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Darvarb Colleae Itbrari? 





1/ tf-.. 





Laura coi]t4e!fino ^.,7/, ^;^ ;... , .. 




A Tale of To-Day 







VOL. 11 



i^« ^« jfUyobt^jai Company, j^cto Soth 


mm OCT I 2 1909 

■Dtered auordlnt to Acl of Coneno, In Um ycv iSjj. by 

Samuel L. Clemens and Charles D. Warner 
In the oflka of tha LlbruUn of OmKreu at WuhlncMB 

The Case, Lockwood & Bumkakd CoiiFAirr 
Hartfobd. Cohh., <j. s. a. 



la ^omcn ben; for i^ m bc*r H-beca 
Ben tfacy nt td; men for to deco*^ 
And bom & nthe wol tlKf erai.vdTe.* 

WASHINGTON'S delight in his beautiful sister 
was measureless. He said that she had always 
been the queenliest creature in the land, but that she 
was only commonplace before, compared to what 
she was now, so extraordinary was the improvement 
wrought by rich fashionable attire. 

"But yout" criticisms are too full of brotherly 
partiality -to be depended on, Washington. Other 
people will judge differently," 

"Indeed they won't. You'll see. There will 
never be a woman in Washington that can compare 
with you. Y6u'll be famous within a fortnight, 
Laura. Everybody will want to know you. You 
wait — you'll see." 

Laura wished in her heart that the prophecy might 

• Sec pobliiben' note, Volume I. 

6 The Gilded Age 

come true ; and privately she even believed it might 
— for she had brought all the women whom she had 
seen since she left home under sharp inspection, 
and the result had not been unsatisfactory to her. 

During a week or two Washington drove about 
the city every day with her and familiarized her with 
all of its salient features. She was beginning to feel 
very much at home with the town itself, and she was 
also fast acquiring ease with the distinguished people 
she met at the Dilworthy table, and losing what little 
of country timidity she had brought with her from 
Hawkeye. She noticed with secret pleasure the 
little start of admiration that always manifested itself 
in the faces of the guests when she entered the 
drawing - room arrayed in evening costume ; she 
took comforting note of the fact that these guests 
directed a very liberal share of their conversation 
toward her; she observed with surprise, that famous 
statesmen and soldiers did not talk like gods, as a 
general thing, but said rather commonplace things 
for the most part ; and she was filled with gratifica- 
tion to discover that she, on the contrary, was 
making a good many shrewd speeches and now and 
then a really brilliant one, and, furthermore, that they 
were beginning to be repeated in social circles about 
the town. 

Congress began its sittings, and every day or two 
Washington escorted her to the galleries set apart 
for lady members of the households of Senators and 
Representatives. Here was a larger field and a 

Tlie Gilded Age 7 

under coir^>etitioa, but still she saw that many eyes 
were uplifted toward her face, and that fint one 
person and then uiother called a neighbor's atten- 
tion to her; she wias not too dull to perceive l^t 
the speeches of some of the younger statesmen were 
delivered about as much and perhaps more at her 
than to liw presiding officer ; and she was not sorry 
to see that the dapper young Senator from Iowa 
came at once and stood in the open space before the 
pnudeot's desk to exhibit his feet as soon as she 
mAr"^ Uie galleiy, whereas she had early learned 
from coaunon report that his usual custom was to 
prop them on his desk and enjoy them himself with 
a selfish disregard of other people's longings. 

Invitations began to flow in upon her, and soon 
she was fairly "in society." "The season" was 
now in full bloom, and the first select reception was 
at hand — that is to say, a reception confined to 
invited guests. 

Senator Dilworthy had become well convinced, 
by this time, that his judgment of the country-bred 
Missouri ^rl had not deceived him — it was plain 
that she was going to be a peerless missionary in the 
field of labor he designed her for, and therefore it 
would be perfectly safe and likewise judicious to 
send her forth well panoplied for her work. So he 
had added new and still richer costumes to her 
wardrobe, and assisted their attractions with costly 
jewelry — loans on the future land sale. 

This first select reception took place at a cabinet 

8 The Gilded Age 

minister's — or, rather, a cabinet secretary's — man- 
sion. When Laura and the Senator arrived, about 
half past nine or ten in the evening, the place was 
already pretty well crowded, and the white-gloved 
negro servant at the door was still receiving streams 
of guests. The drawing-rooms were brilliant with 
gaslight, and as hot as ovens. The host and hostess 
stood just within the door of entrance. Laura was 
presented, and then she passed on into the mael- 
strom of bejeweled and richly attired low-necked 
ladies and white-kid-gloved and steel - pen - coated 
gentlemen; and wherever she moved she was fol- 
lowed by a buzz of admiration that was grateful to 
all her senses — so grateful, indeed, that her white 
face was tinged and its beauty heightened by a per- 
ceptible suffusion of color. She caught such re- 
marks as, "Who is she?" "Superb woman I" 
" That is the new beauty from the West," etc., etc. 

Whenever she halted, she was presently sur- 
rounded by Ministers, Generals, Congressmen, and 
all manner of aristocratic people. Introductions 
followed, and then the usual original question, 
" How do you like Washington, Miss Hawkins?" 
supplemented by that other usual original question, 
" Is this your first visit?" 

These two exciting topics being exhausted, con- 
versation generally drifted into calmer channels, 
only to be interrupted at frequent intervals by new 
introductions and new inquiries as to how Laura 
liked the capital and whether it was her first visit or 

The Gilded Age 9 

not. And thus for an hour or more the Duchess 
moved through the crush in a rapture of happiness, 
for her doubts were dead and gone, now — she knew 
she could conquer here. A familiar face appeared 
in the midst of the multitude, and Harry Brierly 
fought his difficult way to her side, his eyes shouting 
their gratification, so to speak:' 

** Oh, this is a happiness! Tell me, my dear 
Miss Hawkins—" 

** Sh ! I know what you are going to ask. I do 
like Washington — I like it ever so much 1 ' ' 

•• No, but I was going to ask " 

** Yes, I am coming to it, coming to it as fast as 
I can. It is my first visit. I think you should 
know that yourself." 

And straightway a wave of the crowd swept her 
beyond his reach. 

• • Now what can the girl mean ? Of course she 
likes Washington — I'm not such a dummy as to 
have to ask her that. And as to its being her first 
visit, why ! hang it, she knows that I knew it was. 
Does she think I have turned idiot? Curious girl, 
anyway. But how they do swarm about her ! She 
is the reigning belle of Washington after this night. 
She'll know five hundred of the heaviest guns in the 
town before this night's nonsense is over. And this 
isn't even the beginning. Just as I used to say — 

fsheMl he a rar^ jn th** "^'^<-^^«' ^^ 3^^?, *''^ / She 

shall turn the men's heads and I'll turn the women's ! 
What a team that will be in politics here. I wouldn't 

10 The Gilded Age 

take a quarter of a million for what I can do in this 
present session — no, indeed, I wouldn't. Now, 
here — I don't altogether like this. That insignifi- 
cant secretary of legation is — why, she's smiling on 
him as if he — and now on the Admiral ! Now she's 
illuminating that stuffy Congressman from Massa- 
chusetts — vulgar, ungrammatical shovel-maker — 
greasy knave of spades. I don't like this sort of 
thing. She doesn't appear to be much distressed 
about me — she hasn't looked this way once. All 
right, my bird of Paradise, if it suits you, go on. 
But I think I know your sex. /'// go to smiling 
around a little, too, and see what effect ikat will have 
on you," 

And he did "smile around a little," and got as 
near to her as he could to watch the effect, but the 
scheme was a failure — he could not get her atten- 
tion. She seemed wholly unconscious of him, and 
so he could not flirt with any spirit ; he could only 
talk disjointedly ; he could not keep his eyes on the 
charmers he talked to ; he grew irritable, jealous, 
and very unhappy. He gave up his enterprise, 
leaned his shoulder against a fluted pilaster and 
pouted while he kept watch upon Laura's every 
movement. His other shoulder stole the bloom 
from many a lovely cheek that brushed him in the 
surging crush, but he noted it not. He was too 
busy cursing himself inwardly for being an egotistical 
imbecile. An hour ago he had thought to take this 
country lass under his protection and show her 

Ttie Gilded Age 11 

"fife" and enjoy her wonder and delight — and 
tere she was, immersed in the marvel up to her 
eyes, and just a trifle more at home in it than be 
was bimseU . And now his angiy conuneats ran on 

" Nf»w die's sweetenii^ old Brother Balaam; and 
he — wdl, he is Inviting her to the Congressional 
pra3rer-meeting, no doubt — better let old Dilworthy 
alone to see that she doesn't overlook that. And 
now its Splni^ of New York; and now its Batters 
of New Hampshire — and now the Vice-President I 
Wdl, I may as well adjourn. I've got enough." 

But he hadn't. He got as far as the door — and 
then struggled back to take one more look, hating 
himself all the while for his weakness. 

Toward midnight, when supper was announced, 
the crowd thronged to the supper room, where a 
long table was decked out with what seemed a rare 
repast, but which consisted of things better calcu- 
lated to feast the eye than the appetite. The ladies 
were soon seated in files along the wall, and in 
groups here and there, and the colored waiters filled 
the plates and glasses, and the male guests moved 
hither and thither conveying them to the privileged 

Harry took an ice and stood up by the table with 
other gentlemen, and listened to the buzz of conver- 
sation while he ate. 

From these remarks he learned a good deal about 
Laura that was news to him. For instance, that she 


12 The Gilded Age 

was of a distinguished Western family; that she was 
highly educated ; that she was very rich and a great 
landed heiress; that she was not a professor of 
religion, and yet was a Christian in the truest and 
best sense of the word, for her whole heart was de- 
voted to the accomplishment of a great and noble 
enterprise — none other than the sacrificing of her 
landed estates to the uplifting of the down-trodden 
negro and the turning of his erring feet into the way 
of light and righteousness. Harry observed that as 
soon as one listener had absorbed the story, he 
turned about and delivered it to his next neighbor, 
and the latter individual straightway passed it on. 
And thus he saw it travel the round of the gentle- 
men and overflow rearward among the ladies. He 
could not trace it backward to its fountain-head, and 
so he could not tell who it was that started it. 

One thing annoyed Harry a great deal; and that 
was the reflection that he might have been in 
Washington days and days ago and thrown his 
fascinations about Laura with permanent effect while 
she was new and strange to the capital, instead of 
dawdling in Philadelphia to no purpose. He feared 
he had " missed a triclc," as he expressed it. 

He only found one little opportunity of speaking 
again with Laura before the evening's festivities 
ended, and then, for the first time in years, his airy 
self-complacency failed him, his tongue's easy con- 
fidence forsook it in a g^reat measure, and he was 
conscious of an unheroic timidity. He was glad to 


The Gilded Age 13 

get away and find a place where he could despise 
himself in private and try to grow his clipped plumes 

When Laura reached home she was tired but 
exultant, and Senator Dilworthy was pleased and 
satisfied. He called Laura "my daughter," next 
morning, and gave her some "pin money," as he 
termed it, and she sent a hundred and fifty dollars 
of it to her mother and loaned a trifle to Colonel 
Sellers. Then the Senator had a long private con- 
ference with Laura, and unfolded certain plans of 
his for the good of the country, and religion, and 
the poor, and temperance, and showed her how she 
could assist him in developing these worthy and 
noble enterprises. 




— Itancan Ihduhomni eciyapi, Itancan Tohanokihi-eca eciyapi, Itan* 
can lapiwaxte edyapi, he hunkakewicaye cm etanhan otonwe kin cax- 
tonpi; nakun Akicita Wicaxta-ceji-skuyai Akidta Anogite, Akidta 
Taku-kaxta — 

]>e licheste wifmen alle: ]>at were in londe» 
and ]>ere hehere monnen dohtere. . . • 
]>ere wes moni pal hende : on faire ]7a uolke. 
}>ar was mochel honde : of manicunnes londe, 
for ech wende to beon: betere ])an o^er. 

LAURA soon discovered that there were three 
distinct aristocracies in Washington. One of 
these (nicknamed the Antiques) , consisted of culti- 
vated, high-bred old families who looked back with 
pride upon an ancestry that had been always great 
in the nation's councils and its wars from the birth 
of the republic downward. Into this select circle it 
was difficult to gain admission. No. 2 was the 
aristocracy of the middle ground — of which, more 
anon. No. 3 lay beyond ; of it we will say a word 
here. We will call it the Aristocracy of the Par- 
venus — as, indeed, the general public did. Official 


The Gilded Age 15 

position, no matter how obtained » entitled a man to 
a plax:e in it, and carried his family with him, no 
matter whence they sprang. Great wealth gave a 
man a still higher and nobler place in it than did 
ofRcial position. If this wealth had been acquired 
by conspicuous ingenuity, with just a pleasant little 
spice of illegality about it, all the better. This 
aristocracy was **fast," and not averse to ostenta- 
tion. The aristocracy of the Antiques ignored the 
aristocracy of the Parvenus ; the Parvenus laughed 
at the Antiques (and secretly envied them) . 

There were certain important "society" customs 
which one in Laura's position needed to understand. 
For instance, when a lady of any prominence comes 
to one of our cities and takes up her residence, all the 
ladies of her grade favor her in turn with an initial 
call, giving their cards to the servant at the door by 
way of introduction. They come singly, sometimes; 
sometimes in couples ; — and always in elaborate 
full dress. They talk two minutes and a quarter and 
then go. If the lady receiving the call desires a 
further acquaintance, she must return the visit within 
two weeks; to neglect it beyond that time means 
*• let the matter drop." But if she does return the 
visit within two weeks, it then becomes the other 
party's privilege to continue the acquaintance or 
drop it. She signifies her willingness to continue it 
by calling again any time within twelve months; 
after that, if the parties go on calling upon each 
Other once a year, in our large cities, that is suffi- 


16 The Gilded Age 

cient, and the acquaintanceship holds good. The 
thing goes along smoothly, now. The annual visits 
are made and returned with peaceful regularity and 
bland satisfaction, although it is not necessary that 
the two ladies shall actually see each other oftener 
than once every few years. Their cards preserve 
the intimacy and keep the acquaintanceship intact. 

For instance, Mrs. A. pays her annual visit, sits 
in her carriage and sends in her card with the lower 
right-hand corner turned down, which signifies that 
she has "called in person;" Mrs. B. sends down 
word that she is " engaged " or " wishes to be ex- 
cused " — or if she is a Parvenu and low-bred, she 
perhaps sends word that she is "not at home." 
Very good; Mrs. A, drives on happy and content. 
If Mrs. A.'s daughter marries, or a child is born to 
the family, Mrs. B. calls, sends in her card with the 
upper left-hand corner turned down, and then goes 
along about her affairs — for that inverted corner 
means "Congratulations." If Mrs. B.'s husband 
falls down stairs and breaks his neck, Mrs. A. calls, 
leaves her card with the upper right-hand comer 
turned down, and then takes her departure; this 
corner means " Condolence." It is very necessary 
to get the corners right, else one may unintentionally 
condole with a friend on a wedding or congratulate 
her upon a funeral. If either lady is about to leave 
the city, she goes to the other's house and leaves 
her card with " P. P. C." engraved under the name 
— which signifies, " Pay Parting Call." But enough 

The CMIded Age 17 

of etiquette. Laura was early instructed in the 
mysteries of society life by a competent mentor, and 
thus was preserved from troublesome mistakes. 

The first fashionable call she received from a 
member of the ancient nobility, otherwise the 
Antiques, was of a pattern with all she received 
from that limb of the aristocracy afterward. This 
call was paid by Mrs. Major-General Fulke-Fulkerson 
and daughter. They drove up at one in the after- 
noon in a rather antiquated vehicle with a faded coat 
of arms on the panels, an aged white-wooled negro 
coachman on the box and a younger darkey beside 
him — the footman. Both of these servants were 
dressed in dull brown livery that had seen consider- 
able service. 

The ladies entered the drawing-room in full char- 
acter ; that is to say, with Elizabethan stateliness on 
the part of the dowager, and an easy grace and 
dignity on the part of the young lady that had a 
nameless something about it that suggested conscious 
superiority. The dresses of both ladies were exceed- 
ingly rich as to material, but as notably modest as to 
color and ornament. All parties having seated them- 
selves, the dowager delivered herself of a remark 
that was not unusual in its form, and yet it came 
from her lips with the impressiveness of Scripture : 
•* The weather has been unpropitious of late. Miss 

•'It has, indeed," said Laura. ''The climate 
seems to be variable." 


18 The Gilded Age 

"It is its nature of old, here," said the daughter 
— stating it apparently as a fact, only, and by her 
manner waving aside all personal responsibility on 
account of it. " Is it not so, mamma?" 

" Quite so, my child. Do you like winter. Miss 
Hawkins?" She said " like " as if she had an idea 
that its dictionary meaning was " approve of." 

"Not as well as summer — though I think all 
seasons have their charms." 

"It is a very just remark. The general held 
similar views. He considered snow in winter proper; 
sultriness in summer legitimate ; frosts in the autumn 
the same, and rains in spring not objectionable. He 
was not an exacting man. And I call to mind now 
that he always admired thunder. You remember, 
child, your father always admired thunder?" 

" He adored it," 

" No doubt it reminded him of battle," said Laura. 

"Yes, I think perhaps it did. He had a great 
respect for Nature. He often said there was some- 
thing striking about the ocean. You remember his 
saying that, daughter?" 

"Yes, often, mother. I remember it very well." 

"And hurricanes. He took a great interest in 
hurricanes. And animals. Dogs, especially — hunt- 
ing dogs. Also comets, I think we all have our 
predilections. I think it is this that gives variety to 
our tastes." Laura coincided with this view, " Do 
you find it bard and lonely to be so far from your 
home and friends. Miss Hawkins?" 

Tlieaidttl Age 19 

*' 1 do find it depressing sometimes, but then there 
is so much about me here that is novel and intuvst- 
ing ^lat my days are made up more of suiuhine 
fhan shadow." 

" Washii^ton is not a dull city in the season," 
said tiie jrooi^ lady. "We have some vety good 
sooety indeed, and one need not be at a loss for 
meaas to pass the time pleasantly. Are you fond 
of watering places, Miss Hawkins?" 

" I have really had no experience of them, but I 
faave aiwaya felt a strong deare. t« see something of 
&slu<Hiable wateHng-place life^' 

"We of Washington are unfortunately situated 
in that respect," said the dowager. " It is a tedious 
distance to Newport. But there is no help for it." 
Laura said to herself, " Long Branch and Cape 
May are nearer than Newport; doubtless these 
places are low; I'll feel my way a little and see." 
Then she said aloud : 

"Why, I thought that Long Branch " 

There was no need to " feel " any further — there 
was that in both faces before her which made that 
truth apparent. The dowager said : 

"Nobody goes fAere, Miss Hawkins — at least, 
only persons of no position in society. And the 
President." She added that with tranquillity. 

"Newport is damp, and cold, and windy, and 
excessively disagreeable," said the daughter, "but 
it is very select. One cannot be fastidious about 
minor matters when one has no choice." 

20 The Gilded Age 

The visit had spun out nearly three minutes, now. 
Both ladies rose with grave dignity, conferred upon 
Laura a formal invitation to call, and then retired 
from the conference. Laura remained in the draw- 
ing-room and left them to pilot themselves out of 
the house — an inhospitable thing, it seemed to her, 
but then she was following her instructions. She 
stood, steeped in reverie, a while, and then she said : 

"I think I could always enjoy icebergs — as 
scenery — but not as company." 

Still, she knew these two people by reputation, 
and was aware that they were not icebergs when they 
were in their own waters and amid their legitimate 
surroundings, but on the contrary were people 
to be respected for their stainless characters and 
esteemed for their social virtues and their benevolent 
impulses. She thought it a pity that they had to be 
such changed and dreary creatures on occasions of 

The first call Laura received from the other ex- 
tremity of the Washington aristocracy followed close 
upon the heels of the one we have just been de- 
scribing. The callers this time were the Hon. Mrs. 
Oliver Higgins, the Hon. Mrs. Patrique Oreilli 
(pronounced O-re/ay), Miss Bridget (pronounced 
Breezhay) Oreille, Mrs. Peter Gashly, Miss Gashly, 
and Miss Emmeline Gashly. 

The three carriages arrived at the same moment 
from different directions. They were new and won- 
derfully shiny, and the brasses on the harness were 

The Gilded Age 21 

highly polished and bore complicated monograms. 
There were showy coats of arms, too, with Latin 
mottoes. The coachmen and footmen were clad in 
bright new livery, of striking colors, and they had 
black rosettes with shaving-brushes projecting above 
them, on the sides of their stove-pipe hats. 

When the visitors swept into the drawing-room 
they filled the place with a suffocating sweetness 
procured at the perfumer's. Their costumes, as to 
architecture, were the latest fashion intensified; they 
were rainbow-hued ; they were hung with jewels — • 
chiefly diamonds. It would have been plain to any 
tft Qat it had cost something to upholster these 

The Hon. Mrs. Oliver Hi^ns was the wife of a 
delq^te from a distant Territory — a gentleman who 
had kept the principal " saloon," and sold the best 
whisky in the principal village in his wilderness, and 
so, of course, was recognized as the first man of his 
commonwealth and its fittest representative. He 
was a man of paramount influence at home, for he 
was public-spirited, he was chief of the fire depart- 
ment, he had an admirable command of profane 
language, and had killed several "parties." His 
shirt fronts were always immaculate; his boots 
daintily polished, and no man could lift a foot and 
fire a dead shot at a stray speck of dirt on it with a 
white handkerchief with a finer grace than he ; his 
watch chain weighed a pound ; the gold in his finger 
ring was worth forty-five dollars; he wore a dia- 



22 The Gilded Age 

mond cluster-pin, and he parted his hair behind. He 
had always been regarded as the most elegant gentle- 
man in his Territory, and it was conceded by all that 
no man thereabouts was anywhere near his equal in 
the telling of an obscene story, except the venerable 
white-haired governor himself. The Hon. Higgins 
had not come to serve his country in Washington 
for nothing. The appropriation which he bad en- 
gineered through Congress for the maintenance of 
the Indians in his Territory would have made all 
those savages rich if it had ever got to them. 

The Hon. Mrs. Higgins was a picturesque woman, 
and a fluent talker, and she held a tolerably high 
station among the Parvenus. Her English was fair 
enough, as a general thing — though, being of New 
York origin, she had the fashion peculiar to many 
natives of that city of pronouncing saw and law as if 
they were spelled sawr and lawr. 

Petroleum was the agent that had suddenly trans- 
formed the Gashlys from modest hard-working 
country village folk into "loud" aristocrats and 
ornaments of the city. 

[^ The Hon. Patrique Oreilli was a wealthy French- 
man from Cork. Not that he was wealthy when he 
first came from Cork, but just the reverse. When 
he first landed in New York with his wife, he had 
only halted at Castle Garden for a few minutes to 
receive and exhibit papers showing that he had re- 
sided in this country two years — and then he voted 
the democratic ticket and went up town to hunt a 

The Gilded Age 2> 

house. He found one, and then went to work as 
assistant to an architect and builder, carrying a hod 
all day and studying politics evenings. Industry 
and economy soon enabled him to start a low rum 
shop in a foul locality, and this gave him political 
influence.J In our country it is always our first care 
to see that our people have the opportunity of 
voting for their choice of men to represent and 
govern them — we do not permit our great officials 
to appoint the little officials. We prefer to have so 
tremendous a power as that in our own hands. We 
hold it safest to elect our judges and everybody else, 
la our cities, the ward meetings elect delegates to 
die nominatiiig conventions and instruct them whom 
to nominate. The publicans and their retainers rule 
the ward meetings (for everybody else hates the 
worry of politics and stays at home) ; the delegates 
from the ward meetings organize as a nominating 
convention and make up a list of candidates — one 
convention offering a democratic and another a 
republican list of — incorruptibles ; and then the 
great meek public come forward at the proper time 
and make unhampered choice and bless Heaven that 
they live in a free land where no form of despotism 
can ever intrude. 

Patrick O' Riley (as his name then stood) created 
friends and influence very fast, for he was always on 
hand at the police courts to give straw bail for his 
customers or establish an aliln for them in case they 
had been beating anybody to death on his premises. 

M The Gilded Age 

Consequently, he presently became a poUUcal leader, 
and was elected to a petty office under the city 
government. Out of a meager salary he soon saved 
money enough to open quite a stylish liquor saloon 
higher up town, with a faro bank attached and 
plenty of capital to conduct it with. This gave him 
fame and great respectability. The position of 
alderman was forced upon him, and it was just the 
same as presenting him a gold mine. He had fine 
horses and carriages, now, and closed up his whisky 

By and by he became a large contractor for city 
I work, and was a bosom friend of the great and good 
l_WriN_M. Weed himself, who had stolen $20,000,000 
I from the city and was a man so envied, so honored, 
so adored, indeed, that when the sheriff went to his 
office to arrest him as a felon, that sheriff blushed 
and apologised, and one of the illustrated papers 
made a picture of the scene and spoke of the matter 
in such a way as to show that the editor regretted 
that the offense of an arrest had been offered to so 
exalted a personage as Mr. Weed. 
I Mr. O'Rtley furnished shingle nails to the new 
court-house at three thousand dollars a keg, and 
eighteen gross of 6o-cent thermometers at fifteen 
hundred dollars a dozen; the controller and the 
board of audit passed the bills, and a mayor, who 
was simply ignorant but not criminal, signed them. 
When they were paid, Mr. O'Riley's admirers gave 
him a solitaire diamond pin of the size of a filbert, 


The Gilded Age 25 ^ 

in imitation of the liberality of Mr. Weed's friends, ^M 
and then Mr. O'Riley retired from active service 
and amused himself with buying real estate at 
enormous figures and holding it in other people's 
names. By and by the newspapers came out with 
exposures and called Weed and O'Riley "thieves" 
— whereupon the people rose as one man (voting 
repeatedly) and elected the two gentlemen to their 
proper theater of action, the New York legislature, j 
The newspapers clamored, and the courts proceeded , 

to try the new legislators for their small irregularities. ^I| 
Our admirable jury system enabled the persecuted ^| 
ex-oRicials to secure a jury of nine gentlemen from 
a neighboring asylum and three graduates from Sing 
Sing, and presently they walked forth with char* 
acters vindicated. The legislature was called upon 
to spew them forth — a thing which the legislature 
declined to do. It was iike asking children to 
repudiate their own father. It was a legislature of 
the modern pattern. 

Being now wealthy and distinguished, Mr, 
O'Reily, still bearing the legislative "Hon." at- 
tached to his name (for titles never die in America, 
although we ob take a republican pride in poking 
fun at such trifles), sailed for Europe with his 
family. They traveled all about, turning their noses 
up at everything, and not finding it a difficult thing 
to do, either, because nature had originally given 
those features a cast in that direction ; and finally 
they established themselves in Paris, that Paradise of 

26 The Gilded Age 

Americans of their sort. They stayed there two 
years and learned to speak English with a foreign 
accent — not that it hadn't always had a foreign ac- 
cent (which was indeed the case), but now the 
nature of it was changed. Finally they returned 
home and became ultra-fashionables. They landed 
here as the Hon. Patrique Oreille and family, and so 
are known unto this day. 

Laura provided seats for her visitors, and they 
immediately launched forth into a breezy, sparkling 
conversation with that easy confidence which is to be 
found only among persons accustomed to high life. 

" I've been intending to call sooner, Miss Haw- 
kins," said the Hon. Mrs. Oreille, " but the weather's 
been so horrid. How do y.ou like Washington?" 

Laura liked it very well, indeed. 

Mrs. Gashly — " Is it your first visit?" 

Yes, it was her first. 

/I//— "Indeed?" 

Mrs. Oralis — "I'm afraid you'll despise the 
weather, Miss Hawkins. It's perfectly awful. It 
always is. I tell Mr. Oreille I can't and I won't 
put up with any such a climate. If we were obliged 
to do it, I wouldn't mind it; but we are not obliged 
to, and so I don't see the use of it. Sometimes it's 
real pitiful the way the childern pine for Parry — 
don't look so sad, Bridget, ma chire — poor child, 
she can't hear Parry mentioned without getting the 

Mrs. Gashly — "Well, I should think so, Mrs. 

The Gilded Age 27 

OreiU^, A body lives in Paris, but a body only 
stays here. I dote on Paris; I'd druther scrimp 
along on ten thousand dollars a year there, than 
suffer and worry here on a real decent income." 

Miss Gaskly — " Well, then I wish you'd take ua 
back, mother; I'm sure / hate this stoopid country 
enough, even if it is our dear native land." 

Miss Emmeline Gashly — " What, and leave poor 
Johnny Peterson behind?" [An airy general laugh 
applauded this sally.] 

Miss Gashly — "Sister,! should think you'd be 
ashamed of yourself!" 

Miss Emmeline — " Oh, you needn't ruffle your 
feathers so. I was only joking. He don't mean 
anything by coming to the house every evening — 
only comes to see mother. Of course, that's all !" 
[General laughter.] 

Miss G., prettily confused — " Emmeline, how can 

Mrs. G. — " Let your sister alone, Emmeline. I 
never saw such a tease ! ' ' 

Mrs. OreilU — "What lovely corals you have, 
Miss Hawkins! Just look at them, Bridget, dear. 
I've a great passion for corals — it's a pity they're 
getting a little common. I have some elegant ones 
— not as elegant as yours, though — but of course 
I don't wear them now." 

Laura — "I suppose they are rather common, 
but still I have a great affection for these, because 
thqr were given to me by a dear old friend of our 

28 The Gilded Age 

family named Murphy. He was a very charming 
man, but very eccentric. We always supposed he 
was an Irishman, but after he got rich he went 
abroad for a year or two, and when he came back 
you would have been amused to see how interested 
he was in a potato. He asked what it was ! Now 
you know that when Providence shapes a mouth 
especially for the accommodation of a potato you 
can detect that fact at a glance when that mouth is 
in repose — foreign travel can never remove that 
sign. But he was a very delightful gentleman, and 
his little foible did not hurt him at all. We all have 
our shams — I suppose there is a sham somewhere 
about every individual, if we could manage to ferret 
it out. I would so like to go to France. I suppose 
our society here compares very favorably with 
French society, does it not, Mrs. OreilW?" 

Mrs. 0. — "Not by any means, Miss Hawkins I 
French society is much more elegant — much more 

Laura — "I am sorry to hear that. I suppose 
ours has deteriorated of late." 

Mrs. O. — "Very much, indeed. There are peo- 
ple in society here that have really no more money 
to live on than what some of us pay for servant hire. 
Still, I won't say but what some of them are very 
good people — and respectable, too." 

Laura — "The old families seem to be hold- 
ing themselves aloof, from what I hear, I sup- 
pose you seldom meet in society now the people 

The Gilded Age 29 

you used to be familiar with twelve or fifteen years 


Mrs. O. — " Oh, no — hardly ever." 

Mr. O'Riley kept his first rum-mill and protected 
his customers from the law in those days, and this 
turn of the conversation was rather uncomfortable to 
madame than otherwise. 

Hon. Mrs. Higgins — "Is Francois' health good 
now, Mrs. OreiU^?" 

Mrs. O. {Thankful for the intervention) — "Not 
very. A body couldn't expect it. He was always 
ddicate — especially his lungs — and this odious 
climate tells on him strong, now, after Parry, which 
is so mild." 

Mrs. H. — "I should think so. Husband says 
Percy'll die if he don't have a change; and so I'm 
going to swap round a little and see what can be 
done. I saw a lady from Florida last week, and she 
recommended Key West. I told her Percy couldn't 
abide winds, as he was threatened with a pulmonary 
aSection, and then she said try St. Augustine. It's 
an awful distance — ten or twelve hundred mile, they 
say — but then in a case of this kind a body can't 
stand back for trouble, you know." 

Mrs. O. — " No, of course, that's so. If Francois 
don't get better soon we've got to look out for some 
other place, or else Europe. We've thought some 
of the Hot Springs, but I don't know. It's a great 
responsibility and a body wants to go cautious. Is 
Hildebrand about again, Mrs. Gashly?" 


30 The Gilded Age 

Mrs. G. — "Yes, but that's about all. It was 
indigestion, you know, and it looks as if it was 
chronic. And you know I- do dread dyspepsia. 
We've all been worried a good deal about him. The 
doctor recommended baked apple and spoiled meat, 
and I think it done him good. It's about the only 
thing that will stay on his stomach nowadays. We 
have Dr. Shovel now. Who's your doctor, Mrs, 

Mrs. H. — "Well, we had Dr. Spooner a good 
while, but he runs so much to emetics, which I 
think are weakening, that we changed off and took 
Dr. Leathers. We like him very much. He has a 
fine European reputation, too. The first thing he 
suggested for Percy was to have him taken out in 
the back yard for an airing, every afternoon, with 
nothing at all on." 

Mrs. O. and Mrs. C.—" What I" 

Mrs. H. — " As true as I'm sitting here. And it 
actually helped him for two or three days ; it did 
indeed. But after that the doctor said it seemed to 
be too severe, and so he has fell back on hot foot- 
baths at night and cold showers in the morning. 
But I don't think there can be any good sound help 
for him in such a climate as this. I believe we are 
going to lose him if we don't make a change." 

Mrs. 0. — " I suppose you heard of the fright we 
had two weeks ago last Saturday? No? Why, 
that is strange — but come to remember, you've all 
been away to Richmond. Francois tumbled from 

^^^^ The Gilded Age 


the skylight in the second-story hall clean down to 

the first aoor " 

Everybody — " Mercy ! " 


Mrs. 0. — "Yes indeed — and broke two of his ^| 

ribs '■ 


Everybody— ''yN\i2.'iV' 


Mrs. 0. — "Just as true as you 

live. First we ^H 

though he must be injured internally. 

It was fifteen ^| 

minutes past eight in the evening. 

Of course we ■ 

were all distracted in a moment — 

- everybody was ^| 

1 flying every\vhere, and nobody doing 

anything worth ^^k 

an>lhing. By and by I flung out 

next door and ^H 

' dragged in Dr. Sprague, president 

of the Medical " 

University — no time to go for our own doctor, of 
course — &nd the minute he saw Francois he said, 
■ Send for your own physician, madam ' — said it as 
cross as a bear, too, and turned right on his heel 
and cleared out without doing a thing!" 

Everybody- — " The mean, contemptible brute t" 

Mrs. O. — "Well you may say it. I was nearly 
out of my wits by this time. But we hurried off the 
servants after our own doctor and telegraphed 
mother — she was in New York and rushed down on 
the first train; and when the doctor got there, lo 
and behold you he found Francois had broke one of 
his legs, too!" 

Everybody —'* Goodness !" 

Mrs. O. — "Yes. So he set his leg and bandaged 
it up, and fixed his ribs and gave him a dose of 
something to quiet down his excitement and put 

32 The Gilded Age 

him to sleep — poor thing he was trembling and 
frightened to death and it was pitiful to see him. 
We had him in my bed — Mr. Oreille slept in the 
guest room and I laid down beside Francois — but 
not to sleep — bless you no. Bridget and I set up 
all night, and the doctor stayed till two in the 
morning, bless his old heart. When mother got 
there she was so used up with anxiety that she had 
to go to bed and have the doctor ; but when she 
found that Francois was not in immediate danger she 
rallied, and by night she was able to take a watch 
herself. Well, for three days and nights we three 
never left that bedside only to take an hour's nap at 
a time. And then the doctor said Francois was out 
of danger, and if ever there was a thankful set, in 
this world, it was us." 

Laura's respect for these women had augmented 
during this conversation, naturally enough ; affection 
and devotion are qualities that are able to adorn 
and render beautiful a character that is otherwise 
unattractive, and even repulsive. 

Mrs. Gaskly — " I do believe I should a died if I 
had been in your place, Mrs, Oreilli. The time 
Hildebrand was so low with the pneumonia Emme- 
line and me were all alone with him most of the time, 
and we never took a minute's sleep for as much as 
two days and nights. It was at Newport, and we 
wouldn't trust hired nurses. One afternoon he had 
a fit, and jumped up and run out on the portico of 
the hotel with nothing in the world on and the wind 

The Gilded Age 3} 

a blowing like ice and we after him scared to death ; 
and when the ladies and gentlemen saw tliat he had 
a fit, every lady scattered for her room and not a. 
gentleman lifted his hand to help, the wretches ! 
Well, after that his life hung by a thread for as 
much as ten days, and the minute he was out of 
danger Emmeline and me just went to bed sick and 
worn out. / never want to pass through such a 
time again. Poor dear Francois — which leg did 
he break, Mrs. Oreil!^?" 

Mrs. O. — " It was his right-hand hind leg. Jump 
down, Francois dear, and show the ladtes what a 
cruel limp you've got yet." 

Francois demurred, but being coaxed and deliv- 
ered gently upon the floor, he performed very satis- 
factorily, with his " right-hand hind leg" in the air. 
All were affected — even Laura — but hers was an 
affection of the stomach. The country-bred girl 
had not suspected that the little whining ten-ounce 
black and tan reptile, clad in a red embroidered 
pigmy blanket and reposing in Mrs. Oreille's lap all 
through the visit, was the individual whose sufferings 
had been stirring the dormant generosities of her 
nature. She said: 

"Poor little creature I You might have lost 
him I" 

Mrs. 0. — " Oh pray don't mention it, Miss Haw- 
kins — it gives me such a turn!" 

Laura — -"And Hildebrand and Percy — are they 
— are they like this one?" 


34 Tbe Gilded Age 

Mrs. G. — *' No, Hilly has considerable Skye blood 
in him, I believe." 

Mrs. H. — "Percy's the same, only he is two 
months and ten days older and has his ears cropped. 
His father, Martin Farquhar Topper, was sickly, and 
died young, but he was the sweetest disposition. 
His mother had heart disease, but was very gentle 
and resigned, and a wonderful ratter."* 

So carried away had the visitors become by their 
Interest attaching to this discussion of family mat- 
ters, that their stay had been prolonged to a very 
improper and unfashionable length; but they sud- 
denly recollected themselves now and took their 

Laura's scorn was boundless. The more she 
thought of these people and their extraordinary talk, 
the more offensive they seemed to her ; and yet she 
confessed that if one must choose between the two 
extreme aristocracies it might be best, on the whole, 
looking at things from a strictly business point of 
view, to herd with the Parvenus ; she was in Wash- 
ington solely to compass a certain matter and to do 
it at any cost, and these people might be useful to 
her, while it was plain that her purposes and her 
schemes for pushing them would not find favor in 
the eyes of the Antiques. If it came to choice — 

• As impomible and ew^etatjng m this convcn&tion m«y «oiuid to 
■ pdsoD who ii not an idiot, it b scucelf in any respect an exaggeia- 
tioD of one which one of as actually listened to m an American draw- 
ing-ioom ; otherwise we could not venture to put such a qbapter into a 
book which professes to deal with sodal pocsibilititt. — T>ib Adibobs. 

The Gilded Age 

and it might come to that, sooner or later — she 
believed she could come to a decision without much 
difficulty or many pangs. 

But the best aristocracy of the three Washington 
castes, and really the most powerful, by far, was 
that of the Middle Ground. It was made up of the 
families of public men from nearly every state in the 
Union — men who held positions in both the execu- 
tive and legislative branches of the government, and 
whose characters had been for years blemishless, 
both at home and at the capital. These gentlemen 
and their households were unostentatious people; 
&ey were educated and refined ; they troubled 
flwniselves but little about the two other orders of 
nobili^, but moved serenely in their wide orbit, con- 
fident in their own strength and well aware of the 
potency of their influence. They had no trouble- 
some appearances to keep up, no rivalries which 
tbey cared to distress themselves about, no jealousies 
to fret over. They could afford to mind their own 
affairs and leave other combinations to do the same 
or do otherwise, Just as they chose. They were 
people who were beyond reproach, and that was 

Senator Dilworthy never came into collision mth 
any of these factions. He labored for them all and : 
with them all. He said that all men were brethren , 
and all were entitled to the honest, unselfish help 
and countenance of a' Christian laborer in the pub- 
lic vineyard. 

}6 The CHlded Age 

Laura concluded, after reflection, to let circum- 
stances determine the course it might be best for her 
to pursue as regarded the several aristocracies. 

Now, it might occur to the reader that perhaps 
Laura had been somewhat rudely suggestive in her 
remarks to Mrs. Oreille when the subject of corals 
was under discussion, but it did not occur to Laura 
herself. She was not a person of exaggerated re- 
finement; indeed, the society and the influences that 
had formed her character had not been of a nature 
calculated to make her so; she thought that " give 
and take was fair play," and that to parry an offen- 
sive thrust with a sarcasm was a neat and legitimate 
thing to do. She sometimes talked to people in a 
way which some ladies would consider actually 
shocking; but Laura rather prided herself upon 
some of her exploits of that character. We are 
sorry we cannot make her a faultless heroine; but 
we cannot, for the reason that she was human. 

She considered herself a superior conversationist. 
Long ago, whenthe possibility had first been brought 
before her mind that some day she might move in 
Washington society, she had recognized the fact that 
practiced conversational powers would be a necessary 
weapon in that field; she had also recognized the 
fact that since her dealings there must be mainly 
with men, and men whom she supposed to be ex- 
ceptionally cultivated and able, she would need 
heavier shot in her magazine than mere brilliant 
"society" nothings; whereupon she had at once 

The Gilded Age 


entered upon a tireless and elaborate course of read- 
ing, and had never since ceased to devote every un- 
occupied moment to this sort of preparation. Hav- 
ing now acquired a happy smattering of various in- 
formation, she used it with good effect — she passed 
for a singularly well-informed woman in Washington. 
The quality of her literary tastes had necessarily un- 
dergone constant improvement under this regimen, 
and as necessarily, also, tlie quality of her language 
had improved, though it cannot be denied that now 
and Ihen her former condition of life betrayed itself 
io just perceptible inelegancies of expression and 
lapses of grammar. 


Eet Jomfni Haai diagn stseikeie end ti Pw Oxen. 

WHEN Laura had been in Washington three 
months, she was stilt the same person, in 
one respect, that she was when she first arrived 
there — that is to say, she still bore the name of 
Laura Hawkins. Otherwise she was perceptibly 

She had arrived in a state of grievous uncertainty 
as to what manner of woman she was, physically 
and intellectually, as compared with Eastern women ; 
she was well satisfied, now, that her beauty was con- 
fessed, her mind a grade above the average, and her 
powers of fascination rather extraordinary. So she 
was at ease upon those points. When she arrived, 
she was possessed of habits of economy and not pos- 
sessed of money ; now she dressed elaborately, gave 
but little thought to the cost of things, and was very 
well fortified financially. She kept her mother and 
Washington freely supplied with money, and did the 
same by Colonel Sellers — who always insisted upon 

The Gflded Age 39 

ifiiae his note for loans — with interest; he was i-- 
rigid upon that; she m«f/ take interest; and one of - 
the Colonel's greatest satisfactions was to go over 
his accounts and note what a handsome sum this 
accruing interest amounted to, and what a comfort- 
able though modest support it would yield Laura in 
case reverses should overtake her. In truth, he could 
sot help feeling that he waa aa efficient shield for ^ 
ber against poverty; and so, if her expensive ways 
ever troubled him for a brief moment, he presently- 
dismissed the thought and said to himself, " Let her 
soon — even if she loses everything she is still safe 
— diis interest will always afford her a good easy 

Laura was on excellent terms with a great many 
members of Congress, and there was an undercurrent 
of suspicion in some quarters that she was one of 
that detested class known as " lobbyists " ; but what 
belle could escape slander in such a city? Fair- 
minded people declined to condemn her on mere 
suspicion, and so the injurious talk made no very 
damaging headway. She was very gay, now, and 
very celebrated, and she might well expect to be as- 
s^ed by many kinds of gossip. She was growing 
used to celebrity, and could already sit calm and 
seemingly unconscious, under the fire of fifty lorg- 
nettes in a theater, or even overhear the low voice 
"That's she 1" as she passed along the street with- 
out betraying anoyance. 
The whole air was full of a vague vast scheme 

40 The Gilded Age 

which was to eventuate in filling Laura's pockets 
with millions of money; some had one idea of the 
scheme, and some another, but nobody had any 
exact knowledge upon the subject. All that any one 
felt sure about was, that Laura's landed estates were 
princely in value and extent, and that the govern- 
ment was anxious to get hold of them for public 
purposes, and that Laura was willing to make the 
sale, but not at all anxious about the matter and not 
at all in a hurry. It was whispered that Senator 
Dilworthy was a stumbling-block in the way of an 
immediate sale, because he was resolved that the 
government should not have the lands, except mth 
the understanding that they should be devoted to 
the uplifting of the negro race ; Laura did not care 
what they were devoted to, it was said (a world of 
very different gossip to the contrary notwithstand- 
ing), but there were several other heirs, and they 
would be guided entirely by the Senator's wishes; 
and, finally, many people averred that while it would 
be easy to sell the lands to the government for the 
benefit of the negro, by resorting to the usual 
methods of influencing votes. Senator Dilworthy was 
unwilling to have so noble a charity sullied by any 
taint of corruption — he was resolved that not a vote 
should be bought. Nobody could get anything de- 
finite from Laura about these matters, and so gossip 
had to feed itself chiefly upon guesses. But the 
effect of it all was, that Laura was considered to be 
very wealthy and likely to be vastly more so in a 

The Gilded Age 41 

little while. Consequently, she was much coarted 
and as much envied. Her wealth attracted many 
suitors. Perhaps they came to worship her riches, 
but they remained to worship her. Some of the 
noblest men of tlie time succumbed to her fascina- 
tions. She frowned upon no lover when he made 
his first advances, but by and by, when he was hope- 
lessly enthralled, he learned from her own lips that 
she had formed a resolution never to marry. Then 
he would go away hating and cursing the whole sex, 
and she would calmly add his scalp to her string, 
while she mused upon the bitter day that Colonel 
Selby trampled her love and her pride in the dust. 
In time it came to be said that her way was paved 
with broken hearts. 

Poor Washington gradually woke up to the fact 
that he, too, was an intellectual marvel as well as his 
gifted sister. He could not conceive how it had 
come about (it did not occur to him that the gossip\ 
about his family's great wealth had anything to do 
with it) . He could not account for it by any pro- 
cess of reasoning, and was simply obliged to accept 
the fact and give up trying to solve the riddle. He 
found himself dragged into society and courted, 
wondered at and envied very much as if he were one 
of those foreign barbers who flit over here now and 
then with a self-conferred title of nobility and marry 
some rich fool's absurd daughter. Sometimes at a 
dinner party or a reception he would find himself the 
center of interest, and feel unutterably uncomfortable 

42 The Gilded Age 

in the discovery. Being obliged to say something, 
he would mine his brain and put in a blast, and when 
the smoke and flying debris had cleared away the re- 
sult would be what seemed to him but a poor little 
intellectual clod of dirt or two, and then he would be 
astonished to see everybody as lost in admiration as if 
he had brought up a ton or two of virgin gold. 
Every remark he made delighted his hearers and 
compelled their applause ; he overheard people say 
he was exceedingly bright — they were chiefly mam- 
mas and marriageable young ladies. He found that 
some of his good things were being repeated about 
the town. Whenever he heard of an instance of this 
kind, he would keep that particular remark in mind 
and analyze it at home in private. At first he could 
not see that the remark was anything better than a 
parrot might originate ; but by and by he began to 
feel that perhaps he underrated his powers; and 
after that he used to analyze his good things with a 
deal of comfort, and find in them a brilliancy which 
would have been unapparent to him in earlier days 
— and then he would make a note of that good thing 
and say it again the first time he found himself in a 
new company. Presently he had saved up quite a 
repertoire of brilliancies ; and after that he confined 
himself to repeating these and ceased to originate 
any more, lest he might injure his reputation by an 
unlucky effort. 

He was constantly having young ladies thrust upon 
his notice at receptions, or left upon his hands at 

The Gilded Age 

parties, and in time he began to feel that he was be- 
ing deliberately persecuted in this way; and after 
that he could not enjoy society because of his con- 
stant dread of these female ambushes and surprises. 
He was distressed to find that nearly every time he 
showed a young lady a polite attention he was 
straightway reported to be engaged to her ; and as 
some of these reports got into the newspapers occa- 
sionally, he had to keep writing to Louise that they 
were lies and she must believe in him and not mind 
tbem or allow them to grieve her. 

Washington was as much in the dark as anybody 
with regard to the great wealth that was hovering in 
tiie air and seemingly on the point of tumbling into 
the family pocket. Laura would give him no satis- 
faction. All she would say, was : 

"Wait. Be patient. You will see." 

"But will it be soon, Laura?" 

" It will not be very long, I think." 

" But what makes you think so?" 

" I have reasons — and good ones. Just wait, and 
be patient," 

" But is it going to be as much as people say it 

" What do they say it is?" 

" Oh, ever so much. Millions!" 

" Yes, it will be a great sum." 

" But how great, Laura? Will it be millions?" 

" Yes, you may call it that. Yes, it wilt be mil- 
lions. There, now — -does that satisfy you?" 

44 The Gilded Age 

" Splendid ! I can WMt. I can wait patiently — 
ever so patiently. Once I was near selling the land 
for twenty thousand dollars; once for thirty thou- 
sand dollars ; once after that for seven thousand dol- 
lars; and once for for^ thousand dollars — but 
something always told me not to do it. What a fool 
I would have been to sell it for such a beggarly 
trifle 1 It is the land that's to bring the money, isn't 
it, Laura? You can tell me that much, can't you? " 

"Yes, I don't mind saying that much. It is the 
land. But mind — 'don't ever hint that you got it 
from me. Don't mention me in the matter at all, 

"All right — I won't. Millions! Isn't it splen- 
did I I mean to look around for a building lot; a 
lot with fine ornamental shrubbery and all that sort 
of thing. I will do it to-day. And I might as well 
see an architect, too, and get him to go to work at a 
plan for a house. I don't intend to spare any ex- 
pense ; I mean to have the noblest house that money 
can build." Then after a pause — he did not notice 
Laura's smiles — "Laura, would you lay the main 
hall in encaustic tiles, or just in fancy patterns of 
hard wood?" 

Laura laughed a good old-fashioned laugh that had 
more of her former natural self about it than any 
sound that had issued from her mouth in many 
weeks. She said : 

" You don't change, Washington, You still begin 
to squander a fortune right and left the instant you 

The Gilded Age 

hear of it in the distance ; you never wait till the fore- 
most dollar of it arrives within a. hundred miles of 
you," — and she kissed her brother good-bye and 
left him weltering in his dreams, so to speak. 

He got up and walked the floor feverishly during 
two hours; and when he sat down he had married 
Louise, built a house, reared a family, married 
them off, spent upwards of eight hundred thousand 
dollars on mere luxuries, and died worth twelve 



" Mi-i-in txakcumub, x-in bakodobcb chirech sn takj cum, nn 
laid cdo. . . . QU chincu, nu galgab, no lalmet "... 

dasem-ttom t, tu ^qus deves se metcyt vindis. 

LAURA went down stairs, knocked at the study 
door, and entered, scarcely waiting for the re- 
sponse. Senator Dilworthy was alone — with an 
open Bible in his hand, upside down. Laura smiled, 
and said, forgetting her acquired correctness of 
speech : 

" It is only me." 

" Ah, come in, sit down," and the Senator closed 
the book and laid it down. " I wanted to see you. 
Time to report progress from the committee of the 
whole," and the Senator beamed with his own con- 
gressional wit. 

" In the committee of the whole things are work- 
ing very well. We have made ever so much pro- 
gress in a week. I believe that you and I together 
could run this government beautifully, uncle." 

The Gilded Age 47 

The Senator beamed again. He liked to be called 
"uncle" by this beautiful woman. 

■' Did you see Hopperson last night after the Con- 
gressional prayer meeting?" 

"Yes. He came. He's a kind of " 

"Eh? he is one of my friends, Laura. He's a 
tine mao, a very Hae man. I don't know any man 
in Congress I'd sooner go to for help in any Chris- 
tiaavoric. What did he say?" 

