” he continued, “it’s this way. Your Ma ain’t been feelin’ well for quite a while and we rode over to the doctor’s this morning to see what was the matter.”

His mother had gone back of his chair. He could feel her hand on his shoulders. He turned half-round, his hands grasping the chair tightly.

“You mustn’t be scared, Frank—the doctor said it wasn’t so very bad.”

He could feel her twining his hair about her fingers.

He turned, faced his mother silently, half afraid, as though some grim barrier stood between them. He saw fine lines about her gray eyes, and their color seemed heavy and faded. The boy sat staring at his mother with an intensity that made a color come to her cheeks, but he was not looking at her any more. Instead, he was wondering fiercely why he had never noticed the gray in her hair or the lines in her face, or the cough. The cough—surely he might have noticed that. His body lay limp against the back of the chair.

“The doctor said that Ma was pretty sick,” his father was speaking on, his voice devoid of life or feeling. “But he said that she ’ud be all right if she went some place where the air was drier.”

“What did he say it was?” he asked in a strained voice.

“It’s her lungs, he says.”

They were silent after this. He was looking out of the window at a far-away straw-stack which lay a mass of dull gold in the sombre setting of plowed land.

His mother still stood behind his chair. In the heavy silence of the room he could hear her uneven breathing. He heard his father turn in his chair.

“Well, Mother’s got to go west—we might all of us go,” he spoke with an attempt at cheerfulness. “Maybe we can work a small farm out there.”

“What will we do with the farm here?” As she spoke the boy felt his mother’s hand press more heavily on his shoulder. He turned from the window and caught his father’s eyes looking at him. He saw his face flush.

“I guess we got to sell it. I can get a fair price. Help is scarce and rent’s low since the dry years. We can’t afford to rent it.”

Again the boy caught his father’s glance resting hopefully on him.

“But we can’t sell the old place; we have worked it too long.”

The boy was uneasily conscious of the break in his mother’s voice. He sat up, his body stiffened. Did they expect him to stay on the farm? He wouldn’t—he could not do that! They had no right to ask this of him. But he remembered the quick hope in his father’s eyes.

He got up from his chair, walked past his mother without looking at her, picked up his hat and went outside, closing the screen-door noiselessly behind him.

The earth slept warm in the drowsiness of early afternoon. The freshness of the morning had passed and a languorous mist had fallen. The boy looked out to where earth and sky met in a haze of indefinable color. What a wonderful earth was beyond! He turned and walked heavily away. They hadn’t any right to expect that!

Half-unconsciously he went toward the grove north of the house where he had played when he was a little boy. The neighbor boys would collect in the grove on a quiet summer afternoon, dressed as Indians, and in heavy seriousness would plan a desperate attack on the little white house with its green trimmings. What happy times they used to have! But he wasn’t a boy any more, he had grown up; still he felt an expectant eagerness as he entered the cool shade of the trees.

He followed a path, indistinct now in the rank growth of gooseberry bushes, until he reached his destination. A tree, broken off a couple of feet from the ground, had left a high stump with some ragged splinters, serving as the back of a natural chair.

The boy sat for a while, leaning back with lowered eyelashes. The dim spaces of the grove brought old memories. As he brooded there, relaxed, the sunlight coming in broken fragments through the oak leaves softened his face into almost that of a child.

Suddenly he straightened in desperate rebellion. Why did things have to happen so? He didn’t want to grow older—he would rather be a boy. If he were, his father and mother would not expect him to stay on the farm. With his reflections came the picture of his mother, her dark eyes shining unnaturally out of the rigid paleness of her face. Then the black dress with its long folds—it was horrible. The boy’s thoughts blurred into a confusion of sharp emotions.

As he lay back again, with lowered eyelids, he was vaguely conscious of the life about him. Robins hopped from branch to branch, singing and chirping. A blue-jay, in a cracked crescendo, was attacking the established order of things among birds. A bee droned idly past. Occasionally all sounds ceased, and silence, deep and impenetrable, seemed to close in. After a moment, the confused murmur of the woods began again.

In the underbrush near him, the boy became aware of fluttering noise. At first he could see nothing; then he saw a snake—a blue racer—writhing along the ground, while above it, making queer little noises of distress, hovered a brown wood-thrush. He stiffened. His flesh always crawled at the sight of a snake! Yet, leaning forward, he watched intently. The thrush, its body a blur of brown feathers, rose and fell in continuous attack. Then he saw the reason. A few yards from the tree-stump lay a nest, hidden in a clump of gooseberry bushes. Above the rim showed a circle of hungry gaping beaks. The snake was crawling steadily toward the nest.

It was almost there. The thrush became wild in fear for its young. Again and again its body flashed in silent deadly attack. The snake, rearing its head from the ground, its jaws wide, struck back at the fluttering terror above it.

The snake reached the nest. It writhed over the edge. With a quick, sharp note the bird flung itself upon its enemy. A blur of brown feathers and a glimpse of a twisting, bluish body were all that the boy could see. A moment, and the snake writhed out from the nest. The thrush lay on the ground, blood crimsoning the speckled white of its breast. Its wings fluttered slightly, then the body was still.

The boy leaned back against the trunk and closed his eyes. He released his breath sharply. His throat contracted so that he almost choked. He had always had a horror of seeing a creature maimed or killed. He felt it doubly now, and he might have helped the bird,—no one else could. Yet it was only a bird; such things happened continually—they had to be: but he could not forget the flutterings of the dying thrush. Then, suddenly, he remembered his mother.

After a long time, he opened his eyes. The trees, the sky,—all the country was asleep; the absolute tranquillity of space lay lightly in the air and bathed the earth with a drowsy light. And the boy yielded himself to the silence. His eyes mirrored the mystic, reflective mood of the afternoon.

In the west, ragged clouds massed together and spread over the sky, their long streamers, black where they reached the sun, darkening the earth with the gray misty twilight of the storm. Then a cool breeze sprang up, the clouds receded, and the sun shone out.

The boy became conscious that it was late and jumped down from his seat. He felt strangely cheerful. The confused emotions which had raged in him all the afternoon had spent themselves, and he whistled as he walked on between the trees. When he turned into the lane near the house, he could see, in the west, a few black masses of cloud, vivid against the crimson flame of the sky—wandering spirits in an infinity of lonely space.

At the windmill he stopped and looked toward the house. The kitchen was lighted; the rest of the house was dark and shadowy. A thin spiral of smoke twisted up until it became lost in the gray light. How home-like it all was! The boy walked quickly toward the house, took the milk pails from the hooks on the porch and went into the barn. The horses did not raise their heads from the grain as he entered. The sound of their crunching, the sweet smell of the hay, seemed part of the pervading rest and content about him. His father came up from the gloom of the barn, carrying a pail of milk. He glanced at the boy.

“I thought I’d do the chores to-night, son. You don’t get a vacation very often. You ought to rest.”

“Oh!” The boy felt sudden embarrassment. He had a queer pity for his father. He almost wished that he could have done the chores himself.

It was dark as they walked slowly to the house. In the dusk of the east, the moon appeared red on the rim of the horizon. Everything seemed asleep, yet infinite life still vibrated through its sleep. Out of the oak-grove sounded the hopeless lament of the turtle-dove, voicing the mystery and sadness of the night. From the farm to the north came the faint cry of someone calling the cows, “Co-o, boss; co-o, boss!” A moment, the boy felt as though it were the wonder and music of the horizon that called. Then he smiled at the idea.

His father stopped on the porch. The boy knew what his father was thinking, knew with a wave of pity and understanding. It seemed to him there, in the darkness, that suddenly he was able to comprehend the shadows which he had not known before in his boyish dream of life.

He took off his hat. The night wind was cool. How intense the night was! Nature seemed a living and beautiful power, ever-veiled but always near. For a moment his father rested his hand upon the boy’s shoulder. The boy moved closer to him.


From Every Week

Set far back in the hills that have thrown their wall of misty purple about the laughing blue of Lake Como, on a sheer cliff three thousand feet above the lake, stands a little weather-stained church. Beneath it lie the two villages of Cadenabbia and Menaggio; behind and up are rank on rank of shadowy mountains, sharply outlined against the sky,—the foothills leading back to the giant Alps.

The last tiny cream-colored house of the villages stands a full two miles this side of the tortuous path that winds up the face of the chrome-colored cliff. Once a year, in a creeping procession of black and white, the natives make a pilgrimage to the little church to pray for rain in the dry season. Otherwise it is rarely visited.

Blagden climbed slowly up the narrow path that stretched like a clean white ribbon from the little group of pastel-colored houses by the water. There was not a breath of wind, not a rustle in the gray-green olive trees that shimmered silver in the sunlight. Little lizards, sunning themselves on warm flat stones, watched him with brilliant eyes, and darted away to safety as he moved. The shadows of the cypress trees barred the white path like rungs of a ladder. And Blagden, drinking deep of the beauty of it all, climbed upward.

When he opened the low door of the little chapel the cold of the darkness within was as another barrier. He stepped inside, his footsteps echoing heavily through the shadows, though he walked on tiptoe. After the brilliant sunlight outside he could make out but little of the interior at first. At the far end four candles were burning, and he made his way toward them across the worn floor.

In a cheap, tarnished frame of gilt, above the four flickering pencils of light, hung a picture of the Virgin. Blagden stared at it in amazement. It had evidently been painted by a master hand. Blagden was no artist; but the face told him that. It was drawn with wonderful appreciation of the woman’s sweetness. Perhaps the eyes were what was most wonderful,—pitiful, trusting, a little sad perhaps.

The life-sized figure, draped in smoke-colored blue, blended softly with the dusky shadows, and the flickering candlelight lent a witchery to blurred outlines that half deceived him,—at moments the picture seemed alive. She was smiling a little wistful smile.

And the canvas over the heart of the Virgin was cut in a long, clean stroke—and opened in a disfiguring gash. Beneath it, on a little stand, lay a slim-bladed, vicious knife, covered with dust.

Blagden wonderingly stooped to pick it up—and a voice spoke out of the darkness behind him.

“I would not touch it, Signor,” it said, and Blagden wheeled guiltily.

A man was standing in the shadow, almost at his elbow.

He was old, the oldest man Blagden had ever seen, and he wore the long brown gown of a monk. His face was like a withered leaf, lined and yellow, and his hair was silver white.

Only the small, saurian eyes held Blagden with their strange brilliance. The rest of his face was like a death mask.

“Why not?” said Blagden.

The monk stepped forward into the dim light, crossing himself as he passed the picture. He looked hesitatingly at the younger man before him, searching his face with his wonderfully piercing eyes. He seemed to find there what he was searching for, and when he spoke Blagden wondered at the gentleness of his voice.

“There is a story. Would the Signor care to hear?”

Blagden nodded, and the two moved back in the shadows a short distance to the front line of little low chairs. Before them, over the dancing light of the four candles, stood the mutilated picture of Mary, beneath it the dust-covered dagger.

And then the withered monk began speaking, and Blagden listened, looking up at the picture.

“It all happened a great many years ago,” said the old man; “but I am old, so I remember.

“Rosa was the girl’s name. She lived with her father and mother in a little house above Menaggio. And every day in the warm sunlight of the open fields she sang as she watched the goats for the old people, and her voice was like cool water laughing in the shadows of a little brook.

“She was always singing, little Rosa; for she was young, and the sun had never stopped shining for her. People used to call her beautiful.

“And there was Giovanni. Each morning he would pass her home where the yellow roses with the pink hearts grew so sweetly, and always she would blow him a kiss from the little window.

“Then Giovanni would toil with all the strength of his youth, and he too would sing while he toiled; for was it not all for her?

“Often Rosa’s goats would stray toward Giovanni’s vineyard as dusk came, and they would drive them home together, always laughing, always singing, hand in hand, as the sun slipped golden over the top of the hills across the lake. Sometimes they would walk together in the afterglow, and Giovanni would weave a crown of the little flowers that grew about them, and his princess would wear it, laughing happily.

“They were like two children, Signor. There were nights spent together on the lake, when he told her of his dreams, while the gentlest of winds stirred her curls against his brown cheek, and the moon’s wake stretched like a golden pathway from shore to shore.

“They were to be married when the grapes were picked, people used to whisper.

“And then one day a new force came into the girl’s life. The Church, Signor!

“No one understands when or why this comes to a young girl, I think. She was torn with the idea that she should join her church, go into the little nunnery across the lake, and leave the sunshine.

“She did not want to go, and it was a strange yet a beautiful thing. This young, beautiful girl who seemed so much a part of the sunshine and the flowers was to close the door of the Church upon it all!

“You are thinking it was strange, Signor.

“Giovanni was frantic—you can understand.

“He had dreamed so happily of that which was to be, that now to have the cup snatched from his lips was torture. He took her little sun-kissed hands in his and begged on his knees with tears streaming down his cheeks. And Rosa wept also—but could not answer as he begged. I think she loved the boy, Signor. Yet there is something stronger than the love of a boy and a girl.

“She asked for one more night in which to decide. She would come up here to this little church and pray for Mary to guide her. He kissed her cold lips and came away.

“He was a boy, and he never doubted but that she would choose his strong young arms.

“The girl came here. All night she knelt on the rough stone floor, praying and—weeping; for she loved him. And the Virgin above the four candles looked down with the great, wistful eyes you see—and bound the girl’s soul faster and faster to her own.

“And when morning came she entered the white walls across the lake without seeing her lover again.

“Giovanni went mad, I think, when they told him. He screamed out his hate for the world and his God, and rushed up the little white path to where we are sitting now, Signor.

“Once here, he drew the dagger you see beneath the Virgin and stabbed with an oath on his lips. That is why I did not let you touch it.”

Blagden nodded, and the old monk was silent for a moment before he went on.

“Giovanni disappeared for two days. When he came back his face was that of a madman still. He was met by a white funeral winding up the little path. You understand, Signor,—a virgin’s funeral. Giovanni was hurrying blindly past when they stopped him.

“There was no reproach spoken for what he had done, no bitterness; only a kind of awe—and pity.

“Rosa had died on her knees in the nunnery at the exact time he stabbed yonder picture. And they told him months afterward that her face was strangely like that of the Virgin when they found her,—beautiful and pleading and sad. There was no given cause for her death—there are things we cannot understand. She was praying for strength, the sisters said.”

The monk ceased speaking, and for a long moment they sat silent, Blagden and the withered, white-haired man, staring mutely up at the beautiful face above them. It was Blagden who broke the silence.

“What do you think happened?” he asked slowly.

“I do not know,” said the monk.

There was another pause, then Blagden spoke again.

“Anyway,” he said, brushing his hand across his eyes, “she paid in part the debt Giovanni owed his God.”

“Yes?” said the monk softly. “I wonder, Signor! For I am Giovanni.”


From The Illustrated Sunday Magazine

When Standish McNeill started talking to his friend Felix O’Dowd as they walked at a leisurely pace towards the town of Castlegregory on a June morning, what he said was: “The world is a wonderful place when you come to think about it, an’ Ireland is a wonderful place an’ so is America, an’ though there are lots of places like each other there’s no place like Ballysantamalo. When there’s not sunshine there, there’s moonshine an’ the handsomest women in the world live there, an’ nowhere else except in Ireland or the churchyards could you find such decent people.”

“Decency,” said Felix, “when you’re poor is extravagance, and bad example when you’re rich.”

“And why?” said Standish.

“Well,” said Felix, “because the poor imitate the rich an’ the rich give to the poor an’ when the poor give to each other they have nothing of their own.”

“That’s communism you’re talking,” said Standish. “an’ that always comes from education an’ enlightenment. Sure if the poor weren’t dacent they’d be rich an’ if the rich were dacent they’d be poor an’ if everyone had a conscience they’d be less millionaires.”

“’Tis a poor bird that can’t pick for himself.”

“But suppose a bird had a broken wing an’ couldn’t fly to where the pickings were?” said Felix.

“Well, then bring the pickings to him. That would be charity.”

“But charity is decency and wisdom is holding your tongue when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“If the people of Ballysantamalo are so decent, how is it that there are so many bachelors there? Do you think it right to have all the young women worrying their heads off reading trashy novels an’ doin’ all sorts of silly things like fixin’ their hair in a way that was never intended by nature an’ doin’ so for years an’ years an’ havin’ nothin’ in the end but the trouble of it all.”

“Well, ’tis hard blamin’ the young men because every young lady you meet looks better to you than the last until you meet the next an’ so you go on to another until you’re so old that no one would marry you at all unless you had lots of money, a bad liver, an’ a shaky heart.”

“An old man without any sense, lots of money, a bad liver, an’ a shaky heart can always get a young lady to marry him,” said Felix, “though rheumatics, gout, an’ a wooden leg are just as good in such a case.”

“Every bit,” said Standish, “but there’s nothin’ like a weak constitution, a cold climate, an’ a tendency to pneumonia.”

“Old men are quare,” said Felix.

“They are,” said Standish, “an’ if they were all only half as wise as they think they are then they’d be only young fools in the world. I don’t wonder a bit at the suffragettes. An’ a time will come when we won’t know men from women unless some one tells us so.”

“Wisha, ’tis my belief that there will be a great reaction some day, because women will never be able to stand the strain of doin’ what they please without encountering opposition. When a man falls in love he falls into trouble likewise, an’ when a woman isn’t in trouble you may be sure that there’s something wrong with her.”

“Well,” said Standish, “I think we will leave the women where the devil left St. Peter—”

“Where was that?” asked Felix.

“Alone,” answered Standish.

“That would be all very fine if they stayed there,” said Felix.

“Now,” said Standish, “as I was talking of me travels in foreign parts, I want to tell you about the morning I walked along the beach at Ballysantamalo, an’ a warm morning it was too. So I ses to meself, ‘Standish McNeill,’ ses I, ‘what kind of a fool of a man are you? Why don’t you take a swim for yourself?’ So I did take a swim, an’ I swam to the rocks where the seals goes to get their photograph’s taken an’ while I was havin’ a rest for meself I noticed a grasshopper sittin’ a short distance away an’ ’pon me word, but he was the most sorrowful lookin’ grasshopper I ever saw before or since. Then all of a sudden a monster whale comes up from the sea and lies down beside him an’ ses: ‘Well,’ ses he, ‘is that you? Who’d ever think of finding you here. Why, there’s nothing strange under the sun but the ways of woman.’

“‘’Tis me that’s here, then,’ said the grasshopper. ‘Me grandmother died last night an’ she wasn’t insured either.’

“‘The practice of negligence is the curse of mankind and the root of sorrow,’ ses the whale. ‘I suppose the poor old soul had her fill of days, an’ sure we all must die, an’ ’tis cheaper to be dead than alive at any time. A man never knows that he’s dead when he’s dead an’ he never knows he’s alive until he’s married.’

“‘You’re a great one to expatiate on things you know nothing about, like the barbers and the cobblers,’ said the grasshopper. ‘I only want to know if you’re coming to the funeral to-morrow?’

“‘I’m sorry I can’t,’ ses the whale. ‘Me grandfather is getting married, for the tenth time, an’ as I was in China on the last few occasions I must pay me respects by being present at to-morrow’s festivities,’ ses he.

“‘I’m sorry you can’t come,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘because you are heartily welcome an’ you’d add prestige to the ceremony besides.’

“‘I know that,’ ses the whale, ‘but America doesn’t care much about ceremony.’

“‘Who told you that?’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘Haven’t I me eyesight, an’ don’t I read the newspapers,’ ses the whale.

“‘You mustn’t read the society columns, then,’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘Wisha, for the love of St. Crispin,’ ses the whale ‘have they society columns in the American newspapers?’

“‘Indeed they have,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘and they oftentimes devote a few columns to other matters when the dressmakers don’t be busy.’

“‘America is a strange country surely, a wonderful country, not to say a word about the length and breadth of it. I swam around it twice last week without stoppin,’ to try an’ reduce me weight, an’ would you believe me that I was tired after the journey, but the change of air only added to me proportions.’

“‘That’s too bad,’ said the grasshopper.

“‘Are you an American?’ said the whale.

“‘Of course I am,’ ses the grasshopper. ‘You don’t think ’tis the way I’d be born at sea an’ no nationality at all like yourself. I’m proud of me country.’

“‘And why, might I ask?’

“‘Well don’t we produce distinguished Irishmen? Don’t we make Americans of the Europeans and Europeans of the Americans? Think of all the connoisseurs who wouldn’t buy a work of art in their own country when they could go to Europe and pay ten times its value for the pot-boilers that does be turned out in the studios of Paris and London.’

“‘There’s nothin’ like home industry,’ ses the whale, ‘in a foreign country, I mean.’

“‘After all, who knows anything about a work of art but the artist? and very little he knows about it, either. A work of art is like a flower, it grows, it happens. That’s all. An’ unless you charge the devil’s own price for it, people will think you are cheating them.’

“‘Wisha, I suppose the best anyone can do is to take all you can get an’ if you want to be a philanthropist, give away what you don’t want,’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘All worth missing I catches,’ ses the whale, ‘an’ all worth catchin’ I misses, like the fisherwoman who missed the fish and caught a crab. How’s things in Europe? I didn’t see the papers this morning.’

“‘Europe is in a bad way,’ ses the grasshopper. ‘She was preaching civilization for centuries so that she might be prepared when war came to annihilate herself.’

“‘It looks that way to me,’ ses the whale. ‘Is there anything else worth while going on in the world?’

“‘There’s the Irish question,’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘Where’s that, Ireland is?’ ses the whale. ‘Isn’t that an island to the west of England?’

“‘No,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘but England is an island to the east of Ireland.’

“‘Wisha,’ ses the whale, ‘it gives me indigestion to hear people talking about Ireland. Sure, I nearly swallowed it up be mistake while I was on a holiday in the Atlantic last year, an’ I’m sorry now that I didn’t.’

“‘An’ I’m sorry that you didn’t try,’ ses the grasshopper. ‘Then you’d know something about indigestion. The less you have to say about Ireland the less you’ll have to be sorry for. Remember that me father came from Cork.’

“‘Can’t I say what I like?’ ses the whale.

“‘You can think what you like,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘but say what other people like if you want to be a good politician.’

“‘There’s nothin’ so much abused as politics,’ ses the whale.

