(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "In Babel : stories of Chicago"

IN BABEL 



George Ade 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



IN BABEL 



IN BABEL 

STORIES OF CHICAGO 
BY GEORGE ADE 



NEW YORK 

A. WESSELS COMPANY 
1906 



COPTBISHT, 19*3, BY 

MoCLOIiE, PHILLIPS & CO. 



PREFACE 

These little stories and sketches have been rewritten 
from certain daily contributions to the Chicago 
Record, now the Chicago Record-Herald. They 
have been assembled into this volume in the faint hope 
that they may serve as an antidote for the slang 
which has been administered to the public in such 
frequent doses of late. They are supposed to deal, 
more or less truthfully, with every-day life in 
Chicago. 

THE AUTHOR. 



515346 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE DIP" 1 

AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 15 

THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 27 

WHY "GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 37 

EFFIE WHITTLESY 47 

THE FEUD 61 

TALL-STOY" 67 

THE OTHER GIRL 75 

THE JUDGE'S SON 85 

HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET . * 95 

HlCKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 105 

THE SET OF POE 113 

DUELEY, '89 123 

THE MONEY PRESENT 137 

BEST OF THE FARLEYS 145 

MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS .......155 

THE FORMER KATHRYN 165 

CUPID IN BUTTONS 171 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE BUELL CHERRY 183 

AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 193 

Miss TYNDALL'S PICTURE 203 

MR. PAYSON'S SATIRICAL CHRISTMAS . . . .213 

LIFE INSURANCE 227 

OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 237 

MR. LINDSAY ON "SAN JEWAN" 247 

THE STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 255 

THE RELATIVES' CLUB 267 

GEORGE'S RETURN 275 

HARRY AND ETHEL 287 

"BUCK" AND GERTIE 297 

THE SCAPEGOAT 307 

WILLIE CURTIN A MAN 315 

OPENING OF NAVIGATION 327 

No CLARENCE 337 

WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 349 



"THE DIP" 



"THE DIP" 

The place known as "Larry's Lunch" is a narrow hole 
in the wall between two frame houses. The buildings 
are so old and weak that they lean toward each other 
in their decrepitude. The street in front is muddy 
and cobbled. Street-lamps are far apart. They 
burn low, as if this neglected air had not enough 
oxygen to feed a cheerful flame. The sunken and 
rotting sidewalk of wood is slippery to the foot. 
A kerosene lamp propped in the front window of 
"Larry's Lunch" showed as a mere smudge of light 
behind the dirty panes. 

John Franzen lifted the loose iron latch, and there 
came into his nostrils, like the breathing from a foul 
creature, the smell of poverty, frying grease, and bad 
tobacco. 

But he had to eat. He had not eaten for twenty- 
four hours. A Jew dealing in pawns and junk had 
given him ten cents for his pocket-knife the last of 
his convertible property. 

At "Larry's Lunch" he could get meat, bread, po- 
tatoes, and coffee for ten cents. He ordered and then 
[3] 



"THE DIP" 

leaned forward on the rough table, with his chin in 
his hands, while the meat sizzled in the pan and a 
rancid smoke filled the low room. 

His uncle had been right. 

"You take your share of the money and go to 
Chicago and you'll be broke inside of six months," 
the uncle had said. "You're a fool with money. Any 
man's a fool with money unless it's money he's made 
himself." 

"I know my business," he had said to his uncle. 

After which they parted, with the understanding 
that if John Franzen ever needed money he was not 
to come to his uncle for it. 

Yes, his uncle had been right. A fool with his 
money! Diamonds that he had worn clumsily 
showy betting at the race-tracks loans to new-made 
friends experiments at the bucket-shops. Six 
months of it and he had sold his pocket-knife that he 
might eat a shred of carrion in this hole and be alive 
for another day. 

Oh, what a triumph for those who had warned him 
those who had told him he was a fool with money ! 
What rejoicing there would be at home when they 
heard of it and they would hear it, because in small 
towns they hear everything. They would be glad, to 
be sure all except Aunt Ella. 
[4] 



"THE DIP" 

"She was the only one who ever understood me," he 
said, half aloud, grinding his fists on the table. 
"But I don't care." 

Then, because he didn't care, he let his head fall 
into the angle of his right arm, and there in the dark- 
ness that he made for himself, he cried. He was 
only twenty-two. 

The front door clicked and slammed. Larry, who 
was both cook and waiter (in a red flannel shirt 
chopped off at the elbows), brought the meat and 
coffee. John Franzen pulled himself up from the 
table. Before him, talking to Larry, stood a very 
small young man, with square shoulders, a pointed 
nose, shifty eyes and mouth twitching into a smile 
whenever he spoke. This young man wore a plaid 
cap, with a short peak. His coat collar was turned 
up, and within it was a blue and white handkerchief 
knotted closely about his neck. 

"If he comes around here, you tell him I want to see 
him," this young man was saying to Larry. 

"All right, Eddie." 

At that moment the young man named Eddie 
looked down and saw John Franzen's face, streaked 
with tears. Possibly he was surprised to know that 
a man may weep. 

[5] 



"THE DIP" 

"What's the matter?" he asked. "Don't the steak 
suit you?" 

"You'll have to excuse me," said Franzen, trying 
to laugh. "I'm hoeing a pretty hard row just at 
present. I s'pose I was kind o' weak from not eating 
or I wouldn't have " and he stopped. 

"What do you think of that?" asked Eddie, speak- 
ing to the proprietor, who had gone back to his stove. 

Larry nodded wisely and smiled. Eddie stood and 
watched Franzen tear at the fibrous strip of meat and 
take long gulps of the hot coffee. 

"First to-day?" he asked. 

"Yes," answered Franzen, who was divided between 
shame and hunger. 

"How did you get the price?" 

"I sold my knife." 

"What if you didn't have any knife?" 

"I don't know." 

"How long you been in town ?" 

"About six months." 

"Nice town, ain't it?" 

Franzen shook his head dubiously and made an ef- 
fort to smile. 

Eddie threw back his head and laughed aloud. 

"This is one o' the cases," he said, calling to Larry. 
"Is it any wonder they start out?" Then to Franzen, 
[6] 



"THE DIP" 

"Why didn't you stop some fellow and ask him to let 
you have a nickel or two?" 

"Because I'm not a beggar." 

"That's the way to talk !" exclaimed Eddie, and he 
laughed again. Franzen looked up at him, puzzled. 

"Where you goin' to-night?" 

"I don't know. There are two or three places where 
I'm going to call again to-morrow to see about a 
job." 

"The job you stand a chance of gettin' to-morrow 
or next week ain't very much help to you to-night, is 
it?" asked Eddie. 

"This is a new experience for me," said Franzen. 
"I've heard about fellows being up against it this 
way, but I never thought I'd come to it." 

"You don't care much for it as far as you've got, 
do you?" 

Franzen looked up again, undecided whether Ed- 
die was sympathising with him or taunting him. 

"I wish I had the money I had six months ago," 
he said bitterly. "They wouldn't take it away from 
me this time." 

Eddie leaned across the table and gave Franzen 
a hard but playful blow in the ribs. 

"You're all right," he said, laughing again. "I'll 
just stake you to a bed to-night." 

m 



"THE DIP" 

When Franzen had eaten the last crumb of bread 
and drained the last drop of coffee he followed Eddie 
across the street and up a steep stairway into a room 
that held a bed, a table, a chair, and a zinc-bound 
trunk. The bed-clothes were in confusion. 

"Roll in there next to the wall an' dream you've got 
all the cash you brought up from the country," com- 
manded Eddie, who had squatted on the trunk, giv- 
ing the only chair to his guest. Franzen slept with 
Eddie that night and went to breakfast with him next 
morning, at a fifteen-cent place. 

"If you don't strike anything to-day, come around 
to-night," said Eddie. 

Franzen did come back that night to get food and 
a resting-place. They were on their way to the 
room from the restaurant when two big men stood 
before them at a corner. One grabbed Eddie and the 
other held Franzen by the wrist before he had time 
to dodge or retreat. 

"Hello, Mullen," said Eddie to the man who was 
holding him. 

"Hello, Eddie," in a growling voice. "You can't 
stay away, can you?" 

"Why should I? All my friends livin' here. What 
is this the drag-net?" 

[8] 



"THE DIP" 

"I don't know. They told us to bring you in if 
we found you. Who's your friend here?" 

"It'll do me a lot o' good to tell you, won't it? If 
I say he's a young fellow that's gone broke and that 
I just happened to meet him an' stake him for a day 
or two till he could pick up somethin', of course every- 
body over at the station '11 believe me?" 

"They may, if you tell it without laughin'. Come 
on." 

A few minutes later here were Franzen and the 
Good Samaritan bumping over the granite blocks on 
their way to the police station. Franzen was sur- 
prised to find himself indifferent. 

"I'm sorry to get you pinched, young fellow," said 
Eddie, through the gloom of the covered wagon. "I 
ought to have told you you was takin' a chance when 
you went around with me. I'm a bad little boy, ain't 
I, Mr. Policeman?" 

"Oh-h-h !" growled the wagon-man. 

"I don't blame yvu" said Franzen. "What right 
did they have to arrest either one of us ?" 

Eddie laughed and remarked: "You don't half 
know this town." 

The wagon-policeman, whose shape blocked the 
light coming in at the narrow window, gave a dis- 
gusted mumble, in token of the fact that he could not 
[9] 



"THE DIP" 

be deceived by their talk. He was possessed of a 
brutal unbelief, which he regarded as a fine quality 
of discernment. 

At the station they were separated. Franzen gave 
his right name to the man in the cage, much to Eddie's 
amusement. The man in the cage did not have to 
ask for Eddie's name. 

Franzen slept on a bench and he slept, too, lulled 
off with a mild impersonal wonder as to what his uncle 
and his aunt would say if they knew that their orphan 
charge was locked up in a police-station, and had not 
changed shirts for a week. Next morning he ate his 
heel of bread and drank his tin of coffee and looked 
out through the parallel bars at the bedraggled men 
and women who were being mustered for the morning 
session of court. He could not see Eddie anywhere. 
Some one was whistling at the other end of the cor- 
ridor. He surmised that it was Eddie. 

Then a turnkey in blue came and opened his cell- 
door. 

"Come on," said the turnkey, and Franzen followed 
upstairs into a hot room, where a big captain with a 
grey moustache sat at the desk. 

The captain looked at Franzen threateningly and 
said : "I don't know him." 

Other men with moustaches came in and looked at 
[10] 



"THE DIP" 

Franzen. They didn't know him either, and they re- 
gretted to say it. It showed a lack of professional 
knowledge not to be able to identify any stranger as 
a professional crook. 

"How long have you and Eddie been workin' to- 
gether?" one of them asked. 

"I've never worked with him," said Franzen. "I've 
been looking for work all week." 

He told them his story the truth of it. Five big 
men smiled broadly and stared at him in contempt. 
They knew better. 

"An' you didn't know Eddie was a dip?" asked the 
captain. 

"A what?" (Laughter.) 

"A dip." 

"I don't know what you mean." 

"Did you ever hear of pickpockets?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Well, a dip is a pickpocket. That's what Eddie 
is." 

"I don' care what he is. He did me a good turn. I 
never saw him until night before last." 

"This fellow can be vagged," said one of the big 
men. "He admits himself he's out o' money an' ain't 
got a job." 

"That's why he ain't a vag," said the captain. 
[11] 



"THE DIP" 

"The vag has always got a job and plenty of money." 
Then to Franzen: "You keep away from Eddie an' 
his crowd." This meant that Franzen was free to go. 

He started to leave the station and was attracted by 
the buzz of the courtroom. He went in, hoping to 
see Eddie again. There was a noisy and jostling 
crowd around the magistrate's high throne. Cases 
were being tried, but Franzen could not follow them in 
the confusion of sounds. 

At last he saw Eddie coming out of the throng, 
held by a turnkey. 

He slipped forward along the wall and touched him 
on the arm. 

"Hello there," he said. 

Eddie turned and grinned. 

"Did you fix it?" he asked. 

"They let me go." 

"It's a wonder bein' with me." 

"Here, here!" growled the turnkey. "Come on!" 

"I'm sent out," said Eddie. 

"Where?" 

"Where do you s'pose I won't be there day after 
to-morrow. Good-bye." 

"Say, I want to thank you for " 

"That's all right." 

"You never told me your name." 



"THE DIP" 

"You ask here at the station. They'll give you all 
of my names." 

"Come on !" said the turnkey, pulling. 

Eddie winked and the battered door closed behind 
him. 



[13] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

Markley was in a small back room on the second floor. 
It was whispered that he had a wife somewhere, and 
that she had cast him into the street, or, what was al- 
most as deplorable, into the St. Clement Hotel. 

It was hard to believe. Markley was a little man 
with a creepy walk and mild grey eyes. He seemed a 
gentle soul. Most of the time he sat apart from the 
other men, smoking a darkened briar pipe and gazing 
vacantly into the street. 

At other times he would be in the stuffy writing- 
room, composing letters of many pages. It was sup- 
posed that these letters were to his wife, as he would 
sometimes pause in his writing and cover his eyes with 
a thin, bony hand, and sit thus in suggestive medita- 
tion. 

Wilson, an employe of the Universal Transporta- 
tion Company, was laid up at the hotel for three 
weeks. He moped and convalesced and read until he 
was desperate, and then he cultivated Markley as a 
last resort. Markley was the only man who could be 
found at all hours. 

[17] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

At first Markley was civil but not reciprocal. Then 
he slowly thawed, finding that Wilson was sympa- 
thetic. On the second or third day of their sitting 
around together he spoke of himself. It came out 
that he had been a "cub" machinist in his youth, then 
a draughtsman, and finally an inventor on his own 
account. 

He had patented certain devices which were used 
by all makers of passenger and freight elevators, and 
he had thought out an overhead cash-carrier of the 
kind used in retail stores. These patents, he was free 
to admit, brought several thousands of dollars to him 
every year. 

"You don't put on much style for a man who has 
a good income," said Wilson, meaning it as a half- 
way compliment. 

"No, I don't care for show, but Josephine 
well " 

He checked himself and once more began to talk of 
patents. 

One day Markley invited Wilson up to the small 
back room to look at a drawing. 

The room was as dismal as any hotel apartment 
could be. It contained a bed, a trunk, two chairs, and 
a bureau, on which were four books, a comb and brush, 
and one photograph. 

[18] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

While Markley was at the trunk to get the draw- 
ing, Wilson picked up the photograph and held it in 
the light. 

The woman was large, but somewhat shrunken 
from the animal fulness of youth. There was too 
much cheek-bone and a bold look about the eyes. 
Wilson smiled at the staring face with the extrava- 
gance of ribbons below and the tangle of "bang" 
above. He was only a clerk for a transfer company, 
and a single man, but he knew all about women, of 
course. He guessed that this woman would wear 
white shoes in the summer time and prefer a yellow 
diamond to a fresh flower. 

Markley straightened up from the trunk and saw 
Wilson looking at the photograph. He came and 
leaned over Wilson's arm. 
- "Fine-looking woman," he said. 

"Yes, she's all right." 

"You know who she is, of course?" 

"No," said Wilson, in order to protect hk compli- 
ment. 

"That's my wife." 

"Oh !" 

Markley reached for the photograph, sat down on 
the edge of the bed and told his story. 

They had been married ten years. She was the 
[19] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

daughter of a livery-man. He had seen her and loved 
her, but he never dared to ask her hand in marriage 
until he began to realise money on his patents. 

She had accepted on condition that he get a house 
in Michigan Avenue. He laid aside a large share of 
his yearly income in order that she might have the 
house. She had enjoyed Michigan Avenue very 
much. She had so many friends there. She was so 
fond of society. 

Wilson glanced across at the picture, and he could 
see the "society." 

Markley confessed to Wilson that he never cared 
much for "society." He seldom went to the "springs" 
with his wife. She usually went with Mrs. McLeach- 
kin. (Wilson happened to know that Mr. McLeach- 
kin was an ex-confidence man, who had stolen con- 
siderable money in politics.) The last time she had 
spoken of going to the "springs" he (Markley) had 
advised against it. He had heard of Mrs. McLeach- 
kin's personal encounter with a race-horse man in an 
all-night restaurant, and he had ventured to suggest 
that she was not a proper companion for his darling. 
When he entered his objections to Mrs. McLeachkin 
he was ordered out of the house by Mrs. Markley, 
and told that he must never come back. Since that 

[20] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

unhappy day he had been living at the St. Clement, 
wretched in spirit, but still hopeful that Mrs. Mark- 
ley would forgive him and receive him back into the 
Michigan Avenue home. 

Wilson heard the story to the end, and then he 
arose and walked back and forth, full of the superior 
wrath of the bachelor. 

"Who owns that house?" he asked. 

"We do Josephine and me." 

"It's in your name, isn't it?" 

"Yes, but I don't want to try any harsh measures. 
She's mad enough now." 

"What is she doing for money?" 

"She gets so much a month. We fixed that." 

"Well, why don't you shut off her supply? That'll 
bring her to her senses." 

Markley shook his head and sighed. "No, I 
wouldn't do that," he said. "She's a woman with a 
lot of spunk and spirit, and I'd never hear the last 
of it." 

"Do you expect to go back and live with her 
again?" 

"I think she'll give in. I've been writing to her a 
good deal." 

"And you mean to say that you're stopping here at 
the St. Clement and putting up money to let that 
[21] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

woman chase all over the country and have a good 
time? Oh, I think I see myself doing that!" 

"Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Wilson, that's the only 
way to do anything with her. You don't know her 
the way I do. You've got to handle her easy. She's 
just back from New York now, and I've been sending 
a few little presents down there to sort of make her 
forget our trouble." 

"Forget nothing! You didn't do anything but 
warn her against running around with that calcimined 
blonde, who, if you won't mind my saying it, is just 
a little tougher than sole leather. Everybody knows 
about her. You did right, so don't weaken !" 

"Yes, I heard some of the reports. I don't think 
Josephine ought to go with her, but I might have 
known she wouldn't stand having me tell her to do this 
or do that. Still it'll come out all right in the end. I 
kind o' believe it will." 

"Oh, I suppose so. She knows when she's got a 
good thing." 

Markley wore such a reproachful look, that Wilson 
changed the subject. 

Late one afternoon, about a week after that, Wil- 
son came to the hotel and saw standing in front a 
coupe, on top of which was a lean negro with an ex- 
aggerated fur-collar. It was not often that a car- 
[22] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

riage stopped in front of the St. Clement, and Wil- 
son therefore asked the clerk, "Who's our swell 
visitor?" 

"Sh-h-h! I think it must be Markley's wife. 
They're in the parlour there." 

Wilson walked softly toward the tawdry hole 
known as the "parlour" and peeped from behind the 
door. 

Mrs. Markley sat calm and erect in a wreckage 
of department-store fabrics meant for gentler har- 
monies. She was powdered, except on the neck and 
under the ears, and as she plucked, or rather pecked, 
at her fine raiment, Wilson observed that all her fingers 
were circled with rings. 

Markley was leaning toward her, purring for sym- 
pathy and pity as if he were a pet kitten. When he 
paused she looked down at him and said, "Humph ! I 
suppose so." 

Another soft pleading by Markley and then she 
smiled sourly and said, "Oh, that'll do to tell." 

Another prolonged prayer from the suppliant, 
Markley. She wriggled in her chair and said, "Oh, 
I s'pose so." 

Markley came out of the room and Wilson re- 
treated. Markley overtook Wilson and seized him by 
the arm. 

[23] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

"Say, it's all right," he whispered, gleefully. 
"Come up to the room. I'm in a hurry. I want to tell 
you. She's in there in the parlour." 

"Your wife?" 

"Yes, it happened just right. She used up all the 
money she had to her account, and wanted some more 
right away, so she drove over here to get a check. 
We've been talking it over, and I'm going back home 
with her." 

Wilson followed him into the room and saw him 
dive into the trunk for a check-book and grab at the 
hook for an overcoat. 

"She finally did come to see you when she needed 
money, eh?" 

"This is what I was countin' on. It couldn't have 
happened better." 

And he ran back to Josephine. 

Wilson waited in the office to see them go away. 
Markley was in nervous ecstasy. He took hold of 
Josephine's arm to assist her, but she pulled away 
and said, "Oh, for goodness sake !" 

Markley came over to Wilson and told him, aside, 
"I'd introduce you, Mr. Wilson, but you know how 
she is." 

"Oh, that's all right," said Wilson. "I don't be- 
long in society." 

[**] 



AND JOSEPHINE FORGAVE 

"Are you comin' or ain't you ?" asked Josephine at 
the door. 

"Yes, certainly, all right," he replied, and he ran. 

Wilson saw him crawl into the coupe after her and 
ride away toward Paradise. 



[25] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

The Barclays never went to summer-gardens where 
malt drink is served. They remained at home and 
looked at the factories. The Barclay home was a red- 
brick cube with a high and mournful roof. For ten 
years it had braced itself against the onsweeping rush 
of big machine-shops and steam-bakeries. Now it 
stood alone, a remnant of the old guard of that once 
sylvan street, surrounded and doomed, but not yet 
surrendering. 

The Barclay girls were ready to move into a new 
house on the boulevard, but Mr. Barclay preferred to 
remain at home. The Methodist church was only 
three blocks to the west. Such friends as they cared 
to meet could still find the house. Here they had elbow 
room, green trees and flower-beds. Sometimes, when 
the smoke drifted obligingly, the sunshine reached 
them and it was "home." 

One summer day the Barclay girls decided to live 
down the unfashionableness of the street by giving a 
lawn party. 

The guests were to assemble at 6.30, and there was 
[29] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

to be croquet playing in the area back of the grape- 
arbour. After that, when it came time for lighting 
the Chinese lanterns in the front yard, the company 
was to be seated at the small tables and provided with 
ice-cream, lemonade and cake. Two artists were to 
dispense mandolin music. After the serving of the 
refreshments and in the intervals between the mando- 
lin selections, Eunice Barclay was to play a violin 
solo and the minister was to give some of the dialect 
recitations for which he had become justly famous 
with the members of his congregation. The minister 
had a fetching dialect, which was neither Yankee, 
German, nor Irish, but which he could fasten inter- 
changeably on any kind of a character. Sometimes 
the minister would insert a dialect story into a ser- 
mon, and cause even Mr. Barclay to relax into an un- 
willing smile. 

The lawn party started cheerfully. As the invited 
ones came straying in, Mrs. Barclay received them at 
the front porch and directed them to the croquet game 
back of the grape-arbour. There were but four players 
in the game, the other people sitting at the boundaries 
and simulating a sportive interest. Flora and the 
minister were partners against Mrs. Jennings and Mr. 
Talbot, who was the basso of the church-choir. 

[30] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

Flora convulsed the company when she exclaimed: 
"Oh, Mr. Talbot, I kissed you." 

Now, what Flora really meant was that her croquet 
ball had kissed the croquet ball belonging to Mr. Tal- 
bot, but the startling wickedness implied in what she 
had said served to pleasantly horrify one and all. 
Afterward some of the women paled and pulled them- 
selves back and seemed to feel that they had gone too 
far in their laughter, but they were reassured to ob- 
serve that the minister was smiling and unruffled. 

The Barclay girls did not vibrate with the full 
triumph of their plans until the guests moved in a 
loose swarm to where the chairs and tables waited 
under the soft glow of lanterns. The mandolin or- 
chestra, consisting of a mandolin and guitar, began 
to tinkle in the shadow of the porch. 

It was still early dusk as the company gaily took 
possession of the small tables. The reserve which had 
chilled the beginning of the croquet contest had 
gradually worn away, and bright conversational 
flings went from table to table, many of them aimed 
at the minister, who was accused of inordinate haste 
in getting at the ice-cream. He laid the blame on 
Sister Crandall, and said she had asked him to lead 
the way to the refreshments. Mrs. Crandall protested 
in mock anger, and Mr. Barclay laughed immoder- 
[31] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

ately, for he did not object to mischievous persiflage, 
under certain limitations. 

A small boy had hung his face in a restful way be- 
tween two pickets of the front fence and was gaping 
at the company. He was a big-eyed boy, and those 
who glanced toward him were made to think of a, 
bloodless head impaled on two pikes. His silent 
scrutiny seemed to embarrass even the minister. Eu- 
nice Barclay went over to him and said, "Run away 
now, that's a good little boy." He backed away a few 
steps, staring at her sullenly, and when she rejoined 
the minister, he eased his chin between the pickets once 
more and grinned defiantly. 

The orchestra began a medley of popular songs. 
Three other boys came to the fence and asked the big- 
eyed boy what was up. In a loud tone he urged them 
to keep still and listen to the music. Two men in 
their shirt-sleeves came along and stopped for the free 
concert. A little girl, having peeped through to get 
material for a connected story, ran away to arouse her 
friends and bring them to the scene of festival. 

By the time the orchestra came to a rousing finish 
there were nine male persons punctuated along the 
fence, and a moment later no less then seven little girls 
mobilised and wriggled their fingers between the pal- 
ings and began to point out objects of interest. 
[32] 



^ BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

The Barclay guests stiffened themselves in their 
chairs and conversed laboriously, determined to ig- 
nore, and thus repel, the low curiosity. 

But when one of the men in shirt-sleeves suggested 
to the orchestra that it "Play something else," a per- 
ceptible shiver ran through the assemblage. The little 
girls began to speculate earnestly as to the quality of 
the ice-cream. 

Flora Barclay fanned herself rapidly and said, 
"Well, I never P> several times. Then she asked, 
"Don't you suppose they would go away if you asked 
them to, Mr. Talbot?". 

Mr. Talbot weigh* 130 pounds, and it may be that 
he was not meant for the commander's purple. But he 
said he would try. 

He approached the fence, and, addressing the line 
of outsiders, said: "This is just a little private 
party, you know, and we'd be much obliged if you 
wouldn't stand here." 

"We ain't hurtin' you," said one of the bulky men. 
"Go on with your show." 

"I know, but the ladies who live here would rather 
that you that is, wouldn't congregate here." 

The men looked at one another, undecided, and 
then one of them said : "I don't like to be drove away 
from a place while I'm behavin' like a gentleman." 
[33] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

"That's right," mumbled his neighbour, his man- 
ner indicating that he had been stung in his American 
pride. 

Mr. Talbot rejoined Flora and said he believed the 
men would go away presently. But they did not go 
away. 

The orchestra played again, and the attendance in- 
creased. A crowd gathers itself like a rolling snow- 
ball. The larger it becomes, the greater is its drawing 
power. 

Those who arrived during the second music loudly 
asked what was happening, and some of them seemed 
to believe that the music and the display of lanterns 
had a political significance. By this time the min- 
ister was comforting the women by telling them that 
it was "most unfortunate." Mr. Talbot was worried. 
Again Flora had asked him to "do something." What 
could he do? 

Great was his relief when he saw an officer of the 
law. The policeman had parted a way for himself 
and was leaning heavily on the fence, a thoughtful 
expression mantling his face as he listened to the 
music. 

"Please, Mr. Officer," said Mr. Talbot, "won't you 
get these people to go away? This is a private lawn- 
party." 

[34] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

"Do they bother you?" asked the policeman. 

"I should say so." 

"I don't know as I've got any right to move 'em." 

"Haven't got any right! Of course you've got a 
right. I appeal to you, sir. What's your number?" 

"Oh, well, I'll try to get 'em back," said the police- 
man. 

So he started along the fence, saying : "Come now, 
you'll have to move away from here." Every one 
retired before the majesty of his presence until he 
came to the man who previously had said that he 
didn't "want to be drove away." This man began to 
ask questions of the policeman. 

"Who owns this sidewalk?" he demanded. "These 
people here don't own the street, do they? You don't 
have to do what they say, do you? Ain't I a tax- 
payer ? Have I violated any ordinance, huh ?" 

The policeman was not a bureau of information. 
He took the inquisitive man by the neck and at- 
tempted to throttle him. The next moment there was 
a whirlwind battle. 

The timid women under the Barclay trees screamed 
and caught hold of one another. Tables were upset 
and dishes went avalanching. Beyond the fence, a 
rosewood club twirled in the uncertain light and the 
tax-payer lunged to avoid it. 
[35] 



THE BARCLAY LAWN PARTY 

Then a patrol-wagon at the corner and two hun- 
dred spectators helping to load the damaged tax- 
payer into it. 

Solemn, churchly men leading shaky women out of 
tbe Barclay front gate. 

Flora in a summer-chair on the vine-sheltered porch, 
squirming with hysteria and Mr. Talbot trying to 
console her. 

"Oh! Oh! The barbarians!" she gasped, with her 
handkerchief crumpled against her cheek. 

"They are. They are, indeed," assented Mr. Tal- 
bot, reaching for her hand. 

"We've wanted to move out of this dreadful neigh- 
bourhood for years, but father Oh " and once 
more collapse seemed imminent. But Mr. Talbot was 
holding her hand in both of his hands. 

"Let your father stay if he wants to, but you and 
me can go and live wherever you say." 

Ungrammatical and undiplomatic, true, but it 
served the purpose and it had to happen some time. 



[36] 



WHY "GONDOLA" WAS PUT 
AWAY 



WHY "GONDOLA" WAS PUT 
AWAY 

"Gondola" Wilson was not a tramp, because he 
knew a trade and had been known to work. He was 
a tramp in this, however, that he consistently refused 
to pay railway fares. Hence his name. "Gondola" 
is submerged tenth for "flat-car." 

He was a journeyman of the restless kind. When 
he had been three weeks in Milwaukee, then St. Paul 
seemed a more desirable place of residence. When in 
St. Paul, he had a tired hankering to see the Narcissus 
lodging-house in Chicago. After he had arrived at 
the Narcissus, he began to watch the trains starting 
for Cincinnati and longed to curl himself on a truck 
and jolt away to where the muddy stream fronts the 
sloping warehouses. 

Once he was away from the Narcissus for a whole 
year. On the day of his return to the Narcissus (the 
prison pallor on his face and his head cropped to show 
white scars) six inmates were sitting near the windows 
reading a morning newspaper. They had torn the 
paper into sheets and divided it. The man who had 
[39] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

drawn the small "ads." was discontented. He could 
find nothing on his sheet except "Help Wanted." He 
lowered his paper and before him sat "Gondola" Wil- 
son, seeming yellow in the filtered light. 

"Where's the committee?" asked "Gondola." 
"Where's the triumphal arch, 'Welcome Home'?" 

"You're alive, then?" 

"Alive and kickin'," 

"If you're alive, it follows that you're kickin'. How 
long has it been?" 

"A year next month." 

"You had to go crooked at last, did you?" 

"Well, that's what they called it. I'm lucky they 
didn't hang me. Some of 'em wanted to." 

"Tell me what you done. I ain't the court." 

"Say, listen, an' see if you ever heard the likes be- 
fore. It was in October a year ago last October. 
I'd walked from Loueyville over to Terry Hut with a 
nigger that played the mouth-harp. We hid in the 
yards at Terry Hut an' got into an empty stock that 
we thought was headed for Danville. Some time in 
the night a brakeman seen us an' fired us out. I'd 
been asleep and the first thing I remember was fallin' 
out o' the car an' lightin' hard, with the coon comin' 
after me. We didn't know where we was, but we could 
make out a side track an' a chute for loadin' hogs. 
[40] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

About a mile off we could see some lights an' we judged 
we was near a purty good-sized town. Me an' the 
coon started to walk toward town an' then I stopped 
him an' says : 'Here, if we go to drillin' around town 
at this time o' night an' one o' them country coppers 
gets a peep at us, he'll shoot us first and then ask us 
our names afterwards. Let's crawl in somewheres an' 
sleep till mornin' an' then we'll go in town an' try to 
round up a hand-out.' Well, just as I was sayin' this, 
we happened to be walkin' along past a tall fence. I 
looked through the cracks an' could see one or two 
lights quite a distance off an' right near us was a long 
buildin' that looked somethin' like a barn. It was get- 
tin' chilly an' I said to this pardner of mine, 'Coon, gi' 
me a boost over the fence an' I think we can find a warm 
place here.' So we skinned over the fence an' come to 
the buildin'. It was a big buildin'. 1 still thought it 
was a barn. We walked around, lookin' for a door or 
window, so 't we could crawl in. At last this pardner 
of mine his name 'uz Jeff an' I'll kill him if ever I 
lay eyes on him again Jeff found a little door that 
wasn't locked an' we went in, feelin' our way along, 
thinkin', you know, that we might find some hay or 
straw to sleep on. Purty soon Jeff fell over some- 
thin' an' I landed on top of him. We felt around us 
an' discovered that we'd run into a lot o' watermelons 
[41] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

layin' on the floor. I s'pose the coon was sorry to 
meet them melons, huh? The first thing I knew he'd 
split one of 'em open an' I could hear him chompin' 
in the dark. Well, I got up an' felt my way along 
an' purty soon I reached out an' what do you s'pose 
I took holt of there in the pitch dark ? This ain't no 
dream I'm tellin' you. What do you think I took holt 
of? A plate with about a dozen biscuits on it. Now, 
I ain't no crook an' I never broke into a house to steal 
anything, but I'll leave this to you. If you hadn't 
had anything to eat for eighteen hours an' should 
happen to crawl into a barn at night an' reach out 
-into the dark an' find a dozen light biscuits, would 
you eat 'em or throw 'em away ?" 

"I'd prob'ly eat 'em," was the reply. 

"That's what I done, except what I give to Jeff. 
He found a match in his close an' struck it, an' we saw 
in front of us a wooden shelf covered with pies and 
cakes an' all kinds o' cooked stuff. The match only 
burned for a minute, but we made out that much. 
Jeff found a plate o' butter, an' we et the biscuit with 
butter, an' I ain't tasted anything like it since I run 
away from home in Lowell thirty years ago. Then 
Jeff broke a cake in two an' give me half of it. It was 
kind o' dry eatin, but we put lots of butter on it. I 
s'pose I ought to stopped an' remembered that all this 
[42] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

provender belonged to somebody, but I was so blamed 
hungry I didn't wait to think of nothin'. An' I must 
say I never seen anybody eat the way that coon did. 
I didn't exactly see him eat, neither, but I could hear 
him all right. After he et all the cakes an' pies and 
biscuits he could lay his hands on he went back to 
watermelon, an' I could hear him sloshin' an' gulpin' 
there in the dark. I started to feel around for a soft 
place to lay down, an' what do you guess ? I run into 
a lot of bed-cloze on lines." 

"Say, what kind of a pipe is this?" asked the 
listener, with a sidewise turn in his chair, indicating 
scepticism, 

"It's the truth, every word of it. There must a' 
been a dozen quilts. I pulled 'em down an' me and 
Jeff rolled ourselves up in 'em an' went to sleep. 
We'd et a lot an' it was a cold night, an' under them 
warm covers we slept like a couple o' logs. Well, the 
next thing I remember, somebody was shakin' me good 
an' hard, an' I looked up at a fellow that had a tin 
star on his coat an' a broomstick in his hand. I kind 
o' remembered what had happened an' looked around. 
It was broad daylight. We laid there in the infer- 
nalest mess of eatables you ever seen. People was 
pilin' through the doors to get a look at us. I don't 
suppose you've figured out what we'd done, so I'll 
[43] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

tell you. This place we'd got into was what they call 
Floral Hall at the county fair. All the stuff we'd 
been eatin' was the exhibitions of the best biscuits, the 
best watermelons, the best cake, the best butter, an* 
so on of the whole county. You know the quilt I had 
around me. Well, it was made of about a million little 
pieces o' silk. The woman that made it put in fifteen 
years on it, and it was supposed to be worth two hun- 
dred dollars. That all come out at the trial." 