" Oh, he beat around a little. He said he should 
like to help the n^ro, his heart went out to the 
nc^ro, and all tliat — plenty of them say that — but 
he was a little afraid of the Tennessee Land bill ; if 
Senator Dilworthy wasn't in it, he should suspect 
there was a fraud on the government." 

" He said that, did he?" 

"Yes. And he said he felt he couldn't vote for 
it. He was shy." 

" Not shy, child, cautious. He's a very cautious 
man. I have been with him a great deal on confer- 
ence committees. He wants reasons, good ones. 
Didn't you show him he was in error about the 

*' I did. I went over the whole thing. I had to 
tell him some of the side arrangements, some of the 

" You didn't mention me?" 
"Oh, no. I told him you were daft about the 
negro and the philanthropy part of it, as you are." 
"Daft is a httle strong, Laura. But you know 


48 The Gilded Age 

that I wouldn't touch this bill if it were not for the 
public good, and for the good of the colored race, 
much as I am interested in the heirs of this prop- 
erty, and would like to have them succeed." 

Laura looked a little incredulous, and the Senator 
proceeded . 

" Don't misunderstand me, Laura. I don't deny 
that it is for the interest of all of us that this bill 
should go through, and it will. I have no conceal- 
ments from you. But I have one principle in my 
public life, which I should like you to keep in mind ; 
/it has always been my guide. I never push a private 
I interest if it is not justified and ennobled by some 
<- larger public good. I doubt if a Christian would be 
justified in working for his own salvation if it was not 
to aid in the salvation of his fellow men." 

The Senator spoke with feeling, and then added : 

" I hope you showed Hopperson that our motives 
were pure?" 

"Yes, and he seemed to have a new light on the 
measure. I think he will vote for it." 

" I hope so ; his name will give tone and strength 
to it. I knew you would only have to show him 
that it was just and pure, in order to secure his 
cordial support." 

" I think I convinced him. Yes, I am perfectly 
sure he will vote right now." 

"That's good, that's good," said the Senator, 
smiling, and rubbing his hands. "Is there any- 
thing more?" 

The Gilded Age 49 

" You'll find some changes in that I guess," hand- 
ing the Senator a printed list of names. "Those 
checked off are all right." 

"Ah — 'm — 'm," running his eye down the list. 
" That's encouraging. What is the 'C before some 
of the names, and the ' B. B.' ? " 

"Those are my private marks. That ' C ' stands 
for 'convinced,' with argument. The ' B. B.' is a 
general sign for a relative. You see it stands before 
three of the Hon. Committee. I expect to see the 
chairman of the committee to-day, Mr. Buckstone." 

"So you must, he ought to be seen without any 
delay, Buckstone is a worldly sort of a fellow, but 
he has charitable impulses. If we secure him we shall 
have a favorable report by the committee, and it will 
be a great thing to be able to state that fact quietly 
where it will do good." 

" Oh, I saw Senator Balloon." 

" He will help us, I suppose? Balloon is awhole- 
hearted fellow. I can't kelp loving that man, for all 
his drollery and waggishness. He puts on an air of 
levity sometimes, but there ain't a man in the Senate 
knows the Scriptures as he does. He did not make 
any objections?" 

" Not exactly, he said — shall I tell you what he 
said?" asked Laura, glancing furtively at him. 

" Certainly." 

" He said he had no doubt it was a good thing; if 
Senator Dilworthy was in it, it would pay to look 
into it." 

50 Hie elided Age 

The Senator laughed, but rather feebly, and said, 
"Balloon is always full of his jokes." 

" I explained it to him. He said it was all right, 
he only wanted a word with you," continued Laura. 
" He is a handsome old gentleman, and he is gal- 
lant for an old man." 

"My daughter," said the Senator, with a grave 
look, " I trust there was nothing free in his 

" Free?" repeated Laura, with indignation in her 
face. "With me!" 

"There, there, child. I meant nothing. Balloon 
talks a little freely sometimes, with men. But he is 
right at heart. His term expires next year and I 
fear we shall lose him." 

" He seemed to be packing the day I was there. 

{ His rooms were full of dry goods boxes, into which 

his servant was crowding all manner of old clothes 

and stuff. I suppose he wilt paint ' Pub. Docs ' on 

thera and frank them home. That's good economy, 

l^isn't it?" 

"Yes, yes, but, child, all Congressmen do that. 
It may not be strictly honest, indeed, it is not unless 
he had some public documents mixed in with the 

" It's a funny world. Good-bye, uncle, I'm go- 
ing to see that chairman." 

And humming a cheery opera air, she departed to 
her room to dress for going out. Before she did 
that, however, she took out her note book and was 

I TTieGI] 

The Gilded Age SI 

soon deep in its contents, marking, dashing, era«ng, 
figuring, and talking to herself. 

"Free! I wonder what Dilworthy t^x think of 
me, an>'way7 One. . . .two. . . .eight. . . .seventeen 

twenty-one,. . . .'m'm. . . .it takes a heap for a 

majority. Wouldn't Dilworthy open his eyes if he 
knew some of the things Balloon di4 say to me. 
There. . . .Hopperson's inSuence ought to count 
twen^. . . .the sanctimonious old curmudgeon. Son- 
in-law. . . .sinecure in the negro institution. . . .That 
about gsnges Aim. , . .The three committeemen. , . . 
sons-in-law. Nothing like a son-in-law here in 
Washington. . . .or a brother-in-law. . . .And every- 
body has 'em. . . .Let's see. . . .sixty-one. , . .with 
places;. . . .twenty-five. . . .persuaded — it is getting 
on;.... we'll have two-thirds of Congress in time 
. . . .Dilworthy must surely know I understand him. 
Uncle Dilworthy. . . .Uncle Balloon !, . . .Tells very 
amusing stories. . . .when ladies are not present. . . . 
I should think so. . . .'m, . . .'m. Eighty-five. . . . 
There. I must find that chairman. Queer. . . . 
Buckstone acts. . . .Seemed to be in love. . . .1 was 
sure of it. He promised to come here. . . .and he 
hasn't. . . .Strange. Very strange. . . .1 must chance 
to meet him to-day." 

Laura dressed and went out, thinking she was per- 
haps too early for Mr. Buckstone to come from the 
house, but as he lodged near the bookstore she 
would drop in there and keep a lookout for him. 

While Laura is on her errand to find Mr. Buck- 

52 The GUded Age 

stone, it may not be out of the way to remark diat 
she knew quite as much of Washington life as Sen- 
ator Dilworthy gave her credit for, and more than 
she thought proper to tell him. She was acquainted 
by this time with a good many of the young fellows 
of Newspaper Row, and exchanged gossip with 
them to their mutual advant^e. 

They were always talking in the Row, everlastingly 
gossiping, bantering, and sarcastically praising things, 
and going on in a style which was a curious com- 
mingling of earnest and persiflage. Colonel Sellers 
liked this talk amazingly, though he was sometimes 
a little at sea in it — and perhaps that didn't lessen 
the relish of the conversation to the correspondents. 

It seems that they had got hold of the dry goods 
box packing story about Balloon, one day, and were 
talking it over when the Colonel came in. The 
Colonel wanted to know all about it, and Hicks told 
him. And then Hicks went on, with a serious air; 

" Colonel, if you register a letter, it means that it 
is of value, doesn't it? And if you pay fifteen cents 
for registering it, the government will have; to take 
extra care of it and even pay you back its full value 
if it is lost. Isn't that so?" 

"Yes. I suppose it's so." 

" Well, Senator Balloon put fifteen cents worth of 
stamps on each of those seven huge boxes of old 
clothes, and shipped that ton of second-hand rub- 
bish, old boots and pantaloons and what not through 
the mails as registered matter I It was an ingenious 

The Gilded Age 

thing and it had a genuine touch of humor about it, 
too. I think there is more real talent among our 
public men of to-day than there was among those of 
old times — a far more fertile fancy, a much happier 
ingenuity. Now, Colonel, can you picture Jeffer- 
son, or Washington, or John Adams franking their 
wardrobes through the mails and adding the facetious 
idea of making the government responsible for the 
cargo for the sum of one dollar and five cents? 
Statesmen were dull creatures in those days. I 
have a much greater admiration for Senator Balloon." 

" Yes, Balloon is a man of parts, there is no deny- 
ing it." 

"I think so. He is spoken of for the post of 
Minister to China, or Austria, and I hope will be 
appointed. What we want abroad is good examples 
of the national character. John Jay and Benjamin 
Franklin were well enough in their day, but the 
nation has made progress since then. Balloon is a 
man we know and can depend on to be true to — • 
himself. ' ' 

" Yes, and Balloon has had a good deal of public 
experience. He is an old friend of mine. He was 
governor of one of the Territories awhile, and was 
very satisfactory." 

" Indeed, he was. He was ex-officio Indian 
agent, too. Many a man would have taken the 
Indian appropriation and devoted the money to 
feeding and clothing the helpless savages, whose 
land had been taken from them by the white man in 


54 The Gilded Age 

the interests of civilization; but Balloon knew their 
needs better. He built a government sawmill oa 
the reservation with the money, and the lumber sold 
for enormous prices — a relative of his did all the 
work free of charge — that is to say, he charged 
nothing more than the lumber would bring." 

"But the poor Injuns — not that I care much for 
Injuns — what did he do for them?" 

" Gave them the outside slabs to fence in the 
reservation with. Governor Balloon was nothing 
less than a father to the poor Indians. But Balloon 
is not alone, we have many truly noble statesmen in 
our country's service like Balloon. The Senate is 
full of them. Don't you think so. Colonel?" 

"Well, I dunno. I honor my country's public 
servants as much as any one can. I meet them, 
sir, every day, and the more I see of them the more 
I esteem them and the more grateful I am that our 
institutions give us the opportunity of securing their 
services. Few lands are so blest." 
-'" "That is true, Colonel. To be sure you can buy 
now and then a Senator or a Representative; but 
they do not know it is wrong, and so they are not 
ashamed of it. They are gentle, and confiding and 
childlike, and, in my opinion, these are qualities that 
ennoble them far more than any amount of sinful 
^^gacity could. I quite agree with you, Colonel 

"Well" — hesitated the Colonel — "I am afraid 
some of them do buy their seats — yes, I am afraid 

The Gilded Age 

they do — but as Senator Dilworthy himself said to 
me, it is sinful, — it is very wrong — it is shame- 
ful ; Heaven protect mc from such a charge. That 
is what Dilworthy said. And yet when you come 
to look at it you cannot deny that we would have to 
go without the services of some of our ablest men, 
sir, if the country were opposed to — to — bribery. 
It is a harsh term. I do not like to use it." 

The Colonel interrupted himself at this point to 
meet an engagement with the Austrian minister, and 
took his leave with his usual courtly bow. 




** BAtA&ULdoTi iun-n)uiiuigan4Q, Icjilr j pj t gaic OQijishuhcc*" *— " Mil- 
nwB onijisliining luloiut o masinaigtiiaTi, Imtriit gwetch o-wabuidai)- 


IN due time Laura alighted at the bookstore, and 
began to look at the titles of the handsome 
array of books on the counter. A dapper clerk, of 
perhaps nineteen or twenty years, with hair accu- 
rately parted and surprisingly slick, came bustling 
up and leaned over with a pretty smile and an 
affable — 

"Can I — was there any particular book you 
wished to see?" 

" Have you Taine's England?" 

" Beg pardon?" 

"Taine's Notes on England." 

The young gentleman scratched the side of his 
nose with a cedar pencil which he took down from 
its bracket on the side of his head, and reflected a 
moment : 


The Gilded Age 57 

"Ah — I see," [with a bright smile] — "Train, 
you mean — not Taine. George Francis Train. No, 
cia'm we ' ' 

'* I mean Taine — if I may take the liberty." 

The clerk reflected again — then : 

" Taine. . . .Taine. . . .Is it hymns?" 

"No, it isn't hymns. It is a volume that is 
making a deal of talk just now, and is very widely 
known — except among parties who sell it." 

The clerk glanced at her face to see if a sarcasm 
might not lurk somewhere in that obscure speech, 
but the gentle simplicity of the beautiful eyes that 
met his, banished that suspicion. He went away 
and conferred with the proprietor. Both appeared 
to be nonplussed. They thought and talked, and 
talked and thought by turns. Then both came for- 
ward and the proprietor said : 

" Is it an American book, ma'm?" 

" No, it is an American reprint of an English 

"Ohl Yes — yea — I remember, now. We are 
expecting it every day; It isn't out yet." 

" I think you must be mistaken, because you 
advertised it a week ago." 

"Why no — can that be so?" 

"Yes, I am sure of it. And besides, here is the 
book itself, on the counter." 

She bought it and the proprietor retired from the 
field. Then she asked the clerk for the Autocrat of 
the Breakfast Table — and was pained to see the 



58 The Gilded Age 

admiration her beauty had inspired in hioi fade out 
of his face. He said with cold dignity, that cook 
books were somewhat out of their line, but he would 
order it if she desired it. She said, no, never mind. 
Then she fell to conning the titles again, finding a 
delight in the inspection of the Hawthornes, the Long- 
fellows, the Tennysons, and other favorites of her 
idle hours. Meantime the clerk's eyes were busy, 
and no doubt his admiration was returning again ^ 
or may be he was only gauging her probable literary 
tastes by some sagacious system of admeasurement 
only known to his guild. Now he began to "assist " 
her in making a selection ; but his efforts met with 
no success — indeed, they only annoyed her and un- 
pleasantly interrupted her meditations. Presently, 
while she was holding a copy of " Venetian Ljfe " 
in her hand and running over a familiar passage here 
and there, the clerk said, briskly, snatching up a 
paper-covered volume and striking the counter a 
smart blow with it to dislodge the dust: 

"Now here is a work that we've sold a lot of. 
Everybody that's read it likes it " — • and he intruded 
it under her nose; " it's a book that I can recom- 
mend — "The Pirate's Doom, or the Last of the 
Buccaneers.' I think it's one of the best things 
that's come out this season," 

Laura pushed it gently aside with her hand and 
went on filching from "Venetian Life." 

" I believe I do not want it," she said. 

The clerk hunted around awhile, glancing at one 

The Gilded Age ;9 

dtic and then another, but apparently not finding 
what he wanted. However, he succeeded at last. 
Said he: 

"Have you ever read this, ma'm? I am sure 
you'll like it. It's by the author of ' The Hooligans 
of Hackensack.' It is full of love troubles and 
mysteries and all sorts ot such things. The heroine 
strangles her own mother. Just glance at the titic, 
please, — "Gonderil the Vampire, or The Dance of 
Death,' And here is ' The Jokist's Own Treasury, 
or, The Phuony Phellow's Bosom Phriend.' The 
funniest thing I — I've read it four times, ma'm, and 
I can laugh at the very sight of it yet. And 
'Gonderil,' — I assure you it Is the most splendid 
book I ever read. I know you will like these books, 
ma'm, because I've read them myself and I know 
what they are. ' ' 

" Oh, I was perplexed — but I see how it is, now. 
You must have thought I asked you to tell me what 
sort of books I wanted — for I am apt to say things 
which I don't really mean, when I am absent-minded. 
I suppose I did ask you, didn't I?" 

'* No, ma'm, — but I " 

" Yes, I must have done it, else you would not 
have offered your services, for fe&r it might be rude. 
But don't be troubled — it was all my fault. I 
ought not to have been so heedless — I ought not to 
have asked you." 

"But you didn't ask me, ma'm. We always 
help customers all we can. You see our experience 

60 The Qlded Age 

— living right among books all the time — that sort 
of thing makes us able to help a customer make a 
selection, you know." 

"Now does it, indeed? It is part of your busi- 
ness, then?" 

" Yes'm, we always help." 

"How good it is of you. Some people would 
think it rather obtrusive, perhaps, but I don't — I 
think it is real kindness — even charity. Some peo- 
ple jump to conclusions without any thought — you 
have noticed that?" 

" Oh, yes," said the clerk, a little perplexed as to 
whether to feel comfortable or the reverse; "oh, 
yes, indeed, I've often noticed that, ma'm." 

" Yes, they jump to conclusions with an absurd 
heedlessness. Now some people would think it odd 
that because you, with the budding tastes and the 
innocent enthusiasms natural to your time of life, 
enjoyed the Vampires and the volume of nursery 
jokes, you should imagine that an older person 
would delight in them, too — but I do not think it 
odd at all. I think it natural — perfectly natural — 
in you. And kind, too. You look like a person 
who not only finds a deep pleasure in any litde 
thing in the way of literature that strikes you 
forcibly, but is willing and glad to share that pleas- 
ure with others — and that, I think, is noble and 
admirable — very noble and admirable. I think we 
ought all to share our pleasures with others, and do 
what we can to make each other happy, do not you?" 

The Gilded Age 

" Oh, yes. Oh, yes, indeed. Yes, you are quite 
right, tna'm." 

But he was getting unmistakably uncomfortable, 
now, notwithstanding Laura's confiding sociability 
and almost affectionate tone. 

"Yes, indeed. Many people would think that 
what a bookseller — or perhaps his clerk — knows 
about literature as literature, in contradistinction to 
its character as merchandise, would hardly be of 
much assistance to a person — that is, to an adult, 
of course — in the selection of food for the mind — 
except, of course, wrapping paper, or twine, or 
wafers, or something like that — but I never feci that 
way. I feel that whatever service you offer me, you 
offer with a good heart, and I am as grateful for it 
as if it were the greatest boon to me. And it is 
useful to me — it is bound to be so. It cannot be 
otherwise. If you show me a book which you have 
read — not skimmed over or merely glanced at, but 
read — and you tell me ihsX-jiou enjoyed it and that 
you could read it three or four times, then I know 
what book I want " 

"Thank you! — th " 

— " to avoid. Yes, indeed. I think that no in- 
formation ever comes amiss in this world. Once or 
twice I have traveled in the cars' — and there, you 
know, the peanut boy always measures you with his 
eye, and hands you out a book of murders if you 
are fond of theology ; or Tupper or a dictionary or 
T. S. Arthur if you are fond of poetry; or he 


62 The Gilded Age 

hands you a volume of distressing jokes or a copy 
of the American Miscellany if you particularly dis- 
like that sort of literary fatty degeneration of the 
heart — 'just for the world like a pleasant-spoken 
well-meaning gentleman in any bookstore — . But 
here I am running on as if business men had nothing 
to do but listen to women talk. You must pardon 
me, for I was not thinking. And you must let me 
thank you again for helping me. I read a good 
deal, and shall be in nearly every day ; and I would 
be sorry to have you think me a customer who talks 
too much and buys too little. Might I ask you to 
give me the time ? Ah — two — twenty-two. Thank 
you very much. I will set mine while I have the 

But she could not get her watch open, apparently. 
She tried, and tried again. Then the clerk, trem- 
bling at his own audacity, begged to be allowed to 
assist. She allowed him. He succeeded, and was 
radiant under the sweet influences of her pleased 
face and her seductively worded acknowledgments 
with gratification. Then he gave her the exact time 
again, and anxiously watched her turn the hands 
slowly till they reached the precise spot without 
accident or loss of life, and then he looked as happy 
as a man who had helped a fellow being through a 
momentous undertaking, and was grateful to know 
that he had not lived in vain. Laura thanked him 
once more. The words were music to hisear; but 
what were they compared to the ravishing smile with 

The Gilded Age 


which she flooded his whole system? When she 
bowed her adieu and turned away, he was no longer 
suffering torture in the pillory where she had had 
him trussed up during so many distressing moments, 
but he belonged to the list of her conquests and was 
3 flattered and happy thrall, with the dawn-light of 
love breaking over the eastern elevations of his heart. 
It was about the hour, now, for the chairman of 
the House Committee on Benevolent Appropriations 
to make his appearance, and Laura stepped to the 

door to reconnoitre. She glanced up the street, 

and sure enough 



w tKs ai em* en n Tl<^~■ 

Usa ogn' arte la donna, onde ma c61to 
Nella sua rete alcun novello amante; 
Ni con taiti, ni sempre on stesso volla 
Sett», aa cangia a tempo atti 

THAT chairman was nowhere in sight. Such 
disappointments seldom occur in novels, but 
are always happening in real life. 

She was obliged to make a new plan. She sent 
him a note, and asked him to call in the evening — 
which he did, 

She received the Hon. Mr. Buckstone with a 
sunny smile, and said : 

" I don't know how I ever dared to send you a 
note, Mr. Buckstone, for you have the reputation of 
not being very partial to our sex." 

"Why, I am sure my reputation does me wrong, 
then. Miss Hawkins. I have been married once — 
is that nothing in my favor?" 


The coded Age 65 

*' Oh, yes — tbat is> it may be and it may not be. 
li yt>u have known what perfection is in woman, it 
is fair to ai^e that inferiorit^r cannot interest you 

'* Even if that were the case it could not affect 
j^ou. Miss Hawkins/' said the chairman gallantly. 
"Fame does not place you in the list of ladies 
who rank below perfection." 

This happy speech delighted Mr. Buckstone as 
much as it seemed to delight Laura. But it did not 
confuse him as much as it apparently did her. 

*• I wish in all sincerity that I could be worthy of 
such a felicitous compliment as that. But I am a 
woman, and so I am gratified for it just as it is, and 
would not have it altered." 

"But it is not merely a compliment — that is, an 
empty compliment — it is the truth. All men will 
endorse that." 

Laura looked pleased, and said : 

" It is very kind of you to say it. It is a distinc- 
tion, indeed, for a country-bred girl like me to be so 
spoken of by people of brains and culture. You 
are so kind that I know you will pardon my putting 
you to the trouble to come this evening. ' ' 

"Indeed, it was no trouble. It was a pleasure. 
I am alone in the world since I lost my wife, and I 
often long for the society of your sex, Miss Haw- 
kins, notwithstanding what people may say to the 

" It is pleasant to hear you say that. I am sure 

66 The Gilded Age 

it must be so. If I feel lonely at times, because of 
my exile from old friends, although surrounded by 
new ones who are already very dear to me, how 
much more lonely must you feel, bereft as you are, 
and with no wholesome relief from the cares of state 
that weigh you down. For your own sake, as well 
as for the sake of others, you ought to go into society 
oftener, I seldom see you at a reception, and when 
I do you do not usually give me very much of your 

" I never imagined that you wished it or I would 
have been very glad to make myself happy in that 
way. But one seldom gets an opportunity to say 
more than a sentence to you in a place like that. 
You are always the center of a group — a fact which 
you riiay have noticed yourself. But if one might 
come here " 

"Indeed you would always find a hearty wel- 
come, Mr, Buckstone. I have often wished you 
would come and tell me more about Cairo and 
the Pyramids, as you once promised me you 

" Why, do you remember that yet. Miss Haw- 
kins? I thought ladies' memories were more fickle 
than that." 

"Oh, they are not so fickle as gentlemen's 
promises. And besides, if I had been inclined to 
forget, I — did you not give me something by way 
of a remembrancer?" 

'■Did I?" 

The Gilded Age 67 


" It does seem to me that I did ; but I have for- 
gotten what it was now." 

" Never, never call a lady's memory fickle ag^in I 
Do you recognize this?" 

'*A little spray of box I I am beaten — I sur- 
render. But have you kept that all this time ?' ' 

Laura's confusion was very pretty. She tried to 
hide it, but the more she tried the more manifest it 
became and withal the more captivating to look 
upon. Presently she threw the spray of box from 
her with an annoyed air, and said : 

** I forgot myself. I have been very foolish. I 
beg that you will forget this absurd thing." 

Mr. Buckstone picked up the spray, and sitting 
down by Laura's side on the sofa, said : 

•'Please let me keep it. Miss Hawkins. I set a 
very high value upon it now." 

** Give it to me, Mr. Buckstone, and do not speak 
so. I have been sufficiently punished for my 
thoughtlessness. You cannot take pleasure in add- 
ing to my distress. Please give it to me." 

*• Indeed I do not wish to distress you. But do 
not consider the matter so gravely ; you have done 
yourself no wrong. You probably forgot that you 
had it ; but if you had given it to me I would have 
kept it — and not forgotten it." 

" Do not talk so, Mr. Buckstone. Give it to me, 
please, and forget the matter." 

" It would not be kind to refuse, since it troubles 

68 The Gilded Age 

you so, and so I restore it. But if you would g^ve 

me part of it and keep the rest " 

"So that you might have something to remind 
you of me when you wished to laugh at my foolish- 

" Oh, by no means, no! Simply that I might 
remember that I had once assisted to discomfort 
you, and be reminded to do so no more." 

Laura looked up, and scanned his face a moment. 
She was about to break the twig, but she hesitated 
and said : 

" If I were sure that you " She threw tile 

spray away, and continued: " This is silly! We will 
change the subject. No, do not insist — I must 
have my way in this." 

Then Mr. Buckstone drew off his forces and pro- 
ceeded to make a wily advance upon the fortress 
under cover of carefully-contrived artifices and 
stratagems of war. But he contended with an alert 
and suspicious enemy; and so at the end of two 
hours it was manifest to him that he had made but 
little progress. Still, he had made some; he was 
sure of that. 

Laura sat alone and communed with herself : 

"He is fairly hooked, poor thing. I can play 
him at my leisure and land him when I choose. He 
was all ready to be caught, days and days ago — I 
saw that, very well. He will vote for our bill — no 
fear about that; and moreover he will work for it, 
too, before I am done with him. If he had a 

The Gilded Age 69 

woman's eyes he would have noticed that the spray 
of box had grown three inches since he first gave it 
to me, but a man never sees anything and never 
suspects. If I had shown him a whole bush he 
would have thought it was the same. Well, it is a 
good night's work; the committee is safe. But this 
is a desperate game 1 am playing in these days — a 
wearing, sordid, heartless game. If I lose, I lose 
everything — even myself. And if I win the game, 
will it be worth its cost after all? I do not know. 
Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I half wish I had 
not begun. But no matter; I have begun, and I 
will never turn back; never while I live." 

Mr. Buckstone indulged in a reverie as he walked 
homeward : 

"She is shrewd and deep, and plays her cards 
with considerable discretion — but she will lose, for 
all that. There is no hurry; I shall come out 
winner, all in good time. She is the most beautiful 
woman in the world ; and she surpassed herself to- 
night. I suppose I must vote for that bill, in the 
end, maybe ; but that is not a matter of much conse- 
quence — the government can stand it. She is bent 
on capturing me, that is plain ; but she will find by 
and by that what she took for a sleeping garrisoa 
was an ambuscade." 



Now this surprising news soasM her f>U in a truice. 
Like »s she were dead, no limbs she could advance. 
Then hei deai brother came, her from the ground be toolc 
Aikd she spake up alld laid, O m^ poor heart a broke. 

The Bania'dcastU Tragtfii. 

ii p\ON'T you think he is distinguished looking?" 

1-' ' ■ What ! That gawky looking person, 
with Miss Hawkins?" 

"There. He's just speaking to Mrs. Schoon- 
maker. Such high-bred negligence and unconscious- 
ness. Nothing studied. See his fine eyes." 

" Very. They are moving this way now. May- 
be he is coming here. But he looks as helpless as 
a rag baby. Who is he, Blanche?" 

" Who is he? And you've been here a week, 
Grace, and don't know? He's the catch of the 
season. That's Washington Hawkins — her brother." 

" No, is it?" 

"Very old family, old Kentucky family, I be- 
lieve. He's got enormous landed property in Ten- 
nessee, I think. The family lost everything, slaves 
and that sort of thing, you know, in the war. But 

The Gilded Age 71 

they have a great deal of land, minerals, mines, and 
all that. Mr. Hawkins and his sister too are very 
much interested in the amelioration of the condition 
of the colored race; they have some plan, with 
Senator Dilworthy, to convert a large part of their 
property to something another for the freedmen." 

** You don't say so? I thought he was some guy 
from Pennsylvania. But he is different from others. 
Probably he has lived all his life on his plantation.'' 

It was a day reception of Mrs. Representative 
Schoonmaker, a sweet woman, of simple and sincere 
manners. Her house was one of the most popular 
in Washington. There was less ostentation there 
than in some others, and people liked to go where 
the atmosphere reminded them of the peace and 
purity of home. Mrs. Schoonmaker was as natural 
and unaffected in Washington society as she was in 
her own New York house, and kept up the spirit of 
home-life there, with her husband and children. 
And that was the reason, probably, why people of 
refinement liked to go there. 

Washington is a microcosm, and one can suit 
himself with any sort of society within a radius of 
a mile. To a large portion of the people who fre- 
quent Washington or dwell there, the ultra fashipn, 
the shoddy, the jobbery are as utterly distasteful as 
they would be in a refined New England city. 
Schoonmaker was not exactly a leader \n the House, 
but he was greatly respected for his fine talents and 
his honesty. No one would have thought of offering 

72 The Gilded Age 

to carry National Improvement Directors Relief 
stock for him. 

These day receptions were attended by more 
women than men, and those interested in the prob- 
lem might have studied the costumes of the ladies 
present, in view of this fact, to discover whether 
women dress more for the eyes of women or for 
effect upon men. It is a very important problem, 
and has been a good deal discussed, and its solution 
would form one fixed, philosophical basis, upon 
which to estimate woman's character. We are in- 
clined to take a medium ground, and aver that 
woman dresses to please herself, and in obedience to 
a law of her own nature. 

"They are coming this way," said Blanche. 
People who made way for them to pass, turned to 
look at them. Washington began to feel that the 
eyes of the public were on him also, and his eyes 
rolled about, now towards the ceiling, now towards 
the floor, in an effort to look unconscious. 

" Good morning. Miss Hawkins. Delighted. Mr. 
Hawkins. My friend, Miss Medlar." 

Mr. Hawkins, who was endeavoring to square 
himself for a bow, put his foot through the train of 
Mrs. Senator Poplin, who looked round with a 
scowl, which turned into a smile as she saw who it 
was. In extricating himself, Mr. Hawkins, who 
had the care of his hat as well as the introduction 
on his mind, shambled against Miss Blanche, who 
said pardon, with the prettiest accent, as if the awk- 

The Gilded Age 73 

wardness were her own. And Mr. Hawkins righted 

" Don't you find it verj- warm to-day, Mr. Haw- 
kins?" said Blanche, by way of a remark. 
" It's awful hot," said Washington. 
"It's warm for the season," continued Blanche 
pleasantly. ' ' But I suppose you are accustomed to 
it," she added, with a general idea that the ther- 
mometer always stands at 90 degrees in all parts of 
the late slave states. " Washington weather gener- 
ally cannot be very congenial to you?" 

"It's congenial," said Washington, brightening 
np, "when it's not congealed." 

"That's very good. Did you hear, Grace? Mr. 
Hawkins says it's congenial when it's not con- 

"What is, dear?" said Grace, who was talking 
with Laura. 

The conversation was now finely under way. 
Washington launched out an observation of his own. 
"Did you see those Japs, Miss Leavitt?" 
"Oh, yes, aren't they queer? But so high-bred, 
so picturesque. Do you think that color makes any 
diflerence, Mr. Hawkins? I used to be so prejudiced 
against color. ' ' 

"Did you? I never was. I used to think my 
old mammy was handsome." 

"How interesting your life must have been! I 
should like to hear about it." 
Washington was about settling himself into his 

74 The Gilded Age 

narrative style, when Mrs. General McFingal caught 
his eye. 

" Have you been at the Capitol to-day, Mr. Haw- 

Washington had not, "Is anything uncommon 
going on?" 

" They say it was very exciting. The Alabama 
business, you know. General Sutler of Massachu- 
setts defied England, and they say he wants war." 

' ' He wants to make himself conspicuous, more 
like," said Laura. " He always, you have noticed, 
talks with one eye on the gallery, while the other is 
on the speaker." 

"Well, my husband says, it's nonsense to talk of 
war, and wicked. He knows what war is. If we do 
have war, I hope it will be for the patriots of Cuba. 
Don't you think we want Cuba, Mr. Hawkins?" 

"I think we want it bad," said Washington. 
"And Santo Domingo. Senator Dilworthy says, 
we are bound to extend our religion over the isles of 
the sea. We've got to round out our territory, 
and ' ' 

Washington's further observations were broken 
off by Laura, who whisked him off to another part 
of the room, and reminded him that they must make 
their adieux. 

" How stupid and tiresome these people are," she 
said. " Let's go." 

They were turning to say good-bye to the hostess, 
when Laura's attention was arrested by the sight of 

The Gilded Age 

a gentleman who was just speaking to Mrs. Schoon- 
maker. For a second her heart stopped beating. 
He was a handsome man of forty and perhaps more, 
with grayish hair and whiskers, and he walked with 
a cane, as if he were slightly lame. He might be 
less than forty, for his face was worn into hard lines, 
and he was pale. 

No. It could not be, she said to herself. It is 
only a resemblance. But as the gentleman turned 
and she saw his full face, Laura put out her hand 
and clutched Washington's arm to prevent herself 
from falh'ng. 

Washington, who was not minding anything, as 
usual looked 'round in wonder. Laura's eyes were 
blazing fire and hatred ; he had never seen her look 
so before ; and her face was livid. 

"Why, what is it, sis? Your face is as white as 
paper. ' ' 

" It's he, it's he. Come, come," and she dragged 
bim away. 

" It's who?" asked Washington, when they had 
gained the carriage. 

"It's nobody, it's nothing. Did I say he? I 
was faint with the heat. Don't mention it. Don't 
you speak of it," she added earnestly, grasping his 

When she had gained her room she went to the 
glass and saw a pallid and haggard face. 

"My God," she cried, "this will never do. I 
should have killed him, if I could. The scoundrel 

76 The Gilded Age 

still lives, and dares to come here. I ought to kill 
him. He has no right to live. How I hate him I 
And yet I loved him. Oh, heavens, how I did love 
that man ! And why didn't he kill me? He might 
better. He did kill all that was good in me. Oh, 
but he shall not escape. He shall not escape this 
time. He may have forgotten. He will find that 
a woman's hate doesn't forget. The law? What 
would the law do but protect him and make me an 
outcast? How all Washington would gather up its 
virtuous skirts and avoid me, if it knew. I wonder 
if he hates me as I do him? " 

So Laura raved, in tears and in rage by turns, 
tossed in a tumult of passion, which she gave way 
to with little effort to control. 

A servant came to summon her to dinner. She 
had a headache. The hour came for the President's 
reception. She had a raving headache, and the 
Senator must go without her. 

That night of agony was like another night she 
recalled. How vividly it all came back to her. And 
at that time she remembered she thought she might 
be mistaken. He might come back to her. Perhaps 
he loved her, a little, after all. Now, she knew he 
did not. Now, she knew he was a cold-blooded 
scoundrel, without pity. Never a word in all these 
years. She had hoped he was dead. Did his wife 
live, she wondered. She caught at that, and it gave 
a new current to her thoughts. Perhaps, after all — 
she must see him. She could not live without see- 

The Gilded Age 

ing him. Would he smile as in the old days when 
she loved him so; or would he sneer as when she 
last saw him? If he looked so, she hated him. If 
he should call her "Laura, darling," and look so! 
She must find him. She must end her doubts. 

Laura kept her room for two days, on one excuse 
and another — a nervous headache, a cold — to the 
great anxiety of the Senator's household. Callers, 
who went away, said she had been too gay — they 
did not say " fast," though some of them may have 
thought it. One so conspicuous and successful in 
society as Laura could not be out of the way two 
days, without remarks being made, and not all of 
them complimentary. 

When she came down she appeared as usual, a 
little pale, maybe, but unchanged in manner. If 
there were any deepened lines about the eyes they 
had been concealed. Her course of action was 
quite determined. 

At breakfast she asked if any one had heard any 
unusual noise during the night? Nobody had. 
Washington never heard any noise of any kind after 
his eyes were shut. Some people thought he never 
did when they were open, either. 

Senator Dilworthy said he had come in late. He was 
detained in a little consultation after the Congress- 
ional prayer meeting. Perhaps it was his entrance. 

No, Laura said. She heard that. It was later. 
She might have been nervous, but she fancied 
somebody was trying to get into the house. 

78 The Gilded Age 

Mr. Briefly humorously suggested thai it might 
be, as none of the members were occupied in night 

The Senator frowned, and said he did not like to 
hear that kind of newspaper slang. There might be 
burglars about. 

Laura said that very likely it was only her nervous- 
ness. But she thought she would feel safer if 
Washington would let her take one of his pistols. 
Washington brought her one of his revolvers, and 
instructed her in the art of loading and firing it. 

During the morning Laura drove down to Mrs. 
Schoonmaker's to pay a friendly call. 

"Your receptions are always delightful," she 
said to that lady, " the pleasant people all seem to 
come here." • 

" It's pleasant to hear you say so, Miss Hawkins. 
I believe my friends like to come here. Though 
society in Washington is mixed ; we have a little of 
everything. ' ' 

" I suppose, though, you don't see much of the 
old rebel element?" said Laura with a smile. 

If this seemed to Mrs. Schoonmaker a singular 
remark for a lady to make, who was meeting 
" rebels " in society every day, she did not express 
it in any way, but only said : 

"You know we don't say 'rebel' any more. 
Before we came to Washington I thought rebels 
would look unlike other people. I find we are very 
much alike, and that kindness and good nature wear 


The Gilded Age 79 

away prejudice. And then you know there are all 
sorts of common interests. My husband sometimes 
says that he doesn't see but Confederates are just as 
eager to get at the treasury as Unionists. You 
know that Mr. Schoonmaker is on the appropria- 

"Does he know many Southerners?" 

*' Oh, yes. There were several at my reception 
the other day, AmonE others a Confederate col- 
onel — a stranger — handsome man with gray hair — 
probably you didn't notice him — uses a cane in walk- 
ing. A very agreeable man. I wondered why he 
called. When my husband came home and looked 
over the cards, he said he had a cotton claim. A 
real Southerner. Perhaps you might know him if I 
could think of his name. Yes, here's his card — 

Laura took the card, looked at it intently till she 
was sure of the address, and then laid it down, with: 

" No, he is no friend of ours." 

That afternoon, Laura wrote and dispatched the 
following note. It was in a round hand, unlike her 
flowing style, and it was directed to a number and 
street in Georgetown : 

"A Lady at Senator DUwortbr's would like to see Col. George 
Selby, on business connected with the Cotton Qaims, Can be call 
Wednesday at three o'clock P.U. 

On Wednesday at 3 P. M. no one of the family 
was likely to be in the house except Laura. 



A^hoia* II. 
Ak UuunbUra da lure desdoa? 
Hitt cEoan leneidtan, 
E« behtn, bai benitan, 

Enia dnela. 
— Ohikua Dina; 
Ed am khambiata, 
Bihotziaii bnnin faarto. 
Eta za mailhatu. 

MaifiBi mat sitaf 

COLONEL SELBY had just come to Washington, 
and taken lodgings in Georgetown. His busi- 
ness was to get pay for some cotton that was de- 
stroyed during the war. There were many others 
in Washington on the same errand, some of them 
with claims as difficult to establish as his. A concert 
of action was necessary, and he was not, therefore, 
at all surprised to receive the note from a lady ask- 
ing him to call at Senator Dilworthy's. 

At a little after three on Wednesday he rang the 
bell of the Senator's residence. It was a handsome 

The Gilded Age 81 

mansion on the square opposite the President's 
house. The owner must be a man of great wealth, 
the Colonel thought; perhaps, who knows, said he 
with a smile, he may have got some of my cotton in 
exchange for salt and quinine after the capture of 
New Orleans. As this thought passed through his 
mind he was looking at the remarkable figure of the 
Hero of New Orleans, holding itself by main strength 
from sliding off the back of the rearing bronze 
horse, and lifting its hat in the manner of one who 
acknowledges the playing of that martial air: " See, 
the Conquering Hero Comes." "Gad," said the 
Colonel to himself, "Old Hickory ought to get 
down and give his seat to General Sutler — but 
they'd have to tie him on." 

Laura was in the drawing-room. She heard the 
bell, she heard the steps in the hall, and the em- 
phatic thud of the supporting cane. She had risen 
from her chair and was leaning against the piano, 
pressing her left hand against the violent beating of 
her heart. The door opened and the Colonel 
entered, standing in the full light of the opposite 
window. Laura was more in the shadow and stood 
for an instant, long enough for the Colonel to make 
the inward observation that she was a magnificent 
woman. She then advanced a step. 

" Colonel Selby, is it not?" 

The Colonel staggered back, caught himself by a 
chair, and turned towards her a look of terror. 

" Laura? My God!" 

82 The Gilded Age 

"Yes, your mfe!" 

" Oh, no, it can't be. How came you here? I 
thought you were " 

"You thought I was dead? You thought you 
were rid of me? Not so long as you live. Colonel 
Selby, not so long as you live," Laura in her 
passion was hurried on to say. 

No man had ever accused Colonel Selby of 
cowardice. But he was a coward before this 
woman. Maybe he was not the man be once was. 
Where was his coolness? Where was his sneering, 
imperturbable manner, with which he could have 
met, and would have met, any woman he had 
wronged, if he had only been forewarned. He felt 
now that he must temporize, that he must gain time. 
There was danger in Laura's tone. There was 
something frightful in her ^calmness. Her steady 
eyes seemed to devour him. 

" You have ruined my life," she said ; " and I was 
so young, so ignorant, and loved you so. You be- 
trayed me, and left me, mocking me and trampling me 
into the dust, a soiled cast-off. You might better have 
killed me then. Then I should not have hated you." 

"Laura," said the Colonel, nerving himself, but 
still pale, and speaking appealingly, "don't say 
that. Reproach me. I deserve it. I was a scoun- 
drel. I was everything monstrous. But your 
beauty made me crazy. You are right. I was a 
brute in leaving you as I did. But what could I 
do? I was married, and ■" 

The Gilded Age 

"And your wife still lives?" asked Laura, bend- 
ipg a little forward in her eagerness. 

The Colonel noticed the action, and he almost 
said " No," but he thought of the folly of attempt- 
ing concealment. 

**Ye5. She is here," 

What little color had wandered back into Laura's 
face forsook it again. Her heart stood still, her 
strength seemed going from her limbs. Her last 
hope was gone. The room swam before her for a 
moment, and the Colonel stepped toward her, but 
she waved him back, as hot anger again coursed 
through her veins, and said : 

" And you dare come with her, here, and tell me 
of it, here, and mock me with it ! And you think I 
will have it, George? You think I will let you live 
with that woman? You think I am as powerless as 
that day I fell dead at your feet?" 

She raged now. She was in a tempest of excite- 
ment. And she advanced toward him with a 
threatening mien. She would kill me if she could, 
thought the Colonel; but he thought at the same 
moment, how beautiful she is. He had recovered 
his head now. She was lovely when he knew her, 
then a simple country girl. Now she was dazzling, 
in the fullness of ripe womanhood, a superb 
creature, with all the fascination that a woman of 
the world has for such a man as Colonel Selby. 
Nothing of this was lost on him. He stepped 
quickly to her, grasped both her hands in his, and said : 

84 The Gilded Age 

"Laura, stop ! think I Suppose I loved you yet ! 
Suppose I hated my fate! What can I do? I am 
broken by the war. I have lost everything almost. 
I had as lief be dead and done with it." 

The Colonel spoke with a low remembered voice 
that thrilled through Laura. He was looking into 
her eyes as he had looked in those old days, when 
no birds of all those that sang in the groves where 
they walked sang a note of warning. He was 
wounded. He had been punished. Her strength 
forsook her with her rage, and she sank upon a 
chair, sobbing: 

"Oh! my God, I thought I hated him!" 

The Colonel knelt beside her. He took her hand 
and she let him keep it. She looked down into his 
face, with a pitiable tenderness, and said in a weak 
voice : 

"And you do love me a little?" 

The Colonel vowed and protested. He kissed her 
hand and her lips. He swore his false soul into 

She wanted love, this woman. Was not her love 
for George Selby deeper than any other woman's 
could be? Had she not a right to him? Did he 
not belong to her by virtue of her overmastering 
passion ? His wife — she was not his wife, except 
by the law. She could not be. Even with the law 
she could have no right to stand between two souls 
that were one. It was an infamous condition in so- 
ciety that George should be tied to her. 

The Gilded Age 

Laura thought this, believed it, because she de- 
sired to believe it. 5he came to it as an original 
proposition, founded on the requirements of her 
own nature. She may have heard, doubtless she 
had, similar theories that were prevalent at that day, 
theories of the tyranny of marriage and of the free- 
dom of marriage. She had even heard women 
lecturers say that marriage should only continue so 
long as it pleased either party to it — for a year, or 
a month, or a day. She had not given much heed 
to this. But she saw its justice now in a flash of 
revealing desire. It must be right. God would not 
have permitted her to love George Selby as she did, 
and him to love her, if it was right for society to 
raise up a barrier between them. He belonged to 
her. Had he not confessed it himself? 

Not even the religious atmosphere of Senator 
Dilworthy's house had been sufficient to instill into 
Laura that deep Christian principle which had bedo 
somehow omitted in her training. Indeed, in that 
very house had she not heard women, prominent 
before the country and besieging Congress, utter 
sentiments that fully justified the course she was 
marking out for herself? 

They were seated now, side by side, talking with 
more calmness. Laura was happy, or thought she 
was. But it was that feverish sort of happiness 
which is snatched out of the black shadow of false- 
hood, and is at the moment recognized as fleeting 
and perilous, and indulged tremblingly. She loved. 

86 The Gilded Age 

She was loved. That is happiness certainly. And 
the black past and the troubled present and the un- 
certain future could not snatch that from her. 

What did they say as they sat there? What 
nothings do people usually say in such circumstances, 
even if they are threescore and ten? It was 
enough for Laura to hear his voice and be near him. 
It was enough for him to be near her, and avoid 
committing himself as much as he could. Enough 
for him was the present also. Had there not 
always been some way out of such scrapes? 

And yet Laura could not be quite content without 
prying into to-morrow. How could the Colonel 
manage to free himself from his wife? Would it 
be long? Could he not go into some state where it 
would not take much time? He could not say 
exactly. That they must think of. That they 
must talk over. And so on. Did this seem like a 
damnable plot to Laura against the life, maybe, of a 
sister, a woman like herself? Probably not. It was 
right that this man should be hers, and there were 
some obstacles in the way. That was all. There 
are as good reasons for bad actions as for good 
ones, to those who commit them. When one has 
broken the tenth commandment, the others are not 
of much account. 

Was it unnatural, therefore, that when George 
Selby departed, Laura should watch him from the 
window, with an almost joyful heart as he went 
down the sunny square? "I shall see him to- 

The Gilded Age 

morrow," she saW, "and the next day, and the 
next. He is mine now." 

"Damn the woman," said the Colonel, as he 
picked his way down the steps, " Or," he added, 
as his thoughts took a new turn, " I wish my wife 
was in New Orleans." 



Open four ears; for which of yon will Hop 
The vent of hewing, when loud Rumoi spealu? 
I, from the Orient to ifae drooping West, 
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold 
The acts commencU on this. ball of euth: 
Upon m; tongues continiuJ slanders ride; 
The which in eveiy language 1 pronounce. 
Staffing the eais of men with Ulse lepoits. 

IBiig HhoT/V. 

AS may be readily believed. Colonel Beriah Sellers 
was by this time one of the best-known men 
in Washington. For the first time in his life his 
talents had a fair field. 

He was now at the center of the manufacture of 
gigantic schemes, of speculations of all sorts, of 
political and social gossip. The atmosphere was 
full of little and big rumors and of vast, undefined 
expectations. Everybody was in haste, too, to push 
on his private plan, and feverish in his haste, as if 
in constant apprehension that to-morrow would be 
Judgment Day. Work while Congress is in session, 
said the uneasy spirit, for in the recess there is no 
work and no device. 


The Gilded Age 

The Colonel enjoyed this bustle and confusion 
amazingly; he thrived in the air of indefinite expec- 
tation. All his own schemes took larger shape and 
more misty and majestic proportions; and in this 
congenial air the Colonel seemed even to himself to 
expand into something large and mysterious. If he 
respected himself before, he almost worshiped 
Beriah Sellers now, as a superior being. If he could 
have chosen an official position out of the highest, 
he would have been embarrassed in the selection. 
The Presidency of the republic seemed too limited 
and cramped in the constitutional restrictions. If 
he could have been Grand Llama of the United 
States, that might have come the nearest to his idea 
of a position. And next to that he would have 
luxuriated in the irresponsible omniscience of the 
special correspondent. 

Colonel Sellers knew the President very well, and 
had access to his presence when officials were kept 
cooling their heels in the waiting-room. The Presi- 
dent liked to hear the Colonel talk, his voluble ease 
was a refreshment after the decorous dullness of 
men who only talked business and government, 
and everlastingly expounded their notions of jus- 
tice and the distribution of patronage. The Col- 
onel was as much a lover of farming and of 
horses as Thomas Jefferson was. He talked to the 
President by the hour about his magnificent stud, 
and his plantation at Hawkeye, a kind of princi- 
pality he represented it. He urged the President 

90 The Gilded Age 

to pay him a visit during the recess, and see his 
stock farm. 

"The President's table is well enough," he used 
to say, to the loafers who gathered about him at 
Willard's, " well enough for a man on a salary, but, 
God bless my soul, I should like him to see a little 
old-fashioned hospitality — open house, you know. 
A person seeing me at home might think I paid no 
attention to what was in the house, just let things 
flow in and out. He'd be mistaken. What I look 
to is quality, sir. The President has variety enough, 
but the quality! Vegetables, of course, you can't 
expect here. I'm very particular about mine. Take 
celery, now — there's only one spot in this country 
where celery will grow. But I am surprised about 
the wines, I should think they were manufactured 
in the New York Custom House. I must send the 
President some from my cellar. I was really morti- 
fied the other day at dinner to see Blacque Bey leave 
his standing in the glasses," 

When the Colonel first came to Washington he 
had thoughts of taking the mission to Constanti- 
nople, in order to be on the spot to look after the 
dissemination of his Eye Water, but as that inven- 
tion was not yet quite ready, the project shrank a 
little in the presence of vaster schemes. Besides he 
felt that he could do the country more good by re- 
maining at home. He was one of the Southerners 
who were constantly quoted as heartily " accepting 
the situation," 

The Gilded Age 

'Tin whipped," he used to say with a jolly laugh, 
" the government was too many for me*, I'm cleaned 
out, done for, except my plantation and private man- 
sion. We played for a big thing, and lost it, and I 
don't whine, for one. I go for putting the old flag 
on all the vacant lots. I said to the President, says 
I, ' Qrant, why don't you take Santo Domingo, annex 
the whole thing, and settle the bill afterwards.' 
That's my way. I'd take the job to manage Con- 
gress. The South would come into it. You've 
got to conciliate the South, consolidate the two 
debts, pay 'em off in greenbacks, and go ahead. 
That's my notion. Boutwell's got the right notion 
about the value of paper, but he lacks courage. I 
should like to run the treasury department about six 
months. I'd make things plenty, and business look 

The Colonel had access to the departments. He 
knew all the Senators and Representatives, and 
especially the lobby. He was consequently a great 
favorite in Newspaper Row, and was often lounging 
in the offices there, dropping bits of private, ofBcial 
information, which were immediately caught up and 
telegraphed all over the country. But it used to 
surprise even the Colonel when he read it ; it was 
embellished to that degree that he hardly recognized 
it, and the hint was not lost on him. He began to 
exaggerate his heretofore simple conversation to suit 
the newspaper demand. 

People used to wonder in the winters of 187- and 

92 The Gilded Age 

187-, where the "Specials" got that remarkable 
information with which they every morning sur- 
prised the country, revealing the most secret inten- 
tions of the President and his cabinet, the private 
thoughts of political leaders, the hidden meaning of 
every movement. This information was furnished 
by Colonel Sellers. 

When he was asked, afterward, about the stolen 
copy of the Alabama Treaty which got into the 
" New York Tribune," he only looked mysterious, 
and said that neither he nor Senator Dilworthy knew 
anything about it. But those whom he was in the 
habit of meeting occasionally felt almost certain that 
he did know. 