“‘Except politicians,’ ses the grasshopper. ‘Only for the Irish they’d be no one bothering about poetry and the drama to-day. Only for fools they’d be no wise people an’ only for sprats, hake, and mackerel there ’ud be no whales an’ a good job that would be, too.’

“‘What’s that you’re saying?’ ses the whale very sharply.

“‘Don’t have me to lose me temper with you,’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘Wisha, bad luck to your impudence an’ bad manners, you insignificant little spalpeen. How dare you insult your superiors?’ ses the whale.

“‘Who’s me superior?’ ses the grasshopper. ‘You, is it?’

“‘Yes, me then,’ ses the whale.

“‘Another word from you,’ ses the whale, ‘an’ I’ll put you where Napoleon put the oysters.’

“‘Well,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘there’s no doubt but vanity, ignorance and ambition are three wonderful things an’ you have them all.’

“‘Neither you nor Napoleon, nor the Kaiser himself an’ his hundred million men could do hurt or harm to me. You could have every soldier in the German Army, the French Army, an’ the Salvation Army lookin’ for me an’ I’d put the comether on them all.’

“‘I can’t stand this any longer,’ ses the whale, an’ then and there he hits the rock a whack of his tail an’ when I went to look for the grasshopper, there he was sitting on the whale’s nose as happy an’ contented as if nothing happened. An’ when he jumped back to the rock again he says: ‘A little exercise when ’tis tempered with discretion, never does any harm, but violent exertion is a very foolish thing if you value your health. But it is only people who have no sinse but think they have it all who make such errors.’

“‘If I could get a hold of you,’ ses the whale, ‘I’d knock some of the pride out of you.’

“‘That would be an ungentlemanly way of displaying your displeasure,’ ses the grasshopper.

“‘I’d scorn,’ ses he, ‘to use violent means with you, or do you physical injury of any kind. All you want is self-control and a little education. You should know that quantity without quality isn’t as good as quality without quantity.’

“‘Sure ’tis I’m the fool to be wasting me time listening to the likes of you,’ ses the whale. ‘If any of me family saw me now, I’d never hear the end of it.’

“‘Indeed,’ ses the grasshopper, ‘no one belonging to me would ever recognize me ever again if they thought I was trying to make a whale behave himself. There would be some excuse for one of my attainments feeling proud. But as for you!—’

“‘An’ what in the name of nonsense can you do except give old guff out of you?’

“‘I haven’t time to tell you all,’ ses the grasshopper. ‘But to commence with, I can travel all over the world an’ have the use of trains, steamers, sailing ships and automobiles and will never be asked to pay a cent, an’ I can live on dry land all me life if I choose, while you can’t live under water, or over water, on land or on sea, and while all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t catch me if they were trying till the crack of doom, you could be caught be a few poor, harmless sailors, who wouldn’t know a crow from a cormorant, and who’d sell your carcass to make oil for foolish wives to burn an’ write letters to other people’s husbands an’ fill the world with trouble.’”

An’ what about all the whalebone we supplies for ladies’ corsets an’ paper knives, and what about all the stories we make for the novelists an’ the moving pictures an’—’

“We’re at the Sprig of Holly now,” said Felix. “Is it a pint of porter or a bottle you’ll have?”

“I’ll have a pint, I think,” said Standish.


From The Boston Daily Advertiser

The train crawling out of Berlin was filled with women and children, hardly an able-bodied man. In one compartment a gray-haired Landsturm soldier sat beside an elderly woman who seemed weak and ill. Above the click-clack of the car wheels passengers could hear her counting: “One, two, three,” evidently absorbed in her own thoughts. Sometimes she repeated the words at short intervals. Two girls tittered, thoughtlessly exchanging vapid remarks about such extraordinary behavior. An elderly man scowled reproval. Silence fell.

“One, two, three,” repeated the obviously unconscious woman. Again the girls giggled stupidly. The gray Landsturm leaned forward.

“Fräulein,” he said gravely, “you will perhaps cease laughing when I tell you that this poor lady is my wife. We have just lost our three sons in battle. Before leaving for the front myself I must take their mother to an insane asylum.”

It became terribly quiet in the carriage.


From The Century Magazine

The shadow on the sun-dial, blue upon its white-marble surface, marked four o’clock, but its edge was broken by the irregular silhouette of an encroaching rose-bush. The sun-dial in the midst of the wide, sunny garden, the old red-brick house among the elms—these were the most sharply defined elements of Mark Faraday’s picture of home. Born in Italy, for most of his young life a sojourner in foreign lands, he yet remembered being utterly happy at “Aunt Lucretia’s” when at seven he had made his first visit to his mother’s country. That memory had never faded. He had recalled and reclaimed each detail of its serene charm at his second visit ten years later, after his mother’s death. And now in America again, he had naturally gravitated toward the old place.

The young man gave a careless friendliness to his faded little aunt, and spent long hours with his dreams, creative and subjective, in her garden. For the most part they were dreams of unheard melodies, for Mark Faraday was a composer. So little of his life had been spent in his own country that outside the garden he felt less at home in America than in Florence or Vienna. Yet place mattered little to him. An artist and a creator, his kingdom was within. Of his environment he demanded only harmony and space.

A bee buzzed into the open heart of a rose, bending it with his weight. A little breeze wafted its perfume toward him. His eyes wandered over the delicate, riotous color of the sweet-pea hedge and rested in content upon the mignonette border. A circular path of white gravel surrounded the grass plot about the dial. From it as a center curved paths wandered outward dividing the flower-beds. The flowers were planted without much regularity except for the borders of four o’clock and mignonette. It was this spot that had inspired Mark’s song cycle, “The Sun-dial.” A certain quality of youth and freshness as natural as a spring in the woods had won for it quick recognition. Mark’s artistic tendency was not exotic. Although not retrogressive, he had drunk deep at the springs of Bach, Schubert, and Mozart, and the basis of his work was sound.

Alone in the fragrant silence, he began dreaming sounds. The notes of the bee’s drone, one high, one low, combining in uneven rhythm, had given him a suggestion for an accompaniment. His mind was far away, working out his pattern of harmony, when another sound, actual, familiar, broke into his reverie—the preliminary chords of one of the songs of his “Sun-dial” cycle, “Youth and Crabbéd Age.” Then a woman began to sing. It was Stella’s voice; he recognized it at once, pleasant, sufficiently trained. Stella was a fair musician and was fond of trying over new music, but to-day she was playing in a more musicianly manner than he had believed her capable of playing. He had expected that his aunt would ask her over for tea. He enjoyed the girl’s companionship. He had not known many of his own countrywomen. Their naturalness and freedom from the personal attitude of the Continental woman interested him. It was perhaps this quality in Stella that most appealed to him. He was aware that his Aunt Lucretia hoped for a romantic conclusion to the friendship. He himself had given the matter an occasional thought. Yet somehow Stella’s definiteness left no room for the imaginative element to become active. It was difficult for him to visualize her as an established factor in his life, either as the restful center of a home or the adaptable companion of his nomadic wanderings. The precise nature of her lack he had not felt the necessity to characterize.

The concluding chords of his song vibrated into silence. With the ceasing of the actual sounds, his imagined music began to move again along its interrupted course; then a crash of Brahms broke into his creative weavings, and he frowned, not only for the interruption: Stella should not attempt Brahms. The hazardous attempt broke off as abruptly as it had begun. There was something fragmentary, or perhaps more correctly, something unfinished about Stella. She never had just fulfilled the promise of their first meeting. The bee theme drifted into his mind again, and had progressed a few measures, when the evolving harmonic pattern was again invaded by an alien presence, a soft one of dim outline and faded voice, his Aunt Lucretia.

“You are coming in for tea, Mark.” She paused, characteristically tentative, wavering, fearful of intruding, a gentle, kindly, ineffectual presence. “And Stella is here,” she added.

“I heard her.” Mark rose to his excellent height and stood an instant looking down at the little old lady shading her eyes from the sunlight. They had been large and dark once; now the filmy rim of age was visible about the iris. Her white hair lay in neat ringlets upon her brow, which was wrinkled like a fine parchment. Her skin, bleached to a bloodless whiteness, retained still some of the soft texture of youth.

“And Allison Clyde,” she finished her announcement: “but you won’t mind her,” she added, recalling the restiveness of the present generation under boredom.

“Allison Clyde?” he repeated. He remembered the name vaguely as one of some old friend of the family. “An old lady.” He had not reckoned his indifferent label a question, but his aunt took it up.

“We never think of her as that. She is younger,” Lucretia Hall conceded, “than I am. Allison is universally admired. Mrs. Herrick”—she quoted the oracle of her circle in that last-generation manner that proclaims the accepted—“says that Allison is a personage.”

Miss Lucretia turned toward the house; her nephew followed her.

“Any relation to the historian, bane of my youth?” he asked.

“His daughter,” Lucretia gladly expounded; “and her brother, the poet, died young. Allison herself—very gifted musically.” The fragments came back to him as his aunt preceded him with her small, hesitating steps up the narrow path. The picture of an old lady playing the “Songs without Words” passed through Mark’s mind, and he began to plan flight. “But she was obliged to give up her music to care for her invalid father.”

“I heard Stella playing,” Mark commented.

His aunt rejoined after a moment:

“She doesn’t seem at all nervous. Young people aren’t in these days. At her age, if any one asked me to play, I was terrified.”

Her nephew smiled down at her, hooking her with an affectionate arm.

“What used you to play, Tante? The ‘Blue Alsatian Mountains’ and the ‘Stéphanie Gavotte’?”

Her faded smile held a faint surprise.

“How did you know?”

“I am a clairvoyant, and did you sing, ‘Then You’ll Remember Me?’”

“No, I never sang; but Mary—your mother—did.”

They reached the back porch and passed through the wide hall into the shaded spaciousness of the drawing-room. In that quiet interior light that rested softly upon the decorous portraits of his forebears, the mahogany, and the accumulated bric-à-brac of three generations, he became aware of the incongruous presence of Stella. He realized again her clean-cut, finished daintiness, the incisiveness of voice and feature. As he released her hand, still aware of its hard, boyish grip, he heard his aunt’s voice, light, wandering, non-arresting, as if continuing some conversational thread, “And Miss Allison Clyde, Mark—my old friend.” He had been vaguely aware of some one else in the room, but when he met the smile of the older woman who held out her hand to him, he wondered that he had not realized it more promptly; for Miss Allison Clyde, although far removed from the youth of years, had about her something immediately and quietly charming—something, it occurred to him, that suggested autumnal perfumes and the warmth of late sunlight. It was a face with a certain fine austerity belonging to a generation at once more natural and more reserved than ours.

“So this is Mary’s boy,” she said. “You have her eyes.” He looked at her and unconsciously glanced at Stella. The older woman belonged to the quiet old room. Stella, despite the same inheritance, did not.

Tea was brought in by a maid grown gray in his aunt’s service, and Miss Lucretia presided. Mark’s eyes again wandered from Miss Allison Clyde to Stella with involuntary comparison.

No one would have accused Stella of not being a well-bred young woman, yet she sat, Mark noted, carelessly and not quite gracefully. Miss Allison Clyde was taller than Stella, yet she was adjusted to her chair with a disciplined grace and dignity far removed from stiffness.

“Stella has promised to sing ‘Crabbéd Age’ for me again,” she announced when tea was finished.

“Shall I sing it now?” Stella rose with her promptness, and, going to the piano, plunged at once into the opening bars. Although the composer was not an egoist, he shuddered.

“I am making frightful hash of it, I know,” Stella confessed, unabashed, as her fingers stumbled. “I think Miss Allison had better play it.” Mark glanced quickly at the older woman.

“Then it was you I heard a moment ago.”

“I tried it,” she admitted, with a smile. “The title had a melancholy attraction for me. I had no idea the composer was overhearing, or I should have had stage-fright dreadfully.”

“Play something else,” Mark suggested. “It would give me so much pleasure. Something not Mark Faraday.”

Miss Allison rose decisively.

“No, I will play ‘Crabbed Age,’” she decided, “and youth shall sing it.” And then they ran through it together, the older woman playing it with a musician’s sense of its qualities, and Stella singing it through passably in her firm young voice.

In answer to Mark’s sincere, “Play more,” as she started to rise from the piano stool, Miss Allison let her fingers wander through passages of “Meistersinger” in a way that showed a musician’s knowledge of the score.

“How wonderful that you can play like that still!” exclaimed Stella. The gaucherie of that “still” struck upon Mark’s artistic sensibilities, trained in Italian habits of speech. “What a resource it must be!”

“For crabbed age,” Miss Allison finished. Her smile held a faint amusement. Stella, momentarily silenced, if not abashed, by this explicit voicing of her thought, did not contradict, and Miss Allison continued, “The technic of a Paderewski would be small compensation for lost youth, I fear.” She said it without sentimentality, but, as she spoke, lightly touched the delicate theme of the “Golden Apples” that brought eternal youth to the gods, passing into the sublimity of the Valhalla motive. Looking up, she met Mark’s comprehension and smiled, then, bringing her chord to a resolution, rose from the piano stool. Mark watched her as she paused to turn over the pages of his “Sun-dial,” noting the titles—Sunrise, Morning, High Noon, Afternoon, Evening, Night. “‘Youth and Crabbed Age’ is Evening, I see,” she commented. “Then what is this?” She held up a separate sheet loosely set in the book, reading the title, “Too Late for Love and Loving.”

“That was an attempt with words of my own before I resigned in favor of Shakespeare,” Mark explained. “I am not a poet. They are just words for music.”

She read them over:

“Sweet love, too late!
Life is Time’s prisoner,
Love’s hour has fled,
The flowers are dead,
Love has passed by.
Sweet love, too late!
Death stands at the gate.”

She sat down again without comment, and ran it through softly, then again more assuredly, with appreciation. The warm afternoon light from the open window fell upon her, revealing what the years had worn, what they had been powerless to touch. Her hair was half gray; but her eyes were as dark, vivid, and expectant as the eyes of youth—autumn pools shot through with the sun. The mouth was a generous one, finely molded by the experience of the years. He remembered that she was a spinster, yet there was about her none of the emptiness, the starved quality, of the woman with her destiny unfulfilled; nothing of the futility, the incompletion, of the celibate that causes the imagination to turn with relief to contemplation of the most bovine mother of a family. It must have been an impervious boor indeed who would venture to jest upon Miss Allison’s single state. It spoke of naught but dignity. Life, it would seem, had not deprived her.

It was that warm, alive, expectant quality, Mark reflected, that revealed that Allison Clyde was neither wife nor mother. She had turned, no doubt, to other interests with her unquenchable vividness, and so could still look out upon the world with young, hopeful eyes.

Yet what, at her age, could the years still bring her? It had been surely a vain waiting; yet, viewed as a picture, it had, he felt, an autumnal beauty of its own.

That night Miss Allison Clyde wrote a long letter to her lifelong friend, Miss Augusta Penfield:

I met Lucretia’s nephew, Mary’s boy, to-day. He is you know, a composer already on the road to fame. You remember that he was born abroad. There is for all his undiluted American ancestry a foreign touch about him, a something warm and ardent caught under the Italian skies that even our children seem to take on when born there. He is indeed a beautiful boy, a dreamer, yet manly. A boy I call him, yet he is twenty-nine. My dear father had four sons and a daughter at his age. Still he is a boy. It is strange in this generation, Augusta, that though in many ways they seem so advanced, so beyond us, in others they are further away from life’s responsibilities than we were at their age. There is a suggestion of his Uncle William about Mark, but he is somehow stronger, more imperative. I was drawn to him at once because of his music. And he has the charming manner, the almost excessive chivalry, toward our sex that we see so little of any more, or at least seldom encounter at our age. Lucretia had asked Stella in for tea. She is a dear child and quite alarmingly composed, but not altogether musical, despite her excellent musical opportunities. She played one of the boy’s songs, a delicious thing, rather dreadfully. I felt sorry for him. Lucretia insisted upon my playing his “Youth and Crabbed Age,” which every one has been singing, although he seems delightfully unaware of that fact. He was so courteous about insisting that I should play more, I ran through a bit of “Meistersinger,”—he seemed so truly a young Walther,—and then discovered another little song that he has not published, “Too Late for Love and Loving,” full of a kind of pathos that it seems impossible youth could understand. But I suppose that is where genius comes in.

The rest of the letter was made of messages and the mild, small daily occurrences that are of moment to such as Miss Augusta Penfield.

That night, searching in an old secretary in his room for some missing notes, Mark came upon a little daguerreotype in a drawer. It was of a young girl, taken apparently in the late sixties or early seventies. Something in the face, clear-eyed, warm-lipped, trusting, caught and held his attention. He turned it over to see if the girl’s name was on the back, but the only inscription was a date in his Uncle William’s writing, June, 1863. Poor Uncle William, who had been so full of promise, they said, but who had died from a bullet wound, a sacrifice to his country two years after the war!

Some girl that his uncle had loved, perhaps. The young man’s face, dark-eyed, romantic, familiar to him through the old picture in uniform always on his mother’s dressing-table, rose before his mind’s eye. Perhaps Uncle William had taken the little picture away with him to the war. The date must have been just about the time that he had enlisted and marched away. He had gone without telling her perhaps; she could have been little more than a child. Perhaps he had never told. Or they might have had their brief tragic happiness upon the edge of death, they two “embracing under death’s spread hand.”

He stared at the picture. It would have been easy to love a girl with those eyes, that mouth. A fancy came upon him to put Uncle William’s picture beside the girl’s, and impulsively he went back to the darkened drawing-room, groped for the framed picture that stood upon the mantel, found it, and carried it up to his room. Then side by side he studied the two faces.

His imagination began to reconstruct their story. He wished that he might learn more. He went back to the old desk. It might have been his uncle’s. He opened a drawer; it was empty. A second and a third; the last contained some valueless miscellany, an old glass knob a faded bit of worsted fringe, some papers. Poking under them, he actually found a package of letters. He picked it up, and with a little thrill of realization recognized his uncle’s writing. The paper was old and yellowed with time. It had no address, but was sealed with red wax. Scarcely expecting fulfillment of his romantic hope, he broke the seal and opened the package. There was no address on the first envelope. Some business memorandum, no doubt; yet nothing surely that at this late day he might not in honor examine. He drew out the closely written sheet and turned it over. After all the years his eyes were surely the first to read it. There was no name in the inscription. Uncle William’s fine writing was very legible.


July 15, 1863.

My little love with the smooth hair and the great eyes, you do not know that I have the little daguerreotype next my heart. I stole it from Lucretia, and packed it among my things. How often I shall take it out in the long days ahead before the war is over and I can come back to tell you that I love you. You will wait for me, sweetheart. No other man shall be the one to make those clear eyes fall, to change them from a child’s to a woman’s eyes. I can see you as you stood there beside the sun-dial. “Fight a brave fight, William,” you said, “and come back soon.” You were brave and glorious. Your eyes were not even wet, yet you care enough for me to shed a tear. I know that, little Allison. We have been such good comrades, you and I. I looked back and saw you waving. But you trust life so fearlessly, child. You are only fifteen. At that age one cannot imagine death. I am twenty-three and am a man. I knew I must not speak. I knew it, though my heart was knocking against my sides for love of you. So I shall not send these letters. I shall send you a line now and then, but not of love. You will hear the news of me from mother and the girls. I shall write these letters just the same, and keep them, and if the day comes when those great eyes, those dear and wonderful eyes, give the promise my heart is waiting for, then I shall hand them to you to read, and you shall know how long and faithfully I have loved you. I shall not write you of the war and the long marches; those things will be in my home letters. To you I shall write only of ourselves, not as if I were in the midst of battle and sudden death, but as if I were at home in Beechwood, where my heart is, at my window overlooking a corner of your garden. I am there now, sitting at my window as I write. I have just caught a glimpse of you in your Sunday gown, the white-and-green striped silk, with the tiny lavender flowers scattered on the white ground. You were picking a spray of lemon verbena to take to church. I see you in the little green bonnet in the high pew beside your mother. You have the soul of a lover, my Allison. I know it when I see you smell the fragrant flowers. Little Allison, how you will love when your day comes! Your mouth, so young, so warm, so generous, was made to give all; your pure eyes for complete trust. You belong to me, my Allison, although you do not know it yet. Even as I write this, fear shakes my heart. Have not all lovers thought the same? So strong is the sense of possession in love, so impossible it seems to the human heart that we should give all and receive nothing. What if some one should rudely awaken your clear soul from its young sleep, lay hot human hands upon you, my rose, my little cool, white flower! I can not bear these thoughts. You are mine, and I shall let you sleep until the moment comes for love to knock at the door of your heart. There shall be no rude awakening. I shall speak first so gently, yes, you shall be roused slowly from that sleep of childhood. Then you will put your hands in mine and say, “William, I love you,” just as you said to me to-day, “Fight a good fight.” And I will take those dear hands and draw you slowly toward me and kiss you on your fine, straight brows, your serene forehead, that is like that of the angels in the Italian pictures father brought home from Italy. Then I will let you go. I shall not be too impetuous, lest I frighten you. And then some day you will say again, “Come home soon William,” and it will mean that I am to go home to you.

Yours till death,


August, ’63.

My love with the dove’s eyes:

Why were you so shy when I met you to-day on the gravel path? I asked you where you were going. You would not stop; you almost ran past, like a little gray moth. I love you in that gray little gown; your little bare shoulders are pink beside it, like a spring flower beside a stone. Why were you so shy? You are too young to have a lover. There is no one except the tow-headed Bowman boy across the street. It could not have been he. Then you went to the piano, and I heard you singing softly, “My Love is like a Red, Red Rose.” What can you know of love, my little one? I am jealous of life itself that must bring that change to you. I would delay that day. Not yet would I have the bud open for the hot sun to draw out its fragrance. I would keep you yet a while in the white, austere innocence of your youth. My little love, my child, the hour is not yet.


September, ’64.

