The Project Gutenberg EBook of McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 4,
August 1908, by Various

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Title: McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 4, August 1908

Author: Various

Release Date: April 1, 2010 [EBook #31851]

Language: English

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McClure’s Magazine

August, 1908.

Vol. XXXI. No. 4

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

Table of Contents


TALKS WITH BISMARCK. By Carl Schurz. 367
THE LOST MOTHER. By Blanche M. Kelly. 399
PATSY MORAN. THE BOOK AND ITS COVERS. By Arthur Sullivan Hoffman. 401
ARCTIC COLOR. By Sterling Heilig. 411
THE TAVERN. By Willa Sibert Cather. 419
A STORY OF HATE. By Gertrude Hall. 420
HIS NEED OF MIS’ SIMONS. By Lucy Pratt. 432
THE MOVING FINGER WRITES. By Marie Belloc Lowndes. 445
THE KING OF THE BABOONS. By Perceval Gibbon. 467
SOUTH STREET. By Francis E. Falkenbury. 476


General Alexei Nicholaevitch Kuropatkin 363
Kaiser Wilhelm I 369
Prince Otto Von Bismarck 372
Count Hellmuth Von Moltke 373
The Chancellor’s Palace on the Wilhelmstrasse 374
The Battle of Königgrätz 374
Emperor Napoleon III 376
“Jane and Selina ... Looked at Patient and Nurse with Disapproving Gloom” 378
She Could Not Help Seeing That Selina Found Some Strange Pleasure in all These Incidents of a Last Illness 382
Ellen Terry as Kniertje in “The Good Hope” 387
John Singer Sargent 388
Sir Edward Burne-Jones 388
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth 389
Peggy, Madame Sans-Gene, Madame Sans-Gene, Cordelia 390
Imogen, Lucy Ashton, Catherine Duval, Lucy Ashton 390
Cardinal Wolsey, Lady Macbeth, Guinevere, Thomas Becket 391
Nancy Oldfield, Hermione, Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire, Lady Cicely, Wayneflete 391
Miss Ellen Terry 392
Sir Henry Irving 392
Ellen Terry as Queen Katherine in Henry VIII 395
The Book and Its Covers 401
“Pardon Me,” He Said, “But What Are You Doing That for?” 402
“Ye’d Better Be Usin’ Your Brains to Walk With, and Not Strainin’ Thim Like That” 407
Midnight in the Kara Sea 411
“The Country of the Dead”—A Study of the Kara Sea in August 413
Samoyed Love of Color 414
Painting of a Sledge Set Upon End for the Night, With Skins and Meat Hung Upon It So as to Be Out of Reach of the Dogs 415
A Study Made in Nova Zembla at the Time of the Complete Eclipse of the Sun, July 27, 1896 416
Painting of a Church Built by M. Seberjakow 417
In the Midnight Sunshine 418
His Need of Mis’ Simons 432
‘I Couldn’ Git ’Long ’Thout Yer Noways, Could I?’ She Say 433
‘She Keep on A-Readin’, an’ I Keep on A-Wukkin’ on de Paff’ 434
‘It’s Time Fer You ter Go to Baid, Ain’t It, ’Zekiel?’ She Say 435
‘’Tain’ Gwine Nobody Else Git—Fru—Dat—Do’,’ She Say 436
The Bunk-House 459
One Night the Graf Was Prevailed Upon to Tell His Story 461
The Sitting-Room of the Bismarck 462
I Noticed a Profile Silhouetted against the Window 463
St. Francis of the Bunk-House 464
They Sat on Their Rumps Outside the Circle of Kafirs 467






Once in a generation the intimate and vital secrets of a great nation may be made public through one of the little circle of men to whom they are entrusted; but rarely, if ever, till the men are dead, and the times are entirely changed. Beginning next month, McClure’s Magazine will present to the reading world a striking exception to this rule. It will print for the first time a frank and startling official revelation of the present political plans and purposes of Russia—the great nation whose guarded and secret movements have been the concern of modern European civilization for two centuries.


General Kuropatkin—Minister of War and later Commander-in-Chief of the Russian forces in the great and disastrous Manchurian campaign—became a target for abuse at the close of the Russo-Japanese War. He returned to St. Petersburg and constructed, from the official material accessible to him, an elaborate history of the war, and a detailed statement of the condition, purposes, and development of the Russian Empire. Documents and dispatches endorsed “Strictly Confidential,” matters involving the highest officials, information obviously intended for no eyes but those of the innermost government circles, are laid forth with the utmost abandon in this work. No sooner had 364 it been completed, than it was confiscated by the government. Its manuscript has never been allowed to pass out of the custody of the Czar’s closest advisers.

An authentic copy of this came into the hands of McClure’s Magazine this spring; it is not essential and obviously would not be wise to state just how. George Kennan, the well-known student of Russian affairs, now has it in his possession and is engaged in translating and arranging material taken from it for magazine publication. A series of five or six articles, constructed from Kuropatkin’s 600,000 words, will be issued in McClure’s, beginning next month. These will contain astonishing revelations concerning matters of great international importance, and accusations that are audacious to the point of recklessness.


Remarkable among these are the letters to the Czar. Kuropatkin’s correspondence with him is given in detail, documents which naturally would not appear within fifty or a hundred years from the time when they were written. And upon the letters and reports of the General appear the comments and marginal notes of the Emperor. The war was forced against the will of the sovereign and the advice of the War Department. It was ended, Kuropatkin shows, when Russia was just beginning to discipline and dispose her great forces, because of the lack of courage and firmness in the Czar.

Japan certainly would have been crushed, says Kuropatkin, if war had continued. At the time of the Treaty at Portsmouth, the military struggle, from Russia’s standpoint, had only begun. She was then receiving ammunition and supplies properly for the first time; her men were becoming disciplined soldiers; and the railroad, whose service had increased from three to fourteen military trains a day, had now, at last, brought the Russian forces into the distant field. For the first time, just when treaty negotiations were begun, Russia had more soldiers in her army than Japan. There were a million men, well equipped and abundantly supplied, under General Linevitch, who succeeded General Kuropatkin as Commander-in-Chief; and he was about to take the offensive when peace was declared.

Beyond the individual conflict General Kuropatkin shows the Russian nation, a huge, unformed giant, groping along its great borders in every direction to find the sea.

“Can an Empire,” he asks, “with such a tremendous population, be satisfied with its existing frontiers, cut off from free access to the sea on all sides?”



There are in existence in the secret archives of the government, Kuropatkin’s work discloses, documents containing the definite program of Russia, fixed by headquarters years ago, for its future growth and aggrandizement. Results of campaigns and diplomacy are checked up according to this great program, and decade after decade Russia is working secretly and quietly to carry it out. The Japanese War constituted a great mistake in the development of this national plan.

During the twentieth century, says Kuropatkin, Russia will lose no fewer than two million men in war, and will place in the field not fewer than five million. No matter how peaceful and purely defensive her attitude may be, she will be forced into war along her endless borders by the conflict with other national interests and the age-long unsatisfied necessity of her population to reach the sea.

Russia will furnish in this century the advance guard of an inevitable conflict between the white and yellow races. For within a hundred years there must be a great struggle in Asia between the Christian and non-Christian nations. To prepare for this, an understanding between Russia and England is essential for humanity. Kuropatkin deals with this necessity at length; and the future relations of Russia with Japan and China are treated with an impressive grasp.

His exposition of the sensitive and dangerous situation on the Empire’s western border contains matters of consequence to the whole world. The relations he discloses, between Russia, on the one hand, and Austria and Germany on the other, are important in the extreme. Within a fortnight these two latter countries could throw two million men across the Russian frontier, and a war would result much more colossal than that just finished with Japan.


General Kuropatkin has had an education and a career which eminently qualify him as a judge and critic of the Russian nation. For forty years, as an active member of its military establishment, he has watched its development, from the viewpoint of important posts in St. Petersburg, Turkey, Central Asia, and the far East.

Kuropatkin was born in 1848 and was educated in the Palovski Military School and the Nikolaiefski Academy of the general staff in St. Petersburg. From there he went at once into the army, and, at the early age of twenty, took part in the march of the Russian expeditionary force to the central Asian city of Samarkand. He won 366 distinction in the long and difficult march of General Skobeleff’s army to Khokand. In 1875 he acted as Russia’s diplomatic agent in Chitral, and a year or two later he headed an embassy to Kashgar and concluded a treaty with Yakub Bek.

When the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1877, he became General Skobeleff’s chief of staff and took part in the battle of Loftcha and in many of the attacks on Plevna. While forcing the passage of the Balkans with Skobeleff’s army, on the 25th of December, 1877 (O.S.), he was so severely wounded that he had to leave the theater of war and return to St. Petersburg. There, as soon as he recovered, he was put in charge of the Asiatic Department of the Russian General Staff, and, at the same time, was made adjunct-professor of military statistics in the Nikolaiefski Military Academy. In 1879 the rank of General was conferred upon him and he was appointed to command the Turkestan rifle brigade in Central Asia. In 1880 he led a Russian expeditionary force to Kuldja, and when the trouble with the Chinese there had been adjusted, he was ordered to organize and equip a special force in the Amu Daria district and march to the assistance of General Skobeleff in the Akhal-Tekhinski oasis. After conducting this force across seven hundred versts of nearly waterless desert, he joined General Skobeleff in front of the Turkoman fortress of Geok Tepe, and in the assault upon that famous stronghold, a few weeks later, he led the principal storming column. After the Turkomen had been subdued, he returned to European Russia, and during the next eight years served on the General Staff in St. Petersburg, where he was entrusted with important strategic work. In 1890 he was made Lieutenant-General and was sent to govern the trans-Caspian region and to command the troops there stationed.

He occupied this position six or eight years, and then, shortly after his return to St. Petersburg, was appointed Minister of War. In 1902, while still holding the war portfolio, he was promoted to Adjutant-General; in 1903 he visited Japan and made the acquaintance of its political and military leaders; and in 1904, when hostilities began in the Far East, he took command of the Russian armies in Manchuria under the general direction of Viceroy Alexeieff. Besides, he has written and published three important books.

No man perhaps, is better equipped, by education and experience, to explain Russia’s plans and movements in Asia; to tell the true story of the Japanese war. And probably never, at least in this generation, has an international matter of this magnitude been treated with such frankness by a person so thoroughly and eminently qualified to discuss it.





In the autumn of 1867 my family went to Wiesbaden, where my wife was to spend some time on account of her health, and I joined them there about Christmas time for a few weeks. Great changes had taken place in Germany since that dark December night in 1861 when I rushed through the country from the Belgian frontier to Hamburg on my way from Spain to America. The period of stupid reaction after the collapse of the revolutionary movements of 1848 was over. King Frederick William IV. of Prussia, who had been so deeply convinced and arduous an upholder of the divine right of kings, had died a helpless lunatic. King William I., afterwards Emperor William I., his brother and successor, also a believer in that divine right, but not to the extent of believing as well in the divine inspiration of kings—in other words, a man of good sense and capable of recognizing the superior ability of others—had found in Bismarck a minister of commanding genius. The sweeping victory of Prussia over Austria in 1866 had resulted in the establishment of the North German Confederacy under Prussian hegemony, which was considered a stepping-stone to the unification of all Germany as a constitutional empire. Several of the revolutionists of 1848 now sat in the Reichstag of the North German Confederacy, and one of the ablest of them, Lothar Bucher, was Bismarck’s confidential counsellor. The nation was elated with hope, and there was a liberal wind blowing even in the sphere of the government.

I did not doubt that under these circumstances I might venture into Germany without danger of being seriously molested; yet, as my personal case was technically not covered by any of the several amnesties which had been proclaimed in Prussia from time to time, I thought that some subordinate officer, either construing his duty with the strictness of a thorough Prussian, or wishing to distinguish himself by a conspicuous display of official watchfulness, might give me annoyance. I did not, indeed, entertain the slightest apprehension as to my safety, but I might have become involved in sensational proceedings, which would have been extremely distasteful to me, as well as unwelcome to the government. I therefore wrote to Mr. George Bancroft, the American Minister at Berlin, requesting him if possible to inform himself privately whether the Prussian government had any objection to my visiting Germany for a few weeks, and to let me have his answer at Bremerhaven upon the arrival there of the steamer on which I had taken passage. My intention was, in case the answer were unfavorable, to sail at once from Bremen to England and to meet my family there. Mr. Bancroft very kindly complied with my request, and assured me in his letter which I found at Bremerhaven that the Prussian government not only had no objection to my visiting Germany, but that I should be welcome.

After having spent Christmas with my family in Wiesbaden, I went to Berlin. I wrote a note to Lothar Bucher, whom I had last seen sixteen 368 years before as a fellow refugee in London, and whom I wished very much to meet again. Bucher answered promptly that he would be glad indeed to see me again, and asked if I would not like to make the acquaintance of “the Minister” (Bismarck), who had expressed a wish to have a talk with me. I replied, of course, that I should be happy, etc., whereupon I received within an hour an invitation from Count Bismarck himself (he was then only a count) to visit him at eight o’clock that same evening at the Chancellor’s palace on the Wilhelmstrasse. Promptly at the appointed hour I was announced to him, and he received me at the door of a room of moderate size, the table and some of the furniture of which were covered with books and papers,—evidently his working cabinet. There I beheld the great man whose name was filling the world—tall, erect, and broad-shouldered, and on those Atlas shoulders that massive head which everybody knows from pictures—the whole figure making the impression of something colossal—then at the age of fifty-three, in the fulness of physical and mental vigor.

He was dressed in a General’s undress uniform, unbuttoned. His features, which evidently could look very stern when he wished, were lighted up with a friendly smile. He stretched out his hand and gave me a vigorous grasp. “Glad you have come,” he said, in a voice which appeared rather high-keyed, issuing from so huge a form, but of pleasing timbre.

“I think I must have seen you before,” was his first remark, while we were still standing up facing one another. “It was some time in the early fifties on a railway train from Frankfort to Berlin. There was a young man sitting opposite me who, from some picture of you which I had seen in a pictorial paper, I thought might be you.”

I replied that this could not be, since at that period I was not in Germany. “Besides,” I added—a little impudently perhaps—“would you not have had me arrested as a malefactor?”

“Oh,” he exclaimed, with a good, natural laugh, “you mistake me. I would not have done such a thing. You mean on account of that Kinkel affair? Oh, no! I rather liked that. And if it were not that it would be highly improper for His Majesty’s minister and the Chancellor of the North German Confederacy, I should like to go with you to Spandau and have you tell me the whole story on the spot. Now let us sit down.”

He pointed out to me an easy-chair close to his own and then uncorked a bottle which stood, with two glasses, on a tray at his elbow. “You are a Rhinelander,” he said, “and I know you will relish this.” We touched glasses, and I found the wine indeed very excellent.

“You smoke, of course,” he continued, “and here are some good Havanas. I used to be very fond of them, but I have a sort of superstitious belief that every person is permitted to smoke only a certain number of cigars in his life, and no more. I am afraid I have exhausted my allowance, and now I take to the pipe.” With a lighted strip of paper, called in German “Fidibus,” he put the tobacco in the porcelain bowl of his long German student pipe in full blast, and presently he blew forth huge clouds of smoke.

This done, he comfortably leaned back in his chair and said: “Now tell me, as an American Republican and a Forty-eighter of the revolutionary kind, how the present condition of Germany strikes you. I would not ask you that question,” he added, “if you were a privy counsellor (a Geheimrath), for I know what he would answer. But you will tell me what you really think.”

Bismarck’s Sarcastic Humor

I replied that I had been in the country only a few weeks and had received only superficial impressions, but that I had become sensible of a general atmosphere of newly inspired national ambition and a confident hope for the development of more liberal political institutions. I had found only a few old fogies in Nassau and a banker in Frankfort who seemed to be in a disappointed and depressed state of mind. Bismarck laughed heartily. The disgruntled Nassauers, he said, had probably been some sort of purveyors to the late ducal court, and he would wager that the Frankfort banker was either a member of one of the old patrician families, who thought they were the highest nobility in all the land, or a money-maker complaining that Frankfort was no longer, as it had been, the financial center of southern Germany. Here Bismarck gave full reign to his sarcastic humor. He had spent years in Frankfort as the representative of the defunct “Bundestag,” and had no end of funny anecdotes about the aristocratic pretensions of the patrician burghers of that ancient free city, and about their lofty wrath at the incorporation of that commonwealth in the Prussian monarchy.

Forcing the War with Austria

Then he began to tell me about the great difficulties he had been obliged to overcome in bringing about the decisive struggle with Austria. One of the most serious of these difficulties, as 369 he said, consisted in the scrupulous hesitancy of old King William to consent to anything that seemed to be in any sense unconstitutional or not in harmony with the strictest notion of good faith. In our conversation Bismarck constantly called the king “der alte Herr”—“the old gentleman,” or, as it might also have been translated, “the old master.” One moment he would speak of the old gentleman with something like sentimental tenderness, and then again in a tone of familiar freedom which smacked of anything but reverential respect. He told me anecdotes about him which made me stare, for at the moment I could not help remembering that I was listening to the prime minister of the crown, to whom I was an entire stranger and who knew nothing of my discretion or sense of responsibility.


Photographed by the Berlin Photographic Co.

As if we had been confidential chums all our lives, he gave me, with apparently the completest abandon and exuberant vivacity, inside views of the famous “conflict” period between the crown and the Prussian parliament, when, seeing the war with Austria inevitably coming, he had, without legislative authorization, spent millions upon millions of the public funds upon 370 the army in preparation for the great crisis; how the liberal majority of the chambers, and an indignant public opinion which did not recognize the great object of national unification in view, had fiercely risen up against that arbitrary stretch of power; how the king himself had recoiled from such a breach of the constitution; how the king had apprehended a new revolution which might cost each of them his head—which would possibly have come about if they had failed in the Austrian war; how then he had “desperately used his spurs to make the noble old horse clear the ditch and take the risk”; and how, the victory having been won, on their return from the war they were received by the people with the most jubilant acclamations instead of having their heads cut off, which had pleased the old gentleman immensely and taught him a lesson as to his reckless prime minister.

It was not the cautious and conservative spirit of the king alone that he had occasionally to overcome. Still more was he clogged and not seldom exasperated by what he called the stupid old bureaucracy, which had to be got out of its accustomed ruts whenever anything new and bold was to be done. He fairly bubbled over with humorous anecdotes, evidently relishing, himself, his droll descriptions of the antiquated “Geheimrath” (privy counsellor), as he stared with his bleared eyes wide open, whenever anything unusual was proposed, seeing nothing but insuperable difficulties before him and then exhausting his whole ingenuity in finding the best sort of red tape with which to strangle the project. His patience tried to the utmost, he, the minister would then go to the king and tell him that such and such a rusty official could no longer be got along with and must necessarily give place to a more efficient person; whereupon the “old gentleman,” melting with pity, would say, “Oh, he has so long been a faithful servant of the State, would it not be cruel to cast him aside like a squeezed-out orange?—no, I cannot do it.” “And there,” said Bismarck, “there we are.”

I ventured to suggest that an offer to resign on his part, if he could not have his way, might make the king less tender of his inefficient friends in high places. “Oh,” said Bismarck with a laugh, “I have tried that so often, too often, perhaps, to make it impressive! What do you think happens when I offer my resignation? My old gentleman begins to sob and cry—he actually sheds tears, and says, ‘Now you want to leave me too?’ Now when I see him shed tears, what in the world can I do then?” So he went on for a while, from one funny anecdote to another and from one satirical description to another.

Bismarck’s Test of Von Moltke

Bismarck then came back to the Austrian war and told me much about the diplomatic fencing which led up to it. With evident gusto he related story after story, showing how his diplomatic adversaries at that critical period had been like puppets in his hands, and how he had managed the German princes as they grouped themselves on one side or the other. Then he came to speak of the battle of Königgrätz, and especially of that “anxious moment” in it before the arrival of the Crown Prince in the rear of the Austrians, when some Prussian attacks had failed and there were signs of disorder among the repulsed troops.

“It was an anxious moment,” said Bismarck, “a moment on the decision of which the fate of empire depended. What would have become of us if we had lost that battle? Squadrons of cavalry, all mixed up, hussars, dragoons, uhlans, were streaming by the spot where the king, Moltke, and myself stood, and although we had calculated that the Crown Prince might long have appeared behind the Austrian rear, no sign of the Crown Prince! Things began to look ominous. I confess I felt not a little nervous. I looked at Moltke, who sat quietly on his horse and did not seem to be disturbed by what was going on around us. I thought I would test whether he was really as calm as he appeared. I rode up to him and asked him whether I might offer him a cigar, since I noticed he was not smoking. He replied that he would be glad if I had one to spare. I presented to him my open case in which there were only two cigars, one a very good Havana, and the other of rather poor quality. Moltke looked at them and even handled them with great attention, in order to ascertain their relative value, and then with slow deliberation chose the Havana. ‘Very good,’ he said composedly. This reassured me very much. I thought, If Moltke can bestow so much time and attention upon the choice between two cigars, things cannot be very bad. Indeed, a few minutes later we heard the Crown Prince’s guns, we observed unsteady and confused movements on the Austrian positions, and the battle was won.”

I said that we in America who had followed the course of events with intense interest were rather surprised, at the time, that the conclusion of peace followed the battle of Königgrätz so quickly and that Prussia did not take greater advantage of her victory. Bismarck replied that the speedy conclusion of peace had been a great surprise to many people, but that he thought it was the best thing he had ever done, 371 and that he had accomplished it against the desire of the king and of the military party, who were greatly elated by that splendid triumph of the Prussian arms and thought that so great and so successful an effort should have a greater reward. Sound statesmanship required that the Austrian Empire, the existence of which was necessary for Europe, should not be reduced to a mere wreck; that it should be made a friend and, as a friend, not too powerless; that what Prussia had gone to war for was the leadership of Germany, and that this leadership in Germany would not have been fortified, but rather weakened, by the acquisition from Austria of populations which would not have fitted into the Prussian scheme.

Besides, the Chancellor thought that, the success of the Prussians having been so decisive, it was wise to avoid further sacrifices and risks. The cholera had made its appearance among the troops, and so long as the war lasted there would have been danger of French intervention. He had successfully fought off that French intervention, he said, by all sorts of diplomatic manœuvres, some of which he narrated to me in detail. But Louis Napoleon had become very restless at the growth of Prussian power and prestige, and he would, probably, not have hesitated to put in his hand, had not the French army been so weakened by his foolish Mexican adventure. But now, when the main Prussian army was marching farther and farther away from the Rhine and had suffered serious losses, and was threatened by malignant disease, he might have felt encouraged by these circumstances to do what he would have liked to do all the time.

“That would have created a new situation,” said Bismarck. “But to meet that situation, I should have had a shot in my locker which, perhaps, will surprise you when I mention it.”

I was indeed curious. “What would have been the effect,” said Bismarck, “if under those circumstances I had appealed to the national feeling of the whole people by proclaiming the constitution of the German Empire made at Frankfort in 1848 and 1849?”

“I think it would have electrified the whole country and created a German nation,” I replied. “But would you really have adopted that great orphan left by the revolution of 1848?”

“Why not?” said the Chancellor. “True, that constitution contained some features very objectionable to me. But, after all, it was not so very far from what I am aiming at now. But whether the old gentleman would have adopted it is doubtful. Still, with Napoleon at the gates, he might have taken that jump too. But,” he added, “we shall have that war with France anyhow.”

War with France in Two Years

I expressed my surprise at this prediction,—a prediction all the more surprising to me when I again recalled that the great statesman, carrying on his shoulders such tremendous responsibilities, was talking to an entire stranger,—and his tone grew quite serious, grave, almost solemn, as he said: “Do not believe that I love war. I have seen enough of war to abhor it profoundly. The terrible scenes I have witnessed will never cease to haunt my mind. I shall never consent to a war that is avoidable, much less seek it. But this war with France will surely come. It will be forced upon us by the French Emperor. I see that clearly.”

Then he went on to explain how the situation of an “adventurer on a throne,” such as Louis Napoleon, was different from that of a legitimate sovereign, like the King of Prussia. “I know,” said he with a smile, “you do not believe in such a thing as the divine right of kings. But many people do, especially in Prussia—perhaps not as many as did before 1848, but even now more than you think. People are attracted to the dynasty by traditional loyalty. A King of Prussia may make mistakes or suffer misfortunes, or even humiliations, but that traditional loyalty will not give way. But the adventurer on the throne has no such traditional sentiment behind him. His security depends upon personal prestige, and that prestige upon sensational effects which must follow one another in rather rapid succession to remain fresh and satisfactory to the ambition, or the pride, or, if you will, the vanity of the people—especially to such a people as the French.

“Now, Louis Napoleon has lost much of his prestige by two things—the Mexican adventure, which was an astounding blunder, a fantastic folly on his part; and then by permitting Prussia to become so great without obtaining some sort of ‘compensation’ in the way of an acquisition of territory that might have been made to appear to the French people as a brilliant achievement of his diplomacy. It was well known that he wanted such a compensation, and tried for it, and was manœuvered out of it by me without his knowledge of what was happening to him. He is well aware that thus he has lost much of his prestige, more than he can afford, and that such a loss, unless soon repaired, may become dangerous to his tenure as emperor. He will, therefore, as soon as he thinks that his army is in good fighting condition, again make an effort to recover that prestige which is so vital to him, by using some pretext 372 for picking a quarrel with us. I do not think he is personally eager for that war, I think he would rather avoid it, but the precariousness of his situation will drive him to it. My calculation is that the crisis will come in about two years. We have to be ready, of course, and we are. We shall win, and the result will be just the contrary of what Napoleon aims at—the total unification of Germany outside of Austria, and probably Napoleon’s downfall.”


Photographed by the Berlin Photographic Co.

This was said in January, 1868. The war between France and Prussia and her allies broke out in July, 1870, and the foundation of the German Empire and the downfall of Napoleon 373 were the results. No prediction was ever more shrewdly made and more accurately and amply fulfilled.


Photographed by the Berlin Photographic Co.

I have introduced here Bismarck as speaking in the first person. I did this to present the substance of what he said to me in a succinct form. But this does not pretend to portray the manner in which he said it—the bubbling vivacity of his talk, now and then interspersed with French or English phrases; the lightning flashes of his wit scintillating around the subjects of his remarks and sometimes illuminating, as with a search-light, a public character, or an event, or a situation; his laugh, now contageously 374 genial, and then grimly sarcastic; the rapid transitions from jovial, sportive humor to touching pathos; the evident pleasure taken by the narrator in his tale; the dashing, rattling rapidity with which that tale would at times rush on; and behind all this that tremendous personality—the picturesque embodiment of a power greater than any king’s—a veritable Atlas carrying upon his shoulders the destinies of a great nation. There was a strange fascination in the presence of the giant who appeared so peculiarly grand and yet so human.


Photographed by the Berlin Photographic Co.

While he was still speaking with unabated animation I looked at the clock opposite me and was astounded when I found that midnight was long behind us. I rose in alarm and begged the Chancellor’s pardon for having intruded so long upon his time. “Oh,” said the Chancellor, “I am used to late hours, and we have not talked yet about America. However, you have a right to be tired. But you must come again. You must dine with me. Can you do so to-morrow? I have invited a commission on the Penal Code—mostly dull old jurists, I suppose—but I may find some one among them fit to be your neighbor at the table and to entertain you.”

I gladly accepted the invitation and found myself the next evening in a large company of serious and learned-looking gentlemen, each one of whom was adorned with one or more decorations. I was the only person in the room who had none, and several of the guests seemed to eye me with some curiosity, when Bismarck in a loud voice presented me to the Countess as “General Carl Schurz from the United States of America.” Some of the gentlemen looked somewhat surprised, but I at once became a person of interest, and many introductions followed. At the table I had a judge from Cologne for my neighbor, who had enough of the Rhenish temperament to be cheerful company. The dinner was a very rapid affair—lasting hardly three quarters of an hour, certainly not more.


Photographed by the Berlin Photographic Co.

Before the smokers could have got half through with their cigars, the Minister of Justice, who seemed to act as mentor and guide to the gentlemen of the Penal Code Commission, took leave of the host, which was accepted by the whole company as a signal to depart. I followed 376 their example, but the Chancellor said: “Wait a moment. Why should you stand in that crowd struggling for your overcoat? Let us sit down and have a glass of Apollinaris.” We sat down by a small round table, a bottle of Apollinaris water was brought, and he began at once to ply me with questions about America.


He was greatly interested in the struggle going on between President Johnson and the Republican majority in Congress, which was then approaching its final crisis. He said that he looked upon that struggle as a test of the strength of the conservative element in our political fabric. Would the impeachment of the President, and, if he were found guilty, his deposition from office, lead to any further conflicts dangerous to the public peace and order? I replied that I was convinced it would not; the executive power would simply pass from the hands of one man to the hands of another, according to the constitution and laws of the country, without any resistance on the part of anybody; and on the other hand, if President Johnson were acquitted, there would be general submission to the verdict as a matter of course, although popular excitement stirred up by the matter would run very high throughout the country.

The Chancellor was too polite to tell me point-blank that he had grave doubts as to all this, but he would at least not let me believe that he thought as I did. He smilingly asked me whether I was still as firmly convinced a republican as I had been before I went to America and studied republicanism from the inside; and when I assured him that I was, and that, 377 although I had in personal experience found the republic not as lovely as my youthful enthusiasm had pictured it to my imagination, but much more practical in its general beneficence to the great masses of the people, and much more conservative in its tendencies than I had imagined, he said that he supposed our impressions or views with regard to such things were largely owing to temperament, or education, or traditional ways of thinking.

“I am not a democrat,” he went on, “and cannot be. I was born an aristocrat and brought up an aristocrat. To tell you the truth, there was something in me that made me instinctively sympathize with the slaveholders, as the aristocratic party, in your Civil War. But,” he added with earnest emphasis, “this vague sympathy did not in the least affect my views as to the policy to be followed by our government with regard to the United States. Prussia, notwithstanding her monarchical and aristocratic sympathies, is, and will steadily be by tradition, as well as by thoroughly understood interest, the firm friend of your republic. You may always count upon that.”

He asked me a great many questions concerning the political and social conditions in the United States. Again and again he wondered how society could be kept in tolerable order where the powers of the government were so narrowly restricted and where there was so little reverence for the constituted or “ordained” authorities. With a hearty laugh, in which there seemed to be a suggestion of assent, he received my remark that the American people would hardly have become the self-reliant, energetic, progressive people they were, had there been a privy-counsellor or a police captain standing at every mud-puddle in America to keep people from stepping into it. And he seemed to be much struck when I brought out the apparent paradox that in a democracy with little government things might go badly in detail but well on the whole, while in a monarchy with much and omni-present government things might go very pleasingly in detail but poorly on the whole. He saw that with such views I was an incurable democrat; but would not, he asked, the real test of our democratic institutions come when, after the disappearance of the exceptional opportunities springing from our wonderful natural resources which were in a certain sense common property, our political struggles became, as they surely would become, struggles between the poor and the rich, between the few who have, and the many who want? Here we entered upon a wide field of conjecture.

The conversation then turned to international relations, and especially public opinion in America concerning Germany. Did the Americans sympathize with German endeavors towards national unity?—I thought that so far as any feeling with regard to German unity existed in America, it was sympathetic; among the German-Americans it was warmly so.—Did Louis Napoleon, the emperor of the French, enjoy any popularity in America?—He did not enjoy the respect of the people at large and was rather unpopular except with a comparatively small number of snobs who would feel themselves exalted by an introduction at his court.—There would, then, in case of a war between Germany and France, be no likelihood of American sympathy running in favor of Louis Napoleon?—There would not, unless Germany forced war on France for decidedly unjust cause.

Throughout our conversation Bismarck repeatedly expressed his pleasure at the friendly relations existing between him and the German Liberals, some of whom had been prominent in the revolutionary troubles of 1848. He mentioned several of my old friends, Bucher, Kapp, and others, who, having returned to Germany, felt themselves quite at home under the new conditions and had found their way open to public positions and activities of distinction and influence, in harmony with their principles. As he repeated this, or something like it, in a manner apt to command my attention, I might have taken it as a suggestion inviting me to do likewise. But I thought it best not to say anything in response.

Our conversation had throughout been so animated that time had slipped by us unaware, and it was again long past midnight when I left. My old friends of 1848 whom I met in Berlin were of course very curious to know what the great man of the time might have had to say to me, and I thought I could without being indiscreet communicate to them how highly pleased he had expressed himself with the harmonious coöperation between him and them for common ends. Some of them thought that Bismarck’s conversion to liberal principles was really sincere. Others were less sanguine, believing as they did that he was indeed sincere and earnest in his endeavor to create a united German empire under Prussian leadership; that he would carry on a gay flirtation with the Liberals so long as he thought that he could thus best further his object, but that his true autocratic nature would assert itself again and he would throw his temporarily assumed Liberalism overboard as soon as he felt that he did not need its support any longer, and especially when he found it to stand in the way of his will.






“Perhaps I’m too old to be wearing such things, but I love bright colors, and there’s not a bit of use denying it.”

Mary Ann gathered one end of the fancy tartan into a handful, and looked approvingly at its soft, heavy folds.

“Particularly at this time of year. It’s warming to the blood on a cold autumn day just to see a dress like this on the street. I always did like a good rich tartan. It becomes me, too. Look, Selina’n’Jane.”

She held the dress material against one cheek, and her sisters looked—but somehow failed to see what a pleasing picture she made. She had just come in from shopping and had not yet removed her hat, and its trimming of foliage repeated the colors of her face—autumnal tints of red and bronze and healthy yellow. She, the eldest of the family and the only unmarried one, was forty-five, but she was rosy and fat and matronly, while her sisters were pinched and anemic. They were old maids by nature, she by chance.

“It becomes you well enough, but under the circumstances,” Jane said, exchanging glances with Selina, “it seems a pity to buy all these things.”

Mary Ann opened her eyes wide.

“Circumstances? What circumstances? It’s no more than I buy every fall,” protested the puzzled Mary Ann. “The flowered piece is for a morning wrapper, the tartan’s for a street suit, and the blue-gray’s a company dress.”

Jane and Selina again exchanged glances, and Selina nodded.

“You never did seem to look ahead, Mary Ann,” said Jane, thus encouraged. “I don’t believe you realize that an attack of bronchitis is serious at Ma’s age. I wouldn’t have got all my clothes colored. It’s never any harm to have one black dress.”

Mary Ann gasped.

“Good gracious!” was all she said.

“Well, Mary Ann,” said Selina, coming to Jane’s rescue, “there’s not a particle of use shutting your eyes to plain facts. Ma’s in a serious condition, and if anything happens to her, what’ll you do with all that stuff? You may dye the blue, but that tartan won’t take a good black.”

“Why,” Mary Ann said, recovering speech, “Ma has bronchitis at the beginning of cold weather every year. She’ll be downstairs in a week or two, the same as she always is.”

“I hope so, Mary Ann. I hope, when next she comes down, it won’t be feet first. But we’re told to prepare for the worst while we hope for the best,” said Jane solemnly, imagining that she was quoting scripture. “You and Ma act as if there was nothing to prepare for. To see you, sitting by her sick-bed, reading trashy love-stories out of the magazines, and both of you as much interested!—it gives me a creepy feeling.”

“When my poor husband lay in his last illness,” sighed Selina, “he was only too willing to be flattered into the belief that he was going to get well, but I wouldn’t let him deceive himself, and it’s a comfort to me now I didn’t. I had everything ready but my crape when he died. I didn’t have to depend on the neighbors for a dress for the funeral, as I’ve known some do.”

“Many a time I’ve lent, but never borrowed,” Jane boasted.

“And of course, never laying off widow’s weeds, I’m ready for whatever comes.” Selina stroked her tarletan cuffs complacently, yet modestly withal, as if not wishing to make others feel too keenly the difference in their position.


Mary Ann gathered the dress goods together and threw them in a heap on the sofa. “There, I’m sorry I showed them to you,” she cried; “you’ve got me almost turned against them. 380 I declare, I’d be melancholy in two minutes more. Now you listen to me, Selina’n’Jane. There’s no need to worry about Ma’s preparations for the next world; she’s not thinking of leaving this world yet, and there’s no reason why she should. The day you two go away, she’ll be standing at the gate to say good-by to you, just the same as she always is. You see if she’s not, Selina’n’Jane.”

She left the room with something as like a flounce as her figure would permit. Stealing softly into the half-darkened bedroom at the head of the stairs, she stood looking down at the sleeping woman in the bed. The indignant moisture in her eyes turned to a mist of tenderness that blotted out the sight until a few drops formed and fell.

She was too unsuspicious to observe an unsleeplike flickering of the eyelids. She turned to tiptoe out of the room again. There was a quick peep, a look of relief, a husky whisper, “Is that you, Mary Ann?”

“Well now, I never did see anything like the regular way you wake up at medicine time,” Mary Ann said, opening the shutters and consulting her watch. “Anybody’d think you had an alarm inside of you to go off at the right time.”

She administered the dose and then went on with a cheerful monologue. She had got into this habit in the sick-room, because her mother hated silence and had to save her own voice.

“What kept me so long was that everybody I met wanted to stop me and ask how you were. Everybody seemed pleased to hear you were getting along so nicely. Mrs. Dowling said Dr. Corbett told her you were the most satisfactory patient he had, because you always did everything he told you and always got well.”

The sick woman smiled up at her. She had a smile that came and went easily, and Mary Ann had become skilful in the art of conducting a conversation in such a way that it served as well as words.

“And Caroline Sibbet said to tell you she was counting on going with us to the reception to the minister, and she didn’t believe she’d go at all unless you were well by then.”

It was a wistful smile now.

“So I told her she needn’t be afraid, you’d be there.”

A smile of appeal, as if to ask, “Do you really think so?”

Mary Ann gave her a puzzled glance. Something was wrong.

“Of course you’ll be well by then, dearie. You heard what the doctor said to-day—that you might go back to having your cup of tea again to-morrow. That’s always the first sign you’re getting well, then you get leave to sit up. A week sitting up in your room, a week going downstairs——” Mary Ann began to check off the weeks on her fingers, but her mother interrupted.

“Was that Jane the doctor was talking to so long in the hall to-day?”

“Let me see. No, that was Selina.”

“What was he saying to her?”

“He was saying every blessed thing that he’s said to me since you took sick, and that I’ve repeated over again to her. But you know how it is with those two, Ma. I believe they think there’s some kind of magic in the marriage ceremony that gives a woman sense—they don’t give me credit for a speck. When Selina told me she was going to speak to the doctor herself to-day, says she, ‘You know that it stands to reason, Mary Ann, that you can’t be as experienced as one that has been a wife five years and a widow seven’; and then Jane seemed to think it was being cast up to her that she wasn’t a widow, so she speaks up real snappy, ‘Nor one that’s brought up a family of four boys,’ and then Selina she looked mad.” Mary Ann went off into a peal of laughter at the remembrance.

“Jane told me he said at my age the heart was weak and there was always more or less danger.”

“He always says that after he’s told what good sound lungs you have, and what steady progress you’re making, and how he’d rather pass you for insurance than most women half your age. It means we’re not to be too reckless, all the same.”

“She says if I should recover from this attack——”

“Sakes alive! Did she come over all that with you too? ‘If you should recover from this attack, you’d better sell the house and visit round among your married children?’ Visit round as much as you like, Ma, but have a house of your own to come back to; that’s my advice.”

“She said you wouldn’t want to keep up a house after you were left alone——”

Mary Ann threw up her hands. “No wonder Selina’n’Jane are thin—they wear the flesh off their bones providing for the future. They’re born Colquhouns. I’m glad I take after your side of the family. Do you know what Selina told me, Ma? The preserves she put up this year won’t have to be touched till winter after next. She has enough to last her over two years. ‘Land sakes!’ I said, ‘what do you want to eat stale jam for, when you might have fresh?’ The two get competing which will be furthest ahead in their work; from the way 381 they talk, I shouldn’t wonder if before long their fall house-cleaning would be done in the spring. It makes me think of what Pa used to tell about his uncle Alick Colquhoun—how he was earlier and earlier with the milking, till at last the evening milking was done in the morning, and the morning’s was done the night before. Then there was Eva Meldrum; you remember she had all her marriage outfit ready before she was asked—sheets, tablecloths, and everything. As soon as Fred Healey proposed, she got right to work with the final preparations, and when she found herself left with nothing else to do—she just sat down and wrote out notes of thanks for the wedding gifts, leaving blanks for the names of the articles. I laughed till I was sore when she told me. ‘You’re a Colquhoun,’ I said, ‘though you do only get it from your grandma; you’re a Colquhoun by nature if not by name.’ You know I always say it comes from having such a name. It’s enough to make an anxious streak in the family, having to spell it, one generation after another.”

Mary Ann laughed so heartily that the sound reached her sisters, who wondered what “Ma’n’Mary Ann” were at now. And still the little cloud lingered, and the smile only flitted waveringly.

“I called at the library, Ma, and brought home the magazine. Now we’ll find out for sure whether Lady Geraldine marries the earl—I don’t believe but what she’s in love with the private secretary.”

“Did you do the shopping?” her mother whispered.

“Yes, and if you feel rested with your sleep, I’ll show you what I got. Mr. Merrill opened out such a heap of pretty things, I didn’t hardly know what to take. I was thinking, Ma, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have Miss Adams in to sew, the first week you’re downstairs, when we’ve got to be in the house anyway.”

At this moment Jane and Selina came into the room to see what the sounds of merriment meant. They looked at patient and nurse with disapproving gloom. Jane settled herself at once to her knitting; Selina, who never worked in the afternoon when she was wearing her widow’s collar and cuffs, sat regarding her mother with an expression of grieved wonder. Mrs. Colquhoun was uncomfortably conscious of being judged by something in her own child of other heritage than hers—one of the strangest sensations a parent can have.

“You’d ought to be kept quiet, Ma,” Selina said, after a prolonged scrutiny. “If you had any suitable book in the house, I’d read to you. There was one my poor husband used to listen to by the hour in his last illness—‘Preparations for the Final Journey.’”

“I’m going to run down and fetch that stuff I bought to-day to show it to Ma and get her opinion,” Mary Ann interrupted, and a minute later she was standing by the bed with the three dress lengths piled in confusion upon her arms. To the woman in the bed it was as if an angel looked out from over a tumbled rainbow and smiled a message of hope to her from the sky.

“Take an end of this tartan, will you, Jane, and stand off a little with it. There, I knew you’d like it, Ma. I said so to Mr. Merrill the minute he showed it to me. That flowered piece? That’s for a morning wrapper. I know it’s gay, but somehow, after the flowers are all over, I do hanker after gay colors. In summer I don’t feel to want them so much on my back when I can have them in the garden. The gray-blue’s for a company dress. I’ll have it made up in time for the reception to the new minister. You’ll need a dress for that too, Ma. We’ll get samples as soon as you’re well enough to choose. It was between this and a shot silk, but I thought this was more becoming at my age. To tell the truth,” confessed Mary Ann with a laugh, “I’d rather have had it than this, and more than either I’d love to have bought a dress off a piece of crimson velvet Mr. Merrill had just got in.”

She rested an elbow on her knee and sank the length of a forefinger in her plump cheek.

“When I was a little girl,” she ruminated, “I was awfully fond of the rose-in-campin’ that grew in our garden at home—you mind it, mother; mullein pink, some call it. I used to say to myself that if ever I could get what clothes I liked, I’d have a dress as near like that as I could find. Well, there I was to-day looking at the very thing, the same color, the same downy look, and all, and money enough in my purse to buy it. Of course I know it would be silly. But don’t it seem a pity that the things we dream of having some day—when the day comes, we don’t want ’em? I feel somehow as if I’m cheating that little girl that wished for the dress like a rose-in-campin’.”

She began to fold the dress pieces thoughtfully. “Made up handsomely with a train,” she said, half to herself, “and worn on suitable occasions, it wouldn’t seem so silly, either. I believe I’ll have that crimson velvet yet,” she concluded, with a laughing toss of the head. Her mother looked from the bright materials to the bright face above them.

“She would never have gone and bought all these colors just after the doctor said I wasn’t going to get well,” she thought, and turned over and fell into a real sleep. The last had been 382 feigned—to escape Jane’s disquieting remarks and to ponder their significance.


Mary Ann’s prophecy was fulfilled. Her mother stood beside her at the garden gate when Jane and Selina drove away, her glances up and down the sunny street evincing all a convalescent’s freshened interest in the outside world. The two faces were alike and yet unlike. The joy of living was in both; but a little uncertainty, a little appeal in the older woman’s told that with her it depended to some degree upon the steadier flow of animal spirits in the younger.