It must not be supposed that the Colonel in his 
general patriotic labors neglected his own affairs. 
The Columbus River navigation scheme absorbed 
only a part of his time, so he was enabled to throw 
quite a strong reserve force of energy into the Ten- 
nessee Land plan, a vast enterprise commensurate 
with his abilities, and in the prosecution of which he 
was greatly aided by Mr. Henry Brierly, who was 
buzzing about the Capitol and the hotels day and 
night, and making capital for it in some mysterious 

" We must create a public opinion," said Senator 
Dilworthy. " My only interest in it is a public one, 
and if the country wants the institution. Congress 
will have to yield." 

It may have been after a conversation between 

The Gilded Age 

the Colonel and Senator Dihvortliy that the following 
special dispatch was sent to a New York newspaper: 

" We understand that a pbQanthiopic plan is on fool in iclatioD to 
the colored race that will, if succcHful, tevolulionlie the whole charac- 
ter of Sonthera industry. An experimental instilulion is in contempla- 
tioD in TenD«see which will do tor thai slate what the Industrial School 
■it Zurich did for Switzerland. We learn that approaches have been 
made to the heirs of the late Hon. Silas Hawkins, of Missouri, in refer- 
ctence to a lease of a portion of their valuable properly in East Ten- 
nessee. Senator Dilwonby, it is understood, is intleiibly opposed to 
■Sf anangemcut that will not give the government absolute control. 
Private interests must give waj to the public good. It is to be hoped 
that Col. SeUeiSi who represents (he heiis, will be led to see the matter 

When Washington Hawkins read this dispatch, 
he went to the Colonel in some anxiety. He was 
for a lease, he didn't want to surrender anything. 
What did he think the government would offer? 
Two millions? 

"Maybe three, maybe four," said the Colonel, 
" if s worth more than the Bank of England." 

"If they will not lease," said Washington, "let 
'em make it two millions for an undivided half. I'm 
not going to throw it away, not the whole of it." 

Harry told the Colonel that they must drive the 
thing through, he couldn't be dallying round Wash- 
ington when spring opened. Phil wanted him, Phil 
had a great thing on hand up in Pennsylvania. 

"What is that?" inquired the Colonel, always 
ready to interest himself in anything large. 

"A mountain of coal; that's all. He's going to 
run a tunnel into it in the spring." 

94 The Gilded Age 

"Does he want any capital?" asked the Colonel, 
in the tone of a man who is given to calculating 
carefully before he makes an investment. 

"No. Old man Bolton's behind him. He has 
capital, but I judged that he wanted my experience 
in starting." 

" If he wants me, tell him I'll come, after Con- 
gress adjourns. I should like to give him a little 
lift. He lacks enterprise — now, about that Colum- 
bus River. He doesn't see his chances. But he's 
a good fellow, and you can tell him that Sellers 
won't go back on him." 

" By the way," asked Harry, " who is that rather 
handsome party that's hanging 'round Laura? I 
see him with her everywhere, at the Capitol, in the 
horse cars, and he comes to Dilworthy's. If he 
weren't lame, I should think he was going to run off 
with her." 

"Oh, that's nothing. Laura knows her business. 
He has a cotton claim. Used to be at Hawkeye 
during the war — Selby's his name, was a Colonel. 
Got a wife and family. Very respectable people, 
the Selbys." 

" Well, thaf s all right," said Harry, " if it's busi- 
ness. But if a woman looked at me as I've seen her 
at Selby, I should understand it. And it's talked 
about, I can tell you." 

Jealousy had, no doubt, sharpened this young 
gentleman's observation. Laura could not have 
treated him with more lofty condescension if she had 

The Gilded Age 

been the Queen of Sheba, on a royal visit to the 
great republic. And he resented it, and was 
" hu^ " when he was with her, and ran her errands, 
and brought her gossip, and bragged of his intimacy 
with the lovely creature among the fellows at News- 
paper Row. 

Laura's life was rushing on now in the full stream 
of intrigue and fashionable dissipation. She was 
conspicuous at the balls of the fastest set, and was 
suspected of being present at those doubtful sup- 
pers that began late and ended early. If Senator 
Dilworthy remonstrated about appearances, she 
had a way of silencing him. Perhaps she had 
some hold on him, perhaps she was necessary to 
his plan for ameliorating the condition of the col- 
ored race. 

She saw Colonel Selby, when the public knew and 
when it did not know. She would see him, what- 
ever excuses he made, and however he avoided her. 
She was urged on by a fever of love and hatred and 
jealousy, which alternately possessed her. Some- 
times she petted him, and coaxed him, and tried all 
her fascinations. And again she threatened him and 
reproached him. What was he doing? Why had 
he taken no steps to free himself? Why didn't he 
send his wife home? She should have money soon. 
They could go to Europe, — anywhere. What did 
she care for talk? 

And he promised, and lied, and invented fresh 
excuses for delay, like a cowardly gambler and rou£ 


96 The Gilded Age 

as he was, fearing to break with her, and half the 
time unwilling to give her up. 

" That woman doesn't know what fear is," he 
said to himself, " and she watches me like a hawk." 

He told his wife that this woman was a lobbyist, 
whom he had to tolerate and use in getting through 
his claims, and that he should pay her and have 
done with her, whea he succeeded. 



l^ of ^'Ji 'Hi' ''>>)', 

Ujl u o^-ji J\ i5i 4^i 

T6i el-'Ateei. 
Egundano yfan days oi baydienetaeoric? 
Ny amoiiac ecu mayte, nic hum ccin gayecii, 

BerH. dEclktparrc. 

HENRY BRIERLY was at the Dilworthys' con- 
stantly and on such terms of intimacy that he 
came and went without question. The Senator was 
not an inhospitable man, he liked to have guests in 
his house, and Harry's gay humor and rattling way 
entertained him ; for even the most devout men and 
busy statesmen must have hours of relaxation. 

Harry himself believed that he was of great service 
in the university business, and that the success of 
the scheme depended upon him to a great degree. 
He spent many hours in talking it over with the 
Senator after dinner. He went so far as to consider 
whether it would be worth his while to take the pro- 
fessorship of civil engineering in the new institution. 
7 (97) 

98 The Gilded Age 

But it was not the Senator's society nor his din- 
ners — at which this scapegrace remarked that there 
was too much grace and too little wine — which 
attracted him to the house. The fact was, the poor 
fellow hung around there day after day for the chance 
of seeing Laura for five minutes at a time. For her 
presence at dinner he would endure the long bore of 
the Senator's talk afterward, while Laura was off at 
some assembly, or excused herself on the plea of 
fatigue. Now and then he accompanied her to 
some reception, and rarely, on off nights, he was 
blessed with her company in the parlor, when he 
sang, and was chatty and vivacious and performed a 
hundred little tricks of imitation and ventriloquism, 
and made himself as entertaining as a man could be. 

It puzzled him not a little that all his fascinations 
seemed to go for so little with Laura ; it was beyond 
his experience with women. Sometimes Laura was 
exceedingly kind, and petted him a little, and took 
the trouble to exert her powers of pleasing, and to 
entangle him deeper and deeper. But this, it 
angered him afterward to think, was in private ; in 
public she was beyond his reach, and never gave 
occasion to the suspicion that she had any afiair 
with him. He was never permitted to achieve the 
dignity of a serious flirtation with her in public, 

" Why do you treat me so?" he once said, re- 

" Treat you how?" asked Laura in a sweet voice, 
lifting her eyebrows. 

The Gilded Age 

"You know well enough. You let other fellows 
monopolize you in society, and you are as indifferent 
to me as if we were strangers." 

"Can I help it if they are attentive, can I be 
rude? But we are such old friends, Mr, Brierly, 
that I didn't suppose you would be jealous." 

"I think I must be a very old friend, then, by 
your conduct toward me. By the same rule, I should 
judge that Colonel Selby must be very new." 

Laura looked up quickly, as if about to return an 
indignant answer to such impertinence, but she only 
said, "Well, what of Colonel Selby, sauce-box?" 

" Nothing, probably, you'll care for. Your being 
with him so much is the town talk, that's all." 

"What do people say?" asked Laura calmly. 

"Oh, they say a good many things. You are 
offended, though, to have me speak of it?" 

"Not in the least. You are my true friend. I 
feel that I can trust you. You wouldn't deceive 
me, Harry?" throwing into her eyes a look of trust 
and tenderness that melted away all his petulance 
and distrust. "What do they say?" 

" Some say that you've lost your head about him ; 
others that you don't care any more for him than 
you do for a dozen others, but that he is completely 
fascinated with you and about to desert his wife; 
and others say it is nonsense to suppose you would 
entangle yourself with a married man, and that your 
intimacy only arises from the matter of the cotton 
claims, for which he wants your influence with Dil- 

100 The Glided Age 

worthy. But you know everybody is taiked about 
more or less in Washington. I shouldn't care; but 
I wish you wouldn't have so much to do with Selby, 
Laura," continued Harry, fancying that he was now 
upon such terms that his advice would be heeded. 

"And you believed these slanders?" 

" I don't believe anything against you, Laura, but 
Col. Selby does not mean you any good. I know you 
wouldn't be seen with him if you knew his reputation." 

"Do you know him?" Laura asked, as indiffer- 
ently as she could, 

" Only a little. I was at his lodgings in George- 
town a day or two ago, with Colonel Sellers. Sellers 
wanted to talk with him about some patent remedy 
he has. Eye Water, or something of that sort, which 
he wants to introduce into Europe. Selby is going 
abroad very soon," 

Laura started, in spite of her self-control. 

" And his wife? Does he take his family? Did 
you see his wife?" 

" Yes, A dark little woman, rather worn — musi 
have been pretty once, though. Has three or fou: 
children, one of them a baby. They'll all go, ol 
course. She said she should be glad enough to gel 
away from Washington. You know Selby has go! 
his claim allowed, and they say he has had a rv 
luck lately at Morrissey's." 

Laura heard all this in a kind of stupor, looking 
straight at Harry, without seeing him. Is it possi- 
ble, she was thinking, that this base wretch, after all 

The Gilded Age 

his promises, will take his wife and children and 
leave me? Is it possible the town is saying all these 
thin^ about me? And — a look of bitterness 
coming into her face — does the fool think he can 
escape so ? 

" You are angry with me, Laura," said Harry, not 
comprehending in the least what was going on in her 

" Angry? " she said, forcing herself to come back 
to his presence. " With you? Oh, no. I'm angry 
with the cruel world, which pursues an independent 
woman as it never docs a man. I'm grateful to you, 
Harry; I'm grateful to you for telling me of that 
odious man." 

And she rose from her chair and gave him her 
pretty hand, which the silly fellow took, and kissed 
and clung to. And he said many silly things, be- 
fore she disengaged herself gently, and left him, 
saying it was time to dress for dinner. 

And Harry went away, excited, and a little hope- 
ful, but only a little. The happiness was only a 
gleam, which departed and left him thoroughly 
miserable. She never would love him, and she was 
going to the devil, besides. He couldn't shut his 
eyes to what he saw, nor his ears to what he heard 
of her. 

What had come over this trifling young lady- 
killer? It was a pity to see such a gay butterfly 
broken on a wheel. Was there something good in 
him, after all, that had been touched? He was, in 

102 The Gilded Age 

fact, madly in love with this woman. It is not for 
us to analyze the passion and say whether it was a 
worthy one. It absorbed his whole nature and made 
him wretched enough. If he deserved punishment, 
what more would you have? Perhaps this love was 
kindling a new heroism In him. 

He saw the road on which Laura was going clearly 
enough, though he did not believe the worst he heard 
of her. He loved her too passionately to credit that 
for a moment. And it seemed to him that if he 
could compel her to recognize her position and his 
own devotion, she might love him, and that he could 
save her. His love was so far ennobled, and be- 
come a very different thing from its beginning in 
Hawkeye. Whether he ever thought that if he could 
save her from ruin, he could give her up himself, is 
doubtful. Such a pitch of virtue does not occur 
often in real life, especially in such natures as Har- 
ry's, whose generosity and unselfishness were matters 
of temperament rather than habits or principles. 

He wrote a long letter to Laura, an incoherent, 
passionate letter, pouring out his love as he could 
not do in her presence, and warning her as plainly 
as he dared of the dangers that surrounded her, and 
the risks she ran of compromising herself in many 

Laura read the letter, with a little sigh, maybe, as 
she thought of other days, but with contempt also, 
and she put it into the fire with the thought, " They 
are all alike." 

The Gilded Ag;e 

Harry was in the habit of writing to Philip freely, 
and boasting also about his doings, as he couid not 
help doing and remain himself. Mixed up with his 
own exploits, and his daily triumphs as a lobbyist, 
especially in the matter of the new university, in 
which Harry was to have something handsome, were 
amusing sketches of Washington society, hints about 
Dilworthy, stories about Colonel Sellers, who had 
become a well-known character, and wise remarks 
upon the machinery of private legislation for the 
public good, which greatly entertained Philip in his 

Laura's name occurred very often in these letters, 
at first in casual mention as the belle of the season, 
carrying everything before her with her wit and 
beauty, and then more seriously, as if Harry did not 
exactly like so much general admiration of her, and 
was a little nettled by her treatment of him. This 
was so difierent from Harry's usual tone about 
women, that Philip wondered a good deal over it. 
Could it be possible that he was seriously affected? 
Then came stories about Laura, town talk, gossip 
which Harry denied the truth of indignantly ; but 
he was evidently uneasy, and at length wrote in such 
miserable spirits that Philip asked him squarely what 
the trouble was; was he in love? 

Upon this, Harry made a clean breast of it, and 
told Philip all he knew about the Selby affair, and 
Laura's treatment of him, sometimes encouraging 
him and then throwing him off, and finally his belief 

104 The Gilded Age 

that she would go to the bad if something was not 
done to arouse her from her infatuation. He wished 
Philip was in Washington, He knew Laura, and 
she had a great respect for his character, his opin- 
ions, his judgment. Perhaps he, as an uninterested 
person in whom she would have some confidence, 
and as one of the public, could say something to 
her that would show her where she stood. 

Philip saw the situation clearly enough. Of Laura 
he knew not much, except that she was a woman of 
uncommon fascination, and he thought from what 
he had seen of her in Hawkeye, her conduct toward 
him and toward Harry, of not too much principle. 
Of course he knew nothing of her history; he knew 
nothing seriously against her, and if Harry was 
desperately enamored of her, why should he not win 
her if he could. If, however, she had already be- 
come what Harry uneasily felt she might become, 
was it not his duty to go to the rescue of his friend 
and try to save him from any rash act on account of 
a woman that might prove to be entirely unworthy 
of him ; for, tritler and visionary as he was, Harry 
deserved a better fate than this. 

Philip determined to go to Washington and see 
for himself. He had other reasons also. He began 
to know enough of Mr. Bolton's affairs to be uneasy. 
Pennybacker had been there several times during the 
winter, and he suspected that he was involving Mr. 
Bolton in some doubtful scheme. Pennybacker was 
in Washington, and Philip thought he might perhaps. 

The Gilded Age 105 

find out something about him, and his plans, that 
would be of service to Mr. Bolton. 

Philip had enjoyed his winter very well, for a man 
with his arm broken and his head smashed. With 
two such nurses as Ruth and Alice, illness seemed to 
him rather a nice holiday, and every moment of his 
convalescence had been precious and all too fleeting. 
With a young fellow of the habits of Phihp, such 
injuries cannot be counted on to tarry long, even 
for the purpose of love-making, and Philip found 
himself getting strong with even disagreeable rapidity. 

During his first weeks of pain and weakness, Ruth 
was unceasing in her ministrations ; she quietly took 
charge of him, and with a gentle firmness resisted 
all attempts of Alice or any one else to share to any 
great extent the burden with her. She was clear, 
decisive and peremptory in whatever she did; but 
often when Philip opened his eyes in those first days 
of suffering and found her standing by his bedside, 
he saw a look of tenderness in her anxious face that 
quickened his already feverish pulse, a look that 
remained in his heart long after he closed his eyes. 
Sometimes he felt her hand on his forehead, and did 
not open his eyes for fear she would take it away. 
He watched for her coming to his chamber; he 
could distinguish her light footstep from all others. 
If this is what is meant by women practicing medi- 
cine, thought Philip to himself, 1 like it. 

" Ruth," said he one day when he was getting to 
be quite himself, " I believe in it." 

106 Tbe Gilded Age 

" Believe in what? " 

"Why, in women physicians." 

"Then I'd better call in Mrs. Dr. Longstreet." 

" Oh, no. One will do, one at a time. I think 
I should be well to-morrow, if I thought I should 
never have any other." 

"Thy physician thinks thee mustn't talk, Philip," 
said Ruth, putting her finger on his lips. 

" But Ruth, I want to tell you that I should wish 
I never had got well if " 

"There, there, thee must not talk. Thee is 
wandering again," and Ruth closed his lips, with a 
smile on her own that broadened into a merry laugh 
as she ran away. 

Philip was not weary, however, of making these 
attempts; he rather enjoyed it. But whenever he 
inclined to be sentimental, Ruth would cut him off, 
with some such gravely conceived speech as, " Does 
thee think that thy physician will take advantage of 
the condition of a man who is as weak as thee is? I 
will call Alice, if thee has any dying confessions to 

As Philip convalesced, Alice more and more took 
Ruth's place as his entertainer, and read to him by 
the hour, when he did not want to talk — to talk 
about Ruth, as he did a good deal of the time. Nor 
was this altogether unsatisfactory to Philip. He 
was always happy and contented with Alice. She 
was the most restful person he knew. Better in- 
formed than Ruth and with a much more varied 

The Gilded Age 

culture, and bright and sympathetic, he was never 
weary of her company, if he was not greatly excited 
by it. She had upon his mind that peaceful in- 
fluence that Mrs. Bolton had when, occasionally, 
she sat by his bedside with her work. Some people 
have this influence, which is like an emanation. 
They bring peace to a house, they diffuse serene 
content in a room full of mixed company, though 
they may say very little, and are apparently uncon- 
scious of their own power. 

Not that Philip did not long for Ruth's presence 
all the same. Since he was well enough to be about 
the house, she was busy again with her studies. 
Now and then her teasing humor came again. She 
always had a playful shield against his sentiment. 
Philip used sometimes to declare that she had no 
sentiment; and then he doubted if he should be 
pleased with her after all if she were at all senti- 
mental ; and he rejoiced that she had, in such matters, 
what he called the airy grace of sanity. She wa3 
the most gay serious person he ever saw. 

Perhaps he was not so much at rest or so con- 
tented with her as with Alice. But then he loved 
her. And what have rest and contentment to do 
with love? 



SuMi. Would I were hcng'd then I I'll confonn myself. 
Doi. Will you, ^? Do so then, and quickly: aweu. 
Sui. What should I swear? 
Doi, To leave your faction, sir, 

And labont kindly in the commoa woik. 

Sai. Jauim, Tlic Atchcnbt. 
Eku edue mfine, ata eku: miduebe mfine, mfine ilafat. 

MR. BUCKSTONE'S campaign was brief — much 
briefer than he supposed it would be. He 
began it purposing to win Laura without being won 
himself; but his experience was that of all who had 
fought on that field before him ; he diligently con- 
tinued his effort to win her, but he presently found 
that while as yet he could not feel entirely certain of 
having won her, it was very manifest that she had 
won him. He had made an able fight, brief as it 
was, and that at least was to his credit. He was in 
good company, now; he walked in a leash of con- 
spicuous captives. These unfortunates followed 
Laura helplessly, for whenever she took a prisoner 
he remained her slave henceforth. Sometimes they 

The Gilded Age 

chafed in their bondage; sometimes they tore them- 
selves free and said their serfdom was ended; but 
sooner or later they always came back penitent and 
worshiping. Laura pursued her usual course; she 
encouraged Mr. Buckstone by turns, and by turns 
she harassed him; she exalted him to the clouds at 
one time, and at another she dragged him down 
again. She constituted him chief champion of the 
Knobs University bill, and he accepted the position, 
at first reluctantly, but later as a valued means of 
serving her — he even came to look upon it as a 
piece of great good fortune, since it brought him into 
such frequent contact with her. 

Through him she learned that the Hon. Mr, 
Trollop was a bitter enemy of her bill. He urged her 
not to attempt to influence Mr. Trollop in any way, 
and explained that whatever she might attempt in 
that direction would surely be used against her and 
with damaging effect. 

She at first said she knew Mr. Trollop, " and was 
aware that he had a Blank-Blank; "* but Mr. Buck- 
stone said that while he was not able to conceive 
what so curious a phrase as Blank-Blank might mean, 
and had no wish to pry into the matter, since it was 
probably private, he "would, nevertheless, venture 
the blind assertion that nothing would answer in this 
particular case and during this particular session but 
to be exceedingly wary and keep clear away from 
Mr. Trollop ; any other course would be fatal." 

• Hei piiT&le %ute of speech far Biothei — or San-in-Uv. 


110 The Gilded Age 

It seemed that nothing could be done, Laura 
was seriously troubled. Everything was looking 
well, and yet it was plain that one vigorous and 
determined enemy might eventually succeed in over- 
throwing all her plans. A suggestion came into her 
mind presently and she said : 

" Can't you fight against his great Pension bill 
and bring him to terms?" 

" Oh, never; he and I are sworn brothers on that 
measure; we work in harness and are very loving — 
I do everything I possibly can for him there. But I 
work with might and main against his Immigration 
bill, — as pertinaciously and as vindictively, indeed, 
as he works against our university. We hate each 
other through half a conversation and are all affec- 
tion through the other half. We understand each 
other. He is an admirable worker outside the 
Capitol ; he will do more for the Pension bill than 
any other man could do ; I wish he would make the 
great speech on it which he wants to make — and 
then I would make another and we would be safe." 

" Well, if he wants to make a great speech why 
doesn't he do it?" 

Visitors interrupted the conversation and Mr, 
Buckstone took his leave. It was not of the least 
moment to Laura that her question had not been 
answered, inasmuch as it concerned a thing which 
did not interest her; and yet, human being like, she 
thought she would have liked to know. An oppor- 
tunity occurring presently, she put the same ques- 

The Gilded Age ill 

tion to another person and got an answer that satis- 
fied her. She pondered a good while, that night, 
after she had gone to bed, and when she finally 
turned over to go to sleep, she had thought out a 
new scheme. The next evening at Mrs. Glovcrson's 
party, she said to Mr. Buckstone: 

" I want Mr. Trollop to make his great speech on 
the Pension bill." 

" Do you ! But you remember I was interrupted, 
and did not explain to you " 

"Never mind, I know. You must make him 
make that speech, I very particularly desire it." 

" Oh, it is easy to say make him do it, but how 
am I to make him?" 

"It is perfectly easy; I have thought it all out." 

She then went into the details. At length Mr. 
Buckstone said : 

" I see now. I can manage it, I am sure. In- 
deed, I wonder he never thought of it himself — 
there are no end of precedents. But how is this 
going to benefit you, after I have managed it? 
There is where the mystery lies." 

" But I will take care of that. It will benefit me 
a great deal," 

*' I only wish I could see how; it is the oddest 
freak. You seem to go the furthest around to get 
at a thing — but you are in earnest, aren't you?" 

"Yes, I am, indeed." 

" Very well, I will do it — but why not tell me 
how you imagine It is going to help you?" 


112 The Gilded Age 

" I will, by and by. Now there is nobody talk- 
ing to him. Go straight and do it, there's a good 
fellow. ' ' 

A moment or two later the two sworn friends of 
the Pension bill were talking together, earnestly, and 
seemingly unconscious of the moving throng about 
them. They talked an hour, and then Mr. Buck- 
stone came back and said : 

" He hardly fancied it at first, but he fell in love 
with it after a bit. And we have made a compact, 
too. I am to keep his secret and he is to spare 
me, in future, when he gets ready to denounce the 
supporters of the University bill — and I can easily 
believe he will keep his word on this occasion," 

A fortnight elapsed, and the University bill had 
gathered to itself many friends, meantime. Senator 
Dilworthy began to think the harvest was ripe. He 
conferred with Laura privately. She was able to 
tell him exactly how the House would vote. There 
was a majority — the bill would pass, unless weak 
members got frightened at the last, and deserted — a 
thing pretty likely to occur. The Senator said : 

"I wish we had one more good strong man. 
Now Trollop ought to be on our side, for he is a 
friend of the negro. But be is against us, and is 
our bitterest opponent. If he would simply vote 
No, but keep quiet and not molest us, I would feel 
perfectly cheerful and content. But perhaps there 
is no use in thinking of that." 

" Why, I laid a little plan for his benefit two weeks 

The Gilded Age 

ago, I think he will be tractable, maybe. He is to 
come here to-night." 

" Look out for him, my child! He means mis- 
chief, sure. It is said that he claims to know of 
improper practices having been used in the interest 
of this bill, and he thinks he sees a chance to make a 
great sensation when the bill comes up. Be wary. 
Be very, very careful, my dear. Do your very 
ablest talking, now. You can convince a man of 
anything, when you try. You must convince him 
that if anything improper has been done, you at 
least are ignorant of it and sorry for it. And if you 
could only persuade him out of his hostility to the 
bill, too — but don't overdo the thing; don't seem 
too anxious, dear." 

"I won't; I'll be ever so careful. I'll talk as 
sweetly to him as if he were my own child I You 
tofiy trust me — indeed, you may." 

The door bell rang. 

"That is the gentleman now," said Laura. 
Senator Dilworthy retired to his study. 

Laura welcomed Mr. Trollop, a grave, carefully 
dressed and very respectable looking man, with a 
bald head, standing cottar, and old-fashioned watch 

"Promptness is a virtue, Mr. Trollop, and I per- 
ceive that you have It. You are always prompt 
with me." 

" I always meet my engagements, of every kind, 
Miss Hawkins." 

114 The Gilded Age 

*' It is a quality which is rarer in the world than it 
has been, I believe. I wished to see you on busi- 
ness, Mr. Trollop." 

'* I judged so. What can I do for you?" 
' ' You know my bill — the Knobs University bill ?" 
" Ah, I believe It ts your bill. I had forgotten. 
Yes, I know the bill." 

" Well, would you mind telling me your opinion 
of it?" 

"Indeed, since you seem to ask it without re- 
serve, I am obliged to say that I do not regard it 
favorably. I have not seen the bill itself, but from 
what I can hear, it — it — well, it has a bad look 

about it. It " 

" Speak it out — never fear." 
"Well, it — they say it contemplates a fraud 
upon the government." 

"Well?" said Laura tranquilly. 
"Weill /say 'WeU?' too." 
(' "Well, suppose it were a fraud — which I feel 
. able to deny — would it be the first one?" 

" You take a body's breath away t Would you — 
did you wish me to vote for it? Was tiiat what you 
wanted to see me about?" 

"Your instinct is correct. I cAi/ want you — I 
do want you to vote for it." 

"Vote for a fr — for a measure which is generally 
believed to be at least questionable? I am afraid 
we cannot come to an understanding. Miss Haw- 

The Gilded Age 

*'No, I am afraid not — if you have resumed 
your principles, Mr. Trollop." 

'• Did you send for me merely to insult me? It 
is time for me to take my leave, Miss Hawkins." 

'* No — wait a moment. Don't be offended at a 
trifle. Do not be offish and unsociable. The 
Steamship Subsidy bill was a fraud on the govern- 
ment. You voted for it, Mr, Trollop, though you 
always opposed the measure until after you had an 
interview one evening with a certain Mrs. McCarter 
at her house. She was my agent. She was acting 
for me. Ah, that is right — sit down again. You 
can be sociable, easily enough, if you have a mind 
to. Well? I am waiting. Have you nothing to 

" Miss Hawkins, I voted for that bill because 

when I came to examine into it " 

" Ah, yes. When you came to examine into it. 
Well, I only want you to examine into my bill. Mr. 
Trollop, you would not sell your vote on that sub- 
sidy bill — which was perfectly right — but you ac- 
cepted of some of the stock, with the understanding 
that it was to stand in your brother-in-law's name." 
"There is no pr — I mean, this is utterly ground- 
less, Miss Hawkins." But the gentleman seemed 
somewhat uneasy, nevertheless. 

" Well, not entirely so, perhaps. I and a person 

whom we will call Miss Blank (never mind the real 

name) were in a closet at your elbow all the while." 

Mr. Trollop winced — then he said with dignity; 

116 The Gilded Age 

*' Miss Hawkins, is it possible that you were 
capable of such a thing as that?" 

" It was bad; I confess that. It was bad. Al- 
most as bad as selling one's vote for t- but I forget; 
you did not sell your vote — you only accepted a 
little trifle, a small token of esteem, foe your brother- 
in-law. Oh, let us come out and be frank with each 
other. I know you, Mr. Trollop. I have met you 
on business three or four times ; true, I never offered 
to corrupt your principles — never hinted such a 
thing; but always when I had finished sounding 
you, I manipulated you through an agent. Let us 
be frank. Wear this comely disguise of virtue be- 
fore the public — it will count there; but here it is 
out of place. My dear sir, by and by there is going 
to be an investigation into that National Internal 
Improvement Directors' Relief Measure of a few 
years ago, and you know very well that you will be 
a crippled man, as likely as not, when it is com- 

" It cannot be shown that a man is a knave merely 
for owning that stock. I am not distressed about 
the National Improvement Relief Measure." 

" Oh, indeed, I am not trying to distress you. I 
only wished to make good my assertion that I knew 
you. Several of you gentlemen bought of that 
stock (without paying a penny down) received 
dividends from it (think of the happy idea of re- 
ceiving dividends, and very large ones, too, from 
stock one hasn't paid for!), and all the while your 

The Gilded Age 

names never appeared in the transaction ; if ever 
you took the stock at all, you took it in other 
people's names. Now, you see, you had to know 
one of two things; namely, you either knew that 
the idea of all this preposterous generosity was to 
bribe you into future legislative friendship, or you 
didn't know it. That is to say, you had to be 
either a knave or a — well, a fool — there was no 
middle ground. You are not a fool, Mr. Trollop." 

*'Mis3 Hawkins, you flatter me. But, seriously, 
you do not forget that some of the best and purest 
men in Congress took that stock in that way?" 

" Did Senator Blank?" 

"Wei!, no — I believe not." 

" Of course you believe not. Do you suppose 
he was ever approached on the subject?" 

" Perhaps not." 

"lij'ou had approached him, for instance, lorti- 
fied with the fact that some of the best men in Con- 
gress, and the purest, etc., etc., what would have 
been the result?" 

" Well, what would have been the result?" 

" He would have shown you the door ! For Mr. 
Blank is neither a knave nor a fool. There are 
other men in the Senate and the House whom no 
one would have been hardy enough to approach with 
that Relief stock in that peculiarly generous way, 
but they are not of the class that you regard as the 
best and purest. No, I say I know you, Mr. Trollop. 
That is to say, one may suggest a thing to Mr. 


118 The Gilded Age 

Trollop which it would not do to su^^st to Mr. 
Blank. Mr. Trollop, you are pledged to support 
the Indigent Congressmen's Retroactive Appropria- 
tion which is to come up, either in this or the next 
session. You do not deny that, even in public. 
The man that will vote (or that bill will break the 
eighth commandment in any other way, sir !" 

"But he will not vote for >(Jar corrupt measure, 
nevertheless, madam!" exclaimed Mr. Trollop, 
rising from his seat in a passion. 

"Ah, but he will. Sit down again, and let me 
explain why. Oh, come, don't behave so. It is 
very unpleasant. Now be good, and you shall have 
the missing page of your great speech. Here it 
is ! ' ' — and she displayed a sheet of manuscript. 

Mr. Trollop turned immediately back from the 
threshold. It might have been gladness that flashed 
into his face; it might have been something else; 
but, at any rate, there was much astonishment mixed 
with it. 

" Good ! Where did you get it? Give it me 1" 

"Now there is no hurry. Sit down; sit down 
and let us talk and be friendly." 

The gentleman wavered. Then he said : 

" No, this is only a subterfuge. I will go. It is 
not the missing page." 

Laura tore off a couple of lines from the bottom 
of the sheet. 

"Now," she said, "you will know whether this 
is the handwriting or not. You know it is the hand- 

The Gilded Age 119 

writing. Now, if you will listen, you will know that 
this must be the list of statistics which was to be 
the ' nub ' of your great effort, and the accompany- 
ing blast the beginning of the burst of eloquence 
which was continued on the next page — and you 
will recognize that there was where you broke down," 

She read the page. Mr. Trollop said: 

"This is perfectly astounding. Still, what is all 
this to me? It is nothing. It does not concern 
me. The speech is made, and there an end. I did 
break down for a moment, and in a rather uncom- 
fortable place, since I had led up to those statistics 
with some grandeur; the hiatus was pleasanter to 
the House and the galleries than it was to me. But 
it is no matter now. A week has passed ; the jests 
about it ceased three or four days ago. The whole 
thing is a matter of indiHerence to me, Miss Haw- 
kins. ' ' 

"But you apologized, and promised the statistics 
for next day. Why didn't you keep your promise?" 

"The matter was not of sufficient consequence. 
The time was gone by to produce an effect with 

" But I hear that other friends of the Soldiers* 
Pension bill desire them very much. I think you 
ought to let them have them." 

" Miss Hawkins, this silly blunder of my copyist 
evidently has more interest for you than it has for 
me. I will send my private secretary to you and let 
him discuss the subject with you at length." 

120 The Gilded Age 

" Did he copy your speech for you?" 

"Of course he did. Why all these questions? 
Tell me — how did you get hold of that page of 
manuscript? That is the only thing that stirs a 
passing interest in my mind," 

" I'm coming to that." Then she said, much as 
if she were talking to herself: " It does seem like 
taking a deal of unnecessary pains, for a body to 
hire another body to construct a great speech for 
him and then go and get still another body to copy 
it before it can be read in the House," 

" Miss Hawkins, what do you mean by such talk 
as that?" 

"Why, I am sure I mean no harm — no harm to 
anybody in the world. I am certain that I over- 
heard the Hon. Mr. Buckstone either promise to 
write your great speech for you or else get some 
other competent person to do it." 

"This is perfectly absurd, madam, perfectly ab- 
surd!" and Mr. Trollop affected a laugh of derision. 

" Why, the thing has occurred before now, I 
mean that I have heard that Congressmen have 
sometimes hired literary grubs to build speeches for 
them. Now, didn't I overhear a conversation like 
that I spoke of?" 

" Pshaw! Why, of course, you may have over- 
heard some such jesting nonsense. But would one 
be in earnest about so farcical a thing?" 

"Well, if it was only a joke, why did you make 
a serious matter of it? Why did you get the speech 

The Gilded i 

written for you, and then read it in the House with- 
out ever having it copied?" 

Mr. Trollop did not laugh this time; he seemed 
seriously perplexed. He said: 

"Come, play out your jest, Miss Hawkins. I 
can't understand what you are contriving — but it 
seems to entertain you — so please go on." 

"I will, I assure you; but I hope to make the 
matter entertaining to you, too. Your private 
secretary never copied your speech." 

"Indeed? Really you seem to know my affairs 
better than I do myself." 

"I believe I do. You can't name your own 
amanuensis, Mr. Trollop." 

"That is sad, indeed. Perhaps Miss Hawkins 

"Yes, I can. I wrote your speech myself, and 
you read it from my manuscript. There, nowl" 

Mr. Trollop did not spring to his feet and smite 
his brow with his hands while a cold sweat broke 
out all over him and the color forsook his face — 
no, he only said, " Good God I" and looked greatly 

Laura handed him her commonplace book and 
called his attention to the fact that the handwriting 
there and the handwriting of this speech were the 
same. He was shortly convinced. He laid the 
book aside and said, composedly: 

"Well, the wonderful tragedy is done, and it 
transpires that I am indebted to you for my late 

122 The Gilded Age 

eloquence. What of it? What was all this for, 
and what does it amount to, after all? What do 
you propose to do about it?" 

" Oh, nothing. It is only a bit of pleasantry. 
When I overheard that conversation I took an early 
opportunity to ask Mr. Buckstonc if he knew of 
anybody who might want a speech written — I had 
a friend, and so forth and so on. / was the friend, 
myself ; I thought I might do you a good turn then 
and depend on you to do me one by and by. I 
never let Mr. Buckstone have the speech till the last 
moment, and when you hurried off to the House 
with it, you did not know there was a missing page, 
of course, but I did," 

" And now perhaps you think that if I refuse to 
support your bill, you will make a grand exposure?" 

"Well, I had not thought of that. I only kept 
back the page for the mere fun of the thing; but 
since you mention it, I don't know but I might do 
something if I were angry." 

" My dear Miss Hawkins, if you were to give out 
that you composed my speech, you know very well 
that people would say it was only your raillery, 
your fondness for putting a victim in the pillory 
and amusing the public at his expense. It is too 
flimsy, Miss Hawkins, for a person of your fine in- 
ventive talent — contrive an abler device than that. 
Come !" 

"It is easily done, Mr. Trollop. I will hire a 
man, and pin this page on his breast, and label it. 

The Gilded Age 123 

"The Missing Fragment of the Hon. Mr. Trollop's 
Great Speech — which speech was written and com- 
posed by Miss Laura Hawkins under a secret under- 
standing for one hundred dollars — and the money 
has not been paid.' And I will pin round about it 
notes in my handwriting, which I will procure from 
prominent friends of mine for the occasion; also 
your printed speech in the Globe, showing the con- 
nectjon between its bracketed hiatus and my Frag- 
ment; and I give you my word of honor that I will 
stand that human bulletin board in the rotunda of 
the Capitol and make him stay there a week I You 
see you are premature, Mr. Trollop, the wonderful 
tragedy is not done yet, by any means. Come, 
now, doesn't it improve?" 

Mr. Trollop opened his eyes rather widely at this 
novel aspect of the case. He got up and walked the 
floor and gave himself a moment for reflection. 
Then he stopped and studied Laura's face a while, 
and ended by saying : 

"Well, I am obliged to believe you would be 
reckless enough to do that." 

"Then don't put me to the test, Mr. Trollop. 
But let's drop the matter. I have had my joke and 
you've borne the infliction becomingly enough. It 
spoils a jest to harp on it after one has had one's 
laugh. I would much rather talk about my bill." 

" So would I, now, my clandestine amanuensis. 
Compared with some other subjects, even your bill 
is a pleasant topic to discuss." 

124 Tlie Gilded Age 

"Very good, indeed! I thought I could per- 
suade you. Now I am sure you will be generous to 
the poor negro and vote for that bill." 

"Yes, I feel more tenderly toward the o ppre ssed 
colored man than I did. Shall we bury the hatchet 
and be good friends and respect each other's little 
secrets, on condition that I vote Aye on the 

" With all my heart, Mr. Trollop. I give you 
my word of that." 

" It is a bargain. But isn't there something else 
you could give me, too?" 

Laura looked at him inquiringly a moment, and 
then she comprehended. 

"Oh, yes! You may have it now, I haven't 
any more use for it." She picked up the page of 
manuscript, but she reconsidered her intention of 
handing it to him, and said, "But never mind; I 
will keep it close; no one shall see it; you shall 
have it as soon as your vote is recorded." 

Mr. Trollop looked disappointed, but presently 
made his adieux, and had got as far as the <hall, 
when something occurred to Laura. She said to 
herself, " I don't simply want his vote, under com- 
pulsion — he might vote Aye, but work against the 
bill in secret, for revenge ; that man is unscrupulous 
enough to do anything. I must have his hearty co- 
operation as well as his vote. There is only one 
way to get that." 

She called him back, and said : 

The Gilded Age 125 

"I value your vote, Mr. Trollop, but I value 
your inBuence more. You are able to help a 
measure along in many ways, if you choose. I 
waat to ask you to work for the bill as well as vote 
for it." 

*' It takes so much of one's time, Miss Hawkins — 
and time is money, you know." 

'Yes, I know it is — especially in Congress, 
Now there is no use in you and I dealing in pretenses 
and going at matters in roundabout ways. We 
know each other — disguises are nonsense. Let us 
be plain. I will make it an object to you to work 
for the bill." 

"Don't make it unnecessarily plain, please. 
There are little proprieties that are best preserved. 
What do you propose?" 

"Well, this." She mentioned the names of 
several prominent Congressmen. " Now," said she, 
"these gentlemen are to vote and work for the bill, 
simply out of love for the negro — and out of pure 
generosity I have put in a relative of each as a 
member of the university incorporation. They will 
handle a million or so of money, officially, but will 
receive no salaries. A larger number of statesmen 
are to vote and work for the bill — also out of love 
for the negro — gentlemen of but moderate in- 
fluence, these — and out of pure generosity I am to 
see that relatives of theirs have positions in the 
university, with salaries, and good ones, too. You 
will vote and work for the bill, from mere affection 

126 The Gilded Age 

for the negro, and I desire to testify my gratitude 
becomingly. Make free choice. Have you any 
friend whom you would like to present with a salaried 
or unsalaried position in our institution?" 

"Well, I have a brother-in-law " 

"That same old brother-in-law, you good un- 
selfish provider! I have heard of him often, through 
my agents. How regularly he does ' turn up,' to 
be sure. He could deal with those millions virtu- 
ously, and withal with ability, too — but, of course, 
you would rather he had a salaried position?" 

"Oh, no," said the gentleman, facetiously, "we 
are very bumble, very humble in our desires ; we 
want no money; we labor solely for our country 
and require no reward but the luxury of an applaud- 
ing conscience. Make him one of those poor hard- 
working unsalaried corporators, and let him do 
everybody good with those millions — and go hun- 
gry himself I I will try to exert a little influence in 
favor of the bill." 

Arrived at home, Mr. Trollop sat down and 
thought it all over — something after this fashion : 
it is about the shape it might have taken if he had 
spoken it aloud. 

" My reputation is getting a little damaged, and I 
meant to clear it up brilliantly with an exposure of 
this bill at the supreme moment, and ride back into 
Congress on the ^lat of it ; and if I had that bit of 
manuscript, I would do it yet. It would be more 
money in my pocket, in the end, than my brother- 

The Gilded Age 12? 

in-law will get out of that incorporate rship, fat as it 
is. But that sheet of paper is out of my reach — 
she will never let that get out of her hands. And 
what a mountain it is! It blocks up vty road, com- 
pletely. She was going to hand it to me, once. 
Why didn't she! Must be a deep woman. Deep 
devil! That is what she is; a beautiful devil — and 
perfectly fearless, too. The idea of her pinning 
that paper on a man and standing him up in the 
rotunda looks absurd at a hrst glance. But she 
would do it! She is capable of doing anything. I 
went there hoping she would try to bribe mc — good 
solid capital that would be in the exposure. Well, 
my prayer was answered ; she did try to bribe me ; 
and I made the best of a bad bargain and let her. I 
am checkmated. I must contrive something fresh 
to get back to Congress on. Very well; a bird in 
the hand is worth two in the bush ; I will work for 
the bill — the incorporatorship will be a very good 

As soon as Mr. Trollop had taken his leave, 
Laura ran to Senator Dilworthy and began to speak, 
but he interrupted her and said distressfully, without 
even turning from his writing to look at her : 

"Only half an hour! You gave it up early, 
child. However, it was best, it was best — I'm sure 
it was best — and safest. ' ' 

" Give it up! /.'" 

The Senator sprang up, all aglow: 

" My child, you can't mean that you " 

128 The Gilded Age 

" I've made him promise on honor to think about 
a compromise to-night and come and tell me his 
decision in the morning." 

" Good ! There's hope yet that " 

" Nonsense, uncle. I've made him engage to let 
the Tennessee Land bill utterly alone t" 

"Impossible ! You " 

" I've made him promise to vote with us!" 

"Incredible! Abso " 

" I've made him swear that he'll work for us !" 

"PRE — POSTEROUS! — Utterly pre — break 
a window, child, before I suffocate !" 

"No matter, it's true anyway. Now we can 
march into Congress with drums beating and colors 

' ' Well — well — well. I'm sadly bewildered, sadly 
bewildered. I can't understand it at all — the most 
extraordinary woman that ever — it's a great day, 
it's a great day. There — there — let me put my 
hand in benediction on this precious head. Ah, 
my child, the poor negro will bless " 

"Oh, bother the poor negro, uncle! Put it in 
your speech. Good-night, good-bye — we'll mar- 
shal our forces and march with the dawn !" 

Laura reflected a while, when she was alone, and 
then fell to laughing, peacefully. 

" Everybody works for me," — so ran her thought. 
" It was a good idea to make Buckstone lead Mr. 
Trollop on to get a great speech written for him ; 
and it was a happy part of the same idea for me to 

The Gilded Age 

copy the speech after Mr. Buckstone had written it, 
and then keep back a page. Mr, B. was very compli- 
mentary to me when Trollop's breakdown in the 
House showed him the object of my mysterious 
scheme ; 1 think he will say still finer things when I 
tell him the triumph the sequel to it has gained for 

"But what a coward the man was, to believe I 
would have exposed that page in the rotunda, and 
BO exposed myself. However, I don't know — I 
don't know. 1 will think a moment. Suppose he 
voted No; suppose the bill failed; that is to suppose 
this stupendous game lost forever, that I have played 
so desperately for; suppose people came around 
pitying me — odious ! And he could have saved 
me by his single voice. Yes, I would have exposed 
him! What would I care for the talk that that 
would have made about me when I was gone to 
Europe with Selby and all the world was busy with 
my history and my dishonor? It would be almost 
happiness to spite somebody at such a time." 




% iikmuitiift td 

THE very next day, sure enough, the campaign 
opened. In due course, the Speaker of the 
House reached that order of business which is termed 
"Notices of Bills," and then the Hon. Mr. Buck- 
stone rose in his place and gave notice of a bill "To 
Found and Incorporate the Knobs Industrial Uni- 
versity," and then sat down without saying anything 
further. The busy gentlemen in the reporters' gal- 
lery jotted a line in their notebooks, ran to the tele- 
graphic desk in a room which communicated with 
their own writing-parlor, and then hurried back to 
their places in the gallery ; and by the time they 
had resumed their seats, the line which they had de- 
livered to the operator had been read in telegraphic 
offices in towns and cities hundreds of miles away. 
It was distinguished by frankness of language as 
well as by brevity : 

" The child is bom. Buckslone gives notice of the thieving Knobs 
University job. It is said the noses have been counted, uid enoi^h 
votes have been bought to pus it." 

The Gilded Age IJl 

For some time the correspondents had been post- 
ing their several journals upon the alleged disreputa- 
ble nature of the bill, and furnishing daily reports 
of the Washington gossip concerning it. So the 
next morning, nearly every newspaper of character 
in the land assailed the measure and hurled broad- 
sides of invective at Mr. Buckstone, The Washing- 
ton papers were more respectful, as usual — and 
conciliatory, also, as usuaJ. They generally sup- 
ported measures, when it was possible; but when 
they could not they "deprecated" violent expres- 
sions of opinion in other journalistic quarters, They 
always deprecated, when there was trouble ahead. 

However, The Washington Daily Love-Feast hailed 
the bill with warm approbation. This was Senator 
Balaam's paper — or, rather, "Brother" Balaam, 
as he was popularly called, for he had been a clergy- 
man, in his day; and he himself and all that he did 
still emitted an odor of sanctity now that he had 
diverged into journalism and politics. He was a 
power in the Congressional prayer meeting, and in 
all movements that looked to the spread of religion 
and temperance. His paper supported the new bill 
with gushing affection ; it was a noble measure ; it 
was a just measure; it was a generous measure; it 
was a pure measure, and that surely should recom- 
mend it in these corrupt times; and, finally, if the 
nature of the bill were not known at all, the Love- 
Feast would support it anyway, and unhesitatingly, 
for the fact that Senator Dilworthy was the originator 

132 The Gilded Age 

of the measure was a guaranty that it contemplated 
a worthy and righteous work. 

Senator Dilworthy was so anxious to know what 
the New York papers would say about the bill, that 
he had arranged to have synopses of their editorials 
telegraphed to him ; he could not wait for the papers 
themselves to crawl along down to Washington by a 
mail train which has never run over a cow since the 
road was built, for the reason that it has never been 
able to overtake one. It carries the usual *' cow- 
catcher" in front of the locomotive, but this is mere 
ostentation. It ought to be attached to the rear 
car, where it could do some good; but instead, no 
provision is made there for the protection of the 
traveling public, and hence it is not a matter of sur- 
prise that cows so frequently climb aboard that train 
and among the passengers. 

The Senator read his dispatches aloud at the 
breakfast table. Laura was troubled beyond meas- 
ure at their tone, and said that that sort of comment 
would defeat the bill ; but the Senator said : 

' Oh, not at all, not at all, my child. It is just 
what we want. Persecution is the one thing need- 
ful, now — all the other forces are secured. Give 
us newspaper persecution enough, and we are safe. 
Vigorous persecution will alone carry a bill some- 
times, dear; and when you start with a strong vote ' 
in the first place, persecution comes in with double 
effect. It scares off some of the weak supporters, 
true, but it soon turns strong ones into stubborn 

The Gilded Age 

ones. And then, presently, it changes the tide of 
public opinion. The great public is weak-minded; 
the great public is sentimental; the great public 
always turns around and weeps for an odious mur- 
derer, and prays for him, and carries flowers to his 
prison, and besieges the governor with appeals to his 
clemency, as soon as the papers begin to howl for 
that man's blood. In a word, the great putty-hearted 
pubhc loves to 'gush,' and there is no such darling 
opportunity to gush as acaseof persecution affords." 

"Well, uncle, dear, if your theory is right, let us 
go into raptures, for nobody can ask a heartier 
persecution than these editorials are furnishing." 

" I am not so sure of that, my daughter. I don't 
entirely like the tone of some of these remarks. 
They lack vim, they lack venom. Here is one calls 
it a ' questionable measure.' Bah, there is no 
strength in that. This one is better; it calls it 
'highway robbery.' That sounds something like. 
But now this one seems satisfied to call it an ' iniquj* 
tous scheme !* — ' Iniquitous ' does not exasperate 
anybody; it is weak — puerile. The ignorant will 
imagine it to be intended for a compliment. But 
this other one — the one I read last — has the true 
ring: 'This vile, dirty effort to rob the public 
treasury, by the kites and vultures that now infest 
the filthy den called Congress' — that is admirable, 
admirable ! We must have more of that sort. But 
it will come — no fear of that; they're not warmed 
up, yet. A week from now you'll see." 


134 Ttie Gilded Age 

" Uncle, you and Brother Balaam are bosom 
friends — why don't you get his paper to persecute 
us, too?" 

" It isn't worth while, my daughter. His support 
doesn't hurt a bill. Nobody reads his editorials but 
himself. But I wish the New York papers would 
talk a little plainer. It is annoying to have to wait 
a week for them to warm up. I expected better 
things at their hands — 'and time is precious, now." 

At the proper hour, according to his previous 
notice, Mr. Buckstone duly introduced his bill, en- 
titled "An Act to Found and Incorporate the Knobs 
Industrial University," moved its proper reference, 
and sat down. 

The Speaker of the House rattled off this observa- 

" 'Fnobjectionbilltakuzhlcoarssoreferred ! " 

Habitues of the House comprehended that this 
long, lightning-heeled word signified that if there 
was no objection, the bill would take the customary 
course of a measure of its nature, and be referred to 
the Committee on Benevolent Appropriations, and 
that it was accordingly so referred. Strangers 
merely supposed that the Speaker was taking a 
gargle for some affection of the throat. 

The reporters immediately telegraphed the intro* 
duction of the bill. And they added: 

n Ihat the bill will piss wis prematuie. It is said that 
Bony (avorets of it will desert when the storm breaks upon them from 
the public press." 

The Gilded Age 135 

The storm came, and during ten days it waxed 
more and more violent day by day. The great 
"Negro University Swindle" became the one ab- 
sorbing topic of conversation throughout the Union. 
Individuals denounced it, journals denounced it, 
public meetings denounced it, the pictorial papers 
caricatured its friends, the whole nation seemed to 
be growing frantic over it. Meantime, the Washing- 
ton correspondents were sending such telegrams as 
these abroad in the land: Under date of — 

Saturdav. — " Congressmen Jex and Flulce are wavering; it U 
believed they a-ill deseit ihe execrable bill." 