"Well, there must a' been a sore crowd o' grangers 
around there," suggested the lodger. 

"Honest, it's a wonder they didn't kill me. We 
come mighty near bustin' up the whole show by eatin' 
them exhibitions. When they led us out o' the 
grounds an' took us in town to the jail there was a 
big crowd follered us an' hollered 'Lynch 'em!' 
'String 'em up!' an' a few more remarks like that. 
That was the one time I was in a hurry to be put in 
jail. Do you know what they made it when it come 
to a trial? Burglary! An' do you know what Jeff 
done? He got up an' swore that I'd hypnotised him. 
He testified that he didn't want to go into this buildin' 
at all, but I made him by threatenin' to cast a spell 
over him. You never heard such lyin' in your life. 
They sent him back to jail for three months an' put 
me over the road for a year. They've bleached me 
[44] 



"GONDOLA" WAS PUT AWAY 

just about right, ain't they? That's all right, 
though. Look here." 

He put his hand into a ravelled side pocket and 
brought out a copy of Henry George's "Progress and 
Poverty." He made a deeper reach and found a 
brass "knucks" with a blunt head and three staring 
finger-holds. 

"I'm savin' that for the coon," he said. 



[45] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 






EFFIE WHITTLESY 

Mrs. Wallace assisted her husband to remove his 
overcoat and put her warm palms against his red 
and wind-beaten cheeks. 

"I have good news," said she. 

"Another bargain sale?" 

"Pshaw, no! A new girl, and I really believe she's 
a jewel. She isn't young or good-looking, and when 
I asked her if she wanted any nights off she said 
she wouldn't go out after dark for anything in the 
world. What do you think of that?" 

"That's too good to be true." 

"No, it isn't. Wait and see her. She came here 
from the intelligence office about two o'clock and said 
she was willing to 'lick right in.' You wouldn't know 
the kitchen. She has it as clean as a pin." 

"What nationality?" 

"None that is, she's a home product. She's from 
the country and green! But she's a good soul, I'm 
sure. As soon as I looked at her, I just felt sure that 
we could trust her." 

[49] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

"Well, I hope so. If she is all that you say, why, 
for goodness sake give her any pay she wants put 
lace curtains in her room and subscribe for all the 
story papers on the market." 

"Bless you, I don't believe she'd read them. Every 
time I've looked into the kitchen she's been working 
like a Trojan and singing 'Beulah Land.' " 

"Oh, she sings, does she? I knew there'd be some 
draw-back." 

"You won't mind that. We can keep the doors 
closed." 

The dinner- table was set in tempting cleanliness. 
Mrs. Wallace surveyed the" arrangement of glass and 
silver and gave a nod of approval and relief. Then 
she touched the bell and in a moment the new servant 
entered. 

She was a tall woman who had said her last farewell 
to girlhood. 

Then a very strange thing happened. 

Mr. Wallace turned to look at the new girl and 
his eyes enlarged. He gazed at her as if fascinated 
either by cap or freckles. An expression of wonder- 
ment came to his face and he said: "Well, by 
George !" 

The girl had come very near the table when she 
took the first overt glance at him. Why did the 
[50] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

tureen sway in her hands ? She smiled in a frightened 
way and hurriedly set the tureen on the table. 

Mr. Wallace was not long undecided, but during 
that moment of hesitancy the panorama of his life was 
rolled backward. He had been reared in the democ- 
racy of a small community, and the democratic spirit 
came uppermost. 

"This isn't Effie Whittlesy?" said he. 

"For the land's sake !" she exclaimed, backing away, 
and this was a virtual confession. 

"You don't know me." 

"Well, if it ain't Ed Wallace!" 

Would that words were ample to tell how Mrs. 
Wallace settled back in her chair blinking first at her 
husband and then at the new girl, vainly trying to 
understand what it meant. 

She saw Mr. Wallace reach awkwardly across the 
table and shake hands with the new girl and then she 
found voice to gasp : "Of all things !" 

Mr. Wallace was confused and without a policy. 
He was wavering between his formal duty as &n em- 
ployer and his natural regard for an old friend. Any- 
way, it occurred to him that an explanation would be 
timely. 

"This is Effie Whittlesy from Brainerd," said he. 
"I used to go to school with her. She's been at our 
[51] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

house often. I haven't seen her for I didn't know 
you were in Chicago," turning to Effie. 

"Well, Ed Wallace, you could knock me down with 
a feather," said Effie, who still stood in a flustered 
attitude a few paces back from the table. "I had no 
more idee when I heard the name Wallace that it'd be 
you, though knowin', of course, you was up here. 
Wallace is such a common name I never give it a 
second thought. But the minute I seen you law ! I 
knew who it was, well enough." 

"I thought you were still at Brainerd," said Mr. 
Wallace, after a pause. 

"I left there a year ago November, and come to 
visit Mort's people. I s'pose you know that Mort 
has a position with the street-car company. He's doin' 
so well. I didn't want to be no burden on him, so I 
started out on my own hook, seein' that there was no 
use of goin' back to Brainerd to slave for two dollars 
a week. I had a good place with Mr. Sanders, the 
railroad man on the north side, but I left becuz they 
wanted me to serve liquor. I'd about as soon handle 
a toad as a bottle of beer. Liquor was the ruination 
of Jesse. He's gone to the dogs been off with a 
circus somewheres for two years." 

"The family's all broken up, eh !" asked Mr. Wal- 
lace. 

[52] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

"Gone to the four winds since mother died. Of 
course you know that Lora married Huntf ord Thomas 
and is livin' on the old Murphy place. They're doin' 
about as well as you could expect, with Huntf ord as 
lazy as he is." 

"Yes? That's good," said Mr. Wallace. 

Was this an old settlers' reunion or a quiet family 
dinner. The soup had been waiting. 

Mrs. Wallace came into the breach. 

"That will be all for the present, Effie," said she. 

Effie gave a startled "Oh !" and vanished into the 
kitchen. 

"What does this mean?" asked Mrs. Wallace, turn- 
ing to her husband, who had lain back in his chair to 
relieve himself with silent laughter. 

"It means," said Mr. Wallace, "that we were chil- 
dren together, made mud pies in the same puddle 
and sat next to each other in the old school-house at 
Brainerd. She is a Whittlesy. Everybody in Brain- 
erd knew the Whittlesys. Large family, all poor as 
church mice, but sociable and freckled. Effie's a 
good girl." 

"Effie! Effie! And she called you Ed !" 

"My dear, there are no misters in Brainerd. Why 
shouldn't she call me 'Ed' ? She never heard me called 
anything else." 

[53] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

"She'll have to call you something else here. You 
tell her so." 

"Now, don't ask me to put on any airs with one of 
the Whittlesys, because they know me from away back. 
Effie has seen me licked at school. She has been at 
our house, almost like o'ne of the family, when mother 
was sick and needed another girl. If my memory 
serves me right, I've taken her to singing-school and 
exhibitions. So I'm in no position to lord it over her, 
and I wouldn't do it any way. I'd hate to have her go 
back to Brainerd and report that she met me here in 
Chicago and I was too stuck up to remember old times 
and requested her to address me as 'Mister Wallace.' 
Now, you never lived in a small town." 

"No, I never enjoyed that privilege," said Mrs. 
Wallace, dryly. 

"Well, it is a privilege in some respects, but it 
carries certain penalties with it, too. It's a very poor 
schooling for a fellow who wants to be a snob." 

"I wouldn't call it snobbishness to correct a servant 
who addresses me by my first name. 'Ed' indeed! 
Why, I never dared to call you that." 

"No, you never lived in Brainerd." 

"And you say you used to take her to singing- 
school?" 

"Yes, ma'am twenty years ago, in Brainerd. 
[54] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

You're not surprised, are you? You knew when you 
married me that I was a child of the soil, who worked 
his way through college and came to the city in a suit 
of store clothes. I'll admit that my past does not ex- 
actly qualify me for the Four Hundred, but it will 
be great if I ever get into politics." 

"I don't object to your having a past, but I was just 
thinking how pleasant it will be when we give a dinner- 
party to have her come in and address you as 'Ed.' " 

Mr. Wallace patted the table-cloth cheerily with 
both hands and laughed. 

"I really don't believe you'd care," said Mrs. Wal- 
lace. 

"Effie isn't going to demoralise the household," he 
said, consolingly. "Down in Brainerd we may be a 
little slack on the by-laws of etiquette, but we can 
learn in time." 

Mrs. Wallace touched the bell and Effie returned. 

As she brought in the second course, Mr. Wallace 
deliberately encouraged her by an amiable smile, and 
she asked, "Do you get the Brainerd papers?" 

"Yes every week." 

"There's been a good deal of sickness down there 
this winter. Lora wrote to me that your uncle Joe 
had been kind o' poorly." 

"I think he's up and around again." 
[55] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

"That's good." 

And she edged back to the kitchen. 

With the change for dessert she ventured to say: 
"Mort was wonderin' about you the other day. He 
said he hadn't saw you for a long time. My ! You've 
got a nice house here." 

After dinner Mrs. Wallace published her edict. 
Effie would have to go. Mr. Wallace positively for- 
bade the "strong talking-to" which his wife advo- 
cated. He said it was better that Effie should go, but 
she must be sent away gently and diplomatically. 

Effie was "doing up" the dishes when Mr. Wallace 
lounged into the kitchen and began a roundabout talk. 
His wife, seated in the front room, heard the pro- 
longed murmur. "Ed" and Effie were going over the 
family histories of Brainerd and recalling incidents 
that may have related to mud pies or school exhibi- 
tions. 

Mrs. Wallace had been a Twombley, of Baltimore, 
and no Twombley, with relatives in Virginia, could 
umiliate herself into rivalry with a kitchen girl, or 
uream of such a thing, so why should Mrs. Wallace 
be uneasy and constantly wonder what Ed and Effie 
were talking about? 

Mrs. Wallace was faint from the loss of pride. The 
night before they had dined with the Gages. Mr. 
[56] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

Wallace, a picture of distinction in his evening clothes, 
had shown himself the bright light of the seven who 
sat at the table. She had been proud of him. Twenty- 
four hours later a servant emerges from the kitchen 
and hails him as "Ed"! 

The low talk in the kitchen continued. Mrs. Wal- 
lace had a feverish longing to tip-toe down that way 
and listen, or else go into the kitchen, sweepingly, and 
with a few succinct commands, set Miss Whittlesy 
back into her menial station. But she knew that Mr. 
Wallace would misinterpret any such move and 
probably taunt her with joking references to her 
"jealousy," so she forbore. 

Mr. Wallace, with an unlighted cigar in his mouth 
(Effie had forbidden him to smoke in the kitchen), 
leaned in the doorway and waited to give the con- 
versation a turn. 

At last he said: "Effie, why don't you go down 
and visit Lora for a month or so? She'd be glad to 
see you." 

"I know, Ed, but I ain't no Rockefeller to lay off 
work a month at a time an' go around visitin' my 
relations. I'd like to well enough but " 

"O pshaw! I can get you a ticket to Brainerd 
to-morrow and it won't cost you anything down 
there." 

[57] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

"No, it ain't Chicago, that's a fact. A dollar goes 
a good ways down there. But what'll your wife do? 
She told me to-day she'd had an awful time gettin' 
any help." 

"Well to tell you the truth, Effie, you see you're 
an old friend of mine and I don't like the idea of your 
being here in my house as a well, as a hired girl." 

"No, I guess I'm a servant now. I used to be a 
hired girl when I worked for your ma, but now I'm 
a servant. I don't see as it makes any difference what 
you call me, as long as the work's the same." 

"You understand what I mean, don't you? Any 
time you come here to my house I want you to come 
as an old acquaintance a visitor, not a servant." 

"Ed Wallace, don't be foolish. I'd as soon work 
for you as any one, and a good deal sooner." 

"I know, but I wouldn't like to see my wife giving 
orders to an old friend, as you are. You understand, 
don't you?" 

"I don't know. I'll quit if you say so." 

"Tut! tut! I'll get you that ticket and you can 
start for Brainerd to-morrow. Promise me, now." 

"I'll go, and tickled enough, if that's the way you 
look at it." 

"And if you come back, I can get you a dozen 
places to work." 

[58] 



EFFIE WHITTLESY 

Next evening Effie departed by carriage, although 
protesting against the luxury. 

"Ed Wallace," said she, pausing in the hallway, 
"they never will believe me when I tell it in Brainerd." 

"Give them my best and tell them I'm about the 
same as ever." 

"I'll do that. Good-bye." 

"Good-bye." 

Mrs. Wallace, watching from the window, saw 
Effie disappear into the carriage. 

"Thank goodness," said she. 

"Yes," said Mr. Wallace, to whom the whole epi- 
sode had been like a cheering beverage, "I've invited 
her to call when she comes back." 

"To call here?" 

"Most assuredly. I told her you'd be delighted to 
see her at any time." 

"The idea! Did you invite her, really?" 

"Of course I did ! And I'm reasonably certain that 
she'll come." 

"What shall I do?" 

"I think you can manage it, even if you never did 
live in Brainerd." 

Then the revulsion came and Mrs. Wallace, with a 
full return of pride in her husband, said she would 
try. 

[59] 



THE FEUI> 



THE FEUD 

In front of the police-station the street was a dismal 
slime. A fine rain beat into the black puddles and 
helped to soften the islands of mud. Dripping 
trolley-cars went by, hissing in disgust, the dirty 
water lifted by the wheels. Now and then, through 
the fog and drizzle, some one came wading, stamped 
his feet on the mucky stone sidewalk and entered the 
station. 

Within the sheltered arch there was a smell of wet 
clothes. The men who stood there had their coat- 
collars turned up and their hats pulled down. They 
stood and looked out at the rain with deadened eyes. 
The hallway beyond was gloomy, and the men against 
the wall talked in growls. 

At first the court-room seemed like a cavern, with 
dim shapes moving stealthily, their soggy feet making 
little noise on the floor. When the eye became more 
accustomed to the gloom, there were two sections of 
benches facing the high place where the magistrate 
was to sit. 

The water dripped on the sills outside. The walls 
[631 



THE FEUD 

beyond were rain-soaked and blurred by fog. Along 
the benches the men and women sat motionless im- 
mersed in melancholy. 

In that darkened room there were but two human 
beings who were able to lift themselves above despond- 
ency. A baby, with a soiled bib pulled awry, wrig- 
gled over the mother's shoulder and made friendly 
gestures at a baby on the bench behind. The second 
baby gurgled in recognition and squirmed about in its 
mother's arms as if to gain freedom and then climb 
over and go visiting. 

The woman in front looked around and saw the 
other woman. She pulled the clawing child away 
from her shoulder and set it in her lap with a decided 
concussion. 

The other woman flounced to the end of the bench 
and turned the child squarely around so as to give it 
a view of a moist policeman blocking a doorway. 

After that the two women glared at each other 
with ineffable hatred. 

These two women were enemies. They had braved 
the rain and chill of a November morning, each to 
tell the magistrate that the other was a slatternly 
gossip and a creature with whom no honest people 
could have dealings. They had scolded each other 
from back stoops and threatened each other with 
[64] 



THE FEUD 

kitchen utensils and assailed family reputations until 
nothing would satisfy either of them but the swift 
vengeance of the law on the other. 

It must have been a shock for Mrs. Montague when 
she saw that Little Magnus Montague had crept up 
and was making love to little Lizzie Capulet on the 
seat behind. 

No wonder she bumped Magnus as she replaced him 
in her lap! If he had been a discriminating baby 
he would have known that the little Capulet was the 
spawn of evil and an oblong beginning of all wicked- 
ness. 

If he had possessed one spark of family pride he 
would have scorned to say "Goo" to any member of 
the hateful tribe of Capulet. 

Who threw the tomato-cans into the Montague- 
back yard? Who must have stolen the morning 
paper off the Montague front steps? Who broke the 
leg of the Montague cat? Answer the Capulets. 

And as for Mrs. Capulet, was it surprising that 
her ears tingled with shame and her cheeks reddened 
as she realised that her little Juliet had received the 
attentions of the accursed Romeo of the house of 
Montague that Lizzie had smiled in encouragement 
when Magnus said "Goo"? 

A child is born and the mother says : "Flesh of my 
[65] 



THE FEUD 

flesh and bone of my bone." She watches over the 
infant and gives it wisdom with its food. 

Then when the daughter is eleven months old she 
turns against the parent, forgets filial duty and would 
follow Love and the Fates. 

Doubtless Mrs. Capulet trembled for her child's 
safety as she clasped the yielding form. It is not a 
good omen the daughter of a respectable house wrig- 
gling her fingers at a hardened young desperado ! 

Why should not Lizzie Capulet know, as the elder 
children knew, that the Montagues stole wood? 

But it was not too late! She would rear the 
daughter in the knowledge that Mr. Montague drank 
and that Mrs. Montague's hair was not her own. 

Let us hope that both of the children may be saved, 
and that the forebodings of that morning in the dusky 
police-station had no meaning. 

The magistrate is doing what he can to avert a 
repetition of the momentary courtship. Last week 
he put the Montagues under a $200 bond to keep the 
peace. 

This week he laid a similar bond on the Capulet 
household. 

Furthermore, Reinhard Montague is building a 
high fence between the two back-yards. 

[66] 



TALL-STOY" 



"TALL-STOY" 

"This is Mr. Latimer?" asked the man with the 
frock coat and the sombre gloves. 

"It is," replied "Bob," swinging around in his 
revolving chair. 

The stranger had a slight stoop and wore delta- 
shaped side whiskers of iron-grey. He went to the 
attack confidingly. 

"Your name has been given to us, Mr. Latimer, 
as one who is fond of good books," he said, gazing at 
the assistant manager in mild and solemn friendliness. 

"Who is W?" asked "Bob." 

"The Interplanetary Publishing Company is the 
house I have the honour to represent. Our manager 
was very anxious that I should call on you. Even if 
you do not care to place an order, I know that as a 
lover of beautiful print and bindings, you will take 
some pleasure in examining the sample volume I have 
here." 

"Your manager is mixed in his dates. You have 
hunted up the wrong Latimer." 
[69] 



"TALL-STOY" 

"I hardly think so. You have placed several orders 
with us already, haven't you? Didn't you take a set 
of the Balzac?" 

"I guess I did four dollars per Balzac. I've 
got 'em out home there now, just as good as 
new." 

"That was an excellent edition." 

"I wouldn't dare to contradict you, because I've 
never looked into one of 'em." 

"I had understood that you were something of a 
collector." 

"That isn't what I call myself. I call myself an 
easy mark. I've got about as much use for a lot of 
them books as a Methodist preacher'd have for a dark 
lantern an' a pair o' loaded dice. I don't know how 
I happened to let myself be worked on that first lot. 
I guess I had orders from home to fill up the shelves. 
You fellows didn't do a thing to me. Bing! Four 
dollars a throw. They may be swell books all right 
but I don't have any time to get at 'em. Say, I don't 
even have time to read the newspapers." 

"You have no objection, however, to my showing 
you some of our new things." 

"Show it, if you want to, but you're simply usin' 
up your own time, I can tell you that." 

"I have something here that I fancy will please 
[70] 



" T A L L - S T O Y " 

you," said the stranger, producing a black oil-cloth 
case from under his coat with the movement of the 
magician who finds the white rabbit. 

"What is it?" 

"Tolstoi." 

"Come again." 

"Tolstoi." 

"Tall-stoy?" 

"Yes. I suppose you are more or less familiar with 
his work?" 

"Chicago man?" 

"I don't think you caught the name Tolstoi, the 
eminent Russian." 

"Russian?" 

"Yes, he is accorded first place among the great 
literary workers of the czar's domain, his writings 
being characterised by simplicity, immense strength, 
and a sympathy for all mankind, particularly the poor 
and down-trodden." 

"That's all right, too, but if your house wants to 
get out books and sell them to people, why don't you 
plug for somebody here at home? There's lots of 
good fellows in this country you might help to a little 
money if you wanted to. Instead of that, you have 
to hunt up some fellow over in Russia. You can bet 
that any coin he gets out o' these books he spends 
[71] 



"TALL-STOY" 

over there. He don't come to Chicago to blow it in, 
does he?" 

"Our house is always ready to give encouragement 
to American authors, but in this line of work you must 
admit that Tolstoi is pre-eminent." 

"Let me tell you something. You come in here and 
you want me to buy some books written by this , 
whatever his name is, and you say to me that he is the 
best ever?" 

"I merely repeat what the critics have agreed 
upon." 

"The critics, eh? Now, let me tell you about them. 
I had a friend here from Grand Rapids the other day 
and I wanted to take him to a show. I didn't know 
what was good in town, so I gets a paper and reads 
the notices. Well, I find one play that gets an awful 
lift all around, so we go over there, and say ! it was 
the saddest ever. It was so punk it was blue around 
the edges. I don't want any critic tellin' me where 
to get off. I don't think they're on the level. Now 
you say there're all out cappin' for this fellow. Mebbe 
they are, but look here, I never heard of this mug 
before and I've been in town all the time, too." 

"He has been writing for years." 

"Where?" 

"Over in Russia." 

[72] 



"TALL-STOY" 

"Yes, an' I've been in Chicago all that time. If ha 
wants to do business with us people, why don't he 
come here?" 

"My dear sir, Count Tolstoi's work has a world- 
wide interest. Will you be good enough to notice 
the print? The etchings are unusually good, 
also." 

"How many books in the set?" 

"There are twenty." 

"Oh, Willie! I've just got a panel photograph o* 
myself settin' up these winter nights to read twenty 
of these things by his Russian nobs. Is that his pict- 
ure with the fringe? He don't look to me much like 
a count." 

"I believe, Mr. Latimer, that you would deeply 
enjoy reading Tolstoi. He appeals to all thoughtful 
people." 

"What are you trying to do, swell me ? On the level 
do you find a good many people to go against this 
kind of a game?" 

"I'm meeting with gratifying success, Mr. Lati- 
mer. You see, there has long been a demand for a 
uniform edition of Tolstoi." 

"There has, eh? I hadn't heard about it." 

"I sold three sets yesterday out at the university." 

"What do you get for a sot?" 
[73] 



"TALL-STOY" 

"The price is three dollars a volume, payable in 
instalments." 

"Sixty dollars' worth of what's his name?" 

"Tolstoi." 

"I'd have to be getting my sixties easy to let go of 
'em for anything like this." 

"You couldn't have a more valuable set in your 
library." 

"Yes? Well, you tell it all right. I s'pose you get 
a piece of that sixty." 

"Naturally I get my commission." 

"How much? About forty-five?" 

"Oh, really! I merely get a fair percentage for 
placing the works." 

"Well, you'll earn all the percentage you get here." 

"If you will " 

"Say, you ain't got one chance in a million. Let 
me give you a pointer, too. Drop Tall-stoy and get 
on a live one. Here's your book. I won't keep you 
waitin'." 



[74] 



THE OTHER GIRL 



THE OTHER GIRL 



"Albert P' 

"Umh?" 

"Albert, I want to ask you something." 

"Well?" 

"Something let go of my hand while I'm asking 
you this, because it's rather serious.** 

"Goodness !" 

"Maybe not so serious, either, but Oh, I don't 
know ; I I suppose I'm foolish to think about it, but 
something that Grace Elliott said yesterday " 

"I wouldn't care what she said about anything." 

"I don't, because I know well enough that she tattles 
all she knows and a good deal more; but it was the 
way she acted more than anything else." 

"What was it all about, anyway?" 

"It was about you, for one." 

"Yes; Grace loves me not." 

"It was something about you and some one else." 

"Who was the 'some one else'?" 

"Can't you guess?" 

"No. Was it you?" 

[77] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

"No!" 

"No? Well, then, I'm not interested to hear any- 
thing about it." 

"Oh, you dear thing! It was something about a 
girl, though another girl." 

"Which one? What's her name?" 

"I should think you could guess." 

"I don't see why. I don't know many girls." 

"That's too bad about you. Anyway, you might 
try." 

"Well, who was it Rose Whiting?" 

"Rose Whiting! Oh!" 

"Jessie Cameron?" 

"Albert Morton, you're not trying to guess. It 
was Fannie McClellan." 

"Oh!" 

"Yes. I should think it would be 'Oh.' You knew 
the one I meant all the time." 

"Who, I? Why should I?" 

"Innocence! Now, Albert, stop laughing, please. 
I'm in earnest." 

"So am I, then. What is it?" 

"Well, I want to know something about her about 
you and her." 

"All right. Anything you want to know." 

"You think I'm joking, but I'm not. I've told you 
[78] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

things, Albert, that I never told even to my dearest 
girl friends, and I think you might tell me something 
about Fannie McClellan, because well, after Grace 
left here yesterday, I went up to my room and had a 
good cry." 

"It's too bad she can't attend to her own busi- 
ness." 

"I didn't believe what she said, but it made me oh, 
she has such an aggravating way about her, and all 
the time she kisses you and fusses around you and 
pretends to be the best friend you ever had in the 
whole wide world." 

"She makes me tired." 

"After she'd gone away, I couldn't remember that 
she'd said anything in just so many words, but she 
kept hinting around and acting as if she knew a lot 
more than she cared to tell." 

"Don't you remember anything she said?" 

"Well, it was about you and Fannie McClellan. 
You did go with her for a while, didn't you, Albert?" 

"Yes, I used to take her to places once in a while. 
You knew that. Why, I was with her the first time I 
ever met you that night at the Carleton Club." 

"Yes, and when we were sitting over in the corner 
she looked as if she'd like to bite my head off. Was 
that the last time you ever went with her ?" 
[79] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

"I don't remember. I may have gone with her once 
or twice after that." 

"You must have gone with her a good many times 
altogether, counting when you called and all that." 

"Ye-e-s. I saw her, occasionally, now and then, for 
a year or so before I met you." 

"If that then you must have liked her better than 
you did the other girls." 

"Well, it was natural that I should like her better 
than some girls and then, again, there were other girls 
that I liked about as well as I did her." 

"But you went to see her oftener than you did any 
other girl, now didn't you? Tell me, Albert, please. 
It's all past now and it doesn't make the teeniest bit of 
difference what happened, or whether you went to see 
her every night, only " 

"Only what? If it doesn't make any difference, 
what's all this excitement about?" 

"Now, don't get mad, Albert." 

"I'm not mad." 

"Really?" 

"No! Pshaw!" 

"Now, can't you see that if we are going to be to- 
gether all our lives, Albert, I ought to know about 
these things, so that if any one like Grace Elliott 
[80] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

comes around dropping her hints and saying these 
things I can " 

"Now, just one moment, Lil. Let's understand this 
whole business. What -was it Grace Elliott said?" 

"As I tell you, she didn't say anything in so many 
words, but you could see what she meant." 

"All right, then. What did she mean?" 

"Albert, you won't scold?" 

"No; go ahead." 

"Oh, I'm sorry I ever spoke of it at all." 

"I wish I knew what 'it' was." 

"Well, I want you to know, Albert, that I realise 
perfectly well that any one can go and see a girl once 
in awhile, and even take her to parties, without becom- 
ing engaged or anything like that, and I wouldn't 
have brought this up at all only that Grace " 

"Oh, darn Grace!" 

"Albert!" 

"She won't be a bridesmaid, do you understand? 
She won't be anything." 

"Albert! Honestly, Grace didn't actually say any- 
thing right out, but I simply felt that she meant some- 
thing. Now ah Albert, you've told me that you 
never were engaged before, and I know that, but 
well, you weren't, were you?" 

"I were not." 

[81] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

"Oh, Albert, I'm in earnest." 

"So am I." 

"And you never asked any one?" 

"Certainly not." 

"I might have known that. She'd have grabbed 
you, quick enough. If I don't give Grace Elliott a 
piece of my mind when she comes around here again." 

"I wouldn't pay any attention to anything she 
says." 

"I don't, but she has such a crawly, tantalising 
way of saying things about people she knows you like. 
Albert, do you ever see Fannie McClellan any more ?" 

"I just see her once in awhile and that's all." 

"You are friends at least?" 

"I suppose so." 

"You've never had a quarrel or anything like that?" 

"No." 

"Then I don't see why you shouldn't be friends. 
She's a sweet, lovely girl, and I know she was very 
fond of you, and may be yet, for all I know, and I 
think it would be awfully mean of you not to treat her 
just as beautifully as you could. I'm going to invite 
her to the wedding. Do you think she'll come?" 

"I don't know, I'm sure." 

"There's no reason why she shouldn't come?" 

"None that I know of." 

[82] 



THE OTHER GIRL 

"Well, I'm going to invite her, and then I want 
you to promise me something, Albert." 

"I promise. What is it?" 

"Well after we're married I want you to promise 
to let me invite Fannie to come and call on us. I want 
to show her that you and I both of us like her just 
the same as if well, as if nothing had ever hap- 
pened." 

"Maybe she wouldn't enjoy coming." 

"Why not? You don't mean that she might be 
jealous? Why, you conceited thing!" 

"It isn't that. You don't know her very well, do 
you?" 

"But you do, and I want all of your friends to be 
my friends, and you know you've promised to like all 
of my friends." 

"All right, then. We'll have Fannie to dinner as 
soon as we're settled." 

"Do you mean it?" 

"Of course." 

"It will please her so much." 

"Yes?" 

(Snuggling) "And you're the kindest, best- 
hearted thing that ever lived." 



[83] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

Two men sat by one of the narrow south windows of 
the Freedom Hotel. They were tipped back in their 
straight wooden chairs and their feet rested against 
the scarred sill of the window. 

One of the men was tall, with a tan-coloured mous- 
tache and a goatee. He wore a black slouch hat, 
which was pulled forward over one eye so that it gave 
him a suggestion of rural bravado. The other man 
was younger, hollow-cheeked, and with hair and beard 
of dead blackness. His light-coloured stiff hat seemed 
preposterously out of season, for a slow but steady 
sift of snow was coming down. 

Both men wore clothes of careful cut, but the shape 
had gone from the garments. The elbows were shiny, 
the vest buttons were not uniform and the fronts were 
sadly spotteol. 

In the room with the two men were some fifty other 
men, marked by adversity, most of them holding with 
weakened pride to some chattel of better days. 

As many as could find places at the windows sat 
and looked with fascinated idleness at the rushing 
[87] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

money-makers outside. Others put their backs to the 
dim light and read from scraps of newspapers. There 
was a smothering odour of pipe-smoke, which floated in 
vague ribbons above the clustering heads. Sometimes 
but not often the murmur of conversation was 
broken by laughter. 

It is a good thing the Freedom Hotel calls itself 
a hotel, otherwise it would be a lodging-house. These 
men in the bare "office" were being sheltered at a 
weekly rate of $1.50, and each had a cubby-hole for 
a home a mere shell of wood open at the top. The 
upper floors of the Freedom Hotel were subdivided 
into these tiny pens. Here the tired and discouraged 
men came crawling every night. From these boxes 
the frowsy and unrested men emerged every morning. 

The wreckage on an ocean beach washes together 
as if by choice and the wrecks of a city mobilise of 
their own free will. The man who is down must find 
some one with whom he can rail at the undeserving 
prosperous. 

The Freedom Hotel sheltered a community of 
equals, all worsted in the fight, some living on the 
crumbs of a happier period, some abjectly depending 
on the charity of friends and relatives, and some 
struggling along on small and unreliable pay. 

There was a 400-page novel in every life there, but 
[88] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

the condensed stories of the two men at the window 
must suffice for the present. 

The older, the one with the slouch hat son of 
wealthy merchant in Indiana town inherited money 
married learned to gamble took up with Board 
of Trade wife died more reckless gambling 
moved to Chicago went broke Freedom Hotel. 

The younger, with black hair and beard son of a 
judge in Western city reared with great care by 
mother sent to college learned to drink repeat- 
edly forgiven by father through the intercession of 
the mother mother died father cast son from home 
son in Chicago, employed in a collection agency 
went on a drunk Freedom Hotel. 

The victim of gambling did most of the talking. 

"They can't always keep me down, now, you can 
bet on that," he said, nervously combing his goatee 
with thumb and finger. "I wish I could have had 
about ten thousand last week. I'd have shown some of 
these fellows." 

"If I had ten thousand I wouldn't chance a cent of 
it," said the other, his- eyes twitching. 

"Well, I'll beat the game yet, you see if I don't. I've 

got three or four fellows in this town to get even with 

fellows that I spent my money on when I had it; 

fellows that could come to me and get fifty or a hun- 

[89] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

dred just for the askin' of it, and there ain't one of 
'em to-day that'd turn over his finger to help me not 
one of 'em. That's what you get when you're down, 
young man. If you want to find out who your friends 
are, just wait till you go broke." 

"I know all about it," said the other. With a shaky 
hand he took the last cigarette from a package. 

"I was thinkin' when I turned in to my bunk last 
night, 'Well, this is a devil of a place for a man that 
had a room at the Palmer House, when it was the talk 
of the whole country.' That was when I used to drive 
my own trotter and hire a man to take care of him. 
When I'd come to Chicago, the hotel clerks used to 
jump over the counter to shake hands with me. If I 
wanted a steak, I went to Billy Boyle's for it. If I was 
over on Clark Street and wanted a game, I could get 
a private roll. It was 'Phil' here and 'Phil' there, and 
nothin' too good for me. Do you think I could go to 
any one o' them to-day and get a dollar? A dollar! 
Not a cent not a red cent. That's what you get 
when you're in hard luck." 

"You can't tell me anything about it," said the 
other, in a restrained voice, for his lungs were filled 
with cigarette-smoke, which he was breathing slowly 
through his nostrils. "Didn't I go to college with 
fellows that live right here in this town, and don't they 
[90] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

pass me on the street every day or two without recog- 
nising me? Why, when I think that I came of a fam- 
ily that ah, well, it's all right. Money talks here in 
Chicago, and if you haven't got money you're little 
better than a tramp." 

"Well, I'll have it again and I'll make some of these 
fellows sorry they ever threw me down. I'll make 'em 
sweat. If I don't " and he ran into profanity. 

"Here's a telegram for you," said some one at his 
elbow. 

It was the "clerk" of the Freedom a short man 
with an indented nose, who went about in his shirt- 
sleeves. 

"For me?" asked the speculator, in surprise. 

"That's what it says here Philip Sanderson. It 
come over from 136." 

"That's right." 

"I signed for it." 

He tore open the envelope and read the message. 
It seemed that he gazed at it for a full minute without 
speaking or moving. Then he arose and hurried away. 
The judge's son rubbed his eyes and felt vainly for 
another cigarette. 

"Your partner's gone," said the clerk that evening. 

"Who Sanderson?" asked the judge's son. 

"Yes, this afternoon. He didn't have much packin' 
[91] 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

to do. What do you think? An old aunt of his died 
down in Indiana and he told me he'd come in for about 
five thousand." 

