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''3 '3433^ 07607183 

^ * » ji m 










8481 34 A 



R 1936 L 

igoiy BY 




Nomuood Press 

J. S. Cusbing & Co,— Berwick & Smith 

Norwood, Mass, 

tea k> 






Their Fortune . 



Taking Possession 



Introduced . 




. 54 


Business Ways . 

. 71 


The Unexpected . 

. 94 


An Active Partner 

. 108 


The Pork-house . 

. 124 


A Western Spectre 

. 137 


She wanted to know 

. 150 

■n XI. 

Caleb's Newest Projeci 

^ . . 163 


Deferred Hopes . 

. 177 

_o XIII. 

Fanners' Ways . 

. 194 

Fun with a Camera 

. 211 

^ XV. 


Cause and Effect 

. 224 


Decoration Day . 

. 242 

-« -^f^^^- 

Foreign Invasion 

. 263 

-^ XVIII. 

The Tabby Party 

. 281 

- ^ - - ^ - - .J 

^ » ^ ^ "^ W ^ ^ 

■ ^ # rf * ■• * ^ 

■ -- ^ *«- 

* ■ "• 

• -J • • 







Days in the Store 

. 299 


Profit and Loss 

. 316 


Oipid and Corn-meal 

. 332 


Some Ways of the West . 

. 348 


After the Storm 



How it came about . 



Looking Ahead 



The Railway . . . . 



Coficlusion . . . . 


t • 

» • •• 

• • V 

• • 

• « * » • • * ' 

•3* •?• JF* J^ 
J* t3* «^ •!• 

^L£5 Wright 

i^w ^^v ^^v ^^v ^^ 



I I 

^LL people who have more taste than 
y^# money are as one in the conviction that 
people with less money than taste suffer 
more keenly day by day, week by week, year 
by year, than any other class of human beings. 
Of this kind of sufferer was Philip Somerton, 
a young man who had strayed from a far- 
western country town to New York to develop 
his individuality and make his fortune, but 
especially to enjoy the facilities which a great 
city offers (as every one knows, except the 
impecunious persons who have tried it) to all 
whose hearts hunger for whatever is beautiful, 
refining, and also enjoyable. 

To some extent Philip had succeeded, for he 
quickly adapted himself to his new surround- 
ings ; and as he was intelligent, industrious, and 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 12 

of good habits, he soon secured a clerkship 
which enabled him to pay for food, shelter, and 
clothing, and still have money enough for 
occasional books and music and theatre tickets, 
and to purchase a few articles of a class over 
which the art editor of Philip's favorite morn- 
ing newspaper raved delightfully by the col- 
umn. Several years later he was still more 
fortunate ; for he met Grace Brymme, a hand- 
some young woman who had quite as much in- 
telligence and taste as he, and who, like Philip, 
had been reared in a country town. That in 
New York she was a saleswoman in a great 
shop called a " department store '* was not in the 
least to her discredit ; for she was an orphan, 
and poor, and with too much respect to allow 
herself to be supported by relatives as poor as 
she, or to be "married off'* for the sole purpose 
of securing a home. When Philip declared his 
love and blamed himself for having formed so 
strong an attachment before he had become 
financially able to support a wife in the style to 
which his sweetheart's refinement and clever- 
ness entitled her, the young woman, who was 
quite as deep in love as he, replied that in so 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 13 

large a city no one knew the affairs of incon- 
spicuous people, so there was no reason why 
they should not marry, and she retain her 
business position and salary under the only 
name by which her employers and business 
associates would know her, and together they 
would earn a modest competence against the 
glorious by and by. 

So they married, and told only their relatives, 
none of whom was in New York, and out of 
business hours the couple occupied a small 
apartment and a large section of Paradise, and 
together they enjoyed plays and concerts and 
pictures and books and bric-a-brac as they 
had never imagined possible when they were 
single ; and when there was nothing special in 
the outer world to hold their attention they 
enjoyed each other as only warm-hearted and 
adaptive married people can. 

But marriage has no end of unforeseen mys- 
teries for people who really love each other, 
and some of these obtruded themselves unex- 
pectedly upon Philip and Grace, and gave the 
young people some serious moments, hours, and 
days. At first these disturbers were repelled 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 14 

temporarily by gales of kisses and caresses, but 
afterwards Grace's warm brown eyes would look 
deeper than they habitually were, and Philip 
would feel as if he had lost the power of speech. 
It was merely that each wished to be more and 
do more for the sake of the other. Philip 
knew that Grace was the sweetest, handsomest, 
cleverest, noblest woman in the world, and that 
the world at large had the right to know it. 
Grace thought Philip competent to illumine any 
social circle, and to become a leader among men ; 
but how was the world to know of it while he 
and she were compelled to remain buried alive 
in a city in which no one knew his next-door 
neighbor except by sight } In her native village 
deserving young men frequently became part- 
ners of their employers, but Philip assured her 
that in New York no such recognition could be 
expected. The best he could hope for was to 
retain his position, be slowly promoted, and 
some day rank with the highest clerks. 

One evening Philip, who ordinarily reached 
home later than his wife, stood in the door of 
the apartment when Grace appeared. He 
quieted the young woman with a rapturous 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 15 

smile, and said, with much lover-like punctua- 
tion : — 

"All of our troubles are ended, dear girl. 
We can live as we wish, and buy everything 
we wish. To-night — at once, if you like — we 
can afford to tell the whole world that we 
are no longer a mere clerk and a sales- 


Grace at once looked more radiant than her 
husband had ever seen her ; she exclaimed : — 

" Oh, Phil ! Tell me all about it ! Quick ! " 

" I will, my dear, if you'll loosen your arms 
— or one of them — for a moment, so that I can 
get my hand into my pocket. Fve inherited 
old Uncle Jethro's property. I don't know how 
much it amounts to, but he was a well-to-do 
country merchant, and here's a single check, on 
account, for a thousand dollars." 

" Phil ! " exclaimed Grace, placing her hands 
on her husband's face and pushing it gently 
backward, while her cheeks glowed, and her 
lips parted, and her eyes seemed to melt. 

"That makes me far happier than I was," 
said Phil, " though I didn't suppose that could 
be possible. Your face is outdoing itself. I 

Caleb Bright j* j» i6 

didn't suppose money could make so great a 
difference in it." 

"Tisn^t the money/' Grace replied slowly, 
" and yet, I suppose it is. But we won't reason 
about it now. We can do what we most wish 
— tell the world that we're married; for that, 
I'd gladly have become a beggar. But do tell 
me all about it." 

Philip placed his wife in an easy chair, took 
a letter from his pocket, and said : — 

" I suppose this will explain all more quickly 
than I could tell it. 'Tis a lawyer's letter. 
Listen : — 

" * Philip Somerton, Esq., — 

" * Dear Sir : We are charged to inform you 
that your uncle, Jethro Somerton, died a few 
days ago, and made you the sole beneficiary of 
his will, on condition that you at once proceed 
to Claybanks, and assume charge of the general 
store and other business interests that were his, 
and that you provide for his clerk, Caleb 
Wright, for the remainder of said Wright's 
natural life, and to the satisfaction of the said 
Wright. In the event of any of these stipula- 
tions not being met, the entire property is to 

Caleb Wright ^ j^ \y 

be divided among several (specified) benevolent 
associations, subject to a life annuity to Caleb 
Wright, and you are to retire from the business 
without taking any of the proceeds. 

" ' By the terms of the will we are instructed, 
(through your late uncle's local attorney) to 
send you the enclosed check for One Thousand 
{$1000) Dollars, to provide for the expenses of 
your trip to Claybanks, and to enable you to 
procure such things as you may wish to take 
with you, the Claybanks stores not being 
stocked with a view to the trade of city people ; 
but our bank will defer payment of the same 
until we are in receipt of enclosed acknowledg- 
ment, duly signed before a notary public, of 
your acceptance under the terms of your uncle's 
will, a copy of which we enclose. 

** * Yours truly, 

"* Trace & Stubb, 

** * For counsel ofjethro SontertoUy deceased' " 

" How strange ! " murmured Grace, who 
seemed to be in a brown study. 

" Is that all it is .? '' asked Phil. 

" No, you silly dear ; you know it isn't. But 
you've scarcely ever mentioned your uncle to 
me; now it appears that you must have been 
Very dear to him. I can't understand it" 

Caleb JFright j» j* i8 

" Can't, eh? That's somewhat uncompliment- 
ary to me. I suppose the truth is that Uncle 
Jethro couldn't think of any one else to leave 
his money to ; for he was a widower and child- 
less. My dear dead-and-gone father was his 
only brother, and he had no sisters, so I'm the 
only remaining male member of the family." 

" But what sort of man was he ? Do tell 
me something about him." 

"I wish I knew a lot of pleasant things to 
tell, but I know little of him except what I 
heard when I was a boy. Father, in whom 
family affection was very strong, loved him 
dearly, yet used to ba greatly provoked by him 
at times ; for uncle's only thought was of money 
— perhaps because he had nothing else to 
think of, and he wrote advice persistently, with 
the manner of an elder brother — a man whose 
advice should be taken as a command. When 
I started East I stopped off and tramped three 
miles across country to call on him, for the 
letter he wrote us when father died was a 
masterpiece of affection and appreciation. I 
had never seen him, and I'm ashamed to say, 
after what has just occurred, that after our fir&t 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 


interview I had no desire to see him again. 
His greeting was fervent only in curiosity ; he 
studied my face as if I were a possible cus- 
tomer who might not be entirely trustworthy. 
Then he made haste to tell me, with many 
details, that he was the principal merchant and 
business man in the county, where he had 
started thirty years before, with no capital but 
his muscles and wits. He intimated that if 
I cared to remain with him a few months on 
trial, and succeeded in impressing him favor- 
ably, I might in time earn an intefest in his 
business ; but I thought I had seen enough of 
country stores and country ways to last me for 
life; so I made the excuse that as my parents 
were dead and my sisters married, I felt justi- 
fied in going to New York to continue my 
studies. When he asked me what I was study- 
ing, I was obliged to reply, 'Literature and 
art,' at which statement he sneered — I may 
say truthfully that he snorted — and at once 
became cooler than before ; so I improved my 
first opportunity, between customers' visits, to 
say that it was time for me to be starting back 
to the railway station. In justice to myself, 

Caleb IFright * j^ zo 

however, as well as to him, I could not start 
without telling him how greatly his letter about 
my father had affected me. For a moment he 
was silent : he looked thoughtful, and as tender, 
I suppose, as a burly, hard-natured man could 
look; then he said: — 

" * Your father was one of the very elect, 
but — ' 

" I quickly interrupted with, * Fm not very 
religious, but I won't listen to a word of criti- 
cism of one of the elect — least of all, of my 
father. Good by, uncle.' He made haste to 
say that the only two men of the Somerton 
family shouldn't part in anger; and when he 
learned that I had walked three miles through 
the darkness and November mud, and intended 
to walk back to the station, he told a man who 
seemed to be his clerk, — Caleb Wright, evi- 
dently the man mentioned in this extraordinary 
letter, — to get out some sort of conveyance and 
drive me over. While Caleb was at the stables, 
my uncle questioned me closely as to my capital 
and business prospects. I was not going to be 
outdone in personal pride, so I replied that, ex- 
cept for some mining stocks which some one 


Caleb JFright j» j» 21 

had imposed upon my father, and were down to 
two cents per share, Fd exactly what he had 
told me he began with, — muscle and wits. He 
saw that I had no overcoat, — boys and young 
men in our part of the country seldom had 
them, — so he pressed one upon me, and when 
I tried to decline it, he said, * For my dead 
brother's sake,' which broke me down. When 
I reached the train, I found in the overcoat 
pockets some handkerchiefs, gloves, hosiery, 
neckwear, and several kinds of patent medi- 
cines, which evidently he thought trustworthy ; 
there was also a portmonnaie containing a few 
small notes and some coin. I wrote, thanking 
him, as soon as I found employment; but he 
never answered my letter, so I was obliged to 
assume that he had repented of his generosity 
and wished no further communication with 

" How strange ! But the man — Caleb — 
who drove you to the station, and who seems 
to be a life pensioner on the estate, and is to 
be dependent upon us, — how did he impress 

" I scarcely remember him, except as a small 

Caleb fF right j» j» 22 

man with a small face, small beard, a small gentle 
voice, and pleasanter eyes than country clerks 
usually have. I remember that his manner 
seemed very kindly, — after my experience with 
my uncle's, — and he said a clever or quaint thing 
once in a while, as any other countryman might 
have done. For the rest, he is a Civil War 
veteran, and about forty years of age — per- 
haps less, for beards make men look older than 
they are/' 

" And the town with the odd name — Clay- 
banks ? " 

"I saw it only in the dark, which means I 
didn't see it at all. I believe 'tis the county 
town, and probably it doesn't differ much from 
other Western villages of a thousand ""or two 
people. 'Twill be a frightful change from New 
York, dear girl, for you." 

"You will be there," replied Grace, with a 
look that quickly brought her husband's arms 
around her. "And you will be prominent 
among men, instead of merely one man among 
a dozen in a great office. Every one will know 
my husband ; he won't any longer go to and 
from business as unknown as any mere no- 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 23 

body, as you and most other men do in New 
York. Tis simply ridiculous — 'tis unnatural, 
and entirely wrong, that my husband's many 
clever, splendid qualities aren't known and put 
to their proper uses. You ought to be the 
manager of the firm you are with, instead of 
a mere clerk. I want other people to under- 
stand you, and admire you, just as I do, but no 
one is any one in this great crowded, lonely, 
dreadful city." 

" There, there ! " said Philip. " Don't make 
me conceited. Besides, we've neglected that 
check for at least ten minutes. Let's have 
another look at it. A thousand dollars I — as 
much money as both of us have had to spend 
in a year, after paying our rent ! A tenth part 
of it will be more than enough to take us and 
our belongings to Claybanks ; with the other 
nine hundred we'll buy a lot of things with 
which to delight ourselves and astonish the 
natives, — silk dresses and other adornments for 
you, likewise a piano, to replace the one we 
have been hiring, and some pictures, and bric- 
A-brac, and we'll subscribe to a lot of maga- 
zines, and — " 

Caleb Wright * * z^ 

" But suppose," said Grace, " that after 
reaching there you find the business difficult 
or unendurable, and wish to come back to New 
York ? " 

"Never fear for me! I'm concerned only 
for you, dear girl. I know Western country 
places, having been brought up in one ; I know 
the people, and among them you will take 
place at once as a queen. But queens are not 
always the most contented of creatures. Their 
subjects may not be — " 

"If my first and dearest subject remains 
happy," said Grace, "I shall have no excuse 
for complaining." 


rHE ensuing week was a busy one for 
Philip and Grace ; for to announce an 
unsuspected marriage and a coming 
departure at one and the same time to two sets 
of acquaintances is no ordinary task, even to 
two social nobodies in New York. Besides, 
Philip had lost no time in making the legal 
acknowledgment that was requisite to the cash- 
ing of his check, and in spending a portion of 
the proceeds. A short letter came from Caleb 
Wright, enclosing one almost equally short 
from the late Jethro Somerton, which assured 
Philip of Caleb's honesty and general trust- 
worthiness, and that the business would not 
suffer for a few days. 

" Caleb is a far better and broader man than 
I," Philip's uncle had written, "but he lacks 
force and push. I'm satisfied he can't help it. 

Caleb Wright j^ * 26 

He is stronger than he looks, and younger too, 
but he was fool enough to take part in the Civil 
War, where he got a bullet that is still roaming 
about in him, besides a thorough malarial soak- 
ing that medicine can't cure. This often makes 
him dull ; sometimes for weeks together. But 
he knows human nature through and through, 
and if I had a son to bring up, I'd rather give 
the job to Caleb than trust myself with it. He 
has done me a lot of good in some ways, and I 
feel indebted to him and want him to be well 
cared for as long as he lives. His salary is 
small, and he won't ask to have it increased; 
but sometimes he*ll insist that you help him 
with some projects of his own, and I advise you 
to do it, for he will make your life miserable 
until you do, and the cost won't be great. I 
used to fight him and lose my temper over some 
of his hobbies, but now I wish I hadn't ; 'twould 
have been cheaper." 

"That," said Philip, after reading the pas- 
sage to Grace, "is about as tantalizing as if 
written for the purpose of teasing me, for 
there's not a shadow of hint as to the nature 
of Caleb's projects and hobbies. He may 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 2j 

be experimenting in perpetual motion or at 
extracting sunshine from cucumbers. Still, as 
the man is honest and his freaks are not expen- 
sive, I don't see that I can suffer greatly. By 
the way, when I informed our firm that they 
would have to endure the withdrawal of my 
valuable services, and told them the reason, 
they were not a bit surprised; they said my 
uncle had written them several times, asking 
about my progress and character, and they had 
been unable to say anything to my discredit. 
They had been curious enough to make in- 
quiries, from the commercial agencies, about 
the writer of the letters, and they took pleas- 
ure in informing me that Uncle Jethro's store, 
houses, farms, were estimated by good judges, 
at — guess how much." 

Grace wondered vaguely a moment or two 
before she replied: — 

"Aunt Eunice's cousin was the principal 
merchant in a town of two or three thousand 
people, and his estate, at his death, was — 
inventoried, I think was the word — at twelve 
thousand dollars. Is it as much as that?" 

" Multiply it by six, my dear, and you'll be 

Caleb PFright o» j» 28 

within the mark, which is seventy-five thou- 
sand dollars." 

" Oh, Phil ! " 

"I repeat it, seventy-five thousand dollars, 
and that in a country where a family with a 
thousand a year can live on the fat of the 
land ! Our firm declares that our fortune will 
be as much to us, out there, as half a million 
would be in New York. Doesn't that make 
your heart dance ? I can give you horses and 
carriages, dress you in silks and laces, hire 
plenty of servants for you; in short, make 
you in appearance and luxury what you will be 
by nature, the finest lady in the county. Dear 
woman, the better Fve learned to know you, the 
more guilty Tve felt at having married you ; for 
I saw plainly that you were fit to adorn any 
station in the world, instead of being the wife 
of a man so poor that you yourself had to 
work for wages to help us have a home. At 
times I've felt so mean about it that — " 

Grace stopped further utterance on the sub- 
ject by murmuring : — 

** Seventy-five thousand dollars ! What shall 
we do with it .? " 

Caleb fTRiGHT j^ j^ 29 

" Enjoy it, dear girl ; that's what we shall 
do. We've youth, health, taste, spirits, energy, 
and best of all, love. If all these qualities 
can't help us to enjoy money, I can't imagine 
what else can. Besides, Claybanks is bound 
to be a city in the course of a few years — 
so uncle said ; and if he was right, we will be 
prepared to take the lead in society. 'Twon't 
be injudicious to have the largest, best-fur- 
nished house, and a full circle of desirable ac- 
quaintances, against the time when the sleepy 
village shall be transformed in a day. Western 
fashion, into a bustling city." 

The several days that followed were spent 
largely in longings to get away, and regrets at 
leaving New York's many new delights that 
were at last within reach; but finally Philip 
wrote Caleb Wright that he would arrive at 
Claybanks on a specified date, and asked that 
the best room in the best hotel be engaged 
for him. The couple reached the railway sta- 
tion at dawn of a dull December morning, 
and after an hour of effort, while Grace re- 
mained in the single room at the station and 
endeavored not to be nauseated by the mixed 

Caleb IFright > > 


odors of stale tobacco, an overloaded stove, 
and a crate of live chickens awaiting ship- 
ment, Philip found a conveyance to take them 
to Claybanks. The unpaved road was very 
muddy, and the trees were bare, the farm-houses 
were few and unsightly. Philip was obliged 
to ask: — 

"Isn't it shockingly dismal?" 

" Is this the road," Grace answered, " over 
which you walked, at night, when you visited 
your uncle ? " 

"The very same, I suppose, for there's never a 
choice of roads between two unimportant places." 

" Then I sha'n't complain," said Grace, nes- 
tling very close to her husband. 

The outlook did not improve as the travellers 
came near to the village of Claybanks. Houses 
were more numerous, but most of them were 
very small, many were unpainted, and some 
were of rough logs. The fences, while exhibit- 
ing great variety of design, were almost uni- 
form in shabbiness. 

" Rather a dismal picture, isn't it } " asked 
Philip. " It suggests a kalsominer's attempt to 
copy a Corot." 

Caleb Wright j^ * 31 

" Fm keeping my eyes closed/* Grace re- 
plied. " Fm going to defer being impressed 
by the town until a sunny day arrives." 

" If you were to look about you now," said 
Philip, gloomily, "you'd see the fag end of 
nothing — the jumping-oflF place of the world. 
How my uncle succeeded in living here — 
still stranger in making money here — passes 
my comprehension." 

The best room at the hotel proved to be quite 
clean, but as bare as a hotel chamber could be, 
and also very cold. Philip begged for one with 
a fire, but was told that all warmed rooms were 
already occupied by regular lodgers. Fortu- 
nately breakfast was being served. It consisted 
of fried pork, fried sausage, fried eggs, tough 
biscuits, butter of a flavor which the newest 
guests neither recalled nor approved, two kinds 
of pie, and coffee. 

" If this is the best hotel Caleb could find 
for us, what can the worst be.?" whispered 

"Perhaps we can find board in a private 
family," whispered Grace, in reply. 

" How early will Somerton's store be open } " 

Caleb fTRiGHT * j* 


asked Philip of the landlord, who had also 
served as table-waiter. 

" It's been open since daybreak, I reckon ; 
it usually is/' was the reply. "I shouldn't 
wonder if you was the new boss, seein' you 
have the same name. Well, I'm glad to see 
you. I'm one of your customers." 

** Thank you very much. Is the store far 
from here.?" 

"Only two blocks up street. You'll find 
Caleb there. You know Caleb Wright .!*" 

" Oh, yes ; I've been here before." 

"That so.? Must have put up at the other 
hotel, then — or mebbe you stopped with your 

" Er — yes, for the little while I was in town. 
I wish there was a warm room in which my 
wife could rest, while I go up to the store to 
see Caleb." 

"Well, what's the matter with the parlor.? 
Come along; let me show you." 

Philip looked into the parlor ; so did Grace, 
who quickly said : — 

" Do let me go to the store with you. You 
know I always enjoy a walk after breakfast." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 33 

" Pretty soft walkin', ma'am/' said the land- 
lord, after eying Grace's daintily shod feet. 
" Better let me borrow you my wife's gum 
shoes ; she ain't likely to go out of the house 
to-day. You ought to have gum boots, though, 
if you're dead set on walkin' about in winter." 

Grace thanked the landlord for his offer and 
advice, but hurried Phil out of the hotel, after 
which she said : — 

"That was my first visit to a hotel of any 
kind. Do they improve on acquaintance? 
Oh, Phil ! Don't look so like a thunder-cloud ! 
What can the matter be ? " 

" I should have been thoughtful enough to 
come a day or two in advance, and found a 
proper home for you. I hope Caleb will know 
of one. Be careful! — the sidewalk is ending. 
•Let me go first." 

Two or three successive planks served as 
continuation of the sidewalk, and their ends 
did not quite join, but Philip skilfully piloted 
his wife along them. Beyond, in front of a 
residence, was a brick walk about two feet 
wide, after which was encountered soft mud 
for about fifty linear feet. Philip looked about 

Caleb IFright j» j» 


for bits of board, stone, brick — anything with 
which to make solid footing at short intervals. 
But he could see nothing available; neither 
could he see any person out of doors, so in 
desperation he took Grace in his arms and 
carried her to a street-crossing, where to his 
delight he saw a broad stick of hewn timber 
embedded in the mud and extending from side to 
side. After this were some alternations of brick 
sidewalk, mud, and a short causeway of tan- 
bark, the latter ending at a substantial pavement 
in front of a store over which was a weather- 
beaten sign bearing the name Jethro Somerton. 

"The treasure-house of Her Majesty Grace 
I., Queen of Claybanks," said Philip. "Shall 
we enter?" 

As Philip opened the door, a small man 
who was replenishing the stove looked around,* 
dropped a stick of wood, wiped his hands on 
his coat, came forward, smiling pleasantly, and 
said : — 

"Mr. Somerton, Fm very glad to see you 

"Thank you, Mr. Wright. Let me make 
you acquainted with Mrs. Somerton." 


Caleb JFright •* •* 35 

Caleb seemed not a bit appalled as he 
shook hands with Grace. He held her hand 
several seconds while he looked at her, and 
seemed to approve of what he saw; then he 
said : — 

" Your uncle told me of your marriage, and 
thought you'd been very unwise. I reckon 
he'd change his mind if he was here, though 
'twas a hard one to change," 

Grace blushed slightly and replied : — 

"I hope so, I'm sure. Have you had the 
entire work of the store since Uncle Jethro 
died } " 

" Uncle — Jethro ! I don't believe he'd have 
died if he'd heard you say that! Well, yes, 
I've been alone here. Your husband wrote 
he'd be along pretty soon, an' as the roads 
was so soft that the farmers didn't come to 
town much, I didn't think it worth while to 
get extra help. Come into the back room, 
won't you? There's chairs there, an' a good 
fire too." 

"Are the farmers your principal custom- 
ers?" Grace asked, as she sank into a capa- 
cious wooden armchair. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ ^b 

"Well, they're the most important ones. 
They take most time, too, though some of the 
women-folks in this town can use more time 
in spendin' a quarter an' makin' up their 
minds — principally the latter, than — well, I 
don't s'pose you can imagine how they wait, 
an' fuss, an' turn things over, an* — " 

"Oh, indeed I can," said Grace; "for once 
I was a country girl, and in New York I was 
a saleswoman in a store, and have waited on 
just such customers half an hour at a time 
without making a sale, though the store was 
one of the biggest in the city, and its prices 
were as low as any." 

" I want to know ! " exclaimed Caleb, whose 
eyes had opened wide while Grace talked. 
"You.? — a country gal.? — an* a saleswoman.? 
I wouldn't have thought it!" 

"Why not.? Don't I look clever enough.?" 

" Oh, that ain't it, but — " 

" Some day, when you and Philip are real 
busy," suggested Grace, "perhaps you'll let 
me help you behind the counter." 

" Mrs. Somerton is a great joker," explained 
Philip, as Caleb continued to look incredulous. 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ ^7 

"But I wasn't joking/' said Grace. "FU 
really help in the store some day when — *' 

"When your husband lets you, you said/' 
remarked Philip. 

" Well," drawled Caleb, slowly regaining his 
customary expression, " I shouldn't wonder if 
Mrs. Somerton's the kind that's let to do 
pretty much as she likes." 

Philip laughed, and replied : — 

"You're a quick judge of human nature, 
Mr. Wright. But before we talk business I 
want some advice and assistance. We can't 
live at that hotel ; for my wife would have to 
sit in a cold room all day, which isn't to be 
thought of. Can't you suggest a boarding 
place, in a private family.?" 

"Scarcely, I'm afraid," Caleb replied after 
a moment of thought. "I don't b'lieve any 
families here ever took boarders, or would 
know how to do it to your likin'. What's the 
matter with your takin' your uncle's house 
an* livin' in it.? It's plain, but comfortable, 
an' just as he left it." 

" Is there a servant in it ? " 

"Oh, no; there hasn't been since his wife 

Caleb JFright j» j» 38 

died, an' she wasn't what you city folks call 
a servant. * Helper ' is what you want to say 
in these parts. They're hard to get, too, an' 
if they're not treated same as if they was 
members of the family, they won't stay. About 
your uncle, — well, you see he took his meals 
at the hotel, an' done his own housework, 
which didn't amount to much except makin* 
his bed ev'ry momin' an' makin' fire through 
the winter. S'pose you take a look at it, 
when you're good and ready. It's on ' the 
back of the store-lot, and the key is in the 
desk here. Your furniture an' things, that 
come by rail, I had put in the warehouse be- 
hind the store, not knowin' just what you'd 
want to do." 

Philip and Grace looked at each other, and 
exchanged a few words about possible house- 
keeping. Caleb looked at both with great 
interest, and improved the first moment of 
silence to say: — 

" An' she's — you've — been a shop-girl ! " 
Philip frowned slightly, and Caleb hastened to 
add, " I ort to have said a saleswoman. But 
who would have thought it ! " 

Caleb Wright •* •* 39 

"Caleb is a character/' Grace said as soon 
as she and her husband left the store. " I'm 
going to be very fond of him." 

"Very well; do so. I'll promise not to be 
jealous. He's certainly hearty, and 'tis good 
for us that he's honest ; for we and all we have 
are practically in his hands and will remain 
there until I get a grip on the business. But 
I do wish Uncle Jethro hadn't been so enrag- 
ingly non-committal about the chap's peculiari- 
ties. I shall be on pins and needles until I 
know what the old gentleman was hinting at 
Besides, he may have been entirely mistaken. 
A mind that could imagine that this out-of-the- 
world hole-in-the-ground must one day become 
a city could scarcely have been entirely trust- 
worthy about anything." 



rHE house in which the late Jethro 
Somerton had lived was a plain 
wooden structure, entered by a door 
opening directly into a room which had been 
used as a sitting room. Behind this was a 
kitchen, beside which was a bedroom, while in 
front, beside the sitting room, was a "best 
room*' or parlor. There was a second floor, 
in which were four rooms, some of which had 
never been used. The ceilings throughout the 
house were so low that Philip, who was quite 
tall, could touch them with his finger-tips 
when he stood on tiptoe. The walls of the 
sitting room and parlor were hard-finished and 
white; all the other walls were rough and 

"This is quite out of the question, as a 
home," said Philip. " No hall, no — " 

" Why not make believe that the sitting room 

Caleb Wright •* •* 41 

is a square hall?" Grace asked. "They're 
the rage in the swell villages around New 

" But there's no bath room." 

"We can make one, on the upper floor, 
where we've rooms to spare." 

" Perhaps ; but 'tis very improbable that the 
town has a water service." 

" Then have a tank, fed from the roof or by 
a pump, as Aunt Eunice has in her cottage, 
smaller than this and in a town no larger than 
Clay banks." 

" No furnace, of course, to warm the house, 
and — ugh! — I don't believe the town knows 
of the existence of coal, for both stoves at the 
store are fed with wood." 

" So they were, and — oh, I see ! Here are 
fireplaces in the sitting-room — or hall, I sup- 
pose I should say — and in the parlor ! Think 
how unutterably we longed for the unattainable 
— that is, an open wood fire — in our little flat in 
the city ! " 

" But, dear girl, a fireplace grows cold at 

" Quite likely ; but don't you suppose the 

Caleb JFright j» j> 42 

principal merchant in town could economize on 
something so as to afford enough quilts and 
blankets to keep his family from freezing to 
death while they sleep?" 

"You angel, youVe all the brains of the 
family. Where did you learn so much about 
houses? And about what to do when you 
don't find what you want in them ? And who 
taught you?*' 

" I suppose necessity taught me/' Grace re- 
plied, with a laugh, " and within the past few 
minutes, too. For, don't you see, we must live 
in this house. There seems to be no other 
place for us. And I suppose 'tis instinct for 
women, rather than men, to see the possibilities 
of houses, for a woman has to spend most of 
her life indoors." 

Then she walked slowly toward the kitchen, 
where she contemplated the stove, two grease- 
spotted tables, and four fly-specked walls. 
Philip followed her, saying: — 

" What a den ! Money must be spent here 
at once, and — oh, Grace ! You're crying ? 
Come here — quick ! I never before saw tears 
in your eyes ! " 

Caleb tFRiGHT •* •* 43 

"And you never shall again," Grace sobbed. 
" I don't see what can be the matter with me ; 
it must be the cold weather that has — " 

"This forlorn bam of a house and this 
shabby, God-forsaken town have broken your 
heart!" exclaimed Philip. "I wish I too could 
cry. I assure you my heart has been in my 
boots, though Fve tried hard to keep it in its 
proper place. Don't let's remain here another 
hour, ril gladly abandon my inheritance to 
the benevolent societies. We'll hurry back to 
the city and let our things follow us." 

"But we can't, Phil, for we've burned our 
bridges behind us. We can take only such 
money as will get us back, and we would not 
be certain of employment on reaching the city. 
Besides, we told our acquaintances of our good 
fortune, but not of its conditions ; if we go back, 
they will suspect you and pity me." 

"You're right — you're right!" said Philip, 
from behind tightly closed jaws. '* Why hadn't 
I sense to get leave of absence for a week, and 
look at the gift before accepting it } Still, we're 
alive; we have the money, and the first and 
best use of it is to make you comfortable. I'll 

Caleb JFright •* •* 44 

get Caleb to get me some men at once, — one of 
them to make fires, and the others to bring over 
and unpack our goods. In the meanwhile, you 
shall at least keep warm in the office of the 
store. You'll have only barrels of molasses 
and vinegar and bales of grain-sacks for com- 
pany, but — " 

" But my husband won't be farther away 
than the next room," Grace said, "and the door 
between shall remain open." 

Then Philip kissed the tears from her eyes, 
and Grace called herself an unreasonable baby, 
and Philip called himself an unpardonable don- 
key, and they returned together to the store, 
entering softly by the back door, so that Caleb 
should not see them and join them at once. 
But dingy though the back windows of the 
office were, Caleb, standing behind one of 
them, said to himself : — 

" Rubbin' her face with her handkerchief ! 
— that means she's been cryin*. Well, I should 
think she would, if city houses are anythin' 
like the picture-papers make 'em out to be." 

Caleb retired to the store, where Phil joined 
him after a few moments, and said: — 

Caleb IFright •* •* 45 

" We shall live in the old house, Mr. Wright. 
My wife and I have been looking it over, and 
we see how it can be made very comfortable." 

"You do, eh.?" Caleb replied; at the same 
time his face expressed so much astonishment 
that Philip laughed, and said : — 

"You mustn't mistake us for a pair of city 
upstarts. My wife, as she told you, was a 
country girl ; she went to New York only a 
few years ago, and 'twas only four years since 
I passed through here on my way to the city. 
We're strong enough and brave enough to 
take anything as we find it, if we can't make 
it better. That reminds me that the old house 
can be bettered in many ways. Is there a 
plumber in the town } " 

" No, sir ! " replied Caleb, with emphasis, 
and a show of indignation such as might have 
been expected were he asked if Claybanks 
supported a gambling den. "We've read 
about 'em, in the city papers, an' I reckon 
one of 'em would starve to death if he come 
out here, unless the boys run him out of town 

" H'm ! I'm going to beg you to restrain the 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 46 

boys when I coax a plumber here from the 
nearest city, for a few days' work in the house. 
And Tve another favor to ask; you know 
people here, and I don't, as yet. Won't you 
find me two or three men, this morning — at 
once — to unpack my things that came from 
the city, and put them into the house ? When 
they're ready to move them, I wish you'd 
make some excuse to coax my wife out here, 
so that I can slip down to the house, without 
her knowledge, and prepare a surprise for her 
by placing all our belongings about as they 
were in our rooms in the city." 

" Good for you ! Good for you ! " ex- 
claimed Caleb, rubbing his hands. " If you're 
that kind o' man, I reckon you're deservin' of 
her. Most men's so busy with their own af- 
fairs, or so careless, that women comin' to a 
new country have a back-breakin' time of it, 
an' a heart-breakin' too. I dunno, though, 
that I can keep her away from you long 
enough. From her ways, — the little I've seen 
of 'em, — I reckon she's one o' the kind o' 
wives that sticks to her husband like hot tar 
to a sheep's wool." 

Caleb JFright •* •* 47 

"Oh, you'll have no trouble, for she al- 
ready has taken a great liking to you." 

"I recippercate the sentiment," said Caleb, 
again rubbing his hands. "I don't know 
much, but a man can't work in a country 
store about twenty year or more without 
sizin' up new specimens of human nature 
powerful quick, an* makin* mighty few mis- 
takes at it. You'll find out how it is. All of 
a sudden, some day, a new settler, that you 
never saw before, '11 come in an* want to be 
trusted for goods — sca'cely any of 'em has 
any cash, an' you have to wait for your pay 
till they can raise some kind of produce, an* 
bring it in. If you can't read faces, you're 
likely to be a goner, to the amount of what 
you sell, an* if you refuse, you may be a 
thousan' times wuss a goner; for if the man's 
honest, an* also as proud as poor folks usu- 
ally be, he*ll never forgive you, and some 
other storekeeper*ll get all his trade. Or, a 
stranger passin* through town wants to sell a 
boss; you don*t know him or the boss either, 
or whether they come by each other hon- 
estly, an* — But this ain't what you was talk- 

Caleb JFright j» > 48 

in' about. Til stir about and see what help I 
can pick up. I reckon you won't have no 
trouble in the store while Fm gone; prices is 
marked on pretty much everythin'. Want to 
get settled to-day ? " 

"Yes, if possible." 

" Reckon Til see to makin' fires in the 
house, then, so's to warm things up. If any 
customer comes in that you don't quite under- 
stand, or wants any goods that bothers you, 
try to hold him till I get back. 'Twon't be 
hard. Folks in these parts ain't generally in 
a drivin* hurry." 

"All right. I used to lounge in the stores 
in our town; I know their ways pretty well, 
and I remember many prices." 

"That's good. Well, if you get stuck, get 
your wife to help you. There's a good deal 
in havin' been behind a counter, besides what 
Mrs. Somerton is of her own self." 

Then Caleb turned up his coat-collar and 
sauntered out. 

"Grace," shouted Philip, as soon as the 
door had closed, "do come here! Allow me 
to congratulate you on having made a con- 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ ^g 

quest of Caleb Wright. He kindly tolerates 
me, but 'tis quite plain that he regards you as 
the head of the family. I was going to re- 
place that shabby old sign over the door, but 
now I fear that Caleb will demand that the 
new one shall read * Mrs. Somerton & Hus- 
band.' " 

Grace's face glowed as merrily as if it had 
not been tear-stained half an hour before, and 
she replied: — 

"I've not seen a possible conquest — since 
I was married — that would give me greater 
pleasure; for I am you, you know, and you 
are me, and the you-I would be dreadfully 
helpless if we hadn't such a man to depend 

"'You-I*! That's a good word — a very 
good one. You ought to be richly paid for 
coining it." 

" Pay me, then, and promptly ! " Grace re- 

Some forms of payment consume much 
time when the circumstances do not require 
haste: they also have a way of making the 
payer and payee oblivious to their surround- 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ s^ 

ings, so Philip and Grace supposed them- 
selves alone until they heard the front door 
close with a loud report, and saw a small boy 
who seemed to consist entirely of eyes. 
Grace quickly and intently studied the label 
of an empty powder keg on the counter, 
while Philip said: — 

" Good morning, young man. What can we 
do for you ? *' 

" Wantapoundo'shinglenails," was the reply, 
in nasal monotone. 

Philip searched the hardware section of the 
store, at the same time searching his memory 
for the price, in his native town, of shingle 
nails. The packing of the nails, in soft brown 
paper, was a slow and painful proceeding to a 
man whose hands in years had encountered 
nothing harder or rougher than a pen-holder, 
but when it was completed, the boy, taking the 
package, departed rapidly. 

" He forgot to pay for them,** said Grace. 

" Yes," Philip replied. " I hope his memory 
will be equally dormant in other respects." 

But it wasn't; for little Scrapsey Green 
stopped several times, on the way home, to tell 

Caleb fTRiGHT, ji ji 51 

acquaintances that " up to Somerton's store ther 
was a man a-kissin' a woman like all-possessed, 
an' he wasn't Caleb, neither.*' 

•The aforesaid acquaintances made haste to 
spread the story abroad, as did Scrapsey's own 
family ; so when Caleb returned, an hour later, 
the store was jammed with apparent customers, 
and Philip was behind one counter, and Grace 
behind the other, and the counters themselves 
were strewn and covered with goods of all sorts, 
at which the people pretended to look, while 
they gazed at the " man and woman " of whom 
they had been told. 

"You must be kind o' tuckered out," said 
Caleb, softly, behind Grace's counter, as he 
stood an instant with his back to the crowd, and 
pretended to adjust a shelf of calicoes. " Bet- 
ter take a rest in the back room. I'll relieve 

Grace responded quickly to the suggestion, 
while Caleb, leaning over the goods on the 
counter, said, again softly, to the women 
nearest him: — 

"That's the new Mr. Somerton's wife — an' 
that's him, at t'other counter." 


" Mighty scrumptious gal ! " commented a 
middle-aged woman. 

"Yes, an* she's just as nice as she looks. 
Clear gold an' clear grit, an' her husband's right 
good stuff, too." 

Within two or three minutes Caleb succeeded 
in signalling Philip to the back room ; five min- 
utes later the store was empty, and Caleb joined 
the couple, and said : — 

" Sell much .? " 

" Not a penny's worth," Grace replied, 
laughing heartily. " We've been comparing 

'* Sho ! " exclaimed Caleb, although his eyes 
twinkled. " I met Scrapsey Green up the road, 
with a pound of shingle-nails that he said come 
from here, an' I didn't s'pose Scrapsey would 
lie, for he's one o' my Sunday-school scholars." 
Philip and Grace quickly reddened, while Caleb 
continued, " Well, might's well be interduced to 
the gen'ral public one time's another, I s'pose, 
'specially if you can be kept busy, so's not to 
feel uncomfortable. Besides," he said, after a 
moment of reflection, "if a man hain't got a 
right to kiss his own wife, on his own property, 

Caleb JFright j^ ^ s^ 

whose wife has he got a right to kiss, an' where- 
abouts?" Then Caleb looked at the account 
books on the desk, and continued : " Reckon you 
forgot to charge the nails. Well, I don't 



WISH the Doctor would stop in/' said 
Caleb, in a manner as casual as if his 
first call that morning had not been on 
Doctor and Mrs. Taggess, whom he told of the 
new arrivals, declaring that Philip and Grace 
were '* about as nice as the best, 'specially her, 
an' powerful in need of a cheerin' up," and 
begging Mrs. Taggess to invite Grace to mid- 
day dinner at once, so that Philip might be free 
to prepare his surprise for Grace. 

" The Doctor } " Grace echoed. " Why, Mr. 
Wright, which of us looks ill ? " 

'* Neither one nor t'other, at present," Caleb 
replied ; " but this country's full of malary, an' 
forewarned is forearmed. Besides, our doctor's 
the kind to do your heart good, an' his wife's 
just like him. They're good an' clever, an' 
hearty, an' sociable, an' up to snuff in gen'ral. 

Caleb JFright * * ss 

Fact is, they're the salt of the earth, or to as 
much of it as knows 'em. Sometimes I think 
that Claybanks an' the round-about country 
would kind o' decay an' disappear if it wasn't 
for Doc Taggess an' his wife. Doc's had good 
chances to go to the city, for he's done some 
great cures that's got in the medical papers, 
but here he stays. He don't charge high, an' a 
good deal of the time it don't do him no good 
to charge, but here he sticks — says he knows 
all the people an* their constitutions, an' so on, 
an* a new doctor might let some folks die while 
he was learnin' the ropes, so to speak. How's 
that for a genuine man ? " 

" First-rate," said Philip, and Grace assented. 
Caleb continued to tell of the Doctor's good 
qualities, and suddenly said : — 

" Speak of angels, an' you hear their buggy- 
wheels, an' the driver hoUerin' * Whoa ! ' I 
think I just heard the Doctor say it, out in 

A middle-aged couple bustled into the store ; 
Grace hastily consulted a small mirror in the 
back room, and Caleb whispered to Philip : — 

" If they ask you folks to ride or do anything 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 56 

let your wife go, an' you make an excuse to 
stay. There's a powerful lot of your New 
York stufif to be fixed, if you expect to do it 
to-day. Come along! Doctor an' Mrs. Tag- 
gess, this is my new boss, an' here comes his 

**Glad to meet you," said the Doctor, a man 
of large, rugged, earnest face, extending a hand 
to each. 

Mrs. Taggess, who was a motherly-looking 
woman, exclaimed to Grace : — 

" You poor child, how lonesome you must 
feel ! So far from your home ! " 

" Oh, no, — only the length of the store-yard," 
Grace replied. 

"Eh.? Brave girl!" said the Doctor. 
" That's the sort of spirit to have in a new 
country, if you want to be happy. Well, I 
can't stop more than a minute, — I've a patient 
to see in the back street. I understand you're 
stopping at the hotel, and as, for the reputation 
of the town, we shouldn't like you to get a 
violent attack of indigestion the first day, we 
came down to ask you to dine with us at twelve. 
Mrs. Somerton can ride up now and visit with 

Caleb JFright * * s7 

my wife, and her husband can come up when 
iie will. Caleb can give him the direction." 

" So kind of you ! '* murmured Grace, and 
Philip said: — 

*'I shall be under everlasting obligations to 
you for giving my wife a view of some better 
interior than that of a store or that dismal hotel, 
but I daren't leave to-day. Caleb has arranged 
for several men to see me." 

" Well, well, ril catch you some other day," 
said the Doctor. ** I must be going ; hope 
you'll find business as brisk as I do. You may 
be sure that Mrs. Taggess will take good care 
of your wife, and see that she gets safely back. 
Good day. I'll drop in once in a while. Hope 
to know you better. I make no charge for 
social calls." 

So it came to pass that within ten minutes 
Philip was furnishing his new home with the 
contents of the old. The possible contents of 
a New York flat for two are small, at best ; yet 
as each bit of furniture, upholstery, and bric-^- 
brac was placed in position in the Jethro 
Somerton house, the plain rooms looked less 
bare, so Philip was correspondingly elated. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 58 

True, he had to use ordinary iron nails to hang 
his pictures, and was in desperation for some 
moments for lack of rods for portieres and 
curtains, but he supplied their places with 
rake-handles from the store and rested them in 
meat-hooks. He worked so long, and hurried 
so often into the store for one makeshift after 
another, that Caleb became excited and peered 
through the windows of the store's back room 
at his first opportunity, just in time to see the 
upright piano moved in. Unable to endure the 
strain of curiosity any longer, he quickly 
devised an excuse, in the shape of a cup of 
coffee and some buttered toast, all made at the 
stove in the back room of the store. Coaxing a 
trustworthy but lounging customer to "mind 
store" for him a minute or two, Caleb put the 
refreshments in a covered box and timed him- 
self to meet Philip as the latter emerged from 
the warehouse with an armful of books. 

" Didn't want to disturb you, but seein' that 
you let the hotel dinner-hour pass an* was work- 
in' hard, I thought mebbe a little snack " (here 
Caleb lifted the lid of the box) " 'd find its way 
to the right place." 

Caleb JFright > ji 59 

"Mr. Wright, you're a trump! Would you 
mind bringing it into the house for me, my 
hands being full ? '* 

" Don't want to intrude." 

"Nonsense! Aren't we friends? If not, 
we're going to be. Besides, I really want some 
one to rejoice with me over the surprise I'm 
going to give my wife. Come right in. Drop 
the box on this table." 

"Well!" exclaimed Caleb, after a long sus- 
piration, "I reckon I done that just in time! 
A second more, an' I'd ha' dropped the hull 
thing on this carpet — or is it a shawl .^ Why, 
'taint the same place at all! Je-ru-salem! 
What would your Uncle Jethro say if he could 
look in a minute } Reckon he'd want to come 
back an' stay. I dunno's I ought to have said 
that, though, for I've always b'lieved he was 
among the saved, an' of course your house ain't 
better'n heaven, but — " 

" But 'twill be heaven to my wife and me," 
said Philip. 

"Well, I reckon homes was invented 'spec- 
ially to prepare folks for heaven, — or t'other 
place, 'cordin' to the folks." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ bo 

"Come into the parlor," said Philip, toast 
and coffee in hand. For a moment or two 
Caleb stood speechless in the doorway; then 
he said : — 

" Je-ru-salem ! This reminds me to take off 
my hat. Why, I s'posed you folks wasn't over- 
an'-above well fixed in the city, but this is a 
palace ! " 

" Not quite," said Philip, although delighted 
by Caleb's comments. "Thousands of quiet 
young couples in New York have prettier par- 
lors than this." 

" I want to know ! " Then Caleb sighed. " I 
reckon that's why young people that go there 
from the country never come home again. I've 
knowed a lot of 'em that I'd like to see once 
more. Hello! I reckon that's a planner; I've 
seen pictures of 'em in advertisements. A firm 
in the city once wanted your uncle to take the 
county agency for pianners." Caleb laughed 
almost convulsively as he continued, " Ye ort to 
have seen Jethro's face when he read that 
letter ! " 

"Do you mean to say that there are no 
pianos in this county } " asked Philip. 

Caleb JFright > > 6i 

"I just do. But there once was an organ. 
Squire Pease, out in Hick*ry Township, bought 
one two or three years ago for his gals. He was 
runnin* for sheriff then, an' thought somethin' 
so new an* startlin' might look like a sign of 
public spirit, an* draw him some votes. But 
somehow his gals didn't get the hang of it, an' 
the noises it made always set visitors' dogs to 
howlin', an' to tryin' to get into the house an' 
kill the varmint, whatever it was, an' Pease's 
dogs tried to down the visitors' dogs, an' that 
made bad feelin'; so Pease traded the organ to 
a pedler for a patent corn-planter, an' he didn't 
get 'lected sheriff, either. I allers reckoned 
that ef anybody'd knowed how to play on it, 
that organ might ha' been a means of grace in 
these parts, for I've knowed a nigger's fiddle to 
stop a drunken fight that was too much for the 
sheriff an' his posse." Caleb looked the piano 
over as if it were a horse on sale, and con- 
tinued : — 

" Don't seem to work with a crank." 
" Oh, no," replied Philip, placing a chair in 
front of the instrument and seating himself. 
" This is the method." He indulged in two or 

Caleb fTRiGHT > > 62 

three "runs," and then, with his heart on 
Grace, he dashed into the music dearest to 
him and his wife — perhaps because it was not 
played at their own very quiet marriage, — the 
Mendelssohn Wedding March. 

" Je-ru-salem ! " exclaimed Caleb. "That's a 
hair-lifter! What a blessin' such a machine 
must be to a man that knows the tunes ! " 

Rightly construing this remark as an indica- 
tion that Caleb longed to hear music with which 
he was acquainted, Philip searched his memory 
for familiar music of the days when he was a 
country boy, and which would therefore be 
recognized by Caleb. Suddenly he recalled an 
air very dear to several religious denominations, 
although it has been dropped from almost all 
modem hymnals, probably because its vivacity, 
repetitions, and its inevitable suggestion of runs 
and variations had made it seem absolutely 
indec<f|^us to ears that were fastidious as well 
as religious. Philip had heard it played (by 
request) as a quick march, by a famous brass 
band, at the return of troops from a soldier's 
funeral in New York; so, after playing a few 
bars of it softly, he tried to recall and imitate 

Caleb Wright •* •* 63 

the march effect. He succeeded so well that 
soon he was surprised to see Caleb himself, 
an ex-soldier, striding to and fro, singing the 
hymn beginning : — 

"Am I a soldier of the Cross ?" 

When Philip stopped, Caleb shouted : — 

"Three cheers for the gospel! Say! I wish — " 


" Never mind," replied Caleb. " I was only 
thinkin* that if our church could hear that, 
there'd be an almighty revival of religion. 
Reckon I'd better git back to the store. Say, 
you've been so full of palace-makin' that you've 
let the fires go out. I'll just load 'em up again 
for you; afterwards, if you chance to think 
of 'em, there's lots of good dry hick'ry in the 
woodshed, right behind the kitchen." 

Philip continued to make hurried dashes 
into the store for necessities and makeshifts. 
When finally he entered for candles^Jpjjjiileb 
remarked : — 

" I'll call you in when your wife comes ; but 
if you don't want her to smell a rat, you'd better 
shut the front shutters. There's already been 
people hangin' on the fence, lookin' at them 

Caleb Wright > > 64 

lace fixings in the winders, an' women are 
powerful observin'. An' say, here's a new 
tea-kettle, full of water ; better set it on the 
kitchen stove. Planners are splendid, — I never 
would have believed there could be anythin' 
like 'em, — but the singin' of a tea-kettle's got a 
powerful grip on most women's ears. I didn't 
see no ev'ryday dishes among your things. 
Don't you want some.?" 

Philip thought he did not, and he hurried to 
the house. He was soon summoned to the 
store, and through the coming darkness of the 
sunset hour he saw at the back door his wife, 
who said : — 

" Oh, Phil ! Mrs. Taggess is the dearest 
woman! We were of the same age before I'd 
been with her an hour." 

" Eh } You don't look a moment older." 

"But she looked twenty years younger. 
When she's animated, she — oh, I never saw 
such a complexion." 

" Not even in your mirror } " 

" No, you silly dear ! And her home is real 
cosey. There's nothing showy or expensive in 
it; but if ever I get homesick, I'm going to 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 65 

hurry up there, even if the mud is a foot 

** Good ! Perhaps you got some ideas of how 
to fix up our own dismal bam of a house. 
Come down and look about it once more." 

Together they started. As they reached the 
front door, and Philip threw it open, Caleb, 
with his eye at the back window of the store, 
saw Grace stop and toss up her hands. As 
the door closed, Caleb jumped up and down, 
and afterward said to himself: — 

" There are times when I wish, church or no 
church, that Fd learned how to dance." 

"Phil! Phil! Phil!" exclaimed Grace, dash- 
ing from one room to another, all of which 
were as well lighted as candles could make 
them. " How did you } — how could you } No 
woman could have done better ! Oh ! home ! 
— home ! — home ! And a few hours ago, 
right here, I was the most disheartened, rebel- 
lious, wicked woman in the world! Come 
here to me — this instant ! " 
V There are times when manly obedience is a 
natural virtue. For a few moments a single 
easy chair was large enough for the couple, 

Caleb IFright ji ji 66 

who laughed, and cried, and otherwise com- 
ported themselves very much as any other 
healthy and affectionate couple might have 
done in similar circumstances. A knock at 
the door recalled them to the world. 

" Don't like to disturb you,'* said Caleb, " but 
Doc Taggess has dropped in again an' asked 
for Mr. Somerton, an* as his time's not all his 
own, mebbe you'd — " 

" Do tell him how I enjoyed my day with 
his wife," said Grace. "I tried to, when he 
brought me down, but I don't feel that I said 
half enough." 

Philip hurried to the store; Caleb lingered 
and said to Grace : — 

"Reckon you've had a little s'prise, hain't 
you ? Your husband showed me 'round a 

" Little surprise ? Oh, Mr. Wright ! 'Twas 
the greatest, dearest surprise of my life. But 
'twas just like Phil ; he's the thoughtfuUest, 
smartest man in the world." 