Monday. — "Jei and Fluke havt deserted!" 

Thukssav. — "Tubbs and Ha&j left the dnldng ship Ust night." 

Later on : 

** ThiM desettions. The University thieves aie getting scared, 
though they will not own it." 


"The leaders are growing stubborn — theysweai they can cany it, 
bat it is now almost certain that they no bngei have a majority 1 " 

After a day or two of reluctant and ambiguous 
telegrams : 

" Public sentiment seems changing, a trifle, in favor of the bill— but 
only a trifle." 

And Still later : 

" It is whispered that the Hon. Mr. Trollop has gone over to the 
pirates. It is probably a canard. Mr. Trollop has all along been the 
bnvest and most efficient champion of virtue and the people against the 
bill, and the report is without doubt a shameless invention." 

Next day : 

i}6 The Gilded Age 

"With chsncteristic tietchery, the trackling and pusUlEimixiu 
reptile, Oippled-Speedi Trollop, has gone over to the enemy. It is 
contended, now, that ie hai hem afritnd to the bUi, in secrtt, Huei At 
day it mu intredtuid, and has had banliable reasons for being so; but 
he himself declares that he has gone over because the malignant perse- 
cution of the bill t^ the newspapers caused him to study its provisiona 
with more care than be had previously done, and this close examination 
revealed the fact that the measure is one in every w^ worthy of sup* 
port. (Pretty thin I) It cannot be denied that this desertion has had 
a damaging eBect. Jcx and Fluke have returned to their ioiquitout 
Bllegiance, with six or eight others of lesser calibre, and it is reported 
and believed that Tubbs and HuBy are ready to go back. It is feared 
that the University swindle is stronget tCHlay than it has ever been 

Later — midnight ; 

" It is said that the committee will report the bill back to-morrow. 
Both sides are marshaling their forces, and the 6ght on this bill ii 
evidently going to be the hottest of the session. All Washington it 



phu-ip shows his friendship for bribrlv 

Cipiendi rebus in malis piaeccps via est. 

Et enim ipsi se iinpelluDt, ubi xmel a rstione discessum est : ipsaqae 
ribi imbeciUitos indulge!, in altuiii(|iie pTOvehjtiiT impmdenter : nee 
leperil locum consisteadi, 

it IT'S easy enough for another fellow to talk," said 
' Harry, despondingly, after he had put Philip 
in possession of his view of the case. " It's easy 
enough to say 'give her up,' if you don't care for 
her. What am I going to do to give her up?" 

It seemed to Harry that it was a situation requir- 
ing some active measures. He couldn't realize that 
he had fallen hopelessly in love without some rights 
accruing to him for the possession of the object of 
his passion. Quiet resignation under relinquishment 
of anything he wanted was not in his line. And 
when it appeared to him that his surrender of Laura 
would be the withdrawal of the one barrier that kept 
her from ruin, it was unreasonable to expect that he 
could see how to give her up. 

Harry had the most buoyant confidence in his 


1)8 The Gilded Age 

own projects always; he saw everything connected 
with himself in a large way and in rosy hues. This 
predominance of the imagination over the judgment 
gave that appearance of exaggeration to his conver- 
sation and to his communications with regard to 
himself, which sometimes conveyed the impression 
that he was not speaking the truth. His acquaint- 
ances had been known to say that they invariably 
allowed a half for shrinkage in his statements, and 
held the other half under advisement for confirmation. 

Philip in this case could not tell from Harry's 
story exactly how much encouragement Laura had 
given him, nor what hopes he might justly have of 
winning her. He had never seen him desponding 
before. The "brag" appeared to be all taken out 
of him, and his airy manner only asserted itself now 
and then in a comical imitation of its old self. 

Philip wanted time to look about him before he 
decided what to do. He was not familiar with 
Washington, and it was difficult to adjust his feel- 
ings and perceptions to its peculiarities. Coming 
out of the sweet sanity of the Bolton household, 
this was by contrast the maddest Vanity Fair one 
could conceive. It seemed to him a feverish, un- 
healthy atmosphere in which lunacy would be easily 
developed. He fancied that everybody attached to 
himself an exaggerated importance, from the fact of 
being at the national capital, the center of political 
influence, the fountain of patronage, preferment, 
jobs, and opportunities. 

The Gilded Age 139 

People were introduced to each other as from this 
or that state, not from cities or towns, and this gave 
a largeness to their representative feeling, All the 
women talked politics as naturally and glibly as they 
talk fashion or literature elsewhere. There was 
always some exciting topic at the Capitol, or some 
huge slander was rising up like a miasmatic exhala- 
tion from the Potomac, threatening to settle no one 
knew exactly where. Every other person was an 
aspirant for a place, or, if he had one, for a better 
place, or more pay; almost every other one had 
some claim or interest or remedy to urge; even the 
women were all advocates for the advancement of 
some person, and they violently espoused or de- 
nounced this or that measure as it would affect some 
relative, acquaintance, or friend. 

Love, travel, even death itself, waited on the 
chances of the dies daily thrown in the two Houses, 
and the committee-rooms there. If the measure 
went through, love could afford to ripen into mar- 
riage, and longing for foreign travel would have 
fruition; and it must have been only eternal hope 
springing in the breast that kept alive numerous old 
claimants who for years and years had besieged the 
doors of Congress, and who looked as if they 
needed not so much an appropriation of iponey as 
six feet of ground. And those who stood so long 
waiting for success to bring them death were usually 
those who had a just claim. 

Representing states and talking of national and 


140 Tlie Gilded Age 

even international affairs, as familiarly as neighbors 
at home talk of poor crops and the extravagance of 
their ministers, was likely at first to impose upon 
Philip as to the importance of the people gathered 

There was a little newspaper editor from Phil's 
native town, the assistant on a Peddletonian weekly, 
who made his little annual joke about the " first egg 
laid on our table," and who was the menial of every 
tradesman in the village and under bonds to him for 
frequent "puffs," except the undertaker, about 
whose employment he was recklessly facetious. In 
Washington he was an important man, correspond- 
ent, and clerk of two house committees, a " worker " 
in politics, and a confident critic of every woman 
and every man in Washington. He would be a con- 
sul, no doubt, by and by, at some foreign port, of 
the language of which he was ignorant ; though if 
ignorance of language were a qualiBcation he might 
have been a consul at home. His easy familiarity 
with great men was beautiful to see, and when Philip 
learned what a tremendous underground influence 
this little ignoramus had, he no longer wondered at 
the queer appointments and the queerer legislation. 

Philip was not long in discovering that people in 
Washington did not differ much from other people ; 
they had the same meannesses, generosities, and 
tastes. A Washington boarding-house had the odor 
of a boarding-house the world over. 

Colonel Sellers was as unchanged as any one 

The Gilded Age 

Philip saw whom he had known elsewhere. Wash- 
ington appeared to be the native element of thia 
man. His pretensions were equal to any he en- 
countered there. He saw nothing in its society that 
equaled that of Hawkeye ; he sat down to no table I 
that could not be unfavorably contrasted with his ' 
own at home; the most airy scheme inflated in the 
hot air of the capital only reached in magnitude ' 
some of his lesser fancies, the by-play of his con- 
structive imagination. 

" The country is getting along very well," he said 
to Philip, "but our public men are too timid. 
What we want is more money. I've told Boutwell 
so. Talk about basing the currency on gold ; you 
might as well base it on pork. Gold is only one 
product. Base it on everything! You've got to 
do something for the West. How am I to move 
my crops? We must have improvements. Grant's 
got the idea. We want a canal from the James 
River to the Mississippi. Government ought to 
build it." 

It was difficult to get the Colonel off from these 
large themes when he was once started, but Philip 
brought the conversation round to Laura and her 
reputation in the city, 

"No," hesaid, "I haven't noticed much. We've 
been so busy about this university. It will make 
Laura rich with the rest of us, and she has done 
nearly as much as if she were a man. She has great 
talent, and will make a big match. I see the foreign 

142 The Gilded Age 

ministers and that sort after her. Yes, there is talk, 
always will be about a pretty woman so much in 
public as she is. Tough stories come to me, but I 
put 'em away. 'Taint likely one of Si. Hawkins' 
children would do that — for she is the same as a child 
of his. I told her, though, to go slow," added the 
Colonel, as if that mysterious admonition from him 
would set everything right. 

"Do you know anything about a Colonel Selby?" 

"Know all about him. Fine fellow. But he's 
got a wife; and I told him, as a friend, he'd better 
sheer off from Laura. I reckon he thought better 
of it and did," 

But Philip was not long in learning the truth. 
Courted as Laura was by a certain class and still ad- 
mitted into society, that, nevertheless, buzzed with 
disreputable stories about her, she had lost character 
with the best people. Her intimacy with Selby was 
open gossip, and there were winks and thrustings of 
the tongue in any group of men when she passed 
by. It was clear enough that Harry's delusion must 
be broken up, and that no such feeble obstacle as 
his passion could interpose would turn Laura from 
her fate, Philip determined to see her, and put 
himself in possession of the truth, as he suspected 
it, in order to show Harry his folly. 

Laura, after her last conversation with Harry, had 
a new sense of her position. She had noticed before 
the signs of a change in manner toward her, a little 
less respect perhaps from men, and an avoidance by 

The Gilded Age 14} 

women. She had attributed this latter partly to 
jealousy of her, for no one is willing to acknowledge 
a fault in himself when a more agreeable motive can 
De found for the estrangement of his acquaintances. 
But, now, if society had turned on her, she would 
defy it. It was not in her nature to shrink. She 
knew she had been wronged, and she knew that she 
had no remedy. 

What she heard of Colonel Selby's proposed de- 
parture alarmed her more than anything else, and 
she calmly determined that if he was deceiving her 
the second time it should be the last. Let society 
finish the tragedy if it liked; she was indifferent 
what came after. At the first opportunity, she 
charged Selby with his intention to abandon her. 
He unblushingly denied it. He had not thought of 
going to Europe. He had only been amusing him- 
self with Sellers' schemes. He swore that as soon 
as she succeeded with her bill, he would fly with her 
to any part of the world. 

She did not quite believe him, for she saw that he 
feared her, and she began to suspect that his were 
the protestations of a coward to gain time. But 
she showed him no doubts. She only watched his 
movements day by day, and always held herself 
ready to act promptly. 

When Philip came into the presence of this attract- 
ive woman, he could not realize that she was the 
subject of all the scandal he had heard. She re- 
ceived him with quite the old Hawkeye openness 

144 The Gilded Age 

and cordiality, and fell to talking at once of their 
little acquaintance there ; and it seemed impossible 
that he could ever say to her what he had come 
determined to say. Such a man as Philip has only 
one standard by which to judge women, 

Laura recognized that fact, no doubt. The better 
part of her woman's nature saw it. Such a man 
might, years ago, not now, have changed her nature, 
and made the issue of her life so different, even after 
her cruel abandonment. She had a dim feeling of 
this, and she would like now to stand well with him. 
The spark of truth and honor that was left in her 
was elicited by his presence. It was this influence 
that governed her conduct in this interview. 

"I have come," said Philip in his direct manner, 
" from my friend Mr. Brierly. You are not ignorant 
of his feeling toward you?" 

"Perhaps not." 

" But perhaps you do not know, you who have so 
much admiration, how sincere and overmastering his 
love is for you?" Philip would not have spoken so 
plainly, if he had in mind anything except to draw 
from Laura something that would end Harry's 

"And is sincere love so rare, Mr. Sterling?" 
asked Laura, moving her foot a little, and speaking 
with a shade of sarcasm. 

"Perhaps not in Washington," replied Philip, 
tempted into a similar tone. "Excuse my blunt- 
ness," he continued, " but would the knowledge of 

The Gilded Age 145 

his love, would his devotion, make any difference to 
you in your Washington life?" 

" In respect to what?" asked Laura quickly. 

"Well, to others, I won't equivocate — to Col- 
onel Selby?" 

Laura's face flushed with anger, or shame; she 
looked steadily at Philip and began: 

" By what right, sir " 

" By the right of friendship," interrupted Philip 
stoutly- " It may matter little to you. It is every- 
thing to him. He has a Quixotic notion that you 
would turn back from what is before you for his 
sake. You cannot be ignorant of what all the city 
is talking of," Philip said this determinedly and 
with some bitterness. 

It was a full minute before Laura spoke. Both 
had risen, Philip as if to go, and Laura in suppressed 
excitement. When she spoke her voice was very 
unsteady, and she looked down. 

" Yes, I know. I perfectly understand what you 
mean. Mr. Brierly is nothing — simply nothing. 
He is a moth singed, that is all — the trifler with 
women thought he was a wasp. I have no pity for 
him, not the least. You may tell him not to make 
a fool of himself, and to keep away. I say this on 
your account, not his. You are not like him. It is 
enough for me that you want it so. Mr. Sterling," 
she continued, looking up, and there were tears in 
her eyes that contradicted the hardness of her 
language, " you might not pity him if you knew my 

146 The Gilded Age 

history; perhaps you would not wonder at some 
things you hear. No ; it is useless to ask me why it 
must be so. You can't make a life over — society 
wouldn't let you if you would — and mine must be 
lived as it is. There, sir, I'm not ofiended; but it 
is useless for you to say anything more." 

Philip went away with his heart lightened about 
Harry, but profoundly saddened by the glimpse of 
what this woman might have been. He told Harry 
all that was necessary of the conversation — she was 
bent on going her own way, he had not the ghost of 
a chance — he was a fool, she had said, for thinking 
he had. 

And Harry accepted it meeldy, and made up his 
own mind that Philip didn't know much about 



— Nakila cu ch'y cu yao chike, chi ka togobah cu y vacb, x-e u 
cbax-CQt? — UtE, clii kaya pavsk cbyve, K-echa-tu ri snutg. 

Pop»i ('■*. 

' I "HE galleries of the House were packed, on the 
' momentous day, not because the reporting of 
an important bill back by a committee was a thing 
to be excited about, if the bill were going to take 
the ordinary course afterward ; it would be like get- 
ting excited over the empaneling of a coroner's jury 
in a murder case, instead of saving up one's emo- 
tions for the grander occasion of the hanging of the 
accused, two years later, after all the tedious forms 
of law had been gone through with. 

But suppose you understand that this coroner's 
jury is going to turn out to be a vigilance committee 
in disguise, who will hear testimony for an hour and 
then hang the murderer on the spot? That puts a 
different aspect upon the matter. Now it was whis- 
pered that the legitimate forms of procedure usual 
in the House, and which keep a bill hanging along 
for days, and even weeks, before it is finally passed 
upon, were going to be overruled in this case, and 

148 The Gilded Age 

short work made of the measure; and so, what was 
beginning as a mere inquest might turn out to be 
something very different. 

In the course of the day's business the order of 
*' Reports of Committees " was finally reached, and 
when the weary crowds heard that glad announce- 
ment issue from the Speaker's lips they ceased to 
fret at the dragging delay, and plucked up spirit. 
The chairman of the Committee on Benevolent Ap- 
propriations rose and made his report, and just then 
a blue-uniformed brass-mounted little page put a 
note into his hand. It was from Senator Dilworthy, 
who had appeared upon the floor of the House for 
a moment and flitted away again : 

" Eveiybody expects a giatid assault io force; no doubt jon beUere 
•s I ceitainly do, that it is the thing to do; we are strong, and ereiy- 
thing is hot for the contest. Trollop's espousal of our cause has im- 
mensely helped us and ne grow in power constantif . Ten of the 
oppo^on weie called awaf from town about noon(J»' — soitU said — 
tnly/or one day). Six others aie sick, but expect to be about again 
Uhmorrow or next day a friend tells me. A bold onslaught is worth try- 
bg. Go for a suspen^on of the nilest Vou will find we can swing a 
two-thirds vote — 1 am perfectly satisfied of it. Tbe Lonl's truth will 


Mr. Buckstone had reported the bills from his 
committee, one by one, leaving the bill to the last. 
When the House had voted upon the acceptance or 
rejection of the report upon all but it, and the ques- 
tion now being upon its disposal — 

Mr. Buckstone begged that the House would give 
its attention to a few remarks which he desired to 

The Gilded Age 149 

make. His committee had instructed him to report 
the bill favorably; he wished to explain the nature 
of the measure, and thus justify the committee's 
action ; the hostility roused by the press would then 
disappear, and the bill would shine forth in its true 
and noble character. He said that its provisions 
were simple. It incorporated the Knobs Industrial 
University, locating it in East Tennessee, declaring 
it open to all persons without distinction of sex, 
color, or religion, and committing its management to 
a board of perpetual trustees, with power to fill 
vacancies in their own number. It provided for the 
erection of certain buildings for the university, 
dormitories, lecture halls, museums, libraries, labora- 
tories, workshops, furnaces, and mills. It provided 
also for the purchase of sixty-five thousand acres of 
land (fully described) for the purposes of the uni- 
versity, in the Knobs of East Tennessee, And it 
appropriated [blank] dollars for the purchase of the 
land, which should be the property of the national 
trustees in trust for the uses named. 

Every effort had been made to secure the refusal 
of the whole amount of the property of the Hawkins 
heirs in the Knobs, some seventy-five thousand 
acres, Mr. Buckstone said. But Mr. Washington 
Hawkins (one of the heirs) objected. He was, in- 
deed, very reluctant to sell any part of the land at 
any price ; and, indeed, this reluctance was justifiable 
when one considers how constantly and how greatly 
the property is rising in value. 

150 The Gilded Age 

What the South needed, continued Mr. Buck- 
stone, was skilled labor. Without that it would be 
unable to develop its mines, build its roacjs, work to 
advantage and without great waste its fruitful land, 
establish manufactures or enter upon a prosperous 
industrial career. Its laborers were almost altogether 
unskilled. Change them into intelligent, trained 
workmen, and you increased at once the capital, the 
resources of the entire South, which would enter 
upon a prosperity hitherto unknown. In five years 
the increase in local wealth would not only reimburse 
the government for the outlay in this appropriation, 
but pour untold wealth into the treasury. 

This was the material view, and the least important 
in the honorable gentleman's opinion. [Here he 
referred to some notes furnished him by Senator 
Dilworthy, and then continued.] God had given us 
the care of these colored millions. What account 
should we render to Him of our stewardship? We 
had made them free. Should we leave them ignorant? 
We had cast them upon their own resources. 
Should we leave them without tools? We could not 
tell what the intentions of Providence are in regard 
to these peculiar people, but our duty was plain. 
The Knobs Industrial University would be a vast 
school of modern science and practice, worthy of a 
great nation. It would combine the advantages of 
Zurich, Freiburg, Creuzot, and the Sheffield Scien- 
tific. Providence had apparently reserved and set 
apart the Knobs of East Tennessee for this purpose. 

The Gilded Age 151 

What else were they for? Was it not wonderful 
that for more than thirty years, over a generation, 
the choicest portion of them had remained in one 
family, untouched, as if consecrated for some great 
use I 

It might be aslced why the government should buy 
this land, when it had millions of acres, more than 
the railroad companies desired, which it might de- 
vote to this purpose? He answered, that the gov- 
ernment had no such tract of land as this. It had 
nothing comparable to it for the purposes of the 
university. This was to be a school of mining, of 
engineering, of the working of metals, of chemistry, 
zoology, botany, manufactures, agriculture : in short, 
of all the complicated industries that make a state 
great. There was no place for the location of such 
a school like the Knobs of East Tennessee. The 
hills abounded in metals of all sorts, iron in all its 
combinations, copper, bismuth, gold and silver in 
small quantities, platinum he believed, tin, alumin- 
ium ; it was covered with forests and strange plants ; 
in the woods were found the coon, the opossum, 
the fox, the deer, and many other animals who 
roamed in the domain of natural history; coal 
existed in enormous quantity and no doubt oil; it 
was such a place for the practice of agricultural ex- 
periments that any student who had been successful 
there would have an easy task in any other portion 
of the country. 

No place offered equal facilities for experiments 


152 The Gilded Age 

in mining, metallurgy, engineering. He expected to 
live to see the day when the youth of the South 
would resort to its mines, its workshops, its labora- 
tories, its furnaces and factories for practical instruc- 
tion in all the great industrial pursuits. 

A noisy and rather ill-natured debate followed 
now, and lasted hour after hour. The friends of 
the bill were instructed by the leaders to mate no 
effort to check this ; it was deemed better strategy to 
tire out the opposition ; it was decided to vote down 
every proposition to adjourn, and so continue the 
sitting in to the night; opponents might desert, 
then, one by one and weaken their party, for they 
had no personal stake in the bill. 

Sunset came, and still the fight went on ; the gas 
was lit, the crowd in the galleries began to thin, but 
the contest continued; the crowd returned, by and 
by, with hunger and thirst appeased, and aggravated 
the hungry and thirsty House by looking contented 
and comfortable ; but still the wrangle lost nothing 
of its bitterness. Recesses were moved plaintively 
by the opposition, and invariably voted down by the 
university army. 

At midnight the House presented a spectacle cal- 
culated to interest a stranger. The great galleries 
were still thronged — though only with men now; 
the bright colors that had made them look like 
hanging gardens were gone, with the ladies. The 
reporters' gallery was merely occupied by one or 
two watchful sentinels of the quill-driving guild; 

The Gilded Age 153 

the main body cared nothing for a debate that had 
dwindled to a mere vaporing of dull speakers and 
now and then a brief quarrel over a point of order; 
but there was an unusually large attendance of 
journalists in the reporters' waiting-room, chatting, 
smoking, and keeping on the qui vivc for the general 
irruption of the Congressional volcano that must 
come when the lime was ripe for it. Senator Dil- 
worthy and Philip were in the diplomatic gallery; 
Washington sat in the public gallery, and Colonel 
Sellers was not far away. The Colonel had been 
flying about the corridors and buttonholing Con- 
gressmen all the evening, and believed that he had 
accomplished a world of valuable service ; but fatigue 
was telling upon him now, and he was quiet and 
speechless — for once. Below, a few Senators 
lounged upon the sofas set apart for visitors, and 
talked with idle Congressmen. A dreary member 
was speaking; the presiding officer was nodding; 
here and there little knots of members stood in the 
aisles, whispering together; all about the House 
others sat in all the various attitudes that express 
weariness; some, tilted back, had one or more legs 
disposed upon their desks ; some sharpened pencils 
indolently; some scribbled aimlessly; some yawned 
and stretched ; a great many lay upon their breasts 
upon the desks, sound asleep and gently snoring. 
The flooding gaslight from the fancifully wrought 
roof poured down upon the tranquil scene. Hardly 
a sound disturbed the stillness, save the monotonous 


154 The Gilded Age 

eloquence of the gentleman who occupied the floor. 
Now and then a warrior of the opposition broke 
down under the pressure, gave it up and went home. 

Mr. Buckstone began to think it might be safe, 
now, to " proceed to business." He consulted with 
Trollop and one or two others. Senator Dilworthy 
descended to the floor of the House and they went 
to meet him. After a brief comparison of notes, 
the Congressmen sought their seats and sent pages 
about the House with messages to friends. These 
latter instantly roused up, yawned, and began to 
look alert. The moment the floor was unoccupied, 
Mr. Buckstone rose, with an injured look, and said 
it was evident that the opponents of the bill were 
merely talking against time, hoping in this unbe- 
coming way to tire out the friends of the measure 
and so defeat it. Such conduct might be respect- 
able enough in a village debating society, but it was 
trivial among statesmen, it was out of place in so 
august an assemblage as the House of Representa- 
tives of the United States. The friends of the bill 
had been not only willing that its opponents should 
express their opinions, but had strongly desired it. 
They courted the fullest and freest discussion ; but 
it seemed to him that this fairness was but illy ap- 
preciated, since gentlemen were capable of taking 
advantage of it for selfish and unworthy ends. This 
trifling had gone far enough. He called for the 

The instant Mr. Buckstone sat down, the storm 

The Gilded Age 


burst forth. A dozen gentlemen sprang to their 

" Mr, Speaker!" 

" Mr. Speaker 1" 

"Mr. Speaker!" 

"Order! Order! Orderl Question! Ques- 
tion ! ' ' 

The sharp blows of the Speaker's gavel rose 
above the din. 

The "previous question," that hated gag, was 
moved and carried. All debate came to a sudden 
end, of course. Triumph No. i. 

Then the vote was taken on the adoption of the 
report, and it carried by a surprising majority. 

Mr. Buckstone got the floor again and moved that 
the rules be suspended and the bill read a first time. 

Mr. Trollop — " Second the motion!" 

The Speaker — " It is moved and " 

Clamor of Voices. " Move we adjourn I Second 
the motion! Adjourn! Adjourn! Order! Order!" 

The Speaker (after using his gavel vigorously) — 
" It is moved and seconded that the House do now 
adjourn. All those in favor " 

Voices — ' ' Division ! Division ! Ayes and nays ! 
Ayes and nays !" 

It was decided to vote upon the adjournment by 
ayes and nays. This was war in earnest. The ex- 
citement was furious. The galleries were in com- 
motion in an instant, the reporters swarmed to their 
places, idling members of the House flocked to their 

156 The Gilded Age 

seats, nervous gentlemen sprang to their feet, ps^es 
flew hither and thither, life and animation were 
visible everywhere, all the long ranks of faces in the 
building were kindled. 

'•This thing decides it!" thought Mr. Buckstone; 
•• but let the fight proceed." 

The voting began, and every sound ceased but the 
calling of the names and the "Aye!" ''No!" 
**No!" **Aye!" of the responses. There was 
not a movement in the House ; the people seemed 
to hold their breath. 

The voting ceased, and then there was an interval 
of dead silence while the clerk made up his count. 
There was a two-thirds vote on the university side — 
and two over ! 

The Speaker — "The rules are suspended, the 
motion is carried — first reading of the bill /* ' 

By one impulse the galleries broke forth into 
stormy applause, and even some of the members of 
the House were not wholly able to restrain their 
feelings. The Speaker's gavel came to the rescue 
and his clear voice followed : 

"Order, gentlemen! The House will come to 
order ! If spectators offend again, the Sergeant-at- 
arms will clear the galleries!" 

Then he cast his eyes aloft and gazed at some 
object attentively for a moment. All eyes followed 
the direction of the Speaker's, and then there was a 
general titter. The Speaker said : 

"Let the Sergeant-at-arms inform the gentleman 

The Gilded Age 157 

that his conduct is an infringement of the dignity of 
the House — and one which is not warranted by the 
state of the weather," 

Poor Sellers was the culprit. He sat in the front 
seat of the gallery, with his arms and his tired body 
overflowing the balustrade — sound asleep, dead to 
all excitements, all disturbances. The fluctuations 
of the Washington weather had influenced his 
dreams, perhaps, for during the recent tempest of 
applause he had hoisted his gingham umbrella and 
calmly gone on with his slumbers. Washington 
Hawkins had seen the act, but was not near enough 
at hand to save his friend, and no one who was near 
enough desired to spoil the effect. But a neighbor 
stirred up the Colonel, now that the House had its 
eye upon him, and the great speculator furled his 
tent like the Arab. He said : 

" Bless my soul, I'm so absent-minded when I get 
to thinking ! I never wear an umbrella in the house 
— did anybody notice it? What — asleep? Indeed? 
And did you wake me, sir? Thank you — thank 
you very much, indeed. It might have fallen out 
of my hands and tieen injured. Admirable article, 
sir — present from a friend in Hong Kong; one 
doesn't come across silk like that in this country — 
it's the real Young Hyson, I'm told." 

By this time the incident was forgotten, for the 
House was at war again. Victory was almost in 
sight, now, and the friends of the bill threw them- 
selves into their work with enthusiasm. They soon 

158 The Gilded Age 

moved and carried its second reading, and after a 
strong, sharp Aght, carried a motion to go into com- 
mittee of the whole. The Speaker left his place, of 
course, and a chairman was appointed. 

Now the contest raged hotter than ever — for the 
authority that compels order when the House sits as 
a House, is greatly diminished when it sits as a 
committee. The main fight came upon the filling 
of the blanks with the sum to be appropriated for 
the purchase of the land, of course. 

Mr. Buckstone — **Mr. Chairman, I move you, 
sir, that the words three millions ofht inserted." 

Mr, Hadley — **Mr. Chairman, I move that the 
words two and a half dollars be inserted." 

Mr. Clawson — **Mr. Chairman, I move the in- 
sertion of the words ^z;^ and twenty cents ^ as repre- 
senting the true value of this barren and isolated 
tract of desolation." 

The question, according to rule, was taken upon 
the smallest sum first. It was lost. 

Then upon the next smallest sum. Lost also. 

And then upon the three millions. After a vigor- 
ous battle that lasted a considerable time, this motion 
was carried. 

Then, clause by clause, the bill was read, dis- 
cussed, and amended in trifling particulars, and now 
the committee rose and reported. 

The moment the House had resumed its functions 
and received the report, Mr. Buckstone moved and 
cankd the third reading of the bill. 

The Gilded Age 159 

The same bitter war over the sum to be paid was 
fought over again, and now that the ayes and nays 
could be called and placed on record, every man 
was compelled to vote by name on the three 
millions, and, indeed, on every paragraph of the 
bill from the enacting clause straight through. But, 
as before, the friends of the measure stood firm and 
voted in a soHd body every time, and so did its 

The supreme moment was come now, but so sure 
was the result that not even a voice was raised to 
interpose an adjournment. The enemy were totally 
demoralized. The bill was put upon its final passage 
almost without dissent, and the calling of the ayes 
and nays began. When it was ended the triumph was 
complete — the two-thirds vote held good, and a veto 
was impossible, as far as the House was concerned ! 

Mr. Buckstone resolved that now that the nail was 
driven home, he would clinch it on the other side 
and make it stay forever. He moved a reconsidera- 
tion of the vote by which the bill had passed. The 
motion was lost, of course, and the great Industrial 
University act was an accomplished fact as far as it 
was in the power of the House of Representatives to 
make it so. 

There was no need to move an adjournment. The 
instant the last motion was decided, the enemies of 
the university rose and flocked out of the hall, talk- 
ing angrily, and its friends flocked after them jubilant 
^nd congratulatory. The galleries disgorged their 

160 The Gilded Age 

burden, and presently the House was silent and 

When Colonel Sellers and Washington stepped 
out of the building they were surprised to find that 
the daylight was old and the sun well up. Said the 
Colonel : 

" Give me your hand, my boy I You're all right 
at last! You're a millionaire! At least you're 
going to be. The thing is dead sure. Don't you 
bother about the Senate. Leave me and Dilworthy 
to take care of that. Run along home, now, and 
tell Laura. Lord, it's magnificent news — perfectly 
magnificent! Run, now. I'll telegraph my wife. 
She must come here and help me build a house. 
Everything's all right now!" 

Washington was so dazed by his good fortune 
and so bewildered by the gaudy pageant of dreams 
that was already trailing its long ranks through his 
brain, that he wandered he knew not where, and so 
loitered by the way that when at last he reached 
home he woke to a sudden annoyance in the fact 
that his news must be old to Laura, now, for of 
course Senator Dilworthy must have already been 
home and told her an hour before. He knocked at 
her door, but there was no answer. 

"That is like the Duchess," said he. "Always 
cool. A body can't excite her — can't keep her 
excited, anyway. Now she has gone off to sleep 
again, as comfortably as if she were used to picking 
up a million dollars every day or two." 

The Gilded Age 161 

Then he went to bed. But he could not sleep; 
80 he got up and wrote a long, rapturous letter to 
Louise, and another to his mother. And he closed 
both to much the same effect : 

" Laura will be queen ol America, now, and she will be applauded, 
and bouoied and petled by ibe whole nation. Hei name will be in 
every one's luouth more than ever, and how they will court her and 
quote her bright speeches. And mine, too, I suppose; though they do 
that mote already, than they really seem to deserve. Ob, the world is 
so bright, now, and so cheery; the clouds are all gone, our long struggle 
is ended, out troubles ore all over. Nothing can ever make us unhappy 
any more. Your deai futhful ones will have Ihe reward of your patient 
waiting now. How father's wisdom is proven at lastl And bow I rc- 
[lenl me thai there have been times when I lost failh and said the bless- 
ing he stored up for us a tedious generation ago was but a long-drawn 
curse, a blight upon us all. But everything is well now — we are done 
with poverty, and (oil, weariness and heart-breakings; all (he world is 
filled with sunshine." 



Foito ) racalo di Tin dale*. 

Ne tntf twj]e cwdnlie >mw 
UeM to efnanne, 
fcih da hi6 RDllen t;, 
pntU fi«<Ntii-webba 

after lig-tome, 
ledfhe maniuuL 

PHILIP left the Capitol and walked up Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue in company with Senator DiU 
worthy. It was a bright spring morning; the air was 
soft and inspiring; in the deepening wayside green, 
the pink flush of the blossoming peach trees, the 
soft suffusion on the heights of Arlington, and the 
breath of the warm south wind, was apparent the 
annual miracle of the resurrection of the earth. 

The Senator took off his hat and seemed to open 

his soul to the sweet influences of ' the morning. 

After the heat and noise of the chamber, under its 

dull gas-illuminated glass canopy, and the all-night 


The Gilded Age 163 

struggle of passion and feverish excitement there, 
the open, tranquil world seemed like Heaven. The 
Senator was not in an exultant mood, but rather in 
a condition of holy joy, befitting a Christian states- 
man, whose benevolent plans Providence has made 
its own and stamped with approval. The great 
battle had been fought, but the measure had still to 
encounter the scrutiny of the Senate, and Providence 
sometimes acts differently in the two Houses. Still, 
the Senator was tranquil, for he knew that there is 
an esprit de corps in the Senate which does not exist 
in the House, the effect of which is to make the 
members complaisant toward the projects of each 
other, and to extend a mutual aid which in a more 
vulgar body would be called " log-rolling." 

" It is, under Providence, a good night's work, 
Mr. Sterling. The government has founded an in- 
stitution which will remove half the difficulty from 
the Southern problem. And it is a good thing for 
the Hawkins heirs, a very good thing. Laura will 
be almost a millionaire." 

"Do you think, Mr. Dilworthy, that the Haw- 
kinses will get much of the money?" asked Philip 
innocently, remembering the fate of the Columbus 
River appropriation. 

The Senator looked at his companion scrutiniz- 
ingly for a moment to see if he meant anything 
personal, and then replied: 

"Undoubtedly, undoubtedly, I have had their 
interests greatiy at heart. There will, of course, be 


164 The Gilded Age 

a few expenses, but the widow and orphans will 
realize all that Mr. Hawkins dreamed of for them." 

The birds were singing as they crossed the Presi- 
dential square, now bright with its green turf and 
tender foliage. After the two had gained the steps 
of the Senator's house they stood a moment, looking 
upon the lovely prospect. 

" It is like the peace of God," said the Senator 

Entering the house, the Senator called a servant 
and said: "Tell Miss Laura that we are waiting to 
see her. I ought to have sent a messenger on horse- 
back half an hour ago," he added to Philip. " She 
will be transported with our victory. You must stop 
to breakfast, and see the excitement." The servant 
soon came back, with a wondering look and re- 
ported : 

" Miss Laura ain't dah, sah. I reckon she hain't 
been dah all night." 

The Senator and Philip both started up. In 
Laura's room there were the marks of a confused 
and hasty departure, drawers half open, little articles 
strewn on the floor. The bed had not been dis- 
turbed. Upon inquiry it appeared that Laura had 
not been at dinner, excusing herself to Mrs. Dil- 
worthy on the plea of a violent healdache ; that she 
made a request to the servants that she might not be 

The Senator was astounded. Philip thought at 
once of Colonel Selby. Could Laura have run away 

166 The Gilded Age 

Would Harry be such a fool as to be dragged into 
some public scandal? 

It seemed as if the train would never reach Balti- 
more. Then there was a long delay at Havre de 
Grace. A hot box had to be cooled at Wilmington. 
Would it never get on? Only in passing around the 
city of Philadelphia did the train not seem to go 
slow. Philip stood upon the platform and watched 
for the Boltons' house, fancied he could distinguish 
its roof among the trees, and wondered how Ruth 
would feel if she knew he was so near her. 

Then came Jersey, everlasting Jersey, stupid, 
irritating Jersey, where the passengers are always 
asking which line they are on, and where tiiey are 
to come out, and whether they have yet reached 
Elizabeth. Launched into Jersey, one has a vague 
notion that he is on many lines and no one in par- 
ticular, and that he is liable at any moment to come 
to Elizabeth. He has no notion what Elizabeth is, 
and always resolves that the next time he goe.s that 
way he will look out of the window and see what it 
is like; but he never does. Or, if he does, he 
probably finds that it is Princeton or something of 
that sort. He gets annoyed, and never can see the 
use of having different names for stations in Jersey. 
By and by there is Newark, three or four Newarks, 
apparently; then marshes, then long rock cuttings 
devoted to the advertisements of patent medicines 
and ready-made clothing and New York tonics for 
Jersey agues, and — Jersey City is reached. 

The Gilded Age 1(57 

On the ferry-boat Philip bought an evening paper 
from a boy crying " 'Erc's the Evening Gram, all 
about the murder," and with breathless haste ran 
his eyes over the following : 



BLl I I 

This moimiig occuned acothei of those shocking murdeis irtiicfi 
hkTC become ihe slmost daily (ood of the newspapers, the direct result 
of the socialistic doctrines and woman's rights agitations, which have 
made every woman the avenger ol her ovra wrongs, and all society the 
hunting ground iot her victim?. 

About nine o'clock a lady deliberately shot a man dead in the public 
pailoT of the Southern Hotel, coolly remarking, as she threw down her 
rerotver aad pennilted hersell to be taken into custody, " He brought 
it 00 biiDsclf." Our reporters were immediately dispatched to the scene 
o( the tragedy, and gathered the following particulars. 

Yesterday afternoon arrived at the hotel from Washington, Col. 
George Selby and family, who had taken passage and were to sail at 
noon to-day in the steamer Scotia for England. The Colonel was a 
handsome man about forty, a gentleman of wealth and high social pcoi' 
tion, a resident of New Orleans. He served with distinction in the 
confederate army, and received a wound in [he leg from which he hai 
never entirely recovered, being obliged to use a cane in locomotion. 

This morning at about nine o'clock, a lady, accompanied by a gentle- 
man, called at the oEce oF the hotel and asked for Col. Selby. The 
Colonel was at breakfast. Would the clerk teU him that a lady and 
gentleman wished to see him for a moment in the parlor? The clerk 
says that the gentleman asked her, "What do yoa want to M« Aim 
lot?" and that she replied, "He is going to Europe, and I ought to 
just say good by." 

Col. Selby was bformed, and the lady and gentleman were shown to 
the parlor, in which were at the time three or four other peitoni. Five 
Biinutes after two shots were lired in quick succcstion, and tbete wu s 
rush to the parlor from which the reports came. 

168 The Gilded Age 

Col. Sclb; was found lying on ibe floor, bleeding, bnC not dead. 
Two genilemen, who had just come in, had seized the lady, who nude 
no resistance, and she was at once given Lu chiirge ol a pdice officer 
wbo arrived. The persons who were in the parlor agree substantially 
as to what occurred. They had happened to be looking towards the 
door when the man — Col. Selby — entered with his cane, and they 
looked at him, because he stopped as if surprised and fr^htened, and 
made a backward movement. At the same moment the lady in the 
bonnet advanced towards nim and said something like " Geo^;;e, will 
you come with me?" He replied, throwing up his hand and retreat- 
ing, "My God I T can't, don't fiic," and the next instant two shots 
were heard and he fell. The lady appeared to be beside herself with 
rage or excitement, and trembled very much when the gentlemen took 
hold of her; it was to them she said, " He brought it on himself." 

Col. Selby was carried at once to his room ai>d Dr. Puffer, the 
eminent surgeon, was sent lor. It was found that he was shot through 
the breast and ihroi^h the abdomen. Other aid uras summoned, but 
the wounds were mortal, and Col. Selby expired in an hoar, in pain, 
but his mind was clear to the last, and he made a full deposition. The 
substance of it was that his murderess is a Miss Laura Hawkins, whom 
he had known at Washington as a lobbyist, and had had some business 
with her. She had followed him with her attentions and solidtations, 
and had endeavored to make him desert his wife and go to Europe 
with her. When he resisted and avoided her, she had threatened him. 
Only the day before he left Washington she had declared that he sbotdd 
never go out of the city alive without her. 

It seems to have been a deliberate and premeditated murder, the 
woman following him from Washington on purpose to commit it. 

We learn that the murderess, who is a woman of dauling and 
transcendent beauty and about twenty-six or seven, is a niece of Senator 
Dilworthy, at whose house she has been spending the winter. She 
belongs to a high Southern family, and has the reputation of beii^ an 
hdress. Like some other great beauties and belles in Washington 
however there have been whispers that she had something to do with 
the lobby. If we mistake not we have heard her name mentioned in 
connection with the sale of the Tennessee Lands to the Knobs Univet- 
sily, the bill for which passed the House last night. 

Her companion is Mr. Harry Btierly, a New York dandy, wbo has 
been in Washington. His connection with her and with this tragedy ii 

The Gilded Age 169 

ool known, but he was also laken ioto custody, and will be detained at 

P. S. One o< the pcisons present in the parlor sAys that after Laura 
Hawkins bad fired twice, sbc turned the pistoi towards herself, but that 
Bricrly sprang nnd CBUghl il from ber hand, and that it was he who 
threw it OD ibe floor. 

Fiuiher particulars with full biographies of all the parties in oni 
neit edition. 

Philip hastened at once to the Southern Hotel, 
where he found still a great state of excitement, and 
a thousand different and exaggerated stories passing 
from mouth to mouth. The witnesses of the event 
had told it over so many times that they had worked 
it up into a most dramatic scene, and embellished it 
with whatever could heighten its awfulness. Out- 
siders had taken up invention also. The Colonel's 
wife had gone insane, they said. The children had 
rushed into the parlor and rolled themselves in their 
father's blood. The hotel clerk said that he noticed 
there was murder in the woman's eye when he saw 
her. A person who had met the woman on the 
stairs felt a creeping sensation. Some thought 
Brierly was an accomplice, and that he had set the 
woman on to kill his rival. Some said the woman 
showed the calmness and indifference of insanity. 

Philip learned that Harry and Laura had both 
been taken to the city prison, and he went there; 
but he was not admitted. Not being a newspaper 
reporter, he could not see either of them that night; 
but the officer questioned him suspiciously and 
asked him who he was. He might perhaps see 
Brierly in the morning. 

170 The Gilded Age 

The latest editions of the evening papers had the 
result of the, inquest. It was a plain enough case 
for the jury, but they sat over it a long time, listen- 
ing to the wrangling of the physicians. Dr. Puffer 
insisted that the man died from the effects of the 
wound in the chest. Dr. Dobb as strongly insisted 
that the wound in the abdomen caused death. Dr. 
Golightly suggested that, in his opinion, death 
ensued from a complication of the two wounds and 
perhaps other causes. He examined the table 
waiter, as to whether Colonel Selby ate any break- 
fast, and what he ate, and if he had any appetite. 

The Jury finally threw themselves back upon the 
indisputable fact that Selby was dead, that either 
wound would have killed him (admitted by the doc- 
tors), and rendered a verdict that he died from 
pistol-shot wounds inflicted by a pistol in the hands 
of Laura Hawkins. 

The morning papers blazed with big type, and 
overflowed with details of the murder. The ac- 
counts in the evening papers were only the pre- 
monitory drops to this mighty shower. The scene 
was dramatically worked up in column after column. 
There were sketches, biographical and historical. 
There were long " specials " from Washington, 
giving a full history of Laura's career there, with 
the names of men with whom she was said to be 
intimate, a description of Senator Diiworthy's resi- 
dence and of his family, and of Laura's room in his 
house, and a sketch of the Senator's appearance 

The Gilded Age 

and what he said. There was a great deal about 
her beauty, her accomplishments, and her brilliant 
position in society, and her doubtful position in 
society. There was also an interview with Colonel 
Sellers and another with Washington Hawkins, the 
brother of the murderess. One journal had a long 
dispatch from Hawkeye, reporting the excitement in 
that quiet village and the reception of the awful 

All the parties had been " interviewed." There 
were reports of conversations with the clerk at the 
hotel, with the call-boy, with the waiter at table, 
with all the witnesses, with the policeman, with the 
landlord (who wanted it understood that nothing of 
that sort had ever happened in his house before, 
although it had always been frequented by the best 
Southern society) , and with Mrs. Colonel Selby. 
There were diagrams illustrating the scene of the 
shooting, and views of the hotel and street, and 
portraits of the parties. 

There were three minute and different statements 
from the doctors about the wounds, so technically 
worded that nobody could understand them. Harry 
and Laura had also been " interviewed," and there was 
a statement from Philip himself, which a reporter had 
knocked him up out of bed at midnight to give, though 
how he found him, Philip never could conjecture. 

What some of the journals lacked in suitable length 
for the occasion, they made up in encyclopaedic in- 
formation about other similar murders and shootings. 


172 The Gilded Age 

The statement from Laura was not full, in fact it 
was fragmentary, and consisted of nine parts of the 
reporter's valuable observations to one of Laura's, 
and it was, as the reporter significantly remarked, 
" incoherent." But it appeared that Laura claimed 
to be Selby's wife, or to have been his wife, that he 
had deserted her and betrayed her, and that she was 
going to follow him to Europe. When the reporter 

"What made you shoot him, Miss Hawkins?" 
Laura's only reply was, very simply, 

" Did I shoot him? Do they say I shot him? " 
And she would say no more. 

The news of the murder was made the excitement 
of the day. Talk of it filled the town. The facts 
reported were scrutinized, the standing of the parties 
was discussed, the dozen different theories of the 
motive, broached in the newspapers, were disputed 

During the night subtle electricity had carried the 
tale over all the wires of the continent and under the 
sea; and in all villages and towns of the Union, from 
the Atlantic to the Territories, and away up and 
down the Facific slope, and as far as London and 
Paris and Berlin, that morning the name of Laura 
Hawkins was spoken by millions and millions of 
people, while the owner of it — the sweet child of 
years ago, the beautiful queen of Washington draw- 
ing rooms — sat shivering on her cot-bed in the dark- 
ness of a damp cell in the Tombs. 



Mso> qo c'a x-opon-vi ri v'oyeusla!, ri T'achihilal t abcanoc eeb, 
-oc uleu 1 la quitiih vbioI in amid, in xacbel vuiJ cbuxnmt cab. 

PHILIP'S first effort was to get Harry out of the 
Tombs. He gained permission to see him, in 
the presence of an officer, during the day, and he 
found that hero very much cast down. 

" I never intended to come to such a place as this, 
old fellow," he said to Philip; " it's no place for a 
gentleman, they've no idea how to treat a gentle- 
man. Look at that provender," pointing to his un- 
eaten prison ration. " They teil me I am detained 
as a witness, and t passed the night among a lot of 
cut-throats and dirty rascals — a pretty witness I'd 
be in a month spent in such company." 

"But what under heavens," asked Philip, "in- 
duced you to come to New York with Laura! 
What was it for? " 

"What for? Why, she wanted me to come. I 
didn't know anything about that cursed Selby, She 
said it was lobby business for the University. I'd 

174 The Gilded Age 

no idea what she was dragging me into that con- 
founded hotel for. I suppose she knew that the 
Southerners all go there, and thought she'd find her 
man. Oh! Lord, I wish I'd taken your advice. 
You might as well murder somebody and have the 
credit of it, as get into the newspapers the way I 
have. She's pure devil, that girl. You ought to 
have seen how sweet she was on me. What an ass I 

•• Well, I'm not going to dispute a poor prisoner. 
But the first thing is to get you out of this. I've 
brought the note Laura wrote you, for one thing, 
and I've seen your uncle, and explained the truth 
of the case to him. He will be here soon." 

Harry's uncle came, with other friends, and in the 
course of the day made such a showing to the 
authorities that Harry was released, on giving bonds 
to appear as a witness when wanted. His spirits 
rose with their usual elasticity as soon as he was out 
of Centre Street, and he insisted on giving Philip 
and his friends a royal supper at Delmonico's, an ex- 
cess which was perhaps excusable in the rebound of 
his feelings, and which was committed with his usual 
reckless generosity. Harry ordered. the supper, and 
it is perhaps needless to say that Philip paid the bill. 

Neither of the young men felt like attempting to 
see Laura that day, and she saw no company except 
the newspaper reporters, until the arrival of Colonel 
Sellers and Washington Hawkins, who had hastened 
to New York with all speed. 

The Gilded Age 175 

They found Laura in a cell in the upper tier of the 
woman's department. The cell was somewhat larger 
than those in the men's department, and might be 
eight feet by ten square, perhaps a little longer. It 
was of stone, floor and all, and the roof was oven 
shaped. A narrow slit in the roof admitted suf- 
ficient light, and was the only means of ventilation ; 
when the window was opened there was nothing to 
prevent the rain coming in. The only means of 
heating being from the corridor, when the door was 
ajar, the cell was chilly and at this time damp. It 
was whitewashed and clean, but it had a slight jail 
odor; its only furniture was a narrow iron bedstead, 
with a tick of straw and some blankets, not too 

When Colonel Sellers was conducted to the cell by 
the matron and looked in, his emotions quite over- 
came him, the tears rolled down his cheeks and his 
voice trembled so that he could hardly speak. 
Washington was unable to say anything; he looked 
from Laura to the miserable creatures who were 
walking in the corridor with unutterable disgust. 
Laura was alone calm and self-contained, though she 
was not unmoved by the sight of the grief of her 

"Are you comfortable, Laura?" was the first 
word the Colonel could get out. 

"You see," she replied, "I can't say it's ex- 
actly comfortable." 

"Are you cold? " 

176 The Gilded Age 

" It is pretty chilly. The stone floor is like ice. 
It chills me through to step on it. I have to sit on 
the bed." 

' ' Poor thing ! poor thing I And can you eat any- 
thing? " 

" No, I am not hungry. I don't know that I 
could eat anything. I can't eat that." 

" Oh dear," continued the Colonel, " it's dread- 
ful. But cheer up, dear, cheer up;" and the 
Colonel broke down entirely. 

*' But," he went on, " we'll stand by you. We'll 

do everything for you, I know you couldn't have 

meant to do it. It must have been insanity, you 

, know, or something of that sort. You never did 

I anything of the sort before." 

Laura smiled very faintly and said : 

"Yes, it was something of that sort. It's all a 
whirl. He was a villain ; you don't know." 

" I'd rather have killed him myself, in a duel you 
know, all fair. I wish I had. But don't you be 
down. We'll get you off — the best counsel, the 
lawyers in New York can do anything; I've read of 
cases. But you must be comfortable now. We've 
brought some of your clothes, at the hotel. What 
else can we get for you? " 

Laura suggested that she would like some sheets 
for her bed, a piece of carpet to step on, and her 
meals sent in ; and some books and writing mate- 
rials if it was allowed. The Colonel and Wash- 
ington promised to procure all these things, and 

The Gilded Age 177 

then took their sorrowful leave, a great deal more 
affected than the criminal was, apparently, by her 

The Colonel told the matron as he went away that 
if she would look to Laura's comfort a little it 
shouldn't be the worse for her; and to the turnkey 
who let them out he patronizingly said, 

" You've got a big establishment here, a credit to 
the city. I've got a friend in there — I shall see 
you again, sir." 

By the next day something more of Laura's own 
story began to appear in the newspapers, colored 
and heightened by reporter's rhetoric. Some of 
them cast a lurid light upon the Colonel's career, 
and represented his victim as a beautiful avenger of 
her murdered innocence ; and others pictured her as 
his willing paramour and pitiless slayer. Her com- 
munications to the reporters were stopped by her 
lawyers as soon as they were retained and visited 
her, but this fact did not prevent — it may have 
facilitated — the appearance of casual paragraphs 
here and there which were likely to beget popular 
sympathy for the poor girl. 