"Well, I'll swear," said the judge's son, "and he 
didn't leave any word?" 

"Nope." 

A week later the judge's son was walking in State 
Street. 

The cold north wind was blowing. 

His summer derby had to be held in place. The 
other hand was deep in his trousers' pocket. 

His old sack-coat was tightly buttoned and the col- 
lar was turned up. The judge's son seemed to be limp- 
ing in each foot, but it was not a limp. It was the 
slouch of utter dejection. 

He was within thirty feet of the main entrance to 
the Palmer House when he saw a man come out. 

The judge's son had to take a second look, to be 
sure of his own senses. Instead of the old and 
crumpled slouch there was a new broad-brimmed felt 
hat of much shapeliness. The winter overcoat was 
heavy chinchilla, with a velvet collar. Sanderson was 
smoking a long cigar. He had been shaved recently. 
His shoes were brightly polished. As he stood back in 
the sheltered doorway he worked his left hand into a 
blood-red glove. 

[921 



THE JUDGE'S SON 

The judge's son stood some fifteen feet away and 
hesitated. Then he slunk to the shelter of a column 
and spoke to his partner. 

"Well, Sanderson, they seem to be coming pretty 
easy for you." 

Sanderson looked at the speaker, squinting through 
the smoke. 

He said nothing. His hand being well into the 
glove, he fastened the clasp at the wrist with a springy 
snap. With a satisfied lick he turned his cigar once 
over in his mouth. A flake of ash had fallen on the 
chinchilla coat. He brushed it off. Then he pushed 
through the swinging doors and went back into the 
hotel. 



[93] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

I am one of a large family. We stand in a row 
along Mercedes Street. When first I had any knowl- 
edge of myself I was a mere skeleton frame-work of 
scantling. There were six of us, just alike, and we 
were knee-deep in bright yellow lumber. All day long 
the workmen crawled over our ribs. I felt the rap-a- 
tap-tap as I became decently clad in weather-boarding 
and shingles. They shouldered the clean, sweet- 
smelling pine through every gaping door and win- 
dow. 

At last I was a completed house with the brass knobs 
glittering and the raw wood hidden under two glossy 
colours of paint. 

The shavings and litter were carried away. Tufts 
of green grass began to show in the trampled front 
yard. To be sure I had a sort of damp feeling in my 
joints and was still untidy with the sif tings of saw 
dust and the splatterings of paint and plastering, but 
I had the pride of knowing that I was as handsome 
as any other house in Mercedes Street. 
[97] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

Since then I have learned by eaves-dropping that 
Mercedes Street is supposed to be a shabby and un- 
counted thoroughfare and that our sextette is not in 
the fashion. One day a very gay little house, with 
scalloped decorations fastened to it, came along Mer- 
cedes Street on rollers and I remember it was very 
reluctant to take up with our society and had to be 
dragged a few feet at a time. Sometimes, by lifting 
myself and peeping, I can see the bulky shapes of large 
buildings far away. They are behind the clouds of 
smoke and I do not envy them their largeness. In fact 
I envy no other house, for contentment has come to 
me. 

For a time I was inwardly troubled. The first blow 
to my pride came soon after the painters had given 
me the last finishing caress. 

A man and a woman stopped in front of me and 
stared critically. The woman said, "Dear me !" in a 
tone of such disappointment that I felt a tremor in 
every rafter. They unlocked the front door and 
walked through the rooms, their foot-falls starting 
the hollow echoes, and the woman found fault with me. 
The man said they would have to take me, with all my 
imperfections. 

The two were childless and out of luck, and they 
seemed to regard me as a place of exile, so how was 
[98] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

I to cheer them when they always wore a frown for 
me? I had hoped to be loved, but I was merely toler- 
ated. Still, I was rather glad they came. I will ad- 
mit that it felt good to get the carpets and rugs and 
shiny furniture and looped curtains, for a house, after 
being well furnished, has the same satisfaction that a 
man has after he has dined properly. 

The inner warmth drove away the lingering chill 
and damp, and it was certainly pleasanter to glow with 
lamps than to stand lonesomely in the darkness. 

Yet I was constantly saddened by the thought that 
those whom I held and sheltered and gathered under 
my warm plastering, even as a hen gathers her brood, 
did not think well of me. 

The woman used to have an occasional caller, to 
whom she would apologise for my poor dimensions 
(think of it!), and she would say that the neighbour- 
hood was unattractive. I will confess that I was indig- 
nant. Leaving my own merits out of the question, 
there is certainly no excuse for saying evil things of 
Mercedes Street. The men work for their money and 
the women love their children. And such children ! I 
have seen the street white with them on a Sunday even- 
ing, for every little girl had a white dress and every 
boy a white waist. The men sat in the open air and 
smoked. The women called gayly from door-step to 
[99] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

door-step, and the children fluttered everywhere like 
sparrows. It has seemed to me on such a night, that 
I would rather be here in Mercedes Street than any- 
where else. 

When the unhappy couple moved out one day in 
early spring I did not care so much, although that 
night I had to stand in conspicuous gloom and feel 
the sweep of cold draughts. The woman said she 
hoped she would never see me again, but the man, as I 
believe, did not feel so unkindly toward me. The 
waggons disappeared down the street, but wherever 
they stopped, I don't believe that house will be a home 
for the man. 

After my first family went away there followed a 
cheerless month. Company is company, even though 
it offend you. I had the feeling of being neglected 
when I saw the smoke curl from other chimneys and 
heard the children shouting at the houses across the 
way. 

But one day and I must always call it the best of 
days a pudgy, red-faced little man stopped squarely 
in front of me and said, "Oho !" 

I think all of my front panes must have crinkled 
back a smile at him, for I liked this little man. 

Then there came into view a plump woman with two 
red spots on her cheeks and a little boy who had his 
[100] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

mother's cheeks and his father's wrinkly eyes, and 
two very small girls with braided hair, who hopped 
and skipped like springy little frogs. 

"Is it the place, Henry?" asked the woman. 

"Yes see," he replied, pointing to my number. 

"Isn't it fine ? All this nice grass in front." * 

"But behind!" exclaimed Henry. "Ah, behind 
for a garden big plenty of room!" 

"Is this where we're going to live?" shouted the 
boy, dancing on the front stoop. 

"Maybe yes," replied the father, laughing. Then 
the boy laughed and the mother laughed and the two 
little girls laughed, and for the first time I wanted to 
laugh too, although it was utterly preposterous for 
a house to expect to laugh. 

That day, within the hour, my self-respect came 
back and I fear I was almost as vain as I was on the 
day when the painters got through with me. 

The laughing family said my rooms were the pret- 
tiest in the world, my closets the snuggest and my 
kitchen the tidiest. So I knew th^y were coming back, 
and they did come, with some of the queerest bales and 
chests and bundles that I had ever seen on a waggon 
in Mercedes Street. The furniture was new, but the 
bales and chests and bundles had come from the old 
country, and, being unpacked, they brought forth 
[101] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

strange dishes, cutlery, pictures, clothing, bedding 
and the like, all cumbersome and showing service, but 
mightily home-like. 

Once more I felt my rafters warmed, and once more 
the light from my windows fell across the sidewalk 
where the young women and their sweethearts prome- 
naded slowly each pleasant evening and held hands 
secretively. 

The new family loved me ! So, of course, I had to 
love the new family, because a real home always tries 
to multiply the affection brought into it. 

Summer was coming. Now the open windows were 
filled with plants, and the grass spread over the front- 
yard, covering the bare spots. The whole family went 
gardening in the back-yard, and there was such shout- 
ing and laughing at work that all the work was like 
play. 

I came to know the family secrets. In the old coun- 
try the little man had been poor and the family lived 
in two rooms, and did not have meat oftener than once 
a week. They would tell of the old country sometimes, 
and when they sat down to eat the wife would say: 
"Oh, Henry, in the old country this would be a holiday 
feast." 

What a stroke of fortune to be found by these peo- 
ple, who could delight in having a house of their own, 
[102] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

with a garden at the back and the vines beginning to 
climb in front ! 

No wonder I was proud. They said the best things 
about me, and wrote about me to their friends in the 
old country, and they even had me photographed. 
That day I squared up and looked my best, for I 
could not remember that any other house in Mercedes 
Street had been photographed. 

Through fall and winter they kept me warmed 
with their simple goodness, and I was so grateful that 
on windy nights I would soothe the children to sleep. 
When the wind whistled at my eaves I would change 
the whistle to a crooning sound, which none but the 
children could understand, and which is never heard 
except where there are children to listen. 

The three would lie in their beds and listen to the 
droning lullaby, and soon all three would go to sleep 
smiling. They thought it was the wind singing to 
them, but I did my part, for I am sure the song did 
not sound the same at any other house in Mercedes 
Street. 

Spring and summer came again. The vines hung 
in sh'owers of green around the front windows and 
the children sang in the street. 

One morning I drowsed in greater happiness than 
[103] 



HOUSE IN MERCEDES STREET 

usual, for now there were four children instead of 
three. 

Such bantering as they had ! He said it was his and 
she said it was hers, and I longed to speak up and say 
it was mine also. 

It is winter now. The fourth one sits strapped at 
the window and laughs at the children outside. 

I believe I am the proudest house in Mercedes Street. 



[104] 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

"Me with bunches of the grip," said the Hickey boy. 
"Me the livin' drug-store." 

"But you have recovered sufficiently to smoke a 
cigarette." 

"Gee! 1 need my student's lamp now and then, no- 
matter how rocky I'm feelin', but it did look for a 
while as if I'd have to chop on these little paper things 
for fair. They had me in the feathers with many 
brands of dope shot into me." 

"You were taken down on Tuesday, I believe." 

"I was taken down and up and side couples cross 
over. I got it everywheres at the same minute. The 
gong sounded Monday afternoon. I shook hands with 
one of them microbe boys and then it was us mixin' 
it and I've been against the ropes ever since. Say, do 
you stand for that talk about some eight-legged little 
dingus gettin' into you and makin' all this grip? I 
see a piece about it in the Sunday paper with a picture 
of something that looked like a soft-shell crab a kind 
of a nervous crab, reachin' in all directions. When 
[107] 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

I went in to see Doc Tuesday morning, I says, 'Doc, 
have I got any of them boys travellin' beat in my sys- 
tem?' he says to me, 'You've probably got a million 
of 'em rummagin' around inside of you this minute!' 
'Well,' I says, 'if that's the case, pick out the trimmins'. 
What chance have I got against a million o' them fel- 
lows? They'll have me gnawed out inside till I'm 
hollow as a drum.' Doc says, 'I'm goin' to kill 'em.' 
'Well,' I says, 'you call 'em outside before you kill 
'em. I don't want to be a walkin' morgue, with a mill- 
ion o' them grip umptaloriums laid out inside o' me.' 
Not on your leaf-lards. What is it you call 'em?" 

"Germs." 

"That's the name ! I ought to remember that. All 
you've got to do is think of Germans. Doc give me a 
grand little talk about them germs. He was'handin' 
me words that nobody ever heard before. He earned 
his dollar all right. You ought to have heard him 
givin' it to me about the mucous membranus and the 
broncho bazazas gettin' their wires crossed with the 
wollyollopis down in the gazalium. Ooh ! Poor talk ! 
Poor talk ! When he got through tellin' me what I 
had and spread me from the case note, my only hope 
then was to get home before I croaked. I didn't want 
to fall over in the street and make trouble for any 
strangers. You ought to seen me. The lamps all 
[108] 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

red an' a tongue that felt like a rug. I'm livin' at my 
sister's house, an' her, you know, wiser'n any doctor. 
Oh, easy ! Out in the kitchen, cookin' up stuff for me. 
When she brought it in I looked it over an' says : 'No, 
not unless you hurry it into me when I'm asleep.' She 
says : 'You don't eat this. This is a poultice for your 
chest.' So me up against this stuff an' hollerin' plenty. 
I thought it was all off. 'Here,' I says, 'from now on 
we scratch the home doctorin'. I'll take the stuff that 
Doc give me an' let it go at that.' Could I stop her? 
Not for a minute. Think o' the handicap, too. Me 
laid out on the sofa an' her sneakin' on me every little 
while to get somethin' into me before I had a chance to 
make a fight. If I'd took all the stuff she fixed up 
for me say, me feet first with three on a side ! Easy. 
I had to talk right to her to keep her away, too. I 
says: 'I don't want to start nothin* in the Hickey 
family, but if you try to shoot any more poison into 
me I can see myself swingin' on you.' She says: 
'Now, I'm tellin' you, this'll do you good.' 'You give 
it to your husband,' I says. 'You don't know but 
what them microbes live on this stuff you've fixed up 
here,' I says. 'I'm after 'em with Doc in my corner, 
and if you don't keep out o' the ring I may forget that 
you're my sister.' Well, that held her for a while." 
"Did you have it bad?" 

[109J 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

"I had it worse'n that. Monday afternoon I felt 
like I'd been run over by an ice-wagon three or four 
times. All the insides o' me wuz lumpy. I could'a' 
swore I'd swallowed a couple o' dumbbells and they'd 
settled in my back, an' the head was a lily. No eyes 
at all. Just a couple o' poached eggs, that's all. Me 
settin' around on my shoulder-blades lookin' like one o' 
these bamboo boys full o' hop. I couldn't see a thing 
to it. Monday night it was all in-fightin' with the 
blanket an' dodgin' things that come up over the foot- 
board. I'd get up and try to cool the block with a 
wet towel, an' then you'd see the steam comin' off of 
me. Then I'd fall over on the mattress an' ride in the 
merry-go-round for a while. I figured that I was 
booked for the crazy-house or the bone-orchard, I 
couldn't tell which. It was Tuesday mornin' that I see 
Doc an' he said nothin' ailed me except I had a zoo 
runnin' around inside o' me, so I bought everything 
they could spare at the corner drug store an' come 
home to set a few traps for these eight-legged fiends 
that had moved in on me. It was one kind every two 
hours and another every three hours an' then a few at 
night and a nice red-pepper plaster that'd help some. 
I don't think I was right in my nut from the minute 
I starts to go against all these allypozzacks in the blue 
boxerinos." 

[110] 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

"I see they gave you a sort of ringing in the 
ears." 

"Oh ow! I heard the fire-bells all night. Doc 
must have slipped me a few knock-out drops. They 
had me all covered up so as to sweat it out, they said. 
I didn't see how they could sweat out any o' these 
things that's got claws like a lobster. I must 'a' re- 
duced seventeen pounds trying to make it too hot for 
them germs. When I did get to sleep I had a dream 
that was all right. It was a fine little dream an' it 
landed me cross-ways of the bed, tryin' to bite a hole 
in the pillow. Now listen ! Here's the kind of a dream 
you have when the quinine an' the germs get together. 
Me a walkin' down the street, when I comes to one o' 
these gangs repairin' this block pavin,' understand? 
You've seen 'em where they put down them blocks and 
push the gravel in between an' then pour this hot tar 
over the whole thing. There was a copper standin' 
on the corner watchin' the gang work, an' when they 
see me everybody hollers an' comes at me on the run. 
I didn't know what was doin', but I put up a swell race 
for about seven miles, then me in the gravel an' about 
fourteen on top. Well, what do you think they done ? 
This is just to show where the stuff put me. They 
drags me back an' chucks me into Mr. Big-iron-thing 
that they melt the tar in. Hot ? Holy sufferin' mack- 
[ 111 ] 



HICKEY BOY AND THE GRIP 

erel! Me pushin' up the lid, you know, an' putting 
out the coco to get a little fresh air, an' the copper 
giving me an awful belt across the head every time 
an' sayin', 'G'wan, get back in there !' I'd duck back 
in and do my two or three minutes settin' up to my 
neck in this stuff, boilin' hot understand? an' then 
up with the lid and take another wallop. Oh, I was 
havin' a lovely time. I guess I must have hollered, 
becuz the first thing I remember was the sister wras'lin' 
with me an' tellin' me to lay down an' keep quiet. I 
made a couple o' passes at her an' told her to give me a 
gallon o' water. She says: 'You seem to be a little 
feverish.' 'Oh, I don't know,' I says, all the time 
tryin' to crawl up on top o' the head-board. Oh, me 
up in the air! Say, if that's what them little grip 
things does to you, I'm glad they don't grow the size 
o' rabbits." 



[112] 



THE SET OF POE 



THE SET OF POE 

Mr. Waterby remarked to his wife: "I'm still 
tempted by that set of Poe. I saw it in the window 
to-day, marked down to fifteen dollars." 

"Yes?" said Mrs. Waterby, with a sudden gasp of 
emotion, it seemed to him. 

"Yes I believe I'll have to get it." 

"I wouldn't if I were you, Alfred," she said. "You 
have so many books now." 

"I know I have, my dear, but I haven't any set of 
Poe, and that's what I've been wanting for a long time. 
This edition I was telling you about is beautifully 
gotten up." 

"Oh, I wouldn't buy it, Alfred," she repeated, and 
there was a note of pleading earnestness in her voice. 
"It's so much money to spend for a few books." 

"Well, I know, but " and then he paused, for the 
lack of words to express his mortified surprise. 

Mr. Waterby had tried to be an indulgent husband. 

He took a selfish pleasure in giving, and found it more 

blessed than receiving. Every salary day he turned 

over to Mrs. Waterby a fixed sum for household 

[115] 



THE SET OF POE 

expenses. He added to this an allowance for her 
spending money. He set aside a small amount for his 
personal expenses and deposited the remainder in the 
bank. 

He flattered himself that he approximated the 
model husband. 

Mr. Waterby had no costly habits and no prevail- 
ing appetite for anything expensive. Like every 
other man, he had one or two hobbies, and one of his 
particular hobbies was Edgar Allan Poe. He believed 
that Poe, of all American writers, was the one unmis- 
takable "genius." 

The word "genius" has been bandied around the 
country until it has come to be applied to a long- 
haired man out of work or a stout lady who writes 
poetry for the rural press. In the case of Poe, Mr. 
Waterby maintained that "genius" meant one who 
was not governed by the common mental processes, 
but "who spoke from inspiration, his mind involun- 
tarily taking superhuman flight into the realm of pure 
imagination," or something of that sort. At any rate, 
Mr. Waterby liked Poe and he wanted a set of Poe. 
He allowed himself not more than one luxury a year, 
and he determined that this year the luxury should be 
a set of Poe. 

Therefore, imagine the hurt to his f eelings when his 
[116] 



THE SET OF POE 

wife objected to his expending fifteen dollars for that 
which he coveted above anything else in the world. 

As he went to his work that day he reflected on Mrs. 
Waterby's conduct. Did she not have her allowance 
of spending money? Did he ever find fault with her 
extravagance? Was he an unreasonable husband in 
asking that he be allowed to spend this small sum for 
that which would give him many hours of pleasure, 
and which would belong to Mrs. Waterby as much as 
to him? 

He told himself that many a husband would have 
bought the books without consulting his wife. But 
he (Waterby) had deferred to his wife in all matters 
touching family finances, and he said to himself, with 
a tincture of bitterness in his thoughts, that probably 
he had put himself into the attitude of a mere de- 
pendent. 

For had she not forbidden him to buy a few books 
for himself? Well, no, she had not forbidden him, 
but it amounted to the same thing. She had declared 
that she was firmly opposed to the purchase of Poe. 

Mr. Waterby wondered if it were possible that he 
was just beginning to know his wife. Was she a 
selfish woman at heart? Was she complacent and 
good-natured and kind only while she was having her 
own way? Wouldn't she prove to be an entirely dif- 
[117] 



THE SET OF POE 

ferent sort of woman if he should do as many husbands 
do spend his income on clubs and cigars and private 
amusement, and gave her the pickings of small 
change ? 

Nothing in Mr. Waterby's whole experience as a 
married man had so wrenched his sensibilities and dis- 
turbed his faith as Mrs. Waterby's objection to the 
purchase of the set of Poe. There was but one way 
to account for it. She wanted all the money for her- 
self, or else she wanted him to put it into the bank 
so that she could come into it after he but this was 
too monstrous. 

However, Mrs. Waterby's conduct helped to give 
strength to Mr. Waterby's meanest suspicions. 

Two or three days after the first conversation she 
asked: "You didn't buy that set of Poe, did you, 
Alfred?" 

"No, I didn't buy it," he answered, as coldly and 
with as much hauteur as possible. 

He hoped to hear her say : "Well, why don't you 
go and get it ? I'm sure that you want it, and I'd like 
to see you buy something for yourself once in a while." 

That would have shown the spirit of a loving and 
unselfish wife. 

But she merely said, "That's right ; don't buy it," 
and he was utterly unhappy, for he realised that he 
[118] 



THE SET OF POE 

had married a woman who did not love him and who 
simply desired to use him as a pack-horse for all house- 
hold burdens. 

As soon as Mr. Waterby had learned the horrible 
truth about his wife he began to recall little episodes 
dating back years, and now he pieced them together 
to convince himself that he was a deeply wronged per- 
son. 

Small at the time and almost unnoticed, they now 
accumulated to prove that Mrs. Waterby had no real 
anxiety for her husband's happiness. Also, Mr. 
Waterby began to observe her more closely, and he 
believed that he found new evidences of her unworthi- 
ness. For one thing, while he was in gloom over his 
discovery and harassed by doubts of what the future 
might reveal to him, she was content and even- 
tempered. 

The holiday season approached and Mr. Waterby 
made a resolution. He decided that if she would not 
permit him to spend a little money on himself he 
would not buy the customary Christmas present for 
her. 

"Selfishness is a game at which two can play," he 
said. 

Furthermore, he determined that if she asked him 
for any extra money for Christmas he would say: 
[119] 



THE SET OF FOE 

"I'm sorry, my dear, but I can't spare any. I am so 
hard up that I can't even afford to buy a few books 
I've been wanting a long time. Don't you remem- 
ber that you told me that I couldn't afford to buy that 
set of Foe?" 

Could anything be more biting as to sarcasm or 
more crushing as to logic? 

He rehearsed this speech and had it all ready for 
her, and he pictured to himself her humiliation and 
surprise at discovering that he had some spirit after 
all and a considerable say-so whenever money was in- 
volveu. 

Unfortunately for his plan, she did not ask for any 
extra spending money, and so he had to rely on the 
other mode of punishment. He would withhold the 
expected Christmas present. In order that she might 
fully understand his purpose, he would give presents 
to both of the children. 

It was a harsh measure, he admitted, but perhaps 
it would teach her to have some consideration for the 
wishes of others. 

It must be said that Mr. Waterby was not wholly 
proud of his revenge when he arose on Christmas morn- 
ing. He felt that he had accomplished his purpose, 
and he told himself that his motives had been good and 
pure, but still he was not satisfied with himself. 
[120] 



THE SET OF FOE 

He went to the dining-room, and there on the table 
in front of his plate was a long paper box, containing 
ten books, each marked "Foe." It was the edition he 
had coveted. 

"What's this?" he asked, winking slowly, for his 
mind could not grasp in one moment the fact of his 
awful shame. 

"I should think you ought to know, Alfred," said 
Mrs. Waterby, flushed, and giggling like a school- 
girl. 

"Oh, it was you " 

"My goodness, you've had me so frightened ! That 
first day, when you spoke of buying them and I told 
you not to, I was just sure that you suspected some- 
thing. I bought them a week before that." 

"Yes yes," said Mr. Waterby, feeling the salt- 
water in his eyes. At that moment he had the soul of 
a wretch being whipped at the stake. 

"I was determined not to ask you for any money 
to pay for your own presents," Mrs. Waterby con- 
tinued. "Do you know I had to save for you and 
the children out of my regular allowance. Why, last 
week I nearly starved you, and you never noticed it at 
all. I was afraid you would." 

"No, I didn't notice it," said Mr. Waterby, 
brokenly, for he was confused and giddy. 
[121] 



THE SET OF POE 

This self-sacrificing angel and he had bought no 
Christmas present for her! 

It was a fearful situation, and he lied his way out 
of it. 

"How did you like your present?" he asked. 

"Why, I haven't seen it yet," she said, looking 
across at him in surprise. 

"You haven't? I told them to send it up yester- 
day." 

The children were shouting and laughing over their 
gifts in the next room, and he felt it his duty to lie 
for their sake. 

"Well, don't tell me what it is," interrupted Mrs. 
Waterby. "Wait until it comes." 

"I'll go after it." 

He did go after it, although he had to drag a 
jeweller away from his home on Christmas -day and 
have him open his great safe. The ring which he se- 
lected was beyond his means, it is true, but when a man 
has to buy back his self-respect, the price is never too 
high. 



[122] 



DUBLEY, '89 



DUBLEY, '89 

Mr. Dubley, '89, was flattered to receive an invita- 
tion to attend the annual dinner of the Beverly alumni 
and respond to the toast, "College Days." Mr. Dub- 
ley, class of '89, in his days pointed out as a real orna- 
ment to the campus, had allowed his interest in college 
matters to ooze away from him. He had been in 
Chicago three years and had not attended an annual 
dinner, but now, being invited to speak, he felt it his 
duty to step in and accept the honour. 

See Mr. Dubley in his room at night writing, 
writing. He was writing about "College Days" but 
he erased much more than he wrote. When he had 
completed a sentence he would read it aloud to make 
sure that it had the swing and cadence so pleasing to 
the ear. 

One week before the dinner and Mr. Dubley's 
speech regarding "College Days" was a finished thing. 
It had been typewritten, with broad spaces, and there 
were parenthetical reminders such as: (Pause), (full 
breath), (gesture with right hand), etc. Mr. Dubley 
had witnessed the pitiable flunks resulting from a state 
of unpreparedness, and he was not going to rely upon 
[125] 



DUBLEY, '89 

momentary inspiration. He was going to rehearse 
every part of his speech, and when he arose to respond 
to the toast "College Days" that speech would be a 
part of his mental fibre. 

If Mr. Dubley talked mutteringly as he hid behind 
his newspaper on the elevated train or made strange 
gestures as he hurried along Dearborn Street, it was not 
to be inferred that Mr. Dubley had lost his mind. He 
was practising that is all. 

The speech : 

"Mr. President and Gentlemen: The toastmaster 
has told you that I am to speak of 'College Days,' a 
subject that must arouse the tenderest and sweetest 
memories in the bosom of every one here. When I 
look about me and see all these faces beaming with 
good-fellowship and fraternal love, I realise that there 
are no ties as lasting as those that we form in the 
bright days of our youth, within the college halls. 
No matter what experiences may befall us after we 
have gone out into the world, we can always look back 
with pleasure on the days that we spent in college. 

" ' You may break, you may shatter, the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses mil cling 'round it still.' 

"I sometimes think that in the rush and hurry of 
business life, here in this great metropolis, we make a 
[126] 



DUBLEY, '89 

serious mistake in neglecting to keep up the friend- 
ships formed in college. I tell you, fellow-alumni, we 
ought to extend a helping hand to every man who 
comes to this city from old Beverly. Let us keep alive 
the holy torch ignited at the altar of youthful loyalty. 

"The enthusiasm manifested here this evening 
proves that you indorse what I have just said. I know 
that your hearts beat true to our dear alma mater; 
that other institutions, larger and more pretentious, 
perhaps, can never hold the same place in your affec- 
tions. 

"Oh, that we might again gather on the campus 
in the same company that was once so dear to us, there 
to sing the old college songs, to feel the hand-clasp 
of our college mates, and listen to the sweet chiming 
of the chapel bell. These are memories to be treas- 
ured. In the years to come we shall find that they are 
the brightest pages in life's history. 

"Gentlemen, I have no wish to tire you. There are 
other speakers to follow me. In conclusion I merely 
wish to relate a little anecdote which is suggested to 
me by the opening remarks of our worthy toastmaster. 
It seems there was an Irishman who had been in this 
country but a few days, and he was looking for work, 
so he said to himself one morning : 'Begob, Oi think 
Oi'll go down be the dock to see if I can't be afther 
[127] 



DUBLEY, '89 

gettin' a job unloadin' a ship.' So he went down to 
the dock, but couldn't get any work. While he was 
standing there looking down into the water, a man 
in a diving-suit came up through the waves and climbed 
up on the dock. Pat looked at him in great surprise 
and said : 'Begob, if Oi'd known where to get a suit 
loike that, I'd have walked over mesilf .' " 

During the gale of laughter which was to follow 
this story, Mr. Dubley would sit down. 

Now, in order that he might not become confused 
as to the order of his paragraphs and to guard against 
the remote possibility of his forgetting some part of 
the address, Mr. Dubley had the opening words of 
each paragraph jotted down on a card, to which he 
might refer if necessary : 

The president has told, etc. 

I sometimes think, etc. 

The enthusiasm manifested, etc. 

Oh, that we might, etc. 

Gentlemen, I have no wish, etc. 

The annual dinner of the Beverly alumni was an un- 
qualified success. 

Three tables were filled. Two of these were long 
tables joining a short transverse table, at which sat 
the chairman and the speakers. Dubley, '89, was at 
this head table. 

[128] 



DUBLEY, '89 

Dinner eame on with a great clatter. The mandoliu 
orchestra played "coon" songs and the young men 
bellowed the choruses. An ex-star of the football 
team was carried thrice round the table on the billow- 
ing shoulders of his friends, who chanted and rah- 
rahed and stepped high. 

Mr. Dubley, '89, who was dieting and abstaining, 
in order that he might be in good voice and have pos- 
session of his faculties when the critical moment came, 
began to suspect that the assemblage was in no mood 
to give serious attention to the memories of college 
days. His fellow-alumni sat low in their chairs, with 
their white fronts very convex, and pounded the tables 
rhythmically, causing the small coffee-cups to jump 
and jingle. 

Cigars succeeded cigarettes. A blue fog obscured 
the far end of the double perspective of long tables, 
and the hurrah was unabated. 

The chairman pounded on the table. 

"I am glad," he shouted, "to see such a large and 
disorderly mob here this evening. ( Cheers. ) I under- 
stand that Mr. Dubley of the class of '89 has some- 
thing to say to you, and I will now call on him." 

And Mr. Dubley arose. The clamorous applause 
helped to encourage him. He took a drink of water. 

A voice : "What is the gentleman's name, please ?" 



DUBLEY, '89 

The chairman: "Dubley this is Mr. Dubley of 
the class of '89." 

A voice: "Never heard of him before." (Laugh- 
ter.) 

Dubley : "Mr. President and gentlemen." 

A voice : " 'Mr. President and gentlemen' ?" 

Another voice: "Yes why this distinction?" 

Dubley (Smiling feebly) : "Of course you un- 
derstand when I say 'Mr. President and gentlemen' 
I don't mean to insinuate that the president is not a 
gentleman. I think he is a gentleman." 

A voice: "You think he is?" 

Dubley : "The toastmaster has told you that I am 
to speak of 'College Days'." 

A voice : "I didn't hear him." 

Dubley: "Well, he ah should have announced 
that as the subject of my toast. (Cries of "All right," 
"Go ahead," "Make good.") 'College Days', a sub- 
ject that must arouse the tenderest and sweetest 
memories in the bosom of every one here." (Ap- 
plause. ) 

A voice: "Say, this fellow's eloquent." (Laugh- 
ter.) 

Dubley : "Tenderest and sweetest memories in the 
bosom of every one here." 

A voice : "No encores." 

[130] 



DUBLEY, '89 

Another voice: "You said that once." 

Dubley: "Pardon me; I ah " 

A voice : "Go ahead ! you're all right maybe." 
Dubley : "When I look around me and see all these 
faces beaming with good-fellowship and fraternal 

love I " 

Grand chorus: "Ah-h-h-h-h !" 

Dubley : "I say, when I look around " 

A voice : "That's twice you've looked around." 
Dubley : "I realise that there are no ties as lasting 
as those that we form in the bright days of our youth 
within the college halls. (Cries of "Good boy" and 
"Right you are, old rox.") No matter what experi- 
ences may befall us ' 

Distant voice: "Mr. Toastmaster! Mr. Toast- 
master !" 

Chairman : "Well, what is it?" 
Distant voice: "There are several of us down at 
this end of the table who did not catch the gentleman's 
name. He is making a good speech, and we want to 
know who he is let go of my coat !" 

The Chairman: "Gentlemen, I will announce for 
the third time that the speaker who now has the floor 
is Mr. Harold Dubley of the class of '89, sometimes 
known as the boy orator of Danville." 
A voice : "Harold's such a sweet name." 
[131] 



DUBLEY, '89 

The Chairman : "I may add that Mr. Dubley has 
prepared his speech with great care and I hope you'll 
give him your quiet attention." (Cries of "All right!" 
and "Let 'er go!") 

Dubley (hesitatingly): 

" ( You may break, you may shatter, the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses nnll cling round it still. 1 

A voice: "Oh, Lizzie!" (Prolonged howls.) 

Dubley : "I sometimes think " 

A voice: "You don't look it." (Renewed laugh- 
ter.) 

Dubley: "I say, I sometimes think " 

A voice: "Did anybody else ever say it?" 

Dubley: " that in the rush and hurry of busi- 
ness life here in the great metropolis we make a serious 
mistake in neglecting to keep up the friendships 
formed in college. (Indian yell. Some one throws a 
stalk of celery at Dubley.) Ah let us keep alive 
the holy torch ignited at the altar of youthful 
loyalty." 

A voice: "Mr. Toastmaster !" 

The Chairman: "What is it?" 

A voice: "I propose three cheers for the holy 
torch." (Tremendous cheering and laughter.) 

Dubley: "The enthusiasm manifested here this 
[132] 



DUBLEY, '89 

evening proves that you indorse what I have just 
said." 

A voice : "You haven't said anything yet." (Cries 
of "Order!" and "Give him a chance.") 

Dubley: "I know that your hearts I know that 
your hearts " , 

One of the rioters (arising) : "Mr. Toastmaster, 
I move you that Mr. Jubley or Gubley or whatever 
his name is, be directed to omit all anatomical refer- 
ences. He should remember that there are gentlemen 
present." 

The Chairman: "I have every confidence in Mr. 
Dubley's sense of propriety and must ask him to con- 
tinue." 

Dubley (hesitating and referring to his card): 
"Oh Oh that we might might again gather on the 
campus " 

A voice : "Wouldn't that be nice ?" 

Dubley: " in the same company that was once 
so dear to us, there to sing the old college songs, 

A voice : "Mr. Toastmaster !" 

The Chairman: "What is it?" 

The voice: "I suggest that Mr. Bubley sing one 
of those college songs to which he refers with so much 
feeling." 

[133] 



DUBLEY, '89 

The Chairman : "Again I will inform the company 
that the speaker's name is not Bubley, but Dubley." 

A voice : "With the accent on the 'Dub'." 

The Chairman : "Mr. Dubley has promised to sing 
a song if you will permit him to finish his speech." 
(Cries of "All right!" "Go ahead.") 

Dubley (Once more referring to his card) : "Gen- 
tlemen, I have no wish to tire you. (Cries of "Hear! 
hear!") There are other speakers " 

A voice : "You bet there are !" 

Dubley : "Er in conclusion, I merely wish to relate 
a little anecdote (Cries of "Ah-h-h-h!") which is 
suggested to me by the opening remarks of our worthy 
toastmaster. (Laughter.) It seems there was an 
Irishman (Groans) who had been in this country but 
a few days and he was looking for work." (Loud 
laughter. ) 

The Chairman : "I will have to ask the gentlemen 
to come to order. Mr. Dubley hasn't finished his story 
yet." 