Jane and Selina turned for a last look at the portly figures and waving handkerchiefs.

“Who would think to look at them,” said Jane, “that Ma had only just returned from the jaws of death! It ought to be a warning to them. Some day she’ll go off in one of those attacks.”

“Ma’n’Mary Ann are as like as two peas,” said Selina. “They’re Maberlys. There never was a Maberly yet that knew how to look ahead. I declare, it gave me the shivers to see these two plunging right out of a sick-bed into colors and fashions the way they did. Ma’d ought to listen to us and sell her house and live round with her married children; at her age she’d ought to be some place where sickness and death are treated in a serious way.”

Upon this point Mrs. Colquhoun was firm. She could never go back to life on a farm again, she said; “living in town was living.” But she compromised by agreeing to devote the whole of the next summer to visiting her married children.

That was a long summer to Mary Ann. There was something wanting in all the small accustomed pleasures of her simple life, until the middle of August came, and the time set for her mother’s return was within counting distance. Then her spirits rose higher with every hour. As a toper would celebrate his happiness at the saloon, she went to Mr. Merrill’s dry-goods shop, and after a revel in that part of it where color most ran riot, she bought new chintz covering for the parlor furniture, a chrysanthemum pattern in various shades of fawn and glowing crimson.

The next step was to plan a reception to welcome her mother home and exhibit the new covering. Then a mighty idea struck her—this was the opportunity for the crimson velvet dress!

“I mayn’t never have as good an excuse for it again,” she said to the sewing-girl, “and it’s the one thing needed to make everything complete. Me in that crimson and Ma in the fawn silk she had made when the Reverend Mr. Ellis came will be a perfect match for the furniture.”

She patted the sofa back with affectionate pride.

“It does make you feel good to have anything new,” she said, sighing contentedly. “Anything, I don’t care if it’s only a kitchen stove-lifter. But this!—There are an awful lot of things in the world do make you feel good; aren’t there, Miss Adams? I mean common things, like putting on dry stockings when your feet are wet, or reading in bed, or sitting in a shady spot on a hot summer’s day, with a muslin dress on—yes, or even eating your tea, if you happen to be feeling hungry and have something particularly nice,” added this cheerful materialist.

The crimson velvet dress was being fitted for the last time when a letter was handed to Mary Ann. Her spectacles were downstairs, so she asked the sewing-girl to read it.

“‘My dear aunt,’” Miss Adams began, “‘Grandma took cold in church a week ago last Sunday and has been laid up——’”

There was a quick rustling of the velvet train. Mary Ann was vanishing into the clothes-closet. In a moment she reappeared with a small valise in her hand, and Miss Adams saw in her face what no one had ever seen there before—the shadow of a fear that hovered always on the outer edge of her happy existence and now stood close by her side. Mary Ann might be nine-tenths Maberly, but the other tenth was Colquhoun, after all.

“Put a dress into it, please,” she said, handing the valise to Miss Adams. “No, I won’t wait to take this off—I’ve a waterproof that will cover it all up. Pin the train up with safety pins—never mind if it does make pin-holes—I’ve just ten minutes to catch the train. A week ago Sunday! Oh, why didn’t they let me know before?”

When she alighted from the train at the flag station, she was clutching the waterproof close at the neck. She held it in the same unconscious grasp when she entered Jane’s big farm-house, by way of the kitchen. Selina was there, making a linseed poultice, and the odor was mingled with another which she knew afterwards to be the odor of black dye.


In her mother’s bedroom the same acid odor was in the air, and Jane was sitting at the window with a piece of black sewing in her hands. Jane’s husband and John Maberly were standing at the foot of the bed, silent and melancholy, looking as awkward as men always do in a sick-room; Jane’s stern gloom was tinged with a 383 condescending pity for beings so out of place. Mary Ann saw them all at the first glance. Then she forgot everything; she was snuggling down against the bed, making the little, tender, glad, sorry sounds a mother makes when she has been separated from her baby.

When she lifted her head the men were leaving the room, John’s face working. Selina was there with the poultice. She took it from her. One look into her mother’s face had been enough. From that moment she seemed to be holding her back by sheer force of will from the edge over which she was slipping.

There was no merry gossip and laughter now, 384 there were no love stories, no monologues with pauses for smiles. Mary Ann felt that a careless word or look would be enough to loosen that frail hold on life. When the doctor came, he found his patient in charge of a stout woman in a fresh linen dress, whose self-command was so perfect that he did not waste many words in softening the opinion for which she followed him to the door.

“Your mother’s age is against her,” he said. “The bronchitis in itself is not alarming, but her heart is weak, and I fear you must not expect her recovery.”

He knew at once that she refused to accept his verdict, though she only said, “I’d like to telegraph for our doctor at home, if you don’t mind.”

When Dr. Corbett came, he confirmed the opinion.

“The bronchitis is no worse than usual,” he added, “the treatment has been the same; but she seems to have lost her grip.”

“There’s no reason why she shouldn’t catch a hold of it again,” said poor Mary Ann, choking down her agony with the thought that she must return immediately to her mother’s room.

“I don’t quite understand it,” the doctor said, with a questioning look. “The nursing—that’s been good? Dr. Black tells me so.”

“Yes, Jane and Selina are both good nurses, better’n what I am, if it wasn’t that Ma’s used to me.”

“And there’s no obstacle to her recovery that you know of?” Mary Ann shook her head. “Well, Miss Mary Ann, we must just conclude that it’s the natural wearing out of a good machine. And we’ll do what we can.”

When Mary Ann went back to her mother’s room, she found her a little roused from the stupor in which she had been lying. The visit of her own doctor, the accustomed tendance, had touched some spring that set old wheels running. With the clairvoyance love so often gives to the sick-nurse, Mary Ann knew that she had something to say to her.

She sat by the bed and waited. A fluttering whisper came at last.

“Did you see Jane’s hands?”

Mary Ann’s mind, seeking desperately for a clue, flashed from the stains on her sister’s hands, which she had vaguely set down to black currant jelly, to the acid smell in the kitchen—to the black sewing—to the forgotten shock of a year ago.

“They asked me where I’d like to lie—beside Pa or in the cemetery in town.”

“It’s their forehandedness, Ma. I never did know such a forehanded pair. Talk about meeting trouble half way—Selina’n’Jane don’t wait for it to start out at all.”

“Selina read out of the paper that bronchitis was nearly always fatal after seventy.”

“Well, now, what will those papers say next? Do you know what I read out of our own Advertiser the other day? That every woman over thirty has had at least one offer of marriage. Now, that’s a lie, for I never had an offer in my life. I’m kind of glad I didn’t, Ma, for I suppose I’d have took it; and you and me do have an awfully good time together, don’t we?”

But her mother was not listening now; it had been a flash merely of the old self. Mary Ann looked around the room until she found Jane’s lap-board with a pile of black sewing on it. She gathered up the carefully pressed pieces and poked them roughly in between a large clothes cupboard and the wall.

“There!” she said to herself, “it will be a while before they find that, and when they do they can call it Mary Ann’s flighty way of redding up a room.”

She heard her sisters whispering in the hall and went out to them. Selina was tying her bonnet-strings.

“I’m going home to do a lot of cooking,” she said in an important undertone. “John’s wrote to Ma’s relatives in Iowa, and some of them’s sure to come.”

Mary Ann looked into the wrinkled face; the past weeks had added new lines of genuine grief to it, yet she could not help seeing that Selina found some strange pleasure in all these incidents of a last illness. The words she had meant to say seemed futile. She was turning to go into her mother’s room again when an idea came to her.

“Don’t go yet,” she said. “I want to show you two something.”

She went into her bedroom and returned in a few minutes with the crimson dress over her arm.

“I was getting it fitted when the news of Ma’s sickness came, and I just put a waterproof over it. The seams have got a little ravelled. I thought maybe you two would help me top-sew them.”

“Mary Ann——!”

“You’re so much cleverer than me with the needle. I was having it made for—for—” Mary Ann could not trust her voice to tell what she had been having it made for—“for an occasion. It won’t be needed now as soon as I expected, but you know, Selina’n’Jane, you always say yourselves there’s nothing like taking time by the forelock.”

“Mary Ann——”


“A few hours would finish it up if we all got at it. Oh, there’s Ma coughing. I must run and get the pail of water and hot brick to steam up the room.”

She threw the dress into her sister’s hands and was gone. They stood looking at each other across it.

Poor Mary Ann!”

“She talked about an occasion. I don’t know more’n one kind of occasion people get dresses like this for. Can she mean——?”

“At her age? Nonsense!”

“Dr. Corbett appears to think a pile of her. He’s a widower——”

“Now you speak of it, Selina, he does look at her in an admiring sort of way. If there was anything of that kind in prospect—and of course she’d lay off black sooner——”

The sun came out and streamed through the high window upon the dress in their hands. It was like a drink of wine to look at it.

“There’s no denying it’s a handsome thing,” Jane said. “It does seem a pity to have the edges ravel. We might finish it, anyway, and sew it up in a bag with camphor.”

Through the gray languor that overlay Mrs. Colquhoun’s consciousness, glints of crimson began to find their way. Now the spot of color was disappearing under Mary Ann’s white apron; now it was in Jane’s stained hands; now it was passing from Jane to Selina.

Then she heard Dr. Corbett say, as he handed Mary Ann a small parcel, “It’s the first sewing-silk I ever bought, Miss Mary Ann, and I don’t know whether it’s a good match, but it’s crimson, anyhow, Merrill gave me his word for that”; and when Mary Ann made a warning gesture towards the bed, the faint stirring of interest almost amounted to curiosity.

“What did he mean?” she asked, after the doctor had gone. Mary Ann bent down to catch the husky whisper. “The silk—what is it for?”

“You’re a little stronger to-day, aren’t you, Ma? I’ve a secret I meant to keep till you were well; but there! Wait till I get back and I’ll tell you.”

Mrs. Colquhoun let her eyelids close and forgot all about it. When she opened them again, Mary Ann stood before her arrayed in the velvet dress. The radiant vision seemed part of the train of visions that had been passing before her closed eyes; but this stayed, and the smiling creases of the cheeks were substantial and firm.

Then Mary Ann fell on her knees beside the bed and made a crimson frame of her arms for the nightcapped head on the pillow.

“I’m not a bit of good at keeping a secret, Ma. Jane and Selina and me have just finished it, but you weren’t to know anything about it till you got home. It was to be a surprise. And there’s new covering on the parlor furniture, a handsome flower pattern, all fawn and crimson, like our dresses, and we’re going to have a home-coming party. I don’t want to be impatient, but I wish you’d hurry up and get well.”

Mrs. Colquhoun was gazing into her daughter’s eyes.

“Do you really think I’m going to get well, Mary Ann?” she asked, and the wistfulness of old desire revived was in the feeble voice.

“Of course you’re going to get well, dearie. Why shouldn’t you?”

“It seemed kind of settled I wasn’t—and it’s so upsetting to stay when you’re expected to go. I didn’t care much.”

She put up her hand weakly and stroked the velvet.

“But now—if you think so—perhaps——”

At his next visit Dr. Corbett said, “Your mother’s caught her grip again, Miss Mary Ann,” and Dr. Black added heartily, “And if you’ll only tell us how you did it, Miss Mary Ann, you’ll be putting dollars in our pockets.”

But the cunning of love, with all its turnings and twistings, is only half-conscious—the rest is instinct.

“I don’t know that there’s anything to tell, doctor,” Mary Ann said slowly, wiping away a tear. “Only you might just keep a watch out and see that none of your patients are being hurried out of the world by the preparations for their own mourning. That’s what was happening to Ma.”





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

Perhaps Henry Irving and I might have gone on with Shakespeare to the end of the chapter if he had not been in such a hurry to produce “Macbeth.”

We ought to have done “As You Like It” in 1888, or “The Tempest.” Henry thought of both these plays. He was much attracted by the part of Caliban in “The Tempest,” but, he said, “the young lovers are everything, and where are we going to find them?” He would have played Touchstone in “As You Like It,” not Jacques, because Touchstone is in the vital part of the play.

He might have delayed both “Macbeth” and “Henry VIII.” He ought to have added to his list of Shakespearian productions “Julius Cæsar,” “King John,” “As You Like It,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Richard II.,” and “Timon of Athens.” There were reasons “against,” of course. In “Julius Cæsar” he wanted to play Brutus. “That’s the part for the actor,” he said, “because it needs acting. But the actor-manager’s part is Antony. Antony scores all along the line. Now when the actor and actor-manager fight in a play, and when there is no part for you in it, I think it’s wiser to leave it alone.”

Every one knows when luck first began to turn against Henry Irving. It was in 1896, when he revived “Richard III.” On the first night he went home, slipped on the stairs in Grafton Street, broke a bone in his knee, aggravated the hurt by walking, and had to close the theatre. It was that year, too, that his general health began to fail. For the ten years preceding his death he carried on an indomitable struggle against ill-health. Lungs and heart alike were weak. Only the spirit in that frail body remained as strong as ever. Nothing could bend it, much less break it.

But I have not come to that sad time yet.


“We all know when we do our best,” said Henry once. “We are the only people who know.” Yet he thought he did better in “Macbeth” than in “Hamlet!”

Was he right, after all?



From the collection of H. McM. Painter

His view of Macbeth, though attacked and derided and put to shame in many quarters, is as clear to me as the sunlight itself. To me it seems as stupid to quarrel with the conception as to deny the nose on one’s face. But the carrying out of the conception was unequal. Henry’s imagination was sometimes his worst enemy. When I think of his Macbeth, I remember him most distinctly in the last act, after the battle, when he looked like a great famished wolf, weak with the weakness of a giant exhausted, spent as one whose exertions have been ten times as great as those of commoner men of rougher fibre and coarser strength.

“Of all men else I have avoided thee.”

Once more he suggested, as he only could suggest, 388 the power of fate. Destiny seemed to hang over him, and he knew that there was no hope, no mercy.

The “Macbeth” Rehearsals



The rehearsals for “Macbeth” were very exhausting, but they were splendid to watch. In this play Henry brought his manipulation of crowds to perfection. My acting edition of the play is riddled with rough sketches by him of different groups. Artists to whom I have shown them have been astonished by the spirited impressionism of these sketches. For his “purpose” Henry seems to have been able to do anything, even to drawing and composing music. Sir Arthur Sullivan’s music at first did not quite please him. He walked up and down the stage humming and showing the composer what he was going to do at certain situations. Sullivan with wonderful quickness and open-mindedness caught his meaning at once.

“Much better than mine, Irving,—much better—I’ll rough it out at once!”


By courtesy of G. P. Putnam’s Sons

When the orchestra played the new version based on that humming of Henry’s, it was exactly what he wanted!

Knowing what a task I had before me, I began to get anxious and worried about “Lady Mac.” Henry wrote me such a nice letter about this:

“To-night, if possible, the last act. I want to get these great multitudinous scenes over and then we can attack our scenes.... Your sensitiveness is so acute that you must suffer sometimes. You are not like anybody else—you see things with such lightning quickness and unerring instinct that dull fools like myself grow irritable and impatient sometimes. I feel confused when I’m thinking of one thing, and disturbed by another. That’s all. But I do feel very sorry afterwards when I don’t seem to heed what I so much value....


“I think things are going well, considering the time we’ve been at it, but I see so much that is wanting that it seems almost impossible to get through properly. ‘To-night commence Matthias. If you sleep, you are lost!’”[*]


A quotation from “The Bells.”



At this time we were able to be of the right use to each other. Henry could never have worked with a very strong woman. I should have deteriorated in partnership with a weaker man whose ends were less fine, whose motives were less pure. I had the taste and artistic knowledge that his upbringing had not developed in him. For years he did things to please 390 me. Later on I gave up asking him. In “King Lear” Mrs. Nettleship made him a most beautiful cloak, but he insisted on wearing a brilliant purple velvet cloak with “glits” all over it which spoiled his beautiful make-up and his beautiful acting. Poor Mrs. Nettle was almost in tears.

“I’ll never make you anything again,” she said. “Never!”





Copyrighted by Window and Grove|From the collection of Miss

Sargent Paints Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth

One of Mrs. Nettle’s greatest triumphs was my Lady Macbeth dress, which she carried out from Mrs. Comyns Carr’s design. I am glad to think it is immortalized in Sargent’s picture. From the first I knew that picture was going to be splendid. In my diary for 1888 I was always writing about it:

“The picture of me is nearly finished and I think it magnificent. The green and blue of the dress is splendid, and the expression as Lady Macbeth holds the crown over her head is quite wonderful.”

“Sargent’s ‘Lady Macbeth’ in the New Gallery is a great success. The picture is the sensation of the year. Of course opinions differ about it, but there are dense crowds round it day after day. There is talk of putting it on an exhibition by itself.”

Since then it has gone over nearly the whole of Europe, and now is resting for life at the Tate Gallery. Sargent suggested by this picture all that I should have liked to be able to convey in my acting as Lady Macbeth. Of Sargent’s portrait of Henry Irving, I wrote in my dairy:

“Everybody hates Sargent’s head of Henry. Henry also. I like it, but not altogether. I think it perfectly wonderfully painted and like him, only not at his best by any means. There sat Henry and there by his side the picture, and I could scarce tell one from t’other. Henry looked white, with tired eyes, and holes in his cheeks, and bored to death! And there was the picture with white face, tired eyes, holes in the cheeks, and boredom in every line. Sargent tried to paint his smile and gave it up.”





Copyrighted by Window and Grove

Sargent said to me, I remember, upon Henry 391 Irving’s first visit to the studio to see the “Macbeth” picture of me, “What a saint!” This to my mind promised well—that Sargent should see that side of Henry so swiftly. So then I never left off asking Henry Irving to sit to Sargent, who wanted to paint him into the bargain, and said to me continually, “What a head!”





Terry and Miss Frances Johnson
Copyrighted by Window and Grove and by W. & D. Downey

Again from my diary:

“Sargent’s picture is almost finished, and it is really splendid. Burne-Jones yesterday suggested two or three alterations about the colour, which Sargent immediately adopted, but Burne-Jones raves about the picture.

“It (Macbeth) is a most tremendous success, and the last three days’ advanced booking has been greater than ever was known, even at the Lyceum. Yes, it is a success, and I am a success, which amazes me, for never did I think I should be let down so easily. Some people hate me in it; some, Henry among them, think it my best part, and the critics differ, and discuss it hotly, which in itself is my best success of all! Those who don’t like me in it are those who don’t want and don’t like to read it fresh from Shakespeare, and who hold by the ‘fiend’ reading of the character.... One of the best things ever written on the subject, I think, is the essay of J. Comyns Carr. That is as hotly discussed as the new Lady Mac—all the best people agreeing with it. Oh dear! It is an exciting time!”





Copyrighted by Window and Grove

From a letter I wrote to my daughter who was in Germany at the time:

“I wish you could see my dresses. They are superb, especially the first one: green beetles in it, and such a cloak! The photographs give no idea of it at all, for it is in colour that it is so splendid. The dark red hair is fine. The whole thing is Rossetti—rich stained-glass effects. I play some of it well, but of course I don’t do what I want to do yet. Meanwhile I shall not budge an inch in the reading of it, for that I know is right. Oh, it’s fun, but it’s precious hard work, for I by no means make her a gentle lovable woman’ as some of ’em say. That’s all pickles. She was nothing of the sort, although she was not a fiend, and did love her 392 husband. I have to what is vulgarly called ‘sweat at it,’ each night.”

Burne-Jones at “Macbeth”


Copyrighted, 1907 by Helen Lohman

The few people who liked my Lady Macbeth, liked it very much. I hope I am not vain to quote this letter from Lady Pollock:

“... Burne-Jones has been with me this afternoon: he was at ‘Macbeth’ last night, and you filled his whole soul with your beauty and your poetry.... He says you were a great Scandinavian queen, that your presence, your voice, your movement, made a marvelously poetic harmony, that your dress was grandly imagined and grandly worn—and that he cannot criticise—he can only remember.”



But Burne-Jones by this time had become one of our most ardent admirers, and was prejudiced in my favour because my acting appealed to his eye. Still the drama is for the eye as well as for the ear and the mind.

The Dead Heart

Very early I learned that one had best be ambitious merely to please oneself in one’s work a little—quietly I coupled with this the reflection that one “gets nothing for nothing, and damned little for sixpence!”


Here I was in the very noonday of my life, fresh from Lady Macbeth and still young enough to play Rosalind, suddenly called upon to play a rather uninteresting mother in “The Dead Heart.” However, my son Teddy made his first appearance in it, and had such a big success that I soon forgot that for me the play was rather “small beer.”

It had been done before, of course, by Benjamin Webster and George Vining. Henry engaged Bancroft for the Abbé, a part of quite as much importance as his own. It was only a melodrama, but Henry could always invest a melodrama with life, beauty, interest, mystery, by his methods of production.

“I’m full of French Revolution,” he wrote to me when he was preparing the play for rehearsal, “and could pass an examination. In our play at the taking of the Bastille, we must have a starving crowd—hungry, eager, cadaverous 394 faces. If that can be well carried out, the effect will be very terrible, and the contrast to the other crowd (the red and fat crowd—the blood-gorged ones who look as if they’d been all drinking wine—red wine, as Dickens says) would be striking.... It’s tiresome stuff to read, because it depends so much on situations. I have been touching the book up, though, and improved it here and there, I think.

“A letter this morning from the illustrious —— offering me his prompt book to look at.... I think I shall borrow the treasure, why not? Of course he will say that he has produced the play and all that sort of thing, but what does 395 that matter, if one can only get one hint out of it?

“The longer we live, the more we see that if we only do our own work thoroughly well, we can be independent of everything else or anything that may be said....

“I see in Landry a great deal of Manette—that same vacant gaze into years gone by when he crouched in his dungeon nursing his wrongs....

“I shall send you another book soon to put any of your alterations and additions in—I’ve added a lot of little things with a few lines for you—very good, I think, though I say it as shouldn’t—I know you’ll laugh! They are perhaps not startlingly original, but better than the original, anyhow! Here they are—last act!

“‘Ah, Robert, pity me. By the recollections of our youth, I implore you to save my boy! (Now for ’em!)

“‘If my voice recalls a tone that ever fell sweetly upon your ear, have pity on me! If the past is not a blank, if you once loved, have pity on me!’ (Bravo!)

“Now I call that very good, and if the ‘If’ and the ‘pity’s’ don’t bring down the house, well it’s a pity! I pity the pittites.

“... I’ve just been copying out my part in an account book—a little more handy to put into one’s pocket. It’s really very short, but difficult to act, though, and so is yours. I like this ‘piling up’ sort of acting, and I am sure you will, when you play the part. It’s restful. ‘The Bells’ is that sort of thing.”

The crafty old Henry! All this was to put me in conceit with my part!


Copyrighted by Window and Grove

A Letter From Burne-Jones

Many people put me in conceit with my son, including dear Burne-Jones, with his splendid gift of impulsive enthusiasm:

“The Grange, West Kensington, W.

“Most dear Lady:

“I thought all went wonderfully last night—and no sign could I see of hitch or difficulty—and as for your boy, he looked a lovely little gentleman—and in his cups was perfect, not overdoing by the least touch a part always perilously easy to overdo. I too had the impertinence to be a bit nervous for you about him—but not when he appeared—so altogether I was quite happy.

“... Irving was very noble—I thought I had never seen his face so beatified before—no, that isn’t the word, and to hunt for the right one would be so like judicious criticism that I won’t—exalted and splendid it was—and you were you—YOU—and so all was well. I rather wanted more shouting and distant roar in the Bastille scene—since the walls fell, like Jericho, by noise, a good, dreadful growl always going on would have helped, I thought—and that was the only point where I missed anything.

“And I was very glad you got your boy back again and that Mr. Irving was ready to have his head cut off for you, so it had what I call a good ending, and I am in bright spirits to-day, and ever,

“Your real friend,

“E. B. J.

“I would come and growl gladly.”

There were terrible strikes all over England when we were playing “The Dead Heart.” I could not help sympathising with the strikers; yet reading all about the French Revolution as I did then, I can’t understand how the French nation can be proud of it when one remembers how they butchered their own great men, the leaders of the movement—Camille Desmoulins, Danton, Robespierre, and the others. My man is Camille Desmoulins. I just love him.


Plays adapted from novels are always unsatisfactory. A whole story cannot be conveyed in three hours, and every reader of the story looks for something not in the play. Wills took from “The Vicar of Wakefield” an episode and did it right well, but there was no episode in “The Bride of Lammermoor” for Merivale to take. He tried to traverse the whole ground and failed. But he gave me some lovely things to do in Lucy Ashton. I had to lose my poor wits, as in Ophelia, in the last act, and with hardly a word to say I was able to make an effect. The love scene at the well I did nicely, too.

Seymour Lucas designed splendid dresses for this play. My “Ravenswood” riding dress set a fashion in ladies’ coats for quite a long time. Mine was copied by Mr. Lucas from a leather coat of Lord Mohun. He is said to have had it on when he was killed. At any rate there was a large stab in the back of the coat, and a blood-stain.

Nance Oldfield

This was my first speculation in play-buying! I saw it acted and thought I could do something with it. Henry would not buy it, so I did. He let me do it first in front of a revival of “The Corsican Brothers,” in 1891. It was a great success, although my son and I did not know a word on the first night and had our parts written out and pinned all over the furniture! Dear 396 old Mr. Howe wrote to me that Teddy’s performance was “more than creditable; it was exceedingly good and full of character, and with your own charming performance, the piece was a great success.” Since 1891 I must have played “Nance Oldfield” hundreds of times, but I never had an Alexander Oldworthy so good as my own son, although such talented young actors as Martin Harvey, Laurence Irving, and, more recently, Harcourt Williams, have all played it with me.

Henry VIII.

Henry’s pride as Cardinal Wolsey seemed to eat him. How wonderful he looked (though not fat and self-indulgent like the pictures of the real Wolsey) in his flame-coloured robes! He had the silk dyed specially by the dyers to the Cardinals’ College in Rome. Seymour Lucas designed the clothes. It was a magnificent production, but not very interesting to me. I played Katherine much better ten years later at Stratford-on-Avon at the Shakespeare Memorial Festival. I was stronger then, and more mature. This letter from Burne-Jones about “Henry VIII.” and Henry Irving is delightful. I will not keep it to myself any longer:

“My dear Lady,

“We went last night to the play (at my Theatre) to see ‘Henry VIII.’ Margaret and Mackail and I. It was delicious to go out again and see mankind, after such evil days. How kind they were to me no words can say—I went in at a private door and then into a cosy box and back the same way, swiftly, and am marvellously the better for the adventure. No you, alas!

“I have written to Mr. Irving just to thank him for his great kindness in making the path of pleasure so easy, for I go tremblingly at present. But I could not say to him what I thought of the Cardinal—a sort of shame keeps one from saying to an artist what one thinks of his work—but to you I can say how nobly he warmed up the story of the old religion to my exacting mind in that impersonation. I shall think always of dying monarchy in his Charles—and always of dying hierarchy in his Wolsey. How Protestant and dull all grew when that noble type had gone!

“I can’t go to Church till red cardinals come back (and may they be of exactly that red), nor to Court till trumpets and banners come back—nor to evening parties till the dances are like that dance. What a lovely young Queen has been found. But there was no you.... Perhaps it was as well. I couldn’t have you slighted even in a play, and put aside. When I go back to see you as I soon will, it will be easier. Mr. Irving let me know you would not act; and proposed that I should go later on—wasn’t that like him? So I sat with my children and was right happy, and as usual the streets looked dirty and all the people muddy and black as we came away. Please not to answer this stuff.

“Ever yours aff’ly,

“E. B. J.

“I wish that Cardinal could have been made Pope, and sat with his foot on the Earl of Surrey’s neck. Also I wish to be a Cardinal, but then I sometimes want to be a pirate. We can’t have all we want.

“Your boy was very kind—I thought the race of young men who are polite and attentive to old fading ones had passed away with antique pageants—but it isn’t so.”

When the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire gave the famous fancy-dress ball at Devonshire House, they attended it in the robes which had appealed so strongly to Burne-Jones’s imaginative eye. I was told by one who was present at this ball that, as the Cardinal swept up the staircase, his long train held magnificently over his arm, a sudden wave of reality seemed to sweep upstairs with him, and reduce to the pettiest make-believe all the aristocratic masquerade that surrounded him.

I renewed my acquaintance with “Henry VIII” in 1902, when I played Queen Katherine for Mr. Benson during the Shakespeare Memorial performances in April. I was pretty miserable at the time—the Lyceum reign was dying, and taking an unconscionably long time about it, which made the position all the more difficult. Henry Irving was reviving “Faust”—a wise step, as it had been his biggest “money-maker”—and it was a question whether I could play Margaret. There are some young parts that the actress can still play when she is no longer young: Beatrice, Portia, and many others come to mind. But I think that when the character is that of a young girl, the betrayal of whose innocence is the main theme of the play, no amount of skill on the part of the actress can make up for the loss of youth.

Suggestions were thrown out to me (not by Henry Irving, but by others concerned) that, although I was too old for Margaret, I might play Martha! Well! well! I didn’t quite see that. So I redeemed a promise given in jest at the Lyceum to Frank Benson twenty years earlier, and went off to Stratford-upon-Avon to play in “Henry VIII.”

I played Katherine on Shakespeare’s Birthday—such a lovely day, bright and sunny and warm. The performance went finely—and I 397 made a little speech afterwards which was quite a success.

During these pleasant days at Stratford, I went about in between the performances of “Henry VIII,” which was, I think, given three times a week for three weeks, seeing the lovely country and lovely friends who live there. A visit to Broadway and to beautiful Madame de Navarro (Mary Anderson), was particularly delightful. To see her looking so handsome, robust, fresh, so happy in her beautiful home, gave me the keenest pleasure. I also went to Stanways, the Elchos’ home—a fascinating place. Lady Elcho showed me all over it, and she was not the least lovely thing in it.

In Stratford I was rebuked by the permanent inhabitants for being kind to a little boy in professionally ragged clothing who made me, as he has made hundreds of others, listen to a long made-up history of Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice,” “Julius Cæsar,” and other things—the most hopeless mix! The inhabitants assured me that the boy was a little rascal, who begged and extorted money from visitors by worrying them with his recitation until they paid him to leave them alone.

Long before I knew that the child was such a reprobate, I had given him a pass to the gallery and a Temple Shakespeare! I derived such pleasure from his version of the “Mercy” speech from the “Merchant of Venice” that I still think he was ill-paid!

The quality of mercy is not strange

It droppeth as the gentle rain from ’Eaven

Upon the place beneath; it is twicet bless.

It blesseth in that gives and in that takes

It is in the mightiest—in the mightiest

It becomes the throned monuk better than its crownd.

It’s an appribute to God inself

It is in the thorny ’earts of Kings

But not in the fit and dread of kings.

I asked the boy what he meant to be when he was a man. He answered with decision: “A reciterer.”

I also asked him what he liked best in the play.

“When the blind went up and down and you smiled,” he replied—surely a naïve compliment to my way of “taking a call!” Further pressed, he volunteered: “When you lay on the bed and died to please the angels.”

Other Plays

I had exactly ten years more with Henry Irving after “Henry VIII.” During that time we did “King Lear,” “Becket,” “King Arthur,” “Cymbeline,” “Madame Sans-Gêne,” “Peter the Great,” and “The Medicine Man,” I feel too near to these productions to write about them. But a time will come. The first night of “Cymbeline” I felt almost dead. Nothing seemed right. “Everything is so slow, so slow,” I wrote in my diary. “I don’t feel a bit inspired, only dull and hide-bound.” Yet Imogen was, I think, the only inspired performance of these later years. On the first night of “Sans-Gêne” I acted courageously and fairly well. Everyone seemed to be delighted. The old Duke of Cambridge patted, or rather, thumped me on the shoulder and said kindly: “Ah, my dear, you can act!” Henry quite effaced me in his wonderful sketch of Napoleon. “It seems to me some nights,” I wrote in my diary at the time, “as if I were watching Napoleon trying to imitate H. I., and I find myself immensely interested and amused in the watching.”

“The Medicine Man” was, in my opinion, our only quite unworthy production and I wrote in my diary: “If ‘Manfred’ and a few such plays are to succeed this, I simply must do something else.”

But I did not! I stayed on, as everyone knows, when the Lyceum as a personal enterprise of Henry’s was no more, when the farcical Lyceum Syndicate took over the theatre. I played a wretched part in “Robespierre,” and refused £12,000 to go to America with Henry in “Dante.”

In these days Henry Irving was a changed man. He gave the whole thing up—as a producer, I mean. As an actor he worked as faithfully as ever. Henley’s stoical lines might have been written of him as he was in those last days:

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody but unbow’d.

Henry Irving did not treat me badly. I did not treat him badly. He revived “Faust” and produced “Dante.” I would have liked to stay with him to the end of the chapter, but I could not act in either of these plays. But we never quarrelled. Our long partnership dissolved naturally. It was all very sad, but it could not be helped.





... among the rocks one of the sea women combing her long hair, and if he can creep up to her unbeknownst, and steal away from her her “cubuleen driuth,” which is a kind of small cap the merrows do be wearing, she can never go back under the sea any more at all, but must follow his bidding while ever he has it in his keeping.

O Scarlet hunter, riding past,

O hunter, do not ride so fast,

But tell me where’s my mother?—

“Nay, child, why dost thou ask of me?

Safe by the hearth should mothers be,

And thine like any other.”

—While I was playing on the floor

Deep in a hollow near the door

I found a shining cap laid by.

My mother gave a piercing cry,

And snatched it up and fled away....

Though I have sought her all the day,

I cannot find my mother.—


—O woman with the milking stool,

Standing among the grasses cool,

Hast thou not seen my mother?—

“What like is thy mother, lad?”

—A stripèd petticoat she had,

Her snooded hair is soft as silk,

She’s whiter in the face than milk,

My lost, sweet mother!—

“I saw a poor mad thing go down

By yonder highway to the town,

I saw none other.

But, oh, her hair was streaming wild,

Sure, frenzy was upon her, child,

And she was not thy mother.”

—O friar, in thy long rough gown,

Say in what corner of the town

I’ll find my mother.—

“What is thy mother’s name, poor boy?”

—My father always called her Joy.—

“It hath the ring of Heathenesse,

But to all creatures in distress

Lord Christ is Brother.

In the church-yard an hour ago

I saw a witch-girl crouching low,

But oh, she fell to weeping sore

For that she feared the cross I wore.

I’ll dry thy tears and lead thee home,

Good mothers have no wish to roam.”

—Nay, I must find my mother.—

—O fisher, coming in from sea,

Lay by the oar and answer me,

O hast thou seen my mother?—

“Nay, but I saw, upon my life,

’Mong yonder rocks a merrow wife

With long locks gleaming in the sun.

She saw the billows shoreward run,

She heard the splashing of my oar,

Wildly she glanced along the shore,

She flung her foam-white arms on high,

She cried a weird and wailing cry,

And leaped and vanished in the sea.

I crossed the brow and breast of me,

And thanked the Maker of my life

That I’ve a christened maid to wife.”






“Adventure, is it?” said Patsy, pushing his empty glass away from him. “What happened me last night would be makin’ a adventure seem like grass growin’ in a cimitery!”

From the other side of the table, in their own particular corner of the back room at Devinsky’s Place on the Upper East Side, Tim regarded his friend with characteristic stolidity and replied with a grunt of interrogatory interest. Patsy seldom needed urging in the matter of talking about himself.

“It all come of Mike O’Hara’s owin’ me three dollars,” he continued. “Sure, the good heart of me keeps me brains busy rescuin’ me from trouble. Mike is after keepin’ a boat-house over on the North River near Spuytendivil, and seein’ no other way I wint up to see him early last evenin’ and took wan of his boats out for five hours, though it’s me hates floatin’ about in a bunch of boards and workin’ to do it.

“Twas me intention to work up the river with the tide and thin cheat O’Hara by gittin’ out and settin’ on the shore. Which I done, tyin’ me boat to wan of thim skinny little private docks over on the Jersey shore beyant Fort Lee. And thin, Tim, it come on me to climb clear up thim Palisades, which was amazin’ unnatural and the first of the queer things that happened me the night.

“It was hard climbin’ by a path what was mostly growed up with vines, and whin I come to the top they wasn’t anny too much daylight left to me, and the place was lonely as a Dimmycrat. They was lights over across the river in New York—och, but thim lights was far off!—but Jersey was just wan hunk of nuthin’, with some ghosty trees in the front of it. Excipt for a tug or a ferry whistlin’ now and thin, they was niver a sound but the hummin’ of ivry wan of all the mosquities that iver was, barrin’ thim as was tryin’ was they a chanct to kiss each other by borin’ through me from both sides at wanct.


“It was no place for usin’ up boat-rint, but me shoes was full of gravel and, seein’ the ruins of a house a bit off, I wint over to it to set down and take thim off comfortable. It’s the fine large house it must ’a’ been wanct, but they’d been a fire in it, and ’twas only the walls of it was standin’, with wan big second-story room stickin’ up big and darkish in a corner of it. Raymimber that wan second-story room in your mind. It was all a bit creepy-like, and I wint at me shoes in a hurry.

“I had the both of thim off and shakin’ thim, rubbin’ me sock-feet together to keep some of thim mosquities away, whin all to wanct I heard something walkin’. Just as I was, I turned mesilf to stone, with me feet up off the ground and a empty shoe held out in the air afore me in each hand, balancin’ mesilf wonderful.

“The steps come nearer. ‘They ain’t anny ghost makes that much noise,’ I says, niver losin’ me nerve or movin’ a inch annywheres. ‘Though ye can’t niver tell about ghosts.’ And just thin a little man come strollin’ round the corner of a wall and stood lookin’ at me. It wasn’t so dark yet but what I could be makin’ out what little they was of him, and if iver wan of thim dudes in the newspaper funny-pictures come to life, here he was, only thim funny-pictures must ’a’ been drawed by ammyteurs. I misdoubted was he real, but if he was, they was money on him, and if they was money on him, it would come off of him easy-like, and I could be namin’ the man would spend it. Thin I raymimbered I was still holdin’ up me shoes and me feet, like I was settin’ on the point of a church-steeple, for his mouth was hangin’ open like I was the first wan he iver seen, and belike I was.

“‘Pardon me,’ he says, ‘but why do ye do that?’ says he, singin’ it off like a Englishman.

“‘Whisht!’ I says, not thinkin’ of anny answer yet and cursin’ the stone for bein’ so hard.

“‘But, me good man,’ says he, payin’ no attention, ‘why are ye holdin’ thim shoes up in the air?’

“‘Whisht!’ says I. ‘Why not?’

“‘Why not?’ says he, gaspin’.

“‘Ye said “why” the other time,’ I says. ‘Which do ye mean?’

“‘Which what?’ says he, weak-like.

“‘Either wan of thim,’ says I; ‘sure, all what’s is the same to me. But run along with ye now and don’t be disturbin’ me; it’s workin’ a charm I am. Unless ye would be helpin’ me hold these shoes steady,’ I adds enticin’, bein’ wishful of gittin’ him close enough to grab him.

“‘Hold thim shoes steady?’ says he.

“‘Hold thim shoes steady,’ says I.

“‘A charm?’ says he.

“‘Yis,’ says I, ‘a charm. And would ye mind not usin’ me own conversation over ag’in so soon, sor? I’ve heard tell ’twas bad luck, and annyways, it’s nervous it’s makin’ me.’

“‘Do you have to set that way?’ says he, comin’ closer.

“‘Indeed and I do,’ I says, ‘though it’s mortal wearin’. But whin ye are makin’—’ and just there I makes a grab at him. But, och, blathers, if his brains was slow, his feet was quick, and away he wint, me after him, divil-racketty.

“Thim ruins was right on the edge of the Palisades, and ’twas me endeavor to keep him atween me and the cliff so he couldn’t make for the open. Up and down we wint, scramblin’, running and crawlin’, first to wan ind of thim crumblin’ walls and thin back ag’in to the other, me always hemmin’ him in and headin’ him off, but niver quite catchin’ him, and thim piles of loose brick hurtin’ me sock-feet cruel, me havin’ dropped me shoes whin I tried to grab him. They wasn’t much light left, but all to wanct I saw him goin’ right up in the air, and whin I come up he was just climbin’ over the edge of that wan second-story room. Faith, for a minute I was thinkin’ he was a ghost, but he hadn’t no more than landed whin he begun draggin’ up after him a long board with slats nailed to it what some boys must ’a’ left there for a ladder. Me hand just missed the ind of it, me foot slippin’ on top a pile of bricks and rollin’ me down over the sharp corners of thim.

“I wint all round that second-story room, mostly crawlin’—och, me poor feet, it was perishin’ with the pain of thim I was!—but niver a way of gittin’ up to him, and him likely to drop down on the off side and run like a rabbit if I took me attention off him. So I wint scramblin’ back where I’d be atween him and the road and set down on a pile of bricks. He’d been layin’ flat on his stommick, gittin’ his wind back in him, but prisintly he clumb up on his knees and throwed a brick at me.

“‘Ye young gomeral,’ I says, ‘if ye do that ag’in, I’ll shoot a hole in ye!’

“He wint behind a bit of brick wall and throwed another. If iver I go annywheres ag’in without a gun, may the divil fly away with me! So I wint behind a bit of wall mesilf. And there he was.


“Of course, I was ragin’, and I begun tossin’ bricks back at him. Hiven knows they was enough of thim! Whin he’d throwed about twinty, doin’ no harm with thim, thim little arms of his wore out, and I kept just enough of thim goin’ to make him nervous-like without hurtin’ him, wonderin’ in between would it be safe to go after me poor shoes and could I git 404 thim on if I did, me feet bein’ swelled surprisin’. Sure, the little spalpeen owed me ivrything he had about him!

“All to wanct a grand idea come to me. I would kidnap me little gintleman and hold him for wan of thim ransoms! ‘Sure,’ I says to mesilf, ‘they’re kidnappin’ boys all the time, and it’s the tidy sum a grown man would be bringin’ me, though it’s the little wan he is and part wore out.’

“‘I say, sor,’ I calls up to him, polite, from behind me wall, and droppin’ a whole brick closer to him than common, ‘wouldn’t it be after bein’ more pleasant for ye to come down willin’,’ I says, ‘than to have wan of thim bricks search the head of ye for brains and turn the corpse over to me? To say nothin’ of the mosquities,’ I says.

“‘They niver bite me,’ he says, trembly-like, from behind his bit of a wall.

“‘Holy Saints,’ I says, ‘that’s queer! Are ye as bad as that?’

“‘What do ye want of me annyways?’ says he, still trembly.

“‘Well,’ I says, ‘’twas me intention to rob ye, but now—’ And thin I stopped to listen to him keepin’ quiet and worryin’. ‘But now,’ says I prisintly, ‘I’m goin’ to kidnap ye and inform your friends ye’ll be killed entirely if they don’t sind me five thousand dollars immediate.’

“‘Oh!’ says he, like I’d said I was goin’ to give him something he wanted. ‘Oh,’ says he, ‘I’ll be right down. Just wait till I find me hat.’

“Och, it took me breath away to have him so willin’, but I could hear him scramblin’ round up there, and prisintly I seen him at a hole in the wall, and he begun lettin’ down his ladder and losin’ no time over it.

“‘I’ll just be takin’ anny sticks of things ye have,’ I says, frindly, whin he come down to me, and, findin’ the flat side of two bricks for me poor feet, I wint through him careful and religious. So help me, they was only elivin dollars and twinty cents and niver the sign of a watch! He might as well been some wan that earned his own livin’.

“‘Look here,’ says he, maybe feelin’ sort of hurt himsilf, ‘ye said five thousand. Why not make it ten?’

“‘What?’ says I, gaspin’.

“‘Why not make it ten?’ says he.

“‘Arrah,’ says I, ‘are ye wantin’ me to feed ye till me grandchilder can be collectin’ of it? Ten thousand, indeed! Ye ought to be thankful ye ain’t marked down to forty-nine-fifty.’

“‘Oh, well,’ he says, careless, ‘it’s none of my business. But where do ye take me?’

“Now I’d been thinkin’ of a old warehouse near Mike O’Hara’s dock with a fine cellar in it and no wan nosin’ round, but it’s mesilf is too knowledgeable to be tellin’ ivrything that’s in me head, even if they was time for it. ‘We’ll be gittin’ me shoes first,’ I says, ‘and thin we’ll be climbin’ down to me boat and cross the river,’ I says, ‘where they ain’t room for so manny mosquities.’