The occasion did not pass without "improve- 
ment ' ' by the leading journals ; and Philip preserved 
the editorial comments of three or four of them 
which pleased him most. These he used to read 
aloud to his friends afterwards and ask them to guess 
from which journal each of them had been cut. 
One began in this simple manner:^ 

178 The Gilded Age 

History never repeats itself, but the kaleidoscopic i 
the pictured present often seem to be coostnicted out of the bndun 
fragmenls of antique legends. Washingtoo is not Corinth, and Lais, 
the beautiful d&ughter of Timandra, might not have been the prototype 
of the ravishing Laura, daughter of the pleb^an house of Hawldnt; bat 
the oralora and statesmen who were the purchasen of the favors of the 
one, may have been as incoiruptible as the Republican statesmen who 
learned how to love and how to vote from the sweet lips of the Wuh- 
ii^ton lobbyist ; and perhaps the modem Lais would never have 
departed fioni the national Capital if there had been there even one 
republican Xecocrates who re^ed her blandishments. But here the 
pandlel fails. Lais, wandering away with the youth Hippostratns, ii 
slain by the women who are jealous of her charms. Lsuia, strayil^; 
inio her Thessaly with the youth Biierly, slays her other lover and 
becomes the champion of the wrongs of bei sex. 

Another journal began its editorial with less lyrical 
beauty, but with equal force. It closed as follows: — 

With Laura Hawkins, fair, fascinating, and fatal, and with the <&•(>■ 
lute Colonel of a lost cause, who has reaped the barveM he tcnred, 
we have nothing to do. But as the ctutain rises on this awful Iragedir, 
we catch a glimpse of the society at the capital under this Administra- 
tion, which we cannot contemplate without aUrm for the fate of the 

A third newspaper took up the subject in a differ-, 
ent tone. It said : — 

Our repeated predictions are verified. The pemidons doctrine* 
which we have announced as prevailing in American society have been 
again illustrated. The name of the dty is becoming a reproach. We 
may have done something in averting its ruin in our resolute exposure 
of the Gieal Fiauds; we shall not be deterred from insisting that the 
outraged laws for the protection of human life shall be vindicated now, 
BO that a person can walk the streets or enter the public houses, at 
least in the day-time, without the risk of a bullet through his brain. 

A fourth journal began its remarks as follows: -~ 

The fullness vrith which we present our readers this tnoming the 

The Gilded Age 179 

details of the Selby- Hawkins homicide is a miracle of modem journal- 
ism. Subsequent investigation can do little to tili out tfae picture. It 
ia the old story. A beautiful woman shoots her absconding lover in 
etdd blood; and we shall doubtless leun in due time that il she was not 
as mad as a hare in this month ol March, she was al least laboring 
under what is termed "momentary insanity." 

It would not be too much to say that upon the 
first publication of the facts of the tragedy, there was 
an almost universal feeling of rage against the mur- 
deress in the Tombs, and that reports of her beauty 
only heightened the indignation. It was as if she 
presumed upon that and upon her sex, to defy the 
law; and there was a fervent hope that the law would 
take its plain course. 

Yet Laura was not without friends, and some of 
them very influential, too. She had in her keeping a 
great many secrets and a great many reputations, 
perhaps. Who shall set himself up to judge human 
motives? Why, indeed, might we not feel pity for 
a woman whose brilliant career had been so suddenly 
extinguished in misfortune and crime? Those who 
had known her so well in Washington might iind it 
impossible to believe that the fascinating woman 
could have had murder in her heart, and would 
readily give ear to the current sentimentality about 
the temporary aberration of mind under the stress of 
personal calamity. 

Senator Dilworthy was greatly shocked, of course, 
but he was full of charity for the erring, 

" We shall all need mercy," he said, " Laura as 
an inmate of my family was a most exemplary 

180 The Gilded Age 

female, amiable, affectionate, and truthful, perhaps 
too fond of gayety, and neglectful of the externals 
of religion, but a woman of principle. She may 
have had experiences of which I am ignorant, but 
she could not have gone to this extremity if she had 
been in her own right mind." 

To the Senator's credit be it said, he was willing 
to help Laura and her family in this dreadful trial. 
She, herself, was not without money, for the 
Washington lobbyist is not seldom more fortunate 
than the Washington claimant, and she was able to 
procure a good many luxuries to mitigate the 
severity of her prison life. It enabled her also to 
have her own family near her, and to see some of 
them daily. The tender solicitude of her mother, 
her childlike grief, and her firm belief in the real gruilt- 
lessness of her daughter, touched even the custodians 
of the Tombs, who are enured to scenes of pathos. 

Mrs. Hawkins had hastened to her daughter as 
soon as she received money for the journey. She 
had no reproaches, she had only tenderness and 
pity. She could not shut out the dreadful facts of 
the case, but it had been enough for her that Laura 
had said, in their first interview, " Mother, I did not 
know what I was doing." She obtained lodgings 
near the prison and devoted her life to her daughter, 
as if she had been really her own child. She would 
have remained in the prison day and night if it had 
been permitted. She was aged and feeble, but this 
great necessity seemed to give her new life. 

The Gilded Age 181 

The pathetic story of the old lady's ministrations, 
and her simplicity and faith, also got into the news- 
papers in time, and probably added to the pathos of 
this wrecked woman's fate, which was beginning to 
be felt by the public. It was certain that she had 
champions who thought that her wrongs ought to 
be placed against her crime, and expressions of this 
feeling came to her in various ways. Visitors came to 
see her, and gifts of fruit and flowers were sent, which 
brought some cheer into her hard and gloomy cell. 

Laura had declined to see either Philip or Harry, 
somewhat to the former's relief, who had a notion 
that she would necessarily feel humiliated by seemg 
him after breaking faith with him, but to the discom- 
fiture of Harry, who still felt her fascination, and 
thought her refusal heartless. He told Philip that 
of course he had got through with such a woman, 
but he wanted to see her, 

Philip, to keep him from some new foolishness, 
persuaded him to go with him to Philadelphia, and 
give his valuable services in the mining operations at 

The law took its course with Laura. She was in- 
dicted for murder in the first degree, and held for 
trial at the summer term. The two most distin- 
guished criminal lawyers in the city had been re- 
tained for her defense, and to that the resolute 
woman devoted her days, with a courage that rose 
as she consulted with her counsel and understood 
the methods of criminal procedure in New York. 


182 The Gilded Age 

She was greatly depressed, however, by the news 
from Washington. Congress had adjourned and her 
bill had failed to pass the Senate. It must wait for 
the next session. 



^In our werking, nothing us avaiUe; 
For lost is all out labour ond travaille, 
And ail the cost a twenty devil way 
Is lost also, which we upon it lay. 

He moonihoawa ka aie. 

Haaiaiitm Proverb. 

IT had been a bad winter, somehow, for the firm of 
Penny-backer, Bigler, and Small. These cele- 
brated contractors usually made more money during 
the session of the legislature at Harrisburg than 
upon all their summer work, and this winter had 
been unfruitful. It was- unaccountable to Bigler. 

"You see, Mr. Bolton," he said, and Philip was 
present at the conversion, " it puts us all out. It 
looks as if politics was played out. We'd counted 
on the year of Simon's re-election. And now he's 
re-elected, and I've yet to see the first man who's 
the better for it." 

" Vou don't mean to say," asked Philip, "that he 
went in without paying anything? " 

" Not a cent, not a dash cent, as I can hear," re- 
peated Mr. Bigler, indignantly. " I call it a swindle 

184 The Gilded Age 

on the state. How it was done gets me. I never 
saw such a tight time for money in Harrisburg." 

"Were there no combinations, no railroad jobs, 
no mining schemes put through in connection witii 
the election ? ' ' 

" Not that I know," said Bigler, shaking his head 
in disgust. " In fact, it was openly said that there 
was no money in the election. It's perfecdy un- 
heard of." 

" Perhaps," suggested Philip, " it was effected on 
what the insurance companies call the ' endowment,' 
or the ' paid-up,' plan, by which a policy is secured 
after a certain time without further payment." 

"You think, then," said Mr. Bolton smiling, 
" that a liberal and sagacions politician might own a 
legislature after a time, and not be bothered with 
keeping up his payments? " 

"Whatever it is," interrupted Mr. Bigler, "it's 
devilish ingenious, and goes ahead of my calcula- 
tions; it's cleaned me out, when I thought we had a 
dead sure thing. I tell you what it is, gentlemen, 
I shall go in for reform. Things have got pretty 
mixed when a legislature will give away a United 
States Senatorship." 

It was melancholy, but Mr. Bigler was not a man 
to be crushed by one misfortune, or to lose his con- 
fidence in human nature on one exhibition of appar- 
ent honesty. He was already on his feet again, or 
would be if Mr. Bolton could tide him over the shoal 
water for ninety days. 

The Gilded Age 18; 

" We've got something with money in it," he ex- 
plained to Mr, Bolton, " got hold of it by good luck. 
We've got the entire contract for Dobson's Patent 
Pavement for the city of Mobile. See here." 

Mr. Bigler made some figures: contract so 
much, cost of work and materials so much, profits 
so much. At the end of three months the cily 
would owe the company three hundred and seventy- 
five thousand dollars — two hundred thousand of 
that would be profits. The whole job was worth 
at least a million to the company — it might be 
more. There could be no mistake in these figures; 
here was the contract. Mr. Bolton knew what 
materials were worth and what the labor would 

Mr. Bolton knew perfectly well from sore experi- 
ence that there was always a mistake in figures when 
Bigler or Small made them, and he knew that he 
ought to send the fellow about his business. In- 
stead of that, he let him talk. 

They only wanted to raise fifty thousand dollars 
to carry on the contract — that expended , they would 
have city bonds. Mr. Bolton said he hadn't the 
money. But Bigler could raise it on his name, Mr. 
Bolton said he had no right to put his family to that 
risk. But the entire contract could be assigned to 
him — the security was ample — it was a fortune to 
him if it was forfeited. Besides, Mr. Bigler had 
been unfortunate, he didn't know where to look for 
the necessaries of life for his family. If he could 

186 The Gilded Age 

only have one more chance, he was sure he could 
right himself. He begged for it. 

And Mr. Bolton yielded. He could never refuse 
such appeals. If he had befriended a man once and 
been cheated by him, that man appeared to have a 
claim upon him forever. He shrank, however, from 
telling his wife what he had done on this occasion, 
for he knew that if any person was more odious 
than Small to his family it was Bigler. 

" Philip tells me," Mrs. Bolton said that evening, 
" that the man Bigler has been with thee again to-day. 
I hope thee will have nothing more to do with him." 

"He has been very unfortunate," replied Mr. 
Bolton, uneasily. 

" He is always unfortunate, and he is always get- 
ting thee into trouble. But thee didn't listen to him 
again ?' ' 

"Well, mother, his family is in want, and I tent 
him my name — but I took ample security. The 
worst that can happen will be a little inconvenience." 

Mrs. Bolton looked grave and anxious, but she 
did not complain or remonstrate ; she knew what a 
" little inconvenience " meant, but she knew there 
was no help for it. If Mr. Bolton had been on his 
way to market to buy a dinner for his family with 
the only dollar he had in the world in his pocket, he 
would have given it to a chance beggar who asked 
him for it. Mrs. Bolton only asked (and the ques- 
tion showed that she was no more provident than her 
husband where her heart was interested) : 

The Gilded Age 18? 

" But has thee provided money for Philip to use 
in opening the coal mine?" 

" Yes, I have set apart as much as it ought to cost 
to open the mine, as much as we can afford to lose 
if no coal is found. Philip has the control of it, as 
equal partner in the venture, deducting the capital 
invested. He has great confidence in his success, 
and I hope for his sake he won't be disappointed." 

Philip could not but feel that he was treated very 
much like one of the Bolton family — by all except 
Ruth, His mother, when he went home after his 
recovery from his accident, had affected to be very 
jealous of Mrs. Bolton, about whom and Ruth she 
asked a thousand questions — an affectation of jeal- 
ousy which, no doubt, concealed a real heartache, 
which comes to every mother when her son goes 
out into the world and forms new ties. And to Mrs. 
Sterling, a widow, living on a small income in a 
remote Massachusetts village, Philadelphia was a 
city of many splendors. All its inhabitants seemed 
highly favored, dwelling in ease and surrounded by 
superior advantages. Some of her neighbors had 
relations living in Philadelphia, and it seemed to 
them somehow a guarantee of respectability to have 
relations in Philadelphia. Mrs. Sterling was not 
sorry to have Philip make his way among such well- 
to-do people, and she was sure that no good fortune 
could be too good for his deserts. 

"So, sir," said Ruth, when Philip came from 
New York, "you have been assisting in a pretty 

188 The CUded Age 

tragedy. I saw your name in the papers. Is this 
woman a specimen of your Western friends?" 

"My only assistance," replied Philip, a little 
annoyed, "was in trying to keep Harry out of a 
bad scrape, and I failed after all. He walked into 
her trap, and he has been punished for it. I'm 
going to take him up to Ilium to see if he won't 
work steadily at one thing, and quit his nonsense." 

"Is she as beautiful as the newspapers say she 

" I don't know, she has a kind of beauty — she 
is not like " 

"Not like Alice?" 

" Well, she is brilliant; she was called the hand- 
somest woman in Washington — dashing, you know, 
and sarcastic and witty. Ruth, do you believe a 
woman ever becomes a devil?" 

" Men do, and I don't know why women 
shouldn't. But I never saw one." 

" Well, Laura Hawkins comes very near it. But 
it is dreadful to think of her fate," 

" Why, do you suppose they will hang a woman? 
Do you suppose they will be so barbarous as that?" 

"I wasn't thinking of that — it's doubtful if a 
New York jury would find a woman guilty of any 
such crime. But to think of her life if she is ac- 

"It is dreadful," said Ruth, thoughtfully, "but 
the worst of it is that you men do not want women 
educated to do anything, to be able to^ earn an 

The Gilded Age 189 

honest living by their own exertions. They are 
educated as if they were always to be petted and 
supported, and there was never to be any such thing 
as misfortune. I suppose, now, that yoa would all 
choose to have me stay idly at home, and give up 
my profession." 

" Oh, no," said Philip, earnestly, " I respect your 
resolution. But, Ruth, do you think you would be 
happier or do more good in following your pro- 
fession than in having a home of your own?" 

" What is to hinder having a home of my own?" 

" Nothing, perhaps, only you never would be in 
it — you would be away day and night, if you had 
any practice ; and what sort of a home would that 
make for your husband?" 

" What sort of a home is it for the wife whose hus- 
band is always away riding about in his doctor's gig?" 

"Ah, you know that is not fair. The woman 
makes the home," 

Fhihp and Ruth often had this sort of discussion, 
to which Philip was always trying to give a personal 
turn. He was now about to go to Ilium for the 
season, and he did not like to go without some 
assurance from Ruth that she might perhaps love 
him some day, when he was worthy of it, and when 
he could offer her something better than a partner- 
ship in his poverty. 

" I should work with a great deal better heart, 
Ruth," he said the morning he was taking leave, 
" if I knew you cared for me a little." 

190 The Gi[ded Age 

Ruth was looking down ; the color came faintly 
to her cheeks, and she hesitated. She needn't be 
looking down, he thought, for she was ever so much 
shorter than tall Philip. 

"It's not much of a place. Ilium," Philip went 
on, as if a little geographical remark would fit in 
here as well as anything else, " and I shall have 
plenty of time to think over the responsibili^ I 
have taken, and — " his observation did not seem to 
be coming out anywhere. 

But Ruth looked up, and there was a light in her 
eyes that quickened Phil's pulse. She took his 
hand, and said with serious sweetness: 

"Thee mustn't lose heart, Philip," And then she 
added, in another mood: "Thee knows I graduate 
in the summer and shall have my diploma. And if 
anything happens — mines explode sometimes — 
thee can send for me. Farewell." 

The opening of the Ilium coal mine was begun 
with energy, but without many omens of success. 
Philip was running a tunnel into the breast of the 
mountain, in faith that the coal strattim ran there as 
it ought to. How far he must go in he believed he 
knew, but no one could tell exactly. Some of the 
miners said that they should probably go through 
the mountain, and that the hole could be used for a 
railway tunnel. The mining camp was a busy place 
at any rate. Quite a settlement of board and log 
shanties had gone up, with a blacksmith shop, a 
small machine shop, and a temporary store for sup- 

The Gilded Age I9I 

plying the wants of the workmen, Philip and Harry 
pitched a commodious tent, and lived in the full 
enjoyment of the free life. 

There is no difficulty in digging a hole in the 
ground, if you have money enough to pay for the 
digging, but those who try this sort of work are 
always surprised at the large amount of money 
necessary to make a small hole. The earth is never 
willing to yield one product, hidden in her bosom, 
without an equivalent for it; and when a person 
asks of her coal, she is quite apt to require gold in 

It was exciting work for all concerned in it. As 
the tunnel advanced into the rock every day promised 
to be the golden day. This very blast might dis- 
close the treasure. 

The work went on week after week, and at length 
during the night as well as the daytime. Gangs 
relieved each other, and the tunnel was every hour, 
inch by inch and foot by foot, crawling into the 
mountain. Philip was on the stretch of hope and 
excitement. Every pay day he saw his funds melt- 
ing away, and still there was only the faintest show 
of what the miners call " signs," 

The life suited Harry, whose buoyant hopefulness 
was never disturbed. He made endless calculations, 
which nobody could understand, of the probable 
position of the vein. He stood about among the 
workmen with the busiest air. When he was down 
at Ilium he called himself the engineer of the works. 

192 The Gilded Age 

and he used to spend hours smoking his pipe with 
the Dutch landlord on the hotel porch, and astonish- 
ing the idlers there with the stories of his railroad 
operations in Missouri. He talked with the land- 
lord, too, about enlarging his hotel, and about buy- 
ing some village lots, in the prospect of a rise, when 
the mine was opened. He taught the Dutchman 
how to mix a great many cooling drinks for the 
summer time, and had a bill at the hotel, the 
growing length of which Mr. Dusenheimer con- 
templated with pleasant anticipations. Mr. Brierly 
was a very useful and cheering person wherever he 

Midsummer arrived. Philip could report to Mr. 
Bolton only progress, and this was not a cheerful 
message for him to send to Philadelphia in reply to 
inquiries that he thought became more and more 
anxious. Philip himself was a prey to the constant 
fear that the money would give out before the coal 
was struck. 

At this time Harry was summoned to Ne^v York, 
to attend the trial of Laura Hawkins. It was possi- 
ble that Philip would have to go also, her lawyer 
wrote, but they hoped for a postponement. There 
was important evidence that they could not yet ob- 
tain, and he hoped the judge would not force them 
to a trial unprepared. There were many reasons 
for a delay, reasons which of course are never 
mentioned, but which it would seem that a New 
York judge sometimes must understand, when he 

The Gilded Age 


grants a postponement upon a motion that seems to 
the public altogether inadequate. 

Harry went, but he soon came back. The trial 
was put off. Every week we can gain, said the 
learned counsel, Braham, improves our chances. 
The popular rage never lasts long. 



Coune M&ueTUO, ao hb buoito : fijecayio i cipiuKMi. 

" Mof^ie ipi. dye nS." " Aid ije eftrt li obbi." 

«\y/E'VE Struck it!" 

W This was the electric announcement at 
the tent door that woke Philip out of a sound sleep 
at dead of night, and shook all the sleepiness out of 
him in a trice. 

"WhatI Where is it? When? Coal? Let me 
see it. What quality is it?" were some of the rapid 
questions that Philip poured out as he hurriedly 
dressed. "Harry, wake up, my boy. The coal 
train is coming. Struck it, eh? Let's seel " 

The foreman put down his lantern, and handed 
Philip a black lump. There was no mistake about 
it, it was the hard, shining anthracite, and its freshly 
fractured surface glistened in the light like polished 
steel. Diamond never shone with such luster in the 
eyes of Philip. 

Harry was exuberant, but Philip's natural caution 
found expression in his next remark. 


TTie Gilded Age 19S 

" Now, Roberts, you are sure about this?" 

" What — sure that it's coal?" 

" Oh, no, sure that it's the main vein." 

'■ Wei!, yes. We took it to be that." 

" Did you from the first?" 

" I can't say we did at first. No, we didn't. 
Most of the indications were there, but not all of 
them, not all of them. So we thought we'd pro- 
spect a bit." 


" It was tolerable thick, and looked as if it might 
be the vein — looked as if \\. ought to be the vein. 
Then we went down on it a little. Looked better all 
the time." 

" When did you strike it?" 

" About ten o'clock." 

" Then you've been prospecting about four 

"Yes, been sinking on it something over four 

"I'm afraid you couldn't go down very far in 
four hours — could you?" 

"Oh, yes — it's a good deal broke up, nothing 
but picking and gadding stuff." 

"Well, \'i.does look encouraging, sure enough — 
but then the lacking indications " 

"I'd rather we had them, Mr. Sterling, but I've 
seen more than one good permanent mine struck 
without 'em in my time." 

" Well, that is encouraging too," 

196 The Gilded Age 

"Yes, there was the Union, the Alabama, and the 
Black Mohawk — all good, sound mines, you know 
— ■ all just exactly like this one when we first struck 

" Well, I begin to feel a good deal more easy. I 
guess we've really got it. I remember hearing them 
tell about the Black Mohawk." 

'* I'm free to say that / believe it, and the men 
all think so, too. They are all old hands at this 

" Come, Harry, let's go up and look at it, just 
for the comfort of it," said Philip. They came 
back in the course of an hour, satisfied and happy. 

There was no more sleep for them that night. 
They lit their pipes, put a specimen of the coal on 
the table, and made it a kind of loadstone of thought 
and conversation. 

" Of course," said Harry, "there will have to be 
a branch track built, and a ' switch-back ' up the 

" Yes, there will be no trouble about getting the 
money for that now. We could sell out to-morrow 
for a handsome sum. That sort of cool doesn't go 
begging within a mile of a railroad. I wonder if 
Mr. Bolton would rather sell out or work it?" 

" Oh, work it," says Harry, " probably the whole 
mountain is coal, now you've got to it." 

" Possibly it might not be much of a vein, after 
all," suggested Philip. 

" Possibly it is; I'll bet it's forty feet thick, I 

The Gilded Age 197 

told you. I knew the sort of thing as soon as I put 
my eyes on it." 

Philip's next thought was to write to his friends 
and announce their good fortune. To Mr. Bolton 
he wrote a short, business letter, as calm as he could 
make it. They had found coal of excellent quality, 
but they could not yet tell with absolute certainty 
what the vein was. The prospecting was still going 
on. Philip also wrote to Ruth; but though this 
letter may have glowed, it was not with the heat o£ 
burning anthracite. He needed no artificial heat to 
warm his pen and kindle his ardor when he sat down 
to write to Ruth. But it must be confessed that the 
words never flowed so easily before, and he ran on 
for an hour disporting in all the extravagance of his 
imagination. When Ruth read it, she doubted if 
the fellow had not gone out of his senses. And it 
was not until she reached the postscript that she dis- 
covered the cause of the exhilaration. "P. S. — 
We have found coal." 

The news couldn't have come to Mr. Bolton in 
better time. He had never been so sorely pressed. 
A dozen schemes which he had in hand, any one of 
which might turn up a fortune, all languished, and 
each needed just a little more money to save that 
which had been invested. He hadn't a piece of real 
estate that was not covered with mortgages, even to 
the wild tract which Philip was experimenting on, 
and which had no marketable value above the in' 
cumbrance on it. 

198 The Gilded Age 

He had come home that day early, unusually 

" I am afraid," he said to his wife, "that we shall 
have to give up our house. I don't care for myself, 
but for thee and the children," 

"That will be the least of misfortunes," said 
Mrs. Bolton, cheerfully. " If thee can clear thyself 
from debt and anxiety, which is wearing thee out, 
we can live anywhere. Thee knows we were never 
happier than when we were tn a much humbler 

"The truth is, Margaret, that affair of Bigler and 
Small's has come on me just when I couldn't stand 
another ounce. They have made another failure of 
it. I might have known they would; and the 
sharpers, or fools, I don't know which, have con- 
trived to involve me for three times as much as the 
first obligation. The security is in my hands, but it 
is good for nothing to me. I have not the money 
to do anything with the contract." 

Ruth heard this dismal news without great sur- 
prise. She had long felt that they were living on a 
volcano, that might go into active operation at any 
hour. Inheriting from her father an active brain 
and the courage to undertake new things, she had 
little of his sanguine temperament, which bhnds one 
to difficulties and possible failures. She had little 
confidence in the many schemes which had been 
about to lift her father out of all his embarrassments 
and into great wealth, ever since she was a child; as 

The Gilded Age 199 

she grew older, she rather wondered that they were 
as prosperous as they seemed to be, and that they 
did not all go to smash amid so many brilliant pro- 
jects. She was nothing but a woman, and did not 
know how much of the business prosperity of the 
world is only a bubble of credit and speculation, one 
scheme helping to float another which is no better 
than it, and the whole liable to come to naught and 
confusion as soon as the busy brain that conceived 
them ceases its power to devise, or when some ac- 
cident produces a sudden panic. 

" Perhaps, I shall be the stay of the family yet," 
said Ruth, with an approach to gayety. " When we 
move into a little house in town, will thee let me put 
a little sign on the door — Dr. Ruth Bolton? Mrs. 
Dr. Longstreet, thee knows, has a great income." 

"Who will pay for the sign, Ruth?" asked Mr. 

A servant entered with the afternoon mail from 
the office. Mr. Bolton took his letters listlessly, 
dreading to open them. He knew well what they 
contained, new difficulties, more urgent demands for 

"Oh, here is one from Philip. Poor fellow t I 
shall fee! his disappoinment as much as my own bad 
luck. It is hard to bear when one is young." 

He opened the letter and read. As he read his 
face lightened, and he fetched such a sigh of relief, 
that Mrs. Bolton and Ruth both exclaimed. 

" Read that," he cried, " Philip has found coal 1" 

200 tbt Gilded Age 

The world was changed in a moment. One little 
sentence had done it. There was no more trouble. 
Philip had found coal. That meant relief. That 
meant fortune. A great weight was taken off, and 
the spirits of the whole household rose magically. 
J "Good Money! beautiful demon of Money, what an 
. enchanter thou art I Ruth felt that she was of less 
consequence in the household, now that Philip had 
found coal, and perhaps she was not sorry to feel so. 

Mr. Bolton was ten years younger the next morn- 
ing. He went into the city, and showed his letter 
on 'change. It was the sort of news his friends were 
quite willing to listen to. They took a new interest 
in him. If it was confirmed, Bolton would come 
right up again. There would be no difficulty about 
his getting all the money he wanted. The money 
market did not seem to be half so tight as it was the 
day before. Mr. Bolton spent a very pleasant day 
in his office, and went home revolving some new 
plans, and the execution of some projects he had 
long been prevented from entering upon by the lack 
of money. 

The day had been spent by Philip in no less 
excitement. By daylight, with Philip's letters to the 
mail, word had gone down to Ilium that coal had 
been found, and very early a crowd of eager specta- 
tors had come up to see for themselves. 

The "prospecting" continued day and night for 
upwards of a week, and during the first four or five 
days the indications grew more and more promising, 

The Gilded Age 201 

and the telegrams and letters kept Mr. Bolton duly- 
posted. But at last a change came, and the promises 
began to fail with alarming rapidity. In the end, it was 
demonstrated without the possibility of a doubt that 
the great " find " was nothing but a worthless seam. 

Philip was cast down, all the more so because he 
had been so foolish as to send the news to Philadel- 
phia before he knew what he was writing about. 
And now he must contradict it. "It turns out to 
be only a mere seam," he wrote, "but we look 
upon it as an indication of better further in." 

Alas ! Mr. Bolton's affairs could not wait for 
" indications." The future might have a great deal 
in store, but the present was black and hopeless. 
It was doubtful if any sacrifice could save him from 
ruin. Yet sacrifice he must make, and that in- 
stantly, in the hope of saving something from the 
wreck of his fortune. 

His lovely country home must go. That would 
bring the most ready money. The house that he 
had built with loving thought for each one of his 
family, as he planned its luxurious apartments and 
adorned it ; the grounds that he had laid out, with so 
much delight in following the tastes of his wife, with 
whom the country, the cultivation of rare trees and 
flowers, the care of garden and lawn and conserva- 
tories were a passion almost; this home, which he 
had hoped his children would enjoy long after he 
had done with it, must go. 

The family bore the sacrifice better than he did. 

202 The Gilded Age 

They declared, in fact — women are such hypocrites 
— that they quite enjoyed the city (it was in August) 
after living so long in the country, that it was a thou- 
sand times more convenient in every respect ; Mrs. 
Bolton said it was a relief from the worry of a large 
establishment, and Ruth reminded her father that she 
should have had to come to town anyway before long, 

Mr. Bolton was relieved, exactly as a water-logged 
ship is lightened by throwing overboard the most 
valuable portion of the cargo — but the leak was not 
stopped. Indeed, his credit was injured instead of 
helped by the prudent step he had taken. It was 
regarded as a sure evidence of his embarrassment, 
and it was much more difficult for him to obtain 
help than if he had, instead of retrenching, launched 
into some new speculation. 

Philip was greatly troubled, and exa^erated his 
own share in the bringing about of the calamity. 

"You must not look at it so!" Mr. Bolton 
wrote him. " You have neither helped or hindered 
■ — but you know you may help by and by. It would 
have all happened just so, if we had never begun to 
dig that hole. That is only a drop. Work away. 
I still have hope that something will occur to relieve 
me. At any rate, we must not give up the mine so 
long as we have any show." 

Alas ! the relief did not come. New misfortunes 
came instead . When the extent of the Bigler swindle 
was disclosed there was no more hope that Mr. Bolton 
could extricate himself, and he had, as an honest 

The Gilded Age 203 

man, no resource except to surrender all his property 
for the benefit of his creditors. 

The autumn came and found Philip working with 
diminished force but still with hope. He had again 
and again been encouraged by good " indications," 
but he had again and again been disappointed. He 
could not go on much longer, and almost everybody 
except himself had thought it was useless to go on 
as long as he had been doing. 

When the news came of Mr. Bolton's failure, of 
course the work stopped. The men were discharged, 
the tools were housed, the hopeful noise of pickman 
and driver ceased, and the mining camp had that 
desolate and mournful aspect which always hovers 
over a frustrated enterprise. 

Philip sat down amid the ruins, and almost wished 
he were buried in them. How distant Ruth was 
now from him, now, when she might need him most. 
How changed was all the Philadelphia world, which 
had hitherto stood for the exemplification of happi- 
ness and prosperity. 

He still had faith that there was coal in that moun- 
tain. He had made a picture of himself living there 
a hermit in a shanty by the tunnel, digging away 
with soh'tary pick and wheelbarrow, day after day 
and year after year, until he grew gray and aged, 
and was known in all that region as the old man of 
the mountain. Perhaps someday — he felt it must 
be so some day — he should strike coal. But what 
if he did? Who would be alive to care for it then? 

204 The Gilded Age 

What would he care for it then? No, a man wants 
riches in his youth, when the world is fresh to him. 
He wondered why Providence could not have re- 
versed the usual process, and let the majori^ of men 
begin with wealth and gradually spend it, and die 
poor when they no longer needed it. 

Harry went back to the city. It was evident that 
his services were no longer needed. Indeed, he had 
letters from his uncle, which he did not read to 
Philip, desiring him to go to San Francisco to look 
after some government contracts in the harbor there. 

Philip had to look about him for something to do. 
He was like Adam : the world was all before him 
where to choose. He made, before he went else- 
where, a somewhat painful visit to Philadelphia, pain- 
ful but yet not without its sweetnesses. The family 
had never shown him so much affection before; they 
all seemed to think his disappointment of more im- 
portance than their own misfortune. And there 
was that in Ruth's manner — in what she gave him 
and what she withheld — that would have made a 
hero of a very much less promising character than 
Philip Sterling. 

Among the assets of the Bolton property, the 
Ilium tract was sold, and Philip bought it in at the 
vendue, for a song, for no one cared to even under- 
take the mortgage on it except himself. He went 
away the owner of it, and had ample time before he 
reached home in November to calculate how much 
poorer he was by possessing it. 



fk ejmdk etrlA t. sorgfHillt einn, 
og nipur m&tg&Dgi am Tioga rlitt, 

og baluveDdir )>£r reroldin, 
og velljst brosir aJ Jifnum qvbtn; 
fdnk allt er kniitt^tt, og hverfut Tetr, 
(i bI6 ( dager k morgan grotrj 
Alt Jafbu' aig 1 

^■(riif if Peter ton. 

IT is impossible for the historian, with even the best 
intentions, to control events or compel the per- 
sons of his narrative to act wisely or to be success- 
ful. It is easy to see how things might have been 
better managed ; a very little change here and there 
would have made a very different history of this 
one now in hand. 

If Philip had adopted some regular profession, 
even some trade, he might now be a prosperous 
editor or a conscientious plumber, or an honest 
lawyer, and have borrowed money at the savings 
bank and built a cottage, and be now furnishing it 
for the occupancy of Ruth and himself. Instead of 
this, with only a smattering of civil engineering, he 

206 The Gilded Age 

is at his mother's house, fretting and fuming over 
his ill-luck, and the hardness and dishonesty of men, 
and thinking of nothing but how to get the coal out 
of the Ilium hills. 

If Senator Dilworthy had not made that visit to 
Hawkeye, the Hawkins family and Colonel Sellers 
would not now be dancing attendance upon Con- 
gress, and endeavoring to tempt that immaculate 
body into one of those appropriations, for the bene- 
fit of its members, which the members find it so 
difHcult to explain to their constituents ; and Laura 
would not be lying in the Tombs, awaiting her trial 
for murder, and doing her best, by the help of able 
counsel, to corrupt the pure fountain of criminal 
procedure in New York. 

If Henry Brierly had been blown up on the first 
Mississippi steamboat he set foot on, as the chances 
were that he would be, he and Colonel Sellers never 
would have gone into the Columbus Navigation 
scheme, and probably never into the East Tennessee 
Land scheme, and he would not now be detained tn 
New York from very important business operations 
on the Pacific coast, for the sole purpose of giving 
evidence to convict of murder the only woman he 
ever loved half as much as he loves himself. 

If Mr. Bolton had said the little word " No " to 
Mr. Bigler, Alice Montague might now be spending 
the winter in Philadelphia, and Philip also (waiting 
to resume his mining operations in the spring) ; and 
Ruth would not be an assistant in a Philadelphia 

Tbe Glided Age 

hospital, taxing her strength with arduous routine 
duties, day by day, in order to lighten a little the 
burdens that weigh upon her unfortunate family. 

It is altogether a bad business. An honest his- 
torian who had progressed thus far, and traced every- 
thing to such a condition of disaster and suspension, 
might well be justified in ending his narrative and 
writing — " after this the deluge." His only con- 
solation would be in the reflection that be was not 
responsible for either characters or events. 

And the most annoying thought is that a litlte 
money, judiciously applied, would relieve the bur- 
dens and anxieties of most of these people; but 
affairs seem to be so arranged that money is most 
difficult to get when people need it most. 

A little of what Mr. Bolton has weakly given to 
unworthy people would now establish his family in 
a sort of comfort, and relieve Ruth of the excessive 
toil for which she inherited no adequate physical 
vigor. A little money would make a prince of 
Colonel Sellers ; and a little more would calm the 
anxiety of Washington Hawkins about Laura, for, 
however the trial ended, he could feel sure of extri- 
cating her in the end. And if Philip had a little 
money he could unlock the stone door in the moun- 
tain whence would issue a stream of shining riches. 
It needs a golden wand to strike that rock. If the 
Knobs University bill could only go through, what 
a change would be wrought in the condition of most 
of the persons in this history. Even Philip himself 

208 The Gilded Age 

would feel the good effects of it; for Harry would 
have something and Colonel Sellers would have 
something; and have not both these cautious people 
expressed a determination to take an interest in the 
Ilium mine when they catch their larks? 

Philip could not resist the inclination to pay a visit 
to Fallkill. He had not been at the Montagues' 
since the time he saw Ruth there, and he wanted to 
consult the Squire about an occupation. He was 
determined now to waste no more time in waiting on 
Providence, but to go to work at something, if it were 
nothing better than teaching in the Fallkill Seminary, 
or digging clams on Hingham beach. Perhaps he 
could read law in Squire Montague's office while 
earning his bread as a teacher in the Seminary. 

It was not altogether Philip's fault, let us own, 
that he was in this position. There are many young 
men like him in American society, of his age, op- 
portunities, education, and abilities, who have really 
been educated for nothing and have let themselves 
drift, in the hope that they will find somehow, and 
by some sudden turn of good luck, the golden road 
to fortune. He was not idle or lazy; he had enei^ 
" and a disposition to carve his own way. But he was 
born into a time when all young men of his age 
caught the fever of speculation, and expected to get 
on in the world by the omission of some of the 
regular processes which have been appointed from 
of old. And examples were not wanting to en- 
courage him. He saw people, all around him, poor 

The Gilded Age 209 

yesterday, rich to-day, who had come into sudden 
opulence by some means which they could not have 
classified among any of the regular occupations of 
life, A war would give such a fellow a career and 
very likely fame. He might have been a " railroad 
man," or a politician, or a land speculator, or one 
of those mysterious people who travel free on all rail- 
roads and steamboats, and are continually crossing 
and recrossing the Atlantic, driven day and night 
about nobody knows what, and make a great deal of 
money by so doing. Probably, at last, he some- 
times thought with a whimsical smile, he should end 
by being an insurance agent, and asking people to 
insure their lives for his benefit. 

Possibly Philip did not think how much the 
attractions of Fallkill were increased by the presence 
of Alice there. He had known her so long, she 
had somehow grown into his life by habit, that he 
would expect the pleasure of her society without 
thinking much about it. Latterly, he never thought 
of her without thinking of Ruth, and if he gave the 
subject any attention, it was probably in an unde- 
fined consciousness that he had her sympathy in his 
love, and that she was always willing to hear him 
talk about it. If he ever wondered that Alice her- 
self was not in love and never spoke of the possi- 
bility of her own marriage, it was a transient thought 
— for love did not seem necessary, exactly, to one 
so calm and evenly balanced and with so many 
resources in herself. 


210 The Gilded Age 

Whatever her tiioughts may have been they were 
unknown to Philip, as they are to these historians; 
if she was seeming to be what she was not, and 
carrying a burden heavier than any one else carried, 
because she had to bear it alone, she was only doing 
what thousands of women do, with a self-renuncia- 
tion and heroism of which men, impatient and com- 
plaining, have no conception. Have not these big 
babies with beards filled all literature with their out- 
cries, their griefs, and their lamentations? It is 
always the gentle sex which is hard and cruel and 
fickle and implacable. 

" Do you think you would be contented to live in 
Fallkill, and attend the county court?" asked Alice, 
when Philip had opened the budget of his new pro- 

" Perhaps not always," said Philip, " I might go 
and practice in Boston, maybe, or go to Chicago." 

" Or you might get elected to Congress." 

Philip looked at Alice to see if she was in earnest 
and not chaffing him. Her face was quite sober, 
Alice was one of those patriotic women in the rural 
districts, who think men are still selected for Congress 
on account of qualifications for the office. 

"No," said Philip, " the chances are that a man 
cannot get into Congress now without resorting to 
arts and means that should render him unfit to go 
there ; of course, there are exceptions ; but do you 
knew that I could not go into politics if I were a 
lawyer without losing standing somewhat in my 

TTie Gilded Age 2U 

profession, and without raising at least a suspiciorj 
of my intentions and unselfishness? Why, it is tele-| 
graphed all over the country and commented on as 
something wonderful if a Congressman votes! 
honestly and unselfishly and refuses to take advan-' 
tage of his position to steal from the government." 

" But," insisted Alice, " 1 should think it a noble 
ambition to go to Congress, if it is so bad, and help 
reform it. I don't believe it is as corrupt as the 
English Parliament used to be, if there is any truth 
in the novels, and I suppose that is reformed." 

" I'm sure I don't know where the reform is to 
begin. I've seen a perfectly capable, honest man, 
time and again, run against an illiterate trickster, 
and get beaten. I suppose if the people wanted 
decent members of Congress they would elect them. 
Perhaps," continued Philip, with a smile, " the 
women will have to vote." 

" Well, I should be willing to, if it were a neces- 
sity, just as I would go to war and do what I could, 
if the country couldn't be saved otherwise," said 
Alice, with a spirit that surprised Philip, well as he 
thought he knew her. " If I were a young gentle- 
man in these times " 

Philip laughed outright. "It's just what Ruth 
used to say, ' if she were a man.' I wonder if all 
the young ladies are contemplating a change of sex." 

" No, only a changed sex," retorted Alice; " we 
contemplate for the most part young men who doa't 
care for anything they ought to care for." 

212 The Gilded Age 

" Well," said Philip, looking humble, " I care for 
some things, you and Ruth, for instance: perhaps I 
ought not to. Perhaps I ought to care for Congress 
and that sort of thing." 

" Don't be a goose, Philip. I heard from Ruth 

" Can I see her letter?" 

"No, indeed. But I am afraid her hard work is 
telling on her, together with her anxiety about her 

" Do you think, Alice," asked Philip with one of 
those selfish thoughts that are not seldom mixed 
with real love, "that Ruth prefers her profession to 
— to marriage?" 

"Philip," exclaimed Alice, rising to quit the 
room, and speaking hurriedly as if the words were 
forced from her, " you are as blind as a bat: Rutli 
would cut off her right hand for you this minute." 

Philip never noticed that Alice's face was flushed 
and that her voice was unsteady ; he only thought of 
the delicious words he had heard. And the poor 
girl, loyal to Ruth, loyal to Philip, went straight to 
her room, locked the door, threw herself on the bed, 
and sobbed as if her heart would break. And then 
she prayed that her Father in Heaven would give 
her strength. And after a time she was calm again, 
and went to her bureau drawer and took from a 
hiding place a little piece of paper, yellow with age. 
Upon it was pinned a four-leaved clover, dry and 
yellow also. She looked long at this foolish 

The Gilded Age 21} 

memento. Under the clover leaf was written in a 
schoolgirl's hand — Philip, June, 186 — ." 

Squire Montague thought very well of Philip's 
proposal. It would have been better if he had begun 
the study of the law as soon as he left college, but 
it was not too late now, and besides he had gathered 
some knowledge of the world. 

" But," asked the Squire, "do you mean to aban- 
don your land in Pennsylvania?" This tract of 
land seemed an immense possible fortune to this 
New England lawyer-farmer. " Hasn't it good 
timber, and doesn't the railroad almost touch it?" 

" I can't do anything with it now. Perhaps I can 
some time." 

" What is your reason for supposing that there is 
coal there?" 

" The opinion of the best geologist I could con- 
sult, my own observation of the country, and the 
little veins of it we found. I feel certain it is there. 
I shall find it some day. I know it. If I can only 
keep the land till I make money enough to try 

Philip took from his pocket a map of the anthra- 
cite coal region, and pointed out the position of the 
Ilium mountain which he had begun to tunnel. 

" Doesn't it look like it?" 

"It certainly does," said the Squire, very much 
interested. It is not unusual for a quiet country 
gentleman to be more taken with such a venture 
than a speculator who has had more experience in 

214 The Gilded Age 

its uncertainty. It was astonishing how many New 
England clergymen, in the time o£ the petroleum 
excitement, took chances in oil. The Wall street 
brokers are said to do a good deal of small business 
for country clergymen, who are moved, no doubt, 
with the laudable desire of purifying the New York 
stock board. 

"I don't see that there is much risk," said the 
Squire, at length. "The timber is worth more than 
the mortgage ; and if that coal seam does run there, 
it's a magnificent fortune. Would you like to try it 
again in the spring, Phil?" 

Like to try it ! If he could have a little help, he 
would work himself, with pick and barrow, and live 
on a crust. Only give him one more chance. 

And this is how it came about that the cautious 
old Squire Montague was drawn into this young 
fellow's speculation, and began to have his serene 
old age disturBgd by anxieties and by the hope of a 
great stroke of l uck. 

"To be sure, I only care about it for the boy," 
he said. The Squire was like everybody else; 
sooner or later he must " take a chance." 

It is probably on account of the lack of enterprise 
in women that they are not so fond of stock specu- 
lations and mine ventures as men. It is only when 
woman becomes demoralized that she takes to any 
sort of gambling. Neither Alice nor Ruth were 
much elated with the prospect of Philip's renewal 
of his mining enterprise. 

The Gilded Age 215 

But Philip was exultant. He wrote to Ruth as if 
his fortune were already made, and as if the clouds 
that lowered over the house of Bolton were already 
in the deep bosom of a coal mine buried. Toward 
spring he went to Philadelphia with his plans all 
matured for a new campaign. His enthusiasm was 

" Philip has come, Philip has come," cried the 
children, as if some great good had again come into 
the household; and the refrain even sang itself over 
in Ruth's heart as she went the weary hospital 
rounds. Mr. Bolton felt more courage than he had 
had in months, at the sight of his manly face and the 
sound of his cheery voice. 

Ruth's course was vindicated now, and it certainly 
did not become Philip, who had nothing to offer but 
a future chance against the visible result of her , / 
determination and industry, to open an argument 
with her. Ruth was never more certain that she 
was right and that she was sufficient unto herself. 
She, maybe, did not much heed the still small voice 
that sang in her maiden heart as she went about her 
work, and which lightened it and made it easy, 
" Philip has come." 

" I am glad for father's sake," she said to Philip, 
"that thee has come. lean see that he depends 
greatly upon what thee can do. He thinks women 
won't hold out long," added Ruth, with the smite 
that Philip never exactly understood. 

" And aren't you tired sometimes of the struggle?" 

216 The Gilded Age 

"Tired? Yes, everybody is tired, I suppose. 
But it is a glorious profession. And would you 
want me to be dependent, Philip?" 

** Well, yes, a little," said Philip, feeling his way 
toward what he wanted to say. 

** On what, for instance, just now?" asked Ruth, 
a little maliciously, Philip thought. 

** Why, on — " he couldn't quite say it, for it oc- 
curred to him that he was a poor stick for anybody 
to lean on in the present state of his fortune, and 
that the woman before him was at least as indepen- 
dent as he was. 

** I don't mean depend," he began again. ** But 
I love you, that's all. Am I nothing to you?" 
And Philip looked a little defiant, and as if he had 
said something that ought to brush away all the 
sophistries of obligation on either side, between man 
and woman. 

Perhaps Ruth saw this. Perhaps she saw that her 
own theories of a certain equality of power, which 
ought to precede a union of two hearts, might be 
pushed too far. Perhaps she had felt sometimes 
her own weakness and the need after all of so dear 
a sympathy and so tender an interest confessed, as 
that which Philip could give. Whatever moved her 
— the riddle is as old as creation — she simply 
looked up to Philip and said in a low voice : 

** Everything." 

And Philip clasping both her hands in his, and 
looking down into her eyes, which drank in all 

The Gilded Age 217 

his tenderness with the thirst of a true woman's 
nature — 

"Oh! Philip, come out here," shouted young 
EH, throwing the door wide open. 

And Ruth escaped away to her room, her heart 
singing again, and now as if it would burst for joy, 
" Philip has come." 

That night Philip received a dispatch from Harry 
— "The trial begins to-morrow." 


Mpethie ou isgar lou nga, thia ''twanton kone yoboul gonbe. 

DECEMBER, l8— , found Washington Hawldns 
and Colonel Sellers once more at the Capitol of 
the nation, standing guard over the University bill. 
The former gentleman was despondent, the latter 
hopeful. Washington's distress of mind was chiefly 
on Laura's account. The court would soon sit to 
try her case, he said, and consequently a great deal 
of ready money would be needed in the engineering 
of it. The University bill was sure to pass, this 
time, and that would make money plenty, but might 
not the help come too late? Congress had only 
just assembled, and delays were to be feared. 

"Well," said the Colonel, "I don't know but 
you are more or less right, there. Now let's figure 
up a little on the preliminaries. I think Congress 
always tries to do as near right as it can, according 
to its lights. A man caa't ask any fairer than that 

The Gilded Age 219 

The first preliminary it always starts out on, is to 
clean itself, so to speak. It will arraign two or 
three dozen of its members, or maybe four or five 
dozen, for taking bribes to vote for this and that 
and the other bill last winter." 

" It goes up into the dozens, does it?" 

"Well, yes; in a free country like ours, where 
any man can run for Congress and anybody can 
vote for him, you can't expect immortal purity all 
the time — it ain't in nature. Sixty or eighty or a 
hundred and fifty people are bound to get in who 
are not angels in disguise, as young Hicks the corre- 
spondent, says; but still it is a very good average; 
very good, indeed. As long as it averages as well 
as that, I think we can feel very well satisfied. Even 
in these days, when people growl so much and the 
newspapers are so out of patience, there is still a very 
respectable minority of honest men in Congress." 

" Why a respectable minority of honest men can't 
do any good, Colonel," 

" Oh, yes it can, too." 

" Why, how?" 

" Oh, in many ways, many ways." 

" But what are the ways?" 

"Well — I don't know — it is a question that 
requires time; a body can't answer every question 
right off-hand. But it does do good, I am satisfied 
of that." 

"All right, then; grant that it does good ; goon 
with the prehminaries." 

220 The Gilded Age 

** That is what I am coming to. First, as I said, 
they will try a lot of members for taking money for 
votes. That will take four weeks." 

** Yes, that's like last year; and it is a sheer waste 
of the time for which the nation pays those men to 
work — that is what that is. And it pinches when a 
body's got a bill waiting." 

•• A waste of time, to purify the fountain of pub- 
lic law? Well, I never heard anybody express an 
idea like that before. But if it were, it would still 
be the fault of the minority, for the majority don't 
institute these proceedings. There is where that 
minority becomes an obstruction — but still one can't 
say it is on the wrong side. Well, after they have 
finished the bribery cases, they will take up cases of 
members who have bought their seats with money. 
That will take another four weeks." 

•*Very good; go on. You have accounted for 
two-thirds of the session." 

•* Next they will try each other for various smaller 
irregularities, like the sale of appointments to West 
Point cadetships, and that sort of thing — mere 
trifling pocket-money enterprises that might better 
be passed over in silence, perhaps ; but then one of 
our Congresses can never rest easy till it has thor- 
oughly purified itself of all blemishes — and that is 
a thing to be applauded." 

*• How long does it take to disinfect itself of these 
minor impurities?" 

*• Well, about two weeks, generally/' 

The Gilded Age 221 

" So Congress always lies helpless in quarantine 
ten weeks of a session. That's encouraging. Col- 
onel, poor Laura will never get any benefit from our 
bill. Her trial will be over before Congress has half 
purified itself. And doesn't it occur to you that by 
the time it has expelled all its impure members there 
may not be enough members left to do business 

"Why, I did not say Congress would expel any- 
body. ' ' 

"Well, won't it expel anybody?" 

"Not necessarily. Did it last year? It never 
does. That would not be regular." 

"Then why waste all the session in that tom- 
foolery of trying members?" 

"It is usual; it is customary; the country re- 
quires it." 

"Then the country is a fool, / think," 

" Oh, no. The country ihinks somebody is going 
to be expelled." 

"Well, when nobody is expelled, what does the 
country think then?" 

" By that time, the thing has strung out so long 
that the country is sick and tired of it and glad to 
have a change on any terms. But all that inquiry is 
not lost. It has a good moral ei?ect." 

" Who does it have a good moral effect on?" 

"Well — I don't know. On foreign countries, I 
think. We have always been under the gaze of 
foreign countries. There is no country in the world. 


222 The Gilded Age 

^ sir, that pursues corruption as inveterately as we do. 

There is no country in the world whose representa- 
tives try each other as much as ours do, or stick to 
j it as long on a stretch. I think there is something 
great in being a model for the whole civilized world, 

**You don't mean a model; you mean an ex- 

•• Well, it's all the same; it's just the same thing. 
It shows that a man can't be corrupt in this country 
without sweating for it, I can tell you that." 