" Is, eh ? Well, stick to that, an' you'll al- 
ways be happy, even if you should chance to 
be mistaken. But say, — * what's sauce for 

Caleb Wright * j^ t-j 

the goose is sauce for the gander/ as I reckon 
you've heard. Don't you want to give your 
husband a pleasant s'prise?" 

" Oh, don't I ! " 

"Well, I'm kind o' feared to ask you, after 
seein* all these fine things; but you said you 
was brought up in the country. Can you 
cook } " 

" Indeed I can ! I've cooked all our meals 
at home since we were married — except those 
that Phil prepared." 

** Good I Well, there's self-raisin' flour an' 
all sorts o' groceries in the store, an' eggs an' 
butter in the store cellar, an' alongside of the 
warehouse there's an ice-house, with three or 
four kinds o' meat. We have to take all sorts 
o' things in trade from country customers, an' 
some of 'em won't keep without ice. Now, 
if you was to s'prise your husband with a 
home-made supper, he wouldn't have to go 
down to the hotel, an' mebbe your own heart 
wouldn't break not to have to eat down there 



" Oh, Mr. Wright ! You're a genius I I wonder 
whether I could manage the kitchen stove." 

Caleb Wright * * 68 

"Best way to find out's to take a look at 

Grace followed the suggestion. Caleb ex- 
plained the draught and dampers, and took 
Grace's orders, saying, as he departed: — 

"Doc'U keep him in the store till I get 
back, — that's what he's there for, — an' I'll 
keep him afterwards. When you want him, 
pull this rope : it starts an alarm in my room, 
over the store, an' I'll hear it." 

Doctor Taggess gave Philip some health 
counsel, at great length. Claybanks and the 
surrounding country was very malarious, he 
said, and newcomers, especially healthy young 
people from the East, could not be too care- 
ful about diet, dress, and general habits until 
entirely acclimatized. Then he got upon some 
of his hobbies, and Philip thought the conver- 
sation might be very entertaining if Grace and 
the new home were not within a moment's 
walk. No sooner had the Doctor departed 
than Caleb insisted on a decision regarding 
an account that was in dispute, because the 
debtor was likely to come in at any moment, 
and the matter was very important. He talked 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ tg 

details until Philip was almost crazed with im- 
patience, but suddenly a muffled whir caused 
Caleb to say abruptly: — 

"But it's better for him to suffer than for 
your wife to do it; an' if you don't be ready 
to start her for supper the minute the hotel 
bell rings, you won't get the best pickin's." 

Philip escaped with great joy, and a minute 
later was in his new sitting room and staring in 
amazement at a neatly set table, with Grace at 
the head of it, and upon it an omelette, a filet 
of beef, some crisp fried potatoes, tea-buscuits, 
cake, and a pot of coffee. After seating him- 
self and bowing his head a moment, he suc- 
ceeded in saying : — 

" * How did you ? — how could you ? ' as you 
said to me." 

" How could I help it," Grace replied, 
** after the delicate hint you left behind you, — 
the kettle boiling on the stove } " 

** My dear girl, like little George Washington, 
I cannot tell a lie. Caleb was responsible for 
that tea-kettle; he brought it from the store, 
and said something poetical about the singing 
of a kettle being music to a woman's ear." 

Caleb IFright •* •* 70 

" Caleb did that ? " exclaimed Grace, springing 
from her chair. " Set another place, please ! " 
Then she dashed through the darkness, into 
the store, and exclaimed: — 

" Mr. Wright, I shan't eat a single mouthful 
until you come down and join us. Lock the 
store — quick — before things get cold." 

"Your word's law, I s'pose," said Caleb, 
locking the front door, "but — " 

" * But me no buts,' " Grace said, taking his 
hand and making a true "home run." Caleb 
seated himself awkwardly, looked around him, 
and said: — 

" Hope you asked a blessin' on all this ? " 

"I never ate a meal without one," Philip 

" Reckon you'll get along, then," said Caleb, 
looking relieved and engulfing half of a tea- 


jr^HILIP engaged a plumber from the 
r^^ nearest city and had one of his upper 
chambers transformed into a bath-room, 
and Caleb, by special permission, studied every 
detail of the work and went into so brown a 
study of the general subject that Philip in- 
formed Grace that either the malarial soaking, 
mentioned in Uncle Jethro*s letter, had reached 
the point of saturation, or that the Confederate 
bullet had found a new byway in its meander- 

But Caleb was not conscious of anything out 
of the usual — except the bath-room. By dint 
of curiosity and indirect questioning he learned 
that in New York Philip and his wife had 
bathed daily. Afterward he talked bathing 
with the occasional commercial travellers who 
reached Claybanks — men who seemed "well 
set up,'' despite some distinct signs of bad 

Caleb Wright •* ji 72 

habits, and learned that men of affairs in the 
great city thought bathing quite as necessary 
as eating. He talked to Doctor Taggess on the 
subject, and was told in reply that, in the 
Doctor's opinion, cleanliness was not only next 
to godliness, but frequently an absolute pre- 
requisite to cleanly longings and a clean life. 

So one day, after a fortnight of self-abstrac- 
tion, he announced to Philip that a bath-room 
ought to be regarded as a means of grace. 

"Quite so," assented Philip, "but I wish it 
weren't so expensive at the start. Do you 
know what that bath-room, with its tank, pump, 
drain, etc., has cost.^ The bill amounts to 
about a hundred and fifty dollars, and it can't 
be charged to my account for six months, like 
most of our purchases for the store." 

"That so?" drawled Caleb, carelessly, though 
in his heart he was delighted; for Philip had 
also engaged from the city a paper-hanger, and 
he had employed a local painter to do a lot of 
work ; and Caleb, who knew the business ways 
of country stores, had trembled for the bills, 
yet doubted his right to speak of them. " Well, 
have you got the money to pay for it.^" 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 73 

"Yes, but not much more; and in the two 
weeks I've been here the store has taken m 
about forty dollars in cash." 

" That's about it, I b'lieve. Well, realizin'- 
time is comin* ; it's right at hand, in fact, an' 
I've wanted a chance to have a good long talk 
with you 'bout it. When I was a boy I used 
to lie on my back in the woods for hours at 
a time, catchin' backaches an' rheumatiz for 
the sake of watchin' the birds makin' their 
nests an' startin' their house-keepin'. Watchin' 
you an' your wife gettin' to rights has made me 
feel just like I did in them days — except for 
the backaches and rheumatiz. I wouldn't have 
pestered the birds for a hull farm, an' I hain't 
wanted to pester you, but the quicker you can 
give more 'tention to the business, the better 
'twill be for your pocket." 

"Why, Mr. Wright — " 

" Call me Caleb, won't you ? Ev'rybody else 
does, 'xcept you an' your wife, an' I can talk 
straighter when I ain't 'mistered.'" 

" Thank you, good friend, for the permission. 
I'll take it, if you'll call me Philip." 

" That's a bargain," said Caleb, with visible 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ j^ 

signs of relief. " Well, as I was sayin*, the 
more time you can give the business, the better 
'twill be for your pocket Your uncle kept first 
place in this town an' county, an* you need to 
do the same, if you want to keep your mind 
easy about other things. I've said all sorts of 
good things about you to the customers, though 
I haven't stretched the truth an inch. They 
all think you bright, but you need to show 'em 
that you're sharp too, else they'll do their best 
to dull you. Business is business, you know; 
likewise, human nature's human nature." 

"Correct! Go on." 

" Well, I'm doin' my best to keep an eye on 
ev'rythin' an' ev'rybody, but I'm not boss. 
Besides, it took two of us to do it all when 
your uncle was alive, though he was about as 
smart as they make 'em. There's one thing 
you won't have no trouble about, an' that's 
beatin' down. This is the only strictly one- 
price store in the county, an' it saves lots o' 
time by keepin' away the slowest, naggiest 
traders. It might ha' kept away some good 
customers, too, if your uncle hadn't been a 
master hand at gettin' up new throw-ins." 

Caleb Wright * * 


" Throw-ins ? What are they ? " 

" What ? You brought up in the country, an* 
not know what a * throw-in* is? Why, when 
a man buys somethin', he generally says, * What 
ye goin' to throw in ? ' That means, * What are 
you goin* to give me for comin* here instead of 
buyin' somewhere else?' When it*s stuff for 
clothes, there's no trouble, for any merchant 
throws in thread and buttons to make it up 
if it's men's goods, or thread an' hooks an' 
eyes if it's women's. Up at Bustpodder's store 
they throw in a drink o' whiskey whenever a 
man buys anythin' that costs a quarter or more, 
an' it draws lots o* trade ; but your uncle never 
worked for drinkin' men's trade, unless for 
cash, so we've never kept liquor, but that made 
him all the keener to get other throw-ins. One 
year 'twas wooden pipes for men, an' little 
balls of gum-camphor for women. Then 'twas 
hair-ile for young men an' young women. 
Whatever 'twas, 'twas sure to be somethin' kind 
o' new, an' go-to-the-spotty. Shouldn't wonder 
if your wife, havin' been in a big store, might 
think of a lot o' new throw-ins for women-folks. 
But that's only a beginnin'.* 

> >> 

Caleb Wright j» > 76 

" H'm ! Now tell me everything I ought to 
do that I haven't been doing." 

"Well, in the first place, when you meet a 
customer, you want to get a tight grip on him, 
somehow, 'fore he leaves. Then you want to 
get into your mind how much each one owes 
you, an' ask when he's goin' to begin to bring 
in his produce. None of the men on our books 
mean to be dishonest; but if you don't keep 'em 
in mind of their accounts at this time o' year, 
some of 'em may sell their stuff to somebody 
else for cash, an' country folks with cash in 
their pockets is likely to think more of what 
they'd like to buy than what they owe. I 
reckon, from some things I've heerd, that some 
city folks are that way too." 

"Quite Ukely. Well.?" 

" Well, if say a dozen of your biggest country 
customers sell for cash an' don't bring you the 
money, you'll find yourself in a hole about your 
own bills, for some of your customers are on 
the books for three or four hundred apiece. 
Your uncle sold 'em all he could, for he knew 
their ways an' that he could bring 'em to 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ yj 

" H'm ! Suppose they fail to pay after hav- 
ing been trusted a full year, isn*t the law good 
for anything?" 

**Oh, yes; but sue a customer an* you lose 
a customer, an' there ain*t any too many in this 
county, at best. Now, your uncle made sure, 
before he died, about all of 'm whose principal 
crop was wheat ; but the wheat's then brought 
in an* sold, an* most of the money for it, after 
his own bills were paid, was in the check the 
lawyers sent you. The rest of the customers 
raised mostly corn an' pork, — most gen'rally 
both, for the easiest way to get corn to market 
is to put it into pork ; twenty bushels o* corn, 
weighin' over a thousan' poun's, makes two 
hundred pound o' pork, an' five times less 
haulin' ; besides, pork's always good for cash, 
but sometimes you can't hardly give corn away. 
Queer about corn ; lot's o' folks that's middlin' 
sensible about a good many things seems to 
think that corn's only fit to feed to hogs an' 
niggers. Why, some o' 'em's made me so 
touchy about it that I've took travellin' busi- 
ness men up into my room, over the store, an' 
give 'em a meal o' nothin' but corn an' pork. 

Caleb tFRiGHT ^ ^ 78 

worked up in half a dozen ways, an* it seemed 
as if they couldn't eat enough, but I couldn't 
see that the price o' corn went up afterwards. 


I'd like to try a meal o* that kind on you an* 
your wife some day. If the world took as easy 
to corn when it's ground into meal as when 
it's turned into whiskey, this section o* country 
would get rich." 

" I shouldn't wonder if it would. But what 
else ? " 

"Well, you must get a square up-an*-down 
promise from each o* your customers that their 
pork's to come to you, you promisin' to pay 
cash, at full market price, for all above the 
amount that's owed you. You must have the 
cash ready, too." 

" But where am I to get it } " 

" Why, out of the first pork you can get in 
an' ship East or South. You must be smart 
enough to coax some of 'em to do their killin' 
the first week the roads freeze hard enough to 
haul a full load. They'll all put it off, hopin* 
to put a few more pounds o' weight on each 
hog, an* that mebbe the price'll go up a little." 

" But how am I to coax them ? " 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 79 

"Well, there's about as many ways as cus- 
tomers. I'll put you up to the nature of the 
men, as well as I can, an' help you other ways 
all I can, but you must do the rest; for, as I 
said before, you're boss, an' they're all takm' 
your measure, agin next year an' afterwards. 
As to ways o' coaxin', — well, the best is them 
that don't show on their face what they be. 
Your uncle held one slippery customer tight by 
pertendin' to be mighty fond o' the man's only 
son, who was the old fellow's idol. Your uncle 
got the boy a book once in a while, an' spent 
lots o' spare moments answerin' the youngster's 
questions, for your uncle knew a lot about a 
good many things. There was another cus- 
tomer that thought all money spent on women's 
clothes was money throwed away — p'raps 'twas 
'cause his wife was more'n ordinary good- 
lookin', an' liked to show off. One year, in 
one of our goods boxes from the East, was a 
piece of silk dress-goods that would have put 
your eyes out. Black silk was the only kind 
that ever came here before, and it had always 
been satisfyin'. Next to plenty o* religion and 
gum-camphor, a black silk dress is what ev'ry 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 8o 

self-respectin' woman in the county hankers for 
most. Well, your uncle never showed that blue 
an' white an* yaller an* purple an* red silk to 
nobody till about this time o* year ; he told me 
not to, too, but one day, when the feller*s wife 
was in town, an* warmin* her feet at the back- 
room stove, your uncle took that silk in there 
an* showed it, an* he see her eyes was 
a-devourin* it in less than a minute. 

"* There's only enough of it for one dress,' 
said he, * an* I ain*t sure I could get any more 
like it. You*re the style o* woman that would 
set it off, so you*d better take it before some- 
body else snaps it up.* 

"'Take it.^* said she, lookin* all ways to 
once ; * why, if I was to have that charged, my 
husband would go plum crazy, or else he*d send 
me to an asylum.* 

** * Not a bit of it ! * said your uncle. ' Tell 
you what 1*11 do ; I'll lay that silk away, an* not 
show it to anybody till your husban' brings me 
in his pork an' we have our settlement. You 
come with him, an' 1*11 wrap up the silk for 
you, an* if he objects to payin* for it — oh, I 
know his ways, but I tell you right here, that 


Caleb JFright j^ j^ 8i 

if he objects to payin* for it, FU make you a 
present of it, an* you can lay all the blame on 
me, sayin* I pestered you so hard that you had 
to take it.' Well, your uncle got the pork; 
the wife gave the man no peace till he promised 
to fetch it here, an' she got the dress, an* her 
husband — Hawk Howlaway, his name was, — 
was so tickled that he told all the county how 
he got the best of old Jethro.*' 

"Pretty good — for one year, if the dress 
didn't cost too much." 

" It only cost seventy cents a yard, an' there 
was fifteen yards of it. The pork netted 
more'n four hundred dollars. But that wa'n't 
the end of it. The woman hadn't wore the 
dress to church but one Sunday when her hus- 
band came into the store one day an' hung 
'round a spell, lookin' 'bout as uneasy as a 
sinner under conviction, an' at last he winked 
your uncle into the back room, an' says Howl- 
away, says he : — 

" * Jethro, you've got me in a heap o' trouble, 
'cause of that silk dress you loaded on to my 
wife. She looks an' acts as if my Sunday 
clothes wasn't good enough to show alongside 

Caleb ff^RiGHT j^ j^ 82 

of it, an' other folks looks an' acts so too. So, 
Jethro, youVe got to help me out. I*ve got to 
have some new clothes, an' they've got to be 
just so, or they won't do.' Your uncle said, 
'All right,' an' got ojBF a line from an adver- 
tisement in a city paper, about * No fit, no pay.' 
Then he wrote to a city clothin' store for some 
samples of goods, an' for directions how to 
measure a man for a suit of clothes. Oh, he 
was a case, your uncle was ; why, I do believe 
he'd ha' took an order from an angel for a new 
set of wing-feathers an' counted on gettin' the 
goods some way. I don't say he made light of 
it, though. I never see him so close-minded as 
he was for the next two weeks. One day I 
chaffed him a little about wastin' a lot o' time 
on a handsome hardware-goods drummer that 
hadn't much go, an' whose prices was too high 
anyway ; but your uncle said : — 

" * He's just about the height and build of 
Hawk Howlaway, an' he knows how to wear 
his clothes.' Then I knowed what was up. 
Well, to make a long story short, the clothes 
come, in the course o' time, and on an app'inted 
day Howlaway come too^ lookin' about as wish- 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 83 

I-could-hide as a gal goin' to be married. Your 
uncle stuck up four lookin'-glasses on the 
back room wall, one over another, an' then he 
turned Howlaway loose in the room, with the 
clothes, an* a white shirt with cujBFs an* collar on 
it, an* told him to lock himself in an* go to work, 
an' to pound on the door if he got into trouble. 
In about ten minutes he pounded, an* your 
uncle went in, an* Hawk was lookin' powerful 
cocky, though he said: — 

"* There's somethin' that ain*t quite right, 
though I don't know what 'tis.' 

" * It's your hair — an' your beard,* said your 
uncle. * Now, Hawk, you slip out o* them 
clothes, an* go down to Black Sam, that does 
barberin*, an* tell him you want an all-round 
job : 't*ll only cost a quarter. But wait a min- 
ute,' an' with that your uncle hurried into the 
store, took out of the cash-drawer a picture 
that he'd cut out of a paper that he'd been 
studyin' pretty hard for a week, took it back, 
an' said, * Take this along, an' tell the barber 
it's about the style you want.' 

" Well, when Hawk saw his own face in the 
glass after that reapin', he hardly knpwed )iim- 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 84 

self, an' he sneaked into the store by climbin' 
the fence an' knockin' at the back door, for 
fear of havin' to be interdooced to any neigh- 
bors that might be hangin* 'round the counters. 
Then he made another try at the clothes, an' 
called your uncle in again, and said : — 

" * They looked all right until I put my hat 
on, an' then somethin' went wrong again.' 

" * Shouldn't wonder if 'twas your hat,' said 
your uncle, comin' back for a special hat an' a 
pair of Sunday shoes, all Howlaway's size, that 
he'd ordered with the clothes. He took 'em in 
an' said : — 

" * When you start to dress like a gentleman, 
to stand 'longside of a lady, you want to go 
the whole hog or none.* 

"Well, — I didn't know this story was so 
long when I begun to tell it, — Hawk sneaked 
the clothes home, an' it come out in the course 
o' time that when on Sunday mornin' he dressed 
up an' showed off to his wife, she kissed him 
for the first time in three year, which sot him 
up so that he had the courage to go to church 
without first loadin' up with whiskey, as he'd 
expected to, to nerve him up to be looked at 

Caleb fFRiGHT ^ ^ 85 

in his new things, an* when hog-killin* an* set- 
tlement time came round again, Hawk brought 
his pork to us, an* when he found his wife's 
silk dress hadn*t been charged to him, he said 
in a high an* mighty way that he reckoned 
that until he was dead or divorced he could 
afford to pay for his own wife*s duds, hearin* 
which, your uncle, who*d already socked the 
price of the dress onto the price of Hawk*s 
own clothes, smiled out o* both sides of his 
mouth, an* all the way round to the back of 
his neck. An* since then, Hawk*s always 
brought his pork to us, an* got a new silk 
dress ev*ry winter for his wife, an* new Sunday 
clothes for himself, an* nobody would he buy 
of but your uncle. Let*s see; what was we 
talkin* *bout when I turned off onto this story } ** 
"We were talking of ways of cajoling cus- 
tomers into paying their year*s bills,** said 
Philip. " Apparently I ought, just as a starter, 
to know how to coddle customer*s boys, and 
supply hair-cutting and shaving plans to the 
village barber, and to play wife against hus- 
band, and learn to measure a man for clothes, 
Uke a — *' 

Caleb Jf right j^ j^ 86 

" That's so," said Caleb, " an* you can't be 
too quick about that, either, for Hawk'll want 
a new suit pretty soon." 

" Anything else ? By the way : what you 
said about the need of ready money reminds 
me of some questions Fve been intending to 
ask, but forgotten. There are some mortgages 
in the safe on which interest will be due on 
the first of the year, — only a fortnight off. 
'Twill aggregate nearly a thousand dollars." 

**Yes, — when you get it, but interest's the 
slowest pay of all, in these parts, unless you 
work an' contrive for it. They know you won't 
foreclose on 'em ; for while the security's good 
enough if you let it alone, there ain't an estate 
in the county that would fetch the face of its 
mortgage under the hammer. Besides, a mer- 
chant gen'rally dassent foreclose a mortgage, 
unless it's agin some worthless shack of a man. 
Folks remember it agin him, an' he loses some 

" Then those mortgages are practically worth- 
less } " 

" Oh, no. The money's in *em, principal an' 
int'rest in full, — but the holder's got to know 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ Sy 

how to git it out. That's the difference be- 
tween successful merchants and failures." 

**H*m' — I see. Apparently country, mer- 
chants should be, like the disciples, as wise as 
serpents and as harmless as doves/' 

" That's it in a nutshell. I reckon any fool 
could make money in the store business if there 
was nothin' to do but weigh an' measure out 
goods an' take in ready cash for *em. But 
there ain't no ready money in this county, 
'xcept what the merchants get in for the prod- 
uce they send out There ain't no banks, so 
the store-keepers have to be money-lenders, an* 
have money in hand to lend ; for while there's 
some borrowers that can be turned off, there's 
some it would never do to say * No ' to, if you 
wanted further dealin's with 'em, for they'd 
feel as if they'd lost their main dependence, an' 
been insulted besides. Why, some of our cus- 
tomers come in here Saturdays an' get a few 
five an' ten cent pieces, on credit like any 
other goods, so's their families can have some- 
thin' to put in the plate in church on Sun- 

"But there are rentals due from several 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 88 

farms, and from houses in town. Are they as 
hard to collect as interest on mortgages?'* 

" Wpll, no — oh, no. The rent of most of the 
farms is payable in produce; there's ironclad 
written agreements, recorded in the county 
clerk's office, that the renters shan't sell any of 
their main crops anywhere else until the year's 
rent is satisfied. One of 'em pays by clearin' 
five acre of woodland ev'ry winter, an' gettin' it 
under cultivation in the spring, and another has 
to do a certain amount of ditchin' to drain 
swampy places. You'll have to watch them 
two fellers close, or they'll skimp their work, for 
there's nothin' farmers hate like clearin* an' 
ditchin'. I don't blame 'em, either." 

" And the houses in town } " 

"Oh, they're all right. The man in one of 
^m, at two dollars a month, cuts all the fire- 
wood for the store an' house; that about 
balances his bill. Another house, at three 
thirty-three a month, has a cooper in it ; he 
pays the rent, an' all of the stuff he buys at the 
store, in barrels for us in the pork-packin' sea- 
son. The three an' a-half a month house man 
works out his rent in the pork-house durin' the 

Caleb tFRiGHT ^ ^ 89 

winter, an' the four dollar house has your insur- 
ance agent in it ; there's always a little balance 
in his favor ev'ry year. The — ** 

" Caleb ! " exclaimed Philip, " wait a minute ; 
do you mean to tell me that houses in Clay- 
banks rent as low as four dollars, three and 
a half, three and a third, and even as low as 
two dollars a month?" 

" That's what I said. Why, the highest rent 
ever paid in this town was six dollars a month. 
The owner tried to stick out for seventy-five a 
year, but the renter wouldn't stand the extra 
twenty-five cents a month." 

Philip put his face in his hands, his elbows on 
his knees, and said : — 

" Six dollars a month ! And in New York I 
paid twenty-five dollars a month for five rooms, 
and thought myself lucky ! " 

" Twenty — five — dollars — a month ! " 
echoed Caleb. "Why, if it's a fair question, 
how much money did you make } " 

"Eighty dollars a month, with a certainty 
of a twenty per cent increase every year. 
'T wasn't much, but I was sure of getting it. 
From what you've been telling me, I'm not 

Caleb fFRiGHT j> j> 90 

absolutely sure of anything whatever here, un- 
less I do a lot of special and peculiar work — 
and after Fve earned the money by delivering 
the goods.** 

"Well, your uncle averaged somethin* be- 
tween three an* four thousan*, clear, ev'ry year, 
an* he come by it honestly, too, but there's no 
denyin* that he had to work for it. From seven 
in the momin* to nine at night in winter ; five in 
the mornin' till sundown in summer, to say 
nothin* of watchin* the pork-house work till all 
hours of the night throughout the season — a 
matter o* two months. He always went to 
sleep in church Sunday momin', but the min- 
ister didn't hold it agin him. That reminds 
me: your uncle was a class-leader, an' the 
brethren are quietly sizin* you up to see if you 
can take the job where he left off. I hope 
you'll fetch." 

"Thank you, Caleb," said Philip, closing his 
eyes as if to exclude the prospect. " But tell 
me," he said a moment later, " why my uncle 
did so much for so little. Don't imagine that I 
underrate three or four thousand dollars a year, 
but — money is worth only what it really brings 

Caleb JFright j» j* 


or does. That's the common-sense view of the 
matter, isn't it ? " 

" Yes ; I can't see anythin' the matter with 

" But uncle got nothing for his money but 
ordinary food, clothes, and shelter, and seems to 
have worked as hard as any overworked 

** Well, I reckon he was doin* what the rest 
of us do in one way or other ; he was countin' 
on what there might be in the future. He 
b'Ueved in a good time comin'." 

Yes, — in heaven, perhaps, but not here." 
That's where you're mistaken, for he did 
expect it here — right here, in Claybanks." 

Philip looked incredulous, and asked : — 

" From what ? " 

"Well, he could remember when Chicago 
was as small as Claybanks is now, an' had a 
good deal more swamp land to the acre, too — 
an' now look at it! He'd seen St. Paul an' 
Minneapolis when both of 'em together could be 
hid in a town as big as Claybanks — but now 
look at 'em ! " 

'' But St. Paul and Minneapolis had an im- 



Caleb Wright ^ ^ 92 

mense water-fall and water-power to attract 
millers of many kinds.'* 

"Well, hain't we got a crick? They cal- 
culate that with a proper dam above town, 
we'd have water-power nine months every 
year, an' there ain't nothin' else o' the kind 
within fifty mile. Then there's our clay banks 
that the town was named after; they're the 
only banks of brick clay in the state; ev'ry- 
where else folks has to dig some feet down 
for clay to make bricks, so we ought to make 
brick cheaper'n any other town, an' supply 
all the country round — when we get a rail- 
road to haul 'em out. They're not as red as 
some, bein' really brown, but they're a mighty 
sight harder'n any red brick, so they're 
better for foundations an' for walls o' big 
buildings. Chicago didn't have no clay banks 
nor water-power, but just look at her now! 
All that made her was her bein' the first 
tradin* place in the neighborhood; well, so's 
Claybanks, an' it's been so for forty year or 
more, too, so its time must be almost come. 
Your uncle 'xpected to see it all in his time, 
but, like Moses, he died without the sight. 

Caleb ITright j^ j^ 93 

Why, there's been three or four railroads sur- 
veyed right through here — yes, sir ! " 

" Is there any Western town that couldn't 
say as much, I wonder?*' Philip asked. 

"Mebbe not, but they hain't all got clay 
banks an' a crick; not many of 'em's got 
eleven hundred people in forty year, either. 
An' say — it's all right for you to talk this 
way with me — askin' questions an' so on, an* 
wonderin* if the place'U ever 'mount to any- 
thin*, but don't let out a bit of it to anybody 
else — not for a farm. You might's well be 
dead out here as not to believe in the West 
with all your might, an* most of all in this 
part of it." 

"Thank you; I'll remember.'* 

Then Philip went out and walked slowly 
about the shabby village until he found him- 
self in the depths of the blues. 



" ' "^HE nicer half of the You-I seems 
buried in contemplation this morning/' 
said Philip at his breakfast table, the 
Saturday before Christmas. 

"The home-half of the You-I/' Grace re- 
plied, after a quick rally from a fit of abstrac- 
tion, "was thinking that it saw very little 
of the store-half this week, except when she 
went to the store to look for it. Was busi- 
ness really so exacting, or was it merely 
absorbing ? " 

" 'Twas both, dear girl," said Philip, wishing 
he might repeat to her all that Caleb had 
said to him as recorded in the preceding 
chapter, and then scolding himself for the 

"I wonder," Grace said, "whether you 
know you often look as if you were in seri- 
ous trouble.?" 

Caleb fFRiGHT j» j» 95 

" Do I ? I'm sorry you noticed it, but now 
that it's over, I don't object to telling you 
that if a single money package had arrived 
six hours later than it did, the principal gen- 
eral store of this county would have taken 
second or third place in the public esteem," 
"Phil I Was it so large a sum?" 
"Oh, no; merely two hundred dollars, but 
without it I would have had to decline to buy 
two or three wagon-loads of dressed hogs." 
" * Dressed hogs ' ! What an expression ! " 
" Quite so ; still, 'tis the meatiest one known 
in this part of the country. I can't say, how- 
ever, that 'tis an ideal one for use when ladies 
are present, so I beg to move the previous 
question. What was it ? " 

" 'Twas that I've seen very little of you this 

week except when I've been to the store to 

look for you. Won't the business soon be 

easier, as you become accustomed to it, so we 

may have our evenings together once more.?" 

" I hope so," said Philip. 

" You didn't say that as if you meant it." 

" Didn't I ? Well, dear girl, to-morrow will 

be Sunday, and you shall have every moment 

Caleb fFRiGHi j^ j^ gt 

of my time, and * I shall bathe my weary soul 
in seas of heavenly rest/ as Caleb frequently 
sings to himself.** 

" You poor fellow ! You need more help in 
the store, if you don't wish to become worn 

"I don't see how any one could assist me. 
Caleb is everything he should be, but he has 
given me to understand that everything really 
depends, upon the proprietor, and the more I 
learn of the business, the more plainly I see 
that he is right." 

Grace asked a few questions, and after 
Philip had answered them he exclaimed: — 

"You artful, inquisitive, dreadful woman! 
YouVe dragged out of me a lot of things that 
rd determined you shouldn't know, for Fve 
always had an utter contempt for men who 
inflict their personal troubles upon their wives. 
But you can imagine from what Fve told you 
that no one but a partner could relieve me of 
any of my work." 

"Then why not teach your partner the 
business } " 

"Twill be time to do that when I get one." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ gj 

'* Don*t be stupid, Phil/* Grace said, rising 
from her chair, going to her husband, and 
bestowing a little pinch and a caress. ** Don't 
you know who I mean ? ** 

"Dear girl,'* said Philip, "you're quite as 
clever as I, — which is no compliment, — and 
everybody adores you. But the idea of your 
dickering by the hour with farmers and other 
countrymen — and dickering is simply the soul 
of our business — is simply ridiculous." 

"I don't see why," Grace replied, with a 
pout, followed by a flash in her deep brown 
eyes. "Some of the farmers' wives 'dicker,' 
as you call it, quite as sharply as their hus- 
bands. Am I stupider than they.?" 

"No — no! What an idea! But — they've 
been brought up to it." 

"Which means merely that they've learned 
it. What women have done woman can do. 
I hope I'm not in the way in the store when 
you're talking business.?" 

" In the way ! You delicious hypocrite ! " 

" Well, I've listened a lot for business' 
sake, instead of merely for fun. Besides, I do 
get dreadfully lonesome in the house at times. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 98 

in spite of a little work and a lot of play — at 
the piano. Oh, that reminds me of some- 
thing. Prepare to be startled. A great revival 
effort is to begin at the church to-morrow night, 
and a committee of two, consisting of Caleb 
and Mr. Grateway, the minister, have been to 
me to know — guess what they wanted." 

" H*m ! I shouldn't wonder if they wanted 
you to promise to sit beside the minister, so 
that all the susceptible young men might be 
coaxed to church and then shaken over the 
pit and dragged into the fold. Caleb and the 
minister have long heads.*' 

" Don't be ridiculous ! What they ask is 
that you'll have our piano moved to the 
church, and that you'll play the music for 
the hymns. There's to be a lot of singing, 
and the church hasn't any instrumental music, 
you know, and Caleb has been greatly im- 
pressed by your playing." 

"Well, I'll be — I don't know what. Old 
fools ! I wish they'd asked me direct ! 
They'd have got a sharp, unmistakable * NO ! ' " 

"So they said; that was the reason they 
came to me." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 


"And you said — *' 

"That Fd consult you, and that if for any 
reason you felt that you must decline, I would 
play for them.** 

" Grace — Somerton ! " 

"Why shouldn't I? I often played the 
melodeon for the choir in our village church 
before I went to New York." 

" Did you, indeed } But I might have imag- 
ined it, for there seems to be nothing that 
you can't do, or won't attempt. But let us 
see where we are. You've promised, practically, 
that they shall have the music ; if I decline to 
play, they'll think I'm stuck up, or something 
of which, for business' sake, I can't afford to 
be suspected. Besides, when I married you 
I made some vows that weren't in the service, 
and one of them was that I never would shift 
any distasteful duty upon my wife. On the 
other hand, these Methodists are a literal lot of 
people. They've wanted me to become a class- 
leader because Uncle Jethro was one. I believe 
the duties are to inflict spiritual inquisition 
every Sunday upon specified people in the 
presence of one another. I escaped only by 

848131 A 

Caleb Wright j» j* ioo 

explaining that I was not a member of their 
denomination. But give them an inch and 
they'll take an ell. If I play for them that 
night, they'll expect me to do it the next, and 
again and again, probably every Sunday, and 
I certainly shan't have our piano jogged once 
a week over frozen roads, with the nearest 
tuner at a city seventy-five miles away." 

" Then let me tell them that you won't allow 
them to be disappointed, but that as you've not 
been accustomed to play for church singing, 
and I have, that I will play for them." 

"That means that every one in the church 
will stare at you, which will make your hus- 
band feel wretchedly uncomfortable. Aside 
from that, you'll distract attention from the 
minister; so although I know that you per- 
sonally are a means of grace — Grace, itself, 
indeed, ha, ha ! — the effect of the sermon 
won't be worth any more than a bag of corn- 

"Oh, Phil! don't imagine that everybody 
sees me through your eyes. Besides, except 
while playing I shall sit demurely on a front 
bench, with my back to the congregation." 

Caleb IFright j^ j> ioi 

So Caleb and the minister were rejoiced, 
and spread the announcement throughout the 
town, and Grace rehearsed the church's famil- 
iar airs to all the hymns on the list which the 
minister gave her, though some of them she 
had to learn by ear, by the assistance of Caleb, 
who whistled them to her. Soon after dark 
on Sui\day night six stalwart sinners, care- 
fully selected by Caleb, exulted in the honor 
of carrying the little upright piano to the 
church, where they remained so as to be sure 
of seats from which to hear the music. 

The Methodist church edifice in Claybanks 
could seat nearly three hundred people and 
give standing room to a hundred more. Sel- 
dom had it been filled to its extreme capacity ; 
but when the opening hymn was " given out " 
on the night referred to, the building was 
crowded to the doors and a hundred or more 
persons outside begged and demanded that 
windows and doors should remain open dur- 
ing the singing. Pastor Grateway, who had 
been in the ministry long enough to make the 
most of every opportunity, improved this occa- 
sion to announce that according to custom in 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 102 

all churches possessing instruments, the music 
of each hymn would be played before the sing- 
ing began. Grace, quite as uncomfortable as 
her husband would have been in her place, 
was nevertheless familiar with the music and 
the piano, and the congregation rose vocifer- 
ously to the occasion. Even the sinners sang, 
and one back-seat ruffian, who had spent a 
winter in a city and frequented concert saloons, 
became so excited as to applaud at the end of 
the first hymn, for which he was promptly 
tossed through an open window by his more 
decorous comrades. 

The hymn after the prayer was equally effec- 
tive, so the minister interpolated still another 
one after the scripture reading called the "sec- 
ond lesson.*' He, too, had been uplifted by 
the music — so much uplifted that he preached 
more earnestly than usual and also more 
rapidly, so as to reach the period of "special 
effort.'* At the close of the sermon he 
said : — 

" As we sing the hymn beginning * Come, 
ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,' let all persons 
who wish to flee from the wrath to come, and 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 103 

desire the prayers of true believers, come for- 
ward and kneel at the mourners* bench." 

The hymn was sung, and two or three per- 
sons approached the altar and dropped upon 
their knees. As the last verse was reached, 
Caleb whispered to the minister, who nodded 
affirmatively; then he whispered to Grace, 
who also nodded; then he found Philip, who 
was seated near the front, to be within sup- 
porting distance of his wife, and whispered : — 

" Give your wife a spell for a minute ; play 
*Am I a Soldier of the Cross' the way you 
did the other day for me. That'll fetch 

Philip frowned and refused, but Caleb 
snatched his hand in a vise-like grasp and 
fairly dragged him from his seat. Half angry, 
half defiant, yet full of the spirit of any man 
who finds himself "in for it," whatever "it" 
may be, Philip dropi>ed upon the piano stool 
which Grace had vacated, and attacked the 
keys as if they were sheaves of wheat and he 
was wielding a flail. He played the music as 
he had played it to Caleb, with the accent and 
swing of a march, yet with all the runs and 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 104 

variations with which country worshippers are 
wont to embroider it, and the hearers were so 
"wrought up " by it that they began the hymn 
with a roaring " attack ** that was startling even 
to themselves. Grace, seeing no seat within 
reach, and unwilling to turn her back to the 
people, retired to one end of the piano, under 
one of the candles, from which position, on the 
raised platform in front of the pulpit, she 
beheld a spectacle seldom seen in its fulness 
except by ministers during a time of religious 
excitement — a sea of faces, many of them full 
of the ecstacy of faith and anticipation, others 
wild with terror at the doom of the impeni- 

Like most large-souled women, Grace was by 
nature religious and extremely sympathetic, 
and unconsciously she looked pityingly and 
beseechingly into many of the troubled faces. 
Her eyes rested an instant, unconsciously, on 
those of one of the stalwart sinners who had 
brought the piano to the church. In a second 
the man arose, strode forward, and dropped 
upon his knees. Grace looked at another, — 
for the six were together on one bench, — and 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 105 

he, too, came forward. Then a strange tumult 
took possession of her; she looked command- 
mgly at the others in succession, and in a 
moment the entire six were on their knees at 
the altar. 

" Great hell ! " bellowed the ruffian who had 
been tossed through the window, into which he 
had climbed halfway back in his eagerness to 
hear the music. Then he tumbled into the 
church, got upon his feet, and hurried forward 
to join the other sinners at the mourners* 
bench, which had already become so crowded 
that Caleb was pressing the saints from the 
front seats to make room for coming peni- 

The hymn ended, but Philip did not know it, 
so he continued to play. Grace whispered to 
him, and when he had reached the last bar, 
which he ended with a crash, he abruptly 
seated himself on the pulpit steps and felt as 
if he had done something dreadful and been 
caught in the act. Grace reseated herself at 
the instrument; and as the minister, with the 
class leaders, Sunday-school teachers, and other 
prominent members of the church were moving 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ io6 

among the penitents, counselling and praying, 
and the regular order of song and prayer had 
been abandoned or forgotten, she played the 
music of the hymns that had been designated 
by the minister on the previous day. Some of 
the music was plaintive, some spirited, but she 
played all with extreme feeling, whether the 
people sang or merely listened. She played 
also all newer church music that had appealed 
to her in recent years, and when, at a very 
late hour, the congregation was dismissed, she 
suddenly became conscious of the most ex- 
treme exhaustion she had ever known. As 
she and her husband were leaving the church, 
one of the penitents approached them and 
said : — 

"Bless the Lord for that planner — the Lord 
an' you two folks.** 

" Amen ! ** said several others. 

Philip and Grace walked home in silence ; 
but when they were within doors, Philip took 
his wife's hands in his, held them apart, looked 
into Grace's eyes, which seemed to be melting, 
and exclaimed : — 

" Grace Somerton — my wife — a revivalist ! " 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 107 

" Is Saul also among the prophets ? " Grace 
retorted, with a smile which seemed to her 
husband entirely new and peculiar. " It was 
your music that started the — what shall I 
caU it?" 



T^HE piano remained at the church 
several days, for the revival effort was 
too successful to be discontinued. Night 
after night Grace played for saints and sin- 
ners, and the minister, who was far too honest 
to stretch the truth for the sake of a com- 
pliment, told her that the playing drew more 
penitents than his prayers and sermons. Caleb 
remained faithful to his duties at the store 
every day, but the sound of the church bell in 
the evening made him so manifestly uneasy, 
and eager to respond, that Philip volunteered 
to look after all customers and loungers who 
might come in before the customary time for 
closing. But customers and loungers were 
few ; for the church was temporarily the centre 
of interest to all of the good and bad whose 
evenings were free. There was no other place 
for Philip himself to go after the store was 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 109 

closed, for was not his wife there ? Besides, 
the work soon began to tell on Grace ; for the 
meetings were long, and the air of the tightly 
packed little church became very stifling, so 
Philip sometimes relieved Grace so that she 
might go to the door for fresh air. 

" Do you know what you two have done, 
with your pianner-playin* ? " asked Caleb, when 
the revival concluded. " YouVe not only 
snatched a lot of sinners that have been 
dodgin* everybody else for years, but folks is 
so grateful to you that four or five customers 
of other stores are goin* to give you their trade 
the comin* year. I was sure 'twould work that 
way, but I didn't like to tell you." 

"I'm glad you didn't; for if you had, the 
music would have stopped abruptly. There 
are places to draw the line in advertising one's 
business, — my business, — and the church is 
one of them." 

" Good ! That's just the way I thought 
you'd feel, but I'm mighty glad to know it for 
sure. Church singin' '11 be mighty dismal, 
though, when you take that planner back 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ ho 

As Caleb spoke, he looked beseechingly at 
Philip, who utterly ignored the look and main- 
tained an impassive face. Then Caleb trans- 
ferred his mute appeal to Grace, who looked 
troubled and said : — 

" There ought to be some way out of it." 
** Where there's a will, there's a way," Caleb 

Philip frowned, then laughed, and said : — 
** Suppose you think up a way — but don't 
let there be any delay about getting the piano 
back to the house." 

" Well, it's a means of grace at the church." 
" So it is at home, and I need all the means 
of grace I can get, particularly those that are 
nearest home, while I am breaking myself in to 
a new business." 

Caleb had the piano brought back to the 
parlor, but he reverted to it again and again, 
in season and out of season, until Philip told 
Grace that there was no doubt that his uncle 
was right when he wrote that Caleb would 
sometimes insist on being helped with projects 
of his own. 

** That wasn't all," Grace replied. " He 

Caleb Wright j^ j> m 

wrote also that he advised you to give Caleb 
his way at such times, or your life would be 
made miserable until you did, and that the cost 
of Caleb's projects would not be great." 

** H*m ! I wonder if uncle knew the cost of 
a high-grade upright piano? Besides, I need 
all my time and wits for the business, and 
Caleb's interruptions about that piano are 
worrying the life out of me. To make matters 
worse, there's a new set of commercial travel- 
lers coming in almost every day — this is the 
season, while country merchants are beginning 
to get money, in which they hope to make 
small sales for quick pay, and they take a lot 
of my time." 

"You ought to have a partner — and you 
have one, you know — to see those people for 
you ; and she will do it, if you'll let her." 

** My partner knows that she may and shall 
do whatever she likes," said Philip, "but, dear 
girl, 'twould be like sendmg a sheep among 
wolves to unloose that horde of drummers 


upon you, 

" I've had to deal with men, in some city 
stores in which I worked," Grace replied, " and 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ \\^ 

some of them reminded me of wolves — and 
other animals; but I succeeded in keeping 
them in their places. I know the private cost- 
marks on all of our goods, and I know the 
qualities of many kinds of goods better than 
you or Caleb, and both of you will be within 
call for consultation whenever Fm puzzled; so 
let me try. Twill give me an excuse to spend 
all of my spare time in the store ; so whenever 
a drummer comes in, you can refer him to me. 
Say Fm the buyer for the concern. *Twill 
sound big; don't you think so.^" 

** Indeed I do ! I wonder where a young 
woman got such a head for business." 

" Strange, isn't it," Grace replied, with danc- 
ing eyes which had also a quizzical expression, 
"as she's been several years behind counters, 
great and small, and listened to scores of 
buyers and drummers haggle over fractions 
of a cent in prices } " 

"And for about that much time," said 
Philip, reminiscently, " her husband was a mere 
clerk and correspondent, yet thought himself 
a rising business man! Have your own way, 
partner — managing partner, I ought to say." 

Caleb Wright j^ ^ 113 

The next day was a very busy one, yet 
Caleb found time to say something about in- 
strumental music as a means of grace in 
churches, and to get a sharp reply. Several 
commercial travellers came in and were aston- 
ished at being referred to a handsome, well- 
dressed young woman. Grace disposed of 
them rapidly and apparently without trouble. 
When husband and wife sat down to supper, 
Philip said: — 

" How did the managing partner get along 
to-day } " 

" I bought very little,** Grace replied. 

"You saved Caleb and me a lot of time. 
Tve never seen Caleb so active and spirited 
as he has been this afternoon. It made me 
feel guilty, for I was rude to him this morn- 
ing for the first time. Just when I was try- 
ing to think my hardest about something, he 
brought up again the subject of the church 
and the piano.'* 

" Poor Caleb ! But he won*t do it again, 
for Tve settled the matter.** 

"You*ve not been tender-hearted enough to 
give up the piano ? *' 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 114 

" Oh, no, but I — we, I mean — have taken 
the county agency for a cabinet-organ firm." 

" I see — e — e ! And you're going to tor- 
ment the church into buying one, and you 
and Caleb are going to get up strawberry fes- 
tivals and such things to raise the money, 
and the upshot will be that Til have to sub- 
scribe a lot of cash to make up the deficiency. 
Ah, well, peace will be cheap at — " 

** Phil, dear, don't be so dreadfully previous. 
The bargain is that the firm shall send us, 
without charge, a specimen instrument, which 
I've promised to display to the best advantage, 
and I've also promised to give elementary in- 
struction to every one who manifests interest 
in it" 

"Grace Somerton! The house will be full 
from morning till night. Country people will 
throng about such an instrument like chil- 
dren about a hand-organ. 'Twill be the end 
of your coming into the store to talk to the 
drummers, or even to see me." 

" Oh, Phil ! Where are your wits } I'm 
going to have the organ kept at the church, 
and let the most promising would-be learners 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 115 

and possible buyers do their practising there. 
The organ firm sells on instalments; we'll 
guarantee the instalments, for I'll select the 
buyers — who will want only smaller instru- 
ments — from among women who bring us 
chickens and butter and eggs and feathers 
and such things. So the church will be sure 
of an instrument more appropriate to congre- 
gational singing than a piano, and our piano 
won't be coveted, and we will make a little 
money, and by the time the next revival sea- 
son arrives there will be at least a few peo- 
ple who can play, and perhaps some who are 
accustomed to closed windows and stuffy air, 
and won't get splitting headaches and lose 
five pounds of weight in a week, as I did." 

" Allow me to catch my breath ! " said 
Philip. "Give me some tea, please, quick! — 
no milk or sugar. I hope 'tis very strong. 
You've planned all this, yet there you sit, as 
natural and unassuming as if you'd never 
thought of anything but keeping house and 
being the sweetest wife in the world ! " 

"Thank you, but shouldn't sweetness have 
any strength and character.? And what is 

Caleb JFright j» j» ii6 

business for, I should like to know, but to 
enable women to keep house — and keep their 
pianos, if they have any?" 

" Caleb,** said Philip, on returning to the 
store, " I want to apologize for answering 
you rudely this morning about that enraging 
piano. I was in a hard study over — ** 

" Don't mention it,'* said Caleb, with a be- 
atific smile. ** Besides, * Providence tempers 
the wind to the shorn lamb,' as the Bible 
says in hundreds of different ways. I s'pose 
your wife's told you what she's done about 
music for the church.? Je — ru — salem! 
Ain't she a peeler, though "i " 

**She is indeed — if I may assume that a 
'peeler* is an incomparable combination of 
goodness and good sense." 

"That's about the meanin* of it, in my 
dictionary." Then Caleb fixed his eyes in- 
quiringly upon Philip's face and kept them 
there so long that Philip asked : — 

"What now, Caleb.?" 

" Nothin*,** said Caleb, suddenly looking em- 
barrassed. " That is, nothin* that*s any o* my 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ hj 

" If 'twas mine, you needn't hesitate to 
mention it. You and I ought to be fair and 
frank with each other." 

"Well,** said Caleb, counting with a stubby 
forefinger the inches on a yardstick, " I was 
only wonderin* — that is, I want to say that 
you're a good deal of a man, an' one that 
I'm satisfied it's safe to tie to, an' I'm 
mighty glad you're in your uncle's place, 
but — for the land's sake, how'd you come 
to git her .? " 

Philip laughed heartily, and replied : — 
" As most men get wives. I asked her to 
marry me. First, of course, I put my best 
foot forward, for a long time, and kept it 

"Of course. But didn't the other fellers 
try to cut you out } " 

"Quite likely, for most men have eyes." 
"Wa'n't any of 'em millionnaires .? " 
" Probably not, though I never inquired. As 
she herself has told you, Mrs. Somerton was a 
saleswoman. Millionnaires do their courting in 
their own set, where saleswomen can't afford 
to be." 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ hS 

" That was great luck for you, wasn't it ? 
Are there any women like her in their set?" 

" I don't doubt they think so. Mrs. Somer- 
ton says there are plenty of them in every 
set, rich and poor alike. As for me, — 
'There's Only One Girl in the World' — 
you've heard the song?" 

" Can't say that I have," Caleb replied, sud- 
denly looking thoughtful, "but the idea of it's 
straight goods an' a yard wide. Well, sir, it's 
plain to me, an' pretty much ev'rybody else, 
that that wife o' yourn is the greatest human 
blessin' that ever struck these parts. Good 
women ain't scarce here; neither is good an' 
smart women. I s'pose our folks look pretty 
common to you, 'cause of their clothes, but 
they improve on acquaintance. Speakin' o' 
clothes — ev'rybody, even the best o' folks, 
fall short o' perfection in some particular, 
you know. The only way Mis' Somerton 
can ever do any harm, 'pears to me, is by 
always bein' so well dressed as to discourage 
some other women, an' makin' a lot of the 
gals envious an* discontented. She don't wear 
no di'monds nor gewgaws, I know, but for all 

Caleb JFright > g» 119 

that, she looks, day in an* day out, as if she 
was all fixed for a party or Sunday-school 
picnic, an* — But, say, * I shouldn't wonder 
if I was on dangerous ground,* as one of 
our recruits remarked to me at Gettysburg 
after most of our regiment was killed or 

" Aha ! ** exclaimed Philip, when he rejoined 
his wife after the store closed for the day. 
" * Pride must have a fall ' — that is, suppos- 
ing you were proud of silencing Caleb con- 
cerning the piano. He has a torment in 
preparation for you, personally. He thinks 
you dress too handsomely — wear party 
clothes every day, and are likely to upset 
the heads of the village girls, and some 
women old enough to know better.** 

" Nonsense ! ** exclaimed Grace, flushing in- 
dignantly. " Tve absolutely no clothes but 
those I owned when we were poor. I 
thought them good enough for another sea- 
son, as no one here would have seen them 
before, and none of them was very badly 
w(jrn.** She arose, stood before the chamber 
mirror, and said : — 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 120 

** This entire dress is made of bits of others, 
that were two, three, or four years old, and 
were painfully cheap when new." 

" Even if they weren't," said Philip, " they 
were your own, and earned by hard work, and 
if ever again Caleb opens his head on the 
subject, rU — " 

"No, you won't! I don't know what you 
were going to do, but please don't. Leave 
Master Caleb to me." 

" You don't expect to reason him into be- 
lieving that you're less effectively dressed than 
you are } " 

" I expect to silence him for all time," 
Grace replied, again contemplating herself in 
the mirror, and appearing not dissatisfied with 
what she saw. The next day she asked 
Caleb which, if any, of the calicoes in the 
store were least salable ; the cheapest, com- 
monest stuff possible, for kitchen wear. Caleb 
** reckoned " aloud that the best calico was 
cheap enough for the store-owner's wife, but 
Grace persisted, so she was shown the "dead 
stock," — the leavings of several seasons' 
goods, — from which she made two selec- 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 121 

tions. Caleb eyed them with disfavor, and 
said : — 

"That purple one ain't fast color; the yal- 
ler one is knowed all over the county as the 
Scare-Cow calico. We might *a* worked it off 
on somebody, if the first an* only dress of it 
we sold hadn't skeered a cow so bad that she 
kicked, an* broke the ankle of the gal that 
was milkin* her." 

"Never mind, Caleb; the purple one can 
afford to lose some of its color, and — oh, TU 
see about the other." 

Three days later Grace, enveloped in a 
water-proof cloak, hurried through a shower 
from the house to the store, and on entering 
the back room, threw off the cloak. Caleb, 
who was drawing vinegar from a barrel, arose 
suddenly, with a half-gallon measure in his 
hands, and groaned to see his employer's 
wife, "dressed," as he said afterward, "like 
a queen just goin' onto a throne, though, 
come to think of it, I never set eyes on a 
queen, nor a throne, either." More deplor- 
able still, she looked proud, and conscious, 
and as if demanding admiration. There was 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 122 

even a suspicion of a wink as she ex- 
claimed : — 

"Be careful not to let any of that vinegar 
run over and splash near me, Caleb I You 
know the purple isn't fast color ! " 

"Je — ru — salem!" exclaimed Caleb, drop- 
ping the measure and its contents, which 
Grace escaped by tripping backward to the 
shelter of a stack of grain-sacks. When she 
emerged, with a grand courtesy followed by a 
long, honest laugh, Caleb continued: — 

"Well, IVe read of folk's bein' clothed in 
purple an' fine linen, but purple an' Scare- 
Cow knocks me flat I Dressed in * dead 
stock,' from head to foot, an* yit — Hello, 
Philip ! Come in here! Oh ! You're knocked 
pretty flat, too, ain't you? Well, I just wanted 
to take back what I said the other day about 
some folk's clothes. I don't b'lieve a dress 
made of them grain-sacks would look common 
on her ! " 

"How stupid of me!" Grace exclaimed. 
"Why didn't I think of the grain-sacks? I 
might have corded the seams with heavy dark 
twine, or piped them with red carpet-binding." 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 123 

"I don't know what cordin* an* pipin* is," 
said Caleb, "but after what I've seen, I can 
believe that you'd only need to rummage in 
a big rag-bag awhile to dress like a queen — 
or look like one." 