“All right,’ says he, cheerful, ‘though I don’t mind thim anny, as I told ye a bit gone. Come along afore it gits too dark.’

“Was they iver the like of that, and him bein’ kidnapped! ‘Faith, maybe it’s a bluff he’s workin’,’ thinks I, ‘though divil the wan of me knows why he’d be workin’ it.’ And whin I’d took him to where I’d dropped me shoes—oh, wirra, how bad the walkin’ was!—I let go of him entirely whilst I was crammin’ thim two feet of mine into thim, to see would he run ag’in, but keepin’ me arm handy to a brick to throw through him whin he tried it. Och, he niver made a move, and the more chanct I give him, the peaceabler he stood there waitin’ for me. It was most unsettlin’.

‘We’ll be goin’ down the cliff now,’ says I, takin’ off me suspinders and tyin’ wan ind of thim in a hard knot around the scrawny little neck of him to hold him by.

“‘Do ye always tie thim up that way?’ says he.

“‘Yis, sor,’ I says; ‘thim suspinders has kidnapped nine men, divil a wan less,’ I says.

“‘I hope they was nice people,’ says he.

“‘And why do ye hope that?’ I says.

“‘Why not?’ says he, gintle-like.

“‘Don’t ye git gay, sor,’ says I, ‘and don’t be goin’ so fast whin it’s so steep-like. Faith, it’s you is bein’ kidnapped, not mesilf.’

“‘Yis,’ says he, ‘I raymimber that.’

“‘Oh, ye do?’ says I. ‘Ye’d better be usin’ your brains to walk with instid of strainin’ thim like that. Here! That ain’t the way!’ I yells at him as we come to where a side path turned off. And with that me poor feet slipped on some loose stones, and I would ’a’ jerked the head off him but for the suspinders stretchin’.

“‘Guh!’ says he, which was about what ye’d expect from him whin he talked without stoppin’ to think it up aforehand. And thin says he: ‘Here, me good man, ye’d better be fixin’ this. The rope’s comin’ loose.’

“‘I near dropped the suspinders entirely. ‘Holy hiven,’ I says to mesilf, ‘he must think we’re playin’ he was Queen of the May, and me wantin’ to quit and go home! Bedad, they’s something behind all this!’ But I tied him up ag’in and we wint on down, with me thinkin’ till the roots of me hair was twisted, tryin’ to find was they anny explanation of him, and him 405 stumblin’ along in the dark and askin’ me quistions, happy and continted.

“Whin we come to the bottom I says ‘whoa’ to him, till I could see they was no wan hangin’ round, and thin we wint down where I’d left me boat. Divil the lie I’m tellin’ ye, some wan had took it!

“‘Is it gone?’ says he.

“‘Mother of hiven, is it here?’ says I, irritated at the empty head of him.

“‘No,’ says he.

“‘Thin where is it?’ I says.

“‘Gone,’ says he.

“‘Right,’ says I, ‘and ye guessed it without puttin’ yoursilf greatly about. It shows what thinkin’ would do for ye if ye was to try it.’

“‘What are we goin’ to do now?’ says he, bleatin’ sorrowful like a sheep.

“‘Look here, sor,’ I says, drawin’ with me finger in the sand, the moon havin’ come up so we could see a bit; ‘here is wan side of the river, and we’re on it,’ I says, ‘and here is the other side, and we ain’t, but we wish we was. What’s the answer, and how manny sides is they to the river? Come along with me and figure it out to yoursilf,’ I says. ‘I’m goin’ to see is they a chanct to steal somewan ilse’s boat,’ I says, pullin’ him after me by the suspinders.

“But sure, wan half thim jersey omadhawns must spind all their time arrangin’ to keep the other half from stealin’ boats off thim, for what boats they was was chained up with enough iron to sink thim, and me with only me knife for the patent locks. Kidnappin’ is easy whin ye have a place to kidnap thim to, but they ain’t no money in settin’ down with a man annywheres ye find him and tellin’ him ye’ve got his tab and will his frinds give ye all their money.

“‘Let’s climb up the Palisades ag’in and take the trolley to the ferry,’ says he.

“‘The saints in glory be among us! Is it a lunytic ye think I am to take ye where ye can git help and have me arrested by openin’ your mouth but wanct?’

“‘Well,’ says he, excusin’ himsilf, ‘thin what?’

“‘Twinty years,’ says I, ‘and lucky at that.’

“‘I mean,’ says he, ‘what are we goin’ to do, thin?’

“‘“We”?’ says I, fair losin’ me timper, ‘“we”? Arrah, and whose doin’ this kidnappin’, annyways? Ye’ll be collectin’ money off me next for takin’ me home! Ain’t ye niver been kidnapped afore?’

“‘No,’ says he, ‘this is the first time.’

“‘Yis,’ I says, ‘and it was gittin’ dark whin I took ye.’

“‘Well,’ says he, peaceable and irritatin’, ‘what are we goin’ to do?’

“‘We’re goin’ to drown ye, if ye ask me that ag’in!’ I says, bein’ beyont mesilf entirely. And thin all to wanct it come to me I might be tryin’ the trolley after all, and tellin’ the people he was a crazy man I was takin’ home, if he begun talkin’. Sure, wan look at him would convince thim he’d been a lunytic afore he was took so bad. And this way I could be takin’ him to me own place on the East Side instid of to the warehouse near O’Hara. It was a fool plan, but most plans is fool wans, and what ilse could I be doin’ with him?

“‘I’d been considerin’ the trolley mesilf,’ I says, ‘and I’m thinkin’ we’ll take it and go over on the 130th Street ferry, but if ye make wan peep to annywan, it’s me will kill ye on the spot. Do ye mind that!’ I says to him, ferocious.

“‘Oh,’ says he, ‘ye don’t need to talk to me like that,’ he says. ‘I wasn’t goin’ to say annything or make ye anny trouble.’

“‘Oh, ye wasn’t?’ I says to him. ‘Ye’re a liar,’ I says to mesilf, ‘ye was, and they’s something queerer about ye than ye look, which is sayin’ a good deal.’ But I give the suspinders a jerk, and we wint on down the shore to a easier path up thim Palisades, it bein’ no long walk from the top to the trolley. What worried me worst was him bein’ so cheerful. It might ’a’ been from him not havin’ sinse enough to be anny other way, only whin it was plain robbin’ he’d thought I was after he’d been scared healthy and satisfyin’ entirely. It was the kidnappin’ soothed him, bad scran to him, and it was fair uneasy I was in the heart of me, almost suspectin’ they were brains in him somewheres.

“Well, maybe they was and maybe they wasn’t, I dunno, and maybe ’twas something worse than that. ‘And the mosquities won’t bite him,’ I says to mesilf. ‘If mosquities was humans, ’twould be easy of understandin’, but a mosquity ain’t got annything in his head exciptin’ teeth, and thim Jersey wans will bite whativer it is if it don’t bite thim first. Sure, they’s times whin dumb beasts can be teachin’ anny of us, and thim mosquities is after havin’ their own reasons. And do ye mind,’ I wint on to mesilf, ‘how he wint up that ladder like he was floatin’ on air?’ Faith, I think I was half believin’ him a ghost, excipt for his neck feelin’ a bit solid whin I pulled on the suspinders.

“Whin we come to the top, and the wind was back in him ag’in, I says: ‘And what might your name be, sor?’

“‘Courtney Delevan Schwartz,’ says he, lively as a grig.

“‘Is your father livin’?’ I says.

“‘Why, yis,’ he says, ‘he’s Charles B. Schwartz.’


“‘I’ve niver met him,’ I says. ‘Will he want ye back?’

“‘Why, of course,’ says he, ‘I’m the only wan he’s got.’

“‘Well,’ I says, ‘even Teddy would be givin’ him a special license for not havin’ anny more. Can he be raisin’ the five thousand?’

“‘Don’t ye know who Charles B. Schwartz is?’ says he, surprised-like. ‘The Pittsburg multi-millionaire and railroad man?’

“‘Git along with ye!’ I says. ‘Don’t ye think I know ye wouldn’t be breathin’ it if they was that much money in the family?’

“‘I told ye to make it ten instid of five,’ he says.

“‘Tare and ages!’ I says. ‘Don’t ye know that ain’t no way to act whin ye’re bein’ kidnapped? Ye’ve got all mixed up about it, sor. Ye ought to be runnin’ the price down instid of tryin’ to make me charge your poor father twict as much as ye ain’t worth, ye blamed handless gossoon. And don’t be walkin’ so fast like ye couldn’t wait to be locked up. It ain’t you gits the five thousand, annyways.’

“‘Excuse me,’ says he. ‘But me father won’t be mindin’ the other five, and the price will be lookin’ a bit cheap whin it gits in the papers.’

“‘Bedad, if ye’re valuin’ yoursilf like that, it’s a blessin’ it ain’t you sets the price on a bushel of good potaties, what is worth something.’

“‘Hold on,’ says he, sudden, ‘I hear somewan on the road we’re comin’ to. We’d better wait till they git past.’

“Och, did ye iver hear the like of that? Think of him warnin’ me from his chanct to yell for help! It left me feelin’ fair uneasy, even whin the wagon had gone on down the road. ‘Sure,’ I thinks, ‘if they is anny humans as foolish as that, they wouldn’t be let run loose. And annyways, he ain’t got enough brains to be a real lunytic, God help him. Yit maybe he is—they ain’t nothin’ as different as lunytics.’

“‘“The night has a thousand eyes,”’ says he just thin, goin’ right along with the suspinders tight on his neck, ‘“the day but wan”—do ye know that?’ he says. ‘I just happened to think of it.’

“‘Faith, no wan would think of it anny other way,’ I says, catchin’ up with him and smellin’ his breath, but it was Prohibition. ‘Where do ye see thim eyes?’ I asks him, bein’ sure he was crazy now.

“‘Why, up there,’ says he, pointin’ straight up in the air.

“‘Niver mind, niver mind,’ I says, soothin’, and fearin’ he would be took worse. ‘They won’t hurt ye anny.’

“‘Hurt me?’ says he.

“‘Not a bit,’ says I. ‘We’ll be turnin’ to the right here,’ I says.

“‘But what I meant by thim eyes—’ says he.

“‘Don’t think about thim anny more,’ I says. ‘It ain’t good for ye.’

“He stopped and turned round, laughin’, the silly fool, though it was no time for it. ‘Ye think I’m crazy, don’t ye, me frind?’ he says.

“‘Me?’ says I.

“‘No, me,’ says he, cheerful. ‘I was just playin’ a joke on ye,’ he says. ‘The Irish likes thim, don’t they?’

“‘Divil a bit,’ I says. ‘Thin what are ye if ye ain’t?’ I asks him.

“‘I might ask ye, after your own manner of sayin’ things, Which am I if I ain’t what?’ says he, all to wanct talkin’ like a man who knew his ways about. ‘But I’ll be tellin’ ye wan thing I ain’t, and that’s crazy.’

“It was like hearin’ a baby all to wanct begin talkin’ like a old man. Nothin’ could ’a’ surprised me like him showin’ they was brains in him. I knowed immediate it was no lunytic he was after bein’. ‘Thin what are ye?’ I says, weak-like.

“‘Ah, me frind,’ says he, ‘who’s doin’ this kidnappin’—you or me? Come on, now; thim cars runs half a hour apart.’

“Arrah, the anger rose in me at the owdaciousness of him, and I took me oath to git him to the East Side even if he become twins. But, bein’ a thinkin’ man, the unsettlement of me mind was ten times worse over him showin’ signs of brains in him. If he could grow thim manny brains in half a hour, they was no tellin’ how much sinse he might have by mornin’. ‘But sure,’ thinks I, ‘thin he’s worth more than what I priced him, for they may be some wan can be usin’ him for something.’

“‘I’ll make it eight thousand, sor,’ I says to him.

“‘Thank ye, me good man,’ says he, resumin’ his old way of talkin’. ‘Hurry up! I hear a car comin’.’

“Thin we run for it, and the suspinders jerkin’ out of me hands, the little spalpeen showed me the heels of him, me cursin’ after him amazin’. All to wanct me foot caught in a root, and down I wint, fair knockin’ me daffy. By the time I’d begun seein’ straight ag’in, he was wavin’ his arms in the middle of the track, with the head-light shinin’ on him and the car comin’ to a stop.

“I seen at wanct that, even could I hold the car by yellin’, he would have time to tell thim all his troubles, and like as not they’d beat me life out afore I could tell thim about him bein’ crazy, and they wouldn’t believe it annyways. It was gone he was and good riddance.



“‘Come on!’ he hollers. ‘They’re waitin’ for ye!’

“And hiven help me, they was, and him standin’ there lookin’ worried over me delay and sayin’ nothin’ to annybody! For wanct in me life I didn’t stop to think—faith, I was within wan of payin’ dear for it later—and the next I knew I was climbin’ in the car, with him helpin’ me up, me bein’ still a bit dizzy.

“‘I’m sorry,’ says he, blowin’ for wind, whin we was in a seat togither, ‘but I lost thim suspinders.’

“‘Niver mind thim, niver mind thim,’ I says, watchin’ ivry minute to see would he be callin’ on the other passengers. ‘Wait till I git me breath!’

“But he niver paid thim others anny attention whativer, and pretty soon I begun wishin’ he would. Sure, if he was thinkin’ of worse than bein’ rescued and havin’ me handed over to the polayce, thin thim cold chills runnin’ up and down me back wasn’t doin’ it for nothin’. ‘Nonsinse,’ I says to mesilf, summonin’ back me manhood, ‘I misdoubt if he knows what he is doin’. And annyways, he seems to be comin’ along with me all right, bad cess to him, and it’s me will be showin’ him what it is to be dealin’ with a strong man and a brainy wan.

“‘A few quistions, if ye please,’ I says to him, commandin’. ‘And be prompt with thim!’

“‘Yis,’ says he, turnin’ to me from lookin’ 408 out the windy and tryin’ to look like he’d been intelligent whin he was a lad.

“‘Where does your father, Charles B. Schwartz, live at?’ says I.

“‘Ye can address him at the Aldorf, but he lives in Pittsburg,’ says he.

“‘We’ll pass over that last, Courtney,’ says I; ‘I’m not askin’ ye for the fam’ly skeletons. Ye say he likes ye?’

“‘Oh, yis,’ he says, ‘we’re chums, the two of us. It’s this way,’ says he; ‘the old man says that while I can’t help him anny in his business, I’m interistin’ to him, bein’ different from ivry wan ilse he iver met.’

“‘God bless the old gintleman!’ I says.

“‘Yis,’ says he, ‘he says it’s excitin’ to see what I’m going to spend his money on next.’

“‘Now they ain’t anny use in pretendin’ to be so rich,’ I interrupts him, irritated, ‘and you with but eliven dollars and twinty cints on the whole of ye!’

“‘I don’t carry it all with me,’ says he.

“‘No,’ says I, ‘ye don’t carry all of annything with ye,’ I says.

“‘Would ye believe me if I said I was poor?’ says he.

“‘Divil a bit,’ says I.

“‘But then what do ye——’

“‘Go on with your story,’ I says to him severe, ‘and don’t be wastin’ time on foolishness.’

“‘Well,’ says he, ‘me father’s been a bit sore on me lately, sayin’ I’m not livin’ up to me repytation with him, but just spendin’ money on stars and bars, like annywan ilse, and managin’ to dodge the stripes. Do ye see the joke?’ he says, stoppin’.

“‘No,’ says I, ‘but it wouldn’t be anny the better for me seein’ it. What’s the ind of the fairy-tale?’ I says.

“‘The joke’s about flags,’ says he. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘me old man bet me I’d used up all the new ways of spendin’ what he earned, and I took the bet. If I sind him in the bill for something I niver tried before, thin he doubles me allowance for six months. If I don’t do it inside of wan week, thin he cuts me allowance in half,’ he says. ‘And I ain’t allowed just to find something new in the shops and buy it.’

“‘I ain’t niver heard a better,’ says I. ‘Who wrote it?’

“‘But don’t ye see?’ he says. ‘That’s why I want to be kidnapped—to win me bet! They’s money in it for both of us, me good man.’

“‘Och,’ says I, ‘tell me but this wan thing,’ I says, disgusted, layin’ me finger right on wan of the manny weak places in what he’d been handin’ me, ‘why did ye want to make it ten thousand instid of five, whin five would ’a’ won your bet just as easy-like? Answer me that!’ I says.

“‘Well,’ says he, fidgittin’ in his seat, ‘well, you see—oh, I was just wantin’ to rub it in on the old man,’ he says, stammerin’.

“‘I’m glad I met ye,’ I says; ‘ye’re the most bedivel’d and all-amazin’ liar I iver seen. If ye iver meet Mr. Roosevelt, he’ll choke to death tryin’ to describe ye.’

“‘Yis,’ he says, ‘I guess ye caught me. It does sound a bit queer whin I come to think about it. But I’ll tell ye what I’ll do,’ says he, brightenin’ up sudden-like, ‘I’ll take it all back!’

“So help me, it was too much for anny man! Whativer he was, I give him up. And him settin’ there lookin’ at me like he was twelve years old! Me brains was in a prespiration from tryin’ to put a label on him, but no sooner was they findin’ a explanation of him than he goes to work and proves thim wrong entirely. They might as well been a omelette in me head. It was queer doin’s, but what it was behind thim no wan could be tellin’. ‘This is me last kidnappin’,’ says I to mesilf. ‘I want something easy on me nerves like burglin’, and I wish I was safe on the East Side with me little human conundrum, bad scran to him, and what is he smilin’ to himsilf about now?’ thinks I.

“‘Do ye want to know what I’m smilin’ about?’ says he right thin.

“‘Yis, sor,’ says I, feeble, ‘if ye don’t mind sayin’’—me heart nearly pantin’ itsilf to death. ‘Holy saints!’ thinks I, ‘is the little divil wan of thim mind-readers, or is he the divil himsilf?’

“‘Well,’ says he, pleasant, the car startin’ on thim bed-spring curves down to the ferry, ‘I’ve been thinkin’ that whin you and me has got through with each other,’ he says, lookin’ at me with thim fish-eyes in a way that raised the goose-flesh on me, ‘I’ll be tryin’ this kidnappin’ business mesilf. You like it pretty well, don’t ye?’

“‘They ain’t nothin’ like it,’ I says, thankin’ God it was the truth. And just thin the car stopped in front of the ferry.

“‘See here, me man,’ says he, as we was gittin’ off, ‘if me frinds can’t be raisin’ the eight thousand, we can be makin’ it five ag’in, and if they can’t be findin’ that much, would ye be willin’ to let me loose long enough to kidnap some wan ilse and pay ye?’

“‘Oh,’ thinks I, ‘so that’s what ye’ve been drivin’ at! But thin,’ says me second thoughts, ‘why has he been tellin’ me—’ We was walkin’ in the door of the ferry, and I grabs hold of his arm, fair burstin’ with rage, bein’ nervous from what I’d been through: ‘Ye scut,’ I says, ‘didn’t ye say your father was rollin’ in money?’

“‘Yis,’ says he, calm and pleasant, ‘but I 409 took all that back. I ain’t got anny father now. Ye’ll have to be payin’ for the ferry-tickets,’ he says.

“It was the ind of me last hope, and me knees wint weak under me. I’d been thinkin’ I’d found out wan thing about him annyways, and now I couldn’t even raymimber what it was, excipt that it was wrong. Whin I begun thinkin’ ag’in, we was on the ferry-boat, the two of us, and him so cheerful it brung the tears to me eyes and made me nervouser than I’d been yit. Thin me wits come to me assistance, and I seen what was the sinsible thing to be doin’ with the nasty little divil. ‘Rich or poor,’ I says to mesilf, ‘rich or poor, drunk or sober, intilligent or what he looks like, lunytic or no lunytic, divil, ghost, sleep-walker, or plain human, whativer he is or ain’t, or all of thim togither, I want no more of him!’

“Divil the lie I’m tellin’ ye, no sooner was thim words in me mind than he ups and walks off from me like he’d heard me thinkin’ and begins talkin’ to a stranger man lookin’ over the edge of the boat! Faith, the hair was crawlin’ round on top me head.

“I was startin’ for the other ind of the boat, but it come over me strong to slip up behind thim and listen was he plannin’ anny divilment against me with the other man. Och, it was a hard thing to bring mesilf to, but whativer ilse I am, I’m not after bein’ anny coward.

“Bedad, they was but talkin’ of thim new tunnels under the river, and him not even mentionin’ he was bein’ kidnapped! Wirra, wirra, and afore I was half way down the boat, he come runnin’ after me excusin’ himsilf for leavin’ me, and the rist of the way over he talked tunnels to me, sociable and entertainin’, till I could feel thim runnin’ all through me.

“They was no chanct to slip away from him in the crowd gittin’ off, but whin we come to thim freight tracks just outside the ferry-house, the gates begun droppin’ for a train, and, waitin’ till the last minute, I sprung from him to git across and let the train come atween us, with him held back by it while I was disappearin’ into the whole of New York. So help me, the little omadhawn, like as not readin’ ivry thought in me head, grabbed me back and spoiled it all, neat plan as it was.

“‘Ye might ’a’ been killed and ruined the kidnappin’!’ he says, anxious like he was me own mother.

“‘Don’t let me catch ye hangin’ back that way a’gin!’ I says, pretendin’ I was uncommon mad, which I was. ‘Whin that big gomach of a train is gone,’ I says, ‘see that ye stick close by me and try no foolishness. We’re goin’ to take the subway to where we git off,’ says I, meanin’ to dodge him at the subway and grab a surface car to whereiver it wint. ‘Come along now, and be quick with ye.’

“But they wasn’t no chanct to dodge him, and inside of ten minutes the two of us was settin’ side by side in a subway car like both of us wanted to. He was gittin’ cheerfuller ivry minute, and the cheerfuller he got, the more I fell to wishin’ I’d niver seen the likes of him. He didn’t look like anny human annyhow, and I begun prayin’ the saints he wasn’t, for if he was, thin they wasn’t anny answer to him. ‘Tare and ages!’ the thought come to me sudden, ‘he’s a detective, he is, and may the divil dance on the skinny back of him till they’s snow a foot deep where the both of thim belongs! Sure, it’s all plain now, ivrything he’s been doin’, and why wasn’t I thinkin’ of it whin I begun this kidnappin’—may I niver hear the word ag’in and bad scran to it!’

“And thin, at the next station, in come a polayceman siven foot long and set down across the aisle within reachin’ distance of his arm, and he niver made a sign beyond glancin’ at him whin he come in! ‘Thin he ain’t,’ I says to mesilf, sinkin’ back in me seat. ‘Ivrything they is he ain’t, and anny wan of thim would be makin’ me feel better. If he follows me clear home, I will kidnap him, whether I want him or not, but if they’s wan breath left in me body I’ll escape from him afore that,’ I goes on to mesilf, tryin’ to think what I ate for supper and hopin’ maybe it was all wan of thim nightmares.

“It was but the beginnin’ of me troubles. At the next station I tried to slip from him by pretindin’ to ask the guard something and jump out just afore the doors was closed, but nothin’ would do but he must be askin’ the guard something himsilf. Wan of us asked if it was a express we was on and the other asked if it wasn’t, and thin we set down ag’in togither. Whin we come to our station, I endivored to lose him wanct more, whin we was walkin’ crosstown I tried it ag’in, and in Central Park I tried it twict. I might as well tried to dodge a ghost what was hauntin’ me. And him cheerfuller than iver and not seemin’ to notice annything!

“‘Look here, sor,’ I says, whin he was pretty well into the East Side, feelin’ I could stand no more of it, ‘I’ve been thinkin’ it over, and me conscience is hurtin’ me. Ye niver did me no wrong, and here I am kidnappin’ ye. It ain’t right, sor, and I’m goin’ to give ye your liberty and let ye go without chargin’ ye annything.’

“‘Why,’ says he, ‘I don’t want to git away!’ he says, his voice growin’ sorrowful.

“‘That ain’t got annything to do with it, sor, askin’ your pardon,’ I says; ‘it’s me conscience, and they ain’t anny use arguin’ with a man’s 410 conscience whin its dander is up. I’ve got to let ye go, sor,’ I says, ‘and ye can do it now. I’ll turn me back.’

“‘No, no,’ says he, ‘I know what ye’re thinkin’, but——’

“‘Yis, I know ye do, sor,’ I says, thim queer mind-readin’ ways of his comin’ over me ag’in, ‘but for God’s sake don’t tell me!’ I says. ‘Don’t tell me, sor. I’ll believe ye without that, sor, and I know what it was already mesilf annyways, and I wasn’t thinkin’ annything, besides, and not meanin’ a word of it,’ I goes on, beyond mesilf entirely, all the queer ways of him risin’ up before me, and the mosquities not bitin’ him, me nerves givin’ out at last from all they’d been through.

“Just thin he turned thim fish-eyes of his on to me, niver sayin’ a word, and put out wan hand, soft-like, to lay it on me, and I give wan jump and was off down the street, runnin’ as I niver run afore. And him after me and gainin’, the divil snatch him, if he ain’t the divil himsilf.

“What people they was on the street—praise be, they was but few at that hour—comminced chasin’ me, too, but ’twas but wan long block to Devinsky’s, here, and I come in that side door like I was a autymobile, near drownin’ Peter Casey in the beer he was carryin’. By good luck Micky Doyle and Big McCarthy was drinkin’ at the bar, and I yells at thim: ‘Stop thim, for the love of hiven! They’re tryin’ to kidnap me!’ and I wint out the front door like they was a thousand divils clutchin’ at me.

“And the boys did it, may the blessin’ of hiven shine on thim, but wan of thim fools what was helpin’ chase me give that little spalpeen me name, and this day has been a curse to me from worryin’ over what may happen me yit, though it’s proud I should be over frustratin’ the nefarious plans of him.”

Tim merely grunted. A tough-looking waiter entered through the swinging door, approached the table where the two were sitting, and tossed a dainty envelope in front of Patsy, with the announcement that a messenger had brought it. It was addressed to “Patsy Moran, Esq., Care of Devinsky’s Place.” Patsy opened it with nervous fingers, and a newspaper clipping fell out upon the table, displaying the unprepossessing features of a young man over the words: “Courtney Schwartz, son of multi-Millionaire Chas. B. Schwartz, of Pittsburg.”

A gasp from Patsy, another grunt from Tim, and the two of them seized the letter with a common impulse, Tim’s stolidity shaken for once. There was dead silence while the two pairs of eyes followed the straggling words of what was written there:

“My dear Mr. Moran:

“The enclosed clipping will convince you that I gave you my real name, and that my father is abundantly able to pay ransoms. All I told you about that bet may also be true, but as I took that story back, I really can’t say now whether it is or not. It doesn’t sound so, does it?

“It may be, on the other hand, that I merely figured out in the beginning that you were the kind I could get so rattled you would let me go before I got through with you. If that is true, it worked, didn’t it? But maybe it isn’t true.

“If neither one of these things is true, what is?

“In any case, you lost $8,000 of the easiest money that ever happened. Why not have tied me up somewhere till you got a boat, or, after getting me as far as you did, why not have taken me the rest of the way?

“But I bear you no grudge. I am sure no one but you could make being kidnapped so amusing. It was great. I am exceedingly sorry, however, that I lost your suspenders. Please accept, in their place, the eleven dollars you have already taken from me. Would enclose more, but feel that the experience alone was worth a fortune to you. You needed the practice. You were right, though, in refusing to set my ransom at $10,000, for in that case you would now be out $2,000 more of easy money.

“Life would be far easier, wouldn’t it, if we could judge a book by its covers?

“Very truly yours,

“Courtney Delevan Schwartz.

“P.S.—It may interest you to know that before I came down from my roost in those ruins, I concealed my watch and $840 under some of the bricks you threw at me. I found them there this morning.

“C. D. S.”








About twenty-five years ago, the Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia, making a journey into the northern part of the Empire, chanced to visit the lonely Solovetski Monastery on the shores of the White Sea. Among the sacred painters of this monastery he found a young peasant who had been sent there by his parents as a boy of fifteen. Duke Vladimir, struck with his talent, shipped him off to St. Petersburg to study in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. The young Russian peasant was Alexander Borissoff, the adventurous painter whose work in the last few years has made the wonderful color scheme of the Arctic Circle for the first time accessible to the eyes of the world.

His early years on the edge of the Arctic fired the imagination of the youth, and directed the course of his whole future life. While he was still a student he made a trip to England. “There,” he says, “an idea that had long been shaping itself in my brain took hold of me. The polar regions fascinated me. My forefathers, I knew, hunted bears at Spitzbergen; and as a boy I had heard all about the Arctic. I wanted to see and paint that wonderful country. Travelers would write that the Arctic nights were magnificent; but I wanted to give the colors and lights themselves.”

Borissoff Becomes a Samoyed

Borissoff shipped on a Russian boat from Newcastle for the Murman Coast—Russian territory adjoining Norway—and from there sailed to Nova Zembla. On the frozen island of the Arctic Sea, living among the wandering Samoyed tribes, he began to paint under such conditions as certainly no artist has ever painted before. It was the make-shift expedition of a buoyantly adventurous and rough-bred young artist, better furnished with canvases and brushes than with clothing, instruments, and stores. He practically became a Samoyed; he adapted himself to the tribal laws with good-natured tact, helping out the native commissariat by shooting white partridges, wild geese, and Arctic bear. He studied reindeer breeding; he took native baths in steam-tents and ice-water; 412 he attended weddings, funerals, and pagan rites. Wherever the tribe traveled, he followed; and everywhere he painted.

The movements of the Samoyed depend largely on the habits of the reindeer. “In autumn the reindeer seeks the wooded zone,” says Borissoff. “He cannot stand the tremendous snowstorms that whirl in the tundra; and he must live on lichen from the trunks and boughs of fir-trees, or feed on the shoots of birch and willows, when the frozen soil prevents him from browsing moss under the snow. But no sooner does he sniff the polar spring, than he longs irresistibly to gallop to the north to the open air of the Arctic, where there are no tiresome gnats, no intolerable wasps to lay their larvæ in his skin and cause him torment.”

The Samoyed keeps in this migrating animal’s wake; and it was in one of these migrations north that Borissoff first saw what he calls the Realms of Death.

Painting in a Temperature of 30° Below Zero

“The curious thing was that I found all as I had imagined it,” he says. “The knowledge of the icebergs and the snow seemed to have been born in me. Vast stretches of glaciers with their yawning chasms of death, icebergs mountain-high—I greeted them as old friends. Living on native rations and enduring the most bitter cold, I made landscapes—or rather, icescapes—in the open, with a temperature of 30 degrees below zero.

“Sometimes it was impossible to paint. Even the turpentine froze. The paint congealed in lumps, whilst the hairs of the brushes snapped off like brittle glass. I had to put on fur gloves to hold a brush, and work with swift, energetic strokes—as the rough appearance of some of my paintings bears evidence.”

All of Borissoff’s paintings were done in the ice zone beyond the 70th parallel of north latitude, in the district between Archangel and the Yalmal Peninsula. He never tires of telling of the peculiar color-tones of this region, and the curious psychological effects of its distance, silence, and isolation. Living amid its singular light phenomena, where the spring-time snow turns pink against blue icebergs, and the boggy midsummer tundra swims in a sea of orange-red against a sky of aquamarine, even the Samoyed becomes a color worshiper.

“Why does that man sit in a scarlet cloak on rose-colored snow against a solid background of dark blue?” I asked, examining one of Borissoff’s paintings.

“The deep blue is an iceberg,” he laughed. “Yes, and the snow is really that color—by reflection. The man is a Samoyed who bartered everything he owned—reindeer, walrus, ivory, dogs, and sledges—to an adventurous dealer from the nearest settlements for a robe of scarlet woolen stuff. Then, in his scarlet cloak, he wandered about in the sunlight for ten days, in an ecstatic trance, silent, good-for-nothing, living on his family, drunk with the glory of that scarlet garment!”

Traveling With a Woman Scout

The man was Danillo, the brother-in-law of Ireena, a woman scout of whom Borissoff speaks frequently in his reminiscences, and whose wonderful gift of “seeing” by atmospheric signs the country beyond the horizon and divining where the trails lay gave her a position of peculiar dignity among her tribesfolk. This woman was their sole and undisputed guide through the monotonous flat wastes of snow. Among the last of the pagans of Europe woman’s place is certainly higher than it is supposed to have been before the dawn of Christianity. A woman like Ireena may hold the tribal-family together; revive courage in dire surroundings; decide momentous debates as to reindeer-speculation; practise medicine and surgery; withstand the redoubtable devils of blizzard and thaw; serve the bad Siadey in his bloody sanctuary; and even dare the unmentionable good god’s isolating stretches of white cold, to serve an inquisitive painter from the South.

It was Ireena and Danillo who took Borissoff to the last pagan shrines of Europe, never visited before by a European.

“In the background,” says Borissoff, “one sees mountains of floating icebergs of tremendous dimensions, prevented from approaching the coast by submarine reefs. Here, on the edge of the Arctic, are the cliffs containing the Holy Place, reached only after a terrible journey over icy rocks and fearful ravines, through riverbeds stuffed with snow, up snowy slopes in intricate zig-zags, where the reindeer floundered and protested.”

Borissoff’s Pilgrimage to the Last Pagan Shrines of Europe



Three versts’ distance from the shrine, they stopped on the threshold of the Samoyed Mecca. Borissoff stumbled over huge mounds of idols heaped between cliffs, one of them so great that forty sledges could not have removed the idols. He passed mountains of deer-skulls, antlers, and skulls of polar bears; and heaps of rusty axes, knives, chains, fragments of anchors, harpoons, and parts of rifles brought as offerings over weary leagues. The Samoyeds often drive 414 here from a thousand miles away, stop at the threshold of this dwelling-place of the supreme Idol-God of the polar regions, and, killing a domestic deer as the least sacrifice, besprinkle the shrine with its blood.



“People who naïvely believe that the Samoyeds are no longer heathen are greatly mistaken,” says Borissoff. “Notwithstanding their being nominally Christians, they still worship their Hyes and Siadeys no less fervently than in old times. Recent bloodstains on the idols testified to recent visits; but it was only when we were about to take our departure that I learned that this was not the chief shrine at all!”

Borissoff insisting, Ireena reluctantly guided him to it, three or four versts down the coast, to the east.

“Now we passed far greater mounds of axes, knives, and other valuable offerings,” he says. “The idols stood like an army around two enormous elevated, round clay altars at the very top of the mountain, cut off by a deep chasm bridged by a stone archway; but the number of bones was less than I had expected to find.”

Ireena explained.

“This is the dwelling-place of Hye, the god, not that of Siadey, the devil,” she said. “Hye wants for sacrifice the head of a human being or of a white bear, or at least of a wild deer. Now that white bears are harder to kill and wild deer are scarcer, it’s no good for people to come here—unless in great stress. But Siadey takes anything, even domestic deer!”

“In great stress” had a grim significance. One of the skulls was obviously that of a man of Aryan race.

Further on they came on one of the sledges habitually used by the Samoyeds for the conveyance of their gods. Opening its box, Borissoff found two human-shaped idols, one of wood and the other of stone, and the images of a bear and a wolf in wood. These must have been brought out of the tundra by some sorceress, to keep real bears and wolves from some locality. As long as these objects remained at Hye’s shrine, there would be no danger to the pious offerer’s herds. Near by lay another curiosity. It was a piece of boulder wrapped up in red cloth. It was “sickness,” removed from the tundra, beyond the sea, so as never to return to the dwellers of the Tchoom!

Borissoff lived with the Samoyeds until he had painted up all his canvases. Returning to civilization, he was immediately welcomed by enthusiastic amateurs. The sale of seventy-five pictures en bloc to M. Tretiakoff, of Moscow, put him on his feet financially. Count Witte took an interest in his work. The Grand Duke Vladimir remembered that he had been the first to appreciate the painter’s possibilities; and the Tsar told him to go ahead with another expedition, offering to defray most of the expenses.

An Ill-Fated Expedition

So, with the zoölogist Timofeieff, and the chemist Filipoff, he soon started on a veritable white man’s expedition, with a smart cutter, the “Metchka,” a portable dwelling-house, kerosene stoves, scientific instruments, photographic apparatus, guns, ammunition, books, clothing, trading-stores, and food delicacies in abundance. Yet, by a strange irony of fate, the well-stocked 415 little expedition was destined to suffer perils and privations such as Borissoff had never dreamed of among his Samoyeds.

They set up their portable dwelling-house on the edge of the Nova Zembla tundra off the Strait of Matochkin Shar, transporting its parts and furnishings by dog-sledge. By the time this was accomplished, the “Metchka” had arrived in the Strait; and they started on a voyage into the Kara Sea. Their object was to distribute materials and provisions along the extreme northeastern coast of Nova Zembla during the fall, and to return to their house to spend the winter. In the spring they hoped to make an early start in sledges along the route of their supplies.

The Abandonment of the Ship

“It was in navigating the Sea of Kara that we encountered our first acute peril,” says Borissoff. “The further north we got, the more numerous were icebergs. Often our small ship was wedged in tight between walls of ice that threatened to crush us.

“We decided to turn back; but it was too late. Winter was closing in earlier than we had anticipated; and the broken ice about us was becoming a solid field. After two weeks’ battle, we had to surrender. Nature had captured us. We were being carried off into regions of certain death. Our only escape lay in abandoning our ship, and attempting to regain the coast by journeying across the dreadful sea of ice on foot. Gathering what provisions we could carry, our party of nine, including the five sailors, set out with but little expectation of ever reaching land.”

Everything was put into three canoes, to be pulled along the edges of ice-banks by nine men and some twenty dogs. Soon the free water froze tight; and they had to drag the boats over the ice. The wind made this too difficult. The canoes were abandoned; and the most necessary supplies were placed on sledges made of skis. With the snow up to their waists, they plodded on—until they discovered that they were on a drifting island of ice!

Drifting Out to Sea on Floes of Ice

“We noticed that the ice a little way in front of us was flying at a terrible speed toward the north, while we seemed to be standing still; but this was merely an optical illusion—the ice in front of us was standing still, for it was shore-ice, while we were being carried at a giddy pace out to sea!

“Our only salvation was to reach the stationary shore-ice. The edge of the moving floe was grinding it into a devilish porridge. Immense blocks, weighing tens of thousands of tons, were whirled round, leaped out of the sea, climbed on each other, rearing on high, groaning and roaring, and plunging and vanishing!”


They made the crossing and dragged on inland for three days. A gentle breeze was blowing. Borissoff heard a suspicious plash of water.


“It was horrible to believe our ears. We climbed a hummock; and there our eyes assured us that another channel of water really separated us from firm land! The floe began breaking up. The solid ground failed beneath us. Our feet were sucked into yielding quicksands of snow and splintered ice. We threw ourselves flat to distribute our weight and clutched the larger lumps. We lost our kerosene stove, the tray for lighting fires on, some of our cartridges, and most of our instruments. The sleeping-bags, fur coats, and other remnants of our supplies we managed to save.”

The despairing howls of their lost dogs cut them to the heart. The men lost courage. Borissoff and the two scientific men had to threaten the others with revolvers; and a tragedy on the ice was imminent, when they found themselves being carried into an extensive bay surrounded by lofty cliffs. On an iceberg they discovered brackish water. Later it gave them unbearable thirst, until the men cried: “Oh, God, for one small cup of warm water, to die in peace!”

Making a Fire with Seal Fat

Borissoff killed a seal and implored them to be patient while he made a fire with its oily fat to melt snow for drinking—a trick he had learned among the Samoyeds. Ravenously eating the liver, lights, kidneys, and brains raw, they began cutting the necessary pieces of fat. Borissoff would take a tiny log of firewood, cut it small, pour kerosene over it, rub it with fat, and light it. This had to be done in a tea-tin. They put fat on the fire. It burned splendidly. One small stick warmed the kettle; and the famished men were soon drinking lukewarm cocoa. During their further wanderings from floe to floe, they carried with them the embers of wood and treasured every little piece of rag and paper “to keep the lamp of our life burning as long as we should have seal fat. The wood embers seemed capable of burning for ever, provided there was enough fat!”

They grew attached to particular floes on which they had built shelters. But the sleeping-bags were becoming unendurable, the fur rubbed off, the leather wet and clammy, like the skin of a putrefying carcass. They had almost got to lying in the sleeping-bags by day, when a Samoyed declared he smelt the smoke of a native encampment. A sailor thought he heard the barking of dogs; but they paid no attention, for the howls of their own poor beasts, wandering aimlessly on the floes, often came to them. After drinking tea, they rose up and prepared to make some effort.

The Party Rescued by Samoyeds

It grew lighter. There was something moving on the shore. It could not be merely birds! They let off a gun. Two shots answered. Lines of tiny black dots advanced toward them. They were Samoyed dog-sledges. “And fancy what a stroke of luck!” says Borissoff; “they were old friends of mine, with whom I had lived on my first sojourn in the tundra!”



Brought finally to shore by the natives, they rejoiced childishly at its contact. Here was solid land! Here were real stones! “Strange phenomenon,” says Borissoff, “an hour before, we had scarcely been able to lift our weary feet. Now we wanted to leap, dance, laugh, cry, pray, and run about aimlessly! Timofeieff and I took two rifles and went along the shore northward. We ploughed through the snow, why and whither we did not know. We could not sit still. Then, when we returned to the snug tents, we ate boiled reindeer meat, drank hot tea, and lay down to sleep twenty-seven hours without once waking!” The land journey back to their portable house was accomplished in dog-sledges.


The three months’ night was passed amid comfortable surroundings. They shot the white bear. They read, dreamed, told stories, and played cards interminably. They received continual visits from delighted natives, come on perilous pilgrimages to the magic European house, with its lavish food novelties, its devil-boxes that talked, sang, and played music.

When the three months’ day came again, they made a great sledge expedition north to the Straits of Tchekin, called The Unknown and the Bear Straits. Borissoff, as usual, made quantities of paintings. He named one enormous glacier after Count Witte.

“One morning I went out to paint it, shining like silver in the sunlight. I had scarcely finished making the rough sketch,” he tells, “when a noise of shuffling and deep breathing attracted my attention. Glancing round, I saw to my horror the shaggy white body of a great polar bear within ten feet of my back. He had been watching me paint. Now, taking my fright for hostility, he lost interest in art and advanced toward me, with a paw uplifted. Springing back, I snatched my rifle, crying: ‘Oshkai! Oshkai!’ hoping that my companions might hear. Dropping on one knee, I fired; but the bullet only caused the great bear to roar and dash toward me. I fired again. The shot was more effective. It slowed his progress. Then three shots rang from behind an icy boulder; for my companions had heard and come to my rescue, and I was saved.”

Good luck, however, could not stay with the expedition. First, their best dogs went mad, not from hydrophobia, but from the strange craze of the ice, which affects men and dogs alike. Then food failed. The remaining dogs starved, though they killed their few reindeer to feed both themselves and the dogs. When nothing remained to kill, they were glad to eat the refuse of their previous camps. Amid hair-breadth escapes, suffering from starvation and exhaustion, they wandered back on foot to their portable house, where the arrival of the Russian military transport-ship, the “Pakhtoosoff,” ended their courageous preparations for a second wintering. Leaving the house and its stores to their faithful Samoyeds and carefully packing 418 Borissoff’s three hundred paintings, they steamed back to civilization.

Borissoff’s Revelation of Arctic Color

When Borissoff arrived at St. Petersburg, the Tsar sent for him. His impression of the Emperor was of “a quiet gentleman who takes a keen delight in art.” The Empress, herself a painter of portraits, was immensely interested; and the first exhibition of the paintings took place in the White Salon of the Winter Palace. Other exhibitions followed in other capitals of Europe. In Berlin, the exhibit was patronized by the German Empress; in Munich, by the Prince Regent. In Paris the French Government bought “In the Kara Sea”; while in London the court set pointed the way to all good Englishmen to their exhibition at the Grafton Galleries.

The extraordinary thing about the paintings is, of course, their revelation of the colors of the frozen world of the polar circle. In a region which our ignorant imagination shrouds in dull sepia tones, Borissoff reveals lights that we never dreamed to be on land or sea. There is an effect of strange, mysterious brilliancy in one of his largest canvases, entitled “In the Kingdom of Death.” Dark icebergs tower above the open sea; while through heavy purple-black clouds, melting to blue and mauve, break lines of lurid red light from the August sunrise, that throw an orange-red glow along steely, blue-black waters.