Dubley : "As I say, this Irishman was looking for 
work, so he said to himself one morning, 'Begob, Oi 
think Oi'll go down be the dock to see if I can't be after 
getting a job un " 

A voice : " 'ster Toastmaster !" 

The Chairman: "What is it?" 
[134] 



DUBLEY, '89 

The voice : "A point of order." 

The Chairman: "State your point,," 

The voice: "The gentleman is telling an Irish 
story with a Swedish dialect." 

The Chairman : "The point is well taken. If Mr. 
Dubley wishes to go ahead with his anecdote, he will 
please use an Irish dialect." 

"Dubley (On the verge of collapse): "Well, Mr. 
Toastmaster, the story's nearly over. (Cries of 
"Hooray!") All there was to it is that while the 
Irishman was at the dock he saw a diver in a diving- 
suit come up out of the water and he thought, of 
course I should have told you that this Irishman had 
lately come over from the old country then well 
he saw the diver and he thought the diver had walked 

over from Ireland, so he said " (General uproar, 

during which Dubley dodges a French roll. Some 
one pulls him into a chair. ) 

Dubley : "But I hadn't finished my story." 

The man next to him : "Yes, you had." 

Although the toastmaster referred to Mr. Dubley's 
speech in very complimentary terms, Dubley will al- 
ways have his doubts. 



[135] 



THE MONEY PRESENT 



THE MONEY PRESENT 

Bless the little ones! We must remember them at 
Christmas, and what could be more appropriate to the 
glad season than a small money deposit in some reliable 
bank. 

We are a business people. We admit it. Why not 
give our children a long, running start toward a busi- 
ness education? 

The Noah's Ark animals became scattered and 
splintered. The drums are punctured and the cast- 
iron fire engine goes into the scrap-heap before May 
1st, but the money in the bank endures as a permanent 
asset. 

Candy sometimes causes stomach-ache and the nuts 
of commerce contain such a large percentage of oil 
that a small child having partaken too freely becomes 
oleaginous, and complains of twinges in the digestive 
regions. Even books lose their value after a first read- 
ing and are pushed away and neglected. 

But the money in the bank never plays out. It is 
right there, ready to be borrowed by papa if he 
chances to run short and overdraw his own account. 
[139] 



THE MONEY PRESENT 

And there is no hurry about returning it, because the 
money is always deposited on condition that it cannot 
be withdrawn until the child is twenty-one. 

Picture : It is the cold grey of Christmas morning. 
The youngster has slept uneasily and has seen 
Santa Glaus, with smoky breath and frosty coat, peek- 
ing into his room. In his fitful naps he has reviewed 
a procession of red sleds and stood under a festoon of 
steel skates, tempered to a handsome blue. 

At last his eyelids part reluctantly and the first 
light of morning is squared out at the window. His 
heart gives a few thumps and he squirms among the 
warm covers, shaking off his drowsiness and hoping 
hard that there will be something in the stocking. 

This is Christmas morning at last ! He has been 
counting the mornings, "Seven more until Christmas," 
and then "Six more until Christmas" and so on until 
it is not even one more morning until Christmas, for 
the day and the morning have come. He wonders if 
the skates are there. He is impatient to find out, and 
yet almost afraid to slip out in the cool ghostly silence 
and investigate. Not that he is afraid of the shadows 
and the stillness, but he is faltering at this last moment 
and wondering if his very politic remarks in regard to 
skates, a steam engine and plenty of candy were taken 
seriously. 

[140] 



THE MONEY PRESENT 

He cannot lie there and struggle with uncertainty. 
His two bare feet strike the rug simultaneously and he 
patters swiftly to the front room. 

There hangs the stocking limp and empty. The 
hot tears blind his eyes and he has a smothery feeling 
at the throat. With a despairing sniffle he seizes the 
stocking and what is this? There is something in- 
side, after all. 

Hope rises faintly within him. He draws out a lit- 
tle hand-book and sees on the first page, in a firm busi- 
ness hand, the entry, "Cash, $5." 

Oh, what a sweep of joy engulfs the young soul at 
that moment ! He has not been forgotten by good old 
Santy ! No indeed ! He has five dollars locked up in 
the bank. 

Although he will be unable to get at the money, 
the knowledge that it is in the custody of a responsi- 
ble corporation and can be withdrawn in fifteen years, 
should be sufficient to warm the imagination of any 
child and set the carols to singing in his heart. 

With what ecstacy he scampers away to tell papa 
and mamma of his great good fortune. He waves the 
bank-book above his head and his gleeful shouts break 
the dull silence of dawn. What cares he now for 
skates, picture-books, nuts or candy? 

"Oh, look, papa !" he exclaims. "See ! I have five 
[141] 



THE MONEY PRESENT 

dollars deposited to my credit with the savings de- 
partment of the Hcrculanaeum Bank and Funda- 
mental Reserve Trust Company ! Am I not to be con- 
gratulated ?" 

Witness, also, the glad scene after breakfast. 

Papa has taken little Robbie on his lap and to- 
gether they are figuring out the compound interest 
on $5 for a period of fifteen years, at 4 per cent, per 
annum. 

How the little one's eyes sparkle with understand- 
ing as he studies the long row of figures and realises 
that within the next twelve months his deposit will 
earn twenty cents interest. 

While he is at school, striving to improve his mind, 
and while he is playing with his youthful companions, 
perhaps forgetting his deposit in the excitement of 
the moment, his money will be increasing at the rate 
of one and two-thirds cents a month. 

What a child needs is a bank account. When a boy 
is six years old it is time that he be made to grapple 
with the sombre responsibilities of commercialism. If 
he weeps and does not seem to feel the advantage of 
having five dollars secreted in a bank, explain to him 
the beauties of business economy and load him down 
with maxims. 

What a Christmas we could have if parents would 
[142] 



THE MONEY PRESENT 

refrain from giving their children boxes of candy, 
sacks of nuts, fairy tales, winking dolls, sets of dishes, 
games, building blocks, mechanical toys, jumping 
jacks and such fripperies, and, instead, gave each 
child a hand-written certificate of deposit! Santa 
Claus should wear side-whiskers and a tall hat and 
carry a burglar-proof safe in the back of his sleigh. 

The Christmas decoration should be the word 
"Utility," worked out in evergreen and in addition to 
a $5 deposit, every blessed cherub should receive a 
jumper suit of underwear and a pair of mittens. 



[143] 



BEST OF THE FARLEYS 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

John Farley has worked hard, taken the cheerful view 
of life, smoked a large amount of tobacco, "got drunk" 
occasionally and saved enough money to pay for a 
little house in Pitkin Street. He stands well with the 
foreman and is a favourite at the corner bar, for he is 
a wit and a commentator. He is prosperous, according 
to the division of wealth in Pitkin Street prosper- 
ous and proud. His pride is Rosie. 

She was born at the Pitkin Street house, and in her 
childhood she ranged through the alleys and lumber 
by-ways that led to the river. Mrs. Farley allowed 
the children to run wild until they were old enough 
to be sent to the big public school. Rosie used to wear 
a patched slip of dingy material. The wisp of dis- 
ordered hair was caught up with a black string. She 
had the usual affinity for dirt. Her mother never kept 
her in hand. Her father joked with her and told her 
Irish goblin stories and was a good playmate, but 
he never took himself seriously as a parent. She never 
had any home "training." Certainly she was never 
"reared." 

[147] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

So why did she pick up into a neat and careful Miss 
who read books that were new to Pitkin Street? Af- 
ter she finished at the grammar school she was, a sales- 
girl, and then she took up short-hand. She bought 
her own clothing and had a bank-book. 

At twenty she was the only member of the family 
who had ready money when Tommy, caught up for 
beating a man with a billiard-cue, had to pay a fine 
of twenty-five dollars or go to the bridewell. Rosie 
went to the station and paid the fine. Mrs. Farley 
wept before, during, and after the trial, protesting 
that it was the shame of her life that her son should 
be "in prison." John Farley was gloomily disgraced 
by the affair and told Tommy that he would have to 
pay his sister every cent. He has not paid it as 
jet. 

Tommy had grown up in Pitkin Street, as Rosie 
had. The two attended the same school and were al- 
lowed an equal start, such as it was. Tommy, at 
twenty-seven, is a slouching ruffian who stands at the 
corner with other members of the "Terry gang," 
drinks as often as he can, and works as seldom as possi- 
ble. Rosie, at twenty-four, is a delectable creature, 
who knows what clothes to wear and how to carry her- 
self. She earns a salary of $15 a week as a sten- 
ographer, is prized by her employers, pointed out 
[148] 



BEST OF THE FARLEYS 

by all of Pitkin Street, and especially respected and 
held in awe by John Farley and his wife. All the 
wayward young girls of Pitkin Street who steal out 
of evenings to join the rowdy young men are told to 
observe Rosie Farley, who never does such things. 
Rosie sets the styles for the street no flaunting white 
feathers and gay ribbons, but the trimmest of cloth 
suits in winter and shirt-waist effects in summer. The 
over-grown boys who went to school with her touch 
their hats uneasily when she passes and comment in 
whispers. That is all. They simply admire her at a 
distance. 

To John Farley it is an unending surprise that he 
is the father of the wonderful Rosie. She is the ruler 
of the household and has been ever since a certain 
Saturday night in June. 

John Farley seldom drank too much except on Sat- 
urday night, when it was his habit to come home in 
an excited and confused state of mind and make long 
speeches to Mrs. Farley, who would weep. The 
woman was emotional by nature. She loved strange 
funerals and death-bed stories and family griefs. 

When John Farley was in drink he would declaim 

of his wife's unworthiness, of her improvidence, of 

her neglect of household duties. The more she 

moaned and sobbed and lamented the fact of her birth 

[149] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

the more sweeping and eloquent was his attack. Her 
demonstrative grief seemed to act as a stimulant to his 
invective. These occasional Saturday night scenes 
had been enacted ever since Rosie could remember. As 
a little girl she had lain in bed, trembling at the 
sounds and feeling a secret shame that she had been 
born to such parents. Later she had endured the 
squalls with saintly forbearance. Later still, she 
wearied of them. She began to understand that her 
father's Saturday night attack and her mother's re- 
sponsive weeping made up a kind of ceremonial which 
had no serious import and was observed solely be- 
cause it had attained the dignity of a custom. 

Her father never quarrelled except after drinking. 
It seemed that when he came to a certain period of in- 
toxication he had the impulse to go home and deliver 
the set oration to his wife. Her sufferings were terri- 
ble on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning she 
would be placid and cheerful again. 

On the Saturday evening which marked the change 
of administration, young Mr. Carroll, son of the con- 
tractor, had called to see Rosie. They were sitting 
on the front stoop when John Farley came home 
through the front gate and went around to the side- 
door of the house. He walked with his feet far apart 
and was staring straight ahead with a filmy and un- 
[150] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

observant gaze. He was very erect, also, as a man 
should be when he is quite sober. 

Rosie was prepared for what began in the kitchen. 
John started in on his familiar and highly coloured 
speech depicting the woes of the honest working-man 
who is married to a lazy and wasteful slattern. The 
doors and windows were open. This oration threat- 
ened to permeate the block. 

"Please go home, Mr. Carroll," said Rosie, "I am 
needed in the house." 

Mrs. Farley was sitting beside the kitchen-table, 
with her apron rolled into a handkerchief. She was 
rocking sidewise and wailing mechanically, and there 
was a rivulet of tears on each cheek. 

John Farley was pacing between the table and the 
stove, making broad and slashing gestures to accom- 
pany his fluent vituperation. 

"What if I do go and take a drink?" he demanded. 
"What objection should you have, you poor, mis'able 
creature? I have me rights and me liberties, which 
not you or anny one else can deprive me of. Now 
mind you that ! I might as well let me money go for 
drink as have it thrown away by the likes of you. I'm 
an industhrus, hard-workin' man six days in the week 
an' " 

"Father! Stop that!" 

[151] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

John Farley stopped short, with his hand up, and 
looked in bleary surprise at Rosie, who stood in the 
doorway, her lips closed tightly and her eyes squinted 
with determination. 

"Rosie, I've put up with that woman for years an' 
y 'know that as well " 

"Hush ! I don't want to hear another word out of 
you. Let me tell you something. Unless you and 
mother stop this nonsense, I'm going to leave this house 
and never come back." 

"Oh, Rosie, poor soul, if you on'y knew " faltered 
Mrs. Farley. 

"I know that you are a fool, that's what I know for 
one thing, mother. Why do you pay any attention 
to him when he comes home in this condition and begins 
this silly talk. I've heard it for years and I'm thor- 
oughly tired of it. Hereafter, father, you do all of 
your talking at the saloon and then come home and go 
to bed." 

John Farley smacked his lips and tried to put him- 
self into an attitude of authority. 

"Rosie, you mustn't int'fere," he said, and he made 
a short gesture as of brushing something aside. 

"Father!" he jumped when she said it. "Right 
through this door and to your room ! And not another 
word out of you to-night." 

[152] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

Til do it as favour to you, Rosie," he said, teeter- 
ing slightly as he turned to make for the door. "I'll 
do it for you, but I want't unde'stood I " 

"Very well, we will discuss that part of it in the 
morning." 

Then she turned to her mother, whose grief had 
settled down to a low, bubbling tremolo with equi-dis- 
tant gusty sighs that seemed to lift the good woman 
from the chair. 

"He's abused me this way time after time, until 
- I just think sometimes I can't stand it any 
longer," said Mrs. Farley, through the folds of her 
damp apron. 

"Stop that sniffling!" commanded Rosie. "Don't 
you know that you encourage him to carry on that 
way? You ought to know it by this time. I think 
this house needs a manager." 

So from that evening Rosie became manager and 
there was a reform administration. The Saturday- 
night outbreaks ceased. Rosie changed the market- 
ing-list and taught her father to eat new kinds of 
food. She bought her mother's dresses and made Mrs. 
Farley presentable in spite of herself. It was Rosie 
who pitched out the chromos and the jig-saw brackets 
and the yellow-plush sofa and brought in rugs and 
water-colours. Rosie took charge of her father's tin 
[153] 



BEST OF THE PARLEYS 

box and directed the payments to the building and 
loan association. It was Rosie who had the house 
painted. 

The climax of the revolution came when Rosie an- 
nounced that Tommy would be expected to pay board if 
he remained at home. He could get work at the mantel 
factory, and Rosie told him that $3.50 a week would 
be a great help in the financing of the household. 
Tommy was much aggrieved at the demand, and his 
mother rather sympathised with him. She told Rosie 
not to be too hard on a "slip of a boy." But the "slip 
of a boy" was past twenty-five when Rosie gave him 
the stern alternative of earning his living or starving 
to death. So Tommy is working intermittently, much 
against his will. 

On Saturday night, when John Farley gets the cus- 
tomary glass too much, he does not go home to lacerate 
the humid sensibilities of Mrs. Farley. When he feels 
his vocal strength demanding an outlet and he knows 
that he must gesticulate in order to relieve himself, 
he gives the company in the Bridgeport Buffet a seri- 
ous speech on the subject of Rosie, most wondrous of 
her sex. 



[154] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 






MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

Mr. Wimberley wanted to turn up his trousers at 
the bottom, but he was afraid. Afraid of what ? Of 
ridicule, contumely, the unmoving finger of scorn. 

The common, conservative public, which has its 
clothes cut by machine-pattern, and which moves as 
slowly as a glacier toward any change of fashion, 
seems to have an unusually spiteful grudge against 
the young man who reefs his trousers. 

Is it because the sartorial fancy claims British 
origin? Is the protest inspired by a too-rampant 
Americanism? Does the Irish vote influence public 
sentiment? Does it? 

Or do most of our hard-headed fellow-citizens re- 
sent the little whimsies and caprices which are intended 
to prove that some of us are more jaunty than others? 

Every one will admit that on a dry day there is no 
first-class reason why a man should be compelled to 
take a turn in his trousers. He turns up his trousers 
because he wants them up, and in so doing he signals 
iis defiance to the paragrapher and the private hu- 
[157] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

mourist. Could any small action suggest a higher 
degree of moral courage? 

Why persecute the man? Even if the turning-up 
is a mere fad, an eccentricity intended to help out the 
effect of carelessness a studied attempt at negli- 
gence, as it were is it not true that many details of 
fashion which have become hallowed by usage are just 
as superfluous when studied from the cold stand-point 
of utility? 

Of what especial value are the buttons on the back 
of a coat ? What is the sense of putting a flap on the 
side of a coat when there is no pocket to be covered 
and protected by the flap? By what argument can it 
be shown that one notch in the lapel of a coat is better 
than two notches or no notch at all ? Is it urged that 
buttons, flaps, and notches have a decorative value? 
Very well, Mr. Wimberley believed that the reef had 
its value. 

There is no absolute standard of taste in the matter 
of attire. We can admire any shape of hat or any 
cut of waistcoat to which we may have become accus- 
tomed, although twenty years later we will see these 
hats and waistcoats in group photographs and laugh 
at their hideousness. 

He who follows the correct mode is safe for the 
present at least. At any rate, he should be. 
[158] 



MR. WIMBER LEY'S TROUSERS 

Along these lines Mr. Wimberley had reasoned to 
himself, with the result that he felt justified in wear- 
ing his trousers turned up. He observed that a ma- 
jority of his acquaintances who had either wealth or 
a country-club standing wore their trousers broadly 
folded upward from the somewhat English shoes. 

He could not tell why it was so but he had noticed 
that when a man in summer regalia, with soft shirt, 
golf hat, pig-skin belt, and roomy flannels when a 
man thus clad gave the careless turn to the bottom 
of each trouser's leg, he was immediately transformed 
from the conventional to the rakishly unconventional 
and seemed to wear a new mark of exclusiveness. One 
stroke is always needed to change the mechanic's 
product into a work of art, or the dressed man into the 
dressy. 

As we have said, Mr. Wimberley had come to a 
gropeful understanding of the tremendous significance 
of the turned-up trouser, but he was afraid. 

He knew of twenty acquaintances who would ask, 
"Hello, is it raining in London?" This has been 
counted a good joke since 1880. Admitting that the 
question betrays the mental bankruptcy of the person 
who asks it, there is no gainsaying the fact that it is 
a disconcerting question and one not easily answered. 

In Mr. Wimberley's room there was a mirror swung 
[159] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

on top of a dresser. By facing this mirror toward the 
floor, Mr. Wimberley could stand about twelve feet 
from the dresser and study his own leg effects. 

He would move into the focus and look at the 
trousers lying limp on the shoes. Picture very bad. 
No individuality, no differentiation. 

Then he would turn them up. Result : A pleasing 
transformation. Whole attire much smarter and more 
definitely set shoe more shapely legs not so spidery. 
an indefinable suggestion of the athletic. He would 
walk around the room, approaching the mirror sud- 
denly from different angles in order to get quick im- 
pressions and see himself as others would see him when 
he moved along the boulevard with heavy, energetic 
strides, the body tilted slightly forward. 

After coming upon himself several times and being 
most pleasantly surprised in each instance, he would 
start to leave the room. 

With his hand on the knob of the door he would 
hesitate for a moment or two, standing still, faint, 
nerveless, and undetermined. Then he would stoop 
over and unreef his trousers and go out into the 
bright street, with something of a loathing for himself. 

What a weakling he was ! Why could he not stalk 
forth and wear the cool indifference which he had ad- 
mired in others ? Were not the people who sat on the 
[160] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

terraced stairways of the boarding-houses far beneath 
his contempt? 

Could he afford to restrain his raiment or cramp 
his manners in order to earn the silent approbation 
of a street full of nobodies, who' wore speckled cravats, 
needle-point shoes, barbarous white hats which were 
black on the under side (like toad-stools), and who 
were supposed to use bay rum in quantities? 

No, by George ! 

One day Mr. Wimberley walked into the street with 
his trousers turned up. It was a satisfactory June 
day, dry and clear, with no clouds overhead save those 
that tumbled from the stacks and chimneys. 

Mr. Wimberley passed two young fellows standing 
at the drug-store corner. They were the kind that 
wear soft hats pulled down to their eyebrows and 
use both belt and suspenders. 

One of them gave a chirping sound, in imitation of 
a bird, and said, "Meet me at the links, Harold." 

Mr. Wimberley flushed, but he was somewhat grati- 
fied, withal. So he did resemble a golf-player, did 
he? 

Two girls sat on a front stoop at one of the wedged- 
in boarding-houses. They were sharp-eyed, thin- 
nosed, canary-looking girls, and they were chewing 
gum. 

[161] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

"Say, Pearl, I guess we're goin' to have rain," said 
one of them. 

"Yes, it looks like it," said the other, and the two 
cackled at their own audacity. 

"A very low order of young woman," thought Mr. 
Wimberley, gazing straight ahead. 

He wondered what their kind of a man would be. 
Possibly a pink-shirted scoundrel with ringlets one 
who used musk and had gold fillings. Heavens! 

"Hello, Wimberley, is it raining in London?" 

Aha ! He had been expecting it. He turned and 
saw Carrington, a most objectionable person whose 
only excuse for being lay in the diminished glory of 
having ridden a certain number of "centuries" on a 
bicycle. 

"Carrington, do you know why I wear my trousers 
turned up at the bottom?" asked Mr. Wimberley, for 
he had prepared a little speech which was to put the 
quietus on impertinent comics. 

"No, I must say I don't," replied the century 
rider. 

"I wear them that way because you don't. I want 
to be as much unlike you as possible." 

And he hurried on, while the dart was still quiver- 
ing. 

[162] 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

It may not be necessary to tell that when Mr. Wim- 
berley arrived at his place of employment his fellow- 
slaves made remarks intended to be directly or in- 
directly critical. 

One man of abnormal originality asked, "How's 
the Prince?" and another, with a confessed genius for 
doing clever things, whistled "Rule Britannia." 

But Mr. Wimberley had nerved himself in antici- 
pation of these gibes. He was in good form and he 
could afford to smile in pitying contempt. 

When he went out for lunch his trousers were still 
turned up. It seemed that he had won the day. Na- 
poleon had a glimpse of victory at Waterloo. That 
was before Blucher came up. 

While on his way to the lunch-place he almost 
bumped into his Uncle Samuel, who owns a tile-yard 
at Messowee. 

"Why, Georgie, is it you?" asked Uncle Sam, hold- 
ing his right hand in a grip and squeezing his arm, 
so as to be doubly cordial. "You're lookin' first-rate. 
Gittin' to be quite a dude, too." 

His good-natured scrutiny passed downward. He 
saw the turned-up trousers and regarded them with 
friendly interest. 

"Pants too long?" he inquired, softly. 

"Yes I ah er " 

[1631 



MR. WIMBERLEY'S TROUSERS 

"Mine's usually that way. I have the man chop 'em 
off." 

"Maybe these won't be too long," said Mr. Wim- 
berley, with a frightened smile. 

He stooped over and turned them down. At that 
moment he gave up for all time his hope of being a 
swell and a hero. 






[164] 



THE FORMER KATHRYN 



THE FORMER KATHRYN 

"Who the girl that used to be at this counter?" 
she repeated, with a puckery smile and a glance of 
suspicion. "Did you know her? Huh? Oh you 
jast saw her here once or twice. I thought mebbe 
from the way you spoke you was a friend of hers. I 
might have known you wasn't, though by the looks. 
She had the squiggiest lot of gentlemen friends I ever 
want to see. Yes, I mean the same one that you do 
the red-headed one. She had two or three names. We 
called her 'Sorrel-top* here. How did you happen 
to remember her? By the hair, I s'pose. My, that 
hair! It was bad enough to begin with, and then the 
way she kept it done up ! I think she must have put 
glue or something else on it to make it stand the way 
it did. She was a peculiar girl a very peculiar girl. 
Some people around here said she was a little well, 
not exactly cracked, but I guess she had a case of the 
Willies, all right. She had a very strange nature. 
Yes, indeed. And a nerve! Gracious me ! The way 
she'd get acquainted with gentlemen-customers was a 
caution. I used to tell her that I'd give a good deal 
[167] 



THE FORMER KATHRYN 

for her nerve. Did she ever tell you her name? It's 
a wonder. I guess you never encouraged her much or 
she'd 'a' told you, all right. She used to tell every- 
body. Her name was Katie Gailey. I'll bet you can't 
guess what she's doin' now. Learnin' to be a mani- 
cure. Wouldn't that jolt you, though? If you'd see 
her on the street now, I don't s'pose you'd know her. 
She wears one of these long coats an' eye-glasses. 
She's a sight! And the way she throws it on. It's 
funny to me. It is funny to me, knowin' the family 
as I do. We went to the Jefferson school together. 
She was an awful dumb scholar, too. Her father 
drove a bread-wagon an' they say he drank. Sakes 
alive, if you could 'a' heard her talk about her pa-pah 
after she come down here to work, you'd 'a' thought 
he was the president o' something. It's funny, ain't 
it, how people change sometimes when they get away 
from home. Humph ! When I knew her she was Katie* 
but when she got to workin' over here, she called her- 
self Kathryn, y n, mind you! I hear she wanted 
to be an actress. She'd make a swell actress, I don't 
think. She was very unpopular here, on account of 
her deceitful nature. She wouldn't have lasted as long 
as she did if it hadn't been for Mr. Root, the floor- 
walker. I think he was kind o' stuck on her, myself. 
It was two of a kind, becuz he was just as soft as mush. 
[168] 



THE FORMER KATHRYN 

Katie used to roll her eyes up and smile at him when 
he walked past, and he^d grin back at her, and honest, 
Miss Ducey an' me used to stuff our handkerchiefs in 
our mouths to keep from squawkin' right out. You bet 
any time I have to make funny eyes at a bald-headed 
floor- walker to hold my job well! You ought to 
seen her after Mr. McKay was put into this aisle. She 
couldn't roll her eyes at him! Mr. McKay is very 
strict. The first day he come right down this aisle 
here an' she was leanin' back, chewin' her pencil an* 
tryin' to flag one o' them boys over in the glove de- 
partment, an' Mr. McKay snapped his fingers an' said, 
'Miss Gailey, attend to the customers, please,' just 
like that. I thought Miss Ducey was goin' to have a 
fit. Katie was so mad all afternoon, you could just see 
the sparks comin' out o' that red hair. I guess that 
boy's got your change an' gone fishin' with it. You'd 
better take off your muffler or you'll ketch cold when 
you go out. That's a lovely muffler. 

"You know me and Katie haven't spoke since she 
left here. She claims I had something to do with get- 
tin' her fired. You have no idea the spiteful temper 
of that girl. I s'pose that's on account of her red 
hair. I've heard that red-haired people all have very 
high tempers. My, if she didn't have a grouch the 
last day she was here! She just the same as insulted 
[169] 



THE FORMER KATHRYN 

a number of customers that day yes, indeed. That 
was the day she accused me of havin' her fired. I said 
to her, 'Katie Gailey, you've got nobody but yourself 
to blame blabbin' about everybody that ever worked 
with you.' She used some awful language to me. She 
used language to me that nobody should use, I can tell 
you that. I said to her, 'Sticks an' stones may break 
my bones, but words will never hurt me' ! I thought 
Miss Ducey would go right under the counter. 

"Well, sakes alive, boy, you did get back at last, 
did you? Never mind about that. We can get along 
without any lip from you. Give the gentleman his 
change. He come purty near gettin' grey-headed 
while he was waitin' for you. Is that so ? Well, you'll 
be lookin' for another job if you get new with me. 
I've spoke to Mr. McKay about you once already. 
Yes, sir, they'll be delivered this afternoon or to- 
morrow morning. Say, if you see Katie again, you 
ask her if she remembers borrowin' fifty cents from 
Miss Ducey. You just ask her that and see what she 
says. Good-bye! Don't forget the aisle." 



[170] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

"Bibbs" was an elevator-boy in the family hotel. 
Do you know the family hotel where the women have 
no employment except to investigate the new-comers, 
and the head clerk is an encyclopedia of scandal, and 
they move the chairs out of the dining-room every 
two weeks and have a "grand hop"? 

In such a hotel "Bibbs" worked the lever in an ele- 
vator-cage of twisted grill-work. Two of the women 
who rode with him were Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Cole. 
These estimable ladies were childless and burdened 
with leisure. To relieve the tedium of hotel life they 
lounged on the first floor, observing and comparing 
notes and classifying such information as comes wel- 
come to the feminine curiosity. They knew how to 
worm secrets out of the amiable blonde who was at the 
day desk. They knew which of the men in the hotel 
said harsh and cruel things to their wives. They knew 
the past of the slender woman who wanted to be known 
as a widow, although really a divorcee. They knew 
which of the young men drank and came in late. 
[173] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

They could retail the grammatical errors and the 
social "breaks" of the family that lately had come in 
from the country town. 

These two, putting this and that together, viewing 
one circumstance in the light of another and basing 
opinions upon their own knowledge of how matri- 
monial intentions are fostered, concluded that Fannie 
Procter would become the wife of "Willie" Branford. 

Having settled comfortably into this belief they 
were amazed to learn that Fannie had accepted "Al" 
Maynard, a broad-shouldered, deep-chested young 
man, whose characteristics had been an apparent in- 
difference to the charms of young women, a passion 
for fifteen-ball pool, and a bashful aversion to whist 
and round dances. 

Albert Maynard, indeed! Had he ever hovered 
around Fannie at any of the Saturday -night dances? 
Had he sent flowers to her day after day, and smiled 
at her every time he came into breakfast? Had he 
come out in evening dress and tagged after her when 
she went into the parlour? Had Fannie ever addressed 
him familiarly and sent him on errands? Had they 
organised theatre-parties and played duets on the 
piano ? 

No! 

"Al" Maynard had not figured as a possible candi- 
[174] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

date until the engagement was announced. Mrs. Cole 
remembered that Fannie had once spoken of Mr. May- 
nard as a "big thing." Mrs. Williams recalled the 
fact that she had seen them talking together a few 
times, but there was nothing "spooney" happening, 
or she would have noticed it, because she was there to 
notice such things. 

At the first opportunity they cornered Fannie in 
the parlour. 

"Is it true?" asked Mrs. Williams, as she took hold 
of the hand and felt to see if the ring was there. 

"Of course it's true." 

"But we always thought it would be Willie." 

"I'm afraid Willie did, too, but pshaw!" 

Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Cole spent two hours in 
analysing that significant "pshaw." 

And the remarkable part of it is that "Bibbs" alone 
had comprehended the situation from the very start. 
"Bibbs" was of the size of twelve years. He was sus- 
pected to be about sixteen. He had the self-assertion 
of a field-marshal of seventy-five. The English uni- 
form to which they had condemned him could not hide 
his largely American qualities. He was easily famil- 
iar with all who rode in his elevator, and his impudence 
was of the persuasive and unconscious kind which 
pleased rather than offended. "Bibbs" was a priv- 
[175] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

ileged character. He received more Christmas pres- 
ents than any one else in the house. If the manage- 
ment had removed him, there would have been a protest 
from the "guests." 

"Bibbs" was sitting outside the elevator-cage, wait- 
ing for a few stragglers and night-hawks, when he 
told why the news had not surprised him. 

"They got a bright lot o' people around this hotel, 
I don't think," he said. "Everybody had Mr. Bran- 
ford picked. Well, I knew six weeks ago that he 
wasn't in it. He had about as much chance as I had. 
Say, the very first day that Miss Procter come here 
with her father, I took Mr. Maynard up the next trip, 
and he says to me, 'Who's the new girl' ? I told him 
what her name was and about her bein' up here to 
study music. He says, 'She's all right, ain't she'? 
I told him I didn't have any fault to find. As long as 
I've been here that's the first time I ever heard him 
say anything about a girl in the house and it struck 
me as kind o' funny at the time. 

"I s'pose it was about a week after that that both of 
'em got in the elevator. Mr. Maynard backed away 
to let her get in first, and he was purty busy sizin 1 her 
up. When we went up he kept an eye on her. I let 
him off at the second, and he tripped in gettin' out, and 
that made her laugh. I guess he was a little rattled. 
[176] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

I says to her, 'That's Mr. Maynard.' She says, 'Who's 
Mr. Maynard?' 'Oh,' I says, 'he ain't a bad fellow,' 
and then just for a kid I told her that she was the only 
girl we'd ever had in the house that he'd asked any- 
thing about. She kept the car waitin' there at the 
third an' made me tell what he'd asked. I says, 'Oh, 
he just asked what your name was an' said you was 
all right.' 'Well, the idea !' she says. You know how 
they can say it. I ain't been runnin' an elevator two 
years for nothin'. If you want to stand in with the 
women you just tell 'em all the nice things you hear 
people say about 'em. It makes 'em mad, but it means 
a Christmas present, just the same. 

"You know the first dance we had after Miss Proc- 
ter showed up? Gee, she had a swell make-up that 
night! Mr. Branford was dead stuck on her from 
the start. I could see that easy enough. He marched 
her all over the first floor here to show her off, an' he 
nearly talked an arm off of her. I didn't know where 
Mr. Maynard was. I s'pose he was down playin' pool. 
When I took her up that night she asked me if Mr. 
Maynard ever went to the Saturday-night dances. I 
told her that he didn't seem to be much on the girl 
game, mebbe because he was a little bashful. Next 
day I tackled Mr. Maynard. I says, 'They're won- 
derin' why you don't show up at the dancec.' 'Who's 
[177] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

wonderin'?' he says. 'Oh,' I says, 'there's a certain nice 
little party was askin' me last night why you didn't 
come to the hop.' He wanted to know who it was, an' 
I told him. He grinned and said 'Rats,' but I just 
waited to see. 

"Sure enough, the next dance he come out in his 
dress suit an' he certainly looked good, but the chump 
loafed around the office instead of goin' in where they 
was dancin'. After a while she come out with Mr. 
Branford an' saw Mr. Maynard. I guess she must have 
asked Willie for an introduction, for he took her over 
an' give her a knock-down to Mr. Maynard. He got 
as red as a beet. I think she had to do most of the 
talkin'. I s'pose he didn't ask her to dance, bein' such 
a dummy, for somebody else come up an' got her away 
from him, an' he went down to the billiard-room. But 
that was the start of it. 

"Around the hotel here, everybody said it was Willie 
in a walk. Do you know why I never thought he had 
a show? I'll tell you. When he'd come to put her in 
the elevator and send her up, he'd say 'Good-bye,' soft, 
like that, you know, and she'd say 'Good-bye,' just as 
if she hated to tear herself away, but always after she 
got past the first floor she'd begin to laugh. That 
didn't look right, did it? I could see that she was 
workin' Willie. He was all right to get flowers from 
[178] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

an' kill time with, but, do you know it, she was out for 
the big man from the first minute she ever saw him. 
And say, he' was the slowest to get next of anybody I 
ever saw. If she hadn't gone out after him I don't 
believe he'd made a move. He never seemed to know 
how strong he was with that girl. 