** Hang it, Colonel, you just said we never punish 
anybody for villainous practices." 

•* But, good God ! we try them, don't we? Is it 
nothing to show a disposition to sift things and bring 
people to a strict account? I tell you it has its 

•• Oh, bother the effect ! —What is it they do do? 
How do they proceed ? You know perfectly well — 
and it is all bosh, too. Come, now, how do they 

•* Why they proceed right and regular — and it 
ain't bosh, Washington, it ain't bosh. They ap- 
point a committee to investigate, and that committee 
hears evidence three weeks, and all the witnesses on 
one side swear that the accused took money or stock 
or something for his vote. Then the accused stands 
up and testifies that he may have done it, but he 
was receiving and handling a good deal of money at 
the time and he doesn't remember this particular cir- 

The Gilded Age 223 

cumstance — at least with sufficient distinctness to 
enable him to grasp it tangibly. So of course the 
thing is not proven — and that is what they say in 
the verdict. They don't acquit, they don't con- 
demn. They just say, 'Charge not proven.' It 
leaves the accused in a kind of a shaky condition 
before the country, it purifies Congress, it satisfies 
everybody, and it doesn't seriously hurt anybody. 
It has taken a long time to perfect our system, but 
it is the most admirable in the world now." 

" So one of those long stupid investigations always 
turns out in that lame silly way. Yes, you are cor- 
rect, I thought maybe you viewed the matter 
differently from other people. Do you think a 
Congress of ours could convict the devil of anything 
if he were a member?" 

" My dear boy, don't let these damaging delays 
prejudice you against Congress. Don't use such 
strong language ; you talk like a newspaper. Con- 
gress has inflicted frightful punishments on its mem- 
bers — now you know that. When they tried Mr. 
Fairoaks, and a cloud of witnesses proved him to be 
— well, you know what they proved him to be — 
and his own testimony and his own confessions gave 
him the same character, what did Congress do 
then? — come !" 

" Well, what did Congress do?" 

"You know what Congress did, Washington. 
Congress intimated plainly enough, that they con- 
sidered him almost a stain upon their body; and 

224 The Gilded Age 

without waiting ten days, hardly, to think the thing 
over, they rose up and hurled at him a resolution 
declaring that they disapproved of his conduct! 
Now^^« know that, Washington." 

**It was a terrific thing — there is no denying 
that. If he had been proven guilty of theft, arson, 
licentiousness, infanticide, and defiling graves, I be- 
lieve they would have suspended him for two days," 

** You can depend on it, Washington. Congress 
IS vindictive. Congress is savage, sir, when it gets 
waked up once. It will go to any length to vindi- 
cate its honor at such a time." 

** Ah, well, we have talked the morning through, 
just as usual in these tiresome days of waiting, and 
we have reached the same old result ; that is to say, 
we are no better off than when we began. The land 
bill is just as far away as ever, and the trial is closer 
at hand. Let's give up everything and die." 

** Die and leave the Duchess to fight it out all 
alone? Oh, no, that won't do. Come, now, don't 
talk so. It is all going to come out right. Now 
you'll see." 

**It never will. Colonel, never in the world. 
Something tells me that. I get more tired and more 
despondent everyday. I don't see any hope; life 
is only just a trouble. I am so miserable these 

The Colonel made Washington get up and walk 
the floor with him, arm in arm. The good old 
speculator wanted to comfort him, but he hardly 

The Gilded Age 225 

knew how to go about it. He made many attempts, 
but they were lame ; they lacked spirit ; the words 
were encouraging, but they were only words — he 
could not get any heart into them. He could not 
always warm up, now, with the old Hawkcye fervor. 
By and by his Hps trembled and his voice got un- 
steady. He said : 

" Don't give up the ship, my boy — don't do it. 
The wind's bound to fetch around and set in our 
favor, I knotv it," 

And the prospect was so cheerful that he wept. 
Then he blew a trumpet-biast that started the 
meshes of his handkerchief, and said in almost his 
breezy old-time way: 

"Lord bless us, this is all nonsense! Night 
doesn't last always; day has got to break some time 
or other. Every silver lining has a cloud behind it, 
as the poet says ; and that remark has always cheered 
me, though I never could see any meaning to it. 
Everybody uses it, though, and everybody gets 
comfort out of it. I wish they would start some- 
thing fresh. Come, now, let's cheer up; there's 
been as good fish in the sea as there are now. It 
shall never be said that Beriah Sellers — Come 

It was the telegraph boy. The Colonel reached 
for the message and devoured its contents. 

" I said it! Never give up the ship! The trial's 
postponed till February, and we'll save the child yet. 
Bless my life, what lawyers they have in New York! 

226 The Gilded Age 

Give them money to fight with, and the ghost of an 
excuse, and they would manage to postpone any- 
thing in this world, unless it might be the millennium 
or something like that. Now for work again, my 
boy. The trial will last till the middle of March, 
sure ; Congress ends the fourth of March. Within 
three days of the end of the session they will be done 
putting through the preliminaries, and then they will 
be ready for national business. Our bill will go 
through in forty-eight hours, then, and we'll tele- 
graph a million dollars to the jury — to the lawyers, 
I mean — and the verdict of the jury will be ' Acci- 
dental murder resulting from justifiable insanity ' — 
or something to that effect, something to that effect. 
Everything is dead sure, now. Come, what is the 
matter? What are you wilting down like that for? 
You mustn't be a girl, you know." 

" Oh, Colonel, I am become so used to troubles, 
so used to failures, disappointments, hard luck of all 
kinds, that a little good news breaks me right down. 
Everything has been so hopeless that now I can't 
stand good news at all. It is too good to be true, 
anyway. Don't you see how our bad luck has 
worked on me? My hair is getting gray, and many 
nights I don't sleep at all. I wish it was all over and 
we could rest. I wish we could lie down and just 
forget everything, and let it all be just a dream that 
is done and can't come back to trouble us any more. 
I am so tired." 

" Ah, poor child, don't talk like that — cheer up 

The Gilded Age 22? 

— there's daylight ahead. Don't give up. You'H 
have Laura again, and Louise, and your mother, and 
oceans and oceans of money — and then you can go 
away, ever so far away somewhere, if you want to, 
and forget all about this infernal place. And by 
George I'll go with you t I'll go with you — now 
there's my word on it. Cheer up. I'll run out and 
tell the friends the news." 

And he wrung Washington's hand and was about 
to hurry away when his companion, in a burst of 
grateful admiration said: 

' ' I think you are the best soul and the noblest I 
ever knew, Colonel Sellers ! and if the people only 
knew you as I do, you would not be tagging around 
here a nameless man — you would be in Congress." 

The gladness died out of the Colonel's face, and he 
laid his hand upon Washington's shoulder and said 
gravely : 

"I have always been a friend of your family, 
Washington, and I think I have always tried to do 
right as between man and man, according to my 
lights. Now I don't think there has ever been any- 
thing in my conduct that should make you feel justi- 
fied in saying a thing like that." 

He turned, then, and walked slowly out, leaving 
Washington abashed and somewhat bewildered. 
When Washington had presently got his thoughts 
into line again, he said to himself, "Why, honestly, 
1 only meant to compliment him — indeed, I would 
not have hurt him for the world." 



Aucune chose au monde et plus noble et plus beUe 
Que la sainte ferveur d'un veritable z^e. 

Le Ttarh^ffe^ a. i, tc 6b 

With faire discourse the evening so they pas ; 
For that olde man of pleasing wordes had storey 
And well could file his tongue, as smooth as glas-* 

Faerie Qmttmtm 

— II prit un air b^nin et tendre, 

D*un Laudate Deum leur preta le bon jour* 

Puis convia le monde au fraternal amour I 

Roman du Renard {Prott^u^ 

THE weeks drifted by monotonously enough now. 
The ** preliminaries " continued to drag along 
in Congress, and life was a dull suspense to Sellers 
and Washington, a weary waiting which might have 
broken their hearts, maybe, but for the relieving 
change which they got out of an occasional visit to 
New York to see Laura. Standing guard in Wash- 
ington or anywhere else is not an exciting business 
in time of peace, but standing guard was all that the 
two friends had to do ; all that was needed of them 


The Gilded Age 229 

was that they should be on hand and ready for any 
emergency that might come up. There was no 
work to do; that was all finished; this was but the 
second session of the last winter's Congress, and its 
action on the bill could have but one result — its 
passage. The House must do its work over again, 
of course, but the same membership was there to see 
that it did it. The Senate was secure — Senator 
Dilworthy was able to put all doubts to rest on 
that head. Indeed, it was no secret in Washington 
that a two-thirds vote in the Senate was ready and 
waiting to be cast for the University bill as soon as it 
should come before that body. 

Washington did not take part in the gayeties of 
"the season," as he had done the previous winter. 
He had lost his interest in such things; he was op- 
pressed with cares, now. Senator Dilworthy said to 
Washington that an humble deportment, under pun- 
ishment, was best, and that there was but one way 
in which the troubled heart might find perfect re- 
pose and peace. The suggestion found a response 
in Washington's breast, and the Senator saw the sign 
of it in his face. 

From that moment one could find the youth with 
the Senator even oftener than with Colonel Sellers. 
When the statesman presided at great temperance 
meetings, he placed Washington in the front rank 
of impressive dignitaries that gave tone to the occa- 
sion and pomp to the platform. His bald-headed 
surroundings made the youth the more conspicuous. 

230 The Gilded Age 

When the statesman made remarks in these meetings, 
he not infrequently alluded with effect to the encour- 
aging spectacle of one of the wealthiest and most 
brilliant young favorites of society forsaking the light 
vanities of that butterfly existence to nobly and self- 
sacrificingly devote his talents and his riches to the 
cause of saving his hapless fellow creatures from 
shame and misery here and eternal regret hereafter. 
At the prayer meetings the Senator always brought 
Washington up the aisle on his arm and seated him 
prominently; in his prayers he referred to him in 
! the cant terms which the Senator employed, perhaps 
unconsciously, and mistook, maybe, for religion, 
and in other ways brought him into notice. He had 
him out at gatherings for the benefit of the negro, 
gatherings for the benefit of the Indian, gatherings 
for the benefit of the heathen in distant lands. He 
had him out time and again, before Sunday-schools, 
as an example for emulation. Upon all these oc- 
casions the Senator made casual references to many 
benevolent enterprises which his ardent young friend 
was planning against the day when the passage of 
the University bill should make his ample means 
available for the amelioration of the condition of the 
unfortunate among his fellow-men of all nations and 
all climes. Thus, as the weeks rolled on, Washington 
grew up into an imposing lion once more, but a lion 
that roamed the peaceful fields of religion and tem- 
perance, and revisited the glittering domain of fash- 
ion no more. A great moral influence was thus 



The Gilded Age 



to bear in favor of the bill ; 



of friends flocked to its standard ; its most 



said it was useless to fight longer ; 

they had 

tacitly surrendered while as yet the 


of battle 

was not 





— He seekes, of all his drifte the aymed end: 
Thereto his subtile engins he does bend, 
His practick witt and his fayre fylM tongue, 
With thousand other sleightes ; for well he keod 
His credit now in doubtful ballaunce hong: 
For hardly could bee hurt, who was already stong. 

Faerie Queeme* 
Selons divers besoins, il est une science 
D'etendre les liens de notre conscience, 
£t de rectifier le mal de Taction 
Avec la purete de notre intention. 

La Tarh^e, m. 4, ac S' 

TPHE session was drawing toward its close. Sena- 
I tor Dilworthy thought he would run out West 
and shake hands with his constituents and let them 
look at him. The legislature whose duty it would 
be to re-elect him to the United States Senate was 
already in session. Mr. Dilworthy considered his re- 
election certain, but he was a careful, painstaking 
man, and if, by visiting his State, he could find the 
opportunity to persuade a few more legislators to 
vote for him, he held the journey to be well worth 
taking. The University bill was safe, now; he 
could leave it without fear ; it needed his presence 


The Gilded Age 233 

and his watching no longer. But there was a per- 
son in his Stale legislature who did need watching 
— a person who, Senator Dilworthy said, was a nar- 
row, grumbling, uncomfortable malcontent — a per- 
son who was stolidly opposed to reform, and progress 
and kitn — a person who, he feared, had been bought 
with money to combat him, and through him the 
commonwealth's welfare and its political purity, 

" If this person Noble," said Mr. Dilworthy, in a 
little speech at a dinner party given him by some of 
his admirers, " merely desired to sacrifice me, I 
would willingly offer up my political life on the altar 
of my dear State's weal, I would be glad and grate- 
ful to do it ; but when he makes of me but a cloak 
to hide his deeper designs, when he proposes to 
strike through me at the heart of my beloved State, 
all the lion in me is aroused — and I say. Here I 
stand, solitary and alone, but unflinching, unquail- 
ing, thrice armed with my sacred trust; and whoso 
passes, to do evil to this fair domain that looks to 
me for protection, must do so over my dead body." 

He further said that if this Noble were a pure 
man, and merely misguided, he could bear it, but 
that he should succeed in his wicked designs through 
a base use of money would leave a blot upon his 
State which would work untold evil to the morals of 
the people, and that he would not suffer; the public 
morals must not be contaminated. He would seek 
this man Noble; he would argue, he would per- 
suade, he would appeal to his honor. 

234 The Gilded Age 

When he arrived on the ground he found his 
friends unterrified; they were standing firmly by 
him and were full of courage. Noble was working 
hard, too, but matters were against him; he was not 
making much progress. Mr. Dilworthy took an 
early opportunity to send for Mr. Noble ; he had a 
midnight interview with him, and urged him to for- 
sake his evil ways ; he begged him to come again and 
again, which he did. He finally sent the man away 
at 3 o'clock one morning; and when he was gonci 
Mr. Dilworthy said to himself, 

" I feel a good deal relieved, now, a great deal 

The Senator now turned his attention to matters 
touching the souls of his people. He appeared in 
church ; he took a leading part in prayer meetings ; 
he met and encouraged the temperance societies ; he 
graced the sewing-circles of the ladies with his pres* 
ence, and even took a needle now and then and made 
a stitch or two upon a calico shirt for some poor 
Bibleless pagan of the South Seas, and this act en- 
chanted the ladies, who regarded the garments thus 
honored as in a manner sanctified. The Senator 
wrought in Bible classes, and nothing could keep 
him away from the Sunday-schools — neither sick- 
ness nor storms nor weariness. He even traveled a 
tedious thirty miles in a poor little rickety stage 
coach to comply with the desire of the miserable 
hamlet of Cattleville that he would let its Sunday- 
school look upon him. 

The Gilded Age 235 

All the town was assembled at the stage office 
when he arrived, two bonfires were burning, and a 
battery of anvils was popping exultant broadsides; 
for a United States Senator was a sort of god in the 
understanding of these people, who never had seen 
any creature mightier than a county judge. To 
them a United States Senator was a vast, vague 
colossus, an awe-inspiring unreality. 

Next day, everybody was at the village church a 
full half -hour before time for Sunday-school to 
open; ranchmen and farmers had come with their 
families from five miles around, all eager to get a 
glimpse of the great man — the man who had been 
to Washington ; the man who had seen the President 
of the United States, and had even talked with him; 
the man who had seen the actual Washington 
Monument — perhaps touched it with his hands. 

When the Senator arrived the church was crowded, 
the windows were full, the aisles were packed, so 
was the vestibule, and so, indeed, was the yard in 
front of the building. As he worked his way 
through to the pulpit on the arm of the minister and 
followed by the envied officials of the village, every 
neck was stretched and every eye twisted around 
intervening obstructions to get a glimpse. Elderly 
people directed each other's attention and said, 
"There! that's him, with the grand, noble fore- 
head!" Boys nudged each other and said, "Hi, 
Johnny, here he is! There, that's him, with the 
peeled head 1" 

236 The Gilded Age 

The Senator took his seat in the pulpit, with the 
minister on one side of him and the superintendent 
of the Sunday-school on the other. The town 
dignitaries sat in an impressive row within the altar 
railings below. The Sunday-school children occu- 
pied ten ot the front benches, dressed in their best 
and most uncomfortable clothes, and with hair 
combed and faces too clean to feel natural. So 
awed were they by the presence of a living United 
States Senator, that during three minutes not a 
** spit-ball *' was thrown. After that they began to 
come to themselves by degrees, and presently the 
spell was wholly gone and they were reciting verses 
and pulling hair. 

The usual Sunday-school exercises were hurried 
through, and then the minister got up and bored the 
house with a speech built on the customary Sunday- 
school plan ; then the superintendent put in his oar ; 
then the town dignitaries had their say. They all 
made complimentary reference to ** their friend, the 
Senator," and told what a great and illustrious man 
he was and what he had done for his country and 
for religion and temperance, and exhorted the little 
boys to be good and diligent and try to become like 
him some day. The speakers won the deathless 
hatred of the house by these delays, but at last there 
was an end and hope revived ; inspiration was about 
to find utterance. 

Senator Dilworthy rose and beamed upon the as- 
semblage for a full minute in silence. Then he smiled 

The Gilded Age 237 

with an access of sweetness upon the children and 

"My little friends — for I hope that all these 
bright-faced little people are my friends and will let 
me be their friend — my little friends, I have trav- 
eled much, I have been in many cities and many 
states, everywhere in our great and noble country, 
and by the blessing of Providence I have been per- 
mitted to see many gatherings like this — but I am 
proud, I am truly proud to say that I never have 
looked upon so much inteUigence, so much grace, 
such sweetness of disposition as I see in the charm- 
ing young countenances I see before me at this 
moment, I have been asking myself, as I sat here, 
Where am I? Am I in some far-off monarchy, 
looking upon little princes and princesses? No. 
Am I in some populous center of my own country, 
where the choicest children of the land have been 
selected and brought together as at a fair for a 
prize? No. Am I in some strange foreign clime 
where the children are marvels that we know not 
of? No. Then where am I? Yes — where am I? 
I am in a simple, remote, unpretending settlement 
of my own dear state, and these are the children of 
the noble and virtuous men who have made me what 
I am! My soul is lost in wonder at the thought! 
And I humbly thank Him to whom we are but as 
worms of the dust, that He has been pleased to 
call me to serve such men ! Earth has no higher, 
no grander position for me. Let kings and em- 

238 The Gilded Age 

perors keep their tinsel crowns, I want them not; 
my heart is here ! 

*• Again I thought, Is this a theater? No. Is it 
a concert or a gilded opera? No. Is it some other 
vain, brilliant, beautiful temple of soul-staining 
amusement and hilarity? No. Then what is it? 
What did my consciousness reply? I ask you, my 
little friends, What did my consciousness reply? It 
replied, It is the temple of the Lord ! Ah, think of 
that, now. I could hardly keep the tears back, I 
was so grateful. Oh, how beautiful it is to see these 
ranks of sunny little faces assembled here to le^un 
the way of life ; to learn to be good ; to learn to be 
useful ; to learn to be pious ; to learn to be g^eat 
and glorious men and women ; to learn to be props 
and pillars of the state and shining lights in the 
councils and the households of the nation; to be 
bearers of the banner and soldiers of the cross in the 
rude campaigns of life, and ransomed souls in the 
happy fields of Paradise hereafter. 

** Children, honor your parents and be grateful to 
them for providing for you the precious privileges 
of a Sunday-school. 

** Now, my dear little friends, sit up straight and 
pretty — there, that's it — and give me your atten- 
tion and let me tell you about a poor little Sunday- 
school scholar I once knew. He lived in the Far 
West, and his parents were poor. They could not 
give him a costly education, but they were good and 
wise and they sent him to the Sunday-school. He 

Hie Gilded Age 239 

loved the Sunday-school. I hope you love your 
Sunday-school — ah, I see by your faces that you 
do ! That is right. 

"Well, this poor little boy was always in his 
place when the bell rang, and he always knew his 
lesson ; for his teachers wanted him to learn and he 
loved his teachers dearly. Always love your teach- 
ers, my children, for they love you more than you 
can know, now. He would not let bad boys per- 
suade him to go to play on Sunday. There was one 
little bad boy who was always trying to persuade 
him, but he never could. 

" So this poor little boy grew up to be a man, 
and had to go out in the world, far from home and 
friends to earn his living. Temptations lay all about 
him, and sometimes he was about to yield, but he 
would think of some precious lesson he learned in 
his Sunday-school a long time ago, and that would 
save him. By and by he was elected to the legis- 
lature. Then he did everything he could for Sunday- 
schools. He got laws passed for them; he got 
Sunday-schools established wherever he could. 

" And by and by the people made him governor 
— and he said it was all owing to the Sunday-school. 

"After a while the people elected him a Repre- 
sentative to the Congress of the United States, and 
he grew very famous. Now temptations assailed 
him on every hand. People tried to get him to 
drink wine, to dance, to go to theaters; they even 
tried to buy his vote; but no, the memory of his 

240 The Gilded Age 

Sunday-school saved him from all harm ; he remem- 
bered the fate of the bad little boy who used to try 
to get him to play on Sunday, and who grew up and 
became a drunkard and was hanged. He remem- 
bered that, and was glad he never yielded and 
played on Sunday. 

•*Well, at last, what do you think happened? 
Why the people gave him a towering, illustrious 
position, a grand, imposing position. And what do 
you think it was? What should you say it was, 
children? It was Senator of the United States! 
That poor little boy that loved his Sunday-school 
became that man. That man stands before you I 
All that he is, he owes to the Sunday-school. 

**My precious children, love your parents, love 
your teachers, love your Sunday-school, be pious, 
be obedient, be honest, be diligent, and then you 
will succeed in life and be honored of all men. 
Above all things, my children, be honest. Above 
all things be pure-minded as the snow. Let us join 
in prayer." 

When Senator Dilworthy departed from Cattle- 
ville, he left three dozen boys behind him arranging 
a campaign of life whose objective point was the 
United States Senate. 

When he arrived at the State capital at midnight 
Mr. Noble came and held a three-hours conference 
with him, and then as he was about leaving said : 

"I've worked hard, and Tve got them at last. 
Six of them haven't got quite backbone enough to 

The Gilded Agfi 241 

slew around and come right out for you on the first 
ballot to-morrow, but they're going to vote against 
you on the first for the sake of appearances, and 
then come out for you all in a body on the second — - 
I've fixed all that! By supper time to-morrow 
you'll be re-elected. You can go to bed and sleep 
easy on that." 

After Mr. Noble was gone, the Senator said: 
" Well, to bring about a complexion of things like 
this was worth coming West for." 



Sdmkkya mtHkd, isMtL 

Ny byd ynat nep yr dysc ; yr adysco dyn byth ny byd ynit ony 

byd doethineb yny callon ; yt doethet uyth uo dyn ny byd ynat ooy byd 

dysc gyt ar doethineb. 

CyvreitMum Qnrnm, 

THE case of the State of New York against Laura 
Hawkins was finally set down for trial on the 
15 th day of February, less than a year aft«" the 
shooting of Greorge Selby. 

If the public had almost forgotten the existence of 
Laura and her crime, they were reminded of all the 
details of the murder by the newspapers, which for 
some days had been announcing the approaching 
trial. But they had not forgotten. The sex, the 
age, the beauty of the prisoner, her high social posi- 
tion in Washington, the unparalleled calmness with 
which the crime was committed, had all conspired to 
fix the event in the public mind, although nearly 
three hundred and sixty-five subsequent murders 

The GUded Age 243 

had occurred to vary the monotony of metropolitan 

No, the public read from time to time of the 
lovely prisoner, langjuishing in the city prison, the 
tortured victim of the law's delay; and as the 
months went by it was natural that the horror of her 
crime should become a little indistinct in memory, 
while the heroine of it should be invested with a sort 
of sentimental interest. Perhaps her counsel had 
calculated on this. Perhaps it was by their advice 
that Laura had interested herself in the unfortunate 
criminals who shared her prison confinement, and 
had done not a little to relieve, from her own purse> 
the necessities of some of the poor creatures. That 
she had done this, the public read in the journals of 
the day, and the simple announcement cast a soften- 
ing hght upon her character. 

The court room was crowded at an early hour, 
before the arrival of judges, lawyers, and prisoner. 
There is no enjoyment so keen to certain minds as 
that of looking upon the slow torture of a human 
being on trial for life, except it bean execution; 
there is no display of human ingenuity, wit, and 
power so fascinating as that made by trained lawyers 
in the trial of an important case, nowhere else is 
exhibited such sublety, acumen, address, eloquence. 

All the conditions of intense excitement meet in a 
murder trial. The awful issue at stake gives signifi- 
cance to the lightest word or look. How the quick 
eyes of the spectators rove from the stolid jury to 

The Gilded Age 247 

the luster of her large eyes and gave a touching sad- 
ness to her expressive face. She was dressed in 
simple black, with exquisite taste, and without an 
ornament. The thin lace veil which partially covered 
her face did not so much conceal as heighten her 
beauty. She would not have entered a drawing- 
room with more self-poise, nor a church with more 
haughty humility. There was in her manner or face 
neither shame nor boldness, and when she took her 
seat in full view of half the spectators, her eyes were 
downcast. A murmur of admiration ran through 
the room. The newspaper reporters made their 
pencils fly. Mr. Braham again swept his eyes over 
the house as if in approval. When Laura at length 
raised her eyes a little, she saw Philip and Harry 
within the bar, but she gave no token of recognition. 
The clerk then read the indictment, which was in 
the usual form. It charged Laura Hawkins, in 
effect, with the premeditated murder of George 
Selby, by shooting him with a pistol, with a re- 
volver, shot-gun, rifle, repeater, breech-loader, can- 
non, six-shooter, with a gun, or some other weapon; 
with killing him with a slung-shot, a bludgeon, 
carving knife, bowie knife, penknife, rolling-pin, 
car hook, dagger, hairpin, with a hammer, with a 
screw-driver, with a nail, and with all other weapons 
and utensils whatsover, at the Southern hotel and in 
all other hotels and places wheresoever, on the 
thirteenth day of March and all other days of the 
Christian era whensoever. 

248 The Gilded Age 

Laura stood while the long indictment was read, 
and at the end, in response to the inquiry of the 
judge, she said in a clear, low voice, ** Not guilQr." 
She sat down and the court proceeded to impanel a 

The first man called was Michael Lanigan, saloon- 

** Have you formed or expressed any opinion on 
this case, and do you know any of the parties?" 
Not any," said Mr. Lanigan. 
Have you any conscientious objections to capi- 
tal punishment?" 

No, sir, not to my knowledge." 

Have you read anything about this case?" 

To be sure, I read the papers, y'r Honor." 

Objected to by Mr. Braham, for cause, and dis- 

Patrick Coughlin. 

** What is your business?" 

"Well — I haven't got any particular business." 

*• Haven't any particular business, eh? Well, 
what's your general business? What do you do for 
a living?" 

** I own some terriers, sir." 

** Own some terriers, eh? Keep a rat pit?" 

" Gentlemen comes there to have a little sport. / 
never fit 'em, sir." 

** Oh, I see — you are probably the amusement 
committee of the city council. Have you ever heard 
of this case?" 



The Gilded Age 249 

" Not till this morning, sir." 

" Can you read?" 

" Not fine print, y'r Honor." 

The man was about to be sworn, when Mr. 
Braham asked : 

" Could your father read?" 

" The old gentleman was mighty handy at that, sir." 

Mr. Braham submitted that the man was disquali- 
fied. Judge thought not. Point argued. Challenged 
. peremptorily, and set aside. 

Ethan Dobb, cart-driver. 

" Can you read?" 

"Yes, but haven't a habit of it." 

" Have you heard of this case?" 

" I think so — but it might be another. I have 
no opinion about it." 

Dist. A. " Tha — tha — there I Hold on a bit ! 
Did anybody tell you to say you had no opinion 
about it?" 

" N-n-o, sir." 

" Take care now, take care. Then what suggested ~ 
it to you to volunteer that remark?" 

" They've always asked that, when I was on 

"All right, then. Have you any conscientious 
scruples about capital punishment?" 

" Any which?" 

"Would you object to finding a person guilty of 
murder on evidence?" 

" I might, sir, if I thought he wan't guilty." 

250 The Gilded Age 

The district attorney thought he saw a point. 

* * Would this feeling rather incline you against a 
capital conviction?" 

The juror said he hadn't any feeling, and didn't 
know any of the parties. Accepted and sworn. 

Dennis Laflin, laborer. Had neither formed nor 
expressed an opinion. Never had heard of the 
case. Believed in hangin* for them that deserved it. 
Could read if it was necessary. 

Mr. Braham objected. The man was evidently 
bloody-minded. Challenged peremptorily. 

Larry O'Toole, contractor. A showily-dressed 
man of the style known as ** vulgar genteel," had a 
sharp eye and a ready tongue. Had read the news- 
paper reports of the case, but they made no impres- 
sion on him. Should be governed by the evidence. 
Knew no reason why he could not be an impartial 

Question by district attorney. 

* * How is it that the reports made no impression 
on you?" 

** Never believe anything I see in the newspapers." 

(Laughter from the crowd, approving smiles from 
his Honor and Mr. Braham.) Juror sworn in. Mr. 
Braham whispered to O'Keefe, " That's the man." 

Avery Hicks, peanut peddler. Did he ever hear 
of this case? The man shook his head. 

"Can you read?" 


" Any scruples about capital punishment?*' 

The Gilded Age 25 1 


He was about to be sworn, when the district at- 
torney turning to him carelessly remarked : 

" Understand the nature of an oath?" 

" Outside," said the man, pointing to the door. 

" I say, do you know what an oath is?" 

" Five cents," explained the man. 

" Do you mean to insult me?" roared the prose- 
cuting officer, " Are you an idiot?" 

" Fresh baked. I'm deefe. I don't hear a word 
yoii say," 

The man was discharged. "He wouldn't have 
made a bad Juror, though," whispered Braham. " I 
saw him looking at the prisoner sympathizingly. 
That's a point you want to watch for." 

The result of the whole day's work was the selec- 
tion of only two jurors. These, however, were 
satisfactory to Mr. Braham. He had kept off all 
those he did not know. No one knew better than 
this great criminal lawyer that the battle was fought 
on the selection of the jury. The subsequent ex- 
amination of witnesses, the eloquence expended on 
the jury are all for effect outside. At least that is 
the theory of Mr. Braham. But human nature is a 
queer thing, he admits; sometimes jurors are unac- 
countably swayed, be as careful as you can in 
choosing them. 

It was four weary days before this jury was made 
up, but when it was finally complete, it did great 
credit to the counsel for the defense. So far as Mr. 

252 The GHded Age 

Braham knew, only two could read, one of whom 
was the foreman, Mr. Braham's friend, the showy 
contractor. Low foreheads and heavy faces they all 
had ; some had a look of animal cunning, while the 
most were only stupid. The entire panel formed 
that boasted heritage commonly described as the 
** bulwark of our liberties." 

The district attorney, Mr. McFlinn, opened the 
case for the state. He spoke with only the slightest 
accent, one that had been inherited but not cultivated. 
He contented himself with a brief statement of the 
case. The state would prove that Laura Hawkins, 
the prisoner at the bar, a fiend in the form of a beau- 
tiful woman, shot dead George Selby, a Southern 
gentleman, at the time and place described. That 
the murder was in cold blood, deliberate and without 
provocation ; that it had been long premeditated and 
threatened ; that she had followed the deceased from 
Washington to commit it. All this would be proved 
by unimpeachable witnesses. The attorney added 
that the duty of the jury, however painful it might 
be, would be plain and simple. They were citizens, 
husbands, perhaps fathers. They knew how in- 
secure life had become in the metropolis. To- 
morrow their own wives might be widows, their own 
children orphans, like the bereaved family in yonder 
hotel, deprived of husband and father by the jealous 
hand of some murderous female. The attorney sat 
down, and the clerk called: 

•• Henry Brierly." 




" Dyden i Midlen," lagde Fanden, ban sad imellem to Procutoru. 
Eur bieulaer bcti eol K> klevct boc'h e{li-bn b£ TreQt? 

HENRY BRIERLY took the stand. Requested 
by the district attorney to tell the jury all he 
knew about the killing, he narrated the circumstances 
substantially as the reader already knows them. 

He accompanied Miss Hawkins to New York at 
her request, supposing she was coming in relation to 
a bill then pending in Congress, to secure the atten- 
dance of absent members. Her note to him was here 
shown. She appeared to be very much excited at 
the Washington station. After she had asked the 
conductor several questions, he heard her say, " He 
can't escape." Witness asked her "Who?" and 
she replied ' ' Nobody. ' ' Did not see her during the 
night. They traveled in a sleeping car. In the 
morning she appeared not to have slept, said she 
had a headache. In crossing the ferry she asked 
him about the shipping in sight; he pointed out 
where the Cunarders lay when in port. They took 
a cup of coffee that morning at 9 restaurant. She 

254 The Gilded Age 

said she was anxious to reach the Southern Hotel 
where Mr. Simons, one of the absent members, was 
staying, before he went out. She was entirely self* 
possessed, and beyond unusual excitement did not 
act unnaturally. After she had fired twice at Colonel 
Selby, she turned the pistol toward her own breast, 
and witness snatched it from her. She had been a 
great deal with Selby in Washington, appeared to be 
infatuated with him. 

(Cross-examined by Mr. Braham.) ** Mist-er. . . . 
er Briefly!" (Mr. Braham had in perfection this 
lawyer's trick of annoying a witness, by drawling 
out the " Mister,'* as if unable to recall the name, 
until the witness is sufficiently aggravated, and then 
suddenly, with a rising inflection, flinging his name 
at him with startling unexpectedness.) ** Mist-er, • . . 
er Brierly ! What is your occupation?" 

** Civil engineer, sir." 

"Ah, «V/7 engineer (with a glance at the jury). 
Following that occupation with Miss Hawkins?" 
(Smiles by the jury.) 

**No, sir," said Harry, reddening. 

** How long have you known the prisoner?" 

**Two years, sir. I made her acquaintance in 
Hawkeye, Missouri." 

** *M. . . m. .m. Mist-er. . . .er Brierly 1 Were you 
not a lover of Miss Hawkins?" 

Objected to. ** I submit, your Honor, that I have 
the right to establish the relation of this unwilling 
witness to the prisoner," Admitted. 

The Gilded Age 255 

"Well, sir," said Harry hesitatingly, "we vere 

"You act like a friend 1" (sarcastically.) The 
jury were beginning to hate this neatly dressed 
young sprig. ' ' Mist-er. . . .er Briefly ! Didn't Miss 
Hawkins refuse you ?" 

Harry blushed and stammered and looked at the 
judge. "You must answer, sir," said his Honor, 

" She — she — didn't accept me." 

" No. I should think not, Brierly ! do you dare 
tell the jury that you had not an interest in the re- 
moval of your rival. Colonel Selby?" roared Mr. 
Braham in a voice of thunder. 

"Nothing like this, sir, nothing like this," pro- 
tested the witness. 

"That's all, sir," said Mr. Braham severely. 

" One word," said the district attorney. " Had 
you the least suspicion of the prisoner's intention, 
up to the moment of the shooting?" 

" Not the least," answered Harry earnestly. 

"Of course not, of course not," nodded Mr. 
Braham to the jury. 

The prosecution then put upon the stand the 
other witnesses of the shooting at the hotel, and the 
clerk and the attending physicians. The fact of the 
homicide was clearly established. Nothing new was 
elicited, except from the clerk, in reply to a question 
by Mr. Braham, the fact that when the prisoner 
inquired for Colonel Selby she appeared excited and 
there was a wild look in her eyes. 


256 The Gikkd Ajglt 

The dying deposition of CoUsfom^Sf/by was dictt 
produced. It set forth Laura's Areats, but there 

was a significant addition to it, which the 
report did not have. It seemed that after the 
sition was taken as reported, the Colonel was tM 
for the first time by his physicians that his wounds 
were mortal. He appeared to be in great mental 
agony and fear, and said he had not finished his 
deposition. He added, with great difficulty and 
long pauses these words. * * I — have — not — told 

— all . I must tell — put — it — down — I — ^wronged 

— her. Years — ago — I — can't — see — O — God 

— I — deserved — * ' That was all. He fainted and 
did not revive again. 

The Washington railway conductor testified that 
the prisoner had asked him if a gentleman and hfa 
family went out on the evening train, describing the 
persons he had since learned were Colonel Selby and 

Susan Cullum, colored servant at Senator DQ- 
worthy's, was sworn. ICnew Colonel Selby. Had 
seen him come to the house often, and be alone in 
the parlor with Miss Hawkins. He came the day 
but one before he was shot. She let him in. He 
appeared flustered like. She heard talking in the 
parlor, 'peared like it was quarrelin*. Was afeared 
sumfin' was wrong. Just put her ear to the keyhole 
of the back parlor door. Heard a man's voice, " I 
can't, I can't, Good God," quite beggin* like. Heard 
young Miss' voice, "Take your choice, then. If you 

The Gilded Age 257 

'bandon me, you knows what to 'spect." Then he 
rushes outcn the house. I goes in and I says, 
" Missis, did you ring?" She was a standin', like a 
tiger, her eyes flashin'. I come right out. 

This was the substance of Susan's testimony, 
which was not shaken in the least by a severe cross- 
examination. In reply to Mr. Braham's question, 
if the prisoner did not look insane, Susan said, 
*' Lord, no, sir, just mad as a hawnet." 

Washington Hawkins was sworn. The pistol, 
identified by the officer as the one used in the homi- 
cide, was produced, Washington admitted that it 
was his. She had asked him for it one morning, 
saying she thought she had heard burglars the night 
before. Admitted that he never had heard burglars 
in the house. Had anything unusual happened just 
before that? Nothing that he remembered. Did he 
accompany her to a reception at Mrs. Schoonmaker's 
a day or two before? Yes. What occurred? Little 
by little it was dragged out of the witness that Laura 
had behaved strangely there, appeared to be sick, 
and he had taken her home. Upon being pushed 
he admitted that she had afterward confessed that 
she saw Selby there. And Washington volunteered 
the statement that Selby was a black-hearted villain. 

The district attorney said, with some annoyance, 
"There — there! That will do." 

The defense declined to examine Mr. Hawkins at 
present. The case for the prosecution was dosed. 
Of the murder there could not be the least doubt, or 


258 The Gilded Age 

that the prisoner followed the deceased to New York 
with a murderous intent. On the evidence the jury 
must convict, and might do so without leaving their 
seats. This was the condition of the case two days 
after the jury had been selected. A week had passed 
since the trial opened, and a Sunday had intervened. 
The public who read the reports of the evidence saw 
no chance for the prisoner's escape. The crowd of 
spectators who had watched the trial were moved 
with the most profound sympathy for Laura. 

Mr. Braham opened the case for the defense. His 
manner was subdued, and he spoke in so low a voice 
that it was only by reason of perfect silence in the 
court room that he could be heard. He spoke very 
distinctly, however, and if his nationality could be 
discovered in his speech it was only in a certain 
richness and breadth of tone. 

He began by saying that he trembled at the re- 
sponsibility he had undertaken ; and he should alto- 
gether despair, if he did not see before him a jury of 
twelve men of rare intelligence, whose acute minds 
would unravel all the sophistries of the prosecution, 
men with a sense of honor, which would revolt at 
the remorseless persecution of this hunted woman 
by the state, men with hearts to feel for the wrongs 
of which she was the victim. Far be it from him to 
cast any suspicion upon the motives of the able, 
eloquent, and ingenious lawyers of the state ; they 
act officially ; their business is to convict. It is our 
business, gentlemen, to see that justice is done. 

The Gilded Age 259 

" It is my duty, gentlemen, to unfold to you one 
of the most affecting dramas in all the history of 
misfortune. I shall have to show you a life, the 
sport of fate and circumstances, hurried along 
through shifting storm and sun, bright with trusting 
innocence and anon black with heartless villainy, a 
career which moves on in love and desertion and 
anguish, always hovered over by the dark spectre of 
INS/VNITV, — an insanity hereditary and induced by 
mental torture, — until it ends, if end it must in your 
verdict, by one of those fearful accidents which are 
inscrutable to men and of which God alone knows 
the secret. 

" Gentlemen, I shall ask you to go with me away 
from this court room and its minions of the law, 
away from the scene of this tragedy, to a distant, I 
wish I could say a happier, day. The story I have 
to tell is of a lovely little girl, with sunny hair and 
laughing eyes, traveling with her parents, evidently 
people of wealth and refinement, upon a Mississippi 
steamboat. There is an explosion, one of those 
terrible catastrophes which leave the imprint of an 
unsettled mind upon the survivors. Hundreds of 
mangled remains are sent into eternity. When the 
wreck is cleared away this sweet little girl is found 
among the panic-stricken survivors, in the midst of 
a scene of horror enough to turn the steadiest brain. 
Her parents have disappeared. Search even for 
their bodies is in vain. The bewildered, stricken 
child — who can say what changes the fearful event 

260 The Gilded Age 

wrought in her tender brain? — clings to the first 
person who shows her sympathy. It is Mrs. Haw- 
kins, this good lady who is still her loving friend. 
Laura is adopted into the Hawkins family. Per- 
haps she forgets in time that she is not their child. 
She is an orphan. No, gentlemen, I will not deceive 
you, she is not an orphan. Worse than that. There 
comes another day of agony. She knows that her 
father lives. But who is he, where is he? Alas, I 
cannot tell you. Through the scenes of this painful 
history he flits here and there, a lunatic ! If he 
seeks his daughter, it is the purposeless search of a 
lunatic, as one who wanders bereft of reason, crying, 
Where is my child? Laura seeks her father. In 
vain ! Just as she is about to find him, again and 
again he disappears, he is gone, he vanishes. 

* * But this is only the prologue to the tragedy. 
Bear with me while I relate it. (Mr. Braham takes 
out his handkerchief, unfolds it slowly, crushes it in 
his nervous hand, and throws it on the table.) 
Laura grew up in her humble Southern home, a 
beautiful creature, the joy of the house, the pride of 
the neighborhood, the loveliest flower in all the sunny 
South. She might yet have been happy; she was 
happy. But the destroyer came into this paradise. 
He plucked the sweetest bud that grew there, and 
having enjoyed its odor, trampled it in the mire be* 
neath his feet. George Selby, the deceased, a hand- 
some, accomplished Confederate Colonel, was this 
human fiend. He deceived her with a mock mar- 

The Gilded Age 261 

riage; after some months he brutally abandoned 
her, and spurned her as if she were a contemptible 
thing; all the time he had a wife in New Orleans. 
Laura was crushed. For weeks, as I shall show you 
by the testimony of her adopted mother and brother, 
she hovered over death in delirium. Gentlemen, 
did she ever emerge from this delirium? I shall 
show you that when she recovered her health, her 
mind was changed, she was not what she had been. 
You can judge yourselves whether the tottering 
reason ever recovered its throne. 

"Years pass. She is in Washington, apparently 
the happy favorite of a brilliant society. Her family 
have become enormously rich by one of those sud- 
den turns in fortune that the inhabitants of America 
are familiar with — the discovery of immense mineral 
wealth in some wild lands owned by them. She is 
engaged in a vast philanthropic scheme for the 
benefit of the poor, by the use of this wealth. But, 
alas, even here and now, the same relentless fate 
pursued her. The villain Selby appears again upon 
the scene, as if on purpose to complete the ruin of 
her life. He appeared to taunt her with her dis- 
honor, he threatened exposure if she did not become 
again the mistress of his passion. Gentlemen, do 
you wonder if this woman, thus pursued, lost her 
reason, was beside herself with fear, and that her 
wrongs preyed upon her mind until she was no 
longer responsible for her acts? I turn away my 
head as one who would not willingly look even upon 


262 The Gilded Age 

the just vengeance of Heaven. (Mr. Braham paused 
as if overcome by his emotions. Mrs. Hawkins and 
Washington were in tears, as were many of the spec- 
tators also. The jury looked scared.) 

'* Gentlemen, in this condition of affairs it needed 
but a spark — I do not say a suggestion, I do not 
say a hint — from this butterfly Brierly , this rejected 
rival, to cause the explosion. I make no charges, 
but if this woman was in her right mind when she fled 
from Washington and reached this city in company 
with Brierly, then I do not know what insanity is." 

When Mr. Braham sat down, he felt that he had 
the jury with him. A burst of applause followed, 
which the officer promptly suppressed. Laura, with 
tears in her eyes, turned a grateful look upon her 
counsel. All the women among the spectators saw 
the tears and wept also. They thought as they also 
looked at Mr. Braham, How handsome he is! 

Mrs. Hawkins took the stand. She was somewhat 
confused to be the target of so many eyes, but her 
honest and good face at once told in Laura's favor. 

"Mrs. Hawkins,** said Mr. Braham, "will you 
be kind enough to state the circumstances of your 
finding Laura?'* 

"I object,** said Mr. McFlinn, rising to his feet. 
"This has nothing whatever to do with the case, 
your Honor. I am surprised at it, even after the 
extraordinary speech of my learned friend." 

"How do you propose to connect it, Mr, 
Braham?*' asked the judge. 

The Gilded Age 263 

" If it please the court," said Mr, Braham, rising 
impressively, " your Honor has permitted the prose- 
cution, and I have submitted without a word, to go 
into the most extraordinary testimony to establish a 
motive. Are we to be shut out from showing that 
the motive attributed to us could not by reason of 
certain mental conditions exist? I purpose, may it 
please your Honor, to show the cause and the origin 
of an aberration of mind, to follow it up with other 
like evidence, connecting it with the very moment of 
the homicide, showing a condition of the intellect of 
the prisoner that precludes responsibility." 

"The state must insist upon its objections," said 
the district attorney. "The purpose evidently is 
to open the door to a mass of irrelevant testimony, 
the object of which is to produce an effect upon the 
jury your Honor well understands." 

" Perhaps," suggested the judge, " the court 
ought to hear the testimony, and exclude it after- 
ward, if it is irrelevant." 

■' Will your Honor hear argument on that?" 

" Certainly." 

And argument his Honor did hear, or pretend to, 
for two whole days, from all the counsel in turn, in 
the course of which the lawyers read contradictory 
decisions enough to perfectly establish both sides, 
from volume after volume, whole libraries, in fact, 
until no mortal man could say what the rules were, 
The question of insanity in all its legal aspects was, 
of course, drawn into the discussion, and its appli 

264 The Gilded Age 

cation affirmed and denied. The case was felt to 
turn upon the admission or rejection of this evi- 
dence. It was a sort of test trial of strength between 
the lawyers. At the end the judge decided to admit 
the testimony, as the judge usually does in such 
cases, after a sufficient waste of time in what are 
called arguments. 

Mrs. Hawkins was allowed to go on. 



— VoTre niBis (denumdoil IMnquamelle) mon b 
cedts vous ea actioa criininelle, la pajlie coupable prinse fiagranit 
irimiuei — Conune vous aullres Mesaeurs (respondil BridoyeJ— 

'■ Hag eunn dia-bcnnag hoc'b cfli-hu da lavaioud cvid be wcnnidiget?" 

MRS. HAWKINS, slowly and conscienUously, as 
if every detail of her family history was im- 
portant, told the story of the steamboat explosion, 
of the finding and adoption of Laura. Silas, that 
is Mr. Hawkins, and she always loved Laura as if 
she had been their own child. 

She then narrated the circumstances of Laura's 
supposed marriage, her abandonment and long ill- 
ness, in a manner that touched all hearts. Laura 
had been a different woman since then. 

Cross-examined. At the time of first finding 
Laura on the steamboat, did she notice that Laura's 
mind was at all deranged? She couldn't say that 
she did. After the recovery of Laura from her long 
illness, did Mrs. Hawkins think there were any signs 
of insanity about her? Witness confessed that she 
did not think of it then. 


266 The Gilded Age 

Re-direct examination. "But she was different 
after that?" 

••Oh, yes, sir." 

Washington Hawkins corroborated his mother's 
testimony as to Laura's connection with Colonel 
Selby. He was at Harding during the time of her 
living there with him. After Colonel Selby's deser- 
tion she was almost dead, never appeared to know 
anything rightly for weeks. He added that he never 
saw such a scoundrel as Selby. (Checked by dis- 
trict attorney.) Had he noticed any change in 
Laura after her illness? Oh, yes. Whenever any 
allusion was made that might recall Selby to mind, 
she looked awful — as if she could kill him. 

•• You mean," said Mr. Braham, ** that there was 
an unnatural, insane gleam in her eyes? " 

••Yes, certainly," said Washington in confusion. 

All this was objected to by the district attorney, 
but it was got before the jury, and Mr. Braham did 
not care how much it was ruled out after that. 

Beriah Sellers was the next witness called. The 
Colonel made his way to the stand with majestic, yet 
bland deliberation. Having taken the oath and kissed 
the Bible with a smack intended to show his great re- 
spect for that book, he bowed to his Honor with dig- 
nity , to the jury with familiarity, and then turned to the 
lawyers and stood in an attitude of superior attention. 

•* Mr. Sellers, I believe? " began Mr. Braham. 

••Beriah Sellers, Missouri," was the courteous 
acknowledgment that the lawyer was correct. 

The Gilded Age 267 

" Mr. Sellers, you know the parties here, you are 
a friend of the family? " 

" Know them all, from infancy, sir. It was me, 
sir, that induced SUas Hawkins, Judge Hawkins, to 
come to Missouri, and make his fortune. It was by 
my advice and in company with me, sir, that he 
went into the operation of — " 

"Yes, yes. Mr. Sellers, did you know a Major 
Lackland ? ' ' 

"Knew him well, air, knew him and honored him, 
sir. He was one of the most remarkable men of our 
country, sir, A member of Congress. He was often 
at my mansion, sir, for weeks. He used to say to 
me, ' Colonel Sellers, if you would go into politics, if I 
had you for a colleague, we should show Calhoun 
and Webster that the brain of the country didn't 
lie east of the Alleghanies .' But I said — " 

" Yes, yes. I believe Major Lackland is not liv- 
ing, Colonel? " 

There was an almost imperceptible sense of pleas- 
ure betrayed in the Colonel's face at this prompt 
acknowledgment of his title. 

"Bless you, no. Died years ago, a miserable 
death, sir, a ruined man, a poor sot. He was sus- 
pected of selling his vote in Congress, and probably 
he did ; the disgrace killed him, he was an outcast, 
sir, loathed by himself and by his constituents. 
And I think, sir — " 

The Judge. " You will confine yourself, Colonel 
Sellers, to the questions of the counsel." 

1 < 

« ( 

268 The Gilded Age 

" Of course, your Honor. This," continued the 
Colonel in confidential explanation, "was twenty 
years ago. I shouldn't have thought of referring 
to such a trifling circumstance now. If I remember 
rightly, sir ' ' — 

A bundle of letters was here handed to the witness. 
Do you recognize that handwriting? " 
As if it was my own, sir. It's Major Lack- 
land's. I was knowing to these letters when Judge 
Hawkins received them. [The Colonel's memory 
was a little at fault here. Mr. Hawkins had never 
gone into details with him on this subject.] He 
used to show them to me, and say, * Colonel Sellers, 
you've a mind to untangle this sort of thing.' Lord, 
how everything comes back to me! Laura was a 
little thing then. The Judge and I were just laying 
our plans to buy the Pilot Knob, and — " 

** Colonel, one moment. Your Honor, we put 
these letters in evidence." 

The letters were a portion of the correspondence 
of Major Lackland with Silas Hawkins; parts of 
them were missing and important letters were re- 
ferred to that were not here. They related, as the 
reader knows, to Laura's father. Lackland had 
come upon the track of a man who was searching for 
a lost child in a Mississippi steamboat explosion 
years before. The man was lame in one leg, and 
appeared to be flitting from place to place. It 
seemed that Major Lackland got so close track of 
him that he was able to describe his personal appear- 

The Gilded Age 269 

ance and learn his name. But the letter containing 
these particulars was lost. Once he heard of him 
at a hotel in Washington; but the man departed, 
leaving an empty trunk, the day before the major 
went there. There was something very mysterious 
in all his movements. 

Colonel Sellers, continuing his testimony, said that 
he saw this lost letter, but could not now recall the 
name. Search for the supposed father had been 
continued by Lackland, Hawkins, and himself for 
several years, but Laura was not informed of it till 
after the death of Hawkins, for fear of raising false 
hopes in her mind. 