^^OLD weather and the pork-packing 
m J season had arrived, and the lower 
^"-^ floor of Somerton's warehouse was 
a busier place than the store. At one 
side "dressed" hogs, unloaded from farmers* 
wagons, were piled high; in the centre a 
man with a cleaver lopped the heads and 
feet from the carcasses, and divided the re- 
mainder into hams, shoulders, and sides, 
which another man trimmed into commercial 
shape; a third packed the product in salted 
layers on the other side. At the rear of the 
room two men cut the trimmings, carefully 
separating the lean from the fat, and with 
the latter filled, once in two or three hours, 
some huge iron kettles which sat in a brick 
furnace in the corner. At similar intervals 
the contents of the kettles were transferred 
to the hopper of a large press, not unlike a 

Caleb JFright j» > 125 

cider press, and soon an odorous wine-colored 
fluid streamed into a tank below, from which 
it was ladled through tin funnels into large, 
closely hooped barrels. The room was cold, 
despite the furnace; the walls, windows, and 
ceiling were reminiscent of the dust and 
smell of many pork-packing seasons. Early 
in the season Philip had dubbed the pork- 
packing floor " Bluebeard's Chamber," and 
warned his wife never to enter it. After a 
single glance one day, through the street door 
of the warehouse, Grace assured her husband 
that the prohibition was entirely unnecessary. 
She also said that she never had been fond 
of pork, but that in the future she would 
eschew ham, bacon, sausage, lard, and all other 
pork products. 

When the sound of rapid, heavy hammering 
was audible in the Somerton sitting room and 
parlor, and when Grace asked where it came 
from, Philip replied, " The pork-house ; " the 
cooper was packing barrels of sides, hams, or 
shoulders for shipment, or tightening the hoops of 
lard-barrels which were inclined to leak. When 
Grace wondered whence came the great flakes 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 126 

of soot on table-linen which had been hung 
out of doors to dry, Philip replied, " The pork- 
house ; " probably the fire in the furnace was 
drawing badly and smoking too much. Fre- 
quently, when she went to the store and asked 
Caleb where her husband was, the reply would 
be, "The pork-house." If Philip reached 
home late for a meal, and Grace asked what 
had kept him, he was almost certain to reply, 
"The pork-house," and if, as frequently oc- 
curred later in the season, he retired so late 
that Grace thought she had slept through 
half the night, he groaned, in answer to her 
inevitable question, "The pork-house." 

Then came a day when Grace detected an 
unfamiliar and unpleasing odor in the house. 
She suspected the napkins, then the table- 
cloth, and examined the rug under the dining- 
room table for possible spots of butter. Next 
she inspected the kitchen, which she washed 
and scoured industriously for a full day. 
Occasionally she detected the same odor in 
the store, as if she had carried it with her from 
the house, so she examined her dresses minutely, 
for the odor was reminiscent of cookery of some 

Caleb Wright j> j> 127 

kind, although she had but a single dress for 
kitchen wear, and never wore it out of the 
house. She mentioned the odor to Philip, but 
he was unable to detect it in the air. One 
day it inflicted itself upon her even in church, 
and became so obnoxious that she spoke of 
it, instead of the sermon, as soon as the con- 
gregation was dismissed. 

" Tm very sorry, dear girl, that you're so tor- 
mented," said Philip. " I wish I could identify 
the nuisance ; then possibly I could find means 
to abate it. I know an odor is hard to describe, 
but do try to give me some clew to it.*' 

"It reminds me somewhat of stale butter," 
Grace replied slowly, "and of some kinds of 
greasy pans, and of burned meat, and of parts 
of some tenement-house streets in the city, 
and some ash-cans on city sidewalks on hot 
summer mornings — oh, those days ! — and 
of — I don't know what else." 

"YouVe already named enough to show 
that 'tis truly disgusting and dreadful, and I 
do wish you and I could exchange the one 
of the five senses which is affected by it, for 
I never had much sense of smell." 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 128 

By this time they were at home. Philip was 
unclasping his wife's cloak when Grace ex- 
claimed suddenly: — 

"There it is!" 

"There what is?" 

"That dreadful odor! Why, Phil, 'tis on 
your coat-sleeve ! What, in the name of all 
that's mysterious — " 

"That was my best coat in the city last 
winter, and I've never worn it here, except on 

"Then it must have taken the odor from 
some other garment in your closet." 

Philip hurriedly brought his ordinary week- 
day coat to the sitting room, Grace moved it 
slowly, suspiciously, toward her nose, and 
soon exclaimed : — 

"There it is — ugh! But what can it be.^" 

At that instant a well-known knock at the 
door announced Caleb, who had been invited 
to Sunday dinner. 

" Don't be shocked, Caleb," said Philip ; 
"we're not mending clothes on Sunday. 
'Twill scarcely be an appetizer, apparently, 
but won't you pass this coat to and fro before 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 129 

your face a moment, and detect an odor, if 
you can, and tell us what it is?" 

Caleb took the coat, did as requested, 
touched the cloth with his nose, and replied : — 

"The pork-house.*' 

"What do you mean?** Philip asked, while 
Grace turned pale. 

" It*s the smell of boilin* fat, from the 
lard-kettles. It*s powerful pervadin* of ev*ry- 
thin*, specially woollen clothes, an* men's hair, 
when the pork-house windows an* doors are 
shut. It makes me mortal sick sometimes, 
when the malary gets a new grip on me; at 
such times I know a pork-house worker when 
I pass him in the street in the dark. To 
save myself from myself I used to wear an 
oilcloth jacket an* overalls when I worked in 
the pork-house — your uncle an* I used to 
have to put in a good many hours there. 
There was somethin* else I used to do too, 
when I got to my room, though I never 
dared to tell your uncle, or he*d never ha' 
stopped laughin* at me.** 

"What was it? Tell me — quick!** said 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 130 

"Why, I bought a bottle of Floridy water 
out of the store, — it's a stuff that some of the 
gals use, — an' I sprinkled a little ev'ry day, 
mornin* an' evenin', on the carpet." 

Philip hurried to a bed-chamber, and came 
back with Grace's cologne-bottle, the contents 
of which he bestowed upon the rug under the 
dining table. 

"That ort to kill the rat," said Caleb, ap- 

The dinner was a good one, but Grace ate 
sparingly, though she talked with animation 
and brilliancy unusual even for her, Philip 
imagined. For himself, he felt as he thought 
a detected criminal, an outcast, must feel. 
Excusing himself abruptly, he relieved his 
feelings somewhat by throwing out of doors 
the offending coat and the garments pertaining 
to it; then he threw out all the woollen gar- 
ments of his wardrobe. Caleb was not due at 
Sunday school until three o'clock, but he 
excused himself an hour early. As he started, 
he signalled Philip in a manner familiar in the 
store, to follow him, and when both were out- 
side the door, he said : — 

Caleb Wright ^ ji 131 

" I reckon she needs quinine, or somethin*. 
Touchiness 'bout smells is a sign. Fd get 
Doc Taggess to come down, if I was you." 

Philip thanked him for the suggestion ; then 
he hurried to the bath-room, washed his hair 
and mustache, and exchanged his clothes for 
a thinner suit which he exhumed from a trunk. 
It was redolent of camphor, which he detested, 
but it was " all the perfumes of Araby *' com- 
pared with — the pork-house. Then he re- 
joined Grace and made haste to officiate as 
assistant scullion, and also to ejaculate : — 

"That infernal pork-house! '* 

"Don't talk of it any more to-day," Grace 
said, with a piteous smile. 

" How can I help it, when — " 

"But you must help it, Phil dear. Really 
you must" 

Philip made haste to change the subject of 
conversation, and to cheer his wife and escape 
from his own thoughts he tried to be humorous, 
and finally succeeded so well that he and Grace 
became as merry in their little kitchen as they 
ever had been anywhere. Indeed, Grace 
recovered her spirits so splendidly that of her 

Caleb Wright j» j» 132 

own accord she recalled the pork-house, and 
said many amusing things about " Bluebeard's 
Chamber," and told how curious and jealous 
Philip's prohibition had made her, and PhiUp 
replied that it contained more trunkless heads 
than the fateful closet of Bluebeard, and that 
it was a treasure-house besides ; for through it 
passed most of the store's business that directly 
produced money. Then he dashed at the 
piano and played a lot of music so lively that 
it would have shocked the church people had 
they heard it, and Grace lounged in an easy- 
chair, with her eyes half closed, looking the 
picture of dreamy contentment. Later she 
composed herself among the pillows of a 
lounge, and asked Philip to throw an afghan 
over her, and sit beside her, and talk about old 
times in the city, and then to remind her of all 
their newer blessings, because she wished to be 
very, fully, reverently grateful for them. Philip 
was not loath to comply with her request ; for 
though the month's work had been very exact- 
ing and hard, he had been assured by Caleb, 
within twenty-four hours, that it was the largest 
and most profitable month of business that the 

Caleb Wright j» j» 133 

Somerton store had ever done, and that beyond 
a doubt the new proprietor had "caught on," 
and held all the old customers, and of his own 
ability secured several new ones, which proved 
that the people of the town and county " took 
to " him. 

All this Philip repeated to Grace, who dream- 
ily said that it was very good, and a satis- 
faction to have her husband prominent among 
men, instead of a nobody — a splendid, incom- 
parable, adorable one, but still really a nobody, 
among the hundreds of thousands of men in 
New York. Then both of them fell to musing 
as the twilight deepened. Musing, twilight, and 
temporary relief from the strain of the week's 
work combined to send Philip into a gentle doze, 
from which he suddenly roused himself to say : — 
" What are you laughing at. Miss Mischief } " 
" Fm — not — laughing," Grace replied. 
" Crying t My dear girl, what is the matter.?" 
" Fm — not — crying. Fm — merely — shiv- 
ering. Fm cold." 

" That's because you've a brute of a husband, 
who has been so wrapped up in his affairs and 
you that probably he has let the fire go out." 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 134 

He made haste to replenish the stove and 
to throw over his wife a traveller's rug. Then 
he lighted a shaded candle, looked at the ther- 
mometer, and said : — 

"How strange! The mercury stands at 
seventy-two degrees/* 

But Grace continued to shiver, and, stranger 
still, she felt colder as the fire burned up and 
additional covers were placed upon her. Fi- 
nally she exclaimed : — 

" Oh, Phil ! Fm frightened ! This is some- 
thing — different from — ordinary cold. It 
must be some — something like — paralysis. 
I can't move my arms or feet." 

" rU run for Doctor Taggess at once ! " said 
Philip ; but as he started from the room, Grace 
half screamed, half groaned : — 

" Don't leave me, if you — love me ! Don't 
let me — die — alone ! " 

" At least let me go to the door and raise a 
shout; some one will hear me, and I'll send him 
for the Doctor." 

As he opened the door he saw a light in 
the window of Caleb's room, over the store. 
Quickly seizing the cord of the alarm signal. 

Caleb JFright j» j» 135 

of which Caleb had previously told him, he 
pulled several times, and soon Caleb, finding 
the door ajar, entered the room. 

" Won't you get the Doctor, Caleb — quick ? " 
said Philip. "We're awfully frightened; my 
wife has a strange, dreadful attack of some 
kind. It acts like paralysis." 

Caleb, glancing toward the lounge, saw the 
quivering covers and Grace's face. 

" Poor little woman ! " he said, with the 
voice of a woman. " But don't be frightened. 
'Tisn't paralysis. It's bad enough, but it never 
kills. I know the symptoms as well as I know 
my own right hand, an* Doctor'll do more good 
later in the evenin' than now." 

" But what is it, man ? " 

" Malary — fever an' ager. She's never had 
a chill before, I reckon ? " 

** No — o — o," said Grace, between chatter- 
ing teeth. 

"Don't wonder you was scared, then. If 
religion could take hold like an ager-chill, this 
part of the country would be a section o' king- 
dom-come. The mean thing about it is that 
it takes hardest hold of folks that's been the 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 136 

healthiest. Try not to be scared, though ; it 
won't kill, an' 'twon't last but a few minutes. 
Then you're likely to drop asleep, an' wake 
pretty soon with a hot fever an' splittin' head- 
ache; they ain't pleasant to look forward to, 
but they might seem worse if you didn't foresee 
'em. I'll go for Doc Taggess right off ; if he 
ain't home, his wife'll send him as soon as he 
comes. Taggess himself is the best medicine 
he carries; but if he's oflf somewhere, I'll come 
back an' tell your husband what to do. Don't 
be af eared to trust me ; ev'ry man o' sense in 
this section o' country knows what to do for 
fever and ager ; if he didn't, he'd have to go out 
o' business." 

Caleb departed, after again saying "Poor 
little woman ! " very tenderly. As for Philip, 
he took his wife's hands in his own and poured 
forth a torrent of sympathetic words ; but when 
the sufferer fell asleep, he went out into the 
darkness and cursed malaria, the West, and the 
impulse which had made him become his 
uncle's heir. He cursed many things else, and 
then concentrated the remainder of his wrath 
into an anathema on the pork-house. 


MFTER her fever had subsided, Grace 
Aw went to sleep and carried into dream- 
-^^ land the disquieting conviction that 
she was to have a long period of illness, and be 
confined to her bed. Philip had given her the 
medicines prescribed and obtained by Caleb, for 
Doctor Taggess had gone far into the country 
and was not expected home until morning. 
Then Philip had lain awake far into the night, 
planning proper care for his precious invalid; 
finally he decided to get a trained nurse from 
New York, unless Doctor Taggess could recom- 
mend one nearer home. He would also get 
from the city a trained housekeeper ; for, as 
already explained, there was no servant class 
at Claybanks, and of what use was "help" 
when the head of the house was too ill to direct 
the work ? He would order from the city 
every cordial, every sick-room delicacy, that he 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 138 

could think of, or the Doctor might suggest. 
Expense was not to be thought of; there was 
only one woman and wife in the world — to 
him, and she had been cruelly struck down. 
She should be made well, at whatever cost. 
Meanwhile he would write the firm by which 
he had been employed in New York, and beg 
for his old position, for the reason that the cli- 
mate of Claybanks was seriously undermining 
his wife's health ; afterward, as soon as Grace 
could be moved, he would take her back to the 
city, and give up his Claybanks property, 
with its train of responsibilities, privations, and 

When he awoke in the morning, he slipped 
softly from the room, which he had darkened 
the night before, so that the morning light 
should not disturb the invalid, and he moved 
toward the kitchen to make a fire — a morning 
duty with which he had charged himself and 
faithfully fulfilled since his first day in his 
uncle's house. To be in the store by sunrise, 
as was the winter custom of Claybanks mer- 
chants, compelled Philip to rise before daylight, 
and habit, first induced by an alarm clock, had 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 139 

made him wake every winter day at six, while 
darkness was still deep. 

He was startled, therefore, when he tip-toed 
into the dining room, to be welcomed by a burst 
of sunlight. Evidently his wakefulness of the 
previous night had caused him to oversleep. 
Hurrying to the kitchen, he was again startled, 
for breakfast was cooking on the stove, and at 
the table, measuring some ground coffee into a 
pot, stood Grace, softly singing, as was her cus- 
tom when she worked. 

"What.^" he exclaimed, rubbing his eyes. 
" Was it I who was ill, instead of you, or have 
I been bereft of my senses for a fortnight or 
more } " 

" Neither, you poor, dear boy," Grace replied, 
though without looking up. " Yesterday I was 
more scared than hurt ; to-day I feel as well as 
ever — really, I do." 

Philip stepped in front of her, took her head 
in his hands, and looked into her face. The 
healthy glow peculiar to it had given place 
to a sickly yellow tint ; her plump cheeks had 
flattened — almost hollowed, her eyes, always 
either lustrous or melting, were dull and expres- 

Caleb fF right j» j» 140 

sionless, and her lips, usually ruddy and full, 
were gray and thin. As her husband looked 
at her, she burst into tears and hid her face on 
his shoulder. 

" I could have endured anything but that," 
she sobbed. " I don't think Fm vain, but it has 
always been so delightful to me that I could be 
pretty to my husband. I wasn't conceited, but 
I had to believe my mirror. But now — oh, 
Fd like to hide my face somewhere for a — " 

" Would you, indeed } ** murmured Philip, ten- 
derly. "Let me hide it for you, a little at a 
time; I promise you that not a bit shall be 

" Do let me breathe, Phil. I don't see 
how you can kiss a scarecrow — and continue 
at it." 

" Don't you } I could kiss a plague-patient, 
or the living skeleton, if Grace Somerton's 
heart was in it. I don't understand your refer- 
ence to a scarecrow. Your mirror must have 
been untruthful this morning, or perhaps cov- 
ered with mist, for — see!" 

So saying, he detached the late Mr. Jethro 
Somerton's tiny mirror from the kitchen wall 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 141 

and held it before his wife, whose astonishment 
and delight were great as she exclaimed : — 

" Phil, you're a witch ! Now I'm going to 
make believe that there was no yesterday, and 
if yesterday persists in coming to mind, I shall 
scold myself most savagely for having been a 
frightened, silly child." 

" You really were a very sick woman," Philip 
replied. "I was quite as frightened at you 
while the chill had possession of you, and you 
had a raging fever afterward. You've had 
headaches in other days, but yesterday's was 
the first that made you moan." 

"'Tis very strange. I feel quite as well 
to-day as ever I did. Perhaps 'tis the effect 
of Caleb's medicine. Poor Caleb! When he 
saw me, I really believe he suffered as much 
as I." 

" So it seemed to me," said Philip. " I won- 
der how a little, sickly, always-tired man can 
have so much sympathy and tenderness.^" 

"You forget that he, himself, is malaria- 
poisoned, as your uncle's letter said. Probably 
he's had just such chills as mine. Let's make 
haste to thank him." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 142 

After a hurried breakfast, husband and wife 
went together to the store, and found Caleb 
awaitmg them at the back door. He had 
already seen Grace's figure at the window of 
the sitting room. 

** Je — ru — salem ! " he exclaimed, looking in- 
tently at Grace. " I never saw a worse shake 
than yourn, which is sayin* a mighty lot, con- 
sidering I was born an* raised in the West. But 
you look just as good as new. Well, there's 
somethin' good in ev'rythin', if you look far 
enough for it — even in an ager-chill." 

" Good in a chill, indeed ! *' Philip exclaimed. 

"Yes; its good p'int is that it don't last 
long. Havin' a chilFs like bein' converted ; if 
somethin' didn't shut down on the excitement 
pretty quick, ther^'d be nothin' left o' the sub- 
ject. Well, seein' you're here, I reckon Td 
better take a look in the pork-house." 

"He has sprinkled the floor with Florida 
water ! " said Grace, as she entered the store. 
"Evidently he didn't doubt that I'd be well 
this morning, and he remembers yesterday." 

Within an hour Doctor Taggess and his wife 
bustled into the store, and Mrs. Taggess hur- 
ried to Grace, and said: — 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 143 

"Td have come to you yesterday, my dear, 
if I hadn't known I could be of no use. Chills 
are like cyclones; they'll have their own way 
while they last, and everything put in their 
way makes them more troublesome." 

The Doctor consulted Philip, apart, as to 
what had been done, approved of Caleb's treat- 
ment, and gave additional directions; then he 
turned upon Grace his kind eyes and pleasant 
smile, which Caleb had rightly intimated were 
his best medicines, and he said: — 

" Well, has Doctor Caleb found time to give 
you his favorite theory, which is that a chill 
or any other malarial product is a means of 
grace ? " 

** Caleb values his life too highly to advance 
such a theory at present," Philip answered for 
his wife. 

**Just so, just so. Well, there's a time for 
everything, but Caleb isn't entirely wrong on 
that subject. There are other and less painful 
and entirely sufficient means of grace, however, 
from which one can choose, so chills aren't 
necessary — for that particular purpose, and I 
hope you won't have any more of them. I'm 

Caleb Wright j* j* 144 

afraid you forgot some of the advice I gave 
you, the first time we met, about how to take 
care of yourself until you had become accli- 

Philip and Grace looked at each other sheep- 
ishly, and admitted that they had not forgotten, 
but neglected. They had felt so well, so 
strong, they said. 

"Just so, just so. Malaria's just like Satan, 
in many ways, but especially in sometimes ap- 
pearing as an angel of light. At first it will 
stimulate every physical faculty of a healthy 
person like good wine, but suddenly — well, 
you know. I had my suspicions the last time 
I noticed your splendid complexion, but be- 
tween mending broken limbs and broken heads, 
and old people leaving the world, and young 
people coming into it, I'm too busy to do all 
the work I lay out for myself. You may have 
one more chill — " 

"Oh, Doctor r* 

"Twon't be so bad as the first one, unless 
it comes to-day. They have four different and 
regular periods — every day, every other day, 
once in three days, and once in seven days, 

Caleb Wright j* j» 145 

and each is worse than all of the others com- 
bined — according to the person who has it. 
rU soon cure yours, whichever kind it may be, 
and after that Tm going to get Mrs. Taggess 
to keep you in mind of the necessary precau- 
tions against new attacks, for Fve special use 
for you in this town and county. I wonder if 
Caleb has told you that you, too, are a means 
of grace t No ? Well, he*s a modest chap, but 
he'll get to it yet, and FU back him up. This 
county has needed a visible standard of physi- 
cal health for young women to live up to, and 
you entirely fill the bill." 

" I shouldn't wonder, Doctor," said Philip, 
while Grace blushed, "that, religious though 
you are, you sometimes agree with the sceptic 
who said that if he'd been the Creator of the 
world he'd have made health catching, instead 
of disease." 

" No, I can't say that I do. Heaven knows 
I'm sick enough of sickness ; no honest physi- 
cian's bills pay him for the miseries he has to 
see, and think of, and fight ; but health's very 
much like money — it's valued most by those 
who have to work hardest to get it : those who 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 146 

come by it easily are likely to squander it. I 
can't quite make out, by the ordinary signs, 
how your wife came by her own. I wonder if 
she'd object to telling me. I don't ask from 
mere curiosity, I assure you." 

" Fm afraid 'twill stimulate my self-esteem to 
tell," Grace replied, with heightening color, 
"for Fm prouder of my health than of any- 
thing else — except my husband. I got it by 
sheer hard, long effort, through the necessity 
for six years, of going six days in the week, 
sick or well, rain or shine, to and from a store, 
and of standing up, for nine or ten hours a day 
while I was inside. To lose a day or two in 
such a store generally meant to lose one's 
place, so a girl couldn't afford to be sick, or 
even feeble." 

"Aha! Wife, did you hear that.? Now, 
Mrs. Somerton, Claybanks and vicinity need 
you even more than I'd supposed. But — do try 
to have patience with me, for I'm a physician, 
you know, and what you tell me may be of 
great service to other young women ; I won't 
use your name, if you object. Did you have 
good health from the first?" 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 147 

" No, indeed ! I was a thin, pale, little coun- 
try girl when I went to the city ; Fd worked so 
hard at school for years that all my vitality 
seemed to have gone to my head. Work in 
the store was cruelly hard, — indeed, it never be- 
came easy, — and I had headaches, backaches, 
dizzy times — oh, all sorts of aches and weari- 
nesses. But in a great crowd of women there 
are always some with sharp eyes, and clear 
heads, and warm hearts, and sometimes the 
mother-feeling besides. I wasn't the only 
chronically tired girl in the place ; most of the 
others looked and felt as I did. Well, some 
of the good women IVe mentioned were per- 
petually warning us girls to be careful of our 
health, and telling us how to do it." 

" Good ! Good ! What did they say — in 
general ? " 

"Nothing," said Grace, laughing, and then 
remaining silent a moment, as she seemed to 
be looking backward. " For each said some- 
thing in particular. All had hobbies. One 
thought diet was everything; with another it 
was the daily bath ; others harped on long and 
regular sleep, or avoidance of excitement, or 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 148 

fresh air while sleeping, or clothes and the 
healthiest way to wear them, or exercise, or the 
proper position in which to stand, or on carry- 
ing the head and shoulders high, or deep 
breathing, or recreation, or religion, or avoid- 
ance of the tea, cake, and candy habit." 

**Well, well! Now tell me, please, which of 
these hobbies you adopted.'* 

"All of them — every one of them,*' Grace 
replied, with an emphatic toss of her head. 
"First I tried one, with some benefit, then 
another, and two or three more, and finally the 
entire collection." 

" Hurrah ! " shouted the Doctor. " You can 
be worth more to the women hereabouts than 
a dozen doctors like me, if you will — and of 
course you will. Indeed, you must. One 
more question, — positively the last. You 
couldn't have been the only woman who prof- 
ited by the advice you received.?" 

"Oh, no. In any of the stores in which I 
worked there were some strong, wholesome, 
grand women who had literally fought their 
way up to what they were, for small pay and 
long hours, and weariness at night, and many 

Caleb Wright j» j» 149 

other things combined to make any special 
effort of self-denial very, very hard — too hard 
for some of the girls, I verily believe. I don't 
think Fm narrow or easily satisfied ; sometimes 
Tve been fastidious and slow in forming ac- 
quaintances, but among all the other women 
IVe seen, or heard of, or read about, there 
aren't any for whom Fd exchange some of my 
sister — shopgirls." 

" Saleswomen, if you please," said Philip. 

"Well, well!" drawled the Doctor, who had 
been looking fixedly at Grace. " I don't won- 
der that you're what you are. Come along, 

As Doctor and Mrs. Taggess departed, Grace 
said to her husband : — 

" That is the highest compliment that I ever 
had." And Philip replied : — 

" I hope 'tis good for chills." 


^^^RACES malarial attack was soon 
I -w- repulsed, but the memory of that 
^^^ Sunday chill remained vivid. So 
Grace followed the Doctor's instructions as 
carefully as if she were an invalid on the brink 
of the grave, and she compelled Philip also to 
heed the counsel of precaution which Doctor 
Taggess had given to both. From that time 
forward she took personal sympathetic interest 
in all malarial victims of whom she heard, 
especially in those who purchased from the 
great stock of proprietary medicines in Somer- 
ton's store. Not infrequently a farmer or 
villager would be seized by a chill while talk- 
ing or transacting business in the store, and 
Grace, despite her own experience in a warm 
room and under many woollen coverings, could 
scarcely help begging him to accept the loan 
of heavy shawls from the store's stock, and to 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 151 

sit undisturbed by the fire in the back room. 
When she planned a Sunday dinner, at which 
Doctor Taggess and his wife were to be guests, 
it was partly for the purpose of questioning the 
Doctor about the origin of malaria, and of its 
peculiarities, which seemed almost as numerous 
as cases; but Philip assured her that busy 
doctors, like other men of affairs, hated nothing 
so much as to "talk shop" out of business 

Fortunately she gradually became too busy 
to have time in which to become a monoma- 
niac on malaria. The specimen organ arrived, 
and was placed in the church, to the great 
edification of the people. Grace was for a 
time the only performer, but to prepare relief 
for herself, improve the quality of the congre- 
gational singing, and not without an eye to 
business, she organized an evening music 
class, and quickly trained several young 
women to play some of the simpler hymn- 
tunes, — and also to purchase organs on the 
instalment plan. 

From music lessons to dress-making is a far 
cry, but the fame of the purple and " Scare- 

Caleb Wright j» j» 152 

Cow" dress had pervaded the county, and all 
the girls wanted dresses like it, which was 
somewhat embarrassing after the stock of the 
two calicoes had been exhausted. Then there 
arose a demand for something equally lovely, 
pretty, nice, sweet, or scrumptious, according 
to the vocabulary of the demander, and East- 
ern jobbers of calicoes and other prints and 
cheap dress-goods were one day astonished to 
receive from "Philip Somerton, late Jethro 
Somerton," a request for a full line of sam- 
ples — the first request of the sort from that 
portion of the state. To be able to ask in a 
store, " How would you make this up ? " and 
to get a satisfying answer, was a privilege 
which not even the most hopeful women of 
Claybanks had ever dared to expect, so the 
" truck trade " of the town and county — the 
business that came of women carrying eggs, 
butter, chickens, feathers, etc., to the stores 
to barter for goods — drifted almost entirely 
to Somerton*s store, and caused John Henry 
Bustpodder, a matter-of-fact German merchant 
on the next block, to say publicly that if his 
wife should die he would shut up the store 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ 153 

and leave it shut till he could get to New 
York and marry a shopgirl. 

By midspring Grace had quite as few idle 
moments as her husband or Caleb ; for be- 
tween housekeeping, music-teaching, talking 
with commercial travellers, and selling goods, 
she seldom found time to enjoy the horse and 
buggy that Philip had bought for her, and 
she often told her husband, in mock com- 
plaint, that she worked longer hours than 
she had ever done in New York, and that 
she really must have an advance of pay if 
he did not wish her to transfer her abilities 
and customers to some rival establishment. 
Yet she enjoyed the work; she had a keen 
sense of humor, which sharpened the same 
sense in others, and when women were at 
the counter, she frequently found excuse to 
start a chorus of laughter. To her husband, 
a customer was merely a customer ; to Grace 
he was frequently a character, and she had 
seen so few characters in the course of her 
New York experiences that she rejoiced in 
the change. She was sympathetic, too, so the 
younger women talked to her of much besides 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 154 

"truck" and goods. When one day a coun- 
try matron rallied her on being without chil- 
dren, another matron exclaimed, " She's second 
mother to half the gals in the county " — a 
statement which Grace repeated to Philip in 
great glee, following it with a demure ques- 
tion as to the advisability of living up to her 
new dignity by taking to spectacles and sun- 

But in her sober moments, and sometimes 
in the hurry of business, a spectre of malaria 
would suddenly intrude upon her thoughts. 
Occasionally she saw cases of rheumatism, rick- 
ets, helpless limbs, twitching faces, and other 
ailments that caused her heart to ache, and 
prompted her to ask the cause. The answers 
were various : " malary " — " fever an* ager " — 
" malarier ** — " chills " — " malaria," but the 
meanings were one. One day she burst in an 
instant from laughter into tears at seeing a 
babe, not a year old, shaking violently with 
a chill. Straightway Grace went to the min- 
ister — poor minister ! — and demanded to 
know how the Lord could permit so dreadful 
an occurrence. One day, after engaging Doctor 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 155 

Taggess in general conversation, she abruptly 
said, despite Philip's reminder that physicians 
dislike " shop talk ** : — 

" I wish you would tell me all about malaria ; 
what it is, and where it comes from, and why 
we don't get rid of it." 

" My dear woman,** the Doctor replied, " ask 
me about electricity, of which no one knows 
much, and I can tell you something, but ma- 
laria is beyond my ken. I know it when I 
see it in human nature ; that is, I treat almost 
all diseases as if they were malarial, and I 
seldom find myself mistaken, but, beyond that, 
malaria is beyond my comprehension.** 

** But, Doctor, it must be something, and 
come from somewhere.'* 

"Oh, yes. 'Tis generally admitted that 
malaria is due to an invisible emanation from 
the soil, and is probably a product of vege- 
tation in a certain stage of decay. It seems 
to be latent in soil that has not been exposed 
to the air for some time, — such as that thrown 
from cellars and wells in process of excava- 
tion, — and all swamps are believed to be mala- 
ria breeders; for when the swamp land of a 

Caleb JFright j» j» 156 

section is drained, the malarial diseases of the 
vicinity disappear/' 

" Then why aren't all swamps drained ? " 
" Because the work would be too expensive, 
in the sections where the swamps are, I sup- 
pose. Look at this township, for example : 
while all the ground is open, — that is, not 
frozen, — the farmers and other people have all 
they can do at planting, cultivating, harvest- 
ing, etc. Swamp land makes the richest soil, 
after it has been drained, but who's going to 
drain his own swamp when he already has 
more good land than he can cultivate } Some 
of the farmers work at it, a little at a time, but 
it is slow work, — discouragingly slow, — besides 
being frightfully hard and disgustingly dirty." 
"Then why doesn't the government do it.?" 
" I thought you'd come to that, for every 
woman's a socialist at heart until she learns 
better. Still, so is every man. Well, govern- 
ments have no money of their own ; all they 
have is taken from the people, in the form of 
taxes, and any increase of taxes, especially for 
jobs as large as swamp drainage in this state, 
would be too unpopular to be voted. Besides, 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 157 

while it would be of general benefit to the 
many, it would specially and greatly benefit 
the owners of the swamp land, which would 
start a frightful howl. Private enterprise may 
be depended upon to banish swamps and mala- 
ria; but first there must be enough popula- 
tion, and enough increase in the value of land, 
to justify it. I wish 'twould do so in this 
county and in my day. *Twould lessen my 
income, but 'twould greatly increase my hap- 
piness, for doctors have hearts. By the way, 
have you yet heard from Caleb on malaria as 
a means of grace ^ There's a chance to learn 
something about malaria — to hear something 
about it, at least; for Caleb talks well on his 
pet subjects. Poor fellow, I wish I could 
cure his chronic malarial troubles. I've tried 
everything, and he does enjoy far better health 
than of old, but the cause of the trouble 
remains. That man came of tall, broad- 
shouldered stock on both sides — you wouldn't 
imagine it, would you, to look at him } He's 
always been industrious and intelligent ; every- 
body likes him and respects him ; but at times 
it's almost impossible to extract an idea or 

Caleb JF right j^ j^ 158 

even a word from him — all on account of 
malaria. Again, he*ll have the clearest, clev- 
erest head in town. Seems strange, doesn't 

Grace improved an early opportunity to say 
to Caleb that perhaps she had done wrong in 
recovering so quickly from her attack of 
chills, for she had been told that he regarded 
malaria as a means of grace. 

"Well, yes, I do — *bout the same way as 
some other things — air, an* light, an' food, 
an' money, for instance. Anythin' that helps 
folks to make the most of their opportunities 
can be a means of grace; when it isn't, the 
folks themselves are the trouble. Reckon 
nobody' 11 dispute that about good things. 
But when it comes to things that ain't popu- 
lar, — like floods, an' light'nin'-strokes, an' ma- 
lary, — well, folks don't seem to see it in the 
same light, and they suspect the malary most, 
'cause it's far an' away the commonest. I've 
been laughed at so often for my notions on 
the subject that I've got hardened to it, an' 
don't mind standin' it again." 

"Oh, Caleb! Please don't say that! You 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 159 

don't believe I would laugh at anything you're 
earnest about, do you?" 

"Well, I don't really b'lieve you would, an' 
I'm much 'bliged to you for it. You see, my 
idee is this. You remember what's said, in 
one of the psalms, about they that go down to 
the sea in ships, and what happens to them 
when a big wind comes up — how they are at 
their wit's end, because they're in trouble too 
big for them to manage, so they have to call 
unto the Lord 1 — somethin' that sailors ain't 
b'lieved to be given to doin' over an' above 
much, judgin' by their general conversation 
as set down in books an' newspapers. Well, 
malary's like the wind, an' the spirit that's 
compared with it; you can't tell where it's 
comin' from, or when, or how long it's goin' 
to stay, or what it'll do before it goes. It 
puts a man face to face with his Maker, an' 
just when the man can't put on airs, no mat- 
ter how hard he tries. I think anythin' that 
kicks a man into seein* his dependence on 
heaven is a means of grace, even if the 
man's too mean to take advantage of it. 
When a man's shakin' with a chill that's come 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ i6o 

at him on the sly, as a chill always does, an* 
finds all his grit an' all the doctor's medicine 
can't keep him from shakin' — snatches him 
clean away from his own grip, which is the 
awfuUest feelin* a man can have — " 

"You're entirely right about it, Caleb," 
said Grace, with a shudder. 

"Thank you, but 'taint only the shake. 
It's not knowin* how the thing is goin' to 
come out, or how helpless it's goin* to make 
one, or in what way it's goin' to upset all his 
plans an* calculations — why, it teaches abso- 
lute dependence on a higher power, an* 'tisn't 
only folks that make most fuss 'bout it in 
church that feels it. After one gets that 
feelin', he's lots more of a man than he ever 
was before. I think malary has been the 
makin' of human nature out West here, an* 
in some parts of the East too. Why, do you 
know that almost every one of our greatest 
Presidents was bom or brought up in malary- 
soaked country? Washington was, I know; 
for I had chills all over his part of Virginia, 
in war time, an' more'n a hundred thousand 
other men kept me comp'ny at it. Jackson, 

Caleb Wright j» j» i6i 

Lincoln, Grant, was some of the other Presi- 
dents that knowed malary better than they 
afterwards knowed their own Cabinets. As to 
smaller men, but mighty big, nevertheless — 
all the big cities of the land's full of *em. 
Look up the record of a city's great business 
man, an' I'm told you'll find he never was 
born an' raised there, but in the back country 
somewhere, generally out West, an' nine times 
in ten can tell you more 'bout his ager spells 
than you care to hear. Still, such cases don't 
bear on the subject o' means o' grace, though 
they come from the same causes. Out in 
these parts malary does more'n ministers to 
fill the churches. So long as men feel first- 
rate, they let the church alone mighty hard, 
but just let 'em get into a hard tussle with 
malary an' they begin to come to meetin'. 
The worse it treats 'em, the more they come, 
which is just what they need. That's the 
way the church got me; though that ain't 
particularly to the p'int, for one swaller don't 
make a summer. But I've been watchin' the 
signs for twenty year, an' I'm not gettin' off 
guess-work when I say that malary's been 

Caleb IF right j^ j^ 162 

one of the leadin' means o' grace in this 
great Western country, an* of pretty much 
ev*rythin' else that's worth havin* ; the states 
that have most of it produce more good people 
to the thousan' than any other states, besides 
more great men, an' great ideas, an* first-class 
American grit. Now you can laugh if you 
feel the least bit like it." 

"I don't, Caleb. But do answer me one 
question. If malaria has done so much good, 
and is doing it, do you think it ought to be 
preserved, — say as an American institution i ** 

"Well," said Caleb, "ev'rythin' an* every- 
body, from Moses an' manna to Edison an* 
electricity, has had a mission, an* when the 
work was done, the mission took a rest an' 
gave somethin* else the right o* way. When 
malary's accomplished its mission, I, for one, 
would like to assist in layin' it away. I think 
I'm entitled to a share in the job, for malary 
an' me has been powerful close acquaintances 
for a mighty long time." 



^LONG about now," said Caleb to Philip 
Al and Grace one morning in midspring, 
"is the easiest time o* year that a 
merchant ever gets in these parts ; for, between 
the earliest ploughin* for spring wheat to the 
latest ploughin' for corn, the farmers that 
'mount to anythin* are too busy to come to town 
when the weather's good ; when the rain gives 
'em a day off from wgrk, they've got sense 
enough to take a rest as well as to give one to 
the bosses. I thought I'd mention the matter, 
in case you'd had anythin' on your mind to be 
done, an' hadn't found time to do it." 

" H'm ! " said Philip, rubbing his forehead, 
as if to extract some special mental memo- 

"Thank you, Caleb, for the suggestion," 
Grace said, " but I believe every foot of our 
garden ground is fully planted." 

Caleb Bright j^ ^ 164 

"Yes, so Fve noticed. 'Twill be a big ad- 
vertisement, too, if the things turn out as good 
as the pictures an* readin* matter in the plant 
catalogues you got ; for there ain*t many things 
in them boxes of plants you bought that was 
ever seen or heerd of in these parts. How*d 
you come to know so much about such 

" Oh, I kept window-gardens in the city all 
summer, and indoor gardens in winter.** 

" I want to know ! What give you that 
idee ? ** 

"The beauty of flowers, I suppose — and 
their cheapness,** Grace replied. "Besides, 
flowers in the winter .were a good test of the 
air in our rooms, for air that kills plants is not 
likely to be good enough for human beings.** 

" Je — ru — salem ! I must tell that to Doc 
Taggess, so that word about it can get to some 
of our country folks. Some of them keep their 
houses so tight shut in winter that the folks 
come out powerful peaked in the spring, just 
when they need all the stren*th they can get. 
But ain*t you got nothin* else on your mind to 
do, besides exercisin' your boss once in a while.?** 

Caleb JFright j» j» 165 

As he asked the question his eyes strayed 
from Grace to Philip, and an amused expression 
came over the little man's face, so that Grace 
asked : — 

" What is so funny in Philip's appearance ? *' 

" Nothing said Caleb, quickly pretending to 
arrange the goods on a shelf. 

** Don't say * Nothing * in that tantalizing 
way, when your every feature is saying that 
there is something." 

" Out with it, Caleb," said Philip. " I prom- 
ise that I shan't feel offended." 

" Well, the fact is, I was thinkin* o' somethin* 
I overheard you tell your uncle, first time you 
came here. He asked you what you was goin' 
to the city for. ' To continue my studies,' says 
you. * What studies } * says he. * Literature 
an' art,* says you. Then Jethro come pretty 
nigh to bustin' hisself. After you was gone he 
borried some cyclopeedy volumes from Doc 
Taggess, an' in odd moments he opened 'em at 
long pieces that was headed * Literature ' an' 
*Art.' I watched him pretty close, to know 
when he was through, so I could pump him about 
'em, for his sake as well as mine; for I've most 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ i66 

generally found that a man ain*t sure of what 
he knows till he has to tell it to somebody else. 
But Jethro would most generally drop asleep 
'long about the second or third page, an' one 
day he slapped one of the books shut an' hol- 
lered, * Dog-goned nonsense ! ' Like enough he 
was wrong about it, though, for afterwards I 
dipped into the same pieces myself, a little 
bit at a time, and 'peared to me there was a 
mighty lot of pleasant things in the subjects, 
if one could spend his whole life huntin' for 

"You're quite right as to the general fact," 
said Philip, " and also as to the time that may 
be given to it." 

" Am, eh ? Glad I sized it up so straight. 
Well, then, I reckon you didn't finish the job in 
the city, an' that you're still peggin' away at 

Philip looked at Grace, and both laughed as 
he replied : — 

" I don't believe I've opened any book but 
the Bible in the past month." 

"I want to know! Then the hundreds of 
books in your house are about like money that's 

Caleb JVright j^ j^ 167 

locked up in the safe instead o' bein' out at 
interest, or turnin' itself over in some other 
way, ain*t they ? " 

" Quite so." 

Caleb went into a brown study, and Philip 
and Grace chatted apart, and laughed — occa- 
sionally sighed — over what they had intended 
to buy and read, when they found themselves 
well off. Suddenly Caleb emerged from his 
brown study and said : — 

"Ain't them books like a lot of clothes or 
food that's locked up, doin' no good to their 
owner, while other folks, round about, are 
hungry, or shiverin' ? " 

"Caleb," said Philip, after a long frown in 
which his wife did not join, although distinctly 
invited, " my practised eye discerns that you 
think our books, which are about as precious 
to us as so many children might be, ought to 
be lent out, to whoever would read them." 

"Well, why not? Everybody else in these 
parts that's got books lends 'em. Doc Tag- 
gess does it, the minister does it, an* a lot of 
others. The trouble is that a good many fami- 
lies has got the same books. Once in a while 

Caleb JFright > > i68 

some book agent with head-piece enough to 
take his pay in truck has gone through this 
county like a cyclone — an* left about as much 
trash behind him as a cyclone usually does.** 

" Aha ! And yet you'd have me believe that 
the people who have bought such trash would 
enjoy the books which my wife and I have 
been selecting with great care for years ? *' 

** Can't tell till you give *em the chance, 
as the darkey said when he was asked how 
many watermelons his family could tuck away. 
I don't s'pose you knowed there was the 
makin* of a first-class country merchant in 
you, did you, till you got the chance to try.? 
Besides, as I reckon I've said before, you 
mustn't judge our people by their clothes. I 
don't b'lieve they average more fools to the 
thousan' than city folks." 

** Neither do I, Caleb ; but tastes differ, even 
among the wisest, and to risk my darlmg 
books among a lot of people who might think 
me a fool for my pains — oh, 'tis not to be 
thought of. Next, I suppose, you'll suggest 
that I take my pictures from the walls and 
lend them around, say a week to a family." 

Caleb JFright j» j» 169 

"No; I wouldn't be so mean as that. Be- 
sides, pictures, an* bang-up ones, are plenti- 
fuUer than books in these parts, for people 
that like that sort o' thing." 

" Indeed } I wouldn't have thought it. Well, 
* Live and learn.' Do tell me what kind of 
pictures you refer to, and who has them.?" 

Caleb looked embarrassed for a moment; 
then he assumed an air of bravado, and re- 
plied : — 

" Well, I haven't missed a sunrise or sunset 
in nigh onto twenty year, unless I was too 
busy or too sick to see 'em. An' I've put 
lots o' other folks up to lookin' at 'em, an' 
you'd be astonished to know how many has 
stuck to it." 

** Bravo, Caleb ! Bravo ! " Grace exclaimed. 

"Much obliged; reckon you enjoy 'em, too. 
As Doc Taggess says, when you look at that 
kind o* pictur', you don't have to hold in until 
you can hunt up a book an' find out if the 
painter was first-class. But there's plenty 
more pictur's in the sky an' lots o' other 
places out doors, for folks that like 'em. To 
be sure, you can't always find 'em, as if they 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 170 

was in frames on a wall, but they show up 
often enough to keep 'emselves in mind. But 
books — well, books are different." 

" Caleb, I weaken. Fm willing to compro- 
mise. I promise you that I will set apart a 
certain number of my books — volumes that 
ought to be of general interest — to be loaned 
to customers 1** 

"Good! I knowed you'd see your duty if 
'twas dumped right before your face. But 
what's the matter with doin* somethin' more } 
Tve had a project for a long time, that — ** 

Caleb suddenly ceased speaking and looked 
hurt, for he detected a peculiar interchange 
of glances between Philip and Grace. 

** Go on," said Philip. 

" Never mind," Caleb replied. 

" Please go on, Caleb," Grace begged. 

** I may be a fool," said Caleb, " but it does 
gall me to be laughed at ahead of time." 

" Really, Caleb, we weren't laughing at 
you. Both of us chanced to think, at the 
same time, of something — something that we 
had read. Some husbands and wives have a 
way of both getting the same thought at an 

Caleb Wright j* j^ 171 

unforeseen instant Do go on ; haven't we 
proved to you that we think your projects 
good ? " 

" Sorry I made a baby of myself," apologized 
Caleb. "Well, Tve read in newspapers that 
books never was so cheap as they are now, 
an* from some of the offers that come to us 
by letter I should say 'twas so. I know more'n 
a little about the names o' books an* o* their 
writers, an* some of the prices o* good ones 
look as if the printers stole their paper an* 
didn*t pay their help. Now, we don*t make 
much use o* the back room o* the store. S*pose 
you fetch in there your cyclopeedy, an* diction- 
ary, an* big atlas, to be looked at by anybody 
that likes. Then buy, in the city, a couple of 
hundred books, — say a hundred dollars* worth, 
— not too wise, an* not too silly, an* let it be 
knowed that at Somerton*s store there*s a free 
circulating library.** 

" For Somerton*s customers only,** added 

" No, for ev*rybody — not only for the sake 
o* the principle, but to draw trade. The first 
man that does that thing in this town won*t 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 172 

ever be forgot by folks whose hearts are in 
the right place — not unless I'm all wrong on 
human nature." 

"Which is as unlikely as the wildest thing 
ever dreamed," said Philip. " I don't doubt 
that you're entirely right about the advertising 
value of your project. My atlas, dictionary, and 
cyclopedia will serve me quite as well in the 
back room as if in the house, and the cost of 
the other books will be repaid by the first new 
farmer-customer we catch by means of the 

'* Then the thing is to be a go ? " 

" Certainly it is." 


"Now — at once — as soon as my books can 
be brought from the house and the others 
bought in the city." 

"And I," Grace added, "am to be a libra- 
rian, and to select the new books. I remember 
well the names of all the most popular books in 
the public library of the little town I was born 
in, and all the best — never mind the worst — 
that my fellow-shopgirls used to read, and I 
know the second-hand bookshops in New York, 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 173 

where many good books may be had at a 
quarter of their original price ; so if a hundred 
dollars is to be spent, Y\\ engage to get three 
or four hundred volumes, instead of two hun- 
dred. Meanwhile, don't either of you men 
breathe a word of Caleb's project, until the 
books are here ; otherwise some other merchant 
may get ahead of us.*' 

"That's sound business sense," said Caleb, 
" but I wish you hadn't — I mean I wish one of 
us had said it instead of you." 

** Oh, Caleb ! Do you think that my interest 
in the business of the store is making me sor- 
did — mercenary — grasping ? " 

"Well, I never saw any signs of it before, 
but — " 

" Nor have you seen them to-day. You'll 
have to take to eye-glasses, Caleb, if only in 
justice to me. The only reason I don't wish 
any one else to start the library is that I think 
the laborer is worthy of his hire. You were the 
laborer — that is, you devised the plan, — and 
I wouldn't for anything have you deprived of 
your pay, which will consist of your pleasure 
at seeing your old acquaintances supplied with 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 174 

good reading matter. Honor to whom honor 
is due. Now do you understand?** 

Caleb's small gray face grew rosy, albeit a 
bit sheepish, and to hide it, he tiptoed over to 
Philip, who was staring into vacancy, appar- 
ently in search of something, and said: — 

"As I b'lieve I*ve said before, ain't she a 
peeler ? " 

"Yes; oh, yes," Philip answered mechani- 

** You don't seem so sure of it as you might 
be," complained Caleb. "Have you struck a 
stump ? " 

" No ; oh, no." 

"What is the matter, Mr. Owl.?" asked 
Grace, moving toward the couple. 

" Tm puzzled — that's all, yet 'tis not a lit- 
tle," PhiUp replied. " I don't think I'm a fool 
about business. Even Caleb here, who is too 
true a friend to flatter, says I've done remark- 
ably well, and increased the number of our cus- 
tomers and the profits of the business, yet 'tis 
never I who devise the new, clever plans by 
which the increase comes. This matter of the 
free circulating library is only one of several 

Caleb Bright jt j^ 175 

cases in point; they began months ago, with 
the use of our piano in church. I don't be- 
lieve Vd have done them solely with a view 
to business, but I couldn't have helped seeing 
that they would have that effect in the end, so I 
wonder why I, myself, shouldn't have thought 
of them. Perhaps you can tell me, Caleb; 
don't be afraid of hurting my feelings, and 
don't be over-modest about yourself; 'tis all 
between friends, you know." 

Caleb leaned on the counter, from which 
he brushed some imaginary dust; then he 
contemplated the brushed spot as if he were 
trying to look through the counter, as he 
replied : — 

**Mebbe it's because we have different 
startin'-places. In a book of sermons I've 
got up in my room — though 'tain't by one o' 
our Methodists — there's a passage that tells 
how astronomers find certain kinds o' stars. 
It 'pears that they don't p'int their telescopes 
here, there, an' ev'rywhere, lookin' for the 
star an' nothin' else, but they turn the big 
concern on a rather dark bit o' sky, some- 
where near where the star ought to be, an* 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 176 

they work it 'round, little by little, lookin* 
at ev'rythin' they can see, until they Ve took 
in the whole neighborhood, so to speak, an' 
what stars of ev'ry kind is around, an' what 
all of 'em is doin', an' so workin' in'ard, little 
by little, they stumble on what they was really 
lookin' for. Well, that's 'bout my way in 
business. First, I think about the neighbor- 
hood, the people, an' what they're doin', an' 
what ought to be done for 'em, an' all of a 
sudden they're all p'intin' right at the busi- 
ness, like the little stars for the big one, and 
couldn't keep from doin' it if they tried their 
level best. Now, p'raps you don't work that 
way, but try the other, 'cause — well, p'raps 
'cause it's the quickest. P'raps I ought to 
say that mebbe my way ain't the best, but — " 
"Don't say it," interrupted Philip, "because 
I shan't believe it, nor shall I believe that 
you yourself thought there was any possibility 
of its not being the better way of the two." 



rHE library arrived, and the books 
were covered, labelled, numbered, and 
shelved before the probable benefi- 
ciaries knew of their existence ; then Master 
Scrapsey Green was employed to walk through 
the village streets, ringing a bell, and shouting : — 

" Free — circulating — library — now — open 
— at — Somerton*s — store ! " 

Notices to the same effect had already been 
mailed to all possible readers in the county. 
The self-appointed librarian had not believed 
that more than one in four of the inhabitants 
of the town or county would care to read, 
but neither had she taken thought of the 
consuming curiosity of villagers and country- 
folk. Within an hour the back room of the 
store was packed to suffocation, although 
Grace pressed a book on each visitor, with 
a request to make way for some one else. 

Caleb Wright j» j» 178 

After several hours of issuing and record- 
ing, Grace found herself alone; so she gladly 
escaped to the store proper to compare notes 
with Philip and Caleb, who had taken turns 
at dropping in to "see the fun,** as Philip 
called it, and to announce, at the librarian*s 
request, that only a single book a week would 
be loaned to a family, and to request the bor- 
rowers to return the books as soon as read. 

On entering the store, Grace found herself 
face to face with Doctor and Mrs. Taggess 
and Pastor Grateway, all of whom greeted her 
cordially, and congratulated her on the suc- 
cessful opening of the Somerton Library. 

"That*s a cruel proof of the saying that 
one sows and another reaps,** she replied; 
"but please understand in future that this is 
not the Somerton Library. It is the Caleb 
Wright Library.** 

" Je — ru — salem ! ** exclaimed Caleb, " an' 
I didn't put a cent into it!** 

"You devised it,** Grace replied. "*Twas 
like Columbus making the egg stand on end; 
any one could do it after being told how.** 

About this time some responses, in the 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 179 

forms of half-grown boys and girls on foot, 
began to arrive from the farming district, and 
Grace had occasionally to leave the store. 
As she returned from one of these excur- 
sions, Mrs. Taggess took her hands and 
exclaimed : — 

" What a good time you must have had I " 

"Oh, wife!" protested the Doctor. "Is 
this the place for sarcasm? The poor girl 
looks tired to death." 

" Nevertheless, Mrs. Taggess is entirely 
right," said Grace. " It was a good time, 
indeed. How I wish I could sketch from 
memory! Still, I shall never forget the 
expression of some of those faces. What a 
dear lot of people there are in this town!" 

" Hurrah ! " shouted the Doctor. " I was 
afraid that, coming from the city, you mightn't 
be able to find it out. I apologize with all 
my heart." 

"Tis high time you did," said his wife. 
" The idea that a doctor, of all men, shouldn't 
know that a woman's heart rules her eyes." 

"Yes," said the Doctor, affecting a sigh. 
" It's dreadful to be a man, and know so much 

Caleb JFright j» j» i8o 

that sometimes an important bit of knowledge 
gets hidden behind something else at the very 
time it's most needed. How many books have 
you remaining, to satisfy the country demand, 
Mrs. Somerton ? " 

" Not enough, I fear. We ought to have 
bought one or two hundred more volumes." 