“Midnight in the Kara Sea”—selected by the French Government’s experts as Borissoff’s most extraordinary production—shows a sky of glowing orange, and floes of ice drifting on black waters. An unearthly yellow-green light illumines the deep blue shadows of “A Polar Winter Night.” Two polar bears stand in a great expanse of snow; the moon’s rays fall across rocks and project their outline in black shade. The snow is wonderfully rendered—thick, soft, and glistening, after a recent fall.

“Looking for the Reindeer—Evening” shows a snowy landscape with a firmament of yellow. In “The Cold Became More Severe” gray plains are seen beneath a sky of clear apricot. “A Halting Place” has a dark blue-gray sky, brown-gray ice, a belt of snow, and a range of hills with patches of brown rock showing beneath the snow. Two polar bears lying dead on the ice in front are admirably done; and the whole picture is full of stern romance. The romantic quality of Borissoff’s best pictures comes, in part, from the fact that he makes us understand that people live in these awful places—or have lived!

Such is the suggestion of “The Last Survivor.” It shows a desolate shore where, after an exceptionally severe winter, a band of poor hunters had perished. Reverently the survivors had interred their dying comrades—until the last man died! A solitary white fox surrounded by a few bleaching bones is the central feature of the haunting picture.



For the most part, the pictures are small canvases, depicting glaciers, icebergs, snowdrifts, coast scenes, and the tundra in its ever-varying color-aspects, winter and midsummer, spring and autumn, with its Samoyeds, their tents, boats, sledges, reindeer, dogs, and foxes. Every imaginable atmospheric effect is given, from the wonderful glow of the midnight sun, to raw, hanging fog that can be well-nigh felt. Of the splendid richness of these effects and, quite as much, their baffling gradations, the painter never tires of telling. “One beauty of this strange nature,” he says, “is the extraordinarily soft variety of tones, that can only be compared to the reflections of precious stones. And God preserve the artist from trying to follow conventional ideas as to tones and effects that may have happened to strike him as universal in the past! Offended nature will elude him. It is only by divesting oneself of prejudice that one can render these wonderful harmonies.”



In the tavern of my heart

Many a one has sat before,

Drunk red wine and sung a stave,

And, departing, come no more.

When the night was cold without

And the ravens croaked of storm,

They have sat them at my hearth,

Telling me my house was warm.

As the lute and cup went round,

They have rhymed me well in lay;—

When the hunt was on at morn,

Each, departing, went his way.

On the walls, in compliment,

Some would scrawl a verse or two,

Some have hung a willow branch,

Or a wreath of corn flowers blue.

Ah! my friend, when thou dost go,

Leave no wreath of flowers for me;    

Not pale daffodils nor rue,

Violets nor rosemary.

Spill the wine upon the lamps,

Tread the fire, and bar the door;

So defile the wretched place

None will come, forevermore.

From “April Twilights.”





At one end of the village stood a century-old house, infinitely seemly in line and proportion, in color unblemished white. A hint of the manorial, if not the temple-like, it owed to a front of broad stairs and fluted columns, upholding a pediment which over-hung the ground-floor window-doors and shadowed the windows of the upper story. An equal dignity and rather serious beauty belonged to the arrangement of the surrounding garden. Year after year, the same plants bloomed there, the sort, mostly, we call old-fashioned. A reverence for ancestral predilections determined the colors and fragrances to be enjoyed to-day; but as these fairly accorded with the present owners’, the garden remained a true expression of the house’s inhabitants.

At the other end of the village, overlooking the main street, stood a new house, fruit of what seemed now and then to some one the most singularly successful research in vulgar ugliness. But to a large proportion of the villagers it embodied the last word of splendor: it had, on the face of it, cost enormously, and necessarily met the tastes of many, from the fact that it offered some specimen of every style the one who planned it had admired in any dwelling ever seen by her: turrets, balconies, projecting windows, a Renaissance roof, acres of verandah, and, ornamenting all, as lace might a lady’s garment, numberless yards of intricate wooden openwork. It had originally been painted in three colors, but one day, no one divined at what prompting, a gang of workmen was seen overlaying the rich buff, russet, and green, with white, and the house stood forth among its trees no longer utterly condemnable to the more fastidious, but clothed in such redeeming grace as we might find in a person who with every fault had yet some quality of candor. Pyramidal masses of hydrangea flanked the entrance-door and spread in opaline patches upon the lawn; a round of ornamental water, with a central statue and a border of sea-conchs, supported the green pads of lilies,—the pink variety. The estate was bounded on the street by a fence of wrought iron,—more ponderous lace, in this case black.

In these two houses lived two women who frankly could not bear each other. We had nearly said two beautiful women, but the one impressed rather by charm than any unusual felicity of form, and the other, strikingly effective, “stunning,” as she was frequently described, displeased almost as many as she pleased. Yet each of them had heard herself called beautiful often enough to have assumed the bearing and outlook upon life of a beautiful woman: there was something positive in the claim of each that her will should be given weight. We have said they hated each other: but each fair bosom harbored a very different sentiment from the other. Celia Compton, the charming, who lived in the peaceful ancient house, hated Judith Bray, the red-blooded beauty for whom had been built the architectural monstrosity on the main street, merely as one hates smoke in the eyes, a grating sound, or shudders at the thought of flannel against the teeth. But Judith lay awake in the night, unable to sleep for hating Celia Compton so, and would hardly have suffered more from stabs with a knife than she did from the recapitulation of what she called the slights put upon her by Celia. She turned hot and cold at the recollection, and clenched her hands while she devised sanguinary methods of getting even with her. When the sane light of day returned, these must be dropped: for Celia’s offences were, after all, such as can hardly be visited with vengeance; they could not even be defined. But Judith had a companion, a poor relative whom she had taken to live with her, an insignificant, homely, middle-aged-looking young woman called Jess, who understood without definition, and with whom she could enlarge upon the subject of Miss Compton without concern for being precise as to facts or just as to 421 assumptions,—true only to her dislike, and correct in her sense of the dislike felt for her by Celia. It was with this Jess she planned some of the crude impertinences by which she endeavored to retaliate upon her enemy.

When Celia, at the death of her father, the Egyptologist, whose obituary notice thrust aside the daily news by an ample column, had decided to come back and spend her summers in the grandparents’ house where much of her childhood had been spent, she had looked forward with infinite affection to this return to the tenderly remembered old village which she had not seen for half a dozen years. The vision of it, always in apple-blossom time, had used often to interpose between her and yellow reaches of the Nile. She had been informed, no doubt, in letters, of innovations at home, but had read, as became evident afterwards, without bringing home to herself the meaning of these communications, for it was with a shock she at last beheld them. There had been in the village, as the image of it lived in her brain, one modest store to which you went for everything. It was kept by a good, simple man whose wife and children as often as he waited upon the customers: all people with whom you in good country fashion talked over the affairs of the country-side, crops, church-festival, change of minister. In place of this now stood a large, showy building called the Emporium. One Matthew Bray, from outside, had bought out the widow of the old store-keeper, and enlarged the business as you might see. From all over the county people came to trade there. There was no longer the necessity to go by rail to the city to shop: here were dress-stuffs, trimmings, fashion-books, a millinery department. In reality the thing was not ill done, since it perfectly met a need, but Celia stared at it in helpless grief, hurt as by hearing a familiar melody bawled out of tune. Then she was driven past the new house—it was still tri-colored—and her mind was made up about the Brays.

She loved many of the village people, with whom she had stood from infancy in the simplest cordial relations. It hurt a little to discover their pleasure in these changes, the mean ambitions, as it seemed to Celia, which they were developing. She found it difficult to be just, and pardon as natural their satisfaction in the growing material prosperity brought about by the influx of people drawn by the Emporium. The widow of the old store-keeper, upon the strength of it, had opened an Ice-Cream Room. They loved the increased liveliness, too. Celia could not blame them: her winters were lively, while theirs were dull enough. But she came here for rest, the village of her love had been ideally sleepy. Now it was spoiled for her. It hurt her, too, like a needle-point of neuralgia, to observe, as she fancied, a new tone among the younger people. Were those really attempts at style and dash and smartness she witnessed in the children of good old Asah and Jerusha Brown? Heart-sick, if she allowed herself to consider the spreading of a leaven which would in time unfit the place for her habitation, she lived more secluded than had been her habit while there in former days. The old house was easily sufficient to itself in the matter of society. The family made but a small group, but friends of Celia’s from the outside world succeeded each other in the enjoyment of the Comptons’ hospitality, of an elegance as simple as it was graceful.

She had half suspected what pernicious admiration must be at the root of the degeneracy she perceived among the village girls, when one day—this was soon after her return—she saw Judith Bray. It was in the Emporium, for, no matter how much you hate an Emporium, if there is not the least thread-and-needle store beside, you may be forced to patronize it. The attendant, matching embroidery-silks for her, bent to say: “That across the aisle is Miss Bray.” Celia looked.

For some time she had been aware of a strong feminine voice exchanging witticisms with the clerk, but had paid no attention. She saw a handsome brunette, of what she called to herself, as she thought Judith over on the way home, a crude sort of primitive beauty, as if that superb body and face had been kneaded with profusion of coarse materials and not carefully finished off: large yet quick dark eyes, a black abundance of hair, features of an indescribably triumphant cast. The physical exuberance clearly expressed in the young woman’s color and molding seemed condensed in a voice and laugh whose chime cut ringingly through all contending sounds. She was dressed with conspicuous elegance, according to her own idea, which the community accepted from her. If one discarded all standards, this solid prize-fruit was certainly good to look at. Celia granted so much, but did not for the fraction of an instant relinquish her standards. Personally, she could no more relish that presence than a perfume or a flavor too pronounced; it may be doubted whether that particular perfume and flavor would have been to her taste in the weakest dilution.

While she was thus in the act of stealing glances, Judith abruptly swung round. The clerk, showing off the last importation of dress-fabrics, had whispered to her, “That just behind you is Miss Compton,” and Judith, breathless 422 with interest, turned her full bright eye upon the one who, in Judith’s own words, had been “the most important person socially” until she came.

“She looks just as I thought she would,” she said low to the clerk; and she contrived to find herself near the door when Celia was leaving, and, smiling an assured smile, she said, “I am so glad to see you back, Miss Compton. I have heard so much about you, I feel as if you were already an old acquaintance. I wish you would come and see me. I suppose we are still new-comers to you, so according to the ways here it would be your place to call first, wouldn’t it, though I shouldn’t mind a bit coming first, if you say so....”

Celia, flushing at the intolerable offensiveness to her of this, replied in a low soft voice that she was at present not going out at all, and with a bow of the most finished perfection passed forth. It had been so well done that Judith, who felt snubbed at the moment, rejected, upon consideration, the idea of a repulse, and the year after, when Miss Compton was out of mourning, sent her an invitation. Celia declined it in a note which contained not one discoverable prickle, but yet had about it an atmosphere that seemed to numb Judith’s hand which held it. To the most critical examination, however, it showed nothing that was not completely civil, and the unwary Judith permitted herself to act upon the verdict of her brain, and again, and at intervals again, made overtures to Celia, of whom she had from the first glance fallen into the most extravagant admiration. It was her native conceit which prevented her for such a long time from reaching the certainty that a closer acquaintance with her was not desired. For what reason?... How could such a thing be?... She was in her proper esteem so beyond question as desirable an acquaintance as any person could have. And she was attracted by Celia as she had never been by woman or man before. Though she was far from being so humble as to wish herself in any wise altered to resemble her, it was the difference between them, no doubt, which gave such fascination for her to Celia’s every way of being, her coolness, restraint, that personal pride so quiet it had the face almost of modesty, and her manner! her air!... Covering the house with white paint was, however, the only tribute of imitation Judith ever paid her, and it was not conscious: she had merely looked at the white house so much that she judged the paint on her own house to have become, with wear, more glaring.

It was during the third summer that Judith compassed her desire of standing within the portals of the Compton house. Celia, sitting with her mother and brother and their visitors in the shadow of the Dorian pillars, in the idleness of a warm afternoon, saw Judith’s carriage approach, and—instead of passing, stop. Judith, in splendid array, descended and came forward. Celia, wondering, arose. When the ordinary formalities had been dispatched, Celia ushered Miss Bray into the long museum-like sitting-room, with the odor of strange old far-away things. Judith, while she spoke, could not keep her eyes from roving. She said, and a simple-minded, rich delight in what she had to say, and felt herself able to do, pierced through her expressions: “I understand, Miss Compton, that you don’t like the idea of a line of electric cars running through our village and down to the lake. Some one said so. You think it would spoil the looks of the old street and bring a lot of rough Sunday people. I wanted to hear it directly from you, to be quite sure, for it really, when all is said, you know, depends upon my father, and my father—” she laughed with roguish audacity—“does exactly what I want him to. It’s true he’s set his heart on the line—it’s progress, in his way of looking. But if you don’t want it, there shan’t be any car-line. Isn’t it fun? There’s a town-hall and select-men, and all that, but it really depends upon us two. My Dad will do anything I say, and I’ll do anything you say. There!... You’ve only got to speak....”

Celia had felt herself growing pale with the sheer force of antipathy. Her nervous hands were so near trembling, she reached to a jade cup and took from it a string of curious blue beads with which to keep them occupied. She replied in precisely modulated tones; “You are mistaken in believing I care—beyond a certain point. I had rather there were electric cars than—than certain other things. Personally, it can affect me very little—since I believe we shall soon cease altogether coming here for the summer.”

Judith, the dense, went away charmed with her call. She had loitered a little while on the porch, in chatter with the company, and been escorted to her carriage by the brother. She was amply discussed after her departure, she and her errand; the brother and the other man, as far as circumstances permitted, wedging in good words for her, with half-ironical good-humor.

The small, withered gentlewoman in the rocking-chair said, “I fear you will be obliged to call upon her, Celia, after all.”

Celia somberly raged. “Is one to be forced to know people whom it gives one goose-flesh to hear mentioned? The Brays have made me 423 feel as if boiled cabbage were reeking from every house in the village, and I am to associate with them quite as with people I like? Voluntary intercourse should signify, after all, some degree of regard, and I am to pretend—No! I will not admit the legitimacy of any tyranny which could so coerce me! I will be civil to her every time my bad luck throws us together, but seek her out I will not.”

At the last of the season, nevertheless, Mrs. Compton’s card and Celia’s were left at the Brays’, their call falling upon a day when Judith was far from home, to the knowledge of every soul in the place, Judith truly believed. Celia left on the day after, with the comfortable sense of having done her duty and deserved the crumb of favor vouchsafed her by fate.

She supposed, when she came back the following year, that her relation with the Brays was now definitely established: one formal call from each party during the season. But the first time she met Judith, she perceived instantly that all was changed. She knew she had made an enemy. How the revulsion had come about was never clear: whether owing to the mere ripening of age—Judith was now twenty-four or -five, Celia five or six years older—or the souring of a despised prepossession, or the intimacy with Jess, which began at about this time. Celia’s punctilious bow met the response of as much petty rudeness as could be concentrated into a lifting of the chin and a stare. “Very well,” she said to herself stonily, “if you prefer it so, it is by far the most agreeable to me.”

It was not, altogether; that is, not all the time. We are seldom of a piece, and a part of Celia was chafed, and now and then saddened, by the sense of having brought about anything so unbeautiful as this hate. She could not at all moments clear her conscience of blame, and had pangs of regret—too honest with herself, however, not to know that if all were still to do, she should do the same. For another part of Celia, child of a worldly clan, felt itself eminently justified. One must keep the two worlds distinct in practice: Brethren before our Maker, we yet play the social game according to its rules. After the first, she relegated the matter to a high shelf. She had not made much case of Judith’s friendship, she made scarcely more of her enmity. Her life was full of other interests, and, as she mingled less and less with the village, the reminder of Judith’s sentiments toward her hardly recurred often enough to constitute an element in her consciousness. The truth is that as Judith dropped out of her existence in the character of one who could interfere with it, she disliked her less. Sometimes the flushed face with its assumed haughtiness, “cutting her dead,” (Celia, with some idea, perhaps, of doing for her part a Christian’s duty, continued to bow as if unaware of the insult intended her) smote her with a sense of pity at the evil passions hardening that really beautiful face. The Comptons’ idea that they might have to give up the village as a summering place was forgotten. When a little chafed by some noisy exhibition of the Brays’ vulgarity, Celia used to say to herself hopefully that no doubt Judith would in time marry and go to live elsewhere. She would have been amazed to discover that she was herself directly concerned with Judith’s singleness. Judith, the very type of whose charms proclaimed her passionate temperament, had never among her adorers seen one she was sure would have been felt good enough for Celia. There was a story passed along in confidence—how things which the persons concerned in them never breathe come to be generally known is a mystery—that Celia would never marry, because the one she should have married, renounced on account of some deadly habit of a drug, was off somewhere at the other end of the world, fighting his weakness, or, there were those who said, having given up the fight. Judith, hearing this long before, had considered the circumstances with an aching sympathy, mingled with awe. She knew she could never have done it. If she had cared for the man,—the most brilliant man before, and now the most unhappy,—she pictured him handsome as a hero of Byron’s,—she would have had to cling to him and go down into the depths together. But spinsterhood had acquired an effect of fineness for her from the study of Celia, with the destruction of her happiness so perfectly concealed that one could detect it by no sign, unless that air of detachment, sometimes, and distance and fatigue, were an expression of it. In her latter mood Judith chose savagely to despise Celia for her defection from her lover; at the same time she lent small ear to love-proffers, absorbed in a different passion. For the hatred of Celia, who did not think of her once a week, was grown to a passion.

It was at this time hardly a matter of resolve that Celia did not think of Judith, unless some vision obtruded itself of her, driving past with Jess, whose little sallow face—owing its effect of malignity perhaps to a defect of the eyes, of which one never could quite ascertain the nature—was so well fitted to set off the proud bloom of hers. A strain of magnificence had developed in her: she was perpetually organizing festivities, picnics, water-parties, lawn-parties: her garden could be seen a mile away 424 at night, festooned with Chinese lanterns, while the village band played among the trees, and the contingent of the village people which she had formed into “her set” ate ices on her verandah. Effluvia of these doings drifted necessarily to the Comptons.

But in time Celia began finding herself subjected to small occasional pin-pricks of annoyance at things reported to her as having been said by Judith. They were repeated without malicious intention, mostly as being funny. The village dressmaker, who sometimes sewed for Celia, was employed as well by Judith. It might almost have been supposed part of this woman’s business to tell the village news while, as was the custom, one sat and sewed with her. Celia expected it as much as that she should bring her thimble and wax. Miss Greene was one of her oldest village associations, a “character” she was called, and was a privileged and much-quoted person. She felt a whole-souled allegiance to the Comptons, but no less to the new-comer, Judith Bray, who had been lavish to her as to everybody. She “did not know as the one interfered with the other.” When she liked a person, the bent of her disposition was to tell her everything, but particularly whatever in the most distant way had reference to her.

She said to Celia one day, without ceasing to push her gathering needle, “You know who Judy Bray thinks you like?... in looks?... Well, you never would guess it! Not ’cause there ain’t nothin’ in it, though ... for after you’ve been told, you’ll see it at once. She says she can never see Beech—Beechnut, your dog, you know—without it makes her think of you.”

Celia felt an inward start. The dog had been given her by some one very dear, and she saw at once by what perhaps unconscious association of ideas it was probable the animal had been selected for her. Some vague resemblance unmistakably existed between herself and the red-haired setter, with his delicate long face and air at once noble and mournful. She felt no inclination to resent the comparison in itself, though she knew it had been meant ill-naturedly; but she chafed under the sense of the power possessed by the first-comer to belittle one at pleasure, if it be only in words.

The remark might have passed from her mind, as originating in Judith’s, but for an event forming a complement to it. Walking down the main street with Beech, she came, as she approached the Emporium, in sight of a bull-dog, hideous enough surely to take a first prize—bow-legged, goggle-eyed, crooked-toothed, a stranger in the village, where no dog had ever happened before who constituted a real danger to Beech. He was decorated with a spiked collar and a splashing cherry ribbon bow. Hurriedly Celia got her hand upon her dog’s collar and drew him to the other side of the road. The bull-dog sat upon the top step of the Emporium stoop, sleepily blinking in the sun, a goodly beast of his sort, in his loose soft coat of brindled plush, but to Celia more hateful than Cerberus. “Whose is that brute?” she asked a boy lounging near the village horse-trough, and heard what she had expected, for she had not failed to notice Judith’s cart in waiting near the Emporium door. A flame of real hatred shot up within her and burned earnestly for a moment. Those who have not a dog cannot conceive the sensitiveness of the spot in their master’s heart reserved for them. The contemplation of this constant menace henceforth to Beech, with the alternative of a confinement he had never known, generated in Celia desires almost murderous toward the heavy-jawed antagonist, over there. She seized the full reach of Judith’s clumsy attempt at esprit: Having pointed out the likeness between Beech and his mistress, she had procured a pet resembling herself, as it was her humour to suppose she appeared in the eyes of Celia. She had succeeded this time to the extent of her intention in embittering existence to Celia. A nervous fear lest there should be an encounter between the proud, gentle Beech and that ruffian—the report reached her that his facetious name was Punch—destroyed all possible enjoyment of walks even in the remotest by-paths and woods, for, supposing Judith to maintain this dog for her annoyance, what sense of bounds or fairness would constrain her?

A long time passed, however, without sign of the enemy in her remoter walks; and she had come to feel secure once more and let her dog range along unleashed, when one day, nothing being further from her thoughts, Beech’s voice came to her ear, tangled in quarrel with another, and her heart told her that the event so dreaded was upon them. She ran, with shaking knees, and saw at a glance the worst she had feared. Celia was not a coward, but a certain permanent sense of the physical means at her command compelled her to stand helpless, crying out and beating the air with her hands. Judith, appearing upon the scene a moment later, white with fright, too, plunged at the fighters, and having by force of rage and fury of muscle got mastery over her dog, was with one hand belaboring his big head, while with the other twisted in his collar she shook and choked him. She stopped, suddenly without strength, and looked over at Celia, who, trembling from head to foot, was clinging to Beech. As their 425 glances met, concentrated indignation shot from Celia’s eyes. “I hope you are satisfied!” she said.

Judith, after a moment’s pause, which appeared owing to amazement, flourished in the air, for Celia to see, a bitten and bleeding hand, and said in her harsh, impudent laugh, “I hope you are!” while yet Celia could not fail to remark that pain or some other emotion was forcing tears into her eyes. Too angry to be in the least moved by them, she turned away.

It was only in recollection that she did grudging justice to Judith’s conduct; but the initial wrong and the whole blame of the occurrence being so signally hers, she felt under no obligation of acknowledgement. What became of Punch she never inquired. He was not seen again in those latitudes. The injury received, however, was of a kind which the tender mistress of Beech was not likely to remit, and the remembrance of it went to intensify the effect of scorn with which upon another occasion she met an impulsive tender of Judith’s, prompted by penitence.... And after that there was no more question between the women of anything but hate to the extent of their respective capacities.

The reinforcement of ill-will in this case arose from a question of so innocent and fragile a thing as wild orchids. Celia alone in all the country-side knew where any were to be found. Her grandmother had taken her as a child to the solitary place in the woods, and it had been her fancy to preserve the secret, but for one exception or two. The donor of Beech had visited the fairy recess with her, and the odor of it now had power to evoke past words and scenes almost more than anything left of that poor romance. The thoughts she had there thought first seemed year after year to be still lying in wait for her there. It was her habit to gather the flowers with discretion and reverence, distributing them as if they had been so much gold. Any wild orchid seen in a village sitting-room was sure to be noticed with the remark, “I see you’ve had a call from Miss Compton,” and it seemed agreed that one should expect them only from her hand. Celia, seeking the hushed green haunt one summer morning, her head as always on those pilgrimages lost in its old dream, upon reaching the dell where her eyes looked for sparks of pink against the lace of ferns, was startled by the sight of Judith, solid and ample. One hand grasped a bunch of orchids, the other was still busily harvesting. What she saw in Celia’s face as Celia recognized her, Judith alone could tell. But instead of anything their immediately preceding intercourse could have led Celia to look for, Judith went to her quickly, and, holding out the flowers for her to take, blurted forth, “It’s a burning shame!... Of course they belong to you, and I’d no business....” But Celia looked at her with eyes of judgment, and, with a gesture of utter rejection, turned. Judith scattered her nosegay angrily upon the earth, and the two women, as fast as ever they could, widened the distance between them.

After that, each according to her nature entertained her aversion. In Celia the act consisted in as perfect an exclusion from her thoughts of the other, now altogether outside the pale of consideration, as her will could compass. She refused to be concerned with such ugliness, or have her life vulgarized by the sentiments which befitted it. In Judith it formed an undercurrent of excitement, never quite below consciousness, and at the root of many an action of hers which from the surface would have seemed to have no relation with it. Other factors in Judith’s life there were combining with her sense of Celia’s disesteem and her revolt against it and requital of hatred, to give her character a touch of lawlessness in its audacity; her wealth, her power over her father, her ascendency over the imaginations of the plain villagers. It was finally felt that she believed everything permitted to her, and an occasional exaggeration in hard, hare-brained boldness made a beginning of division in opinion about her among those whom her generosity and good-humor had first made all alike her adherents. From time to time inevitably the rivals crossed each other’s path, when Celia’s superiority was confirmed to her by the cold freedom of mind she could maintain under the test, while Judith’s tortures were manifest in the loud fool she made of herself, with the cheap drama of her flashing eye and imperial attitudes.

Thus, while weeks grew to months and months to years, under the genial light of day and the beauty of the nights, amid innocent occupations and simple pleasures and natural relations satisfying to the heart, the two carried about, with as little fear as if it had been some such thing as Judith’s diminutive pet alligator brought home from the South, or the diamond snake with which Celia fastened her lace, the sentiment destined to find its termination in such tragic horror.


Celia, after a round of visits, had come late this year to their country-house. Miss Greene, called in to make shorter a walking-skirt for country rambles, as she stitched, told the news, according to her wont. She had discovered 426 that she was more acceptable to Celia when she left the Brays out of her conversation, just as she was more acceptable to Judith when she turned it upon the Comptons. As this diminished her immediate store of topics while at the Comptons—village doings were so inwoven with the Brays’ affairs—Miss Greene felt obliged to extend the radius which her reports took in.

“You ever drive over Quarryville way these days?” After an interval of silence, long for her, she thus started a new subject.

“I haven’t driven there for a long time. Do you think it a pretty road? I have never cared for it.”

“No, no more do I. It ain’t tree-sy, nor yet there ain’t nothin’ much to see of any sort. But Miss Goodrich she drove over there this summer early, she’s got a relative livin’ over there, and—Did you ever notice between this and there a little tumble-down farm-house jest a little mite off the road? I don’t believe there’s more’n half a dozen houses between here and Quarryville, so you must have seen it, though perhaps you never took no particular notice. Tell you what you might remember it by. It’s got an oleander-tree in a box near the door in the front yard. The man and woman who live there come from some furrin place and are most as black as colored people. They’ve been there a long time, five or six years, I guess, and have got a vegetable-garden and a corn-patch. I guess you never took no notice. Well, Miss Goodrich, drivin’ past on her way home from visitin’ her relative, stopped there jest by chance—I forgit now whether a rain-storm come up or she wanted a drink o’ water—but there in that ’most black woman’s house she see the fairest boy-baby she says she ever set eyes on. Then she began askin’ questions, and the woman owned ’twarn’t hers, and it come out, not all at once, but gradually, for Miss Goodrich she was interested, that when that baby was nothin’ but a few weeks old, a well-dressed lady, she might have been fifty or so, brought him to her in the carry-all from the depot, and said would she keep him and bring him up as her own, and here was a sum o’ money and there to be the end o’ the whole thing. You can’t rightly tell how much she give her, the woman don’t let on, and as she don’t talk much English, it’s sort o’ hard gettin’ things out o’ her. But I shouldn’t wonder if it had been somethin’ like a thousand dollars. I guess it was as much as that, for she was a fashionable-lookin’ lady. And from that day to this not a word nor a sign further, and the woman ain’t no more idea than you or me who the lady was or whose child she’s got. But she ain’t any children of her own, nor ever has had, and he’s a purty little fellow, and she don’t seem to mind the care of him any more ’n if he was her own. The lady never left any name to call him by,—she jest wanted to wash her hands of him, that’s clear enough,—and the woman calls him Larry, ’cause she thinks that’s one of our names. But it’s queer, ain’t it, the whole thing? If it wasn’t so far I’d drive over myself, jest out o’ curiosity. I sh’ld think you’d like to, Miss Ceely. Things like that, that sounds as if they come out of a story-book, is in your line, I sh’ld jedge.”

Celia remembered afterwards, marvelling, how small hand she had had in the incidents which brought her to the place where a treacherous fate lay in wait for her. It seemed to her that her will had been at every step counter to the direction she finally must take.

It was a friend on a visit to her, who, when in the afternoon they hesitated in the choice of a drive, proposed Quarryville. Celia, though in the least degree repelled, could find no reason for setting aside the suggestion. But she regretted—yet again without good reason, as she argued with herself—having permitted just the sort of person this gifted and charming Mary Havens could not help being, to be present at her trying-on with Miss Greene. They had no difficulty in recognizing the house. The oleander stood beside the door-step in the rough front yard, where common flowers and flourishing weeds made about an even mixture. Among them toddled a child in a faded pink slip. As Celia reined in the horse that they might pass slowly, Mary Havens, before Celia knew what she intended, jumped out, and Celia saw her in a moment more, down in the tall grass, scrutinizing the child’s face, and heard her foolish, eager chatter at him. Celia waited, with a misleading effect of patience, looking off at the meadows on the other side, in an unaccountable distaste, till she became aware of Mary trying to find footing for the child in front of her knees.

“Look at him!” Mary said to her in an impressed tone, “Isn’t he different?”

Celia, in the supposition that any baby lifted off his feet by a stranger would scream, had braced her nerves for the shock. But as she looked at the child, she ceased to think of that, her displeasure with Mary dispersed.

He was a being after her own heart, that was all,—exactly after her own heart. She had not the general love of children common in women, which seemed proof that this one who so captured her fancy must have about him something extraordinary. He was so fair that the sun to which he was indiscriminately exposed could not prevail against his firm, uniform, 427 healthy whiteness. He was large for his small age,—for though he could walk, it was plain he could not yet talk, or else he did not regard language as necessary, for not by one sound did he depart from his self-possessed dumbness. The soilure of the earth upon it could not make his splendid little face funny. A straight-limbed, strong, calm, fearless, and somewhat solemn baby, noble in size, noble in the whole effect of him, with just a touch of something which melted the heart in his wide, sweet, steady, unsmiling eyes and the drooping arch of his lip. We have described him as he appeared to Celia.

“He looks like a king,” she breathed, “or like a prophet!”

“That’s just it—I couldn’t define it. Think—think of rejecting a creature like that! Why—if he had been mine——”

Celia was not listening. She had taken in hers one of his little strong, firm, white hands, beautiful in shape, in texture surpassing, and, quite absorbed in him, pressing it as earnestly as if she entered into a compact with him, was saying over to him just “Larry ... Larry ...” in her voice itself a communication and a caress.

After a little he wearied of these women, and turned his back upon them to look at their horse. They became aware of a woman not far from the carriage-step, clothed in the nondescript dark cotton dress of a poor farmer’s wife, a once bright kerchief around her neck. She was swart in color, with straight, good features, severer in expression than were her brown eyes, which suggested possibilities of kindness when need should arise. She smiled deferentially and said nothing. It might easily be supposed that English was not her tongue. Miss Havens fell upon her with questions, which Celia cut short by hurrying their departure.

But the thought of Larry would not leave her, and it brought disturbance almost, making her feel, as she had never felt, a loneliness in her life, an emptiness. The appeal he had made to her was beyond anything she had imagined of her nature; the sense of him haunted her, his image passed before her ten times an hour, a heroic yet divinely innocent little figure, possessing indescribable affinities with her deepest soul, or, if this were infatuated imagination, fulfilling at the very least her every taste.

When Miss Havens had left, not before, she returned to see him, alone. And after that, at intervals growing more frequent, she went, sinking deeper, as she found, in attachment to this child, instead of recovering from her unaccountable fancy, as it had seemed not quite impossible one might.

A drop of bitter it was to her, as when in blowing bubbles one gets a taste of soapwater, to realize after a time that her interest in Larry had become a subject of discussion in the village. Even some perversion of her remark that he looked like a small predestined Knight of the Grail came back to her ears, with the effect of a humorous sally. It was almost enough to make one resolve not to see him any more. Such a thought, however, could be but momentary: her new love had too strong a hold on her, and she was grown philosophical, she believed, where village gossip was concerned.

Dimly there formed in the background of her mind the thought that sometime, if certain matters could be arranged, she might make herself responsible for Larry’s future. She had no idea of forsaking him, ever; but he was happy, for the present, and well cared for where he was. The woman was kind to him, and she was a person of natural good sense. Celia could see him as often as she pleased; in a manner already she directed his small affairs. The subsidized Cape Verde Islander bathed and kept him clean and observed hygienic practices, to her full of mystery. Closely as her heart was involved, a perfect prudence restrained Celia: there certainly was no occasion for haste in coming to any determination, and the thought lurked within vague undergrowths of her mind that perhaps time would bring forth some effect of taint in this fruit of strange parentage, which the present superbly triumphed over.

It was after an absence from him of perhaps a week, that, coming upon Larry as he played among the weeds, she spied upon the ground near him a toy of the richest and gaudiest. The sight of it gave her heart a sharp pang before her brain had framed the smallest theory of it. She had taken Larry upon her arm—his weight did but charm her; holding him, she went about the house calling for Julia, the foster-mother. She was not to be found, though the doors were open. Celia sat down with Larry upon the door-step and took up the dazzling puppet, a male doll with a squeak. She turned it about, sniffing it with faint, jealous dislike, as if by some emanation from it to divine whence it came, what it meant. Unenlightened, she at last, though without hope, asked the baby, “Who gave it to you, Larry?” He only put out his hand for it masterfully, fumbled its satins, waved it up and down in the air, and cast it far.

Celia derived from the woman, returning by and by from the field, that the doll was the gift of Judith Bray. The woman did not know the young lady’s name, but her broken and laborious description was perfectly illuminating to Celia. According to the woman’s story, Judith had 428 been there three times within the week, bringing extravagant gifts for Larry, over whom she screamed with admiration and whom she fondled as if she would eat him. Celia felt ice hardening about her heart. That day she spoke decisively to Julia of her intention to take Larry off her hands. When she had understood, Julia unexpectedly gave evidence of satisfaction; explaining that this would be for them a desired thing: her husband had been wishing for some time to move away from there and go to a factory-town, where the child would be a hindrance. Celia remembered the money the couple were supposed to have received, for the care of Larry; the man had no doubt some plan of outlay for his little capital; her scheme and theirs fell into accord. Celia impressed it upon Julia before leaving that Larry was from that moment forth to be regarded as hers, her property. She proposed to fetch him as soon as suitable preparations could be made, after which Julia and her husband, delivered for good and all from the burden and expense of him, would be free to go where they were more likely to make their fortunes than here.

With grave, peculiar tenderness, Celia, before leaving, took up the baby and searched his little face, looked deep into his eyes, which told her of his mysterious little soul no more than before. She knew it was like trying to force open a shut flower. “Whatever happens now, dear,” she said to him, though without audible words, “we two go together. All that happens to you, happens to me. If you are in the future to be bad or afflicted, I am to be unhappy. But I will never repent, remembering the glory of you now.” She wondered, seriously, at so beautiful a thing being permitted to live. She kissed him many more times than she usually did, upon his eyes, his cheeks, his forehead,—he was royally passive under kissing—and having left him, almost as if something had warned her, she went back and pressed him to her a last time. As she started the horse, she held up a finger to Julia at the gate, in reminder of their agreement; Julia smiled back her good trustworthy smile.

Celia had expected to meet with objections at home; they were more obstinate than she had looked for. But Celia was sure of her way where only her relatives’ prejudices were opposed as a barrier. She had the whip-hand of an exceptional devotion from them, fairly earned, no doubt. In this case she was able to allay some anxieties, some difficulties she over-rode; all were surprised at the willingness she displayed to make a genuine sacrifice of interests. There was conducted a quiet, polite domestic campaign, at the closing of which she was granted unconditionally, with whatever grim forewarnings, an open field in which to make her life’s mistake.

A little out of conceit with the whole matter, from the weariness of this contending—impressed, too, in spite of herself, with the pertinence of some of the objections which had been made, but staunch in her main purpose, she at last set forth to fetch Larry. As she passed the Brays’ house, a sickly surge of resentment rose from her momentary general disaccord with the world, and beat against the windows that were Judith’s, for it had been she who indirectly precipitated this adoption: without her and the indefinable pollution of her caresses, all being allowed to come to its ripeness naturally, there would not have been this effect of strain and muffled discord in bringing home the son-elect. Judith’s windows were shuttered; her gay, long-fringed hammocks taken in. Celia had heard that she was gone unexpectedly early this year.

But why—why were the windows of the grey farm-house closed and shuttered too? What could be the meaning of that? Celia could hardly believe her eyes. Never once had she seen them closed. And the door was closed, and the garden empty, and the clothes-line gone, the oleander gone. She remained for a time without getting out of the carriage, staring in puzzlement over at the house. It was like something in a dream. When she got out, she found that her knees were unsteady, and wondered at it, because she as yet felt little but a futile effort of the brain to find some common explanation of these circumstances, which only superficially, of course, seemed so unnatural. Why should not Julia for once in her life have gone on a visit, or a jaunt, or an errand? It was a long knowledge of all the conditions which made this surmise insufficient. Celia fumbled with a shutter and got it open. She made blinders with her hands and peered in. Then her heart sank away, as if one should suddenly find by the touch that a person one supposed alive was dead. It was a house from which the inmates plainly had moved away. She made the circuit of the house, examining things. All told the same story, no possibility of deceiving oneself. They had gone. Celia went to the gate and seated herself upon a stone facing the house, and stared at it. She felt no pain. Indeed, something said within her, in the tone she took discussing things sometimes, when she was drawing from a worldly philosophy: “Well, it simplifies matters.” The solution first to present itself satisfied her. The same who had placed Larry there had come for him. Perhaps they had got wind of the proposed adoption,—Julia was deeper than had been suspected,—and 429 in order that the darkness they evidently sought should be ensured past all doubt, they had prevailed upon the foster-parent to leave, like the Arabs. No house was so near that she might to any purpose have made inquiry, if she had cared to do that. But, as has been said, she was satisfied. What had happened seemed to her obvious and what, had she been a little wiser, she would have been prepared for. As she rose, she laughed, or did something more or less like it, and said aloud for the crows to hear: “What a fool I was to suppose that anything I cared so much about could go right!” She got into her phaeton and drove back. She said to them at home, and the hard sadness setting her features was in its effect vindictive, “You see, you are to have your wish, after all.” To make investigation did not even later enter her mind. She would not grant to her persecuting fate the joy of beholding her tortured with suspenses or uncertainties. She was persuaded of the worst. Her heart told her it was finished with that dream.

After that she tried to make the best of her position, to keep her mind fixed upon the advantages of her defeat. But the persistent image of Larry, the memory of his thousand ways of being dear and The Only, with the thought of never seeing him again or knowing anything further about him, made her struggle for an ordinary exterior at moments more than difficult. She came to learn the measure of the cheated feminine tenderness which, denied any natural channel, had fastened so hungrily upon that child of strangers, when it was thrown back useless upon her heart. She selected finally, to dwell upon, the best of all the possibilities: that among the people who had claimed him back—of fine race, if he resembled them—he would find all for the absence of which he had been pitied: the tender love of parents, the opportunities of a privileged life. She agreed that his case would be better than if he had been left to her. But after she had by arguments persuaded herself, when by her own logic she had reason for rejoicing, there closed down upon her a melancholy such as she had at intervals in her life suffered from before. The experience was like going into a tunnel, of which nothing could avail to lighten the darkness until by the grace of God one came out at the other side of the hill. There was no fighting it off by reason, no discovering an adequate cause for it, no foreseeing the moment of its end. One endured it like a prolonged bad dream, wherein the magnified affections shake one in one’s helplessness at their will. At such times all that had ever been pain, disappointment, defeat, however long recovered from, came again to perfect life in memory, while all that had been happy, diminished to insignificant proportions, retreated out of sight. “Why do I feel like this?” Celia could still ask herself by daylight, and repeat, “Everything is all right.” But in the night time the power of the thing was complete.

She had at last, after some three days of such nerve-sickness, taken something to assist sleep. But the small hours found her, in spite of all, awake and staring into the dark, with her troubled mind harping upon the same chords. She sat up in bed, old sorrows bleeding afresh with the new; she took her confused head between her hands, and was voicing the unreconcilement of millions before her and to follow: “Why is everything I love made into an instrument to punish me? What have I done? Why all this senseless pain and calamity to me? Why to me one after the other two losses such as, coming singly in a life, would be enough to darken the sun? Are you, stupid blind Fate, weaving a pattern in which the same design must repeat itself? For is it justice that twice I should have the thing my heart had grown around taken from me, and not in the terrible legitimate way of death, but just placed out of reach and sight, while I torture myself with wondering what may be happening to make the beloved suffer?... Oh, Larry, why ... why this dismay inseparable from the thought of you?” The torture of the visions of Larry which, spite of her shuddering repudiation, would obtrude themselves, was such now that even in her morbid mood she recognized something disproportionate in it, and had clear-sightedness to attribute it to a reaction from the narcotic. She tried to get herself more normally awake. She strained her eyes to see the figures upon her watch, and a sort of patience fell upon her, ascertaining that in an hour or so it would begin to be day, by the light of which the worst never appears quite so unendurable. She felt cold now, and drawing up her quilt went through the forlorn mockery of composing herself to sleep.

Perhaps for a moment without knowing it she dozed, for when the barking of Beech, who slept in the laundry, roused her with a start, it was certainly lighter, she could distinguish the vine-branches against her window. The muffled bark of lugubrious timbre came again and again, deadened by distance and doors. The shock of the first outburst—her heart had seemed to roll over—had plunged Celia into what we call, when children suffer it, a fit of the horrors. Twitching, she sat up again, and receiving from Beech’s voice, as his angry barks multiplied, a message of warning, she kept her eyes instinctively fixed upon the square of light.


She slept on the ground-floor, and a garden-walk passed under her window. A figure now darkened it. It could hardly be said that she was frightened, she seemed to have turned to stone. Some one tapped, then stood peering in and making signs. As she did not stir, the tapping was repeated, urgent and more urgent. She arose and with less astonishment than seemed explicable, recognized Judith Bray, who whispered gaspingly, “Let me in, let me in—you must!” At this point was entered by Celia a quite different phase of sensation. Now that there seemed to be something to do, a call upon her for she as yet did not know what, her nerve got back its tensest steadiness, her mind its calm,—she was the effective daughter of a long line of effective people.

She had signed the auroral intruder to a side-entrance, the furthest from the sleepers in the house, and when they had tiptoed back to her own chamber and noiselessly closed its door, she re-entered her bed, being conscious in an undercurrent fashion of cold. As her eyes consulted Judith, the livid atmosphere in which her bad dreams had been enacting themselves through the night was shot with sanguine. Judith’s face prepared the mind for revelations which should smother. That touch of excess which, however expressed, had always been an element in the repugnance with which she inspired Celia, showed itself now in a haggardness beyond all one could conceive a person achieving in the brief space since the girl had been seen at the gate of her garden jesting with the passers. She was bareheaded; the wide hood of a travelling-cape, which had perhaps replaced her hat, lay back, and her blown hair made a great wreath to her bloodless face. Her breathing spoke of a merciless excitement driving her heart.

Celia sat up and clasped her knees with cramped fingers, pale with the gray pallor of the dawn, in which her long coppery hair was just beginning to glimmer a little—with the gilt picture-frames, and the griffins of the candlesticks, and the like. “Well?” she said.

“Oh, I don’t know how to tell you!” broke forth Judith, and the manner of this first utterance exposed shockingly the fact that here stood that sickening anomaly, a Judith clean emptied of spirit, pride, or courage: “How shall I tell you?”

“Hush!... Speak lower!”

“Oh, who cares?... I have brought him back to you——”

“You have brought back whom?” Celia inquired in blank wonder, “You have brought back—No, no, you don’t mean—What? You never can mean Larry?”

“I do.... For pity’s sake wait till I’ve told you....”

“Then it was you who took him away?...”

“Yes, it was.... And now I’ve got him dead on my hands!”

Celia’s understanding could not at once fully grasp this which was offered, and she remained open-mouthed and mute.