Here the district attorney arose and said : 

" Your Honor, I must positively object to letting 
the witness wander off into all these irrelevant 

Mr. Brakam. " I submit, your Honor, that we 
cannot be interrupted in this manner. We have 
suffered the state to have full swing. Now here is a 
witness, who has known the prisoner from infancy, 
and is competent to testify upon the one point vital 
to her safety. Evidently, he is a gentleman of char- 
acter, and his knowledge of the case cannot be shut 
out without increasing the aspect of persecution 
which the state's attitude toward the prisoner already 
has assumed." 

The wrangle continued, waxing hotter and hotter. 
The Colonel, seeing the attention of the counsel and 
court entirely withdrawn from him, thought he per- 

270 The GUded Age 

ceived here his opportunity. Turning and beaming 
upon the jury, he began simply to talk, but as the 
grandeur of his position grew upon him his talk 
broadened unconsciously into an oratorial vein, 

"You see how she was situated, gentlemen : poor 
child, it might have broken her heart to let her mind 
get to running on such a thing as that. You see, 
from what we could make out her father was lame in 
the left leg and had a deep scar on his left forehead. 
And so ever since the day she found out she had 
another father, she never could run across a lame 
stranger without being taken all over with a shiver, 
and almost fainting where she stood. And the next 
minute she would go right after that man. Once 
she stumbled on a stranger with a game leg, and she 
was the most grateful thing in this world — but it 
was the wrong leg, and it was days and days before 
she could leave her bed. Once she found a man 
with a scar on his forehead, and she was just going 
to throw herself into his arms, but he stepped out 
just then, and there wasn't anything the matter with 
his legs. Time and time again, gentlemen of the 
jury, has this poor suffering orphan flung herself on 
her knees with all her heart's gratitude in her eyes 
before some scarred and crippled veteran, but 
always, always to be disappointed, always to be 
plunged into new despair — if his legs were right his 
scar was wrong, if his scar was right his legs were 
wrong. Never could find a man that would fill the 
bill. Gendemen of the jury, you have hearts, you 

The Gilded Age 271 

have feelings, you have wann human sympathies, 
you can fee! for this poor suffering child. Gentle- 
men of the jury, If I had time, if I had the oppor- 
tunity, if I might be permitted to go on and tell you 
the thousands and thousands and thousands of 
mutilated strangers this poor girl has started out of 
cover, and hunted from city to city, from state to 
state, from continent to continent, till she has run 
them down and found they wan't the ones, I know 
your hearts " 

By this time the Colonel had become so warmed up, 
that his voice had reached a pitch above that of the 
contending counsel; the lawyers suddenly stopped, 
and they and the judge turned toward the Colonel 
and remained for several seconds too surprised at 
this novel exhibition to speak. In this interval of 
silence, an appreciation of the situation gradually 
stole over the audience, and an explosion of laughter 
followed, in which even the court and the bar could 
hardly keep from joining. 

Sheriff. " Order in the court." 

The Judge. "The witness will confine his re- 
marks to answers to questions." 

The Colonel turned courteously to the judge and 

" Certainly, your Honor, certainly. I am not well 
acquainted with the forms of procedure in the courts of 
New York, but in the West, sir, in the West " 

The Judge. "There, there, that will do, that 
will do ! " 


272 The Gilded Age 

*• You see, your Honor, there were no questions 
asked me, and I thought I would take advantage of 
the lull in the proceedings to explain to the jury a 
very significant train of " 

The Judge. "That will do^ sir! Proceed, Mr. 

** Colonel Sellers, have you any reason to suppose 
that this man is still living?" 

•* Every reason, sir, every reason." 

••State why." 

•*I have never heard of his death, sir. It has 
never come to my knowledge. In fact, sir, as I 
once said to Governor " 

•'Will you state to the jury what has been the 
effect of the knowledge of this wandering and evi- 
dently unsettled being, supposed to be her father, 
upon the mind of Miss Hawkins for so many 

Question objected to. Question ruled out. 

Cross-examined. ** Major Sellers, what is your 

The Colonel looked about him loftily, as if casting 
in his mind what would be the proper occupation of 
a person of such multifarious interests, and then 
said with dignity : 

** A gentleman, sir. My father used to always 
say, sir ' * 

** Capt. Sellers, did you ever see this man, this 
supposed father?" 

* * No, sir. But upon one occasion, old Senator 

The Gilded Age 273 

Thompson said to me, 'It's my opmion, Colonel 
Sellers ' ' ' 

" Did you ever see anybody who had seen him?" 

"No, sir. It was reported around at one time, 
that " 

"That is all." 

The defense then spent a day in the examination 
of medical experts in insanity, who testified, on the 
evidence heard, that sufficient causes had occurred 
to produce an insane mind in the prisoner. Numer- 
ous cases were cited to sustain this opinion. There 
was such a thing as momentary insanity, in which 
the person, otherwise rational to all appearances, 
was for the time actually bereft of reason, and not 
responsible for his acts. The causes of this momen- 
tary possession could often be found in the person's 
life. [It afterward came out that the chief expert 
for the defense was paid a thousand dollars for 
looking into the case.] 

The prosecution consumed another day in the 
examination of experts refuting the notion of in- 
sanity. These causes might have produced insanity, 
but there was no evidence that they have produced 
it in this case, or that the prisoner was not at the 
time of the commission of the crime in full posses- 
sion of her ordinary faculties. 

The trial had now lasted two weeks. It required 
four days now for the lawyers to "sum up." 
These arguments of the counsel were very important 
to their friends, and greatly enhanced their reputa- 

274 The Gilded Age 

tion at the^bar; but they have small interest to us. 
Mr. Braham, in his closing speech, surpassed him- 
self ; his effort is still remembered as the greatest in 
the criminal annals of New York. 

Mr. Braham re-drew for the jury the picture of 
Laura's early life; he dwelt long upon that painful 
episode of the pretended marriage and the desertion. 
Colonel Selby, he said, belonged, gentlemen, to 
what is called the ** upper classes." It is the privi- 
lege of the ** upper classes " to prey upon the sons 
and daughters of the people. The Hawkins family, 
though allied to the best blood of the South, were 
at the time in humble circumstances. He com- 
mented upon her parentage. Perhaps her agonized 
father, in his intervals of sanity, was still searching 
for his lost daughter. Would he one day hear that 
she had died a felon's death? Society had pursued 
her, fate had pursued her, and in a moment of 
delirium she had turned and defied fate and society. 
He dwelt upon the admission of base wrong in 
Colonel Selby's dying statement. He drew a vivid 
picture of the villain at last overtaken by the ven- 
geance of Heaven. Would the jury say that this 
retributive justice, inflicted by an outraged, a deluded 
woman, rendered irrational by the most cruel wrongs, 
was in the nature of a foul, premeditated murder? 
** Gentlemen, it is enough for me to look upon the 
life of this most beautiful and accomplished of her 
sex, blasted by the heartless villainy of man, without 
seeing, at the end of it, the horrible spectacle of a 

The Gilded Age 275 

gibbet. Gentlemen, we are all human, we have all 
sinned, we all have need of mercy. But I do not ask 
mercy of you who are the guardians of society and 
of the poor waifs, its sometimes wronged victims; I 
ask only that justice which you and I shall need in 
that last dreadful hour, when death will be robbed of 
half its terrors if we can reflect that we have never 
wronged a human being. Gentlemen, the life of 
this lovely and once happy girl, this now stricken 
woman, is in your hands." 

The jury were visibly affected. Half the court 
room was in tears. If a vote of both spectators and 
jury could have been taken then, the verdict would 
have been, " Let her go, she has suffered enough." 

But the district attorney had the closing argu- 
ment. Calmly and without malice or excitement he 
reviewed the testimony. As the cold facts were 
unrolled, fear settled upon the listeners. There was 
no escape from the murder or its premeditation, 
Laura's character as a lobbyist in Washington, which 
had been made to appear incidentally in the evi- 
dence, was also against her. The whole body of 
the testimony of the defense was shown to be irrele- 
vant, introduced only to excite sympathy, and not 
giving a color of probability to the absurd supposi- 
tion of insanity. The attorney then dwelt upon the 
insecurity of life in the city, and the growing im- 
munity with which women committed murders. Mr. 
McFlinn made a very able speech, convincing th? 
reason without touching the feelings, 

276 The Gilded Age 

The judge in his charge reviewed the testimony 
with great show of impartiality. He ended by say- 
ing that the verdict must be acquital or murder in 
the first degree. If you find that the prisoner com- 
mitted a homicide, in possession of her reason and 
with premeditation, your verdict will be accordingly. 
If you find she was not in her right mind, that she 
was the victim of insanity, hereditary or momentary, 
as it has been explained, your verdict will take that 
into account. 

As the judge finished his charge, the spectators 
anxiously watched the faces of the jury. It was not 
a remunerative study. In the court room the gen- 
eral feeling was in favor of Laura, but whether this 
feeling extended to the jury, their stolid faces did 
not reveal. The public outside hoped for a convic- 
tion, as it always does; it wanted an example; the 
newspapers trusted the jury would have the courage 
to do its duty. When Laura was convicted, then 
the public would turn around and abuse the governor 
if he did not pardon her. 

The jury went out. Mr. Braham preserved his 
serene confidence, but Laura's friends were dis- 
spirited. Washington and Colonel Sellers had been 
obliged to go to Washington, and they had departed 
under the unspoken fear that the verdict would be 
unfavorable, — a disagreement was the best they 
could hope for, and money was needed. The 
necessity of the passage of the University bill was 
now imperative. 

The Gilded Age 


The court waited for some time, but the jury gave 
no signs of coming in. Mr. Brahara said it was 
extraordinary. The court then took a recess for a 
couple of hours. Upon again coming in, word was 
brought that the jury had not yet agreed. 

But the jury had a question. The point upon 
which they wanted instruction was this : They wanted 
to know if Colonel Sellers was related to the Haw- 
kins family. The court then adjourned till morning. 

Mr. Braham, who was in something of a pet, re- 
marked to Mr. O'TooIe that they must have been 
deceived — that juryman with the broken nose could ■- 


" Wegotogwen ga-ijiwebadogwen ; gonima ta-matchi-inakamigad." 

THE momentous day was at hand — a day that 
promised to make or mar the fortunes of the 
Hawkins family for all time. Washington Hawkins 
and Colonel Sellers were both up early, for neither 
of them could sleep. Congress was expiring, and 
was passing bill after bill as if they were gasps and 
each likely to be its last. The University was on file 
for its third reading this day, and to-morrow Wash- 
ington would be a millionaire and Sellers no longer 
impecunious; but this day, also, or at farthest the 
next, the jury in Laura's case would come to a 
decision of some kind or other — they would find 
her guilty, Washington secretly feared, and then the 
care and the trouble would all come back again and 
there would be wearing months of besieging judges 
for new trials ; on this day, also, the re-election of 
Mr. Dilworthy to the Senate would take place. So 
Washington's mind was in a state of turmoil; there 
were more interests at stake than it could handle 


The Gilded Age 279 

with serenity. He exulted when he thought of hJsl 
millions; he W2s &lled with dread when he thought] 
of Laura. But Sellers was excited and happy. He 

"Everything is going right, everything's going I 
perfectly right. Pretty soon the telegrams will begin | 
to rattle in, and then you'll see, my boy. Let the ' 
jury do what they please ; what difference is it going i 
to make? To-morrow we can send a million to New j 
York and set the lawyers at work on the judges ; ; 
bless your heart, they will go before judge after judge I 
and exhort and beseech and pray and shed tears. / 
They always do ; and they always win, too. And 
they will win this time. They will get a writ of 
habeas corpus, and a stay of proceedings, and a 
supersedeas, and a new trial, and a nolle prosequi, 
and there you are! That's the routine, and it's no 
trick at all to a New York lawyer. That's the 
regular routine — everything's red tape and routine 
in the law, you see; it's all Greek to you, of course, 
but to a man who is acquainted with those things 
it's mere — I'll explain it to you some time. Every- 
thing's going to glide right along easy and comfort- 
able now. You'll see, Washington, you'll see how 
it will be. And then, let me think. . , .Dilworthy 
will be elected to-day, and by day after to-morrow 
night he will be in New York ready to put in kis 
shovel — and you haven't lived in Washington all 
this time not to know that the people who walk 
right by a Senator whose term is up without hardly 

280 The Gilded Age 

seeing him will be down at the deepo to say * Wel- 
come back and God bless you, Senator , I'm glad to 
see you, sir!' when he comes along back re-elected, 
you know. Well, you see, his influence was natur- 
ally running low when he left here, but now he has 
got a new six-years start, and his suggestions will 
simply just weigh a couple of tons a-piece day after 
to-morrow. Lord bless you, he could rattle through 
that habeas corpus and supersedeas and all those 
things for Laura all by himself if he wanted to, when 
he gets back." 

**I hadn't thought of that," said Washington, 
brightening, ** but it is so. A newly-elected Senator 
is a power, I know that." 

**Yes, indeed, he is. Why it is just human 
nature. Look at me. When we first came here, 
IwasJJ/ir. Sellers, and Major Sellers, and Captain 
Sellers, but nobody could ever get it right, some- 
how; but the minute our bill went through the 
House, I was Colonel Sellers every time. And no- 
body could do enough for me ; and whatever I said 
was wonderful, sir, it was always wonderful; I 
never seemed to say any flat things at all. It was 
Colonel, won't you come and dine with us; and 
Colonel, why don't we ever see you at our house; 
and the Colonel says this; and the Colonel says 
that; and we know such-and-such is so-and-so, be- 
cause husband heard Colonel Sellers say so. Don't 
you see? Well, the Senate adjourned and left our 
bill high and dry, and I'll be hanged if I wam't Old 

The Gilded Age 

Sellers from that day till our bill passed the House 
again last week. Now I'm the Colonel &%sS.yi\ and 
if I were to eat all the dinners I am invited to, I 
reckon I'd wear my teeth down level with my gums 
in a couple of weeks." 

"Well, I do wonder what you will be to-morrow. 
Colonel, after the President signs the bill?" 

" General, sir! — General, without a doubt. Yes, 
sir, to-morrow it will be General, let me congratulate 
you, sir; General, you've done a great work, sir; 
— you've done a great work for the niggro ; Gentle- 
men, allow me the honor to introduce my friend 
General Sellers, the humane friend of the niggro. 
Lord bless me, you'll see the newspapers say, Gen- 
eral Sellers and servants arrived in the city last night 
and is stopping at the Fifth Avenue; and General 
Sellers has accepted a reception and banquet by the 
Cosmopolitan Club; you'll see the General's opin- 
ions quoted, too — and what the General has to say 
about the propriety of a new trial and a habeas cor- 
pus for the unfortunate Miss Hawkins will not be 
without weight in influential quarters, I can tell you." 

" And I want to be the first to shake your faithful 
old hand and salute you with your new honors, and 
I want to do it now — General!" said Washington, 
suiting the action to the word, and accompanying it 
with all the meaning that a cordial grasp and elo- 
quent eyes could give it. 

The Colonel was touched ; he was pleased and 
proud, too; his face answered for that. 

282 The Gilded Age 

Not very long after breakfast the telegrams be- 
gan to arrive. The first was from Braham, and ran 

" We feel certain that the verdict will be rendered to-day. Be it 
good or bad, let it find us ready to make the next move instantly, what- 
ever it may be." 

••That's the right talk," said Sellers. •'That 
Braham's a wonderful man. He was the only man 
there that really understood me; he told me so 
himself afterwards." 

The next telegram was from Mr. Dilworthy : 

" I have not only brought over the Great Invincible, but thiougfa 
him a dozen more of the opposition. Shall be re-elected to-day by an 
overwhelming majority." 

•• Good again !" said the Colonel. •* That man's 
talent for organization is something marvelous. He 
wanted me to go out there and engineer that thing, 
but I said, No, Dilworthy, I must be on hand here, 
both on Laura's account and the bill's — but you've 
no trifling genius for organization yourself, said I — 
and I was right. You go ahead, said I — you can 
fix it — and so he has. But I claim no credit for 
that — if I stiffened up his backbone a little, I simply 
put him in the way to make his fight — didn't make 
it myself. He has captured Noble — I consider that 
a splendid piece of diplomacy — splendid, sir!" 

By and by came another dispatch from New York: 

''Jury still out. Laura calm and firm as a statue. The report that 
the jury have brought her in guilty is false and premature." 

** Premature !" gasped Washington, turning white. 

The Gilded Age 283 

" Then they all expect that sort of a verdict, when 
it comes." 

And so did he; but he had not had courage 
enough to put it into words. He had been prepar- 
ing himself for the worst, but after all bis prepara- 
tion the bare suggestion of the possibility of such a 
verdict struck him cold as death. 

The friends grew impatient now; the telegrams 
did not come fast enough; even the lightning could 
not keep up with their anxieties. They walked the 
floor talking disjointedly and listening for the door 
bell. Telegram after telegram came. Still no re- 
sult. By and by there was one which contained a 
single line: 

"Court DOW coming in after brief recess lo heai verdid. Jui; 

" Oh, I wish they would finish!" said Washing- 
ton. " This suspense is killing me by inches!" 
Then came another telegram : 
" Another hitch somewheie. Jury wont a. little more lime anil fur- 

"Well, well, well, this is trying," said the Col- 
onel. And after a pause, " No dispatch from Dil- 
worthy for two hours, now. Even a dispatch from 
him would be better than nothing, just to vary this 

They waited twenty minutes. It seemed twenty 

"Come!" said Washington. "I can't wait for 
the telegraph boy to come all the way up here. 

284 The Gilded Age 

Let's go down to Newspaper Row — meet him on 
the way." 

While they were passing along the avenue, they 
saw some one putting up a great display sheet on 
the bulletin board of a newspaper office, and an 
eager crowd of men was collecting about the place. 
Washington and the Colonel ran to the spot and read 

*< Tremendous sensation 1 Startling news from Saint's Rest! On 
first ballot for U. S. Senator, when voting vns about to begin, Mr. 
Noble rose in his place and drew forth a package, walked forward and 
laid it on the Speaker's desk, saying, < This contains $7«ooo in bank 
bills and was given me by Senator Dilworthy in his bed-chamber at mid* 
night last night to buy my vote for him — I wish the Speaker to ooimt 
the money and retain it to pay the expense of prosecuting thb infamous 
traitor for bribery/ The whole legislature was stricken speechless widi 
dismay and astonishment. Noble further said that there were fifty mem- 
bers present with money in their pockets, placed there by Dilworthy to 
buy their votes. Amidst unparalleled excitement the ballot was now 
taken, and J. W. Smith elected U. S. Senator ; Dilworthy receiving not 
one vote I Nod/f promises damaging exposures concerning DihoorAf 
and certain measures of his now pending in Congress** 

**Good heavens and earth!'* exclaimed the 

* * To the Capitol ! ' ' said Washington. * • Fly !' ' 

And they did fly. Long before they got there 
the newsboys were running ahead of them with 
extras, hot from the press, announcing the astound- 
ing news. 

Arrived in the gallery of the Senate, the friends 
saw a curious spectacle — every Senator held an 
extra in his hand and looked as interested as if it 
contained news of the destruction of the earth. Not 

The Gilded Age 285 

a single member was paying the least attention to 
the business of the hour. 

The secretary, in a loud voice, was just beginning 
to read the title of a bill : 

" House-BiU-No.-4,23 1 ,-An-Act-to - Found - and- 
Incorporate-the-Knobs-Industrial-Univeraity l-Read- 
first- and -second - time — considered-in-committee-of- 
the-whole - ordered - engrossed - and-passed-to-third- 
reading-and-final-passagc !" 

The President — "Third reading of the bill !" 

The two friends shook in their shoes. Senators 
threw down their extras and snatched a word or two 
with each other in whispers. Then the gavel rapped 
to command silence while the names were called on 
the ayes and nays. Washington grew paler and 
paler, weaker and weaker while the lagging list pro- 
gressed; and when it was finished, his head fell 
helplessly forward on his arms. The fight was 
fought, the long struggle was over, and he was a 
pauper. Not a man had voted for the bill! 

Colonel Sellers was bewildered and well nigh 
paralyzed, himself. But no man could long con- 
sider his own troubles in the presence of such 
suffering as Washington's. He got him up and sup- 
ported him — almost carried him, indeed — out of 
the building and into a carriage. All the way home 
Washington lay with his face against the Colonel's 
shoulder and merely groaned and wept. The Col- 
onel tried as well as he could under the dreary cir- 
cumstances to hearten him a little, but it was of no 

286 The Gilded Age 

use. Washington was past all hope of cheer now. 
He only said : 

"Oh, it is all over — it is all over for good. Col- 
onel. We must beg our bread now. We never can 
get up again. It was our last chance, and it is gone. 
They will hang Laura! My God, they will hang 
her ! Nothing can save the poor girl now. Oh, I 
wish with all my soul they would hang me instead ! " 

Arrived at home, Washington fell into a chair and 
buried his face in his hands and gave full way to his 
misery. The Colonel did not know where to turn 
nor what to do. The servant maid knocked at the 
door and passed in a telegram, saying it had come 
while they were gone. 

The Colonel tore it open and read with the voice 
of a man-of-war's broadside: 

*' Verdict of jury, Not Guilty, and Laura is 




«- T a ^ 

Papcl y liata y poco jusliciu- 

rE court room was packed on the morning on 
which the verdict of the jury was expected, as 
it had been every day of the trial, and by the same 
spectators, who had followed its progress with such 
intense interest. 

There Is a delicious moment of excitement which 
the frequenter of trials well knows, and which he 
would not miss for the world. It is that instant 
when the foreman of the jury stands up to give the 
verdict, and before he has opened his fateful lips. 

The court assembled and waited. It was an ob- 
stinate jury. It even had another question — this 
intelligent jury — to ask the judge this morning. 

" The question was this: " Were the doctors clear 

that the deceased had no disease which might soon 

have carried him off, if he had not been shot?" 

There was evidently one juryman who didn't want 


288 The coded Age 

to waste life, and was willing to strike a general 
average, as the jury always does in a civil case, de- 
ciding not according to the evidence but reaching 
the verdict by some occult mental process. 

During the delay the spectators exhibited unex- 
ampled patience, finding amusement and relief in 
the slightest movements of the court, the prisoner, 
and the lawyers. Mr. Braham divided with Laura 
the attention of the house. Bets were made by the 
sheriff's deputies on the verdict, with large odds in 
favor of a disagreement. 

It was afternoon when it was announced that the 
jury was coming in. The reporters took their places 
and were all attention ; the judge and lawyers were 
in their seats ; the crowd swayed and pushed in eager 
expectancy, as the jury walked in and stood up in 

Judge, ** Gentlemen, have you agreed upon your 

Foreman . * * We ha ve . " 

Judge, "What is it?" 

Foreman, * * NOT GuiLTV. ' ' 

A shout went up from the entire room and a 
tumult of cheering which the court in vain attempted 
to quell. For a few moments all order was lost. 
The spectators crowded within the bar and sur- 
rounded Laura who, calmer than any one else, was 
supporting her aged mother, who had almost fainted 
from excess of joy. 

And now occurred one of those beautiful incidents 

The Gilded Age 2S9 

wWch no fiction-writer would dare to imagine, a 
scene of touching pathos, creditable to our fallen 
humanity. In the eyes of the women of the audi- 
ence, Mr. Braham was the hero of the occasion; he 
had saved the life of the prisoner ; and besides he 
was such a handsome man. The women could not 
restrain their long pent-up emotions. They threw 
themselves upon Mr, Braham in a transport of grati- 
tude; they kissed him again and again, the young 
as well as the advanced in years, the married as well 
as the ardent single women; they improved the 
opportunity with a touching self-sacrifice ; in the 
words of a newspaper of the day they "lavished 
him with kisses." It was something sweet to do; 
and it would be sweet for a woman to remember in 
after years, that she had kissed Braham ! Mr. 
Braham himself received these fond assaults with the 
gallantry of his nation, enduring the ugly, and 
heartily paying back beauty in its own coin. 

This beautiful scene is still known in New York as 
" the kissing of Braham," 

When the tumult of congratulation had a little 
spent itself, and order was restored. Judge O'Shaun- 
nessy said that it now became his duty to provide 
for the proper custody and treatment of the ac« 
quitted. The verdict of the Jury having left no 
doubt that the woman was of an unsound mind, with 
a kind of insanity dangerous to the safety of the 
community, she could not be permitted to go at 
large. " In accordance with the directions of the 

290 The Gilded Age 

law in such cases/' said the judge, **and in obedi- 
ence to the dictates of a wise humanity, I hereby 
commit Laura Hawkins to the care of the Superin- 
tendent of the State Hospital for Insane Criminals, 
to be held in confinement until the State Commis* 
sioners on Insanity shall order her discharge. Mr. 
Sheriff, you will attend at once to the execution of 
this decree." 

Laura was overwhelmed and terror-stricken. She 
had expected to walk forth in freedom in a few mo- 
ments. The revulsion was terrible. Her mother 
appeared like one shaken with an ague fit. Laura 
insane ! And about to be locked up with madmen ! 
She had never contemplated this. Mr. Braham said 
he should move at once for a writ of habeas corpus. 

But the judge could not do less than his duty, the 
law must have its way. As in the stupor of a sud- 
den calamity, and not fully comprehending it, Mrs, 
Hawkins saw Laura led away by the officer. 

With little space for thought she was rapidly 
driven to the railway station, and conveyed to the 
Hospital for Lunatic Criminals. It was only when 
she was within this vast and grim abode of madness 
that she realized the horror of her situation. It was 
only when she was received by the kind physician 
and read pity in his eyes, and saw his look of hope- 
less incredulity when she attempted to tell him that 
she was not insane ; it was only when she passed 
through the ward to which she was consigned and 
saw the horrible creatures, the victims of a double 

The Gilded Age 291 

calamity, whose dreadful faces she was hereafter to 
see daily, and was locked into the small, bare room 
that was to be her home, that all her fortitude for- 
sook her. She sank upon the bed, as soon as she 
was left alone — she had been searched by the 
matron — and tried to think. But her brain was in 
a whirl. She recalled Braham's speech, she recalled 
the testimony regarding her lunacy. She wondered 
if she were not mad; she felt that she soon should 
be among these loathsome creatures. Better almost to 
have died, than to slowly go mad in this conhncment. 

— \Vc beg the reader's pardon. This is not his- 
tory which has just been written. It is really what 
would have occurred if this were a novel. If this 
were a work of fiction, we should not dare to dispose 
of Laura otherwise. True art and any attention to 
dramatic proprieties required it. The novelist who 
would turn loose upon society an insane murderess 
could not escape condemnation. Besides, the safety 
of society, the decencies of criminal procedure, what 
we call our modern civilization, all would demand 
that Laura should be disposed of in the manner we 
have described. Foreigners, who read this sad 
story, will be unable to understand any other termi- 
nation of it. 

But this is history and not fiction. There is no )/ 
such law or custom as that to which his Honor is 
supposed to have referred; Judge Shaunnessy would 
not probably pay any attention to it if there were. 
There is no Hospital for Insane Criminals; there is 


292 The Gilded Age 

no State Commission of Lunacy. What actually 
occurred when the tumult in the court room had 
subsided the sagacious reader will now learn. 

Laura left the court room, accompanied by her 
mother and other friends, amid the congratulations 
of those assembled, and was cheered as she entered 
a carriage, and drove away. How sweet was the 
sunlight, how exhilarating the sense of freedom! 
Were not these following cheers the expression of 
popular approval and affection ? Was she not the 
heroine of the hour? 

It was with a feeling of triumph that Laura reached 
her hotel, a scornful feeling of victory over society 
with its own weapons. 

Mrs. Hawkins shared not at all in this feeling; she 
was broken with the disgrace and the long anxiety. 

"Thank God, Laura," she said, **it is over. 
Now we will go away from this hateful city. Let 
us go home at once.*' 

"Mother," replied Laura, speaking with some 
tenderness, **I cannot go with you. There, don't 
cry, I cannot go back to that life." 

Mrs. Hawkins was sobbing. This was more crud 
than anything else, for she had a dim notion of what 
it would be to leave Laura to herself. 

**No, mother, you have been everything to me. 
You know how dearly I love you. But I cannot go 

A boy brought in a telegraphic dispatch. Laura 
took it and read : 

The Gilded Age 293 

"Hiebfllulost. Dilironby is rumed. (Signed) 


For a moment the words swam before her eyes. 
The next her eyes flashed fire as she handed the 
dispatch to her mother and bitterly said : 

"The world is against me. Well, let it be, let it. 
I am against it." 

"This is a cruel disappointment," said Mrs. Haw- 
kins, to whom one grief more or less did not much 
matter now, " to you and Washington ; but we must 
humbly bear it." 

"Bear it," replied Laura scornfully, "I've all 
my life borne it, and fate has thwarted me at every 

A servant came to the door to say that there was 
a gentleman below who wished to speak with Mis3 
Hawkins. "J. Adolphe Griller " was the name 
Laura read on the card. " I do not know such a 
person. He probably comes from Washington. 
Send him up." 

Mr. Griller entered. He was a small man, slovenly 
in dress, his tone confidential, his manner wholly 
void of animation, all his features below the forehead 
protruding — particularly the apple of his throat — 
hair without a kink in it, a hand with no grip, a 
meek, hang-dog countenance. He was a falsehood 
done in flesh and blood ; for while every visible sign 
about him proclaimed him a poor, witless, useless 
weakling, the truth was that he had the brains to 
plan great enterprises and the pluck to carry them 

294 The Gilded Age 

through. That was his reputation, and it was a 
deserved one. 

He softly said : 

" I called to see you on business. Miss Hawkins. 
You have my card?" 

Laura bowed. 

Mr. Griller continued to purr, as softly as before: 

*'I will proceed to business. I am a business 
man. I am a lecture-agent, Miss Hawkins, and as 
soon as I saw that you were acquitted, it occurred 
to me that an early interview would be mutually 

I don't understand you, sir," said Laura coldly. 
No? You see. Miss Hawkins, this is your op- 
portunity. If you will enter the lecture field under 
good auspices, you will carry everything before 

** But, sir, I never lectured, I haven't any lecture, 
I don't know anything about it." 

** Ah, madam, that makes no difference — no real 
difference. It is not necessary to be able to lecture 
in order to go into the lecture field. If one's name 
is celebrated all over the land, especially, and if she 
is also beautiful, she is certain to draw large audi* 


C ( 

But what should I lecture about?" asked Laura, 
beginning in spite of herself to be a little interested 
as well as amused. 

** Oh, why, woman — something about woman, I 
should say; the marriage relation, woman's fatCi 

The Gilded Age 295 

anything of that sort. Call it The Revelations of a 
Woman's Life; now, there's a good title, I wouldn't 
want any better title than that. I'm prepared to 
make you an offer. Miss Hawkins, a liberal offer, — 
twelve thousand dollars for thirty nights." 

Laura thought. She hesitated. Why not? It 
would give her employment, money. She must do 

" I will think of it, and let you know soon. But 
still, there is very litde hkelihood that I — however, 
we will not discuss it further now." 

" Remember, that the sooner we get to work the 
better. Miss Hawkins, public curiosity is so fickle. 
Good day, madam." 

The close of the trial released Mr. Harry Brierly 
and left him free to depart upon his long- talked -of 
Pacific coast mission. He was very mysterious about 
it, even to Philip. 

"It's confidential, old boy," he said, "a little 
scheme we have hatched up. I don't mind telling 
you that it's a good deal bigger thing than that in 
Missouri, and a sure thing. I wouldn't take half 
a million just for my share. And it will open some- 
thing for you, Phil. You will hear from me." 

Philip did hear from Harry a few months after- 
ward. Everything promised splendidly, but there 
was a little delay. Could Phil let him have a hun- 
dred, say for ninety days? 

Philip himself hastened to Philadelphia, and, as 
soon as the spring opened, to the mine at Ilium, and 

296 The Gilded Age 

began transforming the loan he had received from 
'Squire Montague into laborers' wages. He was 
haunted with many anxieties; in the first place, 
Ruth was overtaxing her strength in her hospital 
labors, and Philip felt as if he must move heaven 
and earth to save her from such toil and suffering. 
His increased pecuniary obligation oppressed him. 
It seemed to him also that he had been one cause of 
the misfortune to the Bolton family, and that he was 
dragging into loss and ruin everybody who asso- 
ciated with him. He worked on day after day and 
week after week, with a feverish anxiety. 

It would be wicked, thought Philip, and impious^ 
to pray for luck ; he felt that perhaps he ought not 
to ask a blessing upon the sort of labor that was 
only a venture ; but yet in that daily petition, which 
this very faulty and not very consistent young 
Christian gentleman put up, he prayed earnestly 
enough for Ruth and for the Boltons and for those 
whom he loved and who trusted in him, and that his 
life might not be a misfortune to them and a failure 
to himself. 

Since this young fellow went out into the world 
from his New England home, he had done some 
things that he would rather his mother should not 
know, things maybe that he would shrink from tell- 
ing Ruth. At a certain green age young gentlemen 
are sometimes afraid of being called milksops, and 
Philip's associates had not always been the most 
select, such as these historians would have chosen 

The Gilded Age 297 

for him, or whom at a later period he would have 
chosen for himself. It seemed inexplicable, for in* 
stance, that his life should have been throwa so 
much with his college acquaintance, Henty Brierly, 

Yet, this was true of Philip, that in whatever com- 
pany he had been he had never been ashamed to 
stand up for the principles he learned from his 
mother, and neither raillery nor looks of wonder 
turned him from that daily habit he learned at his 
mother's knees. Even flippant Harry respected 
this, and perhaps it was one of the reasons why 
Harry and all who knew Philip trusted him implicitly. 
And yet it must be confessed that Philip did not 
convey the impression to the world of a very serious 
young man, or of a man who might not rather easily 
fall into temptation. One looking for a real hero 
would have to go elsewhere. 

The parting between Laura and her mother was 
exceedingly painful to both. It was as if two friends 
parted on a wide plain, the one to journey toward 
the setting and the other toward the rising sun, each 
comprehending that every step henceforth must 
separate their lives wider and wider. 



Ebok imana ebok ofut idibL 

O KOpKllfOS liSit c^ 
XaX^ rdv o^if 'Kafitir 
EMi^v Xfi^ TOP h'dipow, e/ifiCFy 
KflU /i^ 0'icoXid ^po9uw, 

Mishittoonaeog ncoytwog 

ayeuuhkone neen, 
Nashpe nuskesukqunnonnt 

ho, ho, nunnaumunun. 

WHEN Mr. Noble's bombshell fell in Senator 
Dilworthy's camp, the statesman was discon* 
certed for a moment. For a moment ; that was all. 
The next moment he was calmly up and doing. 
From the center of our country to its circumference» 
nothing was talked of but Mr. Noble's terrible 
revelation, and the people were furious. Mind, 
they were not furious because bribery was uncom- 
mon in our public life, but merely because here was 
another case. Perhaps it did not occur to the nation 
of good and worthy people that while they continued 
to sit comfortably at home and leave the true source 


The Gilded Age 299 

of our political power (the " primaries,*') in the 
hands of saloon-keepers, dog-fanciers, and hod- 
carriers, they could go on expecting ' ' another ' ' 
case of this kind, and even dozens and hundreds of 
them, and never be disappointed. However, they 
may have thought that to sit at home and grumble 
would some day right the evil. 

Yes, the nation was excited, but Senator Dil- 
worthy was calm — what was left of him after the 
explosion of the shell. Calm, and up and doing. 
What did he do first? What would you do first, 
after you had tomahawked your mother at the 
breakfast table for putting too much dugar in your 
coffee? You would " ask for a suspension of public 
opinion." That is what Senator Diiworthy did. It 
is the custom. He got the usual amount of suspen- 
sion. Far and wide he was called a thief, a briber, 
a promoter of steamship subsidies, railway swindles, 
robberies of the government in all possible forms and 
fashions. Newspapers and everybody else called 
him a pious hypocrite, a sleek, oily fraud, a reptile 
who manipulated temperance movements, prayer 
meetings, Sunday-schools, public charities, mission- 
ary enterprises, all for his private benefit. And as 
these charges were backed up by what seemed to be 
good and sufficient evidence, they were believed with 
national unanimity. 

Then Mr, Diiworthy made another move. He 
moved instantly to Washington and "demanded an 
Investigation." Even this could not pass without 

500 The Gilded Age 

comment. Many papers used language to tfaiB 
effect : 

*' Senator Dilworthy's remains have demanded an i n ^ erti g ati oa. 
This sounds fine and bold and innocent; but when we reflect tint Ihcy 
demand it at the hands of the Senate of the United States, it amplj 
becomes matter for derision. One might as well set the gentlemen 
detained in the public prisons to trying each other. Thb inrestigption 
is likely to be like all other Senatorial * investigations ' — amwwng b«k 
not useful. Query. Why does the Senate still stick to this pompovi 
word, ' Investigation ' ? One does not blindfold one's sdf in older to 
investigate an object." 

Mr. Dilworthy appeared in his place in the Senate 
and offered a resolution appointing a committee to 
investigate his case. It was carried, of course, and 
the committee was appointed. Straightway the news- 
papers said : 

** Under the guise of appointing a committee to investigate the late 
Mr. Dilworthy, the Senate yesterday appointed a committee to invoH' 
^aU his accuser^ Air, NobU, This is the exact spirit and meaning of the 
resolution, and the committee cannot tiy anybody but Mr. Noble with- 
out overstepping its authority. That Mr. Dilworthy had the effronteiy 
to offer such a resolution will surprise no one, and that the Senate could 
entertain it without blushing and pass it without shame will surprise no 
one. We are now reminded of a note which we have received from the 
notorious burglar Murphy, in which he finds fault with a statement of 
ours to the effect that he had served one term in the penitentiary and 
also one in the U. S. Senate. He says, < The latter statement is Qntnit 
and does me great injustice.' After an unconscious sarcasm like tbat» 
further comment is unnecessary." 

And yet the Senate was roused by the Dilworthy 
trouble. Many speeches were made. One Senator 
(who was accused in the public prints of selling his 
chances of re-election to his opponent for $50,000 
and had not yet denied the charge) said that " the 

The Gilded Age 301 

presence in the capital of such a creature as this 
man Noble, to testify against a brother member of 
their body, was an insult to the Senate." 

Another Senator said, "Let the investigation go 
on; and let it make an example of this man Noble; 
let it teach him and men like him that they could 
not attack the reputation of a United States Senator 
with impunity." 

Another said he was glad the investigation was to 
be had, " for it was high time that the Senate should 
crush some cur like this man Noble, and thus show 
his kind that it was able and resolved to uphold its 
ancient dignity." 

A bystander laughed at this finely-delivered 
peroration, and said: 

"Why, this is the Senator who franked his bag- 
gage home through the mails last week — registered, 
at that. However, perhaps he was merely engaged 
in ' upholding the ancient dignity of the Senate,' 

"No, the modern dignity of it," said another 
bystander. " It don't resemble its ancient digni^, 
but it fits its modern style like a glove." 

There being no law against making offensive re- 
marks about U. S. Senators, this conversation, and 
others like it, continued without let or hindrance. 
But our business is with the investigating committee. 

Mr, Noble appeared before the committee of the 
Senate, and testified to the following effect: 

He said that he was a member of the state legls- 

302 The Gilded Age 

lature of the Happy-Land-of -Canaan ; that on die 

day of he assembled himself together at 

the city of Saint's Rest, the capital of the state, 
along with his brother legislators; that he was 
known to be a political enemy of Mr, Dilworthy and 
bitterly opposed to his re-election; that Mr. Dfl- 
worthy came to Saint's Rest and was reported to be 
buying pledges of votes with money; that the said 
Dilworthy sent for him to come to his room in the 
hotel at nighty and he went; was introduced to Mr. 
Dilworthy; called two or three times afterward at 
Dilworthy 's request — usually after midnight; Mr. 
Dilworthy urged him to vote for him ; Noble de- 
clined ; Dilworthy argued ; said he was bound to be 
elected, and could then ruin him (Noble) if he voted 
no; said he had every railway and every public 
office and stronghold of political power in the state 
under his thumb, and could set up or pull down any 
man he chose ; gave instances showing where and 
how he had used this power ; if Noble would vote 
for him he would make him a Representative in 
Congress ; Noble still declined to vote, and said he 
did not believe Dilworthy was going to be elected ; 
Dilworthy showed a list of men who would vote for 
him — a majority of the legislature; gave further 
proofs of his power by telling Noble everything the 
opposing party had done or said in secret caucus ; 
claimed that his spies reported everything to him, 

and that 

Here a member of the committee objected that 

The Gilded Age 303 

this evidence was irrelevant and also id opposition to 

the spirit of the committee's instructions, because if 
these things reflected upon any one it was upon Mr. 
Dilworthy. The chairman said, let the person pro- 
ceed with his statement — the committee could ex- 
clude evidence that did not bear upon the case. 

Mr. Noble continued. He said that his party 
would cast him out if he voted for Mr. Dilworthy; 
Dilworthy said that that would inure to his benefit, 
because he would then be a recognized friend of his 
(Dilworthy's) and he could consistently exalt him 
politically and make his fortune; Noble said he was 
poor, and it was hard to tempt him so; Dilworthy 
said he would fix that; he said, " Tell me what you 
want, and say you will vote for me ; " Noble could 
not say; Dilworthy said, "I will give you $5,- 

000 " 

A committee man said, impatiently, that this stuff 
was all outside the case, and valuable time was being 
wasted; this was all a plain reflection upon a brother 
Senator. The chairman said it was the quickest way 
to proceed, and the evidence need have no weight. 

Mr. Noble continued. He said he told Dilworthy 
that $5 ,000 was not much to pay for a man's honor, 
character, and everything that was worth having; 
Dilworthy said he was surprised; he considered 
$5 ,000 a fortune for some men ; asked what Noble's | 
figure was; Noble said he could not think $10,000 ', 
too little; Dilworthy said it was a great deal too ' 
much ; he would not do it for any other man, but 

would be an ai 

struggles of the 

licvcd that N'ot 

money and that 

needy home; h 

desired in return 

Noble should ca 

plain to the leg 

charges against 

tion, and fonvarc 

he had found thei 

whose motives w 

stainless; he ther 

bank bills and hi 

other package co 

and gave to him al 

A committee ma 


atTived at the poini 

sive. By his own . 

The Gilded Age 305 

maliciously brought disrespect upon a Senator of the 
United States, We have no need to hear the rest 
of his evidence." 

The chairman said it would be better and more 
regular to proceed with the investigation according 
to the usual forms, A note would be made of Mr. 
Noble's admission, 

Mr. Noble continued. lie said that it was now 
far past midnight; that he took his leave and went 
straight to certain legislators, told them everything, 
made them count the money and also told them of 
the exposure he would make in joint convention ; he 
made that exposure, as all the world knew. The 
rest of the $10,000 was to be paid the day after 
Dilworthy was elected. 

Senator Dilworthy was now asked to take the 
stand and tell what he knew about the man Noble. 
The Senator wiped his mouth with his handkerchief, 
adjusted his white cravat, and said that but for the 
fact that public morality required an example, for 
the warning of future Nobles, he would beg that in 
Christian charity this poor misguided creature might 
be forgiven and set free. He said that it was but 
too evident that this person had approached him in 
the hope of obtaining a bribe; he had intruded him- 
self time and again, and always with moving stories 
of his poverty. Mr. Dilworthy said that his heart 
had bled for him — insomuch that he had several 
times been on the point of trying to get some one to 
do something for him. Some instinct had told him 


ciiat iL was plain now, thr; 
and that punishment cc 
Senate's lion or he willihe 
one of those ni)'sterious c: 
blc Providence which arc 
by His wisdom and for I- 
given this conspirator's ta 
but this would soon disap 
of truth which would n 

It so happened (said tl 
time in question, a poory( 
in a distant town of my s 
bank; he asked me to 
money; I said I had no m 
try to borrow it. The d 
friend said to me that my < 
very large — especially my 
to lend me some money, 
friend, I said I would like 


^--. 1 

The Gilded Age 307 

tion, and neither did my friend. That night this 
evil man Noble came troubling me again. I could 
not rid myself of him, though my time was very 
precious. He mentioned my young friend and said 
he was very anxious to have $7,000 now to begin 
his banking operations with, and could wait a while 
for the rest. Noble wished to get the money and 
take it to him, 1 finally gave him the two packages 
of bills; I took no note or receipt from him, and 
made no memorandum of the matter. I no more 
look for duplicity and deception in another man than 
I would look for it in myself. I never thought of 
this man again until I was overwhelmed the next day 
by learning what a shameful use he had made of the 
confidence I had reposed in him and the money I 
had entrusted to his care. This is all, gentlemen. 
To the absolute truth of every detail of my statement 
I solemnly swear, and I call Him to witness who is 
the Truth and the loving Father of all whose lips 
abhor false speaking; I pledge my honor as a Sen- 
ator, that I have spoken but the truth. May God 
forgive this wicked man — as I do. 

Mr. Noble — " Senator Dilworthy, your bank ac- 
count shows that up to that day, and even on that 
very day, you conducted all your financial business 
through the medium of checks instead of bills, and 
so kept careful record of every moneyed transaction. 
Why did you deal in bank bills on this particular 

The C/tairman —" The gentleman WJU please to 

ucsires to know." 

Mr. Noble ~^^\^\^,^^ 
tury, perhaps." 

T/lc C/Lairmaii — " Ai 
will procure you the at 

Mr. Noble — •• D^ i 

the committee, too!" 

Several Committeemen 
contempt ! ' ' 

Mr, Noble— ^^Qont^m 
* * Of the committee ! ( 

i Mr. Noble— ^^T\i^ri I 
edged representative of a 
I : as I do that the whole nat 
; fifths of the United States 
Three-fifths of you are Di 

The sergeant-at-arms 
upon the observations of 


The Gilded Age 309 

ternal evidences of its truth. For instance, it is 
customary in all countries for business men to loan 
large sums of money in bank bills instead of checks. 
It is customary for the lender to make no memoran- 
dum of the transaction. It is customary for the 
borrower to receive the money without making a 
memorandum of it, or giving a note or a receipt for 
it — because the borrower is not likely to die or for- 
get about it. It is customary to lend nearly any- 
body money to start a bank with, especially if you 
have not the money to lend him and have to borrow 
it for the purpose. It is customary to carry large 
sums of money in bank bills about your person or 
in your trunk. It is customary to hand a large sum 
in bank bills to a man you have just been introduced 
to (if he asks you to do it) to be conveyed to a 
distant town and delivered to another party. It is 
not customary to make a memorandum of this trans- 
action ; it is not customary for the conveyor to give a 
note or a receipt for the money ; it is not customary 
to require that he shall get a note or a receipt from 
the man he is to convey it to in the distant town. 
It would be at least singular in you to say to the 
proposed conveyor, "You might be robbed; I will 
deposit the money in bank and send a check for it 
to my friend through the mail." 

Very well. It being plain that Senator Dilworthy's 
statement was rigidly true, and this fact being 
strengthened by his adding to it the support of '* his 
honor as a Senator," the committee rendered a ver- 


510 The Gilded Age 

diet of ** Not proven that a bribe had been offered 
and accepted." This, in a manner, exonerated 
Noble and let him escape. 

The committee made its report to the Senate, and 
that body proceeded to consider its acceptance. 
One Senator — indeed, several Senators — objected 
that the committee had failed of its duty ; they had 
proved this man Noble guilty of nothing, they had 
meted out no punishment to him ; if the report were 
accepted, he would go forth free and scathless, 
glorying in his crime, and it would be a tacit admis- 
sion that any blackguard could insult the Senate of 
the United States and conspire against the sacred 
reputation of its members with impunity ; the Senate 
owed it to the upholding of its ancient dignity to 
make an example of this man Noble — he should be 

An elderly Senator got up and took another view 
of the case. This was a Senator of the worn-out 
and obsolete pattern; a man still lingering among 
the cobwebs of the past, and behind the spirit of the 
age. He said that there seemed to be a curious 
misunderstanding of the case. Gentlemen seemed 
exceedingly anxious to preserve and maintain the 
honor and dignity of the Senate. 

Was this to be done by trying an obscure adven- 
turer for attempting to trap a Senator into bribing 
him ? Or would not the truer way be to find out 
whether the Senator was capable of being entrapped 
into so shameless an act, and then try kim f Why, 

The Gilded Age 311 

of course. Now the whole idea of the Senate 
seemed to be to shield the Senator and turn inquiry 
away from him. The true way to uphold the honor 
of the Senate was to have none but honorable men 
in its body. If this Senator had yielded to tempta- 
tion and had offered a bribe, he was a soiled man 
and ought to be instantly expelled; therefore he 
wanted the Senator tried, and not in the usual 
namby-pamby way, but in good earnest. He wanted 
to know the truth of this matter. For himself, he 
believed that the guilt of Senator Dilworthy was 
established beyond the shadow of a doubt; and he 
considered that in trifling with his case and shirking 
it the Senate was doing a shameful and cowardly 
thing — a thing which suggested that in its willing- , 
ness to sit longer in the company of such a man, it^; 
was acknowledging that it was itself of a kind with ■ 
him and was therefore not dishonored by his pres- 
ence. He desired that a rigid examination be made 
into Senator Dilworthy's case, and that it be con- 
tinued clear into the approaching extra session if 
need be. There was no dodging this thing with the 
lame excuse of want of time. 

In reply, an honorable Senator said that he 
thought it would be as well to drop the matter and 
accept the committee's report. He said with some 
jocularity that the more one agitated this thing, the 
worse it was for the agitator. He was not able to 
deny that he believed Senator Dilworthy to be 
guilty — but what then? Was it such an extraordi- 

312 Tbe GOded Age 

nary case? For his part, even allowing the Senator 
to be guilty, he did not think his continued presence 
during the few remaining days of the session would 
contaminate the Senate to a dreadful degree. [This 
humorous sally was received ¥rith smiling admiration 
— notwithstanding it was not wholly new, having 
originated with the Massachusetts General in the 
House a day or two before, upon the occasion of 
the proposed expulsion of a member for selling his 
vote for money.] 

The Senate recognized the fact that it could not 
be contaminated by sitting a few days longer with 
Senator Dilworthy, and so it accepted the conunit- 
tee's report and dropped the unimportant matter. 

Mr. Dilworthy occupied his seat to the last hour 
of the session. He said that his people had reposed 
a trust in him, and it was not for him to desert them. 
He would remain at his post till he perished, if need 

His voice was lifted up and his vote cast for the 
last time, in support of an ingenious measure con- 
trived by the General from Massachusetts whereby 
the President's salary was proposed to be doubled 
and every Congressman paid several thousand dollars 
extra for work previously done, under an accepted 
contract, and already paid for once and receipted 

Senator Dilworthy was offered a grand ovation by 
his friends at home, who said that their affection for 
him and their confidence in him were in no wise im- 

The Gilded Age JIJ 

paired by the persecutions that had pursued him, 
and that he was still good enough for them." 

•The $7,000 left by Mr. Noble with his state l^slature wm pUced 
in safe keeping to await [be claim of the legitimsle ownei. Senator 
Dilwonhy made one little efiiiit thiough bis piol^gt*, tbe embryo banker, 
to recover it, but there being no notes of hand or other memoianda lo 
support tbe claim, it failed. The moral of which is, that when one 
loans money to stait a bank with, otie ought lo take the party's written 
acknowledgment of the [act. 




"Ow holan whath ythew prowte 
kynthoma ogas maiowe" — 

rOR some days Laura had been a free woman 
once more. During this time, she had experi- 
enced — first, two or three days of triumph, excite- 
ment, congratulations, a sort of sunburst of gladness, 
after a long night of gloom and anxiety ; then two 
or three days of calming down, by degrees — are- 
ceding of tides, a quieting of the storm-wash to a 
murmurous surf-beat, a diminishing of devastating 
winds to a refrain that bore the spirit of a truce — 
days given to solitude, rest, self-communion, and 
the reasoning of herself into a realization of the fact 
that she was actually done with bolts and bars, 
prison horrors and impending death; then came a 
day whose hours filed slowly by her, each laden with 
some remnant, some remaining fragment of the 
dreadful time so lately ended — a day which, closing 


The Gilded Age 31 5 

at last, left the past a fading shore behind her and 
turned her eyes toward the broad sea of the future. 
So speedily do we put the dead away and come back 
to our place in the ranks to march in the pilgrimage 
of life again ! 