" Which means," said Philip, with a pretence 
at being grieved at having been forgotten dur- 
ing the congratulations, " that they will have to 
be purchased at once, and paid for, by the mere 
nobody of the concern." 

" Nobody, indeed ! " exclaimed Grace, with a 
look which caused the Taggesses to exchange 
delighted pinches, and the minister to say : — 

** I don't think any one need go far to find a 
proof of the blessed mystery that one and one 
need make only one, if rightly added." 

" No, indeed," said the Doctor, "but at least 
one-half of the one in question is so tired that it 
ought to get some rest, which it won't and can't 
while we visitors stay here to admire and ask 
questions. Come along, wife ; we'll find some 
better time to talk her and these other good 
people to death about what they've done. I've 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ i8i 

only to say that if Brother Grateway doesn't 
give you his benediction in words, he will leave 
one for you all the same, and there'll be two 
others to keep it company — eh, wife ? " 

" Phil," Grace said, as soon as the visitors 
had departed, " I've a new idea. 'Tis not as 
good as Caleb's which has made this library, 
but 'twill give no end of surprise and satisfac- 
tion to people, as well as lots of fun to me and 
bring some business to the store. I want a 
camera. I don't see how we were so stupid 
as not to bring one with us from New York." 

" A camera } " said Caleb. ** What sort of a 
thing is it .^ " 

"A contrivance for taking photographs. 
There are small cheap ones that any amateur 
can use. Two or three girls in our store in 
New York had them, and took some very fair 

" I want to know ! Well, if any gals done it, 
I reckon you can." 

"You shall see. I want one at once, Phil; 
order it by the first mail, please, and with all 
the necessary outfit." 

** Your will is law, my dear, but I shall first 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 182 

have to learn where to send the order and 
exactly what to get/* 

"Let me attend to it. I can order direct 
from the store in which I worked; they sold 
everything of the kind." 

" There'll be no mail eastward till to-morrow. 
Won't you oblige your husband, at once, by 
going to the house, and making a picture of 
yourself, on a lounge, with your eyes shut?" 

"Yes — if I must. But oh, what lots of fun 
I shall have with that camera ! " 

Caleb's eyes followed Grace to the door; 
then he said: — 

" Been workin' about four hours, harder'n I 
ever see a Sunday-school librarian work, 
looked tired almost to death, an' yet full to 
the eyes with the fun she's goin' to have. Ah, 
that's what health can do for human nature. 
I wonder if you two ever know how to thank 
Heaven that you are as you are — both well- 
built an' healthy ? 'Pears to me that if I was 
either of you, I'd be wicked enough, about a 
hundred times a day, to put up the Pharisee's 
prayer an' thank Heaven that I was not like 
other men." 

Caleb JFright j^ ^ 183 

"No man can be everything, Caleb," said 
Philip. "I don't doubt that there are thou- 
sands of men who*d gladly exchange their 
health for your abilities." 

** Well, I s*pose it*s human nature, an* p'r'aps 
divine purpose too, that folks should hanker 
most for what they haven't got ; if it wa'n't so, 
ev'rybody'd be a stick-in-the-mud all his life, an* 
nobody*d amount to much; but I do tell you 
that for a man to spend most of his grown-up 
years in makin' of himself as useful a machine 
as he can, an' not especially with a view to 
Number One either, an' all the time bein' 
reminded that he hain't got enough steam in 
his b'iler to work the machine except by fits an' 
starts, an' there don't seem to be any way of 
gettin' up more steam except by gettin' a new 
b'iler, which ain't possible in the circumstances, 
why, it's powerful tough, an' that's a fact." 

"We can't all run thousand-horse-power 
engines, Caleb," said Philip, hoping to console 
his friend. " If we could, I'm afraid a great 
lot of the world's necessary work would go 
undone. Watches, worked with what might be 
called half-mouse-power, are quite as necessary 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 184 

and useful in their way as big clocks run by 
ton weights ; and a sewing machine, worked by 
a woman's foot, can earn quite as much, over 
running expenses, as a plough with a big horse 
in front and a big man behind it." 

" Like enough. But the trouble with me is 
that the machine Tve been makin* o* myself is 
the kind that needs an awful lot o* power, an' 
the power ain't there an' can't be put there." 

"There are plenty more machines with ex- 
actly the same defect, old chap," said Philip, 
with a sigh, " so you've no end of company in 
your trouble. I could tell you of a machine of 
my own that lacks the proper power — sufficient 
steam, as you've expressed it." 

"I want to know! An* you the pictur* of 
health ! " 

" Oh, yes. Health is invaluable, so far as it 
goes, but 'tisn't everything. Going back to 
steam for the sake of illustration, you know it 
comes of several other things — water, a boiler, 
some fuel, and draught, each in proper pro- 
portion to all the others. I don't doubt there's 
a similar combination necessary to human force, 
and its application, and that I haven't the secret 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 185 

of it, for I know Fve failed at work Fve most 
wanted to do, and succeeded best at what I 
liked least." 

" Reckon you must have hated storekeepin* 
then, for you've made a powerful go of it." 

"Thank you; Tm not ashamed to confess to 
you that *tis the last business in the world that 
Fd have selected." 

"Well, as to that, there's no difference of 
opinion between us, an' yet, here Fve been 
storekeepin* — an' not for myself either — 
'most twenty year." 

" And doing it remarkably well, too. As to 
not doing it for yourself, you may change your 
position and have an interest in the business 
whenever you wish it. Fm astonished that my 
uncle didn't say the same to you." 

" But he did — after his fashion. He meant 
fair, but I said *No,' for I hadn't given up 
hopes of what Fd wanted to do, so I didn't 
want to give the store all my waking hours, as 
an owner ought to do most of the time." 

" Indeed he ought. If it isn't an impertinent 
question, what had you selected as your life's 
work i " 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ i86 

"The last thing you'd suspect me of, I 
s'pose. Long ago — before the war — I set 
njy heart on bein* a great preacher, an* on 
beginnin' by gettin* a first-class education. I 
don't need to tell you that I missed both of 
'em about as far as a man could. I wasn't 
overconceited about 'em at the start, for about 
that time there was a powerful movement in 
our denomination for an educated ministry. We 
had a few giants in the pulpit, but for ev'ry one 
of 'em there was dozens of dwarfs that made 
laughin'-stocks of 'emselves an' the church. 
Well, I was picked out as a young man with 
enough head-piece to take in an education an' 
with the proper spirit an' feelin' to use it well 
after I'd got it. Just then the war broke out, 
an' I went to it; when I got back I had a 
crippled leg, an' a dull head, an' a heavy heart 
— afterwards I found 'twas the liver instead 
of the heart, but that didn't make me any the 
less stupid. The upshot was that I was kind o' 
dropped as a candidate for the ministry, an' 
that made me sicker yet, an' I vowed that I'd 
get there in the course o' time, if I could get 
back my health an' senses. Once in a while. 

Caleb Wright j» j» 187 

for many years, I had hopes; then again Fd 
get a knock-down — an extry hard lot o' chills 
an' fevers, or some other turn of malary that 
made my mind as blank an' flat as a new slate. 
I tried to educate myself, bein' rather old to go 
to school or college, an* I plodded through lots 
o* books, but I had to earn my livin* besides, 
an' — well, I reckon you can see about how 
much time a man workin' in a store has for 
thinkin* about what he's read." 

" Oh, can't 1 1 " 

" An' you know, now, what losin* health an* 
not findin' it again has been to me." 

" Indeed I do, and you've my most hearty 
sympathy. Perhaps good health would have 
seen you through; perhaps not. Your expe- 
rience is very like mine, in some respects. I 
didn't start with the purpose of being a 
preacher, but I was going to become educated 
so well that whenever I had a message of any 
sort to give to the world, — for every man occa- 
sionally has one, you know, — I should be able 
to do it in a manner that would command 
attention. I was fortunate enough to get into 
a business position in which my duties were 

Caleb JF right j» j» 188 

almost mechanical, so at night my mind was 
fresh enough for reading and study. My 
wife's tastes were very like my own, so we read 
and studied together; but my message has 
never come, and here I am where the only 
writing I'll ever do will be in account books 
and business correspondence. As to my art 
studies — " 

" They help you to arrange goods on the 
shelves in a way that attracts attention ; there 
can't be any doubt about that," Caleb inter- 

"Thank you, Caleb. That is absolutely the 
first and only commendation that my art edu- 
cation has ever earned for me, and I assure you 
that I shall remember and prize it forever." 

" I'm not an art-sharp," said Caleb, " but I 
shouldn't wonder if I could show you lots more 
signs of what you've learned an' think haven't 
come to anythin'. Same way with literature; 
nobody in this town, but you an' your wife, 
could an' would have got up that circulatin' 
library, an' knowed the names o' three hundred 
good books for it. Other towns'll hear of it, 
an' men there'll take up the idea — " 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 189 

"Which was yours — not ours." 

" Never mmd ; ideas don't come to anythin' 
till they're froze into facts. Other merchants'U 
hear of the library an' write you for names o' 
books an' other p'ints, an' the thing' 11 go on an* 
on till it'll amount to more than most any book 
that was ever writ. Bein' set on makin' a hit 
in literature an' art an' fetchin' up at dressin' 
store-shelves an' settin* up a circulatin' library 
reminds me of Jake Brockleband's steam 
engine. You hain't met Jake, I reckon.?" 

"I don't recall the name." 

" He's in the next county below us, near the 
mouth of the crick. He goes in these parts by 
the name of the Great American Traveller, for 
he's seen more countries than anybody else 
about here, an' it all came through a steam 
engine. It 'pears that years ago Jake, who 
was a Yankee with a knack at anythini that 
was mechanical, was picked out by some New 
Yorkers to go down to Brazil to preserve pine- 
apples on a large scale for the American 
market : he was to have a big salary and some 
shares of the company's stock. Part of his 
outfit was a little steam engine an' b'iler an' 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 190 

two copper kettles as big as the lard kettles 
in your pork-house. Well, he got to work, 
with the idee o' makin* his fortune in a year 
or two, an* pretty soon he started a schooner 
load o* canned pineapples up North ; but most 
o' the cans got so het up on the way that 
they busted, an' when the company found how 
bizness was, why, 'twas the company's turn to 
get het up an* bust. Jake couldn't get his 
salary, so he 'tached the engine an' kettles, 
an' looked about for somethin' to do with *em. 
He shipped 'em up to a city in Venezuela, 
where there was plenty of cocoanut oil and 
potash to be had cheap, and started out big 
at soap-makin', but pretty soon he found that 
the Venezuelans wouldn't buy soap at any 
price: they hadn't been educated up to the 
use of such stuff. But there wa'n't no give-up 
blood in Jake, so he packed the engine an' 
soap over to a big town in Colombia -^ next 
country to Venezuela, — an' started a swell 
laundry, I b'lieve he called it, — ■ a place where 
they wash clothes at wholesale. He 'lowed 
that as Colombia was a very hot country, an' 
the people was said to be of old Spanish stock 

Caleb Wright ^ j^ 191 

an* quite up to date, there'd be a powerful lot 
o' stockings an* underclothes to be washed. 
Soon after he*d hung out his shingle, though, 
he heerd that no Colombians wore under- 
clothes, an' mighty few of 'em wore socks. 

" Well, * Never say die * was Jake's family 
brand, so he built a boat with paddle-wheels an' 
fitted the steam engine to it, an' started in the 
passenger steamboat business on a Colombian 
river ; the big copper kettles he fixed, one on 
each side, with awnin's over 'em, to carry 
passengers' young ones, so they couldn't crawl 
about an' tumble overboard. He did a good 
business for a spell, but all of a sudden the 
revolution season come on an' a gang of the 
rebels seized his boat, an' the gov'ment troops 
fired on 'em an' sunk it. 

"But Jake managed to save the engine an' 
kettles, an' thinkin' 'twas about time to go 
north for a change, he got his stuff up to New 
Orleans, where he got another little boat built 
to fit the engine, an' started up-stream in the 
tradin'-boat business. He got along an' along, 
an' then up the Missouri River ; but when he 
got up near the mouth of our crick he ran on a 

Caleb IF right ^ ^ 192 

snag, close inshore, that ripped the bottom an* 
sides off o' the boat an* didn't leave nothin* that 
could float. 

" That might have been a deadener, if Jake 
had been of the dyin* kind, but he wasn't ; an* 
as he was wrecked alongside of a town an* a 
saw-mill, he kept his eye peeled for business, an* 
pretty soon he*d put up a slab shanty, an* got a 
little circular saw, for his engine to work, an* 
turned out the first sawed shingles ever seen in 
these parts, an* when folks saw that they didn*t 
curl up like cut shingles, he got lots o* business 
an* is keepin* it right along. 

" * *Tain*t makin* me a millionnaire,' he says, 
*an* the sight o* pineapples would make me 
tired, but at last Tve struck a job that me an* 
the engine fits to a T, an* an angel couldn*t ask 
more*n that, if he was in my shoes.* ** 

"That story, Caleb,'* said Philip, "is quite 
appropriate to my case. But see here, old 
chap, didn*t it ever occur to you to apply it to 
yourself } ** 

** Can*t say that it did,** Caleb replied. 
** What put that notion into your head } ** 

" Everybody and everything, my own eyes 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 


included. You started to be a preacher — not 
merely for the sake of talking, but for the good 
that your talk would do. I hear from every one 
that for many years you've been everybody's 
friend, doing all sorts of kind, unselfish acts for 
the good of other people. Mr. Grateway says 
that your work does more good than his preach- 
ing, and Doctor Taggess says you cure as many 
sick people as he. It seems to me that your 
disappointments, like Jake Brockleband's, have 
resulted in your finding a place that fits you to 

" I want to know ! Well, Fm glad to hear it 
— from you. Kind o' seems, then, as if you an' 
me was in the same boat, don't it } " 



^S the spring days lengthened there 
Am was forced upon Grace a suspicion, 
•^ -^ which soon ripened into a conviction, 
that the West was very hot. She had known 
hot days in the East ; for is there in the desert 
of Sahara any air hotter than that which over- 
lies the treeless, paved streets, walled in by 
high structures of brick, stone, and iron, of the 
city of New York? But in New York the 
wind, on no matter how hot a day, is cool 
and refreshing ; at Claybanks and vicinity 
the wind was sometimes like the back-draught 
of a furnace, and almost as wilting. To keep 
the wind out of the house — not to give it 
every opportunity to enter, as had been the 
summer custom in the East — became Grace's 
earnest endeavor, but with little success. At 
times it seemed to her that the heat was 
destroying her vitality; her husband, too. 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 195 

feared for her health and insisted that she 
should go East to spend the summer; but 
Grace insisted that she would rather shrivel 
and melt than go away from her husband, so 
Philip appealed to Doctor Taggess, who said: — 

"Quite womanly, and wifely, and also sen- 
sible, physiologically, for no one can become 
climate-proof out here if he dodges any single 
season. If your wife will follow my direc- 
tions for a few months, she will be able to 
endure next season's heat well enough to 
laugh at it. Indeed, it might help her through 
the coming summer to make excuses to laugh 
at it: she's lucky enough to know how to 
laugh at slight provocation.** 

But the dust! Grace could remember days 
when New York was dusty, and any one 
who has encountered a cloud of city dust 
knows that it is of a quality compared with 
which the dust of country roads is the sub- 
limation of purity. Nevertheless, the dust at 
Claybanks had some eccentric methods of 
motion. For it to rise in a heavy, sullen 
cloud whenever a wagon passed through a 
Street was bad enough, especially if the wind 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 196 

were in the direction of the house. Almost 
daily, however, and many times a day, it was 
picked up by little whirlwinds that came from 
no one knew where, and an inverted cone of 
dust, less than a foot in diameter at the base, 
but rapidly increasing in width to the height 
of fifty or more feet, would dash rapidly 
along a street, or across one, picking up all 
sorts of small objects in its way — leaves, 
bits of paper, sometimes even bark and chips. 
At first Grace thought these whirlwinds quite 
picturesque, but when one of them dashed 
across her garden, and broke against the side of 
the house, and deposited much of itself through 
the open windows, the lover of the picturesque 
suddenly began to extemporize window-nettings. 
With the heat and the dust came a plague 
of insects and one of reptiles. One day the 
white sugar on the table seemed strangely 
iridescent with amber, which on investigation 
resolved itself into myriads of tiny reddish 
yellow ants. Caleb, who was appealed to, 
placed a cup of water under each table leg, 
which abated the plague, but the cups did 
not "compose" with the table and the rug. 

Caleb Wright j» j» 197 

Bugs of many kinds visited the house, by 
way of the windows and doors, until excluded 
by screens. At times the garden seemed fuller 
of toads than of plants, and not long after- 
ward Grace was frightened almost daily by 
snakes. That the reptiles scurried away rapidly, 
apparently as frightened as she, did not lessen 
her fear of them. She expressed her feelings 
to Doctor Taggess, who said : — 

" Don't let them worry you. They're really 
wonderfully retiring by disposition. This coun- 
try is alive with them, but in my thirty years 
of experience I've never been called to a case 
of snake-bite." 

"But, Doctor, isn't there any means of 
avoiding the torment of — snakes, toads, bugs, 
and ants?" 

" Only one, that I know of — 'tis philosophy. 
Try to think of them as illustrations of the 
marvellous fecundity of the great and glorious 

" How consoling ! " 

"I don't wonder you're sarcastic about it. 
Still, they'll disappear in the course of time, 
as they have from the older states." 

Caleb fF right j^ j^ 198 

"But when?" 

" Oh, when the country becomes thoroughly 
subdued and tilled." 

" Again I must say, * How consoling I ' " 

Besides the wind, and dust, and insects, 
and reptiles, there was the sun, for Jethro 
Somerton had never planted a tree near his 
house. Tree-roots had a way of weakening 
foundations, he said; besides, trees would 
grow tall in the course of time, and perhaps 
attract the lightning. Still more, trees shaded 
roofs, so the spring and autumn rains remained 
in the shingles to cause dampness and decay, 
instead of drying out quickly. 

But her own house seemed cool by com- 
parison with some which she entered in the vil- 
lage and in the farming districts: houses such 
as most new settlers in the West have put up 
with their own hands and as quickly as possible ; 
houses innocent of lath and plaster, and with 
only inch-thick wooden walls, upon which the 
sun beat so fiercely that by midday the inner 
surface of the wall almost blistered the hand 
that touched it. Not to have been obliged to 
enter such houses would have spared Grace 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 


much discomfort, but it was the hospitable 
custom of the country to hail passers-by, in 
the season of open doors and windows, and 
Grace, besides being bound by the penalties 
peculiar to general favorites everywhere, was 
alive to the fear of being thought " stuck up " 
by any one. 

Quickly she uprooted many delicate, grace- 
ful vines which she had planted to train 
against the sides of her own house, and re- 
placed them with seeds of more rampant 
varieties. For days she made a single room 
of the house fairly endurable by keeping in 
it a large block of ice, brought from the 
ice-house by Philip in mid-morning; but the 
season's stock of the ice-house had not been 
estimated with a view to such drafts, so for 
the sake of the " truck " in cold storage she 
felt obliged to discontinue the practice. Wet 
linen sheets hung near the windows and open 
doors afforded some relief ; but when other 
sufferers heard of them and learned their cost, 
and ejaculated " Goodness me ! " or something 
of similar meaning, Grace was compelled to 
feel aristocratic and uncomfortable. She ex- 

Caleb fFRiGHi j^ j^ 200 

pressed to Caleb and to Doctor Taggess her 
pity for sufferers by the heat, and asked 
whether nothing could be done in alleviation. 

" My dear woman, they don't suffer as 
much as you imagine," the Doctor replied. 
" In the first place, they are accustomed to the 
climate, as you are not; most of them were 
born in it. Another cooling fact is that 
neither men nor women wear as much cloth- 
ing in hot weather as you Eastern people. 
They, or most of them, are always hard at 
work, and therefore always perspiring, which 
is nature's method of keeping people fairly 
comfortable in hot weather. I don't doubt 
that I suffer far more as I drive about the 
county, doing no harder work than holding 
the reins, than any farmer whom I see plough- 
ing in the fields." 

" Tm very glad to hear it, for their sakes, 
though not for your own. But how about 
the sick, and the poor little babies } " 

"Ah, this is a sad country for sick folks, 
and for weaklings of any kind. Stifle in 
winter — roast in summer ; that is about the 
usual way. Imagine, if you can, how an hon- 

Caleb IFright ^ ji 201 

est physician feels when he's called to cases 
of sickness in some houses that youVe seen." 

"Caleb/* Grace said, "was it as hot in the 
South, during the war, as it is out here ? " 

" No," said Caleb, promptly, " though the 
Eastern men complained a great deal." 

" What did the soldiers do when they became 
sick in hot weather 1 " 

" They died, generally, unless they was 
shipped up North, or to some of the big 
camps of hospitals, where they could get 
special attention." 

" But until then were there no ways of 
shielding them from the heat of the sun.?" 

" Oh, yes. If the camp hospital was a tent, 
it had a fly — an extra thickness of canvas, 
stretched across it to shade the roof an' sides. 
Then, if any woods was near by, and usually 
there was, — there's more woodland in old Vir- 
ginia than in this new state, — some forked 
sticks an' poles an' leafy tree-boughs would 
be fetched in, an' fixed so that the ground 
for eight or ten feet around would be shady." 

" Do you remember just how it was done } " 

" Do I } Well, I reckon I was on details 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 202 

at that sort o' work about as often as any- 

"Won't you do me a great favor? Hire a 
man and wagon to-morrow — or to-day, if 
there's time — and go to some of our wood- 
land near town, and get some of the material, 
and put up such a shade on the south and 
west sides of our house; that is, if you 
don't object." 

"Object? 'Twould be great fun; make me 
feel like a boy again, I reckon. But I ought 
to remind you that the thing won't look a bit 
pretty, two or three days later, when the 
leaves begin to fade. Dead leaves an' a 
white house don't 'compose,' as I heard you 
say one day to a woman about two calicoes 
that was contrary to each other. Besides, 
'tain't necessary, for double-width sheetin', or 
two widths of it side by side, an' right out of 
the store here, would make a better awnin', 
to say nothin' o' the looks, an' you can afford 
it easy enough." 

"Perhaps, but there are other people who 
can't, and I want to show off a tree-bough 
awning to some who need contrivances like it." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 203 

"I — see," said Caleb, departing abruptly, 
while Doctor Taggess exclaimed: — 

"And here I've been practising in some of 
those bake-ovens of houses for thirty years, 
and never thought of that very simple means 
of relief I Good day, Mrs. Somerton; I'll go 
home and tell my wife what I've heard, then 
I think ril read some of the penitential 
Psalms and some choice bits of Proverbs on 
the mental peculiarities of fools." 

The arbor was completed by dark, and on 
the next day, and for a fortnight afterward, 
almost every woman who entered the store 
was invited to step into the garden and see 
how well, and yet cheaply, the house was 
shaded from the sun. All were delighted, 
though some warned the owner that the shade 
would kill her vines, whereupon Doctor Tag- 
gess, who spent parts of several hours in study- 
ing the structure, suggested that if the probable 
copyists were to set their posts and frame- 
works securely, they might serve as support 
for quick-growing hardy vines that might be 
"set" in the spring of the following year, 
and clamber all over the skeleton roof before 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ ^ 204 

the hottest days came. Thereupon Grace 
volunteered to write a lot of nursery men to 
learn what vines, annual or perennial, grew 
most rapidly and cost least, and to leave the 
replies in the store for general inspection. 

" Doctor," Grace asked during one of the 
physician*s visits of inspection, "where did 
the settlers of this country come from, that 
they never think of certain of their own 
necessities } Don't scold me, please ; I'm 
not going to abuse your darling West; be- 
sides, 'tis my West as well as yours, for every 
interest I have is here. But Eastern farmers 
and villagers plant shade trees and vines near 
their houses, unless they can afford to build 
piazzas, — and perhaps in addition to piazzas. 
They shade their village streets, too, and 
many of their highways. Aren't such things 
the custom in other parts of the United 

"They certainly are in my native state, 
which is Pennsylvania," the Doctor replied, 
"and some of the handsomest villages and 
farm-houses I've seen are in Ohio and Ken- 
tucky. But I imagine the work was done by 

Caleb fFRiGHT ^ j^ 205 

the second or third or fourth generation ; I 
don't believe the original settlers could find 
the time and strength for such effort. As 
to our people, they came from a dozen or 
more states — East, West, and Middle, with a 
few from the South. I honestly believe they're 
quite as good as the average of settlers of any 
^tate, but I shouldn't wonder if you've failed 
to comprehend at short acquaintance the set- 
tler or the farmer class in general. In a new 
country one usually finds only people who've 
been elbowed out of older ones, either by 
misfortune or bad management, or through 
families having become too large to get a 
living out of their old homesteads, and with 
no land near by that was within reach of 
their pockets. There are as many causes in 
farming as in any other business for men try- 
ing to make a start somewhere else, but a 
starter in the farming line is always very 
poor. Almost any family you might name in 
this county brought itself and all its goods 
and implements in a single two-horse wagon. 
Your things, Caleb told me, filled the greater 
part of a railway car. Quite a difference, eh ? " 

Caleb Wright j» > 206 

" Yet most of the things were ours, when we 
thought ourselves very poor." 

** Just so. So you can't imagine the poverty 
of these people. They lived in their wagons 
until they had some sort of roof over their 
heads ; a man who could spend a hundred dol- 
lars for lumber and nails and window-sash 
passed for one of the well-to-do class. Some of 
them had no money whatever; their nearest 
neighbors would help them put up a log house, 
but afterward they had to work pretty hard to 
keep the wolf from the door until they could 
grow something to eat and to sell. They had 
hard times, of so many varieties, that now when 
they are sure of three meals a day, some cows, 
pigs, and chickens, credit at a store, and a crop 
in the ground, they think themselves well off, 
no matter how many discomforts they may 
have to endure." 

" But, Doctor, they're human ; they have 
hearts and feelings." 

"Yes, but they have more endurance than 
anything else. It has become second nature 
to them; so some of them would long endure 
a pain or discomfort rather than relieve it. 

Caleb Wright * j^ 207 

Doubt it, if you like, but I am speaking from a 
great mass of experience. IVe heard much of 
the endurance of the North American Indian, 
but the Indian is a baby to these farmer-set- 
tlers. Endurance is in their every muscle, bone, 
and nerve, and they pass it down to their chil- 
dren. Eastern babies would scream unceas- 
ingly at maladies that some of our youngsters 
bear without a whimper. Many of the Presi- 
dents of the United States were born of just 
such stock; of course they were examples of 
the survival of the fittest, for any who are weak 
in such a country must go to the wall in a 
hurry, if they chance to escape the grave — and 
the graveyards are appallingly full.** 

"And *tis the women and children that fill 
them ! ** Grace said. 

"Yes,** assented the Doctor. "If I could 
have my way, no women and children would be 
allowed in a new section until the men had 
made decent, comfortable homes, with crops 
ready for harvest, all of which shows what an 
impracticable old fool a man of experience may 

"But a little work, by the men of some of 

Caleb fFRiGHT ^ ^ 208 

these places, would make the women and chil- 
dren so much more comfortable ! " 

"Yes, but the women and children don't 
think to ask it, and the men don't notice the 

" But why shouldn't they ? Many men else- 
where are perpetually contriving to make their 
families more comfortable." 

" Yes, but seldom unless the necessity of 
doing so is forced to their attention in some 
way. Besides, to do so, they must have the 
contriving, inventive faculty, which is one of 
the scarcest in human nature ! " 

"Oh, Doctor ! I've often heard that we Ameri- 
cans are the most inventive people in the world." 

"So we are, according to the Patent Office 
reports, though the patents don't average one 
to a hundred people, and not more than one in 
ten of them is worth developing. I am right in 
saying that invention — except, perhaps, of lies 
— is among the rarest of human qualities. It 
requires quick perception and a knack at con- 
struction, as well as no end of adaptiveness and 
energy, all of which are themselves rare quali- 
ties. Countless generations ached seven or 

Caleb tFRiGHT ^ ^ 209 

eight hours of every twenty-four, until a few 
years ago, when some one invented springy bot- 
toms for beds. Countless generations of men 
had to cut four times as much wood as now, 
and innumerable women smoked their eyes out, 
cooking over open fires, before any one thought 
of making stoves of stone or of iron plates. 
Almost every labor-saving contrivance you've 
seen might have been perfected before it was, 
if the inventive faculty hadn't been so rare. 
Why, half of the newest contrivances of the 
day are so simple and obvious, that smart men, 
when they see them, want to shoot themselves 
for not having themselves invented them." 

" So, to come back to what we were talking 
of — the prospect of country women and 
children being made more comfortable is 
extremely dismal." 

" Not necessarily ; country people have their 
special virtues, though many of them have 
about as little inventive capacity as so many 
cows. Still, they're great as copyists. For 
instance, my wife told me that every girl in the 
county wanted a dress exactly like one you 
made of two bits of dead-stock calico. They're 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ 210 

already copying, I'm glad to say, your brush- 
wood shade for the sides of the house. So, if 
you'll go right on inventing — " 

" But I didn't invent the brushwood shade ; 
you yourself heard Caleb tell me of it." 

"Oh, yes, after you'd dragged it out of his 
memory, where it had been doing nothing for 
almost a quarter of a century." 

** I'm sure I didn't design the combination of 
calicoes; the idea was far older than the cali- 
coes themselves." 

" Perhaps, but you adapted it, as you did 
Caleb's army hospital shade. Don't ever forget 
that most so-called inventors, including the very 
greatest, are principally adapters. 'Tis plain to 
see that you have the faculty, so don't waste 
any time in pitying those who haven't; just go 
on, perceiving and inventing — or adapting, if 
you prefer to call it so. Try it on everything, 
from clothes and cookery to religion, and you 
may depend on most of the people hereabouts 
to copy you to the full measure of their ability. 
There ! I don't think you'll want to hear the 
sound of my voice again in a month. Caleb 
isn't the only man who finds it hard to get ofif 
of a hobby." 



jr^OR some days after Grace's camera 
rj arrived there were many customers and 
-^ commercial travellers who had to wait 
for hours to see the one person with whom they 
preferred to transact business in the store, for 
a camera is procrastination's most formidable 
rival in the character of a thief of time. Grace 
made "snap-shots" at almost everything, and 
John Henry Bustpodder, the most enterprising 
of Philip's competitors, took great satisfaction 
in disseminating the statement that he reckoned 
the new store-keeper's wife was running to 
seed, for she'd been seen chasing a whirlwind 
and trying to shoot it with a black box. 

But the Somerton customers regarded the 
general subject from a different standpoint, 
for Grace surprised some of them with pictures 
taken, without their knowledge, of themselves 
in their wagons, or in front of their houses, or 

Caleb Wright j^ ^ 212 

on the way to church. They were not of high 
quality ; but as the best the natives had previ- 
ously seen were some dreadful tintypes per- 
petrated annually by a man who frequented 
county fairs, they were doubly satisfactory, for 
she would not accept pay for them. She sur- 
prised herself, also, sometimes beyond expres- 
sion, by some of her failures, which were quite 
as dreadful as anything she had dreamed after 
almost stepping on snakes — people without 
heads, or with hands larger than their bodies, 
or with other faces superimposed upon their 
own. She also made the full quantity and 
variety of other blunders peculiar to amateurs, 
and she stained her finger-tips so deeply that 
Philip pretended to suspect her of the cigarette 
habit; but she persisted until she succeeded 
in getting some pictures which she was not 
ashamed to send to her aunt and to some of her 
acquaintances in the city. 

Caleb, who endeavored to master every- 
thing mechanical and technical that came within 
his view, took so great interest in the camera, 
even begging permission to see the developing 
process, that Philip one day said to him : — 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 213 

" Caleb, if your interest in that plaything 
continues, I shan't be surprised if some day I 
hear you advance the theory that even photog- 
raphy is a means of grace," and Caleb cheerily 
replied : — 

"Like enough, for anythin's a means o* 
grace, if you know how to use it right." 

" Even snakes ? " Grace asked, with a smile 
that was checked by a shudder. 

" Of course. The principal use o' snakes, so 
far as I can see, is to scare lots o* people almost 
to death, once in a while, an* a good scare is 
the only way o* makin* some people see the 
error o' their ways." 

" H'm ! " said Philip. " That's rather rough 
on my wife, eh.?" 

"Oh, no," said Caleb. "Some folks — men- 
tionin' no names, an* hopin* no offence *11 be 
took, as I once read somewhere — some folks 
are so all-fired nice, an* good, an* lucky, an* 
pretty much everythin* else that*s right, that I 
do believe they need to be scared *most to death 
once in a while, just to remind *em how much 
they*ve got to be thankful for, an* how sweet it 
is to live.** 

Caleb JFright * * 214 

Grace blushed, and said : — 

" Thank you, Caleb ; but if you're right, Fm 
afraid Fm doomed to see snakes frequently for 
the remainder of my natural life." 

"Speakin* o' snakes as a means o' grace," said 
Caleb, "p'r'aps 'twould interest you to know that 
some awful drunkards in this county was con- 
verted by snakes. Yes'm ; snakes in their boots 
scared them drunkards into the kingdom." 

" In — their — boots ? " murmured Grace, with 
a wild stare. " How utterly dreadful ! I didn't 
suppose that the crawling things — " 

" Your education in idioms hasn't been com- 
pleted, my dear," said Philip. " ' Snakes in their 
boots ' is Westernese for delirium tremens." 

" Oh, Caleb ! How could you } But do tell 
me how photography is to be a means of grace." 

" ril do it — as soon as I can find out. Fm 
askin' the question myself, just now, an' I 
reckon FU find the answer before I stop tryin'. 
There don't seem to be anythin' about your 
camera that'll spile, an' Fve read that book o' 
instructions through an' through, till Fve got it 
'most by heart. Would you mind lettin' me try 
to make a pictur' or two some day ? " 

Caleb JFright ^ j^ 215 

" Not in the least You're welcome to the 
camera and outfit at almost any time." 

Meanwhile Grace continued to " have lots of 
fun" with the camera. She resolved to have 
a portrait collection of all the babies in the 
town; and as she promised prints to the 
mothers of the subjects, she had no difficulty 
in obtaining "sittings." To the great delight 
of the mothers, the pictures were usually far 
prettier than the babies ; for Grace smiled and 
gesticulated and chirruped at the infants until 
she cajoled some expression into little faces usu- 
ally blank. Incidentally she got some mother 
pictures that impressed her deeply and made 
her serious and thoughtful for hours at a 

Her greatest success, however, according to 
the verdict of the people, was a print with 
which she dashed into the store one day, ex- 
claiming to her husband and Caleb : — 

" Do look at this ! I exposed the plate one 
Sunday morning, weeks ago, and then mislaid 
the holder, so that I didn't find it until to-day." 

It was a picture of the front of the church, 
taken a few moments before service began — 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 216 

the moments, dear to country congregations, 
in which the people, too decorous to whisper 
in church, yet longing to chat with acquaint- 
ances whom they had not met in days or weeks, 
gathered in little groups outside the building. 
The light had been exactly right; also the 
distance and the focus,' and the people so 
well distributed that the picture was almost as 
effective as if its material had been arranged 
and "composed" by an artist. 

" Je — ru — salem ! ** exclaimed Caleb. "Why, 
the people ain't much bigger than tacks, an* 
yet I can pick out ev*ry one of *em by name. 
Well, well!" 

He took the print to the door and studied 
it more closely. When he returned with it, he 
continued: — 

"That's a great pictur'. It ought to have 
a name.** 

" H*m ! ** said Philip, winking at his wife, 
" how would this do : * Not exactly a means 
of grace, but within fifteen minutes of it * — 

" It*s a mighty sight nigher than that,'* 
said Caleb, solemnly, "besides bein' the best 

Caleb JTright ^ j^ 217 

* throw-in ' that's come to light yet. Give 
copies of that away to customers that don't 
ever go to church, an' they'll begin to go, 
hopin' they'll stand a chance o' bein' took in 
the next; an' if they get under the droppin's 
of the sanctuary, why. Brother Grateway an' 
the rest of us'll try to do the rest. Grateway 
needs some encouragement o' that kind, for 
he's sort o' down in the mouth about nothin' 
comin' of his efforts with certain folks in this 
town. He's dropped wamin's and exhortations 
on 'em, in season an' out o' season, for quite 
a spell, but he was tellin' me only yesterday 
that it seemed like the seed in the parable, 
that was sowed on stony ground. An' say — 
Je — ru — salem ! — when did you say you took 

" Two or three weeks ago," Grace replied. 

" An' you didn't develop it till to-day } " 

" Not until to-day." 

"An' the pictur' has been on the plate all 
that time ? " 

" In one way, yes. That is, the plate had 
been exposed at the subjects, and they had 
been impressed upon it by the light, although 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 218 

it still looked plain and blank, until the devel- 
oping fluid was poured upon it.*' 

" How long would it stay so, an' yet be fit to 
be developed ? " 

" Oh, years, I suppose. Travellers in Africa 
and elsewhere have carried such plates, and 
exposed them, and not developed them until 
they returned to civilization, perhaps a year or 
two later." 

" I want to know ! Got any other plate as 
old as the one this pictur' was made 
from ? " 

"Yes, one; it was in the other side of the 
same holder." 

"Would you mind developin' it to-night, in 
your kitchen, before company ? Nobody that's 
fussy — only Brother Grateway." 

"You know I'll do anything to oblige you 
and him, Caleb." 

" Hooray ! Excuse me, please, while I go 
off an' make sure o' his comin'." 

"What do you suppose is on Caleb's mind 
now ? " Grace asked, as Caleb and the pic- 
ture disappeared. 

" I give it up," Philip replied, " though I 

Caleb fFRiGHT ^ * 219 

shan't be surprised if 'tis something relative 
to a camera being a means of grace." 

" I can't imagine how." 

" Perhaps not, but let's await — literally 
speaking — developments." 

'* He'll be here," said Caleb, a few moments 
later; he looked gleeful as he said it, and 
shuffled his feet in a manner so suggestive of 
dancing that Grace pretended to be shocked, 
at which Caleb reddened. During the remain- 
der of the afternoon he looked as happy as if 
he had collected a long-deferred bill, or given 
the dreaded "malary" a new repulse. He 
hurried Philip and Grace home to supper, so 
that the kitchen might sooner be free for 
photographic purposes, and dusk had scarcely 
lost itself in darkness when he closed the 
store and appeared at the house with Pastor 
Grateway, who expressed himself exuberantly 
concerning the picture of his church and 
congregation; but Caleb cut him short by 
saying : — 

"Ev'rythin' ready, Mis' Somerton.? Good! 
Come along. Brother Grateway — you, too, 

Caleb Wright j* j* 220 

While the trays and chemicals were being 
arranged, Caleb explained to the pastor that 
photographs were first taken on glass plates, 
chemically treated, and that the picture proper 
was made by light passing through a plate to 
the surface of sensitized paper. When the red 
lamp was lighted, Caleb continued : — 

" Now, when Mis' Somerton lays a plate 
in that tray, you'll see it's as blank as a sheet 
o' paper, or as the faces o' some o' the ungodly 
that you've been preachin' at an' laborin' with, 
year in and year out. You can't see nothin' 
on it, no matter if you use a hundred-power 
magnifyin' glass. But the pictur' 's there all 
the same; it was took weeks ago; might ha' 
been months or years, but it's there, an' yet the 
thing goes on lookin' blank till the developer 
is poured on it — just like Mis' Somerton's 
doin' now. Now keep your eye on it. It don't 
seem to mind, at first — goes on lookin' as 
blank as the faces o' case-hardened sinners 
at a revival meetin'. But bimeby — pretty 
soon — " 

" See those spots ! " exclaimed the minister. 

" Eh ? Why, to be sure. Well, a photo- 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 221 

graph plate is a good deal like measles an' 
religion — it first breaks out in spots. But 
keep on lookin' — see it come ! '* 

" Wonderful ! Wonderful ! *' exclaimed the 

"Seemed miraculous to me, first time I see 
it," said Caleb. **rd have been skeered if 
Mis' Somerton hadn't said 'twas all right, for 
no magic stories I ever read held a candle to 
it. But keep on lookin'. See one thing comin' 
after another, an' all of *em comin' plainer an' 
stronger ev'ry minute ? Could you 'a' b'lieved 
it, if you hadn't seen it with your own eyes.? 
An' even now you've seen it, don't it 'pear 
'bout as mysterious as the ways o' Providence ? 
I've read all Mis' Somerton's book tells about 
it, an' a lot more in the cyclopeedy, but it 
ain't no less wonderful than it was." 

" Absolutely marvellous ! " replied the min- 

" That's what it is. Now, Brother Grateway, 
that plate was just like the people you was tell- 
in' me 'bout yesterday, that you was clean dis- 
couraged over. You've been pilin' warnin's 
an' exhortations on 'em, an' they didn't seem 

Caleb Wright j^ * 222 

to mind 'em worth a cent — 'peared just as 
blank as they ever were. But the pictur* was 
there, an' there 'twas boun' to stay, as long as 
the plate lasted — locked up in them chemicals, 
to be sure, but there it was all the same, an* 
out it came when the developer was poured on 
an' soaked in. An' so, John Grateway, all that 
you've ever put into them people is there, 
somewhere — heaven only knows where an' 
how, for human natur' 's a mighty sight queerer 
than a photograph plate, an' to bring out what's 
in it takes about as many kinds o' developer 
as there are people. Mebbe you haven't got 
the right developer, but it's somewhere, waitin' 
for its time — mebbe it'll be a big scare, or a 
dyin' wife, or a mother's trouble. Religious 
talk rolled off o' me for years, like water from 
a duck's back, till one day I fell between two 
saw-logs in the crick, an' thought 'twas all up 
with me — that was the developer I needed. 
So when you say your prayers to-night, don't for- 
get to give thanks for havin' seen a photograph 
plate developed, an' after this you go right on 
takin' pictur's, so to speak, with all your might, 
an' when you find you can't finish them, hearten 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 223 

yourself up by rememberin' that there's Some- 
body that knows millions of times as much 
about the developin' business as you do, an' 
gives His entire time an' attention to it." 

"Photography is a means of grace, Caleb," 
said Philip, and Grace joined in the confession. 



^VER have any trouble with your bath- 
tub arrangements ? " Caleb asked 
Philip one day when both men were 
at leisure. 

" No,** said Philip, somewhat surprised at 
the question. 

"Think the man that put *em in did the 
work at a fair price?" 

" Oh, yes. But what's on your mind, Caleb } 
It can't be that you're going to start a 
plumber in business here.? I don't know 
what crueler revenge a man could take on 
his worst enemies." 

" No," said Caleb. " Heapin' coals o' fire 
on a man's head, accordin' to Scriptur', is my 
only way o' takin' revenge nowadays. It 
most generally does the other feller some 
good, besides takin' a lot o' the devil out o' 
yours truly. But about bathin' — well, I 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 225 

learned the good of it when I was a hospital 
nurse for a spell in the army, an* Tve been 
pretty particular *bout it ever since, though 
my bath-tub's only an army rubber blanket 
with four slats under the edges, to keep the 
water from gettin* away. Fve talked cleanli- 
ness a good deal for years, an* told folks that 
there wa'n't no patent on my kind o' bath-tub ; 
but it ain*t over an' above handy, an* most 
folks in these parts have so much to do that 
they put off any sort o* work that they ain*t 
kicked into doin*. So, the long an* short of 
it is that I'm goin' to back a bathin' estab- 
Ushment, for the use of the general public." 

"You'll have your labor for your pains, 

"Don't be too sure o* that. Besides, I'm 
dead certain that bathin's a means o* grace. 
Doc Taggess says so, too, an' he ought to 
know, from his knowledge o* one side o' 
human nature. He knows a powerful lot 
about the other side, too, for what Taggess 
don't know about the human soul is more'n I 
ever expect to find out. Taggess is a Chris- 
tian, if ever there was one." 

Caleb JFright * j^ 226 

"Right you arc, but — have you thought 
over this project carefully?" 

*'Been thinkin' over it oflE an' on, ever 
since your contraption was put in. You see, 
it's this way. I own a little house that I 
lent money on from time to time, till the 
owner died an' I had to take it in — the 
mortgages got to be bigger than the house 
was worth. It's framed heavy enough for a 
barn, so the upstairs floor'U be strong enough 
to hold a mighty big tank o' water, an' the 
well is one o' the deep never-failin' kind. 
Black Sam, the barber, used to be body- 
servant to a man down South, an' knows 
how to give baths — I've had him take 
care o' me sometimes, when the malary stiff- 
ened my j'ints so I couldn't use my arms 
much. Well, Sam's to have the house, rent 
free, an' move his barber shop into it. He 
don't get more'n an hour or two o' work a 
day, so he'll have plenty o* time to 'tend to 
bath-house customers that don't know the 
ropes for themselves, an' we're to divide the 
receipts. I'm goin' to advertise it well. How's 
this ? " and Caleb took from under the counter 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ ^ 227 

a cardboard stencil which he had cut as 
follows : — 


"That's a good advertisement, Caleb — a 
very good advertisement. But I thought five 
cents was the customary price of a drink or 
a cigar out here.^*' 

" So 'tis — ten cents for both ; but I've 
ciphered that it'll pay, an' Black Sam's satis- 
fied. You see, fuel's cheap; besides, in sum- 
mer time the upstairs part of that house, right 
under the roof, is about as hot, 'pears to 
me, as the last home o' the wicked, so if the 
tank's filled overnight, the water'll be warm 
by mornin'." 

"You've a long head, Caleb. Still, I've 
my doubts about your getting customers. 
' You can lead a horse to water, but you can't 
make him drink ' — you've heard the old 
saying 1 " 

" Often, but some folks in this country would 
go through fire — an' even water — for the sake 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 228 

o' somethin' new. Fve cal'lated to make a 
free bath a throw-in' to some o* our cus- 
tomers that I could name, but first Fm goin* 
to try it on some old chums. Tm goin' to 
have the grand openin* on Decoration Day, 
an' try it on all the members of our Grand 
Army post. The boys'U do anythin' for an 
old comrade, specially if he's post cpmmander, 
as I be. There was all sorts in the army, 
an' sometimes it's seemed to me that the 
right ones didn't get killed, nor even die 
afterwards. There's three or four of 'em in 
this county that makes it a p'int o' gettin' 
howlin' drunk on Decoration Day, which kind 
o' musses up the spirit o' the day for the 
rest of us. They're to have the first baths; 
I'm goin' to 'gree with 'em that if a bath 
don't make 'em feel better than a drink, I'll 
supply the liquor afterwards; but if it does, 
why, then they're not to touch a drop all day. 
Black Sam reckons that by bein' spry he 
can curry 'em down, so to speak, at the rate 
of a man ev'ry ten minutes, an' there's only 
seventeen men in the post. I reckon that 
them that don't drink'U feel just as good 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 229 

after bein' cleaned up, as them that do drink, 
an* Fm goin* to get *em to talk it up all day, 
so's to keep the rummies up to the mark. 
The tank lumber's all ready; so*s the car- 
penter, an' I reckon I'll write that plumber 

Philip told Grace of Caleb's new project, and 
Grace was astonished and delighted, and then 
thoughtful and very silent for a few minutes, 
after which she said: — 

" Some of the New York baths have women's 
days, or women's hours. I wonder if Black 
Sam couldn't teach the business to his wife } " 
— a remark which Philip repeated to Caleb, 
and for days afterward Caleb's hat was poised 
farther back on his head than usual, and more 
over one ear. 

"This enterprise of Caleb's," Grace said to 
her husband, "has set me wondering anew 
what Caleb does with his money. He has no 
family; his expenses are very small, for he is 
his own housekeeper and pays no rent, and 
you pay him three hundred dollars a year." 

"That isn't all his income," Philip replied, 
" for he gets once in three months a pension 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 230 

check of pleasing size. Still, you would be 
astonished to know how little cash he draws 
on account, and how great a quantity of goods 
is charged to him from month to month. Fve 
been curious enough about it, at times, to trace 
the items from the ledger back to the day- 
book, and I learned that his account for gro- 
ceries, food-stuflfs generally, and dry goods is 
far larger than our own. As for patent medi- 
cines, he seems to consume them by the gallon 
—perhaps with the hope of curing his malaria. 
Fve sometimes been at the point of asking him 
what he does with all of it; if he weren't so 
transparently, undoubtedly honest, I should im- 
agine that he was doing a snug little private busi- 
ness on his own account ; for, as you know, he 
pays only original cost price for what he buys." 
"There is but one explanation," Grace said 
after a moment or two of thought. " It is 
plain that he is engaged in charitable work, 
and is living up to the spirit of the injunction 
not to let his left hand know what his right 
hand is doing. And oh, Phil, long as we've 
been here, — almost half a year, — we've never 
done any charitable work whatever." 

Caleb JFright j» ji 231 

" Haven't we, indeed 1 You are continually 
doing all sorts of kindnesses for all sorts of 
people, and as you and I are one, and as what- 
ever you do is right in your husband's eyes, I 
think I may humbly claim to be your associate 
in charity." 

"But I've done no charities. Everything I 
do seems to bring more business to the store. 
I've no such intention, but the fact remains. 
I never give away anything, for I never see 
an opportunity, but it seems that Caleb does." 

" Ah, well, question him yourself, and if your 
suspicions prove correct, don't let us be out- 
done in that kind of well-doing." 

"Caleb," Grace asked at her first oppor- 
tunity, "aren't there any deserving objects of 
charity in Claybanks?" 

"Well," Caleb replied, "that depends on 
what you mean by deservin', an' by charity — 
too. I s'pose none of us — except p'r'aps you 
— deserve any thin' in particular, an' as you 
seem to have ev'rythin' you want, there ain't 
any anyhow. But there's some that's needy, 
an' that'll get along better for a lift once in 
a while." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 232 

"Do tell me about some of them. I don't 
want any one to suffer if my husband and I 
can prevent it." 

" That sounds just like you, but I don't ex- 
actly see what you can do. Fact is, you have 
to know the folks mighty well, or you're likely 
to do more harm'n good, for the best o' folks 
seem to be spiled when they get somethin' for 
nothin*. But there's some of our people that's 
had their ups an' downs, — principally downs, — 
an' a little help now an' then does 'em a mighty 
sight o' good. There's women that's lost their 
husbands, an' have to scratch gravel night an* 
day to feed their broods. Watchin' the ways 
of some of 'em's made me almost b'lieve the 
old yarn about the bird that tears itself to 
pieces to feed its young." 

"Oh, Caleb!" 

"Fact. There's no knowin' what you can 
see 'till you look for it good an' hard." 

" But food is so cheap in this country that 
I didn't suppose the poorest could suffer. 
Corn-meal less than a cent a pound, flour 
two cents, meat only four or five — " 

"Yes, but folks that don't have grist-mills, 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 233 

nor animals to kill, would put it the other 
way; they'd say that dollars an' cents are 
awfully dear. Why, Mis' Somerton, when 
some folks, that I could name, comes into the 
store with their truck to trade for things, an' 
I see 'em lookin' at this thing, an' that, an' 
t'other, that shows what they're wantin,' and 
needin,' an' can't get, — oh, it brings Cruci- 
fixion Day right before my eyes — that's just 
what it does. I've seen lots o' sad things in 
my day — like most men, I s'pose. I've seen 
hundreds o' men shot to pieces, an' thousands 
dyin' by inches, but you never can guess what 
it was that broke me up most an' longest." 

" Probably not ; so, that being the case, do 
tell me." 

"Well, one day I'd just weighed out a 
pound o' tea, with a lot of other stuflf that 
Mis' Taggess was goin' to call for, an' a wid- 
der woman that had been tradin' two or three 
pound o' butter for some things, picked up 
the paper o' tea, an' looked at it, an' held it 
kind o' close to her face, an' sniffed at it. She 
was as plain-featured a woman as you can 
find hereabouts, which is sayin' a good deal, 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 234 

but as she smelled o' that tea her face 
changed, an' changed, an* changed, till it re- 
minded me of a picture I once saw in some- 
body's house — * Ecstacy ' was the name of it ; 
so I said : — 

" * I reckon you're a judge o' good tea ' (for 
Mis' Taggess won't have any but the best) 
*an' that you kind o' like it, too?' 

" * Like it ? ' says she, wavin' the paper o' 
tea across her face an' then puttin' it down 
sharp-like, *I like it about as much as I like 
the comin' o' Sunday,' which was comin' it 
pretty strong, for I didn't know any woman 
that was more religious, or that had better 
reason to want a day of rest. An' yet she 
was just the nervous, tired kind, to which a 
cup 0' good tea is meat an' drink an* 
newspapers an' a hand-organ besides ; so I 
says : — 

"'Better buy a little o' this, then, while 
we've got it. I'm a pretty good judge o' tea 
myself, an' we never had any to beat this.' 

" * Buy it } ' says she. ' What with .? ' 

" * Well,' says I, knowin' her to be honest, 
*if you've traded out all your truck, I'll 

Caleb Wright j» j» 235 

charge it, an' you can settle for it when you 
bring in some more, or mebbe some cash/ 

" * Buy tea ! ' says she, lookin' far-away-like. 
*I hain't been well enough off to drink tea 
since my husband died, though there's been 
nights when I haven't been able to sleep for 
thinkin' of it.' 

" Think o' that ! An' there was me, that's 
had two cups or more ev'ry night for years, 
an' thought I couldn't live without it! I 
come mighty nigh to chokin' to death, but I 
done up another pound as quick as I could, 
an' some white sugar too, an' I shoved 'em 
over to her, an' says I : — 

"'Here's a sin-off erin' from a penitent soul, 
an' I don't know a better altar for it than 
your tea-kettle.' 

" She was kind of offish at first, but thinkin' 
of her goin' without tea made me kind o' 
leaky about the eyes, an' that broke her down, 
an' she told me, 'fore she knowed what she 
was doin', about the awful hard time she an' 
her young ones had had, though before that 
nobody'd ever knowed her to give a single 
grunt, for she was as independent as she was 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 236 

poor. After that I often gave her a Uft, in 
one way or other. She kicked awful hard at 
first; but I reminded her that the Bible said 
that part o' true religion was to visit the 
fatherless an* widders in their *fliction, so she 
oughtn't to put stumblin*-blocks in the way of 
a man who was tryin* to live right; an* as I 
didn't have no time for makin' visits myself, 
it was only fair to let me send a substitute, 
in the shape of comfort for her an' the young 
ones, an' she 'greed, after a spell, to look at 
it in that light." 

"Caleb, are there many more people of 
that kind in the town.?" 