“Of course it was I took him. Do you mean you didn’t even suspect me?... When I found you meant to have him, I couldn’t let you, that’s all. You had been so mortally mean.... But that wasn’t the whole. I could see all you saw in him, too. I was just as crazy about him as you. And when I heard you were going to adopt him, the thought came in a flash, ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ as long as I meant never to marry. And it seemed a great lark, a good one on you, just lifting him away like that. I paid a good price, I can tell you. But what does all that matter now?... We were going to drive him to Jess’s home in the country—Jess said she knew all about babies—and then, after a time, he was to reappear here as an orphan I’d adopted. You would recognize him, of course, but what could you do?... When I think of the light-hearted way I went into this thing, I could kill myself.... But it’s going to kill me, anyhow. Oh, you shouldn’t have treated me so.... I have a heart, too! But what do you care?... I did care about him, though. I did. I did. You can’t hate me as much as if I hadn’t truly cared. That little fellow had got a sort of hold on me nothing has ever had. You should have seen him when we left, all in laces and embroideries, like a little fairy prince. And he seemed all right. We stopped the first night at a country hotel, and Jess and I gave him his bath and fed him, just as nice.... We drove all the next day. He seemed interested in the things we passed. The night after that we were at a hotel again. I thought something wasn’t quite usual with him, but Jess said it was all right, and wouldn’t hear of my calling in a doctor. And suddenly, in the middle of the night, when we were both asleep, I was wakened by a sound, and I don’t know what was wrong—he was struggling, he seemed to be choking, and after just the shortest time he was still, and anyone could see how it was. We were so frightened we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t dare call anybody, and Jess got so scared thinking all sorts of things which might happen, how we might be called to account before the law, that, will you believe it, she wouldn’t stay with me a second longer. She put on her things and the instant it was light off she started for her home. Then—I can never tell you how I did it. I 431 dressed him and wrapped him up and wound my veil around his head, and I asked for my carriage, and I haven’t stopped since, except to feed and water the horse——”

“Do you mean ...” gasped Celia.

“Yes.... Outside....”

Celia pressed her drained face to her knees and beat the bedclothes with her hands.

“That’s the way I feel, too,” said Judith, with a dizzy movement of her hand across her forehead, “I want to scream aloud till I go mad.”

Celia was moaning into the covers.

“Stop, stop, you poor thing!” Judith’s breath caught in her throat, and her hand travelled tremblingly toward Celia’s shoulder, “Oh, I know—I know how you feel! Don’t.... Don’t!... you poor thing. I’ve been and done it, haven’t I.... There was no one—no one like him, nor ever will be again. A human flower, wasn’t he?... And why I should come here to the one I’ve hurt most and who must hate me worst, I don’t know.... I suppose it’s the way criminals give themselves up. Unless it’s because, as I’ve hated you so, and had good reason to, and you’ve known it, I felt you would understand better than the others. Then, you’ve got brains, you can tell me what to do. After driving those millions of miles with that poor angel like lead upon my arm, I haven’t an idea in my head beside ... I’m afraid to go to my father—” She shivered. “He’s been sick of my pranks for some time. You will stand by me, Celia Compton, just for the first?... I could have been devoted to you, if you had let me.... You know I was never anything but a soft-hearted fool—and now to have upon my soul the responsibility of this ghastliness....”

Celia had got up, and with the dainty carefulness forming part in her of that second nature which stands us in stead when the directing faculties are dazed, was fastening up her hair.

“First,” she said, “we shall have to call my brother. Then go to your father.”

At these words, which could be interpreted as a promise of assistance, Judith laid down her head, and let tears at last have their way with her. In floods, more and more uncontrolled they came. Celia stood over her, but even a racking compassion could not make her touch the heaving figure. “The fault was more mine than yours,” she said, with dry lips and inexpressive voice, like that of an oracle, or a sleeper speaking. “In the bottom of my heart I must have always known that the blame of our silly feud was with me. With a word I could have set everything right. What are you?... A leaf in your own passions. But I know what I am about, and do what I do deliberately.

“And with a heart just a little larger ... but now, as you say, between us, we’ve done it. But you need not blame yourself as much as me.... Come. You must go outside and remain with ... with him, while I explain to my brother. In a moment it will be sunrise.”

As Judith’s strength and command over her will seemed now to have forsaken her, Celia helped her to her feet and guided her out of the house. It was a shock, turning the corner, to find the carriage directly at hand, high upon the lawn. The pearl-grey carriage-rug lay massed upon the seat.

The sweet daylight brightening over all the familiar things had its moment of trying to convince that the strange and terrible must be unreal. Only, there upon the carriage-seat lay the proof that the past belief was true. Celia stood, her eyes held by it, a chill from it stealing congealingly upon her. And as at the sight, with the horror, the sorrowfulness of it all smote her directly upon the heart,—and the sense, at last fully brought home, of the ruin of the most adorable thing the earth had given her to know wrung from her a scalding quintessence of tears,—her eyes closed against the image that would form of what the grey folds concealed, and her figure swayed. Judith, beside her, had been struggling to screw her nerve to the point where it might be subjected once more to the strain that had broken it down; but at the sight in accusing daylight of the burden which must be taken up again, her whole being recoiled with such violence that her head jerked convulsively back and her hand reached out for something steadying—and the two women, in a common anguish before their work, clung to each other for support.





“Jes look, Miss No’th! Looker w’at’s comin’ down de road!”

Miss North turned her head inquiringly, and Ezekiel continued to comment enthusiastically.

“It’s ole Arch’bal’ Smiff,” he declared, with lively appreciation, though in the near distance Archibald failed to look as aged as Ezekiel might have led one to expect. “Yas’m, ’tis; dat’s ole Arch’bal’ Smiff. Now, w’at dey-all doin’ ’im dat-a-way fer? Look, Miss No’th! Dey’s jes a-chasin’ ’im down de road!”

Miss North stopped a moment and glanced back at the rapidly approaching Archibald.

“They are probably just chasing him for fun, aren’t they?” she began reassuringly.

“’Tain’ no fun ter git w’ite men chasin’ after yer dat-a-way,” objected Ezekiel.

There were excited shouts from the passing, jostling runners, and Archibald turned and cast a momentary exalted, half-dramatic smile on Miss North.

“They are just in fun, you see. Come, Ezekiel, I want you to go on with me, and bring back some books that I order; will you?”

“Yas’m—yas’m, I’ll go on wid yer, Miss No’th; but look like ole w’ite men’s gwine ketch ’im, too, doan’t it?”

“Catch him? No. Why should they want to catch him?”

“Cert’nly make me think ’bout de time dey-all come a-chasin’ af’ Jonah w’en I’se ter Mis’ Simons’. An’ I reckon, ef ’tain’ been fer Mis’ Simons, dey’d ’a’ ketch ’im, too. But Mis’ Simons she jes ’ntirely dis’range dey plans.”

“How did she do that?” questioned Miss North, suddenly interested.

“W’y, she jes done it,” explained Ezekiel, explicitly.

“I see; but—how? Did Jonah get into some—some trouble?”

“Ya’as, ma’am! An’ he jes did!” assured Ezekiel dramatically; “but Mis’ Simons she jes completely dis’range de whul plan. W’y, yer see, it wuz dat ve’y day de Cap’n went off ter de ho’se fair, an’ lef’ ’er all ’lone wid jes me an’ Sarah an’ Marg’ret an’—an’—well, he would ’a’ lef’ ’er wid Jonah, too, but, yer see, Mis’ Simons she foun’ she’s ’blige sen’ Jonah on a r’al ’mportant erran’. ’Twuz ’long ’bout free o’clock in 433 de evenin’, an’ I wuz in de gyarden a-waterin’ de yaller lily-baid, an’ Jonah he wuz a-hoein’ on de li’l’ paff where cut ’roun’ siden de baid, w’en Mis’ Simons step up an’ say, ‘Jonah,’ she say, ‘I want yer ter stop a-hoein’ an’ do a erran’ fer me,’ she say.

“‘Yas’m,’ Jonah answer ’er. Yer see, Jonah think a awful heap o’ Mis’ Simons, an’ allays seem ter wanter do jes like she ax ’im ter. Co’se, ef he ain’t wanter, w’y, I s’pose he’d ’a’ did it jes same anyway, but he jes natchelly is wanter. So, ‘Yas’m,’ he say, an’ Mis’ Simons ’mence tellin’ ’im all ’bout it. She look up in de sky ez she’s talkin’, too, at de sun, where’s shinin’ righ’ down stret inter de yaller lilies, an’ she say: ‘Co’se yer’ll be back ’fo’ dark, Jonah; doan’ be no longer’n yer’s ’blige ter, ’cuz we wants yer back ’fo’ dark.’

“An’ Jonah smile at ’er an’ say he’ll go ’long right smart, an’ Mis’ Simons smile back at ’im an’ say, well, not ter kill ’isself ’bout it; an’ den Jonah he lef’ us dere siden de lily-baid, an’ de sun a-shinin’ down jes same.

“‘’Zekiel,’ Mis’ Simons ’mence after w’ile, an’ ’er voice soun’ kine o’ slow an’ dreamin’ like. ‘’Zekiel, does yer s’pose yer’ll ever git ter be ’s good a man ’s Jonah?’

“‘Wha’m?’ I say, kine o’ s’prise w’en she ax me right out ez plain’s dat. ‘Yas’m, I s’pose I is, Mis’ Simons,’ I say.

“She look at me r’al quick an’ laf, same way I seen ’er do ser many times befo’.

“‘I doubt it,’ she say, still a-smilin’; ‘I doubt it, ’Zekiel.’

“Well, co’se I ain’ know jes ’zackly w’at she mean talkin’ dat-a-way, but look ’mos’ like she think I ain’t ser good’s Jonah is, an’, anyway, I ain’t r’ally like way she spoke, so, ‘Yas’m,’ I say, ‘I reckon I kin be jes ez good’s Jonah!’ I say, an’—an’ I didn’ ’mence ter cry, nudder, but—but I ’mence hoein’ on de li’l’ paff, an’ waterin’ de yaller lilies, twell Mis’ Simons pat me light ’n’ sof’ on de haid—kine o’ laffin’, too.

“‘W’y, yes, co’se, ’Zekiel,’ she say, ‘co’se yer’s gwine be ez good’s Jonah! An’ I jes reckon yer’ll be ’blige tek ’is place now twell he gits back, too! W’y—w’y, I couldn’ git ’long ’thout yer noways, could I, ’Zekiel?’ She ben’ down while she’s talkin’ an’ pick a yaller lily f’um de baid. ‘Jes see it ketch de sun!’ she say. ‘Doan’t it look like gole a-shinin’! Doan’t yer reckon I better tek a whul bunch ter Mis’ Myers, ’Zekiel?’ she say. ‘She’s sick, yer know—po’ Mis’ Myers!’

“‘Yas’m,’ I answer ’er, an’ ’mence pickin’ de bunch fer ’er.


“‘An’ you’ll tek cyare o’ de place w’ile I’se gone, won’t yer, ’Zekiel? I kin trus’ yer jes 434 same’s I kin Jonah, cyan’t I? Ya’as, co’se. I ain’ gwine be gone ve’y long, nudder,’ she say; ‘jes long ’nough ter give Mis’ Myers de flowers, an’ talk a li’l’, or p’r’aps read a li’l’—’ an’ same time she’s tellin’ me ’bout it she ’mence walkin’ off down de paff.

“Praesen’ly she turn ’roun’ ag’in, an’ I kin see ’er tekkin’ one o’ de lilies f’um de bunch an’ puttin’ it in ’er dress. Den she put ’er hand up to ’er haid quick, like she’s thought o’ sump’n’ she oughter ’membered ’fo’.

“‘’Zekiel!’ she say. An’ I run up to ’er fas’ ’s I could.

“‘’Zekiel, tell Jonah I—I forgot!’ she whisper to me, an’ she look r’al w’ite an’ strange. ‘Tell ’im—no—’ an’ she seem ter change ’er mine, ‘no, I ain’ gwine, after all. I’ll wait yere twell he comes.’

“Co’se I ain’ know w’at ’tis Mis’ Simons ’membered ’bout ser quick, an’ I ain’t r’ally wanter ax ’er, nudder; so I jes stood dere a-lookin’ after ’er w’ile she walk off ter de li’l’ arbor in de gyarden an’ se’ down on de seat. She look kine o’ lonesome, too, a-settin’ dere all ’lone, an’ I start gwine after ’er ter ax ’er w’at’s de matter. But time I gotten dere I didn’ r’ally like ter trouble ’er, so I jes stood dere quiet by de do’, a-lookin’ in.

“‘Well, ’Zekiel,’ she ’mence praesen’ly, ‘did yer want sump’n’?’

“‘No’m,’ I say, kine o’ wishin’ I ain’t come, ‘no’m, but I’se studyin’ a li’l’ ’bout yer, Mis’ Simons—an’ wonderin’ did sump’n’—frighten yer?’

“She smile den, an’ hel’ out ’er han’.

“‘No, no, my chile,’ she say, lookin’ mo’ like she useter ’gin, ‘’tain’ nuthin’ frighten me; I’se jes thinkin’ ’bout sump’n’—I oughter ’membered ’fo’. ’Twuz ve’y thoughtless o’ me—ter fergit!’ she say low like to ’erself. Den, ‘’Zekiel,’ she ’mence ag’in, ‘’ow long does yer reckon it’s gwine tek Jonah ter git back?’

“‘I dunno’m, Mis’ Simons,’ I say, ‘but I reckon he’ll be back right soon now, too.’

“‘Couldn’ tek ’im mo’n a hour, could it?’ she ask, jes ez ef I knowed all ’bout it.

“‘No’m,’ I say, ‘couldn’ tek ’im mo’n a hour.’


“She look up r’al bright at me den, an’ praesen’ly look down at de flowers in ’er han’.

“‘I reckon you’ll be ’blige tek ’em ter Mis’ Myers, won’t yer, ’Zekiel?’ she ’mence. But she stop quick ’gin, lookin’ same way she did ’fo’, w’en she put ’er han’ up to ’er haid.

“‘No!’ she say, ‘doan’t yer go outen de yard ter-day, ’Zekiel! Yer won’t go ’way ter-day, will yer, ’Zekiel?’

“‘W’y, no’m,’ I say, wonderin’ w’at she mean; ‘no’m, I ain’ gwine ’way ’n’ leave yer, Mis’ Simons.’

“She smile ag’in, an’ lay down de flowers, an’ den she tuk up a book where’s layin’ on de seat.

“‘Dat’s a good li’l’ boy,’ she say; ‘now go ’n’ hoe de weeds outen de gyarden paff, same way Jonah’s doin’ ’fo’ he went.’

“So I went back ter de paff by de lilies, an’ start in ter wuk right smart. But, co’se, eve’y li’l’ w’ile I ’range ter git jes enough time ter look at Mis’ Simons, too, a-settin’ in de arbor wid ’er book; an’ praesen’ly ’mence ter look like she’s ’mos’ forgotten where she’s at, she’s a-readin’ ser hard. Mus’ ’a’ been mo’n a hour sence Jonah went ’way, too, but she keep on a-readin’, an’ I keep on a-wukkin’ on de paff, jes 435 wukkin’ ’long same’s befo’, twell bime-by I’se jes ’blige se’ down an’ res’ a li’l’ myself. But Mis’ Simons she ain’t look up ’tall. An’ after I ’mence ter feel kine o’ rested an’ mo’ like wuk, w’y, co’se I got up an’ start in hoein’ ag’in, an’ dere’s Mis’ Simons still a-settin’ dere readin’ jes same’s befo’! De sun’s gittin’ kine o’ low, too, an’ look like she gwine git cotch in de dark ef she ain’ cyarful, so I drap my hoe in de grass an’ step ’long up ter de li’l arbor an’ se’ down on de step. Mis’ Simons kine o’ start-like w’en she seen me, an’ put down ’er book an’ raise ’er han’s up slow ’n’ sleepy-like to ’er eyes.

“‘Wat time is it, ’Zekiel?’ she say.

“De clock wuz strikin’ six, time I drap my hoe down in de grass, so I tole ’er ’bout it.

“‘Six!’ she say, a-jumpin’ off ’er seat. ‘Six er-clock! An’ ain’ Jonah come? Ain’t he come yit, ’Zekiel?’

“‘No’m, he ain’t,’ I say, ‘cuz he ain’t, so w’at else is it I kin say? ‘No’m, he ain’t,’ I say.

“‘An’ he’s been gone long ’nough to’ve gone free times at leas’!’ she whisper un’er ’er bref. ‘Oh, w’at is I done! Jonah, Jonah, w’y doan’t yer come back!’

“‘I reckon he’ll be back right soon now,’ I say, ’cuz cert’nly make me feel bad ter see Mis’ Simons look dat-a-way. ‘Doan’t yer reckon he will?’ I say.

“But she jes shuk ’er haid awful sad ’n’ slow-like.

“‘I’se ’fraid—I’se ’fraid sump’n’s ’appen to ’im, ’Zekiel,’ she answer. ‘I—I sent ’im de ve’y place—where it’s awful trouble—gwine on ter-day! I sent ’im, ’Zekiel, ’thout—’thout ’memberin’ w’at I knowed!’

“Well, I ain’t r’ally know ’ow ter answer ’er dat time, so I jes didn’ make no ’sponse ’tall.

“‘Come,’ she say, ‘we mus’ go in de house, ’Zekiel; it’s gittin’ dark.’

“It seem awful long after we’s in de house, an’ praesen’ly, it’s sech a warm evenin’, Mis’ Simons went out on de po’ch. But she mus’ ’a’ feel kine o’ strange ’n’ lonesome, too, ’cuz praesen’ly she ax Sarah ’n’ Marg’ret won’t dey come out ’n’ set dere fer a li’l’ w’ile.

“‘It’s time fer you ter go ter baid, ain’t it, ’Zekiel?’ she say; an’ I jes start ter tell ’er, ‘No’m, I doan’ reckon ’tis,’ w’en it come de stranges’ noise out dere in de yard. Look like somebody’s runnin’ ser fas’ he cyan’t sca’cely breve, an’ all time comin’ right ’long fru de grass todes de steps.

“‘Mis’ Simons, Mis’ Simons!’ somebody whisper, awful hoarse an’ strange-like. An’ w’at yer s’pose? W’y, it’s jes Jo-nah, a-tearin’ right ’long up de steps!

“‘Lemme go in, Mis’ Simons! Please lemme go in!’ he keep on whisperin’, like he cyan’t sea’cely breve. ‘Dey’s after me, Mis’ Simons! Dey’s gwine git me! An’ yer knows I ain’t done a thing to ’em, Mis’ Simons! Oh, w’at’s dey a-chasin’ me fer? I—I ain’ done a thing!’

“Yas’m, dat’s jes de way he talk, an’ ’mos’ look like he’s gwine fall right down, too, twell Mis’ Simons tuk hole uv ’is arm, kine o’ shekkin’ ’im, like, an’ turn ’roun’ ter de do’.

“‘Go in, Jonah! Quick!’ she say. ‘Cuz dey’s voices an’ folks a-runnin’ an’ holl’in’ right dere in de yard. She seem ter jes push ’im in an’ shet de do’; an’ den she stan’ up, lookin’ ser stret ’n’ w’ite-like, didn’ look r’ally like Mis’ Simons.

“‘’Tain’ gwine nobody else git—fru—dat-do’,’ she say, ser low couldn’ nobody sca’cely hyeah it; an’ den, oh, ’twuz jes awful! Dey all come a-knockin’ up ’ginst de steps, an’ a-holl’in’ an’ a-pushin’, an’ some uv ’em laffin’ an’ some uv ’em cursin’, an’ all uv ’em holl’in’ ’bout de nigger, an’ tellin’ Mis’ Simons ter bring out de nigger!

“An’ w’at yer s’pose? Mis’ Simons she jes stan’ dere same’s ever, a-lookin’ down on ’em wid ’er back ter de do’.



“‘Bring ’im out!’ dey keep on a-holl’in’. ‘Bring ’im out!’

“An’ ’er face look all w’ite an’ dazzlin’ in de light, an’ ’er voice come low an’ kine o’ shekkin’ like. ‘No,’ she say, ‘I cert’nly is not gwine—bring ’im out,’ she say. Yas’m, dat’s jes de ’sponse she make. An’ den dey all ’mence holl’in’ ag’in ’bout crim’nal ’n’—’n’ murd’rer, an’ sayin’ does she want ’em ter go in af-ter ’im, an’ buntin’ up ’ginst de steps ag’in, an’ jostlin’ an’ pushin’, twell Mis’ Simons kine o’ step forrad a li’l’, still a-lookin’ down at ’em.

“‘Ain’t yer ’shame!’ she say. ‘Oh—ain’t—yer—’shame!’ An’ I ’clare, ez she stood dere, seem like I ain’ nuver seed ’er eyes look ser clare ’n’ burnin’-like, ner ’er face ser dazzlin’ w’ite.

“‘He’s jes ez innercent uv any crime—ez I is,’ she say. ‘I knows it, ’cuz I knows ’im,’ she say; ‘an’—you knows it! Ef yer doan’t—it’s ’cuz yer doan’t cyare ’nough ’bout it—ter—fine—out.’

“It’s one r’al big man where seem ter be kine o’ mekkin’ all de res’ uv ’em do jes like he done, an’ fum de ve’y time Mis’ Simons ’mence ter speak he jes stood dere a-lookin’ at ’er like he cyan’t move ner holler.

“‘Yer—doan’t cyare ’nough ’bout it—ter—fine out!’ she say; ’an’ den dis yere’s de kine o’ thing yer do! Oh, it’s de kine o’ thing we’s ’blige answer fer—eve’y day!’ An’ she stop, kine o’ gaspin’ like, ter ketch ’er bref.

“Well, de ve’y same time she stop, de big man turn ’roun’ awful quick ’n’ look off r’al sudden at de road an’ den he look at de res’ where’s cursin’ ’n’ laffin’——”

“Ezekiel!” interrupted Miss North in a sharp whisper, catching at his arm. Then her hand dropped, and she looked around her.

“Don’t you see, Ezekiel?” she went on naturally. “We are almost there. And—wait, Ezekiel; stay right here; don’t hurry so. Wait, stay close to me! There seems to be—some trouble.”

“It’s Arch’bal’, Miss No’th!” he began, his voice rising excitedly. “Dey’s cotch ’im! I tole yer dey’s gwine cotch ’im, Miss No’th! Look, Miss No’th!”

Just then a big negro broke in on the scene, and suddenly Archibald was at large again, dashing through the noisy crowd in one direction, while the big negro ran in another. In the confusion that followed, Miss North put her hand out for Ezekiel, to find that he was not there, while Ezekiel, looking distractedly for Miss North, found himself pushed on in the crowd of jostling, swearing men.

“Oh, look out!” he gasped; “yer’s pushin’ me! Yer—yer’s steppin’ on me! Oh, turn me loose!

“Get out o’ yere!” a coarse voice called in his ear, “You’ll get killed, an’ good riddance if you do!”

He felt them closing in over him, while he slipped to the ground—tramping on over him, pushing, tramping on, while, a limp, wounded little heap, he tried to raise his head, and felt it knock back again in the dust.

“Mis’—Mis’ Simons—wouldn’ nuver ’a’ let yer—done me—dat-a-way!” he whispered vaguely. He raised his head again, feeling confusedly for it as he sat up, gazing stupidly around. Then he pulled himself to his feet and limped aimlessly around in a circle.

“Where’s I gwine?” he mumbled. “Mis’ Simons! ... Mis’ Simons—wouldn’ nuver ’a’ let yer—done me—dat-a-way!” He stumbled off across the side-walk into the grass, unheeded by a still confused, noisy crowd. In the grass he still stumbled on.

“Mis’ Simons—wouldn’ nuver ’a’ let yer—’a’ let yer—done me—” As he slipped down again into the grass, his eyes closed.


A crowd of angry, excited men seemed to be still before him—but Mrs. Simons stood with her back to the door, looking down at them with a white face. From a step beside her he seemed to be still looking up at her, while her low, vibrating voice seemed to be still echoing—echoing:

“Oh, aren’t you ashamed of yourselves! Aren’t—you—ashamed!

With their reckless, brutish faces flickering 437 before him again, he thought he was watching only her—watching—while her low voice went vibrating on—till they turned from her, swearing and laughing! And then she was stretching out her white hand, catching at one of the pillars, while she slipped down—down beside him on the step—and her arms fell around him helplessly.

“You’ll—take—care of me!” she cried faintly, “won’t you—Ezekiel!”

“Yas’m,” came a broken whisper from the grass, “I’ll tek cyare o’ yer, Mis’ Simons!”

But there was another low voice which he did not understand, and his eyes opened wide, looking up vacantly at Miss North.

“Ezekiel! Have you—have you—been hurt? Oh, Ezekiel——”

“Yas’m, I reckon I is, Mis’ Simons, jes a li’l’,” he mumbled, struggling painfully to his feet; “but I’ll—tek cyare o’ yer—I’ll tek cyare o’ yer, Mis’ Simons!”

The next morning he sat in his seat at school, watching Miss North with large, absent eyes.

“You ought not to have come this morning, Ezekiel,” she began gently, as her eyes rested on his thin, wistful little face; “I don’t think you ought to stay.”

“Yas’m, I oughter stay, Miss No’th,” he assured her, with a faint smile. His eyes wandered to the window.

“Did dey ketch ’im?” he questioned suddenly. “Did dey ketch Arch’bal’, Miss No’th?”

“No,” she answered, a sudden hot color rising up in her cheeks. “Archibald’s gone away; they can’t find him. But he—he needn’t have. They found out it was a mistake; he wasn’t the one they wanted.”

“Mis’ Simons oughter ’a’ been yere—ain’t she?” he went on dreamily. “She wouldn’ nuver ’a’ let ’em—done ’im—dat-a-way! Would she, Miss No’th?”

“No!” she answered, her voice startling him out of his dream, while the color deepened painfully in her cheeks. “Remember always, Ezekiel, she wouldn’t have let them! And remember”—her voice softened—“she’s your friend, because—she’s of the best!” Miss North’s eyes wandered dreamily now, and she seemed to have forgotten her audience. “Remember, there are always the others, too—the coarse and the brutal, who are only glad of an excuse—and they can stamp their whole people—very coarsely. But remember, Ezekiel,” her eyes gazed fixedly ahead, “it isn’t the fault of the best ones; it’s the fault of the worst—who always snatch at an excuse—and who will—just as long as they’re allowed.”

Her eyes fell on Ezekiel again, who was looking at her in wide perplexity.

“What is it, Ezekiel?” she smiled. “Oh, yes, I was just saying—about Mrs. Simons—she was always very good to you, wasn’t she, Ezekiel?”

“Yas’m, Mis’ Simons cert’nly wuz good ter me.” Again it was Ezekiel’s eyes that dreamed with languid, velvety moistness.

“Remember—that she’s—one of the best, Ezekiel!”

“Yas’m,” came the gentle response; “couldn’ be nobuddy no better’n—Mis’ Simons!”




If a German stands up to talk about prohibition, he might just as well sit down at once, for every one in America, of course, knows beforehand what he is going to say. Worse, every one knows also exactly why he is so anxious to say it: how can he help being on the wrong side of this question? And especially if he has been a student in Germany, he will have brought the drinking habit along with him from the Fatherland, together with his cigar smoking and card playing and duelling. If a poor man relies on his five quarts of heavy Munich beer a day, how can he ever feel happy if he is threatened with no license in his town and with no beer in his stein? Yet my case seems slightly different. I never in my life played cards, I never fought a duel, and when the other day in a large women’s college, after an address and a reception, the lady president wanted to comfort me and suggested that I go into the next room and smoke a cigar, I told her frankly that I could do it if it were the rule in her college, but that it would be my first cigar. With beer it is different: Last winter in traveling I was for some days the guest of an Episcopal clergyman, who, anticipating the visit of a German, had set up a bottle of excellent beer as a welcome, and we drank together the larger part of the bottle—but I think that is my only case in late years. When I had to attend a Students’ “Commers,” I was always protected by the thick mug through which no one could discover that the contents never became less during the evening. I live most comfortably in a pleasant temperance town which will, I hope, vote no-license year by year as long as freshmen stroll over the old Harvard Yard. And although I have become pretty much Americanized, I have never drunk a cocktail.

The problem of prohibition, thus, does not affect my thirst, but it greatly interests my scientific conscience; not as a German, but as a psychologist I feel impelled to add a word to the discussion which is suddenly reverberating over the whole country. But is it really a discussion which we hear? Is it not rather a one-sided denunciation of alcohol, repeated a million times with louder and louder voice, an outcry ever swelling in its vehemence? On the other side there may be the protests of the distillers and brewers and wine-growers and bottle-makers and saloon-keepers, and perhaps some timid declarations of thirsty societies—but such protests do not count, since they have all the earmarks of selfishness; they are ruled out, and no one listens, just as no one would consult the thieves if a new statute against pickpockets were planned. So far as the really disinterested public is concerned, the discussion is essentially one-sided. If serious men like Cardinal Gibbons raise their voices in a warning against prohibition, they are denounced and overborne, and no one cares to imitate them.

The Fundamental Evil of American Public Opinion

It has been seldom indeed that the fundamental evil of American public opinion has come out so clearly; namely, that no one dares to be on the unpopular side; just as in fashion and social life, every one wants to be “in it.” No problem has in America a fair hearing as soon as one side has become the fashion of mind. Only the cranks come out with an unbalanced, exaggerated opposition and thus really help the cause they want to fight against. The well-balanced thinkers keep quiet and simply look on while the movement rushes forward, waiting quietly for the reaction which sets in from the inner absurdity of every social extreme. The result is too often an hysterical zig-zag movement, where fearlessness might have found a middle way of steady progress. There must be indeed a possible middle way between the evil of the present saloon and the not lesser evil of a future national prohibition; yet if this one-sidedness of discussion goes on, it is not difficult to foresee, after the legislative experiences of the last year, 439 that the hysterical movement will not stop until prohibition is proclaimed from every state-house between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Exaggerated denunciation of the prohibition movement is, of course, ineffective. Whoever simply takes sides with the saloon-keeper and his clientèle—yes, whoever is blind to the colossal harm which alcohol has brought and is now bringing to the whole country—is unfit to be heard by those who have the healthy and sound development of the nation at heart. The evils which are connected with the drinking habit are gigantic; thousands of lives and many more thousands of households are the victims every year; disease and poverty and crime grow up where alcohol drenches the soil. To deny it means to ignore the teachings of medicine and economics and criminology.

But is this undeniable fact really a proof of the wisdom of prohibition? The railroads of the United States injured last year more than one hundred thousand persons and put out seven thousand hopeful lives; does any sane man argue that we ought to abolish railroads? The stock exchange has brought in the last year economic misery to uncounted homes, but even at the height of the panic no one wanted to destroy the market for industrial stocks. How much crime and disaster and disease and ruin have come into the lives of American youth through women, and yet who doubts that women are the blessing of the whole national life? To say that certain evils come from a certain source suggests only to fools the hasty annihilation of the source before studying whether greater evils might not result from its destruction, and without asking whether the evils might not be reduced, and the good from the same source remain untouched and untampered with. Even if a hollow tooth aches, the modern dentist does not think of pulling it; that would be the remedy of the clumsy village barber. The evils of drink exist, and to neglect their cure would be criminal, but to rush on to the conclusion that every vineyard ought therefore to be devastated is unworthy of the logic of a self-governing nation. The other side has first to show its case.

Better England Free Than England Sober?

This does not mean that every argument of the other side is valid. In most of the public protestations, especially from the Middle West, far too much is made of the claim that all the Puritanic laws and the whole prohibitionist movement are an interference with personal liberty. It is an old argument, indeed, “Better England free than England sober.” For public meetings it is just the kind of protest which resounds well and rolls on nobly. We are at once in the midst of the “most sacred” rights. Who desires that America, the idol of those who seek freedom from the tyranny of the Old World, shall trample on the right of personal liberty? And yet those hundreds of singing-societies which have joined in this outburst of moral indignation have forgotten that every law is a limitation of personal liberty. The demand of the nation must limit the demands of the individual, even if it is not the neighbor, but the actor himself who is directly hurt. No one wants to see the lottery or gambling-houses or the free sale of morphine and cocaine permitted, or slavery, even though a man were to offer himself for sale, or polygamy, even though all wives should consent. To prevent temptation toward ruinous activities is truly the State’s best right, and no injury to personal liberty. The German reflects gladly how much more the German State apparently intrudes upon personal freedom: for instance, in its splendid State insurance for old age and accidents.

To be sure, from this German viewpoint it is hard to understand why the right of the State to subordinate personal wishes to national ones should not carry with it a duty to make compensation. To him the actions of some Southern States appear simply as the confiscation of property. When, as has happened, a captain of industry erects, for instance, a most costly brewery, and the State in the following year prohibits the sale of beer, turning the large, new establishment into a huge, useless ruin, without giving the slightest compensation, the foreigner stands aghast, wondering if to-morrow a party which believes in the State ownership of railroads may not prohibit railroading by private companies without any payment to the present owners.

Yet the political aspect does not concern the social psychologist. I abstract from it as from many others. There is, indeed, no limit to the problems which ought to be studied most seriously before such a gigantic revolution is organized. The physician may ask whether and when alcohol is real medicine, and the physiologist may study whether it is a food and whether it is rightly taken as helpful to nutrition; but this is not our problem. The theologians may quarrel as to whether the Bible praises the wine or condemns the drinker, whether Christ really turned water into that which we call wine, and whether Christianity as such stands for abstinence. It is matter for the economist to ask what will become of the hundred thousands of men who are working to-day in the breweries and related industries. 440 A labor union claims that “over half a million men would be thrown out of employment by general prohibition, who, with their families, would make an army of a million human beings robbed of their means of existence.” And the economist, again, may consider what it might mean to take out the license taxes from the city budgets and the hundreds of millions of internal revenue from the budget of the whole country. It is claimed that the brewers, maltsters, and distillers pay out for natural and manufactured products, for labor, transportation, etc., seven hundred million dollars annually; that their aggregate investments foot up to more than three thousand millions; and that their taxes contribute three hundred and fifty millions every year to the public treasuries. Can the country afford to ruin an industry of such magnitude? Such weighty problems cannot be solved in the Carrie Nation style: yet they are not ours here.

The Lonely Drinker of the Temperance Town

Nearer to our psychological interest comes the well-known war-cry, “Prohibition does not prohibit.” It is too late in the day to need to prove it by statistics: every one knows it. No one has traveled in prohibition States who has not seen the sickening sight of drunkards of the worst order. The drug-stores are turned into very remunerative bars, and through hidden channels whiskey and gin flood the community. The figures of the United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue tell the story publicly. In a license State like Massachusetts, there exists one retail liquor dealer for every 525 of population; in a prohibition State like Kansas, one for every 366. But the secret story is much more alarming. What is the effect? As far as the health of the nation and its mental training in self-control and in regulation of desires are concerned, the result must be dangerous, because, on the whole, it eliminates the mild beverages in favor of the strong drinks and substitutes lonely drinking for drinking in social company. Both are psychologically and physiologically a turn to the worse. It is not the mild beer and light wine which are secretly imported; it is much easier to transport and hide whiskey and rum, with their strong alcoholic power and stronger effect on the nerve-cells of the brain. And of all forms of drinking none is more ruinous than the solitary drink, as soon as the feeling of repugnance has been overcome; there is no limit and no inhibition. If I look back over the last years, in which I often studied the effects of suggestion and hypnotism on habitual drinkers, I do not hesitate to say that it was in most cases an easy thing to cure the social drinker of the large cities, but very hard to break the lonely drinker of the temperance town. Of course, prohibition reduces somewhat the whole quantity of consumption, but it withdraws the stimulant, in most cases, where it would do the least harm and intensifies the harm to the organism where it is most dangerous.

Our Greatest Danger—Disregard for Law

But man is not only a nervous system. Prohibition forced by a majority on an unwilling minority will always remain a living source of the spirit of disregard for law. Yet, “unwilling” minority is too weak an epithet; the question is of a minority which considers the arbitrary rule undemocratic, absurd, immoral, and which really believes that it is justified in finding a way around a contemptible law.

Judges know how rapidly the value of the oath sinks in courts where violation of the prohibition laws is a frequent charge, and how habitual perjury becomes tolerated by respected people. The city politicians know still better how closely blackmail and corruption hang together, in the social psychology, with the enforcement of laws that strike against the beliefs and traditions of wider circles. The public service becomes degraded, the public conscience becomes dulled. And can there be any doubt that disregard of law is the most dangerous psychological factor in our present-day American civilization? It is not lynch law which is the worst; the crimes against life are twenty times more frequent than in Europe, and as for the evils of commercial life which have raised the wrath of the whole well-meaning nation in late years, has not disregard of law been their real source? In a popular melodrama the sheriff says solemnly: “I stand here for the law”; and when the other shouts in reply, “I stand for common sense!” night after night the public breaks out into jubilant applause. To foster this immoral negligence of law by fabricating hasty, ill-considered laws in a hysterical mood, laws which almost tempt toward a training in violation of them, is surely a dangerous experiment in social psychology.

Are We About to Prohibit Meat and Tea?

Hasty and hysterical that kind of law-making is indeed. Within a few years, during which the situation itself has not been changed, during which no new discoveries have proved the right or necessity, during which no experts have reached common results, the wave has swollen to a devastating flood. Who let it loose? Were 441 the psychologists asked to decide, or the physicians, or the physiologists, or the sociologists, or any one who has studied the problem as a whole with professional knowledge? Certainly not: their commissions have hardly ever proposed total abstinence. Of course, those who rush on mean the best as they see it; they want to make better men; but can a nation ever hope to reach private morality by law and thus to exclude all private lying and greediness and envy and ingratitude and temper and unfairness just as well as intemperance? Such unclear and vague mixing of purposes always characterizes hysterical legislation. A sober contemplator must ask himself: What is it to lead to if well-meaning, short-sighted dilettantes can force legislation on questions which demand the most serious expert study?

There is growing throughout the land to-day a conviction—which has its core of truth—that many people eat too much meat; and not a few see a remedy in vegetarianism and Fletcherism. If this prejudice swells in a similar way, the time may come when one State after the other will declare slaughtering illegal, confiscate the meat-packing houses, and prohibit the poisonous consumption of beef and the killing of any creature that can look on us with eyes. Other groups are fighting coffee and tea, and we may finally land in nuts and salads. Yes, according to this line of legislative wisdom, there is no reason for prohibiting only alcohol. Do I go far beyond the facts in asserting that in certain States the same women and men who are publicly against every use of alcohol are also opposed to the “drugs” of the physicians and speak of them privately as poisons? Not the Christian Scientists only—in intellectual Boston thousands of educated women speak of drugs and nervine as belonging to a medieval civilization which they have outgrown. The same national logic may thus lead us to laws which will prohibit every physician from using the resources of the drug-store—if they have not all simply to go over to osteopathy.

A Spring Flood of Emotional Legislation

The question of the liquor trade and temperance—which is so widely different from a hasty prohibition—has engaged the minds of all times and of all nations, and is studied everywhere to-day with the means of modern science. But this spring flood of prohibition legislation which has overrun the States shows few signs of deeper connection with serious study and fewer signs of profit from the experiments of the past. When the Chinese government made laws against intemperance about eleven hundred years before Christ, it can hardly have gone more hastily to work than the members of this movement of the twentieth century after Christ. It is unworthy of women and men who want to stand for sobriety to allow themselves to become intoxicated with hysterical outcries, when a gigantic national question is to be solved, a question which can never be solved until it is solved rightly. A wrong decision must necessarily lead to a social reaction which can easily wipe out every previous gain.

Progress is to be hoped for only from the most careful analysis of all the factors of this problem; yet, instead, the nation leaves it to the unthinking, emotional part of the population. In the years of the silver agitation it was a matter of admiration to any foreigner, the wonderful seriousness with which large crowds listened in a hundred towns, evening after evening, to long hours of difficult technical discussion on currency; sixteen to one was really discussed by the whole nation, and arguments were arrayed against arguments before a decision was reached. Is it necessary that the opposite method be taken as soon as this problem is touched—a question far more complex and difficult than the silver question, and of far more import to the moral habits and the development of the nation? When leading scholars bring real arguments on both sides of the problem, their work is buried in archives, and no one is moved to action. But when a Chicago minister hangs the American flag over his pulpit, fastens a large patch of black color on it, declares that the patch stands for the liquor evil which smirches the country, denounces wildly the men who spend for whiskey the money which ought to buy medicine for sick children, and then madly tears the black cloth from the stars and stripes and grinds it under his heel—then thousands rush out as excited as if they had heard a convincing argument. And this superficiality is the more repellent because every glimpse below the surface shows an abundance of cant and hypocrisy and search for cheap fame and sensationalism and still more selfish motives mingled with the whole movement; even the agitation itself, with its threats of ruin, borders too often on graft and blackmail and thus helps to debauch the public life.

Alcohol and the Brain

Those who seriously study, not merely the one or the other symptom, but the whole situation, can hardly doubt that the demand of true civilization is for temperance and not for abstinence, and that complete prohibition must in the long run work against real temperance. But nothing is more characteristic of the hysterical caprice of the masses than the constant neglect of 442 this distinction. Even the smallest dose of alcohol is for them nothing but evil, and triumphantly they seize on isolated statements of physiologists who acknowledge that every dose of alcohol has a certain influence on the brain. This is at once given the turn that every glass of beer or wine “muddles” the brain and is therefore a sin against the freedom of man.

Certainly every glass of beer has an influence on the cells of the brain and on the mind; so has every cup of tea or coffee, every bit of work and every amusement, every printed page and every spoken word. Is it certain that the influence is harmful because an overdose of the same stimulants is surely poisonous? Boiling water is most dangerous for the body on account of its strong heat: is a bath in lukewarm water therefore also harmful? To climb Mount Blanc would overtax my heart: is it therefore inadvisable for me to climb the two flights to my laboratory? Of course, under certain conditions it might be wise to take account of the slightest influences. Without being harmful, they might be unsuited to a certain mental purpose. If I were to take a glass of beer now in the morning, I should certainly be unable to write the next page of this essay with the same ease; the ideas would flow more slowly. But does that indicate that I did wrong in taking last night, after a hard day’s fatiguing work, a glass of sherry and a glass of champagne at a merry dinner-party, after which nothing but light conversation and music were planned for the rest of the evening? Of course, alcohol before serious intellectual work disturbs me; but hearing a hurdy-gurdy in the street or thinking of the happy news which a letter has just brought to me, or feeling angry over any incident, disturbs me just as much. It is all the same kind of interference; the brain centers which I used for my intellectual effort are for a while inhibited and thus unfit for the work which I have in hand. When the slight anger has evaporated, when the pleasurable excitement has subsided, when the music is over, I can gather my thoughts again, and it is arbitrary to claim that the short blockade of ideas was dangerous, and that I ought to have avoided the music or the pleasure or the wine.

Of course, if we consider, for instance, the prevention of crime, we ought not to forget that some even of these slight inhibitions may facilitate a rash, vehement deed and check cool deliberation. In times of social excitement, therefore, alcohol ought to be reduced. But again this same effect, as far as the temperate use of alcohol is in question, may result from many other sources of social unrest. The real danger begins everywhere with intemperance: that is, with a lack of that self-discipline which is not learned but lost under the outer force of prohibition.

The Case Psychologically

Psychologically the case stands thus: alcohol has indeed an inhibitory influence on mind and body. The feeling of excitement, the greater ease of motor impulse, the feeling of strength and joy, the forgetting of sorrow and pain—all are at bottom the result of inhibition; impulses are let free because the checking centers are inhibited. But it is absurd to claim from the start that all this is bad and harmful, as if the word inhibition meant destruction and lasting damage. Harmful it is, bodily and socially, when these changes become exaggerated, when they are projected into such dimensions that vital interests, the care for family and honor and duty are paralyzed; but in the inhibition itself lies no danger. There is not the slightest act of attention which does not involve such inhibition. If I read in my study, the mere attention to my book will inhibit the ticking of the clock in my room and the noise from the street, and no one will call it harmful. As soon as my attention increases, and I read with such passion that I forget my engagements with friends and my duties in my office, I become ridiculous and contemptible. But the fact that the unbalanced attention makes me by its exaggerated inhibition quite unfit for my duties, is no proof that the slight inhibition produced by attentive reading ought to be avoided.