Where I sit at my window, sweetheart, I can see the corner of the grape-arbor in your garden. Do you remember the day we sat there, and I read you my story, and you listened, with your great dreaming eyes on the slippery leaf shadows, and your mouth stained with the purple grapes? And when I had finished, you asked me, “Why did Reginald think he had to die, William?” And I told you, “Because he loved Eleanor so much and she loved another man.” “Then why didn’t he love some one else, too? How silly they all were!” you said. You were too young to understand. I look in the eyes of the little girl in the picture, and she does not understand. The little girl is a year younger than you, and the green-and-white frock in the picture was torn and darned last summer. I remember how you looked, bent over your needle, your red lips a little heavy with unspoken protest as you sewed the long rent. What a child you always were to tear your frocks and get berry stains on your white aprons and scratch your fingers and arms with briers! And how I have loved each scratch and stain. My sweet, wild little Allison! Now perhaps you begin to understand, to wonder and dream a little. You may even have your dreams of lovers. You wonder yet with no intimation behind your clear eyes of what this thing is that incites men to courage or drives them to madness and death. Have you wondered yet if some day it will come to you? Or does it live still in that fair, fragrant world of your imagination as a tale that is told?

To-day you came home from your sewing circle, where you sewed garments for the soldiers, and when you came away you let me carry your package. The sleeve of your little gray gown had been darned, and you had outgrown the dress. “It isn’t pretty any more, but I mustn’t have a new one,” you said. “It is wicked for us to have new things when the soldiers are ragged and cold.” And that look that is like tears came into your eyes. Oh, how I longed to kiss the hand you held out for your bundle at the gate! Not yet, Allison. You are just sixteen. You are a child yet. I must wait.


December, ’64.

My Allison, I signed myself last your William, and I called you mine. It is no bold assumption. Neither life nor death can make me other than yours, whether you will or not, neither can it make you any less mine. Isn’t it our George William Curtis who said that the land belonged to his rich neighbor, but the view was his? No matter if I never touch your dear hands save as a friend, my Allison, you will still be mine, because I have divined the fine mysteries of your spirit. I am your worshiper and knight, whatever fate befalls us. “We needs must love the highest when we see it,” says the new poet across the water. No truer words were ever spoken. So in that fine inner sense I am yours and you are mine whether you ever come to love me or not. To-day I found you chasing a butterfly in the garden. What a child you are still! You brushed me as you ran past, then, as you turned, ran almost into my arms. Ah, my Allison, you did not know how it set my heart beating when that loose strand of your hair blew across my face! Your cheeks were flushed, and you drew back laughing.

“What do you want with the butterfly, Allison?” I asked. “You surely would not hurt it. If you throw your bonnet over it, you will break its wings.”

You looked at me with your great eyes.

“I would not do that, William. I only wanted to see the gold spots on its wings.”

“You can do that best without touching it, my dear,” I said. “A touch will destroy its gold dust.” You looked at me with your pure eyes and said,—like a little child, yet you are almost a woman,—“Oh, William, I would not break its wings.” And then sharply a thought struck me like a pang. Can I perhaps see you better with my soul’s eyes, Allison, if you are never mine? Would I break your wings in touching you? Are you something too fine and fair for human experience? It came like a presentiment then that you would never be mine in the dear common human way. Can it be so, dear love? No, no; I would have you when the hour comes. Despite the angel in your eyes, you were made to make fair a home, to know in all its phases a man’s love, to hold your children in your arms,—children with eyes such as you have now,—and teach them such things as pure beings like you can teach to children.

“Isn’t it nice that they are butterflies last, William?” you said. “Suppose they had to grow brown and ugly and to move slowly, instead of flying, when they are old like people.”

“It is like life and death,” I told you, although God knows I am no preacher. Perhaps it is because my body is at the war while my soul is in Beechwood that I must sometimes think these thoughts of death. Your eyes looked straight into mine then, with something like a reflection of heaven’s light. Then again all at once they were a child’s again, and you said: “Grandma’s portrait in the hall is beautiful. She was sixteen then. But she isn’t pretty any more.”

“No, she isn’t pretty any more, Allison, yet once like you she chased butterflies in the garden. And that portrait was painted the year before she was married.”

Why was it then that you turned away your eyes and the soft curve of your cheek grew pink? Perhaps it is always so with the young girl at the thought of love and marriage; but you are still a child.

“The butterfly has flown away, Allison, and you never even looked at its golden wings,” I reminded you, and you laughed and shrugged. “There will be another,” you said. Yes, there will always be more butterflies in the garden, and there will always be more lovers in the world for such as you while your sweet youth lasts, whether I live to woo you or not. That thought saddens me. Yet should I not feel it enough to have known and loved you? Suppose you had never been in the world, and I had loved some commonplace pretty girl instead of little Allison, with eyes like an autumn brook in the sun?

Oh, my dear, the time is long, and I grow weary with my make-believing. I am a thousand miles away. A cold rain is falling. I could not bear it were it not for your voice in my ears: “Fight a good fight. Come back home soon, William.” As soon, God pity me as I can. My country first, even if it robs me of life’s dearest treasure. Ah, that I had dared before I left to speak the words in my heart, “Wait for me, sweetheart, wait till I come home; for it will be no true home unless you make it for me.”

But I did not say it. The hour was not yet. Pray God it may come for us both, for never will another know how to love you as I do, my Allison.

Your Faithful William.

March, ’65.

In battle, on the march, there has been no time for my letters, my sweetheart, and only in my dreams have I been able to fancy myself at the window overlooking your garden. But now there is a lull for writing. We feel that the end is drawing near. And so once more I can trust my dream self back in Beechwood with you.

Last night I took you home from Uncle Alvin’s. We walked slowly under the moon. The air was cool. You wore your little brown hood. You are taller now, little Allison. I lingered at the gate when I said good night. You lingered, too, and for the first time I knew—I cannot say how—that your soft childhood was unfolding its wings to depart. Not that I dared even to linger over your hand, still less to pull off the brown mitten and kiss the little hand curled soft and warm within; but the eyes that you turned to me had a graver light. Was it the sad news of the war, the death and tragedy about you? Jolly Dick Burrows, Arthur and Henry, struck down, blotted out. These are aging times, my sweetheart. Had you the consciousness of me as anything nearer than your old friend Lucretia’s brother? Some day life will bring to you this thing that tears at my heart. Some day not so far off now. Sometimes I wonder that I dare hope it will come to me.


April 10, ’65.

It has come, the news has come; the war is over. A few days, weeks, and I shall be with you. I have been wounded. They have told you that, have they not? But it is nothing, a scratch. It troubles me now, but it will soon be over. Last night I sat in the hot Southern twilight that smelled of jessamine and dreamed myself back with you in New England, where the spring nights are cold. But I did not dream any more the meetings of fantasy. My mind leaped forward, and dreamed of my real home-coming. I had greeted them all, my dear mother, the girls, Alice, and Lucretia. Then they left us alone in the little circle about the sun-dial, only it was summer, and the bees were heavy with the flower dust, the air was fragrant. And then at last I saw the consciousness of womanhood in your eyes—those clear eyes that have always looked so straight at mine, straight into my heart, it seemed, although I knew they were too young to see. Not once except for that first moment when you said, with lowered lids, “Welcome home, William,” did you look at me. And as we sat on the garden seat, I could see your color rise, the lace scarf tremble with your quickened breath. And then I took your hand. “I have come home to you, Allison,” I said. “What have you to say to me?” But you would not raise your eyes. I took both of your hands then. “Look at me, Allison,” I said, and something ran through you like the wind through a rose shaking out its perfume, and I seemed to draw into my very soul the fragrance of your young emotion; and I said again, “Look at me, Allison.” And then, half like a child commanded, you raised your eyes.... There is a majestic purity about you, Allison! Even in the young confusion of that moment it pierced me, humbled me in adoring love before you. “Allison, speak,” I said, and I could scarcely get out the words. “Do you love me?” and you, stammering like a child, said, “I don’t know, William. I don’t know.” “Then at least you do not love any other man?” I asked you, and you shook your head.

Oh, Allison, if I come home to find that some other man has taught you love, how shall I live through the burden of my days!


July, ’65.

My Allison:

Here I sit in verity at my window and write. I shall never speak, after all; for now I know that I haven’t the right. The wound was fatal, it seems, and I have only a short time to live, so I dare not tell you until after I am gone. It would hurt you too much. Even now I can scarcely bear to see your pity in your eyes. Suppose that pity were to imagine itself love! When I am myself, my whole being rejects that thought. It is not such love I dreamed to win from you, my Allison. Then again there are moments, weak moments, when I would have anything, take you at any price, only to have you nearer, only to wring those brief hours of warmth and sunshine from the cold outstretched hand of death. But that is only weakness. Such sad companionship with oncoming death shall not be for you, my beloved. You shall see me till the last as Lucretia’s brother, not your lover. I cannot trust myself to think of that other man who will live my dreams. Yet for myself I ask only to live till the end with my eyes filled with the sight of you; to live in fact and memory over each tone of your voice, each light and shade on that dear face. You are not a child now. With your dark braids about your star-like face, you are a woman, ready to waken to the knowledge of love; but, thank God! not yet awakened. So I may know still the cool, unconscious touch of your hand, your dear daily gift of flowers, watch your sweet down-bent head as you come to read to me here in our garden, and not heed the words for the dearness of dreaming over your face, living so intensely each moment of you. Oh, my sweet, why did you go so soon to-day? I know it was to buy ribbons for a new muslin for Molly Dearborn’s party. You must go to your parties, be happy. That is all I wish. Yet you would so gladly have given me that hour if you had known. Some one could have matched the ribbon for you. “Allison does not know,” I heard Lucretia say the other day. “We do not want her to know. It would distress her too much.” I shall not let you know, my darling. I write it now, but I shall blot it out lest it hurt you too much to know afterward how precious each moment you gave me was, lest it grieve your tender heart to know there was something more you might have given had you known.


Like one coming out of a dream, Mark glanced about the room, noted the hands of the clock marking the half hour past midnight, then picked up the picture of the girl who was young more than forty years ago.

With a little sense of shock it came to him that she existed no more. He wondered whether she also had died in her sweet youth or lived still, an old woman.

If she was alive, had she married some one not Uncle William? Or had she never married? Had she loved him? Had she known that he loved her? He picked up the picture again. The face seemed vaguely familiar. It seemed to speak to him. He lost himself in dreams and roused himself with a laugh.

“I believe I am half in love with you myself, little Allison, in love with your lost youth, in love with the shadow of a shadow. And that is a subject for a song—”

Allison, a quaint little name it was. Allison what? Who was she? It struck him suddenly,—he wondered that he had not thought of it before,—it must be, it surely was, Miss Allison Clyde. He studied the young pictured face more closely, and felt sure he traced a resemblance in it to the old. Tomorrow he would find out.

The pathos of it—too old for love, the theme of his song. Reverently he gathered up the letters, replaced them in their envelope, and put them away. Suddenly, sharply the consciousness smote him: the woman to whom those letters were written had never read them.


The next afternoon at tea-time he took the daguerreotype to his Aunt Lucretia. She received it with her slow, uncertain, frail old hands, lifting it to the light.

“Why, that little old picture of Allison!” she said. “I had forgotten we had it. Where did you find it? It was William’s.” She stared at it with the pitiful look the eyes of the old show at reawakening memories. “I always thought your Uncle William was in love with her,” she confided, “although he never told us so.”

“Miss Allison Clyde?” Mark questioned, and Miss Lucretia nodded faintly, marveling:

“Why, didn’t you know!”

“And was Miss Allison in love with Uncle William?”

Miss Lucretia answered doubtfully:

“I don’t know. She was a child. She never said so.”

“Did she ever, later on, have a love-affair?”

His aunt shook her head.

“Not that I know of. She was always so taken up with her own household. They were very close to each other, a very united family.”

“It is a wonderful little face,” Mark said, looking down at the daguerreotype.

“She was only a child then,” Lucretia repeated, “not more than fifteen.” Her eyes became reminiscent. “She was still so young, only seventeen, when he died. When he came home, he knew he had not long to live. He used to sit out here and watch her as she moved about. He never talked much, but the look in his eyes was,” Aunt Lucretia stated in her quiet way, “very moving.”

Mark heard a step, and glanced up to see Miss Allison Clyde herself standing beside them, looking down at them with a smile.

“To whom am I indebted for this honor? That funny little old ambrotype! Where did you unearth it, Lucretia?”

“It was Brother William’s,” Lucretia explained, with her gentle melancholy. “Mark found it in his room and asked me about it.”

Mark looked to see some revelation in Miss Allison Clyde’s face, but found none. Her kindly smile had not faded or changed except to take on a shade of amusement as she picked up the ambrotype.

“How proud I was of that mantilla!” she said. “I remember it so well. It was green. Do you recall it, Lucretia?”

Miss Lucretia nodded, her frail hands busy with the tea-cups.

“I do. And the turban with the green plume you wore with it.”

Mark glanced from the picture of the child to the face of the woman whose youth was past. Was it tragedy for her, he wondered, that she had never known in its fullness the meaning of love and home? Or was she happy burning with her own diffusing light full of the warmth of humanity, loving, and giving to all the world instead of one lover?

Miss Lucretia interrupted his reverie.

“I suppose you are going over to see Stella this evening, and we old people shall have to amuse ourselves without you as best we can.”

Mark lifted his Lowestoft tea-cup and set it down again before he answered slowly:

“No, I think not. I am going to stay and have some music with Miss Allison.”

He wondered why Miss Allison had made Stella seem suddenly hard, new, almost crude, like the modern furniture in the drawing-room beside the fine old mahogany, with its simple decoration and tone of time.

It was that evening, which he had decided should be his last, that, when their music was over, he handed Miss Allison Clyde a sheet of manuscript music.

“Since you liked it,” he said.

She took it, a faint color coming in her cheek. It was the manuscript of the fifth song of his cycle, “Evening,” and he had dedicated it to her. Involuntarily she moved to give it back to him.

“No, not to me. You are too kind. But you must dedicate it to youth.”

He nodded, with his smile.

“So I have: to the woman who has youth in her heart.” Then he drew out the package of letters. “And these,” he said in a lower voice, “are yours also.” He handed them to her silently.

“Mine?” She turned over the package in doubtful wonder.

“I found them in the desk with the daguerreotype. When you open them you will understand.”

Turning from the doorway for a last good night, Mark saw Miss Allison, as he always afterward remembered her, standing by the tall mantel in the candle-light with the unopened package of Uncle William’s letters in her hand.


From The Bellman

Old Zelig was eyed askance by his brethren. No one deigned to call him “Reb” Zelig, nor to prefix to his name the American equivalent—“Mr.” “The old one is a barrel with a stave missing,” knowingly declared his neighbors. “He never spends a cent; and he belongs nowheres.” For “to belong,” on New York’s East Side, is of no slight importance. It means being a member in one of the numberless congregations. Every decent Jew must join “A Society for Burying Its Members,” to be provided at least with a narrow cell at the end of the long road. Zelig was not even a member of one of these. “Alone, like a stone,” his wife often sighed.

In the cloakshop where Zelig worked he stood daily, brandishing his heavy iron on the sizzling cloth, hardly ever glancing about him. The workmen despised him, for during a strike he returned to work after two days’ absence. He could not be idle, and thought with dread of the Saturday that would bring him no pay envelope.

His very appearance seemed alien to his brethren. His figure was tall, and of cast-iron mold. When he stared stupidly at something, he looked like a blind Samson. His gray hair was long, and it fell in disheveled curls on gigantic shoulders somewhat inclined to stoop. His shabby clothes hung loosely on him; and, both summer and winter, the same old cap covered his massive head.

He had spent most of his life in a sequestered village in Little Russia, where he tilled the soil and even wore the national peasant costume. When his son and only child, a poor widower with a boy of twelve on his hands, emigrated to America, the father’s heart bled. Yet he chose to stay in his native village at all hazards, and to die there. One day, however, a letter arrived from the son that he was sick; this sad news was followed by words of a more cheerful nature—“and your grandson Moses goes to public school. He is almost an American; and he is not forced to forget the God of Israel. He will soon be confirmed. His Bar Mitsva is near.” Zelig’s wife wept three days and nights upon the receipt of this letter. The old man said little; but he began to sell his few possessions.

To face the world outside his village spelled agony to the poor rustic. Still he thought he would get used to the new home which his son had chosen. But the strange journey with locomotive and steamship bewildered him dreadfully; and the clamor of the metropolis, into which he was flung pell-mell, altogether stupefied him. With a vacant air he regarded the Pandemonium, and a petrifaction of his inner being seemed to take place. He became “a barrel with a stave missing.” No spark of animation visited his eye. Only one thought survived in his brain, and one desire pulsed in his heart: to save money enough for himself and family to hurry back to his native village. Blind and dead to everything, he moved about with a dumb, lacerating pain in his heart,—he longed for home. Before he found steady employment, he walked daily with titanic strides through the entire length of Manhattan, while children and even adults often slunk into byways to let him pass. Like a huge monster he seemed, with an arrow in his vitals.

In the shop where he found a job at last, the workmen feared him at first; but, ultimately finding him a harmless giant, they more than once hurled their sarcasms at his head. Of the many men and women employed there, only one person had the distinction of getting fellowship from old Zelig. That person was the Gentile watchman or janitor of the shop, a little blond Pole with an open mouth and frightened eyes. And many were the witticisms aimed at this uncouth pair. “The big one looks like an elephant,” the joker of the shop would say; “only he likes to be fed on pennies instead of peanuts.”

“Oi, oi, his nose would betray him,” the “philosopher” of the shop chimed in; and during the dinner hour he would expatiate thus: “You see, money is his blood. He starves himself to have enough dollars to go back to his home: the Pole told me all about it. And why should he stay here? Freedom of religion means nothing to him, he never goes to synagogue; and freedom of the press? Bah—he never even reads the conservative Tageblatt!”

Old Zelig met such gibes with stoicism. Only rarely would he turn up the whites of his eyes, as if in the act of ejaculation; but he would soon contract his heavy brows into a scowl and emphasize the last with a heavy thump of his sizzling iron.

When the frightful cry of the massacred Jews in Russia rang across the Atlantic, and the Ghetto of Manhattan paraded one day through the narrow streets draped in black, through the erstwhile clamorous thoroughfares steeped in silence, stores and shops bolted, a wail of anguish issuing from every door and window—the only one remaining in his shop that day was old Zelig. His fellow-workmen did not call upon him to join the procession. They felt the incongruity of “this brute” in line with mourners in muffled tread. And the Gentile watchman reported the next day that the moment the funeral dirge of the music echoed from a distant street, Zelig snatched off the greasy cap he always wore, and in confusion instantly put it on again. “All the rest of the day,” the Pole related with awe, “he looked wilder than ever, and so thumped with his iron on the cloth that I feared the building would come down.”

But Zelig paid little heed to what was said about him. He dedicated his existence to the saving of his earnings, and only feared that he might be compelled to spend some of them. More than once his wife would be appalled in the dark of night by the silhouette of old Zelig in nightdress, sitting up in bed and counting a bundle of bank notes which he always replaced under his pillow. She frequently upbraided him for his niggardly nature, for his warding off all requests outside the pittance for household expense. She pleaded, exhorted, wailed. He invariably answered: “I haven’t a cent by my soul.” She pointed to the bare walls, the broken furniture, their beggarly attire.

“Our son is ill,” she moaned. “He needs special food and rest; and our grandson is no more a baby; he’ll soon need money for his studies. Dark is my world; you are killing both of them.”

Zelig’s color vanished; his old hands shook with emotion. The poor woman thought herself successful, but the next moment he would gasp: “Not a cent by my soul.”

One day old Zelig was called from his shop, because his son had a sudden severe attack; and, as he ascended the stairs of his home, a neighbor shouted: “Run for a doctor; the patient cannot be revived.” A voice as if from a tomb suddenly sounded in reply, “I haven’t a cent by my soul.”

The hallway was crowded with the ragged tenants of the house, mostly women and children; from far off were heard the rhythmic cries of the mother. The old man stood for a moment as if chilled from the roots of his hair to the tips of his fingers. Then the neighbors heard his sepulchral mumble: “I’ll have to borrow somewheres, beg some one,” as he retreated down the stairs. He brought a physician; and when the grandson asked for money to go for the medicine, Zelig snatched the prescription and hurried away, still murmuring: “I’ll have to borrow, I’ll have to beg.”

Late that night, the neighbors heard a wail issuing from old Zelig’s apartment; and they understood that the son was no more.

Zelig’s purse was considerably thinned. He drew from it with palsied fingers for all burial expenses, looking about him in a dazed way. Mechanically he performed the Hebrew rites for the dead, which his neighbors taught him. He took a knife and made a deep gash in his shabby coat; then he removed his shoes, seated himself on the floor, and bowed his poor old head, tearless, benumbed.

The shop stared when the old man appeared after the prescribed three days’ absence. Even the Pole dared not come near him. A film seemed to coat his glaring eye; deep wrinkles contracted his features, and his muscular frame appeared to shrink even as one looked. From that day on, he began to starve himself more than ever. The passion for sailing back to Russia, “to die at home at last,” lost but little of its original intensity. Yet there was something now which by a feeble thread bound him to the New World.

In a little mound on the Base Achaim, the “House of Life,” under a tombstone engraved with old Hebrew script, a part of himself lay buried. But he kept his thoughts away from that mound. How long and untiringly he kept on saving! Age gained on him with rapid strides. He had little strength left for work, but his dream of home seemed nearing its realization. Only a few more weeks, a few more months! And the thought sent a glow of warmth to his frozen frame. He would even condescend now to speak to his wife concerning the plans he had formed for their future welfare, more especially when she revived her pecuniary complaints.

“See what you have made of us, of the poor child,” she often argued, pointing to the almost grown grandson. “Since he left school, he works for you, and what will be the end?”

At this, Zelig’s heart would suddenly clutch, as if conscious of some indistinct, remote fear. His answers touching the grandson were abrupt, incoherent, as of one who replies to a question unintelligible to him and is in constant dread lest his interlocutor should detect it.

Bitter misgivings concerning the boy began to mingle with the reveries of the old man. At first, he hardly gave a thought to him. The boy grew noiselessly. The ever-surging tide of secular studies that runs so high on the East Side caught this boy in its wave. He was quietly preparing himself for college. In his eagerness to accumulate the required sum, Zelig paid little heed to what was going on around him; and now, on the point of victory, he became aware with growing dread of something abrewing out of the common. He sniffed suspiciously; and one evening he overheard the boy talking to grandma about his hatred of Russian despotism, about his determination to remain in the States. He ended by entreating her to plead with grandpa to promise him the money necessary for a college education.