" No — no — not quite as bad off as she 
was, in some ways, and yet in other ways 
some of 'em are worse. I mean drunkards' 
families. How a drunkard's wife stays alive 
at all beats me ; the Almighty must 'a' put 
somethin' in women that we men don't know 
nothin' about. After lots o' tryin', I made up 
my mind the only way to help a drunkard's 
family is to reform the drunkard, so I laid 
low, an' picked my time, an' when the man 
had about a ton o' remorse on him, as all 

Caleb Wright j» j* 237 

drunkards do have once in a while, I'd bar- 
gain with him that if he*d stop drinkin' Td 
see his family didn't suffer while he was 
makin' a fresh start. I made out 'twas a big 
thing for me to do, for they knowed I was 
sickly and weak, an* if I saved my money, 
instead o* layin' it out on 'em, I could go off 
an* take a long rest, an' p'r'aps get to be 
somethin' more than skin an' bones an' malary. 
It most gen'rally fetched 'em. It's kept me 
poor, spite o' my havin' pretty good pay an' 
nobody o' my own to care for, but there was 
no one else to do it, except Doc Taggess an* 
his wife : they've done more good o' that 
kind than anybody'll know till Judgment 

" There'll be some one else in future, Caleb. 
Tell me whom to begin with, and how, and 
I shall be extremely thankful to you." 

"Just what I might 'a' knowed you would 
'a' said, though seems to me you're already 
helpin' ev'rybody in your own way." 

" But I'm spending no money. As a great 
favor tell me who it is for whom you're 
doing most, and* let me relieve you of it, if 

Caleb IFright j» > 238 

only that you may use your money in some 
other way." 

" That's mighty hearty o* you, but I reckon 
it wouldn't work. You see it's this way. You 
remember One- Arm Ojam, from Middle Crick 
township ? " 

" That tall, dashing-looking Southerner } " 

"Exactly. Well, you see he lost his arm 
fightin' for the South — lost it at Gettysburg, 
where I got some bullets that threw my ma- 
chinery out o' gear considerable, besides one 
that's stuck closer'n a brother ever since. Well, 
he don't draw no pension, — 'tain't necessary 
to state the reasons, — but I get a middlin' 
good one. He was grumblin' pretty hard one 
day 'bout how tough it was on a man to fight 
the battle o' life single-handed, an' says I to 
him, knowin' he drank pretty hard: — 

" * It must be, when with t'other hand he 
loads up with stuff that cripples his head 

" He 'lowed that that kind o' talk riled him, 
an' I said I was glad it did, an' we jawed 
along for a spell, like old soldiers can when 
they get goin', till all of a sudden he says : — 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 239 

** * A man that gets a pension don't have to 
drink to keep him goin*.' 

"'Well, Ojam/ says I, 'if that's a fact, an' 
I don't say it ain't, you can stop drinkin' right 
now, if you want to.' 

" * What do you mean ? ' says he. 

" * Just what I say,' says I. * My pension's 
yours, from this on, so long's you don't drink.' 

" * I ain't goin' to be bought over to be a 
Yank,' says he. 

" * I don't want you to be a Yank,' says I. 
'You're an American, an' that's the best thing 
that any old vet can be. I want to buy you 
over to be a clear-headed man. I've got 
nothin' to make by it, but it'll be the makin' o' 

"Well, he went off mad, an' he told his 
wife an' young ones, an' in a day or two he 
came back, an' says he : — 

" * Caleb, I ain't a plum fool ; but if you're 
dead sot on bein' one, why, I'll take that 
pension o' yourn, the way you said.' 

" So I shelled out the last quarter's money at 
once, an' then began the hardest fight One- Arm 
Ojam ever got into. He 'lowed afterwards that 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 240 

*twas tougher than Gettysburg, an* lasted 'bout 
a hundred times as long. 'Fore that, when 
he hankered for a drink, he'd shell a bushel 
o' corn by hand, an' bring it in to Bust- 
podder's store, an' trade it for a quart, but 
now he had money enough to buy 'most a 
bar'l of the sort of stuff that he drank. 
There's a tough lot o' fellows up in his section, 

— * birds of a feather flock together,' you know, 

— an' they made fun o' him, an' nagged him 
most to death, till one day he owned up to 
me that he was in a new single-handed fight 
that was harder'n the old one. 

" * You idjit,' says I, * when you got in a hot 
place in the war you didn't try to fight single- 
handed, did you.? You got with a squad, or 
a comp'ny, or regiment, didn't you, so's to 
have all the help you could get, didn't you.?' 

""Course I did,' says he. 

" * Then,* says I, * what's the matter with 
your j'inin' the Sons o' Temperance, an' 
j'inin' the church, too.?' Well, ma'am, that 
knocked him so cold that he turned ash-col- 
ored, an' his knees rattled ; but says I, * I've 
got my opinion of a man that charged with 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 241 

Pickett at Gettysburg an' afterwards plays 
coward anywhere else.* 

" That fetched him. He joined the Sons, an* 
he j'ined the church, an' rememberin' that the 
best way to keep a recruit from desertin* is to 
put him in the front rank at once, an* keep him 
at it, some of us egged him on until he became 
a local preacher an' started a lodge o' Sons o' 
Temperance in his section. He's offered two 
or three times to give up the pension, for he's 
got sort o' forehanded, spite o' havin' only one 
hand to do it with, but as I knowed he was 
spendin' all of it, an' more too, on men that 
he's tryin' to straighten up an' pull out o' holes, 
I said, * No.' For, you see, I'd been wonderin' 
for years what a man that had had his heart 
sot on doin' good in the world, as mine was 
before the war, should 'a' been shot most to 
pieces at Gettysburg for, but now I'd found 
out ; for if I hadn't got shot, I wouldn't 'a' 
got the pension that reformed One- Arm Ojam, 
an' is reformin' all the rest o' Middle Crick 
Township. *God moves in a mysterious way, 
His wonders to perform ; ' but I s'pose you've 
helped sing that in church?" 



^^ELDOM does any community have the 

i \ good fortune to have two great events 

^^"^ fall upon a single day, but on May 

30, 1 88-, Claybanks and vicinity palpitated 

from centre to circumference over the cele- 

1 In most states of the American Union the 30th of May is 
a legal holiday called Decoration Day, the purpose being to 
honor, by various means, the memory of the soldiers who died 
in defence of the Union in the great Civil War of 1861-65. 
More than a quarter of a million survivors of the Union army 
are members of a fraternal society called the Grand Army of the 
Republic, which is divided into about seven thousand local 
branches called Posts. The organization is military in form, 
each post having a body of officers with military titles and insig- 
nia. All posts carry the national colors in their parades, and 
are expected to be uniformed in close imitation of the service 
dress of the army of the United States. A few posts bear arms, 
and each member of the order wears a medal made by the na- 
tional government from cannon captured from the enemy. The 
posts always parade on Decoration Day, and at cemeteries where 
soldiers of the Union army have been interred they read their 
** Ritual of the Dead " and decorate the graves with flags and 
flowers. In recent years the order has decorated the graves of 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 243 

bration of Decoration Day and the opening 
of the Claybanks Bath-house. The public 
buildings did not close; neither did the stores, 
for the entire community flocked to the town, 
and the stores were the only possible loung- 
ing-places. Grace had learned, to her great 
regret, which was shared by Caleb, that the 
local Grand Army post never paraded in uni- 
form, for the reason that the members found 
it too hard to supply themselves with sufficient 
clothing, for every day and Sunday use, to 
afford a suit to be worn only a single day of 
the year, and she had told Caleb that it was 
a shame that the government did not supply 
its old soldiers with uniforms in which to 
celebrate their one great day, and Caleb had 
replied that perhaps if it did, the Southerner 
Ojam, who had charged with Pickett at Get- 
tysburg, and who always marched with the 
" boys ** to decorate the graves, might feel 
ruled out, and then Grace had unburdened 

dead Confederates also, and there have been many friendly in- 
terchanges of civilities and hospitalities between the Grand 
Army of the Republic and the Southern survivors' organization 
known as The United Confederate Veterans — an order which 
has about hfty thousand members. 

Caleb Wright j» j» 244 

her heart to Philip, and given him so little 
peace about it that finally he became so in- 
terested in the Grand Army of the Republic 
that he studied all the local members as 
intently as if he were looking for a long-lost 

But when the sun of Decoration Day arose, 
the centre of interest was the bath-house. The 
veterans who had been selected for the open- 
ing ceremonies approached the place as trem- 
blingly as a lot of penitents for public baptism ; 
some of them were so appalled at the pros- 
pect that they approached the house by devi- 
ous ways, even by sneaking through various 
back yards and climbing fences. Caleb him- 
self was somewhat mystified by a request 
from Black Sam that he would remain out of 
sight until the ordeal had ended; and as the 
store filled early with customers, and Philip 
was obliged to be absent for an hour or two, 
Caleb was compelled to comply with the re- 
quest, after sending word to the non-drinking 
members to keep the others from the vicinity 
of Bustpodder*s store and all other places 
where liquor was sold. The caution did not 

Caleb Wright j» j» 245 

seem to be necessary, however ; for not a man 
emerged from the bath-house to answer the 
questions of the multitude that was consum- 
ing with curiosity, and from which arose from 
time to time sundry cheers and jeers that 
must have been exasperating in the extreme. 

Suddenly Philip, appeared in the store, and 
said : — 

"Caleb, you're wanted at the bath-house. 
Better go up there at once. No, nothing 
wrong; but go." 

Business went on, and Grace did her best 
to attend to a score of feminine customers at 
one and the same time; but suddenly the 
entire crowd hurried out of the store, for the 
sound of the G. A. R.*s fife and drum, playing 
"We'll Rally Round the Flag," floated through 
the open doors and windows. 

" I suppose we, too, may as well look at the 
procession," said Philip, moving toward the 

** Oh, Phil ! " exclaimed Grace, looking up 
the street, "they have guns, and they're in 
uniforms. How strange ! Caleb told me they 
hadn't any." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 246 

"True, but Caleb is a great man to bring 
new things to pass." 

" They're all in uniform but three," said 
Grace, as the little procession approached the 
store. "The fifer and drummer and the man 
with the flag haven't any. What a — " 

"The fifer and drummer were not soldiers. 
The man with the flag is One- Arm Ojam, who 
was in Pickett's great charge at Gettysburg, 
and he's in full Confederate gray." 

So he was, even to a gray hat, with the Stars 
and Bars on its front, and a long gray plume 

at its side, and the magnificent Southern swag- 


ger with which he bore the colors was — after 
the flag itself — the grandest feature of the 
procession. The multitude on both sides of 
the street applauded wildly, but the old soldiers 
marched as steadily as if they were on duty, 
for the uniforms and muskets were recalling 
old times in their fulness. Suddenly, as the 
procession reached the front of the store, Post- 
Commander Caleb Wright, sword in hand, 
shouted : — 

"Halt! Front! Right — dress! Front! 
Present — arms!" 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 247 

To the front came tHe muskets, Caleb's 
sword-hilt was raised to his chin, Ojam drooped 
the flag, and Philip doffed his hat. 

"Why did they do that, I wonder?" asked 

" Oh, some notion of Caleb's, I suppose," 
PhiUp replied. 

" Shoulder — arms ! " shouted Caleb. ** Order 
— arms ! Three cheers for the uniforms ! " 

Eighteen slouch hats waved in the air, an 
eighteen-soldier-power roar arose, the fife 
shrieked three times, the drummer rolled 
three ruffles. Then One- Arm Ojam, the flag 
rested against his armless shoulder, waved his 
gray hat picturesquely, and roared : — 

"Three cheers for the giver of the uni- 
forms ! " 

When a second round of cheering ended, a 
man in the ranks shouted "Speech!" and the 
word was echoed by several others. Then 
Philip, while his wife's lips became shapeless in 
wide-mouthed wonder, removed his hat and 
said : — 

"Fellow-Americans, the uniforms weren't a 
gift. They're merely a partial payment, on 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 248 

my own account, for what you did for mine and 
me when I was very young. This is one of the 
proudest days of my life; for though I took 
the measure of each of you by guess-work, no 
man's clothes seem a very bad fit." Then he 
returned abruptly into the store, followed by 
his wife, who exclaimed : — 

" You splendid, dreadful fellow ! You were 
letting me believe that Caleb did it ! " 

" So he did, my dear. 'Twas your telling me 
the story of Caleb's pension that set me think- 
ing hard about the old soldiers and what they 
did, and of how little consideration they get. 
Besides, Fm always wishing to do something 
special to please Caleb, and this was the first 
chance Td seen in a long time. His fear of 
One-Arm Ojam being estranged if the Post got 
into uniform troubled me for a day or two, but 
I seem to have taken Ojam's measure — in both 
senses — quite well.*' 

Suddenly Grace began to laugh, and con- 
tinued until she became almost helpless, Philip 
meanwhile looking as if he wondered what 
he had said that could have been so amus- 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 249 

"If your Uncle Jethro could have been 
here ! " she said as soon as she could. 

*' To be horrified at the manner in which a lot 
of his money has been spent? If I*m not 
mistaken, 'twill have been the cheapest advertis- 
ing this establishment ever did, though I hadn't 
the slightest thought of business while I was 
planning it." 

" That isn't what I meant," Grace said. " I 
was thinking of your uncle's disgust when he 
learned that one of your reasons for wishing to 
live in New York was that you might study art. 
Your studies never went far beyond sketching 
the human figure, poor boy ; but if he were 
here to-day, and you were to tell him that your 
art studies, such as they were, had enabled you 
to guess correctly the proportions of eighteen 
suits of men's clothes, imagine his astonishment 
— if you can." 

Then the laughter was resumed, and Philip 
assisted at it, until Caleb entered the store and 
said : — 

" We've been comparin' notes, — the boys an' 
me, an' we've agreed that it beat any surprises 
we had in the war ; for there, we always knowed. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 250 

the surprises was layin' in wait for us a good 
deal of the time. How you managed it beats 

"Phil, didn't even Caleb know what was 
going on ? " 

" Not until he left the store about half an 
hour ago." 

"Oh, you splendid, smart — " 

"Spare my blushes, dear girl. As to the 
things, Caleb, I had them addressed to Black 
Sam, whom I let into the secret, and I had them 
wagoned at night from the railway to the bath- 
house, where he unpacked them and hid them 
in one of his rooms." 

" I want to know ! But what put you up to 
thinkin' o' doin* the greatest thing that — " 

" 'Twas a story my wife told me, about the 
way you dispose of your pension. 'Twas all of 
your own doing, after all, you see." 

Caleb looked sheepish, said something about 
the " boys " becoming uneasy unless the march 
was resumed, and made haste to rejoin his 
command, but stopped halfway to the door, 
and said : — 

" Mebbe *tain*t any o' my business, but as I'm 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 251 

Commander of the Post, an' yet you've been 
managin' it most o* the mornin', an' I hadn't 
time to ask the why an' wherefore o* things, — 
how did you get Ojam to carry our flag?" 

'' Oh, I dared him." 

" An' he, bein' a Southerner, wouldn't take a 
dare ? " 

" On the contrary, it needed no dare. He said 
he'd been longing for such a chance for many 
years ; for you'd reminded him one day that he 
was an American, and that plain American was 
good enough for you. 'Twas a case exactly like 
that of the uniforms, Caleb ; 'twas you that did 
it — not I." 

Again Caleb looked sheepish, and this time 
he succeeded in rejoining his command and 
marching it toward the cemetery, followed by 
the entire populace. 

"We may as well go, too," said Philip, closing 
the store. 

** But not empty-handed," Grace said, snatch- 
ing a basket from a hook and hurrying into her 
garden, where she quickly cut everything that 
showed any color or bloom, saying as she did 
so: — 

Caleb fF right j^ j^ 252 

"Perhaps they don't use flowers here, but 
'twill do no harm to offer them." 

** ril get out the horse and buggy ; that bas- 
ket will be very heavy," said Philip. 

" Not as heavy as the veterans' guns — and 
some widow's memories," Grace replied; **so let 
us walk." 

Together they hurried along the dusty road 
and joined the irregular procession of civilians 
that followed the veterans. The Claybanks 
** God's acre " bore no resemblance to the park- 
like cemeteries which Grace had seen near 
New York, nor did it display any trace of the 
neatness which marked the little enclosure in 
which rested the dead of Grace's native village. 
A man with a scythe had been sent in on the 
previous day, to make the few soldiers' graves 
approachable ; but weeds and brambles were still 
abundant near the fence, and Grace shuddered 
when she saw that most of the graves were 
marked only by lettered boards instead of 
stones, and that tiny graves were numerous. 
Evidently Claybanks was a dangerous place for 

Soon she saw that the usefulness of flowers 

Caleb Wright j» j» 253 

on Decoration Day was not unknown at Clay- 
banks, and, as the " Ritual of the Dead '* had 
already been read and as the veterans were 
informally passing from grave to grave, she 
made her way to Caleb, and said reproach- 
fully : — 

" Why didn't you ask me for some flowers ? ** 

" I 'lowed that I would," Caleb replied, look- 
ing at Grace's basket, " but Mis' Taggess came 
to me, an' says she, * Don't you do it, or she'll 
cut everything in sight,' an' from the looks o' 
things I reckon that's just what you've done. 
It's a pity, too, for we hain't got many soldier- 
dead, an' their graves is pretty well covered." 

"In the paht of the Saouth that I come 
from," ventured One- Arm Ojam, "ev'rybody's 
graves has flowers put on 'em on Memorial 
Day, an' the women an' children do most of it." 

** You Grand Army men won't feel hurt if the 
custom is started here, will you } " Grace asked 
of Caleb. 

" Not us ! " was the reply ; so Grace begged 
the women and children to assist her, and 
within a few moments every grave in the ceme- 
tery had a bit of bloom upon it, and the women 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 254 

had informally resolved that the custom should 
be followed thereafter on Decoration Day. 

Then the Grand Army Post was called to 
order, and marched back to the town, led by 
the fifer and drummer and followed by the 

" Is that all ? " Grace asked, when the store 
had been reopened, and Caleb entered, un- 
clasped his sword-belt, and gazed affectionately 
at the sword. 

" All of what .? " 

" All of the day's ceremonies." 

** In one way, yes, but we vets have a sort o* 
camp-fire; we get together in my room, after 
dark, an' swap yarns, an' sing songs, an' have 
somethin' to eat an' drink, an' manage to have a 
jolly good time." 

" I hope you'll leave the windows open while 
you sing." 

."We'll have to all the time, I reckon, the 
weather bein' as hot as 'tis, but I know the 
boys'U be pleased to hear that you asked it." 

"Oh, wouldn't I like to be a mouse in the 
comer to-night ! " Grace said after she had laid 
away the very last of the supper dishes and 

Caleb TFright jt j» 255 

dropped into a hammock-chair on the coolest 
side of the house. "A mouse in the corner, 
and hear the war-stories those veterans will tell! 
They looked so unlike themselves to-day/* 

"Possibly because of Caleb's bath-house," 
Philip suggested, " although I don't doubt that 
Caleb would be gracious enough to hint that 
the new uniforms also had some transforming 

" What do you suppose they will have to eat 
and drink in Caleb's room } I wish I dared 
make something nice and send it in. Let me 
see ; we've a lot of the potted meats and fancy 
biscuits and other things that I ordered from 
the city a week or two ago, to abate the miseries 
of summer housekeeping. I could make half a 
dozen kinds of biscuit sandwiches in ten minutes, 
and I could give them iced tea with lemon and 
sugar, and oh — " 

" Well ? " 

" There's been so much excitement to-day that 
I entirely forgot the grand surprise I'd planned 
for some of the farmers' wives. I declare 'tis 
too bad ! Our ice-cream freezer came last 
week, you know, and this morning I made the 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 256 

first lot, and I was going to serve saucers of it 
to some of the women who came to the store — 
it seems that ice-cream is unknown in this 
country.* But your surprise, of putting the 
Grand Army men into imiforms, put everything 
else out of my mind for the day. Let's bring 
it from the ice-house, and send it over to Caleb's 
room to the veterans ! " 

"My dear girl, the cream will keep till to- 
morrow, so do try to possess your soul in peace, 
and leave those veterans to their own devices. 
Old soldiers are reputed to be willing to eat and 
drink anything or nothing if they may have a 
feast of war-stories." 

"When do you suppose they'll begin to 
sing ? '* 

"Not having been a soldier, I can't say. 
Perhaps not at all, if Caleb's plan of keeping 
the drinking men from liquor has succeeded." 

" Phil, don't be so horrid. Oh ! — what is 

It was the beginning of a song — not badly 
sung, either — "'Tis a Way We Have in the 
Army." Some of the words were ridiculous, but 
there could be no criticism of the spirit of the 

Caleb Wright j» j» 257 

singers. Advancing cautiously, under cover of 
semi-darkness and the brushwood arbor, Grace 
saw so many figures near the front of the house 
that she could not doubt that the Grand Army 
Post was tendering her or her husband the 
compliment of a serenade, so she applauded 
heartily. Another song, "There's Music in the 
Air," followed, and yet another, both in fair 
time and tune. 

"Tm going to find out whom those leading 
voices belong to," Grace said. " Light the 
lamps, won't you.?" Then she stepped from 
the arbor, and said : — 

" Thank you very much, gentlemen, but my 
husband and I are real selfish people, so we 
won't be satisfied until you come into the house 
and sing us all the army songs you know." 

Two or three veterans started to run, but they 
were stopped by others. Grace heard them 
protesting that they were not of the singers, so 
she hurried out and declared that she would 
forego the anticipated pleasure rather than 
break up their own party ; so within a moment 
or two the entire Post, with One- Arm Ojam, 
were in the parlor, where some stared about in 

Caleb JTright j^ j^ 258 

amazement, while others looked as distressed as 
cats in a strange kitchen. But host and hostess 
pressed most of them into seats, and Caleb 
stood guard at the door, having first whispered 
to Grace : — 

" The pianner'U hold *em — but don't play 
" Marchin' through Georgy,' please ; we take 
pains not to worry One-Arm Ojam." 

Grace whispered to Philip, who left the room ; 
then she seated herself at the piano and rattled 
off " Dixie '* with fine spirit. Soon she stopped, 
looked about inquiringly, and asked : — 

" Can't any of you sing it } Now I ** 

Again she attacked the piano. Some one 
started the song, darkey-fashion, by singing one 
bar, the others joining vociferously in the 
second ; this was repeated, and then all gave the 
chorus, and so the song went on so long as any 
one could recall words. This was followed, at 
a venture, by "Maryland, my Maryland,** for 
which the Union veterans had one set of words, 
and Ojam another, although the general effect 
was good. The ice was now broken, and the 
men suggested one song after another, for most 
of which Grace discovered that she knew the 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 259 

airs — for while the war created many new 
songs, it inspired little new music. 

The singing continued until the guests be- 
came hoarse, by which time Philip entered with 
iced lemonade made with tea, and Grace followed 
with sandwiches and biscuits and cake, which 
prompted some of the men to tell what they did 
not have to eat in the army. From this to war- 
stories was but a short step, and as every vet- 
eran, however stupid, has at least one war-story 
that is all his own, the host and hostess enjoyed 
a long entertainment of a kind entirely new to 
them. Meanwhile Grace was pressing refresh- 
ments on the men individually, but suddenly she 
departed. When she returned, in a few mo- 
ments, she bore a tray covered with saucers 
of ice-cream, and the astonishment which the 
contents produced, as it reached the palates of 
the guests, made Grace almost apoplectic in her 
endeavors to keep from laughing. 

"What is it ? " whispered a veteran who had 
not yet been served to one who was ecstati- 
cally licking his spoon. 

" Dog my cats if I know ! '* was the reply, 
as the man took another mouthful. '' It tastes 

Caleb JTright j^ j^ 260 

somethin' like puddin' — an* custard — an' cake 

— an* like the smell of oF Mis' Madden's 
vanilla bean, — an' — " but just then the ques- 
tioner was given an opportunity to taste for 
himself, after which he said: — 

"It beats the smell o' my darter's hair-ile 

— beats it all holler." 

"I reckon," said Caleb, who had inspected 
the freezer on its arrival, and had been wildly 
curious as to its product, " I reckon it's ice- 

"What.? That stuff that there's jokes 
about in the newspapers sometimes, — jokes 
about gals tkat's too thin-waisted to hug, but 
can eat barl's of it.?" 

"Yes; that's the stuff." 

" The dickens ! Well, ef I was a gal, I'd 
let out tucks all day long an' dum the ex- 
pense, if my feller'd fill my bread-basket with 
stuff like that. Must be frightful costly, 

"Not more'n plain custard. Mis' Somerton 

" Wh-a-a-a-a-at .? Say, Caleb, I'm goin' to 
j'in the church, right straight off. No more 

Caleb JTright j^ j^ 261 

takin* any risks o' hell for me, thank you, for 
it stands to reason that they can't make ice- 
cream down there." 

When the contents of the freezer were ex- 
hausted, Philip, who never smoked, opened a 
box of fine cigars which he had ordered from 
the East, with a view to business with visiting 
lawyers in the approaching " Court-week.'* 
Then the joy of the veterans was complete ; 
the windows were opened, for, as Caleb said, 
no mosquito would venture into such a cloud, 
and it was not until midnight that any one 
thought to ask the time. 

"Fm afeared," said Caleb, after all the other 
guests had departed, "that you'll have a mighty 
big job o* dish-washin' to-morrow, but — " 

" But 'twas richly worth it," Grace said, and 
Philip assented. 

"That's very kind o* you, but 'tain't what 
I was goin' to say, which was that I'll turn 
in and help, if you'll let me, an' another 
thing is, you've put an end to any chance of 
any of the boys takin' a drink of anythin' 
stronger than water to-night, an' you've made 
sure of some new customers, too." 

Caleb JTright j^ j^ 262 

" Oh, Caleb ! *' Grace said, " can't we do any- 
thing hearty for its own sake, without being 
rewarded for it ? " 

" Nary thing ! " Caleb replied. " That's busi- 
ness truth, an' Gospel truth, too." 



ELL^ Caleb," said Philip, on the 
day after Decoration Day, " how 
did the bath-house opening-day 
pan out?" 

"First-rate — A i," Caleb replied, rubbing 
his hands, and then laughing to himself a long 
time, although in a manner which implied that 
the excitement to laughter was of a confidential 
nature. But this merely piqued curiosity, so 
Philip said: — 

"Do you think it fair to keep all the fun 
to yourself, you selfish scamp? Don't you 
know that things to laugh at are dismally 
scarce at this season of the year ? As the 
boys say when another boy finds something, 
* Halves/" 

"Well," said Caleb, "the fact is, some of the 
customers was scared to death, Black Sam says, 
for fear they'd catch cold after the bath. I'd 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 264 

expected as much of some of our G. A. R. boys, 

— mentionin' no names, — so I'd took down to 
the house a dozen sets o' thin underclothin' 
that rd ordered on suspicion. I always wear it 

— I learned the trick from one of our hospital 
doctors in the army, an' it gives me so much 
comfort that I talked it up to other men, but 
'twas a new idee 'round here, an' ev'rybody 
laughed at me. The baths, though, scared a 
lot o' the boys into tryin' it. All day long 
they were kind o* wonderin*, out loud, whether 
it was the cleanin* up or the underclothes that 
made 'em feel so much better'n usual; so I 
says to 'em, * What's the matter with both } 
No one thing's ev'rythin', unless mebbe it's 
religion, an' even that loses its holt if you 
squat down with it an* don't do nothin' else.' 
* But,' says some of 'em, * what's to be did when 
the underclothes gets dirty } ' * Put on some 
clean ones,* says I, *or wash the old ones 
overnight, 'fore you go to bed — that's what 
I done ev'ry night, when I was so poor that 
I couldn't afford a change.* Well, some of 
*em*ll do it, *cause they*re too poor to buy, but 
you'd better telegraph for a stock o' them thin 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 265 

goods ; for when they don't find thick shirts an' 
pants stickin* to 'em all day, while they're at 
work, they'll be so glad o' the change that 
they'll want to stock up. They'll find out, as 
I've always b'lieved, that underclothes, an' 
plenty of *em, is a means o' grace.'* 

" More business for the store, as usual," said 

"Yes," said Caleb, "but 'twon't be a patch 
to the run there'd be on ice-cream machines — 
if there was plenty of ice to be had. Some o* 
the boys from the farmin' district stopped with 
me last night, thinkin' it was better to get some 
sleep 'fore sun-up than go out home an' wake 
their folks up halfway between midnight and 
daylight, to say nothin' o' scarin' all the dogs 
o' the county into barkin', and tirin' out bosses 
that's got a day's work before 'em. Well, 'fore 
turnin' in, they said lots o' nice things — though 
no nicer than they ought — about the way they 
had been treated at your house, an' 'bout the 
way you both acted, as if you an' them had 
been cut from the same piece, but — " 

" Don't make me conceited, Caleb." 

" I won't ; for, as I was goin' to say, they 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 266 

come back ev'ry time to the friz milk, as they 
called it, an' how they wished their wives knew 
how to make it, an* what a pity 'twas there 
wa'n't ice-houses all over the county. Well — 
partly with an eye to business, knowin' that 
most any of 'em could stand the price of a 
freezer, an' the others could do it, too, if they'd 
save the price o' liquor they drink in a month 
or two — I says : — 

"*Well, why don't you make 'em? You 
could do it o' slabs you could split out o' logs 
from your own woodland, an' the crick freezes 
ev'ry winter, when you an' your bosses has got 
next to nothin' to do. Besides bavin' ice-cream 
from milk that you've all got more of than you 
know what to do with, you could kill a critter 
once in a while in the summer, an* keep the 
meat cool; you could have fresh meat off an' on, 
instead o' cookin' pork seven days o' the week 
in hot weather, when it sickens the women an' 
children to look at it.* They 'lowed that that 
was so, an* they jawed it over for a while, an' 
— well, three or four ice-houses are goin* up, 
between farms, next winter, an' we'll sell some 
freezers, an' some men'U let up on drinkin ' ; for 

Caleb JTright j^ j^ 267 

the worst bum o* the lot 'lowed that he'd trade 
his thirsty any time, an* throw in a quart o* 
Bustpodder's best to boot, for a good square fill 
o' friz milk." 

"So even ice-cream is a means of grace, 
Caleb — eh?" said Philip. 

** That's what it is, an* I notice, too, that you 
don't laugh under your mustache, like you 
used to do, when mention's made o* means o' 

But what rose is without its thorn i In the 
course of a few days the word went about, 
among the very large class to whom every- 
thing is fuel for the flame of gossip, that a 
lot of the Grand Army men had been taken 
into the Somerton house, and found it a 
palace, the things in which must have cost 
thousands of dollars, and that it was a shame 
and an outrage that money should have been 
made out of the poor, overworked country 
people to support two young stuck-ups from 
the city in more luxury that Queen Eliza- 
beth ever dreamed of; for who ever read in 
history books of Queen Elizabeth having ice- 
cream.? and didn't the history books say that 


Caleb Wright j^ j^ 268 

she had only rushes on her floors, instead of 
even a rag carpet, to say nothing of picture 
carpets like the Somertons'? 

When the rumor reached the store, Philip 
ground his teeth, but Grace laughed. 

"I believe you'd laugh, even if they called 
your husband a swindler," said Philip. 

** Indeed I would, at anything so supremely 
ridiculous,'* Grace said. "Wouldn't you, Ca- 

" I reckon I would. Anyhow, it sounds 
a mighty sight better than the noise Philip 
made; besides, it's healthier for the teeth. It 
shows 'em off better, too." 

" Now, Mr. Crosspatch, how do you feel } " 

"Utterly crushed. But what are you going 
to do about it.?" 

" I'm going to make those gossips ashamed 
of themselves." 

" How } " 

"By refurnishing the parlor for the sum- 
mer. The dust is ruining our nice things, 
so the change will be an economy. I'll do 
it so cheaply that almost any farmer in the 
county can afford to copy it, to the great 

Caleb JFright jt jt 269 

delight of his wife, as well as himself. Let 
— me — see — " and Grace dropped her head 
over a bit of paper and a pencil, and Caleb 
looked at her admiringly, and winked pro- 
foundly at Philip, and then hurried into the 
back room so that his impending substitute 
for an ecstatic dance should not disturb the 
planner of the coming parlor decorations. 

For some reason — perhaps excitement over 
the bath-house, or surprise at the uniforming 
of his Grand Army command, or the heat, or 
the debilitating effect of old wounds — Philip 
pretended to believe it was the effect of 
Grace's ice-cream upon a system not inured 
to such compounds — Caleb suddenly became 
disabled by a severe malarial attack with sev- 
eral complications. He did not take to his 
bed, but his movements were mechanical, his 
manner apathetic, and his tongue almost silent. 
He did not complain; and when questioned, 
he insisted that he suffered no pain. Philip 
and Grace endeavored to tempt his appetite, 
for he ate scarcely anything, and they tried 
to rally him by various mental means, but 
without effect. He noted their solicitude, and 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 270 

its sincerity impressed him so deeply that he 
said one day: — 

" The worst thing about this attack is that 
I can't get words to tell you how good you 
both are bein' to me. But I*m the same as a 
man that's been hit with a club.*' 

Then Philip and Grace insisted that Doctor 
Taggess should do something for Caleb, and 
the Doctor said nothing would give him more 
pleasure ; for anything that would restore Caleb 
to health would probably be serviceable in 
other cases of the same kind, of which there 
were several on his hands. After listening to 
much well-meant but worthless suggestion, the 
Doctor said : — 

"There's a new treatment of which I've 
heard encouraging reports, but it is quite costly. 
It is called the sea treatment. It is said, on 
good authority, that a month at sea, anywhere 
in the temperate zone, will cure any chronic 
case of malaria, and that the greater the attack 
of sea-sickness, the more thorough will be the 


" Caleb shall try it, no matter what the cost," 
said Philip. 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 271 

The Doctor smiled, shook his head doubt* 
fully, and said : — 

" What if he won't ? He is so bound up in 
you and your business, and his own many inter- 
ests and duties, that he will make excuses 

"Quite likely, but I ought to be ingenious 
enough to devise some way of making it appear 
a matter of duty." 

** I hope you can, and that you'll begin at 
once, if only for my sake, professionally, so 
that I may study the results." 

Then, for a day, Philip became almost as 
silent as Caleb, and Grace assisted him. The 
next morning, he said : — 

" Caleb, I want to start a new enterprise that 
will revolutionize this part of the country and 
part of Europe, too, if it succeeds, but it won't 
work unless you join me in it." 

"You know Tm yours to command," Caleb 
replied, at the same time forcing a tiny gleam 
of interest. 

"That's kind of you, but this project of 
mine is so unusual that I almost fear to 
suggest it. You know that the farmers of 

Caleb JFright j» > 272 

this section plant far more com than anything 

"Yes, *n always will, I reckon, no matter 
how small the price of what they can't put into 
pork. The idee o* com-plantin* 's been with 
'em so long that I reckon it's * petrified in their 
brain structure,' as a scientific sharp I once 
read about, said about somethin' else." 

"Quite so, and we can't hope to change 
it unless labor and horses should suddenly 
become cheaper and more plentiful. Now I 
propose that we take advantage of this state of 
affairs by making some money and getting 
some glory, besides indirectly helping the 
farmers, by increasing the future demand for 
corn. You yourself once told me that if the 
people of Europe could learn to eat corn-bread, 
'twould be money in their own pockets, relieve 
corn-bins here of surplus stock, and perhaps 
lessen the quantity of the com spoiled by being 
made into whiskey." 

" That's a fact," said Caleb. 

"Very well. Corn never was cheaper here 
than it is now, — so I'm told, — nor were the mills 
ever so idle. I can buy the best of corn-meal, 

Caleb fFRiGHT j> ^ 273 

barrelled, and deliver it in London or Liverpool, 
freight paid, at less than two dollars per barrel, 
and I can buy all I want of it on my note at six 
months. If you'll go into the enterprise with 
me, every barrel shall be labelled *Claybanks 
Western Corn-Flour: trademark registered by 
Philip Somerton.' " 

" Hooray for Clay banks ! Hooray for the 
West ! " shouted Caleb, becoming more like 
his old self. 

"Thank you. But as I've quoted to you 
about your bath-house project, *You can lead 
a horse to water, but you can't make him 
drink.' Meal has often been sent to the Eng- 
lish market, and some dealers have even sent 
careful cooking and bread-making directions. 
The different methods of making good food 
from corn-meal must, I am satisfied, be shown, 
practically, before the eyes of possible con- 
sumers. So my plan is this: to send over, 
say, two hundred barrels to London; hire for 
a month a small shop in a district thickly in- 
habited by people who know the value of a 
penny saved, cook in various forms — hasty 
pudding, hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins, com- 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 274 

bread, etc., at the rate of a barrel of meal a 
day, or as much as can be sold, or even given 
away as an advertisement of the * Claybanks 
Western Corn-Flour * — meanwhile persuading 
grocers in the vicinity to keep the meal for 
sale to persons who are sensible enough to 
appreciate it. And finally, as you know how 
to make all sorts of good things of corn-meal, 
Fd like you to go over to England and manage 
the entire business." 

" Wh-e-e-e-e-e-ew ! " 

" Thafs somewhat non-committal, isn't it ? ** 

" Well ! " said Caleb, " I reckon the malary's 
knocked plumb out o' me ! " 

" I hope so ; but if it isn't, it will be; for Doc- 
tor Taggess says that a month at sea is the 
newest treatment prescribed for malaria, and 
that is said to be a sure cure. The trip over 
won't take a month, but a week or ten days 
of the ocean ought to make a beginning, and 
show you how 'twill act, and if the enterprise 
makes a hit, I'll show my appreciation by 
standing the expense of a trip up the Medi- 
terranean and back by direct steamer to the 
United States. By the way, while you're up 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 275 

the Mediterranean, you might join one of 
Cook's tourist parties, and see the Holy Land. 
How does the entire plan strike you?" 

"How — does it — strike me?'* drawled Ca- 
leb. Then he pulled himself together and 
continued : " Why, it's struck me all of a heap. 
Say, Philip, you've got a mighty long head — 
do you know it ? I ain't sayin' that I can't do 
the work middlin' well, though I have heard 
that it takes a pickaxe an' a corkscrew to get 
any new idee into the commoner kinds of the 
English skull. An' a trip through the Holy 
Land ! But say — who'd look after my Sun- 
day-school class while I was away?" 

"Oh, I will, if you can't find a better sub- 
stitute. You've been doing your best to get 
me into church work — you know you have, 
you sly scamp. Now's your chance." 

" To break you into that sort o' work," said 
Caleb, slowly, " I'd be willin* to peddle ice in 
Greenland, an' live on the proceeds. But 
there's my other class — though I s'pose I 
could farm that out for a spell. Then there's 
a lot o' folks that's been lookin' to me for one 
thing an' another so long that — " 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 276 

"That perhaps 'twould do them good to be 
obliged to depend upon themselves for a few 

"Phil dear, don't be heartless! Caleb, 
couldn't you trust those people to a woman for 
a little while?" 

" Oh, couldn't I ! An' I thank you from the 
bottom of my heart besides. London! Then 
I could see Westminster Abbey, an' the 
Tower o' London, an' go to John Wesley's 
birthplace, an' — " 

" Yes," said Philip, " and you could run over 
to Paris, too." 

" No, sir ! " exclaimed Caleb. " When I 
want to see Satan an' his kingdom, I won't 
have to travel three thousan' mile to do it. 
But — " 

"But me no more buts, Caleb — unless you 
would rather not go." 

"Rather not, indeed! If I was dyin' as 
hard of malary as I'm dyin' to see some things 
in England, I guess I'd turn up in kingdom- 
come in about three days, almanac-time. What 
I was * buttin' ' about was only this : are you 
plumb sure that I'm the right man for the job .? " 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 277 

"Quite sure; for you're entirely honest, in- 
dustrious, and persistent; you're as corn-crazy 
as any other Western man; you've taught my 
wife and me how to work a lot of unsuspected 
delicacies out of corn-meal; and, more impor- 
tant than all else, for this purpose, youVe the 
special Western faculty of taking a man's 
measure at once and treating him accordingly. 
If that won't work with the English, — and the 
worst of them can't be any stupider than cer- 
tain people here, — nothing will. So the matter 
is settled, and you're to start at once — to- 
morrow, if possible; for first I want you to 
buy me a lot of goods in New York. My 
wife and I have determined to carry a larger 
stock and more variety, and — " 

" Start to-morrow ! " interrupted Caleb, in- 

" Yes ; the longer you wait, the longer 'twill 
take you to get away. Besides, I want to keep 
the corn-meal enterprise a secret, and you're so 
honest that it'll leak from you if you don't get 
off at once." 

** But I can't get — " 

"Yes, you can, no matter what it is. And 

Caleb tTRiGHT * * 278 

while you are attending to business in New 
York you must sleep down by the seaside, so 
that the sea air shall begin its fight with the 
malaria as soon as possible. I shall engage 
a room for you by telegraph to-day; you can 
reach it by rail within an hour from any part of 
the city, and return in the morning as early as 
you like." 

"But, man alive, you haven't got the corn- 
meal yet." 

" I shall have a lot of it on the rail by a week 
from to-day ; the rest can follow. You'll need 
a fortnight in New York, to do the buying and 
see the sights, for the town is somewhat larger 
than Claybanks. Besides, no self-respecting 
American should go abroad until he has seen 
Niagara Falls, Independence Hall, Bunker 
Hill Monument, and the National Capital. The 
Falls are directly on your route East, Washing- 
ton is a short and cheap trip from New York, 
with Philadelphia between the two cities, and 
you can take a steamer from Boston. Now 
pack your gripsack at once — there's a good 
fellow, and don't say a single good-by. I'm 
told they're dreadfully unlucky. After you've 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 279 

started, FU explain to every one that you've 
gone East to buy some goods for me. At 
present FU settle down to making you a route- 
book, with information about all sorts of things 
that you may wish, after you're off, that you'd 
asked about." 

Caleb retired slowly to his room over the 
store ; Philip and Grace took turns for an 
hour in watching the street for Doctor Taggess 
and in sending messengers in every direc- 
tion for him, and when the Doctor arrived, 
they unfolded to him, under injunctions of 
secrecy, the entire plan regarding Caleb. The 
Doctor listened with animated face and twin- 
kling eyes, until the story ended; then he 
relieved himself of a long, hearty laugh, and 
said : — 

" What would your Uncle Jethro say to such 
an outlay of money ? " 

"If he's where I hope he is," Philip re- 
plied, "he knows that Caleb richly deserves 
it in addition to his salary, for his many 
years of service. Besides, we've earned the 
money, in excess of any previous half-year of 
trade ; so even if the commercial project fails 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 280 

I shall be out only three or four hundred 

"And without doubt," said the Doctor, 
"'twill be the remaking of Caleb." 

" I hope so," Philip replied, " for he has been 
remaking me." 



/t LL of Grace's spare hours for a fort- 
/^ night after Caleb's departure were 
spent in recalling and applying the 
makeshift furniture devices of her native village 
and those described in back numbers of "Ladies' 
Own" papers and magazines, as well as all the 
upholstery and other decorative methods of her 
sister-saleswomen in the days when she and 
they had far more taste than money. Chairs 
and lounges were extemporized from old boxes 
and barrels, cushioned with straw or corn-husks, 
and covered with chintz. A roll of cheap mat- 
ting, ordered from the city, drove the rugs from 
the sitting room and parlor, and the cheap- 
est of hangings replaced the lace curtains at 
the windows. All of the framed pictures 
were sent upstairs, and upon the walls were 
affixed, with furniture tacks, many borderless 
pictures, plain and colored, from the collection 

Caleb JFright j* j^ 282 

which Philip and Grace had made, in past years, 
from weekly papers and Christmas "Supple- 

The vases, too, disappeared, though substi- 
tutes for them were found. Dainty tables, 
brackets, etc., were replaced by some made 
from fragments of boxes, the completed struc- 
tures being stained to imitate more costly 
woods, and instead of the couple's darling bric- 
^-brac appeared oddities peculiar to the coun- 
try — some birds and small animals stuffed by 
Black Sam, birds'-nests, dried flowers, a mass 
of heads of wheat, oats, rye, and sorghum 
arranged as a great bouquet, some turkey-tail 
fans, and so many other things that had at- 
tracted Grace in her drives and walks that there 
seemed no room on mantel, tables, and walls 
for all of them. 

" There ! " Grace exclaimed, as she ushered 
her husband into the parlor at the end of a day 
expended on finishing touches. "What do you 
think of it .? " 

" Bless me ! " Philip exclaimed. " Absolutely 
harmonious in color, brides being far fuller 
than it was before. 'Tis quite as pretty, too, in 


Caleb JFright j* j* 283 

general effect. Don't imagine for a moment, 
however, that your selected list of old cats will 
appreciate it/' 

" I shall imagine it, and I don*t believe I shall 
be disappointed. All human nature is susceptible 
to general effect. Besides, Mrs. Taggess is to 
be here, and all of them are fond of her, and 
she will say many things that I can't. I shall 
boast only when they tell me that they suppose 
my husband did most of the work — if any of 
them are clever enough to detect the difference 
between what is here and what the G. A. R. 
men and other guests have reported." 

The invitations were given informally, though 
long in advance, to a midday dinner on the first 
day of " Court-week," — a day set apart by 
common consent in hundreds of counties, for a 
general flocking to town. The guests selected 
were — according to Caleb, who was consulted 
when the plan was first formed — the ten most 
virulent feminine gossips in the county. Black 
Sam's wife had been employed to assist for the 
day at cooking and serving, and among the 
dishes were many which would be entirely new 
to the guests. At one end of the table sat 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 284 

Grace, "dressed," as one of the guests said 
afterwards, **as all-fired as a gal that was ex- 
pectin' her feller, an' was boun* to make him 
pop the question right straight off." At the 
other end of the table was Mrs. Taggess, 
plainly attired, except for her habitual smile, 
and at either side sat five as differing shapes 
— except for sharp features and inquiring eyes 
— as could be found anywhere. One wore black 
silk with much affectation of superiority to the 
general herd, but the others seemed to have 
prepared for a wild competition in colors of 
raiment and ribbons, and one had succeeded in 
borrowing for the day the original and many- 
colored silk of Mrs. Hawk Howlaway, described 
in an early chapter of this narrative. 

The guests did full justice to the repast. One 
by one they became mystified by the number of 
courses, for they had expected pie or pudding 
to follow the first dish. Some began to be 
apprehensive of the future, but with the fine 
determination characteristic of " settlers," good 
and bad alike, they continued to ply knife and 
fork and spoon. For some time the efforts of 
the hostess and Mrs. Taggess to encourage con- 

Caleb JFright j^ j* 285 

versation were unrewarded, though some of the 
guests exchanged questions and comments in 
guarded tones. All acted with the apparent 
unconcern of the North American Indian ; but 
curiosity, a tricky quality at best, suddenly com- 
pelled one gaunt woman to exclaim, as she con- 
templated the dish before her and raised it to 
her prominent nose : — 

"What on airth is that stuff, Fd like to 
know ? " 

" That is lobster salad," Grace replied. 

"Oh! I couldn't somehow make out what 
kind of an animile the meat come off of." 

"Nuther could I," said her vis-^-vis, with a 
full mouth, " but I'm goin' to worry my ole man 
to raise some of 'em on the farm, for it's power- 
ful good, an' no mistake." 

A buzz of assent went round the table; the 
ice was broken, so another guest said : — 

" Mis' Somerton, I've been dyin' to know 
what that there soup was made of that we 
begun on. I never tasted anythin' so good in 
all my born days." 

" Indeed } I'm very glad you liked it. 'Twas 
made of crawfish." 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 286 

A score of knives and forks clattered upon 
plates, and ten women assumed attitudes of 
amazement and consternation. Finally one of 
them succeeded in gasping : — 

" Them little things that bores holes 'longside 
the crick ? the things that boys makes fish-bait 

"The same, though only millionnaires' sons 
could afford to use them for bait in the East. 
Crawfish meat in New York costs as much as 
— oh, a single pound of it costs as much as a 
big sugar-cured ham. I never dreamed of buy- 
ing it — I never dared hope that I might taste 
it — until I came out here." 

The appearance of a new course checked con- 
versation on the subject, but one of the guests 
eyed suspiciously a tiny French chop, the tip 
of its bone covered with paper, and said to the 
woman at her right : — 

" Don't appear to know what we're bein* fed 
with here. Wonder what this is.? It's little 
enough to be a side bone o* cat. Must be all 
right, though ; Mis' Taggess is eatin' hern." 

A form of blanc-mange was another mys- 
tery. Said one woman to another : — 

Caleb JFright j> j> 287 

"It must be the ice-cream the soldiers told 
about, for it's powerful cold, besides bein' 
powerful good." 

** That's so,*' was the reply; "but 'pears 
to me I didn't hear the men say nothin' about 
there bein' gravy poured on theirn." 

Some of the guests were becoming full to 
their extreme capacity, — a condition which 
stimulates geniality in some natures, ugliness 
in others. They had come to criticise — to 
learn of their hostess's extravagance. They 
had remained in the parlor only long enough 
to be entirely overcome by its magnificence 
and to exchange whispered remarks about the 
shameful waste of money wrung from the 
hard-working farmers. 

The dinner had been good beyond their 
wildest expectations ; not the best Fourth 
of July picnic refreshments, or even the 
memorable dinner given by Squire Burress, 
the richest farmer in the county, when his 
daughter was married, compared with it. 
What was so good must also have been very 
expensive. Criticism must begin with some- 
thing, and the blanc-mange seemed a proper 

Caleb Wright > j» 288 

subject to one woman, who was reputed to be 
very religious. So she groaned : — 

" This — whatever it is — is so awful good 
that it must ha' been sinful costly — actually 

" Yes, indeed," sighed another. " One might 
say, a wicked waste o* money." 

" Blanc-mange.? — costly ?" Grace said, curb- 
ing an indignant impulse ; " why, 'tis nothing 
but corn-starch, milk, sugar, and a little flavor- 
ing. I wonder what dessert dish could be 
cheaper ! " 

" You don't say ! " exclaimed a woman less 
malevolent or more practical than the others. 
" Now, I just ain't a-goin' to give you no 
peace till you give me the receipt for it." 

" I'll give it, with pleasure ; or better still, 
you shall have a package of the corn-starch, 
— 'tis worth only a few cents, — with full 
directions on the label. I might possibly for- 
get some part of them, you know." 

" Me too," said several women as one, and 
criticism was temporarily abated. Before a 
new excuse for reviving it could be found, the 
ice-cream — the real article, and without gravy, 

Caleb fFRiGHi j^ j^ 289 

of course — made its appearance. It was con- 
sumed in silence, in as much haste as possible 
with anything so cold, and also with evident 
enjoyment. Then the opponent of sinful ex- 
travagance remarked : — 

" It's awful good — too good ! It 'pears 
wicked to enjoy any earthly thing so much. 
Besides, you needn't tell me that // ain't awful 
costly, 'cause I shan't believe it." 

" If my word is of so doubtful quality," 
said Grace, with rising color, " perhaps Mrs. 
Taggess, with whom you're better acquainted, 
will inform you." 

"'Tis nothing but milk, cream, and sugar," 
said Mrs. Taggess, who had borrowed Grace's 
freezer and experimented with it, "and most 
of you know very well that you've so much 
milk that you feed some of it to your pigs. 
The cream in what all of you have eaten 
would make, perhaps, a single pound of but- 
ter, which you would be glad to sell for fif- 
teen cents. The sugar cost not more than 
five or six cents, and the flavoring, to any 
one with raspberries in their own garden, 
would have cost nothing." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 290 

The guests gasped in chorus, but the tor- 
mentor quickly said : — 

"But the ice! Us poor farmin' folks can't 
afford ice; it's only them that makes their 
livin' out of us — " 

"Excuse me," said Mrs. Taggess, "but 
many of the farmers, your husband among 
them, have been telling Doctor Taggess 
recently that they were going to put up ice- 
houses next winter, and that they were fool- 
ish or lazy for not having already done so 
before. I'm sure that all of you who have 
enjoyed the cream so greatly will keep your 
husbands in mind of it, especially as ice- 
cream, made at home, is as cheap as the 
poorest food that any farmer's family eats." 

The coming of the coffee caused conversa- 
tion to abate once more, for in each cup 
floated a puff of whipped cream — a spec- 
tacle unfamiliar to any of the gossips, some 
of whom hastily spooned and swallowed it, 
in the supposition that it was ice-cream, put 
in to cool the coffee somewhat. Those who 
followed the motions of their hostess and 
Mrs. Taggess stirred the whipped cream into 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 291 

the coffee, and enjoyed the result, but again 
the voice of the tormentor arose: — 

"We buy all our cofifee at your store, but 
we don't never have none that tastes like 
this here." 

" Indeed ? " Grace said, with an air of solici- 
tude. " I wonder why, for there is but one 
kind in the store, and this was made from 
it. Perhaps we prepare it in different ways." 

"I bile mine a plumb half-hour," said the 
tormentor, "so's to git ev'ry mite o* strength 
out o' it." 

"Oh! I never boil mine." 

She never boiled coffee! Would the won- 
ders of this house and its housekeeper never 

"For pity sakes, how does any one make 
coffee without boiling I'd like to know ? " said 
a little woman with a thin, aquiline nose and 
a piercing voice. 

"I used to do it," said Grace, "by putting 
finely ground coffee in a strainer, and letting 
boiling water trickle through it, but the 
strainer melted off one day, through my care- 
lessness, so now I put the coffee in a cotton 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 292 

bag, tie it, throw it into the pot, pour on boil- 
ing water, set it on the cooler part of the 
stove, and let it stand without boiling for 
five minutes. Then I take out the bag and 
its contents, to keep the coffee from getting 
a woody taste. My husband, who often makes 
the coffee in the morning, throws the ground 
coffee into cold water, lets it stand on the stove 
until it comes to a boil, and removes it at once. 
Fm not yet sure which way is the best." 

"Nor I," said Mrs. Taggess, "although 
I've tasted it here made in both ways, and 
seen it made, too." 

The guests were so astonished that each 
took a second cup — not that they really 
wanted it, as one explained to two others, 
but to see whether it really was as good as 
it had seemed at first. Then Grace arose, 
and led the way to the parlor. Some of the 
guests were loath to follow, among them the 
tormentor, who said: — 

" I s*pose if rd talked about these crock- 
ery dishes, she'd have faced me down, an* 
tried to make me believe they didn't cost as 
much as mine." 