The inhibition by alcohol, too, may have in the right place its very desirable purpose, and no one ought to be terrified by such physiological statements, even if inhibition is called a partial paralysis. Yes, it is partial paralysis, but no education, no art, no politics, no religion, is possible without such partial paralysis. What else are hope and belief and enjoyment and enthusiasm but a re-enforcement of certain mental states, with corresponding inhibition—that is, paralysis—of the opposite ideas? If a moderate use of alcohol can help in this most useful blockade, it is an ally and not an enemy. If wine can overcome and suppress the consciousness of the little miseries and of the drudgery of life, and thus set free and re-enforce the unchecked enthusiasm for the dominant ideas, if wine can make one forget the frictions and pains and give again the feeling of unity and frictionless power—by all means let us use this helper to civilization. It was a well-known philosopher who coupled Christianity and alcohol as the two great means of mankind to set us free from pain. But nature provided mankind with other means of inhibition; sleep is still more radical, and every fatigue works in the same direction; 443 to inhibit means to help and to prepare for action.

And are those who fancy that every brain alteration is an evil really aware how other influences of our civilization hammer on the neurones and injure our mental powers far beyond the effects of a moderate use of alcohol? The vulgar rag-time music, the gambling of the speculators, the sensationalism of the yellow press, the poker playing of the men and the bridge playing of the women, the mysticism and superstition of the new fancy churches, the hysterics of the baseball games, the fascination of murder cases, the noise on the Fourth of July and on the three hundred and sixty-four other days of the year, the wild chase for success; all are poison for the brain and mind. They make the nervous system and the will endlessly more unfit for the duties of the day than a glass of lager beer on a hot summer’s evening.

Drying up a Nation Emotionally

What would result if prohibition should really prohibit, and all the inhibitions which a mild use of beer and wine promise to the brain really be lost? The psychological outcome would be twofold: certain effects of alcohol which serve civilization would be lost; and, on the other hand, much more harmful substitutions would set in. To begin with: the nation would lose its chief means of recreation after work. We know to-day too well that physical exercise and sport is not real rest for the exhausted brain-cells. The American masses work hard throughout the day. The sharp physical and mental labor, the constant hurry and drudgery produce a state of tension and irritation which demands before the night’s sleep some dulling inhibition if a dangerous unrest is not to set in. Alcohol relieves that daily tension most directly.

Not less important would be the loss on the emotional side. Emotional desire for a life in beauty would yield to the triviality of usefulness. Puritanism has held back the real American spirit of artistic creation in fine arts and music and drama: prohibition without substitutes would crush still more the esthetic spirit in the brain of man and would make beauty still more the domain of women. Her more responsive physiological constitution does not need the artificial paralysis of the inhibiting centers. The mind of the average woman shows that lower degree of checking power which small alcoholic doses produce in the average man. But just therefore she and men of the female type cannot carry on alone the work of the nation. A national life without the artificial inhibitions of the restraining centers becomes for the large masses a matter of mere practical calculation and righteous dulness. Truly the German, the Frenchman, the Italian who enjoys his glass of light wine and then wanders joyful and elated to the masterpieces of the opera, serves humanity better than the New Englander who drinks his ice-water and sits satisfied at the vaudeville show, world-far from real art. Better America inspired than America sober. Can we forget that in almost all parts of the globe even religious life began with intoxication cults? God Indra was in the wine for the Hindus and Dionysius for the Greeks. It is the optimistic exuberance of life, the emotional inspiration, which alcohol brought into the dulness of human days, and the history of culture shows it on every page.

But with the emotion dries up the will. Mere righteousness needs no stimulation. But the American nation would never have achieved its world work if the attitude of resignation had been its national trait. Those pioneers who opened the land and awoke to life its resources were men who longed for excitement, for the intensity of life, for vividness of experience. The nation would not be loyal to its tradition if it were not to foster this desire of intense experience: the moderate use of alcohol is both training in such intensified conscious experience and training in the control and discipline of such states. The nation needs both, and as the child learns to prepare for the work of life by plays and games, so man is schooling himself for the active and effective life by the temperate use of exciting beverages which playingly awake those vivid feelings of success. The scholar and the minister and a thousand other individuals may not need this training, but the millions, the masses, cannot prepare themselves for a national career of effectiveness if this opportunity is taken from their lives. History shows it abundantly.

To be sure, all this is but half true, because, as we said, the individual, and finally the nation, may seek substitutes, may satisfy the craving for emotional excitement, for will elation, for intense experience, by other means than the oldest and most widely scattered. Zealotism in religious belief, tyranny and cruelty, sexual over-indulgence and perversion, gambling and betting, mysticism and superstition, recklessness and adventurousness, and, above all, senseless crimes have always been the psychological means of overcoming the emptiness and monotony of an unstimulated life. They produce, just like alcohol, that partial paralysis and create intense experiences. They thus take hold of the masses, so long as the social mind is not entirely dried up, with the necessity 444 of a psychological law. There is no more dangerous state for a healthy, strong nation than mental monotony in the life of the masses. Catholic countries play to the imagination at least through the religion, monarchic countries have their own picturesqueness and color, America under prohibition pushes the masses into gambling and reckless excitements and sexual disorder and money-crazes and criminal explosions of the mind.

The Temperance Experiment in Mohammedanism

Has not history experimented sufficiently? Prohibitionist stump speakers may tell us that their cause means the hitherto unheard-of progress of civilization; the United States, after abolishing slavery for mankind, is called on to end also the tyranny of alcohol under which humanity has suffered for ages. But are there not two hundred millions of Moslems who are obedient to Mohammed’s law, that wine drinking is sinful? What is the outcome? Of course, it is not inspiring to hear the boast of the Moslems that the Christians bring whiskey to Africa and bestialize the natives, while the Mohammedans fight alcohol. But aside from this, their life goes on in slavery and polygamy and semi-civilization. All the strong nations, all those whose contributions were of lasting value to the progress of mankind, have profited from the help of artificial stimulation and intoxicants.

But every strong nation remained also conscious of the dangers and evils which result from intemperance. On the whole, history shows that intemperance and abstinence alike work against the highest interests of civilization; temperance alone offers the most favorable psychological conditions for the highest cultural achievement. Intemperance mostly precedes the strongest periods in the life of a nation and follows them again as soon as decay has set in. Temperance, that is, sufficient use of intoxicants to secure emotional inspiration and volitional intensity, together with sufficient training in self-discipline to avoid their evils, always introduced the fullest blossoming of national greatness. Instinctively the American nation as a whole is evidently striving for such temperance, but a hysterical minority has at present succeeded in exaggerating the movement and in transforming it into its caricature, prohibition. The final result, of course, will be temperance, since the American nation will not ultimately allow itself to become an emasculated nation of dyspeptic ice-water drinkers without inspiration and energy, or permit vulgar amusements, reckless stock-gambling, sensationalism, adultery, burglary, and murder to furnish the excitement which the nerves of a healthy nation need.

The Securing of Temperance

How temperance can be secured, the experiences of the older nations with a similar psychological type of national mind ought to be decisive. First of all, the beverages of strongly alcoholic nature ought to be fought by those of light alcoholic effect. The whiskey of the laborers must be fought by light healthy beer and perhaps by light American wines. Further, a systematic education in self-control must set in; the drunkard must not be tolerated under any circumstances. Above all, the social habits in the sphere of drinking must be entirely reshaped. They belong to a period where the Puritan spirit considered beer and wine as sinful and relegated them to regions hidden from decent eyes. The American saloon is the most disgusting product of such narrowness; its dangers for politics and law, health and economics, are alarming. The saloon must disappear and can be made to disappear perhaps by higher license taxation and many other means. And with it must disappear the bar and the habit of drinking standing and of mutual treating. The restaurant alone, with the hotel and the club, is the fit public place where guests sitting at tables may have beer and wine with their meals or after meals,—and all controlled by laws which absolutely forbid the sale of intoxicants to certain groups of persons, to children, to inebriates, and so on. As long as drinking means to the imagination of a considerable well-meaning minority of the nation the present-day repulsive life of saloons and bars, the minority will find it easy to terrorize and to whip into line the whole country. But if those relics of a narrow time disappear and customs grow which spread the spirit of geniality and friendly social intercourse over the foaming cup, the spell will be broken. Instead of being tyrannized over by short-sighted fanatics on the one side and corrupt saloon-keepers on the other, the nation will proceed with the unanimous sympathy of the best citizens to firm temperance laws which the sound instinct of the masses will really respect. Training in self-control as against recklessness, training in harmless hilarity and social enjoyment as against mere vulgar excitement and rag-time pleasures, training in respect for law as against living under hysterical rules which cannot be executed and which invite blackmail, corruption, and habitual disregard of laws—these are indeed the most needed influences on the social mind of the country.





“... and having writ,

Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit

Can lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all your Tears wash out a word of it.

“About that letter of your uncle’s? I take it you have no one to suggest?”

Thomas Carden glanced anxiously at the son in whom he had so great a confidence, and who was the secret pride of his eyes, the only love of his austere, hard-working life.

The two were a great contrast to one another. The older man was short and slight, with the delicate, refined, spiritual face so often seen in the provincial man of business belonging to that disappearing generation of Englishmen who found time to cultivate the things of the mind as well as the material interests of life; a contrast, indeed, to the tall, singularly handsome, alert-looking man whom he had just addressed, and whose perfect physical condition made him appear somewhat younger than his thirty-two years.

And yet, in spite or perhaps because of this contrast between them, the two were bound in the closest, if not exactly in the most confidential, ties of affection. And, as a matter of course, they were partners in the great metal-broking business of Josh. Carden, Thomas Carden and Son, which had been built up by three generations of astute, self-respecting citizens of Birmingham.

It was Easter Monday, and the two men were lingering over breakfast, in a way they seldom allowed themselves time to do on ordinary week-days, in the finely proportioned, book-lined dining-room of one of those spacious old houses which remain to prove that the suburb of Edgbaston was still country a hundred years ago.

Theodore Carden looked across the table meditatively. He had almost forgotten his uncle’s letter, for, since that letter had been read and cursorily discussed, he and his father had been talking of a matter infinitely more important to them both. The matter in question was the son’s recent engagement and coming marriage, a marriage which was a source of true satisfaction to the older man. His father’s unselfish joy in the good thing which had befallen him touched Theodore Carden keenly, for the niche occupied in most men’s minds by their intimate feminine circle was filled in that of the young man by the diminutive figure of the senior partner of Carden and Son.

As is perhaps more often the case than those who despise human nature believe, men sometimes have the grace to reverence and admire those qualities in which they know themselves to be deficient. Such a man was the younger Carden. To-day the depths had been stirred, and he let his mind dwell with a certain sense of shame and self-rebuke on his own and his father’s ideals of human conduct. Even as a schoolboy, Theodore had come to realize how much more he knew of the ugly side of life than did his father. But then, old Mr. Carden was quite exceptional; he knew nothing—or so, at least, his son believed, and loved him for it—of the temptations, conflicts, victories, and falls of the average sensual man. Theodore’s father had been engaged, at twenty, to a girl of his own age whom he had not been able to marry till twelve years later; she had left him a widower with this one child after five years of married life; and Thomas Carden, as he had himself once told his son in a moment of unwonted confidence, had been absolutely faithful to her before the marriage and since her death.

The woman—many people would have said the very fortunate young woman—who was so soon to become Mrs. Theodore Carden would not possess such a husband as Thomas Carden had been to his wife. And yet, in his heart, Theodore was well aware that the gentle girl he loved would probably be a happier woman than his own mother had been, for he, unlike his father, 446 in his dealings with the other sex could call up at will that facile and yet rather rare gift of tenderness which women, so life had taught him, value far more than the deeper, inarticulate love....

Carden came back to the prosaic question of his uncle’s letter with a distinct effort. “Have I any one to suggest?” he echoed. “I have no one to suggest, father. I know, of course, exactly the sort of man Uncle Barrett is looking for; he’s asking us to find him the perfect clerk every man of business has sought for at some time or other. If I were you, I should write and tell him that the man he wants us to find never has to look outside England for a job, and, what is more, would rather be a clerk here—if he’s any sense—than a partner in New Zealand!”

A smile quivered for a moment over the young man’s shrewd face; his uncle was evidently seeking such a man as he was himself, but such men, so Theodore Carden was able to tell himself without undue conceit, were not likely to go into voluntary exile, even for the bribe of eventual partnership in a flourishing business.

There was a pause, and then again the older man broke the silence with something entirely irrelevant to the subject which was filling the minds of his son and himself.

“You haven’t looked at the Post this morning? There’s nothing in it. Dearth of real news is, I suppose, responsible for this?” and he pointed, frowning as he spoke, to a column on the middle page headed, “The Garvice Mystery. New Developments.”

Again a shrewd, good-humoured smile quivered on his son’s firm mouth. “In these days newspapers have to follow, not lead, the public taste. Very few people are honestly as indifferent as you are, father, to that sort of story. Now, even I, who never met poor old Garvice, cannot help wondering how he came by his death; and yet you, who knew the man——”

“I knew him,” said the other with a touch of impatience, “as I know, and as you know, dozens of our fellow-townsmen.”

“Never mind; you, at any rate, can put a face to the man’s name; and yet the question as to whether he was or was not poisoned by his wife is one of indifference to you! Now I submit that in this indifference you are really a little—” he hesitated for a word, but found that none so well expressed his thought as that which had first risen to his lips—“peculiar, father.”

“Am I?” said Thomas Carden slowly; “am I so, Theodore? Nay, nay, I deny that I am indifferent! Lane”—Major Lane was at that time Head Constable of Birmingham, and a life-long friend of the speaker—“Lane was quite full of it last night. He insisted on telling me all the details of the affair, and what shocked me, my boy, was not so much the question which, of course, occupied Lane—that is, as to whether that unhappy young woman poisoned her husband or not—but the whole state of things which he disclosed about them. Lane told me certain facts concerning Garvice, who, as you truly say, I have known, in a sense, for years, which I should not have thought possible of any man—vile things, which should have prevented his thinking of marriage, especially of marriage with a young wife.”

Theodore Carden remained silent; he never discussed unsavory subjects with his father. Moreover, he had no liking for Major Lane, though he regarded him with considerable respect, and even with a feeling of gratitude. Some years before, the Head Constable had helped the young man out of a serious scrape, the one real scrape—so Carden was complaisantly able to assure himself—engendered by his systematic pursuit of women. Even now he could not recall, without wincing, the interview he had had on that occasion with his father’s friend. During that interview Carden had felt himself thoroughly condemned, and even despised, by the older man, and he had been made to feel that it was only for the sake of his father—his high-minded, unsuspicious father—that he was being saved from the public exposure of a peculiarly sordid divorce suit.

But it was in all sincerity that the young man now felt indignant with Major Lane for having distressed such a delicately spiritual soul as was Thomas Carden with the hidden details of the Garvice story. After all, what interested the public was not the question of Garvice’s moral character, but whether a gently nurtured and attractive woman had carried through a sinister and ingenious crime, which, but for a mere accident, would have utterly defied detection.

Theodore Carden got up from the breakfast table and walked over to a circular bay-window which commanded charming views of the wide, sloping garden, interspersed with the streams and tiny ponds which gave the house its name of Watermead, and which enabled old Mr. Carden to indulge himself with especial ease in his hobby of water gardening.

Standing there, the young man began wondering what he should do with himself this early spring day. His fiancée had just left the quiet lodgings which she and her mother, a clergyman’s widow, had occupied in Birmingham during the last few weeks, to pay visits to relatives in the South. The thought of going to any of the neighbouring houses, where he knew himself to be sure of a warm welcome, and where the news of his engagement would be received with 447 boisterous congratulations, tempered in some cases with an underlying touch of regret and astonishment, filled him with repugnance. The girl he had chosen to be his wife was absolutely different from the women who had hitherto attracted him; he reverenced as well as loved her, and hitherto Theodore Carden had never found reverence to be in any sense a corollary of passion.

The last few days had brought a great change in his life, and one which he meant should be permanent; and yet, in spite or perhaps because of this, as he stood staring with absent eyes into his father’s charming garden, he found his mind dwelling persistently on the only one of his many amorous adventures which had left a deep, an enduring, and, it must be admitted, a most delightful mark on the tablets of his memory.

The whole thing was still so vivid to him that half-involuntarily he turned round and looked down the long room to where his old father was sitting. How amazed, above all, how shocked and indignant the man for whom he had so great an affection and respect would feel, if he knew the picture which was now floating before his son’s retrospective vision!

What had happened had been briefly this: One day in the previous October, Carden had taken his seat in the afternoon express which stops at Birmingham on its way from the north to Euston, or rather, having taken a leisurely survey of the train, which was, as he quickly noted, agreeably empty, he had indicated to the porter carrying his bag a carriage in which sat, alone, a singularly pretty woman.

As he afterwards had the delight of telling her, and, as he now reminded himself with a retrospective thrill of feeling, he had experienced, when his eyes first met those of the fair traveller, that incommunicable sensation, part physical, part mental, which your genuine Lothario, if an intelligent man, always welcomes with quickening pulse as the foretaste of special zest to be attached to a coming pursuit.

Carden’s instinct as to such delicate questions had seldom played him false; never less so than on this occasion, for, within an hour, he and the lovely stranger had reached that delightful stage of intimacy in which each feels that he and she, while still having much to learn about the other, are on the verge of a complete understanding.

During the journey of between two and three hours, his travelling companion had told him a great deal more about herself than he had chosen to reveal concerning his own life and affairs; he learned, for instance, that she was the young wife of an old man, and that the old man was exceedingly jealous. Further, that she found the life she was compelled to lead “horribly boring,” and that a widowed cousin, who lived near London, and from whom she had “expectations,” formed a convenient excuse for occasional absences from home.

Concerning three matters of fact, however, she completely withheld her confidence, both then, in those first delicious hours of their acquaintance, and even later, when their friendship—well, why not say friendship? for Carden had felt a very strong liking as well as an over-mastering attraction toward this Undine-like creature—had become much closer. The first and second facts which she kept closely hidden, for reasons which should perhaps have been obvious, were her surname—she confided to him that her Christian name was Pansy—and her husband’s profession. The third, about which she might surely have been less reticent, was the name of the town where she lived and from which she appeared to be travelling that day.

The actual incidents of that eventful October journey had become, to a certain extent, blurred in Theodore Carden’s memory, but what had followed was still extraordinarily vivid, and to-day, on this holiday morning, standing idly looking out of the window, he allowed his mind a certain retrospective licence.

From whom, so he now asked himself, had first come the suggestion that there should be no parting at Euston between himself and the strange, elemental woman he had found so full of unforced fascination and disarming charm? The answer soon came echoing down the corridors of memory: from himself, of course—but then, and even now the memory brought with it shamefaced triumph, he remembered her quick acquiescence, as free, as unashamed, as joyous as that of a spoilt child acclaiming an unlooked-for treat.

And, after all, what harm had there been in the whole halcyon adventure—what injury had it caused to any human being? Carden put the husband, the fatuous old man who had had the incredible folly to marry a girl thirty-five years younger than himself, out of court. Pansy, light-hearted, conscienceless Pansy—he always thought of her with a touch of easy tenderness—had run no risk of detection, for, as he had early discovered, she knew no one in London, with the solitary exception of the old cousin who lived in Upper Norwood. As for his own business acquaintances, he might, of course, have been seen by any of them taking about this singularly attractive woman, for the two went constantly to the theatre, and daily to one or 448 other of the great restaurants. But what then? Excepting that she was quieter in manner, far better dressed, and incomparably prettier, Pansy might have been the wife or sister of any one of his own large circle of relations, that great Carden clan who held their heads so high in the business world of the Midlands.

Nay, nay, no risk had been run, and no one had been a penny the worse! Indeed, on looking back, Theodore Carden could tell himself that it had been a perfect, a flawless episode, and perhaps after all it was well that there had been no attempt at a repetition. And yet? And yet the young man, especially during the first few weeks which had followed that sequence of enchanting days, had often felt piqued, even a little surprised, that the heroine of this amazing experience had not taken advantage of his earnest entreaty that she would give him the chance of meeting her again. He had left it to her to be mysterious; as for himself, he had seen no reason why he should conceal from her either his name or his business address.

Many men, doubtless, would not have been so frank, but Theodore Carden, too wise in feminine lore to claim an infallible knowledge of women, never remembered having made a mistake as to the moral social standing of a new feminine acquaintance. During the few days they had been together, everything had gone to prove that Pansy was no masquerader from that under-world whose denizens always filled him with a sensation of mingled aversion and pity. He could not doubt—he never had doubted—that what she had chosen to tell him about herself and her private affairs was substantially true. No man, having heard her speak of it, could fail to understand her instinctive repulsion from the old husband to whom she had sold herself into bondage; and as human, if not perhaps quite as worthy of sympathy, was her restless longing for freedom to lead the pleasant life led by those of her more fortunate contemporaries whose doings were weekly chronicled in the society papers which seemed to form her only reading.

Once only had Carden felt for his entrancing companion the slightest touch of repugnance. He had taken her to a play in which a child played an important part, and she had suddenly so spoken as to make him realise with a shock of surprise that she was the mother of children! Yet the little remark made by her, “I wonder how my little girls are getting on,” had been very natural and even womanly. Then, in answer to a muttered word or two on his part, she had explained that she preferred not to have news of her children when she was absent from home, since it only worried her; even when staying with the old cousin at Upper Norwood, she made a point of being completely free of all possible home troubles. Hearing this gentle, placid explanation of her lack of maternal anxiety, Carden had put up his hand to his face to hide a smile; he had not been mistaken; Pansy was indeed the thorough-going little hedonist he had taken her to be. Still, it was difficult, even rather disturbing, to think of her as a mother, and as the mother of daughters.

Yet how deep an impression this unmoral, apparently soulless woman had made on his mind and on his emotional memory! Even now, when he had no desire, and, above all, must not allow himself to have any desire, ever to see her again, Theodore Carden felt almost as keenly as he had done during the period of their brief intimacy a morbid curiosity to know where she lived and had her being.

It was late in the afternoon of the same day. Theodore Carden had just come in from a long walk, and, as he passed through the circular hall round which Watermead was built, he heard the low sound of voices, those of his father and some other man, issuing from the square drawing-room always occupied by the father and son on such idle days as these. He stayed his steps, realized that the visitor was Major Lane, and then made up his mind to go up and change, instead of going straight in to his father, as he would have done had the latter been alone.

As he came down again, and crossed the now lighted hall, he met the parlourmaid, an elderly woman who had been in Thomas Carden’s service ever since his wife’s death.

“I wonder if I can take in the lamps now, Mr. Theodore? It’s getting so dark, sir.”

There was a troubled sound in her voice, and the young man stopped and looked at her with some surprise. “Of course you can, Jane,” he said quickly, “why not? Why haven’t you taken them in before?”

“I did go in with them half an hour ago, sir, but the master told me to take them out again. There’s firelight, to be sure, and it’s only Major Lane in there, but he’s been here since three o’clock, and master’s not had his tea yet. I suppose they thought they’d wait till you came in.”

“Oh! well, if my father prefers to sit in the dark, and to put off tea till he can have my company, you had better wait till I ring, and then bring in the lamps and the tea together.” He spoke with his usual light good-nature, and then passed on, and so into the room which was the only apartment in the large old house clearly associated in his mind with the graceful, visionary figure of his young mother.


Thomas Carden and the Head Constable were sitting in the twilight, one on each side of the fireplace, and when the young man came in they both stirred perceptibly and abruptly stopped speaking.

Theodore came forward and stood on the hearth-rug.

“May Jane bring in the lamps, father?”

“Yes, yes, I suppose so.”

And the lamps were brought in. Then came the tea-tray, placed by Jane on a large table several paces from the fire. Very deliberately, and asking no questions as to milk or sugar, for well he knew the tastes of his father and of his father’s friend, he poured out two cups of tea, and, turning, advanced, a cup balanced in each steady hand.

But halfway across the room he stopped for a moment, arrested by the sound of his father’s voice:

“Theo, my boy, I want to ask you something.” This mode of address had become of late years a little unusual, and there was something in Thomas Carden’s accents which struck his son as significant, even as rather solemn.

“Yes, father?”

“Did you not tell me this morning that you had never met Garvice?”

The one onlooker, hatchet-faced Major Lane, suddenly leaned a little forward. He was astonished at his old friend’s extraordinary and uncalled-for courage, and it was with an effort, with the feeling that he was bracing himself to see something terrible take place, that he looked straight at the tall, fine-looking man who had now advanced into the circle of light thrown by the tall Argand lamps.

But Theodore Carden appeared quite unmoved, nay, more, quite unconcerned by his father’s question.

“Yes,” he said, “of course I told you so. I suppose I knew the old fellow by sight, but I certainly was never introduced to him. Are there any new developments?” He turned to Major Lane with a certain curiosity, and then quite composedly handed him the cup of tea he held in his right hand.

“Well, yes,” answered the other coldly, “there are. We arrested Mrs. Garvice this morning.”

“That seems rather a strong step to have taken, unless new evidence has turned up since Saturday,” said Theodore thoughtfully.

“Such new evidence has come to hand since Saturday,” observed Major Lane significantly.

There was a pause, and again Thomas Carden addressed his son with that strange touch of solemnity, and again Major Lane, with some inward wincing, stared fixedly at the young man now standing, a stalwart, debonair figure, between himself and his old friend.

“Can you assure me—can you assure us both—that you never met Mrs. Garvice?”

Carden looked down at his father with a puzzled expression. “Of course, I can’t assure you of anything of the kind,” he said, still speaking quite placidly. “I may have met her somewhere or other, but I can’t remember having done so; and I think I should have remembered it, both because the name is an uncommon one, and because”—he turned to Major Lane—“isn’t she said to be an extraordinarily pretty woman?”

As the last words were being uttered, an odd thing happened. Thomas Carden suddenly dropped the cup he was holding in his hand; it rang against the brass fender and broke in several pieces, while the spoon went clattering into the fireplace.

“Father!” exclaimed Theodore, and then quickly he added, “Don’t trouble to do that,” for the old man was stooping over the rug and fumbling with the broken pieces. But Thomas Carden shook his head; it was evident that he was, for the moment, physically incapable of speech.

A great fear came into the son’s mind; he turned to Major Lane and muttered in an urgent, agonised whisper, “Is it—can it be a seizure? Hadn’t I better go and try to find Dr. Curle?” But the other, with a dubious expression on his face, shook his head. “No,” he said; “it’s nothing of the kind. Your father’s getting older, Carden, as we all are, and I’ve had to speak to him to-day about a very disagreeable matter.” He looked fixedly, probingly, at the young man, but again Theodore showed no sign of having understood. “I think it’s thoroughly upset him.” The speaker hesitated, and then added: “I daresay he’ll tell you about it; in any case, I’d better go now and come back later. If you can spare me half an hour this evening, I should like to have a talk with you.”

During the last few moments Major Lane had made up his mind to take a certain course, even to run a certain risk, and that not for the first time that day, for he had already set his own intimate knowledge of the life-long friend whose condition now wrung him with pity against what was, perhaps, his official duty.

Some two hours before, the Head Constable had entered the house, where he had been so constantly and so hospitably entertained, with the firm conviction that Theodore Carden had been the catspaw of a clever, unscrupulous woman; in fact, that there had come a repetition, but a hundred times more serious, of that now half-forgotten entanglement which had so 450 nearly brought Carden to grief some seven or eight years before. Once more he had come prepared to do his best to save his friend’s son, so far as might be possible, from the consequences of his folly.

But now? Ah, now, the experienced, alert official had to admit to himself that the incidents of the last ten minutes had completely altered his view of the matter. He realised that in any case Theodore Carden was no fool; for the first time that day the terrible suspicion came into Major Lane’s mind that the man before him might, after all, be more closely connected with the Garvice mystery than had seemed possible.

Never, during his long connection with crime, had the Head Constable come across as good an actor, as cool a liar, as he now knew this young man of business to be. Well, he would give Carden one more chance to tell the truth; Theodore was devoted to his father, so much was certainly true, and perhaps his father would be able to make him understand the gravity of the case. Major Lane felt bitterly sorry that he had come first to the old man—but, then, he had so completely believed in the “scrape” theory; and now he hardly knew what to believe!

The old man, still sitting by the fire, had caught a few of the muttered words, and before Major Lane could leave the room Thomas Carden had risen from his chair, his face paler, perhaps, than usual, but once more his collected, dignified self. “Stay,” he said firmly; “having gone so far, I think we should now thresh the matter out.”

He walked over to where his son and his friend were standing, and he put his hand on the older man’s arm. “Perhaps I cannot expect you, Lane, to be convinced, as I, of course, have been convinced, by my son’s denials. It is, as I told you this afternoon, either a plot on the part of some one who bears a grudge against us, or else—what I think more likely—there are two men in this great town each bearing the name of Theodore Carden. But I appreciate, I deeply appreciate, the generous kindness which made you come and warn us of this impending calamity; but you need not fear that we shall fail to meet it with a complete answer.”

“Father! Major Lane! What do you mean?” For the first time a feeling of misgiving swept over Theodore Carden’s mind. Without waiting for an answer, he led the way back to the fireplace and, deliberately drawing forward a chair, motioned to Major Lane to sit down likewise.

“Now then,” he said, speaking with considerable authority and decision, “I think I have a right to ask what this is all about. In what way are we, my father and myself, concerned in the Garvice affair? For my part, Major Lane, I can assure you, and that, if you wish it, on oath, that I did not know Mr. Garvice, and, to the best of my belief, I have never seen, still less spoken to, Mrs. Garvice——”

“If that be indeed so,” said the man whom he addressed, and who, for the first time, was beginning to feel himself shaken in his belief, nay, in his absolute knowledge, that the young man was perjuring himself, “can you, and will you, explain these letters?” and he drew out of his pocket a folded sheet of foolscap.

Carden bent forward eagerly; there was no doubt, so the Head Constable admitted to himself, as to his eagerness to be brought face to face with the accusation—and yet, at that moment, a strong misgiving came over Major Lane. Was it right, was it humane, to subject him to this terrible test, and that, too, before his old father? Whatever the young man’s past relation to Mrs. Garvice, nay, whatever his connection might be with the crime which Major Lane believed to have been committed, Carden was certainly ignorant of the existence of these terrible, these damnatory documents, and they constituted so far the only proof that Carden had been lying when he denied any knowledge of Mrs. Garvice. But then, alas! they constituted an irrefutable proof.

With a sudden movement Major Lane withdrew his right hand, that which held the piece of paper: “Stop a moment, Carden; do you really wish this discussion to take place before your father? I wonder if you remember—” he paused, and then went on firmly—“an interview you and I had many years ago?”

For the first time Theodore Carden’s whole manner changed; a look of fear, even of guilt, came over his strong, intelligent face.

“Father,” he said imploringly, “I beg you not to listen to Major Lane. He is alluding to a matter which he gave me his word—his word of honour—should never be mentioned to any one, least of all to you”; then, turning with an angry gesture to the Head Constable, “Was that not so?” he asked imperiously.

“Yes, I admit that by making this allusion I have broken my word, but good God! man, this is no passing scrape that we have to consider now; to-morrow morning all Birmingham will be ringing with your name—with your father’s name, Theodore—for by some damnable mischance the papers have got hold of the letters in question. I did my best, but I found I was powerless.” He turned and deliberately looked away, as he added in a low, hesitating voice: “And now, once more I ask you whether we had better not delay this painful discussion until you and I are alone?”


“No!” cried Carden, now thoroughly roused, “certainly not! You have chosen to come and tell my father something about me, and I insist that you tell me here, and at once, what it is of which I am accused.”

He instinctively looked at his father for support, and received it in full measure, for at once the old man spoke. “Yes, Lane, I think my son is right; there’s no use in making any more mystery about the matter. I’m sure that the letters you have brought to show Theodore will puzzle him as much as they have me, and that he will be able to assure you that he has no clue either to their contents or to their writer.”

Very slowly, with a feeling of genuine grief and shame for the man who seemed to feel neither sorrow nor shame, Major Lane held out the folded paper, and then again, in very pity, he looked away as his old friend’s son eagerly unrolled the piece of foolscap, placing it close under the lampshade in order that he might thoroughly master its contents.

As Theodore Carden completed the trifling action, that of unrolling the piece of paper which was to solve the mystery, he noted, with a curious feeling of relief, that the documents (or were they letters?) regarded by the Head Constable as so damnatory, were but two, the first of some length, the second consisting of a very few lines, both copied in the fair round hand of Major Lane’s confidential clerk.

And then, with no premonitory warning, Carden became the victim of a curious physical illusion. Staring down at the long piece of blue paper, he found that he was only able to master the signature, in both cases the same, with which each letter terminated. Sometimes only one word, one name—that of Pansy—stood out clearly, and then again he seemed only to see the other word, the other name—that of Garvice. The two names appeared to play hide-and-seek with one another, to leap out alternately and smite his eyes, pressing and printing themselves upon his brain.

At last, while he was still staring silently, obstinately, at the black lines dancing before him, he heard the words, and they seemed to be coming from a long way off, “Theodore! Oh, my boy, what is the matter?” and then Major Lane’s voice, full of rather angry concern, “Rouse yourself, Carden, you are frightening your father.”

“Am I?” he said dully, “I mustn’t do that”; then, handing back the sheet of foolscap to the Head Constable, he said hoarsely, “I can’t make them out. Will you read them to me?” And Major Lane, in passionless accents, read aloud the two letters which he already almost knew by heart:

6, Lightwood Place, 
January, 28th.

You told me to write to you if ever I was in real trouble and thought you could help me. Oh, Theo, darling, I am in great trouble, and life, especially since that happy time—you know when I mean—is more wretched than ever. You used to say I was extraordinarily pretty, I wonder if you would say so now, for I am simply ill—worn out with worry. He—you know who—has found out something; such a little insignificant thing; and since then he makes my life unbearable with his stupid jealousy. It isn’t as if he knew about you and me, that would be something real to grumble at, wouldn’t it, darling? Sometimes I feel tempted to tell him all about it. How he would stare! He is incapable of understanding anything romantic. However, I’m in no mood for laughing now. He’s got a woman in to watch me, but luckily I’ve quite got her to be on my side, though of course I haven’t told her anything about my private affairs.

Will you meet me one day this week, to-morrow if you can, at No. 15, Calthorpe Street? Four o’clock is the safest time for me. Between the two small shops you will see a swing door with “Madame Paula, Milliner,” on it; push it open and go straight upstairs. On the first landing you will see a door with “Gone out, enquire upstairs,” on it. Push up the door knob (don’t try to turn it) and walk in. The room will be empty, but you will see a door leading to a back room; push up the knob and there—there you will find your poor little Pansy, fainting with joy at seeing her big strong Theo again.

Send me a postcard, saying “Mrs. Garvice can be fitted on (day you select).” If posted before eleven, it will reach me in time. Of course, I’m running a risk in meeting you here, so near my home, but I must see you, for I have a great favour to ask you, Theo, and I dare not propose going away even for one day.

Pansy Garvice.

Major Lane paused a moment, then went on:

Theo, I wrote to you ten days ago, but I have had no answer. I am dreadfully worried; I know you are in Birmingham, for I saw your name in a paper before I wrote to you. I have gone through such terrible days waiting for the postcard I asked you to send me. Write, if only to say you don’t want to hear again of poor miserable

Pansy Garvice.

“I suppose you will now admit that you know who wrote these letters?” asked Major Lane sternly.

“Yes—at least I suppose they were written by Mrs. Garvice.” Carden spoke with a touch of impatience. The question seemed to him to be, on the part of his father’s old friend, a piece of useless cruelty.

“And can you suggest to whom they were written, if not to yourself?”

“No, of course not; I do not doubt that they were written to me,” and this time his face was ravaged with a horror and despair to which the other two men had, as yet, no clue. “And yet,” Carden added, a touch of surprise in his voice, “I never saw these letters—they never reached me.”


“But, of course, you received others?” Major Lane spoke with a certain eagerness; then, as the young man seemed to hesitate, he added hastily: “Nay, nay, say nothing that might, incriminate yourself.”

“But, indeed—indeed I have never received a letter from her—that perhaps is why I did not know the handwriting.”

“Theodore!” cried his father sharply, “think what you are saying! What you’ve been shown are only copies—surely you understood that? What Lane has just shown you are copies of letters which purport to have been addressed to you, but which were intercepted on their way to the post—is that not so?” and he turned to the Head Constable.

“Yes,” said Major Lane; then he added, very deliberately: “The originals of these two letters, which were bought for a large sum from Mrs. Garvice’s companion, evidently the woman referred to in the first letter, are now in the hands of the news editor of the Birmingham Dispatch. I was shown them as a great favour”—a grim smile distorted, for a moment, the Head Constable’s narrow jaw. “I did my best—for your father’s sake, Carden—to frighten these people into giving them up; I even tried to persuade them to hold them over, but it was no good. I was told that no Birmingham paper had ever had such a—‘scoop,’ I believe, was the word used. You and your father are so well known in this city”—and again Theodore Carden marvelled at the cruelty of the man.

Thomas Carden broke in with a touch of impatience: “But nothing else has been found, my boy! Lane should tell you that the whole theory of your having known Mrs. Garvice rests on these two letters—which never reached you.”

Father and son seemed suddenly to have changed places. The old man spoke in a strong, self-confident tone, but the other, his grey face supported on his hands, was staring fixedly into the fire.

“Yes,” said Major Lane, more kindly, “I ought perhaps to tell you, Carden, that within an hour of my being shown these letters I had Mrs. Garvice’s house once more searched, and nothing was found connecting you with the woman, excepting, I am sorry to say, this”;—and he held out an envelope on which was written in Theodore Carden’s clear handwriting the young man’s name and business address. “Now I should like you to tell me, if you don’t mind doing so, where, when, and how this name and address came to be written?”

“Yes, I will certainly tell you.” Carden spoke collectedly; he was beginning to realise the practical outcome of the conversation. “I wrote that address about the middle of last October, in London, at Mansell’s Hotel in Pall Mall East.”

“The poor fellow’s going to make a clean breast of it at last”; so thought Major Lane with a strange feeling of relief, for on the flap of the envelope, which he had kept carefully turned down, was stamped “Mansell’s Hotel.”

It was in a considerate, almost kindly tone, that the Head Constable next spoke. “And now, Carden, I beg you, for your own sake, to tell me the truth. Perhaps I ought to inform you, before you say anything, that, according to our theory, Mrs. Garvice was certainly assisted in procuring the drug with which, I firmly believe, she slowly poisoned her husband. As yet we have no clue as to the person who helped her, but we have ascertained that for the last two months, in fact from about the date of the first letter addressed to you, a man did purchase minute quantities of this drug at Birmingham, at Wolverhampton, and at Walsall. Now, mind you, I do not, I never have, suspected you of having any hand in that, but I fear you’ll have to face the ordeal of being confronted with the various chemists, of whom two declare most positively that they can identify the man who brought them the prescription which obtained him the drug in question.”

While Major Lane was speaking, Theodore Carden had to a certain extent regained his self-possession; here, at least, he stood on firm ground. “Of course, I am prepared to face anything of the kind that may be necessary.” He added almost inaudibly; “I have brought it on myself.” Then he turned, his whole voice altering and softening: “Father, perhaps you would not mind my asking Major Lane to go into the library with me? I should prefer to see him alone.”


And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,

None knew so well as I:

For he who lives more lives than one

More deaths than one must die.

And then the days dragged on, a week of days, each containing full measure of bitter humiliation; full measure also of feverish suspense and anxiety, for Theodore Carden did not find it quite so easy as he had thought it would be to clear himself of this serious and yet preposterous accusation of complicity in the murder. But Major Lane was surprised at the courage and composure with which the young man faced the ordeal of confrontation with the various men, any one of whom, through a simple mistake or 453 nervous lapse of memory, might compel his presence, if not in the dock, then as a witness at the coming murder trial.

But at last that ordeal was over, for, as a matter of fact, none of those brought face to face with him in the sordid promiscuity of such scenes singled out Theodore Carden as resembling the mysterious individual who had almost certainly provided Mrs. Garvice with the means wherewith to poison her husband. So it was that suspicion became gradually directed to quite another quarter; that is, towards an accountant in Garvice’s employment, who had been socially welcomed at his house. But of this man no trace had as yet been found.

It was after the need for active defence had passed away that the hours began to drag heavily with Theodore Carden; and yet, at the end of each long day, the unhappy man would have given much in order to recall the daylight hours.... The moment twilight fell Carden was haunted, physically and mentally possessed, by the presence of the woman he had known at once so little and so well, that is, of her he now knew to be Pansy Garvice.

Especially terrible were the solitary evenings of those days when his father had been away, performing the task of breaking so much of the truth as could be told to the girl to whom his son had been engaged.

As each afternoon drew in, Carden found himself compelled to remain more or less concealed in the rooms which overlooked the garden of Watermead. For, with the approach of night, the suburban road in front of the fine old house was filled by an ever coming and going crowd of bat-like men and women, eager to gaze with morbid curiosity at the dwelling of the man who had undoubtedly been, if not Mrs. Garvice’s accomplice—that, to the annoyance of the sensation-mongers, seemed decidedly open to question—then, her favoured lover.

But to these shameful and grotesque happenings Theodore Carden gave scarce a thought, for it was when he found himself alone in the drawing-room or library that his solitude would become stealthily invaded by an invisible and impalpable wraith. So disorganised had become his nerves, so pitiable the state of his body and mind, that constantly he seemed conscious of a faint, sweet odour, that of wood violets, a scent closely associated in his thoughts with Pansy Garvice, with the woman whom he now knew to be a murderess. He came at last to long for a tangible delusion, for the sight of a bodily shape which he could tell himself was certainly not there. But no such relief was vouchsafed him; and yet once, when sitting in the drawing-room, trying to read a book, he had felt a rounded cheek laid suddenly to his; a curl of silken, scented hair had touched his neck....

Terrifying as was the peopled solitude of his evenings, Carden dreaded their close, for at night, during the whole of each long night, the woman from whom he now felt so awful a repulsion held him prisoner. From the fleeting doze of utter exhaustion he would be awakened by feeling the pressure of Pansy’s soft, slender arms about his neck; they would wind themselves round his shuddering body, enclosing him slowly, inexorably, till he felt as if he must surely die under their gyves-like pressure. Again—and this, perhaps, was what he learned to dread in an especial degree—he would be suddenly roused by Pansy’s liquid, laughing voice, whispering things of horror in his ear; it was then, and then only, that he found courage to speak, courage to assure her, and to assure himself, that he was in no sense her accomplice, that he had had naught to do with old Garvice’s death; but then there would come answer, in the eager tones he remembered so well, and the awful words found unwilling echo in his heart: “Yes, yes, indeed you helped!”

And now the last day, or rather the last night, had come, for the next morning Theodore Carden was to leave Birmingham, he hoped for ever, for New Zealand.

The few people he had been compelled to see had been strangely kind; quiet and gentle, as folk, no doubt, feel bound to be when in the presence of one condemned. As for Major Lane, he was stretching—no one knew it better than Carden himself—a great point in allowing the young man to leave England before the Garvice trial.

During those last days, even during those last hours, Theodore deliberately prevented himself from allowing his mind to dwell on his father. He did not know how much the latter had been told, and he had no wish to know. A wall of silence had arisen between the two who had always been so much, nay, in a sense, everything, to one another. Each feared to give way to any emotion, and yet the son knew only too well, and was ashamed of the knowledge, with what relief he would part from his father. There had been a moment when Major Lane had intimated his belief that the two would go away and make a new life together, but Theodore Carden had put aside the idea with rough decision. Perhaps when he was far away, on the other side of the world, the former relations of close love and sympathy, if not of confidence, might be reëstablished between his father and himself, but this, he felt sure, would never be while they remained face to face.


And now he was lying wide awake in the darkness, in the pretty, peaceful room which had once been his nursery, and where he had spent his happy holidays as a schoolboy. His brain remained abnormally active, but physically he was oppressed by a great weariness; to-night, for the first time, Carden felt the loathsome wraith which haunted him, if not less near, then less malicious, less watchful than usual, above all, less eager to assert her power.... Yet, even so, he lay very still, fearing to move lest he should once more feel about his body the clinging, enveloping touch he dreaded with so great a dread.

And then, quite suddenly, there came a strange lightening of his heart. A space of time seemed to have sped by, and Carden, by some mysterious mental process, knew that he was still near home, and not, as would have been natural, in New Zealand. Nay, more, he realised that the unfamiliar place in which he now found himself was Winson Green Gaol, a place which, as a child, he had been taught to think of with fear, fear mingled with a certain sense of mystery and excitement.