"Two weeks ago here I had to put him right. I was 
takin' him up one evening and I said, 'Mr. Branford's 
rushin' Miss Procter purty hard these days.' 'Yes,' he 
says, 'I s'pose they're engaged.' 'Engaged nothin' !' I 
says. 'She has to put up with him becuz the other man 
around here don't know enough to give her a good 
time.' Purty raw, wusn't it? I says, 'I'm thinkin' of 
savin' enough this month to buy a few flowers for her 
myself, if nobody else is goin' to jump in.' I just give 
him that for a kind of a tip, without lettin' on that I 
meant him. He tumbled all right. Next evening she 
tackled me, up on her floor, and told me to tell 
Mr. Maynard that she wanted to see him. I had 
one of the bell-hops bring him up from the bill- 
iard-room and I delivered him to her on the third. 
She had a big bunch of flowers that somebody had sent 
to her and she wanted him to come up and have one put 
in his button-hole. That wus the first time he'd ever 
sent any flowers an' I don't think he'd 'a' done it then 
if I hadn't give him the hunch. He was the slowest I 
[179] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

ever saw, an' I've watched a good many of 'era around 
here. 

"Well, he was good an' jollied that night when I 
brought him down with that flower hangin' on his coat. 
The next evening after .that, she come down an' Willie 
got hold of her an' was walkin' her around here when 
Mr. Maynard came up. Sore? You could see it wor- 
ried him to have her payin' any attention to Willie, but 
it was his own fault. He ought to have been on the 
lookout an' got her first. But he done something that 
paralysed me. He walked over to the sofa an' started 
in to chin that thin Morrison girl that wears the 
glasses. I says, 'Aha, M^e've got the old boy a little 
jealous at last.' He was talkin' to Miss Morrison, but 
all the time he was keepin' tab on Miss Procter. An' 
Miss Procter was very busy with little Willie, but she 
was watchin' that sofa every minute. An' me back 
here, takin' it all in. Willie an' the Morrison girl 
didn't cut any figure at all. They thought they did, 
but they didn't. 

"Now the rest of this is on the q. t. and Mr. May- 
nard wouldn't do a thing to me if he thought I'd told 
anybody. I was takin' him up to his room that night 
an' I says, 'There's a girl in this hotel I feel sorry for.' 
'Who's that?' he says. 'W'y,' I says, 'it's Miss Procter. 
There don't seem to be anybody around here that's got 
[180] 



CUPID IN BUTTONS 

the sand to take her away from Mr. Branford.' 'What 
do you know about it?' he says, lookin' at me kind o' 
funny. 'I don't know much,' I says, 'but I know which 
man she likes the best around here.' He didn't say 
anything. We come to his floor an' I opened the door, 
but he didn't get out right away. 'Are you sure?' he 
says. I says, 'It's a cinch.' He says, 'I want to leave 
a 7.30 call,' an' then he slipped me a half. 

"Well, say ! Next night he was faked up just about 
right, an' he sent up his card before she had time to 
come down. I don't know what he took to give hini his 
nerve. I didn't think he'd come around to it for a 
month, but you can't always tell about these quiet fel- 
lows. He's landed her. He has, for a fact. It's all 
over the hotel. An' they say Willie's goin' to give up 
his room. Willie's all right, but he won't do. Say, 
don't you think I'm entitled to a bid to the wedding? 
Huh?" 



[181] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

"This is the place," said Mr. Buell, as he stopped 
in front of a new cottage with a wrinkled lawn in front 
of it. 

The breezes came freely from across the prairies. 
Over toward the trolley track the white and blue flow- 
ers of spring peeped timidly from the new grass. Mrs. 
Buell gave every symptom of delight. She knew that 
she would fall in love with the place. The children 
would have a play-ground at last. Mr. Buell pre- 
dicted that the whole family would become brown and 
heavy from living in the suburbs. 

" Domestic happiness, thou only bliss 
Of paradise that has survived the fall." 

It was spring-time when the Buells moved to Arca- 
dian Heights, a mountainous suburb, rising at points 
to a height of fifteen feet above the level of the lake. 

Arcadian Heights was then the skeleton framework 
of a town. It had a railway-station, a grass-plot with 
the name of the suburb tastefully set in whitewashed 
[185] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

rocks, and the streets were already marked out and 
fringed with spidery shade-trees. 

Cement sidewalks parted the bushy weeds. Rusted 
hydrants lifted themselves above the dandelions in evi- 
dence of the fact that the town had a water-supply, 
even if it had no one to use the water. 

A dozen new houses were sprinkled on the checker- 
board plain to the west of the station. It was to one 
of these houses that the Buells came with two cavernous 
waggons full of furniture. They had given up the 
close communion of life in a flat building and pre- 
ferred an association with Nature. 

" An elegant sufficiency, content, 
Retirement, rural quiet, friendships, books. 
Ease and alternate labour, useful life, 
Progressive virtue and approving heaven 1 " 

The Buell place was not large, as compared with the 
country-seats of the 300-page novel, but it was all 
theirs. 

Every spear of grass assumed a pleasant relation 
toward the new-comers. 

Mr. and Mrs. Buell had something like a parental 
interest in the slender shade-trees at the front, the 
bushes behind the house, and the two cherry-trees which 
stood near the walk spurring out from the veranda. 
[186] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

Within a few days after the Buells first moved in, 
one of these trees unfolded a few milky blossoms. 

" For, lo I the winter is past, the rain is over and gone ; the 
/lowers appear on the earth ; the time of the singing of birds 
is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land." 

The Buells did not hear the dove, but they were en- 
tertained nightly by the frogs, and sitting on the front 
veranda at dusk all four would sniff hard in an effort 
to corroborate Mrs. Buell's firm belief that she could 
detect the odour of cherry-blossoms. 

" Now came still evening on, and twilight grey 
Had in her sober livery all things clad; 
Silence accompany 'd ; for beast and bird y 
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, 
Were slunk." 

Mrs. Buell plucked a few of the blossoms and copied 
them imperfectly in water-colours. The other tree pro- 
duced nothing but waxen leaves. Mr. Buell examined 
it studiously and conferred with a neighbour who had 
made a study of small fruits, and it was decided that 
it would produce, in time, the ox-heart cherry, which 
is a pleasant edible. 

The first tree, blossoming so promptly, was a com- 
[187] 



THE BUELL CHER.RY 

mon specimen of the prunus cerasus, the fruit being 
known as the "cooking cherry." 

<( Hope springs eternal in the human breast ; 
Man never is } but always to be blest." 

During the long winter the trees were banked about 
with earth and kept in swaddling clothes, and early in 
the second spring they fulfilled the promise of the 
season and put out an abundance of green leaves. A 
mother guiding the steps of her first-born could not 
have been more solicitous than were the Buells as they 
searched the long branches and found, here and there, 
the beginning of a white blossom. 

"The ox-heart tree is going to blossom," said Mrs. 
Buell to the children one afternoon. 

"The ox-heart tree is going to blossom!" shouted 
the children to Mr. Buell as he walked over from the 
station that afternoon. 

"By George, the ox-heart tree is going to blossom," 
said Mr. Buell, as he pulled down the branches and 
examined them, with a surgeonly tenderness. 

" It is the month of June, 
The month of leaves and roses, 
When pleasant sights salute the eyes 
And pleasant scents the noses." 
[188] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

Yet the month of June held one cruel disappoint- 
ment for the Buell family. 

The ox-heart tree which had blossomed so sturdily, 
showed not a cherry. The other tree bore thirteen. 
For a long time the count was twelve, but one day 
little Grace, who had sharper eyes than the others, dis- 
covered one cherry on a high branch, partly hidden by 
the leaves, and thirteen was thereafter taken as the 
official count. 

The cherries ripened one at a time and were de- 
voured. An equitable division was made, although 
thirteen cherries cannot be divided exactly by four. 

It will be understood that in the spring of the third 
year there was a lack of confidence in the ox-heart tree. 
It had grown taller and extended its branches and the 
blossoms hung rich and heavy, but the Buells did not 
permit themselves to be lifted by vain hopes. They 
were waiting for it to perform actual service. 

The common tree, producing the cooking cherries, 
blossomed more bounteously than ever before, and, it 
may be added, bore nearly four quarts of cherries, 
which were put into pies. 

But what of the other? 

The white petals fell and there was a period of un- 
certainty. One day Mr. Buell (credit where credit is 
due!) discovered on the eastward branch which ex- 
[189] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

tended toward the walk, one small, hard cherry. It 
seemed normal and without defect. 

After three years of care and nursing the ox-heart 
tree was about to yield the first evidence of gratitude. 

From one stand-point the Buell cherry was a small 
and insignificant part of the vegetable growth of 
North America. From the other stand-point it was the 
symbol of all the beauty in Nature's excellent laws. 
It was the essential poetry in the quatrain of seasons. 

" Warmed by the sun 
And wet by the dew, 
It grew, it grew 
Listen to my tale of woe." 

All values are comparative. 

The Buells had been fruit-growers for three years, 
and at last they had produced one edible cherry. 

According to market quotations the value of this 
cherry was the decimal part of one cent. The Buells 
justly regarded it as a priceless treasure. The chil- 
dren stood guard over it, to keep the robins away, and 
there was never a day that the family did not gather 
at the tree and remark the growing blush. 

What was to be done with the cherry? It was too 
valuable and epoch-marking to be gulped down in the 
ordinary off-hand manner. Rabelais spoke of a man 
[190] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

who would take three bites at a cherry, but Mr. Buell 
could not see a fair plan of division among four. 

Like a gallant man and a good husband, he decreed 
that Mrs. Buell should eat the cherry. 

The ceremony of the eating was to be as follows: 
Mrs. Buell's sister and the sister's husband were to 
come out from town for Sunday dinner. At the serv- 
ing of dessert the girl was to bring in the cherry on 
the genuine Delft plate which Mrs. Buell's brother had 
brought from Holland. Mr. Buell would make a few 
remarks, touching on the sweetness of life in the 
suburbs and the felicities of horticulture. Mrs. Buell 
would then bite the cherry to the accompaniment of 
applause. 

It was eventide. Mr. and Mrs. Buell sat on the cool 
veranda, arranging for the celebration. Suddenly 
they were interrupted. 

"Mr. Buell, that was a mighty fine cherry." 

There stood the man who delivered the papers. He 
was smacking his lips. 

Mr. Buell looked to where the branch of the tree 
was outlined against the darkening, turquoise sky. 
The cherry was gone ! A low moan escaped him. 

He turned to where his wife sat. She was mute and 
staring. Then she saw his white face and burst into 
convulsive sobbing. 

[191] 



THE BUELL CHERRY 

" This, this Is misery the last, the worst 
That man can feel." 

"Walk down to the gate with me, Jefferson, and I'll 
pay you," said Mr. Buell, taking him by the arm. 

"Why, what's the matter with Mrs. Buell?" asked 
Jefferson, looking back at her. 

"She has bad news. One of her cousins is dead 
out in Kansas." 



[192] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY'* 

The "Pansy" saloon is directly across the street from 
the entrance to Sembrich's Hall, where the Ludolfia 
Pleasure Club gave its masquerade ball. "Matty" 
Swinton, Jimmy Flynn, and "Fatty" Eldridge were 
sitting in the "Pansy" playing seven-up around a 
smeary table as the maskers arrived. 

A masquerade ball at Sembrich's Hall is worth going 
to see. It puts a few hours of actual splendour into 
the lives of toilsome young men and young women. 
The laundry-girl reigns for one night as Marie An- 
toinette or else as the fated Queen of Scots. The girls 
employed at the Southwest Division Louvre dry-goods 
store forget their gingham aprons, their convict dress, 
and the wearing click of the cash trolley, for they are 
transformed into flower-girls, ladies of the court, 
seiioritas, Japanese geishas and what not that is be- 
spangled and bewitching. 

There is a little shop just around the corner from 
Sembrich's Hall at which masquerade costumes of the 
most astounding brilliancy may be had fot a small con- 
sideration. 

[195] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

The young men seem to prefer comic parts. They 
come to the hall in the fantastic clothes of harlequins, 
clowns, burlesque German and Irish emigrants, or else 
as gaudy negro minstrels. When they put on these 
fancy costumes they seem to put on the carnival spirit, 
too, for the gayety at a Sembrich Hall masquerade is 
simply boisterous. These young men, ordinarily shy 
and backward in the presence of young women, cavort 
and dance, beat one another with slap-sticks, indulge 
in crazy pantomine, and pay exaggerated devotion to 
the masked beauties. 

It must be confessed, also, that the girls enter into 
the romp with no reserve of maidenly dignity. For 
John Swensen, the grocer's clerk, to put his arm 
around Hilda Jensen, the little bonnet-trimmer, would 
be a subject for scandal, but for the gallant bull-fighter 
to caress the senorita is mere accuracy of romance and 
no one is shocked. 

Be assured, too, that John Swensen and all the meek 
and timorous young men have now become the most 
audacious cavaliers. The young men of to-day in 
their sombre store-clothes still have the fine manners 
and chivalry of the Middle Ages in their hearts, for 
when the opportunity comes, as at Sembrich's Hall, 
they put on the doublet and hose, velvet jackets, long 
tan boots, plumed hats, gauntlets, ruffled waists, chain 
[196] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

armour, jewelled belts and hilts, Spanish cloaks, mili- 
tary helmets, Elizabethan ruffs, and all the other finery 
to be rented at the little shop around the corner. 

Certainly a masquerade ball at Sembrich's Hall is 
worth going to see. One will be pleasantly amazed to 
find such a magnificent pageant so near the "Pansy" 
saloon, which fronts on a muddy street and stands in 
a row of hideously plain and commonplace wooden 
streets. Sembrich's building, the neighbourhood pride, 
is a large box made of bricks. 

"Matty" Swinton, Jimmy Flynn, "Butch" Hanton, 
and "Fatty" Eldridge turned from their cards oc- 
casionally to look at another noisy group of maskers 
passing up the lighted stairway across the street. 

"They're goin' to have a great push over there to- 
night," said "Fatty." 

"Ye ah," said "Butch" Hanton, studying his 
cards. "I'm goin' over presently, and if it don't suit 
me I think I'll stop it." 

"You'd better keep away," remarked "Matty" 
Swinton. "I see you try to stop somethin' once be- 
fore." 

"Yes, you must like to ride in them waggons," put 
in the bartender, whose name was Joe. 

Every one except "Butch" had to laugh. The bar- 
tender's reference to the "waggon" recalled the fact 
[197] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

that "Butch" had been taken to the station one night 
for attempting to force his way into a wedding-re- 
ception. 

"I had my peaches that night," said "Butch." 
"They'll never land me that way again." 

"Go on and play," growled Jimmy Flynn. 

The four card-players in the "Pansy" were not the 
kind of young men to put on fancy costumes and go 
to masquerade parties. They were too sophisticated 
and tried-out to care for such childish diversions, and 
they were glad of it. 

They felt a superiority over the young fellows who 
acted as escorts to the laundry-girls and those who 
worked at the Louvre. They would stand in front of 
the "Pansy" and watch the couples pass by and would 
feel a sort of malicious pity for them. 

The door opened and "Butch" Hanton cursed fer- 
vently as he saw two clowns enter. They wore baggy 
suits of spotted design and little peaked white hats. 
Their faces were powdered and streaked. One was a 
large man and he was especially ridiculous in such 
a costume. 

"Hello, Choe," he shouted, and there was a rattling 
German guttural in his voice. "Let us haf two peers." 

"Good crowd over there to-night?" asked the bar- 
tender. 

[198] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

"Fine ef 'rybody hafing a goot time." 
The four card-players had dropped their cards and 
were gazing at the two strange visitors. Evidently 
their contempt was too deep for expression. 

The two clowns drank their beer. The larger one 
benevolently laid his hand on the shoulder of the other 
and they began to sing. To the unaccustomed ear it 
sounded thus, and they did it with tremendous vigour : 

Hi-he! Hi-lo I 

Hi-lee ! Hi-lo ! 

By untz gates limner, 

Gay-linger, Gay-schlimmer, 

Hi-lee! Hi-lo! 

Hi-lee! Hi-lo! 
By untz gates immer ve-zo I '* 

As they concluded the last line "Butch" Hanton 
threw a piece of chalk (used for marking scores) and 
hit the big clown on the ear. The big fellow turned to 
the four at the table and bowed. "Goot shot, poys," 
he said. "Come and haf a drink." 

The four exchanged sullen glances and did not 
move. 

"You fellows ain't stopped, have you?" asked Joe. 
"Come up and have somethin' on Chris. Chris, these 
boys are all friends of mine. Shake hands with 'em." 
[199] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

Chris extended his hand toward Jimmy Flynn, who 
responded unwillingly. 

"Say! Here!" Jimmy exclaimed, as he felt some- 
thing close on his hand until the bones ground to- 
gether. 

Chris released him and seized "Butch" by the hand. 

"For God's sake !" gasped "Butch," crouching half- 
way to the floor. With a backward leap he released 
his hand and rubbed it, while he chewed his lip with 
pain. 

Chris started toward "Matty," who said, "Nix! 
Nix!" as if in anger, and shifted toward the head of 
the bar. 

"Say, you big sausage, what are you tryiri' to do?" 
demanded "Butch," glaring at the clown. 

Chris smiled horribly through the chalk and said: 
"Ho! Sho! It is all in fun. You shouldt not get 
mat." 

"Don't get sore about a little thing like that," said 
Joe, who was setting the drinks along the bar. 

"I don't like them funny plays," said "Butch," 
working his fingers. 

"Go on, Chris, and show them how well you can 
lift," said Joe, after the drinks had been disposed of. 

"No, you don't," objected "Butch," and he backed 
away. 

[200] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

"It iss all right," urged Chris, following him up. 
"It will not hurt." 

He reached forward suddenly and caught "Butch" 
by the shoulder. 

"Stant still," he said. 

"Naw naw. Don't get funny." 

"Go on," put in the bartender, "Chris won't hurt 
you." 

"Butch" looked sheepishly at the others, and then, 
following directions, he stiffened himself and allowed 
Chris to take hold of him by the ankles and lift him 
into the air, very slowly, until his feet were on a level 
with the card-table. 

"Ah h h h h h !" said Joe, admiringly. 

Chris lowered his man a few inches, and then with a 
sudden upward movement, he tossed "Butch" three feet 
or more toward the ceiling as he would have tossed 
a ten-pound bell. 

"Butch" fell on all fours and scrambled to his feet. 
Joe was doubled over behind the bar, barking with 
laughter. The others were laughing, too even Chris, 
who stood a few feet away, Avith his big shoulders heav- 
ing under the spotted suit. 

"I won't stand for it!" shouted "Butch," rushing 
toward the big German. "Fatty" grabbed him by the 
arm and said, "Aw, come off ! Don't start nothinV 
[201] 



AN INCIDENT IN THE "PANSY" 

"I let no fresh guy do that to me." 

"On the dead, I never see a man get sore so quick," 
said Joe, his eyes full of tears from the attack of 
laughter. "Chris meant it in fun huh, Chris?" 

"Sure. All in fun. Goot-bye, Choe." 

The two clowns went out the front way, and Joe 
gave another howl. 

"You put that Dutchman on to me !" said "Butch," 
who was hot and nervous. 

"What are you talkin' about? He done that all in 
fun. Do you know him? Chris Schleger the best 
weight-lifter on the west side. I seen him beat a pro- 
fessional one night. You can't tell about a guy just 
becuz you see him in one o' them suits." 

"The Dutchman's all right," said Jimmy Flynn, and 
he laughed. 

Then all of them laughed all except "Butch." 

The Ludolfia Pleasure Club gave its masquerade 
without interruption. 



[202] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

(Scene The parlour of the Hazelden house, near 
the north shore. Mrs. Hazelden is seated by the win- 
dow, reading a magazine. The door-bell rings. Mrs. 
Hazelden lowers the magazine and listens. A mumble 
of voices outside. The housemaid comes to the door, 
followed by Mr. Custer, who offers to Mrs. Hazelden 
a slight and embarrassed bow. Mrs. Hazelden rises.) 

The Housemaid: "He wants to see about the 
house." 

Mrs. Hazelden : "Oh!" 

Mr. Custer : "Yes ah they told me at the agency 
that you wished to rent your house for the summer. 
I my name is Custer." 

Mrs.H.: "Yes? Won't you be seated ?" 

(They sit.) 

Mr. C.: "My uncle, Judge Custer, of Custer & 
Bland, you ?" 

Mrs. H. : "Oh, yes, indeed, quite often." 

Mr. C. : "I ah my brother and his wife wish to 
spend the summer here. My brother is a professor in 
Runyon College. We thought it would be pleasant 
[205] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

to take a house for the summer something pretty well 
away from town and near the lake. I'm tired of hotel 
life, and, besides, I belong to the Edgwater Golf Club 
and could put him up there. I thought it would 

Mrs. H. : "I'm sure it would be. You would like 
this neighbourhood, too. It's so near the lake you 
can see it from the upper windows and it's entirely 
away from the traffic and the smoke." 

Mr. C.: "Yes'm." 

Mrs. H. : "Really, you know, I've never had a 
house that I liked any better. I'd be very well satis- 
fied to remain here all summer, but Mr. Hazelden has 
a cottage on Lake Tomowoc, and he is very fond of 
boating and fishing, so he wants to be there all sum- 
mer." 

Mr. C.: "Yes'm." 

Mrs. H. : "I suppose you want to look through the 
rooms. (She rises.) There are no children ?" 

Mr. C. (rising) : "No, only the three of us. 
(Looking around.) This is a pretty room, isn't it ? I 
like the high ceilings. Hello ! (Walks over and looks 
at a mounted photograph on the mantel.) That's Miss 
Tyndall, isn't it?" 

Mrs. H. (cordially) : "Why, do you know Fannie 
Tyndall?" 

[206] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

Mr. C. : "I met her a few times on the south side 
with Jim Wescott." 

Mrs. H. ( less cordially) : "Oh !" 

Mr. C. : "You know they were " 

Mrs. H. : "Yes, I know all about it. I suppose you 
heard why it was broken off." 

Mr. C. (calmly) : "I heard something of the de- 
tails yes." 

Mrs. H. : "His side of the story, I presume." 

Mr. C. : "Well yes. Jim didn't tell me himself, 
but I think it came from him." 

Mrs. H. : "Do you know Mr. Wescott quite 
well?" 

Mr. C. : "Yes, I might say that I know him inti- 
mately. We went to school together." 

Mrs. H. : "Indeed ! Well, what's wrong with him, 
anyway ?" 

Mr. C. (surprised) : "Wrong with Jim-? It never 
occurred to me that there was anything wrong with 
him." 

Mrs. H. : "Isn't he queer?" 

Mr. C. : "I don't think so. Of course, he's a stu- 
dious fellow, and isn't quite as effervescent, you might 
say, as most of the other fellows in his set, but he's all 
right." 

Mrs. H. : "Well, he was out here with Fannie two or 
[207] 



MISS TYN BALL'S PICTURE 

three times last summer they came out to the golf club 
and, do you know, the man actually embarrassed me. 
Whenever you spoke to him he had such a cold, in j 
different way of smiling back at you and saying 'Oh, 
indeed' ! and then he would wait for you to say some- 
thing more. He impressed me as being rather well, 
I should say conceited. He always seemed inclined 
to patronise women and treat them as creatures of 
minor intelligence, and yet he never said anything 
bright or clever himself to back up this calm assump- 
tion of superiority. I was perfectly delighted when I 
learned that the engagement had been broken off. 
Fannie is such a lovely girl." 

Mr. C. : "She's a very pretty girl, certainly." 

Mrs. H. : "Yes, and she's just as nice as she is 
pretty. You know the Tyndalls used to be neighbours 
of ours on the south side, and I came to know them ever 
so well. I always said that Fannie was the dearest 
thing that ever lived." 

Mr. C.: "Isn't she inclined to be a little bit 
lively?" 

Mrs. H.: "Ohh! No, indeed! Why, really! 
In what way?" 

Mr. C. : "Well, perhaps I shouldn't have used that 
word. I'll admit I don't know her very well. She's 
charming enough, I suppose, but I've understood that 
[208] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

Jim broke the engagement because she received too 
many attentions from other men." 

Mrs. H. (with ft ashing eye) : "Jim broke the en- 
gagement! Jim, indeed! Why, Mr. ah " 

Mr. C. : "Custer." 

Mrs. H.: "Did he tell you, Mr. Custer, that he 
broke the engagement?" 

Mr. C. : "No, he hasn't said much about it to any 
one, but that's what I understood." 

Mrs. H.: "Well, there isn't a word of it so. I 
heard the straight of it from one of Fannie's chums. 
It seems that he started in to lecture Fannie about 
dancing with two or three men he didn't like, and she 
simply refused to be lectured, and ended the engage- 
ment then and there. I think that's what any plucky 
girl should have done, under the circumstances." 

Mr. C. : "Isn't it possible that Jim knew more about 
these young men than Miss Tyndall did?" 

Mrs. H. : "Oh, pshaw !" 

Mr. C. : "Oh, well, it's all over now, and I honestly 
think it was better for all concerned. From what I 
learned of Miss Tyndall, I don't think she would have 
made the right kind of a wife for him." 

Mrs. H. (slightly ruffed) : "Well the right kind 
what do you mean by that? I suppose she wasn't 
good enough for Mr. Wescott." 
[209] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

Mr. C. : "Well, I think she was too frivolous. I 
don't consider frivolity a crime, but in some cases it 
ought to be a hindrance to matrimony. She was a 
charming girl, in many respects, but (laughing) it 
always seemed to me that she had a sort of matinee 
education, as you might say. I don't think she aspired 
to anything higher than chocolate creams." 

Mrs. H. : "Great heavens, Mr. Custer, she's a girl! 
She's hardly nineteen. If she had been a studious 
thing with spectacles, and her hair all plastered down, 
do you suppose Mr. Wescott would have ever given 
her a second look ? No, indeed ! I don't mean any dis- 
respect to your friend, but, really, I think it would 
have been a positive calamity for Fannie to have mar- 
ried that man. I don't understand why she was at- 
tracted to him in the first place. He isn't handsome, 
is he?" 

Mr. C. : "No, he isn't particularly handsome, but 
he isn't repulsive, either. He has the usual number of 
features. He's a brainy chap." 

Mrs. H. : "Oh, you'd be sure to take the man's 
part. (Bell rings.) I wonder if that's some one else 
to see the house. We've been standing here " 

Mr. C. : "Yes, I've been listening to you slander 
poor Jim." 

[210] 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

Mrs. H. : "Well, really, Mr. Custer, if you knew 
Fannie as I do, you'd be out of patience, too, with any 
man who didn't appreciate her. (Housemaid tiptoes 
m and hands a large, square envelope to Mrs. Hazel- 
den.) It was the postman. Thank you, Mary. Mr. 
Wescott may be popular among the men, but ooh! 
he's such an iceberg. (Drawing an inner envelope from 
the large one.) Fannie never would have been happy 
with such an unsympathetic Mercy me!" (Staring 
at the card folder which she has taken from the en- 
velope.) 

Mr. C. : "What er excuse me." 

Mrs. H.: "Oh h h! If that well! What do 
you think?" 

Mr. C. : "I don't know, I'm sure." 

Mrs. H. (shaking the card folder at him) : "Do you 
know what this is?" 

Mr. C. : "I haven't the slightest idea." 

Mrs. H. : "A wedding-invitation." 

Mr. C.: "Theirs?" 

Mrs. H. : "Theirs. (Reading.) 'To the marriage 
of their daughter Fannie to Mr. James Duncan Wes- 
cott' and she said she'd never" (compresses her 
lips). 

Mr. C. : "Evidently there has been a reconcilia- 
tion." 



MISS TYNDALL'S PICTURE 

Mrs. H. : "Evidently. What could that child have 
been thinking of ? (Sighs.) Poor Fannie!" 
Mr. C. : "Poor I beg your pardon." 
Mrs. H. : "Isn't that just like a girl?" 
Mr. C. : "I suppose so. I didn't think Jim would, 
though." 

Mrs. H. : "Oh, pshaw ! Jim! Jim, indeed ! Mr. 
Custer, women are deceived once in a while, but every 
man is a perfect greenhorn. Come on. I want to show 
you the dining-room." 



[2121 



MR. PAYSON'S SATIRICAL 
CHRISTMAS 



MR. PAYSON'S SATIRICAL 
CHRISTMAS 

Mr. Sidney Payson was full of the bitterness of 
Christmas-tide. Mr. Payson was the kind of man who 
loved to tell invalids that they were not looking as well 
as usual, and who frightened young husbands by pre- 
dicting that they would regret having married. He 
seldom put the seal of approval on any human under- 
taking. It was a matter of pride with him that he 
never failed to find the sinister motive for the act which 
other people applauded. Some of his pious friends 
used to say that Satan had got the upper hand with 
him, but there were others who indicated that it might 
be Bile. 

Think of the seething wrath and the sense of hu- 
miliation with which Mr. Sidney Payson set about his 
Christmas-shopping! In the first place, to go shop- 
ping for Christmas-presents was the most conventional 
thing that any one could do, and Mr. Payson hated 
conventionalities. For another thing, the giving of 
Christmas-presents carried with it some testimony of 
[215] 



MR. PAY SON'S CHRISTMAS 

affection, and Mr. Payson regarded any display of 
affection as one of the crude symptoms of barbarous 
taste. 

If he could have assembled his relatives at a Christ- 
mas-gathering and opened a few old family wounds, 
reminding his brother and his two sisters of some of 
their youthful follies, thus shaming them before the 
children, Mr. Sidney Payson might have managed to 
make out a rather merry Christmas. Instead of that, 
he was condemned to go out and purchase gifts and be 
as cheaply idiotic as the other wretched mortals with 
whom he was being carried along. No wonder that 
he chafed and rebelled and vainly wished that he 
could hang crape on every Christmas-tree in the uni- 
verse. 

Mr. Sidney Payson hated his task and he was puz- 
zled by it. After wandering through two stores and 
looking in at twenty windows he had been unable to 
make one selection. It seemed to him that all the 
articles offered for sale were singularly and uniformly 
inappropriate. The custom of giving was a farce in 
itself, and the store-keepers had done what they could 
to make it a sickening travesty. 

"I'll go ahead and buy a lot of things at hap- 
hazard," he said to himself. "I don't care a hang 
whether they are appropriate or not." 
[216] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

At that moment he had an inspiration. It was an 
inspiration which could have come to no one except 
Mr. Sidney Payson. It promised a speedy end to 
shopping hardships. It guaranteed him a Christmas 
to his own liking. 

He was bound by family custom to buy Christmas- 
presents for his relatives. He had promised his sister 
that he would remember every one in the list. But 
he was under no obligation to give presents that would 
be welcome. Why not give to each of his relatives 
some present which would be entirely useless, inap- 
propriate, and superfluous ? It would serve them right 
for involving him in the childish performances of the 
Christmas-season. It would be a burlesque on the 
whole nonsensicality of Christmas-giving. It would 
irritate and puzzle his relatives and probably deepen 
their hatred of him. At any rate, it would be a satire 
on a silly tradition, and, thank goodness, it wouldn't 
be conventional. 

Mr. Sidney Payson went into the first department- 
store and found himself at the book-counter. 

"Have you any work which would be suitable 
for an elderly gentleman of studious habits and deep 
religious convictions?" he asked. 

"We have here the works of Flavius Josephus in 
two volumes," replied the young woman. 
[217] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

"All right ; I'll take them," he said. "I want them 
for my nephew Fred. He likes Indian stories." 

The salesgirl looked at him wonderingly. 

"Now, then, I want a love-story," said Mr. Pay son. 
"I have a maiden sister who is president of a Ruskin 
club and writes essays about Buddhism. I want to give 
her a book that tells about a girl named Mabel who is 
loved by Sir Hector Something-or-Other. Give me a 
book that is full of hugs and kisses and heaving bos- 
oms and all that sort of rot. Get just as far away 
from Ibsen and Howells and Henry James as you can 
possibly get." 

"Here is a book that all the girls in the store say is 
very good," replied the young woman. "It is called 
'Virgie's Betrothal; or, the Stranger at Birchwood 
Manor.' It's by Imogene Sybil Beauclerc." 

"If it's what it sounds to be, it's just what I want," 
said Pay son, showing his teeth at the young woman 
with a devilish glee. "You say the girls here in the 
store like it?" 

"Yes; Miss Simmons, in the handkerchief -box de- 
partment, says it's just grand." 

"Ha! All right! I'll take it." 

He felt his happiness rising as he went out of the 
store. The joy shone in his face as he stood at the 
skate-counter. 

[218] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

"I have a brother who is forty-six years old and 
rather fat," he said to the salesman. "I don't sup- 
pose he's been on the ice in twenty-five years. He wears 
a No. 9 shoe. Give me a pair of skates for him." 

A few minutes later he stood at the silk-counter. 

"What are those things?" he asked, pointing to 
some gaily coloured silks folded in boxes. 

"Those are scarfs." 

"Well, if you've got one that has all the colours 
of the rainbow in it, I'll take it. I want one with lots 
of yellow and red and green in it. I want something 
that you can hear across the street. You see, I have 
a sister who prides herself on her quiet taste. Her 
costumes are marked by what you call 'unobtrusive 
elegance.' I think she'd rather die than wear one of 
those things, so I want the biggest and noisiest one in 
the whole lot." 

The girl didn't know what to make of Mr. Payson's 
strange remarks, but she was too busy to be kept won- 
dering. 

Mr. Payson's sister's husband is the president of a 
church temperance society, so Mr. Payson bought him 
a buckhorn corkscrew. 

There was one more present to buy. 

"Let me see," said Mr. Payson. "What is there that 
could be of no earthly use to a girl six years old?" 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

Even as he spoke his eye fell on a sign : "Bargain 
sale of neckwear." 

"I don't believe she would care for cravats," he said. 
"I think I'll buy some for her." 

He saw a box of large cravats marked "25 cents 
each." 

"Why are those so cheap?" he asked. 

"Well, to tell the truth, they're out of style." 

"That's good. I want eight of them oh, any eight 
will do. I want them for a small niece of mine a 
little girl about six years old." 

Without indicating the least surprise, the salesman 
wrapped up the cravats. 



Letters received by Mr. Sidney Payson in acknowl- 
edgment of his Christmas-presents : 

1. 

"Dear Brother: Pardon me for not having 
acknowledged the receipt of your Christmas-present. 
The fact is that since the skates came I have been de- 
voting so much of my time to the re-acquiring of one 
of my early accomplishments that I have not had 
much time for writing. I wish I could express to you 
the delight I felt when I opened the box and saw that 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

you had sent me a pair of skates. It was just as if 
you had said to me : 'Will, my boy, some people may 
think that you are getting on in years, but I know 
that you're not.' I suddenly remembered that the 
presents which I have been receiving for several 
Christmases were intended for an old man. I have 
received easy-chairs, slippers, mufflers, smoking- 
jackets, and the like. When I received the pair of 
skates from you I felt that twenty years had been 
lifted off my shoulders. How in the world did you 
ever happen to think of them? Did you really be- 
lieve that my skating-days were not over? Well, 
they're not. I went to the pond in the park on Christ- 
mas-day and worked at it for two hours and I had a 
lot of fun. My ankles were rather weak and I fell 
down twice, fortunately without any serious damage 
to myself or the ice, but I managed to go through the 
motions, and before I left I skated with a smashing 
pretty girl. Well. Sid, I have you to thank. I never 
would have ventured on skates again if it had not been 
for you. I was a little stiff yesterday, but this morn- 
ing I went out again and had a dandy time. I owe 
the renewal of my youth to you. Thank you many 
times, and believe me to be, as ever, your affectionate 
brother, 

"WILLIAM." 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 



"Dear Brother : The secret is out ! I suspected it 
all the time. It is needless for you to offer denial. 
Sometimes when you have acted the cynic I have al- 
most believed that you were sincere, but each time I 
have been relieved to observe in you something which 
told me that underneath your assumed indifference 
there was a genial current of the romantic sentiment of 
the youth and the lover. How can I be in doubt after 
receiving a little book a love-story ? 