Old Zelig swooped down upon them with wild eyes. “Much you need it, you stupid,” he thundered at the youngster in unrestrained fury. “You will continue your studies in Russia, durak, stupid.” His timid wife, however, seemed suddenly to gather courage and she exploded: “Yes, you should give your savings for the child’s education here. Woe is me, in the Russian universities no Jewish children are taken.”

Old Zelig’s face grew purple. He rose and abruptly seated himself again. Then he rushed madly, with a raised, menacing arm, at the boy in whom he saw the formidable foe—the foe he had so long been dreading.

But the old woman was quick to interpose with a piercing shriek: “You madman, look at the sick child; you forget from what our son died, going out like a flickering candle.”

That night Zelig tossed feverishly on his bed. He could not sleep. For the first time, it dawned upon him what his wife meant by pointing to the sickly appearance of the child. When the boy’s father died, the physician declared that the cause was tuberculosis.

He rose to his feet. Beads of cold sweat glistened on his forehead, trickled down his cheeks, his beard. He stood pale and panting. Like a startling sound, the thought entered his mind—the boy, what should be done with the boy?

The dim, blue night gleamed in through the windows. All was shrouded in the city silence, which yet has a peculiar, monotonous ring in it. Somewhere, an infant awoke with a sickly cry which ended in a suffocating cough. The grizzled old man bestirred himself, and with hasty steps he tiptoed to the place where the boy lay. For a time he stood gazing on the pinched features, the under-sized body of the lad; then he raised one hand, passed it lightly over the boy’s hair, stroking his cheeks and chin. The boy opened his eyes, looked for a moment at the shriveled form bending over him, then he petulantly closed them again.

“You hate to look at granpa, he is your enemy, eh?” The aged man’s voice shook, and sounded like that of the child’s awaking in the night. The boy made no answer; but the old man noticed how the frail body shook, how the tears rolled, washing the sunken cheeks.

For some moments he stood mute, then his form literally shrank to that of a child’s as he bent over the ear of the boy and whispered hoarsely: “You are weeping, eh? Granpa is your enemy, you stupid! To-morrow I will give you the money for the college. You hate to look at granpa; he is your enemy, eh?”


A Memorial Day Story

From The Outlook

In the year 1868, when Memorial Day was instituted, Fosterville had thirty-five men in its parade. Fosterville was a border town; in it enthusiasm had run high, and many more men had enlisted than those required by the draft. All the men were on the same side but Adam Foust, who, slipping away, joined himself to the troops of his mother’s Southern State. It could not have been any great trial for Adam to fight against most of his companions in Fosterville, for there was only one of them with whom he did not quarrel. That one was his cousin Henry, from whom he was inseparable, and of whose friendship for any other boys he was intensely jealous. Henry was a frank, open-hearted lad who would have lived on good terms with the whole world if Adam had allowed him to.

Adam did not return to Fosterville until the morning of the first Memorial Day, of whose establishment he was unaware. He had been ill for months, and it was only now that he had earned enough to make his way home. He was slightly lame, and he had lost two fingers of his left hand. He got down from the train at the station, and found himself at once in a great crowd. He knew no one, and no one seemed to know him. Without asking any questions, he started up the street. He meant to go, first of all, to the house of his cousin Henry, and then to set about making arrangements to resume his long-interrupted business, that of a saddler, which he could still follow in spite of his injury.

As he hurried along he heard the sound of band music, and realized that some sort of a procession was advancing. With the throng about him he pressed to the curb. The tune was one which he hated; the colors he hated also; the marchers, all but one, he had never liked. There was Newton Towne, with a sergeant’s stripe on his blue sleeve; there was Edward Green, a captain; there was Peter Allinson, a color-bearer. At their head, taller, handsomer, dearer than ever to Adam’s jealous eyes, walked Henry Foust. In an instant of forgetfulness Adam waved his hand. But Henry did not see; Adam chose to think that he saw and would not answer. The veterans passed, and Adam drew back and was lost in the crowd.

But Adam had a parade of his own. In the evening, when the music and the speeches were over and the half-dozen graves of those of Fosterville’s young men who had been brought home had been heaped with flowers, and Fosterville sat on doorsteps and porches talking about the day, Adam put on a gray uniform and walked from one end of the village to the other. These were people who had known him always; the word flew from step to step. Many persons spoke to him, some laughed, and a few jeered. To no one did Adam pay any heed. Past the house of Newton Towne, past the store of Ed Green, past the wide lawn of Henry Foust, walked Adam, his hands clasped behind his back, as though to make more perpendicular than perpendicularity itself that stiff backbone. Henry Foust ran down the steps and out to the gate.

“Oh, Adam!” cried he.

Adam stopped, stock-still. He could see Peter Allinson and Newton Towne, and even Ed Green, on Henry’s porch. They were all having ice-cream and cake together.

“Well, what?” said he, roughly.

“Won’t you shake hands with me?”

“No,” said Adam.

“Won’t you come in?”


Still Henry persisted.

“Some one might do you harm, Adam.”

“Let them!” said Adam.

Then Adam walked on alone. Adam walked alone for forty years.

Not only on Memorial Day did he don his gray uniform and make the rounds of the village. When the Fosterville Grand Army Post met on Friday evenings in the post room, Adam managed to meet most of the members either going or returning. He and his gray suit became gradually so familiar to the village that no one turned his head or glanced up from book or paper to see him go by. He had from time to time a new suit, and he ordered from somewhere in the South a succession of gray, broad-brimmed military hats. The farther the war sank into the past, the straighter grew old Adam’s back, the prouder his head. Sometimes, early in the forty years, the acquaintances of his childhood, especially the women, remonstrated with him.

“The war’s over, Adam,” they would say. “Can’t you forget it?”

“Those G.A.R. fellows don’t forget it,” Adam would answer. “They haven’t changed their principles. Why should I change mine?”

“But you might make up with Henry.”

“That’s nobody’s business but my own.”

“But when you were children you were never separated. Make up, Adam.”

“When Henry needs me, I’ll help him,” said Adam.

“Henry will never need you. Look at all he’s got!”

“Well, then, I don’t need him,” declared Adam, as he walked away. He went back to his saddler shop, where he sat all day stitching. He had ample time to think of Henry and the past.

“Brought up like twins!” he would say. “Sharing like brothers! Now he has a fine business and a fine house and fine children, and I have nothing. But I have my principles. I ain’t never truckled to him. Some day he’ll need me, you’ll see!”

As Adam grew older, it became more and more certain that Henry would never need him for anything. Henry tried again and again to make friends, but Adam would have none of him. He talked more and more to himself as he sat at his work.

“Used to help him over the brook and bait his hook for him. Even built corn-cob houses for him to knock down, that much littler he was than me. Stepped out of the race when I found he wanted Annie. He might ask me for something!” Adam seemed often to be growing childish.

By the year 1875 fifteen of Fosterville’s thirty-five veterans had died. The men who survived the war were, for the most part, not strong men, and weaknesses established in prisons and on long marches asserted themselves. Fifteen times the Fosterville Post paraded to the cemetery and read its committal service and fired its salute. For these parades Adam did not put on his gray uniform.

During the next twenty years deaths were fewer. Fosterville prospered as never before; it built factories and an electric car line. Of all its enterprises Henry Foust was at the head. He enlarged his house and bought farms and grew handsomer as he grew older. Everybody loved him; all Fosterville, except Adam, sought his company. It seemed sometimes as though Adam would almost die from loneliness and jealousy.

“Henry Foust sittin’ with Ed Green!” said Adam to himself, as though he could never accustom his eyes to this phenomenon. “Henry consortin’ with Newt Towne!”

The Grand Army post also grew in importance. It paraded each year with more ceremony; it imported fine music and great speakers for Memorial Day.

Presently the sad procession to the cemetery began once more. There was a long, cold winter, with many cases of pneumonia, and three veterans succumbed; there was an intensely hot summer, and twice in one month the post read its committal service and fired its salute. A few years more, and the post numbered but three. Past them still on post evenings walked Adam, head in air, hands clasped behind his back. There was Edward Green, round, fat, who puffed and panted; there was Newton Towne, who walked, in spite of palsy, as though he had won the battle of Gettysburg; there was, last of all, Henry Foust, who at seventy-five was hale and strong. Usually a tall son walked beside him, or a grandchild clung to his hand. He was almost never alone; it was as though every one who knew him tried to have as much as possible of his company. Past him with a grave nod walked Adam. Adam was two years older than Henry; it required more and more stretching of arms behind his back to keep his shoulders straight.

In April Newton Towne was taken ill and died. Edward Green was terrified, though he considered himself, in spite of his shortness of breath, a strong man.

“Don’t let anything happen to you, Henry,” he would say. “Don’t let anything get you, Henry. I can’t march alone.”

“I’ll be there,” Henry would reassure him. Only one look at Henry, and the most alarmed would have been comforted.

“It would kill me to march alone,” said Edward Green.

As if Fosterville realized that it could not continue long to show its devotion to its veterans, it made this year special preparations for Memorial Day. The Fosterville Band practiced elaborate music, the children were drilled in marching. The children were to precede the veterans to the cemetery and were to scatter flowers over the graves. Houses were gayly decorated, flags and banners floated in the pleasant spring breeze. Early in the morning carriages and wagons began to bring in the country folk.

Adam Foust realized as well as Fosterville that the parades of veterans were drawing to their close.

“This may be the last time I can show my principles,” said he, with grim setting of his lips. “I will put on my gray coat early in the morning.”

Though the two veterans were to march to the cemetery, carriages were provided to bring them home. Fosterville meant to be as careful as possible of its treasures.

“I don’t need any carriage to ride in, like Ed Green,” said Adam proudly. “I could march out and back. Perhaps Ed Green will have to ride out as well as back.”

But Edward Green neither rode nor walked. The day turned suddenly warm, the heat and excitement accelerated his already rapid breathing, and the doctor forbade his setting foot to the ground.

“But I will!” cried Edward, in whom the spirit of war still lived.

“No,” said the doctor.

“Then I will ride.”

“You will stay in bed,” said the doctor.

So without Edward Green the parade was formed. Before the court-house waited the band, and the long line of school-children, and the burgess, and the fire company, and the distinguished stranger who was to make the address, until Henry Foust appeared, in his blue suit, with his flag on his breast and his bouquet in his hand. On each side of him walked a tall, middle-aged son, who seemed to hand him over reluctantly to the marshal, who was to escort him to his place. Smilingly he spoke to the marshal, but he was the only one who smiled or spoke. For an instant men and women broke off in the middle of their sentences, a husky something in their throats; children looked up at him with awe. Even his own grand-children did not dare to wave or call from their places in the ranks. Then the storm of cheers broke.

Round the next corner Adam Foust waited. He was clad in his gray uniform—those who looked at him closely saw with astonishment that it was a new uniform; his brows met in a frown, his gray moustache seemed to bristle.

“How he hates them!” said one citizen of Fosterville to another. “Just look at poor Adam!”

“Used to bait his hook for him,” Adam was saying. “Used to carry him pick-a-back! Used to go halves with him on everything. Now he walks with Ed Green!”

Adam pressed forward to the curb. The band was playing “Marching Through Georgia,” which he hated; everybody was cheering. The volume of sound was deafening.

“Cheering Ed Green!” said Adam. “Fat! Lazy! Didn’t have a wound. Dare say he hid behind a tree! Dare say—”

The band was in sight now, the back of the drum-major appeared, then all the musicians swung round the corner. After them came the little children with their flowers and their shining faces.

“Him and Ed Green next,” said old Adam.

But Henry walked alone. Adam’s whole body jerked in his astonishment. He heard some one say that Edward Green was sick, that the doctor had forbidden him to march, or even to ride. As he pressed nearer the curb he heard the admiring comments of the crowd.

“Isn’t he magnificent!”

“See his beautiful flowers! His grandchildren always send him his flowers.”

“He’s our first citizen.”

“He’s mine!” Adam wanted to cry out. “He’s mine!”

Never had Adam felt so miserable, so jealous, so heartsick. His eyes were filled with the great figure. Henry was, in truth, magnificent, not only in himself, but in what he represented. He seemed symbolic of a great era of the past, and at the same time of a new age which was advancing. Old Adam understood all his glory.

“He’s mine!” said old Adam again, foolishly.

Then Adam leaned forward with startled, staring eyes. Henry had bowed and smiled in answer to the cheers. Across the street his own house was a mass of color—red, white, and blue over windows and doors, gay dresses on the porch. On each side the pavement was crowded with a shouting multitude. Surely no hero had ever had a more glorious passage through the streets of his birthplace!

But old Adam saw that Henry’s face blanched, that there appeared suddenly upon it an expression of intolerable pain. For an instant Henry’s step faltered and grew uncertain.

Then old Adam began to behave like a wild man. He pushed himself through the crowd, he flung himself upon the rope as though to tear it down, he called out, “Wait! wait!” Frightened women, fearful of some sinister purpose, tried to grasp and hold him. No man was immediately at hand, or Adam would have been seized and taken away. As for the feeble women—Adam shook them off and laughed at them.

“Let me go, you geese!” said he.

A mounted marshal saw him and rode down upon him; men started from under the ropes to pursue him. But Adam eluded them or outdistanced them. He strode across an open space with a surety which gave no hint of the terrible beating of his heart, until he reached the side of Henry. Him he greeted, breathlessly and with terrible eagerness.

“Henry,” said he, gasping, “Henry, do you want me to walk along?”

Henry saw the alarmed crowds, he saw the marshal’s hand stretched to seize Adam, he saw most clearly of all the tearful eyes under the beetling brows. Henry’s voice shook, but he made himself clear.

“It’s all right,” said he to the marshal. “Let him be.”

“I saw you were alone,” said Adam. “I said, ‘Henry needs me.’ I know what it is to be alone. I—”

But Adam did not finish his sentence. He found a hand on his, a blue arm linked tightly in his gray arm, he felt himself moved along amid thunderous roars of sound.

“Of course I need you!” said Henry. “I’ve needed you all along.”

Then, old but young, their lives almost ended, but themselves immortal, united, to be divided no more, amid an ever-thickening sound of cheers, the two marched down the street.


From Harper’s Magazine

At least once in my life I have had the good fortune to board a deserted vessel at sea. I say “good fortune” because it has left me the memory of a singular impression. I have felt a ghost of the same thing two or three times since then, when peeping through the doorway of an abandoned house.

Now that vessel was not dead. She was a good vessel, a sound vessel, even a handsome vessel, in her blunt-bowed, coastwise way. She sailed under four lowers across as blue and glittering a sea as I have ever known, and there was not a point in her sailing that one could lay a finger upon as wrong. And yet, passing that schooner at two miles, one knew, somehow, that no hand was on her wheel. Sometimes I can imagine a vessel, stricken like that, moving over the empty spaces of the sea, carrying it off quite well were it not for that indefinable suggestion of a stagger; and I can think of all those ocean gods, in whom no landsman will ever believe, looking at one another and tapping their foreheads with just the shadow of a smile.

I wonder if they all scream—these ships that have lost their souls? Mine screamed. We heard her voice, like nothing I have ever heard before, when we rowed under her counter to read her name—the Marionnette it was, of Halifax. I remember how it made me shiver, there in the full blaze of the sun, to hear her going on so, railing and screaming in that stark fashion. And I remember, too, how our footsteps, pattering through the vacant internals in search of that haggard utterance, made me think of the footsteps of hurrying warders roused in the night.

And we found a parrot in a cage; that was all. It wanted water. We gave it water and went away to look things over, keeping pretty close together, all of us. In the quarters the table was set for four. Two men had begun to eat, by the evidence of the plates. Nowhere in the vessel was there any sign of disorder, except one sea-chest broken out, evidently in haste. Her papers were gone and the stern davits were empty. That is how the case stood that day, and that is how it has stood to this. I saw this same Marionnette a week later, tied up to a Hoboken dock, where she awaited news from her owners; but even there, in the midst of all the water-front bustle, I could not get rid of the feeling that she was still very far away—in a sort of shippish other-world.

The thing happens now and then. Sometimes half a dozen years will go by without a solitary wanderer of this sort crossing the ocean paths, and then in a single season perhaps several of them will turn up: vacant waifs, impassive and mysterious—a quarter-column of tidings tucked away on the second page of the evening paper.

That is where I read the story about the Abbie Rose. I recollect how painfully awkward and out-of-place it looked there, cramped between ruled black edges and smelling of landsman’s ink—this thing that had to do essentially with air and vast colored spaces. I forget the exact words of the heading—something like “Abandoned Craft Picked Up At Sea”—but I still have the clipping itself, couched in the formal patter of the marine-news writer:

“The first hint of another mystery of the sea came in to-day when the schooner Abbie Rose dropped anchor in the upper river, manned only by a crew of one. It appears that the out-bound freighter Mercury sighted the Abbie Rose off Block Island on Thursday last, acting in a suspicious manner. A boat-party sent aboard found the schooner in perfect order and condition, sailing under four lower sails, the topsails being pursed up to the mastheads but not stowed. With the exception of a yellow cat, the vessel was found to be utterly deserted, though her small boat still hung in the davits. No evidences of disorder were visible in any part of the craft. The dishes were washed up, the stove in the galley was still slightly warm to the touch, everything in its proper place with the exception of the vessel’s papers, which were not to be found.

“All indications being for fair weather, Captain Rohmer of the Mercury detailed two of his company to bring the find back to this port, a distance of one hundred and fifteen miles. The only man available with a knowledge of the fore-and-aft rig was Stewart McCord, the second engineer. A seaman by the name of Björnsen was sent with him. McCord arrived this noon, after a very heavy voyage of five days, reporting that Björnsen had fallen overboard while shaking out the foretopsail. McCord himself showed evidences of the hardships he has passed through, being almost a nervous wreck.”

Stewart McCord! Yes, Stewart McCord would have a knowledge of the fore-and-aft rig, or of almost anything else connected with the affairs of the sea. It happened that I used to know this fellow. I had even been quite chummy with him in the old days—that is, to the extent of drinking too many beers with him in certain hot-country ports. I remembered him as a stolid and deliberate sort of a person, with an amazing hodge-podge of learning, a stamp collection, and a theory about the effects of tropical sunshine on the Caucasian race, to which I have listened half of more than one night, stretched out naked on a freighter’s deck. He had not impressed me as a fellow who would be bothered by his nerves.

And there was another thing about the story which struck me as rather queer. Perhaps it is a relic of my seafaring days, but I have always been a conscientious reader of the weather reports; and I could remember no weather in the past week sufficient to shake a man out of a top, especially a man by the name of Björnsen—a thorough-going seafaring name.

I was destined to hear more of this in the evening from the ancient boatman who rowed me out on the upper river. He had been to sea in his day. He knew enough to wonder about this thing, even to indulge in a little superstitious awe about it.

“No sir-ee. Something happened to them four chaps. And another thing—”

I fancied I heard a sea-bird whining in the darkness overhead. A shape moved out of the gloom ahead, passed to the left, lofty and silent, and merged once more with the gloom behind—a barge at anchor, with the sea-grass clinging around her water-line.

“Funny about that other chap,” the old fellow speculated. “Björnsen—I b’lieve he called ’im. Now that story sounds to me kind of—” He feathered his oars with a suspicious jerk and peered at me. “This McCord a friend of yourn?” he inquired.

“In a way,” I said.

“Hm-m—well—” He turned on his thwart to squint ahead. “There she is,” he announced, with something of relief, I thought.

It was hard at that time of night to make anything but a black blotch out of the Abbie Rose. Of course I could see that she was pot-bellied, like the rest of the coastwise sisterhood. And that McCord had not stowed his topsails. I could make them out, pursed at the mastheads and hanging down as far as the cross-trees, like huge, over-ripe pears. Then I recollected that he had found them so—probably had not touched them since; a queer way to leave tops, it seemed to me. I could see also the glowing tip of a cigar floating restlessly along the farther rail. I called: “McCord! Oh, McCord!”

The spark came swimming across the deck. “Hello! Hello there—ah—” There was a note of querulous uneasiness there that somehow jarred with my remembrance of this man.

“Ridgeway,” I explained.

He echoed the name uncertainly, still with that suggestion of peevishness, hanging over the rail and peering down at us. “Oh! By gracious!” he exclaimed, abruptly. “I’m glad to see you, Ridgeway. I had a boatman coming out before this, but I guess—well, I guess he’ll be along. By gracious! I’m glad—”

“I’ll not keep you,” I told the gnome, putting the money in his palm and reaching for the rail. McCord lent me a hand on my wrist. Then when I stood squarely on the deck beside him he appeared to forget my presence, leaned forward heavily on the rail, and squinted after my waning boatman.

“Ahoy—boat!” he called out, sharply, shielding his lips with his hands. His violence seemed to bring him out of the blank, for he fell immediately to puffing strongly at his cigar and explaining in rather a shame-voiced way that he was beginning to think his own boatman had “passed him up.”

“Come in and have a nip,” he urged with an abrupt heartiness, clapping me on the shoulder.

“So you’ve—” I did not say what I had intended. I was thinking that in the old days McCord had made rather a fetish of touching nothing stronger than beer. Neither had he been of the shoulder-clapping sort. “So you’ve got something aboard?” I shifted.

“Dead men’s liquor,” he chuckled. It gave me a queer feeling in the pit of my stomach to hear him. I began to wish I had not come, but there was nothing for it now but to follow him into the afterhouse. The cabin itself might have been nine feet square, with three bunks occupying the port side. To the right opened the master’s stateroom, and a door in the forward bulkhead led to the galley.

I took in these features at a casual glance. Then, hardly knowing why I did it, I began to examine them with greater care.

“Have you a match?” I asked. My voice sounded very small, as though something unheard of had happened to all the air.

“Smoke?” he asked. “I’ll get you a cigar.”

“No.” I took the proffered match, scratched it on the side of the galley door, and passed out. There seemed to be a thousand pans there, throwing my match back at me from every wall of the box-like compartment. Even McCord’s eyes, in the doorway, were large and round and shining. He probably thought me crazy. Perhaps I was, a little. I ran the match along close to the ceiling and came upon a rusty hook a little aport of the center.