Caleb fFRiGHi j^ j^ 293 

" Oh, no, she wouldn't," said Mrs. Taggess, 
who overheard the remark; "but I think 
'twas very kind of her to set out her very 
best china, don't you? Most people do that 
only for their dearest friends — never for 
people who forget the manners due to the 
woman of the house, whoever she may be." 

"I don't see what you mean by that, Mis' 
Taggess, I'm sure. I only — " 

"Ah, well, try not to *only' in the parlor, 
for. Mrs. Somerton is trying very hard to 
make us feel entirely at home." 

"Well, / think she's just tryin' to show off, 
'cause she's come into old Jethro's money." 

"Show off with what? Do tell me." 

"Why, with her fine furniture an' fixin's. 
If that best room o' hern was mine, I'd be 
'feared to use it, an' I'd expect the house to 
be struck by lightnin' to punish me for my 
wicked pride." 

" I'm a-dyin' to ask her what some o' them 
things cost," said another, "but I don't quite 
dass to." 

"Then you may stop dying at once, ior I'll 
ask her for you, although I already know, 

Caleb IFright j^ * 294 

within a few cents, the price of everything in 
the room. Come along, now. Ahem! Mrs. 
Somerton, there's much curiosity among the 
ladies as to the cost of furnishing your beau- 
tiful parlor. Won't you tell us?" 

"Very gladly/' Grace said, "for I'm very 
proud of it." 

"Didn't I tell you?" whispered the tor- 

" Everything in the parlor, except the piano, 
which is the ugliest thing in it," Grace con- 
tinued, "cost less than twenty dollars." 

" Sho ! " exclaimed one woman, incredulously. 
"Why, that's no more money than Squire 
Burress paid for the sofy that his gals is 
courted on, for Mis' Burress told me the price 
o' that sofy herself, an' showed me the bill 
to prove it." 

" I've no bills to show," Grace said, with a 
laugh, "for the largest articles are made of 
scraps, such as my husband gives away to any 
one who asks for them. See here — " as she 
spoke she turned a chair upside down to show 
that its basis was a barrel. Then she raised 
the drapery of a divan to show the unpainted 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 295 

boxes beneath. "The matting on the floor is 
three times as cheap as rag carpet. You can 
buy the window hangings in the store at fifteen 
cents a yard — though don't imagine Fm try- 
ing to advertise the goods. AH the furniture 
covers are of cheap bedquilt chintzes. Ex- 
amine everything, ladies; for, as Fve already 
said, I'm very proud of my cheap little 

"You didn't say nothin' about the cost of 
the labor," said the tormentor. 

"True," Grace admitted, "but I can reckon 
it with very little trouble, for I did it all my- 
self ; I've no grown sons and daughters, like 
some of you, so I did it alone. Besides my 
time it cost me — well, to be exact, one thumb 
bruised with the hammer; one finger ditto; a 
bad scratch on one hand, caused by a saw 
slipping; half a day of pain in one eye, into 
which I blew some sawdust; two sore knees, 
got while putting down the matting; and one 
twisted ankle — I accidentally stepped from a 
box while tacking a picture to the wall." 

" Well, Tm clean beat out o' my senses ! " 
confessed one guest. "I never heerd tell 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 296 

that they learned such work to women in 

"Perhaps they don't," Grace said, "but I 
learned most of it when I was a country girl 
in western New York." 

" What } You a country gal ? " 

" Indeed I am. I can milk cows, churn but- 
ter, make garden, take care of chickens, saw 
wood and split it, wash clothes, and do any 
other country housework, besides making my 
own clothes." 

The woman who had elicited this information 
looked slowly from face to face among her 
acquaintances, and then said : — 
I reckon we're a passel o' fools." 
Oh, — excuse me ; but I assure you that I 
meant nothing of the kind." 

" But I do, an' I mean it strong, too ; yes, 
ma'am. We're a passel o* fools. I won't feel 
over an' above safe until I git home an' take 
a good long think, an' I reckon the sooner 
the rest of us go too, the seldomer we'll put 
our foot in it." 

There was general acquiescence in this sug- 
gestion ; even the tormentor seemed suppressed. 



Caleb Wright * j^ 297 

but suddenly her eyes glared, her lips hardened, 
and she said : — 

" I suppose that scrumptious dress o' youm 
was made o* scraps, too?" 

Grace laughed merrily, and replied: — 

" You're not far from right, for 'tis made of 
old Madras window curtains that cost eight 
cents a yard when new. There wasn't enough 
of the stuff to cover all my windows here, so 
I made it up into a dress rather than waste it, 
for I liked the pattern of it very much. Oh, 
yes — and there's sixteen cents' worth of ribbon 
worked into it — I'd forgotten that. Bwt. your 
dress — oh, I shouldn't dare wear one so costly 
as a black silk. Really, I should think it a 
sinful waste of money that might do so much 
good to the poor, or to the Missionary Society, 
or the Bible Society, or — " 

"What time's it gittin' to be?" asked the 
tormentor. " I'll bet my husban' is jest rarin' 
'roun' like a bob-tail steer in fly-time, an' tellin' 
all the other men that women never know when 
it's time to go home, an' what a long drive he's 
got before him, an' all the stock to water when 
he gits thar. Good-by, Mis' Somerton. Some 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 298 

day I'll borrer that ice-cream machine o' youm, 
an' a hunk o* ice, if you don't mind." 

The other women also took their leave, and 
soon Grace was alone with Mrs. Taggess, who 
said : — 

"I'd apologize for them, my dear, if you 
hadn't known in advance that they were the 
most malicious lot in the county." 

Grace laughed, and replied: — 

" But weren't they lots of fun ? " Mrs. Tag- 
gess embraced her hostess, and said : — 

" I believe you'd find something to laugh at 
even in a cyclone." 

"If not," Grace replied, "'twouldn't be for 
lack of trying." 



^^ALEB'S departure was effected without 
m J publicity, no one having known of its 
^"-^ probability but the Somertons and 
Pastor Grateway, whom Caleb had asked to pro- 
vide a temporary substitute to lead his weekly 
"class-meetin*." The substitute, however, made 
haste to tell of his new dignity, so within 
twenty-four hours the entire town knew that 
Caleb had gone to New York, and great was 
the wonder ; for from the date of the foundation 
of the town no Claybanker had been known to 
go to New York intentionally, although it was 
reported that an occasional native had reached 
the metropolis in the course of a desultory 
journey to the bad. 

Philip felt quite competent to manage the 
business without assistance, early summer being, 
like spring, a period of business inactivity; but 
within a week he was mystified by the appear- 

Caleb ITright ^ ^ 2^ 

zncc of many people who had never bef<M^ 
entered the store, but who now evinced not 
only a willingness but a strong desire to become 
customers. Referring to a full list which Caleb 
bad prepared months before, but which until 
now had lain unnoticed in the desk, — a list of 
adults throughout the coimty, — Philip found 
opposite the names of the visitors some com- 
ments not entirely uncomplimentary; among 
them, " Tricky " ; " Shaky " ; " Never believe 
him" ; " Don't sell to her without written order 
from her dad " ; " Thief " ; " Require his note, 
with good endorsement — he can get it"; 
"Her husband's published notice against trust- 
ing her"; etc. The incursion increased in 
volume as time went on, and compelled Philip 
to say to Grace, at the end of the seventh 
day: — 

" I didn't suppose there could be so many 
undesirable people in a single fairly respectable 
and small county. They've evidently thought 
me *an easy mark,* as the city boys say, if I 
could be found away from Caleb's sheltering 
wing, but not one of them has succeeded in 
getting the better of me. Men talk of the tact 

Caleb W"right > j» 301 

needed in avoiding the plausible scamps who 
invade business circles in the city, but after this 
week's experience I think I could pass inspec- 
tion for a city detective's position." 

"If you had a list like Caleb's to refer to, so 
that you might know what to expect of every 
one you met,'' Grace added, with a roguish 
twinkle in her eyes, for which the eyes them- 
selves were obscured a moment, after which 
infliction Philip continued : — 

"I really wish that an important trade or 
two, of almost any kind, would turn up, for 
me to manage without assistance; not that I 
underrate Caleb's value, but I should like to 
demonstrate that besides having been an apt 
pupil, I've at least a little ability that is wholly 
and peculiarly mine. Then I should like to 
write Caleb about it ; the honest chap would be 
quite as pleased as I at any success I might 
report, and he would feel less uneasy at being 

Within an hour or two, a native whom Philip 
knew by sight and name, although not one of 
his own customers, shuffled into the store, and 
asked : — 

Caleb fTRiGHT * * 302 

''Don't know nobody that wants to trade 
goods for forty acre o' black wannut land, I 
f'pote ? '' 

" Black walnut timber ? How old ? " 

''Well, the best way to find out's to look 
at it for yourself." 

'' Whereabouts is it ? I may take a look at 
it when I get a chance." 

"Tain't more'n two mile off. What's to 
keep ye from gittin' on yer boss now an' 
ridin' out with me ? We can git there an' 
back in an hour." 

"Do it, Phil," Grace whispered. "The 
horse needs exercise, and so do you. I can 
hold the fort for an hour." 

"The land's too fur from my place," ex- 
plained the farmer, as the two men rode 
along at an easy canter, " an' I can't keep 
track 0' the lumber market, to know when to 
cut an' ship wannut lawgs, but 'tain't that 
way with you." 

"How much do you want for it?" 

"Well, I reckon five dollar an acre won't 
hurt ye — five dollars in goods. I've been a 
holdin' it a long time, 'cause wannut land is 

Caleb JFright j» j» 


wuth more'n more ev'ry year; but my folks 
wants an awful lot o' stuff, an* my boys 
want me to lay in a lot o* new farmin' tools, 
an' make an* addition to the barn, an* I kind 
o* ciphered up what ev*rythin* wanted, all told, 
would cost, an* I made out 'twould be nigh 
onto two hundred dollars, an* I sez to myself, 
sez I, * By gum, 1*11 sell the wannut lot; that*s 
what ril do.' It*s all free an' clear — I've 
got the deed in my pocket, an* 'twon't take 
ye ten minutes at the County Clerk's office to 
find that there's no mortgages on it. Whoa! 
There! Did ye ever see finer wannut land'n 
that? Let's ride up an* down through it. I 
dunno any trees that grows that's as cherful 
to look at, from the money standp'int, as tall, 
thick black wannuts." 

Philip was not an expert on standing tim- 
ber, but it was plain to see that the groimd 
over which he rode, to and fro, was well 
sprinkled with fine black walnut trees. It lay 
low enough to be subject to the annual over- 
flow of the creek, not far away, but Philip was 
bargaining for timber— not for land. The two 
men continued to ride until the farmer said : — 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 304 

" Here's my line — see the blaze on this 
tree? You can see t'other end o* the line 
way down yander, ef you skin yer eye — a 
big blazed hick'ry ; or, we'll ride down to 

"Never mind," said Philip. "Fll give you 
two hundred in goods as soon as you like." 

" I thort you would," said the farmer. 
** Well, rU bring in the papers, fully executed, 
to-morrer, an' I'll leave a list o' stuff that ye 
might lay out, to save time; my wife can do 
her sheer o' the tradin' when she comes in 
to-morrer. An' I'll assign ye my own deed, 
when we get back to town, so's ye can have 
the title examined to-day, ef ye like, an' put 
a stopper agin any new incumbrances, though 
I ain't the kind o' man to make 'em after 
passin' my word. * A bargain's a bargain ! ' 
that's my motto." 

When Philip returned to the store he found 
awaiting him a young man on horseback, 
whose face was unfamiliar. When the seller 
of the walnut land had departed, the young 
man said: — 

"See anythin' wrong 'bout this hoss?" 

Caleb Bright ^ ^ 305 

After a hasty but close examination Philip 
admitted that he did not. 

" Glad o* that/' said the man, " 'cause o* 
this/' As he spoke he handed Philip a bit 
of paper on which was written, in Caleb's 
familiar chirography and over Caleb's signa- 
ture : — 

" Dear Jim : Anybody would be glad to give 

you seventy-five dollars in cash for your colt, 

but you're foolish to sell now. Keep him a 

year, and you'll get fifty more, but if you're 

bound to sell, please give Mr. Somerton first 


" Yours truly, 

"Caleb Wright." 

" I suppose, from this, that you'd rather 
have seventy-five dollars than your colt ? " 
Philip said, as he returned the letter. 

" That's about the size of it ; but if you 
ain't sharp-set for a healthy three-year-old, of 
the kind they hanker after up to the city, I 
reckon I can find somebody that is, seein' 
that Caleb's a good judge an' never over- 
prices bosses when he thinks he's likely to do 
the buyin' of 'em." 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 306 

"Come in," said Philip, who quickly made 
out a receipt for seventy-five dollars for one 
sorrel horse, aged three years, which the 
young man signed. 

"James Marney," said Philip, reading the 
signature. "I thought I knew every name in 
the county, but — '* 

" But I come from the next county," said 
the young man. "Caleb*!! be disappointed 
not to see me, but this young woman says 
he's gone East. Whaf 1! you gimme for the 
saddle an* bridle? Fm goin* to the city an' 
can't use *em there." 

The equipments named were in fair con- 
dition, so after some "dickering" Philip ex- 
changed six dollars for them, and the young 
man sauntered off in the direction of Clay- 
banks' single "saloon." 

" * A fool and his money,' " quoted Philip to 
Grace; "but as he didn't heed Caleb's injunc- 
tion, I don't suppose any word of mine would 
have had any effect. Mark my words : I'll 
clear twenty-five at least on that transaction 
within a week, for there's a city dealer here 
now to buy a string of young horses. That 

Caleb JTright j» j» 307 

forty acres of walnut trees is ours, too, and 
cheap enough to hold until winter, when labor 
will be cheap ; then FU have the trees cut 
and hauled to the creek, to be rafted out 
when the overflow comes." 

Grace looked at her husband admiringly, 
contemplatively, exultantly, and said : — 

"Who'd have thought it a year ago?" 

"Thought what, ladybird?" 

"Oh, that you would have blossomed into 
a keen-eyed, quick, successful trader." 

"It does seem odd, doesn't it? There's 
more profit in to-day's transactions than my 
city salary for a month amounted to. Ah, 
well; live and learn. If you'll keep shop a 
few minutes longer, I'll put both horses into 
the barn and go up to the court-house and 
see if Weefer's title to the forty acres of 
walnut is clear." 

In a few moments he returned with some 
papers in his hands and a countenance more 
than ordinarily cheerful, so that Grace said : — 

"Apparently the title is good." 

" Oh, yes ; but here's something unexpected, 
and quite as gratifying, — a letter from Caleb. 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 308 

I didn't imagine, till now, how glad I should 
be to hear from the dear old chap." 

"Read it — aloud — at once!" Grace said, 
clapping her hands in joyous anticipation. 
"Where does he write from.?" 

"New York. H'm — here goes. 

" ' Dear Philip, Hoping you're both well, I 
write to say that Fm a good deal better, 
though Niagara nearly knocked me deaf, and 
New York's about finished the job. If we had 
water-power like Niagara at Claybanks, it would 
be the making of the town. I told Miss Truett 
that I thought the foam on the falls beat any 
lace in her store, and she thought so too.' " 

"Oh, what fun she'll have with Caleb!" 
Grace exclaimed. 

" Probably, as you think so ; but who is she ? " 
"She's the head of one of the departments 
of the store I was in. I gave Caleb letters 
to her and some of the other people who 
would give him information, for my sake, 
about goods he was to buy for us. Mary 
Truett is the ablest business woman in the 
place, and besides, she's as good as gold; 

Caleb Wright j» j» 309 

not exactly pretty, but wonderfully charming, 
and as merry as a grig. She's a perfect 
witch; Fd give anything to see her demure 
face as she listens to Caleb, and then to hear 
her *take him off* after he has gone. But 
do go on with the letter.** 

" Where was I } Oh — ' New York*s noisier 
than Niagara, and all the noises don*t play 
the same tune, either, but my second day 
here was Sunday, so I got broke in gradual, 
for which I hope I was truly grateful. I 
sampled the different kinds of churches, one 
of them being Miss Truett*s.* ** 

" She*s an Episcopalian,** Grace said. " I 
wonder how Caleb got along with the ser- 

"Perhaps we can find out. He says: *I 
don*t know whether I stood up most, or sat 
down most, but I do know that I wouldn*t 
have knowed when to do either if Miss 
Truett hadn't given me a powerful lot of 
nudges and coat-tail pulls, besides swapping 
books with me mighty lively while the min- 
ister was going forward and backward in 
them. I won*t describe the service; for as 

Caleb IF right > > 310 

y<Ni and your wife belong to tiiat sect, I guess 
yoa kn/>w more than I can tell you, but I 
will say that there was enough " amens " in it 
to show where us Methodists got the habit 
of shouting out in meeting; and though I 
can't make up my mind after only one try, 
as a lot of our customers said when your 
Uncle Jethro put on sale the first box of 
lump sugar that ever came to Claybanks, I 
reckon that it is a first-rate manner of wor- 
ship for them that are used to it, seeing that 
John Wesley was in it, and you two, and 
Miss Truett, for she looked like a picture of 
an angel when she was reading and singing 
and praying.* " 

" I'oor Caleb I " Grace sighed. ** He*s like 
all the other men who have met Mary 

** Docs she flirt even in church ? " 

**Shc never flirts. Don't be horrid! Go on 
with the letter." 

"trm. 'New York is hotter than Clay- 
banks* — rank heresy, Caleb — 'according to 
the thermometer, and the way the heat siz- 
slcs out of the sidewalks, and meanders up- 

Caleb IFright ji ji 311 

ward, ought to be a warning to hardened 
sinners, and there are plenty of them here. 
Why, I asked a policeman on Broadway 
where was a first-class eating-house, and he 
pointed to one that he said was the best in 
town, and I had fried ham, and they charged 
me seventy-five cents for it, though it wouldn't 
have weighed half a pound raw. I don't har- 
bor bad feelings, but the owner of that eat- 
ing-house had better shy clear of me on 
Judgment Day. Miss Truett says it was ex- 
tortionate, and I wish he could have seen her 
eyes when she said it.* " 

"I wish I too could have seen them, for 
they are superb," Grace said.. ** I must write 
her for a full report on Caleb. But Fm in- 

" * That seaside boarding-place you engaged 
for me,' " continued Philip from the letter, 
"*is knocking my malaria endwise, which it 
ought to, seeing the price of board that is 
tacked up on the door, but anyhow, I feel 
like a giant every morning when I start for 
the city; that is, I think I do, though I 
never was a giant to find out for sure. I 

Caleb JFright ^ •* 312 

take a walk morning and evening, looking at 
the ocean, and trying to tell myself what I 
think of it, but not a word can I get hold of. 
Miss Truett says it's just so with her.* H'm 
— there's that woman again ! " 

"Bless her!" 

"I shouldn't say so. I'm afraid Caleb has 
lost his head over her." 

" He'll find it again. Any good man will 
be bettered by meeting her. Is there any- 
thing more about her ? '* 

" Yes, and at once. Here it is : ' Miss 
Truett is all interest about your wife, and I 
like to get her going on the subject, for she 
thinks that Mrs. Somerton is everything that 
is nice and good and splendid ; and when Miss 
Truett thinks anything, she knows how to say 
it in a style that beats any lawyer or preacher 
I ever heard. It ain't a pretty thing to say 
about a woman, maybe, but I mean only 
what's right when I say that when she talks 
it always seems to me that sometime or other 
she swallowed a big dictionary, colored pic- 
tures and all, and not a scrap of it disagreed 
with her. She says she wishes she had a job 

Caleb JFright ji ji 313 

just like Mrs. Somerton's, and I told her that 
there was only one way to get it, and that if 
ever I saw an unmarried Western merchant 
of about your age and general style, Fd give 
him her name and some pointed advice. 

" ' Most of the goods you wanted are bought 
and shipped, and when the corn-meal gets 
here Fll get out for England. 

" ' With hearty regards to Mrs. Somerton, I am 

" * Yours always, 

" ' Caleb Wright.' " 

" Oh, Mary Truett ! " exclaimed Grace, when 
the reading ended. " What fun you've had ! " 

" As she seems to be the spirit of the let- 
ter," said Philip, "tell me something more 
about her." 

" I don't know what more to say. I wasn't 
familiar with her, for she was a department 
head, and not of my department, but she had 
a way of saying kind and merry things to 
some girls in other parts of the store. She is 
about thirty; she has parents and brothers, 
and works merely because she is overflowing 
with energy, and has no taste for the trivialities 

Caleb Wright * j^ 314 

of mere society life. Yet her manners are 
charming, and genuine, too. *Twas the fashion 
of the store to worship her, and no one ever 
tired of it" 

" All this, yet unmarried at thirty ? How 
did it happen?" 

" I don't know. Perhaps 'twas because she 
never met you when you were a bachelor. It 
hasn't been for lack of admirers. Probably 
she is waiting for a man who is worthy of her. 
I know she saved many girls in her depart- 
ment and in some others from making foolish 
marriages, and I committed some of her warn- 
ings and arguments to memory — though I 
got them at second-hand — and I used them 
on other girls." 

"I suppose we couldn't persuade her to 
come out here, to assist you in the store } " 

" Scarcely. She is very well paid where 
she is. Besides, what would there be for 
her in other ways ? " 

"As much as there is for you, poor girl." 

"Oh, no — for I have my husband." 

"And you feel sure that she isn't trifling 
with Caleb?" 

Caleb JTright j» j» 315 

" The idea ! If you could see them together 
— dear, poor Caleb, with his thin figure, ragged 
beard, tired face, and stooping pose — Mary 
rather short, but erect, with broad shoulders, 
brilliant eyes, rosy cheeks, the reddish brown 
hair that delights your artistic eye, and as 
quick in her motions as if she never knew 
weariness. She's of the kind that never 
grows old; there are such women. Oh, the 
comparison is ridiculous — 'tis unkind to Caleb 
to make it. Besides, she is not the only 
clever business woman to whom I gave him 

" H'm ! He's startlingly silent about the 
others. What troubles me is this : Caleb is 
so honest and earnest, and so unaccustomed 
to brilliant women, that he may lose his heart, 
and the more impossible the affair, the more 
he'll suffer. 'Twould be bad business to have 
him go abroad to be cured of malaria, only 
to return and die of heartache." 

" Phil, Caleb isn't a fool." 

"No, but he's a man." 



r^ARMER WEEPER and his wife ap- 
r^ peared at the store early on the morn- 
ing after the deal in walnut land, and 
the farmer said : — 

"Well, want to back out o* the trade?" 
** Did you ever hear of me backing out of 
anything, Mr. Weefer ? '* 

" Can't say I did, but I alluz b'lieve in givin* 
a man a chance so he can't have no excuse 
for grumblin* afterwards. Well, we come in 
early, so*s to git our stuff an' git out 'fore 
a lot of other customers comes in. My 
wife, she thinks she ort to have some little 
present or other, as a satisfaction piece for 
signin' the deed, it bein' the custom in these 

" All right, Mrs. Weefer," said Philip, who 
had heard of several real estate transactions 
being hampered by refractory wives, and who 

Caleb Wright j» ^ 317 

thought he saw a good opportunity to pre- 
vent any troubles of that kind befalling him 
in the future, " I think I have some silk dress 
goods that will please you." 

Silk dress goods ! No such ** satisfaction 
piece" had ever been heard of in Claybanks 
or vicinity. Mrs. Weefer saw the goods, 
accepted it in haste, and did her subsequent 
trading so rapidly that she and her husband 
and their two hundred dollars* worth of goods 
were on the way to the Weefer farm within an 
hour, and Philip, with the new deed of the 
"wannut land," was at the County Clerk's 

" Yes," said the clerk, scrutinizing the paper 
through his very convex glasses. " My son 
told me you were in yesterday, inquiring 
about this. Oh, yes, this property is all clear ; 
there was no reason why any one should lend 
on it." 

" No reason } Why, Squire, what's the mat- 
ter with good standing black walnut as secur- 
ity .? " 

"Nothing at all, but I thought all the wal- 
nut on Weefer*s ground had been cut." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 318 

** Not unless 'twas done since yesterday 

The official removed his glasses, leaned 
back in his chair, put both feet upon his desk, 
and looked so long and provokingly at Philip 
that the latter said: — 

" Has it been cut over-night ? " 

" Oh, no. Take a chair. Are you sure that 
you saw this property ? " 

"Entirely sure, unless I was dreaming by 
daylight. He and I rode over it. I was 
brought up in the West, so I know walnut 
trees when I see them." 

" Of course, but — did you make sure of the 
line-marks — the boundaries ? " 

"Yes. That is, he showed me two blazed 
trees, which he said marked his line." 

"Just so. Did he say which side of the 
Ime his own property was } " 

"Yes — no — that is, he took me over a lot 
of ground that contained many fine large walnut 
trees. See here. Squire, have I been swindled.?" 

"That depends. Weefer is about as smart 
as they make 'em, so I don't think he'd be 
fool enough to swindle any one — not, at 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 319 

least, so that the law could take hold of him. 
Did he say the land he showed you was his? 
Tell me exactly what he said; for if he over- 
reached himself, my old law partner would 
like to handle the case for you. To win a 
case against Weefer would be a great 
feather in his cap. The fact is that all the 
walnut on Weefer's land consists of stumps, 
for the trees were cut off two or three years 
ago. There's a fine lot of standing walnut 
adjoining it, but it belongs to Doctor Taggess." 

" Then I am swindled." 

"I hope so — that is, I hope, for the sake 
of our old firm, which Fll have to go back 
into if Fm not reelected, that youVe a good 
case against Weefer. Now tell me — care- 
fully — exactly what he said. Did he say that 
Taggess*s land was his.^'* 

"No — o — o," said Philip, after a moment 
of thought, " I can't say that he did. We 
rode out there on horseback, stopped at the 
edge of some wooded ground, and he said, 
*Did you ever see finer walnut land than 
that?' Those were his very words — I'll 
swear to them — the old scoundrel I" 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 320 

"Quite likely, but did he say that those 
trees — that land — was his?" 

" No ; not in so many words, but he cer- 
tainly gave me that impression." 

"With what exact words?" Again Philip 
searched his memory, but was compelled to 

reply : — 

"With no words that I can recall. He 
talked rapturously about the beauty of a lot of 
walnut trees, from the money point of view.** 

"But didn't say, in any way, that they 
belonged to him?" 

" Confound him, no ! But he handed me a 
deed — " 

" That's no evidence, unless it was Taggess's 
deed he showed you, which evidently it wasn't. 
Well, Mr. Somerton, you've got no case. Mor- 
ally 'twas a swindle — not a new one, either. 
He wouldn't have tried it on you if Caleb 
hadn't been away; for Caleb knows the lay 
and condition of "every tract of land in this 
county — just as you'll know when you've 
been here long enough. You've bought forty 
acres that won't bring you anything but taxes, 
unless you can find some use for walnut 

Caleb Wright j» > 321 

stumps — and they're harder to get out than 
any other kind but oak, unless some day the 
land-owners along the creek combine to put 
up a levee that* 11 prevent overflow, so that 
the land can be farmed, but even then the 
stumps will be a nuisance. Hope you got it 

"Five dollars an acre," Philip growled, 


"No; trade." 

" Trade, eh } Well, that* s not so bad, though 
ifs bad enough." The old man's eyes 
twinkled, for what man of affairs is there who 
does not enjoy the details of a smart trade — 
at some other man's expense } Philip noticed 
the clerk's amused expression and frowned ; the 
clerk quickly continued, ** Let me give you 
some professional advice — no charge for it. 
Keep entirely quiet about this affair ; you may 
be sure that Weefer won't talk until you do. 
If the story gets out, you'll never hear the 
end of it, and 'twon't do your reputation as a 
business man any good. We don't publish 
records of transfers in this county, and of course 
I won't mention it, and I'll see that my son 

Caleb IFright ^ ^ 322 

doeiw't dtl>er; fae*s the only otiber man who 
haii> a<x>e$ii \o Mtut book&^ 

^ Thank yoo very much. Squire. You may 
count on my vote and influence if yon'ie re- 

^^Much obliged Whew! Five dollars an 
acre for a lot of walnut stumps!" 

^' Five dollars an acre, and a silk dress for 
}Ax%, Wcefcr's waiver of dower-right," said 
Philip, HO humiliated that he wished to make 
hi« confession complete* 

«What? Well, Weefer won't talk, but 
whether he can harness his wife's tongue 
when she's ready to show off that silk dress 
U another matter." 

Philip started to go, and the clerk made 
haste to hide his face behind the deed, and 
silently chuckle himself towards a fit of 

*' You're absolutely sure that I've no way 
out of it?" Philip said, pausing for an 

"Absolutely," the clerk replied, with some 
difficulty, his face still behind the deed, " unless 
— you can find — a market — for — walnut 

Caleb Wright ^ ji 323 

stumps.'* Then the clerk coughed alarmingly, 
and Philip pulled his hat over his eyes and 
hurried away, with a consuming desire to mount 
his horse, overtake Weefer, shoot him to death, 
recover the wagon-load of goods, and particu- 
larly the silk dress given to Mrs. Weefer. 
When he reached the store, he found his wife 
looking pale and troubled ; there were present 
also three men with very serious countenances, 
and one of them said : — 

** Mr. Somerton, I s'pose } " 
Yes, sir. What can I do for you ? " 
You can shell out my colt that's in your 
bam. I was goin' to take him whether or no, 
but your wife said you was a square man, an* 
would do what was right. Well, there's only 
one right thing in this case, an* that's to gimme 
back my colt." 

"There are but two horses in my stable," 
said Philip. ** One of them I've owned several 
months, and the other I bought yesterday." 

" Who from .? " 

** From — " Philip took from his pocket the 
bill of sale and read from it the signature : — 

"James Marney." 



Caleb Wright * * 324 

The three men exchanged grim grins, and the 
complamant said : — 

"His name ain*t Maraey, an' *tain*t James, 
neither. He's a no 'count cousin o' mine, an' 
his name's Bill Tewks. An' he never had no 
right of any sort or kind to the colt. The 
colt's mine, an' never was any one else's, an' I 
can prove it by these two men, an' one of 'em's 
depitty sheriff of our county, an' he's got a 
warrant for Bill's arrest for stealin' the hoss. 
My name's James Marney ; I can prove it by 
any storekeeper in this town, or by Doc Tag- 
gess, or your county clerk, or — " 

" I'll take your word for it," Philip said 
hastily, for the thought of exposing a second 
business blunder to the county clerk in a single 
day — a single hour, indeed — was unendurable. 

** I don't see," continued the claimant of the 
horse, looking greatly aggrieved, " how a man 
buys one man's hoss off of another man any- 
way, leastways of a no 'count shack like Bill 

"Perhaps not," said Philip, "but I may be 
able to enlighten you. Do you know a man 
named Caleb Wright ? " 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 325 

"Know Caleb? Who don't? That ain't 
all ; he*s the honestest man I ever did know. 
I wish he was here right now, instead of off to 
York, as your wife says, for he knows me an' 
he knows the hoss. Why, a spell ago, not long 
after old Jethro died, an' I needed some money 
pooty bad, I writ to Caleb an' ast him what he 
could git me in cash for the colt, here in town, 
prices of bosses here bein* some better'n what 
they be in our county, where there ain't never 
city buyers lookin' aroun', and Caleb writ back 
that — " 

"One moment, please," said Philip. "He 
wrote that any one ought to be glad to give you 
seventy-five dollars, but that you would be 
foolish to sell, because you could get far 
more a year later, but that if you really must 
sell, he wished you would give me the first 

The claimant, whose eyes by this time were 
bulging, exclaimed : — 

" You've got a pooty long mem'ry, an' it's as 
good as it is long." 

" As to that, I never saw the letter until 
yesterday. The man who brought the horse 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 326 

showed me the letter; otherwise I shouldn't 
have purchased.'* 

The claimant and his companions ex- 
changed looks of astonishment, and the deputy 
drawled : — 

" How'd he git it, Jim ? " 

"It beats me," was the reply. "Onless he 
went through the house like he did the bam. 
That letter was in the Bible, where I keep some 
papers o' one kind an' another, cal'latin' that's 
as safe a place as any, not gettin' much rum- 
magin'. He must 'a' knowed I had it. Oh, 
he's a slick un. Bill is, when he gits dead broke 
an' wants to go on a spree. You see, Mr. 
Somerton, the way of it was this : the wife was 
off visitin', an' I was ploughin' corn, an' took 
some snack with me, an' some stuff for the 
bosses, so's to have a longer rest at noon-time, 
not havin' to go back all the way to the house. 
The colt was in the bam, so I didn't miss him 
till I got home, long about dusk. Bill must 'a' 
knowed, some way, my wife wa'n't home, an' I 
could see by the lot o' hay in the colt's rack that 
he'd been took out 'fore the middle o' the day. 
I was so knocked by missin' him that I've been 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 327 

on the track ever sence, an* didn't think to look 
to see ef anythin* was gone from the house, but 
the cuss must *a' prowled 'roun' consid'able ef 
he got that letter. Didn't bring in my rifle an* 
shotgun to sell, did he, nor flat-irons, nor cook- 
stove ? " 

"No, although he did sell me a saddle and 
bridle. I hope you'll succeed in catching the 

"Oh, I ain't got no use for him. The 
furder away he gits, the better satisfied I'll 
be. We ain't never had no other thief 'mong 
our relations. I reckon it's you that ought 
to want him. What I want is my colt, an' 
I'm goin' to have him — peaceful, ef I kin, 
or by law, ef I must. He's thar — in your 
barn; I seen him through the door; so did 
my frien's here, so there's no good beatin' 
about the bush an' — " 

"Stop!" said Philip. "There's no sense 
in insinuating that I would knowingly retain 
stolen property — unless you wish to have 
your tongue knocked down your throat." 

"That's fair talk, Jim, an' I don't blame 
him for givin' it to you," suggested the 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 328 

deputy. "Now you chaw yerself for a while, 
an' let me say somethin'. It don't stan' to 
reason that any business man is goin* to try 
to keep a stolen hoss. On *tother han*, he'd 
be a fool to give up on the word o' three 
men he never seen till just now. You, Jim, 
ain't such a fool as to want to air the family 
skunk so fur from home, an' Mr. Somerton 
here ain't likely to be over'n above anxious 
to have a fuss that'll let ev'rybody in town 
know that he was took in by an amatoor 
hoss-thief. Now, Jim, jest sa'nter out an' get 
some square man, an' not a storekeeper that 
knows ye, to come in an' speak for ye, as if 
ye wanted to buy some goods on credit. 
Thet'U prove who ye be, an' like enough 
he'll know me, too, 'specially if it's — " 

"Why not Doctor Taggess.^" Philip sug- 

"Good idee," the officer replied, "for he 
knows both of us." 

"An' he knows the colt, too," said the 

"Better and better," Philip declared, for 
anything would have been preferable, at 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 329 

Claybanks or any other Western town, to 
being known as a merchant to whom a thief 
could sell anything. 

Fortunately the Doctor was at home; he 
came to the store, identified the claimant, 
vouched for his honesty and truthfulness, and 
then identified the colt as the claimant's prop- 
erty. Philip told the entire story to the Doc- 
tor, who said there was nothing to do but 
surrender the horse — or repurchase him. 

" How much do you want for him, Mr. 
Mamey 1 " 

"Ye ain't said what ye give a' ready." 

"No; that's a different matter. What is 
your price .^" 

"Cash, note, or trade.?" 

"Whichever you like, if the figures are 

"Well, seein' you've been put to expense 
a'ready, an' I don't need money for a couple 
o' months yet, an' you'll most likely give 
more on time than in cash, I'd rather take 
your sixty-day note for a hundred back home 
with me than take the colt back. No other 
man could have him so cheap." 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ 


"You shall have it — on condition, written 
and signed, that neither of you three shall 
tell the story of the thief's sale. No one else 
can tell it." 

"You'll stand by me, boys?" said the 
claimant, appealingly. 

" Sure ! " 

"Then I'll take the note, Mr. Somerton, 
an' you've done the square thing. But say, 
I'll throw off five dollar ef ye'll tell me what 
ye paid fer him." 

" No," said Philip, beginning to draw a bill of 
sale to include the condition already specified. 

" I'll make it ten." 

" No." 

"Ah, say! I cayn't sleep peaceful without 
knowin', but this is rubbin' it in. Fifteen ! " 

" Sign this, please," said Philip, showing the 
bill of sale. Then he passed over his own 
note for eighty-five dollars, and said: — 

"I paid seventy-five dollars, cash." 

"Well," sighed Mamey, "that's a comfort 
— for besides knowin' how much 'twas, it 
shows what I wanted to b'lieve, that Bill was 
as much fool as scoundrel, else he'd 'a' ast 
more. Good-by, Mr. Somerton an' Doc." 

Caleb Wright ^ ji 331 

The trio departed. The Doctor remained 
to condole with the victim, who could not 
help telling of his real-estate trade. The Doctor 
laughed, — but not too long, — then he said : — 

"There ought to be finer grainings and mark- 
ings, and, therefore, more money, in walnut 
roots than in the average of trees. Tve been 
intending to experiment in that direction. As 
to that colt, let me drive him for you a few 
days ; he may have the making of both prices 
in him." 

When the Doctor departed, Philip got out his 
own horse and buggy, and insisted that his 
wife should drive, but Grace was reluctant to 
go. Something seemed to be troubling her. 
Philip asked what it was. ** I wish Caleb were 
back," she said. 

" Et tUy Brute ? Now is my humiliation com- 
plete ; but as Caleb is where he is, let us make 
the best of it." So saying, he indited the fol- 
lowing telegram to Caleb, for Grace to send 
from the railway station, three miles distant : — 


Look up a buyer for big walnut stumps. 

" Philip." 


" ^^^^^^^i* said Philip, as he returned one 
m morning from the post-office to the 

-^ store, with an open letter in his hand, 
" is about the twelfth letter IVe had from old 
acquaintances in New York, and all are as like 
unto one another as if written by the same hand. 
The writers imagine that the West is bursting 
with opportunities for men whose wits are abler 
than their hands. What a chance I would have 
to avenge myself on mine enemy — if I had one! " 

"And this," Grace said, after opening a letter 
addressed to herself that Philip had given her, 
"is from Mary Truett. I wonder if she has 
caught the Western fever from Caleb } Oh — 
I declare ! " 

" Your slave awaits the declaration." 

" She, too, wants to know if there isn't a 
place here for a clever young man — her 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 333 

brother; it seems he is a civil engineer and 
landscape architect." 

" Imagine it ! A landscape architect — at 
Claybanks ! Ask her if he can live on air, and 
sleep on the ground with a tree-top for roof. 
Doesn't she say anything about Caleb } " 

" I'm skipping her brother and looking for it, 
as fast as I can. Yes ; here it is. There ! 
Didn't I tell you how sensible she always was } 
She thanks me for introducing Caleb, and says 
he's the most interesting and genial man she 
has met in a long time, though, she says, she 
wonders whose grammar was in vogue when 
Caleb went to school. And — dear me ! — this 
is becoming serious ! " 

" My dear girl," said Philip, " there are dif- 
ferent ways of reading a letter aloud. Won't 
you choose a new one or let me have the letter 
itself, when you've read it, provided it contains 
no secrets } " 

"Do wait a moment, Phil! You're as curi- 
ous as women are said to be. It seems that 
Caleb has persuaded her to accompany him to 
a prayer-meeting ; and as she has also been to a 
theatre with him, I'm afraid the persuading, or 

Caleb PTright j^ j^ 334 

a bint to that effect, must have been on her 
part She says he has completely changed in 
appearance — and by what means, do you 
suppose ? " 

" I can't imagine/* 

** His beard has gone, and his hair has been 
cut Eastern fashion, and his mustache turned 
up at the ends, and he dresses well, — Mary 
says %Of — and that the contrast is startling. 
Oh, Phil ! What if he should — " 

" Should what ? Fall in love with your para- 
gon of women? Well, I suppose men are 
never too old to make fools of themselves, and 
Caleb is only forty, but I beg that you'll at once 
remind Miss Truett that Caleb is too good a 
man to be hurt at heart for a woman's amuse- 
ment. Why are you looking at nothing in that 
vague manner ? " 

" Tm trying to imagine Caleb's new appear- 

"Spare yourself the effort. I'll telegraph 
him for a photograph." 

**But I want to know — at once, to see 
whether he's really impressed Mary more seri- 
ously than she admits." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 335 

" Oh, you women ! You can start a possible 
romance on less basis than would serve for a 
dream. Do go backward in that letter, to the 
lady's brother, if only to suppress your imagi- 

"I suppose I must," sighed Grace, "for I've 
reached the end. The brother, it seems, can 
secure a railroad pass to visit this country, if 
there is any possible business opening for him 

"I wish there were, I'm sure, for I don't 
know of a place more in need of services such 
as a landscape architect could render, but you 
know that he couldn't earn a dollar." 

"But it seems that he knows something of 
road-making and grading." 

" Which also are accomplishments that might 
be put to good use here, if there were any one 
to pay for the work." 

" I have it ! " Grace said. " The very thing ! 
Don't you dare laugh at me until I tell it all. 
You know — or I do — that Doctor Taggess 
thinks Claybanks would be far less malarious if 
the swamp lands could be drained. He says the 
malarious exhalation, whatever it is, seems to be 

Caleb fTRiGHT j^ j^ 336 

heavier than the air, and is therefore compar- 
atively local in its effects, for he has known 
certain towns and other small localities to be 
entirely free from it, though the surrounding 
country was full of it. Now, if some surveyor 
and engineer — say Mary Truett*s brother — 
could find out how to drain our Claybanks 
swamps, it might make this a healthy town. Is 
that a very silly notion ? " 

" Silly ? Not a bit of it ! But, my dear girl, 
do you know what such an enterprise would 
cost ? " 

" No, but I do know what I suffered on the 
day of my awful malarial attack and that I 
shall never forget the spectacle of a poor, dear, 
little, helpless, innocent baby shaking with a 
chill ! " 

" Poor girl ! Poor baby ! But don't you sup- 
pose that our swamp lands have been studied 
for years by the men most interested in them — 
the farmers and other owners.? — studied and 
worked at.?" 

" Perhaps they have, but Doctor Taggess says 
farmers always do things in the hardest way ; 
they've not time and money to try any other. 

Caleb Bright j^ * 337 

Besides, since I began to think of it Tve often 
recalled a case somewhat similar. In our town 
in western New York the railway station was 
very inconvenient ; it was on a bridge crossing 
the track, and everything and everybody had to 
go up and down stairs or up and down hill to 
get to or from it. It was talked of at town 
meetings and the post-office and other places, 
and public-spirited citizens roamed the Une from 
one end of town to the other, looking for a spot 
where the station could be placed near the level 
of the track. 

" At last they subscribed money to pay for a 
new site, if the company would move its station 
to the level, and one day a surveyor and his 
men came up, and he looked about with an 
instrument, and a few days afterward a little 
cutting at one place and a little filling just back 
of it did the business, and all the village wise- 
acres called themselves names for not thinking 
of the same thing, but Grandpa said, * It takes 
a shoemaker to make shoes.' You know the 
swamps are almost dry now, because of the hot 
weather; don't you suppose a surveyor and 
engineer, or even a sensible man who's studied 

Caleb Bright j^ j^ 338 

physical geography in school, might be able to 
go over the ground and learn where and what 
retains the water ? Now laugh, if you like.*' 

" Grace, you ought to have been a man ! " 

" No, thank you — not unless you had been 
a woman. But you really think my plan isn't 
f ooUsh ? " 

" As one of the owners of swamp land, I am 
so impressed with your wisdom that I suggest 
that we invite Miss Truett's brother to visit us ; 
tell him the outlook is bad, but say we'll guar- 
antee him — well, a hundred-dollar fee to look 
into a matter in which we personally are inter- 
ested. If your plan is practicable, I'll recover 
the money easily. I'll write him this afternoon 
— or you may do it, through his sister. Let us 
see what else is in the mail. Why, I didn't 
suspect it, the address being typewritten ! — Ah, 
young woman, now for my revenge, for here's 
a letter from Caleb, and if 'tis anything like the 
last — yes, here it is — Miss Truett, Miss Truett, 
Miss Truett." 

" Oh, Phil ! " 

" I'll be merciful, and read every word, with- 
out stopping to sentimentalize : — 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 


" ' Dear Philip : Tm in it, as Jonah thought 
when the whale shut his mouth. When I say 
" it " I mean all of New York that I can pervade 
while waiting for the corn-meal to come. Tve 
been to a New York prayer-meeting and I can't 
say that it was any better than the Claybanks 
kind, except that Miss Truett went with me and 
joined in all the hymns as natural as if brought 
up on them. You ought to hear her voice. 
'Tain*t as loud as some, but it goes right to the 
heart of a hymn. Next day I went to a museum 
in a big park and saw more things than I can 
ever get straightened out in my head : I wish I 
could have had your wife's camera for com- 

" * I went to a theatre, too. I had no more 
idea of doing it than you have of selling liquor, 
but I got into a sort of argument with Miss 
Truett, without meaning to, about the great 
amount of that kind of sin that was going on ; 
and when she said that she didn't think it was 
always sinful, I felt like the man that cussed 
somebody in the dark for stepping on his toes, 
and then found it was the preacher that done 
the stepping. She said she really thought that 
some kinds of theatre would do a sight of good 
to a hard-working man like me, and that she'd 
like to see me under the influence of a good 
comedy for a spell ; so I told her there was one 

Caleb IFright > j» 340 

way of doing it, and that was to name the com- 
edy and then go along with me, so as to give 
her observing powers a fair chance. She did 
it, and I ain't sorry I went ; though if you don't 
mind keeping it to yourself, there won't be 
some Claybanks prayers wasted on me that 
might be more useful if kept nearer home. 

"'Who should I run against on Broadway 
one day but an old chum of mine in the army ? 
He'd got a commission, after the war, in the 
regulars, and got retired for a bad wound he 
got in the Indian country, yet, for all that, he 
didn't look any older than he used to. He took 
me visiting to his post of the Grand Army of 
the Republic one night, and there I saw a lot 
of vets that looked as spruce and chipper as if 
they was beaus just going to see their sweet- 
hearts. "What's the matter with you fellows 
here, that you don't grow old } " says I to my 
old chum. He didn't understand me at first, 
but when he saw what I was driving at, he said 
many of the members of the post were older 
than I, but 'twasn't thought good sense in New 
York for a fellow to look older than he was, 
and he didn't see why 'twas good sense any- 
where. I felt sort of riled, and he nagged me 
awhile, good-natured like, about trying to pass 
for my own grandfather, till I said : " Look here, 
Jim, if you've got any fountain of youth around 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 341 

New York, Tm the man that ain*t afraid to take 
a dip." " Good boy ! '' says he. " Td like the 
job of reconstructing you, for old times' sake.*' 
" No fooling } *' says I ; for in old times Jim 
wouldn't let anything stand in the way of a 
joke. "Honor bright, Cale," said he, "for I 
want you to look like yourself, and you can do 
it" Remembering some advertisements Fve 
seen in newspapers, I says, "What do you do 
it with — pills or powders?*' Jim coughed up 
a laugh from the bottom of his boots, and says 
he : " Neither. Come along ! " 

"*Well, I was skittisher than Fve been since 
Gettysburg, not knowing what new-fangled treat- 
ment he had in his mind, and how it would 
agree with me; but he took me into a barber 
shop where he appeared to know a man, and 
he did some whispering, and, — well, when that 
barber got through, first giving me a hair-cut 
and then a shave, and fussing over my mus- 
tache for a spell, and I got a sight of my face 
in the glass, I thought 'twas somebody else I 
was looking at, and somebody that I'd seen 
before, a long time ago, and it wasn't until I 
tried to brush a fly off my nose that I found 
'twas I. Maybe you think I was a fool, but I 
was so tickled that I yelled, " Whoop — ee ! " 
right out in meeting. " There ! " says Jim, when 
we got outside. "Don't you ever wear long 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 342 

hair and a beard again — not while I'm 

"*Then he took me to a tailor shop about 
forty times as big as your store, and picked out 
a suit of clothes for me, and a hat and shirt, and 
the whole business. 'Twas the Hawk Howl- 
away business over again, with Jim instead of 
Jethro, only there was more of it, for he stuck 
a flower in the buttonhole of my new coat. 
I couldn't kick, for he was wearing one too, 
but I just tell you that if I'd met any Clay- 
banks neighbor about then, Vd have slid down 
a side street like running to a fire. After that 
he took me to the hotel where he lived, and up 
in his room, and looked me over, as if I was a 
horse, and says he, "There's one thing more. 
You need a setting-up." " Not for me, Jim," says 
I. " I keep regular hours, though I don't mind 
swapping yams with you till I get sleepy to- 
night ! " Then he let off another big laugh, and 
says he, " That isn't what I mean. It's some- 
thing we do in the regulars, and ought to have 
done in the volimteers." So he made me stand 
up, and lift my shoulders, and hold my head 
high, and breathe full, at the same time making 
me look at myself in the glass. " There ! " says 
he, after a spell, " you do that a few times a day, 
till it comes natural to you, and you'll feel better 
for it, all your life." 

Caleb Bright j^ j^ 


"'Well, Philip, I don't mind owning up to 
you that I was so stuck up for the next few 
hours that at night I thought it necessary to 
put up a special prayer against sinful vanity. 
Next morning I went down to your wife's old 
store to ask Miss Truett something, and she 
didn't know me. No, sir, she didn't, till I spoke 
to her. She didn't say anything about it, but 
she looked like your wife sometimes does when 
she's mighty pleased about something, and I 
needn't tell you that looks like them are mighty 
pleasant to take. 

" ' Well, I suppose all this sounds like fool- 
talk, for of course I can't get my birthdays back, 
but, coming at a time when the malaria appears 
to be loosening its grip, this looking like I used 
to before I got broke up is doing me a mighty 
sight of good. 

" * When is that corn-meal coming ? 

" ' Yours always, 

" * Caleb Wright.' " 

" Phil," exclaimed Grace, " 'twould be a sin 
to hurry that meal East, until — until we 
hear further from Caleb." 

" And from Miss Truett ? " said Philip, with 
a quizzical grin. " Fortunately for both of 
them, the meal probably reached New York 

Caleb JFright g» j» 344 

soon after the date of this letter, which was 
written four days ago, and Caleb is probably 
now on the ocean, or about to sail.** 

" I think 'tis real cruel,** Grace sighed, " just 

as — 

"Just as two mature people began day- 
dreaming about each other? I think *tis the 
best that could befall them, for it will put 
their sentiment to a practical test. Cupid has 
struck greater obstacles than the Atlantic 
Ocean and barrelled corn-meal without break- 
ing his wings.** 

"Phil, you talk as coldly as if — oh, as if 
you weren*t my husband.** 

"*Tis because I am your husband, dear 
girl, and realize what miserable wretches we 
would be if we weren't, above all else, hearty 
lovers. What else have I to live for, out here, 
but you } Suppose any other woman were my 
wife, brought from everything she was accus- 
tomed to, and out to this place where she 
could find absolutely nothing as a substitute 
for the past ! ** 

" Or suppose I had married some other man 
— ugh ! — and come here ! ** 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 345 

"You would have done just as you have 
done — seen your duty, done it, and smiled 
even if you were dying of loneliness. But 
not all women are like you." 

"Because not all men are like you, bless 
you! — and always ready and eager to make 
love first and foremost.'* 

" How can I help it, when I've you to love i 
But tell me now, — frankly, — don't you ever 
long for the past.^ Don't you get absolutely, 
savagely, heart-hungry for it.?" 

"No — no • — ! " Grace exclaimed. " Be- 
sides, I'm easier pleased and interested than 
you think. I've learned to like some of our 
people very much, since I've ceased judging 
them by their clothes and manner of speech. 
There are some real jewels among the women, 
old and young." 

"H'm! I'm glad to hear you say so, for 
I've wanted to confess, for some time, that I 
am fast becoming countrified, and without any 
sense of shame, either. I'm becoming so 
deeply interested in human nature that I've 
little thought for anything else, aside from 
business. When I first arrived, I imagined 

Caleb Wright ^ j^ 346 

myself a superior being, from another sphere ; 
now that I know much about the people and 
their burdens and struggles, there are some 
men and women to whom I mentally raise my 
hat. At first I wondered why Taggess, who 
really is head and shoulders above every one 
else here, didn't procure a substitute and aban- 
don the town ; now I can believe that nothing 
could drag him away. I can't learn that he 
ever wrote verses or made pictures or preached 
sermons, nevertheless he's artist, poet, and 
prophet all in one. I should like to become 
his equal, or Caleb's equal — I may as well 
say both, while I'm wishing ; still, I don't like 
to lose what I used to have and be." 

" You're not losing it, you dear boy, nor am 
I really losing anything. The truth is, that in 
New York both of us, hard though we worked, 
were longing for an entirely luxurious, self- 
indulgent future, and your uncle's will was all 
that saved us from ourselves. You always 
were perfection, to my eyes, but I wish you 
could see for yourself what improvements half 
a year of this new life have made for you." 

"Allow me to return the compliment, though 

Caleb JFright j» j» 347 

no one could imagine a more adorable woman 
than you were when I married you. So long 
as I am you and you are me — " Then words 
became inadequate to further estimate and 
appreciation of the changes wrought by half a 
year of life at " the fag-end of nowhere — the 
jumping-off place of the world," as Philip had 
called Claybanks the first time he saw it by 



^^ALEB and the corn-meal sailed for 
m J Europe, but first Caleb wired the 
^^^ address of a firm that would do the 
fair thing with a car-load of walnut stumps. 
Miss Truett's brother Harold arrived at Clay- 
banks soon afterward, and when he learned 
accidentally that Philip wished some walnut 
stumps extracted and that the land was stone- 
less, he offered to do the work quickly and 
cheaply, and his devices so impressed occa- 
sional beholders, accustomed to burning and 
digging as the only means of removing stumps, 
that the young man soon made several stump- 
extracting contracts, for which he was to be 
paid — in land. Meanwhile, from the back of 
Philip's horse he studied the swamp lands 
near the town ; then he went over the ground 
with a level, and afterward reported to Philip 
that for the trifling sum of three thousand dol- 

Caleb fTRiGHT j^ j^ 349 

lars, added to right of way for a main ditch, 
which the farmers should be glad to give free 
of cost, the swamp lands might be converted 
into dry, rich farming land. 

"This county couldn't raise three thousand 
dollars in cash," Philip replied, "even if you 
could guarantee that the main ditch would flow 
liquid gold." 