Theodore had not thought of the old local prison for years, but now he knew that he and his father were together there, in a small cell lighted by one candle. The wall of silence, raised on both sides by shame and pain, had broken down, but, alas! too late; for, again in some curious inexplicable way, the young man was aware that he lay under sentence of death, and that he was to be hanged early in the morning of which the dawn was even now breaking.

Now, strange to say, this knowledge caused him, personally, but little uneasiness, but on his father’s account he felt infinitely distressed, and he found himself bending his whole mind to comfort and sustain the old man. Thus, he heard a voice, which he knew to be his own, saying in an argumentative tone, “I assure you, father, that an extraordinary amount of nonsense is talked nowadays concerning—well, the death penalty. Is it possible that you do not realise that I am escaping a much worse fate—that of having to live on? I wish, dear dad, that I could persuade you of the truth of this.”

“If only,” muttered the old man in response, “if only, my boy, I could bear it for you”; and Carden saw that his father’s face was scared with an awful look of terror and agony.

“But, indeed, father, you do not understand. Believe me, I am not afraid—it will not be so bad, after all. So do not—pray, pray, father, do not be so distressed.”

And then with a great start Theodore Carden awoke—awoke to see the small, spare figure of that same dear father, clothed in the long, old-fashioned linen night-shirt of another day, standing by his bed-side.

The old man held a candle in his hand, and was gazing down at his only child with an expression of unutterable woe and grief. “I will try—I am trying, my boy, not to be unreasonably distressed,” he said.

Theodore Carden sat up in bed. Since this awful thing had come on him he had never, even for an instant, forgotten self, but now he saw that his sufferings were small compared with those he had brought on the man into whose face he was gazing with red-rimmed, sunken eyes. For a moment the wild thought came to him that he might try to explain, to justify himself, to prove to his father that in this matter he had but done as others do, and that the punishment was intolerably heavier than the crime; but then, looking up and meeting Thomas Carden’s perplexed, questioning eyes, he felt a great rush of shame and horror, not only of himself, but of all those who look at life as he himself had always looked at it; for the first time, he understood the mysterious necessity, as well as the beauty, of abnegation, of renunciation.

“Father,” he said, “listen. I will not go away alone; I was mad to think of such a thing. We will go together, you and I,—Lane has told me that such has been your wish,—and then perhaps some day we will come back together.”

After this, for the first time for many nights, Theodore Carden fell into a dreamless sleep.





About fifteen years ago I was appointed spiritual adviser to the Diocese of the Bowery and Chatham Square. This strange whirlpool of humanity presents a problem of more than ordinary proportions to the policeman or the missionary. The Bowery is a mile of American life in which the nations of the earth meet for excitement and change. There is a business aspect of it which is permanent, but the many-colored throng surging up and down its side-walks all day and all night is ephemeral. It is the place for the homeless, for the out of kilter, for the rudderless wrecks who drift. Its fifty or more lodging-houses are filled with men whose only home is the six-by-ten room in which they sleep.

A block from Chatham Square I found a resort which I at once made a base of operations for my campaign. It was a bunk-house, a big five-story rear tenement at No. 9 Mulberry Street. The entrance to it was a slit in the front block—a long, deep, narrow alley, then, as now, indescribably filthy. Over the iron gate at the entrance was the name of the house and the price of some of the beds. “Bismarck” was the name; the lodgers used to call it “Hotel de Bismarck.” The lower floors were filled with ten- and twelve-cent bed-cots; the upper floors were bunk dormitories. A bunk is a strip of canvas. For seven cents a night the lodger gained admission to the dormitory. Once there, he might stretch himself on the bunk, or he might take advantage of the floor. Of the three hundred guests, more than half were accommodated on canvas or on the floor.

The covering on the ten-cent bed was changed once a month; if a man wanted toilet accommodations, he paid for them elsewhere. The Bismarck never had a bath, nor a wash-basin.

A ten- or twelve-cent guest had a wardrobe; it was seldom used, but it was there. At the head of each cot stood this tall, narrow receptacle for the clothing and valuables of the guests, but in the old days wise guests slept in their clothes. I have known of unsuspecting wayfarers who deposited their belongings in the wardrobe, locked it, and hid the key under the pillow, and next morning had to wrap themselves in newspapers or in a borrowed sheet until they could reach a junk-store. The key was safe, but the wardrobe and contents had disappeared.

On the second floor was the sitting-room. There was a stove for winter months, and against the wall on four sides of the room were built benches. There was but one chair in the room; that was the clerk’s. The walls were whitewashed; the windows were covered most of the time with cobwebs and dirt, and the floor was littered with rubbish.

The clerk was a quiet man by the name of Allen. He had a bouncer named McBriarty—his nickname was “Gar.” The bouncer had an understudy who was called Frank—“Big Frank.” The house was owned at that time by a banker named Barsotti.

The Gathering of the Men who Were

Every afternoon, winter and summer, about five o’clock, the men began to gather about the little iron gate, and as Big Frank swung it back, they filed through the slit in single file and ascended the stairs.

Ten-cent men registered. Bunk-men threw down a nickel and two cents and became guests at large. Guests who registered were handed a chunk of wood too large to enter an ordinary pocket; attached to the wood was the key of the wardrobe. A small discount was made on a week’s lodging paid in advance, but few took advantage of it, for nobody ever expected to stay a week; some had been there for years, but they paid each night as they entered, for they 456 expected each night to be their last. Old customers looked into each other’s faces at evening with a glance which meant: “Hello! back again?”

I saw a woman there once. She came to look for a son, and sat by the door, scanning the faces as they passed her. Over a hundred men lingered around the sitting-room that night. At least a score of them repassed her, just to get a glimpse of her face, in which, though it was that of a stranger, many of them retraced their steps back over life’s jagged roadway. They asked the clerk questions that needed no answer, just to get near for a moment. They tiptoed across the floor; they spoke in whispers; and they indignantly hustled several half-drunken lodgers out of the room. Her anxious face set them all thinking; it created an atmosphere in which those men of life’s undertow grew tender and kind.

I tabulated, by the aid of the clerk, the ages, nationalities, and occupations of one hundred of them. Fifty were German, twenty Irish, sixteen native Americans; the rest were from the ends of the earth. Each of them gave an occupation; there were barbers, tinkers, teamsters, tailors, waiters, laborers, longshoremen, painters, paper-hangers, and scissors-grinders. One man put “banker” opposite his name. This led to an extra inquiry.

“Of course,” he said, “I am for the time being down and out; but banking is my business.”

Their trades were of the past—their vitality had oozed out, their grip on life was relaxed; if it ever tightened again, the first result of it would be another grade of surroundings.

In order to find out how they got a living, I followed some of these men through the maelstrom of city life. I found some distributing circulars. Others sold pencils, matches, laces. They lounged around saloons, sticking their dirty fists into the free-lunch dishes. They played lame, sick, halt, blind; they panhandled on the streets and alleys—especially the alleys, where they fared best. A dozen or more attended the ferries, waiting for a chance to carry baggage. They were unfit for hard work—they would not die.

Twelve cents a day kept most of them. When they didn’t manage seven cents for a bunk, they “carried the banner”—walked the streets or stood in a “dead-house” saloon, where there are no seats and where a man must stand. Many of them, when worsted completely, would “hit the bread-line,” after midnight, not so much for the bread as for a place to stand where they would be immune from the policeman’s club.

Despite some plain lessons to the contrary, I believed most of them to be victims of laziness; but in a single year twelve of them dropped on the floor dead: to these I gave the benefit of the doubt.

The Hardest Work Is No Work at All

One Sunday night I told a hundred men in the Bismarck that the reason they had no work was, that they were loafers and didn’t want work. This was in accordance with my theory—the prevailing theory—that poverty is the child of sin, that lack of work is the fruit of shiftlessness. I offered to change clothes with any man in the house, and to go out in the world and show him how to get a job. The challenge was accepted instantly—by an Irishman.

I wisely changed the article of agreement regarding clothes; I got up my own outfit! Next morning, at half-past five, I met Tim, the man who had accepted the challenge, and we proceeded to the labor-market.

From the “want” columns of the morning papers we selected a few bits of labor bait. We ran them down, failed to find anything, and turned to the shops and factories on the West Side. The answers were monotonous. “Full up,” they said, or a card at the door or gate announced that the firm had a “full complement.” I felt like a mendicant. I found myself begging for work in a subservient tone and manner. In one place, I remember, I said, “For God’s sake.” The superintendent laughed and waved us away.

“The harrudest work, for sure, is no worruk at all, at all!” said my companion, by way of sympathy.

It was mid-afternoon; I was growing desperate with my sense of failure, and at this point I launched a scheme which had been growing in my mind for hours.

“Keep close to me now, Tim,” I said, and I led him into a drug-store at the corner of Grand Street and the Bowery.

“Sir,” I said to the clerk, “you are not accustomed to giving credit, I know; but perhaps you might suspend your rule for once and trust a stranger for a very small sum?”

“What is’t?” asked the clerk, with something of a sneer.

“I am hungry and thirsty. I have looked for work since five o’clock, and have utterly failed to find it. Now I have a scheme; I know it will work. Oxalic acid eats away rust. If I had five cents’ worth, I could make a dollar an hour—I know I could.”

The clerk listened and looked. He was good enough to say that I didn’t talk like a bum, though I looked like one. He inquired anxiously 457 if I was “off my hook.” At last he said: “By ——! I’ve been on the Bowery a long time, and haven’t been sold once. If you’re a skin-game man, I’ll throw up my job!” I got the acid.

Then I played the same game in a tailor-shop for rags and in a hardware store for some polishing-paste. The stock cost fifteen cents—on credit.

There used to be a big dry-goods store on the east side of Chatham Square. It had two immense brass signs.

“Nawthin’ doin’,” said the man, when I applied for the job of cleaning them. Nevertheless, I cleaned and polished a square foot of one big sign. The boss looked at it, and then at Tim and me.

“I’ll clean both for a dime,” I said.

“Well, go ahead,” he said. The Cleaning Company went from store to store until we had enough money for our bills, a meal, and a surplus in the treasury.

As we sat down to dinner at “Beefsteak John’s,” I handed Tim the surplus, and rather impatiently probed for his acknowledgment of my victory. I had made good, and wanted all that was due me.

“What do you think of it, Tim?” I asked, with an air of satisfaction and confidence.

“Shure, ye’re a janyus, yer Honor; no doubt av that at all, at all; but——”

“Go on!” I said.

“I was jist switherin’, yer Honor, what a wontherful thing ut is that a man kin always hev worruk whin he invints ut!”

“Well, that’s worth knowing,” I said disappointedly. “Did you learn anything else?”

“Well, it takes to do that thrick what most av us hevn’t got; ut takes brains, sor—ut takes brains!”

“Why don’t you have brains, then?”

He looked dumbly at me, and hung his head.

“I dunno—I dunno,” he muttered.

The men at the Bismarck needed no urging to attend the meeting the following Sunday. Grogan had told his story; they were anxious to hear mine. The room was crowded to suffocation. They stood on the benches; they sat on the window-sills—everywhere; from all directions, the eyes of that dull, heavy human mass were penetrating me.

I was frank and explicit in my analysis of the experiment. I had no idea that Grogan would speak, but he did, and his speech was pointed.

“Whin ye talk religion, mister,” he said, “ye’re O.K.; but whin ye say we’re lazy hobos, all av us, ye’re spakin’ round the rim av yer hat!”

Grogan made the crowd laugh when he told them how I had been turned away from shops and factories.

“Some av us poor divils hev done that same,” he said, “fur weeks—until, begobs, we wisht we wur dead or hung or anythin’!”

I was about to close the meeting, when an old man known as “Judge” shuffled out to the front and asked permission to speak. He was a man of education whom I had not hitherto been able to engage in conversation.

The Judge administered a scathing rebuke, closing with a touch of humor, which was lost on the crowd. I stood there in the midst of a handful of friends, who mingled their pity with indignation. I took what belonged to me, and thanked the old man. The experiment exploded some of my theories and sent me to the school of facts.

Graf von “Habenichts”

Nothing in the life of the bunk-house was more noticeable than the way men of intelligence grouped themselves together. Besides the Judge, there was an ex-Parliamentarian, an ex-lawyer, an ex-soldier of Victoria, and a German Graf. I named them the “Ex-Club.” Every morning they separated as though forever. Every night they returned, and looked at one another in surprise.

At election-time both political parties had access to the register, and every lodger was the recipient of two letters. Between elections a letter was always a matter of sensational interest; it lay on the clerk’s table, waiting to be claimed, and every lodger inspected it as he passed. Scores of men who never expected a letter would pick it up, handle it in a wistful and affectionate manner, and regretfully lay it down again. I have often wished I could analyze the thoughts of these men as they handled tenderly these rare visitors conducted by Uncle Sam into the bunk-house of Blind Alley.

It was a big letter with red seals and an aristocratic monogram that first drew attention to a new-comer who had signed himself “Hans Schwanen.” “One-eyed Dutchy” had whispered to some of his friends that the recipient of the letter was a real German Graf.

He was about sixty years of age, short, rotund, corpulent. His head was bullet-shaped and set well down on his shoulders. His clothes were baggy and threadbare, his linen soiled and shabby. He had blue eyes, harsh red hair, and a florid complexion. When he arrived, he brought three valises. Everybody wondered what he could have in them.

The bouncer was consumed with a desire to examine the contents, and, as bouncer and general 458 floor-manager of the house, expected that they would naturally be placed under his care. When, however, it was announced that the new-comer had engaged One-eyed Dutchy as his valet, the bouncer swore and said “he might go to ——.”

There was something peculiar and mysterious in a ten-cent guest of the Bismarck hiring a valet. “Habenichts” kept aloof from the crowd. He had no friends, and would permit no one to establish any intercourse with him.

Dutchy informed an intimate friend that the Graf received a check from Germany every three months. While it lasted, it was the valet’s duty to order, pay for, and keep a record of all food and refreshment. When the bouncer told me of these things, I tried very hard to persuade the Graf to dine at my house; but he declined without even the formality of thanks. After a few months the revenue of the mysterious stranger dried up. One-eyed Dutchy was discharged.

A snow-storm found the old Graf with an attack of rheumatism, and helpless. Then he was forced to relinquish his ten-cent cot and move upstairs to a seven-cent bunk. When he was able to get out again, he came back, dragging up the rickety old stairs a scissors-grinder. Several of the guests offered a hand, but he spurned them all, and stuck to his job until he got it up.

Another snow-storm brought back his rheumatism; he got permission to sit indoors. The old wheel lay idle in the corner; he was hungry, and his pipe had been empty for a day and a night, but still he sat bolt upright, in pain, alone, with starvation staring him in the face. The third day of his involuntary fast he got a letter. It contained a one-dollar bill. The sender was watching at a safe distance, and he recorded that the Graf’s puzzled look almost developed into a smile. He gathered himself together and hobbled out to a near-by German saloon. Next day came the first sign of surrender. He accepted a commission to take a census of the house. This at least helped to thaw him out, but it didn’t last long.

Because his rheumatism prevented him from pushing his wheel through the streets, I secured him a corner in a locksmith’s basement. He had not been there many weeks when he disappeared. The locksmith told a story which seemed scarcely credible. He said the old Graf had sold his wheel and given the proceeds to an Irishwoman to help defray the funeral expenses of her child.

Some months later, Allen, the clerk, got a postal-card from One-eyed Dutchy. He was on the Island, and the Graf and he were working together on the ash gang. I helped to get him off the Island—at his own urgent solicitation. I myself considered him much better off where he was.

When the Graf returned to the bunk-house, every one who had ever seen him noted a wonderful change. He no longer lived in a shell. He had become human, and took an interest in what was going on. One night, when a few of the Ex-Club were exchanging reminiscences, he was prevailed upon to tell his story. He asked us to keep it a secret for ten years. The time is up, and I am the only one of that group alive.

The Tale of the Old German Noble

“In 1849 it was; my brother and I students were in Heidelberg. Then broke out the Revolution. Two years less of age was I, so to him was due my father’s title and most of the estate. ‘What is revolution?’ five of us students asked. ‘We know not; we will study,’ we all said, and we did. For King and fatherland our study make us jealous, but my brother was not so.

“‘I am revolutionist!’ he says, and we are mad to make him different.

“‘The King is one,’ he said, ‘and the people are many, and they are oppressed.’

“I hate my brother, and curse him, till in our room he weeps for sorrow. I curse him until he leaves.

“By and by in the barricades he finds himself fighting against the King. In the fight the rebels are defeated and my brother escapes. Many are condemned and shot. Not knowing my heart, my mother writes to me that my brother is at home.

“I lie in my bed, thinking—thinking. Many students have been shot for treason. Love of King and fatherland, and desire to be Graf, are two thoughts in my heart.

“I inform. My brother is arrested, and in fortress is he put to be shot.

“Four of us students of patriotism go to see. My heart sinks to see my brother, so white is he and fearless. His eyes are bright like fire, and he stands so cool and straight.

“‘I have nothing but love,’ he says; ‘I love the cause of truth and justice. To kill me is not to kill the truth; where you spill my blood will revolution grow, as flowers grow by water. I forgive.’

“Then he sees me. ‘Hans!’ he says, ‘Hans!’ He holds out his arms. ‘I want to kiss my brother,’ he says. The general he says, ‘All right.’

“But I love the King. ‘No! I have no brother! I will not a traitor kiss!’

“My Gott! how my brother looks! He looks already dead—so full of sorrow is he.


“A sharp crack of guns! They chill my heart, and down dead falls my brother.

“I go away, outside glad, but in my heart I feel burn the fires of hell. Father and mother in one year die for sorrow. Then I am Graf.

“I desire to be of society, but society will not—it is cold. Guests do not come to my table. Servants do not stay. They tell that they hear my mother weep for sorrow in the night. I laugh at them, but in my heart I know them true. Peasants in the village hide from me as I come to them.

“But my mind is worse. Every night I hear the crack of the rifles—the sound of the volley that was my brother’s death. Soldiers I get, men of the devil-dare kind, to stay with me. They do not come back; they tell that they hear tramp, tramp, tramp of soldiers’ feet.

“One night, with the soldiers, I take much wine, for I say, ‘I shall be drunk and not hear the guns at night.’

“We drink in our noble hall. Heavy doors are chained, windows barred, draperies close arranged, and the great lamp burns dim. We drink, we sing, we curse God und das Gesindel. ‘We ourselves,’ we say, ‘are gods.’

“Then creeps close the hour for the guns. My tongue is fast and cannot move; my brow is wet, and frozen is my blood.

“Boom! go the guns; then thunder shakes the castle, lightning flashes through draperies, and I fall as dead.


“Was I in a dream? I know not. I did not believe in God; I did not believe in heaven or in hell; yet do I see my past life go past me in pictures—pictures of light in frames of fire: Two boys, first,—Max, my brother, and I,—playing as children; then my mother, weeping for great sorrow; then the black walls of the great fortress—my brother with arms outstretched. Again my blood is frozen, again creeps my skin, and I hear the volley and see him fall to death. I fear. I scream loud that I love the King, but in my ear comes a voice like iron—‘Liar!’ A little girl then, with hair so golden, comes and wipes the 460 stain of blood from my brow. I see her plain.

“Then I awake. I am alone; the light is out; blood is on my face. I am paralyzed with fear, so I cannot stand. When I can walk, I leave, for I think maybe that only in Germany do I hear the guns. For twenty years I live in Spain. Still do I hear the guns.

“I go to France, but yet every night at the same hour freezes my blood and I hear the death volley.

“I come to America, which I have hated, yet never a night is missed. It is at the same hour. What I hate comes to me. Whatever I fear is mine. To run away from something is for me to meet it. My estate is gone; money I have not. I sink like a man in a quicksand, down, down, down. I come here. Lower I cannot.”

“One day in the Bend, where das Gesindel live, I see the little girl—she of the golden hair, who wiped my stain away.

“But she is dead. I know for sure the face. What it means I know not. Again I fall as dead.

“I have one thing in the world left—only one; it is my scissors-grinder. I sell it and give all the money to bury her. It is the first—it is the only good I ever did. Then, an outcast, I go out into the world where no pity is. I sit me down in a dark alley; strange is my heart, and new.

“It is time for the guns—yet is my blood warm! I wait. The volley comes not!

“The hour is past!

“‘My Gott! My Gott!’ I say. ‘Can this be true?’ I wait one, two, three minutes; it comes not. I scream for joy—I scream loud! I feel an iron hand on me. I am put in prison. Yet is the prison filled with light—yet am I in heaven. The guns are silent.”

One day a big letter with several patches of red sealing-wax and an aristocratic monogram arrived at the bunk-house.

Nearly two hundred men handled it and stood around until the Graf arrived. Every one felt a personal interest in the contents. It was “One-eyed Dutchy” who handed it to the owner, and stood there watching out of his single eye the face of his former master. The old man smiled as he folded the letter and put it into his pocket, saying as he did so: “By next ship I leave for Hamburg to take life up where I laid it down.”

A Statesman Under a Cloud

I was sitting on the bench near the door in the bunk-house one day at twilight, when I noticed a profile silhouetted against the window. I had seen only one profile like that in my life, and that was when I was a boy.

I moved closer. The man sat like a statue. His face was very pale, and he was gazing vacantly at the walls in the rear of the building.

Finally I went over and sat down beside him.

“Good evening,” he said quietly, in answer to my salutation.

I looked into his face—a face I knew when a boy, a face familiar to the law-makers of Victoria for a quarter century.

I called him by name. At the sound of his own name his paleness turned to an ashy yellow.

“In Heaven’s name,” I said, “what are you doing here?”

He looked at me with an expression of excruciating pain on his face, and said:

“I have traveled some thousands of miles in order to be alone; if you have any kindness, any pity, leave me.”

“Pardon me,” I said, “for intruding.”

That night the Ex-Club invited him to take part in their deliberations. He refused, and his manner showed that he considered the invitation an insult.

I had known this man as a brilliant orator, a religious leader, the champion of a sect. In a city across the sea I had sat as a bare-legged boy on an upturned barrel, part of an immense crowd, listening to the flow of his oratory. Next day he left the bunk-house. Some weeks afterward I found him on a curbstone, preaching to whoever of the pedestrians would listen.

At the close of his address I introduced myself again. He took me to his new lodging, and I put the questions that filled my mind. For answer, he gave me the House of Commons Blue Book, which explained the charge hanging over him. Almost daily, for weeks, I heard him on his knees proclaim his innocence of the unmentionable crime with which he was charged. After some weeks of daily association, he said to me: “I believe you are sent of God to guide me, and I am prepared to take your advice.”

My advice was ready. He turned pale as I told him to pack his trunk and take the next ship for England.

“Face the storm like a man!” I urged, and he said:

“It will kill me, but I will do it.”

He did it, and it swept him to prison, to shame, and to oblivion.

A St. Francis of the Bunk-house

One Sunday afternoon I was going through the dormitories, calling the lodgers to prayer. On one of the ten-cent cots an old white-haired man was reading a life of Buffalo Bill. His face was marred by a scar over one of the eyes. He spoke gently and with a pronounced Irish accent.




“I am an Episcopalian,” he said, when I invited him below to the meeting.

“We have all denominations,” I assured him. Everybody in the bunk-house had a connection, more or less remote, with some sect.

“Say,” said the bouncer, concerning the old man, “dat ol’ duffer’s got de angel goods on him O.K.”


His name was Edward Dowling. He was a gentleman. He had soldiered under Sir Colin Campbell and Sir Henry Havelock in India. Later he owned a ranch in the West. Then an accident deprived him of the use of an eye, and he spent all he had in trying to preserve his sight. Homeless and penniless on the streets of New York, he had learned to do tinkering and the mending of umbrellas.

In his poverty he drifted to the bunk-house.

The following Sunday, at our meeting, he had an awakening which reminded me of the account of Paul’s conversion on the way to Damascus. It revolutionized his mental processes, and he began to give outward expression to his new-found inner joy.

He would buy some stale bread overnight, and early in the morning he would make coffee on the bunk-house stove in a quart tomato-can. Each man, before he left the place, had a bite of stale bread and at least a mouthful of warm coffee. Then they would uncover their heads while the old man asked God to bless them for the day.

He tinkered for a living, but his vocation became the conversion of men. From these small beginnings in quiet evangelism, he branched out into work of the same kind among the tenements. He mended pots, kettles, and pans, and charged for the job a chapter in the Bible. I came on him suddenly one morning in an alley. Snow was on the ground, and he was reading a chapter with his face close to a broken pane. It appeared he had done some soldering for an Irishwoman, and asked the privilege of reading to her.

“Begorra,” she said, “the house isn’t fit to read the Holy Book in, but if yez w’u’dn’t mind reading through the window, I’ll take the rags out.”

So she took the bundle out of the broken pane, and Dowling bent over and read his chapter.

When the Rev. John Hopkins Dennison took charge of the old Church of Sea and Land, he established a sort of latter-day monastery in the old square tower, and there Brother Dowling 463 had a cell, where he lived and worked among the poor for many years.

In an escapade with two other soldiers in the Sepoy rebellion, Dowling had looted the palace of a raja. In the act of burying several canes filled with diamonds, one of the three was shot dead. Dowling and the other escaped. One day on the Bowery, forty years afterward, a man laid his hand on Dowling’s shoulder and asked him what he did with the loot. It was the other man.

“What did you do with it?” Dowling asked. Each had lived in the belief that the other had got away with it.

The tinker-preacher was very much stirred up over this. He wrote at once to the governor-general of India, told the whole story, and offered to come out and locate the stolen booty. Money was appropriated to pay his passage, but the old man was going on another journey. He wrote a full description of the place and transaction, and then lay down in the tower of the old church and died.

“Doc,” our Volunteer Organist

“Say, Bub,” said Gar, the bouncer, to me one day, “what ungodly hour of the mornin’ d’ye git up?”

“At the godly hour of necessity,” I replied.

“Wal, I hev a pal I want ter interjooce to ye at six.”

I met the bouncer and his “pal” at the corner of Broome Street and the Bowery next morning at the appointed hour.

“Dat’s Doc!” said Gar, as he clapped his hand on his friend’s head.

His friend bowed low and in faultless English said: “I am more than pleased to meet you.”

“I can give ye a pointer on Doc,” the big fellow continued. “If ye tuk a peaner t’ th’ top av a mountain an’ let her go down the side sorter ez she pleases, ’e cud pick up the remains an’ put thim together so’s ye w’u’dn’t know they’d been apart. Yes, sir; that’s no song an’ dance, an’ ’e c’u’d play any chune iver invented on it.”


“Doc” laughed and made some explanations. They had a wheezy old organ in Halloran’s dive, and Doc kept it in repair and played occasionally for them. Doc had a Rip Van Winkle look. His hair hung down his back, and his clothes were threadbare and green with age. His shoes were tied to his feet with wire, and stockings he had none. He was a New-Englander, and had studied medicine until his sheep-skin was almost in his hand. Then Doc slipped a cog and went down, down, down, until he landed at Halloran’s dive. For twelve years he had been selling penny song-sheets on the streets and in saloons. He was usually in rags, but a score of the wildest inhabitants of that awful dive told me that Doc was their “good angel.” He could play the songs of their childhood, he was kind and gentle, and men couldn’t be vulgar in his presence.

I saw in Doc an unusual man, and was able to persuade him to go home with me. In a week he was a new man, clothed and in his right mind. He became librarian of a big church library, and our volunteer organist at all the Sunday meetings.

After two years of uninterrupted service as librarian, during which time Doc had been of great service in the bunk-house, I lost him. Five years later, crossing Brooklyn Bridge on a car, I passed Doc, who was walking in the same direction. At the end of the bridge, I planted myself in front of him. “Doc,” I said, “you will never get away from me again!” I took him to New Haven, where he has been janitor of a hall in Yale University ever since.

Gar, Bouncer of the Bismarck

I have mentioned Gar, or Garfield, bouncer of the Bismarck. A strong, primitive man, he is worth a chapter in himself. When I met him first, I was scrubbing. Before I came, the Bismarck floor, like the Bismarck linen, was cleaned once a month. Having made the house my headquarters, I took some pride in it. I got permission to scrub that floor mid-month, and, dressed in a suitable outfit, I proceeded with the job. I hadn’t gone far when a tall, gaunt form lurched into the room.

“Hello,” he grunted.

“Hello,” I said, as I paused for a moment.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“You haven’t seen me before, have you?” I asked.

“Don’t know ye from a hole in the ground!”

“Well, I’m the missionary, and as there’s a vital connection between soap and salvation, I’m making a beginning on the floor. When I finish this, I’ll try my hand on you.”

He laughed a hoarse, guttural laugh, and said:

“Don’t git bug-house, boss; ye’d wind up jest whar ye’ve begun!”



He had several names; his real name was Brady. In the bunk-house they called him “Gar.” He was bull-necked, bullet-headed, tall, round-shouldered, stooped. The story of a hard life was in his face. He had been in the army, but they couldn’t drill him. They couldn’t even get rid of his stoop. He must have looked like a gorilla with a gun. In the Bismarck, he became the terror of the lesser breeds—the king by right of conquest.

Gar was a challenge to me, for I saw in him 465 something wild, untamed, and, perhaps, untamable. I resolved to dispute with my own methods his mastery of the place. Such was his power over the other men that, could I only conquer him, the rest would be easy. I concentrated on Gar.

It was virgin soil. He was ignorant of the vocabulary of religion. This was the more amazing because he had spent fifteen or twenty years in prisons. His special difficulty, I found, was intemperance. My first task was to cure him of that.

One night, as he approached his bunk, he found me stretched out on the next one.

“Well, I’ll be——,” he said.

“What’s the matter, Gar?”

“Dat’s what I ask youse. What’s wrong with your machinery? Have ye been rejooced to the ranks, or has Gawd bounced ye?”

I went up close and whispered in his ear:

“Look here, old man, I’m glued to you; night, noon, and day, I’m going to eat, sleep, loaf, work, and play with you until every shred of your miserable soul belongs to God.”

He laughed loud enough to wake every man in the dormitory.

“Sonny,” he said, “I’ll give ye three nights, and if ye haven’t lost yer little goat be dat time, I’ll set up de drinks fur all hands at Halloran’s.”

Then Gar set out to make good in the rôle of a prophet. At first he tried to disgust me. He kept up a rapid fire of the most vulgar profanity. That night he started several fights, and put the light out in the dormitory. The men, yelling for light, ran about, smashing every one in their way. When things quieted down, he asked me how I liked the entertainment. I complained that it was tame.

“Gee!” he said, “youse must ’a’ been a barker at Coney!”

I kept him sober for a week; then he went back to his cups, and in a frenzy he nearly killed a bartender. I found him hiding in a rag-picker’s basement. It appeared that the man had used the name of Christ in a vile connection, and Gar became a champion of the Nazarene.

“Hangin’,” said Gar, “is too dead easy fur d’ sucker what keeps cool when Jesus’s insulted. Dat’s d’ fust time I ever soaked a guy on account of religion, an’, b’jiminy, I’m tickled t’ death over it.”

When Gar squared himself again, he began a wholesale house-cleaning in the bunk-house. He persuaded the management to make several outlays, and he gave himself to the work. We installed a book-case and books, and Gar himself selected some chromos to hang around. Over a dent in the wall, made by a chair with which he had tried to kill a man, he hung this motto: “Let Brotherly Love Continue.”

For ten years Gar struggled to be master of himself. He spent some years in a soldiers’ home, but it was against his principles to die in such a tame institution. He wound up where he had spent his strange career—in Chatham Square.

A bunk-house man—old and half blind—was crossing the street, and roaring down on him came a Third Avenue car. It was Gar’s one opportunity, and, with a spring, he pushed the old fellow on his face out of danger, but the wheels pinned Gar to the rails.

“I kin tell ye, boys,” he said to the few friends who lingered around his cot at the close, “I’ll do no simperin’ around God wid hard-luck stories; I’ll take what’s comin’ an’ vamoose to m’ place—whether up or down.”

There was a slight pressure of the big hands, then they became limp and cold.

The bouncer was dead.






The old yellow-fanged dog-baboon that was chained to a post in the yard had a dangerous trick of throwing stones. He would seize a piece of rock in two hands, stand erect and whirl round on his heels till momentum was obtained, and then let go. The missile would fly like a bullet, and woe betide any one who stood in its way! The performance precluded any kind of aim,—the stone was hurled off at any chance tangent,—and it was bad luck rather than any kind of malice that guided one three-pound boulder through the window, across the kitchen, and into a portrait of Judas de Beer which hung on the wall not half a dozen feet from the slumbering Vrouw Grobelaar.

She bounced from her chair and ballooned to the door with a silent, swift agility most surprising to see in a lady of her generous build, and not a sound did she utter. She was of good veldt-bred fighting stock, which never cried out till it was hurt, and there was even something of compassion in her face as Frikkie jumped from the stoop with a twelve-foot thong in his hand. After all, it was the baboon that suffered most, if his yells were any index to his feelings. Frikkie could smudge a fly ten feet off with just a flick of his whip, and all the tender parts of the accomplished animal came in for ruthless attention.

“He ought to be shot,” was Frikkie’s remark as he coiled up the thong, at the end of the discipline. “A baboon is past teaching if he has bad habits. He is more like a man than a beast.”

The Vrouw Grobelaar seated herself in the stoop-chair which by common consent was reserved for her use, and shook her head.

“Baboons are uncanny things,” she answered slowly. “When you shoot them, you can never be quite sure how much murder there is in it. The old story is that some of them have souls and some not; and it is quite certain that they can talk when they will. You have heard them crying in the night sometimes. Well, you ask a Kafir what that means. Ask an old wise Kafir, not a young one that has forgotten the wisdom of the black people and learned only the foolishness of the white.”

“What does it mean, Tante?” It was I who put the question. Katje, too, seemed curious.

The old lady eyed me gloomily.

“If you were a landed Boer instead of a kind of schoolmaster,” she replied witheringly, “you would not need to ask such a question. But I will tell you. A baboon may be wicked,—look at that one showing his teeth and cursing!—but he is not blind nor a fool. He runs about on the hills, and steals and fights and scratches, and all the time he has all the knowledge and twice the strength of a man, if it were not for the tail behind him and the hair on his body. So it is natural that sometimes he should be grieved to be such a mean thing as a baboon, when he could be a useful kind of man if the men would let him. And at nights, particularly, when their troop is in laager and the young ones are on watch among the high rocks, it comes home to the best of them, and they sob and weep like young widows, pretending that they have pains inside, so that the others shall not feel offended and turn on them. Any one may hear them in the kloofs on a windless night, and, I can tell you, the sound of their sorrow is pitiful.”

Katje threw out a suggestion to console them with buckshot, and the Vrouw Grobelaar nodded meaningly.

“To hate baboons is well enough in the wife of a burgher,” she said sweetly. “I am glad to see there is so much fitness and wifeliness about you, since you will naturally spend all your life on farms.”

Katje’s flush was a distress-signal. First blood to the Vrouw.

“Baboons,” continued the old lady, “are 468 among a farmer’s worst enemies; they steal and destroy and menace all the year around. But, for all that, there are many farmers who will not shoot or trap them. And these, you will notice, are always farmers of a ripe age and sense shaped by experience. They know, you may be sure. My stepsister’s first husband, Shadrach van Guelder, shot at baboons once, and was so frightened afterwards that he was afraid to be alone in the dark.”

There was a story toward, and no one moved.

“There were many Kafirs on his farm, which you have not seen,” pursued the Vrouw Grobelaar, adjusting her voice to narrative pitch. “It was on the fringe of the Drakensberg, and many spurs of hill, divided by deep kloofs like gashes, descended on to it. So plenty of water came down, and the cattle were held from straying by the rocks, on one side at any rate. The Kafirs had their kraals dotted all about the land; and as they were of the kind that work, my stepsister’s husband suffered them to remain and grow their little patches of mealies, while they worked for him in between. He was, of course, a cattle Boer, as all of our family have always been, but here were so many Kafirs to be had for nothing that he soon commenced to plow great spaces of land and sow valuable crops. There was every prospect that we would make very much money out of that farm; for corn always sells, even when cattle are going for only seven pounds apiece, and Shadrach van Guelder was very cheerful about it.

“But when a farmer weighs an ungrown crop, you will always find that there is something or other he does not take into account. He tells off the weather and the land and the Kafirs and the water on his fingers, and forgets to bend down his thumb to represent God—or something. Shadrach van Guelder lifted up his eyes to the hills from whence came the water, but it was not until the green corn was six inches high that he saw that there came with it baboons—armies and republics of them; more baboons than he had thought to exist. They swooped down on his sprouting lands, and rioted, ate, and rooted, trampled and wantoned, with that kind of bouncing devilishness that not even a Kafir can correctly imitate. In one night they undid all his work on five sown morgen of fat land, and with the first wink of the sun in the east they were back again in their kopjes, leaving devastation and foulness wherever they passed.

“It was my stepsister’s husband that stood on one leg and cursed like a Jew. He was wrathful as a Hollander that has been drinking water, and what did not help to make him content was the fact that hardly anything would avail to protect his lands. Once the baboons had tasted the sweetness of the young corn, they would come again and again, camping in the kloofs overhead as long as anything remained for them, like a deaf guest. But, for all that, he had no notion of leaving them to plunder at their ease. The least one can do with an unwelcome visitor is to make him uncomfortable; and he sent to certain kraals on the farm for two old Kafirs he had remarked who had the appearance of cunning old men.

“They came and squatted before him, squirming and shuffling, as Kafirs do when a white man talks to them. One was quite a common kind of Kafir, gone a little gray with age, a tuft of white wool on his chin and little patches of it here and there on his head. But the other was a small, twisted, yellow man, with no hair at all, and eyes like little blots of fire on a charred stick; and his arms were so long and gnarled and lean that he had a bestial look, like a laborious animal.

“‘The baboons have killed the crop on the lower lands,’ said Shadrach, smacking his leg with his sjambok. ‘If they are not checked, they will destroy all the corn on this farm. What is the way to go about it?’

“The little yellow man was biting his lips and turning a straw in his hands, and gave no answer; but the other spoke.

“‘I am from Shangaanland,’ he said, ‘and there, when the baboons plague us, we have a way with them, a good way.’

“He sneered sideways at his yellow companion as he spoke, and the look which the latter returned to him was a thing to shrink from.

“‘What is this way?’ demanded Shadrach.

“‘You must trap a baboon,’ explained the old Kafir,—‘a leading baboon, for choice, who has a lot to say in the government of the troop; and then you must skin him, and let him go again. The others will travel miles and miles as soon as they see him, and never come back again.’

“‘It makes me sick to think of it,’ said Shadrach. ‘Surely you know some other way of scaring them?’

“The old Kafir shook his head slowly, but the yellow man ceased to smile and play with the straw, and spoke:

“‘I do not believe in that way, baas. A Shangaan baboon’—he grinned at his companion—‘is more easily frightened than those of the Drakensberg. I am of the bushmen, and I know. If you flay one of those up yonder, 469 the others will make war, and where one came before, ten will come every night. A baboon is not a fat, lazy Kafir; one must be careful with him!’

“‘How would you drive them away, then?’ asked Shadrach.

“The yellow man shuffled his hands in the dust, squatting on his heels. There, there! See—the baboon in the yard is doing the very same thing!

“‘If I were the baas,’ said the yellow man, ‘I would turn out the young men to walk round the fields at night, with buckets to hit with sticks, and make a noise. And I—well, I am of the bushmen.’ He scratched himself and smiled emptily.

“‘Yes, yes?’ demanded Shadrach. He knew the wonderful ways of the bushmen with some animals.

“‘I do not know if anything can be done,’ said the yellow man, ‘but, if the baas is willing, I can go up to the rocks and try.’


“But he could tell nothing. None of these wizards that have charms to subdue the beasts can tell you anything about it. A Hottentot will smell the air and say what cattle are near, but if you bid him tell you how he does it, he giggles like a fool and is ashamed.

“‘I do not know if anything can be done,’ the yellow man repeated. ‘I cannot promise the baas, but I can try.’

“‘Well, try, then,’ ordered Shadrach, and went away to make the necessary arrangements to have the young Kafirs in the fields that night.

“They did as he bade, and the noise was loathsome—enough to frighten anything with an ear in its head. The Kafirs did not relish the watch in the dark at first, but when they found that their work was only to thump buckets and howl, they came to do it with zest, and roared and banged till you would have thought a judgment must descend on them. The baboons heard it, sure enough, and came down, after a while, to see what was going on. They sat on their rumps outside the circle of Kafirs, as quiet as people in a church, and watched the niggers drumming and capering as though it were a show for their amusement. Then they went back, leaving the crops untouched, but pulling all the huts in one kraal to pieces as they passed. It was the kraal of the old white-tufted Shangaan, as Shadrach learned afterwards.

“Shadrach was pleased that the row had saved his corn, and next day he gave the twisted man a lump of tobacco. The man tucked it into his cheek and smiled, wrinkling his nose and looking at the ground.

“‘Did you get speech of the baboons last night among the rocks?’ Shadrach asked.

“The other shook his head, grinning. ‘I am old,’ he said. ‘They pay no attention to me, but I will try again. Perhaps, before long, they will listen.’

“‘When they do that,’ said Shadrach, ‘you shall have five pounds of tobacco and five bottles of dop.’

“The man was squatting on his heels all this time at Shadrach’s feet, and his hard fingers, like claws, were picking at the ground. Now he put out a hand and began fingering the laces of the farmer’s shoes with a quick, fluttering movement that Shadrach saw with a spasm of terror. It was so exactly the trick of a baboon, so entirely a thing animal and unhuman.

“‘You are more than a baboon yourself,’ he said. ‘Let go of my leg. Let go, I say! Curse you, get away—get away from me!’

“The creature had caught his ankle with both hands, the fingers, hard and shovel-ended, pressing into his flesh.

“‘Let go!’ cried Shadrach, and struck at the man with his sjambok.

“The man bounded on all fours to evade the blow, but it took him in the flank, and he was human—or Kafir—again in a moment, and rubbed himself and whimpered quite naturally.

“‘Let me see no more of your baboon tricks,’ stormed Shadrach, the more angry because he had been frightened. ‘Keep them for your friends among the rocks. And now, be off to your kraal.’

“That night again the Kafirs drummed all about the green corn, and sang in chorus the song which the mountain Kafirs sing when the new moon shows like a paring from a finger-nail of gold. It is a long and very loud song, with stamping of feet every minute, and again the baboons came down to see and listen. The Kafirs saw them, many hundreds of humped black shapes, and sang the louder, while the crowd of beasts grew ever denser as fresh parties came down and joined it. It was opposite the rocks on which they sat that the singing-men collected, roaring their long verses and clattering on the buckets, doubtless not without some intention to jeer at and flout the baffled baboons that watched them in such a silence. It was drooping now to the pit of night, and things were barely seen as shapes, when from higher up the line, where the guardians of the crops were sparser, there came a discord of shrieks.

“‘The baboons are through the line!’ 470 they cried; and it was on that instant that the great watching army of apes came leaping in a charge on the main force of the Kafirs. Oh, but that was a wild, a haunting thing! Great, bull-headed dog-baboons, with naked fangs and clutching hands alert for murder; bounding mothers of squealing litters that led their young in a dash to the fight; terrible, lean old bitches that made for the men when others went for the corn,—they swooped like a flood of horror on the aghast Kafirs, biting, tearing, bounding through the air like uncouth birds; and in one second the throng of the Kafirs melted before them, and they were amid the corn.

“Eight men they killed by rending, and of the others, some sixty, there was not one but had his wound—some bite to the bone, some gash where iron fingers had clutched and torn their way through skin and flesh. When they came to Shadrach and woke him wearily, with the breathless timidity of beaten men, it was already too late to go with a gun to the corn-lands. The baboons had contented themselves with small plunder after their victory, and withdrew orderly to the hills; and, even as Shadrach came to the door of the homestead, he saw the last of their marshaled line, black against the sky, moving swiftly towards the kloofs.

“He flung out his hands like a man in despair, with never a word to ease his heart, and then the old Shangaan Kafir stood up before him. He had the upper part of his right arm bitten to the bone and worried, and now he cast back the blanket from his shoulder and held out the quivering wound to his master.

“‘It was the chief of the baboons that gave me this,’ he said, ‘and he is a baboon only in the night. He came through the ranks of them, bounding like a boulder on a steep hillside, and it was for me that his teeth were bared. So, when he hung by his teeth to my arm and tore and snarled, I drew my nails across his back, that the baas should know the truth.’

“‘What is this madness?’ cried Shadrach.