“There,” I said. “Was there anything hanging from this—er—say a parrot—or something, McCord?” The match burned my fingers and went out.

“What do you mean?” McCord demanded from the doorway. I got myself back into the comfortable yellow glow of the cabin before I answered, and then it was a question.

“Do you happen to know anything about this craft’s personal history?”

“No. What are you talking about! Why?”

“Well, I do,” I offered. “For one thing, she’s changed her name. And it happens this isn’t the first time she’s—well, damn it all, fourteen years ago I helped pick up this whatever-she-is off the Virginia Capes—in the same sort of condition. There you are!” I was yapping like a nerve-strung puppy.

McCord leaned forward with his hands on the table, bringing his face beneath the fan of the hanging-lamp. For the first time I could mark how shockingly it had changed. It was almost colorless. The jaw had somehow lost its old-time security and the eyes seemed to be loose in their sockets. I had expected him to start at my announcement; he only blinked at the light.

“I am not surprised,” he remarked at length. “After what I’ve seen and heard—”. He lifted his fist and brought it down with a sudden crash on the table. “Man—let’s have a nip!”

He was off before I could say a word, fumbling out of sight in the narrow state-room. Presently he reappeared, holding a glass in either hand and a dark bottle hugged between his elbows. Putting the glasses down, he held up the bottle between his eyes and the lamp, and its shadow, falling across his face, green and luminous at the core, gave him a ghastly look—like a mutilation or an unspeakable birth-mark. He shook the bottle gently and chuckled his “Dead men’s liquor” again. Then he poured two half-glasses of the clear gin, swallowed his portion, and sat down.

“A parrot,” he mused, a little of the liquor’s color creeping into his cheeks. “No, this time it was a cat, Ridgeway. A yellow cat. She was—”

Was?” I caught him up. “What’s happened—what’s become of her?”

“Vanished. Evaporated. I haven’t seen her since night before last, when I caught her trying to lower the boat—”

Stop it!” It was I who banged the table now, without any of the reserve of decency. “McCord, you’re drunk—drunk, I tell you. A cat! Let a cat throw you off your head like this! She’s probably hiding out below this minute, on affairs of her own.”

“Hiding?” He regarded me for a moment with the queer superiority of the damned. “I guess you don’t realize how many times I’ve been over this hulk, from decks to keelson, with a mallet and a foot-rule.”

“Or fallen overboard,” I shifted, with less assurance. “Like this fellow Björnsen. By the way, McCord—”. I stopped there on account of the look in his eyes.

He reached out, poured himself a shot, swallowed it, and got up to shuffle about the confined quarters. I watched their restless circuit—my friend and his jumping shadow. He stopped and bent forward to examine a Sunday-supplement chromo tacked on the wall, and the two heads drew together, as though there were something to whisper. Of a sudden I seemed to hear the old gnome croaking, “Now that story sounds to me kind of—”

McCord straightened up and turned to face me.

“What do you know about Björnsen?” he demanded.

“Well—only what they had you saying in the papers,” I told him.

“Pshaw!” He snapped his fingers, tossing the affair aside. “I found her log,” he announced in quite another voice.

“You did, eh? I judged, from what I read in the paper, that there was’t a sign.”

“No, no; I happened on this the other night, under the mattress in there.” He jerked his head toward the state-room. “Wait!” I heard him knocking things over in the dark and mumbling at them. After a moment he came out and threw on the table a long, cloth-covered ledger, of the common commercial sort. It lay open at about the middle, showing close script running indiscriminately across the column ruling.

“When I said ‘log,’” he went on, “I guess I was going it a little strong. At least, I wouldn’t want that sort of log found around my vessel. Let’s call it a personal record. Here’s his picture, somewhere—”. He shook the book by its back and a common kodak blueprint fluttered to the table. It was the likeness of a solid man with a paunch, a huge square beard, small squinting eyes, and a bald head. “What do you make of him—a writing chap?”

“From the nose down, yes,” I estimated. “From the nose up, he will ’tend to his own business if you will ’tend to yours, strictly.”

McCord slapped his thigh. “By gracious! that’s the fellow! He hates the Chinaman. He knows as well as anything he ought not to put down in black and white how intolerably he hates the Chinaman, and yet he must sneak off to his cubby-hole and suck his pencil, and—and how is it Stevenson has it?—the ‘agony of composition,’ you remember. Can you imagine the fellow, Ridgeway, bundling down here with the fever on him—”

“About the Chinaman,” I broke in. “I think you said something about a Chinaman?”

“Yes. The cook, he must have been. I gather he wasn’t the master’s pick, by the reading-matter here. Probably clapped on to him by the owners—shifted from one of their others at the last moment; a queer trick. Listen.” He picked up the book and, running over the pages with a selective thumb, read:

“‘August second. First part, moderate southwesterly breeze—’ and so forth—er—but here he comes to it:

“‘Anything can happen to a man at sea, even a funeral. In special to a Chinyman, who is of no account to social welfare, being a barbarian as I look at it.’

“Something of a philosopher, you see. And did you get the reserve in that ‘even a funeral?’ An artist, I tell you. But wait; let me catch him a bit wilder. Here:

“‘I’ll get that mustard-colored —— [This is back a couple of days.] Never can hear the —— coming, in them carpet slippers. Turned round and found him standing right to my back this morning. Could have stuck a knife into me easy. “Look here!” says I, and fetched him a tap on the ear that will make him walk louder next time, I warrant. He could have stuck a knife into me easy.’

“A clear case of moral funk, I should say. Can you imagine the fellow, Ridgeway—”

“Yes; oh, yes.” I was ready with a phrase of my own. “A man handicapped with an imagination. You see he can’t quite understand this ‘barbarian,’ who has him beaten by about thirty centuries of civilization—and his imagination has to have something to chew on, something to hit—a ‘tap on the ear,’ you know.”

“By gracious! that’s the ticket!” McCord pounded his knee. “And now we’ve got another chap going to pieces—Peters, he calls him. Refuses to eat dinner on August the third, claiming he caught the Chink making passes over the chowder-pot with his thumb. Can you believe it, Ridgeway—in this very cabin here?” Then he went on with a suggestion of haste, as though he had somehow made a slip. “Well, at any rate, the disease seems to be catching. Next day it’s Bach, the second seaman, who begins to feel the gaff. Listen:

“‘Back he comes to me to-night, complaining he’s being watched. He claims the —— has got the evil eye. Says he can see you through a two-inch bulkhead, and the like. The Chink’s laying in his bunk, turned the other way. “Why don’t you go aboard of him,” says I. The Dutcher says nothing, but goes over to his own bunk and feels under the straw. When he comes back he’s looking queer. “By God!” says he, “the devil has swiped my gun!”... Now if that’s true there is going to be hell to pay in this vessel very quick. I figure I’m still master of this vessel.’”

“The evil eye,” I grunted. “Consciences gone wrong there somewhere.”

“Not altogether, Ridgeway. I can see that yellow man peeking. Now just figure yourself, say, eight thousand miles from home, out on the water alone with a crowd of heathen fanatics crazy from fright, looking around for guns and so on. Don’t you believe you’d keep an eye around the corners, kind of—eh? I’ll bet a hat he was taking it all in, lying there in his bunk, ‘turned the other way.’ Eh? I pity the poor cuss—Well, there’s only one more entry after that. He’s good and mad. Here:

“‘Now, by God! this is the end. My gun’s gone, too; right out from under lock and key, by God! I been talking with Bach this morning. Not to let on, I had him in to clean my lamp. There’s more ways than one, he says, and so do I.’”

McCord closed the book and dropped it on the table.

“Finis,” he said. “The rest is blank paper.”

“Well!” I will confess I felt much better than I had for some time past. “There’s one ‘mystery of the sea’ gone to pot, at any rate. And now, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll have another of your nips, McCord.”

He pushed my glass across the table and got up, and behind his back his shoulder rose to scour the corners of the room, like an incorruptible sentinel. I forgot to take up my gin, watching him. After an uneasy minute or so he came back to the table and pressed the tip of a forefinger on the book.

“Ridgeway,” he said, “you don’t seem to understand. This particular ‘mystery of the sea’ hasn’t been scratched yet—not even scratched, Ridgeway.” He sat down and leaned forward, fixing me with a didactic finger. “What happened?”

“Well, I have an idea the ‘barbarian’ got them, when it came to the pinch.”

“And let the—remains over the side?”

“I should say.”

“And then they came back and got the ‘barbarian’ and let him over the side, eh? There were none left, you remember.”

“Oh, good Lord, I don’t know!” I flared with a childish resentment at this catechising of his. But his finger remained there, challenging.

“I do,” he announced. “The Chinaman put them over the side, as we have said. And then, after that, he died—of wounds about the head.”

“So?” I had still sarcasm.

“You will remember,” he went on, “that the skipper did not happen to mention a cat, a yellow cat, in his confessions.”

“McCord,” I begged him, “please drop it. Why in thunder should he mention a cat?”

“True. Why should he mention a cat? I think one of the reasons why he should not mention a cat is because there did not happen to be a cat aboard at that time.”

“Oh, all right!” I reached out and pulled the bottle to my side of the table. Then I took out my watch. “If you don’t mind,” I suggested, “I think we’d better be going ashore. I’ve got to get to my office rather early in the morning. What do you say?”

He said nothing for the moment, but his finger had dropped. He leaned back and stared straight into the core of the light above, his eyes squinting.

“He would have been from the south of China, probably.” He seemed to be talking to himself. “There’s a considerable sprinkling of the belief down there, I’ve heard. It’s an uncanny business—this transmigration of souls—”

Personally, I had had enough of it. McCord’s fingers came groping across the table for the bottle. I picked it up hastily and let it go through the open companionway, where it died with a faint gurgle, out somewhere on the river.

“Now,” I said to him, shaking the vagrant wrist, “either you come ashore with me or you go in there and get under the blankets. You’re drunk, McCord—drunk. Do you hear me?”

“Ridgeway,” he pronounced, bringing his eyes down to me and speaking very slowly. “You’re a fool, if you can’t see better than that. I’m not drunk. I’m sick. I haven’t slept for three nights—and now I can’t. And you say—you—” He went to pieces very suddenly, jumped up, pounded the legs of his chair on the decking, and shouted at me: “And you say that, you—you landlubber, you office coddler! You’re so comfortably sure that everything in the world is cut and dried. Come back to the water again and learn how to wonder—and stop talking like a damn fool. Do you know where—. Is there anything in your municipal budget to tell me where Björnsen went? Listen!” He sat down, waving me to do the same, and went on with a sort of desperate repression.

“It happened on the first night after we took this hellion. I’d stood the wheel most of the afternoon—off and on, that is, because she sails herself uncommonly well. Just put her on a reach, you know, and she carries it off pretty well—”

“I know,” I nodded.

“Well, we mugged up about seven o’clock. There was a good deal of canned stuff in the galley, and Björnsen wasn’t a bad hand with a kettle—a thoroughgoing Square-head he was—tall and lean and yellow-haired, with little fat, round cheeks and a white mustache. Not a bad chap at all. He took the wheel to stand till midnight, and I turned in, but I didn’t drop off for quite a spell. I could hear his boots wandering around over my head, padding off forward, coming back again. I heard him whistling now and then—an outlandish air. Occasionally I could see the shadow of his head waving in a block of moonlight that lay on the decking right down there in front of the state-room door. It came from the companion; the cabin was dark because we were going easy on the oil. They hadn’t left a great deal, for some reason or other.”

McCord leaned back and described with his finger where the illumination had cut the decking.

“There! I could see it from my bunk, as I lay, you understand. I must have almost dropped off once when I heard him fiddling around out here in the cabin, and then he said something in a whisper, just to find out if I was still awake, I suppose. I asked him what the matter was. He came and poked his head in the door.”

“‘The breeze is going out,’ says he. ‘I was wondering if we couldn’t get a little more sail on her.’ Only I can’t give you his fierce Square-head tang. ‘How about the tops?’ he suggested.

“I was so sleepy I didn’t care, and I told him so. ‘All right,’ he says, ‘but I thought I might shake out one of them tops.’ Then I heard him blow at something outside. ‘Scat, you—!’ Then: ‘This cat’s going to set me crazy, Mr. McCord,’ he says, ‘following me around everywhere.’ He gave a kick, and I saw something yellow floating across the moonlight. It never made a sound—just floated. You wouldn’t have known it ever lit anywhere, just like—”

McCord stopped and drummed a few beats on the table with his fist, as though to bring himself back to the straight narrative.

“I went to sleep,” he began again. “I dreamed about a lot of things. I woke up sweating. You know how glad you are to wake up after a dream like that and find none of it is so? Well, I turned over and settled to go off again, and then I got a little more awake and thought to myself it must be pretty near time for me to go on deck. I scratched a match and looked at my watch. ‘That fellow must be either a good chap or asleep,’ I said to myself. And I rolled out quick and went above-decks. He wasn’t at the wheel. I called him: ‘Björnsen! Björnsen!’ No answer.”

McCord was really telling a story now. He paused for a long moment, one hand shielding an ear and his eyeballs turned far up.

“That was the first time I really went over the hulk,” he ran on. “I got out a lantern and started at the forward end of the hold, and I worked aft, and there was nothing there. Not a sign, or a stain, or a scrap of clothing, or anything. You may believe that I began to feel funny inside. I went over the decks and the rails and the house itself—inch by inch. Not a trace. I went out aft again. The cat sat on the wheel-box, washing her face. I hadn’t noticed the scar on her head before, running down between her ears—rather a new scar—three or four days old, I should say. It looked ghastly and blue-white in the flat moonlight. I ran over and grabbed her up to heave her over the side—you understand how upset I was. Now you know a cat will squirm around and grab something when you hold it like that, generally speaking. This one didn’t. She just drooped and began to purr and looked up at me out of her moonlit eyes under that scar. I dropped her on the deck and backed off. You remember Björnsen had kicked her—and I didn’t want anything like that happening to—”

The narrator turned upon me with a sudden heat, leaned over and shook his finger before my face.

“There you go!” he cried. “You, with your stout stone buildings and your policemen and your neighborhood church—you’re so damn sure. But I’d just like to see you out there, alone, with the moon setting, and all the lights gone tall and queer, and a shipmate—” He lifted his hand overhead, the finger-tips pressed together and then suddenly separated as though he had released an impalpable something into the air.

“Go on,” I told him.

“I felt more like you do, when it got light again, and warm and sunshiny. I said ‘Bah!’ to the whole business. I even fed the cat, and I slept awhile on the roof of the house—I was so sure. We lay dead most of the day, without a streak of air. But that night—! Well, that night I hadn’t got over being sure yet. It takes quite a jolt, you know, to shake loose several dozen generations. A fair, steady breeze had come along, the glass was high, she was staying herself like a doll, and so I figured I could get a little rest lying below in the bunk, even if I didn’t sleep.

“I tried not to sleep, in case something should come up—a squall or the like. But I think I must have dropped off once or twice. I remember I heard something fiddling around in the galley, and I hollered ‘Scat!’ and everything was quiet again. I rolled over and lay on my left side, staring at that square of moonlight outside my door for a long time. You’ll think it was a dream—what I saw there.”

“Go on,” I said.

“Call this table-top the spot of light, roughly,” he said. He placed a finger-tip at about the middle of the forward edge and drew it slowly toward the center. “Here, what would correspond with the upper side of the companion-way, there came down very gradually the shadow of a tail. I watched it streaking out there across the deck, wiggling the slightest bit now and then. When it had come down about half-way across the light, the solid part of the animal—its shadow, you understand—began to appear, quite big and round. But how could she hang there, done up in a ball, from the hatch?”

He shifted his finger back to the edge of the table and puddled it around to signify the shadowed body.

“I fished my gun out from behind my back. You see I was feeling funny again. Then I started to slide one foot over the edge of the bunk, always with my eyes on that shadow. Now I swear I didn’t make the sound of a pin dropping, but I had no more than moved a muscle when that shadowed thing twisted itself around in a flash—and there on the floor before me was the profile of a man’s head, upside down, listening—a man’s head with a tail of hair.”

McCord got up hastily and stepped in front of the state-room door, where he bent down and scratched a match.

“See,” he said, holding the tiny flame above a splintered scar on the boards. “You wouldn’t think a man would be fool enough to shoot at a shadow?”

He came back and sat down.

“It seemed to me all hell had shaken loose. You’ve no idea, Ridgeway, the rumpus a gun raises in a box like this. I found out afterward the slug ricochetted into the galley, bringing down a couple of pans—and that helped. Oh yes, I got out of here quick enough. I stood there, half out of the companion, with my hands on the hatch and the gun between them, and my shadow running off across the top of the house shivering before my eyes like a dry leaf. There wasn’t a whisper of sound in the world—just the pale water floating past and the sails towering up like a pair of twittering ghosts. And everything that crazy color—

“Well, in a minute I saw it, just abreast of the mainmast, crouched down in the shadow of the weather rail, sneaking off forward very slowly. This time I took a good long sight before I let go. Did you ever happen to see black-powder smoke in the moonlight? It puffed out perfectly round, like a big, pale balloon, this did, and for a second something was bounding through it—without a sound, you understand—something a shade solider than the smoke and big as a cow, it looked to me. It passed from the weather side to the lee and ducked behind the sweep of the mainsail like that—” McCord snapped his thumb and forefinger under the light.

“Go on,” I said. “What did you do then?”

McCord regarded me for an instant from beneath his lids, uncertain. His fist hung above the table. “You’re—” He hesitated, his lips working vacantly. A forefinger came out of the fist and gesticulated before my face. “If you’re laughing, why, damn me, I’ll—”

“Go on,” I repeated. “What did you do then?”

“I followed the thing.” He was still watching me sullenly. “I got up and went forward along the roof of the house, so as to have an eye on either rail. You understand, this business had to be done with. I kept straight along. Every shadow I wasn’t absolutely sure of I made sure of—point-blank. And I rounded the thing up at the very stem—sitting on the butt of the bowsprit, Ridgeway, washing her yellow face under the moon. I didn’t make any bones about it this time. I put the bad end of that gun against the scar on her head and squeezed the trigger. It snicked on an empty shell. I tell you a fact; I was almost deafened by the report that didn’t come.

“She followed me aft. I couldn’t get away from her. I went and sat on the wheel-box and she came and sat on the edge of the house, facing me. And there we stayed for upwards of an hour, without moving. Finally she went over and stuck her paw in the water-pan I’d set out for her; then she raised her head and looked at me and yawled. At sun-down there’d been two quarts of water in that pan. You wouldn’t think a cat could get away with two quarts of water in—”

He broke off again and considered me with a sort of weary defiance.

“What’s the use?” He spread out his hands in a gesture of hopelessness. “I knew you wouldn’t believe it when I started. You couldn’t. It would be a kind of blasphemy against the sacred institution of pavements. You’re too damn smug, Ridgeway. I can’t shake you. You haven’t sat two days and two nights, keeping your eyes open by sheer teeth-gritting, until they got used to it and wouldn’t shut any more. When I tell you I found that yellow thing snooping around the davits, and three bights of the boat-fall loosened out, plain on deck—you grin behind your collar. When I tell you she padded off forward and evaporated—flickered back to hell and hasn’t been seen since, then—why, you explain to yourself that I’m drunk. I tell you—” He jerked his head back abruptly and turned to face the companionway, his lips still apart. He listened so for a moment, then he shook himself out of it and went on:

“I tell you, Ridgeway, I’ve been over this hulk with a foot-rule. There’s not a cubic inch I haven’t accounted for, not a plank I—”

This time he got up and moved a step toward the companion, where he stood with his head bent forward and slightly to the side. After what might have been twenty seconds of this he whispered, “Do you hear?”

Far and far away down the reach a ferry-boat lifted its infinitesimal wail, and then the silence of the night river came down once more, profound and inscrutable A corner of the wick above my head sputtered a little—that was all.

“Hear what?” I whispered back. He lifted a cautious finger toward the opening.

“Somebody. Listen.”

The man’s faculties must have been keyed up to the pitch of his nerves, for to me the night remained as voiceless as a subterranean cavern. I became intensely irritated with him; within my mind I cried out against this infatuated pantomime of his. And then, of a sudden, there was a sound—the dying rumor of a ripple, somewhere in the outside darkness, as though an object had been let into the water with extreme care.

“You heard?”

I nodded. The ticking of the watch in my vest pocket came to my ears, shucking off the leisurely seconds, while McCord’s fingernails gnawed at the palms of his hands. The man was really sick. He wheeled on me and cried out, “My God! Ridgeway—why don’t we go out?”

I, for one, refused to be a fool. I passed him and climbed out of the opening; he followed far enough to lean his elbows on the hatch, his feet and legs still within the secure glow of the cabin.

“You see, there’s nothing.” My wave of assurance was possibly a little over-done.

“Over there,” he muttered, jerking his head toward the shore lights. “Something swimming.”

I moved to the corner of the house and listened.

“River thieves,” I argued. “The place is full of—”

Ridgeway. Look behind you!

Perhaps it is the pavements—but no matter; I am not ordinarily a jumping sort. And yet there was something in the quality of that voice beyond my shoulder that brought the sweat stinging through the pores of my scalp even while I was in the act of turning.

A cat sat there on the hatch, expressionless and immobile in the gloom.

I did not say anything. I turned and went below. McCord was there already, standing on the farther side of the table. After a moment or so the cat followed and sat on her haunches at the foot of the ladder and stared at us without winking.

“I think she wants something to eat,” I said to McCord.

He lit a lantern and went into the galley. Returning with a chunk of salt beef, he threw it into the farther corner. The cat went over and began to tear at it, her muscles playing with convulsive shadow-lines under the sagging yellow hide.

And now it was she who listened, to something beyond the reach of even McCord’s faculties, her neck stiff and her ears flattened. I looked at McCord and found him brooding at the animal with a sort of listless malevolence. “Quick! She has kittens somewhere about.” I shook his elbow sharply. “When she starts, now—”

“You don’t seem to understand,” he mumbled. “It wouldn’t be any use.”