"If that is the case," said the young man, 
who had nothing to lose and everything to 
gain, " and as labor and farm tools are almost 
the only requirements, — except some cash for 
my services, — why not form an association of 
all the owners of swamp lands, determine the 
share of each in the cost, according to the 
amount of benefit he'll get, and let all, if they 
wish, pay in labor at a specified day-price per 
man, team, plough, or scraper, and go to work 
at once? Such things have been done. A 
farmer who hasn't enough working force on 
his place can generally hire a helper or two, 
on credit, against crop-selling time. This is 
just the time to do it, too ; for a lot of farmers 
in the vicinity who have swamp land will have 
nothing especial to do, now that their winter 

Caleb fTRiGHT j^ j^ 350 

wheat is cut, till the thrashing machine comes 
to them, and others are through with heavy 
work until com ripens." 

" I begin to see daylight," said Philip. " But, 
young man, how did you get all these practical 
wrinkles in New York ? " 

** By listening to men who've been in the 
business many years. Most of them have had 
to take scrub jobs once in a while. But 
please secure the right of way at once for the 
main ditch; that's where the work should 
begin. I shouldn't wonder if you could get a 
lot of volunteer labor from the villagers, if you 
go about it rightly; for your Doctor Taggess 
believes that to drain the swamps would be 
to greatly lessen the number and violence of 
malarial attacks, — perhaps banish malaria en- 
tirely, — and I suppose you know what it means 
for a town, in certain parts of the West, to have 
a no-malaria reputation. It means manufac- 
tures, and better prices for building sites, and 
perhaps the beginnings of a city." 

** Mr. Truett, I shouldn't wonder if you've 
struck just the place to exercise your profes- 
sional wits." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 351 

" I hope so. I'll soon find out, if you'll 
arrange that combination of landowners, and 
secure that right of way. Now is the golden 
time, while the swamp land has least water 
and the earth is easiest handled." 

Doctor Taggess, summoned for consultation 
on the drainage subject, promised to make an 
earnest speech at any general meeting that 
might be called; so Philip hurried about 
among the merchants, town and county 
officials, and other local magnates, and ar- 
ranged for an anti-malaria, city-compelling 
mass-meeting at the court-house at an early 

Political jealousies and personal dog-in-the- 
manger feeling are quite as common in small 
towns as in great ones, but the possibility of 
a village becoming a city, and farm property 
being cut up into building-lots at high prices, 
is the one darling hope of every little village 
in the far West, and at the right time — or 
even at the wrong one — it may be depended 
upon to weld all discordant elements into 
one great enthusiastic force. When the meet- 
ing was held. Doctor Taggess made a strong 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 352 

plea for the proposed improvement, from the 
standpoint of the public health ; the young 
engineer read a mass of statistics on the 
amazing fertility of drained swamp lands, and 
announced his willingness to wait for his own 
pay until his work proved itself effective ; and 
the county clerk told of scores of Western 
villages, settled no longer ago than Claybanks, 
that had become cities. The upshot was that 
the improvement plan was adopted without a 
dissenting voice, and the right of way was 
secured at the meeting itself, as was also a 
volunteer force to begin work at once on the 
main ditch. 

"Truett," said Philip, after the meeting ad- 
journed, and he, the engineer, and Doctor Tag- 
gess walked away together, "unless youVe 
made some mistake in your figures, this enter- 
prise will make you a great man in this sec- 
tion of country." 

"That's what I wish it to do," was the 
reply, "for I must make a permanent start 

"Your offer to defer asking for pay till 
the drainage should prove successful," said 

Caleb Bright j^ j^ 353 

the Doctor, " helped the movement amazingly, 
and it also made everybody think you a Very 
fair man." 

"Yes? Well, that's why I made it." 

"H'm!" said Phihp, "youVe the stuff 
that'll make a successful Westerner of you." 

"That's what I want to be." 

"I don't think you'll regret it," said the 
Doctor; "for much though I sometimes long 
to return to the East, and plainly though I 
see the poverty and limitations of this part of 
the country, the West is the proper starting^ 
place for a young man, unless he chances to 
have abundant capital. Even then he might 
do worse; for, of course, the newer the country, 
the greater the number of natural resources 
to be discovered and developed. The people, 
too, are interested in everything new, and 
stand together, to a degree unknown at the 
East, in favor of any improvements that are 
possible. They do their full share of grum- 
bling and complaining, to say nothing of their 
full share of suffering, but there's scarcely one 
of them who doesn't secretly hope and expect 
to become rich some day, or at least to be part 

Caleb Wright > > 354 

of a rich community; and they're not more 
than half wrong, for railways and manufactures 
must reach us, in the ordinary course of 
events, and all our people expect to see them. 
Let me give you an illustration. A year or 
two ago I drove out one Sunday to see a 
family of my acquaintance, living in a specially 
malarious part of the county, who were out 
of quinine — a common matter of f orgetf ulness, 
strange though it may seem. As I neared 
the house, I heard singing, of a peculiar, 
irregular kind. As 'twas Sunday, I supposed 
a neighborhood meeting was in progress. But 
there wasn't. One of the hundreds of pro- 
jected Pacific railways had been surveyed 
through the farm a few months before. On 
the day of my call three of the seven mem- 
bers of the family were shaking with chills; 
so to keep up their spirits they were singing, 
to the music of a hymn-tune, some verses 
written and printed in the West long ago, and 
beginning : — 

" * The great Pacific railroad 
To California, hail ! 
Bring on the locomotive, 
Lay down the iron rail.' 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 355 

There's Western spirit for you — fighting a 
chill with hopes of a railway that thus far 
was only a line of stakes and indefinite prom- 
ises! Such people are worth tying to; their 
like cannot be found in any other part of the 

The work at the main ditch continued with- 
out interruption, thanks to a month almost 
rainless, until the ditch was completed to the 
creek at one end and to the swamps at the 
other. Then the main lines in the swamps 
themselves were opened, one by one, and the 
swamps became dry for the first time in their 
history, though small laterals, some to drain 
sprmgs, others to guard against the accidents 
of a rainy season, were still to be cut by 
private enterprise. But the people of Clay- 
banks and vicinity were delighted to so great 
an extent that dreams of a golden future 
would not satisfy them, so they planned a 
monster celebration and procession, and there 
seemed no more appropriate route of march 
than up one side of the main ditch and down 
the other, with a halt midway for speeches 
and feasting. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 356 

The happiest man in all the town — hap- 
piest in his own estimation, at least — was 
Philip; for within a few days he had learned 
that the despised mining stock which was his 
only material inheritance from his father had 
suddenly become of great value. He had sent 
it to New York to be sold, and learned that 
the result was almost ten thousand dollars, 
which had been deposited to his credit at a 
bank which he had designated. At last he 
had something wholly his own, should sick- 
ness or possible business reverses ever make 
him wish to abandon his inheritance from his 
uncle. Grace shared his feeling, and was cor- 
respondingly radiant and exuberant, for ten 
thousand dollars in cash made Philip a greater 
capitalist than any other man within fifty 
miles. He could buy real estate in his own 
right, to be in readiness for the cming 
** boom " of Claybanks ; he could become a 
banker, manufacturer, perhaps even a railway 
president, so potent would ten thousand dol- 
lars be in an impecunious land. 

" You're an utter Westerner — a wild, woolly- 
brained Westerner," said Philip, after listen- 

Caleb JFright j» j» 357 

ing to some of his wife's rose-tinted rhapsodies 
over the future. 

" I suspect I am, and I don't believe you're 
a bit better," was the reply. " *Tis in the air ; 
we can't help it." 

On the day of the celebration Grace gave 
herself up to fun with her camera, for which 
she had ordered many plates in anticipation 
of the occasion; for never before had there 
been such an opportunity to get pictures of 
all the county's inhabitants in their Sunday 
clothes. She was hurrying from group to 
group, during the great feast at the halt, 
when Pastor Grateway, who was looking 
westward, said : — 

** Mrs. Somerton, I've heard that you're fond 
of chasing whirlwinds with your camera. 
There comes one that looks as if it might 
make a good picture, if you could get near 
enough to it." 

" Isn't it splendid ! " Grace exclaimed. 
" Doctor Taggess, do look at this magnificent 
whirlwind ! " 

The Doctor looked ; then he frowned, looked 
about him, and muttered : — 

Caleb Bright j^ ^ zs^ 

" At last 1 '' 

"Why, Doctor, what is the matter?" 

"Nothing, I hope. It may go clear of us. 
Listen — carefully. Come apart from the 
crowd; my ears are not as keen as they used 
to be. Do you hear any sound in that direc- 
tion ? " 

" Nothing — except buzz-buzz, as if a hive 
of bees were swarming.** 

"Fm glad of it; it mayn't be so bad as I 
feared. I*m not acquainted with the things, 
except through common report. Where's Mr. 
Truett.^ He had field-glasses slung from his 
shoulder this morning. Here, you boys ! " 
the Doctor shouted to several youngsters who 
were playing leap-frog near by, "scatter — 
find Mr. Truett — the man who bossed the 
big ditch, and ask him to come here — right 
away ! " 

" Doctor ! " exclaimed Grace. " Do tell me 
what you fear." 

"Tell me first about that noise. Is it any 
louder .? " 

"Yes. It sounds now like a distant rail- 
way train. What does it mean } " 

Caleb fTRiGHi j^ j^ 359 

" It means a cyclone. How bad a one, we 
can't tell until it has passed. If it keeps its 
present course, it will pass north of the crowd, 
but I am afraid it will strike the town." 

By this time many of the people had no- 
ticed the great cloud in the west, and soon 
the entire assemblage heard a deep, continu- 
ous roar. Then men, women, and children 
began to run, for the cloud increased in black- 
ness and noise at a terrifying rate, but the 
Doctor shouted : — 

"Stay where you are! Get to the wind- 
ward of the platform, and wagons and horses! 
Pass the word around — quick I Ah, Mr. 
Truett I What do you see ? ** 

"All sorts of things," said Truett, from 
behind his field-glasses. " Lightning — and 
tree boughs — and corn-stalks — and boards 
— and something that looks like a roof. Also, 
oceans of rain. We're in for a soaking unless 
we hurry back to town." 

"The soaking's the safer," said the Doctor, 
adjusting the proffered glasses to his own 
eyes. " Ah, 'tis as I feared : it is tearing its 
way through the town. There goes the court- 

Caleb Bright j^ j^ 360 

house roof — and the church steeple." Ab- 
ruptly returning the glasses, the Doctor shouted 
as the great cloud passed rapidly to the north- 
ward and rain fell suddenly in torrents : — 

" Men — only men — hurry to town, and 
keep close to me when you get there." Then 
he found his horse and buggy and led a 
wild throng of wagons, horsemen, and foot- 
men, behind whom, despite the Doctor's 
warning, came the remaining components of 
the procession, and up to heaven went an 
appalling chorus of screams, prayers, and 
curses, for the word "cyclone" — the word 
most dreaded in the West since the Indian 
outbreaks ended — had passed through the 

The outskirts of the town were more than 
a mile distant, and before they were .reached, 
the throng saw that several buildings were 
burning, though the rainfall seemed sufficient 
to extinguish any ordinary conflagration. Philip, 
who was riding with several other men in a 
farm wagon, saw, when the wagon turned into 
the main street, that one of the burning 
buildings was his own store. Apparently it 

Caleb JTright j^ j» 361 

had been first unroofed and crushed by the 
storm, for all that remained of it and its con- 
tents seemed to be in a pit that once was the 
cellar, and from which rose a little flame and 
a great column of smoke and steam. 

"Let's save people first; property afterward!" 
he replied to the men in the wagon when 
they offered to remain with him and fight 
the fire. Afterward he received for his 
speech great credit which was utterly unde- 
served, for after an instant of angry surprise 
at his loss he was conscious of a strange, wild 
elation. A week earlier, such a blow would 
have been a serious reverse — perhaps ruin ; 
now, thanks to his long-forgotten mining stock, 
he was fairly well off and could start anew 
elsewhere, entirely by himself and unhampered 
by conditions. He had tried hard to accept 
Claybanks as his home for life, and thought 
he had succeeded ; but now, through the gloom 
of the storm, the outer world, especially all 
parts out of the cyclone belt, seemed delight- 
fully inviting. 

" Where'll we find the people to save } " 
This question, from a man in the wagon, re- 

Caleb Wright > j» 362 

called Philip's better self, and he replied 
quickly : — 

" In the path of the storm, and wherever 
Doctor Taggess is." 

It soon became evident that the cyclone 
path had been quite narrow, — not much wider, 
indeed, than the business street, — but the whirl- 
ing funnel had gone diagonally over the town 
and thus destroyed or injured more than forty 
houses, the debris of which did much addi- 
tional injury. Philip and the men passed 
rapidly from house to house along the new, 
rude clearing, and searched the ruins for dead 
and wounded. Fortunately almost all of the 
inhabitants of the town had taken part in the 
celebration. Those who remained were numer- 
ous enough to provide many fractures and 
bruises to be treated by Doctor Taggess and 
his corps of volunteer nurses, but apparently 
not one in the town had been killed outright. 
To obtain this gratifying assurance required 
long hours of searching far into the night, for 
some missing persons were found far from their 
homes, and with extraordinary opinions as to 
how their change of location had been effected. 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ 363 

Philip worked as faithfully as any one until 
all the missing were accounted for and all 
the houseless ones fed and sheltered. Grace 
had given all possible help to many women 
and children by taking them into her own 
home. At midnight, when husband and wife 
met for the first time since the storm, they 
reminded each other of what might have hap- 
pened had there been no celebration and they 
had been in the store and unconscious of the 
impending disaster. Together they looked at 
their own ruins, for which Philip had hired 
a watchman, so that he might be roused if 
the smouldering fire should gain headway and 
threaten the house. 

"It might have been worse," Grace said. 
"We have a roof to shelter us." 

"Yes, and we may select a new roof else- 
where in the world, if we like. Perhaps the cy- 
clone was, for us, a blessing in disguise — eh.?*' 

Grace did not answer at once, though her 
husband longed for a reply in keeping with 
his own feelings. He placed his arm around 
his wife, drew her slowly toward the house, 
and said: — 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 364 

" You deserve a better sphere of life than 
this, dear girl. You know well that you would 
never have accepted this if we had not fool- 
ishly committed ourselves to it without fore- 
thought or knowledge. Your energy and 
sympathy will keep you fairly contented 
almost anywhere, but you shouldn*t let them 
make you unjust to yourself. For my own 
part, Fve done no complaining, but my life 
here has been full of drudgery and anxiety. 
Now it seems as though deliverance had been 
doubly provided for both of us — first by the 
sale of our mining stock, and to-day through 
the destruction of our principal business inter- 
est. We can injure no one by going away ; 
if the property reverts to the charities which 
were to be the legatees in case I declined, 
Caleb will be provided for, even if he, too, 
chooses to leave Claybanks. What shall it 
be — stay, or go.? Dear girl, there are tears 
in your eyes — they are saying * Go ! ' Let 
me kiss them away, in token of thanks." 

"Tears sometimes tell shocking fibs," said 
Grace, trying to appear cheerful. ** I wouldn't 
trust my eyes, or my tongue, or even my 

Caleb JFright ^ j» 365 

heart to decide anything to-night, after such 
a day. There*s but one place in the whole 
world I shall ever care to be, after this, and 
that is in your arms — close to your heart." 

"And that is so far away, and so hard to 
reach ! ** said Philip, forgetting in an instant 
the day and all pertaining to it 



^^OON after sunrise on the morning after 
I \ the cyclone, Claybanks began to fill 
^"■"^ with horror-seekers and rumor-mongers 
from the outer world ; but most of the natives 
were invisible, for they had worked and 
talked far into the night. It seemed to the 
Somertons that they had not slept an hour 
when they were roused by heavy knocking at 
the door; then they were amazed to find the 
sun quite high. The man who had done the 
knocking handed Philip a telegram, brought 
from the railway station, an hour distant. It 
was from New York, and read as follows : — 

" Back yesterday. Good as new. English 
business well started. Cyclone in New York 
papers this morning. Please don*t abuse the 
Maker of it. Look out for His children. 
Lightning doesn*t strike twice in the same 
place. Do you want anything from here } 
Answer. If not, I start West at once. 

" Caleb." 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ 367 

" *Tis evident he hasn't given up his habit 
of early rising/' said Philip, as he gave the 
despatch to his wife. When she had read it, 
Grace said: — 

" Dear Caleb ! His return is absolutely 
providential, and his despatch is very like him." 

" Fm not quite sure of that,*' Philip replied, 
shaking his head doubtingly, yet smiling under 
his mustache. "To be entirely like Caleb, it 
should have said that the cyclone was a 
means of grace." 

"I think he distinctly intimates as much, 
where he refers to the Maker of the storm." 

"True. Well, he expects an answer, and I 
will make it exactly as you wish." 

Grace rubbed her drowsy eyes and instantly 
became alert. She looked inquiringly at her 
husband, and said : — 

" Exactly as I wish } May I write it } " 

** May you } What a question ! Was there 
ever a time when your wish was not law to me.?" 

" Never — bless you ! — but some laws are 
hard to bear." 

"Not when you make them, sweetheart. 
Aren't we one.? Write the answer." 

Caleb JFright j» j» 368 

Grace's eyes became by turns melting, lumi- 
nous, dancing, — exactly as they had been of 
old, at the rare times when Philip would come 
home from the office with a pleasing surprise, — 
opera-tickets, perhaps, or the promise of an 
afternoon and night at the seashore, or a 
moonlight trip on the river. They reminded 
him of the delightful old times of which they 
seemed to promise a renewal, and his heart 
leaped with joy at the hope and belief that 
the answer Grace would write would break 
the chains that bound her and him to Clay- 
banks. While Grace wrote, Philip closed his 
eyes and imagined himself and his wife 
spending a restful, delightful summer to- 
gether, far from the heat, dust, shabbiness, 
and dilapidation of their part of the West. 
Certainly they would have earned it, and was 
not the laborer worthy of his hire } 

He was aroused from his dreams by a bit 
of paper thrust into his hand. He opened 
his eyes and read : — 

** Count on me to do as you would in the 
same circumstances. Will reopen for busi- 
ness at once. Duplicate in New York your 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 369 

purchases of a few weeks ago. Refer to 

Bank, in which I have a large deposit. Then 

hurry home. 

'' Philip." 

Apparently Philip read and re-read the de- 
spatch, for he kept his eyes upon the paper a 
long time. When finally he looked from it 
he saw his wife*s countenance very pale and 
strained. He sprang toward her, and ex- 
claimed : — 

" My dear girl, you are sacrificing yourself ! " 

"Oh, no, I am not,'* Grace whispered. 

" Then why are you trembling so violently } 
— why do you look like a person in the 
agony of death } " 

" Because — because I fear that I am try- 
ing to sacrifice you — dooming you for life. 
The despatch shan't go, for you don't like it. 
Yet I wrote only what I thought was right. 
All that you inherited from your uncle was 
earned here, from the people who have suf- 
fered by the cyclone, or must suffer from the 
troubles that will follow it. 'Twould be heart- 
less — really dishonest — to leave them, 
wouldn't it.? Besides, many of them like 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 370 

us very much, and have learned to look 
up to us, after a fashion. Perhaps I 
wrote too hastily ; it may not be practicable, 
but— *' 

"Trying, at least, will be practicable," said 
Philip, after a mighty effort against himself. 
" * When in Rome, do as the Romans do ; ' 
when with an angel, follow the angel's lead. 
ril hire some one at once to take the despatch 
to the wire, and then — why, then I'll wonder 
where to reopen for business until the store 
can be rebuilt." 

"Why won't the warehouse answer.? And 
why don't you go at once to the city } — 'tis 
only a trip of three or four hours, buy a 
small assortment of groceries and other things 
most likely to be called for at once, and 
order a larger stock, by wire, from Chicago? 
Caleb's purchases will follow quickly. While 
you're away I'll manage to get the warehouse 
into some resemblance to a store ready for 
goods; some men can surely be hired, and 
I'll get Mr. Truett to help devise such make- 
shifts as are necessary. You can be back by 
to-morrow night, if you start at once." 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ 371 

" Upon my word, dear girl, you talk like a 
business veteran from a cyclone country. If 
woman's intuitions can yield such business 
telegrams and plans as youVe disclosed within 
ten minutes, I think it is time for men to go 
into retirement." 

" Women's intuitions, indeed ! " Grace mur- 
mured, with an accompaniment of closing eyes, 
yawning, stretching, and other indications of 
insufficient slumber. "I've lain awake most 
of the night, wondering what we ought to do 
and how to do it." 

" And your husband stupidly slept ! " 

" Not being a woman, he wasn't nervous, and 
I am very glad of it. As for me, I couldn't 
sleep, so I had to think of something, and I 
knew of nothing better to think of. But before 
you go to the city let's get into the buggy and 
drive over the course of the storm in our county, 
and see if any one specially needs help." 

" And leave the remains of our store smoul- 
dering ? " 

" We can get Mr. Truett to attend to it. En- 
gineers ought to know something about keeping 
fires down." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 372 

"I wonder where he is. I thoughtlessly 
asked him to breakfast with us this morning. 
I hope he's not starving somewhere, in antici- 
pation. I hope, also, that we've enough food 
material in the house to last a day or two; 
we've the ice-house and warehouse to fall back 
upon for meats. By the way, isn't it fortunate 
that I adopted Uncle Jethro's habit of keeping 
most of the store cash on my person } Other- 
wise we'd, be penniless until the safe could be 
got from the ruins, and cooled and opened." 

While Grace was preparing breakfast Philip 
hurried about to learn whether any additional 
casualties of the storm had been reported, and 
he soon encountered the young engineer, who 
looked as cheerful as if cyclones were to be 
reckoned among blessings. 

" I've been out on horseback since daylight," 
said he, " and ever)rthing is lovely." 

" There's some ground for difference of opin- 
ion," replied Philip, looking at the damaged 
court-house and church. 

" I meant at the ditch and the swamps," the 
young man explained hastily. " In spite of the 
great rainfall yesterday, the ditch did not over- 

Caleb Wright ^ j» 373 

flow, nor is there any standing water in the 
swamps. That isn't all; enough trees have 
been knocked down, within three or four miles 
of town, to make a block pavement for the main 
street — perhaps enough to pave the road from 
here to the railway, so that full wagon-loads 
could be hauled all winter long. But there's 
still more : the creek has been accidentally 
dammed, a mile or two from town, by a bridge 
that the cyclone took from its place and set up 
on edge in the stream. A little work there, at 
once, would prepare a head for the water-power 
which Fm told the town has been palavering 
about for years, and if you don*t want water- 
power, 'twould supply plenty of good water to 
be piped to town, to replace the foul stuff from 
wells that have been polluted by drainage. 
Doctor Taggess says some of the wells are to 
blame for many of the troubles charged to 

" Harold Truett," said Philip, ** do have mercy 
upon us ! We'll yet hear of you engineers trying 
to get the inhabitants of a cemetery interested 
in some of your enterprises. Block pavements, 
indeed ! — and water-power ! — and a reservoir ! 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 374 

— and pipe-service ! — all this to a man whose 
principal lot of worldly goods is still burning, and 
in a town not yet a full day past a cyclone ! " 

" Oh, the town's all right," said Truett, confi- 
dently. "At least, the people are. Already 
they're making the best of it and trying to make 
repairs, and wondering to one another, in true 
Western fashion, if the disaster won't make the 
town widely talked of, and give it a boom." 

"They are, eh? Well, I shan't allow the pro- 
cession to get ahead of me. Do you wish to 
superintend the transforming of my warehouse 
into a temporary store, while I hurry away to 
buy goods ? Mrs. Somerton can tell you what 
we need. You may also see that the fire which 
is consuming the remains of the old store is kept 
down or put out. I think the two jobs will keep 
you very busy." 

"Quite likely, but I wish you'd keep that 
block pavement and water-power and reservoir 
in mind, and speak to people about them. A 
town is like a man : if it must make a new start, 
it might as well start right, and for all it is 

" Bless me I You've been here less than two 

Caleb fFRiGHi j^ ^ 375 

months, yet you talk like a rabid Westerner! 
Do you chance to know just when and where 
you caught the fever ? " 

"Oh, yes," replied the young man, with a 
laugh. '* I got it in New York, while listening 
to your man, Caleb Wright. I couldn't help it. 
I forgot to say that now ought to be the time to 
coax a practical brick-maker to town, and show 
what the banks of clay are really good for. Do 
it before the state newspapers stop sending men 
down here to write about the cyclone, and you'll 
get a lot of free advertising. And a railway 
company ought to be persuaded to push a spur 
down here ; they would do it if you had water- 
power and any mills to use it." 

** Anything else? Are all engineers like 
you.? — contriving to turn nothing into some- 
thing ? " 

" They ought to be. That's what they were 
made for. So were other people, though some 
of them seem slow to understand it. I wish 
you'd appoint me a reception committee to talk 
to all newspaper correspondents that come 
down to write up the horrors. If you'll tell 
your fellow-citizens to refer all such chaps to 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 376 

me, ril engage to have the town's natural 
resources exploited in fine style." 

Philip promised, and an hour later when he 
and Grace were driving rapidly over one of the 
county roads, Philip said that if Miss Truett 
were of like temperament to her brother, it was 
not strange that she was head of a large depart- 
ment. Still, Philip thought it strange that a 
young man of so much energy and percep- 
tive power should see anything promising in 

" *Tis all because of Caleb," Grace replied 
confidently. " Mr. Truett says that Caleb was 
quite voluble about the defects of the country, 
but his truthfulness was fascinating through its 

"H'm! Tis evident that Caleb was the 
cause of Truett coming here, so the town is still 
more deeply in debt to Caleb, who, poor chap, 
will return to miss everything that he left 
behind him in his room, and even the roof that 
sheltered him." 

" And he was so attached to his belongings, 
too ! " Grace said. " Do invite him, by wire, 
to regard our home as his own; he is not the 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ ^ 

kind of man to abuse the invitation, and I'm 
sure he will appreciate it." 

Within six hours Philip had seen all of his 
own customers who had been in the track of 
the storm, he had asked if there was anything 
in particular he could bring them from the city, 
and assured them that if they did not make 
free use of him, they would have only them- 
selves to blame. Naturally, he did not neglect 
to say that within a week he would have on 
sale as large an assortment of goods as usual, 
and one with no "dead stock'* in it. Before 
nightfall, he was in the nearest small city, and 
purchasing at a rate that made the dealers 
glad, and he was also ordering freely by wire 
from Chicago houses that had sold to Jethro 
Somerton for years, and who felt assured that 
no mere cyclone and fire could lessen the Som- 
erton power to pay. Twenty-four hours later 
he was at home, congratulating his wife and 
Truett on the transformation of the dingy 
warehouse into a light, clean-appearing room, 
thanks to hundreds of yards of sheeting that 
had been tacked overhead in lieu of ceiling, 
and also to the walls. Counters had been 

Caleb Wright j» j» 378 

extemporized, and shelving was going up. Some 
of the contents of the old store had been saved, 
and the remainder was being drenched by a 
bucket brigade, under the direction of Truett, 
who reported that he had had no trouble in 
securing workmen, for Mrs. Somerton had 
asked them as a special favor to her, and they 
had tumbled over one another in their eager- 
ness to respond. As to himself, he had found 
time to draw exterior and interior plans for a 
new store to be erected on the old foundations, 
and he begged permission to begin work as 
soon as the ruins were cool; for, said he, 
"Lumber and labor will never be cheaper 
here than they are now." 

" As I remarked before I left, you're a rabid 
Westerner," Philip said, in admiration of the 
young man's enthusiasm. 

" Give it any name you like," was the reply, 
" though Fm suggesting only what any Eastern 
man would do. Besides, Fd like to see every- 
thing well started or arranged before Caleb can 
reach here." 

" You seem to have become remarkably fond 
of Caleb on very short acquaintance," said 

Caleb fFRiGHT ^ ^ 379 

"I have," was the reply, "and since I've 
learned that he was sent East principally to 
regain his health, Fd like, in justice to both you 
and him, that he should find nothing to give 
him a setback. That's only fair, isn't it?" 

" 'Tis more than fair. 'Tis very hearty, and 
greatly to your credit." 

" Oh, well ; put it that way, if you like." 

Philip's goods began to arrive a day later, in 
farm wagons, moving almost in procession to 
and from Claybanks and the railway town, and 
several men worked at unpacking them, while 
Philip and Grace arranged them on the shelves 
and under the counters. When Saturday night 
ended the fourth day, the merchant and his 
wife were fit to enjoy a day of rest on Sunday. 
Sunday morning came, and while Philip and 
Grace were leisurely preparing their breakfast, 
there was a knock at the door. Philip opened 
it, and shouted : — 

" Grace ! " 

Grace hurried from the kitchen, embraced a 
lady whom she saw, and exclaimed : — 

" Mary Truett ! " 

" Mrs. Wright, if you please," replied the lady. 

Caleb fF right ^ j^ 380 

" I beg a thousand pardons ! " Grace gasped. 
She soon recovered herself and looked very 
roguish as she continued, "Won't you kindly 
introduce me to the distinguished-looking stran- 
ger beside you ? " 

Then Caleb pushed his hat to the back 
of his head, slapped his leg noisily, and ex- 
claimed : — 

** Distinguished — looking — stranger ! Hoo- 
ray ! " 



OW, Caleb," said PhiUp, after the 
four had been seated at the break- 
fast table so long that most of the 
food had disappeared, "tell us all about it. 
Don't leave out anything." 

"All right," said Caleb, after emptying his 
coffee-cup. " FU begin at the beginning. I 
don't s'pose 'tis necessary to tell any of you 
that New York is a mighty big city, an' London 
is another, so — " 

" New York savors of business, and so does 
London," said Philip, "and as this is Sunday, 
I must decline to hear a word about worldly 
things. I'm amazed that so orthodox a man as 
you should think of such matters on Sunday." 

"Tell him, Caleb," Grace added, "and tell 
me also, about something heavenly — something 
angelic, at least — something resembling a 
special mercy, or a means of grace." As she 

Caleb IFright > > 382 

f poke^ f be looked so significantly at Maiy, that 
Caleb coukl no longer pretend to misunder- 

^'Well^'" said be, ''as I came back doable 
when you expected only to see me single, I 
s'pose a word or two of explanation would only 
be fair to all concerned. You see, before I 
started for London I felt pretty well acquainted 
with Mary, for I'd been in New York two or 
three weeks. That mightn't seem a long time, 
to some, in which to form an acquaintance that 
will last through life an' eternity, but such 
things depend a lot on the person who's doin' 
'cm, an', as you know, my principal business 
for years has been to study human nature in 
general, an' particularly whatever specimen of 
it is nearest at hand. In New York it had 
come to be as natural as breathin', an' mighty 
intercstin* too, especially when the person's 
p'ints were first-rate, an' I had reason to believe 
that I was bein' studied at the same time by 
somebody who had a knack at the business an* 
didn't have any reason to mean harm to me." 

"Any one — any New Yorker, at least, — 
would have found Caleb an interesting subject, — 

Caleb Wright ^ j^ 383 

don't you think so ? '* said Mary, with a shy look 
of inquiry. 

" I*m very sure that Philip and I did/* Grace 

" Well, 'twas all of Mrs. Somerton's doin', for 
she gave me a letter of introduction to Miss 
Mary Truett : the Lord reward her accordin' to 
her works, as the Apostle Paul said about 
Alexander the Coppersmith. I carried a lot of 
other letters, you'll remember, and every one to 
whom they were given was quite polite an' 
obligin' ; but business is business, so as soon 
as the business was done, they were done with 
me. But Mary wasn't." 

" She wasn't allowed to be," Mary whispered. 

''^I reckon that's so," Caleb admitted; "for 
somehow I kept wantin' to hear the sound of 
her voice just once more — just to see what 
there was about it that made it so different from 
other voices, so I kept makin' business excuses 
that I thought were pretty clever an' reasonable- 
like, an' she was always good-natured enough 
to take *em as they were meant." 

"What else could she do.?" asked Mary, 
with an appealing look. "The rules against 

Caleb Wright j» j» 384 

personal acquaintances dropping into the store 
to chat were quite strict, and applied to heads 
of departments as well as to other employees. 
Caleb's plausible manner deceived no one, but 
he was so odd, at first, and so entertaining, 
that every one in authority in the store quickly 
learned to like him, and were glad to see him 
come in. They would make excuses to saunter 
near us, and listen to the conversation, and 
whenever he went out, some of them remained 
to tease me. They saw through him before I 
did, and made so much of what they saw 
that, in the course of time, I had to work 
hard to rally myself whenever I saw Caleb 

"She did it splendidly, too," said Caleb. 
" In a little while I got so that my eye could 
catch her the minute I found myself inside 
the store, no matter how many people were 
between us, yet Fm middlin' short, as you 
know, an* she isn't tall. She'd be talkin' busi- 
ness, as sober as a judge, with somebody, but 
by the time I got pretty nigh, her face would 
look like a lot o' Mrs. Somerton's pet flowers 
— red roses, an' white roses, an' a couple o' 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ 385 

rich pansies between, an' around 'em all a great 
tangle o' gold thread to keep *em from gettin* 

" Caleb ! " exclaimed Mary. " Your friends 
want only facts." 

** Fm sure he's giving us nothing else," 
Grace said, looking admiringly at Mary, while 
Philip added: — 

" He's doing it very nicely, too. Bravo, 
Caleb ! Go on." 

" Well, she was kind o' curious about the 
West, like a good many other New Yorkers 
who hadn't ever been away from home, and 
one day she asked me if there was any chance 
out here for a young man who was a civil 
engineer and landscape architect. She said 
so much about the young man's smartness an' 
willingness, an' pluck, an' good nature, that all 
of a sudden I found myself kind o' hatin' that 
young man, an' it didn't take me long to find 
out why, an' when I saw that the trouble was 
that I was downright jealous of him, I said 
to myself, * Caleb, you're an old fool,' an' I 
put in some good hard prayin* right then an' 
there. Suddenly she explained that the young 

Caleb fF right ^ ^ 386 

man was her brother, an* — well, I reckon 
there never was a prayer bitten off shorter an' 
quicker than that prayer was. She wished he 
could meet me, an' I said that any brother o' 
hers could command me at any time an' any- 
where, so we fixed it that I should call at their 
house that very evenin*. Well, I liked his 
looks an' his p'ints in general, an' he asked 
no end o' the right kind o' questions, an' she 
helped him. I told 'em ev'rythin', good an' 
bad — specially the latter — malaria, scattered 
population, bad roads, poor farming, poor 
clothes, scarcity of ready cash, all the houses 
small an' shabby; for up to that time it 
seemed to me that everybody in New York 
lived in a palace an' wore Sunday clothes ev'ry 
day of the week; afterwards I went about 
with some city missionaries an' policemen, an' 
came to the conclusion that the poorest man 
in this town an' county is rich, compared with 
more than half of the people in New York. 
But that's gettin* over the fence an' into an- 
other field. Her brother was so interested that 
nothin' would do but that I should go back 
an* take supper with 'em next evenin' an' con- 

Caleb IFright j» j» 387 

tinue the talk. Well, * Barkis was willin'/ as 
a chap in one of your circulatin* library books 
said. Pity that library's burned ; I'll put up 
half the expense of a new one, for if ever 
there was a means of grace — " 

"It shall be replaced," said PhiUp, "but — 
one means of grace at a time. Do go back 
to the original story." 

"Oh! Well, the next day happened to be 
the one in which I met my old army chum, 
Jim, who reconstructed me in the way I wrote 
you about. One consequence of Jim's over- 
haulin' was that when I got to their house an' 
walked into their parlor, they didn't know me 
from Adam ; both of 'em stood there, like a 
couple o' stuck pigs." 

"What an elegant expression!" exclaimed 

"You don't say that as if you b'lieved it 
over an' above hard, my dear, but I do assure 
you that the expression means a lot to Western 
people. Pretty soon her brother came to him- 
self an' asked what had happened, an' I said, 
*Oh, nothin*, except that when I'm in Turkey, 
an' likely to stay awhile, I try to do as the 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 388 

turkeys do/ Well, things kept goin' on, about 
that way, for some days, an* between thinkin' 
'twas time for that corn-meal to come, an' 
wishin' that it wasn't, an' wishin' a lot of other 
things, I was in quite a state o' mind for 
a while, an' self-examination didn't help me 

"All the time there kep' runnin' in my 
mind an old sayin' that your Uncle Jethro 
was mighty fond of — 'There's only one boss 
in the world,' an' the most I could do to keep 
from bein' a plumb fool was to remind myself 
that that sort of a boss had some rights of 
its own that ought to be respected. I showed 
off my own good p'ints as well as I could, an' 
I coaxed Mary to go about with me consider- 
able, because Mrs. Somerton had told me that 
her judgment and taste were remarkably good, 
— that's the excuse I made, — an* we talked 
about a lot o' things, an* found we didn't dis- 
agree about much. I accidentally let out what 
I was goin' to England for, an' she got power- 
ful interested in it, for she'd read an* heard 
lots about the way the poorest English live 
in big cities, so she thought I was really goiu' 

Caleb Wright ^ j^ 389 

on missionary work, an' she said she would 
almost be willing to be a man if she could 
have such a job. 

"She looked so splendid when she said it 
that I felt plumb electrified — felt just as if a 
new nerve had suddenly been put into me 
some way, so I made bold to say that she'd 
do that sort o* work far better as a woman, 
an' that there was a way for her to do it, too, 
if she was willin*, an* if her minister would 
say a few words appropriate to that kind of 

"That is exactly the way he spoke," said 
Mary, "and as coolly as if he wasn't saying 
anything of special importance." 

"Caleb's mind is sometimes in the clouds," 
Grace said, "where everything for the time 
being appears just as it should be." 

" That must be so, I reckon, Mrs. Somerton," 
said Caleb, " seein' that you say it ; but I want 
to remark that if I was in the clouds that 
day, I got out of 'em mighty quick, an' down 
to earth, an' mebbe a mighty sight lower; for 
Mary suddenly turned very white, an' right 
away I felt as if Judgment Day had come, 

Caleb ^Fright j^ j^ 390 

an* rd bjsen roped off among the goats. But 
all of a sudden she turned rosy, an' said, very 
gentle-like an* sweet, * Tis a long way to Lon- 
don, an* you might change your mind on the 
way.* Said I, **Tis longer to eternity, but 
1*11 be of the same mind till then, an* after, 
too.' She was kind o* skittish for a while 
after that, • but she didn*t do any kickin', 
which I took for a good sign.*' 

" Kicking, indeed ! *' said Mary, studying the 
decoration of her coffee-cup. ** Breathing was 
all the poor thing dared hope to do.*' 

"Well, at last she said she thought it might 
be better for me to go alone, so both of us 
could have a fair chance to think it over, an* 
I said that I wouldn't presume to doubt the 
good sense of whatever she thought, an* that 
her will was law to me, an* would go on bein* 
so as long as she would let it. Just then the 
corn-meal came, an* I went. After I got 
fairly started on the trip, I found myself 
feelin* kind o* glad she wasn*t with me. As 
we*ve just been eatin* breakfast, I won*t go 
into particulars; but after I got over bein' 
seasick, I felt as well an* strong as a giant. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 391 

an* I ran a private prayer an* praise meetin* 
all the way across. At first I was sorry that 
I hadn't asked her for her picture to take 
along, but I soon found that I had one — had 
it in both eyes, day an* night, an' all the time 
I was in London, too, an' the more I looked 
at it, the more I wanteds to see the original 

"This bein' Sunday, I won't say anythin* 
more about the business than that I got it 
started well, didn't slight it, an' left it in 
good hands. Gettin' back to the United 
States appeared to take a year; I used to 
look at as much as a passenger could see of 
the engine, an' wish I could put my heart 
into it to make it work faster. One day we 
reached New York about sundown, an' I 
s'pose I needn't say whose house I made 
for at once, with my heart in my mouth. 
'Twasn't hard to make out that she wasn't 
a bit sorry to see me, so my heart got out of 
my mouth at once, an' gave my tongue a 
change. She asked about my trip, an' told 
me about her letter to you about her brother, 
an' about your kind invitation to him, an' how 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 392 

busy he already was in Claybanks, an' she 
was able to tell me a lot about both of you, 
all of which I was mighty glad to hear, but 
after a while there came a kind o* silent 
spell, so I said : — 

"Speakin* about thinkin' it over, IVe been 
doin' nothin' else, an* I haven't changed my 
mind. How is it with you?' She didn't say 
anythin', for about a million hours, it seemed 
to me, but at last she put out both of her 
hands, kind o' slow-like, but put 'em out all 
the same, bless her ; so I — " 

"Caleb,'* exclaimed Mrs. Wright, severely. 

"We understand," said Philip, "having had 
a similar experience a few years ago ; " and 
Grace said: — 

" Blushes are very becoming to you, Caleb." 

" Thank you — very much. But how do 
you s'pose I felt next mornin' after wakin' up 
with the feelin' that this world was Paradise, 
an' that it couldn't be true that there were 
such things as sin an' sorrow an' trouble, an' 
then seein* the whole front of my mornin' 
paper covered with the Claybanks cyclone, an' 
nothin' to tell who was killed an* who was 

Caleb JFright j» j» 


spared ! *Twas nigh on to seven o'clock when 
I saw the news, an* for a few minutes I did 
the hardest, fastest thinkin' I ever did in my 
life. I sent you a despatch, hopin* that you 
were among the saved, an* by eight o'clock I 
was at Mary's house. She'd seen the paper, 
so she wasn't surprised to see me. She was 
just startin' for the store, so I walked along 
with her, an' I said: — 

"It couldn't have come at a more awful 
time, so far as my feelin's are concerned, but 
the Claybanks people are my own people, 
after a fashion, an* some of 'em need me — 
that is, they'll get along better if they have 
me to talk to for a while. Will you for- 
give me if I hurry out to them? You won*t 
think me neglectful, or less loving than I've 
promised to be, will you } ' Then what did 
that blessed woman do but quote Scripture at 
me — ' Whither thou goest I will go, an' where 
thou lodgest I will lodge, and thy people shall 
be my people.' 'Twas a moment or two be- 
fore I took it all in; then I said, to make 
sure that I wasn't dreamin', * Do you mean 
that you'll marry me — to-day — an* go out to 

Caleb IFright * * 394 

Gaybanks with me by this evenin's train ? ' 
An' she said, ' Could I have said it plainer ? ' 
By that time we were in a hoss-car, so I 

** Caleb ! " again exclaimed Mrs. Wright, 

"All right, my dear; I won't say it I 
didn't know, until afterward, that Mrs. Somer- 
ton had been fiUin' Mary up with letters about 
me an' my supposed doin's for some of the 
folks out here. I don't doubt that those 
stories were powerful influential in bringin' 
things to a head. Well, while she went to 
the store to give notice to quit, an' to have a 
fuss, perhaps, all on my account, I went to a 
newspaper office to find out if any more news 
had come since daylight began. I wanted 
to know the worst, whatever it was, an' when 
they told me that nobody was dead, so far as 
could be learned, I wanted to wipe up part of 
the floor of that newspaper office with my 
knees, an* I didn't care a continental who 
might see me do it, either. 

" Then I went down to her store, an' got a 
word with her, though she was rattlin' busy. 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 395 

Queer, though, how sharp-eyed some of those 
New Yorkers are. Mary hadn't had a bit of 
trouble. The firm wasn't surprised when she 
began to make her little statement — they said 
they'd seen, a month or two before, how mat- 
ters were likely to go, so they'd selected her 
successor, sorry though they were at the idea 
of losing her. They hadn't supposed the no- 
tice to quit would be so sudden, but after 
they compared notes about the front page of 
a momin' paper they agreed that they'd be 
likely to lose Mary as soon as I struck New 
York. I s'posed men as busy as the owners 
of such a business would have forgotten the 
name of Claybanks, if they'd ever heard it, 
an' I wouldn't have supposed that they'd ever 
have heard anythin' about me; but bless you, 
they knew it all, an' they took Mary's words 
out of her mouth, as soon as she explained 
that a dear friend who had just arrived from 
Europe needed her companionship and assist- 
ance in a trip to the West. *We hope Mr. 
Wright isn't ill,' said one of the partners, 
an' the other said, * We greatly hope so, for 
we learn from the Commercial Agency that 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ 396 

he is really as prominent and useful a man 
as there is in his county.* Think o* that, — 
not that the Agency, whatever it is, was 
right, but think of me bein* on record in any 
way in New York, an* of those old chaps 
havin* known all about Mary an' me! It's 
plain enough that New York folks are as 
keen-eyed as the best, an* that they've got 
one thing that we Westerners don't know a 
single thing about, an' that's system. 

"But I'm strayin' again. At the store I 
arranged with her that we should be married 
at her church at four o'clock that afternoon. 
Soon after leavin' the store I got your de- 
spatch, which I didn't doubt had already been 
read up in heaven — bless you both ! It didn't 
take more than two hours to duplicate the 
orders of a few weeks before ; then I went to 
her house, for the last time, an' she was 
already dressed for the weddin' — dressed just 
as she is now. There were a couple of 
hours to spare, an' as I'd ordered our rail- 
road tickets, I improved the time by tryin' 
to persuade her relatives, who had been 
called in on short notice, that she was 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 397 

goin' to be in safe hands. But there 
wasn't a chance to talk more*n two minutes 
at a time, for the door-bell kept ringin*, an' 
messengers kept comin' in with flowers an* 
presents, most of *em from people at the 
store. There's two trunks full of 'em, comin' 
along by express. Of course we were goin' 
to have a quiet weddin* — nobody invited to 
the church but her fam'ly an' two or three 
of her relatives, an' my old army chum Jim; 
but when we got there, a whole lot of folks 
were inside the church, an' when we started 
out after the ceremony they crowded to the 
aisle, an' some threw flowers in it, an' then 
for the first time the dear little woman learned 
that the store people had turned out in force, 
the proprietors among 'em, an' all the women 
kissed the bride, an' a lot of 'em cried, an' 

— oh, nobody ever* saw such goin's on at 
any weddin' in the Claybanks church. An' 

— to wind up the story — here we are, ready 
for business, when Monday comes. I tele- 
graphed Black Sam to find an empty house 
for us somewhere, knowin' that my old room 
was gone, an' — " 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 398 

"You're to live with us,'* said Philip. 
" You know we've room to spare, and I know 
that my wife will be delighted to have your 
wife with her." 

"Thank you, Philip. Mrs. Somerton's taste 
in women is as correct as in everythin' else." 

" But doesn't your brother know } " asked 
Grace of Mary. 

" No," was the reply. " Some things are 
easier told than written. Besides, he's the 
dearest brother in the world, and thinks what- 
ever I do is right. How I long to see 
him ! " 

"I'll find him at once," said Philip, rising. 
" 'Twas very thoughtless of me to have neg- 
lected him so long, but between astonishment 
and delight I — " 

"You won't have far to look," said Caleb, 
who had moved toward the window. "Mary, 
come here, please — stand right beside me — 
close — to protect me in case he offers to 
knock me down." 

Philip opened the door, and Truett said: — 

"I've just heard that Caleb came over 
from the railway station this morning. Has 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 399 

he — oh, Mary! Just as I might have ex- 
pected, if I hadn't been too busy to think." 

"You don*t act as if you had any ill feelin' 
toward me," said Caleb, as Truett, after much 
affectionate demonstration toward his sister, 
greeted his brother-in-law warmly. 

" 111 feeling ? Tm delighted — quite as much 
delighted as surprised. I saw how 'twould be 
before you sailed, for my sister has always 
been transparent to me. As to you, any one 
who saw you in Mary's presence could see 
what was on your mind. That was why I came 
out here. There were other places I might 
have selected for my own purposes, but when 
I saw how matters were going, I was deter- 
mined that the town in which my sister was 
to live, in the course of time, shouldn't be 
malarious and shabby and slow if I could do 
anything to better it." 

"Aha!" said Philip, with the manner of a 
man upon whom a new light had suddenly 
shone. "Now I understand your rage for 
local improvements, and your Western fever 
in all its phases." 

"Could I have had better cause.^" 

Caleb tFRiGHT j^ j^ 400 

Philip looked admiringly at Mary, and 
answered : — 

" No." 

The table was cleared by so many hands 
that they were in the way of one another; 
then the quintet adjourned to the windward 
side of the house, under the vine-clad arbor, 
and began to exchange questions. Suddenly 
Grace said: — 

"There's something new and strange about 
Caleb — something besides his change of ap- 
pearance and his happiness, and I can't dis- 
cover what it is.** 

"Perhaps,** said Mary, with a mischievous 
twinkle in her eyes, " *tis his grammar.** 

Caleb's eyes expressed solicitude as they 
turned toward Grace, and they indicated great 
sense of relief when Grace clapped her hands 
and exclaimed : — 

" That is it ! ** 

"Well,** said Caleb, "it does me good to 
know that the change is big enough to see, for 
it's taken a powerful lot o* work. I used to 
be at the head of the grammar class when I 
was a boy at school, but ' Evil communications 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 401 

corrupt good manners,* as the Bible says, an* 
I've been hearin* the language twisted ev*ry 
which way ever since I left school. I never 
noticed that anythin* was wrong till I got into 
some long talks with Mary, an* even then I 
didn*t suppose that *twas my manner o* speech 
that once in a while made her twitch as if a 
skeeter had suddenly made himself too familiar. 
One evenin* — I didn't know till afterwards 
that she*d had an extra hard day at the store, 
an* had brought a nervous headache home with 
her — she gave an awful twitch while I was 
talkin*, an* then she whispered * Them ! * to her- 
self, an* looked as disapprovin* as a minister 
at a street-fight. Then all of a sudden my bad 
grammar came before my eyes, as awful as con- 
viction to a sinner. But I was' tryin' to set my 
best foot forward, so I went on : — 

" * I said '* them ** for " those '* just now, per- 
haps you noticed ? * 

" * I believe I did,* said she. 

'* 'Well,* said I, ' that word was pounded into 
me so hard at school one day that I*ve never 
been able to get rid of it. You see, I was the 
teacher*s favorite, after a fashion, because it 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 402 

was known that I was expectin* to study for the 
ministry, so the teacher kept remindin* me that 
grammar was made to practise as well as recite, 
an* 'twasn't of any use to use the language cor- 
rectly in the class if I was goin' to smash it 
an' trample on the pieces on the playground. I 
took the warnin', an* one day, when four of us 
boys were havin* a game of long-taw at recess I 
said somethin* about "those** marbles. One of 
the boys jumped as if he had been shot, and 
when he came down he rolled back his lips an' 
said ** Those ! ** kind o* contemptuous-like, 
an* another snickered " Those ! ** an* the other 
growled " Those ! ** an* then the first one said, 
** Fellers, Preachy*s puttin* on airs ; let*s knock 
*em out of him,** an* then all of *em jumped on 
me an* pounded me until the bell rang us in 
from recess, an* from that time to this I*ve 
stuck to "them** like a penitent to the pre- 
cious promises.* 

"Well, she had a laugh over that; she said 
afterward that it cured her headache, but after 
quietin' down she said, lookin* out o* the side 
o* her face kind o* teasin*-like, an* also mighty 
bewitchin* : — 

Caleb Wright j* j» 403 

"'What did the boys do to make you say 
" am*t " for " haven't " ? ' 

" Then I was stuck, an' laughed at myself as 
the best way of turnin* it off, but for the rest of 
the evenin* I was chasin* the old grammar back 
through about twenty years of army talk an* 
store talk, an* 'twas harder than a dog nosin' a 
rabbit through a lot full o* blackberry patches, 
an* I reckon I lost the scent a good many times. 
I stayed in the city that night, so as to get into 
a bookstore an* a grammar book early next 
mornin*, an* I dived into that book ev*ry chance 
I got, in the hoss-cars an* ev*rywhere else, an* 
when I was on the ocean an* not sayin* my 
prayers, nor readin* the Bible, I was doin* only 
three things, an* generally doin* all of *em at 
once, — thinkin* of Mary, keepin* my head an* 
shoulders up as my old soldier-chum Jim had 
made me promise to do, an* puttin* Claybanks 
English into decent grammatical shape. I 
tried to stop droppin* my *g*s* too, for she 
seemed to think they deserved a fightin* chance 
o* life, even if they did come in only on the tail- 
ends of words; Fd have got along fairly well 
at it, if it hadn't been for the English people. 

Caleb fFRiGHT j^ j^ 404 

but some of them seem to hate a ' g * at the end 
of a word as bad as if it was an *h' at the 
beginning which is sayin* a good deal. But see 
here, isn't it most church time ? I s'pose the 
sooner I take up my cross, the less Y\\ dread 

"Caleb,** exclaimed Grace, in genuine sur- 
prise, " it can't be possible that you've been 
backsliding, and learning to dislike religious 
services ? ** 

" Oh, no,** Caleb replied, looking quizzically 
at his wife ; " but you're the only old acquaint- 
ances I've met since I was married, an* at 
church I'll meet two or three hundred, an* 
Claybanks people don't often have any one new 
to look at an' talk about, an* any surprise of 
that kind is likely to hit most of 'em powerful 

" Go very early,*' Grace suggested, " and sit 
as far front as possible. Philip and I will 
break the news to the minister before he 
reaches the church, and we'll stand outside 
and tell the people as they arrive, so that 
they can collect their wits and manners by the 
time the service ends." 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 405 

" That'll be a great help," said Caleb. Then 
he drew Grace aside and whispered with a 
look that was pathetic in its appeal : " Try to 
make her understand, won't you, that our 
folks are a good deal nicer than they look ? 
You went through it alone, a few months ago. 
I saw your face, an* my heart ached for you, 
but to-day Tm tremblin' for Mary. What do 
you s'pose she'll think after she's looked 
around } " 

" About what I myself did," Grace replied. 
" I thought, * I've my husband,* and from that 
moment Philip was far dearer to me than he 
had been." 

" Is that so } Glory ! Mary, put on your 
bonnet. Let's be off for church." 