"I knew, Sidney dear, that you would remember me 
at Christmas. You have always been the soul of 
thoughtfulness, especially to those of us who under- 
stood you. I must confess, however, that I expected 
you to do the deadly conventional thing and send me 
something heavy and serious. I knew it would be a 
book. All of my friends send me books. That comes 
of being president of a literary club. But you are 
the only one, Sidney, who had the rare and kindly 
judgment to appeal to the woman and not to the club 
president. Because I am interested in a serious literary 
movement it need not follow that I want my whole life 
to be overshadowed by the giants of the kingdom of 
letters. Although I would not dare confess it to Mrs. 
Peabody or Mrs. Hutchens, there are times when I like 
[ 222] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

to spend an afternoon with an old-fashioned love- 
story. 

"You are a bachelor, Sidney, and as for me, I have 
long since ceased to blush at the casual mention of 'old 
maid.' It was not for us to know the bitter-sweet 
experiences of courtship and marriage, and you will 
remember that we have sometimes pitied the headlong 
infatuation of sweethearts and have felt rather su- 
perior in our freedom. And yet, Sidney, if we chose 
to be perfectly candid with each other, I dare say 
that both of us would confess to having known some- 
thing about that which men call love. We might con- 
fess that we had felt its subtle influence, at times and 
places, and with a stirring uneasiness, as.one detects a 
draught. We might go so far as to admit that some- 
times we pause in our lonely lives and wonder what 
might have been and whether it would not have been 
better, after all. I am afraid that I am writing like 
a sentimental school-girl, but you must know that I 
have been reading your charming little book, and it 
has come to me as a message from you. Is it not really 
a confession, Sidney? 

"You have made me very happy, dear brother. I 
feel more closely drawn to you than at any time since 
we were all together at Christmas, at the old home. 
Come and see me. Your loving sister, 

"GERTRUDE." 
[223] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 



"Dear Brother : Greetings to you from the happi- 
est household in town, thanks to a generous Santa 
Claus in the guise of Uncle Sidney. I must begin by 
thanking you on my own account. How in the world 
did you ever learn that Roman colours had come in 
again? I have always heard that men did not follow 
the styles and could not be trusted to select anything 
for a woman, but it is a libel, a base libel, for the scarf 
which you sent is quite the most beautiful thing I 
have received this Christmas. I have it draped over 
the large picture in the parlour, and it is the envy of 
every one who has been in to-day. A thousand, thou- 
sand thanks, dear Sidney. It was perfectly sweet of 
you to remember me, and I call it nothing less than a 
stroke of genius to think of anything so appropriate 
and yet so much out of the ordinary. 

"John asks me to thank you but I must tell you 
the story. One evening last week we had a little 
chafing-dish party after prayer-meeting, and I asked 
John to open a bottle of olives for me. Well, he broke 
the small blade of his knife trying to get the cork out. 
He said : 'If I live to get downtown again, I'm going 
[224] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

to buy a corkscrew.' Fortunately he had neglected 
to buy one, and so your gift seemed to come straight 
from Providence. John is very much pleased. Al- 
ready he has found use for it, as it happened that he 
wanted to open a bottle of household ammonia the very 
first thing this morning. 

"As for Fred's lovely books, thank goodness you 
didn't send him any more story-books. John and I 
have been trying to induce him to take up a more seri- 
ous line of reading. The Josephus ought to help him 
in the study of his Sunday-school lessons. We were 
pleased to observe that he read it for about an hour 
this morning. 

"When you were out here last fall did Genevieve 
tell you that she was collecting silk for a doll quilt? 
She insists that she did not, but she must have done 
so, for how could you have guessed that she wants 
pieces of silk above anything else in the world? The 
perfectly lovely cravats which you sent will more than 
complete the quilt, and I think that mamma will get 
some of the extra pieces for herself. Fred and Gene- 
vieve send love and kisses. John insists that you come 
out to dinner some Sunday very soon next Sunday 
if you can. After we received your presents we were 
quite ashamed of the box we had sent over to your 
hotel, but we will try to make up the difference in 
[225] 



MR. PAYSON'S CHRISTMAS 

heart-felt gratitude. Don't forget any Sunday. 
Your loving sister, 

"KATHERINE." 

It would be useless to tell what Mr. Sidney Payson 
thought of himself after he received these letters. 



LIFE INSURANCE 



LIFE INSURANCE 

The moment you see him coming toward you, you 
are sensible of the fact that his personality towers 
above your own. He stoops a little, figuratively and 
literally, when he comes to address you. 

"Mr. Mark, I wrote to you some time ago in regard 
to a business matter in which I supposed you might 
be interested," he says. 

You do not remember having received any com- 
munication from him and you are moderately certain 
that you never saw the man before, but memory is 
fickle and you tactfully say "Yes," nodding your 
head. 

"I had intended to come around and see you before 
this," he says. "A friend of yours, Mr. A. J. Booster, 
in the Behemoth building, was very anxious that I 
should call in to see you, and I promised him that I 
would." 

You remember Mr. Booster, dimly, as a restaurant 
acquaintance, who makes puns. You wonder why he 
has put on such a solicitude. 

You look at the plain card in front of you, "Mr. 



LIFE INSURANCE 

Percival Conway," and wonder if he has come to buy 
those lots in Prairie Glen, which you have been holding 
at $800, without an offer in four years. 

"Now, I don't want to interrupt you if you are busy 
or take up any of your time needlessly," says Mr. 
Conway, as he glances at a heavily engraved gold 
watch. "It is now 10.30. If you will have more time 
at 11.30 or at 2 this afternoon, or at any other 
hour, I can break my engagements and come here to 
see you. What I have to say will probably take ten 
minutes. It's a simple and straightforward business 
proposition, and I think it will appeal to you as a 
business man. (This flatters you, in spite of the fact 
that you haven't an ounce of business sense and never 
made a success of a trade. ) As I said before, I won't 
take up more than ten minutes, but I don't care to 
bring the matter to your attention until you feel that 
you have the time at your disposal." 

To tell the truth, you are very busy. Your day's 
work lies before you on the desk and beckons you to 
activity. But who can resist a man who is so consid- 
erate? Besides, it will be over in ten minutes, so why 
not have it out of the way ? You ask him to be seated 
and put yourself into a serious attitude for listen- 
ing. 

"Mr. Mark, I believe that I can put you in the way 
[230] 



LIFE INSURANCE 

of making a -little money for yourself, or at least of 
saving some money year after year, and, at the same 
time, protecting your family or relations," he begins. 

This has a suspicious phrasing. 

"Let's see, you're about twenty-nine years old, 
aren't you?" he asks. 

"More than that thirty-four." 

"Indeed ! I wouldn't have believed it. Now let me 
see (taking a small book from his inside coat-pocket), 
you say thirty-four thirty-four well, that isn't so 
much more. There isn't so much difference in the 
expectation. Now, Mr. Mark, how much money could 
you spare every year money to be put aside simply 
as a sure investment, with the privilege of drawing it 
out at any time if you saw fit to do so?" 

You begin to catch the trend of his remarks. 

"Is this another life-insurance scheme?" you ask as 
you feel the wrath slowly spreading toward your ex- 
tremities. 

"Not exactly, although we guarantee you the in- 
cidental insurance the same as the old-line companies. 
Our proposition, however, differs from all others in 
this important respect: We allow the interest accu- 
mulating on the tontine policy to become a reserve 
fund, and at the end of twenty years you can either 
draw this principal or you can apply it on a paid-up 
[231] 



LIFE INSURANCE 

policy at four per cent, interest. Now, for instance, 
you are thirty-four years old and you take out one of 
our non-reversible twenty-year policies with the re- 
serve-fund clause. You would pay the first year 
$186.13, and of that sum $22.49 would go into the 
contingent department and be applied on the policy 
direct, while $76.87, as you can see by a glance at this 
chart, will be put aside, and out of that we allow you 
the discount, so that the second year you can either 
pay the $186.13 or you can allow the $14.92 set down 
here as premium, to apply on the payment, or you can 
withdraw and take a nine-months' paid-up policy for 
$1,800, but if you do this you lose the four per cent, 
interest which I mentioned a few minutes ago, so that, 
if you care to accept my advice in the matter you will 
take the same kind of a policy that I wrote for your 
friend, Mr. Booster that is, the reactionable endow- 
ment policy, with the clause permitting the accumula- 
tion of both premium and interest, so that, after the 
termination of eleven years, you being only forty-five 
years old at that time, you can withdraw all that you 
have paid in up to that time, less the $22.49 indicated 
in the left-hand column, or, as I said a while ago, you 
can accept a paid-up policy at the uniform rate, which 
in your case would be equivalent to $3,400. Now, I 
suppose the question presents itself to your mind : 'In 
[232] 



LIFE INSURANCE 

what respect does this proposition vary from one that 
might be offered by an old-line insurance com- 
pany' ?" 

It is possible that such a question has presented 
itself, but the probability is that you are wondering 
what it is all about. 

Your mind gropes through the murk of technical 
verbiage as Mr. Conway proceeds to elucidate the dif- 
ference between his proposition and one that might 
be made by an old-line company. 

"In the first place, we apply the premium direct 
and compute the insurance at the rate of $2.06 a year 
per $1,000, so that the entire residue goes into the 
sinking fund and there it draws compound interest for 
you at the rate of four per cent, per annum. This is 
made possible under our new system of reducing oper- 
ating expenses to a minimum and putting the execu- 
tive department into the hands of men who do not seek 
pecuniary reward, but are actuated by unselfish and 
philanthropic motives. Now in this twenty-year au- 
tomatic policy, which you will probably prefer to any 
of the others when you have given the matter thor- 
ough study, you pay in $2,247.67 and you get at the 
end of twenty years your $5,000, to say nothing of 
the incidental protection during that period. Now, 
in one of the old-line companies you would pay in 
[233] 



LIFE INSURANCE 

$4,862.54, so that we save you $2,600 right there, as 
well as guaranteeing to you the privilege of with- 
drawal and the computation of interest, or the ac- 
ceptance of a paid-up policy. Doesn't that strike you 
as a generous proposition?" 

There can be but one answer to this question. You 
must say "Yes." 

Suppose you say "No." He will ask you, "Well, 
to what particular feature of the policy would you 
object?" 

Then you would be helpless. 

If you were to say that you didn't know what he 
was talking about and that all his arguments were as 
Greek or Sanscrit, that would be evidence of a feeble 
understanding, because he gave you to understand 
at the beginning that he was going to be simple and 
direct. 

There is but one way in which to cover your con- 
fusion of mind, and that is to nod gravely and say 
"Yes." 

However, this is a dangerous thing to do. The mo- 
ment that you say "Yes," that becomes a practical 
admission on your part that you are partly under 
conviction. 

Immediately he does the magician's trick. He pulls 
a huge book from under his coat (you wonder how he 



LIFE INSURANCE 

managed to conceal it) and begins to fill out an appli- 
cation for a policy. 

Here you must enter a protest or you are lost. It 
must be an emphatic protest. You must give some 
specific reason for not desiring a policy. Whatever 
that reason may be, he is ready to bombard and demol- 
ish it with unanswerable arguments, business proverbs, 
and figures of speech. Hundreds of men have given 
him that same reason at various times, and he has 
studied out his reply, rehearsed it carefully, and for- 
tified himself at every point. 

So when you start in to dispute ground with Mr. 
Conway you are in the position of a bewildered novice 
who is going against the champion of the world. 

If you say that you have all the insurance you can 
carry, he will demonstrate to you that you have not. 
If you mention that you are investing all of your 
money, he will prove to you that his company offers 
the only safe and profitable field for investment. If 
you raise the point that you are unmarried and have 
no one dependent upon you and therefore feel no dis 
position to carry insurance, he will produce a green 
book and read the figures to prove that of every 1 ,000 
men who, at the age of thirty-four, announce that 
they never will marry, no less than 860 afterward 
weaken and go to the altar, and this, too, at a time of 
[235] 



LIFE INSURANCE 

life when the insurance rates are becoming very 
high. 

So you see, there is no chance for you. The only 
thing to do is to take out a policy for any amount 
that he may suggest. 



[236] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

It is a boarding-house privilege to sit on the front 
stoop at dusk. The rooms are small and stuffy. Our 
landlady cannot afford to provide a roof-garden when 
rates are $5 per week per person, or $9 a week for a 
married couple, provided the husband will agree not 
to come home to luncheon. 

On this evening in June we noticed the two across 
the way. These two sat on the stone steps in front of 
what had been an aristocratic residence five years after 
the fire. Lest it should degenerate into a ruin, it had 
become a boarding-house. We lived in a street of 
boarding-houses. 

The house was of three stories and the architecture 
was gloomy and most respectable. The basement, 
which was really the ground floor, had been thrown 
into one long dining-room, and here, when the lights 
were on, we could see the boarders flocked at a series 
of rectangular tables sparsely set with glass and white 
ware. It was much like our own ground floor. 

The three floors above this tunnel-like dining-room 
were filled with families and roomers. We had come 
[239] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

to know two old men who went in and out at irregular 
intervals. Then there were at least three elderly 
women, and the tall one with the military bearing was 
generally supposed to be the mistress of the boarding 
department. In addition to these there was the usual 
straggle of men. The time to see them was near 7.45 
each morning as they came slamming out of the house, 
one after another, and raced away to their eight- 
o'clock jobs. Three children played in front of the 
house occasionally, or else looked out from the second- 
story window. 

Then there was the girl. She was with a young 
man who did not belong to the establishment, as we 
suspected at the time and came to know later on. His 
summer suit was a real triumph in soft grey, and the 
straw hat was in the very moment of fashion, being 
woven of rough straw, the rim very narrow and the 
ribbon a dazzling tricolour. We could see that he 
was young and self-satisfied. We felt that perhaps 
he boarded at an $8 house. 

The men on our stoop preferred to look at the 
young woman. She had spread a rug on the landing 
above the top step and sat in a kind of oriental sprawl, 
looking down at the young man, who was two steps 
below. Her shirt-waist was of some light material, 
and the skirt was of a darker stuff, and her brown hair 
[240] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

was wavy and rebellious. Also, she was very pretty, 
with eyes and lips, etc. This is a man's description, 
of course. Our two young women criticised her ap- 
parel, but the men silently agreed with the law-student 
when he said, "She suits me." 

The majority of us were country -born and we had 
not overcome that early habit, honestly inherited, of 
taking a lively interest in the affairs of other people. 
So we watched the two across the way and talked about 
them. The men were inwardly jealous of the attrac- 
tive youth in the grey suit, and the young women were 
outwardly displeased at his lack of taste. 

The two sat on the front steps and looked at each 
other steadily, talking but little. After a little while 
one of the roomers came out and joined the two on the 
steps. He was a confident young man with a toss of 
hair on his forehead and a grating haw-haw laugh, 
intended to be a token of sociability. 

For a few minutes he had the conversation all to 
himself. Then the two came to an agreement, evi- 
dently through some code known only to themselves, 
for they came down the steps and sauntered away to- 
gether, leaving the hairy young man to trim his nails 
and smoke his cigar in solitary self-satisfaction. 

We saw them again, a night or two after that. 

They sat together on the steps until one of the 
[241] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

women came out to join them, and they wandered 
away into the twilight, their arms touching. 

In a little while we had learned his average. It was 
three times a week. They seemed most happy when 
there was no third person near. A happy sign. 

It is tantalising to assist in a love-affair and not 
know the names. 

She did not hurry away in the morning with the 
other eight-o'clock sleepy-heads, but our landlady 
said that usually she went out at ten, returning not 
later than four. If she was not regularly employed, 
perhaps she was merely visiting the woman who took 
boarders. Probably this woman was her aunt. Mere 
speculation, all of it. 

The young man usually approached from the south. 
Presumably he lived on the south side. A poor frag- 
ment of unsatisfactory evidence. 

After two or three weeks, when any one of the 
boarders spoke of "he" it was known that he referred 
to the young man across the way. The girl was "she" 
the couple "they." 

The new bulletins came at breakfast and dinner. 
They were somewhat after the style of the following: 

"They went again last night." 

"A messenger boy brought a note to-day. I sup- 
pose it was from him." 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

"She sat at the window for nearly an hour to-day 
and seemed, oh, so lonesome!" 

"They were out walking all afternoon." 

"A boy brought a box this afternoon. It looked 
like a box of flowers. I suppose they were for her" 

As the colder weather came on and the days were 
shorter, the men had little opportunity to learn for 
themselves what was happening. The women made 
two important discoveries: 

1. She was doing a great deal of department-store 
shopping, for the shiny waggons from State Street 
stopped in front of the place nearly every day. 

2. She now had as a companion an older woman, 
who accompanied her as she went out each day. 

Was this woman her mother ? How could she afford 
to buy so many clothes? Was it possible that the 
young man was paying for her trousseau? What 
were in the boxes? 

No one at our boarding-house could answer these 
questions, but the young women built a romance 
around the slender framework of circumstantial evi- 
dence. The young man was rich and the girl the 
daughter of an aristocratic widow who had lost her 
property, and the young man's parents opposed the 
match because the girl was poor and had to live in a 
boarding-house, but the young man, thank heaven, 
[243] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

was true to the girl he loved, and so the mother had 
come from the old home and had made every sacrifice 
in order that her daughter might be married in proper 
style, and so they were to be united and fly away to 
a honeymoon in Florida, and then come back to live 
forever in a magnificent flat with rugs and things and 
their own servants. 

We hoped that it might be true, and it came about 
sooner than we had expected. 

When we trooped home the other evening the land- 
lady and her daughter were throbbing with informa- 
tion. It had happened! 

The arrival of two carriages first caused comment. 
The landlady had said to her daughter, "I wonder 
who" but there is no need of recounting all that. 

Strange people came strange people in their best 
clothes. This was near twelve o'clock. Then a 
preacher walking. Any one could have told he was 
a preacher sickly looking man in black. Then lie 
came. Lovely ! Black clothes silk hat. Then other 
people on foot. The landlady and her daughter 
straining their eyes to see what was happening inside 
the house. 

About 1.30 the front door opened. Carriage in 
waiting. Bride looked sweet and wore a going-away 
gown of but no! courage fails. Every one waved 
[244] 



OUR PRIVATE ROMANCE 

and said good-bye. The landlady (not ours) and the 
other woman (suspected to be the mother) stood on 
the steps and watched the carriage until it was out of 
sight. The other woman cried a little. She must have 
been the mother. 

Alackaday ! It is all over. The tingle of romance 
has gone out of our street. 



MR. LINDSAY ON "SAN 
JEWAN" 



MR. LINDSAY ON "SAN 
JEWAN" 

It was at the breakfast-table that Mr. Scott Lindsay, 
a veteran of the real war, read something about the 
anniversary of the battle of San Juan and began to 
rattle the paper. 

'Now, now!" said Mrs. Lindsay, calmly, for she 
knew his tantrums. 

"Great grief, mother !" he exclaimed, looking across 
the table at his wife. "Here's somethin' that'd make 
old Sherman turn over in his grave. They're goin' to 
celebrate the anniversary of the battle of San Jewan. 
Thunderation! The battle of San Jewan ! BATTLE ! 
Gosh, all fish-hooks ! BATTLE! Say, if the old boys 
that 'uz with the Army o' the Tennessee ever started 
in to celebrate the anniversary of every durned little 
popgun skirmish like that battle o' San Jewan, we 
wouldn't do nothin' but celebrate, day in and day out, 
from one year's end to another. We'd have to git up 
in the night and annyverserate. Battle! Battle 
nothin' ! W'y, around Vicksburg there we used to roll 
out in the mornin' an' fight three or four o' them bat- 
[249] 



MR. LINDSAY 

ties just to whet our appetites. We didn't call 'em 
battles, though. We knew the difference between a 
battle and a ras'berry festival." 

"Oh, well, father, you must make some allowances," 
said Mrs. Lindsay. "These boys don't remember the 
other war." 

"I guess they don't I just good an' guess they 
don't. If they did, they wouldn't be steppin' so high. 
There's a blamed sight o' difference between chasin' 
some runt of a dago with a white feather in each hand 
an' chasin' a six-foot Johnny Reb that jus' raises up 
on his everlastin' hind legs an' comes at you like a 
runaway horse, breathin' smoke out of his nose an' 
ears, b3 T gory, an' yellin' like an Injun. It's easy 
enough to chase anything that runs the other way, but 
this hero job's got its drawbacks when the other feller 
gits it into his head that he wants to do the chasin' an* 
swoops out o' the woods like an loway cyclone, by 
gosh, pumpin' lead into you till you git too heavy to 
run. Battle! When we had 'em stacked up till we 
couldn't see over 'em, an' every rigiment 'uz whittled 
down to a company an' our flags 'uz blown into carpet 
rags an' the blood got so deep it wet the ammanition in 
the waggons, we used to begin to suspect that we'd 
had a battle. Somethin' a little less argymentative 
than that we called a skirmish. Anything the size o' 
[250] 



MR. LINDSAY 

this San Jewan basket-meetin' we didn't keep no tally 
of at all. That kind o' come under the head o' target- 
practice." 

"I wouldn't be too hard on 'em, father. They say 
these boys fought real well down there in Cuby." 

"Well, to see 'em cavortin' around town here in their 
cowboy hats and gassin' in front of every store, you'd 
think, by cracky, that every one of 'em had chawed 
up a thousand o' them Spanish generals, whiskers an* 
all. You take some old codger that crawled through 
them swamps for four years, dodgin' minie-balls and 
nothin' to keep him alive but hardtack an' hot slough- 
water, an' he ain't in it no more with one o' these cussed 
little whipper-snappers, by ginger, that well, you 
ought to heard old Cap Nesbit the other night after 
post-meetin'. He made a few remarks about these kid 
soldiers that wouldn't pass muster in a crowd o' women } , 
but they was satisfyin' to me." 

"I don't see why Cap Nesbit wants to pick onto' 
these boys," said Mrs. Lindsay. "I think they de- 
serve a lot o' credit for enlistin' an' goin' down there 
in that hot country to fight." 

"Enlistin's all right an' fightin's all right, if you do 

it. I don't begrudge no man the credit of goin' out 

an' fightin' for his country. These boys done well as 

far as they went, but I don't want no kid to tell me 

[251] 



MR. LINDSAY 

what war is till he's been through one. These young 
fellers got a sniff o' blood, and now they think they've 
been through the slaughter-house. There's old Dan 
Bailey that got shot so often he didn't mind it at all 
toward the last, laid in Andersonville till he was a 
rack of bones, come home here lookin' like a corpse and 
ain't seen a well day since, and he ain't as big a man in 
this town to-day as that grandson o' his that went down 
there to Forty Rico an' laid in a hammock for six 
months, smokin' cigarettes. He's what they call a hero 
now had an ice-cream reception for him when he 
come home, didn't they? I don't rickollect that any- 
body had an ice-cream reception for old Dan when Jw 
come home. Heroes wuzn't quite so gosh blamed 
scarce about that time. Nobody paid any attention to 
'em. They used to ship 'em in here by the carload, 
and most of 'em went right on through town an' out 
to the graveyard. W'y, these boys, they rode down 
to that dress-parade in Cuby in sleepin'-cars ! With 
a nigger to brush 'em off an' bring ice-water ! Great 
Jehoshaphat! I'd like to seen somebody ask old 
Griggs for a sleepin'-car. I'd like to heard what he'd 
say. Sleepin'-cars ! We wuz tickled to death to git 
box -cars, cattle-cars anything on wheels. We didn't 
need no porter to brush our cloze, for the darned good 
reason that we didn't have no cloze to brush. Then 
[252] 



MR. LINDSAY 

there wuz all that talk about embammed beef. We'd 
a been mighty glad to git it embammed, petrified, 
mouldy, or any other way. We thought we wuz lucky 
if we could git a hunk o' salt pork to drop in with the 
beans now an' then. We wuzn't out on no moonlight 
excursion, playin' tag with a lot o' tambourine-players. 
We wuz out in the underbrush, dad ding my buttons, 
havin' it out with the toughest lot o' human panthers 
that ever wore cloze. An' yit, like as not, if we go 
to breakin' in on this San Jewan celebration, we'll git 
a back seat in the gallery. We ain't heroes. No! 
W'y, on Decoration Day these kids marched in front, 
every one of 'em puffed up like a toad in a thunder- 
storm bigger man than old Grant, as the feller says. 
Now, they're goin' to celebrate the annyversary of 
San Jewan. Sufferin' Cornelius ! There wuz another 
likely skirmish about the same time o' year. Gettys- 
burg, I think they called it. Wonder why somebody 
don't celebrate 



[253] 



THE STENOGRAPHIC 
PROPOSAL 



THE STENOGRAPHIC 
PROPOSAL 

The persons concerned were Walter Humphries, James 
K. Willington, and the Mrs. Wellington who had been 
Miss Laura Babbitt before it happened. 

Willington was "James K." Willington not 
"James" or "J. K." for in this world of shoulder- 
slappers he never had allowed any one to "Jim" h,im. 
Therefore he was a successful lawyer whose very dig- 
nity carried him a long way. 

Miss Laura Babbitt was in mourning when she came 
into the office. Her father, lately gone to the reward 
of all lawyers, had been a power in the community. 
He had made speeches at mass-meetings and more than 
once he had shaken the challenge of private debate 
at all who doubted the efficacy of infant baptism or 
believed there could be any virtue in a protective tariff. 

He was beloved by a large household, to which he 
bequeathed a library and a tin box containing the 
proofs that he had given several mortgages. A few 
weeks after his death, Laura Babbitt, turned twenty- 
three, gave up her water-colours and her painting on 
[257] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

china and came to the office of James K. Willington 
to do type-writing. 

James K. Willington and Laura Babbitt's father 
had always disagreed as to baptism and the tariff, and 
so they had been great friends. They would meet in 
the Babbitt library of a Sunday afternoon and pound 
back and forth with great earnestness, coming out at 
tea-time, both flushed, happy, and thoroughly uncon- 
vinced. 

Ezra Babbitt never had taken to his heart any man 
who agreed with him on all the main propositions. In 
the presence of any one who assented willingly, Ezra 
Babbitt's arguments were like so many blows that find 
no resistance, and so merely wrench and strain the one 
who delivers them. His plea would settle into a mere 
vapoury sermon. James K. Willington disputed so 
well that Ezra Babbitt prized him as an athlete prizes 
a punching-bag that pugnaciously comes back when 
struck, and cannot be hammered to a standstill. 

They were staunch friends. 

Laura Babbitt did her work at James K. Willing- 
ton's law-office with cheerfulness and resignation, as if 
she were realising an ambition, but Walter Humphries 
knew that she didn't belong in a law-office. Hum- 
phries was the law-student of the office. He read law 
spasmodically, and was learning stenography so that 
[258] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

he could be a court reporter while he was waiting for 
practice. 

And some day he was going to take Laura Babbitt 
out of an office and establish her as queen of a flat, or 
possibly a house. He had not apprised her of his 
plans, but they were large and he regarded them as 
unselfish. 

Humphries never suspected James K. Willington. 

He had observed that his superior was considerate 
of Miss Babbitt's wishes and made her work light, but 
he was unprepared for what happened. (It may be 
noted at this time that Laura Babbitt was and Mrs. 
James K. Willington is a very good-looking young 
woman. However, that is mere detail.) 

Humphries sat at his table just outside of James 
K. Wellington's private office. Perhaps Willington 
had forgotten that Humphries was there. That would 
be a reasonable conclusion in the knowledge of what 
happened later. 

Laura Babbitt came in from luncheon, and seeing 
James K. Willington in his office, went in to speak to 
him, nodding to Humphries as she passed. 

The law student was practising his pot-hcoks at the 
time. According to habit, lie began "taking" the con- 
versation in the room just behind him. He didn't 
realise that he was a guilty eavesdropper until it was 
[259] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

too late, and then he went on taking notes because he 
knew that such a record might prove interesting. 

This is the conversation. Mr. Willington began it : 

"Hello, there." 

"How do you do ? I finished that, Mr. Willington." 

"Is that so? How was the writing?" 

"It wasn't so bad. One word there bothered me 
some." 

"I'm a very careless penman. I suppose most 
lawyers are bad writers. Your father wrote a remark- 
able hand." 

"Didn't he, though?" 

"Sit down, Miss Babbitt. I I believe I told you I'd 
been wanting to get up and see your mother some time 
this week about that Thomas matter. How is she ?" 

"She's well that is, fairly well." 

"That's good. So she doesn't worry that's the 
main thing. How does she like the notion of your 
working down here?" 

"Well, you know she told me to do what I thought 
was best." 

"Yes? Well, how do you like it by this time?" 

"I don't mind it." 

"Well, I don't know. How about that new paper 
I had sent over any better?" 

"Yes, it writes first-rate." 
[260] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

"Does it? I didn't know. I told him to send some- 
thing better than that last. You've kept Grace at 
school, haven't you?" 

"Yes, oh, yes. I want her to go for quite a while 
yet." 

"That's right. I'd keep her there as long as I 
could. I know what your father's wishes would have 
been. She wants to get out and do something, too 
isn't that it?" 

"She thinks she might might be able to do some- 
thing." 

"Yes. Let's see, I'm not keeping you from any 
work, am I?" 

"No, unless you can think of something. I haven't 
had much to do lately. I feel sometimes as if I really 
wasn't much help." 

"No, you mustn't feel that way." 

"Thank you, I don't suppose I could have gone to 
work for any one who would have been more con- 
siderate." 

"It seems to be a beautiful day outside." 

"Isn't it though? It's warmer, too." 

"You'd better take off your hat. Isn't it a bad 
thing to wear a hat in the house?" 

"That's a man for you! This hat doesn't weigh 
anything." 

[261] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

"Doesn't it? It is what is it, new?" 

"New? Gracious me, I had it all last summer." 

"It looks new. There was something I wanted to 
discuss with you." 

"Yes?", 

"I'm it puts me in rather an awkward position. I 
don't know that I can make myself clear. Now ah 
when you came to see me about getting this position 
here in the office, had you noticed an well, any hesi- 
tancy on my part?" 

"I can't say that I did." 

"Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't like the idea 
of your coming here as an employe." 

"Why, Mr. Willington !" 

"Understand me ! I was delighted to have you here 
and I knew that your services would be valuable, but 
I did not like to put you in the position of, apparently, 
being under obligations to me. I didn't want you to 
feel that way." 

"But I couldn't very well help it. I am under ob- 
ligations to you. All of us are very grateful, I'm 
sure." 

"If you are, I don't suppose I can help it, but what 
I want you to understand is that whatever I have done 
for you and your mother has been done because of 
my friendship for your father and not for the purpose 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

of exercising an undue ah influence on you or to 
prejudice you in favour of any proposition which you 
might, otherwise, be inclined to reject." 

"I don't know what in the world you are talking 
about." 

"Let us take a hypothetical case. A is very fond of 
B regards her as a superior and altogether charming 
woman. Although cognisant of his own unworthi- 
ness, he has about decided to make a formal proposal 
of marriage to this party of the second part B, we 
have called her. Let us suppose that he does not wish 
to show haste in making his offer for two reasons, 
namely : in the first place B has suffered a family be- 
reavement and it might not be regarded seemly and 
seasonable to speak of marriage at almost the moment 
when it is discovered that B is in need of financial as- 
sistance. Might not B suspect that his action is in- 
spired by a sympathetic impulse or a sudden pity, 
in which case a woman of proud spirit might well 
she might resent an offer coming at such a time? Do 
you follow me?" 

"Yes I think I do." 

"Very well. Now then ! This is the situation. A 

is very desirous of making the proposition to B but 

he chooses to wait for the proper and opportune time 

and then to make it in such a manner and under such 

[263] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

conditions as will permit B to speak her mind freely 
and have the knowledge that she is under no duress 
whatsoever. But suppose that in the interim, while 
A is waiting, with more or less impatience, for affairs 
to shape themselves so that he may come forward with 
his proposal, B approaches him and requests him to 
do what she is pleased to regard as a rather important 
favour. A does not feel that what he does in her be- 
half merits any large degree of gratitude, but he finds 
himself in a delicate position, fearing that if he goes 
ahead and makes a proposal of marriage, B will more 
than ever be compelled to question the motives of his 
previous conduct and feel that he has brought undue 
influence to bear. Now, perhaps, you will under- 
stand what I mean when I say I am almost sorry that 
I consented to your coming into the office." 

"Mr. Willington, I think you're making a great 
deal out of nothing. I've known you for years. 
There's nothing you could do, or would do, that would 
make me change my opinion of you." 

"If I were to make a proposal of marriage to you, 
and if, for any reason, you felt that your future hap- 
piness would not be conduced by an acceptance of it, 
would you feel at liberty to express yourself freely 
and fully?" 

"I'm sure I should. I wouldn't marry a man merely 
[264] 



STENOGRAPHIC PROPOSAL 

because he had been my father's friend and had helped 
me to employment." 

"You would have to entertain for him a regard en- 
tirely separate from the mere feeling of gratitude." 

"Most assuredly." 

t "Very well, then I am going to ask you to take 
the matter under advisement." 

"Well, this almost takes my breath away." 

"I am ten or twelve years older than you are." 

"That doesn't make any difference. I mean " 

"I do not urge an immediate answer. If you are 
in doubt as to what you had better do, speak to your 
mother." 

"I'll speak to her to-night. But I think I'm 
pretty sure, it's all right." 

"I'll call this evening if you say so." 

"I wish you would." 

"I am glad I have been able to present this to you 
in such a way as to " 

"Oh, pshaw ! As if you could offend me ! I've al- 
ways liked you better than any other man I ever 
knew." 

"Really?" 

Humphries could "take" no more. He tiptoed from 
the room, his heart at zero. 

[265] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

Mr. Newe and Miss Wise were seated on the broad 
veranda at the Rivulet County Club. Other persons 
were seated on the same veranda, viewing their neigh- 
bours apprehensively. Still others were standing out 
in the sunshine, bare-headed and bare-armed, so as to 
hurry the tanning process. 

The billowy green, stretching far away to the south, 
was dotted with wiggly white figures and bright-red 
spots distant golf-players. "Distant" refers to their 
being far away from the club-house and does not bear 
on their personal characteristics. 

It should be explained that Mr. Newe was a 
stranger and a barbarian. 

Miss Wise : "Do you see that girl with the splendid 
colour?" 

Mr. Newe : "The saddle-coloured one ?" 

She : "Yes, the one with the lovely tan." 