She had turned now and was making for the ladder with the soundless agility of her race. I grasped McCord’s wrist and dragged him after me, the lantern banging against his knees. When we came up the cat was already amidships, a scarcely discernible shadow at the margin of our lantern’s ring. She stopped and looked back at us with her luminous eyes, appeared to hesitate, uneasy at our pursuit of her, shifted here and there with quick, soft bounds, and stopped to fawn with her back arched at the foot of the mast. Then she was off with an amazing suddenness into the shadows forward.

“Lively now!” I yelled at McCord. He came pounding along behind me, still protesting that it was of no use. Abreast of the foremast I took the lantern from him to hold above my head.

“You see,” he complained, peering here and there over the illuminated deck. “I tell you, Ridgeway, this thing—” But my eyes were in another quarter, and I slapped him on the shoulder.

“An engineer—an engineer to the core,” I cried at him. “Look aloft, man.”

Our quarry was almost to the cross-trees, clambering the shrouds with a smartness no sailor has ever come to, her yellow body, cut by the moving shadows of the ratlines, a queer sight against the mat of the night. McCord closed his mouth and opened it again for two words: “By gracious!” The following instant he had the lantern and was after her. I watched him go up above my head—a ponderous, swaying climber into the sky—come to the cross-trees, and squat there with his knees clamped around the mast. The clear star of the lantern shot this way and that for a moment, then it disappeared and in its place there sprang out a bag of yellow light, like a fire-balloon at anchor in the heavens. I could see the shadows of his head and hands moving monstrously over the inner surface of the sail, and muffled exclamations without meaning came down to me. After a moment he drew out his head and called: “All right—they’re here. Heads! there below!”

I ducked at his warning, and something spanked on the planking a yard from my feet. I stepped over to the vague blur on the deck and picked up a slipper—a slipper covered with some woven straw stuff and soled with a matted felt, perhaps a half-inch thick. Another struck somewhere abaft the mast, and then McCord reappeared above and began to stagger down the shrouds. Under his left arm he hugged a curious assortment of litter, a sheaf of papers, a brace of revolvers, a gray kimono, and a soiled apron.

“Well,” he said when he had come to deck, “I feel like a man who has gone to hell and come back again. You know I’d come to the place where I really believed that about the cat. When you think of it—By gracious! we haven’t come so far from the jungle, after all.”

We went aft and below and sat down at the table as we had been. McCord broke a prolonged silence.

“I’m sort of glad he got away—poor cuss! He’s probably climbing up a wharf this minute, shivering and scared to death. Over toward the gas-tanks, by the way he was swimming. By gracious! now that the world’s turned over straight again, I feel I could sleep a solid week. Poor cuss! can you imagine him, Ridgeway—”

“Yes,” I broke in. “I think I can. He must have lost his nerve when he made out your smoke and shinnied up there to stow away, taking the ship’s papers with him He would have attached some profound importance to them—remember, the ‘barbarian,’ eight thousand miles from home. Probably couldn’t read a word. I suppose the cat followed him—the traditional source of food He must have wanted water badly.”

“I should say! He wouldn’t have taken the chances he did.”

“Well,” I announced, “at any rate, I can say it now—there’s another ‘mystery of the sea’ gone to pot.”

McCord lifted his heavy lids.

“No,” he mumbled. “The mystery is that a man who has been to sea all his life could sail around for three days with a man bundled up in his top and not know it. When I think of him peeking down at me—and playing off that damn cat—probably without realizing it—scared to death—by gracious! Ridgeway, there was a pair of funks aboard this craft, eh? Wow—yow—I could sleep—”

“I should think you could.”

McCord did not answer.

“By the way,” I speculated. “I guess you were right about Björnsen, McCord—that is, his fooling with the foretop. He must have been caught all of a bunch, eh?”

Again McCord failed to answer. I looked up, mildly surprised, and found his head hanging back over his chair and his mouth opened wide. He was asleep.


From Scribner’s Magazine

“... While faith, that in the mire was fain to wallow,
Returns at last to find
The cold fanes desolate, the niches hollow,
The windows dim and blind,

“And strown with ruins around, the shattered relic
Of unregardful youth,
Where shapes of beauty once, with tongues angelic,
Whispered the runes of Truth.”

From “The Burden of Lost Souls.”

On the day before Isador Framberg’s body was brought back to Chicago from Vera Cruz, James Thorold’s appointment as ambassador to Forsland was confirmed by the Senate of the United States. Living, Isador Framberg might never have wedged into the affairs of nations and the destinies of James Thorold. Marines in the navy do not intrigue with chances of knee-breeches at the Court of St. Jerome. More than miles lie between Forquier Street and the Lake Shore Drive. Dead, Isador Framberg became, as dead men sometimes become, the archangel of a nation, standing with flaming sword at the gateway to James Thorold’s paradise.

For ten years the Forsland embassy had been the goal of James Thorold’s ambition. A man past seventy, head of a great importing establishment, he had shown interest in public affairs only within the decade, although his very build, tall, erect, commanding, and his manner suavely courteous and untouched by futile haste, seemed to have equipped him with a natural bent for public life. Marrying late in life, he seemed to have found his bent more tardily than did other men. But he had invested wealth, influence, and wisdom in the future of men who, come to power, were paying him with this grant of his desire. The news, coming to him unofficially but authoritatively from Washington, set him to cabling his wife and daughter in Paris and telegraphing his son whose steamer was just docking in New York. The boy’s answer, delayed in transit and announcing that he was already on his way to Chicago, came with the morning newspapers and hurried his father through their contents in order that he might be on time to meet Peter at the station.

The newspapers, chronicling Thorold’s appointment briefly, were heavy with harbingering of the funeral procession of the boy who had fallen a fortnight before in the American navy’s attack upon Vera Cruz. The relative values that editors placed upon the marine’s death and his own honoring nettled Thorold. Ambassadors to the Court of St. Jerome were not chosen from Chicago every day, he reasoned, finding Isador Framberg already the fly in the amber of his contentment. To change the current of his thought he read over Peter’s telegram, smiling at the exuberant message of joy in which the boy had vaunted the family glory. The yellow slip drove home to James Thorold the realization of how largely Peter’s young enthusiasm was responsible for the whetting of his father’s desire to take part in public affairs. For Peter’s praise James Thorold would have moved mountains; and Peter’s praise had a way of following the man on horseback. Thorold’s eager anticipation of the boy’s pride in him sped his course through rosy mists of hope as his motor-car threaded the bright drive and through the crowded Parkway toward the Rush Street bridge.

A cloud drifted across the sky of his serenity, however, as a blockade of traffic delayed his car in front of the old Adams homestead, rising among lilacs that flooded half city square with fragrance. The old house, famous beyond its own day for Judge Adams’s friendship with Abraham Lincoln and the history-making sessions that the little group of Illinois idealists had held within its walls, loomed gray above the flowering shrubs, a saddening reminder of days that James Thorold must have known; but Thorold, glimpsing the place, turned away from it in a movement so swift as to betoken some resentment and gave heed instead to the long line of motors rolling smoothly toward the city’s heart.

Over the bridge and through the packed streets of the down-town district Thorold, shaken from his revery of power and Peter, watched the film that Chicago unrolled for the boulevard pilgrims. The boats in the river, the long switch-tracks of the railroads, the tall grain-elevators, the low warehouses from which drifted alluring odors of spices linked for James Thorold the older city of his youth with the newer one of his age as the street linked one division of the city’s geography with another. They were the means by which Chicago had risen from the sand-flats of the fifties to the Michigan Avenue of the present, that wide street of the high skyline that fronted the world as it faced the Great Lakes, squarely, solidly, openly. They were the means, too, by which James Thorold had augmented his fortune until it had acquired the power to send him to Forsland. To him, however, they represented not ladders to prosperity but a social condition of a passing generation, the Chicago of the seventies, a city distinctively American in population and in ideals, a youthful city of a single standard of endeavor, a pleasant place that had been swallowed by the Chicago of the present, that many-tentacled monster of heterogeneous races, that affected him as it did so many of the older residents, with an overwhelming sensation of revolt against its sprawling lack of cohesion. Even the material advantages that had accrued to him from the growth of the city could not reconcile James Thorold to the fact that the elements of the city’s growth came from the races of men whom he held in contempt. What mattered it, he reasoned, that Chicago waxed huge when her grossness came from the unassimilated, indigestible mass of Latins and Greeks, Poles and Russians, Czechs, Bulgars, Jews, who filled the streets, the factories, and the schools?

The prejudice, always strong within him, rose higher as he found his machine blocked again, this time by the crowd that stood across Jackson Boulevard at La Salle Street. Even after the peremptory order of a mounted police officer had cleared the way for him James Thorold frowned on the lines of men and women pressed back against the curbstones. The thought that they were waiting the coming of the body of that boy who had died in Mexico added to his annoyance the realization that he would have to fight his way through another crowd at the station if he wished to reach the train-shed where Peter’s train would come. The struggle was spared him, however, by the recognition of a newspaper reporter who took it for granted that the ambassador to Forsland had come to meet the funeral cortège of the marine and who led him through a labyrinthine passage that brought him past the gates and under the glass dome of the train-shed.

Left alone, Thorold paced the platform a little apart from the group of men who had evidently been delegated to represent the city. Some of them he knew. Others of them, men of Isador Framberg’s people and of the ten tribes of Israel, he did not care to know. He turned away from them to watch the people beyond the gates. Thousands of faces, typical of every nation of Europe and some of the lands of Asia, fair Norsemen and Teutons, olive-skinned Italians and men and women of the swarthier peoples of Palestine, Poles, Finns, Lithuanians, Russians, Bulgars, Bohemians, units of that mass which had welded in the city of the Great Lakes of America, looked out from behind the iron fence. The tensity written on their faces, eager yet awed, brought back to James Thorold another time when men and women had stood within a Chicago railway terminal waiting for a funeral cortège, the time when Illinois waited in sorrow to take Abraham Lincoln, dead, to her heart. The memory of that other day of dirges linked itself suddenly in the mind of James Thorold with the picture of the lilacs blooming in the yard of the Adams homestead on the parkway, that old house where Abraham Lincoln had been wont to come; and the fusing recollections spun the ambassador to Forsland upon his heel and sent him far down the platform, where he stood, gloomily apart, until the limited, rolling in from the end of the yards, brought him hastening to its side.

Peter Thorold was the first to alight.

A boy of sixteen, fair-haired, blue-eyed, ruddy-cheeked, springing from the platform of the Pullman into his father’s arms, he brought with him the atmosphere of high adventure. In height, in poise of shoulders, in bearing, in a certain trick of lifting his chin, he was a replica of the dignified man who welcomed him with deep emotion; but a difference—of dream rather than of dogma—in the quality of their temperaments accoladed the boy. It was not only that his voice thrilled with the higher enthusiasms of youth. It held besides an inflexibility of tone that James Thorold’s lacked. Its timbre told that Peter Thorold’s spirit had been tempered in a furnace fierier than the one which had given forth the older man’s. The voice rang out now in excited pleasure as the boy gripped his father’s shoulders. “Oh, but it’s good to see you again, dad,” he cried. “You’re a great old boy, and I’m proud of you, sir. Think of it!” he almost shouted. “Ambassador to Forsland! Say, but that’s bully!” He slipped his arm around his father’s shoulder, while James Thorold watched him with eyes that shone with joy. “What do you call an ambassador?” he demanded laughingly.

“Fortunately,” the older man said, “there is no title accompanying the office.”

“Well, I should think not,” the boy exclaimed. “Oh, dad, isn’t it the greatest thing in the world that you’re to represent the United States of America?”

James Thorold smiled. “No doubt,” he said dryly. His gaze passed his son to glimpse the crowd at the gate, frantic now with excitement, all looking forward toward some point on the platform just beyond where the man and boy were standing. “These United States of America have grown past my thought of them,” he added. The boy caught up the idea eagerly. “Haven’t they, though?” he demanded. “And isn’t it wonderful to think that it’s all the same old America, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave?’ Gee, but it’s good to be back in it again. I came up into New York alongside the battleship that brought our boys home from Mexico,” he went on, “and, oh, say, dad, you should have seen that harbor! I’ve seen a lot of things for a fellow,” he pursued with a touch of boyish boastfulness, “but I never saw anything in all my life like that port yesterday. People, and people, and people, waiting, and flags at half-mast, and a band off somewhere playing a funeral march, and that battleship with the dead sailors—the fellows who died for our country at Vera Cruz, you know—creeping up to the dock. Oh, it was—well, I cried!” He made confession proudly, then hastened into less personal narrative.

“One of them came from Chicago here,” he said. “He was only nineteen years old, and he was one of the first on the beach after the order to cross to the customhouse. He lived over on Forquier Street, one of the men was telling me—there are six of them, the guard of honor for him, on the train—and his name was Isador Framberg. He was born in Russia, too, in Kiev, the place of the massacres, you remember. See, dad, here comes the guard!”

Peter Thorold swung his father around until he faced six uniformed men who fell into step as they went forward toward the baggage-car. “It’s too bad, isn’t it,” the boy continued, “that any of the boys had to die down in that greaser town? But, if they did, I’m proud that we proved up that Chicago had a hero to send. Aren’t you, dad?” James Thorold did not answer. Peter’s hands closed over his arm. “It reminds me,” he said, lowering his voice as they came closer to the place where the marines stood beside the iron carrier that awaited the casket of Isador Framberg’s body, “of something the tutor at Westbury taught us in Greek last year, something in a funeral oration that a fellow in Athens made on the men who died in the Peloponnesian War. ‘Such was the end of these men,’” he quoted slowly, pausing now and then for a word while his father looked wonderingly upon his rapt fervor, “‘and they were worthy of Athens. The living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit. I would have you fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and, when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and who had the courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonor always present to them.’” With the solemnity of the chant the young voice went on while the flag-covered casket was lifted from car to bier. “‘For the whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not in stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war.’”

He pulled off his cap, tucking it under his arm and dragging his father with him to follow the men who had fallen in behind the marines as they moved forward toward the gates and the silent crowd beyond. Almost unwillingly James Thorold doffed his hat. The words of Peter’s unexpected declamation of Pericles’s oration resounded in his ears. “Once before,” he said to the boy, “I heard that speech. Judge Adams said it one night to Abraham Lincoln.”

“Father!” Peter’s eyes flashed back from the cortège to meet James Thorold’s. “I never knew that you knew Abraham Lincoln.” His tone betokened an impression of having been cheated of some joy the older man had been hoarding. But James Thorold’s voice held no joy. “Yes,” he said. “I knew him.”

The gates, sliding back, opened the way for the officers who led the procession with which Isador Framberg came back to the city of his adoption. The crowd yawned to give space to the guard of honor, walking erectly beside the flag-draped coffin, to the mourners, men and women alien as if they had come from Kiev but yesterday, to the little group of men, public officials and rabbis, who trailed in their wake, and to James Thorold and Peter, reverently following. Then it closed in upon the cortège, urging it silently down the broad stairways and out into the street where other crowds fell in with the strange procession. Surging away after the shabby hearse, drawn by its listless horses and attended by the marines, the crowd left the Thorolds, father and son, on the pavement beside the station. “Don’t you want to go?” There was a wistfulness in Peter’s voice that told his father that the boy had sensed some lack of responsiveness in him. “He’s going to lie in state to-day at the city hall. Don’t you think we should go, dad?” Not Peter’s query but Peter’s eyes won his father’s answer. “After a while,” he promised. “Then let’s find a breakfast,” the boy laughed. “I spent my last dollar sending you that telegram.”

All the way over to his father’s club on Michigan Avenue, and all through the breakfast that he ordered with lusty young appetite, Peter kept up a running fire of reminiscence of his European adventures. That the fire held grapeshot for his father when he talked of the latter’s worthiness for the ambassadorship to Forsland he could not guess; but he found that he was pouring salt in a wound when he went back to comment upon Isador Framberg’s death. “Why make so much of a boy who happened to be at Vera Cruz?” the older man said at last, nettled that even his son found greater occasion for commendation in the circumstance of the Forquier Street hero than in his father’s selection to the most important diplomatic post in the gift of the government. Peter’s brows rose swiftly at his father’s annoyance. He opened his lips for argument, then swiftly changed his intention. “Tell me about Judge Adams, dad,” he said, bungling over his desire to change the topic, “the fellow who knew his Pericles.”

“It’s too long a story,” James Thorold said. He watched Peter closely in the fashion of an advocate studying the characteristics of a judge. The boy’s idealism, his vivid young patriotism, his eager championship of those elements of the new America that his father contemned, had fired his personality with a glaze that left James Thorold’s smoothly diplomatic fingers wandering over its surface, unable to hold it within his grasp. He had a story to tell Peter—some time—a story of Judge Adams, of the house among the lilacs, of days of war, of Abraham Lincoln; but the time for its telling must wait upon circumstance that would make Peter Thorold more ready to understand weakness and failure than he now seemed. Consciously James Thorold took a change of venue from Peter Thorold of the visions to Peter Thorold of the inevitable disillusions. But to the former he made concession. “Shall we go to the city hall now?” he asked as they rose from the table.

The city hall, a massive white granite pile covering half of the square east of La Salle Street and north of Washington and meeting its twin of the county building to form a solid mass of masonry, flaunted black drapings over the doorways through which James Thorold and his son entered. Through a wide corridor of bronze and marble they found their way, passing a few stragglers from the great crowd that had filled the lower floors of the huge structures when Isador Framberg’s body had been brought from its hearse and carried to the centre of the aisles, the place where the intersecting thoroughfares met. Under a great bronze lamp stood the catafalque, covered with the Stars and Stripes and guarded by the men of the fleet.

Peter Thorold, pressing forward, took his place, his cap thrust under his arm, at the foot of the bier, giving his tribute of silence to the boy who had died for his country. But James Thorold went aside to stand beside an elevator-shaft. Had his son watched him as he was watching Peter, he would have seen the swift emotions that took their way across his father’s face. He would have seen the older man’s look dilate with the strained horror of one who gazed back through the dimming years to see a ghost. He would have seen sorrow, and grief, and a great remorse rising to James Thorold’s eyes. He might even have seen the shadow of another bier cast upon the retina of his father’s sight. He might have seen through his father’s watching the memory of another man who had once lain on the very spot where Isador Framberg was lying, a man who had died for his country after he had lived to set his country among the free nations of the earth. But Peter Thorold saw only the boy who had gone from a Forquier Street tenement to the Mexican sands that he might prove by his dying that, with Irish, and Germans, and French, he too, the lad who had been born in Kiev of the massacres, was an American.

With the surge of strange emotions flooding his heart, Peter Thorold crossed to where his father stood apart. The tide of his thought overflowed the shore of prose and landed his expression high on a cliff of poetry. No chance, but the urging of his own exalted mood, brought him the last lines of Moody’s “Ode in Time of Hesitation”:

“Then on your guiltier head
Shall our intolerable self-disdain
Wreak suddenly its anger and its pain;
For manifest in that disastrous light
We shall discern the right
And do it, tardily.—O ye who lead,
Take heed!
Blindness we may forgive, but baseness we will smite.”

But to the older man, seeing as he stood the picture of that other catafalque to which he had crept one night in the lilac time of a year nearly a half century agone, the words flung anathema. He leaned back against the bronze grating of the shaft with a sudden look of age that brought Peter’s protective arm to his shoulder. Then, with Peter following, he went out to the sun-bright street.

Like a man in a daze he dismissed his car, crossing pavements under Peter’s guiding until he came to the building where the fortunes of the great Thorold mercantile business were administered. Through the outer room, where clerks looked up in surprise at the appearance which their chief presented on the morning when they had learned of the Forsland embassy, he led Peter until they came to the room where he had reigned for twenty years. It was a room that had always mirrored James Thorold to his son. Tall bookcases, stiff, old-fashioned, held long rows of legal works, books on history, essays on ethical topics, and bound volumes of periodicals. Except for its maps, it was a lawyer’s room, although James Thorold never claimed either legal ability or legal standing. Peter seldom entered it without interest in its possibilities of entertainment, but to-day his father’s strange and sudden preoccupation of manner ingulfed all the boy’s thought. “What is it, dad?” he asked, a tightening fear screwing down upon his brain as he noted the change that had come over the mask that James Thorold’s face held to the world.

James Thorold made him no answer. He was standing at the wide walnut table, turning over and over in his hands the letters which his secretary had left for his perusal. Finally, he opened one of them, the bulkiest. He scanned it for a moment, then flung it upon the floor. Then he began to pace the room till in his striding he struck his foot against the paper he had cast aside. He picked it up, tossing it toward Peter. The boy turned from his strained watching of his father’s face to read the letter. It was the official notification of the Senate’s confirmation of the President’s appointment of James Thorold as ambassador to the Court of St. Jerome.

“Why, father!” Incredulity heightened the boyishness in Peter’s tone. James Thorold wheeled around until he faced him. “Peter,” he said huskily, “there’s something you’ll have to know before I go to Forsland—if ever I go to Forsland. You’ll have to decide.” The boy shrank from the ominous cadence of the words. “Why, I can’t judge for you, dad,” he said awkwardly. “Our children are always our ultimate judges,” James Thorold said.

“I have sometimes wondered,” he went on, speaking to himself rather than to the puzzled boy, “how the disciples who met Christ but who did not go his way with him to the end felt when they heard he had died. I knew a great man once, Peter. I went his way for a little while, then I took my own. I saw them bring him, dead, over the way they have brought that boy to-day. I came down to the court-house that night, and there, just where that boy lies, Peter, I made a promise that I have not kept.”

Again he resumed his pacing, speaking as he went, sometimes in low tones, sometimes with tensity of voice, always as if urged by some force that was driving him from silence. The boy, leaning forward at the edge of the chair, watched his father through the first part of the story. Before the end came he turned away.

“You remember,” James Thorold began, his voice pleading patience, “that I’ve told you I came to Chicago from Ohio before the war? I was older than you then, Peter, but I was something of a hero-worshipper, too. Judge Adams was my hero in those troublous times of the fifties. I knew him only by sight for a long time, watching him go in and out of the big white house where he lived. After a time I came to know him. I was clerking in a coffee-importing house during the day and studying law at night. Judge Adams took me into his office. He took me among his friends. Abraham Lincoln was one of them.