ELL^ Philip," said Caleb, as the 
two men met on the piazza, before 
sunrise Monday morning, "as Sun- 
day's gone an' as there's no one here but 
you an' I, let's talk business a little bit. 
You mustn't think that my having taken a wife 
is going to make me an extra drag on you, an' 
right after a cyclone, too. My salary's enough 
to support two on the best that Claybanks can 
provide, an' if you're hard pushed, I can get 
along without drawin' anythin' for a year, 
for I've always kept a few hundred ahead 
against a time when I might break down 
entirely. I've told Mary how your wife's 
been in the store a great part of the time, 
an' there's nothin' that Mary'd like better than 
to do the same thing, if agreeable to you an' 
Mrs. Somerton. She's had practical trainin' 
at it, you know." 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 407 

" She'll be worth her weight in gold to us," 
Philip replied, "for I foresee a busy future, 
about which Fve much to say to you. The 
cyclone, instead of depressing the people, 
seems to have nerved them to new hope, for 
the town has received much free advertising ; 
a lot of city newspapers sent men down here 
to describe the horrors of the affair, and as 
there were no actual horrors, and the mgn 
wanted something of which to make stories, 
that brother-in-law of yours, who is about as 
quick-witted a young chap as I ever met, 
filled their heads with the natural resources of 
Claybanks, — rich soil, drained swamps, plenty 
of valuable commercial timber, water-power 
available at short notice, whenever manufac- 
turers might demand it, and, of course, the 
great deposit of brick clay from which the 
town got its name. I predict that there will be 
a lot of chances to make money outside of the 
store, so the more help we can have in the store, 
the better. By the way, I wonder what Truett 
has been up to this morning. I heard ham- 
mering awhile ago, in the direction of the 
warehouse. Ah ! I remember — putting up 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 408 

the old sign over the door — uncle's old sign; 
it was carried about a mile from town by the 
cyclone and brought back by a man who 
thought, and very correctly, that Fd like to 
preserve it. Let's go around a moment and 
see how it looks, and remind ourselves of old 

As they reached the front of the warehouse, 
Caleb lost the end of a partly uttered sen- 
tence, for over the old sign he saw a long 
board on which was painted, in large, black 
letters : — 



" Who did that } " Caleb gasped. 

"Truett," Philip replied. "He did it by 
special request, and I'm afraid he worked a 
little on Sunday, but Mrs. Somerton and I 
thought it a work of necessity. You see," 
Philip continued, in a matter-of-fact manner, 
and ignoring Caleb's astonished look, " by the 
terms of Uncle Jethro's will I was to provide 
for you for life and to your own satisfaction, 
and 'tis quite as easy to do it this way as 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 409 

on the salary basis. Besides, 'twill put those 
benevolent societies out of their misery, and 
put an end to their questions, every two or 
three months, as to the likelihood of the 
property reverting to them. You'll have me 
in your power as to terms, but I know you'll 
do nothing unfair. Let's have articles of co- 
partnership drawn up, on the basis of equal 
division of profits in the entire business — 
store, farms, houses, etc. I wrote you of the 
lump of money I got for my father's old 
mining stock. That, of course, is my own; 
but if the firm runs short of ready cash at 
any time I will lend to it at the legal rate of 
interest, so nothing but a very bad crop year 
can cripple us. Besides, I shall want to 
operate a little on the outside, so the store 
will need an additional manager who shall also 
be an owner — not a clerk, as you've insisted 
on being." 

" But, Philip," said Caleb, who had collapsed 
on an empty box in front of the store, "I've 
never had any experience as a boss." 

"Nor as a married man, either," Philip 
replied, "yet you've suddenly taken to the 

Caleb Wright j^ ^ 410 

part quite naturally and creditably ! The main 
facts are these: Tm satisfied that the past 
success of the store business has been due 
quite as much to you as to Uncle Jethro, and 
all the people agree with me. I couldn't 
possibly get along without you, nor feel 
honest if I continued to take more than half 
of the proceeds. Why not go tell the story 
to your wife, as an eye-opener ? I think it 
might give her a good appetite for breakfast, 
and improve her opinion of Claybanks and 
the general outlook. It might cheer her 
farther to be told that her brother is the 
right man in the right place, and bids fair 
to become the busiest man in the county." 

" ril tell her, an' I don't doubt that 'twill set 
her up amazingly. But, Philip — " here Caleb 
looked embarrassed, "you haven't — don't you 
think you could make out to say somethin' to 
me about her } " 

'* You dear old chap, — ' young chap ' would 
be the proper expression, — where are your 
eyes, that you haven't seen me admiring her 
ever since you brought her to us yesterday 
morning? She's a beauty with a lot of soul, 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 411 

and she's a wonderfully clever, charming 
woman besides, and I never saw a bride who 
seemed deeper in love. I can't ever thank 
you enough for finding such capital company 
for my wife. I expected to be impressed, 
for Grace has raved about her ever since you 
first wrote of meeting her, but Grace left 
much untold." 

" I was afraid you might think she took up 
with me too easily,** said Caleb ; ** but when, 
after we were married, I told her I never 
would forgive myself if I did not make her 
life very happy, she said she had no fears for 
the future, and that I mustn't think she took 
me only on my own say-so, for she*d had a 
lot of letters from your wife about me, all to 
the effect that I was the honestest, kindliest, 
most thoughtful, most unselfish man in the 
world, except you. Mary had great confidence 
in the judgment of your wife, whom she re- 
membered as a very discreet young woman 
and a good judge of human nature. Her 
brother, too, unloaded on her a lot of compli- 
mentary things that he*d managed to pick up 
out here about me. Now, as a married man, 

Caleb Wright j» j» 412 

an* a good friend of mine, what do you hon- 
estly think of my future?" 

"Nothing but what is good. You've still 
half of your life before you, and if you're 
really rid of malaria, and if that Confederate 
bullet will cease troubling you, you ought to 
tread on air and Uve on sunshine for the re- 
mainder of your days." 

" Speakin' of bullets," said Caleb, tugging 
at one end of a double watch-chain, and ex- 
tracting from his pocket something which re- 
sembled a battered button, "how's that, for 
the wicked ceasin' from troubUn' an' the weary 
bein' at rest ? For my first two or three days 
at sea I couldn't see any good in sea-sickness, 
except perhaps that it had a tendency to make 
a man willin' to die, an' even that view of it 
didn't appeal very strongly to me, circum- 
stances bein' what they were. One day when 
I was racked almost to death, I felt an awful 
stitch in my side. I was weak an* scared 
enough to b'lieve almost anythin' awful, so 
I made up my mind that I must have broken 
a rib durin' my struggles with my interior 
department, an' that the free end of it was 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 413 

tryin* to punch its way through to daylight. 
So I sent for the ship's surgeon, an* he, after 
fussin' over me two or three minutes, and 
doin* a little job of carving brought us face to 
face — I an* my old acquaintance from the 
South. I was so glad that I could *a* hugged 
the Johnny Reb that fired that bullet, an* I 
never was seasick after that. But that's enough 
about me. Tell me somethin* about business. 
Do you think the cyclone has hurt you a lot, 
for the present } ** 

" It destroyed the store and its contents, and 
I don't expect to get any insurance, but I 
haven't lost any customers. On the other hand, 
some farmers are so sorry for me, I being the 
only merchant that was entirely cleaned out, 
that they are going to trade with us next year. 
Besides, much of our stock was old, and never 
would have sold at any price, while an entirely 
new stock is a great attraction to all classes of 
customers. We'll have a new store building up 
pretty soon, if Truett is as able as he thinks 
himself and as I think him. Let's go back to 
the wreck a moment ; he generally has some 
men at work by sunrise, clearing away, so as 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 414 

to get at the foundations and ascertain their 

Apparently the young engineer was amusing 
himself, for they found him hammering a brick 
into small bits and examining the fractured sur- 
faces. As Philip and Caleb joined him, he 
said : — 

"This is a mystery. How on earth do you 
suppose this kind of brick got into Claybanks ? " 

" Easiest way in the world," Caleb replied, 
" seein' 'twas made here. Tisn't a good color, 
but, gentlemen, I saw whole houses on some o' 
the best streets in New York made of brick of 
about this color. They were better shaped, an* 
fancy-laid, but — " 

"Excuse me, Caleb," said Truett, excitedly, 
" but do you mean to say that this brick was 
made here, in Claybanks, of Claybanks clay ? ** 

"That's the English of it," Caleb replied, 
" an* all the bricks of all the chimneys an* fire- 
places in the town are of the same clay.** 

" Oh, no ; they*re red.** 

"Yes, but that's because of one of Jethro's 
smartnesses. Wonderful man, Jethro Somerton 
was. The way of it was this: a newcomer 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 415 

here that wanted to put on some style, like he'd 
been used to in Pennsylvany, got your uncle to 
order enough red paint for him to cover a big 
new barn. Just *fore the paint got here the 
barn was struck by lightnin*, an* the new barn 
had to be of rough slabs, an* the man was glad 
enough to get *em, too. Meanwhile Jethro was 
stuck with a big lot o* red paint, for nobody else 
felt forehanded enough to paint a barn. Jethro 
cogitated a spell, an* then he said quite frequent 
an* wherever he got a chance, that Claybanks 
was a sad, sombre-lookin* place ; needed color, 
specially in winter, to make it look kind o* 
spruce-like. That set some few people to white- 
washin* their houses, an* when them that 
couldn*t afford to do that much kind o* felt that 
some o* their neighbors were takin* the shine 
off of *em, Jethro up an* said, * Any man can 
afford to paint his chimney red, anyhow, an* a 
red chimneyll brighten up any house.* So, 
little by little at first, but afterwards all at a 
jump, he got rid o* that lot o* red paint, an* 
had to order more, an* in the course o* time it 
got to be the fashion, quite as much as wearin* 
hats out o* doors.** 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 416 

" That explains," said Truett, apparently re- 
lieved at mind, " why Fve not noticed the brick 
before. Fve seen two or three foundation walls, 
but I supposed, from their color, that they were 
merely mud-stained. Now let me give you two 
men a great secret, on condition that you let me 
in on the ground floor of the business end of it. 
Brick of this quality and color, properly moulded 
and baked, is worth about three times as much 
as ordinary red brick : Til get the exact figures 
within a few days. I know that there is money 
in sending it to New York, from no matter what 
distance. Some of it is used even in indoor 

" Whe — e — e — ew ! " whistled Philip. 

" Je — ru — salem ! " ejaculated Caleb. " To 
think that the clay has been here all these years 
without anybody knowing its real value ! ** 

" How could any one be expected to know 
about anything that existed in an out-of-the-way 
hole-in-the-ground like Claybanks ? " 

"Sh — not so loud!" said Philip. "Such 
talk in any Western town is worse than trea- 

Tis reason, nevertheless. There might be 

(( »' 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 417 

a vein of gold here, but how could the world 
ever learn of it ? Who owns the clay banks ? 
Can't we get an option on them?" 

"They belong to the town, which charges 
a royalty of twenty-five cents per thousand 
bricks," said Caleb. " TheyVe brought less 
than a hundred dollars, thus far." 

"Oh, this is dreadful! — splendid, I mean! 
A brick-making outfit isn't expensive, and fuel 
with which to burn the bricks is cheap. Can't 
we three organize a company, right here, in our 
hats or pockets, and get the start of any and all 
others in the business.? 'Twill cost us about 
two dollars per thousand, I suppose, to haul the 
bricks to the railway station, but even then 
there will be a lot of money in the business. 
If we could have a railway — pshaw, men — 
Claybanks must have a railway! I've selected 
several routes, in off-hand fashion, over the 
three miles of country between here and the 
nearest railway station ; there would be abso- 
lutely no bridging to do, nor any grading 
worth mentioning, so the three miles could 
be built for thirty thousand dollars. Let's do 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 418 

'* Truett/* said Philip, impressively, " go slow 

— very slow, or you'll have inflammation of the 
brain. Worse still, I shall have it. Caleb may 
escape, for he has the native Westerner's 
serene self-confidence in his own town and 
section; but I*m a Claybanker by adoption 
merely. First, you open a mine of wealth 
before our eyes, in the claybanks. Then you 
tempt us to make bricks for rich New Yorkers 
and others. Then you offer us a railway for 
thirty thousand dollars, — more money, to be 
sure, than could be raised here in thirty years, 

— and you do all this before breakfast on 
Monday morning. Come into the house with 
us ; I shall faint with excitement if I don't get 
a cup of coffee at once." 

" Make light of it, if you like," said Truett, 
" but will you look at the brick-making figures, 

— cost of plant, manufacture, and freight, also 
the selling price, — if I can get them from 
trustworthy sources ? " 

"Indeed I will — our firm will; won't we, 
Caleb ? " 

"Fve been wantin' for years to see such a 
lot of figures," said Caleb, placidly, " an' to see 

Caleb JFright * j» 419 

the railroad figures we could touch. I've 
seen some of the other kind, once in a 

" I hope too many cooks haven't spoiled the 
broth," said Mary, at the breakfast table, from 
behind a large breast-knot of roses. ** I found 
in the garden what Grace pronounces a lot of 
weeds; but Fve made a salad of them, and I 
shall feel greatly mortified if all of you don't 
enjoy it." 

" We are prepared to expect almost anything 
delightful from what has been accounted worth- 
less," said Philip, "after having listened to 
some of your brother's disclosures this morning. 
Eh, Caleb .? " 

"Yes, indeed," replied Caleb, with an "I- 
told-you-so " air. " I never doubted that a 
lot of good things would be developed at Clay- 
banks, when the right person came along to 
develop 'em." 

" Think of it, Mary ! " said Truett. " You 
remember that magnificent house of old Bill- 
ion's, on Madison Avenue — a house of yellow- 
ish brown brick.? Well, the foundation of 
Somerton's old store is of just such brick, and 

Caleb Wright ^ ji 420 

it was made here, years ago, of the clay for 
which the town was named/* 

Mary's eyes opened wide as she replied : — 

" What a marvellous country ! Why, Grace, 
one of our firm, at the old store, boasted of hav- 
ing a chimney breast of that same brick, as if it 
were something quite rare and costly." 

"Why don't you build the new store of it, 
Phil?** Grace asked. 

"That's a happy thought!" said Truett. 
" Now, Somerton, what do you say to my brick- 
yard plan } Put up the first solid building in 
Clay banks — set the fashion. Think of how 
'twould advertise your business and make your 
competitors look small by comparison.** 

" Very well. See how quickly it can be done, 
if at all, and then we will talk business. We 
must have the warehouse clear by the begin- 
ning of the pork-packing season, less than four 
months distant.*' Then he smiled provokingly, 
and continued, " Perhaps, however, it will be 
better to build the new store of wood, as 
already planned, so you can give most of your 
time to building a railroad, so that we may get 
our golden bricks, and other goods, to market." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 421 

"There's sense in that/* said Truett, taking 
the remark seriously. "As to the road, you 
may rest assured that my figures are within the 
extreme cost" 

" My dear boy," said Philip, " far be it from 
me to dispute an engineer's estimates ; but for 
some years in New York I was clerk and cor- 
respondent for a firm of private bankers who 
dabbled in railways, and I assure you that they 
never found any that cost but ten thousand 
dollars per mile." 

" Perhaps not, for most railways are built 
on credit — generally on speculation, and 
largely for the special benefit of the builders, 
but our road — " 

"What are these men talking about.?" 
Mary asked of Grace. 

"A railway from Claybanks to the nearest 
station we now have," said Philip. "Women 
love imaginative creations, Truett, so tell them 
all about it." 

" There is no imagination in this," Truett 
retorted, "but perhaps they will condescend 
to listen to facts. Most companies are obliged 
to average the cost of their lines over a great 

Caleb Wright j» j» 422 

stretch of territory. They have bridges and 
trestles to build, cuts to make, low ground to 
fill, and they must pay high prices, at por- 
tions of their line, for right of way, and they 
stock and bond their companies at ruinous 
rates to get the necessary money. As IVe 
already said, none of the routes I have selected 
requires a single bridge, trestle, or filling, and 
the right of way, at the highest prices of 
farm land in this county, won't exceed a thou- 
sand dollars per mile." 

"*Twon*t cost a cent a mile,** said Caleb. 
"Any farmer in these parts will give a rail- 
road free right of way through his land, and 
say * Thank you * for the privilege of doing 
it If his house or barn is in the way, he 
will move it ; he'll even let the line run over 
his well, and dig himself a new one, for the 
sake of having railroad trains for him and his 
family to stare at, for the trains kind o' bring 
farmers in touch with the big world of which 
they never see anything. If everything else 
can be arranged, you may safely count on 
me to coax right of way for the entire 

Caleb Wright ^ j* 423 

" Score one for Truett ! " said Philip ; " pro- 
ceed, Mr. Engineer." 

" Thank you, and thanks to Caleb. The 
items of cost will be only road-bed, ties, and 
metal. A single track, with heavy rails, can 
be metalled out here for less than three thou- 
sand dollars per mile: that means nine thou- 
sand dollars for the three miles, and that 
should be the total cash outlay, for the road- 
bed and ties can be provided, by local enter- 
prise, without money." 

"Pardon my thick head," said Philip, "but 
how .? " 

" By organizing a stock company with shares 
so small that any farmer can subscribe, his 
subscription being payable in ties, which he 
can cut from his own woodland, or in labor 
with pick, shovel, horses, plough, scraper — 
whatever he and we can best use. Fix a valua- 
tion on ties, and on each class of labor, and pay 
in stock. *Tis simply applying our drainage- 
ditch plan to a larger operation, though not 
very much larger, and one that will be attrac- 
tive to a far greater number of men. Do 
this, and you merchants and other men of 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 424 

money supply the cash to buy the metal, and 
ril guarantee to have that road completed in 
time to haul to market your wheat, pork, 
corn, and other produce on any day of the 
coming winter, regardless of the weather. 
Caleb tells me that you merchants have often 
lost good chances of the market because the 
roads between here and the station were so 
soft or so rough that a loaded wagon couldn't 
get over them. There are tens of thousands 
of cords of firewood still standing here, on 
land that ought to be under cultivation, but 
the farmers have no incentive to cut it, for 
there is no market but this little town. The 
railroad would get it to market, and at good 
cash prices, and thus doubly benefit the farmers. 
Fm told that the water-power of the creek 
has been holding up the Claybanks heart for 
years ; and I know that there are enough 
varieties of commercial timber here to occupy 
several mills a long time, but no one is going 
to haul machinery in, and his output away, 
over three miles of mud or frozen clods." 

" True as Gospel — every word of it," said 
Caleb. " Fve heard Jethro, an' Doc Taggess, 

Caleb Wright ^ ^t 425 

an' ev'ry other level-headed man m town say 
the same thing for years." 

" I fully agree with them," said Philip, 
" but let's go back to figures a moment. Fve 
heard nothing yet about the cost of locomo- 
tives, and other rolling stock — mere trifles, of 
course, — yet necessary." 

" We should not be expected to supply them," 
Truett explained. "The road which ours will 
feed will be glad to supply them, as all roads do 
for short spurs on which anything is to be 
handled. It would be idiotic to buy rolling 
stock for a road which at first won't have 
enough business to justify one train a day. 
When there's anything to do, the old company 
will send down a short train from the nearest 
siding ; the run wouldn't require fifteen min- 
utes. You Eastern people who are accus- 
tomed to a thickly populated country, with 
many through trains daily, don't know any- 
thing about the business methods of the 
sparsely settled portions of the West, espe- 
cially on spurs of a railway line." 

" He's right about rolling stock," said Caleb. 
"Ten years ago the railroad company, over 

Caleb IFright ^ j^ 426 

yonder, told Jethro an' a committee that went 
from here to see *em that if we'd build the 
spur, they'd do the rest. But they stood out 
for a solid road-bed, as good as their own, an' 
for heavy steel rails, like their own, for they 
said their roUin' stock was very heavy, and 
they wa'n't goin' to take the risk of accidents. 
The price of the rails knocked us." 

" Naturally," said Truett, " for steel rails 
were four or six times as costly then as they 
are now." 

"You've made me too excited to eat," said 
Philip, leaving the table, "and I'm afraid that 
the trouble will continue until this road is 
moved from the air to the ground. The main 
offices of the old company are only about a 
hundred miles away; suppose, Truett, that 
you and the most truly representative mer- 
chant of Claybanks — I mean Caleb — run up 
there? I'll look after the men at work on the 
store. Tell the president, or whoever is in 
authority, that we think of building a spur at 
once from here to their main track, see what 
they'll do, and persuade them to say it in 
black and white. If they talk favorably, we'll 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 427 

hold a public meeting, and try to do some- 
thing. Mrs. Wright, we owe you an apology. 
I assure you that business talk is not the rule 
at our breakfast table/' 

** I wish it were ! " said Mary, who, with 
Grace, had listened excitedly until both women 
were radiant with enthusiasm. "I wish rail- 
ways could be planned at breakfast every day 
— if my brother were to be the builder." 

" Now, Mary," said Caleb, " perhaps you 
begin to understand the Western fever of 
which Fve told you something from time to 

" Understand it .? " said Mary, dashing im- 
pulsively at her husband. " I already have 
it — madly! I'm willing to bid you good-by 
at once for your trip, though I haven't been 
married a week. My husband a possible rail- 
way director — and yours also, Grace! How 
do you feel.?" 

"Prouder than ever," Grace replied. "Just 
as you will feel, week by week, as the wife of 
a clever husband." 



rRUETT zxiA. Caleb were on their way 
before noon, but not until Truett had 
first packed several bricks and frag- 
ments of bricks, from the foundations of the 
old store, for shipment to New York, accom- 
panied by a request for probable selling fig- 
ures of brick of the same natural quality and 
properly made. He also wrote for an esti- 
mate of cost of a modest brick-making outfit. 
The two men returned within forty-eight 
hours with a written promise from the trunk 
line company to lay the rails, if these and a 
proper road-bed were provided, and take stock 
in payment for the work ; also to take a lease 
of the road, when completed, by guaranteeing 
a six per cent dividend on the stock, which 
was not to exceed thirty thousand dollars. The 
company also imparted the verbal reminder 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 429 

that a six per cent stock, guaranteed by a 
sound company, would always be good secu- 
rity on which to borrow money from any 
bank between the Missouri River and the At- 
lantic Ocean. 

" That being the case," said Philip, " I will 
subscribe all the cash necessary to purchase 
the rails, if the road-bed and ties can be pro- 
vided according to Truett's plan/' 

"Don't, Philip!" said Caleb. 

"Why not?" 

"Because there's such a thing as bein* 
too big a man in a poor country, especially 
if you're a newcomer. Other merchants will 
become jealous of you, an' 'twill cause bad 
feelin' in many ways. Work public spirit 
for all it's worth ; give ev'rybody a chance ; 
then, if toward the end there shows up a defi- 
ciency, they'll be grateful to you for makin' 
it up. Do you want the earth .? Quite likely ; 
so remember what the Bible says, *The meek 
shall inherit the earth,' by which I reckon it 
doesn't mean the small-spirited, but the men 
who don't set their feller-men agin 'em by 
pushin' themselves too far to the front. If 

Caleb JFright ^ ^ 430 

folks here don't know that youVe a lot of 
money in the bank in New York, where's the 
sense of lettin' 'em know it?" 

"Right — as usual, Caleb," said Philip, after 
some impatient pursing of his lips. "I begin 
to see, however, in this guaranteed stock — pro- 
vided, of course, that the farmers subscribe as 
freely as Truett's plan will allow — a way of 
relieving the stringency of ready money in this 
county. We may be able to start a small 
bank here in the course of time, especially if 
any manufacturers can be attracted by the hard 
woods, the railway, and the water-power." 

"That would realize one o' my oldest an' 
dearest dreams," said Caleb, "for 'twould put 
an end to the farmers' everlastin' grumblin' 
about how much worse off they are than the 
people who have banks nigh at hand. I don't 
expect 'em to be much better off — perhaps 
not any, for I've noticed that almost any man 
that can borrow will go on borrowin' an' 
spendin', wisely or otherwise, clean up to his 
limit, an' then want money just as much as 
he did at first; but I'd like our farmers to 
have the chance to learn it for 'emselves, for 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 431 

Fm very tired of askin' 'em, for years, to take 
an honest man's word for it." 

Before sunset Philip had called in person on 
his brother merchants. Doctor Taggess, the 
owner of the saw-mill, the county clerk, and the 
hotel-keeper, and invited them to meet at his 
warehouse-store that evening, immediately after 
the closing hour, for a private and confidential 
talk on a business subject of general interest 
to the community. Caleb went into the farm- 
ing district and invited a flour miller and sev- 
eral of the more intelligent fai;mers to attend 
the meeting. At the appointed hour every one 
was present, the door was locked, Philip briefly 
outlined the railway scheme, told of the main 
line company's offer, and called upon Truett 
to detail his plan of construction. 

The young engineer responded promptly 
with facts and figures, and made much of his 
proposed stock subscriptions to be paid for in 
labor and ties, and the farmers present declared 
it entirely feasible. Most of the merchants 
were frightened at the amount of cash that 
would be required for rails, etc., as almost all 
of it would have to be subscribed by them; but. 

Caleb IFright ^ ^ 432 

Philip, backed by the consciousness of his own 
bank deposit in the East, assured them that 
through some Eastern acquaintances he could 
get merchants' short notes discounted for a 
large part of their subscriptions, and that the 
guaranteed stock could be sold or borrowed 
on as soon as issued; if the cutting and de- 
livery of ties could begin at once, the road 
could be completed soon enough to get the 
autumn and winter produce to market almost 
as rapidly as it could be brought in. 

At this stage of the proceedings the owner 
of the saw-mill promised to expedite matters 
by subscribing five hundred dollars' worth of 
stock, payable in ties at a fair price. The 
town's last railway excitement, several years 
before, had caused him to buy in a lot of 
small timber and saw it into ties, which had 
been dead stock ever since ; he had even tried 
to sell them for firewood. Doctor Taggess 
thought so highly of the project that he said 
he would take a thousand dollars' worth of 
stock; he had very little ready money, but 
through family connections in the East he 
could raise the money by mortgaging his 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 433 

home. The county clerk said he would take 
five hundred dollars' worth, the hotel-keeper 
promised to take a similar amount, and the 
flour miller asked to be **put down*' for two 
hundred and fifty. By this time the mer- 
chants lifted up their hearts and pledged 
enough more to secure the purchase of the 
metal. It was then resolved that a public 
meeting should be held within a week, at the 
court-house, roofless though it still was, and 
all participators in the private consultation 
agreed to " boom " the enterprise in the mean- 
time to the best of their ability. 

The public meeting was as enthusiastic and 
successful as could have been desired. Caleb 
had already secured the right of way, as prom- 
ised, and a statement of this fact, added to 
those narrated above and repeated at the meet- 
ing, elicited great applause. Truett announced 
the valuations, estimated after much consulta- 
tion, of the various kinds of labor to be re- 
ceived in payment of stock ; also, the price of 
ties, and the length, breadth, thickness, and 
general quality of the ties desired. As the 
required number of ties was apparently in 

Caleb Wright ^ ^ 434 

excess of the producing capacity of the local 
saw-mill and the farmers tributary to Clay- 
banks, it was resolved that tie subscriptions 
should be solicited from the part of the county 
on the other side of the trunk line, and thus 
expand the blessings of stockholdership. Then 
a list of conditional subscriptions was opened, 
and it filled so rapidly, that before the meet- 
ing adjourned there appeared to be secured 
as much labor, money, and ties as would be 
needed; so a committee was appointed to 
organize the Claybanks Railway Company 
according to the laws of the state. 

"Is it done — really done?'* asked Grace 
and Mary, like two excitable schoolgirls, when 
PhiUp, Caleb, and Truett returned to the store, 
which was almost full of expectant farmers' 

" It is an accomplished fact — on paper," 
said Philip. "To that extent it is done." 

"Your own work, you mean," said Truett 
"Mine has merely begun." 

" When do you really begin } " asked Mary 
of her brother. 

"To-day — this instant," was the reply, "if 

Caleb Wright j» ^ 435 

I can get a couple of well-grown boys to 
assist me, while I go over the route with an 
instrument and a lot of stakes/' 

Several farmers' wives at once offered the 
services of their own sons, and went in search 
of them, while two of the women, more ** ad- 
vanced" than the others, themselves volun- 
teered to carry stakes, chains, etc., — anything 
to hurry that blessed railroad into existence. 
Fortunately the arrival of several boys made 
the services of these patriotic ladies unneces- 

"The sooner I am able to avail myself of 
any labor that may offer, the sooner I shall 
be ready for some of the ties. Oh, those 
ties! I wonder how many farmers and their 
sons I shall have to instruct in hewing ! " said 

" I wouldn't waste any time in thought on 
that subject, if I were you," said Caleb; **for 
what our farmers don't know about hewin' 
would take you or any other man a long time 
to find out. How do you s'pose all the beams 
an' standin' timbers of all the houses an' barns 
built in this county was made in the days 

Caleb Wright * * 436 

before there were any saw-mills nearer than 
twenty miles ? How do you s'pose some of 
the log houses here are so tight in the joints 
that they need no chinkin' ? I've heard of 
some Eastern people bein* bom with gold 
spoons in their mouths; well, it's just as true 
that hundreds of thousands of Westerners 
were born with axes in their hands. The 
axe was their only tool for years, an' they 
got handy enough with it to do 'most any- 
thin', from buildin' a house to sharpenin' a 
lead-pencil ! " 

" Good for Caleb ! " shouted a farmer's 
wife, and Truett made haste to say: — 

" I apologize to the entire West, and will 
put my mind at ease about the ties." 

The subject of conversation was changed 
by an irruption of farmers and citizens, who 
wished to talk more about the new railroad, 
and who rightly thought that the place where 
the engineer could be found was the most 
likely source of information. The questions 
were almost innumerable, and Truett, who was 
quite as excited as any of them, told all he 
knew about what certain specified spur roads 

Caleb Wright ^ j» 437 

had done for farming and wooded districts no 
more promising than Claybanks ; so the in- 
formal meeting became even more enthusi- 
astic than the gathering at the court-house 
had been, for the farmers' wives added fuel 
to the flame. The spectacle impressed Grace 
deeply, well though she knew the people; for 
from most of the faces was banished, for the 
time being, the weary, resigned expression 
peculiar to a large portion of the farming 
population of the newer states. Caleb, too, 
long though he had known all the men and 
women in the throng, had his heart so entirely 
in his face that Grace whispered to Mary : — 

" Do look at your husband ! Did you ever 
see him look so handsome, until to-day } " 

A strong, warm, nervous hand-clasp was 
the only reply for a moment ; then Mary 
whispered : — 

" All the men here are fine-looking ! — 
their faces are so expressive ! Fve not noticed 
it until to-day. Where did Claybanks get 
such people ? " 

** Say all that to your husband, if you wish 
to fill his heart to overflowing," said Grace, 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 438 

"and then, to please me, repeat it to Doctor 
Taggess, or tell both of them at once." To 
share in the enjoyment, she succeeded in get- 
ting Caleb and the Doctor close to her and 
Mary, and quoted to them : — 

" ' Listen, my children, and you shall hear ' 
— now, Mary I " 

" I don't wonder that you're impressed," the 
Doctor replied, when Mary's outburst con- 
cluded. His own eyes were gleaming, and 
Mary said afterward that his face was her 
ideal of a hero at the moment of victory. 

" Now, Mrs. Somerton, can you again won- 
der, as youVe wondered aloud to my wife and 
me, that I, whom you've kindly called a man 
of high quality, have been content to pass my 
adult years among these backwoods people.? 
Do see their hearts and souls come into their 
faces ! I know they are not always so, but 
we never heard of any one remaining all the 
while on the Mount of Transfiguration. It 
isn't the railway alone that they're thinking 
of, but of what it will mean to themselves and 
their hard-working wives, and to their chil- 
dren, — closer touch with the great world of 

Caleb Wright g» > 439 

which they've read and wondered, better prices 
for their yield, which means more creature 
comforts at home, better educational facilities 
for their children, and less temptation for the 
children to escape from the farm to the city. 
They know that all this must be the work of 
time, but they've never before seen the begin- 
ning of it, so- now they're building air-castles 
as rapidly as a lot of magicians in dream-land. 
I can't blame them, for I'm doing it myself, 
old and cautious though I am. They can 
wait for the end, so can I ; for all of us, out 
here, have had long training in the art of 
waiting. At present the beginning is joy 
enough, for I can't imagine how any one 
about us could look happier." 

The formal survey of the railway route 
began that afternoon, for the people would 
listen to no suggestions of delay. It was com- 
pleted quickly, and that the company was not 
yet organized according to law did not pre- 
vent the immediate offer and acceptance of 
a large working force of men, boys, horses, 
etc., from the village itself. The young 
engineer was his own entire staff, and also 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 440 

temporary secretary and accountant of the 
enterprise ; but as it was his first great job, he 
enjoyed the irregularity of everything. From 
that time forward, for several months, the vil- 
lage stores ceased to be lounging places. Any 
villager or farmer with time to spare made 
his way to the line of the new road, and 
feasted his eyes, apparently nevfer to fulness, 
on the promise of what was to be. 

As the work progressed farther from the 
town, the farmers of the vicinity, with their 
families, would saunter toward the line on 
Sunday afternoons and linger for hours, talk- 
ing of the good times that were coming, and 
some of them actually moved their houses as 
near to the track as possible, so that the in- 
mates might be able to have the best possible 
view of the trains when they began to run. 
When the road-bed was made and the ties 
were placed, and the laying of the rails be- 
gan, entire families picnicked for a day at a 
time beside the track, although the weather 
had become cold, merely to see a shabby 
locomotive push backward some platform cars 
loaded with rails, and to see the rails un- 

Caleb Wright * * 441 

loaded, and listen to the musical clamor of 
track-laying; for did not each detail of the 
work bring nearer to them the hope of Clay- 
banks for a third of a century, — a completed 
railway ? 

Truett had been better than his word. He 
had promised to finish the work by Chri'stmas, 
but the formal opening ceremonies took place 
on Thanksgiving Day ; and more than half the 
people of the county took part in it. With 
an eye to business the principal stockholders 
— the Claybanks merchants — hired a passen- 
ger train for the day, and gave the natives free 
rides to and from the nearest station that had 
a siding and switch by which the train could 
be sent back. The station had not a great 
town to support it, — merely five thousand 
people, — but as the Claybankers roamed 
through the place and saw many houses finer 
than any house in Claybanks, several streets 
that were paved with wooden blocks and 
many that had sidewalks, saw the telegraph 
and telephone wires, and a bank, and a fire- 
engine house, and horse-troughs into which 
fresh water flowed steadily from pipes which 

Caleb IFright j^ j^ 442 

were part of a general service, their hearts 
were filled with the conviction that all these 
comforts and conveniences had come through 
the possession of a railway. Claybanks was 
in a fair way to become like unto that town, 
and they made haste, each after his kind, to 
rejoice. Then all of them who were farmers 
began to lay out, on their mental tablets, the 
appearance of their own farms as they would 
be when divided into building lots, and also 
to count the pleasing sums of money that 
would be paid by the purchasers of the lots, 
and also the many creature comforts which 
the money would buy. 

The first freight car that left Claybanks for 
business purposes was loaded with yellowish 
brown brick for New York, and all Claybanks 
was present to wave hats, handkerchiefs, 
hands, and aprons, as it moved slowly off. 
Claybanks wheat had gone East in times 
past, so had Claybanks pork, and undoubtedly 
these products had entered into the physical 
constitution of New York to some extent, but 
they could not afterward be identified. Clay- 
banks bricks, however, were very different. 
They would be seen by every one, and they 

Caleb Wright * * 


would make Claybanks literally a part of the 
metropolis itself. 

The meaning of all this was felt by the 
people of all classes; even Pastor Grateway 
was so impressed by it that he preached a 
sermon from the text, " They shall speak with 
the enemy in the gates/* and that there 
should be no doubt as to who **they" were, 
a brown brick was at each side of the pulpit 
for the sides of the open Bible to rest upon. 
The pastor, being a man of spiritual insight, 
did not neglect to enlarge upon the fact that 
the bricks themselves were originally clay — 
mere earth — that had been trampled underfoot 
for years, seemingly useless, until it had been 
conformed in shape and quality to the uses 
for which it had been designed from the 
foundation of the world, and that each brick 
was a reminder that the most insensate lump 
of human clay had in it the possibilities for 
which it had been created. 

Nevertheless, the majority of the hearers 
only carried home with them the conviction 
that the Claybanks brick-yard must become 
one of the great things of the world — other- 
wise, why did the minister preach about it? 



^ALEBy' said Philip one evening, as 
the partners and their wives sat in 
the parlor of the Somerton home and 
enjoyed the leisure hour that came between 
store-closing and bed-time, **so much impor- 
tant business has been crowded into the past 
few months that some smaller ventures have 
almost escaped my mind. What ever came of 
that car-load of walnut stumps that I sent East 
last summer ? " 

" I couldn't have told you much about it if 
you'd asked me a day earlier," Caleb replied. 
" I turned it over to a man in the fine-woods 
business — a Grand Army comrade that I met 
at my old chum Jim's post. He said at the 
time that the stumps would undoubtedly pay 
expenses of diggin' and shipment, an' maybe a 
lot more, but 'twould depend entirely on the 
stumps themselves. He'd have each of 'em 

Caleb Wright * j^ 445 

sawed lengthwise an' a surface section dressed, 
to show the markings of the grain o' the wood. 
It seems that they were so water-soaked that 
'twas months after sawin* before the wood of 
any of 'em was dry enough to dress, but he got 
at some of 'em a few weeks ago, an' though 
most of 'em wa'n't above the ordinary, there 
were two or three that made the furniture an' 
decoration men bid against each other at a 
lively rate. One of 'em panned out over sixty 

** What ? One walnut stump } Sixty dol- 
lars ? " 

**Oh, that's nothing. To work me up, he 
told me of one, picked up in the country a few 
years ago, that brought more than a thousand 
dollars to the buyer. The markings were so 
fine that it was sawn into thin veneers that 
were sold for more than their weight in silver. 
Still, to come to the point, your entire lot 
brought about two hundred and seventy dollars 
net, an' I've got the check in my pocket to 
prove it." 

" And the land from which they were taken 
cost me only two hundred dollars in goods! 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 446 

And there are still hundreds of stumps in it! 
And I felt so ashamed and babyish when I 
learned that Fd been tricked into buying 
cleared land, that I almost resolved to recall 
you by wire, so that I should be kept from 
being tricked again in some similar manner! 
I shall have to drive out to old Weefer's farm, 
tell him the story, and ask him if he has any 
more walnut clearings for sale." 

"Hadn't you better keep quiet about it? 
Where's the use in killin' the goose that lays 
the golden egg? Pick up all the walnut 
clearings that are for sale, an' make what you 
can out of 'em, before you go to talkin' ; but if 
you feel that you must say somethin' on the 
subject to somebody, an' jubilate a little, go 
tell Doc Taggess, who owns the lot you thought 
you were buyin'. If anybody deserves to make 
money in the boom that's comin'. Doc does, an' 
if he could clear his land, now that he can rail- 
road the logs to market, an' then get out his 
stumps, he might get cash enough ahead to 
pick up a lot of real estate, or take stock in 
millin' enterprises, when the water-power ditch 
is made, an' so lay up somethin' to keep him 

Caleb JFright * j^ 447 

out of the poor-house in old age ; for as long as 
he can practise, he'll give to the poor all that he 
can collect from patients that are better off. 
The chap that handled the stumps for you 
asked me a lot of questions about the kind an* 
quantity of standin' timber out here, and said 
he didn't see why we didn't start mills to turn 
out furniture lumber an' dimension-stuff, like 
some that have made fortunes for men in the 
backwoods of Indiana and Michigan an' some 
other states." 

" Let's try it, if our cash and credit aren't 
already used as far as they should be. By the 
way, how is Claybanks corn-flour, Somerton's 
brand, going in England 1 " 

"Fairly. We've sent, in all, about four 
hundred barrels; that's an average of a hun- 
dred a month, with a net profit to us of about 
thirty per cent, which is better, I reckon, than 
any of the big flour shippers ever dreamed o' 
makin'. I've been hopin' that the good tidin's 
of good food-stuff at about half the price o' bad 
would work its way into other parts of London 
an' out into the country, too; but English 
people don't seem to move about an* swap 

Caleb Wright j* j* 448 

stories an' prices, like us Americans. I reckon 
I came home too soon, for the good o' that deal, 
for I had a lot o* things in mind to do in Lon- 
don to make corn-meal popular. It seems to 
be the English way to let things alone until 
some of the upper classes take to *em, so I was 
goin' to try the meal on some o* the swells ; but 
the more I thought of it, the more it seemed 
that they too belonged . to the f ollow-my-leader 
class. So I made up my mind to begin way up 
at the tip-top, an' so I wrote a letter to Queen 
Victoria, sayin' Td come all the way from 
America to make the English people practi- 
cally acquainted with the cheapest and most 
nutritious food known in the temperate zone, 
an' that I was catchin' on fairly, but the com- 
mon people seemed to think it was common 
stuff, which it wasn't, as I would be glad to 
prove to her. Besides, I knew of Americans 
richer than any nobleman in England who had 
it on their tables every day. I said I could 
make six kinds o' bread an' three kinds o' 
puddin' out o' corn-meal, an' I'd like a chance 
to do it some day for her own table ; if she'd 
let me do it in the palace kitchen, I'd bring my 

Caleb Wright j^ j* 


own pans an' things, so's not to put the help to 
any trouble, — an' I'd — " 

" You — wrote — to — the Queen — of Eng- 
land," Philip exclaimed, "offering to make 
corn-bread and meal-pudding for the royal 
table ! " 

"That's what I did, an' I took pains to 
specify that 'twould be made of Claybanks 
corn-flour, Somerton's brand, too — not the 
common meal that again an' again has let 
down American com in foreign minds to the 
level of the hog-trough. But it ^didn't work. 
Though I put in an addressed postal card 
for reply, the good lady never answered my 
letter. Too busy, I s'pose." 

Philip stared at Grace, who pressed one 
hand closely to her lips, while Mary looked 
at her husband as if wondering in what entirely 
original and unexpected manner, and where, 
he might next break out. Then Philip said 
gravely : — 

" How strange ! Besides, I doubt whether 
any other man was ever so thoughtful as to 
enclose a reply-card to her Majesty." 

"Well, after waitin' a spell I made up my 

Caleb Wright j* g» 450 

mind that that particular cake was all dough. 
One day when I was in the shop, turnin* 
sample cakes an' bread out o* the pans, up 
drove a carriage, an' a couple o* well-dressed 
men, one of 'em short an' stout, an' the other 
kind o' tallish, came in an' looked about, kind 
o' cur'us. * Try some samples, gentlemen ? * 
said I, thinkin' they looked as if they was 
used enough to good feedin' to know it when 
they saw it. They nodded, stiffish-like, an* I 
set 'em down to a little table with a white 
cloth on it, an' I set before 'em dodgers, an' 
muffins, an' cracklin' bread, an' pan-cakes, all 
as hot as red pepper, an' some A i English 
butter to try 'em with — an' they do know 
how to make butter over in England ! 

"Well, they sampled 'em all, takin' two or 
three mouthfuls of each, an' exchanged opin- 
ions, which seemed to be favorable, with their 
eyes an' heads. While they were eatin*, the 
shop began to get dark, an' when I looked 
around to see if a fog had come up all of 
a-sudden, as it sometimes does over there, I 
saw that the street was packed with people, 
an' they were jammed up to the doors an' 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 451 

windows. * It's plain that gentlemen are not 
often on exhibition in this part of the town/ 
said I to myself. Suddenly the two got up, 
an* both said 'Thanks/ an' went out, an* 
when their carriage started, the crowd set up 
a cheer. 'Who are they.?* I said to a man 
at the door. He looked at me as if I had 
tried to run a counterfeit on him, an* he 
said, * Ah, me eye ! * but another chap said : — 

"*It*s the Prince, an* the Duke o' Some- 
thinorother.' *' 

" H*m ! Yet you never got a reply on that 
postal card ! ** 

" Never. I meant to try again, an* register 
the letter, so as to be sure that it got into 
the right hands, but somethin' kept tellin* me 
'twas time to get back home. But if you*ll 
let me make a trip again next fall, at my own 
expense, 1*11 try for better luck. Anyway, 
1*11 work the corn-meal plan on Liverpool an* 
other cities, an* if it takes as well as it*s done 
in London, *twon't be long before a good many 
thousan*s of bushels of Claybanks corn'll be 
saved from the distilleries, in the course of a 

Caleb JFright j^ j^ 452 

"Phil," Grace remarked, "Caleb's wish to 
go abroad in the fall reminds me that I want 
you to take me East for a few weeks in the 
spring, and we ought to begin our prepara- 
tions at once. As 'tis near Christmas, Mary 
and I have been talking of presents, and 
particularly of one which you and Caleb can 
join in giving us and at the same time secure 
to yourselves more of the business and social 
companionship of your wives. We want a 

" Sensible women ! " Philip replied. " As 
to your husbands, they will be delighted — 
eh, Caleb.? If it weren't that servants can't 
be had in this part of the country, and help, 
after the Claybanks manner, would have ban- 
ished all sense of privacy, I should think myself 
a villain of deepest dye for having allowed the 
wife of the principal merchant of Claybanks 
to cook my meals and do all the remaining 
work of the house, and I don't doubt that 
Caleb feels similarly about Mary." 

"Well," said Caleb, "work that wa'n't de- 
gradin' to my dear mother oughtn't to seem too 
mean for my wife ; but, on the other band, my 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 453 

mother shouldn't have done it if I could have 
helped it, 'specially if she'd have tried also to 
do a full day's clerk-work in a store once in 
ev'ry twenty-four hours." 

"That explains our position," Grace added. 
" You two men are so full of new business of 
various kinds that Mary and I should be in the 
store all the while. Soon that dreadful pork- 
house must open for the season, and then we 
shall see less of you than ever. A good house- 
keeper will cost no more than a good clerk, and 
we must have one or the other. We don't want 
a clerk, if we can avoid it ; at present we have 
the business entirely in our own hands, and 
when there are no customers in the store, we 
have as much privacy and freedom as if we 
were in the house. Mary knows a good woman 
in New York who will be glad to come here as 
maid-of-all-work, if she may be called house- 
keeper instead of servant ; she has a grown son 
who wishes to be a farmer and to begin where 
land is cheaper and richer than it is in the 
vicinity of New York. With such a woman to 
care for the house we can spend most of our 
time in the store, hold the trade of such women- 

Cyii.EH Wright > > 454 

f/'>nc x\ 4<tal mrJci as, and try to get t&c re- 
m^indfir ; f r>T where woTnen and their daughters 
btiy, thft husband and brothers will also go." 

''That'?^ aA aure as shootin'," said Caleb. 
'' 1)o yon know that in spite of the cjrckme the 
ntf/rt hz% flone twice as much business since 
you came as it ever did before in the same 
months ? I'd be downright sorry for the other 
merchants in town if I didn't believe that we're 
nffon f^oW to have a big increase of population^ 
and there'll be business enough for alL Philip 
deserves credit for a lot of the new business, 
an* his wife for more, which isn't Philip's fault, 
but his fortune in havin' married just that sort 
of woman. If nobody else'll say it, I s'pose it 
won't be i)resumin' for me to say that a small 
|)cr(Tntap;e of the increase o' the last two or 
three nionths has come through a young woman 
whose name used to be Mary Truett." 

" Small percentage, indeed ! " Grace ex- 
i^laimod. " Mary has secured more new busi- 
ness than I did in the same number of weeks, 
and slu^ has done it so easily, too. She never 
scctns to bo thinking of business when she*s 
trtlkius to a customer, yet she instinctively 

Caleb Wright j> j^ 455 

knows what each woman wants, and places the 
proper goods before her, while I, very likely, 
would be thinking more of the woman than of 
the business." 

" That's merely a result of experience," said 
Mary. " I'm nearly thirty, with a business ex- 
perience of ten years; you were a mere chit 
of twenty-three when you married. Still, I 
don't believe any hired clerk, of no matter how 
many years' experience, could do half as well as 
either of us." 

"For the very good reason," said Philip, 
" that both of you are practically owners of the 
business. No clerk can be as useful in any 
business as one of the proprietors." 

"That remark would 'a' hurt my feelin's, a 
year ago," said Caleb; "but since my name 
went on that sign over the door, I've been 
lookin' backward at my old self a lot, an' lookin' 
down on my old self, too. Perhaps the differ- 
ence has come o' gettin' rid o' malaria, perhaps 
o' takin' a wife ; but I'm goin' to make b'lieve, 
after makin' full allowance for ev'rythin' else, 
that nobody can bring out the best that's in 
him until he begins to work for himself." 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 456 

"No other person would dare criticise your 
old self in my presence, Caleb," said Philip, 
"but yoiiVe certainly acquired a new manner 
in business, and it's extremely fetching in more 
senses than one. One of the best things about 
it is that the natives notice it, and talk of it to 
one another, and are pleased by it, for you're 
one of them, you know. I'm a mere outsider." 

" Do they really notice it } " asked Caleb, 
with a suggestion of the old-time pathos in his 
face and voice, "an' are they really pleased? 
Because, as you say, I'm really one of *em, an' 
I'm proud of it. I've gone through pretty 
much ev'rythin' they have — 'specially the 
malaria, an' now that their good times are 
comin', I'm glad I'm with 'em. But to think — " 
here he walked deliberately to a mirror and 
studied his own face for a moment — " to think 
that only so little time ago as when you came 
here I felt like an old, used-up man, an' I'd put 
my house in order, so to speak, against the time 
when I should have my last tussle with malaria, 
an' go under, with the hope o' goin' upward." 

"That was before you met Mary," Grace 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 457 

" Yes ; that's so." 

"And he must get rid of Mary before he 
can ever have an opportunity to feel that way 
again," said the lady referred to, as she looked 
proudly at her husband. ** Old ! Used up ! 
The most spirited, active, hopeful, cheerful 
man I ever met! But, really, you were dif- 
ferent, Caleb, when I first saw you ; it doesn't 
seem possible that you're the same man. From 
what I've seen of the people here, I believe it 
is one of the ways of the West for men to try 
to look older than they are ; you must use 
your influence — and example — to make them 
stop it. In New York a man seldom looks 
old until he is very near the grave; the most 
active and fine-looking business men are be- 
yond threescore, as a rule — about twenty 
years older than you, Caleb." 

**Ye — es, but they weren't brought up on 
malaria, pork, plough-handles, an' saleratus bis- 
cuit," said Caleb. "There's hope for a change 
here, though. Doc Taggess says there's nothin' 
like as much malaria in town as there was be- 
fore the swamps were drained, and the good 
times comin', because o' the railroad, '11 make 

Caleb Wright j> ji 458 

some more changes for the better, for all of 


For a few moments each member of the 
quartet seemed to have dropped into revery. 
The silence was broken by Philip, who said : — 

"Caleb, a year ago even you would not 
have dared to prophesy the changes that 
have been made, and those which are within 
sight, yet to you belongs the credit for all of 

" To me } Well, IVe heard and seen so 
many amazin' calculations in the past three 
months that Tm prepared to stand up under 
almost anything but I'd like to know how 
you figure it out that IVe done anythin' in 

**'Tis easily told. If you hadn't fallen in 
love with Miss Truett, and she with you, her 
brother wouldn't have come out here, and the 
malaria wouldn't have been drained from the 
swamps, and the railway wouldn't have been 
projected, and the farmers wouldn't have be- 
come owners of guaranteed stocks, which has 
put new life into many of them, and there'd 
have been no inducement for manufacturers 

Caleb JFright j^ j» 459 

to use our water-power and our hard woods, 
and no bank would have been possible, nor 
any of the public improvements, — paving, 
water service, and others that will soon be 
under way. Don't you see?" 

"Ye — es, as far as youVe gone, but I 
wouldn't have known there was such a person 
as Mary — bless her It- if you hadn't sent me 
East, an' your wife — bless her too — hadn't 
given me a letter of introduction to Mary, so 
I don't see but that honors are about even. 
You might as well go back a little further, 
though, and say that you wouldn't have been 
here to send me East if your Uncle Jethro 
hadn't loved your father, an' made up his mind 
that your father's son shouldn't fool away his 
life in pleasin' his eyes an' fancies in New 
York, but should get the disciplinin' that 
makes a man out of a youngster that's got 
the real stuff bom in him." 

** Caleb, what are you saying ? " 

" Exactly what your Uncle Jethro said to 
me — an' to nobody else. Mebbe I hadn't 
ought to have let it out ; mebbe, on the other 
hand, it may make you feel kindlier to your 

Caleb tFRiGHi j^ j^ 460 

Uncle Jethro. But, to go on backward, there 
wouldn't have been any Jethro to lay up a 
business start for you if the Somerton family 
hadn't begun somewhere back in the history 
of the world, an* when you get that far back 
you might as well go farther an' say that if 
Noah hadn't built the ark, or if he'd been in 
too big a hurry to get out of it, there wouldn't 
have been any of us to do anythin'. I tell 
you, Philip, an' just you keep it in mind 
against anythin' that may turn up anywhere 
or at any time, that when there's any glory 
or credit to be given out, an' you want to do 
the square thing, you'll have to spread it so 
thin that nobody'll get enough of it to make 
him feel over an' above cocky.** 

People, like nations, usually become happy 
in prosperity, but through prosperity their 
lives become less eventful, and consequently 
less interesting to other people. The water- 
power of Claybanks' " crik " was soon devel- 
oped, and the mills that were erected, and the 
people who came to them, made new demands 
and prices for real estate, as well as for cer- 

Caleb Wright j^ j^ 461 

tain farm products. But before all this had 
come to pass Grace made haste to gratify a 
consuming desire to spend the springtime at 
her birthplace in the East. While she was 
there, Caleb one day received the following 
despatch from Philip : — 

"Caleb Wright Somerton born last night. 
May he become as good a man as you." 

Caleb showed the despatch to his wife, and 
then started to put it between the leaves of 
his Bible ; but Mary made haste to put it in 
a frame, under glass, and affix it to the front 
of the store, to the great interest of the people 
of Claybanks and vicinity and to the great 
benefit of the business of Somerton & Wright. 

D'ri and I 



I ■ EbCD HoldCD.' 

117, aapoioT fa literary workmimihlp uid i m a gin atiijii 

■e the hn^nea, caUuK u Ciptua Bell prom hlmMlT, the 
k with even keener leit to die imperturbable D'ri. He it 
lencan — grill grim humor, rough coUTleiy» and all. It 11 a 
It, upon which Mr. Bacheller ea to be heartily congrAlulaled, 

vai the bero of Ihe fanner itoiy.' 

^ of tbe North land who 

Lothrop Publishii^ Gnnpany - - Boston 

When the Land was Young 

Being the True Romance of Mistress Antoinette 
Huguenin and Captain Jack Middleton 

-t Anloinetle 
Huguenin, a 
beauty of King 
Louis'' Court, S 

mBn« ; while 
Lumulgee, the 
great war chief 
of Ibe Choc- 
laws, and Sir 
Hennj Morg«n, 

Knight and 

aie Spaniards of Florida ai 

lid, and pRHDii a realiitic picluR of Ibe dayi " wbea tbe lai 

Jil dni at 

Lothn^ Publishing Company - - Bo^on