He: "What about her?" 

She : "That's Miss Transem." 

He: "Where does she work?" 

She: "Surely you've heard of the Transems. 
[269] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

Don't you remember that Julia Transem, the oldest 
girl, was quite a belle in Washington for several sea- 
sons? She married that Allison Alexander, son of 
Senator Alexander, and he drank himself to death or 
did something." 

He : "Who is the intellectual giant talking to her 
there?" 

She: "Don't you know him?" 

He : "I've seen his picture in Life, but there wasn't 
any name under it." 

She: "Why, that's Jack Grubbley. You know 
he's a nephew of the big Grubbley in New York the 
one that every one knows about. What was his name ? 
Oh, yes! K. Sturtevant Grubbley. They were very 
wealthy and one night his wife jumped out of the win- 
dow, wearing all her diamonds." 

He: "Whose wife? This fellow's?" 

She : "No, no. The wife of K. Sturtevant Grub- 
bley. The nephew came to Chicago about that time. 
That's why I remember it so well. He seems to be in- 
vited everywhere." 

He: "On account of the diamonds or simply be- 
cause she jumped out of the window?" 

She : "Well, you know, his father is quite promi- 
nent too. Wasn't he the one who was black-balled 
by the Metropolitan Club in New York?" 
[270] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

He: "I hope so." 

She : "Did you see the girl who came to the door- 
way just now and looked out?" 

He: "The red-headed one?" 

She: "Sh h h! For mercy's sake, if any one 
heard you say that! You know the Cervelats practi- 
cally run this club. That was Miss Effie Cervelat." 

He : "I am still unimpressed. What is her partic- 
ular grip on publicity?" 

She: "Didn't you ever hear of the Cervelat fail- 
ure? You know her father was all mixed up in that 
Interstate Bank case. It was supposed that he lost a 
million dollars, but they've been living right along in 
the same style ever since," 

He : "I'm sorry now that I didn't take a good look 
at her." 

She : "Her mother and old Mrs. Briggs practically 
govern the exclusive set on the south side. Do you see 
the stout woman over there by tlw post? Yes, the one 
with the two moles. She's a sistel of Mrs. Briggs." 

He : "That's a peculiar thing, I've been looking 
at her for several minutes, and I ffifver suspected her 
of .anything." 

She : "Her name is Solder. She was Knobbs be- 
fore she was married. Perhaps you've K^TC? of hei 
[271] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

cousin, General Knobbs. He's in the army or some- 
thing." 

He : "I'm afraid not. It's strange, too. It doesn't 
seem possible that a military commander with such a 
cousin could escape notoriety for any length of time." 

She: "Look! Don't turn your head, but merely 
glance over toward the corner. Do you see that boy 
with the big eyes?" 

He : "Do you mean the caddy ?" 

She : "That isn't a caddy that's Emerson Stough- 
ton, Jr. Every one has heard of Emerson Stough- 
ton." 

He: "Junior?" 

She: "No, his father. They say he owns nearly 
all of Dearborn Street. You know that they tell the 
most dreadful stories about him." 

He : "The fact that he owns nearly all of Dearborn 
Street is dreadful enough!" 

She : "You know Em isn't very bright." 

He: "By 'Em' you mean " 

She : "Emerson, Junior." 

He: "You surprise me. I've been watching him 
light that cigarette and he did it well. He has been 
trained, I suppose educated?" 

She : "Yes ; he was at Harvard for four years in 
the freshman class, I believe." 
[272] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

He: "Who is that tall one he just spoke to? By 
George, she'll do." 

She : "Her name is Elliott. No one seems to know 
much about her." 

He: "No aunt that jumped out of the window; 
no father that soaked the stockholders; no cousins in 
the army ; no sister that married any one how in the 
world did she ever break in here?" 

She: "Well, she was brought out here by the 
Prudelys. You've heard of Mrs. Prudely. She is a 
daughter of W. K. Bowser, the great dealer in fer- 
tilisers." 

He : "Oh, well, if she comes with the daughter of 
a fertiliser, I suppose that gives her a certain stand- 
ing." 

She: "They say that Emerson is really fond of 
her, and I've even heard that they were engaged. I 
think it would be terrible for him to go and marry 
her." 

He: "Horrible!" 

She : "No one knows anything about her." 

He : "I suppose she must be after his money. Can 
you think of any other explanation?" 

She : "But you don't realise the situation. No one 
knows anything about her, and she might get hold of 
poor little Emerson and make him do almost any- 
thing." 

[273] 



THE RELATIVES' CLUB 

He: "But she might do the same thing even if 
they knew all about her. Besides, if she gets such an 
influence over him she may induce him to wear a dif- 
ferent kind of shirt. Ah, Emerson has a rival. Who 
is the other young man talking to the stately Miss 
Elliott?" 

She : "That is Mr. Blodgett, grandson of the Blod- 
gett that made so much money in the grain business." 

He: "You ought to change the name of this club 
and call it the Relatives' Club. Do all the others out 
there, going the rounds, have the same kind of notori- 
ous kin?" 

She: "Don't be sarcastic. I'm simply telling so 
that you may know who these people are." 

He : "I understand so I may be on my guard. I 
dare say if these people around here knew that my 
uncle Blaisdell was shot twice in Quincy, Illinois, they 
might pay a little more attention to me." 



[274] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

Patrolman Curley tapped with his club against the 
pickets and the gate-posts as he strolled past the long 
row of frame buildings in Woolover Street. It was 
a misty, moonlight night, and Patrolman Curley had 
just pulled the one o'clock box at the corner to let the 
station know that he was alive. 

As he passed the wooden houses, with the roofs 
peaked to a uniform height and the front stoops built 
all alike, he reflected that there was little need of a 
policeman along such a street. No burglars would 
have been attracted to the neighbourhood, and the resi- 
dents were too tired from hard work to remain up at 
night and be disorderly. 

Patrolman Curley supposed that he had the whole 
street to himself until he glanced ahead and saw a man 
leaning against the fence. As he came nearer the man 
asked: "This ain't Gillespie, is it?" 

"No, sir, this is Curley." 

"There used to be a fellow named Gillespie on this 
beat." 

"He's up at Maxwell Street now." 
[277] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

"Well, maybe you can tell me. Does ah does 
Mrs. Fisher still live here at 852 ?" 

"How should I know ? I don't keep acouainted with 
all the people on my beat." 

"Will you go up to the door with me till I find out?" 

"Can't you find out for yourself? What's the mat- 
ter somebody sick?" 

"No I'll tell you. She's my wife." 

"Well, if she's your wife you don't need me to in- 
troduce you, do you?" 

"To tell you the truth, officer, I don't know whether 
she'll be glad to see rne or not. I've been away since 
a year ago last winter." 

"You'd better come around in the daytime, my 
friend. Here at one o'clock in the morning is no time 
for settlin' old family troubles." 

"I'd like mighty well to see her to-night, if she's 
in there." 

"Why didn't you come around early in the even- 
ing?" 

"I didn't get in town till to-night. I've been look- 
ing for a friend of mine couldn't find him." 

"Well, what good can I do?" 

"You just come up with me to let her know it's all 
right. If I call her out of bed she may come to the 
front door and see me and think I've come back to 
[278] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

make trouble for her. Then again, if she's still mad at 
me, I don't want to quarrel with her at all. I'll go 
away in a peaceable manner. I'm a law-abiding citi- 
zen, and I always have been. I want you for a wit- 
ness to what happens right here to-night." 

"What was your trouble about anyway? Another 
man?" 

"No, sir; I never thought that Maude cared for 
any one besides me." 

"Maude!" 

"That's her name, officer Maude. We'd been mar- 
ried ten years before we had this trouble, and if I told 
you now what made it, you wouldn't hardly believe 
me." 

"Well, what was it? Y' can't keep me up. I'm 
here till four o'clock." 

"We'd never had any fallin' out, you know. Why, 
we've got a boy, Bertrand, that's eight years old now 
and got more sense than both of us put together. I 
don't know how to begin to tell you. You know these 
continuous shows, don't you?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, me and Maude never went to the theatre 

much after we moved to Chicago because Bertrand 

was a baby and we couldn't take him with us. After 

he got a little older, though, we went once in a while 

[279] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

I had a good job over at the desk factory, but I never 
believed in wastin' money and didn't care much for 
shows anyway. Maude liked to go and talked a good 
deal about every show we went to, but, as I say, I didn't 
feel that I could afford to pay out a dollar or two 
every week for foolishness. But when these continu- 
ous shows started, so that she could go any afternoon 
and get a good seat for thirty cents, she got crazy on 
the theatre. She could take Bertrand along and hold 
him on her lap, and of course there wasn't much house- 
work to do, and I s'pose she must have went to those 
places about three days out of every week. I wouldn't 
have cared for that so much, because I think a woman 
ought to enjoy herself, but sho got so that she couldn't 
think of anything or talk of anything but variety 
shows. She was singin' darkey songs around the 
house all the time and tellin' these jokes she'd heard, 
and she got so she knew the names of all them variety 
actors, and she used to say that So-and-So had a good 
act, and somebody else was poor, and somebody else 
ought to change their performance, and so on." 

"So that's why you shook her?" asked Patrolman 
Curley. 

"No hold on. There's another side to the story. 
Just about the time she was takin' in all the cheap 
shows in town I went with a friend of mine named Dan 
[ 280 ] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

Jerrold to see a spiritual exhibition over at a widow 
woman's house near Twenty-sixth Street. It was the 
first thing of the kind I ever saw, and I thought there 
was something to it. I did, honest. I talked to my 
father through this medium and got messages from 
some friends of mine, and I s'pose I was purty well 
worked up about it for a few weeks and couldn't think 
of much else. Well, when I tried to talk spiritualism 
to Maude, she simply had a fit. She just hollered and 
laughed and that was all. It made me so mad, I said 
she'd better stop gaddin' around to variety shows and 
pay attention to something serious. In fact, I told her 
in so many words that she mustn't go to any more 
theatres with Bertrand unless I went along. She 
went, just the same. Then we had it. Before long 
we got so we couldn't speak without gettin' into a 
quarrel. One day we had it hot and heavy and I just 
up and told her I was goin' to leave. She told me to 
get out and never come back. The house was in her 
name already and I turned over the bank-book to her 
and started for Birmingham. I knew she wouldn't 
starve, for if she got hard up she could sell the place 
and go back to her father's folks. They're well off." 
"And you haven't heard from her since?" 
"Not direct from her no. Before I left here I 
went to Dan Jerrold and told him to write me once 
[281] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

in a while and let me know how she was gettin' along. 
After I got to Birmingham he wrote to me that my 
brother had come here to live with her, and that she 
seemed to be en joy in' herself. That was a year ago 
last spring. I was in Alabama all summer, but in the 
fall I went to Florida and worked as a carpenter all 
winter ; pulled up and went over to New Orleens in the 
spring, and got back to Birmingham here about a 
month ago. When I got there I found a letter for 
me advertised in the newspaper. I went around and 
got it. It was from Dan Jerrold. He said my wife 
had been askin' about me and seemed to be worried. 
I'd made him promise not to tell her where I was, and 
he said he hadn't told her. He said she'd changed a 
good deal and didn't go to shows any more and he had 
a notion that she'd like to live with me again. Now 
the funny part of it is that before I got this letter I'd 
changed my opinion about this spiritualism business." 

"When you're dead, you're dead," observed Patrol- 
man Curley, judicially. 

"Yes, I guess that's right. W'y, I saw a fellow in 
Montgomery one night go into a cabinet and do every 
blamed thing that I ever saw at a seance. Then he 
showed just how he worked it, and I could see that I'd 
probably been fooled by these people here at the widow 
woman's. The more I thought about it, the less I 
[282] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

blamed Maude for makin' fun of me. Then when I 
got this letter from Dan it kind o' decided me to come 
back to Chicago. I finished some work I was at and 
collected a little money due me, and come along. Our 
train was late. We got in here about eleven o'clock 
and I went over to the place where Dan Jerrold used to 
board. I thought I'd see him first and find out how 
things stood. Well, he'd moved somewheres and they 
couldn't tell me where. I went to two or three places 
where I thought he might be, but I couldn't get track 
of him, so I thought I'd come out here. After I got 
here, I didn't know what to do. I was afraid that 
mebbe somebody else lived in the house. When I saw 
you comin' I wondered if it was Gillespie, so I waited." 

Patrolman Curley bored the gate-post with his club 
and nodded his head in quiet laughter. 

"You're a wonder," he said. "What's the name 
again ?" 

"Fisher George Fisher." 

"Come on, George." 

The policeman climbed up to the front door and 
pounded with his club. He paused, and for a few 
moments there was a death-like quiet. George Fisher, 
on the lower step, had taken off his hat and was wiping 
his brow with a red handkerchief. 

Once more the club rattled noisily against the panels, 
[283] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

and as Patrolman Curley stopped to listen, a timid 
voice from behind the door asked : "What is it?" 

"It's her!" whispered George. 

"Is this Mrs. Fisher?" asked the policeman. 

"Yes yes, sir. Who is it? What do you want?" 

"It's all right. Don't be afraid. I'm a police 
officer. Go on ; open the door." 

"Well, what do you want?" 

"I want to tell you something, my good woman. 
It's all right open the door." 

There was a hesitating turn of the lock. The door 
squeaked back and the tousled head of a woman in 
white appeared in the narrow opening. 

"What in the world is it?" she asked. 

"A man here wants to see you." 

"Who is he? What about?" 

"He says he's your husband." 

"George?" 

"It's me, Maude," said George, meekly. 

He had been hidden by the big patrolman, but now 
he moved up a step. 

"Well, of all things !" exclaimed the woman, peek- 
ing through the doorway. 

"Do you want him to come in?" asked the police- 
man. 

[284] 



GEORGE'S RETURN 

"Well, George Fisher, of all the fool tricks. Comin' 
around here this time of night with a policeman !" 

"I just got in town," said George, in a husky voice. 

"Well, get in here, for mercy's sake ! What will the 
neighbours say, hearin' such a racket at this time of 
night?" 

The door opened, with Maude discreetly hiding be- 
hind it. 

George sidled in and Patrolman Curley heard him 
ask: "Is Bert at home?" 

Before there was time for an answer the door 
slammed. 

Patrolman Curley turned. The street was again 
quiet in the mistj moonlight. He hit the gate-post a 
noisy thwack as he passed it. 

"George and Maude ! Glory be to Ireland !" 



[285] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

A conversation between Harry and Ethel. 

Ethel : "Is it cold outside ?" 

Harry: "Yes, I believe it is." 

"Don't you know?" 

"Yes, I know it is horribly cold. You can tell by 
the frost on the windows." 

"Do you hare any trouble in keeping your house 
warm?" 

"I don't beliere so hadn't noticed." 

"Hadn't noticed what?" 

"What was it you asked me?" 

"I asked you if that was a new cravat." 

"No, it's an old one. That isn't what you asked 
me." 

"Yes, it is. I think it's perfectly lovely." 

"Do you? I don't like it very well myself." 

"I don't see why. It's awfully becoming." 

"Do you really think so?" 

"Yes, I do, really. Now don't go to fixing it, or 
you'll spoil it. It was just right before." 
[289] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

"All right, I'll hold still." 

"You don't like white ties, do you?" 

"No except on somebody else." 

"What's your objection to them?" 

"They have a professional look, or rather, a sug- 
gestion of advertising your business. When I see a 
man with a white tie, I always conclude that he is either 
a minister or a bartender." 

"But Mr. Hotchkiss wears a white tie, and he isn't 
either." 

"Hotchkiss isn't anything worth speaking of." 

"Oh, Harry, if Sister Laura heard you say that." 

"Well, I wouldn't care very much. She must know 
by this time that I have no use for him. The idea ! In 
this day and age of the world, and in Chicago, of all 
places, a man a male man letting his hair grow 
long, putting on nose-glasses and a white tie, and start- 
ing out to lecture before afternoon clubs on what is 
it he lectures on, anyway?" 

"Oh, the True Somethingness of Beauty, I guess it 
is. Laura says he's terribly bright. She says there 
are very few people that appreciate him." 

"She's dead right about that. I know of twenty 
men that will pay him any price to come over to the 
club and put on the gloves. But the women seem to 
think he's all right." 

[290] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

"Oh, some of them do, or they pretend to. Just 
at this minute he is a novelty, a fad." 

"Just at this minute and every other minute he is 
a freak. Why do women get stuck on that kind of a 
fellow?" 

"They don't except for a little while. They 
merely take him up, just to be doing." 

"Just to be done, you mean." 

"Do you know, just now Laura thinks he is the 
cutest thing ! But that's like her. She's always crazy 
about something or other, but never more than one 
thing at a time. If it isn't mental science, it's an auto- 
mobile or a dog or French lessons or something. I 
think it's a blessing that a person can't be crazy on too 
many subjects at the same time, don't you? But I 
must confess that Hotchkiss is about the worst attack 
she's had. And it makes her so mad because I snub 
him." 

"What difference does it make to her how you treat 
him?" 

"Well, I think she labours under the delusion that 
he would be a happy addition to our family. She 
can't marry him, because she is already tied up to a 
commonplace, every-day broomstick of an old man, 
who works in the office fourteen hours a day so as to 
keep her supplied with luxuries." 
[291] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

"Such as lecturers." 

"Yes lecturers, antique furniture, and Chihuahua 
Hogs. As I tell you, she can't marry Mr. Hotchkiss 
herself while Henry cumbers the earth, and so she 
has generously turned him over to me." 

"You're not serious, are you ?" 

"I am, really." 

"You don't mean to say that she has actually sug- 
gested such a thing as your taking up with it 
with that?" 

"Well, not in so many words, but she has sung his 
praises to me early and late, and is simply furious 
whenever I show the slightest inclination to make fun 
of him. She has assured me that he is distinctly su- 
perior to any other man of my acquaintance." 

"Especially me, I suppose." 

"Yes, I think she meant you in particular. She says 
that Mr. Hotchkiss lives in another sphere that he 
has lifted himself above the sordid and something-or- 
other considerations and so-on of the whole thingum- 
bob." 

"Indeed ! I'd like to lift him still farther. Great 
grief! Wouldn't he be a dandy piece of bric-a-brac 
to have around the house seven days in the week al- 
ways with a white necktie, writing lectures on pink 
paper ! Your sister's a nice woman, but I don't think 
[292] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

much of her judgment when she tries to pair you off 
with that that " 

"Oh, go ahead and say it. I've heard it on the stage 
so often that I'm becoming hardened to it." 

"Your sister has it in for me, hasn't she?" 

"Why, Harry ! I don't think so." 

"Yes, you do think so, too, and you know so, too. 
She objects to my coming around to see you so 
often." 

"But you don't come often." 

"There are seven nights in the week. I have been 
here six out of the seven." 

"Of course, you do come often, but what I mean is, 
that you don't come too often." 

"Well, it isn't too often for me, as long as you 
don't mind. But you can depend upon it, when she 
says sarcastic things about the young men of your ac- 
quaintance, she means me." 

"Do you really think so?" 

"Of course. You probably haven't heard it your- 
self, but there is a rumour all over the south side that I 
am head over heels in love with you, and that if you 
refuse me I am going to throw myself in front of an 
Illinois Central train." 

"Why, Harry ! How you go on !" 

"Even the guv'nor who is about the last man on 
[293] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

earth to catch on to anything he heard about it and 
asked me if I had come to an understanding." 

"What did you tell him?" 

"I told him that I might be able to report in a day 
or two." 

"How in the world do such stories get out? You 
haven't been paying such marked attention to me, have 
you?" 

"Haven't I?" 

"Have you?" 

"If I haven't, it's because I didn't know how." 

"Why, Harry!" 

"I have dogged your footsteps for two months." 

"I hadn't noticed it." 

"Everybody else has." 

"But you never said anything." 

"I know it, but I've been trying different kinds of 
nerve-food preparatory to saying something." 

"You seem to have found one at last." 

"No, it was this Hotchkiss news that aroused me to 
a sense of my duty. Up to this time I have been re- 
strained by a sense of my own unworthiness, but when 
Hotchkiss is named as a possible rival well, that's 
different. As compared with Hotchkiss, I am a good 
thing. Any girl that is threatened with Hotchkiss 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

ought to be willing to marry almost any one in order 
to save herself. He is something dire." 

"Harry! How dare you speak of such a thing?'* 

"Who what? Hotchkiss?" 

"No, before that. What else did you say?" 

"When?" 

"Why, just a moment ago." 

"I don't remember." 

"It was something about marrying." 

"Oh, that's what you want to talk about, is it?" 

"No, it isn't. I simply want to know what you 
mean by saying that I would marry any one. You 
know better than that." 

"No, I said you would probably be willing to marry 
me, if only to escape from Hotchkiss." 

"That isn't what you said, at alL" 

"That's what I meant, anyway. I'll tell you, you've 
either got to take me or put me out of my misery. I 
never did have such a violent attack before." 

"Oho? But you have had other attacks? Only 
this one is more violent, is that it?" 

"Of course, I had a good many girls at school." 

"Indeed !" 

"Yes, but I never felt this way before. This is the 
first time I ever wanted to lick every man that even 
looked at her. I don't think those girls ought to count 
[295] 



HARRY AND ETHEL 

at all. Of course, we used to take them out boat-riding 
and hug them a little." 

"A little?" 

"But, pshaw ! What's the use of talking about 
them? Will you?" 

"Witt I am I to understand that this is a pro- 
posal?" 

"I don't see what else you can make out of it." 

"Well, it's the strangest proposal I ever received." 

"I thought perhaps you'd like to have me vary the 
form. I knew you were tired of hearing the other 
kinds. Now, if you will only depart from your usual 
custom and say 'Yes' instead of 'No,' that will help 
matters still further." 

"Oh, very well. I want to be just as original as you 
are." 

"Then I take it that I am accepted." 

"You haven't any of the symptoms of a man who 
has just been accepted." 

"Pardon me. I didn't mean to keep you waiting." 

TABLEAU. 



[296] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

Buchanan Caster, or "Buck" (he preferred the latter 
title), was man of all work for a family on the bou- 
levard. 

This family had come into wealth, and was making 
a weak effort to change its mode of life, without hav- 
ing any heart in the endeavour. "Buck" was the only 
man-servant and there was nothing of the servant in 
him. He was an independent product of a small town 
in Michigan, and, although he consented to curry the 
Chamberlain horses, mow the Chamberlain lawn, and 
even wear a tall hat while driving the Chamberlain 
carriage, he did so with the full mental reservation that 
he was "just as good" as any of the Chamberlains, 
living or dead, and possibly a few degrees keener on 
ordinary topics. 

He assumed an easy familiarity with Jonas Cham- 
berlain, the head of the family, and he addressed 
Harry Chamberlain, the son, by his first name. He 
respected Mrs. Chamberlain as a woman of sound 
judgment, but he considered it his privilege to dis- 
[299] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

agree with her at times and enter into argument. He 
liked the two Chamberlain girls, and was willing to do 
almost any kind of favour for them, if properly ap- 
proached. 

"Buck" Caster considered that he was the one level- 
headed and responsible person around the Chamberlain 
premises. He was willing to receive suggestions from 
the Chamberlains, but he much preferred that they 
should come to him for advice. Usually they came. 

The imported menials those who sit in wooden 
stiffness on the carriage-boxes, who never relax their 
solemn features except to say, "Yes, mum," and who 
always see between themselves and their employers a 
vast and unbridgable chasm would have said that 
"Buck" was a total failure as a servant). Probably this 
was true. He never regarded himself as a servant. 
"Buck" seemed to feel that he was general manager 
for the Chamberlains. 

He might have grown grey as superintendent of 
the family if it had not been for Gertrude. 

She was the cook. 

From the day of her arrival, when "Buck" carried 
the fragile yellow trunk up to the room under the 
roof, a change came over the household. "Buck's" 
whole conduct was altered. Much of his imperial dig- 
nity deserted him. He lost that air of bustling im- 
[300] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

portance which made him the wonder of the small boys 
in the neighbourhood. 

He lacked industry, and when he drove the carriage 
he sat humped over and allowed the lines to hang loose- 
ly, so that as a driver he was a pitiable spectacle. A 
hired hand going to town with a load of oats would 
have made just as smart a picture. 

The truth was, and it could not be concealed, that 
"Buck" was in love with Gertrude, the cook. He had 
been smitten severely and instantaneously. 

She was a tall and cleanly creature of twenty-eight, 
a plodding worker, and a jewel for any household. At 
first she was pleased by "Buck's" kindly attentions, 
but when he began to show a desire to be assistant cook 
instead of general manager; when he lingered around 
the kitchen at unreasonable hours and stared at her 
devouringly, and especially when he began to send 
presents, she was deeply frightened. 

Gertrude came from a conservative family in Will 
County, and she did not choose to approach matrimony 
in a gallop. Accordingly she repulsed "Buck" one 
night when he attempted to read to her a love-poem 
clipped from the Fireside Companion. She repulsed 
him, and she ordered him from the kitchen. 

"Buck" went out that evening in company with an 
Irish coachman from the opposite side of the boulevard 
[301] 



44 BUCK" AND GERTIE 

and drank beer in order to extinguish the devouring 
flames of his unrequited love. 

Coming home at 10.30, and finding Gertrude still 
up, he denounced her in a voice that could be heard 
four lots away. 

This was too much for the patient Chamberlains. 
Next day Jonas Chamberlain attempted to reprimand 
"Buck," who resented the interference with his in- 
alienable and Michigan-fostered rights, and went 
away, leaving the family to shift for itself. 

Gertrude was melancholy after that. 

She seemed to hold herself accountable for his down- 
fall and the breaking of the time-hallowed tie. 

It may have been that when Gertrude drove "Buck" 
from the kitchen she did not intend the dismissal to be 
final. Certainly she was no happier, for "Buck's" suc- 
cessor, a mild German youth, could go to the kitchen 
a dozen times without so much as seeing her. 

Gertrude became more melancholy, more pious, more 
regretful. She was a regular attendant at religious 
services. The family supposed that she attended the 
Methodist Church. Not so. She had taken up with 
the Salvation Army. 

She had enlisted and was into the fight, consecrated 
and red-striped, before the family had a chance to re- 
monstrate. She gave up her position, made a fervent 
[302] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

little speech to Mrs. Chamberlain and then went away, 
burning with zeal. 

Mrs. Chamberlain had been a friend to the army, 
but that day, as she drove to the intelligence office, she 
said several spiteful things about the abduction of 
cooks. 

The Chamberlains heard nothing from either 
Buchanan or Gertrude, although many weeks passed 

by- 

There came a Saturday night in the last month of 
the political campaign. A deafening band, followed 
by a straggle of shouters, had passed by. Two corner 
orators, drunken and incoherent, were shouting and 
sputtering at each other, while a crowd stood around 
and encouraged them by good-natured yelping. 
Above all the noise and confusion of partisan politics 
rose the swinging notes of an old-fashioned hymn, the 
thump of a drum, and the rattle of tambourines. 

Harry Chamberlain had tired of the political 
shouters. He strolled off into the side street, where 
the swinging flame of a big torch lighted the circle of 
spectators drawn around a group of Salvation Army 
soldiers. 

The singing had ceased, and a woman, mounted on 
a chair, was exhorting. Her high, sonorous voice ran 
freely. She spoke with hysterical fervour, never hesi- 
[303] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

tating, never in doubt as to what she wished to say. 
Harry Chamberlain idled along the edge of the crowd 
until he could see the face half -shaded by the poke- 
bonnet. 

It was Gertrude. 

Gertrude, the silent woman of the kitchen, trans- 
formed by religious ecstasy into a fiery advocate. He 
pressed forward and a second surprise awaited him. 

There, in red shirt, with huge bass-drum strapped 
to him, his face illumined with interest in the speaker, 
rolling "Amens," fondling the drumstick with hot im- 
patience, was Buchanan Caster. 

Harry moved around so as to get near the drummer. 
Presently the meeting was over. 

"Buck !" said Harry. 

"Hello, Harry !" exclaimed the drummer. "Did 
you hear the sergeant speak? Ain't she wonderful? 
Say, I went into the meeting one night and saw her 
there. I went right up and joined. Then she knew 
I meant business. We're doin' a wonderful work 

wonderful !" 

" Take me back to the spot 
Where IJirst saw the light." 

The whole squad took up the song. 
"Bang !" went the drum. Harry ran to get out of 
the way of the marchers. 

[304] 



"BUCK" AND GERTIE 

He saw Gertrude lead on, swinging a tambourine 
above her head, and behind her was "Buck," leaning 
back until he could look straight up at the stars, and 
pounding the drum until it quivered. 



[305] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

"Hello, Billy." 

"Hello, Tom." 

"You're here, are you? Been waiting long?" 

"I just this minute sat down. You're on the dot." 

"Punctuality is one of my two virtues. I was afraid 
you wouldn't get the note." 

"I found it in the box this morning. Where is this 
place you're going to take me ?" 

"It's a garden away out north. I've got an open 
carriage outside there beautiful night for a ride." 

"And the wife?" 

"She's out there in the carriage." 

"Well, let's not keep her waiting. I'm ready." 
(Starting.) 

"Say hold on; you needn't throw away your 
cigar. Sit down. She can wait a moment." 

"Well, maybe she can, but can 1? You must re- 
member I've never seen the wife." 

"You'll get a good look at her presently. Before 
we go out there, I want to refresh your memory." 
[309] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

"Do what?" 

"Refresh your memory. You know we were to- 
gether last evening." 

"Were we?" 

"We were unless you want me to pay alimony. 
Don't you remember? You see, yesterday afternoon 
I thought possibly you were in town already, so I 
came around to the hotel about half-past five and 
found you here. You were delighted to see me, 
of course roomed together at college, fraternity 
brothers, shaved with the same razor and all that. 
You insisted that I take dinner with you." 

"Did I?" 

"I should say you did. You insisted and kept on in- 
sisting. You said you would be deeply hurt if I didn't 
cut everything else and dine with you. I tried hard 
to tear myself away. I told you that my wife was 
waiting for me at home ; that her sister had come over 
to spend the day, and that if I didn't show up for din- 
ner, she wouldn't speak to me for a week. Then you 
said that an old friend had certain claims that even a 
wife would have to recognise and give way to. You 
said that I could dine with my wife every other day in 
the year, but this was the one day that I would have to 
give over to the oldest and dearest friend of my boy- 
hood days." 

[310] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

"It seems that I was quite determined to have you 
dine with me." 

"Billy, you were simply immovable. You wouldn't 
take 'No' for an answer. You ordered dinner for two 
while I was trying to break away. You said that you 
were absolutely certain my wife would not mind at all, 
when she learned all the facts in the case." 

"I am to remember all this, am I?" 

"You are to remember all that and more. I an- 
ticipate a cross-examination." 

That's pleasant." 

"You are to be prepared to tell what we had for 
dinner, repeat portions of the conversation, mostly in 
regard to the dear old days in college, and to testify 
that I drank only two glasses of wine." 

"All of which is a cheerful prospect but I can't 
say that I'm surprised. You may recall that I had to 
do more or less lying for you when we roomed to- 
gether." 

"I know, Billy, but this is different. It was easy 
enough to fool the faculty, but it requires an artist 
to convince my wife that there's nothing wrong when 
I fail to show up for dinner and don't get in until two 
in the morning." 

"Was it as bad as that?" 

[311] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

"Well, that's merely a rough outline of it." 

"Where were you, anyway ?" 

"I was with you." 

"Yes?" 

"Oh, yes. This is where you have to do some more 
refreshing. You will recall that we sat at the table 
for at least an hour talking over old times and then 
we went up to your room." 

"Why did we go up there?" 

"I've got that all fixed. We went up there to look 
at some photographs old friends of ours, college 
friends." 

"It seems, Tom, that the college theme runs all the 
way through this masterpiece." 

"That's right. We sat up in your room and talked 
about the men in our class, the ball-games we used to 
win, and so on about nearly everything, except girls. 
We didn't talk about girls, remember that. When I 
was in school I was rather diffident and knew only two 
or three girls in town." 

"Great Scott!" 

"Now you've got a general idea of the whole thing. 
I came around early, and you compelled me to stay to 
dinner. After dinner we sat at the table and talked, 
and finally you suggested that we go up to your room 
and look at those photographs." 
[312] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

"What would a man on his way to Yellowstone 
Park be doing with a lot of old photographs?" 

"That's what she asked. I told her that you always 
carried them with you one of your peculiarities. We 
looked at these photographs, fell into a rambling con- 
versation, and forgot all about the time until you hap- 
pened to look at your watch and told me it was after 
one o'clock. I was horrified ran out and got into a 
cab and went home." 

"And she believes it, does she?" 

"She will if you corroborate the whole thing. Here, 
watch me. Do you remember the sign of distress we 
used to have in the f rat ? Well, I give it to you now." 

"By George, Tom, you are a wonder. So this is to 
be my introduction to your wife, is it? A fine reputa- 
tion you've given me ! Do you know where I was last 
evening? Calling on an uncle on the west side, sitting 
on the veranda and talking Christian science." 

"You merely thought you were out there. As a 
matter of fact you were down here with me." 

"Talking of the beloved college days." 

"Happy college days !" 

"From half-past five in the afternoon until after 
one o'clock in the morning in the house all the time, 
and the thermometer at 90." 

"I'll admit that the story might be improved, but 
[313] 



THE SCAPEGOAT 

it was the best I could do in the time I had. Good or 
bad, it has been spread on the records, and it must be 
backed up. She asked me if it wasn't rather warm 
sitting in a hotel bedroom all evening, and I told her 
that you had a room on the tenth floor and got a fine 
breeze." 

"But there are only seven floors in this hotel." 

"Oh, well, she won't stop to count them." 

"Does she think it was decent of me to compel you 
to dine downtown when she and her sister were waiting 
for you at home? In other words, how do I stand with 
the wife?" 

"She may be a trifle sarcastic, but don't you mind 
that." 

"Oh, certainly not! Don't mind it! You seem to 
make it out that I'm as guilty as you are. You in- 
fernal reprobate! However, I suppose I must face it 
out. By the way, where did you go last night?" 

"Well, I'll tell you, Billy. An old customer came 
into the place about five o'clock " 

"Never mind. I don't care to tax your imagina- 
tion too much all in one day. We'll go out and meet 
the wife and begin to lie." 



[814] 



WILLIE CURTIN A MAN 



WILLIE CUR TIN A MAN 

Willie Curtin, George Tobey, and the one "Scotty" 
stood at the front of Gust Heinmiller's place. Hein- 
miller's was a squat establishment made of wood, and 
those who passed the staring doorway caught a sour 
and malty odour with just a tang of keen spirits. 
Heinmiller depended somewhat upon the bucket trade. 
His saloon backed up against a disordered net of rail- 
way-tracks, where the trains clanked eternally. 

The region was one of cinders and water-logged 
block pavements, sinking back dejectedly into the 
black mud from which our unexpected Chicago had 
first arisen. Large furls of smoke unwrapped them- 
selves lazily from the near-by planing-mill and, dilut- 
ing into a smudge, softly enveloped the whole unlovely 
neighbourhood. 