“I remember the night I met Lincoln. Judge Adams had talked of him often. He had been talking of him that day. ‘Greatness,’ he had said, ‘is the holding of a great dream, not for yourself, but for others. Abraham Lincoln has the dream. He has heard the voice, and seen the vision, and he is climbing up to Sinai. You must meet him, James.’ That night I met him in the old white house.

“We were in the front parlor of the old house,” James Thorold continued, resetting the scene until his only listener knew that it was more real to him than the room through which he paced, “when some one said, ‘Mr. Lincoln.’ I looked up to see a tall, awkward man standing in the arched doorway. Other men have said that they had to know Lincoln a long time to feel his greatness. My shame is the greater that I felt his greatness on the instant when I met his eyes.

“There was talk of war that night. Lincoln did not join in it, I remember, although I do not recall what he said. But when he rose to go I went with him. We walked down the street past dooryards where lilacs were blooming, keeping together till we crossed the river. There our ways parted. I told him a little of what Judge Adams had said of him. He laughed at the praise, waving it away from himself. ‘It’s a good thought, though,’ he said, ‘a great dream for others. But we need more than the dreaming, my friend. When the time comes, will you be ready?’

“I held out my hand to him in pledge.

“My way home that night took me past the armory where the Zouaves, the boys whom Ellsworth trained, were drilling. You remember Ellsworth’s story, Peter? He was the first officer to die in the war.” The boy nodded solemnly, and the man went on. “With Abraham Lincoln’s voice ringing in my ears I enlisted.

“Years afterward, when Abraham Lincoln was President, war came. I’d seen Lincoln often in the years between.” James Thorold stopped his restless pacing and stood at the end of the table away from Peter, leaning over it slightly, as he seemed to keep up his story with difficulty. “He came often to Judge Adams’s house. There were evenings when the three of us sat in the parlor with the dusk drifting in from the lake, and spoke of the future of the nation. Judge Adams thought war inevitable. Abraham Lincoln thought it could be averted. They both dreaded it. I was young, and I hoped for it. ‘What’ll you do, Jim, if war should come?’ they asked me once. ‘I’d go as a private,’ I told them.

“If the war had come then I should have gone with the first regiment out. But when the call sounded Ellsworth had gone to New York and the Zouaves had merged with another regiment. I didn’t go with them in the beginning because I told myself that I wanted to be with the first troop that went from Illinois to the front. I didn’t join until after Lincoln had sent out his call for volunteers.

“You see,” he explained to the silent boy, “I had left Judge Adams’s office and struck out for myself. Chicago was showing me golden opportunities. Before me, if I stayed, stretched a wide road of success.”

“And you didn’t go?” Peter interrupted his father for the first time. “I thought—” His voice broke.

“I went,” James Thorold said. “The regiment, the Nineteenth, was at the border when Lincoln gave the call. There was a bounty being offered to join it. I would have gone anyhow, but I thought that I might just as well take the money. I was giving up so much to go, I reasoned. And so I took the bounty. The provost marshal gave me the money in the office right across the square from the old court-house. I put it in the bank before I started south.

“I left Chicago that night with a great thrill. I was going to fight for a great cause, for Abraham Lincoln’s great dream, for the country my father had died for in Mexico, that my grandfather had fought for at Lundy’s Lane. I think,” he said, “that if I might have gone right down to the fighting, I’d have stood the test. But when I came to Tennessee the regiment had gone stale. We waited, and waited. Every day I lost a little interest. Every day the routine dragged a little harder. I had time to see what opportunities I had left back here in Chicago. I wasn’t afraid of the fighting. But the sheer hatred of what I came to call the uselessness of war gnawed at my soul. I kept thinking of the ways in which I might shape my destiny if only I were free. I kept thinking of the thousand roads to wealth, to personal success, that Chicago held for me. One night I took my chance. I slipped past the lines.”

“Father!” The boy’s voice throbbed with pain. His eyes, dilated with horror at the realization of the older man’s admission, fixed their gaze accusingly on James Thorold. “You weren’t a—a deserter?” He breathed the word fearfully.

“I was a bounty-jumper.”

“Oh!” Peter Thorold’s shoulders drooped as if under the force of a vital blow. Vaguely as he knew the term, the boy knew only too well the burden of disgrace that it carried. Once, in school, he had heard an old tutor apply it to some character of history whom he had especially despised. Again, in a home where he had visited, he had heard another old man use the phrase in contempt for some local personage who had attempted to seek public office. Bounty-jumper! Its province expressed to the lad’s mind a layer of the inferno beneath the one reserved for the Benedict Arnolds and the Aaron Burrs. Vainly he bugled to his own troops of self-control; but they, too, were deserters in the calamity. He flung his arms across the table, surrendering to his sobs.

Almost impassively James Thorold watched him, as if he himself had gone so far back into his thought of the past that he could not bridge the gap to Peter now. With some thought of crossing the chasm he took up his tale of dishonor. Punctuated by the boy’s sobs it went on.

“I came back to Chicago and drew the money from the bank. I knew I couldn’t go back to the practise of law. I changed my name to Thorold and started in business as an army contractor. I made money. The money that’s made us rich, the money that’s sending me to Forsland”—a bitterness not in his voice before edged his mention of the embassy—“came from that bounty that the provost marshal gave me.”

He turned his back upon the sobbing boy, walking over to the window and staring outward upon the April brightness of the noonday ere he spoke again. “You know of the Nineteenth’s record? They were at Nashville, and they were at Chattanooga after my colonel came back, dead. I went out of Chicago when his body was brought in. Then Turchin took command of the brigade. The Nineteenth went into the big fights. They were at Chickamauga. Benton fell there. He’d been in Judge Adams’s office with me. After I’d come back he’d joined the regiment. The day the news of Chickamauga came I met Judge Adams on Washington Street. He knew me. He looked at me as Peter might have looked at Judas.”

Slowly Peter Thorold raised his head from his arms, staring at the man beside the window. James Thorold met his look with sombre sorrow. “Don’t think I’ve had no punishment,” he said. “Remember that I loved Judge Adams. And I loved Abraham Lincoln.”

“Oh, no, no!” The boy’s choked utterance came in protest. “If you’d really cared for them you wouldn’t have failed them.”

“I have prayed,” his father said, “that you may never know the grief of having failed the men you have loved. There’s no heavier woe, Peter.” Again his gaze went from the boy, from the room, from the present. “I did not see Abraham Lincoln again until he was dead,” he said. “They brought him back and set his bier in the old court-house. The night he lay there I went in past the guards and looked long upon the face of him who had been my friend. I saw the sadness and the sorrow, the greatness and the glory, that life and death had sculptured there. He had dreamed and he had done. When the time had come he had been ready. I knelt beside his coffin; and I promised God and Abraham Lincoln that I would, before I died, make atonement for the faith I had broken.”

Peter’s sobbing had died down to husky flutterings of breath, but he kept his face averted from the man at the other side of the table. “I meant to make some sort of reparation,” James Thorold explained, listlessness falling like twilight on his mood as if the sun had gone down on his power, “but I was always so busy, so busy. And there seemed no real occasion for sacrifice. I never sought public office or public honors till I thought you wanted me to have them, Peter.” He turned directly to the boy, but the boy did not move. “I was so glad of Forsland—yesterday. Through all these years I have told myself that, after all, I had done no great wrong. But sometimes, when the bands were playing and the flags were flying, I knew that I had turned away from the Grail after I had looked upon it. I knew it to-day when I stood beside that boy’s coffin. I had said that times change. I know now that only the time changes. The spirit does not die, but it’s a stream that goes underground to come up, a clear spring, in unexpected places. My father died in Mexico. I failed my country. And Isador Framberg dies at Vera Cruz.”

“For our country,” the boy said bitterly.

“And his own,” his father added. “For him, for his people, for all these who walk in darkness Abraham Lincoln died. The gleam of his torch shone far down their lands. His message brought them here. They have known him even as I, who walked with him in life, did not know him until to-day. And they are paying him. That dead boy is their offering to him, their message that they are the Americans.”

Into Peter Thorold’s eyes, as he looked upon his father, leaped a flash of blue fire. Searchingly he stared into the face of the older man as Galahad might have gazed upon a sorrowing Percival. “You’re going to give up Forsland?” he breathed, touching the paper on the table. “I gave up Forsland,” James Thorold said, “when I saw you at Isador Framberg’s side. I knew that I was not worthy to represent your America—and his.” He held out his hands to Peter longingly. The boy’s strong one closed over them. Peter Thorold, sighting the mansion of his father’s soul, saw that the other man had passed the portals of confession into an empire of expiation mightier than the Court of St. Jerome.



Buzzell, Francis.

Conrad, Joseph.

Dwight, H.G.

Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins-.

Galsworthy, John.

Gerould, Katharine Fullerton.

Gordon, Armistead C.

Hopper, James.

Johnston, Calvin.

Long, John Luther.

Morris, Gouverneur.

Post, Melville Davisson.

Richter, Conrad.

Singmaster, Elsie.

Synon, Mary.

Wharton, Edith.

Note.—“The Roll of Honor for 1914” is based on the reading of the eight periodicals listed on page 288.


Allen, Frederick Lewis.


Arcos, René.

Aumonier, Stacy.

Blackwood, Algernon.

Brown, Alice.

Brown, Katharine Holland.

Burt, Maxwell Struthers.

Butler, Katharine.

Byrne, Donn.

Canfield, Dorothy.

Child, Richard Washburn.

Cobb, Irvin S.

Colcord, Lincoln.

Colum, Padraic.

Comfort, Will Levington.

Cowdery, Alice.

Day, Mary Louise.

Dix, Beulah Marie.

Duncan, Norman.

Dunning, Harold Wolcott.

Dunsany, Lord.

Dwiggins, W.A.

Dwyer, James Francis.

Earle, Mary Tracy.

Ewers, Hanns Heinz.

Finch, Lucine.

Fitch, Anita.

Forman, Henry James.

Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins-.

Galsworthy, John.

Gerould, Katharine Fullerton.

Gibbon, Perceval.

Gregg, Frances.

Hall, Gertrude.

Hall, Wilbur.

Hampton, Edgar Lloyd.

Harris, Burt.

Hecht, Ben.

Hopper, James.

Hughes, Rupert.

Hurst, Fannie.

Johnson, Arthur.

Johnston, Calvin.

Jordan, Virgil.

Kaun, Alexander S.

Koizumi, K.

Lyon, Harris Merton.

McIntyre, John T.

Mitchell, Mary Esther.

Muilenburg, Walter J.

Myers, Walter L.

Nichols, William T.

Noyes, Newbold.

O’Brien, Seumas.

O’Reilly, Mary Boyle.

Paine, Gustavus S.

Palmer, Vance.

Pickthall, Marjorie L.C.

Post, Melville Davisson.

Robertson, Morgan.

Roof, Katharine Metcalf.

Rosenblatt, Benjamin.

Singmaster, Elsie.

Smith, Gordon Arthur.

Sneddon, Robert W.

Steele, Wilbur Daniel.

Stringer, Arthur.

Synon, Mary.

Wallace, Edgar.

Walpole, Hugh.

Weston, George.

Wharton, Edith.

White, William Allen.

Winslow, Horatio.


The following table includes the averages of all American magazines published during 1915 of which complete files for the period covered were placed at my disposal. One, two, and three asterisks are employed to indicate relative distinction. “Three-asterisk stories” are of somewhat permanent literary value.

****** ******
American Magazine 532311343216
Associated Sunday Magazines (Jan-May See also Every Week)399212453
Atlantic Monthly24168267338
Black Cat108800700
Bruno Chap Books73004300
Century Magazine5332157602813
Collier’s Weekly1424621932156
Everybody’s Magazine4613312862
Every Week (See also Associated Sunday Magazines)7723213032
Good Housekeeping424111022
Harper’s Bazar2364026170
Harper’s Magazine101562812562812
Harper’s Weekly25184072160
Illustrated Sunday Magazine18259271632159
Or excluding reprints169461552793
Ladies’ Home Journal428311973
Lippincott’s and McBride’s Magazines9836613661
Little Review99551005656
McClure’s Magazine63229035140
Munsey’s Magazine48410820
National Sunday Magazine2295041230
New Republic9731783311
Pictorial Review6815412261
Saturday Evening Post162291261874
Scribner’s Magazine5237247714613
Smart Set242341231451
Sunset Magazine4213303170
Woman’s Home Companion49400800

The following tables indicate the rank, during 1915, by number and percentage of distinctive stories published, of the eighteen periodicals coming within the scope of my examination which have published during the past year over twenty-five stories and which have exceeded an average of 15% in stories of distinction. The lists exclude reprints.

1.Scribner’s Magazine71%
2.Century Magazine60%
3.Harper’s Magazine56%
6.American Magazine43%
7.Lippincott’s and McBride’s Magazines36%
8.McClure’s Magazine35%
9.Collier’s Weekly32%
10.Sunset Magazine31%
11.Every Week30%
12.Everybody’s Magazine28%
13.Illustrated Sunday Magazine27%
14.Associated Sunday Magazine (excluding Every Week)24%
16.Pictorial Review22%
17.Ladies’ Home Journal19%
18.Saturday Evening Post18%
1.Harper’s Magazine56
2.Illustrated Sunday Magazine46
3.Collier’s Weekly46
4.Scribner’s Magazine37
5.Lippincott’s and McBride’s Magazines36
6.Century Magazine32
7.Saturday Evening Post29
9.American Magazine23
10.Every Week23
11.McClure’s Magazine22
13.Pictorial Review15
14.Sunset Magazine13
15.Everybody’s Magazine13
16.Associated Sunday Magazine (excluding Every Week)9
17.Ladies’ Home Journal8

The following periodicals have published during 1915 ten or more “two-asterisk stories.” The list excludes reprints.

1.Harper’s Magazine28
2.Scribner’s Magazine24
3.Collier’s Weekly21
4.Illustrated Sunday Magazine15
5.Century Magazine15
6.Saturday Evening Post12
7.Smart Set12
9.American Magazine11

The following periodicals have published during 1915 three or more “three-asterisk stories.” The list excludes reprints.

1.Harper’s Magazine12
2.Collier’s Weekly9
3.Scribner’s Magazine7
4.Century Magazine7
6.Saturday Evening Post6
7.Little Review5
9.Illustrated Sunday Magazine5
12.American Magazine3
13.Smart Set3

The best short story of the year is “Zelig,” by Benjamin Rosenblatt, published in The Bellman.

Ties in the above lists have been decided by taking relative rank in other lists into account.


All short stories published in the following magazines during 1914 are listed in this index.

All short stories published in the following magazines and newspapers during 1915 are indexed.

Short stories, of distinction only, published in the following magazines during 1915 are indexed.

One, two, or three asterisks are prefixed to the titles of stories to indicate distinction. Three asterisks prefixed to a title indicate the more or less permanent literary value of a story, and entitle it to a place on the annual “Roll of Honor.”

The following abbreviations are used in the index:—

Am.American Magazine
A.S.M.Associated Sunday Magazines
Atl.Atlantic Monthly
B.C.Black Cat
B.C.B.Bruno Chap Books
B.D.A.Boston Daily Advertiser
B.E.T.Boston Evening Transcript
Brun. W.Bruno’s Weekly
Cen.Century Magazine
Ch. Trib.Chicago Sunday Tribune
Col.Collier’s Weekly
Cos.Cosmopolitan Magazine
Ev.Everybody’s Magazine
E.W.Every Week
G.H.Good Housekeeping
G.V.Greenwich Village
Harp. B.Harper’s Bazar
Harp. M.Harper’s Magazine
Harp. W.Harper’s Weekly
I.S.M.Illustrated Sunday Magazine
L.H.J.Ladies’ Home Journal
Lip.Lippincott’s Magazine
Lit. R.Little Review
McB.McBride’s Magazine
McC.McClure’s Magazine
Mir.Reedy’s Mirror
Mun.Munsey’s Magazine
N. Rep.New Republic
N.S.M.National Sunday Magazine
Pict. R.Pictorial Review
Scr.Scribner’s Magazine
S.E.P.Saturday Evening Post
S.S.Smart Set
Sun.Sunset Magazine
W.H.C.Woman’s Home Companion


A., 1.

Abbott, Avery.

Abbott, Eleanor Hallowell.

Abbott, Keene.

Abbott, Mabel.

Abdullah, Achmed.

Adams, Frank R.

Adams, Samuel Hopkins.

Adams, Will.

Addison, Thomas.

Alexander, H.B.

Alexander, Helen.

Allen, Frederick Lewis.

Allen, Irving R.

Allen, James Lane.

Allen, Lewis.

Allen, Maryland.

Allen, Willis Boyd.

Allenson, A.C.

Altenberg, Peter.

Amid, John.

Anderson, Elizabeth.

Anderson, Frederick Irving.

Anderson, Sherwood.

Anderson, William Ashley.

Andrews, Mary Raymond Shipman.


Apple, E. Albert.

Arcos, René.

Armstrong, Everhardt.

Arnold, Edwin L.

Arny, Grace Lea.

Artzybashev, Michael.

“Ashe, Elizabeth.”

Askue, Russell Pettis.

Aumonier, Stacy.

Austin, F. Britten.

Averchenko, Arkadyi.


B., R.H. and O., G.R.

Bacheller, Irving.

Bacon, Josephine Daskam.

Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin.

Bailey, Temple.

Baillie-Grohman, O.

Baker, Katharine.

Baker, Ray Stannard.

Baker, Virginia.

Ball, Walter Savage.

Balmer, Edwin.

Bancroft, Alberta.

Barbour, Ralph Henry.

Barcynska, The Countess.

Barnett, John.

Barney, Jr., Charles Gorham.

Bartlett, Frederick Orin.

Bascom, Louise Rand.

Bates, Katharine Lee.

Bates, Sylvia Chatfield.

Baury, Louis.

Beard, Wolcott Le Cléar.

Beasley, N.B.

Beerbohm, Max.

Beere, Rose Kidd.

Beffel, John Nicholas.

Begbie, Harold.

Bell, J.J.

Benefield, Barry.

Bennett, Enoch Arnold.

Benson, Claude E.

Bentley, Edmund C.

Bergengren, Ralph.

Best, Mollie.

Beymer, William Gilmore.

Bicknell, Bernice.

Bingham, Edfrid A.

Birchall, Sara Hamilton.

“Birmingham, George A.” (Canon James O. Hannay.)

Bishop, Will.

Blackwood, Algernon.

“Bliss, Reginald.” (See Wells, H.G.)

Bosher, Kate Langley.

Boucicault, Ruth Holt.

Boyce, Neith.

Boyesen, Algernon.

Bradley, Harriet Lewis.

Brady, Cyrus Townsend.

Brainerd, Eleanor Hoyt.

Braley, Berton.

Bray, Mary.

Brenner, Walter D.

Bronson-Howard, George. (See Howard, George Bronson-).

Brooke, L.

Brooks, Walter R.

Brown, Alice.

Brown, Katharine Holland.

Brown, May Belleville.

Brubaker, Howard.

Bruno, Guido.

Bryson, Lyman.

Buffum, George T.

Bulger, Bozeman.

Bullard, Arthur.

Bullock, William.

Bunner, Henry Cuyler.

Buren, Evelyn Van.

Burgess, Gelett.

Burhans, Viola.

Burnet, Dana.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson.

Burnham, Nelson.

Burr, Amelia Josephine.

Burrows, Dudley.

Burrows, Ethelbert D.

Burt, Maxwell Struthers.

Burton, George Lee.

Burton, Richard.

Butler, Ellis Parker.

Butler, Katharine.

Buzzell, Arthur L.

Buzzell, Francis.

Byrne, Donn.


C., S.

Cabell, James Branch.

Cady, C.M. (See Matsumura, Keiseki, and Cady, C.M.)

Cahn, Ed.

Cameron, Margaret.

Cameron, Margaret, and Rector, Jessie Leach.

Camp, Charles Wadsworth.

Campbell, Helen B.

Campen, Helen Van.

Canby, Henry Seidel.

Canfield, Dorothy.

Capes, Bernard.

Carleton, William.

Carman, Kathleen.

Carr, Harry C.

Cartmell, Jr., Van H.

Casey, Patrick.

Cather, Willa Sibert.

Chamberlain, George Agnew.

Channing, Grace Ellery.

Chapin, Anna Alice.

Chapin, Carl Mattison.

Chappel, Eva.

Chard, Cecil.

Chesley, A.C.

Chesney, Philip.

Chester, George Randolph.

Child, Richard Washburn.

Chittenden, Gerald.

Christie, Henry Christopher.

Clancy, Eugene A.

Clark, Ruth.

Clarke, Kenneth B.

Clarke, Lawrence.

Clark-Wilkins, C. Wilton. (See Wilkins, C. Wilton Clark-.)

Clifford, Mrs. W.K.

Cobb, Irvin S.

Cohen, Octavus Roy.

Colcord, Lincoln.

Collier, Tarleton.

Colter, Alice M.

Colum, Padraic.

Comer, Cornelia A.P.

Comfort, Will Levington.

Comstock, Sarah.

Connely, Willard.

Connolly, James Brendan.

Connolly, Louise.

Connor, Brevard Mays.

“Conrad, Joseph.”

Converse, Florence.

Cook, George Cram.

Cooke, Grace Macgowan.

Cooke, Marjorie Benton.

Coolidge, Herbert.

Coombs, Elizabeth Maury.

Cornell, V.H.

Costello, Alexander.

Coulter, Ernest K.

Court, G.

Court, G. and M.

Courtney, W.L.

Couzens, H.D.

Cowdery, Alice.

Crane, Leo.

Crawford, Charlotte Holmes.

Creel, George.

Crissey, Forrest.

Croff, Grace A.

Crowley, Aleister.

Cummings, E. Harold.

Cunninghame Graham, R.B. (See Graham, R.B. Cunninghame.)

Curtiss, Philip.

Cutting, Mary Stewart.


Dalrymple, Leona.

Danenhower, Ruth.

Daudet, Alphonse.

Davidson, Marie Hicks.

Davies, George.

Davies, Oma Almona.

Daviess, Maria Thompson.

Davis, Charles Belmont.

Davis, Richard Harding.

Dawson, Coningsby.

Day, Jr., Clarence.

Day, Holman F.

Day, Mary Louise.

“Dehan, Richard.” (See Graves, Clotilde.)