“‘No madness, but simple deviltry,’ answered the Shangaan, and there came a murmur of support from the Kafirs about him. ‘The leader of the baboons is Naqua, and it was he who taught them the trick they played us to-night.’

“‘Naqua?’ repeated Shadrach, feeling cold and weak.

“‘The bushman,’ explained the old man; ‘the yellow man with the long, lean arms who gave false counsel to the baas.’

“‘It is true,’ came the chorus of the Kafirs; ‘it is true. We saw it.’

“Shadrach pulled himself together and raised a hand to the lintel of the door to steady himself.

“‘Fetch me Naqua!’ he ordered, and a pair of them went upon that errand. But they came back empty: Naqua was not at his hut, and none had news of him.

“Shadrach dismissed the Kafirs to patch their wounds, and at sun-up he went down to the lands where the eight dead Kafirs still lay amid the corn, to see what traces remained of the night’s work. He had hoped to find a clue in the tracks, but the feet of the Kafirs and the baboons were so mingled that the ground was dumb, and on the grass there remained, of course, no sign of the baboons’ return. He was no fool, my stepsister’s first husband, and since a wild and belly-quaking tale was the only one that offered, he was not ready to cast it aside till a better one were found. At any rate, it was against Naqua that his preparations were directed.

“He had seven guns in his house for which ammunition could be found, and from among all the Kafirs on the land he chose a half-dozen Zulus, who, as you know, will always rather fight than eat. These were only too ready to face the baboons again, since they were to have guns in their hands; and a kind of ambush was devised. They were to lie amid the corn so as to command the flank of the beasts, and Shadrach was to lie in the middle of them, and would give the signal when to commence firing by a shot from his own rifle. There was built, too, a pile of brushwood lying on straw soaked in oil, and this one of them was to put a light to as soon as the shooting began.

“It was dark when they took their places, and then commenced a long and anxious watch amid the corn, when every bush that creaked was an alarm, and every small beast of the veldt that squealed set hearts to thumping. From where he lay on his stomach, with his rifle before him, Shadrach could see the line or ridge of rocks over which the baboons must come, dark against a sky only just less dark; and, with his eyes fixed on this, he waited. Afterwards he said that it was not the baboons he waited for, but the yellow man Naqua, and he had in his head an idea that all the evil and pain that ever was, and all the sin to be, had a home in that bushman. So a man hates an enemy.

“They came at last. Five of them were suddenly seen on the top of the rocks, standing erect and peering round for a trap; but Shadrach 471 and his men lay very still, and soon one of these scouts gave a call, and then was heard the pat! pat! of hard feet as the body of them came up. There was not light enough to tell one from another, except by size, and as they trooped down amid the corn, Shadrach lay with his finger throbbing on his trigger, peering among them. But he could see nothing except the mass of their bodies, and, waiting till the main part of them was past him, so that he could have a shot at them as they came back, should it happen that they retired at once, he thrust forward his rifle, aimed into the brown, and fired.

“Almost in the same instant the rifles of the Zulus spoke, and a crackle of shots ran up and down their line. Then there was a flare of light as the bonfire was lit, and they could see the army of baboons in a fuss of panic dashing to and fro. They fired again and again into the tangle of them, and the beasts commenced to scatter and flee, and Shadrach and his men rose to their full height and shot faster, and the hairy army vanished into the darkness, defeated.

“There was a guffaw of laughter from the Zulus, but, ere it was finished, a shout from Shadrach brought their rifles leaping up again. The baboons were coming back: a line of them was breaking from the darkness beyond the range of the fire, racing in great leaps towards the men. As they came into the light they were a sight to terrify a host, all big tuskers, and charging without a sound. Shadrach, aiming by instinct only, dropped two as they came, and the next instant they were upon him. He heard the grunt of the Zulu next him as a huge beast leaped against his chest and bore him down, and there were screams from another. Then something heavy and swift drove at him like a bullet, and he clubbed his rifle. As the beast flew, with hands and feet drawn in for the grapple, he hewed at it with the butt and smashed it to the ground. The stock struck on bone, and he felt it crush and fail, and there was the thing at his feet.

“How they broke the charge, with what a frenzy of battle they drove the baboons from them, none of the four who spoke again could ever tell; but it must have been very soon after Shadrach clubbed his rifle that the beasts wavered, were beaten, and fled screaming, and the farmer found himself leaning on his weapon, and a great Zulu, shining with sweat, talking to him.

“‘Never have I had such a fight,’ the Zulu was saying, ‘and never may I hope for such another! The baas is a great chief; I watched him.’

“Something was picking at Shadrach’s boots, and he drew back with a shudder from the form that lay at his feet.

“‘Bring a stick from the fire,’ he ordered. ‘I want to see this—this baboon.’

“As the man went, he ran a cartridge into the breech of his rifle, and, when the burning stick was brought, he turned over the body with his foot.

“A yellow face mowed up at him, and pale-yellow eyes sparkled dully.

“‘Tck!’ clicked the Zulu, in surprise. ‘It is the bushman Naqua. No, baas,’ as Shadrach cocked his rifle, ‘do not shoot him. Keep him and chain him to a post; he will like that less.’

“‘I shoot!’ answered Shadrach, and shattered the evil grin that gleamed in the face on the ground with a quick shot.

“And, as I told you, my stepsister’s first husband, Shadrach van Guelder, was afraid to be alone in the dark after that night,” concluded the Vrouw Grobelaar. “It is ill shooting baboons, Frikkie.”

“I’m not afraid,” retorted Frikkie; and the baboon in the yard rattled his chain and cursed shrilly.




What are we to think of the miraculous cures reported in Christian Science “experience meetings” and in the columns of the Christian Science journals? Are we to consider them as genuine and accurate records of fact, or are we to reject them as fabrications?

It would be easy to deal with the subject by driving Christian Scientists into a corner and logically refuting their claims; for if it is true, as stated on page 120 of “Science and Health,” that “health is not a condition of matter but of mind, nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on this subject,” of course “the material senses” cannot be trusted when they testify that cancer, consumption, broken bones, or locomotor ataxia have been cured by Christian Science. There is no such thing as the diagnosis of these diseases without reliance on the testimony of “the material senses.”

But although it is easy thus to refute the Christian Scientists, such refutation satisfies no one and proves nothing except their logical bankruptcy. The victory over their weak-kneed theory is a barren one, for is it not notorious that people’s practice may be better than their theory? Skill in logic and in the accurate statement of one’s principles may be very slight, and yet the successful application of these misstated or absurd principles may be a fact and a blessing.

I shall therefore undertake to examine and to discuss Christian Science cures, not from the point of view of logic or consistency, but by a study of the written testimonials and of my own experience gained in the attempt to verify the claims of those who pronounce themselves cured.

Some years ago I followed up, so far as was possible through personal interviews and through letters, all the Christian Science “cures” of which I could hear any details in or near Boston. Within a short time I have returned to the subject and studied one hundred of the cases recorded in the recent volumes of the Christian Science Journal under the caption, “Testimonies from the Field.” Putting together this evidence and comparing it with my experience regarding the accuracy of my own patients’ statements about their own diseases, past and present, my conclusions are, first, that most Christian Science cures are probably genuine; but, second, that they are not the cures of organic diseases.

In my own personal researches into Christian Science “cures,” I have never found one in which there was any good evidence that cancer, consumption, or any other organic disease had been arrested or banished. The diagnosis was usually either made by the patient himself or was an interpretation at second or third hand of what a doctor was supposed to have said.

As I have followed up the reported cures of “cancer” and other malignant tumors, I have found either that they were not tumors at all, or that they were assumed to be malignant without any microscopic examination. In other words, the diagnosis was never based upon any proper evidence.

I have never seen any reason to believe that lies were told by the persons concerned. Their claims were the result of mistake or intellectual mistiness, and not of intentional deception. The cures no doubt took place as they asserted, but they were not cures of organic disease.

Now, before going further, something must be said in explanation of the terms “organic” and “functional” which I shall use throughout this paper. By organic disease is meant one that causes serious, perhaps permanent deterioration of the tissues of the body; by functional disease is meant one due to a perverted action of approximately normal organs. Functional diseases are no more imaginary than an ungovernable temper or a balky horse is imaginary. They are often the source of acute and long-continued suffering; indeed, I believe that there is no class of diseases that gives rise to so much keen suffering; but still they do not seriously damage the organs and tissues of the body. Organic disease, on the other hand, may run its course accompanied by much less suffering, but 473 the destruction of tissue is serious, perhaps irreparable.

The sharpness of this distinction between organic and functional troubles is somewhat blurred by the fact that a functional or nervous affection, such as insomnia, may lead, both directly and through loss of appetite, to a loss of weight or to a considerable deterioration in the body tissues. Here we have what might be called organic disease produced by functional disease, and such organic disease as this is often cured by Christian Science or by some more rational method of mental healing. We must also recognize the fact that there are a few rare diseases which we cannot certainly assign either to the organic or the functional class. Yet, despite these reservations, the distinction which the words indicate is still a clear one in the vast majority of cases.

Analysis of 100 “Cures”

Having made this definition of terms, I will go on to present herewith a table in which I have analyzed one hundred consecutive “testimonies” from the Christian Science Journal. I have grouped these cases in four classes:

First, seventy-two cases in which I find, on careful study, reasonably good evidence for the diagnosis of functional or nervous disorder.

Second, seven cases of what appears to be organic disease.

Third, eleven cases very difficult to class, but probably belonging in the functional group.

Fourth, ten cases, regarding the diagnosis of which no reasonable conjecture can be made.

These cases, arranged in the first three groups, are as follows:

Group I--Functional Or Nervous Disorders.

“Nervous trouble”17 cases
“Trouble with eyes”12 cases
“Kidney and bladder trouble”7 cases
“An abnormal growth”5 cases
“Stomach trouble”4 cases
“Lung trouble”4 cases
“Rheumatism”3 cases
Drug habit3 cases
Tobacco habit2 cases
Alcoholism2 cases
“Asthmatic trouble”2 cases
“Irritable disposition”1 case
“The blues”1 case
Headache1 case
“Hardening of the spine”1 case
“Spinal trouble”1 case
“Weak back”1 case
“Sciatic trouble”1 case
“Chest and throat trouble”1 case
“Blindness”1 case
“Bowel trouble”1 case
“Heart trouble”1 case
Total72 cases

Group II—Apparently Organic Diseases.

“Tuberculosis of bowels”1 case
“Seventeen bruises, cuts and breaks”1 case
Insanity1 case
Locomotor ataxia1 case
Loose elbow-joint1 case
Necrosis of the jaw1 case
Rupture1 case
Total7 cases

Group III—Probably Functional Disorders.

“Lost use of the right limb”1 case
“What seemed to be a malignant sore on the face”1 case
“Strangely obstinate malady of 20 years’ standing”1 case
“An incurable disease”1 case
“Serious abdominal trouble”1 case
“Lung, spinal and hip trouble” (wore dark glasses 20 years)1 case
“Catarrhal, bowel and rheumatic trouble”1 case
“Internal disorder of 15 years’ standing”1 case
“Heart, ovarian, and serious nervous troubles” (8 years)1 case
“Debility, constipation, gout, piles, and prolapsus”1 case
“Bright’s disease, liver and lung complaint, and other ailments too numerous to mention”1 case
Total11 cases

Of the second group, that of cases of apparently organic disease, the case of insanity was taken out of an insane asylum by Christian Science friends, but apparently is still insane; the diseased jaw slowly recovered, as such cases sometimes do, without any treatment. The same is very possibly true of the case of tuberculosis of the bowels (peritoneum), though the diagnosis is not certain. The cuts, bruises, and breaks healed rather slowly under ordinary surgical treatment in a hospital. Of the locomotor ataxia, the rupture, and the loose elbow-joint, nothing more can be said without knowing whether the diagnoses were correct—a point on which no opinion can be formed, owing to the scantiness of the facts recorded.

Unreliability of “Home-Made Diagnoses”

In the analyses of these cases I am guided by my experience with the diagnoses naïvely given by patients entering my office for treatment—diagnoses based either upon their own unguided observation or upon what they suppose their own physician to have said to them. In such instances there is no possible motive for deception or for exaggeration; the patient is saying exactly what he believes; and yet, I have rarely found his statement to be even approximately correct. For example, when a patient comes to me with the statement that he has “kidney 474 and bladder trouble,” I generally find both the kidneys and the bladder sound. The patient has pain in his back in the region where he supposes his kidneys to be; he interprets his symptoms in the light of what he has read in the newspaper advertisements and what he has been told by his kind friends, and arrives at what is (to his mind) a perfectly solid conclusion. He has no doubts of the diagnosis, states it as a fact, and asks only for treatment.

So it is with patients coming for “spinal trouble,” “hardening of the spine,” “inflammation of the spine,” or “spinal meningitis.” They almost always turn out, on careful examination, to be suffering from some form of nervous prostration. In the interpretation of their sufferings and in the names which they attach to them they have been guided quite innocently by hearsay.

Similarly when patients come to me for what they call “heart trouble” and turn out on examination to be suffering from pain in the left side of the chest without any heart trouble at all, I accuse them of no deception but only of incapacity for the accurate appreciation of the value of evidence.

Certain other statements recur very often in the histories given in all good faith by patients, whether in the doctor’s office or in a Christian Science experience meeting. I will quote some of these:

“I have had a great many doctors, and each has made a different diagnosis.”

“I am suffering from a complication of diseases, Bright’s disease, liver and lung complaint, and other ailments too numerous to mention.”

“I have had a great many operations performed on me.”

Experience shows us that when a person has had many doctors, many diagnoses, many “diseases,” or many operations, he usually turns out to be suffering from nervous prostration or some other form of functional nervous trouble. For these troubles are just those which most often puzzle the physician, leading him to change his diagnosis and the patient to change his doctor very frequently. Again, it is just these functional nervous disorders which, affecting as they do every part of the body and every organ, give rise to the false idea of “many diseases”—an idea based on the patient’s multitudinous sufferings.

Organic disease often runs its course accompanied by very little suffering, or with a very definite localization of the malady in one part of the body. The patient with a genuine complication of diseases does not often live to tell the story in a doctor’s office or in a Christian Science experience meeting. In the majority of the reported cases the complication is in the patient’s mind, not in his diseases.

For a similar reason the patient who has had “many operations” is usually one whose (nervous) sufferings are so manifold and so various that physicians are driven to seek relief by one measure after another, and finally by a variety of surgical procedures.

It is a striking fact that, as one listens to the recital of Christian Science “cures,” one hears little or nothing of the great common organic diseases, such as arterio-sclerosis, phthisis, appendicitis—and still less of the common acute diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria, apoplexy. Chronic nervous (that is, mental) disease is the Christian Scientist’s stock in trade.

Similarity of Christian Science Testimony

No one can study the printed records of Christian Science cures without noting a remarkable similarity running through many hundreds of them, a similarity in style, in phraseology, and in the general structure of the letters.

For example, Mrs. Eddy’s name was mentioned within five lines of the end in fifty-six out of seventy-five letters which I have recently examined. I have excluded here all cases in which Mrs. Eddy’s name was mentioned earlier in the letter. It seems hardly likely that all these writers would spontaneously bring in the name of their leader precisely in this position in the letter.

In twelve out of seventy-five letters the rather unusual phrase materia medica occurs.

The price of treatment under Christian Science and under the previous medical care is mentioned in a large proportion of these letters.

Not one of these letters mentions the name of any doctor connected at any time with the case. From personal experience with similar stories heard from my own patients and from the lips of Christian Scientists, I know that doctors’ names are usually mentioned. It seems unlikely that in one hundred consecutive testimonies the physicians’ names should have been spontaneously omitted.

For these reasons one cannot help believing either that these letters have been liberally edited, or that their writers have been much influenced by reading or hearing of similar cases. This does not necessarily imply any charge of intentional deception, but weakens very considerably their value as evidence.

“Natural Selection” in the Christian Science Clinic

The persistence of Christian Scientists in the belief that they can cure organic disease, a belief 475 which I consider genuine in the majority of cases, is probably due to the following reason: By a curious process of “natural selection,” a patient suffering from organic disease rarely consults a Christian Scientist, just as he rarely consults an osteopath. Being ignorant of diagnosis, the Christian Scientist is not aware of this fact and supposes that he is treating, not a selected group of cases of functional disease, but all disease. This mistake is all the more natural because the Christian Scientist, with the natural credulity of the half-educated, accepts the patient’s own diagnosis at its face value or trusts the hearsay report of what some doctor is supposed to have said.

The same interesting process of “natural selection” accounts for the fact that Christian Scientists are so rarely the cause of death to those whom they treat. It is undoubtedly true that deaths occasionally occur (for example, from diphtheria) which are directly traceable to the fatal inactivity and ignorance of a Christian Scientist. But such deaths are in my opinion rare. They are pretty sure to give rise to newspaper notoriety and so to become widely known, yet one does not hear of many such in the course of a year, for common sense steers the great majority of sufferers from organic disease away from the parlors of the Christian Scientist.

Doctors Who Flood the World with Disease

It is impossible to study the evidence for and against the so-called Christian Science cures without crossing the track of many an incapable doctor. Indeed, there can be no candid criticism of Christian Science methods that does not involve also an arraignment of existing medical methods. It is not difficult to perceive, as one studies the testimonies recorded in the Christian Science Journal, that many patients have been driven into Christian Science by a multitude of shifting and mistaken diagnoses, by the gross abuse of drugs, especially of morphine, and by the total neglect of rational psychotherapy on the part of many physicians. No doubt these causes account only for a certain fraction of the desertions to Christian Science. There are many patients who have so little patience and so much credulity that they desert their doctors for no good reason whatever; but I believe that these cases are in the minority, and that the success of the Christian Science movement is due largely to the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of a certain proportion of the medical profession.

I can see some foundation even for such an exaggerated charge as that the doctors “are flooding the world with disease”—a favorite expression of Mrs. Eddy’s. No one who has seen much of the nervous or hysterical affections following railway accidents and of the methods not infrequently used, not only by lawyers, but by doctors, to make the sufferers believe that they are sicker than they really are, can deny that there is some truth in Mrs. Eddy’s charge. Even in her irrational denunciations of hygiene, one cannot help seeing some grain of truth when one reads or hears of the multitude of petty prudences and “old womanish” superstitions not infrequently exploited by school teachers, parents, and teachers of physical culture, under the name of “hygiene.”

The Classic Methods Used by Christian Science

Believing, then, as I do, that most Christian Science cures are genuine—genuine cures of functional disease—the question arises whether the special methods of mental healing employed by Christian Scientists differ from other methods of mental healing, such as are employed by the best neurologists, both in this country and in Europe.

Of the classical methods of psychotherapeutics, namely, explanation, education, psychoanalysis, encouragement, suggestion, rest-cure and work-cure, the Christian Scientists use chiefly suggestion, education, and work-cure, though each of these methods is colored and shaped by the peculiar doctrines of the sect.

The quack who sells magic handkerchiefs supposed to be endowed with miraculous healing powers by the touch of his sacred hand, the priests who exploit the “healing springs” at Lourdes, and the doctor who gives a bread pill or a highly diluted homeopathic drug, may cure a patient by what is known as “suggestion,” that is, by producing in the patient a strong belief that he will get well. Christian Science suggestion takes the form of “silent treatment” and “absent treatment,” in which the patient is influenced by the auto-suggestions of health which the silent pressure of the “practitioner” or the knowledge of the “absent treatment” leads him to make.

Christian Science education consists in the reading of “Science and Health,” of the Bible, as interpreted by Mrs. Eddy (after Quimby), and of the teachings received at the hands of Christian Science practitioners. Although there is much that is false and harmful in the education thus received, I believe that a good many warped minds do find in it the corrective twist which they need—just as a certain type of crooked spine may be helped by a violent twist in the other direction.


Work-cure is, I think, the sanest and most helpful part of Christian Science, as of all other types of psychotherapy. The Christian Scientists do set idle people to work and turn inverted attention outward upon the world. This is a great service—the greatest, I think, that can be done to a human being. By setting their patients to the work of healing and teaching others, Christian Scientists have wisely availed themselves of the greatest healing power on earth.

I believe that suggestion, education, and work-cure can be used in far safer and saner ways by physicians, social workers, and teachers or clergymen properly trained for the work than by the Christian Scientists. Heretofore these last have held the field of psychotherapy largely without competition. American physicians have confined themselves mostly to physical and chemical methods (diet, drugs, and surgery), which have a place in the cure of functional disease, but not, I think, the chief place.

Now that scientific psychotherapy is being taken up by physicians, social workers, and educators (including the clergy), not instead of, but in conjunction with physical and chemical treatment, I think it is reasonable to expect that Christian Science will have to stick closer to the truth if it is to hold its ground in competition.



As I came down to the long street by the water, the sea-ships drooped their masts like ladies bowing,

Curtseying friendly in a manner olden,

Shrouds and sails in silken sunlight flowing,

Gleaming and shimmering from silvern into golden,

With the sea-winds through the sunlit spaces blowing.

As I came down to South Street by the glimmering, tossing water, the sweet wind blew, oh, softly, sweetly blew

O’er the lean, black docks piled high with curious bales,

Odorous casks, and bundles, of foreign goods,

And all the long ships with their fair, tall sails,

Lading the winey air with the spices of alien woods.

As I came down by the winding streets to the wondrous green sea-water, the sounds along the water-front were tuned to fine accord;

I heard the racket of the halliards slapping,

Along the bare poles stabbing up aloft;

I saw loose men, their garments ever flapping,

Lounging a-row along each ruined wooden stair:

Their untamed faces in the golden sun were soft,

But their hard, bright eyes were wild, and in the sun’s soft flare

Nothing they saw but sounding seas and the crash of ravening wind;

Nothing but furious struggle with toil that never would end.

The call of mine ancient sea was clamoring through their blood;

Ah, they all felt that call, but nothing they understood,

As I came down by the winding streets to South Street by the water.

As I came down to South Street by the soft sea-water, I saw long ships, their mast-heads ever bowing:

Sweet slender maids in clinging gowns of golden,

Curtseying stately in a fashion olden,

Bowing sweetly—each a king’s fair daughter—

To me, their millionth, millionth lover,

I, the seventh son of the old sea-rover,

As I came down to South Street by the myriad moving water.




To myself I could be articulate enough about it. Indeed, I held long conversations about it, mainly in the darkness of the night, with my bolder self, who advised me so cleverly and who told me all the tactful things and all the forceful things that I ought on occasion to say. Then there came, with that other self, a conversation which settled things. It went something in this way:

“You have let things go far enough.”

“Yes,” I admitted guiltily, “I know it.”

“It’s time you took a stand.”

“I know it,” I again admitted forlornly.

“Why don’t you do it then?” sternly asked the bolder self. He could afford to be bold, it wasn’t he who had the talking to do. “Why don’t you explain to Felicia the way you feel about it and how it looks and all about it——”

This time it was myself who grew bold. I said:

“You great ass! Do you think I’m going to let you make me make Felicia cry?”

“Better have her cry,” grumbled the other self, “than let her expose herself unthinking to—well, all sorts of things.” (One would have thought to hear him that Monty Saunders was the measles!)

We were silent a while, and in my imagination I saw again the distressing spectacle of Felicia weeping. I suppose there is no man who has been married a year who has not made his Felicia cry.

You cannot explain how the terrible thing came about. It may be you had a moment of surface impatience. Generally it’s something less definite than that—a bit of chaff at an untimely moment, an indiscreet question put forth in a spirit of the friendliest curiosity.

“Why,” for instance you may have said, “isn’t dinner ready?”

You didn’t mind its not being ready in the least, but, not being used to having dinners of your own, you were amused and interested to know the cause of its lateness. And there before your eyes the unbelievable has happened, Felicia is in tears, and it is your fault.

You are like a landsman who has pulled an innocent-looking plug out of the bottom of a boat and sees it fill and founder before his eyes; you feel like a man who lights a match and lo! his house is in flames; with such horror and bewilderment does the sight of a weeping Felicia fill you. Guilt and bewilderment struggle with one another, as her mouth quivers pitifully and her eyes fill with slow tears. She turns away to battle with them, and, instead of holding your tongue, you choose from among all the silly, inadequate things there are in the world to say, “What’s the matter, dear?”

“I—I—left—a book in—my room,” answers Felicia, and she pushes past you and goes out of the door, and, though you don’t know it at the time, she is as bewildered as you are.

You walk up and down the floor two or three times, you open the door and shut it, finally you can’t stand it any longer, you must find out how Felicia does. You go up to your room, and there on the bed is what is left of the gallant, saucy Felicia you know. It is a crumpled little heap, and you can see only a knot of disordered hair and shaking shoulders, and as if this wasn’t bad enough, there is added the sound of muffled sobs. You go up to her and put a beseeching hand on her shoulder.

“Felicia,” you implore. Then from the depths of the pillow come the broken words:

“Go—away—go—away—and—leave—me—alone.” Nor is the tone all anguish, anger finds its place there as well, and this bewilders you still more. You could not know, of course, that Felicia is angry at you for having seen her cry.

“I can’t go away and leave you like this,” you say.

The shoulders shake still harder, the sobs are louder, for sympathy is hard to bear in such moments of humiliation—but this too you find out later.

You walk across the room, helplessly, hopelessly. You murmur forth apologies, though 478 you don’t know for what you are apologizing, and words of endearment and of sympathy, though you can’t tell what it is you are sympathetic about. You would do anything, abase yourself to any degree, to stop the noise of sobbing which is slowly sapping your manhood.

You stand looking down on poor Felicia—what is the matter with her? What has happened?

“I don’t believe you can be well, my darling,” you are fool enough to say. Inside you your other self is grumbling:

“Well, I’m hanged if I understand women!”

If only she would stop; she must have been crying ten minutes, and you have aged years. If only you understood why, how much easier it would be! The only thing you do understand is that whatever you say and whatever you do, or whether it’s sympathy or silence, it’s wrong.

There is a knock on the door.

“Dinner is served,” says a voice, and you (feeling like a quitter, but you can’t stand the sight of her any longer) say:

“Felicia, I’m going down. I don’t seem to be doing you any good——”

Felicia raises her head.

“You’re not!” says she spitefully. They’re the first words she has spoken since she pleaded with you in agonized tones to “let her be.”

Then, as you sit down to the mockery of oysters and soup, anger rises in you. What creatures women are! Hasn’t a man a right to ask why dinner isn’t ready in his own house without the sky falling? You look at your watch; more than half an hour late. Well, why wasn’t it ready? Why? When a man comes home tired from the office, he has a right to expect his dinner to be ready. Yes, by Jove! and a right to ask “Why?” and a right, too, to expect a cheerful, pleasant wife! What struck Felicia, anyway? and in spite of your anger, pity sweeps over you for poor little Felicia crying upstairs, and you rise and go to the door, angry and distressed, while your inner self tells you pity is unmanly. You feel abused and bruised; how scenes take it out of one, you think resentfully, and just here you pause, for there are footsteps on the stairs. It can’t be Felicia, you think. But it is Felicia, who comes into the room, beautifully dressed. Why, she must have got up and dressed, tears and all, the instant you left the room! She comes in gallantly, carrying the powder on her nose with effrontery, denying her eyes, which still show the ravages of tears, by the gay smile on her lips; and as dinner progresses, excellent, and with Felicia all as natural and gay as possible, you wonder more than ever what the devil it was all about anyway. But at night, as you ponder it over again, you get a certain blurred vision of what it meant. You are too young in marriage to put it into words, but you have an intuition that marriage, after all, is a very new country for Felicia, full of a thousand details you know nothing about, whose A, B, C she must learn slowly and painfully—and all alone, there is no one to help her. You can’t. She’s got to grape her way about by herself in this unfamiliar land. All you can do is to be very, very considerate and very, very careful not to make her cry.

But hang it all, if she’s going to cry every time you ask if dinner is ready, how are you going to help making her? And all at once the vision of how careful you have got to be makes you feel bowed down with care. You will never, you are sure, speak another natural word in her presence. Who would have believed she would cry so easily? How awful to consider you made her! Then you hear Felicia give a little breath of a sigh, like a child which has sobbed itself to sleep.

“Felicia,” you say impulsively, “I was a brute.”

“I was a goose,” she protests, “an awful little goose,” and deep down in your heart you agree with her, though you declare again it was your fault, and you have an uneasy feeling that she is at one with you about your being a brute, and you fall asleep at last thinking that things never again can have the same glamour between you two, that somehow Felicia’s tears have cried away the bloom of marriage. But in the morning you wake up and wonder what it was you thought had happened, for nothing has—things haven’t changed. You merely resolve that you will try to understand, mere man that you are, the finer creature the Lord has trusted you with. But oh, why can’t women be reasonable?

This scene flitted through my mind as the silence fell between my two selves; the other one of me brooded over my inertia in the matter in hand. At last he broke the silence and my awful vision of Felicia in tears with:

“A man ought, you know, to look after his young wife. He shouldn’t let her make herself conspicuous with men, especially with a silly young ass. It isn’t being jealous,” he concluded virtuously.

“Oh, no, we’re not jealous,” I agreed eagerly.

“You must speak to her.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?” he demanded. And then it came out. Why? It had been staring me in the face all along. I had known why, but I had shirked, as long as I could, putting my confession of weakness into words. If I had never seen 479 Felicia cry, it would have been different. I might have talked to her as man to man, but now:

“I can’t, because it’s impossible for me to interfere with Felicia.”

I told him. There it was. It was constitutionally impossible for me to interfere, in words anyway. It was like a sense lacking, but there where my Felicia-preventing faculties should have been there was a blank.

“Do you mean you would let her do anything?”

“Anything,” I assented.

“Let her drift from you and not reach out your hand for her?”

“I couldn’t raise my hand,” I confessed sadly. There it was. I couldn’t do the disagreeable task known as “bringing her to her senses.” If Felicia couldn’t feel that I didn’t like what she did, I couldn’t, for the life of me, or even the life of Felicia, open my mouth. And I believe there are a great many men like me in the world, and more women, too. A certain kind of pain makes us dumb. A certain pride freezes back the words that would come. The men of us have perhaps seen our Felicias cry. And there’s no use saying afterwards, Why didn’t you tell me? What, after all, is the use of words, when it’s written all over you in the very set of your coat that you’re hurt?

So now it was all settled. There was no use in my lying awake at night any longer while my other self tickled his vanity by making up admonitory conversations with Felicia, that went this way:

“Felicia,” I was to say tenderly yet seriously, “I have something I want to talk over with you.”

Felicia would be impressed by my manner, and even a little frightened, and she would murmur:

“Yes?” expectantly, meekly.

“Felicia,” I was to continue, “I do not want you to think I am blaming you. I am blaming myself for letting things go so far, for not explaining things to you before; you are young, you do not understand the world.”

“That is true,” Felicia would reply with adorable meekness, as she lifted questioning eyes to mine. Then I was to sit down beside her and taking both her hands in mine:

“Dear,” I was to continue, “when a young girl has received as much attention as you have, it is natural for her to imagine that after she is married men can go on courting her as they did before. But this is not true. A man’s devotion, especially the devotion of an insolent, useless pup of a young ass like Saunders” (it slipped out in spite of ourselves, and we put the blue pencil through it, supplying “a fellow like Saunders”) “has a very different meaning when given to a young girl than to a young married woman. You do not dream this, I know. I have every confidence in you, dear, and I am speaking now purely to save you from an unpleasant scene as well as to stop malicious tongues.”

At this Felicia would keep silent, contemplating the abyss pointed out to her. Indeed, my words have so impressed her that my heart smites me, but better she should learn from me than in some other way.

“May a married woman have no friends then?” she cries at last.

“All she likes of friends,” I am to say with a touch of severity. “But she should take care not to make herself conspicuous with any one man. For you know, Felicia, you have been making yourself conspicuous. At the Jarvis week-end party you talked to no one else; last night you sat an hour in a secluded corner with him. You walk with him, and he sends you violets. I have no feeling about Saunders, of course. I merely see these things as the world sees them. Only I know how innocent you are, that you are accepting these attentions as simply as you would have before you were married, but, O Felicia, the world does not know that! Already they are putting you down as a married flirt; already they are wondering what I am about to let things go on so, and as for Saunders, his attentions to you are an insult.”

“You should have told me before,” Felicia murmurs. “You should have told me!”

Just then the maid would of course bring a card. Felicia would glance at it, her brows arch themselves with displeasure.

“Tell Mr. Saunders I am not at home,” she would say haughtily.

You see, according to that other self, it was all as easy as rolling off a log. The trouble with him is that he has no practical knowledge of the world; but at the moment of telling, he would put the glamour of his ideas over me. It seemed too seductively easy, and it was hard for me to point out to him that, excellent and satisfactory as this conversation was, it had the fatal defect of not being the way Felicia and I talked. This didn’t impress him at all; he merely invented another conversation which didn’t put Felicia in nearly as pleasing a light, but gave me scope for firmness and dignity. I appeared really very well in the face of her perverseness. Proud of myself, I was to end by saying, without anger, but with decision:

“And, Felicia, if you can find no way of stopping this objectionable young man’s attentions, I can!”

Now all these pleasant plays of fancy were 480 ended forever by my acknowledging my weakness.

Felicia is fond of saying, “Men differ, but all husbands are alike.” I think she believes this to be an epigram. But O, Felicia, all husbands are not alike; there are those who can take care of their wives, and those who can’t,—those who can say the word in time, and those who must sit back weakly silent, morosely sucking their paws while their wives burn their fingers.

Well, after all, I thought, perhaps it was better so. There would be negative benefits. This way, at least, I shouldn’t make Felicia cry. I wouldn’t say anything I should be sorry for afterwards, if I said nothing. I had only to sit pusillanimously quiet until Saunders was guilty of some impertinence, then there would be no more Saunders. I ground my teeth and thanked God I was not jealous.

But I was soon undeceived if I thought that things were going along as they had been. First there came a little, tiny, malformed, wordless doubt, which I strangled as it was born; then a suspicion I wouldn’t see. I closed my eyes. In my loyalty I lied even to myself, but my bolder self in his inexorable fashion made me look at it at last.

“Felicia,” he asserted, “is keeping something from you. Felicia is unhappy about something.”

It was true, I couldn’t deny it, I had ever so many proofs:

(1) I had caught Felicia watching me with melancholy, speculative eyes. When I asked her what was the matter, she replied “Nothing.”

(2) She had bursts of feverish unnatural gaiety.

(3) She didn’t look well.

(4) Several times she started to tell me something, but decided not to.

(5) She had moments of unwonted affection for me, I thought, as if she were trying to make up to me for something.

Then came, more serious and more conclusive than anything else:

(6) I waked up in the night and was sure I heard Felicia crying softly and cautiously. As I moved, the sobs stopped and Felicia feigned a deep sleep.

So for a week a secret walked between us. We put out our hands toward each other, and its invisible presence kept them from meeting. We felt the constraint as of a third person always with us, and that third person was the Secret. We asked mute, unintelligible questions of each other.

A less subtle mind than my own would have put it crudely that things were strained and uncomfortable at home.

Meantime, if the Secret sneaked around us, silent, malignant, invisible, Monty Saunders, for this was his horrid name, was obvious in every way. It seemed to me that his loud laugh rang perpetually through my house, that Felicia was always coming in or going out with him, that wherever we went he was already waiting for us, and that all the time he was engaged in eating up our happiness, Felicia’s and mine, as fast as ever he could.

I believe now that his ubiquitousness was partly due to my excited imagination.

This, as I have said, was the situation for one week after I had acknowledged my Constitutional Inability to Interfere—and on the eighth evening Felicia and I were to go to a large studio dance. I dressed with all the groans common, I believe, to the male animal out of temper. I interspersed my dressing with such remarks as:

“Felicia, I wish you would have them change the laundry man, this waistcoat’s beastly.”

I spoiled three ties in tying, I was sceptical of my clothes having been pressed, while Felicia proceeded unerringly, even with a certain pleasure, through the intricacies of her own toilet, looking more disturbingly lovely every minute.

Finally she remarked contemplatively:

“How do you suppose you ever got dressed in time for anything before you were married?” which was insulting, for I had only asked where two things were.

She put her head back through the door to say to me with an impertinent grin:

“Your hat, you know, is in its box on the shelf where it always is,” and she looked so pretty that an unreasonable desire arose in me to kill Monty Saunders, and I thought how terrible it must be to feel jealous, if one could feel as I did when one was only sore and sorry.

I mention this episode only to throw in greater relief what happened later that evening.

For later that evening a gay little person in fluffy green clothes danced inside the circles of our lives, and before she passed out she had cleared up the mist which encompassed us, unloosed my tongue, and softened Felicia’s heart, and all without being so much as aware of our existence.

Felicia and Lydia Massingbyrd and Cecilia Bennett and I were all sitting together on a commodious window-seat watching the dancers. It was significant of the uncomfortable state of our affairs that Felicia and I only recovered our gaiety and our naturalness toward each other when we had some one to serve as buffer between us; I was talking and laughing with the best, while deep down within me my other self gloomed, fairly smacking his lips over his dismalness, “How little do Felicia and Lydia 481 dream of the trouble gnawing our vitals,” when out of the midst of our chaff and gossip popped a word that hit me square in the solar plexus.

“Look,” said Lydia, “how well the little woman in green dances. She has danced all the evening with the same man.” And my little fairy godmother in fluffy green flew past us, as gay and young and happy a little person as I had seen in a month of Sundays. She was so buoyant and pretty that she did one good to see, and my foolish inner self had made a romance about her and the good-looking young fellow, her partner of a whole evening, before little Cecilia Bennett had time to say primly:

“That is Mrs. So-and-So.”

“And that is not, I take it, Mr. So-and-So?” Lydia remarked.

“Mr. So-and-So is the big, red-haired man talking with the woman in white lace,” replied Cecilia, while disapproval fairly oozed from her.

“So there you are, and every one is satisfied,” Lydia brushed it aside lightly.

“That is how we look to outsiders!” croaked my other self.

Then little Cecilia Bennett piped up virtuously, “Even if I didn’t love my wife any longer, I should look after her! Until I was engaged, I was never allowed to dance a whole evening with one man——”

And as we laughed, she went on with some warmth:

“I don’t care, I think a man ought to take care of his wife; don’t you, Felicia?”

“And a little child shall lead us,” sententiously remarked my inner self. But Felicia only said flippantly:

“If I acted badly, I should expect to be beaten.”

“Well,” said Cecilia, also flippantly, following with disapproving eyes the little person in green, who danced happily by us (it is Cecilia’s first season, and such spectacles make her cynical), “Bobby will never beat you, Felicia, however much you need it. Bobby’s too kind. He would not even have beaten Lydia!”

“Wouldn’t you beat me, no matter what I did?” Felicia appealed to me. Then for one second my heart stopped and then raced on again, for the fantastic explanation of her question that came to me was that this was one of the things she had been trying to ask me; that perhaps she had wanted me to beat her and storm and take on, and that I had failed her.

“No, Felicia,” I replied sadly, “I shall never beat you.” I thought she looked disappointed. I wondered if I had really found a light in the darkness that had surrounded us.

Meantime the little lady and her companion had sat down, and in that crowded place they were talking as eagerly and unconsciously as if they had been all alone in the Garden of Eden.

“I hate an ostrich,” remarked Lydia.

“Her husband doesn’t see her, anyway,” said Felicia lightly; but there was an edge of bitterness in her voice; and again I wondered if through all our meaningless talk Felicia was signalling to me in a cipher code of her own invention.

“Perhaps he does see just the same, perhaps he cares, and can’t find the words to tell her in,” I ventured.

“She may,” Felicia speculated, “be keeping on and on, just waiting for the word from him. She may not be able to stop all by herself—she may have no way of stopping herself.” The corners of her mouth drooped. I felt she had told me all—everything that had saddened her, all the things she had tried to say and couldn’t. For few of us can stop all of ourselves, there must be some warning voice to call “halt” to each of us, and I had been leaving it to Monty Saunders’ first impertinence. Now I had to tell her I was unable to do anything else.

“He may have tried and tried to tell her and found that he couldn’t. He may have found he was constitutionally unable to interfere,” I told her.

“It seems so easy to me,” Felicia murmured, “to say ‘I’m jealous’—just two little words like that——”

And the dull other fellow inside me had kept me awake nights inventing long-winded lectures for me, when all I needed to say was two little words. But a groan burst from him, and he made me say it.

“But, O Felicia,” my unwilling lips repeated, “those two words are the hardest words in the whole language.” For by the light of Felicia’s words I had found him out, the hypocrite. He had been jealous all along.

Felicia looked at me with curiosity.

“I suppose they would be hard words to say if one really felt them,” she said comprehendingly.

“But I’m not jealous!” I longed to shout, but before we could say anything further, Monty Saunders and a girl danced past us.

“So you brought it off?” said Lydia, looking after the receding pair.

“How did you know?” Felicia demanded.

“He told her,” explained little Cecilia Bennett, “when Lydia asked him how you could stand him around so much, he told her you were helping him out with Mildred—telling him what to do and keeping his courage up. He told me, too,” pursued Cecilia, with the importance one naturally feels when one is in the thick of the battle of life. “He says it’s awful to see a 482 proposal before you, and the only way really is to stumble on it before you know you’ve made up your mind.”

“Poor boy,” remarked Lydia. “I should find Mildred formidable myself. Six feet and muscle!”

“Poor boy!” Felicia exclaimed resentfully. “Poor tattle-tale, going around telling everybody when he made me promise not to tell a soul. That’s the last time I keep a secret.”

That is all the others heard Felicia say, but to me her words meant golden music, and they told me a hundred different things; they healed my wounds, they dispelled the clouds from my soul; but, above all the tumult of my heart, I shouted down to that stupid inner fellow words of self-congratulation, of how well, how wisely, temperately, I had acted throughout, and I thanked Heaven that I was constitutionally unable to make a fool of myself, whatever evil counsellors lodged in the house I call my “self.” But, Felicia, a word from you would have put forty hours more of sound sleep between me and old age! And what business, after all, had Felicia “helping out” that silly boy? A married woman has her home and her husband to think about—besides Felicia is too pretty—and that I was right is abundantly shown by the first thing Felicia said to me in the carriage.

“The idiot,” she confessed, “told me before he went off to propose to Mildred that he didn’t care whether she accepted him or not!” And I only held Felicia’s hand very tight.

“I didn’t think,” Felicia went on in a wan little voice, “that you cared.”

There was something she wanted me to answer very much, and not being quite sure what it was, I still kept silence—not wanting to say the wrong thing.

I’m not proud anyway,” she went on bravely. “Couldn’t you say them just once—the words that are so hard to say?”

“Oh, I was, Felicia,” I cried, “awfully jealous!” And I knew, now that it was all over, that I had never spoken a truer word. Felicia breathed a long sigh.

“I hoped you were,” she said.

“Couldn’t you see?” I asked.

“Not until you told me,” she answered, always in her meek little voice, as meek and submissive as ever it was in the conversations I invented. “I hoped you might be, but you never said anything.”

“There you are,” said my other self, as smug and satisfied as if he had done nothing but advise that all along, “there are some things you have to tell women in words to make them happy—it won’t do to act them.”

And for once I believe he was right.



McClure’s Magazine, in this number, publishes an article by Dr. Hugo Münsterberg entitled “Prohibition and Social Psychology.” It presents this essay with the full knowledge that it will meet with strong criticism. But it finds ample justification for doing so in the fact that Dr. Münsterberg brings to this age-long problem a viewpoint which is really new; the contribution of one of the most recent of sciences to a discussion whose chief current arguments were old in the time of Confucius.

The last word concerning the alcohol question will certainly be said by modern science. Experiments concerning the physical effect of that stimulant, conducted in the exact and dispassionate modern spirit, have been in progress for years—practically all, by the way, reaching the result that the direct effect of alcohol is injurious to the healthy human body. Now the inquiries of social psychology open a new field for debate.

Does society, in its still crudely developed condition, demand and always secure a stimulant of some kind? If so, are the stimulants it obtains in default of alcohol more harmful, broadly considered, than is alcohol itself? These questions are novel and striking ones; and Dr. Münsterberg brings to their discussion perhaps the highest skill available for his view of the subject.

It is unnecessary to say that, by presenting this view, McClure’s Magazine does not therefore endorse it. And it is still more unnecessary to say that the opinions and conclusions of Dr. Münsterberg do not need the endorsement of any publication or individual to make them of general interest and consequence to the American public.

Transcriber Notes

The Table of Contents and the List of Illustrations were added by the transcriber.
Hyphenation and quotation marks changed to standardize usage.
All other original punctuation and spelling preserved as written.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 4,
August 1908, by Various


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