The two-story houses stood in crowded lines. Each 
had a perilous front stairway for the use of the super- 
imposed family. There was no hint of the earth's 
green, save here and there a weedy geranium set far 
out on a sill, as if to coax for sunshine and fresh air. 

Willie Curtin was twenty, and a full hand at the 
[317] 



.WILLIE CURTIN A MAN 

mill. George Tobey and the one "Scotty" had been 
known to work, but never in a cheerful and voluntary 
mood. "Scotty's" mother kept boarders. Under pre- 
tence of bu3'ing supplies and doing the heavy work 
around the house, he found time to stand on Hein- 
miller's corner. "Scotty" was acknowledged captain 
of the young men who came to Heinmiller's each 
evening. The politicians had him on their books as a 
useful man, and the police hoped to know him more 
intimately. "Scotty" had a line of small accomplish- 
ments which earned for him the admiration of all who 
stood at the bar. He was given to the singing of sen- 
timental songs and could do very neat steps in the 
sand. His hat was worn at a careless angle, and in 
his walk there was a defiant little swagger, of which 
he was quite unconscious. 

While the three stood at the corner, the troops of 
children came from the Von Moltke school. This was 
the school the three had attended until they learned 
to read the nickel library. It was a congress of 
nations. There were reddish little boys with all the 
pugnacious mischief of Ireland squinting from their 
eyes. There were docile Swedish tots with tow braids, 
and little Italian girls of such olive complexion and 
great dark eyes that dirt and tatter could not dismay 
their beauty. Then there were plump German young 
[818] 



WILLIE CUR TIN A MAN 

ones who skipped instead of walking, and two negro 
boys, at whom "Scotty" spat, so that they had to 
jump to escape disaster. 

The older girls were at the last of the procession. 
They came locked in trios, and the whole street was 
awakened by their chatter. 

"Scotty" moved over to the edge of the sidewalk 
so that the girls would have to pass between him and 
the swinging doors that opened into Heinmiller's. He 
tapped his hat jauntily with a forefinger, put his 
thumbs into his vest arm-holes, and waited. The girls 
saw him and suddenly ceased talking. They ex- 
changed swift glances and began to walk more rapidly. 

"Hello, girls!" he said. 

They tried to hurry past. He stepped in and seized 
a girl in the second three. It was Susie Curtin. 

"Come here, Susie, I want to tell you something,'* 
he said, tightening his lips to keep back the laughter. 

"You let go of me," she cried, pulling and backing 
away from him, but he had gripped her forearm and 
she tugged in vain. 

"No on the level, I want to tell you something," 
he said, and then he gave a long tantalising "Ah-h-h !" 
as she struck at him awkwardly and girl-fashion, while 
he dodged the blow by leaning backward. 

"Let go of me !" she repeated. Her voice broke and 
[319] 



WILLIE CUR TIN A MAN 

her eyes were swimming with tears of mortification. 
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself." 

She broke away and ran headlong among her com- 
panions. They closed about her and hurried on, 
whispering their consolation as they cast frightened 
glances back at the corner where "Scotty" had halted 
after making a playful start as if to pursue them. 

Willie Curtin had stood still while this was happen- 
ing between "Scotty" and his sister. His hands were 
clinched in his trousers' pockets and it seemed to him 
that he did not have the strength to withdraw them. 

He stood motionless, with a heat rising into his head. 
The buildings across the street toppled and swung. 
His heart beat rapidly. 

"Scotty" gave a peculiar upward jerk to his head 
and smiled from one side of his mouth. 

"I like to kid the girls," he said, and shouldered 
through the swinging doors into Heinmiller's place. 
George Tobey followed him. 

Willie leaned against the corner and tried to whistle, 
so as to reassure himself that he had not been disturbed 
by the episode. He said to himself that Susie was only 
a child and "Scotty" had meant it in fun. But the 
lie contradicted itself, for he knew that he was sick 
with self-contempt. 

But what could he have done ? Suppose he had in- 
[320] 



WILLIE CUR TIN A MAN 

terfered. "Scotty" would have whipped him. In this 
miserable reflection he found small consolation. He 
had read paper-covered books and he had seen the 
weekly melodrama at the Bijou, and he knew that 
any man who calls himself a man must not stand silent, 
with his hands in his pockets, while his sister is being 
bullied and insulted. He remembered that he had 
tried to grin when "Scotty" laid hold of Susie and 
pulled her away from the other girls. Perhaps 
"Scotty" selected her just to prove that he rated 
Willie as a coward. Willie tapped the corner of 
the building with his closed fist and thought hard 
thoughts. 

He did not speak to Susie of what had happened at 
the corner. She had not appealed to him for protec- 
tion when "Scotty" held her by the arm. She did not 
rebuke him when he came home to supper. She looked 
at him in a furtive and shamefaced way across the 
table as if to acknowledge that both of them lived in 
fear and dread of the only "Scotty." It was her si- 
lence and her manner of not expecting him to play the 
man that wore upon Willie. He knew that he would 
despise himself until he had fought "Scotty." 

If Willie had a definite resolution, he did not express 
it not even to himself. When he began to work in 
Larry Bowen's gymnasium, he did not know that he 
[321] 



WILLIE CURTIN A MAN 

was preparing to fight "Scotty." He was learning to 
box because every young fellow should know how to 
take care of himself. 

Larry Bowen was a retired professional who gave 
evening lessons in a loft which he called his "academy." 
Larry had lost many of his teeth in prairie battles, and 
one ear, after repeated poundings, had taken on a sort 
of muffin-shape. Larry had fallen short of cham- 
pionship honours, but no one less than a champion had 
beaten him down when he was in his prime. He and 
his advanced pupils received Willie into their grim 
brotherhood and taught him that pain and bloodshed 
are the mere zest of manhood. He fought them dog- 
gedly and then sat among them, thoughtfully taking 
instruction. For a half-hour at a time he would send 
the punching-bag tap-tap-tap against the hard 
boards. He felt of himself and found" new muscles 
lining themselves. 

One evening he caught the great Larry unawares 
and shook him to the heels with a straight left-hander. 
Larry crouched and came back to fight not to in- 
struct. They mixed it counter and cross, give and 
take, infighting, tearing loose, breathing heavily like 
maddened animals each swinging desperately for the 
knock-out. When they finished, in a struggling em- 
brace, Willie felt the warm blood in his mouth, and 
[322] 



WILLIE CURTI N A MAN 

the great Larry regarded his pupil with but one ef- 
fective eye. 

"You're comin' on a lot, kid," said Larry, caressing 
his nose with a gloved hand. 

This would be scant praise from any one but Larry. 
Willie knew what it meant. He walked homeward, 
stretching himself within his sweater and tapping his 
biceps. The light from Heinmiller's place fell across 
the sidewalk. From within came the assertive voice 
of the only "Scotty," who was talking politics. No 
doubt "Scotty" had forgotten all about it for it had 
been but a trivial incident. His career had been 
crowded with many such pleasantries. When Willie 
walked in, "Scotty" gave him a sidewise nod, such as 
a great personage bestows upon a satellite entering 
his presence, and he continued his dissertation on men 
and affairs, as viewed by the precinct-worker. Willie 
stood back, somewhat at a loss for a definite policy, 
and yet quietly confident that opportunity is seldom 
denied the willing soul. 

A fight, to have any ceremonial dignity, must fol- 
low logically upon a quarrel. Therefore, when 
"Scotty" declared that a certain "Jimmy," of ward 
fame, was a prince and the very essence of gentility, 
Willie had to say that "Jimmy" was a cheap thief 
and a lowly counterfeit. 

[323] 



WILLIE CUR TINA MAN 

Thereupon "Scotty" unhesitatingly used violent 
language and the provocation existed. Willie hit 
"Scotty" twice before "Scotty" knew that he was to be 
hit at all. Heinmiller, the man of peace, shouted from 
behind the bar, counselling arbitration. "Scotty" 
aroused himself and bore down upon the boy. He 
ran straight into a rigid left arm, but he caught hold 
of Willie's coat and tried to pull the battle down to 
the floor a tactic of the bar-room fighter. Willie 
gave a twist and wriggled out of the coat. He ran for 
a shelter behind the pool-table. "Scotty" followed, 
and the boy suddenly turned, meeting the big fellow 
right and left. "Scotty" fell backward and Willie 
pounced upon him. 

When the patrolman rushed in and compelled Willie 
to relax his hold upon the throat of the only "Scotty," 
his judicial mind did not classify the battle as one 
tinged with the sweetness of chivalry or touched by 
the glamour of romance. It was the inevitable, the 
nightly "saloon scrap." 

The Curtin family was deeply humiliated and hurt 
in reputation. John Curtin had to go out at night to 
find a bondsman. Willie was released from the station 
at midnight. His mother and Susie were waiting for 
him indignant, horrified. 

"To think that anny son of mine'd turn out to be 
[324] 



WILLIE CURTI N A MAN 

a saloon rowdy," said Mrs. Curtin. "Locked up the 
same as a thief. I'll be ashamed to meet Father Car- 
ney." 

"That's all right," said Willie. 

"It serves you right for always running around with 
those toughs and trying to be a regular prize-fighter," 
added Susie. 

"That's all right," said Willie. 



[325] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

Two lake-faring men went hard at it with scrubs to 
clean the wooden effigy of Ceres, perched above the 
wheel-house of the Dudley Brown. 

Ceres sat in a very stiff and conventional attitude, 
gazing directly up stream. She had a black spot 
painted in each eye, and the effect was to give her the 
appearance of staring with fascinated interest. 

Could Ceres have seen from out those wooden eyes 
she would have learned that the big warehouses were 
dozing in warm sunshine. Along the docks which 
skirted them ran a most uneasy movement of men. 
Painters, in white suits, were suspended, like spiders, 
along the sides of the gaunt iron propellers and were 
covering the stains and rust of a winter's harbouring. 
Decks were being scrubbed down and rigging set taut 
and serviceable. In fact, Ceres would have known that 
the season was arousing itself. 

Ceres wore a loose garment of fiery red. Her arms 

and face were white and rather scaly from repeated 

applications of white-lead. The sheaf which she 

carried in her left arm was done in brilliant yellow, and 

[329] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

altogether she was a startling figure as she sat trium- 
phant above the wheel-house, where the crowds passing 
on the bridge might look up and admire. 

Ceres held this place of distinction because the Dud- 
ley Brown was a grain-carrying steamer plying be- 
tween Chicago and Buffalo, and Ceres is the goddess 
of corn and tillage. The mariner could not pay a 
prettier compliment to the husbandman. Such cour- 
tesy was all the more graceful because one does not 
find many allusions to mythology along the Chicago 
river. 

The two men who had climbed to the tin roof of the 
wheel-house to cleanse the goddess were sailors not the 
Jack Tars of youthful imagination, but sailors who 
had been reduced to deck-hands through the changes in 
navigation and the gradual supremacy of steam. 

Dan Griswold had been a real Captain Marryat 
sailor once upon a time, and had all the tattoo marks 
to prove it. He could splice and knot and reef, and 
he knew the names of all the sails and sheets, but this 
knowledge counted for nothing on the Dudley Brown. 
In the opinion of Dan Griswold it was not a vessel at 
all just a huge grain-bin crowded along by a screw. 

The sailor having lost his station, the pride and the 
clothes had gone with it. These two men scrubbing at 
the goddess were in blue flannel shirts and a cheap 
[330] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

quality of factory-made, farmer clothes. Dan Gris- 
wold wore a crumpled cap, and the younger man had a 
derby hat, bleached by the sun. 

The younger man's name was Larry Pearson. 

"I think she's clean, Larry," said Dan, passing the 
bucket and brush back to his companion and lowering 
himself, with a few grunts and sighs, from the roof 
of the wheel-house. 

"She looks all right," said Larry. 

"We've got to keep her looking all right," remarked 
Dan, as he picked up his bucket and walked aft. "She's 
the only woman we'll have aboard and it's a good 
thing she can't hear what's bein' said." 

Three men were perched along the rail on the sunny 
side of the boat warming their backs. One of them, 
Tony Baldwin, was reading aloud from a newspaper. 

He stopped reading as Dan came up and said, 
"Here, Dan, you want to hear this." 

"What is it?" 

"They say the ice is out o' the straits, and they can 
get through now without a scratch. As soon as they 
can get insurance everything'll start. It's goin' to be 
the earliest season we've had for years." 

"I'll be glad o' that," growled Larry, who had 
followed along. "It can't open any too soon for me." 

"If I was on a real boat I wouldn't care, either," 
[331] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

said Dan. "I'm forgettin' what a sail looks like, and I 
never did like the smell o' rain-water. That's all that 
thing is" with a wave of the hand toward the lake 
"a big puddle o' rain-water." 

"I know why Dan ain't so anxious to get away this 
spring," said Tony, with a wink at the others. "He's 
stuck on the missus. Why don't you marry her, Dan, 
and settle down?" 

"This ain't no time or place to talk about a lady," 
said Dan. "Leastways, not for low roustabouts to talk 
about her." 

"Who's a low roustabout?" asked Tony, as he 
straightened his legs and came down to the deck. 
"Who's a low roustabout?" 

"Well, who is a low roustabout if you ain't?" 

"I'm goin' to make you swaller that." 

"Come and do it." 

They closed in, pawing at each other. They grap- 
pled and did a slow, heaving waltz together, and then 
went to the deck with Dan on top. 

They were holding on, tugging and making inar- 
ticulate noises when the mate came. He was a very 
young man with a straw-coloured moustache. 

"Here ! Let go ! Get up and out of here," he com- 
manded, prodding the man underneath with his foot. 

Dan untangled himself and came to his feet. He 
[332] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

was breathing heavily and one eye had a bruised and 
watery appearance. Tony had been defeated by the 
rules of battle, but he bore no marks and was anxious 
to resume the fight. 

"Go on get off the boat, both of you," said the 
mate. "I don't want you around," and he gave his 
opinion of the two in language which may be imagined 
but cannot be quoted. 

Dan jumped to the dock and went along the plank- 
driveway between the cold-storage warehouse and a 
freight-depot. One whole side of his face burned as if 
it had been chafed with a piece of sail-cloth. He won- 
dered if the eye would show any colour. If so, he did 
not want to go to Mrs. Gunderson' s, for he had told 
Mrs. Gunderson that he was not a fighting man. She 
would not have fighting or drinking men in the house, 
and that is why the discriminating captains and mates 
had come to board with her. 

Dan had lived at the house for two winters, and dur- 
ing the second winter, because he could not be idle 
and because Mrs. Gunderson came to have a growing 
confidence in him, he was a sort of business manager 
for the establishment. He brought in reliable cus- 
tomers, kept track of the accounts, did much of the 
purchasing, and advised Mrs. Gunderson in all emer- 
gencies. For the first time in his wandering career 
[333] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

he had found a taste of real domestic life, for one 
can never know domestic life unless one feels a pro- 
prietary interest. 

Dan had outlived the sailors' period of romance. 
He had tired of the life on the grain steamers, but he 
had never dreamed that he could make a living or be 
useful in any way except on board a vessel. Here he 
was, preparing to begin another season of drudgery 
on the lakes, but he hated the prospect as he had 
never hated it before, and he began to realise that 
there was more of dignity and comfort in managing 
a three-decked boarding-house than in being ordered 
about as a common sailor. It was out of the bitter- 
ness of his daily reflections that he had resented 
Tony's playful remark. 

Mrs. Gunderson met him as he entered the door- 
way. 

"There you are, Mr. Griswold!" she exclaimed. 
"I've been lookin' for you. Mr. Cleary wants his 
bill. Lord bless us, man! What's the matter with 
your eye?" 

It may be remarked that although Mrs. Gunder- 
son's husband (lost with a lumber schooner) had been 
a Norwegian, she was distinctly Scotch and Irish. 

"I got into trouble with a fellow on the boat. It's 
all right. I'll make out deary's bill." 
[334] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

He went into his own room to work at the "books," 
and presently Mrs. Gunderson came in with a piece 
of steak for his eye, which he refused with gentle 
scorn. 

"Mr. Cleary says the straits are open," remarked 
Mrs. Gunderson, as she admired Dan's work with the 
figures. 

"Yes, they'll be gettin' away most any day now." 

"Goodness only knows what we'll do when you're 
gone, Mr. Griswold. I've come to depend on you so 
much with twenty men in the house." 

"I hate to go myself, Mrs. Gunderson." 

"Why can't you stay ? I can pay you a little some- 
thing, or annyway your board which you've been 
wantin' to pay. I need a man I do that." 

"So the boys on the boat say." 

"They do?" 

"Yes ; I had my fight with a fellow that asked me 
why didn't I marry you." 

"Bless you, the two girls have been askin' that for 
a month." 

"Cleary owes you eleven fifty," said Dan, hand- 
ing the bill to her. As she received it, she gave him 
a glance which he seemed to understand. 

It was three days later that the mate of the Dud- 
ley Brown met Dan on the State Street bridge. Dan 
[335] 



OPENING OF NAVIGATION 

was smoking a cigar and surveying the river with the 
air of one who owned the stream and all abutting 
property. 

"Look here, Dan, why haven't you been around?" 
he demanded. "I wouldn't be surprised if navigation 
opens by Saturday." 

"Navigation can open and be damned," replied 
Dan. "I've quit the water." 



[336] 



NO CLARENCE 



NO CLARENCE 

After the bubbling crowd from the 1.40 train had 
spouted through the main exit and gone its various 
ways, "Connie" found himself saying: "Cab, sir? 
Hi! cab, sir? Here you are!" to no one in particular 
except a fatigued officer of the law. 

The station dozed again. Usually it was dozing 
or else roaring, with the alternations running on 
schedule time. Now it had simmered down for fifteen 
minutes of comparative quiet. 

"Connie" saw no prospect of immediate employ- 
ment. It is believed that he stared after the last 
stragglers and remarked to the policeman that they 
were "mugs." A "mug" is a person who does not 
ride in a hansom cab. 

Connie's brown derby hat was rather too high 
and cocoa-nut shaped to be accepted as the vogue, and 
his clothes had certain slashing curves and a tight- 
ness about the legs to prove that the wearer had been 
for many years among the tall fronts and lamp- 
posts. The four-in-hand cravat was a burning red 
and rested against a checked bosom of a kind which, 
[339] 



NO CLARENCE 

through some mysterious adaptability, is always cho- 
sen by men who handle horses. 

If you ever come to know "Connie" well you will 
discover his good points. A single encounter might 
serve to emphasise his mercenary qualities and leave 
his virtues unsummoned from within. He has been 
known to charge an unprotected woman three dollars 
for a single haul from the Rock Island station to the 
Auditorium, taking her by way of Desplaines Street 
and Chicago Avenue. 

It is certain that his judgment of distances is not 
always accurate, as, for instance, his estimate that 
it is two miles from the Northwestern station to Rush 
Street, by the short cut, whereas the city map makes 
it five blocks. 

A man may have a grasp for money and still be 
tender-hearted, as witness the well-known philan- 
thropists. 

"Connie" would lean against a wheel and almost 
sniffle when "Big Burton," a coupe driver, sung his 
"sister songs" in a suppressed tenor, with many effec- 
tive dwells. 

He was over-ready to fight for a friend, and he was 
good to his horse. These two points of merit always 
counted heavily in his favour. 

The policeman had lounged away toward a corner 
[340] 



NO CLARENCE 

fruit-stand, and "Connie" had settled back against 
license number 42871 for a wait and a whistle, when 
the girl from the country came to the doorway and 
shaded her eyes for a look up the sunny street. 

"Cab, lady?" asked "Connie." 

She turned and gave him a candid smile. 

"No, I don't want no hack. I'm waitin' to meet a 
gentleman friend." 

"Has he broke a date?" 

She made no reply, but stood just outside the door- 
way and watched the street expectantly, once or twice 
leaning back to see the top of the fourteen-story 
building only a block away. 

"Connie" studied her, for lack of other entertain- 
ment. He inspected her from the dusty button shoes 
up to the one-winged hat. She had a boyish, sun- 
coloured face, and her hands were large and strong. 
The blue dress, black lace trimmings, plaid ribbon, 
and a suspended Japanese fan made such a conflict 
of colours that even "Connie" felt disturbed and 
shook his head slowly, the corners of his mouth pulled 
downward and two small wrinkles of merriment 
showing between his eyebrows. 

"The party ain't showed up yet, eh?" he asked. 

"No, he ain't, an' I don't know what to make of 
it" 

[341] 



NO CLARENCE 

"Who wuz it you was expectin', the real boy?" 

"It's the gentleman I'm engaged to Mr. Blivins." 

"Come again." 

"What did you say?" 

"Give me that name again. What's the party's 
name?" 

"Blivins Clarence Blivins. I ain't seen him for 
about a month, but I wrote to him yesterday an' told 
him I was comin'." 

"He lives here in Chicago, does he?" 

"Yes, sir, he lives here and he's well off, too. I 
got acquainted with him when they had the rally 
over at Ransom. He had a stand there." 

"What kind of a stand?" 

"What kind d'you s'pose? A place where they 
sell lemonade an' peanuts an' pop an' so on." 

"Oh!" 

"I got acquainted with him there an' he proposed 
to me, an' I'm up here now to marry him but I don't 
s'pose I need to rattle on to you about it." 

"Sure, lady, go ahead," said "Connie," in a con- 
fiding tone, intended to encourage her. "If you've 
got his address I may be able to locate him for you. 
Where does he live?" 

"I've got it on a card somewheres. He wrote it 
down for me." 

[342] 



NO CLARENCE 

She went into a low pocket of the blue dress and 
brought out a very small purse, fastening with a 
snap, from which she took a crumpled piece of paper. 

"Connie" unfolded the paper and read, written in 
pencil : 



CLARENCE BLIVINS, 

Lincoln Park, 

Chicago. 



"He give you this, did he?" asked "Connie." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Lincoln Park ! Talk about stringin' ! Where did 
you meet this guy?" 

"Over at Ransom, when they had the rally." 

"Where's Ransom?" 

"Do you know where Kankakee is?" 

"Well, I've heard of it." 

"Well, it ain't on the same road as Kankakee, but 
it's about I don't know twenty-three or twenty- 
four miles, I should judge " 

"All right, we'll let it go at that. You say you met 
him at a rally?" 

"Yes, sir, I stopped at his stand to buy some pop- 
corn an' we got to talkin', an' then he asked me to 
take a ride in the swing with him. We got to talkin', 
[343] 



NO CLARENCE 

an' he took me right from the start becuz he wuz so 
pleasant spoken." 

"I'll bet he was a nice man. What did he tell 
you?" 

"Well, I told him I'd always wanted to git to 
Chicago becuz I'd only been here once when they had 
an excursion to the World's Fair, an' then I didn't 
get to see half, so he says, 'I live in Chicago an* I'm 
purty well fixed an' I want to git married.' He told 
me he owned a store here an' could give me a home 
an' I wouldn't have to work the way I did in the 
country. I told him I wouldn't ask no other woman 
to look after my house, so he said I could do part of 
the work if I felt like it, but he expected to have a good 
hired girl to help me. He said we could settle that 
after I got here. We had quite a long talk about one 
thing an' another, makin' arrangements. He give 
me his name an' where he lived, an' said when I wuz 
ready to come to just up an' let him know. I wrote 
to him a couple o' days ago that I was comin', but 
I guess he didn't git the letter. Mebbe he's off some- 
wheres with his stand." 

"I wouldn't be a bit surprised. What are you 
goin' to do wait for him?" 

"I don't hardly know what I'd better do. I don't 
s'pose I could find the place alone." 
[344] 



NO CLARENCE 

"I think I can find it for you. You get in the cab 
an' I'll drive you over that way." 

"How much would it come to?" 

"Oh, I'll make it reasonable. How much money 
you got with you?" 

"I've got four dollars an' a quarter here. I spent 
some on the train." 

"You'd better let me carry it for you. It ain't 
safe for a lady to be carryin' money around these 
depots." 

She gave him the purse. He looked at it and then 
at her, in sheer astonishment, but he stiffened his face 
to keep from laughing. 

"You are certainly all right," he said. "How did 
you fix it to get away from home?" 

"I told 'em I wuz goin' to ride in with Bashford 
Simmons to see the Moffett girls, but I kept on an' 
rode into town." 

"They didn't know anything about Clarence, 
eh?" 

"No, I ain't told any one. He told me not to." 

"Well, well! Climb in." 

"Connie" took hold of her arm and assisted her 

into the hansom. Then he swung up to his little seat 

behind. As the horse came around and started away 

at a pounding jog-trot, "Connie" shook his head 

[345] 



NO CLARENCE 

slowly and said to himself, "Well, I've heard of this 
kind, but I wouldn't 'a' believed it." 

He looked down through the hole at the dusty hat, 
which was in a constant rotary motion, for she was 
trying to look at both sides of the street at the same 
time. 

Presently the cab turned from State Street west 
into Harrison Street, following a path familiar to 
both horse and driver. It was then "Connie" began 
to realise that even if he gave the prospective Mrs. 
Blivins four dollars' worth of honest cab-riding he 
would have to set her down somewhere at last. He 
knew of many places into which she would go as un- 
hesitatingly as she had gone into the swing with the 
missing Clarence. 

For the purposes of a story, it might be advisable 
to say that "a struggle was taking place" in "Con- 
nie's" mind. "Struggle" is hardly the word, for he 
was chuckling most of the time and dimly wondering 
why the peanut-man had chosen such an unusual and 
profitless lie. 

Occasionally he looked down at her and sighed with 
wonderment. It would make a good story to tell to 
"Big Burton." 

"Yes, and it's lucky 'Big Burton' wuzn't pulled 
up there, instead of me," he said to himself. 
[346] 



NO CLARENCE 

He drove on without stopping and headed east 
toward State Street. 

"She's too easy," he said. "If she put up a fly 
front I might but Tier! Back to the tall grass!" 

Another turn and they were headed for the station. 

"What's the matter?" she asked, wonderingly, as 
"Connie" came down from the high seat. 

"Say, Ethel, you take this money an' hide it in- 
side your cloze somewheres. I'll show you a nice place 
to set until the train comes, an' if you move, that big 
eopper'll run you in." 

"What have I done?" she asked, staring at him, 
pop-eyed. 

"Sh h h ! You've got one chance in a thousand 
of gettin' out of town alive, and I'm your friend. I'll 
show you where to get your ticket an' where your 
train backs in, and I want you to be the first one 
aboard. Don't buy nothin' of the train butcher an* 
don't speak to no brakesmen." 

"Don't you s'pose Mr. Blivins " 

"Lady, I hate to tell you, but I must. Your friend, 
Mr. Blivins, sold Lincoln Park and moved out to the 
four-mile crib a week ago, an' besides, he's married." 

"Yes, but looky here " 

"That'll do for you. Not another word." 

And they went in to buy the return ticket. 
[347] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

An "L" train had come to a grinding stop at the 
second station of the inbound trip. The big man 
came along the aisle until he saw a seat with only 
one man in it. His Chicago training asserted itself. 
He hurriedly pre-empted the place. The man al- 
ready in the seat moved over toward the window. The 
big man said "Thanks," secretively, and leaned back 
to waste seventeen minutes of this precious life. 

In the seat opposite, and facing them, were two 
women and one baby. 

The younger woman held the baby, and the young 
woman's mother superintended. Once she said: "I 
think you'd better keep your hand on his back, Ida. 
The car jolts so." 

Soon after she advised strongly against allowing 
"him" to chew the newspaper, advancing a theory 
that printer's ink is not a wholesome food for infants. 

Ida, who was all eyes for "him," followed direc- 
tions placidly, and three times she addressed him as 
"precious rascal," which doubtful compliment was 
utterly ignored. 

[351] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

The baby was a round-faced, pinkish creature with 
big, blue eyes. As babies go, doubtless he was a very 
fine specimen. When he opened his mouth to crow, 
he showed two unimportant teeth. His gown was a 
scramble of lace, and the bonnet was fastened under 
his plump chin with an enormous bow. 

He pawed the air with two milk-white fists until 
his mother turned him around squarely. Then he sat 
very still and studied the two men on the other seat. 

The big man with the black moustache wore a blue 
suit, a broad straw hat, and a striped neglige shirt with 
a loose cravat falling down the front of it. 

His neighbour was a smaller and rather pale man, 
with a short patch of side-whiskers in front of each 
ear. His coat was of black silk, the cravat was of 
white lawn, and the rim of his straw hat was much nar- 
rower than that of his neighbour's. 

The baby stared at one and then at the other. The 
pale man stood the scrutiny for a time and then began 
to smile. The baby smiled in return, and the pale 
man winked and shook his head in a threatening way, 
causing the infant to become serious again and turn 
to the big man. 

The latter pointed his finger and, using his thumb 
as a trigger, discharged a loud cluck, which so de- 
lighted the child that it waved its arms and gurgled. 
[352] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

Once more he clucked and this time the demonstra- 
tion of delight was so earnest that the mother looked 
out of the window in pleased embarrassment and the 
grandmother smiled and said: "Oh, you bad boy, 
you're not afraid of any one." 

The big man put his forefinger against the baby's 
ribs and said: "Kitchey, kitchey, kitchey, kitchey, 
kitchey." 

Leaning with his elbows on his knees the pale man 
watched this performance with unconcealed delight, 
especially when the baby laughed so hard that it came 
very near rolling off its mother's lap. 

"Boy or girl?" he asked. 

"Boy, and a bad boy, too; now, aren't you?" the 
mother replied, straightening the bonnet, which had 
been pulled down over one eye during the frolic. She 
was blushing proudly. 

"No, he ain't a bad boy; no, siree," said the big 
man. "He's a little corker ; that's what he is. Ain't 
you a little corker?" He advanced his forefinger 
toward the ribs, and the "corker" went into a kicking 
fit over the mere prospect of being tickled again. 

"What's his name?" asked the pale man. 

"Tell the gentleman your name," said the grand- 
mother, shaking him by the arm. But he could see 
[353] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

no one except the big man, from whom he was momea 
tarily expecting another attack. 

"His name's Walter, but all he can say now is 
'Wah' ; you see, he's only a little over a year old. 
How old is he, Ida?" 

"Thirteen months and ten days," was the prompt 
reply. 

"You seem to have made a deep impression on him," 
said the pale man to his neighbour. 

"Would he come to me, do you s'pose?" asked the 
big man of the grandmother. 

"Bless you, he isn't afraid of any one." 

"Let's see? Come, Walter, come to me; come on." 

While entreating, the big man held out his hands, 
and the baby, with his round face puckered into a 
laugh, reached for the big man. 

"Just look at that," said the baby's mother, with a 
little gasp. 

The big man received Walter and danced him in 
the air. He allowed the baby to claw his moustache, 
and when he said "Ouch," the pale man laughed aloud, 
and the whole car, which was watching the perform- 
ance, smiled. 

"Oh, you bad boy," said the grandmother, recov- 
ering Walter and straightening the bonnet once more. 
"Ida, the next stop is Thirty-first" 
[354] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

That was where they alighted. The baby looked 
back over the mother's shoulder and laughed at the 
two men, who grinned after him like two foolish boys. 

Two eager men with newspapers fought their way 
into the vacant seat, and the friends of the baby found 
themselves depending upon each other for entertain- 
ment. 

"Nice baby?" said the pale man. 

"A dandy. I like 'em about that age." 

"I have one of about that size a little girl. She'll 
be fifteen months old on the 17th. She's just begin- 
ning to toddle around and we have to watch her all the 
time." 

"That's right." 

"The other day my wife left her alone for a little 
while, and when she came back there was that little 
tike clear up on the sideboard trying to get the cork 
out of the vinegar-bottle." 

"You don't say so?" 

"Yes, sir ; she had pushed a chair over to the side- 
board and climbed up." 

"I've got a boy that's goin' to be a terror," said the 
big man. "He's only nine months old, but he's big for 
his age, and I guess he knows more than most children 
do at a year old. The other morning about six o'clock 
I was woke up by something poundin' me, and what 
[355] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

do you think? That little cuss had squirmed around 
in bed and had both of his feet in my face kicking 
away to beat the cars." 

"Well, well!" 

"I woke up my wife and let her see it. He knew 
what he was doin', all right, for when he saw me 
lookin' at him, he commenced to laugh. I'll tell you 
they begin to learn things early enough." 

"They do, for a fact. Now, my second girl isn't 
five years old, and, of course, we've never sent her to 
school, but she knows her letters and can read some; 
just picked it up, you know. My wife and I thought 
we wouldn't attempt any instruction until she was 
six, but she simply went ahead and learned anyway." 

"I'll bet you ! That's the way they do. But say, 
you ought to see that oldest boy of mine. He's twelve 
years old and his sister is goin' on nine. They're 
down in the country now visitin' their grandmother, 
and I want to tell you, pardner, they think she's the 
greatest woman in the world. My wife's folks have 
a fine place, with an orchard and a crick and horses 
to ride. Why, when they get down there they just 
own the farm. Turn it upside down." 

"I dare say they do," said the pale man, smiling 
and nodding his head as if he remembered something 
of the kind himself. 

[356] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

"Yes, you see their grandmother humours them 
and gives them all they want to eat, and fusses over 
them. She thinks more of them children than she does 
of me, but that's all right. My wife was the only 
child. And their grandfather! He'd bring a team 
in out of the field any time if the kids wanted to ride." 

"I'm sorry I can't let my children get out into the 
country more than they do. But I send them to the 
park every pleasant afternoon, and, of course, they 
enjoy that." 

"I'll bet they do, but it's better, of course, if they 
get clear out into the country, where they can peel 
their shoes and stockings and raise Cain. I wish 
your children could get out there with mine. They'd 
have great times together." 

"They would, indeed ; I know mme would enjoy it. 
Is your little boy in good health?" 

"Is he? He's a buster. Never cries except when 
the colic gets in its work. One day about a month 
ago the nurse set him in a chair and he fell off right 
on his head. My wife come screamin', thinkin', of 
course, that he was croaked, sure enough. That boy 
simply rolled over and started in playin' with his rattle 
again never even whimpered." 

"This seems to be Congress Street," said the pale 
man, looking out of the window, and arising. 
[357] 



WHEN FATHER MEETS FATHER 

"Yes, this is where I get off, too." 

"Well, I'm very glad to have met you," and he held 
out his hand. 

"The same to you," said the big man, giving a 
hearty grasp. 

"I'll give you my card. Have you one?" 

"I think I have, somewheres." 

The pale man opened a leather case, and the other 
searched in his upper vest-pockets. 

They exchanged cards while crowding to the plat- 
form with the others. Outside, after they had sepa- 
rated, each looked at his card. One read : 



REV. McLeoD HATLEY, 
Essex Presbyterian Church. 
Residence, 4690 Calumet Avenue, 



The other: 



THE SMILAX BUFFET. 
" Billy " Alexander, Proprietor, 

82 Clark Street. 

Imported and Domestic Wines, 

Liquors and Cigars. Remember the 

Number. 
The Home of the " Looloo " Cocktail. 



THE END. 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 



kWl 81949 






ww 1 






PWTMQ 


m 




.-sWMbw 

^^ritall 




at ocii?!* ' 

flWWlgglr 




NOV05lPfi5 






Form L9-25m-8,'46( 9852) 44 


4 





THE LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 



3 1158008644253 



I 



PS 

1006 

A6i