Deland, Margaret.

Delano, Edith Barnard.

Dell, Floyd.

Dickson, Harris.

Dix, Beulah Marie.

Dodge, Margaret.

Donnell, Annie Hamilton.

Douglas, David.

Downie, Vale.

Dowst, Henry P.

Drayham, William.

Driscoll, Louise.

Ducey, Lilian.

Dudeney, Mrs. Henry.

Duer, Caroline.

Duffy, Alice E.

Dunbar, Olivia Howard.

Dunblane, Nora.

Duncan, Norman.

Dunn, Allan.

Dunning, Harold Wolcott.

Dunsany, Lord.

Dutton, Louise Elizabeth.

Dwiggins, William Addison.

Dwight, H.G.

Dwyer, James Francis.

Dyer, George.

Dyer, Walter A.

Dyke, Henry van.


Earle, Mary Tracy.

Eastman, Rebecca Hooper.

Eaton, Walter Prichard.

Edholm, Charlton Lawrence.

Edmondson, Vera.

Edwards, Harry Stillwell.

Edwards, Harry Stillwell, and Edwards, Jackson Lane, E.E.

Egan, Maurice Francis.

Elliott, Sarah Barnwell.

Ellis, Carlyle.

Ellis, Mrs. Havelock.

Ernest, Joseph.

Ervine, St. John G.

Estabrook, Alma Martin.

Evans, Frank E.

Evans, Ida May.

Evans, Larry.

Ewald, Clara Bouvier.

Ewers, Hanns Heinz.



Ferber, Edna.

Ferris, Eleanor.

Ferris, Elmer E.

Field, Mary.

Fielding-Hall, H. (See Hall, H. Fielding-.)

Fiferlik, Harold William.

Finch, Lucine.

Finnegan, Frank X.

Fisher, C.E.

Fisk, May Isabel.

Fitch, Anita.

Fitch, George.

Fitzgerald, Henry.

Fitzpatrick, James William.

Flower, Elliott.

Flynt, Wentworth.

Foote, Elvera.

Foote, John Taintor.

Ford, Ashby.

Ford, Sewell.

Forman, Henry James.

Forman, Justus Miles.

Forsslund, Louise.

Foster, Maximilian.

Fox, Edward Lyell.

Fox, Paul Hervey.

Frank, Florence Kiper.

Franklin, Edgar.

Frazer, Elizabeth.

Fredericks, Arnold.

Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins-.

Frost, Philip Prescott.

Fuessle, Newton A.

Fuller, Anna.

Fuller, Ruth.

Fumet, Henri.

Futrelle, May (Mrs. Jacques Futrelle).


Galbreath, Thomas Crawford.

Gale, Zona.

Galsworthy, John.

Gardner, Roy R.

Garland, Hamlin.

Gatlin, Dana.

Gauss, Marianne.

Gaylord, William L.

Gerould, Gordon Hall.

Gerould, Katharine Fullerton.

Gerry, Margarita Spalding.

Gibbon, Perceval.

Gibbs, Philip.

Gibson, David.

Giebler, A.M.

Gilberts, The.

Gilder, Rodman.

Gillmore, Inez Haynes.

Gillmore, Nellie Cravey.

Gilmore, Florence.

Gilmore, Robert A.

Giltner, Leigh Gordon.

Ginger, Bonnie R.

Girardeau, Claude M.

Glaspell, Susan.

Glass, Montague.

Gleason, Arthur H.

Goddard, Ralph.

Goodloe, Abbie Carter.

Gordon, Armistead C.

Gordon, Sloane.

Gorky, Maxim.

Graeve, Oscar.

Graham, R.B. Cunninghame.

Graves, Clotilde. (“Dehan, Richard.”)

Graves, Louis.

Gray, David.

Gray, Joseph.

Greene, Frederick Stuart.

Gregg, Frances.

Grimshaw, Beatrice.

Grohman, O. Baillie-. (See Baillie-Grohman, O.)

Guérin, Mary.

Guest, Stephen.

Gurr, T.S.


Hagedorn, Hermann.

Haines, Donal Hamilton.

Hale, Louise Closser.

Hall, Gertrude.

Hall, H. Fielding-.

“Hall, Holworthy.” (Harold E. Porter).

Hall, Joseph.

Hall, R. Canby.

Hall, Wilbur.

Hallet, Richard Matthews.

Halverson, Frank A.

Hambidge, Helen.

Hamilton, Cosmo.

Hamilton, Gertrude Brooke.

Hammond, Lillian Kirk.

Hampton, Edgar Lloyd.

Hankins, Arthur Preston.

Hannay, Canon James O. (See “Birmingham, George A.”)

Hansell, Mary E.

Hard, Ann.

Hardy, Lowell Edwin.

Harker, L. Allen.

Harré, T. Everett.

Harris, Burt.

Harris, Corra.

Harris, Joel Chandler.

Harris, Kennett.

Harrison, C.Y.

Hart, Hornell.

Harte, Emmet F.

Hartley, Randolph.

Hartman, Lee Foster.

Hartmann, Sadakichi.

Hartswick, F. Gregory.

Hartt, Claudine M.

Hartt, Mary Bronson.

Harvey, Alexander.

Hastings, Wells.

Hatch, Leonard.

Hawkins, Anthony Hope. (See Hope, Anthony.)

Hawkins, Willard E.

Hawthorne, Julian.

Hay, Ian.

Hay, Jr., James.

Haywood, Arthur.

Heaslip, Charles T.

Hecht, Ben.

Helm, G.P.

Henderson, Jessie E.

Henrikson, Carl I.

Hergesheimer, Joseph.

Herrick, Elizabeth.

Herrick, Zella M.

Hibbard, George.

Higginson, Ella.

Hilder, John Chapman.

Hill, Francis.

Hill, Marion.

Hilton-Turvey, C.

Hinckley, Julian.

Hines, Jack.

Hinrichsen, Annie.

Hinton, Leonard.

Hofflund, Raymond Ward.

Hollingsworth, Ceylon.

Holloway, William.

Holt, H.P.

Hooker, Brian.

Hope, Anthony.

Hopkins, William John.

Hopper, James.

Hough, Emerson.

Hovey, E. von R.

Howard, George Bronson-.

Howard, Keble.

Howe, Herbert Riley.

Howells, William Dean.

Huffaker, Lucy.

Hughes, Elizabeth Burgess.

Hughes, Rupert.

Hugins, Roland.

Hull, Helen R.

Humphrey, Zephine.

Huneker, James Gibbons.

Hunt, Una.

Hurd, Burton.

Hurlbut, Edward H.

Hurst, Fannie.

Hutchison, Percy Adams.

Hyne, C.J. Cutcliffe.



Inge, Charles.

Inglis, William.

Inwegen, Mildred Van.

Irwin, Wallace.

Irwin, Will.


Jacks, L.P.

Jacobs, W.W.

James, E.O.

James, Franklin.

Jameson, E.M.

Jenison, Madge.

Jenkins, Herbert.

Jepson, Edgar.

Jerome, Jerome Klapka.

Johnson, Annette Thackwell.

Johnson, Arthur.

Johnson, E.S.

Johnson, Hugh.

Johnson, Martyn.

Johnson, Owen.

Johnson, William Samuel.

Johnston, Calvin.

Johnston, Charles.

Johnston, Elizabeth.

Jones, Frank Goewey.

Jordan, Elizabeth.

Jordan, Kate.

Jordan, Virgil.

Joyce, James.


Kalland, Mina.

Kauffman, Ruth.

Kaun, Alexander S.

Keeler, Harry Stephen.

Kelland, Clarence Budington.

Kelley, Ethel M.

Kelley, John Bartram.

Kelly, Eleanor Mercein.

Kemp, Harry.

Kemper, S.H.

Kennon, Harry B.

Kerr, Sophie.

Kilbourne, Fannie.

Kinross, Albert.

Kiper, Florence. (See Frank, Florence Kiper.)

Kipling, Rudyard.

Kiplinger, Walter C.

Klahr, Evelyn Gill.

Kline, Burton.

Knight, Leavitt Ashley.

Knight, Reynolds.

Koizumi, K.

Kummer, Frederic Arnold.

Kylie, Harry R.

Kyne, Peter B.


Lancaster, G.B.

Lancaster, Hewes.

Landon, Herman.

Lardner, Ring W.

Larson, Emma Mauritz.

Lavedan, Henri.

Lawrence, D.H.

Lawson, W.P.

Lea, Fannie Heaslip.

Leacock, Stephen.

Leandre, Madame.

Leblanc, Maurice.

Leclercq, Paul.

Lee, Jennette.

Lee, Muna.

Lefevre, Edwin.

Le Gallienne, Richard.

Lerner, Mary.

Levin, Louis H.

Levy, David S.

Lewer, Lily Josephine.

Lewis, Sinclair.

Liebe, Hapsburg.

Lighton, William R.

Lincoln, Joseph C.

Lipsett, E.R.

Lisle, Charles J.

Lloyd, Nelson.

Loan, Charles E. Van.

Locke, William J.

Lofting, Hugh.

Logan, Estanya Lloyd.

London, Jack.

Long, John Luther.

Loomis, Charles Battell.

Loon, Hendrick Willem van.

Lopez, John S.

Lowell, Amy.

Lyle, Jr., Eugene P.

Lynn, Margaret.

Lyon, Harris Merton.


Mabie, Louise Kennedy.

MacAlarney, Robert Emmet.

“MacArthur, B.”

MacCarthy, Ivie.

McCarthy, John Edward.

McCourt, Edna Wahlert.

McCreagh, Gordon.

McDonald, Robert.

McFarlane, Arthur E.

MacGrath, Harold.

McGrew, Donald Francis.

MacHarg, William.

McHenry, May.

McIntyre, John T.

Mackall, Lawton.

McKenna, Edmond.

Mackenzie, Compton.

Macklin, Chester.

McLenon, Andrew.

McMahon, William Marcus.

MacManus, Seumas.

McMorrow, Thomas.

Macnamar, R.S.

McPeak, Ival.

Madden, Alma G.

Magruder, Mary Lanier.

Mann, Jane.

Manning, Marie.

Marquis, Don.

Marriott, Charles.

Marriott, Crittenden.

Marriott Watson, H.B. (See Watson, H.B. Marriott.)

Marsh, George T.

Marsh, Richard.

Marshall, D.J.

Martin, George Madden.

Martin, Margaret Burrows.

Martin, Mabel Wood.

Martyn, Wyndham.

Mason, A.E.W.

Mason, Elmer Brown.

Mason, Grace Sartwell.

Mason, Warren.

Mathews, Amanda.

Matsumura, Keiseki, and Cady, C.M.

Maxwell, W. Kee.

Mead, Leon.

Mears, Mary.

Mellett, Berthe Knatvold.

Meloney, William Brown.

Mena, María Cristina.

Merwin, Samuel.

Meyer, Josephine A.

Mezquida, Anna Blake.

Miles, Emma Bell.

Millard, Gertrude B.

Miller, Alice Duer. (See also Miller, Henry, and Miller, Alice Duer.)

Miller, Helen Topping.

Miller, Henry, and Miller, Alice Duer. (See also Miller, Alice Duer.)

Milne, A.A.

Miniter, E.

Mirrielees, Edith R.

Mitchell, Mary Esther.

Moise, E.E.

Montague, Margaret Prescott.

Moore, T.P.

Mordaunt, Elinor.

Moroso, John A.

Morris, Clara.

Morris, Gouverneur.

Morse, Edwin W.

Morten, Marjory.

Muilenburg, Walter J.


Mumford, Ethel Watts.

Mumford, John.

Munford, Josephine Underwood.

Muredach, Myles.

Murray, Katharine J.

Murray, Jr., P.A.

Murray, Roy Irving.

Muth, Edna Tucker.

Myers, Elizabeth.

Myers, Walter L.


Needham, Henry Beach.

Nevins, Allan.

Newton, W. Douglas.

Nichols, William T.

Nicholson, Meredith.

Noonan, Edward Thomas.

Norris, Kathleen.

Norton, Roy.

Noyes, Newbold.


O., G.R. (See B., R.H. and O., G.R.)

O’Brien, Joseph.

O’Brien, Seumas.

Oemler, Marie Conway.

Ogden, G.W.

O’Grady, R.

O’Hara, Frank Hurburt.

O’Higgins, Harvey J.

Oliver, Owen.

Olmstead, Stanley.

Oppenheim, James.

O’Reilly, Mary Boyle.

Orr, Edith.

Osborne, Duffield.

Osborne, William Hamilton.

Osbourne, Lloyd.

O’Shea, Peter F.

Oskison, John.

Osmun, Leighton Graves.

Ostrander, Isabel.

Overton, Gwendolen.

Ovington, Mary White.

Owen, Frank.

Owings, Edna M.

Oyler, P.B.


Pain, Barry.

Paine, Albert Bigelow.

Paine, Gustavus S.

Paine, Ralph D.

Palmer, Frederick.

Palmer, Vance.

Pangborn, Georgia Wood.

Pape, Lee.

Papini, Giovanni.

Parker, Sir Gilbert.

Parker, Helen Baker.

Parker, Marion.

Parsons, Francis.

Patterson, Ethel Lloyd.

Pattullo, George.

Payne, Will.

Peake, Elmore Elliott.

Peattie, Elia W.

Pendexter, Hugh.

Pendleton, T.D.

Penfield, Cornelia Sterrett.

Perry, Lawrence.

Peters, Sally.

Phillips, Henry Albert.

Phillips, Henry Wallace.

Phillpotts, Eden.

Pickthall, Marjorie L.C.

Pierce, Frederick.

Pierson, Nita.

Pitney, Albert de Ford.

Pope, T. Michael.

Porter, Eleanor H.

Porter, Harold E. (See “Hall, Holworthy.”)

Portor, Laura Spencer.

Post, Charles Johnson.

Post, Melville Davisson.

Powell, Arthur.

Powell, Marian Bruntlett.

Preston, George Hyde.

Preston, Sydney.

Pryce, Richard.

Pulver, Mary Brecht.

Putnam, Nina Wilcox.


R., S.B.

Raine, William Macleod.

Ramsey, James Nelson.

Ransome, Arthur.

Ray, Anna Chapin.

Read, Marion Pugh.

Rector, Jessie Leach. (See Cameron, Margaret, and Rector, Jessie Leach.)

Reed, Herbert.

Reed, John.

Reid, Alan.

Remenyi, Joseph.

Remer, Karl.

Remnitz, Virginia Yeaman.

Rhodes, Eugene Manlove.

Rhodes, Harrison.

Rice, Alice Hegan.

Richter, Conrad.

Rickert, Edith.

Rideout, Henry Milner.

Rider, Mary.

Rinehart, Mary Roberts.

Ritchie, Robert Welles.

Rittenberg, Max.

Roberts, Charles George Douglas.

Roberts, Mervin.

Robertson, Morgan.

Robertson, William Henderson.

Robins, Elizabeth.

Robinson, Frank R.

Roche, Arthur Somers.

Roche, Mazo de la.

Roe, Vingie E.

“Rohmer, Sax.” (Arthur Sarsfield Ward.)

Rood, Henry.

Roof, Katharine Metcalf.

Roseboro’, Viola.

Rosenblatt, Benjamin.

Rouse, William Merriam.

Rousseau, Victor.

Rowe, Elizabeth G.

Rugg, George Bigelow Cheever.

Ryan, Marah Ellis.

Ryder, Charles T.

Ryder, Worth.

Ryerson, Florence.


Saanen, Marie Louise Van.

Sabin, Edwin L.

St. Mars, F.

Saltus, Edgar.

Sanford, Edward.

Sangster, Jr., Margaret E.

Sapinsky, Ruth.

Savage, C. Courtenay.

Sawyer, Ruth.

Saxby, Chester L.

Schaeffer, Evelyn Schuyler.

Schaick, George Van.

Schayer, E. Richard.

Scheffauer, Herman.

Scherr, Marie.

Schmidt, Karl.

Schurman, Catherine.

Scofield, Kendrick.

Scott, Leroy.

Scott, Margretta.

Seagrove, Gordon.

Searing, Mrs. A.E.P.

Seawell, Molly Elliot.

Sedgwick, Anne Douglas.

Seldes, Gilbert V.

Shaw, Captain Frank H.

Sheehan, Perley Poore.

Shelton, George Henry.

Sherrard, Marion.

Sherwood, Margaret.

Shippey, Lee.

Short, O’Donovan.

Shulgovsky, N.

Simpich, Frederick.

Simrall, Josephine P.

Sims, Charles N.

Sinclair, May.

Singmaster, Elsie.

Skinner, Constance Lindsay.

Smith, F. Berkeley.

Smith, Frank Leon.

Smith, Frederick M.

Smith, Gordon Arthur.

Smith, Lewis Worthington.

Smith, W. Edson.

Snaith, John Collis.

Sneddon, Robert W.

Snyder, Elizabeth Harding.

“Social Promoter, The.”

Solomons, Theodore Seixas.

Somerville, Charles.

Somerville, Roy.

Soule, George.

Soutar, Andrew.

Spadoni, Adriana.

Spears, John R.

Spence, Lida Hervey.

Speranza, Gino C.

Spofford, Harriet Prescott.

Springer, Fleta Campbell.

Springer, Norman.

Springer, Thomas Grant.

Steele, Alice Garland.

Steele, Rufus.

Steele, Wilbur Daniel.

Steffens, Lincoln.

Stellmann, Louis J.

Stephens, James.

Stevenson, Robert Louis.

Stewart, Charles D.

Stiles, George K.

Stillman, Harry Inness.

Stock, Ralph.

Stone, Amy Wentworth.

Storey, Boyce.

Strahan, Kay Cleaver.

Stratton, George Frederic.

Street, Julian.

Strindberg, August.

Stringer, Arthur.

Strunsky, Simeon.

Stuart, Eleanor.

Stuart, Ruth Mcenery.

Sturdevant, Lucy Huston.

Sullivan, Alan.

Sullivan, Charles J.

Sullivan, Francis William.

Synon, Mary.


Tarkington, Booth.

Tarpley, Ford.

Tassin, Algernon.

Taylor, Emerson.

Tchekov, Anton.

Teaple, G.L.

Terrill, Lucy Stone.

Terry, Katharine.

Thompson, Maravene.

Thruston, Lucy Meacham.

Thurston, E. Temple.

Thurston, Katherine Cecil.

Tilden, Freeman.

Tompkins, Juliet Wilbor.

Tonjoroff, Svetozar.

Tooker, L. Frank.

Towner, Horace.

Tracy, Virginia.

Train, Arthur C.

Trendon, Horace.

Trethewey, Charles.

Triem, Paul.

Trimble, Jessie.

Trites, W.B.

Trumbull, Annie Eliot.

Turner, George Kibbe.

Turvey, C. Hilton-. (See Hilton-Turvey, C.)

Tuttle, Margaretta.


Underhill, Elsie Morris.

Underwood, Sophie Kerr. (See Kerr, Sophie.)

Updegraff, Allan.

Uzzell, Thomas H.


Vail, Laurence.

Vaka, Demetra.

“Vale, Charles.”

Valkenburgh, Helen Van.

Van Buren, Evelyn. (See Buren, Evelyn Van.)

Van Campen, Helen. (See Campen, Helen Van.)

Van de Water, Virginia Terhune. (See Water, Virginia Terhune van de.)

Van Dyke, Henry. (See Dyke. Henry Van.)

Van Inwegen, Mildred. (See Inwegen, Mildred Van.)

Van Loan, Charles E. (See Loan, Charles E. Van.)

Van Loon, Hendrik Willem. (See Loon, Hendrik Willem van.)

Van Saanen, Marie Louise. (See Saanen, Marie Louise van.)

Van Schaick, George. (See Schaick, George Van.)

Van Valkenburgh, Helen. (See Valkenburgh, Helen Van.)

Van Vorst, Marie. (See Vorst, Marie van.)

Venable, Edward C.

Vernéde, R.E.

Vorse, Mary Heaton.

Vorst, Marie van.


Wagner, Edith.

Walkey, S.

Walkley, William S.

Wallace, Edgar.

Wallace, Minnie Mcintire.

Walling, Anna Strunsky.

Walpole, Hugh.

Walsh, George E.

Ward, Arthur Sarsfield. (See “Rohmer, Sax.”)

Ward, Benjamin.

Warner, Anne.

Warner, Gertrude Chandler.

Warren, Maude Radford.

Washburn, Elizabeth.

Wasson, David A.

Water, Virginia Terhune Van de.

Watson, H.B. Marriott.

Watts, C.S.

Watts, Mary S.

Weadock, Louis.

Webster, Henry Kitchell.

Weiman, Rita.

Weir, F. Roney.

Wells, Carolyn.

Wells, H.G. (“Reginald Bliss.”)

Wells, Leila Burton.

Wells, Stewart.

Wells, Warner.

West, Paul.

Weston, George.

Wharton, Edith.

Whipple, Leon Rutledge.

Whitaker, Herman.

Whitby, Thomas.

White, Henry.

White, Michael.

White, Samuel Alexander.

White, Stewart Edward.

White, William Allen.

Whiting, Robert Rudd.

Whitlock, Brand.

Whitman, Stephen.

Widdemer, Margaret.

Wilby, Thomas W.

Wilcox, Ada Louise.

Wilde, Oscar.

Wilkins, C. Wilton Clark-.

Wilkins, Mary E. (See Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins-.)

Williams, Howe.

Willis, Lloyd Dorsey.

Wilson, Harry Leon.

Wilson, John Fleming.

Winchfield, Ernest.

Winslow, Helen Sterling.

Winslow, Horatio.

Winter, Gertrude M.

Winters, Owen B.

Witherbee, North.

Wodehouse, Pelham Grenville.

Wolfe, Louise.

Woljeska, Helen.

Wonderly, W. Carey.

Wood, John Seymour.

Wood, Jr., Leonard.

Woodrow, Mrs. Wilson.

Woods, Alice.

“Worth, Patience.”

Worthington, Louisa Skinner.

Wright, Austin Tappan.

Wright, Richardson.

Wright, William.


Xavier, Gertrude.


Yates, L.B.

Yezierska, Anzia.


Zangwill, E. Ayrton.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Best Short Stories of 1915, by Various


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