And now the sun rose once more and ushered in 
the first day of what Laura comprehended and ac- 
cepted as a new life. 

The past had sunk below the horizon, and existed 
no more for her ; she was done with it for all time. 
She was gazing out over the trackless expanses of 
the future now, with troubled eyes. Life must be 
begun again — at eight and twenty years of age. 
And where to begin? The page was blank, and 
waiting for its first record; so this was indeed a 
momentous day. 

Her thoughts drifted back, stage by stage, over 
her career. As far as the long highway receded 
over the plain of her life, it was lined with the gilded 
and pillared splendors of her ambition all crumbled 
to ruin and ivy-grown; every milestone marked a 
disaster; there was no green spot remaining any- 
where in memory of a hope that had found its 
fruition ; the unresponsive earth had uttered no voice 
of flowers in testimony that one who was blest had 
gone that road. 

Her life had been a failure. That was plain, she 
said. No more of that. She would now look the 
future in the face; she would mark her course upon 
the chart of life, and follow it; follow it without 


316 The Gilded Age 

swerving, through rocks and shoals, through storm 
and calm, to a haven of rest and peace — or^ ship* 
wreck. Let the end be what it might, she would 
mark her course now — to-day — and follow it. 

On her table lay six or seven notes. They were 
from lovers ; from some of the prominent names in 
the land; men whose devotion had survived even 
the grisly revealments of her character which the 
courts had uncurtained; men who knew her now, 
just as she was, and yet pleaded as for their lives for 
the dear privilege of calling the murderess wife. 

As she read these passionate, these worshiping, 
these supplicating missives, the woman in her nature 
confessed itself ; a strong yearning came upon her 
to lay her head upon a loyal breast and find rest 
from the conflict of life, solace for her griefs, the 
healing of love for her bruised heart. 

With her forehead resting upon her hand, she 
sat thinking, thinking, while the unheeded moments 
, winged their flight. It was one of those mornings 
in early spring when nature seems just stirring to a 
half consciousness out of a long, exhausting leth- 
argy ; when the first faint balmy airs go wandering 
about, whispering the secret of the coming change ; 
when the abused brown grass, newly relieved of 
snow, seems considering whether it can be worth the 
trouble and worry of contriving its green raiment 
again only to fight the inevitable fight with the im- 
placable winter and be vanquished and buried once 
more; when the sun shines out and a few birds 

318 The Gilded Age 

belonging of the old life. Henceforth that life and 
all that appertains to it are as dead to me and as far 
removed from me as if I were become a denizen of 
another world." 

She said that love was not for her — the time that 
it could have satisfied her heart was gone by and 
could not return ; the opportunity was lost, nothing 
could restore it. She said there could be no love 
without respect, and she would only despise a man 
who could content himself with a thing like her. 
Love, she said, was a woman's first necessity; love 
being forfeited, there was but one thing left that 
could give a passing zest to a wasted life, and that 
was fame, admiration, the applause of the multitude. 

And so her resolution was taken. She would turn 
to that final resort of the disappointed of her sex, 
the lecture platform. She would array herself in 
fine attire, she would adorn herself with jewels, and 
stand in her isolated magnificence before massed 
audiences and enchant them with her eloquence and 
amaze them with her unapproachable beauty*. She 
would move from city to city like a queen of 
romance, leaving marveling multitudes behind her 
and impatient multitudes awaiting her coming. Her 
life, during one hour of each day, upon the plat- 
form, would be a rapturous intoxication — and when 
the curtain fell, and the lights were out, and the 
people gone, to nestle in their homes and forget 
her, she would find in sleep oblivion of her home- 
Jessness, if she could, if not $he would brave Qut the 

The Gilded Age 319 

night in solitude and wait for the next day's hour of 

So, to take up life and be^n again was no great 
evil. She saw her way. She would be brave and 
strong; she would make the best of what was left 
for her among the possibilities. 

She sent for the lecture agent, and matters were 
soon arranged. 

Straightway all the papers were filled with her 
name, and all the dead walls flamed with it. The 
papers called down imprecations upon her head; 
they reviled her without stint; they wondered if all 
sense of decency was dead in this shameless mur- 
deress, this brazen lobbyist, this heartless seducer of 
the affections of weak and misguided men ; they im- 
plored the people, for the sake of their pure wives, 
their sinless daughters, for the sake of decency, for 
the sake of public morals, to give this wretched 
creature such a rebuke as should be an all-sufficient 
evidence to her and to such as her that there was a 
limit where the flaunting of their foul acts and opin- 
ions before the world must stop; certain of them, 
with a higher art, and to her a finer cruelty, a 
sharper torture, uttered no abuse, but always spoke 
of her in terms of mocking eulogy and ironical ad- 
miration. Everybody talked about the new wonder, 
canvassed the theme of her proposed discourse, and 
marveled how she would handle it. 

Laura's few friends wrote to her or came and 
talked with her, and pleaded with her to retire while 

320 The Gilded Age 

it was yet time, and not attempt to face the gather- 
ing storm. But it was fruitless. She was stung to 
the quick by the comments of the newspapers; her 
spirit was roused, her ambition was towering, now. 
She was more determined than ever. She would 
show these people what a hunted and persecuted 
woman could do. 

The eventful night came. Laura arrived before 
the great lecture hall in a close carriage within five 
minutes of the time set for the lecture to begin. 
When she stepped out of the vehicle her heart beat 
fast and her eyes flashed with exultation; the whole 
street was packed with people, and she could hardly 
force her way to the hall ! She reached the ante- 
room, threw off her wraps, and placed herself before 
the dressing- glass. She turned herself this way and 
that — everything was satisfactory, her attire was 
perfect. She smoothed her hair, re-arranged a jewel 
here and there, and all the while her heart sang within 
her, and her face was radiant. She had not been so 
happy for ages and ages, it seemed to her. Oh, no, 
she had never been so overwhelmingly grateful aod 
happy in her whole life before. The lecture agent 
appeared at the door. She waved him away and said : 

"Do not disturb me. I want no introduction. 
And do not fear for me; the moment the hands 
point to eight I will step upon the platform." 

He disappeared. She held her watch before her. 
She was so impatient that the second hand seemed 
whole tedious minutes dragging its way around Utc 

The Gilded Age 321 

circle. At last the supreme moment came, and with 
head erect and the bearing of an empress she swept 
through the door and stood upon the stage. Her 
eyes fell upon — 

Only a vast, brilhant emptiness — there were not 
forty people in the house ! There were only a hand- 
ful of coarse men and ten or twelve still coarser 
women, lolling upon the benches and scattered about 
singly and in couples. 

Her pulses stood still, her limbs quaked, the glad- 
ness went out of her face. There was a moment of 
silence, and then a bruta! laugh and an explosion of 
cat-calls and hisses saluted her from the audience. 
The clamor grew stronger and louder, and insulting 
speeches were shouted at her, A half-intoxicated 
man rose up and threw something, which missed 
her but bespattered a chair at her side, and this 
evoked an outburst of laughter and boisterous ad- 
miration. She was bewildered, her strength was 
forsaking her. She reeled away from the platform, 
reached the anteroom, and dropped helpless upon a 
sofa. The lecture agent ran in, with a hurried ques- 
tion upon his lips; but she put forth her hands, and 
with the tears raining from her eyes, said : 

"Oh, do not speak! Take me away — please 
take me away, out of this dreadful place! Oh, this 
is like all my life — failure, disappointment, misery 
— always misery, always failure. What have I done, 
to be so pursued ! Take me away, I beg of you, I 
implore you !" 

322 The Gilded Age 

Upon the pavement she was hustled by the mob, 
the surging masses roared her name and accompanied 
it with every species of insulting epithet; they 
thronged after the carriage, hooting, jeering, cursing, 
and even assailing the vehicle with missiles. A 
stone crushed through a blind, wounding Laura's 
forehead, and so stunning her that she hardly knew 
what further transpired during her flight. 

It was long before her faculties were wholly re- 
stored, and then she found herself lying on the floor 
by a sofa in her own sitting-room, and alone. So 
she supposed she must have sat down upon the sofa 
and afterward fallen. She raised herself up, witii 
difficulty, for the air was chilly and her limbs were 
stiff. She turned up the gas and sought the glass. 
She hardly knew herself, so worn and old she looked, 
and so marred with blood were her features. The 
night was far spent, and a dead stillness reigned. 
She sat down by her table, leaned her elbows upon 
it, and put her face in her hands. 

Her thoughts wandered back over her old life 
again and her tears flowed unrestrained. Her pride 
was humbled, her spirit was broken. Her memory 
found but one resting-place; it lingered about her 
young girlhood with a caressing regret; it dwelt 
upon it as the one brief interval in her life that bore 
no curse. She saw herself again in the budding 
grace of her twelve years, decked in her dainty pride 
of ribbons, consorting with the bees and the butter- 
flies, believing in fairies, holding confidential coir- 

The Gilded Age 323 

verse with the flowers, busying herself all day long 
with airy trifles that were as weighty to her as the 
aflairs that tax the brains of diplomats and emperors. 
She was without sin, then, and unacquainted with 
grief; the world was full of sunshine and her heart 
was full of music. From that — to this ! 

"If I could only die!" she said, "If I could 
only go back, and be as I was then, for one hour — ■ 
and hold my father's hand in mine again, and see all 
the household about me. as in that old innocent time — 
and then diel My God, I am humbled, my pride is 
all gone, my stubborn heart repents — have pity! " 

When the spring morning dawned, the form still 
sat there, the elbows resting upon the table and the 
face upon the hands. All day long the figure sat 
there, the sunshine enriching its costly raiment and 
flashing from its jewels ; twilight came, and presently 
the stars, but still the figure remained ; the moon 
found it there still, and framed the picture with the 
shadow of the window sash, and flooded it with 
mellow light; by and by the darkness swallowed it 
up, and later the gray dawn revealed it again; the 
new day grew toward its prime, and still the forlorn 
presence was undisturbed. 

But now the keepers of the house had become 
uneasy; their periodical knockings still finding no 
response, they burst open the door. 

The jury of inquest found that death had resulted 
from heart disease, and was instant and painless. 
That was all. Merely heart disease. 


Han aga ikke ilde som veed at Tcnde. 

CLAY HAWKINS, years gone by, had yielded, 
after many a struggle, to the migratory and 
speculative instinct of our age and our people, and 
had wandered further and further westward upon 
trading ventures. Settling finally in Melbourne, 
Australia, he ceased to roam, became a steady-going, 
substantial merchant, and prospered greatly. His 
life lay beyond the theater of this tale. 

His remittances had supported the Hawkins 
family, entirely, from the time of his father's death 
until latterly when Laura, by her efforts in Washing- 
ton, had been able to assist in this work. Clay was 
away on a long absence in some of the eastward 
islands when Laura's troubles began, trying (and 
almost in vain) to arrange certain interests which 
had become disordered through a dishonest agent, 
and consequently he knew nothing of the murder 
till he returned and read his letters and papers. His 

The Gilded Age 32S 

natural impulse was to hurry to the States and save 
his sister, if possible, for he loved her with a deep 
and abiding affection. His business was so crippled 
now, and so deranged, that to leave it would be 
ruin ; therefore he so!d out at a sacrifice that left 
him considerably reduced in worldly possessions, 
and began his voyage to San Francisco. Arrived 
there, he perceived by the newspapers that the trial 
was near its close. At Sa!t Lake later telegrams 
told him of the acquittal, and his gratitude was 
boundless — so boundless, indeed, that sleep was 
driven from his eyes by the pleasurable excitement 
almost as effectually as preceding weeks of anxiety 
had done it. He shaped his course straight for 
Hawkeye, now, and his meeting with his mother and 
the rest of the household was joyful — albeit he had 
been away so long that he seemed almost a stranger 
in his own home. 

But the greetings and congratulations were hardly 
finished when all the journals in the land clamored 
the news of Laura's miserable death. Mrs. Haw- 
kins was prostrated by this last blow, and it was 
well that Clay was at her side to stay her with com- 
forting words and take upon himself the ordering of 
the household with its burden of labors and cares. 

Washington Hawkins had scarcely more than en- 
tered upon that decade which carries one to the full 
blossom of manhood which we term the beginning of 
middle age, and yet a brief sojourn at the capital of 
the nation had made him old. His hair was already 


326 The Gilded Age 

turning gray when the late session of Congress began 
its sittings ; it grew grayer still, and rapidly, after 
the memorable day that saw Laura proclaimed a 
murderess ; it waxed grayer and still grayer during 
the lading suspense that succeeded it and after the 
crash which ruined his last hope — the failure of his 
bill in the Senate and the destruction of its cham- 
pion, Dilworthy. A few days later, when he stood 
uncovered while the last prayer was pronounced over 
Laura's grave, his hair was whiter and his face 
hardly less old than the venerable minister's whose 
words were sounding in his ears. 

A week after this, he was sitting in a double- 
bedded room in a cheap boarding-house ]n Washing- 
ton, with Colonel Sellers. The two had been living 
together lately, and this mutual cavern of theirs the 
Colonel sometimes referred to as their "premises" 
and sometimes as their ' ' apartments ' ' — more par- 
ticularly when conversing with persons outside. A 
canvas-covered modern trunk, marked " G. W. H." 
stood on end by the door, strapped and ready for a 
journey; on it lay a small morocco satchel, also 
marked " G. W. H." There was another trunk 
close by — a worn and scarred and ancient hair 
relic, with " B. S." wrought in brass nails on its 
top ; on it lay a pair of saddle-bags that probably 
knew more about the last century than they could 
tell. Washington got up and walked the floor a 
while in a restless sort of way, and finally was about 
to sit down on the hair trunk. 

The Gilded Age 327 

"Stop, don't sit down on that!" exclaimed 
the Colonel. "There, now — that's all right — 
the chair's better. I couldn't get another trunk 
like that — not another like it in America, I 

" I am afraid not," said Washington, with a faint 
attempt at a smile. 

"No, indeed; the man is de»d that made that 
trunk and that saddle-bags." 

"Are his great-grandchildren still living?" said 
Washington, with levity only in the words, not in 
the tone. 

" Well, I don't know — I hadn't thought of that 
— but anyway they can't make trunks and saddle- 
bags like that, if they are — no man can," said the 
Colonel with honest simplicity. " Wife didn't like 
to see me going off with that trunk — she said it was 
nearly certain to be stolen." 


" Why? Why, aren't trunks always being stolen?" 

" Well, yes — some kinds of trunks are." 

" Very well, then ; this is some kind of a trunk — 
and an almighty rare kind, too." 

"Yes, I believe it is." 

"Well, then, why shouldn't a man want to steal 
it if he got a chance? " 

" Indeed I don't know. — Why should he?" 

" Washington, I never heard anybody talk like 
you. Suppose you were a thief, and that trunk was 
lying around and nobody watching — wouldn't you 

52S The Gilded Age 

steal it! Come, now, answer fair — wouldn't you 
steal it?" 

"Well, now, since you corner me, I don't know 
but I would take it, — but I wouldn't consider it 
stealing. ' ' 

"You wouldn't! Well, that beats me. Now, 
what would you call stealing?" 

"Why, taking property is stealing." 

"Property! Now, what a way to talk that is. 
What do you suppose that trunk is worth?" 

" Is it in good repair?" 

" Perfect, Hair rubbed off a little, but the main 
structure is perfectly sound." 

" Does it leak anywhere?" 

" Leak? Do you want to carry water in it? 
What do you mean by does it leak?" 

"Why — a — do the clothes fall out of it when 
it is — when it is stationary?" 

"Confound it, Washington, you are trying to 
make fun of me. I don't know what has got into 
you to-day ; you act mighty curious. What is the 
matter with you?" 

"Well, I'll tell you, old friend. I am almost 
happy. I am, indeed. It wasn't Clay's telegram 
that hurried me up so and got me ready to start 
with you. It was a letter from Louise." 

" Good ! What is it? What does she say?" 

"She says come home — her father has con- 
sented, at last." 

" My boy, I want to congratulate you; I want to 

The Gilded Age 329 

shake you by the hand ! It's a long turn that has 
no lane at the end of it, as the proverb says, or 
somehow that way. You'l! be happy yet, and 
Beriah Sellers will be there to see, thank God !" 

" I believe it. General Boswell is pretty nearly a 
poor man now. The railroad that was going to 
build up Hawkcye made short work of him, along 
with the rest. He isn't so opposed to a son-in-law 
without a fortune now," 

"Without a fortune, indeed! Why, that Ten- 
nessee Land " 

" Never mind the Tennessee land, Colonel. I am 
done with that, forever and forever " 

"Why, no! You can't mean to say " 

" My father, away back yonder, years ago, 
bought it for a blessing for his children, and " 

" Indeed he did ! Si Hawkins said to me " 

" It proved a curse to him as long as he lived, and 
never a curse like it was inflicted upon any man's j 
heirs ' ' . 

"I'm bound to say there's more or less truth 

" It began to curse me when I was a baby, and it 
has cursed every hour of my life to this day " 

"Lord, Lord, but it's so! Time and again my 
wife ' ' 

" I depended on it all through my boyhood and 
never tried to do an honest stroke of work for my 
living " 

' ' Right again — but then you ' * 


330 The Gilded Age 

"I have chased it years and years as children 
cha'se butterflies. We might all have been prosper- 
ous now; we might all have been happy, all these 
heart-breaking years, if we had accepted our poverty 
at first and gone contentedly to work and built up 
our own weal by our own toil and sweat " 

" It's so, it's so; bless my soul, how often I've 
told Si Hawkins " 

" Instead of that, we have suffered more than the 
damned themselves suffer ! I loved my father, and 
I honor his memory and recognise his good inten- 
tions ; but I grieve for his mistaken ideas of confer- 
ring happiness upon his children. I am going to 
begin my life over again, and begin it and end it with 
good solid work I I'll leave «y children no Ten- 
nessee Land I " 

"Spoken like a man, sir, spoken like a manl 
Your hand again, my boy ! And always remember 
that when a word of advice from Beriah Sellers can 
help, it is at your service. I'm going to b^in 
again, too!" 

' ' Indeed ! ' ' 

" Yes, sir. I've seen enough to show me where 
my mistake was. The law is what I was born for. 
I shall begin the study of the law. Heavens and 
earth, but that Braham's a wonderful man — a won- 
derful man, sir! Such a head I And such a way 
with him ! But I could see that he was jealous of 
me. The little licks I got in in the course of my 
argument before the jury " 

The GUded Age J5t 

" Your argument 1 Why, you were a witness." 

" Oh, yes, to the popular eye, to the popular eye 
■ — but / knew when I was dropping information and 
when I was letting drive at the court with an insidi- 
ous argument. But the court knew it, bless you, 
and weakened every time ! And Braham knew it. 
I just reminded him of it in a quiet way, and its final 
result, and he said in a whisper, ' You did it, Colonel, 
you did it, sir — but keep it mum for my sake; and 
I'll tell you what^yua do,' says he, ' you go into the 
law, Colonel Sellers — go into the law, sir; that's 
your native element!' And into the law the sub- 
scriber is going. There's worlds of money in it! — 
whole worlds of money 1 Practice first in Hawkeye, 
then in Jefferson, then in St. Louis, then in New 
York! In the metropolis of the Western world! 
Climb, and climb, and climb — and wind upon the 
Swpreme bench. Beriah Sellers, Chief Justice of the 
Sttpreme Court of the United States, sir! A made 
man for all time and eternity! That's the way / 
block it out, sir — and it's as clear as day — clear 
as the rosy morn!" 

Washington had heard little of this. The first 
reference to Laura's trial had brought the old dejec- 
tion to his face again, and he stood gazing out of the 
window at nothing, lost in reverie. 

There was a knock — the postman handed in a 
letter. It was from Obedstown, East Tennessee, 
and was for Washington. He opened it. There 
was a note saying that enclosed he would please find 


332 The Gilded Age 

a bill for the current year's taxes on the 75,000 
acres of Tennessee Land belonging to the estate of 
Silas Hawkins, deceased, and added that the money 
must be paid within sixty days or the land would be 
sold at public auction for the taxes, as provided by 
law. The bill was for $i8o — something more than 
twice the market value of the land, perhaps. 

Washington hesitated. Doubts flitted through his 
mind. The old instinct came upon him to cling to 
the land just a little longer and give it one more 
chance. He walked the floor feverishly, his mind 
tortured by indecision. Presently he stopped, took 
out his pocket-book and counted his money. Two ' 
hundred and thirty dollars — it was all he had in the 

** One hundred and eighty. . . .from two hundred 
and thirty," he said to himself. ** Fifty left. . . .It 
is enough to get me home. . . .Shall I do it, or shall 
I not?. . . .1 wish I had somebody to decide for me." 

The pocket-book lay open in his hand, witii 
Louise's small letter in view. His eye fell upon 
that, and it decided him. 

**It shall go for taxes," he said, •'and never 
tempt me or mine any more !" 

He opened the window and stood there tearing 
the tax bill to bits and watching the breeze waft 
them away, till all were gone. 

**The spell is broken, the life-long curse is 
ended !" he said. ** Let us go." 

The baggage wagon had arrived; five minutes 

The Gilded Age 


later the two friends were mounted upon their lug- 
gage in it, and rattling off toward the station, the 
Colonel endeavoring to sing " Homeward. Bound," 
a song whose words he knew, but whose tune, as he 
rendered it, was a trial to auditors. 




Gedi kanadiben tsannawii 


•—La xalog, la xamaih mi-x-ul nu qiza u quid gih, u qu)al agab? 


PHILIP STERLING'S circumstances were becom- 
ing straitened. The prospect was gloomy. His 
long siege of unproductive labor was beginning 
to tell upon his spirits ; but what told still more upon 
them was the undeniable fact that the promise of 
ultimate success diminished every day now. That 
is to say, the tunnel had reached a point in the hill 
which was considerably beyond where the coal vein 
should pass (according to all his calculations) if 
there were a coal vein there ; and so, every foot that 
the tunnel now progressed seemed to carry it further 
away from the object of the search. 

Sometimes he ventured to hope that he had made 
a mistake in estimating the direction which the vein 
should naturally take after crossing the valley and 
entering the hill. Upon such occasions he would go 
into the nearest mine on the vein he was hunting 


Tbe Gilded Age 335 

for, and once more get the bearings of the deposit 
and mark out its probable course; but the result 
was the same every time; his tunnel had manifestly 
pierced beyond the natural point of junction; and 
then his spirits feli a little lower. His men had 
already lost faith, and he often overheard them say- 
ing it was perfectly plain that there was no coal in 
the hiU. 

Foremen and l^rers from neighboring mines, 
and no end of experienced loafers from the village, 
visited the tunnel**from time to time, and their ver- 
dicts were always the same and always dishearten- 
ing — "No coal in that hill. ' ' Now and then 
Philip would sit down and think it all over and 
wonder what the mystery meant ; then he would go 
into the tunnel and ask the men if there were no 
signs yet. None — always " none." He would 
bring out a piece of rock and examine it, and say to 
himself, "It is limestone — it has crinoids and corals 
in it — the rock is right." Then he would throw it 
down with a sigh, and say, " But that is nothing; 
where coal is, limestone with these fossils in it is 
pretty certain to He against its foot casing; but it 
does not necessarily follow that where this peculiar 
rock is, coal must lie above it or beyond it; this 
sign is not sufficient." 

The thought usually followed: "There is one 
infallible sign — if I could only strike that!" 

Three or four times in as many weeks he said to 
himself, " Am I a visionary? I mustbe a visionary; 



336 The Gilded Age 

everybody is in these days ; everybody chases butter- 
flies ; everybody seeks sudden fortune and will not 
lay one up by slow toil. This is not right, I will 
discharge the men and go at some honest work. 
There is no coal here. What a fool I have been; I 
will give it up." 

But he never could do it. A half hour of pro- 
found thinking always followed ; and at the end of 
it he was sure to get up and straighten himself and 
say : * * There is coal there ; I will not give it up ; 
and coal or no coal I will drive the tunnel clear 
through the hill ; I will not surrender while I am 

He never thought of asking Mr. Montague for 
more money. He said there was now but one 
chance of finding coal against nine hundred and 
ninety-nine that he would not find it, and so it would 
be wrong in him to make the request and foolish in 
Mr. Montague to grant it. 

He had been working three shifts of men. 
Finally, the settling of a weekly account exhausted 
his means. He could not afford to run in debt, and 
therefore he gave the men their discharge. They 
came into his cabin presently, where he sat with his 
elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands, the pic- 
ture of discouragement, and their spokesman said: 

** Mr. Sterling, when Tim was down a week with 
his fall you kept him on half wages, and it was a 
mighty help to his family ; whenever any of us was 
in trouble you've done what you could to help us 

The Gilded Age 337 

out; you've acted fair and square with us every 
tim?, and I reckon we are men and know a man 
when wc see him. We haven't got any faith in that 
hill, but we have a respect for a man that's got the 
pluck that you've showed; you've fought a good 
fight, with everybody agin you, and if we had grub 
to go on, I'm d — d if we wouldn't stand by you till 
the cows come home ! That is what the boys say, 
Mow we want to put in one parting blast for luck. 
We want to work three days more ; if we don't find 
anything, we won't bring in no bill against you. 
That is what we've come to say." 

Philip was touched. If he had had money enough 
to buy three days* " grub " he would have accepted 
the generous offer, but as it was, he could not con- 
sent to be less magnanimous than the men, and so 
he declined in a manly speech, shook hands all 
around, and resumed his solitary communings. The 
men went back to the tunnel and " put in a parting 
blast for luck," anyhow. They did a full day's 
work and then took their leave. They called at his 
cabin and gave him good-bye, but were not able to 
tell him their day's effort had given things a more 
promising look. 

The next day Philip sold all the tools but two or 
three sets; he also sold one of the now deserted 
cabins as old lumber, together with its domestic 
wares, and made up hts mind that he would buy 
provisions with the trifle of money thus gained and 
continue his work alone. About the middle of the 

}38 The Gilded Age 

afternoon he put on his roughest clothes and went 
to the tunnel. He lit a candle and groped his vajr 
in. Presently he heard the sound of a pick or a 
drill, and wondered what it meant. A spark of light 
now appeared in the far end of the tunnel, and when 
he arrived there he found the man Tim at work. 
Tim said: 

" I'm to have a job in the Golden Brier mine by 
and by — in a week or ten days — and I'm going to 
work here till then, A man might as well be at 
something, and besides I consider that I owe you 
what you paid me when I was laid up." 

Philip said, Oh, no, he didn't owe anything; 
but Tim persisted, and then Philip said he had a 
little provision now, and would share. So for 
several days Philip held the drill and Tim did the 
striking. At first Philip was impatient to see the 
result of every blast, and was always back and peer- 
ing among the smoke the moment after the explo- 
sion. But there was never any encouraging result; 
and therefore he finally lost almost all interest, and 
hardly troubled himself to inspect results at all. He 
simply labored on, stubbornly and with little hope. 

Tim stayed with him till the last moment, and 
then took up his job at the Golden Brier, apparendy 
as depressed by the continued barrenness of their 
mutual labors as Philip was himself. After that, 
Philip fought his battle alone, day after day, and 
slow work it was; he could scarcely see that he 
made any progress. 

The GUded Age 539 

Late one afternoon he finished drilling 3 hole 
which he had been at work at for more than two 
hours; he swabbed it out, and poured in the powder 
and inserted the fuse; then filled up the rest of the 
hole with dirt and small fragments of stone; tamped 
it down firmly, touched his candle to the fuse, and 
ran. By and by the dull report came, and he was 
about to walk back mechanically and see what was 
accomplished ; but he halted ; presently turned on 
his heel and thought, rather than said ; 

" No, this is useless, this is absurd. If I found 
anything it would only be one of those little aggra- 
vating seams of coal which doesn't mean anything, 
and " 

By this time he was walking out of the tunnel. 
His thought ran on : 

" I am conquered. . . .1 am out of provisions, out 
of money. . . .1 have got to give it up. . . .All this 
hard work lost ! But I am not conquered ! I will 
go and work for money, and come back and have 
another fight with fate. Ah, me, it may be years, 
it may be years." 

Arrived at the mouth of the tunnel, he threw his 
coat upon the ground, sat down on a stone, and his 
eye sought the westering sun and dwelt upon the 
charming landscape which stretched its woody 
ridges, wave upon wave, to the golden horizon. 

Something was taking place at his feet which did 
not attract his attention. 

His reverie continued, and its burden grew more 


540 The Gilded Age 

and more gloomy. Presently he rose up and cast a 
look far away toward the valley, and his thoughts 
took a new direction : 

"There it tst How good it looks I But down 
there is not up here. Well, I will go home and pack 
up — there is nothing else to do." 

He moved off moodily toward his cabin. He bad 
gone some distance before he thought of his coat; 
then he was about to turn back, but he smiled at the 
thought, and continued his journey — such a coat as 
that could be of little use in a civilized land. A 
little further on, he remembered that there were 
some papers of value in one of the pockets of the 
relic, and then with a petulant ejaculation he turned 
back, picked up the coat and put it on. 

He made a dozen steps, and then stopped very 
suddenly. He stood still a moment, as one who is 
trying to believe something and cannot. He put a 
hand up over his shoulder and felt his back, and a 
great thrill shot through him. He grasped the skirt 
of the coat impulsively and another thrill followed. 
He snatched the coat from his back, glanced at it, 
threw it from him and flew back to the tunnel. He 
sought the spot where the coat had lain — he had to 
look close, for the light was waning — then, to make 
sure, he put his hand to the ground and a little 
stream of water swept against his fingers: 

"Thank God, I've struck it at last!" 

He lit a candle and ran into the tunnel ; he picked op 
a piece of rubbish cast out by the last blast, and said ; 

The Gilded Age 

" TTiis clayey stuff is what I've longed for — I 
know what is behind it." 

He swung his pick with hearty good will till long 
after the darkness had gathered upon the earth, and 
when he trudged home at length he knew he had a 
coal vein and that it was seven feet thick from wall 
to wall. 

He found a yellow envelope lying on his rickety 
tabic, and recognized that it was of a family sacred 
to the transmission of telegrams : 

He opened it, read it, crushed it in his hand and 
threw it down. It simply said : 

" Ruth is very ill." 


Alalia pomaikai kaua, ola na iwi iloko o ko kana man la demaknle. 

■f il iV I'i tl WM I*, Ql 

IT was evening when Philip took the cars at the 
Ih'um station. The news of his success had 
preceded him, and while he waited for the train, he 
was the center of a group of eager questioners, who 
asked him a hundred things about the mine, and 
magnified his good fortune. There was no mistake 
this time. 

Philip, in luck, had become suddenly a person of 
consideration, whose speech was freighted with 
meaning, whose looks were all significant. The 
words of the proprietor of a rich coal mine have a 
golden sound, and his common sayings are repeated 
as if they were solid wisdom. 

Philip wished to be alone; his good fortune at 
this moment seemed an empty mockery, one of 
those sarcasms of fate, such as that which spreads a 


The Gilded Age 343 

dainty banquet for the man who has no appetite. 
He had longed for success principally for Ruth's 
sake ; and perhaps now, at this very moment of his 
triumph, she was dying. 

" Shu St what I said, Mister Sderling," the land- 
lord of the Ilium hotel kept repeating. " I dold Jake 
Schmidt he find him derc shust so sure as noting." 

"You ought to have taken a share, Mr. Dusen- 
heimer," said Philip. 

" Yaas, I know. But d'old woman, she say, 
'You sticks to your pisiness. So I sticks to 'em. 
Und I makes noting. Dat Mister Prierly, he don't 
never come back here no more, ain't it?" 


" Veil, dere is so many peers, und so many oder 
dhrinks, I got 'em all set down, ven he coomes 
back. ' ' 

It was a long night for Philip, and a restless one. 
At any other time the swing of the cars would have 
lulled him to sleep, and the rattle and clank of 
wheels and rails, the roar of the whirling iron, would 
have only been cheerful reminders of swift and safe 
travel. Now they were voices of warning and taunt- 
ing ; and instead of going rapidly the train seemed 
to crawl at a snail's pace. And it not only crawled, 
but it frequently stopped ; and when it stopped it 
stood dead still, and there was an ominous silence. 
Was anything the matter, he wondered. Only a 
station, probably. Perhaps, he thought, a tele- 
graphic station. And then he listened e^erly. 

344 The Gilded Age 

Would the conductor open the door and ask for 
Philip Sterling, and hand him a fatal dispatch? 

How long they seemed to wait. And then slowly 
beginning to move, they were off again, shaking, 
pounding, screaming through the night. He drew 
his curtain from time to time and looked out. There 
was the lurid sky line of the wooded range along the 
base of which they were crawling. There was the 
Susquehanna, gleaming in the moonlight. There 
was a stretch of level valley with silent farm houses, 
the occupants all at rest, without trouble, without 
anxiety. There was a church, a graveyard, a mill, 
a village ; and now, without pause or fear, the train 
had mounted a trestle work high in air and was 
creeping along the top of it, while a swift torrent 
foamed a hundred feet below. 

What would the morning bring? Even while he 
was flying to her, her gentle spirit might have gone 
on another flight, whither he could not follow her. 
He was full of foreboding. He fell at length into a 
restless doze. There was a noise in his ears as of a 
rushing torrent when a stream is swollen by a freshet 
in the spring. It was like the breaking up of life ; 
he was struggling in the consciousness of coming 
death; when Ruth stood by his side, clothed in 
white, with a face like that of an angel, radiant, 
smiling, pointing to the sky, and saying, "Come." 
He awoke with a cry — the train was roaring through 
a bridge, and it shot out into daylight. 

When morning came the train was industriously 

The Gilded Age 345 

toiling along through the fat lands of Lancaster, 
with its broad farms of corn and wheat, its mean 
houses of stone, its vast barns and granaries, built 
as if for storing the riches of Heliogabalus. Then 
came the smiling fields of Chester, with their English 
green, and soon the county of Philadelphia itself, 
and the increasing signs of the approach to a great 
city. Long trains of coal cars, laden and unladen, 
stood upon sidings; the tracks of other roads were 
crossed ; the smoke of other locomotives was seen 
on parallel lines; factories multiplied; streets ap- 
peared; the noise of a busy city began to fill the 
air ; and with a slower and slower clank on the con- 
necting rails and interlacing switches the train rolled 
into the station and stood still. 

It was a hot August morning. The broad streets 
glowed in the sun, and the white-shuttered houses 
stared at the hot thoroughfares like closed bakers'- 
ovens set along the highway. Philip was oppressed 
with the heavy air ; the sweltering city lay as in a 
swoon. Taking a street car, he rode away to the 
northern part of the city, the newer portion, former- 
ly the district of Spring Garden, for in this the Bol- 
tons now lived, in a small brick house, befitting their 
altered fortunes. 

He could scarcely restrain his impatience when he 
came in sight of the house. The window shutters 
were not "bowed"; thank God for that. Ruth 
was still living, then. He ran up the steps and rang. 
Mrs. Bolton met him at the door. 

346 The Gilded Age 

•'Thee is very welcome, Philip." 

••And Ruth?" 

•• She is very ill, but quieter than she has been, 
and the fever is a little abating. The most dangerous 
time will be when the fever leaves her. The doctor 
fears she will not have strength enough to rally from 
it. Yes, thee can see her." 

Mrs. Bolton led the way to the little chamber 
where Ruth lay. ** Oh," said her mother, "if she 
were only in her cool and spacious room in our old 
home. She says that seems like heaven." 

Mr. Bolton sat by Ruth's bedside, and he rose 
and silently pressed Philip's hand. The room had 
but one window ; that was wide open to admit the 
air, but the air that came in was hot and lifeless. 
Upon the table stood a vase of flowers. Ruth's 
eyes were closed; her cheeks were flushed with 
fever, and she moved her head restlessly as if in 

••Ruth," said her mother, bending over her, 
••Philip is here." 

Ruth's eyes unclosed, there was a gleam of recog- 
nition in them, there was an attempt at a smile upon 
her face, and she tried to raise her thin hand, as 
Philip touched her forehead with his lips; and he 
heard her murmur : 

••Dear Phil." 

There was nothing to be done but to watch aD< 
wait for the cruel fever to burn itself out. D 
Longstrect told Philip that the fever had undou 

The Gilded Age >47 

edly been contracted in the hospital, but it was not 
malignant, and would be little dangerous if Ruth 
were not so worn down with work, or if she had a 
less delicate constitution. 

" It is only her indomitable will that has kept her 
up for weeks. And if that should leave her now, 
there will be no hope. You can do more for her 
now, sir, than I can," 

"How?" asked Philip eagerly. 

"Your presence, more than anything else, will 
inspire her with the desire to live, ' ' 

When the fever turned Ruth was in a very criti- 
cal condition. For two days her life was like the 
fluttering of a lighted candle in the wind. Philip 
was constantly by her side, and she seemed to be 
conscious of his presence, and to cling to him, as 
one borne away by a swift stream clings to a 
stretched-out hand from the shore. If he was ab- 
sent a moment her restless eyes sought something 
they were disappointed not to find, 

Philip so yearned to bring her back to life, he 
willed it so strongly and passionately, that his will 
appeared to affect hers and she seemed slowly to 
draw life from his. 

After two days of this struggle with the grasping 
enemy, it was evident to Dr. Longstreet that Ruth's 
will was beginning to issue its orders to her body 
with some force, and that strength was slowly 
coming back. In another day there was a decided 
improvement. As Philip sat holding her weak hand 



348 The Gilded Age 

and watching the least sign of resolution in her face, 
Ruth was able to whisper: 

" I so want to live, for you, Phill" 

"You will, darling, you must," said Philip, in a 
tone of faith and course that carried a thrill of de- 
termination — of command — along all her nerves. 

Slowly Philip drew her back to life. Slowly she 
came back, as one willing but well nigh helpless. 
It was new for Ruth to feel this dependence on 
another's nature, to consciously draw strength of 
will from the will of another. It was a new but a 
dear joy, to be lifted up and carried back into the 
happy world, which was now all aglow with the light 
of love ; to be lifted and carried by the one she loved 
more than her own life. 

"Sweetheart," she said to Philip, " I would not 
have cared to come back but for thy love." 

" Not for thy profession?" 

" Oh, thee may be glad enough of that some day, 
when thy coal bed is dug out and thee and father 
are in the air again." 

When Ruth was able to ride she was taken into 
the country, for the pure air was necessary to her 
speedy recovery. The family went with her. Philip 
could not be spared from her side, and Mr. Bolton 
had gone up to Ilium to look into that wonderful 
coal mine and to make arrangements for developing 
it, and bringing its wealth to market, ndlip had 
insisted on re-conveying the Ilium property to Mr. 
Bolton, retaining only the share originally coDtem* 

The Gilded Age 349 

plated for himself, and Mr. Bolton, therefore, once 
more found himself engaged in business and a per- 
son of some consequence in Third street. The mine 
turned out even better than was at first hoped, and 
would, if judiciously managed, be a fortune to them 
all. This also seemed to be the opinion of Mr. 
Bigler, who heard of it as soon as anybody, and, 
with the impudence of his class, called upon Mr. 
Bolton for a little aid in a patent car-wheel he had 
bought an interest in. That rascal. Small, he said, 
had swindled him out of all he had. 

Mr. Bolton told him he was very sorry, and 
recommended him to sue Small. 

Mr. Small also came with a similar story about 
Mr. Bigler; and Mr. Bolton had the grace to give 
him like advice. And he added, " If you and Bigler 
will procure the indictment of each other, you may 
have the satisfaction of putting each other in the 
penitentiary for the forgery of my acceptances." 

Bigler and Small did not quarrel, however. They 
both attacked Mr. Bolton behind his back as a 
swindler, and circulated the story that he had made 
a fortune by failing. 

In the pure air of the highlands, amid the golden 
glories of ripening September, Ruth rapidly came 
back to health. How beautiful the world is to an 
invalid, whose senses are all clarified, who has been 
so near the world of spirits thaL she is sensitive to 
the finest influences, and whose frame responds with 
a thrill to the subtlest ministrations of soothing 

350 The Gilded Age 

nature. Mere life is a luxury, and the color of the 
grass, of the flowers, of the sky, the wind in the 
trees, the outlines of the horizon, the forms of 
clouds, all give a pleasure as exquisite as the sweet- 
est music to the ear famishing for it. The world 
was all new and fresh to Ruth, as if it had just been 
created for her, and love filled it, till her heart was 
overflowing with happiness. 

It was golden September also at Fallkill. And 
Alice sat by the open window in her room at home, 
looking out upon the meadows where the laborers 
were cutting the second crop of clover. The 
fragrance of it floated to her nostrils. Perhaps she 
did not mind it. She was thinking. She had just 
been writing to Ruth, and on the table before her 
was a yellow piece of paper with a faded four-leaved 
clover pinned on it — only a memory now. In her 
letter to Ruth she had poured out her heartiest 
blessings upon them both, with her dear love forever 
and forever. 

** Thank God," she said, ** they will never know." 

They never would know. And the world never 
knows how many women there are like Alice, whose 
sweet but lonely lives of self-sacrifice, gentle, faith- 
ful, loving souls, bless it continually. 

**She is a dear girl," said Philip, when Rath 
showed him the letter. 

** Yes, Phil, and we can spare a great deal of love 
for her, our own lives are so full.'* 

wtTNno nan nnrrn 31D 



Nothing gives such weight and 

dignity to a book as an Appendix. 


Perhaps some apology to the reader is necessary 
in view of our failure to find Laura's father. We 
supposed, from the ease with which lost persons are 
found in novels, that it would not be difficult. But 
it was; indeed, it was impossible; and therefore the 
portions of the narrative containing the record of 
the search have been stricken out. Not because 
they were not interesting — for they were; but inas- 
much as the man was not found, after all, it did not 
seem wise to harass and excite the reader to no 
purpose. The Axjthors. 





Chaftkr II, page 14. 

Siotix {Dakota') translation of the Pi^rim^s Progress, By- 
Ends names his distinguished friends, in the City of Fair*Speech : 

— "My Lord Turn-about, my Lord Time-server, my Lord 
Fair-speech, from whose ancestors the town first took its name; 
also Mr. Smooth-man, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Anything," etc. 
Senti' Saxon : 

**The richest women all — that were in the land. 
And the higher men's daughters — 
There was many a rich garment — on the fair folk, 
There was mickle envy — from [all parts of the country]. 
For each weened to be — better than others." 

Chapter III, page 38. 

Danish proverb: One hair of a maiden's head pulls stronger 
than ten yoke of oxen. 

Chapter IV, page 46. 

Quiche {GuaUmalan)^ from a native drama, published by 
Brasseur des Bourlx)urg : 

" I have snared and caught him, I have taken and bound him, 
with my brilliant snares, with my white noose, with my bracelets of 
chiseled gold, w^ith my rings, and with my enchantments." 

Old French proverb: Every one has the palms of his hands 
turned toward himself, 


356 The Gilded Age 

Chaptbr V, page 56. 

Tamui: "Books." 

Chippeway: " My books are many and they are all good." 
"Although his books are good, he does not much kx>k into than." 

Chapter VI, page 64. 

Assyrian (from Smith's Assoibanipal) : "Ni-ni-id [dagl'gan 
a-ha-mis, " We will (help) each other." 

[Note. The fourth group varies in different copies of the cand* 
form record. Mr. Smith puts d^f, marking it as a variant, lod 
translates by " help." Others may prefer to read^W, " to cfaeaL" 
As philological criticism would have been out of (dace in the 
" Gilded Age," and as the passage is a familiar one, it seemed be^ 
to omit the questionable group — leaving it to the reader to 6D 
the blank as in his better judgment he might determine.] 
Italian^ from the yerusaUm Deliver^ c. iv., st. 78: 
"All arts the enchantress practised to beguile 
Some new admirer in her weD-spread snare; 
Nor used with all, nor always, the same wile, 
But shaped to every taste her grace and air." 

Chapter VIII, page 80. 

Provencal: Dear friend, return, for pity's sake, to me, at once. 

Basque {^Souletin dialect); from a popular song, puUished by 
Vallabeny: "You gave me your word — not once only, twice— 
that you would be mine. I am the same as in other times; I have 
not changed, for I took it to my heart, and I loved yon." — Chants 
populaires du pays Basque^ pp. 6, 7. 

Chapter X, page 97. 
Arabic : 
"And her denying increased his devotion in love: 

For lovely, as a thing, to man, is that which is denied him." 
From an Arabic poet quoted in the Tdj eWAroos (of the Sey- 
yid Murtada) which, as everybody knows, is a commentary 00 the 
Kdmoos — the Arabic " Webster's Unabri<%cd." 

Basque, From the Poisies Basques of Bernard d'Ecbepaire 
(Bordeaux, 1545), edited by G. Brunet, 1847: 
" Was there ever any one so unfortunate as I am? 
She whom I adore does not love me at all, and yet I cannol 
renounce her." 

The Gilded Age 357 

!haptbr XI, page to8. 

Efik (or Old Catabar) proreib: "The nt aten the \xwf, the 
tnp catches him; U be did not go into the tt^i, the tr^> would 
not do M." From R. F. Biuton's Wit and Witdem of Witt 
A/rua, p. 367. 

^HAFTSB. XII, page 130. 

Arrawai veixioa of Acti zii. 33 : "And the Succ time tbcic 
arose no small stii (Gi. rd^x"* "'" ^Tw) about ibil way." 

iHAPim XIU, page 137. 

ZdA'n (Seneca): "la an evil carca a reckless downwaid coune 
is inevitably taken." 

Zj^A'o (Gcero): " Foe men are mbiecl lothdi own impulses as 
soon as they have ODce parted company with leason; and their very 
weakness gives way lo itseW, incautiously sails into deep water and 
finds no place of anchorage." 

Maptkr XIV, page 147. 

QuiM (Guatemalan'), from the Pc^ VuA.oi Sacted Book, 
edited by Brasscut de Bourbouig, p. 222: 

— " 'What will you give us, then, if we will take pity on you?' 
they said. 'Ah, well wc will give yoa silver,' responded the 
associate [pelitionersj." 

iHATlBR XV, page 161. 

Italian proverb : " Strong is the vinegar of sweet wine. " 
Anglo-Saxan : " Such is no (eminine usage 
for a woman to practise, 
although she be beautiful,— 
that a peace-weaver 
. machinate to deprive of life, 
after baming anger, 
a man beloved." 

— Thorpe's tramlation, 3885-91, 
SiAiTBR XVI, page 173. 

^((({/(iromaiiative drama); "My bravery and 117 power have 
availed me nothing ! Alas, let heaven and earth hear me I Is it 
true that I must die, that I must die here, between eaith and ikf." 

358 The Gflded Age 

Chafier XVn, page 183. 

'A poison-toothed serpent (^moimiAoawa^ is debt.' 


Chaftbr XVIII, page 194. 

Russian : " The sun began to shine, but not for a long time; 
it shone for a moment and disappeared." 

Yoruba proverb: « I almost killed the bird." ** Nobody can 
make a stew of almost** (or ^* Almost never made a stew"). — 
Crowther*s Yoruba Proverbs, in Grammar, p. 229. 

Chaftbr XIX, page 205. 

Icelandic^ from a modem poem : 

** When anguish wars in thy heavy breaat* 
and adverse scourges lash thy cheeks, 
and the world turns her back on thee, 
and pleasure mocketh at thy pain: 
Think all is round and easUy turns; 
he weeps to-morrow who laughs to-day; 
Time makes all good." 

Chaftbr XX, page 218. 

Wolof (^Senegambian) proverb: *' If you go to the sparrows' 
ball, take with you some ears of com for them." R. F. Burtoa, 
' from Dard*s Grammaire Wolof e. 

Hungarian y from 2 Kings, viii. 13: 

— ** Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?" 

Chapter XXI, page 228. 
French of Moli^re : 

<< Nothing in the world is more noble and more beantifol 
Than the holy fervor of trae real." — Moliire, 
French: [The Fox] " assumed a benign and tender e:q>ressioD, 
He bade them good day with a Laudate Deum, 
And invited the whole world to share his brotherly love.' 


Chapter XXII, page 232. 

French of Moli^re: Tartuffe, the hjrpocrite, is speaking: 
''According to differing emergencies,' there is a sdenoe 
Of stretching the limitations of our consdencey 
And of compensating the evil of oar acts 
By the purity of our motives." 

The Gilded Age 

CHAPnot XXni, page 242. 

Samkrii: ** The distinctioos of obsciirity aie eig^itfold, as aie 
also those of fllnsioD; extreme fllusioQ is tenfold; g^oom is eighteen* 
fold, and so is ntter darkness." 

[Tliis description of a New York jury is from Memorial Veises 
on the Sanlcya philosophy, translated by Colebrooke.] 

OU Wiisk : ** Nchody is a Judge throu^ learning; although a 
peraoo may always learn he will not be a judge mdeas there be wis- 
dom in his heart; however wise a person may be, he will not be a 
judge unless there be learning with the wisdom."— if ifoni/ Laws 
of Wales, U. 207. 

CtaAFTBR XXIV, page 353* 

Danish proverb : "Virtue in the middle^" 
when he sat down between two lawyers. 

Breton: **This is a great pleader! Have you heard 
plead? *' — Leg<midet^s Descrip, de Braham, 

Chapter XXV, page 265. 

Old French : '* * Yea, but,* asked Trinquamelle, * how do you 
proceed, my friend, in criminal causes, the culpable and guilty party 
being taken and seized upon flagrante crimine?* * Even as your 
other worships use to do,* answered (Judge) Bridlegoose.** 

— Rabelais^ Pantagruel^ b. ii., ch. 137. 
Breton : ** Have you anything to say for her justifkation? "— 

Chapter XXVI, page,278. 

Chippeway .* <* I don't know what may have hi^ppened; per- 
haps we shall hear bad newsl ^^-^ Baraga. 

Chapter XXVH, page 287. 

Chinese (Canton dialect, Tsow pak pit fun)\ "Black and 
white not distinguished,** i. e.. Right and wrong not perceived. 

Spanish proverb (of a court of law) : Paper and ink and little 

360 TheGikled Age 

CbAPm XXVm, paee 398. 

EJUt (OU Cmlmkar) prw9erh: ^Out mook^ does not like to 
motber get Ins bell^ iolL" — BmrimCs W. A/Ham Proverbs. 
Crecmn. ¥mm Ubit Greek Amiialcgy : *<Whcn the Qab canghl 
his djKw die Snake, be r eproved hhn lor his indirect comse." 
[An old ^rcfsioo of wfast the Pot snd to die Ketde.] 

Massachusetts Indiem^ from Eliot's tmidation of Fnhn xzxt.» 
21 : " Vea, thej opened their month wide against me, and said. 
Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it 1 " 

CHAPm XXIX, page 314. 
Javanese: •*Alasl" 
Comisk : '* Mj heart yet b pnmd 

Though I am nearly dead." — Tke Creation. 

CHAPm XXX, page 324. 

Danish proverb : *' He is a good driver who knows how to 

Sioux (Dakota): "Let ns go now. WHl yon go?" [The 
la/i Oaye is a Dakota newspiq>er published monthly in the Dakota 

CHAPnR XXXI, page 334. 

Kanuri (^Borneo): "At the bottom of patience there is 
heaven.** — R. F. Burton's West African Fkoverbs. 

Quichi: " Is it in vain, is it without profit, that I am oome here 
to lose so many days, so many nights? 


Chapter XXXII, page 342. 

Hawaiian : " Then we two shall be happy, oar oi^pring shall 
live in the days of our (^d age." 

Syriac (from the Old Testament; the blessing on Naomi trans- 
ferred to Ruth) : "And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life 
[consolator anima^ as Walton translates from the Syriac version,] 
and a nourisher of thine old age." Ruth iv., 15. 

Tail-piece, page 350. 

Hebrew : " The end of a thing is better than the begfamfng.*^ 
Ecdes. vii. 8. 

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